Clearfield County Pennsylvania
Present and Past

Chapter II
People of the Present and Past


By the Census of 1920, the county's population was over 103,000. The estimated population at present (1925) is about the same.

There were nearly 40,000 persons qualified to vote at the November election in 1924, of whom not quite 23,000, or less than fifty-seven and one-half percent, actually voted.

The assessed valuation of all property in Clearfield county, subject to local taxation for 1925, was nearly $23,000.000.00. At the first census taken in the county in 1810, there were 875 people. In 1800, there were less than 25 people in the county. Almost if not every nation in the world is represented in our population. During the World' War, men from every nation except China and Japan were inducted into the service from Clearfield county.

Many of the more aggressive and intelligent of the descendents of the early settlers of the county have, as their ancestors did before them, migrated west. Others have scattered in other directions, until it would now be possible to find Clearfield county people in nearly every state of the Union and in nearly every part of the world. Yet many of the descendants of the pioneers remain, some to take the lead in the advancement of civilization by educational and other means, and others conservatively holding back as the world moves on and saying "What was good enough for me is good enough for my children."

Industrial Changes Brought New Classes of People. As lumbering succeeded farming as the leading industry, many woodsmen came in from the Eastern States and Canada adding - a wonderfully industrious and energetic class of citizens to our population.

Later as mining and brick making became developed many others, and particularly foreigners of different nationalities, came in large numbers. Most of these foreigners who came to mine coal or to do rough unskilled labor had had no opportunities of education, or very limited ones at best in their own country, but be it said to their credit that they have usually, though not in all cases, realized the wonderful advantages our schools and other agencies are ready to give them in comparison with their own meager chances of education, and are generally eager to have their children learn when the opportunity is thus provided.

We find that certain sections of the county are still "Pennsylvania Dutch", as Brady township, or "French" as Covington and Girard, or "Quaker" as Penn Township, to a greater or less extent wherever the descendants of the original settlers still remain in large numbers in those districts.

The Pioneers. It was certainly an adventure to leave the comforts of a settled community in the east, as these pioneers did, and strike out through the wilderness on an Indian path where they had to climb over fallen trees and up rocky hillsides, or pole a canoe up the swift or shallow river, according to the season of flood or drought, carrying the canoe and its contents around obstructions of rocks, tree trunks and brush, or struggling through the pathless woods in places to locate a claim that had been roughly "blazed out" on the trees by the axe of a hardy surveyor who had run his lines even before the Indian wars were over.

It seems a matter of wonder that men and women would leave such fine, rich country as is found in Lancaster, Delaware, Chester, Montgomery and Bucks counties and come into such a wilderness as was our county at that early time, to farm! But we must remember that at the close of the 18th century, agriculture was the principal occupation of the people of the United States. Also we must remember that an agricultural people, each family producing almost all of the necessaries of life, as it had to do before "the industrial revolution," required quite a large amount of land on which to produce its living. So we find that the eastern section of Pennsylvania was beginning to be crowded with farmers and that all the suitable farm land had been taken up, therefore ambitious young men and women felt the urge to strike out to the great new lands to the west.

Earliest Settlers. The earliest white settlers in Clearfield county were as follows: Captain Edward Rickerts, who, it is claimed, came to Clearfield Creek not far from the present town of Madera and he and his sons made an improvement in September 1783, though he doesn't seem to have brought the other members of his family until 1801.

James Woodside is said to have come to the county in 1785, and then or soon after, he located on Stump Creek where the present town of Helvetia is situated. His place has long been known as the Woodside Farm. He lived here by himself for twenty-two years. He died in 1834, and a monument has been erected to his memory in the Luthersburg Cemetery.

Abram Goss settled at a very early date at Stumptown, near Osceola.

Daniel Ogden with three of his sons came up the West Branch in canoes in 1796 or 97 and settled just above the old Indian town of Chinklacamoose and its "cleared field", about where Ogden Avenue now intersects Second Street, Clearfield. Here he built a log house with some assistance from the Indians who were still living in the old town. Arthur Bell also helped build Ogden's house. The Indian field showed evidence of having been lately cultivated.

Daniel Ogden was no "piece worker," but was able to do most kinds of labor. For instance, he could build a house, (log), as he did his own with help, make a loom, or a spinning wheel, cut out . pants, coat and vest, repair a gun, pull teeth, and doctor. He made the millstones for his mill that he and his son Matthew built on Moose Creek, and which were later used in a mill on Trout Run at Shawville. He could also weave and spin, in fact though raised in the woods (having been the first settler in Sullivan County, where his son David was killed in the Cherry Valley massacre), he had enough mechanical genius to take care of himself anywhere. Whether Daniel Ogden was really the first bonafide settler as some claim he was, he was far and away the most valuable one who came to the county prior to 1800. His son Joab was the second settler (the first with a family) in Brady township.

Daniel Ogden very soon brought the others of his family. His descendants still live in and around Clearfield, and in other parts of the country. He died in 1818. His wife Eleanor died in 1835 aged 98 years and 3 months. Their son Matthew was married June 30, 1802, by Charles Treziyulny at Philipsburg, to Elizabeth Bloom, daughter of William Bloom, who had settled near the mouth of Anderson Creek about 1800. Theirs was the first marriage of Clearfield county people. They had a daughter, Hannah McMullen, who is still living in 1925 at Craig, Nebraska. She was born in 1824. Matthew and Elizabeth Ogden had fifteen children, whose descendants are quite numerous.

Other Early Settlers. Arthur Bell, of whom we have spoken, was one of the first settlers after those mentioned, having come up the river with Daniel Ogden on one of his trips from Big Island, near where Lock Haven now stands. He settled on the west side of the river where the N. Y. C. R. R. bridge now spans it, between Lumber City and Curwensville. His son Grier Bell, born there in 1799, is believed to have been the first white child born in the county. There were a number of other children.

The Bell's ground their grain in a coffee mill (lucky to have one!) until the Ogden's got their grist mill built, when Arthur took his grist to the mill and back in a canoe. As there was no blacksmith shop nearer than Big Island (near where Lock Haven now stands), Bell and others had to go there (300 miles round trip) to get work done in iron. On one occasion it is said he broke the iron "tit" off his bar-share wooden plow after having gone the 300 mile trip to have it mended. As it was then getting late for planting, his ground had to be gotten ready to plant with a hoe.

Once a wolf came and attacked Bell's cattle and the dog, acting very strangely. It bit the cattle, and the family ceased using the milk for nine days out of fear of rabies. Thinking all danger over by that time, they began to use the milk again, when what was their horror to see all the cattle go mad -and have to be killed. For some days they were terribly fearful that they would all go mad, too, from having used the milk, but as time went on, and nothing happened, they gradually got over their terror.

Arthur Bell's brother, John, was a little man and was familiarly called "Little John" and, probably from his liking whisky too well, "Demi-John." When sober, John was all right, but when he had liquor, he was nasty, vengeful and fearless. Once a party of Indians camped near Squire McClure's on their way from Huntingdon westward. John in company with others paid them a visit and as they had plenty of liquor, there was soon trouble.

A big Indian under the influence of it, got angry at something John said or did and struck him between the eyes. John's companions caught the Indian and tied him, intending to leave him tied until he got sober. A little while after this John was missing and his companions finally found him on the brink of the river, which was high, and where he had dragged the Indian that had been tied up. They asked John what he was going to do and he answered "Why going to roll the cussed Redskin in!" After much persuasion, they finally induced John to give up drowning the Indian.

On another occasion there was a sort of frolic to turn over an "ark", which had to be built bottom up and rolled into the water, and John probably drunk, lay down beside a log and was not found until daylight next morning. He was so stiff, and cold, that he was almost done for, and in order to limber him up, he was taken into a house and "soused" into a barrel of warm water until he revived, none the worse.

Once again, John having decided to live out in the woods by himself, his brother getting uneasy about him because a hard storm was coming up, went out and tried to persuade John to come home with him, but John declined, whereupon his brother picked him up and just "toted" him home over his shoulder.

Once John and some others found a panther in its den in the rocks. They got a rope and tied it around John's body, then he went in and got the panther, and the others pulled him out. Arthur and John Bell had been in the Revolution, serving on a privateer.

Arthur Bell was quite well informed for his day, and filled the offices of Justice of the Peace (Commissioned April 1, 1806), County Treasurer, etc. He was a big, jolly, well liked man and a good fiddler.

An embankment on the farm of Grier Bell is thought to have been made by Indians of some earlier race. From it three "knobs" `high round hills' may be seen.

The Strenuous Life of the Pioneer. In 1803, Arthur Bell sold the upper part of his farm to Benjamin Fenton, who cleared three acres, sowed it in wheat, built a log house and went back to Centre county, bringing his goods over later, some that winter on sleds and the balance next spring on packhorses. Alex McNattin, a jolly Scot, helped Fenton move.

They had to ferry goods across Clearfield Creek and the river and the water was high-. A short distance below Fenton's cabin on the river, they sent the horses through the water next to the bank, while they themselves scrambled along the shelving rocks above. A favorite black mare, Kate, was loaded with bedding, and she somehow got turned into the main stream current and swam with her load barely sticking out of water, wetting the bedding and liable to lose it off or be swept away with the flood, but she was finally persuaded to swim ashore.

Fenton had no doors or windows in his house, but as that was quite the fashion of pioneer days, nothing was thought of it. He and Bell were great friends, and as Bell was a good hunter, but did not like to bother skinning and bringing in the game, Fenton did it for him. Benjamin Fenton had a number of children. Elisha who settled in the Grampian Hills, was a great reader and became, in his time, the best informed man in the county. Paul Clover, the first blacksmith, came to the mouth of Anderson Creek in 1799.

William Bloom, who was also a Revolutionary soldier, came to the mouth of .Anderson Creek and built a cabin on what is now the Irvin Farm near Curwensville, presumably in the spring of 1801. He brought with him his sons John and Benjamin and his daughter Elizabeth. Elizabeth was about 16 and Benjamin 9 or 10, therefore as Elizabeth was born in 1784 and Benjamin on the last day of the year 1790, they must have come in 1801. Paul Clover who is said to have been an uncle of the Bloom children, was the only neighbor, living about three-fourths of .a mile away at the mouth of the creek.

That summer after the cabin was built, without any door except a blanket hung up to keep the wind out, (in style again because there were no sawmills yet to make boards for a door) the Blooms cleared a little patch of ground and sowed turnips which did well, so they at least had plenty of turnips for winter, if not much else. Then Mr. Bloom went back to Nittany in the fall to bring over the rest of the family, leaving the children to keep the cabin until he should come back. But for some reason, he did not get back until spring and the children were left to shift for themselves. John though fourteen, liked to live with the Indians and hunt, and did not bother at all about Elizabeth and Benjamin.

How Betsy and Ben Kept the Cabin all Winter Long. There were two Clover boys, Paul and Seth, who were about Ben's age, and they and Ben spent a good deal of time wrestling. But Ben could always throw the Clover boys, which they, boy like, somewhat resented. Anyway they thought they would have some fun with Ben, and so told him that an old Indian, whose tribe was camped where the P. R. R. station now stands in Curwensville, was going to kill him and Betsy. Now these Indians were perfectly friendly, and before going away, Mr. Bloom had asked the old Indian to go over sometimes and see how the children were getting along, and the Indian had promised to do so. But Ben believed the story the boys told him. So he hunted up his father's old Revolutionary musket and some powder, but could find no bullets, so he cut up a pewter spoon for bullets and loaded it up. Then Ben posted himself in the cabin behind the blanket to wait for the old Indian, and sure enough . the Indian, thinking he had better go over as he had promised, went up the path to the door.

When Ben saw the old Indian's outline through the blanket toward the light, he pulled the trigger of the old musket expecting to shoot him, but the gun, being a flint lock, and likely not in the best of order and probably not properly "primed", did not go off. However Ben made considerable noise in the act of trying to fire it, and too, the Indian could see enough around the blanket to know what was going on inside and so started to run. Now Ben was so bent upon getting away with the Indian that he did not intend that he should escape so easily. He had a bull dog in the cabin with him and immediately hissed him on the Indian, but the dog did not catch up until the old fellow was near the camp and the other Indians drove the dog off with clubs.

After a while the old Indian went over and complained to Paul Clover, and asked him what Ben meant by trying to shoot him when he went over to see how the children were getting along, as he had promised their father to do. Mr. Clover didn't understand it, but agreed to go and see Ben about it.

Ben, who told the story to his grandson afterwards, said he noticed that his uncle whom he considered a rather stern man, seemed to be in an unusually good humor when he came over that day. He said to Ben "I understand you tried to shoot the old Indian?" "Yes", Ben said. "The old fellow was planning to kill me and Betsy, so thought I would shoot him, but the gun wouldn't go off." "Who told you the Indian was going to kill you?" Clover asked. "Why your boys, Paul and Seth," said Ben. "Well," said Clover, "let me see the gun, maybe I can fix it so it will go off next time." Ben handed over the gun thinking nothing of it.

Now Clover was lame and walked with a cane and as he took the gun from Ben and set it aside, he collared him and gave him a most thorough flogging with the cane. "You little fool" he said, "didn't you know that if you were to kill the old Indian, the other Indians would come over and kill us all?" But Ben smarting under his flogging was angry and resentful, and putting a turnip in his pocket, slipped off through the woods and started for Nittany where his father and mother were.

After a while Elizabeth found he had disappeared and went and told her uncle that Ben had run off. So they got on the horses and started after him, but did not catch up to him until they were nearly to Philipsburg. Then they pretended they were going to Nittany too, and Clover induced Ben to get on the horse with him. When he was once on, and within Clover's hold, they turned around and went back to Anderson Creek, and by that time Ben's temper having cooled off, he was agreed to stay.

However, the Clover boys were not satisfied to let Beta alone but put up Catfish, an Indian boy who lived at the Indian camp, to banter him for a "wrastle." Now Ben knew that Catfish was hot-tempered, and suspected that he would get "mad" if Ben threw him. So he refused. However, being "egged on" by the Clover boys, Catfish still persisted in wanting to "wrastle", and finally Ben told him he would, if Catfish would promise not to get angry if Ben threw him. Oh, he was perfectly ready to promise to keep in a good humor no matter who got the best of the "wrestling match." So Ben agreed to wrestle, and, quick as a flash threw Catfish, who lit on his head and got up in a terrible rage, flying into Ben and ' biting his shoulder until Ben had to choke him to make him let loose.

Soon after this, Ben was across the river helping the Clover boys to haul in "corn - tops", when Ben who had a pitchfork and was loading the "tops" on the sled, saw Catfish coming plauting right through the river, and decided that he was coming after Ben. So when Catfish got pretty close, he jumped off the sled and made for Catfish. This was too much for the Indian boy, and he turned and ran with Ben close behind him and had nothing to do but plunge into the river and run for his own side, making the water fly at every jump!

Soon after this, Catfish's father, thinking it better to avoid trouble with the white boy, took his boy away and left him with another party of Indians at some distance.

As winter came on, it became harder and harder for Ben and Betsy to get along by themselves. They had only a crude fireplace over which to cook their meals and by which to keep warm. It took a lot of wood, for much of the heat went up the chimney and most of the remainder escaped out through the crevices between the logs of the cabin. They had all their wood to gather out of the surrounding forest and then cut up so it could be burned in the fire place.

Four feet of snow fell and everything was eaten up but the turnips. So it was turnips for breakfast, dinner and supper until they decided they could stand it no longer, and finally succeeded in making a path through the deep snow three quarters of a mile to Paul Clover's to try to get something else to eat. Now Clover's were not very flush of eatables, but gave the Bloom children a hunk of corn bread, all they had, to take home. This they are said to have relished wonderfully, and they made it last them two weeks. So by one means and another, these children made out to help themselves and to get along until spring when their father brought over the other members of the family.

As before mentioned, Betsy (Elizabeth) afterwards married Matthew Ogden, and they lived for many years on the Daniel Ogden place where Clearfield now stands.

The First Store in the County. Thomas McClure came to Clearfield county in 1799, poling his way up the river from Cumberland county in a canoe. The tract of more than 500 acres along the river which he bought, included the site of the present McClure graveyard. At his place on the river near there, he established the first store in 1802. On April 1, 1806, he was commissioned Justice of the Peace, in which office he served for many years. In 1818 Squire McClure was commissioned Post Master of Pikeville, that name being given to the office kept at his place. This was probably the first Post Office on the river above Lock Haven, and the second one in the county.

Squire McClure's account books, yet in the possession of his descendants, show something of the life of the, community, and it was quite a community in so far as territory was concerned, for there was hardly a resident of the county at the head of a family up to 1814, whose name cannot be found on his books. Some of the charges are as follows: calico, 35c a yard; coffee, 25c a pound; wheat, $1.00 a bushel; whiskey (no license required for selling it at that time), 35c a gallon, 3c a gill, which was considered a drink. He paid his hired help 50c a day. He kept boarders and charged them at the rate of 7c a meal.

The Pikeville post office was on the mail route between Bellefonte and Venango and the first mail carrier mentioned was John P. Dale. No envelopes were used. The letter was just folded and sealed with wax. Postage to Philadelphia, 15c. Squire McClure's commission is signed by R. J. Meigs, Post Master General, and Thos. Arbuckle, clerk.

The Story of Mary Corrigan. When Thomas McClure came up from Cumberland county, he brought . with him a bound girl about 11 years old, Mary Corrigan. In early times the woods were full of wild animals, especially wolves, and in in order to keep the cattle and sheep from being killed or injured it was necessary to bring them in every night.

One evening, some years later, Mary went out to bring in the oxen and, as they had strayed quite a ways, it was growing late when she found them. Now the oxen were determined to go what Mary thought was the wrong direction for home, and she tried to force them to go the other way. Finally they broke away from her and ran off, while she took the direction through the woods which she felt sure was home.

However, the oxen came home, but Mary did not, so all the neighborhood was aroused and started out to hunt for her. They hunted all that night and the next day, but could find no trace of her. Neither did they find her that night, and by this time everybody was fearful that she might have been killed by a wolf or panther.

Then Mr. McClure said to Dan McCracken and others, that any worth while young man that found her might have and marry Mary. So next morning Dan put up enough lunch to last him two or three days and started out to hunt her. He hunted through the woods and by the river and at last just opposite Goose Island, a mile or two above where Lumber City now is, he saw her foot prints in the mud, and crossing over found her on the Island.

The first night she had lain down close up to a log and had heard some animal nosing around, but it had gone away without molesting her. The next night coming to the river and seeing the island, she waded over to it and slept there, because she had often heard that wild animals did not like to wet their feet and so thought that would be a safe place to stay over night. McCracken gave her part of his lunch and took her home. Afterwards they were married.

"Granny Leathers" and her son David Lewis. It was not until 1800 that the settlers discovered the old Indian path over the mountain from the Big Island on the West Branch to Chinklacamoose and along this path came one day the widow Lewis, who became familiarly known as "Granny Leathers." She located not far from where the jail now stands, by the river, and started a distillery.

She went away about the time of the war of 1812 and was known no more, but her son David, who had been a bad boy, later became a robber and held up the wagons of Bellefonte merchants, until they organized a vigilance committee and hunted him down. He was shot while being pursued on a branch of the Sinnemahoning, and refusing to have his wound properly dressed, finally died from its effects.

Taxables in 1806. In December 1806, the Commissioners of Center county, having jurisdiction over Clearfield county at the time, by their warrant authorized Alexander Read, assessor of Chinklacamoose township, to take an account of all the freemen and personal property made taxable by law, together with a just valuation of the same, and also a valuation of all trades and occupations subject to taxation, and to return same to them not later than January 28th, 1807.

The names of the taxable inhabitants of Chinklacamoose township, which included all of Clearfield county, was as follows:

Robert Anderson, Robert Askey, David Allen, Arthur Bell, Greenwood Bell, John Bell, William Bloom, Sr.,William Bloom, Jr., Isaac Bloom, Thomas Bramen, Samuel Beaty, Samuel Beers, Caleb Bailey, John Cook, Robert Cresswell, Paul Clover, Nicholas Cline, John Cline, John Crea, Hugh Carson, Samuel Cochran, John Carothers, George Cow-hart, Benjamin Carson, Jude Cunningham, John Crowell, John Coulter, Robert Collins, Anne Deal, John Dennis, William Dunlap, Caleb Davis, Alexander Dunlap, Peter Erhard, Nun England, Samuel Ewing, Benjamin Fenton, John Ferguson, Valentine Flegal, David Flegal, Henry Fye, Hugh Frazier, John Finall, William W. Feltwell, John Gearhart, Abraham Goss, Robert Graham, James Gallagher, Samuel Green, Martin Hoover, Frederic Haney, John Hall, Benjamin Hartshorn, William Hanna, William Hepburn, t)ewalt Hess, Abraham Hess, George Hunter, Hugh Hall, Henry Irwin, Hugh Jordan, John Jordan, Benjamin Jordan John Hiler, Andrew Kephart, Henry Kephart, Conrad Kyler, Leonard Kyler, Thomas Kirk, David Ligat, David Lewis, Thomas Lewis, Joseph Leonard, David Litz, Jane Leathers (Lewis), Abraham Leonard, William Leonard, James McCracken, Thomas McClure, Joseph McCracken, Robert McCormick, John Moore,Thomas Mapes, James McCracken, Jr., Robert Maxwell, Robert McCracken', Thomas McGee, Daniel Ogden, Matthew Ogden, John Owen, Joab Ogden, Joseph Patterson, Absalom Pierce, Abraham Passmore, William Robinson, Isaac Ricketts, Edward Ricketts, Alexander Read, Sr., Alexander Read, Jr., George Reynolds, Nicholas Straw, Benjamin Smeal, Nicholas Smeal, George Shimmel, John Shirley, Elisha Scofield, Christian Straw, Francis Stephens, William Tate, Samuel Turner, William Underwood, George Wilson, John Weld, John Welch, George Welch, Jacob Weiser, John Weiser, Thomas Winters, George Williams, Peter Young.

The following were the single freemen of the county:

Joseph McCracken, Robert McCracken, James McCracken, Andrew Beers, Jr., Robert Maxwell, Peter Clover, John Kyler, Conrad Kyler, Conrad Kyler, Jr., Samuel Jordan James Kirk, James Carson, Lewis Lewis, James Dunlap, James Galloway, Job England, Robert Howey, Andrew Bean, Daniel McCracken, David Flegal, George Haney, David Dunlap, James Dunlap, Solomon Cline, Samuel Jordan, Samuel Boyd, Thomas Read, John Conoway.

The early families settling the eastern side of the county were mostly from Center county, while those settling on the south-east came from Huntingdon and the counties beyond. Quite a number of these first settlers had been Revolutionary soldiers.

Many others who came later than those mentioned were really pioneers in the development of the county, but as this is not a biography, we cannot undertake to give an account of all of them. However mention will be made of outstanding or typical happenings or stories in the lives of families as seems necessary in connection with later events in the geography or history of the county.

A Panther Story. You remember the story of how Betsey and Ben kept the cabin. Well, when the Ben of this story grew up, he was Ben or Benjamin Bloom. When he was about middle age, he took his big dog one day and went out hunting. Soon the dog got on the trail of some animal, and tracked it on and on until it went in among the rocks of what is now the Snyder Stone Quarry above Curwensville.

When they came to the roughest part, where the cliff overhung the rocks and holes below, they looked down over, and there was a panther. * The dog was afraid of nothing and immediately jumped right down onto the panther, and there was a terrible fight. Ben could not shoot the panther for fear of killing the dog, but knew the dog was so gritty that he would never give up until either the dog or the panther was dead. Fearing for the dog, he jumped right down into the midst of the fighting and watching his chance, caught the panther by the hindlegs, with his bare hands. Then the dog got the panther by the throat and between Ben's trampling it and the dog's choking it, they soon had it nearly torn to pieces and the life out of it.

Ever after this time, Mr. Bloom would have spells of shaking nerves. He believed this was brought on by his fight with the panther.

The Oldest Living Person in the County. Sarah Ann Campbell Weaver, at Burnside, is believed to be the oldest person living in the county at the present time.

She came to the new home along the river in Burnside township when she was 8 years old. That was 95 years ago, for she was 103 on March 23, 1925. She was born in Union county near New Columbia in 1822. When she and her brother Jacob were children, at the old home three miles below Burnside, they went up Bear Run one morning for chestnuts. There was a bear pen up there. A bear pen was really a bear trap, for there was bait put in the pen ' and the top had a heavy log door so fixed that it would drop down when the bear went in after the bait, and then he could not get out.

The children went to look at the pen, and sure enough, there was a bear in it.

In those days children learned not to be afraid, so they decided they must kill the bear and take it home with them. Jacob had a pole axe, and-while Sarah Ann drew the bear's attention by poking it with sticks and making it rear up on its hind feet to fight them, he got up on the pen and hit it on the head with the pole axe, stunning it.

Then they opened the trap door and Jacob finished the bear with his pocket knife. When it was dead, they hauled it out, and Jacob dragged it home, while Sarah Ann carried his hit. Aunt Sarah Ann, as she is familiarly called by her friends and neighbors, has told the story many times to her children and grand children. In rafting time, later in her life, she tells how she had as many as 60 raftsmen sleeping all over the house, in one night. Then she would take the top feather ticks off and putting them on the floor make beds for all hands; and how the men's muddy feet mussed them up! Aunt Sarah Ann has been lively and jolly all her life and still enjoys a joke, as when she laughed as she told how old Josie Brothers had to sleep in the trundle bed, but said it was fun to curl up and sleep with the little boys, or when she told how Amos Fry fell through the bottom of the hay mow among the sleeping horses and scared them so they all began to kick and snort.

She never liked Indians, and when she was a girl, her sister Jane brought one across the river to their house in a canoe, not knowing he was an Indian; Sarah Ann, as quick as she saw him, ran into the house, slammed the door shut and pulled in the latch string to keep him out. Her Uncle John Whelland was shot as he sat in his chair by an Indian, near Milton, Pa.

At the time of the second "pumpkin flood" (1847) the water came up around their house along the river and the neighbors feared the family would be washed away and drowned, but Sarah Ann kept ringing the dinner bell off and on to tell people they were safe.

The Woman who Lived in the County the Longest. Mrs. Anna Gulich Heisey who was born at the Ringold Mill on Clearfield creek below Litz's Bridge in Lawrence township, May 5, 1816, and died in Clearfield January 27, 1923, lived longer in Clearfield county than any other person, having spent her whole life of nearly 107 years here. Her father was G. Philip Gulich, whose name is later mentioned as taking a prominent part in the making of our county. Her mother was Sarah Haney Gulich. Both came from long lived families, so that the contention that longevity depends much upon inheritance is abundantly borne out in the long life of Mrs. Anna Gulich Heisey. Her husband John B. Heisey died a good many years ago.

NOTE: (picture not scanned) The gigantic maple shown above is 17 feet, 5 inches in circumference 6 feet above the ground. It stands on the grounds of John P. Irvin, near his residence, on the bank of Anderson Creek close to where it empties into the West Branch at Curwensville. Here, so far as known, is the first graveyard in the county used by white people. It was, however, an Indian burial place long before the coming of the whites.

In 1799 Paul Clover built his cabin on the old Indian path nearby, and his blacksmith shop where Squire John Dale's house now stands. Clover's little daughter Nancy, who died in 1804, was probably the first white burial here. There are some rough head and foot stones yet standing, but they bear no marks.

Passing nearby are the Pennsylvania, the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh, and the New York Central Railroads. The Lakes-to-Sea Highway, now takes the place of the Erie Pike, which was in its day a great thoroughfare, and which, in 1824, took the place of the Old State Road and the Mead Trail, - the first white man's ways to cross the county.

All are in sight of the great maple that still stands, where it stood more than a century and a quarter ago, between the Indian path and the river, which were then the only means of travel through the county, between the east and the west.

Source:  Pages 20-41, Clearfield County Pennsylvania Present and Past,  T.L Wall, 1925
Transcribed March 2008 by Nathan Zipfel for the Clearfield County Genealogy Project
Contributed by Nathan Zipfel for use by the Clearfield County Genealogy Project (

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