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Cass Township History



History of Huntingdon and Blair Counties, Pennsylvania by J. Simpson Africa Philadelphia, PA: Louis H. Everts, 1883,

pp. 237-245.  Contributed by Mike Gifford.






This township was named in honor of the Honorable Lewis Cass, of Michigan, and was erected January 21, 1843. Its territory was taken from the township of Union, which had been taken from Hopewell in 1791. Penn and Union lie north of it, Shirley and Cromwell form its eastern boundary, and Clay and Tod bound it on the south and southwest.


In its physical features Cass is similar to the township of Union. Jack's Mountain is on its eastern boundary, and extending in a northeasterly and southwesterly direction, parallel with this, are Clear Ridge and Sideling Hill. Between Jack's Mountain and Clear Ridge lies Hare's Valley, through which, from its central point in the township, runs Hare's Valley Creek towards the north and Three Springs Creek in a southwesterly direction. A highway runs through the township in this valley, and along this farms are scattered, though by reason of the narrowness of the valley agricultural operations are not extensive.


Between Clear Ridge and Sideling Hill is Smith's Valley, which, like Hare's Valley, is traversed by a highway, and in it runs Smith's Valley Creek to the northeast from a point south of the middle of the valley in the township. From near the same point an affluent of Three Springs Creek runs southerly, then turns to the east through Clear Ridge Gap into Hare's Valley.


West from Sideling Hill lies Trough Creek Valley, which is much wider than the others, and embraces the principal agricultural region of the township. Little Trough Creek runs southerly through this valley, and two highways pass through the township in a northerly and southerly direction, while others ramify through the valley in different directions. The "Barrens" occupy a large area in the western part of the township.


The borough of Cassville lies a short distance from the geographical center of the township, and a post-office called Hare's Valley is near its southern boundary. Agriculture is the sole industry of the township, and for the pursuit of this the valleys were long since denuded of the heavy forest growths by which they were covered. Much of the valuable timber has been taken from the mountain-sides, but from the forests that remain are now taken large quantities of oak railroad ties, and of bark, which the abundant oak timber supplies, for tanning purposes.


No railroad touches the township. The available avenues of egress for travelers and produce lead to Mill Creek and Mapleton on the north, and Saltillo on the south.


Pioneers. - The date of the first settlement of Cass Township cannot now be obtained. William Shirley settled on the tract now since divided into two farms, and owned respectively by Martin Stever and Mrs. Sarah A. Heaton, in July, 1774. From him the name of the elevation at the foot of which Cassville is located, "Shirley's Knob," was derived. Shirley married in 1773. After the murder of the Breckenridges by the Indians in Woodcock Valley he moved his family to a place of greater safety, and afterwards settled on the eastern side of the Raystown Branch, in Penn township, on a farm now owned by Isaac Norris.


Peter Thompson settled on Little Trough Creek in November, 1773, and was yet residing thereon in December, 1794. Richard Dowling improved an adjacent tract, between Thompson's and Shirley's, in the fall of 1774. Both had surveys made in 1784. Dowling took out a warrant march 22, 1785, on which a survey of three hundred and forty acres and seventy-five perches was made, and patented to him April 30, 1789. The tract was called "Blunders." About, or possibly before, this time he removed to a farm on Raystown Branch, in the lower corner of Penn township, where his son William died a few years ago, and where his daughter Polly yet resides. Thompson obtained a warrant for his tract December 22, 1794. The survey, containing three hundred and sixteen acres and one hundred and fifty-eight perches, called "Shady Grove," was patented to him July 2, 1795. Thompson also moved to the Raystown Branch region, where some of his descendants yet reside.


Philip Curfman settled on the farm now owned by Nathan G. Horton about 1788. He had an oil mill on or near the site of the saw mill, and made oil from the flaxseed raised in the valley. Flax was once a staple production of the valley, and every farmer raised a patch of it. From it was made thread for sewing and for the loom. It was woven into cloth for wearing apparel, sheets, bags, wagon covers, and many other purposes. The cheapness of Irish linen and muslin long since rendered flax culture unremunerative. Jacob Dean commenced an improvement on the Abraham Shore farm in 1784, and Jonathan on the adjoining farm to the southwest in 1791.


Moses Greenland moved from Baltimore County, MD to Trough Creek Valley before the close of the last century, and purchased the Peter Thompson farm and some adjoining land, which he subsequently divided into three farms and divided one to each of his sons, Nathan, Caleb, and Joshua. He had two daughters. Nancy married Amos Loughery, who had served as a captain in the Maryland forces in the Revolutionary War, and Sarah married Lawrence Swope. Nathan's children were Sarah, who married Andrew Shaw, resided for many years in Fulton County; Keziah, who married Nicholas Shenefelt, died in Clarion, PA; Moses, who resided at the old homestead; Nathan, died about three years ago near the head of Trough Creek Valley, in Union township; Benjamin, reside in Wells township, Fulton County; Joshua resided many years in Cassville, now lives in the borough of Huntingdon, elected commissioner in 1847, and sheriff in 1853; Mary, married Abraham Myerly, and died in Cass township; Caleb, now resides in Clay township; Missouri, married Reuben Chilcott, and now lives in Jefferson County, Iowa; and Ezra, who lives in Union township. Caleb (the elder) had several sons and daughters. The latter married, respectively, Joshua Edwards, William Brown, and Jordan Wright. One of the sons married a daughter of Abraham Shore, and is now deceased leaving a son, Clayton, residing in Cass township. Joshua (the elder) raised a large family, who, after his death, all removed to the Western states.


The Lovell Family. - Zebulon Lovell resided about the middle of the last century in Baltimore County, Md. His children, as far as the family records now extant show, were Jonathan, who married ----- Stevens, October 8, 1770; Rebecca, who married John Lane, November 4, 1771; Ruth, who married Richard Chilcott, May 29, 1774 (see Union township); and Zachariah, born July 29, 1765. Zebulon's wife's name was Mary, and she died May 2, 1770.


Zachariah Lovell married Ruth, daughter of William Kelly, and moved to Trough Creek Valley about the year 1794, and purchased from Samuel Shannon the tract of land on Little Trough Creek, nearly two miles west of Cassville, where he afterwards lived and died. This tract had formerly belonged to Thomas Coal, and was improved as early as 1775. Here his only son, Amon, was born December 19, 1803. Ruth, his mother, died December 15, 1850, aged eighty-two years and twenty days.


Amon Lovell married Wealthy, daughter of Elijah and Delia Corbin Houck, March 11, 1834, and died November 24, 1850. Their children were Emeline, b. January 12, 1835, m. ---- Heaton; Lavinia, b. July 24, 1836, m. ----- -----; Albert G., b. April 3, 1839, practices medicine in Maryland; K. Allen, b. July 20, 1841, resides in the borough of Huntingdon (see Chapter XVII, Bench and Bar); Mary A., b. April 19, 1843 m. Dr. R. Myers, and resides in Huntingdon; Henry C., b. August 8, 1845, died young; Jesse B., b. July 21, 1847, resides in the West; and Amon J., who died young.


The Smith Family. - George Smith, a tailor by trade, after residing some time on the Weston Run, Baltimore County, Md., moved to Trough Creek Valley in 1803. The only resident of the village of Chilcoatstown (now Cassville) at that date was William Lovell, who kept a public-house. The settlers in the valley were Philip Kurfman, Henry Elias who lived where his son Henry lived and died, Zachariah Lovell, Joshua and Daniel Gosnell, Michael Myerly, Moses Greenland and his sons Nathan, Caleb, and Joshua, John Taylor, grandfather of Isaac, Michael Bumgardner, William Estep, John Wright, Richard Chilcott, George Stever, Jacob Dean, Elijah Corbin, who lived in Plank Cabin Valley, Michael Houck, Samuel and John McClain, John Loughery and James Loughery lived in Smith's Valley. John's son Amos had served as a captain in the Revolutionary War and settled here afterward.*



* Recollections of William Smith, taken down in October, 1873.


George Smith's children were Eliel, who served a term as county commissioner, moved to Iowa and died there; William died in Union Township a few years ago; Daniel moved to Ohio many years ago; Levi died in Union township. Two of his sons are physicians, another, Samuel P., is one of the county commissioners, George resides in Cass township, Jesse lives in Tod township, Andrew is a physician and resides near Colvin, Isaac moved to Iowa, Sarah married John Chilcote, and Elizabeth married Samuel Miller, who now resides at Mt. Union. George Smith, the elder, died December 20, 1839.


Philip Curfman, who was mentioned above, appears to have purchased the Nathan G. Horton farm in 1788, and soon thereafter settled upon it. His children were Jacob, who received from his father the farm now owned by David Hamilton; Philip owned and lived where his son Joseph now lives; Daniel owned the farm now the property of Mrs. Sarah A. Heaton; John settled on the farm now occupied by his son Adam; Peter became, on the death of the father, the proprietor of the old homestead; Elizabeth, the only daughter, married John R. Gosnell.


The Stever Family. - George Stever, of German extraction, moved from Bucks County to Trough Creek Valley some time prior to the year 1800, and purchased a part of the tract that had been improved many years before by William Shirley, as wee as other lands, sufficient to make several good farms. Besides conducting extensive farming operations he carried on blacksmithing, and from his shop several young men graduated.


His children were Philip, who purchased from the father the farm where his son Lewis lived and died; Adam moved to Jefferson County, Iowa, and died there; Joseph, who settled in Hare's Valley, and died there; John resided upon his part of his father's estate, and died there, serving one term as county commissioner; David died on his farm lying between his brother John's and the borough of Cassville; Sarah married John Myerly; Elizabeth married Solomon Fink; Catharine died unmarried; Mary is now living in Cassville.


A part of the Stever land had been owned by Ignatius Notts, and was called in the patent "Nottingham." The title papers show that it had been improved in the year 1776.


The Greene Family. - Thomas Greene, the ancestor of the family of that name in Hare's Valley and other parts of the southern end of the county, was born in Maryland about the year 1740. He and four brothers migrated to Huntingdon County. The brothers, Isaac, George, Elisha, and Clement settled on the water of Standing Stone Creek, some time between the years 1780 and 1785. George and Elisha brought some slaves with them. One, know as "Black Tom" lived in Huntingdon many years after he became free, and died there at an advanced age. George built a grist-mill on the creek, on or near the sire of Cornpropst's mills. Thomas settled in the southern end of Hare's Valley, and on the 5th of May, 1796, obtained a warrant for two hundred and fifty-four acres, in the application for which it is stated that the improvement had been commenced in 1776. On this tract he built a grist-mill, about 1785, on the Mountain Branch of Three Springs Creek. A part of the original wall is under the present mill. On the 26th of February, 1785, he took out a warrant for three hundred acres "in the valley called Clear Ridge Valley, between Clear Ridge and Rocky Ridge, on the north side of Corbin's improvement, to the line agreed upon by William Corbin* and William Read, near the head of the Mountain Branch." This land, now situated in Cass township, was improved upon the ground prior to the issue of the warrant to Thomas Greene, and it is supposed he was the improver.



* Ancestor of the Corbins of Raystown Branch.


Thomas Greene (1) married a sister of John Wright. Their children were Elisha and John, who married daughters of Hercules Camp; George, married a Miss Skinner, of Path Valley; Thomas married a Miss Campbell; Abraham, married a Miss Rutter; Isaac and Caleb I., unmarried; and a daughter. George and Thomas settled on a Cass township tract, which was divided between them. George's children were Lemuel, died in Cassville; George Morris, died at the mill at Saltillo; Elisha, died in Springfield township; Archibald, died in Iowa; Matilda, married Daniel Curfman; Susan, died unmarried; ----- ------, married John Walls. Thomas (2) had sons, Thomas C. and Andrew, and two daughters, Rebecca, who married Jacob Gehrett, and Harriet, who married James Hanawalt. Thomas C. married a Miss Baker, and now resides upon a part of the land above described. His son, Samuel B., is now engaged in teaching school and surveying.


Besides the pioneers named, others are recalled by very old present inhabitants, of Matthias Saylor, John Chilcote, George Stever, Cornelius Poston, Zachariah Lovett, and Daniel Gosnal. In Smith's Valley, beginning near the line of Clay township and going north, there were Jacob Barnett, Andrew Park, John Chaney, John Park, Jr., Philemon Reynolds, Michael Bauman, Hugh Johnson, and John Park, Sr. Reynolds was a colored man and a slave, who purchased his freedom, and afterwards bought from his former master six hundred acres of land opposite Cassville for one hundred dollars. Mr. James L. Glasgow now owns and resides on a part of this land.


In Hare's Valley John Shields, James Campbell, Jacob Crotsley, Henry Freed, William Wright are remembered as very early residents. Probably not many of those named were original settlers in the township, but many were the children of pioneers, and nearly all left children, who have in their turn multiplied till their families are numerously represented here.


Some of these pioneers came here from Maryland, over Indian trails that were not passable except on foot or with single animals. They brought their scanty effects on their backs, or on the back of horses and cows, and drove the few sheep and swine that, if spared by the wolves and bears, were to be the beginning of future flocks. They camped in the forest at night, and patiently toiled over the rugged paths by day, sustained by their hopes of future happiness and independence in the homes which they were seeking.


It is not necessary to enter into a detail of the experiences of these pioneers, for almost every one has heard and read of them. They were not the effeminate children of luxury, whose pampered appetites required to be tempted with delicacies; but active, energetic men and women, who were ready to encounter and able to surmount the difficulties which lay before them in the wilderness where they sought their homes. They built their cabins, cleared their lands, and with the labor of their own hands provided for their few and simple wants. Their neighbors were few and distant, and there were among them none of the rivalries and jealousies which crept in as the country became more thickly settled. Each rejoiced with his neighbor in his prosperity, or sympathized with him in his adversity. Their visits, though few and far between, were cordial and sincere interchanges of heartfelt civilities. They were anticipated with pleasure and remembered without regret. The children of these pioneers grew up with robust health and stalwart frames, free from the vices with which the dwellers in cities and towns are contaminated. The log church and school-house soon made their appearance, and in these they were taught the precepts of mortality, and as much of science as circumstances would allow. In the midst of the environments which they had made for themselves, they were contented and happy, and rather to be envied than pitied by their less energetic cousins, who had preferred lives of ease within the shade of their ancestral mansions to the toils and dangers which these people had encountered and overcome.


In the midst of pioneer surroundings these people lived and died and were succeeded by their children, for the country did not then, as do now regions in these days of rapid transit, put on the appearance of age in a decade. Gradually the forest disappeared, fields widened, houses multiplied, old cabins went to decay and were replaced by more pretentious residences, till the present varied and beautiful landscape presents itself in place of the unbroken forest through which at long intervals more than a century since came the pioneer couples, who remains repose in the land which they came to reclaim.


The township had a population in 1850 of 714; in 1860, 1,030; in 1870, 818; and 1880, 720.


Civil List.




1843-45, Caleb Swoope; 1846, Elijah Kurfman; 1847, Lemuel Greene; 1848, Lemuel Greene; 1849, Andrew Crotzley; 1850, Michael Bowman; 1851-52, Nicholas Miller; 1853, Joseph Stever; 1854, Michael Bowman; 1855-57, Samuel Pheasant; 1858-59, A. J. Henderson; 1860, Samuel Pheasant; 1861, William Forcie; 1862, Samuel Pheasant; 1863, Samuel McClain; 1864, Nicholas Miller; 1865, Isaac Bowman; 1866, George W. Chilcote; 1867, John G. White; 1868, George Chilcote; 1869, G. B. Wilson; 1870-71, Samuel McClain; 1872, G. M. Parks; 1873, James E. Glasgow; 1874-75, W. Forshey; 1876, George W. Chilcote; 1877, J. A. Parks; 1878, J. D. Crotzley; 1879, William Forshey; 1880, A. W. Pheasant; 1881, J. Dell.




1843, Daniel Turner, Robert Speer; 1844, Robert Speer, Daniel Turner; 1845, John Stever, Joseph Stever; 1846, John Stever, Joseph Stever; 1847, Matthias Saylor, John Bowman; 1848, M. Saylor, John Bowman; 1849, M. Taylor, Joseph Stever; 1850, John Stever, William Park; 1851, Caleb Greenland, James Johnston; 1852, James Johnston, David Stever; 1853, David Stever, Benjamin Fink; 1854, Jacob H. Dell, J. Hoover; 1855, Peter Kurfman, - - ; 1856, John Curfman, George Quarry; 1857, George Seinth, George M. Green; 1858, J. Stever, J. Posten; 1859, Andrew Park, George Roland; 1860, Jacob Park, Samuel Pheasant; 1861, Philip Pheasant, Abraham Taylor; 1862, Abraham Myerly, Philip Pheasant; 1863, Henry Shaffer, William Forshey; 1864, Henry Shaffer, Benjamin Kyler; 1865, James Rosten, Abraham Pheasant; 1866, Jacob Park, Samuel Pheasant; 1867, Ephraim Bowman, John Rosten; 1868, John Rosten, George Quarry; 1869, Lewis Stever, Abraham Pheasant; 1870, A. Crotzley, P. Gossnell; 1871, - - , - - ; 1872, - - , - - ; 1873, Isaac Bowman, John Spangler; 1874, Michael Stever, Joseph Harbaugh; 1875, Wilson Evesel, Joseph Harbaugh; 1876, J. C. Shaffer, John M. Querry; 1877, Walter Stever, William Forshey; 1878, - - , - - ; 1879, John R. Gossnell, J. A. McClain; 1880, W. W. Crotzley, George Bate; 1881, W. W. Crotzley, George Baith.




1843, David Stever, Jacob Crotzley; 1844, Jacob Crotzley, David Stever; 1845, David Stever, James Park; 1846, Peter Kurfman, Matthias Miller; 1847, Daniel Curfman, Cochram Fleming; 1848, John Stever, Joseph Kurfman; 1849, John Gossnell, Jacob Barrett; 1850, John Bowman, M. Taylor; 1851, Joshua Greenland, George Quarry; 1852, A. W. Clarkson, E. B. Hissong; 1853, Joshua Gosnell, A. L. Smith; 1854, Matthias Saylor, ; 1855, J. Stever, John Spangler; 1856, John Saylor, John Wilson.


Huntingdon Baptist Church. - This church was organized about the commencement of the present century, when the population was very sparse, hence the name that was given to it by reason of its being the earliest Baptist Church in the region. Among the early members may be named William Lovell, Jacob and Jonathan Dean. The place of worship was during many years the house of Jacob Dean, three miles northwest from Cassville. In 1825 the present house of worship was erected, on land donated by Mr. Dean, near his house. It is a log structure, thirty by thirty-two feet. At first it was furnished with slab benches, but these have been replaced with slips, and the outside has been "pebble-dashed."


The pastors of this church have been, as nearly as can be recollected, Revs. Samuel Lane, James Davis, Moses Starr, Richard Proudfoot, Nathan Everett, Zopher D. Pasco, George L. Elgin, Joseph Furr, and the present incumbent, Joseph Corell.


Bauman's Methodist Episcopal Chapel. - As early as 1854 a class existed in Smith's Valley, on the road between Mapleton and Saltillo, two miles from Cassville. Of this class, Philip Curfman, Abraham Taylor, and D. P. Pheasant were leaders. Their place of worship was a school-house during some years, but finally the present chapel was erected. It is a wooden structure, thirty by forty feet, with a seating capacity of two hundred and fifty.


While this charge was a part of the Cassville circuit, the same clergymen served this and the Cassville charge. Since its change from that circuit it has had Revs. E. Shoemaker, G. W. Bowse, G. W. Dunlap, J. W. Orwine, J. W. Bell, and the present pastor, L. S. Crone.


United Brethren Church. - In 1858-59, a society of United Brethren in Christ was formed in the northern part of Cass township, and for some years it worshiped in Harmony Grove school-house, near Calvin. In 1868 a house of worship was erected, three-fourths of a mile south from that village, with a seating capacity of three hundred.

Among the many clergymen who have officiated here the names are recollected of Revs. Baker, Spangler, Shirk, Potter, Clem, Jones, McClay, Mattern, Messer, and the present pastor, Rev. Gale.


Cornelius Methodist Episcopal Chapel. - This is located in Hare's Valley, a mile and a half from the south line of Cass township. It was named in honor of Rev. George W. Cornelius, who was active in promoting its erection. It was built for the accommodation of Methodists in that vicinity, who had long worshiped in a school-house there. A prosperous society has been maintained here, and has been served by the same clergymen that have been in charge as Cassville and at Bauman's Chapel.


Cemeteries. - There is in Cassville a cemetery, another near Bauman's Chapel, and one in Hare's Valley. None of these are incorporated.


Education. - Nathan Greenland,* who resided on Little Trough Creek, two miles northwest of Cassville, taught school in the winter for many years, beginning as early perhaps as 1810. The term was usually three months.



* Father of ex-Sheriff Joshua Greenland.


One of the early school-houses stood on the southwest side of the road leading from Cassville via Solomon Myerly's, on land lately owned by Col. John Stever, deceased. A man named Berger taught school there. Another stood on land now owned by J. Calvin Shaffer, east of the public road, in a place then well known as the school-house woods. Hugh Johnston, who lived in Smith's Valley, taught here. The house was afterwards moved to the eastern end of the Long Bridge, on land of Michael Myerly, where the large house built by the Glasgows now stands. After the removal, one of the first teachers was John G. Corbin,* who, after a service in the War of 1812, migrated from Baltimore County, Md., to this valley. To this school-house all the pupils from the upper end of the valley came until another school was opened in a house that stood on land of William Chilcott on the opposite side of the creek from his residence. Cass township has six schools, in which two hundred and seventeen children were taught during five months of 1881.



* Father of Ferdinand Corbin.


On the Jess Curfman farm a school-house was erected before the introduction of the common-school system. Jacob Dever taught here. He resided near Cook's Station, and made a business of dressing deerskins.


A school was taught by Jonathan Dean in a house on a farm now occupied by Clayton Greenland. Dean was a surveyor, and among his pupils were many residents of the valley now passed away. Eliel Smith and William Edwards taught at the Long Bridge, and also at the Stever school-house.


On the farm recently occupied by Daniel Turner, now owned by Ralph Smith, John McDonald, from the north of Ireland, settled at an early day. He had sons named James, Alexander, and others. James remained on the farm and died there. The father, after the death of James, sold the place to Col. John Park and Andrew Johnston (who sold to Daniel Turner), and went to Ohio to his other sons.


The McDonalds and Hugh Johnston were the only Presbyterians in that neighborhood.


BOROUGH OF CASSVILLE. - Previous to 1797 Salisbury, also known as Chilcotestown, was laid out by Benjamin and Robert Chilcote. The plan of the lots was recorded February 22nd of that year. Lots were sold at twenty dollars (seven pounds ten shillings) each. When the village was laid out three buildings stood on its site, only two of which now remain, and one of these is used as a stable.


A tavern was kept here by William Lovell, the first in the village, previous to 1815. The second hotel was kept by Robert Speer, who was also the first merchant here, and contributed largely by his energy in business towards building up the village.


An addition to the village was laid out in 1830, by Andrew Shaw and Robert Baird, who sold lots at from forty to fifty dollars each. Several lots were purchased, and a number of buildings were erected at about that time. Within the next decade John S. Gehrett, James Henderson, and Dr. Jesse Wright became residents. Hon. David Clarkson, who served during ten years as associate judge in the county, came to Cassville in 1840.


Incorporation. - Measures for the incorporation of the borough were inaugurated in 1849, and the present name was selected by a committee consisting of Rober Speer, D. Stever, and D. Clarkson. It was incorporated under that name by an act of the legislature March 3, 1853. In the act the boundaries were described as follows: "Commencing at a post corner of land of Nicholas Miller, thence north fifty-eight degrees west thirty-six and five-tenths perches to stone in the run; thence south fifty-two degrees west eight and five-tenth perches to a cherry; thence south seventeen and one-half degrees west seventy-six and five-tenths perches to a stone; thence north seventy-two degrees west ten and five-tenths perches to a post; thence south thirty-one degrees west twenty-six and five-tenths perches to a corner of church lot; thence north eighty degrees west forty-eight perches to a post; thence north fifty degrees west twenty-two perches to stones; thence south seven degrees west sixty-six perches to a post; thence south twenty-six degrees east seventy-one perches to stump; thence south sixty-five degrees east seventy-two perches to white-oak stump; thence north eighteen degrees east one hundred and twenty-six perches to stones; thence north five degrees west thirty-four perches to a pine stump; thence north twenty-five degrees east sixty-seven perches to the post at the place of beginning." The charter conferred the usual corporate privileges, and constituted the borough a separate school district.


No special industry has ever been established here, and there has been nothing except the pleasantness and healthfulness of its location, its excellent surroundings, and the existence here of a flourishing literary institution to cause its growth. Of this the historian Lytle gives the following account: "Cassville Seminary had its origin in the fall of 1851. The Rev. Zane Bland, in a conversation with George W. Speer and Hon. David Clarkson, suggested the place as admirably adapted for the location of a seminary. The enterprise was taken hold of by those gentlemen, stock subscribed, an association formed, and officers elected. On the 26th of May, 1852, the board of trustees entered into an article of agreement with Robert Madden for the erection of the building, who at once entered on the work and completed it the next fall or winter. While this work was being done the first session of the school was held in the Methodist Episcopal Church, Rev. Ralph Pierce, principal, and his wife, an adopted daughter of Bishop Peck, preceptress. In 1854 and 1855 another building, for the accommodations of boarders, was erected by Robert Madden. The school was under the supervision of the Methodist church, and continued in operation until the beginning of the late war. It gained considerable popularity and patronage, having at various times as high as one hundred and twenty-five students.


"This property was purchased in September 1865, by Professor A. L. Guss for a soldiers' orphans' school. It included four acres of land, and was bought for two thousand two hundred and fifty dollars. The erection of additional buildings and other improvements cost five thousand dollars more. The farm cost three thousand dollars, and lots and adjoining grounds one thousand dollars.


"The school was opened November 6, 1865. During the time it was in operation four hundred and eighty-four pupils were admitted and discharged.


"The school closed April 10, 1874, after having been open nearly eight and one-half years. The testimony of the outside world and the records of the department show that it had "been well managed."  One of the most prominent and influential preceptresses of the Cassville Seminary was Mrs. Kate W. Clarkson.


Mrs. Kate W. Clarkson, wife of Honorable David Clarkson, of Cass township, Huntingdon County, has for some time occupied a place of some prominence in not only Huntingdon County, but in Central Pennsylvania as well, as a worker in the cause of foreign missions, and in that field has come into familiar and applauded notice in many places. She is a native of Rochester, NY, where she was born April 13, 1832, and comes of Irish ancestry, her father (John D. Walsh) and mother (Anna McNamara) having both come to America from the Green Isle. John D. Walsh was a school-teacher in Ireland, and soon after reaching this country took charge of a school in Maiden Lane, New York City, which he conducted many years. His health failing he gave up his school and retired to a rural home near the city of Rochester. He was a staunch Democrat, and took an active part in local political campaigns. He was long the postmaster at O'Connellsville (his home), and at the time of his death, in 1847, was collector of the port of Genesee. He left eight children of whom six survive. They are John D. Walsh, Jr. of Rochester (financial agent for the estate of the late Isaac Butts), Michael McN. Walsh (a prominent lawyer in New York City), Mrs. Daniel E. Converse of Wayne County, NY, Mrs. David Clarkson, Mrs. George Robinson of Schenectady, NY, and Mrs. Turner of Rochester, NY. Mrs. Clarkson was educated at Rochester High School and the Charlottsville Seminary in Scholarie County, NY, from which named place she was called to be the preceptress of the Cassville Seminary in Huntingdon County, PA. She continued to occupy that post with signal ability until July, 1856, when she retired to private life, having previously (April 21, 1856) been married to David Clarkson, Esq.


As had already been recited, Mrs. Clarkson has devoted much of her time and energy to work on behalf of foreign ministries. She has for eight years been a working member of the Cassville Auxiliary of the Women's Foreign Missionary Society (representing the counties of Juniata, Mifflin, Perry, and Huntingdon, and portions of Fulton and Franklin), has been its president for the past six years, and during the same period district secretary of the society. To the field of labor she has devoted herself with conspicuous zeal and enthusiasm. She has upon frequent occasions delivered lectures and addresses in various portions of the State upon the subject of foreign missions, and in winning much help for the cause has won for herself a name that is widely known and honored. She is, moreover, deeply concerned in church work, has been president of the Sunday School Auxiliary, and for a long time has been an industrious and earnest laborer on behalf of temperance reform.


The borough has now one public school, in which fifty-nine pupils were instructed in 1881. The school was kept during five months of that year.


The population of the borough was, in 1860, 265; in 1870, 416; and in 1880, 188.


Of the early physicians in Cassville the names are preserved of Drs. Robert Baird and William Westover, both of whom were practitioners previous to 1830. After them have been Dr. H. L. Brown, James Bann, James Haggerty, William A. Hinchman, Isaac Guss, and A. J. Hamilton, who is at present a practicioner here.


The borough has now one hotel, two stores, one tannery, two potteries, a tin-shop, two cabinet-shops, three carriage-shops, one smithery, two shoe-shops, and one pump manufacturer.


The names of the burgesses of Cassville during the first three years of its existence as a borough do not appear in the records. The following have since held this office:




1857, John S. Gehrett; 1858, G. W. Bouse; 1859, Joshua Greenland; 1861, John Moyer; 1862, E. B. Hissong; 1864, Robert Beers; 1865, Lemuel Green; 1866, E. B. Hissong; 1867, E. B. Wilson; 1868, George M. Green; 1869, A. L. Guss; 1870, Dr. I. Guss; 1872, A. W. Brown; 1873, Rev. J. Frazier; 1874, William A. Hinchman; 1875, H. M. Corbin; 1876, George M. Green; 1877, A. W. Chilcott; 1878, H. M. Corbin; 1879, A. J. Hamilton; 1880, George M. Green; 1881, H. M. Corbin; 1882, Thomas Dean.




1856, G. W. Speer; 1857, J.S. Gehrett; 1858, G. W. Bouse; 1859, Joshua Greenland; 1860, N. Corbin; 1861, John Moyer (C.B.), G.W.B. Sipes (Asst. B.); 1862, David Clarkson (C.B.), H. L. Brown (Asst.); 1863, E. B. Hissong, John Frank (Asst.); 1864, Robert Beers, Lemuel Green (Asst.); 1865, Lemuel Green, Joshua Greenland (Asst.); 1866, E. B. Hissong; 1867, Dr. Isaac Guss, George M. Green (Asst.); 1868, George M. Green, A. C. Greenland (Asst.); 1869, A. L. Guss, Robert Beers; 1870, I. Guss; 1871, - - ; 1872, A. W. Brown; 1873, J. Frazier, John Heaton (Asst.); 1874, W. A. Hinchman, David Stever (Asst.); 1875, R. S. Giffin, S. Prough (Asst.); 1876, George M. Green, H. M. Corbin (Asst.); 1877, A. W. Chilcott, Frank Buchanan (Asst.); 1878, H. M. Corbin, W. E. DeForest (Asst.); 1879, A. J. Hamilton; 1880, G. M. Green; 1881, H. M. Corbin; 1882, Thomas Dean.




1860, J. Cresswell, M. W. Heaton, J. Noble, J. O'Donnell, J. S. Gehrett; 1861, James Henderson, J. P. Heaton, John S. Gehrett, A. W. Evans, Jacob Cresswell; 1862, John S. Gehrett, David Stever, John Boring, John Moyer, A. W. Evans; 1863, John D. Boring, J. S. Gehrett, James Henderson, M. W. Heaton, D. Clarkson; 1864, Austin Green, Joshua Greenland, Thomas Dean, David Clarkson, A. W. Evans; 1865, R. Beers, E. B. Hissong, George M. Green, Jr., A. W. Evans, M. W. Heaton; 1866, John D. Boring, N. Miller, D. Stever, William Snyder, E. B. Wilson; 1867, A. W. Evans, James E. Glasgow, D. Clarkson, J. P. Eaton; 1868, John Noble, A. C. Greenland, James Henderson, E. B. Hissong, J. E. Glasgow, Thomas Dean; 1869, M. W. Heaton, D. H. Miller, Adam Gehrett, W. L. Gehrett, L. W. Heaton; 1870, D. Clarkson, A. H. Weidman, A. T. Gehrett, A. Gran, A. C. Greenland; 1871, - - ; 1872, E. B. Hissong, D. H. Miller, A. W. Evans, A. C. Greenland; 1873, D. H. Miller, A. W. Evans, Dr. I. Guss, W. F. Gehrett. J. M. Mason; 1874, John Noble, Silas Prough, N. W. Greenland, Arthur Weston, George Pardoner; 1875, F. Buchanan, D. H. Myers, D. Stever, A. G. Gehrett; 1876, A. C. Greenland, Thomas Dean, E. B. Hissong, N. W. Greenland, D. Clarkson; 1877, H. M. Corbin, Silas Prough, E. B. Hissong, R. S. Giffin, J. W. Heaton; 1878, Austin Green, David Stever, J. S. Gehrett, J. A. D. Noble, J. M. Wilson; 1879, Daniel Hoffman, Joseph Wilson, David Stever, Frank Buchanan, J. W. Heaton; 1880, Isaac Guss, Austin Green, A. C. Greenland, D. Clarkson, A. W. Brown; 1881, Austin Green, A. W. Brown, David Stever, G. W. Buchanan, Isaac Guss, D. Hoffman.




1859, Isaac Ashton, John Frank; 1860, I. S. Devarre; 1861, Isaac Ashton, Austin Green (high); 1862-64, Isaac Ashton; 1865, Isaac Ashton, William Snyder (high); 1866-67, Isaac Ashton; 1868, Isaac Ashton, L. M. Green (high); 1869, Isaac Ashton, L. M. Green (high); 1870, Isaac Ashton, T. Dean; 1871, ??; 1872, T. Dean; 1873, T. Dean, F. Buchanan; 1874, Thomas Dean, E. B. Hissong (high); 1875, J. H. Rindlaub, James Black (high); 1876, J. Rindlaub, G. W. Buchanan (high); 1877, J. H. Rindlaub, James Black (high); 1878, L. E. Edwards, James Black (high); 1879, L. E. Edwards; 1880, A. J. Henderson, J. C. Wilson (high); 1881, A. J. Henderson, James Black (high).




1855, N. Miller, Isaac Smith; 1856, - - ; 1857, - - ; 1858, - - ; 1859, L. Green, John S. Gehrett; 1860, - - ; 1861, D. Clarkson, J. Greenland; 1862, Jacob Creswell, J. P. Heaton; 1863, A. W. Evans, John S. Gehrett, E. B. Wilson; 1864, Joshua Greenland, D. Clarkson; 1865, E. B. Hissong, R. Beers; 1866, H. J. Brown, A. G. Greenland, James Henderson; 1867, David Stever, M. W. Heaton, John Noble; 1868, - - ; 1869, A. C. Greenland, Isaac Guss; 1870, E. B. Hissong; 1871, - - ; 1872, John Noble, A. W. Brown; 1873, A. C. Greenland, W. L. Gehrett, James Henderson; 1874, E. B. Hissong, G. M. Green; 1875, John Noble, James Henderson; 1876, W. L. Gehrett, A. C. Greenland; 1877, R. S. Giffin, Silas Prough; 1878, John Noble, H. M. Corbin, E. B. Wilson; 1879, A. W. Brown, A. C. Greenland; 1880, Samuel Croft, William Snyder; 1881, E. B. Hissong, L. Stever, Silas Prough.


CASSVILLE TANNERY. - This was built in 1830 by Lemuel Green. At first it had only six vats. In 1852 six vats were added and another building was erected, and from time to time since additions have been made till now there are twenty-two vats. All ordinary varieties of leather are manufactured here. The present proprietor is Austin Green.


POTTERIES. - In 1842, Jacob Greenland established a pottery in Cassville. He was the pioneer in the pottery business here. The ordinary grades and varieties of stoneware are manufactured here from clay that is found within a short distance of the borough. This pottery has one kiln.


Mr. Greenland died in 1867, and the business has since been conducted by his son, N. W. Greenland.


In 1853, E. B. Hissong established in Cassville a stone pottery, which he still conducts. This pottery has one kiln, and employs two hands. All the ordinary varieties of stoneware are manufactured here.


Mount Hor Lodge, No. 736, I.O.O.F. - was instituted November 2, 1870, with the following charter members: Andrew W. Decker, N. G.; Jonathan Evans, V.G.; Martin J. Elias, S.; James A. Cook, Asst. S.; Adam H. Weidman, T.; and Daniel Locke, William H. Wright, M. B. Hissong, Thomas Mensenberger, and S. W. Gehrett.


During seven years the lodge met in rented rooms, but in 1878 it purchased a building at a cost of six hundred dollars, and in this the meetings have since been held. The lodge not only has no debt, but has a surplus in the treasury.


The following have served as Noble Grands in this lodge: Andrew W. Decker, Jonathan Evans, Martin J. Elias, W. W. French, H. D. Taylor, E. H. Hecter, Oliver Curfman, J. W. Brown, A. C. Greenland, Michael Stever, William McClain, N. W. Greenland, M. Luther Stever, J. B. F. Green, Isaac Guss, George M. Green, A. G. Brown, D. Hamilton, John R. Hamilton.


The present officers are Michael Stever, N.G.; William A. Hamilton, V.G.; M. Luther Stever, S.; D. Hamilton, Asst. S.; and J. B. F. Green, T.


Cassville Evangelical Lutheran Church, of the General Synod. - This was organized in 1804, with the following constituent members: Philip Schneer, Michael Mierly, Ludwig Keller, John Bumgartner, David Bumgartner, Jacob Bumgartner, Sabina Schneer, Anna Maria Mittern, and Sarah Schneer.


The congregation worshiped during many years in the old log school-house at Cassville, but in 1826 the Lutheran and German Reformed congregations jointly erected a log church, which was the place of worship till the erection of the present church. The cornerstone of this was laid in 1856, and it was dedicated in 1857. It is a brick house, with two hundred and fifty sittings. The present membership is forty-eight, and the value of the church property is two thousand dollars.


The pastors of this church have been Revs. Fred Haas, 1804-1814; John D. Aurand (Reformed), 1804; Ludwig Rebenauer, 1818-1819; J. Fred. Osterloch, 1819-1820; William Schultz, 1823-1826; Nicholas Sharetts, 1826-1832; Daniel Moser, 1832 (doubtful); J. G. Ellinger, 1838-1841; Benjamin Lanbach, 1847 (doubtful); J. N. Burkett, 1847-1849; P. M. Rightmyer, 1849-1853; Cyrus Rightmyer, 1853-1855; R. H. Fletcher, 1855-1857; W. B. Bechtel, 1857-1859; J. R. Bricker, 1859-1860; J. Forthman, 1860-1861; J. Ebert, 1861-1862; J. E. Honeycutt, 1865-1866, J. Frazier, 1871-1874; S. Croft, 1875-1880; and the present pastor, J. W. Lingle from 1880.


Cassville Methodist Episcopal Church. - As early as 1818 a Methodist society has existed in Cassville (then commonly called Chilcotestown), and Rev. Tobias Riley was the preacher who served this little flock. Services were then held in the house of George Smith, a tailor, two of whose sons still reside in the valley. It is not possible now to recall the names of the other members of this class. They were probably not numerous.


For many years they continued to worship in private houses and in the school-house, but in 1840 the present house of worship was erected. It is a framed building, and, except a rearrangement of seats, it has had only ordinary repairs.


The following names of clergymen who officiated on this circuit in early times are gathered from tradition and from the recollections of old residents and members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. They are given without reference to the order of their pastorates. Probably most of these ministered to this charge:


Revs. Joshua Gosnell, James Sansom, --- Haas, William Hank, Jacob Larkin, James Hudson, --- Sexsmith, --- Dorsey, Nathaniel Mills, Jacob Gruber, Peter McNally, John McNally, James Riley, Tobias Riley, --- Stevenson, Isaac Collins, Edward E. Allen, Jared H. Young, William Butler, Amos Smith, Robert Beers, Barton De Forest, Josiah Forest, Thomas Hildebrand, Thomas F. Dyerly, Richard Hinkle, Joseph Spangler, Zane Bland, --- McMullen, John Mooreshead, John Hoover, David Trout.


Since 1855 the following have been in charge in the order named: Revs. George Berkstresser, G. W. Bouse, G. T. Gray, Hugh Lynn, James A. Coleman, J. F. Brown, J. D. Moore, Cambridge Graham, Thomas Greenly, R. E. Kelly, D. B. McCloskey, John Guss, J. W. Leckey, J. McKendless, S. A. Creveling, A. W. Decker, G. W. Dunlap, T. F. McClure, E. Shoemaker, and the present pastor, William Memminger.



One of the most prominent members of this church, and for many years recording secretary of the Cassville circuit, is the Honorable Davis Clarkson. The first American progenitor of the Clarkson family was John Clarkson, an English gentleman of landed estates, who exchanged his home in England for one in America during the Revolutionary War, and settled in Philadelphia, in which towns he rose to be a man of some prominence, and with the laying out of a portion of which he had much to do. His wife was a sister of Benjamin West the great painter. They had two sons and a daughter, and ended their days in Philadelphia. Samuel Clarkson, one of the sons, was born in Philadelphia in 1787, and was early bred to the trade of carpentry. He married Susan, daughter of Michael Bowman, of Montgomery County, and in 1816 followed his father-in-law to Cass township, Huntingdon County, where both located upon farms, Samuel pursued his trade until his death in 1830. His widow died December 4, 1874, aged eighty-four. They had seven children of whom they raised four. Those living are Hon. David Clarkson and Mrs. John Mierly, of Cass township. David Clarkson was born in West Philadelphia December 15, 1814. He was but two years of age when his father came to Huntingdon County. At the age of nineteen he was sent to William P. Dean, of Cass township, to learn the carpenter's trade, and with him remained nearly three years. He then went to Huntingdon and worked with William Hildebrand at cabinet-making and undertaking. November 10, 1836, he married Eleanor, daughter of Caleb Corbin, of Cass township. He then began business on his own account in Cass township as carpenter, and in 1840 purchasing the property he now occupies in Cassville, removed his home and business to the village. From 1840 to 1854 he followed the business of cabinet-making and carpentering at Cassville, and in the latter year made undertaking his sole occupation. For a period of forty-three years, or from 1840 to the present, Judge Clarkson has been an undertaker, and in many Huntingdon County families has buried representatives of two generations, while in the aggregate he has buried many, if not more persons than any man in the county. In 1842 he procured his first hearse, which, it is claimed, was the first hearse used in the county.


In 1840 he was elected school-director, and for eighteen years was secretary of the board. He is now secretary of the borough school board. In 1850 he was elected justice of the peace, and for three consecutive terms was reelected. While serving in his fourth term was, in the fall of 1866, elected as one of the associate judges of Huntingdon County. In 1871 he was reelected to that office, serving all told a period of ten years, and retiring from the bench to private life after honorable and esteemed public service. In 1878 he was again chosen justice of the peace, and is still in that office. He was director of the poor from 1858 to 1861. His wife died September 2, 1854, aged thirty-five. Their children were J. Calvin (the well-known "Jason" of Huntingdon County journalism), Samantha A. (Mrs. W. E. Crane of Altoona), Benjamin F. (a Methodist Episcopal minister, now of Baltimore, MD) William Monroe (enlisted in the One Hundred and Forty-ninth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, and killed in the battle of Fredericksburg), Sarah Bell (of Illinois), Susan Ida (Mrs. R. M. Lewis of Altoona), and Mary Ellen (a school teacher at Altoona). April 21, 1856, Judge Clarkson married his second wife Miss Kate Walsh, a native of Rochester, NY, from whence she had come to Cassville to the be the preceptress of the Cassville Seminary. Their children have been Emerette F., James A. C., Lorena B. (deceased), Cora L. (deceased), and Anna L. Judge Clarkson was one of the projectors and founders of the Cassville Seminary, and was trustee and treasurer until the property passed into the hands of Mr. Guss. He was reared in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and for thirty-six years or more has been recording steward of the Cassville Circuit.


Cassville Methodist Protestant Church. - This church was organized in 1833, a year after the organization of the Trough Creek (now Cassville) charge. Among it constituent members were Robert Speer, Henry Lovell, and others of sterling worth who have passed away. The pastors of this church since its organization have been, -


1833, Hugh Doyle, Jesse Wright, MD; 1834, Jesse Wright, MD, J. W. Rutledge; 1835, James Crouse; 1837, J. W. Rutledge; 1838, Timothy Remick; 1839, A. S. Eversole; 1840, Daniel Collier; 1841, John S. Christine; 1842, Timothy Remick, R. S. Norris; 1843, William Fisher, Nicholas Lemon; 1844, R. S. Norris, T. K. Helmbolt; 1845, R. S. Norris, J. D. Brook; 1846, J. K. Helmbolt, W. D. Hamilton; 1847, J. M. Elderdise; 1849, R. T. Boyed; 1850, J. M. Dennis; 1851, J. Clay; 1852, Theopolis Burton; 1853, J. F. Whiteside; 1855, W. G. Holmes; 1857, T. C. Ewell; 1858, J. M. Elderdise; 1860, J. D. Ewell; 1861, J. Clay; 1862, G. W. Simpson; 1864, J. Clay; 1865, A. Hutton; 1867, J. M. Mason; 1873, D. H. Myers; 1876, J. R. Kahle; 1877, J. Sinerter; 1878, C. P. Jorden; 1879, W. H. Gladen; 1880, D. F. Williams; 1881, J. M. Mason.


Dr. Jesse Wright, son of John Wright, was born on the "Wright farm", in Union township, and married, July 10, 1810 to Ruth, daughter of Richard Chilcott. After a residence of some years on the homestead farm he moved to Cassville, where he devoted his time to the practice of medicine up to the time of his death, which occured May 19, 1852, in his sixty-third year. His wife died November 28, 1879, in her ninety-first year. They had nine children. Three died in youth, and of the others, Betsey married Joshua Greenland and died in the borough of Huntingdon, July 23, 1880; Jemina married Rev. James Crouse. Both are now dead. Louisa married James Henderson, and died in Cassville; Selina married Rev. R. Scott Norris, and now lives in Baltimore; Mary married Rev. J. F. Whiteside, now deceased; Sarah Ann married George Heaton, now deceased. The two last named daughters reside in Cassville.


Cassville Cemetery Inscriptions from tombstones taken September 10, 1877:


Baumgartner, Jacob - died July 7, 1857, aged 79 years, 11 months, 3 days
Curfman, Jacob - died April 11, 1860, aged 83 years, 5 months, 20 days
Curfman, Elizabeth - born Nov. 23, 1778, died April 2, 1850 (She was daughter of Philip Snare and wife of the above)
Curfman, Conrad - died June 30, 1870, aged 86 years, 27 days
Dell, Henry - died February 17, 1860, aged 83 years, 8 months
Fink, Elizabeth - died February 13, 1863, aged 66 years, 2 months, 12 days
Fread, Henry - died Nov. 3, 1867, aged 88 years, 23 days
Fread, Mary M. - died March 13, 1867, aged 85 years, 7 months, 7 days
Gosnell, John R. - died Nov. 21, 1861, aged 73 years
Gibboney, Mary, died Oct. 14, 1864, aged 77 years, 3 months, 3 days
Gehrett, John - died May 10, 1866, aged 85 years, 3 months, 8 days
Green, Lemuel - died Oct. 28, 1862, aged 70 years, 5 months, 4 days
Greenland, Jacob - died February 12, 1867, aged 62 years, 5 months, 6 days
Johnston, Hugh - died Dec. 11, 1857, aged 89 years
Johnston, Sarah - died Feb. 8, 1853, aged 75 years
Myerly, Michael - died July 2, 1857, aged 93 years, 6 months, 21 days
Miller, Jacob - died July 19, 1867, aged 95 years, 1 month, 9 days
Park, John - died Dec. 10, 1851, aged 78 years, 1 month, 5 days, father of Joseph
Stever, George - died Oct. 9, 1827, aged 61 years, 24 days
Stever, Catharine - died Jan. 16, 1844, aged 75 years, 11 months, 6 days
Stever, Catharine - died Aug. 29, 1874, aged 69 years, 5 days
Stever, John - died June 17, 1854, aged 50 years, 9 months, 20 days
Stever, David - died Oct. 25, 1872, aged 64 years, 3 months, 21 days
Stever, Lewis - died May 12, 1873, aged 54 years, 7 months, 25 days
Stever, Philip - died Aug. 26, 1827, aged 34 years, 4 months
Steel, John - died Jan. 8, 1869, aged 66 years
Speer, Agnes - died Oct. 24, 1851, aged 49 years, 4 days
Wright, Rev. Jesse, died May 19, 1852, aged 62 years, 6 months, 17 days



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