History of Lawrence County Pennsylvania, 1770 - 1877, by S.W. and P.A. Durant.


[p. 109] This was one of the original townships of the county, and formerly comprised a large part of the territory in Beaver county, before the formation of Lawrence. Its area is about sixteen thousand acres, being one of the larger divisions of the county. Its surface is much varied. In the northern and eastern portions the land is rolling, and well adapted to agricultural purposes, while in the south and west the hills are lofty and rugged, and the valleys narrow. Sharp ridges rise to the height of three or four hundred feet above the level of the Beaver river, and, on their sides, fruit of excellent quality is grown, as well as the various grains. There is also coal in abundance found half-way up the hillsides, and every farm has its supply. Thus the lands in these parts are rendered doubly valuable; during the Summer they produce largely of the different farm products, and in the Winter their owners engage in working the coal--so there is a continued source of income year round.

The township is watered by Big run and other tributaries of the Neshannock and Beaver, on most of which the power is fine, and in numerous places improved.

It is thickly settled, and the improvements generally are equal to any in the county, outside of New Castle. Below the city limits of New Castle small lots have been purchased for some distance, and the northern portion of the township is a continuation of the city. There are a few small hamlets in the township, but nothing large enough to call a "village"; and, aside from working the mineral deposits, the inhabitants are exclusively engaged in agricultural pursuits. The general health has been good from the time of the earliest settlement, and many aged people are yet living who have witnessed the progress of the county from its infancy to its present hardy maturity.

The settlement of the territory in this township was begun as early as any in the northern and northeastern portions of the county--the year 1796 witnessing a number of arrivals. Until about 1820 to 1825 the settlement progressed slowly, but after that time it became more rapid, and when the year 1840 was ushered in, the increase had become remarkable. With the completion of the Pennsylvania canal and its branches, new life sprung up throughout the county, and Shenango developed perhaps more rapidly than the outside townships, on account of its close proximity to New Castle and the canal. Its coal, iron and limestone deposits have contributed a large share of wealth to the owners of the land, and the supply has but fairly been opened. In consequence of all these advantages, are found fine improvements, well-to-do citizens, good schools, and the various other elements which serve to place the township in the front rank.


About the year 1790, William Cairns came from County Derry, Ireland, and, after landing on the soil of the United States, settled in Delaware. He was at that time a young man, and, during his stay in Delaware, became acquainted with Nancy Martin, to whom he was married in 1792. Not long after this he removed with his wife to Westmoreland county, Pa., where, in 1794, his first child was born. Some time in 1796 Mr. Cairns came with his family to what is now Shenango township, and settled on the farm now owned by J. R. Sherrard. Here he made a clearing, built a cabin for the accommodation of the family, and set to work earnestly and perseveringly to hew out a livelihood for himself and family. It may be imagined that his was no easy task, for he was many miles from a settlement, and alone in the wilderness. Mr. Cairns planted an orchard on the place not long subsequent to his arrival, which was the first in the neighborhood. Some of the trees are still standing, among them a venerable pear-tree.

There is probably not a doubt that Mr. Cairns was the first settler in the present limits of the township, the only other white settler known to him being Nathaniel Squires, who lived down the Beaver river toward Beavertown, and probably within the bounds of Beaver county. Mr. Cairns brought with him his wife and two children; and a third child, a daughter named Rachel, was born July 19, 1798, hers being the first birth in the township among the whites. For two years after their settlement no white woman besides Mrs. Cairns was seen, and many lonely hours must have been passed. Rachel Cairns was married to a man named Hawthorne, and afterwards removed to the State of Iowa, where she is now living (January, 1877.)

When Mr. Cairns came he probably settled a five-hundred-acre tract now cut up into several farms. Indians were plenty, and, as they were occasionally unruly, Mrs. Cairns was always fearful of being shot by them while at work spinning during the evenings, and especially if her husband was away. No damage was done, however, and both Mr. Cairns and his wife lived to a very old age. Nine children were born to them, eight living to become men and women--three girls and five boys. The first death among the children was that of a son, John Cairns, who, after living for some time at Youngstown, Ohio, where he learned the mercantile business, went to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and while there died of the yellow fever.

Some time after Mr. Cairns settled he purchased an additional three hundred acres in the northern portion of the township, and removed to it. One of his daughters was married to Joseph Baldwin, and their daughter married George F. Grigsby, who is now living on a portion of the three-hundred-acre tract.

Mr. Cairns had learned the weaver's trade before he left Ireland, and after the country around his new home became partially settled he built a shop in which to work at his trade, and wove cloths for the settlers for a number of years. He also opened a small store, which he carried on for a good many years. He became a popular and prominent man, and held a number of offices of public trust; was Constable, Justice of the Peace, [p. 110] Sheriff, &c. The office of Justice of Peace he held for more than forty years.

In introducing improvements Mr. Cairns always displayed great energy, and if he heard of anything new that was in the least likely to be beneficial to the settlers he at once procured it. To him is accredited the honor of having the first wagon--the "Dearborn"--the first buggy and many other articles, the use of which was to become general.

Mrs. Cairns died in 1846, and in 1848, when Mr. C. was about eighty-four years of age, he was married again, this time to Mrs. Eliza Asby, who came originally from Ireland, and was living at the time in Neshannock township. Mr. Cairns was her fourth husband, and outlived her several years. He died in 1854, aged about ninety years. He was a large, heavy man, yet always active, and, when quite old, would ride the wildest horses he could find. When seventy-two years of age he rode horseback over the mountains in order to transact some business for parties living in the eastern part of the State.

In possession of his grand-daughter, Mrs. George F. Grigsby, are a number of relics which belonged to him, among them a small pocket Bible which he always carried to church, printed in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1773, by Alexander Kincaid, "His Majesty's printer." Mr. Cairns was a zealous Christian, and the severest weather never kept him from attending church. Mrs. Grigsby has also other books which belonged to him, one of which is an ancient hymn-book, with music, printed in Ireland more than a hundred years ago. The old songs, "Lenox," "The Rose of Sharon," "Maryland," and others appear in it, but far differently arranged from what they are in the books in use to-day. One of his Bibles was printed by Curry & Son, at 186 Chestnut street, Philadelphia, in 1818.

The early wagons were of the rudest manufacture, and did not come into general use for a number of years after they were introduced, all the provisions, produce, &c., being "packed" on horseback. Salt was in this manner transported from Erie, and cost as high as ten dollars a barrel.

Game was exceedingly plenty--deer, bears, wolves, "painters," wild cats, &c., abounding in great numbers. These animals were no dainty connoisseurs, for they took whatever chanced to be in their reach, and, like Oliver Twist, were constantly craving for "more." With the filling up of the country, however, the larger game has disappeared, and it is now twenty years or more since the last deer was seen and killed in the limits of the township and probably the county. There are yet many places along the streams, whose wild recesses, rocky dells and gloomy forest might tempt wild animals to remain, but the only game left is of a small size and comparatively scarce. Wild turkeys, once so plentiful as to create great havoc in the fields of grain, especially buckwheat, are now not to be found, and the sportsman has only the partridge, pheasant, quail and squirrel left. In "y olden time" every man and every boy of sufficient age and strength was practiced in the use of the rifle, and to be able to shoot accurately was a great accomplishment and a necessary one, while to-day the shot-gun has taken the place of the rifle generally, and the old rifles are but little used and hung up as mementoes of the adventures of the inhabitants of the country in the days ante-dating railroads, canals, and the many changes attending the filling up of this now thickly settled and prosperous region.

A considerable portion of the land in the southern part of the township was bought up by Benjamin Chew, of Philadelphia, who secured it at a cost of a few cents per acre, probably with the intention of speculating in it. He had several thousand acres altogether, including portions of Shenango, Wayne, Slippery Rock and Perry, which was surveyed generally into four-hundred-acre tracts. An act was passed by the General Assembly of Pennsylvania, requiring Mr. Chew, as well as other persons holding large amounts of lands in the same manner, to secure to each settler half the tract upon which he located. By this means all were able to secure homes for themselves, and the residue became a source of profit to Mr. Chew and his son, who succeeded him in the management of the lands. The younger Chew took measures to accelerate the settlement of the country, and laid out the village of Chewton, in Wayne township, giving his time, personal labor and supervision to the project. His efforts were in every way successful, and the lands over which he and his father had control are now owned and occupied by a generally wealthy and prosperous class of people. These lands are among the richest in the county in their deposits of coal, iron and limestone, besides being well adapted generally to the raising of grains and fruits, and not behind in the facilities afforded for stock-raising, especially sheep.

Some time in the year 1796, William Tindall, a Revolutionary soldier, came to the township, and made improvements on a four-hundred-acre tract of Chew land, of which he received half for settling. The first cabin he built was not on the right tract, and he was obliged to build another. Mr. Tindall was accompanied by a lad named John Connor, who afterwards settled on an adjoining tract. Mr. Tindall was originally from New Jersey, and at first located in the "Forks of the Yough," in Somerset county possibly, or perhaps near McKeesport, Allegheny county. There he left his family when he came to what is now Shenango township, and, after making improvements on his claim, went back after his wife and children, and brought them out and made a permanent settlement in 1798. He had at that time four children--two boys and two girls. A daughter, Margaret, was born in 1798, and she is now living in Van Wert county, Ohio. The only child living besides Margaret, is his son, Zachariah, who occupies the old homestead. He was born in 1802.

When Mr. Tindall came the second time (1798), he brought a quart of apple-seeds with him, and planted them just below his house, raising from them the first nursery in the county for a number of miles around. Some of the trees are yet standing in the orchard near the present residence of Zachariah Tindall, and one of them which was transplanted to the farm of John Connor, now measures about ten feet in circumference. In 1858 it measured eight feet and five inches. This is the largest tree left which came from the old nursery. Those that are yet standing are usually bearing well.

William Tindall died about 1837-38, at the age of ninety-three years, and is buried in the family graveyard, with others of the family. This graveyard is a short distance east of Zachariah Tindall's residence. Mr. Tindall has in his possession an old-fashioned green glass bottle which his great-grandfather brought from Scotland more than a hundred years ago. His son, Thomas Tindall, used it for seven years as bar-bottle, while keeping tavern in New Jersey, and it has finally came [sic] into the possession of its present owner. It holds about a pint and a half; is an ancient looking article and perfectly sound yet. It has had a "great deal in it," and in shape resembles somewhat a leg of mutton.

Zachariah Tindall had for a long time an old flint-lock rifle, which was brought into the country by Hugh Gaston, an early settler on the Moravia Bottoms. Mr. Tindall's brother, Thomas, bought it of Gaston and it afterwards became the property of Zachariah. These three men killed a large number of deer and other animals with it, but the large game finally became so scarce that Mr. Tindall traded it to William Miller for a shot-gun, and it has been lost sight of by him. It had done its duty at Bunker Hill, and was even used by one of General Wolfe's men at Quebec, in 1759. It carried a ball weighing nearly a half-ounce.

John Connor, who came out with William Tindall in 1796, was but fifteen years of age at the time, and "shantied" with Mr. Tindall. He afterwards settled a four-hundred-acre tract adjoining the Tindall tract on the east. The land was also in the Chew district. His son, George Connor, is now living on the old place.

The surface of this portion of the township is exceedingly hilly and broken, the ridges rising to the height of several hundred feet, and the valleys being very narrow; yet the land is valuable. Numerous springs and small streams abound, and the scenery is in many places wild and picturesque.

On the farm, a part of which is now owned by Mrs. P. T. Hamilton, Robert Stewart was the first settler, locating on a two-hundred-acre tract about 1802. about 1815, Stewart sold out to Robert McWilliams, who built the stone spring-house still standing. He also had a grist-mill on the bank of Big run, near by.

Jared Irwin came from Ireland when twenty-one years old, and staid for a while in the city of Baltimore, Md., afterwards going to Kentucky, thence to Washington county, Pa., and finally locating in Hickory township, Lawrence county, in 1797-8, on the farm now owned by Isaac Reynolds. On that farm he built the first cabin, and to get help was obliged to go as far as Edenburg, in Mahoning township. In those days he also went to old Beavertown to mill. As was the case with the other settlers, he "packed" all the salt he used from Erie, paying a round price for it.

He made a clearing and set out an orchard, procuring the small trees somewhere in the neighborhood, possibly at the Tindall nursery; and the orchard must have been set out in the neighborhood of 1800. A few of the trees are yet standing.

Mr. Irwin "stood the draft" in 1813, but was not called upon to go out. In 1815 or '16 he removed to the farm in Shenango township where his son, Edward Irwin, now lives, purchasing the land of Robert McWilliams, it being a part of the tract originally settled by Robert Stewart.

Mr. Irwin was married while living in Washington county, and his first child born after coming to Lawrence, was a son, John, now deceased, whose birth occurred in 1802 or '3.

[p. 111] The farm now owned by Joseph P. McMillin is a part of lot number five, first Donation district--said lot being granted to Major Isaac Craig, February 28th, 1794, in consideration for his services in the United States army during the Revolution. Major Craig's patent is signed by Governor Mifflin. The major had previously owned a tract in the tenth Donation district, lying in the State of New York, but he released that to the State in order to get the tract in the first District, it being much nearer where he was then living (Pittsburgh). This tract was afterwards conveyed to Samuel McClure, who settled upon it some time between 1797 and 1800, probably. He made the first improvements on the place; the log-cabin built by him is now torn away. In October, 1803, McClure sold part of the tract, and in April, 1822, Archibald Cubbison purchased a portion of it also. Mr. Cubbison built the second log-house, which is still standing a few rods south of Mr. McMillin's brick dwelling.

Cubbison's house was built of hewed logs, and has one of the old-fashioned huge stone chimneys. Joseph P. McMillin bought the land of Cubbison in 1836, and has lived on the place since.

Major Isaac Craig was a prominent character who figured in the early history of the region about the "Forks of the Ohio" (Pittsburgh), and his grandson, Isaac Craig, is yet living in Allegheny City.

In the month of November, 1811, John Gibson came from McConnellsburg, now in Fulton county, Pa., and, together with a man named Sloan, purchased a two-hundred-acre tract of land, now partially owned by Mrs. Mary Myers. Mr. Gibson brought his wife and six children with him. Sloan never came to the county, and afterwards sold his share of the tract to Gibson and James McKee. Gibson was the first settler on the place, and became a prominent man, as have also members of his family, among them his son, R. M. Gibson.

Joseph Baldwin was one of the early settlers, and also became quite prominent. He was a school-teacher, and taught in the early schools in the township, and was also closely identified with matters afterwards pertaining to the organization and management of the Disciples Church, near Normal Glen or "Pumpkintown." He served five years in the regular army; married a daughter of William Cairns, and lived to a good old age. Mrs. George F. Grigsby is his daughter.

The farm now owned by R. M. Gibson was settled by Hugh Wilson, about 1815-16, and Mr. Gibson bought it of him afterwards, and married his daughter Eliza. Mr. Wilson first settled in what is now Scott township, in 1806. (See history of Scott township).

John Miller came in the neighborhood of 1800, and bought a large amount of land south of the present city limits of New Castle, along Big run. He had to cut a road through the timber to get his family to the place where they were to stop. He was of German descent, had a large family, and two of his children--a son and daughter--are yet living, having reached an advanced age. Mr. Miller was killed by a falling tree, January 28th, 1813, the particulars being as follows: He, together with Seth Rigby, John White, William Parshall, Benjamin White, Abraham Perkins and others were at work cutting out a road which Miller had been granted on his petition to the court. Mr. Miller had at one time been a hard drinker, but for several years previous to this date had been strictly temperate.

On the above mentioned day, however, he had become intoxicated again, after his long abstinence, and was somewhat reckless. The choppers had got along as far as David White's place, and that gentleman, who owned a distillery, came out and offered the men a quart of whisky to cut up some trees, which were already felled, into firewood. At the time the accident happened, Seth Rigby, William Parshall and Benjamin White were chopping about eight rods away from Miller and the others, on some trees which were down, each taking a tree. Abraham Perkins, John White and Miller were cutting their tree, which the other three had left. As the tree was falling, Miller undertook to step out of danger, but stepped directly in the way. John White, seeing his danger, made an effort to seize him and pull him back, but missed him and caught his axe-helve, on which he gave a sudden jerk, and Miller, not having his sober legs on, fell, and the tree, striking him in the head, killed him instantly. In their horror at the accident, the men forgot entirely about the whisky, and never got it. The day was intensely cold. Mr. Miller was buried just in the rear of the present First Methodist Episcopal Church, at New Castle.

Seth Rigby, Sr., father of the gentleman mentioned in connection with the Miller disaster, came from Virginia in 1804, and leased the farm now owned by Mrs. Shields, which he occupied one year, and in 1805 rented a place of Dennis Kennedy, whose tract cornered on the southwest with the one which Mr. Rigby settled in 1806. Mr. Rigby was born in Chester county, Pa., of Quaker parents--that is, his mother was a Quakeress--and afterwards went to Shenandoah county, Virginia, now in West Virginia. The Rigby boys were old enough to enter the army during the Revolution, but the Quaker extraction kept them out of it. Seth Rigby, Jr., now living on his father's old place, at the age of nearly eighty-four years, says "the Quakers wont fight," and that is the reason that neither his father nor uncles were out in the Revolutionary war.

When the Rigbys came to Lawrence the family consisted of Mr. Rigby, his wife and six children, and three children were born afterwards. Mr. Rigby first put up a log cabin on his place on the west side of Big run, near the stream, and set out an orchard, where some of the trees are yet standing. This not being a convenient location for a dwelling, he removed it to the lower land on the east side of the creek, where it is still standing, and now occupied by the widow of his son, Eli Rigby. The Rigbys were the first settlers on the place.

James Gaston came originally from New Jersey, and for a number of years lived in Washington county, Pa. There he raised a family, and in 1805 brought them to Lawrence county and settled on the farm now partly owned by his grandson, James Gaston. He made his improvements in the Fall of 1805. This tract was called a two-hundred-and-fifty-acre tract, but overran about sixty-one acres. Hugh Gaston, a brother of James had the tract on the east, and his deed called for vacant land on the west. John Butcher owned the tract on the west, and his deed called for vacant land on the east. These two vacancies made up the sixty-one acres, and had been purchased by Robert Sample, of Pittsburgh, James Gaston buying of him. Mr. Gaston brought two sons and four daughters with him.

John Butcher settled the tract just west of Mr. Gaston in 1799-1800, and made some of the earliest improvements in the neighborhood.

Hugh Gaston came to the county previous to 1800, and first took up his abode near the site of the town of Moravia, before the Indians who occupied the land in that vicinity had gone. About 1802-3 he came to Shenango township and located on the tract heretofore mentioned as lying next east of the one his brother James settled in 1805. Hugh, or "Hughie" Gaston was a bachelor and a great hunter. It is said of him that he had two horses, two dogs and two guns, and the greater part of his time was spent in the chase.

All the early settlers set out orchards as soon as they could get land ready to receive them, and in almost every locality numbers of the old trees are still alive, and if not flourishing like green bay trees, "they are, at least, covering their old age with glory by continuing to bear." Some of them have been grafted and bear improved varieties, while others have the same kind of fruit each year upon their branches, that was gathered by the pioneers of the land. Could these old trees talk, they would unfold many pages of interesting and delightful history, of which it is now impossible to acquire a knowledge.

The farm now owned by Robert McCandless as probably settled by William McCandless and the Jacksons. These families are of Scotch-Irish descent, the original representatives of them in this country coming from Ireland. They were also related, and settled near each other. Their farms were along the fertile "Savannah Valley," in the western portion of the township.

Charles Lutton came originally from Ireland about 1799, and settled in the southern part of the township, on the farm now owned by Cornelius Lutton. Mr. Lutton's son, William, came to the farm where his son, J. P. Lutton, now lives, about 1809-10, and lived till 1874, when he died at the ate of eighty-eight years. He settled a two-hundred-acre tract.

James Wilson came from Allegheny county, and is said to have located in New Castle previous to 1813, and gone out from there to Erie that year. About 1813 he removed to Shenango township, and improved a two-hundred-acre tract now partially owned by his sons, Albert and Ezra Wilson. When Mr. Wilson first came from Allegheny he had his wife and two (possibly three) children with him. His brother Henry came about the same time, and had a part of James Wilson's farm.

Jacob Book came from the eastern part of the State about 1799, and settled two hundred acres adjoining the Charles Lutton place. Lutton was an Irishman and Book a German, and what seldom occurs between members of the Teutonic and Celtic races happened with these two families, viz.: intermarriage. It is also related that the happy couple "lived together peacefully." Members of the Book and Lutton families are yet living in the township, and some of the former in Slippery Rock.

James Warnock came at an early day from Ireland, and stopped in Washington county, afterwards removing to the neighborhood of Mount Jackson, North Beaver township, Lawrence county, some time previous to [p. 112] the year 1812. He finally removed to Shenango township, and purchased the farm now owned by Joseph Baldwin, near the present location of the "Centre" United Presbyterian Church. One of Mr. Warnock's daughters is the wife of Mr. Baldwin, and another the wife of J. P. Lutton. Mr. Warnock kept the first post-office in the township, known as the Chenango post-office, and still in existence, with J. R. Sherrard as postmaster. He owned a five-hundred-acre tract in Shenango township.

James McKee came from Ireland when twenty-two years of age, about 1793, and some years afterwards bought a two-hundred-acre tract of land in Shenango township, of the executors of John Beard. The deed was made March 7, 1812, but it is likely that McKee was on the place a number of years before that. The place was originally patented to Hugh McClelland in 1787, and deeded to Beard in 1798. Mr. McKee came to the neighborhood some time about 1800, and he probably made the first improvements on this place. He was married to Rachel Whann about 1805-6, and his first child, born a year or two after, died when he was but twelve years of age. His name was Samuel. The issue of this marriage was eleven children, five of whom are yet living (January, 1877).

John Manning came from Ireland, and, after living in Virginia, and in Washington county, Pa., finally came to Shenango township in 1805, and, together with Reuben Bell, located on a two-hundred-acre tract, now partially owned by John Cook, at the time Messrs. Manning and Bell bought it. But one of the Bell family is left in the neighborhood, and he is a son, Jesse, now an old man. His father came about the same time with Mr. Manning, from the eastern part of the State, and the old homestead is occupied by the son. The clearing which Manning made on the tract was about half an acre in extent only, and a small cabin was erected in the midst of it.

Samuel Baldwin came to the township in 1805, and settled the farm now owned by Nathaniel Hill, which then consisted of one hundred acres. Mr. Baldwin came with his wife, from Virginia, and made the first improvements on the place. Like his brother, Joseph Baldwin, who came afterwards, he taught school. He lived to a good old age.

John A. Morrison came originally from York county, and located above Greenville, Mercer county. In 1835 he removed to what is now Lawrence county, and purchased some land near Miller's mill of his brother, Abraham Morrison, living in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. J. A. Morrison's wife, formerly Margaret McCartney, came to Meadville, Crawford county, Pa., in 1798, with her grandmother and two uncles, her parents being dead. She was of "Scotch-Irish-American" descent, one of her parents being Scotch-Irish and the other American.

The Harbisons, living northwest of "Greenwood" Methodist Episcopal Church, are descendants of the celebrated Massy Harbison, who was captured by the Muncie and Seneca Indians, May 22, 1792, and escaped the third day after her captivity with her son, then but an infant. Her elder son was killed by the Indians under his mother's eyes. This infant son afterwards came to Shenango township and served in the war of 1812. His father, John Harbison, settled in Allegheny county in 1796 or 1796. He came there from Armstrong county, where he lived in a small log-cabin near Freeport. He was wounded by the Indians in St. Clair's defeat, in what is now Mercer county, Ohio, on the 4th of November, 1791, and was ordered to serve as a spy in March, 1792. Mrs. Harbison's adventures during and immediately after her captivity are well known to every reader of border history, and it will be superfluous to give the story here. She was one of the model type of border women, and withstood trials which but few mothers could endure at the present day.

Philip Houk and his brother came to the township early, and located on the farm where Benjamin Houk now lives. The Houk family has become numerous in the neighborhood, and most of them are reaping the fruits of their many years of labor in the income derived from the sale of the iron ore which is taken out of their farms.

James Chambers came from Ireland some time previous to the year 1800, and brought with him his son, Alexander, at the time but nine years of age. Alexander Chambers afterwards removed to Mercer county, and in the year 1800 settled a two-hundred-acre tract of land just north of the present borough of New Wilmington. For some time he lived in Mercer county, and finally came to Lawrence and purchased a place in Shenango township.

SOLDIERS OF THE REVOLUTION.--John Butcher, who settled in the north-west corner of the township or in Taylor, possibly, was a veteran of the Revolution.

William Tindall, mentioned as settling in the southwest part, enlisted for five years at the beginning of the Revolution, and was living at the time in the State of New Jersey. After his five years had expired he volunteered for eighteen months longer, and after that employed his time with others in scouting against the tories. He served nearly the whole time the war lasted; was in the battle of Monmouth, N. J., June 28, 1778, where Washington defeated the British forces under Sir Henry Clinton, and the famous "Captain Molly" won her renown as an artillerist after the death of her husband, a gunner.

SOLDIERS OF 1812-15.--The list of men who served in the second war with great Britain is longer than that of Revolutionary heroes, and the following are enumerated:

Two sons of William Tindall, William and Thomas, started for the seat of war, but Thomas nearly severed his foot with an axe while sharpening a stake to use in setting his tent, and was obliged to return. William went ahead and was at Black Rock.

Seth Rigby, Jr., then a young man, went out in Captain Wilson Kildoo's company. This company was raised in what was then Beaver county, and had members from any parts of the county--from near Mount Jackson, from Slippery Rock and other places now in Lawrence county, and some were from New Brighton, Beaver county. It was composed of drafted men, and went to Erie.

William Lutton served in Captain James Stewart's company, and was at Black Rock.

James Warnock, at the time living near Mount Jackson, was out with Captain Wilson Kildoo's company in Erie.

James McKee was also out at Erie a short time.

James Manning, whose father, John Manning, had settled in 1805, served at Erie.

John Bell, whose father, Reuben Bell, settled in 1805, alongside of Mr. Manning, was also out at Erie.

Samuel Baldwin, who settled in 1805, was out a short time, and probably went to Erie with the rest of the men from the neighborhood.

Philip Houk and his brother were out.

Alexander Chambers served in the war of 1812, and was in a few engagements. He probably went to Fort Meigs, and served under General Harrison. He was at the time he enlisted living in what is now Mercer county, just above New Wilmington, but afterwards removed to Shenango township, Lawrence County.

For a list of the men who went out and fought for the Union in the WAR OF THE REBELLION, the reader is referred to the Roster which is given in another part of this volume. The men who took up arms against their treacherous brethren served in various regiments, but principally in the 100th (Roundhead), commanded by Colonel Leasure, of New Castle. Six companies of this organization were from Lawrence county. Among the other regiments represented were the 134th, 76th, 78th, &c., and two companies of three-months men were recruited at New Castle also.


Robert McWilliams built a log grist-mill on Big run, southeast of New Castle, about 1816, having one run of "country stone." He some time afterwards built a frame mill at the same place, and added another run of stone. He also had a saw-mill, and did considerable business while his mills were in operation. They have long since been torn away, and nothing remains of them.

About 1841-42 John Armstrong, Esq., erected a grist-mill in the north-east corner of the township, on Big run, where he had as fine a power as can be found on the stream. The mill was a frame building, and occupied the site of the present frame mill owned by David Fox and Joseph Frew. This mill has a large custom business.

John Miller, afterwards killed by the fall of a tree, built a grist-mill on Big run, a mile below New Castle, about 1811. It is said that his wife and daughters dug the race, which is still in use. This mill was built of logs, and stood till about 1828-30, when Mr. Miller's son-in-law, William McMurray, tore it down, and in its place put up a frame structure, which was burned down in 1845. The present mill was built by James Bryson and John Stewart in 1849. Before the second mill was burned, Mr. McMurray had sold the property to John Struthers, who owned it at the time it was burned. After this disaster Struthers became unable to make the remaining payments, and the property reverted to McMurray again, and he sold finally to Stewart and Bryson, who built the present mill. They in turn sold to Abraham Hartman, who operated it for a while and sold it to Henry Wolf. Mr. Wolf ran it till the Spring of 1873, when he sold out to John Sechler, who, in company with his son, is now running it. While Mr. McMurray had the property, he built a saw-mill and a distillery, some time previous to 1835. The saw-mill rotted away, and, when Stuthers owned it, [p. 113] fell to pieces. The distillery was taken down, and the stone used to build a house for the miller, which is still standing.

About 1837-38, McMurray put up a building intended for an oil-mill, but becoming somewhat embarrassed, sold it to Joseph Clifton, who built another dam, and converted the oil-mill into a woolen-factory, which he operated from 1844-5 till the Fall of 1870, when he took out the machinery and removed it to Weston, West Virginia. In the Summer of 1871 he sold the property to Berger and Hartman of New Castle. Of the factory there is nothing left but a few timbers, it having been torn away. The property is now owned by Mr. Wineshanks. The dam which Clifton built is yet standing, immediately under the bridge, just below Sechler's mill. While Mr. Clifton had the woolen-mill, he attached a drill to his machinery, and bored for oil. He went down about four hundred feet, getting a fair showing of oil, and thought if he had gone down deeper he might have found it paying quantities. The hole has been plugged by Mr. Wineshanks.

Sechler & Son's grist-mill has appliances for running either with steam or water-power, and does a large business. For a good draft and safety from fire, a large brick chimney is built from the ground, on the outside of the engine-house.

Miller put up a saw-mill several years before he built his grist-mill, and, when he concluded to have a grist-mill attachment, he took as a partner a man named Ault. One run of "country stone" was in some way attached to his saw-mill, and the grist and saw-mill were in the same building, with the water-wheel between the two apartments. A good bolting-cloth was used, and a great deal of grain ground, their work always giving satisfaction. Seth Rigby Jr., worked in the mill for about a year, and says "it was a terrible mill, but it done a good deal of business!" Mr. Rigby was born July 7th, 1793, and is consequently nearly eighty-four years of age.

Robert Patterson built a saw-mill at Big run falls long enough ago to have become nearly decayed at present. These falls are just below the stone-arch bridge, where the Pittsburgh road crosses the run, and were originally twenty feet high. In order to cut a race for the saw-mill, the rock was blasted out for several feet, and the falls are not now as high. The scenery below them is wild and romantic. The tract of land on which they are situated has always been known as the "Falls Tract."

A distillery was built at Normal Glen by James Cubbison, and run until sometime subsequent to 1835. At that date it looked like quite an old building. Mr. Cubbison bought the land now owned by Joseph P. McMillin in 1822, and probably erected the distillery not long afterwards.


Formerly called "Pumpkintown," takes its name from the fact that a select school was kept here by Joseph Baldwin about 1857-8, and about that time it received its present name. Alex. Allen has a broom-factory, and there are a few houses, and roads pointing in seven different directions, to constitute the "village."


The greater portion of the coal taken out of the township is mined in the southwest part, in "Hog Hollow" and vicinity. It is the upper vein, of a fair quality, and averages about two feet in thickness. Coal was taken out in the neighborhood as early as 1846, and Zachariah Tindall opened a bank in 1850. It abounds on probably every farm in the neighborhood, and is easily worked. A vein of limestone from thirteen to eighteen feet in thickness crops out towards the summits of the hills. It is of a blueish tint, lies in thin layers, and is fit only for burning--making a beautiful white lime.

Iron-ore abounds in small quantities in the same neighborhood, but has never been worked. The principal ore-bank in the county is owned by Grannis, Houk & Co., and the ore was discovered in the Fall of 1870 by Samuel Foltz of New Castle, the first ore being taken out in September of that year. Mr. Foltz was at that time interested in the "Lawrence Furnace," in Slippery Rock township, and operated the ore-bank till August, 1874, using the ore at his furnace. He also sold three thousand tons to Edward Kay, or Wampum furnace, during the last year. That furnace procured much of its ore at this bank until August, 1876.

The ore in Western Pennsylvania is usually found next above the limestone, but in this case they dug and blasted through the shale, sandstone and limestone for some twenty feet, and finally the limestone gradually merged into the ore, the last few inches of it being considerably impregnated with the iron. This was the "Big Bank."

Ore abounds in greater or less quantities in the entire neighborhood, and generally of a fine quality. A three-feet vein was opened in the Summer of 1876, on the same farm with the "Big Bank," and it has also been found on the farm of J. R. Sherrard and other places, to some extent. A narrow-gauge railway is in the process of construction from Wampum to the ore-banks, Joseph and John K. Shinn, of New Castle, being proprietors. Some of the ore is shipped to Pittsburgh and some to New Castle, but it is sent principally to Youngstown, Ohio. It averages about thirty-five per cent of iron. The "Big Bank" was at first supposed to be simply a "pocket" deposit, but at this date (January 10, 1877), 28,000 tons have been taken out, and it now has the appearance of a regular vein, from sixteen to twenty-one feet in thickness, averaging about eighteen feet. Next to Lake Superior ore this is said to be the finest in the country.

In the "Big Bank" there are four grades of ore; first, at the top, three feet of "red keel;" then about three feet of "yellow keel;" then solid "striped ore" for about six feet; and, lastly, a "shell ore" for another six feet. The latter is easily taken out, and is very rich; the other grades, especially the "striped ore," requires more or less blasting. Up to this time it has been taken out by "stripping," but during the coming Summer--1877--it will be "drifted."

The "Big Bank" is probably richer than all others in the neighborhood, yet they are extensively worked. There are four in operation altogether, owned by Wesley Houk, John Houk, Houk brothers, and Louis Zeigler. At present a great number of teams are engaged in hauling the ore.


A school-house was built quite early in the north part of the township, near the Hickory township line, and a man named Supple was the first teacher. This was not one of the first schools, however.

About 1810-12, a school-house was built of round logs on the place where Mrs. P. T. Hamilton now lives, and stood but a few rods north of her present residence. It was the first in this part of the township. An Englishman named Cornelius Stafford, who taught in nearly every township in the southeast part of the county, was the first teacher. He was a nervous, quick-tempered man, and had the regular cockney use (or misuse) of the letter H. It is related of him that upon one occasion he was teaching a little girl her letters, and she managed very well until it came to "L." After trying in vain to get her to remember and pronounce it, he finally lost his patience and broke out with the exclamation, "Hell, hell, you--you! Take your seat!" This is merely given as a proof that the early teachers were not all they should be, and but few things were necessary in order to become amply qualified for a "master." In fact the main qualification of a school-teacher in those days was the ability to teach the Shorter Catechism; with this he was considered eligible, even if his knowledge of the other branches usually taught in our present common-schools happened to be extremely limited. He must also be able and willing to use the rod unsparingly, for, like Peter Jones in Eggleston's "Hoosier Schoolmaster," the main idea was with the people "no whippin', no larnin', sez I." The hickory rod used was generally about seven feet long, and the knots none too smooth. It was placed in a convenient position, ready to be caught up at a moment's notice, and woe to the luckless wight who received a "flogging" with it, for he was apt to remember it the rest of his life. Luckily, those semi-barbarous customs have been laid aside.

A school-house was built about the Winter of 1813, on the farm then owned by Robert Irwin, and at present by Jacob Lintze. The first teacher was John Gibson, who had settled near by. Mr. Gibson was one of the superior class of teachers, and under his tutorship a school always flourished finely. This was the only regular school-house built for a long time this vicinity, and was a trifle different in its construction from most of the school-houses of that day. It was built of round logs, and had a huge wooden chimney, plastered with clay, built in the center of the room, thus affording equal warmth all around, and being a fine place to warm by--convenient to all. The teacher was a privileged character, and instead of having a rough bench for a seat, like his pupils, had a piece of plank fixed up, while the rest sat on their slab-benches and meditated on the uncertainty of human affairs.

A log cabin, originally built for a dwelling, stood on the John Martin farm, and in it James Leslie "kept school." This was about 1810-11.

For the children in the northwest and central western portions of the township, the nearest school-house, in 1805, stood on the flat near Moravia, now in Taylor township. This house was also built for a dwelling by a man named Copper. James McCallaher taught school in the Winter of 1805.

A school-house was built of logs as early as 1806-7, on the farm where Henry Tindall now lives, and the first teacher was William Arnold.

The number of schools in the township, at present, is eleven, with an average attendance, in 1875, of three hundred and twenty-six. The total number [p. 114] of school children in the township for that year was five hundred and sixty-one, of whom three hundred and thirty were males and two hundred and thirty-one females. The buildings are all substantial and comfortable.


A Methodist Church ("Morris Chapel") was built about 1870, in the northeast part of the township, on land originally owned by Andrew Guire, who settled it, and belonging to his wife and children when the church was built. They sold the lot for the church, and also the mill-site, where Fox & Frew's mill now stands. For some time the congregation had no regular pastor, some of the members themselves occasionally occupying the pulpit. Revs. Patrick O'Connor, Dyrie, and J. C. Rhodes have been regular pastors, Mr. Rhodes having charge at present. The congregation is small, and the church, a frame building, is also of small dimensions. The congregation is one of the stations on Mr. Rhodes' circuit.

"THE CONGREGATION OF DISCIPLES AT NORMAL GLEN.* - As early as, A. D., 1833, Elder Sanders and Elder William Hayden, of Ohio, delivered a number of discourses in the country, about three miles to the southeast of New Castle. Several persons made a public profession of their faith in 'Jesus the Christ, the Son of God,' and were baptized (immersed), but there was no church until about the year 1844, when Elder John Applegate, of Ohio, organized one in that vicinity, more recently called Normal Glen. This organization was maintained until after the Christian chapel was built in New Castle, when Elder Joseph Baldwin and most of the members of the Normal Glen congregation united with the church in New Castle.

* Communicated.

"There was a chapel erected in about the year 1847, which is still used as a house of worship, various ministers of different denominations delivering discourses in it for the benefit of the people in that vicinity. There is also a Sunday-school taught in it.

"The ministers serving the congregation of Disciples at Normal Glen resided on the Western Reserve, in Ohio, among whom were Elders John Applegate, Calvin Smith, Harvey Brocket, B. F. Perky and others."

THE "SAVANNAH" METHODIST EPISCOPAL society was organized probably in the neighborhood of the year of 1820. Their first meetings were held at the house of Laban Joseph, who lived near where the present church stands. They also held meetings in the Austin school-house, which stood on the hill back of the present McCandless farm, on land now in Taylor township. After this they held them in the "Savannah" school-house, and finally, some time between 1853 and 1856, their present brick church was built, on land purchased from Robert McCandless. A cemetery is located just north of the church, but is used as a general burying place, and does not belong to the society. The name, "Savannah," was given to the valley which extends for several miles north and south in the western part of the township, and near which the church is located. The school-house was named from it, also, by Thomas Berry, at one time County Superintendent of Schools. The present membership of Savannah church is from twenty-five to thirty. Its pastor, Rev. J. C. Rhodes, also has charge of the congregations at Croton, "Morris Chapel," in the northeast part of the township, and "Greenwood," in the southeast part.

"Greenwood" Methodist Episcopal Church was organized about 1858. Meetings were held for a year or two in the Warnock school-house, and in 1860 their present frame church was built by A. P. Schaffer, on land donated to the society, for church and burial purposes, by William Harbison. In 1858 a Methodist class was organized, consisting of E. J. Moore, and Eliza, his wife, and Mrs. W. C. Harbison. These people were from New Castle. Soon after the organization of the class a revival meeting was conducted by E. Bennett and Rev. S. K. Paden. Bennett at the time was an exhorter, but afterwards became a licensed preacher.

While the meetings were held at the school-house, Revs. S. K. Paden and Samuel Bentley preached, and during their time the church was built. Mr. Paden continued to preach for them a while, and a circuit was not long afterwards formed, including "Greenwood," Croton, "Savannah," Moravia and "Mt. Pleasant" church, on Snake run. The latter congregation has never had a church-building.

The first presiding elder at Greenwood was Mr. Hawkins, and Mr. Clark came next.

The first regular pastor in the new church was Rev. John McCombs. After him came Revs, Z. W. Sadduck, ______ Thompson, B. F. Marsteller, E. B. Bennett, J. H. Merchant, J. E. Johnson, Nathaniel Morris, J. M. Foster, Louis Wick, Patrick O'Connor, C. W. Darrow, and the present pastor J. C. Rhodes. These men staid from one to three years each, three years being the longest term allowed.

A Sabbath-school was organized in connection with the society at the school-house, before the church was built. Its first superintendent was E. J. Moore, who held the office till the church was built, when W. C. Harbison became superintendent. The office is at present held by Abraham Shaffer. Mr. Moore was also the first class-leader. The present membership of the Sabbath-school is from forty-five to fifty, and of the church about one hundred and twenty-five.

CENTER UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH was organized from 1820 to 1825, as a "Union" or Associate Reformed congregation. A petition was circulated for a "call" for a minister to come and "talk to them," and a subscription raised to defray his expenses.

Tent-meetings were first held in the grove where the present commodious brick church now stands, although this was before the society was organized. The church was organized as "Slippery Rock," and afterwards changed to "Center."

Possibly different ministers preached to them occasionally for a while, but Rev. David Norwood was ordained and installed their first pastor April 5, 1826. His charge consisted of Slippery Rock (Center), Mount Jackson and Shenango, and he continued to preach to them until about the 1st of October, 1833, when he resigned.

Their second pastor was Rev. Mr. Ferguson, who came from Mercer. Rev. John Neel preached for them for twenty years; Rev. Samuel Patterson a year or two; Rev. Joseph Barclay five years. Rev. J. H. Peacock came about 1867 and staid until some time in 1874. Rev. John D. Glenn, the present pastor, took charge November 1, 1874, in connection with Wurtemburg. The present membership of the church is something under two hundred, having been reduced in 1875 by a portion of the members organizing "Oak Grove" church, in Slippery Rock township. Some of the original members of the Center (Slippery Rock) church were John Alford and wife, James Frew and wife, William Aiken and wife, Hugh Smiley and wife, John Houk and wife, and others.

Two or three years after the society held its first tent-meetings, it organized and put up a frame church, which stood a few feet east of the present structure. Two acres of land for church and graveyard purposes had been given by James Warnock. The original membership was quite small. The present brick church was purchased by Wm. Houk, one of the members of the congregation, and removed to his farm.

The church is located in the edge of the grove, and stands very near the east line of Shenango township. Under the charge of the Rev. J. D. Glenn, it is in a prosperous condition.


Is located in this township, on land presented to the city for that purpose by Charles Phillips; the amount of the land in the farm is about forty-four acres. A special Act of the Legislation, in the Winter of 1865-6, was passed for the establishment of a poor-house, and James B. McKee and William Lutton appointed commissioners to attend to the location and erection of buildings, &c. A vote was taken by the citizens of the county, and the institution voted against by all the townships except Pollock, now the eastern part of the city of New Castle. Thereupon Mr. Phillips made out his deed of the property to the city. The buildings were erected in the Summer of 1867, at a cost of between four and five thousand dollars. They are substantial frame structures. The entire cost of improvements made on the farm is in the neighborhood of ten thousand dollars.

After the buildings were completed, the commissioners, on the 27th day of November, 1867, appointed Messrs. Archibald Cubbison, Robert Reynolds and George Pearson, poor directors, and they constituted the first board. Mr. Reynolds had especially stood by the institution in hours of need, and sustained it largely through his own efforts.

The average number of inmates since the poor-farm was established has been about twelve. Many staid but a short time and went away. The present number of inmates (February 12, 1877) is ten. The buildings are located near the old Pittsburgh road, in Shenango township, about three miles southeast of the city of New Castle. The location is healthy and pleasant. The institution is sustained by a tax raised by the people of the city.

From the 1770 - 1877 History of Lawrence County by S. W. and P. A. DURANT.

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Updated: 21 Mar 2001, 16:32