Chapter 12, Section 6


Red Bank postoffice, C. Shunk, postmaster, was established here May 13, 1842. It was changed to Kellersburgh, February 24, 1871; David Grant postmaster.

Keller laid out on the parcel which he had purchase the town of Kellersburgh, consisting of twenty-three lots, thirteen of which are on the east and ten on the west side of the Olean road, which is the main street, three rods wide. The only other street is the one between lots Nos. 5 and 6, one rod and a half wide. The area of each lot is 4 x 10 rods, and contains one-quarter of an acre. The bearings of the main street and the easterly and westerly boundary lines of the town are north ten degrees east, and south ten degrees west. These lots were surveyed by J. E. Meredith for Nicholas Keller, Sr., July 19, 1842. The first sale of them was advertised by the proprietor in this wise: "The site is a beautiful one and in an excellent settlement, as there is no part of Armstrong county improving as rapidly at this time as that section. The surrounding country abounds with iron ore and coal, and the great road, leading from the borough of Kittanning to Olean Point, passes through the same, also the road from the former place to the new and thriving town of Clarion, and as the town is about midway between the two places, it offers every inducement that the mechanic and the merchant could require." The sale took place on the 10th of August, which was a very warm day, and was attended by a large number of persons who, inspirited as they were, at least some of them, by Keller�s whisky and the music of John Campbell�s violin, had a merry time. A number of the lots were sold at from $20 to $30 each. The proprietor retained fifteen-sixteenths of an acre for his hotel, store, etc., between lots 19 and 20 on the westerly side of the main street. The first separate assessment list was of twenty-two unseated lots at $10 each, in 1845. The next year sixteen unseated lots were assessed at $20 each, and six at $15 each. In 1876 the number of taxables is 21; minister, 1; laborers, 4; miners, 2; shoemakers, 2; blacksmith, 1; merchant, 1. The real estate is valued at $2,780; and personal property and occupations at $595.

Kellersburg has a Lutheran and a Methodist Episcopal Church. The first-mentioned society built in 1838, two years after it was organized, a log house of worship, but now has a very good frame building, nicely finished, 40 x 30 feet in dimensions. Rev. G. A. Reichert, the first minister, was succeeded by Rev. Kyle. Rev W. Selner was pastor in 1876.

The Methodist Episcopal Church is a substantial frame building erected in 187-. Its dimensions are 45 x 40 feet.

Willink & Co. conveyed 59 acres of the southern part of allotment 2 to Caspar Beer, June 4, 1834, for $36.87, which he conveyed to Jacob F. Keller, July 22, 1840, for $108, and the latter conveyed 22 acres and 80 perches thereof to John Heasley, February 16, 1860, for $265; Willink & Co. to John Mohney 173 acres of allotment 4, June 21, 1837, for $108.12, who kept a hotel; 135 acres and 46 perches of allotment 5 to Charles Merrill, August 28, 1838, for $1,000, which Merrill conveyed to James and Thomas Feely, November 1, 1845, they to William Garner, October 26, 1848, and he to William Geddes, March 3, 1851, for $6,000.

Adjoining that tract on the south was No. 315, covered by warrant No. 2867. Willink & Co. conveyed 165 acres of allotment 5 to Peter Bish, December 15, 1828, for $103.12; to Jacob Moyers heretofore mentioned, 191 acres and 85 perches of allotments 2, 4, 6, November 29, 1830, for $119, of which he conveyed 1 acre and 45 perches to Elizabeth Courson, June 9, 1856, for $50, and 152 acres and 30 perches of allotments 4 and 6, September 7, 1846, for $100; 48 acres and 10 perches to Samuel Cassat, October 3, 1835, for $30.40, with which and 12 acres more and one cow, he was first assessed in 1838 at $68. John Bain was first assessed with 70 acres of allotment 5, one horse and one cow in 1833, at $66, to whom Willink & Co. conveyed 96 acres, February 6, 1838, for $60, of which Bain conveyed 12 acres and 33 perches to John Shobert, November 7, 1839, for $50. On the run by which it is traversed the latter erected a second-rate gristmill, with which he was first assessed in 1840 at $100. He conveyed this parcel, "with a frame house and gristmill thereon," to Abel Llewellyn, November 17, 1849, for $700. If there has been a subsequent conveyance, it is not on record. Willink & Co. conveyed 126 acres of allotment 1 to Joshua Baughman, February 6, 1838, for $78.37, which was occupied by his widow after his death. North of that parcel was one containing 131 acres and 49 perches, occupied and perhaps owned by M. D. Fayette Ely, who was first assessed with 100 acres in 1837, at $130, with which he continued to be assessed until 1840. Jacob Pettigrew was first assessed with 100 acres, mostly of this, but partly of tract No. 314, and one cow, in 1837, at $83, to whom Colwell and his co-purchasers conveyed 173 acres, June 19, 1852. He conveyed 25 acres thereof to John Pettigrew, October 8, for $50, and 28 acres the next day to Josinah Pettigrew, for $84. Just north of the Pettigrew purchase was another parcel containing about the same quantity, which was formerly occupied by John Neil, to whom it and an additional quantity and one horse were first assessed in 1842 at $475.

Contiguous to tract No. 315 on the west was tract No. 314, covered by warrant 2868, called "Elliott Grove," which adjoined the original line between Toby and Red Bank townships on the east and the heretofore-mentioned vacant land on the south. It and several of the other foregoing tracts14 were included in the purchase made by Sommers Baldwin, alluded to in the sketch of the Holland Land Company, which appears in Chapter 1. Baldwin conveyed 200 acres of allotment 5, which was in the south central part of the tract, to Hewlett Smith, April 19, 1817, for $400.

Those tracts having been revested in Willink & Co., they conveyed 165 acres and 17 perches of allotment 6, in the southeastern part of "Elliott Grove," to Joseph Sowash, June 3, 1830, which he conveyed to Charles B. Schotte, April 26, 1831, for $800, which the latter conveyed to George Smith, August 1, 1839, for $1,000, 50 acres of which Smith conveyed to Abraham Bailey, August 23, 1851, for $500, and he to Casper Flick, March 23, 1867, for $1,000, and Smith to Flick 100 acres, June 16, 1853, for $1,800,15 leaving about 15 acres now belonging to one or more of Smith�s heirs.

Willink & Co. also conveyed other portions of "Elliott Grove" thus: one hundred and sixty-three acres and 79 perches to John L. Mulholland, March 1, 1832, for $102.17, which John L. Mulholland conveyed to Oliver Gray, April 29, 1847, for $700, 104 acres and 91 perches of which he conveyed to Harvey Gray, November 23, 1854, for $350, and 77 acres to Aaron Gray, October 9, 1855, for $350; Willink & Co. to Oliver Gray, 186 acres and 8 perches, June 16, 1841, for $372; 194 acres and 130 perches to Samuel Balsiger, July 5, for $194,75, a portion of which he conveyed to James Duncan, September 14, 1847, and 1 acre of which Duncan conveyed to James Craig, Samuel Craig, Sr., and Henry Heasley, trustees of the Middle Creek Presbyterian church, June 28, 1854, for $13.

That church, so-called because of its situation between Mahoning and Red Bank creeks, was organize by the Saltsburg Presbytery in 1844, but was not reported as having a "pastor-elect" until 1854, and soon thereafter a commodious frame edifice, 30 x 40 feet, was erected on that last-mentioned acre. It enjoyed a stated supply until the next year. After a vacancy of about four years it was favored with the ministrations of Rev. W. P. Moore, afterward "the popular and successful pastor of Manchester church, in Allegheny City." Its pastor from 1863 till 1867 was Rev. J. H. Sherrard, since of Bucyrus, Ohio, who was succeeded by Rev. J. A. E. Simpson from 1868 until 1870. About that time it was detached from the Clarion and attached to the Kittanning Presbytery. Its membership in 1876 was seventy.

Duncanville, a hamlet containing eighteen buildings, so called after James Duncan, who in 1854, was first assessed with "a new hose and storeroom," is situated on this parcel. Jeremiah Bonner was assessed the same year with "a new storehouse," at $100. Bonner & Duncan kept a store here for a few years. Frederick Fair was assessed as a merchant here in 1866, and was succeeded by Thomas Meredith in 1868, who is still here. The elections have been held here since the organization of Clarion county. Here too, for many years was the site of one of the public schoolhouses of this township, in which, after 1854, the annual examinations of teachers were held. It was situated west of the Lawsonham road in a grove, built in and, like some others of that period, was a shell that ought to have been replaced by a better one much sooner that it was. Its successor, a comfortable frame structure, is situated at the crossroads, about eighty rods southeast of Duncanville.

The United Brethren and the Presbyterians also have organized churches here and have houses of worship.

Other purchasers of parcels of "Elliott Grove" were: Oliver Gray, to whom Willink & Co. conveyed 186 acres and 8 perches, June 16, 1841, for $372; Elijah French, to whom they conveyed 139 � acres, May 29, 1844, for $139.50. According to Meredith�s connected draft of parcels, George Craig owned 100 acres and 10 perches, William Toy 100 acres and 150 perches, and George Young 200 acres of "Elliott Grove," when that draft was made.

North of allotments 2 and 3 of "Elliott Grove" lay allotment 4 of tract No. 289, warrant No. 2876, north of which and between the above-mentioned original township line and the Nicholson tract, No. 4150, lay the other three allotments of this tract, which was included in the Buffington purchase 776 acres and 135 perches he conveyed, as before stated, to Reynolds & Richey. This tract originally contained 990 acres, a small parcel of which was conveyed to Alexander Duncan, so that after the conveyance to Reynolds & Richey there was a residue of somewhat more that 130 acres in the southeastern part of this tract, which are assessed in 1876 to E. Buffington, at $798.

On the south and west of the Nicholson, No. 1150, was the Holland tract, No. 311, warrant 2870, of which Willink & Co. conveyed 220 acres, of allotments 2 and 5, to George Craig, Sr., November 23, 1837, for $137.50, who had been first assessed in 1834, with 180 acres, of tract 315, warrant 2869, one horse and one cow, at $233, of which he conveyed fifty acres to Catherine Craig, November 13, 1856, for $350. He was a member of Captain Shaeffer�s company, Col. Snyder�s regt., in the War of 1812, and enlisted in the 103d regt. Pa. Vols. in the late War of the Rebellion, but on account of his advanced age, was not permitted to go to the front. At and before the time of his purchase, allotment 1 of No. 311 was occupied by George Craig, Jr. Willink & Co. conveyed 140 acres and 143 perches of the last-mentioned allotment to George N. Craig, November 21, 1837, for $88.12. Colwell & Co. conveyed 75 acres and 151 perches of allotment 2 to George Craig, April 8, 1859, for $600, with which and one yoke of oxen, he was first assessed, that year, at $150.

South of the last-preceding tract and west of "Elliott Grove" was tract No. 313, warrant No. 2869. The earliest purchaser of a parcel of it appears to have been Thomas Gray, to whom Willink & Co. conveyed 130 acres and 35 perches of allotment 5, June 19, 1833, for $81, now occupied by Samuel B. Gray, with which and one cow Thomas Gray was first assessed in 1834, at $13.50. The company conveyed some other parcels, thus: 158 � acres of allotment 6 to Robert Campbell, May 31, 1836, for $118.50; 179 acres and 137 perches of allotment 2 to James Coats, October 5, 1836, with which and one horse William Coats was first assessed in 1842; 102 acres and 72 perches of the southern part of allotments 4 and 5 to Gabriel P. Lobeau, April 4, 1837, which he conveyed to John Harman, the present owner of the greater part of it, July 28, 1842, for $80, 13 acres of which the latter conveyed to Lewis Enhurst in 1872, for $150; 175 acres and 60 perches of allotment 3 to John McIninch, June 5, 1837, for $131.50, 13 acres and 46 perches of which he conveyed to William and John R. McCullough, October 3, 1838, and May 13, 1848, and which they conveyed to James Taylor on the last-mentioned day, and he to W. P. Conner, 9 acres, March 8, 1850, for $400, and then, of some other time, Conner conveyed 4 acres to John Craig, who conveyed 1 acre and 32 perches to John A. Craig, Joseph Earley and Samuel B. Gray, "trustees of the Coats Graveyard," March 12, 1870, for $5 and 17 perches, for $50, where the latter was first assessed as a blacksmith in 1870, and around which is a small hamlet containing six or more buildings, making somewhat of a business point. George Craig and Andrew Earley must have settled on other portions of this tract in 1834, as they were both then first assessed with portions of it, the assessor then being Richard Reynolds, who very carefully noted the names of the warrantees and the numbers of the tracts. Craig was then assessed with 180 acres and two cows, at $196; Earley with 160 acres, one horse and one cow, at $180, and John Crozier with 100 acres in 1836, at $50. When Meredith made his connected draft of parcels of this and other tracts, Craig owned 179 acres and 100 perches, Crozier 165 acres and 26 perches, and Earley 179 acres and 137 perches. Colwell & Co. conveyed to Earley 89 � acres of allotment 1, July 10, 1859, for $179.25. William Watterson was first assessed with 160 acres of this tract and one cow in 1854, at $168. He transferred his interest in the land during the ensuing year to Samuel Craig, who became a permanent resident of that parcel, or at least until he purchased a parcel of the adjoining tract.

The only tract of the Holland Company�s lands in this county that touched the Allegheny river was No. 312, warrant No. 2910. Robert Dixon and John Hardy were the first purchasers of parcels of it. Willink & Co. conveyed to them as tenants in common 155 � acres of allotment 2, December 24, 1835, for $108.85, and 335 acres and 69 perches of allotments 1 and 2, November 2, 1836, for $235.75. Hardy was first assessed with 167 acres, two horses and one cow in 1841, at $382, and 170 acres at $340. Dixon was first assessed with 100 acres and one cow in 1842, at $60, and the next year with 150 acres and one cow, at $160. Hardy kept a hotel on the parcel, which he occupied for several years. Dixon conveyed his interest in their first parcel to Hardy, and Hardy his interest in 178 acres of the second parcel to Dixon, April 9, 1857. Dixon conveyed the latter quantity to Mrs. Ellen Turner, April 13; she and her husband conveyed 1 acre and 75 perches thereof adjoining the road from the mouth of Red Bank to Duncanville, "upon which St. Mary�s Episcopal church has been recently erected," to the "board of trustees of the Diocese of Pittsburgh of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States," in April, 1872, for $1 � in other words, she gave the ground to the church.

The next sales of parcels of this tract by Willink & Co. appear from the records to have been: 122 acres of allotment 6, the southeastern one, to John Wilkins, July 15, 1841, for $92, which, with 403 acres and 32 perches of allotments 5 and 6, adjoining Samuel Earley�s improvement on the south and the Allegheny river on the west, his administrator conveyed to Aaron Whittacre�s administrator, April 16, 1849, for $2,499.02, which became a part of the American Furnace property. Willink & Co. conveyed 107 � acres of the west end of allotment 4 of this tract, and the west end of allotment 1 of tract No. 313, to James Watterson, September 14, 1844, for $107, which he conveyed to George K. Wolf May 6, 1858, for $2,000, 95 acres and 72 perches of which the latter conveyed to the present owner, George W. Craig, April 9, 1866, for $1,850. Willink & Co. conveyed 362 � acres of allotments 3 and 5, along the river, to Aaron Whittacre, February 6, 1846, for $372.75, which also became part of the American Furnace property, 54 acres and 69 perches of which John Jamieson conveyed to Thomas Morrow, July 9, 1860, for $462. In the winter of 1864-5 Charles A. Hardy and Aaron D. Hope expended $1,050 in the purchase of several parcels of this tract, aggregating 112 acres; $1,100 in the purchase of 50 acres of the Samuel Earley improvement; and $500 in the purchase of the coal and mineral rights of two other parcels of that Holland tract, which Robert Dixon, John Jamieson and R. C. Loomis had conveyed to John Booher, Samuel Nichols, Thomas Morrow, John Langler and Mrs. Ellen Turner, in which Hope still retains his interest.

The surface of a large portion of the territory of this township was, when first settled, comparatively sterile. That in the northeastern part, especially in the vicinity of the old Red Bank Furnace, was so much so that it was vulgarly called "Pinchgut." The forgoing prices at which various parcels of the land have at different periods since been sold, as well as the present condition and appearance of the farms, indicate the beneficial effects of a more skillful and kindly culture than was at first adopted, which was to a great extent induced by the home market created for agricultural products by the Red Bank and Stewardson Furnaces.

Until about 1835 the only other road in this township besides the Olean was the one cut through from Bain�s to Lawsonham. As late as 1839 there were only two wagons in this township.

The most convenient educational facilities enjoyed for several years by the first settlers (Alexander Duncan and others, in the northern part of the township) were afforded by the school on the north side of the Red Bank, near where Lawsonham now is, which was first taught by James Hunter, and then Robert Lawson and others. The first schoolhouse within the present limits of this township was a primitive log one that was built on Elijah French�s farm, about a mile from Gray�s Eddy and a greater distance northeast of Rimerton. The first school in that house was taught by Henry Fox, and some of his scholars traveled five miles daily to attend it. The second schoolhouse was similar to that one, and situated near Kellersburgh, in which David Truitt was the first teacher. Daylight entered both of those primitive temples of knowledge through greased paper instead of glass.16 The next was situated about 145 rods west of the present eastern boundary line of this township, "near the present residence of John Bish."17 The first under the free school law was situated nearly a mile northwest of the last-mentioned one, on the farm of Henry Pence. Most, if not all, of the rest were the usual log structures. One of them � the one near what is now Centerville � was still in use on the writer�s last tour of visitation to the schools of this county, in 1866.

In 1860 the number of schools was 8; average number of months taught, 4; male teachers, 8; female teachers, 0; average salaries, $17; male scholars, 229; female scholars, 184; average number attending school, 226; cost of teaching each scholar per month, 35 cents; amount levied for school purposes, $784.20; received from state appropriation, $91.87; from collectors, $563; cost of instruction, $546; fuel and contingencies, $37.79; cost of schoolhouses, $15.58.

In 1876 the number of schools was 8; average number of months taught, 5; male teachers, 7; female teachers, 1; average salaries of both male and female, per month, $30; male scholars, 255; female scholars, 256; average number attending school, 119; cost per month, 52 cents; amount of tax levied for school and building purposes, $2,852.06; received from state appropriation, $413.85; from taxes, etc., $3,254.01; cost of schoolhouses, $1,303.17; paid for teachers� wages, $1,243.50; fuel, etc., $1,177.21.

Population, including that of the section now included in Mahoning township, in 1850 was: White, 1,142; colored, 9. In 1860: White, 1,140; colored, 0. In 1870: Native, 1,485; foreign, 136. In 1876, number of taxables, 543, representing a population of 2,397.

The vote on the question of granting license to sell intoxicating liquors, February 28, 1873, was 99 against and 41 for.

There are six merchants of the fourteenth class in this township, according to the Mercantile Appraisers� List for 1876.

Occupations other than agricultural and mercantile, according to the assessment list of 1876, including the towns: laborers, 118; miners, 32; carpenters, 4; shoemakers, 3; blacksmiths, 2; miller, 1; minister, 1; mason, 1; section boss, 1; innkeeper, 1; old persons, 5. Of those engaged in agriculture, 7 are assessed as croppers.

Source: Page(s) 259-285, History of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania by Robert Walker Smith, Esq. Chicago: Waterman, Watkins & Co., 1883.
Transcribed December 1998 by Jeffrey Bish for the Armstrong County Smith Project.
Contributed by Jeffrey Bish for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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