Clearfield County Pennsylvania
Present and Past

Chapter VI
Educational and Kindred Agencies

If education in its broad sense means becoming fitted to make the best of life under the conditions surrounding it, and to better these conditions as fast as that can be done, then the pioneers received valuable education before they had schools. This we may better understand as we learn how capable they became of making their way in the wilderness, alone and unaided. Though illiterate, they must have been quite well fitted for their job.

In the old days spelling schools and literary and debating societies had quite a part in education. Many young men and women taking advantage of these agencies in conjunction with private reading and study, were able to educate themselves quite efficiently and have in many instances, made their mark in the world.

Changed Conditions. But now, conditions have changed, thanks in part at least, to the work of these sturdy men, women and children, who were ready and willing to face, accept and challenge the circumstances they met.

We will see what education means today and what it meant in the past, trying at the same time to see what we can learn from it that may be of value to us.


Pupils and Teachers. Every morning of each school day, nearly twenty-seven thousand pupils go to school in Clearfield County. A majority of them walk, others travel by train, trolley, bus or auto, some are transported in a school conveyance and a few drive. Of the 27,500 pupils, over 26,300 are in public schools, nearly 1000 in parochial schools and 200 in business schools.

Of these, nearly 2500, or about one-eleventh are in High School as pupils of the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grades, while nearly 11,000 or two-fifths are in the first three grades leaving about 13,800 in the five upper grades of the elementary schools.

Classes of Teachers. For all pupils there are about 727 teachers, and of these teachers more than half had not taught in the same room last year. In other words, more than half of all teachers, in the county are changed every year. Only one-eighth of the teachers have been in their present position more than three years. As it takes more than a month for a teacher to get a new room, with strange pupils into good working order, changing teachers every term means losing more than a month of school work every year for each new teacher. Of these teachers nearly one-half hold standard certificates, which means that they have not only sound scholarship, but experience. There are also other experienced teachers who have not yet reached standard grade in teaching. Then there are nearly one-fourth of the teachers who are beginners, teaching their first terms. About seven-ninths of the teachers are females and two-ninths males. About 100 teachers from the county are taking courses of full terms in state normal schools. Many teachers attend summer sessions at state normals or other accredited schools.

Classes of Schools. In all schools of sufficient size, the pupils are arranged so that each teacher has but one grade. However, under the departmental system, which is considered best for higher grades, (from the 4th or 5th up), each teacher instructs in certain subjects, going from grade to grade in so doing, or remaining in her room while each grade or class comes to her in turn to recite.

One Room Schools. There are yet a great many one-room country schools, in which the teacher must try to teach eight or nine branches to eight different grades of pupils every day, though it is becoming more common to alternate some of the branches. In such a school it is almost impossible for the teacher to avoid having some recitations crowded out. Under such circumstances it is hard, well nigh impossible, for pupils to pass a grade each year.

Advantages of Larger Schools. In larger schools, there are often two, three or four rooms, which makes it possible to grade the school to better advantage.

However, the most effective and economical elementary school, from both an educational and financial standpoint is found to be a unit of eight grades with not over 35 pupils to the grade. This would require eight teachers where each teacher has a grade, but might be better handled by seven, six teaching subjects, with the seventh supervising and assisting pupils in their studies in her room, during their study periods. An eight room building can be built and kept clean, healthful, comfortable, and light with the minimum of expense. If this is surrounded by a sufficiently large and convenient playground, it is much easier to supervise the pupils' behavior than where they run all over the neighborhood at play time.

Consolidation of Schools. Bringing the pupils of different schools together for purposes of better housing, grading and teaching is called consolidation.

There are now four recognized consolidated schools in the county: Hyde, with four rooms, in Lawrence Township; Luthersburg, with 3 rooms in Brady Township; McGees, with 2 rooms, in Bell Township; and Woodland with 10 rooms, in Bradford Township. Of these, Hyde was the first in the county. The building is so arranged that by means of a movable partition, two of the rooms may be made into one, to serve as an auditorium.

The Bradford District was assisted in putting up their consolidated school by the Harbison-Walker Refractories Company, who also gave the grounds. This building has a commodious auditorium in addition to the ten school rooms. It is constructed and equipped in the most approved manner.

School Equipment. All school rooms in the county are now equipped with modern pupil desks, and the most progressive districts are supplying their rooms with the other furniture and equipment necessary to the comfort and convenience of pupils and teachers. However, there are yet buildings being used for school purposes that would not make modern poultry houses; they are too dark, unsanitary and inconvenient. They are fast being replaced by modern structures by progressive school boards who set a true value on the lives and future prospects of their boys and girls.

Schools of the Past. The last pioneer log school house in the county stood in the "Woods District" of Ferguson township. It was removed in 1886 to give place to a more modern structure.

The first school in the county seems to have been "kept" at McClure's, where the McClure grave yard is located, in 1804. It was held in a log cabin of the old style, built to serve as a church, with fire place and chimney of logs and stone, with or without a door, with greased paper pegged over the hole where a log was cut out to let a little light in. It and others like it were "pay schools." When a teacher came into the neighborhood, he canvassed for pupils among the few settlers and arranged to "board round," that is in turn, among the patrons.

The First Teachers. The County Atlas says Hugh Hall was the first teacher at McClure's but Dr. A. T. Scriver, who was a very careful and accurate man, says the first teacher's name was Kelly and the second was James Fleming. The original - account book of James Fleming is still in existence. In it are the entries and registry of attendance with charges against the pioneer residents along the river at that time including Squire Thomas McClure, Robert Cresswell, Paul Clover, Arthur Bell, Robert Askey, William Bloom, and others.

This school record starts in July, 1807 and goes into August. It begins again November 9, and goes to end of quarter, Jan. 2, 1808, and on to sometime in February. The charges were at the rate of about $1.50 per month, and "board round."

In 1806 a school house is said to have been built one mile north-east of Clearfield with Samuel Fulton, the surveyor, as teacher. He could not have taught it in 1806 (possibly a year later) as he did -not bring his family here until 1807. Later a Miss Davis taught there. This house was on what is now the Chariton farm, in sight of Paradise school.

The first school in Curwensville was kept in a dwelling in 1812, with Jesse Cookson first teacher and Josiah Evans second. A log school house was built here in 1814 by the citizens. A night school was taught by John Patton, Sr., in 1826. Schools were of a temporary character up to the passage of the state school law in 1834. They were often quartered in abandoned cabins, these being considered good enough for the purpose. Major H. M. Luther says: "I attended Mr. Whitson Cooper's school (at Cooper's log house in Luthersburg) during the winter of 18234."

A school house of logs was built in the Grampian Hills before 1820, where Dr. Stark taught and where Dr. Scriver taught in 1827. It stood on what is now the farm of Warner Wall. School was kept in Lebbeus Luthers bar room in 1827 and 1828. A hewed log school house is said to have been built in or near Luthersburg later. There was a school in Bradford Township in 1822 kept by Samuel Waring. On August 19, 1822, he received pay for having taught three poor children.

The law requiring the county to pay for the schooling of poor children was passed in 1809. It also provided for furnishing stationery for them. There are a number of records of children whose tuition was thus paid for by the county.

The Law of 1834 for Schools. There was much opposition to the law of 1834; it added to the taxes. In 1835 the law was amended so that a district need not accept the law. The report of Thomas H. Burrows, then Superintendent of Common Schools of Pennsylvania, says that on November 4, 1834, the whole number of school districts in Clearfield county was 17, of which eight accepted the law and nine did not accept it. Bradford, Burnside, Covington, Chest, Lawrence, Pike, Penn and one other seem to have been the eight that had accepted in November, 1834. There were thirty-eight school rooms in the county at this time. Others accepted soon after this time. Ferguson Township had not accepted in 1845. There were about 220 pupils in the schools of Clearfield county in 1835.

Teachers and Pupils in County in 1854. During the first year of Dr. Scriver's term as County Superintendent, (1854), 20 pupils in the county were studying history, one hundred and thirty English grammar, and two hundred and thirty-six geography. The whole number of pupils attending school in the county was 4,893, of which 2,697 were males and 2,196 females. There were 75 male and 39 female teachers, with salaries ranging from 18 to 25 dollars. The cost for each pupil per month was 58 cents. Now it is from four to ten dollars. Dr. Scriver says further, "almost any superannuated old cripple was good enough for a master, provided he could write a fair hand, read tolerably well, make quill pens and cipher to the rule of three."

Qualifications and Character of Early Teachers. Sometimes we hear the remark made by some one "who knows" that teachers were so much better long ago, but the following has been written by one of the early teachers. "While many were strictly moral and well qualified for teaching in that day, yet many lacked all the essential elements of the teacher-they were profane, illiterate and tyrannical. The bottle, in some instances, was kept concealed about the school room. Many on account of being old or crippled, were supposed to be fit for nothing else, and hence were recommended to teach school. The qualities most pleasing to parents were a good ability for flogging unruly boys and a fair knowledge of spelling and writing. It was a rare occurrence to find one of those teachers who could not write well."

Branches Taught. Reading, writing and arithmetic to "The Rule of Three," were the branches taught. Problems involving money were in pounds, shillings and pence. A very few books, a few sheets of foolscap paper and a quill pen constituted a pupil's outfit. The spelling school helped to stimulate good spelling. The teacher made and mended pens and set copies for the pupils. The general method of conducting a school did not change much for many years. It was very much the same in 1804 as in 1835 and in 1854, when the law was passed requiring the election of a County Superintendent.

First County Superintendent. Dr. A. T. Scriver was the first one elected, at a salary of $200.00 for the first year. He said this did not feed his horse, but he accepted. Next year it was raised to $300.00. Some of the directors wanted to make the salary $50.00,-so low that no one would accept the office. They felt it was just wasting money to have and pay a County Superintendent. There are a few people that way yet! They would rather stand still and not be bothered to move on. One man of that early day "refused to educate his children, because he 'was afraid it would make fools and rascals of them.' " Which seems strange to us in these days of ever increasing educational demand.

Under the school law of 1834 a committee. of three from the school board were appointed to examine the teacher. This was a little better than no examination.

What was Good Enough for Me is Good Enough for My Children. However, within a year the writer heard from a man who has failed to keep abreast of the times the expression that "Going to school just takes our boys and girls away from us; they are no good to us afterwards."

This unprogressive policy has kept certain districts of the county back for years. Under it the most intelligent citizens who value themselves and the welfare of their children, move out where they can see the world move and where there are better opportunities for education.

The County Superintendent and the County Institute did much to unify and improve the schools of the county. Terms of school were gradually lengthened from two months to three, then five to six, seven and one-half, until eight months is now the minimum term. A number of districts hive nine months or more. There was also a gradual improvement in school rooms and furniture. The fireplace gave way to the ten plate wood stove, that to the "egg" coal stove, that again to the jacketed heater. All modern buildings of over four rooms (and most of them) now have steam, hot air or hot water heat, and a janitor. From the few old nondescript books of a past generation, pupils are now furnished with books and supplies suited to their ages and attainments, paid for by the district, while if they are out of walking distance from school, they are transported in comfortable rigs.

It is no longer allowable to exploit children and make them do work unsuited to their strength as was formerly the case, but they must be sent to school so that they may have a fair chance in life. Even if children do not have clothes or shoes for school and their parents are unable to buy them, the Board must look up the proper agency or officials to supply them.

Since all these things have been done for the boys and girls of our county, their opportunities are certainly wonderful in comparison with those of their grandfathers and grandmothers, or even their fathers and mothers. Will they make good use of these advantages? That still depends upon themselves.

School Exhibits. The first annual school and agricultural exhibit ever held in Clearfield County was staged in the (old) High School Building, Clearfield, Pa., during Institute week, December 18th to 22nd, 1915. In addition to the exhibits sent in by the schools and granges, there were a large number of individual exhibits. The agricultural display comprised exhibits from nineteen townships of the county.

During the world war, school gardens were conducted by different schools of the larger towns and the pupils' products were exhibited with their school room work at the County Fair in Clearfield.

In 1924 the largest and most comprehensive exhibit of school work ever made in the county was to be seen at the fair.

A School Seventy Years Ago.. When J. T. S. was twenty-one years old, he taught school at Marron about the year 1855. There were about seventy pupils. The country was quite thinly settled at that time, so the pupils came from at least three different districts, four to six miles away, from MeGarvey's ridge in one direction to Johnson's Factory in the other. Many pupils came driving oxen and left their cattle to pasture around in the woods nearby until school was out.

Mr. S., the teacher, never had the opportunity for much schooling having attended only a couple months before this time. His mother had helped him in the start, then he helped himself by reading and study. Every pupil had a few books, not many, but the books in the school made up in variety what they lacked in numbers and character. Each having a different arithmetic, everyone worked as many problems as possible without regard to classification. It was the same with spelling and other studies, every pupil had a separate recitation. But not more than half as many branches were taught then as now, and pupils who tried (then education was a privilege), learned to read, write and "cipher" well. Mr. S. was considered a good teacher in his time, for one reason, because he could "keep order."

The school house at this time was still after the pioneer style. Its one room was built of logs or boards, lighted by a very few small windows. A ten-plate wood burning stove had taken the place of the earlier fire-place. The seats were benches made of slabs flat side up with legs made by inserting pieces of wood into holes on the underside. There were no backs to them. A sort of slanting board table ran around the wall under the windows. At this the older boys and girls sat, facing toward the table when writing. Quill pens made from goose feathers were used and dipped into bottles of home made ink. The ability to mend pens and to set a good copy counted next after capacity for wielding the rod in a young man's qualifications as a teacher. Grown-up young men and women attended common school without a thought of being "too old to go to school."

There were no High Schools, but students got on just as fast and as far as they could with the meager assistance of the teacher who, as in this school, knew but -little more than they did.

School Girls of Seventy Years Ago,-by One of Them. "In writing this sketch of the life of girls in the days of my youth, I do not want it thought that I am censuring the girls of today for the easy life they lead, but I have been asked to give an account of the early life of girls in my day.

"Let me take you back about seven decades to the year 1854.

"My recollections of my first three years of schooling is of my attendance at the Town Hall School on Pine Street in Clearfield, where we in turn shivered and baked by the two little stoves for four or five months of the winter. Though we felt half clad, yet in comparison with the way children are dressed today, we had warm clothing. After these three years I went to live in the country and attended a country school where, to my way of thinking, though we did not have so many advanced studies, those we did have were more thoroughly taught and better learned, and before I was sixteen I was dismissed from the school as proficient in the common branches taught there.

"As I was never able to go to the Academy or to College, I had to be satisfied with this elementary education, though when I see the way children are rushed through school now, I am satisfied with what I did learn, for what I was taught in those bygone days remains fresh in my memory, though I am now nearly eighty years old.

"Let me tell you how girls dressed and worked in my day, and I believe I can speak for nearly all the girls of that time. We always got up at half-past five in the morning, and my work was to help get breakfast and after the meal was over, wash the dishes, make the beds, sweep and dust, then get ready for school. The getting ready was not a very great task as we all wore dark flannel dresses (of which we had but two, therefore it behooved us to be careful of them) calfskin shoes, and woolen stockings which we knit ourselves. We all carried our dinners to school (we had no "eats" in those days,-I can yet see the row of baskets on the dinner bench) and had a jolly time eating them and sharing with each other what we had, which often consisted of buckwheat cakes, soggy doughnuts and pie, but we didn't know any better then and were happy. Those happy joyous days I will never forget and nothing grieved me more than to miss a day of school. At four o'clock when we were dismissed we all hurried home to our tasks. There were potatoes to pare for supper, the cows to milk, wood and kindling to be brought in, supper to get, with table to clear and dishes to wash again afterwards, besides other chores. Then we were allowed to study our lessons for next day until half past eight, after which we had to knit for an hour, for all the family wore long woolen stockings which we knit at home. I loved the study hour, but oh, how I hated to knit! We had no electric lights nor lamps, but all sat around a single tallow candle and got what light we could. Sometimes we had a "witch" light, which was a rag in a saucer of grease, one end sticking up so it could be lit. What a gala day it was when we got our first coal oil lamp!

"How we trudged through the snow and storm to get anywhere, for we all had to walk. We got mail once a week, for it took the carrier three days to come and three days to go on his route, so the coming of the mail man was an event of a great deal of importance. There were no mail boxes.

"A party at one of the homes in the neighborhood was a great event and was much looked forward to and was talked about for weeks afterwards. Our social time was in the fall when many of tht country folk had apple-cuttings, etc. One of our biggest "affairs" was an annual event for an old widow lady where the girls met of an afternoon to sew and quilt and the boys to chop her winter's wood, then a big supper which all helped to get, and afterwards a dance that lasted half the night. Did they ever have so much fun at the big parties at the Dimeling or at the Country Club, with hired orchestra and costly decorations, as we had to the music of one lone violin played by a neighborhood boy who never had a lesson in his life!

"Later on, in the '60s, when the fashion of hoop skirts and bustles came in, it was a question how to keep up with the new style, and those of us who were not able to buy the ready made hoopskirts, made them out of unbleached muslin with a hem and tuck in, through which we run grapevines for hoops. Bustles were made out of anything we could find that would answer the purpose. We felt we looked like Godey's fashion plate and were just as happy as if we did. I have followed up the trend of the fashions to the present day and have observed that it is not what we have, but how we have it-that the girls of that day were as happy (I believe happier) and better contented than those of today."

Martha Ann's Bear. One day about eighty years ago, when Martha Ann Kelly was a little girl of ten, she was on her way home from school, by herself. It was in the time of year when the days were short and she had quite a ways to walk from the school house to her home and there was lots of woods along the way, and night was beginning to fall before she got home. As she trudged along carrying her dinner-basket, she met what she thought was their big dog, Curley, and she said to him, "How do you come to be away out here?" Then she reached out her hand and patted him on the head and he walked along by her side towards the house.

But when her "big dog" came to the fields and got in sight of the lights, he made a terribly ugly noise in his throat and growled, and then she saw that he was a bear. And, oh my, but she was scared. But the bear seemed to be scared too and just took off into the woods as fast as he could go, making great leaps as he went, while Martha Ann ran for home just as fast as ever she could go.

Martha Ann, who is still living, at the age of ninety, almost shudders yet when she thinks of her adventure of walking home from school with a bear for a companion.


Sanitation. Most of the deaths among the pioneers were probably brought about by the unsanitary conditions under which they ignorantly lived. For instance, it seems to have been common to build the house above the spring, thus adding to the danger of its pollution. This is borne out by the records of death from such germ diseases as typhoid fever, scarlet fever and diphtheria, from the last of which many died before it was known what ailed them.

An old resident recalls that when a certain family came to decide on where to build the house, the man told his wife to bring a bucket of water up from the spring, and when she had carried it so far up the hill that she set it down to rest herself, he said, "That is-where we'll set the house," and he did. This custom of building above the spring seems to have become firmly established probably because it was considered desirable to build on the driest ground, which was usually to be found above the spring.

But it is easy for us to see in this day of a better knowledge of germ diseases, that placing the buildings above the water supply was a very unsanitary and dangerous practice, besides adding to the physical labor of the household.

To add to the danger of the contamination of the water, it was not then thought necessary by the early settlers to have drains or kitchen sink and the dishwater, etc., was generally thrown out the kitchen door onto the ground. This too, added to the prevalence of open manure piles made a splendid breeding place for house flies. These were considered quite as a matter of course, and aside from the annoyance it is not so long since some of the older people considered them as rather valuable scavengers to gather up the refuse about the place. However in the records of sickness and death, we find that these germ diseases were the principle afflictions from which the people suffered, and that they have declined, per thousand of population in the county very much as the sanitary conditions of living have improved.

School Sanitation. There is still room for improvement in the sanitary conditions of schools, yet there has been much progress made.

Town schools are generally kept in much the best sanitary condition, for the reason that they usually have piped water for flushing sanitary toilets, and the drinking water supply can be better looked after.

In some country districts very little attention is paid to keeping closets in a sanitary condition; in but few is the water supply owned or controlled by the district, so that in many cases there may be grave danger of contamination. There is much room for improvement in these matters.

In former times sanitary conditions about schools in the country have been exceedingly bad, but the law of the state is now quite sufficient, if obeyed.

The First Doctors. Dr. Samuel Coleman had practiced medicine in Williamsport before he came to Clearfield county, but as there was one other doctor there and be thought there was hardly enough sickness to keep two busy, he decided to leave, and came and settled on what is now the Miller place near Grampian in 1809. He was the first doctor in Clearfield county, and a simple monument has been erected by the County Medical Society overlooking the Lakes-to-the-Sea Highway on the Miller farm one-half mile west of Grampian.

He had made trips into the county to doctor his friends at times, and his friend Joseph Boone, land agent for Nickun and Griffith, gave him 300 acres as an inducement to have a doctor in the county. He is said to have brought a negro slave with him, also two other men.

Dr. Coleman came from Scotland, though he would say little about his parentage. Some thought him of noble birth. He said the hills of the country about his new home reminded him of the Grampian Hills in Scotland, so he called the place The Grampian Hills, and the name has remained, though the town and post office and station name has been shortened to Grampian. He died in 1821.

Dr. J. P. Hoyt was probably the second M. D. He first settled at Curwensville, where he kept a store and practiced medicine up to about 1845 or 46, when his health failing, he located on the river a few miles above Lumber City where he built a saw mill and a grist mill, both run by water power from a high dam he made there on the river. He also kept a country store there for a time, still practicing medicine. Other early doctors were Iddings, Hill, Crouch, Wilson, Fetzer, Ross, etc.

Dr. Asa White was one of the first doctors in the upper end of the county.

These pioneer doctors used to ride horseback in all kinds of weather and over terrible roads, especially in spring, and fall, to attend to their patients. Their steady treatments were calomel and blood letting. Fees, too, were small and often were slow coming, or were paid in produce, for the settlers were so poor, they could hardly afford to be sick, and a surprisingly few of them were sick, for the pure air and outdoor exercise were certainly conducive to health and longevity, as is borne out by the age to which many of them lived.

In an early day doctors often had to travel from ten to forty miles away to visit a sick person, while now it seems. terrible to be a mile away from the doctor, even with a tele-phone in the house.

Clearfield County Tuberculosis Society. "The purpose and object of this society shall be the control and prevention of Tuberculosis throughout Clearfield county by means of education, welfare and relief work, or such other methods as may be in accord with or suggested by the program of the National Tuberculosis Association or the Pennsylvania Tuberculosis Society, organizations of which this society shall become an integral part."

In 1915 Arthur M. Dewles, Executive Secretary of the Pennsylvania Tuberculosis Society spoke to the. Woman's Club of Clearfield about taking up the fight against Tuberculosis. This Club saw the need and named a committee of two to do what could be done. The work was continued by various committees of the Woman's Club until 1922, when the County Organization was formed, for the purpose and object set forth in the paragraph quoted, which is from the Constitution of the Society.

The work of the Society is mostly educational although relief has been furnished to destitute families where tuberculosis was found.

Last year two thousand children were weighed and measured and literature distributed telling them how to take care of their health,-sound health being the best prevention against the disease.

The sale in the county of Christmas seals has been conducted since 1917, when it amounted to between two and three hundred dollars only. In 1924, it was around three thousand dollars. This is all used for health work in the county except what goes to the state and national organizations.

A Health Clown was secured and spent a week in the county, in 1924, visiting schools and calling children's attention in a comical way to the rules for health. Nutritional clinics and the milk program have been encouraged, always in connection with the weighing and measuring of children.

Health speakers are sent to the large summer picnics, and a booth at the County Fair has spread the gospel of "safety first" in the matter of health. To also further this idea, the society is urging upon everyone the advantage to each of having a regular and complete health examination at least once a year.

A health float is made a feature of the Fourth of July Parade. The County Society publishes "Health Hints," a little paper which is sent to all school teachers and to many others.


The W. C. T. U. The Clearfield county Woman's Christian Temperance Union was organized in 1884.

Mrs. S. J. Shaw of Clearfield was the first president.

The Clearfield Union was reorganized in 1905. There are now many Unions in the county doing work in seventeen departments. Miss LaRue M. Chorpening is now County President.

The County organization is affiliated with the State and National W. C. T. U. which has been influential since its National organization in 1874 and State organization in 1875, for temperance, prohibition and other great moral reforms.

In Pennsylvania, the W. C. T. U. was particularly active in securing the passage of laws teaching Physiology and Hygiene in the Public Schools and later in raising, of the prohibition enforcement fund.

The County Union has been active in temperance and prohibition work in the county and particularly in making candidates for the legislature come out and show their colors, wet or dry, and before prohibition in getting signers to petitions against liquor licenses, and presenting them to court. The W. C. T. U. have also presented a consistent stand against tobacco, even during the war, when they demurred to sending cigarettes to the soldiers.

Daughters of American Revolution. The Susquehanna Chapter of the D. A. R. was organized at Clearfield in 1896, and its membership is made up of women who trace their ancestry back to those who took part in the American Revolution for Independence. The Chapter marks spots of historic interest in and around Clearfield, as the old Indian Mill near Barrett, and the site of the first post office on the Mitchell Stone House Farm, near Clearfield. The graves of Revolutionary soldiers are also being marked, and prizes have been given for special proficiency in U. S. history..

The Chapter has also assisted the Red Cross in baby clinics, and takes an active part in local, State and National educational and patriotic work.

Red Cross in Clearfield County. A friend of Mrs. Allison 0. Smith had written asking that some work be done making bandages and other hospital supplies. She laid it before the Ladies Auxiliary of the Y. M. C. A.

A good deal of work was done by the Auxiliary before the U. S. went into the war and when the U. S. went in, there was a Red Cross Chapter formed covering the northwestern part of the county in and near DuBois.

The Chapter at Clearfield carried on the work in the eastern and southern part of the county.

Funds were raised and the work well organized, women and girls all over the county knitting socks and sweaters and preparing comfort kits for the soldiers and sending many articles to hearten and cheer them and brighten their lives in camp and field. The Red Cross work still goes on wherever there is exceptional need.

Rotary. The Rotary Clubs of the county have for their motto "Service above self." They aim to carry out this motto "through weekly meetings and fellowship to foster a spirit of service above self for better citizenship." The Rotary takes a special interest in boys.

The DuBois Club has over one hundred members, and the Clearfield Club between fifty and sixty.

The Children's Aid Society of Clearfield County.-by Ida Snyder Martin, Secretary. -The Children's Aid Society of Western Pennsylvania was organized on the 29th day of April, A. D. 1874.

The Clearfield County Auxiliary to the Children's Aid Society of Western Pennsylvania was organized on the seventeenth day of October, 1890.

Objects and Methods. "The object of the Aid Society is to provide for the welfare of destitute and neglected children by such means as shall be best for them and for the community. Our method of -accomplishing this object is:

1. By placing such children in carefully selected private families, mostly in the country, paying a moderate rate of board where necessary, and following up each case with such inquiry and supervision as may secure to the child the conditions of physical and moral well-being.

2. By utilizing existing institutions for children as temporary homes, while permanent family places are being o sought.

3. By putting, so far as possible, the support of a child upon its relatives or parents, legitimate or otherwise, and by preventing the needless separation of mothers and children.

4. The law forbidding the detention of children in almshouses can best be carried out by the co-operation of the Directors of the Poor, with voluntary association of discreet and benevolent women, who are willing to find places for the children, look after their welfare, and report to the Directors.

It is to the interest of the taxpayers that these children be taken out of the pauper class as soon as possible and absorbed in the community.

5. In a county where such an association exists, and where the Directors make fair allowance for the support of the children, there is no excuse for detaining any child in the head-quarters for paupers and no need of creating an institution for pauper children."

The Children's Aid Society in the beginning, boarded their children in private homes. Later they rented a small home on Spruce Street where a motherly woman presided as matron.

In the years of 1917 and 1918 a magnificent structure was built on Old Town Road known as the "House of Mys-tery" from the fact that no one knew by whom it was being erected or for what purpose. In 1918 a deed for "The House of Mystery" was handed to the President of Children's Aid Society of Clearfield County, Pa. In it was the specification that the building was to be held by the society so long as it was used as a home for destitute and neglected children. The name "Children's Home" was then given it. Fifteen children are now here awaiting homes.

During the thirty-five years that the C. A. S. of Clear-field county has been in existence deficient children have been sent to institutions, sick children have .been taken to hospitals and sanatoriums, well children have been placed in carefully investigated private homes and often adopted by the families, and older children have been educated in training schools. In the year 1924 and 1925 to May 15th, sixty-nine children were cared for by the society. Since its organization seven hundred and twenty-five little waifs have been made happier by the Clearfield County Children's Aid Society.


Every community in the county is provided with church services of some denomination, and .these services are attended quite well, and efforts are being made continually to increase such attendance and to create interest in church affairs.

In different parts of the county there are many opportunities for improvement in the moral and religious condition of the people so that there is every reason for keeping up and improving religious activity and especially for right living in the community life. In some localities of sparse population, but where there are now a number of different denominations holding separate services, one union service for the community would make for greater influence and harmony among the people.

Early Churches. "As early as 1803, by direction of the Presbytery of Huntingdon, there was Presbyterian preaching in Clearfield by Reverends William Steward and Henry R. Wilson."

The first church building, or meeting house, in the county was the log meeting house built by the Presbyterians at the McClure Graveyard in 1803 or 1804. It was also used as a schoolhouse and in it was "kept" the first school in the county.

It was about twenty-five or thirty feet long and sixteen feet wide, with fireplace. This or a later one built in the same place was of large flattened logs. Later it was weather-boarded.

Robert Cresswell, who died in 1807, was the first burial in the McClure Graveyard. His funeral was probably the first in the county. The first church services were undoubtedly conducted in these early religious meetings by the people, members and others, without the assistance of a preacher, though itinerant preachers traveled through the county occasionally, stopping to preach a funeral sermon or otherwise minister to the people as occasion required.

Friends Meetings in The Grampian Hills. The Friends who settled in Penn Township undoubtedly held meetings at the house of James Moore in The Grampian Hills in 1811, as in that year they were visited by a committee from Center Monthly Meeting in Center county and their report says, "Friends visited in West Branch with a great deal of satisfaction."

Finally, a request having been made for a regular meet-ing by Friends "settled on or near the Susquehanna," and a committee having made a favorable report on the same, the "request was granted (12-19-1812) to meet every First Day at the house of James Moore." This was an "Indulged Meeting," and was called West Branch. In 1824 a log meeting house was built on the hill where Friends Cemetery now is, near Grampian. The land for meeting house and cemetery was donated by the Moores.

The monthly meeting was established at West Branch, 10th month (October) 3rd, 1833. Later a frame house was built, also on the hill, and some years ago this was succeeded by the brick structure now in use in Grampian.

Catholic Churches. The Catholics seem to have built the first church edifice in Clearfield about 1830, of brick. The land for church and cemetery was the gift of Joseph Boone. The church would seat about three hundred. In 1835 the church was not fully completed. The present church was built in 1886 and dedicated in 1889. There is said to have been a "Church now (June, 1834) being built near Grampian Hills-fourteen miles from town (Clearfield) It was begun in 1833. Only a few Catholic families live there, who came here from Ireland." A church-was built on the church farm "near the Grampian Hills," in 1840 and dedicated in 1844. This land was donated by Nicklin and Griffeth and Joseph Boone. The present brick church in Grampian was built in 1898.

The first Catholic Church at Frenchville was built some time after 1837. The present one in 1889.

Other Churches. Center was probably the first Metho-dist appointment in the county. A committee was appointed in 1827 to build a church here. It was completed in 1834. Rev. John McEnally was the minister.

The first Lutheran church in the county was built in or near Luthersburg in 1845. The first Lutheran church in Clearfield in 1850, on ground donated by G. Philip Gullich.

As early as 1842, Reverend Samuel Miles conducted the meetings of the Baptist Society in Clearfield and elsewhere in the county.


There are now two hundred and twenty-three Sabbath Schools in the county with two thousand four hundred and forty-eight teachers and officers, and thirty-two thousand, two hundred eighty-three scholars.

There is hardly a church or meeting that does not have its Sunday School for the children, for it is looked upon as a necessity for keeping up church membership.

Some denominations were slow in starting Sabbath Schools, because it was an innovation-something new and untried.

The Society of Friends, though they were among the first to hold religious meetings in the county, did not organize a Sabbath School until 1863, when a school was started with John Russell as first Superintendent, in the old Friends' Meeting House that formerly stood in the grounds of Friends Cemetery in Grampian Hills.

The First Sabbath Schools. "The first Sabbath School in the county met in Curwensville in the old log school house that stood near the site of the residence of W. P. Chambers." The original record is as follows:

"Sunday, May 16, 1824. Met according to appointment: the characters that convened were as follows, to wit:

Superintendents, Thomas McClure and Alexander Caldwell. Secretaries, John P. Hoyt and Josiah Evans. Teachers, Abram Bloom, Ann Reed, Eliza Howe and Susan Henry. As "Scholars that are to recite" the names of 29 are given, and "to spell" 13. This was in a day when there were no-public schools, therefore spelling and reading were taught as a necessary part of Sabbath School work. All the early Sunday Schools seem to have been union schools, as this one was. There were not enough people of one denomination to organize a separate school. The first Sunday -School in Clearfield is said to have been a union school organized by G. Philip Gulich, date not given, and was held either in the Court House or the old Academy building, which stood where the Junior High School building now stands.

In these first schools, as in those established for many years after that time, there were no lesson leaves, but the Bible, and especially the Testament, were used for the classes that could read.

Going to Sunday School Seventy Years Ago. In that early day, going to Sunday School was an event. A man of eighty says that when he was a boy of ten years, he remembers of making the weekly trip of three or four miles to the old log school house above the present town of Grampian to attend Sunday School, with Elisha Fenton as Superintendent. On these occasions he was arrayed in clean tow pants, a checkered shirt of linsey-woolsy and a straw hat. In addition, his feet being bare, each toe that had been stubbed during the week, was done up in a clean rag. Then, having been gotten out of bed at sun-up, he and his three brothers and three neighbor boys went on time.

His was an A. B. C. class, and his teacher would ask him what the first letter was, and when he did not know, would gravely tell him. Then the boy would look up at the teacher and around the room and repeat the name, and never think of it again until next Sunday, when the process would all be done over again.

The spelling class used Webster's old speller.

The bible class, not having books enough to go around, would pass the Bible from one to the other until the passage was all read.

Boys were boys in those days, too. After they had come home and had dinner and the Sunday clothes replaced by everyday ones, the fun began. The boys went out in the woods and had church and preaching, etc., in their own way, and in the evening all went to the river for a swim. Often the boys were late getting home and then the day was likely to be topped off with a switching all round.

Source:  Pages 97-124, Clearfield County Pennsylvania Present and Past,  T.L Wall, 1925

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