Chapter 10 - From the Erection of the County ot the Iron Era - 1839-1845

Created: Wednesday, 24 March 2010 Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 February 2014 Written by Nathan Zipfel Print Email

CHAPTER X


FROM THE ERECTION OF THE COUNTY TO THE IRON ERA - 1839-1845


Legislation, etc., Previous to Organization — The Act — Change of Boundaries — Selection of Site of County Seat — Public Buildings — Militia — Politics — Statistics — County Finances.

AS early as 1835 ,the inhabitants of upper Armstrong and lower Venango counties, then filling up rapidly on account of the development of the iron industry, began to feel the inconvenience of the distance of their county seats, and petitions were signed for the erection of a new county from parts of each.

In the session of 1835—36 Senator Kelly, representing the district affected, presented a bill for the erection of a new county out of Venango and Armstrong, to be called "Stark." * At the same period " Clarion " is mentioned in some petitions. This bill was tabled. In the following session, 1837—38, Mr. Kelly introduced another bill to the same effect, which reached second reading; again "Clarion" was mentioned in petitions.

HOUSE

In the House, December 15, 1838, Mr. Snowden, of Venango county, presented a petition from the inhabitants of Armstrong and Venango counties for the erection of a new county out of parts of said counties. (Referred). December 19, Mr. Yost, of Montgomery, presented a similar petition. (Referred).

Monday, January 15, 1839, Mr. Snowden presented the proceedings of a meeting of citizens of Beaver township, Venango county, asking for the erection of a new county out of parts of Venango and Armstrong. January 22, Mr. Snowden, from the committee to whom were referred the petitions on the subject, reported a bill (No. 54) entitled, "An act erecting parts of Armstrong and Venango counties into a separate county to be called Clarion." (Read, and laid on the table.) January 25, Mr. Evans, of Armstrong, presented a petition from inhabitants of Armstrong and Venango counties for the erection of a new county out of parts, etc., to be called Clarion; Mr. Snowden one of like import. (Tabled).

January 28, Mr. Purviance (Butler) presented two petitions from inhabitants of Butler, Armstrong, and Venango counties, praying for the erection of a new county out of parts of said counties to be called "Jackson." (Referred).

January 31, petition of like import to that of the 25th. (Tabled).

February 4, on motion of Mr. Snowden, the House resolved itself into a committee of the whole on the bill No.54, entitled an act erecting parts of Armstrong and Venango counties into a separate county to be called Clarion.

On motion, the said bill was read the second time, considered and agreed to; and ordered to be transcribed for third reading. On motion of Mr. Wilcox (Jefferson, McKean and Warren), the rule which prohibits the reading of bills twice on the same day being in this case dispensed with, the said bill was read the third time, when a motion was made by Mr. J. Cunningham, of Huntingdon, to postpone the further consideration of the same for the present, which was disagreed to; and, on the question, Shall the bill pass? it was determined in the affirmative, and ordered that the clerk present the same to the Senate for concurrence.

SENATE

On Friday, December 21, 1838, Mr. Hays, senator from Twenty-second District, composed of Jefferson, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Venango, and Warren counties, presented two petitions from citizens of Venango and Armstrong, praying for the erection of a new county out of parts of said counties.

Tuesday, February 5, 1839, House bill, act for organization of a new county from parts of Venango and Armstrong to be called " Clarion" committed to Messrs. Hays, Carpenter, and McConkey.

February 6, Mr. Hays presented a petition of citizens of Armstrong, Butler, and Venango praying for the erection of a new county out of parts of said counties.

February 20, Mr. Hays reported from committee House and Senate bill (Clarion) with amendments.

February 25, Mr. Fullerton presented a petition of citizens of Armstrong and Venango counties, etc.

March 5, 1839, the speaker (Charles B. Penrose) presented a memorial of citizens of the counties of Armstrong, Butler, and Venango, remonstrating against the contemplated new county to be called "Clarion," and praying for erection of a new county out of parts of each to be called "Jackson."

March 6, on motion of Mr. Hays and Mr. Strohm, the Senate resolved itself into a committee of the whole, to consider bill from House, entitled, an act for the organization of a new county from parts of Armstrong and Venango, to be called Clarion. After some debate the committee rose and the chairman reported bill with amendments.

March 7, bill No. 197 from House, entitled, an act for the erection, etc., was read the second time; the several sections and title were agreed to; and, on motion of Mr. Hays and Mr. Fullerton, the rule which prohibits the reading of bills twice on the same day was in this case dispensed with, and said bill was read the third time and passed. Ordered, that the clerk return said bill to House, with the information that the Senate had passed the same with amendments, in which the concurrence of the House is requested. The House concurred in the amendments on the 8th Saturday, March 8, the bill was presented to the governor, David R. Porter; approved March 11.

It appears that the citizens of eastern Butler and western Armstrong and Venango counties, still clung to the idea of a tripartite county. On March 19 Mr. Pearson presented a petition of citizens of Armstrong, Butler and Venango counties, praying that parts of said counties, west of the Allegheny, be annexed to Clarion county. Referred to judiciary committee; reported adversely.

June 8, Mr. Pearson presented a petition of citizens of Venango county, praying for a repeal of the law erecting Clarion county. (Tabled). June 11, Mr. Pearson presented a petition of Venango county, praying for the repeal of the law erecting Clarion county, or that Venango county may be attached to said county of Clarion.

June 18, Mr. Hays presented as above, praying that the boundary lines of Clarion county may be enlarged. (Tabled).

THE ACT

"For the organization of a new county from parts of Venango and Armstrong to be called Clarion.’"

Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in general assembly met, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That all those parts of Armstrong and Venango counties, lying and being within the following boundaries to wit: Beginning at the junction of Redbank Creek with the Allegheny River, thence up said creek to the line dividing Jefferson and Armstrong counties, thence along said line to the line dividing Toby and Saratoga townships in Venango county, thence along said line to the corner of Farmington township, in Venango county, thence a straight line to the mouth of Shull’s Run** on the Allegheny River, thence down said river to the place of beginning, be and the same is hereby declared to be erected into a county, henceforth to be called Clarion, the seat of justice to be fixed by the commissioners hereinafter appointed.

Section 2. That from and after the first day of September, one thousand eight hundred and forty (1840), the inhabitants of the said county of Clarion be entitled to and shall have all and singular, the courts, jurisdiction, officers, rights and privileges to which the inhabitants, of other counties of this State are entitled by the constitution and laws of this Commonwealth.

Section 3. That the several courts of the counties of Venango and Armstrong shall continue to exercise jurisdiction within their former limit until the first day of September, one thousand eight hundred and forty, (1840).

Section 4. That no suit or prosecution which has been commenced or which shall be commenced in the courts of the counties of Armstrong and Venango before the first day of September, shall be delayed, discontinued or affected by this act, but the same process shall be issued, and the same acts done on all such suits and prosecutions, and on all judgments thereon by the sheriff and coroner of Venango and Armstrong counties as if this act had not been passed.

Section 5. That all taxes and arrears of taxes laid, or which have become due within the counties of Armstrong and Venango before the first day of September, one thousand eight hundred and forty (1st of September, 1840), and all sums of money due to this Commonwealth for militia fines in the said county of C1arion, shall be collected and recovered as if this act had not been passed.

Section 6. That the sheriff, treasurer, and prothonotary, and all such officers as have heretofore usually given security for the faithful discharge of the duties of their respective offices, who shall hereafter be appointed or elected in the said county of Clarion, before they or any of them shall enter into execution thereof, shall give sufficient security in the same manner and form, and for the same uses, trusts and purposes as such officers for the time being are by law obliged to do in the county of Armstrong.

Section 7. That the sheriff coroner and other officers of the counties of Armstrong and Venango shall continue to exercise the duties of their respective offices within the county of Clarion until similar officers shall be appointed agreeably to law within the said county.

Section 8. That James Thompson, John Gilmore and Samuel L. Carpenter, be and are hereby appointed cmmissioners, whose duty it shall be to fix upon a proper and convenient site for a seat of justice for said county of Clarion, a court-house, prison, and county offices within the aforesaid county, as near the center as the situation thereof will admit, and the said commissioners, or a majority of them, having viewed the relative advantages of the several situations contemplated by the people, shall on or before the first day of September next, by a written report under their hands and seals, or under the hands and seals of a majority of them, certify, describe and limit the site or lot of land which they shall have chosen for the purpose aforesaid, and shall transmit the said report to the governor of this Commonwealth, and the persons so as aforesaid named as commissioners shall receive three dollars per diem for their services out of the money raised in pursuance of this act.

Section 9. That it shall and may be lawful for the commissioners of the county of Clarion, which shall be elected at the next annual election after the first day of September, one thousand eight hundred and forty, to take assurances of them or their successors in office, of such lot or piece of ground as shall have been approved of by the persons appointed as aforesaid, or a majority of them, for the purpose of erecting thereon a court-house, jail and offices, and other buildings and reservations, for the safe keeping of the records, and for public grounds, and that for defraying the expenses thereof, the county commissioners are hereby authorized to assess, and levy and collect in the manner directed by the acts for raising county rates and levies, a sufficient sum to defray the expenses thereof.

Section 10. That the judges of the Supreme Court shall have like powers, jurisdictions, and authorities within the said county of Clarion, as by law they are vested with and entitled to have and exercise in other counties of this State, and the said county is hereby annexed to the western district of the Supreme Court.

Section 11. That two persons shall be commissioned associate judges of the Court of Common Pleas in and for the said county of Clarion, and that the Courts of Common Pleas and General Quarter Sessions of the Peace, to be holden in and for said county of Clarion shall be opened on the third Mondays after the week of the courts of Venango county, and the said county of Clarion shall be and is hereby declared to belong to the sixth district, consisting of the counties of Erie, Venango and Crawford.

Section 12. That in all cases where it would be lawful for the sheriff, jailor, or prison keeper of the county of Clarion, to hold in close custody the body of any person in the common jail of the county of Clarion, that all such persons shall be delivered to, and kept in close custody by the sheriff, jailor or prison-keeper of the county of Venango, who, upon delivery of such prisoner to him or them at the common jail of said county of Venango, shall safely keep him, her or them, until they be discharged by due course of law; shall also be answerable in like manner, and liable to the same pains and penalties as if the persons so delivered were liable to confinement in the common jail of Venango county, and the parties aggrieved shall be entitled to the same remedies against them, or any of them, as if such prisoner had been committed to his or their custody by virtue of legal process issued by proper authority in the said county of Venango; provided always, that the sheriff of Clarion county be allowed out of the county stock of Clarion county ten cents per mile as a full compensation for every criminal he may deliver to the jail of Venango county by virtue of this act, in orders drawn by the commissioners of Clarion county on the treasury thereof.

Section 13. That the sheriff, jailor, and prison-keeper of the county of Venango shall receive all prisoners as aforesaid, and shall provide for them according to law, and shall be entitled to the fees for keeping them, and also to such allowance as is by law directed for the maintenance of prisoners in similar cases, which allowance shall be defrayed and paid by the commissioners of the county of Clarion out of the county stock.

Section 14. That the twelfth and thirteenth sections of this act shall be and continue in force for the term of three years, or until the commissioners of Clarion county shall have certified to the court that a jail is erected and ready for the reception of prisoners and approved of by the court and grand jury, who shall enter their approbation, signed by them on record of said court, and from henceforth it shall be lawful for the sheriff of Clarion county to receive all and every person or persons who may then be confined in the jail of Venango county in pursuance of this act, and convey them to the jail of Clarion county, and to keep them in custody until they be discharged by due course of law.

Section 15. That the qualified electors of the county of Clarion shall at the next general election after the first day of September, one thousand eight hundred and forty (1st of September, 1840), for members of the House of Representatives, elect three persons for commissioners of the said county, and shall designate on their ballots respectively, the individual who shall serve for one year, for two years and three years, and annually thereafter shall elect one suitable person to serve as commissioner in place of the commissioner whose time may have thus expired.

WM. HOPKINS,
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
JNO. J. PEARSON,
Speaker of Senate, pro tempore.

APPROVED, The eleventh day of March, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-nine (March 11, 1839).

DAVID R. PORTER.

The county of course took its name from the river.

James Thompson was then president-judge of the Sixth District, and resided at Erie; he was subsequently elected to Congress; John Gilmore was from Butler county; Carpenter was a surveyor, residing at Greensburg, Westmoreland county. Mr. Thompson resigned shortly after his appointment, and by act of June 25, 1839, John P. Davis, afterwards associate judge of Crawford county, was delegated in his stead.

Naturally a contest arose between the leading villages of the county to secure their adoption as the county seat. The citizens of Callensburg and those living in the western part of the new county pressed the claims of the flat along the river, at Bullock Ford, near Callensburg. Shippenville and vicinity, backed by the Shippens, claimed the seat of justice on account of its extensive iron interests and central position. Strattanville offered its advantages, too.

Christian Myers, the proprietor of Clarion furnace at Penn Mills, Philip Clover, of Strattanville, and his sons and son-in-law, Levi G. Clover, Peter Clover, and James P. Hoover, owned the land now occupied by the county seat. They offered it to the commissioners on condition of receiving half the proceeds of the sale of lots.

This had the advantage of being a neutral site; the surface of the land was elevated and level; it was near the river, centrally situated, and on the Bellefonte and Meadville turnpike. All these considerations, taken with the offer of donation, determined the site.***

The commissioners received three dollars per day for their work, and from the amount paid them it appears that they averaged twelve and one-half days each in locating the county seat.

George B. Hamilton, Lindsay C. Pritner, and Robert Potter were appointed commissioners by the governor to take deeds of trust from the donors, to lay out the town into lots, to sell the same, and make contracts for the public buildings. The town was laid out in the fall of 1839; in the spring of 1840 work began on the court-house and jail, which were completed in the winter of 1842. Commissioners Hamilton, Pritner and Potter surveyed the county boundary.

It was seen that the straight line which formed the northwestern boundary of the county would operate inconvenienly by arbitrarily dividing tracts and farms between Clarion and Venango counties; causing needless complications in taxation and jurisdiction. Accordingly the Legislature, April 16, 1840, established a new line as follows: "Beginning at the northwest corner of tract of land, number three thousand three hundred and thirty-nine (3,339), being a corner of Farmington township; thence by the northern boundary of tracts numbers five thousand five hundred and two, three thousand six hundred and seventy-four, two thousand eight hundred and thirty-two, and two thousand eight hundred and twenty-nine (5,502, 3,674, 2,832, 2,829), westwardly to the northwest corner of the latter; thence by the western boundary of the same and tract number two thousand eight hundred and nineteen (2,819), southwardly to the southwest corner of the latter; thence by the northern boundary of tracts number two thousand eight hundred and ten, two thousand eight hundred and seven, two thousand eight hundred and five, and two thousand eight hundred and three, (2,810, 2,807, 2,805, 2,803), westwardly to the northwest corner of the latter; thence by the western boundary of the same and tract number two thousand eight hundred and two (2,802), southwardly to the northeast corner of tract number two thousand five hundred and thirty-eight (2,538); thence by the northern boundary of the same and tract number two thousand five hundred and thirty-six (2,536), westwardly to the northwest corner of the latter; thence by the western boundary thereof, southwardly to the southwest corner of the same; thence by the northern boundary of tracts numbers two thousand five hundred and twenty-five and two thousand five hundred and twenty-six (2,525 , 2,526) westwardly to the northwest corner of the latter; thence by the western boundary of the same and tracts number two thousand five hundred and five and two thousand four hundred and ninety-eight (2,505 ,2,498), southwardly to the southwest corner of the latter; thence by the southern boundary of tract number two thousand four hundred ninety-nine (2,499), westwardly to the corner of a tract granted to William Nickle; thence by the eastern boundary of the same and tract number eight hundred and six (806), southwardly to the southeast corner of the latter; thence by the southern boundary of the same westwardly to the northeast corner of tract, number two hundred and twenty-two (222); thence by the eastern boundary of the same southwardly to the southeast corner thereof; thence by the southern boundary of the same and tract number seven hundred and sixty-five (765), westwardly to the northeast corner of tract number four hundred and forty-five (445); thence by the eastern boundary of the same and tracts number two hundred and fifty-eight and eight hundred and fifteen (258, 815), southwardly to the southeast corner of the latter; thence by the southeastern boundary of the same and tracts number eight hundred and twenty and eight hundred and thirty-one (820, 831) southwestwardly to the northeastern boundary of tract number eight hundred and twenty-two (822); thence by the same southeasterly to the corner thereof; thence by the southeastern boundary of the same, south-westwardly to the corner of tract number five thousand seven hundred and twenty-seven (5,727); thence by the northeastern boundary thereof southeastwardly to Richey’s Run; thence down and along said run to the Allegheny River, opposite, or nearly opposite to the northeast corner of Butler county." This line was run by Richard Irwin and G.B. Hamilton.

The act of organization provided that Clarion county should become judicially separate September 10, 1840. It was attached to the Sixth Judicial District, previously consisting of the counties of Erie, Crawford, and Venango, of which James Thompson was president-judge. But, May 21, 1840 — before any court was held — this was changed, and the county was attached to the Eighteenth District, Alexander McCalmont, judge, consisting then of the counties of Potter, McKean, and Jefferson. Christian Myers and Charles Evans were commissioned associates. The first court was held in an unfinished room in the house now belonging to A.H. Alexander, the first Monday of the following November.

The organization of the county for financial purposes was simultaneous with the judicial establishment, but it did not effectually begin until the inauguration of the regular commissioners. The first election took place October 13, 1840. A warm contest arose out of the action of the preliminary Democratic convention; some declaring the nominations illegal on the ground that the nominees were delegates. An opposition ticket was put in the field. The Clarion Republican, the first paper, published by William T. Alexander, opposed the straight-out nominees. The Visitor, an ephemeral sheet, imported from Butler to neutralize the Republican’s influence, championed the regular ticket. The independent candidates emerged victorious. Joseph Goe was chosen prothonotary; John Reed, coroner; George L. Benn, Jacob Miller, and Gideon Richardson, commissioners; John Elliot, Joseph C. King, and George Means, auditors. The regular candidate for sheriff, James Hasson, alone escaped defeat by two votes. The commissioners appointed Amos Williams, treasurer, according to the old constitution.

MILITIA

Under the old organization all able-bodied persons between the ages of twenty-one and forty-five, with several exceptions, were bound to militia service, and were organized into companies, regiments, brigades, etc. They were to drill one day in the year, by companies, and one day by battalions or regiments. A service of seven years entitled to exemption from further service. Those who did not choose to serve were subject to a militia tax, exoneration, or commutation, as it was called.

The citizen soldiery were divided into two classes; the ununiformed, commonly known as "militia" simply, and the uniformed or "volunteers." The first were those who shouldered the gun or broomstick, as the case might be, not out of love for the martial field, but perforce, to escape the alternative fine. When called into service they were drafted singly and not by companies. This branch was always absurdly defective in equipments, and organization; they were dubbed the "cornstalk" militia, and were the subject of much ridicule and pleasantry. Once a year they met to go through the form of a drill and review; the whole was a huge farce.

The volunteers where those who were regularly equipped and disciplined, and made a virtue of a military necessity. They disdained to be classed with the common herd of militia, and were supposed to be always ready for the field. Three companies formed a battalion ; the commander of a battalion of five companies ranked as lieutenant-colonel, and seven were a full regiment. The volunteers held battalion encampments of three days duration every May, meeting the previous day for drill and preparation. This was the only time during the year at which they were required to meet for duty. The militia of Clarion county belonged originally to the Fifteenth Division; those south of the river were attached to the Second Brigade of which General Robert Orr, of Kittanning, was the first commander; those north, to the First Brigade.

In 1849 the militia organization was entirely overhauled; the old system of ununiformed militia was abolished, and each citizen subject to militia duty was obliged to furnish himself with a suitable uniform. According to this act, each county possessed a separate brigade. Clarion county became the Second Brigade, and with McKean, Elk, and Forest counties formed the Twelfth Division.

The uniforms varied; the predominating color was blue with white facings (for artillery yellow); white pantaloons were the rule for dress parade. Two of the most notable companies were the Clarion Artillerists, of Rimersburg and vicinity, and the Clarion Guards of Strattanville. On festive occasions they appear to have been favorites, and called forth the most glowing and patriotic toasts. The artillery company was only nominally so, their battery consisting of one small gun; they had very gay uniforms of blue coat and buff vest, the standing collar of the coat turning yellow; trimmings of cap-cord, and pompon tassels; brass shoulder plates. The uniform of the Clarion Guards was gray swallow-tailed coats, with white facings and golden epaulettes, pants of the same, and high-crowned grenadier caps, with white cockade and cord.

Captain Feely’s Shippenville company was the best uniformed in the county north of the river. Their equipments were of the U.S. Army standard, viz., blue coat and waistcoat, etc.

The field and staff officers in full uniform, with tinsel broidery, chapeaus de bras and gold, epaulettes, presented a glittering spectacle.

About 1845 interest in militia matters began to abate; there was a temporary revival in 1849 upon the reorganization, but in a few years indifference and disorder again thinned the ranks. The organization, however, was preserved, and at the annual May encampment at Curllsville, in 1861, the commander of the brigade, General Reynolds Laughlin, offered the services of his command to Governor Curtin. The govener replied that he had no authority from the national government to send a brigade into the field, but requested him to hold the companies together. General Laughlin put the question to the company offices, but there were differences of opinion, and difficulties arose; many of the officers and men were anxious to join the army, and the brigade dissolved.

There was practically no militia, except the three months men of ‘63, during the war. The present effective and uniform system of volunteer militia was completed by the act of June 12, 1878.

The battalion encampment places for the companies of the First Brigade were on the Georges Berlin farm on the turnpike, and at Jacob Sweitzer’s near Edenburg. The most usual camps of the southern battalions were at Curllsville, and at Colonel John Sloan’s, Limestone township. Under the system of 1849 the whole brigade met annually at Curllsville for a three days review and inspection encampment.

The following is a list of Clarion county volunteer companies and captains, compiled as perfectly as possible:

Fifth Battalion, One Hundred and Ninety-eighth Regiment, Majors, Colin McNutt and J. Bittenbender.

Clarion Guards, Strattanville and vicinity. Captains, Robert Barber, Archibald Borland, S. S. Burnham, William Lemon.

Town Creek Rangers, Redbank township. Captain, J. Algeo.

Jackson Blues, Porter township. Captain, F. Case.

Redbank Artillerists, Redbank township. Captain, A. Space.

Sixth Battalion, Majors, R.D. Lawson and Peter Reed.

Washington Rangers, Callensburg and vicinity. Captains, John L. Reed, _____ Kirk, George Means, Reynolds Laughlin, James Galbraith.

Perry Guards. Captains, ______ Nichols, Robert Stuart.

Clarion Artillerists, Rimersburg and vicinity. Captains, George Means, Peter Reed, R. Huey.

Washington Blues. Captain, I.S. Thompson.

Second Battalion, Venango Volunteers, Major, P. Neely; Lieutenant-colonels,

B. Junkin, William Wilson, C. Neely.

Clarion Blues, Beaver township. Captains, William Wilson, Joseph Myer.

Richland Rifles, Richland township. Captains, John Kribbs, Paul Neely, ______ Prior.

Beaver Riflemen, Beaver township. Captain, D. Feely.

Shippenville Riflemen, Shippenville and vicinity. Captains, Jacob Kahl, D. Feely, J. Thompson, William Nickles.

Greenwood Rangers, Highland and Farmington. Captain, John Hulings.

The Perry Infantry, Perry township, was organized in 1872, with A.J. Davis, captain, succeeded by Captain J.W. Roney, he by O.E. Nail. They were mustered out in 1877. At present the only militia company of Clarion county is Company D, of Clarion, Fourteenth Regiment, N.G.P., M.A.K. Weidner commanding.

POLITICS

Alex. Holman, of Venango, represented the Clarion-Venango district in 1840. David B. Long was Clarion county’s first native representative and served two terms, 1842—43. In 1844 the Democratic State ticket, Shunk for governor against Markle, Whig, was amalgamated with the national, James K. Polk and George M. Dallas, against Clay and Frelinghuysen. "Polk, Dallas, and Shunk, and the tariff of ‘42!" was the battle cry of the "locofocos." The contest was a fierce one, as all the early State and presidential ones were.

Everybody was then terribly in earnest over politics; the local newspapers of that day are burdened with vituperations, protestations, and editorial appeals, liberally spiced with italics, and with large capitals, as heavy artillery. Then, as now, there was no lack of personalities.

Clarion was a strong Democratic county from the start. In 1840 Harrison had 1366 votes against 648 for Van Buren.

For governor David R. Porter, Democrat, 1500; J. Banks, Whig, 555.

Polk, Dallas, and Shunk’s majority averaged 1069.

STATISTICS

The census of 1840 did not take cognizance of the new county and therefore the population for that year cannot be exactly given. It was estimated at 12,500.

In 1841 there were 8 sheriff sales; in 1842, 10; the lowest and highest number before 1846.

COUNTY FINANCES

Taxation for county purposes during the period 1840—45 was very light, as almost enough was realized by the sale of lots to defray the expense of the public buildings. By the 1st of, January, 1844, nearly all the borough lots were sold and the total proceeds to that date, including interest, was $27,531.64. Of this the donors obtained half, leaving a net, sum of $13,765.82 to the county.

During and after the construction of the first court-house and jail, the commissioners issued "county scrip," viz., small notes redeemable by the county, and which passed for currency. The issuing of such notes was contrary to the U.S. statutes, but was connived at.

In 1845 orders to the amount of $48.98 were issued for fox and wild-cat scalps; 50 cents for each fox, and 87 for each wild-cat scalp.

December 31, 1845, the debt of the county was $1,653.51. Balance in the treasury $368.12.

 
* Senate and House Journal.

** Now Ritchie’s.

*** It is not improbable, too, that Hon., afterwards Judge Charles Evans, whose lands adjoined south, used his influence with the commissioners in the selection of the spot.

SOURCE:  Page(s) 101-112, History of Clarion County, A.J. Davis, A.J.; Syracuse, N.Y.: D. Mason & Co. 1887