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Clearfield County

 

Clearfield County Pennsylvania

Present and Past

 

by

Thomas Lincoln Wall

 

Chapter 15

 

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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 15

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CLEARFIELD COUNTY - PRESENT AND PAST


CHAPTER XV


County Organization At The Present Time

 

     Following is the list of County Officers, 1925:


     Court Officials. A. R. Chase, Judge of the Courts; Thomas J. Lowell, Sheriff; Harry E. Hummelsbaugh, Deputy Sheriff; Geo. W. Ralston, Prothonotary and Clerk of Quarter Sessions Court; D. R. Woolridge, Deputy Prothonotary; Milford Bratton, Register and Recorder; A. L. Edwards, District Attorney; H. B. Gaulin,Court Reporter;W. I. Curley, Court Crier; John P. Smith, Tipstaff.


     Other County Officers. Jesse E. Dale, T. R. Weimer, Blake W. McCracken, County Commissioners; L. C. Norris, County Clerk; Gertrude Rumberger, Treasurer; George Gallaher, Deputy Treasurer; A. G. Woodward, Controller; Ruth B. Spackman, Deputy Controller; Harry C. Conner, A. Y. Straw, Jury Commissioners; A. M. Liveright, County Solicitor; W. P. Trostle, Superintendent of Public Schools; B. C. High, D. A. Yingling, Assistant Superintendents; Dr. J. I. Pollum, Coroner; Carl A. Anderson, Desertion Probation Officer; Annie Koval, Interpreter; Samuel Toney, Interpreter; Aaron Crain, Sealer of Weights and Measures; Thomas Bauman, Superintendent of County Home; Charles L. Torrence, Parole Officer; Charles A. McDonald, Surveyor; Wm. McClure, Jail Warden.

 

 

 

 

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     Some of the cost of running the County, 1924; from the Controller's Report.


        Salaries and Wages:
     County Commissioners' Office $15,447.66
     Controller's Office 6,906.41
     Sheriff's Office 7,824.88
     District Attorney's Office 7,600.00
     Prothonotary's Office 7,896.14
     Register and Recorder's Office 11,098.39
     Other Miscellaneous Salaries 7,619.18
     Grand Total, Personal Services $64,392.66


        Some Other Expenses:
     Assessing taxable propety & registering voters $14,534.28
     Work on Roads, County 2,162.14
     Road Damages 3,730.65
     Road Views 1,561.77
     Repairing Bridges 10,272.94
     Soldiers' and Sailors' Relief 3,145.00
     Elections 15,300.80
     County Superintendent's Office Expenses 1,001.67
     Jury Expenses 18,619.50
     Expenses of Holding Court 26,655.52
     Cost of Extra Clerks—Copying 982.25
     Coroner's Fees and Witnesses 486.87
     The Law Library 750.00
     Court House Repairs 1,275.30
     Court House Supplies 384.83
     Court House Advertising 2,508.88
     Books and Records 1,558.50
     Fuel 719.58
     Light 1,010.76
     Water Rent 198.83

 

 

 

 

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        Some Other Expenses:—Continued
     Stationery for the Various Offices 1,744.77
     Telephone and Telegraph 1,065.17
     Juvenile Probation Expenses, handling 265 cases 885.71
     Desertion Probation expenses,handling 228 cases 636.23
     Huntingdon Reformatory Expense 1,275.68
     Glen Mills Reform School Expense 2,387.37
     Fairview Hospital for Criminal Insane 1,155.61


     There was a total of 423 different prisoners in the County Jail on 1924, of whom 203 were native Americans, and their boarding cost the county $9,555.15. Twenty-eight remained in Jail January 1, 1925. Two hundred nine, or nearly half of the prisoners, were in for violating the liqour [sic} law.


     Mothers' Assistance Fund. Fifty-nine mothers were on the pay roll in 1924. Two hundred nine children are cared for in their homes. These children are not only fed and clothed, but each home is carefully supervised. Every child is in school the entire term. Special care is given to the health and morals of the child.


     Since the organization of the Board 11 years ago, 119 mothers have received grants, and over 500 children have been kept in their homes. Clearfield county has 26 mothers on the waiting list. These 26 homes shelter in a very deplorable way 125 children. "The Mothers' Assistance Fund is the most economical, the most satisfactory way to care for our dependent children"—From report furnished by Miss Ruth Ettla, Executive Secretary for Trustees.


     The Care of the Poor by the County. There was $16,019.04 paid out in salaries and wages by the county for the care of the poor in 1924.


     In addition, $2395.00 was paid out to physicians and hospitals for services to those unable to pay for treatment and $23,669.28 was used for outside relief, that is for poor people

 

 

 

 

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who were not in the County Home, and who, with the aid of the help given, could live and keep their families together at home. Smallpox cost the tax payers of the county $2318.49.


     The County Home. The County Home was established December 30, 1895. It is located on a farm of 180 acres at the mouth of Clearfield Creek. The Home Building is three stories and is built of brick. There are barns and out-buildings completely outfitted for carrying on farming operations, at which the inmates who are capable assist according to their ability. There are a number of very old people in the County Home, for whom it is impossible to care for here as it should be done. A public or private institution for the aged is badly needed.


     During harvest time last year, Judge Chase released a number of prisoners from confinement in the County Jail at times sufficiently long to help get in the crops at the County Home. This is considered to be setting an excellent precedent as by this means money was saved the county, the crops were saved and it was much better for the prisoners than close confinement in jail.


     The total of County Home expense was $104.327.68


     It cost $28,955.24 to keep the insane in the State Insane Hospitals, and $8,492.77 to keep and care for children and others in schools, homes, etc., including $4,601.22 for the Clearfield Children's Home.


     The number of inmates in the County Home January 1st 1925 was 131, of whom 90 were men, 38 women and 3 children.


     There was one woman 98 years old, and 3 aged 87. There were 6 or more men over 80 years of age.


     In all there were 39 widowed, 15 married and 77 single, never married. There were 49 unable to read or write. There were 4 blind, 6 epileptic, 2 sick or infirm and 119 more or less feeble minded.

 

 

 

 

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     The average number supported daily in 1924 was 125 at a cost per day of 57 cents each.


     The steward gives the estimated value of products of farm, etc., as over $13,500.


     Present Court House. The present Court House was begun in 1860 on the site of the first one. During its building, Court was held in the old Methodist Church building on Cherry Street, between Second and Third Streets. The building was completed in 1862, but an addition was added in 1882-83. The whole cost has been between seventy-five and one hundred thousand dollars, including fire-proof filing cases. However, these are not sufficiently large to hold all the records, many of the old ones that it would be impossible to duplicate having to be stored in the attic.


     Later Jails. The second jail was built on the site later occupied by the Opera House Block, since burned. Three hundred dollars was paid for the land for this jail, which was of stone, two stories high, with the front fitted up for the sheriff's apartments. This ground has lately been sold for $67,500.


     The present County Jail was built in 1870-72 of sandstone. It was originally surrounded by a high stone wall, which has since been taken away. It is said to have cost nearly $100,000. It was considered to be quite up-to-date when built, but is dark and unsanitary in its construction, and from the present more humane point of view, should be replaced by something entirely different.


     First Court House. The first Court House was built by Robert Collins in 1814-15 for $3000. It was two stories, with court room on first floor and county offices on second floor. There was a cupola in which the bell was hung. This old bell has been kept to this time as a relic of the past.

 

 

 

 

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     First Jail. The first jail was built of hewed logs with a shingle roof and heavy wooden door. The windows had iron bars across to prevent the escape of prisoners. The jail was not built until some years after the erection of the Court House, as eves after the first holding of Court in the county, prisoners were confined in the Center county jail.


     Representation in the General Assembly and in Congress. W. I. Swoope is our present representative in congress. Alexander Irvin, elected in 1847, was the first member of congress ever elected from Clearfield county.


     At present the county is divided into two legislative districts and is represented in the legislature by Charles Jones and George W. Lukehart. The first representative from our county in the legislature was Martin Hoover.


     W. I. Betts represents the county in the State Senate.


     William Bigler was our first state senator from this county. He was also the only resident of the county ever elected governor of the state. This was in 1851.


     William Bigler was also the first resident of the county to be a United States senator. He was elected by the legislature in 1855, serving 6 years.


     William A. Wallace was also a United States senator, being elected in 1875 and serving 6 years.


     First Organization. The county of Clearfield was organized by act of the legislature passed March 26, 1804, and signed by Gov. Thomas McKean. It was formed from parts of Lycoming and Huntingdon counties. The part north and west of the river was taken from Lycoming, that south and east from Huntingdon. The boundaries have only been very slightly changed since that time—in 1823, 1843 and 1868. Jefferson, McKean, Potter, Tioga and Cambria counties were organized by the same act, and the Governor of the state was authorized to appoint three commissioners to run and mark

 

 

 

 

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the boundary lines of Jefferson, Clearfield and Cambria counties.


     The Governor was also authorized and required to appoint three trustees in each of these counties. These trustees were, as a part of their duties, to receive proposals for the donating of lands for the use of the authorities as a County seat. The county was by the same act, together with McKean county, "annexed to the county of Center and the jurisdiction of the several courts of the County of Center, and the authority of the judges thereof shall extend over and operate and be effectual within said counties of Clearfield and McKean."


     By acts of March 1805, it was declared that the jurisdiction of Justices of the Peace of Center county did not extend over this county in cases of debts or demands, also that the authority of the county officers of Center county should extend over and be effectual in Clearfield county, and further that the Commissioners, Treasurer and Recorder of Center county should keep separate books of the affairs of Clearfield county. In the Center county Recorder's book, now in the Register and Recorder's office at Clearfield, the first record is a mortgage of John Ferguson to Robert Giles, dated December 8, 1804. The first deed is of John Hanna to Abraham Elder, dated April 17, 1805, and recorded May 16, 1805.


     First Election District. By order of the Court of Quarter Sessions of Center county, in August 1804, Clearfield county was made an election district, the elections, by act of the legislature, to be held at the house of Benjamin Jordan, for the citizens who were "entitled to vote for members of the federal and state legislatures, sheriffs, commissioners and other county officers of Center county. The whole county was made one election district and was known as Chinklacamoose district. There is said to have been a riot at this first election between Whigs and Tories.

 

 

 

 

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     Selecting a Site for the County Seat. Governor Thomas McKean appointed Roland Curtin of Center county, John Fleming of Lycoming county and James Smith, county not mentioned, as commissioners to recommend a suitable location for the County Seat and report to the Secretary of the Commonwealth.


     They met at the house of Benjamin Patton in Bellefonte May 20, 1805, and received several proposals for locations.


     They then visited the county and examined the lands of Paul Clover at the mouth of Anderson Creek, and lands claimed by Samuel Boyd, colored, at the junction of Clearfield Creek and the West Branch, but found the title to those lands in dispute, also lands of Martin Hoover who lived near where Wright's Nursery is located, but Hoover thought his lands more valuable for farming purposes and would not part with them.


     "The site for the County Seat was finally fixed on the lands of Abraham Witmer, a resident of Lancaster, on the place where Clearfield now stands, and on which the Indian town of Chincleclamoose [Chinklacamoose] formerly stood."


     Donations by Abraham Witmer. "For the proposed buildings, Witmer donated one town lot for the court house, one for the jail, one for a market lot and three for an academy.


     "He also agreed to contribute three thousand dollars, one half of which was to be used in the erection of public buildings, and the other half for the academy or public school in said town. For the performance of this covenant or donation, Witmer made and executed a bond." All of this was reported to the Governor by the Commissioners, and being laid before the General Assembly was confirmed as follows:


     "The Commissioners appointed by this act fixed the place of holding the courts, etc., on the lands of Abraham Witmer, at Chingleglamousche, [Chinklacamoose] old town,

 

 

 

 

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on the West Branch of the Susquehanna, and the new town is now laid out and called Clearfield."


     The deed from Witmer for the lots was not executed until March 8, 1813, and in order to secure payment of the money donated, suit had finally to be entered and judgment on the bond enforced by court proceedings, later.


     First Enumeration of Taxables. "The total enumeration of taxables in the county, made after its organization, showed a total of one hundred and tour, of which sixteen were single freemen. There were returned for taxation 21,716 acres of land, seventy horses and one hundred and twenty cows, thirty-seven oxen, two grist mills and two saw mills."


     The counties of Lycoming, Center, Clearfield, McKean, Tioga and Potter, were found to have an aggregate of 4500 taxables, and were therefore entitled to one member of the State Senate. Center, Clearfield and McKean counties were, on the number of taxables returned, entitled to one member of the State House of Representatives."


     First Justices of the Peace. The first Justices of the Peace appointed and commissioned for Clearfield county were William Tate, January 1, 1806, and Arthur Bell, Hugh Hall and Thomas McClure, April 1, 1806.


     Division of District. In 1807 the township of Chinklacamoose was divided, and that part east and south of the west branch was formed into two townships, Bradford and Beccaria.


     First Election of County Commissioners. In 1812 the General Assembly passed a law, January 28th, providing that the electors of the county be authorized to choose commissioners at the ensuing election in October, and that the powers and authority of the Commissioners of Center county over Clearfield county cease and determine, except, however, the provision relating to the selection of jurors, in which case the commissioners of Center county still retained jurisdiction

 

 

 

 

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in this county. The first County Commissioners, chosen at the election in October, 1812, were Hugh Jordan, Samuel Fulton and Robert Maxwell. Clerk, Joseph Boone, appointed. Arthur Bell was appointed as the first County Treasurer.


     Complete County Organization. The limited or abridged organization of the county begun in 1804 and extended in 1812, was made full and complete by a law passed and approved January 29th, 1822, by which Clearfield county became entitled to all the rights and privileges of the other counties of the State, and authorizing courts to be held therein, the courts of Common Pleas, Quarter Sessions and such other courts as by law were authorized.


     First Court Held. All suits theretofore commenced in Center county were transferred to the Clearfield County Court, the first session of which was held October 21st, 1822. Honorable Francis W. Rawle and Moses Boggs were the judges present the first day. Samuel Fulton was Prothonotary and Clerk of the several Courts. Greenwood Bell was Sheriff of the County and Samuel Green was Deputy Attorney General, corresponding to the present office of District Attorney. The first petition presented to the court was for a road.


     Three licenses were granted to keep tavern, all in Clearfield. The next morning Honorable Charles Huston, President Judge of the Fourth Judicial District, appeared and took his seat as President Judge of the Court.


     The first term of court at which a grand and traverse juries were called was held in December 1822. They presented 6 true bills, 3 of which were for keeping "tippling houses" (drinking places) but in each of these cases the Deputy Attorney General entered Nolle Prosequi (unwilling to prosecute), which shows the easy attitude of even the Court and its offices at that time, toward indiscriminate liquor drinking.


     Alexander B. Read was appointed County Treasurer, December 19, 1822.

 

 

 

   

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