Beale Township, Juniata Co PA - Part I
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Beale Township
Part I

History of that part of the Susquehanna and Juniata valleys, embraced in the counties of Mifflin, Juniata, Perry, Union and Snyder, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania...
Edited by F. Ellis and A. N. Hungerford.
Published in Philadelphia by Everts, Peck & Richards, 1886
Pages 781-787

By A. L. Guss

As early as April 17, 1820, nine petitions were presented to the court, signed by two hundred and eighteen citizens of Milford and Turbett townships, praying for viewers to lay off a new township out of parts of Milford and Turbett, but with discretionary powers as to the boundaries. Nothing resulted from these efforts.

Beale was formed by a division of Milford on February 8, 1843. The viewers were William Dunn, of Fayette; Thomas Stinson, of Walker; and William Sharron of Fayette. The division line follows a public road first laid out in 1768, from Tuscarora Creek to a point near the Shade Mountain, and from the top of that mountain to Tuscarora township line. The first assessment was taken in 1843, and showed about one hundred and twenty-five resident taxables, besides fifteen single freemen. The name given it was a compliment to one of the oldest families in the county, and long prominent in its affairs and in business enterprises, and especially in honor of Hon. John Beale, who was a man of unsullied integrity, kind-heaerted and a patriot. He died January 7, 1867, aged sixty-eight years.

By an act of March 15, 1853, the farm of John Woodward, hitherto in Milford township, was annexed to Beale township.

Beale township is bounded by Milford on the north and east, by Spruce Hill on the south and Tuscarora on the west. The northeastern quarter is drained by Markee or Big Run, formerly called the South Branch of Licking Creek. The balance of the township is drained by streams running southward into the Tuscarora Creek, the principal one of which is Doyle's Run. The Herring Bone Ridges extend westward through the township, and the limestone formations in the Johnstown Valley spoon out against the Shade Mountain.

As the territory of Beale township was in Milford prior to 1843, and in Lack prior to 1769, the reader is referred to the assessment lists of those townships for lists of the first settlers and their locations, and to Milford for a list of early taxable industries.

EARLY SETTLERS.-Commencing on the creek adjoining the Milford line, we have: Alexander Maginty obtained a warrant for three hundred and twelve acres, February 3, 1755. Wilson Laird, Michael Lauver and John Allen now reside upon it.

Above Maginty, towards the ridge, Clement Horrell warranted ninety-seven acres, June 27, 1768, now divided among the above-named present owners. It was on this tract that William Stewart, Sr., was killed by Indians, as given under the head of Spruce Hill township.

The following quaint documents relate to the lands of Academia and Pomeroy's Store, and the first one is the oldest paper pertaining to land titles that has been found in Juniata County. They are given as in the original,--

"For & in Consideration of ye sum of eighteen pounds to me in Hand, Paid, or said to be Paid, by Saml. Waddle, of Chester County, in Pennsylvania, ye Recept of which I Do acknowled, and my Self therewith fully Satisfied have Bargained, Sold & Set over all my Right Property and Interest of an Improvement of Land Situate on ye Tuscarora Creek To ye said James Waddle, Bounded on ye Creek from a Ridge of Hills which as ye Extent north of ye Indian Claim who is now Settled on ye Bottom Surrounded by ye Creek Southward from ye East End of ye Said Ridge down ye Creek Crossing another Ridge of high hills Bounding on ye Land Settled at present by Robert Bell, and westward to James Kenedy's Settlement on ye end of ye Said Ridge of mountains at ye west End, and Eastward on ye Said Ridge of hills to ye plase of Beginning to ye afore-Said Waddle, his Heirs and assigns for Ever, & do Bind and Oblige myself to Hold and keep ye Said Claim for ye said Waddle until ye first Day of October next Ensuing ye date here of and Deliver ye Said Improvement at ye Said time Clear of Incomberance to ye said James Waddle, his heirs or assigns, and to ye True Performance of ye Same I do Bind my self in ye Pennal Sum of Thirty & Six Pounds Current money of Pennsylvania, allways Excepting ye Indians & Proprietor of this Province excepted; in wittness whereof I have Put my hand and Seale this first day of ye month Called June, 1754. "ROBEART TAYLOR. [seal].
"Witness Present: William Beale, Samuel Kenny, Charles Kenny."

(On the back).
"Know all men by these Presents that I, James Waddle, of the township of East Calm, Dos Sign over all my Interest, Right and title of the with in Bill of Sale unto William Beale, of Whiteland, in the county Chester and Province of Pennsylvania, Yeoman and his heirs for ever; Dated this fourteenth Day of October, 1760.
"Witness present: Abiah Parks, Benj. Elliott.
"(Endorsed): Bill of Sale, Robert Taylor to James Waddle."
"Know all men by these presents that I, James Waddle, of the township of East Calm and County of Chester and Province of Pennsylvania, farmer, have sold all my right and title of a Curtain Teniment improvement Situated in the Tuskoraro Valy Near the River Juniata, In Cumberland County, It being a purchas from Robert taylor by a Bill of Sale Dated the first day of June, 1754. And by these Presents Do acknowledge To have Sold and made over all my Right and Interest in Said Improvement Tenement and piece of Land Situated as Before Sd Unto William Beale, of Whiteland, in the County of Chester, Yeoman for the Considration of thirty Pounds To me in hand paid, as witness my hand this fourteenth Day of October, 1760.
"And further have signed over the Said Bill of Sale, and allso do aclrnowledge the warrant taken out of the office Bearing Date the 4th Day of Febry, 1755, to be for the taking up of the Said land, and to be for the Use of the Said William Beale, his Executors, administrators and assigns for Ever.
"do witness my hand and Seal this fourteenth Day of October, Being in the thirty- third year of his majesty king George the Second, one thousand Seven hundred & sixty, 1760.
"Witness Present: Benjm. Elliott, Abah Parker.
"Received of William Beale ye Sum of thirty pounds for the aforesaid Value Received--I say Received the above P sum for me this fourteenth Day of October, 1760.
"(Endorsed) : Artikels of a grement made for a sarting pease of land in Toskerorer Valey from James Wadel to Wilm. Beale."

The tract described above is in the vicinity of Tuscarora academy, and comprises hundreds of acres of the best kind of land. The lines described are a specimen of the quaint old style of surveying by the eye and without a compass.

David and Thos. were sons of William Beale, and the family had come over with Penn, and had always been Quakers. When they moved to Academia they had to cut the road, a mere path, to get to their location. The place they crossed the creek, at the bend where their uncle, "old John Bales," lived, has been, in consequence, called the Quaker Ford ever since. The sons of Thomas Beale were William, John, Washington, Albion and Hannah, married to Isaac Evens. Peter Bale, Sr., was the ancestor of a family now also spelled Beale; but being a German they are not related to the above.

To the lands William Beale held in the right of Waddle, be added at several dates three adjoining tracts. These lands are now in possession of J. Nevin Pomeroy, heirs of Andrew Patterson, Widow Samuel Okeson and the academy grounds. Merchant John Patterson bought the William Beale tract in 1807, and moved his store down from the ridge to where Pomeroy's store now is, in 1816. Here he carried on merchandising until his death, in 1836. He became wealthy, owned a great many tracts of land, and for long years no man was better known in the county. The title "Merchant John" was always used to distinguish him from "Esquire John," his cousin, also well known.

Hon. Joseph Pomeroy, for many years owner of the Beale-Patterson homestead and mill, was an active and successful business man; a merchant; associate judge of Juniata County. He was of French-Huguenot stock. The Pomeroys were among the earliest settlers, and Thomas, the ancestor of the family, was killed by Indians in Franklin County.

The first grist-mill west side of the Juniata River is taxed to Abraham Stamford (Sanford), as a renter, in 1767. The only other mill in the county that year was that of James Pstterson, at Mexico. The next year these are two mills west of the river,--one taxed to Thomas Beale, who held his father, William's, property at Academia; the other to Robert Campbell, who was on Licking Creek. Beale also had a saw-mill, 1769-71 and 1801-2. In 1811, Merchant John Patterson appears with grist and saw-mills at this point, and held them till his death, in 1836. The first mill was built down near the dam. It was washed away by a flood. The second mill was situated midway betweep the first and the present.

By an act of Assembly, February 26, 1796, the Tuscarora Creek, from its mouth up to Thomas Beale's mill-dam, was declared a public highway.

James Kennedy, whom we know had a "settlement" already in 1754, was a little slow in getting a warrant for it. Where he had been sleeping is not known; but when, on June 4, 1762, he came to survey in his two hundred and fifty-nine acres, he found that a slice of fifty acres, which he wished for, was in William Beale's survey. There was some trouble over it; but the older warrant held the ground. His tract was long known as the Nicholas Okeson property, who kept a public-house as early as 1790, and the land is held by his grandson, Jonathan.

Ralph Sterrett took up one hundred and forty-six acres, July 27, 1762, sometimes called the "Fort property" and "the old Barclay place," and it is now owned by William Milliken. It is very probable that Ralph Sterrett lived here, if anywhere in this county. The run was called after him. He was an Indian trader, and at home in the woods almost any where. He had a son William, part owner of the forge on Licking Creek, and once sheriff of Mifflin County, who is said to have been born in Bigham's Fort, and the first white child born on this side of Tuscarora Mountain. On March 6, 1764, Ralph Sterrett and his wife, Martha, sold this tract to James Chambers, whose only daughter, Mary, married William Barclay, and their only child, Isabella, married John Milliken, and became the parents of W. B. Milliken, who now resides on the place, as also James M., John A., Joseph, Mrs. Joseph Criswell, Mrs. Ickes and Mrs. Charles Book.

Above Sterrett, on the creek, Thomas Freeman warranted one hundred and sixty- three acres February 24, 1755, including in it the celebrated Indian Mound, treated of elsewhere, now the land of Charles Book. Ralph Sterrett had some kind of a squatter claim on this tract, which he disposed of to Freeman. He was dealer in such claims.

North of Freeman, David McNair warranted seventy-one acres August 8, 1769.

James Williams warranted eighty-nine acres February 6, 1755, on the river, now John Imes. This survey ran across the creek.

David Bowel warranted sixty-seven acres March 23, 1767, now owned by James Beale. The names David and Thomas Bowel (the latter having land near the old forge) may be supposed to be varied spellings for Beale; but they belonged to a family after whom Boalsburg, Centre County, was named.

James Scott got an order for two hundred and nine acres, April 16, 1767, on the creek (and partly across it), now McNair Wilson and David Imes, formerly Theophilus McDonald.

Above this, at the southwest corner of the township, Joseph Scott warranted two hundred and eleven acres June 17, 1767, now Jacob Bair. These are all by the creek,--now by the Valley road.

Samuel Fear warranted a tract about the year 1771 (now the heirs of James Leach). Here, in a gap, on the old abandoned road "from Waterford to Mifflin," was the "Old Store Place," where Merchant John Patterson lived from 1791 to 1807. Here he laid the foundations of his fortune. It is now in a very out-of-the-way place, but was then a central point and on the main road. Here, in this gap, John Simmison was shot and wounded by Indians in 1756, but recovered and lived to be an old man, as related by his son, who lately died near Carlisle, nearly one hundred years of age.

Samuel Brice warranted two hundred and two acres, December 16, 1755, at Doyle's Mills, now partly owned by William Okeson's heirs and Captain James J. Patterson. Brice's warrant says, adjoining Ralph Sterrett and James Scott. It appears that Robert Pollock, of Toboyne, was a squatter on this land and sold his right to James Scott. The date was probably in 1754. The sale to Brice is worth preservation. The following is a


"Know all men by these presants, that I, James Scot, of the County of Cumberland and township of Lack, hath set, sold and Delivered, In plain and open market, unto Samuel Brice, of the County of Lancaster and township of paxtown, an improufmt that did Belong to Robert poak, for a sartin sum of money gave in hand; which said Right and Impronfment I warrant and Defend from all manor of persons Laing aynay Claim, Right or title to the said Land adjoining to Reff Starit on the south est side, and James Scot on the West side, and Abraham Dewit on the north side, which said Land I warant from all men, the honrable prepareator Exsepted.
"As witnes my hand and Seal this 7 day of febauray, 1755.
"Sined, Sealed and delivered in the presance of these witnes presant. "(Signed by mark),
JAMES SCOT [seal].
"(Witneeses): Andrew Johnston, William Shakley."

At a later day it was deemed necessary to get something in writing from Pollock, and, accordingly, a quit-claim deed was executed by him to Robert Walker for twenty shillings, August 24, 1774. Brice sold this tract to Robert Walker May 22, 1773. Walker sold part (two hundred and two acres) to Thomas Harris November 12, 1774. Harris erected a grist-mill as early as 1779. Harris sold it to Dr. John Archer, of Harford County, Md., October 12, 1788. Archer sold it to Thomas H. Stewart, of Huntingdon County, March 24, 1810.

It seems that the two hundred and two acres sold to Harris did not include all the tract claimed by Walker. For this there was then issued a warrant to Robert Walker June 5, 1770.

William Okeson, about 1833, bought of Thomas H. Stewart about two hundred and twenty-five acres of the Brice lands, on which he resided during his long, active business life. This fine farm still belongs to his heirs.

The "Bill of Seal from Scoot," above given, is the work of the subscribing witness, Andrew Johnson, who seems to have been the first lawyer in Juniats County. He had his office at McWilliams' shop. John Johnson, the White Hunter, was likely his brother. Andrew left his settlement on the head of "Reff Starit's Run" at an early day.

Lieutenant-Colonel George Stewart lived at the Okeson mansion at Doyle's Mills. He was taxed as owning a negro slave, who is the ancestor of Robert Johnson, colored, now living in Beale. Thomas Harris, who probably went to Maryland from near Harrisburg, bought the old Brice lands at Doyle's Mills about 1776, and divided them between his son, John Harris, and son-in-law, George Stewart, the father of John, the surveyor, who was related to the Lyons, for whom he did surveying. Surveyor John was the father of John Harris Stewart, also a surveyor. Among the descendants may be named Dr. Joseph Stewart and his sons,--Rev. Robert, Rev. J. H., George H., of Pittsburgh, and John, late of the Forty-ninth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry; and also the descendants of Mrs. Annie Stewart, wife of Dr. Joseph Kelly. Colonel Stewart took an active part against the Indians on the border during the Revolution.

The post-office established in 1863, Doyle's Mills, was named after Richard Doyle, who long owned the mills at this place, Jonathan Doyle being the first postmaster. Captain James J. Patterson succeeded in 1868, and John P. Kelly in 1872.

Abraham Dewitt warranted two hundred and twenty-seven acres 24, 1767, now occupied by William Leech and others. William Irwin, an active man in the Presbyterian Church, long owned this place. Dewitt bought the Sunbury Ferry October 8, 1779, and his widow (then Eleanor Coldron) sold it to John Lyon October 25, 1787.

James Heddleston, west of Brice, was an early settler, but only warranted his one hundred and seventy-five acres May 4, 1789, now owned by heirs of John Harris. This was the old George Sanderson improvement. George Sanderson had an order of survey, and held a large body of land, but the survey was never returned. At length he sold out his claims, such as they were, to John Harris, James Boggs, Jonathan Kearsly and others.

The following facts relate to the lower side of the township, in the Johnstown Valley: John McMahan warranted one hundred and fifteen acres, above Robert Huston and below Johnstown, July 5, 1762, enlarged by two surveys in the name of his widow, Margaret; now the property of T. K. Robison, Mrs. Frankhouse, Rev. J. Hervey Beale, J. Kelly Patterson and William Swartz.

James McMahan warranted one hundred acres February 4, 1755, and two hundred and sixty-two acres more May 12, 1767, just above John's tract. It passed to John Henderson, then to William Beale, surveyor. The bulk of it is now owned by Samuel and William Pannebaker, David Adams, Haldeman's heirs and others.

A small portion of William Beale's land came into possession of his son, the Hon. John Beale. He sold it out in lots, and the place, taking his first name, was called Johnstown. When, later, a post-ofiice was established here, it was named "Walnut," but the village retains the old name, somewhat to the confusion of mail matter. The town has the usual hotel, stores and shops of a country village. A post-office was first established here in 1833. John Harris was the first postmaster; and has since been succeeded by Samuel Buck, Joshua Beale, Mahlon Kerlin, John Adams, Jacob Lemon, Solomon Doughman, John H. Rogers for eight years, Mrs. Sarah Hostetler and Alexander Woodward since 1871.

The first Methodist camp-meeting in Juniata County was held in the grove just above Johnstown about 1820. The land then belonged to George Hikes, a nurseryman, who was an active member of that society. Owing to its novelty and some extravagant actions, it attracted immense crowds of people. The father of this man Hikes kept a nursery near Newville, Cumberland County, and from him Merchant John Patterson got a large lot of choice apple trees, which were planted at Academia, Peru Mills, on the farm of the late Abraham Guss, Sr., in Milford, and elsewhere. They were the earliest good grafted fruit introduced into the county, at least in large quantities. They were called Rambos, Hoops, Penicks, Russetts, Red Streaks, Winter Sweets, Vandevers, Pippins, Oats and Cotlins.

John Irwin, on February 4, 1755, took out a warrant for two hundred acres to be located on Tuscarora Creek, but before he got it surveyed the tract was surveyed to others. On June 12, 1766, he had resurveyed to him three hundred and fifty acres, now a fine piece of land and in the heart of the valley. After his death it was divided, December 23, 1794, between James, Jr. and Robert Irwin, his sons. This tract now comprises the farms of E. Southard Parker, Abraham G. Partner and Abraham Brubaker.

On the road from Johnstown to Academia, on the top of the ridge, at the head of Tar Hollow, is a tract which was warranted to Matthew Mateer, one hundred and thirty-four acres, July 3, 1767. Here once lived, for about fifty years, Robert Miskelly. It is now owned by J. Calvin Beale.

Christopher Irwin is stated to have had an improvement north of John Irwin, above the ridge, in 1786, but he is on the tax-list already in 1773. He warranted three hundred and thirty acres May 19, 1795. The Irwins are said to have settled above the ridge, because the valley was too swampy. There is a great deal of misapprehension among the people now as to the facts in such cases. Men then knew the difference between poor and good land as well as people do now. The dates in the case of the Irwins show that they knew where to locate their warrants. There were men who located their surveys on the good land, but erected cabins on adjoining uplands, which they could thus hold by right of improvement, in addition to their surveys, and they did this, especially for a few years, where the timber was small and thin and easily removed, and where they could with little labor raise something to get a start and give themselves time to clear the more fertile and more heavily-timbered lands. The first settlers dug no wells, and always located where there was good water, which sometimes was not convenient to the main body of their lands.

Several tracts above were occupied and claimed by one John Woods as early as 1755. The stream rising in this region was early called Sterrett's Run, after Ralph Sterrett, who lived near its mouth, and later, Woods' Run. It is now known as Doyle's Run.

James Irwin, Sr., bought, in 1762, the right of John Irwin, who held in the right of John Woods, and warranted two hundred and seventy-four acres February 25, 1773. He also bought the tract warranted by John Woods, two hundred and twenty acres, November 6, 1772, thus making four hundred and ninety-four acres. He also took up in his own right one hundred and fifty-two acres more, March 26, 1788, situated between his other land and the mountain.

This tract was sold to Benjamin Fahnestock, who built a saw-mill on a mountain stream in 1797. Part of it passed to Rudolph Bollinger, then to Daniel Bollinger, who added a small chopping-mill. The place was afterwards owned by Jacob Bushy, Samuel Allen and now David W. Allen.

The other part is now owned by James Sherlock, David Hertzler, Harrison Minium, William Stewart and Widow Hannah McDonald. William Cochran warranted two hundred and twenty-four acres March 8, 1765. On the north line of this tract is St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, and the point here is known as McWilliams' Shop, or Allenville. John P. Kelly occupies the old marsion place, and on a draft of December 20, 1805, the stream is still called Sterrett's Run. On Finley's survey, made September 29, 1762, "Joseph Day's formerly Andrew Johnson," is on this Cochran Tract.

Samuel Finley, who also figured in lands at various points, had warranted two hundred and four acres June 1, 1762, "on the head of Starrett's Run," where Harrison Reed and others now reside.

William Reed warranted June 4, 1770, one hundred and fifty-one acres. On this tract John B. Bordell resides, and on the edge of it is Pine Grove school-house.

Michael Yeater's place was taken up by Alexander Glassford. A warrant to John Dillon "to cover an old improvement," April 2, 1805, embraces one hundred and sixty-four acres, now John Bardell.

About 1795 there was a great emigration to the vicinity of Cincinnati and other points along the Ohio River, some going into Kentucky. More followed at intervals, and took from Tuscarora Valley many of its most active young men. In later years the tide was farther north into Ohio. In 1836 to 1840 there was a great moving west into Ohio and beyond. Descendants of those who once lived in Tuscarora may be found in great numhers in Wayne County, about Wooster, Bucyrus and New Lancaster. In places, especially in Beale township, the exodus of 1836 took nearly one-fourth of the inhabitants.

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