Crawford County, Pennsylvania

History & Biography

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    SPRING was formed from Beaver in 1830.  It lies upon the north border of the county, west of the center, and contains 20,102 square acres.  It is drained in the west by Conneaut Creek and in the east by the headwaters of Little Cussewago Creek.  The soil is of good quality and is well and profitably cultivated.  The Erie & Pittsburgh R. R. crosses the township <p. 99> in close proximity to the west border, and the old Beaver & Erie Canal extends along the valley of Conneaut Creek.  It is a fine dairy township, and possesses valuable manufacturing interests.  At one time it contained no less than seven distilleries, all of which did a good business.

    The population in 1870 was 1,522, of whom 1,457 were native, 65, foreign and all, except one, white.

    During the year ending June 3, 1872, it contained twenty-one schools.  The number of scholars was 837; the average number attending school, 670; and the amount expended for school purposes, $4,939.11.

    CONNEAUTVILLE, (p. v.) located on the south line, west of the center, and on Conneaut Creek and the old Beaver & Erie Canal, is surrounded by a rich and populous agricultural district, for the products of which, especially those of the dairy, it is the principal shipping point, and this is true not only of the country in the immediate vicinity, but also of the whole western portion of the county.  Most of the lumber and the articles manufactured therefrom in this section seek a market through this channel.  It is distant one and one-half miles east of the E. & P. R. R., and contains five churches, a fine public school, a newspaper office, (The Courier and Record,) a bank, (The First National Bank of Conneautville, which was organized Jan. 1, 1864,) two hotels, two drug stores and several dry goods stores and groceries, two iron foundries, (one of which, F. M. Robinson’s, manufactures portable and stationary engines, saw and grist mill machinery, sash, doors, blinds, window and door frames, and comprises a turning shop,) a tannery, (which gives employment to six persons and tans about 200 sides of leather per week,) John Spellacy’s shook factory, (which gives employment to nine persons and manufactures about 200,000 shocks per annum—about one-third the number made previous to the insurrection in Cuba, to which place most of them were shipped,) three harness shops, four blacksmith shops, and had, in 1870, 1,000 inhabitants.  It lies partially in Summerhill, and was incorporated as a borough in 1845.  Its streets are mostly shaded with maples, and it presents an appearance of neatness and thrift.

    The Crawford County Agricultural Society, the pioneer organization of the county, and the only one now in existence, holds a fair here on the first Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of October in each year.

    SPRING (p. v.) is situated on Conneaut Creek, a little west of the center of the township, and contains three churches, one <p. 100> hotel, a drug store and a tin shop.  It was incorporated as a borough in 1867, and in 1870 had a population of 323.

    RUNDEL is a hamlet in the south-east corner, and contains a store, steam saw mill and cheese box factory, carriage shop, blacksmith shop, hand rake factory, cheese factory and millinery shop.  The country in the vicinity is adapted and chiefly devoted to dairying.

    Settlement was commenced as early as 1795, in which year Alex. Power, from Cumberland county, who, if not the first, was one of the first to settle in the township, located on the site of Conneautville.  He was engaged the previous year in the first surveys made in Spring, and took up 800 acres, a part of which he gave to settlers, the remainder being still owned by the Power family.  He built the first grist mill in the township, and the first saw mill west of French Creek.  He also erected the first house in Spring, though the first framed house was built by Wm. Crosier.  Other early settlers, though in what year we are not advised, were Justus Ross, from Monroe county, N. Y., Robert Temple, from Seneca county in the same State, Henry Hadsell, from Connecticut, Isaac Thayer, from Sadsbury, James Patterson, Wm. McGuire, who settled first in Beaver, and subsequently in Spring, Stephen Eighmy, from Saratoga county, N. Y., and Samuel W. Sheldon, from Steuben county, in the same State.  John Foster, Robert Nelson, from Philadelphia, Samuel Thompson and James Fetterman, settled here in 1796.  These early settlers were accustomed to procure their provisions from Pittsburgh.  They conveyed them in boats up French Creek as far as Meadville, and thence upon their backs, a distance of sixteen miles, through the woods, being guided by blazed trees.  Foot paths were the best roads which the wilderness then afforded.  The animals indigenous to the climate were abundant and frequently troublesome.  Game was an important item in the bill of fare of those days.  Robert McCoy settled here about 1797.  His son, Wm. R. McCoy, was born here in 1803.  Thomas Foster located here about 1800; Thomas Bowman, from Utica, N. Y., in 1815; Barker Wells, from Conn., in 1816; Samuel Wetmore, from Oneida county, N. Y., a soldier of the war of 1812, in 1817, on the farm upon which he now lives; Platt Rogers, from Dutches county, N. Y., and Isaac Hurd, from Bennington county, Vt.,in 1818; Oliver Hall, from Onondaga county, N. Y., in 1819; and Elijah Thompson, from Vermont, in 1822.  Black salts was the chief article of commerce with these pioneers and about the only thing which commanded ready money.  They made their own sugar, and traded the sur- <p. 101>
plus for other necessaries, sometimes exchanging for fresh fish, pound for pound.  So scarce an article was money that many went barefoot to Meadville to attend general training rather than subject themselves to a fine of only fifty cents.  The first school house in the township was constructed of logs and was located about one and one-half miles north of Spring borough.

    Spring Christian Church, at Spring borough, was organized about 1825.  The first pastor was Rev. — Morrison; the present one is Rev. J. J. Summerbell, our informant.  The Society consists of about 130 members, and its property, consisting of two church buildings and a parsonage, is valued at $5,500.
    The First Presbyterian Church, at Conneautville, was organized with nine members, Oct. 81, 1835, by Rev. P. Hassinger.  The first church edifice was erected in 1838.  The present one, which will seat 400 persons, was dedicated June 14, 1871.  It is a fine brick structure, with stone window caps and corners, and a spire 140 feet high.  The audience room is finely frescoed and is furnished with modern improvements.  Its cost was S17,000.  The first pastor was Rev. J. W. Dickey; the present one is Rev. Moses D. A. Steen.  There are ninety-six members.  The Church property is valued at $25,000.—[Information furnished by Mr. A. P. Foster.
    The M. E. Church was organized with seven members, in 1836, by Rev. Daniel Richey, the first pastor, and the house of worship, which will seat 300 persons, and is located on Center St., was erected in 1863, at a cost of $1,500.  The Church is composed of fifty members, who are under the pastoral care of Rev. J. B. Wright, and the property is valued at $2,500.—[Information furnished by Mr. G. R. Cook.
    The First Baptist Church of Conneautville was organized in the fall of 1847, by Rev. — Whipple, and the church edifice, which will seat 150 persons, was erected in 1848, at a cost of $800, twice the present value of Church property.  The Church contains sixteen members, but is without a pastor.

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