Woodberry Township

Morrison's Cove- An Agricultural Region of Unsurpassed Fertility- Early Settlement by Dunkards- Indian Troubles- Sketches of Early Families and Prominent Citizens- Woodberry Borough- Settlement of John Holsinger- The Starting of Elizabeth Furnace- Business Interests- Churches, Schools and Societies.

WOODBERRY * township, as originally constituted, embraced within its territory a considerable portion of what is now Blair county, as well as three townships and parts of other townships now in Bedford county. It was organized about 1785. Middle Woodberry, including the present townships of Woodberry and Bloomfield, was organized about 1844.

Morrison's cove, an agricultural region of the greatest fertility, attracted settlers very early. Doubtless there were settlers in this cove as early as 1760. But their situation was then precarious, and probably few, if any, remained long undisturbed by the Indians. Not until the close of the revolution did they secure peaceable possession of lands.

The Dunkards, or German Baptists, were the first to occupy the lands of the cove. On account of their non-resistant principles, they easily fell victims to savage warfare. How many were murdered and scalped can never be known, as records and tradition are both wanting. In the fall of 1777, Indian hostilities were so frequent that nearly all the inhabitants left the cove, and thenceforth until the close of the war the settlers were in constant peril. Morrison's cove was named for a man known as Morrison, who settled in the northern part of the valley about 1770. The portion of it now embraced in Bedford county, notwithstanding its great natural advantages, was settled and improved very slowly. The reason for this backwardness was the great distance of the settlement from mills, markets and navigation. Early in the present century large quantities of grain were carried from the cove to the nearest shipping points, and transported, by means of flat-bottomed boats, to the towns in the eastern part of the state. This industry flourished for years, and only ceased with the advent of railroads.

Henry Brown, who lived near Keagy's mill, was a very early settler. His sons went west, excepting Jacob, who remained until about 1845, and then removed to the West.

The R.L. Replogle farm was surveyed in 1786 for William Hart, who secured a patent to the tract in 1797. Hart kept a hotel, which was one of the first in the northern part of the county. The old building stood until 1882, when it was torn down. Hart sold the farm to Jacob Bassler, from Lancaster county, in 1813. For many years all the musters of militia in the northern part of Bedford county took place on this farm.

Rinehart Replogle was born in Morrison's cove, and died in 1860, aged sixty-two years. He was a farmer and lived in South Woodberry, where his son, David L., now lives. His wife was Elizabeth Long, and their children were David, John, Rinehart L., Joseph, Simon, Rebecca (dead), Elizabeth and Esther (dead). Rinehart L. Replogle, a prominent farmer of Woodberry, has lived on his present farm since 1865. Mr. Replogle was one of the county board of poor directors, his term expiring in January, 1883.

Levi B. Replogle is a son of Daniel Replogle, who was born in Bloomfield township. Daniel died in 1871, aged seventy-two years. He married Nancy Brumbaugh, and was the father of fourteen children, ten of whom are living. Levi B., the youngest surviving member of the family, formerly followed mercantile business, and afterward engaged in butchering, near New Enterprise. He has lived on his present farm, in Woodberry township, since 1877.

John Furry, who died in 1878, was born in Franklin county and came to South Woodberry when seventeen years of age. After his marriage he moved to a farm which had about two acres cleared, and lived in a small log house which was without floor, doors or windows. At that time all the country was full of game, and deer and bears were especially abundant. While on his way to church one Sunday, Mr. Furry killed six black bear cubs with an ax. Mr. Furry married Mary Baker, of Franklin county. She died in 1874. The children of this union were Elizabeth (De Lancer), Jacob B., Catharine (Wyant), Andrew (deceased), Henry, Sarah (deceased), David, Jane (Christman), Susan (deceased) and Lewis.

Jacob B. Furry lived at home, in South Woodberry, until twenty-one years of age. He then removed to Martinsburg, where he resided until 1850, when he came to Woodberry township, where he has since lived. Mr. Furry is a plasterer by trade. He owns a well improved farm of forty acres, with good buildings. Mr. Furry has held the office of school director.

Samuel Casper and family moved from Lebanon county to this township in 1830. His sons, Frederick, Jacob and Christopher, and his daughter Margaret (Smith), are now living in this vicinity. E.S. Casper, son of Jacob, followed farming until recently, and since 1882 has been engaged in butchering in the town of Woodberry.

Peter Stern came from Lancaster county quite early and lived in Woodberry township, moving hence to Dunning's creek. His sons all went west except Peter, who lived north of Woodberry borough, and died in 1875. Peter (the younger) was the father of seven children, of whom five sons are still living, Andrew B. being the only one, at present, residing in this county. He has followed farming and was in the foundry business one year. He has again returned to farming. Mr. Stern is one of the school directors of the township.

Jacob Detwiler, an old resident, is a native of Franklin county, who came to this county young and without capital. About 1840 he purchased of Martin Hoover the farm on which he now lives. Later he sold the farm at an advance of five hundred dollars, and after renting a place for seven years, bought it back at an advance of one thousand dollars. The farm was little improved and much of it was covered with timber. By industry and perseverance he cleared it, paid for it, and now has a comfortable and pleasant home. Mr. Detwiler married Lydia Wimerd, of this county, and has four children living: John W., Mary, Susannah and Kate. Levi, William, Lizzie, Ellen and Nancy are dead. John W. lived at home until of age, then followed threshing for seven years. He was supervisor three terms. Since 1877 he has farmed on the old homestead. He is serving his third term as school director.

No longer ago than 1834 farmers had few of the implements of labor that modern ingenuity has devised for their benefit. Their houses, too, were generally devoid of books, pictures, papers or ornaments. Pianos and organs were unknown; stoves had scarcely been introduced, and almost every article of furniture was of the cheapest and simplest character. Dr. Smith mentions two carriages, which, in 1834, were the only ones he remembers as being then in Woodberry township. They were owned by Abraham Longenecker, who lived west of the ridge, and Martin Loy, who lived at Pattonsville. John Whitehead, manager of King, Swope & Co.'s furnace business, had a good sleigh. Sleds and wagons were the only vehicles other people had.

In 1837 John Potter erected a woolenmill near the present site of Keagy's mill. Potter died soon after the mill was started, and the business was carried on by John Glenn until 1846. John Keagy then purchased the property and ran the old mill until 1869. In 1868 he commenced the erection of the present mill. The building is 35 x 80 feet, three and one-half stories in height. It is provided with two hundred and forty spindles and six power looms, and has a capacity for using twenty thousand pounds of wool annually. Employment is given to thirteen hands, and all kinds of woolens and yarns are manufactured. The mill is now run by Samuel and Abraham Keagy, who rented the property from their father, John Keagy, in 1879. The Keagy brothers are doing a flourishing business. They keep two men with wagons upon the road selling goods and purchasing supplies of wool for the factory.

Samuel Keagy was born in Woodberry township, and learned his trade in his father's factory, beginning in 1858. He served in the 133d regt. Penn. Vols.; enlisted in August, 1862, and was discharged in June, 1863.

Jacob Smith, who died in 1852, moved to this county when a young man, and resided on the farm now owned by his sons Jacob and John. He married Elizabeth Rhodes, and had a family of eleven children, of whom eight are now living. John is a prominent farmer, and his buildings and improvements are among the best in the township. Mr. Smith has served as school director for three years.

In 1832 John Sell, a native of Blair county, moved to Woodberry township, where he lived and brought up his family. He now resides near New Enterprise. Mr. Sell was born in 1805. He married Susannah Stevens, who is still living. Their children are Mahala, Alexander, John S., Barbara, Henry (deceased), David (deceased), Lewis, Daniel; Susannah (deceased), Joseph and Adam. John S. Sell, of Woodberry township, has a fine set of buildings and a well-improved farm, on which he has lived since 1859. He purchased the place from John M. Holsinger in 1866. Mr. Sell has served as school director about nine years, and has been secretary of the board except during the first year.

Keagy's Bank, south of Woodberry, is a busy little hamlet, containing Keagy's gristmill and Brown's machine shops. The first mill at this point was built by Abraham Keagy about 1831. It burned down, but was at once rebuilt.

Abraham Keagy was a native of Franklin county, who came to this township in 1813 and settled upon a tract of four hundred acres which was then but slightly improved. He was a man of good intelligence and possessed extraordinary skill in mechanics. He invented a spark-arresting apparatus, similar to that now in general use on locomotive engines. He might have realized a considerable sum for this invention, but he had a partner who refused to sell for the price offered. Therefore they held to their invention until some other enterprising mechanic secured the reward offered by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company for such an apparatus. Abraham Keagy died in 1866, at the age of eighty-one. He had eight children, five of whom are now living: Jacob (deceased), John, Abraham, Christian (deceased), Susan, Mary (deceased), Nancy and Elizabeth.

The foundry and machine shop of John I. Brown was started by Abraham Keagy about 1841. The property has passed through numerous changes of ownership up to the present proprietor, who has been a partner in the business since 1874, and sole owner since February, 1883. Mr. Brown manufactures and repairs all kinds of farming machinery, and is conducting a successful and prosperous business. Mr. Brown was born in South Woodberry township, and commenced learning his trade at the age of seventeen. His father, David F. Brown (deceased), was born in this county, and was the son of Thomas Brown, an early settler.

Jacob Imler came into East St. Clair township early, and settled on the farm now owned by John Claycomb. Two of his sons, Daniel and David, are now living in Bedford township. George R. Imler, son of Daniel, followed the mercantile business in Altoona two years, and has since engaged in huckstering, and recently in farming. He served about three years in the army in Co. E, 138th regt. Penn. Vols., and saw many severe engagements. He was wounded and captured by the rebels on the field, and was eight and one-half months in Andersonville, Libby and other rebel prisons.


Woodberry borough is a pleasant and attractive town, situated in the midst of fertile agricultural territory and surrounded by beautiful scenery.

David Holsinger, the founder of the town, settled upon the tract on which the borough is located about 1800, built a small log gristmill on the creek and caused town-lots to be laid off. Peter Stern afterward owned the mill.

The first house in the town was built by Frank Dickes. As he had no barn, he was accustomed to thresh his wheat on the floor of his house. The building was afterward a tavern.

Andrew McFarland purchased the site of the town from Holsinger. John Breidenthal built a small log house, and was among the first residents of the village. Woodberry grew but little until the furnace was started.

Elizabeth furnace, the site of which was on the creek at the south end of the town, was started in 1827. The builders and owners were John King, Henry Swope and Dr. Peter Shoenberger, who carried on business under the firm name of King, Swope & Co. Dr. Shoenberger owned one-half of the furnace. The company owned or controlled several thousand acres of ore and timber lands. They did a profitable business, making about forty tons of iron per week on an average. The furnace went out of blast in 1843. Dr. Shoenberger took the property after appraisement, and from the material of the furnace built the Bloomfield furnace.

When the iron business ceased, Woodberry lost the most of its population. Buildings were torn down and removed, and thenceforth improvements proceeded slowly.

The first store was started by the furnace company. In 1841 Smith, Baker & Co. were running a store, and James Malone, a hotel.

Dr. Smith, who came to Woodberry in 1834, says there were then but three good buildings in the town. These were the log store and dwelling belonging to the furnace company; the stone house on the west side of the street just north of Burns' saddlery shop, where Peter Diltz then resided; and the hotel, kept by David Puterbaugh, afterward engaged in the iron business at Hopewell. The remaining buildings of the town were shanties and dilapidated buildings occupied by workmen.

The first brick house in the town was erected by Jacob Brenneman, in 1850.

G.R. Barndollar built a mill in 1850, which afterward burned down.

In 1880 the population of the town was two hundred and ninety-one. There are three general stores, one drug store, one hardware store, one hotel, besides saddler, wagon, blacksmith and other kinds of shops. For a small place, the town contains more than the average number of good buildings.

Woodberry was incorporated as a borough June 23, 1868.

W.K. Lecrone's gristmill, on the site of Barndollar's, was erected in 1881. It is a three-story building, and is supplied throughout with new machinery. Its capacity is about thirty-five barrels per day. Mr. Lecrone is a native of York county. Since 1859 he has followed his present business in Blair and Bedford counties.

A.S. Longenecker & Co. are among the leading merchants of Woodberry. This firm commenced business in April, 1869, and built the store which they now occupy. A.S. Longenecker is a native of Woodberry township, and a son of John B. Longenecker, an old resident. J.B. Longenecker was born in Lancaster county and came to Bedford county when a young man, engaging as a clerk for David Puterbaugh. After marrying he engaged in farming, which he has since followed.

William M. Pearson was born in Berks county, and moved to Morrison's cove when a boy. His father, Edward Pearson, was largely interested in business in this county, being engaged at various periods in farming, milling, manufacturing iron, shipping grain, etc. He ran the Lemnos forge several years. He was the father of eleven children, of whom four sons and three daughters are yet living. William M. followed farming in early life, and was manager of ore mines for the furnace company three years. In 1857 he removed to Woodberry, where he has since been engaged in hotelkeeping. Mr. Pearson served one term as county commissioner.

Henry Fluck, Esq., son of Henry Fluck, and grandson of John Fluck, elsewhere mentioned, followed farming until twenty-three years of age, and was afterward in the mercantile business, and served as constable for about twenty years. In 1847 he came to the town of Woodberry, where he was engaged in hotel-keeping until 1866. Mr. Fluck was the first democratic justice of the peace elected in Woodberry.

D.F. Keagy is a son of Jacob Keagy (deceased), and was brought up at Keagy's foundry. In 1856 he engaged in clerking at Woodberry for a short time, then went west. Returning, he clerked for G.R. Barndollar seven years. He was in the one-year service in the late war; enlisting as a private, he was promoted to second lieutenant and brevet-captain. In 1866 Mr. Keagy began the mercantile business for himself, and continued it until 1875. He is clerk of the borough school board, and has served as postmaster since 1869.

John Keagy, from Franklin county, settled in South Woodberry, but afterward removed to Fayette county. Of his sons, only Joseph remained in this county. He was a silversmith and followed his trade at Woodberry until his death in 1861. He married Barbara, daughter of Emanuel Bassler. Of their children, Mary, John S., Emanuel and Joseph B. are living. John S. is the leading jeweler of Hollidaysburg, and Emanuel is in the same business at Everett. Joseph B. is a cabinetmaker and undertaker at Woodberry. He is also a teacher of penmanship, in which art he is highly accomplished. He graduated at the Iron City Commercial College, Pittsburgh, in 1865; taught writing in the west, and took the first premium for fine penmanship at the Iowa State fair. He has also taken several premiums at county fairs. Mr. Keagy has served as township auditor. He moved to the borough in 1883.

William H. Clouse, Esq., is a native of Bloomfield township. His father, George Clouse, came from Saxony to America in 1840, and followed the trade of blacksmith in this county. He married Christina Friend, who bore six sons and four daughters, W.H. being the oldest of the family. By his own exertions Mr. Clouse obtained a good education, and at the age of seventeen engaged in his present profession, teaching. He now holds a prominent position among the educators of this county. He has held a state certificate since 1875. He was principal of Woodberry schools in 1873-4 and 1877-80. He taught in Belleville, Illinois, three years. Mr. Clouse is one of the committee to revise the text-books of the county. He has been borough assessor nine years. He held the office of justice of the peace one term, and was re-elected without opposition. He has held all the principal offices in the Masonic and Odd-Fellows lodges and the encampment. He has been chief officer of the encampment since 1878. Mr. Clouse has taught seventeen terms of school. He is the local correspondent at Woodberry of the county papers and of the Altoona Daily Tribune.

F.B. Berkheimer, dentist, was born in South Woodberry township, and is a son of John Berkheimer, a shoemaker, who came to Bedford county about 1846, and lived at New Enterprise. Dr. Berkheimer learned dentistry in Woodberry under Dr. I.N. Bowser, and began practicing in 1874. He has met with marked success in his profession.

George W. Bulger is a native of Woodberry borough. He has been carrying on carriage manufacturing and blacksmithing since 1872.

T.M. Myers is a native of Blair county, and removed to Bedford county in 1875. In 1876 he engaged in wagonmaking in Woodberry. His shop is the only one of the kind in the town, and he does a large business.


Odd-Fellows.- Cove Lodge, No. 368, was chartered August 20, 1849, with John B. Castner, N.G.; John F. McKinney, V.G.; Francis N. Rosenthal, Secy.; William S. Fluke, Asst. Secy., and William Crissman, Treas. Up to April, 1883, there had been two hundred and ninety-eight admissions to the lodge. Cove Lodge is the parent of Roaring Spring Lodge, Martinsburg; Model Lodge, Roaring Spring; Claysburg Lodge, Claysburg, and Amicitia Lodge, Pattonsville. The present membership of Cove Lodge is sixty-seven; value of lodge property, five thousand four hundred and forty-two dollars.

Encampment.- C.N. Hickok Encampment, No. 200, was chartered September 3, 1870, with officers as follows: Joseph E. Noble, C.P.; John L. Meloy, H.P.; Samuel B. Fluck, S.W.; James A. Shade, J.W.; John I. Noble, Secy.; Samuel Keagy, Treas.; Jacob L. Biddle, Sent.; C.R. Stover, Guard.

Masonic.- Woodberry Lodge, No. 539, A.F. and A.M., was instituted August 1, 1875. Charter members and first officers: John S. Noble, W.M.; John Grove, S.W.; William H. Clouse, J.W.; Abraham L. Bechhoefer, Treas.; D.F. Keagy, Secy.; Jacob Brenneman, John G. Ake, M.D., Joseph E. Noble, George B. Dougherty, C.W. Allen, Rev. J.W. Cleaver, George Steel, Charles Long, M.D., John S. Hetrick. The lodge has prospered well and has now a membership of eighteen.


The first school board in Woodberry borough, organized July 30, 1868, consisted of the following members: William M. Pearson, Prest.; William Simpson, Secy.; D.R.P. Sweeny, Dr. C.S. Oellig, C.W. Allen, Samuel Beamer. The first schoolhouse erected in the town was the present I.O.O.F. building. The school-building now in use was erected in 1862. Eighty-four pupils were enrolled in the winter term of 1883. Prof. W.R. Vaughan has been principal of the schools since the fall of 1881.


Methodist.- The Woodberry Methodist Episcopal church is an old organization. The first church edifice was erected in 1844, and was used until the brick church was completed. The new building, a tasteful and elegant brick structure, was erected in 1882-3, at a cost of about four thousand dollars. The congregation consists of about fifty members and is a part of the Martinsburg charge.

Reformed.- Hickory Bottom Reformed church.

Lutheran.- St. John's Evangelical Lutheran church in Woodberry township was organized in 1813 or 1814. The congregation worshiped in a small log church until 1842, when the present brick edifice was completed at a cost of fourteen hundred dollars. The dedicatory sermon was preached by Rev. William Baker, of Altoona. The membership in 1842 was thirty-five. The church property is now valued at two thousand dollars. The ministers of this congregation have been: Revs. Yeager, R. Weiser, W.G. Letzel, E. Schwartz, D.J. Eyler, Joseph Fichtner, J. Richards, John J. Ellinger, D. Stock, Stansbury Hooper, Charles L. Streamer, Henry Seifert and Ephraim Dutt. Rev. E. Dutt is the present pastor. The church belongs to Martinsburg charge.

Lutheran. - The Lutherans of Woodberry borough met and appointed a building committee in April, 1882. On May 25, 1882, Rev. E. Dutt organized the congregation with thirty-five members. William Simpson and Lewis Zimmerman were chosen elders, and William H. Clouse, William H.H. Shimer and Solomon Barley, deacons. The corner-stone of the church was laid July 1, 1882. The building was dedicated January 28, 1883; sermon by Rev. W.W. Criley. The cost of the church, including lot and furnishing, was two thousand six hundred and fifty-seven dollars. Sufficient money has been subscribed to pay off all indebtedness. Rev. E. Dutt is the first and present pastor.

Church of God.- We are unable to ascertain the date of the organization of this church. Rev. John Weinbrenner, the founder of the denomination, is said to have preached in Woodberry early. Jacob Lininger was the first regular preacher here. Mullinecks and Snively were also early ministers. The congregation erected a stone church in Woodberry in 1844, which stood until 1873, when it was replaced by the present church, a frame building. The membership is now forty.

Brethren.- Woodberry Brethen church, included in Bedford and Blair counties, has existed as a distinct organization since 1876. Morrison's cove originally belonged to the Yellow creek church (which see). When organized, Woodberry church had two hundred and fifty members. The first meeting-house (in Bloomfield township) was built in 1850. There are now five meeting-houses and two hundred and eighty-eight members belonging to the church. Bishop, Jacob Miller; ministers, John Replogle, John L. Holsinger, M.M. Claar, J.G. Snider.

The meeting-house in Woodberry township was built in 1877, at a cost of thirty-three hundred dollars. The first building, known as the Eshelman church, was built about 1851.

River Brethren.- This denomination have held meetings from a very early date. In the absence of records no definite history of their organization is possible. They have a meeting-house, erected about 1874, and number about twenty members. The River Brethren differ from the Brethren or Dunkards in holding to a belief in experimental religion.


Samuel Buck, father of David F., was born in Dauphin county, Pennsylvania, in 1790. In 1828 he emigrated to Bedford county and engaged in farming in Woodbury township, subsequently removing to New Enterprise, where he died in 1877. His wife Mary (Funk) departed this life in 1878, aged about eighty years. Both were consistent members of the German Baptist church. They became the parents of one child, David F., the subject of this sketch, who was also born in Dauphin county, March 23, 1818, and came to Bedford county with his parents. He improved the opportunities afforded in the schools of that time and subsequently engaged in school-teaching. Although reared on a farm, he early developed an aptitude for business, and in 1848 established himself in New Enterprise when it contained but one small dwelling-house, and thus became the founder of this village, which he also laid out, which now contains a population of two hundred and fifty. He little thought, when commencing merchandising, that through his example, encouragement and influence he would live to see the then embryo village assume the importance that it did. As a business man Mr. Buck was thorough and methodical, which, coupled with business sagacity, enabled him to accumulate a fine competency. In addition to merchandising, which he carried on for about twenty years, he purchased and successfully operated several farms. He was appointed the first postmaster of his village in January, 1863, and held this position until succeeded by his son, S.L. Buck, in January, 1872. He was one of the first school directors in his township and was township auditor for many years.

Although prudent, he was among the first to avail himself of improvements and conveniences. To a very large extent he enjoyed the confidence and respect of those who knew him, for he was a man of sterling integrity and endowed with many amiable qualities. He departed this life April 4, 1873.

He was united in marriage with Barbara, daughter of Abraham and Nancy Longenecker, who was born in 1819 and still survives. Mr. Buck was a member of the German Baptist church, and his wife a consistent member of the Seventh-Day Baptist church. They were blessed with five children, as follows: S. Amanda (Mrs. O.S. Over), Charles L: (a German Baptist minister), Mary M. (Mrs. D.S. Brumbaugh), S.L. (married to Lotta F. Brenneman), who is of the firm of S.L. Buck & Co., merchants, and successors of David F. Buck, and Sabina C. (deceased).


*. We offer no apology for our spelling of this name. Either Woodberry is correct, or the name has been wrongly spelled for nearly one hundred years.- ED.

SOURCE:  Page(s) 295-300, History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties

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