South Bend History
Written by Robert Walker Smith
Published in 1883

Indian Relics and Churches in South Bend Township

      INDIAN RELICS Ten or fifteen years ago Robert Townsend, as related by his son, S. P. Townsend, found a mattock on his farm, near Whiskey Run. It was struck by the plow, at the depth of about ten inches, in good soil. Several bunches of oxide of iron, about the size of hen's eggs, were on it. Its ends were steel, which he had sharpened at the blacksmith's.

      It is still extant on that farm, on the ridge or watershed from which the runs flow into Crooked Creek and the Kiskiminetas. From six to ten inches below the surface, in a gravelly soil, on the same farm, various Indian relics have been found: A stone implement, shaped somewhat like a wedge, with one end sharp like the bit of an ax, while near the other end was a groove, probably for holding a strap, used, probably, for skinning animals; several very hard stone utensils, some of which were a foot in diameter.

      The interior of the utensil was somewhat like an apothecary's mortar, some holding a quart and others two quarts of water, which were probably used for breaking and grinding corn; numerous flint arrow-heads; a mound of stones, which must have been brought some distance, as the field in which it is is clear of stone, about twenty feet in diameter, and two feet high, its shape being circular, and under which no bones have been found.

      There is on that farm a white-oak tree, which is twenty-one feet in circumference.

      For many years after the first settlement of this township and region, there was no church edifice in what is now this township, except the log one, mentioned in the sketch of Plum Creek Township. Clergymen of different denominations, who were itinerant missionaries rather than pastors, conducted religious services in private homes, barns and groves.

      The St. Jacob's Evangelical Lutheran and the St. Jacob's Reformed churches occupy the same edifice, a commodious frame structure, about two-thirds of a mile nearly north of the South Bend postoffice and mills.

      Zion's Valley Reformed church was organized June 20, 1868. The edifice owned by the society is frame and of adequate dimensions for the present wants of the congregation. Members, 64; Sabbath-school scholars, 50. This church was incorporated by the proper court, March 14, 1873, and William G. King, Absalom Klingensmith, H. G. Allshouse and Joseph Heisley were named trustees in the charter, to serve until the first election.

      The meeting-house is situated one mile east of the most western point or angle of the township, on the right bank of a large run emptying into Crooked creek, in "Barrel Valley." The pastor is Rev. John McConnell. His predecessors were Revs. James Grant and H. N. Hoffmeir.

      The United Presbyterian church, at Olivet, on the Robert Lettis Hooper tract, one mile and a fourth from the eastern southern angle of the township, was organized as a settlement of the Associate Reformed church, in April, 1840. There had, however, been occasional preaching since 1836, in a tent near the site of the present meeting-house. The congregation, at the time of its organization, took the name of Olivet, from which the name of this point, or locality was derived. The original number of church members was twenty.

      The pastors have been Revs. Alexander McCahan, from 1843 until 1846; M. H. Wilson, from 1848 until 1857; Samuel Anderson, from 1859 until 1867, and John C. Telford, the present one. This church has borne the name of United Presbyterian since the union of the Associate and Associate Reformed churches. The present number of members is 67; Sabbath-school scholars 50. The church edifice is frame, 40X40 feet, built in 1849.

      During the war of the rebellion there was a Soldier's Aid Society which consisted of members of the Olivet U. P. and Elder's Ridge Presbyterian congregations. Says a correspondent (*1): "No records exist of the contributions of this society, but it is believed that its disbursements were not less liberal than those of sister congregations."

      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.