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Shirley Township History
History of Huntingdon and Blair Counties, Pennsylvania by J. Simpson Africa Philadelphia, PA: Louis H. Everts, 1883, pp. 340-348. Contributed by Judy Banja.
Geographical, Descriptive, and Natural Features. - This is one of the southeast townships of the county, and is bounded on the northeast by Juniata County, on the southeast by Tell township, south by Cromwell, and west by Cass and Union townships, on the northwest by Juniata County, and north by the Juniata River.
The surface of the township is a succession of mountains and valleys, these being but a small percentage of the land that might be termed level or gently undulating, and whatever of such there may be is mostly in the Aughwich Valley.
MOUNTAINS. - Shade Mountain, running from southwest to northeast, forms the southeast boundary line.
Black Log Mountain runs parallel with the southeast line of the township, leaving but a narrow valley between it and Shade Mountain. This mountain runs entirely across the township.
Blue Ridge is northwest from and parallel with Black Log, forming the boundary line between this township and that part of Juniata County on the northwest, and continues down to Germany Valley.
Sandy Ridge is in the south part of the township, on a line with Blue Ridge, and parallel with Black Log, and extends from Cromwell township to Germany Valley, which lies between the northeast end of Sandy and the southwest end of Blue Ridge.
Owens Ridge is another beautiful elevation of land, lying parallel with the other mountains, and running from Shirleysburg northeasterly to the Juniata River.
Chestnut Ridge is another wave, running in the same direction as the rest, and from Cromwell township to the Juniata, near Mount Union.
Stony Ridge, northwest of the last named, runs nearly or quite across the township, breaking off abruptly at the Juniata, west of Mount Union borough.
Jack's Mountain, forming the west or northwest boundary line between this and the townships of Cass and Union.
The name of Shade Mountain is said to have derived its name from the fact of several soldiers in the Revolutionary war having died while the army was passing through what is known as Shade Gap, where the road is nearly level from one valley to the other, and the mountain walls very abrupt, and covered with a thick foliage, causing the gap to be quite dark at noonday, hence the name, Shades of Death, as originally, Shady Gap, Shade Gap, and Shade Mountain.
It is said of Black Log Mountain that the name was derived from a large tree or log in or near one of the gaps, at which pilgrims on their journey across the mountain stopped and built fires around for cooking purposes, till the whole tree or log had become charred. Upon inquiry of each other where they stepped to rest and refresh themselves, answered, at the black log, hence the name, Black Log Mountain.
Blue Ridge derives its name from its bluish appearance from a distance; Sandy Ridge, from sandy soil covering the rocks; Owens Ridge, from a person of that name; Chestnut Ridge, from the large quantity of chestnut-trees growing upon it; Stony Ridge, from its rocky and stony appearance.
Jack's Mountain derives its name, so says tradition, as handed down to us through Hezekiah Rickets to James Clark, and through his son, James M. Clark, of Shirleysburg, to the writer, from a character known at the time as Capt. Jack Armstrong, who it seems had a contract for cutting a road through the narrows on the Juniata. His cabin stood on the north end of the mountain, near where there is a spring of very clear, cool water. He had been friendly with the Indians, and had traded with them some; but when there arose the difficulty between the Indians and whites he tendered his services, with that of his men, to Gen. Braddock, which for some reason were not accepted. Soon after this twelve Indians passed up through where the men were at work, and to all appearances were friendly. After the Indians had gone out of sight the men heard the report of a rifle, but thought nothing of it at the time. When the time came for Capt. Jack, as he was familiarly called, to put in an appearance, the men thought strange of it, and soon went in search of him, and found the captain lying upon the ground near his cabin, dead. Hence the name, Jack's Mountain.
CREEKS AND RUNS. - The principal stream of the township is the "Aughwick" or "Aucquick" Creek, crossing the township from southwest to northeast, emptying into the Juniata at the west foot of Owens Ridge. Its tributaries from the west and northwest are Sugar Run, McNite Run, Lutz Run, Beck's Run, and several other small rivulets. From the east or northeast is Fort Run, so named from the fact of Fort Shirley being built upon its bank.
Black Log Run, rising in Juniata County and running southwesterly across the township, passing through the narrow valley between Shade and Black Log Mountains. There are twenty or more small rivulets running into it from the sides of the two mountains.
Vineyard Run rises in Juniata County, and runs southwest between Log Mountain and Blue Ridge to its southwest end, where it winds westwardly around its base, and flows northerly into the Juniata. This has but two or three small tributaries.
Hill Valley Run rises in the southwest part of the township, and flows northeasterly along the west foot of Chestnut Ridge to Mount Union, where it turns easterly around the end of the mountain, and flows into the Juniata half a mile below the borough.
Singer's Gap Run rises in Jack's Mountain and flows east, forming, with Dry Run, the head-waters of Valley Hill Run.
The soil of the township is generally a sandy loam through the valleys, and susceptible of a high state of cultivation. Many of the farms in the few narrow valleys will compare favorably with other sections of the State. In some localities lime-rock abounds, more especially on the east side of the Aughwick Valley, while on the west side there is scarcely any limestone.
Naming the Township, Early Settlers, and Pioneer Incidents. - This township is one of the original, and in all probability the pioneer in point of settlement in Huntingdon County, and received its name through an act of courtesy on the part of Governor Morris to one of his trusted and faithful generals, Shirley. Of a line of stockades or forts built in 1755 and reaching out across the then forests westward from the Susquehanna, one was located in this township just outside the north end of the limits of the borough of Shirleysburg, and named by Governor Morris "Fort Shirley," in January, 1756. From this the township was named, also the borough of Shirleysburg.
The fort or stockade was located on the left or south bank of Fort Run, about half-way between the Benjamin Leas house and the farm-house of Nelson Barton, and a little south of a line drawn between the two. The house of Capt. Crogan, who was in command of the fort, stood a little west or southwest of the fort, near a large pine-tree then, and for three-quarters of a century after, standing near where the station of the East Broad Top Railroad now stands. Here was Capt. George Crogan's "trading-house," where friendly Indians, if there were such, came to trade furs for supplies.
The fort was garrisoned with seventy-five men, says Governor Morris, and around this nucleus gathered the first settlers in what is now Huntingdon County. Hither the pioneers of the forest wended their way in search of future homes, which many of them found, lived to enjoy, and left many honorable descendants who have traveled along down the current of time, and now occupy the same plantations located by their grand- and great-grandfathers.
AUGHWICK, OLD TOWN, SHIRLEY, SHIRLEYSBURG. - There seems to have been a confounding of localities with names, not only with writers, but with persons in giving information regarding incidents that occurred at one place, without discriminating between the place where the incident did occur and another locality of the same name where the incident did not occur, as for instance Little Aughwick and Aughwick might and most naturally would be designated as the same locality without the proper explanation, hence the error of placing the burning of cabins at what is now Shirleysburg, or locating the conviction of Peter Falconer, Nicholas De Long, Samuel Perry, and John Charlton at Shirleysburg, when it should be at or near Little Aughwick, on the extreme south border of Dublin township, or just over the line in Fulton County.
During the French and Indian war, Aughwick, now Shirleysburg, became one of the important points, as it was fortified under the direction of Governor Morris, the whites having been driven out in 1750. George Croghan was here as early as 1747, and in 1748 with Conrad Weiser, and in 1750 with Richard Peters, and in command of the fort here from 1754 to 1756, and might properly be termed the first white settler, as here was his trading-house or cabin, but no evidence of its ever having been burned by Indians or government authority.
Mr. M. S. Lytle, in his "History of Huntingdon County," says, "Aughwick was not originally an Indian town, as is generally supposed, but was a settlement of whites, to which the Indians came after Croghan had made it his residence, the time of their coming being clearly shown by official records. It is therefore difficult, if not impossible, to give any reliable information concerning the origin of the name. There is no certainty that it belongs to any of the Indian languages; the probability is just as great that it is derived from one of the European tongues. The first settlers there were Scotch-Irish, and many of the traders, among whom was Croghan, were of Irish birth." Again he says, "In early times the orthography of the name was almost as various as were the hands by which it was written. The earliest mention of it is in Richard Peters' report, where it is spelled 'Aucquick.' Croghan at first wrote it 'Aughick,' afterwards 'Aughick Old Town,' and finally 'Aucquick Old Town."
It was not long after the restoration of tranquility that there began to be an influx of population in this then forest land. All along the creek bearing the name given to Croghan's little habitation might be seen the smoke curling up from some pioneer cabin home. Not only along the Aucquick, but up in what is Germany Valley, east of the Aughwick, was occupied by the Teutonic pioneer, who, having left his "Vaterland," sought a new home in the rich bottom lands between Owens Ridge and the Black Log. The first settler up this valley was Joseph Long, who located a large tract or plantation on either side of Germany Run. This large tract is now owned and occupied at present by John X. Lutz, Benjamin Garver's heirs, George P. Wakefield, John Swine,- Abraham Lutz, William Bailees, George Swine, David Swine, and R. M. Wakefield. When Mr. Long went into the valley there was no road, not even a foot-path. He marked trees as he went in, and followed the marked trees on his way out of the valley, and then cut a wagon- or sled-road into where he located his humble cabin. Among the other pioneers was Martin Etnire, who located as early as 1780. Joseph Miller, now the oldest man in the valley, is on the old Rorer tract, west side of Germany Run. These were soon followed, previous to the present century, by Jacob Lutz, grandfather of Esquire Lutz, of Shirleysburg. He had sons, John, Jacob, and Samuel, who remained in the valley during their lives. Rev. Andrew Spanogle, Jacob Spanogle were in the valley as early as 1780. George Eby, Henry Eby, John, Peter, and Oliver Etnire, Joseph Coke, George Bowman, John Umbenhower, and Samuel H. Bell, who lived farther north, these were all in the valley previous to 1800. In Love Valley were David Boyer, Robert Bingham, and John McAllister. In Hill Valley, between Chestnut and Stony Ridge, were the Arthur and Bowker tracts, and in the Aughwick Valley was the Ripple tract and the Lewis Smalley tracts, down around what is now the Aughwick Mills. The T. T. Cromwell tract lay between what is now Shirleysburg and Orbisonia. The Warner tract embraced a large portion of what is now Shirleysburg borough, and the Sharrar tract lay west of the borough, while the Carothers tract lay southwest of the borough. John Lutz subsequently owned four hundred acres around the north and northwest of Shirleysburg. For the above early settlers we are indebted to Mrs. Ramsey, of Shirleysburg, who was born in 1802, and is a granddaughter of Joseph Long.
Among the other early settlers of Shirley township may be mentioned Revs. Christian Long and Peter Long, who were Dunkard preachers, also Rev. Christian Long, Jr., David Long, Abram Long, Sr., the Baker, King, and Galbraith families. Henry Osiel lived below Mount Union, near what is known as the Knox bridge, so named from the fact of Mr. Knox being killed at that place. Peggy McCracken, John Swoope, and Joshua Wheeler also lived in that part of the township.
Col. Postlethwaite was one of the early settlers and land-owners at Mount Union. He lived nearly opposite where the tannery is located. William Morris was the pioneer settler on the creek in the north part of the township. He built a mill and log house near where the old Shaver stone house now stands. Matthew Campbell settled along the river below Mount Union in 1790, and George Vanzant lived in 1790 where Peter Shaver now lives. What are now "Bell's Mills" were built in the latter part of the last century, and were owned by a Mr. Baker, and known for many years as "Baker's Mills." Among the pioneers of Hill Valley were Thomas Pollock, Peter Shaver, Joseph Booher, William Brown, Peter Snyder, Hezekiah Rickets, and Henry Rhodes. Maj. John Shaver settled first in Germany Valley, and in 1802 moved to near what is now Mount Union. Nicholas Shaver, son of John, was born in Germany Valley, April 27, 1801, and came to where he now lives or on the same farm when he was eleven months old. Mr. Shaver is still in the enjoyment of good health, and does his day's work with the rest of the boys, though in his eighty-second year.
COL. WILLIAM ALEXANDER, a Revolutionary soldier, died at the residence of his son, Randal Alexander, on Sunday afternoon, March 4, 1838, at an advanced age. He served as a lieutenant in the war of the Revolution, and entered the service in the war of 1812 as a captain, and advanced to the rank of colonel. He was elected sheriff of Franklin County, and subsequently represented the citizens thereof in the Legislature. His remains were interred at Shirleysburg on the following Tuesday, in the presence of a large assemblage of his neighbors and friends, and with military honors.
Industries, Mills, and Manufactories of Shirleysburg. - EARTHENWARE-WORKS, located on west side of Main Street, in the borough of Shirleysburg, was established in 1866 by George W. Hawker, who, with his son, D. P. Hawker, conducted the manufacture of all kinds of earthenware till April, 1871, when Mr. Hawker, Sr., died, leaving the business to his son, who is still engaged in the manufacture of pottery goods, and is also a large dealer in Ohio stoneware. Mr. Hawker's establishment is also located on the Ross tract. May 31, 1762, it was patented to Robert Coleman, Esq., subsequently purchased by John Cooper, and by him sold June 20, 1820, to Walter B. Hudson, and by Hudson to Clark, and in April, 1866, by James Clark and Mary I. Clark to G. W. and D. P. Hawker.
DRAIN, TILE, AND TERRA-COTTA WORKS. - Samuel Backus came to this town in 1824 or 1825, and established the pottery and earthenware business in the building next south of what is known as the "Mansion House," where he remained till 1839 or 1840, when he built the south end of what is now Phil Kabis' tile works, and removed to that place. He subsequently sold to Brewster, who continued the business for a few years, with Mr. Lutz as foreman. The property was sold in 1862 to G. W. Hawker, who, with his son, D. P. Hawker, continued the business till the spring of 1866, when Philip Kabis purchased and enlarged the property, and is now engaged in the manufacture of drain, tile, stoneware, and water-pipe.
MILLS. - Like many other townships, Shirley has had its share of the milling business of the country, and still enjoys the possession of six saw- and four grist-mills. There is but one saw-mill in that part of the township known as Black Log Valley, one on Singer Run, one at the mouth of Hill Valley Run, one known as Sink saw-mill, east of Sandy Ridge, one at the mouth of Blue Ridge Run, and one on the Aughwick Creek below Shirleysburg.
Of the grist-mills, the old log mill, long since gone to decay, was the first in the township. It was located on Fort Run, a short distance above the present mill at Shirleysburg, and was built as early as 1800. It was on the McCammon property or tract, and sold to Dr. David Swine. His property was subsequently divided between his sons-in-law, one of whom was David Eby, who built the present mill at Shirleysburg in 1844, the old log mill having served its purpose till this time. The present grist-mill was subsequently purchased by James Brewster, and by him sold to the present owner, A. Heffner.
In 1833, Hezekiah Crownover built a log grist-mill on the Aughwick, about a mile below Shirleysburg. The old log subsequently gave way to a substantial frame mill, now owned by --- Minseberger. The Aughwick or brick mill was built by Eby & Madden, and sold in 1867 to George Schwein, and now owned by D. Rummell.
George Schwein (whose name was first changed to Swine, and now spelled by the family "Swane") was born in Germany, near the line of France, on the 30th day of May, 1811. He remained in the land of his birth until he was of age, or nearly so, as shown by his passport, or permit to leave the country, which is now in the hands of his family, and bears date May 2, 1832. He then went on board a sailing vessel at Havre de Grace (France), and after a voyage of three months landed in America. His uncle, Peter Schwein, had prior to this time emigrated to this country, and settled in Lancaster, Pa., where he studied medicine with Dr. Baird. When he was fitted to practice he went to Petersburg, in Huntingdon County, and opened an office. Here he remained until failing health compelled him to leave a large and successful practice. He sold out in Petersburg, and in the Sinking Valley, in what is now Blair County, bought a farm, and was living on it when joined by his nephew George, whose first impulse on landing was naturally to wend his way to the home of his uncle Peter. He had no means whatever, and he hired out to his uncle to work on his farm. In 1830, Peter sold the farm, and coming into Shirley township bought the farm now owned by George Schwein, Jr. The uncle was unable to pay for the farm, and he turned it over to George, who paid for it and received a deed for the same. Peter's wife died before leaving Sinking Valley; he died on the farm in Shirley township. From the start thus made George became one of the most successful farmers and business men in the south part of Huntingdon County. He was a fine manager, and bought and paid for one farm only to buy and pay for another, until he had six fine farms. In 1867, Mr. Schwein bought, and until his death successfully managed the Aughwick grist-mill. He was a man of wonderful energy and of sterling integrity, and died Feb. 4, 1872, regretted by a large circle of friends and relatives. He was a German Baptist, or Dunkard, and in his political views a Democrat, and held at different times township offices. His wife was Miss Mary Long, daughter of Rev. Peter Long and granddaughter of Peter Schwein, uncle of George. They had ten children, as follows: Peter, Mary, John, Annie, Susannah, George, Lizzie, David, Kate, and Rachel. Of these six are now living.
There was in the early part of this century a small distillery in what is now Shirleysburg, built by Samuel Williamson, who subsequently sold to John Lutz and James Ramsey, and by that firm sold to J. McDonald, who carried on the business for a few years, when it was finally abandoned, and the works went to decay.
In 1800, Thomas McVitty built a small tannery on the site occupied by Braun's tannery. It was subsequently owned and operated by Samuel McVitty, Edward Zanner, Andrew P. Wilson, William Johnson, John C. Lotts, and in 1881 purchased by L. A. Braun, who enlarged and increased the capacity of the tannery to eight thousand sides of leather per year, and added an eighteen horse-power engine, which since then has been the motive-power.
Merchants of Shirleysburg, Pioneer and Later. - The pioneer store in what is now Shirleysburg was in the days of the old Bedford Furnace. It was owned by T. T. Cromwell, and kept in the building on the east side of Main Street, opposite Depot Street or Bullet Lane, now owned by Calvin Williams and occupied by John Miller. William Harvey was Cromwell's clerk in the old store.
Rodney McKinstry was probably the next dispenser of the necessaries of life. His store was on the present site of D. P. Hawker's residence, east side of Main Street, next door south of Dr. McNite's. James Sherand was also one of the pioneer merchants of the then little town of Shirley.
Kimble A. Barton was another pioneer dispenser of codfish, molasses, tape, and calico. His was a combination establishment; that is, he kept "entertainment for man and beast," as well as delicacies for families. He occupied the building now known as the "Mansion House," on the west side of Main Street.
John Cooper was also among the pioneer merchants, and, to give a little more dignity to the business, occupied the "brick store" building opposite the tannery.
George Ramsey was in the mercantile business here from 1820 to 1832, in the brick house now occupied by Mrs. Harrison.
James Lyon was also a merchant here from 1825 to 1833, in the building now owned and occupied by David Lutz, Esq. He was succeeded in business by John Lutz.
William Pollard kept store here from 1829 to 1832. Duffield & Elliott opened a store here in 1825, and continued the business for two or three years.
Lutz was succeeded in the mercantile business by John Long, in 1825. He afterwards became associate judge of Huntingdon County.
John Brewster commenced business here in 1834, in the brick house now occupied by the family of the late Judge Leas. He subsequently moved his goods to the building now occupied by J. A. Kerr as a store.
John was succeeded in the Leas building by James Brewster, and Jan. 2, 1840, the store was destroyed by fire, causing not only a loss of property but the death of three persons, - Mrs. Brewster, mother of James, Robert, son of Henry Brewster, and Miss Mitchell, a hired girl, who were burned in the building.
Madden & Lutz were for a time doing business in a brick building west side of Main Street, subsequently destroyed by fire.
Benjamin and William B. Leas commenced the mercantile business here in 1836, and continued until 1842, when the firm-name was changed to G. & B. Leas, William B. Leas retiring. This latter firm continued for several years. William B. Leas was again engaged in mercantile business, and subsequently in the tanning business.
Among the pioneer merchants we find the name of William Clark. His store was on east side of Main Street, lower end. He was here from 1812 to 1815. John Owen was also one of the pioneer merchants of Shirley. Joseph Goshorn was also one of Shirley's early merchants.
Judge Long was here again as a merchant after concluding his official duties, and remained in the business until old age compelled him to retire from active service.
In 1840 a Mr. Johnson commenced the store business here, and remained for a few years, when he was succeeded by William Brewster.
Dr. Lightner built the store building now occupied by J. A. Kerr in 1856, and together with George Askin commenced the mercantile business, where they remained for several years, when they were succeeded by the Leas firm.
William A. Freaker built the brick house next north of the Mansion House, which he occupied as a residence; also built the store-house next north of his residence, in which he kept store during the war of 1861, and was succeeded by a Mr. Pratt for one or two years.
The present merchants of Shirleysburg are J. A. Kerr, G. W. Cornelius, who keeps in the old Benjamin Leas store-house, W. H. Brewster, in the old store-house built by Jamison, and D. H. Miller, east side Main Street, opposite the old Freaker store. There are also two or three groceries, ice-cream- and candy-shops.
Taverns. - Among the pioneer institutions of Shirleysburg none were more prominent than the old time-honored hostelries, presided over by the ever-genial Boniface of pioneer days. He was always at hand, welcoming his guests with a smile and a warm grasp of the hand, ready to entertain them with a good story, a glass of hot flip, or a square meal. Among the number prior to or at the beginning of the present century we find the names of Samuel Singer and James Kelley. They were both here from before 1800 to 1812 or 1813, and kept tavern in the long building east side of Main Street, opposite J. M. Clark's tailor-shop. This was one of the then popular resorts or headquarters for the sporting fraternity of "ye olden time." Horse-racing, dogfighting, wrestling-matches, and not infrequently a trial of the "manly art" was indulged in; especially if the parties had formed a conflicting opinion regarding the affections of some neighbor's pretty daughter; then would come the tug of war, the old-fashioned ring would be formed by the assembled crowd, and the best man would win.
As before stated among the pioneer merchants, Kimble A. Barton was also one of the pioneer tavern-keepers. He was here at the same time, or soon after Singer and Kelley. His was the Mansion House, - a big name for a small town and tavern. Nevertheless, he was as popular as a landlord as any in the valley of the Aughwick.
For notoriety circumstances brought John Megary to the front. He was a "character," not bad by any means. His first "Cafe de Hote" was on the corner of the alley south of the Mansion. Here, on the old frame, was heard the creaking of his sign-board for several years, upon which was painted in legible form "Entertainment for Man and Beast." He removed a short distance north, and kept his house of entertainment upon the site now occupied by either the house or store that Freaker built. While here Mr. Megary became involved to such an extent that Constable McDonald was required to call in a legal capacity and demand payment of outstanding obligations or suffer the sale of personal property, either of which Mr. Megary objected to in such manner that it caused a collision between Mr. Megary and the officer of the law. In adjusting the difficulty Mr. Megary sustained a fracture of his jaw-bone, which resulted in his death within a few days after the little misunderstanding between himself and the constable.
John Cooper was not only one of the early merchants but also a tavern-keeper. His hotel was in the same building with his store, opposite the present tannery.
A Mr. Palmer was one of the very early tavern-keepers of Shirley. He was here as early as 1800, and kept on the corner where Esquire Lutz now lives. Paul Donahue kept tavern for a short time on the site of Sam Clark's old blacksmith-shop.
From 1844 to 1848 the place where Thomas Landis now lives was a tavern kept by --- McElheny.
The present taverns are the Franklin House, kept by Peter X. Burkit, on east side upper end of Main Street, and the old Mansion House, farther down town.
Blacksmiths, Tailors, Wheelwrights. - Blacksmithing in its various branches was carried on quite extensively at Shirley in earlier part of the present century, and among the disciples of Tubal Cain in this place we find John Miller and Samuel Clark, who were then doing quite an extensive business, employing several persons each. Miller's shop stood on the site now occupied by --- Douglas' confectionery-store. Miller was succeeded by James Clark, brother of Samuel Clark, of whom he had learned the trade. Samuel Clark's shop occupied the site opposite the residence of G. Withington, lower end of Main Street.
Henry Myers, now living, aged seventy-six, was one of the pioneer blacksmiths of Shirleysburg.
Week & Frank carried on an extensive business in blacksmithing here from 1840 to 1850.
The present blacksmiths are T. B. Landis, Henry Myers, and W. H. Baird.
Shirleysburg has not been without its tailors as well as other tradesmen. We find among the early knights of the shears and thimble James Cameron, John Prosser, Robert Findley, and in 1828 Peter Myers was making fits" in Shirleysburg, and in 1832 there was Robert Jeffries. Next came John Withington, and in 1839, J. M. Clark, who built a shop in 1840, where he is still engaged at his trade, also performing the duties of burgess of the borough of Shirleysburg.
The pioneer wheelwrights of Shirleysburg were Isaac Burns, whose shop was between the old John Cooper's tavern and store and Sharrar's cabinet-shop, and James Templeton's wheelwright-shop, next to the old Cromwell store. Templeton worked here for many years, and was buried at this place. Joseph Harvey was a chairmaker, and had his shop in with Templeton. Mr. Nead succeeded Harvey in the chair business in 1836.
As near as can be ascertained the pioneer postmaster of Shirleysburg was James Lyon. The present
postmaster is J. A. Kerr. Population of the town, according to the census of 1880, was two hundred and ninety-six.
Physicians. - We have been furnished a list of the physicians past and present by Dr. W. P. McNite, as follows: The pioneer doctor was a Mr. Loughran, who remained but a few years, and was succeeded by Dr. Scott; Dr. J. G. Lightner came in 1821, and remained till 1853; Dr. D. Aid came in 1853, and remained but one year; Dr. M. J. McKinnon came in 1854, and remained till 1860. Dr. William P. McNite located here in 1861, having purchased and fitted up an office in the brick building erected for, and occupied a few years as the "Juniata Academy," where he is still located, and in the enjoyment of a large and lucrative practice; Dr. J. R. Fleming located in Shirleysburg, where he is still in practice. The following physicians located and remained here but a short time each: Walter Moore (left in 1842), Jacob Reighard, --- Applebough, --- Thompson, --- Butsdorf, W. O. Baldwin, M. Eby, M. Spanogle, Rowan Clark, Robert Baird, J. G. Long, John Flickinger, --- Stewart, --- Brubaker, W. Brewster, W. H. Kerr, J. J. Meols, --- Baker, B. F. Gehrett, H. H. Rush, and J. J. Dohlen.
William McNite was born in Dublin township, Huntingdon Co., Pa., of Scotch-Irish parents, July 20, 1790. The death of his parents when he was a child left him homeless, and he was bound out to James Morton, who was to give him six months' schooling. He remained with Mr. Morton until he was of age. His mother was a Miss Berry. During the war of 1812 he enlisted in the United States cavalry, in which he served six months, when he was discharged on account of fracture of the skull caused by being thrown from his horse. In 1855, Mr. McNite received from the government a land warrant for one hundred and sixty acres of land. On the 18th day of March, 1823, he married Miss Matilda Hudson, of Dublin township, who died on the 23d of the next September. He came to Shirleysburg about 1824, and erected a distillery, which he carried on until 1828 or 1829. The distillery was kept in operation until 1841, when it was abandoned, and the building has long since been torn away. For his second wife he married Miss Elinor Postlethwaite on the 28th day of May, 1828, and they at once settled on a farm he owned in Cromwell township, in said county. On this farm their oldest child, Thomas I., was born, May 27, 1830, and they remained there until 1832, when they moved to an adjoining farm in Shirley township, on which they lived twenty-two years. During this period he held at different times all the offices within the gift of his fellow-townsmen. In 1854 he moved into Shirleysburg, where he resided until his death, which occurred April 6, 1867, during which time he held all the different borough offices. Of free schools and education generally he was an ardent supporter, and with the hope of advancing the latter in his vicinity he built in 1852, in Shirleysburg, the Juniata Academy, which flourished a few years, and then was abandoned.
Elinor, his wife, was a daughter of Col. William and Elizabeth Postlethwaite, who came from Carlisle, Pa., to Wayne township, Mifflin Co., Pa., where they remained until 1798 or 1799, when they moved into the adjoining township of Shirley, now Mount Union borough, where he died in 1832, leaving his widow with eight children. She died in 1841, aged eighty-four years. Col. Postlethwaite's grandfather came from England and settled in Lancaster, Pa., in an early day, and in his house the first court of said county was held. The colonel's father was twice married, the first time to Miss Hannah Wright, by whom he had three children, two sons (John and William) and a daughter named Susan, who died young. John married and went to Jefferson County, Pa., where his descendants still live. The colonel's father then married Miss Irvin, sister of his son William's wife, by whom he had two sons, Thomas I. and Samuel, and three daughters, Mary, Jane, and Elizabeth. Thomas I. married Elizabeth Drake, Samuel married Nancy Corbett, Elizabeth was married to James Drake. The remaining two girls were married, one to Elliott, the other to Mr. Dorland, and moved to Ohio. Elizabeth, wife of William Postlethwaite and mother of Elinor, was born in County Derry, Ireland. Her great-grandfather was one of the defenders of Castle Derry. She had two older sisters, one the second wife of the colonel's father. Jane married a Mr. Coulter, of Mifflin County, in which county she died. They had one brother, Thomas Irvin, who was born in New Jersey in 1760. He never married, but made his home with his sister until she died, in 1841, when he made his home with his niece Elinor, at whose house he died in 1851, aged ninety-one years.
William and Elizabeth Postlethwaite's children were John, born June 16, 1781, married Martha Campbell, who was born in Ireland. They had a large family. Both he and his wife died in 1861, in Warren County, Ill. Jane, born March 10, 1793, died in infancy; Thomas, born Feb. 24, 1793. He married Ann Dorland, by whom he had thirteen children. He died in 1862, in Mifflin County. Hannah, born March 10, 1787, and married Mathew Campbell, who was also born in Ireland. They had a large family. She died in Warren County, Ill., in 1875. William, born April 10, 1789, married Lydia Macklin. The result of this union was one daughter. William died in Huntingdon County in October, 1826. His wife died in 1882, in McVeytown, Mifflin Co., aged eighty-seven years. Their daughter, whose name was Elizabeth, was born in 1823, in Mount Union. She married James Baker, of Indiana. She is now a widow, and resides with her cousin, William P. McNite, in Shirleysburg. She has one son and a daughter living. Elizabeth, born Jan. 5, 1791. She married Jonathan Doyle, and died in April, 1831, leaving seven children. Of these, two girls were taken by their grandmother, one by an uncle, Barton Thomas, and two girls, Isabel and Josephine, by their Aunt Elinor McNite. Elinor, born April 10, 1793, in Wayne township, Mifflin Co. She married William McNite, as above set forth. They had two children, viz., Thomas I., hereinbefore mentioned, who in his boyhood attended the common schools of the neighborhood. When old enough he attended the Tuscarora Academy, in Juniata County, Pa., also at the Millwood and Juniata Academies, in Huntingdon County. In September, 1855, he entered the sophomore class at Jefferson College, and graduated therefrom in August, 1858. He remained unmarried, and died April 30, 1865. William P., second son of William and Elinor McNite, was born in Shirley township, Aug. 31, 1832. As soon as old enough he was sent to the common schools, which he attended until 1849, when he became a student for two terms of the Millwood Academy. During the following winter he taught a district school. He then attended one session of the White Hall Academy, in Cumberland County, Pa., then three years at the Juniata Academy, then entered the junior class, second session, of Jefferson College, Washington County, Pa., and graduated therefrom in August, 1857. He at once commenced the study of medicine under the instruction of M. J. McKinnon, M.D. He attended two full courses of lectures in Philadelphia, at the Jefferson Medical College, from which he graduated March 15, 1860. The succeeding May he opened an office in Mount Holly Springs, Cumberland Co., where he remained eighteen months. He then located in Shirleysburg, where he has since remained. In politics the doctor is a Democrat, as his ancestors had ever been. He has held the office of burgess, Town Council, and treasurer several terms. He is now serving the fifteenth year as school director and treasurer of the school board. For nearly fifteen years he has been almshouse physician. He has been several times a delegate to Democratic State Conventions, also to congressional and senatorial conferences, and to county conventions for twenty years. In August, 1873, he was nominated by the Democratic County Convention for coroner, and elected over his Republican competitor, Hon. John La Porte, by two hundred and seventy-three majority, receiving the highest vote of any Democrat on the ticket. In August, 1874, he was nominated by his party for the office of representative in the State Legislature, and in October following elected by seven hundred and eight majority, again receiving the highest vote of any Democrat on the county ticket. He served on the centennial bills and accounts and geological committees. His mother (Elinor) died Oct. 20, 1878.
Susannah Postlethwaite was born July 15, 1795, and married Charles Barton. She had two children, a daughter and son. The family moved to Lamar County, Texas, where she died in 1863. Jane was born Feb. 24, 1798. She married Alexander Doyle, by whom she had one daughter, Julia, who married Thomas McC. Lemon, and lives in Kittanning, Armstrong Co., Pa. She has no children. Jane married first Alexander Doyle, and was left a widow. Married for her second husband T. H. Caldwell, and died in November, 1855. To them were born three children, viz., William (killed in the army during the Rebellion), Margaret, married M. Loudon, and Elinor Jane, married Henry Bayha. Jane died in 1865, of fever, in Armstrong County; and Joseph, born Jan. 24, 1800, and killed by the cars below Mount Union in October, 1863. The children of William and Elizabeth Postlethwaite were all members of the Presbyterian Church. William and Elinor McNite were also for many years members of the Presbyterian Church.
The township officers in Shirley have been as follows:
1789, William Swan, John Ruttas; 1790, Jacob Ganshour, Isaac Sharra; 1791, James Somerville, Samuel McCamin; 1792, John Donohough, John Reaugh; 1793, James Carmichael, Nicholas Shaver; 1794, Charles Prosser, Charles Boyle; 1795, William Stevens, Samuel Wharton; 1796, Jacob Glass, Samuel Sandersond; 1797, Lodwick Tommerman, Baltzer Copenhoven; 1798, Peter Baker, Hezekiah Rickets; 1799, Thomas Cromwell, Martin Stenger; 1800, Lewis Smalley, Gaven Clugage; 1801, Isaac Morgan, Peter Shaver; 1802, Isaac Sharra, Jacob Lutz; 1803, Abraham Len, Gasper Booher; 1804, John Palmer, Adam Sharra; 1805, James Carothers, Daniel McConahy; 1806, James Young, Peter Sharett; 1807, Christian Long, John Swope; 1808, W. Postlethwaite, Ad. Lynd; 1809, Abraham Baker, Benedict Stephens; 1810, John Sharra, Samuel Roham; 1811, Jonathan Doyle, James Manison; 1816, John Miller, Henry Roberts; 1817, Harmanus Ord, David Johns; 1818, Peter Sheaver, John Cooper; 1819, Andrew McIntire, James Thompson; 1820, Andrew McIntire, James Shaver; 1822, William Postlethwaite, Jonathan Doyle; 1823, William Clark, Jonathan Doyle; 1824, William Clark, Andrew McIntire; 1825, John Shutz, Isaac Morgan; 1826, Isaac Morgan, John Lutz; 1827, John Lutz, John Shaver; 1828, Jacob Shaver, Samuel Campbell; 1829, Samuel Campbell, Jacob Sharrer; 1830, David N. Carothers, George Eby; 1831, William Likely, John Wakefield; 1832, John Bollinger, William McNite; 1833, Hugh Doyle, William McNite; 1834, Abraham Long, H. Doyle; 1835, ---; 1836, John Shaver, Samuel Lutz; 1837, ---; 1838, Isaac Shaver, John Potts; 1839, ---; 1840, John Garver, Samuel McKinstry; 1841, George Aby, John Shaver; 1842, John Morrison, John Long; 1843, Joseph Miller, James King; 1844, George Bowman, Samuel Shaver; 1845, Jacob Shaffer, George Swine; 1846, William Morrison, John Garvin; 1847, T. A. Smelker, J. W. Galbraith; 1848, William McNite, Samuel Rover; 1849, Peter Bare, Benjamin Leas; 1850, Randall Alexander, John Garver; 1851, Samuel McVitty, Samuel Booher; 1852, Isaac Sharrer, William Briggs; 1853, Thomas A. Smelker, Nicholas Shaver; 1854, Joseph Rhodes, John Douglass; 1855, John Garver, Peter Shaver; 1856, John Price, A. Carothers; 1857, F. Harmany, G. T. Wakefield; 1858, Jacob Spanogle, Samuel Shaver; 1859, Thomas Huling, Benjamin Garver; 1860, Isaac Swoope, John Alexander; 1861, Thomas A. Smelker, John Shope; 1862, William Buckley, John Harncane; 1863, David Shaffer, Elijah Aultz; 1864, J. C. Davis, David Long; 1865, Benjamin Garver, Joseph R. Parsons; 1866, David Shaffer, J. J. Robinson; 1867, Daniel Beck, William Morgan; 1868, Henry S. Dell, Thomas H. Ruling; 1869, Richard Hall, Joseph Parsons, James Parmer; 1870, John Hereneame, J. E. Garner; 1872, J. Moffit, J. Shope; 1873, ---; 1874, Jesse Shope, C. Rhoades; 1875, Robert Gifford, David Runk; 1876, R. Gifford, Job Shaffer; 1877, Isaac Miller, J. L. Houck; 1878, Peter Shaver, Joseph Kough, Wesley Morgan, Isaac Miller; 1879, Joshua Baird, J. L. Houck, E. B. Hereneame, J. E. Shope; 1880, E. B. Hereneame, J. Shope, Peter Shaver, R. M. Wakefield; 1881, R. M. Wakefield, Samuel Bowman, Enoch Lutz, Jerre Shope.
OVERSEERS OF THE POOR.
1789, Samuel McMath, William Morris; 1790, James Galbraith, Jacob Sharra; 1791, James Clugage, Samuel Ireland; 1792, Samuel McCamen, Jacob Sharra; 1793, John Ventries, Hugh Arthurs; 1794, Jonathan Doyle, Adam Lynd; 1795, Joshua Davis, Henry Warner; 1796, William Love, Jonathan Doyle; 1797, Henry Hoshel, Benj. Jenkins; 1798, Charles Prosser, Joseph Long; 1799, Henry Bateson, Garven Clugage; 1800, Casper Booker, Joseph Galloway; 1801, Lodewick Zimmerman, Adam Sharra; 1802, John Donahe, W. Postlethwaite; 1803, James Carothers, John Shaver; 1804, Henry Funk, Richard Doyle; 1805, Isaac Shaw, Henry Warner; 1806, Thomas Megan, Russel Thompson; 1807, Christian Long, John Sharra; 1808, Peter Seachrist, Henry Hoshel; 1809, Jacob Shaver, Christian Long; 1810, Hezekiah Rickets, Jonathan Doyle; 1816, Charles Prosser, Samuel Rord; 1822, Henry Irwin, John Shaver; 1823, Henry Wharton, Samuel Carothers; 1824, John Wakefield, Andrew McIntire; 1825, Jesse Holliworth, Christian Long; 1826, William Harvey, James Oliver; 1827, William Harvey, David Etnire; 1828, Henry Rhods, Thomas Barton; 1829, Thomas Barton, Henry Rhoads; 1830, Hugh Doyle, William Morrison; 1831, Samuel H. Bell, John Morrison; 1832, James Ramsey, William Pollock; 1833, George Ord, John Long; 1834, William McNite, Samuel Ord; 1835, --- ---; 1836, David C. Ross, Dawson Smally; 1837, --- ---; 1838, Joseph Miller, Hezekiah Rickets; 1839, --- ---; 1840, William Reed, Samuel P. Wallace; 1841, John Morrison, John Shaver; 1842, Samuel McKintry, James King; 1843, Hezekiah Rickets, John Garner; 1844, Peter Etnier, Samuel Shaver; 1845, William Morrison, William Shaffer; 1846, T. H. Huling, O. Etnire; 1847, Jacob Rikard, Samuel Lutz; 1848, John Douglass, Anthony Foust; 1849, Nicholas Shaver, Abraham Carothers; 1850, William McNite, Samuel McVitty; 1851, George Eby, Thomas Smelker; 1852, H. Rickets, J. Garver; 1853, J. Garver, Samuel Shaver; 1854, John Long, William Morrison; 1855, J. C. Sechler, --- ---; 1856, John Foster, G. McLoughlin.
1789, Andrew Michael; 1790, James Logan; 1791, Nicholas Shaver; 1792, William Morris; 1793, Hezekiah Rickets; 1794, John Donahe; 1795, James Carothers; 1796-97, William Stevens; 1798, Adam Sharra; 1799, Charles Prosser; 1800, Henry Hoshel; 1801, Samuel Wharton; 1802, George King; 1803, Joseph Galloway; 1804, Jonathan Doyle; 1805, Garvin Clugage; 1806, Jacob Lutz; 1807, Martin Hinger; 1808, Lewis Smalley; 1809, Gasper Bougher; 1810, Abraham Baker; 1811, Thomas Cromwell; 1812, Peter Sheaver; 1813, Benedict Stevens; 1814, Reese Thompson; 1815, James Morrison; 1816, James Oliver; 1817, John Shaver; 1818, Samuel Rora; 1819, Rodney McKinsthy; 1820, James McDonald; 1821, William Harvey; 1822, Thomas Parton; 1823, George A. Palmer; 1824, Joseph Ricketts, James Ramsey; 1825, James Ramsey; 1826, James Ramsey; 1827, John Finley; 1828-29, William Pollock; 1830, William McNite; 1831-34, John Jamison; 1835, David N. Carothers; 1836, Abraham L. Fink; 1837, John Taylor; 1838, John Shaffer; 1839, John Price; 1840, Nathan Rickets; 1841-42, Nathan Rickets; 1843-44, Samuel McKinstry; 1845, William McGarvey; 1846, Elliott Robley; 1847-49, William McGarvey; 1850, William McNite; 1851, William Morrison; 1852, Benjamin Bowman; 1853, William Myers; 1854, George Smith; 1855-57, W. Weaver:. 1858, J. Alexander; 1859-60, Jacob Lutz; 1861, James R. Thompson; 1862, Abraham Grove; 1863, David Flasher; 1864, Elias Rodgers; 1865, Isaac Smith; 1866-68, Benjamin Davis; 1869, Jacob K. Peterson; 1870-71, M. Everett; 1872, D. C. Fleck; 1873, G. W. Withington; 1874-75, D. S. Snyder; 1876, John P. Davis; 1877-81, David S. Snyder.
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