History of Warren County, Chapter 37

CHAPTER XXXVII

HISTORY OF DEERFIELD TOWNSHIP*

 

DEERFIELD township was organized by the Court of Warren county on the 8th day of March, 1821, and first called "Number Eleven." The whole township was then a vast wilderness, very little land having been cleared. A few venturous pioneers had wandered this far into the wilderness and taken up claims along the river years before. The Allegheny River, winding in and out among the hills, divided the township as it was then into about equal parts. The Allegheny has always been noted for its beauty, but it was far more beautiful at that early day, with the great forests still growing in their natural state from the hilltops down to the river’s brink, than it is now, with most of the forests cut away, and many refineries scattered along its banks, giving it a continuous coating of filth. The river was narrower and deeper than it is now, and full of fish. It never became so high in the spring and fall, nor did it become so low in the summer, as it does now. The vast forests along the river and its tributaries protected it from sudden rise, and prolonged the flow of the springs in the dry seasons. The river banks were also kept from washing away by the growing timber. The river was the main thoroughfare for travel and the transportation of burdens - in the summer by means of the canoe, and in the winter by means of the ice. Driving on the ice at this early period was much more common than it is now. Nearly every winter the river afforded a splendid road-bed from Franklin to Deerfield and Warren, and it was utilized by the few travelers of that day; for there was no other road that would compare with it. There was a rough road cut through from Deerfield northward to Brokenstraw, and from Deerfield southward to Franklin, but it was hardly more than a trail. Along this road or trail, which left the river valley at Deerfield and went over the hills, a distance of thirty-three miles, to Franklin, there were only four or five families scattered along the whole distance. The following are about all the families that lived at that time along this road from Deerfield to Franklin: William Neal, Henry McCalmont, and Mr. Renn. Could we look back at Deerfield township as it was then, we would certainly consider it well named; for deer were in abundance here, and all kinds of game peculiar to this climate and region held undisputed sway over about the whole township.

In 1821, when the township was organized, those settled here were a sturdy class of men and women, honest, and, of necessity, hard working. They came in here with their families and came to stay; for it was too difficult a matter to move, to get away easily. But their wants were simple, and, with an inexhaustible fund of contentedness, that stands in contrast to the nervous and restless spirit of the present day, they were happy. Their log cabins were scattered along the river valley, a mile or so apart; they were all on an equality, and so there was a oneness in life’s burdens and pleasures. There were living in Deerfield, when the township was organized, Thomas Arters, Samuel McGuire, Michael Gorman, sr., Charles Smith, John Thompson, Caleb Richardson, Arthur Magill, sr., Robert Hunter, sr., and some others. Brief sketches of the early history of these old pioneers will be found below. They, and those who came during the next ten years, deserve the honor and credit of first opening and settling this part of the Allegheny valley, which years later was the scene of the greatest activity. They felled the trees, built their log cabins, tilled their little clearings in summer, and in winter put in a few logs, which in early spring were run to Pittsburgh, and with the proceeds thereof they purchased the necessary articles of food and clothing which they could not raise or make. This merchandise was not shipped home by means of the express train which now rolls every few hours from Pittsburgh up the valley, but was placed in a canoe and towed or poled the whole distance, one hundred and fifty miles. The canoe soon gave way to the keel-boat, and years later the steamboat took up the task and conveyed the merchandise part way up the river, and often all the way.

Deerfield township was well timbered. Pine and hemlock in enormous quantities covered nearly every valley and ridge. At first the lumbering consisted in felling trees and cutting them into logs, and in splitting lath. The choice pine tree was selected for lath, cut by hand four feet long, and packed in bunches of one hundred each. This lumber was placed on the river to await the spring freshet.

In 1826 William Kinnear, sr., built the first saw-mill in Deerfield township. It was run by water power. Later other mills were erected, and soon the class of lumber changed to boards and shingles.

In 1829 all that part of Deerfield township lying on the east side of the Allegheny River was organized into a separate township called Limestone. This took away fully half of Deerfield’s fine forests, but still there were remaining broad tracts of fine timber, far more than the inhabitants of that day could handle with their upright saws and water-power saw-mills. There is, in fact, at the present day, some pine and a large quantity of hemlock remaining in Deerfield, and lumbering is still an important factor in the business of our township.

In early years piloting rafts down the river to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati became quite a trade, and many of the early settlers of Deerfield became expert pilots.

About the year 1818 the first school in the township was held in a log house belonging to John Thompson, situated about two miles above the mouth of Tidioute Creek. John Elder and a Mr. Smith taught here at different times. In 1824 John Elder kept school in a log house near McGuire Run, and from that time there was school nearly every winter in some place in the township. In 1832 a building, standing in upper Tidioute, used for holding elections, was used for school purposes. In 1849 the first school-house in Deerfield was built. This was a framed building, and was supported by subscriptions. This school was located on the east side of McGuire Run. Another framed school-house was erected in 1851 near Tidioute Creek. In 1867 a two-story building containing four rooms was erected near the central part of the borough, and the school thoroughly graded. In 1877 two large rooms were added to the building, and since that time an addition of five or six rooms has been made, several new lots added to the grounds, and a complete steam heating system placed in the building, making the school building second to none in this part of the State as regards convenience. These additions were made under the direction of H.H. Cumings. A.W. Couse, John Hunter, J.L. Grandin, M. Ross, and W.W. Hague, school directors. When the repairs were finished, and the school buildings in proper shape, there was a bonded debt upon the school of $5,000. This debt was canceled by Mr. Samuel Grandin, who drew his check for the whole amount and gave the same to the borough of Tidioute. An industrial school building and other property have been added to the school possessions through other benefactors residing in the borough of Tidioute.

The first post-office in Deerfield was opened in 1828 and kept by Samuel Parshall at his residence. It was called Deerfield Post-office. G.W. Turner was second postmaster. The first store in the township was opened in 1832 by Joshua Turner and son. It was a general store, for furnishing provisions and dry goods. The first framed house was erected in Deerfield township in the year 1824; it is the same house, with the exception of frequent repairs, that is now the property of L.D. Galligan. The first grist-mill was erected by Michael Gorman, sr.

Religious services were held occasionally at different houses, whenever a wandering itinerant chanced along. There were no regular services held here until years after the township was organized. The framed house of Thomas Arters was used after its erection for nearly all religious meetings.

The following is a list of the ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church who have labored along this part of the Allegheny valley since the formation of Deerfield township, and their respective years of labor:

Ira Eddy, Charles Elliot, 1820; Z. Paddock, 1821; Josiah Keyes, 1822; S. Gary, 1823; Robt. C. Hatton, 1825; John W. Hill, 1825; I.H. Tackitt, 1826; John Leach, J.H. Tackitt, 1826; Job Wilson, W.R. Babcock, 1828; N. Callender, A. Callander, 1829; A. Callander, A. Plimpton, 1830; A. Young, B. Preston, 1831; H. Kingsley, J.E. Lee, 1832; D. Richey, S.W. Ingraham, 1833; Jacob Jenks, 1834; J. Robinson, D. Richey, 1835; H. Luce, 1836; J.O. Rich, W. Todd, 1837; V. Lake, 1838; J.E. Chapin, D. Rolland, 1839; D. Rolland, 1840; John Scott, C.R. Chapman, 1841; E. Bull, 1842; A.P. Brown, 1843; D. Pritchard, 1844; J.W. Wilson, 1845; J.W. Wilson, M. Himeburgh, 1846; M. Himeburgh, A. Barnes, 1847; A. Barnes, J.B. Hammond, 1848.

The first Methodist society was organized in Deerfield about the year 1826. Joseph Lindsey, Susan Middleton, and Dorcas Hunter, members of that early day, are still members of the church militant, awaiting the time when they shall be relieved from their long service, and called to the church triumphant.

The first church in the township was a Presbyterian Church, built of logs, about the year 1828, and situated near the old Tidioute cemetery, one-half acre having been donated for a church and one-half for a public cemetery, by Alex. McCalmont. The first Presbyterian minister was the Rev. Mr. Chase; Thomas McGee and Joseph McCauley were deacons. Rev. Chase was followed by the Rev. Mr. Hamson. The Presbyterians built a new church on the above-mentioned lot about the year 1841, which was afterwards sold and the present church built in 1867.

The following is a list of the Presbyterian ministers who have labored in Tidioute since 1867:

D.M. Rankin, J.J. Marks, D.D., 1867; W.B. Cullis, 1868; A.B. Lomes, 1869; J.H. Edwards, 1871; W.L. Findley, 1873; Theodore Crowl, 1874; L.M. Gilliland, 1877; J.C. Olliver, 1885.

The first M.E. Church was built about the year 1836, where the Grandin brick block now stands. This church was sold in 1854 to Samuel Grandin, and a new one built in the eastern part of Tidioute. This edifice was sold to the Lutherans in 1872, and a new one built where the present church now stands; this church was burned in the fall of 1872, before its completion. The present brick structure was commenced in the spring of 1873, and dedicated in September, 1874.

The following named M.E. ministers were appointed to labor in Tidioute the years opposite their respective names:

T.G. McCreary, 1849-50; J.T. Boyle, P. Burroughs, 1851; J. Wrigglesworth, 1852; S. Hollen, 1853; J. Gilfillen, J.B. Hammond, 1854; J. Gilfillen, 1855; James Gillmore, Edwin Hall, 1856; M. Colegrove, 1857; G.F. Reeser, W.W. Warner, 1858-59; J.K. Mendenhall, 1860; W. Hayes, J.F. Stocker, 1861; N.W. Jones, J.F. Stocker, 1862; John Crum, Z.W. Shadduck, 1863; A.H. Domer, 1864; D. Smith, 1865-66; W. Sampson, 1867-68; E.A. Squier, 1869-70; W.H. Mossman, 1871-72; Francis Brown, 1873-74; A.J. Merchant, 1875-76; J.M. Bray, 1877-79; M. Martin, 1880-82; W.P. Graham, 1883; S.H. Prather, 1884-85; D.S. Steadman, 1886.

The Universalist Church was erected in 1868. Rev. S.J. Dickson was the first pastor.

The Episcopal society erected their present structure in 1872, and called Rev. G.W. Dunbar to the pulpit.

The Catholic Church was built in 1866. A school building was erected by and under the charge of the Catholic society in the year 1875.

Biographical. - Arters, Thomas, was born of English parentage in 1787. He came with his father, Richard Arters, from Lewistown, Pa., in the year 1806, and settled at the mouth of Tidioute Creek, on the Allegheny River, on a tract of land containing four hundred acres, surveyed by John Spangler. He afterwards received one hundred acres of said tract for making a settlement thereon, from Alexander McCalmont, who was their agent for eastern parties.

Thomas Arters also had a claim of four hundred acres of land on the south side of the river, on tract number 5278, now in Limestone township. He built the first framed house in Deerfield, in 1824. The house, having been often repaired, is still standing in the central part of the borough, and is the property of L.D. Galligan.

Of his family of nine children, one, Jackson Arters, was killed while in the army, in the battle before Fredericksburg. All the rest are still living, and four of his children - W.M., Mary, Washington, and Thomas - are still living in Tidioute and vicinity.

To Thomas Arters is given the credit of having made the first permanent settlement in this part of Warren county. He died at his home in Tidioute in 1858, and his wife survived him until 1869.

McGuire, Samuel, of Irish descent, was born in Huntington county, Pa., in 1788. In 1808 he came to Deerfield and settled on the John Keller tract, of which he owned two hundred and fifty acres. His land joined Thomas Arters’s land on the east. He was married the same year, to Charity Gilson, and made his permanent home on this tract. They had a family of ten children born unto them, all of whom grew to be men and women, and were all married. Father McGuire died in the year 1865, at the age of seventy-seven years, and Mother McGuire survived him until 1869. Of their family five have passed away. Those still living are Elsie, born in 1810, and married to John Parshall; Patience; McCray, born in 1820; William, born in 1822, married Mary Stuart, and still lives in the borough of Tidioute; and Charity, born in 1827, married Henry Lott, and still resides in Tidioute.

Parshall, Samuel, of English descent, came to Deerfield in the year 1824 and settled on a claim of three hundred acres, at the mouth of Gordon Run. Mr. Parshall was born in 1781, and came originally from Massachusetts to Trumbull county, Ohio, where he married Elizabeth Goutcher in 1806, and lived there for some years before he removed to Deerfield. He kept the first post-office in the township, and the first elections were held at his place. They had a family of eight children. All grew to maturity, and married. Many of them are still living in this vicinity, while their children and grandchildren are many. Samuel Parshall died in the year 1839; his wife, born in 1783, died in 1865. Six of their children still survive. John Parshall, born in 1809, married Elsie McGuire, and raised a family of nine children. He now lives in Crawford county, Pa. Eliza Parshall, born in 1812, married Robert Henry. She still lives in Tidioute, Pa. Nancy Parshall, born in 1817, married Joseph Richardson. She now resides in McKean county, this State, with her daughter. Samuel Parshall, born in 1814, married Lucy Henderson. They now live in Venango county, Pa. Jennette Parshall, born in 1822, married James Kinnear, and they still reside in Tidioute. James Parshall, born in 1827, married Henrietta Shugert, and now lives in Titusville.

Gorman, sr., Michael, of Irish descent, was born in 1761, and came from Center county, Pa., to Deerfield, in the year 1818. He settled three miles west of Tidioute, where he claimed four hundred acres of land and made a permanent settlement. He built the first grist-mill in Deerfield township and in this part of Warren county. He married Sarah Gilson, and they had thirteen children. He died in the year 1859, and left three sons living: Michael Gorman, jr., lives in Ohio; J. Benjamin Gorman lives in Tidioute; and Peter Gorman lives on the old homestead.

Smith, sr., Charles, of Irish descent, came to Deerfield in 1807 and settled five miles northeast of Tidioute, on the Allegheny River, where he made his home. He had five children: James Smith, Peter Smith, Charles Smith, Nancy (Smith) Magee, and Luke Smith, all now deceased.

Smith, James, eldest son of Charles Smith, sr., was born in 1800, and came to Deerfield with his father in 1807. He married Margaret Magee, and passed most of his life in Deerfield as a farmer. During the first oil excitement he sold his possessions here and went West, where he died in 1884. His children still live in Deerfield and vicinity.

Smith, Peter, second son of Charles Smith, sr., was born in 1802. His whole life was passed in Deerfield and vicinity. He became a man of considerable importance, and had good business ability; was in early days a successful lumberman. He married Matilda McGuire, and they had three children - Hugh, John, and Nancy - who are all still living.

Thompson, John, moved to Deerfield about the year 1817 and settled two miles east of Tidioute, on the Allegheny River, where he cleared his farm and made his permanent home. He kept the first tavern in Deerfield, and became quite well off for those days. He had three children. His death took place about the year 1830.

Courson, Anthony, was born in Center county, Pa., in 1788, and came to Deerfield with his family of seven children in 1825. He settled upon four hundred acres of land fronting upon the Allegheny River. Here he kept a tavern for many years, affording the weary raftman returning on foot from Pittsburgh a shelter. He was a lumberman and farmer. He married Elizabeth Gates and they had a family of nine children, some of them still living in Tidioute and vicinity. His children are: Nancy Courson married John Hazeltine and is now deceased; Margaret married D.N. Richardson and now lives in the West; Sarah married Charles Magill and is now living in the West; Jane married Arthur Magill and is still living in Tidioute; Hannah married William Church and resides in the West; Benjamin Courson married Elizabeth Morrison, now deceased; his widow and children still live in Tidioute; Samuel Courson married Rachael Thompson and lives in Wisconsin; John Courson married Martha Brown and is still living in Tidioute. In 1842 Father Courson lost his wife, and after disposing of his farm he moved west, where he died in 1883. His remains were brought east and interred in the cemetery in Tidioute. A portion of the borough of Tidioute is now located on part of Anthony Courson’s farm.

Kinnear, William, was born in the northern part of Ireland in 1783. He came with his father and mother, Alexander Kinnear and Jane (Ganley) Kinnear, to America in 1790. They were descendants of Huguenots. William Kinnear married Rebecca McElvain in the year 1806, and moved from Center county, where his father had settled, to Venango county, in 1819. He bought a tract of two hundred acres of land at the mouth of Oil Creek, of Cornplanter, chief of the Seneca Indians. Here he cleared about thirty-five acres of land, where the business part of Oil City is located, and ten acres on Cottage Hill, as it is now called. He also erected a furnace at this place. In 1826 he sold his property in Venango county and moved to Warren county, settling in Deerfield township at the mouth of Tidioute Creek. Here he purchased two hundred acres of the John Spangler tract of Alex. McCalmont, agent. This purchase included the Tidioute Creek for about one mile from its mouth. On this creek he erected a saw-mill in 1827, the first one in Deerfield township. He had a family of seven children. Father Kinnear died in the year 1851, and Mother Kinnear survived him two years.

Roup, Christian, was born in 1809 and came to Deerfield with his father in 1829. In 1833 he married Rebecca Richardson, and they have had a family of six children born to them; some of them now live in the Far West. He held the position of justice of the peace for many years, and he and his wife still reside in Tidioute.

James Magill, the eldest son of Arthur Magill, was born in 1804 and came to Deerfield with his father in 1812. He was the first constable in Deerfield township, and held the position of justice of the peace for many years. He married Rhoda Parshall and had a family of eight children. The mother and four of the children are now deceased. James Magill resides with his daughter in Tidioute. Of his family now living are Elizabeth (Magill) Walker, Irvin Magill, James Magill, and William Magill.

William Magill, third son of Arthur Magill, was born in 1810, and was married to Margaret Hartnes in 1835. They have no children. He was a farmer and a lumberman, and still lives in Tidioute, but has long since retired from business.

Magill, Arthur, was born in Deerfield in 1816; he married Jane Courson and had a family of nine children. He settled on a part of the Anthony Courson tract. He was a local preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church; was constable of Deerfield for some years, and was commissioner of Warren county for 1857 and 1860. He was a farmer and a man of the strictest integrity. He died in 1862. His widow and four of his children reside in Tidioute.

Magee, Samuel, the oldest son of James Magee, sr., settled four miles up the river from Tidioute, at the mouth of Magee Run, about the year 1821. He married Anna Allender, and they had a family of eight children born unto them. He was the first justice of the peace in Deerfield township. Two of his sons, Joseph Magee and Perry Magee, were prominent men in their day, but have passed away.

Morrison, R.H., esq., a son of Thomas Morrison, was born in 1821. He was elected justice of the peace in 1858, and has been continued in that position ever since. He has resided in the borough of Tidioute since its organization, and has been one of its prominent and influential citizens. He has a family of four children and still resides in Tidioute.

The Oil Development. - In the year 1860 Deerfield township and the whole western part of Warren county underwent a great change. The little village of Tidioute, nestling quietly among the hills, was transformed suddenly to a booming oil town of thousands of inhabitants. Years before oil had been noticed in different springs in this locality, and had been gathered by the use of blankets. It was used for many purposes and was considered a good remedy for many diseases. The success of Mr. Drake on Oil Creek encouraged Henry Dennis and J.L. Grandin to commence a well in 1859, on the Gordon Run, near a spring where oil had been gathered. This, for some reason, proved a failure. The next year King & Ferris started a well below the mouth of Gordon Run, on the bank of the river. This was a success, and oil in abundance was found. How to save it was then a great question to be solved; barrels were in demand, but a sufficient number could not be had. Coopers were brought in and set to work; but for immediate use a tank was proposed and built in the form of a rectangle, 16 by 24 feet, and eight feet high. The success of this and other wells brought people and prospectors by the score to our township. There was no available railroad for shipping the oil at that time, as neither the Sunbury and Erie nor the Oil Creek and Allegheny Valley Railroads were then completed, and the only outlet was the river. Boats of all kinds were immediately pressed into service, and many barges of all descriptions built for the purpose. They were towed up stream by horses, and after being loaded with oil were floated to Pittsburgh. The river was alive with these craft. About this time Captain Amasa Dingley built a steamboat to run on the river between Oil City and Warren, and applied to the Legislature of Pennsylvania for the exclusive right to navigate the Allegheny River between these two points. This was defeated, much to the relief of the inhabitants of this section of the country.

Organization of the Borough. - In 1862 the borough of Tidioute was organized, and on the 27th day of June of that year the first election under the new charter was held. The following were the officers elected: Burgess, Luther Green; council, Samuel Culbertson, W.S. Cohill, Thomas Goodwin, R. Christy, and J. Hunter. Isaac Scott was appointed clerk; constable, R. Magill.

At this time the inhabitants of the town were doubling and trebling in number every year, houses and shanties sprang up as if by magic, and still there were not accommodations for the incoming throng. All classes of men, from the speculator and honest workman to the blackleg and knave, came with this great rush. The prices of lands in various parts of the township became fabulous. Speculation in real estate became at once a great business. Lands were bought or contracted for, stock companies formed for operating and controlling the same, and the stock sold in many of the eastern cities, chiefly New York. The throng of all classes became so great that it soon became necessary to have a change in the municipal control. The government necessary for the quiet village of Tidioute would not answer for the booming oil town. In response to a call of the citizens, a small hall was crowded; many men of rank and ability were present, and after the object of the meeting was stated by one of the old citizens, a judge from Buffalo was elected chairman. A police force was appointed at this meeting and two hundred dollars raised for the purpose of erecting a lock-up. Within three days the lock-up was built, and in less time it was filled with the worst kind of roughs. Some of the prisoners, being assisted by parties without, escaped, and it was found necessary to guard the lock-up day and night. Different citizens were detailed for this duty, and they paced their beats as regularly and faithfully as a sentinel upon an advanced picket line. The parties arrested were tried and fined according as they deserved. By this means good order was soon restored in Tidioute, and has been maintained ever since.

At this time Babylon and Triumph, oil towns adjacent to Tidioute in Deerfield, appeared and flourished as business centers for a while; but as the oil was exhausted in their vicinity their prosperity faded out. Babylon, at one time mighty in sin and debauchery, has long since fallen. Triumph clung to life longer than the average oil town on account of the quality of the oil-bearing rock of this section, which has not been excelled in any part of the oil regions. The rock here was often found seventy-five and one hundred feet thick, and it has proved the longest-lived oil territory yet discovered. Many wells in this locality are still yielding a small production.

A little later Fagundus loomed up in the extreme southern part of Deerfield township. A small but rich yielding territory was found here, and Fagundus became for a while a flourishing banking town; but it has met the sad fate of other similar oil towns, and there remains now only a relic of what there once was.

All these towns were tributary to Tidioute, and their prosperity only added vigor to its flourishing business of that day.

Several daily and weekly papers sprang into existence at this time in Tidioute. The Morning Journal and the Evening Commercial both had their day and death. The Weekly News, ably edited by Charles E. White, is the only publication now issued in the borough. Mr. White is not surpassed in this part of the State in neatness and dispatch of job work.

The Oil Creek and Allegheny River Railroad was laid through Tidioute in 1866, and was completed in 1867. The first bank in our borough was under the title of Wadsworth, Baum & Co., afterwards changed to Grandin & Baum, and at present Grandin Bros. The Tidioute Savings Bank and the People’s Savings Bank were started in 1872; the latter was closed some years ago.

The present water system was commenced by Luther Green in 1872. In December of the same year a stock company was formed, which purchased the works and completed them. Since that time a supply pipe has been laid four miles up Tidioute Creek, which secures pure spring water and a natural flow into the reservoir.

The Tidioute and Economy bridge across the Allegheny River was built in 1873, and the same year the gas works were completed.*

The early history of Deerfield having been so fully and thoroughly written by Mr. Kinnear, little is left to write but such mention of the present business and professional interests as is customary in works of this nature. Deerfield township, as now constituted, is of irregular formation, having no fewer than eight or ten sides, and is bounded north by the townships of Pittsfield and Brokenstraw, east by Allegheny River, separating it from Pleasant, Watson, and Limestone, south by Allegheny River and Triumph, and west by Triumph, Eldred, and Pittsfield. The beginnings of settlement within the limits of the present borough of Tidioute date very early in the century, as has well been shown. About the year 1825 the settlers within these limits, on the north side of the river, were about as follows: Beginning in the extreme western part of the borough, and partly outside of the line, was the place owned and occupied by Samuel Parshall. Next east of him was William Kinnear (1826); Thomas Arters was his adjoining neighbor on the east, the territorial succession eastward being Samuel Hunter, Anthony Courson, and no others that have not received mention.

The history of this township would be indeed incomplete without some mention of one who has done more, probably, than any other one person for the upbuilding and prosperity of Tidioute, viz., Samuel Grandin. A more detailed sketch of Mr. Grandin appears in later pages. As will be seen by reference to that sketch, he came to Tidioute from Pleasantville, Venango county, in 1840, and began dealing in general merchandise and trading extensively in lumber. This business he continued on an ever-increasing scale until his practical retirement from business, about 1860. His present residence he built in 1867. He has ever had the welfare of Tidioute at heart, and has never been tardy in extending his aid and influence for the furthering and success of any project looking to its material or moral advancement. He is deservedly an honored man. His sons have displayed the sagacity and public spirit which might, in the circumstances, have been expected, and have wielded, and do still wield, an influence in affairs which extends far beyond the borders of this township, or county, or State. The banking firm of which they are the members was formed in 1870, and the large brick block which they now occupy was built in 1872. As to their other interests, and their general reputation, no better idea can be gained than by a perusal of the following extract from one of the leading newspapers of the day:

"The proneness, as it were, of the oil people as a rule for the concentration of capital in single industrial lines is proverbial. This mode of procedure is, in some instances, attended with the most gratifying results; and again it is followed by consequences most disastrous to the investor. There are exceptions, however, to every rule; among this class may be cited the firm of Grandin Brothers. Everything undertaken by the Grandins is gone about in the most practical and matter-of-fact way, and about everything they take a hand in turns into money. Their one thousand and one successful oil ventures is a matter of public information in this region, where the gentlemen are widely known and uniformly respected, and a reiteration of the same here and now would only be to dispense stale news. The Grandin boys have been called lucky, and their luck has been extolled far and wide, while the truth of the matter is, there never has, perhaps, been a business firm in this or any country that depended so little on the deceptive tyrant luck. They have made what the world would call unlucky investments, but by the exercise of good horse sense or shrewd business judgment, as you will, they seldom make large losings. In 1873 the Jay Cook failure cost the firm $93,000; in the final settlement with Cook they accepted Northern Pacific Land scrip for their claim, in lieu of Cook’s personal acceptances. This gave them 38,000 acres of land. Being practical men, they set about it at once to develop the soil. In due course they had a wheat production and the annual clean up, showing a handsome profit; other land purchases followed, and now the boys find themselves in possession of a little garden patch of 86,000 acres of the best wheat lands on the American continent. This small farm has been split up in two smaller farms of unequal proportions. In the Grandin farm there are 38,000 acres, and 26,000 in the Mayville farm. The wheat production of this year for both farms was 315,000 bushels. The Grandin farm produced 215,000 bushels, the balance belongs to the Mayville farm. There is about 18,000 acres under cultivation, leaving 68,000 acres of virgin territory in which the plowshare has never trespassed. The Grandins have their own line of elevators, and a steamer on the Red River, and by means of their own traffic-arrangements deliver their wheat in Duluth. This comes pretty nearly managing one’s own business. Each farm is managed by a superintendent and financial agent. During the harvest season they find employment for 400 men and 350 mules. Their Mayville farm is operated more for stock-breeding purposes than agriculture. For several years past the profits in wheat production has been greater than oil; when oil is depressed the Grandins turn their attention to wheat, and vice versa. There has not been a year in the past ten when their Dakota farms’ products did not pay a sum equivalent to the $93,000 supposed to have sunk in the Jay Cook collapse. All this shows what pluck and enterprise will do for those who are wise enough not to carry their eggs in one basket."

Present Mercantile Interests. - Of the merchants now in trade in Tidioute, W.D. Bucklin is of the longest standing, as he dates his arrival here in the year 1861. James L. Acomb started his drug store here in 1866, at which time he came from Pithole. His stock is valued at about $2,500. A. Dunn opened a grocery store in Tidioute in 1866, and in the fall of 1886 he put in an additional stock of clothing, and boots and shoes. He carries about $10,000 in stock at his store, besides stock in flour and feed at his grist-mill, worth on an average about $2,000. W.R. Dawson has kept a variety store in this place something more than twenty years. He has been postmaster since January 5, 1886. The jewelry store of Henry Ewald was opened here by the present proprietor in 1867. The store of C. Kemble & Son (William W. Kemble), containing a full stock of drugs, artists’ materials, paints, oils, wall paper, etc., and a general line of holiday goods in season, was first opened by the senior member of the present firm in 1871. The firm was formed in 1878. J.O. Strong has carried a good stock of stoves and hardware in Tidioute for more than fourteen years. The dry goods and general store of John Siggins was started here by the present owner about fourteen years ago. At that time Mr. Siggins came from East Hickory, where he had been in business since 1864. He now carries stock valued at about $15,000. D.M. McCall, dealer in all kinds of furniture, picture frames, pianos, organs, etc., and undertaker, has been in business in this place since February, 1876. He then came from Crawford county, where he had been engaged in the furniture trade since 1857. R. Chaffey, the grocer, who carries stock worth some $2,500, started in Tidioute in 1877, and first occupied his present corner in 1881. H.F. Head, merchant tailor, has been here more than five years. E.A. Culver, dealer in groceries, provisions, etc., established his present trade about three years ago. The store of C.P. Bucklin, dealer in dry goods, boots and shoes, etc., was opened many years ago by Maybie & Hunter, who were succeeded by the present owner in 1883. His stock is valued at about $10,000. J.A. Ulf, merchant tailor, began here on the 1st of January, 1884. The dry goods and clothing dealers, Hopkins & Co., conduct a business established in April, 1885, by H.J. Hopkins and J.H. Lockwood. Their stock is now valued at about $12,000. The harness shop of A. Allen was started by the present proprietor in the fall of 1885, he then succeeding Scott Allen, who had been here several years previously. C.A. Allen, dealer in general furnishing goods, has been in Tidioute in business since January, 1886. H.W. Kunn established his boot and shoe trade here in April, 1886.

Other Interests. - The steam grist-mill, now owned and operated by A. Dunn, was built by Kemble & Coleman about 1877. In 1880 Mr. Dunn rented it from the estate of Peter Evans, and in the fall of 1886 purchased it. Others mills are the planing-mill belonging to the estate of Z.M. Jones, who started the mill some fifteen or sixteen years ago; the machine shop of R.J. Carson, which has been in operation in Tidioute about fifteen years; the chair factory, operated by the Chair Company (limited), whose general manager is M. Clark. This business was established in September, 1881. The capital is about $50,000. About 500 chairs are manufactured here daily. The hub factory of Martin (Joseph) & Homer (C.S.) was established also in the fall of 1881.

Hotels. - The oldest hotel in Tidioute at present is the Shaw House, which was built by the present proprietor, W.P. Shaw, more than twenty years ago. The National Hotel was built for mercantile purposes by H. Greiner, a number of years ago, and converted by W.D. Bucklin, the present owner, into a hotel some fifteen years ago. The Hanchett House, so named from the proprietor, N.N. Hanchett, was built, and for some time kept, by Mr. Wheelock. Mr. Hanchett has owned and kept it now for about twelve years.

Physicians, Past and Present. - The first physician to practice in Deerfield township was Dr. Kellogg, of Titusville, who used to come out this way with his horse and saddle-bags about once in three months. This he began as early as 1826, and continued for a number of years. The physician now in practice here who deserves the distinction of belonging to the longest residence is Dr. F.A. Shugart, who was admitted to practice in 1838, and after practicing in Philadelphia and other places came to Deerfield township in 1849, and has continued here ever since. Dr. Charles Kemble came here about ten years later, and also remains here yet. Dr. Freeman, who died a few years ago, had also been here for many years. Dr. J.L. Acomb came here from Pithole about 1866. Dr. A.C. Magill came in March, 1885, immediately after graduating from the Detroit Medical College. Dr. N.W. Shugart was admitted to practice from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Baltimore on the 13th of March, 1885, and after an experience of a few months in the Bay View Hospital came here and went into practice with his father.

Post-office. - We have already seen who was the first postmaster in town, and the date of his service. The present incumbent, W.R. Dawson, owes his appointment to the present administration. He was preceded by James C. Long, who served more than eight years; Thomas B. Monks, his predecessor, held the position about two years, having succeeded Levi L. McCall. S.H. Evans was postmaster from December 1, 1866, to June 30, 1874. He was preceded by Mr. Hanna, and he by S.H. Evans again. H.H. Evans was postmaster next previous to S.H. Evans. In Deerfield township also is a post-office called Parthenia, which was established through the efforts of the Grandin brothers, in the summer of 1886. Here these gentlemen have a saw and planing-mill, which they have been successfully operating twelve or fifteen years.

The members of the Colonel George A. Cobham Post 311, G.A.R., and the citizens of Tidioute and vicinity are justly proud of one of the finest soldiers’ monuments in this part of the State. It was erected mainly through the efforts of Major Curtis and others in this neighborhood, in the spring of 1885, and dedicated on Memorial Day of that year. It stands in the center of a plot of ground set apart for the purpose years ago by the projectors, in the cemetery. The circle is about sixty feet in diameter, and is finely graded from the circumference up to the monument. The structure itself is imposing and beautiful. It is from the Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport, Conn., and is built of white bronze, one of the most durable substances known. Its height from base to top is sixteen feet and eight inches, while the base stands about four feet above the surrounding ground. The base is fifty-two inches square. On the several tablets are appropriate inscriptions, among them being the names of the following members of Company F, One Hundred and Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, killed in action, or from the effects of wounds received: O.S. Brown, John T. Roberts, Darius W. Hunter, George W. Alcorn, R.J. Arters, Thomas Acocks, Sullivan Baker, J.C. Brennesholz, Shambert Chambers, Stephen Chambers, Philemon Clark, J. Clonay, Thomas Clark, Daniel Cochran, John J. Gorman, Charles W. Grove, Leonard Horn, David E. Jones, Ransom Kendall, Jesse Kightlinger, Samuel C. King, Virgil Libby, Joshua Lloyd, Samuel May, Thomas J. Magee, William Magee, George B. Miller, John M. Pearce, Simeon J. Roosa, Jacob Rutledge, George W. Shay, William Shreve, Reuben Swaggart, Charles Thompson, John Thompson, John Tuttle, Hiram K. Young. On the west base are the following names of soldiers in various regiments killed in action: One Hundred and Eleventh Pennsylvania Volunteers - J.R. Broughton, jr., Walker H. Hogue, William M. Jones, Charles Miller, John M. Richardson, Samuel Sturgis; Fifty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers - Samuel Richardson; Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers - Theodore Barber; Seventy-fourth New York Volunteers - Zachariah Barber, W.H. Brown, Washington Magee, Grandin Magee, James Magee, Amos Magee, Joshua Richardson; Regiments Unknown - Solomon Cias, Daniel Henderson, John Russell, Frank West.

 

 

* The beginning of this chapter, to the asterisk, a few pages further on, was compiled and written by James Kinnear.

SOURCE: Page(s) 453-467, History of Warren County, J.S. Schenck & W.S. Rann, Syracuse, New York: D. Mason, 1887