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Clay Township History
History of Huntingdon and Blair Counties, Pennsylvania by J. Simpson Africa. Philadelphia, PA: Louis H. Everts, 1883,
pp. 245-252. Contributed by Mike Gifford.
Geographical, Descriptive, and Natural Features. - Clay is one of the south border townships of this county, formed from Springfield township, April 15, 1845, and named in honor of Henry Clay, of Kentucky. It is bounded on the northeast by Cass and Cromwell townships, on the southeast by Springfield, on the southwest by Fulton County, and on the northwest by Carbon and Tod townships. In form it is nearly oblong square, lying northeast and southwest. Its entire length is two thousand five hundred perches, with an average width of fourteen hundred perches. The face of the township is quite uneven, there being but very little of what would be termed level land within its boundaries.
Sideling Hill Mountain runs along the entire length of the northwest line of the township, and Clear Ridge runs from Hubbelsville school-house, in the south end of the township, in a northeasterly direction across the line into Cass township. Jack's Mountain terminates between Three Springs borough and Saltillo, while Cave Hill is immediately south of Three Springs, and a series of ridges or mountains form the southeast boundary along the Springfield line. Between these mountains and ridges are narrow valleys, through which are laid several public highways of the township. The principal stream in the south part of the township is the Sideling Hill Creek, which flows through Sideling Hill Gap at New Granada in a northeasterly direction to near W. Corbin's residence, where it turns to the southeast, passing into Fulton County. Its principal tributary in thsi township is Shore Creek, rising near S. Ruppert's, in the Sideling Hill Valley, flowing southerly into Sideling Hill Creek. Lick Branch and North Branch are the head-waters of Mountain Branch, flowing easterly through the north part of the township, and Three Springs Creek, rising in the central portion of the township, flow northeasterly and receives the Mountain Branch at Three Springs borough.
There are several mineral springs in the township, and through the central portion of the township are several outcrops and indications of hematite and fossil ores.
The East Broad Top Railroad runs across the northeast end of the township, following the valleys of Mountain and Lick Branches as they wind around the base of mountains and ridges, passing through Three Springs and Saltillo boroughs and Clear Ridge Gap, in the extreme north part of the township, and out through a tunnel under Sideling Hill Mountain near P. Hoffman's.
Early Settlers and Pioneer Beginnings. - Among the pioneers of what is now Clay township we find Col. George Ashman, who came hear about 1779, and purchased the land called "The Three Springs Tract" containing over eighteen hundred acres, still known as the Three Springs farm. He built a house thereon, which became his future residence, and is still standing. He brought with him his "human chattels" as at that early day slavery had not been abolished in the Keystone State. The plantation was subsequently divided into eight or nine farms, but the original homestead is still in possession of his heirs, of whom Richard Ashman, of Three Springs borough, is principal.
Benjamin Long settled at the same time on what was then known as an "improvement right." His tract was located southwest from what is now Three Springs borough.
Henry Hubbell was also one of the pioneers of this territory, locating here as early as 1794, taking up a tract of land in the north part of the township, on which a portion of the borough of Saltillo is situated. He also brought with him his slaves, and it is but recently that the last of them died.
George Hudson "warranted" a tract of land instead of by improvement. Rev. Samuel Lane, a Baptist preacher, Thomas Green, Richard Bradley, Daniel Stain, Thomas Hooper, John Kyler, Miles Bunn, William Bunn, George Stain, William Hudson, Tobias Moore, John Hudson, and Daniel Heck were all here previous to 1800. Mr. David Heck, now a resident of Three Springs borough, and son of Daniel Heck, remembers all of thes persons as beeing middle-aged and old men when he was a boy. He was born in this township, September 14, 1802. His father came from Maryland.
The pioneer grist-mill of this township was built before 1785 by George Ashman, nearly half a mile up Mountain Branch from what is now Three Springs borough, and in 1827 was taken down and rebuilt where it now stands, a few rods west from the railroad depot, and now owned by Richard Ashman. Ashman also built a saw-mill above where the grist-mill now stands in 1825 or 1826, which went to decay, and a second saw-mill was built by George Ashman, Jr., and is now nearly abandoned. A saw-mill was built in 1825 or 1830 half a mile below the borough, on Mountain Branch, by William Hudson, which went to decay many years ago, and the present mill was built by George D. Hudson, present owner.
1846-49, Jacob Gehrett; 1850, Jacob S. Myers; 1851, Samuel Moreland; 1852, Daniel Kurfman; 1853, Samuel Kough; 1854, Hezekiah Stuller; 1855, Abraham Wagoner; 1856, D. Heck; 1857-58, J. Park; 1859, David Swoope, 1860-61, George H. Stephens; 1862, George J. Wagoner; 1863, J. M. Marlin; 1864, James S. Chilcote; 1865, A. S. Stephens; 1806, George W. Corbin; 1867, Charles Corbin; 1868, Elias B. Swoope; 1869, E. S, Swoope; 1870-73, Charles Corbin; 1874-77, G. J. Wagoner; 1878-79, Daniel Swartz; 1880, George W. Corbin; 1881. Henry F. Bolinger.
1846, John W. Walt, George Long; 1847, David Heck, Robert McNeal; 1848, John Baker, John Banks; 1849, John Kyler, Charles Carson; 1850, George Kriger, Abraham Wagoner; 1851, Adam Heeter, Adam Black; 1852, Adam Heeter, John Rupert; 1853, John Rupert, John B. Logan; 1854, Adam Heater, Joshua Shore; 1855, K. L. Greene, Abraham Wagoner; 1856, Abraham Wagoner, K. L. Greene; 1857, G. W. Cohel, A. Shore; 1858, M. Detwiler, S. Bowser; 1859, S. Bowser, Charles Rhineheart; 1860, Adam Heeter, A. Wagoner; 1861, A. Wagoner, William Keith; 1862, Samuel Grissinger, George D. Hudson; 1863, Samuel Kough, Samuel Grissinger; 1864, Samuel Kough, Samuel Shue; 1865, G. D. Hudson, D. F. Stevens; 1866, D. F. Stevens, G. D. Hudson; 1867, Samuel McVitty, David F. Stever; 1868, Robert Hampson, Jeremiah Nead; 1869, Eli E. Shore, Charles Corbin; 1870, Andy Wagoner, Eph. Kyler; 1872, Martin Grissinger, G. Nonemaker; 1873, Daniel Price, William McClain; 1874, A. Wagoner, William Thompson; 1875, John Drake, A. Wagoner; 1876, R. W. Hudson, P. Hoffman; 1877, G. J. Wagoner, Philip Rink; 1878, E. L. Roher, W. Shope; 1879, Alexander McNeal, William Bradley, A. Wagoner, W. C. Hudson; 1880, Ben. K. Miller, William Bradley, Fred. Nale, Abrm. Wagoner; 1881, Philip Spahn, Eph. Kyler, John B. Houck , Frederick Nale.
1846, Moses Greenland, John Ashman; 1847, William Cunningham, Charles Carson; 1848, Elijah R. Green, A. McNeal; 1849, Samuel Moreland, R. Ashman; 1850, George Hudson, James Steves; 1851, ----- -----; 1852, Henry Matthias, Christian Wagoner; 1853, ----- -----; 1854, ----- -----; 1855, George Hudson, David Stevens; 1856, E. Kyler, A, Wagoner.
Boroughs and Hamlets. - THREE SPRINGS BOROUGH. - The town was laid out April 5, 1843, and named Scottsville in honor of General Winfield Scott, and a post-office of that name established. There being another office of the same name in this State and of a prior date caused many letters to be miscarried and finally lost, consequently a new name had to be adopted for this office, and the name of Three Springs was reported to the Post Office Department at Washington, and the name changed. The office, however, has never been kept much nearer the springs from which it was named than at present, and when the town became incorporated, November 10, 1869, the inhabitants adopted the name of the post office for that of their borough.
Pioneer Beginnings. - The pioneer merchant of this town was Richard Ashman, who commenced the mercantile business at this place May 7, 1847, in the old Ashman store, corner of Ashman and Freedom Streets. Mr. Ashman, together with Thomas E. Orbison, continued in this business at this place for thirty-one years, Mr. Orbison for only a portion of that time. The old Ashman store is now occupied by William J. Hampson, who is also postmaster.
The second merchant at Three Springs was William White, who kept store in the old Hudson house, and was succeeded by Dennis O'Connor, and O'Connor by James E. Glasgow, in what is known as the Covert store. Glasgow's successors were John Long & Co., and then came Thomas H. Adams in 1862, who remained three years, and in 1865 the firm became Covert & Stevens, and the Covert & Heck, Covert & Rank, and N. E. Covert alone in 1882. A. S. Stevens was in business alone for a few years after the dissolution of the firm Covert & Stevens, and is now (1882) in the hardward trade on Hudson Street, opposite Bowser House.
The pioneer cabinet-maker at this place was John M. Wallace, who established the business here in 1844 and remained till 1850, when he was succeeded by D. G. Doyle from 1852 and 1855, when he gave place to P. H. Bence, who is the only cabinet-maker and dealer at Three Springs.
The pioneer hotel at this place was built in 1849-1850 by George D. Hudson. It is the stone mansion standing at the southeast end of town, and was kept as a hotel till 1876 or 1877, when the Bowser House, kept by Samuel Bowser, corner of Hudson and Freedom streets, was built, adn the Hudson House abandoned as a hotel.
The pioneer blacksmith at Three Springs was Isaac Gorsuch. His shop stood on the site now occupied by Covert's store, corner of Mill and Ashman streets. His successors have been Swope & Still, DeVore, George Sinnett, and Anderson Hockenbury, the present blacksmith.
The pioneer school-house at this place was built in 1838 on the site now occupied by Union Hall. This hall was built in 1863 for a town hall and school-house combined. The lower room is now used for school purposes, and the upper room for what it was intended.
The first school, however, in this vicinity was taught in the old Hudson House kitchen, a short distance east of the borough. Some of the pioneer teachers were John Starr, Samuel Kittson, and Christian Moore.
The first resident physician of this town was Dr. Robert Baird, who came here in 1853, and remained two years. He was succeeded by his son, Barton F. Baird, who died in 1863. Robert Baird, M.D. died in 1880, aged eighty years. The successors of B. F. Baird at this place have been ----- Myers, J. F. Thompson, ----- Greene (who was killed), ----- James, ----- Madden, ----- Stever, and Dr. Oellig, the present phsycian, who located here in the early spring of 1882.
The population of the borough in 1880 was two hundred and thirty-nine.
Civil Organization. - As has been stated, the borough of Three Springs
was chartered November 10, 1869. We herewith give a list of a portion of
the borough officers from that time to present, as gleaned from the
William J. Hampson, 1860-70; P. H. Bence, 1872; N. Covert, 1873; B. T. Stevens, 1874, 1878; D. G. Doyle, 1875; Richard Ashman, 1876-77, 1879-82.
1869, George D. Hudson, Robert Hampson, H. H. Herter, W. L. Stevens, D. M. Heck; 1870, G. D. Hudson, Elijah G. Heck. Elias S. Swoope, J. S. De Vore, Robert Hampson; 1872, G. D. Hudson, E. G. Heck, E. S. Swoope, J. S. DeVore, D. M. Heck; 1873, D. M. Heck, D. B. Heck, D. G. Doyle, P. H. Bence, R. Hampson, E. A. Hudson; 1874, R. Hampson, assistant burgess; D. G. Doyle, J. B. Swoope, J. S. DeVore, A. S. Stevens, H. T. Stains; 1875, N. K. Covert, J. S. De Vore, A. S. Stevens, H. C. Waite, R. Hampson; 1876, D. G. Doyle, H. T. Stains, R. M. McNeal, J. F. Thompson, Samuel Bowser, Jacob B. Swoope; 1877, D. G. Doyle, W. J. Hampson, E. A. Hudson, R. M. McNeal, A. Hockenberry, John H. Long; 1878, David Mansberger, D. G. Doyle, H. C. Waite, A. Hockenberry, D. M. Heck, P. H. Bence; 1879, N. K. Covert, W. J. Hampson, A. S. Stevens, E. G. Heck, E. A. Hudson, A. Hockenberry; 1880, E. A. Hudson, B. T. Stevens, A. Hockenberry, Robert .Hampson, H. C. Waite; 1881, W. J. Hampson, John McNeal, E. A. Hudson, R. Hampson, A. Hockenberry; 1882, R. Hampson, E. A. Hudson, Samuel Bowser, D. M. De Vore, George Heeter, H. C. Waite.
SECRETARY OF COUNCIL.
1870, Elijah C. Heck; 1872, B. T. Stevens; 1878, H. T. Stains; 1879, M. F. Hudson; 1873-77, 1879-82, P. H. Bence.
1870, B. F. Stevens; 1871, ----- -----; 1872, E. Swoope; 1873, C. S. Swoope; 1874, B. F. Stevens; 1875-76, H. F. Stains; 1877-78, D. G. Doyle; 1879-81, R. F. Stevens.
1870, P. H. Bence, J. B. Swoope; 1871, ----- -----; 1872, B. Hampson, J. Norris; 1873, N. K. Covert, B. F. Stevens; 1874, H. F. Stains, E. A. Hudson; 1875, W. J. Hampson, P. H. Bence, D. M. Heck; 1876, B. T. Stevens, E. G. Heck; 1877, J. S. De Vore, N. K. Covert, R. Ashman; 1878, B. F. Stevens, A. Hockenbury; 1879, R. Ashman, E. G. Heck; 1880, N. K. Covert, J. S. De Yore; 1881, A. Hockenberry, E. A. Hudson.
Local Paper was established at this place by P. H. Bence in 1877. It is a four-column quarto, issued on the 15th of each month. The first number was issued in September 1877.
Mineral Spring. - There is in the borough of Three Springs a very nice spring of water, the curative properties of which are said to be quite efficacious in some of the diseases to which the human flesh is heir.
This spring was accidentally discovered in 1820 by David Heck, when at work for Mr. Hudson. Being somewhat thirsty he started for the creek, and in passing the mound that was then around the spring, he saw water issuing from the top and drank of that instead of going to the creek, and found it strongly tinctured with minerals of some kind. The mound has been removed, an excavation made, and walled up on either side, and the clear, health-giving waters are running free for all who desire to test their healing virtues.
The East Broad Top railroad was opened to this place in 1874, and the first train of cars ran to Three Springs on July 1st of that year.
The business of the borough in 1882 was conducted by A. Hockenberry, blacksmith; D. B. Heck, wheelwright; D. M. Heck, Darius G. Doyle, Joseph Stevens, contractors and carpenters; Barto & Rambaugh, steam saw-mill built in 1880; Richard Ashman, grist-mill and lime-kiln; A. S. Stevens, tailor; Samuel Willetts, undertaker; R. Hampson and James Hill, shoemakers; W. J. Hampson and S. A. Covert, general merchants; Stevens Hardware Company; D. G. Doyle and D. G. Heck, confectioners; Mrs. P. Swoope and Nettie Stevens, millinery; J. C. Stever and J. B. Oellig, physicians; P. C. Bence, furniture store. There are also at this place Methodist Episcopal, Baptist, and United Brethren in Christ Churches, and hotel by Samuel Bowser. Railroad station of East Broad Top Railroad, with R. M. McNeal station agent.
Three Springs Lodge, No. 790, I.O.of O.F. - This lodge was instituted February 20, 1882 at Three Springs borough, Pa., with the following named charter members, viz.: James F. Thompson, N. K. Covert, J. S. DeVore, P. H. Bence, Robert Hampson, H. H. Heeter, W. J. Hampson, W. H. Marlin, Calvin Greene, Steele Barcus, Luden Greenland, William Keister, Hend Rutter, J. F. Ramsey, Abram Lamberson, William Swayers, Calvin Hooper, Rev. G. W. Bouse, W. W. Knowles, and Levi Anderson.
The first officers of the lodge were as follows: J. F. Thompson, N.G.; Joshua Brown, V.G.; W. G. Hampson, Sec.; P. H. Bence, Asst. Sec; J. S. DeVore, Treas.; H. Rutter, R.S.; L. Greenland, L.S.; J. F. Ramsey, W.; C. Greene, C.; A. Lamberson, R.S.S.; H. H. Heeter, L.S.S.; W. W. Knowles, O.G.; W. H. Marlin, I.G.; R. Hampson, R.S. to V.G.; W. Keister, L.S. to V.G.; N. K. Covert, Rep. to G.L.
The regular meetings of this lodge are held in Three Springs borough, on Saturday evening of each week. Present membership, twenty-one.
The present officers of the lodge (June 1882) are Philip Fisher, N.G.; E. A. Hudson, V.G.; N. K. Covert, Sec.; L. Anderson, Asst. Sec.; M. Chilcote, Treas.; E. A. Hudson, Rep. to G.L.
Three Springs Methodist Episcopal Church. [ By P.H. Bence] - The first chapel, built of hewn logs, was erected in 1790, and stood in the graveyard above the town, on part of a large tract of land which had been warranted by Benjamin Long, the warrant bearing the date Nov. 9, 1784.
The pulpit of the church was very likely supplied by the preachers who traveled the Huntingdon Circuit at that time, as this was undoubtedly a part of included in the Huntingdon work.
We find in the history of the church, "In 1788 Samuel Breeze and Daniel Combs were appointed to Huntingdon Circuit, with Nelson Reed as elder."
I have learned that the following preachers traveled and preached in these parts: Dating back to 1797, we have the names of Seeley, Bunn and John Philips as preachers, and J. Everett as presiding elder. In 1802 the preachers were Isaac Robbins and Joseph Stone, with W. Lee as presiding elder. Some time between 1803 and 1814 this appointment appear to have been given to Lewistown Circuit. Jacob Gruber and James Reily are said to have preached here as early as 1818 and 1820. In 1824, John A. Gere traveled Aughwick Circuit and preached at this place. In 1828, Josiah Forrest was on Bedford Circuit and preached here occasionally.
Benjamin Long, the owner of the land upon which the old church stood, conveyed it to William Hudson by deed dated September 9, 1806, and Hudson, by deed dated July 24, 1822, for and in consideration of fifty cents paid by each, conveyed the same to Thomas Long, Micajah Chilcoate, Thomas Hooper, Joshua Hooper, and Benjamin Chilcoate, trustees, and their successors, in trust, for the use of the ministers and members of the Methodist Episcopal Church forever. In the deed of conveyance the trustees were empowered and required to do certain repairs and make improvements to the seating arrangements of the house.
After the title to the land had been perfected, the trustees then proceeded to repair the building as required by the deed.
There is nothing on record to show that there was a regular organized class prior to 1822, or until Micajah Chilcoate was made leader. The leaders since Chilcoate have been William Cornelius, who was succeeded in 1842 by John Hampson, an Irishman, who came from Ireland with his family and settled in this place in 1836. Hampson was class-leader until his death, which occurred December 25, 1849. In 1850, Ephraim Shore was appointed class-leader, and was succeeded by John F. Meminger in 1855, who is the present leader.
During the year 1841 the old meeting house was vacated on account of its dilapidated condition, and preaching and class-meetings were held in a school-house which had recently been erected a short distance from the church. During the same year the first Sunday-school in these parts was organized in this school-house, with John Hampson as superintendent, and Jacob Gruber preacher in charge.
In 1845 a new meeting-house was built and dedicated by John Miller, presiding elder, and Joseph G. McKeehan, then the preacher on Shirleysburg Circuit, with W. Grim as colleague. From that time till 1869, when the Scottsville Circuit was formed, the pulpit was supplied by preachers on the Shirleysburg Circuit. A town having been laid out and named Scottsville, the circuit was named after the town. Elisha Shoemaker was the preacher until 1871, when he was succeeded by G. W. Bouse. The town of Scottsville having been incorporated into a borough, and the name changed to Three Springs, neccessitated the changing of the name of the circuit to Three Springs. G. W. Bouse was succeeded in 1874 by Elisha Shoemaker, who remained three years, during which time the present (third) church or meeting-house was built at a cost of three thousand eight hundred dollars, and dedicated January 26, 1876. The ministers partipating in the dedicatory services were Rev. M. K. Foster, presiding elder, and Revs. J. S. McMurray, A. R. Miller, and the pastor Elisha Shoemaker. The following named trustees presented the church for dedication: Adam Heeter, R. M. McNeal, P. H. Bence, H. K. Covert, and B. T. Stevens. The steward at that time and for several years previous, was Adam Heeter. Rev. Elisha Shoemaker was succeeded in 1877 by George W. Dunlap. In 1879, J. W. Olewine became pastor, and remained until 1881, when J. W. Bell was appointed to this charge, and was succeeded in 1882 by Rev. Levi S. Crone.
The class at this time (July, 1882) numbers fifty-five members.
The officers of the church for 1882 were Levi S. Crone, preacher in charge; John F. Meminger, class leader; Benedict Stevens, local preacher; Daniel M. Heck, exhorter; P. H. Bence, Sunday-school superintendent; B. T. Stevens, steward; Adam Heeter, P. H. Bence, N. H. Covert, and B. T. Stevens, trustees.
First Baptist Church of Scottsville. - This organization is an outgrowth from the Baptist Church at Shirleysburg, and their meeting-house is a frame building, erected in 1850, and dedicated in 1853 by Elder D. M. Hunter. The meeting-house is located in the borough of Three Springs, and cost, for lot and building, nine hundred dollars.
The following named persons comprise the constituent members: Kenzie L. Greene, Diana Greene, Samuel McVitty, Hester McVitty, Emeline McVitty, Conrad Hoffman, Jemina Hoffman, B. D. F. Baird, M.D., George D. Hudson, Ruth L. Hudson, William C. Hudson, Joseph Cornelius, Eliza Cornelius, Benjamin Cornelius, John Baird, John M. Wallace, Rebecca Wallace, Diana Doyle, Ruhannah C. Heeter, William P. Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor, Hettie Hudson, James Marlin, Delilah Kyler, Catharine Skipper, Thomas Williams, Robert G. McNeal, Margaret McNeal, Sarah Chilcote, Robert C. Sipes, Rebecca Saxe, Rachel Saxe, Mrs. Thompson and Rachel Heeter.
The above named persons were constituted and recognized as a separate Baptist Church by the following council held in the Baptist meeting-house at Three Springs, or Scottsville, Pa., November 3, 1859: Moderator, Elder George W. Young of Logan's Valley Church; Clerk, John C. Watson of Mill Creek Church; Delegates, Elders A. B. Still a missionary, W. Kidder, J. L. Holmes, Laymen Robert McDivitt, David Hare, John Larimore, Michael Boland, William B. Leas, William Drake, David Leas, and John Lotts.
The following preachers have served this church and people since the organization of the church at this place: Elders David Williams, J. L. Holmes, Anderson J. Kelley, W. Kidder, supply De Von Krevling, supply Simon Bolivar Boyer, John W. Evans, and D. J. R. Strayer, the present pastor.
Since the building of the meeting-house, it has been repaired, enlarged, and improved by the addition of new furniture, organ, and bell, and is now (1882) valued at three thousand six hundred dollars.
Present membership is eighty.
The Sunday school connected with this church was organized in 1850. The present superintendent is Samuel Heeter, with six officers and teachers, and an average attendance of thirty-two scholars.
United Brethren in Christ. - Just when this church or society was organized we were unable to ascertain; the church edifice, located on the northwest side of Church Street, in Three Springs borough, is a frame building, erected in 1852, and dedicated in December of the same year. Rev. J. W. Bonewell was the first pastor.
Among the pioneer members of this organization we find the names of James Devor, Rebecca Devor, David Swoope, Mary Swoope, Jacob Swoope, Mary Bollinger, Elizabeth Swoope, Charles Stevens and wife, Joseph Creamer and wife, and Mary Marlin.
The preachers for this people have been, since Mr. Bonewell, Rev. R. G. Rankin, Jeptha Potts, --- Talhelm, G. W. Scott, ----- Pringle, ----- James, and L. M. Gates, present pastor.
Present membership, fifteen. Value of church property, one thousand dollars, including parsonage.
The trustees are Abraham Wagoner and Samuel Willetts. The Sunday school connected with this church numbers twenty-five, with Samuel Willetts superintendent.
Early Settlers and Pioneer Beginnings. - The pioneer settler of this immediate locality was Henry Hubbell, who located here in 1796, and in the same year he, together with Thomas Greer*, an adjoining owner, laid out the town of Springville, now Saltillo. Mr. Hubbell was one of those wide-awake, energetic men who saw nothing but sunshine in the future. He had on his town plat a large lot set apart for a courthouse and county buildings, another for a market house, also a survey and plan for supplying Springville with water of different kinds from the various mineral springs in and around the borough. He succeeded in selling quite a number of lots to residents of Philadelphia, and had there been any way of access to this then wilderness spot besides the old system of pack-horse transportation, there is no doubt, with all the natural advantages of the immediate surroundings and Mr. Hubbell's energy, Springville today would have been a thriving city of thousands of inhabitants, instead of the small borough of Saltillo, with a hundred or two souls.
* For an account of the Greer family, see Cass township
The plan of Springville was recorded at Huntingdon in Book E, page 368, etc. on August 20, 1796, by Andrew Henderson, recorder.
Mr. Hubbell's residence, long since gone to decay, stood on the site now occupied by Mr. McCarthy's residence. In 1797 he built a grist-mill and saw-mill on the site occupied by the present mill. The Hudson heirs rebuilt the grist-mill in 1850, and the saw-mill was rebuilt in the spring of 1882. The saw-mill near Leas & McVitty's tannery was built in 1857 by P. E. Weaver, who now owns both saw-mills and the grist-mill.
Samuel McVitty was born in Shirleysburg, Huntingdon Co., November 4, 1815. His father, Thomas McVitty, who was a tanner, established a tannery at Shirleysburg in 1812, and continued the business there until his death, which occurred about 1825. From this time till 1834 the tannery was rented, and Samuel worked at the business at different places to acquire a knowledge of the trade. In 1834 he rented the tannery and commenced business on his own account. He afterwards purchased the property, which he sold in 1847, and engaged in farming till 1855, when he sold his farm property and established a partnership with William B. Leas, and rented a tannery in Black Log Valley. This they conducted during four years, when they erected the tannery at Saltillo and commenced business there. They afterwards enlarged their works, and their sons, D. P. Leas and T. E. McVitty, became partners, the firm taking the name of Leas, McVitty and Sons. Mr. McVitty superintended the business at the tannery until 1879, when he retired from active labor, and his son-in-law, Calvin Greene, became superintendent. Since that time he has led a more leisurely life, and has traveled in various portions of the United States and Canada.
He was married in January, 1838 to Esther McKinstry, of Shirley township, and they have had five children, - Mary Ellen, who died in infancy; Emeline, now Mrs. Richard W. Hudson; John, deceased; Thomas Edward; and Amanda J., now Mrs. Calvin Greene. Mr McVitty has been twice chosen justice of the peace.
The property at Saltillo consists between three and four hundred acres of land, and the tannery covers an area of twelve thousand one hundred and sixty-two square feet. The machinery is driven by a thirty horse-power engine, nine tons of oak bark are used daily, and the annual capacity of the tannery is five thousand six hundred pounds of sole leather.
The pioneer store at Saltillo was opened for the accommodation of the public in 1860, by J. & J. C. Brewster, in what is now Henry Hudson's shop, on the upper side of Main Street. They remained in business here till the spring of 1862, when they were succeeded by Thomas L. Uttley. He was succeeded by T. R. Henderson, and since Henderson left the building has been occupied by Mr. Hudson as a picture-frame manufactory and clock and watch repairing shop. Two new stores were then built at the foor of Main Street by J. Brewster and Benjamin Shope. Brewster and Shope have been succeeded in their stores by David F. Shope and R. W. Hudson, the present merchants.
The pioneer hardware store in this place was built and stocked in the spring of 1882, by John W. Senft, the present proprietor.
The pioneer tin- and stove-store was that of F. H. Senft, on Main Street, who came here in 1875. The blacksmiths have been John W. Marshall, George V. Senft, and Mr. Hildabrandt, the present blacksmith. Mr. Fleming, the pioneer wheelwright, located here, on lower Main Street, in the spring of 1882. The pioneer hotel in this town was built in 1882, by Samuel McClain, and now kept by Miles Brown.
In 1797, Rev. Samuel Lane built what was known as tub-mill, for grinding grain. It stood in the bend of the creek, between the railroad and Saltillo, on property now owned by Henry Hudson.
Civil Organization. - When the projected city of Springville was finally abandoned, which was no doubt a source of annoyance to the philanthropic projector, and the Philadelphians surrendered all claim to lots purchased, the site of the embryo city returned to its native forest, and for many years was the habitation of wild beasts. As time sped its way on the march of civilization and industry enlarged their borders, and the site of Springville was again the center of business for a certain scope of country. A few descendants of Mr. Hubbell remained in the vicinity, and more pioneers came in and again the prospect brightened, and in 1873 the present town of Saltillo was laid out by Henry Hudson, and a borough charter was obtained from t he court November 10th, and recorded December 1, 1875. We herewith give a list of burgesses and Town Council from the organization to the present time:
1876-78, Samuel McVitty; 1880, R. W. Hudson; 1870-1881, D. Shope; 1882, Henry Hudson.
1876, Henry Hudson, Benjamin Shope, William Crum, T. R. Henderson, George Fulton; 1877, Henry Hudson, B. Shope, T. R. Henderson, William Crum, G. W. Fulton; 1878, B. Shope, W. H. Cornelius, C. Green, W. A. Finlay, L. G. Cornelius, Isaac Long; 1879, B. Shope, John Drake, John Senft, Samuel Grove, J. W. Kough, Philip Fisher; 1880, Samuel McVitty, John Senft, William Crum, P. Fisher, L. G. Cornelius, C. Green; 1881, B. Shope, John Drake, J. W. Senft, Samuel Grove, J. W. Kough, P. Fisher; 1882, Samuel McVitty, B. Shope, J. H. Senft, L. G. Cornelius, W. Crum, P. Weaver.
1876, John Stake; 1877-1878, W. H. Cornelius; 1879-80, Samuel McClain; 1881, S. W. Kimmer.
1876, Samuel McVitty, Henry Hudson, G. M. Green, W. H. Cornelius, C. Green, W. Poles; 1877, Samuel McClain, Thomas Barber; 1878, C. R. McCarthy, Benjamin Shope; 1879, H. Hudson, P. Fisher, G. W. Fulton; 1880, J. A. Struger, H. Hudson; 1881, Samuel McVitty, J. M. Hillyard.
Saltillo borough is at an altitude of seven hundred and eighty-one feet above sea-level. There are running through under the borough two veins of iron ore, one hematite and the other fossil. The pioneer postmaster at this place was Samuel McVitty, who was appointed in 1867. The present postmaster is Thomas L. Uttley. The East Broad Top Railroad was finished to this town in 1875. The present telegraph operator, express and ticket agent is F. H. Senft. The population of the borough in 1880 was two hundred and twenty-seven.
It was proper that the old town was named Springville, and would have applied as well to the present, as there are within the borough limits twenty springs, containing almost as many grades or kinds of mineral water. It is said that one of the springs afford the strongest magnetic water of any spring in the United States.
First Baptist Church of Saltillo. - This is an outgrowth or out-station from the Baptist Church at Three Springs borough. The distance from and the inconvenience to which many of the members were subject induced the leading members to build a meeting-house and have Baptist preaching at Saltillo; accordingly a church edifice of brick was erected in 1879, at a cost of fifteen hundred and five dollars.
The following names comprised most, or all, of the member at Saltillo in 1879: Samuel McVitty and wife, John M. Wallace and wife, Emma McVitty, Amanda J. McVitty, George Senft and wife.
The present membership is thirty-five. For list of preachers, see Three Springs Baptist Church.
The Sunday-school connected with this branch reports an average attendance of sixty pupils, with Samuel McVitty, superintendent.
Reformed Church of America. - When the society at Saltillo was organized we are unable to state. The pioneer members of this church at this place were Philip Spahn, wife and two daughters, Anthony Hoffman, John Hoffman, Michael Brodbeck, Warner Thomas and wife, Mrs. Kimmell and daughter, Edward Cornelius and wife.
In 1880 the society built a neat frame church located on Pine Street, Saltillo, at a cost of eight hundred dollars. Present membership, twenty-five. Their preachers have been Rev. John Shick, and ----- Writer, the present pastor.
The Sunday school connected with this church numbers twenty scholars, with William Abbott superintendent.
Union Hall. - This is a frame building, erected in 1873 by a joint-stock company, and located on Pine Street in the borough of Saltillo. It is occupied by all denominations who wish to occupy it for religious purposes, and is used by the Union Sunday-school, which numbers fifty pupils, with T. H. Senft as superintendent.
Saltillo Methodist Protestant Church. - This church was organized in 1873 by Rev. J. M. Mason, with the following official members: Walter Cornelius, John Carl, and Peter Cornelius. This society worships in Union Hall.
Meadow Green Methodist Protestant Church. - This society was organized in Harmony Grove school-house in 1853, with the following-named members: D. Price, James Stevens, James Shore, and John B. Moreland. The Harmony Grove school-house was destroyed by fire, and the meetings have since been held in Meadow Green school-house, Clay township.
Saltillo Cemetery. - The graveyard at Saltillo was deeded to the Old School Baptist denomination by Richard Ashman, the then owner of the plantation upon which it was located, and contains one acre and one hundred and seventeen perches. The old meeting-house was built in the graveyard on the hill, and went to decay many years ago. The first marble stone put up in this yard was brought from Lewistown by horseback by Henry Hubbell in 1795, and this is a part of the inscription: "In Memory of Phebe, the wife of Henry Hubbell, in the 32nd year of her age. She Left this tabernacle on the 22d of April, 1795. Departed this Life Lamented by Husband & Neighbors as a Dutiful Wife."
Among the number of inscriptions upon tombstones in this city of the dead may be found the following:
Nancy Cornelius, died Nov. 9, 1850, aged 95.
Samuel Cornelius, died May 13, 1833, aged 72.
Hannah McNeal, died May 1, 1850, aged 63.
Joshua McNeal, died Feb 17, 1864, aged 76.
James McNeal, died June 26, 1851, aged 66.
William Cornelius, died Nov. 30, 1876, aged 86.
William M. Cornelius, died Dec. 17, 1876, aged 51.
Peter Cornelius, died April 7, 1879, aged 72
Josiah Kimmel, died May 11, 1877, aged 60.
Nancy McNeal, died Feb. 15, 1863, aged 70.
Archibald McNeal, died March 28, 1871, aged 80.
Jane Taylor, died April 13, 1869, aged 44.
Samuel Kough, died March 7, 1870, aged 70.
Christian Drake, died Aug. 15, 1860, aged 70.
Ann Mary Renecker, died June 5, 1879, aged 81.
Robert Baird, M.D., died June 3, 1880, aged 81.
Barton D. F. Baird, M.D., died April 19, 1863, aged 29.
John Hudson, M.D., died Jan. 15, 1857, aged 27.
George Hudson, Esq., died May 24, 1855, aged 60.
Henry Hubbell, Esq., died June 7, 1827, aged 73.
Sarah Drake, died April 30, 1870, aged 67.
Jacob Drake, died Jan. 1, 1863, aged 61.
Margaret Jane Bence, died Oct. 11, 1863, aged 22.
George Senft, died Nov. 4, 1871, aged 46.
Rebecca Cunningham, died July 1864, aged 74.
Elizabeth Bowser, died Aug. 19, 1856, aged 23.
Lucy Ann Bowser, died Sept. 11, 1861, aged 23.
Educational. - the school-house at Saltillo is a frame building erected in 1881 for the accommodation of two schools. Dallas Bernhardt and Fanny Green were the first teachers in this school-house. In 1881 there was five months' school taught, with an average attendance of fifty-three scholars. Total amount raised by tax for the year was $173.53; State appropriation, $60.70. Total expenditures for the year, $178.72.
Three Springs Borough. - In 1881 there were two schools in the borough, in which the pupils of the town were instructed five months in each school. One male and one female teacher were employed, at twenty-five dollars for the male and twenty dollars for the female teacher. There was an average attendance of forty-five pupils per day during the term of school. Total expenditures for the year, $358.69.
Clay township has seven school districts, in which school was taught five months each in 1881. There were employed during the term six male and one female teacher, at twenty-three dollars each per month. The average number attending school during the term was one hundred and forty-seven. Total expenditures for school purposes during the year, $1316.94.
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