Crawford County, Pennsylvania

History & Biography

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    In the days when the French held possession of the territory west of the Alleghenies, a fort, or blockhouse, one of the chain of forts connecting Lake Erie and the Ohio river was located where Meadville now stands.  The blockhouse used by the early settlers as a protection against the Indians stood close to where the Water street bridge crosses the canal.  

    A State Arsenal was established here in 1816, and was used as a store house for arms until the breaking out of the late rebellion, when the arms were removed for active service in the field.  During the war the building was used for a time as a rendezvous for recruits.  By an act of the Legislature the property was transferred to the city for school purposes, and the ground is now occupied by the First District Public School,—one of the handsomest edifices of the kind in the country.  The old arsenal building was demolished during the past summer.  

    GEN. DAVID MEAD, the founder of Meadville, was born at Hudson, N. Y.  He afterwards removed with his father to the Wyoming Valley.  In 1774 he married and subsequently removed to Sunbury, where he carried on an inn and erected a distillery, and succeeded in accumulating some property, but owing to disputes about the titles to the lands he was forced to leave that locality, with only a portion of his goods.  Subsequent efforts to regain his possessions there were unavailing, but he finally obtained from the State lands of equal value on French Creek.  In 1789 he removed with his family to the banks of French Creek.  The settlements were in those early days terribly harassed by the Indians, and this region was insecure until after Gen. Wayne’s treaty in 1794.  In 1791 Gen. Mead took his family to Franklin to be in reach of the garrison during the threatened invasion of the savages.  It was at this time that his father was captured in a field at his work and was carried by two Indians to the vicinity of Conneaut Lake.  Some days afterwards, he was found, together with one of the Indians, both dead, and leaving such marks of violence as showed that they had had a contest.  It was thought that the other Indian had been hurt in the combat and fled.  

    Gen. Mead was appointed a Justice of the Peace, which office he held

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