Franklin Township
This portion of
The History of Columbia and Montour Counties, Pennsylvania
by J. H. Battle, 1887

is made possible through the efforts of




Franklin Township

     At the January session of the court in 1843, certain citizens of Catawissa
petitioned for a division of that township "on account of the great incon-
venience of attending elections and other township business." The prayer of
the petitioners was granted, and a favorable report having been received from
the commissioners appointed to inquire into thematter, the new township was
erected with the name of Franklin. Its limits included the area now embraced
in the townships of Mayberry and Franklin. When Montour county was
formed in 1850 it became one of its sub-divisions; but when, in 1853, the di-
vision line was re-adjusted, Franklin was divided, the portion remaining in Mon-
tour being erected into Mayberry township.
     Settlement in this region began at a later period than in the Catawissa
valley. In 1783 John Cleaver, a Quaker from Chester county, visited friends
who had located there and decided to purchase a tract on the opposite side of
the river. He returned with his family in the spring of the following year,
but was deterred from completing his purchase by accounts of a flood the pre-
vious winter. The river rose to an unprecedented height, overflowing its
banks and compelling families living on the "bottoms" to leave their homes.
The Cleavers thereupon settled on the hills above Roaring creek. The Claytons,
another family of the same religious preferences, followed them from Chester
county to their new homes. At a later period German settlers also made their
appearance. Frederick Knittle, from Richmond township, Berks county,
located on the Esther furnace road. In 1795 Daniel Knittle became owner of
an adjoining tract. John and Peter Mensch located north of Roaring creek,
near the river. Michael Hoover settled on the hill road to Danville, and
Christian Hartley on the site of Pensyl's mill.
     Catawissa has always been the town for this section. Its business interests
are represented by two stores, located respectively at Parr's mill and at Pensyl.
A post-office is connected with the latter. It was formerly known as Willow-
vale, but has been re-established under the name Pensyl.
     The churches and schools attended by Franklin people were also located in
Catawissa township. The following with regard to the latter appears in the re-
port of William H. Snyder, county superintendent in 1876: After the school
closed at McIntyre's, a house was built just above the foundry to accommodate
the settlers at the mouth of Catawissa creek. Mr. Stuck, who had taught at
McIntyre's, was succeeded in this school by Daniel Krist and Daniel Bigles.
Several married men availed themselves of the opportunity to receive instruc-
tion at this school. Near where Joseph T. Reeder lived, Joseph Horlecker
opened a school which was called "Clayton's school," by which name it is now
known. The one established below Esther furnace was taught by Samuel Bit-
ler and James Stokes.
     The religious organizations, Bethel and Mount Zion churches, have been
formed with a membership originally connected with the McIntyre appoint-
ment. The Bethel church edifice was erected in 1859, at which time David
Zarr, Jonas Berninger, Joseph Hartman, John Teitsworth, Nicholas Camp-
bell, William Reeder, Peter Yocum and William Kiesle were trustees. In
1874 Mount Zion church was built. At this time the trustees were William
Fisher, Joseph Reeder, Peter G. Campbell, Wellington Cleaver, Jackson
Cleaver, John Hile, Joseph Fisher, Sylvester Cleaver and Eli Keilner. Both
appointments are connected with the Catawissa circuit, and embraced in the
Danville district of the Central Pennsylvania Conference of the Methodist
Episcopal church.

The Franklin Township history was transcribed by Terri Cook.
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