Morrison’s Cove

There is a legend that the “Cove” or “Covert”, was used in the early days as a hiding place for stolen horses, by a man by the name of Morris, who was a notorious horse-thief in the eastern

counties of Pennsylvania, and when pursued brought his stolen animals here for safe keeping.

If we believed the name was derived from him, and that he really was as bad as painted, and could certify that belief, it would not be difficult to arouse the people to demand and secure a new name.

We are not sure that Morrison was originally Morris, nor do we know how we came by the “Morrison.” Perhaps some early settler by the name of Morrison came here and his name was given to the Cove. the truth is we have no record of how the name came to be applied to this fertile valley.

Surrounded by Mountains

The Cove is about thirty-nine miles long and averages eight miles in width. It is surrounded by mountains-foot hills of the Allegheny mountains-chief of which is “Tussey” (or Terrace) on the east, broken ranges or spurs to the north and south and Cove or Dunnings on the west.

It is difficult for me to attempt a description of this great valley. An incident may help to solve my problem.

I have a friend living in Oklahoma. He is a lawyer by profession, but compelled to live out-of-doors, because of ill health. He traveled over the United States largely and selected his present home in that western state. He owns some 2,000 acres of choice land and raises cotton and corn.

He came East and decided to drive from Altoona to Leysburg to see me. He drove via Martinsburg and when he arrived at my home his chief topic of conversation was the beauty of Morrison’s Cove. It was harvest-time and the song of the reaper was heard on every side. My friend said: “I have traveled over nearly all of the United States and nowhere have I seen anything that excels your Morrison’s Cove. What splendid farm buildings! What beauty of landscape! I did not know there was anything like it in Pennsylvania.” High praise from this western gentlemen farmer.

Has Fertile Soil

Several things make the Cove attractive to the farmer. Not the least of these is the fertility of the soil. Like the soil of the Holy Land selected by the Lord to be the home of His chosen people, our soil is limestone, suitable for agriculture. Then too, the abundance of pure water is scarcely of second importance to the soil. The springs and streams of which we will speak later are a rich possession.

Again the proximity of markets is quite helpful and makes farming much more remunerative than lands that are far removed from industrial centers.

Many of the early settles in the Cove were Germans or Swiss, either coming direct from Germany or from the eastern part of Pennsylvania. Among those who came and whose descendants are still here, we find the Brumbaughs, Replogle, Snowberger, Ebersole (or Eversole), Ober (or Over), Kegarine, Buck, Henry, Dittmar, King, Baker (or Becker), Bechtel, Karns, Bayer, Biddle, Butz, Hetrick, Koontz, Snyder, Guyer, Teeter (or Deeter), Holtzinger, Furry, Clouse, Latshaw, Noble, Brown, Clapper, Imler, Fluke, Ketring, Stuckey, Stayer and others whom we may name later. On the whole they were a home-loving, industrious, honest people, and their sturdy ways are to be seen in their descendants. Certainly I must depend on tradition for much of what I shall say, but usually well founded.

Streams In the Cove

Yellow Creek and its tributaries add much of interest and value to the southern end of Morrison’s Cove. Its rise is one mile north if Woodbury. He purchased this farm in 1922. It was formerly known by the name of the Rhinehardt Replogle farm.

Incidentally, I suggest that every farm ought to have a name. Owners and tenants change, but a significant name would remain. Mr. Detwiler’s farm name is quite appropriate. Here, this beautiful and useful stream has its source. It is fed by many other streams as it journeys on its way to its junction with Raystown branch of the Juniata at Hopewell, a distance of fifteen miles as it flows. Its main tributaries are Potter creek, five miles long; Three Spring Run, four miles long; Beaver Run, six miles and with tributaries five miles more, all tributaries in South Woodbury township. Add Maple Run, five miles, coming out of Jack’s corner, and one or two other small streams in Hopewell township and we have more than forty miles of streams that never fail. We believe nothing else quite equals it in Pennsylvania. In many places this stream and its tributaries fall rapidly and furnish excellent sites for water power plants, flour mills, saw mills, woolen mills. In early days plaster mills, clover mills and chop mills were to be found on every tributary as well as on the main stream.

Source:Historical Sketches of Morrison’s Cove, Rev. C. W. Karns, Mirror Press, 1933 pp. 7, 9.

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