History of Lawrence County Pennsylvania, 1770 - 1877, by S.W. and P.A. Durant.
[p. 97] This township was erected at the same time with the county, the territory embraced in it having formerly been a part of Mahoning township, which was erected from old Pymatuning township when it was yet in Mercer county, sometime between the third Monday of November, 1805, and the third Monday of February, 1806. It has an area of about nineteen thousand acres, being one of the larger townships of the county. Its surface is much more level than that of the greater part of the county, and the soil is rich and productive. The improvements throughout the township are excellent, and evidences of prosperity are seen among its inhabitants on ever hand. The fine dwellings, huge barns, thrifty orchards, and well-kept fences and fields, are all found in abundance, and where so many improvements are shown there can be naught but prosperous citizens.
The township is watered by several streams, the largest being the Shenango river, along the east bank of which the bed of the old Erie Extension of the Pennsylvania canal is seen, and along whose west bank is laid the track of the Erie and Pittsburgh railway. The smaller streams are Deer creek, a branch of the Shenango, Coffee run, a branch of the Mahoning, and a number of other tributaries. On the Shenango and Deer creek there is considerable water-power, and the old canal, when running, also furnished power.
The township contains the villages of New Bedford and Pulaski, and the small settlement called Freedom, or Marr.
The mineral resources are considerable, but at present are little utilized.
James McCready settled about three miles southeast of Pulaski, about 1801, on the farm now owned by Mr. Cook. His son William came to Pulaski village in 1838.
Andrew Marquis came with his father Samuel Marquis, from Washington county, Pa., and settled in (probably) East Lackawannock township, Mercer county, about 1800. He bought a farm east of Pulaski village, and came to it in 1814-15. The place is now (January, 1877) occupied by his son, John Marquis.
Joshua Bentley came from Pittsburgh in 1798, and settled two hundred and fifty-nine acres, the old homestead now owned by Samuel English. Mr. Bentley built a log cabin, cleared a small piece of ground, and put in some grain, after which he went back to Pittsburgh and married, and brought his wife back with him in 1800. In 1801 he built a larger log house and moved into it, and during the same year his oldest child, John, was born.
At nearly the same time, William Cotton, George Davis, Isaac Phillips, George Walker, James McCready, Hugh McKean, John Mitchell and others came, and settled in the same neighborhood.
John Summerville settled early in the southern part of the township, on the west side of the Shenango.
Nathaniel Porter came from Chester county, Pa., in August, 1796, with James McWilliams, who was one of a party that came out in 1793. McWilliams' place was in what is now Mahoning township. Newton Porter now lives on the old Nathaniel Porter place, which originally included two hundred and ninety acres of "population land." Mr. Porter was but eighteen years of age when he came. That season (1796) he made improvements of the place, and went back after his parents and brothers and sisters, whom he brought out in 1797. Mr. McWilliams, after being out in 1793, and making improvements, went back, and returned with his family in 1796, at the same time young Peter came.
About 1797-9 Robert Black came from Cannonsburg, Washington county, Pa., and settled the tract where the Deer Creek United Presbyterian Church now stands. His house stood very near the spot now occupied by the church. He "squatted" on the place, and built a blacksmith shop, in which he worked. He one day fell in the fire and burned his arm so badly that it became necessary to amputate it. After that he was extremely unfortunate and died poor. The land on which he squatted was owned by a man named Bell, who settled the place. It happened that the lot on which the church afterwards stood was part of a vacancy, though probably the fact was not known to Bell when he donated the lot for church purposes. It caused trouble afterwards.
John Mitchell and his daughter, Naomi Mitchell, afterward Mrs. George McWilliams, settled probably three hundred acres on the west side of the Shenango, about 1796, including the farms now owned by the heirs of Samuel Satterfield and Robert McLanahan. The farms lie one mile below Pulaski village. The one now owned by Mr. McLanahan is the old homestead of Walter Oliver, who located upon it in 1817. Mr. Oliver was a prominent man in the county of Mercer during his life. He died in August, 1839. His daughter, Elizabeth Oliver, became the wife of Samuel Satterfield, a son of Rev. James Satterfield, who was one of the first preachers in the region. Mrs. Satterfield is now living upon a portion of the old Mitchell farm.
James Neal came from Comberland [sic] county, Pa., to Washington county, where he lived a short time, and from there he came, in 1797, to Pulaski township, Lawrence county, and settled a four-hundred-acre tract, where his nephew, Alexander Neal, now lives. Alexander Neal came in 1800, and finally became the owner of the place his uncle had settled, and is now living upon it, at an advanced age. Mr. Neal was in his younger days a great hunter, and many are the yarns he can spin of adventures in the forest with bears and deer. These animals are now driven from the country, and Mr. Neal is old and feeble, and yet his eye sparkles as one of yore when telling thrilling stories of his younger days to his eager listeners.
Daniel Ault settled, about 1797, on the farm afterwards owned by Richard Amon. About 1798 he built a small log grist-mill on Deer creek. It contained one run of stone, and was afterwards bought by Richard Amon and Frederick Shuce, who operated it a number of years, when it was abandoned and allowed to fall to pieces. Shuce attended principally to the milling. Ault, after selling out to these men, built another log mill on the Shenango, just opposite where Pulaski village now stands. He afterwards built one on the Piper farm, above Pulaski, on a small run flowing through it, and finally removed to New Castle, since which time he has been lost sight of.
Richard Amon and Frederick Shuce came to the township in the neighborhood of 1800. Shuce afterwards removed to a place near Hubbard, Ohio, where he died. Amon kept the old Ault farm. It is now cut up into several pieces, belonging to different parties.
John Gealey came sometime previous to 1812, and bought land of James Black, who had settled it. Mr. Black afterwards removed to Ohio. After Mr. Gealey purchased the place he built a stone house, which is still standing. The old house and farm are now owned by Henry Grundy. The place is located a mile northeast of the town of New Bedford, on the road leading to Pulaski.
James Walker came originally from Ireland--probably County Antrim. He was born September 12th, 1770, and came to America in 1774 with his father, who was a weaver by trade. The family settled in Washington county, Pa., sometime between 1774 and 1776, near what was then called [p. 98] Racoon. In 1792, James Walker was a member of several scouting parties against the Indians. Some of the family were also concerned in the whisky rebellion.
In March, 1797, James Walker procured a horse, fastened a small bell to it, filled some sacks with provisions, and, with a few cooking-utensils and his rifle, made his way into the wilderness, which then lay to the northwest of the present site of New Castle. After numerous hardships, known only to the pioneer, Mr. Walker settled on a four-hundred-acre tract on the west side of the Shenango, in Pulaski township, the old homestead now owned by Ambrose Byers.
After about 1802-3, Mr. Walker taught school off and on in the neighborhood until 1829. He was married in 1794, in Washington county, and probably went back in 1798, after he made his settlement, and brought out his wife and child. He had four children by his first wife, who died within a few years after he came to the township. One of his sons, Robert, afterwards studied medicine and went South, where he became wealthy.
After the death of his first wife, Mr. Walker married again, May 17th, 1808, and by this wife had seven children.
In 1814, Mr. Walker purchased a farm on which his son, William W. Walker, now lives. He also lived for a while near New Bedford. All the schools he taught were in his own neighborhood, and he boarded at home. He was admitted by all to be the best teacher the early schools ever had, doing much by his own example to inculcate the principles of honesty and morality in his pupils. He was highly esteemed by all who knew him, and his only fault, if such it can be called, was in working altogether for others, and thinking too little of himself. Was originally an orthodox member of the Presbyterian Church, but as age came over him, experience taught him many things which strict orthodoxy would not countenance. He was, during the earlier days of his life in the county, a member of the Presbyterian Session, and a prominent man among all classes. He was an early adherent to the principles of temperance and anti-slavery, and as early as 1833, came out strong in his belief that slavery should immediately be abolished. At that time, for a man to hold such views, was to voluntarily ruin his prospects, yet with his steadfast ideas of right and justice, Mr. Walker held to his views, regardless of consequences. He was four times elected Auditor of Mercer county. He drafted the constitution of the old Hopewell Presbyterian Church at New Bedford, and was an elder in the church for thirty-five years--was one of its first elders, and was closely identified with it until the anti-slavery excitement culminated--in January, 1844--in a division of the church and a formation of the Free Presbyterian Church, which was organized under the seceding pastor, Rev. John Knox. Mr. Walker also joined the new congregation, and remained with it for two years, when, on account of some of its maneuverings displeased him, he withdrew from it, and afterwards was not connected with any church. He died June 1st, 1855, aged nearly eighty-five years. In his day he had been a great hunter, and like the Blacks, Neals, and others, loved to relate his exploits of the chase.
Mr. Walker's elder brother, Robert, came some time after he had settled, and located on the farm now owned by the heirs of William McClung. Robert Walker died at the age of ninety-three years.
The patent for the farm where Wm. W. Walker now lives, together with that of John Neal, was taken out April 9, 1825. Another man named Neal settled first on the place, but was not the man who patented it. John Neal sold his part to William Waugh, August 18th, 1825, and Waugh sold it to John Shields, January 17th, 1826. Mr. Shields had then been on the place three years, or since 1823. The farm consisted of one hundred acres, with allowances. Mr. Shields was from Beaver county, Pa.
Freedom, or Marr post-office, was established about 1854, and an office kept up for a while with Cowden Murdock as the first and only postmaster. The office existed seven or eight years. The place is called "Frizzleburg," and has other euphonious titles.
John and Wallace McCosky and William Sheriff were early settlers in the township, but not among the first. They came about 1812.
James Stevenson located in the southwest corner of Mercer county in 1806, coming from Chester county, Pennsylvania, and originally from Ireland. He came to America previous to the Revolution, and served during that war. After he arrived in Mercer county, he remained two years, and then removed to Poland, Mahoning county, Ohio, where he died in 1834, in his eighty-fifth year.
His son, E. M. Stevenson, is now living on a farm north of New Bedford, in Pulaski township, Lawrence county, Pa., where he has resided since the Fall of 1831. He was born the year of the "big eclipse," 1806. His farm is on land belonging to the "Bedford claim."
William Lockhart, living in the southwest part of the township, on the west side of the Shenango, with O. C. Lockhart, Esq., was an early settler in the neighborhood.
Richard Van Fleet was originally from New Jersey, and, after going to Northumberland county, Pa., and helping his newly-married brother build and clear, he went to Washington county and lived for some time. In 1798 he came to the present limits of Mercer county, and in the latter part of 1799, settled on the farm now partly owned by David Van Fleet. On Christmas day, 1798, Mr. Van Fleet got a cabin raised, and then went back to Washington county, and brought out his sister, Mrs. Hannah Burwell, who was a widow. She kept house for him until some time in the year 1800, when he was married to Sarah Hogue, who was living with her mother and two brothers, on the farm now owned by James Burrows.
Phebe Van Fleet, their first child, was born in 1801. Twelve children were born to them altogether. They lived for eight or ten years within the bounds of what is now Mercer county, and then built a cabin on the south side of the farm, now in Lawrence county, near the Pulaski and Youngstown road. Nine of the children are now living--six girls and three boys, and three of the boys are dead.
William Van Fleet, the second child, born December 20, 1803, is now living in New Bedford, and the oldest child, Phebe, lives with her brothers, George W. and David, on the old farm, in the old house their father built in Lawrence county. Richard Van Fleet died in 1850, aged eighty years.
Francis McFarlane was one of the company of forty-five men who came out to locate claims and make improvements in 1793*. He settled first in Mahoning township, but about 1803 put another man on the place he had located upon, and came to Pulaski township, settling the farm now owned by his son, J. C. McFarlane. He entered this farm about 1796, and placed a man named Samuel Phips upon it to hold it. Mr. McFarlane was the only one of the company that came out in 1793, who finally settled in what is now Pulaski township. He had three children when he came, and eleven were born afterwards.
*See Mahoning township for history of this party.
The settlers of 1793 were occasionally frightened away for a short time by the Indians, but were never harmed by them. Isaac McFarlane had been adopted by an old Indian squaw, whose son was supposed to have been killed by Wayne's army. The son returned, however, but McFarlane and his companions "found favor" in the eyes of the Indians, owing to the adoption, and were always treated kindly by them.
John McFarlane probably came out a few years after the others.
Francis McFarlane and James Murray were captains during the Indian troubles which General Wayne finally put an end to. These men had charge of companies who were kept under arms to protect the frontier posts. They were called "minute men," and served out three commissions each from the Governor of Pennsylvania before the Indian troubles were ended. Two of McFarlane's brothers, James and Andrew, served during the Revolutionary war, and James was afterwards killed during the whisky insurrection in Western Pennsylvania. In the possession of I. C. McFarlane is an old sword-blade which was used by his uncle James in the Revolution, and afterwards by his father during the Indian war. The eldest McFarlane, John who had been trading with the Indians around Sandusky, Ohio was murdered by them, together with his party, somewhere in the neighborhood of the salt springs, between the sites of Youngstown and Warren, Ohio. About the beginning of the Revolution, Andrew McFarlane was captured by the Indians near the site of Elizabeth, Allegheny county, and carried either to Quebec or Montreal. He did not return till after the Revolution, having been away nine years.
Alexander Thompson was among the early settlers of the township.
William Smith came originally from Ireland, and in 1811 located on the farms now owned by H. G. Sharps and S. S. Smith. The land was probably originally settled by ____ Monteith.
The Mercer and Youngstown road, passing through New Bedford, was laid out about 1802, and in 1827 became a postal route.
Another road, running from Sharon, Mercer county, was opened through to New Bedford and beyond, about 1808. The old track passed by the site of Deer Creek United Presbyterian Church, and John Shields, living near Coitsville, Mahoning county, Ohio, remembers it as early as 1810.
The New Bedford and New Castle road was cut out some time afterwards, but finally became one of the most important roads of the township.
For several years after the country was settled the only roads were old trails through the forest, winding around in all directions, and what seems [p. 99] strange is the fact that they almost invariably ran over the tops of the highest hills and through the most difficult places.
A school-house was built of round logs some time previous to the war of 1812, and stood near the site of the present residence of James Judy, being either on his farm or the James Donaldson place. It was the first school-house in that neighborhood, and Jas. Neal was the teacher. About 1811-12 he also opened a select school in a log building put up for that purpose. He gave lessons in the languages, and continued the school till the latter part of August, 1813, when he closed it, and went into the army. After the war he resumed his school, but contracted an illness not long after, which finally proved fatal. He was quite old when he died, and had never been married.
James Walker taught school as early as 1802-3 in other parts of the township, and also at New Bedford.
The number of schools in Pulaski township in 1875 was eleven, having an average attendance of two hundred and fifty-one. The total enrollment of school-children in the township for the same year was three hundred and ninety-two, of whom two hundred and four were males, and one hundred and eighty-eight females.
The school-buildings of the township are all comfortable and commodious. The schools are well kept and prosperous, and the citizens have just cause for pride in them.
The Associate Presbyterian (now the United Presbyterian) congregation at Deer Creek was first organized and a tent erected on the site of the present United Presbyterian congregation at Mahoning, about two miles north-east of Lowelville, Ohio, in Mahoning township, now in Lawrence county, Pa. The date of its organization, the number of members, who preached the first sermon, and at what place; when the first elders were elected, who ordained them, or when the Session was first constituted, are queries to which the old record makes no reply; neither does tradition throw much light upon them. The probabilities are that the Rev. James Duncan was the pioneer who first promulgated the doctrines of the Gospel within the bounds of Deer Creek, as set forth by the United Presbyterians, about A. D. 1800, or, possibly, somewhat earlier.
The first meeting of the Session upon the record bears date June 25, 1803. It met at the Mahoning tent, and Rev. Duncan was moderator, and the elders present were James McConnell, William Gealey, Robert Walker, William Houston and Samuel McBride. There were three cases before them at that time, and the inference is that the Session was in working order some time before.
Mr. McBride was clerk of Session, and continued in that office some twenty-five years. In 1826-27 he and Mr. Houston retired from the Session, being old and full of years, and having served their day and generation faithfully. They soon afterwards fell asleep and went home to their reward. Elder Houston's grave is in Deer Creek cemetery; Elder McBride rests in the Mahoning cemetery.
Mr. Walker, father of the illustrious and Rev. John Walker, pastor for many years of the Associate congregation of Unity, Belmont county, Ohio, removed from our bounds into his son's congregation, in 1816, where he lived to a good old age, but has long since gone to his reward. The other two members of the original Session, Elders Gealey and McConnell, are dropped from the record after the aforesaid meeting, and the writer has no further knowledge of them.
As to the original members of the congregation, a majority came from Washington and Beaver counties, Pa., and some were here as early as 1798. Others were from east of the mountains.
When the organization was effected, it was done by the Presbytery of Chartiers, and continued under its care until 1808, at which date the Presbytery of Ohio was set off. The organization was effected at Mahoning tent on the first Tuesday of October, 1808, Rev. Duncan acting as moderator. The congregation continued to be a member of the Ohio Presbytery until 1859, a period of fifty-one years, when the United Presbytery, of Mercer, was formed, and the congregation became a part of that Presbytery, and so continues at the present time.
The last record of the meeting of Session at Mahoning tent is dated June 14, 1806.
About the year 1807-8 the question began to be agitated as to the propriety of removing the meetings of the congregation to some place four or five miles north of the Mahoning tent. There is no record of the controversy, nor of the exact time of occurrence, and tradition has forgotten to hand down any reliable information on the subject; but it is well known that the controversy was sharp and bitter, and so determined that the congregation parted asunder. Those who were opposed to the removal continued their organization at the tent, called the Rev. Galloway, of the Associate Reformed Church, for their pastor, and continued a congregation of that body until the union of the Associate and Associate Reformed churches in 1858, and is now a flourishing United Presbyterian congregation, under the pastoral care of Rev. W. T. McConnell.
The congregation of Deer Creek (the name is from a small stream in the vicinity) chose for their future place of meetings and cemetery, a spot which is situated in Pulaski township, Lawrence county, Pa., half a mile north of New Bedford, and about four miles north of Mahoning Church. The village of New Bedford, was not laid out until several years subsequently.
Deer Creek Church was then literally a church in the wilderness, with no traces of civilization near it except a public highway, which was seldom traveled. The country was the habitation of wild-beasts and birds of prey, who felt no fear of man. The woodsman's axe had not disturbed the beautiful virgin forest. Here they erected a tent, in a splendid grove, whose limits were measured by miles. Hewed logs were arranged in front of the tent for seats, and a hewed log was the table around which the communicants sat when they celebrated the Lord's Supper. In Winter, meetings were held in private houses, there being no school-houses or other public buildings.
The Hopewell Church (Presbyterian), where the village of New Bedford now stands, was organized some years before Deer Creek Church, and had built a house of round logs with a clapboard roof, an earthen floor, a mud chimney near the centre of the house; and in this building was displayed the workings of that marvelous epidemic which came so suddenly, about the beginning of the present century, and swept like a mighty, irresistible wave over the congregation of the General Assembly Presbyterian Church, and then departed as suddenly and abruptly, without leaving any permanent traces of either moral or religious reform. This strange visitation was called the falling work.
Rev. Duncan went with his people to their new house, and continued his pastoral duties among them. He was the second Associate minister licensed to preach in the United States, and was of Scotch parentage--members of the Covenanter church. He was born and raised in York county, Pa., was large, robust and corpulent; and his countenance indicated a morose and unsocial disposition, but he was really genial and pleasant, and much respected by his people. His movements were slow and tardy; his dress untidy; his hair, trained with much care, stood erect on his forehead in what was then called a "top-knot," and was fashionable in those days. He was a slave to tobacco, and would stop during the delivery of his sermon to discharge his old, well-chewed quid, and replenish with a new one. His sermons were ably written, and delivered without much gesticulation, and were generally of an argumentative kind. He dealt much with the doctrines of the Bible, but his delivery lacked energy and earnestness, which are so necessary to the Gospel enterprise. For a few years the congregation prospered under his care, and many were added to its membership.
His time was divided equally between Poland, Liberty and Deer Creek, and the three congregations had one united Session; part of the elders being in each congregation. This arrangement continued to 1831.
But in a few years Mr. Duncan began to promulgate doctrines not taught or received, but witnessed against, by the Associate Presbyterian Church. Charges were preferred against him by the Presbytery, for teaching erroneous doctrines, and, after a protracted a vexatious litigation, both the Presbytery and Synod, he was pronounce guilty, and his license recalled.
In 1810, the congregation having decided that their organization was a finality at Deer creek, built a hewed-log house, thirty by thirty-five feet in size, each family providing the number of logs assigned them. The building was erected and prepared for the roof, which was shingled. The inside was finished in better style than many churches in that day. A lofty pulpit was erected, which was reached by a flight of steps, and, when done, was occupied by the preacher and singing clerk. This wonderful piece of mechanism was made of panel-work, and was inclosed so high that a man of ordinary stature was only partly visible from the congregation below. The Church was heated by a wood-stove in the cold season.
About 1815, Deer Creek and her sister branches were declared vacancies for the first time. In 1811 the name of Alexander Reed, and, in 1812, that of George Thompson, were added to the Session-roll. In 1816 both the last-named gentlemen left the church, and subsequently the congregation had many lonely Sabbaths.
The Rev. Alexander Murray, of the Church in New Castle, &c., was a fast [p. 100] friend in time of need, and often visited and refreshed the congregation with his sermons and counsel.
In 1817 Deer Creek and her sister branches made a call upon Rev. Wm. Craig, but the call was not accepted.
In 1819 a call was given to Rev. Robert Douglass, and accepted by him. He was ordained and installed pastor of Deer Creek, Poland and Liberty, in 1820. Mr. Douglass was a young, unmarried man, educated at Jefferson College, Pa. He studied divinity with the illustrious and Rev. John Anderson, D. D., and Professor of Theology. Mr. Douglass was under the medium height, and was crippled in his right arm. He was very lively and cheerful in company, and at home upon almost any subject. His pulpit exercises were brief, and delivered with few omissions or mistakes. His sermons seldom exceeded thirty minutes in their deliver. He was very popular. His congregation increased rapidly, and the house was soon too small to contain the people.
In 1822, a new frame-church, 40 by 50 feet in dimensions was erected, but it was not completed until the beloved pastor had finished his work militant, for, on the 24th of December, 1823, his Father called him home to receive his reward. A plain stone marks his resting place in the cemetery at Poland Centre.
In 1820, David Wilson and James Shields were elected ruling elders of Deer Creek Church. This was the first election of such officers placed upon the Church records. Daniel Wilson died in 1842, after having served acceptably in the Session for twenty-two years.
Mr. Shields, on account of deafness, retired from the Session in 1844, and died in 1854, in his eighty-first year. In 1824, a call was given to Rev. D. Carson, but was not accepted.
In 1825 Rev. David Goodwillie accepted a call from Deer Creek, Poland and Liberty, and was ordained and installed in April, 1826.
His father, Rev. D. Goodwillie, was pastor of the Associate congregation of Barnet for forty years, and his son has filled his half century as pastor of Liberty congregation.
Mr. Goodwillie was a native of Vermont. He was very popular with his people, and during his pastorate of seven and a-half years there were added to the congregation one hundred new members, and the church had no vacant seats.
Encouraged by prosperity, the congregation in 1832 petitioned Presbytery to grant them all of Mr. Goodwillie's time, and to dissolve the existing relations between Deer Creek, and Poland and Liberty, but the two last named joined issue and counter-petitioned for all of Rev. Goodwillie's time for themselves. Presbytery referred the matter to Mr. Goodwillie, who finally chose to serve Poland and Liberty, and so Deer Creek was left vacant for a third time.
In 1827 Thomas Robinson and James McConnell were elected ruling elders of Deer Creek, and their names added to the roll of the United Session. The first roll of members and families of the Deer Creek congregation was recorded in 1827, when the number was seventy-eight families and one hundred and sixty communicants.
Thomas Robinson was elected clerk of the United Session in place of Mr. McBride, who had served since the organization of the congregation.
In 1836 Mr. Robinson removed from the place. In 1833 Deer Creek presented a call to Rev. Bankhead Boyd, which was not accepted.
In 1834 a call was made to Rev. James P. Ramsey, which he accepted, and was ordained and installed July 1, 1835. he was the only son of Rev. James Ramsey, D. D., for many years Professor of Theology at Cannonsburg, Pa.
Rev. J. P. Ramsey was a tall, dignified and pleasant gentleman, and so popular with his congregation that he remained with them for twenty-one years. During his pastorate many exciting controversies arose, among which was the slavery question, which shook both church and State to their foundations. Rev. Mr. Ramsey was not an abolitionist at first, and was reticent about meddling with the subject, both in the church and the social circle.
About this time Rev. Wright (of the Presbyterian Church) set a notice that he would lecture in Deer Creek on a certain day on the subject of American slavery. This appointment was unsolicited on the part of the congregation. The day arrived, and in the midst of a snow-storm the congregation assembled, including Rev. Ramsey and wife, but when they reached the church they found it locked and guarded. The anti-slavery portion of the congregation took in the situation at once and each returned to his home. No words passed between the members holding different opinions, but the simple fact that the church was closed against free discussion, by the pro-slavery portion of the congregation, was of itself an emphatic lecture upon the subject.
This proceeding opened a door which could not be closed, and when, on the next Sabbath Mr. Ramsey took decided anti-slavery ground, many of those who had previously sympathized with the pro-slavery element came over to his support.
The determined pro-slavery men, however, soon withdrew from the congregation and organized an Associate Reformed congregation, built a church and named it Beulah, two miles north of Deer Creek, and made a call upon Rev. Thos. Mehard, and their organization was continued up to the time of the Union in 1858.
After the "secession" of the pro-slavery element from the church the congregation remaining had no more trouble on the subject, but the departure of so many families weakened them seriously. Among those whose departure left a noticeable vacancy was elder James McConnell.
The next feature in the history of this congregation was the controversy which grew out of the marriage question, which caused the departure of two additional parties from the pale of the church. Eventually the Synod revoked the substance of their enactment on the subject, and the question gradually became quiet and was finally dropped altogether. Again the Session attempted to carry out the Synod rule on occasional hearing, but it proved abortive and was abandoned.
Another cause of discord was the music and the manner of conducting it in church worship. In Mr. Duncan's time the singing-clerk read one line of the psalm, started the tune, and, with the congregation, sang that line, and so on, until the psalm was finished. "Dublin" (or Coles' Hill) was the only tune used at table service on communion Sabbath. At other times such tunes as "Mear," "Dundee," "Bangor," "Isle of Wight," &c., were used. In Mr. Douglass' time there was a change--two lines of the psalm were read instead of one, and a few tunes, then called "new tunes," at Deer Creek, were introduced, such as "Twenty-fourth," "Dunlap's Creek," "Communion," and others. This practice continued until 1852, excepting that a new tune was occasionally introduced, which always produced an excitement.
In 1852 "lining out" the psalm was discarded altogether by an almost unanimous vote of the congregation. A few of the members fought these changes inch by inch, and the controversy was at time bitter. Some withheld a part of their stipends, and for a time absented themselves from the church. But finding that Young America would have it his own way, and being true lovers of Christ's house, they concluded to return and content themselves with the new order of things, and the church never lost a member in consequence of this controversy, which was protracted through a period of over forty years.
Another cause that tended to diminish the membership of this church was emigration. Many congregations in the Western States are made up in part of members from Deer Creek Church.
In 1869 the congregation built a new meeting house, 43 by 50 feet in dimensions, which was the third one erected at Deer Creek. A Sabbath-school was organized by Rev. Ramsey and the Session, but the failing health of the pastor caused it to be discontinued.
In 1836 Hugh Nelson and Dr. John Cowden were elected, ordained and installed ruling elders in the church. In 1839 J. P. Cowden and Thomas Slemonds were elected, ordained and installed ruling elders. In 1841 James McBride, Robert Davidson and John Shields, and 1856, William Dickson, William Duff and D. W. Crawford were also elected, ordained and installed ruling elders.
On account o his failing health, Rev. Mr. Ramsey petitioned Presbytery to release him from pastoral duties which petition was granted August 19, 1855, and Mr. Ramsey removed from Deer Creek to New Wilmington, where he engaged in the mercantile business. He was much respected and beloved by his congregation. He died in 1862, and was buried at Deer Creek, where also repose the remains of his son William, who died in the Union army during the rebellion, at Hilton Head, South Carolina. For the fourth time, after the removal of Mr. Ramsey, Deer Creek was without a pastor.
In 1857, by a unanimous vote of the congregation, a call was presented to Rev. Josiah Alexander, who accepted, and entered upon his duties April 1st of that year, and has continued to the present time (1877). Mr. Alexander is a native of Washington county, Tennessee. He graduated at Franklin College, New Athens, Harrison county, Ohio, and studied divinity at the Theological Seminary at Cannonsburg, Pa., under Drs. Beveridge and Anderson. Though a Southerner by birth, Rev. Alexander was a strong advocate of the abolition of slavery. He is also a faithful advocate of the temperance cause, and is conscientiously opposed to secret societies. He is an active member of the "National Reform Society." He opposes both the practice and precept of the filthy habit of using tobacco. His advocacy of certain ideas, combined with other causes, produced a spirit of [p. 101] opposition from the commencement of his ministry at Deer Park. When he assumed charge of this congregation, in 1857, there were on the roll the names of sixty-seven families, and one hundred and twenty-eight communicants. These numbers increased rapidly until the house was full. A monthly prayer-meeting was organized, which was well attended for years. The Sabbath-school was re-organized, and soon increased to one hundred and thirty-seven members pledged to total abstinence from all intoxicating liquors.
In 1858 the union of the Associate and Associate Reformed Churches was perfected. This union worked unfavorably upon Deer Creek church. There was an Associate Reformed Church at Middlesex, five miles north, and another at Mahoning, four miles south of Deer Creek, and many of the members of the latter drew off to one or the other of these, until Deer Creek was sadly diminished in numbers. A case of discipline for intemperance cost the church the loss of several families, and sympathy with the rebellion at the beginning of the war, drew off several others. Other matters produced bitterness and divided interests, and the church was exceedingly troubled; but, notwithstanding all these drawbacks, the membership gradually increased until it numbered some two hundred.
During the rebellion, the families belonging to Deer Creek church furnished between twenty and thirty soldiers for the Union army, of whom six perished in defense of their country. The church had an organized aid society during the war, mostly managed by the female members, which made monthly contributions in aid of the sick and wounded.
In 1860 Benjamin Mares, Ralph Van Orsdale and Robert Lowry were elected and qualified ruling elders, and in 1873, John Johnston, James Hill and John Walker were also elected for a term of three years. The legality of this proceeding was submitted to the Presbytery, which confirmed the election, but advised the congregation hereafter to adhere to the order recommended by the Assembly of 1871. The elders were ordained and installed, and their names added to the Session-roll.
Up to 1867 Mr. Alexander delivered two sermons each Sabbath, and taught a Bible-class in addition; but since that date he has delivered only one sermon each Sabbath.
In 1867 the use of tokens* at communion seasons was discontinued. The same year a board of five deacons was elected and ordained. They resigned during the year, and a new board was elected and qualified for the term of four years. In 1874 the church was repaired and re-furbished at a cost of several thousand dollars. The new version of the Psalms was received about this time, and, by the advice of the pastor, who preached a sermon upon the subject, it was adopted without much opposition, and still continues in use. Since Mr. Alexander began his labors in this congregation, there have been added to its numbers as follows: By profession, 130; by certificate, 119. In the same period of twenty years, there have left the church by dismission, 120. The number of baptisms has been: Adults, 17; infants, 204.
*On Saturday evening before the communion, and after services, those intending to commune, passed in single file before the Session, and the moderator dropped one of the tokens in the extended hand of each. When seated at the communion, an elder passed around and collected them. These tokens were made of lead.
These statistics do not include members deceased or those who left without certificates.
During the same time, Mr. Alexander delivered 2, 240 sermons and lectures; married 120 couples, and preached 95 funeral sermons.
There have been but few that entered the ministry from Deer Creek Church. The first was Rev. John Walker, of New Athens, Harrison county, Ohio, pastor of the congregation at Unity, Belmont county, Ohio. He was the leading apostle of the anti-slavery cause in the Associate Church in his day. He died March 8, 1845, in the sixtieth year of his age, and the thirty-sixth of his ministry. The Rev. A. Y. Houston was born, raised, and admitted to the church in Deer Creek congregation. Rev. W. H. Walker was also born in the Deer Creek congregation.
The names of the elders who have officiated at Deer Creek have been: James McConnell, William Gailey, Robert Walker, William Houston, Samuel McBride, Alexander Reed, George Thompson, David Wilson, James Shields, Thomas Robinson, James McConnell, 2nd, Dr. Cowden, John Montieth, Hugh Nelson, J. P. Cowden, Thomas Slemonds, James McBride, Robert Davidson, John Shields, William Dickson, D. W. Crawford, William Duff, Benjamin Mares, Ralph Van Orsdale, Robert Lowry, John Johnston, John Walker and James Hill. Twenty-eight in number.
Present Session: Rev. Josiah Alexander, Moderator; Elders: D. W. Crawford, Robert Davidson, William Dickson, James Hill, John Johnston, Robert Lowery, John Shields and John Walker.
First Board: J. D. Smith, John Walker, T. W. Brownlee, J. J. Mares, D. W. Mares.
Present Board: J. D. Smith, J. J. Mares, James Paden, Joseph Sample, J. K. Davidson.
The congregation-roll numbers one hundred and sixty-two communicants.
It is located on land originally donated by William Murrin to Bishop O'Connor, of Pittsburgh, in 1855. The Franciscan Brothers of Pittsburgh at first had charge of it, and in 1856 the larger part of the present brick building was erected. The Brothers at first kept a boarding school, but on account of the location, being so far from Pittsburgh, it did not pay well, and Bishop O'Connor finally sold the land to Bishop Rapp, of Cleveland, about 1860, for three thousand dollars, and the "Sisters of Charity" then took charge, and carried it on for three years. They established an orphan school for girls, and at present (January, 1877) have thirty-five girls and one boy in the school. The school and convent are in a flourishing condition. All the buildings on the farm are substantial and commodious. The frame building erected for a church stood originally on the north side of the road, in the cemetery, but was removed, about 1874, to the place where it now stands. The lower story is used for a school-room for the orphans, and the upper story as a school-room for the novices or young sisters.
The spiritual director of the house is Monsieur l'Abbe Begel. The institution is in charge of the Sister Superior, Mother Anna.
Some of the lands in this county which belonged to John Nicholson, the President of the Pennsylvania Population Company, were taken possession of by the State, owing to some default, and commissioners were appointed to sell them. There were twenty-six tracts on the Shenango, and thirteen on the Conoquenessing, and they were purchased by Dr. Nathaniel Bedford, Dr. Peter Mowry and James Patterson. Bedford's land laid along the State line in Pulaski township and extended north from a narrow vacancy, which was about twenty rods wide at the State line, and terminated in a point at a distance of two or three miles to the east. The "Bedford claim" included altogether thirty-seven tracts, running into Mercer county, but he only had a part of the thirty-nine tracts in Lawrence county. The town of New Bedford, is situated on some of the Bedford land, and was named after the doctor, although another circumstance exists which might possibly have been an additional reason for giving the place the name of New Bedford. Where the public watering-trough now stands was originally a "bear-wallow." Three strong springs flowed from the ground at the spot, and, in the mud they formed, the bears were accustomed to roll or "wallow," covering themselves with a muddy coat which protected them from insects. These springs are strongly mineral, and their waters possess many of the curative properties of the famed Bedford Springs, being of the chalybeate or ferruginous variety.
The first settlers on the ground where the town stands were James and Thomas Black. In the year 1796, James, Thomas and Andrew Black came from Adams county, Pa., and James and Thomas settled a four-hundred-acre tract, including that on which the town now stands. Andrew settled land on Deer creek, northeast of town. Jacob Van Meter, a brother-in-law of the Black's, came originally from Virginia to the "Forks of the Yough," then in Westmoreland county, Pa.,* and finally settled two hundred acres of the four-hundred-acre tract which the Blacks had taken. Mr. Van Meter lived on his place until 1854, when he died at the age of about seventy-five years.
*They probably lived on the west side of the Monongahela, in Washington county.
James and Thomas Black built the first house ever erected on the site of New Bedford. It stood for many years, and old Mrs. Sheriff, a sister to the Blacks, lived in it when a girl.
The Blacks built the cabin and made other improvements in 1796, and in 1797 went back and brought their mother and three sisters, Jane (Mrs. Sheriff) above mentioned, being the youngest child.
Mr. Van Meter brought with him his wife and one child, and, on the 1st of May, 1802, his second child, Morgan Van Meter, was born. The first child, Abraham, was born in Washington county, in June, 1800. Twelve children were born in the family altogether, and of the number two died when young.
[p. 102] The second house in the neighborhood was built on what is now the Robert McCullough (or McCulloch) farm. This was a hewed-log structure, and was a fine building for the time.
Daniel Inbody came sometime after the Blacks, and, on the 25th of June, 1818, laid out the town. The lots were surveyed by James McCready. The following were original lot-owners in New Bedford: Josiah Cotton, J. Beggs, Elizabeth Winters, Samuel Winters, John C. Little, William Bell, Daniel Inbody, Joseph Jackson, Owen McGeary, John Gaily, Henry Potter, John McCready, William Porter, John Hill, Darby Doran, Michael Doran, D. Armstrong, Alexander Ragan, James Waugh, Joseph Randels, James Mitcheltree, Thomas Mitcheltree, Thomas Irwin, J. H. Anderson, Thomas McDonald, Timothy Swan, A. McFarlane, C. Martines, Barney Harris and James Williamson. The original town consisted of eighty-nine lots, some of them of irregular shape. The regular lots were 60 by 150 feet, and the streets were 50 feet wide.
A post-office was established at New Bedford about 1827, with Dr. John McCready as first postmaster.
Daniel Indbody had a pottery early, and, according to the statement of John Shields, of Coitsville, Mahoning county, Ohio, he kept the first tavern in the place, and had a blue ball the size of a pumpkin hung out as a sign. Other persons are equally as sanguine that Mr. Inbody never kept a tavern, but only occasionally accommodated people who could find no other place to stay.
John Pollock opened a tavern in a brick house, now belonging to William Gealy, and this is said by some to have been the first one in the place.
About 1810-11, a well was being dug on the place owned by John Inbody, when a sad accident happened. John and Jacob Inbody were Daniel Inbody's sons, Jacob being mute. These two men and two hired men named (probably) De Wolf, who worked in the red-ware pottery belonging to Inbody, were digging the well, and all four were smothered by the damp. One or two others might also have been killed by the poisonous damp, if the crowd had not held them back, and prevented them from going into the well.
A tannery was started by John Lynn very soon after town was laid out probably in 1819. The water was carried in log pipes from the springs before mentioned. The tannery was run for some years.
Thomas Black built a distillery some years before the town was laid out, near the spot afterwards occupied by the tannery. This was the first distillery built in this part of the country, and never was used after the town was laid out. The water for its use was taken from the same spring which the tannery afterwards used.
Dr. John McCready was the first physician in the place, and Dr. Gage the second. Dr. John Cowden came to the town in 1829, and was the third M. D. in the place. Dr. John Ferrel was another early physician. These four were Allopaths. Dr. A. R. McClure was one of the early physicians, also Dr. James Love. Both of these were Eclectics. Dr. Marks was in the place in 1854, and for sometime afterwards. There are, at present, two physicians in the place, Dr. Cowden and Dr. Stevenson. Dr. Cowden was away from the town for fifteen years, but returned about 1854.
James Waugh opened the first store in the township, on the present James Brown farm, half a mile east of the Deer creek bridge, on the New Bedford and Pulaski road. Waugh afterwards removed to New Bedford, and opened the first store at that place. Waugh's store was established about 1819, he having bought one of the original lots and built upon it, first a house, then a store. He kept the first store in a part of his house, and afterwards erected another building, and moved his goods into it. This building is now occupied as a dwelling by George McKean. Waugh finally removed to Greenville, Mercer county, and opened a store. He died at that place a few years ago.
A man named McDowell opened the second store in New Bedford, and kept it about three years, when he removed to New Jersey. He probably arrived a short time after Waugh.
Archibald Douglas kept a tavern in the place early, in the building lately refitted for hotel purposes, and known at present as the "Fountain Hotel."
A man named Guthrie had a carding-machine at the place some thirty or forty years since.
William Leyda built a steam grist-mill about 1851-52, and operated it for some time. William Clark, of New Castle, and others, afterwards owned it. It is a large frame building, and is not now running. Mr. Leyda afterwards went to Minnesota.
William Porter, Esq., and Josiah Cotton started the first blacksmith shops, they being built so near the same time that it is not certain now who opened first. Porter's shop stood in the lot now occupied by Dr. Cowden.
John and William Porter probably opened the first wagon shop in the place. Previous to this, a man named Alexander Magahey had a wagon shop west of where the town afterwards stood, and made the first wagons that were manufactured in the country. His shop stood near the State line, on land now owned by Irwin McFarlane. He had two men working with him. The wagons they turned out were rough and clumsy.
The first tailor shop was kept by a man named Moore, whose brother came with him and was a blacksmith. They staid in town a short time, and Richard Hoagland came next after them and opened a tailor shop.
The first saddle-and-harness shop was opened by Samuel Rogers, who carried it on for some time.
A man named Kelso worked at the coopering business after New Bedford was laid out.
John Leyda and his sons, William and James, built a saw-mill about 1847-48, a few years before they erected the grist-mill.
A bent-wood manufactory was originally started by the Leydas while they were running their saw-mill. It afterwards became the property of other parties, and was carried on in the old grist-mill for some time. In 1874-75 a frame building was erected by John Duff and Cassius Zedeker, in which to carry on the business. It is now the property of Duff, Allen, McCurdy & Bell.
A school was taught, about 1802-3, in the old log building erected by the Presbyterian congregation of "Hopewell." James Walker taught this school, and afterwards kept it in his house, which stood on the Pulaski road, northeast of town. George Monteith was also one of the early teachers before the town was laid out. Afterwards a log school-house was built near the spot now occupied by the church, and James Hawthorne was the first teacher. This house was used until 1834, when the free-school law went into effect, and new school-houses were built. The present frame two-story school-house stands in the extreme western part of town. In the lower story a common school is taught, while a select school is kept on the upper floor. Both are well attended and in a prosperous condition.
New Bedford has in the neighborhood of three hundred inhabitants. It was incorporated, a borough by Act of Legislature, April 23, 1852, and January 1, 1861, the borough organization was discontinued.
HOPEWELL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.--The land where Hopewell Church stands is part of a vacancy, some eighteen or twenty miles in width, running as far north as Sharon, Mercer county. In the old Hopewell graveyard, which was laid out in 1800, the first burial was in 1810. A young lady who was accidentally shot, was buried in that year.
This church was one of the first organized in the bounds of the old Presbytery of Erie, the date of its organization being during the year 1800.*
*Possibly as early as 1798-99.
The first pastor was Rev. William Wick, who was ordained and installed by the Presbytery of Erie, September 3, 1800, in connection with Neshannock. Mr. Wick was pastor until his death, which occurred March 29, 1815.
The first elders of this church were probably James Walker, William Porter and John Monteith. At any rate, Mr. Walker was one of the first, and helped organize the church.
The second pastor was Rev. William Wood, who commenced his pastorate March 11, 1816, in connection with Neshannock. He was released June 25, 1829, and succeeded by Rev. William Nesbit, who was ordained and installed October 7, 1829. Mr. Nesbit was released October 6, 1840.
The fourth pastor was Rev. Henry Webber, who was installed April 11, 1849, and released June 29, 1853.
Rev. William Nesbit was again installed in May, 1854, and released April 6, 1858.
Rev. James Fulton was next installed, May 28, 1867.
The church is under the care of the Presbytery of Beaver, and is at present (1876) without a pastor.
THE FREE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH was formed from a portion of the Hopewell congregation in 1844, owing to differences on the subject of slavery. Rev. John Knox, who must have been supplying Hopewell at the time, joined the Free Church and was its first pastor. This congregation built themselves a church, the same building that is now used as the "town hall."
The Campbellites or Disciples have occasional meetings at the hall, but they form part of the congregation at Pulaski, and hold their meetings principally at that place.
The Methodists also hold meetings in the hall every second Sabbath. Their present pastor is Rev. A. M. Lockwood. This society organized first at Marr, southeast of New Bedford, and built a church, but finally abandoned it and removed to New Bedford.
[p. 103] The first settler on the land where Pulaski now stands was probably Daniel Ault who first located on Deer creek, west of town, and afterwards came to the site of the village. Mr. Ault built a grist-mill on the west side of Shenango, about 1800, and afterwards built one on the run north of town. The old mill stood opposite the present mill, and a little farther down the stream. There was also a saw-mill at the east end of the dam, possibly built by John Piper after the grist-mill was erected. The old dam was built by Mr. Ault.
In the neighborhood of 1835 a carding-mill was built by Mr. Brenneman, on the west side of the Shenango, just above the old grist-mill. It was operated a number of years and finally removed. A saw-mill stood just above it, probably built by Hunter & Watson. The saw-mill was afterwards burned.
The Erie Extension of the Pennsylvania canal was completed about 1836, to Pulaski, and during the year 1832 the town was laid out by William Byers and John Piper. Union street was the line between them, Byers having the part south of it, and Piper that which was on the north side.
The first dwelling erected on the new town-plot was a log house built by John Crawford.
William M. Stitt came to the village July 21, 1833, from Huntingdon county, Pa., where he had learned the tailor's trade. He opened the second tailor shop in Pulaski, the first one having been started by John Porter. When Mr. Stitt came to town it contained only eight dwellings, and he is now the only person in the place who was here in July, 1833. The buildings standing at that time were owned by James Dawson, John Crawford (who had a double log-house, in one part of which he carried on the hatting business), Andrew McWilliams, William Watson, John Hunter (who had a blacksmith shop where the post-office now stands), Samuel and Andrew Tannehill, Marcus Best (who had a chair-and-cabinet shop), and D. C. Matthews (a store-keeper). It is possible that James Hopper, who also had a store, may have been here at that time, but he probably came later. A number of buildings were erected in the Fall of that year.
Andrew McWilliams and William Watson had kept a store--the first in the place, and the one opened by D. C. Matthews was the second. William Dickey and John P. Wright also had a store afterwards, and William and Amos J. Waugh another. James F. Scott came to the village in 1839, and, in company with Hugh Bell, opened a general store. Mr. Scott is now carrying on the business in the same place.
David A. McKee came to the town in the Spring of 1837, from Shenango township, and, since 1842, has carried on a harness-shop. He learned his trade in the shop of Caldwell & Morrison, which was the first one in the village, established by A. E. Caldwell, in 1836. J. F. Morrison afterwards went into the business with Caldwell. There is at present but the one shop (Mr. McKee's) in the place, although at one time there were three, owned by J. L. Welch, Samuel McCready and Mr. McKee. McKee's shop was the second in town, McCready's third, and Welch's fourth. Soon after Mr. McKee opened his shop, Mr. Caldwell died, and his partner, Mr. Morrison, abandoned the harness business and removed to a farm.
The first blacksmith-shop was opened by B. T. Harris in the Spring of 1833. John Hunter came next, and made edged-tools.
Allen B. Wallace came to the village about 1837-38.
John Porter's tailor-shop, before mentioned, was in the west end of McWilliams & Watson's store.
The building now occupied for hotel purposes by M. G. Elliott, was built by Amos Waugh, in 1836. He used the east end for a dwelling, and kept a store in the west end.
The first hotel in the place was probably kept by James Byers, in the building still standing at the northwest corner of Union street and the Mercer road. At one time there were five or six taverns in town, and every one of them had a bar in connection. At present the only liquor sold is that dispensed by the druggists.
The first physician in Pulaski was Dr. William Wood, who came in the Spring of 1833.
Henry King had a shoe-shop early, possibly the first one in the place.
David and John Carnahan, and a Mr. Sommerville, opened the first wagon-shops.
In 1833 William and Smith Byers were running the old Ault grist-mill. It was then a heavy, frame building.
The grist-mill now owned by Hull & Swogger, was built by McWilliams & Wright, about 1840-44.
The covered wooden bridge across the Shenango, at Pulaski, was built by a man named Bingham, in the Fall of 1833. It has been repaired considerably, and is yet a very strong structure.
A planing-mill was built on the bank of the canal by Scott & Wallace, in 1863, and is the only one ever in the place. It has a saw-mill in connection.
A Cornet Band was originally organized a number of years since. The present one was organized in the Fall of 1875, and consists of eleven pieces. The leader is E. L. Welch.
John H. Porter, Esq., came to Pulaski in 1842, and in 1843 established a foundry. His present foundry building was erected in 1854, and he began work in it in 1855, and carried on the business until 1871, when he rented to his son, N. M. Porter, who has since continued the business. The manufactures are plows, sled-shoes, &c., and in the machine-shop connected with it a steam-engine is occasionally made.
About 1872 four brothers, named Reno, united and formed a partnership under the style of Reno Brothers, for the manufacture of "Reno's French Umber Filler.' The basis of this popular paint is a peculiar mineral mined in Lawrence county. These men have a mill on the Erie and Pittsburgh railway, 45 by 60 feet in size, with a capacity of about two tons daily, and occasionally the demand is so great that orders accumulate on the their hands. The paint they manufacture tends to preserve from decay everything to which it is applied. It is very much used on rough work, and is shipped to many parts of the country.
A postal-route was established between Mercer and Youngstown in 1827, and passed through New Wilmington, Pulaski and New Bedford, the latter and New Wilmington then being the only towns laid out. For a number of years they only had weekly mail. In 1839 James F. Scott was the only man in Pulaski who took the Pittsburgh Gazette, and now about seventy copies of this paper, now known as the Gazette-Commercial (changed in February, 1877), come to the office.
The first postmaster at Pulaski was Andrew Tannehill, the office being established about 1832. The old post-office stood on the lot opposite that on which James F. Scott's store now stands, the old site now owned by Hugh McConnel, who lives in Ohio. The postmasters since Tannehill, have been William Dickey, James McCready, Hugh Bell, D. C. Matthews, William McCready, and at present, Mr. McCready's wife.*
*Mr. McCready died in office.
About 1803-4 a log school-house was built near the spot where the spring-house now stands on James McCready's place. One of the first teachers was John Byers, who taught in 1806-7, and probably before. He was a son of William Byers, who laid out the south part of town.
William Byers was the first sheriff of Mercer county, appointed November 9, 1803.
The second school-house in the neighborhood stood on what is now the Frank Wilson farm, nearly a mile east of Pulaski, and John Bellows (or Belles) was the teacher. This was also a log building.
The third school-house was a log structure, and is now part of John D. Clark's dwelling. It stood on the hill east of town.
The two-story frame school-house now standing, was built in the Summer of 1876, at a cost of $1,500. It is a neat, substantial structure, painted white, and amply large to accommodate the needs of the village.
Pulaski now contains five stores, one harness shop, two tailor shops, three blacksmith shops, two wagon shops, one cooper shop, one paint shop, one carpenter shop, one grist-mill, one foundry, one planning-mill, two saw-mills, one paint-mill, one shoe shop; three physicians, one dentist, three church organizations, with two church-buildings; one two-story frame school-house, two millinery establishments, two horticultural establishments, one hotel, and two hundred inhabitants. The Erie and Pittsburgh railway has a station on the west side of the river, near Reno Brothers' paint works.
PULASKI PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.--A meeting of the Presbyterians of Pulaski and vicinity, to ask for a church in the village, was held May 25, 1837, at the house of T. M. Best. William Wilson was appointed a committee to apply to the Presbytery for that purpose. The request was granted, and Rev. William Nesbit appointed to organize the church. In the Fall of the same year (1837) the organization was completed, with a membership of thirty-seven, the members being from the congregations of Neshannock (New Wilmington) and Hopewell (New Bedford). The first meeting was held in the school-house, and the second in the grove east of where the church now stands. The first elders were Patrick Willson, Alexander Cotton and John P. Wright, elected probably in the Fall of 1837. The second elders were Samuel Satterfield and William McCready, elected [p. 104] in the Fall of 1841. The present membership of the church is one hundred and sixty.
Revs. William Woods, Absalom McCready and Robert Sample were stated supplies until June, 1845, when Rev. Henry Webber was installed as the first regular pastor. He had been with them since November 30, 1844, and continued his pastorate almost eight years.
The second pastor was Rev. David Waggoner, who was installed in the Fall of 1853, and had charge until 1864. Rev. R. T. Price then supplied them for about eighteen months. Rev. J. P. Fulton was installed as third regular pastor, May 12, 1866, and his pastoral relation was dissolved October 5, 1869. Rev. T. B. Anderson came in the Spring of 1871, and served two years. Rev. A. C. Campbell succeeded in the Spring of 1874 (first Sabbath in April) and remained until April, 1876.
Rev. Seth R. Gordon is the present stated supply and pastor-elect. All the pastors, previous to Mr. Campbell, preached part of their time at the Hopewell Church, at New Bedford, but, beginning with Mr. Campbell's time, Pulaski has been the sole charge.
A Sabbath-school was organized in the Fall of 1843-44, and has been continued Summer and Winter ever since. Sunday schools had been held since the previous Spring, but no regular organization was completed until the Fall.
The present frame church-building was begun in the Fall of 1840, and finished in the Spring of 1841. The lot on which it stands was donated by William Byers for church and school purposes when he laid out his part of the town. The first sermon in the church was preached by Rev. Absalom McCready, early in May, 1841, on the death of President Harrison. The church stands in the southern part of the town, and is a neat, substantial building, capable of accommodating an audience of respectable dimensions.
THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH of Pulaski was organized in 1854 or 1855, their first meetings being held in the school-house. Their first pastor was Rev. Robert Caruthers. The present frame church was built in the Fall of 1856. It was dedicated some time during that Winter. The present membership is in the neighborhood of seventy.
Among the pastors since Mr. Caruthers' time, have been Revs. H. H. Moore, ____ Boyle, * * * * * R. M. Bear, S. Gregg, _____ Shattuck, J. F. Perry, J. Crum, J. C. Colton, J. S. Card, J. K. Mendenhall, E. L. Beardsley, H. Henderson, H. C. Smith, and the present pastor, A. M . Lockwood. A Sabbath-school was organized during Rev. J. F. Perry's pastorate, and has been kept up ever since.
CHRISTIAN CHURCH.--The brick block, having a hall overhead, was built by Henry Kyle in 1870, and the hall is used for church purposes by the Disciples congregation. This society held its first meetings in Pulaski, in the Fall of 1864, using the school-house, the Methodist Episcopal church, and other places. It was for some time in connection with the congregation at Edenburg, in Mahoning township. In 1870-71 it was organized as a separate congregation by Rev. Henry Camp. The first regular pastor was Rev. Orange Higgins. Since him the pastors have been Revs. S. B. Teegarden, Thomas Hillock, Henry Camp and William F. Cowden, the latter being the present pastor. Revs. Hillock, Camp and Cowden have preached in the hall. This congregation organized with something over twenty members, and, in January, 1877, included about forty. The congregation is partially made up of members from New Bedford, and a portion of the time meetings are held at that place. A Sabbath-school has been organized about a year, and has some thirty or forty members. Its first superintendent was James Micheltree, and present one is Thomas Lutton.
REVOLUTIONARY WAR.--James Stevenson served in the Revolutionary army, and was taken prisoner by the British at Philadelphia, and held nine months.
The father of James, Thomas and Matthew Black, who settled where New Bedford now stands, served in the Revolution, and died in Washington county, Pa.
WAR OF 1812.--Andrew Marquis served in Captain Matthew Dawson's company, and went to Sandusky, Fort Meigs, &c., with Harrison.
Joshua Bentley went to Sandusky, and afterwards to Erie.
James, David and John McCready (sons of James McCready), John Somerville, Matthew Black, William Lockhart, and William Sheriff's father, served also.
James and Alexander Neal were at Erie, the former twice, and the latter three times.
John McFarlane (son of Francis McFarlane) was out twice to Erie.
John Gealy also, and went to Erie.
James Walker served in Captain Alexander Thompson's company at Erie, and helped haul Commodore Perry's fleet over the bar.
MILITIA COMPANIES were organized after the war of 1812, and among them was a rifle company, known as the "Shenango Marksmen." This company held its drills at the settlement where Pulaski now stands. Its officers were, at different times, William Sheriff, Ebenezer Byers, William Allen, Samuel Byers, and others not now recollected. The organization was kept up about thirty years. The company went to Mercer for general muster, and also occasionally drilled in New Castle. Its first uniform was a yellow hunting shirt with a white fringe, red sash, and a citizen's hat having a white plume with a red top. This was a volunteer company, and was one of four companies composing a battalion, which held its reviews at Mercer. The battalion was at one time commanded by one Hamilton, who had been promoted from captain of a company to major, and afterwards became colonel, and, finally, general of militia.
During the rebellion of 1861-65 the township furnished a considerable number of troops for the Union army. Several regiments were represented, Pulaski has been noted for her patriotism from the date of her earliest settlement, and her sons have sprung to arms at every call when the country was in danger. Many sleep in lonely graves, far from their homes, who died nobly in the cause of liberty. All honor to those who are living, and a grateful tear for the fallen.
From the 1770 - 1877 History of Lawrence County by S. W. and P. A. DURANT.
Explanation and Caution | Abbreviations | Lawrence Co. Maps | 1877 Portraits
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Updated: 21 Mar 2001, 15:08