Crawford County, Pennsylvania
History & Biography
BOUNDARIES—ERECTION—POPULATION—PHYSICAL FEATURES—EARLY SETTLEMENTS AND
SETTLERS—HOLLAND LAND COMPANY TITLES—ACTUAL SETTLERS—OTHER
PIONEERS—SCHOOLS—TAVERNS—GRAVE-YARDS—MILLS—CHEESE FACTORY—PAPER MILL.
BOROUGH OF BLOOMING VALLEY—LOCATION—POPULATION—NAME—POSTOFF1CE—VILLAGE
BOROUGH OF SAEGERTOWN—LOCATION—POPULATION—THE FOUNDER—EARLY
BOROUGH OF WOODCOCK—LOCATION—POPULATION—ROCKVILLE—KEPLERTOWN—FIRST
WOODCOCK is one of the interior townships of Crawford County and is situated on the east side of French Creek. It is bounded on the north by Cambridge, on the east by Richmond, on the south by Mead and on the west by Hayfield. Its area is 19,328 acres. It was erected in 1829 from Mead and Rockdale Townships, Woodcock Creek having previously been the boundary between them. The population of Woodcock in 1850 was 2,288; in 1860, 2,093; in 1870, 1,723 and in 1880, 1,499. Blooming Valley is included for 1870, 1860 and 1850; Woodcock Borough for 1860 and 1850; and Saegertown for 1850, so that the large decrease in population is apparent only, and not real. The first place of holding elections in the township was at the cabin of Daniel Grubb.
The surface is diversified by hill and dale and the soil is generally of a fine quality. French Creek forms the western boundary and beyond its narrow valley low hills rise and recede into a rich upland country. Woodcock Run enters from the east and pursues a winding, west direction till it reaches French Creek; Gravel Run flows westward through the northern part and tributaries of these streams pierce the township in every direction. The New York, Pennsylvania & Ohio Railroad passes along the western border. Three boroughs, Saegertown, Blooming Valley and Woodcock--have bean taken from its territory, and beyond these there are no villages in the township.
The western portion of Woodcock Township, lying in the valley of French Creek and not remote from Meadville, was one of the earliest settled regions of the county. Clearings were made and patches of corn and potatoes cultivated before the country was yet free from Indian hostilities. William Jones was one of the foremost pioneers. He came to Meadville in 1794 or earlier, and in that and the following year tilled the soil near Meadville in company with James Dickson (Scotch Jemmy) and others. Savages lurked in the forest, and the daring frontiersmen must work in companies to guard against attacks. They were accustomed to pass from farm to farm, some of the men performing the necessary agricultural labor while the others with rifles in hand were stationed in the surrounding forest, watching for hidden or approaching foes. William Jones in 1795 or 1796 settled in the southwest corner of Woodcock <page 696> Township, on what is now known as the Cole farm, and remained there through life. He was of German descent.
Isaac Berlin, of German nativity, was a pioneer who settled on the east bank of French Creek. He was a Revolutionary soldier and one of the few who escaped starvation aboard a British prison-ship in 1777. For his services he received a warrant for a tract of land in north western Pennsylvania and he came out afoot with gun on shoulder to find it. Returning he brought his family to the western wilds, but the land proved marshy; poor and uninhabitable. Accordingly he removed to the banks of French Creek about two miles below Saegertown, where he purchased a farm from George Peiffer. He was a gunsmith by trade and died in Woodcock Township, June 16, 1830, in his seventy-seventh year.
Arthur and Patrick McGill, brothers, came to the township in 1795. Arthur entered a tract of land on French Creek above Saegertown and both he and his brother settled there. Both died in 1831, leaving a posterity which is still represented in this township.
George Peiffer, about 1797, emigrated from Northumberland County and settled with his family in what is now Bloomfield Township. In 1810 he removed with his son George two miles below Saegertown and there remained till his death, which occurred about 1818. He built a large house soon after his arrival and kept tavern in it during the war of 1812 and for years afterward. A log schoolhouse stood near by and religious services were held therein by various denominations. This locality in early times was dubbed Peiffertown, though it contained no public buildings save what are mentioned above.
Henry Minium came with the Peiffers and remained a short time in Bloomfield. He was a miller by trade and was placed in charge of Aldens Mills at the site of Saegertown. When Daniel Saeger purchased them Mr. Minium settled where the borough of Woodcock now is, remaining there until his death.
Except several tracts along French Creek, which were located by individuals, and a few in the eastern part which belong to the Donation Districts, the land in this township was the property of the Holland Land Company in early times. Below are given the names of the persons agreeing to settle the various tracts of this large body of land, the date of contract and the amount of land to be conveyed upon full compliance with the conditions:
Tract 140, Edward Ryan, 200 acres, October 17, 1796, deed executed to Rev. John Matthews, assignee; 145, John Hutcheson, 200 acres, November 11, 1797, forfeited; 146 and 149, William Greenlee, 200 acres each, October 17, 1796; 150, John Wykoff, 272 acres, October 17, 1796, deed executed February 26, 1807; 151, Archibald Humes, 150 acres, November 9, 1796, assigned to John Fredebaugh, deed executed December 28, 1804; 152 and 153, William Hammond, 200 acres each, January 9, 1799, deed executed; Nathaniel Clark purchased 100 acres Tract 152, December, 1808, assigned to Thomas Rice; 154, Isaac Farran, 200 acres, October 18, 1797; 155 and 156, John Wykoff, October 17, 1796, deed executed to William Wykoff, asignee [sic], for 312 acres; 157, John Farran, 200 acres, October 17, 1797; 158, Samuel Blair, 200 acres, August 9, 1796, repurchased; 159, Henry Rust, 200 acres, November 12, 1796, deed executed to Mathias Flaugh, assignee, June 10, 1809; 160, John Fredebaugh, 150 acres, July 1, 1797, deed delivered to Roger Alden, July 14, 1812; Griffith Carr purchased 200 acres of Tract 160, September 30, 1805; 161, Frederick Rice, 200 acres, August 26, 1797, deed executed; David Carr purchased this tract subject to the claim of Rice, February 28, 1805; 162, Samuel Blair, 200 acres, August 9, 1796, deed executed August 25, 1813; 163, Henry Bossard, <page 697> 100 acres, June 27, 1797, deed executed January 26, 1807; 164, Jacob Bossard, 100 acres, November 18, 1796, deed executed September 11, 1813; 165, John Ryan, 183 acres, February 22, 1799, deed executed May 29, 1812; 166, William McGredy, 200 acres, November l9, 1796; 167, William McGredy, 401 acres, same date; 168, John Limber, 200 acres, November 12, 1796, deed executed January 14, 1807; 169, James F. Randolph, 200 acres, August 31, 1797, forfeited; 170, David Hunnel, 100 acres, July 12, 1798; on same tract Dr. Thomas Murray purchased residue, 320 acres, December 19, 1804; an ejectment suit had been brought by the Holland Company to dispossess Murray and the property was bought by him on compromise at a reduced rate; 171, John Pealman, 100 acres, November 22, 1796, contract cancelled; 200 acres of same tract granted to Francis Fargus, December 1, 1800, "to settle dispute before the Board of Property;" 101 acres same tract sold Henry Phillips, April 13, 1805; 172, Charles Dougherty, 100 acres, May 28, 1798, deed executed; William Gill purchased 301 acres same tract, April 15, 1805; 173, Luke Hill, 200 acres, October 31, 1800, repurchased in 1814; 174, William and James Johnston, 200 acres, October 22, 1800, deed executed in 1813; 175, Robert Finney, 75 acres, November 23, 1796, deed executed December 17, 1804; same tract Henry Phillips purchased 264 acres, June 15, 1802; John Osborn, 100 acres, May 6, 1808; 176, Luke Hill, 200 acres, October 31, 1800, repurchased; 177, David Compton, 150 acres, October 23, 1798, deed executed to Compton for 50 acres and to John Douglass for 100 acres.
Settlements were made within a few days of contract, so that a scattering settlement had spread over the entire township during 1796 and 1797. For a residence of five years and the making of stipulated improvements a gratuity of 100 acres was usually to be granted the settler, who at the same time agreed to purchase fifty or one hundred acres additional. Many found themselves unable to comply with these terms at the expiration of the lease, and in consequence were obliged to relinquish their settlements, and from the uncertainty of the early State land laws much confusion ensued in determining the proprietorship of these settlements. The land company usually maintained its claims, though compromises were sometimes effected. In a number of instances the settler abandoned his clearing before the settlement was completed, when the land reverted to the Holland Company. Most of the above-named contracting parties became residents of the tracts contracted for, but in several cases were living in other parts of the county and performed the conditions of settlement through a tenant.
Edward Ryan was an old bachelor of Irish birth. He lived much of the time with his brother John Ryan, who occupied Tract 165 until his death, and raised a large family which is still represented here. Rev. John Matthews was a Presbyterian minister who dwelt on Gravel Run for a few years, preaching the Gospel and teaching school. John Hutcheson remained but a few years, and departed for parts unknown. William and John Greenlee came in 1796 from the Susquehanna. The Greenlees are still found in this township. William Wykoff and his son John came from New Jersey and remained life-long residents. Archibald Humes was of Irish extraction. He had relatives who settled co[n]temporaneously in Cambridge Township. John Fredebaugh was a German who came to this county in 1795 or earlier. William Hammond was an early Justice of the Peace. Nathaniel Clark was a wheelwright by trade, and from the date of his purchase of a farm in Tract 152
remained in the township till death. Thomas Rice was here at an early day. John Farran is not emembered. Samuel Blair, a native of Ireland, came from the Susquehanna and settled on Tract 162. He was buried on an elevated spot on his <page 698> farm, which afterward became a public burying place. Henry Rust was a German, and came from Westmoreland County. A German also was Mathias Flaugh, his assignee of 200 acres on Tract 159, who came West with his sons Jacob, Mathias, John and George. He was a Lutheran, and at burials, when no minister was present, was accustomed to conduct the services. Roger Alden was a resident of Meadville. Griffith and David Carr were brothers, of Irish birth. Frederick Rice was here, and his family removed to Baltimore.
Henry Bossard first came out alone from his home in Greensburg, and during the summer cleared a patch of ground and planted and raised a crop of potatoes. He returned for his wife and they traveled to their new home afoot, he carrying their babe and a rifle, while she conveyed on her shoulders a few articles of domestic use. When they reached the cabin Mr. Bossard had built they made the sad discovery that the Indians had stolen all the potatoes left there the previous autumn. Wlliam McGredy was a jovial Irishman who afterward removed to Meadville, married a widow and kept a boardinghouse.
John Limber came from Northumberland County a single man, and at first took possession of a tract near Harmonsburg. Mr. Sterling, an old neighbor with a large family came out, and Mr. Limber relinquished the tract to him, and came to Tract 168, in what is now Woodcock, in 1796. He sold his farm in 1816, and with the intention of settling in Ohio purchased a farm near Mansfield, but his wife dying soon after he remained in Crawford County and engaged for years in teaching school. He died at Meadville in 1852. He was a member of the United Presbyterian Church, and attended services at Cochranton, the nearest point. James F. Randolph was a resident of Mead.
David Hunnel did not remain many years, inasmuch as he was unable to pay for his farm. Dr. Thomas Murray, John Pealman, Francis Fargus and Henry Phillips were all here in early times. Charles Dougherty was an Irishman and an old bachelor. He died on Tract 172, and was buried on the adjoining farm of Thomas Frew. William Gill resided in Hayfield Township. David Compton and Robert Finney were of Mead Township. Luke Hill, James and William Johnston, and John Douglass were early residents of southern Woodcock.
Other pioneers of the township who came during the first decade of this century or earlier were: John Faulkenburg, James Fluharty, a gunsmith; Christian Ferst, who came about 1797, and afterward removed to Mercer County; William Kennedy; James Long, who was born in Lancaster County, immigrated to Woodcock about 1797, and died at the residence of his son George in 1830, at the age of ninety-two years; George, John, James and Cockson Long, his sons; Anthony Matson, Patrick and Hugh McCullough, William McKnight and David Ridenour.
The early settlers were largely of German origin, with a fair proportion of Irish. The earliest came mostly from the Susquehanna. About 1825 quite a number emigrated from Lehigh. Many of the present residents of Woodcock are descendants of its first pioneers. Pember Waid and his son, Ira C., from Connecticut, early settled on land now owned by Francis C. Waid.
Schools in early times were rare, and accomplished little mare than imparting the merest rudiments of an education. To learn to read, write and cipher was to attain the greatest possible results. Betsy Peiffer taught a German school in the old log-cabin of George Peiffer about 1812, soon after he moved into the new hewed-log building, which he occupied as a tavern. About 1816 a schoolhouse was erected near the cemetery, about two miles south of Saegertown, and school was held in it for many years. Miss Manda Dewey, Sarah Dewey, her sister, and Mr. Alden, brother to Maj. Roger Alden, were among <page 699> the first teachers. School was taught within the present limits of Saegertown Borough as early as 1815. A Mr. Daniels taught about 1816. In a deserted cabin on Tract 170, and about the same time John Johnston held a
school in the southwest corner of Tract 166, now owned by William Long. This school was also held in an abandoned log-cabin, situated in the wilderness, and surrounded by a small clearing, which was overgrown with bushes.
The tavern of George Peiffer was probably the earliest kept in the township. Daniel Grubb was proprietor of a country inn on Tract 158, about two miles east of Saegertown, and later Daniel Wise was host at a public house on the same road, the Meadville and Woodcock pike, but farther south, on Tract 169. More recently the Fountain House was built by James McGill on the southeast corner of Tract 161, also on the pike. He used it as a store-room for awhile, when it was sold and converted into a hotel.
Besides several private burying grounds, there are two grave-yards in this township, one two miles south, the other about two miles southeast from Saegertown. The first burial in the former was that of Miss Magdalena Minium, who died at the age of sixteen years in early times. The other is known as the Blair Cemetery. It was set apart for this purpose in pioneer days, and is still used as a place of burial. Beyond the limits of the boroughs there are no churches in the township.
The first saw mill was built by Archibald Humes on Gravel Run. Soon after he added a grist-mill in the same locality; it is still in operation and owned by W. S. McGranahan & Son. James Dickson (no relative of the James Dickson who erected an early mill in Hayfield Township) built the first grist-mill in Woodcock. The stones were common rock and were obtained from Laurel Hill near Pittsburgh. It stood on Woodcock Creek and a gristmill is still operated at the same site by Mr. Carringer. The Alden Mill at Saegertown was also built quite early, about 1801. The township is still well supplied with mills. Edwin Perry has a saw-mill on Gravel Run and George Dewey and William Humes own others on Woodcock Creek. Hugh Bean, also, has a grist-mill on this stream. Quite a number of steam-mills are in operation in the township. Near Woodcock Borough is Humes & Williams cheese factory, and in the northeast part is Gibsons.
At Magoffins Falls, in the southwest part, William Magaw about 1840 erected a paper-mill which he operated until his death in 1845. He had formerly constructed a mill on Woodcock Run near Saegertown, where the first straw paper in the United States was made. At Magoffins Falls, H. H. Fuller in 1880 built a paper-mill at the site of the old mill. Like the old mill, it was run by water-power from French Creek It was closed by Mr. Fuller in June, 1883.
Longs Stand Postoffice is located on the main road, about midway between Saegertown and Blooming Valley.
BOROUGH OF BLOOMING VALLEY.
The borough of Blooming Valley is located on a branch of Woodcock Creek, in the southeast corner of Woodcock Township. It includes about 1,200 acres of land, and had in1870 a population of 209, and in 1880, 232. The village proper is scattered mainly along the State road, or State Street, as it is sometimes called, for a distance of half a mile or greater. The name was bestowed upon this region on account of the luxuriant growth of wild flowers which bedecked the valley with a rich and variegated vesture in early times. A postoffice of that name was established many years before the borough was incorporated.
Jeremiah Smith, a farmer, owning land here about 1845, laid out a village plat of twenty-eight lots at the southwest corner of State and Dickson Streets. Besides himself, James Williams, a millwright, and George Roudebush, a carpenter and proprietor of a sash factory, were then residing in this locality. George Fleek, a blacksmith, Henry Marker, a carpenter, and others soon after moved in. James Wygant and George Roudebush were the first merchants. In 1860 the village contained about a dozen families. It is surrounded by a fertile, well-cultivated farming district from which it derives its trade. It contains three stores of general merchandise and a drug store, two hotels, two blacksmith shops, one shoe shop and a paint shop. The school building is a fine, two-story frame, containing three apartments, two of which are occupied. It was erected about 1869, at a cost of $3, 700. The village also contains two church edifices and two benevolent societies. The Blooming Valley Advertiser, a sixteen-column weekly, has been issued for some time by S. L. Thompson.
The borough of Blooming Valley was incorporated by order of the Court of Quarter Sessions May 17, 1867, on the favorable report of the grand jury appointed to investigate the expediency of its incorporation. The court further directed that the first election be held on the first Tuesday of June, 1867. James A. Heard was appointed to give due notice of the election; A. B. Floyd, Judge, and John Roudebush and S. L. Thompson, Inspectors. The officers elected were: S. L. Thompson, Burgess; Michael Coy, A. Drake, N. Roudebush, George Floyd, Thomas Chipman, Council, and John Roudebush, High Constable. Mr. Thompson was re-elected Burgess in 1868, and his successors have been: Cress Hellyer, 1869; S. L. Thompson, 1870; B. Teasdale, 1871; W. W. Boyles, 1872-73; John Roudebush, 1874; T. J. Odell, 1875; Daniel Smith, 1876; W. H. Hunter, 1877; I. C. Teasdale, 1878; Cress Hellyer, 1879; James Wygant, 1880; James A. Heard, 1881; T. J. Odell, 1882; John Roudebush, 1883; G. W. Barr, 1884.
The Methodist congregation of the village was formed more than half a century ago, and among its early members were: Andrew Floyd and wife, James Wygant and wife, Miss Sarah Armstrong, Mrs. John Roudebush and Mrs. John Robbins. Meetings were held. for years in a schoolhouse which stood about a mile north of the village. Services were then conducted in the Advent Church until the present Methodist Church edifice was reared in 1874. It is a handsome and commodious frame structure, and in its construction cost $4,500. The building is surmounted by a bell which cost an additional $300. The present membership of the society is forty-seven. It was formerly connected with Riceville Circuit, but now for many years has been attached to Saegertown.
An Advent society was formed about 1849 with a flourishing membership under the successful ministrations of Rev. Wendell. The first services were held in Cowans Schoolhouse, about one mile north of the village, but soon after a large frame church building was commenced at Blooming Valley and completed in 1854 at a cost of $2,000. It was erected by the subscriptions of the people generally in this vicinity, irrespective of their denominational affinities, and was free to all religious bodies. The lot was donated by Mrs. Knapp. Early Adventists were: Michael Roudebush, Daniel Cowan, W. G. Davidson, Orrin Hubbs and Zachariah Cox. Meetings were held in the Union Church for many years, but the class grew weaker in numerical strength, and finally discontinued services.
Protestant Episcopal services were commenced in the same church edifice in 1881 by Rev. Carstensen, of Meadville, but two years later they, too, were discontinued. At present Rev. James T. Bradford, a Baptist minister of Wayland, Mead Township, conducts occasional services in it.
Blooming Valley Lodge, No. 1232, K. of H., was instituted by E. S. Cutler, of Guys Mills, October 19, 1878, with fourteen members, as follows: Whitney Braymer, P. D.; C. A. Buell, D.; W. C. Wygant, V. D.; W. G. Barr, A. D.; A. G. Greenlee, Rep.; Cress Hellyer, Fin. Rep.; Z. Briggs, Treas.; George Floyd, Chap.; S. L. Wilson, Guide; E. E. Stull, Guard; W. W. Boyles, Sent.; H. L. Boyles, Miffin Chipman and W. V. Wheeler. The membership is now forty-one. Regular meetings are held every Saturday.
Banner Lodge, No. 126, K. and L. of H., was instituted with twenty-six members, December 30, 1878. Its first officers were Whitney Braymer, P. P.; C. A. Buell, P.; Mrs. L. A. Buell, V. P.; M. L. Roudebush, Sec.; Dr. George W. Weter, Fin. Sec.; Z. Briggs, Treas.; A. G. Ross, Guide; George Floyd, Chap.; E. E. Stull, Guard; W. C. Wygant, Sent. The membership has decreased to nineteen, and meetings are held each alternate Wednesday.
BOROUGH OF SAEGERTOWN.
Saegertown is pleasantly located on a plain in French Creek Valley in the western part of Woodcock Township. It is one of the handsomest villages in Crawford County. Its streets are wide and well kept, and its residences neat and attractive. It is nearly sixty years since the plat was laid out, and the period of greatest growth has been during the last twenty years. The population in 1860 was 352; in 1870, 441; and in 1880, 678. Two bridges span French Creek within its limits, and the N. Y., P. & O. Railroad passes through it. Daniel Saeger was its founder. In 1824 be purchased the farm upon which it is located from Maj. Roger Alden, removed to it from Lehigh County, and almost immediately laid out the town. Maj. Alden had as early as 1801 erected a mill here on the site of the present grist-mill. Henry Minium, the miller, dwelt close by in a double log-cabin, and John McGill owned and occupied land in the north part of the borough. The saw and grist-mill passed into the possession of Mr. Saeger in 1824, and for years was operated by him or members of his family. It then passed into other hands, and is now owned by J. Kern & Co. Among the earliest settlers at the village, after 1824, were: George Woodring, Peter Beghie and Henry Renner, all farmers. Mr. Freeman opened a little store about 1826, and about 1829 Daniel Saeger built a store room and filled it with general merchandise. The Saegers have ever since conducted the store. Peter Shafer kept the first tavern. The postoffce was established in 1833, the mail being received at first once a week from Meadville, on a route which extended from the county seat to Girard. The postoffice name is Sagertown.
The village was incorporated by act of Assembly in 1838. The early records are not known to exist. Since 1865 Burgesses have been elected as follows: A. Saeger, 1865; Josiah Kern, 1866; J. Saeger, 1867; Mark Dixon, 1868; Oliver Saeger, March, 1869; George D. Horne, October, 1869, and October, 1870; Oliver Saeger, March, 1872 and 1873; Josiah Kern, 1874; Amos Saeger, 1875; George D. Horne, 1876; H. E. Smith, 1877 and 1878; John Westinghouse, 1879; W. D. Johnson, 1880; W. W. Deichman, 1881 and 1882; George D. Horne,1883, resigned and M. Minium appointed to vacancy; W. Mook, 1884.
The village now contains three general stores, one hardware, one stove and tin, one millinery, one furniture and one drug store, four blacksmith, one tailor, one jeweler, one wagon, one barber one gunsmith and two shoe shops, a meat market and an undertaking establishment. A grist-mill, two saw-mills, a stave factory and a planing mill, a job printing office, a large ice-house, two physicians, two hotels, two liveries, a schoolhouse, three churches and <page 702> four societies. Saegertown Band was organized in September, 1876, has seventeen members, owns a hall and is widely known for its excellence. The first grave-yard was just north of the Methodist Church, but about 1860 a cemetery association was formed and land purchased on the opposite side of French Creek in Hayfield Township. The cemetery there now covers about
twelve acres, and the grounds are beautifully and tastefully laid out.
The first school was held in a deserted cabin near the mill. Jonathan G. David and Jane McCaul taught here as early as 1827. About 1830 a one-story frame schoolhouse was erected on the banks of French Creek in the rear of the German Reformed Church. A small brick was a little later built in the southern part of the village and afterward a two-story "brick academy" was built on the south side of North Street, west of and near Commercial Street. It was superseded in 1870 by the present two-story frame building on the east side of Commercial Street. It contains four rooms, three of which are now occupied.
The first Lutherans in the vicinity of Saegertown were members of the Venango congregation, organized in 1816. For the convenience of the members in Woodcock Township, services were held sometimes in Peiffer's Schoolhouse, two miles below Saegertown. About 1828 a separate congregation was formed and in 1829 a frame church was erected in Saegertown, on the site of the present German Reformed Church. Its cost was defrayed by the settlers in this region and the Lutherans, German Reformed and Methodist Societies all worshiped in it. Among the earliest Lutheran members were: George Peiffer, Samuel Peiffer, Jacob Flaugh and Daniel Saeger. Rev. Shultz and his son Augustus Shultz were the first pastors, the former preaching in German and the latter conducting services in English; Rev. Elihu Rathbun followed, and served many years. His successors have been: J. D. Nunemacher, Rev. Keil, Rev. Bierdemann, D. M.Kamerer, A. H. Bartholomew and H. Peters. The last has officiated since 1880. The membership is now about 125. Services were held in the old church, in which the congregation had an interest until 1868, when the present spacious edifice was reared on the southwest corner of Erie and Commercial Streets, at a cost of $7,000.
The German Reformed Congregation has a handsome frame meeting-house on the northwest corner of Main and North Streets; it is 40z60 feet in size, and was erected in 1872, at a cost of $4,000. Previously services had been held, since 1829, in the old church on the same site. This congregation originally owned a part of this building, and afterward by purchase obtained sole control. The membership is now about seventy. Dr. Joseph A. Apple, the present pastor, has had charge since 1872, succeeding Rev. D. B. Ernst, who preached here about a score of years. The early history of the society is obscure, as the records are lost and no early members remain. The society held early meetings in Peiffers Schoolhouse. Conrad Baughman, Philip and Henry Renner and Solomon Graff were among the earliest members. Rev. Zeiser and Daniel Rauhouser were early pastors.
The Methodist Episcopal class was organized in 1839 or shortly before. Its earliest members included: John McGill and wife, Andrew Ryan and wife, Harvey Sackett and wife, Jacob Brookhouser and wife, Joseph Housel, John Flaugh and wife and Isaac Blystone. Many of these members had formerly belonged to Seavy class, which met on the opposite side of French Creek. For several years Saegertown society met in the Lutheran Church. In 1841 a church was built on the northwest corner of Commercial and North Streets, and occupied until 1875, when the present edifice, 40x60 was erected on the same lot at a cost of about $6,000. The society numbers about 125 members. Saegertown Circuit was formed in 1839, and its pastors have been: J. J. <page 703> Steadman and J. M. Plant, 1839; A. Fouts and W. W. Maltby, 1840; C. D. Rockwell and C. Kingsley, 1841; A. Keller and J. Mortimer, 1842; I. C. T. McClelland and T. B. Tait, 1843; J. Crum, 1844; D. H. Jack, 1845; J. Graham, 1846; J. Graham and M. Hill, 1847; M. Hill and M. D. Stever, 1848; W. Mouks and T. Benn, 1849; H. Luce and S. K. Paden, 1850-51; J. Flower and J. S. Graves, 1852; J. Flower, 1853; I. Lane and W. R. Johnson, 1854; W. R. Johnson, 1855; J. Abbott and W. C. Henderson, 1856; A. H. Bowers, 1857; G. W. Maltby and J. B. Orwig, 1858-59; E. B. Lane, 1860; P. W. Sherwood, 1861-62; N. Norton and L. D. Williams, 1863; G. M. Eberman, 1864-65; J. K. Hallock, 1866-67; N. Norton, 1868-69-70; J. Flower, 1871; G. H. Brown, 1872-73; J. F. Perry, 1874-75; D. W.
Wampler, 1876-77; I. D. Darling, 1878-79--80; D. S. Steadman, 1881-82; James Clyde, 1883. The circuit now comprises besides Saegertown Church, Blooming Valley and Hamlins, of Hayfield Township.
Saegertown Lodge, No. 700, Good Templars, was organized in 1870 and disbanded in 1874. It was reorganized November 12, 1877, with seventy members and the following first officers: B. G. David, C. T.; Mrs. A. M. McGill, V. T.; Prof. J. M. Morrison, Sec.; Mrs. H. Sackett, Fin. Sec.; John Seavy, Treas; Rev. D. W. Wampler, Chaplain; Don E. Schanck, Marshal; Ellen Hunter, I. G.; J. R. Shoppart, O. G.; Ambro Whipple, P. C. T.; A. Mook, Lodge Deputy. Fifty members still remain and meet every Friday evening.
French Creek Lodge, No. 2371, K. of H., was instituted February 15, 1881, with thirty-two members and the following officers: J. T. Sackett, Dictator; John Flaugh, V. D.; A. B. Floyd, Asst. D; W. F. Moyer, Reporter; W. E. Yost, Fin. Rep.; E. L. Russell, Treas.; A. M. McGill, Guide; J. R. Mosier, Chaplain; C. W. Yost, Guardian; Jacob Fleisher, Sentinel; C. W. Robinson, P. D. Meetings are held every Tuesday evening, and the membership is forty-one.
Saegertown Lodge, No. 362, E. A. U., was organized September 12, 1881, with five members: C. Yost, James Seavy, Nellie C. Seavy, A. Mook and P. Moon. The lodge now numbers twenty-five members, and meets the second and fourth Mondays of each month.
A lodge of the State Police is also active at Saegertown.
BOROUGH OF WOODCOCK.
Woodcock Borough is located in the valley of Gravel Run, in the northern part of Woodcock Township. It had in 1870 a population of 220, which in 1880 had decreased to 184. The village owes its origin to Henry Minium, by whom it was laid out and christened Rockville in the spring of 1819, thus making it one of the oldest villages in the county. The Meadville & Erie Turnpike was constructed in 1818, and it was owing to this fact that Mr. Minium, owning land through which it passed, conceived the idea of founding a village. He was then a miller at the site of Saegertown, and did not remove to Rockville until about 1824. Jacob Kepler had in 1818 purchased a lot from him, and was the only resident on the plat when it was surveyed in 1819. Mr. Kepler was a shoemaker, and cobbled for the settlers in his locality. After Rockville was started he erected the first hotel and kept the first postoffice, and in view of his local prominence the place was known as Keplertown. Mr. Miniium made a public sale of the village lots, and under the persuasive accents of the auctioneer, Derk Jan Newenhausen, "Dutch John," as he was familiarly known, the lots were nearly all disposed of at a handsome figure for those times. The travel on the <page 704> turnpike was then prodigious. It was the main thoroughfare, and the route pursued by hundreds of incoming settlers seeking Western homes. Daniel Shaffer was the first blacksmith. John Scott and Mr. Whitney kept the first stores, which at first were very small. The village thrived, but by the construction of the plank road on the opposite side of French Creek it received its first check, the travel being drawn thitherward. The New York, Pennsylvania & Ohio Railroad passes within a mile of the village, but has proved of little service in developing it.
Rockville was incorporated as a borough and named Woodcock, by an enactment of the Assembly in 1844. George Pond, a chair-maker, was its first Burgess. Recent Burgesses have been as follows: 1868, S. S. Minium; 1869-70, A. Logan; 1871, D. Rupert; 1872, S. S. Minium; 1874, David Rupert; 1875, C. Schultz; 1876-77, S. S. Minium; 1878, D. Rupert; 1879-82, S. S. Minium; 1883, C. W. Knerr; 1884, C. C. Stalker.
The village now contains three general stores, one drug store, one furniture store, one hotel, two blacksmith, one harness, one shoe and two wagon-shops, Perkins & Shaffers steam saw-mill, three physicians, a two-story frame school building, three churches and two orders.
Woodcock Borough Lodge, No. 951, K. of H., was organized with twenty-three members March 13, 1878. B. F. Wales was its first Past Dictator and C. W. Knerr its first Dictator. The membership is now thirty-five and meetings are held each alternate Saturday.
Magnolia Lodge, No. 249, K. and L. of H., was instituted February 12, 1880, with twenty-five members, and now numbers twenty-seven. Its first Past Protector was C. Schultz; its first Protector, Edward Perry. Regular meetings are held each alternate Tuesday.
Gravel Ran Presbyterian Church was organized about 1809. Rev. John Matthews was the first pastor. He was installed pastor of Waterford aud Gravel Run Churches October 17, 1810, and was released from his charge of the latter November 8, 1814. The following have since served as pastors: Rev. Peter Hassinger from October 1, 1828, to 1832; Rev. Alexander Cunningham, from October 5, 1843 to 1851; Rev. James W. Dickey was installed April 19, 1854, and served many years. The present pastor is Rev. William Grassie, who came in 1877, succeeding Rev. W. B. McCarroll. In 1838 the congregation was divided into Old School and New School branches.
In 1854 each branch erected a house of worship: the New School a frame with basement, in which the Protestant Episcopal Congregation now worships, and the Old School, a brick structure, which is still occupied. Rev. George W. Hampson was pastor of the New School branch for seventeen years until his death in 1869, and soon after the two divisions re-united into one congregation. The membership is now about 125.
Rockville Methodist Episcopal Church was organized as the Gravel Run Church in 1810, by Rev. Joshua Monroe, at the dwelling-house of John Shearer, situated in the southwest corner of Cambridge Township. In 1817 a log meeting house was built in Cambridge Township, immediately northwest of the Woodcock Borough limits, and services held therein until 1839, when a brick edifice was erected within the borough at a cost of $1,800. It has ever since been the house of worship. In 1879 a parsonage was erected at Woodcock at a cost of $700. An old parsonage stood in the village but has not been occupied since 1870. In numbers the society exceeds 100. Rockville Circuit was organized in 1844, and its pastors have since been: J. Graham and F. Morse, 1844; J. Graham and I. Blackford, 1845; D. H. Jack, 1846-47; A. Callender and J. Hildebrand, 1848; M. H. Bettes, 1849; O. P. Brown, 1850; J. McLean, <page 705> 1851; S. K. Paden, 1852; B. Marsteller and S. K. Paden,1853; C. R Chapman, 1854-55; A. H. Bowers, 1856; I. Lane, 1857-58; P. W. Sherwood and J. M. DeWoody, 1859; W. A. Clark, 1860; J. Wrigglesworth, 1861-62; E. Wade,1863; S. Holden, 1864; J. W. Hill, 1865-66; G. M. Eberman, 1867-68; J. F. Perry, 1869-70; R. C. Smith, 1871-73; H. M. Chamberlain, 1874-76; J. H. Vance, 1877; J. L. Mechlin, 1878-80; J. F. Perry, 1881-83. Besides Woodcock the circuit now embraces the following appointments: New Richmond, Old. Richmond, Van Scoders, Jarvis and Pinneys.
The Protestant Episcopal Congregation was organized in the autumn of 1881 by Rev. E. G. Carstensen, of Meadville, who supplied the church until July, 1882. Revs. Steward and Maycock preached for short periods, and since September, 1883, Rev. Lewis, of Meadville, has filled the pulpit each alternate Sabbath. The services are conducted in the old New School Presbyterian Church. The membership is about twenty.
Woodcock Grange, No. 639, was instituted in 1875. In 1878 a Grangers fair was proposed, to which each member should bring a choice product of his farm, and for their mutual edification describe the course adopted to bring the product to its high degree of excellence. In the autumn of that year the first fair was held in the Grange Hall, but only five members responded. The next year a much greater variety of articles was exhibited, the condition of describing the method of farming being withdrawn, and besides a large quantity of grain, fruit, etc., one calf was on exhibition. The third and fourth years witnessed increased interest and attendance, but the Grange languished.
A stock company was formed to perpetuate the fair thus humbly started, as mentioned above, commodious grounds were leased just west of the Borough of Woodcock, and two very successful fairs have been held there.