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Clearfield County

 

Clearfield County Pennsylvania

Present and Past

 

by

Thomas Lincoln Wall

 

Chapter 07

 

Copyright

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Clearfield County Pennsylvania

Present and Past

 

by

Thomas Lincoln Wall

Ex-Supervising Principal

Boggs Township Schools

 

Library Edition

Published by Author

 

Copyright 1925

by

T. L. Wall

 


 

Transcribed for the Clearfield County PAGenWeb Project by

Ellis Michaels

 

 Chapter 07

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CHAPTER VII


Miscellaneous Activities


The Effects of Prohibition. Children and young people of our county should be exceedingly glad that they live at a time when the traffic in liquor is outlawed. A few people break the prohibition laws, as they do other laws, but liquor drinking, which was formerly common and but little thought of except by those who were made miserable by it, is now the exception and the traffic being now exceptionally unlawful and classed with other crimes as a matter of news, is given a prominent place in the papers.


     Effect on Child Life. Very few children now have to go without proper food, clothing or shoes because the father uses up his wages for drink.


     Formerly these conditions were quite common. Anyone who wishes to verify this may ask any merchant who kept store before and since liquor was outlawed. When father or brother came home drunk and raving, how much happiness did the children enjoy?


     It is a long time since we have heard of the husband and father coming home so drunk that wife and children fled to the neighbors until he got sober and in his right mind, or when he beat his wife and children and broke up the furniture in his mad fury.

 

 

 

 

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The Old Hotel Bar Room. Did you ever go into a hotel bar room in the old days when it was full of drinking, cursing, swearing men and boys? The writer has visited an insane asylum where the scenes were not so mad or vulgar.


     Conditions of Travel. During the World War, after wages had advanced and work was good, but before prohibition went into effect, the smoking car on a train on Saturday night—and often on other nights, was like that in the bar rooms before described, in fact a continuation of it. Drunken men even overflowed into the ladies' cars to swear and blackguard until conditions became so bad, especially on the night train from Tyrone to Grampian, that the trainmen had orders to let no person on who was visibly under the influence of liquor.


     The remark has been made that it was exceedingly fortunate that prohibition came in time to stop the use of liquor by drivers of automobiles, or the death toll would be far greater than it now is.


     Loss of Working Time. Formerly one-third or one- fourth of the men would not appear for work for from one to three days after pay day, thus crippling the industry where they were employed, while the family suffered from the loss of wages and from money spent for liquor. When the drinker came back to work, he was often suffering from the exhaustion brought on by his debauch and so was in greater danger of causing accident to himself or others. These conditions were particularly noticeable in mines and brickworks.


     Not so many years ago such conditions were to be found in from one to a dozen places in nearly every town in the county, especially on Saturday night, or after pay day.

 

 

 

 

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BANKING IN CLEARFIELD COUNTY
By H. B. POWELL


     The county of Clearfield was organized in 1804. Clearfield the oldest town in the county, dates its existence from about 1805. The first bank in Clearfield county, a private institution which did business under the name of Leonard, Finney & Company, was organized by agreement dated March 16, 1859. The partners were James T. Leonard, William A. Wallace, Darwin A. Finney and A. C. Finney. On January 23, 1861, James B. Graham was admitted as a partner, Darwin A. Finney having retired. This firm was dissolved on December 20th, 1864, A. C. Finney, the active member of the firm having become Cashier of the newly organized First National Bank of Clearfield.


     The second institution was the Clearfield County Bank, organized under the free banking law with note issuing privileges. Its certificate of association is dated April 6, 1860 and is signed by the prominent business men of Clearfield, Curwensville and the surrounding community.


     The original bill establishing National Banks became a law February 25th, 1863. It was repealed by the more complete act of June 3, 1864. After the last named date, many National Banks were organized. The total number in the United States in October, 1865 was fifteen hundred and thirteen. The total deposits at that time were about $300,000,000. (The National City Bank of New York, alone, now has deposits of over $700,000,000.) The law of June 3, 1864 taxed the circulation of State banks ten per cent., which forced them out of existence. The Clearfield County Bank therefore, surrendered its charter and a private bank under the same title was organized by the men who had been active in the affairs of the chartered institution. The First National Bank of Curwensville, the first National institution in the county was organized under the new law in March, 1864. The First National Bank of Clearfield, the second National institution

 

 

 

 

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in the county, was chartered December 14, 1864 and the County National Bank of Clearfield the third, on February 5th, 1865. In October, 1865, the three institutions just named together with the Clearfield County Bank, had total deposits of $300,000.00 to $350,000.00. The growth of the business in Clearfield county is indicated by the fact that the five banks in Clearfield and Curwensville, at this time have deposits of somewhat more than $9,000,000.00; the amount has increased thirty-fold in sixty years.


     About 1870 the firm of F. K. Arnold & Company, private bankers, began business at Luthersburg. They continued at that point until the town of Reynoldsville was established a number of years later to which point they removed because of the greater possibilities for business. In the year 1871, the firm of Lloyd Caldwell, Lawshe and Company, bankers, was formed and began business at Osceola Mills, Pa. As the resources of the county developed by reason of railroad extension and otherwise, new towns sprang up and new banks were organized DuBois, the only city within the limits of the county, is a mere juvenile in years. The DuBois Deposit Bank was formed September 1st, 1880; the First National Bank of DuBois, August 1, 1883 and the Bank of DuBois some years later. The first named was in later years reorganized as the Deposit National Bank of DuBois and is one of the flourishing financial institutions of that city. The other two named discontinued business. Later, the Union Banking and Trust Company was formed and still later, the DuBois National Bank, both of which are prominent in the financial affairs of the county. The three institutions of that city have at the present time, deposits of about seven and a half millions of dollars. The Peoples State Bank of DuBois is a very recent organization which has yet to make its place in the business world.


     Houtzdale was the fourth town in the county to rise to

 

 

 

 

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the distinction of a banking town. The Houtzdale Bank began business there about January 1, 1881. As time moved on, banks were organized in the following towns: Coalport, the First National Bank; Mahaffey, the Mahaffey National Bank; Madera, the Madera National Bank; Winburne, the Bituminous National Bank; Irvona, the First National Bank; Burnside, the Burnside National Bank; Karthaus, the Karthaus State Bank; Morrisdale, Bank of Morrisdale. In the course of the years changes occurred in a number of the towns and several of the institutions. The First National Bank and the Clearfield County Bank retired from business in Clearfield and in their stead came the Clearfield National Bank, which began business in 1893; The Clearfield Trust Company, which began business in 1902. Lloyd Caldwell, Lawshe & Company retired from business in 1873 and later the Citizens Banking Company of Osceola Mills was organized. In after years it became the First National Bank of Osceola, which is still in business with an honorable record behind it. Later,the Peoples National Bank of Osceola Mills was organized. The First National Bank of Curwensville was succeeded by the Curwensville Bank, a private institution which was later reorganized as the Curwensville National Bank, which is still actively engaged in business. The Curwensville State Bank was also organized and is now doing business in that town. In Houtzdale there now exists The First National Bank and the Houtzdale Trust Company. Clearfield county now has twenty-two banking institutions, seven times the number which existed in October, 1865; and the deposits have increased one hundred-fold since that time to a present total of about thirty millions of dollars.


     If space permitted it would be interesting to the one who pens these notes to write of the pioneers in banking in Clearfield county, all of whom he remembers' and some of whom he knew well. To wit: John M. Adams, F. K. Arnold,

 

 

 

 

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Samuel Arnold, Jonathan Boynton, A. C. Finney, D. R. Good, James B. Graham, John Lawshe, James T. Leonard, John Patton, G. L. Reed, Richard Shaw and William A. Wallace.


THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD


     "The origin of the system to aid runaway slaves in these United States was in Columbia, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania. In 1787 Samuel Wright laid out that town and he set apart the northeastern portion for colored people.


     "Hundreds of manumitted slaves from Maryland and Virginia migrated there and built homes. This soon created a little city of colored people, and in due time formed a good hiding place for escaped slaves.


     "The term 'underground railroad' originated there in this way: At Columbia the runaway slave would be so thoroughly and completely lost to the pursuer, that the slave hunter in perfect astonishment, would frequently exclaim, 'There must be an underground railroad somewhere!' Of course there was no railroad. There was only at this place an organized system by white abolitionists to assist, clothe, feed and conduct fugitive slaves to Canada. This system consisted in changing the clothing, secreting and hiding the fugitive in daytime, and then carrying or directing him how to travel in the night-time to the next abolition station, where he would be cared for.


     "These stations existed from the Maryland line clear through to Canada. In those days the North was as a whole for, slavery and to be an abolitionist was to be reviled and persecuted, even by churches of nearly all denominations. A great aid to the ignorant fugitive was that every slave knew the "North Star." and further that if he followed it, he would eventually reach the land of freedom, Canada.


     "To William Wright, of Columbia,Pa., is due the credit of putting into practice the first underground 'railroad' for the freedom of slaves.' "—Knight's History of Northwestern Pa.

 

 

 

 

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     The Route Through Clearfield County. From Baltimore, Md., the route extended through the Quaker settlements in Center county and the Grampian Hills in Clearfield county, by way of the old state road through the "Wilderness" to Punxsutawney, and so on to Lake Erie and Canada. The Quakers and some Methodists and possibly those of other denominations helped the fugitives. There was also a station at Burnside on the route by way of Indiana. At the Burnside "station" there was a peculiarly ingenious arrangement for hiding the fugitive in a secret room built into Mr. Atcheson's house, when slave hunters came into the neighborhood. Mr. Atcheson lived to see the slavery he hated finally abolished.


     The Quakers "bore a testimony against slavery", so the early Quaker settlers of The Grampian Hills did all in their power to assist runaway slaves in their efforts to escape, often employing them on their farms in summer and helping them on their way, if pursued, to the next station which was the home of a Jefferson county Quaker, Isaac P. Carmault, who lived near Punxsutawney. His daughter Mrs. Lowry writes as follows: "The last slave that came to our house was after the insurrection at Harper's Ferry. He claimed to have been in the insurrection. He came with a colored man who lived near Grampian Hills, whose name was George Hartshorn. [George Hartshorn was a free negro who lived in the Grampian Hills among the Quakers. He was highly respected.]


     The slave was very nervous when he came and asked for a raw onion, which he said was good to quiet the nerves. He was also quite suspicious of Joe Walkup, who was working at our house at the time. He called him out and gave him his revolver, and told him he would rather he would blow his brains out than to inform on him, for if he was taken, he would certainly be hung. He left during the night for Brookville."

 

 

 

 

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     The Iddingses kept the "station" in Center county, and the Moores the principal one in the Grampian Hills, though others helped the runaways.


THE EFFECTS OF WARS ON THE COUNTY


     The World War. Nearly 2,000 men volunteered, and about 3,000 were inducted into the service by the three Exemption Boards, making in all around 5,000 from the county. The first men were sent in September 19, 1917. 188 men died in the service.


     The first registration was June 5, 1917. It included men from 21 to 31 years of age and aggregated 8,400, of whom three-fifths were foreign born and one-seventh aliens.


     The second registration, June 5, 1918, was of about 800 who had become 21 years old since the first registration date.


     The third registration, September 12, 1918, included ages 18 to 40, of whom there were 12,000. The total registrations totaled about 21,200.---From information received from John Bain, Secretary Clearfield Exemption Board.


     The effects of the World War at the time was stimulation of nearly every branch of industry in the county.


     Being a great mining county, there was a phenomenal development of mines both of coal and clay, many new mines being opened and old ones operated to capacity.


     The extension of electrical equipment to mines was rapid, so that electric lines were run over the county in every direction to operations, and also many smaller towns and farms were thus incidentally and suddenly put in reach of light and power. Soon there was work for everybody at high wages and the money thus put in circulation began to be spent lavishly by those who,never having had so much before, had little idea of how to use it for their own best interests.


     So an orgy of spending came about, extending from silk shirts at 6 to 15 dollars and ladies shoes up to $15 a pair, to automobiles and costly furs galore.

 

 

 

 

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     Farm products also rose, but not to the same extent as other articles, so that farmers were rather hard pressed, because owing to the higher wages and scarcity of labor, and through the loss of their own boys in other occupations, they were often unable to get their work done as it should have been done.


     In many ways the effects of the boom by the war was injurious, especially to the younger people and even to boys and girls.


     Young people, attracted by the allurement of lots of money to spend, failed to acquire the habit of saving and often acquired ways of profligacy and fast life that is now reacting upon them in many ways.


     Even boys and girls, seeing uneducated and unskilled people, and even themselves, able to get work of a common kind at unheard of wages, came to the hasty conclusion (sometimes seconded by unwise parents) that education was unnecessary any more and so often fell out of school to work. This is the saddest effect of all, because those who did this were likely to find later when the boom was over that their school days were over also, and they must always continue to be unskilled laborers, and at greatly reduced wages.


     As the years go on and the usual after war re-adjustments more fully occur, these bad effects seem likely to become more and more visible, as they are doing even now.


     The American Legion. John Lewis Shade Post No. 6, of Clearfield, Department of Penna., was organized in 1919. In 1924 it had 824 members.


     The George M. Dimeling property in Clearfield was purchased by the Legion for $35,000.00 and has been remodeled and made into a home for the Legion, and is a memorial to soldiers, sailors and marines of the county, of all wars.


     The American Legion Band of the John Lewis Shade Post is the pioneer American Legion Band of the United

 

 

 

 

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States and is in part made up of some members of the old 5th Regiment Band.


     The Legion takes special interest in keeping Memorial Day and in celebrating Independence Day.


     The Legion tries to get and to keep in touch with all soldiers and especially with soldiers of the World War.


     They are arranging to throw open the home to all soldiers.


     Other Wars. Each of the wars in which the United States has been engaged, from the Revolution on, has had its effect in Clearfield county. Many of the early settlers were Revolutionary soldiers, who with their families emigrated to the new country of the Alleghenys to make homes for themselves. The wonderful expansion of the United States at this time overflowed into and helped to develop our county.


     The War of 1812 brought at first a period of depression. The excitement of soldiers passing through to fight the British on and around Lake Erie has been noted. Later, the county experienced the business expansion and road building that followed it elsewhere in the United States.


     A very few men went as soldiers to the Mexican War, and political feeling was somewhat excited, many believing that it was, in the main, only an effort by one section of the country for the extension of slavery, to which a majority of the people of Clearfield county were opposed.


     In the Civil War many men from the county fought on the, side of the Union. There were at times hot political discussions on the proper policies for carrying on the war, as was the case in other parts of the country.


     The ranks of the numerous G. A. R. posts that were formed after the war are now sadly thinned, and only a few of these veterans are left.


     Though the first effects of the Civil War on industry in the county were depressing, there later came a period of won-

 

 

 

 

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derful activity in the lumber business which also brought a demand for farm produce of all kinds and for manufactured goods.


     This kept up until about eight years after the war when the panic of 1873 effected Clearfield county very much as it did other parts of the United States, that is it lessened industry and prices came down sharply.


     A comparatively few men went from Clearfield county to the Spanish-American War, and its effects were not so visible at the time upon the business of the county, though the coal industry was somewhat increased by it.


     Clearfield county in common with other parts of the country has experienced the three stages of each war's effect upon business: First depression, second expansion and a "boom", third a reaction and hard times. It might be well for our people to remember this and act accordingly. The evil after effects of war on the moral character of the young people, has been noticeable in our county, and especially so during and since the World War. The consequent loosening of moral restraint has shown its effect in the increase of lawbreaking of every kind.

 

 

 

   

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