From Franklin Ellis' History of That Part of the Susquehanna and Juniata Valleys
Embraced in the Counties of Mifflin, Juniata, Perry, Union and Snyder. 
Philadelphia, 1886.



Civil History - Erection of Mifflin County - Location of Seat of Justice - Public Buildings - Provision for the Poor -

Rosters of Officials 1789 to 1885 - Population.

THE territory embraced in Mifflin County at the time of its erection was in that part of Cumberland County which was contained in the great tract or "Purchase," the title to which was secured from the Indians at Albany July 6, 1754. Settlements were made so rapidly during that season that petitions were sent in to the court of Cumberland County from settlers in Sherman's Valley, along Buffalo Creek and in Tuscarora and Path Valleys setting forth "their great distance from the county-seat and asking for the erection of new townships, that they might better transact the necessary business to facilitate the improvement and good government of the new settlements." These petitions were presented to the court at its August term in that year, and, in accordance with their prayer, four "new townships tother side the N. Mountain" were erected. One of these was "Lac," whose territory was thus stated: "And we do further errect the settlement called the Tuskerora Valey into a sepparate Township and nominate the same the Township of LAC, and we appoint John Johnston to act therein as Constable for the remaining part of the current year." It embraced all of the county of Juniata lying west of the Juniata River. Its territory was reduced by the erection of Milford, November 7, 1768.

The trouble with the Indians, arising from the defeat of Braddock, occurred soon after these first settlements, and great hardships and many massacres followed. Almost all of the settlers returned to Carlisle or sought other strongholds, and remained some years before again seeking the frontier. A few ventured back in 1762, and in that year the territory lying north and east of the Juniata River was erected into the township of Fermanagh, which embraced all of the New Purchase not before organized. A glance at the history of that township, in Juniata County, will give the reader a knowledge of that mother of townships, which then contained a large part of the territory which is now Perry, Juniata, Mifflin, Huntingdon, Centre and Snyder Counties.

The years 1763, 1764 and 1765 were years of great trials, and but few settlers came to the lands except those who had made locations before the outbreak of hostilities.

In the years 1766-77 the rush of emigration was very great. Locations were selected, applications made, warrants secured, possession taken and improvements begun. From this time peaceable possession was obtained. This influx of settlers brought a demand for the division of the large townships, that the voting-places might not be at such great distances. At the July term of Cumberland County Court, Fermanagh township was divided, and from its territory was taken Greenwood, Penn's and Derry townships, the latter comprising nearly all of the present territory of Mifflin County. Its boundaries were given as follows: "Beginning at the Middle of the Long Narrows; thence up the north side of Juniata as far as Jack's Narrows, thence to include the valey of Kishacockulus and Jack's Creek." It will be noticed that a portion of the county lying south of the Juni-


ata River and north of the Black Log-Mountain is not embraced in the boundaries here given. No action of court has been found that annexed it to Derry, but that it was soon after a part of its territory is apparent from many records. The township of Derry was divided in 1771 by the erection of Armagh, with Jack's Mountain as the dividing line. Wayne also was taken off from the upper part in 1782.

Bald Eagle township was erected as a township of Northumberland County in 1772, and Potter was taken from it in 1774.

It was from the territory embraced in the townships of Lack, Milford, Fermanagh, Derry, Armagh, Wayne, Bald Eagle and Potter that the county of Mifflin was composed upon its erection in 1789.

Prior to this time Cumberland County had been reduced by the formation from its territory of Bedford County, March 9, 1771, part of Northumberland March 27, 1772, and all of Franklin September 8, 1784.

Petitions were prepared, circulated, signed and sent to the Legislature of Pennsylvania, in the winter of 1788-89, asking for the erection of a new county, with boundaries embracing nearly all of the territory now within the bounds of Juniata and Mifflin. A bill was framed, came up for consideration, and was passed by the House on the 21st of March, 1789, but, owing to complications and opposition, presently to be explained, it did not pass the Senate. The complicated causes of antagonism to the bill are, perhaps, best described in a document drawn up eleven years later, - a petition for the removal of the county-seat from Lewistown to Mifflintown, presented to the Assembly of 1801-2. This petition was not granted, and is only presented here for the reason that it so well rehearses the matter of the county erection. It reads as follows:

"Reasons offered by the Petitioners for the removal of the Seat of Justice from the borough of Lewistown to the town of Mifflin, which are, with all deference, submitted to the Legislature of Pennsylvania, now sitting at Lancaster, and are as follows, viz.:

"First, That on the 21st day of March, 1789, a bill for the erection of Mifflin County passed the Legislature and was published for consideration: the described boundary being nearly as the lines of said county are at present.

"Second, That previous to the publication of said bill, the inhabitants within the described boundary for the new county, by their Delegates chosen for that purpose, met at the house of Robert Chambers, in the township of Derry, and agreed to nominate three disinterested men, whose judgment, with respect to the Seat of Justice, being above or below the Long Narrows, should be final and conclusive, and some considerable time after the Delegates as aforesaid met at the house of David Sharron, in Fermanagh township, and agreed that Col. James Dunlap, of Cumberland County, Col. James Johnston and Matthew Wilson, Esquire, of Franklin County, should be the three persons recommended to the Legislature as disinterested and suitable characters to explore said prescribed boundary and make report to the succeeding Legislature of the most convenient and central plan for a Seat of Justice within said boundary; that then and there said delegates, viz., William Brown, John Culbertson, James McFarlane, John Bratton, John Oliver, William Smith, Arthur Buchanan and James Burns, of Armagh, Derry and Wayne townships, and John Stewart, Thomas Turbett, John Lyon, Robert Little, John Harris, Samuel Cowan, Samuel Sharron and James Murray, of Lack, Milford, Fermanagh and Greenwood townships, by written address and petition stated to the Legislature the mutual agreement so entered into, with a particular request that the bounds of said county, agreeably to the Bill published, should remain unaltered; and that the aforesaid James Dunlap, James Johnston and Matthew Wilson were amicably chosen for the purpose aforesaid, requesting their judgment should be final and conclusive.

"Third, That the Legislature accorded with the choice of the aforesaid three persons, and nominate them in their Bill for consideration, who actually went into and carefully explored the same, and upon mature deliberation made report of the plantation whereon Mifflintown is situated as being the most convenient and central for a Seat of Justice within the described boundary.

"Fourth, That the inhabitants of Lack, Milford, Fermanagh and Greenwood townships, who are your petitioners for the removal, resting upon the plighted faith of the Delegates from Armagh, Derry and Wayne townships, and not suspecting any intrigue, device or advantage would be attempted to frustrate whatever the Judgment of the Commissioners aforesaid might be, did not prepare to meet any attack of the kind but by the privity and connivance of one (or perhaps all) of the Delegates from Armagh, Derry and Wayne aforesaid, Spurious petitions were brought forward to the Legislature signed with the names of the greater number of the inhabitants of Potter and Bald Eagle townships, in Northumberland County, praying to be taken into the new county then about to be erected, said townships lying on the north side of our de-


scribed boundary, and including a tract of country upwards of 50 miles in extent more than was contemplated by the Bill published for consideration, and which has been struck off nearly two years since as Centre County.

"Fifth, That by the petitions aforesaid, and another unfairly obtained, from a small part of Greenwood township, in Cumberland County, praying to be continued in said county, your petitioners being unprepared to combat such artful conduct and the Legislature being ultimately deceived into a belief that the petitions aforesaid were genuine, did declare the townships of Potter and Bald Eagle a part of Mifflin County and left out a great part of Greenwood township, in Cumberland County, which was included in the Bill (thereby destroying its originality and substituting a very different one instead thereof, thereby derogating from their plain constituted authorities, by which your Petitioners humbly suggest they or any succeeding Legislature are or ought not to be bound), and did enact that William Brown, John Oliver and Andrew Gregg, within the townships of Armagh, Wayne and Potter, together with John Stewart, David Beale and David Bole, in the townships of Lack and Greenwood, should be Trustees for said county.

"Sixth, That John Stewart and David Beale, being all the Trustees who lived below the Narrows (David Bole being left out of the county by the line described in the Act), uniformly refused to act as Trustees, considering the Laws as unconstitutional, together with the undue advantage obtained thereby, until, by other device of those who lived in the vicinity of Lewistown, got a fourth trustee added to their side of the County, viz., James Armstrong. On the 23d of June, 1791, the four Trustees, who lived above the Narrows, viz., William Brown, John Oliver, Andrew Gregg and James Armstrong, published in the Carlisle Gazette, - 'The Trustees hereby give notice that, agreeable to said Act, they have received by bargain a quantity of land at the confluence of the river Juniata and the Kishageoquillas Creek and confirmed thereon a town for the Seat of Justice called Lewistown.'

"Seventh, That your petitioners, as early as November 14, 1789 (see Journals, page 327, that year), also February 9, 1790 (see Journals, page 118, of that year), have uniformly held out to public consideration that whenever the period would arrive that a division off the north part of Mifflin County would take place, the people who lived below the Narrows would assert their just rights, thereby undeceiving every person who might have an inclination to purchase in the borough of Lewistown, in order that they might judge for themselves with regard to the seat of justice remaining in that place, and those who purchased cannot plead ignorance of an existing dispute, but are on the same footing with a person purchasing his chance of a disputed title.

"Eighth, That numbers of your petitioners who live below the Long Narrows, (and have the same to pass through to get to Lewistown) live at the distance of 37 miles from thence; and those who live above the Narrows (except a few persons in the west end of Wayne township, who are petitioning to be annexed to Huntingdon County) do not exceed eighteen miles from their Seat of Justice.

"Ninth, That your Petitioners believe, as to numbers of those above and below the Narrows, very little difference exists, but claim the majority, and contend the town of Mifflin to be much more central and convenient than Lewistown, taking into view the local situation of Mifflin County as it at present stands; also a further and very material accommodation of Greenwood township, in Cumberland, Mahantango and Beaver Dam townships, in Northumberland, and Dublin, in Huntingdon Counties, the three latter of whom have petitioned to be annexed to Mifflin County on proviso that the Seat of Justice be removed to the town of Mifflin.

"ANDREW NELSON, "Agent for the petitioners who pray for a removal."

The act of erection of Mifflin County was finally passed on the 19th of September, 1789. It recites in the preamble that, -

"Whereas, It hath been represented to the General Assembly of this State by the inhabitants of those parts of Cumberland and Northumberland which are included within the lines hereinafter mentioned, that they labour under great hardships by reason of their great distance from the present seat of justice and the public offices for the said counties, for the remedy thereof,"

Section 1st provides, -

"That all and singular the lands lying within the bounds and limits hereinafter described and following, shall be and are hereby erected into a separate county by the name of 'Mifflin County,' namely: Beginning at Susquehanna River where the Turkey hill extends to the said river; then along the said hill to Juniata, where it cuts Tuscarora mountain; thence along the summit of the said mountain to the line of Franklin county; thence along the said line to Huntingdon county line;* thence along the said line to Juniata River; thence up the said river to Jack's Narrows; thence along the line of Huntingdon county to the summit of Tussey's mountain; thence along the lines of Huntingdon and Northumberland counties, so as to include the whole of Upper Bald Eagle town-

* This line between Huntingdon and Mifflin Counties not being clearly defined, the boundary was afterwards surveyed, marked and established by three commissioners, appointed by the Governor, under authority of an act passed September 13, 1791.


ship, in the county of Northumberland, to the mouth of Buck Creek, "where it empties into Bald Eagle Creek; thence to Logan's gap, in Nittany mountain; then to the head of Penn's creek; thence down the Said creek to Sinking creek, leaving George McCormick's in Northumberland county; thence to the top of Jack's mountain, at the line between Northumberland county and Cumberland; thence along the said line to Montour's Spring, at the heads of Mahantango Creek, thence down the said creek to Susquehanna river; and thence down the said river to the place of beginning."

It will be noticed that the boundaries of the county under the act embrace Upper Bald Eagle and Potter townships, and are not as originally intended.

The line between Huntingdon and Mifflin Counties soon came into dispute, and on the 1st of April, 1791, an act was passed defining the line from the Concord Gap north to the Juniata River and appointing commissioners to run it. The people residing in Mifflin County opposed this effort to include the territory from McVeytown upward in Huntingdon County, and much angry feeling was engendered, which only subsided when another act was passed, March 29, 1792. This act designated the line between the two counties as, "a straight line beginning in the middle of the water gap in the Tuscarora Mountains and from thence to the River Juniata in such direction as to include Joseph Galloway's farm within Huntingdon County, at the mouth of Galloway's Run, shall be the line between Huntingdon and Mifflin Counties."

The line so remained until it was again changed by an act passed April 5, 1834. It was then defined as "beginning on the Juniata River so as to divide equally between the said counties that part of the road which passes around Blue Rock Hill; thence due east until it strikes the Huntingdon and Mifflin County line; thence along said line to the Juniata River; thence up said River to place of beginning."*

On February 13, 1800, the county was reduced by the erection of Centre County.

Changes in the line were made about 1812, annexing to Mifflin a part of Beaver Dam township, which, upon the erection of Union, in 1813 became a part of that county, but in 1819 was reannexed to Mifflin, and is now a part of Decatur township, in that county.

After many years of tribulation Juniata County was erected by act of Legislature March 2, 1831, and was taken from Mifflin.

Thus the originally extensive boundaries of Mifflin have been much reduced. It is now bounded as follows: On the northwest by Centre County; on the north and east by Union and Snyder, on the southeast by Juniata and on the south and west by Huntingdon. Its length is about thirty and its width about fifteen miles; its area about three hundred and sixty square miles, or two hundred and thirty thousand four hundred acres. The population of the county in 1790 (the next year after its erection) was 7562; in 1800, 13,809; in 1810, 12,132 (the decrease is caused by the erection of Centre County); 1820, 16,618; 1830, 21,690; 1840, (after Juniata was erected) 13,092.

LOCATION OF THE COUNTY-SEAT. - It is shown in the petition heretofore given that the delegates selected from all parts of the county, after two meetings, agreed that James Dunlap, James Johnston and Matthew Wilson should be appointed to locate the county-seat, and that their judgment should be final and conclusive. In accordance with this action on the part of the delegates, the names of the men so designated were incorporated in the bill which passed the House March 21, 1788, and was published for consideration. They, in good faith and in accordance with their judgment, selected John Harris' plantation (Mifflintown). This was not satisfactory to the people of the upper end of the county, and measures were taken to annex territory north to the proposed county, which result was brought about and other commissioners appointed by the act of erection, September 17, 1789, Section 9 of which provides, -

"That John Oliver, William Brown, David Beale, John Stewart, David Bole** and Andrew Gregg of said county, be, and they are hereby appointed trustees

*A dispute is liable to grow out of the location of the present line between Huntingdon and Mifflin, which can only be settled by the courts, and Huntingdon County will claim an amount for taxes which have been for forty years paid in Mifflin County.

**Elsewhere spelled Bowel, in public documents.


for the county aforesaid, with full authority for them, or a majority of them, to purchase, or take and receive by grant, bargain or otherwise, any quantity or quantities of land, not exceeding one hundred and fifty acres, on the north side of Juniata river, and within one mile from the mouth of Kishicoquilis Creek, for the use, trust and benefit of said county, and to lay out the same into regular town lots and to dispose of so many of them as they or any four of them, may think best for the advantage of said county; and they, or any four of them, are hereby authorized to sell and convey so many of them as they may think proper, and with the monies so arising from the sale of said lots, and with other monies to be duly assessed, levied and collected within the said county of Mifflin, for that purpose, which it is hereby declared it shall and may be lawful for the commissioners thereof to do, or cause to be done, to build and erect a court-house and prison, suitable and convenient for the public, on the public, and such other square as shall be reserved for that purpose; and the said trustees shall, from time to time, render true and faithful accounts of the expenditures of the same, not only to the commissioners, but to the Grand Jury, for inspection, adjustment and settlement of the accounts of said county."

David Bole, one of the trustees, resided in Greenwood township (now Perry County), and by the boundaries of the proposed county as defined in the last bill the territory in which he lived was cut off. It is evident from an act passed April 5, 1790, that he was not in accord with the other trustees, the reasons for which can be found in the petition heretofore given. The act recites that, -

"Whereas David Bowel (Bole), one of the said Trustees, does not reside within the limits of the said county of Mifflin, and as the act erecting Mifflin County requires its trustees to concur in every transaction done under and in virtue of their appointment, etc., Be it therefore enacted:

"That Dr. James Armstrong is hereby appointed a trustee in and for the county of Mifflin, and is hereby invested with like powers and authorities in every matter and thing whatsoever that of right belongs to any trustee appointed for the county of Mifflin."

It will be seen in Section 9 that the trustees were instructed where to lay out the county-seat, and in accordance with those instructions, they appointed Samuel Edmiston and James Potter surveyors to locate and lay it out upon the site selected.

They were also authorized to purchase one hundred and fifty acres of land, to lay out town-lots and sell all lands except those needed for county buildings and county purposes. This they did not do, nor did they possess title to the lots on which the county buildings were erected until January 14, 1802.

The reasons why the trustees did not purchase the land on which Lewistown is situated are as follows: At the July term of the Cumberland County Court, 1787, one Mary Norris recovered judgment of one thousand pounds against Arthur Buchanan, who owned three hundred acres of land on the north side of the Juniata River and at the junction with the Kishacoquillas Creek. Thomas Buchanan, the high sheriff of Cumberland County, was ordered to levy upon the property of Arthur Buchanan, in Derry township, and on the 26th of, October, 1787, seized it and exposed it for sale at the house of Robert Smith, of Carlisle, on the 30th of December, 1788. It was not then sold, and remained in the hands of the sheriff until 1790. In the mean time Mifflin County was erected, and the trustees desired this location and selected the site while the property was still in the hands of the sheriff, and, in September, 1790, the jail was in process of building two months before the Buchanan lands were sold at public sale to Samuel Edmiston (as bills for "work and material" in the commissioners' records show). The property of Arthur Buchanan was again ordered to be sold, and was exposed November 27, 1790, and sold to Samuel Edmiston, who received a deed from the sheriff dated January 22, 1791. On the 29th of June in that year he sold to Samuel Montgomery and James Potter each "a third interest" in the tract, and in the deed of Potter he says of the tract, - "And on which the Trustees of Mifflin County have covenanted with the said Samuel Edmiston to fix the seat of justice for the said county of Mifflin."

The town of Lewistown was laid out, lots sold and public buildings erected, and on January 14, 1802, Samuel Edmiston conveyed to John Oliver, William Brown, David Beale, John Stewart, Andrew Gregg and Dr. James Armstrong, trustees of Mifflin County, lots Nos. 15 and 16, containing one-quarter acre of land, for a meeting-house and burying-ground;


lot No. 86 for a jail; lot No. 120 "for use of a publick school-house;" also ground on the Juniata from the first alley to the junction of the river with Kishacoquillas Creek, together with the streets, lanes, alleys and the centre of said borough, agreeable to the plan of the town of Lewistown, as laid out by the trustees; "also all reversions, remainders, rents, issues and profits."

This deed also recites that the trustees "laid out the seat of justice for the said county of Mifflin on the land of Samuel Edmiston, lying on the north side of the river Juniata, and situate on the high ground at the junction of said river with the Kishacoquillas Creek."

Much dissatisfaction was expressed by the residents in the lower part of the county at the location of the county seat at this place, and petitions were sent to the Legislature for several years after its location in 1790, asking for its removal, as the petition heretofore given will show. About the year 1805, when the people in that region found they could not bring about the desired change, agitation was begun for a new county, to be called Juniata, and which did not cease until that county was erected in 1831.

COURT-HOUSES AND JAILS. — The act of erection provides, in Section 9, that the commissioners of the county "build and erect a Court-House and Prison, suitable and convenient for the Publick, on the Publick and such other squares as shall be reserved for that purpose." Lot No. 86, on Market Street, was designated as a jail lot by the trustees appointed to lay out the town, and in the year 1790 the commissioners caused to be built upon it a log building, two stories in height, with an outside staircase. The lower story was fitted as a jail and the upper story as a court-room. An addition, fifteen by twenty feet, was made to the jail in 1795, for which on November 5th of that year William Harper received seventy-four pounds. On the same date William Elliott presented a bill for three hundred and twenty-four pounds of iron for use in the jail; Jacob Yost presented a bill for a grate of two hundred and thirty-five pounds weight, both of which were paid. On the 16th of June, 1797, Robert Forsythe presented a bill of £2 5s., "for making two foot-locks and a chain, and one yoke for the neck of a certain Morrison, convicted in the county of Mifflin for felony, and sent to the cells in Philadelphia."

This jail was not considered sufficient for the purpose, and at the April session of the grand jury in 1790 they represented the necessity of a good and sufficient jail for Mifflin County, to be built in the borough of Lewistown, of stone and other material, suitable for the same. The size and plan were to be determined on by the trustees, by law appointed, for the county, and the commissioners were to be authorized to cause a tax to be levied and collected sufficient to defray the expenses of the same.

The log jail was torn down about 1802-3, and a stone jail erected upon its site, which served the purpose until 1856, when the present jail was erected upon the same site. Courts were held in the second story of the jail building until 1795, when it seems to have been abandoned, and rooms rented in different parts of the town. It was in the upper room court was held in September, 1791, when the rioters came up from below the Long Narrows, a full account of which will be found in the chapter upon the Bench and Bar of Mifflin County.

In 1794 a room was rented of Robert Kinney, the bill for which was presented to the commissioners, who, on January 14, 1795, gave an order upon the treasurer as follows:

"Sir: Pay Robt. Kinney the sum of ten pounds, four shillings and four pence half-penny for erecting a seat for the use of the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas of the County of Mifflin, bringing benches from the Court-House to his own house and placing them round the council table and taking apart the Council table that was in the Court-House and carrying it to his own house and putting it together again for the use of the said Court, for finding two pounds of nails, one pound of candles and for the use of a room for the accommodation of the said Court."

In the same year a room was rented of James Ruglers "for the use of the court," and on the 31st of August, 1795, the commissioners passed a bill for £5, 12s. 5d. in favor of Jeremiah Daily, "for sawing out a door of a house for the use of the Court of Mifflin County, for finding one thousand feet of pine boards for the same use, for hauling the same from the River


Juniata to the said house for the same use, for moving the seats and Council table from the Court-House of said County and carrying the same to said house for said use, and putting them up, finding said nails for said purpose and one and half days of his own work."

On the 17th of January, 1796, a room was rented in the tavern of Michael Foncannon (where Pratt's grocery now is) for the use of the judges of the Court of Common Pleas, four days. At the same time a room in the tavern of William Elliott (site of National) was rented for one week for the use of grand and petit juries, and for the accommodation of the courts of Mifflin County.

The same room was rented for the April and May terms, and in the April term, 1797, and for the use of the Supreme Court in the May term of that year, and for April and May terms, 1798.

In the year 1795 the public square, in the centre of the town, was selected by the trustees as a site for a court-house. The commissioners advertised for proposals in the Mifflin Gazette, then published in Lewistown; contract was made with John Norris and James Alexander to erect a court-house of brick, two stories in height, in accordance with plans.

It probably was not commenced until 1797. The following order from the commissioners to the treasurer of Mifflin County, dated January 10, 1798, signed by Joseph Edmiston, William Bratton and Ezra Doty, commissioners, gives the names of the contractors:

"Sir: Pay John Norris and James Alexander, undertakers for the Building the Court-House in the Borough of Lewistown, the sum of five hundred pounds, being the second draught agreeable to contract for the Building said Court-house."

The following order to the treasurer shows the time the court-house was first used. It is dated September 5, 1798, and was signed by the commissioners.

"Sir: Pay to James Alexander or John Norris the sum of Twenty-Eight dollars, being for the use of the present Court-House and preparing the same for the accomodation of the Court at August term, One thousand seven hundred and ninety eight."

The last payment on the court-house was made to James Alexander and John Norris, April 11, 1799, and was for five hundred pounds, with interest, and £87.38 extra, which was for fitting up a room for the commissioners.

In the fall of 1798, Richard Hope presented a bill "for erecting a table for the Clerk of the Court, a Council table and Jury boxes agreeably to a new plan and making shelves in the Commissioners' Room."

The court-house was erected in the centre of the diamond. It was built of brick, two stories in height, exactly square, with a cupola in the centre and with doors opening from Market and from Main Streets. An open market-house was built on the northeast corner of the court-house which was torn away in 1819, when, by an ordinance of the borough, the square about the court-house was to be improved. It was directed that the street "be raised one foot, with stone in the middle and graveled and turn-


piked to 9 inches at the edges and to extend twenty-one feet from the pavement of the court-house in each direction."

It would appear from the action of the grand jury given below that the public offices were not held in the court-house.

At the April sessions of court, 1799, the grand jury presented that Samuel Edmiston, Esq., prothonotary, should receive compensation out of the county treasury for his expense in furnishing an apartment for holding the public offices of the county, and also the adjourned Courts of Common Pleas and Orphans' Courts; also for books and stationery furnished by him; the annual sum to be fixed by the judges of the court and a majority of the county commissioners.

The public offices were probably held in the room fitted up by Mr. Edmiston until the erection of the public offices, which was about 1816.

On the 24th of November, 1815, George Hanewalt, John Kinzer and H. Burkholder, commissioners, advertised for proposals for building public offices. The proposals were to be handed to David Reynolds on or before the first Monday in January next, with whom plans and specifications were left.

Public offices were built soon after, in 1816, and were used until the erection of the present court-house.

The action that led to the erection of the present court-house was taken by the grand jury of the county at their meeting in November, 1837, when that body presented the following report embodying the reasons why a new court-house is needed:


"To the Honorable, the Judges of the Court of General Quarter Session of the Peace, now holding for the County of Mifflin.

"The Grand Inquest of the body of the County of Mifflin, inquiring for the interest of the same, would respectfully present that, after having gone through our other duties, think it very proper, under all the circumstances of the case, to recommend the removal and rebuilding in a permanent manner, in some suitaable place the Court-House and Public offices of the Said County (believing as we do that within a very few years past the present Court-House has cost in repairs a sum very near equal to what would be required to rebuild the same in a more suitable place). We do therefore recommend the taking down of both the Court-House and offices and rebuilding the whole together in a systematic manner out of the materials that may be used from the old buildings in addition to such new materials as may be necessary. And think it would be proper for the County Commissioners, to make provision in due time for such little expense as may be necessary to carry out the aforesaid project under the order and instruction of the Court aforesaid (believing as we do that money expended with due economy towards building and keeping in a proper state of repair such buildings as the public business of the County indispensably requires for public convenience, as also for the safe keeping of Public Records, etc., can never be a public loss).   "D. R. REYNOLDS, Foreman."

This report was received by the court, but not acted upon until November 8, 1839, when it was approved.

The lot on the corner of Main Street and the public square, on which the court-house now stands, was purchased, in 1842, of R. C. Hale, and in that year the contract for its erection was let to Holman & Simon, who completed it and delivered it to the commissioners in December, 1843. The amount paid, including $741.47 extra work, was in round numbers fifteen thousand dollars.

The size of the original building was forty-eight by thirty-two feet, with a portico ten by thirty-five feet.

The public offices were filled up on the first floor of the building with vaults and desks suitable to the wants of the different officers, and they have been occupied as such to the present time.

The court-room and grand and petit jury-rooms were on the second floor. The enlargement in 1878 increased the size of the court-room, and the jury-rooms were placed farther to the rear.

The last meeting held in the old court-house was the one mentioned in the Gazette of December 23, 1843, when the "Old Court-House is given as the place of holding a Democratic Whig Meeting." The building was torn down the next year and the Square was leveled and paved.

In the course of time repairs were needed and


in 1878 it was resolved at a meeting of the commissioners (April 20th) to repair and enlarge the court-house as recommended by the grand jury of the November and April terms preceding, providing the expense did not exceed ten thousand dollars.

Daniel Ziegler was employed to make plans and specifications which were adopted April 30th and the board advertised for sealed proposals to be opened May 9th. At that time the contract was let to Buyers, Guyger & Co. for $7245. The tower and vestibule was not in the original plan and contract was made for that part of the work September 9th, the same year, for $1850 making the entire cost of repairs and addition $9095.

POOR-HOUSE. - On the 31st of March, 1845, an act was passed by the assembly authorizing the people of Lewistown borough and of Granville and Derry townships to vote upon the question as to whether a poor-farm should be purchased. If by a vote it was decided in the affirmative, the townships and borough were each to contribute twenty-five hundred dollars towards the purchase in question and the maintenance of the poor.

A poor-farm was purchased by the borough and townships and on the 22d of April, 1850, an act was approved "for the erection of a loan for the support of the poor in the County of Mifflin" which provided that if "the poor-farm now owned by the borough of Lewistown should be sold by the burgess and Town Council a County poor-house should be erected as soon thereafter as could conveniently be done." The measure was carried out, and Samuel W. Taylor, Isaiah Coplin, Samuel Barr, James Criswell and David Jenkins were appointed commissioners to purchase real estate on or before August 1, 1850.

The commissioners, after viewing several sites, selected a tract of two hundred and two acres owned by James Burns and lying on the bank of the Kishacoquillas Creek one-half mile east of Lewistown. This tract, with two brick buildings upon it, was purchased July 20, 1850, for $1600 and at once converted into the poor-farm of Mifflin County, and it is still such.

CIVIL LIST OF MIFFLIN COUNTY.—The civil list of Mifflin County is here given as completely as it could be obtained from the records, -


Ninth District, composed of Huntingdon, Mifflin, Centre, Clearfield and McKean Counties: John Brown, 1820.

Twelfth District, composed of Huntingdon, Mifflin, Centre and Clearfield Counties: John Brown, 1822.

Fifteenth District, composed of Huntingdon, Mifflin, Centre and Clinton Counties: Dr. Joseph Henderson, 1832; re-elected 1834. George McCullough, 1839.


Ezra Doty, 1808.
William Beale, 1812.
Alexander Dysart, 1816.
Geo. McCullough, 1832.
R. P. McClay, 1838.
Jon. J. Cunningham, 1850.
Joseph S. Waream, 1874.
John B. Selheimer, 1884.


John Oliver, 1790.
James Banks, 1790.
Ezra Doty, 1790.
Jonathan Rothrock, 1790.
Daniel Christy, 1820.
John Patterson, 1828.
Joseph Kyle, 1828.
John Cummings, 1830.
Abraham S. Wilson, 1837.
James Burns, 1844.
William Wilson, 1845.
William Reed, 1846.
Hugh McKee, 1847-48.
Alex. Gibboney, 1849.
John Ross, 1850-51.
Henry P. Taylor, 1852.
Alex. Gibboney, 1853.
Elijah Morrison, 1854.
John Purchell, 1855-56.
Charles Bower, 1857.
  David Withrow, 1858.
George. Bates, 1859.
Adol. F. Gibboney, 1860.
James H. Ross, 1861.
Holmes Maclay, 1862.
C. C. Stanbarger, 1863-64.
James M. Brown, 1865–66.
John S. Miller, 1867.
Henry S. Wharton, 1867.
Samuel T. Brown, 1868.
Amos H. Martin, 1868.
Hen. J. McAteer, 1869-70.
A. Rohrer, 1869-70.
George V. Mitchell, 1871.
George Bates, 1872.
Jerome Hetrick, 1873.
Jos. W. Parker, 1874-75.
E. H. H. Stackpole,1876-77.
Jos. H. Maclay, 1878-80.
Dr. W. H. Parcels, 1883–84.
Geo. S. Hoffman, 1884–85.


Reuben C. Hale, 1861.


George Wilson, commissioned October 24, 1789.
William Wilson, commissioned November 6, 1792.
Andrew Nelson, commissioned November 7, 1796.
William Elliott, commissioned November, 5, 1798.
William Sterrett, commissioned May 10, 1800.
Edward McCarty, commissioned October 21, 1803.
William Scott, commissioned October 10, 1805.
William Bell, commissioned October 21, 1806.
John McDowell, commissioned November,16, 1809.
Daniel Christy, commissioned October 28, 1812.
Thomas Horrell, commissioned November 28, 1815.
Thomas Beale, commissioned October 21, 1818.


John Beale, commissioned September 13, 1821.
Samuel Edmiston, commissioned October 17, 1821.
George McCulloch, commissioned October 29, 1824.
Foster Milliken, commissioned November 21, 1827.
Samuel W. Stuart, commissioned November 13, 1830.
James Gibboney, commissioned October 25, 1833.
Robert Matthews, commissioned November 15, 1836.
James Turner, commissioned November 8, 1839.
John Stoneroad, commissioned November 7, 1842.
Robert McManigil, commissioned November 5, 1845.
Davis McKean Contner, commissioned November 9, 1848.
William Shimp, commissioned October 31, 1851.
Jacob Muthersbough, commissioned November 9, 1854.
Thomas E. Williams, commissioned November 7, 1857.
C. C. Stanbarger, commissioned November 9, 1860.
Davis McKean Contner, commissioned November 18, 1863.
William T. McEwen, commissioned November 9, 1866.
William Willis; commissioned February 20, 1869.
Michael Jones, commissioned November 13, 1869.
David Muthersbough, commissioned November 6, 1872.
Joseph W. Fleming, commissioned January 1, 1876.
George Buffington, commissioned January 1, 1879.
John S. Garrett, commissioned January 1, 1882.
C. Stewart Garrett, commissioned January 1, 1885.


James Lyon, 1789.
Robert Little, 1789.
Enoch Hastings, 1789.
Thomas Anderson, 1793.
John Wilson, 1794.
Joseph Sharp, 1794.
George McClelland, 1795.
James Harris, 1795.
Joseph Edmiston, 1796.
John McConnal, 1796.
William Lyon, 1799.
Ezra Doty, 1799.
Andrew Banks, 1800.
John Piper, 1800.
Nicholas Arnold, 1801.
John Horrell, 1802.
John Kelley, 1805.
Jonathan Rothrock, 1806.
William Arbuckle, 1808.
Henry Steely, 1809.
Joseph Sellers, 1810.
Francis Boggs, 1811.
Samuel Myers, 1812.
George Hanawalt, 1813.
Henry Burkholder, 1814.
John Kinser, 1815.
Samuel Wallick, 1816.
Christopher Horrell, 1817.
Louis Evans, 1818.
Henry Long, 1819.
David Walker, 1820.
William Ramsey, 1821.
William Wharton, 1822.
Andrew Bratton, 1823.
Benjamin Law, 1824.
Stephen Hinds, 1825.
William Sharon, 1826.
James Gibboney, 1827.
Thomas Kerr, 1828.
Francis Boggs, 1829.
John Knox, 1830.
Lukens Atkinson, 1831.
Robert Milliken, 1832.
Francis McCoy, 1833.
John McClenahan, 1834.
Samuel Alexander, 1835.
Casper Dull, 1835.
Thomas I. Postlethwaite, 1836.
Isaiah Coplin, 1837.
  Hugh Conly, 1838.
Robert. McKee, 1839.
Henry Leattor, 1840.
James Brisbin, 1841.
Samuel Barr, 1842.
John Fleming, 1843.
George Bell, 1844.
Solomon Kinser, 1845.
David Jenkins, 1846.
Levi Glass, 1847.
William Custer, 1848.
Gabriel Dunmire, 1849.
Thomas Stroup, 1850.
James Dorman, 1851.
Cyrus Stine, 1852.
James Fleming, 1853.
Jacob Hoover, 1854.
Jacob Linthurst, 1855.
William Wilson, 1856.
William Creighton, 1857.
John Peachey, 1858.
Richeson Bratton, 1859.
Samuel Brower, 1860.
John McDowell, 1861.
Samuel Drake, 1862.
Moses Miller, 1863.
Oliver P. Smith, 1863.
John Taylor, 1864.
James C. Dysart, 1865.
John W. Kearns, 1866.
Charles Naginey, 1867.
Thomas Roup, 1868.
James Shehan, 1869.
Henry S. Wilson, 1870.
Henry Garver, 1871.
Moses Miller, 1872.
Henry L. Close, 1873.
Jacob Stine, 1878.
David Hiester, 1874.
David Hiester, 1875.
John Culbertson, 1875.
William. A. Orr, 1875.
John Henry, 1878.
Robert F. Cupples, 1878.
Robert J. McNit, 1878.
Francis A. Means, 1881.
John F. Stine, 1881.
H. C. Van Zandt, 1881.


Thomas Anderson, 1789
John Culbertson, 1793.
W. W. Laird, 1801.
David Reynolds, 1819.
Ephraim Banks, 1822.
J. Dickson, 1827.
D. Milliken, 1831.
J. Dickson, 1833.
A. B. Norris, 1834.
Charles Ritz, 1835.
  Samuel P. Lilley, 1838.
Z. Rittenhouse, 1842.
H. J. Walters, 1847.
R. D. Smith, 1857.
George Frysinger, 1861.
Joseph S. Waream, 1866.
Joseph McCulloch, 1872.
Joseph Hoot, 1874.
J. K. Rhodes, 1876.
Samuel J. Bristen, 1885.


Samuel Edmiston, commissioned October 24, 1789.
John Norris, commissioned January 4, 1800.
William P. Maclay, commissioned February 28, 1809.
David Reynolds, commissioned November 22, 1816.
Ephraim Banks, commissioned March 25, 1818.
Robert Craig, commissioned March 25, 1821.
William Mitchell, commissioned January 14, 182_.
Abraham S. Wilson, commissioned January 7, 1830.
David R. Reynolds, commissioned March 12, 1832.
William B. Johnston, commissioned January 18, 1836.
William Brothers, commissioned December 22, 1837.
James Gibboney, commissioned February 8, 1839.
James Gibboney, elected November 14, 1839.

*At the organization of the county, and for about twenty years thereafter, the offices of Prothonotary, Clerk of Quarter Sessions, Oyer and Terminer, Register of Wills, Recorder of Deeds and Clerk of the Orphans' Court were held by one and the same person. This continued until February 23, 1809, when the offices were divided as at present.


David R. Reynolds, appointed April 28, 1841.
John R. McDowell, commissioned November 12, 1841.
Zachariah Rittenhouse, commissioned November 25, 1847.
Thomas F. McCoy, commissioned November 25, 1850.
Henry J. Walters, commissioned November 19, 1856.
Nathaniel C. Wilson, commissioned December 10, 1862.
William H. Bratton, commissioned January 9, 1866.
William S. Settle, commissioned January 1, 1875.
Lafayette Webb, commissioned January 1, 1884.


David Reynolds, commissioned February 28, 1809.*
David Milliken, commissioned November 22, 1816.
Tobias Kreider, commissioned January 14, 1824.
Joshua Beale, commissioned January 7, 1830.
Daniel Eisenbeise, commissioned January 18, 1836.
Enoch Beale, commissioned, February 8, 1839.
Enoch Beale, elected November 14, 1839.
Jesse R. Crawford, commissioned November 12, 1842.
James L. McIlvaine, commissioned November 25, 1848.
James McDowell, commissioned November 22,, 1851.
Joseph S. Waream, commissioned November 8, 1857.
Samuel Barr, commissioned November 23, 1860.
Samuel W. Barr, appointed September 9, 1862.
Samuel W. Barr, elected December 4, 1862.
Michael Riney, commissioned November 30, 1865.
John Baum, commissioned November 23, 1868.
Willis V. B. Coplin, commissioned January 1, 1875.
McClellan P. Wakefield, commissioned January I, 1881.

*The date at which the office was separated from that of Prothonotary.


Samuel Armstrong, appointed in 1790.
Samuel Montgomery, appointed in 1793.
James Alexander, appointed in 1794.
John Norris, appointed in 1797.
Andrew Keiser, appointed in 1811.
Joseph B. Ard, appointed in 1812.
Robert Robison, apppointed in 1817.
William Brizbin, appointed in 1819.
Joseph B. Ard, appointed in 1822.
Henry Kulp, appointed in 1824.
Joseph B. Ard, appointed in 1827.
William Mitchell, appointed in 1830.
James Dickson, appointed in 1832.
Samuel Edmiston, appointed in 1834.
James Burns, appointed in 1835.
Charles Ritz, appointed in 1838.
James Burns, appointed in 1841.
Lewis Hoover, elected in 1841.
James A. Cunningham, elected in 1843.
John C. Sigler, elected in 1845.
Nathaniel Fear, elected in 1847.
Robert H. McClintic, elected in 1849.
Daniel Zeigler, elected in 1851.
William Morrison, elected in 1853.
Henry Zerbe, elected in 1855.
John B. Selheimer, elected in 1857.
William C. Vines, elected in 1859.
Robert W. Patton, elected in 1861.
Amos Hoot, elected in 1863.
Charles Gibbs, elected in 1865.
Joseph McFadden, elected in 1867.
John Swan, elected in 1869.
John A. Shimp, elected in 1871.
Jesse Mendenhall, elected in 1873.
James M. Nolte, elected in 1875.
Joseph A. Fichthorn, elected in 1878.
James. Firoved, elected in 1881.
Robert Myers, elected in 1884.


Michael M. Monahan, appointed in 1812.
Robert Robison, appointed in 1829.
David Hough, appointed in 1832.
William Shaw, appointed in 1836.
John Shaw, elected in 1839.
David Hough, elected in 1842.
John R. Weeks, elected in 1850.
John Swartzell, elected in 1853.
George H. Swigart, elected in 1859.
Thomas F. Niece, elected in 1862.
John Swartzell, elected in 1868.
William J. Swigart, elected in 1874.
David A. McNabb, elected in 1877.
David Hough, appointed in January, 1880.
W. Worrall Marks, elected in 1880.


James Taylor, appointed in 1789.
William Armstrong, appointed in 1791.
John Culbertson, appointed in 1792.
Robert Steel, appointed in 1795.
James C. Ramsey, appointed in 1798.
Edward Williams, appointed in 1799.
John Steel, appointed in 1802.
James Walker, appointed in 1805.
James Glasgow, appointed in 1809.
William McCrum, appointed in 1811.
John Stewart, appointed in 1828.
Thomas J. Postlethwait, appointed in 1829.
James McDowell, appointed in 1830.
John McKee, appointed in 1836.
Christian Hoover, elected in 1839.
Frederick Swartz, elected in 1845
George Davis, elected in 1848.


George Wiley, elected in 1851.
James McCord, elected in 1854.
John McKee, elected in 1857.
John Musser, elected in 1858.
George Miller, elected in 1859.
John Davis, elected in 1872.
Samuel Belford, elected in 1875.
George Miller, elected in 1876.
William W. Trout, appointed in 1877.
William N. Hoffman; elected in 1880.
Grantham T. Waters, appointed in 1883.


James M. Brown, 1850.
Aug. Wakefield, 1850.
Robert Mathews, 1850.
William M. Fleming, 1851.
Joshua Morrison, 1852.
Adam Crissman, 1853.
Henry Book, 1854.
John Atkinson, 1855.
Daniel Zeigler; 1855.
John Peachy, 1856.
John Cubbison, 1857.
[Act of Assembly made
the commissioners also
directors of the poor.
This continued until
Alex. Morrison, 1870.
  Christian C. Hoover, 1870.
James Kyle, 1870.
Joseph H. Morrison, 1871.
Charles Bratton, Jr. 1872.
Andrew Spanogle, 1873.
Joseph M. Fleming, 1874.
William Greer, 1875.
William Wilson, 1876.
Samuel B. Wills, 1877.
Samuel Mitchell, 1878.
Michael C. Bratton, 1879.
Robert M. Taylor, 1880.
E. C. Kearns, 1881.
David Norton, 1882.
Jacob Bollenger, 1883.
Robert Taylor, 1884.
Joseph Winter, 1885.


R. C. Ross, from July 5, 1854, to October 18, 1856.
A. M. Woods, from Oct. 21, 1856, to June 3, 1857.
A. D. Hawn, from June 3, 1857, to Dec. 1, 1858.
A. J. Warner, from Dec. 1, 1858, to Aug. 29, 1859.
Azariah Smith, from August 30, 1859, to June 1, 1863.
J. Williamson, from August 10, 1863, to June 5, 1864.
M. Mohler, from June 6, 1864, to June 5, 1869.
J. M. Bell, from June 4, 1859, to June 7, 1875.
W. C. Gardner, from June 7, 1875, to June 6, 1878.
W. C. McClenahan, from June 6, 1878, to June 2, 1884.
W. L. Owens, elected June 2, 1884.

*The salary of the superintendent in 1852 was $500; now it is one thousand dollars.



Towns 1790 1800 1810 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880
Armagh .. 1055 .. 1613 2132 1968 1742 1970 1873 2067
Brown .. .. .. .. .. 903 1015 1069 1192 1376
Decatur .. .. .. 635 765 767 990 1216 1171 1406
Derry .. 1135 .. 1551 2720 1080 1342 1611 1901 2670
Granville .. .. .. .. .. 1016 1052 1221 1297 1489
Lewistown Bor. .. 523 .. 773 1479 2058 2733 2638 2737 3222
McVeytown Bor. .. .. .. .. .. 348 580 541 685 679
Menno .. .. .. .. .. 974 1020 1090 1173 1191
Oliver .. .. .. .. .. 1907 1668 1143 1355 1386
Union .. 791 .. 1391 1757 1221 1284 1415 1468 1417
Wayne   1304 .. 2096 3691 1350 1201 1418 1453 1329
Bratton .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 702 852 1028
Newton Hamilton Bor. .. .. .. .. .. .. 353 368 350 317
  .. 4808 .. 8059 12544 13092 14980 16400 17407 19577


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