• Sat. Apr 20th, 2024


…bringing our past into the future

Located in the northwestern part of the State of Pennsylvania, Crawford County was created on March 12, 1800 from part of Allegheny County, and was named for Colonel William Crawford, one of the hearoes of the western frontier who was burned by the Indians at Sandusky, Ohio.

The first white men to visit this area were the French, who extended their chain of forts from Lake Erie to the Allegheny River at its junction with the Monongahela, and thus controlled the waters of the Ohio between 1748 and 1758.  Major George Washington delivered a message from Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia to the French Commandant, ordering the French to remove from that region as it belonged to Virginia.  The French refused to vacate the area and the struggle for possession brought on the French and Indian Wars of the 1754 to 1763.

By 1800 Crawford county had a population of 2,346 and when it was formed that year, the county seat was selected as Meadville, which had been named for its founder, David Mead, who made his first improvement in 1788.  The town was incorporated as a borough on March 29, 1823 and chartered as a city on February 15, 1866.

The county is bounded on the north by Erie County, on the west by the State of Ohio, on the east by Warren County and on the south by Mercer and Venango Counties.  Two important rivers, French Creek and Oil Creek, drain the area — both flowing southward.

Bentley Hall Academy was incorporated in 1807 and became part of Allegheny College when founded in 1815 and incorporated March 24, 1817.  Conneaut Lake is well known for its recreation facilities. [1974]  Oil was found in Crawford County and used prior to 1832.

On March 12, 1800, the Pennsylvania legislature established eight counties from the northern part of Allegheny County, so when searching for data on early residents, it is necessary to examine records at Pittsburgh for the years 1788 to 1800 and at Greensburg, Westmoreland County from 1774 to 1788.  The eight counties created in 1800 were as follows:

Armstrong County from Allegheney, Westmoreland and Lycoming.

Beaver County from Allegheny and Washington.

Butler County from Allegheny.

Crawford County from Allegheny.

Erie County from Allegheny.

Mercer County from Allegheny.

Venango County from Allegheny and Lycoming.

Warren County from Allegheny.

These are some of the county histories and biographical records of Crawford County that are available: Early Census Records, Annals of Lyons Hollow (Mary White, 1962), History of Crawford County (Samuel P. Bates, 1885) and The French Creek Valley (John E. Raynolds, 1938).


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