Forest County
Chapter X 

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BARNETT TOWNSHIP juts out to the border of Jefferson county between Elk and Clarion. Millstone creek flows through the northwest corner, and, apart from this, the eastern half of the township boasts of only a few rivulets. The western half is a region of small rivers. Maple creek heads up south of Marienville, but assumes some pretensions in the northwest corner of this township, whence it flows south to Clarington, where it enters the Clarion river, receiving Huling's run and a few rivulets in its course. Paralleling it on the west are Coleman and Troutman runs, each the drainer of beautiful valleys. At Redclyffe the elevation is 1,615 feet-high enough to warrant the existence of coal; but up to 1884 little or nothing was done toward developing its deposits. Sandstone is found here, as in other sections. In 1889 the oil fever reached this township, when experienced oil men were sincere in their opinions that petroleum existed in commercial quantities.

The population in 1880, including 88 inhabitants in Cooksburg, was 615. In 1888 there were 105 Republicans, 79 Democrats, and 1 Prohibitionist recorded as voting, or a total of 185, representing a population of 925.

The township officers chosen for 1890, are as follows: Constable and collector, J. B. Campbell; treasurer, Jacob Mays; clerk, J. E. Cosgrove; road commissioner, E. A. Kuhn; judge of election, Wm. Crossman; overseer of the poor, A. Cook; auditor, James Gray; school directors, Clarence Pratt and R. W. Brenneman.

The owners of personal property in Barnett township, in 1852, were John Agnew, J. M. Adams, William and W. A. Arthurs, Alphonzo Vaubiot, W. Armstrong, W. Andrews, Isaac Attlebarge; T. Anderson (carpenter), Anderson (mason), George Agnew, Thady Armstrong, William Allen, Jacob Braden, Arch. Black, Oran Butterfield, D. Burk, James Brandon, John Brandon, Jesse Burchfield, Horace Byham, Robert Black, James Black, John Blacklock, Daniel Black, Daniel Berlin, Daniel, John, Jr., William, Andrew, Jeremiah, George, David and John Cook, Simon and William Chapman, W. R. and James Coon, Samuel Consanus, Adam Cupler, A. Coventry, E. Cline, C. Smith, Patrick Kearney, Wm. and Ed. Collins, Alex. Craig, R. Custard, James U., Jeptha Henry and W. R. Daniels, Elijah Davis, W. M. Davis, John Dodge, J. Donaldson, Joseph Dunlap, Hiram Drake, John C. Davis, R. H. and William Downey, Y. Eshelman, John Fitzgerald, E. Forsyth, Jesse Ferry, Sam Fulton, James Forest, John Grant, Milton Gibbs, John Gordon, W. L. Gould, John Houston, W. P. Hutcheson, Nelson Haight, Robert Huling, William Hayden, Lewis Herring and son, Joseph Herring, John Hasley, Peter Hasley, Sol. Hallman, Peter Ricks, William Hottell, Squire Horton, Stephen Hill, A. Jeffries, James Irwin, John Irwin, Chas. C. and Henry Johnson, Christian Kuntz, John and Peter Knight, Phil. Keller (blacksmith), Thomas Kerr, William Kerr, John Kellogue, F. Kennedy, Sam. Long, James Law, A. Lucas, Noble Lucas, D. Motherell, Dave Munn, John Andrew, William and Thomas B. Maze, Henry Moody, Jr., John Moore, John McNaughton, Tom McKay (tailor), Sam. Mitchell, Moses McCallum, Alex. Murray, David Munn, Jr., Joseph Martin, John McNeil, R. Moodie, Pascal Moodie, John McMichael (millwright), W. P. Miller, John McKenney, H. Mimm, William Martin. A. McCutcheon, Sylvester Nolton, John Nolton, George Nealy, J. C. Nolton, Asa Nichols, James Phipps, George Painter, G. W. Pratt, Sedate Porter, A. J. Platt, Dave Powell, Dan. Poff, J. R. Reynolds, James Rogers, Joseph and William Reynolds, Grove Reed, Rets & Co., Rust & Co., Amos Richards. the Ralstons (3), Ellis Russell, William Roberts, Eli and Amos Smith (carpenters), Shippen, Morrison & Co., John Snyder, W. J. Spence, D. Stowe & Co., John Spafford, Jonah Slocum, R. Smith, George Swarm, W. Stewart, William Shields, A: Strominger, James Truby, William Titus, Dan. Titus, David K. Torney (one watch), Oramill Thing, W. H. Thompson, Elihu Wing, Homer Wing, Charles Wing, Joseph Wallace, Dan. Wolford, Robert Wallace, Dan. Whitman, Jo. Wagoner, James Wallace, Lenni Weaver (cabinet maker), Sam. N. Warren, James Wing, Benj. Wing, Palmer Worden, John Wright and Charles Yeomans. In March, 1852, William Titus was appointed collector. The value of unseated lands was $72,516, and of seated lands $40,304.

The pioneers, many of whom are named above, came into this wilderness to hew out homes for their families, and win from the forest that independence which an older civilization denied. Many of them succeeded in this peculiarly American design, and around Cooksburg and Clarington names connected closely with the first development of this section are found today.

Clarington, twelve miles from the railroad at Brookville, is the market town of Barnett township. J. B. Pearsall & Co. and the Shields brothers were general merchants in 1884, and Peter Heasley was grocer.  William Armstrong settled at this place in 1828, and established his mills here.

Daniel Harrington, in his reminiscences, published in 1879, says: "He was one of the earliest settlers on the Clarion, and the oldest lumberman on that stream. Thirty-five or forty years ago almost every man you would meet hunting for work was inquiring the road or distance to Armstrong's mills. He was the true founder of the little hamlet of Clarington, then constituting a part of Jefferson (now Forest) county, and containing, perhaps, 200 inhabitants. There is a very substantial bridge over the river, built at the expense of the tax-payers of Jefferson and Forest counties. Clarington contains two hotels we used to call them taverns and one store of general merchandise. The hills of the old logging ground have been burned over; and are thickly covered with briers, full of blackberries at the proper season. Mr. Armstrong in his lumbering operations gave employment to a large number of men, and generally had the goodwill of all. He had his ups and downs, like all lumbermen. He met with heavy losses by high water. Not only was his lumber carried away, but his mill was wrecked by a flood. He was a man, however, whom no misfortunes could discourage. He possessed a persevering disposition that never thought of failure. He was quite small in stature, with eyes as black as coal, and as sharp as the eyes of an eagle. I met him once in Cincinnati, and rode in the stage with him from Kittanning to Clarion. His countenance was one never to be forgotten. I remember one circumstance that illustrates the man. At the time he came up in the stage with me he had found a man in Cincinnati whose fare he was paying, and whom he had brought along with him to work at his mills. He had discovered the poor fellow drunk, destitute, almost naked, and he thought that, if he could get him home with him, away from whisky and the evil influences of the city, he would make a new creature of him. The man had been a sailor, and was easily led into bad habits. How Mr. Armstrong succeeded in his efforts to reform him I never heard, but I have, no doubt of his ultimate success. When the man was in the wilderness, where he could not get strong drink, reformation would be a necessity and a natural consequence. This was only one of Mr. Armstrong's good deeds. He had all the inconveniences of a new country to contend with. He was in the woods, far from civilization, and surrounded by the denizens of the forest. His whole dependence was lumber, and that, in his time, sold at very low prices, from the fact that the market was almost always over-stocked. Every tributary of the Allegheny river turned out its quota of the general supply, and if the product was sold at all it had to be sold at a low figure. I have more than once run boards to Cincinnati and sold them at $4 a thousand feet, less than the cost of manufacture; but the boards were there, and I had to do something with them. Mr. Armstrong was, at least, sixty miles from any point of supplies. Brookville, perhaps, or Kittanning, was the nearest place where he could obtain provisions. When we take into consideration the cost and labor of transporting supplies for perhaps twenty-five people over new roads, in a rough country, it was no ordinary undertaking. Was it any wonder that at last he succumbed to the inevitable? Such trials would have broken down a cast-iron man, possessing nerves of steel. Mrs. Armstrong, now an old and feeble woman, is still living with some of her children in Jefferson county."

Camp No. 504, P. O. S. of A., at Clarington, was instituted in February, 1890, by J. R. Chadwick, D. P., and W. R. Adams, assistant. There were thirty-five charter members.

Cooksburg is another old settlement often mentioned in the pioneer chapter. In the "thirties" it became a household word among the pioneers of Central Forest, who generally halted there before proceeding farther into the deep, pine woods to locate their homes, and subsequently visited the little village for trading purposes.

One of the saddest events connected with the township was the burning of John Black's house, July 12, 1868, when his daughter, aged six years, was offered up to the fire-god.

Early in 1885, Werk, Putney & Marshall purchased 2,300 acres near Redclyffe, from W. H. Boles, for $35,000, and soon after erected their mills.


Green township is particularly noted for its geometrical lines. How any set of men conceived such boundaries, or surveyors cut such lines, is almost as mysterious as the time in which the topographical lines of this section were platted by nature. Tionesta creek cuts across the north west angle, and near the grand bend receives Coon and little Coon creeks, both native streams. Bear creek and Nebraska creek flow from the southwest into the main river, and Butler creek from the northwest. A few smaller streams also head here.

In the fall of 1877 Heath opened a coal bed, twenty feet below his house, at an elevation of 1,720 feet. Seven years prior to this Guiton opened an 18-inch vein at Oak Woods summit, on the lumber company's upper tract; while beyond this, on the Bond lot, another bed was worked.

The population in 1880 was 543. In November, 1888, there were 84 Republican, 81 Democratic and 17 Prohibitionist votes recorded, or a total of 182, representing 910 inhabitants. The officers chosen in February, 1890, are; Judge, J. McCullough; inspectors, C. F. Klinestiver, Irvin Allison; treasurer, Peter Youngk; road commissioner, A. B. Walters; constable and collector, H. Winegard; auditor, Lyman Cook; overseer of poor, E. E. Vockroth; clerk, F. E. Allison; school directors, George Blurock, Henry Siverling.

Dutch hill is the ridge or divide between the waters of Tionesta creek and the Allegheny river, about eight miles in length and three in width, extending from Tionesta township through Green into Kingsley township. It is settled exclusively by Germans. It was a dry, barren ridge, and at an early day it was burned over every spring. The original timber was all destroyed by fires; the soil was very thin, and much of it very stony. There are some very good farms on the ridge there. They have quarried out the stones, and laid them up in fences. There are places where there has been work enough done on one field to clear up a large farm in any other locality. There are about forty resident families, and forty well-cultivated farms. Three blacksmith shops represent the manufacturing industries, two little church buildings the religious and two school buildings the educational interests.

Nebraska village is another old settlement in this township.  In 1868 George B. Walters refitted the old Nebraska flouring mill.  In June, 1886, McCain, Darrach and Dickey purchased a three-fourths interest in the T. D. Collins lands at Nebraska, where 50,000,000 feet of pine and other timber were reported standing.

The saw-mills of Dingman & Dale were moved from Clarion county to Nebraska in July, 1889, where the firm own 350 acres of white oak. Near Oil City they have two mills and two 500-acre tracts, thus giving employment to from sixty to seventy men.  John Reck, born in Ohio in 1816, settled on the Tionesta in 1848, and built a mill on Little Coon creek. He died in 1887.  T. J. Payne's saw-mill, on a branch of Coon creek, two miles above Cobb's mill, was burned in August, 1871, together with 1,200,000 feet of lumber.  The new Methodist Episcopal Church-house, at this point, was erected in 1890 by Contractor J. G. Carson.

Bowmanville was established in the summer of 1889, two miles south of Vowinckel depot, on Coon creek. The large lumbering interests of W. W. and J. C. Bowman suggested a town at this point, as well as the productive farms around it.  The Free Methodist Church of Newmansville was dedicated September 29, 1883. The house cost $676, and the lot was donated by O. W. Proper.

Source: Page(s) 901-904, History of Counties of McKean, Elk and Forest, Pennsylvania. 
Chicago, J.H. Beers & Co., 1890.
Transcribed November 2005 by Nathan Zipfel for the Forest County Genealogy Project
Published 2005 by the Forest County Pennsylvania Genealogy Project"

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