Historical View of Clinton County, Pennsylvania by "D. S. Maynard"
This township is located on the north side of the West Branch, opposite Lock Haven. It is bounded on the south by the river, on the west by Colebrook, on the north by gallauher, and on the east by Dunnstable, and is about four by five miles in extent. It was organized in 1841 and named in honor of Hon. Geo. W. Woodward, then President Judge of the district. In 1844 a portion of Dunnstable was annexed to the township, and in 1853 a part of Colebrook was added, so that now its area is considerably greater than when it was formed.
The township is quite hilly, and contains very little level land with the exception of a few hundred acres lying along the river; the soil, however, is generally productive, and especially adapted to fruit raising, and is favorable to the production of grass, grain, potatoes, &c.
The West Branch flows along the southern border of the township, forming a water front of about six miles; the other "water privileges" of the township are Queen's (or Quinn's) run with its numerous branches, and several other smaller streams, all of which furnish sufficient pure water for the use of live stock, &c.
The first settlements in the township were upon the river nearly opposite where Lock Haven now stands. The following sketch of that portion of the township in which the pioneers located is given by Mr. I. L. McCloskey:
A patent was granted Wm. Dunn, grandfather of Judge Dunn, for the land where Dunnsburg now stands, which was laid out by him in 1792 and called by his name. It was intended to be the county seat of Lycoming county, but afterwards was not taken, consequently has not made the improvement it otherwise would have done. The first and oldest residents were the Myers, Whites, Curns, Fargus, Reeds, and Hannas.
The first post office established here, was the first in the county. The date is not known, but it was about the time the first mail was carried through this place. How long it was continued is not known.
At an early date there was a distillery and tannery, but they have long since gone to decay, and not a vestige of them remains.
Thos. Cummings, a resident of this place, was a cabinet maker. He made the first ballot box used in Woodward township; it is a very fine piece of workmanship.
The first saw-mill in this place was built in the year 1850 by Crowel and Burton. Two Yankees, and is now owned by Best. Hopkins & Co. Another saw-mill was built in 1853 by S. L. M. Conser & Co., but it was not a success. It was torn down, and the mill now owned by S. M. Bickford & Co. was erected in its place. The first store was kept by Francis Fargus, who also kept the first post office. The first meetings were held by Rev. Jones, a Baptist minister.
The M. E. church was built in 1850. Prior to this, religious services were held in an old log school house, about 16x20 feet. A protracted meeting was held in major McCloskey's barn and was conducted by
Rev. I. H. Torrence. It was a success and aroused the spirit which caused the present church to be erected. This old school house, spoken of before, was the only one in the township at that time, and stood where Warren Martin's dwelling house now stands, and from that old structure went forth some able men; three ministers, two or three teachers of music besides a number of school teachers. At this house an Irishman killed himself and was buried in the corner of Hall's field, and his body was stolen away at night by the doctors.
The first hotel was owned and kept by John White; then by Geo. King in 1828; afterwards by J. Huling, Wm. White, David McCloskey, and last by Jacob Myers. A ferry was kept here for a number of years, known as Myers' ferry. A little incident occurred at the ferry, that may be worth noting: An Irishman came riding up the road on horse-back, and, wanted to cross the river; he perceived the sign, and not waiting to inquire, he plunged his horse into the water; the river being too high to ford, the result was that his horse was drowned, but he was saved and when last seen he was going up the road with his saddle on his back singing, "Be jabbers, me saddle for a horse."
Many Indian relics and curiosities have been found on the land bordering on the river. I. T. McCloskey and Dudley Martin have quite a collection of curiosities; different articles made and used by the aborigines of this country.
In 1855 the post office at Lockport was removed to Dunnsburg and called the Dunnsburg office, with Jacob Myers postmaster; afterwards removed to Liberty, then back to Dunnsburg and finally back to Liberty again, and the name changed to Island post office.
That part of Woodward township lately known as Halltown, was first settled by Felix McCloskey, Isaac McCloskey, John Smith, Coleman Huling and Andrew Litz. This land was first taken up by warrant in the name of Peter Grove, said to be soldiers claim, and was sold at from $2 to$4 per acre. Only two of the old settlers remain here; Isaac McCloskey and Felix McCloskey, the rest having moved to other parts of the county, some having exchanged properties, others sold out. The farm now owned by W. M. Johnson was first owned by Thos. Proctor; afterwards by Hugh Penny, also by Adam Smith. The land here at present is worth, on an average about $40 or $50 per acre. The first school house was built in 1854 by Felix McCloskey; the first teacher was Wm. Hawkman. This place is about 3 miles from Lock Haven, on the public road leading from Lock Haven to Churchville.
Lockport proper was a part of the Nathaniel Hanna farm, and was laid out by him at a very early day; the date can not be ascertained, but dates about the same as the city of Lock Haven. There was a distillery located in 1800, a little distance below the lock house, at what is now known as Still Hollow; but long since it has gone to decay, and no traces of it are to be seen now.
In 1834 the hotel, known as the Hanna hotel, was built by N. Hanna, and kept first by Jared Huling, afterwards by Coleman Huling, Hoaglander, Alexander Mahon, Benjamin Myers, Vosburg, and last by R. M. Hanna; it was burned down in 1858. The Woodward house was built in 1847, and was first kept by Benjamin Myers, until 1852, from 1852 to 1858 by Wm. Quigley, afterwards by Sheriff Hanna. In 1866 it was purchased by John Ferguson & Co. and it is their possession at this date. The first school house was situated in the ravine or entrance to the Mackey property.
In 1853 a post office was established, and continued two years with Thomas Bailey post master. It was called "Loveland." That part known as the western addition, was formerly a part of the Joseph Hanna farm. In 1855 it was purchased by William white and laid out. At present the town consists of one street, called Water street, and is built up its entire length.
The first store was kept by William Caldwell, afterwards by Hanna & Sons, also by Henry Schultze. Mrs. Agnes Bigger commenced keeping store in 1842, in the store room now occupied by Lewis Hoover, and continued for a great many years; afterwards the store was kept by Thos. Blackburn.
The first brewery was built in 1860 by Baucher & Garger; was burned down in 1863. It was re-built by Baucher in the fall of '63. In '65 was sold to Widman & Pepper; was burned in Feb., 1976, and was re-built by Rudolph Widman in 1876.
The Mackey property, which lies on the hill, north of the town, was purchased by Hon. L. A. Mackey, in 1854, from Nathaniel Hanna, being about 50 acres. A great deal of money has expended by Mr. Mackey, in making this one of the most beautiful places in the county. This place is very beautifully laid out and tastefully decorated with trees and evergreens of many kinds. There is a grapery of about two acres which yields from two to four hundred bushels annually; also a very large and extensive hot house, which yields large quantities of early plants and vegetables, besides flowers and fruits of every description, all under the skillful management of Mr. Moses Cummings.
The great flood of 1861, did considerable damage, destroying the canal navigation. Again the flood of '65, which was fourteen feet high, was the highest March 17, St. Patrick's day. It carried away part of the bridge and some dwelling houses, destroying canal navigation again and it did not re-open until the following October. There was also another great flood of 1868, doing much damage.
At this point all the lumber that comes down the West Branch and its tributaries stops; this being the head of market of the West Branch. The greatest number of timber rafts that has come down in one season has been estimated at about 2800. In 1860 the hotel in the western part was built and kept until the present, by R. M. Hanna, lately deceased. This is a large four-story frame building with basement, and has entertained in one day in the rafting season as high as 1400 persons, and in one season as high as 20,000. The Woodward house has also entertained from 12000 to 25000 in one season.
At the present time there are forty-nine dwelling houses, two hundred and seventy-five inhabitants, two hotels, one store, kept by Lewis Hoover, formerly of Clearfield county, one brewery, two blacksmith shops and one school house.
Dunnsburg at present has about 45 dwelling houses, one church, two saw mills, one tannery, one school house, and about 250 inhabitants. During the latter part of the war this township paid a bounty of $400. The following is a list of soldiers who served in the war: Samuel Shoemaker, Jacob Blush, Samuel Blush, Christ Weaver, Rudolph Weaver, Peter Weaver, Frederick Weaver, Wm. Reiter, W. O. Smith, Wm. Smith, John Green, Frederick Sorger, Abram Litz, Walker Litz, Abram Nichols, Lyman Fry, James F. Kinley, Michael Cohoe, Christ Bowman, F. F. McCloskey, Wm. Cline McCloskey, Irvin T. McCloskey, Richard Newberry, Washington Newberry, Jno Showers, Samuel Wilson, A. G. Myers, Frank Bickford, Frank Wevmouth, Wm. Ritchey, Ferdinand Rote, Charles Rote, Thomas Bartholomew, Jesse Reeder, George C. Curns, Robert F. Curns, Henry King, W. J. King, James Butler, Adam Bentz, Henry Fargus, James F. Baker, W. P. Burnell, Thos. W. Burnell, John Kneply, James Poorman, Charles Shurtliff, Edward K. Davis, Robert Moore, John S. Schultze, wm. Osbourne, John Batchalet, John Slifer, Fred Slifer, John McNall, Joseph Ulman, David Hanna, Wesley Hanna, Wm. B. Hanna, Christ Force; John Cohan and Fred Probst were killed in battle; Henry King was wounded at the battle of Fair Oaks, and died in the hospital at Philadelphia; Wm. Reed, Jerry Cohoe, John Seybold, and Walter Litz, died from diseases contracted while in the army.
The river flats of this township seem to have been a favorite resort of the Indians. Meginness says:
"An Indian town stood on the site now occupied by Dunnsburg; another called Pattersontown was located opposite the mouth of Chatham's Run. The next most important one was located on the level bottom a short distance above Lockport, and belonged to the Monseys. They also cultivated corn here. Traces of their village were perceptible long after the arrival of the whites, and some of the oldest inhabitants remember the little hillocks where the corn grew. The place is known at this day by the name of Monseytown flats."
Upon the farm of Isaac A. Packer have recently been found the bones of two Indians buried in the soil. In the mouth of one of the skeletons there was a well-formed and well-preserved clay pipe which is now in the possession of Mr. Packer.
In regard to the evidences of the existence and operations of Indians in the vicinity Meginnes further says:
"On digging the canal through the rocks at Liberty, several skeletons were discovered in a tolerably good state of preservation.
In 1854 James Wilson and A. H. McHenry, of Jersey Shore, discovered what was evidently an extensive Indian pottery about five miles up Queens run. A large detached rock stood at this point, and underneath was a cave sufficiently large to shelter thirty men. It contained a large quantity of muscle shells. From appearances around the rock the people came to the conclusion that some kind of mineral had been taken out. These gentlemen examined the ground and found great quantities of broken pottery buried in a heap, and unmistakable evidence of a hearth where they had been baked. A double curbing of stones was nicely set in the ground in the form of an ellipsis, about ten feet in diameter, where the kiln was erected. Charcoal and other remains of fire were distinctly visible. The muscle shells were carried there, pulverized and mixed in with the clay which formed their pots. On examining broken specimens the pulverized shells can be perceived in the form of glistening particles."
Woodward township is well supplied with valuable minerals, the principle ones being fire clay, potter's clay, coal and iron ore. The first exists in large quantities on Queens Run, where, for many years, it was extensively used in the manufacture of brick. Coal was also mined on quite a large scale many years ago at the same place. The iron ore still remains undeveloped. Potter's clay has recently been found on the farm of Mrs. Nancy McCloskey, and according to the following analysis, made by Prof. Otto Wuth, chemist, of Pittsburg, the material is valuable.
Silica, 58.29; Alumina, 31.02; Pr. Ox. Iron, 1.83; Magnesia, 68; Lime, 27; Soda, -; Potash, -; Water, 7.81; Organic matter, 04; Alkalies, 06.
Hollenback, McDonald & Co. commenced operations at Queens Run between 1835 and '40, as manufacturers of fire brick and miners of coal, and continued the business for a number of years, then sold out to Messrs. Mackey, Grafius & Scott, of Lock Haven, by whom the operations were continued several years longer; then the firm became Mackey, Fredericks & Co.; then it was changed to John Williams & Co., and then to Fredericks, Munro & Co. In connection with the manufacture of fire-brick and the mining of coal, lumbering was carried on to a considerable extent. The fire brick made at Queens Run were in great demand, being of a good quality, and found a ready market, wherever such articles were needed. The coal was shipped to various places down the river. Columbia being the principal point. The lumber, of course, sought a market at the usual places down the river. The property at present is owned by Hines, May & Greenough, but the works are not in operation.
At one time Queens Run was a very important business point. Besides the fire-brick works, saw mill, store, &c., there were not less than sixty dwellings, including the houses occupied by the miners at the mines two miles distant from Queens Run proper, nearly all of which are now in ruins or very much dilapidated.
In the spring of 1825, John Feller, John Witchey and Nicholas Suter came from Switzerland and moved into what is now the "German Settlement," then a dreary wilderness, without a house or hut, or even a road, except a few hunter's paths. J. Feller built the first house, or rather log hut, in the settlement. It stood on the land now owned by Jacob Weise. It was made of round logs, built to a point and covered with slab boards. Mr. Feller and seventeen men cut and hauled the logs, put up the house, split the boards, put on the roof and put in the windows and door all in one day. The next day Mr. F. and family moved into this new house were more contented and happy than some people that live in splendid mansions. J. Witchey and N. Suter out up houses soon after, and began to clear up small patches for gardens, potatoes, &c. This was all done without the aid of a team. Within ten years after the first settlers located, quite an accession was made to the number of inhabitants by arrivals from the "Faderland;" among them were the Swopes, Probsts, Shoemakers and Wenkers. The first school house was built in 1841 on the land now owned by B. F. Probst. The first teacher was Wm. Riley. This school house was afterwards remodeled and changed into a church, known as the Evangelical church, and used for that purpose until 1869, when the new church was built.