Crawford County, Pennsylvania

History & Biography
1874 1

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    CUSSEWAGO was formed in 1811.  It lies upon the north border of the county, a little west of the center, and contains 23,496 square acres.  The surface is a rolling upland, the highest point being about 200 feet above the surrounding country.  In the eastern part of the township, north of the center, <p. 47> is a fine plateau, and a more extensive one in the south-western part.  The valley of Cussewago Creek, south of the center of the township, is somewhat swampy and is consequently more heavily timbered and less improved.  The western, central and south-eastern portions are drained by Cussewago Creek, (which flows in a southerly direction through the west part,) and its numerous branches, and the north-eastern portion by small streams which are tributary to French and Conneaut creeks.  The soil in the valley of the Cussewago is a highly productive gravelly loam, interspersed occasionally with a mixture of clay and sand, the first range of farms upon either side being free from stones; that upon the uplands consists generally of a good quality of clay loam and sand, and occasionally of gravelly loam.  Agriculture is a prominent industry, the attention of the farmers being directed principally to dairying and stock raising, though grain in sufficient quantity for home consumption is raised.  Manufacturing is carried on to a limited extent.  Among the establishments devoted to the latter branch of industry are two steam saw mills, one located one and one-half miles west of Mosiertown and owned by
Bennett Bros., and the other in the south part, owned by P. L. Potter; a planing mill, located in the east part; a fork handle and stave factory, located a Mosiertown, and owned by Clark & Benjamin; and two cheese factories now in successful operation, one at Crossingville, owned by Wm. Nash & Bro., and the other located in the east part and owned by John Cole, while the building of a third one at Mosiertown is being agitated by the farmers in that vicinity.
    The population of the township in 1870 was 1,674, of whom 1,578 were native, 96 foreign, 1662, white and twelve, colored.
    During the year ending June 3, 1872, the township contained thirteen schools and employed twenty-five teachers.  The number of scholars was 438; the average number attending school, 328; and the amount expended for school purposes, $1,806.39.

    CROSSINGVILLE, (p. 0.) is a flourishing village, pleasantly located on Cussewago Creek, in the north-west part of the township.  It contains two churches, two stores, one hotel, two blacksmith shops and a cheese factory.  It is surrounded by a good farmiug country, and derives its name from the fact that the Indians were accustomed to cross the Cussewago here.

    CUSSEWAGO (Mosiertown p. o.) is situated south-east of the center, on a branch of Cussewago Creek, and is equi-distant from Crossingville, Saegertown and Venango, being within five miles of either place.  It contains two churches, two stores, one hotel, blacksmith, shoe, carriage and harness shops, one of each, a tannery, which is temporarily inoperative, and eighteen or twenty dwellings.
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    POTTERS CORNERS (p. o.) is located in the south-west part, at the confluence of Cussewago and Little Cussewago creeks.

    Settlement was commenced in 1795 by Robert Erwin, (father of Leonard Erwin,) who located on the farm on which James Hatch now resides, where he built a log house and remained several years.  He married in 1802.  Settlements were made in 1797 by Alex. and John Sweeney, John Chamberlin and John Clawson.  The Sweeneys were brothers and natives of Ireland, and came in the spring of that year, after a three years’ residence in Northumberland county.  Alex. bought 1,600 acres of land, and built a log cabin on each 400 acres, in which he settled his relatives.  Their united efforts were bent to the furtherance of improvements, and in a few years they were able to support a school composed of their own children.  During one winter the school was attended by thirty-six scholars, all of whom were first cousins.  Chamberlin was a native of New Jersey, near Trenton, where he married Elizabeth Wykoff, who was born at the same place.  After his marriage he resided some time in Sussex county, whence he came to this township, where most of his children were raised.  He built a cabin of such logs as he and another man could roll up.  The chimney was constructed of sticks and mud, and the roof, door and floor of split poles.  The openings for windows were covered with greased paper as a substitute for glass.  He was obliged to carry his grist to Meadville.  A bushel of grain was conveyed thither upon his back, ground, and he returned with it the same day.  With his gun he provided meat for the family from the game which was abundant.  Wild beasts were numerous and troublesome, especially to the stock.  After a few years he built a house of hewn logs, and when it was raised, so few and scattered were the settlers, that help came from Meadville, among them the county judge.  Clawson also came from New Jersey and settled about the center of the township, on the farm now occupied by his son Martin.  Upon this farm is an orchard raised from seed planted by John Clawson.  In it is an apple tree seventy-five years old and measuring nearly seven feet in circumference.  The following year, (1798,) Jacob Hites came in from Philadelphia county and settled upon the farm on which Jacob Moyer now resides.  He erected a cabin of rough logs, exhibiting the devices employed in the construction of houses of that period.  Mr. David Hites, who was six years old when his father came here, says their nearest neighbor was Rev. Owen David.  Michael Greeley, a Virginian, lived north of them, and Robert Erwin next north of him.  Several families had located in the vicinity of Crossingville.  Among those who settled about this year (1798) were Patrick and Bartholomew McBride, Miles Tinny, (natives <p. 49> of Ireland,) and John Donohue, a native of Delaware.  Tinny on coming to this country first settled in Northamberland county, where, after a few years’ residence, he married Miss Martha, daughter of Bartholomew McBride.  Many of the descendants of these families still reside in this part of the country.  Daniel McBride, son of Patrick, who was born within sight of the place where he now resides, says his father settled here in 1797.  Donohue settled one mile from John Clawson.  He built a log cabin, in which he kept bachelor’s hall four years, when he erected a better house and married.  He carried his supplies, except such articles as he could raise on the limited piece of ground he had cleared, on his back from Meadville.  He traded his cow for a gun, with which he supplied himself with meat.  Grove Lewis, a native of Bucks county, came with his family to Meadville in 1798, and to Cussewago the following year.  The settlements were then very sparse, and as the product of the cleared lands was inadequate for their support, much suffering was experienced.  Mr. Eber Lewis, (son of Grove,) who now resides in the north-eastern part of the township and is the only surviving soldier of the war of 1812 living in that part of the county, relates that some of his neighbors felt so keenly the pangs of hunger that they were driven to the necessity of digging up the potatoes they had planted for food, and he recollects of being obliged himself to eat bread made from sifted bran.  Many of the necessaries of life could be obtained no nearer than Pittsburgh, and the article of salt was worth $20 per barrel.  Mr. Lewis has just obtained a pension for services rendered in the war of 1812, the installment just received amounting to about $2.  John McTier came on foot from Cumberland county with his family, consisting of his wife and three children, and settled in Cussewago in November, 1799.  He carried one of his children (now Mrs. Nancy McBride) all the way in his arms.  He immediately commenced the erection of a log cabin, which he covered with poles, brush and moss.  It had no door, the only means of ingress and egress being ladders placed within and without the wall, which was thus scaled.  It was also devoid of a chimney, one corner of the building being occupied by the fire place.  In this rude habitation the family lived about a year, when a more comfortable log house was built.  Lewis Thickstun came from New Brunswick, N. J., in 1802, and settled on the farm on which his son William now resides.  Samuel Lefever came in 1810 and moved his family in the next year.  At his house, says his daughter, Mrs. P. King, was held the first township meeting.  Harmon Rice moved iuto the county from Orange county, N. Y., in 1815, <p. 50> and in 1816, he settled in Cussewago, on the farm upon which his son, L. E. Rice, now lives.  Thomas Potter and his two sons, (Aaron T. and Job,) natives of Connecticut, came the latter year and took up about 800 acres in the vicinity of Potter’s Corners, where his grandsons, C. H. Potter and his brother, now reside, and in 1819 he moved his family here.  In 1818 he built a saw mill and in 1821, a grist mill, each of which was the first of its kind in the township.  Wm. Alward settled in the township in 1832, and at that late day, says his son, Daniel, the country was an almost unbroken wilderness and log houses and barns were in vogue.
    Upon the farm of Mrs. L. Erwin and in other localities in that vicinity the relics, consisting of tomahawks, arrow-heads, &c., which have been exhumed indicate that there were Indian burying grounds there.  It is supposed that this point on Cussewago Creek was the site of an Indian village, and that the soil was cultivated by the aborigines to some extent.  Apple trees in this locality evincing great age were beleived to have been planted by the Indians.

    There are seven churches in the township, two at Cussewago, (Baptist and Lutheran,) two at Crossingville, (Catholic and United Brethren,) one (Seventh-day Baptist,) located in the east part of the township, near Cole’s cheese factory, one (United Brethren,) at Hotchkiss’ Corners, and one of the same denomination on the Saegertown road, about three-fourths of a mile from Cussewago.

    Carmel Church, (Baptist,) at Cussewago, was organized with twenty members, in November, 1805, by Thomas G. Jones.  The first church edifice, constructed of hewn logs, was erected in 1810; the second one, in 1839; and the present one, which will seat 250 persons, in 1856, at a cost of $1500.  The first pastor was Elder Miller; the present one is Rev. J. M. Collins.  The Society numbers 123; its property is valued at $2000.  [Information furnished by Mr. Wm. Thickstun.

    Union Church, (Lutheran and Reformed,) near Cussewago, was organized with sixteen members in 1829, by P. Yeiser, its first pastor.  The first house of worship was erected in 1832, and the present one which will seat 150 persons, in 1855, at a cost of about $700.  There are forty-four members who are under the pastoral care of Rev. J. Apple.  The Church property is valued at $1500.—[Information furnished by Deacon Reuben Mosier.

    Cussewago Church, (United Brethren in Christ,) near the Hotchkiss school house, was organized with twenty members, in 1852, by Rev. Wm. Cadman, the first pastor, and the church edifice, which will seat 350 persons, was erected in 1857, at a cost of $660.  The present pastor is Rev. H. F. Day, and the number of members, sixty.  The Church property is valued at $1500.

    The Seventh-Day Baptist Church, at Cussewago, was organized with seventeen members, in 1857, by Elder A. A. F. Randolph, the first pastor.  The house of worship was erected in 1858, at a cost of $800.  It will seat 175 persons.  The pulpit is supplied by Rev. Joel Green.  There are <p. 51> thirty members, and the Church property is valued at $1500.—[Information furnished by Mr. Perry Cole.

    The United Brethren in Christ Church, at Crossingville, was organized with seven members, in 1870, by Rev. Cyrus Castiline, its first pastor.  The Church edifice was erected the same year.  It cost $1700, and will seat 400 persons.  The Church consists of thirteen members and is ministered to by Rev. Lafayette Day.  The Church property is valued at $1900.—[Information furnished Mr. Wm. Ward.
1 Hamilton Child, comp., Gazetteer and Business Directory of Crawford County, Pa., for 1874 (Syracuse, N.Y.: By the comp., 1874), pp. 35-37.