Crawford County, Pennsylvania
"HISTORY OF THE VILLAGES AND TOWNSHIPS OF CRAWFORD COUNTY."
Formed in 1811, located on the north border of the County, and containing an area of nine thousand eight hundred and seventy-one acres, the township of Venango has fine productive farms, is well watered by French and Conneaut Creeks and their tributaries, and had in 1870 a population of six hundred and twenty-three, whose employment is mainly that of stock-raising and dairying. The taste of civilization has changed the narrative of contests with the deer, wolf, bear, and Indian, by courageous borderers, to exaggerated fictions of the novel and the romance,—true tales, told by participants, to the idle coinage of a dreamy brain; but the story of early settlement tells of heroic deeds of men and women, which will ever preserve a charm to the thoughtful.
Thomas Campbell and Christopher Siverling came west to Venango, and sought an eligible site for a future home during the year 1794. The apprehensions generally aroused of trouble from the Indians were quieted by the victory gained by General Wayne in 1795, and in 1796, these two men returned to their locations, accompanied by their families, on horseback. Siverling settled upon what is known as the Tarr farm, on French Creek and Campbell a mile below, upon the land of Jacob Kepler. The amount and kind of provisions accessible during the first winter were ill calculated to enamor the new settlers of frontier life; but while many who came west returned discouraged others held on and prospered. Thomas Colter settled in Venango in 1796, as did also Robert Logue, his uncle. Their location was upon the farm now occupied by Frank Colter. In 1797, Samuel Quay, of Susquehanna County, settled on the farm now occupied by his son, John Quay. Henry Bole, of Ireland, moved in during 1798, accompanied by his brother William. Other settlers were Jacob Hogelberger, in 1799; Isaac and Christian Blystone, in 1800; James Skelton, in 1801; Gross and Torry, in 1802; and John Stokes, of Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1805.
Daniel Siverling built the first framed barn in Venango Township, and Christopher Blystone the first framed house. It is claimed that Henry Bole built the second framed house and the first barn in Venango. Churches were early built; the Zion Church, erected in 1816, and composed of logs, was the first church building constructed in the township. The society belonging to the Lutheran denomination was organized, with fourteen members, by the Rev. Elihu Rathbun. The first white child born in the township dates existence from March, 1797, and is named Robert Colter. In the year 1800, the tract upon which the borough of Venango is built was occupied by Philip Straw, from Westmoreland County. During 1817, John Lasher and Solomon Walters bought the improvements made by Straw on the site of the borough and laid out a village plot. Walters sold his interest in 1820 to Michael Peiffer, who, in partnership with Jacob Sherrets, erected a saw-mill. Nine years elapsed, and the mill, its privilege, and eighteen acres of land were bought by Asa Freeman. During 1832 this property was again sold, John Kleckner being not only its purchaser, but that of the property known later as the Tarr farm. Kleckner repaired the old saw-mill and erected a new one. In 1838 the town plat was surveyed, and the name of Klecknerville given it by the proprietor. In 1841, Kleckner built a grist-mill,—one of the earliest in the township. The village was incorporated as a borough in 1853, and its name changed to Venango. The village is located on French Creek, in the southeast of the township, and, besides three churches, is well supplied with stores and shops.
1. Combination Atlas Map of Crawford County, Pennsylvania, Compiled, Drawn and Published From Personal Examinations and Surveys (Philadephia: Everts, Ensign & Everts, 1876), 24.