History of Warren County, Chapter 52

CHAPTER LII

HISTORY OF CHERRY GROVE TOWNSHIP

CHERRY GROVE township was erected from the old township of Sheffield, on the 7th of December, 1847. Sheffield, Mead, and Cherry Grove were originally included in the old township of Kinzua. In the month of May, 1832, Adam L. Pratt, now of Sheffield, and Richard Dunham, with his wife and infant child, crossed the Allegheny River at Shipman’s Eddy, assisted by Matthew Morrison, and were met on the south side by John Inglesby, who had previously settled in the dense forests of Cherry Grove, but becoming disheartened, had moved out again. He guided the party to his former home in Cherry Grove, which was about half a mile from the present residence of Montgomery Farnsworth, and on the site of Garfield. There they remained several weeks, while they repaired an old cabin on Dunham’s land, about a mile to the north. In June they removed to this cabin, chopped and cleared ten acres, sowed it in wheat, and had an excellent crop in the ensuing season.

The same year, 1832, a Mr. Gardner settled on what is now the Farnsworth place, and three brothers by the name of Coon, all young, unmarried men, settled about two miles west of Gardner. In the spring of 1833 Elijah Coon, the youngest of the three, was killed by a falling tree. A little previous to this time the parents of the Coon boys immigrated hither from Steuben county, N.Y., and occupied the improvements made by their sons. This was the beginning of the settlement of Cherry Grove.

The township lies in the southern row of townships of Warren county, and is bounded north by Mead, Pleasant, and a corner of Watson, east by Sheffield, south by Forest county, and west by Limestone and Watson. It is not yet thickly settled, nor entirely, nor half cleared. The soil is good enough for farming purposes, but the rugged climate renders the seasons too short for agricultural achievements. It is frequently the case that sleighing lasts almost without intermission from November to the middle of April. A good portion of the present population now consists of Swedes and Danes, who come from a rugged climate, and therefore are better able to struggle with the Cherry Grove winters.

In 1833 Richard Dunham left his farm in Cherry Grove and settled permanently in Sheffield. Silas Aber and H. Cooper, from New York State, settled in 1833 near the Farnsworth farm. They cleared a fine farm, by slow degrees. After the death of his wife Silas Aber returned to New York and left his property with his son, who remained on it until his death, in 1873. The property is now in the hands of his heirs.

Josiah Farnsworth, a native of Vermont, when a young man went to the vicinity of Whitehall, N.Y., thence to Erie county in the same State, and soon after to Yankee Bush, in Conewango township in Warren county, Pa., and in August, 1835, settled in Cherry Grove, on the place now owned and occupied by his eldest son, Montgomery Farnsworth. This is about a mile east of Garfield. Josiah Farnsworth had a family of nine children, eight of whom reached maturity. He died in December, 1857, aged about sixty-seven years. Two of his sons, John and Montgomery, now reside in Cherry Grove.

Other settlers, who came previous to the formation of the township in 1847, were as follows:

Harrison Sweet came about 1840 and settled next west of the Farnsworth place, where he remained until his death, about 1853 or 1854.

Ira S. Patterson came about 1845 and settled on the lot east of Josiah Farnsworth. He remained about five years and then went away. About 1839 or 1840 Amos Young and his father, Jesse J. Young, settled for a time north of the Farnsworth place and near the present farm of E.M. Farnsworth. John M. Ford came soon after 1840 and settled on lot 687, in the eastern part of the township. About 1867 he went to Nebraska, soon came back to Sheffield, and later still went to Kansas.

About 1837 Luther Whitcomb settled a short distance northeast of the site of Garfield. He now lives in Sheffield, where he went many years ago. He married a daughter of Thomas, brother of Josiah Farnsworth.

With Luther Whitcomb came Thomas Farnsworth, his son Joseph, H.T. Houghton, and afterward Mrs. H.T. Houghton, and all settled on one lot near the site of Garfield.

Josiah Farnsworth built the first saw-mill in the township, on his place, about 1853, and kept it in operation until his death. His eldest son operated it a year or two afterward, and then allowed it to go into decay. The mill now owned by John Farnsworth came into his hands in 1882. There are two other saw-mills now in town, both of recent construction, one owned by W.A. Ray and the other by L.B. Wood.

Cherry Grove has exemplified the peculiarity of growth and decay incident to so many towns which have felt the thrill of petroleum excitement. In 1882 George Demmick and his partner, Mr. Grace, while experimenting on the ground of Cherry Grove for oil, discovered that sparkling blood of the rocks in great quantities, and started the famous boom which led to the erection of a village almost in a day. Within two or three months people flocked to the site of Garfield (which was named from President Garfield), wells were drilled, shanties erected, dwellings built and stores and hotels raised, and a village of about 6000 population palpitated on the old farm of Richard Dunham. There is now but one hotel, the Jamestown House, in the village. It was opened by Thomas Hill in 1882, and is now owned by John Farnsworth. There are only two stores, that of P. Wrin, who came, in the spring of 1882, and that of Tiffany & Ewing, who bought out A.C. Myers, in June, 1885. Mr. Myers started about a month or six weeks after Mr. Wrin opened his store in 1882.

As Cherry Grove was not organized until thirteen years after the passage of the school law of 1834, it was not troubled with the embarrassments and drawbacks of subscription schools that the older towns suffered. There are now three schools in the township, two in one building at Garfield, and one at Farnsworth’s. There is also a Union Church and a Roman Catholic Church, composed of Swedish and Danish congregations, at Garfield.

SOURCE: Page(s) 583-585, History of Warren County, J.S. Schenck & W.S. Rann, Syracuse, New York: D. Mason, 1887