Historical View of Clinton County, Pennsylvania by "D. S. Maynard"
Gallauher township was erected Sept. 18, 1849. It is bounded on the south by Pine Creek, Dunnstable and Woodward, on the west by Woodward, Colebrook and Grugan, on the north by Colebrook, and on the east by Lycoming county; it is about twelve miles long from northwest to southeast, by four wide.
The surface of this township is quite uneven, being broken by hills and water courses. As there are no large streams within its limits, of course it has no "bottom land," though there is much that is level or nearly so.
Gallauher township is well supplied with water, having within its territory the tributaries of Rattlesnake, Lick, Queens, Plum, and Chathams' Runs. Although the township is generally considered too hilly and mountainous for agricultural purposes, such is not the case. The soil upon the highlands is well adapted to the cultivation of not only grass, oats, and potatoes, but corn, wheat, and rye may be profitably cultivated.
Originally there was considerable white pine in the township, but it has nearly all been taken off, especially along the streams. The timber now remaining is principally hemlock, oak and chestnut.
Gallauher township undoubtedly possesses much mineral wealth, though examinations have not yet been carried sufficiently far to determine its extent; recently, however, an extensive deposit of fire-clay has been discovered on the farm of John Nolan, which lies on a tributary of Chatham's Run. Iron ore has been found in various places, and coal is also known to exist.
But a small portion of the land of this township is improved, though there are hundreds of acres that is most desirable for farms, awaiting the pioneer's axe.
Probably the first settler in what is now Gallauher township, was John Gotschalk, who located on the turnpike leading from Jersey Shore to Coudersport, about the year 1835. The region at that time was a wilderness inhabited only by wild animals; but with the energy and perseverance that characterizes the pioneer, Mr. Gotschalk cleared a patch and built a log house. Not long after he took possession of his forest home, probably the ensuing winter, there was a heavy fall of snow, which covered the ground to such a depth that it was impossible for him to get out to obtain supplies, and he with his family would certainly have perished had it not been that of James McKinney, Esq., of Pine Creek, suspected his condition, and with his team attached to a sled broke a road a distance of nine miles, to his dwelling, and assisted him in getting food for his family and live stock.
After the completion of the West Branch canal to Lock Haven, many of the laborers employed in its construction settled in Clinton county. Among them were John Lovett, George Lovett, Andrew Nolan, John Hennessy, and Michael Welsh, who selected farms in that portion of the present Gallauher township lying between Queen's and Plum Runs, forming a community which is known as "The Irish Settlement," the persons named all being of that nationality.
At the time of this settlement was formed, there was not a road within five miles, and the forest unbroken for a great distance in each direction; not even a tree had previously been cut on their possessions. The region was indeed wild, and might truthfully have been termed a "howling wilderness," for the howls of the wolf, the screech of the panther and the cry of the wild cat were heard on every hand, but the sturdy settlers braved all the dangers and persevering in their efforts to procure homes for their families, succeeded in "clearing up" farms that compare favorably with those in more favored regions. In a few years other settlers followed the pioneers, and now the "Irish Settlement" is a flourishing community.
As may be supposed, the first settlers of Gallauher township had many adventures with wild animals, which were quite numerous. As late as 1867, Mr. Patrick Douling, who lives near Mr. Lovett's, drove a bear out of his hog-pen. Bruin had gone there to select the finest shoat, but was forced to leave without it. Bears were quite common are occasionally seen even at this day. It frequently happened that half a dozen deer were seen at one time. Only a year or so ago Mr. James Hennessey was attacked by a wild cat. It seems that with a companion he was passing along the road through the woods, when without any premonition he was nearly thrown to the ground by the animal springing from a tree and alighting upon his neck and shoulders. With some difficulty they succeeded in frightening him off, and he escaped in the woods. During the fall of 1875, a man by the name of Lovett, the pioneer, was chased by a wild cat. At the present time the most troublesome animals in the region are foxes, which often make sad havoc with the poultry.
Many were the hardships endured by the pioneers of Gallauher. Such, of course, is always the case in newly settled regions; but owing to the fact that the first settlers of this township located a considerable distance from the river or any line of travel, they necessarily had more difficulty in procuring supplies than was experienced by those who settled in places more easy of access. For quite a number of years after the first settlement was made in the township, the people were compelled to carry their grain to mill on their backs. This was done not only by the men, but, in many instances by women. The nearest point where they could get their corn and wheat ground was Chatham's Run, a distance of four or five miles.
In 1845 Mr. Wm. Cryder moved from Pine Creek and settled near the Irish Settlement, not far from one of the branches of Queen's Run. He is still living there at an advanced age of eighty-seven years, having raised to manhood and womanhood a large family of children; among them is P. B. Cryder, Esq., of Lock Haven. Though having lived some years beyond the time allotted to man, Mr. Cryder is still in quite good health, with faculties unimpaired, and takes pleasure in talking of his pioneer experience in Gallauher township. As was the case with most of the early settlers, he was a good marksman, and delighted in the chase. The first year he lived in the township he killed five bears, and the next year six, to say nothing of the deer and other smaller game. Among the early settlers of the Irish Settlement was one Thomas McCann, a bachelor, who lived by himself and cleared and cultivated a little farm, apparently taking considerable comfort; but one morning he was found dead in his bed, from what cause is not known.
The settlers of Gallauher township certainly deserve great credit for the energy and perseverance they displayed in plunging into the wilderness, where, surrounded by wild animals, they have cleared farms and established homes for themselves and their posterity. Many of the farms in the township are in good state of cultivation, and show evidence of thrift and agricultural skill on the part of their owners. One of the largest and best cultivated farms in the township is owned by John Nolan. This farm contains nearly two hundred acres, and like most of the others in the vicinity is especially adapted to stock raising, being well supplied with the purest water and capable of producing abundant pasturage. Although most of this land is elevated several hundred feet above the West Branch, it has been demonstrated that fruit trees, especially apple, flourishes there to perfection, and produce abundantly in protected or sheltered locations. Even the grape vine thrives and yields largely.
Of the original settlers of the township there are now but very few living, probably less than half a dozen, among them John Lovett and wife, now more than seventy-five years old. This couple, perhaps, in their pioneer life, endured greater privations and hardships than usually fall to the lot of first settlers. When they first took possession of their forest home they had six children, some of them quite small. With wild animals to contend with on one hand and the labor of clearing land to perform on the other, it may be supposed they had their hands full; but they persevered, and now as a result have the satisfaction of knowing that their declining years will be spent, if not in luxury, in comfortable circumstances.
Among the other early settlers of the township not already mentioned, were the Glovers, and J. Focht, who located on or near the Jersey Shore and Coudersport turnpike. Focht had been a soldier under Napoleon; and was in the battle of Waterloo. It is said that he was required to work two years to pay his passage to this country.
The Jersey Shore and Coudersport turnpike forms the boundary between this township and Lycoming county, and as its name indicates, connects Jersey Shore in Lycoming county with Coudersport, the county seat of Potter county. This is the principal thoroughfare from the West Branch to the State of New York, and affords a very desirable outlet for the people living in the northern and eastern portions of the township. At present there are four school houses in the township; the first one was built about the year 1850; it was located near John Lovett's.
The manufacture of lumber is still carried on to some extent, there being half a dozen or more mills now in operation in different parts of the township.
The population of Gallauher, according to the census of 1870, was 252; it is now probably something over 300.
The township derived its name from Judge Gallauher, of Pine Creek township, who was instrumental in its organization.
There is no church in the township, but religious services are occasionally held in the different school houses. Nearly all the dwellings are original log structures.