Milford Township, Juniata Co PA - Part II
I do not endorse nor support any product or service advertised on the above banner.

Milford 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 755-762

By A. L. Guss

John Hardy warranted two hundred and twelve acres, and Alexander Robison two hundred and thirty-six acres, both February 23, 1767. These are choice lands. The former is now owned by James North, but before him by three John Hardys in successive generations. The latter tract has long been known as the Doty farm. Once it was leased to Henry Rice, of whom it is related that he had the farm all in one field, with a road through the middle, and that he sowed wheat every year; and that having some litigations with the Robisons, he said, "The grain on this side of the lane I keep to pay law-suits--the other side I raise to sell."

The Hardys and Robinsons seem to have come together to America. They were cousins or brothers-in-law. They are on the tax-list of 1763, and then lived near Robert Hogg in Spruce Hill. Being driven off by Indians, they served in the campaign of Bouquet. On their return they found their lands surveyed to others. They then came to "Muddy Run" and bought out the squatter claims of one William or Robert Robison. Robison's children were James, who married Jean Hardy, daughter of Thomas; Sarah, wife of John Cunningham; Alexander married Jane Sanderson; John moved to New Lancaster, Ohio; Elizabeth, wife of Alexander Sanderson; Margaret, wife of Joseph Shaver; Thomas, married to an Elder, then to Betsy Steel. James' children were Alexander, married Elizabeth Moy; Thomas, married Catharine Partner, then Nancy Marley; Ellen, wife of Alexander McCahan ; John, married Jane Kincaid, then Mrs. Mary Marley (he is the now venerable John Robison, living in Patterson); William, married Mary Selheimer. The children of Thomas were James, John P., Mary, Thomas, Catharine, William, Jane and David H., late superintendent of public schools.

John Hardy's children were William, James, John, Isabella, Betsey (wife of John McCormick) and Jonathan. John's children were James and John. The Hardy race were numerous until within a few years past. The Robisons are a host in and out of the county.

Thomas, a brother of John Hardy, lived in Carlisle a winter, then moved on Wilson's tract (Port Royal). He took up a tract of poor land in Turbett, but soon bought the McGuire tract, now William Guss', on Licking Creek, where be died about 1795.

Thomas Hardy's children were Hugh, John, Jean, William, David, Alexander and Thomas, Jr., some, if not all, of whom were born in Ireland. On the run, about one hundred yards above the "Sink Hole," they had a still-house, in the loft of which William kept school, and here our aged friend, John Robison, of Patterson, got his education, under his uncle. When Thomas Hardy died there was some trouble among the heirs. John Hardy, John Hamilton, Alexander Robison, John and William Cunningham were chosen arbitrators to devise a plan of settlement, who, having taken " a vew" of all matters in dispute, decided that certain things were to be accounted for to the executors and the estate divided equally, except as to Thomas, Jr., who was "not to account for anything," and "to receive one-half child's share."

One has to wonder what Thomas Hardy and his lot of hardy boys did during all the long years they occupied this farm. As late as 1778 they had only eighteen acres of land cleared. They lived in a cabin, and it is certain they never got rich. The boys likely followed hunting and fishing. Thus the years passed by. One thing broke in on this dull monotony. Young John enlisted, in 1775, with Lieutenant McClellan. On January 1, 1776, in the attack on the "Barriers," he, together with many others, was taken prisoner. Colonel McClean went among these men to ascertain who among them were of European birth, threatening to send all such to England to be tried for treason. He recruited a regiment from among these poor fellows, who shrank from being thus carried away for trial. Among these was John Hardy. After the Revolution closed he came back to his friends on Licking Creek, and excused his conduct as a matter of compulsion; but the loyal Whigs of those days never forgave him for his defection. He had taken the oath of allegiance to the British government; had, it was said, accepted a commission in the British army; and had married a wife in England before he returned to America. They used to have "musterings" in olden days. On one of these occasions, when warmed up with patriotism and whiskey, there were threats of lynching Hardy for his defection to the cause of independence. Hardy then went to Canada. There he got some lands from the government for his services, and there his descendants are to this day. One of his daughters, who had married a clergyman, visited Juniata many years ago, but John never returned. He persuaded his brother Alexander to move to Canada (1798), and afterwards sent him back with a power of attorney to lift his share of his patrimony in the old farm, L293 13s. 7d., "in full for his brother, John Hardy's, share of the estate of their father, Thomas Hardy."

When the course of John Hardy became known at home, his brother Hugh became also tinctured with Tory proclivities. He was a talkative man, somewhat officious and fond of expressing his sentiments. The resentment of his more loyal neighbors was aroused, James Horrel, who was appointed to look after the malcontents, said he had more trouble with Hugh Hardy than all the rest of the township. It culminated, at last, in his forcible seizure, with a view to some trial or imprisonment at Carlisle. After reaching the top of the Tuscarora Mountain, Hugh let up on his Tory sentiments and promised to be a good loyal subject of the State, instead of the province, of Pennsylvania. They set him at liberty; but it never suited him after that to get into angry collision with any one, or he would be reminded of "the time he was tied with hickory withes and taken to the top of the Tuscarora Mountain." In after-years he took an active part in public affairs and became well known, which may account for the error concerning his early settlement. But there are yet living descendants of the first settlers, who were always true to the cause of independence, who do not like to see history perverted to honor a British sympathizer as the first settler.

Between the Robison snd Hardy tracts and the Forge Ridge there was a tract long known and taxed (1781-98) as the "Peddler's Tract." The peddler must have gone down into the Deep Spring above Bealetown. He was probably one Philip Connelly, who, October 7, 1766, applied for one hundred and fifty acres "adjoining John Hardy." Hardy and Robison in after-years took up this land, and it is the tract on which Shelburn Robison now resides.

James Calhoon warranted two hundred and ten acres June 3, 1762. When Calhoon applied for this tract it was "to be surveyed to him adjoining David Reed and Robert Robison." By the time he got it surveyed, April 25, 1765, William Robison is the adjoiner below on the Doty farm, and Thomas McGuire above. Calhoon, on August 3, 1790, signed a deed in Armagh township to William McCormick, who sold this land to Henry Aughey, Sr., April 12, 1803, for fourteen hundred pounds, which Aughey brought up with him from Dauphin County in specie, having fourteen bags, each containing one hundred pounds. Aughey's son, Sarnuel, and his grandson, Jacob, still reside on this tract, The McCormicks sold this good limestone land because they thought it was so worked out that they could not make a living upon it. McCormick moved to Kentucky. Cyrus McCormick, the inventor of the reaper, was a descendant of his brother.

The Licking Creek Lutheran Church stands on the upper line of this tract. This organization was formed from the Mifflintown congregation. The church was erected in 1861, and dedicated about the close of that year. Samuel Aughey, Sr., who gave the ground, named it "St. Stephen's," but it commonly goes by the name of "The Licking Creek Church." The ministers serving this congregation, in connection with that at Mifflintown, were Rev. R. H. Fletcher, Rev. D. M. Blackwelder, Rev. E. E. Berry and Rev. Philip Graif.

Thomas McGuire warranted two hundred and eleven acres October 5, 1767. He sold it to Thomas Hardy, the father of John and Hugh Hardy. McGuire had warranted a tract in Turbett, near Old Port, where he lived a short time and then moved on tbe McGuires' tract. From Hardy's heirs the farm passed to Merchant John Patterson, who sold it to Abraham Guss, Sr., father of the writer, who sold parts of it to Samuel and Henry Aughey. The graveyard adjoining the church is on the part bought by the latter, and given by him for the purpose. The mountain-streams on this and the last-named survey sink before reaching the creek. The underground stream reaches the river below Milford Siding. On this tract Abraham Guss, Sr., erected a saw-mill. The springs here have a known origin at the Trout Run above, over a fourth of a mile distant. As the writer first saw light on this farm, the region is crowded with many cherished memories.

Back of this, at the foot of the ridge, the surveyor says November 11, 1814, he found a man called Nipple, who had a large cabin-house and two acres cleared. Here Jane Dayly helped her husband catch live fawns and wild turkeys. It is now held by Richard Nankivel. Considerable iron-ore has been taken out along the foot of the ridge.

William Cunningham came to the Partner place in 1762. He came back, in 1763, to cut grain and pull at flax. He and his daughters took alarm and fled over the Tuscarora Mountain on the night of July 10th, and escaped the Indians. He returned in 1766, and died, and was the first person buried in the grave-yard at Academia. His resting-place is unmarked, but is in the middle of the yard. His wife, Elizabeth, took up a tract of three hundred and twenty-three acres, October 29, 1766, in trust for his heirs. From them the several tracts have descended to Cloyd Horning, William C. and William M. Partner and Charles Waream. There was a man once living on this farm who raised Beans six feet long and upwards; his name was John Bean. Henry Wills, two hundred and sixty-four acres, and was owned by John Cunningham, Samuel Mettlen, Joshua Shuman; now John Wetzler, Mrs. Zimmerman and others. Here the Fort Granville path crossed Licking Creek.

In her application Mrs. Cunningham says that her husband made "an improvement" on this tract five years before the date of her application, which would be in 1761, and we know of no older settlelllent on the creek. The survey made in 1767 calls the mountain to the north the "Shade." The house stood one hundred yards east of the present brick, was built of unhewn logs, had a split-log floor, a floor of poles above, and a roof of rude clapboards. Mrs. Catharine, wife of Jacob Partner, who long lived on this place, had a most remarkable memory. She told a curious story of the escape of the Cunninghams, in 1763. They fled because of a warning given by a rooster, which persistently came inside of the door and crowed so lustily that they became alarmed. The children were William, died 1836, ancestor of all of the Cunninghams in the county; John, married Sarah Robison, of Alexander, and ancestor of those in Huntingdon County and A. B. Cunningham, of Philadelphia; Richard,moved to New Jersey; David, moved to New York; Sarah (Carson); and Mary(McDonwel). William, Jr.'s, children were David, Richard, John, Sally (Phillips) and Elizabeth (Jeffries). They have all been very excellent citizens.

John Partner, who got the Cunningham mansion, came to Juniata with Henry Aughey. He served during the Revolutionary War, and his grandson, Abraham G., still has the old musket which he carried in the war. His name appears as "Portner" in Benjamin Weiser's company of the Pennsylvania German Regiment. His children were Jacob, Catharine (Robison), Elizabeth (Hardy), Mary (Nipple). John married Margery Mettlen and moved to Deep Cut, Ohio, wither his father went, and died there.

Above Wills came in Henry Graham, warrant October 27,1766, for two hundred and ninety-six acres. Pat McCahan and Fred Nipple held this tract in 1812. There was formerly a pretty rough set of people in the upper end of this valley, and it was a common saying that Sunday never got up Licking Creek farther than the residence of Alexander McCahan. At the school-house here the Methodists formerly had an organization and stated services. On the upper end of this tract was located the great tannery of Singmasters, Miller, Lippencott & Co.

Above Graham, Andrew Douglass, who was wounded at Kittanning under Armstrong, warranted a tract of one hundred and eighty acres, October 23, 1766. In 1770 it belonged to John McClellan. The factory dam was on the lower end of this tract. On the upper end Norton & Selheimer erected a paper-mill.

Above Douglass, next the so-called Black Log Mountain, was Jacob Pigsler; but before this in 1812, Pigsler was on the Douglass tract. (Road from Pigsler's on Licking Creek, to river opposite Mifflin, six and one-half miles and fifty one perches, from Pigsler's to Lytle's mill, say seven miles.- Wm. Beale's Notes.)

Thomas Husbands had three hundred and eight acres above Douglass, August 1, 1766. It was returned May 6, 1782, to Samuel Wallis "on Leeking Creek, adjoined lands formerly claimed by William White, deceased, and to include a deadening made for Robert Campbell. William Reese applies for the same." Here lived Leman Burdens; later Joel Dewalt, and later his son-in-law, David Hough, a well-known surveyor. There was a saw-mill here, and lumber was a principal product. Herding cattle between the mountains was also followed in the summer season.

Above this William Reese took up, on the same day, three hundred acres. Between these tracts and the Shade Mountain Joseph Jacobs had a long strip and an improvement now abandoned. Above this yet lay the surveys of Thomas Say, three hundred and thirty-three acres, adjoining James Stewart; then Moses Bartram, three hundred and forty acres; then Jonathan Carmalt, three hundred and seventy-nine acres. These lands took in the Big Thickets and the desolate regions where the deer, wolf and bear hold dominion to this day.

John McClellan, November 28, 1798, took up eight acres, on which he died. Locust Grove school-house is on the lower end of it.

James Rodman owned one hundred and sixty-eight acres between McClellan and Licking Creek. March 25, 1792, he articled with Beale & Sterrett, of the forge, for the sale of one hundred and fifty-six acres. Edward Cahil kept the forge store in the upper story of the stone spring-house on this tract, which is known as the old David Cunningham farm. The Baptist Church and graveyard are on the upper corner of the Rodman survey. It was built in 1828, and has a yard adjoining, containing a large number of graves. Services are now seldom held there. It was built in place of the church abandoned at Spruce Hill. Beale & Sterrett built a forge in 1791, on Licking Creek, just below where Rohm's grist-mill now stands, The dam crossed the creek one hundred yards below that mill, where a couple of large piles of stones still mark the spot. They took up a large body of the ridge land, still called Forge Ridge, a small strip of which came down to the creek where the forge stood. Beale's warrant was dated February 26, 1790; resurveyed on an order to William McCrum, dated June 15, 1819,and contained four hundred and thirty-nine acres. The western limits extended as far as the Red Bank school-house.

Dennis Christie had one hundred and nine acres above the forge, on an order of February 14,1767. The upper part extended across the creek and reached up the stream as far as the road over the creek at Abraham Guss, Jr.'s., where he adjoined William Erwin on the west side of the creek. On this tract stood the grist and saw-mills erected by Ogden, and run later by the Hardy boys. William McCrum rebuilt the mill of stone. From his son, John H. McCrum, it passed to Daniel Spiece, who tore down the stone mill and rebuilt the new one now standing at the lower end of the survey, near the forge, and which he sold to J. Shelburn Robinson, from whom it passed to Ferdnand Rohm, the present owner. February 19, 1774, Christy sold John McClellan, Jr., two hundred acres, extending from the Rodman meadow up the creek to Thomas Hardy's land, and in the ridges adjoining the improvement made by Samuel Henderson.

William Erwin, or Irwin, took out an order February 1, 1767, and had one hundred and forty-two acres surveyed under it, to which sixty-one acres were afterwards added. It extended across the creek and took in the lands at David Partner's blacksmith-shop. The tract was owned later by Hugh Hardy, and then by his son, Christopher Hardy, Esq., and now by Elder Gilliford, David Kerlin and others. On the flat near the creek, below the smith-shop, the Hardys had their tan-yard.

Above Erwin, on the creek, April 27, 1767, there was taken up two hundred and six and sixty acres by John Buchanan, and "if over three hundred acres, the upper part to James Buchanan, Jr., named Widow's Delight, so-called." Here Lewis Shuman and David Sulouff lived; now Joseph Sheesley.

Passing up the Shuman Run, around the end of the Shade Mountain, we come to a tract warranted No. 1652, to Daniel McClellan, October 22, 1766, two hundred acres, which he said was to be "on Licking Creek, higher up the creek than the Fort Granville road in Lack township, Cumberland County." The survey was returned for Aquilla Burchfield, seventy-five acres. The land is in a depression between a ridge and the Shade Mountain, and has been called "Hammer Hollow," from the blacksmith-shop of Samuel Kerlin, who, as a true Vulcan, long served the people for a radius of many miles. A man named Voegle now resides upon it.

Perhaps no people who have ever resided within the present limits of Juniata County have been as remarkable in business circles as those descended from John Lyon, Sr. The name Lyon has been favorably known all over the State for more than a hundred years. As early as 1750, William Lyon was in Carlisle assisting his uncle, John Armstrong, in laying out that town. John settled at the Sterrett place, in Milford. In 1767 he had two hundred acres, ten acres cleared, two horses and two cows. He died about 1780; had six children,--William, James, Samuel, John, Jr., Molly and Frances.

William Lyon married Rebecca Graham, sister of William Graham, Esq., of Tuscarora, and did surveying under Armstrong in Juniata. His son, George A., was cashier of the Carlisle Bank.

James Lyon settled on Juniata. His children were William, James, Margaret (wife of Judge John Oliver), Elizabeth (wife of John McVey), Nancy (wife of John Patterson, Esq.), Isabella (wife of John Patterson, merchant), Mary (wife of Robert, father of Robert Forsythe). After the death of the parents, Nancy and Isabella (twins) were taken by their grandmother Lyon to raise. When she died they were taken by their aunt, Mrs. Fanny Graham. When grown up they married the cousins, the John Pattersons, Esquire and merchant, and their blood has come down in the veins of several hundreds of our best citizens. One of the merchant's daughters married Robert Sterrett, so that part of the old homestead is again in the hands of John Lyon's descendants.

Samuel Lyon moved on the Kelly place, and soon became a leading man in the community. May 21, 1770, be was made justice of the peace. He also did a great deal of surveying in this region. He removed to Carlisle about 1781, and was register and recorder in 1794. The first James Blaine in America had a son Ephraim and a daughter Elenor, who was the wife of our Samuel Lyon; and their daughter Margaret married James Blaine (2d), who was a son of Ephraim. Their son, Ephraim Lyon Blaine, married Maria Gillespie, and they are the parents of the Hon. James G. Blaine, of Maine. In other words, Margaret Lyon, the grandmother of the Hen. James G. Blaine, was born in Milford township about 1775, in which year, June 24th, the Rev: Philip Fithian observed in these backwoods the unusual phenomena at Samuel Lyon's house, namely: "He lives neat, has glass-windows and has apparently a good farm."

John Lyon, Jr., married Mary, daughter of John Harris. He took up additional tracts adjoining his father's surveys, in 1793. By the will of his father, December 9, 1779, he gave young John a tract of four hundred and thirty-nine acres, extending across the valley from ridge to ridge. He sold this to Stephen Doughman June 1, 1797, who, on April 4, 1806, passed it to James, father of Robert and William Sterrett. Lyon then moved to Armstrong County.

Molly Lyon married Benjamin Lyon, who was a tailor by trade, served as captain in the Fifth Pennsylvania Line in the Revolution; lived at Peru Mills from 1816 to 1821, and died at Shirleysburg at an advanced age. These were the parents of Elizabeth, who married James, a son of James above-named, and lived in Fulton County; and John, of the firm of Lyon, Shorb & Co., long and extensively known in the iron trade at Pittsburgh, being, in fact, at the head of the iron business in the West.

Fanny Lyon married William Graham, Esq., already mentioned, and they are the grandparents of Dr. G. M. Graham, of Port Royal.

The mother of these children was a sister of General John Armstrong, of Carlisle, who, with two brothers, came to America in 1748, and died in 1795. His son, John Armstrong, served in the Revolution, was United States Senator from New York, minister to France and Secretary of War under Madison.

John McClellan took up a few acres for Elizabeth McClellan below the rocks at "Taylor's Falls," so called, from Esquire James Taylor, who laid out Mifliinburg on the opposite side of the river.

John McClellan, Jr., who died at the head of the Chaudiere River in the Amold expedition against Quebec in 1775, took up one hundred and fifty-eight acres, June 3, 1762, southwest of Patterson, where S. D. Kepner now resides.

James Sanderson married Nancy McClellan and lived on part of the McClellan tract; later on the Law place, below Patterson, where he kept a ferry. He also had a tannery prior to l809 in Mifflintown, which his brother Alexander carried on after that date. He kept also a tavern in Mifflintown. Of his children, Alexander Sanderson married Nancy Davidson and moved to Selma, Ala., taking his mother with him. Joseph Sanderson for many years kept the Merchants' Hotel, on Fourth Street, in Philadelphia. He superintended its reconstruction, having then (1836) another hotel. Afterwards he kept a house on Chestnut Street. His wife was a Todhunter.

Robert Huston warranted two hundred and fifty acres July 6, 1762, long known as the Ben Kepner farm (now John R. Jenkins'). It was surveyed May 31, 1763, then in; "Leek" township, and contained two hundred and seventy-three acres. William Norris was then on the Waldsmith side.

There is a common opinion among the people that the celebrated Sam Houston, of Texas, was a descendant of Robert Houston (Huston and Hustion), who lived at the Jenkins place, a mile east of Walnut post- office, from 1763 to 1783 by the tax-lists. There were also two or three of the name, probably Robert's brothers, living about the same time near McVeytown; but there is nothing to prove that these settlers were the ancestors of Samuel Houston. There are five cabins in five counties of this State where it is firmly believed that General Samuel Houston was born.

Robert Lytle, January 22, 1767, located the survey, one hundred and sixty-five acres, afterwards Robert Monteith and later Charles Hite, and now Waldsmith brothers.

Charles Pollock warranted one hundred and fifty-three acres on the south side of Houston, March 3, 1789, though he had lived here already in 1767 and perhaps earlier. It is now George Wilson's place, farmed by D. P. Showers.

Henry McCrum, a Revolutionary soldier, moved to Juniata County in 1788. His children were Michael, who served in Lee's Partisan Rangers during the Revolution (he and his comrade came to Milford two years before his father; about 1790 he Saulsbury, in Huntingdon County); William, the owner of the upper mill on Licking Creek and ancestor of most of those of the name now in the county; James married to Margaret Campbell; George married Polly Campbell; Philip married the widow of James; Joseph married Jane Horrell, and their children were John H. (the father of Colonel E. B. McCrum) Jane, Sarah, Margaret, Mary (now the wife of John Robison, in Patterson). Jane, daughter of William, married Samuel Bedford, grandfather of Congressman Bedford, of Colorado.

Robert Campbell, September 23, 1766, took up one hundred and twenty- eight acres since known as the Peter Shitz farm; not Mitchel Varnes.

John Hamilton warranted two hundred and fifty acres, February 9, 1769, a little lower down and across the creek from the forge. He was a kind of backwoods home doctor in his day. The tract is now owned by John Beshore, Harrison McDonald and Jacob Lauver, and was formerly long held by Richard Cunningham.

Next the creek, at Thomas Stewart's, Duncan McDonald had fifty-four acres, October 31, 1766, and Thomas Bowel (Boal) had ninety-five and one hundred and thirty-eight acres on two orders, March 23, 1767. This passed to John and Jean Anderson; later the Alexander farm; now Orrin Groninger and Herman McDonald.

June 29, 1803, William Harris, surveyor, divided the McDonald survey "at request of Thomas Anderson-the Dutchman, not satisfied, alleging there is too much of the ridge on the south side included, and says that the fence was the line sold to him."

John Blackburn had surveyed to him two hundred and seven acres, August 18, 1762, bordering on Licking Creek, where J. K. Robison now lives, and half of which is owned by Judge Lewis Burchfield. This is the Thomas McCahan tract, spoken of elsewhere. At Burchfield's formerly lived Esquire Patrick McKennan, who voted and acted as justice of the peace many years, but was not naturalized. One Jacob Kinzer challenged his vote at the polls simply to annoy him, when it was discovered that he was unnaturalized, and his judicial acts all being illegal, it made quite an excitement. The Legislature came to the rescue subsequently with an act to legalize all his proceedings.

John Lyon warranted two hundred and seventy-three acres, September 13, 1766, beyond Blackburn and Anderson, where William Sterrett now resides, and comprising the farm of Judge and Dr. Sterrett. His son, Samuel Lyon, warranted two hundred and sixty acres beyond him, September 13, l766, in the heart of the valley. The lands next the ridges at each side were taken up by them at a later period. The lands of the main surveys were held on "an improvement made by Robert Crungleton," whom the Lyons bought out. William Lyon was a surveyor at Carlisle, and looked out this tract for his father, John, before he came over from Ireland. Samuel Lyon sold to John Kelly, April 12, 1794. From Kelly it passed to Joseph B. Ard, then to Moses Kelly, from whom part passed to John P. Kelly, Doyle's Mills, and part, two hundred and eighteen acres, to Pomeroy's heirs. The stone house of John Kelly, built in 1810, was struck by lightning in January, 1811,--a very unusual freak of nature.

Juniata Co PAGenWeb

The graphics on this website are not in the public domain.
2013 by Michael Milliken