History of Warren County, Chapter 15

CHAPTER XV

FROM 1830 TO 1861

 

The First Steamboat on the Upper Waters of the Allegheny - An Account of the Trip - Cornplanter a Passenger - Merchants and Inn-keepers in 1830 - National Character of Early Settlers - The Scotch-Irish at First in the Ascendency - Origin of the Term Scotch-Irish - Those of English Descent in Final Control - Early Routes of Travel - A Remarkable Journey - Barefooted in Midwinter - An Influx of Alsatians - Death of Cornplanter - Incorporators of Various Associations - Lumbering - River Navigation - Store Goods - Prices - Routes Pursued in Transit - Part of McKean County Annexed to Warren - The Whigs and Democrats - The First Telegraph Line - Merchants of the County in 1850 - The Whigs Disband - Organization of the American Party - Temporary Success - Causes Leading to the Formation of the Republican Party - An Incident in the Career of Jeff. Davis - Republicans Gain Control of the County in 1856 - New County Scheme - Petroleum Discoveries - Titusville to the Front - Warren Men Also - Railroad Completed from Erie to Warren - Tidoute Oil Field - Election in 1860.

IN 1830 the steamboat Allegheny, built chiefly by Archibald Tanner, of Warren, and David Dick, of Meadville, opened steam navigation on the upper waters of the Allegheny River. This boat made one and the only trip ever accomplished by a craft propelled by steam to Olean, N.Y., to the great amusement of such of the four thousand six hundred and ninety-seven white inhabitants of the county as witnessed the spectacle, and the utter astonishment of the native Senecas. James and Lewis Follett, of Warren, officiated as pilots. In a published account of this trip we find the following:

"On the evening of the 20th of May we departed from Warren for Olean, in the State of New York, seventy-five miles above (by water), with freight and passengers from Pittsburgh. At 9 o’clock next day we arrived opposite the Indian village of Cornplanter, seventeen miles up. Here a deputation of gentlemen waited on the well-known Indian king or chief and invited him on board this new and, to him, wonderful visitor, a steamboat. We found him in all his native simplicity of dress and manner of living, lying on his couch, made of rough pine boards, and covered with deer skins and blankets. His habitation, a two-story log house, is in a state of decay, without furniture, except a few benches, and wooden spoons and bowls to eat out of, which convinced us of his determination to retain old habits and customs. This venerable chief was a lad in the French war, and is now nearly one hundred years of age. He is a smart, active man, seemingly possessed of all his strength of mind, and in perfect health, and retains among his nation all the uncontrolled influence of bygone days. He, with his son Charles, who is sixty years of age, and his son-in-law, came on board and remained until the boat passed six miles up, and then after expressing great pleasure with their novel ride, returned home in their own canoe. His domain is a delightful bottom of rich land two miles square, nearly adjoining the line between Pennsylvania and New York. On this his own family, about fifty in number, reside in eight or ten houses."

The merchants engaged in business in the county at this time (1830) were N.A. Lowry, Lothrop S. Parmlee, Daniel Chase, Archibald Tanner, Robert Falconer, Orris Hall, and Samuel D. Hall, dealers in general merchandise; O. Stanton & Co., grocers, and Milton Ford, grocer and druggist, in Conewango township; William P. McDowell and L. Risley & Co., in Pine Grove township; Richard Crocker, in Sugar Grove township; Amos Patterson, in Elk township; William Jackman and William L. Barber, in Columbus township, and Charles Whitney, in Brokenstraw.

A year or so later the inn-keepers were Joseph C. Gordon and Alvin Hood, in Warren borough; Luke Turner, in Conewango township; Porter R. Webber and Reuben Parsons, in Columbus township; Samuel McGuire, Anthony Courson, and Benjamin Clark, in Deerfield township; Warren H. Reeves, in Elk township; Alfred Vanornam and Adoniram Smith, in Brokenstraw township; George Mosher, in Pine Grove; and John I. Willson and Samuel Brown, in Sugar Grove.

Thus far in the history of the county its inhabitants had been, almost to a man, composed of those of English and Scotch-Irish origin, the few exceptions being men of equally as proud an ancestry, that is, descendants of the good old Knickerbockers, or Holland Dutch. The Scotch-Irish, who for a decade or more were in the ascendency, came in chiefly from the south, an overflow, as it were, from Venango, Butler, and other counties in that direction, which had been largely peopled by those of that nationality or descent. They were fair representatives of a hardy race, were strong men, mentally as well as physically, and, what is equally as remarkable, many prominent old-world characteristics in form, face, and custom have been perpetuated, and are plainly observable in their descendants of today.

The term "Scotch-Irish" is one so frequently used, particularly in Pennsylvania, and is so little understood, even by those who claim such relationship, that it is considered appropriate in this place to explain its derivation. It appears that in the time of James I, of England, the Irish earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell conspired against his government, fled from Ireland, were proclaimed outlaws, and their estates, consisting of about five hundred thousand acres of land, were seized by the crown. The king divided these lands into small tracts and gave them to persons from his own country (Scotland), on the sole condition that they should cross over into Ireland within four years and reside upon them permanently. A second insurrection soon after gave occasion for another large forfeiture, and nearly six counties in the province of Ulster were confiscated and taken possession of by the officers of the government. King James was a zealous sectarian, and his primary object was to root out the native Irish, who were all Catholics, hostile to his government, and almost constantly plotting against it, and to re-people the country with those whom he knew would be loyal.

The distance from Scotland to County Antrim, in Ireland, was but twenty miles. The lands thus offered free of cost were among the best and most productive in the Emerald Isle, though blasted and made barren by the troubles of the times and the indolence of a degraded, peasantry. Having the power of the government to encourage and protect them, the inducements offered to the industrious Scotch could not be resisted. Thousands went over. Many of them, though not lords, were Lairds, and all were men of enterprise and energy, and above the average in intelligence. They went to work to restore the land to fruitfulness, and to show the superiority of their habits and belief compared with those of the natives among whom they settled; they soon made the Counties of Antrim, Armagh, Caven, Donegal, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry, Monaghan, and Tyrone - names familiar to Pennsylvanians - to blossom as the rose.

These, the first Protestants introduced into Ireland, at once secured the ascendency in the counties which they settled, and their descendants have maintained that ascendency to the present day against the efforts of the government church on the one hand, and the Romanists on the other. They did not intermarry with the Irish who surrounded them. The Scotch were Saxon in blood and Presbyterian in religion, while the Irish were Celtic in blood and Roman Catholic in religion, and these were elements that would not readily coalesce. Hence the races are as distinct in Ireland today, after a lapse of more than two hundred and fifty years, as when the Scotch first crossed over. The term Scotch-Irish is purely American. It is not used in Ireland, and here it was given to the Protestant emigrants from the north of Ireland, simply because they were the descendants of the Scots who had in former times taken up their residence there.

Subsequently, under Catholic governments, the descendants of the Scots in Ireland were bitterly persecuted, and prior to 1764 large numbers had immigrated and settled in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and North Carolina. In September, 1736, alone, one thousand families sailed from Belfast because of their inability to renew their leases upon satisfactory terms, and the most of them settled in the eastern and middle counties of Pennsylvania. They hoped, by a change of residence, to find an unrestrained field for the exercise of their industry and skill, and for the enjoyment of their religious opinions. They brought with them a hatred of oppression, and a love of freedom in its fullest measure, that served much to give that independent tone to the sentiments of the people of the province, which prevailed in their controversies with the home government years before they seriously thought of independence.

They settled the Cumberland valley and brought its fair lands under cultivation. They fought the savages and stood as a wall of fire against their further forays eastward. It is said that between 1771 and 1773 over twenty-five thousand of them, driven from the places of their birth by the rapacity of their landlords, located in that valley and to the westward. This was just before the Revolutionary War began, and while the angry controversies that preceded it were taking place between the colonists and the English government. Hence these immigrants were in just the right frame of mind needed to make them espouse, to a man, the side of the patriots. A Tory was unheard of among them. They were found as military leaders in all times of danger, and were among the most prominent law-makers, through and after the long struggle for freedom and human rights. They have furnished presidents, United States senators, congressmen, judges, and many others prominent in all stations of life. In short, the names of these patriots and wise men, as well as the names of their descendants, are familiar words, not only in Pennsylvania, but throughout the Union.

Other early settlers of Warren - the New Yorkers and New Englanders, which element, by the way, has controlled here for the last sixty years or more, - came in, by following rough roads leading westward, until the upper waters of the Allegheny were reached, and then floating, by the aid of canoes and flat-boats, their wives, children, and household goods down that stream, while their horses and cattle were being driven or led along its banks. Olean was then famous as the usual place of embarkation for a trip down the river, for thousands, even, who did not propose to stop in Warren or at any other point along the Allegheny River, but who continued on their way to more fertile lands and a milder climate in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Occasionally, however, the population of Warren county was increased by small parties who ascended the West Branch of the Susquehanna and Sinnamahoning Creek as far as navigable by canoes, and thence striking boldly across the country to the Allegheny. One of the most remarkable journeys evr made in coming to this county, by this or a similar route, has been described by Hon. Lansing Wetmore as follows:

"The favorable reports of the Allegheny country having reached the Wyoming Valley, one John Chapman started in November, 1797, on foot and alone, to come here by the ‘overland route’. He was a tall, stalwart Yankee, who was inured to the perils and hardships of the first settlers of Wyoming. He also was a God-fearing man, and he feared nothing else. He was withal a devotee of Pomona, and made it an object wherever he went to introduce the seeds of the choicest fruit, which in those days, however, did not extend beyond the common apple or pear. John, accordingly, with his other ‘fixin’s,’ with which he stored his knapsack, put in a sack of choice apple seeds; with his blanket, rifle, and tomahawk, the usual appendages of the woodsman, barefoot and alone, he started on his journey. When he arrived on the head waters of the Allegheny, one hundred miles from where he started, and about the same distance from his place of destination, a snow storm came on and continued until it fell full three feet deep on the level.

Here, he was, one hundred miles from the habitation of man, with barely provisions enough to last him through without detention, with none to direct and Providence his guide. To retreat was perilous - to advance seemed impossible, as at every step he sank above his leggins in the snow. He first cast about for something to cover and protect his bare feet. This he accomplished by tearing the skirt from his blanket coat, and sewing it together made it answer the double purpose of shoes and stockings. These, although they rendered his feet comfortable, did not enable him to proceed on his journey. The deep snow was before and around him. The same kind mother, necessity, which prompted him to invent his shoes and stockings, suggested the means to bear his ponderous weight above the deep snow. He had heard of snow-shoes, and perhaps had seen them, made of hickory bows and the sinews of the moose or deer; but these materials, he had not, and the idea of wearing snow-shoes, to one who never wore any shoes at all, was quite novel. He cut a small quantity of small beech brush or twigs, heated them in a fire until they became pliable, and commenced, to him, the most dubious and difficult task he had ever performed.

The solicitude of the Hebrew mother, while weaving the ark of bulrushes which was to bear the body of the infant Moses on the turbid waters of the Nile, could not have surpassed that of this bold adventurer; and, like her, with invocations to the living God, he twisted every tender twig together, and with a prayer did every osier weave. It was with him a matter of life or death. He was preparing the means to save him from perishing in the snow, far away from friends or home. Having finished his snow-shoes, he fastened them to his feet with the bark of the moose wood, and finding them to answer the desire4 purpose after a little practice, pursued his lonely journey through the wilderness of Potter and McKean counties, and arrived at Warren about the first of December. The following spring he selected a spot for his nursery - for that seemed to be his primary object - near White’s, on the Big Brokenstraw, and sowed his seed. The waters have long since washed away a portion of the ground, and took some of his trees to a bar below, which is still known as Apple-tree Bar. This nursery furnished the trees for most of the old orchards on the Brokenstraw. The demand for fruit trees being quite limited, and unable to obtain a livelihood by his favorite pursuit, he went to Franklin, where he established another nursery. Subsequently he removed to Indiana."

As before intimated, until the beginning of the fourth decade of this century, or a little more than fifty years ago, the inhabitants of the county were chiefly of English and Scotch-Irish origin. But a new element now began to assert itself in the body politic, in the persons of natives of Alsace, France. It seems quite appropriate that natives of France should at last become occupants and owners, in part at least, of a region which was first explored and occupied by Frenchmen; but, indeed, in personal appearance and in the spelling of their names, the Alsatians who have established themselves so strongly in Warren county seem more like Germans than French. Nevertheless, whether Germans or Frenchmen, they are good and honored citizens, and when Americanized compare favorably with those who came before them and since.

John Reheim, Jacob Escher, Martin Escher, and Francis Louis Rinck were the first Alsatians to make declaration of their intention to become citizens of this State and county, and such declarations were placed on file July 13, 1832. The next to appear were Jacob Leonhart, Jacob Lesser, Henry Sechrist, Lewis Arnett, George Strubler, Laurent Ott, and Jacob Wirt, who made similar declarations in November, 1834. These were followed during the next dozen years or more, and in the order named, by Charles Weaver, Andrew Fisher, Frederick Strubler, Philip Sechrist, Henry Reich, George Sechrist, George Trier, Henry Trier, Philip Baldensperger, Jacob Shuler, John Reicker, John Simmerly, Joseph Hauser, Adam Hannan, Samuel Grosenberg, Jacob Schmick, Philip Lesser, Lawrence Snavely, George Arnold, Mathias Leonhart, Christian Smith, Philip Trushel, William Messner, Theophilus Messner, Christian Gauder, Andrew Haas, Jacob Huntsinger, Christian Keller, Marcus Holtz, George Leonhart, Philip Leonhart, George Amann, George Zimmerlie, John Shuler, John Arnold, Christian Smith, jr., Philip Shuler, Mathias Shuler, Joseph Arird, John Reig, Martin Shaffer, John Hanhart, Martin Hartwig, Jacob Jahl, George Offerlee, Jacob Fahlman, Michael Gesselbrecht, and Jacob Offerlee, all of Alsace, France. Meanwhile Christian Gross, Henry Knoph, Paul Bunn, Michael Frietzch, and John Matthies, of Brye, Germany, besides numerous other natives of Germany, England, Scotland, and Ireland, had declared their intention of becoming citizens.

On the 18th of February, 1836, the celebrated Chief Cornplanter died at his residence at the age of about one hundred and four years. Thus after nearly half a century passed in strife and danger, bravely battling for the heritage of his people, the declining years of his eventful life were peacefully spent on the banks of his own beloved Allegheny, where at last he was laid to rest in a grave which, in accordance with his wish, was left unmarked. Notwithstanding his friendship for all missionaries and ministers of the gospel who called upon him and his people, Cornplanter was very superstitious, and whether at the time of his death he expected to go to the happy hunting ground of the Indian, or to the heaven of the Christian, is not known. "Not long before his death," said Mr. Foote, of Chautauqua county, N.Y., "he said the Good Spirit had told him not to have anything more to do with the white people, or even to preserve any mementoes or relics that had been given to him from time to time by the pale-faces; whereupon, among other things, he burned up his belt and broke his elegant sword."

Others have asserted that the reason why Cornplanter destroyed certain articles presented to him by the whites, and during the last years of his life sought to keep apart from his white neighbors as much as possible, and to discountenance all attempts to educate his descendants, arose from the fact that he had given his eldest son a good education, which he used for the basest purposes of fraud, involving often the interests of his father, who appears to have attributed all to his son’s education. The work of destroying relics, etc., was repeated more than once; and these incidents in the life of Cornplanter gave rise to a strong prejudice in his family against education, which for a time thwarted all efforts to establish and maintain schools among them.

Cornplanter’s idea of a Deity may be inferred from the following:

"The Great Spirit first made the world, and next the flying animals, and found all things good and prosperous. He is immortal and everlasting. After finishing the flying animals he came down on the earth and there stood. Then he made different kinds of trees and woods of all sorts, and people of every kind. He made the spring and other seasons, and the weather suitable for planting. These he did make. But Stills to make whiskey to give to the Indians, he did not make."

At about this time (1836 to 1840), "The Warren Mutual Insurance Company," "The Warren and New York State Line Turnpike Road Company," and other associations were incorporated by acts of the State Legislature, but all or most of them" came to nought. Among those, however, who were named as incorporators and promoters of the different enterprises, were Henry Sargent, Archibald Tanner, Obed Edson, J.D. Summerton, Francis Hook, Archibald Skinner, Hiram Gilman, George Smith, E.N. Rogers, Cornelius Masten, Jr., James O. Parmlee, Thomas Clemons, Abijah Morrison, Abraham Hazeltine, Darius Mead, John F. Davis, Thomas Struthers, Robert Miles, John King, Samuel P. Johnson, Timothy F. Parker, Robert McKinney, Andrew H. Ludlow, Gilman Merrill, Joseph W. Hackney, Aaron S. Parmlee, Robert Falconer, John Andrews, Lansing Wetmore, Milton Ford, Andrew McNett, Orrin Hook, William Culbertson, John Hackney, Jonathan Marsh, Andrew Irwin, Benjamin Marsh, Enoch Gilman, William Marsh, and Orris Hall.

The lumber business, also, was at its height during these years. In the spring time the principal streams of the county would be almost covered with rafts of manufactured lumber owned by the Meads, McKinneys, Davises, Horns, Whites, Hook, Berry, Marsh, the Morrisons, Guy C. Irvine, Rufus Weatherby, Robert Russell, Robert Miles, and others. Steamboats, likewise, navigated the Allegheny between Pittsburgh and Warren, when the rocks and shoals were covered with a sufficient depth of water; but as this could be expected only in the spring and’ fall, long intervals of an entire suspension of navigation were of yearly occurrence, and then Dunkirk, on Lake Erie, was depended upon as the place for obtaining supplies. As a result, store goods, whether obtained at Pittsburgh or Dunkirk, were marked up to exorbitant prices when exposed for sale in the then dingy little stores of Warren. By one route charges had been paid for transporting them from Philadelphia, along the line of the State canal to Hollidaysburgh, thence over the Allegheny mountains via the Portage incline railway (boats being placed on trucks and pulled by stationary engines over to Johnstown without breaking cargo) and by canal again to Pittsburgh, thence by steamboat, and frequently by pushing keel boats, were the goods finally landed at Warren. By the other route goods were shipped from New York via the Erie canal to Buffalo, then transferred to lake steamers and landed at Dunkirk, and finally hauled by wagons over roads seldom in good condition, from the latter place to Warren. It was an immaterial matter with the dealers, however, whether the goods came by the way of Dunkirk or Pittsburgh, since their esteemed customers had to pay first cost, charges in transit, and dearly for the privilege of being waited upon by such model’s of politeness and probity as characterize the average retailer everywhere. Subsequently, by the completion of the Erie Railroad, and the Genesee Canal from Rochester to Olean, many additional advantages were offered to Warren’s residents, which were fully utilized.

Truly, the men who represented the nine thousand two hundred and seventy-eight inhabitants of the county in 1840 were active, hard-working citizens and equal to the tasks imposed upon them. Large numbers of them still lived in log houses, and none yet loomed prominently above their fellows in the possession of worldly wealth.

By an act of the Legislature, passed April 16, 1845, Andrew H. Ludlow, of Warren, and John Williams and Jonathan Marsh, of McKean county, were named as a commission with authority to establish a new boundary line between the two counties. It was proposed that the new line should commence on the north and south line on the east side of tract No. 3,740 in Corydon township, McKean county, and run as near as may be, in order to make the line reasonably straight, along the back line of the river tier of tracts, so as to intersect the line dividing the said counties of Warren and McKean, within one mile of the western side of the Kinzua Creek; and the voters in that part of Corydon township which shall fall within Warren county shall hold their elections at the school house in Corydon village." Thus did part of Corydon township of McKean county, become the township of Corydon in Warren county. The line between the counties was established during the following summer and in March, 1846, the new township was organized.

From the organization of the county until the formation of the Republican party, in the fifties, the political battles had been mainly fought out between the Whigs and the Democrats; the latter being uniformly successful in contests resulting in the election of State and national officers, and usually succeeded in elevating to office their local candidates. In the election for State officers held in 1848, the Democratic candidate for governor received eleven hundred and forty-five votes, while his Whig opponent received but nine hundred and forty-seven votes; yet John F. McPherson, the Whig candidate for county register and recorder, was elected, and was the first to hold that office after it passed from the control of the prothonotary.

During the first week in March, 1849, the first telegraph line to enter the country was completed from Fredonia, N.Y., to Warren. W.P. Pew, of Ithaca, N.Y., was the leader in the enterprise, and a Mr. Risley, of Dunkirk, N.Y., the first operator. It was a poor investment for the stockholders, however, since every dollar invested was lost. The following year the line was completed through to Pittsburgh; and this was only five or six years after the electric telegraph had been first brought into use in the United States - on an experimental wire stretched from Baltimore to Washington, D.C.

In 1850 the county contained thirteen thousand, six hundred and seventy inhabitants, and its dealers in merchandise, liquors, etc. at that time were as follows: Warren borough. Orr & Henry; Summerton & Eddy, liquors; Watson & Davis; Carver & Arnett; Parmlee & Gillman; William Messner, liquors; J.D. Summerton; H. & H.G. Mair, liquors; D.M. Williams; Baker & Benson; John Honhart, liquors; Seneca Burgess, liquors; O.H. Hunter; C.W. Rathbun, liquors; Frederick Bartch; Rogers, Miles & Hodges; Gilman Merrill; Fisher & Owens, liquors. Youngsville borough: J.B. Phillips; Chauncey Smith; James S. Davis, liquors; W.F. Siggins; John Siggins; Carter V. Kinnear. Brokenstraw: William A. Irvine. Columbus. Leach & Willoughby, liquors; Jones & Hewitt; Atherly & Dewey; Milo P. Osborne; Dwight C. Eaton; D.A. Dewey. Corydon: J.S. McCall. Deerfield: William A. Irvine; Grandin & Green; Charles Brawley, liquors; M. McCullough, Jr., liquors; Daniel S. Boughton, liquors; Thomas Mullen; Warner & McGuffey; J.S. Tuthill; George B. Scott. Elk: Calvin Webb. Freehold: Lester Wright, liquors; C.D. Chandler; James L. Lott; J.C. Gifford; H.H. Gifford; E. Bordwell; B. Woodin. Pine Grove: Nelson Parker, liquors; Lane & Fisher; George Sloan. Pittsfield: Dalrymple & Mead; Gray & Mallory; George W. Lopus, liquors; James L. Acocks. Sheffield: Erastus Barnes. South West: T.V.S. Morian, liquors; Grandin & Bestman; E.G. Benedict; M.F. Benedict. Sugar Grove: Willson & Hiller; William O. Blodgett; Patterson & White. Spring Creek: Abram Woodin. Kinzua: John H. Brasington. Andrew Ruhlman, of Glade township, was then the brewer of the county.

The Whigs fought their last battle as a national party, with General Winfield Scott as their standard bearer, in 1852. They were signally defeated, and (though proud in the possession of such leaders as Webster, Clay, Seward, and others almost as prominent), under the baneful influences of pro-slavery demagogues, the party which had polled 1,386,578 votes for its last presidential candidate, in fact several thousands more than were sufficient to elect General Taylor four years earlier, soon after melted away as completely and noiselessly as the last snows of winter under a vernal sun. Hence here in Warren, as well as elsewhere throughout the land, matters political were in a state of chaos for two or three years.

About 1854 the secret political organization known as the "Know Nothing," or "American," party sprang into existence, and ‘for a year or two made things exceedingly lively in many localities. Thousands of disbanded Whigs joined its ranks, besides many native born Democrats, who were pleased with the legends, "Put none but Americans on guard," and "To Americans belong America." Warren county, which has ever kept abreast of the times in all movements both good and reprehensible, also had its lodges of political knights, and, if no great deeds were performed, the members at least were afforded an infinite amount of amusement in the endeavor to meet in secret council without being observed in going to and returning from their rooms. They were victorious in both county and State during that year. But such a party could not hope for success. In its short-lived struggle against slavery-upholding Democracy, the foreign born voters espoused the cause of the latter to a man, for the reason that The American party made it part of their creed that hereafter foreign-born residents should reside in this country for a period of twenty-one years before being entitled to the rights of suffrage. As a result the Democratic party managers, having gathered in all the foreign born element (particularly the Irish Romanists), the pro-slavery Whigs of the South, and always feeling sure of the support of what was then termed "Northern Dough-faces," felt stronger than ever before.

The arrogant slaveholders and their obsequious Northern allies were now in absolute control of the general government. By threats or cajolery they had induced one Northern president to sign the "Fugitive Slave Bill," and Pierce, another Northern, man, was but a pliant tool in their hands. The Southerners held slaves as property, yet they demanded and were conceded congressional representation on such property, though at the same time denying to Northern men the same privileges, i.e., property representation. They were peaceably permitted to visit all points in the Northern States, to swagger on the proceeds of slave labor (or worse, with money obtained by the sale of black men and women, as cattle are sold to the highest bidder), and to boast of their superiority over Northern freemen. Yet, if one of the latter in visiting the slave States dared to speak not approvingly of their blessed slave institutions, he was either killed outright, lynched by hanging, or warned to leave within a very limited space of time. It was further demanded by them, the slave owners, that Kansas Territory, and all other territory to the west and southward of it, should be set apart and declared to be for the uses of slave-holders. Indeed the Mexican War was fomented and waged for the sole purpose of increasing the area of slave dominion. However, Jeff. Davis and other Southern leaders at last demanded too much. A spirit of revulsion rapidly assumed form and expression in the free States, and the organization of the Republican party, a combination that was soon to sweep them off their feet, was the result.

This mention of the arch traitor’s name reminds us of an incident in his career, which, since it has so often been denied by men of the South and their ready apologists in the North, that the Southerners were the aggressors in bringing on the late war, will be referred to here, though in doing so we depart for a moment from the chronological system of noting events which has thus far been closely followed. We quote from an article which was published in the Louisville (Ky.) Journal in the spring of 1850.

"There are two Mexican War gentlemen in the United States Senate, namely: Davis, of Mississippi, and Clemens, of Alabama. They are both mad as March hares on the subject of slavery. Clemens vowed the other day in one of his extraordinary speeches that the Union is already dissolved. That being the case, why does not the chap stop his unmusical yelpings and go home. His military rival, Davis, does not think that the Union is quite dissolved yet, but he is laboring hard to bring about that delightful catastrophe.

"If the Union is dissolved, there will be a terrible contest between these warriors for the presidency of the Southern Republic. Whether Jeff. will get the heels of Jerry, or Jerry of Jeff., there is no foreseeing. If these heroes are as light of heel as they are of head, their race will certainly be interesting."

These were prophetic words on the part of the gifted Prentice, though intended at the time only as a bit of sarcasm. Davis did become the chief of several Southern States in rebellion. His subsequent despicable career is well known of all men. He yet survives; an inscrutable Providence still permitting him to cumber the earth, and to breathe the pure air of a republic he did his utmost to destroy. Clemens, though dead for many years, lived long enough to witness the ravages of civil war at his own door. To see the victorious soldiery of the great Northwest drive the much vaunted Southern chivalry through and out of his own town. He was a resident of the pretty little town of Huntsville, Ala., and there, in front of his residence, just at twilight of a day early in September, 1863, the writer met and conversed with him. White-haired, and apparently debilitated, nervous and irritable, the once fiery Clemens bitterly inveighed against all men, both North and South, who as leaders had brought on the war, and he declared that the child was not then born who would live to see peace again existing between the two sections. As will be seen, Clemens was a poor prophet as well as one of a class of men who are always active in fomenting strife; but when it comes to blows, seek safe quarters. We were blessed, or cursed rather, with too many of the same kind in the North during the late war; men who were very conspicuous in newspaper offices, and on the platform; who were always ready to serve their dear country in safe, well-paying public offices; who could repeat and re-echo Greeley’s senseless cry of "On to Richmond"; who could plan military campaigns, and were ever ready to traduce the fame of hitherto successful military leaders, because they had failed somewhat in their last battle, but who took the best of care not to expose their own precious persons to the bullets of an enemy.

As before mentioned, the Republican party was organized to oppose the further extension of slave territory, and to meet half way the arrogant and ever-increasing demands of the slave owners. It had, as a nucleus, those who had voted for Birney in 1840 and 1844; for Van Buren in 1848, and for Hale, in 1852. To these were added great numbers of Northern Old Line Whigs who could not endorse the restrictive dogmas of the American party, and would not affiliate with their ancient enemy, the Democratic party. Many who had heretofore regularly voted for Democratic candidates also joined in the movement. The result was surprising, even to its most sanguine supporters, for the new party proved to be a giant at birth. The Republicans of Warren county nominated their first candidates in 1855, and succeeded in electing a member of Assembly. In 1856 they obtained the ascendency by a decided majority (Cherry Grove’s twenty votes all being counted for Fremont and Dayton), and since have steadily maintained the advantage down to the present time.

The school-houses in the county in 1857 numbered one hundred and thirty-seven, of which one hundred and fourteen were frame buildings, twenty-two "were built of logs, and one (in the town of Warren) of brick.

In 1858 considerable activity was displayed by people, chiefly residents of Titusville, to the end that a new county be erected, to be known as "Marion," from parts of Warren, Crawford, and Erie counties. But the ambitious aspirants for the honor of being credited as dwellers of a shire town met with but little substantial encouragement, and the scheme was for a time abandoned.

The following year the name of Colonel E.L. Drake was heralded throughout the land as the discoverer of extensive deposits of petroleum, deep below the earth’s surface near Titusville. Intense interest concerning this development at once became manifest in the town of Warren, and a number of its leading citizens, including Archibald Tanner, L.F. Watson, Boon Mead, and D.M. Williams, as well as Henry R. Rouse & Co., and Dennis & Grandin, of the southern part of the county, soon after engaged in further explorations near Titusville, which proved to be, as then considered, eminently successful.

During December of the same year (1859) the Sunbury and Erie Railroad was completed from Erie to Warren, and the grand event was gloriously celebrated with great noise, a little pomp and parade, and much feasting and drinking. The county commissioners in 1852, duly authorized by the people, had subscribed to the capital stock of this corporation one hundred and fifty thousand dollars (only forty thousand dollars of which, however, was ever paid in), and the borough of Warren thirty thousand dollars, provided that the road be built through the county.

Early in 1860 the Tidioute oil field was opened, and so numerous, eager, and energetic were the operators, that in July of that year more than sixty wells were being drilled at the same time. A perfect furor raged for a while. Squatter claimants took possession of sand-bars in the river, while others of the same class essayed to drill for the greasy product from floats and rafts anchored in mid-stream.

At the election held in the fall of that year the electors representing the candidacy of Lincoln and Hamlin received twelve hundred majority in the county. Indeed the Republicans obtained a decided majority in every township and borough except Pleasant, which gave the Democratic ticket a majority of fifteen.

SOURCE: Page(s) 149-161, History of Warren County, J.S. Schenck & W.S. Rann, Syracuse, New York: D. Mason, 1887