Elk County Logo

Elk County
Chapter XVI


Millstone Township - Spring Creek Township



MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP, which juts into Forest county, is bounded on the south by the Clarion river. Into this river flows the creek after which the township is named, the east branches of which spread out north and east to the Spring creek divide, and form a confluence with the main stream at a point north by west of Millstone village. Topographically the country is similar to Spring Creek township, but the plateaus are larger and the streams much less numerous. Here, after the forest strippers began regular lumbering, the woodman's ax was heard on every side, and within a few years the pine and hemlock clothing of the flat hills was carried down the Clarion to the great mills, leaving the traveler of 1878 to behold as rugged a country as might be seen in Scotland. The supposed existence of coal and gas here gave some hope for the future, hut no one credited Millstone with even the pretension of being ever an agricultural valley. Years have brought with them improvement, and the township of to-day, although robbed of its forests, gives promise of taking an important place among the divisions of Elk county.

The first settlement dates back to 1826, when John Wynkoop located at the mouth of the creek bearing his name. In 1832 the first school was opened at Millstone village by Miss Graham; in 1834 the first school-house was built by the directors elected that year; in 1835 a second house, and the third house in 1847. Since that time school affairs have interested the people.

The Millstone mills, near the mouth of the creek of that name, have been operated by the Moore Brothers for many years. In 1884 - 85 the water-power was changed for steam-power, and its capacity increased to 70,000 feet per day.

Raught's mills are also in the township of Millstone, on the Clarion river, seven miles from Arroyo. The Crispin, Darragh & Moore shingle mills, two miles north of the mouth of Millstone creek, were burned in 1876.

The population in 1880 was 209. In 1888 the voters were represented by 39 Democrats, 23 Republicans and 1 Prohibitionist, a total of 63, representing about 315 inhabitants.

The Millstone elections of February, 1890, resulted in the choice of the following named officers: Adam Zimmerman, justice; H. Cutzs, treasurer; G. P. Donahy, collector; J. W. Lawton, clerk; J. W.. Cutzs, assessor; C. I. Painter, constable; John Wilson and W. P. Painter, auditors; W. B. McCormick, Peter Heffron and Samuel Witherow, school directors; W. K. Moore and H. Aharah, supervisors.


Spring Creek township is named after the native creek, which enters the Clarion river at a point about one mile west of Irvin's mills. The main river enters the township about eight miles below Ridgway, flows west through a tortuous channel to Spring Creek village, where it turns southwest to form the extreme southwest line of the county (elevation 1,250 feet), as the dividing line between Millstone township and Jefferson county. A little stream, flowing north through the extreme southeast corner, enters the river just west of the east line. This stream is called Little Toby branch. In the southwest corner is Maxwell' s run, Laurel run and a hundred rivulets run into the streams named from the various summits. Near Lake City one of the largest plateaus in the county exists, and there, also, is the divide of the southwest part of this township. The northern divide is near the north line, between Bear creek and one of the sources of Spring creek.

As early as 1852 - 53 coal deposits were developed near Spring Creek village, at Laurel Run forks in 1871, and at Irwin's Mills in 1877. So well was the coal established in 1873, that it was proposed to build a narrow-gauge road eighteen miles from this point to Sheffield.

The population in 1880 was 467. In 1888 there were 4 Prohibition, 120 Republican and 119 Democratic votes cast, or a total of 243, representing 1,215 inhabitants. The February election of 1846 in Spring Creek township resulted in the choice of Job P. Payne and Thomas Lynn for justices; Rufus Gallatin, constable; Ephraim Shaul and Thomas Beatty, supervisors; J. P. Payne, James Crow and George Rhines, school directors; John L. Givens, with Crow and Rhines, auditors; J. P. Payne, clerk; Jonathan Beatty, assessor; T. Lynn and W. M. Redline, overseers of the poor; James Crow, judge, with Thomas Irwin and George Rhines, inspectors of election. D. H. Damon and John Kenning were elected justices in 1849; Silas Blake and 0. B. Thing, in 1850. The elections of February, 1890, show 172 votes for A. Webster and 53 for 0. T. Minor, candidates for justice of the peace; C. E. McCrea was chosen school director; John Trimper and T. Jefferson, supervisors; E. C. Barrett, treasurer; John Hamilton, overseer of the poor; R. Mohney, collector; E. M. Rodgers, clerk, and P. R. Smith, auditor. In East Spring Creek, N. G. McClosky received 85 votes and A. Webster 82, for justice of the peace.

The first assessment of Spring Creek township was made in 1846. Among the industries taxed were the saw-mills of William Armstrong, George Ryan, George Dull, and the saw- and grist-mills of Payne & Watterson. The other resident taxpayers were James Crow, Squire T. Carr, Henry Dull, William Evans, Jonathan Beatty, John Grant, John Given, Thomas Irwin, Robert Jewett, Thomas Lynde, Eben Lee, John Lukins, William Payne, W. Redline, Ephraim and Andrew Shaul, Rufus Gallatin, Silas Blake, Zach Double, Isaac Nichols, Orville Thing, Dan Wolford, Francis Mayberry and Peter Connor. The last named operated a shingle machine.

In Spring Creek township in 1850 were fifteen dwellings, fifteen families, ninety-one inhabitants, four farms and three industries.

The first settlements were made by Philip Clover and Sowers in 183 1 - 32. The first school-house was built in 1840, at the mouth of Spring creek, and opened by the very primitive John Knox, Miss Crow and Horace Warner following successively. In 1846 Miss Clements opened a subscription school at George Rhines' house on Maxwell run. In 1852 the directors authorized the building of a house at Arroyo; but this was not erected, and Miss Thom was compelled to teach over the ox-shoeing establishment of Thomas Irwin. In 1856 a school house was erected between Arroyo and Spring Creek, at a cost of $338, $115 of which were subscribed on condition that the building could be used for religious and other meetings.

Arroyo, in the township of Spring Creek, on the river Clarion, and ten miles from Ridgway, of which Thomas Irwin was the founder, is a lumber town. Arroyo post-office was removed from Irwin's in April, 1880, to Beech Bottom, and E. W. Rogers was appointed postmaster. The Arroyo Bridge Company was incorporated in April, 1883, with F. Shaffner, E. M. Rogers, C. H. Smith, James B. Wickes and Charles Millen, directors. The object was to bridge the Clarion at Arroyo.

Carman is a comparatively modern settlement. Here is the hospitable Carman House of Mr. Casey. Early in 1890 a society of the Protestant Episcopal Church was organized at this point. A. large Catholic congregation assembles here at stated times to worship. Hiram Carman moved into this township in 1858, and for thirty-two years has been prominent in the industrial, political and. social life of the township.

The Clarion River & Spring Creek Oil Company signed articles of agreement in March, 1865, with F. F. Bernadin, Gouverneur Emerson, James S. Bewley, Gustave English and Andrew K. Hay, stockholders. The object was to develop coal and oil lands in Forest and Elk counties. This company drilled one well in Spring Creek township. In August, 1889, indications that the territory in the vicinity of the Grant mill on the Clarion river would be fully tested for oil and gas were manifest, as preparations were made for drilling a number of wells. Those familiar with this territory, and in a position to know, express it as their positive belief that it will ultimately prove a great oil-producing center, and as soon as the Standard company, who now own or control by lease most of the land and have invested large sums of money in that section are ready, the new field will be opened up. Some of the best gas wells in the world are already found there, and in the neighborhood oil wells of some little moment have already been discovered. Millstone and Spring Creek will soon boom as an oil center. A venture of the Standard Oil Company is now being made on one of the Powell lots.

In the pages of the assessment roll for 1889 the following industries appear: Portland Lumber Company, 4,990 acres in Spring Creek township, of which 900 were stripped, with saw-mills; Horton, Crary & Co., 7,046 acres unseated, 184 acres seated, with tannery, storehouses, etc.; G. W. Rhines' saw-mill; Hall & Gardner's saw-mill; Empire Lumber Company's saw-mill and 1,600 acres; J. L. Ellis' saw-mill, and Craig, Henderson & Co.'s shingle-mill.

Source: Page(s) 712-716, History of Counties of McKean, Elk and Forest, Pennsylvania. Chicago, J.H. Beers & Co., 1890.
Transcribed December 2006 by Nathan Zipfel for the Elk County Genealogy Project
Published 2006 by the Elk County Pennsylvania Genealogy Project

Return to the Elk County Home Page

(c) Elk County Genealogy Project