Aldrich History Project

Chapter IIIVI

History of Geulich Township

GEULICH, the only township in the county which has for its boundary the boundary line of three other counties, lying as it does at the southeast corner of Clearfield county, it is touched by Centre county, Blair county, and Cambria county. Bounded on the north by Woodward township, in Clearfield county, the northern boundary line runs from southeast to northwest; on the east it is bounded by the lines of Centre and Blair counties; on the south by Cambria county, and on the west lies Beccaria township. The history of this township has much in common with Beccaria township, partaking of its interest, its development, and progress. Like Beccaria township, its wealth of timber, pine, oak, hemlock, chestnut, and beech has been fearfully depleted by the woodsman's ax; many contracts have been begun and completed upon its area, which only had for their consideration the different grades of lumber. At a time between 1850 and 1860 a traveler across the entire width of Geulich Township, from east to west, could see nothing but the sky and pine trees. Although much later in its formation than some of the adjoining townships, its advance in farm improvement, lumber activity, etc., etc., was not widely separated from Beccaria and Woodward. Constructed as it is in surface, it shows some of the greatest inequalities in difference of altitude. At the celebrated point on top of the mountain, known as Highland Fling, eight miles from Tyrone in Blair County, and but half a mile from the headwaters of the Moshannon Creek, it reaches a wonderful height, being between nine hundred and one thousand feet higher than Bellwood or Bell's Mills, in Blair county; while, on the other extreme, we find our way to the corner at the northwest of township, in the neighborhood of Madera, and here is Muddy Run, whose channel is cut down deep in the gullies and ravines, burrowing and searching, as it were, for tile very lowest place in the area of the township. This run forms the boundary between Beccaria and Geulich townships. The headwaters are a number of beautiful springs but a short distance south of the county line: from thence the course is almost directly north till it empties into Clearfield Creek. This, the only stream of any note in the township, was for many years the only means of transporting timber to the eastern market.

In 1856 or I858 an effort was made by the citizens in the southeastern part of Beccaria township, to form a new township. Very little encouragement was given them at first. Then came the election to determine the question of forming the new township. This election was held at tire old village of Amesville, and resulted by a small majority in favor of the new township. The proper surveys being made, the boundaries having already been determined, the decree was made by Judge Burnside, who was then president judge. Judge Burnside gave to the new township the name of Geulich, out of respect for him who was known as Father Peter Geulich, well known in all that vicinity for his thrift and stability of character. Aside from the vast wealth of timber which was abundant in all parts of the township, the whole area was underlaid and is yet with rich deposits of coal, fire- clay and other minerals. As yet the coal is but slightly developed, there being no facilities for shipping. The township only includes three miles of railroad in its entire al-ca. This is where the Moshannon Branch of the Tyrone and Clearfield Railroad leads off at Osceola, and running through the north end of township terminates at Vulcan, in Woodward Township.

Although no railroads have as yet been constructed, the surveys are already made, and the location fixed for sufficient roads to develop on a grand scale the hidden wealth of this portion of the county. The first opening of coal was made by George Washington Davis, who came from Huntingdon county about 1835 or 1836. He was convinced that coal existed there in quantities, and being of an investigating turn of mind, he prospected largely through all that section. Finally during the time between 1842 and 1845 he determined to make an opening on Muddy Run, and about half way between the present town of Utahville and Janesville, near the turnpike connecting the two places. Here, as early as 1851, he found a six foot vein of the finest coal, free from slate and sulfur to a remarkable extent; it averaged but four or four and a half inches of bony running through it, and it is to-day considered coal of the best quality. To this bank in the early days came blacksmiths and others who were prepared to use coal, from Tyrone, in Blair county, from Huntingdon County, and others from Centre County, and greater distance. Ox teams, mules, horses, and even cows hitched to improvised vehicles, constructed to withstand the inequalities of the mountain roads, were constantly going and coming from the adjoining counties to haul out the valuable fuel. This vein has since been carefully examined and is found to extend through the entire western end of the township, continuing in such a position as to be easily worked, and accessible with little expense, while towards the eastern boundary of the township the coal runs out, seeming to have been subjected at one time to some great upheaval; also the southern slope of coal seems in good condition, and easily accessible. Towards the western boundary the fire-clay seems but slightly accessible and indeed not so plentiful; while, as we go to the south, it is found in greater quantities, underlying the coal and easy to work. Some little iron ore presents itself along the old plank road and eastern boundary, but not in sufficient quantities to make an even surface, and therefore, from the first opening made by Mr. Davis, can be traced the same quantities of workable coal all along the western slope. Peculiar to this section has also been the continued existence of a grist-mill since I855' An old settler in the township, William Smith, constructed a rude mill for grinding purposes, upon the site where now stands a modern mill. It was situated near the present town of Janesville, and run by water-power derived from Muddy Run. Here it received all the grinding for a large section of country including Cambria, Blair, and Clearfield counties--the only grist-mill then and for a number of years afterwards in that section; it was widely known as Smith's Mill, from which afterwards the post-office of that place gained its name of Smith's Mills. From Smith the old mill was bought by the Nevlings, who rebuilt it on a larger scale, and increased its capacity and business. After running the mill for a number of years the Nevlings sold to the Flynns, who again rebuilt and modernized the old structure; it has since continued to be run as a grist-mill under the ownership and supervision of P. & A. Flynn, until the year I887, when it was again repaired and furnished throughout with the modern roller machinery by P. Flynn, and has again started on a long life of usefulness to the surrounding country. Upon the ground, and within the area included in the present Geulich township, many of the most influential and enterprising citizens of Clearfield county first established themselves in business, and from its territory has come the capital and reputation of a number of business men whose influence has been felt, and whose enterprise and business qualifications have been of great advantage to every part of Clearfield county and many of the adjoining counties. From here has come one of the leading bankers of the county, from here has sprung up one of the largest and strikingly successful lumber and saw-mill firms in the State, from here has come a State legislator and senator. Its citizens have contributed some of the most efficient county officers, both elective and appointive, and here today are some of the wealthiest farmers in the county, who together with their general knowledge, have imbibed and nurtured an accurate knowledge of geology in their endeavors to arrive at a just estimate of their hidden wealth.

Among those who first came here, and of those who have left children to perpetuate the name, and of those who still reside here, many names are recognized as being familiar to the whole country surrounding: The Geulichs, with Father Peter Geulich as their source; the Glasgows, who were first known by Mr. John Glasgow moving in about 1840; the Cresswells, headed by John Cresswell, all of whose family are now dead or removed, so that all trace is lost of the family; the Nevling family, who are all descended from Mr. John Nevling; the Hannahs, who were introduced by the arrival of John Hannah in 1854 or 1855; Joseph Fry and family, who were among the pioneers in the wilderness; the Allemans, David and Henry, now represented by the family of Henry Alleman; Harry Hummell, an old settler, who came front Dauphin county and settled near the present Allemansville, and the Fulkersons, who are descended from Daniel Fulkerson. All these are family names which will always be known throughout the township. And again we find the Rameys to be identified with the business interests; the Flynns, who were led here by Mr. Edward Flynn, afterwards killed in the woods by a tree; the Coonrods, the Ganoes, the Kingstons, the McKiernans, the Davises, the Stevens, the Ginters, who formed a settlement or town of their own, the followers of Samuel Smith, William McCullough, Lisle McCully, Samuel Whitesides, Robert Potter, etc., etc.

During the year 1850 the first saw-mill was built by Joseph Fry and Daniel Fulkerson. It was largely an experimental mill, as the machinery was rough and unmanageable. It was, however, a success, and having been placed at the headwaters of Little Muddy Run, it was never idle. It was afterward rebuilt and refitted.

TOWNS

Janesville has the honor of being the first town in the township, and was named Janesville from Jane Nevling, who afterward became the wife of Dr. Caldwell, of Glen Hope. The town always held the name of Janesville, but when the post-office was established it was given the name of Smith's Mills, by which name the place has since been known, Janesville and Smith's Mills always being one and the same place.

In 1851 Abraham Nevling, who had moved into the new country, built a house for his own use, and was soon followed in building by Westley and Mrs. Nevling. The Nevling family then owned all the surrounding land. This was the origin of the town of Janesville and Smith's Mills. Jonathan Boynton, who came to Janesville a young man, poor in funds but rich in energy, was taken up and given an interest by some eastern capitalists. He continued there a number of years, and subsequently moved to Clearfield, and became president of the First National Bank. A. G. Fox then erected the first store in Janesville, and established a general store, but was soon followed in the business enterprise by Boynton & Nevling. Fox was then bought out by the Flynns, and the business was ever afterward conducted by them. The Nevlings retained control of their store business, and it has now come to be the property of G. B. Nevling & Son. Edward Flynn first came into the township from Canada, where he was soon followed by Patrick and Anthony Flynn. They soon established large lumbering interests around Janesville, and from their work many new settlers were brought into the community, until the settlement assumed the proportions of a town. From Tyrone, in Blair County, William Henderson came to Janesville and erected a tavern or hotel to accommodate the increasing number of people who became interested in the business of the country. This afterwards was sold to John Litz, and was still conducted as a hotel and tavern by Mr. Weld when destroyed by fire in I885.

In 1868 the Smith's Mills post-office was established upon petition from the citizens, and Joseph D. Ganoe appointed postmaster, which position he has continuously held for nineteen years. A church was first erected by the Methodist congregation at Janesville, and soon became a flourishing congregation. It was followed by the Roman Catholic Church, who also established themselves, and both constructed substantial buildings. Subsequent to the building of the Methodist and Catholic Churches, a Presbyterian congregation was formed, and they also constructed a substantial church building. These were followed by a large and commodious schoolhouse. Well furnished, handsome residences were built by Messrs. James, Anthony, Guss, and John Flynn, and others, and soon the town put on the appearance of a prosperous and well populated village. The representative business men are now Mr. A. Flynn, G. B. Nevling, and Messrs. McKeirnan, Canoe Brothers, Chaplins, Kingstons, Prideaux, Spencer, Stites, and Conrod.

While a resident of Janesville, the Hen. James Flynn was chosen to represent this senatorial district in the State Legislature, and finished his term with the confidence and respect of the whole district, having gained great popularity. Mr. Flynn since 1885 has resided at Coalport, in Beccaria Township. With the construction and building of new railroads in and around the vicinity of Janesville, the growth of the town was somewhat retarded. New towns have since sprung up, fostered by the encouraging railroad facilities, of which Janesville was deprived, and what was once a lively lumbering town is now completely cut off and allowed to go backward. With the prospected roads, once a reality, the town will again spring into life and vigor. About 1853 a company known as the Phoenix Lumber Company, which originated in Philadelphia and Westmoreland county, controlled largely by Jacob and John Covode, and under the management of Charles Fuller, started to build a mill one mile east of Allemansville. They brought in the first circular saw, and with abundant capital started quite a town around their new mill. This business was carried on upon a large scale for a number of years; everything that was attempted was carried through at heavy expense, but when at last they had accomplished the destruction of the best timber, the town was allowed to decline, and so it continued until now almost extinct. Under the influence partly of their company the old plank road was built in I853. 0n the land where once was a flourishing town, Andrew Mulholland, one of the substantial men, now lives. The first school-house in the township was built by Joseph Fry, Henry Alleman and Daniel Fulkersen in 1855, at the place where the Oak Grove school-house now stands, near Allemansville, and on the land of Henry Alleman. Two school-houses have since been erected at or near the site of the original one. In 1855 Henry Alleman organized and conducted a union Sunday-school, from which originated the first church at Allemansville.

Allemansville.--In 1851 John Potter, who had resided in a shanty near the present Allemansville, moved away, and Henry Alleman, who had just come into the county, occupied this shanty. He afterwards enlarged it and subsequently rebuilt the house now standing on the same site. The feature most noticeable in connection with the house, is that the division line between Cambria and Clearfield counties passes through his kitchen and dining-room, and a party at table sits on one side in Cambria, and on the other in Clearfield. Mr. David Alleman erected the first house in the present town of Allemansville, in 1854, and the town was originated and built by Henry Alleman. Mr. Alleman supplied the lumber for every house in the village. In 1866 an endeavor was made to establish a post-office at Allemansville, but the endeavor was not crowned with success until 1868, when the post-office of "Allemans " was established, and Mr. Henry Alleman was appointed postmaster, which position he has continued to hold for eighteen years. In I869 P. Sneeringer & Co., established a large general merchandise store at this place, and did a heavy business. Mr. Alleman secured a half interest, and afterward entire control, and now conducts a business in general merchandise very successfully. John Hannah has worked as a blacksmith in the village and as a wagon- maker for fifteen years. A Methodist Church was built in 1871 and the Oak Grove school-house is also near the village. Here Mr. Henry Alleman resides on a large and productive farm, and has long been the treasurer for the township.

Ramey. -The northern town of the township is that of Ramey, which is probably directly due to the effect of the branch railroad running along that border of the township. This is the only town or village in the township which enjoys the advantages of a railroad. In 1877 the post-office was made at this place, and here is a handsome Methodist Church. A large mill, and heavy lumber business is here controlled by D. K. Ramey & Company, employing about one hundred men. The business men are Frederick Alvon, blacksmith, and James Croyle, blacksmith, S. J. Fox and others; while recently a handsome school-house has been built.

 

Source: Pages 531-537, History of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich, Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co., Publishers, 1887.
Transcribed April 2002 by Richard D. Heffler for the Clearfield County Aldrich Project
Contributed for use by the Clearfield County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/~clearfield/)

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