Crawford County, Pennsylvania

History & Biography

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    RICHMOND was formed in 1830.  It is an interior township, lying a little north-east of the center of the county, and contains 21,744 square acres.  The principal streams are Woodcock Creek, which crosses the south-west corner, Muddy Creek, which crosses the north-east corner, and Mackey Creek, which rises in the north-west part and flows in a north-easterly direction to its confluence with Muddy Creek in the north-east corner.  The north branch of Woodcock Creek rises in the north-west corner of the township.  It is a rich dairy township, and that branch of industry forms the chief pursuit of the inhabitants.  The Keystone Creamery, the largest one in the township, gives employment to eight persons, uses the milk of 750 cows, and daily produces 300 pounds of butter and 1000 pounds of cheese.  Lumbering is also an important industry, and the steam saw mill owned by Grace & Bachelor, and located in the eastern part of the township, gives employment to five persons and is capacitated to saw 10,000 feet of lumber per day.
    The proposed Pennsylvania Petroleum R. R, crosses the north-east corner of the township.

    The population of the township in 1870 was 1,399, of whom 1,376 were native, 33, foreign and all, except one, white.
    During the year ending June 3, 1872 the township contained twelve schools and employed ten teachers.  The number of <page 88> scholars was 436; the average number attending school, 358; and the amount expended for school purposes, $1,973.41.

    NEW RICHMOND p. o.) is a hamlet situated near the center.

    LINES HOLLOW (p. o.) is a hamlet situated two miles south of New Richmond.

    We are unable to state definitely the date when settlement was commenced, but Daniel and Lucas Winston and Horace Hulbert from Cortland county, N. Y., and Horatio Winston from Canandaigua, N. Y., were among the first to settle in this township.  Dean Swift moved in from New Haven, Conn., with an ox team, in 1816, the journey occupying eight weeks.  Gould M. Lord from Conn., and Ebenezer Hunt from Vermont, came in 1818.  The nearest mill was then in Woodcock township and the nearest post office was Meadville.  In 1830 Mr. Lord built a log hog pen and corn crib, and in the upper part of this rude structure school was taught for three months.  Russel Flint, from Chautauqua Co., N. Y., was an early settler.  Michael Bresee moved in from Ontario Co., N. Y., in 1819.  David Hunt moved in from Whitehall, N. Y., with an ox team in 1820.  Wm. Sanburn, from Canada, George Milles from New Haven, and Chester Jones settled here about the same year.  Robert Townley emigrated from Ireland in 1795 and settled first in Erie county.  He removed thence to this township in 1821.  He says he has carried butter to Meadville on foot and sold it for six cents per pound in trade.  Hollis Hull, from Washington Co., N. Y., settled here in 1822.  He says he has been to Meadville afoot, trained all day and walked home again at night.  Ananias Phillips moved in from Washington county, N. Y., in 1824.  Jesse Wheelock, who was born in Cheshire county, N. H., in 1800, moved with his father, in 1806, to Windsor county, Vt., in 1816, to Ontario county, N. Y., in 1822, to Erie county and in 1824, to Richmond, where he has since resided.  In 1826, John Brown, whose singular devotion to the interests of negro slaves in this country, and the folly displayed by a rash and suicidal attempt at their liberation, gained him so unenviable a notoriety—for however much we may sympathize with his motives, every order loving citizen must deprecate the means by which he sought to consumate his purpose—settled in this township.  John Brown was born of poor but respectable parents at Torrington, Conn., May 9, 1800.  At the age of five he removed with his father to Hudson, Ohio, where, at the age of fifteen, without even a common school education, for unhappily his time at school was not profitably employed, he commenced working at the tanner and currier’s trade, at which he spent most of his time until the age of twenty, <page 89> keeping bachelor’s hall, and officiating as cook, and for most of the time as foreman of the establishment under his father.  Having acquired deep religious convictions and, with the aid of a valuable library to which he was generously allowed access, made commendable progress in acquiring the rudiments of an education, at the age of eighteen he commenced a course of study, with a view to preparation for the ministry in the Congregational Church, but inflammation of the eyes compelled him to abandon this project.  He, however, with the aid of books managed to become tolerably well acquainted with common arithmetic and surveying, which he practiced more or less after the age of twenty, in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Western Virginia.  June 21, 1820, he married Dianthe Lusk, at Hudson, and in 1826, he removed to Richmond, where he still engaged in tanning.  He afterward combined his trade with the business of farming and sheep keeping.  The remains of his tannery, which was the first erected in Richmond, are still standing near the center of the township.  The strictest integrity characterized his life, and it averred by one who served with him as an apprentice that he refused to sell his leather until it was perfectly dry, or as nearly so as human ingenuity could make it, lest his customers should be cheated in value or weight.  About this time he joined the Presbyterian Church, with which he remained in communion till his death.  In 1832 his wife died, and the next year he married Mary A. Day, of Meadville. In 1835 he removed to Franklin Mills, Ohio, and in 1840 he returned to Hudson and engaged in the wool business. He subsequently removed to Akron, Ohio, and formed a partnership with a Mr. Perkins.  They opened a large warehouse in Springfield, Mass., and sold wool on commission, chiefly for farmers living in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, and in 1846 he removed to that city.  But they came in competition with the New England manufacturers, who had been accustomed to purchase wool from the growers at their own terms, and who combined against and refused to deal with them.  Being thus deprived of a market,  Brown took about 200,000 pounds of wool to England, where he was obliged to sell it for half its value.  This loss almost reduced him to poverty.  While in England he submitted to prominent abolitionists a plan’which he originated about 1839, for the liberation of slaves in America—a subject which engaged his attention when a mere boy — but he received no encouragement.  He returned to America and abandoned the wool business for awhile.  Learning that Gerritt Smith, of Peterboro, N. Y., had offered to give to colored settlers portions of lands out of large tracts belonging to him in the wild regions of the Adirondacks, he obtained <page 90> an interview with that gentleman in which he detailed the supreme difficulties under which the negroes labored in their efforts to reclaim the lands in that inhospitable wilderness—difficulties which were immeasurable enhanced by their inexperience—and being thoroughly conversant himself with pioneer life, he offered to give to those who chose to avail themselves of the offer the benefit of his experience, and to exercise over them a fatherly supervision.  Mr. Smith approved the project and, though he was entirely unacquainted with the applicant, accepted the proposition.  In the summer of 1849 Brown removed his family to North Elba, Essex Co., N. Y., where they remained two years, and in 1851, they returned to Akron, where Brown managed Mr. Perkins’ farm and again became associated with him in the wool business.  In 1855 he removed his family to North Elba and went to Kansas to assist his sons who had settled there.  He took a prominent and active part in the stirring scenes which were enacted there about that period, and opposed with all the energy of his nature the efforts of the pro-slavery party to make Kansas a slave State.  At Ossawatomie in August, 1856, with a band of sixteen men illy armed he held in check some 500 lawless Missourians, who were splendidly equipped.  The place where this brilliant exploit occurred afterwards became a distinguishing suffix to his name, and the phrase “John Brown, of Ossawatomie,” is only exceeded in familiarity by the title of the tract in the great wilderness of Northern New York which bears his name.  In May, 1859, he called a secret convention of the friends of freedom, which met at Chatham, Canada, organized an invasion of Virginia and adopted a constitution.  The following July he rented a farm house about six miles from Harpers Ferry, and collected there a supply of pikes, guns, &c.  On the night of Oct. 16, 1859, aided by about twenty men, he surprised Harpers Ferry, seized the arsenal and armory and took over forty prisoners.  About noon on the 17th Brown’s party was attacked by the Virginia militia.  After two of his sons and nearly all of his men had been killed, and himself wounded in several places, he was captured.  He was tried in November and hung at Charlestown, Va., Dec. 2, 1859.

    The M. E. Church, at New Richmond, was organized with eleven members, about forty years ago, by Rev. Walter B. Lord, the first pastor.  The church edifice, which will seat 250 persons, was erected in 1864, at a cost of $1,200.  The Society, which numbers about 75, is under the pastoral care of Rev. John Eckles, and its property is valued at $1,500.—[Information furnished by Mr. P. W. Webster.

    North Richmond M. E. Church was organized about 1840, and the church edifice, which will seat 400 persons, was erected in 1854, at a cost of $1,500.  The Society numbers about sixty.  The present pastor is Rev. Reuben <page 91> Smith.  The Church property is valued at about $2,000.—[Information furnished by Mr. Emerson Chamberlin.

    Richmond Church, (Baptist) at “Lyons Hollow,” was organized with fifteen members, Dec. 25, 1841, by Rev. E. H. Stewart, the first pastor, and others.  The first house of worship was erected in 1841; the present one, which will seat 375 persons, in 1866, at a cost of $3,500.  There are seventy-eight members, who are under the spiritual tutelage of Rev. C. W. Drake.  The church property is valued at $4,000.—[Information furnished by Mr. Ebenezer Hunt.

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