Addison 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>
Addison township, the third township created after the organization of Somerset County, was formed from a part of Turkeyfoot township in 1800. It was named after the Hon. Alexander Addison, the first judge of the courts of Somerset County. It is bounded on the west by the Youghiogheny river, the north by the Casselman River and the Black township line between the river and the summit of Negro Mountain, on the east by Elk Lick township, and on the south by the Mason &amp; Dixon Line.

Rich in the historic associations of the Turkeyfoot region, its northwestern corner is a part of the famed Turkeyfoot itself. The eastern side of the Great Crossing, which George Washington passed through in 1753 when on his mission to the French fort at Venango, is in this township. In the following year, under his direction, the first road cut through any part of Somerset County was opened through the southwest part of the township. This road, which was the forerunner of the great National road or turnpike, was traversed by Gen. Braddock when on his ill-fated march to Fort Duquesne in 1755. Braddock\'s army encamped on the eastern or Addison side of the river.

Henry Abrahams, the first settler in the county of whom there is any documentary evidence, settled between the junction of the Youghiogheny and the Castleman rivers in Addison township in 1764 as a permanent settler. He is one of the trespassing settlers mentioned in Capt. Steele\'s report, as is also Benjamin Pursley, who also appears to have settled in this township, and has given his name to a mountain stream tributary to White\'s creek.

Richard Hoagland lived on land lying on both sides of the Braddock road, and in 1772 had seventy-one acres of improved land, which of itself indicates a residence of some years, because the bringing of such an amount of land under cultivation could not at that time have been accomplished in much less than a half dozen years. Richard Hoagland was commissioned a justice of the peace in 1773, being the second one in what is now Somerset county. Thomas Green was also in the township as a settler in 1772. Jacob Rupel was in the township as early as 1774; Jacob Hartzell and James Mitchell in 1778; Jon Mitchell some years earlier. The Enlows were already settled here in 1768, being among the trespassing settlers. Enough has been said to justify the claim that the settlement of Addison township as we now know it began as early as that of any other township in the county. The first assessment of Addison township, in 1801, shows that there were 125 resident taxpayers. For more early residents of this township, see <a href="/articles.php?article_id=270"><u>early settlers</u></a>.

The principal villages of the township are Listonburg and Unamis. The area of Addison township is about 52 and ¾ square miles. In 1930 it had a population of 1043 persons.

<center><strong>AREA LORE</strong></center>
<a href="/articles.php?article_id=276"><u>A Grave in a Tree</u></a> -- <a href="/articles.php?article_id=275"><u>Bones of a Giant</u></a> -- <a href="/articles.php?article_id=274"><u>Fort Hill</u></a>

<center><strong>BIOGRAPHIES</strong></center>
<a href="/http://www.pa-roots.org/data/read.php?720,364173,364173#msg-364173"><u>Robert Augustine</u></a> -- <a href="/http://www.pa-roots.org/data/read.php?720,604790"><u>Derrick Bird</u></a> -- <a href="/http://www.pa-roots.org/data/read.php?720,604791"><u>John McClintock</u></a> -- <a href="/http://www.pa-roots.org/data/read.php?720,604789"><u>James Mitchell</u></a> -- <a href="/http://www.pa-roots.org/data/read.php?720,609562"><u>Gen. Moses A. Ross</u></a> -- <a href="/http://www.pa-roots.org/data/read.php?720,604792"><u>Conrad Silbaugh</u></a>

<center><strong>CHURCHES</strong></center>
<a href="/articles.php?article_id=263"><u>Addison Township Churches</u></a> -- <a href="/articles.php?article_id=265"><u>Addison Township Methodist Episcopal Churches</u></a> -- <a href="/articles.php?article_id=262"><u>Petersburg Churches</u></a><br>
<a href="/articles.php?article_id=261"><u>Petersburg Methodist Episcopal</u></a> -- <a href="/articles.php?article_id=264"><u>Trinity Methodist Episcopal</u></a>

<center><strong>ORGANIZATIONS</strong></center>
<a href="/articles.php?article_id=266"><u>Odd Fellows Lodge</u></a> -- <a href="/articles.php?article_id=267"><u>Sons of Temperance</u></a>

<center><strong>TAX LISTS</strong></center>
<a href="/articles.php?article_id=268"><u>1768</u></a> -- <a href="/articles.php?article_id=259"><u>1805</u></a>

<center><strong>TOWNS &amp; VILLAGES</strong></center>
<a href="/articles.php?article_id=273"><u>Addison</u></a> -- <a href="/articles.php?article_id=260"><u>Listonburg</u></a> -- <a href="/articles.php?article_id=272"><u>Petersburg</u></a> -- <a href="/articles.php?article_id=271"><u>Somerfield</u></a><br>
<strong>Unamis</strong> is a small village in the southern part of the township. It has been built up since 1902 and contains a postoffice/store.


Early Settlers of Addison Township
The following is a list of some of the early settlers of Addison Township:

Vachel White, who lived in the township many years, was in it in 1783, as a single freeman.

It is not exactly known when John, Robert and Alexander McClintock, Joseph Ringer, James Campbell, John Liston, John McLean, Conrad Silbaugh, Peter Augustine, Sr., the Hilemans and Kamps, settled here, but they were all living in the township in 1795.

James Wright who lived on the James Y. McClintock farm was the father of twenty-three children, twenty of them being twins.

Solomon Hershberger, a native of Elk Lick township, settled in Addison in 1863, on a farm of three hundred and fifty acres, which he purchased of Jonas Peck, his father-in-law. His farm was in the eastern part of the township and had a sugar orchard from which he made four or five thousand pounds of sugar annually.

Jacob Shoemaker, a native of Elk Lick township, settled in Addison about 1853, having purchased land of his father, Anthony, an early settler. The homestead is now owned by William J., son of Jacob, who purchased it in 1878. His brother, Jeremiah J. Shoemaker, is also a resident of this township.

Andrew Cremer, a farmer, owned six hundred acres of land, both timbered and cleared. He had a sawmill erected in 1872. Mr. Cremer’s grandfather, James Wright, was an early settler of this township. Catharine Cremer, wife of Andrew, is a granddaughter of Jacob Augustine, one of the first settlers. Both Mr. and Mrs. Cremer were born in this township.

George Wass was born in Addison township. In 1854 he purchased eight hundred acres of land of Thomas Liston, including a sawmill. In 1871 he rebuilt the sawmill, and in 1873, erected a planing-mill. L.M. Lininger owns one-half of the property. The firm manufactures all kinds of building lumber, and on an average, saws seven hundred thousand feet of lumber per year. George Wass, the father of the subject of this notice, was quite an early settler in this township, and died in 1833, at the age of fifty-eight.


Somerfield
Somerfield borough was laid out by Philip D. Smyth, in 1818, as the town of Smythfield. It was situated where the National road crossed the Youghiogheny river and was laid out on land warranted to Jacob Spears, April 17, 1769, fourteen days after the land office at Philadelphia was opened for the sale of lands west of the Allegheny mountains. There is a strong probability that Jacob Spears was the same Spears by whom Capt. Steele sent the proclamations to the trespassing Turkeyfoot settlers in 1768, and that he, himself, was one of the trespassers. Spears sold the land to Smyth in 1816. Smyth already kept a tavern somewhere in Addison township, and this probably was the place, although he also owned the Richard Hoagland lands, which were further away from the river.

The famous stone bridge was completed July 4, 1818, when it was turned over to the government. The occasion was made a gala day such as had never seen before in these mountains. President Monroe, with several members of his cabinet and other officials, were present, and all the countryside turned out in honor of the occasion. The Endsley stone house, built in 1818 by Kinkaid, Beck and Evans, the bridge builders, was always a noted tavern. Its walls and foundations are as firm today as when first laid. Its first landlord was James Kinkaid, who was followed by John Campbell, Capt. Thomas Endsley, and others. Capt. Endsley taking it for the third time in 1847, since which time it has remained in the Endsley family.

There was a log tavern built by John Campbell about 1823, and first occupied by him. In 1823, Kinkaid, the bridge builder, built a brick tavern on the south side of the street that also became famous. It was the relay house of the Good Intent Stage Company, the Endsley House being the same for the older Stockton lines. In the early days of the pike, Somerfield was essentially a stage town. At its taverns were kept the relay stations for the teams of the different stage companies, and their patronage was more largely from the traveling public than from what was known as the road traffic. Most of the drivers of the many stages also lived here, and the town, along with its neighbor, Petersburg, was the scene of more bustle and activity than any other town in the county.

It is not known when the name of the town was changed from Smythfield to Somerfield, but it must have been before 1830. Dr. William Fry was then postmaster of Somerfield, and was probably the first physician who located there, living there to the end of his life. He is still remembered not only as an able medical advisor, but as a gentleman in all the rations of life.

With the decay of the pike, the town declined until it contained only dilapidated houses and about eighty inhabitants. In 1883 Somerfield had two stores, one blacksmith-shop, a spoke-factory operated by William Endsley &amp; Son, one wagonshop, one cabinetshop, one boarding-house, one physician, Dr. T. Jacobs, and one church, Methodist.

With the building of the Confluence and Oakland railroad, which passes through it, the business life of the place once again quickened, and it entered on a new era of prosperity with a largely increased population. In 1906, there were five stores in the town. Somerfield was incorporated as a borough in 1893. John W. Endsley was the first burgess. His successors have been: J. B. Jordon, John Close, H. R. Watson, Robert C. Campbell, John Close.

The last chapter on Somerfield was written in the 1940s when it was destroyed to make way for a new dam. Flooded, it lies under the Yough Lake. Its remains, which consist of foundations, streets and its bridge, have been known to reappear during years of extreme drought.


Petersburg
Petersburg (Addison postoffice) is a small village, situated on the west side of Winding Ridge, at an elevation of twenty-one hundred or twenty-two hundred feet above sea-level. It was laid out by Peter Augustine, on his own land, in 1818. The first house in the place was erected on lot number one, by Henry Stuller in 1820. The same year John Brown built a tavern-stand in the eastern part of the village. The first store was kept in the tavern by Andrew Mitchell and Henry Wentling. Among their successors in the tavern were John Rissler, James Connelly, Matthias Fry and Col. Samuel Elder. The old tavern was torn away in 1878, and in its place a dwellng was erected by George W. Turney, who now occupies it. The brick house known as the Central Hotel was built by Zel Hagans, who died very soon after moving into it. This was about 1831. Robert Hunter may be said to have been the first landlord who really opened this house, which, except for one or two short intervals has always been used as a hotel. One of the earlier lines of stages stopped at this house. A foundry was put in operation in 1844, by Thomas J. and Nathan Cooper, who carried on a successful business for many years. The business ceased in 1881. The first schoolhouse in the place was built about 1832. Samuel Gaither, Esq., now of Somerset, was probably the first teacher. The present school- building, adapted to the wants of the graded school, was erected in 1822, at a cost of about fifteen hundred dollars. In 1883 Addison contained five stores, two boarding-houses, three blacksmith-shops, three wagonshops, three shoemakers’ shops, two tanneries, one cabinetshop and one saddleryshop. One physician, Dr. William F. Mitchell, practiced there.

General Moses A. Ross commenced his mercantile life as a clerk in the store of John C. Darreil, of Somerfield. From this store he went into business on his own account at Selbysport, Md., but only for a short time. In 1829 he opened a store in Petersburg and conducted a successful business for more than sixty-five years.

The tannery was erected by Richard Brooks, about 1825. Dean Brothers, who are the fifth proprietors, purchased the property of John Shaw in 1870. H. L. Dean &amp; Brother have been running the tannery at Petersburg since 1870. H .L.Dean is a native of Fayette county, Pennsylvania, and his brother, S. A. Dean, of Garrett county, Maryland. These gentlemen came to Addison township in 1857. In February, 1864, H.L. Dean was mustered into the service of his country in Co. K, 116th regt. Penn. Vols. He was wounded at Petersburg, June 17, 1864 mustered out in August, 1865. S. A. Dean entered the service in March, 1864, in Co. K, 3d regt. Md. Vols.; was mustered out as first sergeant in June, 1865. Dean Brothers have also been, engaged in the mercantile business since 1875.

Lot Watson, a native of Fayette county, came to Addison township in 1850, and engaged in farming for about eleven years. In 1864 he bought the hotel of James Albright, in Petersburg, and kept a licensed house until 1872. He died in 1880. His son, William M. Watson, who came to the township with his father, is now the owner and keeper of the hotel.

Among the institutions of Petersburg is an <a href="/articles.php?article_id=266"><u>Odd Fellows\' Lodge</u></a>, and a division of the <a href="/articles.php?article_id=267"><u>Sons of Temperance</u></a>, which has held its charter for almost sixty years-the only one out of a half dozen or more in the county at one time that has continued to do so. The First National Bank of Addison was established in 1903. William M. Watson is president. Within the last few years the town has awakened from the lethargy into which it had fallen after the decadence of the pike, and there are now (1906) eight or ten retail stores doing business.


Addison Borough
Formerly called Petersburg, it was renamed Addison for Judge Alexander Addison who was the first president judge of Somerset County.

Originally founded in 1798, it was laid out as a small town in 1817 by Peter Augustine and received the name of Petersburg in honor of his first name.

When the post office was established, the town was renamed Addison

Like Somerfield (Smithfield), it was once a busy stage town on the Old National Road.

Addison Borough was incorporated in 1912. In 1930, it had a population of 184 persons.

For the borough\'s full history, see <a href="/articles.php?article_id=272"><u>Petersburg</u></a>

Fort Hill
Fort Hill is one of the many peculiar natural mounds belonging to the terrace formation, which are found in various parts of the United States. It is a hill of considerable altitude, having an area of about one hundred acres, of which seven acres, nearly level, but sloping toward the center, from the top. Its commanding position doubtless caused it to be occupied by the Indians as a point of observation in times of danger.

Along the streams were the hunting-grounds and routes of travel of the Indians. The number of implements of Indian manufacture which have been discovered in these localities shows conclusively that large numbers of the aborigines must have frequented this region. The number of Indian graves here also indicates that the hill may have been the site of an encampment, more or less permanently occupied.

There is no evidence that there was ever a fort of any kind at this point.

(Source: History of Bedford, Somerset &amp; Fulton Counties, PA; 1884)