Probable Presence of the French in this Locality 1750-60 -- Adventures with the Indians -- Craig's Blockhouse -- Reed's Station -- An Indian Attack -- Capture and Escape of Massy Harbison -- Murder of Her Children -- William and David Todd -- "Toddstown" -- Origin of the Name Freeport -- The Early Settlers -- Reminiscences of Old Times -- Boat Building -- Salt Wells -- Irish Settlements in 1828 -- Transfers of Property -- The Town Incorporated -- Freeport Ambitious to be a County Town -- The Professions -- Dr. Alter's Discoveries -- Industrial Interests -- Churches -- Schools -- Societies -- Military -- Soldiers' Aid Society -- Cemeteries -- Roads -- Statistics
It is premised, at the outset of this sketch, that it is inferrible from various traces of the past, which have come to the writer's knowledge, that the territory constituting the forks of the Allegheny river and Buffalo creek was quite anciently occupied by human beings. Their presence here, centuries since, appears to be indicated by at least one of those traces. But what kind of people they were is hidden by the veil of obscurity which one or more of those traces may, perhaps, enable some antiquary to penetrate.
Passing from what is now conjecture to a blending of the known and hypothetical, the reader's attention is here directed to known occurrences late in the autumn of 1758. The French were then occupying Fort Du Quesne with a force about 400 men, exclusive of Indians. On the approach of the British army, under the command of Gen. Joseph Forbes, "the head of iron," which the Indians, who had watched its movements, reported to the French commandant to have been "as numerous as the trees of the forest," the latter during the night of November 24, evacuated and burned that fort. From what Forbes and his officers and men learned on their arrival at their objective point, the French had left in three detachments. They seem to have made the impression, or endeavored to have made it, that one of those detachments had proceeded down the Ohio to near its mouth, another by land to Presqu' Isle, and the other under M. de Lignery, the commandant of Fort Du Quesne, up the Allegheny to Venango.
It is at least doubtful whether the detachment that started down the Ohio proceeded so far as it was intimated it would. There was a small French post at Kushkuskee on the southwest side of the Mahoning river, four miles above its junction with the Shenango, in what is now Lawrence county, in this state. Did the detachment that was ostensibly destined for Presqu' Isle stop there? Another question arises just here. Did all of the detachment under M. de Lignery proceed directly by the Allegheny river to Venango? This question occurs here because early settlers in the forks of the Allegheny and Buffalo and vicinity thought, from what they had traditionally learned and from their observation of certain vestiges, which will be presently mentioned, that either all or a part of that detachment halted at the mouth of the Buffalo, where Freeport now is, and proceeded thence up that stream and Rough run to a certain point where they encamped for the winter. If the weather had become cold enough, as it sometimes does at that season of the year, to make ice rapidly in the upper Allegheny, their course up that stream may have thus been impeded, and they may therefor have diverged, taking the Indian path or trail along or near the Buffalo to and beyond the Connoquenessing, the same which David Moorehead and James Karns followed when in 1798, they proceeded to what is now a part of Mercer county, where they commenced a settlement and improvement on a tract of land, which they, however, soon after abandoned. That trail intersected one or more others leading to Venango, which was ostensibly De Lignery's immediate objective point. He may, however, have feigned that to have been such, while he really designed to post the whole or a part of his force at an intermediate point for the purpose, it may be, of collecting supplies of provisions for the intended spring campaign against the English.
The reader's attention is now directed to some known facts: In or about 1840, William S. Ralston found a French rifle at the foot of High street, Freeport, which was laid bare by hauling sawlogs out of the Buffalo by James Bole to Joseph Kenniston's boat yard, and which had been, before being thus brought to light, embedded about three feet below the surface. There is a considerable western bend of the Buffalo about a mile and a half above its mouth, the foot of which is twenty-five or thirty rods west of the county line in Butler county, and is embraced in Depreciation tract No. 35, which is now owned by Peter S. Weaver. At or near the foot of that bend is a ravine extending westward from the right bank of the creek, on each side of which rude stone terraces, about 30X40 feet, fronting the creek, were noticed by two of the writer's informants (*1) forty or more years ago, when they appeared to be quite ancient. The high points or bluffs on each side of the ravine had evidently been cleared of all trees when the terraces were made. There are but a very few on them even now. There is a clear view from the tops of those bluffs to the river and a considerable distance up the creek. The terraces appear to one of those informants to have been prepared for planting artillery upon them. Andrew Ralston and other early settlers who noticed them and the cleared bluffs in the early part of this century could not conceive what their purpose was unless for a French outpost. The late George Armstrong, of Greensburgh, was another who entertained that opinion. Among the relics found along Buffalo creek were two brass implements, one of which, it was though, belonged to a compass, and the other was used for measuring angles. Because Hoover's vendees and other Germans resorted in pleasant weather on Sundays to these terraces to enjoy their wine and music, some have supposed that they had made them and cleared those bluffs. That is not probable, for the appearance of those works indicated their construction long before the advent of those persons to this region. Why would they denude those bluffs of all their shade-trees?
About three miles above the mouth of Rough creek, a western tributary of Buffalo creek, in the southwestern part of Clearfield, and the northwestern part of Winfield township, Butler county, is a parcel of territory which, like other similar parcels in various other localities in this state, was in early times called "the clearfields," and such as were in Western New York called the "open fields." That on Rough run contained about 200 acres. It may possibly have been a glade. The opinion of the early settlers who saw that open place before it had been cultivated is that whatever work had been bestowed upon it was done by white men, or at least not by the Indians. Whether it was a glade or an artificial clearing, several strong springs on the side hill evinced at an earlier period, if they do not now, that they had been artificially, though not very mechanically, walled with stone. Another fact is, there was an abundance of deer and various other kinds of game in the circumjacent region in early times. Still another fact is, that open place was on the Indian trail from the mouth of Buffalo creek to the Connoquennessing, as the writer is informed. Now, keeping in mind the foregoing facts, as judges do when the law and the evidence are not altogether clear and certain, it is to be queried: Did Monsieur DeLignery station all or a part of his detachment on those "clearfields," for the purpose of securing army stores or provisions for the contemplated campaign in the spring, or as a piece of strategy to avoid the pursuit by the English, which Forbes in his messages and Post in his conferences had intimated would be made? Be that is it may, the design of the French to recapture Fort Du Quesne, though not attempted in the spring, was not abandoned.
After the battle of Niagara, Charles Lee was ordered out on a scout with one officer and fourteen men to discover, if possible, what had become of the remains of the French army which had escaped from the battle. They ultimately reached Fort Du Quesne. It is probable that after leaving Venango they went across the country to the head waters of Buffalo creek, and then down that stream to the Allegheny, or, as it was then called, the Ohio. If so, they were among the earliest white men who visited the site of Freeport.
Later, during the revolutionary and the Indian wars, scouting parties of the whites occasionally traversed, and perhaps encamped in the forks of the Buffalo and Allegheny. During the one or the other of these wars a scouting party of sixty men crossed the Allegheny over the first shore above the mouth of the Buffalo. John Guld, elsewhere mentioned (*2),, and two other men by the name of Carnahan and Jack, as related to the writer by one (*3) of Guld's descendants, being its vanguard, advanced to Buffalo creek, ascended it a short distance, where they crossed to the opposite side, and there observed eight Indians and a Frenchman. Either Carnahan or Jack was in advance of the other two. When he saw the Indians dodging behind trees, he ran toward the point near the mouth of the Kiskiminetas, where the rest of the party had halted. The other one followed him. Guld approached the chief of the Indian party, leveled his flintlock rifle at him, which missed fire. He then ordered Carnahan and Jack to come to his aid. They refused. He then attempted to follow them, but was overtaken by the Indians, one of whom advanced near to him with an uplifted tomahawk. Guld dropped his gun and held up both his hands. Then the Indian whom he attempted to shoot said something to his assailant, which induced the latter to change his tomahawk to his left hand, seize Guld's right arm, and force him violently toward the chief and the Frenchman. All of the Indian party except those two pursued Carnahan and Jack. Guld, understanding the French language well enough to converse with the Frenchman, informed him that there was a large body of men a short distance ahead of his fleeing comrades, fearing that a fight might ensue and he be scalped. The chief having been informed of that fact, signaled the pursuers to return, which they did, two of them wearing Carnahan's and Jack's hats, which the latter had lost in their flight. The Indians, after a brief parley, separated into two squads, one of which advanced up the right , and the other the left bank of the creek, one of them taking Guld along as a prisoner. The two squads kept nearly opposite each other, by means of signals, as they proceeded up the creek, and united during the night. When they encamped, they confined their prisoner by a stake at each shoulder and one at his feet, and an Indian as guard on each side of him. He was thus kept and guarded about two weeks en route to the lakes and Detroit. Having remained a prisoner about three years, one day while the party that had charge of him were out hunting, he had a quarrel with a squaw who attempted to tomahawk him, escaped, and traveled about eighty miles the first day and night; and subsisting on a small quantity of dried venison which he had taken with him, and crab-apples and roots which he gathered by the way, he finally succeeded in reaching his friends east of the Allegheny river.
Some time prior to the establishment of permanent peace by Wayne's victory over and treaty with the Indians, a blockhouse was erected on the Allegheny, about 120 rods above the mouth of the Buffalo, which is now on Water, below Fifth street, Freeport. Its commandant was Capt. John Craig, whose command consisted of forty or fifty men, most of whom were inexperienced soldiers, "raw recruits," and were addicted, before they had been tried, to boasting how easily they could defeat the Indians. They were "brave in words," and continued to be until they were tried. Gordon and Mehaffey, two old rangers, determined to test their pluck. With the consent of the commandant, they were marched one day to the spring on the hillside north of the blockhouse. Gordon and Mehaffey, disguised as Indians, having posted themselves among some rank iron-weeds just below the spring, yelled and whooped and shook those weeds, which so frightened those raw soldiers that they hastily threw their guns down in the road and rushed pell-mell into the blockhouse, to which Gordon and Mehaffey returned in the evening by the way of the "eddy" and over the river bank, and were refused admittance by those soldiers because they feared the presence of Indians below the bank, who would rush into the blockhouse if it were opened. The commandant finally ordered Gordon and Mehaffey to be admitted. When those soldiers learned from them that they were the only Indians in those iron-weeds near the spring -- when they realized how readily they had allowed themselves to be alarmed by that piece of "bushwhacking" -- that they had so needlessly proved themselves "cowards in the field," they hurriedly left the blockhouse. Craig said a regiment couldn't have kept them there after they saw how easily they had been scared.
On a certain occasion Craig ordered a scouting party to make a tour of observation as far up the country as the mouth of Red Bank. They went, and on their return reported that they had not discovered any Indians. One of them, however, while on his death-bed, many years afterward, sent for Craig and confessed to him that, while on that tour, he and his comrades had captured an Indian, and after obtaining all the information possible from him, and not wishing to have the trouble of taking him as a prisoner to the blockhouse, they concluded to keep his capture a secret, and to dispatch him by tying him to a tree and each one shooting him, so that, all being equally guilty, there would be no danger of anyone disclosing their dread secret. Others of that scouting party, having been questioned about that affair, acknowledged to finding the Indian, but averred that John Harbison, who had just cause for a deadly hate toward all Indians, tomahawked him while he was conversing with another one of the party who understood the Indian language, and that they all agreed to keep that deed secret on Harbison's account (*4)
In those early war times there was a place of refuge on John Reed's farm on the left bank of the Allegheny, about two and a half miles below the mouth of the Kiskiminetas, called "Reed's Station," which was named after "Uncle Johnny Reed," as the owner of the ground on which it was situated was called. He was much addicted to trapping and fishing, in which he became quite notable. Mrs. Gibson, mother of William Gibson, Freeport, who in the last quarter of the last century resided not far from Reed's, and had authentic knowledge of some of the incidents of his life, used to relate that he was accustomed to set his traps in the mouth of the Kiskiminetas. He found, on going there one evening to examine them, about 1782-3, that they had been robbed. He then attempted to remove them and to set them in another place. While thus engaged he perceived an Indian coming down to examine his traps. He soon saw others coming from an Indian camp in that vicinity. Not having his rifle, he was compelled to run for his life, the Indians pursuing him to within gunshot of the blockhouse, or Reed's station, which was situated a few rods up the river from McKean's run, the stone chimney and fireplace of which can still be seen from the cars on the A. & P. R. R. He was of course thoroughly frightened, and said it was "the fastest time he had ever made in his life." His fleetness on that occasion may have rivaled John Guld's.
John Harbison was a soldier in St. Clair's army. Having been wounded, he was, after his recovery, employed as a spy to watch the movements of the savages. In the spring of 1792, his family resided in a house near Reed's station. While he was absent on duty, his house, about 200 yards distant from the blockhouse, was entered by Indians on the morning of May 22, and his wife and children were captured. Before proceeding with the account of their capture, the reader's attention is directed to what William Findley wrote to A. J. Dallas, secretary of the commonwealth, June 1: "I was but a few days at home until the Indians broke into the settlement by Reed's station. It was garrisoned by rangers under Cooper. They had never scouted any. They had been drinking and were surprised, in want of ammunition, and the officer was absent from the station. However, the Indians fired only a few rounds upon the blockhouse, with which they killed one man and wounded another, and went away without any exertions being made by the rangers. They then killed and took Harbison's family in sight of the station. Harbison was one of the spies, and was reported as having relaxed a little in his duty. Indeed, the duties of the spies in this country is (are) too hard, and they are not assisted by the troops as was designed at laying the plan. The alarm was quickly spread; indeed, they themselves (the Indians) promoted the news of their coming by burning some of the first houses they came to. This occasioned the country to fly before them with the greatest rapidity, and being about forty in number took the country before them, keeping nearly the course of the Kiskiminetas, going in small parties from five to seven, as far as has been observed."
Two spies, Davis and Sutton, having lodged at Harbison's house, left the next morning, Sunday, May 22, when the horn at the blockhouse was blown, leaving the door open. Several Indians soon afterward entered, and drew Mrs. Massey (corrupted from Mera) Harbison and her two eldest children by their feet from their beds, the third or youngest one, about a year old, being in bed with her. While these dusky burglars were rummaging the house and scrambling to secure whatever each one could of her clothing and other articles, she went outdoors and hallooed to the men in the blockhouse. One Indian then ran up and stopped her mouth, another rushed toward her with his raised tomahawk, which a third one seized, calling her his squaw and claiming her as his own. Fifteen Indians then advanced toward and fired upon both the blockhouse and the storehouse, killing one and wounding another of the soldiers, one of whom, by the name of Wolf, was returning from the spring and the other either coming or looking out of the storehouse. When Mrs. Harbison told the Indians who remained with her that there were forty men in the blockhouse, each having two guns, those who were firing were brought back. Then they began to drive her and the children away. Because one of her boys, three years old, was unwilling to leave and was crying, they seized him by his feet, smashed his brains out against the threshold of the door, and then stabbed and scalped him. Her heart rent with agony, almost bereft of sight and all her other senses, still keeping her infant in her arms, she gave a terrific scream, and for that one of her savage captors dealt a heavy blow on her head and face, which restored her to consciousness. She and her two surviving children were then taken to the top of a hill, where they all stopped, and while the Indians were tying up their booty, she counted them, their number being thirty-two, among whom were two white men painted like Indians. Those were probably the "treacherous persons among us" mentioned in another part of Findley's letter to Secretary Dallas. Several of those Indians could speak English. Mrs. Harbison knew three or four of them very well; two were Senecas and two were Munsees, whose guns her husband had repaired almost two years before. Two Indians were detailed to guard her, and the rest then went toward Puckety. When she, her children and their guards had advanced about 200 yards, the latter caught two of her uncle John Currie's horses, and then placing her and the youngest child on one and one of the guards and the remaining child on the other, proceeded toward the Kiskiminetas to a point opposite the upper end of Todd's island, where in descending the steep river hill the Indian's horse fell and rolled more than once. The boy fell over the horse's back, receiving a slight injury, and was taken up by one of the Indians. On reaching the shore the horses could not be made to swim, so the Indians took the captives across to the head of that island in bark canoes. After landing, the elder boy, five years old, complaining of the injury he had received from his fall and still lamenting the death of his brother, one of the guards tomahawked and then scalped him, the other guard having first ordered the mother to move on ahead of them, actuated, perhaps by a slight assertion of humanity, to save her the pain of witnessing the murder of another of her children. When she beheld that second massacre of her offspring she fell senseless to the ground with her infant in her arms beneath her with its little hands about her head. She knew not how long she remained in that insensible condition. The first thing she remembered on recovering her consciousness was raising her head from the ground and being overcome by an extreme, uncontrollable drowsiness, and beholding as she looked around the bloody scalp of her boy in the hand of one of these savages. She then involuntarily sank again to the earth upon her infant. The first thing which she remembered after that was the severe castigation that her cruel guards were inflicting upon her, after which they aided her in rising and supported her when on her feet. Why they did not massacre her she attributed to the interposition of Divine Providence in her behalf. There must have still been a little streak of humanity lingering in their ferocious breasts, for they concealed the scalp of her boy from her sight. Having restored her dormant senses by leading her knee-deep into the river, all proceeded to a shoal near the head of the island, between it and the mainland or "Indian side of the country," where her guards forced her before them into and through the water breast deep, she holding her child above the surface, and by their assistance she with her child safely reached the opposite shore. They all moved thence as fast as they could across the forks to the Big Buffalo, which, being a very rapid stream, her guards were obliged to aid her in crossing. Thence they took a straight course "to the Connoquennessing creek, the very place where Butler now stands." (The narrator probably wrote or the compositor printed to for toward.) Thence they advanced along the Indian trail, heretofore mentioned, to the Little Buffalo, which they crossed at the very place where B. Sarver's mill stood when her narrative was written, and there ascended the hill. Having become weary of life she fully determined to make these savages kill her, to end her fatigue and the prospective miseries and cruelties which she conceived awaited her. They were then moving in single file, one guard before, and the other behind her. She stopped, withdrew from her shoulder a large powderhorn which, besides her child, they compelled her to carry, and threw it to the ground, closing her eyes and momentarily expecting to feel their deadly tomahawks. But, contrary to her expectations, they replaced it on her shoulder. She threw it off a second time, expecting death. But they, looking indignant and frightful, again replaced it. She threw it down a third time as far as she could over the rocks. While the one that had been engaged in that little contest was recovering it, the other one who had claimed her as his squaw and who had witnessed the affair, approached and said: "Well done, you did right and are a good squaw, and he is a lazy son of a b---h; he may carry it himself." That would-be husband of hers had evidently a penchant for at least some of the polite language which he had heard some of the white men use. The guards having changed their positions, the latter taking the rear probably to prevent the other from injuring her, they proceeded until they reached, shortly before dark, without refreshment during the day, the Salt Lick on the Connoquennessing, nearly two miles above the present site of Butler, where there was an Indian camp made of stakes driven into the ground sloping, covered with chestnut bark, long enough for fifty men, appeared to have been occupied for some time, was very much beaten, and from which large beaten paths extended in different directions.
Mrs. Harbison was taken that night from that camp into a large dark bottom, about 300 rods up a run, where they cut away the brush in a thicket, placed a blanket on the ground and permitted her to sit down with her child, which it was difficult for her to manage, as they had pinioned her arms so that she had but slight freedom of their use. There, without refreshment, thus pinioned, with those two savages who had that day massacred in her presence two of her boys, one of those guards on each side of her, she passed the first night of her captivity.
The next morning one of the guards left to watch the trail they had traveled, and ascertain whether any of the white people were in pursuit. During his absence the other, being the one who claimed her as his squaw, and who had that day killed her second boy, remained with her and took from his bosom the scalp which he had so humanely concealed from her sight on the island, and stretched it upon a hoop. She then meditated revenge, attempting to take the tomahawk which hung by his side, and deal a fatal blow, but was, alas! detected. Her dusky wooer turned, cursed her, and called her a Yankee, thus intimating that he understood her intention, and to prevent a repetition of her attempt, faced her. The feigned reason that she gave for handling his tomahawk was, that her child wanted to play with its handle. The guard that had been out returned from his lookout about noon, and reported that he had not discovered any pursuers, and remained on guard while the other went out for the same purpose. The one then guarding her, after questioning her respecting the whites, the strength of their armies, and boasting of the achievements of the Indians in St. Clair's defeat, examined the plunder which he had brought from her house, among which he found her pocket-book, containing $10 in silver and a half-guinea in gold. All the food that she received from her guards on that Sunday and Monday was a piece of dried venison, about the size of an egg, each day, for herself and her child, but by reason of the blows which they had inflicted upon her jaws she could not eat any of it, and broke it up and gave it to her child. The guard who had been on the lookout in the afternoon returned about dark. Having been removed to another station in the valley of that run, that evening, she was again pinioned, guarded, and kept without either fire or refreshment, the second night of her captivity, just as she had been during the first one. She, however, fell asleep occasionally and dreamed several times of her arrival in Pittsburgh.
Her ears were regaled the next morning by the singing of a flock of mocking birds and robins that hovered over her irksome camp. To her imagination they seemed to sing, "Get up and go off!" One of the guards having left at daybreak to watch the trail, the remaining one appeared to be sleeping, on observing which, she began to snore and feigned to be asleep. When she was satisfied that he had really fallen asleep, she concluded it was her time to escape. She would then have slain or disabled him, but for the crying of her child when out of her arms, which would of course awaken him and jeopardize her own life. She, therefore, was contented to take a short gown, handkerchief, and child's frock from the pillow case containing the articles which the Indians had brought from her house, and escape, about half an hour after sunrise. Guided by those birds, and wisely taking a direction from instead of toward her home, in order to mislead her captors, she passed over the hill, reached the Connoquennessing, about two miles from the point at which she and they had crossed it, and descended it through thorns and briers, and over rocks and precipices, with bare feet and legs. Having discovered by the sun and the course of the stream that she was advancing too far in her course from her home, she changed it, ascended the hill, sat down till sunset, determined her direction for the morrow by the evening star, gathered leaves for her bed, without food, her feet painful from the thorns that were in them, reclined and slept.
About daybreak the next morning she was awakened by that flock of birds which seemed to her to be attending and guiding her through the wilderness. When light enough to find her way, she started on her fourth day's trial of hunger and fatigue, advancing, according to her knowledge of courses and distances, toward the Allegheny river. Nothing unusual occurred during the day. It having commenced raining moderately about sunset, she prepared to make her bed of leaves, but was prevented by the crying of her child when she sat him down. Listening, she distinctly heard the footsteps of a man following her. Such was the condition of the soil that her footprints might be discerned. Fearing that she was thus exposed to a second captivity, she looked for a place of concealment and providentially discovered a large fallen tree, into whose thick foliage she crept with her child in her arms, where, aided by the darkness, she avoided detection by the Indian whose footsteps she had heard. He having heard the child's cry, came to the spot whence the sound proceeded, halted, put down his gun, and was then so near to her that she distinctly heard the wiping-stick strike against his gun. Fortunately the child, pressed to her bosom, became warm and lay quiet during the continuance of their imminent peril. That Indian in the meantime, amidst that unbroken stillness, stood for nearly two hours with listening ears to again catch the sound of the child's cry, and so profound was that stillness that the beating of her own heart was all she heard, and which seemed to her to be so loud that she feared her dusky pursuer would hear it. Finally, answering the sound of a bell and a cry like a high-owl's, signals which his companions had given, and giving a horrid, soul-harrowing yell, he departed. Deeming it imprudent to remain there until morning, lest her tracks might be discovered in daylight, she endeavored, but found it difficult, by reason of her exhaustion, to remove, but compelled by a stern necessity and her love of life, she threw her coat around the child, with one end between her teeth, thus carrying the child with her teeth and one arm, with the other she groped her way among the trees a mile or two, and there sat in the damp, cold air till morning.
At daylight the next morning, wet, hungry, exhausted, wretched, she advanced across the headwaters of Pine creek, not knowing what they were, and became alarmed by two freshly indented moccasin tracks of men traveling in the same direction that she was. As they were ahead of her she concluded that she could see them as soon as they could see her. So she proceeded about three miles to a hunter's camp at the confluence of another branch of the creek, in which those who preceded her had kindled a fire, breakfasted, and leaving the fire burning, had departed. She afterward learned that they were spies, viz., James Anderson and John Thompson. Having become still more alarmed, she left that path, ascended a hill, struck another path, and while meditating there what to do, saw three deer advancing toward her at full speed. They turned to look and she, too, looked intently at their pursuers, and saw the flash and heard the instantaneous report of a gun. Seeing some dogs start after the deer, she crouched behind a large log for shelter, but fortunately not close to it, for, as she placed her hand on the ground to raise herself up, that she might see the hunters, she saw a large mass of rattlesnakes, her face being very near the top one, which lay coiled ready to strike its deadly fangs into her. With a supreme effort she left that dangerous spot, bearing to the left, reached the headwaters of Squaw run, which, through rain, she followed the rest of the day, her limbs so cold and shivering that she could not help giving an occasional involuntary groan. Though her jaws had sufficiently recovered from the pain caused by the blows inflicted upon her by the Indians, she suffered from hunger, procuring grapevines whenever she could and chewing them for what little sustenance they afforded. Having arrived at eveningtime within a mile of the Allegheny river, though she did not know it, at the root of a tree, holding her child in her lap and her head against the tree to shelter him from that night's drenching rain, she lodged that fifth night since her capture.
She was unable for a considerable time the next morning to raise herself from the ground. Having, with a hard struggle, gained her feet, with nature so nearly exhausted and her spirits so completely depressed as they were, her progress was very slow and discouraging. After proceeding a short distance, she struck a path over which cattle had passed, following which for about a mile, she reached an uninhabited cabin on the river bottom. Not knowing where she was, and overcome with despair, she went to its threshold, having resolved to enter it and then lie down and die. But the thought of the suffering to be endured in that event nerved her to another desperate effort to live. Hearing the sound of a cowbell, which awakened a gleam of hope in her extreme despondency, she followed that sound until she reached a point opposite the fort at Six-Mile-Island, where, with feelings which can be more readily imagined then expressed, she beheld three men on the left bank of the river. They appeared to be unwilling to come for her when she called on them and requested her to inform them who she was. When she told them that she was the one who had been taken prisoner up the Allegheny on the morning of the 22d -- in the narrative it is Tuesday morning -- and had escaped, they requested her to walk up the bank of the river for awhile that they might see whether or not the Indians were making a decoy of her. When she told them her feet were so sore that she could not walk, James Closier came over for her in a canoe, while the other two stood on the river bank with cocked rifles, ready to fire in case she proved to be a decoy. When Closier approached the shore and saw her haggard and dejected appearance, he exclaimed: "Who, in the name of God, are you?" So great was the change wrought by her six days' sufferings that he, one of her nearest neighbors, did not recognize either her face or voice. When she arrived on the other side of the river she was unable to move or to help herself in any way. The people at the fort ran to see her. Some of them took her child and others took her from the canoe to Mr. Carter's house. Then, all danger being passed, she enjoyed for the first time since her capture the relief which comes from a copious flow of tears. Coming too suddenly to the fire and the smell of the victuals, she fainted. Those hospitable people might have killed her with their exuberant kindness, had not Maj. McCulley, who then commanded the line (*5) along the Allegheny river, fortunately arrived. When he saw her situation and the bountiful provision those good people were making for her, he immediately ordered her out of the house, away from the heat of the fire and the smell of the victuals which were being cooked, and prohibited her from taking anything but the whey of buttermilk, in very small quantities, which he himself administered. By that judicious treatment she was gradually restored to health and strength of mind and body. Sarah Carter and Mary Ann Carter -- whether single or married is not stated -- then began to extract the thorns from her feet and legs, to the number of 150, as counted by Felix Negley, who watched the operation, and who afterward resided at the mouth of Bull Creek, Tarentum. Many more were extracted the next evening. Some of the thorns went through and came out on the top of her feet. The skin and flesh were excruciatingly mangled and hung in shreds to her feet and legs. So much exposure of her naked body to rain by night and heat of the sun by day, and carrying her child so long in her arms without relief, caused so much of her skin to come off that nearly her whole body was raw, and for two weeks her feet were not sufficiently healed to enable her to put them to the ground to walk.
The news of her escape spread rapidly in various directions, reaching Pittsburgh the same evening of her arrival at the fort at Six-Mile Island. Two spies proceeded that evening to Coe's' -- now Tarentum -- and the next morning to Reed's station, bearing the intelligence to her husband. A young man employed by the magistrates at Pittsburgh came for her to go thither for the purpose of making before one of them her affidavit of the facts connected with her captivity and escape, as was customary in early times, for publication. Being unable either to walk or ride on horseback, she was carried by some of the men into a canoe. After arriving at Pittsburgh she was borne in their arms to the office of John Wilkins, a justice of the peace and a son of the late Judge Wilkins, of the United States court, before whom she made her affidavit, May 28, 1792. The facts which she thus stated, being circulated, caused a lively sensation in and for twenty miles around Pittsburgh. Her husband arrived there that evening, and the next morning she was conveyed to Coe's station. That evening she gave to those about her an account of the murder of her boy on Todd's Island, whither a scout went the next morning, found and buried the corpse, which had lain there unburied nine days.
From her above-mentioned affidavit and her subsequent and more elaborate narrative, prepared from her statement by John Winter, the writer has condensed the foregoing facts, credited by the early settlers who were her neighbors, and which were made during those six terrible days of her life.
She resided during several subsequent years at Salt Lick, a mile and a half north of Butler, on the Connoquennessing, at or near the site of the Indian camp mentioned in her affidavit and narrative. The last years of her life were passed in a cabin on the lot on the northeastern corner of Fourth street and Mulberry alley, Freeport, opposite the Methodist Episcopal church, being the same lot now occupied by William Murphy, where she died on Saturday, December 9, 1837.
THE TODD PURCHASE
Among the earliest sales of depreciation lands northwest of the Allegheny, within the limits of Armstrong county, was one to William Todd, "of Unity township, Westmoreland county, esquire," and David Todd, of Armstrong township, and country aforesaid, "farmer," as they were described in their early conveyances of parcels of land. David Todd resided on the tract called "Brabant," on the eastern side of that part of Crooked creek called the South Bend (*6) They, having taken the necessary preliminary steps, obtained patents, September 16, 1786, for lot No. 70, called "Union," 348 1/2 acres, and lot No. 71, called "Friendship," 302 acres, both of them in Elder's district, No. 5, and in the forks of the Allegheny and the Buffalo, further mention of which is deferred for the present.
The following entries are among the minutes of the proceedings of the supreme executive council, at Philadelphia, Friday, February 26, 1790: "Upon application of William Todd, Esquire, of the right of pre-emption to a certain island in the river Allegheny, nearly opposite to and above the mouth of Buffalo creek, containing 25 or 30 acres, upon which he has made a small improvement, it was
"Resolved, That the said island be granted to the said William Todd upon his paying for the same at the rate of 25 shillings per acre in certificates of this state, interest to be computed from this date," which has since borne the name of Todd's Island.
Todd conveyed one-half of this interest to Francis Johnson the same day for �5, and the patent was issued to them as tenants in common, January 15, 1795, and on April 1, 1796, Johnson reconveyed his interest to Todd.
William Todd conveyed an undivided half part of "Union" and "Friendship" to Francis Johnson, of Philadelphia, September 16, 1786, for �300, which he reconveyed to Todd, April 5, 1796, the latter having conveyed an undivided half to David, March 9, 1794. Thus it was that these Todd brothers became seized of "Friendship" and "Union" as tenants in common.
A man by the name of Edmonson kept a ferry here across the Allegheny as early as, if not earlier than, 1795, for the writer is credibly informed by an eye-witness that one Sunday evening in February, 1796, he skillfully ferried a young surveyor of eighteen, through much ice, from a point about 95 rods above what is now Garver's ferry, to some point on the above-mentioned parcel or tract called "Friendship," who tarried over night at the house of Robert Thornburg, who was then almost the sole, if not the sole, head of a family in the forks. That young surveyor was then migrating from Franklin county to seek some profitable field for the exercise of his knowledge of and skill in the art of surveying, which he thereafter practiced extensively and for many years within what is now Butler county.
In the summer or autumn of 1796 William and David Todd laid out a town, the plan of which is recorded n Allegheny county, on parts of "Friendship" bordering upon the Allegheny and the Buffalo, extending up both of those streams from their confluence. The streets parallel to the river were Water and Market, and those intersecting them at right angles and nearly parallel to the creek were First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth.
The lots were numbered from 1 to 135, and were chiefly 66 feet, fronting on the first-named streets, by 159 feet between those streets and the alleys. This place may have been thereafter "for a long time known as Toddstown," (*7) but that is not the name given to it by its proprietors. David Todd declared, as related to the writer by Peter E. Weaver, that all the ground between the houses on Water street and the river should be free to all the lot-owners, and that boats, rafts and other river craft landing here should be free of wharfage. This has been ever since the laying out of the town a free port for all the river craft. so this town was christened by the proprietors, and it has ever since been called Freeport. The eddy, one of the best on that river, formed by the mouth of Buffalo and Todd's island, it was expected would make this a very important point.
The records of this county and Allegheny county show that William and David Todd conveyed 27 of their Freeport lots, January 10, 1797, for $24 each: to James Armstrong, No. 19, north side of Water street, and Armstrong to Thomas Robinson, July 26, 1829, for $200; to James Bole, No. 2, north side of Market street; to Thomas Campbell, No. 35, south side of Market street, and his administrators, in pursuance of an agreement before his death, to Henry S. Weaver, August 5, 1829, for $55; to James Cooper, No. 130, north side of Market street, he to James Ross, December 30, 1797, for $50, and Catherine Ross, of Carlisle, to Henry S. Weaver, December 6, 1829, for $90; to William Crawford, Nos. 1, 116; to William Cunningham, No. 93, west side of Sixth street; to Nicholas Day, No. 87, north side of Market street; and he to Jacob Weaver, March 13, 1811, for $20; to James Dunlap, No. 50, south side of Market street, and he to William F. Smith, September 18, 1829, for $20; to Thomas Dunlap, No. 45; to Thos. Graydon, No. 99; to Robert Hill, No. 103, west side of Fourth street, and he to James Hill, October 14, 1812, for $10; to Robert Hunter, No. 55, south side of Market street; to Alexander Hunter, No. 13; to David Hutchinson, No. 9, north side of Water street, and he to Henry S. Weaver, March 18, 1829, for $100; to William Jamison, No. 75, north side of Market street, his heirs to John Karns, April 15, 1816, and April 1, 1829, and he to Stephen Furlong, August 21, 1833, for $225; to Benjamin Lodge, No. 43, south side of Market street, and he to Joseph Lyon, May 24, 1827, for $100; to John Mehaffey, No. 27, north side of Water street, and he to Henry S. Weaver, March 23, 1827, for $50; to John Miller, No. 62, north side of Market street, and he to Stephen Furlong, April 3, 1835, for $300; to John Craig Miller, No. 115; to William Morrison, No. 75; to Samuel Murphy, Nos. 2, 96, 104; to Sarah McDowell, No. 95, west side of Sixth street, and she one-half to Dr. Chas. G. Snowden, December 5, 1859, for $1,000, probably in pursuance of a previous agreement; James McCormick, Nos. 2, 3, 7, 23, 60, 106; to Alexander McKinney, No. 111, west of Second street; to Robert Parker, No. 6, north side of Water street, and No. 2, north side of Market street; to Thomas Powers, No. 83; to Hamilton Robb, No. 127, and he to Alexander Hunter, December 13, 1799, "for a valuable consideration to me in hand paid;" to Samuel Robb, No. 73, north side of Market street, and he to Jacob Weaver, March 23, 1812, for $5; to same, No. 26; to Charles Rogers, No. 132, east side of Sixth street; to George Smith, Nos. 4, 66; to Thomas N. Sloan, No. 67, north side of Market street; to Abraham Walker, No. 14, north side of Water street, and he to George Ross, November 5, 1810, for $30; to Hugh Wasson, No. 102, west of Fourth street; to Benjamin F. Weaver, No. 86, north side of Market street, and he to Henry S. Weaver, June 2, 1832, for $200; to Eliza Weaver, No. 58, south side of Market street; and to Jacob Weaver, No. 94.
The first house was built by Andrew Patterson, adjoining the old blockhouse.
James McCormick, the second sheriff of this country, settled here, probably in 1797, and opened a hotel, and established a ferry. By the act of April 4, 1798, such parts of Allegheny county as were then within Elder's district, being part of Deer township, were made an election district, and the place fixed for holding the election was "at the house of James McCormick, in the town of Freeport," which was the first house built on Water street. It was situated on lot No. 23, below Fifth street.
Some time during that year Charles Duffy and his family arrived here from Ireland and stopped at McCormick's where his daughter Barbara, then in her eleventh year, remained several months. Her father located on the headwaters of one of the western tributaries of Buffalo creek, then in the wilderness. Barbara, as she advanced in years, evinced, like many other pioneer women of this region, great force of character and a generous patriotic spirit. She married, quite early, Neil Gillespie, and removed to a small parcel of land that belonged to him north of the "Gillespie tract," that is, the one owned by his father, John Gillespie. Her husband responded to the call for men to serve in the war of 1812, and was elected first lieutenant of his company. She and her young son, James, who is now one of the oldest citizens of Freeport, were left alone. During his absence in the service, she, with a yoke of young cattle, did all the plowing required on their place, and cultivated their little cleared patch so successfully that on her husband's return she had a bountiful supply of provisions as well as a cordial welcome for him and his men when they returned from "the lines and tented field." Their farm in the course of time proved to be too small for the maintenance of their family, so they removed to Freeport and opened a hotel on what is now the Gillespie homestead, on Water, above Second street, Freeport. Her son, Charles B. Gillespie, was captain of Company "F" in the 78th regiment of Pennsylvania volunteers in the war of the rebellion. She read much, had a very retentive memory, could entertain attentive listeners with her correct presentations of early scenes and events, and of the personal characteristics of pioneer settlers. Generous, warm-hearted, she was also charitable in all things "to the Jew and Gentile, so they did the good work." So appreciative was she of the protection of the beneficent government of her adopted country that she persistently declined to apply, when often urged, for a pension as the widow of an officer in the war of 1812. To the close of her life, eighty-seven years, she retained all her mental powers.
Among other later arrivals at this place were those of Jacob Mechling, formerly of Greensburgh, and afterward of Butler, and his co-commissioners, Hamilton, Lane, Morton and Weaver. Mechling, in his "journal of proceedings to fix the seats of justice in the counties of Armstrong," etc., notes their arrival at the mouth of Puckety, June 3, 1802, and then "eleven miles to Freeport, where we lodged that night," which is all he noted in his journal respecting this town, in which there were then but a very few log houses, besides McCormick's tavern, where he and the other commissioners probably lodged.
In 1805 there were, as related to the writer by Peter E. Weaver, only eight indifferent houses of hewn logs. The first one was McCormick's tavern; the second one, built by Thomas Johnston, adjoined McCormick's; the third, by one of the Thornburgh's on or near Water, above Fifith street; the fourth, by Henry A. Weaver, on lot No. 24, on the north side of Market street; the fifth, on the second lot above the last-mentioned one; the sixth, by Alexander Hunter, on Water, between Second and Third streets; the seventh, by ------- Porterfield, on Water, between Third and Fourth streets; the eighth. on Water, near Fifth street.
The assessment list of Buffalo township for 1805 shows the valuation of lots, personal property and occupations in Freeport to have then been: Alexander Hunter, one house, one lot and four cattle, $102; the next year, $96; Thomas Johnston, one house, one lot, two horses, two cattle and 400 acres elsewhere in the township, $262; the next year, $150; James McCormick, one house, five lots, one horse, one cow and one ferry, $216; the next year, $222. Jacob Weaver was first assessed here in 1806, with one house, one lot, one house, one cow, and as storekeeper, at $111. Some persons have the impression that Henry A. Weaver settled here before Jacob Weaver did; that he had a Frenchman as a partner in trade, and who was an interpreter to the Indians; that, as Peter Clawson, who was raised near Greensburgh, lived for years on his father's farm at Rumbaugh's ferry on the Kiskiminetas, and was well versed in early events, used to relate that, about 1806, a considerable quantity of wheat and flour was transported from Greensburgh or Hannahstown to Rumbaugh's ferry, thence to Freeport, and shipped thence by Weaver and his partner to Blennerhasset's Island for the use of the expedition fitted out by Aaron Burr, and that Weaver in consequence of being engaged in that shipment was obliged to be absent for a while. If Henry A. Weaver had lived here before that time, and he was living and doing business here then, he was overlooked by the assessors of Buffalo township for several years, for the first time that the name of any Henry Weaver appears on the assessment list of that township in which Freeport then was is on the one for the year 1812, when there were assessed to "Henry Weaver" two horses and two cattle, cows probably, at $44, though Joseph Morrison had been the assessor for 1807, John Matthes for 1809, John Smith for 1810, and David Reed, with John Galbraith and Samuel Murphy assistants, for 1811. He was assessed the next year (1813) by Samuel Murphy, with two horses, one cow, one house and one lot, at $109, and the next year by Adam Maxwell, with John Craig and John Smith assistants, with 300 acres of the land "formerly occupied by Thomas Johnston." At the first term of the court of quarter sessions in this county, December, 1805, the petition of sundry inhabitants of Buffalo township was presented, setting forth that they labored under great inconvenience for want of a public road from James McCormick's ferry, at the town of Freeport, to intersect the state road at Robert Brown's ferry. The court appointed James McCormick, Casper Earley, Samuel Murphy, Adam Ewing, John Young and John Painter, viewers, whose report in favor of opening the road was presented June 16, 1806, and considered under advisement until December 17, when it was disapproved by the court.
The exact day on which the Freeport postoffice was established cannot be ascertained, for the reason elsewhere given, (*8) but it must have been in the fall of 1806, as James Weaver, the first postmaster, began to render his quarterly accounts January 1, 1807.
McCormick, having been elected sheriff in 1809, retired from the hotel, in which he was succeeded by James Bole, Jr., to whom he conveyed it, May 8, 1813. The eddy and free wharfage made this a good point for raftsmen to stop at. Among the many who stopped with Bole was one who wanted some liquor, but had no money to pay for it, and, as he could not obtain it on credit, he offered to exchange an ax for it. His offer was accepted, and the liquor and ax were exchanged. It happened, some time after the raftsman had left, that an ax was needed, but could not be found. Bole, being apprised of the fact, handed over the one which the raftsman had left, remarking that there was one which he had bought. He soon discovered that he had parted with his liquor, for he had bought his own ax, and laughed heartily as he occasionally related the affair to his guests. Many years ago, when the Stockbridge Indians dwelt along the Oneida creek, in Madison county, New York, one of that tribe, after graduating creditably at Dartmouth college, returned to his people , became the slave of "fire water" and a sot, and resorted to various ingenious expedients to obtain the poisonous beverage. Jacob Konkerpot was his name. His brother was the chief of the tribe, who, before their departure to the west, had erected a large frame mansion, in which the writer resided during several years of his boyhood. One day, Jake was in the adjoining town of Augusta, and asked the landlord for liquor, but not having money to pay for it was refused. "Well," said he, "there's a man over here that owes me, perhaps I can get some money from him." After a short absence he returned to the inn and told the landlord that the man was absent, so he couldn't get his money then, but he had got a duck which he would pawn until he could get his money. The duck was taken and the liquor furnished, and Jake didn't stay long. After he had left, the landlord took the duck back to his yard, when he was surprised to find that Jake had pawned to him one of his own flock. It is presumed he bore Jake's sharpness and the loss of his liquor with a cheerful fortitude.
Returning to soberer facts, that first tavern site in Freeport was conveyed by Bole to Peter Eichart, April 1, 1816, for $1,500, who agreed, February 17, to sell it to John Drum for that amount, who soon after took possession, and to whom Eichart's executor conveyed it in pursuance of that agreement, September 7, 1832. Drum conveyed it to Robert Lowry, September 25, for $2,000, and Lowry to John Keever four days afterward for the same amount, who conveyed it, September 7, 1837, to Jacob Weaver, Thomas B. Williamson and James Bole in trust for his creditors. A correspondent of the Commercial Gazette says that Bole's successor was a man by the name of Stoeffer, a brother-in-law of Jacob Weaver, and father-in-law of Henry S. Weaver, and kept a very orderly house. But his name is not found in the conveyances of this property, or on the assessment lists.
The public records show that Robert Loughrie was assessed with 2 acres, 1 house, 2 horses and 1 cow, and he and James Loughrie (single man), with a tanyard, in 1816, at $245. The land, house and tanyard were sold by Philip Mechling, sheriff, on Vend. Ex. No. 21, December term, 1818, common pleas of this county, as the property of James Loughrie to Andrew Arnold and Henry Jack for $178. This parcel of land was described as adjoining the town of Freeport, lands of Henry S. Weaver, James Armstrong and other land of Arnold. This tanyard was assessed to Arnold until he and Jack conveyed it with the 2 acres and dwelling-house to Thomas Robinson, September 21, 1830, for $650, who was not thereafter assessed with that tanyard, which was the first one operated in Freeport. On that parcel of land "Robinson's Row' was laid out, in which John and William L. Trimble were afterward assessed as tanners from 1846 until 1853, and from then until 1860 that tannery was assessed to William Crow, when he conveyed the property to David Taylor, since when there has been no tannery in Freeport.
Freeport, notwithstanding the great expectations of its founders, based upon its natural advantages, increased very slowly during the first two decades of its existence. One who was born and raised on the opposite side of the river, says it was in 1812 a mere village, with a liquor store and blacksmith shop. Benjamin Harbison remembers that in 1816 its southwestern part, that part west of Fifth street, was covered with a bountiful crop of wheat, and there were only five houses then on Water street.
James Armstrong's wife, an heir of William Todd, instituted proceedings in partition to No. 8, of September term, 1817, in the common pleas of this county. After the issuing and service of the summons to William Todd and the other children and heirs of David Todd, deceased, George Armstrong appeared as attorney for all the defendants, and on September 17 confessed judgment that partition be made, and agreed that the writ of partition be executed on the then next first Monday of October, which was accordingly done, and on December 16, on motion of Eben S. Kelly, judgment that the partition remain firm and stable forever was ordered by the court. Thus James Armstrong, the plaintiff, became vested with a large portion of the land in and around Freeport.
In that partition, in-lots Nos. 39, 41, 44, 47, 53, 63, 117, 118, 121 and 125, and the strip between Water street and the river were allotted to William Todd and his sisters, Barbara, afterward intermarried with Jesse Martin, Elizabeth, with David Shields and Sarah, with John Thrush. They, with their husbands, released their interests in these lots, except No. 41, to their brother, William, April 29, 1834, for $112.50. The latter conveyed that strip to the borough of Freeport September 18, 1839, for $100. They all conveyed their interest in in-lot No. 41 to Hugh Kirkland December 24, 1829, for $209.
Josiah Copley remembers that when he carried the mail, in 1816, from Indiana via South Bend or Woodward's, Kittanning and Butler, to Freeport, there were only ten or twelve log houses in it. Jacob Weaver, who was still postmaster, was the only merchant. John Drum's was the only tavern, and that was where he stopped over night. This being then a river town from which no important highway extended into the country, the chief patronage to that house was derived from the river men, who liberally patronized the bar. A large proportion of the lumbermen in those days, says Copley, were rough fellows. One of those that he met here was superlatively so. His looks, actions and language were perfectly hideous. He uttered the most horrible oaths and imprecations before and after retiring for the night. On his renewal of them in the bedchamber, Copley requested him to cease. He became more furious and revolting, until Copley went to the door and called the landlord, who he knew didn't hear him. Then that personification of hideousness and profanity succumbed, as noisy, cowardly blusterers generally do, and all was quiet there the rest of the night. Copley further states, that he has never seen a place in which there was so much drunkenness, swearing, cardplaying, quarreling and fighting as there were in and about that public house, not, however, chargeable to the then permanent inhabitants of Freeport, most of whom were not at all addicted to those vices, but to those who resorted thither from the river and the surrounding country, whose highest idea of manhood was to drink, fight and mingle the grossest profanity with nearly all their talk, whose bad example was caught and followed by at least one young lad whom he heard pouring out a torrent of the wickedest kind of oaths, and seemingly in the angriest mood, upon a man on horseback, at which that man and the bystanders grinned like idiots, as if they really enjoyed that shameful display of juvenile depravity.
There was, however, a brighter, a lovely spot in the picture. About that time, during that year, the hum of a new branch of useful industry began to be heard in this town. Edward Hart, of Boston, Massachusetts, who had been a sea captain, brought hither a small number of New England mechanics, of gentlemanly, decorous and correct deportment, who persistently refrained from profanity. They boarded at Drum's tavern, where Copley became well acquainted with them and occasionally visited the yard where they were constructing a boat of different shape from those built now, but had, he thought, "sufficient depth for a seagoing vessel," which he saw launched early in December. Another correspondent, who was present, relates: When all the blocks were taken from under the keel and the boat rested on the skids or timbers, on which it was to descend to the river, it was kept in its place by a stay at each end, at each of which a man was placed with instructions to knock out the stay with the hatchet which each had in his hand, on a signal being given by the captain, whose son Edward was one of the persons on whom that duty devolved. The stay where the other man was placed was discovered to be in such a position that it could not be knocked out, but must be cut. After a few strokes of the ax it yielded suddenly to the pressure, and the boat moved at that end. The captain then shouted to his son, who then gave the blow, the stay yielded and the boat descended suddenly, sideways, into the river, amid the cheers of the interested spectators. She was neither side nor stern wheeled. There were two openings, separated by timbers, for the wheels several feet forward from the stern.
There were then no churches here. Rev. John Redick, pastor of the Slate Lick and Union Presbyterian churches, and clergymen of other denominations occasionally preached here in private houses. Copley was present one evening at a meeting held at the house of a widow lady, about opposite the foot of Todd's Island, on Water street, on which occasion an itinerant clergyman preached a rather poor and rambling sermon, it if was intended for and could be called a sermon, at the close of which he invited any present to speak if so inclined. Capt. Hart, who was imbued with an ardent and cheerful piety, who had here become a favorite with all who came in contact with him, and who was then soon to leave, rose and delivered what might be called his farewell address in so pious a strain, and which was so touching and eloquent as to bring tears and sobs from his hearers, who deeply lamented that they would soon see him no more.
About 1820 a well for salt water was sunk on the left bank of the Allegheny, opposite Freeport, by a man of the name of Fleming. A vein of oil was struck at the depth of 114 feet, which, increasing subsequently, became so troublesome as to cause work to be abandoned at the depth of 416 feet. The well, as far down as the rock, which was twenty feet below the surface, was eight feet square and walled with timber. The people in the vicinity, by means of a ladder, descended to where the water rose in that square part of the well and with woolen blankets collected the oil on the surface, which they used for illuminating and medicinal purposes. About 1857 James A. McCulloch and William S. Ralston purchased that property. In cleaning out that well they collected a considerable quantity of oil, which they sold for $1.50 a gallon. They then pumped for oil and obtained daily half a barrel, which Ralston refined for burning in lamps, and thus became the pioneer oil refiner. He met with no difficulty in distilling, but he did in treating it with chemicals and deodorizing, which, he says, he at length overcame. The gravity of the oil when pumped from the rock was 36, when refined, 42, a safe oil for illuminating. There was a residuum of four per cent of tar, which was equal to pine tar for lubricating wagon axles.
In 1830 commenced the business of taking ice from the mouth of Buffalo creek, from the basin above the Kiskiminetas, and from the river below the town for the southern market. Some seasons between then and 1855 several large cargoes of it were transported in barges down the Mississippi.
IRISH SETTLEMENTS OF CANAL TIMES
While the canal was being made there were two Irish settlements of Irish laborers, called Garry Owen and Mullengan, one above and the other below Freeport. The inhabitants thereof occasionally came to patronize, at least they did patronize, the three taverns which then flourished here, and seldom failed to enliven the town with their boisterous hilarity. There was a racecourse on the lower flat on which some of the best blooded horses from Kentucky and Virginia evinced their wonderful speed. Jumping and foot-races were common. Betting was brisk, and large sums were won and lost on the quadruped and biped racers. John Karns on a certain occasion jumped from one side of the canal lock to the other, a distance of sixteen feet. It is related that Simon Shields won $50 jumping three "stand-and-jumps." Other noted jumpers were Elliott and Samuel D. Karns and Henry Gass. On St. Patrick's day, 1828, the Irish from Garry Owen and Mullengan had a large procession. They were decked with pine and laurel to represent the shamrock. After marching through town regaled by strains of music, they closed their celebration with real Irish joviality at Neil Gillespie's tavern. There were then about thirty houses in Freeport.
Benjamin, probably meant for Benjamin F. Weaver, was first assessed as a single man in 1814; Henry, probably meant for Henry A. Weaver, with lot No. 128, one house, one horse, one cow, at $132, besides the 300 acres heretofore mentioned; Benjamin King, single man, carpenter, one lot and one house, in 1819-20, at $150; John Woods, single man, in 1819-20; Henry S. Weaver, with 72 acres and a distillery in 1818, at $222. David Putney says there were only two weather-boarded houses here in 1820, one of which was frame and the other log. Thos. O'Neil, No. 13, one house, $200; Boyle, No. 15, one house, $200; Johnston Canaan, No. 14, one house, one cow, $131; David H. Potts, Shoemaker, No. 34, one house, one cow, $26; Henry Drum, one cow, $8; Andrew Glenett, one horse, one cow, $28; H. G. Bethune, ---- ------; David Calkin, shoemaker, No. 57, one house, four oxen, one cow, $176; Wm. Painter, No. 126, one house (transferred from Thos. Ryan), $50. The only occupations noted on that list are those above mentioned.
The first separate assessment list for Freeport was in 1826, when Philip Bohlen was assessed with lot No. 13, one house and one horse, at $210, in the occupancy of Hugh Gillespie; John Drum, lot No. 22, one house and two cows, $308; John Fullerton, No. 25, one house, one cow, $156; Matthias Folcake, No. 15, one house, formerly to William Gibson, two cows, $200; William Gibson, No. 17, one house, two cows, $346; George Helterbrand, No. 14, one house, $50; William Painter, tailor, No. 2, one house (Andrew Stenett), one horse, one cow, $298; Thomas Regan, No. 126, one house (John Dougherty), $50; James Cain, No.34, one house (Dugan & Co.), $50; Patrick Pree, No. 68, one house (Hugh Carson), $50; Jacob Weaver, No. 24, one house, $150; widow of Henry A. Weaver, No. 128, one house, two horses, two cows, $206; Henry S. Weaver, No. 26, one house, $150; John Wodison (absent), one house.
Returned as unseated lots the same year, from No. 30 to 135 inclusive, of which, however, the following were, according to the corrected list, seated and assessed as follows: No. 52, by M. Moorehead, including one cow, $238; No. 54, by same, $200; No. 55, sold to A. Ralston, $214; No. 57, by M. McGraw, $206; No. 59, by H. G. Bethune and occupation, $256; No. 60, by William Haggerty, $200; by H. S. Weaver, No. 30, $80, Nos. 86, 87, each $150; No. 83, by J. Canaan, $150; No. 88, by B. F. Weaver, $50; No. 91, by John Fullerton, $50; No. 92, by Jacob O'Donnell, $116; No. 131, by N. P. Lang, carpenter, $100. The corrected list also shows: No. 4, assessed to Andrew Bradley, $226; No. 8, to Mrs. Rachel Elliott, $280; No. 11, and one cow, to Esq., Bohlen, $286; No. 12, sold to William Porter, $280; No. 16, seated by Gibson; No. 21, by J. L. Easton, $3342; Nos. 26 and 29, to H. S. Weaver, each $280.
TRANSFERS OF PROPERTY
Armstrong disposed of but few, if any, of his lots for more than a decade after the partition. He was of course benefited by the impetus given to the growth of the town by the making of the Pennsylvania canal. Its excavation above, through and below the town, the construction of the canal-lock here, and of the aqueducts across the Allegheny and the Buffalo, the commercial facilities offered by the canal, and the boring of several salt-wells in its vicinity, made Freeport a brisk business center. The work on the canal commenced here in the summer of 1827, and boats made their first trips on it in 1828-9. The Benjamin Franklin was the first packet-boat, said to have been a very neat one, that plied regularly between Freeport and Pittsburgh. Her first trip was on February 6, 1829, with about thirty passengers. Her speed was five miles an hour.
An improvement meeting, similar to the one held at Kittanning, except that it was of a more local character, was held here January 23, 1828, of which Jacob Weaver was president, and William W. Gibson and Henry S. Weaver were secretaries.
About May 27, 1829, a part of the aqueduct across the Buffalo creek fell down.
Armstrong's sales of his lots appears from the records to have commenced about the time of the completion of the canal. He made several additions to the town. The first was from the land immediately adjacent to the original plot, by which the number of in-lots was increased to about 200. His other additions are the "Hill Plot," the "Buffalo Plot," and those dated respectively November 30, 1841, and December 4, 1847.
His sales of town lots and other parcels, "Union" and Friendship," extended through a period of twenty-eight years, which the records show to have been:
In 1829, to John Patterson, out-lot No. 12, January 23, for $100; to James Bole, William W. Gibson and James White, "in trust for the three denominations of christians worshiping or to worship in the meeting-house near Freeport, the Episcopal, Associate or Seceder, and the Presbyterian," 1 acre and 36 perches, "including the burial-ground, which is to be considered a general interest by the citizens of Freeport and vicinity," January 24, for $100; to Benjamin King, out-lot No. 3, 1 acre and 18 1/2 perches, same day for $90; to Andrew Arnold, his interest in 2 acres and 16 perches, "near the town of Freeport," July 13, for $35 (and he to Thomas Robinson, January 30, 1839 for $150); to Rev. Hugh Kirkland, out-lot No. 13, 2 acres and 13 perches, for $147; to Thomas Robinson, in-lot No. 19, July 29, for $200; to Michael Moorehead, one-eleventh of in-lot No. 51, July 30, for $9.55; to Henry S. Weaver, in-lots Nos. 30, 123, 124, 135, December 21, for $500. In 1830, to Francis Anderson, out-lot No. 2, July 25, for $130; to Andrew Earley, in-lot No. 7, July 29, for $61.
In the summer or autumn of this year a slight breeze of intestine discord disturbed this community, which originated from the erection of a house on the strip between the river and Water street, a short distance below Fifth, by Hugh Kirkland and John Patterson for their own use. Some of the good citizens resisted such a use and occupancy of any part of that strip of free land. William Martin, Joseph Shoop, Benjamin, Henry and Peter E. Weaver and William Younkins went to the building after its completion, with the intention of throwing it into the river. Hence arose the action of trespass vi et armis brought by Kirkland and Patterson against them to No. 34, December term, 1830, in the common pleas of this county. After the narr. and the pleas were filed the case was compromised, before which the defendants had proceeded to carry out their intention. Patterson, having become aware of their purpose, entered the building and, armed with an adz, bade them stay out. After a brief altercation he agreed that the building should be removed, which was accordingly done. If a trial of the case had been reached, the defendants were prepared to prove David Todd's declaration, that that strip of land should always be free to the lotowners and rivermen.(*9)
In 1831 Armstrong conveyed to Jacob Weaver, in-lot No. 48, January 9, for $139; to William W. Gibson, in-lot No. 136, January 26, for $159; to David and James Murry, out-lot No. 4, January 28, for $60; to James McCullough, in-lot No. 154, January 29, for $34; to William Younkins, in-lot No. 143, January 31, for $38; to John Kerns, out-lot No. 9, 1 acre and 8 1/2 perches the same day, for $75; to Isaac Bole, in-lots Nos. 146, 147, same day, for $199; to James E. McDonald, in-lot No. 144, same day, for $50; to Joseph McKee, in-lot No. 51, February 1, for $105 (which McKee afterward conveyed to Alexander Armstrong for $200, and the latter to John McGinter, March 10, 1838, for $200); to Andrew Ralston, in-lot No. 142, same day, for $39; to William Miller, in-lot No. 157, February 3, for $50; to Nathaniel Miller, in-lot No. 149, same day, for $60; to James Bole, out-lot No. 5, June 31, for $35; to John Bole, in-lots Nos. 138, 139, January 31, for $93.
Armstrong was first assessed as a resident here in 1832, with in-lot No. 18, 1 house, 1 horse and 1 cow, at $828. He conveyed to David Putney 3 acres and 106 perches, adjoining Putney's lane, Franklin street on the south, Fifth street on west, and an alley on the north, April 6, for $400. Putney removed about that time from Bole's Mills to Freeport, where he was that year first assessed with out-lot No. 14, 1 house and 1 cow, at $43. He soon after started a brickyard and was the pioneer in building brick houses in Freeport.
In 1833 Armstrong conveyed to John Miller in-lot No. 62, June 21, for $43.
In 1837, to William P. Rupp and Thomas B. Williamson, wardens, and Jacob Mechling, Jr., James D. Torbett, John S. Weaver, Peter S. Weaver and Samuel L. Weaver, vestrymen of the Trinity Episcopal church, a part of in-lot No. 131, March 29, for $200; to Charles J. Kenley, part of out-lot No. 18, September 4, for $1,000.
In 1838 to Thomas B. Williamson, in-lots Nos. 189, 190, November 17, for $47; to James Carnahan, in-lots 179, 180, December 16, for $53, and three-fourths of an acre of "Union," beginning at a post in Baker street for $100.
In 1839, to William Bohlen, in-lot No. 191, August 23, for $40.
In 1840, to Margaret Stewart, part of out-lot No. 18, i.e. out-lot No. 2, from No. 15 to No. 18 inclusive, February 18, for $40.
In 1841, to Samuel Maxwell, in-lots Nos. 186-7-8, "recently laid out," January 23, for $77; to Jas E. Griffin, in-lot No. 131, February 6, for $300; to John Kerns, out-lot No. 15, 1 acre, 98 perches, April 19, for $230; to Jacob Shoop and Peter E. Weaver, in-lot No. 88, May 17, for $550. Weaver released to Shoop, and he conveyed one-half to Jas. Carnahan, June 5, for $53; to James Carnahan, December 18, three-fourths of an acre in plot of November 30, 1841, for $100; to Isaac Coyte, out-lot No. 16, 1 acre and 111 perches, October 20, for $200; to Samuel D. Karns, in-lots Nos. 178, 184, November 15, for $58; to Washington Bales, December 18, Nos. 2, 3, in plot of November 30, 1841, for $76. Bales to Alexander Bales and Jane Rowen, November 14, 1857, for $300, and Mrs. Rowen to Martha Miller, March 15, 1859, for $2,000.
In 1842, to John Johnston, June 16, Nos. 10, 11, plot of November 30, 1841, for $140; to John Arnold, June 19, No. 12, ditto, for $60; to Dr. David Alter, June 29, No. 4, ditto, for $50; to Polly Rowley, Nos. 20, 21, ditto, for $60; to James Carnahan, July 11, Nos. 16, 17, 18, ditto for $80; to Robert McKee, same day, Nos. 32, 33, ditto, for $119; David Wilson, Nos. 28, 29, ditto, October 13, for $136; to John Johnston, 36 1/4 perches out of in-lot No. 18, October 3, for $90; to Andrew McGinniss, No. 1, south side of Buffalo creek, June 29, for $55. He advertised, August 9, in the Freeport Columbian, 20 building-lots in the borough "and suburbs" for sale, and two excellent coalbanks for lease, from which were "delivered thousands of bushels of stone coal every year."
In 1844, to Lewis Brenneman, January 3, No. 25, plot November 30, 1841, for $94, and same day, in-lot No. 85, for $1,000.
In 1845, to John Arnold, May 3, parcel adjoining plot November 30, 1841, for $1; he to Robert Carnahan, same day, for $63; to Peter Bowers, No. 1, Armstrong's lot, December 8, for $100.
In 1846, to Asa Rowley, September 9, No. 24, plot November 30, 1841, for $101.
In 1847, to Richard Armstrong, in-lots Nos. 164-5, August 19, for $400.
In 1848, to David Callen, in-lot No. 184, April 4, for $35; to Rev. E. M. Miles, September 12, No. 42, plot December 4, 1847, for $33.50; to I. Smith Bole, same day, No. 40, ditto for $36; to Conrad Nulf, a parcel adjoining the river on the south and in-lot No. 1 on the north and Buffalo creek on the west, October 12, for $50; to Frederick Kaylor, same day, Nos. 22-3, plot December 4, 1847, for $50; to Joseph Kenniston, the only one of Capt. Hart's employ'es who remained here, in-lot No. 120, December 16, for $35.
In 1849, to John W. Redpath, a parcel partly in Freeport and South Buffalo township, March 14, for $200; to Abner W. Lane, a parcel adjoining northeast side of Stewart street and Lane's line, between the creek and the public road from the west end of Market street, April 2, for $100; to James Hoaks, November 26, No. 4, plot December 4, 1847, for $50; to William Bates, same day, Nos. 13, 35, plot November 30, 1841, for $60.
In 1850, to Robert Morris, December 10, No --, plot November 30, 1841, for $150.
In 1851, to Bridgett Torbett, Nos. 5, 6, "Buffalo plot,", September 6, for $100; to William Phillips, October 18, Nos. 14-15, plot December 4, 1848, for $100.
In 1853, to James Gillespie and John McCue, 75 acres and 129 perches, beginning at a post on Washington street, etc., June 9, for $6,000.
In 1855, to Dr. David Alter, No. 19, Armstrong's plot, December 21, for $120; to Robert Morris, same day, No. 5 plot October 21, 1846, for $100.
1858, to John L. Churchill, one-fifth of an acre between Second street and the creek, also the island in the creek, but without warranty of title to the latter, December 20, for $100, which seems to have been the last sale made by him before his death. Lots Nos. 4 and 8 of the "Hill Plot" remained unsold as a part of his estate until after proceedings in partition, when they were conveyed by George B. Sloan, trustee, to Jacob Shoop, June 5, 1862, the former for $44 and the latter for $55, who conveyed them, December 21, to William A. Long, the former for $100 and the latter for $150.
He also left in-lot No. 108, which was retained by his widow. She conveyed it to Charles E. Shaw, February 9, 1866, for $500. Shaw conveyed the western half of it to Henry S. Ehrenfeld, April 13, 1867, for $250, and he to Archibald M. Shaw, June 21, 1870, for $1000. Charles E. Shaw conveyed the eastern half of this lot to Milton E. Shaw, February 1, 1874, for $500, and Archibald M. Shaw the other or western half to him, June 7, 1875, for $1,100, and the latter conveyed the whole lot to Samuel Hepworth, June 10, for $1,300. Thus passed to others the title to the last parcel of the real estate within the present borough limits which had been, more than half a century ago, allotted to James Armstrong, an heir of one of the original proprietors of the town of Freeport.
Todd's Island having become vested in the heirs of David Todd, they by their attorney, Thomas White, conveyed it to John O'Neil, May 1, 1830. In April, 1831, O'Neil laid it out into twenty-one lots, fifteen of which contained 1 acre each; No. 21, 6 acres; No. 1, 139 1/4 perches; No. 10, 112 perches; No. 11, 110 1/4 perches; No. 12, 99 1/8 perches, and No. 13, 100 perches. A street 33 feet wide extended, with a bearing north 59 degrees east, through the central part of the island. On the 30th of May, 1833, the sales of lots were quite brisk. On that day O'Neil conveyed No. 20 to John Karns for $90.50; Nos. 12, 13, to John Keever, for $51; Nos. 21, 22, to Benjamin King, for $66; to David Scott, No. 17, for $----; No. 18 to John Shoop, for $51; No. 3 to Henry Weaver, Jr., for $55. June 14, No. 9 to Jacob Williams for $71.50. Doubts having arisen as to whether this island was within the limits of this county, it was declared to belong thereto, and was annexed to the borough of Freeport by the act of March 19, 1840. It has been previously claimed by Westmoreland county. Edward H. Day, Henry Eichert and Peter Weaver acquired an interest in Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, which passed from them by sheriff's sale, March 21, 1846, to Robert M. Porter, which he conveyed to Samuel B. Porter, April 22, 1847, for $700, from whom the northern part of No. 1 --the southern part being then vested in A. Colwell and P. Templeton -- passed by sheriff's sale to Hiram Neyman, March 5, 1855, for $1,500, and which Neyman conveyed to Thomas Magill in May, 1866, for $975.
A company consisting of John and Thomas Magill and McCandless, Jamison & Co., was organized March 1, 1868, who erected a woolen mill on O'Neil's lot No. 2 and a dye-house on No. 3, known as the "Freeport Woolen Mills," with which Thomas Magill has been since assessed(*10).
Others appear to have been conveyed, the deeds for which are not on record.
David Scott conveyed No. 17, to James Milligan, December 9, 1833, Milligan to John Boyd, January 10, 1837; Boyd to Conrad Nolf, May 6, 1843; Nolf to Fr. and Samuel Sheldon, October 27, 1860, for $300; they to Ann E. Sheldon one-third of the eastern portion, June 8, 1867, for $100, and she to Magill, January 15, 1869, for $100.
Sheriff Hutchinson conveyed No. 6 to Wm H. Richardson, March 21, 1838; the latter to Peter Ford, March 30, 1841, who, by his will dated January 17, 1852, devised it to his daughter, Nancy L. Ford, who, with her husband, John Turner, conveyed it to Elizabeth Shaner, March 12, 1864, the eastern part of which she conveyed to Magill, March 30, 1867, for $625. Charles Vantine conveyed Nos. 21 and 22, lying "east of a cut through the island," to Thomas Magill, December 1, 1868, for $150.
Samuel B. Porter leased the "southwestern part or termination" of this island, including lot No. 1, to Robert Cooper, Jr., and Matthew Henderson for six years from April 1, 1849, at an annual ground rent of $10, the lessor to have the privilege of taking, at the end of this term, the sawmill thereon erected at a fair valuation, or sell it at a fair price. The lessees transferred one-third of the lease and buildings to Robert M. Porter, February 2, 1850, to whom Cooper transferred all his remaining interest, June 5, and Porter conveyed it to James Milligan, June 4, for $3250, which included the steam sawmill, erected by Cooper and Henderson in 1859, with which Milligan continued to be assessed and which he operated until 1854, when it was purchased by Colwell and Templeton at sheriff's sales.
Alexander Anderson and Edward S. Golden, having acquired an interest in a portion of No. 1, conveyed a part of it, 100 feet on Main street and extending back to the eddy, to John J. Long, March 30, 1866, for $200, and 106 3/4 perches, previously, to A. V. McKim, on which a distillery had been erected by John Moyer in 1858, and with which Rhey and Bell were assessed in 1859, and McKim in 1862-3. For the purpose of removing all conflict of title, John S. Bole and Thomas Magill purchased McKim's interest, January 23, 1866, for $250, and Long's October 24, 1868, for $250. Magill, March 18, 1870, subdivided Nos. 4 and 5 of O'Neil's plot into twenty lots, each thirty-three feet wide, ten of which are 110, six are 100, and the rest vary from less than 100 to 75 feet in length, and are traversed by Short street, thirty feet wide from north to south, and by an alley, fifteen feet wide from east to west.
The town of Freeport was incorporated into a borough by the act of April 8, 1833, which prescribed its boundaries thus: Beginning at a chestnut on the bank of the Allegheny river at the mouth of Buffalo creek; thence up the river north 14 degrees east 120 perches to the mouth of the eddy opposite the town; thence up the river north 53 degrees east 67 perches to the corner of Thomas Robinson's survey; thence north 19 degrees west 66 7/16 perches to white oak on Robinson's land; thence south 72 1/2 degrees west 74 1/16 perches to a black oak on the bank of Buffalo creek; thence down the creek south 28 degrees west 44 6/10 perches to a chestnut; thence down the same south 20 degrees west 18 7/10 perches; thence south 12 degrees west 47 perches to a maple; thence 21 degrees east 24 7/10 perches to the eastern abutment of the aqueduct over the creek; and thence south 49 degrees east 22 perches to the beginning. It was provided by the same act that all voters of what is now South Buffalo township residing below a line beginning at Walker's ferry on the Allegheny river and extending thence to the Armstrong and Butler line should vote at general elections at Freeport, which was made a separate election district, the elections to be held in the schoolhouse. The first election was directed to be held on the first Friday of May, 1833, and Benjamin King and Dr. J. B. Williamson, or either of them, were to publish and superintend it, and the annual borough elections were to be held on the first Monday of May thereafter, until, by act of March 7, 1840, it was changed to the second Friday of March, and is now, under the new constitution, on the second Friday of February.
At the first borough election, May 3, 1833, Jacob Weaver was elected burgess; James McCall, assistant burgess; Andrew Earley, James Milligan, William Moorehead, William Painter, David Putney and Henry Weaver, town councilmen; David McCall, high constable; John Drum, street commissioner; James Ralston and Joseph Shoop, overseers of the poor; Jacob Alter, assessor; William Painter and James Ralston, assistant assessors.
The first meeting of the burgess and town council was held May 10, when William W. Gibson was appointed clerk.
At the meeting, May 31, the council determined the dimensions of each square to be 333 feet and 3 inches, including the alleys, the width of the sidewalks 8 feet, increased to 10 feet by ordinance of May 29, 1868, but directed at a meeting held on the 1st to remain at the old width until repairs should be made.
The valuation of property in the borough in 1833 was $48,078, and the rate per cent of tax thereon was six mills. According to the charter it could not exceed one and a half per cent in any one year. The amount of tax collected, that year, was $192.31.
At a meeting of council, held June 7, ordinances were passed prohibiting public bathing, swimming, or washing by nude persons in the river and canal between sunrise and 8 1/2 o'clock P.M., which made the penalty for each offense $1; running or driving horses and carriages and other vehicles at a faster gait than a slow trot, penalty $5. ; and firing guns within the borough limits, penalty $2; the obstruction of any of the lanes, streets or alleys, penalty $10; swine running large, penalty 25 cents; riding or driving horses on pavements, penalty $1; and providing for grading streets and sidewalks by an assessment of one-half a cent on the dollar of the valuation of the property in the borough. These ordinances, although passed then, were not recorded, were recognized by the burgess and were subsequently repassed.
The council adopted a resolution May 12, 1824, requiring the pond on the low ground in the borough to be drained along the old route of the drain into Buffalo creek; and December 22, levied a tax of six mills in addition to the $44.38 assessed by the delegate meeting of school directors, held at Kittanning, November 4, and adopted by a meeting of the citizens of Freeport school district, according to the act of assembly then in force providing for a general system of education within this Commonwealth.
At a meeting of council, held June 19, 1835, assent on part of the borough was given to the compromise of the suit brought by Kirkland and Patterson against Martin, Shoop and others, to test the title of the strip of free land between Water street and the river. A resolution was adopted, June 20, imposing a fine of 25 cents for each absence of a member of council or other borough officer for absence from a meeting of council, which became obsolete and was rescinded, June 23, 1838.
The privilege was granted to the Weigh Scale Company, April 7, 1836, to use that part of Market street then opposite Robert Lowther's, now John W. Redpath's store, nearly half-way between Fourth and Fifth streets. Those scales were afterward removed to that part of Market between Fifth and Sixth streets, and they are now on Fourth between High and Market streets, opposite John R. Shirley's lot. The council resolved July 23, to appoint two fence-viewers, whose duty was to view all fences when called on in cases of damages and report the same to any of the justices of the peace of the borough. A contract was made, August 12, to purchase a fire-engine, which was then here, for $250; the council, August 30, directed an engine-house to be erected on the south side of Market, at the intersection of Fourth street, and that not less than twenty yards of rope or cable, with requisite cross-bars, be attached to the engine. It was determined, September 10, that the engine-house should be frame, twelve feet square and twelve feet high.
It was ordained, July 10, 1837, to impose a tax on all dogs within the borough.
A resolution was adopted by the council, March 3, 1843, turning over the fire-engine, engine-house, ladders, fire-hooks and other equipments to the Allegheny Fire Company in consideration of their organization and services rendered and to be rendered, which in the course of time vanished, so that now there is no fire company, no engine, no means of extinguishing fires, except water buckets, and what may be called a water brigade, improvised as fires occur.
The council resolved, September 3, 1846, that Fourth street should be located and opened from its then termination to the public road from Freeport to Butler, as provided by the Act of April 17, 1841.
The proposal of Peter Ford to build the eddy bridge for $4,500 was accepted October 2, 1849. It was swept away by a high flood, and two or three others were afterward erected on its site, where there is now a foot bridge from the mainland to the island.
An agreement was made, May 4, 1868, between the burgess and town council and John McCue and James McGonigle to furnish the stone for riprapping Water street, the quantity amounting to $744.10.
The assessment list for 1833 shows that the borough contained the year its charter was granted 107 taxables. The only occupations given in that list were: Merchants, 4; carpenters, 3; blacksmiths; 2; tailor, 1; laborers, 2, hatters, 2; shoemakers, 4; innkeepers, 3; tanner, 1; mason, 1; limner, 1; teacher, 1; joiner, 1; wagonmaker, 1.
ADDITIONS TO THE TOWN PLOT
Additions to the town or town plots were laid out by several of the purchasers of out-lots from Armstrong. Rev. Hugh Kirkland subdivided out-lots Nos. 11 and 13 into smaller parcels, some of his conveyances of which were: To the Presbyterian Association of Freeport, April 4, 1832, 70 feet square, part of out-lot No. 11, "on the eminence on the west end of said lot," for $50; to David M. Alter, October 29, 1836, lot No. 1, being a part of out-lot No. 13, for $150, which Alter conveyed to the "Reg. Baptist Church of Freeport," November 6, 1847, for $175; to William H. Queere, 33 feet along the Kittanning road by 99 feet along an alley, part of out-lot No. 13, February 7, 1839, for $75; to Alexander Anderson, No. 6, part of out-lot No. 13, January 12, 1840, for $80; his assignees to John Keener, No. 21, part of out-lot No. 11, March 29, 1836, for $210; to Peter Ford, No. 13, part of out-lot No. 13, December 16, 1837, for $49.
In the latter part of 1831 or early part of 1832, David Putney laid out a plot of twelve lots on that part of the three acres which he purchased from Armstrong, adjoining Putney's lane, afterward Franklin street, on the north, an alley on the east, an alley on the south and Fifth street on the west. The western ends of the first three front on Fifth street, No. 1 being 44 X 152 feet, Nos. 2 and 3 each 40 X 152 feet. The northern ends of all the others front on Putney's lane, and their southern ends on the alley, Nos. 4 to 11 inclusive being 33 X 124 feet, and Nos. 12, 38 X 124 feet. The lane and alley are respectively 12 feet wide, and the bearing of each north 72 1/2 degrees east, and the bearing of Fifth street north 17 1/2 degrees west. Putney lived in a small house on the west side of the lane, opposite No. 3, until he built his brick house. He sold his lots, March 26, 1832: To Robert Haughton, No. 1, for $300; to David Robeson, No. 2 for $103; to John Keever, No. 4, for $50; to Peter Weaver, No. 5, for $40; to William Miller, No. 6, for $40; to Joseph Shoop, No. 7, for $40; to same, No. 8, for $40; to John Johnston, No. 9, for $50; to John Robeson, No. 10, for $53; to George Syphax, No. 11, for $60; to James Milligan, No. 12, for $60.
Pneuman's row consists of eight lots, each 35 X 160 feet, adjoining Second street, being out-lot No. 3,which Armstrong conveyed to Benjamin King, January 4, 1829; King to Samuel De Graff, March 10, 1832; De Graff to James Pneuman, November 15, 1833. Pneuman, who was assessed as a teacher that year, sold some, perhaps most, of those lots at public sale, November 1. He conveyed No. 4 to James Milligan, September 14, 1835, for $75; Nos. 2 and 5 to John Thompson, November 3, for $81.
Rowley's addition consisted of subdivision of out-lot No. 10 into nine lots, surveyed July 26, 1833, for Robert Lowrey, agent for Asa Rowley.
The Anderson plot was also an extensive addition.
Those additions, when made, were without the borough limits, but were included within them by the annexation thereto by act of March 24, 1851, of the territory included within the following boundaries: From the extreme point of the then borough line at the head of Todd's island, thence by a direct line running in a northwestern direction to the eastern end of what was then Abner W. Lane's milldam on Buffalo creek; thence down the eastern margin of the creek to the then borough line. By the same act the burgess and town council were authorized to widen Putney's lane and convert it into a street 40 feet wide, to be opened from Fifth street to the line separating the outlots in Armstrong's plot from Henry S. Weaver's heirs' land. It was then named Franklin street, but it is still known by its original name.
NEW COUNTY PROJECT WITH FREEPORT AS THE SEAT OF JUSTICE
In the early part of 1842 the people of Freeport and vicinity were very active in attempting to form a new county out of the circumjacent portions of Armstrong, Allegheny, Butler and Westmoreland counties. A bill for the erection of Madison county was reported to the house of representatives February 27, 1842, but was lost by a vote of 58 to 15. If that bill had passed, the hope of the founders of Freeport that it would be a county town might have been realized, unless Tarentum had grasped the prize. Whether that bill ought to have passed or not, Freeport has at times enjoyed the unenviable notoriety of furnishing so many cases for the court of quarter sessions as to provoke the remark that she ought to be a county by herself. Such a state of affairs has not been attributable, it should in justice be said, to the mass of the people so much as to a few litigious spirits among them.
The first resident clergyman appears to have been Rev. Hugh Kirkland, who, as is elsewhere noticed, engaged extensively in buying and selling town lots, and who was first assessed here in 1830, and was the first pastor of the Associate church. Rev. William Galbreath was first assessed here in 1843 for the next year, though not as a clergyman until a year or two later. He was pastor of what is now the First United Presbyterian church from then until ------. Following on the assessment list of 1846 was Rev. McKee, who occupied lot No. 2, Rev. Hawkins in 1849, and others at subsequent times, as mentioned in connection with their respective churches.
Dr. Charles G. Snowden was the earliest resident physician, who was first assessed as such for 1832. Dr. J. B. Williamson was first assessed here the next year; Dr. D. M Borland 1841; Dr. David Alter in 1843; Dr. Henry Weeks in 1844; Drs. Thomas Galbreath and Samuel T. Redick in 1849; Dr. James A. Donaldson in 1850; Dr. N. E. McDonnell in 1851; Dr. Wm. P. McCulloch in 1859; Drs. Charles B. Gillespie and Thomas Magill in 1860; Dr. Robert L. McCurdy in 1862; Dr. Christopher Krunpe in 1867; Dr. A. G. Thomas in 1868; Dr. William Plank in 1871; Dr. W. L. Morrow in 1872; Dr. A. M. Hoover in 1876.
Dr. Alter's scientific discoveries deserve in this connection a special notice, for it was here in Freeport that they were made. In the latter part of the summer or in the early part of the autumn of 1847 he invented the method of manufacturing bromine in large quantities. He obtained a patent for his apparatus used in making it July 5, 1848, and soon afterward commenced its manufacture in company with Edward and James Gillespie, whose works were situated on the right bank of Buffalo creek, opposite the upper part of the island, or about 120 rods above the mouth of the creek.
In the latter part of 1853 and fore part of 1854, he discovered the bands in the spectrum of the elementary bodies, which was the foundation of spectrum analysis, and published some of his observations in the numbers for July, 1854 and 1855, of Silliman's American Journal of Science. Within a year after their publication he met in Pittsburgh a graduate of the university of Munich, who showed him a number of a journal published in Europe containing the first of his articles that had been published in Silliman's Journal. Professor G. Kirchoff's researches on the solar spectrum were not published until 1862, in Cambridge and London.
Dr. Alter has an excellent spectroscope, which was presented to him by Hageman, of Sweden.
A signal service station was established here April 16, 1873, under the charge of Dr. Alter, which has for awhile been in charge of his son, Dr. Myron H. Alter. The present mode of making monthly reports, showing the relation between the quantity of rain and the rise in the river, is the work of the latter. High water here, March 17, 1865, reads 31.42 feet. Ice, February 20, 1875, was 17 1/2 inches thick in the river.
The earliest resident lawyer assessed here was James Stewart, United States commissioner in bankruptcy, in 1843. The next were James Donnelly and J. Noble Nesbitt, in 1846; Lawrence S. Cantwell, in 1848; James B. Fullerton, in 1849; James A. McCulloch, in 1850; J. G. D. Findley, in 1869; Thomas N. Hathaway and George G. Ingersoll, in 1871.
The number of tradesmen, mechanics and inn-keepers increased adequately with the increase of the population. Several other industrial interests, not incident to all towns, sprang up here thus: In 1835, J. N. Nesbitt was assessed with a fulling-mill and carding-machine; Joseph Clark and William Laugher, as turners; William Todd, chairmaker; F. M. Thompson, with a sawmill, in-lot No. 123; David O. Walker, a sawmill, in-lot No. 60. With salt wells: Peter Weaver, in-lot No. 97; Jacob Weaver, in-lots Nos24 and 54; H. S. Weaver's estate, in-lot No. 30; Benjamin F. Weaver, in-lot No. 128; J. B. Williamson, in-lot No. 129; Andrew Wilson, in-lot No. 143; Samuel Walker, in-lot No. 60, also with sawmill, assessed to Benjamin King, in 1843.
In 1836, Lowery & McCain, sawmill; Robert Morris, joiner, Jamison Hendricks, lumber merchant; David Scott, tanyard.
In 1837, John Fritzman, sawmill, in-lot No. 1; Alexander Anderson, with "occupation," whatever it was.
In 1838, Henry Hellerick, potter; William McKee, factory; Robert Martin, weaver; John Rowan, plowmaker.
In 1839, George McCain, gristmill, in-lot No. 123, to Robert Lowery's estate in 1843, to Lowther, Beele & Bole in 1849, and now to Iseman & Patterson.
In 1840, T. P. and S. C. Williamson, foundry in-lot No. 122; John R. Magill, foundry, in-lot No. 122, in 1867, now J. & J. R. Magill.
In 1841, Samuel and William P. Fullerton, Hope Woolen Mills, in-lots Nos. 25 and 91, which are still in operation; Jacob K. Rupp, windmill maker.
In 1842,, Charles Bills, barber; John W. McKee, and William Lowery's estate and Patrick Sheny, cord winders; Robert Porter, brickmaker, No. 11 Robinson's Row, the next year, in-lot No. 136; David Putney had a brickyard elsewhere in Freeport ten or eleven years previous.
In 1846, S. A Marshall, dentist; Charles Towser, coachmaker, succeeded by G. Shamburg in 1857, and James H. Douglass in 1872.
In 1848, John King, oysterman; William Gibson, oyster merchant; Morrison & McIlwain, boat and stage men; afterward McIlwain & White, whose partnership business was ultimately closed by a protracted suit at law, an action of account render. Their stage routes extended from Freeport via Kittanning to Brookville, and via Worthington and Brady's Bend to Clarion. Their successors were Lightcap & Piper until travel was diverted from these routes by the Allegheny Valley railroad.
In 1849, Thomas J. Clawson, foundryman.
In 1850, J. B. Atkinson, tanyard, in-lot No. 187.
In 1851, William Bates, foundryman.
In 1852, John Morgan and John Wallace, gunsmiths; Henry Weishaupt, tobacconist.
In 1853, Hugh Reed, druggist. The first route of the Northwestern Railroad was laid out on the eastern part of High street to Sixth, thence northwesterly across the northern parts of Fifth, Fourth and Buffalo streets, and thence northerly along Buffalo creek.
In 1854, John Woods, bakery.
In 1857, A. S. Barnett, messenger (telegraph, probably).
In 1859, John Ralston, merchant tailor; C. H. Smyth, bookseller; Ventrel Cantine, restaurant.
In 1861, Kreitz, brewery, and distillery in 1862.
In 1863, Leonard Billkeffer, basket-maker.
In 1866, J. P. Stubengen, brewery, still operated.
In 1867, Lewis Rosenthall, grain merchant.
Gluckenheimer Bros' distillery, which was started in 1855, by Williamson & Rhey, was begun to be operated by the present owners in August, 1866. The buildings are: the distillery, brick, three stories; grain-house, frame, one story, and holds 30,000 bushels; ice-house, one story, above ground, holds 150 tons; malt-house, three stories, brick, 100 bushels malted per day; cooper-shop, frame, two stories, daily production 50 barrels; bonded warehouse, brick, three stories, capable of storing 8,000 barrels; employ'es, in all departments, 25. The average daily consumption of grain is 250 bushels, the capacity of the distillery being equal to the consumption of 500 bushels. The daily product of whisky is 22 barrels, 42 gallons each. The number of cattle fattened annually is 100, and of hogs, 500. Under the present national revenue law, the services of a United States storekeeper and gauger are here required.
In 1868, J. D. Stewart, photographer; Albert Hawk, livery stable.
In 1869, Thomas H. Maher, banker; John R. Magill, cashier of Freeport Savings Bank, now the First National Bank. The latter was first assessed with part of in-lot No. 95, in 1876.
In 1871, William Rowen, manufacturer, probably planing-mill, on Buffalo street, near the creek, built by him and Bole, which was burned; Patrick Cosgrove, planing-mill on Second street, near the creek. In this or the next year a portion of the Heagy land was laid off into lots which are known as the Heagy Extension.
In 1874, the gas well on the property of the Freeport Planing-Mill Company, corner of Buffalo and Mill streets, was drilled to the depth of 1,904 feet -- the drilling having ceased at 12 M. October 16; the present vein of gas was struck at the depth of 1,075 feet.
The Freeport Planing Mill Company was incorporated in 1875 with a capital of $20,000, divided into shares of $100 each. The incorporators were J. W. Ralston, R. F. Turner, W. H. Hyde, M. E. Miller, James P. Murphy, Samuel Turner, J. S. Morrison, R. S. Sproul, John Hilt, John Shoop, J. E. Hoak, J. R. McGill, A. M. Shoup, E. G. Lighthold, E. A. Helmbold, E. F. Muder, H. G. Muder, Addison King, W. J. Sproul, W. J. Vann, John Ralston, A. D. Weir, R. L. McCurdy, D. E. Jackson, O. J. Sarver, David McCormack, John L. Bricker, W. P. Murphy, J. G. D. Findley, Annie Lawall, M. Coward, J. M. Norris, Mary Boyd and Annie Boyd. This company erected the building now occupied--a substantial brick structure, 50 X 100 feet, with engine-house attached--upon the site of one owned by W. P. Murphy & Co., but burned down in 1875. The establishment was leased in 1879 by Murphy, McCain & Co., and is now carried on by them. They run, in connection with their planing-mill, and sash and door factory, a sawmill, and in the two are handled annually between five and seven million feet of lumber. They have also a warehouse two stories in high and 30 X 60 feet in dimensions. The fuel under the boilers in the planing-mill is natural gas from a well near at hand.
The Buffalo Milling Company, composed of a majority of the original stockholders of the Freeport Planing-Mill Company, and some others, was incorporated in 1881, and commenced business in September, 1882, in a building erected for the purpose, which is 40 X 65 feet, and three stories and basement high. There is an engine-house attached, of which the dimensions are 25 X 40 feet. The manufacture of flour is by the Hungarian roller process, and the mill has an exclusively merchant patronage. Its capacity is about 125 barrels of flour per day. The incorporators were Samuel Turner, W. M. Lowther, William Nolf, James Spargo, O. J. Sarver, J. W. Craig, M. Coward, W. G. McCain, T. J. Douglass, W. P. Murphy, W. H. Hyde, D. S. Wallace, James Jones, F. P. Brown, J. N. Patterson, Myers & Yenney, William Jones, Isaac Jones, J. N. Chamberlain, Thomas Patterson, G. W. Iserman, Robert Morris, J. G. D. Findley, John Walters, Mary E. Patterson, S. E. Patterson, Miss Celia J. Thomas, Mrs. Elizabeth Hill, C. G. L. Peffer, J. H. McCain, James P. Murphy, H. S. Syphax, John Maxler, John Heilman. The present officers of the company are: president, W. G. McCain; treasurer, T. J. Douglass; secretary, J. G. D. Findley; manager, John Turner; directors, W. G. McCain, T. Patterson, W. P. Murphy, M. Coward, D. S. Wallace.
About the first of May, 1876, Messrs. Rev. J. J. Francis, W. J. Murphy and Thomas C. Nicholson formed a copartnership under the name of the Journal Printing Company, for the purpose of publishing a weekly paper in Freeport, to be called the Freeport Journal. W. J. Murphy, the only one of the three who had any knowledge of the business, was to have charge of the mechanical department, and T. C. Nicholson was to do the writing, keep the books, solicit, collect and have the general management of the paper, while Rev. J. J. Francis was to render assistance in case of emergency. The first number was issued on May 19, and was a neat seven-column folio, independent in politics and purely local in character.
The paper was measurably successful during the summer, but in the fall it began to show evidences of going the way of all its predecessors. The reasons for this it is not necessary to state, but on the 4th day of November, 1876, Rev. J. J. Francis bought out the interest of T. C. Nicholson and assumed the duties of editor-in-chief, while W. J. Murphy cared for the local department.
From this time on the Journal prospered, adding daily to its circulation, and having its columns full of good paying advertisements. In the issue of December 8, same year, it announced that Frank Shoop had become a partner, and we find his name associated with Murphy's as local editor. On February 16, 1877, F. K. Patterson became identified with the Journal as business agent, in which position he continued for several years. Toward the close of the first year Rev. J. J. Francis determined to retire from the active management of the paper and suggested that a stock company be formed for the purpose of running it. R. B. McKee, at that time in the grocery business, took hold of the matter, and in a few days raised the amount of stock, which was $1,200, in $25 shares. The new company organized by electing J. R. McGill president and George M. Hill manager and local editor. Messrs. Shoop, Francis and Patterson still remained members of the company, Murphy retiring. About the 1st of July George Hill resigned, and W. J. Murphy was elected manager, and in the following October, 1878, Murphy again retired and R. B. McKee was elected to succeed him, and still remains in charge as editor and business manager. Of the twelve who were original stockholders at the organization of the company, but four are now connected with it. J. R. Magill is still president, and George M. Hill secretary. The paper has doubled in circulation under its present management, having now near a thousand. Its prospects for the future are good and it bids fair for a long lease of life and continued prosperity.
The Presbyterian is said to have been the first religious organization in Freeport. The congregation appears to have existed prior to 1825, for in that year they, the Associate and Episcopal congregations jointly erected a church edifice on the parcel of ground adjoining the old cemetery on the southwest appropriated for that purpose. The most active and prominent member of the Presbyterian congregation in that work was James Bole. His, Isaac Bole's, Andrew Arnold's, John Drum's, Washington Beale's, ----- Elliott's, Mrs. Girt's, Alexander Given's, William Hill's, Michael Moorehead's, Andrew and James Ralston's and John Weir's families were the first members of this congregation. The first sacrament was administered by Rev. John Redick on the second Sabbath of May, 1828. On the morning of that day there was snow here six inches deep. The peach-trees blossomed in March. The fruit was blasted. The church was organized July 3, 1833(*11). Mrs. Armstrong, formerly Mrs. Given, and James Ralston, both over eighty years of age, are the only two surviving heads of those families. William Hill and Michael Moorehead were elected and ordained its first elders. Its pastors have been Rev. Samuel Caldwell, who resigned in 1847; Rev. W. F. Kean, from 1850 until 1867; Rev. John J. Francis, from October 22, 1869(*12).
The Presbyterian church edifice, brick, was erected in 1828, and is situated on lot No. 149, on the north side of High street, between Fourth and Fifth. The church was incorporated by decree of the proper court June 26, 1847. The trustees named in the charter were Isaac Bole, James Hill, William Hughes, W. M. Lowther and John Woodburn, who were to serve till the second Tuesday of May , 1848. The corporate name of this body politic is the Presbyterian church of Freeport. Nearly a quarter of a century after the granting of the charter certain amendments were proposed, namely, changing the number of trustees from five to six, and making the quorum four instead of three, and adding section 9, which provides that the congregation should elect six trustees and two suitable persons as choristers on June 29, 1871, and annually thereafter. The latter, with two members of the session, are authorized to select a sufficient number of competent singers. The decree making these amendments is dated March 16, 1871. The number of church members in 1876 is 228, and of Sabbath-school scholars, 200.
The Associate Presbyterian -- commonly called Seceder -- church was organized about 1826. The original families of the congregation were the Brewers, Colmers, W. W. Gibsons, Millers, Pattersons and Pointers. Rev. ----- Dickey, pastor of the Rich Hill and Slate Lick churches, preached here occasionally, before the labors of the first pastor, Rev. Hugh Kirkland, began. His successors have been Revs. William Galbraith, R. B. Robertson. Its church edifice is situated on out-lot No. 11, on the south side of Fourth street, about fifteen rods below the public schoolhouse. It was incorporated by the proper court April 15, 1866. The trustees named in the charter were John S. Dimmitt, Robert A. Hill, Thomas Magill, Joseph B. Miller, William Moorehead and James Ralston, who were to serve until the first annual election on the first Monday of January, 1867.
The Associate Reformed Presbyterian -- commonly called Union -- church was organized about 1850. The first pastor was Rev. John Jamison. His successor was Rev. E. N. McElree(*13)
The first place of worship of this congregation was the hall above Peter S. Weaver's store, on the southeast corner of Market and Fifth streets, and their present one is in the second story of the large brick edifice on the southeast corner of Market and Fourth streets. The membership of these two churches is 154, and of the Sabbath-school scholars, 100.
The St. Mary's Catholic church was organized about 1826. The original families of this congregation were Philip Bohlen's Patrick Blacke's, Donnelly's, Andrew Earley's, Neil Gillespie's, Magrand's, McKenna's, O'Reilley's, Patrick Shara's, and others. The first pastor was Rev. Patrick O'Neill, who was educated in France and came to this country as a missionary. He was fond of athletic sports, an expert hunter and horseman, and self-possessed. One evening, as he was passing down the lane on what is now known as C. Duffy's grade oil, reading his prayers, a large buck chased by several dogs leaped the fence just before him, and fell. O'Neill caught him by the hind legs and held him firmly until assistance came from the house and the buck was dispatched. The succession of priests after Father O'Neill included Revs. Patrick Rafferty, Joseph Cody (neither of whom were resident pastors), M. J. Mitchell, R. Phelan, J. Hackett, James Holland, A. A. Lambing, W. A. Nolan, G. S. Grace, Frederick Eberth, C. McDermott, James Canivan, P. M. Garvey and James McTighe. The church edifice or chapel is situated on in-lots Nos. 132-3, southwestern corner of High and Sixth streets, was among the first brick structures built by David Putney, after his removal to Freeport in 1832. A portion of the ground on which this chapel stood was devoted to burial purposes until a new cemetery was elsewhere laid out.
The Baptist church was organized December 11, 1830, by the Revs. William Shadrack and George I. Miles, with the following members: Samuel Logan, Robert Lowry, Rhoda Lowry, William Critchlow, David Robinson, George Montgomery, John Robinson, Silas Ramsey, Benjamin Harbison, Daniel Howe, James Harbison, James McWilliams, Jacob Robinson, Elizabeth Bowser, Hannah Longwell, Margaret Given, Sarah Evans, Harriet Critchlow, Julian Hickenlooper, Rachel Myler, Martha J. Leonard, C. G. Snowden, Sarah C. Snowden, John Congliton, Samuel Foreman, John Haney, Andrew Wilson, Elizabeth Ulam, Abigail Howe, Adaline Rowley. The house of worship of this congregation was built in 1849. The succession of pastors has been as follows: Revs. William Shadrach, George I. Miles, William Penny, John Thomas, W. Rockafellow, Benoni Allen, J. A. Davis, Edward M. Miles, William A. Barnes, Peter M. Weddell, Thomas J. Penny, L. L. Still, D. W. C. Hervey, J. G. Penny, David Williams, J. E. Dean, J. P. Jones, F. H. Jones, J. W. Ewing and S. Drummond.
Rev. Moses P. Bennett, a missionary of the Protestant Episcopal church, resided at Greensburgh in the early part of the second decade of this century. In 1823 he reported the church convention at Philadelphia, having made one visit to Freeport. In 1833 Rev. William Hilton reported having held three services, one in every six weeks, and a parish organization here, the date of which is November 1, 1833, but gave no particulars. He was succeeded by Rev. B. B. Killikelly, as missionary, whose first report was made in May, 1835, in which he stated that he had been able to devote only one-fifth of his time to this congregation, which then consisted of 18 families, 81 persons; there were 4 adult and 6 infant baptisms, 2 marriages, 1 burial, and a Sunday school just organized. In 1836, 19 families, 82 persons;; baptized 6 adults and 19 children; 14 persons confirmed, 15 added to the communion list, which then numbered 27; 2 marriages, 2 burials, 8 Sunday-school teachers and 40 pupils; cash collections, $52.45; and that the congregation had secured a lot on which to build a church edifice for $225; and had collected a few hundred dollars for that object. Lay reading and the Sunday-school had been zealously sustained, and a sewing-circle organized. In 1837, 24 families, 95 persons, 11 communicants added, the whole number then being 38; 5 adult and 7 infant baptisms, 13 Sunday-school teachers and 55 pupils, and missionary contributions $20. Immediately after the convention of that year the missionary went on a collecting tour to New York, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and collected in money and material $1,141.04, of which $897.92(14) was paid over to T. B. Williamson and W. P. Rupp, wardens, to be used in the erection of a church edifice, and obtained from Mrs. E. Stott, of Grace church, Philadelphia, a heavily plated chalice and pattern, a handsome desk bible, prayer-book, and a copy of D'Oyley and Mants' commentary, three volumes in leather, worth $20. The report to the convention in 1838 shows that he resigned Trinity parish, Freeport, and St. Peter's, Butler, because they and the other two east of the Allegheny, St. Paul's, Kittanning, and St. Michael's, Wayne township, being so far apart the four charges were too laborious for each to have as frequent services as were desirable for their spiritual improvement. During that part of 1837 prior to his resignation, there were fourteen public services, four communicants added, and one infant baptized in Trinity parish. The church edifice, brick, on in-lot No. 31, was covered, floored, and otherwise advanced toward completion. He was succeeded by Rev. William White, under whose charge and that of Rev. William Hilton it has since chiefly been.
The Methodist Episcopal church of Freeport was organized about the year 1833. Services were at first conducted in a schoolhouse on what is now High street, between Second and Third streets; afterward in a currier's shop which stood somewhere near the present intersection of Market street and the old Pennsylvania canal; and still later near the place where the West Pennsylvania Railroad station now stands, the Baptist congregation kindly granting the use of their church at communion seasons and on other special occasions. A church edifice was erected in 1840 on in-lot No. 101, on the southeast corner of Fourth street and Mulberry alley. Especial honor is due to Peter Ford and Wesley Bowman for the energy and self-sacrifice with which they pushed the undertaking to success. This church was incorporated by the proper court December 28, 1846, the trustees provided for and named in the charter being Jacob Alter, John Atkinson, Wesley Bowman, Peter Ford, Leonard Leidy, Daniel Richards, John A. Stearns and Robert C. Williamson. In 1877 the old building gave place to the present elegant and commodious structure, of which a view appears in this work. This enterprise was undertaken and carried almost to completion during the pastorate of the Rev. M. McK. Garrett, the lecture-room being used for services during part of his pastoral term. The architects were Bailey and Anglin, of Allegheny City, and the building committee appointed by the quarterly conference consisted of the Rev. M McK. Garrett and Messrs. John Ralston, John Turner, J. H. Douglas and D. E. Jackson. The plan of the first floor embraces the lecture-room, capable of seating about 250, with four class-rooms adjoining. The main audience-room is seated with carved pews of ash trimmed with walnut, and will accommodate about 500 people. The building was formally dedicated to the worship of God, July 27, 1879, by the Rev. Bishop Matthew Simpson, D. D., LL. D. Among the earliest pastors of this church were the Revs. ----- Bradshaw, P. M. McGowan, Joseph Ray, C. C. Best, J. Murray, B. F. Sawhill, J. Phillips, M. L. Weekly and D. Hess, but it is to be regretted that a complete list, in the order of their service, cannot be given with the data now at hand.
The following pastors served in the order named: Wm. Cooper, A. G. Williams, A. H. Thomas, J. W. Shiver, R. Morrow, E. M. Wood, E. B. Griffin, J. B. Uber, N. P. Kerr, M. McK. Garrett, S. T. Mitchell, M. M. Sweeny and C. W. Miller. The membership of the church as reported at the conference of 1882 is 190; Sabbath-school scholars, 172.
The first Lutheran church here was organized about 1835. Its edifice is situated on in-lot No. 150, on the northwest corner of High street and an alley. It was incorporated as the Evangelical Lutheran church by the proper court, June 19, 1851. The number of trustees prescribed by, but not named in, the charter is five, to be elected annually on the first Monday of April. Members, 48, Sabbath-school scholars, 50.
There are two other Lutheran churches, one English and the other German, both of which belong to the General Council.
St. John's English Lutheran church of Freeport was organized prior to 1840, but just when it is impossible to state, as there are no records in existence bearing date anterior to 1841. Following is a list of the pastors: 1839-43, John H Benheim; 1845-48, G. B. Holmes; 1848-51, G. F. Ehrenfeld; 1852-56, S. M. Kuhns; 1856-60, Jacob Wright; 1861-64, J. H. Brown; 1865-71, J. K. Melhorn; 1871-81, J. H. A. Kitzmiller; 1882, the present pastor, Rev. H. K. Shanor. The church was incorporated in 1851, the charter bearing date of September 17. The present officers are: Elders, J. R. Garver, Henry Petzinger and William Wolf; deacons, J. H. Long, M. L. Vandyke and Conrad Wolf, Jr. About sixty persons are communicants of the church.
The German Lutheran church was incorporated by the proper court April 23, 1862, as the German Evangelical Lutheran Zion's church of the borough of Freeport. Its charter officers were Rev. Gabriel A. Reichert, pastor; George Epiler and David Kraft, elders; John Mangold and George Pfaff, deacons. The charter requires "the German language to be used forever in preaching the doctrines of the church among this association."
There has been for many years past a strong temperance element in this community. Here, as in other places, temperance organizations have risen, flourished, done much good and drooped. On the petition of many inhabitants of Freeport and its vicinity the act of April 11, 1866, was passed, which prohibits the granting of any license "to sell spirituous, vinous, malt or brewed liquors for drinking purposes," within the limits of this borough, or within two miles of it in this and Allegheny county, and within three miles in Butler county, but not to apply to Westmoreland county, not to affect those having licenses until after their expiration, and does not prohibit the manufacturers of domestic wine from selling their own product in quantities not exceeding one pint. The penalty for violating this act is a fine not less than $50 and not exceeding $200, and for a second offense the additional penalty of imprisonment not over three months. This act is still in force, and appears to be sustained by a majority of the people in the sections of the three counties affected by it. The vote of this borough, February 28, 1873, was 72 for and 144 against granting licenses to sell intoxicating liquors as beverages in this county.
There was no school within the limits of Freeport for nearly a quarter of a century after it was laid out. The most accessible educational facilities to its inhabitants were then afforded at the Hall school, about half a mile distant. P. R. Bohlen is said to have taught the first school here, in a log dwelling-house on Water street. According to Peter E. Weaver's recollection the first one was taught by a man of the name of Woodford in a house on Market street, above Fifth. The next teacher was of the name of Lee, who taught but one quarter. Those were what used to be termed "pay schools,", in which some of the common English branches were taught -- arithmetic, reading in the Testament, spelling and writing.
In 1832-3, James Pneuman, reputed to be a good mathematician, taught a pay-school on High street, between Fourth and Fifth. Such schools were more or less liberally patronized until the adoption of the common or free school system a few years later. Dr. Thomas Galbraith was the first teacher here under this system. A frame schoolhouse was erected soon after its adoption on in-lot No. 101, the southwest corner of Fourth and High streets, fronting on the former, which was of adequate dimensions, while the school consisted of only one department. The writer distinctly remembers his first official visit to this school in the winter of 1857-8, when there were two departments and two teachers in one room, and the great confusion that resulted from the two teachers' different classes reciting at the same time and the immoderate loquacity and playfulness of the pupils. It seemed to him impossible that any degree of desirable progress in study could be made. After quietly observing matters for awhile, he called to him a few of the ringleaders in that vice of schoolrooms, whispering, loud talking and other mischief, and made this agreement with them: That, if their teachers would give them and all the other pupils a few minutes between the opening of school and recess, and between recess and the closing of the school, forenoon and afternoon, for talking, they would agree to refrain from whispering and talking at all other times during schoolhours. They promised to do so. The writer was afterward gratified to notice considerable improvement in the order of that school, his next visit to it being after it was transferred to the new brick, two-story schoolhouse, which was erected the next season on the south side of Fourth street, adjoining the old cemetery on the south, which, with the lot, cost more than $3,000. It was at first adapted to a school of four grades, but it has since been enlarged sufficiently for eight grades, that is, the number of rooms is increased to eight, which are each about 33 1/2 X 23 1/2 feet, with ceilings about 16 feet, well ventilated and supplied partly with patent cherry and partly with pine furniture. The halls are 10 feet wide, in the shape of the letter T, like that of a house. This is at present a school of six grades, with a principal and five assistants. The belfry is in the center of the building, in which a new bell has been recently suspended.
1860--Schools, 4; average number of months taught, 4; male teacher, 1; female teachers, 3; monthly salary of male, $30; monthly salary of female, $18; male scholars, 170; female scholars, 168; average number attending school, 267; cost of teaching each scholar per month, 28 cents; levied for school purposes, $674; levied for building purposes, $674.60; received from state appropriation, $108.10; received from collectors, $1,136; cost of instruction, $336; fuel, etc., $40; cost of schoolhouse, etc., $1,100.
1876--Schools, 6; average number of months taught, 7; male teacher, 1; female teachers, 5; average salaries per month -- male, $80; female, $40; male scholars, 201; female scholars, 173; average number attending school, 322; cost per month, 35 cents; levied for school and building purposes, $2,318.28; received from state appropriation, $418.50; received from taxes, etc., $1,900.25; cost of schoolhouse, etc., $35.52; paid for teachers' wages, $1,680; paid for fuel, etc., $691.48.
Rev. Hugh Kirkland, soon after his advent here in 1830, erected an academy at the corner of High and Fourth streets, in which the classics and the common and higher English branches were taught by him and Samuel Wallace, where William S. Ralston and other Freeport youth of that period acquired their education, imbibed from the Pierian spring, and slaked their thirst at the Mahantango. Though the latter is a Delaware word meaning devil, it ought not to be inferred that those youth became devilish by their copious drafts from a fountain bearing so devilish a name.
Rev. William Galbraith's academy was opened in 1843.
The Armstrong Lodge of Ancient York Masons, No. 239, was constituted here in 1852, when its charter officers were William F. Logan, W. M.; Alexander Anderson, S. W.; Charles G. Snowden, J. W.; George W. Syphax, treasurer; Reuben Mickel, secretary. This lodge meets in Anderson's hall on the fourth Monday of each month, and numbers about seventy-five members.
Freeport Lodge, I. O. O. F., No. 379, was organized October 1, 1849, at Freeport. The charter members were the following, who were also officers: Samuel Shafer, N. G.; J. D. Torbett, V. G.; J. W. Redpath, secretary; J. Welshaus, assistant secretary; Henry White, treasurer. Number of members at present time, 34.
The Freeport Blues was the first military company raised here. It was organized in 1818, and its officers: John Drum, captain; James Patterson, first, and Benjamin F. King, second lieutenant. The uniform consisted of wool hats, trimmed with white cord, white plumes tipped with red, blue jackets trimmed with red tape and bullseye buttons, white pants, and red sash; and the arms of the rank and file were rifles and shotguns. That company was reorganized about 1831. William W. Gibson was then major of the battalion to which it belonged. The company officers then were: Benjamin F. King, captain; William Rupp, first, and Henry Weaver, second lieutenant. Its uniform: Leather hats trimmed with buttons, cord and tassels, white plumes tipped with red, blue coats trimmed with light-blue braid, white pants, white gloves, and ruffled shirt-bosoms. Arms: State muskets and accouterments.
The Freeport and Leechburg Dragoons were organized about 1832 -- James T. McKaig, captain; Alexander Scott, first, and Alexander Sharp, second lieutenant; Bruce Sutherland, first sergeant. Uniform: Leather caps tipped with bear skin, blue coats faced with yellow, blue pants with yellow stripes, and saddle-cloth bordered with yellow tape. Arms: Swords and horse-pistols.
The Freeport Artillery Company was organized about 1850 -- William F. Logan, captain; Samuel Lane, first, and J. D. Torbett, second lieutenant. Its uniform was in accordance with the United States army regulations. Arms: Cannon, swords and muskets.
Washington Guards, 1849. Alexander Anderson, captain; John J. Long, first, and William S. Ralston, second lieutenant; James White, first. Joseph Johnston, third sergeant. Its uniform was that of the regular army. It was reorganized in 1854, Lieut. Ralston acting as captain. Anderson was promoted to brigadier-general. The members of his staff were: James A. McCulloch, colonel; A. D. Ambrose, major; Addison Leech, adjutant, and Thos. C. McCulloch, surgeon. William Sirwell was then brigade inspector; Addison Leech, major, and John M. Orr, adjutant of battalion.
The Freeport Zouaves were organized in 1860. Charles B. Gillespie, captain; William B. McCue, first, and Henry Torbett, second lieutenant; Jonathan Murphy, first, and Absalom Weaver, second sergeant. This company's name appears to have been changed to Freeport Cadets. It entered Camp Orr in September, 1861, was assigned to the 78th regt. Pa. Vols., in which it served creditably during the war of the rebellion.
Two companies were raised here during the continuance of that war, the members of which went some into the 103d, some in the 139th, some into the 14th and 15th cavalry, some into the 5th and 6th regiments of heavy artillery, and others into Mississippi Marine Brigade. A company of Home Guards was organized, of which the late Abner W. Lane was captain.
Since the war an independent company, the Dunc. Karns Rifles, has been organized, which was uniformed and equipped by S. D. Karns.
A large number of both sexes here participated in the humane and patriotic work of furnishing material aid for the wants and comfort of the men in the service. Much was done in this way before any regular organization for that purpose was effected, of which no record was kept, the value of which cannot of course be stated.
THE SOLDIERS' AID SOCIETY
was organized January 31, 1863, and its officers were: President: Mrs. Mary Galbraith; secretary, Miss Mary Kennedy; treasurer, Mrs. Anna B. Weaver; committee on work and expenditures, Mrs. Mary Murphy, Misses Selima Gibson, Hannah McClelland and Fannie Woods, and seventy-three members, beside eighty-four "gentlemen who were always at hand in any emergency." The records of that society are lost, so that a full and accurate statement of its noble work cannot be obtained. The treasurer has kindly furnished the following facts from some private papers in her possession: Cash, taken in dues and collections, $5; from children's exhibition at Baptist church, May 27, 1863, $27; from exhibition at Presbyterian church, in March, 1864, $160.20. Total, $192.20.
Articles sent to Pittsburgh branch of the Sanitary commission during the fourteen months ending May 18, 1864: Shirts, 239; sheets, 28; pairs of drawers, 89; pillows, 33; pillow-cases, 109; towels, 47; handkerchiefs, 47; lint, 6 pounds; pads, 112; pairs of hose, 86; rolls of bandages, 164; cans of fruit, 85; dried peaches, 6 bushels; dried berries, 6 bushels; dried apples, 1 bushel; onions, 1/2 bushel; books, 135 volumes; pamphlets, 40; packages of papers, 14; Elderberry wine, 15 gallons.
The society continued its good work for some time after the collapse of the rebellion, in filling large orders for arm-slings, the material for which having been furnished by the Pittsburgh branch of the sanitary commission.
The first white person buried within the limits of Freeport was Miss Faits, who was drowned in crossing Buffalo creek in 1794, where Harbison's mill was afterward erected. Her grave was the first one in the old cemetery. David Todd gave half an acre for burial purposes which, with an additional quantity circumjacent thereto, Armstrong afterward conveyed to certain persons in trust to be used as a burial-ground by the people of Freeport and vicinity. It in time became filled with graves, so that a new one became necessary. Hence originated a company styled "The Freeport Cemetery," which was organized in the winter of 1864, and incorporated by the proper court March 16 following. The charter provides, among other things, that the business of the company shall be conducted by five managers, elected annually by members of the corporation, and that all persons who contributed not less than $20 each to the capital stock on or before April 1, 1864, should be members. The managers named in the charter were Dr. David Alter, Samuel Fullerton, Robert Morris, John Ralston and John Turner, who were to serve until the first annual election and until others were chosen. Dr. David Alter was chosen president and John Turner secretary of the board of managers. The other charter members of the company besides the managers were John W. McKee, Conrad Nolf and Jacob Shoop. Arrangements were soon made for the purchase of suitable ground, which culminated in Rev. William Galbraith's conveying to the company, May 18, 1864, for $1,900, nine acres and twelve perches, reserving to himself the coal-right and lot No. 1 in Section C, being a part of the tract which belonged to the heirs of Mrs. Mary Weaver, deceased, situated on the hill in South Buffalo township overlooking Freeport from the northeast, and which he had purchased in proceedings in partition to No. 34, September term, in the common pleas of this county. The grounds were soon tastefully laid out in sections, lots, walks, streets and alleys, and so decorated as to have become one of the most beautiful and appropriate cities of the dead in this region of country. Many lots have been sold, though deeds for only six of them are as yet on record, which perhaps fairly indicate the average prices: On June 4, 1864, to William Ewing, lots 19 and 20, 400 square feet, for $40; to Robert Miller, No. 21, Section C, 480 square feet, for $60, on December 24, to Thomas Harbison, lots Nos. 98 and 121, section A, 320 square feet, for $30; to James Harbison and Jacob Hilyard, lots Nos. 99 and 120, section A, 320 square feet, for $23; to Conrad, Anthony and William Nolf and Lewis Foster, No. 12, section C, 480 square feet (sometime during that year), for $80, on September 8, 1873, to Barbara A. Neff, No. 51, section E, 200 square feet, for $40.
The state road from Kittanning via Freeport to Pittsburgh was authorized by an act of the legislature, and its route, as laid out by the commissioners, was with a slight exception, west of an airline from Kittanning to Freeport, along and near which then resided Barnett, Boney, older and younger, McLenaghan, Sipe and Shrader. A review of that part of it in this county being authorized by the act of March 30, 1824, the court of quarter sessions of this county, June 21, appointed Thomas Blair, David Lawson, Robert Robinson, James Douglass, Samuel McKee and James E. Brown to review that part of it between Kittanning and Freeport, and lay out the same on such ground as would not at any place exceed an elevation of five degrees from a horizontal line. The confirmation of their report, substituting the river route, so called because the major part is along the right bank of the Allegheny, was resisted by those who preferred the other, or back, route, perhaps on account of its location as much as for any other reason. Hence followed remonstrances against the report of the reviewers, and affidavits pro and con, the partisans of both routes stating facts and expressing opinions favorable to the one which they respectively favored, in regard to suitable ground, average elevation and expense of construction. The report was confirmed September 22, 1825, and the road ordered to be opened. It extended to the eastern line of the town of Freeport, which was then between Andrew Arnold's tannery and Benjamin King's house. The only other public road extending to Freeport from the north was the Bear creek one, which must have been laid out before this county was organized for judicial purposes. For many years past the most usual through route from Freeport to Kittanning has been via Center Hill in North, and Slate Lick in South Buffalo township, both for stages, when they were running, and for private conveyances.
By the act of April 14, 1834, the Butler and Freeport Turnpike Company was incorporated. The commissioners named in the charter were William Ayres, John Bredin and Jacob Mechling, and others, of Butler, and James Bole, John Drum, William W. Gibson, Samuel Murphy, J. Noble Nesbett, Thomas Robinson, Jacob Weaver and Henry S. Weaver, of Armstrong county. It was to be commenced within five and completed within ten years, and if not, the legislature could resume the rights, privileges and franchises granted by the charter.
On June 22, 1813, the petition of divers inhabitants of Buffalo township was presented to the proper court, praying for a road beginning at the Butler county line on the west side of Buffalo creek, at or near the dwelling house of George Weaver, and thence past Jacob Weaver's mill, to intersect the great road leading from Freeport to Erie. John Craig, Wm. Sloan, Charles Sipe, Nicholas Best, Nicholas Eiseman and Samuel Murphy were appointed viewers, whose report in favor of a road from Weaver's mill to the Freeport and Erie road was presented and read September 21, and approved December 22, and the road ordered to be opened twenty feet wide, and, March 22, 1814, the court directed that it be opened as a public road, which was soon done.
The population of Freeport in 1840 was 727; in 1850, white, 1,064; colored, 9; in 1860, white, 1,688; colored 13; in 1870, white, 1,632, of whom 165 were foreign; colored, 8. In 1876 the number of taxables is 493, which ought to represent a population of 2,037.
The assessment list for the last-mentioned year shows: Resident clergymen, 6; physicians, 7; dentist, 1; lawyers, 4; editor, 1; justices of the peace, 3; druggists, 4; refiner, 1; tailors, 2; clothiers, 4; shoemakers, 8; broom-makers, 2; lumberman, 1; merchants, 25 (according to mercantile appraiser's list, 42; in 14th class, 35; in 13th class, 5; in 12 class, 2); carpenters, 22; laborers, 96; boss, 1; butchers, 4; agents, 4; coopers, 5; stone-masons, 4; stone-cutters, 2; constable, 1; tinner, 1; foreman, 1; barbers, 2; flagman, 1; clerks, 4; oil-merchant, 1; coal-miners, 6; machinist, 1; marble-cutters, 2; painters, 4; conductors, 2; wagonmakers, 2; teamsters, 11; bankers, 2; quarryman, 1; plasterers, 2; hotel-keepers, 3, water-hauler, 1; blacksmiths, 5; auctioneer, 1; confectioner, 1; baker, 1; lime-dealer, 1; lumber merchant, 1; contractors, 2; clerks, 4, peddler, 1; measurer of lumber, 1; sawyer, 1; stationer, 1; foreman railroad, 1; vineyard keeper, 1; engineers, 3; livery stable, 1; tobacconist, 1; boss cooper, 1; bricklayer, 1; watchmakers, 2; weaver, 1; brakeman, 1; tinner, 1; flour merchant, 1; photographer, 1; dyer, 1; lumber merchant, 1; miller, 1; eating-houses, 2; insurance agent, 1; car inspectors, 2; foreman at acidworks, 1; cabinetmaker, 1; baker and confectioner, 1; furniture dealer, 1; oil merchant, 1; saddler, 1; Freeport Planing-mill Company; and last, but not least, old gentlemen, 4; gentlemen, 17.
1. James S. Bole and Wm.S. Ralston
2. Kittanning township
3. Capt. William C. Beck
4. Communicated to the writer by a descendant of Capt. Craig.
5. Manor township
6. See South Bend township
7. Appendix to Early History of Western Pennsylvania, p. 344.
8. See borough of Kittanning
9. Peter E. Weaver's statement to the writer.
10. Until 1877, and J. R. Magill and others thereafter.
11. Historical sketch of churches in Kittanning Presbytery, by Rev. A. Donaldson, D. D., p. 22
12. He resigned in 1879.
13. Until 1878, when he was succeeded by Rev. A. E. Linn.
14. The residue was appropriated to St. Michael's church, Wayne township.
Source: Page(s) 400-428, History of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania by Robert Walker Smith, Esq. Chicago: Waterman, Watkins & Co., 1883.
Transcribed June 2000 by James R. Hindman for the Armstrong County Smith Project.
Contributed by James R. Hindman for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)
Armstrong County Genealogy Project Notice:
These electronic pages cannot be reproduced in any format, for any presentation, without prior written permission.
Return to the Historical Index
Return to the Smith Project
Return to the Armstrong County Genealogy Project
(c) Armstrong County Genealogy Project
Return to the Armstrong County Genealogy Project
(c) Armstrong County Genealogy Project