Patents for those Bradford lands were granted to Thomas B. Darrach, James H. Bradford and William Bradford Jr., in trust for the heirs of the above-mentioned Thomas Bradford, not until March 22, 1856. Their more rapid settlement began after Allison’s purchase. He divided them into comparatively small tracts, most, if not all, of which he sold at considerably advanced rates, within fifteen years after his purchase. As an evidence of the ready demand for such tracts, he conveyed, June 3, or about one month after his purchase, 65 acres and 4 perches of the Farrell tract to William M. Cox for $942,50; July 24, 100 acres of the Samuel Fisher tract to George McLaughlin for $1030, and 22 acres and 31 perches of the Thomas Bradford tract for $227.60, and 70 acres to Finney Templeton for $910. The summary of which is, he sold, within three months after his purchase, 257 ¼ acres for $3110.10, or a trifle more than one-fifth of the quantity of his first purchase for nearly half of what he paid for the whole of that purchase. A glance at the map of this township made in 1860 and the one made in 1876 will give an idea of the greater density of the population of that portion of this township covered by those four original tracts since than before they were thus brought into market. The respective localities of the Thomas Bradford, Joseph Norris (John Nourse) and Samuel Fisher tracts can be readily recognized by readers familiar with this region from the localities of the smaller portions purchased as above stated.
The locality of the Patrick Farrell tract may be identified by the town of Atwood, which is situated about equi-distant from its northern and southern lines, in the western part of the tract, and about sixty rods east of its western line, which is the boundary between it and the Samuel Fisher tract. In 1860 the site of this town was covered by the forest. It was then cleared by Dr. Allison. The writer remembers the primeval appearance of the scope of country around this town, as he traversed it on tours of official duty, from and after 1857. When he was there the last time, in 1866, Atwood seemed to have just begun to emerge from the wilderness. Only one house had been built there before then, Its name was suggested by its being at, or near, or more properly in the woods. It was not named after any person living or dead. Dr. Allison resolutely and successfully resisted the suggestion of naming it after him. The inhabited parts of the town plot are on Indiana and Jefferson streets, each about forty-one feet wide, and crossing each other at right angles, the course of the former being from southeast to northwest, and of the latter from northeast to southwest, on which are twenty-four dwelling houses, one of which is a hotel, three stores, two blacksmith shops, two carpenters’ shops, one cabinetmaker’s shop, two wagonmakers’ shops. According to the assessment list for 1876 there are one blacksmith, three carpenters, one merchant, two pedlars, five laborers, two shoemakers, one wagonmaker, one physician, and the number of taxables forty-two, which ought to give a population of 193. The only permanent resident physician is Dr. John W. Morrow, who settled here in the spring of 1873.
The only church here is the United Presbyterian. The congregation was organized about 1827, though there was occasional preaching by Rev. Mr. Jamison in 1815. Services were first held under the white-oak trees near the house of Samuel Sloan, Sr., near the boundary line between Cowanshannock and Plum Creek townships, on the Robert Semple, Sr., tract. The number of its original members was thirty-five. It was called the Associate Presbyterian Congregation of Concord. Rev. David Barclay, of the Presbyterian church, commenced preaching to the Concord congregation several years later than Rev. Jamison. The first permanent pastor was Rev. John Hindman, whose pastorate continued from 1832 until April 29, 1840. That of the second pastor, Rev. William Smith, commenced June 24, 1851, and continued until in 1859. James Hutchison and Henry McBride were the first elders. A union having been formed in 1858 between the Associate and the Associate Reformed churches, this congregation thereafter took the name of the United Presbyterian Congregation of Concord, and as such it was incorporated by the proper court December 4, 1876. The present pastor, Rev. David K. Duff, was installed June 21, 1866. Its present membership in 95; its contributions for 1876 amount to $882, and its number of Sabbath-school scholars is 117.
The first church edifice of this congregation was a hewed log structure, which was erected in 1826. The second one was a frame, 60 x 54 feet, and was erected in 1852. The present one, frame, was erected in 1873, on the southwest side of Indiana street, near an angle therein, nearly twenty rods from the southeast corner of the town plot of Atwood, on a half-acre lot, conveyed February 11, 1873, by J. W. Marshall and Thomas Martin, for $1 to the trustees of that congregation, "for the purpose of erecting a United Presbyterian house of worship thereon, and to continue as long as it shall be used for a house of worship," which is two and a half miles northeast from the sites of the former ones.
A one-story frame schoolhouse is situated opposite the church, on the other side of Indiana street. A private school of eighteen pupils is maintained here for a considerable portion of the year.
The Atwood post-office was established July 14, 1868, J. Wilson Marshall, postmaster. It was situated on the northeast corner of Indiana and Jefferson streets. The second postmaster was John A. Johnston. The present one is Dr. John W. Morrow, and the office is on the corner of Jefferson street and a public alley northeast of Indiana street.
Southwest of the Samuel Fisher tract was the Robert Semple, Sr., tract, called "Belmont," the northeastern portion of which is in Cowanshannock township. The warrant is dated July 1, 1784. Semple conveyed his interest in this tract, March 3, 1786, to William Betts, Jr., for five shillings; the latter to David Heston, October 12, 1790, for £27; Heston to Stephen Smith, March 1, 1792 for £50, to whom the patent was granted July 20, 1796; Smith to Witson Canby, March 7, 1803, for $1,000; Canby, by his attorney-in-fact, to Samuel Sloan, April 5, 1815, for $1,128, who conveyed 114 ¾ acres to his son James Sloan, September 17, 1827, who conveyed the same, March 18, 1837, to Samuel Patterson for $900; Patterson to Samuel Lawton, April 14, 1847; Lawton to Joseph and Valentine Kerr, the same day; the Kerrs to Washington Chrisman, November 12, 1856, "one hundred and seventeen acres strict measure," for $3,000.
In the summer of 1869, Chrisman laid out the town of Green Oak on that part of this tract through which the division line between Cowanshannock and Plum Creek townships passes diagonally, so that about the half of the town is in each township. It was surveyed by John Steele into lots respectively 60 x 120 feet. One of the lots was sold for $40, and eleven for $30 each. This new town contains one store ( Josiah J. Shaeffer’s), through the center of which passes the township line, one blacksmith shop, and seven dwelling houses. It is presumed, from the large number of arrowheads found here, that this was formerly an Indian encampment, hunting ground or battlefield.
The sawmill assessed for the first time to William Sloan in 1837, and the carding-machine and fulling mill assessed to him for the first time in 1843, were on the run emptying into the north branch of Plum creek, within the limits of "Belmont."
Next north of the Robert Semple Sr., tract was the Andrew Henderson tract, the warrant for which is dated July 1, 1784, which was surveyed to him May 10, 1786, and conveyed by him April 2, 1787, to Walter Finney, to whom the patent was granted March 6, 1815, and which William Finney, of Harford county, Maryland, conveyed to William McLaughlin, February 18, 1830, for $600. John McLaughlin was first assessed in Plum Creek township, in 1811, and with 313 acres of land in 1814, with which quantity his son George, who seated this tract, was subsequently assessed until 1820, when he was assessed with 413 acres, which corresponds within the fraction of an acre to the quantity contained in this tract, according to the original survey.
Next west is the greater part of the Robert Semple, Jr., tract, for which a patent was granted to Samuel Smith , of Bucks county, Pennsylvania, February 5, 1805, which became vested in George W. Smith, of the borough of Kittanning, who conveyed 141 ½ acres in the northern portion of it , January 6, 1826, to Thomas Fitzgeralds, for $380, to whose heirs it still belongs. The rest of this tract is as yet but sparsely settled.
Next along the township line was the John Fitzer tract, most of which is in this township. The patent for it was granted to John Vanderen, October 12, 1776. It was sold June 25, 1830, by David Johnston, county treasurer, for taxes for the year previous, amounting to $5.46, to James E. Brown, for $5.96. It was one of the tracts that became vested in White, McKennan and Stewart, who conveyed 170 acres and 148 perches of it to Brown, July 18, 1842, for $175, from whom John and Samuel Graydon agreed to purchase it, December 8, 1850. Brown’s deed to Samuel Graydon is dated November 2, 1863, conveying to him 190 acres subject to the rights of the heirs of John Graydon.
Next along the same line on the Cowanshannock side of it is, about one third of the Samuel Morris tract, assessed to Joseph Spiker for several years after 1825, 103 acres and 51 perches, of which were conveyed, May 7, 1871, by John Y. and J. F. Woods, heirs of one of Judge Young’s devisees, to George Harkelrode for $2,310.
Next along that line is the Israel Morris tract, mostly in this township, which became vested in Henry D. Foster and his wife, a daughter of Judge Young. They conveyed it as containing 322 acres to Robert McFarland, September 24. 1847. Fpr $2,845.00, who conveyed 194 acres and 40 perches of the part in this township to William and John Lewis, December 17, 1850, for $2,233.75. William, (having obtained a release of John’s interest ) conveyed 105 acres and 48 perches, one-half of what they had purchased from McFarland, to James R. Utt and Harvey Stagers, of Morgantown, Virginia, August 2, 1855, for $2,015, which they conveyed to Jacob Espey, Jr., December 22, 1856, for $1,800. Another portion of this tract, bordering on the township line, was purchased by Mrs. Lavinia Foy.
Next along the township line was the Thomas Morris tract, about two-fifths of which is on the Cowanshannock side, and of which Mrs. Ellen M. Douglass conveyed 150 acres to Jacob Beer, August 26, 1852, for $1,050, 80 acres of which he conveyed to John Peterman, March 27, 1857, for $720.39.
The William Craig, John Dealing, George Snyder and William Wistar tracts, wholly in this township, and the Morris tracts, partly in Plum Creek township, and the Joseph Ogden tract principally in the latter, were covered by warrants, dated January 20, 1774, and were conveyed , four days afterward, to Richard Wells for five shillings each, who conveyed them, with five other tracts in Plum Creek township, February 15, 1800, to Thomas Cadwalader for diverse good considerations, but especially "for five shillings" who conveyed those thirteen tracts to John Young, then President Judge of the courts of this and other counties in the judicial district of which this county was then a part, February 18, 1808, for $1,854, or about $1,142 for the first-mentioned eight tracts, and which were devised by him to his daughters Mrs. Ellen M. Douglass, Mrs. Mary Jane Foster, and Mrs. Elizabeth F. Woods. The first-mentioned eight tracts of that purchase are described in Cadwalader’s deed to Young as situated "on the waters of Kawanshanock and Plum Creek."
The foregoing statistical facts afford a fair idea of the settlement, advance in the value of the lands, and general progress respectively, in the eastern, central and western portions of the part of this township south of the purchase line. The early settlers were chiefly agriculturists. Those following other occupations were very rare. The nearest gristmill was Peter Thomas’, heretofore mentioned, until Jacob Beer, Sr., built his on Huskens’ run, in or about 1819.
The town of Bradford was laid out in 1818, "at the junction of a small stream with a larger one:" 5 "at the crossroads, where the old Franklin and Indiana road crosses the Elderton and Martin’s ferry road," 6 on the Samuel Fisher tract. Ten inlots and ten outlots were assessed therein in 1820, respectively, at $100. In 1823, William Coulter was assessed with 4 of these lots and 2 houses, $33. Hamlet Totten’s recollection is that Coulter kept a hotel there at that time. He resided there three years. John Kier, blacksmith, was assessed the same year with 1 house and three lots, $58, and in 1824-5, at $25. William McLaughlin, each of the last-mentioned years, with 1 house and 3 lots, $25. "Bradford" thereafter disappeared from the assessment list. Its site is better known to the present inhabitants of this region as "Frogtown" and "Toad-alley".
The petition of the diverse inhabitants of Plum Creek township setting forth that they labored under great inconvenience for want of a road or highway "to lead from the town of Bradford to the town of Kittanning," the court appointed Jacob Beer, Daniel Guld, Robert Orr, Jr., Conrad Schrecongost, Robert Sturgeon and John Thomas, viewers. The order to them was renewed March 18, 1819. The report of the viewers, favoring the opening of the road, with a draft of its courses and distances, was presented to and read by the court June 23, 1819, and approved September 22, and the road ordered to be opened thirty feet wide. The draft shows that there were then six buildings at Bradford; that the proposed road would intersect the "road to Woodward’s," pass Jacob Beer’s mill on Huskins’ run, "Early’s mill," on Big run, on the John Guld tract, and intersect the "State road from Indiana to Kittanning," at "the end of Samuel Beer’s lane, supposed to be about two miles and one-half from Kittanning" - the distance form Bradford to the last intersection being eleven miles and forty-two perches.
In the southeastern portion of the division of this township, above or north of the purchase line, was the Henry Shade tract, called "Shadeville." The patent to him is dated July 21, 1796. He was a resident of Northampton township, cordwainer, as expressed in his conveyance of this tract, September 3, 1798, to James Seagreaves, of the same place, saddler, and Peter Lysenring, of Whitehill township, in that county, tanner. They reconveyed, as containing 400 acres, to him November 28, 1801, for $328, which subsequently became vested in James Brady, of Greenburgh, Pennsylvania, who, June 27, 1815, conveyed it to Adam Altimus, of Indiana county, for $1,053, who conveyed 104 acres and 40 perches thereof to George McLaughlin, March 9, 1840, for $875.82, who conveyed the same June 8, 1846, to Henry Eyler, for $1,100. Errors sometimes creep into not only history and biography and encyclopedias, but even into deeds of the conveyance of land. For instance, in those last two conveyances of this land it is stated that the original tract was "patented to Henry Shade, June 27, 1815," whereas the only patent to him is the one above mentioned, dated July 21, 1796. Some of the present occupants of the portions of "Shadeville" are the Mikesells and William Roof.
The site of the present edifice of the Evangelical Lutheran church of Plum Creek is in the northeastern part of the tract last mentioned. The nucleus of this church consisted, in the summer of 1829, of eight Lutheran families, namely, those of Conrad Lukehart, Andrew Weamer, Andrew and Philip Harmon, Philip Bricker, Christian Hoover, Philip Whitesell, and John Byerly, who then resided in this vicinity. Rev. Gabriel A. Reichert began to preach to them occasionally in German and English, that year, in Philip Bricker’s old round log barn, which was situated within a few rods of the county line. The church was organized in 1830 by electing Conrad Lukeheart and Andrew Weamer elders. This became one of Mr. Reichert’s points, at which he preached once in eight weeks, in that barn in the summer and in the dwelling-house in the other seasons of the year. Measures were taken for erecting a church edifice in 1833, and these elders were appointed the building committee. Philip Bricker gave one-half an acre on the county line for the site. Others contributed logs, rafters, etc. It was a hewed log structure, 28 x 32 feet. William Rearigh did the carpenter work and various members of the congregation did the "chunking and daubing." The floor was made of loose boards. It was used in an unfinished condition until 1835, when the doors, windows and board ceiling, tight floor, high pulpit and neat seats were supplied. It was then regarded as the neatest church in this section, and was used until 1861, when the present frame edifice, 45x55 feet, well and neatly painted, furnished, seated, plastered and papered, was erected on a site adjoining that of the other in this township, which was purchased from William Mikesell, and for style and finish was considered the best in this section. It was then named St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran church. It’s original number of members was 18; its present about 200. Rev. Gabriel A. Reichert continued his ministerial services six times a year to this congregation until 1839. After he left, this church united with the Indiana and Blairsville charge. His successors - pastors- were Revs. Jacob Medlart, one-fourth of his time, from March 1, 1839, until March 25, 1843; Rev. H. Bishop, one-third of his time, from December 10 until August, 1846, when the Blairsville charge was divided and this congregation united with that of Smithsburgh; Rev. A.C. Ehrenfeld, one-half his time, from January 1,1847, until April 1, 1849; Rev. G. M. Pile, until May 18, 1851; Rev. F.A Barnitz, until August, 1854; Rev. Christian Dehl, until May, 1859, when he resigned on account of ill-health, and died December 1, prox.; Rev. C.L. Stieamer, one-half his time, until September 1,1869; Rev. J. S. Hooper until August 1, 1872: Rev. G.A. Lee until September 1, 1874; and Rev. W.E. Crebbs.7 The present members of the session are Thomas R. Lukehart and Abraham Green, elders; Jacob Roof, William H. Wramer, Joseph Lukeheart and John S. Harmon, deacons. The facts respecting this church have been furnished to the writer by Thomas R. Lukeheart, who says that records of its doings did not begin to be kept in a book until 1828.
The Sabbath-school of this congregation was organized in May, 1840, with Thomas R. Lukehart, superintendent, Jacob Weamer, assistant, and Ralph Whitacre, librarian, since which time it has been in a flourishing condition; and although there are now six other schools within a circuit of three miles, its present number of scholars is about ninety.
The boundaries of " Shadeville" were- on the north and west by the Harman LeRoy & Co. tract No. 3118, on the east by the Indiana county line, and on the south by the purchase line. North of and contiguous to the above-mentioned tract No. 3118 were the H. LeRoy & Co. tracts, Nos. 3125 and 3126, and north of and contiguous to the last-named was the H. LeRoy & Co. tract No. 3128, all of which, except No. 3125, were partly in Indiana county. These four tracts have been generally known as "the Whitacre lands." Joseph Whitacre, of Muncy, Lycoming county, Pennsylvania, had the legal title to, but he was not the real owner of them. Those four tracts were, among others, granted to Harmon LeRoy and Jan Linklain by warrants dated December 13, 1792. By the act of assembly of March 28, 1814, and the supplement thereto of February 6, 1815, a partition of these and other lands in Armstrong, Indiana, and Jefferson counties was authorized, whereby these four tracts were assigned to John Adlum, of the District of Columbia. On May 29, 1828, he conveyed those four tracts, containing 3,990 ¾ acres, to Whitacre. The true intent and object of that conveyance was to enable Whitacre to sell those lands with greater facility, which was duly acknowledged by him, and he was to render to Adlum annual statements of the money arising from the sales and to reconvey to the latter all of those lands that should not be sold by him, and, after deducting expenses and his compensation, to pay over all the money arising from the sales of such as he would make. The patents therefor were granted to Whitacre May 11, 1829.
Whitacre’s first sale was of 127 ¼ acres of tract No. 3125 to Joseph Gibson, October 29, 1828, for $254.50, who probably settled in 1822 on the portion which he purchased, and Levi Gibson on another portion the same year. Samuel Porter commenced occupying 74 acres of it in 1833. Joseph Gibson conveyed the quantity purchased by him from Whitacre, October 30, 1832, to John Simpson, for $900, who conveyed 43 acres and 120 perches of it to Smith Neal, March 30, 1834, for $300, who conveyed the same and 133 acres and 26 perches to Alexander P. Ormond, April 13, 1839, for $1,400, who conveyed the same, viz., 176 acres and 154 perches, to John M. and James Hosack, August 4, 1849, for $1,842, one or both of whom must have purchased the saw and grist mills on "Little Cowanshannock creek," within the limits of their purchase, as they were first assessed to Andrew Ormond in 1838. They conveyed 130 acres and 20 perches to John W. Marshall, April 6, 1861, for $100.
Some of the other early purchasers of this tract were Mrs. Isabella McCaulley, March 12, 1833, 26 acres and 46 perches, for $65; William Rearich, October 20, 1838, 104 acres for $208; Cornelius Barker, April 7, 1842, 217 acres, for the nominal sum of $1, who conveyed the same, March 13, 1845, to Jacob Bowser, for $107. George Ormond was first assessed with a sawmill on this tract in 1842, and Thomas Ormond with a gristmill in 1846.
Of the LeRoy & Co. tract , No. 3118, William Cochran, Jr., was first assessed with 50 acres in 1817, and with 150 acres in 1823; George Rearich, with 400 acres in 1822; Samuel Rearich, with 135 acres in 1824; Alexander Jewart, with 282, and Jacob Zimmerman, with 85 acres, in 1833.
Some of the early purchasers of this tract were: Ezekial Green, January 18, 1830, 100 acres for $200, who conveyed the same to John Hildinger, June 18, 1841, for $1,200; James Brady, of Greensburgh, Pennsylvania, June 5, 1838, 82 acres and 15 perches, for $200, which his executors by virtue of a decree of the court of common pleas of Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, February 24, 1841, for the specific performance of a contract, made by Brady of the one part, in his lifetime, to Abraham Green, on the payment of $32, the balance of the purchase money. Some of the other purchasers from Whitacre were James Morrow, August 12, 1838, 80 acres and 120 perches for $161.50; Alexander Jewart- spelled "Guert" in the deed- December 29,1835, 282 acres and 88 perches for $353.67; and George Baker, September 30, 1841, 83 acres and 110 perches, for $167.37 ½. William Cochran, Jr., June 7, 1836, conveyed 165 acres of this tract, having acquired his title thereto by an "improvement", to John L. Kirkpatrick, being the same on which the latter then resided, for $700.
Of the Le Roy & Co. tract, No. 3126, John Whitacre was first assessed with 26 acres in 1823, and Thomas Hockenberry with 100 acres in 1826.
Of this tract Whitacre, November 10, 1834, conveyed 54 ½ acres to Solomon Kniceley for $82; to John Whitacre, November 8, 1838, 138 acres for $276, 81 acres and 15 perches of which the latter the next day conveyed to James Thompson for $392.16; Joseph Whitacre to John Whitacre, September 30, 1840, another quantity of 126 acres and 45 perches, for $252.53, 61 acres and 85 perches of which the latter, December 8, 1844, conveyed to William Rearich, for $378. Nearly midway between the northern and southern boundaries in the western part of this tract is located the edifice of the German Baptist or Dunkard church, a neat frame 35 x 40 feet. This church was organized about 1832. Its first resident minister was Rev. George Rearich; its present ones are Revs. Levi Wells, Robert Whitacre, J.B. Wampler and S.W. Wilt. Church members, 105. There is a Sabbath school held in this house numbering about 80.
Of the Le Roy & Co. tact No. 3128, James Hays was first assessed with 400 acres in 1826; Jacob Pierce with 100 acres in 1831; and John Hays with 61 acres and 1832. 120 ½ acres of it were conveyed June 6, 1837, to John Mikesell, for $180; 100 acres, October 25, 1839, to Robert Caldwell, for $200; 41 ½ acres, September 9, 1840, to Reuben Brown, for $74.62 ½ ; 93 ¼ acres, October 1, 1840, to John Burns, for $161.59; 64 acres to William Jewart for $112; and September 30, 1841, 160 acres to Robert Caldwell, for $120; the same day, 73 acres and 153 perches to George Buyers, for $184.85, who was assessed the next year as a "clay potter."
Source: Page(s) 286-309, History of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania by Robert Walker Smith, Esq. Chicago: Waterman, Watkins & Co., 1883.
Transcribed December 1999 by Pamela Clark for the Armstrong County Smith Project.
Contributed by Pamela Clark for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)
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