Paint Township

Created: Monday, 14 September 2015 Last Updated: Monday, 14 September 2015 Written by Administrator Print Email

HISTORY OF THE TOWNSHIP

Paint, the seventeenth of the twenty-five townships of Somerset County, was named after Paint Creek and formed in 1837 from a part of Shade township.

John Fyock is believed to have been the first settler, and to have cleared the first land within the territory which now constitutes Paint township. Joseph and David Troyer, who came from the eastern part of the state, were also early pioneers. Almost contemporary with them were: Melker Cessec, Philip Hoffman and Christian Kauffman.

The first gristmill in the township (a log structure) was erected at the mouth of Shade creek, by David Livingston, in 1812. He also built the first sawmill about the same time. The first store was opened by Jacob Berkebile at Hillsboro’ in 1848. Mr. Berkebile is now living in Shade township. His successor in the mercantile business was Hiram Boyts.

There never was a distillery in the township, so far as the present inhabitants (1884) know. The manufacturing interests have been very few. There is one woolen mill, which was built about the same time with the first gristmill, and near the same place. It is still in operation.

Coal abounds throughout the township. As yet it has not been mined to any considerable extent.

The first brick house in the township was erected by Daniel Berkey. It is the only brick building at present.

About 1811, Joseph Vickroy and Conrad Piper built Mary Ann forge, five miles below Shade furnace, and near the junction of Shade creek and Stony creek. Richard Geary, the father of Gov. John W. Geary, was the millwright who built the forge for the owners. Subsequently David Livingston owned the forge and operated it for several years. It is stated that pig- iron was brought on horseback from Bedford county to this forge. In return bar-iron and salt from the Conemaugh salt works was carried back.

The first church was erected near Livingston’s mill by the Mennonites, Reformed and Lutherans. The German Baptists built the second. The first sermon in the township was preached by Jacob Blough, a Mennonite minister. The first free school was taught in 1843. J.B. Stickler was one of the first teachers.

Paint township did not attract the earliest settlers of the county. The land was not taken up rapidly, and there were but few farms in the township until other settlements of the county had become large and flourishing. The eastern part of Paint still abounds in timber, and extensive tracts are still unimproved. The woodlands of this part of the county were the favorite hunting- grounds of the early settlers. Game of all kinds was very abundant, and for some years the pioneers depended largely upon it for the means of subsistence.

BIOGRAPHIES

Henry Custer -- John Custer -- Samuel J. Custer -- Henry Foust -- Philip Hoffman -- Joseph Lehman

David Livingston -- Jonas A. Weaver

CHURCHES

Bethel United Brethren -- Mount Zion Evangelical Lutheran -- St. Thomas Evangelical Lutheran

TAX LISTS

1837

TOWNS & VILLAGES

Benson -- Bethel -- Paint -- Windber

ARROW
Arrow is a small village in the eastern part of the township. This village sprang up after the Babcock Lumber Company began operating its large sawmill at this place in 1901. In 1914, it became a mining town when the Arrow Coal Company opened a mine here. The town is almost deserted at the present time (1932).

HAGEVO
Hagevo is a small mining town in the southeastern part of the township. It was laid out by the Shade Creek Coal Company in 1904.

HILLSBORO
Hillsboro is a small hamlet in the southern part of the township. The first store in Paint Township was opened by Jacob Berkebile at Hillsboro in 1848.

PRETORIA
Pretoria is a small mining town in the western part of the township. It was started by Dr. John H. Gardner, John Kurtz and Norman Shaffer in 1900. Norman Shaffer was very much interested in the Boer War and he named the new town after Pretoria in South Africa. More houses were built by the Hess Brothers for the coal company in 1914.

RUMMEL
Rummel is a small village in the northeast part of the township. It was founded by John M. Rummel in 1875. Rummel postoffice was established in 1881 and John M. Rummel was its first postmaster.

SEANOR
Seanor, formerly Foustwell, is a mining town in the western part of the township. David Livingston erected the first grist mill and the first saw mill in Paint Township at this place in 1812. Seanor was laid out by the Berwind-White Coal Mining Company in 1900. More houses were built by the Pot Ridge Coal Company in 1920. Seanor postoffice was established in 1892, and Samuel Foust was the first postmaster. It was then known as Foustwell.