History of Barnett Township 

Barnett is the sixth township, organized in 1833, and was named for Joseph Barnett, the pioneer of Jefferson county. It was taken from Rose township, and until 1838 comprised all that part of Jefferson county lying north of the Clarion river. This township is now bounded on the north by Forest county, from which it is divided by the Clarion River; on the east by Heath township; on the south by Eldred, and on the west by Clarion county.

Topography and Geology. -  Situated at the western side of the county, Barnett is one of the northern tier of townships. The greater part of the township is a wilderness. Its northern side is a long slope five hundred feet in height, stretching to the Clarion River. Its southern side, bordering on Eldred, is traversed nearly its whole length by the ravine of Cathers Run, which heads at the eastern side of the township, and deepens rapidly westward. A narrow strip, therefore, of high land, trending east and west, occupies the center of the township, along which runs its main road, leading from Brookville to Clarington, in Forest county.

The coal beds are of the Mercer group, and are from 2' to 3' in thickness, and where opened has been found good, clean coal. Iron ore is also found, that at Orin Butterfield's having been tested by Mr. S.W. Smith, of Brookville, and found to be 2' on the west face, and 4' on the eastern face of the, hill. It is a brown hematite ore. This deposit might become valuable were there any railroad facilities to, allow of its being brought to market.

Early Settlers. -  The first to settle in what is now Barnett township, were William, George and Samuel Armstrong, who came from Crawford county about 1827, David and Joseph Reynolds, John Cook, John H. Maze and Alexander Murray came about 1829. David Reynolds cleared the first land, and made the first improvements.

Alexander Forsythe, Robert Wallace, Richard Burns, and William Thomas also came at an early day. Orin Butterfield came from Watertown, Jefferson county, N.Y., in 1837. Probably the first birth was Evaline Armstrong, daughter of William Armstrong, and the first record to be found of any marriages are those of Thomas Maze, who married Martha Hall in 1836, and Robert Hulings and Polly Maze, in March, 1837; then in 1838 William Maze and Sophia Herron were married by Orin Butterfield, Esq.

The first deaths were those of James Maze, who died in 1831, and was buried in what is said to be the first graveyard, at the old school-house at Troutman Run; then David Reynolds and Alexander Murray died about, 1838, and were the first buried in the grave-yard on the Armstrong land, at Clarington.

The first school- house was built at the mouth of Troutman Run. It was built of round logs, and a huge rock formed one end of the building, against which the fireplace was made. The next was built at Butterfields, in 1840. The first saw- mill was built by William Armstrong, at the mouth of Maple Creek, about 1829, and the first lumber taken out about 1829 by David Reynolds. The next saw- mill was erected by John Cook, at the mouth of Thom's Run.

The first grist- mill was built by William Armstrong, on the Clarion River, at what is now known as Clarington, and he opened the first store at the same place about the year 1830. Charles Johnson afterwards built a saw- mill and opened a store on Maple Creek.

The first hotel was kept by Alexander Murray, afterwards by his widow, then Grove Reed kept the first licensed house. Oramel Thing also kept a hotel at an early day, on the Clarion River. The first blacksmith shop was started by Mr. Armstrong at his mill, and an Englishman named Andrew Clough, was the first blacksmith. The old settlers now living are: Mrs. Folly Williams, a sister of the Armstrong brothers, who has resided in Barnett township about fifty- five years, and is past eighty years of age. Orin Butterfield has resided there fifty years. Mr. Butterfield first purchased the farm where he now resides from Richard Burns and William Thomas, who had articled for the same with C.C. Gaskill, agent for the Holland Land Company, but had made no payments upon it. He has resided upon it ever since, and has now a good farm of about two hundred acres, and four hundred acres of timber land, from which most of the timber has been cut. Mr. Butterfield has been one of the most prominent citizens of the township, having been four times elected justice of the peace. He has now a comfortable, pleasant home, the result of his hard labor, and where he is enjoying the evening of his days in comfort and luxury. He is over eighty years of age, but is as hale and sprightly as a man of sixty.

Among other prominent settlers of later years are: John Dobson, whose wife is a daughter of John H. Maze, she having been born and raised in the wilds of Barnett; A.J. Maze, Mrs. Dobson's brother, John Agnew, William Painter, the Wallace brothers and G.G. Frazier.

Present business. -  The only store in the township is that of S. & W. Shields, at Clarington. There is no hotel now in Barnett. The saw- mills are those of Abram Braden, above site of old Armstrong mill, George G. Frazier (this mill was, in 1887, disposed of to a Reynoldsville company), William Wallace, George Shawkey, George Means, and Peter Stahlman; A.C. Wiggins does the blacksmithing for the community with a shop at Clarington.

There are three school- houses, at Butterfield's, Wallace's, and at Pine Grove. There is no church in Barnett, but one is about to be built at Pine Grove.

The present grave-yards are located, one at Pine Grove, one on the James Daniels farm, and one on the Wing farm, now Shields place.

There are now two post- offices in Barnett -  the Clarington office having been in 1887 moved to the Jefferson side of the Clarion River, and the office of Ella, on Hominy Ridge, at William Painter's.

Farms. -  Although a lumbering region, Barnett boasts of some excellent farms, well cultivated, and with good buildings, and upon which the finest varieties of apples, peaches, pears, cherries and grapes are grown. The best farms in the township are those of William and Archie Wallace, Grant heirs. Orin Butterfield, J.W. Daniels, John and James Truby and Thadeus Songer.

The stock raised in Barnett is confined to the common grades.

Elections. -  At an election held in the township of Barnett, in the year 1833, the following named persons were elected township officers: Constable, John Maze; supervisors, David Mead, William Armstrong; auditors, John Wynkoop, William Manross, Edwin Forsythe; overseers of the poor, Enos Myers, John Maze.

At the election held February 15, 1887, the following persons were elected: Constable, D.L. Henry; supervisors, Michael Asel and James Cook; school directors, John Campbell and W.W. Braden; auditors, Henry Dunkle and A.R. Braden; poor overseers, J.R. Cook and J.H. Grant; assessor, W.W. Braden; township clerk, W.A. Mathews; collector, W.W. Braden; treasurer, William Wallace; judge of election, W.W. Callen; inspectors, A.R. Braden and Robert Wolford. The justices of the peace in Barnett township are J.F. Songer, John H. Kuhns. The members of the school board previously elected are Robert Wolford, W.W. Braden, John Coon, O.D. Butterfield.

Population and Taxables. -  The number of taxables in Barnett township in 1835 was 70; in 1842, 67; in 1849, 75; in 1856, 78; in 1863, 50; in 1870, 67; in 1880, 92; in i886, 103. The population in 1840, by census, was 259; 1850, 579; 1860, 303; 1870, 223; 1880, 296.

Valuation of property. -  The valuation of real and personal property in Barnett township, according to the triennial assessment of 1886, gives the number of acres seated land as 5,213; valuation, $13,625 ; average value per acre, $2.61. Grist and saw- mills, valuation, $550. Acres unseated, 2,844; valuation, $11,264; average per acre, $3.96. Number of horses, 44; valuation, $1,660; average value, $37.02. Number of cows, 65; valuation, $663; average, $10.20. Occupations, 30; valuation, $1,435; average value, $47.83. Total valuation, subject to county tax, $29,442.

School statistics. -  Whole number of schools in 1886, 4; average number of months, taught, 4; 1 male and 3 female teachers; average salary of teachers, $23; number of scholars, males 53, females 44; average number attending school, 53; average per cent of attendance, 65; average cost per month, 83 cents; number of mills levied for school purposes, 13; total amount of tax levied for school and building purposes, $536.85.

Source:  Page(s) 544-547, History of Jefferson County by Kate M. Scott. Syracuse, N.Y., D. Mason & Co., 1888.

Contributed by Nathan Zipfel for use by the Jefferson County Genealogy Project (

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