Pike township is situated near the center of Clearfield county, and is bounded on the north by Pine and Union, east by Lawrence, west by Penn and Bloom, and south by Knox and Ferguson townships. The land is mostly of a mountainous character, interspersed with narrow valleys and rolling plateaus, and varying in elevation from eleven hundred to fifteen hundred feet above the sea level. From the farm of James Norris, two miles from Curwensville, a beautiful view can be obtained of the valley of the Susquehanna, and the town of Curwensville; while from the hills about Bloomington the eye can wander for miles over magnificent mountain scenery; on the farm of Moses Norris a view unsurpassed in extent and beauty is obtainable. From this spot (according to old settlers) portions of eight different counties can be seen. On the high table lands, and along the river valley, are located some of the most productive farms in the county, and despite the extensive lumbering operations of the past many fine bodies of timber still exist.
The geological features of the township are somewhat peculiar, the central line of the second coal basin crossing its southern part. In the high hills, between Bloomington and Curwensville, are beds of coal of most excellent quality, from four to six feet in thickness, while upon the western side of the river a somewhat different quality of coal is found in smaller beds, and at a much lower elevation, and in some places covered by large beds of fire-clay of superior excellence, interspersed with an impure ferruginous limestone.
These coal measures have never been fully developed, and at present are operated only for local use; nor has any systematic effort yet been made to practically utilize this magnificent and seemingly inexhaustible deposit of fire-clay.
By reference to the records of the Court of Quarter Sessions of Centre county (to which Clearfield county was formerly attached for judicial purposes) we find the following entries:
"April Sessions, 1813:
"Petition presented by divers inhabitants of Clearfield county, for the division of Chincleclamoose township.
"Roland Curtin, Charles Treziyulny, and Joseph Miles."
"November Sessions, 1813:
"Report of viewers approved and confirmed by the court, laying out Lawrence and Pike townships; boundaries of Pike as follows:
"Beginning at the intersection of the old line, formerly known as the line between districts three and four, thence south along the same until it strikes Little Clearfield Creek, thence up the same to its head, thence a direct line to the mouth of Chest Creek, thence up the Susquehanna River to the county line. All lands lying west of the above line erected into a new township to be called Pike."
The township was named after General Zebulon Pike, an officer in the United States Army during the War of 1812, who was killed in Toronto, Canada, in the year 1813.
From the territory included in the above description, Brady township was set out in 1825, part of Chest in 1826, and subsequently Burnside, Bell, Penn, part of Ferguson, Greenwood, part of Union, Bloom, and Pine townships.
Paul Clover was probably the first settler in the township, having arrived in 1797, and built a house and blacksmith shop where the "corner store," in Curwensville, now stands. Thomas McClure, William McNaul, Elisha Fenton, the Blooms, Spencers, Moores, John Smith, Robert Ross, Samuel Caldwell, William Dunlap, the Hartshorns, Robert Maxwell, Dr. J. P. Hoyt, James McCracken, the Rolls, Hugh Hall, John and William Irvin, Arthur Bell, John Patton, Sr., and Daniel Barrett, were among the early pioneers.
Dr. J. P. Hoyt came to Clearfield county from Halfmoon Valley, in Centre county, about the year 1814, and located at Curwensville. Here he remained for some years, and then removed to a property near Lumber City. He was a man of strict integrity, and by a long life of industry and excellent business abilities accumulated considerable property, which he lived many years to enjoy, dying at the ripe age of ninety-one years.
John Patton, Sr., was born in Philadelphia, in 1783; moved to Curwensville in 1828, he served as associate judge of the county for five years; was justice of the peace for a number of years, and died in 1848, aged sixty-five years.
Jason Kirk, Sr., came to Clearfield county about 1812; settled in what is now Penn township, at that time in Pike, and was one of the most respected citizens, living to an old age, and leaving a large family.
Samuel Caldwell was one of the first settlers, arriving about 1804. He was an influential citizen, and left a considerable family.
John W. McNaul and his wife, Sarah, nee Ferguson, emigrated from the northern part of Ireland to this country in about 1793. Mr. McNaul was a Scotchman. On landing in this country they resided, for a short time, in Chester county, thence removing to Lock Haven, and later living in Nittany Valley. Of their eight children, Margaret, James, John, and Ann were born in Ireland, William, Alexander, Zachariah, and Mary, were born in this country. William McNaul was a tanner, and first started business on his own account in Halfmoon, Centre county, where he married Hannah Way. In the fall of 1813, he, in company with Dr. John P. Hoyt (then a young physician practicing in Halfmoon), started on horseback, one snowy morning, to cross the mountains and see the famous new town of Curwensville, recently laid out by John F. Curwen. Early in the following spring William McNaul, with his family, moved to Curwensville, occupying a log house located on the lot where the residence of Mrs. Martha Thompson now is. He soon proceeded to erect a house on the site of the present McNaul residence. He also built the tannery adjoining. His children were: Robert, Zachariah, Jane, Urbane, Lydia, John, and Mary. The McNauls belong to the Society of Friends, and are most highly respected, both at home and abroad.
The Hartshorn family is one of the oldest, and is widely connected, and as a class are model, respectable citizens. Benjamin Hartshorn, Sr., was born in 1765. He married Isabella McClure, and they emigrated from Maryland to Centre county in the year 1796. In 1806 he moved his family to Clearfield county, living on the land now known as the Jonathan Hartshorn farm. This was then nothing but woods, and the family endured untold hardships before a home could be provided. The children were: Margaret, Anna, Jonathan, William, Benjamin, Nancy, Eliza, and Mary Ann, all of whom married, and whose families reside in or near Curwensville.
About the year 1750 the family of Spencers emigrated from England to America. In 1808 Joseph Spencer, Sr., moved from Northumberland county to Clearfield county. His family consisted of three sons-Samuel, Joseph, and Jesse-and three daughters. From Benjamin Fenton he purchased four hundred and forty acres of land, which was in its primitive state, excepting two acres which was cleared, and had a small log house upon it. The tract was situated between the present site of the village of Pennville and Susquehanna River, about one mile south of Pennville. This was divided into four farms, the father retaining one and setting apart a farm of corresponding size for each of his three sons. These farms rank among the best in the county, and with the exception of the Samuel Spencer farm, remain in the hands of the direct descendants of the family. Most of the family were and are consistent members of the Society of Friends, and are eminently respectable and prosperous citizens. Joseph M. Spencer lives at Bridgeport, Harrison W. and Mrs. Mary Spencer, widow of James (sons of Joseph), reside in Curwensville.
The Blooms, as a class, are worthy citizens; almost all farmers, and are the largest family in Clearfield county. William Bloom, Sr., was born in Germany, and emigrated to this country at an uncertain time, reaching Clearfield county in 1801. Previous to this he had been in the State of New Jersey, also in Penn's Valley, Centre county, Pennsylvania. During the Revolutionary War he served for some time in the ranks, but we have no means of ascertaining the length of time. He was born on February 26, 1752, and married Mary Metter on April 2, 1778, who was born April 10, 1754. The pioneer Bloom came to Clearfield county alone, and settled on what is now known as the "Irvin farm," one mile up the river from Curwensville. Here he proceeded to make a clearing and succeeded in getting out a five-acre field of wheat and a few turnips, preparatory to bringing his family to the scene of operations. Little did he imagine that the name he was then striving so hard to maintain was destined to become the most common one in a rich and populous county of 60,000 inhabitants. In all eleven children were born of this union-seven boys, and four girls, as follows: Annie, born October 31, 1779; Isaac, born August 8, 1780; William, born April 17, 1782; Elizabeth, born August 22, 1784; John, born January 25, 1786; Peter, born February 7, 1789; Benjamin, born December 31, 1790; Mary, born September 25, 1792; Abraham, born April 10, 1795; Sally, _____; James, born February 28, 1798.
Pike township is the stronghold of the Blooms. Probably two-thirds of the family are located here.
Andrew Moore, Sr., emigrated to America from Ireland in 1688, and settled in Chester county, Pennsylvania. James, the second son of Andrew Moore, Jr., was born January 8, 1760, at Sadsbury, Chester county. He married in 1785, Lydia, daughter of Abram and Anna Sharpless. In 1795, they removed to Halfmoon, Centre county, and in 1810, James, with his son Jeremiah and daughter Lydia, started on foot across the mountains, and in due time arrived at the place where Pennville, in Penn township, Clearfield county, is now located. He purchased three hundred and seventy-five acres of land; built a cabin, and commenced clearing; the rest of the family following. He was a consistent member of the Society of Friends, and trained up his family in that religious faith. His children were Abraham, Esther, Lydia, Anna, Jeremiah, Andrew, Rebecca, and James. They were all of orderly and industrious habits, and all married and settled in the neighborhood. James Moore died September 17, 1834. Thomas W. Moore, son of Andrew, Davis S. Moore, son of James, Jr., and A. M. Kirk, grandson of Andrew, reside in Curwensville.
In 1809 Dr. Samuel Coleman settled on a tract of three hundred acres north of the site of Pennville. Dr. Coleman was a Scotchman, and had no family. He gave the name of "Grampian Hills" to his place, remarking that it reminded him of the renowned hills of the same name in Scotland. This name the neighborhood and post-office has retained. He held office about the time of the organization of the county, being clerk to the county commissioners. His grave is on the farm of Colonel Miller, of Penn township. At the last meeting of the "County Medical Association" a committee was appointed to solicit subscriptions toward erecting a monument to the memory of the pioneer physician of Clearfield county.
The first assessment of the township was made in 1814. The assessor was Samuel Fulton. The original assessment is still on file in the commissioner's office at Clearfield, and contains the following names: Robert Askey, David Allen, George Brown, Alex. Caldwell, Samuel Cochran, Jesse Cookson, William Bloom, Jr., Joseph Bloom, Caleb Bailey, Benjamin Bloom, John Brink, William Bloom, Peter Bloom, John Bloom, Isaac Bloom, John Bell, Arthur Bell, John Bennett, Benjamin Carson, Dr. Samuel Coleman, Amos Davis, William Dunlap, Nimod Derich, David Dunlap, Caleb Davis, Jonathan Evans, Peter Everhart, Joseph Edding, John Fullerton, David Ferguson, John Ferguson, Jonah Griffith, John Haughenberry, Hugh Hall, Benjamin Hartshorn, William Hepburn, James Hayes, Samuel Johnson, Mark Miller Jordon, John Kyler, Jason Kirk, John Kirk, David Liggit, Elijah Meredith, Samuel Miller, Robert Maxwell, Joseph McCracken, Robert McGee, Robert McCracken, John McCracken, Thomas McClure, Thomas McCracken, James McCracken, Daniel McCracken, James Moore, Job Ogden, Job Parker, Merchant; Abraham Passmore, James Reed Alexander Reed, Jr., Alex B. Reed, William Reed, John Rolls, blacksmith; George Shaffer, George Shaffer, Jr., William Smith, Nicholas Sahw, John Stuggart, Philip Stuggart, Joseph Spencer, Joseph Spencer, Jr., Samuel Spencer, Francis Severas, William Tate, James Woodside, David Walls, John Wrigley, merchant; George Williams, weaver; Gideon Widemire, George Welsh, Jacob Wilson. Town lots in Curwensville were assessed at $12.50; cows, $10; horses, $30; unimproved land, and timber at $1 per acre; farm land at $2 to $3 per acre. The early settlers experienced many trials and privation. The roads were but little more than trails through the woods. Indians frequently visited the locality and usually encamped on the bank of the river, on what is now the farm of Colonel E. A. Irvin. An Indian burial-place was located at the mouth of Anderson Creek, and before the floods had made inroads on the lands, stone arrow-heads, and tomahawks were occasionally found.
In 1819 Mathew Caldwell cut out the first road from Curwensville to Bloomington. The principal towns are Curwensville, Bloomington, Bridgeport and Olanta.
Curwensville Borough.-The situation of Curwensville is one of great natural beauty and utility, nestling among the hills that tower upon all sides, except where the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, and Anderson Creek, find their way between them, and uniting their waters near the center of the town, flow onward past its northern boundary; it is protected alike from the bleak winds of winter, and the violent storms of summer, while the rolling land upon which it is located gives it most efficient drainage. Being at an elevation of one thousand one hundred and twenty-seven feet above the sea level, the climate is cool and pleasant, even at the warmest season of the year. Surrounded by romantic scenery, forests abounding with game, and streams filled with fish, and having superior hotel accommodations, and excellent railroad facilities, the town presents to the seeker after recreation and health, unsurpassed attractions. The natural trading center of a large section of the county, and the terminus of the Tyrone and Clearfield Branch of the P. Railroad, Curwensville has for many years transacted a large business. The town is well built, contains many handsome residences and substantial public buildings, and its citizens are noted for their enterprise and liberality.
On December 10, 1798, John Curwen, Sr., of Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, obtained from the Commonwealth a patent for three hundred and fifty-one acres of land on the banks of the Susquehanna River, at the mouth of Anderson Creek, in what was at that time part of Lycoming county. On this property Curwen laid out a town, consisting of forty-eight lots, lying between what are now known as Thompson and Locust streets, which he named Curwensville. John Curwen, Sr., bequeathed his property to his son, George Curwen, from whom the greater portion of it was subsequently purchased by John and William Irvin. Up to the year 1812, not a single building had been erected on the town plot, although from the best information now obtainable, it seems that there were at that time two dwellings on the Curwen lands, in addition to the house and shop of Paul Clover, above referred to. One of these was erected by Job England, near where the residence of Honorable John Patton now stands, and the other by a Mr. Weld, near the dwelling now owned by the Misses Nannie and Alice Irvin. In 1813 Daniel Dale built the first house in the town proper, upon the lot corner of State and Filbert streets, where the house of Z. and L. H. McNaul is now located; James Moore, James Young, Mark Jordon and Josiah Evans, esq., built the next dwellings in about the order named. During the year 1818 William Irvin, Sr., the father of Colonel E. A. Irvin and John Irvin, Sr., the father of Colonel John Irvin, came to Curwensville. John Irvin erected a saw-mill, and a grist-mill near the present site of the Irvin flouring-mill.
William Irvin opened a general store that was for many years the only one in town; he also, in 1846, built a saw-mill, and made many valuable improvements.
Josiah Evans located in 1820, and was for many years a justice of the peace.
William Hartshorn, Sr., came in 1826 and John Patton, Sr. (father of General John and Edward B. Patton), in 1828.
In 1821 a post-office was established at Curwensville, and William McNaul was appointed postmaster.
As a matter of interest we give the following list, taken from the department records at Washington, showing the names of postmasters, and the dates of their appointment:
William McNaul, April 9, 1821; George Leech, March 16, 1825; William Irvin, January 8, 1830; John Irvin, April 20, 1835; Thomas Brown, December 19, 1837; Anthony Kratzer, July 20, 1840; Benjamin Hartshorn, January 10, 1841; Anthony Kratzer, October 4, 1844; Samuel Way, December 9, 1845; John Patton, January 26, 1849, William McBride, July 12, 1851; Samuel Way, May 15, 1853; T. W. Fleming, November 12, 1861; O. B. Welsh, January 7, 1868; Charles E. Hoel, April 9, 1868; T. W. Fleming, May 21, 1873; Edmund Goodwin, July 7, 1875, re-appointed, August 2, 1882. After the latter date the office was raised to the presidential class.
After the completion of the Erie turnpike, in 1824, the progress of the town was rapid, and by an act of the Legislature, approved the 3rd day of February, 1851, it was incorporated as a borough. The first meeting of the town council was held on Monday evening, February 24, 1851, and we find from the minutes that the following were present:
Chief burgess, Samuel Crans, esq.; councilmen, Robert McNaul, John D. Thompson, John Draucker, Isaac Smith, Samuel B. Taylor, Thomas Ross; high constable, James H. Fleming; treasurer, John D. Thompson; secretary, Thomas Ross.
The following comprises the names of the chief burgesses from 1851 to 1886: 1851, Samuel Crans; 1852, John D. Thompson; 1853, William McBride; 1854, Dr. H. P. Thompson; 1855, S. B. Taylor; 1856, E. B. Patton; 1857, Joseph Peters; 1858, E. B. Patton; 1859, William P. Chambers; 1860, S. J. Gates; 1861, William P. Chambers; 1862, Joshua E. Baker; 1863, William P. Chambers; 1864, Benjamin Hartshorn; 1865, Daniel Faust; 1866-67, Z. McNaul; 1868, William P. Chambers; 1869, W. A. Dale; 1870, Henry Sulsbaugh; 1871, S. J. Gates; 1872, James M. Welsh; 1873, E. A. Irvin; 1874, James A. Irvin; 1875, I. B. Norris; 1876, W. C. Arnold; 1877, William P. Chambers; 1878, W. N. Dyer; 1879, R. D. Swoope; 1880, E. A. Irvin; 1881, J. R. Irwin; 1882, H. W. Spencer; 1883-84-85, N. E. Arnold; 1886, John R. Fee.
The limits of the borough have been enlarged several times, first by an act of the Legislature, approved the 21st of March 1856, and again by an act approved the 24th of April, 1869, and the third time, in 1884, on application of the inhabitants of the adjacent territory, and boundaries were extended by the court so as to include what was known as South Curwensville, and all the property as far north as Hogback Run, and east as far as the eastern line of the Irvin farm, and west to near Roaring Run. The present population, according to the census taken by the borough authorities in February, 1884, is 1,222, and valuation of taxable property $222,000. The present (1886) borough officers, are as follows: Chief burgess, John R. Fee; town council, Samuel Arnold, B. F. Fullerton, A. B. Whittaker, Samuel Smith, Samuel Addleman, Lewis C. Bloom; secretary of council, D. S. Moore, esq.; school directors, president, Samuel Arnold; Daniel Faust, esq., A. B. Whittaker, J. P. Bard, H. B. Thompson, J. R. Irwin; overseers of the poor, L. McNaul, W. P. Tate; justices of the peace, D. S. Moore and Daniel Faust, esqs.; district treasurer, David Reeseman; tax collector, Gilbert Scofield; borough solicitor, Roland D. Swoope; borough auditors, T. J. Robinson, L. W. Spencer, J. R. Irwin; street commissioner, Harvey Smith; constable, G. L. Way.
In 1871, through the efforts of the citizens, subscriptions amounting to over $60,000 were obtained, and the extension of the T. and C. Railroad to the town was secured. The road was finished and opened for traffic in 1874. $20,000 of the above sum was subscribed by heirs of William Irvin, deceased, and $10,000 by Honorable John Patton.
At the present time Curwensville is the terminus of four stage lines.
Lumbering operations have hitherto been the principal business of the place. As many as one thousand rafts of square timber, and 100,000,000 feet of saw logs having been cut an sent to market by Curwensville lumbermen in a single season. At the low estimate of $700.00 per raft, and $8.00 per thousand feet of logs, the aggregate of this business would be $1,500,000. Although the business has decreased to a considerable extent since the panic of 1873, it is still conducted on a large scale.
The educational interests of the community received early attention. In the winter of 1812-13 Josia Evans taught the first school in a dwelling which stood near the residence of Misses Irvin. About 1833 money was subscribed and a school-house was erected on Filbert street, known as the Curwensville Academy, which by an act of the Legislature, approved the 7th day of April, 1832, was exempted from taxation. One of the early teachers was John Patton, Sr.
In 1856 William Irvin erected, at his own expense, what was known as the "Brick School-house." This stood on the property now belonging to Mrs. Eliza Irvin, on State street. In 1857 William Irwin rented this to the borough. The first borough school building was built in 1854, on the property now owned by John Porter, on Walnut street. The first teacher, after the organization of the borough school board, was Miss Isabella Cross, who was employed in 1851.
In 1860 the old Methodist Church building, which stood on the corner of State and Walnut streets, where the store building of Samuel Arnold is now located, was purchased and occupied for school purposes.
By an act of Legislature, approved the 9th of April, 1867, the school directors were authorized to borrow money, erect new buildings, and make sale of the old ones. In pursuance of this authority they built a commodious frame school-house on the property on Walnut street, which had been enlarged by the donation of the adjoining lot, by General Patton. This building cost $2,750, and in 1868 the old church building was disposed of. These two buildings were used until 1884, when Honorable John Patton offered to donate $10,000 for the erection of a new building. This offer was accepted and subsequently increased by him to $20,000. The corner stone was laid with Masonic ceremonies on September 2, 1884, and on October 1, 1885, the schools were opened in the new building, which was named by the directors in honor of his generosity, "The Patton Graded Public School." It stands upon slightly elevated ground, on the northwest corner of State and Walnut streets. The material of which it is constructed is the native sandstone. It is sixty-two feet by seventy-one feet in size. The roof is of slate, and the cornices of iron, rendering the building substantially fire-proof. The interior is conveniently divided into eight large class rooms, four upon each floor, connected by large, and well lighted halls and stairways. It is heated with steam and provided with improved ventilating facilities, and equipped with the latest improved school-room furniture. The building is supplied with running water, the expense of piping the same having been borne by Samuel Arnold, esq., the president of the school board. The number of children attending during 1886 was two hundred and eighty-seven. Five teachers were employed. A total amount of tax levied for school purposes was $2,004.05.
General Patton could not have presented a more useful and enduring gift to the community, and long after the present generation shall have passed away the institution bearing his name will witness to those who shall come after us his public spirit and munificence.
There are at present five churches, belonging respectively to the Friends, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, and Catholics. The Society of Friends organized a meeting at this place in the year 1833. They at first met in the old township school-house on Filbert street. William McNaul, Adam Hartshock, and Job May were among the original members. In 1834-5 they erected a building on the property where the Presbyterian parsonage now stands. In 1878 they completed their present meeting-house. It is a plain, but substantial stone building, located on the south side of State street.
The Presbyterian congregation originally worshiped in the building erected by them in 1827, at McClure's, two miles above Curwensville. This society was at that time connected with the one at Clearfield, and Rev. Gara Bishop was the first pastor of the churches at "Old Town" (now Clearfield) and Pike. In 1840 the Rev. Frederick G. Betts, father of State Senator Betts, was installed pastor of these two churches, and continued so until his death, which occurred January 17, 1845. During his pastorate a church building was erected in Curwensville, near the site of the present edifice. Rev. Samuel M. Howell was the next pastor, remaining until 1847. He was followed by the Rev. Miles F. Merwin, who remained until 1853. July 1, 1857, the Rev. John M. Galloway became pastor, and continued until July, 1863. Rev. J. E. Kerns was the next pastor, taking charge January 12, 1866, and continued until 1868. The Rev. William Burchfield was installed June 29, 1869, and remained until June, 1876. In November, 1869, the present building was dedicated. It is a handsome stone edifice in the Gothic style of architecture, and cost $16,000. The lots on which it stands were presented to the congregation by members of the Irvin family, who also contributed liberally toward its erection. After Rev. Burchfield left the church was without a pastor until May 1, 1878, when Rev. John B. Grier was installed; he was succeeded by the Rev. J. Q. A. Fullerton, who continued until January 1, 1885. He was followed by the Rev. William McBeth April 1, 1885, who remained until June 1, 1886. In 1880 the society erected a fine parsonage on the lots adjoining the church. It is also built of stone, and similar in architecture to the church.
The original Methodist Episcopal Society was organized in 1833-34. It belonged to the circuit for many years, and from 1855 to 1870, it was part of what was known as the Clearfield charge. In 1870 it was set apart as a separate station. Until 1841 the society worshiped in the old township school-house on Filbert street. In that year they built a frame church on the north-east corner of State and Walnut streets, which, after they occupied their new church, was sold to the school-board. The present edifice was dedicated March, 1861. It is a plain brick structure, costing (with improvements since added), $10,000. The lots on which it stands were donated by General John Patton. The first parsonage was presented to the church in 1854 by General Patton.
In 1880, during the pastorate of Rev. James Curns, the present parsonage was erected at a cost of $4,500. It stands upon the lot adjoining the church on Walnut street. Since the establishment of Curwensville as a regular appointment, the following have been the pastors: Revs. D. S. Munroe, A. W. Guyer, W. G. Furguson, A. W. Gibson, Jesse B. Young, George Leidy, James Curns, J. B. Shaver, and the present pastor, Rev. D. H. Shields.
The Baptist Church at Curwensville was organized in 1836, with twelve members, under the pastoral care of Elder Samuel Miles. Their present edifice was erected in 1857. It is a frame building situated on the east side of Thompson street.
The Catholics, in 1885, erected a substantial frame chapel on Pine street. It is connected with the Clearfield charge, under the care of Rev. Father Sheridan.
Five secret societies have organizations here. Noble Lodge No. 480, F. and A. M., was chartered September 7, 1870, and instituted October 27, 1870, at New Washington. The charter members were as follows: Ash. D. Bennett, W. M; James Savage, S. W.; James S. Cook, treasurer; Adam Brith, secretary; Lewis M. Clark, A. W. Young, James McKeehan and James Mahaffey. In October, 1881, the lodge was removed to Curwensville. They have a beautifully furnished lodge room on the third floor of the Patton block, with eighty-two members in good standing and over $1,500 invested and in the treasury. The present officers are, W. M., J. P. Bard; S. W., L. W. Spencer; J. W., William Holden; secretary, C. S. Russell; treasurer, J. R. Caldwell.
John Kratzer Post No. 184, G. A. R., was mustered July 3, 1880, by mustering officer James Hale, of Philipsburg. The post room is on the second floor of the Kittleberger building on State street. The present officers are: Com., J. E. Kratzer; S. V. Com., I. B. Norris; J. V. Com., James Spence; O. of D., H. L. Caldwell; surgeon, Dr. J. A. Maxwell; Q. M., David Reeseman; chap., E. A. Hoover; O. of G., H. T. Smith; adjt., J. M. Carlisle.
Curwensville Lodge No. 486, Knights of Pythias, was instituted January 6, 1883. The charter officers were: P. C., Daniel Schorr; C. C., George W. Verns; V. C., John Custaborder; P., D. S. Moore; M. of E., J. S. Graff; M. of F., J. L. Gates; K. of R. and S., C. L. Frank; M. at A., John Walk; I. G., A. K. Draucker; O. G., J. Roll Bloom. Trustrees, D. S. Moore, George Walk, Harvey Bloom. The present officers are: C. C., F. L. Arnold; V. C., J. H. Mead; P., A. K. Draucker; M. at A., A. Z. Wolf; M. of E., S. J. Graff; M. of F., Daniel Schorr; K. of R. and S., W. C. Helmbold; P. C., C. E. Patton; I. G., Samuel Addleman; O. G., E. A. Hoover. The lodge has at present sixty members in good standing. $125 invested, $185 cash on hand, and $300 worth of property. The lodge room is on the third floor of Bilger's block.
Bethesda Lodge No. 821, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was instituted January 16, 1872, by D. D. G. M., Thomas Robins. The charter members are: P. G., Henry Kernes; N. G., J. M. Stewert; V. G., Edmund Goodwin; secretary, J. R. Irvin; asst. secretary, T. J. Robinson; treasurer, J. E. Kratzer; R. S. to N. G., B. S. Broom; L. S. to N. G., J. R. Caldwell; warden, S. V. Soper; com., Dr. J. A. Maxwell; R. S. S., M. F. Owens; L. S. S., Whitman Broom; O. G., A. B. Whittaker; I. G., J. G. Hiel; chap., S. F. McClosky; R. S. to V. G., L. T. Ross; L. S. to V. G., Chas. Grest. All its effects were destroyed with the burning of the Patton block, October 2, 1880. This was a serious blow to the organization, as they were without insurance. They have fully recovered from this disaster, and are now in a flourishing condition. They occupy elegantly furnished rooms on the third floor of the new Patton block. There are ninety members in good standing; $1,000 invested in county and borough bonds, $125 cash in treasury, and property valued $600. The present officers are: N. G., C. E. Patton; V. G., E. A. Hoover; secretary, I. D. Kernes; treasurer, C. A. Rorabaugh; com., J. H. Mead; warden, Joseph L. Dale; P. G., H. L. Caldwell; I. G., J. W. Sykes; O. G., A. T. Bloom; R. S. S., Dr. J. Currier; L. S. S., W. C. Russell; R. S. to N. G., H. T. Smith; L. S. to N. G., F. L. Arnold; R. S. to V. G., Whitmer Broom; L. S. to V. G., J. L. Gifford.
Curwensville Lodge No. 396, Independent Order of Good Templars, was instituted January 25, 1882, by Rev. George C. Hart, G. W. C. T. The charter officers were: W. C. T., Roland D. Swoope, P. W. C. T., Samuel Arnold, Sr.; W. V. T., Mrs. Samuel Arnold; W. S., C. S. Russell; W. A. S., Mary McClosky; W. M., C. G. Duffy; W. D. M., Gertie Bilger; W. T. S., Charles E. Patton; W. T., Mrs. John Patton; R. S. to W. C. T., Alice E. Bilger; L. S. to W. C. T., Carrie Dyer; W. I. G., Effie Arnold; W. O. G., John C. Way. The lodge met for some time in a room on the third floor of Bilger block, but the present year they removed to rooms on the second floor of the Patton block. The present officers are: C. T., Roland D. Swoope; P. C. T., O. E. Eckbert; V. T., Mary McClosky; W. S., Laura Moore; treasurer, Will L. Thompson; T. S., Gertie Moore; M., Will McClosky; D. M., Bertha Caldwell; R. S. to C. T., Mrs. G. W. Weaver; L. S. to C. T., Josie Shields; I. G., Lola Owens; O. G., C. E. Patton. This lodge has been from the beginning a great success. The rooms are handsomely furnished, and a good work is being accomplished. There are at present sixty-five members in good standing; property valued at $300 and $75 cash in the treasury.
The Curwensville Library Association was organized in 1877, and chartered, in 1878, as a stock company, with a capital of $2,000. The association had a valuable library, and fitted up and maintained a free reading-room, where all the latest papers and periodicals were kept on file; but in the disastrous fire of October 2, 1880, their rooms and contents were destroyed. On October 11, 1886, Rev. D. H. Shields, pastor of the M. E. Church, organized the Curwensville Literary Union, which meets weekly in the lecture-room of the church. The present officers are: President, Rev. D. H. Shields; vice-president, Professor G. W. Weaver; secretary, Mrs. R. D. Swoope; treasurer, C. E. Patton; editors, W. C. Arnold, esq., W. I. Swoope, Miss Alice Bilger; executive committee, I. P. Bard, R. D. Swoope, esq., M. F. Owens, G. W. Weaver, Colonel E. A. Irvin; program com., Miss Alice Irvin, J. P. Bard, Mrs. G. W. Weaver.
There is also a Library Association connected with the public schools. The library room is in the Patton graded school building. They have recently placed therein a handsome and spacious book-case, and have already the nucleus of a fine library. The following are the names of the present officers: President, Samuel P. Arnold; vice-president, Will Moore; secretary, Miss Sue Bard; treasurer, Frank Thompson; librarian, Verne Bloom.
The first band was organized in 1856. It was composed of fourteen members, as follows: Leader, James Stott, Eb cornet; Henry McKeim, Eb cornet; Alfred Monteilues, Eb cornet; Law. Sykes, key bugle; Henry Kerns, trumpet; J. P. Bard, Eb cornet; Thomas Ross, alto; S. J. Gates, tenor; George Harley, baritone; William Ten Eyck, bass; Levi Speice, bass; A. J. Draucker, bass drum; H. D. Patton, snare drum. The present membership is as follows: Leader, H. J. Eckbert, Eb cornet; William Singer, Eb cornet; Joseph Mahaffey, alto; Blair Crisswell, alto; William Moore, alto; Robert Miller, tenor; Will Faust, tenor; John Minhinnett, baritone; J. R. Fee, bass; Robert Stevenson, bass; L. C. Norris, snare drum; John Norris, jr., bass drum and cymbals.
The Rescue Hook and Ladder Company was organized in 1881-2. The borough authorities purchased a hook and ladder truck and outfit costing over $700, which is under the control of the company. The members have provided themselves with complete uniforms, and are the first on hand when an alarm of fire is given. There are thirty members, and the present officers are: President, William Holden; vice-president, J. W. Sykes; secretary, Clyde Gates; treasurer, W. A. Moore; foreman, B. A. Wertz; assistant foreman, John Crouch; directors, J. S. Graff, A. E. Patton, D. S. Moore.
The Curwensville Hotel Company was chartered April 24, 1882, with a capital stock of $15,000. The purpose for which the company was formed was to provide a temperance hotel for the benefit of the traveling public. In the spring of 1882 they completed and opened for patronage the "Park House," a large and commodious building, handsomely finished and elegantly furnished, heated with steam, and fitted with all the latest improvements. Its cost, including the grounds and furniture, was over $21,000. It is at present under the management of W. F. Eckbert, who conducts it in a most satisfactory manner. The officers of the hotel company are: President, Honorable John Patton; vice-president, Samuel Arnold; secretary, W. C. Arnold, esq.; treasurer, A. E. Patton; directors, John Patton, Samuel Arnold, E. A. Irvin, James McIntyre, and J. C. Wright.
The Curwensville Telephone Company was incorporated November 15, 1881, with capital stock of $3,000. It owns a line forty-three miles in length, connecting Curwensville with Lumber City, Pennville, Lewisville, Mahaffeys, McGees, New Washington, Newburg, Burnside, Patchinville, and Cherry Tree, and has proven a great convenience to the business public. The present officers are: President, Porter Kimports; secretary and treasurer, A. E. Patton.
THE FIRST NATIONAL BANK
In March 1864, the First National Bank was organized with a capital of $50,000 (afterwards increased to $100,000), with the following officers and directors: President, John Patton; cashier, Samuel Arnold; directors, William Irvin, John Irvin, and Dr. H. P. Thompson. It conducted a large and successful business until January 1, 1876, when it went into voluntary liquidation, and was succeeded by the Curwensville Bank, composed of John Patton, A. W. Patchin, Dr. D. A. Fetzer, and Dr. J. P. Hoyt. The flourishing condition and marked success that has attended the management of this institution may be gathered from the statement of its condition January 15, 1887, as follows: Capital, $100,000; surplus fund $100,000; deposits, $421,000; loans and discounts, $506,800; cash, and due from banks, $126,650. The present officers are: President, Honorable John Patton, cashier, A. E. Patton; stockholders, John Patton, Dr. D. A. Fetzer, and A. W. Patchin.
About 1840-1 David Harvey erected an iron foundry in the village of Bridgeport, which he conducted for a few years, when it became the property of George Beatty, who did a thriving business for many years, particularly in the manufacture of plows, the first one made in the county having been cast at this foundry. The business was discontinued in 1855, and the old building was torn down in 1880. During 1841 a foundry was erected by Samuel Spencer and David Harvey on the lot now occupied by the Methodist Episcopal church. John P. Dale, John D. and James Thompson, and Jackson Robinson, Sr., were, at different times, interested in this enterprise. Plows and cook-stoves were the principal articles manufactured, as many as two hundred stoves having been made in a single season.
In 1850 John D. and James Thompson built the Thompson foundry which is still standing on the Thompson Street.
In 1855 Jackson Robinson, Sr., started the foundry on State Street, which was destroyed by fire about 1858. He then erected another on the lot below McNaul's tannery; this was also burned in 1867. He then built the present foundry on Filbert Street, where he now continues the business in connection with his sons.
In 1868 William A. Dale and Jackson Robinson, started a small planing-mill on Filbert Street, in the building now used by John Hill as a woolen-factory. Williams Dale sold his interest to John Wann, of Brookville, who afterwards sold to Captain J. Welsh, who, with Mr. Robinson, continued the business for a few years, when not proving successful, it was abandoned.
About 1868 John Patton, E. A. Irvin, E. B. Patton and J. R. Irwin erected quite a large planing-mill on Filbert Street, which was fitted up with first-class machinery; this was conducted by these parties for some years, when they sold it to A. H. Irvin and W. C. Arnold, who managed it for two or three years. From the fall of 1873 until 1880, it stood idle. Colonel E. A. Irvin then became the owner of the property, and leased it to Henry Foutz, of Bellefonte, who conducted it for some time. In 1884 the building was torn down, and the ground sold for building-lots. In 1818, Messrs. J. Robinsons and Sons placed a planing-machine in their foundry building, and do a large amount of work in their line.
The Press.-The first newspaper enterprise was The Clearfield County Times published by T. J. Robinson, and edited by "The Times Editorial Committee." The initial number was issued Tuesday, September 10, 1872. The paper was owned by a number of business men, who had subscribed the necessary funds to insure its publication. In 1873 the establishment was purchased by R. H. Brainard, who conducted the paper until 1882, when he sold it to Whittaker and Fee. Mr. Fee was succeeded by R. R. Stevenson, and Mr. Whittaker by G. M. Belger. Mr. Belger subsequently retiring. Mr. Stevenson became the sole proprietor, and conducted it until November 1884, when it suspended publication. On January 1, 1885, John P. Bard purchased the press and materials of the Times office, and commenced the publication of The Curwensville Herald, which he conducted for one year with great success, and made it a creditable production. After Mr. Bard's retirement, he leased the material to R. R. Stevenson, who issued the paper for a few months, when its publication ceased, and the plant was sold to Harrisburg parties.
In 1881 a paper called The Ancillia was started by C. C. McDonald; and in June, 1882, the name was changed to The County Review. This was a monthly publication, and contained many articles of local and historical interest. In 1884, Mr. McDonald sold it to R. H. Brainard, the former proprietor of the Times, who changed it to a weekly, and still continues to conduct it.
An agricultural paper, called The Pennsylvania Farmer, was conducted for a short time, during the year 1885, by Miles Wall.
About 1812 Robert Maxwell and David Dunlap erected a saw-mill on Anderson Creek, about one mile above Curwensville, and in 1817 Job England built one on the same stream, a little below where the Friends meeting-house now stands.
In 1818 John Irvin erected a saw-mill near the present site of the Irvin flouring-mill.
In 1841 Alexander Irvin built one where the Irvin steam saw-mill now stands.
In 1846 William Irvin, Sr., erected a mill near the mouth of Anderson Creek, where the shingle-mill of A. H. Irvin stands.
About 1863 Thomas Hill built a mill at Bridgeport, near where the Arnold mill now stands. There were quite a number of the old-fashioned water-power mills in various parts of the township, but they have been superseded by the large steam mills.
N. E. Arnold's Bridgeport mill, now operated by Samuel Arnold, is the largest. It was erected in 1881, and the capacity of the board mill is thirty thousand feet per day; it has a shingle, lath, picket and box board machinery.
John Irvin and Brothers have a large steam saw-mill in Curwensville, with a capacity of twenty thousand feet of lumber per day.
The Cathcarts have a steam saw-mill at Olanta.
In 1824-25 John Draucker built a woolen-factory at Bridgeport. This mill was operated by William Ramsey until 1829, when it was leased by Jacob Wilt and George Beatty. In 1832 Draucker sold the property to Joseph Spencer, and in 1834 Charles Spencer took charge and operated the mill until an accident occurred, which resulted in his death in 1835. Joseph M. and Samuel Spencer took charge of the mill and operated it until 1843, when Samuel retired, and was succeeded by W. S. Porter, with whom he continued in business for two years, when Zebulon Miller leased the property, added new machinery, and commenced the manufacture of cloths and satinetts. About three years later the factory was purchased by James Spencer and William S. Porter. Mr. Porter subsequently retired, and Spencer conducted it until 1854, when he leased it to William Blake and John and Thomas Hill. Blake sold to the Hills in a short time who continued to operate it for some years, when Thomas Hill became sole proprietor, having purchased the interest of James Spencer. In 1873 Thomas Hill sold the property to Arnold, Hartshorn & Hipple. This firm refitted the factory, and operated it for about three years, when it was purchased by Samuel Arnold, of Curwensville, under whose management the factory did a large business, particularly in the manufacture of lumberman's flannel. In June, 1881, the entire establishment was destroyed by fire. In 1867 John Hill established a woolen factory on Filbert Street, in the building now occupied by him, where he carries on a large and successful business.
The original Irvin flouring mill was built about 1818. This mill was burned in 1830, but was immediately rebuilt. The second mill was destroyed by fire in February, 1877, but was replaced by the present one, which is located on the east bank of the river, and is one of the most complete establishments of the kind in the country.
In the year 1839 Joseph Spencer erected a flouring mill at Bridgeport, and conducted it until January 1, 1850, when Joseph M. Spencer became the owner, and operated the same until 1875, when he removed the old structure and built a new one, with all modern improvements, and in 1882 added steam power. Mr. Spencer still conducts this mill, and does a large and successful business.
Benjamin Hartshorn established the first tannery on the farm now owned by Jonathan Hartshorn. In 1826, William Hartshorn, a son of Benjamin, moved the tannery to the lot now owned by Mrs. Harriet Crouch, on corner of State and Filbert Streets, where it was operated for about thirty years.
In 1819 William McNaul, father of Robert, Zachariah and John McNaul, erected a tannery on the site of the present building, which was conducted by himself and sons, up to the time of his death. The business is still carried on by his sons Zachariah and John.
In 1851 Samuel B. Taylor built a tannery on a lot on Filbert Street, and still operates it. These tanneries were all run without steam power, and tanned only upper leather.
The Summit tannery was built by W. S. White & Son, and opened for business in May, 1877. It was purchased by J. B. Alley & Co., of Boston, Massachusetts, on April 3, 1878, and on January 1, 1887, this firm was succeeded by Messrs. Alley Bros. & Place, of the same city. Since May 1, 1879, the establishment has been managed by Mr. F. J. Dyer, who is also superintendent of the tannery owned by the same firm at Osceola Mills, Pennsylvania. Summit tannery has a capacity of one hundred and two hides per day, and manufactures one million pounds of leather per annum. About forty men are constantly employed, whose wages amount to $18,000 per year. Six thousand tons of hemlock, and six hundred tons of oak bark, are used each year. New boilers and machinery have recently been placed in this establishment. Backed by ample capital, and under efficient management, it is one of the most successful business enterprises in the county.
The mercantile interests are well represented. Samuel Arnold conducts a large general store in connection with his steam saw-mill, and lumber business.
L. W. Spencer & Co., and F. J. Dyer & Co., have general stores, and both do an extensive business.
John Irvin & Bros. Have a large trade in connection with their general store, saw-mill, flouring mill, lumber and bark business; they employ a number of men.
Abram Gates has a large and complete hardware store, and manufactory of tin war, roofing and spouting; Bilger & Gray also conduct a complete hardware store.
Charles E. Patton has a large and complete dry goods establishment.
Gus. Z. Wolfe conducts a clothing, and boot and shoe store. A. M. Kirk has a fine jewelry store; Joseph R. Irvin, a very complete drug store. Faust & Holden have a general store; Mrs. J. H. Fleming, furniture, upholstering, and undertaking; Andrew Stover deals in furniture and builder's supplies; Thomas W. Moore, groceries; Harvy Teats, groceries; M. Breckstein, dry goods; Mrs. M. Kennard, variety store; S. S. Moore, restaurant; J. S. Graff, restaurant and saloon; F. H. Graff & Company, billlards; A. T. Owens, harness; M. F. Owens, harness; Greer & Burkett, manufacturers of cigars; A. B. Whittaker & Company, coal & lime; Henry Stockbridge, lumber, flour and feed; W. P. Tate, agricultural implements; A. F. Martin, merchant tailor; Edmund Goodwin, books and stationery; J. H. Mead & Company, general insurance agents; James McIntyre, livery; William B. Condo, livery; A. K. Draucker, livery; E. E. Hagerty, bakery; D. S. Moore, photographer.
Bridgeport is a small village one and one-quarter miles west of Curwensville. Its industries have been fully described elsewhere in this article. Its persent population is one hundred.
Bloomington is situated four miles east of Curwensville, and has a population of about one hundred and fifty. A post-office has been established at this place for a number of years. The Patrons of Husbandry have erected a building for the use of their society. There are two churches-the Methodist, erected about 1875, and the Lutheran, built about 1851. Curwensville is the trading point for this locality.
Olanta is a comparatively new town, located on the line of the B. C. C. and S. W. Railroad, about five miles from Curwensville. The town was laid out in 1885. A post-office was established here in 1886. Mr. Owens is the present postmaster. H. A. Long, and Cathcart & Smith have the principal mercantile establishments. The present population is one hundred and fifty.
Source: Pages 628-645, History of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich, Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co., Publishers, 1887.
Transcribed September 1999 by Connie L. Robinson 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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