Turbett Township, Juniata Co PA - Part II
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Turbett Township
Part II

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 780-781

By A. L. Guss

In the sale of King to Rice he did not include a strip of about twenty acres, embracing Old Port town and extending down the creek a quarter of a mile to D. E. Robison's. On the upper end of this strip, and next the creek, Mr. King laid out a town, some time between 1792 and 1799, which he called "St. Tamany's Town." Main and back-streets ran east and west, and there were five cross-streets. April 15, 1800, King sold Thomas Henderson thirty- nine of these lots, of which No. 57 is the highest number given, and a small strip bounded south by the "lots in St. Tamany Town, running to a point at the east." Tusccrora Creek at the north, and "the land that the aforesaid Thomas Henderson now lives on," the whole containing ten acres. It appears by this deed that King still retained some of this tract, and that other parts had been sold previously to Thomas Wilson. King had the whole tract patented June 14, 1802, and it is called Emsworth. It had nineteen acres, eighty- six perches and allowances.

The road from the Church Hill region passed in front of David Hertzler's house and crossed the Tuscarora Creek at the junction, coming out at the Wilson mill, on the bank of Licking Creek. The road from the Blue Spring region came down by the dam and followed the foothill, probably the like of the tracts to D. E. Robison's house, where it crossed the creek. In November, 1801, a petition for a road from George Wilson's mill to Saint Tammany was presented to the court. The report of the viewers was confirmed at September term, 1802. It was said that the secret of this move was to get the travel away from Jacob Rice, who kept a public house, and bring it past Henderson, who kept a house at the south end of the present bridge. It is along this road that the present Old Port town is built.

To whom King disposed of the other parts of Emsworth does not appear. Henderson kept store, tavern and had a distillery, and March 1, 1825, was drowned in the river, having left Saint Tammany a few years previous. In 1826 the sheriff sold a tract of one hundred acres, which clearly included Emsworth, and a part of a tract above it, over the mill, containing forty-seven acres, warranted to Thomas Hardy on application No. 4719, January 26, 1768, to W. M. Hall, who sold it to Alex. Magonigle and James Thompson, August 17, 1830, when passing to the widow of the latter. It is now owned by her son, Jerome G. Thompson. Magonigle took the p1ace of Henderson at the end of the bridge and kept store. It was while Magonigle was Chief Sachem of Saint Tammany that the post-office was established, and it is probable that he was instrumental in having it named "Port Royal." This was probably 1833, and at this period Tammany town, with its Port Roval post-office, was still a much more important point than Perrysville. The advent of the railroad carried business to its station, and in 1847 the "Port Royal" post- office was moved to the borough, and finally the borough in 1874 appropriated the name itself, since which the old Tammany town is generally spoken of as "Old Port Town." When the post-office was started out in Old Port town, they did not wish to have it called after a little town across the creek; but at the time of the removal of the office into the borough, they could not change the name to Perrysville, because it was already in use in this State. Here, in the early days, before the canal was made, there was a warehouse on the bank of the creek, about two hundred yards below the bridge. Arks were built up the creek, partly loaded, floated down to this warehouse, where they waited a favorable rise in the river. It is possible that this quiet retreat in the bend of the creek, so near the river, suggested the idea of a port, and the "Royal" would come in as a tribute to King Tammany, or Lawrence King. Now all is changed; the store-house, the warehouse, the still-house are all gone; the old tavern-house alone remains to remind one of the days when this was the centre of everything and the "Great Crossing of Tuscarora." The town was finished long ago, but is by no means dead. Here Noah Hertzler is a store-keeper and has been for forty-seven years now past. No other merchant has remained so long in one place in this county.
LUTHERAN CHURCH ON CHURCH HILL. Jacob Rice, on January 1, 1803, sold one and a half acres of the land patented by his father, Zachariah, under the name Spring Hill, to "Valentine Weishaupt and Peter Rice, Trustees named and appointed by the German Lutheran Congregation of Tuscarora Valley," for sixteen dollars. "Witness, Benjamin Kepner and Christian Brand. Endorsed, deed poll in trust for the German Lutheran congregation of Tuscarora Valley," on "the road from George Wilson's mill to Hunter's Gap." For this lot William Harris made a survey as early as May 12, 1802, when it was yet the land of Lawrence King. The early history of this church is in doubt, but there must have been a building already erected at the time of the survey, for Harris' draft has a neat picture of the church, having two windows on the side next the road, and he says it is "for a Burying-Ground and a place of Worship for the use of the German Society." It appears, therefore, that there was no partnership in this building. In later years the Presbyterians helped to repair the church and were allowed to occupy it on the unused alternate Sunday. Both congregations rebuilt in town, and the old church was sold to N. Hertzler by the Lutherans, and torn down by him in 1856. Some of the timber went into the mill and some into a house in the borough. The yard adjoining the old church contains a large number of graves, the oldest dated 1803. Adjoining this, grounds have been secured and a cemetery regularlv laid-out, where most of the burials have takes place for some years.

Beside the old grave-yard and cemetery on Church Hill, there is in the middle of the township a burial-place commonly called Kilmer's Grave-Yard. It is said to be older than that at Church Hill. There are many unmarked, but the oldest marked is 1811. The names occurring are Kilmer, Strouse, Kepner, Bolinger, Humaker, Lauge, Morrison, Mohler, Jacobs, Harris, Hartman, Crozier, Logan, Brandt, Moss, McBride and others. On the creek-bank, below Groninger's bridge, on Johnson's farm, in the orchard, are buried a connection of Littles (later Lytle) and Sandersons, who were first settlers here. Gradually the plow, furrow by furrow has encroached upon these graves, until now not a grave is distinguishable,--a sad comment on the avarice of men. About two hundred yards east of this, on the line fence, is another grave yard, chiefly of the Brandt family. Christian Brandt died on this farm October 6, 1822, aged seventy-four years. He was a Mennonite, and had big meetings at his house, but most of that sect came from the east side of the river.

The bridge across Tuscarora Creek, at Old Port Royal, was built in 1818. In 1822 the frame and roof were put on; and it still stands, the first and oldest of all the bridges. John Rice lived at the north end and filled up the abutment. The petition for this bridge was first presented to the court at August term, 1815, and was said to be where the road from Mifflintown over the Tuscarora Mountain crosses the creek.

SCHOOL-HOUSES.--Turbett township has five public schools. 1. The one near the river, on the south side, is called the Olive Branch. It is on the Strouse farm and took the place of an older Olive Branch on tbe North farm. 2. Next up the valley is the new Mt. Hope, on the Kohler farm, built in 1850, and it took the place of an older Mt. Hope built in 1820 on the farm of Koon's heirs. 3. The upper one is called Freedom, and is on the Turbett farm, now Graham. These three are built of brick. The house that preceded the Freedom was called the Bottom, and stood at the same place. A still older Bottom school-house stood near by. 4. Near the dam on the north side of the township is the Old Port or Dam school-house. 5. The last house is called Church Hill, being near the old church grounds. The two last named are frame buildings. There was formerly a school-house at Kilmer's grave-yard. It is said to have been the first in the township and in use as late as 1820. Teachers: James Garner (as early as 1798), Jacob Buehler, David Powell, Benjamin Lane. There was in early times a school-house in connection with the Church Hill Lutheran church. James McKean, Peter Hench, George Gibson, William Knox, George Meloy, Michael Fletcher, "a fine scholar and good musician," and Olsdorf (German) taught here. Sandy Point school-house, built of stone in 1839, was used until 1850, when the new Mt. Hope and Olive Branch were built. A third and oldest Mt. Hope stood at the forks of the road near James Koon's. In a deed of Benamin Kepner, in trust for a school-house, to James McLaughlin and John Franks, the place is thus described: "That piece or lot of land that the said Benjamin Kepner has lately laid off for a school-house lot on the public road leading from Colonel Thomas Henderson's towards the Tuscarora Mountain and Kilmers, and on a handsome round rise of a small hill and including a spring." Teachers: David Powell, Richard Morrison, John Meloy, George W. Baker, Jesse Fry. Another old school stood on the Turbett farm, at the south corner, older than the Bottom houses above named, in which Samuel McFadden and David Powell taught. Here the father of the Hon. William A. Wallace did his first teaching after coming to this country, and ever felt great gratitude to Stewart Turbett for securing him the school. The first schools under the free school laws were at Church Hill, Kilmer's and Freedom. There were one hundred and sixty children attending school in 1884.

THE GOSHEN ROAD.--From the region of the Tuscarora Station there was a road made along the south side of the river, down below opposite Thompsontown. It is known as the "Goshen road." Near Vandyke Station was a celebrated shad fishery, where "Goshen" John Thompson lived. Some say the road was called after him, but the fact is, "Goshen" was a name given by the people to that locality and the road, to distingnish them. Old people, now living, "went to Goshen for shad." As the Israelites were assigned to the lands of Goshen, because it was a good pasture-ground for their flocks (Gen. xlvi: 34), the farmers along the north river-bank were in the habit of putting their stock across the river during the summer, and thus arose the name for that strip between the river and mountain, and that part at Thompson's was patented under the name of the "Happy Banks of Goshen." The name is in use to this day. This strip was in Milford formerly, as the record shows: June term, 1791, a petition from inhabitants of Milford township "setting f'orth that a small part of this township situate between the Tuscarora Mountain and Juniata River lies detached from the main body of the township, and very convenient to Fermanagh township. Your petitioners tberefore request that the strip or neck of land lying below Widow Bonner's plantation, and extending along the Juniata to the Cumberland County line, map be struck off from Milford and annexed to Fermanagh township." The court appointed James Harris to view and report next session, This strip constitutes those portions of Walker and Delaware now south of the river.

Tuscarora Station, on the Pennsylvania Railroad, is located on the Captain James Patterson tract. It was made a block signal-station in 1876. There is a large reservoir here to supply engines with water. A short distance below Tuscarora Station James Williams once had a small tannery.

The Roaring Spring is a short distance below the station. Before the railroad was made over it, a large stream issued from crevices between the rocks with such force as to cause a loud roaring sound, that could be heard at quite a distance. The flow of water is still accompanied by considerable sound.

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