Crawford County, Pennsylvania
History & Biography
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SADSBURY TOWNSHIP—ORIGINAL BOUNDARIES—PRESENT AREA—POPULATION—CANAL—RAILROADS—CONNEAUT LAKE—PHYSICAL FEATURES—LANDCOMPANIES—EARLY SETTLERS—DISTILLERIES—EARLY TEACHERS—SHERMANVILLE—ALDENIA—STONY POINT POSTOFFICE.
BOROUGH OF EVANSBURG—LOCATION—INCORPORATION—HOTELS—POPULATION—BUSINESS—RELIGIOUS
ORGANIZATIONS—SOCIETIES—THE FOUNDER—EARLY SETTLERS AND BUSINESS PURSUITS.
SADSBURY was one of the eight townships erected in Crawford County by the Court of Quarter Sessions, July 9, 1800. Its boundaries were thus es[t]ablished: "Beginning at the southeast corner of a tract of land surveyed in the name of Michael Emmell; thence northwardly including a tract of land surveyed in the name of William Bell, to the northeast corner of a tract of land surveyed in the name of John James; thence westwardly to the northeast corner of a tract of land surveyed in the name of David Fleming; thence south to the place of beginning." This description, which is both insufficient and obscure, appears thus on record. The township originally included parts of what are now Vernon, Hayfield, Summerhill, Summit and Sadsbury. By a re-formation of township lines in 1829 Sadsbury was changed to about its present territory, together with the southern half of Summit. The territory of <page 621> Sadsbury, as now constituted, was, before 1829, apportioned among four townships: The northwest portion was part of Conneaut; the northeast, a portion of Sadsbury; the southeast, a part of Fallowfield; and the southwest a part of Shenango. The township now contains 12,770 acres. It is six tracts square, except that about two tracts in the southwest corner have been given to West Fallowfield. The population in 1850 was 982; in 1860, 1,136; in 1870, 894; and in 1880, 895. In 1850 and 1860 Evansburg was included in the census.
The Beaver and Erie Canal passed north and south through the western part, and the feeder crossed the township east and west. The New York, Pennsylvania & Ohio Railroad by a curve enters and leaves the township in the southern part, and the Meadville & Linesville Railroad crosses the township in a northwest and southeast direction.
Conneaut Lake, the largest body of water in Crawford County, lies almost wholly within Sadsbury. It is a beautiful sheet of water three miles in length and varies in width from a half to a mile. It varies in depth from a few feet to nearly 100 feet in a few deep holes. It abounds in fish, and is much frequented by sportsmen and pleasure seekers. Four little steamers, the Keystone, Nickle Plate, Luna and Queen, ply on its waters. After the canal was constructed the surface of the lake was raised about nine feet by building a dam across the outlet, and its area greatly increased. It covers at present about 1,200 acres.
The surface of the township is level or gently rolling. The soil is a clay, except in the valleys, and is well adapted for grain raising. Oak, chestnut, beech, maple and pine were the prevailing types of timber. Numerous small springs exist, and amply irrigate the soil. The largest stream is Conneaut Outlet.
Sadsbury was one of the earliest settled portions of Crawford County. It attracted the foremost pioneers, and most of its tracts were entered before the land companies were in the field. The Holland Land Company owned two tracts in the northeast corner, and the Pennsylvania Population Company four tracts in the northwest corner. The balance was located and settled by individuals.
The two Holland Land tracts located in the northeast corner of the township were sold in 1800 to S. B. and A. W. Foster, of Meadville. Of the four tracts of the Pennsylvania Population Company, 200 acres of Tract 755 were contracted for by Joseph Allen, October 23, 1797, and a deed granted him March 25, 1802; 200 acres of 756, under same date, by Daniel Williams, who settled under contract; 200 acres, Tract 761, by Samuel Williamson, under contract of October 23, 1797, settled; 200 acres, 762, Matthew Williamson, under contract of October 23, 1797, settled and deed delivered. The east half of Tract 767 is also in Sadsbury; it is marked a swamp in the records of 1812. All the above settled on their tracts and remained for years. Samuel Williamson operated a distillery; he came from the southern part of the State. Dennis Hughes, originally from Ireland, directly from New Jersey, came in 1802 and settled in the northwest part of the township.
Abner Evans, whose name is perpetuated in the village of Evansburg, was among the foremost pioneers. He was here probably in 1796. He built a mill on Conneaut Outlet which was the first in the township, but was not a complete success, the fall not being sufficient to afford great power. John Harper came in 1797 or earlier and settled just east of the lake. Other pioneers known to have come equally as early were Luke Stevens, William Shotwell and William Campbell. Mr. Stevens was an Englishman. He settled about a mile south of Evansburg and remained there till death. William Shotwell settled in or <page 622> near Evansburg and remained in the township through life. Mr. Campbell selected a home in the western part of the township and there operated a distillery.
Jacob Shontz came in October, 1800, and remained on his tract near Evansburg until his death many years after. He was a member of the Seceder Church, and his descendants still occupy the old homestead. About the same time, or a few years later, the following were residents of the township: Adam Stewart, who came from Ireland—he dwelt in Evansburg and was a Justice of the Peace in 1810; years afterward he removed to West Fallowfield, where he died. Negro Dick, a peaceable colored man, who roved from place to place a great deal, selling straw baskets and bee hives—he died in East Fallowfield; Charles Frew, who lived about three miles west of Evansburg—he was a plow-maker and subsequently removed to Pittsburgh. David Garner settled in the north part of the township just west of the lake, and engaged in farming for life. John Jones also settled in the north part of the township. Samuel Lewis, half brother to David Garner, and an excellent blacksmith, after sojourning here for many years, removed to Illinois. John Quigley, an Irishman, settled east of the lake and remained a life-long settler. Henry Royer, a German, remained on his farm near Evansburg, until his death. George Shellito, an Irishman, settled about three miles west of Evansburg, where his descendants still live. Richard Coulter, Joseph Marshall and John Williams were also early settlers. Daniel Miller, a German, came with his family prior to 1800, and settled on the tract patented in the name of his son Michael, and situated. about a mile south of Evansburg.
An early distillery was built by Joseph T. Cummings on Conneaut Outlet, but his death occurred almost immediately afterward and the still was operated by Mr. Sutleff and others. David Steward operated another, about two and a half miles west of Evansburg.
The township is exclusively agricultural outside of Shermanville and Evansburg and contains no manufactories; neither are there any churches beyond these villages.
Among the early school teachers of the township may be mentioned William McMichael who was a Presbyterian minister, Mr. Higgins, James McEntire, his son Robert McEntire and Mr. Plum. Of these James McEntire was probably the first. He settled in the township west of the lake in 1800, and two years later removed to East Fallowfield. He was a widely known early pedagogue and held terms in this and adjoining townships almost every winter from 1802 till 1827, the winter of the "four-foot snow." In 1805 he taught a term at Daniel Miller's cabin, for which he received $10 per month. John Gelvin and several others who attended this school went the next year on Burr's expedition, and a number of his pupils served in the war of 1812.
James McEntire, Sr., died in the township in 1800. A rough, square coffin was prepared for his remains from planks brought from Powers saw-mill, and he was buried near where the Soldiers Monument at Evansburg now stands.
Shermanville is a small village located in the northwestern part of the township. It was laid out along the canal by Anson Sherman, and the plat acknowledged and recorded January 18, 1842. The plat is irregular in outline, and all lots except fractional ones are 60x160 feet in size. Main Street is fifty feet wide, and Oak, Elm, Vine and Canal, each forty. A Mr. Craven is said to have been the first settler. Anson Sherman, who died in 1873, aged seventy-nine years, and Peter Bakeley, were the leading early residents. During the palmy days of the canal, the village was a lumber shipping point of <page 623> considerable note. The Shermanville of to-day contains nineteen dwellings, a school, a blacksmith-shop, a store, a flourishing steam saw-mill, owned by Thayer & Ladner, and a Methodist Episcopal Church.
A small Methodist class existed here forty years ago, and included Henry Moyer and wife, John Conley and wife, and Mrs. Lasure. Meetings were held in the schoolhouse until about 1867, when the present frame church was built. The membership is about twenty, and the society is a part of Linesville Circuit.
Just north of Evansburg, Aldenia was laid out, in the spring of 1828, by Rev. Timothy Alden, on part of a 200-acre tract purchased by him from Henry Reier, in 1818. The original plat contained ninety-five lots, a hollow square and a public common, and was acknowledged October 17, 1828. Winthrop, Thomas and Bentley Streets extended north and south; Clinton, Hosack, North Lake, South Lake and Line Streets, east and west. Isaiah Alden, brother of the founder, settled on the site of the prospective village, but it did not prosper, and in a few years was forgotten.
Stony Point Postoffice is located near the south line of the township. A small collection of houses cluster around the station of Evansburg, on the line of the New York, Pennsylvania & Ohio Railroad, which is located here.
BOROUGH OF EVAN5BURG.
The little borough of Evansburg is beautifully situated at the outlet of Conneaut Lake, and is well and favorably known as a summer resort.* It was not until the construction of the Meadville & Linesville Railroad, however, that it became conveniently accessible to the outside world. Containing four large hotels and one or two restaurants, it has ample means for the accommodation of guests. A fifth hotel, a spacious brick structure, built in 1843 by Robert Andrews, is located a half mile east of the borough, on the Evansburg & Meadville Road. The village in 1870 had a population of 174, and in 1880 of 197, which has since slightly increased. It has two general stores, two groceries, two drug stores, a hardware store, a millinery store, and a meat market, a saw-mill, a grist-mill, cheese factory, tannery, wagon-shop, three blacksmith-shops, three shoe-shops and a livery stable, three physicians, a dentist, a school, three churches and four societies. The largest building is the storing house of the Conneaut Lake Ice Company, Limited. A building 80x100 was erected in 1881, and a second structure adjoining, 100x200 feet, in 1882. The schoolhouse is a one story frame, containing one apartment.
The oldest religious society in the village is the United Presbyterian Congregation, formerly known as Seceders. An old log meeting-house was erected at Evansburg prior to 1815, and services held therein until the construction of a frame church building a half mile east of the borough. This church contained an old-fashioned elevated pulpit, and was occupied until the erection of the present frame edifice in 1864, at the southeast corner of High and Fourth Streets. Rev. McLean, of Shenango Township, preached until September 20, 1827, when Matthew Snodgrass was installed pastor in a beautiful grove on the shore of the lake. Since then his successors have been: Revs. Joseph Waddle, Samuel Black and Joseph McNabb. The membership is about sixty.
Evansburg Presbyterian Church was formerly known as Conneaut, or the Outlet of Conneaut. From 1811 to 1817 it constituted a part of the charge of Rev. Robert Johnston, in connection with Meadville and Little Sugar Creek.
* A petition for the incorporation of Evansburg, signed by twenty-fire citizens, was presented to the grand jury, who in April, 1858, recommended that it be granted. In accordance the court confirmed their report, August 9, 1858.
It was dependent on supplies from that date to April 14, 1841, when Rev. Edward S. Blake was ordained and installed pastor in connection with Gravel Run, remaining one year. Rev. J. W. Dickey became pastor October 4, 1843, and was released in 1847. Rev. James Coulter was pastor from September, 1852, to 1857 or 1858. The next pastor was Rev. George Scott, installed June 27, 1860, released June 10, 1862. The church building, a large square frame structure, on the southwest corner of Fifth and Water Streets, was erected in 1831. The membership is now about fifty. Recent pastors have been: Revs. J. W. McVitty, McKinney, Anderson and Boyd.
A small Methodist Episcopal class existed at Evansburg in very early times. Meetings were held in the old log Seceder Church and in the schoolhouse until 1840, when the present frame meeting-house was erected on Line Street, opposite Third. Michael Miller, James Birch and John Vickers were leading early members. Evansburg Circuit was formed in 1842 with J. Prosser pastor that year, and R. Parker in 1843. The circuit was then changed, but Evansburg Circuit was re-formed in 1851, and its pastors have since been: I. C. T. McClelland and T. Benn, 1851; I. C. T. McClelland, 1852; J. Abbott and A. L. Miller, 1853; J. Abbott and F. Vernon, 1854; I. Lane, 1855—56; J. B. Orwig, 1857—58; J. Wigglesworth, 1859—60; I. Scofield, 1860—61; S. Hollen, 1862—63; J. W. Hill, 1864; J. Shields, 1865; J. Crum, 1866; J. F. Perry, 1867—68; G. M. Eberman, 1869; J. Eckels, 1870—71; F. Fair, 1872—'73; W. H. Hoover, 1874; J. A. Hume, 1875; L. Wick, 1876—77; D. W. Wampler, 1878—79; L. G. Merril, 1880—81; A. J. Lindsey, 1882—83. The membership is about seventy.
Conneaut Lake Lodge, No. 105, A. O. U. W., was organized March 7, 1877, with Mathew Work, P. M. W.; W. F. McLean, M. W.; A. L. Bossard, G. F.; H. C. Jones, O.; C. E. White, Recorder; A. W. Birch, Financier; R. A. Stratton, Receiver; J. C. Jackson, G.; Joshua Brown, I. W.; Z. T. Raydure, O. W. The membership is thirty-four, and meetings are held every Wednesday evening.
Conneaut Lake Union, No. 352, E. A. U., was instituted August 12, 1881, with thirty-seven members. Its first officers were: E. Graham, Chancellor; Mrs. M. M. McNamara, Advocate; John D. Heard, President; Mrs. S. A Stratton, Vice-President. Meetings are held on the first and third Fridays of each month. The membership has slightly increased.
Conneaut Lake Lodge, No. 980, I. O. O. F., was instituted November 25, 1881, with twenty-two members. Its first elective officers were: John S. Keen, N. G.; J. F. Stewart, V. G.; Charles McGill, Permanent Secretary; Henry Young, Assistant Secretary; F. Knierman, Treasurer. The membership is now eighty-eight, and meetings are held every Saturday evening.
Alpharetta Lodge, No. 135, D. of R., was organized August 14, 1883, with sixty-four members and with the following officers: Mrs. Mira Keen, N. G.; Mrs. Mary J. Stewart, V. G.; Mrs. Josephine Brown, Sec.; Mrs. Sarah E. Andrews, Treas. Four new members have been received; the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month are the dates for regular meetings.
Evansburg is one of the oldest villages in the county. Its founder was Abner Evans, who was one of the earliest settlers in Sadsbury Township. He patented the two tracts containing Evansburg and adjoining it on the east, and settled on the site of Evansburg as early as 1796, and remained there through life. Joseph T. Cummings started a store as early as 1816. Willis Benedict, his salesman, succeeded him, and was the sole village merchant for many years. James Stanford, a cabinet-maker, Zerah Blakely, a carpenter, and Richard Van Sickle were among the earliest residents. Alfred Strong kept an <page 625> early tavern; so also did Rosanna Mushrush. Her twin daughters, Desolate and Lonely, were early school teachers at Evansburg and vicinity. James McEntire was another pioneer pedagogue of the little village. The village grew apace, and when the canal was built, presented quite a thriving appearance. It was then as large as now, or larger, and did a greater amount of business, having five general stores beside a number of grocery stores. When the dam was built at the outlet of Conneaut Lake, after the canal was constructed and the surrounding land was flooded, the decomposing vegetable matter filled the atmosphere with deadly malaria, and to escape its ravages most of Evansburgs settlers removed from the village. The perils diminishing, in a few years many returned. The time of greatest sickness was about 1840. Jacob Young was a tailor at Evansburg as early as 1810. George Royer was a carpenter in the village at the same date. Two tanneries flourished in early times, one owned by James Stratton, the other by Fox & DeWolf. Rev. Timothy Alden established the first Sabbath-school.