South Bend History
Written by Robert Walker Smith
Published in 1883

Organized in 1867 from Territory in Kiskiminetas and Plum Creek
Part III

      Campbell, by deed, dated May 17, 1813, conveyed it to James Clark for $2,000; Clark, by deed dated May 20, 1813, conveyed it to Jacob France, or, as spelled in later times, Frantz, for $3.000, who by his will, proven April 28, 1832, devised it to his children, from whom David Ralston, at divers times from 1837 until 1855, bought portions including the mill, aggregating 75 acres, which, with the mill, he conveyed for $13,000 to Chambers Orr, by deed dated June 14, 1859, who, by deed dated May 22, 1865, conveyed it to the present owners, Robert and Henry Townsend, for $14,000.

      In the deed from Howell to Venderen a mill-seat is mentioned as included in the tract. A grist and saw mill must have been erected thereon while it was owned by Campbell, for as early as 1805, James and William Clark were assessed in Allegheny township, in which this territory was then included, with one of each kind. For many years afterward Frantz's mill was resorted to by settlers from the lower part of the county, it being then the nearest to them. By act of March 16, 1819, Crooked Creek was declared a public highway from its mouth to that mill.

      The names given to some of these tracts are as follows: The Samuel Dixon tract was called "Partrenship"--so it is spelled; the Hannah Gregory tract "Pised"; the Elizabeth Pile tract, "Phoenicia;" the Matthew Irwin tract, "Truxillo;" the Rowland Chambers tract; the John Shaw tract, "Brabant"; the Abraham Hunt tract, "Hunt's Forest;" the William Forbes tract, "Franconia;" the John Bringhurst tract, "White Oak Plains;" the Alexander Todd tract, "Todd's Plains;" the Daniel Drinkertract, "Hickory Ridge;" the Samuel Sloan tract, "Long Meadow;" the Samuel Massey tract, "Limestone Runs;" the Joseph Saunders tract, "Desert Sin;" the James Davis, Jr., tract, Stephenton;" the Alexander Craig tract, a very small portion of which is in this county, "Craig's Farm."

      As described in the deed from Absalom Woodward to Robert C. Peebles, dated April 20, 1815, this last-mentioned tract was "situate on a large run emptying into Crooked Creek, opposite to a place known by the name of Capt. Tom's Hunting Camp, in Plum Creek township." That "large run" must be the one that empties from the southeast in Crooked Creek about eighty rods northeast from the lowest point in its great southern bend, so that "Capt. Tom's Hunting Camp" must have been on the John Ladd Howell tract, about a hundred rods southeast from the "mill-seat," mentioned in the deed from Howell to Vanderen, the present site of the Townsend mills, on the right bank of that creek.

      Who Capt. Tom was, or whence he came, the writer has not yet ascertained. He probably made annual hunting excursions to this region from one of the older and more densely settled counties. The writer has not yet met with anyone who can correctly inform him concerning the exact locality of that "hunting camp," which was one of the old landmarks. Strange it is, that none of those born and raised in its immediate and more remote vicinity, of whom he has inquired, had ever heard of it!

      One who has resided in its neighborhood for more than forty years thinks it was about three miles below, on the farm now owned by Jared McCandlers, which is a part of "Phoenicia." Another, who has passed his four score and ten years, and who in early life was familiar with this region, thinks it must have been at the mouth of "Horny Camp Run," which is in the southwest corner of Kittanning township, several miles further down the creek. The writer has, to his own satisfaction at least, ascertained its locality by putting together certain facts, points and boundaries, mentioned in several old deeds for different tracts.

      Source: Page(s) 394-399, History of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania by Robert Walker Smith, Esq., Chicago: Waterman, Watkins & Co., 1883. Transcribed June 2000 by James R. Hindman for the Armstrong County Smith Project. Published 2000 by the Armstrong County Pennsylvania Genealogy Project.