History of Liberty Township
from History of the Counties of McKean,
Elk, Cameron, and Potter, Pennsylvania
J.H. Beers, Chicago, 1890
- The Cemetery Association was organized in March, 1852. Among the members were Aaron S. Arnold, John J. Abbey, S.H. Barrett, William Wilkins, T.W. Richmond, L. Lillibridge, Merrit Smith, Isaac Viner, R.E. and William Bellows, William Simar, Aaron Smith, Harvey Manning, William Sherwood and P. Fean. On June 10, 1889, the following officers were elected: E.B. Dolley, president; C.A. Dolley, treasurer; C.H. Cole, secretary; Andy Black, sexton; F.H. Arnold, trustee.
- The Sartwell House, the leading hotel, with the Port Allegany House and the new hotel of A.J. Connelly on Pearl street, form the principal hostelries of the town. The latter was built in October, 1889.
- Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1836 a hunger named Foster came to Canoe Place and preached at the house of Lodowick Lillibridge. In April, 1838, a class was organized with Levi and Sophronia Coats, Phebe Eastwood, S.S. Nabby and Annie Grimes, Anna and L. Lillibridge, Jacob and Maria Simcox, Betsy Bellows, A.P., Horace and Oretta P. Barnaby, Joel H. Rice, Saloma Cummings, members. Meetings were held in the "Old Red House" of Levi Coats, subsequently in the school-house, and later in the Union church house. In 1853 the members belonged to the Eldred mission of the Olean district, and in 1871 Port Allegany circuit was established.
In a letter by I. Steele, dated August 13, 1874, it is stated that at the time a small scattered Methodist class existed here, attended irregularly by Elder Morris, of State Line, but the editor of the Reporter corrected this statement by showing that a church building which cost $3,500 stood here at the time and was used by all Protestant denominations.
The First Methodist Episcopal Church of Port Allegany, which is the same as that organized in 1836 with Rev. J.D. Wood, pastor, was incorporated in January, 1880, with Balthasar Kershner, William Grigsby, H.F. Dunbar, M.C. Field, James K. Moore and Fred and L. Meservey, trustees. The church house was erected in 1880 by Cotton & Sons of Olean. A.M. Benton donated three lots and $650 cash, while Mr. Root donated $1,600. Mr. Benton, with Messrs. Kershner, Field and Freeland, formed the building committee. Notwithstanding the liberal donations, the society owed large sums to Mr. Root and Mr. Benton for some time after the completion of the building.
The Union Church, Port Allegany, was incorporated December 26, 1867, on petition of A.S. Arnold, J.J. Abbey, E.B. Dolley, C. Dolley, W.J. Davis, J.C. Coleman, A. Fortner, William Sherwood, T. Mullin, William Simar, L.J. Gallup, J.K. Moore, E. Fitch, Peter Frederick, R.E. Bellows, F.H. Arnold, A.H. Medbery, V.H. Benton, B.B. Burt, T.N. Peet, Charles Peet, J.G. Hall, Dennison Woodcock, J. Campbell, J. Tallmadge, Paul Hall, G.W. Nichols, J. Ames, A. Acre, J.S. Wert, F.M. Coleman, William Coleman, L.M. Eastwood, W.A. Wright, N.N. Metcalf, Samuel Cole, H. Metcalf, A. Eastwood, O.D. and O. Vosburg, A.N. and S.S. Lillibridge, G.W. Manning, J.R. Proctor, W. Grigsby, W.P. and A.I. Wilcox, Horace Coleman, and L.H. Dolley. The church was dedicated February 15, 1872. The total cost was $3,600, the bell being presented by A.S. Arnold.
Universalists. - In December, 1874, Rev. B. Brunning came here to organize a Universalist society, but the results did not warrant the building of a church house.
Catholic Church. - The first regular services of St. Gabriel's Catholic Church was performed by Father Patterson in 1875, and the congregation was formed April 30, 1876. Among the early members were Keron Hanlon, P. Moran, P. Brider, P. Kilday, Maggie Kilday, Sol. Leighton, J. Cook, M. Galligar, Joseph Galligar, A. Laumer, A. Sampur, M. Ward, C. Bishop, J. Conelly, Pat Kilday, John Kilday, Patrick Welch, P. Glenon, M. Mitchel, S. Ebelheir, Julia Ward and Thomas Mack. The secretaries of the church have been Dr. Rinn, James Galligar, R. Mulholland and A. Connelly; Matthew Snyder is secretary. The work of building was commenced in 1879 by Barrett Brothers, and the church was completed in 1880 at a cost of $3,000. The congregation numbers 300. The present pastor is Rev. Father Cosgrove.
The First Regular Baptist Church of Port Allegany was incorporated in August, 1881, the signers of the articles being Dr. J.S. Stearns and wife, O.J. Rose and wife, James Steele and wife, Mary Steele and Francis M. Robinson. When the society was organized, on June 2, 1877, the above named, except the Rose family, were members, with Mrs. Teft and Charles H. Dodd. Rev. S.D. Morris was the first pastor, succeeded by Rev. Rose, Rev. Dodd, and the present pastor, Rev. R.C.H. Catterall. J.S. Stearns, F.M. Robinson and A.A. Matthews have filled the clerk's office successively, the first named being now clerk. The society of twenty-four members worship in the old Union Church building, which has now been transferred to the Presbyterians. The Baptist Society proposed to erect a house of worship on land donated by A.M. Benton, nearly opposite the Methodist Episcopal Church. The cost is estimated at $3,500.
The Congregational Society was organized May 7, 1877, by Rev. H.M. Higley, with Mrs. G.C. Barrett, Lettie and Nellie Barrett, Mrs. M.A. Lillibridge, Mrs. Eddy, Mrs. W. Hooker and C.W. Wasson, members.
The Free-Will Baptist Society of Port Allegany was incorporated in June, 1883, with A.N. Lillibridge, William Pelton, John H. Eastwood, J.H. Burr and C.C. Richardson, trustees. The names of J. Richardson, A.L. Eastwood and O.C. Griffin also appear as contributing members.
The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Society of Port Allegany was incorporated July 13, 1886 - O. Lindberg, N.J. Anderson, Benjamin Anderson and B.M. Johnson being the petitioners.
St. Joseph's Protestant Episcopal Church was opened July 22, 1888, and now claims twenty-nine members. This church has been attended by Revs. J.H. McCandless, H.Q. Miller, Josephus Tragett, F.W. White and C.L. Bates, present pastor. The property of the society is valued at $2,000. The new church house was dedicated November 16, 1889. Work was begun during the pastorate of Rev. F.W. White. The property was transferred free of debt to a committee comprising Rector Bates, Dr. F.E. Watts, F.E. Rowley and S.C. Sartwell.
The Presbyterian Society was organized at the house of C.E. Hubbard, December 10, 1889, with G.C. Farnsworth, president; George Weber, secretary; E.P. Dalrymple, treasurer; C.E. Hubbard, F. Gerwick, Mrs. Dalrymple, Mrs. Farnsworth, Mrs. Hubbard and Mrs. Weber, executive committee. Their first services were held in the Union building January 12, 1890.
In January, 1890, the new Presbyterian society elected C.C. Ward, C.E. Hubbard and B. Both, elders; S.W. Smith (president), E.P. Dalrymple (treasurer), F. Gerwick, Jr., G.C. Farnsworth and George Weber (clerk), trustees. Later in January services were held in the Swedish church, and toward the close of that month a proposition to purchase the Union church house was entertained and the building purchased.
- The public schools of Port Allegany are under the professorship of A.E. Barnes, who has been at the head of the schools several years. He is assisted by Miss Edith Van Duzen (a graduate of the Genesee Normal School), who teaches the grammar school; Miss Ida Manay, the second intermediate; Miss Grace Sweeting, the first intermediate, and Miss Addie Neefe, the primary department. The schools have recently been graded, and a preparatory course is now taught. About 275 pupils are enrolled.
The Port Allegany school board, elected in June, 1889, comprises C.R. Bard, president; Thomas McDowell, treasurer; T.B. Day, secretary; with E.B. Starkweather, C.E. Hubbard and C.H. Bergman. In July A.E. Barnes was employed as principal; Ida V. Manay, Grace M. Sweeting and Addie C. Neefe, assistant teachers.
Associations, Etc. - Liberty Lodge, No. 505, A.F. & A.M., was constituted December 26, 1871, with the following members: George Goltrey, Miles Irons, H. Jay Barrett, F.H. Arnold, Thomas McDowell, C.H. Cole, E.B. Dolley, William Dunbar, A.L. Medbery, C.L. Bellows. The names of the past masters are G.H. Goltrey, H. Jay Barrett, P.A. McDonald, C.H. Cole, R.J. Mott, John Dick and James H. Williams, now acting master. The names of secretaries are Thomas McDowell, H. Jay Barrett, O.L. Snyder and C.W. Hooker, now acting secretary. The present number of members is fifty-four, and the value of property $500. This lodge elected the following named officers for 1890: O.E. Goldhagen, W.M.; Frank Eckert, S.W.; C.H. Cole, J.W.; T. McDowell, Treasurer; C.W. Hooker, Secretary; E.B. Dolley, C.H. Cole and B. Kershner, Trustees, and J.A. Williams, Representative.
R.A. Chapter, No. 254 was instituted May 17, 1877, with the following named members: P.A. McDonald, F.H. Arnold, E.B. Dolley, A.H. Medbery, E.P. Dalrymple, George M. Smith, Frank D. Simar and Nathan R. Bard. The names of past high priests are P.A. McDonald, G.M. Smith, Charles N. Barrett, C.R. Bard and O.L. Snyder, while the present high priest is E.P. Dalrymple. The secretaries have been E.P. Dalrymple, H.J. Barrett, O.L. Snyder, C.R. Bard, and the present secretary, J.H. Williams. There are thirty-two members, and the property is valued at $800.
The Knights of Honor Lodge was organized October 25, 1879, under the name of Mountain Lodge. The names of original members are P.A. McDonald, H.J. Barrett, C.A. Larrabee, P.R. Cotter, R.J. Mott, C.W. Hooker, William Hooker, A. Crandal, J.V. Otto, M.D., M.A. Lillibridge, O.R. Coyle, William Dunbar, H.D. Helmer, James Doyle, S.L. Youngs, M.M. Griffin, J.E. Chandler. P.A. McDonald was first dictator, and the present dictator is W.C. Downs. C.A. Larrabee was first reporter, the present reporter being C.H. Bergman. There are nineteen members. The officers of the Knights of Honor for 1890, in the order of lodge rank, are C.C. Ward, D.M. Teater, M.A. Lillibridge, C.H. Bergman, Thomas McDowell, William Hooker, J.V. Otto, J.L. Ward, M.L. Shurtz and S.C. Sartwell.
Laurel Encampment, No. 61, Knights of St. John and Malta, was organized April 7, 1887. The names of original members are F.E. Watts, M.E. Manning, F. Schoonover, J.D. Ford, F. Allen, E.M. Fulmer, C.M. Goodwin, B.M. Johnson, O.C. Wagner, Reene Wilson, P.J. Fleming, C. Fulmer, C.H. Bergman, O.E. Goldhagen, O.M. Johnson, H. Coleman, G. Reese, F.W. Weidman, F.H. Hall, E.A. Cole, T.H. Trous, W.L. Lillibridge, C.A. Lambert and W.D. Russell. The names of eminent commanders were W.D. Russell, C.H. Bergman and I.B. Baker. The names of secretaries are O.M. Johnson, I.B. Baker, W.D. Russell and O.E. Goldhagen. The officers installed April 11, 1890, in encampment order, are as follows: F.H. Hall, C.M. Goodwin, T.H. Burleson, I.B. Baker, W.M. Holmes, C.H. Bergman, A.A. Abbey, S.L. Young, B.M. Johnson, Frank Schoonover, J.G. Hall, M.A. Lillibridge, O.C. Wagner, J.B. Colcord, M.D., M.I. Sawyer, A.G. Irons, Frederick Gerwick. The present number of members is forty.
In May, 1887, a tent of the K.O.T.M. was organized at Liberty, with Nathan Tronst, president, and Frank Hoover, secretary. The officers of the K.O.T.M., for 1890, in the order of tent rank, are F. Gerwick, J.W. Kershner, M. Venus, I.E. Johnson, E.D. Sherrill, H.J. Wolcott, J.V. Otto, J.J. Gallagher, W.E. Pelton, S.A. Eastwood, A. Fairbanks, L.L. Hilliker and John Brown.
Henry H. Metcalfe Post, 431, G.A.R., was organized May 15, 1884, with E. Horton, C.; C.A. Larrabee, S.V.; John Dean, J.V.; C.N. Barrett, Q.M.; Dr. Hogarth, Surg.; S.S. Steele, Chap.; C.W. Wagner, O.D., and Melvin Hall, O.G. Commander Wright, of McKean Post, presided. Young Metcalfe came with his parents to Port Allegany in 1857, enlisted in the Fifty-eighth Pennsylvania Infantry in August, 1862; was made prisoner at Fair Oaks; confined in the Confederate prisons at Richmond and Salisbury, and while returning with his mother died two miles north of Emporium, April 25, 1865. The charter members were: C.N. Barrett, Forty-sixth Pennsylvania; M.E. Hall, Fifty-eighth Pennsylvania; C.A. Larrabee, Eighty-fifth New York; William Van Loon, First New York Dragoons; Chester Baker, Fifty-eighth Pennsylvania; A.S. Ames, One Hundred and Thirty-sixth Pennsylvania; B.G. Bartle, Twenty-third New York; A.A. Goodwin, Fifty-eighth Pennsylvania; I. Studley, Two Hundred and Eleventh Pennsylvania; H.D. Helmer, Eighty-fifth New York; F.N. Hogarth, First K.R.; S. Steele, One Hundred and Eighty-seventh Pennsylvania; I.B. Harrup, One Hundred and Ninety-eighth Pennsylvania; Yates Anson, Fifty-third Pennsylvania; John Dehn, First Minnesota; L. Burrows, One Hundred and Ninety-ninth Pennsylvania; E. Horton, First New York Dragoons; R.S. Dexter, Seventy-sixth Pennsylvania; William Rauber, One Hundred and Eighty-eighth New York Volunteers; S.R. Semens, Two Hundred and Eleventh Pennsylvania; C.W. Wagner, First Light Artillery; Rufus Coombs, Seventeenth New York. The position of commander has been filled, since Horton's time, by C.N. Barrett, B.G. Bartle and R.H. Camp. The two last named have served as adjutants, a position now well filled by E.F. Cornell. There are thirty-five members. The officers of Metcalfe Post for 1890 are A.S. Ames, J.M. Matthews, L. Burrows, I.S. Fogle, A.A. Peling and J.F. Sharp, with C.C. Ward and I.S. Fogle, delegates, and C.C. Ward, adjutant.
Women's Relief Corps was organized February 15, 1887, with the following named members: Madams Flora Hogarth, Nancy Van Loon, Julia Helmer, Elizabeth Richardson, Jane Hall, Susan Baker, Ada Horton, Mary Steele and Misses Ina Richardson, Nora Fogle, Belle Fogle, Clara Steele, Nellie Clare, Belle Bartle and Lou Bartle. Mrs. Hogarth and Mrs. Van Loon have presided over this society, of which Mrs. Sarah Hooker is now president. Mrs. Richardson was first secretary, and Mrs. Lou Bartle is present recorder. There are nineteen members.
The Port Allegany I.O.G.T. was organized September 20, 1867, with J.K. Moore, W.C.T. Mrs. J.F. Shurtz, O.D. Vosburg, Misses Thompson, Wilkin, Dolley and Vosburg. Mrs. Lillibridge, W.D. Bellows, Mason Lillibridge, Izates Dolley and G.B. Fitch, were the officers.
The Port Allegany Library Association was organized in February, 1875, with A.J. Hughes, president; E.P. Dalrymple, secretary; A.B. Humphrey, Mrs. F.H. Arnold and Mrs. Thomas McDowell, executive committee.
The High School Literary Society, in March, 1890, elected the following named officers: President, William H. Catterall; vice-president, Grace M. Sweeting; secretary, Alice Rowley; treasurer, Gretta Kinney; librarian, Edith Van Deusen.
The International Fraternal Alliance was instituted at Port Allegany in November, 1889, by J.B. Hargrave. It sets forth to pay its members the sum of $700 every seven years. M.J. Hadley is speaker, S.J. Carlson, clerk, and W.H. Keeney, treasurer.
The W.C.T.U. elected the following named officers in December, 1889: Mrs. C.A. Larrabee, president; Mrs. G.C. Farnsworth, secretary, and Mrs. R.C. Bard, treasurer.
The Young Women's Christian Temperance Union elected the following named officers June 10, 1889: Mrs. J.S. Shaner, president; Delia Dolley, vice-president; Alice Rowley, secretary, and Dora Dolley, treasurer…On July 18, 1889, the Loyal Temperance Union was organized by Miss Schoch, with E. May Bellows, leader.
The Port Allegany Musical Association was organized by S.W. Adams in August, 1876, with C.A. Larrabee, Mrs. Kate Cowdrey, S.W. Smith, Mrs. T. McDowell and H.J. Barrett, officials.
The Business Men's Club was organized in November, 1889, with F.E. Rowley, president; B.C. Gallup, vice-president; G.C. Farnsworth, secretary; R.J. Mott, treasurer; J.H. Williams, J.V. Otto and W.W. Rinn, trustees.
The McKean County Agricultural Society. - For some years before the war an agricultural society existed in the county and held fairs annually, Smethport being the headquarters. After the war, and up to 1875, the old society showed signs of life, but the oil excitement of 1875 diverted men's attention from farms and farming, and the organization may be said to have ceased. A few years later, when oil prospectors did not succeed so well east of the divide, the prosperous farmers of Liberty, Keating and adjoining townships suggested their willingness to revive their association, and as a result the McKean County Agricultural Society was organized in February, 1880, with A.J. Hughes, N.N. Metcalf and E.B. Dolley, directors. Among the stockholders were the officers named and F.H. Arnold, A.M. Benton, G.L. Blackman, S.R. June, Goltry and Camp and S.W. Smith. In 1881-82 V.R. Vanderhule was president and A.J. Hughes, secretary. The McKean County Agricultural Society petitioned for incorporation September 24, 1883. F.H. Arnold, W.J. Davis and N.N. Metcalf were elected directors, and the total membership was twenty-five. The following officers were elected for 1890: President, N.R. Bard; vice-president, E.B. Dolley; secretary, A.J. Hughes; treasurer, F.H. Arnold; directors: Henry Smith, B.C. Gallup, L.J. Gallup; auditors: Thomas McDowell, E.P. Dalrymple, W.J. Davis. The shares are $100 each.
Port Allegany is beautifully located in one of the most picturesque parts of the Allegheny Valley. Nestling upon the banks of the river, it forms the gate to the upper Allegheny country, and from it leads the first railroad built in that country. A range of hills bounds the horizon, from the summits of which is spread out, before the observer, a landscape rivaling in beauty and exquisite perfection many of the scenes chosen by master artists for their pencil or brush. The whistle of the locomotive is constantly heard, as hurrying trains come and go; the river gives life and animation to the scene, and all in all the city site was well chosen and her streets surveyed on proper lines. Round the business section and interspersed with the houses of trade are seen the modern homes and well-kept grounds of the people; school and church buildings, and even the park, the whole completing a picture at once harmonious and attractive. This pretty town is a monument to the intelligence of the people and to their enterprise, which will survive when superficial tokens of remembrance shall have crumbled into dust.