South Bend History
Written by Robert Walker Smith
Published in 1883

Population ~ Occupations ~ Mutual Fire Insurance Company




      The generally good farming land in this township has steadily attracted to it increasing numbers of those engaged in agricultural pursuits, together with an adequate number engaged in other branches of business incident to and usual in an agricultural community.

      According to the census of 1870, the only one taken since the organization of this township, its population was then: White, 1,126; colored,1; native 1,116; foreign,, 11. The number of taxables this centennial year is 273, making its present population 1,255, the great mass of which are farmers and their families.

      Besides the sawmills at Idaho and South Bend, there are four others, viz., one a short distance west of Olivet, one on Craig's run, about 50 rods from its mouth, one on the most westerly run emptying into Crooked creek about 250 rods above its mouth, and the other on the same run, or its eastern branch, a mile or so higher up.

      In 1875 James McNees & Co. commenced the manufacture of stone crocks at their pottery, on a run 220 230 rods east of the second angle in the western boundary line below the northwest corner of the township, the daily product being 200 gallons, and in the spring of 1876 the manufacture of stone pumps and pipes. Twelve pumps and 200 feet of pipe have been made in a day.

      The capacity of the works is such that the daily product of the latter can be increased to 1,000 feet. The building is 90X28 feet, and the machinery is worked by horse-power.

      The Mutual Fire Insurance Company of South Bend township was incorporated by the proper court December 15, 1875. According to the original charter the members and insurers were to be persons owning land in and adjoining this township, but that limiting clause was subsequently stricken out by an amendment to the charter granted by the court.

      The object of this company, like that of the Farmers' Mutual Insurance Company, of Plum Creek township, seems to be to effect insurance on such property as is peculiar to farmers, and at a lower rate than in other companies, for the charter provides that its officers are to be paid only for such services as are necessarily rendered, and no dividends are to be made.

      The passing remark may here be made that disastrous fires have not been frequent in this township. The most serious one, perhaps, occurred November 29, 1836, by which the house of Anthony Montgomery and its contents, including about $200 in money, were destroyed.

      The stores assessed this year are five in the fourteenth and one in the thirteenth class.
      The assessment list for this year shows: Laborers, 27; blacksmiths, 7; shoemakers, 4; carpenters, 2; millers, 2; wagon-makers, 2; teachers, 2; invalids, 2; preacher, 1; agent, 1; clerk, 1; cooper, 1; apprentice, 1; and 26 single men. Will they all be single at the close of this leap year?

      Official.-- Sheriff, Alexander J. Montgomery.

      The geological features of this township are generally similar to those presented in the sketches of Plum Creek and Kiskiminetas townships. There is a vein of bituminous coal in the southeastern part of the township on the Townsend farm which, including three feet of slate, is fifteen feet thick--twelve feet of pure coal of excellent quality.

      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.

      1999 Armstrong County Pennsylvania