History of Lawrence County Pennsylvania, 1770 - 1877, by S.W. and P.A. Durant.
[p. 115] This is one of the original townships of the county before the erection of Lawrence, within the bounds of Beaver county. It is one of the larger divisions of Lawrence county, and has an area of about eighteen thousand seven hundred acres. Its surface is much diversified, but for the most part is very hilly. Along Slippery Rock and Muddy creeks and smaller tributaries of the former, there are many localities of nearly primitive wildness, almost bearing out the first impression, on seeing them, that the foot of man has ever held aloof from exploring their rocky gorges and gloomy dells. Almost the entire distance along Slippery Rock creek, from its entrance at the northeast part of the township to the spot where it crosses the southern line and enters Wayne, is one grand display of nature's beauties, in which the artist has fairly surpassed herself, and left nothing unfinished in this sublime creation of her genius. The touches of a Master hand are seen on every jagged rock, on every precipice, and in every streamlet that trickles musically over their frowning ledges down into the dark vale beneath; they are seen in general arrangement of all the features of the landscape, viewed from any point whatever; and the delighted observer feasts his sight on scenes which are strange to many lands for scenery which is equaled and even surpassed in the very neighborhood where they have spent the greater part of their lives.
Perhaps the reason is that nothing is esteemed worth seeing which does not necessitate the expenditure of much time and means to investigate. In many parts of the United States, if a few romantic spots such as are found along Slippery Rock creek affords excellent power, and the fact was not overlooked by settlers, for mills were erected on its banks at an early period, and many are yet in operation, though numbers have been abandoned, as with too many in one kind of business the profit to each was small.
The soil of the township is generally well adapted to the growth of the various agricultural products.
Coal, limestone and iron-ore abound, the former in immense quantities, and with both the mineral and agricultural resources it possesses, the township may be ranked among the foremost in the county.
The coal vein averages about thirty or thirty-two inches in thickness in the southern part of the township, and is generally of a fine quality.
During the Fall of 1876, Nesbit & Dimick, an oil firm, bored a test-well in the farm of Jacob Shaffer, and having drilled twelve hundred feet, the drill became fast in the hole. It is necessary for them to go about two hundred feet deeper, according to the indications thus far, in order to reach the main oil supply. The well is in what is known as "Cove Hollow." These gentlemen put down a well in Wayne township in the Summer of 1875, several hundred feet, but found no oil. They concluded, judging from the Butler county oil districts, that they were too far south, and consequently came to Slippery Rock township and began the well upon which they are now operating. It is possible they may meet with no better success here than in Wayne, although the showing is much better. They are also putting down a well in Perry township, near the wells which are now being pumped in fair production, and consider their chances are good. They have gone down about six hundred feet at present (February, 1877).
Manufacturing of different kinds has been carried on in the township to greater or less extent, several iron furnaces having been operated on native ores.
In the southern part of the township are two "darksome dells," called respectively "Hell's (or Big) Hollow," and "Cove Hollow." In each of these hollows a small stream threads its way along, and in each the stream disappears through a hole in the rocky surface of the ground, and, after running under ground for some distance, re-appears below. "Hell's Hollow" was named by the early settlers, and is an extremely suggestive appellation, for a gloomier place can hardly be found. It is related that the origin of the name comes from the fact that a traveler in an early day became benighted and passed the night in the hollow. When asked the next day where he had slept, answered that he "didn't know, unless it was in hell!" "Cove Hollow" derives its name from a "cove" or recess formed by an overhanging rock somewhere within it.
The greater portion of the land in Slippery Rock township is in the first Donation district. A portion in the southern part is in the "Chew district." Benjamin Chew was a resident of Philadelphia, and had several thousand acres of land in the southern part of what is now Lawrence county, and settlers were entitled to half a tract (tracts included four hundred acres) for settling. After Mr. Chew died, his son, Benjamin Chew, Jr., attended to the business. He laid out the town of Chewton, in Wayne township.
The township contains the village of Princeton and Rose Point, or "Stonetown," both situated in old settled districts, and averaging well with the other villages of their size in the county.
On the east side of Slippery Rock creek, and a short distance south of Rockville or "Pumpkintown," (in Scott township), is a small store, started by M. Hoover about 1872-3, and still kept by him.
Mathew Young came from Ireland and settled in the township about the Spring of 1813, on the farm now owned by Robert Young*. He had first stopped near Noblestown, Allegheny county, and was married there. He afterwards removed to a place in Beaver county, near the present village of Enon Valley. He came from Ireland about 1797-8.
*Another authority says on the farm now owned by David Heckathorn.
Robert and John Burnside came from Ireland in 1817. Robert settled the place where Samuel Burnside now lives, and made the first improvements upon it. John Burnside was the first settler on the place now owned by John Fox. Mr. Fox has owned it since about 1836.
Peter Fox came from Westmoreland county, Pa., in 1809, and settled on the east side of Slippery Rock creek, on the farm now owned by Thomas I. Kelty, Jr. There were then four children in the family--three boys and one girl. Mr. Fox was crippled badly with the rheumatism when the war of 1812 broke out, and consequently was unable to go. But he let John Boston have his rifle to take along. Mr. Fox afterwards purchased a farm in the north part of the township. Seven children were born in the family after the settlement, making eleven in all. Seven of them are now living. Peter Fox built a grist-mill early, some distance below the present McConnell mill, on the Slippery Rock. This was the first mill in the neighborhood.
A grist-mill was built by Jacob and John Fox, on the Slippery Rock creek, about 1828. It was a frame building, containing one run of stone. This mill was purchased by Enoch Dean, who tore it down, and, about 1830, built the one now standing. The present mill contains four run of stone, and does a large custom business. Jacob and John Fox built a log-dam, sheeted with plank and split timber. It was removed, and a stone-dam put in by Hosea Kennedy. That was washed away, and the stone-dam now standing put in by the same man. Andrew Fox owned the mill a short time, just previous to the rebellion. He sold it to Hosea Kennedy, the present proprietor.
Andrew Standley came from New Jersey in 1815, and located first in New Castle. He built a house in that place, and lived there a number of years. He finally purchased a farm in Slippery Rock township, and moved to it. The same farm is now owned by James Roberts. Mr. Standley was a carpenter, and had a shop while living in New Castle. He was twenty-one years old when he located in New Castle, and removed to the farm about 1826-27.
Jacob Heckathorn, originally from Germany, settled first in Beaver county, and, in 1807, came to Slippery Rock township, Lawrence county, and settled on the farm now owned by John Searing. Mr. Heckathorn made a clearing, built a cabin, &c., being the first improvements in the place.
James Taylor settled early on the farm now owned by Orville Jackson. William Hogue lived on the place after Taylor left it.
Miller Kennedy, came originally from Emmettsburg, Frederick county, Maryland, and, about 1808, settled near the site of the present village of Princeton. A part of the farm is now owned by his son, William Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy settled one hundred acres, purchasing it from James Mower, who lived near the mouth of the Beaver river. He came out in the Spring of the year, and, after making the improvements on the place, he, in the Fall, put in a small piece of wheat. Mr. Kennedy brought six children with him, all born in Westmoreland county, where he had located after he had left Maryland. Four children were born after they came to Lawrence county, the first one being a daughter, Nancy. Four of the children are now living--Henry, William, Jane and Nancy.
After Mr. Kennedy settled near Princeton, he purchased two additional farms, one of them that on which his son Henry now lives, north of Rose Point. Henry Kennedy was the first settler in this place, as late as 1824.
Samuel Stickle came from Westmoreland county, Pa., about 1803, and located on the farm now owned by James P. Aiken and Samuel Stickle, Jr. The family stopped one night before they reached their new home on the [p. 116] bank of the run which empties into Slippery Rock creek, just below the village of Rose Point.
George, James and Margaret Kildoo settled in the township about 1802. James and Margaret were children, and George was twenty or twenty-five years old. Their father had died before they came out, and they came alone into the wilderness. George went back after provisions, or some other necessaries, and left the younger ones alone for six weeks. Every night the wolves came snarling around the cabin, and it was no pleasant situation to be in.
George Fisher came about 1801-2, and settled where Jacob Fisher now lives. After George Fisher died, his son Henry purchased the interest of the rest of the heirs. Henry Fisher died in the Fall of 1875, and his son Jacob now occupies the place.
John Motherlin came about 1800, and located first where E. M. McMillin now lives, northeast of Princeton. Motherlin was from Chester county, Pa. He afterwards went to Canada, where he died. His family, after his death settled the farm now owned by Alexander Frew, near Princeton.
About 1770-71 John Frew was brought from Ireland by his parents. He was but eighteen months old at the time. His parents first settled in the State of Maryland, and afterwards removed to Westmoreland county, Pa.
About 1794-5, John Frew started for what is now Lawrence county, and on the way met a man who had been out and made improvements on a four-hundred-acre tract of land in the Chew district. He was open to a bargain, and Mr. Frew purchased his claim for a trifle, and came on and found the place corresponding with the description given him by the man from whom he bought it. A small cabin had been built on the tract, and a clearing made. A portion of the old farm is now owned by Murray Frew, and is located in the southern part of the township.
The next year after he purchased the farm, Mr. Frew brought the whole family to it from Westmoreland county, and made a permanent settlement.
In the Winter of 1800 or 1801, Mr. Frew made a trip to the Ligonier Valley, Westmoreland county, and when he returned he brought a wife with him. Her maiden name was Margaret Hammill. In the latter part of 1801 (November 18), their son, Alexander Frew, was born, and is now living near the village of Princeton.
Mr. Frew raised grain the same year the family came out, and a year or two afterwards set out an orchard, of which some of the trees are still standing.
John Frew was the first one of the family married after they came to Lawrence county, and Alexander Frew was one of the first white children born in the township.
Game was in those times exceedingly plenty, and Mr. Frew spent much of his time in hunting deer, wild turkies,[sic] &c., and occasionally a bear dropped before his unerring rifle.
In those days there were still considerable numbers of Indians in the county, and a favorite camping spot with them was on the east side of Slippery Rock creek, at the mouth of Muddy creek, which is a large stream entering from Butler county, a mile east of its junction with Slippery Rock. The Indians, after "Mad Anthony's" terrible scourging in 1794, were generally peaceable in Pennsylvania, and although the knowledge of their past deeds created many an involuntary shudder among the settlers, yet they were possessed of little fear of them.
Nathan Hazen came from the valley of the Conoquenessing, in Beaver county, Pa., about 1810-11, and bought a two-hundred-acre tract of land where his son, Levi Hazen, now lives. He was born in New Jersey, and came from there when young. He was drafted to go to Erie during the war of 1812, but as his wife and small children depended solely on him for support, he procured a substitute.
The farm now owned by J. W. Boak was patented to the widow of Abraham Morris, in trust for her children. Her husband was a private in the Revolutionary army. On the 27th of September, 1815, the land was conveyed to William Wigton, who was the first settler on the place. He owned it until 1831, when he sold it to George Magee. Wigton's house stood west of where Mr. Boak now lives, in the orchard now standing, which was probably set out by Magee. The original tract was lot number eighty-nine in the first district of Donation lands.
Charles Boak settled about 1815, on the farm now owned by his son, Aaron Boak. He came from Ireland in the year 1800, and at first stopped in Lancaster county, Pa. He was the first settler on the tract he located upon in this township, and purchased one hundred and fifteen acres. He moved from Lancaster county to Dauphin, thence to Beaver, and finally to Lawrence. He was married in Rochester, Beaver county.
John Shaw came from Washington county, Pa., in the Fall of 1800, and settled on the farm now owned by Jacob McCracken, just across the line in Scott township. A man named Hugh Woods had taken up the land, and made a clearing and put in some wheat. He then went back to Washington county and brought his family out with him, in the Spring of 1801. Mr. Shaw had three children at the time, the youngest, George, now living near "Hermon Church," in Slippery Rock township, being then but an infant, having been born in the early part of the year 1800. The tract on which Mr. Shaw settled was "vacant land," lying just north of the first Donation district.
James Mullen settled the tract now owned by his son, James Mullen, Jr., in the year 1800. He was from Washington county, Pa., where he lived in the same neighborhood with John Shaw. Mr. Mullen and Mr. Shaw settled a two-hundred-acre tract between them. Mr. Mullen leased his part for a while to a man named Joseph Buck or Buckmaster, who, with his brother Joshua, had been in the neighborhood since an early period.
Edward McMillin located on the farm now owned by Archibald McMillin, in 1822. He was a native of York county, Pa. His parents moved from there to Mifflin county, thence to Westmoreland, coming to the latter county in 1818. There they lived until 1822, when they removed to what is now Lawrence county. The farm on which J. A. McMillin now lives is owned by Archibald McMillin, and is the one mentioned. The first improvements were made upon it by Archibald Lamont, in the year 1818. From him Mr. McMillin purchased the place.
The farm now owned and occupied by Archibald McMillin was originally settled in the year 1826, by John Allen, whose father (John Allen, Sr.,) served in the Revolutionary war, and died before the title was perfected. His son John inherited the property.
The farm now owned by Abraham Shaffer was originally settled by Jacob Shaffer, about 1809-10. The tract originally contained two hundred acres, and is lot number ninety-eight of the first Donation district. It is about one-and-a-half miles south of the village of Princeton.
Mr. Shaffer settled the east one hundred acres of the tract, and Miller Kennedy the west hundred. Kennedy came about 1808.
Jacob Shaffer was a native of Adams county, Pa, his old home being just across the line from Emmettsburg, Frederick county, Maryland. When he came to Lawrence (then Beaver) county, he had a family of six children. Four were born after he settled, and of the ten, seven are now living--one son, Abraham, on the old homestead, and another, Matthias, in Lackawannock township, Mercer county. A grandson, Abraham Shaffer, Jr., lives near "Greenwood" Methodist Episcopal Church, in Shenango township, where he has a wagon shop.
The tract upon which Messrs. Shaffer and Kennedy settled is finely located, and, though considerably rolling, is not so broken and hilly as the lands in close proximity, near the "big hollow."
The farm now owned by Charles Dombaugh was originally settled by a German named George Herbst. Mr. Herbst was born in Westmoreland county, Pa., his parents having come from Germany. He settled the Dombaugh farm about 1804-5.
Bears were extremely plenty in his neighborhood. When he was away to mill his wife was left alone in her home, and used to be severely frightened by the bears coming to the house and gathering around the outside of the chimney, which was low and old-fashioned. They probably came close in order to partake of the warmth which the chimney afforded, but, as Mrs. Herbst wisely remained in the house instead of going out to investigate matters, the truth must ever remain unknown.
The timid ladies of the present generation could scarcely be relied on in such emergencies, which required the full use of all the wits the women in those days possessed. It was no novel sight to step out of doors and see a shaggy black bear prowling around after a pig or a sheep, and more dangerous animals than even the bear were abundant. The fierce gray wolf was a frequent visitor, and the savage wild cat and terrible panther occasionally gave the frightened settlers a peep at their strong limbs and tawny bodies. The American panther is as much to be dreaded as the royal Bengal tiger--"the man-eater of the jungle,"--and woe to any unlucky person who was overtaken unarmed in the forest by the screeching "painter."[sic] Dr. Allen Nesbit, of Mount Jackson, North Beaver township, tells of being chased by a panther when a boy, and says he was "scared almost to death."
The animal, once seen, can never be mistaken for any other.
Adventures might be related sufficient to fill a large volume, for not a man who came at an early date to this country lived here long without having a greater or less number of them. The hunter's dog was [p. 117] then an indispensable companion, and those settlers possessed were usually of a strong, fierce, courageous breed, calculated to aid their masters in their way through the literal "battle in the wilderness."
The number of wild beasts diminished rapidly after the country had been settled a few years; the bears changed their abode to some less thickly-populated region among the mountains; the panthers and wolves and wildcats suddenly disappeared; the deer became thinned down to a very small proportion of their original number, and it is now twenty or thirty years since the last noble buck or timid doe was seen. There are left the smaller varieties of game--the rabbit, squirrel, partridge,, &c., but even they are becoming extremely scarce, and to such an extent has the timber been cut away that the wonder is there is any game left at all. Yet Slippery Rock township possesses a much larger acreage of timber than many of the townships in the county.
Solomon Fisher, whose father, George Fisher, settled below Rose Point, came to the farm adjoining the one now owned by Thomas J. Kelty, Jr., about 1816. His brother, John Fisher, was the only one of the family old enough to be drafted during the war of 1812, and was the only one who went out.
Johnson Knight came to Philadelphia about 1815-16, from the State of Maine. In 1818 he came to the farm now owned by a Mr. McDaniel, just in the edge of Butler county. A portion of the original tract was in Lawrence county. Mr. Knight was the first settler on the place, and made the first improvements. He purchased a mill-site on Slippery Rock creek from Thomas Wilson, who lived on the west side of the stream, and in 1824-5 or soon after built a grist-mill, a saw-mill, a woolen factory, or, rather, a carding-mill and an oil-mill. He also built the first dam across the creek at the place, and afterwards built another one, farther down the stream. In 1874 the second dam was washed away. The present dam, at the McConnell mill, is twelve and a-half feet high. In the carding-mill Mr. Knight had three sets of machinery, the "picker," "breaker" and "finisher." He never did any spinning. The wool was brought in by the neighbors, who would take it after it was carded, and make it up themselves. These mills were all frame structures. In the grist-mill he at first placed two runs of stone, and afterwards added a third. He built a second grist-mill, farther down the stream. None of the old Knight mills are now standing.
Thomas J. Kelty came originally from Ireland, and, about 1824, located on the farm now owned by his grandson, Thomas J. Kelty, Jr. The tract had been settled by Peter Fox, in 1809. Fox settled on the west side of it, but on the present Kelty farm he had made a clearing and planted an orchard.
Arthur and Samuel Kelty built a grist-mill on Slippery Rock creek, above the present McConnell mill, in 1835. It was a frame-mill, and was afterwards burned down A second mill was built on the spot, and is still standing. The Keltys may have had a saw-mill also. The present saw-mill was built by James Allen, about 1854.
Daniel Kennedy built a grist-mill about 1852 on the same foundation on which the present mill stands owned by McConnell, Wilson & Co. It was burned down in November, 1868 (possibly 1867), and the present mill put up two years afterwards. The old mill had four run of stone, was four-and-a-half stories high, including the basement--one story higher than the present mill. It had a large business.
The second mill was built by Mr. Kennedy, and the property was purchased after his death, by Messrs. Mehard, Oliver & Graham. In May, 1875, the present firm of McConnell, Wilson & Co. came into possession. This mill, as was the old one, is a frame structure, with a stone foundation and basement.
Thomas Kildoo settled previous to 1800, on the farm now owned by Mrs. T. J. Ramsey. He was from Washington county, Pa.
Phillip Young settled in 1807 on the farm still owned by the family. He came from Maryland with his wife and three children, and settled on a two-hundred-acre tract of Donation land, afterwards selling all but one hundred acres. The tract overran some thirteen acres. Mr. Young was the first settler on the place, and made the first improvements.
In the same neighborhood with the Youngs, five other families had settled between 1803 and 1806. These were George Fisher,* Samuel Stickle, George Herbst, Michael Sadler and Michael Saddler, Jr.
*According to other authority, Fisher came about 1801-2.
The number of voters in Slippery Rock township is something over four hundred, making a population of about twenty-five hundred. The improvements are generally excellent throughout the township.
The Lawrence furnace was built about 1865-66 by Emery, Culbertson & Brackenridge. These parties carried it on for some time, and finally disposed of it to Kennedy, Campbell & Co. Both those firms broke up, and the furnace was secured by Messrs. Foltz & Jordan, to whom it still belongs. The furnace has not been in blast since some time during 1875. The ore used was taken out in the neighborhood, and was of the quality known as "red ore." Most of it came from the ore-banks of the Houk Brothers, in Shenango township. The limestone used in the furnace was taken out close by. It is thin and brittle, and makes good lime. In color it is blueish gray. The coal used was also taken from the hill near by. The furnace is at the head of "Hell's Hollow." Ten to twelve men were employed about it while in operation, besides those engaged in hauling ore, &c. The fuel used was principally charcoal. While Messrs. Foltz & Jordan operated the furnace, they ran one blast with coke, which they procured at the coal-bank owned by Robert Francis, on the east side of Slippery Rock creek. The furnace is located about two miles south of Princeton village.
Some of the settlers of the township were descendants of Revolutionary soldiers, but we have found no record of a hero of that war settling in the township.
In the war of 1812, Slippery Rock was well represented.
Wilson Kildoo, commanded a company which was raised in the vicinity, and took it to Erie. Captain Kildoo was a son of Thomas Kildoo, who came to the township previous to the year 1800.
Jacob Shaffer served in Captain William Morton's company, which went to Erie, Black Rock, &c.
James Mullen and John Fisher went also out.
James Kildoo was out four or five weeks at Erie.
John Frew served as orderly sergeant.
John Boston went, and carried a rifle belonging to Peter Fox, Mr. Fox being so crippled with the rheumatism that he could not go himself.
Among the organizations afterwards in the township was a rifle company called the "Donation Guards," organized at Princeton about 1842 - 43. James Leslie, a blacksmith, now deceased, was the first captain of this company, and James Moore the second. James Gaston was one of the first lieutenants. Captain Moore entered the United States service on the breaking out of the Southern rebellion, and for acts of distinguished bravery at Fort Donelson, Tennessee, in the month of February, 1862, he was promoted to Provost Marshal. The uniform of the "Donation Guards: was black coat, white pants, green leggings with red stripe, red sash, shoulder-straps bound with red braid, black hat with white cord and red plume. They were armed with common rifles.
A rifle company called the "Princeton Guards" was organized about 1845, with John Randolph as captain and George Eckles first lieutenant. This company served several years. Its uniform was a blue coat, with white pants, red sash, hat with red cord and tassel. Were armed with common rifles. Captain Randolph had been a volunteer officer in a company at Portersville, Butler county, for eleven years. It was originally a company which went to Black Rock during the war of 1812, and the organization was kept up afterwards, being a part of the "Jackson Battalion," which mustered at Harmony, Butler county.
Sometime before the rebellion, a company of infantry, called the "Ringgold Guards," was organized by men from New Castle, Princeton and Portertown, with William Hall as captain.
Captain Kline and Dr. Randolph raised a small company just before the war, which when the war broke out, consolidated with another company at Eastbrook, in Hickory township, and went out as Company F of the One Hundredth (Roundhead) Regiment, commanded by Colonel Daniel Leasure, of New Castle.
The first settler where this village now stands was Abraham Wigle, who came from Westmoreland county, Pa., with Samuel Stickle. He had been an apprentice to Mr. Stickle, who was a gunsmith, and, about 1803, came with the latter to the township and finished his apprenticeship, after which he went to Pittsburgh, and, while there, purchased the farm on a part of which the village stands, the balance now being owned by Richard Johnson. To this farm Mr. Wigle came in 1804-5. About 1825--6, or possibly sooner, he built a grist-mill and a saw-mill on the run just southwest of where the village now stands, near the place where the road crosses the stream. This was the first mill near the place, and was washed away by high water some time afterwards.
About 1850, John Stoner purchased the land on which the village stands, and a small cluster of houses was soon built, and the place took the name of [p. 118] Stonertown, from Mr. Stoner. The post-office is called Rose Point, and was established about 1855-58, the first postmaster being Joseph Aiken.
About 1848-50, a man named McMaster built a carding-machine and a grist-mill on the creek. Neither is in use now.
A man named Edgar had probably the first store in the place, and Jessie and Samuel Jones built one afterwards. Joseph Aiken also carried on the business. There are now two stores in the village, one owned by Hiram Kildoo, and the other by T. A. Humphrey.
The first blacksmith-shop was owned by John Chesney. At present there are two, owned by James Annable and Abraham Fox.
There are also two shoe-shops, owned by James Adams and Frederick Weir. The first one in the place was probably kept by John Smith.
James Johnson has a hotel, opened in the Fall of 1876.
A wagon-shop was built by ______ Jackson about 1873-4 and carried on for a short time. Jackson afterwards moved away.
The Catholics have a frame church southwest of town, erected in the Fall of 1874. Rev. Father W. F. Hayes, of New Castle, is pastor.
The Reformed Presbyterian Church was organized in May, 1834, through the efforts of Matthew Stewart, Thomas Speer, Thomas Wilson and John Love. Mr. Stewart is still living.
A frame church was built in 1833-34, and used till 1871, when it was abandoned, and the neat and substantial brick edifice erected, now standing.
A Sabbath-school has, within a few years, been organized.
The first pastor of this congregation was probably Rev. James Blackwood, who preached in all the Reformed Presbyterian churches throughout this section of the State, getting around to each at long intervals. His successors as regular pastors have been Revs. Thomas Hanney and J. C. Smith.
Rev. Andrew Black preached as a missionary previous to 1833. Mr. Blackwood was pastor for seventeen years He preached in Lawrence, Mercer, Beaver and Butler counties. He died in 1851. From what was his original congregation five separate congregations have been formed.
Rev. Thomas Hanney was installed pastor, November 17, 1852, and served nine years, until October, 1861.
Rev. J. C. Smith entered the ministry here. He was ordained and installed in New Castle (which was then a part of the congregation), in January 1863. At first he had seven appointments, but now has only two--Rose Point (Slippery Rock) and Portersville (Butler county). When he took charge the entire membership was about one hundred and thirty. The congregation numbers at present, including both places, about one hundred members. During Dr. Black's* term of service the Wrights and others were among the leading men of the congregation.
*Possibly this should be Blackwood
The school-house in the village was built about 1860-62.
The Willie Roy furnace was built by Stewart & Foltz, about 1854. The "red ore" was used and was procured close by, as was also the limestone and coal. These men sold it to Smith & Collins, who leased it afterwards to Martin Wilson. It now belongs to the Philadelphia Oil Company--Smith & Collins--and is lying idle, having been out of blast a number of years.
Hope furnace was built by Emery & Culbertson, who had a furnace also in the southern part of Plain Grove township, at "Georgetown." The limestone used is found in abundance along the creek. Though unfit for building purposes it burns freely, making a beautiful white lime. Hope furnace finally became the property of the Brown brothers, of Pittsburgh, to whom it at present belongs.
THE VILLAGE OF STONERTOWN is located on a high hill, several hundred feet above the waters of the Slippery Rock, the situation being most picturesque and beautiful. It contains from seventy-five to one hundred inhabitants, and is growing.
This town was laid out by John Randolph, who came to the place in March, 1841, and laid out the town some time during the Summer. He named it from Princeton, New Jersey, which was his father's native place.
Mr. Randolph and David Fetter built each a house the same year, and Mr. Fetter opened a shoe shop. This was the house now occupied by Abraham McCurdy.
John Eckles bought Fetter out, and put in a small store, the first one in the village. Mr. Randolph purchased the store, and carried on the business for six years, when he sold to James Sharp, who in turn sold to James Frew.
While Sharp was running his store, Anthony Henderson also started one in another building. Mr. Henderson sold out his goods, and Samuel C. Stewart put a stock in the same building, and kept store for a few years.
Charles Johnston opened a stock of goods in the Frew building, which was burned down after he had occupied it two years.
In the meantime John Randolph had purchased the Henderson store, which he rented to Johnston after the fire. A year or two afterwards Mr. Randolph bought out Johnston, and soon sold to W. Gibson. Gibson sold to William Frew, who took in James Gardner as a partner and finally sold to him. Gardner sold to Joseph and Albert Frew; they sold to William Frew, and the store is now carried on by Willam and Joseph Frew. It is the only one in the place.
A postal-route was established some time between 1842 and 1845, between New Castle and Butler, through Princeton, and afterwards through Rose Point. A post-office was established at Princeton a year after the route was established. The first postmaster was Alexander Aiken. Since his time the office has been filled by John Randolph (who held it five years), James Frew, Abraham McCurdy, Charles Johnston, Abraham McCurdy, and E. L. Hoon, the present incumbent.
Elisha Moore had the first blacksmith shop; J. B. White the second. Robert Manning worked with Mr. White, and is still running the shop. Another shop was opened by a German in the Fall of 1876.
John Randolph opened the first harness shop in 1843; David Connor worked in it. James B. Shaffer had the next one, Sylvester Johnston the next and Samuel Mersheimer the next--the latter still at work.
David Fetter opened the first shoe shop in 1841. Next came Sebastian Mersheimer; then Abraham McCurdy, Jr., Milton Walton, John Whitling, and William Ballard--the latter still at the place, and working part of the time at Mount Jackson.
A two-story brick school-house was built in the Fall and Winter of 1876.
About 1848 or '49 Jesse B. Rutter opened a tavern, which was the only one ever opened in the place. He kept it about a year.
John Wigle has a wagon shop, which is the first and only one in town. The first physician was Clement C. Pearson, followed by James W. Eckles, William J. Randolph (now of Kansas), Thomas Rhodes, A. M. Cowden, Montgomery Lienville (now of New Castle) and Dr. John C. McKee.
MEMORIAL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.--In the Fall of 1868 the "Hermon" Reformed Presbyterian Church, north of Princeton, was divided, and a part of the old congregation organized a Presbyterian congregation, and held meetings for one Summer in the Shaw school-house. They also built a temporary structure, which they called the "Tabernacle," and used it for two years. In 1870, a frame church was built in Princeton. Rev. Robert McMillan, who had been pastor of the Reform Presbyterian Church for a number of years, was the first pastor of the "Memorial" congregation, and preached for them until June, 1875, when he was obliged to cease his labors on account of failing health. He went to the Rocky Mountain region to recruit, but was so worn out that the charge operated disastrously, and he was brought back as far as Cincinnati, Ohio, where he died among his relatives.
Rev. Alvin M. Reed, the present pastor, was ordained and installed in June, 1876.
The present congregation finally purchased the old "Hermon" church, and now hold meetings there, and at Princeton also, Mr. Reed dividing his time between the two places, one-half to each. The Reformed Presbyterians, for a time after the division, used the old church, but finally built the present one on land taken from the farm occupied by E. M. McMillan.
A school-house was built on the Fox farm, in the northern part of the township, about 1828-30, and was one of the first in the neighborhood. The land on which it stood afterwards owned by James Forbes.
A school-house was built in 1810-12 on the farm where Phillip Young lived, and stood near his house. It was of round logs, and was one of the primitive kind, called "log-cabin" school-houses. The first teacher was Cornelius William Stafford, an Englishman, who is mentioned as having taught in schools of several other townships of the county. The Young school-house was the first in that part of the township.
Another school-house of the same pattern was built about three miles southwest of the present village of Princeton, and was the first in that vicinity. It was built probably about 1808-12. The first teacher was a Virginian named Jehu Lewis.
A school-house was built in "Shady Dell" soon after the free-school law was passed (1834), and, in the Summer of 1875, a new one was erected farther down the road towards the creek. [p. 119]
About 1810-12 a "log cabin" school-house was built on a portion of the tract which now belongs to George Shaw. William Wigton was one of the early teachers, but as he only came to the township in 1815, it is probable that others taught before him.
A United Presbyterian church was built in the Summer of 1875, on land taken from the farm of E. M. McMillin. It is a neat, commodious frame building. The congregation is a part of the old "Hermon" United Presbyterian congregation, and was originally organized as a Reformed Presbyterian. That congregation divided in the Fall of 1868, and a portion of them organized as a Presbyterian congregation, and built a church at Princeton. The pastor of the United Presbyterian (new) Church is Rev. William E. Shaw, who has had charge since the church was built. The society held meetings for some time after the division, in the old church, and Revs. Graham and Whitten preached to them.
Hermon Reformed Presbyterian Church was organized about 1840 by Rev. Josiah Hutchman. After him came Revs. Riley McMillan and Robert McMillan. During the latter's pastorate it was divided, part organizing as a Presbyterian congregation and going to Princeton, and remainder forming a United Presbyterian congregation and remaining for a while in the old church under the pastoral charge of Revs. Robert Graham and James Whitten, the latter as stated supply. The United Presbyterian congregation finally built a new church, and the "Hermon" church-building was purchased by the Presbyterians of Princeton, and is now used by them. Rev. Robert McMillan, who was preaching when the old church divided, went with the Presbyterian portion of the congregation, and finally gave up his charge on account of failing health. He died in Cincinnati. Rev. Alvin M. Reed is the pastor. The church was built on land from the farm of George Shaw, and is still standing. It is a large frame building. The graveyard was taken from William Munnel's farm, on the opposite side of the road. The congregation includes the members of both Princeton and the old church, and numbers about two hundred.
A Christian church was organized about 1864-65, and meetings were held until about 1868-69 in the school-house "number two." About the latter date their present frame church was built, on land taken from the farm of Joseph Pence.
Their first pastor was Rev. O. Higgins, who organized the congregation.
The pastors who have had charge since are Revs. S. B. Teegarden, Dr. Halleck, Cushman and Davies, the latter having charge at present. The congregation is limited in number.
A Lutheran church was built about 1825, on the farm of George Herbert. It was a rude log structure, and is still standing. The farm is now owned by Charles Dombaugh. It was organized as a German Evangelical Lutheran congregation, and the first pastor was probably Rev. Mr. Hewitt, who preached some time before the church was built. He also preached to the society at Harlansburg as early as 1800, so the organization of the congregation in Slippery Rock must have been not long after. They held their meetings in private houses and barns for years.
Rev. Mr. Hilger came next. Then came Revs. Kranz and A. H. Waters. For some time after Mr. Kranz left them there were no meetings held, probably for a number of years. In 1862 an English Evangelical Lutheran organization was effected under the charge of Mr. Waters. He preached until about 1866, and after him Rev. Louis Hippee took charge. Rev. S. H. Swingle preached one year, and since his time the church has been supplied. The membership in the new organization was about thirty, and at present it is nearly or quite forty.
The brick church now standing was built soon after the new organization was completed, and is located a mile and a-half west of the old. The church is called the "Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran." The early history of the organization is very obscure.
Harmony Baptist Church was constituted November 2, 1849. Nathan Hazen gave a little over an acre of land for church and graveyard, and the church-building occupies the south part of the lot. The church was organized in a school-house which stood on the west side of the road, and was afterwards burned down. The present frame-church was commenced in 1851 and finished in 1853.
The first Baptists in the neighborhood were John Hazen and his wife Rebecca, and Nathan Hazen and his wife Lavina. These had been members of Providence church in Beaver county. Harmony church was constituted by Revs. Samuel Stoughton, Jacob Morris, Daniel Daniels, Levi Ross and A. G. Kirk, with a membership of eleven. The following were the original members: Samuel Hazen, Nathan Hazen, O. J. Hazen, Levi Hazen, Samuel Baldwin, Rachel Hazen, Elizabeth Sherrard, Nancy Houk and Rebecca Newton.
The first ministers who preached were Thomas and Daniel Daniels. The first pastor after the church was constituted was Rev. Levi Ross, who preached from 1849 till 1854. The church was built during his pastorate. Next came Daniel Daniels, 1854 to 1857; Samuel Godshall, 1858 to 1859; Gabriel Lanahan, 1859 to 1863; Rev. A. G. Kirk took charge April 1, 1863, and served as pastor one year; Rev. John Parker took the pastorate April 1, 1864, and served until October, 1866; Rev. John Moses came in April, 1867, and served till September or October of the same year; Rev. D. L. Clouse took charge April 1, 1869, and staid one year. From that time the church was supplied until the middle of September, 1871, when Rev. John Owens became the pastor, and staid until November, 1876, when he resigned. Rev. A. G. Kirk again took charge, December 1, 1876, and is the present pastor. The present membership is eighty-six. The deacons of the church, previous to 1860 were John Hazen, Nathan Hazen, William Hazen and Oliver Hazen, none of whom are now living.
The church stands in a pleasant spot close to the western line of the township, and about seven miles southeast of New Castle.
The number of schools in Slippery Rock township is 1875 was ten, having an enrollment of four hundred and eighty-one school-children, of whom two hundred and seventy-seven were males, and two hundred and four females. The average attendance for the year was three hundred and ninety-one.
From the 1770 - 1877 History of Lawrence County by S. W. and P. A. DURANT.
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Updated: 21 Mar 2001, 16:40