Historical View of Clinton County, Pennsylvania by "D. S. Maynard"
Beech Creek Township-Beech Creek Borough
Beech Creek township was separated from Bald Eagle in May, 1850. It is bounded on the east by Porter, on the south by the Centre county line and Beech Creek, (from which it derived its name), on the west by Centre county, on the north by Chapman, Grugan and Bald Eagle townships. It has an average width of about six and a-half miles, and is more than twenty miles long, the northwestern corner extending to the Susquehanna river, which it reaches at a point opposite the mouth of the Sinnemahoning Creek.
The geographical features of the township correspond in a marked degree with those of Bald Eagle, the general topographical appearance of the two townships being very much alike, particularly in their eastern portions. Each is flanked in its southern border by the Bald Eagle range; each is crossed by the Bald Eagle Creek; and the Bald Eagle "bottoms" and "ridges" and the Allegheny range are common to both, and need not again be described in detail, as the view of them presented in the sketch of Bald Eagle township will appropriately apply to this township, save only that the Allegheny ridge is broken, at the south side of the township, forming a pass, through which Beech Creek flows. Then along this creek are flats more or less extensive, whereas Bald Eagle has no bottom land except along its principal stream.
The entire western portion of the township, constituting nearly four-fifths of its territory and containing thousands of acres, is a vast unbroken forest, where today the wild deer browses undisturbed, save by an occasional hunter, and Bruin revels in undisputed freedom. This wild region, which is elevated several hundred feet above the river, is traversed in various directions by streams, and rendered uneven by depressions and elevations of various heights. Along the streams the timber is mostly hemlock intermixed with white pine. On the tops of the highest lands yellow and white pine exist. From that portion of the tract which lies nearest Beech Creek large quantities of timber have been taken down during the past twenty-five or thirty years; but a great part of the original forest remains undisturbed. The following is a description of the central part of the township, as given in 1704, by Henry Donnel and John Rees, deputy State Surveyors:
We are acquainted with and have surveyed the annexed fifty tracts of land, and do certify that they are all well watered and timbered, and more than one-half can be rendered fit for cultivation, and would produce good wheat and rye. They are about seven miles from Richard's mill, on Fishing Creek, and sixteen miles from Patten's. (near Bellefonte). It is generally hilly but of a kindly soil."
Besides Bald Eagle and Beech Creeks, already mentioned, the latter has several tributaries which originate in or flow through Beech Creek township. "Big Run," so called because of its being one of the largest branches of Beech Creek, enters that stream about nine miles from its mouth. "Monument Run," which takes its name from a large rock somewhat resembling a monument, which stands in the stream, empties into Beech Creek about two miles below the mouth of Big Run. About one mile further down, "Twin Run" enters that stream at two different points, it being divided a short distance above. Beech Creek itself takes its rise in Centre county and flows along the line of the township for about ten miles. It derived its name from the beech wood, which at one time grew along its course. The soil of the township compares favorably with that of Bald Eagle. The "bottoms" are exceedingly fertile. The land among the "ridges" is of good quality and quite easily cultivated, considering its unevenness. The soil of the unimproved portion of the township, as has been attested by the surveyors, Donnel and Rees, is well adapted to the production of grain.
The mineral wealth of the township remains almost undeveloped; sufficient explorations have been made, however, to determine the existence of not only limestone, which has been opened in several places, but iron ore and coal, the latter having been mined to some extent at the Peacock mines, which were alluded to in the description of the Tangascootac mining operations. Indications favor the supposition that both iron ore and coal will be discovered in paying quantities along beech Creek and its feeders. Fine specimens of each have been found cropping out on the slopes of the highest elevations, as well as along the streams. A good quality of clay for the manufacture of brick has been found in several localities and thoroughly tested; it is probable, also that fire clay exists in extensive beds in different portions of the township.
Before the encroachment of civilization upon the region drained by Beech Creek, that territory must have been a veritable hunter's paradise, its wild glens, and dark recesses of its forests affording shelter and retreats for deer, bear, panthers, wolves, &c., which, with the streams abounding with fish, rendered the country all that any sportsman could desire.
Along Beech Creek at different places there exist unmistakable evidences that the Indians used to frequent this region, and probably made the valley of that stream their general thoroughfare in crossing over from the Bald Eagle to the upper waters of the West Branch. A few years ago a singular specimen of Indian pottery was found on one of the tributaries of Beech Creek by W. P. Mitchell, Esq. It was a vessel nearly complete and had the appearance of being composed of ordinary potter's clay, intermixed with small pieces of silica or flint, and was ornamented with figures of different kinds. Other relics have been found at different times along the stream, which strengthen the opinion advanced that along the course of Beech Creek was a favorite route of travel for the aborigines.
It cannot, of course, be definitely ascertained when the upper Beech Creek country was first explored by whites, but it is certain that quite an early day that region was penetrated, for some purpose, by civilized beings, for in 1873 Mr. Mitchell, mentioned above, found plainly cut on the wood of a hemlock tree on Big Run, the letters "W.P." and "F. M.," over which had formed eighty-six growths of wood, from which it appears that the spot was visited by explorers, or hunters, previous to 1788. That portion of the present township bordering on the Bald Eagle creek was probably first examined with a view to its settlement at the same time the "officers" made their selections, for their "survey" extends along the west side of the Bald Eagle, entirely across the township as it now exists.
The largest tract included in the "officers' survey," and lying within the present limits of the township, was granted to Major John P. DeHaas; it contained eight hundred acres, and was located near what is now the east side of the township. Major DeHaas came from Philadelphia previous to or about the year 1800, and settled upon the tract; but it was not improved to any great extent till 1843, when the estate was divided into two-hundred-acre tracts and sold to G. W. Hollenback, David Herron, Joseph Whitefield and John McDonald. The original tract is now owned by P. B. Cryder, Nelson Devling and others.
The next tract adjoining the DeHaas property on the west, was surveyed by Capt. Piper, by whom it was transferred to Wm. And John Fearon, who settled upon it not far from 1800. The tract is now owned by Wm. H. Fearon John T. Fearon, and George G. Haagen's heirs.
The next tract was surveyed to Lieut. James Hayes. It was located in the angle formed by the junction of Beech Creek with the Bald Eagle. The house originally built and occupied by Lieut. Hayes is still standing on the north side of the Bald Eagle Creek, opposite Beech Creek station. It was constructed of hewn logs, and was lathed and plastered both outside and in. The Hayes tract is now owned and occupied by John S. Fearon, J. D. Engle and Benjamin Clark.
It is not known when, where, or by whom the first permanent settlement was made on Beech Creek, but it is certain that in 1793 Matthew Smith lived on the creek, about three miles above its mouth; probably he was one of the first settlers in that neighborhood.
About the year 1800 John Quay, Isaac David, James David, and Daniel David located above the present borough, upon the flats along Beech Creek, which had been previously surveyed to other individuals, but as the squatters were allowed to remain in peaceable possession twenty-one years, they received valid titles. The titles thus obtained included all the tillable land lying along Beech Creek, between the borough and the mouth of Monument Run, none of which is owned at present by the heirs of the "squatters," except a small lot in the possession of John Quay, son of John, who first settled upon it.
About the same time, or soon after, Quay and the Davids took possession of the Beech Creek flats, Wm. Huff settled upon a three-hundred-acre tract, adjoining the Davids' lands on the north, and also gained a title by right of possession. This property, too, passed into the hands of strangers.
The remaining improved part of the township lying north of the "officers survey" and east of the squatters' tract, was purchased at an early day by two Germans, natives of Leipsic, who divided that tract into farms and sold them off, between the years 1788 and 1795, to different individuals, through their agent, Joseph F. Quay, Esq.
The pioneers of this township had hardships and privations to encounter in common with the first settlers of other localities. In fact pioneer life is about the same the world over. "First settlers," those who prepare the way, lay the foundation for a more advanced civilization, always have to endure toils, undergo trials and submit to perplexing inconveniences from which their more favored successors would scornfully shrink.
Incidents of pioneer life are generally, if not always, read with interest by those who have never had pioneer experiences. The early history of Beech Creek affords many instances of personal courage and hair breadth escapes, and many, indeed, are the thrilling tales the first settlers could tell, were they living to-day. Among the notable events that have happened in the township, the following created much excitement at the time of their occurrence:
About the year 1816, a man by the name of James Munks, who was employed at one of the mills on Beech Creek, made a trip to Clearfield county and returned with a horse, saddle and bridle and a new suit of clothes. Soon after it was discovered that a man by the name of Reuben Giles had been murdered, and suspicion rested upon Munks as being the perpetrator of the deed, whereupon he was arrested and taken to jail, tried, convicted and sentenced; after his sentence he made a full confession; saying that he met Giles riding along in the woods and when he got a short distance past he leveled his gun and shot him through his back. Giles fell from his horse, and when Munks came up to him he said, "My friend, you have killed me."
In 1820 a family by the name of Hollands lived on the run about two miles above where John B. Welsh lives. One afternoon Mrs. Hollands went to a neighbor's house about a mile down the run, and was seen in the evening on her way home; but she did not arrive, and search was made for her all through the woods for weeks, but she was never found. Her fate remains a mystery to this day.
Probably no event ever occurred in Beech Creek township that caused greater excitement than did the great "Ring Hunt" that took place in the fall of 1849. It is well known that the woods abounded with game of various kinds, and extensive preparations were made to capture it by wholesale. Accordingly a force of three hundred men from all parts of the surrounding country assembled at Beech Creek village. The eager hunters were armed with various implements of warfare and husbandry; some had pitchforks, others had hickory poles with bayonets attached, some had pike poles, and some, even, it is said were armed with fishing spears. All things in readiness, the "hunt" was organized and the party divided into two columns, James McGhee taking charge of one and James Linn the other. None of the men were to carry guns except six of the most expert marksmen. The place selected for the hunt was what was known as the "David improvement," in Tangascootac valley about five miles north-west of Beech Creek. According to the programme the two divisions were kept together till they reached a point about a mile from "the improvement," when they were separate and encircle or surround the "clearing," which consisted of ten acres. Thus a circle of hunters, armed as described, was formed, enclosing an area of two miles in diameter. At the sound of a bugle, as the flanks of the two divisions met, all advanced toward the cleared field in the center where the deer, bears, panthers, wolves, &c., were to be driven and shot by the "six expert marksmen." As the line "closed in" the men yelled and shouted and flourished their pitch-forks and pike-poles enough to frighten every wild animal in Tangascootac valley. Many deer and other kinds of game were in the circle, but in consequence of a want of system in approaching the center, breaches were made in the line, through which the game fled in terror and dismay. Seven deer were seen to escape from a single opening, and by the time the clearing was reached by the hunters, not a wild animal was in the circle, and none having captured, the whole party returned to their homes fully convinced that they did not understand "ring hunting."
Hunting in the region of Beech Creek is still practiced to a considerable extent, but of course no one is willing to admit that he ever killed deer out of season; sometimes, however, hunters say they find them sick and "bleed them," and that the deer get frightened, start to run and fall down and break their necks, and of course it would be a sin to let the meat spoil, so they dress it and take it home.
Hunting has not only its pleasures, but it also has its pains, as many an unfortunate Nimrod can testify. Accidents often occur even to those who are experienced in the chase. About the year 1860, Wm. Council and James Clark went together on a hunting excursion, and when on their way home, as they were walking along, each carrying his gun muzzle foremost, Clark's musket, which was loaded with buck-shot, was discharged by the lock striking the limb of a tree, and shooting off one of his fingers, the charge struck Council in the back, he being a few feet ahead; a frightful wound was made, of which he died the next day, leaving a large family. During 1874 John Liggett, having the same gun with which Council was killed, was hunting in the woods, when a shower came on, and in crawling under a hastily constructed shelter, his gun was accidentally discharged, the shot taking effect in one of his knees, which disabled him for many months, and permanently crippled his leg.
In hunting bears, large iron traps with grapple hooks attached are frequently used. These traps are placed in Bruin's favorite haunts, and it occasionally happens that when a bear is caught in one of them, if the grapple hook breaks he will seek a rock, upon which he beats the trap till it is broken in pieces and comes off.
One of the largest bears ever seen in the township was caught in the spring of 1875, by Mr. James McGhee, on Monument Run. He had set a large trap a few days previous, and sent his two boys to see if had been disturbed. When within about fifty yards of the place they discovered a bear in the trap, with the grapple hook fast to a tree, in such a shape that he could not get the trap to the ground. The boys each having a gun, fired at the bear, killing it instantly; they then rolled it down the hill upon which they found it. In so doing they got it into the creek, but could not get it out until it was skinned and quartered. They then procured a wagon and took the carcass home and found that it had weighed over four hundred pounds, and was very fat.
Sometime during the year 1871 Geo. Hastings and James David, while hunting on Big Run, discovered signs of some wild animal, and setting their dogs on the trail, soon found themselves face to face with two large panthers upon a tree; being armed with good guns, the game was soon killed, and their scalps taken off, for which the county paid twelve dollars each.
The first school house in the township was built of logs, as was the case with nearly all the buildings at that time, and stood back of the Fearon property. It was erected about the year 1810. At one time a school was taught in it by "Buck" Claflin, father of Victoria Woodhull.
The next was built in 1820; it stood on Beech Creek, about one mile above the present borough limits. The next was built under the public school law in 1838 or '40, on land then owned by Robert Fearon. The next was built about the same time and stood just above the village of Beech Creek.
There are now seven public school buildings in the township, all good structures, well painted and in good condition.
The first church in the township was built in 1834, by the Methodists. It was located just beyond the present limits of the borough, at the west end. Services were held in it regularly by the Methodists, and occasionally by the Presbyterians, till 1868, when it was sold, and afterwards burned down. Its site is now occupied by the dwelling of Frank Wallace. One of the early Methodist "circuit riders" who preached in the neighborhood of Beech Creek was the Rev. Timothy Lee.
The first officers elected in Beech Creek township, were as follows: Justices of the Peace, John T. Packer and Andrew White; Constable, Thos. Crispen; Supervisors, Thomas Crispen and Joseph Linn; Overseers of the poor, Robert Irwin and Cline Quigley; Auditors, J. McGhee, J. M. Smith and G. W. Hallenback; Assessor, Thomas Crispen; School Directors, C. Bolinger, A. Leonard, A. Bitner, T. Crispen, Wm. Reed, and Wm. Massden.
The population of the township in 1870 was 950.
For many years, during the early history of the county, the principal, and it might be said the only, business engaged in by the people living in the vicinity of Beech Creek, was lumbering. After the lands along the Bald Eagle began to be settled, it was soon ascertained that Beech Creek afforded facilities possessed by few streams in the country, for conducting extensive lumbering operations, it having sufficient volume and fall to afford water power for driving the heaviest machinery, and its banks, and the region lying adjacent, for its entire length, being covered with a heavy growth of pine.
The first mill on the creek was built by Henry James, in 1818. It was located about a mile above where Beech Creek borough now is. This mill continued in operation many years, and finally passed into the hands of Cline Quigley, Esq. It burned a few years ago and not rebuilt.
Soon after the James mill was built, Christian Nestlerode constructed one a short distance below, in the Centre county side of the creek. This mill remained until it was torn down by John Nestlerode, grandson of Christian, who in 1865 erected on its site a gang water mill, which is now in successful operation.
A few years after the construction of the mill just mentioned, George Carr built one about five miles above the mouth of the creek. In 1845 Carr died and the mill was allowed to go to ruin.
In 1832 Joseph M. Smith built a mill on the creek, at the mouth of Monument Run, about seven miles from Bald Eagle. About the time this mill was built, Beech Creek was cleared so that sawed lumber could be rafted out of it. One of the first bills sawed by Smith, was timber for the Harrisburg bridge. This timber was 3x12 inches, 32, 34 and 36 feet long, and was rafted at the mill, and after being taken to its destination, was sold for about one fourth what the same quality would bring now. Smith's mill was burned and afterwards rebuilt, but finally allowed to "run down."
The four mills just described, were the pioneer lumbering establishments of Beech Creek township. They were all of the kind known as the English gate mill, single saw, and of course run by water power; their average capacity was probably about 1000 feet per day. They were the only mills in that part of Bald Eagle Valley for many years, and furnished all the building material that was used for miles up and down the valley.
In 1842, Daniel Crouse built a mill about three miles up Beech Creek. This mill, which did a good business for many years, is now owned by Brown, Hastings & Co. It is out of repair and idle. In 1845, George Furst and L. G. Andrews erected a good, substantial mill on the creek just above the present borough line. In 1863 this mill was abandoned.
In 1850, Samuel A. Cook built a mill on the Bald Eagle Creek, immediately below the mouth of Beech Creek. He purchased his water power from the Bald Eagle & Spring Creek Navigation Company. About the same time another mill was built on Beech Creek, about one-half mile from its mouth, by Housel & Miller. This mill and Cook's were decided improvements on the ones formerly built in the vicinity, having circular saws and edgers, and much greater capacity.
In 1852, Housel & Miller failed and the mill property was sold to B. Clapp. In 1854, Clapp sold to the firm of Shouse, Saylor & Co., said firm being composed of the following gentlemen, residents of Lehigh and Northumberland counties: Jacob A. Shouse, Samuel Saylor, Israel L. Day, and Lewis A. Buckley. In 1855, or '56, this firm built, in addition to the one purchased, a large gang water mill, having a capacity of four millions per year. In a few years they added a planing mill, to which they attached steam power. These mills were operated till March, 1864, when they were destroyed by fire. The work of rebuilding on the same ground immediately commenced, and though it was necessary to hew and haul most of the timber for the structure from some distance up the creek, the mill was in operation in ninety days after the conflagration, with three gangs of saws, a muley saw, one edger, and lath and paling mill all complete, the whole driven by an 80-horse-power engine. About two years after the mill was rebuilt two planers were attached. During the season of 1868, 11,000,000 feet of lumber was manufactured by this mill, besides lath, paling, &c.
It is estimated that not less than 150,000,000 feet of lumber have been manufactured in the Beech Creek region, two-thirds of which was sawed by the above firm. This mill is still in operation with a sawing capacity of 2,500,000 per month, but owing to the dullness of the lumber trade it is not run to the fullest extent. The name of the firm as now constituted is Saylor, Day and Morey. A mill was built at the mouth of Beech Creek, in 1843, by Wm. Parsons. It was afterwards sold to Valentine & Milligan, who run it successfully till about the year 1859, when they sold out to Saylor, Day & Morey.
Of all the thirteen different mills that have been built on Beech Creek, only two are in operation, the one owned by Saylor, Day & Morey, and that of John Nestlerode.
During the year 1853, Cline Quigley and Andrew White erected a saw mill near the present site of the grist mill now owned by Quigley & Nestlerode. It was allowed to get out of order a few years ago, and was not repaired.
The next mill was built by Samuel and Johnson Hall, about 1853. It was located on the creek about three miles above its mouth. It is now in ruins.
The next was built the following year by Joseph Hall, on the Centre county side of the creek, near the latter. In '56 Hall died and the mill passed into the hands of P. Shaffer & Co., of Pottsville, by whom it is still owned; but has ceased to be operated.
Much of the lumber manufactured on Beech Creek was obtained on lands lying on the tributaries of that stream in Centre county. Of the amount actually cut in Beech Creek township 50,000,000 feet would be a fair estimate, and it is also estimated that, including white and yellow pine, hemlock, &c., there is not less than 50,000,000 feet remaining on the land.
Nearly all the land now occupied by the borough of Beech Creek belongs to what was known as the "Lieut. Wiggins tract," a part of the "officers' survey." It is located on the right bank of Beech Creek about one mile above its mouth. The ground is gently sloping toward the south, and was originally covered with a heavy growth of the best quality of oak, interspersed with pine, hickory and poplar.
The credit of starting the village belongs to Michael Quigley, who, about the year 1812, bought 30 acres of land off the "Wiggins" tract, and constructed a grist mill, which is still in operation and now owned by Cline Quigley (son of Michael) and John Nestlerode. At, or about the same time, Quigley built a dwelling for himself, a short distance south of the mill, one room of which was used as a store. The first person using it for that purpose was "Buck" Claflin. Afterwards it was occupied for some time by George Furst and Henry Gast. The latter family sold his interest to Cline Quigley and Andrew White. After continuing in business together a short time, the firm was dissolved, and Furst purchased a lot of Michael Quigley, on the corner of Main and Harrison streets, upon which he built a store, which he has occupied ever since. Quigley & White remained in partnership for a while, doing business in a building erected by Quigley, a few rods west of the grist mill. Then they dissolved, and White built and occupied a store a few rods west of the one built by Quigley. Thuseach one of the former partners was engaged in business for himself.
In 1835, Michael Quigley sold five acres off the north end of his tract to Matthew Leitch, who sold dwelling lots for $25.00 each, that being the price, until 1848. Leitch's tract was soon sold out and built upon. About the time of Leitch's purchase, Quigley sold lots to Asher Packer, Hayes Packer, John Baker and others, which, with the five acres sold to Leitch, included all that part of the borough on Water street.
About the year 1840, John T. Packer purchased a lot of M. Quigley, on the southwest corner of Main and Harrison streets, upon which he erected a dwelling, and then built a shoe shop on the opposite side of the street.
About the year 1856, Andrew White quit the merchantile business, and Silas Hess occupied the room he vacated, till about 1868, when the building was sold to Thomas & Mason, who finally sold it to R. Berryhill, by whom it was converted into a wagon shop, for which purpose it is now used.
In 1866, Silas Hess and S. Mobley bought out Cline Quigley, and remained in business together till 1871, when they sold to Henry Berry, Charles Cade, and Daniel Bitner, who conducted the business till the spring of 1875, when they were succeeded by Cline Quigley, who filled up with a stock of groceries, and is now conducting that trade in connection with the flour and grain business.
In 1830, John Kirk built a dwelling on what was called "the island," a part of the original tract bought by Quigley.
In 1852, "the island" was divided by Michael Quigley between his son Cline, and his daughter, Eliza White, wife of Andrew White. Afterwards White sold his portion to Hugh, his brother. In 1871, the house built by Kirk, which was on this part of the property, burned down, but was immediately replaced by another. In 1872, John McGhee purchased ten acres from White, which he now holds. Cline still owns his portion.
About the year 1810, a small log house was built by W. Clark, on Main street, on a lot now owned by John McGhee, Esq. That building was occupied by different persons, among them "Buck" Claflin, and is said to have been the birthplace of Claflin's daughter, the present Mrs. Victoria Woodhull.
In 1814, Michael Quigley built a carding and fulling mill, a short distance south of the grist mill. It was run by water power, as also was the grist mill before mentioned. These two mills were the only manufacturing establishments in the place for a long time.
What now comprises the eastern portion of the territory of the borough was owned by Solomon Strong, and remained uncleared till about 1844, when the principal part of the most valuable oak was taken off by Wm. Parsons and others, and after being properly sawed, was sold to the government to be used in the construction of artillery wagons, &c. The land was then laid out into streets and lots, and sold to different persons.
About the year 1852, Solomon Strong laid out the western portion of his farm into town lots. The first one on the north side of Main street below the grist mill was purchased by John McGhee. The same year, on this lot, Mcghee erected three dwellings, store-house, shoe shop, wagon shop, and an office.
In 1856, a lot was purchased on Main street from Austin Leonard for $150.00, and the first school building in the place erected upon it.
In 1868, the Methodists purchased for the same price the second lot south of the school house, and built a very fine brick church at a total cost of about $9,000.
In 1869, B. & J. Liggett purchased the lot adjoining the McGhee property, on the east, and built a large store, in which they conducted the merchantile business till 1873, when they dissolved, B. Liggett retiring, and Edward K. Parsons and S. Mobley each taking an interest, the firm name becoming J. Liggett & Co., under which the business is at present conducted.
A short distance east of the Liggett property the Presbyterians purchased a lot in 1865, and in a few years completed an elegant brick church. In 1826 J. Rockwell started the first shoe shop, and made the first pegged shoes worn by the inhabitants. In 1830 Simon Lingle started another in an old building which stood on ground now occupied by John McGhee's store building. About six years later John Baker established a blacksmith shop, near the site of W. C. Bullock's residence. Two years later a tannery was built at the east end of the Beech Creek bridge by Asher Packer. It long since went to ruin. The land on which it was located is now cultivated. About the same time Solomon Strong came from the State of New York and established a fanning mill manufactory; it was located nearly opposite where the Presbyterian church stands. Strong conducted the business quite extensively for many years, and finally sold out to Stillman Keyes, also form New York, who still carries on the business. In 1846 George Furst and L. G. Andrews commenced the manufacture of fanning mills in a building on the north end of the lot occupied by Furst's store; they continued the business for many years, finally dissolving partnership; Andrews retired to a farm and the business was abandoned.
In 1838 John Orner started the first tailor shop in the place. The building in which he worked is located on the bank of the creek, on Water street, and is now owned by Gotlieb Keller. That same year Dr. Roberts, the first physician, located in the village; he remained till 1845, when he was succeeded by Dr. W. P. Rothrock, who was the only practicing physician in the place for many years. He was succeeded in 1875 by Dr. Tibbins, who is now there.
The first permanent dentist in the place was W. C. VanValin, who came in 1865 and still remains. In 1868 M. L. McKean came from Zion, Centre county, and established an extensive steam tannery in the borough; it is located on Main street, nearly opposite the Presbyterian church. It is now in successful operation, and consumes about five hundred cords of bark per year.
At present there are quite a number of good, well-stocked stores of various kinds in the place. Those that have not been mentioned are: Hess, Knecht & Miller, dry goods and grocery store, located on the street leading from the borough to the depot; this is a large establishment. Berry Cade's dry goods and grocery store, in the east end of the village, in a fine building erected in the spring of 1875. Adjoining Berry & Cade's on the west is the stove and tin store and grocery of C. R. Keyes, who also has charge of the post office. In the same building, which belongs to John McGhee, is the millinery store of Mrs. C. R. Keyes. Still farther west is the dry goods and grocery store of W. L. McKean. Next comes the dry goods and grocery of J. S. Hale & Co., who started in the spring of 1874.
At present Beech Creek has three blacksmith shops, those of Lemuel Shearer, Wm. C. Bullock and Henry Husselton. Also three shoe shops, kept by Henry Berry, Wentzel & Caldwell and F. Trexler. There are now in operation two wagon shops, with Richard Berryhill and John Stevens as proprietors, and also two tailor shops, kept by W. Beck and B. M. Bierly; one sadler, W. C. McDonald; one barber, J. A. Williams, and one undertaker, Wm. Rupert. A planing mill was established in the spring of 1875, by Bickel & Lose. It is located east of McKean's tannery, on Main street, and now in operation. There is but one public house in the place, which is kept by Charles Cade.
Beech Creek borough has at present no secret organizations except a Grange of Patrons of Husbandry, which was organized in 1874, and a Camp of Patriotic Order Sons of America, organized soon after.
In 1850 a lodge of Odd Fellows was organized in a building put up for the purpose by Cline Quigley, near the site of the grocery store now occupied by him. On the 5th day of March, 1855, it was burned down and the lodge was soon after disbanded. The Good Templars organized a lodge in 1854, and held their meetings in the Odd Fellows' Hall, but when that burned they ceased to meet.
For many years the Washingtonians kept up an organization in the place and made strong opposition to the sale of intoxicating liquors in the community. It is said that except during the exciting time of the late war, no alcoholic liquors have ever been illegally sold within the limits of Beech Creek township, and now it is difficult, if not impossible, to get twelve respectable citizens to sign a petition for license.
Beech Creek borough was organized in 1869.