Crawford County, Pennsylvania
History & Biography
WEST FALLOWFIELD TOWNSHIP.
WEST FALLOWFIELD TOWNSHIP—FORMATION—POPULATION PHYSICAL
FEATURES—PENNSYLVANIA POPULATION LAND TITLES—EARLY SETTLERS—EARLY PRESBYTERIAN CONGREGATION—ADAMSVlLLE—RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS—SCHOOLS.
BOROUGH OF HARTSTOWN—INCORPORATION—OFFICERS—LOCATION—POPULATION—BUSINESS
HOUSES—NAME—CHURCHES—A. O. U. W.
WEST FALLOWFIELD was founded in 1841 by a division of Fallowfield. It is somewhat irregular in outline, has a width of from one and a half to two miles, a length of about seven, and contains 6,885 acres. Its population in 1850 was 654; in 1860, 585; in 1870, 503; in 1880, 482. The surface is rolling and the soil a clayey loam. The land was heavily timbered in early days with pine, oak, chestnut and other varieties. Crooked Creek, the eastern boundary line, is the principal stream. The Beaver & Erie Canal passed through its valley, and above Hartstown was a large canal basin covering many hundred acres. When the waters were first pent up on this low land, the malaria engendered. proved a serious obstacle to the development of the adjoining country. In a few years the sickness greatly decreased, and since the abandonment of the canal the locality has proved a very healthy one.
The entire township consists of Pennsylvania Population Land. The first contracts for its settlement were made by the company with the following persons, for the following amounts of land, and at the dates following: Tract 767 (partly in Sadsbury) swamp; 200 acres of Tract 771, Robert McDowell, May 1, 1798, deed delivered
September 29, 1808; 100 acres of 772, John Graham, May 1, 1798, settled under contract; 100 acres same tract, John Blair, improved under contract; 200 acres, 774 (partly in East Fallowfield), William Irwin, October 29, 1798, deed delivered November 29, 1802; 200 acres, 775, John McCartney, June 1, 1798, settled under contract; 200 acres of 783, William Henry, May 10, 1805, settled under contract; 200 acres same tract, James Calhoun, December 17, 1806, settled under contract; 200 acres of 787, Peter Smith, August 3, 1797, settled under contract; 200 acres of 799, Robert Brownfield, June 1, 1798, deed delivered to Hugh Fletcher, assignee of Brownfield; 200 acres of 817, William Campbell, October 1, 1797, deed delivered to Andrew McQuiston, assignee of Campbell, June 19, 1805; 200 acres of 822, Thomas McClellan, May 1, 1798, settled under contract; 150 acres of 841, William Campbell, November 2, 1797, deed granted; all of Tract 842, 401.88 acres, William Campbell, October 28, 1797, settled under contract.
Some of the above settlers located on the tracts; others procured tenants or sent members of their families to occupy them. Robert McDowell was a resident of South Shenango. John Graham, if here at all, did not remain long. John Blair was one of the earliest settlers. Hugh and Henry Blair were also pioneers. They were natives of Ireland, and Hugh in 1802 settled about a mile north of Hartstown. William Henry came afoot from Fayette County in 1800 and located just west of Hartstown. His first shelter was a hut supported by forked sticks and roofed with bark. He next built a pole hut and <page 690> being unable to make a door, cut a hole in a log near the top, through which he crawled in and out. Mr. Henry was probably the first tanner in the county west of Meadville. He first tanned in a dug-out trough, a horse skin and the skin of a calf partly eaten by wolves. The next season he built vats lined with puncheon. A tannery was built in 1806, which was burned by an incendiary in 1818. It was rebuilt in 1819, and work was done at the tannery as late as 1872. James Calhoun and Robert Brownfield were settlers of East Fallowfield, Hugh Fletcher of South Shenango. William Campbell was an early settler and built the first grist-mill, about a mile south of Adamsville. Thomas McClellan erected the first saw-mill, east of Adamsville. Andrew McQuiston was a pioneer and operated a distillery.
Other pioneers of the township were: Fisher Lanty, who came prior to 1798; Adam Owry, a Revolutionary soldier, who also came in 1797 or earlier; his brother John, whose reason was dethroned in consequence of injuries sustained while running an Indiana gauntlet; Samuel Rogers, Hugh Andrews, James Calvin, James Hart,
Samuel Hays, Michael Kincaid, Robert Kilpatrick, George Linn, John and Robert Lee, David McKee, Thomas MeClenahan, David McGrenahan, William McGinnis, James McCurdy, John Scowden, Rodney and James Wade and William Wright, many of whom were Irish or of Irish origin.
A Covenanter or Reformed Presbyterian congregation was organized with fifteen members in 1804 by Dr. John Black, of Pittsburgh, who visited them every fifth Sabbath, the congregation in the meantime keeping up society, and invariably subjecting an absentee to a rebuke. Samuel Hays was the first Elder, and in 1813 Samuel Rogers and John McMaster were added to the session. In that year Rev. Robert Gibson became pastor, and remained thirteen years. Revs. A. W. Black, David Herron and John Nevin succeeded, and when the latter left, about 1866, the congregation disbanded, and the members joined the United Presbyterian Church of Adamsville. The home of this Covenanter congregation was first a round-log-cabin, then a frame church, located on the hill about a mile southwest from Adamsville.
Adamsville is a brisk little village, located in the valley of Crooked Creek, in the southern part of the township. The first settlers here were the Owrys. Adam Owry was a blacksmith, and followed his trade here. A little hamlet sprang up, and the construction of the canal gave it shape and position. The settlement was more generally known in its earlier years as Owrytown, but subsequently acquired the title Adamsville, both names being derived from that of Adam Owry. Adamsville, as platted by Henry Owry, was acknowledged Feruary 8, 1841. The original plat contains sixty-four lots. Main Street, sixty feet in width, runs north and south, and First, Second, Third, Liberty and South Streets, each fifty feet wide, cross the village east and west. George Owry was an early tavern-keeper, and Frank Owry operated a saw-mill. The village now has a population of about 150 people, and contains two general stores, one drug, one hardware and one furniture store, two blacksmith, one harness and two shoe-shops, one hotel, a physician, a district school of two apartments, and two churches.
The Adamsville United Presbyterian Church was organized about 1852. A church building was commenced in 1851, and finished about two years later at a cost of $2,000. About $1,400 were expended on repairs ten years ago and the edifice in 1883 underwent changes, which, including bell, cost $1,300. The building is 48x54 feet, and the lecture-room in the basement 30x48. The vestibule in the rear is 12x34, and the bell tower recently constructed 12x24. James M. Blair and Thomas McCurdy were the first Elders. John McMaster <page 691> and John Blair were soon after added. James Baird and Michael Harshaw were elected about 1878. A few years previous, by the union with the Reformed Presbyterian congregation, S. H. Findley, James F. Randolph, James Kee, Walter Davis and James Jordan were added to the session. The present Elders are: S. H. Findley, James Kee, John McMaster, James Baird, J. H. Blair, R. C. McMaster, Andrew McKee, Andrew Davis, J. S. Henry and John Voorhes. The membership is about 160. The pastors have been: Revs. William Bruce to February, 1860; John Wallace, from 1862 to 1866; W. R. Stewart, May 5, 1868, to June 14, 1870; T. W. Winter, installed October 4, 1872, released June 17, 1880; W. J. McCrory, installed October 10, 1881, resigned July 6, 1882; J. L. Clark, present pastor, since July, 1883.
The Adamsville Reformed Presbyterian Church was organized at Greenville as a branch of Springfield, Mercer Co., Congregation, and removed to Adamsville about 1873, during the pastorate of Rev. J. J. McClurken. He left soon after and supplies filled the pulpit till Rev. J. R. Wylie, the present Pastor, was installed in June, 1877. William Cochran was the only Elder when the branch was removed, and he and James Jordan constitute the present session. Thomas McFeeters was elected Elder but has since died. The membership is forty. In 1876, or thereabouts, the Baptist Church was purchased and has since been the house of worship.
The Adamsville Free-Will Baptist Church was organized with twenty-one members in April, 1852, by Revs. J. S. Manning and J. B. Page, the former of whom was the first Pastor. The house of worship was built in 1853. Removals and deaths, without compensating accessions reduced the membership and the organization disbanded about 1876.
Rocky Glen Cemetery Association was organized at Adamsville in 1880, with a capital of $2,000. It obtained by deed the burying-ground of the old Reformed Presbyterian congregation a mile southwest of the village, and has enlarged and improved it to the extent of $1,400. It now contains eight acres. The officers of the association are: G. W. Congdon, President; R. C. McMaster, Secretary; J. M. Baird, Treasurer.
A school was taught on the William Henry farm, within the present limits of Hartstown Borough in 1820, by Ezra Buell, an old and very able teacher. In 1834 there were four schools in the township; the houses were all log. Hugh Andrews, Calvin Leonard, Thomas Guthrie and Ezra Buell were very noted teachers in this township about that time. The school at Adamsville was started about 1825. It was organized with two grades in 1861. Hartstown has never furnished enough pupils for a graded school.
BUROUGH OF HARTSTOWN.
Hartstown was incorporated in 1850 and its affairs have been conducted by the following Burgesses: B. Ewing, 1850; J. R. St. Clair, 1851; A. S. Throop, 1853; R. R. McKee, 1854; William M. Williams, 1855; James A. Sheriff, 1856; John Grace, 1857; J. K. St. Clair, 1858; Moses Kilgore, 1859; J. K. St. Clair, 1860; Jason Budd, 1861; Joseph Patton, 1862; B. Ewing, 1863; J. Patton, 1864; M. Kilgore, Jr., 1865--66; W. Y. Mason, 1867; E. F. Ellis, 1868; David Patton, 1869--70; William Henry, 1871; E. F. Ellis, 1872; Joseph Patton, 1873, refused to serve and J. J. Morrow elected; Thomas Getchell, 1874, resigned in favor of J. J. Morrow; R. A. Snodgrass, 1876; I. C. Miller, 1877; Gibson Nevins, 1878; William Y. Mason, 1879; C. P. Temple, 1880--81; J. W. Case, 1882; Gibson Nevins, 1883.
The village is located in the north part of West Fallowfield Township. It had a population of 188 in 1870, and of 167 in 1880. It contains one general <page 692> store, a stove and tin store, a grocery, a drug store, a furniture store, a millinery store, three blacksmith shops, two harness shops, one shoe shop, a cooper shop, two wagon shops, a steam grist-mill, a school and two churches.
The village was named from James and William Hart, brothers and early settlers and land owners in this locality. Dr. Steen built the second cabin in the place and Thomas Rogers, a blacksmith, the third. John McFawn was the first merchant. Mr. LeFevre kept the first tavern in a house built by Mr. Hart. Hartstown owed its start to the construction of the canal and since this watercourse has been abandoned it has not increased in population.
Hartstown United Presbyterian Church was organized in 1830 as an Associate Reformed Congregation. Its petitioners to the Presbytery were mostly disaffected members at Shenango who would not consent to have the banns of marriage published three Sabbaths. Rev. S. F. Smith, the first pastor, served until his death in 1846. The next pastor, Rev. William Dalzell, was installed January 29, 1850, and released October 9 of the same year. Rev. H. H. Hervey, the present pastor, came as a supply in December, 1852, and was installed June 15, 1853. The Elders at that time were: James F. Henry, Alexander Henry and William Patterson. The membership was then about fifty; it is now 180. The first church edifice was erected in 1830. It was superseded in 1856 by the present edifice, erected at a cost of $2,500.
Another church edifice, now the property of Zion Church, was erected about 1852 by a Covenanter's or Reformed Presbyterian congregation, which soon after united with the United Presbyterian Church, and the building was sold to a congregation of the German Reformed persuasion. This society languished, and in turn disposed of the house to the Zion Society, which is now too feeble to maintain services.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of Hartstown was organized with fifteen members, about 1840, in which year a frame meeting-house was erected on the hill above the village. The second and present edifice was reared in 1882. It is 32x50 in size and cost $2,000. George F. Randolph, James I. Lewis, Vance Cotton, John Hammel, Samuel Cotton, Bennett Trimble and James Wright were early leading members. The charge is connected with Espyville Circuit, and the membership is about 130.
Hartstown Lodge, No. 178, A. O. U. W., was organized July 1, 1880, and now has about twenty members. J. S. Mitchell was the first M. W. Meetings are held every Tuesday evening.