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Long before Perry was a county Rye was
created as a separate township of Cumberland County, there being but two older
townships of the territory now comprising Perry County, the townships of Tyrone
and Toboyne. Rye was created out of a part of Tyrone in 1766. Tyrone
originally contained all the lands in the county lying west of the
Juniata. At the January sessions of the courts of Cumberland County, in
1766, a petition was presented asking for the erection of a new township out of
the lower end of Tyrone. Upon due consideration the following order was
issued by the court at the March term:
"Upon petition of Severall of the Inhabitants of Tyrone
Township to this Court, Setting forth that Said Township is too large, it is
adjudged and ordered by the said Court, that from the North Mountain to the
Tuskarora Mountain by Mr. West's, and from that to Darlington's and to Strack
the Tuskarora about William Noble's be the line, and the name of the Lower be
called Rye Township."
It will be of interest to note that Rye Township, as then created,
contained besides its present territory, the townships of Penn, Wheatfield,
Miller, Oliver, Juniata, Tuscarora, and parts of Centre and Carroll. It
remained to such extent until 1793, when Juniata Township was created, with its
southern boundary at the top of Mahanoy Ridge, which automatically became the
northern boundary of Rye. Rye Township is bounded on
the north by Wheatfield and Penn Townships, on the east by Marysville Borough,
on the south by Cumberland County, and on the west by Carroll Township.
Colonel Samuel Hunter, of Dauphin County, warranted lands in the lower
end of the township, including the location of the Borough of Marysville, in
1755, 1756, and 1757. His holdings covered a tract extending two miles
along the river and three miles westward in Fishing Creek Valley.
Adjoining Hunter on the south William Swanzey warranted 322 acres with a river
frontage of only thirty rods, and below him on the river as far south as the
county line Hartley Wormely warranted 312 acres in 1792. His warrant,
dated September 8, 1755, was the first in the township as now constituted.
Other warrants were those of John W. Kittera, 372 acres in 1792; Alexander
Berryhill, a tract; Duncan Stewart, 142 acres; Barefoot Bronson, 91 acres in
1784; Henry Robison, 240 acres; James Starr, 359 acres; William Swanson, 322
acres; William Davis, 327 acres; George McLaughlin, 442 acres; John Bowman, a
tract on which he had a gristmill, a sawmill and a carding machine; John Wiley
and John Bolton, 307 acres, in 1792; Alex. Johnson, 400 acres; Humphrey
Williams, 311 acres; James McFarlane, 329 acres in 1792; Thomas Buchanan, 329
acres in 1793; William McFarlane, 322 acres in 1793; David Ralston, 323 acres in
1792, on which for years was the post office called Keystone; John Clous (or
Cless), 281 acres in 1789; Robert Wallace, 337 acres; Robert Whitehill, 105
acres in 1795, on which was located for years the Grier's Point post
Ralph, John and James Sterrett during 1788 warranted 400 acres extending for a
distance of three miles east of Croghan's Gap, which later took their name, and
by which it is known to this day. The main valley road was laid out by the
pioneers and was used as a post road, Peter, Samuel and John Harold being
postriders. Thomas Burney warranted 300 acres in 1765; Robert Allen, 50
acres in 1795; Martin Dubbs, 400 acres in 1793 and William Glover, 150 acres in
Nancy Bovard took up two tracts, one of 150 acres, and one of 250 acres, in
1815, and her father, Charles Bovard, in the same year warranted 250
acres. Bovard had come from Carlisle, in 1815, and settled in the
valley. Here he built a tavern which he conducted until 1834. It was
located on the old road from Carlisle to Sunbury. Keystone is located
partly on this tract. One of Bovard's daughters married Zachariah Rice,
who was an early mail route contractor in Perry County. This hotel was the
only one in the valley from Sterrett's Gap to Marysville. The store and
post office there were long kept by Charles Barshinger.
The Gambers and Ensminger's were early settlers of the Fishing Creek Valley,
practically all of which lies within Rye Township. However, the entire
section just north of the Kittatinny Mountain, east of the Susquehanna River, to
Schuylkill County, bears this name.
In the year of its erection---1766---the
assessment list of Rye Township was as follows:
Grier's Point, once a post office, is located in Rye Township, over a mile
east of the Carroll Township line, nine miles from Marysville. It was
named after Samuel Grier, who settled there shortly after the creation of the
new county. Mr. Grier kept a hotel known as the "Hunter's
Home." Captain William Messinger kept the first store here, Samuel
Grier succeeding him. David P. Lightner succeeded Grier upon his
death. It is now owned by Harry A. Miller.
On the old Valley road, near the George Kocher property, now owned by the James
Bell estate, a log schoolhouse was built before 1800. It was lighted by
inserting panes of glass between the logs and was covered with a clapboard
roof. Fourteen miles west of Marysville, on the old Valley road at Daniel
Cowen's, were located at different times two schoolhouses, one built long before
1800, and the other in 1805. The later was in use in 1830. Among the
teachers were Isaac Gray and Samuel Coble.
On February 2, 1819, Jacob Sidle sold forty perches of land to Christian
Ensminger, William Messinger, Peter Foulk, Conrad Sloop, Peter Gamber, George
Albright, Conrad Yohe, Philip Hench, George Shade, Daniel Yohe, David Shade,
Solomon Finicle, David Myers, James White, Peter Billow and Jacob Sidle for the
purpose of erecting a schoolhouse thereon. The deed recites that they were
to pay "unto Jacob Sidle the sum of one dollar fur their shears of said
school, and the said subscribers is to pay an Eaquel Portion fur building said
house and to keep the said house in good Repear."
On the Bovard lands a schoolhouse was built before 1828, and was named
"Congruity." On June 28, 1828, Bovard deeded the ground on
which it stood to the school trustees.
In 1797 Christian Ensminger was possessed of about 600 acres of land lying
between Fishing Creek and Pine Hill, on which he built a sawmill which was in
use long after 1820. Jacob Sidle, an early settler of Fishing Creek, in
1820 was the owner of 480 acres, a sawmill and a gristmill. He then lived
in the upper end of the valley, in Rye Township. Shortly after 1820 he
took down his gristmill and moved it across Pine Hill to the present site of
Jacob Bishop built a sawmill about 1835, about four miles west of Marysville,
which stood until 1878. Charles Bovard built the sawmill later known as
Keller's, located west of Keystone. It burned many years ago.
Captain William Messinger built the chop and sawmill, east of Keystone, about
1835. Peter Billow built a sawmill about 1835.
The mill in Rye Township known to the older generations as Hartman's mill, was
one of the mills erected in the county's territory before 1800. It was
built in 1798 by Nicholas Wolf and his son-in-law, John Bowman. At the
same time and place they built a carding mill and a sawmill, which have long
since disappeared. The gristmill was destroyed in 1880, being then owned
by Neihart & Son, who rebuilt it and sold it to Alexander Hartman, who in
turn remodeled it and installed rolls. From Hartman it passed to John
Cowns, then to Henry Fisher, from whose estate it was transferred to P. H.
Heishley, the present owner, in 1910. The community surrounding the mill
is now known as Glenvale, and the mill as the Glenvale Roller Mills.
According to the mercantile appraiser's report the following business houses
exist in Rye Township, the date following being the time of entering the
General stores: Mrs. E. L. Bell (1906), established by C. Barshinger
(1866); J. W. Hummel, Mervin Swinn (1919), H. A. Miller, L. I. Leonard
James Bell estate, fertilizer and groceries; P. H. Heishley, flour and
As early as 1825 Dr. Frederick Klineyoung located at Keystone, where he
practiced until his death in 1846. Dr. F. A. Koughling succeeded him in
1846, and practiced there until his death in 1855. Dr. Kaechline, a
German, began practice at Grier's Point in 1853, but was found frozen to death
while in the performance of professional duties, three years later. Dr.
Joseph Swartz succeeded him in 1857, practicing there for three years, when he
removed to Duncannon. Dr. Edward Ebert practiced at Grier's Point for
several years, beginning about 1857. Dr. Theodore Lightner was here for a
short time in 1880. Dr. Chas. W. Dean, a graduate of the Eclectic Medical
School, 1871, located near the top of the Blue Mountain at Dean's Gap, and
practiced in both Perry and Cumberland Counties.
Bethel Evangelical Church. Bethel Evangelical Church came to be
erected through the results of meetings held in schoolhouses during the few
years previous to its erection. For a period it was served by the pastors
of the Marysville Evangelical Church. It was known as the Fishing Creek
charge until 1907, since which it has been known as Keystone charge. The
first church was erected in 1846, at a cost of $800. Among the first
members were Martin Souder, Mary Souder, George Fenicle, Sarah Fenicle, B. F.
Leonard, Elizabeth Leonard and George Kocher, Sr. This church was replaced
by a new one in 1889. The pastors have been.....
From this charge there entered the ministry of the denomination, Reverends B. F.
Keller, J. M. Dick, H. A. Benfer, J. M. Dice and others.
Salem Evangelical Church. The first meetings of the Evangelicals of
the Salem territory were held in conjunction with those of the Bethel
Evangelical Church in the valley. In 1856 a church was built and was in
use until 1905, when it was replaced by a new one. Among the first members
were Israel Dick, Elizabeth Dick, Henry Foulk, Jacob Bitner, Sr., Frances Bitner,
Emanuel Keller, Chas. Barshinger, John Kreamer, Sarah Kreamer, David Benfer and
Matilda Benfer. It was a part of the Fishing Creek charge until 1907,
since which it has been known as Keystone charge. The pastors are the same
as those of Bethel Evangelical Church, mentioned previously.
Glenvale Church of God. Services of this denomination were first
held in the Oak Grove schoolhouse at Hartman's mill, or Glenvale, as it is now
known, long prior to 1882, when the new church was built there, costing
$1,800. This was largely made possible through the will of a Mr. Welty,
who willed $1,000 towards building a church there. A. Mr. Bowman donated
the plot of ground where the church and cemetery are located. Prior to the
erection of the church James Wagner held a sucessful revival in a wagonmaker
shop. Rev. McDonald was the pastor at the time of the erection of the
church. Among the original members were Jacob Fortenbaugh, Sr., and
Alexander Hartman and their wives. David Maxwell, Henry Clay, Wm. McFadden
and A. Swartz were early ministers. The Marysville ministers of the same
faith have served this people.
The above information was extracted from the
book, History of Perry County Pennsylvania; H. H. Hain; Harrisburg; 1922.
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