The "Depreciation Lands" Described - Early Owners of the Soil and Transfers of Title - The Famous Soldier and Pioneer, Samuel Murphy - First School House and Early Teachers - Benjamin Franklin as a Land Owner in South Buffalo - Archibald McCall - Relics of Antiquity - Clinton's First Masonic Lodge in the County - Blue Slate Church - Slate Lick Congregation, from which Originated the First Presbyterian Church in the county - United Presbyterian Church of Slate Lick - Srader Grove Presbyterian Church - Academy and Other Schools - Temperance - Census Statistics - Geology.
THE DEPRECIATION LANDS.
THE major part - about three-fourths - of that part of this county on the north and western side of the Allegheny river consists of depreciation lands, a large tract appropriated by the act of assembly of March 12, 1783, for the redemption of depreciation certificates. Its boundaries, as specified in that act, were: Beginning where the western boundary of the state crosses the Ohio river, thence up that river to Fort Pitt, thence up the Allegheny river to the mouth of Mogulbuchtilon (Mahoning) creek, thence by a west line to the western boundary of the state, thence along it south to the beginning, of which three thousand acres opposite Fort Pitt and an equal quantity on both sides of Beaver creek, including Fort MacIntosh, were reversed for the use of the state. The surveyor district assigned to Joshua Elder consisted of the territory between the Allegheny river and a line extending due north from or near the mouth of Bull creek to the northern boundary of the depreciation tract, a portion of which, under a previous allotment of surveyor districts, had been embraced in Stephen Gapen's district.
The bills of credit issued both by congress and by this commonwealth depreciated between 1777 and 1781 from one to nearly one hundred per cent. The difference of opinion as to the degree of depreciation and the consequent cash value of those bills of credit, the chief portion of the money then in circulation, caused much confusion in the settlement of accounts between both individuals and public officers. The act of assembly of December 18, 1780, provided that the hereinafter mentioned certificates of depreciation, given to the officers and soldiers of the Pennsylvania line in the army of the United States in payment for their services, should be receivable at the land office of this state, equal to gold and silver, in payment of, if they should wish to purchase, unlocated lands, and the act of April 3, 1781, adjusted the scale of the depreciation of these bills of credit at from one and a half to seventy-five per cent, varying each month from 1777 to 1781, and in accordance with that scale certificates, called certificates of depreciation, were issued to those officers and soldiers for the indebtedness of the state to them. The above cited act of March 13, 1783, also provided that the unreserved portion of the tract of depreciation lands should be laid out thus: The surveyor-general, in accordance with such directions as should be given him by the supreme executive council, should cause it to be laid out into lots of not less than 200 and not more than 350 acres each, numbering them in numerical order. As soon as the whole tract, or a hundred lots of it, were surveyed, the surveyor-general, secretary of the land office and receiver-general were directed to sell them, in numerical order, at such times and places, and under such regulations, as should be prescribed by the supreme executive council. The amounts bid at these sales were to be paid into the receiver-general's office either in gold or silver or in those certificates; whereupon, and on the payment of the expenses of surveying and the fees of the different offices, patents should be issued to the vendees, and whatever specie the receiver-general thus received he was to pay into the state treasury for the purpose of redeeming such of those certificates as remained unsatisfied at the close of these sales. Three pounds and ten shillings, including the wages of chain-bearers and markers, were allowed for laying out and returning the survey of each lot into the surveyor-general's office, to be paid in specie before the patent could be issued. But very few lots or parcels of that depreciation tract were sold until after the passage of the act of April 3, 1792, respecting the provisions of which enough has already been given in the sketch of the Holland Land Company. (See Madison Township.)
Settlements on this side of the Allegheny river did not begin to be rapidly made until the latter part of 1795. Although the settlers were then safe from Indian hostilities, there was danger of intestine troubles, disturbances and conflicts among the settlers themselves in their eagerness to acquire inchoate titles to favorite tract of land. Hence it was that Judge Addison wrote to Gov. Mifflin, March 11, 1796: "The idea of a new county ought to be fixed and prosecuted as soon as possible. I dread the consequences of the flood of mad people who have gone over the Allegheny and Ohio to make settlements; their number is inconceivable, and they will, perhaps, be dangerous, unless law can be brought in among them. The establishment of a new county and a seat of justice there, with the additional number of officers that would be occasioned by that, would awaken and keep up a sense of submission, and have a good influence on conduct and tempers which other wise may give rise to some apprehensions." All the territory between those rivers and the western line of the state up to Lake Erie, the reader will remember, was then included in Allegheny county. In a previous letter to the governor, February 3, Judge Addison had intimated: "Indeed, I should think that in all the unsettled parts boundaries of counties and sites of county towns ought to be ascertained beforehand and purchases made of 600 or 1,000 acres to be laid out in in-lots and out-lots, and the profits to be applied to academies." Thus it will be seen the question of organizing a new county or new counties out of that territory had then begun to be agitated. That agitation may have awakened in David and William Todd the hope that the town, which they laid out a few months later, might become the seat of justice of some one of those prospective counties.
The reader's attention is now directed to a comparatively small part of that territory, to the comparatively small remnant of Old Buffalo, now embraced within the limits of South Buffalo township. Passing near to and above the northeasterly boundary line of Freeport, on the map of original tracts or lots as they are termed in the depreciation district, is a portion of No. 71 or "Friendship", 72 acres of which David Todd agreed, August 30, 1810, to sell to Jacob Weaver for $360. That written contract and payment of part of the purchase money in Todd's lifetime having been satisfactorily proven before the court of common pleas of this county, Henry A. Weaver, administrator of Todd's estate, in accordance with the provisions of the act of March 31, 1792, executed a deed to the purchaser, January 2, 1815. Jacob Weaver established a distillery on this parcel in 1812.
Hugh Brown, the early merchant at South Bend, on Crooked creek, near whose store David Todd had resided, having obtained a judgement against the latter before a justice of the peace, on which was issued a soire facias quoere erecutionem non to No. 16, September term, 1813, in the court of common pleas of this county, to Henry A. Weaver, Todd's administrator, on which judgement was confessed. The debt was $20.98, and the costs $8.93. A writ of fi. fa. or execution having been issued and no goods and chattels belonging to the defendant's estate having been found, Sheriff McCormick levied on his interest in No. 71, or "Friendship", in the hands of the administrator, and sold the same to Jacob Weaver for $500, his deed being dated December 22, 1814. The real quantity which Weaver acquired by that purchase appears from his subsequent conveyances to have been 65 acres, which and the 72 acres he had agreed to purchase from Todd in his lifetime, as above mentioned, amounted to 136 acres of "Friendship", which became vested in him in his own right, except an undivided half part of the 72-acre parcel which he held in trust for the wife and children of Henry A. Weaver, to which he applied $262.62 of the $400 which Peter Hobach, of Greensburgh, had deposited with his to invest for their use in such property as he should deem fit, having invested the remaining $137.78 in the purchase of in-lots Nos. 87, 93, 94 and 128 in Freeport. He afterward, April 6, 1818, conveyed his own undivided half that 72-acre parcel, except 2 acres conveyed to James Loughrie, to Henry Smith Weaver for $700, and all of the 65-acre parcel for $600. Thus it was that all of the latter and one-half the former became a part of Henry S. Weaver's estate, and the other half of the former a part of the estate of the wife and children of Henry A. Weaver, together with one-half of the profits arising from the distillery which Jacob Weaver had established thereon in 1811 or 1812 - he was first assessed with it in the latter year - and which continued to be assessed to Henry S. Weaver for several years after his purchase. That distillery was situated six rods below the Fifteen-mile point, on the river route of the road from Kittanning to Freeport. The first point after that Fifteen-mile one, mentioned in the report of the viewers, dated September 21, 1824, is "continued six perches to stillhouse," which was 147 rods above the then eastern line of the town of Freeport. All of the 65-acre parcel became vested in Mrs. Emily White, who, with her husband, John White, conveyed it to James B. and John Heagy, April 1, 1859, for $4,000. The other parcel remained undivided; proceedings in partition No. 34, September term, 1860, in the court of common pleas of this county, were had. This portion of real estate embraced in that partition was found, on a more accurate survey than had before been made, to contain 79 acres and 138 perches; not having been taken by any of the heirs, it was ordered to be sold. Sheriff Sloan conveyed it to Rev. William Galbreath, June 5, 1862, for $2,875.05, of which the latter conveyed 2 acres and 107 perches along the Kittanning and Freeport road and adjoining the Protestant cemetery to Bishop Dominec and his successors in trust for St. Mary's church of Freeport for the purposes of a cemetery, December 1, 1863, for $621, on which has since been laid out an appropriate and beautiful city of the dead. He conveyed 9 acres and 154 perches between the W.P.R.R. and the river and adjacent to the southeastern part of the borough of Freeport to Patrick Meenan, January 16, 1864, for $1,000, on which the latter has since laid out the town of Meenanville, which, according to the assessment list in 1876, contains nine taxables. The last conveyance of a portion of "Friendship" appears to have been of 4 1/2 acres on the Freeport and Kittanning road and Heagy's line to John Prager, April 20, 1866, for $325.
North of "Friendship" lay "Union", or No. 70, which extended westwardly to Buffalo creek. David Todd's undivided half of it having become subject to the liens of two judgments, one in favor of John Donaldson, for $9, and the other in favor of Francis Harbison, for $4.89, was sold in the hands of the administrator by sheriff McCormick on writs of vend. ex., and conveyed by him to George Armstrong, of Greensburgh, December 21, 1813, for $140. Armstrong's interest in it became subject to the lien of a judgment in favor of the Westmoreland Bank, for $2,350, passed under the sheriff's hammer, and was conveyed by Jacob Mechling, the then sheriff of this county, to William W. Gibson, September 12, 1827, for $260, who for the same consideration transferred it, January 1, 1828, to Andrew Arnold and James bole, and they, the same day, conveyed 120 acres and 42 perches of the west end to William Painter, for $400, and 91 acres and 128 perches of the east end to James, John and Lindsay Patterson, for $400, an instant gain of $540. The other half of "Union" became vested in Mrs. Armstrong, an heir of William Todd, and was sold in parcels by her and her husband, as heretofore mentioned.
Adjoining "Union" on the west was depreciation lot No. 35, called "Plombiers", which originally contained 201 acres, partly in Butler county, the patent for which was granted to Claudius Antonius Bertier, December 14, 1786, whose widow and heirs conveyed it to James Bole, April 12, 1815, for $700. Bold conveyed 101 acres of the east end to Thomas W. Carrier, October 27, 1815, for $562, having previously conveyed 100 acres of the west end, on which a sawmill was then erected, to William Girt. The eastern part of "Plombiers" must have become reinvested in Bole, though the records do not show how, for he conveyed it, together with 60 acres and 17 perches of depreciation lot No. 34, which Archibald McCall had conveyed to Daniel McBride, and the latter to Bole, November 26, 1818, and the undivided half of 107 acres and 50 3/10 perches, of "Union", which Armstrong had conveyed to Bole, January 27, 1829, to John A. Stearns, July 24, 1834, for $5,000, on the latter parcel of which James Bole, Jr., was first assessed with a sawmill, in 1816, and with a gristmill in 1819. Those three parcels were conveyed by Stearns to Benjamin F. King, April 30, 1840, and which King conveyed to Abner W. Lane as continuing 150 acres, more or less, January 1 ,1842, for $8.500, except the quantity that had been conveyed to James and Peter Clawson, on which were their salt-works, which were first assessed in 1837, and , including the grist and saw mills erected by Bole, Lane conveyed two acres of the McCall-McBride-Bole parcel to John M. Orr, July 30, 1858, for $600; portions of the three parcels which he had purchased from King, partly in Butler county, about 55 acres, including the mills, to John Hilnes and Samuel Kurtz, May 20, 1862, for $4,000; and a small quantity, excepting the ground on which the public schoolhouse No. 10 is situated, to A. & C. Mardorff, August 19, 1867, for $400, on which their tannery is located, with which they were first assessed in that year. Lane having died intestate, about December 29, 1868, letters of administration were granted to his widow, to whom an order was granted by the court to sell three small parcels, aggregating 6 acres and 76 perches, for the payment of debts, two of which, containing 2 acres and 65 perches, she sold for $325, and obtained an alias order for the sale of the other. Her letters of administration having been vacated, March 6, 1871, John Boyd was appointed administration de bonis non, who laid out the town of Laneville on such portions of the decedant's estate as remained unsold, April 14, Thomas Magill and J. G. D. Findley, surveyors, consisting of 53 lots of various shapes and dimensions, skirted on the east by the Butler branch of the West Pennsylvania Railroad, on the west by the Freeport and Butler turnpike, and traversed from north to south by Main street, and a public alley west of the street, which are intersected by an unnamed street about 42 rods north of the southern end of the plot of the town. Two several orders having been granted by the court to the administrator to sell those lots for the payment of debts, the first sale, May 28, aggregated $3,844, and the second one, July 13, $2,502.
The creek is spanned by an iron bridge at the lower or southern end of Laneville, it having been preceded by one or two wooden ones, which were swept away. By the act of January 13, 1840, the commissioners of this county were authorized to appropriate $500 out the county funds to aid in building a bridge across this stream where the Butler and Freeport road crosses it. The present is a county bridge.
The first separate assessment list for Laneville was in 1871, when it contained about a dozen taxables, one tannery, one miller and four laborers. The number of taxables in 1876 is nearly 40; laborers, 26; tanners, 2; carpenter, 1; cooper, 1; miller, 1; old man, 1; tinner, 1. Michael Conrad was this year first assessed with his brickyard on what is known as the brickkiln lot, about forty rods above the Freeport flouring-mill. This mill, with 63 acres of circumjacent land, became vested in C. M. Bird, after Lane's sale to Hilnes and Kurtz, from whom it passed by sheriff's sale, March 5, 1873, to Joseph B. Way for $5,300, who conveyed it the same day to Adolph Fisher, the present owner, for $4,400. It was then a three-story frame steam and water mill, with three runs of stone.
Next north or above "Plombiers" lay "Mount Joy", a tract containing 400 3/4 acres, partly in Butler county, for which a patent was granted to John Harbison, December 11, 1807. He had resided there before 1805, for in that year he was assessed with a sawmill, 200 acres of land, two horses and two cows, at $250. His gristmill was erected afterward, and was first assessed to him in 1812, with which he continued to be assessed until 1815. He, like other pioneer settlers, was dependent on his neighbors to aid him in erecting his mills, other buildings and dam. He was wont to say, in inviting them, that he wished they would bring their own provisions, except whisky, which he probably obtained from William Hazelett's distillery, which was not far distant, which was first assessed at $20 in 1807. His wife Massy frequently tended to mill. He conveyed 50 acres, including these mills, to Aaron Dyer, Jr., May 6, of that year, for $1,600, which Dyer, two days afterward, conveyed to Thomas W. Carrier, of Broome county, New York, for $2,500, with which he was assessed for several years, until the same were conveyed by Philip Mechling, sheriff, to William Ayres, of Butler, March 21, 1820, for $281, having been sold on a judgment in favor of John Harbison. Ayres leased this property for several years: To David Kirkpatrick from 1820 till 1824; to John Kelty from 1824 until 1832; to John Hoover from 1832 until 1833, and on October 2 conveyed it, with other 50 acres of "Mount Joy" which Wm. Colmer had conveyed to him February 1, 1832, to Joseph McLaughlin and Samuel Thompson as tenants in common, for $500. Those 100 acres and the gristmill were assessed to McLaughlin until 1843. He conveyed his undivided half of the land and mill to Asa Rowley, April 1, 1845, for $1,000. It was last known as the Rowley mill, but a few vestiges of which now remain, and only 36 acres of the land are now (1876) assessed to Rowley at $360. The old Pittsburgh and Kittanning road crossed the creek a short distance above that mill. Other portions of "Mount Joy" on the west side of the eastern bend in the Buffalo are now owned by Samuel Hepworth and L. Johnston, the former being assessed with 52 acres at $1,040, and the latter with 50 acres at $1,000. Massy Harbison released her dower for $30, and Benjamin, James, John and Thomas Harbison their interests for $30 in 18 acres of that part of "Mount Joy" east of the Buffalo, March 8, 1833, to James Patterson.
The southern one of the two tracts which skirted "Mount Joy" on the east was depreciation lot No. 69, called "Bar-le-Duc", 277 acres, the patent for which was granted to Claudius Antonius Bertier, December 14, 1786. This tract was named after an ancient and important town in France - Bar-le-Duc, or Bar-sur-Ormain, which is the chief town of the department of the Meuse. It is situated at the base and on the declivity of a hill, on the river Ormain, a tributary of the Marne, 125 miles east of Paris, and consists of an upper and lower town, the latter being the more modern and respectable of the two. Long after this tract was named from it, it became a railway station on the Paris and Strasburg line, and not far from which is the Marne and Rhine canal. A college, a normal school, an agricultural society, a society of the arts and a public library are some of its educational facilities. Its only building of mark is the half-decayed body in marble which originally formed a part of the Rene of Chalons, Prince of Orange. The castle which was the nucleus of the upper town was built by Frederick I, duke of Lorraine, in the tenth century. Louis XI got possession of the town and caused it to be fortified in 1474. It was dismantled under Louis XIV in 1670, but it still retains a few relics of its ancient works. An extensive traffic is there maintained in wines, wood and wool, and its manufactures of cotton stuffs, hats, hosiery, leather and confections are very extensive - its confections being especially noted. Its population in 1872 was 15,175. From 959 till 1354 the district of Bar was governed by a series of counts, and was then raised to a duchy, which was ceded to Rene of Anjou in 1419, and thereafter followed the fortunes of Lorraine. The motto of the dukes, which has been adopted by the town, was Plus penser que dire. Their coins were usually distinguished by two barrels.
Bertier's widow and heirs, by their attorney-in-fact, conveyed "Bar-le-Duc" to Jacob Weaver, April 10, 1815, for $1,500, 97 acres and 103 perches of which he conveyed to Andrew Patterson, December 23, 1816, for $529.25, and 155 acres to Jacob Mechling, September 4, 1823, for $750, which the latter devised to his son Jacob, and he conveyed 175 acres and 86 perches to Andrew R. Stewart, October 20, 1863, for $5,000. Near the center of "Bar-le-Duc" is the junction with Big run of one of its northwestern tributaries, which is about 25 rods west of the division line between the Mechling and Patterson parcels of that depreciation lot No. 69.
There was a vacant tract extending from a point opposite the mouth of the Kiskiminetas up the right bank of the Allegheny, nearly to the foot of the bend; thence westerly along the John Craig tract and depreciation lot No. 72 to the southwest corner of the latter, and thence by various courses and distances along "Bar-le-Duc" and "Union" to the place of beginning, which contained 95 acres and 31 perches, to which Andrew Patterson acquired title by settlement and improvement, probably made prior to 1800. He was a carpenter, and built the first dwelling-house in Freeport, adjoining the old blockhouse of Water street. The earliest assessment list for Buffalo township accessible to the writer is for the year 1805, when he was assessed as a wheelwright with 95 acres, at 25 cents per acres, and two cattle, amounting to $55.75. It is not clear to the writer just when he bored the salt-well about 225 roads above the Kiskiminetas, on this tract. An agreement was entered into between James, John and Lindsey Patterson with John and Thomas Robinson, April 26, 1825, by which the latter, as lessees of that well, agreed to put one pan in operation immediately, and a second one if there should be sufficient water, by January 1, 1826, and to pay as annual rent 100 bushels of salt for each pan, if the water yielded 20 bushels to each pan every 24 hours, and more or less in proportion to the yield. If the well should not produce daily 15 bushels to each pan, the lessees were immediately to bore to the depth of 75 feet if necessary, and if there were not then sufficient water they were to bore 125 feet deeper, with the privilege of quitting at the end of that or any future year, and remove the apparatus belonging to well and works. If the well should not yield more water than would be sufficient for one pan, the lessees were to pay as rent every fourteenth bushel of salt so made. They do not appear to have operated the well more than a year or tow. By his will, dated February 4, and registered September 19, 1832, he devised to his sons Andrew and John, respectively, the "undivided one-half of the land lying between the salt-works land and Craig's line." These works were assessed for the first time to "J.J.. & L. Patterson", in 1838, at $750, and to John and James for several years afterward, and were for awhile operated by Thomas Donnelly; 111 acres, partly of this tract and partly of "Bar-le-Duc", were not devised of disposed of by Andrew Patterson's last will, for the division of which a writ of partition was issued at No. 19, June term, 1852, in the common pleas of this county, which the inquest divided into four allotments, and, not having been taken at the appraisement, were sold by sheriff Watson, under an order of the court, December 6, 1852. "A", opposite the mouth of the Kiskiminetas, 35 acres and 80 perches, its lower line extending 108 and its upper line 123 perches back from the river, was appraised at $20 per acre and purchased by Rev. Wm. Galbraith for $561. "B", next above "A", 34 acres and 70 perches, its lower line extending 123 and its upper 136 perches back from the river, was appraised at $30 per acre, and purchased by John Patterson for $799. "C", next above "B", 34 acres and 20 perches, its lower line extending 136 and its upper 144 perches back from the river, was appraised at $40 per acre, and was purchased by Lindsey W. Patterson for $995. "D", 25 acres and 94 perches and salt-works, its lower line extending 34 and its upper 40 perches back from, and 102 perches by various courses and distances up, the river, was appraised at $5,500, and was purchased by John Patterson for $2,540. The Keystone Company located their two oil-tanks* near that salt-well in 1875, their capacities being, respectively, 8,000 and 3,000 barrels, into which oil was pumped from St. Joe, in Butler county.
Northeast of the Patterson tract and east of No. 72 lay the John Craig tract, 394 acres and 30 perches, to which he acquired title by the purchase of Samuel Paul's interest in it, October 2, 1794, for $90, and by settlement and improvement which he commenced in the summer of 1795. It probably attracted his attention while he was commandant of the blockhouse at Freeport. He brought with him that summer a two months' supply of provisions and built a cabin near a spring on the parcel now owned by L.W. Patterson. Craig, while returning to his home in Westmoreland county, met Charles Sipes, who was moving his family to this region. Not having a cabin of his own, he asked for and obtained leave to occupy Craig's until he could build one. On the arrival of Craig with his family, the next spring, Sipes declined to give up his possession of the cabin and survey. Craig encamped his family and built another cabin on the opposite side of the spring, and prosecuted Charles Sipes, Sr., No. 3, June sessions, in the court of quarter sessions of Allegheny county, and Charles Sipes, Jr., No. 4, same sessions, for forcible detainer. Those cases were tried at the next September sessions, and there was a verdict of guilty against the elder, and of not guilty against the younger Sipes. Still that litigation cost Craig about $100, which in the then great scarcity of money was a heavy burden to a pioneer in the wilderness. The war between those claimants of that tract was a very civil one, for they were, during the whole of their contest, on friendly terms, used the same springhouse for their milk, and their families shared with each other such rarities and delicacies as either obtained. Sipes removed soon after that trial on to another tract of land. Craig was assessed with two distilleries from 1808 till 1810. In his younger days he had belonged to what was then called "the flying camp". He was taken prisoner by the Indians, and was confined in a guardhouse on an island, sixty miles above Montreal, from which he was released after the surrender of Cornwallis. He was one of the earliest justices of the peace in this county, and resided upon and improved that tract of land until his death, in 1845, on which he was buried, being then almost a centenarian, with failing mind and memory.
Contiguous to the John Craig tract on the east was "Sugar Bottom", 109 acres, which became vested in Samuel Murphy, adjoining which on the east was "Bellemons", 205 acres, depreciation lot No. 76, the patent for which was granted to Joshua Elder, October 18, 1786, which Elder conveyed to William Todd, March 27, 1795, and which Todd conveyed to Samuel Murphy, April 18, 1798, for "L57 current money", on which the latter, with his family, soon after settled. His farm consisted of "Bellemons" and "Sugar Bottom". On the former, nearly opposite the foot of Murphy's island, in the field above the private road from the public road to the river, were vestiges of a circumvallations, which were quite distinct for many years after his settlement. its shape was nearly circular, with an opening to the river. The distance from one lune to the other was five or six rods. The parapet consisted chiefly of gravel and sloped from the top to the base, the latter being eight or ten feet wide, and enclosed about half an acre on which at a tree of considerable size had grown up. Pieces of crockery and copper kettles were found in the adjacent fields, and a tomahawk about thirty rods below it. An iron instrument, hollow, about eight inches long and one in diameter, probably a whistle, for it had an aperture for blowing in the middle, was exposed about forty years ago by the caving-in of the river bank at a depth of eighteen inches below the surface, not very far from the site of that circumvallation. The northwestern part of "Bellemons" and the central part of "Sugar Bottom" are traversed by Knapp's run, so-called from John Knapp, who built a cabin and resided on the upper part of it from 1822 until 1837, in single blessedness all those fifteen years. Whether it had any other name before it was thus christened is not manifest to the writer. James Mehaffey kept a store about seventy-five rods above the mouth of that run of the river bank, near the southeast corner of "Sugar Bottom", in 1792-3-4, in the vicinity of which old coins have been occasionally exhumed. "Bellemons" and "Sugar Bottom" have in later years been known as "Murphy's Bend".
Samuel Murphy conveyed 52 acres and 40 perches of "Bellemons" to Benjamin Murphy, April 20, 1839, for $1 and "natural affection". By his will, dated January 26, 1844, and registered November 4, 1851, he devised the residue of "Bellemons" and "Sugar Bottom" to his other sons, George P., James P., John and William, share and share alike, except the quantity of the latter tract which he had appropriated for a burying-ground, and for which he had executed a deed. They made partition among themselves and released to one another.
Samuel Murphy was born at Bullskins, Frederick county, Virginia, in 1756. As he informed Dr. William Denny, a son of Major Denny, who visited him a few years before his death, he first came to Pittsburgh to get a saddle which had been lent to Dr. Conolly, where he first met Major Denny, and passed the night with him at "Granny Myers", at Turtle creek. He accompanied the Earl of Dunmore's expedition as far as it proceeded in 1774. (The Earl, he said was "a large, full, red-faced man, who looked as if he lived high; was near him when, on foot among the men, he came to Hocking; saw him step into the water and wade the river with the unconcern of an Indian, rejecting the offer of a young sergeant to carry him over".) He served in the 8th Pa. regt. through the revolutionary war. He was captured by the Indians on the north fork of Salt river, in Kentucky, and taken by Simon Girty to an island in the St. Lawrence river, sixty miles above Montreal, in the fall of 1781. The Indians who had captured Col. Archibald Lochery, Capt. Robert Orr and Samuel Craig were there. John Craig used to relate, that Murphy, one quiet morning, jumped to the ceiling of the guard-room and gave the war-whoop, being incited to do so by the sentinel informing him, that if he would not mention it, he would tell him something that would make him very glad, Murphy having promised to keep the secret; the sentinel slowly whispered in his ear - "Cornwallis is taken!" Murphy then told the sentinel that he had dreamed it three nights in succession. When that event became known to the prisoners, that night, there was a boisterous jubilee among them.
Murphy rendered much and valuable service in defense of the frontier after the close of the revolutionary war and during the succeeding Indian war. In accordance with the act of assembly, passed January, 1792, providing for the defense of the frontiers of this commonwealth, Gov. Mifflin, on the 29th of that month, issued his circular to the lieutenants of Allegheny, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties, directing three defensive companies to be raised, which were to consist of not more than 228 non-commissioned officers and privates, each company to consist of one captain, one lieutenant and one ensign, to be appointed and commissioned by the governor, for sergeants, four corporals, two musicians and sixty privates, for the term of six months, unless sooner discharged, to commence on the 1st of March. Murphy was appointed ensign of the third company, which was directed to "be stationed at the Kittanning, ranging thence up and down the river". When the capture of Massy Harbison and her children became known, he and a squad of his company pursued the captors (?) the Kiskiminetas, but did not overtake them. The act of assembly of February 28, 1794, having provided for the defense of the frontiers, a company was raised in Allegheny county, of which (?) was appointed captain, Thomas Bell Patterson, lieutenant, and Samuel Murphy, ensign. Patterson resigned and recommended the appointment of his brother James in his place. Murphy was, however, appointed to fill that vacancy, and James was appointed ensign, March 1. Gov. Mifflin in his circular to them directed them to apply to their captain "for instructions to raise your complement of non-commissioned officers and men; and I rely upon your rendering all the assistance in your power in that respect, as well as upon your zeal and spirit in executing the other duties of your commission". Capt. Canny wrote to the governor May 2, 1794, from Pittsburgh: "Lieutenant Murphy and Ensign Patterson have been about three weeks away endeavoring to find men for the Allegheny company. Patterson has been tolerably successful. I have not heard from Murphy - he is in Fayette county. They must both be here in a few days" and they were. In his military journal, April 4, he states that Murphy had "been out since the 24th of March".
Captain, afterward Major, Denny, as stated by his son, was wont to say that "Samuel Murphy was the best soldier he ever knew". Often for several years after his discharge, he plowed the bottom portion of "Murphy's Bend" with a rifle on his shoulder. Dr. William Denny presents him as he saw him in August, 1849, thus: "I was taken by his two maiden daughters to the original cabin, a rod or two detached from the present family dwelling, where he sat on a chair in the middle of the puncheon floor, with his hot on, in his Sunday suit, which hung loosely upon him. It was evident that the noble and gigantic form was wasting away with age".
Adjoining "Bar-le-Duc" on the north was the Kincaid tract, 440 acres, on which James Kincaid made an improvement, November 14, 1793, and which was surveyed by Stephen Gapen on the 21st. Kincaid conveyed his interest in it to Samuel Kincaid, November 21, 1794, for $40; the latter to Col. Charles Campbell and John Denniston, July 16, 1795, for $80; they to Samuel Denniston and his wife, to whom the warrant was granted, August 25, 1796; and they to John B. Alexander, February 10, 1818, for $1,000. This tract having become vested in the Westmoreland Bank of Pennsylvania, which under its corporate seal, conveyed it to Hugh Y. Brady, John Kuhns and Morrison Underwood in trust for its creditors, who conveyed 318 acres of it to John Atkinson, April 27, 1831, for $1,470.75, of which he conveyed 100 acres to James B. Atkinson, February 24, 1848, for $2,000, and which the latter conveyed to James Ralston, November 29, 1855, for $3,000. John Atkinson died intestate in March, 1853. By subsequent proceedings of partition in the orphans' court of this county, the 156 acres and 103 perches which he had not disposed of in his lifetime were divided into two purparts. "A", containing 95 acres and 145 perches, was appraised by the inquest at $38.33 per acres, and taken thereat by James B. Atkinson, the eldest son. "B" containing 60 acres and 118 perches, appraised at $55.92, was taken by Robert Morris, of Freeport, in trust for his ward, George Atkinson, the second son. The western part of the latter purpart is traversed by Big run, on which the sawmill was erected by John Atkinson in 1842, and which, with 13 acres, was first assessed to Joseph Atkinson in 1859 at $239.
The assignees of that bank conveyed the other portion of the Kincaid tract as containing 205 1/2 acres to George Keener, January 23, 1833, for $1,007.47, who subsequently conveyed the same to James Hill and William Selkeld.
Passing on further west on the north of "Mount Joy" on both sides of the Buffalo and partly in Butler county lay a tract which had been occupied several years by Jacob Weaver, for which a patent was granted him March 10, 1817, on which, on the left or north branch of the creek, Robert McCormish built a gristmill in 1803-4, with which he was assessed until 1805, to Wm. Colmer in 1809-10, and which was thereafter assessed to Jacob Weaver until 1814. he conveyed 116 acres and 34 perches, with the mill, to Isaac Frantz, August 18, 1817, for $1,200. The adjoiners then were Isaac Hughes, Young's heirs, William Colmer and George Weaver. Frantz was assessed with the gristmill from 1815 until 1823. Adjoining that was another tract for which Jacob Weaver obtained a patent, October 6, 1823, of which he conveyed 150 acres to James and William McElwain, January 2, 1835, for $1,000, the former of whom was assessed with that mill until 1857. Their assignees, John George and John Irwin, conveyed 166 acres and 26 perches, not including the mill, to John Dampman, of Venango county, September 30, 1857, for $5,750, which then adjoined lands of Robert J. Hill, William Hughes and James Patterson, and the Kittanning road. The mill has not been in operation for several years. The building, a three-story frame of considerable dimensions, is still standing, opposite which on the right bank of the creek is Harbison station on the Butler branch of the West Pennsylvania Railroad.
The first schoolhouse within the limits of South Buffalo township was built in 1800 on this Weaver-McElwain-Dampman tract, about sixty rods west of Big run. The first teacher was James Clark, whose only surviving pupil is John Patterson. The second teacher was Evangelus Jones, one of whose pupils studied the German and another the Latin language. His only surviving pupils are James P. Murphy, James Patterson* and his wife, and John Patterson. The third teacher was Edward Gorrell** - commonly pronounced Girl - who taught the usual English branches of that period. His penmanship was excellent; the copies which he set looked like copperplate. The late William W. Gibson was one of his pupils. The only surviving ones are Jacob and John Iseman, Mrs. Martha Mechling, James Patterson and wife, and John Patterson.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin purchased 11 depreciation lots in Elder�s district No. 5 at sales of depreciation lands at the Merchants� Coffee House, Philadelphia, some of which he paid 1 penny and for some 2 pence an acre, for which patents were granted to him, November 1, 1787, which are noticed respectively below, 10 of which are in this township. By his will, dated July 17, 1788, he devised them and other property to his son-in-law, Richard Bache, who by his will, dated January 2, 1810, directed that all his property of whatever kind be divided into seven equal parts, and appointed David Lenox and Louis and Richard Bache his executors. Lenox renounced, and the other two acted. Bache devised and bequeathed as follows:
One-seventh of all his estate respectively to his executors and their survivors in trust for the children of his son Benjamin f. Bache; to his executors in trust for William Bache and Catherine, his wife, and their children; to Louis Bache; to Richard Bache; to his executors in trust for his daughters Elizabeth Franklin Hamond and her children; to his daughter Deborah Duane; and the remaining seventh to his daughter Sarah, wife of Thomas Sergeant. Richard Bache having authorized his executors to sell any or all of his real estate, they as testamentary trustees for the above-mentioned devisees and the other devisees, seven parties, and Randall Hutchinson, of Philadelphia, party of the eighth part, agreed upon a partition of those eleven tracts or depreciation lots. Eight of them, rectangular parallelograms, occupied a range extending from the eastern part of Butler county along the above-mentioned Weaver-McElwain-Dampman, Kindcaid, John Craig, and beyond �Sugar Bottom� and �Bellemons� tracts and lots on the south, and the other three, a range along the Allegheny river, as hereinafter specified. Those devisees and testamentary trustees conveyed their interests in these tracts or lot, October 29, 1814, to Randall Hutchinson, to the intent that he should, by seven separate deeds of even date with theirs to him, grant to them their several shares and allotments according to that partition, which was accordingly done. The two westernmost ones, �Preston�, 284 3/4 acres in Butler county, and �Kirkham�, 207 1/2 acres adjoining the Armstrong and Butler county line on the west, were conveyed by Hutchinson to these testamentary trustees in trust for the use and benefit of William and Catherine Bache and their children. Their daughter Sarah and her husband, Rev. Charles Hodge, D.D., one of the eminent professors in the Presbyterian theological seminary, at Princeton, New Jersey conveyed her interest in these two lost to William J. Duane, April 29, 1829, for $166.67. The other children of William and Catherine Bache also conveyed their interests in these two lots to Duane: Benjamin F. Bache, absent in the service of the United States at Pensacola, Florida, April 26, 1831, for $166.67; Catherine W. Bache to Duane, August 13, 1829, for $166.67. Duane conveyed his interest in �Kirkham� to John McLean, May 18, 1832, for $1,200, who conveyed it as containing 214 acres and 56 perches to Thomas King, October 7, 1853, for $6,340.
Hutchinson conveyed �Walton�, No. 63, adjoining �Kirkham� on the east, 207 1/2 acres, and �Poulton�, No. 64, adjoining �Walton� on the east, 207 1/2 acres, to those trustees in trust for the use and benefit of Mrs. Elizabeth Franklin Harwood, whose interest having become vested in A.A. Harwood, he and his wife conveyed the same to Duane, April 10, 1829, for $500. Duane conveyed 100 acres of �Walton� to Charles Gregory, March 10, 1830, for $400. Gregory, while a lad, had the good fortune to meet Capt. Hart while he was building one of his boats at Freeport, who, ascertaining that the lad wanted employment, and liking the disposition which he evinced, hired him. The money which he thus earned enabled him to make a start in his reasonably prosperous career through life. He erected a distillery on that parcel of land with which he was assessed from 1821 until 1823. Duane conveyed �Poulton� to George Grinder, April 23, 1833, for $1,100, who conveyed 103 acres and 123 perches of it to James Law, May 10, for $550.
Hutchinson conveyed �Wigan�, No. 65, 207 1/2 acres, adjoining �Poulton� on the east, and �Bolton�, No. 84, adjoining �Wigan� on the east, 207 1/2 acres to Richard Bache, who conveyed them to Duane, October 331, 1814, for $1,600, who conveyed �Wigan� to Andrew Srader, April 13, 1829, for $950, on which is the church edifice of Srader Grove Presbyterian church, members 40; Sunday-school scholars, 70; and �Bolton� to John Baker, May 1, for $900.
Hutchinson conveyed �Garstang�, No. 85, 181 1/2 acres, adjoining Bolton on the east, and �Clifton�, No. 86, 215 1/10 acres, adjoining �Garstang� on the east, to Louis Bache, who conveyed them to Duane, July 27, 1818, for $1,600.10; who conveyed �Garstang� to Abraham Boyd and Joseph Shields May 1, 1832, for $800, - Boyd was assessed with a tanyard from 1840 until 1846 - and �Clifton� to Patrick Duffy, December 20, for $1,000, and one-half of which the latter conveyed to John Duffy, March 13, 1833, for $500.
Passing to the Allegheny river, about 60 rods above Stewart�s run, is the western line of �Broughton�, No. 81, 209 7/10 acres, which Hutchinson conveyed to those testamentary trustees for the use of the children of Benjamin F. Bache, deceased, which they conveyed to Duane June 3, 1829, for $100, and which he conveyed to Walter M. Skelton, formerly of Fayette county, January 24, 1840, for $4,180, and the same day �Settle�, No. 82, 200 4/10 acres, adjoining �Broughton� on the east, for $4,000. Skelton gave mortgages on both tracts, on which there would have been due a balance of $1,882.50 on July 15, 1843, with interest from April, 1840. Duane, for reasons stated in a letter from Skelton to him, authorized Judge Buffington, by letter of attorney, June 9, 1842, to accept $1,200 in full satisfaction.
Hutchinson conveyed �Chorley�, No. 82, 204 acres, adjoining �Settle� and �Stephen�s Green� on the east and southeast, to those testamentary trustees for the use of Mrs. Sarah Sergeant, who conveyed it to Duane August 31, 1827, for $500, and which he conveyed to Enos McBride June 10, 1830, for $1,100. McBride laid out the town of Clinton on that part of �Chorley� in the deep southeastern bend of the river, consisting of 71 in-lots, most of which are 70 x 155 feet, and 4 out-lots, 2 of which are 280 1/2 x 153 feet, and the other 2 respectively 155 x 210 1/2 and 155 x 370 feet and a fraction more, which were surveyed in July, 1830. Water street, about 80 feet wide, extends the whole length of the town along the river. Washington, Franklin, Jackson, Olinda and Liberty streets, whose courses are from east to west, are intersected at right angles by First, Second and Third streets, - whose bearing is north 3 1/4 degrees west, - each 60 feet wide. The 24 upper lots appear like a separate plat, and are traversed by Fourth and Fifth streets, whose bearing is north 52 degrees west, which are intersected by two unnamed streets, whose bearing is north 38 degrees east, each 40 feet wide. The lots and streets cover an area of about 29 acres.
McBride sold most if not all of his lots, though deeds for but few of them are on record. The first separate assessment list was in 1834, which includes lots from No. 1 to 60 inclusive, assessed to almost as many persons, and all but eleven are noted as unseated. The following sales show the prices of the lots in various parts of the town: On June 27, 1832, McBride conveyed to James Stewart, lot No. 9, fronting on Washington, Franklin, Second streets, for $60; to Johnathan Porter, No. 28, fronting on Jackson and Olinda streets, between Second and Third, for $15; to Patrick Sherry, Nos. 35 and 37, fronting on Olinda and Liberty, between First and Second streets, for $11 and $10. On the 29th to Joseph Kenniston, No. 49, fronting on Water, Fourth and one of the unnamed streets, for $16. On the 14th of July to William W. Gibson No. 4, fronting on Water and Washington, between First and Second streets, for $20; on January 23, 1838, to Samuel Walker, No. 18, fronting on Franklin, Jackson and Second streets, for $24.
In 1843, this town contained five taxables, with the corresponding population, including three mechanics, viz.: Robert Graham, carpenter; Samuel Patterson, wagonmaker, and David Whitehead, cooper, and twelve seated lots. There appear to have been about twenty-eight taxables here in 1858, including three carpenters, one cooper, one shoemaker, and one stonemason. The people of Clinton then cherished a laudable ambition to improve their town, and a high appreciation of its eligible location. For the writer was informed by Samuel Murphy, whose business on the river made him cognizant of what transpired here during that year - he was afterward county superintendent - that shortly after the burning of the court-house at Kittanning, the people of Clinton held a meeting and adopted resolutions asserting that this was the proper location for the new county buildings. These proceedings were not published and the minutes of the meeting, if any were kept, do not seem to have been preserved. The late William Coyle, shortly before his death, also informed the writer that that meeting was held and those resolutions were adopted. One of the public schoolhouses of South Buffalo township was located, several years since, at the corner of First and Liberty streets, fronting the east side of the former and the north side of the latter. The Presbyterian church was organized here, with eleven members, by a committee of the Presbytery of Allegheny - now Butler - June 7, 1852. It was statedly supplied by the late Rev. George Carns, from 1853 until 1856. There were occasional supplied until 1864, and from then until 1866 Rev. D.W. Townsend was its stated supply, who was followed by Rev. David H. Sloan, as supply until 1869, when the Rev. J.H. Aughey was installed as pastor and continued until 1870. It was supplied by Rev. John J. Francis in 1871. The present pastor, Rev. David H. Sloan, after preaching statedly for a year, was installed in April, 1873. The present membership is sixty; Sabbath-school scholars. The first church edifice was erected, in 1850, jointly by the Presbyterians and Lutherans, each denomination having a half-interest and occupying it half the time for the following eight years. The corner-stone was laid, July 4, 1850, by Rev. David Earhart. The Lutheran church was organized by Rev. David Earhart, August 13, 1851, and had only occasional services after 1860, until the members connected themselves with other churches. The present church edifice is a neat frame structure 36 x 56 feet including a vestibule 9 feet wide.
It was begun in the fall of 1875 and completed in the spring of 1876, and is tastefully finished and furnished. The house and furniture cost about $2,500.
According to the assessment list for 1876, the number of taxables appears to be forty-four: Laborers, 19; boatmen, 2; old man, 1; farmer, 1; storekeeper, 1; stonemason, 1.
Owners of other parts of �Chorley� are William and Thomas Coyle and H. Sheridan. In the northeastern part of it is a stone-quarry.
Another purchaser of numerous lots and tracts of land in this and most of the other townships on this side of the Allegheny river, in this county, was Archibald McCall, of Philadelphia. Says Townsend Ward, in his �Second Street and its Associations�: �In 1762-3 Archibald McCall, the India merchant, built a house, still standing at the northeast corner of Second and Union streets. Its garden extended a considerable distance down the latter street, and was well stocked with various animals brought by his supercargoes from foreign parts, so that it was, in a manner, our first Zoological Garden�. McCall purchased immense quantities of land in various parts of this state, and having become embarrassed, he executed a deed of assignment for the benefit of his creditors, of all those lands to William Reed and Victor DuPont, July 2, 1817, which were subsequently reconveyed to him. So discouraged was he at one time during his embarrassment that he suggested the sale of his coal lands in the anthracite region for a trifling amount. His agent, however, urged him to retain them another year, which he did, and realized an independent fortune from the great and rapid increase in their value. His real estate transactions, on this side of the Allegheny in this county, were numerous and extensive until his death, as will be seen in the progress of this work through the townships in which his lands were situated. After his death his heirs conveyed forty-two parcels of them to the late William F. Johnston, April 13, 1856, for $30,000, and his other parcels to George A. McCall, U.S. Army, July 10, 1847, for $4,500, who purchased for James E. Brown and the late Dr. John Gilpin, as well as for himself. Though the legal title was conveyed to him, the equitable title was two-thirds in them, i.e. those three were equal owners.One of those parcels was depreciation lot No. 80, called �Mulberry Lane�, 239 1/10 acres, adjoining �Broughton� on the west and the Allegheny river on the south, the patent for which was granted to Joshua Elder, April 25, 1787, who conveyed to McCall and Alexander McDowell, March 17, 1797, and which Johnston had agreed, October 13, 1848, to sell to William Watson, who paid a part of the purchase money in this lifetime. By proceedings in partition, after his death, this land was divided into two purparts, which were taken by his son, Israel Watson, to whom the tract was conveyed by Johnston, September 30, 1863, for $1,400. The western part of this lot is traversed by a small stream, now called Stewart�s run. South Buffalo public schoolhouse No. 7 was situated among bowlders near the river bank on this tract before the site was changed to Clinton.
Next to �Mulberry Lane� on the west was depreciation lot No. 79, called �Gensing Hill�, which the commonwealth conveyed by patent to Joshua Elder, April 25, 1787, and which he conveyed to McCall and McDowell, March 17, 1797, which, in the settlement of their partnership accounts and division of unsold lands, made by Brown, Gilpin & Johnston, February 1, 1866, was allotted and conveyed to Gilpin.
Next west of �Gensing Hill� was depreciation lot No. 78, called �Les Chamettas�, 271 3/10 acres, the patent for which was granted to Joseph Mercier, June 12, 1789, whose administrator, Peter Barrier, conveyed it to John Woods, November 7, 1796, for L253 0s 10 3/4 d. Woods conveyed one-half of it to Archibald McCall, May 31, 1811, which became vested in the Bank of North America. Woods by his last will authorized his executors, Henry Woods, John McDonald and James Ross, to sell it. Ross, by virtue of a letter of attorney from that bank, dated May 20, 1834, and as surviving executor of Woods, conveyed the entire tract to John Hill, July 2, 1834, for $474. It is traversed from the northwest corner nearly southeast by a small stream now called Hill�s run. About thirty or thirty-five rods below its mouth is the mouth of a still smaller run, several rods above which, on the east side, a small clearing is visible from the cars on the Allegheny Valley road, on which Alexander Gordon, an old and experienced surveyor, informed the writer that a white-oak tree was felled in 1839 or 1840, and split, and that inside of it was found a smoothly cut notch, such as surveyors cut in line trees, in the wood that had grown, over which 368 concentric circles were counted, indicating that the notch had been cut in 1471 or 1472, twenty or twenty-one years before Columbia discovered America. By whom was it cut? By the Alligewi, or some prehistoric people? Jefferson Hill called the writer�s attention to some burnt stones and charcoal which he had found at the depth of about eight feet and fifteen feet or more back from where the river bank was not many years since. These ancient vestiges were developed in digging away the ground on the east side of Hill�s run for a gangway from his sawmill. The stones, as he found them, appeared to have been used instead of or for a hearth or fireplace. The charcoal appears to have been made from pine or other soft wood, and readily pulverizes on being pressed between the thumb and finger. About thirty rods above Hill�s run were the salt-works, which were first assessed to Hiram Hill, in 1837, and which continued to be operated by him, and some of the time by his brother Daniel, until 1872-3.
Contiguous to �Les Chamettas� on the west was depreciation lot No. 77, whose patent name, if it ever had one, has been dropped in the conveyances after the patent. It was one of the Joseph Mercier lots, which, like �Les Chamettas�, became vested in the Bank of North America and John Woods, the northern part of which, 125 acres, was conveyed by that bank�s attorney and Woods� executors, to John Isaman, April 21, 1836, for $400. Its southern part has had a greater variety of owners. It was conveyed as containing 138 8/10 acres, by the same attorney and executor, to Benjamin Willis, April 29, 1830, for $750, who conveyed it to Joseph a. Benton, March 25, 1842, for $2,400, who having become embarrassed, conveyed it in trust for the benefit of his creditors to his assignee, John Woods, of Freeport, January 21, 1843, who released it to him September 15, and which Benton, the next day, conveyed, as containing 172 acres, to Richard Renshaw, for $2,500, who conveyed 65 acres adjoining the river to Mrs. Eliza J. Bartholomew, March 2, 1852, for $2,400, 63 acres of which she and her husband conveyed to James Noble, April 13, 1854, for $2,650. Renshaw conveyed the other part of his parcel, 96 1/4 acres to Charles Saltmore, May 7, 1852, for $1,400.
Adjoining �Les Chamettas� and No. 77 on the north was another Mercier-Woods� lot, No. 87, called �Les Digrettes�, which James Ross, as attorney for the Bank of North America, and surviving executor of Woods, conveyed to Robert Rogers, November 3, 1834, for $700, 45 acres of which he conveyed to William Winterbun, November 19, 1850, for $825.
One of the earliest settlers within the limits of South Buffalo township was Stephen Mehaffy, who had been for several years in the military service in the defense of the frontiers, as a spy or scout from, perhaps, before 1790, at times until the organization of the three companies for frontier defense, under the act of assembly of February 28, 1794, when he was appointed ensign of the Westmoreland or third company, vice James McComb, who had resigned. He was assigned to the force or detachment under the command of Capt. Eben Denny, for carrying into effect the act for establishing the town of Presqu� Isle. Capt. Denny wrote to Gov. Mifflin, April 25, 1794, from Pittsburgh: Ensign Mehaffy, from Westmoreland, had the direction of the state troops, two sergeants, two corporals and forty-three privates, and the volunteers, consisting of one captain, one lieutenant, one ensign and thirty men. In Denny�s military journal, April 21: Ensign Mehaffy came in with his quota from Westmoreland. They marched alone with Miller�s men, each with a sergeant, corporal and twenty men. They will join the volunteers next morning. Lt. Miller returned to Washington to recruit. The state troops under Mehaffy, 43; sent with boats, 4; volunteers, 32; total in Mehaffy�s command, 79. On Denny�s arrival at LeBoeuf, June 24, he entered in his journal: Ensign Mehaffy and his detachment we found fenced in. The quarters of the men who were here before us and the whole place in the most abominable and filthy condition, and one-third of the men ill with the flux. * * * He noted in his journal July 19: Ensign Mehaffy with six men started for Pittsburgh with dispatches, and with orders to bring us on a supply of provisions. July 27: Ensign Mehaffy with his party, with thirteen head of very small cattle, and a few horse loads of flour and whisky, ten in number. November 17: Left Ensign Mehaffy, Quartermaster McCutcheon and nineteen men, and embarked with the rest of my command in boats for Pitt. After his arrival at Pittsburgh, January 4, 1795; Ensign Mehaffy and Ensign McCutcheon, with the men left at LeBoeuf, arrived and were discharged the next day.
Mehaffy, after having served as a scout along the Allegheny river, after his discharge from that detachment, until danger from hostile Indians was over, settled on a tract, 411 1/2 acres, adjoining �Chorley�, �Settle� and �Broughton� on the north, June 4, 1801. It had probably attracted his attention while serving as a scout, a patent for which - 253 acres and 73 perches - is called �Stephen�s Green�, dated April 5, 1811. According to the first survey the whole contained the abovementioned quantity, but, like all the original tracts, it probably contained a considerable surplus.
Mehaffy conveyed his inchoate interest in 212 acres of the west end of the original survey to William Freeman, December 17, 1800, for L5, which the latter conveyed to John Sloan, May 22, 1806, for the same consideration.
Mehaffy conveyed 37 acres and 42 perches of �Stephen�s Green� to John Reamer, October 9, 1810, whose interest therein was sold by Sheriff Robinson to James Monteith on Vend. Ex. No. 49, September term, 1821, for $71.
Mehaffy conveyed 42 acres and 63 perches thereof to Jacob Christman, April 30, 1811, for $150, on that part of which, traversed by Nicholson�s run, the latter erected a gristmill which was first assessed to him in 1813, to Andrew Brown first in 1817 and last in 1820.
Mehaffy conveyed the residue of �Stephen�s Green� to his son Robert, June 12, 1828, for $70, natural affection and the payment of several debts of record, and for the further reason that he had become too infirm to take proper charge of his estate.
During the Indian hostilities, about 1790, a blockhouse was built at the mouth of the stream afterward called Nicholson�s run, which Henry Truby remembers having seen in his boyhood. It was about 20 x 25 feet, constructed of round logs, with a puncheon door and loft-floor several inches thick, and with port-holes on all sides about six feet above the ground.
James Dougherty settled in this vicinity in 1809, and seems to have acquired titles to about 165 acres, now in the occupancy of his descendant, Joseph Dougherty, and by Joseph Atkinson, who built his sawmill on Dougherty�s run. James Dougherty came from Westmoreland county, and brought with him into what is now South Buffalo township the first wagon ever owned within this part of its territory. He erected the first windmill in this region, which was located west of the blockhouse, was visited by many people on Sundays, and which was then considered a great curiosity, and he made hatchets and nails from wrought iron, the latter of which were used for saddlers� tacks.
At or below the mouth of the run, now called Nicholson�s, an Indian trail crossed the Allegheny river and extended along the ridge northwesterly to a point a short distance north of Penny�s Point - so called from James Penny to whom a tract in the western part of what is North Buffalo was surveyed in or about 1794 in the Buffalo creek, and thence across the creek to the upper Allegheny region.
Opposite �Stephen�s Green�, in the Allegheny river, is an island, for which a warrant was granted to the late George Ross, September 20, 1810, and the patent, May 16, 1816, then containing 26 acres and 5 perches, which Ross conveyed to Andrew Brown, August 6, 1818, for $500, and which Philip Mechling, sheriff, conveyed to �James Pinks & Co., of Kittanning�, June 23, 1820, for $126.12 1/2, having sold the same to them on a judgment in favor of Ross against Brown for $100 of debt and $2.47 of costs. The purchasers were James Pinks and James Monteith, his undivided one-half of which the former conveyed to the latter, July 29, 1825, so that this island was included in the latter�s devise to his daughters - Mary, afterward ad intermarried with William F. Johnston, and Nancy, intermarried with Dr. John Gilpin, to whose estates it still belongs. It and the run and the falls of that name are said to have been so called after one Nicholson who early made a settlement on the run. James Nicholson - spelled Nichelson - was assessed with 200 acres in Buffalo township in 1806, but not before or after.
If the reader could take a glance at the map of original tracts, he would see on it a tract of 414 acres and 133 perches, adjoining �Stephen�s Green� on the west and �Mulberry Lane� and �Gensing Hill� on the north, bearing on its face �Abram Leasure or John Truby�, with which Leasure appears to have been assessed as a settler at 40 cents an acre prior to 1805 and afterward as an improver at 50 cents an acre, the tax on 100 of which was to be paid by Henry Brough, as noted on the assessment list for the year 1810. It was surveyed to Truby, June 27, 1810, by Isaac Moore, deputy surveyor - 421 acres and 93 perches. Truby continued to be assess with 100 acres until 1817, when the list shows this parcel was transferred to Conrad Hollabough, to whom it was assessed for one year.
Truby entered into an agreement, February 10, 1812, to convey 100 acres of this tract, on which he them lived, to Hollabough and George Shearer for $260, including an �improvement known as Henry Brough�s�. Truby was to have possession on the 1st of the next April, and the vendees were to pay $30 in money before the execution of the article of agreement, a certain mare, saddle and bridle, and one heifer, which the vender was to take from them at the valuation to be placed upon them by two honest and judicious neighbors on or before the 1st of April, and the vendees were to pay the further sum of $20 on the 1st of the next October, and the residue in four equal annual payments, the first of which was to be made on April 1, 1813.
None of those occupants seem to have perfected his title. A patent for it, as containing 423 acres and 87 perches, was granted to Daniel Bush, September 5, 1820, who conveyed about 20 acres to Jacob Bush, April 5, 1825, and he to Sebastian Spangler as 21 acres and 79 perches, February 28, 1834, for $64.50, and he to James Arp, the same quantity, April 5, 1850, for $252. David Bush conveyed 100 acres and 47 perches to George Shearer, April 5, 1825, for $550, and 109 acres and 29 perches of his tract to Andrew Bush, December 5, 1825, for $450. John Shearer, as devisee of George Shearer, 200 acres and 47 perches to James H. Reddick, December 15, 1851, for $1,600.
North of �Stephen�s Green�, on that map, is a tract containing 361 1/2 acres, one parcel of which, adjoining the river - 253 acres, 119 perches - were surveyed by Stephen Gapen to John Green September 12, 1789, which adjoined another parcel on the south which had been previously surveyed to Green, bearing the name of William VanDyke, and with which he was assessed, probably several years, before 1805. It was assessed to his executors as an improvement in 1806; then to Barbara Van Dyke until 1809; then to George VanDyke until 1815, and then to the heirs of William VanDyke until 1820, when George was assessed with 475 acres. Nicholson�s run flows southeasterly through the central part of it, and crosses the line between it and �Stephen�s Green�, about 100 rods west from the river. The entire tract remained in the possession of the VanDyke heirs for many years. From recitals in some of the conveyances of portions of this tract, it appears that these heirs, some time prior to 1837, it is not apparent from the records just when, conveyed 233 acres and some perches of the eastern portion to William Bitts, Sr., and by agreement of the vendor and vendee the patent was issued to Archibald McCall, who conveyed to Bitts, to whom a warrant of acceptance was issued for 158 acres and 22 perches August 29, 1837, and the patent the same day. Bitts conveyed the last-mentioned quantity to John D. Bitts November 13, 1838, for $600, which the latter in his lifetime agreed to sell to Andrew McCaslin for $1,000. A part of the purchase money having been paid in Bitts� lifetime, and he having died without executing a deed, his administratrix, by virtue of the decree of the proper court, executed on February 26, 1853, which was delivered on payment of the unpaid balance of the purchase money. McCaslin was first assessed with this parcel of land in 1846, and with the gristmill, which he erected on it, in 1849, and with his sawmill in 1853. He conveyed 30 acres and one-half of the gristmill to Eliza McClelland February 15, 1856, for $1,800. In that year the assessment on the gristmill was increased $250 for the addition of steam. The next year George McClelland was first assessed with one-half of the mills.
William Bitts conveyed 133 acres of what he had purchased from the VanDyke heirs to George B. Sloan November 15, 1847, which the latter conveyed to John Boyd September 9, 1856, for $1,700, with reservations respecting coal and lime.
The McVille postoffice was established here May 5, 1864, Robert McCaslin postmaster. The same year John Boyd opened his store about 35 rods northwest of the steam mill on the west side of Nicholson�s run. The first and only resident clergyman at McVille is Rev. Jacob F. Dean, Baptist, who settled here in 1868.
The heirs of Elizabeth, widow of George VanDyke, conveyed 75 acres and 146 perches of the southern part of the original tract to Jacob Shoop, of Freeport, January 11, 1851, for $911, which Shoop conveyed to Joseph Spangler September 26, 1851, ten acres of which Spangler conveyed to George McClelland April 20, 1863, for $150.
Next above or north of that VanDyke-Bitts tract is one on that map containing 440 acres, the south-western part of which is traversed by Nicholson�s run, and the northeastern part is in what is now North Buffalo township, being in shape almost a scalene, the township line and the original northern and northeastern boundary lines of the original tract giving that portion such a form, and which was clamed by Jacob White as early as 1794. �The heirs of Steele Semple and Samuel Massey� are inscribed on it. It is not apparent how Semple acquired any title to it. Robert Fleming gained an interest in it by early settlement - before 1805 - which was sold by John Orr, sheriff, and conveyed by him to Samuel Massey, June 20, 1808, under a judgment in favor of Mark Kelly against Samuel Dickenson, as Fleming�s administrator. Massey conveyed it to Samuel S. Harrison, June 1, 1815, who conveyed it to Philip McCue, as per agreement with Charles McCue, August 23, 1818, for $200. It was conveyed as the property of McCue and as containing 400 acres more or less by Robert Robinson, sheriff, on a judgment in favor of William Coulter to Alexander Colwell, September 13, 1823, for $84, who conveyed it to Francis Duff, February 5, 1824, for $270. A comparatively small portion of it is now owned by Duff�s heirs. Among other owners of other portions in this township are Philip Mechling, Wm. Hartman and A. Decker. As far back as 1836-7 Duff and White had occasional disputes about their respective lines. Duff conveyed a parcel of it to James Hartman, March 4, 1840; Hartman to James, and he to James Long; James Long to Charles Long, 3 acres and 20 perches, August 20, 1842, for $200, who reconveyed it to James Long, November 14, 1850, for $____, and he to H.N. Lee, November 14, 1850, for $____, and Lee to Robert S. Connor, the present owner, January 2, 1860, for $1,000.
Glancing at a map of the connected surveys made by Deputy Surveyor Stephen Gapen in 1793-4, the territory on this side of the Allegheny river and below the line between the donation and depreciation lands in this county and a part of the adjoining territory in Butler county, being then in his, that is, the eighth surveyor district, contiguous to �White�s Claim�, i.e., the above-mentioned Fleming-Massey-Harrison tract, on the west is seen the Richard McCall tract, 402 acres and 112 perches, the eastern part traversed by Nicholson�s run and the central by a western tributary to that run. Adjoining it on the south is the Jasper McCall tract, 408 acres and 50 perches. On the south of the greater it is the John Bell, Jr., tract, 292 acres and 139 perches, through the central part of which flows a run southeasterly, and south of which is a portion of �Stephen�s Green�. Immediately west of these several last-mentioned tracts are seen two others, the southern one David Todd, 412 acres, and 117 acres; the northern one John Rambo, containing the same quantity as the Todd one, both traversed by what is now called Knapp�s run. Adjoining these last-mentioned two tracts on the west are those of John Jackson, Jr., James Mehaffy, William Todd and John Scott, tracts whose boundaries and quantities are not given. West of the last-named is Samuel Paul tract. North of it is the Peter McCall tract, 406 acres and 100 perches, very near the center of which is the sharp southeastern bend in Pine run, with Peter Pieper a short distance above its northern line. West of it and the Samuel Paul is another David Todd tract, 411 acres and 90 perches, traversed by Buffalo creek and adjoined on the west by depreciation lost No. 148, also traversed by Buffalo creek, and No. 149. A considerable portion of territory north and northeast of this Todd tract appears to be vacant, though not so mentioned. The inchoate titles to those tracts acquired by Gapen�s surveys do not appear to have been consummated. So passing from the Gapen surveys to the other mentioned map of surveys or original tracts, which are the purveys made by Joshua Elder in the fifth surveyor district, in place of the Richard McCall, is seen the Patrick McCue tract, 437 acres and 33 perches, called �Wood Lawn�, the patent for which was granted to Archibald McCall and McCue, July 30, 1806. The latter settled on and improved it prior to 1805. It is probably, though the records do not who it, that he and McCall made partition of the tract and released to each other. McCall�s heirs conveyed 240 acres of it to William McIntire, October 4, 1845, for $565. The latter conveyed 70 acres of his parcel to James McIntire, February 14, 1848, for $700, and 170 acres, except the ground which he had reserved for a public schoolhouse, to John Step, September 4, 1850, for $2,000. McCue was assessed with 250 acres of it was held by patent until 1812, but what disposition he made of his interest therein is not apparent from the records. He was assessed with another parcel of 368 acres as held by �improvement� in and after 1810. Somewhat east of the center of that McCall-McCue tract is the junction of a small western tributary with Nicholson�s run.
Next south of �Wood Lawn� is seen on the later map the McCall-Stoup tract, called �Concordance�, in place of the Jasper McCall one on the Gapen map. It was settled by Vensel or Wendel Stoop before 1805, and the patent for 403 acres and 107 perches was granted to him and Archibald McCall, February 3, 1809. Stoup conveyed 15 acres of his part to Sebastian Spangler, May 2, 1828, for $37.50. McCall�s portion was included in his transfer to DuPont, who released 200 acres to Samuel Ferguson, June 20, 1831, for $1.
Next south of �Concordance�, on the later of the two last-mentioned maps, is seen the Frederick Razer and A. McCall tract, 313 acres and 104 perches, called �Mount Hope�, the greater part of which was included in Gapen�s survey to John Bell, Jr. Razer�s improvement began in August, 1793, and the patent for which was granted to Razer and McCall, February 6, 1809, who made partition of it between themselves, and McCall conveyed 165 acres of it to Razer, May 23, 1813, and Razer conveyed the remaining 148 acres to McCall, June 21. Razer conveyed 165 acres and 104 perches to John Reamer, June 21, 1813, for $828.12 1/2, which Robert Robinson, sheriff, sold to Samuel S. Harrison on pluries ven. ex., No. 55, March term, 1823, in the common pleas of this county, for #280, which the latter conveyed to Hugh and James Forrester, April 2, 1833, for $500, of which about 50 acres were then cleared, �with a cabin house and cabin barn�. Hugh Forrester conveyed all his interest in these 165 acres to Stephen Forrester, January 8, 1859, for $1,100, and on the same day the widow, administrator and administratrix of James Forrester released to Stephen all their interest therein, to whom it still belongs.
On the west of �Mount Hope� lay the McCall and James Clark tract, 412 acres and 87 perches, called �Temperance�, included in Gapen�s survey to David Todd, the patent for which was granted to McCall and Clark May 16, 1807. Clark�s settlement and improvement began several years before, by virtue of which the tract was surveyed to him and McCall May 7, 1805. �Temperance� was included in the transfer from McCall to DuPont, and in the re-transfer from DuPont to McCall, the latter conveyed 100 acres to William Vandike, June 20, 1836, for $____, which, with two other parcels, one which he had purchased from Sype, a part of �Temperance�, and the other, which was a part of �Mount Pleasant�, aggregating 138 acres and 125 perches, which by his will, registered May 12, 1847, he devised to his children, by whom the same was conveyed to Hiram Vandike, March 21, 1868, for $4,000. McCall conveyed 97 acres and 47 perches of �Temperance� to William Sipe, June 25, 1837, for $59.75, and he conveyed 12 acres and 122 perches to William Vandike for $62. Clark�s interest in 120 acres of �Temperance� was conveyed by Samuel Hutchison, sheriff, on a judgment in favor of Nathaniel Torbett�s administrator to James Clark, Jr., September 20, 1836, for $200, 68 acres and 96 perches of which he conveyed to William Vickers, June 10, 1841, for $300, and which the latter conveyed to George Hill, July 15, 1847, for $550. James Clark, the younger, conveyed 80 acres and 152 perches to Jacob Best, February 1, 1825, for $320, which had been devised to him, a part of which he had sold to John Clark, which the latter had agreed, March 2, 1824, to sell to Best.
Adjoining �Temperance� on the north was the McCall and Enos McBride tract, 410 acres and 14 perches, called �Mount Pleasant�, included in Gapen�s survey to John Rambo. The warrant for it was granted September 7, 1808, and the patent to McCall and McBride, February 6, 1809. McBride�s improvement and settlement began in April, 1796, and it was surveyed to him by George Ross, September 13, 1801. McCall and McBride having made partition of �Mount Pleasant� between themselves, the former conveyed to the latter 205 acres of it, September 2, 1809, and the latter to the former the remaining portion at or about the same time. McBride and Isaac Frantz traded lands on or before October 15, 1823. McBride conveyed his 205 acres of �Mount Pleasant� to Frantz for the latter�s 118 acres, on which he then resided, and a carding-machine. Frantz conveyed the 205 acres to which he had thus acquired title to Jacob Frantz, December 23, 1823, for $1,862.76, about two-thirds of which consisted of a certain writing obligatory which Jacob held against Isaac.
McCall conveyed 50 acres of �Mount Pleasant� to John Graham, October 22, 1841, for $450. McCall�s heirs conveyed 168 acres and 140 perches to William B. Clymer and Amos N. Mybert, August 7, 1858, and Mybert conveyed his moiety to Clymer, October 7, who conveyed the entire parcel to William McCain in March, 1859, for $411.40, 60 acres of which the latter conveyed to Joshua Nickle, June 1, 1859, for $600.
Adjoining �Temperance� on the west was a tract, 438 acres and 40 perches, for which a patent was granted to John Sloan, of Derry township, formerly sheriff of Westmoreland county, March 31, 1813, which appears to have included portions of the earlier surveys by Gapen to John Scott and William Todd, to a part of which James Sloan had acquired a right by settlement. William Sloan was assessed with the entire tract as early at least as 1805. On August 21, 1818, John Sloan conveyed 40 acres to Charles Sipe, for L50; 32 acres and 48 perches to Abraham Lowman, for $226; and 284 acres, exclusive of James Sloan�s part, then adjoining Conrad Colmer, William Sloan, James Steel and others, to Mrs. Lavinia Culbertson, Mrs. Martha Orr and Mrs. Ann Ralston, for $1,704. On June 17, 1829, the three last-named vendees with their husbands, Alexander Culbertson, Samuel C. Orr and William Ralston, conveyed 77 acres and 6 perches adjoining the lands of Monteith�s heirs and William Sloan, Sr., to George Best for $308.17; 94 acres and 19 perches to Henry and Jacob Keener for $376; and 117 acres and 84 perches to George Isaman for $466.21.
The St. Matthew�s Evangelical Lutheran church was organized by Rev. David Earhart, in 1846. It was i8ncorporated by the proper court, June 22, 1848. The trustees named in the charter, to serve until the third Saturday in March, 1849, were Rev. David Earhart, John Myers, George Grinder, George Baker and Jacob Somers. The church edifice, about 25 x 38 feet, frame with clay filling between studs, and hence called �the mud church�, was erected during Rev. Earhart�s pastorate on 80 square perches, �part of a tract patented to John Sloan, March 31, 1813�, which George Isaman conveyed to the church, December 18, 1848, for $10.*** The number of members in 1876 is forty-eight. The ground of the graveyard was cleared by Charles Sipe, Sr., in 1796, and put in corn. It is recited in the deed from William Sloan to Samuel Sloan, September 8, 1845, for 3 acres and 48 perches, for $13.80 �and natural affection�, that Mrs. Culbertson and others had conveyed the parcel purchased by them from John Sloan to William Sloan, and which is reiterated in the latter�s will, dated January 15, 1847, and registered April 21, 1849. As their deed to him is not on record, and as they conveyed nearly the same quantity, which they had purchased from John Sloan, to their other vendees, there is an ambiguity in that recital which the records do not explain. A small parcel, 10 acres, of the John Sloan tract, which William Sloan devised to his son Samuel, has been several times transferred since that devise, with considerable variations in price. Samuel Sloan conveyed it to Isaac Aker, March 30, 1859; Aker to Stephen Stokes, March 31, 1863, for $600; Stokes to Maria Daniels, in 1864; Daniels to James C. Edwards, October 2, 1866, for $1,200; and the latter to William Sloan, March 1, 1873, for $1,700, on which is �Ginger Hill�, so called from a ginger-cake shop that was kept here on the public road many years ago, about 75 rods northeasterly from which, or where there was a blacksmith shop in and after 1860, is the public schoolhouse No. 5, called the Sloan schoolhouse****, where the elections in this township are held.
Immediately west of that John Sloan tract lay another one in his name on the Lawson and Orr map of surveys, 282 1/4 acres, and adjoining it on the north and west - seeming to be carved out of its original area - is another 155 acres and 120 perches, in the name of John Sloan, included apparently in Gapen�s surveys to Samuel Paul, John Scott and William Todd.
Contiguous to those last-mentioned Sloan tracts on the west were the two Colmer, or Coleman, tract, including most of the Gapen survey, to Paul, and about half of his survey to Peter McCall. The southern one, 383 acres and 3 perches, adjoined �Bolton�, �Wigan� and �Poulton� on the south, on which Abraham Comer made an improvement in August, 1793, an actual settlement in October, 1795, which was surveyed to him by George Ross, deputy surveyor, May 8, 1801, to whom the warrant was granted, January 15, 1802, which he conveyed to John Craig, November 3, to whom the patent was granted June 30, 1804, 81 acres and 84 1/2 perches of which Craig conveyed to Nicolas Isaman, May 10, 1806, for $271, and another portion of it to Conrad Colmer, May 16, 1806, who devised it to his son, George Colmer, he to John Sheaffer, May 17, 1817, he to Philip Heckman, January 22, 1822. There was a conveyance from Heckman to Michael Fry, whose administrator, Peter Philipi, conveyed it to Robert Morrison, September 19, 1836, he to William Carson, March 16, 1846, whose agent, John Carson, conveyed 119 acres and 148 perches to Stephen Stokes, April 3, 1849, for $2,200.
The Conrad Colmer or Coleman tract, 385 acres and 115 perches, called �Cole Mount�, was probably settled and improved by him in or about 1795. The patent for it was granted to him and McCall, May 11, 1807. They having made partition between themselves, Colmer by his will, dated November 8, 1809, and registered June 14, 1813, devised the 100 acres on which his second son, Abraham, then resided, to him, who conveyed the same, as containing 99 acres, to John Craig, July 11, 1814, for $400. Conrad Colmer also devised to his third son, Daniel, that portion of his purpart then, i.e. at the date of his will, occupied by the latter, to whom DuPont, by his attorney J. C. McCall, released his and the McCall interest therein, September 5, 1820, and on October 31 Daniel conveyed 120 acres to Catherine Colmer and George Holebach, for $600, which Holebach conveyed to James Tracy, of Ohio, November 19, 1827, for $650.
One hundred and seventy-one acres and 36 perches of �Cole Mount� were included in the purchase from McCall�s heirs by William F. Johnston for himself and for Brown & Gilpin.
Adjoining �Cole Mount� and the Abraham Colmer tracts on the west was the McCall and Nicholas Myers tract, 442 acres and 36 perches, called �Mount Charles�, 442 acres and 36 perches were surveyed them, May 9, 1805, by virtue of actual settlement and improvement. The patent to McCall and Myers is dated July 30 in that last-mentioned year. They having made partition between themselves, McCall by his attorney, Thomas Collins, conveyed 125 acres to Myers, April 6, 1808. Eli Myers was assessed with a gristmill in 1811 and 1812, which was, perhaps, on this parcel of �Mount Charles�. McCall�s heirs conveyed 298 acres and 115 perches to William F. Johnston for himself, Brown and Gilpin, which then (1846) adjoined lands of John Beatty and George Todd.
William F. Johnston conveyed 100 acres and 8 perches of the McAll purpart of �Mount Charles� to William Bickett, November 16, 1853, for $700.35, which the latter conveyed to Charles McCafferty, October 5, 1855, for $1,800. Martin Wackerlie purchased a portion of �Mount Charles� some twenty or more years later, and John W. Johnston, attorney-in-fact, and John Gilpin conveyed 22 acres and 3 perches to George Otterman, January 1, 1875, for $264. Wackerlie conveyed 105 acres to Barnet Step, February 26, 1875, for $1,867.67.
On the west of the southern part of �Mount Charles� lay a tract, the warrant for which was granted to Aaron Wor, and which contained 214 acres and 105 perches, 209 acres and 145 perches of which were surveyed to Nicholas Myers, May 9, 1805, by virtue of improvement and settlement, the patent for which was granted to him February 7, 1815, who conveyed it to his son, John Myers, February 5, 1835, for $1,000, who still occupies it.
North of the Wor tract and west of the northern part of �Mount Charles�, lay the depreciation lot No. 149, 234 acres and 8 perches, the patent for which was granted to Joshua Elder, May 9, 1791, which, at least a part of it, having become vested in George A. McAll, he conveyed 125 acres and 80 perches to George Todd, May 1, 1838, for $1,004, with which he was first assessed in that year.
Next north of No. 149, lay depreciation lot No. 150, 235 acres and 8 perches.
Immediately north of the last-mentioned tract lay the depreciation lot No. 152, 235 8/10 acres, called �Le Cher Maurin�, partly in Butler county, was included in the patents to Peter B. Audibert, and in his sales to Lewis A. Dupuy, and of him to Maguire and Donath, of which John Gilmore, attorney-in-fact for Donath, and the executrix and executor of Maguire, conveyed 20 acres to David Bricker, April 1, 1836, for $120.
Immediately east of No. 150 lay depreciation lot No. 145, 314 acres and 8 perches, divided by Buffalo creek, there being about an equal portion of the tract on each side of the deep northwestern bend. A portion of it and portions of its southern adjoiners, �Mount Charles� and �Cole Mount�, appear to have been included in Gapen�s survey to David Todd. It is not manifest from the records that any portion of it was occupied by any settler so early as its adjoiners. Abraham Leasure appears to have been first assessed with 100 acres of the southwestern part of it in 1809, and afterward with 125 acres, which he conveyed to John Empey, January 3, 1820, for $288.76, which the grantor described as the parcel on which he then lived, on Buffalo creek, adjoining Robert Galbraith on the north, Samuel Dickason on the east, Nicholas Myers on the south and David Moorehead on the west, some of whom may have then occupied other portions of it. George Ross surveyed 442 acres and 36 perches �on Buffalo creek south by Conrad Colmer and A. McCall�, to Dickason, May 25, 1808. In the southeastern part of this tract, near its southern line, at a rather sharp eastern bend of the Buffalo, is the junction of Pine run with that creek. there is a considerable cleft in the rocks at the mouth of this run, in which the early white settlers were accustomed to watch the Indians. This was one of the Audibert tracts called �Lami Rous�. The patent to Peter Benignus Audibert is dated February 9, 1787. His administrator, James J. Mazerie, conveyed it to Lewis Alexander Dupuy, November 2, 1785, for $____, who conveyed it to Joseph Donath and Mazerie. The latter by his last will authorized his wife as his executrix, and John H. Roberjot, his executor, to sell it. Mrs. Mazerie, Donath and Roberjot conveyed it to John Beatty, November 4, 1831, for $625. It having become vested in John g. Beatty, he conveyed 200 acres of it to William Ewing, April 1, 1864, for $5,600, a portion of which Ewing subsequently conveyed to Martin Wackerlie, on which he built his sawmill about 1870.
Adjoining No. 145 on the north and No. 152 on the east was depreciation lot No. 151, �La Janton Ray�, traversed in its eastern portion by the Buffalo in a nearly southerly course, and its central part by Cornplanter�s run in a nearly south-eastern course, the two streams forming a junction in the southeastern part of the tract.
It may in this connection be stated that this run is so called after the distinguished Indian chief, Cornplanter, who was born at Conewagus, on the Genesee river, his father, a white man, said to be resident of Albany, New York. After the war of the revolution he was an unswerving friend of the whites, and performed some valuable services for them, for which he received grants of land in various localities. The fact that he and some of his people once resided at and near the mouth of Cornplanter�s run, where they raised corn, has come down from early explorers of and settlers in this region to James P. Murphy and others. It was related by Charles Sipe, Sr., who fished and hunted along these streams in and after 1796, that he and his sons could see the rows of cornhills on a parcel of about three acres opposite the mouth of Cornplanter�s run and on another parcel on the west side of the creek about half a mile up. A hatchet was plowed up, many years since, about three-quarters of a mile above the mouth of the run. Jacob Bricker, Charles Sipe and others, in opening a road, found another hatchet about 150 rods above the mouth of the run, opposite what is now known as Bricker�s milldam. About four rods below was a stone-pile, on removing which they found a full set of very large human bones, the skull-bone being three-fourths of an inch thick. In 1830-1 James Law plowed up a set of puzzling-irons in the same vicinity. It does not seem improbable that John O�Bail, as Cornplanter was also called, derived his Indian name, Ki-en-twa-ka, from those cornfields. The Cornplanter had two sons, Charles and Henry, who survived him. He and one or the other of them and others of his people occasionally passed down and up the Allegheny, stopping some times at Kittanning, whom Philip Mechling and some others of the oldest citizens remember having seen. He died at his home on this long-loved Allegheny, in Warren county, March 7, 1836, in or about the one hundred and fifth year of his age.
The depreciation lot No. 151, 300 acres, called �La Janton Ray�, is the one traversed as above mentioned by Cornplanter�s run. the patent for it was granted, February 9, 1787, to Peter Benignus Audibert, a French merchant of Philadelphia, who took the oath of allegiance September 20, having then resided there two years. Under an order of the proper court, James Mazurie, Audibert�s administrator, conveyed this tract to Lewis Alexander Du Puy, November 2, 1795, who conveyed it the next day to Mazurie and Joseph Donath. they conveyed it to James McCormick, April 26, 1817, for $1,101.80, who conveyed 117 acres to William Kiskadden, April 27, 1829, for $550, and 20 1/2 acres to Joseph Ralston, July 3, 1826, for $100. James McCormick conveyed 62 1/2 acres of �Le Janton Bay� to John Bricker, June 29, 1826, for $200, and 7 acres and 38 perches, the same day, to Nicholas Bricker for $78, on which latter parcel Nicholas Bricker built his sawmill, with which he was first assessed in 1830, and his gristmill, with which he was first assessed in 1831, and with both of which John Bricker was assessed from 1844 to 1855, and thereafter to David and Harvey Bricker, and to Harvey and Hiram A. Bricker after October 20, 1865, when John Bricker agreed to sell the same to them. They conveyed 140 acres, with the gristmill and machinery, to Peter Clark, January 8, 1872, for $6,000, and he to Samuel A. Barnes and George B. Sloan, December 31, 1874, for $4,000. The mill and the land were assessed to Alexander Storey in 1876.*****
Twelve of Peter B. Audibert�s tracts in this and other townships in this county were sold by Joseph Brown, sheriff, and purchased by Audibert. The sheriff�s deeds to him are dated March 21 and 22, 1815. In 1817 he gave Gabriel Philibert Lobeau a power of attorney to sell these lands, both being then naturalized citizens of the United States. Lobeau as attorney-in-fact conveyed depreciation lot No. 153, 298 3/4 acres, called �La Bonne Genevieve�, to Nicholas Bricker, September 28, 1817, for $450, and depreciation lot No. 156, 235 acres, called �Louis Thomas�, partly in Butler county, to Bricker, January 4, 1818, for $20, the amount bid by Joseph Audibert at the sheriff�s sale. Those two tracts adjoin Nos. 151 and 152 on the south. Adjoining �Louis Thomas � on the north was No. 155, 238 5/10 acres, called �La Maric Possessante�, partly in Butler county, and the northern part of it traversed by the southern boundary line of North Buffalo township, and which Joseph Audibert by his attorney conveyed to Arthur Hill, of Versailles township, Allegheny county, January 29, 1818, for $200.
Adjoining �La Marie Possessante� on the east was depreciation lot No. 154, 598 3/10 acres called �La Mariea Rosallie�, traversed in a southeasterly course by the Buffalo, and was included in Joseph Audibert�s purchase at sheriff�s sale, and was conveyed by his attorney-in-fact G.P. Lobeau, to John Ralston January 24, 1818, for $400, on which he appears to have settled in 1814, when he was first assessed with one horse and one cow, and the next year with 74 acres of the land. The first Masonic lodge constituted in this county held its meetings in an upper room of his log house for several years after its erection, as the writer has been informed by one of his grandsons. He conveyed a portion of this tract to James Rea July 21, 1837, who conveyed to George Rea February 8, 1857, and he conveyed 51 acres and 15 perches to Isaac Acker, the present occupant, April 2, 1864, for $1,200. Another portion is in possession of W.L. Ralston.
Adjoining �La Bonne Genevieve� and a small portion of �La Maria Rosallie� on the east was a tract, 133 acres and 153 perches, surveyed by George Ross to Nicholas Bricker, by virtue of his improvement settlement thereon in October, 1797, where he followed his occupation of tailor, with which he was assessed before and after 1806. This tract may have been included in the 230 acres which he transferred to John Bricker December 15, 1852, for 25 cents.
Adjoining that last-mentioned Bricker tract on the east was one surveyed by George Ross May 26, 1802, to Jacob Everhart, by virtue of an improvement made in February, 1793, and actual settlement March 5, 1796, who afterward removed to Trumbull county, Ohio, and conveyed 145 acres, more or less, called �William farm�, to William Morrison, of Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, November 24, 1807, for $500. In the first decade of this century, perhaps in 1804-5, a log church edifice was erected on this tract by the German Reformed and Lutheran congregations, or it may have been by one of them, and the other united afterward. The earliest record evidence of the time of the erection of that edifice, accessible to the writer, is in Road Book A, page 18, which shows that on the 18th of March, 1807, upon the presentation of the petition of sundry inhabitants of Buffalo township, the court of quarter sessions of this county appointed David Hall, James Hill, James Matthews, Jr., James McCullough, John McKean and John Painter, viewers, to lay out a private road �from the Dutch meeting-house, on the Pittsburgh road, to intersect with the Bear creek road at the house of James �Rebarn� (Rayburn, meaning), to be opened, bridged and kept up at the expense of the petitioners, which the court, September 18, allowed to be opened a private road fifteen feet wide. Morrison conveyed 6 7/10 acres of his tract to �the trustees of the Blue Slate congregation� May 16, 1825, for $1.50. The cemetery is about 25 rods northwesterly from the meeting-house, north of a small run. The writer regrets his meager information respecting those two churches. The members of this church ceased to worship in this locality soon after the organization of St. Matthew�s church. The preaching and other exercises in that �Blue Slate� church were mostly, if not altogether, in German, which was very acceptable to the older members, but not so to the younger. It was by the aid of the latter, chiefly, that Rev. David Earhart succeeded in organizing St. Matthew�s. Some of the oldest members, who were attached to German language, as well as to the locality of the �Blue Slate� edifice, were not pleased with the change, and some of them said they were just trampled on, deprived of their choice, by the younger members.
Northwest of the last-mentioned tract lay two parcels, Robert McCreary�s and john Crookshanks�, which were, perhaps, included in the survey to Jacob Everhart, 239 3/4 acres, called �Rathfuland�, for which a patent was granted to McCreary for himself and in trust for Crookshanks. The southwestern one of these two parcels was settled by McCreary in 1806, and in the assessment list of that year, opposite his name is this notation, �bought a part of Jacob Everhart�s place�, and the abovementioned patent is dated July 5, 1810. This parcel was inherited by his son, William McCreary, who conveyed 1 acre and 20 perches of it to John Keener, April 12, 1829, for $7, and 130 acres to John Monroe, April 1, 1834, for $1,100. Crookshanks� parcel having become subject to liens of certain judgments under the control of Thomas Blair, attorney, Kittanning, he and Crookshanks agreed, April 28, 1824, to sell it to John Keener. Thomas McConnell, sheriff, by virtue of a sale for taxes, conveyed it to Blair June 25, 1824, for $300.01 7/8, and he to Keener, February 4, 1828, for $400, and William McCreary released to Keener whatever title he had inherited from his father, April 10, 1829.
Adjoining the four last-mentioned tracts or parcels on the north, was the tract, 417 acres and 130 perches, for which a patent was granted to John Sipe, January 10, 1809. About half its territory is now in North Buffalo township. Sipe�s run flows through the northwestern part of it into the Buffalo. Sipe conveyed 209 acres of the eastern part of it to Thomas Kiskadden, January 8, 1810, for $185.
East of the southeastern part of the Sipe tract, and north and east of the Crookshanks parcel of the Everhart survey, lay that part of the James Rayburn tract in this township, on which, near the township line, are the sites of the United Presbyterian church edifice, parsonage and cemetery. This church, as the Buffalo Associate, was organized in or about 1811 or 1812. The first edifice was a log structure. The present frame one, about 35 x 45 feet, was erected in 1844. This church was incorporated by the proper court, December 1, 1862. The trustees named in the charter were Robert Galbraith, Robert Huston, David McCune, Robert Ralston and James Rayburn, who were to act until their successors would be appointed, according to the form of discipline of the United Presbyterian church of the United States. ****** Its membership is 80; Sabbath-school scholars, 70.
James Rayburn conveyed 211 acres of the western part of his tract to James Ralston, December 15, 1832, for $1, of which the latter conveyed 168 acres to George F. Keener, February 13, 1839, for $3,000, on which the latter erected a large two-story frame mansion house, and made other improvements, for the sale and purchase of which, for $6,300, he and David C. Boggs entered into an agreement, February 19, 1866, which and another parcel, a part of Matthew Rayburn�s farm, are in South Buffalo township.
East of the before-mentioned depreciation lots Nos. 145 and 151 and south of the William Morrison and Nicholas Bricker tracts, was the tract on which Nicholas Best made an improvement and settlement in March, 1796, and which was surveyed to him by George Ross as containing 439 acres and 52 perches, May 25, 1802, by virtue of a settlement and improvement made in March, 1796. The warrant was granted December 7, 1802, and the patent March 26, 1806. Best conveyed 231 acres and 26 perches, then adjoining John Painter and Jacob Everhart, to Abraham Gardner, January 2, 1808, for $800, on which Gardner had settled before 1805. He conveyed the last-mentioned quantity to William Todd, of Kiskiminetas township, March 24, 1828, for $900, 10 acres of which Todd conveyed to William Morrison, October 9, 1858, for $190. Todd�s executors, John Graham and George Todd, conveyed to Isaac Pearce, July 14, 1855; Pearce to John McMurry, December 1, 1859, including the 10 acres conveyed by Todd to Morrison; McMurray to Jacob Frantz, October 3, 1865, for $6,500; and Frantz to Andrew Ivory, June 15, 1870, for $44. Best died about the 12th of January, 1845, and not having devised his real estate to any person by name, his executors, George Best and John Keener, obtained an order from the proper court to sell. They conveyed 218 acres and 26 perches of the eastern portion of the original tract to John A. Patterson, October 30, 1847, for $1,898.01, who built the sawmill on Pine run in 1850.
There must have been a surplus in this parcel, for Patterson conveyed it as containing 253 acres and 96 perches to Harvey Gibson, the present owner, June 18, 1875, for $10,000, which, with 2 acres, as reserved in the conveyances to Patterson. Nicholas Best, Jr., manufactured pottery-ware in �the pottershop� from 1843 until 1845.
Adjoining about 150 rods of the southern part of the Best tract and about 25 rods of the northern part of �Cole Mount� was a tract of 219 acres and 36 perches, adjoining which on the east was a tract of 208 acres, which appears to have been covered at one time by a warrant to Aaron Wor for 208 acres, January 10, 1796, who conveyed his interest in it to John Craig, January 5, 1801, for $40, and Craig probably conveyed it to Matthews soon after, for George Ross surveyed 427 acres and 36 perches, the aggregate quantity of those two contiguous tracts, to Matthews, September 18, 1801. He conveyed 149 acres of the eastern part of the Wor tract to George McKean, June 7, 1811, for $409.25; 4 acres to Enos McBride, October 10, for $14.56 acres and 105 perches to Charles Sipe, the same day, for $198.18; and his executrix and executor 100 acres of the other or western tract to George Keener, Jr., April 1, 1837, for $700, of which George, Henry, Jacob and John H. Keener conveyed a fourth of an acre to Abraham Frantz, John H. Keener and Henry Shoup, trustees of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, August 21, 1843, for $1. McKean conveyed 25 acres of his parcel to Samuel Ferguson, January 8, 1823, for $100. Keener was choked by eating cherries, made a nuncupative will and died July 4, 1846, which having been duly certified by George Best and Ellis Limpkings, was registered on the 14th, by which he devised that parcel of land to his son William, and appointed his brothers, Jacob and John H. Keener, to settle up his business.
A small parcel, 20 1/4 acres, in the northwestern corner of the Wor tract, appear on the map to have been surveyed to John McKean.
North of the last-mentioned two tracts lay a body of land, 422 acres and 100 perches, on which John Painter made an improvement in October, and a settlement in November, 1795, and which was surveyed to him as 416 acres and 2 perches May 20, 1802, but for which George Ross obtained a patent for himself, and in trust for James Foreman and Colen McGinley, to whom he released their respective shares June 9, 1816. Their parcels each contained 100 acres. McGinley conveyed his to Thomas Jones, October 13, 1810, for $400, which the latter reconveyed to him, April 3, 1811, for the same consideration. It has of late years been occupied by Simon Hauk and William Jewell. James Foreman devised nearly all his parcel to his son David. North and east of the McGinley and south of the Foreman parcel was the residue of the quantity, 222 acres and 100 perches, included in the patent to Ross, which the latter conveyed to James McCormick, May 1, 1816, and which McCormick the next day conveyed, with the 20 acres and 48 perches which he then purchased from George McKean, to George Keener for $1,600. The latter was first assessed in that year with these two parcels as 240 acres, 1 horse and 3 cattle, at $398. His name was on the assessment list for the last time in 1842, when that land was valued at $1,944. It was thereafter assessed jointly to Jacob and John H. Keener until 1853, when it was �surveyed and divided�. It was found by that survey to contain a surplus of several acres. For the next year Jacob was assessed with 125 and John H. with 124 acres.
With the exception of minor portions of two other tracts, which will be elsewhere noticed, the only remaining original tract whose territory was within what is now South Buffalo township was one of 435 acres and 53 perches bearing on its face on the map of original tracts the name of �Kerscaddon�, which appears from the ancient list of warrantees or owners to have once belonged to Arthur Kiskadden, whose inchoate title to it does not seem to have been perfected. Perhaps he sold, though it does not thus appear from the records, his interest to the hereinafter - mentioned patentees. It s adjoiners on that map are James Rayburn on the north, �Kerskaddon�, probably James Kiskadden, and Enos McBride on the east, Aaron Wor on the south, James McCormick, James Foreman and John Crookshanks on the west, or rather on the south of west. Jacob made an improvement on it in February, 1793, and a settlement in March, 1796, by virtue of which George Ross surveyed it to him May 20, 1802.
Adam Ewing acquired at an early day an interest in the southern portion of it, for he conveyed 151 acres and 131 perches to Joseph Graham and John Ralston, January 18, 1809. A patent was granted to them, February 4, 1833. Graham conveyed 75 acres to John Graham, June 9, 1836, for $5,000; and Ralston 80 acres to George F. Keener, June 13, 1837, for $1,000, on which the latter soon after opened a tavern, and was first assessed here as a merchant in 1846. He and Christian Shunk agreed, May 9, 1853, to sell and purchase this parcel of land, including the tavern stand and the merchandise in the store, for $7,100, to be paid thus: $5,000 on completing inventory of the goods in the store, and $900 annually with interest at 3 percent, to begin May 20, 1854. Shunk having refused to pay those last-mentioned installments as they became due, Keener brought his action of ejectment to No. 52 September tern, 1855, in common pleas of this county. The case was arbitrated, tried in court, the defense being divers liens on a deficiency of the land included in that contract or agreement. A verdict was rendered in favor of the plaintiff for somewhat over $1,900, on which judgment was rendered, which, being taken to the supreme court, was affirmed, and the plaintiff became repossessed of the land by a writ of habere facias.
Another patent for 125 acres of that tract was granted to John Beatty, March 24, 1824, who conveyed 11 acres and 7 perches thereof to James Foreman, May 4, 1826, for $80, and 113 acres to John Rea, November 15, 1828, for $550, and he, the same, to George F. Keener, June 1, 1839, for $3,000, and he to James Brown, 109 acres, April 9, 1852, for $2,600, said in the deed to be the entire quantity which Keener had purchased from Rea.
Robert M. and William Kiskadden obtained a patent for about 160 acres of the northern and northeastern part of that tract, January 9, 1839, of which 5 acres and 16 perches were conveyed to David Robinson, April 4, 1853, for $250. By order of the proper court, Joseph B. Smith, surviving executor of the last will and testament of Robert M. Kiskadden, deceased, conveyed 108 acres and 73 perches to Andrew L. Eakman, of Allegheny township, March 3, 1873, for $7,204.99, and he to James F. Adams, the present owner, April 10, 1874, for $7,703.66.
Slate Lick, so called from a deer-lick, on that part of the last-mentioned tract which was in the early times Arthur Kiskadden�s farm, has been a prominent point since the first settlement of this region. Its territory consists of parts of the lands included in the patents to James Rayburn, John Beatty, Joseph Graham and John Ralston, Robert M. and William Kiskadden, and the Crookshanks parcel of the McCreary patent, and the Foreman and McCormick parcels of the patent to Judge Ross, on the last-mentioned of which is the public schoolhouse No. 6.
As early as, perhaps earlier than, 1802, initiatory steps were taken by the few and widely separated settlers of this region to organize a religious society. Slate Lick became the central point of their operations, from which resulted the �Slate Lick Congregation�, and from which originated the first Presbyterian church in this county, the exact date of whose organization cannot now be ascertained. At the first meeting of the presbytery of Erie, held at Mount Pleasant, Beaver county, April 13, 1802, calls from the churches of Slate Lick and Union were intrusted to John Boyd, who had been licensed by the presbytery of Redstone, April 23, 1801, who , at the next meeting of the presbytery, at Union, or what is now Middlesex, in this county, June 16, 1802, was ordained and installed pastor of these two churches. The first subscription paper at this point reads thus: �We, the undersigned, subscribers of Slate Lick congregation, do promise to pay the several sums annexed to our names, and that in regular half-yearly payments from the commencement of the year, which begins the 1st of January, merchantable wheat, at five shillings per bushel, and the other half of the sums in cash, and this for the stated one-half of the labors or the Reverend John Boyd in the Gospel as long as he shall be the regular and stated pastor of this congregation. In testimony whereunto we do hereby set our names�, which were as follows: �Adam Maxwell, $2, 3 bushels of wheat; William Barnett, 50 cents, 1 1/2 bushels wheat; Joseph Cogley, $1; William McNinch, $1; James Green, $1, 2 bushels wheat; James Travis, 67 cents; John Jack, $1; Thomas Jack, 50 cents, 1 1/2 bushels wheat; George Ross, $3; Charles Boner, $1; William Park, _____; George Byers, $1.33, 2 bushels wheat; Isabella Hill, $1; Jean Kiskaden, 50 cents; David Reed, 1 1/2 bushels wheat; Thomas Cumberland, 50 cents, 1/3 bushel wheat.�
Thomas Fails, George Long and Adam Maxwell were the first elders of the Slate Lick church. The walls of the first church edifice were built of logs hewn, it is said, by George Bell, after they were brought upon the ground, as the voluntary contributions of the members of the congregation, and was covered with a shingle roof, which was then a rarity, and the floor consisted of loose boards, and without seats, stoves or fireplace, for many years called �Mr. Boyd�s lower meeting-house�. It was built on the Arthur Kiskadden tract, and was thought to be within the limits of the Beatty patent, for John Read, after his purchase from Beatty, conveyed 1 acre and 44 perches to �the trustees of Slate Lick congregation�, July 31, 1824, for $5. It must have been ascertained by a later survey that it was not included in the Beatty patent, for Robert M. and William Kiskadden, after they had obtained their patent, conveyed the same, less 40 perches, to �the trustees of Slate Lick congregation�, May 29, 1839, for $5. ******
As the lack of money was incident to the pioneer settlers of this as well as of many other regions, the first members of this congregation were necessarily constrained to contribute their time, labor and material to its erection. They, of course, had but little if any money with which to pay the salary of their pastor, and were, like some other pioneer congregations, compelled to pay much of it in the products of their labor. This congregation was not anomalous in this respect. Some other congregations in the United States, older, larger, and that have become for wealthier then this one now is, once paid their ministers in products instead of money. For instance, John Emerson, who was graduated at Harvard in 1656, the third minister of the congregation in Gloucester, Massachusetts, the record shows, was paid �sixty pounds per annum in Indian corn, peas, barley, fish, mackerel, beef or pork�.
That primitive edifice was ample enough for ordinary or the usual weekly service, but on communion occasions, when an unusually large number of people from far and near assembled here, its capacity was inadequate. On such occasions there was erected a short distance from the edifice a tent in which the minister stood while conducting the communion services, and the communicants sat at the table extending from the tent into the grove. James Hill and Johnathan Moore were elected elders in 1808. The latter having removed to the west the next year, William Morrison was elected in his place. The pastorate of Rev. John Boyd continued until April 17, 1810, when at his own request he was released from his charge and removed to Ohio, and this church was dependent on supplies for nearly five years.
The original of the call to the second pastor of this church is in these words: �The congregation of Slate Lick being on sufficient grounds satisfied of the ministerial qualifications of you, John Redick, and having good hopes from our past experience of your labouers that your ministrations in the Gospel will be profitable to our spiritual interests, do earnestly call and desire you to undertake the pastoral office in said congregation, promising you in the discharge of your duty all proper support, encouragement, and obedience in the Lord; and that you may be free from worldly cares and avocations were hereby promise and oblige ourselves to pay the sum of $150 in half-yearly payments, the one-half to be paid in grain, wheat at 75 cents, corn and rye at 50 cents per bushel, in regular payments during the time of your being and continuing the regular pastor of this church. In testimony whereof, we have respectively subscribed our names this third day of November, 1814. �N.B. This call is designed for the one-half of your labours in the gospel.
�James Hill, Adam Maxwell, James Matthas, Jr., Jacob Young, Sr., Jacob Young, Jr., Patrick Callon, John Boney, David Feales, Thomas Cuskaden, George McCaine, John Ralston, David Ralston, James Clark, James Boles, William Morrison, Robert Morrison.�
That call having been accepted, he was ordained and installed as the pastor of Slate Lick and Union churches, September 28, 1815, on which occasion his preceptor, Rev. Robert Johnston, of Meadville, preached the sermon and Rev. John McPeherrin, of Butler, delivered the charges. His pastorate continued until the autumn of 1848, when because of infirmities he resigned his charge, which had extended through a period of thirty-four years. During his pastorate, Arthur Hill and James Green (about 1830), James Blain, John Boyd and Joseph Galbraith (March 19, 1844) were elected elders; a brick church edifice was erected in 18--, and fronted �the lower road�, whose building committee consisted of James Hill, John Rea and James Smith. Although deemed a substantial structure, it was defective. During the communion services on a certain Sabbath-day, a large number of people being present, the floor sunk or gave way, causing fearful panic. There were several outer doors through which a multitude passed, many being slightly, and only Mrs. Ann Ralston being seriously injured. The edifice was soon repaired, but the confidence of the congregation in it was not restored. The first frame edifice, fronting south, whose building committee were George F. Keener, George B. and James Sloan, was erected on the foundation of the brick one in 1842, and was used by the congregation for more than twenty years after the close of the second pastorate.
Rev. John Redick was a son of John and Elizabeth Sorrell Redick, and was born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania about 1787. His father was wounded in the arm and permanently disabled at the time of the burning of Hannastown, and soon after sold his farm, and removed to the northeastern part of Butler county, where he for several years aided his father in his agricultural pursuits, which, perhaps, he would have followed through life, had he not been wounded by the accidental discharge of a gun in a canoe while crossing the Allegheny, with others, on a hunting excursion. His father then concluded to educate him, and he was soon placed under the instruction of Rev. Robert Johnston, who was then the pastor of the Presbyterian churches at Bear creek and Scrubgrass, where the late Chief Justice Lowrie, Rev. James Wright and Rev. Alexander Crawford were among his schoolmates. Thence he went to the academy at Greensburgh, now Darlington, Beaver county; afterward pursued his theological studies under the instruction of his old preceptor, Rev. Robert Johnston, and was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Erie, at Meadville, October 20, 1813, having been married the year before to Miss Elizabeth Coulter, a sister of Rev. John Coulter, then of the Presbytery of Allegheny. He continued to be the pastor of Slate Lick and Union churches until the autumn of 1848, when, by reason of the infirmities of age, he sought and obtained a d mission, and the relation between those tow churches was then dissolved. He purchased 50 acres of land at Slate Lick, soon after the commencement of his pastorate, on which he resided until his death, which occurred July 11, 1850, having deservedly won the high esteem and affectionate regards of his co-presbyters and parishioners by his sincere devotion to his chosen work and his earnest endeavors to promote the best interests of the individuals and families in both of his congregations, so that he was endearingly called �Father Redick�.
Rev. William F. Kean was ordained and installed pastor of the Slate Lick and Freeport churches in the spring of 1849, and was released from the former in June, 1864. There was an extensive revival in this congregation during his pastorate, and forty-three new members were added to the list of communicants. At the seventh and last election of elders, in 1861, James Brown, James H. Redick and Samuel Sloan were chosen elders. Redick declined to serve, and James Shields was substituted. They were installed October 4, 1861.
Rev. Thomas C. Anderson was installed pastor of Slate Lick church, October 17, 1864, and was released in June, 1868. It was during his pastorate alone that this church was not connected with some other.
Rev. John H. Aughey, of �Iron Furnace� memory, was installed May 8, 1869, as pastor of this and the church at Clinton, then belonging to the Presbytery of Allegheny. Rev. J. McPherrin delivered the charge to the pastor, and Rev. J.M. Jones to the people.
Rev. William M. Kain supplied this church in 1870, and was installed as the pastor of it and the Srader�s Grove church, in January, 1871, having been transferred to the Presbytery of Kittanning. Rev. T.D. Ewing preached the sermon, Rev. H. Magill charged the pastor, and Rev. S.H. Holliday the people. His pastorate ended in October, 1872. The basement of the present edifice was completed in 1870, in which services were held, and the edifice itself in the course of a few months. At its dedication, in January, 1871, the sermon was preached by Rev. W.F. Rea.
A call was made to the present pastor, Rev. B. F. Boyle, April 8, 1873, he having preached here for several months while a student at the theological seminary in Allegheny City, and was ordained and installed June 23, 1873, when Rev. David J. Irwin presided and offered the ordination prayer, Rev. Alexander Donaldson preached the sermon, Rev. S.H. Hughes charged the pastor, and the presiding officer the people.
This congregation fondly hoped that, after the completion of their present edifice, which is the fourth, including the primitive log one, they could securely worship in it for many years to come. But that bright hope was doomed to be darkened by another cloud of adversity. A storm swept with almost the force of a hurricane over this locality, on the first Thursday of May, 1875, and in its course struck and beat in the west end of this edifice, leaving it a ghastly wreck. But the good people of this church and congregation did not sink down in despair. They soon rose above the weight of their new sorrow, and appointed John Graham, William Rea and Samuel Sloan a committee on repairs, who in due time caused that wreck to be restored to more than its former strength and beauty. It was re-dedicated August 23, on which occasion Rev. John J. Francis, of Freeport, preached the sermon, and Rev. James Boyd offered the dedicatory prayer.
The Sabbath school of this congregation was organized about 1817, and reorganized under the union system in 1832. Its first superintendents were James Hill and John Rea. John Boyd was another for sixteen years, under whose charge and that of J.S. Brown it is now in a flourishing condition. The church membership, in 1876, was 155; Sabbath-school scholars, 70.
The members of Slate Lick church who have become ministers of the Gospel are: Rev. David Hall, D.D., Indiana, Pennsylvania; Rev. James Boyd, Kirkville, Missouri; Rev. David H. Sloan, Leechburgh; Rev. R.B. McCaslin, Plain Grove; Rev. Fulton Boyd, Pleasant Unity, and Rev. D. R. McCaslin, Bowling Green, Kentucky.
The Slate Lick United Presbyterian church was organized about the year 1812. The preaching on that occasion and for some time afterward was in a tent where the present church stands, though occasionally the meetings were held in the woods at other points. Rev. McClintick, of Bear creek, was the first preacher of this denomination who labored here, coming as a supply as early as 1808, and preaching in the log cabins of the settlers. The first church was a log structure, thirty-three feet square, built by Abram Smith and William Minteer in 1815. The men of the congregation felled the timber for this house, and it is remembered that the wall plate was hauled up the hill by a big yoke of oxen, owned by Joseph Miller. Rev. John Dickey, the first settled pastor, came here about 1812 and remained thirty-five years. He was succeeded by Revs. Galbraith and Robertson, and then came the present pastor, Rev. L. McCampbell. The congregation now has a frame structure about forty feet square.
The Srader Grove Presbyterian church was organized the 1st day of May, A.D. 1871, by a committee of the Presbytery of Kittanning, consisting of Rev. John M. Jones, Rev. Alex. S. Thompson and Elder James Quigley. A sermon was preached by Rev. John M. Jones, after which an expression was given by the members present of their desire to be organized into a Presbyterian church. Thereupon said committee proceeded with the organization. The following persons presented certificates of membership from other churches: From the church of Slate Lick - James Shields and Rebecca Shields, John G. Weaver and Margaret Weaver, Joseph and Jacob Weaver, Andrew C. Srader, Jr., Eleanor Srader, Andrew Srader, Sr., Elizabeth Srader, Robert J. Hill, Mary Hill, William Hill, Elizabeth Hill, Rachel B. Hill, Elizabeth Hill, Jr., M. Hillis Boyd, Elizabeth F. Boyd, William Sloan, Mary Sloan; and from the church of Freeport, John G. Bowser and Eliza Bowser. Four persons were elected ruling elders of said church, viz.: James Shields, R.J. Hill, John G. Weaver and M. Hillis Boyd. Mr. R.J. Hill would not accept the office ruling elder to which he had been elected. Messrs. John G. Weaver and M. Hillis Boyd were ordained May 26, 1871, Mr. Shields having been ordained when elected elder while a member of Freeport Presbyterian church. Mr. William Hill, Andrew C. Srader and William Sloan were elected deacons and trustees of said church, and on May 28, 1871, were installed as deacons of said church. On May 18, 1872, Mr. W.B. Srader and wife were received on certificate from Union church. Mr. W.B. Srader, having been ruling elder in the church of Union, was elected and installed a ruling elder in the church of Srader Grove. This church was organized with 22 members, and now numbers 53 members, as reported to presbytery in 1882. The Sabbath-school membership, 65, kept up the whole year. This church ahs had three pastors: Rev. J.H. Aughey, Rev. Wm. M. Kain and Rev. B.F. Boyle. The latter was relieved by presbytery of Kittanning, April 25, 1882, at his own request.
St. Matthew�s Lutheran church at its original organization was German. In connection with a Reformed congregation, for many years almost extinct, it formed the �Blue Slate� congregation. There is no record of the separate organization. The earliest English pastor was the Rev. D. Earhart, who took charge in 1844. In 1852, Rev. L. M. Kuhns became pastor, and since that time the church has been a part of the Freeport charge. A house of worship was built in 1845-6, near George Isaman�s residence, which was superseded by a better one in a more convenient location in 1876. The contractors for the first building were John Myers and Jacob Hawk. In 1846 the church was incorporated by the legislature. The church was greatly weakened, in 1868, by the withdrawal of many of its members to form a congregation, which has since been consolidated with the General Synod church in Freeport. It now has about 75 members.
The Slate Lick postoffice was established April 1, 1837, George F. Keener, postmaster.
The first resident physician here was Dr. Ellis Simpkins, first assessed in 1846. Dr. John Kennedy settled here in 1860-1, Dr. Robert C. McClelland about the same time, and Dr. A.D. Johnston in 1868.
John Brown�s store, at the forks of the public roads near the Presbyterian church, was opened in 1858 - he having then been first assessed as a merchant, and James Brown from and after 1868.
In 1857-8 the people of Slate Lick and vicinity became so deeply interested in the establishment of a normal school here that they subscribed a considerable amount for that purpose, but did accomplish it. The Slate Lick academy was opened in 1864 in a building erected for educational purposes. D.S. Tappan was the first principal.
The second schoolhouse erected within what is now this township, before the adoption of the free school system, was situated about 275 rods in an airline northeasterly from the first one heretofore mentioned; the third one about 250 rods northwesterly from the first; the fourth one in Stony Hollow, about a mile north of Freeport; and the fifth one about 250 rods from the mouth of and a few rods south of Daugherty�s run. One of the teachers in the last two was William W. Gibson. Following are school statistics: 1860 - Schools, 10; average months taught, 4; male teachers, 6; female, 4; average monthly salaries of male teachers, $19.38; average monthly salaries of female teachers, $16.88; male scholars, 273; female scholars, 263; average number attending school, 293; cost of teaching each scholar per month, 40 cents; amount levied for school purposes, $871.86; received from state appropriation, $116.82; from collectors, $830; cost of instruction, $735.20; fuel, etc., $120.81; cost of schoolhouses, repairing, etc., $6. 1876 - Schools, 11; average number months taught, 5; male teacher, 8; female teachers, 3; average monthly salaries of male and female teachers, $33; male scholars, 250; female scholars, 258; average number attending school, 337; cost per month, 78 cents; tax levied for school and building purposes, $2,581.45; received from state appropriation, $343.17; from taxes, etc., $2,272.77; paid for teachers� wages, $1,815; paid for fuel, etc., $207.80.
The mercantile appraiser�s list for 1876 shows the number of merchants in this township to be 6, but the assessment list 2, all of whom are in the 14th class. According to the last-mentioned list the occupations, exclusive of farmers, are: Ministers, 2; school teachers, 3; music teacher, 1; physician, 1; laborers, 81; blacksmiths, 4; carpenters, 7, stonemasons, 2; agents, 2; painters, 2; insurance agent, 1; plasterers, 2; harnessmaker, 1; miller, 1; wagonmaker, 1; cripple, 1; old man, 1; operator, 1; peddler, 1.
The present occupations of this part of old Buffalo township would be very impatient if they were obliged to wait for the news of important events as long as did their pioneer predecessors. John Craig used to relate that he and his neighbors did not get an account of Jackson�s victory at New Orleans until June, five months after it was achieved.
The people of this region caught the mania for fox hunting that once prevailed in this county. a meeting, of which John Drum was president and B.S. Chadwick secretary, was held in March, perhaps about the middle, which arranged a grand fox hunt for Tuesday, the 25th. The circle extended from Freeport to the mouth of Glade run; thence up it to David Reed�s; thence across to Beatty�s mill on Buffalo creek; thence down it to Freeport, with the closing ground on the farm of Isaac Frantz, which was probably that part of �Mount Pleasant� which he purchased from Enos McBride.
The vote on the question of granting license to sell intoxicating liquor in this township stood 145 against to 24 for. There had been for many years a strong temperance element in this section of the county. The first annual report of the Buffalo Township Temperance Society is dated January 10, 1831, which was subsequently published in the Gazette and Columbian. The writer addressed one or two of the series of temperance meetings held at Slate in 1850. The 4th of July, 1851, was observed by a large number of the people of North and South Buffalo and Franklin townships. The sky, cloudy early in the morning, became clear before noon. About 1,500 people of these townships - fathers and mothers and young men and maidens and children - including several Sabbath schools and temperance organizations, assembled in a beautiful grove near Slate Lick. Peter Graff was called to preside. After a bountiful repast the writer was called upon to read the Declaration of Independence, and to deliver the oration, which was devoted to a consideration of the costly sacrifices of our revolutionary fathers in achieving our national independence, the wisdom, patriotism and philanthropy of the framers of our system of free popular government, and the imminent perils to our government, and the imminent perils to our government and people from the use of intoxicating beverages.
The first census of this township after it was reduced to its present limits was in 1850, when its population was: White, 1,266; colored, 0. In 1860, white, 1,570; colored 1. In 1870, native, 1,522; foreign, 111; colored, 4. In 1876, no taxables.
The geological features of Freeport and this township: The uplands consist entirely of the lower barrens, the areas of the lower productives being confined to the valleys of the Buffalo creek and Allegheny river. Only a portion of the lower productive group is above water level, the section extending only down to the lower Kittanning coal, the ferriferous limestone not being above water level. The lower Kittanning is 3 feet thick, but obtainable above water level only in the region opposite Logansport. The upper Freeport coal is, however, in a favorable position for mining, 3 1/2 feet yielding tolerably good coal. This bed supplies Freeport with fuel, and in fact the whole township. Its geographical name was derived from Freeport, where it is about 125 feet above the river level. The lower Freeport coal is 35 feet below it, and in the vicinity of Freeport partakes of the cannel nature, and was once mined and distilled for oil. It ranges from a few inches to 7 feet thick, but little dependence can be placed on it, the bed thinning out and often disappearing at short intervals. The Freeport sandstone is massive and makes a line of cliffs above the borough. It shows some sudden and curious changes in shale round about there. The same rock shows similar changes in the long cut near the rolling mill at Kittanning, where the change is beautifully displayed. The upper Kittanning coal is present at Freeport, but worthless. The Mahoning sandstone in the vicinity of Freeport is a very compact and massive deposit, yielding good stone for building purposes. Opposite the borough on the Westmoreland side it makes a line of bold cliffs 50 feet high. Above, in South Buffalo township, soft, argillaceous shales come in, making easy slopes along the little valleys by which the township back from the river is diversified. This is the smooth glade land stretching north from Freeport to Slate Lick, famous for good pasture lands and fair yield of crops when properly tilled. Near Slate Lick on this upland, the green fossiliferous limestone may be seen on the William Rea farm near the hilltop. No coalbeds of remarkable dimensions may be sought for in this vicinity, but along Buffalo creek and Pine run the upper Freeport coal is able water-level as already described.
Structure. - An anticlinal axis which crosses the Allegheny river near the mouth of Mahoning, and crosses Limestone run near Montgomeryville, has weakened to such an extent before reaching this township that it exerts but little influence here. It is on this account that the lower barren rocks occupy so much of the surface of this township. Had this axis the same force here as there, we should find the same conditions repeated about Freeport that we find about the mouth of Mahoning, or nearly so. But the axis, though weakened, is yet recognizable in the gentle southeast dips which prevail just west of Freeport. Otherwise the rocks are nearly horizontal.
The record of the gas well at the planing-mill, Freeport, shows from the surface downward: Soft shale, 60 feet; hard sand, 40 feet; slate, 25 feet; limestone, 12 feet; slate, 20 feet; hard sand, a little oil at the bottom, 65 feet; slate and shell, 10 feet; sandstone, 25 feet; slate, 15 feet; limestone and slate, 20 feet; very hard sandstone, 6 feet; fireclay, 5 feet; hard sandstone, 100 feet; black slate, 75 feet; hard sandstone, 20 feet; slate and shell, 20 feet; sandrock, 80 feet; sandstone, principally, and a large vein of salt water strong enough to bear up an egg, 115 feet; slate, good drilling, 135 feet; sandstone, 10 feet; slate and sandstone, 54 feet; slate and sandstone, 18 feet; gas used as fuel for planing mill; hard shell, slate and sandstone, 80 feet; hard shell, slate, sandstone and pebble, 125 feet; slate, sand and pebble, 35 feet; white and gray sandstone, with strong salt water at the bottom, 50 feet; soft slate, 21 feet; slate, shell and red rock, 97 feet; very red rock, 12 feet; very hard gray sandstone, 10 feet; reddish slate, 15 feet; slate, shell and red rock, 70 feet; hard sandstone (10 feet), slate and shell, 55 feet; slate, easy drilling, 340 feet. Depth of well, 1,904 feet. Gas vein at 1,075 feet. Quit drilling at 12 M. October 16, 1874.
Prior to 1859 the members of the Methodist denomination in the middle eastern portion of this township numbered but two individuals, viz: Robert Rodgers and George Venables; but they had been accustomed, for several years, to holding religious services in their houses. At this date, considerable interest being evinced in the religious services of this particular denomination, they decided to erect a house of worship. Accordingly a modest, unpretentious church building was erected on the farm of S.A. Forrester, who donated the land for this purpose. The church was completed in 1861, and a church organization effected with the following officers: Robert Rodgers, George Venables and S.A. Forrester. The church was dedicated this same year, the dedicatory sermon being preached by I.C Pershing. Rev. D. Rhodes first officiated as pastor, and during the first year the church obtained a membership of about 40, which result demonstrated the wisdom of its founders.
Mr. Rodgers gave liberally for the support of this church, and upon his death left $500 as a permanent fund for the church, the proceeds only to be used. A cemetery, known as Union cemetery, was also established on the farm of Mr. Forrester.
Since its organization the church, although having but few wealthy adherents, has enjoyed great prosperity, its present membership being about 80. It also has a flourishing Sunday school. In September of 1882 it was decided to erect a new building to accommodate the largely increased congregation, and accordingly an elegant frame church edifice, 32 X 55 feet, graced with an elegant spire, has been erected at an expense of about $2,500 and dedicated to the service of God. Rev. R. Cartwright now officiates as pastor. The present church officers are : Trustees - S.A. Forrester, J. Bush, A.G. Mahaffey, C. Saltmer; Stewards - S. A. Forrester and C. Saltmer.
* Since deceased.
** See Manor.
***That edifice has, since 1876, been removed, and a new one erected at McVille.
****A new schoolhouse has since been erected about 60 rods west of this one.
*****$1,400 taken off the valuation in 1878, in consequence of the mill being burnt.
******The charter was amended July 5, 1879, changing the name of trustees to that of deacons.
******James S. Brown conveyed 80 perches to this church, October 14, 1878, for $100.
Source: Page(s) 429-455, History of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania by Robert
Walker Smith, Esq. Chicago: Waterman, Watkins & Co., 1883.
Transcribed May & July 2000 by Lisa Strobel for the Armstrong County Smith Project.
Contributed by Lisa Strobel for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)
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