Crawford County, Pennsylvania
History & Biography
PINE TOWNSHIP—POPULATION—ORGANIZATI0N—NAME—PHYSICAL FEATURES—LAND
COMPANIES—DEEDS—EARLY SETTLERS—COLT'S NEW STATION.
BOROUGH OP LINESVILLE—LOCATION—ORIGIN—PLAT RECORDED—POSTOFFICE—EARLY
PINE TOWNSHIP is one of the smallest in Crawford County, having an area of 7,133 acres. In 1850 it contained 702 inhabitants; in 1860, 847; in 1870, 343; in 1880, 385. For 1850 and 1860 Linesville is included; the borough since having a separate enumeration. The township was taken from North Shenango in 1845, and includes that part of it which lay northeast of Shenango Creek. The name is derived from the prevailing kind of timber. Much of it was logged and burned, a large amount was sawed into timber for both a local and a foreign market, and some pine logs were rafted down Shenango Creek to New Castle. The pine stumps, owing to the resistance of the roots to natural decay, afford a valuable material for fencing. They have been extracted in large quantities and utilized for this purpose. The surface is level and inclines slightly toward the south. Stock-raising and dairying are the chief agricultural pursuits.
Only the northern portion is tillable, the entire southern part being occupied by the Pymatuning swamp. This vast body of waste land, though extending for many mites in a general northwest and southeast direction, reaching almost to Hartstown, has perhaps a larger area in Pine than any other township. Its area according to a survey made by Col Worrall in 1868 was 9,000 acres. Mr. Alfred Huidekoper wrote of it in 1846: "It has every appearance of having once been a lake, whose bed had been gradually filled up with accumulated vegetable matter. Covered with the cranberry vine, with occasional clumps of alders, and islands of larch and other timber, the subsoil is so loose that a pole can be thrust into it from ten to twenty feet. Ditches that have been cut through it for the purpose of draining, exhibit fallen timber below ground, and the dead stumps of trees still standing in place show by the divergence of their roots that the surface of the soil is now from two to three feet higher than it was when the trees were growing." Canoes have been found buried in the soil. In early times pigeons in immense numbers frequented the place, and could be picked by hand from the bushes. The land is not so miry as in
former years, and by drainage much is being reclaimed to agricultural purposes. Whortleberry bushes, swamp willow, witch-hazel, alders and clumps of tamarack or larch and other trees still cover the ground in patches. A dense growth of vegetation is found, consisting of a great variety of plants, among which the beautiful "side-saddle flower" is found in great abundance.
The northern and eastern portions consist of tracts of the Pennsylvania Population Company, while the land in the southwest was a part of the North America Land Company's possessions. The books of the former company when closed in 1812 showed the following disposition of its land in what is <page 587> [blank] <page 588> [portrait of Gninnip P. Waid] <page 589> [portrait of Anna M. Waid] <page 590> [blank] <page 591> now Pine, the name of the person agreeing to settle, the date of contract, and the amount of land sold to him:
Tract 734, wholly unsold; 737, Samuel Lord, August 20, 1798, 200 acres, deed delivered to Robert Graham; 738, settled by an intruder; 741, unsold; 742, John McGunnegle, March 1, 1799, 200 acres, improvement of eight acres, made under contract, settled by intruder; same tract, Henry Emmery, April 17, 1805, 100 acres, contract abandoned; 749, Chris Kauffman1 May 1, 1798, 200, deed granted Kauffman; 750, settled by an intruder; 751, swamp; 752, Michael Burns, April 1, 1803, 100 acres, abandoned; 757, swamp; 758 (partly in North Shenango), James Robinson, June 26, 1807, 84 acres, settled under contract; 760 (partly in North Shenango), Jacob Barrackman, 100 acres, settled under contract; 763 (partly in North Shenango), William Davis, June 14, 1808, 100 acres, settled under contract; same tract, Hugh Blair, July 6, 1811, 100 acres; 766 (mostly in North Shenango), Mathias Colsher, June 1, 1798, 100 acres, settled under contract.
Most of these early settlers either lived in adjoining townships or soon left the vicinity. Robert Graham was of Irish extraction, a miller by trade, came in 1802, and remained on the farm till his death in old age. His son George now resides there. William Burnside was probably one of those mentioned above as an intruder; that is, he located on a tract of land with the belief that he could hold it by complying with the conditions of the land act, but being worsted in legal combat was obliged to vacate. He was an Irishman, and settled in the northern part of what is now Pine as early as 1797 or 1798. None are known to have been here earlier. In
a few years he removed to Meadville, but returned to Linesville, where about 1826 he was killed at a log rolling. He was a blacksmith. Martin Cunningham was another early settler of Pine, and resided in the southern part until his death. He was of Irish nationality, and a Seceder in religion. His son Robert now lives across Shenango Creek, in North Shenango Township. Jane Patterson, a widow, with her sons, James, William and David, settled early about a mile south of Linesville. She was a weaver, and in religious belief a Seceder. After her death the family removed from this vicinity. Another pioneer was Samuel McKay, a bachelor and a recluse. He dwelt just south of Linesville, within what are now the corporation limits, and afterward removed a few miles farther north. Margaret Robinson, probably the widow of James Robinson, is remembered as an early resident Samuel Glenn came a little later, in 1811.
An attempt to create a village was made by Jabez Colt, agent of the Pennsylvania Population
Company, in 1800. When Crawford County was organized he made the futile effort to secure the county seat on the lands of the company he represented in the extreme western part of the county, and to that end built a grist-mill at Linesville, and erected a half dozen log-cabins on the hill, about a half mile north of the village, and near the township line, as a. nucleus of the prospective city. A tannery was also started. It was called Colt's New Station, in distinction from Colt's Station, a settlement three miles farther north. In a few years the settlement was
abandoned, the country being too new and wild to support it, and the artificial stimulus which started it being withdrawn.
There is neither village nor postoffice in the territory of Pine except Linesville. The first
school was probably taught by Joseph Line in 1824, in the northeast part. There are at present tour schools in the township.
BOROUGH OF LINESVILLE.
The borough of Linesville is a spacious little village, situated in the north- <page 592> east part of Pine Township, and including in its limits the south half of Tract 741 and the north half of Tract 750. It contained in 1870 a population of 432, which in 1880 had increased to 550. The
Erie & Pittsburgh Railroad passes through the village, which is also the western terminus of the Meadville & Linesville Railroad.
Amos Line was the proprietor of Linesville. He had been a surveyor in the employ of the
Pennsylvania Population Company in 1800. He purchased Tract 741 at $4 per acre, and in 1818 removed to it from his home in Plainfield, N. J. He first built his cabin in the northwest part of his tract, near the township line. Here he kept a small stock of merchandise for sale, but in 1823 his cabin burned to the ground, and he removed with his family to the site of Linesville, where he had previously erected a mill. For two years he occupied an old log-cabin, and in 1825 he moved into a new frame house, which he had built just west of the mill on land now owned by the Erie & Pittsburgh Railroad. It was about 1825 that he laid out the village. The plat was recorded February 2, 1838. It then contained a public square, seventy-five lots, Pymatuning and Mercer Streets extending north and south, and Erie, Mill and Conneaut, east and west. The southern part, laid out by Joseph Allen, was acknowledged March 16, 1842. Mr. Line became the first Postmaster, and the receipts of his office the first quarter were just 25 cents, that being the postage for one letter. He was of the Quaker belief, and a member of a congregation in Conneaut Township. He died in 1853, aged seventy-seven years, leaving a family of four sons and two daughters.
Among the earliest settlers of the village were: William Burnside and Jesse Gilliland, blacksmiths; Moses Lord and William Russell, shoe-makers; Joseph Allen, carpenter; Samuel Shattuck, cooper; Horatio N. Mead, the first tavern-keeper; Smith Line, son of the proprietor, kept the first store, started about 1839; C. S. Stratton built the first tannery about 1837. It is still in operation, owned by Thomas Limber.
A frame mill had been built near the site of the present mill in 1800 by Jabez Colt, while he was trying to secure the county seat in this locality. It was fed by water-power by means of a long race. In a short time the mill was abandoned, and when Mr. Line came to this tract in 1818, he found the mill site a mass of ruins, overgrown by bushes. About 1820, however, he erected a new grist-mill and afterward added a saw-mill. He sold the mill in 1837 to Joseph T. Boyd, and in 1838 the grist-mill was burned. It was rebuilt about 1845 by the Linesville Industrial Association. Under the proprietorship of I. L. Line & Co. the mill was in 1866 again destroyed by fire, but was rebuilt the following year. Taft & Gaiser are the present owners. There is no
other grist-mill within a radius of six miles, and a good business is transacted. An extensive lumbering business was formerly done, much of the lumber being teamed to Shermansville and shipped via the canal.
The first newspaper venture was made at Linesville in April, 1875, by Britton & McCoy, under the appellation of the Leader. It maintained a flickering existence with brief suspensions under the subsequent management of George W. Baldwin and of R. H. Montgomery, until with a subscription list of 149, it passed into the hands, in September, 1881, of H. D. and F. C. Lowing, the present publishers. Under their charge the Leader, re-christened the Linesville Herald, has met with a large circulation, and proved a valuable property; since September, 1883, it has been issued semi-weekly, Wednesdays and Saturdays. In politics it is Republican. Subsequent to the founding of the Leader the Linesville Gazette was launched into being by Frank McCoy. After a brief existence it was continued by L. L. Luce, under the name of the American Citizen. A few months later its final issue was published.
The first school in Linesville was taught in 1835 by Amos Line, in a log building, which stood on the south side of Main, or Erie Street, near the railroad. Joseph Allen was also one of the earliest teachers. The first schoolhouse was erected in 1841 in the extreme eastern part of the borough, at the northwest corner of Main Street. It was a district school containing but one room. A frame building of one apartment was then erected on West Main Street, on the site of the present schoolhouse; an addition was made as the village grew. Next a two-story frame was
built on the same lot, and used until the present handsome brick structure was reared in 1880. It contains four apartments, all of which are in use.
The Methodist Episcopal congregation at Linesville is the oldest in the village. Meetings
were held for many years in the schoolhouse, and about 1860 the present frame church building, located on West Main or Erie Street was erected. Leading members at that time were: John Thayer, John Rea and A. G. Woods. This appointment was formerly a part of Conneautville and afterward of Shenango Circuit. In 1861 Linesville Circuit was formed. It includes at present, besides Linesville, Shermansville, of Sadsbury Township, and Frey's Chapel, of Conneaut Township. The pastors of this circuit have been: Revs. W. H. Mossman, 1861-62; H. Kinsley,
1863-64; R. C. Smith, 1865-66-67; W. Rice, 1868; 0. Babcock, 1869; S. Heard, 1870-71; C. W. Foulke, 1872-73; T. W. Douglas, 1874-75; L. L. Luce, 1876-77; J. A. Hume, 1878; W. H. Hoover, 1879-80; A. J. Lindsey, 1881; John Abbott, 1882; J. F. Stocker, 1883. The present membership is about sixty.
The Baptist congregation in 1852 erected the first church edifice in Linesville. A society of
this denomination flourished in pioneer times and worshiped in a log meeting-house which stood on the knoll near the cemetery, about a mile east of Linesville. Rev. McMillan held services here as early as 1818, and among the early members were William Ward, James Bishop, Moses Bishop, Sr., and William Bunnell. The society was maintained for many years. About 1846 a branch of the Georgetown Baptist Church was organized at Linesville and remained in active existence until the present Baptist congregation was organized March 11, 1851, with eighteen
members by Rev. E. M. Alden. The frame church building, erected the year following, is located on East Main Street and cost about $2,500. The first Deacons were Israel Ward and William Porter, one of the earliest Clerks, Stephen Bunnell. The present Clerk is B. O. Irons; the present Deacons: William Porter, I. E. Ward and B. O. Irons. Succeeding Elder Alden the following among others have been the Pastors: Revs. J. G. Whitney, O. N. Ney, Fuller, John Hicks, C. H. Fuller, Mills, L. R. Jayne, C. H. Johnson, E. M. Alden and C. T. Jack, the present pastor. The membership is about 130.
St. Philip's Catholic Church of Linesville was erected on South Mercer Street about 1870. For some time previously services had been conducted at private houses. The congregation is now attended by Father Ruddy of Conneautville, and services are held each alternate Sunday. The membership includes about twenty-five families.
The First Universalist Church of Linesville was organized September 28, 1873, with twenty-five members, including A. H. Armstrong, Larkin Sabins, John Brooks, S. C. Stratton, Walter Bond, and N. A. Wilson. Rev. Campbell had conducted services here before the parish was formed and Rev. L. F. Porter followed him and was the first Pastor. His successors have been Revs. J. G. Porter, A. A. McMaster, J. S. Gledhill and C. L. Shipman, who is now in charge. The congregation was organized and meetings have always been held in Stratton's Hall. About sixty persons comprise the membership.
A Liberal League was formed at Linesville a few years ago and for some time had a strong membership, but regular services are no longer held.
Linesville Lodge, No.395, I. O. O. F., was chartered January 22, 1841, the charter officers being: O. D. Wade, N. G.; Alva Manter, V. G.; Jabez Holcomb, Secretary; Ansel Dennison, Assistant Secretary; Moses Bishop, Jr., Treasurer. After a time the lodge became inactive, but about a year later was reorganized and now has fifty members. Meetings are held every Monday evening.
Mayflower Lodge, No. 97, Daughters of Rebekah, was chartered November 19, 1874, and remained in active working order until 1883.
Pine Lodge, No. 498, F. & A. M., was instituted at Linesville, December 22, 1871. Its charter was granted September 6, 1871, and its first meeting held January 2, 1872. The first officers were: G. T. Rankin, W. M.; C. C. Minneley, S. W.; J. A. Crockett, J. W. Eleven members have been lost by death. The membership is now about forty and meetings are held the first and third Tuesdays of each month.
Linesville Grange, No. 694, P. of H., was organized April 6, 1876, with thirty-nine members. R. P. Miller was the first Master. The grange now numbers fifty members, and meets the second and fourth Saturday evenings of each month.
Relief Lodge, No. 99, A. O. U. W., was granted a charter June 29, 1876. Its charter officers
were: John S. Kean, P. M. W.; George T. Rankin, M. W.; James Hillman, G. F.; Henry Wiser, O.; J. L. Bishop, Recorder; Stephen S. Henry, Financier; Joseph H. Garner, Receiver; C. A. Brown, G.; Hiram Foust, I. W.; William J. Thompson, O. W. The present membership is thirty-seven. Meetings are held every Friday evening.
Olive Branch Council, No. 18, R. T. of T., was organized with twenty-four members. Its
charter bears date December 5, 1878, and its first officers were: J. B. Brooks, S. C.; William E. Seelye, V. C.; H. B. Rice, P. C.; Eliza Rice, Chaplain; Lucy Wilson, Recording Secretary; Thomas Limber, Treasurer; Mary A. Burwell, Herald; A. D. Brooks, Deputy Herald; Tillie Brown, Guard; William A. Swift, Sentinel; N. A. Wilson, Medical Examiner. Sixty-five active members are now enrolled, and meetings are held the first and third Saturdays of each month.
Linesville Council, No. 580, Royal Arcanum, was organized with twenty-three members, April 13, 1881. The membership has increased to thirty-seven, and meetings are held on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month.
Linesville Union, E. A. U., was organized in December, 1881, with a large membership.
Meetings are held each alternate Tuesday, and the members are about sixty in number.
The Linesville Police Company was incorporated by act of the State Legislature April 1, 1873. The following citizens are named as members in the act: R. P. Miller, J. B. Hillman, M. V. Walsh, J. H. Garner, G. T. Rankin, C. C. Minneley, John G. Gaugh, B. F. Wiser and L. D. Shattuck. The object of the company was the protection of its members against losses by larceny and other unlawful conduct, and the detection of criminals. The members were empowered by the act with the authority of police. The company is now connected with the State Horse Police, and has a membership of about forty. Meetings are held quarterly.
Linesville was incorporated by act of Legislature March 22, 1862, by which an election was directed to be held in the following month. The enrollment tax was not paid however within the prescribed limit, and an empowering act was passed March 30, 1864, under which the first election was held in the <page 595> spring of 1864. R. P. Miller was the first Burgess elected. The present one is L. E. Bunday.
The mercantile business of Linesville now consists of three dry goods stores, three groceries, two hardware stores, two furniture stores, two clothing stores, two drug stores, one jewelry store and two millinery stores. There are also in the village three good hotels, a meat-market, a bakery, a livery stable, one marble works, a photograph gallery, two harness-shops, several shoe and blacksmith shops, a wagon shop, tannery, flour and saw and planing-mill. The professions are represented by four physicians, two lawyers and a dentist.