History of Beaver County, Chapter 1

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Location-Boundaries-Origin of the Name-Drainage-Soil-Topog­raphy-Geology - Flora and Fauna-Historic Floods-Climatic Peculiarities, etc.

B EAVER CO UNTY, one of the westernmost range of the counties of Pennsylvania, and the third, reckoning northward, from the southwestern corner of the State, lies along the Ohio and West Virginia lines, and embraces territory on both sides of the Ohio River and the Big Beaver Creek. It was erected March 12, 1800 1 and was then bounded on the north by Mercer County, on the east by Butler County, on the southeast by Allegheny County, on the south by Washington County, and on the west by the States of Ohio and Virginia. Its dimensions then were: length, 34 miles; breadth, 19 miles; area, 646 square miles, or 413,440 acres. On March 20, 1849, a part of its territory was stricken off to help form Lawrence County, which is now its northern boundary, and its area was thus reduced to 452 square miles, or 289,280 acres. Since the organization of West Vir­ginia in 1861, the so-called "Pan-Handle" of that State partly bounds it on the west.

1 3 Bioren 421: 3 Smith's L. 429. VOL...1-1.

3 P. L. 551.

2 History of Beaver County


The name "Beaver" was doubtless given to the county from the stream and town so called which were within its limits at the time of its erection, and the town had been named from the stream. As to the origin of the name of the stream itself, we need be in no doubt. It was a translation into English of the Indian word for beaver, after which much-prized animal the aborigines had named the stream. This word in the Delaware tongue was A mockwi. I The Delawares called the stream Amockwi-sipu or Amockwi-hanne, literally, "Beaver stream." 2
They gave this name to the creek on account of its being a favorite home of the beaver.3 The French, who were the first whites to reach this region, merely translated the Indian name for the stream, calling it, as we learn from a map in Pouchot's Memoires,4 "Riviere au Castor" ( "Beaver River"), and the Eng­

1 The famous chief of the Delawares who was known to the English as . " King Beaver." bore this name, Amockwi (sometimes spelled Ktemaque; also Tum.ahk-wa. or Tamaqui). He lived on the Big Beaver, and probably took his name from it, rather than gave his name to it as some have supposed.
"Big Beaver creek was called by the Indians amochkwi sipu, or amochk hanne; i. e.. "beaver stream.' "-Indian Local Names. by S. G. Boyd. York, Pa., 1885. p. s."
The suffix hanne is the Indian name of this creek was the common name among the
Delawares for stream or river. It is easily recognized in Susque-hannna, Loyal-hanna, etc., more obscurely in Rappahanock., Tunkhannock, Neshannock. and is believed by many authorities to form. with the adjective 'Welhik or oolik, meaning most beautiful, the name of the river Allegheny. It is to be observed that Indian words are subject to as many differ­ent spellings as there were French and English hearers to gallicize and anglicize them, and it is easy to believe that Oolikhanne became ultimately Allegheny". We prefer tbis derivation to that which Heckewelder gives from Allegewi, the name of a probably mythical tribe of Indians which the Delawares boasted of having formerly subdued. See note on "Ohio." just below (p. 4.).
3 Heckewelder, the Moravian missionary to the Delaware Indians, says: "All the streams to which the Indians have given a name, such name is either descriptive of the stream itself or something in or about it."' And we have recently foand very interesting early proof that the waters of Beaver Creek and its tributaries abounded with the animal in question. Speaking of the coming of the Delaware Indians to the Ohio, Loskiel says: "The warriors finding the land near the Ohio very pleasant, and the beaver-hunt in Beaver Creek very productive, they settled there, and were followed in time by many of their country­men"-(History qf the Mission qf the United Brethren among the Indians in North America by George Henry Loskiel, London, 1794. Part I p. 127.) In the narrative of his cap­tivity among the Indians, one of the best ever written, Colonel James Smith says: "In this manner we proceeded about forty miles [from the east branch of the Cuyahoga], and wintered on the waters of Beaver creek, near a little lake or pond, which is about two miles long and one broad, and a remarkable place for beavers." In a note on this passage, William M. Darlington locates this p1ace as one of the numerous beaver ponds on the head­waters of the Mahoning, a branch of the Big Beaver.-(See An Account qf the Remarkable Occurrences in the Life and Travels qf Col. 1ames Smith, Lexington, Ky., 1799. Robert Clarke & Co.'s Reprint. Cincinnati. 0., 1870. pp. 57, 173.)
. Memoir upon the Late War in North America between the French and English, by M.

History of Beaver County
lish, when they came, did the same thing, as all the early jour­nals, etc., as Weiser's, Post's, and Croghan's, name the stream Beaver. Previous to the laying out of a town and outlots at the mouth of this stream, under the Act of September 28, 1791,1 the point was known by the Indian names of Sawkunk 2 and Shingoe's town, and by the English as "the old French town"; later it was called McIntosh, from the fort there, and the town laid out by the legislative action referred to was called Beaver, and, in intention at least, marked as the county seat of the new county which was in near prospect of erection. It was na­tural, therefore, that when the time arrived for the erection of that county, it should receive a name associated with the most important stream and locality belonging distinctively to its territory, and it was accordingly called BEAVER.

Pouchot, Chevalier of the Royal and Military Order of St. Louis, etc. Vol. ii, contains the map referred to, opposite page 52. This map may also be seen in Penna. Arch., second series. vol. vi.
1 3 Smith's L. 56.
2 Sawkunk. There are many ways of spelling this word.-Sawkunk, Sawkung, Sacunk, Sacung, Sagunk, Saucon, Sohkon, Sarikon, and others. There were many Sawkunks in the country, the name, according to Heckewelder, being a Delaware word meaning "at the mouth of a stream," or, "an outlet." Heckewelder describes the Sawkunk here as "the outlet of the Big Beaver into the Ohio; a point well known to all Indians: to warriors of different and most distant tribes; their rendezvous in the French wars; their thoroughfare and place of transit; a point of observation, and the scene of frequent contests and bloodshed. It was the best known of the many Saucons in the Indian country."
The main Indian settlement, so-called. was on the west side of the Big Beaver Creek. This appears from what Christopher Post says in his second jouma1 (1758); for having been some time at Sawkunk, and setting out for Fort Duquesne, he had to cross the Beaver. He says: "the Beaver creek being very high, it was almost two o'clock in the afternoon before we came over the creek" There was a settlement about three quarters of a mile or a mile, below the mouth of the Beaver, and there was a hamlet near its fording. Both are spoken of in the journal of Bouquet's march against the Ohio Indians in 1764, as else­where quoted, as follows:
" About a mile below its [the Beaver's] confluence with the Ohio stood formerly a large town on the steep bank, built by the French of square logs, with stone chimneys, for some
of the Shawnese, Delawares and Mingoes, who abandoned it in the year 1758, when the French abandoned Fort. Duquesne. Near the fording of Beaver creek also stood about seven houses, which were deserted and destroyed by the Indians after their defeat on Bushy run, when they forsook all the remaining settlements in this part of the country."
George Croghan, in his joumal. refers to the former in his entry of May 16, 1765, He says: "About a mile below the mouth of Beaver creek we passed an old settlement of the Delawares, where the French in 17566, built a town for that nation. On the north side of the river some of the stone chimneys are yet remaining."
As mentioned in the text, the Act of Assembly directing the laying out of the town of Beaver speaks of this settlement, ca11ing it "the old French town." It stood. about on the present site of Groveland.
We can see no reason for limiting the name Sawkunk to the hamlet of seven houses at the fording, as some have done. It seems more likely that the names " Sawkunk," "Shin­goe's town," etc., all referred to the general Indian settlement about the month of the Beaver, including the hamlet and especia1ly the larger and more important town below it.

4 History of Beaver County


Its principal stream is the Ohio River,1 which, entering the county on the southeast, flows in a generally northwesterly di­rection to a point slightly northeast of the centre, where, re­ceiving the waters of the Big Beaver, it turns immediately to its great southwestern course towards the Mississippi. But the "beautiful river," as the Indians, and after them the French, called it, is not the only important stream within the limits of the county. The Big Beaver, just mentioned, though ordinarily spoken of as Big Beaver "creek," is sometimes, and not im­properly, we think, called Big Beaver "river." This large stream flows through the county from north to south, and emp­ties into the Ohio about twenty-six miles below the confluence of the Allegheny and the Monongahela, dividing the northern

1 Ohio is Eng1ished from "O-he-yu," the name given to the Allegheny River by the Senecas who lived around its headwaters, The word means "beautiful river"; hence the French name. .. La Bene Riviere," applied to the stream in its whole length, above as well as below Pittsburg. This etymology aad the connection of the Indian name of the river with the French name has been disputed by some. An article by the celebrated H. H. Brackenridge. Esq., published in the first issue of the Pittsburgh Gazette, July 29, 1786, says:
"Ohio is said to signify, in some of the Indian 1anguages, bloody; so that the Ohio river may be translated the River of Blood. The French have called it La Bene Riviere, that is, the Beautiful or Fair River. but this is not intended by them as having any relation to the name Ohio." (See also Modern Chivalry. p. 209. by the same writer.)
We think the etymology and connection suggested above correct, nevertheless, The Rev. Timothy Alden, of Meadville. Pa., who was intimately acquainted with Cornplanter, the Seneca chief, said who understood several of the Indian languages, in an article which appeared in the AJ1egheny Magazine, in 1816, (quoted fully in Craig's The Olden Time, p. 325), has the following remark:
"The fact is, the Allegheny river, now so called, was always known by the name of Ho-he-yu or Oh-he-yu, in ancient times, and the Senecas are still tenacious of this appella­tion. It, as well as the modern Ohio, is a 'handsome' or 'beautiful' river, according to the original import."
With this agrees Heckewelder's account, Speaking of the tribe of Allegewi Indians, he says *:

"The Allegheny river and mountains have indubitably been named after them. The Delawares still can the former Alligewi Sipu, the river of the Alligewi. We have adopted, I know not for what reason, its Iroquois name, Ohio, which the French had literally trans­lated into La Belle Riviere, the Beautiful River. A branch of it, however, still retains the ancient name Allegheny."
See also Proud's History of Penna.. vol. ii.. p. 102. Appendix.
In The 'Jesuit Relations and Allied Docrnnents, vol. 69, p. 296, is the following note:
"By Celeron and other early explorers the names 'Ohio' and 'Beautiful' were applied to the Allegheny as well as to the river now called Ohio. Marshall (De Celoron's Expedition
to the Ohio, P. 138) says that the Senecas do the same even now."

* We cite Heckewelder only for his testimony to the connection between the Iroquois and French names of the Ohio. His derivation of the name Allegheny from a tribe called Allegewi is erroneous, students generally regarding the Delaware tmdition concern­ing the existence of such a tribe as mythica1, although, such high authorities as Schoolcraft and Bancroft have followed this tradition in their accounts of the Delawares.

History of Beaver County

division of the county into two nearly equal parts. It is formed by the Mahoning, Shenango, Neshannock, and Conoquenessing creeks; the first being its main branch or tributary. Below the junction of the Mahoning and Shenango the Big Beaver flows a little east of south twenty miles to its mouth on the Ohio. All the northwestern portion of Pennsylvania and a part of Ohio contribute the waters which form this stream. In point of pic­turesqueness and in wealth of historic incident and romantic legend, few streams in the State can be justly compared with it.1
Little Beaver Creek heads in Mahoning County, Ohio, enters Pennsylvania, and after flowing through Lawrence and Beaver counties, re-enters Ohio. From Columbiana County. that State, it makes a little loop into Beaver County, and out again, and after many meanderings through Columbiana County re-enters Beaver County and empties into the Ohio River just within the Pennsylvania line.
On the south side of the county is Raccoon Creek, a consider­able stream, which rises in the western part of Washington County, and flows northward through Beaver County into the Ohio River. Its mouth is several miles below that of the Big Beaver and on the opposite side of the river. Here Washington, in his trip down the Ohio in 1770, paused long enough to note that "at its mouth and up it" there was "a good body of land." Travis 2 and Service creeks are its tributaries in Beaver County. Near the State line on the same side of the county comes in Mill Creek. 3
1 In Lewis Evans's analysis of his map of 1755 (quoted in Pownall's enlargement thereof, p. 40*) is the following remark:
"Beaver Creek is navigable with Canoes only. At Kishkuskes, about 16 Miles up, Two Branches spread opposite Ways; one interlocks with French Creek and Cherage, the other Westward with Muskingum and Cayahoga; on this are many Salt Springs. about 35 Miles above the Forks; it is canoeable about 20 miles farther. The eastern Branch is less considerable, and both are very slow. spreading through a very rich level Country, full of Swamps and Ponds, which prevent a good Portage that might otherwise be made to Cayahoga; but will no doubt, in Future Ages, be fit to open a Canal between the Waters of Ohio and Lake Erie."
2 John Travis located at the mouth of this stream a warrant for four hundred acres of land; whence its name. We cannot find the date of this warrant, but that the stream was known as Travis Creek before 1793 is shown by the following entry in the Beaver County Warrant Book:
"1802, March 1st. John Hoge Redick enters his warrat for 300 acres of land dated March 26, 1793, situate on Travis creek below the fork thereof, adjoining land appropriated by Magnus Tate and Alex. Carson who purchased from Beeler."
3 We might mention also Big Sewickley Creek, which is one of the boundaries of the county. Opposite the mouth of this creek used to be an old French fishing-basket. See Zadoc Cramer's Navigator for 1818, p. 68.
* A Topographical Description of the Paris of North America Contained in the Map of the British Colonies. etc. (Lewis Evan's Map of 755). by T. Pownall, M.P., London, 1776.

History of Beaver County


The surface of Beaver County is generally rolling varying in height above the sea-level from 665 to 1450 feet. The last­named figure is the height of a hill in New Sewickley township known as the "Big Knob." In the portion of the county south of the Ohio, and for ten or twelve miles north of that river, is a broken and hilly country much indented by the great streams, but interspersed with fine bottoms and level lands suitable for grain and grazing farms. The northern section of the county has for the most part a level or gently undulating surface, with a soil well adapted to every kind of agriculture.
Geologically considered, Beaver County belongs to the Lower Productive Measures of the Carboniferous Period. In another portion of this work there will be found an interesting article on this topic, specially prepared for us by one well quali­fied for its treatment (see vol. ii., Appendix No. 1.), and we will add to it here only a quotation from a State publication, giving a short explanation of the geological structure of the county, as follows:

The Ohio river makes a great sharp bend across this county, the Beaver river meeting it at the point of the bend, after cutting a long straight gorge through nearly horizontal (gently south dipping) Potts­ville Conglomerate No. XII massive sand-rock strata, supporting an upland of Lower Productive coal measures, of which the Freeport and Kittanning coal beds, the Ferriferous limestone and the Clarion fire-clay are the most valuable layers. All the hill-tops north of the Ohio river are of the Barren measures. South of the river the country is made by the 600 feet of Barren measures; but the Pittsburg coal bed is left in a few of the highest hill-tops near the Washington County line. The outcrop of the Ferriferous limestone appears above water level at Freedom and extends down the Ohio and up the Beaver to the county lines; and up Conoquenessing for three miles. At Darlington the Middle Kittanning coal becomes nearly 20 feet thick, by the conversion of a part of its roof shales into cannel coal Before the discovery of petroleum in 1859, oil was manufactured from these shales; and they have yielded to Hon. Ira F. Mansfield's intelligent and zealous research an incredible number of fine plant-forms described in the Coal Flora, Report P, by Leo Lesquereux, and of crustaceans described in Report P3, by James Hall. A considera­ble amount of petroleum was at one time obtained, by wells near the State line, both from the Conglomerate No. XII, the top of which is near river level, and from oil sands at the greater depths of 500 and 600 feet. G1acial drift covers the northwestern corner of the county, the great

History of Beaver County
Terminal Moraine passing north of New Galilee along the highland north
of the Little Beaver. The drift materials were swept into the deep slackwater pool of the Ohio and Beaver valleys during the continuance of the Cincinnati ice-dam; and relics of the deposit have been preserved in four lines of gravel, sand and brick-clay terraces, at heights of 30, 80, I25, 2I5 feet above the river bed at New Brighton. (See Report Q.)1


The Flora and the Fauna of Beaver County are described in papers prepared for this work by gentlemen of expert knowl­edge. (See Appendices II. and III. in volume ii.)

With the two great valleys of the Ohio and Beaver rivers
bisecting, or rather trisecting, its territory, Beaver County has extraordinary advantages of water power and transportation facilities that are unsurpassed, but at times these valleys are the scene of terrific inundations. From the earliest days the Beaver and Ohio rivers have been subject to these destructive over- flows. A letter to Col. Bouquet from Capt. Ecuyer, dated Fort Pitt, March 11, 1763, describes in an interesting manner a flood at that time.2 Brackenridge, in 1786, speaks of high, spring floods as of annual occurrence, and of flood-marks on the trees as indicating rises of thirty feet. In January, 1787, there was a great flood in the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers,3 and the Annals of the West (page 483) gives an account of a flood in the lower Ohio, in January, 1789, which overflowed Marietta, Columbia, and Symmes City at the mouth of the Little Miami. In Columbia but one house escaped the deluge, and the soldiers in the blockhouse were driven from the ground floor into the loft, and from the loft into the solitary boat which the ice had spared them. There is also a tradition of a great flood, called "the pumpkin flood," from the large quantities of pumpkins which it carried down with it. Various dates are assigned to this rise,

1 Second Geological Survey, Perma.-Geological Atlas of Counties, x., xxiii.
2 Fort Pitt, Darlington. pp. 114-115. (The original of this letter is in the British Museum.)
3 The Pittsburgh Gazette, of January 13, 1787, says:
"The heavy rains and constant thaw for this some time past, swelled the A1legheny and Monongahela to a great height, and several Kentucky boats passed down the latter adrift, all of them loaded. The .Allegheny overflowed its banks to such a degree that a great part of the reserved tract opposite this place was under water. The iuhabitants of the ferry-house were obliged to leave it, and, it was with the greatest difficulty they escaped, as the flat, canoes, etc., had been carried by the water to wbat is called the second bank, a great distance from the usual bed of the river. We have not yet received an account of the damage done, but judge it must be considerable."

History of Beaver County
and there is much uncertainty as to the height it reached; prob­ably the memory of several different floods has given us a com­posite legend. There is reliable record of high-water marks in the Ohio River at Pittsburg from the year 1810 up to 1870, and since 1870 the observations of the United States Weather Bureau have been made. Through the courtesy of Cot. Frank Ridgway. of that Bureau's Pittsburg station, we have obtained a copy of these records, which we append in a note below.1 Anything over twenty-two feet is considered a flood-stage, and it will be seen from the data here given that there have been thirty-nine years since the records were begun in which that stage has been exceeded. A study of this table, keeping in mind also what is reported of the floods occurring in the latter part of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries, will show, we think, that a very interesting theory concerning the origin of floods will have to be abandoned. According to this theory, excessive rises of the rivers are due to the cutting off of the timber from the hills and mountains, as a consequence of which the rainfall, instead of being absorbed and held by the roots of the trees and the mosses, flows off rapidly into the valleys, creating floods. That this theory is invalid is evident from the fact that some of the greatest floods on record occurred when
1 Former high-water marks in the Ohio River at Pittsburg:
Year Month Feet Year Month Feet
1810. Nov. 10, 32 1879, Mar. -, 20
1832. Feb. 10, 35 1880, Feb. -, 21.6
1840. " 1, 26.9 1881. Feb. 11, 23.4
1847. " -, 26.9 1881. June 10, 27.1
1852. Apl. 19, 31.9 1882. Jan. 28, 21
I860 Apl 12, 29.7
I883. Feb. 3, 28
1861. Sep. 20, 30.9 1884. Feb 6, 33.3
1862. Jan. 20, 28.7 1885. Jan. 17, 23
1862. Apl. 23, 25 1886. Apl 7, 22.6
1865. Mar. 4, 24 1888. July 11, 22
I865. Mar. 18, 31.4 1888, Aug. 22, 26
1865. Apl. 1, 21.6 1889. Jun. 1, 24
1865. May 12, 21.6 1890. Mar. 23, 24.3
1866. Feb. 10, 32 1891. Jan. 3, 23
I868, Mar. -, 22.6 1891. Feb. 18, 31.3
1873. Dec. 140 25.6 1892. Jan. 15, 22.9
18740 Jan 8, 22-4 1895. Jan. 8, 25.8
1875. Aug. -, 25 1895. Feb.7, 24
1875. Dec. 28, 21.6 1896, July 26, 21.8
1876. June -, 26 1897. Feb. 24, 28.9
1876. Sep. 19, 23 1898. Mar. 24, 28.5
I877. Jan. 17, 23.9 1000. Nov. 27, 27.8
1817. July -, 25.6 1901. Apl. 21, 27.4
1878, Dec. 11, 23.2

History of Beaver County
the forests all along the Ohio valley and in the Allegheny Moun­tains were still almost untouched. Droughts, also, were appar­ently as common then as now, which is contrary to the theory.1
The flood of 1832 seems to have been the greatest on record. That of 1884 was higher at the mouth of the Beaver, where it was impeded by the embankment of the Cleveland & Pittsburg Railroad, but according to the testimony of old residents, the flood of 1832 rose higher in the Beaver as a whole than ever before or since. At the Bridgewater bridge it reached just to the floor timbers, and passengers were carried in boats along the main street of Bridgewater to the foot of Beaver hill. At the highest point in this street the water was over three feet in depth. A large island which was at that time in the Beaver below the Bridgewater dam was almost entirely washed away, and many houses and factories were destroyed.2 The flood of

Iin a letter written by Lt.-Col. Josiah Harmar to President Dickinson, dated Fort
McIntosh (Beaver), August J, 1785. he says:
"The Ohio river at this season is remarkably low, and usually continues so during
this and the next month. It is now fordable opposite the garrison."-(Penna. Arch.,
vol. x., p. 490.)
We have seen other references to floods and periods of low water being frequent in
pioneer times, and are inclined to think that there was then about the same alternation
of drought and flood at irregular intervals as there is now. The following description,
written in 1793, nearly applies to present conditions:
"Frequent rains in the latter end of the autumn produce floods in the Ohio: and it is an
uncommon season when one of those floods does not happen before Christmas. If there is much frosty weather in the upper parts of the country, its waters generally remain low until they begin to thaw. But if the river is not frozen over (which is not very common), there is always water sufficient for boats of any size from November until May. when the waters generally begin to subside; and by the middle of June, in most seasons. they are too low for boats above forty tons, and these must be flat-bottomed. The frost seldom continues so long as the middle of February. and immediately upon its breaking, the river is flooded; this flood may in a degree subside. but for no length of time: and it is from that period until May that the boats generally come down the river."-A Topographical Description of the Western Territory of North America, by Gilbert Imlay. 2d ed., London, 1793. p. 125.
The Beaver Argus of February 20, 1832, contained the following report of the flood:
U Such a scene has never before occurred in our neighborhood, as that produced by the
rise of the Ohio river and Big Beaver creek, on Friday and Saturday last. The water at
the junction of those streams was seven or eight feet higher than was ever known before. Bridgewater, Sharon and Fal1ston were all inundated. as well as the buildings up and down the river. In sorne of the houses the water was up in the second story, and most of them near the ceiling in the first. A great many light buildings were carried away, together with hay and grain. stacks and fences. The loss in the range wbere the water flowed is incalculable.
"Among the sufferers in this vicinity, Stephen Stone, Esq., is the greatest. He estimates his loss at near ten thousand dollars. His old dwelling house and stable were carrried away; and a large new brick house, lately finished, and which cost about $4.000, is so much injured that it is believed it will fall-a brick kitchen attached to it was torn away.
Messrs. D. Minis. and H. J. Wasson suffered considera.b1e loss, the dwelling house of the latter being swept off. the water was up to the cei1ing in General Lacock's house [at Freedom]. and his stables and other out-houses, fence and hay stacks were all carried away, and his valuable Library destroyed., At Sharon. the Foundry of Messrs. Darragh and Stow was torn away. and at Fallston, the Scythe Factory of Mr. D. S. Stone was destroyed, and Messrs. Pughs, Wilson & Co, have sustained considerable loss. The islands above and below have been stripped of everything, their occupants barely escaping with tbeir lives.
"The public works on Beaver creek have sustained little or no injury.
.. NotWithstanding the uncommon rapid rise of the water and the distress produced by it, it is with gratitude we have the pleasure of stating thatthere were no lives 1ost."

10 History of Beaver County

1884 was also very destructive, more so, perhaps, than that of 1832, on account of there being much more improved land and a larger number of buildings in existence at the later date. As stated in another place, the Fallston and Bridgewater bridges were destroyed at this time (1884), and being hurled against the great Pittsburg & Lake Erie Railroad bridge across the Ohio, partially wrecked it.


The climate of Beaver County partakes of the general charac­teristics of that of western Pennsylvania, being subject to sudden changes and great extremes of heat and cold. A variation of temperature of 10,20,30°, or even 40° in a few hours is not un­common. In almost every summer there are a few days when 96 Fahrenheit in the shade is registered, and in winter the mer­cury always sinks at some time below zero. In the months of January and February it occasionally falls to 15o or 20° below, as it did in 1899 and in 1904.1 It is doubtful if there has been any great change in the climate of the region in the last hundred years, despite the declarations often heard from old people that such a change has taken place. Qbservations reported from the earliest times would indicate as great variability in tem­perature as that witnessed in the present period, with no greater extremes of heat and cold than those which we now experience. We subjoin a few notes in support of this statement. February 11, 1780, Colonel Brodhead wrote from Fort Pitt to Washington as follows: "Such a deep snow and such ice has not been known at this place in the memory of the eldest natives; Deer & Tur­kies die by hundreds for want of food, the snow on Alleghany & Laurel hills is four feet deep." 2 An old record says that De­cember and January of the winter of 1781-82 "were excessively cold, but the beginning of February ushered in a very mild

1 The winter of 1903-04 was very remarkable. From the latter part of November until March the cold was constant, with heavy snows. For several weeks the temperature frequently fell below zero, the ordinary cheap mercury thermometers registering in the Beaver valley as low as 10, 15, 20, and even 26 degrees below. At Pittsburg there were no such low temperatures reported, the lowest for the winter being, according to the report of the United States Weather Bureau, 5 degrees below on February 16th. The great difference thus shown is partly accounted for. perhaps by the fact that the cheap mercury thermometers generally in use are not reliable, and may a1so be due in part to there having really been higher temperatures at Pittsburg on the same days owing to the overhanging clouds of smoke there and the retention of heat in the great buildings surrounding the point of observation.
2 Penna. Arch., Vol. xii., p. 206.

History of Beaver County


spring." Of the winter of 1787-88 we have the following, taken from a letter from David Redick, Esq., to Benjamin Franklin, dated Washington, Pa., Feb. 19, 1788:
The country has never experienced a Winter more severe. The Mercury has been at this place 12° below the extreme cold point; at Moskingum 20°, and at Pittsburgh within the bulb or bottle. The dif­ference may be accounted for, in part by the inland situation of this place, and greater or less quantities of ice at the others. It has been altogether impossible for me until within these few days past, to stir from the Fireside. I

One hundred years ago Henry Jolly, Esq., of Beaver and Washington counties, afterwards a judge in Jefferson County, Ohio, kept a record, from which we learn that December, 1799. was "very severe cold, all the small streams being frozen over."
In February, 1800, it was very cold, with snow two feet deep. The spring opened early, so that planting of Indian corn was largely finished by the 7th of April. Peach trees were in bloom on the 20th day of April and apple trees on the 5th day of May. The summer of 1800 was wet, thunder-storms were frequent in mid­summer, corn-fields not worked, and the heavy crops of wheat were grown and sprouted. The distillers found their grains half malted by nature, and housewives could hardly keep their loaves from running. Crops were generally good, with abundance of fruits. Mr. Jolly reports a fall of snow four inches deep all along the Ohio valley on the 5th of May, 1803, which was fol­lowed by three hard frosts, killing the corn and all the fruits.
January, 1810, was remarkably cold, with great suffering and loss of cattle by freezing. Wild animals also perished in great numbers. The winter of 1817 was severe, the snow in February reaching a depth on the levels of from three to four feet. Other very severe winters reported were those of 1829-30 and 1855-56. But very mild winters are also of such frequent mention as to indicate that the climate of Pennsylvania, ever since it was first known to the white people, has been as change­able as at present. Dr. Benjamin Rush, in his Memoir on the Climate of Pennsylvania, states that on the 22d of March, 1779, the orchards were in full bloom, and the meadows as green as ordinarily in June. In prior years he had seen vegetation grow­ing in all the winter months, and in the month of December in

. Penna. Arch.. vol. xi., p. 244.


History of Beaver County

one year he had seen an apple orchard in full bloom and small apples on many of the trees. These observations were, of course, about the city of Philadelphia, but the difference between that point and our own region would not be very great.
This brief survey of Beaver County's physical features will be sufficient to show that the region is well adapted to the vari­ous wants of its inhabitants, and will prepare us to enter upon the task of unfolding the long history of its settlement and devel­opment. We believe that the following chapters will show that history to have been one well worthy of study and of protection

'Gainst the tooth of time,
And razure of oblivion.

1 Morden's Geogra9hy Rectified, 1688, has the following:
" IV. For the Seasons of the Year. First. Of the Fall, I found it from the 24th of October, to the beginning of December, as we have it usually in England in September, or rather like an English mild spring. From December to the beginning of the Month called March, we had sharp Weather; not foul, thick black Weather, as our North East winds bring with them in England; but a Skie as clear as in Summer and the Air dry, cold, piercing and hungry. The reason for this cold is given from the great Lakes that are fed by tho Fountains of Canada. The Winter before was as mild, scarce any Ice at all; while this for a few days Froze up our great River Delaware. From that Month to the Month called June, we enjoyed a sweet Spring , no Gusts, but gentle showers, and a fine Skie.
From thence to thence to present Month, which endeth Summer (commonly speaking) we have had exttraordinary Heats, yet mitigated sometimes by cool Breezes. And whatever Mists, Fogs, or Vapors foul [there are in] the Heaveas by Easterly or Southerly Winds, in two hours' time are blown away by the North West; the one is always fol1owed by the other: A Remedy that seems to have peculiar Providence in it to the Inhabitants."
See also "Pennsylvania Weather Records from 1644 to 1835." Penna. Mag. of History, vol. xv., p. 109: a valuable compilation of the variability of the winters in Pennsylvania for nearly two centuries.

(Source: History of Beaver County, Pennsylvania, it's Centennial Celebration, by Rev. Joseph H. Bausman, Vol. 1, The Knickerbocker Express, New York, 1904.)