Chapter 12, Section 7



The general geological feature of this township, as given to the writer by W. G. Platt, are: Only Lower Productive rocks make the uplands. The lower part of the deep valleys, which skirt the township, are composed of conglomerate and subconglomerate rocks. The Upper Freeport coal is represented only in a few knobs in the eastern and western portions of the township, and has there barely enough rock on top of it to protect it from percolating waters. The Lower Kittanning Coal is the bed chiefly mined, and is from three to four feet thick. The remaining beds of the series are represented where the land is high enough to include them, but, so far as investigated, they are devoid of importance. The Lower Kittanning Coal has been quite extensively developed, it being the bed worked on the property of the Mahoning Coal Company. The ferriferous limestone underlies all the center of the township, and far above water level. The buhrstone ore accompanies it, and hence the supply of Stewardson Furnace is chiefly derived. The Pottsville conglomerate is above water level throughout the whole length of valleys of the Allegheny, Mahoning and Red Bank in this township, and is nearly three hundred feet above water level at the mouth of Mahoning.


An anticlinal divides the township nearly in halves in a northeast and northwest direction. It crosses the river just above the mouth of Mahoning, and the Red Bank above Lawsonham. It has sharp dips on its southeastern flank. The eastern and western portions of the township are in the synclinal.

Prof. Lesley, in his Geological Report on the present Red Bank Furnace property, says, respecting the chief supply of ore for this furnace: The ore-bed is a layer of brown hematite mixed with blue carbonate, out of which the hematite seems to have been made by decomposition. The less blue carbonate, the more brown hematite, and the softer and better the ore, is the accepted rule. The ore-bed is very irregular, sometimes running down to six inches, and sometimes up to five feet. It will probably average two feet along its whole outcrop. It is mined along the hillsides at about the same level on the south side of Red Bank and down the river. * * * It covers the ferriferous or great fossiliferous limestone, a bed of fifteen feet thick, filling depressions of all sizes in its upper surface, and penetrating its top layer, so as to render it a superior flux, yielding a large percentage of its own. Above the ore-bed is a mass of shales many feet thick, more or less silicious, and more or less charged with blue carbonate of iron. This ore-bed is remarkable for its extent of area, covering Armstrong, Venango, Clarion, Jefferson, and Butler counties, and it has been, in fact, the principle reliance of the fifty furnaces in Northwestern Pennsylvania, and the forty-odd furnaces of Southern Ohio and Eastern Kentucky. Its out crop is usually very soft, easily mined by stripping, and afterward by gangways, driven partly in the limestone and partly in the ore. * * *

There must be over two miles of ore outcrop on the 538-acre lot south of Red Bank � Nicholson tract No. 1151 � and allowing only two feet of an average thickness, and forty feet of stripping floor before commencing the drift, we have one hundred thousand tons of soft brown hematite in sight. The quantities lying back of the outcrop are too large to need estimation. * * * The Kittanning, or "middle" coalbed south of Red Bank, is only about twenty inches thick, and, if it underlies two hundred acres, contains about five hundred thousand tons.

Levels referred to tide, or heights above ocean in feet and tenths of a foot: north abutment of Mahoning bridge, lower corner outside, 862.2; upper inside corner, 829.6; opposite Rimerton Station, 836.7; north abutment, lower inside corner, 831.5; south bridge seat, lower inside corner, 836.6; south abutment, lower outside corner, 850.4; south abutment Red Bank bridge, lower end, 849.6; Red Bank junction, 850.8; Fiddler�s run, 915; Lawsonham, 919; Buck Lick run, 939; Rock run, 966; Leatherwood, 1027.

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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