Crawford County, Pennsylvania

History & Biography

      EAST FAIRFIELD was formed from Fairfield in 1869.  It is an interior township, lying south of the center of the county and on the east branch of French Creek, by which it is separated from Fairfield.  It covers an area of 7,734 square acres.  The surface is rolling and drained by French Creek and its tributaries, the principal of which is Sugar Creek, which crosses the north-east corner of the township.  The soil is very productive and is chiefly devoted to grain culture, though dairying is beginning to engage the attention of the people.
      The old French Creek Canal crosses the north-west corner of the township, and the Franklin branch of the Atlantic & Great Western R. R., passes through the township along the valley of French Creek, crossing the canal within the limits of the township.
      The population of the township in 1870 was 741, all of whom were white, 661 native and 80, foreign.
      During the year ending June 3, 1872, it contained five schools and employed ten teachers.  The number of scholars was 220; the average number attending school, 158; and the amount expended for school purposes, $877.28.

      COCHRANTON (p. v.) is pleasantly situated on French Creek, in the south angle of the township, and is the principal station on the Franklin branch of the A. & G. W. R. R., by which it is distant eleven miles south of Meadville.  It is surrounded by a rich agricultural country, and is the depot for a vast amount of farm produce which seeks a market by the railroad.  From the country in its immediate vicinity large quantities of ties are brought in for use on the A. & G. W. R. R.  It contains three churches, (M. E., Presbyterian and United Presbyterian,) three hotels, twelve stores, a tannery, grist mill, oil barrel manufactory, three blacksmith shops, a shoe shop and had in 1870 a population of 459.  It was organized as a borough April 16, 1855, and derives its name from Joseph and James Cochran, who were early settlers, bought large tracts of land and inaugurated the first substantial improvements in this locality.  The present population is about 475.

      SHAWS LANDING (p. o.) is situated on French Creek, five *52 miles above Cochranton, and on the Franklin branch of the A. & G. W. R. R.  It derives its name from Peter Shaw, an old settler, and contains a hotel, store and oil refinery.

      STITZERVILLE (Pettis p. o.) is located in the eastern part of the township and contains a store, saw mill and cider mill.

      The first settlement, so far as we have been able to learn, was made by Henry Marley, who came from Ireland to New York in 1790, and to this township in June, 1793.  He built the first house erected in the township.  It was constructed of logs and was located on the Creek road.  His son James J. Marley, our informant, was born in the township in 1804 and still resides here.  Wm. Dean, from Westmoreland county, and John Wolford from Somerset county, came here in 1794.  Dean came on horseback from Pittsburgh and arrived in April of that year. Thos. Powell, from Allegheny county, settled here in 1796; Peter Shaw, from the same county, in April, 1797; and John Adams, from Susquehanna county, in 1798.  Adams located at Cochranton and commenced that village by the erection of a saw mill, in 1807.  Four years from the latter settlement—in 1802—the first school house was built on the Creek road, on the place settled by Andrew Gibson.  In 1803, Robert Harvey came here from Cumberland county.  Walter Evans, from Lancaster county, settled in Meadville in 1810, and removed thence to this township.

      The M. E. Church, at Cochranton, was organized with twelve members, in January, 1839, by Rev. Wm. Patterson, the first pastor.  The church edifice was erected in 1843 and remodeled in 1870.  Its original cost was $900.  It will seat about 400 persons.  There are seventy-five members, who are under the pastoral care of Rev. John Abbott.  The Church property is valued at $2500.—[Information furnished by Mr. E. P. Slocum.

      The Presbyterian Church, at Cochranton, was organized in 1870, by Rev. David Patton, the first pastor.  Their house of worship, which will seat 400 persons, was erected in 1850, at a cost of $1,500, one-half the present value of Church property.  The Society is without a pastor, the pulpit being filled by supplies.—[Information furnished by Mr. John Bell.

1 Hamilton Child, comp., Gazetteer and Business Directory of Crawford County, Pa., for 1874 (Syracuse, N.Y.: By the comp., 1874), pp. 118-19.