Crawford County, Pennsylvania

1876 ATLAS 1

         The township known as Spring was first occupied by Alexander Power.  He, accompanied by his brother William, had been engaged upon the original surveys of this region during the previous year, and locating on the site of Conneautville, took up eight hundred acres of land.  Selling a part of this land to settlers moving in, he erected the first grist-mill in the township, and the first saw-mill west of French Creek.  The first house in the township was his, and was built about 1800.  It was a double log structure used as a dwelling.  Among early settlers are given the names of Samuel Ramsey, Vaugh, the Nelsons, the Fishers, and Wm. Crozier.  The Thompsons settled north of Conneaut, at Mud Springs, Samuel McKee and James Orr at Spring Corners, a family named Foster north of Conneautville; and of settlers prior to 1796 were Justus Ross, Robert Temple, Henry Hadsell, Isaac Thayer, James Patterson, and many others.
         Commerce between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh was carried on by pack-horses.  The drivers were at home wherever night found them, and the horses' bells told their whereabouts in the morning.  These early settlers went to Pittsburgh for their supplies.  French Creek was traversed by their boats, and thence to their homes in the township, along foot paths, they backed their needed purchases.  They lived upon their own produce, and did their own work.  In 1810 the township presented a tolerable degree of improvement.  Power's Mill was the first built, and Fisher built next below him prior to 1800.  A Presbyterian Church was built about a mile north of Conneautville, in which John Boyd was the preacher.  A primitive school-house stood, in the early day, at the foot of the hill near the mills, and was constructed of round logs.  In this humble academy the instructor was Josiah Brooks.  It is related that during a school session, in the fall of 1813 (children came from a distance of four or five miles), a report that Indians were landing at the mouth of Elk Creek was brought post-haste to the school-house by an express rider named Jackson.  The children were told the news, and asked to notify their parents to assemble for opposition to the savages and then dismissed.  The children sped home, and soon many men had responded to the call.
         Spring is a village located on Conneaut Creek, west of the centre of the township.  Its first resident was James Orr; he sold to a family named Hall, and a part of his land was purchased by Hiram Pond.  A store was started in the place by Hiram Pond and John Nelson.  The village was incorporated in 1867, and had a population in 1870 of over three hundred.
         Rundel is a hamlet in the southeast corner of Spring.  Patrick Ryan built a saw-mill on the creek.  It was later converted into a steam saw-mill.
Conneautville is a flourishing town near the south line of the township. It has several churches, a fine school, a newspaper, a bank, hotels, drug stores, and two iron foundries, a tannery, and a shook factory.  It was incorporated in 1845, and has a resolute and enterprising population.  From Mr. Power has been gained the following of its history.  Conneautville was founded by Alexander Power.  The place first received the name of Powerstown, but the proprietor called it Conneautville.  Power's double log house was the first building.  A second was completed by William Crozier.  It was the first, and is therefore the oldest, frame building in the township, and stands on the corner of Main and Second Streets.  Erected in 1814, and having two rooms, a tavern was kept in one and a licensed bar in the other, and travelers were lodged up-stairs.  The first person to sell merchandise was a man named Richard Dibble, whose meagre stock was displayed in one of the rooms of Power's house.  Dibble soon left, and Power sold goods and groceries till about 1817 or 1818.  The first store was opened, about the year 1830, by Woodruff Brothers, who, later, moved to Chicago, where one became Mayor of the city.  A tannery was started in 1827 by Francis McGuire.  A distillery was short-lived, which a man named Pond started.  The first blacksmith was Platt, whose shop stood opposite the present Power's Block.  The first church was built, in 1836, by the Presbyterians.  In 1840 a tin-shop was started by Charles Rich & Brother.  Dr. B. B. Wood, from New York, was the first local physician.  He found ample employment in treating smallpox patients, as that dreaded disease broke out in 1818, and carried off several persons.  The first school taught in the village was in a house built for a cooper-shop.  The intended cooper lost his health, and vacated the building, and it was used, in the winter of 1819, by Samuel Thompson for a school.  During the summer of 1820, a school was taught in the barn of Mr. Power by Peter G. Benway, a Vermonter.  A frame school-house was erected during 1828, and stood opposite Power's Hotel.  The first burial in the cemetery was of a son of George D. Foster, a child of three years, named William.  The first mail was carried on horse-back from Meadville to Conneaut, Ohio; Thomas Atkinson was the contractor, and William McLaughlin, of Meadville, the carrier.  Power was the first Postmaster.  The Crawford County Agricultural Society held a fair at Conneautville in 1852, and annually since.  No premiums are offered for fast horses, and admittance is placed low.  Thousands gather here every returning October, and a sale of seven thousand tickets was made in one day.  By act of Assembly one hundred dollars was given to the organizers of a county fair, and on alternate years this amount is received by the Society at Meadville.  During 1838-40 the canal gave an impetus to the growth of the place.  At its disuse the warehouses were changed to machine-shops, and much work done.  A fire broke out in 1867 and caused a loss of one hundred thousand dollars; and again in June, 1874, a conflagration swept away property to the value of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars.  The place is rapidly recovering from these disasters, and presents a thrifty appearance.
         Among the early births in Spring Township were those of Robert Foster, born in 1802; Wm. R. McCoy, in 1803; and Polly Foster, in 1804.  An early marriage was that of Thomas Foster to Rebecca Lumison, about 1800.  In the early day as many as seven distilleries were in operation at one time, and all prospered; but none now exist.  The soil of Spring is productive, and is well titled.  In area the township has 26,102 acres.  It is drained by the waters of Conneaut and Little Cussewago Creeks.  The population in 1870 was 1522.  During the year ending June 1, 1874, it contained 22 schools; the number of scholars was 778.  The average salaries of teachers in the township per month was, for gentlemen, $45; for ladies, $32.13.

1. Combination Atlas Map of Crawford County, Pennsylvania, Compiled, Drawn and Published From Personal Examinations and Surveys (Philadephia: Everts, Ensign & Everts, 1876), 24.