History of Lawrence County Pennsylvania, 1770 - 1877, by S.W. and P.A. Durant.
[p. 104] The territory originally in North Slippery Rock township was divided April 13th, 1854, and the two townships of Washington and Scott formed from it, the former being erected from the north half, and the latter from the south half, thus abandoning the name "North Slippery Rock" entirely. This was done on account of there being a Slippery Rock township in the portion of Beaver county, which was incorporated into Lawrence, the said township adjoining North Slippery Rock on the south.
On the 14th day of February, 1855, Plain Grove township was erected from the eastern portion of Washington and Scott, and, February 15th, 1859, Washington township was enlarged by the addition of narrow strips taken from Plain Grove and Scott, leaving the three townships in their present shape.
Scott township has an area of about eleven thousand eight hundred acres, most of it valuable farming land, and there is very little, if any, waste land in the township. The surface is generally uneven and hilly, but not in such a degree as to render it unfit for agricultural purposes.
The improvements are very generally excellent, the original settlers having descended from parent stock both industrious and economical; and their taste has been applied in such a manner that the result of their labor has been gratifying to the fullest extent. Eighty years of hard work, beginning with the Herculean labors performed by the "first settlers," and ending with the lighter, though no less important tasks of the present generation, have made the "wilderness blossom like the rose." The places where one stood somber forests now teem with the luxurious products of a cultivated soil; the many streams, erewhile rippling undisturbed along their rocky channels, have felt the power of man's mechanical genius, and their rapid currents have been breasted by strong dams, and made to be of more use than watering the trees and plants which grew on their borders; the treasures of earth's sub-strata have been made to yield bountifully of the accumulated deposits of ages, and establishments have been erected for their manufacture; shops, grist and woolen mills, saw-mills, foundries, paper-mills, and all the varied institutions necessary to supply the wants of a growing population, have sprung up and are flourishing, and the change is so great that one scarce can realize that less than a century has passed since this thickly-settled region, with it populous and prosperous cities and villages, was one immense wilderness, uncultivated and unexplored, in whose forest-recesses the wild-beast and savage roamed undisturbed for many years before the invading foot of the white settler made its first impress in the region, and his axe created sad havoc among the trees of the "grand old forests." The shadowy traditions of the Lenape tell us of the ancient occupants of the country, and give us the only idea we have of the many powerful tribes and nations who fought for supremacy many and many a year before the "New World," was known to Europeans. And to the credit of those savage tribes be it said, that their existence seems as mystical as that of the gods and goddesses of Greek and Roman mythology, never varied in their import in a single degree, and, so carefully were they treasured, that [p. 105] their accuracy may well put to the blush writers of more modern times, in whose statements there are so many improbabilities and discrepancies. In the accounts of civilized and enlightened nations are found interpolations and fancies, so that in our sacred and profane history we have many incorrect ideas, while the Indian traditions are of the same tenor as far back as we know anything of them, thus showing conclusively that the pre-historic races of this country had a religious regard for truth.
Scott township is watered by Slippery Rock creek and its tributaries, East brook or Hettenbaugh run, Big run, and numerous other small streams, the most of which furnish fine power. Along Slippery Rock creek, particularly, the power is extensive, and has been utilized to some extent, though the mills in the townships have been principally erected on the smaller streams, owing, probably, to the danger of their being washed away by freshets if built along this creek. It is a rapid stream, and flows in a narrow channel, along whose sides the gray old sandstone-rocks crop out in places, and hemlocks and laurel grow in abundance, altogether making scenes of picturesque loveliness, especially in the Summer, when the waters are freed from their icy bonds, and their rippling music is added to the voice of the wind as it passes among the foliage of the trees, their branches bowing in gentle submission before it.
The scenery along Slippery Rock creek in Scott, however, is not so grand and impressive as is found a few miles farther down the stream, yet here it begins to wear a rugged aspect, and prepares the spectator for nobler and more enchanting views as he follows it towards its mouth. The creek was probably named by the Indians from some circumstance or adventure, the particulars of which are unknown.
Hettenbaugh run rises in Washington township, having its principal source in a spring on the property of Michael Jordan, and being fed by numerous springs, it becomes a respectable stream within a mile or two of its fountain head, and, after a course of about five miles, in which distance its waters are made to do duty for several mills and factories, and to tumble over seven dams, it discharges into Big Neshannock creek near Eastbrook station.
Big run rises in the township, and, after a southerly course of two or three miles, turns to the west, and flowing across a corner of Slippery Rock, and through Shenango township and the southern part of the city of New Castle, it mingles its waters with those of the Shenango river. The run also affords considerable power.
The timber of Scott township was originally abundant and of a fine quality, but has been largely cut away, and what is left covers but a comparatively small portion of territory once so heavily wooded. Timber was badly slaughtered when the country was first settled, the people probably thinking such an immense supply could never give out, and the result is that it is scarce; and had the virtue of coal not been discovered as a fuel it is extremely probable that the country would have been entirely denuded of its forests, and the necessity for fuel have been pinching, and not easily supplied. It is evident that the coal deposits of the region will one day be worked out, and it would be well for the inhabitants to look to the preservation of what timber is left, and the planting of more to fall back upon in case of dire necessity.
The health of the people living in the township has always been good, and many have lived to a great age, and gone down to their graves full of years and experience, while others are yet living who were young men and maidens when they came with their parents to the wilderness, and have literally "grown up with the country." These people delightedly embrace all opportunities to talk of the "long ago," when they were young and vigorous, and worked so heartily and earnestly to build up the land which has so long been their home. Stories of early days are recounted by them, which fill the minds of the younger members of the family with delight and wonder--tales of their many hardships, their border adventures, their hunting exploits, their long journeys to mill, "packing" their grain on horseback, their early meetings, churches and schools, and the droll tricks played on "the master;" their log-cabin raisings, the rude machinery of their mills, their primitive agricultural implements, first roads, buggies, wagons, stoves, &c., &c.--and so vivid are their descriptions that we seem to live with them in the past, and participate in the various changes and experiences, on which they dwell so fondly. Soon the few connecting links between the past and present will have passed away, and only "legendary lore' remain to remind those who are left that there was ever such a thing as "the first settler," or a beginning in any of the branches of industry which exist to-day.
The number of voters in the township is about two hundred and twenty, and, by making the ratio one in six, we have in the neighborhood of thirteen thousand people for its population.
The coal deposits are but little worked, but, where they are, the yield is good and the quality excellent. The principal banks are along Hettenbaugh run, where the Rhode's do mining on a large scale, and supply the local demand. A few other veins are worked, but not to a great extent. The first coal was taken out some twenty-five or thirty years since. It is mixed several places along Hettenbaugh run.
A portion of the township is in the "Academy lands," which were granted by the State to the Pittsburgh Academy. It is surveyed diagonally to the other lands, and one corner of it extends into Plain Grove township.
The act providing for the sale of the "vacant lands" was passed in 1792, but it was not till 1795-96 that they began to be settled and improved. Something over one-third of the territory in the township is in the second district "donation lands," and these were settled at about the same time as the vacant lands. The portion included in the donation district is the western part of the township.
The village of Harlansburg was laid out at an early day, but owing to its being away from railway communications, has not grown very fast. The excitement created by the forming of a company to put down test-wells for oil enlivens business somewhat, however, and should the expectations be realized and oil found in paying quantities, there will be no doubt as to the future prosperity of the place.
In the southeast corner of the township is in the old hamlet of Rockville, or "Pumpkintown" as it is familiarly called. No village lots were ever laid out here, but it is possible that when the settlement was begun there were quiet hopes of seeing a prosperous village grow up sometime among the hills with which it is surrounded . A small run flows through the place and discharges its waters into Slippery Rock creek a mile below, in Slippery Rock township.
Limestone abounds in considerable quantities along the runs, and crops out in many of the hills. It is burned to some extent, and makes a very fine white lime. It is unfit for building purposes, however, owing to its irregular thickness and rough, uneven surface. It is also in many places more or less impregnated with iron, and has a large percentage of "core."
Quite a thick vein is found in the hill west of Harlansburg, and is also abundant in places along Hettenbaugh run.
Iron ore is found in numerous places along Slippery Rock creek and elsewhere, generally in small quantities, though in one or two localities it would pay to work it. No furnaces have ever been put up in the township. The ore is of a red quality, and contains a large percentage of iron.
A company called the "Aladdin Oil Company, of New Castle," was formed in the Winter of 1876 for the purpose of putting down test-wells for oil somewhere in the neighborhood of Harlansburg. Ground has been leased, and the belief is general that the oil exists in paying quantities. The experiment of boring for it will determine, and it needs but to be found in constant and paying quantities to make the town of Harlansburg a notable place, and advance the price of property in and around it. Oil-wells have never been bored on the creek deeper than two or three hundred feet, and the showing was good, some of them yielding very largely for a time, and it is believed that by going deeper the main deposit will be reached.
When the country was first settled, there was on Slippery Rock creek (now within the limits of Butler county), an open field, which was known among the settlers as the "old Indian field." It had, no doubt, been used by the Indians as a corn-field, and probably for a camping-ground. There were traces of cultivation upon it, and old apple-trees were growing, from one of which James Martin got a sprout when he came out in the early part of the present century, probably about 1802, and set it out on his place. It is still alive, and bears regularly. The apple is a Winter variety.
The traces left by the race which occupied this part of the country immediately previous to the date of the settlement of the whites, are perpetuated in the many Indian names which are yet applied to the streams and different localities, and in the documents of the historians of the time. There are also many yet living who remember well the red denizens of the forest, their habits and eccentricities, and the knowledge of the present generation regarding them is rendered very accurate. They are a recent race, and their descendants are yet found intermingled with other tribes in the "far West," and not a few are yet living on reservations in the East. Their traits are comparatively well-known, and the encounters between them and the white settlers, each party striving for the ownership of the soil, are generally preserved in the pages of history. They have, as the years rolled on, and the country became more thickly settled, succumbed rapidly to the inroads of [p. 106] the more powerful race, and it is but a question of time till the small fragments of these once powerful nations shall disappear forever from the country, as have the numerous races before them. And what is known of those prehistoric tribes? Scattered over the broad land are evidences that a powerful people once existed--whose advancement in the science of warfare and many of the humbler vacations of peace was something wonderful. With equal ingenuity they constructed the stone or copper implements used by them, and built the fortifications for their defence--the "mounds" which are the strongest proofs that such a nation existed. The traditions of the later Indians also tell us in mysterious language of the mighty people who were their ancestors, and who fought among themselves for supremacy and the control of the land. Along the larger streams of the country their works are yet to be seen, and, were time alone the destroying power, they would last for ages yet and remind the future people who shall inhabit the land of the existence of a strange race; but the innate love of destruction possessed by so many of the present human race is fast leveling the mounds which must have been erected with so much labor, and not many years will elapse until no visible traces will be left, and the traditions will become more and more vague and indistinct, and, in the dim future they will merge into almost as shadowy tales of the present inhabitants of the land. "Sic transit Gloria mundi!" The age of revolution has continued since "the beginning," and will cease only when--let him conjecture who wishes.
Robert McCaslin came to the county in the neighborhood of the year 1800, and located first near the subsequent site of Neshannock United Presbyterian church. He bought a two-hundred acre tract in Scott township, and two of his sons, Joseph and Samuel, lived upon it. The land now belongs to the heirs of these two. When Mr. McCaslin came he had with him his wife and four sons.
John Elder was the first settler on the farm now owned by Jacob McCracken, coming from Bradford county, Pa., and locating upon it in 1805. Mr. Elder made the first improvements on the place. He brought with him his wife and thirteen children, and was therefore able to make a fair start in the woods, and was not long in clearing up sufficient land from which to gain a living.
William and John Wilken, with their mother and three sisters, came to the county early, and for a year or two after, lived on the bank of Neshannock creek, near the "old forge" just above New Castle, and now within the city limits. George Wilken, the father of William and John, died before the father left Chester county. John Wilken afterwards came to Harlansburg, about 1816, and his brother and the rest of the family, after moving around for several years from place to place, finally followed him, and located also at Harlansburg, where they have since resided. William and John Wilken were young men when they first came to the county, and on them the rest of the family depended.
On the farm now belonging to the heirs of Zachariah Dean, a cabin was built and a small clearing made previous to 1815. That year Mr. Dean came from Huntingdon and settled on the place, having purchased a two-hundred-acre tract. The man who had made the improvements left before Mr. Dean came on, as he of course had no claim. Dean was originally from the State of Maryland.
Jacob Dean came the next year, 1816, and located on a portion of the above tract about five years afterwards.
The farm now owned by Mrs. Wallace (formerly Mrs. McFarland), was originally settled by John Shaw, probably previous to 1800. Shaw afterwards sold out to Colonel Bernard Hubley, from whose widow the farm was purchased by Robert McFarland in 1822, and in 1823 he located upon it. McFarland had lived for some time in Conoquenessing creek, in Beaver county. A part of this farm was purchased by Hugh Wilson, who located some time in Fayette county, Pa. He brought his wife and four children with him to Lawrence county. In 1815 he removed to Shenango township.
Adam Pisor was one of the first settlers, coming to what is now Scott township about 1798, locating on the east side of Slippery Rock creek, on the farm now owned by William Pisor. Along the creek, near this, are extensive bottoms, and the land is of the best in the township.
William Allison also came early, and settled a tract near to Mr. Pisor, and adjoining the one patented by Charles Martin.
Farther down the creek, and on the same (east) side, a number of families of the Emerys located, and were the first settlers in that neighborhood.
In the year 1798 William McNees came from Westmoreland county, bringing his wife and seven children--three boys and four girls--with him, and settled on Slippery Rock creek, in the northeast part of the township. Mr. McNees had been out the previous year--1797--and made improvements afterwards going back for his family. In 1800 Mrs. McNees died, being one of the first deaths in the neighborhood. Mr. McNees did not ling survive her loss, for in 1805 he too received a summons from the grim destroyer.
One of Mr. McNees' daughters, Jane, was married in 1807 to James Martin, and together they cam and settled on the farm now owned by William Martin and Robert McBride. The couple were married by Rev. William Woods, then preaching in the old Plain Grove Presbyterian church. Mrs. Martin is now living (January, 1877), and should she survive until the 9th of May, 1877, will have reached the ripe age of ninety-three years, and, beyond a partial deafness, her faculties are but slightly impaired. In her we see a picture of vigorous old age.
The land on which James Martin located was patented by his father, Charles Martin, March 16, 1814, in pursuance of a warrant, dated January 22, 1802, calling for land in Wolf Creek township, Mercer county, Pennsylvania," and now in Scott township, Lawrence county. Charles Martin made the first improvements in the place, and in 1815 James and John Martin purchased it. It was a part of the "vacated lands" of the township, the act for the sale of said lands in general being passed in 1792.
The farm now owned by George Hettenbaugh, in the northeast part of the township, was settled by his father, George Hettenbaugh, Sr., who was the first settler in the present township of Washington. This tract originally comprised five hundred acres, and the first improvements were made on it by Mr. Hettenbaugh, about 1821-22, although most of the land in the vicinity had been settled and improved long before. Two hundred acres of the original tract are now owned by Hettenbaugh.
Hamilton Young came from Slippery Rock township, in 1841, and purchased a lot off the Hettenbaugh farm, on which he set out a small orchard and put up a dwelling and harness-shop. He is now occupying the second shop he has built on the place. His father was among the early settlers in Slippery Rock township, and came originally from Ireland in 1798.
John Cooper came from Ireland previous to the year 1800, and brought his wife and three children to Scott township. He bought sixty acres of William Locke, who had previously settled a four-hundred-acre tract. Mr. Cooper's son, John, now occupies the homestead, and has added to it largely.
The land in this portion of the township is excellent, and the improvements are of the same order. Prosperity seems to bless those who occupy the country around, to a great degree.
The farm on which the "Lawrence Nursery" is now located was originally settled by George Richeal, about 1798. At about the same time the Richeals came, the Hettenbaughs, Michaels, and other German families, came also and located near them. Some of these families were related to each other.
The "Lawrence Nursery" was started in 1870 by a stock company composed of a number of gentlemen residing in Pittsburgh. The nursery proper includes about fifteen acres. The first year about one hundred and fifty thousand apple and peach shrubs were set out, and about one hundred and fifty thousand have since been added. Besides the nursery, the company has a green-house for plants, situated at the north end of Jefferson street, in New Castle. They employ several agents to sell their trees, the territory in which they work lying principally in Pennsylvania and Ohio. This is one of the largest and best nurseries in Western Pennsylvania.
William Locke came from Ireland some time during the Revolutionary war, and took part in the struggle of the colonies for independence. After the war he came to Washington county, and made his home in the Chartiers Valley--generally known as "Shurtees" valley. Some time in the year 1792, according to our information, he came to what is now Lawrence county for the purpose of selecting a piece of land. The site chosen was in the present township of Scott, and that year he made improvements on a four-hundred-acre tract, in the district belonging to Dr. Peter Mowry, who resided in Pittsburgh, and was an extensive jobber in the "warrant lands."
After Mr. Locke made his improvements, he went back to Washington county, and, in the Spring of 1796, returned with his family, and made a permanent settlement. His family then consisted of eight children--four boys and four girls. They "packed" all their goods from Washington county. When they first came out, Mr. Locke set out a small orchard, and one of the trees, or part of it, is yet standing, and bears a few apples every year. Mrs. Locke brought with her some rose and lilac sprouts, which she set out, and every year since the air has been perfumed by the flowers which have blossomed on the bushes that continue to spring up on the spot where she who [p. 107] knows them no more first planted them. The natural beauty of the place was thus increased, and the presence of flowering shrubs constantly reminded them of the home they had left, and rendered their dwelling-place in the wilderness a garden, and a much pleasanter locality than those surrounding many of the homes of the settlers. The influence of those flowers over the hearts of the "dwellers of the forest" must have been a pleasing one. Mr. Locke had learned the weaver's trade before he left Ireland, and when he settled where his grandson, James Locke, now lives, he built a small "weave-shop," and worked at the business as long as he was able. The old house stood west of the present residence of James Locke, near the corner of the field, next to the road, and the old apple-tree mentioned stands close by the site. The location is a mile northwest of the present village of Harlansburg.
James Brown settled a farm between Mr. Locke's place and the site of Harlansburg, about 1796-8, and was also from Ireland.
Robert Wallace settled, in 1796, on the farm now owned by Samuel Clark, on the west side of Slippery Rock creek, opposite Rockville, or "Pumpkintown." Mr. Wallace came, when a young man, from Washington county, with his brother Jacob, and the two settled some eight hundred acres. Mr. Wallace lived in the township till about 1828, when he removed to the Mahoning valley, near Edenburg, in Mahoning township. Mrs. Wallace is still living with her son, William R. Wallace, in Union township. She came from England in 1804 with her father, Mr. Reeder.
The farm now owned by George W. McCracken, of New Castle, was settled previous to 1800 by Daniel Sutton, and is the oldest settled farm in the southwest part of the township. Sutton made the first improvements on the place--made a clearing, built a cabin, and set out an orchard, and in 1806 the trees in the orchard were of good size, and bearing fruit. For a number of years this farm and the one settled by John Gormley, in Hickory township, were the only ones along the road between New Castle and Harlansburg on which clearings were made.
George and Jacob McCracken came to the township in 1819, from County Derry, Ireland, and bought a piece of land where Jacob Harlan now lives. They worked about the Harlan grist-mill for some time, and in 1835 bought three hundred acres, including the present George W. McCracken farm.
A Covenanter or Reformed Presbyterian Church was built about 1835, on an acre of ground donated for church purposes by James R. Martin, who owned five hundred acres in the neighborhood. The church was a frame building, made of hewed saplings "from turret to foundation-stone." And was never completed. Preaching was occasionally held in it in the Summer, and in case it rained the congregation received a soaking, for the roof was but little better than a sieve, and the water came through "without let or hindrance." Rev. James Blackwood at the time had charge of all the Reformed Presbyterian congregations in the southeastern and eastern parts of the county, and made this one of his charges as long as it lasted. Mr. Martin, who was the prime mover in organizing and building the church, was killed by the fall of a tree he was cutting, the Winter after the frame was put up, and that was the main reason the church was never finished. Other ministers besides Mr. Blackwood may have held meetings in the church, but we find on record of them.
The other churches in the township have a history connected with that of the village of Harlansburg, and under that head they will be found.
A school-house was built about 1800, a short distance northeast of Harlansburg, on the line between the farms of Jonathan Harlan and James Brown. It was one of the primitive style of log buildings, with a huge chimney, and a fireplace that would take in logs eight or ten feet long; a roof made of "shakes;" a piece of log cut out, and the hole covered with paper pasted on sticks to hold it in place, and oiled so that the light would penetrate it easier, for a window; the "puncheon" floor (if it had a floor), three-legged benches, and a stern "master."
The "master" in this school-house was one Cornelius Stafford, a nervous little Englishman, who depended on teaching for his living. He was very easily ruffled and was, in consequence, the butt of many a practical joke. Among his pupils while teaching in this building was James Locke, a son of William Locke, before mentioned as an early settler near by. Stafford had an idea that Locke, though at the time quite young, was knowing to all the mischief that was going on. The huge chimney to the school-house let in more light than the window, in the afternoon, and Stafford was accustomed to draw his bench close up by the fire and read by its light and that which came down the chimney. One afternoon he was thus occupied, when suddenly one of the three-legged benches used in the school-house came clattering and tumbling down the chimney, knocking the fire out on the floor and severely bumping poor Stafford's shins. He arose in a terrible rage, and going to young James Locke, asked him, "Who did that ?" Locke replied that he certainly ought not to know, so long as he was inside the house and the bench was dropped by somebody who must have climbed on the roof for that purpose. "Hech, well," said Stafford, "I expected you could tell me, for you are knowing to all the devilment that is going on!" He did not question Locke any further, but it finally leaked out, in some way, that one of the pupils named Hamilton, who was up to such tricks whenever opportunity offered, had done the deed. When Stafford found out the perpetrator of the mischief, he went to him and said sharply, "Mr. Hamilton, one of us must die!" Hamilton told him he didn't feel like dying for some time yet, and had no idea, either, of killing the teacher. "But, sir," said Stafford, "you have insulted me, and bruised my shins, and now, sir, one of us must die! Hech, sir, I'll fight ye with sword an' pistol, or I'll fight ye with the shillelah, but one of us must die!" The affair d' honneur never came off, however, and Stafford afterwards taught in numerous other schools in the county, and Hamilton became a prominent man.
Stafford was a perfect master of fence, and would, of course have used his antagonist roughly, had he not been too shrewd to enter a combat with him. Stafford used to give his pupils lessons in the art of fencing, and whenever he became tired of the sport would never fail to hit them a smart rap on the knuckles, and send their weapons (sticks made for the purpose) flying as a signal to stop. He was one of the many geniuses which were met with among the school-teachers of the early days.
Another log school-house was built about 1817, northeast of where Jacob Harlan now lives, and a Baptist preacher named Henry Frazier was among its early teachers, and also preached in the Baptist Church at Harlansburg.
Other school-houses were built in different parts of the township, all of the same unique pattern, and the schools were all carried on in about the same manner. After the law establishing free-schools was passed, in 1834, a change took place in the school discipline, and improvements of different kinds were adopted, until the present system is as nearly perfect as the conveniences of the times will allow.
There are at present in the township, including the village of Harlansburg, seven schools, with an average attendance, in 1875, of one hundred and sixty-two , and an enrollment of three hundred and seventeen, of whom one hundred and seventy-one were males, and one hundred and forty-six females. The buildings are all substantial and comfortable.
Robert and John Turner built a frame grist-mill sometime between 1840 and 1850, on "Harlansburg run," south of the village. It is still standing, and at present owned by Michael Jordan, of Washington township. It has two run of stone, and appliances for running with either water or stream power; does an extensive custom business, and is a very popular mill.
Jonathan Harlan put up a grist-mill on Slippery Rock creek, just above the present bridge, below Harlansburg, about the year 1808. He had one before this at Harlansburg. George McCracken afterwards purchased the property, and, in 1839, built a second mill on the same site. The McCracken mill is yet standing, though unused and dismantled.
A man named Totten built a distillery below the mill, near the east end of the bridge, about the same time McCracken built his mill, or possibly a little before. He operated it for several years, but finally abandoned it, and it has since been torn away.
Numerous saw-mills have been put up in the township, but, with the exception of a few, have been portable mills, and kept in one place but a short time. The days of saw-mills have nearly gone by, for the timber of the township is none too plentiful, and they would not be paying investments.
REVOLUTIONARY SOLDIERS.--Colonel Bernard Hubley, who purchased the farm settled by John Shaw, was a soldier of the Revolution, and, as his title indicates, served with distinction.
William Locke, who settled northwest of Harlansburg, came from Ireland when young, and entered at once into the defence of his adopted country, and served her faithfully for several years.
WAR OF 1812.--Among those who answered the call for men to go to Erie and prevent the British from destroying the town, were Robert McCaslin, Robert and John McFarland--these two out twice; John, David, William and James Locke, Robert Wallace and Jesse Harlan. James Locke was [p. 108] at the time but eighteen years old and served four months. His brother David escaped the draft, but went out as a substitute. Robert Wallace was commissioned colonel of militia after the war, and held the position until about 1828, when he resigned his commission and removed to the Mahoning valley, near Edenburg. Jesse Harlan was under Commodore Perry, and in the memorable and gallant naval fight on lake Erie, September 10th, 1813, was killed. When the draft was made for men to go to Erie, it was rumored that the British were marching in strong force across the frozen waters of Lake Erie, determined to capture the town, and the men were sent to guard it. Of course this story was all a scare.
WAR OF THE REBELLION, 1861-65.--The men of Scott responded nobly to the call for troops to defend the country from the traitorous ravages of her own children, and the old martial spirit of the Revolution and the "war of 1812" was no degree lessened when the call came; rather was it strengthened, for well they knew that a "a country divided against itself cannot stand." And the only way to preserve their country was to prevent the dissolution of the Union of States, and wipe out the insult to the grand old starry banner in the best blood of her foes.
A military company was organized at Harlansburg at an early date, called the "Slippery Rock Volunteers," and the name was afterwards changed to the "Washington Guards."
The uniform of the "Slippery Rock Volunteers" was a yellow linen hunting shirt, trimmed with red fringe; red leggings, a citizen's hat with a white plume. Each man furnished his own uniform and his own rifle, with which weapon the men were armed. William Stoughton was probably the first captain of this company, and Samuel Riddle also held the position for a time. After their name was changed to the "Washington Guards," they also changed their uniform to blue pants and coat, red sash, and cloth cap with a white plume. They had four gatherings annually: drill, May 4th, review, May 12th, and drill July 4th and September 10th. This company contained about one hundred men, and entered the service in 1861 with nearly that strength, and under the following officers, viz.: Captain, Samuel Bentley; First Lieutenant, Andrew Nelson; Second Lieutenant, Norman Maxwell. They joined the One Hundredth or "Roundhead" regiment, and were mustered into the service as Company E of that body, and before the close of the war saw much severe service.
Of the numerous other regiments which received recruits from Lawrence county, it is probable that Scott township helped to swell the number, and of those who went, not all came home unscathed, and some are awaiting the summons which shall awaken them from their long sleep, for they fell bravely defending their country, and, until their clans are marshaled on fields of lasting glory, and are "gathered unto their fathers," will they rest quietly in their lonely graves, and, while
"____ Leaving behind them no blot on their name,
Look proudly to Heaven from the death-bed of fame."
Is located on the old Pittsburg and Erie stage road, which was one of the first roads laid out in the county. This road was the main stage route, and travel over it, after the country had become partially settled, was very heavy. The first settler at the place was Jonathan Harlan, who left Chester county in 1792, and came to Allegheny county, locating in the beautiful Chartiers valley. He was in that county during the excitement caused by the "whisky insurrection" of 1794, and was in the neighborhood when Gen. John Neville's house was burnt by the insurrectionists. He came to what is now called Scott township, about 1797-8, and settled four hundred acres under Dr. Peter Mowry, of Pittsburgh, including the site of the village. He afterwards removed to the farm now owned by the heirs of George McCracken. While living on his first tract he laid out the town of Harlansburg in 1800, built the first house in the place, and put up a grist-mill just east of the village, on the small run which empties into Slippery Rock creek, some distance below, the mill being built probably previous to the laying out of the town. The house he built was constructed of round logs, and stood on the hill just above where the "Bernard House" now stands. The house was standing until about 1840.
When Mr. Harlan came to the place he brought with him his wife and three children, and seven children were afterwards added to the number, the first one born after their settlement being a daughter, Sarah. After Mr. Harlan removed to the farm, below town, he built a second grist-mill, already mentioned.
About the time Harlan came, Abraham and Levi Hunt made a settlement on a farm adjoining him, and Abraham Hunt, in 1802, built the first tavern in the village, the building still standing, and known as the "Bernard House." It is a heavy frame structure, and was originally boarded up with "shakes." It was the first frame building for many miles around, and has been used as a tavern ever since it was erected. The Hunts afterwards removed to a farm in the neighborhood of where the Deans now live a couple of miles west of the village.
William Elder came to Harlansburg about 1807-8, two or three years after his father, John Elder, settled in the township. He soon after opened a small general store, in a space of about five by ten feet, where the bar now is in the "Bernard House." A post-office was established in the village, probably about 1811-12, and Mr. Elder also had the honor of being the first postmaster, so far as can be learned from those who remember.
John Bentley came from Chester county in 1814, and, with his wife and six children--five boys and a girl--located in the village. Robert Bentley, Esq., the oldest son, has lived within three miles of the place ever since, and is now living in the village.
A log school-house was erected about 1820, and the first teacher was an Irishman named David Gourely. Before this, schools had been kept in private houses. Joseph Campbell taught a small school in his own house about 1815-16, and James McCune also kept one in his house. In the Winter of 1818, William Jack taught a school east of town, in a house which was built by John Martin for a dwelling.
During the winter of 1818-19, snow fell to the depth of twenty-six inches, and unless the snow of the present Winter equals it, the like has not been known since. So say the "old residents."
A two-story brick school-house was built on the hill, in the western part of the village in the neighborhood of 1857, and is still standing. The school has been run as a high-school most of the time since, and, at present, has an average attendance of about one hundred.
A hewed-log church* was built by some German families--the Richeals, Michaels and others as early as 1799 or 1800, and stood on the lot where the present Methodist church stands. This building was afterwards--about 1800 or 1801--purchased by the Baptists.
*UNITY BAPTIST CHURCH, AT HARLANSBURG.--Since writing the above the following facts have been brought to light: The first Baptist preacher who visited the place was Reverend Henry, about 1801. The church was constituted September 17, 1808, at the house of Thomas Clark, by Revs. Henry Spear, Henry Frazure and Thomas Rigdon. Mr. Frazure was the first pastor, and Mr. Rigdon the second. The latter preached first in 1809. From 1849 to 1852 Rev. George Collins was their pastor; Rev. David Phillips from 1853 to 1854; Rev. Levi Ross from 1854 to 1855; Rev. John McConahy from 1855 to 1858; Rev. John Trevit came in 1858. The meetings were first held in the house of Thomas Clark, before the Baptists bought the old log German church. Andrew Clark was licensed to preach August 14, 1813.
The fire was made in the center of the (earthen) floor, and charcoal used for fuel. There was no convenient hole in the roof through which the smoke could escape, and the air must have been rather stifling, and the ardor of the worshipers so smothered that they probably held short services. The Baptists afterwards sold their property, and it is now owned by the Methodists, while the Baptist society has a fine location in the southern part of the village, where they have a neat brick church, built about 1852-53. The present congregation numbers about one hundred. The pastor is Rev G. Huston. The church is called "Unity." The names of the first members and pastors are not known to us, but among the early ministers was Rev. Henry Frazure, who employed a part of his time teaching school.
Among the churches of the place, next in age is the Methodist Episcopal, which was organized about 1833-34. Their first church was a frame building, put up for a dwelling by John Boyd. The society purchased it and used it for a church for ten years, and then built the frame church now occupied by them, standing on the lot formerly owned by the Baptists, from whom the Methodists purchased it. One of the first ministers who preached to the congregation was Rev. Thomas Thompson. Their present pastor is Rev. J. M. Crouch.
The third church in age was a Cumberland Presbyterian organization, which sprung up soon after the Methodist Episcopal church was built. A frame church was erected, and meetings held until about 1865, when their congregation had become so reduced by deaths and removals that an insufficient number were left to support a minister and pay necessary expenses; so they sold their property to the Presbyterians, and have had no organization since. The first pastor of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was Rev. Richard Law.
Next comes the United Presbyterian Church, which, though a short distance north of the village strictly belongs to it. The congregation organized about 1851-52, and for a while held their meetings in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in the village, where they were occasionally supplied. [p. 109] In 1855 the substantial brick church now owned by them was built, the carpenter work on the building being done by Robert Bentley, of Harlansburg. The first pastor who had charge of the congregation was Rev. D. H. A. McLean, who had supplied them occasionally after they organized and before the church was built.
Fifth and last is the Presbyterian Church. The Cumberland Presbyterians sold their property to the Presbyterians, and a new frame church was built in 1874 on the lot where the old Cumberland Presbyterian Church stood. The Presbyterians organized some time in 1875-76, and theirs is the youngest church organization in the village.
The first blacksmith shop in the neighborhood of Harlansburg was opened by John Smith, about 1816-17, south of the village. The first one in the village was opened by Jesse Bentley in 1831.
The first wagon shop operated in the village was by Charles Book, about 1862-3.
Ira Emerson had the first shoe shop in the place, and Job Harvey learned the trade of him. Harvey afterwards opened a shop of his own, and William Greer another one about the same time.
James Sterling opened the first tailor shop about 1833.
The Harlansburg Agricultural and Horticultural Association was organized in 1871, and twenty-five acres of land leased by John Elder for the use of the society. The officers were and are: President, Major Andrew Nelson; Vice-President, Alexander McBride, Jr.; Secretary, Jesse B. Locke; Treasurer, W. E. Kirker; Directors, R. M. McBride, L. D. Shaffer, W. B. Wilken, W. E. Kirker, James Burnside. This is the only association of the kind in the county at present, and every succeeding Fair is better than the last. The Fair of the association is held the third week of September each year, and is always well attended. The grounds are located on the hill west of town.
The population at Harlansburg is at present about two hundred, and the following are its principal establishments and industries: three general stores, kept by Jos. A. Campbell, Kennedy Brothers, and E. J. Dean; two hotels, by James Burnside and G. W. Smith; two blacksmith shops, by John Eppinger and Frederick Leathers; two shoe shops, by Samuel Kneram and Samuel Douglas; two tailor shops, by Amanda Sterling and John Hogan; one wagon shop, by Charles book; three chair and cabinet shops, by Washington Cunningham, W. B. Wilken and Robert Bentley; three physicians, Henry Hall, H. B. White and J. K. Pollock; one drug store, by Henry Hall; one grist-mill, by Michael Jordan; one millinery establishment, by Mrs. M. J. Dean; two dressmaking establishments, and one photograph gallery. The town is situated at the base of a high hill, which shuts in the valley on the west, and the traveler approaching from that direction sees nothing of the village until he is standing almost over it, seemingly able to step at one stride among the chimney tops below him.
More familiarly known as "Pumpkintown," is a small hamlet on the east side of Slippery Rock creek, in the southeast corner of the township. David Emery opened a store here some thirty years since, and, after he went out of business, James Smith and J. A. Campbell kept it for awhile. The latter is now in Harlansburg, keeping store and post-office, and Rockville is without a store. Harlan Vogan also followed the mercantile business. S. Frazier has a shoe shop, and a number of dwellings are clustered together in the valley, forming the hamlet. The place has never had a post-office, being located near Harlansburg.
From the 1770 - 1877 History of Lawrence County by S. W. and P. A. DURANT.
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Updated: 21 Mar 2001, 15:52