Crawford County, Pennsylvania

History & Biography

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    WAYNE was formed in 1811.  It lies near the center of the south border of the county, and contains 20,066 square acres.  The general shape of the township is that of a right-angled triangle, the hypothenuse or south-east line, bordering on Venango county, consisting of a series of right-angles, producing a somewhat singular conformation.  The streams are French Creek, which crosses the extreme south-west corner of the township, and Sugar Creek and Deckers Run, which run parallel with the former stream through the township—in a south-easterly direction—and empty into it in Venango county.  Sugar Lake in the north part, on the creek of the same name, is a small sheet of water, about a mile in circumference.  The Franklin branch of the Atlantic & Great Western R. R., extends along the left bank of French Creek, across the south-west corner of the township.
    The population in 1870 was 1,464, all of whom were white, 1,359, native and 105, foreign.
    During the year ending, June 3, 1872, it contained eleven schools and employed twenty-one teachers.  The number of scholars was 469; the average number attending school, 365; and the amount expended for school purposes, $2,174.54.

    DECKARDVILLE, (p. o.) situated in the south part, on Deckers Run, four miles east of Cochranton, contains three churches, a school, two groceries, a shoe shop, blacksmith shop and fifty to seventy-five inhabitants.  It is pleasantly located and is growing rapidly.
    WAYNE CENTER post office, which was established about 1862, was discontinued in 1872.
    We cannot state definitely in what year nor by whom the settlement was commenced, though it was doubtless at a much earlier date than we are able to record.  We can do no <page 116> better than give the names of a few of the early settlers.  James D. Allen and — Wheeling, father of Mr. Jacob Wheeling, settled in the township in 1819.  Allen is a native of Ireland, and is now sixty years old.  He located where he now resides, when the locality was a wilderness infested by wild beasts.  His nearest neighbors, the Brawleys, were two miles distant.  Francis McDaniels, who was born in Ireland in 1788, immigrated to this country in 1818, and to this township in 1822, having previously resided in Lancaster county.  He settled in the woods and had to make a clearing to erect his dwelling.  Wm. Record, who was born in Allegheny county, in 1808, moved to his present place of residence in 1824, and was one of the first to settle in that locality.  Jacob Rees came in from Philadelphia in 1829, and located on the site of Deckardville, when there was no house there and the locality was covered with a dense forest, and was the haunt of wild beasts.  He was obliged to cut a road to the place of his settlement. Some idea of the animals and game which abounded here may be formed from the fact stated by Mr. John Ferry that his uncle, James Ferry, killed near Sugar Lake eighteen bears and eight hundred deer of which he kept a record.  Many encounters with these denizens of the forest, involving great personal danger to those who engaged in them, are related, but the scope of this work does not admit of their repetition here.

    The Evangelical Reformed Church at Deckardville, was organized with twenty-one members, in June, 1861, by Rev. L. D. Leberman, the first pastor, and the church edifice, which will seat 200 persons, was erected in 1859, at a cost of $1,000.  At present the Society numbers seventy, and its property is valued at $1,250.  The pastor is Rev. D. B. Ernest.­[Information furnished by Henry Hoffman and E. Noll.

    The The [sic] Church of the United Brethren, at Deckardville, was organized with twenty-six members, in 1865, by Rev. Wm. Cadman.  Their house of worship, which will seat 200 persons, was erected in 1855, at a cost of $1,100.  The first pastor was Rev. Daniel Bolster; the present one is Rev. R. Crispen.  There are forty members.  The Church property is valued at $1,200.­[Information furnished by Mr. Wm. Holtz.

    The Freewill Baptist Church, at Deckardville, was organized with forty members in September, 1865, by [ Chase.  Their house of worship was erected the previous year at a cost of $1,500.  It will seat 200 persons.  The first pastor was Rev. — Bumpus.  At present the Church is without a pastor, and its membership has dwindled to fifteen.  The Church property is valued at $1,600.­[Information furnished by Mr. John Waldo.

    Zions Church, (Dutch Reformed,) at Wayne Center, was organized with thirty members, July 17, 1870, by Rev. John Kretzing, the first pastor, and their house of worship, which will seat about 300 persons, was erected about the same time, at a cost of $1,600.  The Church is discontinued.&nbps; Its property is valued at $1,700.­[Information furnished by Mr. Thomas Allen.

1 Hamilton Child, comp., Gazetteer and Business Directory of Crawford County, Pa., for 1874 (Syracuse, N.Y.: By the comp., 1874), pp. 115-16.