Crawford County, Pennsylvania
History & Biography
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SPRING TOWNSHIP—NAME—PHYSICAL FEATURES—POPULATION—LAND TITLES—EARLY SETTLERS—ADVENTURES OF PIONEERS—EARLY MILLS—LUMBERING—EARLY SCHOOLS—TEACHERS—RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS—RUNDEL'S POSTOFFICE.
BOROUGH OF CONNEAUTVILLE—INCORPORATION—ELECTION—OFFICERS—FIRE DEPARTMENT—POPULATION—CANAL DAYS—PRESENT INDUSTRIES—MERCANTILE PURSUITS—ALEXANDER POWER—ORIGINALLAT—FIRST SETTLERS—PRESS—BANK—CEMETERY—AGRICULTURAL SOCIETIES—SCHOOLS—CHURCHES—SOCIETIES.
BOROUGH OF SPRING—LOCATION—POPULATION—BUSINESS—FIRST SETTLERS—POSTOFFICE—INCORPORATION—ELECTION—OFFICERS—SCHOOL—CHURCHES—SOCIETIES.
WHEN the second general sub-division of the county occurred, in 1829, one of the new northern ones was christened Snowhill. This dreary title was displeasing to its citizens, inasmuch as a neighboring township possessed the genial name of Summerhill, so they petitioned the Judge of the Court to grant them a new name. He listened kindly to their prayer, and vested the township with the genial title Spring. The cabin of Hiram Woodward was fixed upon by the Assembly as the first election place. The township is regular in outline, seven miles east and west, and almost as great north <page 636> and south. Its three western tiers of tracts were received from Beaver Township, the four eastern from Cussewago. The western part is drained by Conneaut Creek, which flows northward and
reaches Lake Erie; the eastern part by the headwaters of Cussewago Creek, a tributary of French Creek. The soil is of good quality and well adapted either for grain-raising or grazing. The Erie & Pittsburgh Railroad crosses north and south through the western tier of tracts, and the old Beaver and Erie Canal followed the course of Conneaut Creek through the township. The population of Spring in 1850 was 1,836; in 1860 it was 1,862; in 1870, 1,522, and in 1880, 1,524. The village of Spring was included in the first two enumerations mentioned.
The two northern tiers of tracts and the fractions above them were patented by individuals, as were also twelve tracts extending in two rows from Conneautville northward, and one tract east of the village. The balance of the township was owned by the Pennsylvania Population Company except six sections in the southeast part, which were the property of the Holland Land Company. Contracts for settlement were made by the former company with the persons and at the dates below given. The amount of land negotiated for in each tract and the result are also given: James Luce, Tract 637, November 20, 1797, 200 acres; deed delivered to Philip Mott February 27, 1805. Elijah Luce, 638, November 27, 1797, 200 acres; deed delivered to Philip Mott in 1805. Michael Sloops, 645, November 27, 1797, 200 acres; settled under contract. 646, unsold. George Nelson, 647, September 21, 1797, 301 acres; settled under contract. Gravner Bailey, 648, October 14, 1797, 200 acres; small improvement made by Bailey and abandoned; intruded on in 1801, and again abandoned after three or four years settlement. 649, 650 and 651, intruded on a few years and since abandoned. 652, Samuel Powers, April 24, 1805, 100 acres; Powers was first an intruder, then a purchaser, and has since left the land and country. John Burna, 653, November 10, 1797, 200 acres; settled two or three years under the contract, then intruded on and since abandoned. 654, unsold. 655, James Gardner, November 1, 1797, 100 acres; settled under contract. 656, unsold. 657, James Patterson, November 1, 1797, 100 acres; settled under contract. 658.[sic] Samuel Patterson, November 1, 1797, 200 acres; settled under contract. 659, James McKee, November 28, 1809, 100 acres; settled under contract. 660, Hugh Montgomery, September 24.[sic] 1797, 200 acres; settled under contract. 665, Hugh Montgomery, September 24, 1797, 100 acres; settlement completed. 666, unsold. 671, Gardner Rhodes, August 20, 1798, 200 acres; deed delivered to Rhodes, who conveyed to Daniel Compton. 672, Samuel Rhodes, November 20, 1798, 200 acres; deed delivered to Rhodes. 677, small improvement under contract and given up to company. 678, John Lock, November 20, 1797, 200 acres; small improvement, then abandoned. Both 677 and 678 were intruded upon in 1801, 1802 and 1803, but since abandoned.
As indicated by the above, dissensions were rife between the company and the occupants of the land. A number who settled under contract were afterward led to believe that the company had no good title, and in consequence abandoned the contract and often sought to hold the entire tract by virtue of their rights as resident settlers. In this attempt, however, they were ultimately worsted. Others settled on the tracts without a contract, expecting under the land laws to acquire a title by virtue of residence and improvements made. In this they were disappointed, as the Land company maintained its claim after lengthy litigation in the courts.
The first contracts for settlement on the Holland Land Companys tracts in the eastern part of this township were as follows: Tract 1, Samuel Patterson <page 639> 100 acres gratuity, 50 acres sold, 150 acres, contract dated August 13, 1798, deed. delivered June 11, 1812; Tract.3, Joseph Stanford, 100 acres gratuity, 50 acres sold, contract dated May 22, 1797, deed executed September 23, 1804; Tract 6, John Summers, 100 acres gratuity, 50 acres sold, May 23, 1798, deed delivered June 2, 1803; Tract 9, Andrew Parker, 100 acres gratuity, 50 acres sold, September 13, 1799, repurchased; Tract 12, Joseph Stanford, 100 acres gratuity, 50 acres sold, September 13, 1799, deed executed June 2, 1803; Tract 15, Joseph Baker, 100 acres gratuity, 50 acres sold, May 17, 1797.
Alexander and William Power in 1794 and 1795 located several tracts near Conneautville and about 1804 the former removed to the site of that village and became its founder. In 1797 Samuel Fisher, with his wife, four sons and three daughters, emigrated from Cumberland County and settled at Guntown, a mile north of Conneautville. He remained here till his death at the age of seventy-five years. His son Thomas was the first Justice of the Peace in what is now Spring Township, was a Major of militia and served three months at Erie, and in old age removed to Wisconsin, where he died.&nbps; Christopher Ford settled on the tract north of Spring Borough prior to 1798. He had a large family and about 1816 sold his farm and removed to Conneaut, Ohio. James Orr was another of the foremost pioneers and was the proprietor of the two tracts upon parts of which Spring Borough is located. After a few years residence Mr. Orr removed from the vicinity.
Other pioneers prior to 1800, says Judge Crozier, were James McNamara, John Foster, Samuel Thompson, Rebecca Simpson, Samuel McKee, George Nelson, Henry Mott, James Smiley, William and John Gardner, Andrew Parker and Martin Montgomery. Of these, he continues, Smiley, Montgomery, William Fisher, Parker and "Kentucky Sam" Fisher settled on the Land Companys tracts and afterward left. George Nelson hailed from Ireland. His children were James, John, Robert and Margaret (McDowell). Other early settlers were John Fleming, Samuel Simpson and David and James Thompson. Henry Cook came in 1799 from Westmoreland County, and settled two miles north of Spring Borough, where he remained till death.
From 1804 to 1816 little improvement was made except the clearing of land and the gradual substitution of hewed-log for round-log cabins. The increase in population was scarcely perceptible, but about 1816 an immigration commenced from the East, and ten or twelve years later nearly every tract was occupied by two or more families. Among these first settlers from the East were the Bowmans, Powells, Halls, Wells, Sturtevants, Woodards, Woods, Sheldons, Temples, Hurds, Ponds, Hotchkisses, Baldwins, Mylers, Wetmores, Greens, Jenks, Bolards and Thomases. In the east part of the township were Platt Rogers, Robert Temple, Justice Ross, Judd Hotchkiss, the Sperrys, Rundels and others. Bowman bought the Ford farm; Powell, the McKee farm; the Halls, the Orr farm; Myler the McNamara farm; W. P. Thomas the Scott farm; Bolard the John Thompson farm. The others purchased unimproved farms and underwent all the toils and privations of pioneer life.
Mrs. Thomas Fisher and Mrs. David Thompson were once picking berries, when they heard the vigorous squealing of a hog in the woods just over the brow of a hill. Hastening in that direction the unfortunate pig was discovered in the clutches of a large bear, which wais devouring it alive. Mrs. Thompson went for assistance and soon reappeared with Thomas Fisher, who with his rifle speedily killed offending Bruin.
Henry Christy while hunting discovered in a dense thicket at the foot of a poplar tree an old bear and three half grown cubs. The recognition was mutual, and before he could get a shot the old bear was upon him, while the <page 640> cubs ascended a tree. By a precipitous retreat he eluded his pursuer after quite a race. Twice again he advanced, but could not see the bear until within twenty or thirty feet of it. Each time he was discovered before he could draw a bead on the bear and only saved his life by fleeing in hot haste. At the fourth advance he secured a shot and the bear fell dead. In reloading he found he had lost all his bullets in his pell-mell races. He at once went to a house a half mile away, moulded some bullets and returning added the three young bears to the products of the chase that day.
About 1805 John Foster was at work upon a new house about a mile from his cabin. About noon his wife sent their little boy about four years old to call his father to dinner. The boy not arriving, Mr. Foster worked away for some time, and at last started home alone. When he reached his cabin he was surprised to learn that his son had been sent to summon him to his noonday meal. An anxious search for the missing boy was at once commenced; the neighbors far and near scoured the woods in all directions, but no trace of the lost child was ever discovered. Conjectures of his probable fate were various; by many it was supposed he was picked up and carried off by straggling Indians.
In 1830 Robert Foster, another son of John Foster, went deer hunting. The snow was six inches deep and a bitter cold evening approached, but the young hunter did not return. The suspense at length became unbearable and a search was instituted. On the third day, when from 200 to 300 men were threading the forest in a tireless quest, he was found dead within eighty rods of the house. It was believed that bewilderment and fatigue had overcome him while wandering circuitously through the blinding drift storm.
Hunting was often indulged in by the pioneers, and usually resulted successfully. Among the most successful deer stayers were Robert Foster, Andrew Christy, Thomas Fisher and George G. Foster. The last named once killed eight in one day, and Mr. Fisher shot a total of fifteen in three successive days.
The earliest settlers brought flour, meal, salt, etc., from Pittsburgh. These were conveyed in boats propelled by from six to twelve men with poles as far as Meadville, and thence were carried on horseback, or quite frequently by the settler along paths and across streams until the destination was reached. In 1799 Alexander Power erected a grist-mill on Conneaut Creek, nearly opposite the Conneautville Catholic Church. Jacob Hildebrand and W. Wilverton were the millwrights and received for the work £84. The irons cost £34. Matthew McClure and John Sloan made the mill-stones from the native rock, receiving £12. The blacksmith work was done by Mr. Chamberlain, of Meadville. The mill proved a great convenience to the settlers, and it was replaced in 1805 by a second mill erected about one-fourth of a mile below. This was a double-geared mill with breast-wheel and one run of stone and bolts. The building was made of hewed-logs, and the roof was built of shingles. George Dickson was the millwright. In 1829 and 1830 Mr. Power built a third grist-mill where the Power mill now stands. In 1801 Samuel Fisher erected a saw and grist-mill on Conneaut Creek about a mile north of Conneautville. William Crozier was the millwright. The grist mill was constructed with a hewed-log-house, lap-shingle roof, undershot wheel, one run of stone, bolt and screen, and was when built one of the best mills in Crawford County, doing most of the grinding of northwestern Crawford and southwestern Erie. Ark Jenks erected a saw and grist-mill on Conneaut Creek near the Erie County line in 1820, and Robert Foster built a grist-mill a mile south of Spring Corners.
The saw-mill built by Mr. Fisher was the first in the township. Previous to its operation, in most cabins the floors consisted of slabs or puncheons split from logs. Doors, benches, tables, stools and bridges were fashioned in a like manner. Clapboards, split in the same way, and bark served for roofing. Mr. Holmes built a saw-mill at Spring Corners. Platt Rogers, in 1820, constructed the first saw-mill in the eastern part of the township at Rundels. Frederick Bolard, who came from Erie in 1816, in connection with farming did an extensive business in manufacturing bells. Every farmer then used bells for his oxen, cows and sheep, and sometimes they were put on horses when the 1atter pastured in the woods. Christopher Ford built the first distillery, prior to 1800. John Foster erected a second, Luther Rundel in 1820 built one at Rundeltown. Others were erected, but all have long since disappeared.
Gurdon and R. B. Wood in 1817 and 1818 built the first wool-carding and cloth-dressing establishment on Conneaut Creek, two miles north of Conneautville. The second was erected by Collins Hall at Spring Corners, and after doing business there for a few years was removed by the owner to Guntown. These mills did a good business in their day. Their owners have moved to the West. Before the mills were set in operation the wool was carded by hand by the women of the household, and then spun into yarn.
The opening of the canal gave an impetus to the lumber trade, and water and steam saw-mills were erected wherever the timber would warrant. White-wood, ash, lumber and staves found a ready sale in the Eastern markets; oak timber for building canal-boats, railroad cars and vessels at Erie was in good demand. Hemlock timber was sold for building and fencing in the Southern market. Farmers went into the lumbering business to the neglect of their farms. The country was rapidly cleared, and the lumber now remaining is all required for home use.
Saw-milling is still followed in various parts of the township, and among the mills may be mentioned Sheldons saw and shingle-mill about two miles northeast from Springboro; Dunns steam saw and shingle and corn-grinding mill about four miles east, and Hickernalls steam saw-mill.
Miss Jane Garner taught the first school in 1811 or 1812 in a log schoolhouse erected on the old Cook farm two miles north of Springboro. The children who attended it were: Christopher Fords two miles south; James McKees, three-fourths of a mile southwest; John Garners two and a half miles southeast; John Flemings one mile northeast, and Thomas Fords two miles north. Mrs. Mitty Beals taught a term in her own cabin within the present limits of Springboro about 1817. An early schoolhouse was built on the Powell farm, a mile north of the borough. Mr. Phillips, John Nichols and many others taught there.
The first public religious instruction in the township was dispensed about 1817 by George Stuntz, a local Methodist preacher, at the cabin of Henry Cook. In that year he formed a band of religious people, including Watkin and Sarah Powell, David Hurd and wife and Henry Nickerson and wife, all of whom were Presbyterians, and Elihu Rathbun and wife, Mary Cook and John Peats, who were Methodists. In 1821 Rev. T. C. Truscott, of Erie Circuit, preached to the class once every four weeks, and the following year Rev. W. H. Collins, of the same circuit, disastrously attempted to make the class exclusively Methodist in its cast. The Presbyterians then organized a congregation, erected a small house of worship about a mile north from Springboro, and for a number of years maintained the organization. Rev. John Boyd was the pastor. Many of its members afterward united with the Christian Church.
Spring and Cussewago Baptist Church was constituted in the spring of <page 642> 1837 by Elder Albert Keith, with twenty-seven members, including William Case the first Deacon, John Turneur, Stutley Carr, Sr., Stutley Carr, Jr., and others. J. S. Bacon, James Patterson, Gamaliel Head and others united until the membership swelled to eighty. It then declined, and in 1852 united as a body with the Springboro congregation. A church edifice had been built in 1838 near the east line of Spring Township, and is still standing, though it has been unoccupied for many years.
A class of the ancient Wesleyan persuasion was organized in 1839 at Hickernells Corners. The original class included Benjamin Haak, Abraham Hickernell, Sr., Abraham Hickernell, Jr., John Michael and others. Rev. William Howard was the first pastor. Meetings were held in the schoolhouse until 1842, when a frame meeting-house was erected on the site of the present United Brethren Church. The society attained a membership of sixty, then languished.
From the remnants of this society Rev. Willis Lampson in 1850 organized a United Brethren class, its original membership including the Hickernells, Haaks, Michaels, Maynards and others. The old Wesleyan Church was occupied until destroyed by fire about 1857. A year or two later a frame church, 28x36, was erected on the same lot at a cost of $800. It is still used. Early ministers were: Revs. Michael Oswald, G. W. Franklin, William Cadman and Robert Watson. The class forms a part of Cussewago Circuit, and now numbers sixty members. It is the only church in Spring Township.
Rundels is a postoffice and hamlet in the southeast part. It contains a store, steam saw-mill cheese factory, blacksmith-shop, wagon-shop and hand rake factory. The only other postoffice in the township is Hickernells, recently established at Hickernells Corners, where a store may also be found.
The township is made famous by "Shadeland," the great stock farm of Powell Bros., which has acquired national repute. The estate comprises more than 1,000 acres of choice land, located a mile north from Spring Borough. It is improved by a handsome residence and half a hundred capacious and substantial barns, stables and outbuildings, admirably adapted to the breeding of pure-bred imported live-stock of various classes. A large corps of employes is required, and an immense business is transacted.
Spring Grange, No. 263, was organized May 18, 1874, with twenty-six charter members. Its first Master was W. F. Head; first Secretary, I. S. Bail. It now has thirty-seven members. Present Master, S. B. Lawrence; present Secretary, I. S. Bail. Meets regularly at the residence of the Secretary, I. S. Bail, on the first and third Saturday evenings of each month.
BOROUGH OF C0NNEAUTVILLE.
Conneautville, the third place in size and importance in Crawford County, was incorporated as a borough by act of the State Legislature of 1843—44. In compliance with the terms of the act the first election was held Friday, May 24, 1844, at which date the following borough officers were elected: John E. Patton, Burgess; William S. Crozier, Minor T. Carr, George M. Meyler and Charles Rich, Council; Daniel Scovil, High Constable; J. W. Brigdon, Clerk; Chancellor St. John and Alexander M. StilweIl, Street Commissioners; Samuel C. Sutliff, Assessor. Mr. Patton served as Burgess until 1853, and his successors with dates of election have been as follows: C. Courtright, 1853; J. E. Patton, l854; J. Norton, 1855; J. E. Patton, 1856; H. Z. Howe, 1857; S. G. Krick, 1858—59; William H. Darby, 1860; W. W. Power, 1861; W. L. Robinson, 1862; M. Landon, 1863; N. Truesdale, 1864; W. B. Gleason, l865; Matthew Stilwell, 1866; David Bligh, 1867; G. W. Slayton, 1868; H. J. <page 643> Cooper, 1869; W. A. Hammon, 1870; J. C. Sturtevant, 1871; F. Molthrop, 1872; J. Bolard, 1873—74—75; H. A. Brinker, 1876; Irvin S. Krick, 1877; T. F. Scott, 1878—79; W. W. Power, 1880—81; John W. Crider, 1882; W. A. Rupert, 1883; E. L. Litchfleld, 1884.
The borough about 1878 erected a two-story frame engine-house on Canal Street. It also owns a good hand fire-engine, which has been in service for about twenty-five years. The fire department includes a hook and ladder company.
The population of Conneautville in 1850 was 787; in 1870, 1,000, and in 1880, 941. The borough received its territory partly from Spring and partly from Summerhill Township. It is located in the valley of Conneaut Creek, and on the old Beaver and Erie Canal. It is one and a half miles east of the Erie & Pittsburgh Railroad, with which it is in communication by hack lines. A rich and populous agricultural district surrounds the borough, and of the northwestern portion of Crawford County Conneautville is the principal trading point. In the palmy days of the canal, business was brisker than at present. A heavy lumbering business was transacted here through the facilities afforded by this water-course, and the village reached a population of almost 1,200 in 1860. The discontinuance of the canal wrought a temporary depression of trade, but during the last few years business has again revived, and the present improvements and growth of Conneautville bespeak its future welfare. Among its industries may be specially mentioned the extensive tannery of J. Bolard & Co., with which the one at Spring Borough has been recently consolidated; the Saxon Chemical Works, where acetate of lime, alcohol, tar and charcoal are produced from hard woods; the foundry of Moulthrop & Sons; the large furniture establishment of William H. Derby; another owned by J. Field; the two grist-mills, one operated by steam and water, owned by O. O. Ticknor & Co., the other operated by water and owned by Butts & Co., both custom mills; and the woolen-mills of J. W. Crider.
The mercantile business of the borough includes three general or dry goods stores, four groceries, three drug stores, three clothing stores, two tailoring establishments, two jewelry stores, two furniture stores, one boot and shoe store, two hardware stores, three millinery stores and two tin-shops. There are also several meat markets, two hotels, two livery stables, a marble-shop, a wagon-shop, three blacksmith-shops, two cooper-shops, two shoe-shops and three harness-shops. Four physicians, two lawyers and two dentists reside and practice at Conneautville.
Alexander Power was the founder of the village. When a young, unmarried man, scarcely past his majority, he with others engaged in the hazardous business of surveying northwestern Pennsylvania during the years 1794 and 1795. Repeatedly the surveying party was obliged to flee from the hostile savages and once the cook, James Thompson, was taken prisoner and conveyed to Detroit, while the camp equipage was scattered and destroyed. While thus engaged, Mr. Power selected a number of tracts which were afterward patented in his name. He was married in 1798 at his home in what is now Perry County, and at once set out on horseback with his wife for a Western home, and settled at the head of Conneaut Lake. About 1804 he removed with his wife and two children to the site of Conneautville, where he remained till his death in May, 1850, at the age of eighty-seven years. He was appointed Justice of the Peace for Allegheny County in 1798 and served many years. About 1800 he built a mill on the site of Butts & Co.s present mill. Mr. Power was the first Postmaster at Conneautville, receiving his appointment in 1815. His son William was the second. The original plat, as laid out by <page 644> Alexander Power in 1815, was rectangular in shape, and was included within High and Main and Arch and Pearl Streets, with a few lots on the southwest side of Main Street. The direction of Main Street is south 6O½° east. The public park was included in the original plat. By the construction of the canal the direction of some streets was changed. William Power laid out an addition to the southern line of Spring Township, and the village was afterward extended into Summerhill. For a number of years it was known as Powerstown.
The first house, Alexander Powers, stood on the site of the Presbyterian Church. It was built before the town was laid out. In 1816 William Douglas and Henry Christie erected log-cabins, and in 1817 William Crozier built a frame house, in which he commenced keeping the first tavern in the following December. Peter G. Benway, a shoe-maker, opened a shop in 1819, and Curtis Adams about the same time erected a hewed-log cooper-shop near the corner of Main and Mulberry Streets. His health failing, several years later he abandoned the building, which then became a schoo1house and ball room. Joseph Pratt, the first blacksmith, came in 1820, occupying the site of the Courier office, Main Street. The first store was kept by Richard Dibble in 1815, in Alexander Powers dwelling-house. Mr. Power kept the second in the front room of his dwelling, commencing about 1819; Zimri Lewis the third in 1827. Francis McGuire in 1821 erected the first tannery, on the site of the Courtright Block, corner of Main and Pearl Streets.
The village continued to grow slowly. The building of the canal produced an influx of laborers, mechanics and tradesmen, and the tide of prosperity set in, which has continued with brief interruption to the present. Two destructive fires have visited the place, one in 1867 and the second in 1874, but the village has recovered from the effects of both.
The first newspaper published in Conneautville was the Union, started by Platt & Son, in October, 1846, and discontinued the following May. Another unsuccessful venture was the Crisis, launched into existence in 1868 by Mr. Field. After three months it was removed to Girard. The first number of the Conneautville Courier was issued November 14, 1847, by A. T. Mead and George W. Brown. A year later Mr. Brown became sole owner by purchase, and in October, 1854, he sold the paper to A. J. Mason and Daniel Sinclair. The subscription list increased so rapidly that the introduction of a steam press became necessary. In 1856 Mason purchased Sinclairs interest, and in 1862 sold the paper to R. C. and J. H. Frey, to accept the command of a company in service. He was fatally wounded at Fredericksburg, Va. in February, 1864, the Frey brothers sold the Courier to J. E. and W. A. Rupert, publishers of the Crawford County Record. The Record was started in 1858 by John W. Patton as an advertising sheet, but soon developed into a regular weekly, and a formidable rival of the Courier. Mr. Patton entered the army at the breaking ouf of the Rebellion, and died while holding the rank of Major, of wounds received at Chancellorsville in May, 1863. The establishment had been leased, and was subsequent1y purchased by Fred H. Braggins, who in December, 1863, sold it to J. E. and W. A. Rupert. After purchasing the Courier they published the consolidated papers, under the title Record and Courier, until1870, when the old name, Conneautville
Courier, was restored by them. These gentlemen still publish the Courier, which is Republican in politics, local in character, ans has a wide and extensive circulation through Crawford and adjoining counties.
The Conneautville Independent was started in April, 1881, by William F. Zell. In the following June he sold it to Rev. J. S. Gledhill, who in turn dis- <page 645> posed of it in September of the same year to W. E. McDowell, its present publisher and editor. As indicated by its name, this paper is independent in politics, and has a good circulation, which is rapidly increasing.
The Conneautville National Bank was organized January 1, 1864, and has a capital of $100,000.
The present beautiful cemetery was laid out in 1836, and the first burial in its grounds was that of William Foster, aged three years, son of George G. Foster. In 1864 the grounds were greatly enlarged.
The Crawford County Agricultural Society is the pioneer organization of the kind in the county. It held its first fair at Conneautville in 1852, and fairs have been held annually ever since, increasing in exhibits and visitors until now the society is one of the best and most successful in this portion of the State. The grounds, spacious and well-improved, are located near the southeast corner of the borough.
The first schoolhouse within the limits of the borough was a log building erected in 1812 in the wilderness near Robinsons machine-shops. Long openings for windows were covered with greased paper. The fireplace was without jambs and above the back wall the chimney was built with sticks and mortar made of clay and cut straw. The firewood used was six or eight feet long. Children attended for several miles around. Josiah Brooks was the first teacher, Sheffield Randal the second, James McEntire the third, and Samuel Steele the fourth. In 1813 or 1814, when the school was in session, a messenger in hot haste brought the false news that the British were landing Indians at the mouth of Conneaut Creek to plunder and slaughter the settlers. The children, thoroughly frightened, were at once dispatched to their homes through the Woods to spread the alarm that their parents might prepare for defense. During the term of Samuel Steel the schoolhouse burned. He
was an Irish shoe-maker and earned an extra honest penny by cobbling for his patrons. A frame schoolhouse was erected in 1828 on the west corner of Water and Center Streets, wherein early church services were also held. The building now used as a Catholic Church at the west extremity of Washington Street was afterward the village schoolhouse. It contained four rooms and was occupied until the present substantial brick structure was reared in 1867-68, at an expense of about $20,000. It contains seven rooms and is situated on a fine school lot of nearly four acres near the east end of Washington Street.
In the spring of 1829 seven persons, Jesse Danley and wife, Thomas Landon, wife, and daughter Esther, George Nelson and grand-daughter, Margaret Nelson, became the original members of the Conneautville Methodist Episcopal Class organized by Rev. Joseph W. Davis, then of Erie Circuit. Early meetings were held in the schoolhouse. In 1837 thirty-two persons subscribed $556 to erect a house of worship. The contract to build was let for $875. Meetings were held in the new frame church in 1838, but it was not finished until 1840. It stood on the southwest corner of Walnut and Main Streets. In 1877 this building was superceded by a handsome brick structure with stone trimmings erected at a contract price of $8,300, exclusive of cost of lot, on the northwest corner of Water and Walnut Streets. Conneautville Class was made a part of Springfield Circuit in 1829, and in 1833 of Summerhill Circuit, changed in 1834 to Harmonsburg Circuit. In 1842 Harmonsburg was divided into Conneautville and Evansburg charges. In 1861 Conneautville was divided and Harmonsburg reformed. In 1868 the former became a station. The pastors of Conneautville Society have been since 1828, Samuel Ayres and Daniel Richey, 1829; Samuel Ayres and John C. Ayres, 1830; <page 646> Theodore Stowe and W. R. Babcock, 1831; Jacob Jenks and a supply, 1832; Theodore Stowe and Reuben Peck, 1833; Gustavus Hills and Philander S. Ruter, 1834; G. Hills and C. D. Rockwell, 1835; Benjamin Preston and Warren Griffith, 1836; Daniel Richey, C. R. Chapman, 1837; L. D. Prosser, John Deming, 1838; Isaac Schofield, John Deming, 1839; Joseph Leslie, Stephen Heard, S. C. Freer, 1840; Lorenzo Rogers, T. D. Blinn, Albert Norton, 1841; I. H. Tacket, S. C. Thomas, 1842; William Patterson, Potter Sullivan, 1843; J. M. Plant, R. M. Bear, 1844; Fortes Morse, William McCormick, 1845; A. L. Miller, Ira Blackford, 1846; A. L. Miller, D. M. Stever, 1847; John Graham, E. T. Wheeler, 1848; John Graham, B. F. Langdon, 1849; William Monks, H. M. Chamberlain, 1850; William Monks, Stephen Hubbard, 1851; J. K. Hallock, W. P. Bignell, 1852; J. K. Hallock, T. S. Bennett, 1853; W. C. Henderson, G. W. Staples, 1854; R. M. Bear, James Gilmore, 1855; Jonathan Whitely, S. S. Stuntz, 1856; Jonathan Whitely, A. J. Merchant, 1857; Allen Fouts, A. J. Merchant, 1858; Isaiah Lane, W. H. Mossman, 1859; J. H. Tagg, W. H. Mossman, 1860; J. H. Tagg, 1861; D. M. Rogers, 1862; J. C. Sullivan, 1863—64—65; Frank Brown, 1866—67; G. Dunmire, 1868—69; N. H. Holmes, 1870—71; Henry Sims, 1872; Ira D. Darling, 1873—74—75; A. R. Rich, 1876; W. H. Mossman, 1877—78—79; W. W.
Painter, 1880—81—82; Francis H. Beck, 1883. The present membership of the church is 136.
The First Presbyterian Church at Conneautville was organized with nine members by Rev. Peter Hassinger, October 31, 1835. John Craven was the first Elder elected. The congregation was supplied by Rev. R. Lewis, Rev. D. Waggoner and others until October 4, 1843, when Rev. J. W. Dickey was ordained and installed the first pastor in connection with Harmonsburg and Evansburg, serving until 1847. From 1848 to 1850 Rev. L. P. Bates supplied Conneautville and Harmonsburg, and a little later Rev. James Coulter was supply. Rev. George W. Zahniser was installed pastor of Conneautville September 7, 1853, and was released April 13, 1859. Rev. N. S. Lowrie became pastor October 23, 1863; Rev. B. L. Stewart was installed July 6, 1869, and was dismissed in December, 1872; Rev. M. D. A. Steen was installed June 5, 1873; Rev. G. W. Zahniser was supply for one year commencing July 1, 1875, and Rev. W. W. McKinney, the present pastor, was installed May 22, 1877. For eleven years the congregation was divided into two branches, but they were re-united in 1865. The first church was a frame, erected in 1838 on the southwest corner of Washington and Locust Streets. After the division the New School built a church on High Street, used until destroyed by fire in 1867. The present edifice, which has a seating capacity of 400, was dedicated June 14, 1871. It is a handsome brick structure, with stone window-caps and corners and spire 140 feet high, and cost in construction $17,000. The present membership is large. The present session consists of Alexander P. Foster, installed March 6, 1859, Charles S. Booth, Moses W. Oliver, Jr., installed April 8, 1877, and Robert Montgomery, installed January 14, 1883. Past Elders have been: George G. Foster, Prosper A. Booth, John Craven, Moses W. Oliver, John T. Hubbard, William Borden, Howell Powell and Comfort Hamilton.
The First Universalist Church of Conneautville was organized May 13,1843. It started with nineteen members, including Charles Rich, S. G. Krick, Mary A. Krick, William Walker, Sallie Walker, Freedom Lord, Jr., Louisa Lord, Thomas Slayton, Elvira Slayton, H. S. Sweet, Wicks Parker, B. F. Hitchcock and Aurelia M. Hitchcock. Early meetings were held in the old schoolhouse and the Baptist Church. About 1846 the building of a frame church was commenced at the north extremity of Pearl Street. The structure was not com- <page 649> pleted until several years later, and is still in use. Rev. B. F. Hitchcock was the founder. His ministerial successors have been: Revs. Ammi Bond, C. L. Shipman, H. C. Canfield., W. S. Bacon, I. K. Richardson, J. H. Campbell, L. F. Porter, J. G. Porter, H. M. Merrill, J. S. Gledhill and C. L. Shipman. This society purchased the first church bell in the village and the first organ. Its membership has been greatly depleted by removals, and now numbers about seventy.
St. Peters Roman Catholic Church held its first meetings in the barn of Thomas Henrietta in 1850. Services were held in private houses until the early purchase of a small frame schoolhouse in the south part of the village, where they were conducted until the purchase of the academy about 1871, at the north end of Washington Street, where services are now held. The congregation was attended for many years from Crossingville by Fathers Quinn, Smith and OBranagan. The resident priests have since been: Revs. James Kearney, Snively, Michael Tracy, Martin Meagher, John Donnelly, Patrick McGovern and John J. Ruddy. The last-named became pastor in February, 1878, and still serves. He also officiates at Linesville and in Summit Township. The membership of St. Peters includes about forty-five families.
Trinity Protestant Episcopal Church is a frame structure erected in 1870 at a cost of $5,000 and consecrated by Rt. Rev. J. B. Kerfoot, of Pittsburgh. Rev. Samuel T. Lord as early as 1850 held occasional services at Conneautville, and several years later regular services were commenced and continued to about 1860, when they were discontinued. About 1868 Rev. S. B. Moore, a missionary, reorganized the parish, and the following vestry was elected: C. B. Power, W. L. Robinson, D. D. Williams, H. A. Brinker and F. M. Robinson. An old Baptist Church on the north side of the Diamond was rented, repaired and occupied until the completion of the present structure. Rev. Moore resigned the rectorship February 1, 1871, and his successors have been: Revs. William Bollard, William J. Miller, John Graham, E. D. Irvine and D. F. Hutchinson. The membership has suffered greatly through removals from this vicinity, and is at present about twenty.
Western Crawford Lodge, F. & A. M., No. 258, was chartered September 1, 1851. The charter officers were: William F. Owen, W. M.; Ammi Bond, S. W.; James Norton, J. W. The present membership is about sixty-five. Meetings are held the first and third Mondays of each month.
Oriental Chapter, R. A. M., No. 187, was granted a charter July 8, 1856. Its charter officers were: William F. Owen, H. P.; Ammi Bond, King; John W. Patton, Scribe. This is the oldest Chapter in Crawford County, and one of the oldest in northwestern Pennsylvania. The membership is about thirty. Regular meetings are held on the third Friday of each month.
Goodwill Lodge, A. O. U. W., No. 49, was instituted at Conneautville with twenty-two members March 24, 1873. William P. Gleason was the first Past Master Workman; J. C. Sturtevant, the first Master Workman. The lodge now numbers eighty members, and meets every Wednesday evening.
Union Council, R. T. of T., No. 8, was instituted with twenty-three members June 4, 1878. Its first officers were: S. H. Gibson, S. C.; Mrs. R. A. Frasier, V. C.; C. B. Stone, Sec.; Charles Landon, Chaplain; John Davenport, Treas.: Orlando Crozier, Herald; Mrs. F. S. Lawrence, Guard; S. F. Lawrence, Sentinel. The membership is about 100, and meetings are held every Tuesday evening.
Conneautville Lodge, K. of H., No. 1,131, was organized with nine members, July 9, 1878. The first officers were: W. H. H. Brown, Dictator; A. L. Power, Vice Dictator; F. R. Nichols, Assistant Dictator; E. T. Montague, <page 650> Treasurer; W. W. Power, Financial Reporter; J. G. Leffingwel1, Reporter; W. H. Montague, Guard; C. R. Benjamin, Chaplain and Past Dictator; W. C. Oakes, Guardian. The membership is thirty-six, and regular meetings are held the second and fourth Mondays of each month.
Conneautville Union, E. A. U., was instituted in 1881, and is in a prosperous condition. It holds regular meetings twice a month.
Capt. M. L. Stone Post No. 374, G. A. R., was organized September 14, 1883, with twenty-five members. The following officers were elected: Commander, Capt. J. Bolard; Senior Vice Com., R. D. Leet; Junior Vice Com., O. Crozier; Officer of Day, W. L. Benedict; Adjutant, E. S. Cheney; Quartermaster, W. E. Sanderson; Chaplain, Francis Clow; Sergeant, Albert Stevens; Officer of Guard, A. G. Irish; Sergeant Major, Aaron West; Quartermaster Sergeant, George H. Brown; Guards, R. J. Waldo, A. S. Baker. The post meets on the first and third Friday evenings of each month. The membership has increased to about forty.
BOROUGH OF SPRING.
Spring Borough is located three miles north of Conneautville on Conneaut Creek, in the western part of Spring Township. It is not compactly built, but extends chiefly along Main and Beaver Streets, which intersect at "the center." Its residences are mostly new, neat and handsome, and quite a number are almost palatial in size and beauty. Probably in no other village in the county of similar size will an equal number of fine residences he found. The population of the borough in 1870 was 323, and in 1880, 379. It has since materially increased, and now exceeds 400. The business of the place consists of three dry goods stores, two hardware stores, one boot and shoe, one variety, one millinery, one furniture, one drug and two grocery stores. The Coming Wagon Works were erected in 1883, and give employment to about twenty- five workmen. Brown & Eighmy own and operate a steam saw-mill, and I. T. Welch & Son a steam saw-mill and hoop factory. An extensive tannery has recently been removed to Conneautville. Of lesser industries the village contains a cheese factory, two blacksmith-shops, one shoe-shop, one wagon-shop and one harness shop. One hotel provides for the ntertainment of the traveling public, and two physicians are sufficient to attend to the bodily ailments of the community.
Spring is a village of slow but steady growth. The first settlers within the limits of the borough were James Orr and Thomas Ford. It was shortly before the canal was opened that the locality began to assume the appearance of a trading point. Harry Pond opened the first store about 1835. About the same time, or earlier, Collins Hall erected a woolen, fulling and saw-mill. The second saw-mill was built by Hawley Dauchey, about forty years ago. The impulse given the village by the canal developed it slowly. During the last fifteen years it has grown more rapidly.
The postoffice was first kept a mile north of the village, but was subsequently removed to Spring Corners, as the place was known until its incorporation as a borough in the spring of 1866. The first election was held March 16, 1866, and the officers then chosen were: Jonathan Sheldon, Burgess; W. C. Booth, W. D. Lefevre, H. West, Jr., E. E. Eighmy, and A. V. Baldwin, Council; F. W. Oliver, Justice of the Peace; F. H. Cook, Constable; Timothy Sturtevant, Assessor; Orrin Baldwin, Jonathan Sheldon, H. P. Knickerbocker, O. F. Sheldon, F. W. Oliver and C. L. Fisher, School Directors; A. M. Baldwin, Judge of Election; G. R. Cook and O. F. Sheldon, Inspectors; and J. B. Bradley, Auditor. The Burgesses subsequently elected have been: C. L. Fisher, <page 651> 1867; George Hall, 1868; A. K. Stone, 1869; A. F. Crane, 1870—71; E. E. Eighmy, 1872; L. F. McLaughlin, 1873; A. K. Stone, 1874; Levi Lozier, 1875; L. W. Brown, 1876—77; H. C. King, 1878; A. J. Greenfield, 1879; Roswell C. Head, 1880; L. K. Chapman, 1881; L. W. Brown, 1882; M. E. Hall, 1883; Ira Ferguson, 1884.
The schoo1house is a handsome two-story frame structure, erected in 1880 at a cost of $4,500. It contains four apartments, but three of which am now required. The first schoolhouse was a primitive log structure, which stood on the hill east of the village. When the borough was incorporated it contained a frame one-story schoolhouse in the east part of the village, which was occupied until about 1872, when the Odd Fellows Hall on Beaver Street was purchased. It was used until the erection of the present commodious school building on the same site.
The village contains three churches. The Christian Church of Springboro dates its origin back to 1825. In or about that year Rev. Asa Morrison organized a large congregation. Among the earliest members were Samuel Whitman, Elisha Bowman, Elan, Daniel and Asa Sturtevant, William Forsythe, Frank and Amos Wells, Orrin Baldwin, and Ebenezer and Lyman Hall. The first meetings were held in the schoolhouse, and about 1845 the present commodious frame building, located on the south side of Cussewago Street, was erected. It was the first religious edifice within the limits of the borough. The membership is about seventy-five. Rev. E. M. Harris is the pastor. His immediate predecessor was Rev. J. G. Bishop, before whom Rev. J. J. Summerbell preached for years. The congregation now numbers about seventy-five members.
Springboro Methodist Episcopal Class was organized in 1828 by Rev. Daniel Ritchie, of Albion Circuit, with five members—Joel Jones and his wife Patty, Mary Cook, Maria Cook and George R. Cook—on the upper floor of Butlers tannery. In 1829 the class was attached to Conneautville Circuit, with which it remained until 1867, when Rev. W. A. P. Eberhart, a local minister, was employed independently by the society. Spring Circuit was organized in 1868, and has had the following pastors: S. L. Wilkinson, 1868; C. W. Foulke, 1869—71; J. B Wright, 1872—73; J. Abbott, 1874; L. L. Luse, 1875; C. M. Coburn, 1876—78; C. W. Foulke, 1879—81; S. Fidler, 1882—83. The circuit now includes four appointments—Keepville (in Erie County), Beaver Center, Steamburg and Springboro. The meetings of the Springboro Class were held for a year or two in Butler's tannery, then in the schoolhouse for five or six years. Mr. Butler then erected a store-room at the northeast corner of Main and Cussewago Streets, and meetings were held on its second floor until 1864, when the present frame structure, 36x48, was erected on the north side of Cussewago Street, at a cost of $1,200. The membership is now about ninety.
The first Baptist Church of Spring was organized May 25, 1833, by Rev. O. L. Dunfee, of North Shenango, with the following constituent members: Nathaniel Pond, Henry Wait, John Gillett, Liba Woodard, Silas Cooper, Hiram Sheldon, Mary Pond, Polly Wait, Tryphosia Conover, Sybil Woodard, Polly Gleason, Mary Cutler, Ruth Gillett, Jerusha Mann and Sylvia Hammon. Nathaniel Pond was the first Deacon; Silas Cooper, the first Clerk. Elder Adrian Foote, of Meadville, preached occasionally for a few months, when Rev. Levi Fuller was secured as pastor, preaching every other Sunday at $75 per year. Subsequent pastors have been, with dates of commencement of pastorates: Rev. Keith, January, 1836; Benjamin Oviatt, December, 1836; Elder Cady, 1842; William Walden, 1845; Elder Dodge, 1848; J. J. Fuller, 1851; <page 652> D. Beacher, 1853; Elisha Nye, 1857; B. C. Hendricks, 1860; P. Griffis,1862; Wenham Kidder, 1863; M. Barnes, 1865; G. W. Snyder, 1869; C. H. Harvey, 1873; E. C. Farley, 1877; R. Pearse, the present pastor, since 1879. Elders Hall and James Going were also early pastors, but the records do not fix the dates of their ministry. Early services were held in the old hotel, and afterward in the schoolhouse east of town, until the erection of their church in 1853. It was burned May 31, 1880. Work was immediately commenced on a new structure, the corner-stone of which was laid August 26, 1880, and which was dedicated in September, 1882. It is a handsome building, of Gothic structure, 36x55, with chapel 20x32 in the rear. A. J. Gould is the present Clerk. The membership is large.
Spring Valley Lodge, No. 401, I. O. O. F., was organized at Spring Corners, in 1851. It maintained an existence until 1872, then surrendered its charter. The lodge was re-chartered June 4, 1881, with these officers: J. W. Wright, N. G.; W. P. Owen, V. G.; Henry West, Jr., Sec., R H. Sturtevant, Asst Sec.; E. C. Farley, Treas. Sheldons Hall has been leased by the lodge, and in it the other orders of the borough hold their meetings. The membership is sixty, and meetings are held every Friday night.
Aetna Lodge, No. 93, A. O. U. W., was instituted November 8, 1875, with twenty-four members and the following officers: M. W. Oliver, Jr., P. M. W., L. F. McLaughlin, M. W.; M. E. Hall, G. F.; Hiram Morrell, O.; H. B. Burnside, Recorder; L. E. Phelps, Financier; E. E. Eighmy, Receiver; C. M. Sargent, G.; P. W. Reed, I. W.; C. D. Marlow, O. W. Monday evening is the time of meeting. Membership is forty.
Fountain Council, No. 6, R. T. of T., was instituted with forty-two members, May 28, 1878. Its charter officers were: E. E. Eighmy, S. C.; Mrs. R. E. Eighmy, V. C.; J. W. Tucker, P. C.; C. L. Fisher, Chap.; W. J. Ford, Rec. Sec.; George E. Foster, Treas.; C. P. Shoppart, Herald; Mrs. M. A. Eighmy, Dep. Her.; Mrs. Adie O. North, Guard; Uzell North, Sent.; J. W. Greenfield, Med. Ex. The membership now exceeds fifty, and meetings are held on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month.
Springboro Union, No. 260, E. A. U., was instituted April 6, 1883. Of its initial officers A. K. Stone was President; Mrs. Richard Pearse, V. P.; Mrs. R. G. Tubbs, Sec.; W. D. Wetmore, Treas.; J. F. McCurdy Accountant; Dr. Anson Parsons, Chancellor; and Rev. E. M. Harris, Advocate. Meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. The membership is about forty.
J. W. Patton Post, G. A. R., was organized in June, 1883. Its first officers were: M. W. Oliver, Com.; Charles Dhrer, V. C.; Edward Prescott, Chap.; Joseph Bowman, Adj.; Irvin Hall, Q. M.; Levi Lozier, O. of D.; Lafayette Prusia, O. of D.; William Ross, Commissary; Dr. Anson Parsons, Surgeon. The membership is now thirty-nine, and regular meetings are held each alternate Saturday.