Pennsylvania USGenWeb Archives

Clearfield County

History of Clearfield County

by

Lewis Cass Aldrich

published 1887

 

Chapter 46

 

Copyright

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HIST0RY
OF
CLEARFIELD COUNTY
PENNSYLVANIA

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS AND BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES
OF SOME OF ITS PROMINENT MEN AND PIONEERS

EDITED BY
LEWIS CASS ALDRICH

SYRACUSE, N. Y.
D. MASON & CO., PUBLISHERS
1887

 

 Chapter 46

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Page 603

MORRIS TOWNSHIP.

 

CHAPTER XLVI.

HISTORY OF MORRIS TOWNSHIP.

 

     THE territory that was, in the year 1836, erected into a new township called "Morris," has, since that formation, been reduced by the erection of Graham and Cooper townships ; the first reduction having been made in the year 1856, by the erection of Graham. This proceeding took place over thirty

 

 

 

 

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years ago, and as that number of years has passed the township has acquired considerable history, and may be readily separated from the mother townships of Morris and Bradford, out of which it was taken. Cooper township, however, being of such recent erection, has its history to make in future, except regarding its growth and development since January, 1884, at which time it was separated from Morris ; therefore so far as its early history and settlement is concerned, the mention made thereof comes properly under this head, and will be treated as a part of Morris. The township of Cooper is made the subject of a separate chapter, and devoting to that chapter its growth since formation and the development of its vast mineral interests, together with business interests as at present represented.

 

     The proceedings by which Morris township was brought into existence were commenced in the year 1835, in the same manner in which the other townships of the county were formed, viz., the presentation of a petition on the part of divers inhabitants of Bradford township setting forth that they labor under great inconvenience for want of a new township, and praying the court to appoint three commissioners to view and lay out the new township. This request was presented to the May term of the Quarter Sessions Court, and by the court Alexander B. Reed, James Ferguson and John Irvin were appointed to make the necessary division, provided the same was deemed prudent. By their report, which bears date the 7th day of July, 1835, they say :

 

     " We the subscribers, appointed by the court to divide and lay off the township of Bradford into a new township, or townships, at the May Sessions, 1835, do report the draft or plot (annexed to report), to be agreeable to the prayer of the petitioners and the order of the said court."

 

     At the September term of the court the report was confirmed ni si, and, on the 3d day of February, 1836, it was confirmed absolutely and regularly declared to be a separate township of the county. On the draft made by the viewers, in the handwriting of the court there appears these words : "This township named ' Morris' in honor of the Honorable Robert Morris, a distinguished patriot of the Revolutionary War."

 

     The township, as laid out by the viewers was perhaps as irregular in conformation as any in the county, and at the same time it was numbered among the larger in superficial area. It extended from a point opposite and west of Philipsburg on the south, to the West Branch on the north, a mean distance of something like thirteen miles, and while it has no parallel sides, its average width was about six or seven miles. This, of course, is an estimate of its area before any of its territory was taken for the formation of other townships. The West Branch River formed the north, and the Moshannon the east boundary. Having such extensive water boundary, of course Morris township was well cut by smaller streams tributary to the larger ones named above. Among these tributary to the Susquehanna were Big Run, Wilhelm Run, Alder Run, Roll

 
 

 

 

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MORRIS TOWNSHIP.

 

ing Stone Run, and Basin Run. Those that discharged their waters into the Moshannon were Crawford Run, Weber Run, Moravian and Little Moravian Runs (neither, however, being the stream that is correctly so named), Grass Flat Run, Brown's Run, Big Run, Hawk Run, and Emigh Run. It will be seen that some of these are duplicate names, corresponding with names of other streams in other townships. The truth is, that many of these names were not applied until recently, and then by persons not thoroughly acquainted with the county or its numerous small rivulets, hence the fact.

 

     This township, inclusive of Cooper, is bounded north by the Susquehanna River and Graham township ; east by the Moshannon, which stream forms the division line between Clearfield and Centre counties ; south by the Moshannon and Decatur township, and west by Decatur, Boggs and Graham town­ships.

 

     In the year next succeeding that in which Morris township was erected (1837), James Allport made an enumeration of the taxable inhabitants, and before relating the facts of early settlement, it is well to show who were residents there at the time of the erection. Many of these early settlers will be found mentioned in the sketch of the township provided by one of the respected residents of Kylertown, and will appear in this chapter further on. The enumeration or assessment roll contained the following names : James Allport, Robert Ardery, Henry Beams, Abraham Brown, John Brown, David Cooper, John Coonrod, William Dillon, George R. Dillon, Joseph Denney, Samuel Davison, David Dale, William Everhart, Martin Flegal, Valentine Flegal, David Flegal, Samuel C. Hall, George Hoover, Thomas Hancock, Vincent Holt, Nicholas Heister, John Hoover, William M. Hunter, John W. Irvin, Leonard Kyler, Jacob Wise, William Shimmel, George Shimmel, sr., Philip Shimmel, Jacob F. Runk, John Ready, Christian Roubly, John Roubly, John Beams, Jacob Beams, Jonas Bumbarger, Henry Bumbarger, Jacob Gearhart, Valentine Gearhart, David Gearhart, Peter Gearhart, John L. Gearhart, David Gray, Peter Gray, Jeremiah Hoover, Samuel Hoover, Evans Hunter, Reuben Hunter, Abraham Kyler, John B. Kyler, Henry Lorain, John Merryman, Joseph Morrison, Jacob Pierce, William Ricord, Joseph Senser, Frederick Senser, Moses Thompson, Samuel C. Thompson, Samuel Warring. The total amount of the assessment for the year 1837, as shown by the roll made by Mr. Allport, was $14,318.

 

     In the year 1861, nearly twenty-five years after the above enrollment was made, John Rayhorn became the assessor of the township, and as such made a list of the persons residents of the township, who were subject to militia duty. His list is copied here, and by an examination thereof, it will be seen that a large proportion of the names are new and not to be found in the first list of taxables made by James Allport. It also serves to show how rapid must have been the growth of this locality, notwithstanding the fact that but a few years before Graham was formed, thus taking a large tract from Morris in its formation.

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HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

The militiamen of the township as reported by John Rayhorn, assessor, were as follows : John Will, George Kehner, Michael Leibatt, Daniel Beams, Joseph Fulmer, Christian Hartle, Robert Rosenhoover, John Miller, John Weaver, Adam Knobb, John Stipple, William McKee, David Wagoner, G. L. Clap- land, George Steincarichner, John Wait, Jacob May, John Steer, John Keen, Vincent Flegal, Miles Pelton, W. E. Williams, George Wise, John Troy, Will­iam Rothrock, David Shimmel, Harry Gleason, Elwood Dehaven, Reuben Wait, Peter Munce, C. P. Wilder, Leonard Kyler, David Kyler, Zachariah Jones, Da­vid Cramer, Jesse Beams, George D. Hess, Daniel Zones, John Hoover.

 

     It is observed from the foregoing roll that there was a strong element of German settlers that came to the vicinity subsequent to the erection and prior to the year 1861. This locality was, before this growth, largely populated with Germans, or descendants from German parents. They were, and always have been a thrifty, energetic and progressive class of people, and make admirable citizens.

 

     The early settlement and history of Morris, and the territory now included by Cooper township, as well, is told by the following sketch which was written by one of the highly respected residents of Kylertown ; a man occupying a prominent position in that locality, and whose authority is undoubted. It is thought desirable to relate the facts as furnished, making only such changes in form and style as are absolutely necessary. The history of the various localities is included in this sketch, and it will be noticed that the ground is well covered, and the fact fully stated, although in form and style it is hardly that usually employed.

 

     Morris township is located on the eastern border of Clearfield county, Pa., and is noted for its great bodies of pine, oak and hemlock timber ; also a great portion is well adapted for farming purposes ; it is also underlaid with fine and large veins of bituminous coal, which are beginning to be largely developed. Amongst its first settlers was Captain Jacob Wise, who located in the southern end of the township, cleared up a farm, and also carried on blacksmithing. He raised a large family of children, some of whom are still living in the vicinity where they were born. The " Captain," as he was always called, was endowed with quite a military spirit, and figured conspicuously in military gatherings in his day, and many a good joke that came from him was enjoyed by his many friends. He lived to a good old age and his death was much lamented by his many friends and neighbors.

 

     Another of the old citizens of the township was Samuel C. Thompson, who came here and located near to Captain Wise's, and cleared up a fine farm. He raised a large family. Being a man of good education and fine judgment, he was soon after elected justice of the peace, and filled that position to the general satisfaction of all ; he was re-elected and served as justice for fifteen years in Morris township. His land being underlaid with a vein of excellent bitumin‑

 

 

 

 

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MORRIS TOWNSHIP.

 

ous coal, he opened up the bed and supplied the home demand with coal ; the only coal that could be used for blacksmithing in the whole neighborhood for many years. Being a popular man, he was elected to the office of county commissioner, and filled the office with honesty, and with credit to himself and township. He sold his farm and timber land to J. C. Brenner, and W. F. Reynold. They sold it to R. B. Wigton & Co., who are now operating the coal very extensively. After selling his farm he removed to Nittany Valley, where he purchased a farm near Hublersburg, Centre county. After settling on his farm in Centre county he was again elected justice of the peace, and continued in office until his death. He left surviving him Mrs. Thompson, widow, and a large family of children to mourn his decease. The land belonging to Captain Wise was sold to D. W. Holt & Co., who opened up the coal, commenced and carried on a very successful business for a number of years. Then he sold to R. B. Wigton & Co., who have enlarged and increased the business, until that company is among the largest coal shippers in this part of the country.

 

     The next, and one of the most enterprising men that has ever been in this township, is D. W. Holt, now a citizen of Philipsburg, Centre county, but who is still operating in the coal business very largely in Morris township. Mr. Holt was formerly a citizen of Bradford township, this county, but as an enterprising lumberman, came to this township and purchased a part of the pine timber known as the Allport timber. After the second year's operation in square timber, he built a large steam saw-mill and engaged in the manufacturing of sawed lumber for a few years. He married Miss Catharine Allport. Some time later he purchased the Captain Wise property, and commenced operating in the coal business, and was the first to ship coal from Morris township. Shortly after he purchased a valuable property in Philipsburg, and extended his coal and lumber operations in different parts of the neighborhood very extensively, and can be classed as one of the most, if not the foremost of enterprising men in all this vicinity.

 

     There is at this time in successful operation nine different coal mines in this township, viz.: The Decatur mines, operated by John Nuttall ; the Morrisdale mines, by R. B. Wigton & Son ; Empire mines, by John Ashcroft ; the Allport & Sock Somin, by D. W. Holt & Co.; Pardee mines, by Munson & Single ; Mull & Jones, by Mull, Jones & Co; Wallace mines, by Wallace, Wrigley & Co.; the Ladue mines, by A. B. & G. W. Ladue, all of which are doing a prosperous and thriving business.

 

     Another old and prominent citizen of old Morris township was James Allport, who contributed a great amount to the good of the citizens, and also to the general public ; he has long since passed away, but his memory is loved and revered by those who still remain and who knew him.

 

     We will here, as a matter of history, and for those who have gone before us, speak of William Hunter, a very good citizen and kind neighbor, who was

 

 

 

 

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HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

among the pioneers of Morris township, who has departed this life, but who has left many who can testify to his moral worth.

 

     Mention also may be made of the names of David Dale, George R. Dillen, and John W. Irvin, who were among the pioneers that have been consigned to mother earth.

 

     Another name which was prominent amongst the early settlers of Morris township, was John Hoover, sr., a worthy and respected citizen, who came to Morris township from Union county at an early day. He raised a large and industrious family, the sons of whom are still among the people of Cooper township (a part of Morris), which derived its name from David Cooper, one of the first settlers of that part of Morris township known as Cooper Settlement.

 

     David Cooper was another of those old stalwart pioneers who crossed the great Allegheny Mountains to make his home in Clearfield county and Morris township, which was then a dense forest with scarcely the mark of human habitation, but which is destined to be one of the richest counties in the State of Pennsylvania.

 

     The sons of John Hoover, sr., helped to clear up a farm near to the village now known as Allport, and there passed on northward in Morris township to what is known as Hickory Bottom Settlement, where they purchased for themselves land in the woods, and by industry, sobriety, and fair dealing have become the owners of excellent farms—the best in this part of the county.

 

     Among those who settled in that part of the township known as " Cooper Settlement," was Leonard Kyler, sr., who, with David Cooper, settled at or near the present thriving village of Kylertown, where each of them opened for themselves large and productive farms, part of which has been sold off in town lots, on which the village of Kylertown is now located. Leonard Kyler's family consisted of two sons and three daughters. The sons were John B. and Thomas Kyler, the latter being the founder of the now flourishing village of Kylertown. John B. Kyler became the son-in-law of David Cooper, and purchased the Cooper farm. He divided a part of it into lots, which now forms a considerable part of the village. John B. Kyler lived on the Cooper home­stead, and raised a large family. He survived his wife several years, and died about four years ago, much lamented by his many friends, as he was a kind and generous neighbor and a consistent member of the Presbyterian Church. He leaves six surviving children to mourn their loss. One of these children is Leonard Kyler, of Kylertown, a progressive merchant and hotel-keeper.

 

     Another of the old and worthy citizens of Morris township was Abraham Kyler, familiarly called " Uncle Abraham." He was uncle of John B. and Thomas Kyler. He located, at an early day, in the southern end of the township. He was for many years a successful farmer, an honest and upright man, and died an earnest member of the Presbyterian Church. A few years before

 

 

 

 

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he died he sold the principal part of his large farm to Edward Perks, who took possession of it and farmed it successfully a few years, when he was elected sheriff of Clearfield county. After serving one term he sold his farm and removed to Philipsburg, Centre county, where he engaged in the banking business for several years, when he died, leaving a loving wife and children, and a host of kind friends to mourn his untimely death.

 

     The principal business of this township was, for many years, farming and lumbering. The Moshannon Creek, which forms the line on the eastern border of this county, adjoining Centre county, is a large and rapid mountain stream, well calculated for floating or driving lumber, by which there has been many millions of the finest white pine lumber in the State driven to market, together with as many more millions of feet of hemlock of an equally fine quality.

 

     For a number of years there was considerable rafting done on the Moshannon, but it never proved very profitable to those engaged in the business of running either sawed lumber or square timber ; but taking lumber to market in this manner has gone by.

 

     The Beech Creek Railroad Company has built one of the best railroads that ever coursed the hillsides of any county, now in successful operation along the course of the Moshannon Creek, which is carrying our lumber to market more successfully and with more profit to its owners, beside the immense trains of coal that pass over this road almost hourly, day and night. It may be well said that the people of this part of the county, as well as the southern part, owe much to the founders of the Beech Creek Railroad Company, as they have given them an outlet and a well managed road for transporting coal, lumber, and other products to the market.

 

     The lumbering business has been carried on very extensively for some years, and is still continued by some in driving logs out of the smaller streams that discharge into the Moshannon Creek.

 

     Among the most successful parties in this business was Messrs. Blanchards, which firm have been gone from here several years.

 

     In addition to the mining operations which were previously spoken of in this chapter is the Kyler colliery, near Munson's Station, on the Beech Creek Railroad, operated by Mr. Fishburn, who is running about thirty coke ovens day and night, employing about one hundred men in all.

 

     The next coal operators in this township is the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Company, which is operating their three double drifts at Grass Flat, with over two hundred men ; also their other mines at or near the new but enterprising town of Peale. This hamlet contains over three hundred houses, with many other fine and commodious buildings. There is also another colliery opening on Wells's Run, on the lands of Messrs. Weaver & Betts, with a branch of the Beech Creek Railroad extending to it. This is under the supervision of Mr.

 

 

 

 

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HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

Summerville, a practical operator, formerly of Snowshoe, Centre county. This vein of coal here opened, is one of the best in the region, and is perfectly free from slate for a depth of three feet and six inches. They have only recently commenced shipping from this mine, and are sending out from fifteen to twenty cars per day, but expect, during the present year, to increase their shipments to fifty cars per day. They are working night and day, and are putting in men as fast as they can make room for them.

 

     There is also a large steam saw-mill, with planer and shingle-mill attached, near this point, and on the Branch Railroad, in sight of the dump of these mines. This coal company, operating at the mouth of Wells's Run, expect to build at least fifty coal ovens this coming summer, which will increase the business of this point very largely. The extension of this Branch Beech Creek Railroad for a distance of three miles is expected in the near future, which will open up a large body of coal belonging to the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Company. This branch, when extended, will pass through what is known as the "State Tract" of land, which is the best lot of hemlock and oak timber now in this end of the county. It is owned by Messrs. 0. L. Schoonover, and James L. Stewart. They have commenced making and shipping railroad ties, and also a large amount of bark. The Wells's Run Branch Road, when extended to the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Company lands, will pass within one mile of Kylertown, and will make an outlet for other large bodies of coal in that vicinity.

 

     The location of this beautiful village is directly on the summit, or ridge, dividing the waters leading to the Susquehanna River and Moshannon Creek. Among its prominent citizens is James Thompson, who has resided in the town for over twenty-five years. He is the oldest son of Samuel C. Thompson, who is mentioned in the first part of this chapter. James Thompson was born in Centre county. His parents came from Centre county to Morris township in 1830. He lived with his father until he arrived at manhood, and while at home he received a good common school education. He taught school for a number of years ; then worked at the carpenter's trade. After that he was employed as clerk by Joseph C. Brenner, at the village of Morrisdale, in this township, where Mr. Brenner carried on the mercantile business for a number of years. He also started a branch store at Kylertown, and James Thompson took charge of the store and carried on the business for a time. Mr. Brenner closed his business in Kylertown and moved to Williamsport, where he engaged in the lumber business. From there he removed to Philadelphia, where he went into the notion business, and died in 1886. E. C. Brenner, the eldest son of Joseph C. Brenner, was a citizen of Kylertown for over twenty years. He removed here to settle the business of his father. He was appointed postmaster at Kylertown during the administration of Abraham Lincoln, but, being a Republican in politics, was removed, and succeeded by

 

 

 

 

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Peter Moyer, Democrat, under the administration of Grover Cleveland. E. C. Brenner was one of the best and most obliging postmasters that there was in the county ; the loss of him as postmaster, and his estimable family, on his removal to Philadelphia, is much regretted. He was elected justice of the peace, and served in that office over two years. He made an upright and impartial officer, and was much respected by the general public.

 

     Mention may be made here of the name of another of the old citizens of Morris, now Cooper township, James Hughes, who lives one half mile east of Kylertown. He came to this vicinity in 1841 or '42, and located where he now lives, having resided on the same farm for forty-five years. He married a daughter of David Cooper, and raised a family of four children — two girls and two boys, after which his wife died ; but, like many men, after a respectable length of time, he married Mrs. Sarah J. Hall, a widow, of Lancaster county, Pa. She, as well as her husband, had a family of children, all of which have been raised and started in pursuit of fortunes for themselves. Mr. Hughes was one of the early settlers who helped the old, and noted surveyor, Joseph Quay, in surveying this and adjoining townships. He being endowed with a most remarkable memory, can today, at the age of sixty-six years, point out more lines and corners of tracts of land than any other man in all this region of country, and today holds a paying position as agent, to look over and examine lines and lands of the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Company, since their purchase of coal lands in this part of the county.

 

     One of the first settlers in this part of the county, which is now in Cooper township, was N. J. Folmar, who is still living but in very feeble health. He lives on the same premises that he improved when he first came to the township. He has seven sons and one daughter, who are all living and married, and are located near the old homestead. Each has a farm in the heart of a fine settlement, near the town of Peale, which affords them an excellent market for all their produce.

 

     Jacob Raymond, sr., is another old pioneer of the German settlement, who came here in 1844, bought land and settled near the Catholic Church, of which he is a member. He raised a large family of sons and daughters, who are all living near the old homestead, each having provided himself with a comfortable home, and are respected by all who know them.

 

     In the year 1843, Frederick Neabel, a prominent German, came to the Cooper Settlement (now the German Settlement). He bought land and com­menced clearing up a farm, and lumbered in the winter. He made the first timber road to the Susquehanna River, at a point known as the Big Basin, to which place he hauled his square timber to be rafted and run to market. In this manner he succeeded in paying for his land. He raised a respectable family of children. He lived and died a prominent member of the Catholic Church, and was greatly lamented by a large circle of friends.

 

 

 

 

Page 612

HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

Amongst the oldest settlers of the German Settlement may be here mentioned the names of Joseph and Michael Steindechner, who immigrated to this locality about 1844. They bought land and cleared farms and raised large and respectable families, and were strict members of the Catholic Church. Nearly all of them are still living on the farm where they settled. Michael moved west about twenty years ago. He was the only man that ever distilled whisky in this township, but it was not a very choice article of liquor, even for pioneer whisky.

 

     Michael Rader, Christian Hartle, and Robert Rasenhoover were among the first settlers of this part of the township. They settled here about 1844, and all of them, by hard labor and industry, have become the owners of elegant farms; moreover, each has raised a large family. They are still living on their farms, and enjoying the benefit of their early labor. In this section of Cooper township the land is well adapted to agriculture, and there is a large number of excellent farms in this part of the country.

 

     There is what might be called a middle division of this Cooper Settlement, which was first improved by Henry Beam, who came to this locality about 1836 or 1837, and who withstood many of the hardships and privations of pioneer life in opening up his farm. He raised a large family ; was a very successful farmer. He died a number of years ago. Three of the sons of Henry Beam are still living in Cooper township, each of which opened a farm near the old homestead. Jesse and Daniel Beam are still living on their farms, which are very productive, and they are respected for their industry and sobriety. Jacob Beam, the oldest son, also opened up a large farm of two hundred acres, from which he has, by hard work and strict economy, accumulated quite a fortune. He also owned a large and fine lot of pine and oak timber, which he sold, together with his land and coal, to Messrs. Weaver & Betts, of Clearfield, for fifteen thousand dollars. He then purchased a fine residence in the village of Kylertown, where he now resides, and is seventy-two years of age.

 

     Sebastian Santcroft was an old citizen of Kylertown, and located in it in the year 1850. He was a stone mason by trade, and was a very useful and respected citizen for over twenty-five years. He has gone, with others of the old citizens, but he is still remembered by his many friends. He was a conscientious member of the Catholic Church. He leaves a widow, one son and a daughter, who still live in Kylertown.

 

     Morris was a large township, and was established and confirmed by the court in the year 1836. In 1884 it was divided, Cooper township being formed out of part of the original Morris township.

 

     In 1839 there was but four school-houses in Morris—one in the southern end, which was built on the farm of Abraham Kyler, and was used for a church as well as for school purposes ; one at Old Morrisdale, now known as Allport ;

 

 

 

 

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one on the farm of John Brown, also occasionally used for church or religious meetings ; one in the German Settlement, known at that time as Cooper Settlement. These houses were built before the common school system came into operation, and could be used in common for school and religious purposes also. As the township became more thickly settled, and when the free school system became adopted it became necessary to have more school-houses. At the present time there are fourteen schools in the two townships—that is, Cooper and Morris. These are so much crowded on account of the large number of children, that more are to be erected during the present year, as owing to the great increase in the coal business, the population of the township grows very rapidly. Some of the school rolls show over one hundred and twenty-five scholars to a school.

 

     The first religious services in this region were held by the Lutheran denomination. They held their services in the old school-houses of that day, and the people thought nothing of traveling from eight to ten miles to attend meetings. The first church that was erected in this township was a hewn log building, and was built as a Union church by the members of the different denominations. The edifice was built at Old Morrisdale (now Allport), and stood for many years as a monument to the good feeling that existed among this people in an early day.

 

     The next church (Methodist) was built of hewn logs, and was used for school and religious services. It has since been replaced with a fine church building in a beautiful grove—as fine a situation as could be found in Clear­field county. It is named the Sylvan Grove Methodist Episcopal Church. There is, in course of building, a Methodist Episcopal Church at Allport ; also one at Morrisdale Mines.

 

     The Presbyterians have a church in Kylertown, located on a very pleasant spot ; also a very fine parsonage in the same place.

 

     The Second Adventists, or Messiah's Society, have a church edifice located one and a half miles east of Kylertown, on the road leading from Kylertown to the German Settlement.

 

     On the same road, about one mile farther east, the United Brethren have a comfortable church building.

 

     About three miles farther east, and in the heart of the German Settlement, the inhabitants of which, with very few exceptions, are Catholics, there stands a very comfortable church with a large farm attached ; also a good parsonage building erected thereon.

 

     The politics of Morris township from its origin until within the last ten years, has been largely Democratic, the majority being about three to one ; but since the mining business has increased so extensively, the political complexion of the township has changed considerably in favor of the Republican party. In the early days of Morris township, and for a number of years, there

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HISTORY OF CLEARFIELD COUNTY.

 

was but one Whig or Republican vote in the entire township, and when the line was correctly run, this man's residence was found to be in Decatur township ; therefore there was one or two elections that the returns showed a solid Democratic vote.

 

     To be sure, up to about ten or fifteen years ago the chief occupation of the inhabitants of the region included by these townships was that of agriculture and lumbering. During the early days lumbering was carried on only to an extent sufficient to clear the land and place it in condition for cultivation ; therefore lumbering at that time was a necessity. When this country was attacked by the sturdy, determined down-easters in search of the wealth that these prime forests contained, the people of this, in common with that of other localities, turned their attention to the then growing industry, and farmers became lumbermen ; the plow was neglected for the woodman's ax ; in place of well tilled farms, logs and lumber were spread over the region. This proved far more agreeable work than toiling from early dawn until dark on the farm, and then perhaps, the crops proved light. In the lumber business the case was quite different. The work, though hard, seldom required to be forced or driven, and as there was always a demand for this commodity, good prices and ready cash rewarded the efforts and labor of the people. At last, however, there came a change. The lands, once stripped of their timber, were no longer a source of revenue or profit. The farms were run down for lack of cultivation, and the prospects for the future looked doubtful to the average resident ; but again there came another favorable change—one destined to grow and continue to grow indefinitely. The vast coal fields of this county were opened, examined, and found to be very valuable. Again there came the speculator, and with him the railroad. As the business increased in the famous Osceola- Philipsburg region, this country became the scene again of busy life and activity, and to-day, from Karthaus to Beccaria, and from Geulich to Huston the great recognized industry is coal mining and shipping. The territory embraced by the two townships, the subject of this chapter, lies almost in the center of the vast basin, and although of but comparative recent development, when compared with the region south of it, it is none the less important and not less valuable. This valuable mineral deposit will be found fully described in the chapter in this work No. XIII, devoted to the geological formation of the county.

 

 

 

 

   

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