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
A petition was presented in November 1821, asking for a township to be taken from Fermanagh. Daniel Christy, David Walker and William McAlister, Jr., were appointed viewers, who made a report January 19, 1822, in which the boundaries were defined. The report was read and confirmed at the April term of court, 1822, when the north part of the township was called “Fermanagh,” and the southern part was called “Walker.”
The township is bounded by the range of Tuscarora Mountains, Fermanagh, Fayette and Delaware townships.
The Juniata passes through the township and the principal stream is the D. O. Run, which traverses it in a southerly direction and enters at Juniata at Mexico.
The name D. O. Run is peculiar, and concerning which much speculation is rife. It is variously spelled Doe, Deo, Do and D. O. The last was invariably written by James Patterson, who, with the possible exception of John Savage, mentioned in the caveat of William Curran, was doubtless the first settler upon the run and by whom it was doubtless named.
EARLY SETTLEMENT.—The first trustworthy knowledge of settlements along the Juniata, or in the territory embraced in this history, is found in a letter of Richard Peters to James Hamilton, Esq., Governor of Pennsylvania, dated July 2, 1750, in which he says,--
“About the year 1740 or 1741, one Frederick Star, a German, with two or three more of his countrymen, made some settlements at the above place, where we found William White, the Galloways and Andrew Lycon, on Big Juniata, situate at the distance of twenty-five miles from the mouth thereof, and about ten miles north of the Blue Hills, a place much esteemed by the Indians for some of their best hunting-grounds, which (German settlers) were discovered by the Delawares at Shamokin to the deputies of the Six Nations, as they came down to Philadelphia, in the year 1743, to hold a treaty with this Government, and they were disturbed at, as to enquire, with a peculiar warmth of Governor Thomas, if these people had come there by the orders or with the privilege of the Government, alleging that if it was so there was a breach of the treaties subsisting between the Six Nations and proprietor, William Penn, sho, in the most solemn manner, engaged to them not to suffer any of the people to settle lands till they had purchased from the Council of the Six Nations.”
At this council, held in Philadelphia, April 22, 1753, before Governor Thomas, one of the chiefs made the following remarks:
“The Dutchmen on Scokooneady (Juniata) claimed a right to the land merely because they gave a little victuals to our warriors, who stand very often in need of it.
“This string of Wampum serves (the speaker then took two strings of wampum in his hands) to take the Dutchman by the Arm and to throw him over the big mountain within our borders. We have given the Scokooneady for a hunting-place to our cousins, the Delawares, and our brethren, the Shawanese, and we ourselved hunt there sometimes. We therefore desire you will immediately, by force, remove all those that live on the river of Scokooneady.”
The Governor disowned any knowledge of the settlements and promised the Indians to issue a proclamation. This having but little effect, Mr. Peters was ordered and authorized to cause the trespassers to be removed, which he did in June, 1743. After this time trespassers again, says a writer, “had the presumption to go into Path Valley, or Tuscarora Gap, lying to the east of the Big Cove, and into a place called Aughwick, lying to the northward of it, and likewise into a place called Shearman’s Creek, lying along the waters of Juniata and is situate east of the Path Valley, through which the present road goes from Harris’ Ferry to Allegheny and lastly they extended their settlement, to Big Juniata.”
The Indians complained to the proprietaries of their settlements, and the authorities in 1748 sent Conrad Weiser, the sheriff, and three magistrates into these settlements to warn the people; but notwithstanding this, they still continued their settlement.
In May, 1750, Richard Peters and Conrad Weiser were ordered to go to lands not purchased by the Indians in the new county of Cumberland and give information to the magistrates of such people as had settled on the lands beyond the Kittanning Mountains, and to bring them to conviction for not removing upon a previous notice from the Governor. As the trespassers still remained, the Indians of the Six Nations were complaining to the proprietaries of breach of their promises.
It will be noticed that reference is made to the settlement of Frederick Star at the place where William White and others were found. The extract from the same letter referred to gives the account of their proceedings while there. Mr. Peters and Mr. Weiser left Philadelphia on the 15th of May for the new county of Cumberland, where they met Mr. George Croghan, Andrew Montour and five Indians, who were authorized to transact business for the Six Nations.
A conference was held, and the magistrates gave the Indians assurance that the trespassers would be removed and strings of wampum were exchanged.
Mr. Peters, in the letter above referred to, gives the account of the movements and action of the magistrates after the conference above mentioned, as follows:
“On Tuesday, the 22nd of May, Matthew Dill, George Croghan, Benjamin Chambers, Thomas Wilson, John Finley and James Galbreth, Esquires, Justices of the said county of Cumberland, attended by the Under Sheriff, came to Big Juniata, situate at the distance of twenty-five miles from the mouth therof, and about ten miles north from the Blue Hill, a place much esteemed by the Indians for some of their best hunting-ground; and there they found five cabins or log Houses, one possessed by William White, another by George Cahoon, and another not quite yet finished, in possession of David Huddleston, another possessed by George and William Galloway, and another by Andrew Lycon; of these Persons William White, George and William Galloway, David Huddleston and George Cahoon appeared before the Magistrates, and being asked by what right or authority they had possessed themselves of those Lands and erected cabins thereon? They replied by no right or authority but that the Land belonged to the Proprietaries of Pennsylvania. They were then asked whether they did not know they were acting against the Law, and in contempt of frequent Notices given them by the Governor’s proclamation. They said they had seen one such proclamation, and had nothing to say for themselves, but craved mercy. Hereupon the said William White, George and William Galloway, David Huddleston and George Cahoon, being convicted by said Justices on their view, the under Sheriff was charged with them, and he took William White, David Huddleston and George Cahoon into Custody, but George and William Galloway resisted, and having got at some distance from the Under Sheriff, they called to us: ‘You may take our Lands and Houses and do what you please with them; we deliver them to you with all our hearts, but we will not be carried to Jail.’
“The next morning, being Wednesday, the 23d of May, the said Justices went to the log House or cabin of Andrew Lycon, and finding none there but children, and hearing that the Father and Mother were expected soon, and William White and others offering to become Security, jointly and severally, and to enter into Recognizance, as well for Andrew’s appearance at Court and immediate removal, as for their own, this proposal was accepted, and William White, David Huddleston and George Cahoon entered into a recognizance of one hundred Pounds, and executed Bonds to the Proprietaries in the sum of Five Hundred Pounds, reciting that they were Trespassers and had no manner of Right, and had delivered Possession to me for the Proprietaries. When the Magistrates went to the cabin or log House of George and William Galloway (which they had delivered up as aforesaid the day before, after they were convicted and were flying from the Sheriff), all the Goods belonging to the said George and William were taken out, and the Cabbin being quite empty, I took possession thereof for the Proprietaries; and then a conference was held, what should be done with the empty Cabbin, and after great deliberation, all agreed that if some Cabbins were not destroyed, they would tempt the trespassers to return again, or encourage others to come there should these trespassers go away; and so what was doing would Signify nothing, since the possession of them was at such a distance from the inhabitants, could not be kept for the Proprietaries; and Mr. Weiser also giving it as his opinion that if all the Cabbins were left standing, the Indians would conceive such a contemptible Opinion of the Government, that they would come themselves, in the Winter, murder the People, and set their houses on fire. On these considerations, the Cabbin, by my order, was burnt by the under Sheriff and company.
“Then the company went to the House possessed by David Huddleston, who had entered into Bond as aforesaid, and he having voluntarily taken out all the things which were in the cabin, and left me in possession, that empty and unfurnished cabin was likewise set on fire by the under Sheriff, by my order.
“The next day, being the 24th of May, Mr. Weiser and Mr. Galbreath, with the under Sheriff and myself, on our way to the mouth of Juniata, called at Andrew Lycon’s, with intent only to inform him that his Neighbors were bound for his appearance and immediate Removal, and to caution him not to bring him or them into trouble by a refusal. But he presented a loaded Gun to the Magistrates and Sheriff, said he would shoot the first man that dared to come nigher. On this, he was disarmed, convicted and committed in the custody of the Sheriff. This whole transaction happened in the sight of a tribe of Indians, who had by accident in the Night time fixed their tent on that plantation; and Lycon’s behaviour giving them great offence, the Shickcalamies insisted on our burning the cabin, or they would do it themselves. Whereupon everything was taken out of it (Andrew Lycon all the while assisting) and Possession being delivered to me, the empty cabin was set on fire by the under Sheriff, and Lycon was carried to Jail.”
Mr. Peters says, in closing his letter,--
“Finding such a general submission, except the two Galloways and Andrew Lycon, and vainly believing the evil would be effectually taken away, there was no kindness in my power which I did not do for the offenders; I gave them money where they were poor, and telling them they might go directly on any part of the two millions of acres lately purchased of the Indians; and where the families were large, as I happened to have several of my own plantations vacant, I offered them to stay on them rent-free till they could provide for themselves; then I told them that if, after all this lenity and good usage, they would dare to stay after the time limited for their departure, no mercy would be shown them, but that they would feel the rigour of the law.
“It may be proper to add that the cabins of log-Houses which were burnt were of no considerable value, being such as the Country People erect in a day or two, and cost only the charge of an entertainment. “Richard Peters.”
It is evident that at the time of this action on the part of the government a purchase of these lands was intended, and this fact was known by the trespassers and by others who were ranging through the country. It is not stated in Mr. Peters’ letter that a promise was made to the trespassers who would leave their improvements peaceably that when the purchase was made they might return to their respective settlements; but it is stated by no less an authority that James Hamilton, Esq., in a document sent to John Lukens, surveyor general, under the heading: “By the proprietaries,” and which was used in a suit brought by Richard Kirkpatrick against Samuel Fisher and John Sanderson, a full account of which will be found in the history of Spring township, Perry County. Among other things he says, speaking of the trespassers,--
“Before the same was purchased from the Indians, who, taking umbrage at settlements being made there before they had agreed to sell those lands to the Government, on the Indian’s compleant sent proper persons to prevail on those settlers peaceably to give up and Quit their possessions and improvements under a promise and assurance from our Agents that as soon as the said purchase should be compleated they should have warrants granted to them and be permitted to return to their respective settlements.”
To still further show that the purchase was intended and the promise made, it will be carefully noticed that mention is made in Mr. Peters’ letter of a conference being held at the settlement of White, Lycon and others, “with great deliberation” as to the disposition of these cabins. It was finally agreed that if some of them were not destroyed they would tempt the trespassers to return, and Mr. Weiser’s opinion was that if all were left standing the Indians would have a contemptible opinion of the government, and the cabin or loghouse of the Galloways, the cabins of David Huddleston and Andrew Lycon were burned, no mention being made of White’s cabin. The decision of the conference held at this time in reference to the destruction of cabins was followed by Shearman’s Creek, where Mr. Stephenson (the under-sheriff) “ordered some of the meanest of those cabins to be set on fire where the families were not large nor the improvements considerable.”
On May 30th, the magistrates and company were in Path Valley, Aughwick and Big Cove, and put the trespassers in those localities under bonds and burned some of the cabins.
It has been stated that these settlers were located on the north bank of the Juniata, back of Millerstown, in the limits of Perry County. This opinion is said to be based upon the letter of Richard Peters. He says “We came to the Big Juniata situate at the distance of twenty-five miles from the mouth thereof.” This distance is given by Rupp in his quotation as twenty miles, and even in that case Millerstown by the railroad is but sixteen miles and six-tenths from Juniata Bridge, which is within three rods of the mouth of the Juniata river.
These men left their settlements, and without doubt made no effort to return until after the purchase of July, 1754, as they would have been liable to prosecution under their bonds. Others, however, not under such restraint, made their way into the Tuscarora Valley, late in 1753 or early in 1754, and made settlements there before the purchase was made, and they and their descendants are still there.
A careful examination of the warrants on both sides of the Juniata from its mouth to the Perry County line fails to show the names of any of the parties who were trespassers in 1750, and it is a fact that in 1754 and 1755 Richard Kirkpatrick and others (all trespassers in 1750 on Sherman’s Creek) returned, after the purchase, under their promise from the government, to the same places where they were before and where most of them settled and left descendants.
Upon the opening of the Land-Office, February 3, 1755, William White and John Lycon each took out warrants—White for two hundred acres, and Lycon for three hundred and twenty-three acres. John Cahoon purchased of William White a tract of land, April 16th of the same year. All three of these tracts are on the Juniata, White and Cahoon on tracts adjoining and above the James Patterson tract, at the mouth of D. O. Run. John Lycon’s tract was below the Patterson (the Valentine Stern) tract, and above Thompsontown, relatively in the same position as when Peters left White’s, May 24th,--“on our way to the mouth of Juniata, called at Andrew Lycon’s,” Dr. Egle says that Andrew Lycon had but one son, John, who was commissioned lieutenant about 1762, and disappears before the Revolutionary War. All the evidence here given inclines to the idea that after the purchase of the lands William White returned to his settlement on the Juniata, where his cabin was evidently left standing in 1750 (as Peters was very particular in all cases to state what was burned), and to the place he, in his wanderings for a location, had decided upon. John Lycon, a son of Andrew, settled below on the river and John Cahoon or Calhoon, as is shown later, adjoining lands of White.
William White made two applications for land of one hundred acres each. Warrants were granted upon them as follows: February 3, 1755, No. 30, “One hundred acres, including his improvement on the north side of the Juniata, where one Kyle has presumed to settle. No. 33, one hundred acres northward of other land granted to him by warrant of this day and includes a part of the Big Meadow.”
The wording of the first warrant clearly shows that he had an improvement there, and on his return to it he found one Kyle settled upon it, and the heirs of James Kyle claimed it as late as 1818, when a part of it was patented. It will be noticed that on April 3, 1767, Hugh White took up land including “Clear Meadow,” which had been Indian corn-fields, and probably the other part of the Big Meadow mentioned above. The White lands, under the two warrants, No. 30 and 33, as surveyed, amount to five hundred and sixty-two and one-half acres.
In the warrant to White he is mentioned as adjoining Captain James Patterson, who located on both sides of the D. O.Run, and White’s tract was above, on the river. When the troubles with the Indians occurred in 1756, he, with the other settlers, fled to the more thickly-populated settlements, and returned in 1762, and on the 24th of March in that year was appointed constable of Fermanagh township. During harvest-time, and on July 10, 1763, it being the Sabbath and the reapers in the house at White’s, a party of Indians crept up to the door and shot William White, some of the reapers and some of his children. From that time for several years the Widow White is assessed on two hundred acres, and a son William is mentioned as a single man, and within a year or two John White is mentioned as a single man. November 25, 1766, John White warranted one hundred acres of land in the Barrens adjoining William White, and April 3, 1767, Hugh White warranted a tract, including Clear Meadow, which had been Indian corn-fields. In 1782 Widow White was in possession of four hundred acres, John of fifteen acres and a distillery, and William of fifteen acres. It is quite evident the lands taken up werer for their mother.
Widow Mary White also took up, on an order of survey No. 2835, February 6, 1767, three hundred acres of land upon Cedar Spring Ridge, adjoining John Gamble, Charles Stewart and others, which she sold to James Barr May 19, 1790, who sold ninety-six acres of it to James Banks August 7, 1792. William White sold his interest in the same tract to James Barr, December 15, 1789.
A part of the original White tract had been sold to John Cahoon, (or Calhoon), who sold part to the heirs of William White, who conveyed it to James Barr. It passed to William McCammon and John Riddle, and on April 1, 1814, Riddle sold one and a half acres of this land for a parsonage to Jacob Byner, of Decatur, Mifflin County, John Kepner and John Rice, of Milford, Henry Fry, of Greenwood, Cumberland County, who were trustees for the United German congregations in the mentioned townships. Upon this lot was built a parsonage, where the Rev. John William Heim lived until his removal to Loysville, Perry County, in 1828. The property was sold, April 1, 1835, to Solomon Hays, who, in 1838, conveyed it to Sarah Diven, widow of Peter Diven. The trustees at this time were William Rannels, Sr., Jacob Kepner, John Weishaupt and John Murphy, of the Lutheran congregation, and Peter Diven and William Waldsmith, of the Reformed Church. The parsonage property is now owned by Miss Susanna Weaver.
In a deed recorded in Mifflin County mention is made, in connection with the above transfers, that a warrant was granted to John Colhoon (or Cahoon) February 6, 1755, adjoining lands of William White. No warrant at this place or in the purchase of 1754 of that date appears in the Land Office; but on April 16, 1775, Cahoon did buy part of the White lands, and part of it passed to Andrew Cahoon (or Colhoon), who, by article, June 4, 1792, sold to James Barr. The executors of Andrew Colhoon gave a deed to James Barr, May 28, 1795.
It will be remembered that, with the names of William White and Andrew Lycon, the Galloways, David Huddleston and George Cahoon also appear. The Galloways, by Mr. Peters’ account, abandoned their lands, and probably never returned. There is nothing to show, either, that Huddleston returned.
A part of the old White tract is now owned by Christian Tyson, Miss Minehan, James Kyle and John Gallagher.
It will be noticed that Captaion James Patterson, of whom it is claimed by some that he was the first settler, is not mentioned in the letter of Richard Peters, and it is also shown, in the caveat filed by William Curran, March 13, 1765 (hat is elsewhere given), that one John Savage had made an improvement at the mouth of D. O. Run, which he had purchased ten years before, or upwards, and which Curran had purchased. This property, however, Captain Patterson secured a warrant upon, and held it. It is now Mexico, but was known many years as Patterson’s Mills.
Captain James Patterson was the most illustrious pioneer settler in Juniata County, and deserves more than a passing notice. His father came from Salisbury, England, and settled, in 1717, on the northern line of the Conestoga Manor, Lancaster County.
James Patterson, who was prominent in Juniata in the early days of the settlement on the Indian purchase of 1754, was a son of the James Patterson, of Lancaster County, referred to. His early life was passed in the woods and among the traders. He moved on a three hundred-acre tract in Cumberland Valley (now Franklin County), left him by his father at his death, and lived there until the Juniata region was opened to settlement. His sister, Susanna, was the wife of James Lowry, an Indian trader in Donegal; Sarah was the wife of Benjamin Chambers, who settled at Chambersburg; Rebecca was the wife of John Keagy, who occupied part of the mansion farm. Mrs. Chambers was the mother of General James Chambers, of the Revolution.
The mother of James Patterson was a remarkable worman, and was twice married after the death of his father. She was the wife of Thomas Ewing and Dr. John Connolly, and the mother of the notorious Dr. John Connolly.
As already stated, Captain James Patterson moved on this tract on the Conococheague after his father’s death, and his name may be found regularly on the Lurgan township tax-lists, and he remained there until 1754.
The Land Office opened February 3, 1755, and on the 4th James Patterson got his warrant for a tract of four hundred and seven acres at Mexico, which he had surveyed on the 29th, and it was the first, and in 1763 the only, tract patented in this county. Hence, the whole story told of his bidding defiance to the provincial authorities, and refusing to go through the formalities of the Land Office for a title, as told in Jones’ “Juniata Valley,” is without the slightest foundation in fact, and does the captain great injustice. As he followed the Indian trade with his father in his youth, and later also on his own account, he had doubtless often been back and forth over our Juniata streams and hills, and his selection of land was not a chance location, but carefully picked out as a mill-site. We cannot admit that he settled here, as claimed by some writers, in 1751; but he may have been here then, and long and often before, but not as a settler, for such settlements were forbidden by law prior to the purchase from the Indians, in 1754.
James Patterson, in 1767, built the first grist-mill and a saw-mill east of the river. His residence had been used as a base of supplies during the years 1756-57, as is shown by the following letters of T. Lloyd under date October 14, 1756, who says,--
“That there was 20,000 weight of Provincial flour left at Capt. Patterson’s, on the Western frontier, and (as supposed) in the rout from Duquesne (Pittsburgh), to Shamokin (Sunbury), or near it, of which he (Col. Clapham) commanded me to make a minute, and know whether it was your Honor’s pleasure that the house should be burnt and the flour destroyed or not.”
On November 23, 1756, Colonel Clapham wrote from Fort Augusta to Governor Denny,--
“The bearer, Captain Patterson, had been very serviceable on two detachments of great fatigue, and has in every other respect during his stay here behaved himself like a brave and honest man. He is the owner of the house where I mentioned the flour was left, and accompanied the detachment sent to that place. He will be able to inform your honor more particularly on that head.”
Some time later he again wrote,--
“The party I sent to the Great Island (Lock Haven) returned by the Allegheny road without finding any enemy . . . Immediately on their return I detached two parties, one to the place where the Allegheny road crosses Juniata, with orders to examine into the state of the flour at Capt. Patterson’s, and, if possible, to abuscade the enemy, the other to Hunter’s to escort provisions.”
What Allegheny road this was, and where it crossed Juniata, is hard to tell, but it was probably near the captain’s residence. Probably the seven thousand seven hundred pounds of flour brought to Fort Augusta January 7, 1757, by Ensign William Patterson, with sixty-six horses, was part of the flour above spoken of. Patterson warranted and purchased a number of tracts near Mexico and across the river; also up the river at Raystown Branch, in Canoe Valley and other places.
His residence was called Patterson’s and was so laid down on maps of this time. To the river boatmen it was known as “Patterson’s Landing.” He died here. His will is dated June 9, 1771; recorded at Carlisle; probated January 22, 1772. The grave-yard is on his tract, but no stone records the exact date or age. By his will he left the Juniata lands and the mill properties to James, his second son, and George, the youngest son. George is first a single freeman on the Fermanagh tax-lists in 1781, and that year may be safely set down as the period of his majority.
The wife of Capt. James Patterson was Mary Stewart. She was executrix of his will, and lived at Mexico until 1783. She moved to her daughter’s, Mrs. Moore, at Middletown, and died there in 1785. Her will, probated April 29, 1785, mentions as her children William, Mary (wife of General Potter), Susanna (wife of James Moore), James and George. Mary had been married first to Thomas Chambers, who was killed by Indians at Big Island (Lock Haven). See “Border Life,” (p. 126). With Genl. James Potter she became the mother of James, the husband of Mary Brown; Mary, wife of George Riddle and then of William McClellan; John, deceased; Martha, wife of Hon. Andrew Gregg, once U. S. Senator, and grandfather of Governor A. G. Curtin; Margaret, wife of Edward Crouch.
William Patterson first married a Galbreath, and by her had one son, who was named Galbreath Patterson. He studied law and lived in Harrisburg, where he gained considerable distinction. He was the father of Mrs. Judge Hayes, of Lancaster, and Dr. Edmund B. Patterson, of Lewistown. About 1800 Galbreath removed to near Williamsport, where he had a large tract of land and soon after died there. William married, as a second wife, Esther Finley, granddaughter of John Harris, of Harrisburg, and by her had John, born 1767; Isabella; William Augustus, born 1771, died July 15, 1854, in White Deer Valley, aged eighty-three years; James, born 1776. Esther patterson died in East Pennsboro township, Cumberland County.
The father of this branch is known as Capt. William Patterson. He settled opposite Mexico and owned a large tract of land. In 1756 he is Ensign; in 1757, Lieutenant; in 1758, Captain in the Provincial service. He was with the forces which brought Fort Augusta in 1757, and described in the Shippen papers as “a gentleman of limited education, a very good soldier and does his duty well;” and he is often mentioned in Burd’s Journals.
James Patterson, son of Captain James, married Jane Harris, daughter of John Harris, founder of Mifflintown.
George, youngest son of Captain James, married Jane, daughter of Colonel James Burd, the most noted military man in this province during the French and Indian War.
George Patterson was justice of the peace, and lived at Mexico until 1810, when he moved to Mount Airy, near Philadelphia, and from that place his sons, Burd and George, moved to Pottsville, where the family have been prominent citizens ever since. The children of George are six, of whom Burd was born at Mexico July 8, 1788, died at Pottsville March 30, 1861, wife, Matilda Dowers; Charlotte, wife of William Thompson; Eliza, wife of Rubens Peale, the artist.
James Patterson and Valentine Sterns took out a warrant for three hundred and thirty-nine acres of land, February 6, 1755, directly below Patterson’s Mill tract, at Mexico. This tract was divided, Patterson receiving the upper part (now the farms in part of W. P. Thompson and David Sieber); Valentine Sterns took the lower part and soon after died, as Widow Jean Sterns is assessed on the property and appears many years later.
A part of this land was patented, March 28, 1807, to Martin Motzer as “Farmers’ Hope,” and then contained two hundred and ninety-seven acres, and was part of the warrants of James Patterson and Valentine Sterns of February, 1755. Matthew Atkinson’s land joined it on the north. The land is in part owned by Henry Hartman.
Matthew Atkinson took out, on order of survey No. 4606, November 24, 1767, two hundred and eighty-six acres of land, which, in later years, came to the McKinstrys and Funks, and lay west of the Elizabeth Lycon tract, and is now owned by Michael Bashore.
The board of property had the land re-surveyed January 31, 1803, and it was probably the Robert Guthrie tract of 1762. Matthew Atkinson also took out three hundred acres on a warrant dated July 28, 1769, which, in October, 1791, came to David Walker. The location of this tract has not been ascertained. Matthew Atkinson was a resident here, as he had a family account at the store of John Hamilton from 1774 to 1787. Of his immediate family but little is known. On May 1, 1813, Matthew Atkinson took out a warrant for one hundred acres of land in Wayne township and went there to reside. He also owned other lands there, and June 29, 1813, sold one hundred acres to Lukens Atkinson, who went to Wayne township, Mifflin County, and lived and died there at what is now known as Atkinson’s Mills. His son Adam, in 1842, bought part of the old Lukens tract, which is now owned by his son, Dr. Louis E. Atkinson, of Mifflintown.
In the account of Richard Peters, given in the preceding sketch of William White, it will be noticed that, after completing the work at White’s on their way to the mouth of the Juniata, they came to the cabin of Andrew Lycon, who, for his resistance, was taken to jail and his cabin was burned. He is not mentioned later; but it is a fact that on the first day of issuing warrants, February 3, 1755, one, John Lycon, or Lukens, was granted a tract of land, containing three hundred and twenty-three acres of land, that lay opposite what is now Vandyke Station and below the White tract on the way to the mouth of Juniata, to where Peters, Weiser and the magistrates were going, as is mentioned heretofore.
The warrant granted to John Lycon is numbered thirty and says: “One hundred acres on the south side of the Juniata, including his improvement below the settlement of Valentine Stern’s.” The word south in this case is a clerical error, as an examination of the survey of the same land in the Land-Office clearly shows the river and its course and Valentine Stern’s tract above it on the river, as his warrant and location will indicate, and both on the north side of the river. Stern’s tract was below Patterson’s. (D. O. Run tract).
The Lukens lands, probably embracing also the warrant of Elizabeth, were patented April 13, 1774, as 365 ¾ acres.
It was surveyed by John Armstrong May 9, 1761, and for some reason was “legally condemned by a court of inquisition,” January 22, 1773, and sold by Ephraim Blaine, sheriff of Cumberland County, November 7, 1773, to Abraham Lukens. By him a part was conveyed to Gabriel, his son, May 29, 1793, who, in 1831, and by his will dated August 12th in that year, left it to his sons, John and Robert, who sold a part of it to Adam H. Atkinson, April 1, 1842.
A tract of one hundred and three acres lying above the Lukens land, was granted on application No. 600, August 1, 1766, to Jesse Jacobs. It passed July 14, 1784, to William Plunkett, who sold to Thomas Poultney soon after, who patented it May 23, 1785, and sold to Gabriel Lukens May 3, 1800. A part of this tract also came to Adam H. Atkinson. John Lukens sold a part of his original purchase, October 28, 1773, to Michael Van Kennen, who sold, January 18, 1791, to John Tennis. Lukens also sold part May 13, 1780, to Benjamin Kepner. The Lukens tract was re-surveyed for the executors of Abraham Lukens February 27, 1811.
Of the sons of John Lukens, except Abraham, nothing is known. He warranted a tract of two hundred and thirty-two acres March 7, 1775, near the Cookson lands, which is now owned by S. Owen Evans and the heirs of John Kurts. He died in 1808 and left sons—Gabriel, Henry and Abraham. Gabriel settled on part of the original tract and died there. John Lukens, of Port Royal, who died in September, 1885, was a son of Gabriel.
Henry Lukens settled in 1802 on what is now known as the Bradford Fruit Farm. J. Stewart Lukens, of Thompsontown, is a grandson.
Abraham settled below Gabriel on part of the old tract and was living there in 1803.
John Lukens, also owned a tract of land on Dog Run from 1773 to 1793.
Abraham, son of John owned a saw-mill on some of his land from 1776 to 1799, and Abraham, his son, from 1796 to 1812.
Elizabeth Lukens, probably the wife of John, took up on an order of survey No. 2305, January 2, 1767, a tract of land containing two hundred and forty three acres, which was surveyed as two hundred and fifty-five acres on the 22d of April, 1767. It was adjoining John Lukens’ tract to the rear and north, and in 1824 was sold to John Stauffer (where Centre or Van Dyke now is) and to Thomas Leonard.
George and Nelson A. Lukens, sons of Jacob S. Lukens, Esq., are living on part of the lands near Centre. On the west was a tract of two hundred and twelve acres of Robert Guthrie warranted in June, 1762, bounded on the north by the Barrens. He does not seem to have been a settler here for any length of time as his name disappears.
To the east of the Elizabeth Lukens tract Joseph Smith took up, on an order of survey, No. 5081, a tract of three hundred and five acres, dated June 27, 1768, which was surveyed June 2, 1770. South of this tract lay one hundred acres of James Patterson’s, and still south, on the river, was the tract of William Rodman. This tract, in 1801, then embracing the one hundred acres of James Patterson, belonged to the heirs of John Hamilton. The great road extended along within its limits, and near the south line. Just over the line on the north, about two hundred rods from the great-road, is marked on the survey (now in the surveyor’s office) a meeting-house, which is near the foot of the ridge. The old Smith tract now belongs to Samuel, George and John Mertz.
The name of William Cochran appears among the list of warrantees, and he took out a warrant for one hundred and three acres of land March 8, 1755. From all indications, the name is the same as Corran or Curran, and the one here given is evidently the ancestor of the family who settled in this section of the country. The tract of land was near the glebe lands of Cedar Spring. His name as Curran appears in the assessment of Fermanagh in 1763 as owning two hundred acres of land, and in 1768 as William Corran, owning six hundred acres and one horse and cow, and James Curran as in possession of fifty acres. William Corran remained here until 1771, when he appears to hove removed to Donegal, Lancaster County, and the land is assessed to him still in this township, and in 1772 Charles Cochran or Corran is assessed with one horse and one cow, and William on four hundred acres. On the 17th of December, 1772, “William Cochran or Corran” warranted a tract of land in Tuscarora Valley, which he patented June 18, 1773, as “Williamsburg.” In 1775 it is mentioned as having ten acres cleared, and in Lack township James Corran is assessed on one hundred acres and one horse, one cow and twenty acres cleared. There is a tradition among the descendants of the Currans that the mother of Samuel and Margaret Curran, wife of William, at one time carried a bag of rye to Carlisle to be ground. This is not improbable, as he was here in 1763 and no mill was in this county until 1767. William Curran is mentioned in 1767 as owner of land lying east of the Alexander Lafferty tract. In this year, October 29th, he bought of James Patterson a tract of land on D. O. Run, adjoining James Crampton and John Lukens, which have been warranted to Thomas Evans November 10, 1766. He returned with his family to Lancaster County and died in Raphoe township in 1787, and designated his sons, Samuel and James, as executors of his will. James was then living in Raphoe; Samuel had moved to the lands in this township in 1780 and married a daughter of the Rev. Hugh Magill. The widow, after the death of her husband, came to this township and lived with her children until her death. Their children were Samuel, James, Margaret and Eleanor, and probably Charles and Alexander, who lived on lands in Milford and Lack townships. Margaret became the wife of Robert McMeen and Eleanor the wife of John Moore. Samuel was drowned in Jack’s Creek upon the return of the party from Lewistown at the time of the riot there in 1792. He left a son William and two daughters, Margaret and Eleanor.
William married Jane Walker, daughter of James and granddaughter of David Walker, and settled upon the Samuel Curran farm, now owned by his son-in-law, Hugh Latimer Wilson. They had no sons and five daughters. Jane became the wife of James Templeton and settled in Illinois. Mary married Joseph Adams and settled in Mifflintown. Josephine married Hugh L. Wilson and lives on the home-farm at Van Wert. Anna B. became the wife of Judge Samuel Watts and now lives at McAlisterville. Lizzie is unmarried.
Margaret, a daughter of Samuel Curran, married, first, Joseph McMeen, and later the Hon. John McMinn. Eleanor married William McMinn, a brother of John, and removed to Centre County, Pa.
The following is a copy of a document found among the papers of James Adams, of Walker township, and is interesting as showing some of the troubles settlers of the early days had to contend with. The William Cochran here mentioned is the later called William Curran or Corran, and is used interchangeably.
“Land-Office, the 13th March, 1765.
“William Cochran enters a Caveat against the acceptance of any survey or surveys made or to be made for Francis West, James Patterson or any other person or persons on an improvement originally made by John Savage upon or near D. O. Run, Patterson Mills Run and the Beaver Dam, which the said Cochran purchased ten years ago or upwards from the said John Savage, and after making considerable improvements thereon, the same were burnt by the Indians and he was drove off by them from his said settlement. And also against any survey or surveys made or to be made for the said Francis West, James Patterson or any other person or persons on another small improvement made by the said William Cochran as a provision for some of his children at a spring near the mouth of the said D. O. Run.
“Wm. Peters, Se’cy.”
This description indicated that a certain John Savage had made an improvement on the land warranted by James Patterson, February 5, 1755, as his name particularly is mentioned and his land was on the east side of the D. O. Run and that of William White on the upper side, and whose name is not explicitly mentioned.
Two years later than the date of the caveat, and in the year when most of the surveys were made, and on June 8, 1767, James Patterson assigned to William Curran a tract of land on D. O. Run, which assignment was witnessed by Eleanor Moore and Jean Patterson, the last being his daughter. This tract was doubtless assigned in compromise for the tract at the mouth of the D. O. Run, to which Curran laid a claim, and the land assigned lay up the run, above Patterson’s other land.
The farm on which Hugh Hamilton now lives was bought by his grandfather (John Hamilton), who came to this place from near the old Centre Church, now in Madison township, Perry County, in 1769. His father (also John Hamilton) was a resident of Chester County, and was possessed of considerable property, part of which was in Sherman’s Valley. By his will he left the latter to his son, who moved there to attend to it. He also, later, warranted the tract of land on which the Tressler Orphans’ Home now stands, near Loysville, and came in possession, through his wife, of the property known as Bixler’s Mill, in Madison township.
A tract of land containing four hundred acres, in (now) Walker township, was warranted June 20, 1766, by John Mitchell and Richard Tea, who sold to John Hamilton, November 12, 1768. He also became the owner of other lands in the vicinity, and the old “Hamilton Mill,” on Cocolamus Creek, now Robert Humphrey’s. He moved to the first purchase in 1769, on which there was an improvement, with a log house upon it. The place he named “Fermanagh,” after the township. In 1772 he returned to Sherman’s Creek and married Margaret, a daughter of Hugh Alexander, who had long lived near the old Centre Church. They moved to the home “Fermanagh,” where he built a stone mansion-house, and, in 1774, opened in part of it the first store in the limits of Mifflin County, then embracing Juniata, which he continued to keep until his removal to Harrisburg, in 1787. The old books are in possession of Hugh Hamilton, and contain the names of his customers, among which are Sharon, Banks, Purdy, Patterson, Nelson, Stewart, Thompson, McLin, Micheltre, Wilson, Atkinson, White, Stuhl and a host of others. On the 16th of May, 1776, he, with Joseph Sellers, took up a warrant for one hundred and seventy acres of land on Cocolamus Creek, and soon after purchased the interest of Sellers, and in that year erected upon it a grist-mill, saw-mill and distillery, which he operated until his removal, in 1787, and was owned by him until his death, in 1793. In 1796 the property was sold by his heirs to Joseph Sellers. The grist-mill was abandoned before the sale to Sellers; it is now owned by Robert Humphrey. At the opening of the Revolution a meeting of the inhabitants of the section was held in the house of William Sharon, who then lived near what is now known as Jericho. John Hamilton was chairman, and upon a call for volunteers, Hugh McAlister was the first to respond. A company of cavalry was soon raised, and John Hamilton became its captain. The company marched to the front, and joined the army the next day after the battle of Trenton. They served through several campaigns, and returned home. In 1782 John Hamilton purchased the tract now known as Oakland Mills of Matthias Stull, and, in 1786, built a grist-mill on the Lost Creek, which, after his death and the marriage of his daughter Martha to James Alricks, became their home.
In 1787 he removed to Harrisburg and engaged in business in that place, and died August 28, 1793, leaving a widow, Margaret, and six children,--Jean, born 1774; Martha, 1776; John, 1782; Hugh, 1785; Margaret, 1789; and Kitty Allen, 1792. Jean became the wife of John McKean; Martha, of James Alricks; Margaret, of Moses McLean; and Catharine, of Jacob Spangler.
John, the oldest son, upon the retirement of his father to Harrisburg, remained upon the homestead, and inherited it upon his death. He had three children,--Hugh and two daughters, one of whom became the wife of George T. McCulloch, the other of Dr. James Frow. Hugh, the son, lives upon the homestead tract. Hugh, the second son of John Hamilton, moved, with his father, to Harrisburg, where he became a prominent lawyer, and his descendants are not living there.
Margaret, the widow of John Hamilton, in 1795, became the wife of Andrew Mitchell, of Fermanagh township. They had several children, of whom Jane Alexander became the wife of Dr. Thomas Whiteside. Margaret (Hamilton) Mitchell and her husband, Andrew Mitchell, her eldest son, John Hamilton, and several others of the family are buried in the Presbyterian grave-yard at Mifflintown.
The name of David Walker is first mentioned in 1770 as owning a tract of land containing three hundred acres. It was adjoining the tracts of William Riddle and Charles Armstrong. On the 5th of May, 1772, it was sold to Duncan McDougal. The David Walker here mentioned was from Derry township, Lancaster County (now Dauphin), and never resided here. He made his mark as D in the signature to the deed of transfer. The David Walker who settled and became prominent as land-owner, and in all that pertains to the development of the county, was a native of Antrim County, Ireland, and was a resident in the township in 1776, as he was a volunteer in a company raised in the county by Captain Gibson, and appears as an owner of a horse and cow in the assessment of 1778, and in 1779 was possessed of ninety-one acres of land. February 23, 1787, he bought one hundred and ten acres of land of Sylvanus Moss, who warranted in the year before. This tract is part of the home-farm, where he lived and died.
He was successful in business and gradually accumulated land until he became one of the largest land-owners in the county. He was justice of the peace for many years and also kept a tavern, holding his court on Saturdays at the tavern. He was executor and administrator on many estates, and enjoyed the confidence of the community in a large degree. He married, before coming to this county, Ann Banks, daughter of James Banks, by whom he had nine children,--Samuel, Elizabeth, Polly, Annie, James, Margaret, David, Jane and Andrew. Polly and David died in youth. Andrew was a graduate of Princeton College, in 1821; was a surveyor and youth of great promise. He died September 18, 1828, aged twenty-seven years. Elizabeth became the wife of John Stewart and settled in the vicinity; Annie married William Black, and settled in Perry County; Samuel died November 1, 1809, aged thirty-two years; James married Ann Beatty, and died March 13, 1813, aged thirty-four years; Jane married James Johnson; and Margaret became the wife of Thomas Stinson, and settled on the home-farm, and died January 27, 1866, aged eighty years. David Walker lived to the age of seventy-nine years and died September 6, 1831, having outlived all his sons. His wife, Ann, died February 14, 1828, aged seventy-three years. The mansion-house is now in possession of Miss Lizzie Curran, and the home-farm is owned by John McMeen.
The Rev. Thomas Barton appears as a warrantee of four hundred and fourteen acres of land February 7, 1765, adjoining the glebe lands of Cedar Spring congregation. His name disappears from the tax-roll in 1779. He was an agent for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. He did not appear to have ever lived upon the land. The land later came to James Burd, son of Colonel James Burd, who resided upon it and, April 4, 1806, sold to David Weaver two hundred and sixty-one acres, and bought in 1809 the remainder of the Harris plantation, east of Mifflintown. The Burd tract is now in possession of David Aukers, John Gingrich and others.
Weaver and Philip Ronk both married sisters by the name of Stouffer and settled upon the tract. The land had not been ploughed deep and they brought with them from Lancaster a plough to which they attached four horses, and broke the ground to a depth that surprised the farmers in this region; large crops was the result and it led to better farming in the section.
The children of David Weaver were Joseph, John, Samuel, Michael, Peter, Jacob, Annie, Mary and Fanny, of whom descendants of Joseph are living on the place.
David Weaver, Philip Ronk, Michael Funk, John Stouffer and others came from Lancaster to this region about the same time.
The Funks were in Lancaster County as early as 1718. Michael Funk, of Blue Ball, kept a noted hostelry on the old Paxtang road, in East Earl township; removed to Walker township, Juniata County, in 1805. His children were Barbara (married John Stouffer), John (married Polly Miller), Michael (married Rebecca Yocum), Betsey (married Michael Shelly), Mary and Susan (married Samuel Rannels), Nancy (married Samuel Sieber, son of Christian, who came from Berks County in 1814), Catharine (married Abraham Stoner), George (married Polly Gingrich), Esther (married Andrew Yocum), Lydia (married Jonas Sieber), Joseph (married Eliza Spangler), Samuel. The widow of George moved to Logansport, Ind. Her children were Joseph, William, Catharine and Nancy M. The latter married Thomas H. McKee, clerk of the United States Senate document room.
David Allen was a soldier of the Revolution, after which he came to this section of the country, 1783; soon after married Mary, a daughter of Robert Nelson, and bought eighty acres of land, on which he settled. A large tract of land, containing four hundred and twenty-three acres, which was warranted March 8, 1755, to William Curran became in part the property of Tench Coxe. This property was re-surveyed in 1802, and the west part, containing two hundred and eleven acres, was assigned to Coxe, and was sold to David Allen. The remainder of the tract, two hundred and twelve acres, remained in the estate of William Curan.
In February, 1816, a draft of land was made for David Walker of three tracts, of which one contained one hundred and fifty acres, warranted to John Boner, January 21, 1772, and one of one hundred and one acres, warranted to James Armstrong November 14, 1767. These lands were divided between David Allen and David Walker, of which the latter received sixty-six acres of the James Armstrong warrant and David Allen the remainder. He died August 18, 1839, aged seventy-eight years, and his wife, February 28th, the next year. The lands are now owned by Jerome Thompson, and prior to 1816 they had been known as the William Cookson lands.
The children of David and Mary Allen were Martha and Jane; the former became the wife of James Thompson, of Mexico, and the latter the wife of Mitchell Thompson, who resided about two miles below Thompsontown.
The Rev. William Logan became the possessor of about two hundred acres of land soon after his settlement in 1777. His death occurred in 1805, leaving a widow, Mary, who, April 28, 1810, sold it to John Kepner.
The Rev. Hugh Magill settled upon the glebe land in 1779, and remained there until near his death, in 1805. He had two sons, and a daughter who married Samuel Curran and settled in the vicinity.
John Bower, in 1770, was assessed on a tract of two hundred acres of land, which he warranted January 21, 1772. He resided upon this land until June 3, 1773, when he sold it to George Ament. A tract adjoining was granted on an order of survey to James Armstrong, December 5, 1766. This last tract was also sold to George Amend, who, on 21st of April, 1777, sold them to Joseph Cookson. They were said to be located on D. O. Run. In reality they are nearer Delaware Run, but the water upon the land flows to D. O. Run, which probably determined the location.
The Armstrong tract, in 1791, came to David Wright, and the other, in part, to William Cookson, and in February, 1816, they were all plotted to David Walker, who received sixty-six acres, and the remainder passed to David Allen. John, William and James McMinn, as young men, were living on the Banks farm before 1812. About 1815 they moved to the David Walker farm. John settled near there and attained considerable influence; was a member of Legislature from this county, and about 1850 opened a store at Slabtown (afterwards Van Wert). He continued in business until the store was destroyed by fire, in 1860. He died in 1876, leaving no descendants.
The name of James Boner is first found in the roll of taxables in 1770, and he, with Francis West, is assessed on two hundred acres. It is not known to shom the original warrant was granted, but as early as April, 1755, West bought the land at sheriff’s sale, and held until sold to Boner in 1770.
From 1780 until his death James Boner had two hundred and twenty-seven acres. It was on this land that the tent in which the Rev. William Logan preached was located, and in 1792 the trustees purchased the land on which the church was built, an account of which will be found in the history of the United Presbyterian Church of Mexico. In 1813 the farm in part was owned by Nathaniel Boner, and part of the farm is now owned by the descendants of James Boner.
In 1789 Robert Hays purchased the greater part of the James Boner tract and adjoining lands, which he patented as “Hayfield,” February 9, 1790, containing two hundred and fifty acres. There was at this time a school-house on the tract, which is mentioned in a road petition of that date. On May 10, 1792, Hays sold to James Barr, who also owned on the river. The land passed respectively, in 1801, 1802 and 1822, to Anthony Dearduff, David Kauffman and Abraham Knisely; the last, March 30, 1835, sold to Samuel Sieber, whose son, Michael Sieber, now owns it.
In 1790, Capt. Matthew Rogers settled where his grandson, Matthew, now lives. He was captain of a company that went out from this section in the War of 1812-14. The company was in service from May 5, 1813, to November 5th, inclusive, and was under command of Col. Reees Hill.
John Moore was born in Adams County, and served in the Revolutionary army when eighteen years of age. His father was a Quaker, but entered the army and was killed at the battle of Brandywine. His son John came to this region in 1788, and in that year purchased fifty acres and owned one slave. In the next year he owned one hundred acres. He married Eleanor, the daughter of William Curran and sister of Samuel and Margaret Curran. He had three sons, of whom Robert and William settled on the home farm, near to Samuel Curran’s farm, and whose descendants are still there. Dr. James Moore, a son, settled in Fulton County.
The first of the family of Adams to settle in Walker township were three borthers,--John, William and Jacob. Their father, Jacob Adams, however, settled in what is now Fayette township, in 1795, on a farm adjoining that of Robert Wilson, where he lived until his death, in 1808. His wife was the widow of James Wilson, a blacksmith, and an older brother of Robert. Mary, a daughter of the Widow Wilson, became the wife of the Hon. Daniel Christie in later years.
In the year 1817 the three sons—John, William and Jacob—rented, of Christian Stauffer, the old Robert Wilson farm, and continued there until 1825, when they were advised by Daniel Christy to purchase the farm of Samuel Custer, he having recently died. This farm was a part of the old James Boner farm. The brothers purchased the farm and settled upon it, where some of their descendants now reside. John Adams married Jane, a daughter of Captain Matthew Rodgers; William married Sarah, a daughter of William Curran; and Jacob became the husband of Margaret, a daughter of Robert McMeen.
William Stretch was the possessor of two hundred and two acres of land, two horses and one cow, in 1780, and lived upon it until 1795. It was in the limits of Walker township. A part of this land came to Michael Bashore March, 2, 1816, who bought, at the same time, a tract adjoining, of Epenetus Hart. These two tracts were both warranted March 8, 1786.
In the strip of land on the west side of the river, and which was annexed to Fermanagh in 1791, and now belongs to Walker, Joseph Poultney resided from 1769 to 1775, and for several years prior to and after 1790 he was running a ferry, which had its landing on the east side about opposite Van Dyke Station. Of others who may have lived there are John Arnold, from 1792 to 1794; Peter, from 1795 to 1804; Michael Eecord, from 1779 to 1799; and John Stephenson, from 1788 to 1792.
Joseph Poultney also bought land on D. O. Run, which was taken by Peter Frig, which he sold to William Riddle June 1, 1768. It was adjoining Riddle’s other land and land of Francis West.
Thomas Poultney owned lands now Dr. L. E. Atkinson’s.
John Thompson, son of William Thompson, who settled at and laid out Thompsontown, about 1804, purchased a tract of land, opposite Van Dyke Station, of the heirs of Joseph Poultney, and was patented as the “Happy Banks of Goshen.” A road was laid out in 1813 from James Thompson’s mill to the Goshen road, which then ran along at, or near, the foot of the hill from opposite to Thompsontown to near Port Royal. [see accounty of Goshen road in Turbett township]. Mr. Thompson, who settled here, was known as Goshen John, to distinguish him from Bridge John, who lived below Thompsontown. The school-house now on that side of the river is known as the Goshen School-house. The land is now owned by --- Bazer or Bashore.
CHURCHES.—The Free Spring German Baptist Church, located near Van Wert, was built of brick in 1861. The congregation embraces two hundred and seventy-five members, and is under the charge of the Rev. Solomon Sieber.
The Evangelical Church at Locust Run, was built in 1861, and is under charge of a circuit, with a parsonage at Thompsontown. Services were held at the place several years before the church was erected.
There are several burial-places in the township, which were the sites of early meeting-houses. Cedar Spring burial-place was chosen as a place for a meeting-house in 1763, and a meeting-house begun, but discontinued by reason of Indian troubles, and in 1767 two hundred and thirty-two acres of land were secured and a house built, which was used until about 1805. The history of this congregation will be found in the sketch of the Presbyterian Church of Mifflintown.
The United Presbyterians were organized in 1777, and preaching was held in various places, and in 1790 in a tent on the site of the old grave-yard near the Adams place. The land was bought in 1792 and a church building erected, which was used until about 1840. An account of this congregation will be found in the sketch of the United Presbyterian congregation of Mexico.
In a survey made in 1801 a meeting-house is laid down as being about two hundred rods from the great road and on the ridge in rear of the tract then belonging to John Hamilton’s heirs, now Samuel Yeager and John Mertz. This old meeting-house was for the use of all denominations, and was in use many years. A meeting-house formerly stood in the old burial-ground near the property of Mrs. Sarah Wetzel, in the ridges at the north side of the township.
SCHOOLS.—The first mention of a school-house in what is now Walker township is found in road record of 1790, where a school-house is mentioned as being on land of Robert Hayes (now Michael Sieber). In 1838 a school was taught in old Seceder Church, near the house, which was taught by --- Brown.
One of the first-mentioned school-masters in what is now Walker is Jesse Meredith, who is assessed as such in the year 1781, and continued until past 1831. In the year 1798, June 11th, an article of agreement is made between Henry McCullough and subscribers, by which he is to teach the pupils sent to him for the amount subscribed, and the subscribers are to provide “a sufficient school-house and every other equipment suitable.” The sum fixed for each pupil was £1 6s. 8d. The names and number of children sent by each subscriber are here given: John Heays, 1; David Walker, 3; William Cookson, 2; William Fowles, 1; Gavin Frow, 1; William Riddle, 1; James Riddle, 1; John O’Bryan, 1; William Hinton, 1; John Moore, 1; John Riddle, 2; Matthew Brown, ---; Caleb Griffith, 2; John McKee, ---; John Love, 1; Christopher Wills, 2; Cornelius Conner, ---.
Heading the subscribers’ names are the following lines, written evidently by Mr. McCullough:
“These lines wrote on the other side,
My friends in tehm you may confide.
If you put the house in repair,
I will discharge my duty there.”
The school-house in which Mr. McCullough was to teach was on the land of David Walker, and on the 28th of November in this year, 1798, David Walker leased it for twenty-one years to James Riddle, John Moore, William Cookson and John Riddle, trustees for schools, who were appointed for that purpose. The terms of the lease were for occupancy for twenty-one years from April 1, 1799, with privilege of cutting dead wood for the use of the school-house, and privilege of use of the spring by the putils, for which the trustees were to pay one cent per annum, and to collect money “in order to discharge the workmen’s bills and other ingredients that has been applied to said school-house preceding this date,” and to keep the house in good repair during the terms of the lease.
In 1810, and for several years after, Andrew Banks was a teacher at this school-house. The subscribers to an agreement dated December 11th are Isaac Williams, Elizabeth Lintner, Catharine Adams, Daniel Christy, James Cunningham, Richard Bell, Barney Valentine, Christy Irvin, William Miller, Michael Bashore, Elizabeth Shirk, Robert McMeen, John Brown, William Dill, David Walker, James Banks and Samuel Belford. A school-house, about 1800, stood near Van Wert, on the old Curran farm, and in 1836 school was kept there by William Knox, and in 1838 by John Caveny, both of whose names are found in different parts of the county as teachers. The Clearfield school-house was first built of logs about 1827, was burned down, rebuilt of stone, and is owned by Jacob Knisely. The frame house was the third one in the neighborhood and was built at Centreville. The present one, of brick, was built in 1878.
The school-houses in Walker township are Centre, Mexico, Mt. Pleasant (Dogtown), Swamp (back of Mexico), Red Rock, Free Spring (Van Wert), Locust Run (on Locust Run), Flint (beyond Ridge), Goshen (on west side), Early Peach Blossom.
The tract of land on which this village is situated, was taken up by James Patterson, February 5, 1755.
The D. O. Run passes through the tract and the town was laid out on the west side. The Patterson mill was on the east side of the run, and was the first on the north side of the river in the county. After the death of Captain James Patterson, his son James sold the lands on the east side of the run, that extended back from the river, also one embracing four hundred and forty-one acres, including other lands than the original tract, to Galbraith Patterson, a son of William. He sold the tract to Ludwig Zimmerman, who had it surveyed August 19, 1792, and sold three hundred and fifty-nine acres to Christopher Crowe, by whom it was divided between himself and Henry and George Crowe. The whole tract, however, April 3, 1802, was sold to Tobias Kreider, who settled upon it. William Thompson, of Thompsontown, purchased the Patterson property, on the east side of the run, about 1809, and also a part of the land on the west side of the run, and in 1810 erected the present stone grist-mill. It was evidently the intention at that time to lay out a town at this place, and a date-stone was built into the new mill bearing the following inscription:
“New Mexico Mill, built by William Thompson,
S. Vines, Mason,
Virtue, Liberty and Independence be thine,
Success to Farmers and Mechanics.”
In the year 1770 a road was laid out from the Lost Creek settlement, past the Cedar Spring, to James Patterson’s mill. In 1808 the line of stages of the Juniata Stage Company began running past the place. In 1810, Tobias Kreider established a ferry, which he continued until 1821. In 1813 a road was laid out from James Thompson’s mill to the Goshen road. In 1818 the turnpike was built through the place and completed in 1822. James Thompson, who settled at the place upon the completion of the mill, in 1810, was the son of William Thompson, of Thompsontown, and married Martha, a daughter of David Allen, by whom he had three sons,--Charles A., Allen A. and Jerome, of whom the latter is living on part of the Kreider tract. The mill property came to the sons after their father’s death. Samuel Thompson, a brother of James, was engaged in merchandising at the place with his brothers until about 1827.
In the year 1812 Tobias Kreider laid out the town of New Mexico, on the Crowe lands, on the west side of the run. Main Street was on the west side of the present turnpike, and was the one on which the first buildings were erected. The laying out of the turnpike in 1818 changed the village somewhat. Tobias Kreider began the sale of lots in December 22, 1812, and on that date sold to Thomas Henderson lot No. 28, and to Abraham Wilson lot No. 30, and April 16 and 26, 1813, a lot to John Hammel. In 1820 John Swan Blair opened the tavern known as the Old Tavern-Stand. Blair kept the tavern for many years, and the building stood on the site of Jacob Richenbaugh’s present residence; two other buildings were used as taverns at different times. In 1814 James Thompson began a store at the place and continued many years, and in 1821 a post-office was established and he became the postmaster, and continued until his death. He was succeeded by Charles Thompson, Jacob Frankhouser, William Gingrich, Jacob Richenbaugh, Sr., Jacob Richenbaugh, Jr., and William Hetrich, which last is the present incumbent. Francis Jordan sunk a tan-yard on the lot now owned by John Motzer in 1812, which was continued until 1856. Evan Evans carried on a fulling-mill in the place from 1818 to past 1831. Hugh Knox, a blacksmith, carried on a shop there from 1814 to 1830. William Turbett, a mason, built one of the stone houses in the town about 1828. The stone houses in the town were all, with this exception, built by the Thompsons. Samuel Vine, also a mason, was living in the township, and built the Thompson mill in 1810, and in 1819 built a stone bridge over D. O. Run, which later was washed away. Samuel Thompson was a store-keeper at the place with James Thompson from 1814 to 1827. In 1857 Charles Thompson, Samuel Laird and Smith Blair were each keeping store, the latter at the canal, and in that year John Motzer and Jerome Thompson opened a new store at the upper end of Main Street, and continued many years.
The stores at present in the town are kept by William Hetrich and by W. H. Kurtz. The mill, after the death of James Thompson, was run for several years by his heirs, and sold to Jerome Hetrich, who operated it until his death, in 1877, and it is now owned by his heirs.
The foundry, now unused, was built by Charles Thompson about 1836, and was run for about thirty years.
Jerome Hetrich, son of Peter, began business about 1856, in the store with Blair, on the canal-bank, which was kept until his death. The mill property afterwards came into his possession.
The United Brethren of this region erected a meeting-house in Mexico, in 1845, on a lot bought of James Thompson October 12, 1844, which was burned down about 1857 and rebuilt. The congregation is under charge with others, and is without a regular pastor. The old Thompson cemetery lies on the hill back from the town, and is now unused. Another cemetery, now unused, is on the Jerome Thompson farm. The Union Cemetery, that is located on the road from Mexico to Mifflintown, is where the dead of this section of country are mostly buried. About 1837 the old church back of Mexico, known as the Logan, having become dilapidated, it was deemed advisable to build a new one at Mexico. The following is an authentic history of the congregation since its organization, in 1777:
UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.—It is derived from the epitaph to the Rev. William Logan that he began preaching to this people in 1777, in which year the church was organized. It is tradition that the first preaching-place was near Jericho. The first trustworthy information is found in a road record in a petition for a bridle-path:
“From Sunbury road through Lost Creek Settlement, to the tent where the Rev. William Logan preaches on the land of James Boner, over the Cedar Ridge; from thence to the school-house on land of Robert Hayes, thence to Joseph Poultney’s Ferry on the Juniata.”
How long the tent of William Logan had been used is not known. On the first of May, 1792, James Boner and wife sold to
“James Taylor, Esq., James Barr, David Walker, David Davidson and John Campbell, chosen as Trustees for the Presbyterian congregation in Fermanagh township, under the charge of the Rev. William Logan, one and one-sixteenth acres of land joining Robert Hayes, and on the great road leading from Robert Nelson’s house to David Miller’s Ferry on the Juniata River.”
In this deed a right of way was given the congregation to a certain spring of water for their use, and which has been used within the memory of many.
A hewed-log house was erected on the lot and used until about 1842, when it was abandoned, a stone church building having been erected in 1837 at Mexico. The Rev. William Logan served the church until his death, May 19, 1805. He and his wife are buried in the church-yard. He was succeeded in 1808 by the Rev. Thomas Smith, a native of Ireland, who also had charge of the Tuscarora congregation at McCoystown, where he resided. He remained in charge until his death, February 12, 1832. The Rev. James Shields was installed pastor June 18, 1835, and died August, 19, 1862. The Rev. Joseph McCartney was installed May 18, 1863, and resigned July 10, 1867, when the present pastor, the Rev. Francis McBurney succeeded, and was installed September in that year. The house is long since gone, but the grave-yard is still used, and many of the early families are resting there. An addition was made to the grave-yard, May 4, 1813, by the purchase of land of Nathaniel Boner by David Walker, William Curran, Jr., and James Thompson, trustees. The old grave-yard contains the remains of many of the old families. The slab that marks the resting-place of the Rev. William Logan, so long pastor of the congregation, contains the following:
“Interred is the dust of Rev. William Logan. Scotland was the place of his birth and education. The sacred ministry his choice. He was born in the year 1743, arrived in America Nov., 1773, died suddenly on Sabbath day, 19th of May, 1805, in the 63d year of his age, after preaching that forenoon. For twenty-eight years, with diligence and fidelity, he discharged the duty of his office to his flock in Fermanagh and Raccoon Valley. Prudence, Piety, Moderation, Good Sense and Sound Patriotism were some of his characteristics. A faithful husband and a steady friend. ‘But he is gone from us. Blessed is the dead who die in the Lord.’
“Mortals who read the matter duly weigh,
In this uncertain world you cannot stay.
Seek readiness for death without delay.”
There were two school-houses built in the town before 1830, which were used until 1860, when they were both abandoned and present double house erected.
Several rope ferries have been kept across the river since 1821, and latterly by
William Fowles, who kept an iron-rope ferry, and by Franklin Frankhouser. The bridge was built in 1883 by the bridge company.
MIFFLINBURG, OR TAYLORSTOWN.
About three-quarters of a mile below Mifflintown, on the river, is one house; an almost unused road runs from the river eastward. The older citizens remember the locality as Taylorstown, and but few are aware that at one time it was a regularly laid-out town, yet such is the fact. The tract on which it was laid out was warranted by Robert Campbell on the 8th day of September, 1755. The plot contains two hundred and seventy acres, with six per cent. allowance. It was “Resurveyed the 12th day May, 1767, according to the old lines made by Colonel John Armstrong in Pursuance of a Warrant from the Hon’ble Proprietaries to Robert Campbell, Bearing date at Philada. the 8th day of Sept., 1755.” The survey was signed by William Maclay. The land was bounded on the west by the Juniata River, on the north by Alexander Lafferty’s land (now Mifflintown), on the east by John McGinty’s land. It was seized on an execution and sold by the sheriff to Francis West, June 3, 1757, who, on July 21, 1769, conveyed to James Taylor, who first appears on the tax-roll of the county in 1770, and in 1772 he has two hundred acres, one servant and a horse.
At the convention held at Carpenter’s Hall, in Philadelphia, in 1776, James Taylor was appointed judge of election of the Third District of Cumberland County. The election was held at the house of Robert Campbell, who then owned the Middle Mill, in Milford township. The election was held on the 8th of July, at which time they had not heard the Declaration of Independence. On the 9th of June, 1777, James Taylor was appointed justice of the peace of Fermanagh township, and served as such till his death, about 1808. The exact time James Taylor, Esq., laid out a town upon this plot of land is not known, but it was about 1789, and named “Mifflinburgh.”
In 1790, one year before Mifflintown was laid out, “Mifflinburgh” is marked separately in the assessment roll of Fermanagh township, and John Fright, Alexander and Samuel Jackson and John McClure are each assessed on lots in that new town.
In 1796 John Gustine (the father of Amos Gustine, who settled in Mifflintown in 1811, as a school-teacher and later as a merchant), bought nine acres of land adjoining the town, upon which he erected a cooper-shop and conducted it several years, and soon after three and one-half acres were sold to William Speedy. Samuel Nieman conducted a pottery from 1821-28. The plot contained over one hundred and eighty five lots, as in a printed form of deed dated 18th March, 1805, James Taylor conveys to James Blair for £8 18s. 3d.; lot 185, which is as follows: “One lot of ground in the new town, called Mifflinburgh, laid out by the said James Taylor between the bank of the Juniata River and the Great Road leading up the river from the Susquehanna to Lewistown, thence to the new contry westward.” Streets are mentioned in deeds, road records, etc., as Market Street, Chestnut Street, Raspberry Alley. Lots were each fifty-two and one-half by two hundred feet, and were each subject to a ground-rent of eleven shillings and three pence yearly.
Mention is made in the court records several times of Mifflinburg, and in 1794 a petition is made for a road from John Lyons, “through the town of Mifflinburg, to John McClelland’s old ferry.” This road was confirmed in April, 1796, and is mentioned as starting from Market Street, on the northeast side of Mifflinburg. This road is still to be seen and is used from the canal to the turnpike. John McClellan’s ferry was first established at Mifflinburg several years before, and, it will be noticed, is here mentioned as the “Old Ferry.” In the petition for a road, in 1793, from Mifflintown to what is now McAlisterville, the proposed road was to start from the fording at Mifflintown, and in 1795, when it was completed, it is mentioned as “beginning at Mifflintown, opposite John McClelland’s ferry, he having moved it up from Mifflinburg a short time before.”
James Taylor died about 1808, and left nine children, of whom was Matthew, a son in whom the property was vested. Andrew Walker surveyed the estate for the heirs of James Taylor, deceased, January 14, 1814, and after reciting its warrant and number of acres, says: “A part of the above tract of land is laid out in a town called Mifflinburgh, by James Taylor, Esq., dec’d; said Taylor sold nine acres of said land to John Gustine, and three and one-half acres to William Speedy, and thirty-nine scattering lots to other persons, each to contain a quarter of an acre.”
The property, containing at this time two hundred and fifty-two acres, was sold, March 11, 1815, by Matthew Taylor to David and John Miller. The village did not thrive and seemed to lose entirely the name of Mifflinburg and was known as Taylorstown, and the locality is still known as such. The lots were in time absorbed in the farm, and are now owned as farm lands by Ezra D. Parker and Calvin B. North.
A settlement on the turnpike below Mifflintown was a part of a large tract of land originally owned by James Riddle, and later came in parcels to William McCrum, John Davidson and Dr. Philo Hamlin. The old two-story stone house built by James Riddle the elder, with seventy two acres, was bought of James Riddle by Dr. Philo Hamlin, of Mifflintown, June 15, 1847. In 1798 Samuel Belford had at this place a blacksmith-shop and John Riddle a wagon-shop. They are mentioned in a road record of a few years’ later date. They kept these shops at the place for many years. Adam Johnston purchased a tract of land at the place March 29, 1824, of John Davison, and soon after erected a stone hotel, which, being on the turnpike and well kept, soon became a favorite stopping-place with the wagoners. He purchased other lands near by in 1828. He began selling lots in 1850 and about 1854 sold the most of the remainder to Robert C. Gallagher. Dr. Philo Hamlin, in April 1840, bought of the heirs of Jane Belford, who was a daughter of William McCrum, twenty-one acres of land near the place, which was in 1842 sold to Henry Kauffman. The settlement had obtained the name of Dogtown, but upon the settlement of Dr. Philo Hamlin upon the old Riddle place it was changed to “Mount Pleasant,” which it still retains, although the old name still clings to it.
CENTREVILLE, OR VAN DYKE.
This is a settlement in Walker township, between Mexico and Thompsontown, and is located on the east part of the Elizabeth Lukens tract. John Stauffer, in the year 1808, opened a tavern at this place and continued till his death, after 1857. It was in this year the Juniata Stage Company began running a line of stages from Clarke’s Ferry, near the mouth of the Juniata, to Huntingdon, past this place. This tavern became a noted stopping-place for the stages, and after the completion of the turnpike, in 1822, for wagoners also. It was not until 1854 the Lutheran brick church was erected. The congregation was composed of residents in the vicinity who had attended church farther away. This congregation came under the same care as the congregations of Thompsontown and McAlisterville, an account of which will be found in those settlements. A school-house for many years had been at Clearfield before 1835, and soon after the completion of a church a school-house was built at this place and served its purpose until 1878, when the present one was built on its site.
This place was first known as Slabtown, and is on the old Curran tract. About 1850 John McMinn established a store at the place, which continued until 1860, when it was destroyed by fire. A post-office and store are now kept by W. W. Dimm.
In August, 1848, Augustus Jones opened a store at this place, located between the lock and the river. In 1851 he sold out to Ezra Pettis and Colonel Ray, who continued it two years and sold to Morgan R. Davis, who kept it until 1857, when it was abandoned.
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