Clearfield County Pennsylvania
Present and Past

Ex-Supervising Principal
Boggs Township Schools
Published by the Author

Copyright 1925


This book was written primarily for use in schools, but there have been so many requests for its publication in a library edition that the author has ventured to comply, for if "men are but children of a larger growth" it is hoped that the grown-ups may find interest and profit in the same work.

Often those scenes and activities that are in our immediate vicinity and with which we are intimately connected seem so trivial and so common-place that we give them but scant attention. Yet the people and material things that are close to us influence us most, and their recollection in later life adds much to our enjoyment and helps us in many ways.

This is the author's excuse to adults for writing about our county. In doing so, it has been the aim to so brighten the picture with incident, story and description that the reader will not tire. The effort has been to condense bushels of raw material into quarts of understandable matter, that may have every-day-life value.

The book is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather stimulative. If this purpose is accomplished the author's efforts will be abundantly repaid. There is left unrecorded a wealth of material that should be arranged, organized and made available to the student of our county's present and past history.

To encourage this work, there should be a real, live working historical society formed in the county to accumulate, verify and store in an accessable fire-proof building, data, relics and documents bearing upon the history of the county, not only of the past, but of the history making that is now going on, and which every one seems too busy to chronicle.

The writer has received valuable information and help in different ways from so many individuals in the county and outside of it, that it would be impossible to name all, therefor, I can but collectively thank one and all most heartily for their help and interest. The Pennsylvania State Library has been very helpful.

As source materials, the following publications have been consulted: Lenape Legends, by Brinton; Maginnis's Otsinachsin; Caldwell's Atlas of Clearfield County; History of Clearfield County, by Lewis Cass Aldrich; Twentieth Century History of Clearfield County, by Swoope, and McKnight's History of Northwestern Pennsylvania. Also files of the DuBois Courier, Raftsman's Journal, Public Spirit, County Review and Clearfield Republican, as well as valuable information direct from the Smithsonian Institution at Washington, etc., etc.


A survey of the century and a quarter since the pioneers shouldered their guns and axes and blazed the first trails into and through Clearfield county shows marvelous achievements along many lines. This present work as its title implies is devoted to a chronological account of the settlement, growth and accomplishments of Clearfield county and its people, present and past. It will be conceded by those familiar with the subject that it has never been presented in any work with the fullness and breadth of treatment it deserves.

There have been numerous futile attempts to induce those deemed competent to marshal and compile the data relating to the history of Clearfield county while some of the pioneers or their immediate successors were living, thereby preserving many interesting facts and incidents that are now lost or seriously obscured and difficult to verify. It was in an effort to supply to the present and future generations these important and interesting facts and incidents relating to the people and the development of the county that the author undertook this work.

Starting, as he does, with the present development, showing in condensed form much of the high state of civilization we have attained throughout every section of the county, and tracing it back by careful survey to the first entry of the pioneers into what was then a vast wilderness of deep forests inhabited by wild life of all types indigenous to this climate, requiring courage of a high order and forceful resourcefulness to carve out homes for their families. Their history is replete with many tales of adventure and severe trials with adversity and deprivations of every character, showing the strong type of people who first began the development of our present comfortable state of civilization.

Tales of adventure and exploitation, however thrilling or well told, of the stranger or of distant lands and people, have no such interest as those of our own neighbors and friends or their forbears on our native heath.

Nor can the stranger gather and tell these tales with the same sympathetic interest as one who has lived among them and is thus enabled to discern the true and the false. We are, indeed fortunate in having them presented, (even in condensed form), by one on whom all can rely for integrity and fairness. The forbears of the author have been reputable citizens of the county for more than a century, and his environment and occupation have enabled him to obtain much of the material by personal contact, observation and careful study.

After perusal of these facts it can readily be seen that Clearfield county need make no apology for her past performances, for many of the sons and daughters of the sturdy pioneers have taken high positions in the affairs of the world,filling them with credit and honor; others have attained eminence in the marts of trade and in manufacture and have developed well the rich natural resources of the county, and established it firmly as an active, progressive business center, and its future outlook is bright and assuring, well worthy of our patriotic pride.



Chapter I.

Natural Features

Position and Extent; Climate; Landscape; The Woods; Wild Flowers; Native Animals; The West Branch and Other Streams; Floods; Soils; Geological Formations; Miscellaneous Stories; The Otsinachsin.

Chapter II.

People of the Present and Past

Population; Industrial Changes Brought New Classes of People; The Pioneers; Earliest Settlers; Other Early Settlers; The Strenuous Life of the Pioneer; How Betsy and Ben Kept the Cabin all Winter Long; The First Store in the County; The Story of Mary Corrigan; Granny Leathers and Her Son; Taxables in 1806; Panther Story; The Oldest Person Living in the County in 1925. The Woman who Lived in the County the Longest.

Chapter III.

Stories of Early Times

A Typical Family; A Shanty in the Woods; Meeting a Bear; Seven Little Wild Cats; Recollections of Early Life; Going to School; Oxen and Sleds Used for Hauling; Things to Eat and Wear; Whisky Drinking; Miscellaneous Events.

Uncle Billy Stories:-When the Roof Slipped off the Cabin; How Uncle Billy Pulled Nails with His Teeth; How Uncle Billy Tried to Fly; How He Shot the Schoolmaster; He gets a Bear and Two Cubs; How he ate the Deer that Ate His Wheat; Uncle Billy was a Good Chopper; Uncle Billy and the Wolves; How He left the Panther watch the Deer Lick; Uncle Billy's Closest Call.

Courting Under Difficulties; Gambling and Drinking in 1817; A Real Man's Story; How an Irish Boy Came to the County in 1852; "Tracking a Bear;" The Horse Fiddle; A Wagon Load of Whisky on the Barn;

Chapter IV.

First White Visitors

Anna Marie LeRoy's Story: Barbara Tries to Escape; They Reach Chinklacamoose; To Punxsutawney and Kittanning; The Indians set them to Work; The English Attack and Burn Kittanning; At Fort DuQuesne; On the Move Again; They See Frederick Post; The Indians Retreat to Muskingum; A Chance to Escape; A Wonderful Woman; The Escape; They Find a Raft and Cross the River; They Reach the Ohio; Trouble-a-plenty; Pittsburgh at Last; Help to get Home.

Other Visitors:-The Flight of the Moravians; The Three Companies; They Unite; They reach Chinklacamoose; They Go On to the Ohio; Difficulties of the Journey; Early Surveys.

Chapter V.

The Red Men Called Indians

The Town of Chinklacamoose; Indian Houses; Indian Relics; The Leni-Lenape; Origin of the Lenape, and of The Mengwe; The Three Original Clans of the Lenape and Their Sub-Divisions; The Mengwe's Five Tribes Form a Confederacy and Conquer the Lenape; The Relations of Indians and Whites; Evil White Men and Liquor Drinking The Ruin of the Indians; Indian Treaties; The Lenape and Their Legends; Moral and Mental Characteristics. Religious Beliefs of the Lenape; Manufactures; Arms, Decorations, etc.; Counting and Time; Story of How a Savage Hog Killed the Indian Babies; Origin of the Gnats, An Indian Legend.

Chapter VI.

Educational and Kindred Agencies

The Schools in 1925; Pupils and Teachers; Classes of Teachers; Classes of Schools; One Room Schools; Advantages of Larger Schools; Consolidation of Schools; School Equipment; Schools of the Past; The First Teachers; Law of 1834 for Schools; Teachers and Pupils in the County in 1854; Qualifications and Character of Early Teachers; Branches Taught; First County Superintendent; "What was Good Enough for Me-is Good Enough for My Children;" School Exhibits; A School Seventy Years Ago; A School Girl of Seventy Years Ago, by One of Them; Martha Ann's Bear.

Health Conditions:--School Sanitation; The First Doctors; Clearfield County Tuberculosis Society.

Educational Organizations:---The W. C. T. U.; Daughters of the American Revolution; The Red Cross in Clearfield County; The Children's Aid Society; The Rotary Clubs.

The Churches:-Early Churches; Friends Meeting in Grampian Hills, Catholic Churches; Other Churches.

Sabbath Schools:-The First Sabbath Schools; Going to Sunday School Seventy Years Ago.

Chapter VII.

Miscellaneous Activities

Effects of Prohibition; Banking in Clearfield County; The Underground Railroad; The Effects of Wars Upon Our County.

Chapter VIII.

Highways, Means of Travel and Transportation

Roads of the County; Paved and Improved Roads; Automobiles and Trucks in the County; Bus Lines; Trolley Lines; Railroads; Railroad Building; The First Railroads; The Vision of Hardman Philips; Railroad Improvement; Building Railroad- in the Night; Erieo Turnpike; The Caledonia Pike; The Wilderness, or Kittanning Road; The Old State Road; Inspector's Report; The Indian Path; The River as a Highway; Building an Ark.

Chapter IX.

Means of Communication

The Radio; The Telephone:- Bell; Huntingdon and Clearfield; Town Lines; Rural Telephones; The First Telephones; First Commercial Lines. The Telegraph. The Mail:-Rural Free Delivery; Star Routes; First Post Offices. Travelers Brought the News in Early Times; Newspapers.

Chapter X.

Natural Resources

Soil Fertility; Water Power; Timber and Forest Growth; Coal; Fire-Clay and other Clays; Building Stone and Limestone; Gas and Oil.

Chapter XI.


Light and Power; Gas, Gasoline and Kerosene; Hydraulic Rams; Kerosene Lamps; Tallow Candles; Labor Saving Devices; We Owe Much to the Past; Brick Making; Tanneries; Early Tanneries; Working In Nickel; Making Silk Plush; Woolen Mills; Grist Mills; Making Knitting Machines and Knitting; Making Pottery; Making Maple Sugar and Syrup; Making Shook; Making Things at Home.

Chapter XII.


The Great Lumber Industry; Amount of Timber that Has Been Cut; Rafting; Rafting In; Guiding the Raft; Wages and Value of Spars and Square Timber; Pay of Rafts-man; The Log Driver; Saw Mills; The Labor of Timber Making; Rafting and Logging; Rafting on the River; Timber Making; A Car Load of Mince Pies; Sleeping in the Shotes' Bed.

Chapter XIII.


Effects of World War; First Mining of Coal; Coal Brought the Railroads; Methods of Mining; Fire-Clay Mining; Coal and Iron Police and Strikes.

Chapter XIV.


Farm Census 1924; Decrease in Tilled Acres and in Most Products; Farming as a Business; Opportunities in Special Farming; The Problem of Waste Land; Advantages of Progressive Farm Life; Pioneer Farming; The Factory System; Why People Live in the Towns; Conveniences on The Farm; . Labor Saving Appliances; The Grange; Cooperative Associations; County Fairs; The County Farm Bureau; Corn Testing in 1918; The Farm Labor Bureau During the War; Moving In, a Story of Early Settlement.

Chapter XV.

County Organization

At the Present Time; Court Officials; County Officials; The Care of the Poor by the County; The County Home; The Present Court House; Later Jails; First Court House; First Jail; Representatives in General Assembly and Congress; First Organization; First Election District; Selecting a County Seat; Donations by Abraham Witmer; First Enumeration of Taxables; First Justices of the Peace; Division of District; First Election of County Commissioners; Complete County Organization; First Court Held.

Chapter XVI.

Local Divisions of the County

Beccaria Township; Bell Township, Mahaffey Borough and Greenwood Township; Bigler Township; Boggs Township and Wallaceton Borough; Bradford Township; Brady Township and Troutville Borough; Burnside Township, Burnside and New Washington Boroughs; Clearfield Borough; Coalport, Irvona and Glen Hope Boroughs; Cooper Township; Covington Township; Curwensville Borough; Decatur Township, Chester Hill and Osceola Mills Boroughs; DuBois City; Ferguson Township; Girard Township; Goshen Township; Graham Township; Gulich Township and Ramey Borough; Huston Township; Jordan and Knox Townships; Karthaus Township; Lawrence and Pine Townships; Lumber City Borough; Morris Township; Penn Township and Grampian Borough; Pike Township; Sandy Township; Union and Bloom Townships;, Westover Borough, Chest Township and Newburg Borough; Woodward Township, Houtzdale and Brisbin Boroughs.

Transcribed March 2008 by Nathan Zipfel for the Clearfield County Genealogy Project


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