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
TURBETT TOWNSHIP, Part I.
By A. L.
Turbett township was erected under the authority of the court at Lewistown, by
of Milford township. A petition to this purpose was presented at the August
1815, and William P. Maclay, of Armaugh, David Reynolds, of Fermanagh, and
Keiser, of Lewistown, were appointed viewers. They reported the line as follows:
"Beginning at Tuscarora Creek, where the same crosses the line between
Lack townships, thence down the middle of said creek to the lower corner of the
Nicbolas Okeson on said creek, thence along the line between the said Okeson
and a tract
of land surveyed in the name of John Sherrard, to Tuscarora Creek, at John
Dam, thence down the middle of said creek, the several courses and distances
the Juniata River."
At the November sessions, opening on the 20th, the Hon. Jonathan Walker
"Court confirm the said division and name the southern division `Turbett,' after
Thomas Turbett, under whom the President of this
Court marched as a common soldier against the Indians during the Revolution.
brave, vigilant and humane." The first assessment was taken in 1817, and
one hundred and forty-five resident taxables and twenty-nine
single freemen, which still left in Milford about two hundred and fifteen taxables
In 1858 Turbett was divided, the western end being formed into a township
Turbett township is bounded on the west by Spruce Hill, on the south by
Mountain, on the east by Walker and the Juniata River, and on the north by
Milford, on the
line of Tuscarora Creek. Limestone Ridge traverses it from west to east, and is
near the middle of the township by Blue Spring Hollow, down which flows
emptying into Tuscarora just below the mouth of Licking Creek.
As Turbtt formed a part of Lack up to 1768, and part of Milford up to 1816, the
find the names of the first taxables in this region in the assessments of those
and the Milford township lists can be referred to for the early taxable industries.
EARLY SETTLERS.--Captain William Patterson, son of the Captain
lived at Mexico, and grandson of the Indian trader, James, of Lancaster County,
took up by
warrant of February 5, 1755, a tract of three hundred and
thirty-six acres opposite Mexico. This he sold to Philip Strouse in 1772, and
Foutz's Valley. The land now comprises the farms of Lawrence Wetzler, Philip
James North. Here the "young Captain" William Patterson raised nineteen men,
marched to Middle Creek, in Snyder County, in January, 1768, and arrested
Stump and his servant, John Eisenhour (iron-cutter), for killing the "White Mingo"
other Indians, and lodged them in the Carlisle jail. They were afterwards forcibly
from the jail by a band of some seventy-five horsemen from Sherman's Valley,--
that shook the old provincial government from the mountains to the Delaware.
arrest Patterson was made a justice of the peace,--the first one west of the
Mountains. Here William Patterson erected a fort, or block-house, as a defense
Indians. It stood about thirty feet west of the present Wetzler House, and the
cellar pit is
yet visible, and the surface paved with stones has never been plowed. It was
built partly of
stone and partly of logs, and stood until a few years ago, performing the peaceful
duty of a
corn crib. The logs were well-hewn and notched down flat on each other, with
for defense. They are now in a house at the railroad near by. This fort, erected
must not be confounded, as has been done, with "Patterson Fort," on the other
side of the
river, mentioned in the colonial records; and it will prevent confusion to bear in
there were two Captain Pattersons,--father and son, James and William, one on
each side of
On the bank of the river, just below the house, stood a warehouse, used in the
to the canal, when surplus produce was shipped down the river in arks. Grain
stored. It was about twenty feet square, built of logs, two
stories high. This landing was a famous place for the first sixty-five years of
The last ark built in this region was constructed by Samuel Thompson, on the
Mexico, just above this warehouse. On Patterson's farm, just close by the Mexico
near the tool house, may yet be seen the marks of the foundation for a house,
abandoned because the man digging it was shot by an Indian posted upon the
end of the
Limestone Ridge. About
half a mile above the station, the railroad cut the base of the limestone rocks,
since become a dangerous point, on account of the great masses of rocks that
from the side of the ridge, and it is known as the "Slip
Rocks." At Patterson's place there was a ferry, and an early road led from it up
Alexander Dennison, by warrant of February 5, 1755, took up two hundred and
below Patterson on the river. It is now the property of Peter Kilmer's heirs. This
Hepburn tracts were sold to James Potter, brother-in-law of
William Patterson, who sold to John Bonner in 1773. Parts of it went, on his
Thomas Ghormley, William Curren and others,.in 1811. From these the lands
length to Philip Kilmer and Michael Brandt. The stream
running into the river through these lands is called "Bonner's Run."
James Patterson took up, by warrant of September 22, 1766, a tract of two
below Dennison, at Tuscarora Station, now the lands of William Turbett, John
Brandt heirs. This tract included the present
railroad station and the Roaring Spring.
Stacy Hepburn took up two hundred and ninety-two acres, August 1, 1766, now
Philip and Henry Kepner. Aside of the above, and over next the mountain,
took up two hundred and ninety-two acres,
November 4, 1771. William A. Patterson, son of Captain William, had his father's
Hepburn tracts, which he also owned, surveyed in 1803, and there were eight
forty acres in a body.
William Cochran, or Corran, December 17, 1772, took up one hundred and
acres, called Williamsburg, now owned by Noah Hertzler and Mrs. Jacob
Above these, Thomas Lowery warranted two hundred and fifteen acres,
1766, where "Lowery's son made an improvement," now owned by William and
Robison, D. T. Kilmer and William Kohler. Lowery sold to James Patterson,
1766, who sold to William Curran, June 23, 1770, who sold to Philip Kilmer,
1786, grandfather of D. T. Kilmer, two hundred and fourteen acres.
James Patterson warranted two hundred and eighty-five acres, February 5,
embracing now the farms of James McLaughlin (late D. W. Flickenger), George
Philip Kilmer, "on Hunter's Run." In his warrant it is said to be
"adjoining his son's improvement." The Cochran tract, however, intervenes, but it
that William had settled here already in 1755, and no doubt was here in 1754.
the above tract, James Patterson wished to include an
adjoining tract of two hundred and fifty-four acres more, lying north of Lowery, but
seems at a later date to have been ordered to be put in his name on a separate
Patterson sold, April 20, 1759, to William Armstrong, who
sold, December 24, 1768, to Robert Brown, who sold, March 29, 1772, to
On application No. 1719, October 29, 1766, there was granted to Robert
Campbell a tract
of three hundred acres, above those already named and near the mountain,
which he sold
to William Kenny September 2, 1774. This tract was owned by "Mountain"
from whom, by will, it passed to his sons,--Richard, John and "Mountain"
is now owned by Leclerc Calhoun, William Kerlin and Robert McMeen.
Charles Hunter, November 4, 1766, took up two hundred and ninety-eight
across the valley west of the above. He was here, however, long before, as
was a well-known land-mark as early as 1755. It took in
the beautiful slope south of Church Hill, where Judge Koons now lives. In the
of 1769 he is marked "poor" and relieved from tax, though he had a tract as fine
as any in
the county. However, if he was poor in purse, he was a
success as a hunter, for tradition says he and Griffith Thomas killed forty bears in
winter season. This is the tract of which tradition says it was once offered to
Turbett for a hogshead of whiskey, and the offer refused. In 1781, when Turbett
appears on the tax-list, Hunter's property, called one hundred acres, is rated at
hundred and fifty pounds. This story, like many others, is therefore more than
After this first owner arose the old name Hunter's Gap, afterwards Jennie's Gap,
Hunter's Run, on which Hertzler's mills are built. A branch of this stream is called
Run, and tradition states that it arose from a hominy-mill once erected upon it. It
that the name is much older. In William Byrd's "History of the Dividing Line
Virginia and North Carolina," he says: "We quartered on the banks of a creek that
inhabitants: call Tewahominy or Tuskerooda creek, because one of that nation
killed thereabouts and his body thrown into the creek."
John McDowell, by warrants of July 1, 1762, March 29, 1769, and William
21,1769, took up small tracts, making three hundred and thirty-eight acres, which
the farm of Daniel McConnell. This tract is the
one on which widow McDowell lived.
James Kenny, of Chester County, warranted, February 3, 1755, a choice tract
hundred and eighteen acres, called "Walnut Bottom," and lay aside of Hunter and
the valley, formerly the Turbett lands, now Mrs. Stewart
Turbett. James Kenny also warranted two hundred and seventy-three acres
1766, adjoining his other land and extending up the north side of the valley. The
lands were south of this tract. He sold the upper part to
Nathan Thomas, one hundred and twenty-four acres, in 1791, who sold it to
Weishaupt, April 10, 1800. The other half adjoining his main tract he sold to
Kenny, who passed it to Charles Kenny, who lived upon it. Dr.
G. M. Graham is now owner of this part. James Kenny never lived on his lands.
Kenny's main tract passed to Colonel Thomas Turbett, after whom the
named. Here he started, in 1775, the first tannery in the present county, and
which was run
by him and his children for three-quarters of a century.
William Turbett also put up a tannery at Graham's place, which ceased running in
Stewart Turbett had a contract on the canal, and at its close brought a lot of
Irishmen to dig
him a mill-race at fifty cents per day. This was in 1828,
but he is not taxed for it for some time later. It was run by one Spayd after
since then by John Barclay and Jacob Rothrock, whose heirs still own it.
Thomas, son of
John and Priscilla Turbett, was born January 20, 1741; died June 20, 1820, aged
eight years. His wife was Jane, daughter of Thomas Wilson, at the river. In 1776
and marched a company to Carlisle for the Continental service. At Trenton he
by a bold encounter with a
British officer, whom he shot. At a later day he was engaged in an expedition
hostile Indians. He is one of the most illustrious of our early settlers.
On the 15th of June, 1837, there was a violent hail-storm. William Turbett,
Colonel Thomas Turbett, was caught by it while out in the woods on the ridge
Sterrett's, in Milford. He took refuge under a large fallen tree that lay a little above
ground. During the storm another tree fell across this one and crushed him to
tree, after doing its work of death, sprang back, and when found, it was not
William Kenny took up also seventy-five acres February 21, 1769, formerly
now Robert Wharton. Another draft says, "Gained by law part of his land
application for three hundred acres."
At the foot of the Tuscarora Mountain John McAfee built a house twenty-eight
square, with a chimney at each end, and planted an orchard. Fourteen of the
remain and peach-trees grow out of the debris of the chimney.
After his death Jennie, his widow, long lived there, and from her the gap near by
present name. Down through this gap came the Fort Granville path, still distinctly
It was the only way over the mountain up to 1811.
Jennie's house was a celebrated place in the old days, and many stories are
related of her
and that locality. The owl and the bat now sport in undisturbed pleasure where
mansion once stood. It is a common notion in the vicinity that John McAfee made
settlement at a very early period. The facts are he first appeared in 1794, and
got a warrant
for two hundred acres, September 15, 1800.
At the foot of the mountain is a little hamlet called McAfeetown, or
Daniel McAfee erected a small fulling-mill in 1819, and James had a carding-
1829. About 1840 Peter Hench turned it into a foundry and built threshing
some years. In 1848 Noah Hertzler bought it and continued the foundry. In 1857
building was removed and a saw-mill built in its place. The waters coming from
flow into, or rather form, Hunter's Run.
Robert Moore warranted one hundred and one acres, September 18, 1766,
Tuscarora Creek from Port Royal borough, now held by David Coyle. Back of
this, in the
ridges, George Moore held one hundred and thirty-nine acres, in the right of
dated November 28, 1767. Thomas Hardy also warranted on the ridges, near
Old Port town,
eighty-four acres, January 26, 1768. He soon left and purchased the McGuire
John Anderson warranted one hundred and sixty-seven acres, September 15,
Limestone Ridge, now owned by Samuel Kepner and Thomas Stewart. It
surveys of Esther Cox and John and David Little. This is where Robert Woods
had his distillery. On a run passing through this land, Peter Rice, who died a few
in Lack township, says there was once a fort, called "Fort Muck," which was
Indians and twelve persons
killed or carried away. No confirmatory evidence of this has been found, except
the fact that
the stream is still well known to the older people as Fort Muck Run, though it is
called Woods' Run. Eastward of the above tract
William Robison took up seventy-five acres, March 21, 1793, adjoining John
Crozier and Abraham Wells.
As early as January 22, 1767, there was "a location granted to David Littel,"
April 25, 1791, by James Harris, who then made note that "Widow Armstrong has
acres of meadow cleared and claims part of this
tract." Mny 6, 1802, William Harris re-surveyed this on an order of the Board of
Henry Taylor claimed thirty-three acres right in the heart of David Little's
along the creek at the east end of the Groninger
bridge, and included the house and a meadow below. Taylor held the Armstrong
the Little survey was older and rested on a warrant, James Harris did not return
William Harris says: "I do not know the reason why
the location 2528, in the name of David Littel, has remained so long without
John Little (later spelled Lytle) warranted three hundred and thirty acres, June
east of David and south of Robert, and extending eastward as far as the Rankin-
Campbell tract. Surveyor, April 11, 1795, says this tract
"appears to have been called Patterson's Land." It bounded Robert on the north
In this region the Rankin survey located Samuel Green, a squatter in 1763, no
lands are now owned by James P. Johnson, Benjamin
Groninger, John Rigby, George Harner and William Groninger.
On June 16, 1794, Robert Little got a warrant for three hundred and thirty
mostly owned by Uriah Guss' heirs, which passed May 7, 1802, to Sebastian
from his heirs, May 28, 1814, to Abraham Whistler, then to Henry Zook, June 26,
1819. It is
evident that the Littles long held a large tract of land which was unwarranted.
was a justice of the peace and one of the commissioners on the organization of
County. He is on the
tax-lists from 1767 to 1805. He had two acres cleared in 1767, and in 1768 had
John Kepner lived about Millerstown, or below it. He had three sons, who
moved into the
present Turbett township. 1. Benjamin, who moved across the river from Mexico
whose sons were Jacob (merchant), Benjamin,
William, John, Philip, Henry and David. 2. Jacob, who moved on the McCrum
owned by S. D. Kepner, in 1799, whose sons were John and Jacob by a first
Benjamin, Henry and Samuel D. by a second wife. 3. Samuel, who moved on
place, next west of his brother Jacob in 1797, whose sons were Jacob, David,
John W. The daughters are not here given. There was also another stock of
Kepners of the
same family connection, but not related nearer than cousins to the three
named, who moved on farms a little east of Johnstown. They were John, in 1791;
Benjamin, in 1790, whose sons were Solomon (the merchant), Benjamin,
and Josiah. The major was also known as Judge Benjamin. The sons of Jacob,
were John, Jacob, Henry, Benjamin, Samuel, and daughters Catharine (Sulouff),
(Boyer), Christina (Hertzler-Heikes), Sarah (Rice), Elizabeth (Aughey).
John Hench was of a Huguenot family that had to leave France for the sake of
He came to America from Metz, and lived near Yellow Springs, in Chester
County, prior to
the Revolution. Two of his sons, Peter and Henry, died in the famous prison-ship
York. His son John married Peggy Rice, and lived in Perry County. Elizabeth
was the wife
of John Rice. Jacob married Susan
Rice: Their children were Polly Ann (Breckbill), John (married Margaret
(wife of Jacob Groninger), Abigail (Calhoun), Zachariah (married Ellen Ickes),
Mary Stewart, then Sidney Strouse). The
children of the above have long occupied a prominent position in the community.
Cyrus M. Hench is a son of John.
John Hench, first-named, had a daughter Christina married to a Sheridan. His
probated December 9, 1807, and in it he left six hundred pounds to this daughter
she should ever be heard from. It appears that she was lost or killed by Indians
descending the Ohio River in going to Kentucky, as we infer from the "Border
Life." At all
events, she was never heard from, and the money lay unused until 1876, when it
divided among the heirs, of whom there were one hundred and ten, and it made
The Rice (German, Reis) family starts out with a remarkable record as to
longevity. Zachariah lived near Chester Springs; his wife was Abigail, sister of
Hartman. He had a mill, and from his accounts it seems that Washington for
some time put
up at his house. The country got too small for his growing family. In 1791 he
Perry County and in 1808 to Turbett township, where he died August 19, 1811,
years. Before moving up, his wife died and was buried at Pikeland Church.
twenty-one children. It is often stated that her tomb-stone has on it:
"Some have children, some have none;
Here lies the mother of twenty-one."
If the story is not true, the lines might have been truthfully placed there.
these grew up and were married. Three sisters remained in Chester County ;
four went to
Ohio; Peter, John, George, Henry, Jacob, Conrad, Zachariah Jr., Benjamin and
and Mrs. Jacob Hench and Mrs. John Weimer, stopped in Perry, where
descendants remain, and where a notice of them will be found. Peter, John,
and George, Mrs. Weimer and Mrs. Jacob Hench, (afterwards Bowers) removed
vicinity of old Port Royal about 1797 to 1802. Henry returned to Perry. John's
Judy, Tinnie, Jacob, William, John, Samuel, Jesse and Hannah. He died January
aged eighty years. In noticing the death of John Rice, the Juniata Journal
large family, and says John was the eldest, and that "all were present at the
their generous mother." Jacob's children were Betsey, Jacob, Polly and Henry.
children were Zachariah, Peter, John, Sally, Molly, Samuel, Peggy, Abigail,
Betsey. As a
specimen we give some of these last-named children's ages: Peter, ninety-three;
ninety-two; Molly, eighty-four; Peggy, eighty-five; and the others at similar ages.
certainly the most remarkably long-lived people in the county. They have,
become excellent citizens.
Captain William Martin, of Armand's First Partisan Legion in the Revolution,
Turbett townsbip about 1822.
Benjamin Kepner, whose name appears as a taxable as early as 1772, died
May 4, 1854,
aged ninety-six years.
The land on the Tuscarora Creek opposite the mouth of Licking Creek was
taken up by a
survey, based on one warrant to Richard Rankin, Februarv 4, 1755, and another
Hunter, April 1, 1755, and contained four hundred and thirty-two acres, surveyed
1763, by John Armstrong. It comprised all the land between the creek and the
top of the
ridge, including the Church Hill Cemetery, and from the upper line of Lemuel
to the "Barren Hill," east of Old Port hamlet. On Februarv 6, 1759, the warrantees
claims to Robert Campbell. This early and enterprising adventurer had his house
present farm-house of David Hertzler, and this may be the "house of Robert
found by the Indians July 10, 1763, and at which they killed a number of persons.
29, 1790, Robert sold to John Campbell, and June 23, 1792, John sold two
eighteen acres of the lower part to Lawrence King. King sold, April 13, 1801, to
Rice, who had it patented June 14, 1802, being one hundred and ninety-nine
acres and one
hundred and fifty-three perches, and called "Spring Hill." This part passed,
1802, to his son, Jacob Rice, who sold off one acre and a half to the Lutheran
January 1, 1803; and in 1834 sold the tract to Daniel Hertzler. It is now owned:
and fourteen acres by David Hertzler, forty acres by Noah Hertzler, twenty-one
John Hertzler, thirty acres by D. Kepner, six acres by J. J. Weimer. King built a
1792, at the west side of the dam above the road. Jacob Rice moved it down
water-house now is, and added a pair of chopping-stones for grinding corn and
early as 1805, and erected a carding-machine as early as 1820. Hertzler
removed the saw-
mill down nearly opposite David Hertzler's barn, tore down the old mills and
erected in 1839
a woolen-factory, thirty by fifty feet, three stories high. John Hertzler then
removed the saw-
mill to the east side of the dam in 1864, and in 1837 rebuilt the mill, turning it into
class merchant grist-mill.
Robert Campbell sold, June 24, 1790, for five pouods yearly during life and
to James McCrum, one hundred acres of the large tract west of that sold his son.
sold to George Crane, May 13, 1797, and Crane to Jacob Kepner, of Greenwood
November 4, 1799, from whom it passed to his son, Samuel D., and has been
years in the Kepner name. The upper or western part of Campbell's tract was
sold to John
Crozier, about 1784, from whom it passed to Samuel Kepner, about 1795, and is
his descendants to this day.
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