History of Lawrence County Pennsylvania, 1770 - 1877, by S.W. and P.A. Durant.
[p. 89] This was one of the original township of Lawrence county, its position being the southeast corner, on the east side of Slippery Rock creek. Owing to the creek being the boundary line, the township is somewhat triangular in shape.
The surface is generally very uneven, the hills rising to a height of several hundred feet above the waters of Slippery Rock, and the valleys between them are usually narrow.
The soil is generally fertile, and the different grains and fruits which the country produces are here grown are here grown in profusion. It is well known that throughout Western Pennsylvania the summits of the hills are almost equally fertile with the lands in the "bottoms." General Washington noticed the fact when on his tour to Fort Pitt and down the Ohio to the mouth of the Kanawha river, in 1770. He speaks of it as follows:
"The lands which I passed over to-day were generally hilly, and the growth chiefly white oak, but very good notwithstanding; and, what is extraordinary, and contrary to the property of all other lands I ever saw before, the hills are the richest lands, the soil upon the sides and summits of them being as black as a coal, and the growth walnut and cherry."
Those lands were in what is now Fayette county, Pa., in the region about Councilsville, on the Youghiogeny river, but the fact holds good in other portions of Western Pennsylvania as well.
The township is watered by numerous streams, most of which are branches of Slippery Rock creek. The most important of the smaller streams is Camp run, which flows in a southerly direction through the eastern portion of the township, and enters the Conoquenessing creek in Franklin township, Beaver county, Pa. This stream affords considerable power. It takes its name from the fact that the settlers along it had a great many "sugar camps," the "sugar trees" standing very thick in the valley. Hickory timber was also plenty, and the name "Hickory run" would have been just as applicable.
Along all the streams are rugged and precipitous banks, and in many places the scenery partakes of a wildness and grandeur beyond description. Along Slippery Rock creek the frowning bluffs rise to a height of four hundred feet, their sides covered with huge fragmentary masses of sand rock and a dense growth of hemlock. Away down below, the waters of the stream rush impetuously over a rocky bed, and occasionally foam and dash down a steep and narrow rapid, or tumble with angry commotion over a low ledge, each particular drop of water seemingly furiously struggling with its might to become first among its sisters whirling onward to the sea. In every spot along the Slippery Rock the scenery is delightful, and it is by no means necessary for the inhabitants of the land to go beyond its banks to find a grand culmination of nature's beauties. The gray old sandstone, with its mossy surface, occasionally shelving and forming a gloomy recess underneath, the rugged fragments, piled in reckless confusion, the somber hemlocks, and humbler though not less beautiful laurel, the occasional dripping brooklets, their waters falling carelessly over the rocky banks, the larger stream, with its swift rushing waters dashing madly down the deep and narrow gorge, combined, make a picture worthy the pencil or brush of the artist, and one that, once seen and appreciated, is not easily forgotten.
A large portion of the township, including a trip something over a mile wide along the Slippery Rock creek, has but a very few settlers, and in this region the timber yet shows much of its primitive beauty and luxuriance. As a whole the township is well timbered, having advantages over many others in that respect.
Much of the territory along Slippery Rock creek has been leased by oil companies, and a number of wells have been bored, not always resulting satisfactorily, however. The oil is of a fine lubricating quality, and always brings a good price in the market.
About 1863, Smith & Collins put down a well about two hundred feet deep, a quarter of a mile below the wells now operated by the New Castle Oil Company. This well produced about four thousand barrels, when it gave out, or rather was "drowned out." It has been leased by parties living at New Castle, and will possibly be cleaned out, and pumping again be commenced.
Before this well was sunk one had been bored in the middle of Slippery Rock creek, about twenty feet deep, but was not long used on account of being too much troubled with water.
After the Smith & Collins' well was sunk, a man named Lawrence bored one two hundred and thirty feet deep, which proved to be the best of all. It flowed and was pumped for some time at the rate of two hundred barrels per day, being for a time a "regular gusher." It yielded altogether some [p. 90] fifteen thousand barrels. It has not been worked for some time, but will be cleaned out and started again by interested parties.
A number of wells were put down after this, and one known as the "Anderson well" pumped from fifty to seventy-five barrels daily for some time.
At present (December 1876) there are three wells in operation, the "Barnes well," called now "Perseverance No. 4," yielded about ten barrels daily, and the other two producing together some thirteen barrels, making twenty-three barrels the daily production of the three wells.
New wells are talked of in the vicinity, and the general opinion among oil men is that the lubricating article exists here in paying quantities, and only awaits the sinking of wells by sanguine capitalists to prove its existence, and increase the value of property in the vicinity.
An Armstrong iron bridge, manufactured at New Brighton, Beaver county, Pa., was built across the creek, at the wells, about 1870, and is a strong, substantial structure.
Among the resources of Perry township, not the least is its coal. This article abounds throughout the township, and except where the vein approaches Slippery Rock creek, is of an exceedingly fine quality. The upper vein is worked principally, and averages about four feet in thickness, except as it approaches the creek, where it becomes thinner. It is worked in a number of places, and, besides the local supply, considerable is used at the oil wells and elsewhere.
Iron ore is also found, in quality very rich. It abounds in considerable quantities on the farm of James Aiken, and that neighborhood. Below the upper coal vein is a vein of fire-clay, averaging some three feet in thickness, and below that both bog and kidney ore are found.
Limestone also abounds, but owing to its lying next the iron, and being more or less impregnated with and gradually merged into it, is worth but little for burning, and is valueless for building purposes. Daniel Lutz and William Wimer own a quarry and kiln, and burn considerable. The stone is loose, round and flaky, and lies in thin strata. It is bluish-gray in color, and, in burning, considerable waste or "core" is left, which does not burn, and renders it necessary to use a large quantity of stone in order to procure much lime.
A large portion of the lands in Perry township are in what was known originally as the "Chew district." Benjamin Chew, of Philadelphia, had secured a tract of land in the southern part of what is now Lawrence county, including portions of Big Beaver, Wayne, Shenango, Slippery Rock and Perry townships. It was surveyed into four-hundred-acre tracts, and each settler on a tract was entitled to half for settling. The balance was sold at a small price and in quantities to suit purchasers. The Chew tract was four or five miles in width and some eight or ten miles in length.
When the territory in Western Pennsylvania was first surveyed, a body consisting of eight tracts of four hundred acres each--two tracts north and south, and four east and west--was put down on the surveyor's map as "depreciated lands," or lands not fit for settling. These became known as the "eight tracts," a name they still retain, and were located principally in the northern part of what is now Perry township. As these lands are equal, if not superior, to any in the township, it is possible that the surveyors, with an instinctive foreknowledge of the future value, reported them in the manner they did in order to deceive settlers, and sometimes settle on or speculate in the tracts themselves. But if such were their designs they were speedily frustrated when the settlers began to come in and choose those tracts first of all. It is a fact that the earliest settlements in the township were made on these same "depreciated land," and some of the best improvements to-day are in this locality.
About the year 1796 Matthew Murray settled on tract number four, two hundred acres, and was the first settler on the place. The old homestead is now owned by Daniel Thomas. Mr. Murray came from Maryland, with is wife and seven children. Five children were born after he made his settlement, the first one, Thomas, very soon after they came, said to have been the first white child born on Slippery Rock creek. Mr. Murray served in the Revolution, and was in the Light Horse under "Light Horse Harry Lee," while the latter was with General Francis Marion. Two of Mr. Murray's sons, Matthew and William, were out at Black Rock during the war of 1812, and two others, James and John, were with General Harrison, at Fort Meigs and vicinity. Matthew Murray, Sr., died in 1827; his wife died in 1812 or 1813.
During the years 1797 and 1798 a number of settlers came in, and after that the filling up of the township proceeded more rapidly.
James Stewart, Robert Young, William Scott, Thomas and Marvin Christy, and Robert Stewart, came during the two years above mentioned, and settled in the same neighborhood. The Christys and Robert Stewart settled just across in Butler county, and the others in what is now Perry township, Lawrence county.
James Stewart came in 1798. He was originally from what was then Adams county, Pa., and for a while stopped in the valley of Pigeon creek, Washington county. When he came to Lawrence county he located on a farm in the northern part of Perry township. His son, Matthew Stewart, owns the old homestead, but does not live upon it. Mr. Stewart was a tall, athletic man, and could stand and jump over "anything he could lay his chin over." His father, Matthew Stewart, had served in the Revolutionary war, and though not as tall as his son, was fully as active, and very quick. He is said to have run and jumped over a covered-wagon while in the army during the Revolution. James Stewart's daughter, Joanna, born April 24, 1801, is the wife of Wm. Gealey, Sr., now living in Plain Grove township, Lawrence county.
Robert Young was from Ireland, and he and William Scott made a settlement on the same tract. For a long time there was considerable strife between them as to which one the tract belonged. They finally settled the disputed by dividing the tract, and afterwards lived amicably as neighbors. Young had made improvements near the center of the tract, and when the division was made, Scott took a strip off each side in order to allow Young to keep his improvements.
William Scott's oldest son, John, served in the war of 1812.
A peddler, named John Fulton, came in 1797, and settled on the east side of Slippery Rock creek, at the spot where the stream is crossed by what is known as "Harris' Ford." Fulton was in some way connected with the Harris family, from whom the ford derives its name.
James Stewart, a different personage from the man already mentioned, came from Peter's Creek, Allegheny county, Pa., and settled on the farm now owned by Andrew Powell, in 1796 or 1797. He came with his father and mother. His father, John Stewart, served in the Continental army during the Revolutionary war, and fought in the battle of Brandywine, September 11, 1777, the battle resulting in the British army making a triumphant entry into the city of Philadelphia. James Stewart was not married when he came with his parents, but some time previous to the war of 1812 he married Nancy Morrison, whose parents lived on Camp run. John Stewart lived a number of years after the settlement, and died aged over seventy years. James Stewart served as captain in the war of 1812. He was a great hunter, and took extreme delight in the sports of the chase. He had a rifle which he called "Old Danger," which carried a ball weighing nearly an ounce.
A man named Hawkins was the original settler of the farm afterwards owned by Andrew Elliott, and now by William Curry, of Pittsburgh. Hawkins must have been out previous to the year 1800. He made the first improvements on the place, sold it to Elliott, and left the country before 1812. Mr. Elliott located on the place the 2d day of May, 1807, and in 1812 taught school in a log school-house which was built on his place. The original tract, as settled by Hawkins, consisted of two hundred acres.
Among the first settlers in the southern portion of the township were Charles Dobbs, William Morton, and others, who located along the line at present dividing the counties of Beaver and Lawrence.
Job Randolph settled on Camp run about 1805. He was at that time a young man, and was married after he came to the township. He, with his parents, when but eight years of age, came from near Princeton, New Jersey, the family settling first in Washington county, Pa., and afterwards removing to Beaver, now Lawrence county. John Randolph, a son of Job Randolph, is now living at Princeton, in Slippery Rock township, Lawrence county. This son laid out the town of Princeton, naming it after the old dwelling-place of the family. John Randolph was one of the first commissioners of Lawrence county.
Some time previous to the war of 1812-15, probably about 1810, Amos Pyle came with his family from Peter's Creek Valley, Allegheny county, Pa. The family consisted of himself, his wife and six children, and four more children were born after his settlement, making ten in all. Mr. Pyle had been here about 1807-8, and made some improvements on the place, and also built a saw-mill on Camp run. After he brought his family, he built a log grist-mill on the run, on the site of the present mill owned by Caleb Pyle. Mr. Pyle's brother, Caleb Pyle, Sr., came with him, and served as a lieutenant in the war of 1812. The Pyles were originally from England, and settled first in Chester county, Pa. When they came to their new home on Camp run, "wolves, bears and rattlesnakes were plenty," and though the [p. 91] date of their arrival was some time after the country around them was first settled, the dangers of living in the western forests were but little lessened and it behooved the settler to keep sharp watch and ward over his family, lest some prowling wild beast might make a sad inroad among them, or some lurking reptile cut off one of their number by striking with his poisonous fangs.
Amos Pyle's wife was an eye-witness of the battle of Bunker Hill, and her father, William Wright, was in the ranks of the Americans that day, fighting manfully for "Liberty and Independence."
Edward White came early to the township, and settled on a four-hundred acre tract. White built a couple of small cabins and barns, all of logs, on the tract, and then left it. A colored man named Caesar Mercy then got a man named Sturgeon, living in Pittsburgh, to go and make further and better improvements. White returned and tried to hold the place by virtue of the improvements he had made, but Mercy's (or Sturgeon's) improvements were superior, and White had no show for at least a part of the tract.
In 1825 John Weller purchased two hundred acres of Mr. Sturgeon, and located on the land. The balance of the four-hundred-acre tract is now owned by George H. Magee, William Weller, James Brandon and J. H. Mitchell; the latter party lived in Philadelphia, and on breaking out of the oil excitement, purchased a small piece of ground, intending to bore for oil, but his purpose was never carried out.
George H. Magee, owning a part of this tract, came to the township about 1837, and purchased two hundred acres of Robert Aiken, locating and living upon it ever since. He had previously lived on the Conoquenessing creek, in Butler county.
Robert Aiken came from the Youghiogheny valley, seven miles above McKeesport, in April, 1804. He brought four children with him, three boys and one girl, and purchasing land of Edward White, located upon it, near where the present residence of George H. Magee stands. Mr. Aiken raised four children after he came to the township, viz.: Robert, Margaret, John and Eliza Jane; Robert was born in 1806. The other children were Ann, born in 1798, at the old home on the "Yough;" James, Andrew and William. Mrs. Aiken died in 1835, aged sixty-six years, and Mr. Aiken in 1850, at the age of eighty.
Jacob Van Gorder came from New Jersey about 1806, and settled on Slippery Rock creek, on a farm now owned by his sons. He built a saw-mill some time after he came, and some time between 1845 and 1850 erected a grist-mill, still standing and operated by his sons, who also have a saw-mill, shingle-mill, &c. The land in the neighborhood is all in the "Chew district."
Elias Van Gorder, brother to Jacob, came in 1808, and settled on a farm now owned by Smith, Collins & Co., a Philadelphia firm. He bought the land of a man named Neely. It was originally settled by one Pearsol, or Kirkendoll, or some such name. Elias Van Gorder brought three or four children with him. He went to Erie in Captain James Kildoo's company, during the war of 1812, and died there. This company was raised in the neighborhood, and had members from Perry, Slippery Rock, Wayne, and other townships, and probably some from Butler county.
The first road in the township was one which was intended to run through to old Harmony village, in Butler county. Its route was from the spot where the iron bridge at the oil well now stands, through the old Freeman farm, at the Butler county line, thence on to Harmony. It was cut through Perry township to the county line, but was never met from the other side, and consequently never finished. Trade went in those days almost exclusively to Harmony, and when a road was opened it was well traveled, but finally business took a start in New Castle, and was pushed so briskly that Harmony lost much of its custom, which went to New Castle, and the old road grew up to brush.
A petition was afterwards circulated for a State road, which was finally viewed from New Castle to Zelienople, Butler county, and partially cut through, on a part of the same track the old road followed.
Another State road was located on nearly the same line, varying a little from it in some places, but a petition was got up, and the road annulled and vacated, and the road laid which now runs from the oil-works down along the hollow, up the hill past J. H. Van Gorder's residence and the site of the old Covenanter Church, and on to Zelienople.
The Wurtemburg and Portersville State road was laid out about the time the county of Lawrence was created, 1849-50.
Matthew Stewart built a grist-mill on the "run" which flowed through his farm, very early, and a road was laid south and southwest from it, probably intended to go through to Beaver town. Part of the road is still in the "Eight Tract settlement." The old mill contained one run of stone, and succumbed to the ravages of time many years ago.
From the foregoing paragraphs it will easily be seen that the patriotism of the settlers was of that quality which is up and doing at the scent of danger. The early comers to the township had among their number several veterans of the Revolution--those who fought to keep alive the spark of that liberty which had been so boldly asserted as the rightful possession of the colonists--and their children roused themselves to action, and preserved the honor of their country and fame of their sires when the foot of the usurper was the second time placed upon the necks of the still struggling offspring of liberty. The region operated in by Generals Harrison, Scott and others bears silent witness to the heroism and patriotic ardor of the "Sons of Freedom," and the country has remembered her children who sprang to her defence in that hour of need.
After the war of 1812-15 was over, and peace once more "spread her wings 'neath the banner of stars," militia organizations and volunteer rifle companies were kept up for several years.
About 1820, a rifle company called the "Rifle Hornets," or Hornet Rifles," was organized under the law which exempted the members from further military duty after a continuous service of seven years. The company had a membership of from forty to fifty men, armed with common rifles, each furnishing his own uniform and arms. The uniform was a blue capote, or frock, with red facings and white fringes, red sash, citizen's hat with white plume and pants. Alexander Morrison and J. H. Van Gorder were at one time officers of this company, the former ranking as captain and the latter second-lieutenant. The company was made up of men from the immediate vicinity.
During the war of the rebellion the township was largely represented, her sons going forth to do battle with the country's worst enemy, a civil one--an enemy whose force was made up of children of men who distinguished themselves in the Revolution, the second war with Great Britain, the Seminole war in Florida, and the war with Mexico, children who disgraced the proud escutcheon of their forefathers, and struck with venomous malignity at the roots that government to which they owed their all. In this war of a nation's children--a war between brothers--many who entered the service from Perry were maimed for life, and others await to-day the final trump from the grassy graves on Southern fields, where they shall gather once more with the dear ones who mourn them.
On old Virginia's sacred soil;
On Carolina's storied ground;
By Georgia's frowning mountain walls,
Which one the camp-fires lighted round;
On Lookout's hoary, cloud-capped crest,
And by the waves of Tennessee,
Where sleep the nation's noblest, best,
Who died to set their country free;
In Alabama's sunny clime
And Louisiana's tropic groves,
Where, in the far off, ancient time,
Opposing hosts with valor strove;
By Vicksburg hills and dark Yazoo,
Whose banks with battle-echoes rung;
In canebrake and by deep bayou;
The dreary cypress-swamps among;
On every spot o'er all the land
We celebrate in martial song.
And where the mighty, glorious, grand
Old Mississippi rolls along,
The valiant ranks of patriot dead,
Who in the bloody conflict fell,
And lying lowly--hushed their tread
And, while their noble deeds we tell,
Let each receive a tribute just;
From one and all a heart-felt tear
To mingle with their sacred dust,
And tell them they're remembered here.
They sacrificed their lives to win
A line on Fame's eternal scroll,
And aye their record bright shall shine
Resplendent from their martyr's goal.
In the Fall of 1805 a school-house was built of round logs just across the line in Beaver county, on land owned by William Thompson. This was the first school-house in the neighborhood, but owing to some dispute it was burned down before it was occupied.
Another one was built immediately on the same site, also of round logs, and stood for a number of years. The first teacher was John Ker (or Kerr), who was living on the Sturgeon place with his mother, and owned no land. He was of Irish descent, and was not very popular, though a good-[p. 92] hearted man. Owing to the scarcity of teachers he was welcomed, however. His greatest fault was gross mis-pronunciation.
A school-house was built about 1812, on land now owned by William Curry, of Pittsburgh, then owned by Andrew Elliott, who was the first teacher in the building. The settlers in the neighborhood had two sites picked out for the location of the school-house, and it was agreed among them that the one that had the most pupils subscribed should be the place to build it. Robert Aiken settled the matter when it came his turn to subscribe, by putting down five pupils for the Elliott location, and there the school-house was built. The children who attended this school were dressed in blue linsey, and were familiarly called the "Eight-tracts Blues." Mr. Aiken was a good as his word, and sent five children.
Some time previous to the year 1808 a house was built on land now owned by Samuel McElwain. It was built for a dwelling, and used for school purposes about 1809-10. The first teacher was an Irishman named Samuel Sterrett, who lived where James Smith now lives. School was only kept in this building two or three terms.
At an early date a school-house was built on the west side of Camp run, in the southern part of the township. A man named John Hines was probably the first teacher.
Another one was built of logs on the old Robert White farm. This was later, about 1825-26. James H. VanGorder taught in it six months, and others taught both before and after him. It was used until 1834, when the law establishing free-schools was passed, and it was abandoned.
After the school-law came in force, school-houses were built twenty feet square, the first one being north of the old James Morton farm. Teachers at that time were scarce, and but few of them were competent, and people hired what they could get, from sheer necessity.
The second house under the school-law was built about 1836-37, on the State road leading from Wurtemburg to Portersville, about two and one-half miles from Wurtemburg. It was built "on the bounds of the road," and no land was leased or bought upon which to erect it.
The next one built on the Armstrong farm, but was moved to a more central location, on the Andrew Elliott land, where the present school-house stands. The house is now known as the "Elliott school-house."
Another was built on the southeast side of the creek, at Wurtemburg, one on Camp run, and another in the northeast part of the township.
In 1875 there were five schools in the township, with an enrolement [sic] of two hundred and two children of school age, of whom one hundred and eight were males, and ninety-four females. The average attendance for the same year was one hundred and forty-nine.
Four of the school-houses are new frame structures, about thirty by forty feet in dimensions, and warm and commodious. Two more will probably soon be built, after which the township will have no reason to be ashamed of its school facilities.
Mountville United Presbyterian Church was organized as an Associate or Seceder Church, in 1808 or 1810. Rev. Mr. McClintock probably organized it, as he had preached in the neighborhood as early as 1798, and was instrumental in effecting the reconciliation between Robert Young and William Scott, mentioned in a preceding paragraph. After this, Associate Reformed preachers occasionally held forth in the neighborhood also, and the early meetings were held at private houses--a Mr. Young's, Mr. Scott's and other places, and, during warm weather, in barns.
Among the founders of the Associate congregation were Robert Young, William Scott, Thomas Christy, Robert Aiken, John Frew, Job Randolph, James Stewart and James Vance, who were all pioneers in the settlement of the neighborhood.
About 1810 a small church was built of round logs, on land now owned by Daniel Thomas, which was the farm next adjoining the John Fulton place. A small graveyard is located near the spot, on what was the Fulton property, but only has three or four persons buried in it.
The log church was used until 1822, when a frame church was built near where the present one stands. This last building was erected in 1840, and stands on the hill west of the residence of James Aiken. The ground was donated by Robert Aiken, including four acres. About five acres are now owned by the society, they having purchased additional ground for burial purposes, &c.
As before stated, Mr. McClintock preached the first sermon, but was never settled as pastor. The first settled pastor was Rev. Alexander Murray, who preached as early as 1809, but was probably not settled until a later date. Mr. McClintock possibly preached a few times in the old log church, as an assistant to Mr. Murray. The latter preached to the congregation until 1845, when he died, in the thirty-seventh year of his ministry. He was buried in the present graveyard.
After Mr. Murray died, the church was supplied by different ministers, until Rev. Joseph McClintock was settled, which was in 1847-48. He staid nine years, and after him came Rev. Andrew Irons, who became unable to preach soon after he was settled, through failing health. Mr. Irons came in the Spring or Summer of 1857, and after his health failed, had the church supplied for a while out of his own wages. He died near the close of December, 1863, and was buried December 31st of that year, the day preceding the memorable "cold New Year's day."
Rev. John Donaldson was the next pastor; he came in June, 1865, and ceased his labors with the congregation in 1869. After this the church was supplied until the Summer of 1874, when Rev. John Patterson was called and is the present pastor. The church is flourishing under his charge, and he is much respected by his congregation. Mr. Patterson was installed over a new congregation called "Camp Run," formed from portions of Mountville and Wurtemburg congregations; they built a church, a frame structure, in 1874. It stands two miles below Pyle's grist-mill. Before it was finished, Mr. Patterson preached in an old-fashioned "tent" for a while. The congregation was organized with over fifty members.
In Mountville Church the membership is something over one hundred, being about as large as it was before the Camp Run congregation was organized.
A Sabbath-school was started in Mountville Church very early, and has been kept up most of the time. It is now in a better condition under Mr. Patterson's administration than it ever was before. The church was named "Mountville" by Rev. Alexander Murray, soon after it was built. It had previously been known as the "Eight Tracts Church."
About 1840 a Covenanter or Reformed Presbyterian Church was built near the present residence of J. H. Van Gorder. It has a frame building, and was finally abandoned. In 1875 it was removed. The first pastor of the church was probably Rev. Thomas Guthrie. In 1859 this congregation removed to Wurtemburg, in Wayne township, and organized as a United Presbyterian Society, which is still continued under the pastoral charge of Rev. John D. Glenn. Their church, a large frame structure, was built in 1860, and stands on the hill west of the town of Wurtemburg.
A glance at the progress of the country, from the advent of the pioneer to the present day, will well repay all who choose to contemplate the numerous and wonderful changes.
The "settler" in the wilderness came with his worldly goods "packed" on horseback across the mountains, fording streams and running imminent risk of his life and the lives of those dear to him. Life in the backwoods cabin was dull of danger; wild animals prowled through the forest; dangerous reptiles basked in by-places ready to strike an intruder; neighbors were miles away; the provisions for the use of the family were largely supplied by the rifle of the hunter, and hardships and trials were manifold. With the filling up and clearing of the country, new improvements were introduced, and gradually but surely the development of the region has progressed to the present.
The first "grubbing" was done with an old-fashioned "hilling hoe." The country included in a portion of Perry township was a kind of flat, or "bench," covered with a thick, scrubby growth of hazel, plum, &c. The land had probably been cleared up by the Indians long before the whites came in. For many years carriages were unknown, and but few wagons were brought in, and those of the "Dearborn" pattern.
After a time distilleries were built in many localities, and "whisky flowed free as water." These old times, and old institutions and implements, are replaced by newer and better ones, and the present teems with the intelligence and spirit incident to the rapid advancement of the country.
Moses Matheny built a grist-mill on the south side of Slippery Rock creek some forty years ago, and it was afterwards sold to a man named Taylor, who converted it into a woolen mill. Taylor sold out to Joseph Hyde, Esq., and Hyde sold to A. F. Schweinsberg. Schweinsberg kept it for some time, and it finally became the property of Amos Pyle. No work has been done in it since Schweinsberg owned it. It is a frame building of considerable size.
Part of the village of Wurtemburg lies in Perry township, and the post-office has, at different times, been kept on this side also, but is now in that portion of the village which lies in Wayne township. Some fine residences and one store are located in "South Wurtemburg."
[p. 93] The bluff on the south side of Slippery Rock creek, at the bend opposite Wurtemburg, is three hundred and ninety feet high, and very steep. It is told that a blind horse once fell over the top and rolled to the bottom, bringing up safe and sound, but probably somewhat bewildered.
From the 1770 - 1877 History of Lawrence County by S. W. and P. A. DURANT.
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Updated: 21 Mar 2001, 11:42