CHAPTER XXXIII

HISTORY OF CONEWANGO TOWNSHIP

ALTHOUGH Conewango was not the first township to be organized in the county, it is given a place in these pages next to the borough of Warren, by reason of the fact that from 1808, when it became the second township of Warren, until 1832, the town was only part of the township, and the corporate limits of the former are still largely environed by the latter. The term Conewango is supposed to be of Indian origin, but as now written and pronounced it bears no more resemblance in form and sound to the name applied one hundred and fifty years ago, than do the letters A and Z. From "Kanonogon" it has been changed through a long series of years to "Kanaougou," "Kanoagoa," "Canawagy," "Conewauga," "Conewagoo," "Canawago," "Connawango," until now we have what many simple folk suppose a simon pure Seneca term, spelled Conewango. A majority of our so-called Indian names of streams, towns, counties, territories, and States have gone through the same processes of change at the hands of white men. Indeed, they were wholly the work of white men in the first place. The Indians, as we all know, had no written language, and in the attempt to fashion their gutteral monosyllables into written English, hunters, traders, and interpreters - some of them densely ignorant in letters - have furnished us many wonderful Indian names.

The name and original boundaries of this township were established by a commission (appointed by the Venango County Court in 1806), whose report and recommendations were adopted and confirmed by the same authority in 1808. (See Chapter XIII of this work.) The township of Conewango then embraced the eastern half of the county, and the first township election was held at the house of Daniel Jackson, in the town of Warren, which then consisted of five houses, in the spring of 1808.

The first settler within its present limits, probably, was Daniel Jackson, who with his family began a residence on Jackson’s Run, just north of Warren, in 1797. Much concerning him will be found in the history of Warren borough, to which place he removed about 1805.

Michael McKinney followed closely in the footsteps of Jackson as a settler of Conewango township, and it is believed by his descendants that he settled upon the farm where he lived for more than fifty years as early as 1798. He came here from Southwestern Pennsylvania, the scene of the Whisky Insurrection - 1790-94. He died at the age of eighty-five years, of injuries received by a kick from a horse. His wife, a sister of Robert Russell, of Pine Grove township, attained the great age of more than one hundred years. Of the children born to them but one is now living - Eliza A., the wife of F.O. Crocker, of this township. The old McKinney homestead is now embraced in part by the asylum farm at North Warren.

Jacob Goodwin also settled in the township about 1798, by squatting upon the premises since known as the Dougherty or Dunn farm. He was McKinney’s immediate neighbor on the north.

Martin Reese, sr., with his two sons Martin, jr., and John, came from Lycoming county and settled on the beautiful plateau lying in the bend of the river below Warren, about 1803-04. Here the family resided for many years, the tract occupied being known as part of the outlots of Warren or "Reese’s Flats." John Reese, one of the sons above mentioned, married Miss Marcia Owen and settled upon the farm on Conewango Creek, where he resided for more than forty years, or until his death, which occurred in July, 1852. They were the parents of an intelligent and respected family.

William Sturdevant, Asa Scott, and Asa Winter were also very early pioneers in the township. The latter was one of the first three county commissioners elected, and as early as 1815 he owned and operated a grist-mill on the Conewango.

In 1821, by an order of court confirmed March 8 of that year, the two townships of Brokenstraw and Conewango, which to this time from 1808 had embraced the whole county, were divided into twelve townships (see Chapter XXV). By this division the area of Conewango was reduced to but a fraction of its former extent. Still, it was yet a large township, for by the boundaries confirmed in 1821 it included the major portion of the present township of Glade, while Tionesta was temporarily attached to it. The first township election, after the changes above referred to, was held at the house of Daniel Jackson, in the town of Warren, March 16, 1821.

In the mean time, while the town had increased but slowly in population, the township had become quite populous, and a number of well-improved farms were already to be seen. The first assessment under the new condition of affairs was made in 1822, and the following list embraces the names, etc., of the resident taxables in town and township during that year:

 

Andrews, John, J.P., county commissioners’ clerk, etc.

Kelly, Julius.

Adams, Joseph, carpenter.

Kidder, Corbin, single man.

Alden, Richard, clothier, operating fulling-mill.

Kidder, Nathaniel, settled about 1820.

Andrews, Robert.

King, John, house and lots in town.

Arthur, Boon.

Lewis, James B.

Arthur, James, lumberman.

Littlefield, Stephen, carpenter.

Arthur, Robert, lumberman.

Mansfield, Abel, carpenter.

Arthur, William.

Marsh, Enoch.

Ayres, Alfred.

Marsh, John, Sr.

Ayres, John W.

Marsh, Joseph.

Ballard, Samuel.

McKinney, John, 2d, single man.

Bell, Robert.

McKinney, Michael.

Brewer, Philo, cordwainer.

Mead, Benjamin.

Brown, David, Esq.

Mead, David, Jr.

Brown, John, prothonotary.

Mead, Joseph.

Brown, Samuel.

Miller, Linus H.

Buckalew, Isaac.

Olney, Rufus.

Chandler, Alvah.

Olney, Stephen, Jr.

Chapman, Elijah.

Olney, Stephen, Senr.

Clark, Joseph.

Olney, Wm., carpenter.

Cranston, Peleg.

Owen, Barnabas, single man.

Crull, Emanuel.

Owen, Eben, Jr., single man.

Dalrymple, Mark C., distillery, value $400.

Owen, Eben.

Dalrymple, Wm.

Owen, Ethan.

Davis, Patton.

Owen, Orange.

Derby, Edward.

Parmlee, Barrett & Co. merchants in town.

Doan, Levi.

Parmlee, L.S.

Dougherty, Charles.

Pier, Wm., cordwainer in town.

Dunn, Henry, inn keeper.

Portman, John.

Eddy, Zachariah.

Potter, Jabez.

Follett, James, Jr.

 

Follett, James, Senr.

 

Foster, David.

Reese, Martin, Jr.

Foster, Jesse.

Reese, Martin, Senr., outlots west of town.

Geer, Asa.

Rogers, John.

Geer, John.

Rogers, Levi.

Gilson, John.

Sawyer, Hezekiah, carpenter.

Graham, Saml., tailor, house and lot in town.

Saxton, Saml., house and lot in town.

Granger, Eli.

Scott, Asa, blacksmith in town.

Gray, Joseph.

Shipman, James.

Green, Christopher.

Shirley, Moses, single man.

Green, Edmond.

Simmons, Peter.

Green, John.

Sly, Timothy, single man.

Green, Parker.

Stebbins, Albinus, cordwainer.

Hackney, John, tailor.

Stebbins, Elijah.

Hackney, Jos., Esq., associate judge.

Stewart, James, double saw-mill, lived in town.

Hall, Joseph, stone mason.

Sturdevant, James, Jr.

Hall, Josiah, house and lots in town.

Swift, Seth, single man.

Tanner & Dunn.

 

Tanner, Arch., merchant.

 

Hazeltine, Abner, attorney at law.

Thompson, Abraham.

Hook, Jacob.

Thompson, Caleb.

Hook, Moses.

Trask, Samuel.

Houghwout, Danl., carpenter.

Valentine, Robt., saw-mill.

Houser, John P.

Wait, Reuben.

Hubbel & McConnell.

Walbridge, ——, a distiller.

Hunter & Fisher.

Wallace, Caleb.

Jackson, Danl., Esq., Justice of the Peace.

Wetmore, Lansing.

Jackson, David, house and lot in town.

Willson, Johnson, single man.

Jones, Harvey.

Winter, Asa.

Jones, Jehu, single man.

Young, Matt., county treasurer.

Jordan, Elisha.

 

When Limestone was organized in 1829, and absorbed the now obsolete township of Tionesta, it took the latter, of course, from the jurisdiction of Conewango; and by the erection and organization of Glade township, in 1844, Conewango was reduced to about its present limits. It is centrally located in the county, the Conewango Creek forming its eastern boundary.

In 1832 the town of Warren was erected into a borough, and at this time the interests of the two - town and township - in civil affairs became separated. Separate assessment rolls were made out in 1833, and from them we learn that Conewango’s taxables, including that part across the creek afterwards attached to Glade, were as follows. We will first explain, however, that a considerable number of those owning lands in the township were residents of the village. The names, where positively known to us, will appear in italics:

 

Adams, Warren L., 18 acres.

Kidder, Nathaniel, 100 acres.

Arthur, Robert, saw-mill and seat.

King, John, 73 acres.

Babcock, David.

Knapp, David, 50 acres.

Babcock, Harley, 200 acres.

Lee, Philip, 96 acres.

Babcock, Merritt, 100 acres.

Leonard, Arnold, 57 acres.

Bell, Robert, 357 acres.

Leonard, Calvin, 40 acres.

Berry, John J., 94 acres.

Leonard, Levi, 90 acres.

Berry, John M., saw-mill, 288 acres.

Littlefield, John, 180 acres.

Berry, Sidney, single man.

Mair, Hugh, 550 acres.

Blakesley, Benjamin, 50 acres.

Mallony, John, 100 acres.

Brown, Joseph, 100 acres.

Mallony, Meredith, 89 acres.

Buckalew, Isaac.

McKinney, John, Jr., (sheriff) outlot.

Canon, Gilbert, 120 acres.

McKinny, John, 50 acres.

Canon, Samuel, 92 acres.

McKinny, Michael, 160 acres.

Carter Zoar, 50 acres.

Mead Benjamin, 236 acres.

Chandler, Josiah.

Mead David, 56 acres.

Chapman, Amos B., 100 acres.

Mead, Joseph, 114 acres.

Chase, Danl., 100 acres.

Morrison, Abijah.

Clark, David, 50 acres.

Morrison, James, 100 acres and outlots.

Clark, Martin.

Morse, Joseph.

Cogswell, Hubbard.

Morse, William.

Cole, William, 100 acres.

Olney, John, 100 acres.

Colver, John D., 50 acres.

Olney, Stephen, 185 acres.

Connoutt, Harry, 190 acres.

Ott, Jacob, 75 acres.

Crull, Emanuel.

Owen, Barney, 100 acres.

Dailey, Saml., 160 acres.

Owen, Ethan, 50 acres.

Dalrymple, Corning, 234 acres.

Owen, Heman, 124 acres.

Dalrymple, Joseph, 50 acres.

Owen, Mary (widow) 124 acres.

Davis, John S., 124 acres.

Parker, Oliver, saw-mill.

Doan, Levi, 34 acres.

Parker, Timothy F., 231 acres.

Doty, Elisha, 150 acres.

Perkins, Edson, 1/2 saw-mill.

Doty, Halsey, 100 acres.

Porter, Abraham B., 156 acres.

Doty, Isaac, 100 acres.

Reed, John, single man.

Dunn, Henry, 204 acres.

Reese, John, 539 acres.

Farnsworth, Josiah, 100 acres.

Reese, Martin, 56 acres and outlots.

Follett, James, 3 acres.

Russell, Robert, 100 acres.

Follett, James, Jr., 254 acres.

Salmon, Amos, 100 acres.

Geer, Asa, 50 acres.

Scott, Asa, 119 acres.

Gibson, David, 150 acres.

Shaw, Joseph, 83 acres and 1/2 saw-mill.

Gordon, Joseph C., 95 acres.

Shipman, William, 400 acres.

Graham, Joseph, 50 acres.

Shutt, Adam, 80 acres.

Gray, Jason, 30 acres.

Sidler, Jacob, 40 acres.

Gray, John E., 137 acres.

Simmons, Peter, 586 acres.

Green, Christopher, 250 acres.

Sly, Timothy, 50 acres.

Green, Parker, 50 acres.

Snapp, George, 100 acres.

Gregory, Anson, 50 acres.

Spencer, Abner, 250 acres.

Gregory, Asa, 113 acres.

Spencer, Alfred, 112 acres.

Grunder, Henry, 100 acres.

Spencer, Judah, 92 acres.

Hackney, John, 100 acres.

Strubler, Andras, 100 acres.

Hall, Saml. D., 83 acres.

Sturdevant, James, 100 acres.

Hamlin, Jacob, 150 acres.

Sturdevant, William, 150 acres.

Hatch, Dorastus, 84 acres.

Taggart, James, 240 acres.

Herrick, Henry, 50 acres.

Tanner & Falconer, 814 acres.

Hibbard, Luther, 205 acres.

Tanner, Archibald, 244 acres.

Holt, William, 100 acres.

Taylor, Charles, 360 acres and saw-mill.

Hook, Francis, 56 acres.

Turner, Luke, 400 acres and tavern stand.

Hook, Orrin, 1186 acres.

Turner, Thomas, 99 acres.

Houghton, James, 149 acres.

Whitney, Joel.

Houghwout, Danl., 74 acres.

Wilcox, Thomas, 75 acres.

Huntington, Jacob, 100 acres.

Wilcox, Thomas, Jr., 110 acres.

Irvine, William A., 336 acres.

Wiley, Saml., 4 acres and saw-mill.

Jackson, David, 100 acres.

Williams, Wm.

Jackson, Wm., 100 acres.

Winter, Asa.

Jennings, Edmond, 100 acres.

Wright, Justus B., 40 acres.

Joy, John.

 

During the last fifty years many and varied changes have taken place. The township has not increased in population and wealth to an unusual extent, but the names and personal characteristics of its people have undergone almost a complete transformation. Those of English and Scotch-Irish ancestry have given place to those of Alsatian and German origin to such an extent that at this time the latter seem to be largely in the majority. They are an honest, moral, and industrious class of citizens, of which any country should be proud.

The general surface of the township is high and broken. The stranger in driving over its roads in mid-summer, when the foliage by the wayside is dense, is suddenly confronted by an abrupt hillside, or has an opportunity of peering down into a deep ravine at frequent and the most unexpected places. The land when brought under cultivation is productive and lasting, and abundant crops of hay, potatoes, oats, corn, etc., are annually produced. It is also well adapted to grazing and dairying purposes.

In 1886 the assessed valuation of taxable property, etc., was reported as follows: Value of lots and buildings, $80,735; acres of seated lands, 17,302; acres of unseated lands, 281; number of horses and mules, 312; number of oxen, four; number of cows, 386; number of resident taxables, 443.

The little village of North Warren is very pleasantly located on the right bank of the Conewango, about two or three miles north of the borough of Warren. Besides the great structure known as the State Hospital for the Insane, it has a woolen-mill, hotel, post-office, lumber yard, two or three small stores for the sale of groceries, hardware, flour and feed, and a number of blacksmiths, carpenters, etc.

The woolen-mills, first known as the "Falconer Woolen Works," were established about 1848. Their principal work was wool carding, though even at the first some coarse cassimeres, plain cloths, tweeds, etc., were manufactured. In later years they were owned by Judge Wetmore. About twenty years ago George Hazeltine came into possession, and he has since successfully operated them under the firm name of George Hazeltine & Co.

In 1873 a State hospital for the insane was located near the village by a commission appointed by the governor. After a personal inspection of several of the northwestern counties, for the location of such an institution, its members found no place so perfectly adapted to the wants and purposes as this, in the beautiful valley of the Conewango. The corner-stone was laid in the presence of Governor Hartranft and other distinguished visitors, September 10, 1874, and was sufficiently completed in 1880 as to admit patients. From the beginning its construction and management had been under the superintendency of Dr. John Curwen. In style, finish, and perfect adaptation to the purposes of its creation it is not surpassed by any similar institution in the State or on the continent. Its great good fortune has been to have the designing eye of Dr. Curwen over its architecture and construction, and of his learning and experience as physician-in-chief in its management and care of the unfortunate inmates.

During the month of April, 1886, a correspondent of the Bradford (Pa.) Era prepared the following very complete description of this building, its size, cost, appointments, etc., and, believing that we can do no better by way of explanation, we insert it:

North Warren Asylum. - The building, of brick faced with sandstone, is about 1,200 feet long, practically four stories high, situated about two miles north of the borough of Warren, in a beautiful valley drained by the Conewango Creek. It consists of a central building devoted to officers, reception-rooms, quarters for superintendent and medical staff, steward’s office and rooms, pharmacy, sewing-room, chapel, and amusement hall. Extending at right angles from the center, and connected with it are a series of three connecting wings, the north series devoted to male and the south series to female patients. These two series are divided into eleven wards each, making a total of twenty-two wards, capable of accommodating 600 patients according to the original plan, but now containing about 650, owing to the excessive overcrowding of other similar institutions, and can hold without injury to the inmates quite a good many more. These wards connect with each other, those on the same floor by doors leading from one hall to another, and those on different floors by fire-proof stairways. In addition to the large double central stairway there are two exits from each ward by means of the fire-proof stairways referred to. The building is fire-proof throughout, well heated, lighted, and ventilated. Each is classified, patients being assigned to such one as their condition warrants; No. 1 being filled with those convalescent or nearly so, while No. 11 contains the cases that are most violent and hopeless. The intermediate numbers are graded from one to eleven, except No. 4, which, on the north side, is a private and on the south a sick ward. Each ward contains a dining-room, pantry, bath-room, wash-room, clothes closet, an automatic closet, sitting-room, and is supplied with hot and cold water, elevator from the kitchen, dust-shaft, clothes-drop, dry room, and is thoroughly lighted, warmed and aired. There is not in the entire building a single room of any kind, used by patients or attendants, which is not better lighted, heated, ventilated, and kept cleaner than the rooms of the best hotel in your city. Absolute cleanliness of rooms, halls, table service, beds and bedding is the most striking feature about the building.

The heat is furnished by four steel boilers, each one hundred horse power, by a system of indirect radiation as simple as it is complete. The cold air is drawn through two towers by means of large fans, and by the same fans driven through underground tunnels arched with brick into the halls or chambers in the cellar, containing the radiators. Above the fans in the towers is a coil of steam pipe, another at the entrance to the tunnel, and still another at the point where the tunnels enter the radiator rooms. Air having an external temperature of zero will thus reach the radiator at about forty-eight above, and then passes through another individual radiator, inclosed and connected with the portion of the building designed to be warmed by it. Each room and hall has separate heating radiators, and can be shut off or opened at pleasure without in any way affecting the balance of the house. By means of ventilating flues from each department the foul air is carried into air ducts connected with the towers on the main building, the towers being thus not only an addition to the looks, but also to the utility of the structure.

The same boilers also supply hot water, steam for cooking, and the laundry, and for running the carpenter and machine shops. The water is pumped from the Conewango into a reservoir back of the house, and from there distributed by gravity. The pumps are of the Worthington duplex make, and the quantity of water for all purposes is about 180 barrels an hour. The pump house and gas works are contained in a handsome brick building near the bank of the creek, about an eighth of a mile from the hospital. The gas is made from coal and is abundant in quantity and of fair quality. Coal (anthracite) is used as fuel, although natural gas was used until the gas company wanted the building and some of the rest of the earth, when the trustees concluded to fall back on the old standard fuel, and coal was reinstated. All the furniture used in the building is made in the shop, and all repairs, plumbing, gasfitting, etc., is also done by the regular employees of the state. A fine coach house of brick, in the rear of the house, furnishes ample quarters for the horses used for carrying the mail, airing the patients, and the steward’s business. The garden supplies all the more common vegetables used, while the farming is perhaps as yet in its infancy. An immense barn, which will hardly bear favorable criticism either as to economy of construction, location, or adaptability to the requirements, is under process of erection. The grounds are being gradually laid out and beautified quite as fast as the limited means at the control of the superintendent will allow, and will in time be beautiful.

Sixteen millions of brick were used in the building, which cost, including farm and buildings completed, in round numbers $1,000,000, and it can be said, to the credit of the gentlemen who had charge of the building and fitting up, that the money was well and judiciously expended. The work throughout is good, durable, and handsome, the material of the best, and the effect of the whole harmonious and elegant.

SOURCE: Page(s) 394-401, History of Warren County, J.S. Schenck & W.S. Rann, Syracuse, New York: D. Mason, 1887