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Springfield Township History
History of Huntingdon and Blair Counties, Pennsylvania, by J. Simpson Africa Philadelphia, PA: Louis H. Everts, 1883, pp. 361-364. Contributed by Donna Noel Julian.
Geographical and Natural Features. - This is also one of the south border townships of the county, erected December, 1790, from Shirley and Dublin, two of the original townships, and is bounded on the northeast by Cromwell township, on the southeast by Dublin township, on the southwest by Fulton County, and on the northwest by Clay township.
The surface of the township is very much broken by mountains, ridges, and hills. Black Log Mountain crosses the eastern part of the township in a north and south direction, leaving but very little farming lands on the southeast of the Aughwick Creek.
The principal stream of Springfield is the Aughwick Creek, formed by the junction of Sideling Hill and Little Aughwick Creeks, a short distance below Maddensville, both of which flow from Fulton County into this township. Lick Branch, Lick Run, and Elliott's Run are the principal tributaries from the west and northwest, while there are several small runs falling from Black Log Mountain, and finding their way into the Aughwick.
Early Settlers and Pioneer Incidents. - The dawn of the present century found what is now the township of Springfield almost an unbroken wilderness, with perhaps here and there a pioneer cabin, which could be found only by following marked trees over mountains, across the narrow valleys, through the creeks and swamps to the little clearing, in the midst of which a rude log cabin had been erected or rather piled up from the timber cut around it.
The cabin floor of the pioneer was usually mother earth, which for convenience' sake was smoothed a little by the use of the grub-hoe or other instruments used for such purposes.
When a pioneer wished to be a little more fashionable he would fell a large basswood or other tree that would split easily, cut it into logs of the proper length, split them, hew the flat side a little smooth, trim off the edges, and lay these halves side by side, flat side up, for his parlor floor. He must be a well-to-do pioneer to afford such luxuries, but some of them could afford to do it.
For the upper or attic floors they would fell trees and peel the bark off in strips of the proper length, flatten them out until dry, and then lay the strips upon the poles that had been laid across from plate to plate of the cabin. Usually the roof of the cabin was made of the same material. Sometimes logs were cut six or eight feet long, and split into thin pieces from four to eight inches wide, and these strips used for shingles fastened on to the roof by withing poles across the shingles from one end of the roof to the other.
The cracks between the logs served the double or treble purpose of letting out the smoke and letting in light and air, and at night the pioneer gas-light was a pine-torch. By this light the evening work was done, the old Bible was read, and the evening devotions performed. Although unlettered and unlearned in the arts and sciences, there never lived a more healthy, hardy, courageous, or hospitable people than the pioneer Marylanders of this township, for the early settlers were nearly all from sunny Maryland.
Owing to its distance from public improvements, and consequent isolation from the outer world, this township has never been favored with manufacturing establishments, that it otherwise would have been with all its natural advantages.
Probably the pioneer settler of what is now Springfield township was a Revolutionary soldier by the name of John Bailey, who wandered along down the Little Aughwick till near what is now Maddensville, where he selected a spot, cut away the trees, and built his mansion. He was not long "alone in his glory," for soon came along a few more hardy pioneers in search of future homes, among whom we find William Ward, John Robertson, and William Jones, who located along the banks of the Aughwick.
These pioneers were soon reinforced by others, among whom were the Cutshalls and Stains, Browns and Lanes, the Wibles, the Ramseys and Maddens. The Wibles were of German descent, while the two latter descended from Erin's green isle. All these pioneers located along the Aughwick Valley, while Hugh Orlton, who descended from the Scottish highlands, thought there was no place like the hills, and became pioneer of the hill country, out of reach of the next flood. He took up a large tract by warrant or patent and subsequently sold to Richard Lane. Mr. Orlton had the pleasure and honor of owning the pioneer "shingle-roof" house in the township.
The "Big Meadow" tract contained four hundred acres of land, and was located along the Aughwick Creek, near what is now Meadow Gap post-office. This tract was patented by Lukens, Lennox, and Woods.
The pioneer in that part of the township where the village of Meadow Gap is located was Thomas Stain. He took up a tract of four hundred acres, covering what is now Meadow Gap village, and was an improvement right. His tract is now owned by as many land-owners as there is in and around the Gap Mills for half a mile each way.
Greensbury Ramsey, John Osiell, John Long, James Madden, William Moore, Jacob Booher, Thomas Sollers, and John Hess. Capt. George Croghan took up a large tract of land, reaching from Stain's tract down the Aughwick for a mile and a half, reaching from the creek to the top of Black Log Mountain. On this tract Benedict Stevens located. He still owns a portion of it, and his son, Rev. W. H. Stevens, owns a large farm on the flats, one and a quarter miles from Meadow Gap mills, on the road to Orbisonia. The Rutter property was also warranted by Capt. Croghan, half of which is now owned by W. H. Stevens. A part of the Croghan tract is owned by the heirs of - Baker, of which Professor Baker, present county superintendent of schools, is the manager. Jesse Coates also warranted four hundred acres in this vicinity, probably the same four hundred acres taken up by Thomas Stains.
There is on the W. H. Stevens farm an old orchard, set out in 1784, which has borne fruit for the last ninety-five years, and the prospect was good for a large crop in 1882.
The flat fields below W. H. Stevens' house were no doubt an Indian camping-ground or village. The evidences brought forth at every cultivation of these fields for the last hundred years goes to prove the fact of Indian occupancy. Large quantities of arrow-heads, stone hatchets, and other implements made by the aborigines are found at each plowing of the fields.
The cultivated fields across the creek from Meadow Gap mills were also the camping village or battlegrounds of the much-written-about red man. Here stone mortars, pestles, and arrow-heads have been found, and Mr. J. C. Brewster thinks he can almost see the lines of battle of the contending forces as they were maneuvering just previous to an engagement, and thinks this must have been one of the Indian battlegrounds.
The pioneers of the upper Aughwick labored under many disadvantages in the settlement of this part of the valley. Coming in along the Little Aughwick Creek from Fort Littleton and vicinity, they were subject to attack from the Indians at any time, and until they had made several improvements, and fortified themselves in their rude cabins, they were under the necessity of coming in on foot, guided for a time by the stream and marked trees, with rifle upon one shoulder and axe upon the other, work during the day at their cabin and clearing, and return to Fort Littleton, from four to ten miles away, at night. Thus the hardy pioneers labored, and waited patiently until their hope ended in fruition.
Villages and Hamlets. - Meadow Gap. - This name was derived from the gap in the mountain and a large meadow at the mouth of the gap. It is supposed by some that Thomas Stains was the first settler at this place, while others claim with equal authority that Jesse Coates was the pioneer. Very evidently one of these men was the pioneer settler of what is now Meadow Gap post-office.
The grist- and saw-mills at this place were built by Robert and John Madden in 1834, and John Madden subsequently became the sole owner, and John Shore, who is still living at the advanced age of eighty-five, was the pioneer miller.
The pioneer merchant at Meadow Gap was William Madden, who opened a small store here soon after the mills were built, and Jacob Baker was the pioneer postmaster.
The pioneer blacksmith was Frederick Thompson, who located here in 1860. There is at present at Meadow Gap a school-house; store by Levi Anderson, opened in 1881, near the mills; store by J. C. Brewster, who is also postmaster; two blacksmiths, George Taylor and Joseph Reihart, who is also the village wheelwright; grist- and saw-mill owned by Levi Anderson, with John Hurley, miller.
MADDENSVILLE is a small hamlet in the extreme south part of the township, at what was at an early day called "the Forks." The pioneer grist-mill was built in 1842 by Robert Madden. There was at that time an old saw-mill half a mile up the Little Aughwick, with a small clearing around that and the house of Mr. Brown. The grist-mill has four run of stones. The capacity of the mill is one hundred and fifty bushels of grain per day. The present saw-mill was built in 1875, by Luther and Isaiah Madden, also owners of the grist-mill.
The pioneer store-room was built by Robert Madden in 1849, opposite the Madden mansion, where he dispensed the necessaries of life till 1856 and 1857, when he was succeeded by Deckers Locke, who in 1876 built and opened his present store. Mr. Locke is also the present postmaster, and Robert Madden was the pioneer postmaster.
Mr. Madden at first purchased but six acres of land and the water right, and subsequently increased his acreage till he owned all the land upon which the hamlet is located and a large tract adjoining, now owned by his sons Luther and Isaiah Madden. The present blacksmith is Joseph H. Runk, and Richard Ramsey is the wheelwright. The school- house at this place was built in 1872 or 1873.
Among the early settlers in the vicinity of Maddensville was Joshua Brown, who owned a tract of land up the little Aughwick Creek, now owned by the Madden brothers. Mr. Brown died in the fore part of 1882, aged ninety years. Jacob Covert was an early settler here. His property is now owned by his heirs. The property of Alexander Ramsey, Sr., is now owned by his heirs, - the Stumbaugh, Ramsey, and Matthews families. The Hiles tract was owned by George Taylor, and the Baker tract is now owned by ____ Ashton. The James Linn tract is owned by C. W. Evans, J. R. Linn, and ____ Griffith. Conrad Cutshall was the progenitor of all the Cutshalls in Springfield township. His original tract of land is now owned by Levi Anderson, and Hiram Brown owns the John Ramsey tract.
Locke Valley, in this township, is named after John Locke. His boy is now eighty-two years of age, hale and hearty.
The Baptist Church (Old School) was organized in the early part of this century. The meeting-house is of logs, weather-boarded, and located three and a half miles north of Maddensville. This is the oldest church building in the township, and is valued at two hundred dollars. There are at present twelve members connected with this organization, with Rev. Mr. Rose as the regular pastor, preaching once a month, and Rev. Stahr as supply.
Mount Carmel Church, located from Maddensville, was organized by Cyrus Jeffries, and known as the Jeffreyites, or Mount Carmel Church. The meeting-house is now occupied by the United Brethren, and the pulpit supplied from McConnellsville, in Franklin County.
Wesley Methodist Episcopal Chapel, located at the forks of the creek, half a mile below Maddensville post-office, was built in 1855. It is a frame building, and cost four hundred and fifty dollars. The building committee were J. Snyder, S. Kimes, N. K. Covert, J. Uncles, J. W. Buckley, and James Linn. Previous to building the chapel meetings were held in the old school-house that stood near the bridge. The pioneer class-leader was James Linn, and the above-named building committee were the first trustees, also among the pioneer members. Present membership, fifteen. Preaching at the chapel every alternate Sabbath by the pastor at Three Springs. Present class-leader is C. W. Evans.
Walnut Grove Bethel, or Church of God. This society is sometimes known as "Winebrennarians." Their church edifice is a frame structure, built in 1855, by Thomas Ashton, at a cost of four hundred and fifty dollars. Religious services are held here on every alternate Sabbath.
Educational. - There are six schools in this township, with an average of five months in the year each. There were six male teachers employed in 1881, at twenty dollars per month each. There were 122 male and 117 female pupils in the township, with an average of 119 attending school. The total amount of tax levied in the township in 1881 for school and building purposes was $557.55; the State appropriation for the same year was $340; total expenditures for the year, $707.11.
The following have been officers in Springfield township:
1791, Abraham Wright; 1792, John Wright; 1793, Samuel Wheeler; 1794, Samuel Charlton; 1795, John Rutter; 1796, Joshua Chilcoat; 1797, John Cample; 1798, Peter Hess; 1799, Henry Hubble; 1800, Humphrey Chilcoat; 1801, Joshua Cornelius; 1802, Thomas Hooper; 1803, Thomas Clugage; 1804, Hercules Kemp; 1805, Daniel Staney; 1806, William Wagner; 1807, Conrad Cushall; 1808, Benjamin Cornelius; 1809, John Isgreg; 1810, Thomas Green; 1811, Benjamin Long; 1812, John Johnston; 1813, Benjamin Long; 1814, Benjamin Cornelius; 1815, Benjamin Long; 1816, Hugh Madden; 1817, John E. Hays; 1818, Joshua Cornelius; 1819, Christian Moore; 1820, William Waggoner; 1821, John Isgrig; 1822, George Ashman; 1823, George Green; 1824, John Logan; 1825, William Hudson; 1826, Benjamin Cornelius; 1827, Benjamin Long; 1828, Caleb W. Green; 1829, Jacob Booher; 1830, Robert McNeal; 1831, Jacob Baker, Jr.; 1832, Aaron Staines; 1833-34, William Madden; 1835, Hugh Madden; 1836, Thompson Stains; 1837, Elisha S. Green; 1838, James McNeal; 1839, Daniel Stains; 1840, Henry Mattheas; 1841, Benjamin Bolinger; 1842, George Robertson; 1843, Benjamin Bolinger; 1844-45, Jacob Gehrett; 1846-47, William Ramsey; 1848, Hugh Brown; 1849, Jacob Baker; 1850, John Booher; 1851-52, Morris Brown; 1853, J. Lamberson; 1854-55, Benjamin Ramsey; 1856, William Locke; 1857, Benjamin Ramsey; 1858-67, Morras Cutshall; 1868, Jackson Lamberson; 1869, John F. Ramsey; 1870- 72, E. Brown; 1873, G. M. Nead; 1874, G. Withington; 1875, G. M. Nead; 1876, F. Thompson; 1877-78, Morris Cutshall; 1879-80, Jacob Lane; 1881, Elihu Brown.
1791, John Rutter, John Wright; 1792, Abraham Wright, Hugh Orlton; 1793, Thomas Green, Hugh Orlton; 1794, Thomas Green, John Butler; 1795, Thomas Green, Benjamin Cornelius; 1796, John Campbell, John Collit; 1797, John Campble, Humphrey Chilcoat; 1798, Humphrey Chilcoat, Christopher Nead; 1799, Christopher Nead, John Orlton; 1800, Christopher Nead, John Chilcoat; 1801, William Wagner, Thomas Clugage; 1802, Michael Mordya, Hercules Kemp; 1803, William Wagner, Thomas Magan; 1804, Jacob Nichodemus, Joshua Cornelius; 1805, Joshua Cornelius, Christopher Nead; 1806, George Ashman, John Bailey; 1807, George Ashman, John Bailey; 1808, George Ashman, John Bailey; 1809, John Bailey, George Ashman; 1810, John Bailey, John Isgrigg; 1811, John Bailey, John Isgrigg; 1813, Benjamin Cornelius, John Isgrigg; 1814, John Green, Simon Logan; 1815, Hugh Madden, William Waggoner; 1816, William Waggoner, Benjamin Long; 1817, Benjamin Long, John Logan; 1818, Benjamin Chilcote, John Logan; 1819, Benjamin Cornelius, Benjamin Chilcote; 1820, John Shore, Benjamin Cornelius; 1821, Benjamin Ramsey, William Waggoner; 1822, John Isgrigg, Benjamin Ramsey; 1823, John Isgrigg, Micaja Chilcott; 1824, Samuel Grubb, Peter Hess; 1825, William McIntire, Richard Bradley; 1826, Joseph Cornelius, George Green; 1827, Joseph Cornelius, Benjamin Bollinger; 1828, Benjamin Bollinger, Thomas Kelly; 1829, Benjamin Bollinger, George Robison; 1830, William Wagoner, George Robison; 1831, John Shore, Jacob Baker; 1832, John Shore, Robert Madden; 1833, John Shore, David Stains; 1834, John Shore, John Madden; 1835, John Shore, Joseph Cornelius; 1836, John Shore, Dutton Lain; 1837, John Shore, John Folk; 1838, John Lock, John Baker; 1839, George Robison, Henry Mathias; 1840, George Robison, John Shore; 1841 ____ ____; 1842, John Brown, George D. Hudson; 1843, Jeremiah Brown, George Kreiger; 1844, P. Cutshall, Benjamin Bolinger; 1845, Caleb Brown, John Shore; 1846, John Shore, Seba Sock; 1847, John Brown, Jacob Covert; 1848, John Brown, G. Ramsey; 1849, D. Lane, Peter Cutshall; 1850, Henry Cremer, William F. Martin; 1851, George Robertson; 1852, George Robertson, Jacob Baker; 1853, Jacob Baker, George Robertson; 1854, William Wible, Henry C. Cremer; 1855, ____ ____; 1856, John Brown, John Covert; 1857, John Covert, W. Cutshall; 1858, Jesse Rutter, Frederick Thompson; 1859, G. Ramsey, Benjamin Cornelius; 1860, John Lane, Robert Madden; 1861, Robert Madden, Jesse Rutter; 1862, Benedict Stevens, Robert Madden; 1863, Robert Madden, Benedict Stevens; 1864, Robert Madden, William Nimble; 1865, Abraham Cutshall, John Brown; 1866, Thomas Stains, C. W. Leader; 1867, Greenberry Ramsey, Joshua Brown; 1868, Joshua Brown, G. Ramsey; 1869, W. H. Stevens, H. C. Cramer; 1870, J. Brown, A. K. Green; 1872, Joshua Brown, John Hess; 1873, John Hess, Richard Cutshall; 1874, ____ ____; 1875, Richard Ramsey, Samuel Cutshall; 1876, J. Everhart, C. W. Leader; 1877, J. M. Cutshall, W. Stevens; 1878, W. Stevens, Theodore Fernberg; 1879, William H. Stevens, Theodore Fernberg; 1880, Theodore Fernberg, William H. Stevens; 1881, E. Brown, J. Lane.
OVERSEERS OF THE POOR.
1791, Hugh Orlton, John Cornelius; 1792, John Cornelius, Samuel Charlton; 1793, John Campble, Samuel Charlton; 1794, John Campble, Hugh Logan; 1795, Hugh Logan, William Wagner; 1796, Hugh Logan, William Wagner; 1797, Hugh Logan, William Wagner; 1798, Hugh Logan, Sr., William Wagner; 1799, John Rutter, Hercules Kemp; 1800, John Campble, Hugh Orlton; 1801, Joshua Cornelius, Peter Hess; 1802, Daniel Stains, Christian Read; 1803, John Bailey, Benjamin Standford; 1804, Henry Hubble, Conrad Scutchel; 1805, Samuel Charlton, George Stains; 1806, Thomas Hooper, Thomas Clugage; 1807, John Shane, Hugh Maden; 1808, John Hudson, John Long; 1809, Thomas Green, Jr., Henry Moore; 1810, William Hudson, Samuel Cornelius; 1814, Thomas Clugage, Samuel Cornelius; 1815, Daniel Heck, Thomas Charlton; 1816, John E. Hays, Joshua Brown; 1817, Benjamin Long, John Ashman; 1819, Benjamin Long, William McIntire; 1823, Benjamin Cornelius, Sr., Jacob Baker; 1825, Joshua Hooper, Peter Cutchall; 1826, David Patterson, Thomas Duffey; 1827, Joseph Cornelius, John Green; 1828, William Hudson, Micajah Chilcot; 1829, William Corbin, Thomas Hooper; 1830, Thomas Green, Elliott Ramsey; 1832, John Kyler, Benjamin Ramsey; 1833, George Cornelius, Joshua McNeal; 1834, John Long, Joseph Gutshall; 1835, Moses Greenland, John Rutter; 1836, William Cornelius, Jacob Baker; 1837, William Sellers, Henry Matthews; 1838, George Hudson, Benjamin Sellers; 1840, Jacob Barnet, George Taylor; 1841, ____ ____; 1843, Joseph Devon, James McNeal; 1844, John Ashman, Daniel Kurfman; 1845, William Ramsey, Elliott Ramsey; 1846, Jacob Baker, John L. Ramsey; 1847, Thomas Duffy, Jerre Need; 1848, Simon Locke, Elisha S. Green; 1849, Thomas Ramsey, Thomas Ashten; 1850, William Madden, Benjamin Ramsey; 1851, Benedict Steves, David Steves; 1852, Benjamin Ramsey, Thompson Stains; 1853, Thomas Duffey, Thomas Ramsey; 1854, ____ ____; 1855, ____ ____; 1856, John Lamberson, William Hess.
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