Chapter XLVIII
History of Heath Township 

The seventeenth township organized was Heath. It was taken from Barnett, in, 1847, and was called for Elijah Heath, one of the first settlers of the county, and for many years a prominent citizen of Brookville. It is bounded on the north by Forest county, from which it is divided by the Clarion River, on the east by Polk township and Elk county, on the south by .Eldred, Warsaw and Polk, and on the west by Barnett.

Geology. - This region being an almost unbroken wilderness, very little .coal or limestone is found. Wood being in such great abundance, no attention has been paid to the small coal deposits. The most of the uplands being rugged, unbroken wastes, the massive rocks of the Homewood sandstone being the principal features of the geology. In the region of Raught’s Mills, huge boulders of these rocks are found, which from their gigantic size, deserve the celebrity they have acquired as curiosities.

Early Settlers. - The first settlers in Heath township appear to have been Job Carr, James Aharah and John Wynkoop. Mr. K.L. Blood, of Brookville, says of the early settlement of this region: "My father took me, in the fall of 1833, to what was then Ridgway township, now Heath. Job Carr lived there, and was running a saw- mill, and was then building a dam across the Clarion River. James Watterson, of Armstrong, now Clarion county, had made a settlement at the mouth of Spring Creek, and built a saw- mill in 1833, and a man named Ransom and Ralph Hill, had built a shanty, and took up what was then supposed to be vacant land, in the Beech Bottom, now owned by Calvin Rodgers." This mill of Job Carr, which was about one mile above Millstone, was the first mill built in what is now Heath township. Mr. Carr took out and ran to market the first lumber. The first school- house was built at Lathrop’s, and the first church was built on the Edeburn farm, about 1883.

Lumbering has always been the principal business of the township, Heath being noted for its fine timber, and the majority of those operating in the township have resided elsewhere. One of the principal steam mills was owned by George G. Frazier. This property has recently been sold by Mr. Frazier. The other mills in operation in 1887, are those of L.C. Wynkoop, of Pittsburgh, and William Dickey, of Brookville.

Farms. - The rugged wilderness condition of Heath has precluded farming to any great extent, but some good farm land is found especially along Spring Creek, where farms have been opened up, the best of which are those of Samuel Wallace, R.S. Winlack, William Kelly, George Frazier and William Crispin. The only post- office in Heath township is Dunkle. There is some timber yet to be found in Heath, and deer and bears are found amid its rocky wilderness, while its streams especially Clear Creek, are noted for excellent speckled trout.

Elections. - The first election was held in Heath township, February 22, 1847, and resulted in the election of the following persons:* Justice of the peace, John Kenning, John Wynkoop, Abram Winsor; supervisors, Abram Winsor, David Rankin, William Dougherty, John Kenning, D.H. Dimmon; assessors, Abram Winsor, John Kenning, John G. Cayle; auditors, Henry Raught, David Rankin, Patrick O’Neil, Abram Winsor, John Wynkoop, George Vasbinder, John G. Cayle; constable, Robert Aharra; judge of election, David Rankin; inspectors, John Knopsnyder, D.H. Dimmon, John Kenning; school directors, Henry Raught, John Wynkoop, David Rankin, Abram Winsor, D.H. Dimmon, Patrick O’Neil, William Dougherty.

At the election held February 15, 1887, the following were elected: Justice of the peace, Naman Kirkland; constable, Michael Bott; supervisors, Adam Hidinger and Jacob Hidinger; school directors, Adam Hidinger and R.M. Painter; auditor, Elrod Aharrah; assessor, R.M. Painter; tax collector, Martin Disque; treasurer, Thompson Crow; clerk, Mathias Meizer; poor overseer, S.H. Wallace; judge of election, William Aharrah; inspectors, J.B. Haight and T.J. Crow. The other justice of the peace is William Kelly. The other members of the school board are John B. Haight, S.H. Wallace, James Aharrah and A.J. Harriger.

The number of taxables in Heath township in 1849, were 62;in 1856, 56; in 1863, 37; 1870, 78; 1880, 65;1886, 84. The population by census of 1850, was 203 ; 1860, 214; 1870, 247 ; 1880, 207.

The number of acres seated land in Heath, in 1886, were 5,267; valuation, $14,737; average value per acre, $2.79;one saw- mill, valuation, $300; number of acres unseated, 5,287; valuation, $16,107; average value per acre, $3.06; number of horses, 47; valuation, $2,170;average value, $46; number of cows, 63; valuation, $778; average value, $12.35; occupations, 30; valuation, $920; average, $30.61. Total valuation subject to county tax, $350.12. Money at interest, $1,158.

The number of schools in Heath township, for the year ending June 7, 1886, were 4; length of term, 5 months; number of female teachers, 5; average salary of teachers, $20; number of male scholars, 19 female, 19; average attendance, 22; per cent of attendance, 60; cost per scholar, $2.33 mills levied for school purposes, 13. Total amount of tax levied for school purposes, $5,581.

* This is the election return just as given in the election docket, which does not specify who were elected justice of the peace, supervisor, assessor, or school directors.

Source:  Page(s) 628-630, History of Jefferson County by Kate M. Scott. Syracuse, N.Y., D. Mason & Co., 1888.

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