Crawford County, Pennsylvania

History & Biography
1874 1

    CONNEAUT was formed in 1811 [sic], and derives its name from the lake of the same name.  It lies upon the west border of the county, north of the center, bordering upon the State of Ohio, and contains 23,896 square acres.  The surface is quite level or gently rolling, and is watered in the western part by Paden Creek and other small streams and in the eastern part by Mill Creek.  The soil, which is a gravelly loam, produces good grass and grain, and dairying and stock raising form the chief vocations of the people.  The Erie and Pittsburgh R. R. passes through the eastern part of the township.

    The population of the township in 1870 was 1729, all of whom were white, 1667, native and 62, foreign.

    During the year ending June 3, 1872, the township contained sixteen schools and employed thirty-two teachers.  The number of scholars was 560; the average number attending school, 505; and the amount expended for school purposes purposes [sic], $2,212.23.

    PENN LINE, (p. v. [sic]) situated in the western part of the township, and distant about half a mile from the Ohio line, is surrounded by a tolerably good farming and dairy country, and contains two stores, one hotel, one tannery, two blacksmith and two shoe shops and about sixteen dwellings.

    STEAMBURG, (p. o.) situated on Paden Creek, in the north part of the township, contains a church, steam saw mill, cheese factory, blacksmith shop and about ten dwellings.

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    SUMMIT STATION, located in the eastern part, on the E. & P. R. R., derives its name from the fact that the summit of the road is a short distance north of this locality.

    Settlement of the township was commenced near the close of the last century, but of the precise year we are not advised.  Wm. Shotwell, one of the first settlers, if not the first, located near the center, but remained only a short time.  Several settlements were made in 1798, or about that year.  Among those who settled at that time were Wm. and Thos. Rankin, Obed Garwood, Isaac Paden, Samuel Patterson, Robert Martin, Jas. Martin and Wm. Latta.  The Rankin's were natives of Ireland.  Wm. located at Penn Line, where he cleared a large farm on which he resided till his death; and Thomas, about one and one-half miles south-east of that place, where he cleared some land and built a saw mill, and eventually removed to Indiana where he died.  Garwood came from Red Stone, Pa., and settled in the southern part and cleared a large farm, on which he remained till his death, and on which some of his children now reside.  Paden, who came from the same place as Garwood, located in the south-west part, where he probably built the first grist and saw mills, and where he remained until his death.  Patterson was from N. J. and settled on the site of Steamburg, where he cleared a large farm and spent the remainder of his days.  The Martin's and Latta were natives of the Emerald Isle.  Robert Martin located at Steamburg, and resided there till his earthly labors were ended by death; while James Martin and Latta settled at Penn Line.  Latta built the first framed building—a barn—erected in the township.  Many others settled in the township about this time, but soon left in consequence of the alleged breach of faith of the Holland Land Co., who offered to settlers 400 acres of land in consideration of eight years settlement and the projection of certain improvements.  Samuel Potter settled in the northern part in 1799.  He came from Elizabethtown, N. J., with an ox team, part of his journey lying through the woods, in which his only guide was blazed trees.  He took up land, put in some crops and built a log house, and at the end of a year he returned to N. J., where he remained another year, when he retraced his steps to his new home, where he died at the age of 93 years.  He was drafted during the war of 1812 and served three months at Erie.  Henry Frey came from York county in 1800, and settled in the southern part of the township, on the farm upon which his youngest son now lives, where he died.  Samuel Brooks, from Red Stone, Pa., came about the same year and settled in the eastern part.  He brought his goods up French Creek on a flat boat to Meadville, and thence by land to within <p. 46> a mile of where he finally settled, after a year's residence.  He took up and cleared 266 acres.  When he came[,] game, consisting of deer, bears and wild turkies [sic], was abundant.  Meadville was their nearest trading place, and thither Mrs. Brooks was accustomed to go with two tubs of butter carried upon a horse, starting early in the morning and returning the same day, and selling the product of her labor at about six cents per pound.  A Mr. Gilliland settled at an early day in the south-west part of the township; and Wm. Hill settled in the western part in 1807, on 150 acres of "donation lands," on which he remained till his death.  This country was heavily timbered, and with the rude implements for tilling the soil then at their command—such as are suggested by the wooden plow—the early settlers experienced much difficulty and arduous labor in clearing their lands and putting in their crops.  Frequently before this could be accomplished much suffering was undergone, and the problem of obtaining the necessaries of life became so difficult of solution that they were often reduced to the verge of starvation.  The first school is believed to have been taught by Samuel Garwood, in a log house in the western part of the township, near the settlement of Mr. Paden, and some of the scholars who attended it were obliged to travel several miles through the woods to do so.

    Frey Chapel, (of the M. E. denomination, ) located in the southern part of the township, was organized with eight members about 1818.  The edifice was erected in 1850.  It cost $1,500, the present value of Church property, and will seat about 200 persons.  Rev. — Drigs was probably the first pastor; Rev. Charles W. Foulke is the present one.  The Society numbers about 62.—[Information furnished by Mr. Simeon N. Frey.

    The First Congregational Church of Conneaut, at Conneaut Center, was organized with seven members, May 2, 1833, by Rev. Peter Hassinger.  The first house of worship was erected in 1841, and the present one, which will seat 300 persons, in 1873, at a cost of $2,500.  The first pastor was Rev. — Hart; the present one is Rev. H. D. Lorring.  The Society consists of twenty-one members and its property is valued at $3,000.—[Information furnished by Mr. S. P. Warriner, Church Clerk.

    The Steamburg M. E. Church was organized with about twenty members, in 1867, by Rev. R. C. Smith, the first pastor, and the church edifice, which will seat 300 persons, was erected in 1870, at a cost of $1,500, the present value of Church property.  There are about thirty members, who are under the spiritual tutelage of Rev. C. W. Foulke—[Information furnished by Mr. John Maxwell.

1 Hamilton Child, comp., Gazetteer and Business Directory of Crawford County, Pa., for 1874 (Syracuse, N.Y.: By the comp., 1874), pp. 44-46.