Crawford County, Pennsylvania
History & Biography
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GREENWOOD TOWNSHIP—LOCATION—AREA—POPULATION—PHYSICAL FEATURES—FIELD'S CLAIM—EARLY
SETTLERS—EARLY MILLS—DISTILLERIES—EARLY TEACHERS—GLENDALE—WEST
BOROUGH OF GENEVA—POPULATION—INCORPORATION—ELECTION—OFFICERS—EARLY
GREENWOOD TOWNSHIP lies on the southern border of the county, between East Fallowfield and Fairfield. It was organized in 1829, from portions of Fallowfield and Fairfield, and lost a small portion of its territory by the formation of Union. The place authorized by the Assembly in 1829, for holding elections, was the cabin of Thomas Abbott. Its area is 19,336 acres, valued on the tax duplicate of 1882 at $359,494. The population in 1850 was 1,127; in 1860, 1,729; in 1870, 1,782, and in 1880, 1,614.
The surface is generally level, but a little broken in the northeast part. Conneaut Outlet forms the northern boundary, and Conneaut Marsh, along its <page 553> banks, has a width of about half a mile, and is from 100 to 200 feet below the general level of the land. Most of this land has recently been made tillable by the public excavation of the channel of Conneaut Outlet. The township is well watered by numerous springs, the outpourings of which form rivulets threading the land in all directions. The soil is a fertile, gravelly loam, well adapted to dairying and fruit culture. The principal timber consists of beech, maple, pine and hemlock.
The southern portion of the township is a part of Field's claim. Field was a wealthy Philadelphia Quaker, who purchased a large tract of land in this county, and gave 200 acres, or half the tract to each settler fulfilling the requirements of residence and improvements necessary to perfect his title. Many of the first settlers obtained their farms in this way.
Among the earliest settlers in the western and central parts of Greenwood were James Abbott, Abraham Martin and John McMichael, who paid tax on chattel property in 1798; and Samuel and Joseph Anderson,
Abraham Abbott, Robert Adams, Hamilton Armour, Graviner Bailey, Alexander Clark, John Cook, Arthur Dillon, Robert Hood, John Harkins, Moses Logan, Thomas McMichael, Robert Power, Samuel Power, Uriah Peterson, Francis Porter, Thomas Ross, John Sutton, Cornelius Smock and William and Asher Williams; all of whom had settled prior to 1804. A little later John Anderson, Jonathan Culver, Isaac Hazen, Andrew Mellon and Thomas Peterson were settlers. In the eastern part the earliest settlers included Thomas Abbott, William Brooks, Richard Custard, James Hackett, Daniel Harkins, William and John McFadden, James, John, James, Jr. and William Peterson, Abraham Williams, Joseph Work and others. As shown by the above list of pioneers, Greenwood was soon thickly settled. Very few years had elapsed in present century before nearly every tract in what is now the township had one or more occupants, and the fertility of the soil as well as the contentment of the pioneers is attested by the fact that most of the pioneer families are still well represented in the township. Many of them were of Scotch-Irish extraction, while quite a number were of German ancestry. Most of them emigrated from Mifflin, Cumberland, Lycoming and other counties in the Susquehanna Valley.
The only two tracts patented by individuals were settled by their proprietors, Samuel and Robert Power, who were brothers, and hailed from Mifflin County. They first visited and selected their future homes in 1795, but did not settle permanently upon them immediately. Robert Power took possession about 1800, and remained a farmer on his place until his death, which occurred in September, 1824; he left three children. Samuel remained an unmarried man until 1804, when he wedded and brought his wife from her home in Mifflin County, to the little cabin already prepared in the wilderness. He afterward removed to Fairfield Township, and died in Union
September 6, 1848, aged about seventy-two years. He was a farmer, a Democrat, a Presbyterian, and by his two
marriages had nine children, six of whom yet survive.
Abraham Martin is said to have emigrated from the eastern part of the State to his farm of 400 acres in this township in 1794. He was an old bachelor and died in 1820. Asher and William Williams, two brothers were among the earliest, but the date of their advent in the new country is unknown. They settled in the southern part of the township. Samuel Anderson accompanied Samuel Power from Mifflin County in 1796, and settled near the center of the township. His brothers, Joseph and John a little later removed to the same vicinity. Joseph afterward moved away but Samuel and John remained in the township through life; the latter was unmarried. In 1797 Richard Custard, a native of Chester County, came from the west branch of the Susque- <page 554> hanna, and settled upon a tract in the eastern part on Tract 29, where he [r]emained till death. He here kept the Black Horse Tavern, the first public house of entertainment in the township. It was located on the State road, leading from Pittsburgh to Meadville, and in those times the most traveled thoroughfare in the county, and was a welcome and much frequented shelter for the weary travelers. The tavern was open prior to the war of 1812, and continued probably twenty years.
John McMichael came from the Susquehanna to Meadville in 1797, and in the following spring removed to the northwestern part of Greenwood, where he remained until his death in March, 1817. James Abbott, hailing from New Jersey, came in 1797 or earlier, and his brothers Abraham and Thomas soon after joined him, the latter
in 1802. They all remained in the township till death. John Sutton, also from New Jersey, settled on the site of Geneva in 1803, and remained until his death in old age. The entire journey was made in a wagon.
Robert Adams emigrated from Ireland to Philadelphia in 1799, and two years later with a yoke of omen made his way to Tract 418 in the northwestern part of the township, still owned by his descendants. He was a soldier in the war of 1812, and died May 17, 1844. Alexander Clark, a Virginian, came in 1802, and settled in the
northwest part. In 1803 Francis Porter emigrated from Cumberland County. He settled on the tract upon which the Presbyterian Church now stands. William Brooks emigrated from Ireland to Philadelphia in 1798, thence in company with John Cook and family and John McDermont he emigrated to South Shenango Township, and in
1808 he came to Greenwood. He was a soldier in 1812, and in 1813 removed to Geneva, where he died. John Cook also settled in Greenwood on Tract l8. He was an Irishman and a life-long citizen.
Hamilton Armour was of Irish extraction, and settled in the southern part. Graviner Bailey died about 1812, leaving a family, which soon after left this vicinity and became scattered. Arthur Dillon was an Irishman of roving proclivities, married but childless. He died in Mercer County. Robert Hood settled in the western part of the township. Daniel Harkins, brother of John, was also an early settler. Moses Logan was Justice of the Peace in 1810, and for many years thereafter. James Peterson, father of Uriah, was originally from Now Jersey, but directly from Fayette County. He settled in the eastern part of the township, where he died in extreme old age, leaving a numerous posterity. Thomas Ross came to the township a single man, and like all other bachelors in those days paid a tax for enjoying the state of single blessedness. James Hackett was an old bachelor. Abraham Williams settled on a tract of land located near the township center. Joseph Thatcher came from Washington County in 1810 with his family and wife's sister's family, the journey from Pittsburgh being made on horseback. He died in 1862, aged seventy-two years.
The settlements in Greenwood, like those of other parts of the county, were not without their early mills. The first saw and grist mill was started on McMichael's Run by John McMichael in 1799. A mill has ever since been in operation on its site, and is still owned by the McMichaels. Mellon's Mill and others were afterward built on the same stream. James Peterson built the first grist-mill in the eastern part, the date of its erection preceding the year 1812. It was used until 1840. William Williams operated a saw-mill in the south part of the township prior to 1810.
Thomas Ross was probably the first distiller, having a still in operation prior to 1804. Robert Power, Richard Custard and Samuel Power also had <page 555> distilleries. In those days if a settler made any pretentions [sic] to respectability in the popular estimation he must have at his cabin a barrel of whisky for his own use and the entertainment of his visitors. The article was then cheap, and the copper stills were usually operated steadily during the winter season. Some distillers had one and others had two stills. Their capacity per week was from twelve to thirty bushels of rye, this being the only grain used. A bushel of rye would yield three gallons of distilled spirits. What little remained after the home trade was supplied[,] found a ready sale at Pittsburgh or at Erie.
James McEntire taught school near McMichael's Mill in 1807. Sarah McQueen, the Adamses, McMichaels, Mellons and others attended. George Cather was also one of the early teachers in the township. He held a school in a log-cabin near the Custard place. Colvin Hatch taught a term in the northeast part of the township about 1821, and the year following John Limber instructed the youth in that vicinity. Betsy Quigley, sister to John Quigley, of Watson's Run, held a term about two miles west of Geneva in a log schoolhouse in 1,817, and the next year John Andreas taught in the same place.
Glendale—Custard's Postoffice—is a hamlet in the northeast part of the township. It contains two harness shops, two blacksmith shops, two stores, a steam and water grist-mill and saw-mill owned by Sylvester Loper and Joseph Williams, and a few dwellings. Ezra Peterson built the first saw-mill at this place.
West Greenwood Postoffice is located in the extreme western part of the township.
J. J. Coulter now owns and operates the grist-mill formerly known as McMichael's. William Mellon owns a saw and gristmill on McMichael's Run. Charles McMichael operates a saw-mill near the railroad about a mile west of Geneva, and Hunter & Hall have one in the interior of the township.
Greenfield Presbyterian Church was organized June 22, 1854, with twenty members. Rev. James Coulter supplied the charge for a time, and Rev. George Scott, the first pastor, was installed June 27, 1860, and released June l0, 1862. His successor, Rev. David Waggoner, was installed July 1, 1864. The congregation has since been supplied, Rev. I. W. McVitty being the last minister in charge. The church building was erected at a cost of $1,500 the year of organization. It is located in the southwest part of the township, and was repaired in the fall of 1883. Regular services have not been held for several years on account of a diminished congregation. Elliott Logan and John R. Slaven were the two first Elders. J. H. Tiffany, James Hamilton and T. J. Miller have since been elected, Mr. Miller being now the only Elder remaining in the congregation.
Greenwood Free-Will Baptist Church was organized with six members January 22, 1832, by Rev. George Collins, the first pastor. The first members were Caleb and Margaret Newbold, Jacob H. Bortner, Jacob and Nancy Cook and A. Turner. Early meetings were held in private houses and schoolhouses, and a log church was built about 1843 at the east line of Tract 37, in the south central part of the township. It was superseded in 1874 by a handsome brick structure, 40x50 feet, erected at a cost of $3,500. The present membership is ninety.
Among its pastors have been Elders George Collins, James Haskin, William Ray, Rittenhouse, John C. Manning, Harvey, Gill, J. C. Nye, A. C. Bush, J. B. Page and L. F. Sherritt.
At Peterson's Schoolhouse, in the eastern part of the township, a United Brethren class numbering seventeen meet for worship. It was organized <page 556> about 1868, and among its early members were Ragan Peterson, the first class leader; Darius William, Steward; William Loper, David Phillips and William P. Biles. The class is connected with Geneva Mission Station. A society of this denomination flourished in this locality many years ago.
BOROUGH OF GENEVA.
Geneva, a borough of about 400 people, 346 by the census of 1880, is situated in the northern part of
Greenwood Township. A petition praying for its incorporation and signed by thirty-two citizens representing that
the proposed borough contained not more than forty-six free-holders; was filed August 10, 1871. It was approved
by the grand jury November 9, 1871, and the report confirmed by the Court January 23, 1872. It was further
directed that the first election be held at the schoolhouse on the third Friday of March, 1872, and for that purpose
William W. Gelvin was appointed to give due notice of the election. DeWitt Harroun was appointed Judge, and
William Billings and Alfred M. Abbott, Inspectors. The first officers were Jonathan Smock, Burgess; J. D.
Christ, Cyrus Carman, Cyrus Adsit, D. E. Smith and J. H. Tiffany, Council; J. H. Tiffany, Clerk; James Hood, Constable. Subsequent Burgesses have been D. W. Harroun, 1873-74; A. B. Cushman, 1875; W. W. Gelvin,
1876; R. U. McEntire, 1877-78; J. D. Christ, 1879; W. H. Graham, 1880; R. U. McEntire, 1881-82-83; J. D. Christ, 1884.
In 1863, when the Atlantic & Great Western Railroad was constructed, Sutton's Corners, as the place was then called, contained seven or eight families. Peter and Sylvester, in the spring of 1860, had started the first little store, teaming the goods from Meadville; the establishment changed ownership several times in as many years. Miller Sutton was blacksmithing in a little shop on the site of Armour's Hotel, the southwest corner of Main and Center Streets, and several farmers and laborers were living on the site of the village. John Sutton and John
Gelvin were the proprietors of farms comprising what is now the south part of the village, Sutton west and Gelvin east of Main Street, while the north part was owned by C. G. Bolster and J. D. Christ. Since the railroad was completed the progress of the village has been steady, and it now contains six general stores, a drug store, a furniture store, three hotels, a harness shop, two shoe shops, four blacksmith shops, three wagon shops, a stave factory, a planing-mill and manufactory of horse rakes, washing-machines, picket fences, etc., started by Alfred and Daniel Hafer about 1873 (now owned by D. E. Smith), two physicians, a graded school, two churches and two societies.
The first school was a frame one-story building, erected in early times on the southeast corner of Main and Center Streets. The second was also a one-story frame, built about 1851, and superseded, in 1866, by the present schoolhouse. Jonathan Christ was the first Postmaster, followed by John Gelvin, who kept the office for many years at his residence, a short distance east of the village. Peter Ross followed, then D. W. Harroun, the present Postmaster.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Geneva is the succession of a class which met and worshiped, as early as 1820, in a schoolhouse located about a mile east of Geneva. A. log church was afterward built just east of the borough, succeeded by a frame church on the same locality, built about 1843. The present building in Geneva, a frame 40x50, was completed in 1858, at a cost of $1,200. It was commenced a year or two earlier, during the ministry of Rev. Isaiah Lane. Thomas Abbott, Wyram Newton and John Sutton were early members. In its earliest history this appointment was connected with Salem, Mercer County, Circuit. It is now a part of Evansburg Circuit.
<page 557> [blank] <page 558> [portrait of J. C. Virtue] <page 559>
The United Brethren Church was organized in 1870, with four members: J. D. Christ, F. D. Gill and T. P. Abbott and wife. The first meetings were held in the schoolhouse, and in 1871-72 the meeting-house, a neat brick structure, 36x48, was erected on a lot donated by John Gelvin, at a cost of about $3,000. It was dedicated October 5, 1872, Bishop J. J. Glossbronner officiating. The membership is about forty. The pastors of the church have been Revs. P. W. Ish, Frank Reynolds, Rufus Smith, Charles Evarts, Samuel Evans, G. W. Franklin, Hiram Bedow, A. Meeker, N. C. Foulk, D. C. Starkey and T. J. Butterfield.
Geneva Lodge, No. 408, K. of P., was instituted September 27, 1873, with ten members: W. W. Gelvin, D. W. Harroun, C. McMichael, L. D. Strayer, B. Sutton, H. W. Sutton, W. A. McKay, W. K. Bolster, A. B. Cushman and J. Carman. One hundred and thirty-one members have been initiated, and the membership is now seventy. Meetings are held every Saturday evening.
Ora Fina Lodge, No. 1006, K. of H., was instituted April 2, 1878, with eleven members: D. W. Harroun, W. W. Gelvin, W. H. Graham, A. W. Brown, F. P. Scowden, C. A. McEntire, G. W. Foulk, R. B. Clover, James
Carman, R. H. Coulter and F. P. Andrews. Two members have been lost by death, and fifteen are now connected
with the Lodge. Meetings are held on the second and fourth Tuesday evenings of each month.
Lodges of Good Templars and E. A. U. formerly existed at Geneva, but have since disbanded.