by Sherry Jesberger
Fox Township lies in the southern part of the county of Elk. It is bounded on it's western side almost entirely by Horton Twp., and partially by Ridgway Twp in it's northwestern corner. On it's northern side it is bordered by the City of St Marys (was Benzinger Twp). On it's Eastern side it is bordered by Jay Twp, and on it's southern border, we find Clearfield Co., PA.
Elk County, PA was formed on April 18, 1843, from portions of McKean, Jefferson, and Clearfield Counties. Prior to 1843, Fox Twp. lay entirely within the confines of Clearfield County. Anyone needing information on very early families of Fox Twp. should check the Clearfield County courthouse first.
In 1811, the Fox & Norris Land Company offered fifty acres to each of six families in order to begin settlement of this area. In 1812, Jacob Wilson, John Kyler, Elijah Meredith, Samuel Miller, Amos Davis, and Jonah Griffith accepted this offer. William Kersey, a land agent for Fox & Norris, built a road from Centre Co., PA to this area, and also helped build a grist mill. Amos Davis is considered to be the first settler in Fox Twp., but he did not stay. Samuel Miller and Jonah Griffith also left the settlement after a while.
Between the years 1818 to 1823 the following families moved into this area: Conrad and Elizabeth (Otto) Moyer from Centre Co., PA;Libni and Sarah (Willis) Taylor from Newberry Twp., York Co., PA; John and Isabelle Keller; Joel and Philetus Clark; Isaac Coleman; Uriah and Hannah (Rogers) Rogers from Luzerne Co., PA; Jonah Rogers; Rev. Jonathan Nichols; Alanson Vial; and Isaac Horton. All have descendants still living in Fox Township.
Some other very early setters were the Green family from Centre Co., PA; the Thompsons from Centre Co., PA; the Hays family from Juniata Co.,PA; the Hewitts from New York; the Bundys from New York; and the Brockways from Albany Co., New York. The Bundy family from this area can trace their roots all the way back to James Chilton of the Mayflower. Anyone who wishes to donate info or receive info on any of these early Fox Twp families can contact me at , or snail mail Sherry Jesberger, 127 Zachary Road, Kersey, PA.
I am compiling a database of descendants of very early Fox families, and have at least two generations of many of the families listed.
The oldest cemetery in Fox Twp, and a very interesting one indeed, is the Ridge, or Hogback School Cemetery. It contains the remains of Fox Township's very earliest settlers. The oldest grave in this cemetery is that of Libni Taylor, Jr. who died April 29, 1828 at the tender age of 23 years. Many of the earliest stones are handmade, and are very beautiful. Some names seen here: Moyer, Hays, Hayes, Kyler, Taylor, Green, Hewitt, Iddings, Keller, and Thompson. The Taylor's were Quakers from York Co., PA.
Another old cemetery in Fox Township is the Elkton Cemetery, once known as the Centreville Public Cemetery. This graveyard also contains the remains of Foxes earliest families: Meredith, Taylor, Green, Reesman, Hancock, Glance, and Hawkins are some names seen here. This cemetery is associated with the Elkton Presbyterian Church, located in Dagus Mines. Another cemetery, the Earlyville Cemetery, is also associated with this church. Some names seen in the Earlyville Cemetery include: Carlson, Fox, Harvey, Brosious, Kemmerer, Llewellyn, Patterson, Swanson and Terwilliger.
The St. Boniface Catholic Church also has two cemeteries associated with it. One, very small, is on the Old Kersey or Irishtown Road. It is known as St. Michael's Cemetery. The only marked grave in this cemetery is that of Arthur McQuown, who passed away in 1847 at the age of 62 years. Elizabeth Mead, who died in 1847, also requested to be buried here. She was not a Catholic, but had donated the land to the church for a cemetery. Her grave is unmarked. The St. Boniface Catholic Church on Main Street in Kersey has a large, beautiful, shady cemetery stretching out behind it. Here lie the remains of many of the Italian and Irish immigrants to Fox Township. Some of the Irish names include: A'hern, Callahan, Collins, Hayes, Sheeley, Largey, McMackin, and many others. Some of the Italian names are: Agosti, Armanini, Boitano, Copella, Mosier, Caimi,Capuccini, and many others, too numerous to mention.
Also in Dagus Mines is the Maria Lutheran Church, known to many here in Fox Township as the Swede Church. The cemetery is across the road from the church. Some names included in this cemetery are: Anderson, Benson,Carlson, Erickson, Gustafson, Hanson, Frederickson,and Johnson. As you can see, we have tremendous ethnic diversity here in Fox!
There is also the Methodist charge here in Fox Township. It consists of four churches: Toby Methodist Church, Kersey Methodist Church, Brandy Camp Methodist Church, and Brockport Methodist Church. The last two churches are in Horton Twp. Of these churches, only the Brandy Camp church has a cemetery with it. Many of the Kersey and Toby people are buried in the Ridge Cemetery mentioned earlier.
Also located in Fox Township are the Gardner Hill Cemetery and the Hollobaugh Cemetery on Boone Mountain. The Hollobaugh's buried in the Hollobaugh Cemetery came here from Armstrong Co., PA.
The very first settlers to come here no doubt took up farming, but then something of greater value was discovered: COAL! The greater portion of Fox Township has at one time or another, either been strip mined or deep mined. Dagus Mines was a town that grew up around the coal mining industry. Many of the Italian, Irish, and Scotch/Irish who came here were looking to make a living in the coal mines. My great grandfather and grandfather both worked in Kersey's mines. Times were tough, and very often the boys had to quit school, and go to work to help support their families. Mine collapses and death were common, and were a big fear of the miners. I can still remember when there were open coal mines back on the old Shawmut grade, and my grandmother warning me to "Stay away from the mines!"
Kersey is the biggest settlement in Fox Township, but not the only little town. There is Dagus Mines, Coal Hollow, and Toby, Kyler's Corners, Shelvey Summit, and Gillen Crossing. There were other little towns that sprang up with the coal mining, and then disappeared. Earleyville is one of these little towns. It is worth noting for research purposes, that the town of Kersey was known as Centreville before 1873.
I could write volumes about Fox Township and the wonderful people who live here, but I will stop here now that I have whetted your appetite! I would love to hear from anyone with stories, pictures, and family genealogies of Fox Townships settlers.
Fox Township 1850 Census
Towns and Villages
GILLEN was the name of a railroad crossing on the four lane before the bar/grill called Rumours. It was never a town either, just a flag station for the railroad. The old railroad grade is still used, and the Bauer family of St. Marys has a very interesting miniature scale railroad on the old grade. It is big enough that about 50 people can ride on approximately 1/2 mile of track that is set up here. The name of the railroad is the Bucksgahooda & Western Railroad. In the summer and fall, you can hear the haunting whistle of this train for miles around.
IRISHTOWN is another one of those Fox "place" names. The Irish immigrants who came to Fox lived here, but I do not think it was ever officially a town. The first Catholic Church of Fox Twp was started over here on land donated by Elizabeth Mead. There is a small cemetery that was associated with this church, but the only grave that is marked is that of Arthur McQuown. Today there are a few house here, and not very many Irish!
LAUREL RUN was never a town, or village, but did have a school house in the area. The Laurel Run area on the Route 255 four lane starts from Geci's farm and extends to Burke's True Value Hardward Center. There are two water reservoirs some miles back into the woods, and they quarried sandstone along the old railroad grade at one time.
Family Group Sheets
James Robinson Hancock
Libni Taylor, Sr
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