Black Township

Created: Monday, 14 September 2015 Last Updated: Monday, 14 September 2015 Written by Administrator Print Email


<center><strong>HISTORY OF THE TOWNSHIP</strong></center>
In 1886 Black Township was formed by the Somerset County Court out of the eastern part of Milford Township, which included the part of Milford Township lying east of Coxes\' Creek and east of the Casselman River below Rockwood. The area is 18,692 acres or about 29¼ square miles. It was named in honor of Judge Jeremiah Sullivan Black, a native of Somerset County, and one of the most noted lawyers of Pennsylvania having been Attorney General of the United States in the cabinet of President James Buchanon.

James Wilson is considered to be the first settler in the township and was here as early as 1773 or 1774. He erected a cabin about 2½ miles northeast of where Rockwood is now located before 1776, and is credited with building the first sawmill in the township. Coxes\' Creek was named after David Cox, a very early settler who built a cabin near its headwaters. Michael Sanner, who was known to have been here in 1795, possibly earlier, kept the first store in this area. He brought good from the east on packhorses, which he sold or exchanged for furs or skins. It is not known exactly when he commenced business, but it is known that he was here before there were any other means of transportation than that of the packhorse. A house used as both a church and school was built on or near the Jacob Critchfield farm as early as 1800.

Over the years Black Township was the home for many small enterprises consisting of carding mills, oil mills, gristmills, sawmills, charcoal burning pits, a wagon spoke factory and a stave factory. It also boasted two brickyards&amp;#9472;&amp;#9472;the Excelsior Brick Company operated by Harrison Snyder and D. B. Zimmerman, and the Statler Brick Co.

The larger and main industries that helped to build the area were agriculture, lumbering, mining, stone quarries, and that which all the others depended upon for shipping&amp;#9472;&amp;#9472;the railroad.

In 1890, Black Township had a population of 738. By 1900 it had grown to 843, and in 1930 it contained 58 farms and had a population of 931 persons. In 1976, there were 982 residents.

<center><strong>AREA LORE</strong></center>
<a href="/articles.php?article_id=340"><u>The Exorcism</u></a> -- <a href="/articles.php?article_id=341"><u>The Saw Filer</u></a>

<center><strong>BIOGRAPHIES</strong></center>
<a href="/http://www.pa-roots.org/data/read.php?720,511183,511183#msg-511183"><u>Dr. Chauncey Forward</u></a> -- <a href="/http://www.pa-roots.org/data/read.php?720,363994,363994"><u>George F. Gorman</u></a> -- <a href="/http://www.pa-roots.org/data/read.php?720,364156,364156#msg-364156"><u>Michael H. Miller</u></a>

<center><strong>CEMETERIES</strong></center>
Bromm - Hauger - Laurel - Moon - Rhoads - Sanner - Sechler - Sheeler - Smearman - Vought

<center><strong>CHURCHES</strong></center>
<strong>Milford United Methodist</strong> was organized in 1901 and the building dedicated on September 26, 1903. The Church\'s annual picnic, a long tradition in the county, is still held on the 2nd Saturday in August and its entertainment always draws large crowds.

<strong><center>TOWNS &amp; VILLAGES</center></strong>
The information for the following communities covers the period from their founding through the year 2004:

<a href="/articles.php?article_id=218"><u>Markleton</u></a> - <a href="/articles.php?article_id=219"><u>Milford</u></a> - <a href="/articles.php?article_id=220"><u>Wilson Creek</u></a><br>
<strong>Bando</strong>
Situated at a crossroads on the Water Level Road in the northwestern part of the township, Bando was a small mining village that was laid out by the Bando Coal Company in 1900. At the present time, there are about twelve homes scattered in the area and it is still considered a village.

<strong>Blackfield</strong>
Laid out in 1913 by the original owner\'s of the mine, Matthew and Frank Romesburg, Blackfield is in the eastern part of the township and was the largest of the mining villages. At its peak, there were about 52 houses, a post office, store, school, church, boarding house, dance hall, pool hall and bowling alley. At the present time, the area is still know as Blackfield and the church still stands. There are several houses, but none in Blackfield proper.

<strong>Shamrock</strong>
A small mining village in the northwestern part of the township was laid out by the Southside Coal Company in 1898 and located between Bando and Rockwood. It consisted of about 30 houses and a store. The children traveled by train to Murdock to attend the Laurel Run school. Today, Shamrock is no longer in existence and there is one house in the area of this village of the past.

<strong>South Rockwood</strong>
Located on the south side of the Casselman River and sometimes referred to as Rockwood Station, this is neither a town nor a village but merely a suburb of Rockwood. It consists of a cluster of houses built along the road that eventually splits and leads to Meyersdale and Markleton.

(Note: Most of the information for this township was donated by the <a href="/http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~parahgs/"><u>Rockwood Area Historical &amp; Genealogical Society</u></a>)

Milford
Also known as Murdock after one of its builders, this village in northern Black township dates back to 1871 when the railroad was constructed through the area. Its main industry was the Bare Rock Stone Quarry started in 1891 and employing approximately 100 men. In 1904, when there was a greater demand for concrete, the company switched to sand and became know as the Bare Rock Sand Company. The company closed in 1927.

A mine was also opened in the area that employed a great number of men, including a large number of Italian laborers.

At one time the town consisted of about twenty homes , a store, post office, railway station, boarding house, dance hall , a one-room school named Laurel Run and a church. The Milford Church was organized in 1901 and is still holding its annual picnic in August which always draws a large crowd of county residents.

Today, the village consists of about 10 houses and one industry, Bognar &amp; Company.

(contributed by the <a href="/http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~parahgs/"><u>Rockwood Historical Society</u></a>)
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Wilson Creek
Located in the eastern part of the township, this village was laid out by the Somerset Coal Co. in 1902. Prior to this in 1900, there was a Wilson Creek Coal Co. The mine changed hands several times being bought in 1910 by the Consolidation Coal Co. and in 1932 by the Fogel Coal Company. It was operated until 1960 when it was abandoned.

Wilson Creek was most noted for its band known as the "Miner\'s Coronet Bank of Wilson Creek". It was one of the finest musical organizations in Somerset County, organized in 1901 by James Miller. Most of its talent was from four local families---four Weimer brothers, four Romesburg brothers, three Pritts brothers and two Atchison brothers.

The village had about 80 houses---some of them doubles---a hotel, two-room school, and two stores, one of which was a "company store" owned by the company operating the mine. Today, this old mining village consists of about four houses.

(contributed by the <a href="/http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~parahgs/"><u>Rockwood Historical Society</u></a>)