KISKIMINETAS TOWNSHIP This township was named from the river which skirts its southern border. Kiskiminetas,
says Heckewelder, is corrupted from Gieschgumanito, signifying, make daylight. Its
etymology is: Gisch-gu---day; gisch-que---today; gieschapen---it is daybreak;
manitoon---to make. It was probably the word of command, given by a warrior to his
comrades, at night, to break up camp and resume the journey, or war-path. It is said in
McCullough's Narrative, that the Indians called this river Kee-ak-ksheman-nit-toos,
signifying cut spirit. Heckewelder's etymology and definition are more satisfactory to the
writer. ORGANIZATION The petition of sundry inhabitants of Allegheny township was presented December 22,
1831, to the court of quarter sessions of this county, asking that a new township be
formed out of the upper end of Allegheny township, to be called Kiskiminetas. Philip
Klingensmith, John Lafferty and John McKissen were appointed viewers, who, after one
continuance of their order, presented their report recommending the organization of the
new township, which was approved by the court June 19, 1832. The boundaries were: "By
a line commencing at a great bend of the Kiskiminetas river, at the mouth of a small run;
thence by a direct line 6 miles and 200 perches to the mouth of Cherry run, where it
empties into Crooked creek; thence up Crooked creek to the line of Indiana county; thence
along said line to the Kiskiminetas river; thence down said river to the place of
beginning." Some parts of the territory of this township were formerly inhabited by Indians. One of
their towns, "Toquhesp, I.T.," is indicated, in the historical map of
Pennsylvania, as having been situated about half-way between the present site and the
Indiana county line---probably at or near the Northwest Coal Company's works. The writer
has not been able to ascertain the etymology and meaning of the name, unless it is derived
from Tach-quock---meaning land turtle. Some young Indians, probably Senecas, informed Gen. Thomas L. Kane, while hunting on
his broad domain, in McKean county, that Toquhesp "must be a word of another
language. A place near there is, in one language, Da-gaisse-gehney, which means 'carry me
across (the water) on your back' " About a mile below Apollo, near the outlet locks, an Indian chief, bearing the name of
Warren, was buried, and the tract containing his grave is designated on the ancient county
map, or map of original tracts of land, as "Warren's Sleeping-place." About a mile and a quarter, in air line, northeast from "Toquhesp" is an
"Indian Spring" near which is a rock, on the eastern face of which, fronting
thge run, is a rudely engraved figure, probably intended to represent an Indian medicine
man. The parts representing the head and upper portion of the body are cut about an inch
deep. The cutting of the other portions is more shallow. The arms appear to be extended in
curved lines from the body, at the extremity of each of which is what is intended to
represent a hand with three fingers extended, the legs bent or curved, each foot having
two toes extended. Below the right hand is the representation of an arrow-head, while
above the right arm, diagonally from the elbow, four characters are engraved somewhat like
these. I O O R. The visits of whites to the territory included in this township, prior to 1748, where
probably about the same as those mentioned in the sketch of the present township of
Allegheny. The Ohio Company, consisting of Lawrence and Augustine Washington and others, an
association organized for the purpose of affecting settlements on the wild lands west of
the Allegheny mountains, sent out Christopher Gist, in 1750, to explore this country. In
the course of that tour of exploration he passed from the south branch of the Potomac to
the head of the Juniata, crossed the Allegheny mountains "and reached the Allegheny
river by the valley of the Kiskiminetas"(*1) That tour began October 31, 1750, from
Col. Cresap's, at the old town on the Potomac river in Maryland, and continued thence, as
above indicated, to the Allegheny and down the Ohio river to the falls, and thence to
Roanoke river in North Carolina, where he arrived May 19, 1751. His journal of that tour,
found in the appendix of Pownall's "Topographical Description of North America."
published in London in 1776, shows that on Monday, November 17, 1750, he "crossed a
great laurel mountain," i.e. Laurel Hill. The next day he encountered rain and snow.
His journal continues: "Wednesday, 14, set out north 451 west 6' to Loyal Hannon, an old
Indian town on a creek of the Ohio, called Kiskeminetas, then north 1' northwest 1' to an
Indian camp on said creek. "Thursday, 15. The weather being bad, and I unwell, stayed here all day. The
Indian to whom this camp belonged spoke good English and directed me the way to his town,
which he called Shanoppin; he said it was about sixty miles and a pretty good way. "Friday, 16. Set out south 70
This township was named from the river which skirts its southern border. Kiskiminetas, says Heckewelder, is corrupted from Gieschgumanito, signifying, make daylight. Its etymology is: Gisch-gu---day; gisch-que---today; gieschapen---it is daybreak; manitoon---to make. It was probably the word of command, given by a warrior to his comrades, at night, to break up camp and resume the journey, or war-path. It is said in McCullough's Narrative, that the Indians called this river Kee-ak-ksheman-nit-toos, signifying cut spirit. Heckewelder's etymology and definition are more satisfactory to the writer.
The petition of sundry inhabitants of Allegheny township was presented December 22, 1831, to the court of quarter sessions of this county, asking that a new township be formed out of the upper end of Allegheny township, to be called Kiskiminetas. Philip Klingensmith, John Lafferty and John McKissen were appointed viewers, who, after one continuance of their order, presented their report recommending the organization of the new township, which was approved by the court June 19, 1832. The boundaries were: "By a line commencing at a great bend of the Kiskiminetas river, at the mouth of a small run; thence by a direct line 6 miles and 200 perches to the mouth of Cherry run, where it empties into Crooked creek; thence up Crooked creek to the line of Indiana county; thence along said line to the Kiskiminetas river; thence down said river to the place of beginning."
Some parts of the territory of this township were formerly inhabited by Indians. One of their towns, "Toquhesp, I.T.," is indicated, in the historical map of Pennsylvania, as having been situated about half-way between the present site and the Indiana county line---probably at or near the Northwest Coal Company's works. The writer has not been able to ascertain the etymology and meaning of the name, unless it is derived from Tach-quock---meaning land turtle.
Some young Indians, probably Senecas, informed Gen. Thomas L. Kane, while hunting on his broad domain, in McKean county, that Toquhesp "must be a word of another language. A place near there is, in one language, Da-gaisse-gehney, which means 'carry me across (the water) on your back' "
About a mile below Apollo, near the outlet locks, an Indian chief, bearing the name of Warren, was buried, and the tract containing his grave is designated on the ancient county map, or map of original tracts of land, as "Warren's Sleeping-place."
About a mile and a quarter, in air line, northeast from "Toquhesp" is an "Indian Spring" near which is a rock, on the eastern face of which, fronting thge run, is a rudely engraved figure, probably intended to represent an Indian medicine man. The parts representing the head and upper portion of the body are cut about an inch deep. The cutting of the other portions is more shallow. The arms appear to be extended in curved lines from the body, at the extremity of each of which is what is intended to represent a hand with three fingers extended, the legs bent or curved, each foot having two toes extended. Below the right hand is the representation of an arrow-head, while above the right arm, diagonally from the elbow, four characters are engraved somewhat like these. I O O R.
The visits of whites to the territory included in this township, prior to 1748, where probably about the same as those mentioned in the sketch of the present township of Allegheny.
The Ohio Company, consisting of Lawrence and Augustine Washington and others, an association organized for the purpose of affecting settlements on the wild lands west of the Allegheny mountains, sent out Christopher Gist, in 1750, to explore this country. In the course of that tour of exploration he passed from the south branch of the Potomac to the head of the Juniata, crossed the Allegheny mountains "and reached the Allegheny river by the valley of the Kiskiminetas"(*1) That tour began October 31, 1750, from Col. Cresap's, at the old town on the Potomac river in Maryland, and continued thence, as above indicated, to the Allegheny and down the Ohio river to the falls, and thence to Roanoke river in North Carolina, where he arrived May 19, 1751. His journal of that tour, found in the appendix of Pownall's "Topographical Description of North America." published in London in 1776, shows that on Monday, November 17, 1750, he "crossed a great laurel mountain," i.e. Laurel Hill. The next day he encountered rain and snow. His journal continues: "Wednesday, 14, set out north 451 west 6' to Loyal Hannon, an old Indian town on a creek of the Ohio, called Kiskeminetas, then north 1' northwest 1' to an Indian camp on said creek.
"Thursday, 15. The weather being bad, and I unwell, stayed here all day. The Indian to whom this camp belonged spoke good English and directed me the way to his town, which he called Shanoppin; he said it was about sixty miles and a pretty good way.
"Friday, 16. Set out south 70
"Saturday, 17. The same course (south 701 west) fifteen miles to an old Indian camp.
"Sunday, 18. I was very sick and sweated myself, according to the Indian custom, in a sweathouse, which gave me ease and my fever abated.
"Monday, 19. Set out early in the morning, the same course (south 701 west); traveled very hard about twenty miles to a small Indian town of the Delawares, called Shanoppin, on the southeast side of the river Ohio, where we rested and got corn for our horses." Shanoppin was a short distance below the present site of Sharpsburgh, the river then being called both Ohio and Allegheny.
The ancient map of this county indicates that seventy-five tracts of land were originally surveyed to various persons as follows: John Montgomery, 500 1/4 acres, includinig "Warren's Sleeping-place," and the site of Apollo; John Montgomery, 70 3/4 acres; James Watson, 160 acres, 148 perches; Joseph Campbell, 437 acres, seated by Watsons and John Criswell; John Clark, 52 1/2 acres, seated by Peter Yarnall and Hugh Bigham; Christopher Hays and John Henderson, 402 1/2 acres, seated by James Biddle; William Jackson, 111.7 acres, seated by Jacob McCartney; John Jackson, 367.8 acres, seated by John Miller, Sr., 50 acres. John Miller, Jr., 100 acres, and Jacob Miller, 100 acres; Robert Clark, 248 acres, seated by James Jackson; Robert Watson, 47 acres, 110 perches; Robert Ralston, 436 acres seated by Joseph Irwin; J. Jackson, 46 acres; Samuel Hucheson, 280 acres, seated by John and William Watson and John Martin; John Hucheson, 297.7 acres, seated by Robert Watson; John Wells and John Reighley, 408 1/4 acres, seated by Isaac Warner and Alexander Black; John Pirn, 335 acres, seated by T. Shoemaker; James Alexander, 342 acres, seated by John Larner; Michael Campbell, 148 acres, seated by Joseph Eakman; John Burghy, 315 acres, seated by Robert Kilgore; Jonathan Nesbitt, 346 acres, seated by John Wilson; Reese Meredith, 299 acres, partly in Allegheny township; John Ewing (peddler), 335.8 acres, seated by Daniel O'Brian, partly in Allegheny township; Jacob Burghy, 391 acres, seated by Phillip Schelhammer; Mary Paine, 311 3/4 acres, partly in Burrell township; Peter Gelder, 395.8 acres, seated by William Ealman; Michael Campbell, 153 1/4 acres, seated by Andrew McKee; Evan Evans, 393 acres, seated by John Kerr; Andrew Boner, 310 acres, seated by Henry Walker; John Steele, 310.8 acres; John Swift, 323.6 acres; Joseph Swift, Jr., 324 acres, seated by John Shoemaker,Jr.; Rachel Smith, 400 1/2 acres, seated by John Kline; Robert Smith, Jr., 365 3/4 acres, seated by Andrew Scott; Thomas Duncan, 410 1/2 acres, seated by George Learne, 80, Barnabas Bloss, 130, and James Biddle, 200 acres; Eve Hays, 475 3/4 acres, seated by John Fuller; Jacob Mechlin, 327.39 acres; Chr. Hays, member of assembly in 1778, 349 acres, seated by John Fuller; Thos. Allibone, 101 1/4 acres, setaed by Peter Yarnell; Issac Townsend, 133 acres, seated by himself; James Wallace, 166.9 acres, seated by Isaac Townsend; Agnes Simpson, 277 1/4 acres, seated by John Johnston, Jr., and Adam Johnston; Jacob Stilley, 252.4 acres, seated by James Guthrie; Jacob Wolf, 248 1/4 acres, seated by Michael Anderson; D. Hall, 118.62 acres, seated by Samuel Guthrie; Joseph Shoemaker, 194.1 acres, seated by himself; William Todd, 125 3/4 acres, seated by Samuel Coulter; Joseph Shields, 100 acres; James Wilson, 136 acres; Henry Horn, 363 acres, seated by Michael Anderson (river); Michael Sowerwalt, 372.3 acres; seated by John Dornmoyer; Elizabeth Henderson, 359.9 acres, seated by John Fuller; George Clymer, member of assembly in 1778, 335.3 acres; George Reading, 324.6 acres; Jonathan D. Sergeant, 291 acres, seated by Matthew Lampton; James Clark, 389 1/2 acres; John Scotton, 319 1/2 acres, seated by William Sansom; Moore Furman, 316 acres, seated by Joseph Shirley; John Musser, 318.8 acres, seated by Samuel Gray; William Todd, 323 acres; John Swift, 323.6 acre; Frederick Foulk, 313 acres; Mary Swift, 328.5 acres, partly in Burrell township; Isaac Morton, 301 acres, seated by John Barr; Henry Lisle, 301.8 acres, seated by James Kerns; Benjamin Shermer, 301 acre, seated by Nicholas Weitzell; Mellicent Wade, 301 acres; Alexander Todd, 319.8 acres, partly in South Bend township, seated by Andrew Cunningham; Henry Beck---; Geo. Morgan, 326 acres, seated by Robert Shirley; Abraham Shoemaker, 301.
9 acres, partly in South Bend township, seated by Samuel Hancock; Isaac Allen, 346.3 acres, partly in Indiana county; John Leasure, 314 3/4 acres, seated by Barnabas Steer and Solomon Dornmoyer; Joseph Shoemaker, 251.8 acres, seated by Benjamin Couch; William Ball, 297 acres, 297 acres, partly in Indiana county, seated by Samuel McClelland; John Laughlin, 355 acres, partly in Indiana county, seated by himself.
Vacant tracts are indicated on that map as follows: Northwest of the James Armstrong and W. Jackson, and west of the Jno. Burghy, Jonathan Nesbitt, James Alexander and Evan Evans tracts, in the western part of the township, on a part of which James Neely, from Londonderry, Ireland, settled in or about 1787; west of the Isaac Allen and Ab'm Shoemaker tracts; and another one east of the Henry Horn and north and west of the John Laughlin tract, also in the southeastern part of the township.
Names were given to some, if not all, of those tracts. For instance: Samuel Hucheson tract was called "Denmark;" the Jacob Wolf tract, "Okefield;" the David Hall tract, "Mount Hall;" one of Joseph Shoemaker tracts, "Millbrook;" the Thomas Duncan tract, "Oakland;" the Henry Horn tract "Deedenheim;" the George Reading tract "Hesse Cassel;" the Benjamin Shirmertract, "Scara;" the Mellicent Wade tract "Sciro;" the Isaac Morton tract "Fuligno;" the tract adjoining the Michael Campbell tract, warrant dated July 1, 1784, and patent March 9, 1796, to Isaac Anderson, "White Oak Bottom;" the Reese Merdith tract, "Harcourt;" the Joseph Swift, John Scatton and John Swift tracts, respectively, Digby Nos. 1, 2, 3;" the Wm. Todd tract, "Newark;" the John Leasure tract, "White Oak Flat;" the Jacob Burgy (or Berger) tract "Burgomaster;" the John Steel tract, "Round-Hole" or "Boiling Spring," which became vested in the heirs of Robert Elder, of which John Beemer purchased six-thirteenths, and released the same to John Miller April 8, 1833, who conveyed seventy-two acres to Adam Miller for $150 April 10, 1840. From the boiling spring on this tract the names of Spring postoffice and Spring church have been derived.
In 1805 the various tracts in what is now Kiskiminetas township were rated or assessed at from twent-five cents to $1 per acre. For instance: the Agnes Simpson tract was then rated at fifty cents per acre, now at $28; the James Wallace and Isaac Townsend tracts, then at seventy-five cents, now at from $25 to $28; the Benjamin Shermer tract, then at seventy-five cents, now at $25.
Several petitions of inhabitants of Kiskiminetas township were filed in the court of quarter sessions of this county December 23, 1840, asking for a division of the township, and the origanization of a new one to be called Washington, by a line to commence at James Kiers', on the Indiana county line, and thence by Solomon Shoemaker's to the Allegheny township line, because, as set forth in the petitions, the area of the township was sixteen by ten miles, the inhabitants were very numerous and the country rough, which rendered it exceedingly burdensome upon the people in transacting their township business. Several remonstrances were filed at the same time. The remonstrants alleged that they had understood that a few designing individuals contemplated applying to the court for a division of the township; that, if granted, it would derange the school system and cause inhabitants to build new schoolhouses; that the average number of voters then in the township did not exceed 380; that the area of the township exceeded eight square miles, and if divided, it would be eight by four miles; and that a petition was then before the house of representatives for the incorporation of the village of Warren into a borough, which would, if done, "considerably lessen the township." The remonstrants prevailed: the prayer of the petitioners was not granted.
In 1850 an attempt was made to organize a new township out of parts of Allegheny, Kiskiminetas, Kittanning, and Plum Creek townships, to be called Knox. Jonathan E. Meredith, William McIntosh and James Stewart were appointed viewers, who, at December sessions of that year, reported that it was inexpedient to erect a township with the boundaries specified in the petition and order, but suggested that it would be proper to erect a new township with somewhat different boundaries. That attempt failed for awhile, but it was afterward consummated by the organization of Burrell township.
The people of Kiskiminetas (at least a majority of them) contended vigorously, and for awhile sucessfully, against the further dismemberant of their township in the erection of South Bend township; they defeated that project once or twice by their ballots, but were finally overcome, perhaps by their own supiness.
Some of the warrants and patents for the tracts of land, which have already been mentioned, are dated as early as early as 1773; still they were not rapidly or densely settled for many years, not, in fact, until after the second decade of this century. Among the inducements to settle them, offered by their owners, were the following, which appear in the advertisement of Robert Smith, published in the first number of the first volume of the Western Eagle, which it will be borne in mind, was the first paper printed in this county, dated September 20, 1810, in which he offered for sale his 400 acre tract called "Smithfield," and the adjoining tract of Rachel Smith, situate on Roaring run, a mile from Rattling run, on which there was said to be a fall sufficient for a mill. He intimated that if encouragement should be given, a fulling-mill and a chemical laboratory "for refining dyes and colors would be provided by the proprietor of the land."
For many years after the first settlements, the nearest meeting-house was at Polk Run, in Westmoreland county, and religious services were held in barns and private houses. The only Presbyterian church was organized in the spring of 1840. It is called the Boiling Spring Presbyterian church, because of the proximity of its edifice to a spring whose water, when the basin or reservoir is open and clear of earthy deposits, is forced a considerable distance---boils as it were--- above the surface of the earth. The sand in the bed of this spring is white. The first church edifice, built jointly by the Presbyterian and Lutheran congregations, was a capacious frame structure, situated near Rattling run, about two and two-thirds miles a little east of south from the northern corner of the township, was erected soon after the organization of the church. Its several pastors have been Revs. Levi M. Graves, C.C. Bristol, J.E. Caruthers and Perrin Baker, the present one. The first edifice was replaced by a new frame one in 1871. The membership is 107; Sabbath-school scholars, 115.
The Boiling Spring Lutheran church has a capacious frame edifice situated a few rods west of the Presbyterian church. Its membership is 54; Sabbath-school scholars, 30.
The Maysville Lutheran church has an edifice which is frame and situated about seventy-five rods west of Maysville, near a western branch of Long run. Its membership is 38; Sabbath-school scholars, 77.
Both of these last-mentioned churches belong to the General Synod.
The earliest schools were kept in rough log cabins, similar to those described in the general sketch of the county. Some of them were not kept comfortably warm in cold weather with ten-plate stoves. The teaches were old men who could not make a livelihood by manual labor. Their scholarship was very limited. Occasionally one was a good penman and arithmetician. The school month consisted of twenty-four days. The tuition was $1.50 per quarter. Some of the scholars, who depended on themselves, attended school as long as their money would enable them to pay their tuition. The first schoolhouse, built about 1810, was situated at or near the present site of Maysville, and soon afterward another one, about two miles southwest from the first one, near Flat run. There was another one, probably somewhat later, in the Jackson and Watson settlement, two or three miles east of southeast of Apollo, which was burned in 1817-18, and was replaced by a better one which was built by the cojoint efforts of William Watson, James Jackson, Jacob Miller, and some others, whose names the writer's informant did not remember. Prior to 1822 a log schoolhouse was built on the Benjamin Shirmer tract, called "Scara," patented by John and Thomas Penn to John Mifflin, October 5, 1774, descended to Rebecca Archer, who conveyed it to Nicholas Weitzell, April 26, 1814, from whom Robert Wray purchased it, March 13, 1819. It was one of the primitive kind of schoolhouses. Among the earliest teachers, if not the earliest, who taught there, were James Craig and Samuel Scott. The number of scholars ranged from fifteen to twenty. That house was situated about twenty rods from the present Shady Plain schoolhouse. The former also taught a school at his residence on the John Salter or "Ganges" tract, or what has been, since November 5, 1850, known as the Remalley farm, in Burrell township, distant about three miles from Shady Plain, which some of the children of Robert Wray and of others in his neighborhood attended. Craig also taught at times in an old dwelling-house on the "Scara" tract, on which, as early as 1820, were the remains of a hunter's cabin. The free school system was readily adopted. Among its most devoted and persistent supporters was the late Joseph Shoemaker, who was for many years a school director, and a model one, so far as prompt, cheerful and conscientious discharge of official duties was concerned. The old log schoolhouses, even of the second series and better class, have given place to comfortable frame ones, distributed at convenient distances over the township.
In 1860 the number of schools (including those now in South Bend) was 15; average number of months taught, 4; male teachers, 11; female teachers, 4; average salaries of male teachers per month, $18; average salaries of female teachers per month, $18; male scholars 428; female scholars, 335; average number attending school, 448; cost of teaching each scholar per month, 42 cents; amount tax levied for school purposes, $1,315.53; amount tax levied for building purposes, $886.02; from state appropriation, $191.27; from collectors, $1,630.70; cost of instruction, $1,080; fuel and contingencies, $192.75; cost of schoolhouses, building, purchasing, renting, repairing, etc., $498.22.
In 1876 the number of schools (exclusive of those now in South Bend township) was 13; average number months taught, 5; male teachers, 9; female teachers, 4; average salaries males per month, $34.55; average salaries female per month, $32.50; male scholars, 253; female scholars, 223; average number attending school, 372; cost per month, $1; total amount of tax levied for school and building purposes, $2,587.15; received from state appropriation, $400.83; from taxes and other sources, $2,474.34; total receipts, $2,875.17; cost of schoolhouses, purchasing, renting, repairing, etc., $62.71; paid for teachers' wages, $2,309; paid for fuel, fees of collectors, etc., $486.66, total expenditures, $2,858.37.
The temperance element in this township has been for many years quite strong. At the election, Friday, February 28, 1873, the vote against granting license to sell intoxicating liquors was 75, and in favor, 45.
The navigation of the Kiskiminetas was improved in 1811-12 by removing rocks and other obstacles as far up as the Packsaddle. It used to be dangerous boating over Big Falls, and several persons were drowned there. A dam at the foot of these falls makes slackwater up to the dam No. 3.
By act of March 26, 1821, the sum of $5,000 was appropriated for improving the navigation of the Kiskiminetas and Conemaugh rivers, and George Mulholland, Jr., Peter Wallace, Andrew Boggs, John Hill and Jacob Drum were appointed commissioners to superintend its expenditure.
The early assessment lists of Allegheny township show that mills of different kinds were established within the present limits of Kiskiminetas township, thus: William Hess was assessed for the first grist mill in 1810; Michael Anderson, James Findley and Robert Watson with sawmills in 1811; Benjamin Couch with a grist and saw mill in 1818; Jacob McCartney with a fullingmill in 1820, a gristmill in 1826 and a factory in 1848; Isaac Townsend with a sawmill in 1824; James W. Biddle, William Kerr and William Uncapher each with a sawmill in 1826; John Fuller with a grist and a saw mill in 1830; Joseph McGeury with a sawmill in 1831. Stitt's mill on Carnahan's run, was for years after its erection resorted to by a large portion of the people of this township. Citizens volunteered to make a road on which they could go to that mill, the work on which was commenced at the mill and progressed homeward, and, as they reached their own abodes, would respectively drop off, so those living at the greatest distances from the mill did most of the work.
There are now, as the writer is informed, one gristmill and two sawmills in this township, and most of the sawing is done by portable mills. The fulling or woolen mill of Cooker & Moore, near the head of the fourth western branch of Rattling run, was established 18--.
Raymond Deutzell was first assessed with a tanyard in 1829, and John Keely, in 1834. The same yard was probably assessed, in different years, to both Duetzell and Keely, as both were assessed with land granted by the commonwealth to Thos. Harper, whose administrators conveyed "twenty-five acres, including a tanyard," to Keely, so that it appears to have been the only one in this township.
Rock Furnace was established by James W. Biddle in 1825, near the Big Falls, on the Kiskiminetas river, who announced in his advertisement for woodchoppers and other laborers, dated October 5, that it would "be in blast on Christmas day." It was a steam cold blast furnace, eight feet across the bosh by thirty feet high. The fuel used was charcoal. The number of employes is said to have been from fifty to seventy-five. It was located on the Christopher Hays and John Henderson tract, between the mouth of Roaring run and its junction with Rattling run. It did not prove to be a pecuniary success either to its first or subsequent owners. It was finally sold by the sheriff, and the writer was, for the first time after his admission to the bar of this county, appointed an auditor to distribute the proceeds of the sale among the lien creditors. That was the first and last furnace for the manufacture of pig iron in this township.
Eight different saltworks appear to have been assessed from 1836 till 1845, respectively, to Robert F. Stewart (2), John Laughlin, Bridget Trux, Wm. H. Richardson & Co. (2), John Johnston, H. Ridenour, J. McCauley and McCauley and Gamble. Those owned by Gamble & Son, about a hundred rods below the mouth of Flat run, are the only ones that still continue to be operated. The mode and expense of drilling the wells and manufacturing the salt need not here be repeated. The barrels in which the salt was put up were first brought to the wells on pack horses, and, after being filled with salt, were chiefly transported to Pittsburgh down the Kiskiminetas and Allegheny rivers in canoes and flatboats. Considerable quantities were sent to Clarion and Jefferson counties by sled and wagons. Those modes of transportation of course ceased after the completion of the Pennsylvania canal, which also increased the activity in various other branches and business.
The general, the almost universal, occupation of the people of this township has, from its earliest settlement, been agricultural. As to those engaged in other occupations the assessment list this year shows, exclusive of Maysville: Laborers, 68; carpenters, 9; miners, 15; teachers, 6; blacksmiths, 4; shoemakers, 2; salt-boiler, 1; miller, 1; cigar manufacturer, 1; professor, 1.
Maysville assessment list for 1876: Laborers, 4; merchants, 3; farmers, 4; carpenters, 2; shoemakers, 1; blacksmith, 1; miner, 1. This little town is situated on Long Run, two and a half miles in an air-line northeast from its mouth, containing, according to its list of taxables, a population of about 72, and the Long Run postoffice.
The population of the township, has been, since its organization, including that of Maysville, thus: 2,287 in 1840; 2215 white, 15 colored, in 1850; 2,080 white, in 1860, after a part of Burrell township had been taken from it; 1,716 white, 12 colored, after a part of South Bend township had been taken from it. Its present number of taxables, including those of Maysville, is 436, making its present population 2,005.
Until 1824 the nearest postoffices were those at Freeport and Kittanning. The Kiskiminetas postoffice was established February 24, 1824, JohnRoyer, first postmaster; Spring Church postoffice, February 16, 1852,Robert M. Beatty, first postmaster; Long Run postoffice, October 20, 1857, Samuel Orr, first postmaster; Shady Plain postoffice, March 2, 1868, David D.P. Alexander, first postmaster.
AN ANCIENT LANDMARK
In 1862-3 Samuel Lack cut down a white-oak tree on the farm of widow Coulter, near a small run that empties into the Kiskiminetas about fifteen rods above the gravel bar, whose diameter was three and a half feet. In sawing and splitting the trunk for barrel-heads, he discovered a blaze which appears to have been made with the bit of an ax, when the diameter of the tree was ten inches. Between the blaze and the bark were 246 rings or annual growths.
Some of the early settlers, as the writer is informed by one(*2) of their descendants, in the vicinity of the lower parts of Long run and Flat run, opposite the Townsend settlement, between 1790 and 1800, were Michael Anderson, George King, George Waltenbaugh and Jacob Wolf. There were probably others in that region then, but that informant distinctly remembers the names of those mentioned, as having been mentioned by his grandfather and grandmother, Jacob and Christina Wolf, in relating this occurrence: Mrs. Wolf went out early one morning to hunt her cows. She and her dog took position on a large flat rock, where she stood watching and listening for her cows, until the dog moved and whined at her feet, which caused her to look down, when, with extreme horror she beheld a vast number of black snakes, rattlesnakes, copperheads, and almost every other kind of serpent, lying in piles along the edge of the rock, attracted thither, probably, by her and the dog's presence. She took in her situation at a glance, and, in a moment, observing where ther was the least number of her besiegers, she sprang over them from the rock, the dog soon following suit, hastened home, and, horror-stricken, related to her husband what had happened, who, with the other men above-mentioned, repaired to that rock and began to kill the snakes, and continued doing so until they were driven away by an unendurable odor. Mrs. Wolf said that none of the serpants offered to harm either herself or the dog until she attempted to escape, which she did unharmed.
Two and three-fourths miles below Apollo was obtained the following section:
"Shale, etc.: Shale, 14 feet; black slate, 2 feet; upper Freeport coal, 2 feet 10 inches (61 feet above lower Freeport coal); shale, etc., no exposures, 14 feet; olive ferriferous shales and sandstone, 20 to 25 feet; sandstone, 18 feet; coal, 1 1/2 inches; shale, a few inches; sandstone, 5 feet; lower Freeport coal, bituminous slate, 2 feet---10 feet above slack water."
It is divided at a short distance from this point into two members by 1 1/2 feet shale. The coal is highly pyritous, and a little further on, up the river, appears thus: "Coal in thin flakes, 1 1/2 inches; gray shale, 1 1/4 inches; pyritous coal, 26 inches; shale, 4 feet."
Below Apollo the following section was leveled:
"Greenish and brown sandstone and slate, hilltops, 21 feet; olive slate, 18 feet; interval, 67 feet; terrace interval, 45 feet. Green sandstone: green sandstone, 1 1/2 feet; olive green slate, 36 feet; limestone fragments, grayish blue, non-fossiliferous, from 12 to 13 inches in diameter; olive slates, 30 feet; blue slate, here and there containing bivalve and flat spiral shells, resembling those of the black limestone strata, 35 feet below; yellow slaty sandstone, 6 feet; bright yellow shale, 8 1/2 feet; green shale, 4 feet; green fossiliferous argillaceous limestone, 19 inches; clay and shale, 11 feet; light colored shale, 5 feet; blue shale, 16 feet; blue slate, 6 feet; blue fossiliferous slate, 2 feet; dark blue limestone, nodular, 4 inches; compact, full of encrinites and univalve and bivalve shells, 4 inches; blue ferriferous fossil slates, 4 feet; brown sandstone, vegetable impressions, 3 feet; shales, ferriferous above, bituminous below, almost coal for 6 inches, 17 feet; sandstone, thin bedded, 7 feet; massive, 8 feet; slaty, 4 feet; shale, greenish, 12 feet; olive, 11 1/2 feet; upper Freeport coal, 2 feet at outcroup, 15 inches where driven in; interval, 11feet; Freeport limestone, nodular, 12 inches; shale, 12 (?) feet; sandstone, gray, 15 1/2 feet; brown shale, 17 feet; black slate, 2 feet; lower Freeport coal, 4 feet---16 1/2 feet above bed of river."
Fragments of the so-called Freeport limestone were burned for lime without success.
Three-fourths of a mile above Apollo the Freeport limestone, 7 1/2 feet exposed, is quarried on the north side of the canal, 57 feet above the water level, pale in color and highly silicious. The coal is not seen.
Below the four mile slackwater dam are several coal openings, one of them upon the Kittanning coal bed, 3 1/2 feet thick. The strata rise rapidly west. Just below the dam, three miles above Apollo, the following section was obtained, in which, for the first time in ascending the Kiskimetas, the Kittanning coal appears:
"Hill top more than 100 feet above, 8 feet of sandstone roofing Upper Freeport coal and Freeport limestone. Interval hence downward roughly estimated at 230 feet to the ferriferous limestone, 3 1/2 feet exposed, elsewhere, 7 feet; brown shale, 30 feet; sandstone, 2 feet; grennish shale, 12 feet; gray, slaty sandstone, 5 feet; iron ore, 5 inches; shale, silicious, 7 inches; iron ore, 3 inches; shale 5 feet; iron ore, 2 inches; shale, 1 foot; argilaceous sandstone, 10 inches; iron ore, nodular, 5 inches; black slate, 3 feet; blue slate, 7 feet; Brookville(?) coal, 12 inches; blue shale, 4 feet; black slate, 18 inches, exposed at water level."
The third axis---anti-clinal of the fourth basin--- crosses, perhaps, one mile higher up above the dam. The ferriferous limestone at Johnston's salt works is 55 feet above slackwater, 7 feet thick, and contains several species of fossil shells, a terebratula, etc.
The following section was obtained two miles above the dam:
"From the top of the hill downward, including 10 feet of shale just above the coal, 138 feet estimated: Elk Lick (?) coal, 5 feet; interval, 42 feet; massive (Mahoning) sandstone, 20 to 25 feet (bottom 115.7 feet above Kittanning coal). (Freeport limestone not observed here, but a short distance up the river seen under Mahoning sandstone, 3 feet thick.) Sandstone, thickly stratified, 77 1/2 feet; slate, etc., 6 feet; shale, 29 feet; Kittanning coal, 3 feet 9 inches; shale (?), 18 feet; sandstone, 7 feet; shale 8 1/2 feet; ferriferous limestone, 6 1/2 feet; sandstone, 12 inches; iron ore, calcareous, fossilferous, hard, 6 inches; blue shale, 10 feet; Clarion coal, 1 foot; blue shale, 12 inches; light yellow shale, 18 inches; coal, 16 inches, 17 feet above water."
It is remarkable that the lower coal bed dips so steeply into the hill that it cannot be drained by the gangway, while the upper coal is not at all open to the inconvenience. This excess of dip characterizes the lower strata in the hill.
The ferriferous limestone goes under the river bed near the salt company's store, the Kittanning coal being at the level of the towpath. The outcrop of the upper coal is observed rapidly descending east up the river. Below the upper dam the Freeport limestoneis seen, 7 feet thick; and again, just below the dam and nearly on a level with the towpath, where it is thin and nodular; the Upper Freeport coal being absentor easily overlooked.
The middle of the third subtrough of the third basin crosses this upper slackwater (3 miles long) at about the middle of its length, and exhibits a very high series of rocks. The following section was made 3 1/2 miles below Saltsburgh:
"Soil, 7 feet; gray sansdtone, slightly micaceous, 36 1/2 feet; coal, 12 inches; black slate, 2 1/2 feet; black slate, 8 feet; olive shale, 10 feet; limestone, nodular, 4 inches; olive slate, etc., under cover, 42 feet; coal, 12 inches; clay, 5 feet; limestone, 14 inches; shale, 2 feet; limestone, 16 inches; clay, variegated calcareous, nodules, 5 feet; sandstone, white massive, weathering cellular in parts, 33 feet; blue slate, 10 feet; gray shale, 7 feet; Pittsburgh coal (coal 30 inches; black shale, 3 inches; coal 3 feet; bituminous shale, 3 inches; coal 3 feet), in all 10 feet 2 inches; clay 2 feet; sandy slate, 15 feet; micaceous sandstone, grennish gray, 4 feet; light colored shale, passing into an impure limestone, 15 inches, floored with calcareous clay---in all 3 1/2 feet interval; shales, 7 feet; greenish shale, 12 1/2 feet; nodular clay bed, 2 feet; grennish sandy slate, 4 1/2 feet; nodular clay, 2 feet; green slate, 3 1/2 feet; sandstone, 1 foot; limestone nodules in top of olive shales, 22 1/2 feet; green slate, etc., calcareous nodules, 8 feet; gray slate, with bluff cleavage, 13 1/2 feet; gray and purple shale, 5 feet; sandstone, 12 inches; greenish shale, 5 feet; interval down to water level, 153 1/2 feet."
Below this is the green fossiliferous limestone, as seen on the towpath, passing under water-level, at a point one-half a mile below. A small coalbed underlies it there. At least 30 feet must be added to the last interval of 153 1/2 feet to bring the present section down to the green fossiliferous limestone, which will then be about 350 feet below the Pitsburgh coalbed.
The Pittsburgh coalbed of this section ranges northward and southward from the Kiskiminetas river, and toward Crooked creek is underlaid by the same frosted-looking limestone as seen at Pittsburgh and elsewhere. The limestone stratum seventy-seven feet below the Pittsburgh coal is a widely persistent bed; it is not quite non-fossiliferous, and has a brecciated (pudding-stone) aspect, although it is not fragmentary, but concretionary.
Toward Saltsburgh the strata rise very slowly, the greenfossilferous limestone emerging from below the first bank at Saltsburgh, where it consists of four bands, each between one and two feet thick, the whole measuring about three feet; and representatives of the black fossilferous limestone strata emerge in the first exposure above Saltsburgh. (Vide Rogers' geology of Pennsylvania.)
About three miles above Apollo, on the rifgt bank of the Kiskiminetas, is sandstone rock projecting out over the bank about nine feet. The space between the ground and side of rock, at the front, is about nine feet. The rock slopes back to the ground a distance of about twelve feet. It has gained considerable notoriety in that region by reason of a strange family by the name of Dunmire, who claimed to be part Indian, having resided there (that is, under the rock) more or less of the time during several years, from whom it is called "Dunmire's Rock." There is about it considerable pebble-stone, in which is something resembling lead, which can be cut with a knife.
*2 Noah C. Wolf.
Source: Page(s) 232-246, History of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania by Robert Walker Smith, Esq.
Chicago: Waterman, Watkins & Co., 1883.
Transcribed December 1998 by Rodney G. Rosborough for the Armstrong County Smith Project.
Published 1998 by the Armstrong County Pennsylvania Genealogy Project.