STREAMS – MINERALS – POPULATION - OFFICERS ELECTED IN FEBRUARY, 1890
– ASSESSMENTS - LUMBER MANUFACTURE IN 1867 – VILLAGES – POST OFFICES -
THE Tionesta creek enters Howe township north of Foxburg, flows through the
village and takes a general westerly course, entering Kingsley township
southwest of Balltown. Blue Jay creek, "flowing from the southwest,
enters the river at Foxburg; several feeders of Salmon creek rise in the
southwest quarter, and the creek itself heads in the south center. Bogus run
unites with other streams near Brookston, and the heads of Spring creek rise
in the ridge, separating the southeast quarter from the older settlements of
the township. Seventy feet below the outcrop of coal at Fox's hunting shanty
there is a sharp change in the slope of the hill, which was taken to mark the
lowest stratum of the Olean conglomerate. Along the hill slope at this point
were found huge blocks of sandstone and conglomerate, from the Olean
conglomerate, measuring about twenty feet high and twenty feet on the side.
The pebbles in the conglomerate were of irregular shape, and in many cases had
flat surfaces and were slightly angular.
Near the head of the Branch, on the Funk Lands, Howe opened a coal bed in
1865, whence coal was shipped to Balltown. Under a ten-inch bed of black slate
a three-foot vein of coal and slate was found resting on fire-clay. In 1870
the mine was worked by John Miller, of Balltown. About 8,000 feet northwest of
Foxburg on warrant 2991, at an elevation of 1,750 feet, coal was also mined,
while C. J. Fox opened a third mine southeast of that village, and also one on
the brook near the old hunting shanty. The Little mine was opened in 1858 to a
twenty-inch bed of superior coal. This was located on warrant 5103, at an
elevation of 1,760 feet.. Frog Rock is in the middle of Tionesta creek,
one mile above Panther Rock. Nature seems to have formed it to represent an
enormous frog. In low water it stands about four feet above the surface.
The population of the township in 1880 was 382, including 276 in Brookston
village. In 1888 there were 106 Republican and 64 Democratic votes cast,
showing 850 inhabitants.
The officers of this township elected in February, 1890, are as follows:
Road commissioner, E. L. Leech; clerk, J. W. Black; assessors, E. Beaver, J.
H. McBride; collector, A. P. Anderson; treasurer, J. M. Black; school
directors, C. F. Fox, F. Fickinson, A. M. Soule, M. B. Smith; auditors, J. J.
Haight, G. W. Noblit, C. F. Griffin; overseer of poor, D. P. Miller;
constable, Dan Gibson; judges (west), W. Briggs, (east) D. P. Miller, (middle)
E. B. Beaver; inspectors (west), I. B. Murphy, George McBride, (middle) C. W.
Atkins, A. M. Soule, (east) E. P. Anderson, James Cochran.
The assessor's returns of Howe township (Tionesta), in 1852, made by
William Patterson, show the following names of resident tax-payers: John
Anderson, John Addison, O. Bennett, Jacob Bottum, O. Blanchard, *Dan Bennett,
*George Brakey, Abram Cooper, W. and A. Carrius, John Cherry, William Deer,
John Drum, S. Flint, Charles J. Fox (1,250 acres, four horses, three yoke of
oxen, one cow, one gold watch, one double saw-mill of which Albert Fox was
millwright), J. W. Groves, W. Griffith, Nathan Hathway, Reuben Hubbard, *A.
Jarvis, John Kelly, *J. Stewart, W. Stillson, *N. McMillen, James McLaughlin.
A. and D. Mason, *G. Medberry, Sam Norcross, William Porter, William Patterson
(one ox and one cow), Thomas Patterson (one ox), *Shannon Riddle, *P. L.
Rafferty, Rogers & Co. (double sawmill), *C. L. Shipman, T. and W. Smith,
Isaac Watson, F. West, A. Weid. The valuation of seated lands and personal
property was placed at $7,850, and of unseated lands at $20,620.
* Single man.
The assessment or Howe township, made by Thomas Porter in the fall of 1867,
contains a memorandum of the lumber manufactured in that year. At Howeville
(or Balltown) were 60,000 feet of square timber, 500,000 of pine and 100,000
lath, together with 400,000 feet rafted, 200.000 feet ready for rafting and
400,000 feet of hemlock. At Fox's mill 200,000 feet of pine were sawn. The
tax-payers were C. J. Fox (saw-mill owner), C. F. Fox, James Leech (president
of the Pittsburgh & Forest Lumber Company, whose mill stood on Warrant
4823), John F. Mercilliott (farmer), S. H. Norcross, Thomas Nugent, T. S.
Patterson, Thomas Porter, William Patterson, John S. Rappee, Isaac Watson,
James Woodruff, James T. Wisner and Harrison Wisner (each owner of a gold
watch), R. S. Wisner, F. Huper, Toby Rinaldo, H. W. Sawls, Shelton Oil &
Manuracturing Company, then represented by A. H. Barnes, John Miller and A.
Pearson. The Marcy Oil Company requested that their 1,976 acres on Salmon
creek should be placed on the seated list.
The Brookston Tannery, erected in Howe township in 1871 by Brooks &
Co., employed sixty men, and in March, 1872, the village comprised this large
tannery, a saw-mill and thirteen houses. In August, under the management of G.
W. Brennan, 160 men were employed, and there were twenty·six dwelling houses.
J. H. Berry was then superintendent of the tannery. In February, 1877,
Edward D. Stone, the illicit distiller of Brookston, was arrested. In
1880 the population of Brookston village was 276. In 1888 there were 59
Republican and 40 Democratic votes cast here.
Horton, Crary & Co., the great Sheffield, Warren county, tanners, buy
hides in Texas and as far away as South America, manufacture them into leather
and market large quantities of their product in England and other parts of
Europe. They have five tanneries - one in Forest county, one in Elk county and
three at Sheffield. They have been in business nineteen years. In this time
they have stripped thousands of acres of hemlock bark in their immediate
vicinity, and now have a railroad running thirty-seven miles, which terminates
now at Duhring, Forest county, with various branches·already built and more
contemplated in Elk, McKean and Forest counties to bring them the needful
supply of bark.
Brookston E. A. U., No. 501, was organized in November, 1884, with
fifty-six charter members, including the following named officers: Chancellor,
Samuel D. Brecht; advocate, Mrs. F. W. Brooks; president, F. W. Brooks;
vice-president, Charles R. McClune; auxiliary, Mrs. Lucy Tousley; secretary,
James I. Cochran; treasurer, C. C. Smith; accountant, .A. P. Anderson;
chaplain, G. B. M. Borge; warden, John Ryan; sentinel. Mrs. C. C. Smith;
watchman, Gust Miller; conductor, Hiram Tousley; assistant conductor, Mrs. C.
R. McCune; trustee, A. P. Anderson; examining physician, Dr. G. F. McNutt;
representative to Grand Union, F. W. Brooks.
Frost's Station, on the Pittsburgh & Western Railroad, was established
in 1881, when Frost purchased 200 acres there and built his large saw-mill.
Walter Byrom, of Byromtown, died in September, 1886. When the place was
established, the name was given in his honor. Here, in June, 1884, the
Equitable Aid Union was organized with forty-two members, the officers being,
chancellor, N. C. Wiltsie; advocate, W. H. Frost; president, Walter Byrom;
vice-president, Mrs Belle Drury; auxiliary, Mrs. A. C. Wiltsie; secretary,
Miss Nina Slade; treasurer, D. S. Drury; accountant, John Hafele; .chaplain,
Rev. J. W. Sloan; warden. Mrs. Chapman; sentinel, Mrs. W. L. Loomis; watchman,
A. S. Brecht; conductor, Mrs. W. Chapingham; assistant .conductor, L. H.
Nichols; trustee, L. H. Nichols; representative to Grand Union, Ed Klabbat;
examining physician, Dr. S. S. Towler.
Forest City was platted late in 1882, by Frank Whittekin and Floyd Proper,
surveyors, for G. W. Agnew, agent of the proprietors. In January, 1883, a
population of 100, twelve dwellings, Tim Mahony's hotel and Tom Willoughby's
restaurant were the evidences of its sudden growth.
Mount Agnew post-office was established at Forest City in 1883, whence it
was moved to Gusher City under the name of Cooper Tract post-office, of which
Capt. Haight is now master. Gusher City was the name given to one of the oil
towns of 1883, and in January, 1885, it was falling into decay. The St.
Petersburg House was destroyed by an explosion of gas on August, 1887, and
with it the town hall, A. L. Anderson's, J. J. Haight's and the post-office
buildings being also burned. In 1888 this place gave 19 Republican and 12
The fire at Duhring, of July 14, 1887, resulted in the destruction of
Browne & Co.'s stable, and the burning of eight horses, one mule and a
yoke of oxen.
Eureka City was established in 1883-84. It is located on the banks of the
winding Tionesta, where it widens out into a placid little lake or mill pond,
and where the road from Sheffield to Foxburg crosses the creek. Precipitous
hills shield from the bleak winds of winter, and give the citizens advantages
unequaled in the world for sliding down hill. There is one street, and room
for several others. C. D. Holtsworth put up the first building, and shortly
after from fifteen to twenty others were completed, while several were in
course of erection. There were seven or eight boarding-houses, several hotels,
a bakery, grocery and other buildings necessary to the body as well as to the
mind; among the latter are classed certain rooms in which it is supposed
secret lodges meet; for such phrases as "I stand,"
"flush," "ante up, you sucker," and kindred exclamations
are occasionally heard from them. The town is quiet and orderly, and presents
a lively appearance. C. D. Holtsworth provided the mental pabulum for the
community, besides running the penny post. All the mail and newspapers were
"toted" over the hill from Hoover's, on the narrow-gauge road, a
distance of two miles and a half. Tony Willoughby and Andy White were running
the Petrolia House here. A telephone office and a very muddy road connect the
town with the outside world.
James Nesmith, one of the pioneers of Howe township, was crushed to death
by a falling tree near the Cooper tract in December, 1889.
Elulalia post-office at Sheffield Junction was established in 1887 with
John Hernon in charge.
Balltown is contemporary with the first oil excitement, but not until
1882-83 did the settlement assume village shape. In 1884 C. W. Hawks was
appointed postmaster, followed in 1887 by T. W. Corah, who was succeeded in
August, 1889, by C. F. Griffin. The history of the town is so connected with
the Forest county oil field, described in the first chapter, that little
remains to he written here. A Methodist Church building and a few religious
organizations show that Providence is not forgotten away up the Tionesta. In
March, 1885, the Equitable Aid Union was organized here with forty-four
members, among whom were the following named officers: Chancellor, H. B.
White; advocate, W. J. Pringle; president, J. W. Solley; vice-president, Mrs.
C. B. Neely; auxiliary, J. S. Saxton; secretary, C. F. Griffin; treasurer,
Mrs. William Hawks; accountant, O. A. Hawks; chaplain, M. W. Vincent; warden,
Dr. W. B. Hottel; sentinel, Mrs. M. W. Vincent; watchman, N. N. Darling;
conductor, J. R. Anderson; assistant conductor, Mrs. J. R. Andrews; trustee,
C. A. Hawks; examining physician, Dr. W. B. Hottel: representative to Grand
Lodge, Dr. Hottel.
The fire of August 25-26, 1887, destroyed C. W. Hawks' general store. The
fire, it is said, originated in escaping gas catching fire. Balltown, in 1888,
recorded 28 Republican and 12 Democratic votes.
Source: Page(s) 908-911, History of Counties of McKean, Elk and Forest,
Chicago, J.H. Beers & Co., 1890.
Transcribed November 2005 by Nathan Zipfel for the Forest County Genealogy
Published 2005 by the Forest County Pennsylvania Genealogy Project"