Pennsylvania USGenWeb Archives


1804 - 1904

Clearfield County's Centennial


Raftsman's Journal

Clearfield, Pa.


Pages 10 - 19


transcribed for the Clearfield County PA USGenWeb by

Ellis Michaels



This page was last updated on 23 Apr 2011






1804 1904

July 26, 27, 28 and 29.

Population Clearfield County
1804 685
1904 100,000
One Hundred Years Old

Clearfield, Pa.


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I. R. E. Shaw. 2. A. H. Reed. 3. David Way. William Radebach, a member of this committee reached the artist too late with his photograph.






however, acquired by the treaty of 1784 was only purchased, but was not entered upon by the pioneers of Pennsylvania for ten years. The price of blood, as usual, was to be paid for it."


     It will remain for the writer of the real history of Clearfield County to determine who was the first settler within the territory now comprised with the boundary lines of the county. Hence the use of the term, pioneer, which according to Webster, is "One who goes before to remove obstructions or prepare the way for another."

     Edward Rickets, Senior, lays claim to the first place among the pioneers, and offers in support of his contention certain proofs from among the State Records as follows :
     "Among the Records and Proceedings of the Department of Internal Affairs of Pennsylvania, inter alia, it is thus contained :
     "Edward Rickets applies for four hundred acres of land in Bedford County, inclg an imp, on both sides of Clearfield Creek on a smal Branch of water on the North side of said Creek calld the Beaver Dam Branch.
"Bedford County ss.—Int. from March I, 1783 (Wrt Issud).
"Personally appeared before us two of the Justices assigned for Bedford County the above Edward Rickets and made oath according to law that he, this Deponent, to-gether with some of his sons, Did Improve upon said land between the Beginning & middle of Sept. in the year 1783, and has ever since maintained his Right and Claim to said land. Sworn and certified by us the Subscribers this 15th day of November, 1784."
( SEAL)      "In testimony That the above is a true copy of the original remaining on file in the Department of Internal Affairs of Pennsylvania, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of said Department to be affixed, at Harrisburg, this Seventh day of November, 1889.
Deputy Secretary of Internal Affairs.


     The following applications are also on file in the Department of Internal Affairs :
"Cheney Rickets, Senior, applies for four hundred acres of land in Bedford County, inclg an imp, on both sides of Clearfield Creek, about two miles higher up said Creek than Edward Ricket's application.
Wt. issued Int. from 1st March, 1783.
     Personaly apeared [sic] before us two of the Justices for Bedford County Cheney Rickets and made oath according to law that the above tract of land was improved upon between the beginning & middle of September, 1783. Sworn and certified before and by us this 15th day of November, 1784."
Wt Issued (Signed) ROBT. SMITH.

     On June 7th, 1834, a survey was made in pursuance of a Warrant granted to Cheny Rickets, bearing date and December, 1784, and was returned on 14th







Grand Children of Edward Ricketts, one of the first settlers and children of Isaac Ricketts, Sr.









June, 1836. It is for a tract of land situate in Decator Township, Clearfield County, on the waters of Clearfield Creek, containing 400 acres & allowance, and is bounded by the John McClelland on the North, Rowland Evans and Sam'l Emlin on the East, Robt. McGhee & Geo. Eyere on the South, and the Joseph Clark on the West.

     "Edward Rickets, Junior, applies for four hundred acres of land inclg Impt. on both sides of Clearfield Creek, adjoining on the lower sides of Cheney Rickets, Senior, application on said Creek in Bedford County.
     "Bedford County. Int. from 1st March,1783, Wt Issud.
     Personally appeared before us Edward Rickets, Junior, and made oath according to law that he that Depponent Improved upon the above tract of Land in the month of Sept. in the year 1783. Sworn & certified by us two of the justices for Bedford County this 15th day of November, 1784.
(Signed) ROBT. SMITH.

     In the journal of James Harris, surveyor, under date of Oct. 28th, 1784, giving account of surveying then being done on Clearfield Creek says "Five men by the name of Rickets came to our camp, said they claimed by improvements a great deal of land up this creek, say they will not suffer it to be surveyed." And under date of Oct. 3oth, 1784, "Mr. Canan performed one of the surveys on the West side of Clearfield Creek extending it as high up as Rickets' claim."

     "Captain Edward Rickerts was a native of Maryland, and while a boy emigrated with his father's family to Pennsylvania. At the age of nineteen, Edward entered the service as an Indian fighter, and was considered one of the most experienced frontiersmen in the whole country. During the Revolution, his services to the Province were so valuable that he was given a Captain's commission.

     "Having made the improvements referred to, and built a cabin, Captain Rickerts went for his wife and household goods, and returned with them in 1801. Upon his return he found the cabin occupied by Joseph Leonard and family. The two families lived there to-gether during the Winter following; but Rickerts, having no claim to the land except by improvement, was afterwards compelled to vacate and settle elsewhere. Captain Rickerts died in 1813." —History Clearfield Co.—Aldrich, 1887, pp. 51.

     On 20th May, 1785, or about five months after the Rickerts warrants were issued, a warrant was issued to John Lukens, Esq., Surveyor General, requiring him to Survey or cause to be Surveyed for James Woodside, of the Township of New London, in the County of Chester, 300 acres of land on Warrant numbered 57o which was afterwards done, and returned 17th February, 1801

     Mr. Aldrich - History of Clearfield Co., page 52—says, "James Woodside first came to this county, or rather Lycoming County, in the month of July, 1785, with a surveying party from Chester County. Several tracts were located by them, one of which, under warrant number 570, belonged to Woodside, and his land was located on the stream known as Stump Creek. James Woodside lived here many years, the only white resident among the few remaining Indians, who were quite friendly. He is described as a man of decidedly peculiar habits, having no family, and content to live alone in his forest home, where he died in







     Ex-Gov. WILLIAM BIGLER—Was born 1813, and came to Clearfield County in 1833, and started the publishing of the "Clearfield Democrat." In 1841 to 1844 he was in the State Senate and elected Governor of the State in 1851. He was President of the Philadelphia & Erie R. R. in 1855, and U. S. Senator in 1855, He died in Clearfield, August, 1880.







1834 at the age of 85 years.

     On the 30th July, 1885, Brady Township, with becoming ceremony, unveiled a monument, sacred to the memory of James Woodside, as the pioneer of the Township. Hon. P. S. Weber, of Du Bois, delivered an address which he styled "An Historical Sketch of James Woodside, Esq. The Raftsman's Journal, July 11th, 1859, seems to indicate that it Was not until 1802 that Woodside came. See post.

     Daniel Ogden was the first settler in Sulivan County. He located Hillsgrove on a survey made on a warrant in the name of "William Clair." "He is supposed to have settled here about the close of the Revolutionary War, and Tradition says he was a Tory, and certain parties sought to take his life while at Hillsgrove. He did not remain here a great while, but left soon after the Birds, Warrens and Molyneux's settled at the forks of the Loyalsock Creek, in 1794. Ogden said neighbors were getting too near, so he left and moved up the West Branch Valley. He, however, built a small grist mill, which was the first in the County."—The Historical Journal. McGinness. Vol. II, pp. 205.

     In an editorial note in The Historical Journal, Vol II., pp. 205, it is stated that "After leaving Lycoming County in 1797, Ogden and three of his sons ascended the West Branch in canoes to a point just below (above) the present town of Clearfield, where they settled. He soon afterwards returned to Cherry Valley, New York, and brought out his family. He is claimed to have been the first settler in Clearfield County, and many of his descendants still live there."

     Daniel Ogden located on the farm lately occupied by Matthew S. Ogden, on South Second Street, Clearfield Borough. Cherry Valley was the scene of a massacre "during which all of Ogden's property was destroyed and his son David killed by the Indians. Of his eight children, none were born here. They were Abner, Jonathan, David, who was slain at Cherry Valley massacre; Daniel, Jr.,, Joab, John, Matthew and Margaret."—History Clearfield Co.— Aldrich, pp. 52.

     Daniel Ogden always believed he was the only white man in the country now included within the present bounds of Clearfield County during the Winter of 1797-8. This fact his daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Ogden: widow of Matthew Ogden, and her brother, Benjamin Bloom, have repeatedly stated, and in which they are sustained by the Raftsman's Journal, article of July 11th, 1859. See post.

     It was when Daniel Ogden returned to the "Big Island" on one of his trips that he met Arthur Bell, who soon afterwards followed him to Chingleclamouche's old Town, where he remained with Ogden and assisted him in the erection of his house, after which lie went further up the River to settle. John Bell followed his brother Arthur. From his diminutive size he was familiarly called "Little Johnny Bell," and from some he received the sobriquet of "Demi John."

     James McCracken and Casper Hackenberry followed Arthur Bell with their families, and settled—their wives were sisters of Arthur Bell.

     Thomas McClure came from Cumberland County in 1799, made an improvement near McClure's graveyard, Pike Township, and removed his family








     Hon. WILLIAM A. WALLACE—One of Clearfield County's most prominent sons, who was born in 1827, admitted to Clearfield bar in 1847. He was elected to the State Senate in 1863, and again in 1884.  He was elected to the United States Senate in 1875, and served six years. He was the moving spirit in the building of the Beech Creek R. R., and many other enterprises. He died in New York City in 1896.







thither in 1800. Squire McClure has been described as "a kind friend, one of the most obliging neighbors, who would at any time incommode himself to accommodate another, and when asked for a favor, he stopped not to inquire `what will it profit me,' but only 'can I grant it.' He lived and died without an enemy.

     "The country was a vast wilderness, never having been trod by the foot of a white man, save for the purpose of exploration and survey. The majestic pines and oaks of centuries' growth stood in their pristine beauty. The ax of the woodsman had not echoed, nor the death-dealing bullet of the hunter whistled through the wild and rugged region."—Raftsman's Journal May 11th, 1859.

     The discovery in the year 1800 of an Indian path leading from Chingleclamouche to Milesburg brought the settlers into closer communication with civilization, and gave them a new base of supplies. The Ogdens and the Bells had come up the Susquehanna in canoes, the pack horse over the Indian trails was now to do his part in this westward march of civilization, the Indian paths remaining for a few years the only roads and routes for transporting goods into the new country.

     With the dawn of the nineteenth century, an ever increasing tide of emigration set in towards the land formerly of the "Chingleclamouche Savages."
Paul Clover, "who had a warm and generous heart," made a settlement at the mouth of Anderson's Creek in the year 1801, kept a "public house" or tavern, and did some blacksmithing. After his death, his widow and children moved to Clarion.

     William Bloom, the elder, a man of German descent, whose ancestors at an early clay settled in New Jersey and who had emigrated to Penns Valley, Centre County, settled near the old "Red House," on the bottom above Anderson's Creek in the year 1801. He brought with him four of his sons, Isaac, William, John and Benjamin, and his daughter, Elizabeth.

     Elizabeth Bloom was afterwards married to Matthew Ogden, the ceremony was performed by Arthur Bell, Esq. "This was the first marriage solemnized in the County, and the parties became the happy parents of seventeen children x x x [sic] and from whom have descended a numerous offspring, marked by some of the traits peculiar to their grandfather.

     William Bloom had eleven children, from whom have descended a very large family, no longer confined within the limits of the County. Many years ago,- there was a reunion of the "Blooms and their connections," at which Hon. John Patton stated that there were then more than three thousand descendants of William Bloom living within the borders of the County.

     In the same year (1801) Joseph Leonard came with his sons, Isaac and Thomas, and made an improvement below the "Ox Bow" on Clearfield Creek.

     Martin Hoover came from York County and settled on the River in Lawrence Township, in 1801.  Frederick Hennich, or Haney, settled next to Hoover about the same time; and Henry Irvin, a native of Ireland, came the same year and located at a point nearly opposite the mouth of Moose Creek on the Eastern bank of the River, long and familarly known as "Liberty Spring."

     After the year 1801 settlements multiplied more rapidly as the facilities for transportation increased, and it will be impossible to enumerate them all. During








     HON JOHN PATTON—Late of Curwensville and one of the County's ablest financiers, was born January 6th, 1823. He came to the County in 1828 and later engaged in the lumbering business. In 1864 he started a banking house, and was one of the promoters of the Tyrone Q. Clearfield R. R. He was elected to Congress in 1860 and again in 1886. He died December 23d, 1897.







the year 1802-3 there came men whose names at once became associated with the business interests and public affairs of this section.

     Alexander Read, a citizen of Cecil Co., Md., had emigrated to Penn's valley, Centre County, but came to settle in 1802, and located on the Ridges in Lawrence Township, where the James Mitchell "stone house" now stands.

     Robt. Cresswell settled at the "Pee-wees Nest."

     Robt. Askey located below Paul Clover's on the West bank of the river.


     Benj. Jordan settled on the East side of the river, a little farther clown the stream, and nearly opposite lived George and John Welch.

     Abraham Hess came from York County and located on Clearfield Creek. John Carothers came and located at "Carother's Bend," on the river, hence, the name.

     Joan Fergersen, born in Ireland, with one of his sons, came in 1803, and located on the North bank of the Susquehanna, on the farm lately occupied by his son James.

     Daniel Turner settled on the head waters of Clearfield Creek, near the Cambria County line, in 1802.
Samuel Ewing located about a half mile below the mouth of Muddy Run, at a place known as "Ewing's Bottom," but made no settlement, and was followed by William Brennan, who settled on the South side of Clearfield Creek, near the "Ox Bow."

     Abraham Passmore, from Chester County, came in 1802, and cleared on what was known as the Jacob Hoover farm. He afterwards moved to the Ridges and died on August l0th, 1854, having just completed his ninetieth year.

     Peter Young cleared a piece of land on the river near "Adarv's Dead-Water," in 1803, and kept a "tavern" and operated a distillery. "He built the greater part of the Milesburg and Le Boeuf road, East of Chest Creek.—Hist. Clfd. Co.—Aldrich, p. 59.

     In the same year, Conrad Kyler settled on the Moshannon. He was a weaver by trade.—Hist. Clfd. Co., p. 59.

     Peter Erhard made a settlement near New Millport in 1803, and erected a distillery.

     Nicholas Straw made an improvement on the river the same year.

     "As early as 1802 the settlement of that thriving and populous portion of the County known as Brady Township was commenced. James Woodside, the first settler in that section, then removed there. Two years later, Joab Ogden, a son of Daniel, became a near neighbor of Woodside. No further increase was made until I812."—Raftsman's Journal, July 11th, 1859.


     The proceedings preceding the enactment of the act erecting Clearfield County are interesting as best showing the steps leading to and in a measure bringing about the establishment of the new County. Their recital will show how Centre County contemplated taking this vast territory and that it was thought, at one time, to divide this extensive wilderness between the counties of Centre and Westmoreland.

February, 18th, 1802. Senate Journal 188.
"Mr. Harris presented the petition of the subscribers, Inhabitants of that part





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