Chapter XLI
History of Jenks and Tionesta Townships 

Jenks township was organized in 1838, and made the tenth in line. It was taken from Barnett, and comprised all that portion lying north of the Clarion River. It was named after Dr. John W. Jenks, who was of the associate judges of the county.

At the same time Tionesta was also organized, making the present township, being also taken from Barnett township, so that these two have very properly been called the twin townships. Tionesta was called for a stream of that name.

Taxables and Population. -  In 1842 the taxables in Jenks township numbered 16, and in 1849, 32. The population in 1840 was 40, and in 1850, 88.

The number of taxables in Tionesta in 1842 was 9, and in 1849, 24. The population in 1840 was 27, and in 1850 it had increased to 106.

First Election in Jenks Township. -  At an election held in Jenks township in 1838 the following township officers were elected: Constable, Cyrus Blood; supervisors, Cyrus Blood, John Hunt; school directors, Cyrus Blood, John Hunt, Aaron Brockway, Aaron Brockway, Jr., Josiah Lacy, John Lewis; auditors, John Hunt, Aaron Brockway, Sr., Aaron Brockway, Jr. ; overseers of the poor, Cyrus Blood, Aaron Brockway, Sr.; town clerk, John Hunt; fence viewer, Aaron Brockway, Jr.; inspector of election, John Hunt.

First Election in Tionesta Township. -  At an election held in Tionesta township in 1838 the following were elected: Burgess, D.W. Mead; inspector of election, John Nolf.

Colonel Cyrus Blood was the pioneer of Jenks and Tionesta townships. About the time that Brookville was first laid out Colonel Blood, who was residing in Hagerstown, Md., had a dream that impressed him greatly. He thought he was traveling northward, and came to a beautiful country, with magnificent trees, springs of the purest water, and the land rolling and fertile. He awoke, clapping his hands and crying, "Come on, boys, my fortune is made!"

Unable to get rid of the impression this dream had made, Mr. Blood started northward to look out for such a location as his vision indicated. He traveled all over this tier of counties without finding what he desired, until lie penetrated into the wilds of what was afterwards Jenks township, when he realized that he had found the spot described in his dream. He at once purchased six thousand acres of land and proceeded to clear a farm in the wilderness, he being the first white man to set foot in Jenks township. His home was for a long time called "Blood’s Settlement." He returned to Hagerstown and brought his family to the new home in 1833. He made arrangements for about twenty families of his neighbors and friends from Hagerstown to follow him to the new settlement; but some time after he had arrived at his new home, he was one day, while working in the woods, suddenly impressed with the idea that his presence was needed in his old home, and so strong was this feeling that he threw down his tools, mounted his horse and started for Hagerstown. On his arrival he found that cholera had broken out and devastated the place, leaving very few of those whom he expected to join him in building up his new home in the wilderness of Jefferson county, his brother, Parker Blood, being one of the victims. In those days there were no telegraph and very lit-tie mail facilities, and Mr. Blood had no news of the cholera until he reached Hagerstown. This terrible visitation put an end to the colonization scheme, only one of those who had intended coming to join the Bloods in Jefferson county, Trumbull Hunt, settling in the place.

When Mr. Hunt moved his family he had to cut his way through the woods from Brookville, camping out each night at the end of the road made, several days being consumed in making the trip from what is now Clarington to the present site of Marienville. At that time that region of country was full of Indians, and panthers, wild cats, deer and bear. Foxes, mink and marten abounded, while elk were also occasionally seen, and some very narrow escapes were made from panthers, wolves and wild cats. Parker P. Blood, the youngest son of Colonel Blood, who was not yet two years old when his family moved into the woods, remembers being chased by these ferocious animals; but he says his worst fright was caused by being chased by a large buck. This deer, which had been caught when a small fawn, after a couple of years escaped to the woods and became quite wild and cross. It had been accustomed to man long enough to lose all fear of him; and did not hesitate to attack any one it met. The animal, when captured, had been adorned with a small sheep bell, which was suspended from its neck by a leather strap, which was securely sewed together by a "wax end," so that he was easily recognized. On one occasion Parker Blood, then a boy of about twelve years, had been sent on an errand to a neighbor living some four or five miles distant, and on his return home, while passing through a chopping, he heard the "tingle" of a sheep bell, and looking back, to his horror discovered the big buck in swift pursuit. Mr. Blood says he made "tall time," and reached a small hemlock into which he climbed just in time to escape the infuriated animal, which took up its position beneath him, snuffing the air, stamping the ground with its sharp hoofs, and occasionally shaking the tree with its huge antlers. The boy, as night came on, was devising means of escape, when a dog came along and engaged the deer in a fight, and while this was going on he slipped from the tree and ran home.

Game was so plenty that a good hunter could kill seven or eight deer in one day, while in the streams trout by the hundreds could be caught. This abundance of game and fish caused the Indians to frequent this region, but they were always peaceable and friendly visitors. On one occasion a party of them came to Colonel Hunt’s and asked for supper, throwing down a fine saddle of venison, which they said was to pay for their meal, but intimated that they wanted some of it cooked for their supper. Marien Blood went to work to cook it for them, and the more she cooked the more they ate, until only the bones remained. Her brothers and sister yet delight to remind her of the time the Indians gave her a saddle of venison in exchange for their supper.

As soon as he got his family settled and his farm cleared Colonel Blood began to agitate the idea of a new county, and it was owing to his perseverance and energy that the county to which he gave the name of Forest was established, April 11, 1848. It was formed from the counties of Jefferson and Venango, taking from the former that portion lying north of the Clarion River, and which comprised the townships of Jenks and Tionesta.

It was through the efforts of Judge Gillis, then member of the State Senate from the district, that .the bill creating Forest county was passed. He had passed in the Senate a resolution creating the new county, which also passed the House of Representatives, and is the only instance in the history of the State where a new county was created by a joint resolution. It was at once approved by the governor and thereby became a law. It was near the close of the session, and the joint rules would not allow of its passage in any other form. Judge Gillis did this to oblige his fellow pioneer in the wilds of the new county, Colonel Cyrus Blood. Subsequently Forest county was enlarged, as it at first only comprised four townships, with the county seat at Marienville. The new town Colonel Blood had named for his eldest daughter Marien, who, as the wife of Mr. John D. Hunt (brother of Trumbull Hunt, who came with her father), still resides on the old homestead at Marienville, which continued to be the county seat until 1868, when the county was enlarged and the county seat moved to Tionesta, a town situated at the western side of the county. ‘That portion of the county made up of our seceding townships of Jenks and Tionesta is still called "Old Forest." Colonel Blood was the first associate judge of the new county, and was well- known throughout Jefferson county, every part of which he had visited as county surveyor. He died at his home in Marienville in 1860. Of his children, besides the daughter already mentioned, Mrs. Clarine Rohrer also resides at Marienville; Mrs. Louisiana Hunt (wife of Dr. R.S. Hunt) died in Brookville, June 26, 1881; Kennedy L. and Parker P., the sons, reside in Brookville. The latter remained on the farm at Marienville until the summer of 1852, when he joined an engineer corps, who were surveying a railroad almost along the route now traversed by the Foxburg Narrow Guage Road. In the winter of that year he taught school in Farmington township, Clarion county, and the following April went to Brookville to clerk in the store of Cummins & Blood.

Source:  Page(s) 561-564, 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 (

Jefferson County Genealogy Project Notice:

These electronic pages cannot be reproduced in any format, for any presentation, without prior written permission.

Return to the History of Jefferson County Index

Return to the Jefferson County Genealogy Project

(c) Jefferson County Genealogy Project