Crawford County, Pennsylvania
History & Biography
EAST FALLOWFIELD TOWNSHIP.
FALLOWFIELD AND BOUNDARIES—DIVISION OF THE ORIGINAL TOWNSHIP—PHYSICAL
FEATURES—POPULATION COMPANY CONTRACTS—FIRST SETTLERS—OTHER SETTLERS—EARLY
EALLOWFIELD was one of the original townships of Crawford County, and was organized July 9, 1800, with these boundaries: "Beginning at the northeast corner of Shenango Township (in what is now Sadsbury); thence eastwardly seven tracts, intersecting the line of a tract of land surveyed in the name of Israel Israel; thence northeast so as to include said tract; thence by the land of Leonard Jacoby and Henry Kamerer to the southeast corner of the same; thence southwardly to the south boundary of Crawford County; thence by the same westwardly to the southeast corner of Shenango Township; thence north by the same to the place of beginning." Its original boundaries included, besides what is now the township, large portions of Sadsbury, Vernon and Greenwood. In 1829 the boundaries were readjusted so as to comprise about what is now East Fallowfield and West Fallowfield. The division of this territory into the two Fallowfields occurred about 1841. East Fallowfield is the larger and is bounded on the west by Crooked Creek. The township includes 16,124 acres.
The surface is rolling. Crooked Creek passes through a beautiful valley from a half to one mile in width, and is skirted on either side by a range of low hills. Its tributaries course through the township in narrow ravines, which were forested in early times with pine, hemlock and other woods. The timber on higher land included white oak, chestnut, hickory, beech, maple and ash. The soil is mostly clayey, and is well adapted either for grazing or grain. The New York, Pennsylvania & Ohio Railroad passes longitudinally through the township. The population in 1850 was 739; in 1860, 1,226; in 1870, 1,167, and in 1880,
The western part of the township was Pennsylvania Population Land; contracts for its settlement were made as follows: Tract 773, 200 acres under contract of September 21, 1797, to Thomas Frame to whom deed was delivered; 100 acres, same tract, May 31, 1805, Isaac Davis settled and improved under contract; "this man is poor," says the record, " and the contract a hard one;" 200 acres, Tract 774 (partly in West Fallowfield), October 29, 1798, William Irwin, deed delivered November 29, 1802; 100 acres of 784 (partly in West Fallowfield), James Calhoun, May 1, 1798, deed granted Frederick Kerber, assignee Calhoun; 200 acres, 785, Thomas Frame, September 21, 1797, deed delivered; 200 acres, same tract, Stephen Harrison, November 25, 1807, "this purchaser has left the county and the land will probably revert;" 200 acres, 786, Richard Dick, July 13, 1797, deed granted to Thomas Frame, assignee of Dick, December 22, 1803; 200 acres of 818, Matthew McDowell, May 9, 1798, deed delivered; 10 acres same tract; William Campbell, August 28, 1810; 200 acres of 843, Nathan Campbell, September 21, 1797, granted by <page 542> deed; 100 acres same tract, James Hill, April 1, 1805, "no improvement making to secure payment, purchaser poor."
As the above indicates, Thomas Frame was here in 1797. He was originally from County Derry, Ireland, but had lived at Dunnstown on the Susquehanna. He left Meadville on his exploring expedition with rifle slung over his shoulder, with a camp kettle and two weeks' provision, but soon after a fire destroyed the latter. He located in the northwest part of the township, and remained a life-long resident. Two of his sons, Edward and James, served at Erie in 1812. Besides farming Mr. Frame operated a still. Isaac Davis removed from place to place frequently, and died in Sadsbury Township. William Irwin was a son of George Irwin, an early settler of Sadsbury.
James Calhoun settled on that part of Tract 754 which lies in East Fallowfield. It is related that in early times he decided to keep a tavern at his little cabin, and he accordingly procured two measures from a tinner at Meadville, and had his three gallon-keg filled at Frame's distillery. His cash assets were a sixpence, and concluding to run the tavern on a cash basis, he installed his better half bartender, and with his sixpence purchased a drink. His good wife, having an equal desire to imbibe, then became purchaser, and transferred the coin to her husband for its equivalent in whisky. This procedure was continued until the keg was drained, when tavern-keeping, was abandoned by the happy couple. Mr. Calhoun died at Erie from the effects of the third amputation of his arms, performed in consequence of accidental poisoning.
Stephen Harrison is not remembered. Richard Dick, or Negro Dick as he was called from his African blood, after a residence of some years died, and was buried under a pine tree on his tract of 100 acres. Matthew McDowell settled on Tract 819, northwest from Atlantic. His son John was a Captain in the war of 1812. Nathan Campbell is remembered as an early settler. James Hill removed from Tract 843, where he first settled, to near the Frame settlement. He was a cabinet-maker by occupation.
The land in the central and eastern portions of the township belonged mostly to Field's claim. Of its earliest settlers Jeremiah Gelvin and Joseph Mattocks were here in 1797. The former was an Irishman and settled on Tract 16, in the east central part of the township. His brother, James Gelvin, was also one of the earliest settlers, locating on Tract 6, in the northeast part. Peter and Richard Mattocks, brothers of Joseph, settled as he did in the southeast part.
Prior to 1804, the following were residents of the township: John and Jacob Cline, John Findley, Daniel Dipple, Jacob Hafer, Patrick Francis, John and William Hanna, Robert and Samuel Henry, James Henderson, John and Abraham Jackson, Adam Keen, Jacob and Henry Mattocks, James and Joseph McMichan, John Mason, Michael Mushrush, John McQueen, James Roe, Thomas Swan, John and Samuel Sisely, Thomas Smith, John Unger and Robert Brownfield.
John and Jacob Cline settled in the southwest part. They afterward removed to La Fayette County, Wis. John Findley was a tanner by trade, and also operated a distillery. He lived in the north part of the township. Daniel Dipple, of the Emerald Isle, came from Cumberland County in 1800, and is said to have raised the first apples in the township. Jacob Hafer, of German extraction, settled in the southeast part, where his descendants still live. The Hannas were brothers and Irishmen. Patrick settled on Tract 22; William on Tract 21. Francis was an old bachelor, who made Pittsburgh his permanent home. Robert Henry was an early teacher, a distiller and an enterprising Irish business man; Samuel, his brother, was also an early settler. James <page 543> Henderson, an Irishman and a weaver, settled in the northeast part. John and Abraham Jackson, brothers, came in 1798 from Susquehanna County. They were seceders. John settled on Tract 7; Abraham, on Tract 9. The latter was a hunter of note, and helped repel the Indians in western Pennsylvania. Adam Keen was a German, and settled on Tract 33. He was a zealous Methodist, even before be had acquired the English language; to inquiries regarding his spiritual welfare he gave his usual reply, "Just as I used to be; no better, no worse." James and Joseph McMichan were of Irish extraction. The latter dwelt on Tract 843 till his death.
Hunter John Mason, so called to distinguish him from John Mason, of Greenwood Township, as his title indicates, was an expert with the rifle and rod. Michael Mushrush settled on Tract 3, on the northern confines. He early built a brick residence, the first in the township, making the brick on his farm. He was of German descent, came from Cold Hill, near Pittsburgh, and was one of the most active and liberal citizens of Fallowfield. John McQueen, from the Susquehanna, settled in the north part, on Tract 5, prior to 1800. James Roe possessed no realty, and soon departed from this region. John and Samuel Sisely were brothers. The latter was a cooper by trade, and settled on Tract 33. During his last sickness the nearest physician resided at Meadville, and Mr. Sisely expired before medical aid could reach him. Thomas Smith came in 1798, and remained a life-long settler on Tract 21. He was of Irish nationality, and of the Covenanter faith. John Unger was a Hessian miner of some learning. He came to this county a single man, married Susan Silverling, and settled on Tract 8. So zealous was he for the education of his children that he dispatched them to the school-room at daybreak. He possessed great mechanical ability, and remained a life-long settler of the township.
James McEntire was born in Ireland, and on his passage across the ocean he was shipwrecked, being one of but three brothers who escaped of a family of twelve children. He first settled in Sadsbury Township, about a mile west of Wolf's Point. Desirous of owning Tract 8, in the northeast part of Fallowfield, and fearing that unless he took immediate possession the tract would be occupied by some other immigrant, in 1802 he built a little cabin on the place, and sent two of his young children—a daughter and a younger son, John, still living—to occupy it, while be remained in Sadsbury. He brought them to the cabin every Monday morning, and leaving a week's provision, returned for them Saturday night. In this lonesome manner the two children passed the summer. Indians were quite numerous, and often visited the cabin, asking or demanding food, and hungry land prospectors often stopped at the door. Their requirements were always cheerfully complied with, but as a consequence the stock of provisions was sometimes exhausted before Saturday night arrived, and then the youthful housekeepers, not daring to return home through fear of punishment, were thrown upon their own resources. Once they alleviated the pangs of hunger with wild onions, found in the ravine, but that dish not sufficing they "muddled" a potato patch planted that spring near by. Extracting a few small, hard seed potatoes, not yet decayed, from the growing hills, they hastily boiled and then devoured the unsavory vegetables before they were thoroughly cooked, so keen had the appetites of the children become. In December, 1802, James McEntire removed to the tract, and remained its occupant till his death, in 1843, at the age of eighty-three years. He had lost his property at sea, and was a weaver by trade and occupation. He was also one of the earliest and best school teachers of his day, holding terms in various localities from 1802 to 1827.
David Allen, Andrew, John and James Davidson, Moses Findley, a dis- <page 544> tiller, John Kelly, Samuel Lindsey and John McDowell were pioneers who came prior to 1810. Most of the early settlers were of one of the Presbyterian schools. So generally were they of Irish nativity or extraction that Fallowfield was dubbed "Irishtown," and maintained the name for many years. There was a sprinkling of Germans in the settlements, and in later years a number of settlers arrived from New York State.
Most of the earliest families are yet well represented in the township.
James McEntire held a term of school in his weaving shop in 1809. A log was removed, greased paper substituted to afford light, and several other slight alterations made to accommodate the shop to its new purpose. Mr. McEntire taught here while his son John plied the loom in one end of the building. Jerry Gelvin, a veritable young giant, whose early education had been neglected, and who wished to acquire the art of "cyphering" applied for admission. Mr. McEntire stated as an objection to receiving him that be was not able to whip him and that he wanted no one in the room whom he could not master, as frequent physicial [sic] punishment was then deemed almost indispensable to the proper management of a school. On Jerry's promise to do the master's bidding he was received, and proved a docile pupil. The Dipple, Unger, Jackson,. Stewart and other families attended this primitive school. Elizabeth Burns was the first female teacher, receiving 75 cents a scholar per term. Male teachers usually receiving from $1.25 to $1.50 each, per term of three months, often receiving produce in part or entire pay. Teachers of note prior to 1834 were: John McDowell, John Snodgrass, John Young, John Gelvin, Nancy McDowell, John McQueen, Rebecca Fisk, Moses Findley, Stafford Radure, David Galbraith, Ezra Buell, Arthur Minnis and Andrew Mann. Matthew McMichael built a frame schoolhouse and donated it to the public. East Fallowfield has always been noted for its interest in educational matters and the number and importance of its schools. Many of its earliest pioneers were educated men, who were able to teach both the common and higher branches.
About 1817 a little daughter of Jerry Gelvin was lost. She made a visit to her uncle James Gelvin, and was there given some peaches, which she wished to present to her mother, who was then ill. If she returned by the usual path, she must pass a neighbor's cabin, and the children there would probably ask her for some of the fruit. So she left the beaten path and never found it again. The alarm was spread in the neighborhood, and hundreds of men from near and afar joined in the search, but no trace was found. A year or two later, Abraham Jackson discovered her remains, lying at the edge of a large log. They were identified by the garments she had worn. Before her fate was known her mother had perished from the intense cold one winter night while making her way from the cabin of one neighbor to that of another. An infant, which she carried in her arms, was also frozen to death.
James McConnell and Robert Cotton built the first grist and saw-mill about one and a half miles east of Hartstown. Mr. McConnell became sole proprietor by purchase, and Samuel Royer and Adam Stewart were its successive owners. The latter replaced the log structure by a frame building and operated it for years. It has been abandoned for many years. At present a water saw-mill and a steam shingle-mill are operated on Randolph's Run by J. 0. Randolph. S. L. McQuiston owns a water and steam grist-mill on Crooked Run, a mile northwest from Atlantic, and the Barber Brothers own a steam saw-mill in the southwest part.
Atlantic is a thriving little village of about 150 inhabitants, situated in the southwest part. It owes its origin and prosperity to the N. Y., P. & O. Rail- <page 545> road, which passes through its midst. James Nelson in 1863 started the first store, and a few years later C. M. Johnson the second. The town did not obtain a start for several years, but it has since grown steadily, though slowly. It was formerly known as Adamsville Station. The village now contains three general stores, one hardware, one millinery and two drug stores, a cider-mill and jelly factory, an extensive agricultural implement agency, a carriage-shop, a blacksmith-shop, one hotel, one livery stable, two public halls, three physicians, a good two-story frame schoolhouse, one church and two societies.
Atlantic Lodge, No. 78, A. O. U. W., was instituted with twenty-one members July 1, 1874. Its first officers were J. B. Grove, P. M. W.; J. M. Nelson, M. W.; J. D. Dunbar, G. F.; John Duncan, Overseer; Joseph Duncan, Recorder; William Lackey, Fin.; J. L. Johnson, Receiver; N. R. Menold, G.; I. L. Menold, I. W.; S. P. Menold, O. W. The membership is now twenty-eight, and meetings are held every Wednesday evening.
Enterprise Council, No. 12, R. T. of T., was instituted with nineteen members August 16, 1878. Its charter officers were: A. B. Gaston, S. C.; C. M. Johnson, V. C.; W. G. Gaston, P. C.; S. Gordon, Chaplain; J. C. Hunter, Recording Secretary; D. H. Walker, Financial Secretary; T. McMillen, Treasurer; T. Henry, Herald; H. J. Gaston, Guard; E. Kreichbaum, Sentinel; Dr. S. Gordon, Medical Examiner. There are now thirty-four members, and meetings are held each alternate Saturday evening.
A grange was organized here a few years ago but is no longer active.
The First Presbyterian Church of Atlantic was organized in November, 1874, with about forty members. Most of its early members had withdrawn from the Adamsville United Presbyterian Church in consequence of the opposition of the latter to the grange and other secret orders. The first Ruling Elders elected were: James Hamilton, George K. Miller, John N. Kerr and S. M. Kerr. Rev. Isaac W. McVitty supplied the church a year, then Rev. D. R. Kerr, a licentiate, until April, 1876, when he accepted a call as pastor. He resigned in December, 1878. Preaching by supplies then occurred until June, 1879, when Rev. O. V. Stewart was installed, remaining until October, 1881. The pulpit was then filled by supplies until April, 1883, when Rev. J. B. Fleming, the present pastor, was installed. The membership is now ninety. The church edifice is a handsome building, the corner-stone of which was laid in June, 1876, and which was dedicated January 16, 1877, free of debt, by Rev. B. M. Kerr. Its cost including lot was $3,300.
Hanna's Corners Methodist Episcopal Church, the only other religious edifice in the township, is located in the southern part of Tract 22. It is frame, built in 1872 at a cost of about $1,700. The former meeting house of this society stood about one and a half miles southeast, and was known as Keen Church. It was built about 1830. Prior to its erection the class worshiped in a hall built over John Keen's wood-house and fitted up by him for this purpose. The class was organized prior to 1815, and numbered among its early members: Adam and Dinah Keen, Joseph Mattocks and wife, the Siselys, Polly Henry and John McEntire. Early meetings were held on week days and occurred only once in four weeks. The society now numbers 112 members and is connected with Salem Circuit, the recent pastors of which have been: J. Abbott, 1870-71; J. A. Hume, 1872-73-74; J. L. Mechlin, 1875-76; A. R. Rich, 1877-78-79; J. F. Perry, 1880; James Foster, 1881-82-83. Evansburg is a station on the New York, Pennsylvania & Ohio Railroad, located on the north line of the township. The postoffice is Stony Point.