Crawford County, Pennsylvania

History & Biography

    ROME was formed in 1830.  It lies upon the center of the east border of the county and contains 22,554 square acres.  It is abundantly watered by Oil Creek and its numerous tributaries, the principal of which are McLaughlin Creek and Thompsons Brook.  The soil is productive.  Its manufacturing <p. 93> interests, especially in lumber, are quite important.  It contains nine saw mills, which give employment to some forty persons and have an aggregate capacity of about 50,000 feet of lumber per day, besides a considerable quantity of shingles, and an extensive shook factory, which furnishes employment for twenty-six persons, ten of whom are engaged in the shop, and the remaining sixteen, in the woods, preparing the red oak timber used in the manufacture.  Sixty shooks are made, fitted and packed per day.  They are shipped to New York and thence to the West Indies.
    The Oil Creek & Allegheny Valley and Union & Titusville railroads pass through the north-western part of the township.
    The population in 1870  was 1,274, all of whom were white, 1,140, native and 134, foreign.
    During the year ending June 3, 1872, it contained eleven schools and employed seventeen teachers.  The number of scholars was 356; the average number attending school, 291; and the amount expended for school purposes, $2,002.48.

    CENTERVILLE, (p.v.) situated near the west line, at the confluence of Big and Little Oil creeks, and on the O.C. & A.V. and U. & T. railroads, is a thriving town of 387 inhabitants, containing a church and school house, the latter of which was built in 1872, at a cost of $3,500.  There are several stores and mechanic shops.  The soil is a mixture of sand, gravel and black muck, and is very fertile.  The water is clear and wholesome.  It was incorporated as a borough April 14, 1865.

    Arethusan Lodge No. 323 I. O. of G. T. at Centreville, was chartered May 11, 1867.  The charter members were T. L. Noble, C. F. Chamberlain, I. A. Wright, Gaylord and L. Matterson, G. W. Rockwell, W. P. Klingensmith, J. M. Lewis, Bruce Southworth, Gates Sexton, Mrs. E. S. Southworth, Mrs. Viola Tubbs, Mrs. Sarah Fields, Mrs. E. Klingensmith, Mrs. N. Birch and Mrs. S. S. Chamberlain.  There are now eighty members in good standing.

    MORRIS CORNERS is situated a little south-east of the center.
    The first settlement of which we have any account was made in 1800, by the families of Patrick Magee, Patrick Brannon, James Lafferty, Roger Coyle, Daniel McBride and Daniel Carlin, who emigrated from Donegal county, Ireland, in 1795, and after a residence of three years on the banks of the Susquehanna in Northumberland county, and a year or two in Pittsburgh, took the northward course of Allegheny River and arrived in this township at what is known as Mageetown in April of that year.  Prompted by their religious faith they named the township after the "Eternal City"--a name which was fully <p. 94> confirmed by the courts in 1828.  Francis and James Magee, and Patrick Magee, Jr., sons of the pioneer, still reside at Mageetown.  The former was born in Northumberland county, in October, 1797, and accompanied his father to this township, and the latter was born here in March, 1807.  The elder Magee settled upon a farm of one hundred acres.  A man named Howe settled two or three years later on the farm upon which D. T. Gregory now lives.  The English settlement was commenced in 1833, by Benjamin Harrison, Sen., who was born in Northumberland county, England, Nov. 28, 1797, and emigrated to Patterson, N.J., in 1827, and removed thence to this township, to the place where he now resides, in company with his mother, his father having been some time dead.  There was then a sled road from Titusville to Spartansburg, and he was occupied nine days in cutting a foot path from that to the place of his settlement.  About the same year (1833) James J. and James A. Vrooman, father and son, removed from Schoharie county, N. Y., to the central part of the township, where they remained twelve years and cleared fifty acres.  The son soon after removed to his present location.  The elder Vrooman died in November, 1869, at the age of seventy years.
    The first religious services were probably held by the Catholics, for soon after the settlement of the first Irish families they began to be visited once in eight or ten years by clergymen from Philadelphia and subsequently at less remote periods.

    The Church of the Immaculate Conception, (Roman Catholic) at Mageetown, in the center of the township, was organized with 25 members, in 1822, by Rev. Simon Peters.  It had no settled pastor until the present incumbent, Rev. Jos. P. Maurel, our informant, was installed.  The house of worship was erected in 1848, on half an acre of ground, the gift of Mr. F. Magee.  It cost, originally, $1,200, and will seat 200 persons.  It has just been completed by the addition of a belfry, and the congregation have purchased a fine bell.  The Church property is valued at $3,000.

1 Hamilton Child, comp., Gazetteer and Business Directory of Crawford County, Pa., for 1874 (Syracuse, N.Y.: By the comp., 1874), pp. 92-94.