History of Annin Township
J.H. Beers, Chicago, 1890
from History of the Counties of McKean,
Elk, Cameron, and Potter, Pennsylvania

Annin History

ANNIN TOWNSHIP, south of Ceres, and north of Liberty, is the home of Annin creek, which rises in the heights north of Annin, and enters the Allegheny river at Turtle point. Two Mile creek rises southeast of Annin, and flowing southwest enters the Allegheny below Port Allegany. Bell run, mentioned in the sketch of Ceres township, rises in the northeast corner; Newell creek flows southwest through the northwest corner, and Rock run parallels Annin creek northwest of the divide. Open Brook flows north through the southwest corner, where it enters the main river, which marks the northeast line of this corner. The high land one mile northwest of Annin is 2,345 feet above tide; two miles southwest an elevation of 2,340 exists, and two and one-half miles due south, near the Port road, a plateau 2,300 feet above tide was measured. In fact an average elevation of 2,200 feet for summits, marks this township, the lowest point being the mouth of Rock run, 1,435 feet.


Northwest of the Smethport anticlinal are two small areas of Olean conglomerate, and between Annin and Two Mile creeks two more, but beyond such evidences of coal, there were no minerals discovered up to 1879.

The population of Annin township in 1880 was 1,089. The vote in 1888 was 109 Republican, 117 Democratic, 10 Prohibitionist and five Labor Unionist, or 241, multiplied by five, equals 1,205, the estimated population.

The officers of this township elected in February, 1890, are as follows: Justice of the peace, S.R. June; school directors, L.E. Bishop and F.K. Winship for three years, and John J. Cawley for one year; constable, Joseph Mullin; judge of election, H.A. June; inspectors of election, Jerome Robinson, H.M. Harder; supervisors, J.J. McCarey, James Hooley; auditors, H.M. Harder for one year, Thomas McGavisk for two years, and Eugene McCarey for three years; collector, L.J. Phenix; town clerk, Lorenzo Hodges.

Turtle point was the name given to the present village in 1836, when Henry Bryant, an Olean lawyer, erected the large saw-mill there. When cleaning out the mill-race the workmen found a large turtle buried deep in the mud. A few remnants of the old village were to be seen in 1885, although the new village was transferred to the corners nearer the railroad. Bryant invested $11,000 in this milling concern, but the panic coming on swept it away. Later he took Enoch Fobes as partner and James H. Wright as miller. In 1884 S.A. Backus purchased Bryant's interests, leaving the original owner to begin life anew in California.

Newell Creek and neighborhood were settled about fifty years ago. Among the names of old families are John and William Cawley, Ed. McMahon, Tim. Mullin, Murty and Patrick Driscoll, George Oliver, Patrick Masterson, Con. Doyle, John O'Connor, Jerry Riley, Michael McAuliffe, Philip Cooney, Thomas Dunn, Richard and Dennis Delany, Thomas Bizell, W.M. Londrigan, James Harkin.

St. Mary's Church was established here in 1847, and Rev. J.J. Burns was resident priest in 1850, when the old church was erected and dedicated by Bishop O'Connor. Fathers Dean and Galligan were missionary priests in 1847-48, and Father Smith was resident pastor from October, 1848, to June 16, 1850. In 1853 Rev. Coady succeeded Father Burns, who was followed by Father Madigan in September, 1856, and he by Father Murrill in December, 1866. Father P.J. Patterson, V.F., came in September, 1868. In 1869 he commenced the present church building, which was dedicated in February, 1872, by Bishop Mullen. The congregation comprises 150 families. The church at Newell Creek may be said to have absorbed old St. Mary's above Smethport, leaving the southern members alone to the new parish of Smethport. The pastor died December 21, 1889. Father Cosgrove is successor of the venerable Father Patterson as pastor of St. Mary's parish, including Port Allegany, Austin, Costello, Duke Centre and other places.

The Annin Creek Humane Society was the name given to a cemetery association in June, 1851, of which D. Buckley, I.H. Holcomb, S. Foote, S.D. Cooper, Theron Cooper, J.P. Evans, Jr., Joshua D. Knapp, J.C. Evans, N.B. Foote, Joseph Hodges, C. Graham, J.H. Knapp and J.P. Evans were members.

The Methodist Church was incorporated in September, 1867, on petition of Joseph Merrick, Niles Kinney, C.H. Bessee, G.F. Tubbs, H.M. Harder, M.S. Hadley, S.H. Kinney and A.H. Bessee.

The First Baptist Church was incorporated March 21, 1887, on petition of S.L. Holcomb, Eli B. Buckley, L.H. and F.K. Winship and G.O. Buckley.

The First Regular Baptist Church of Turtle Point was incorporated June 3, 1887. The subscribers were Theron Cooper, D.C. Winship, S.L. Holcomb, Albertus Cooper and Darius Simpson.

Annin Township Biographical Sketches

FREDERICK F. BISHOP, farmer, P.O. Turtle Point, was born in Le Roy, N.Y., September 6, 1822, a son of Elisha and Fanny (Piper) Bishop, natives of New Hampshire, who settled in Annin township in 1841, clearing and improving a farm on Newell creek, on which they lived and died. Elisha Bishop was a tanner and currier by trade and operated a tannery on Newell creek for many years. The timber cut on his farm was the first felled in that part of the township. He had six children: Frederick F., Levi, George, Henry, Olive (Mrs. William Dunbar) and Charles. Frederick F. Bishop lived in Massachusetts until fifteen years of age. He first came to Annin township in 1840, where he settled permanently in 1844, clearing and improving a farm adjoining that of his father, on Newell creek, where he resided until 1864, when he removed to the farm he now occupies, most of which he also cleared and improved. October 21, 1844, he married Lydia L., daughter of Emery and Lydia (Locke) Whitney, of Watertown, Mass., and they have had five children: Le Roy E., Wilder (deceased), Maria (Mrs. B.R. Simar), Emily L. (Mrs. Martin Simar) and Fanny (deceased). Mr. Bishop has held the office of school director of Annin township many years. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church; politically he is a Republican. LE ROY E BISHOP was born in Annin township November 19, 1846, and lives on the old homestead. He married, October 10, 1878, Rosa, daughter of George and Hannah (Winship) Blowers, of Steuben county, N.Y., and they have four children: Florence, George, Della and Winnie. Mr. Bishop has been school director five years; politically he is a Republican.

THERON COOPER, lumberman and farmer, P.O. Turtle Point, was born in Dartmouth, N.Y., August 23, 1813, a son of Samuel and Mary (Russell) Cooper, who settled in Annin township, McKean Co., Penn., in 1838. Theron Cooper came at the same time and took up the land which he now owns and occupies, which he cleared and improved, and where he has resided most of the time since, being for many years interested in the lumber business. In June, 1840, he married Sophia A., daughter of John and Catherine Mead, of Bolivar, N.Y., by whom he had six children who grew to maturity, viz: Silas E., Albertus, Joel A., Elwin, John S. and Jane (Mrs. Myron Smith). Mr. Cooper is a prominent and respected citizen of Annin township, and is a member of the Baptist Church. He has held several of the local offices of the township, and politically he is a Republican.

MARSHALL J. HADLEY, surveyor, P.O. Port Allegany, was born in Jasper, Steuben Co., N.Y., November 14, 1836, a son of Benjamin F. and Lydia (Prentice) Hadley. His father was a physician by profession and settled in Annin township in 1856, where he practiced two years; he then located at Olean, N.Y., residing there until his death. He was a native of New Hampshire. Marshall J. Hadley was reared in his native town and educated at Bath (N.Y.) High School. He read law one year at Wellsville, N.Y., and settled permanently in Annin township in 1858. October 16, 1861, he enlisted in Company F, Fifty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and was wounded at Fort Harrison. In 1862 he went in the Ordnance Department of the Eighteenth Army Corps, where, with the exception of three months that he was on Government survey, he served until his discharge. He was promoted to sergeant in December, 1861, and commissioned first lieutenant (not mustered) in 1864, and was honorably discharged from the service in February, 1866. He then returned to Annin township, where for some time he was engaged in operating a planing-mill. Since 1868 he has been engaged in various other enterprises, and has done more or less business as a surveyor and conveyancer. He is one of the enterprising citizens of the township, and was elected justice of the peace in the spring of 1888. In politics he is a Republican, and was elected county surveyor in the fall of 1889 by a majority of 1,818 - 854 ahead of his ticket. He is also a member of the G.A.R.

JOSEPH HODGES, farmer, P.O. Annin creek, was born in Somerset, Vt., February 19, 1806, and is the son of Ephraim and Catherine (Johnson) Hodges, early settlers of Broome county, N.Y., where Joseph was reared. Our subject settled in what is now Annin township in 1839, locating on the farm where he now resides, all of which he cleared and improved, and where he has lived for fifty years. August 18, 1823, when but seventeen years of age, he married Nancy, daughter of Ittair and Betsy (Page) Elliott, of Broome county, N.Y., and to them were born ten children: Sally (Mrs. John P. Evans), Nancy (Mrs. Simmons Foote), Mary (Mrs. Nathan Foote), Raymond, Lorenzo, Julius, Caroline (Mrs. Henry Wilcox), Olive A. (Mrs. Wilson Tubbs), Jerome and Joseph. Mr. Hodges is a remarkably well-preserved man for his years, and is one of the few pioneers left in Annin township, of which he is the oldest resident. He has been a member of the Baptist Church for sixty years. Politically he is a Republican, and has filled all the offices within the gift of the township, with the exception of justice of the peace.

ERASTUS H. NICHOLS, farmer, P.O. Turtle Point, was born in Halifax, Windham Co., Vt., October 14, 1822, and is a son of Samuel and Abigail (Chase) Nichols, who settled in Eldred, McKean Co., Penn., in 1830. Samuel Nichols, who was a farmer by occupation, cleared and improved the farm now occupied by his son Dana B., and died there. He had the following named ten children: Lenora, Huldah (Mrs. Edwin Warner), Erastus H., Lucina (Mrs. Charles Calkins), Edwin, Wilbur, Adelia (Mrs. George Colvin), Permelia (Mrs. Frederick McClure), Nathaniel and Dana B. Erastus H. Nichols was reared in Eldred from eight years of age, and after reaching his majority worked by the month until he was twenty-six years old. He then engaged in farming in Eldred, and in 1861 removed to Annin township, where he cleared and improved the farm he now occupies. In November, 1861, he enlisted in Company H, Fifty-Eighth Regiment, P.V.I., was wounded at Drury Bluff, and honorably discharged from the service in December, 1864. He was twice married; his first wife was Lucinda P., daughter of Anson G. and Mary A. (Bowen) Moses, of Olean, N.Y., and by her had two children: George S. and Lillian. His second wife was Mrs. Amelia M. (Cooley) Smith, of Cuba, N.Y. Mr. Nichols is one of Annin township's most prominent citizens. He is a member of the G.A.R.; politically he is a Republican.

VERY REVEREND P.J. PATTERSON, V.F., was a native of Raffeny, Parish of Mullagh, County Cavan, Ireland. His classical education was received at Cavan Seminary, and in this country he studied philosophy at St. Mary's Seminary, Cleveland, Ohio, and theology at St. Vincent's Seminary, Westmoreland county, Penn. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1868, and was appointed pastor of St. Mary's Church at Sartwell, where he was located up to his death. He also had charge of the following named parishes: St. Gabriel's Church, Port Allegany; St. Raphael's Church, Eldred; St. John's, Duke Centre; St. Paul's, Costello, Potter county, and the Austin Mission, Austin, Potter county. He was a hard worker, and by his efforts in 1870, the land was secured in Bradford upon which the elegant church and convent of St. Bernard now stands. He also secured the property at Smethport and built St. Elizabeth's Church, where it now stands, and to his efforts much of the growth and prosperity of the church in this vicinity is due. He died December 21, 1889, and the burial services took place at Newell creek, December 27, following. Bishop Mullen presided, assisted by the Rev. Fathers DeLaroque, of Warren; Coonan, Bradford; Hamel, Olean; Meagher, Ridgway; Winter, Meadville; Brennan, Driftwood; Galligan, Smethport; Brennan, Sharon, and Lynch, of Sartwell. About 10 o'clock A.M., a requiem mass was commenced by Rev. M.A. DeLaroque as celebrant, Rev. J.J. Hamel, deacon, Rev. William Coonan, sub-deacon, and Very Rev. Francis Winter, master of ceremonies. The Smethport Catholic choir did the singing. The Rt. Rev. Bishop preached, and during his very appropriate remarks paid a deserved tribute to the memory of the deceased. The services in the church being over, the remains were viewed by hundreds of sorrowing people, after which the body was borne to the grave by six laymen, namely: Eugene Mullin, James Cremin, James McGavis, James Hooly, James McKean and T.D. Nash. Arriving at the grave, the last absolution was pronounced by the Rt. Rev. Bishop, when all that was mortal of the gifted priest and pastor, kind brother and friend, was consigned to the silent tomb.

WILLIAM H. TAYLOR, retired, Turtle Point, was born in Georgetown, Madison Co., N.Y., April 26, 1815, a son of Reuben and Achsah (Alderman) Taylor, who settled in Allegany county, N.Y., in 1818. In 1834 they moved with their family to Ceres township, this county, and to Annin township in 1844, later to Potter county, same State, where they died. They had four children: William H., Norman, Riley (killed in the Mexican war) and Jane (Mrs. Harrison Ruby).

William H. Taylor, the subject of this sketch, came to Ceres township in 1834, where he bought a farm on Bell's run, six miles in the woods. Here he built a log house covered with stakes, with floors made of split timber, a coverlet hung up for a door, and greased newspapers tacked up for windows. In those early days, deer, bears, wolves, and all kinds of game were plentiful; and Mr. Taylor having a good rifle, and being a keen sportsman and a crack shot, enjoyed many a day's good sport. So there was always plenty of meat in the cabin, but flour was $16 per barrel, corn $1.50 per bushel, potatoes $1, calico and shirting each twenty-five cents per yard, and other things in proportion.

Mr. Taylor cleared here a fine farm, which, however, he sold and then moved into Annin township where he bought the Annin farm, once owned by William Annin (after whom the creek and township were named), who was murdered near Pittsburgh for his money. Mr. Taylor cut a road through the bush, and moved in on an ox-sled. This farm was located on the Allegheny river, and there was no road, neither up nor down the river, nor was there any neighbor within five miles. Mr. Taylor at once set to work to clear his farm, and immediately put up the necessary buildings. Deer was plentiful, and he says he has killed as many as six in one day, and on one occasion he killed two deer and a bear - pretty good sport! He erected the first saw-mill, and put in the first shingle machine ever used in McKean county. He was the first to discover bituminous coal in this region, and he opened the vein in Liberty township, his interest in which he sold for $2,500. He also built two saw-mills, one hotel, two dry goods stores and fifteen other buildings for renting purposes; in fact, there is not a man living who has contributed more toward the advancement of his township and county.

There was a time when he knew every man in the county, and every man knew him, and his reminiscences of olden times are most interesting. Speaking of the county generally, he says land was $1 per acre when he came into it; timber was pine in abundance, hemlock and hardwood; the smaller streams were filled with trout, and the Allegheny river with shad, suckers, bass, and pike weighing twenty-eight pounds each.

The first murder was committed, in 1845, by Uzza Robbins, two miles above Port Allegany, for which he was executed at Smethport; the third night after his burial his body was dug up and his head cut off by young Burrows. The next murder was the deed committed by "Old Aunt Betty," who cut her brother's head off and then put him under the bed, but the jury returned a verdict of "not guilty." Next followed August 4, 1874, the murder at Port Allegany of Calvin H. Hobar by one Crow, for which crime the murderer got one year in the State prison. The next was the shooting of Miss Riley by her cousin, for which he was executed; then came the murder of John Yohe by a man named Thompson, in 1886, for which he got twelve years in the State prison, and then, in 1889, came the killing of Henry Robertson or Robinson by Anson or Anderson. Many more interesting events Mr. Taylor could narrate.

Mr. Taylor was married in 1835 to Martha, daughter of John and Jane (Gibson) Rountree, of County Cavan, Ireland, and they have reared eight children - six boys and two girls, viz: George W., Benjamim, William H., Nathan, Charles, James, Harriet (Mrs. George Helmig) and Mary J. (Mrs. George Campbell). The six sons are model men, using neither whisky nor tobacco, and never allowing profane language to cross their lips. They are well to do, and own farms with good buildings within sight of Turtle Point. George W., the eldest, carries on a dry goods store at Turtle Point, along with his brother Nathan. The parents are yet living - the father in his seventy-fifth year and the mother in her seventy-eighth - both highly respected. In politics Mr. Taylor is a Republican.

Contributed by Maureen M. (Buckley) Lee