HISTORY OF LOWER TURKEY-FOOT TOWNSHIP
TURKEY-FOOT derived its name from a peculiar natural configuration of the land formed by the junction of three rivers where the town of Confluence now stands. Within the territory of Lower Turkey-Foot the first settlements in Somerset county were made. Here white men dwelt in the hunting grounds of the savages; here the severest trials of pioneer life were encountered.
At the organization of Somerset county, in 1795, Turkey-Foot township embraced fully one-sixth of the entire county. It was the second township within the present territory of the county, having been formed from a portion of Brother's Valley as a township of Bedford County in the year 1773. Townships organized subsequently, reduced the territory of Turkeyfoot, so that in 1848 it embraced only the present townships of Upper and Lower Turkey-Foot, which were organized as separate precincts in that year.
The following is a list of the taxpayers in 1796:
Peter Augusteen, David Ankeny, Gabriel Abrams, Anthony Brandeberry, Widow Briningham, James Black,
Joseph Blanset, Jacob Bruner, William Baker, George Garnet, Joseph Biggs, Peter Bradford, Joseph
Barkdue, Jacob Brandeberry, Henry Bumershire, John Bailey, Benjamin Bailey, Michael Brunei, Thomas
Barney, Robert Brooke, John Brooke, Jesse Brooke, John Cunningham, Robert Cocherton, James Conner,
Patrick Conner, John Collins, James Campbell, Robert Colburn, Lawrence Carney, John Clark, Thomas
Coal, Matthias Carpenter, John Clark, Jesse Clark, Frederick Cosman, Oliver Drake, Isaac Dwire,
Hugh Donaley, Nathaniel Davis, Peter Everly, Henry Everly, Daniel Ellis, Samuel Francis, Widow
Forsha, Elias Flate, Peter Foust, Richard Green, Thomas Green, David Goodwin, Jacob Hartzel, Esq.,
Henry Hartzel, Thomas Huff, Sr., Nicholas Harzell, Michael Harmon, Abraham Huff, John Hamble,
John Mitchell, collector. Total valuation, real and personal, seventy-nine thousand three hundred and sixty-six dollars. Amount of tax collected, three hundred and ninety-six dollars and eighty-three cents.
The following persons, named on the TurkeyFoot tax-list for 1798, pursued other occupations than farming:
Jos. Beggs, weaver; Jas. Conner, tailor; Oliver Drake gristmill and sawmill; Peter Everly, blacksmith; Henry Hartzell, sawmill ; Thos. Huff, Sr., cooper; Geo. Heinbaugh, weaver; Geo. Isemenger wheelwright; Jno. Jones, gristmill and sawmill; Geo. Camp, Sr., smithshop and sawmill; David King, gristmill; Jno. Ring, tanner; John Keever, blacksmith; Jas. Love, weaver; Jas. McMillen Sr., weaver; Peter Marks, shoemaker; John McLean, surveyor ; Dan. McCarter, sawmill; Jac. Nave, Cooper; Peter Penrod, mason; (leg. Pringey, weaver; Rich. Pinkerton, shoemaker; Tobias Reams, tailor; Henry Rush, smith; John Smith, joiner; Jona. Woodside, wheelwright; John Youman, schoolmaster; Sam.McLean,blacksmith; Mich. Bruner, tanner; Robt. Cockerton, schoolmaster; Jas. Jones, blacksmith.
As is elsewhere stated (see general history), there is authentic testimony that several white men were settled at or near Turkey-Foot in 1768. The names of these pioneers were Henry Abrahams, Ezekiel Dewitt, James Spencer, Benjamin Jennings, John Cooper, Ezekiel Hickman, I John Enslow, Henry Enslow and Benj. Pursley. l
The colony which founded the Jersey Baptist church came From New Jersey to Turkey-Foot about 1774. This colony consisted of fifteen or twenty families, more or less intimately connected by ties of relationship and intermarriage. The early settlers, aside from the New Jersey colony, came mainly from Maryland and Virginia, following what was then a well-defined route of travel, the old Turkey-Foot road. This road came down White's creek to the Casselman, which it crossed near Harnedsville, crossed the Hog Back where Ursina now is, thence onward across Laurel Hill creek where the old stockade stood, and up the Lick river to Stewart's crossing, near Connellsville.
William Rush was born in New Jersey in 1727; settled in this township, on the farm now owned by John Minder, in 1773, and died in 1800. Among 'his children were Benjamin, Isaac and Jacob; Jacob was born in New Jersey in 1755, and at the age of eighteen came to the wilds of Turkey-Foot with his father. He took up a tomahawk claim by deadening three trees, which entitled him to sixty acres of' land. He served in the revolutionary war and died in 1850. He married Mary Skinner, and was the father of eight children: Reuben, Highley (King), William, John, Sarah (White), Amos, Jacob and Mary (McMillen). William was born in 1784, and died in 1870. He was the father of twelve children. Jehu Rush, his son, lived in this township. In 1849 he purchased of Jackson Colborn the farm on which he now lives. Mr. Rush has been school director.
William Brook,- an early pioneer, came from the east and settled on Laurel Hill creek. He was a blacksmith, but devoted most of his time to fishing and hunting.
Henry Abrams, father of Gabrial Abrams, built the first house within the borough of Confluence. He had apple trees planted in 1768. The surveyors who appeared testified that he had been an early settler and had cleared the land. Henry Abrams was born 1720 in Wales . He came first to Staunton, Va. and moved to the Turkeyfoot area as early as 1765.
James Spenser Jr. settled in Turkeyfoot Twp about 1764 on that point of land, now Confluence Borough, between the Casselman River and the Laurel Hill Creek. By 1772 he had 21 acres of cleared land, which was above average. He did not have his land surveyed or patented until 1786. It contained about 250 acres, and is called "Good Fane" in the Patent. In 1798, he sold the land to Captain William Tissue and moved to Addison twp. and then on to Perry County, Ohio in 1806.
Henry Abrams and James Spencer both served in the Revolutionary War. Henry's name is on the DAR plaque in the center of the square in Confluence. He served his country as a 2nd LT in the Revolutionary war. The river has taken his final resting place. James is not on the list because he moved his family to Ohio to claim his government land. His daughter Rhoda, who married Benjamin Jennings stayed on and raised their children in Turkeyfoot and so did Gabriel Abrams.
A man named Tissue, who probably came from New Jersey, and eventually purchased James Spencer’s land, where Confluence now is, paid a convict's passage from Baltimore, having employed him to work on his farm. One day, when Tissue was away from home, the man took advantage of his absence, shut Tissue's two little boys up in a stable, murdered their mother, and robbed the house of a watch and other valuables. Then piling flax on the body of the murdered woman, he set fire to it and fled. He was followed by armed men, overtaken and shot. The shot took effect in his foot, partially cutting off his toes. The murderer then set his uninjured foot upon the wounded toes and wrenched th em off. He tried to escape, but-was captured and died in prison. Tissue afterward married Huldah Rush, daughter of William Rush.
Jacob Tissue inherited the land where Confluence now stands. His son Isaac, born in 1793, was the next owner. Isaac Tissue died in 1871. 'He married Mary Lenhart, and was the father of nine children: William, John, Peter, Hiram, Ross, Alfred N., Sophia (Huff),: Rachel (Chapman) and Betsey (Wilhelm). A. Newton Tissue bought the homestead, but in 1869 sold it to the company which laid out the town of Confluence ; In 1870 he purchased the farm he now occupies. Mr. Tissue is the owner of about four hundred and fifty-four acres. He served in the late war in CO. K, 11th Penn. Vols., from October, 1864,to June; 1865.
Among the early settlers of Turkey-Foot were the Hannas, who located where Harnedsville now is. The last of the old stock, Maj. Alexander Hanna, died in 1881, aged seventy-nine He was a noted character in his day. Of a bright intellect and remarkable physical strength, he performed deeds of almost superhuman power. He was a noted wrestler, and, though never aggressive, was a dangerous antagonist when excited. It is related of him that he once had a feud of many years standing with a family in Addison township. One day the young men of the family, five in number, attacked him at a muster in 1828, and provoked a fight. The major handled the young men as though they were sticks. After one of them had cut him so badly that his entrails protruded, the wrangle was brought to a conclusion by some of the witnesses. At another time, when the National pike was building, some young-men, who were jealous of the major's reputation and wished to test his courage, fastened a bear in a dark pen and dared Hanna to enter. He went in, and when the bear attacked him, struck the animal with his fist and broke its jaw. Hanna served many years as justice of the peace, and was also major of militia and brigade inspector. Maj. Hanna weighed two hundred and forty pounds when eighteen years of age.. Among other well-attested feats which he performed was the lifting of a casting weighing fourteen hundred pounds.
Alexander Hanna, Sr., grandfather of the major, was born in Ireland in 1737, and died in Somerset county in 1809. His son James, born in Ireland in1770, came to America when young, and died in Somerset county in 1819. James served as representative to the legislature and state senator; he was also brigade inspector for three 'counties. He married Ann Leech, and was the father of John, Mary, Thomas, James, Alexander, William, Phila; Jane, Martha and Anna. John, the eldest son, was a member of the legislature, and held other responsible offices.
Capt. Andrew Friend, a native of the Potomac valley, in Virginia, a skilled Indian hunter and backwoodsman, moved to the Turkey-Foot region while Indians were still numerous here. He died in Somerset county, aged one hundred and one years. One of Friend's daughters married a Hyatt, a member of one of the early TurkeyFoot families.
John McNair, a revolutionary soldier, was a native of Scotland. After the war he settled near Harnedsville, where he died. Edward Harned married Ann, daughter of John McNair, for his second wife.
John Hyatt, one of the early settlers, was a native of Maryland. He came with several others, accompanied by a number of slaves, to Turkey-Foot soon after-the settlement began. While crossing the Negro mountain, a party of Indians fired upon them and mortally wounded one of the negroes, the strongest man in the company. A piece of a hollow log was found and placed over the negro to shelter him. Throwing it off, he said, " Save yourselves and never mind me; I shall die soon." It is said that the Negro Mountain took its name from this circumstance.
John Hyatt died about 1840. He married Susan Friend, and their children were Cohn, Andrew, Charles, Jemima (Heinebaugh), Keziah (Heinebaugh), Sally (Tissue), Diana (Colborn) and Polly (Moon). John was born in 1791 and died in 1850. He was the father of A. S. Hyatt, of this township. A. S. has served as school director and auditor of the township.
Christopher King, an early settler, died in 1811. He lived on the farm known as the Stone House property. He married Elizabeth Hanna and reared a large family. John C. and Thomas were his sons. Thomas King was a state senator and held other public offlces From this county he removed to Ohio, where he was afterward elected judge.
Adam Snyder was a German and settled in this township in an early day. His eldest son, Adam, was born in Turkey-Foot in 1784; he removed to Brother's Valley, where he died.
Moses Collins was an early resident of this township. He lived on the place since known as the Jennings farm. He sold out to two brothers of the name of Skinner, and moved west of Laurel Hill, where he was one of the pioneers of Fayette county and built the first cabin in the Indian Creek settlement. His son Henry, a millwright and bridge-builder, learned his trade in Connellsville and worked at it in various parts of Somerset county. He built several bridges and mills, and built the first carding-mill in the county, at Ankeny's mill, Milford township. His son, Dr. William Collins, at present associate judge of Somerset county, came to Somerset from Fayette county in 1841, and has since resided here. He is the only lineal descendant of the original family now living in Somerset county. In 1840 he commenced a superficial geological survey of the eastern portion of the county, to determine its mineral value. He located and developed some of the first coal mines in the Meyersdale basin. He was also the first discoverer of limestone in this region, and was the first to urge its value for agricultural purposes. For seven or eight years he burned lime for use as a fertilizer, and by his efforts in this direction did much to enhance the value of farming lands in this section, and to him the farmers of the county are largely indebted for this valuable fertilizer.
Previous to: his investigations and operations in limestone, the soil in the greater portion of the county had become so impoverished by continued cropping and the consequent exhaustion of this necessary ingredient, that wheat and corn, especially the former, were not produced in sufficient quantities for home consumption. The farmers were at first slow to avail themselves of this valuable aid in the restoration of their lands, but being convinced of its great value, its use became general. In its introduction the doctor suffered serious pecuniary loss, and it is stated that the citizens of the county, recognizing the valuable service rendered by him in this direction, and desiring to show their appreciation of his efforts, elected him to the honorable position he now occupies.
In his operations in the burning of lime he found it necessary to construct an inclined railway from the quarry to the kiln. He made the patterns for the wheels, built the cars and put the railway in successful operation. This was the first inclined railway in the county, and for some time was an object of great curiosity. The doctor has for the last twenty-two years been engaged in the practice of his profession, that of dentistry, in the village of Somerset, and is still doing a large and successful business.
John Collins, a brother of Moses, also resided in Somerset county very early. He moved to the vicinity of Uniontown His son Thomas was afterward sheriff of Fayette county. Edward Harned was the first of the name in this county. His son Samuel, who laid out the village of Harnedsville, was a man of business activity, and at one time owned considerable property.
Andrew Ream ( the name was originally spelled Rihm) is believed to have come to the Turkey-Foot region in 1763. He was born in 1737, and died in 1818. His farm was the land on which the town of Ursina now is. Samuel, the last survivor of the family died several years ago. The grandfather of Andrew Ream came to Philadelphia with William Penn in 1663, and built fourteen houses in the town. John Ream was probably born in Loudoun County about 1759. Early in life he came to Turkey-Foot and lived upon the Ream farm, where Ursina now is. He died in 1839. He was married three times. His first wife died in 1792. The following is a translation of the German inscription upon the stone erected to her memory in the old graveyard below Ursina: " Here lies buried Anna Rosina Ream, wife of John Ream and daughter of Frederick Weitzel. In her married life of eight years and six months she bore four sons and two daughters. She died July 15, 1792. Her death was caused by the bite of a snake; in twenty-four hours she was dead." Of the children of John Ream, Thomas, Samuel, Catharine (Jennings) and Mary (Weyant) reached mature years. Thomas was a miller, and ran the old gristmill at Draketown. He was killed by the falling of a tree one stormy night while returning from a visit to a sick girl. He married Barbara Haines, and was the father of Jacob, John, Moses, Thomas, Christina (Jennings) and Mary (Flanagan). Thomas is the only survivor. He lived at Draketown since his fourth year, farming and milling. He has been justice of the peace twenty years, and was recruiting officer of this township during the late war.
Benjamin Jennings was an early settler of Turkey-Foot, and located on a farm between Ursina and Confluence. He served throughout the revolutionary war, holding the rank of captain. He died upon the farm which afterward passed to his son Thomas. Capt. Jennings married Rhoda Spencer, and was the father of twelve children: Benjamin, James, Jesse, David, Israel, William, Thomas, Rhoda, Rebecca (Heinbaugh), Olly, Margaret (Nicola) and Mary (Nicola). Only Mary is living. Thomas was born in 1805, and died in 1872. He married Christina Ream, and was the father of John R., J. B. and Sarah (Buckman). The father of Capt. Jennings settled in the Turkey-Foot region before the revolutionary war. Benjamin entered the army at the age of eighteen. During the period of Indian depredations, the Turkey-Foot settlers under Capt. Jennings, resolved to follow and punish a band of Indians which had been plundering the neighborhood. In the hurry and excitement of preparing for the march across the Laurel Hill, Capt. Jennings forgot his rifle which he had left standing against a tree, near where Gus. Sellers now lives. The company marched all day, and halted at what is now called Davistown, where they camped. Jennings returned on foot across the mountain, and securing his rifle, was back among his men before they were aware of his absence. He was a large man and of great physical endurance. The following is a list of revolutionary soldiers who settled and died in the Turkey-Foot region: Jacob Rush, Sr., Capt. Benj. Jennings, Oliver Drake, Obadiah Reed, James Moon, George Beeler, Robert Colborn, John McNair, Oliver Friend. All are buried in the Jersey cemetery except the following: Jennings, old cemetery at Ursina; McNair, at Six Poplars; Friend, near Confluence.
The farm now owned by Jacob Sterner,situated at Confluence, was once the site of an Indian village. Mr. Sterner has unearthed a number of Indian skeletons in plowing, also ashes and traces of campfires. In 1878, as John S. Stanton and John H Glisan were plowing on this farm, they turned up a flat stone under which they found an earthen pot, of about a a quart's capacity, in shape and color like a coconut. Underneath this was found a human skull. The plowmen thought they had discovered a pot of gold, and were greatly disappointed when they found that such was not the case.
William Tannehill, one of the first settlers, was born in Preston county, West Virginia. About 1768 he came, a young man, to the farm now owned by Dr. Harah, near Draketown. The farm was first purchased by James Tannehill, brother of William, for two gallons of rum and a grubbing hoe. William Tannehill was a captain of militia in the war of 1812. For twenty years he served as constable; he was also a merchant and auctioneer. He died in 1825. He married Delilah and was the father of Zachariah, Josiah, William and Nancy (Hyatt). Zachariah was born in 1798, and died in 1871. He was a noted hunter, and captured many deer and bears. On one occasion, having driven an old bear into a den where her cubs were, he took a hickory withe, made a slipnoose of it, and, watching his opportunity, threw it over the bear's head. Despite her struggles, she was drawn out and killed. He then entered the den and took out three young. It was with one of these cubs that Maj. Hanna fought, breaking its jaw with his fist.
Zachariah Tannehill married Mary Lanning, and was the father of eleven children, seven of whom are living. Eli, his eldest son, was killed at the battle of Petersburg. Joseph, the second son, was also in the war, and at Folly Island, South Carolina. Zachariah L., the youngest son, is a well-known farmer of this township, and has held various township offices. In early life he was a teacher. He was also a soldier in the late war.
Joseph Lanning was one of the early settlers, and came from New Jersey. He lived near the Jersey church. He died from the bite of a rattlesnake.
Robert Colborn, one of the earliest settlers of Turkey-Foot, was the progenitor of the Colborns of Somerset county. He passed his later years in this county, and was buried in the Jersey graveyard. His son Abraham was born in this county in 1788. He was the father of George Colborn, who died at Fortress Monroe in 1864, from disease contracted while serving his country. A. J. and G. W. Colborn are sons of George. G. W. Colborn has been a resident of Harnedsville since 1871, and has been in the mercantile business since 1879.
In 1815 John McCarty advertises in the Somerset Whig that he " continues to carry on the business of fulling and dyeing at Jonathan Drake's mill in Turkey-Foot township, Somerset county, where cloth will be thankfully received, neatly handled and carefully returned on the shortest notice, in case of good drying weather."
John Younkin was one of the early settlers of Upper Turkey-Foot. His son Jacob J., born on the old homestead, settled in Lower Turkeyfoot, on a farm purchased of A. J. Colborn. He married Dorcas Hartzel, and of their ten children five are living: Susanna (Koontz), Tabitha (Grim), Belinda (Grossman). Caldwell and Balaam. Balaam Younkin has resided in this township since 1868, and on his present farm since 1873.
Joseph Lichty, a native of Fayette county, came to Addison township, Somerset county, when young, and in 1855 settled on his present farm in Lower Turkey-Foot, purchasing two hundred and fifty acres of A. J. Colborn. Mr. Lichty has held numerous township offices.
Harrison H. Kemp, whose ancestors were early settlers at West Salisbury, was born at Petersburg, and has resided in Lower Turkeyfoot since 1857. He has a beautiful and pleasant home, and is largely engaged in the nursery business.
Hiram Frantz a native of Allegheny county, Maryland, came to this township in 1855. In 1881 he purchased his present farm of two hundred acres, near Confluence. Mr. Frantz served in the late war, in Co. B. 18th Penn. Cav.;. enlisted at Pittsburgh, in February, 1864, and was mustered out in October, 1865.
Noah Scott, whose ancestors are mentioned in the history of Jefferson township; came to this township in 1869, and for some time followed the business of contractor on the railroad in partnership with Col. E. D. Yutzy, building about ten miles of the Pittsburgh & Connellsville Railroad, besides the Berlin, Salisbury and Ursina branches. He is now engaged in farming, and has one of the finest homes in the township.
Harnedsville is a small and unimportant village, containing one church, one store, one tannery, one blacksmith-shop, one cabinetshop and one shoemaker-shop. The place takes its name from the Harneds, who formerly owned the land on which the village is.
Many interesting facts relative to early families and early events have been furnished for this chapter by Mr. Lee Forquer, of Ursina, who has made a special study of the early history of this region.
Ursina, occupies the site of the Ream farm, and was the point of one of the earliest settlements in the TurkeyFoot region. Evidences of Indian occupation are abundant. Arrow and spear heads and other stone implements of the aboriginal race are frequently found, even at this day, in the soil along the river. There is a tradition that the settlers once had a sort of rude fortification on the bank of the stream near the lower end of the town, close beside the tree that bears the name of "The Fort Oak." There is evidence that this was actually-the case, a part of the works still being visible, while some of the logs, covered by the water of the river, are tolerably well-preserved. It is said that the old fort-house was connected with the river by a covered passageway, so that the occupants of the building could procure water without exposing themselves to danger from the Indians.
Ursina received its somewhat fanciful name from the fact that it was laid out by Hon. William J. Baer, now the president judge of this district, and who at that time owned the land on which the town was plotted: The town was laid out in 1868, H. L. Baer and R. J. Botzer being the surveyors.
The first house was built by Ephraim Kreger, in 1868, and was occupied as a hotel for several years. It is now a private dwelling.
The first store was erected in 1868, by Isaac A. Jenkins. Mr. Jenkins still carries on the mercantile business. In 1881 he began the erection of a three-story frame addition to his store, 51 X 60 feet.
The first blacksmith-shop was built by Judge Baer, in 1868. John Anderson was the first blacksmith. The same year Judge Baer erected a sawmill, which was in operation for several years. A gristmill, which is still in operation, was added in 1871.
The first saddler was Amelius Hoffmeier; the first shoemaker, Norman Lichliter.
While the railroad was building, and for several years succeeding, the town grew quite rapidly, and many good and substantial buildings were erected.
In 1871 a stave factory was built and put in operation by Norman Lichliter. The building has recently been converted into a keg factory, owned by the Citizens Oil Refining Company and operated by Edward Alcott.
The Ursina Branch railroad, built in 1871-2, was in operation for about three years, adding to the industries of this section the coal mines along its route.
A schoolhouse was erected in 1870 at a cost of about thirteen hundred dollars. The first teacher was John Griffith. In 1872 a two- brick school-building, 34X44 feet, with a seating capacity of three hundred, was erected at a cost of between seven thousand and eight thousand dollars. There is no better school building in Somerset county.
Ursina was incorporated as a borough in 1872. In 1883 it had an estimated population of six hundred, and contained seven stores, one blacksmith-shop, two saddleryshops, three hotels, three shoeshops, two millinershops, one keg factory, three churches and two physicians.
Col. E. D. Yutsy, who has been a resident of Ursina since 1869, is a native of this county and a son of Daniel Yutzy, mentioned in the history of Greenville township. Col. Yutzy was educated at Mount Union College, Ohio, and afterward taught school in Kentucky and Missouri. Returning to this county in 1859, he was elected county surveyor in 186O, and was also deputy prothonotary during the same term. In September, 1861, he entered the army in Co. C,54th regt. Penn. Vols.--- a company which he had organized and enlisted. After four days as a private he was elected captain, and held that rank until February 1, 1468, when he was promoted to the rank of major. On January 16, 1865, he was commissioned colonel of the consolidated regiment made up of the 3d and 4th Penn. reserves and the 54th regt. Penn. Vols. He was mustered out March 14, 1865. Col. Yutzy was a gallant soldier and has a noble military record. He participated in many severe engagements and was wounded at the battle of Winchester. After the war he was in the oil regions for a time, then became a railroad contractor and helped to build the Allegheny Valley, Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago, Pittsburgh & Connelleville, and other well known roads. In 1874 he was elected state senator, and in 1876 re-elected to the same important office..
James Albright, merchant, was born and reared in Cumberland, Maryland. In 1859 he came to Somerset county and engaged in the mercantile business at Petersburg, for about four years. Thence he removed to Lavansville, where he followed the same occupation for about nine years. He then came to Ursina, built a store and engaged in business: Mr. A1bright has held several borough offices.
Thomas Holliday, a shoemaker by trade, settled at Paddytown in 1803. He died in 1854. Of a family of eleven children which he reared, there is only one survivor - Andrew, who is a shoemaker in Ursina.
John Morrow, a saddler by trade, settled in the town of Somerset in 1819. In 1869 he moved to Harnedsville, and purchased a house and two lots of land of Joseph Mountain. He died in 1878, having followed his trade for sixty-five years. Mr. Morrow was a soldier in the war of 1812, and fought under Gen. Jackson. He married Elizabeth Blocher, and was the father of six children, of whom two are living - Albert G. and Margaret M. Albert G. Morrow is a native of Addison township. In 1871 he settled in Ursina, and built the saddler's shop in which he now carries on business.
Joseph A. T. Hunter is a native of Bucks county. He came to Ursina in 1872, and at first worked at shoemaking. In 1878 he engaged in the mercantile business, which he still follows. One of Mr. Hunter's sons, Napoleon B., served in the late war, in the 18th Penn. Cav. He contracted disease, died, and was buried at Harper's Ferry.
John Davis, who was born in Dauphin county, Pennsylvania, in 1810, settled in Lower Turkey-Foot in 1863, on the old Harned farm, near Harnedsville. He died in 1878. His son, Joseph B. Davis, who was born in Middle Creek township, came to Ursina in 1871, and engaged in the mercantile business as a member of the firm of Davis, Kuhlman & Co. Mr. Davis has since followed the same business. The present style of the firm is Davis & Coder. Mr. Davis has been school director and councilman of the borough for several years.
J. B. Jennings, grandson of Capt. Benjamin Jennings, elsewhere mentioned, moved to Ursina in 1873, and has since worked at shoemaking. He at first worked for Davis & Coder, and in 1875 bought out the firm. Mr. Jennings enlisted in the late war, and served from October, 1861, until July, 1863. He was wounded at the battle of Fair Oaks, Virginia. He has held various borough offices, including those of councilman, school director and burgess.
William Shaw is a native of Indiana county, Pennsylvania. In 1866 he came to Somerfield, Somerset county, and in 1872 to Ursina, where he has followed gunsmithing and blacksmithing. Mr. Shaw has held nearly all of the borough offices. He is at present justice of the peace, having been elected to that office in 1882. He served through the Mexican war under Gens. Scott and Taylor. He enlisted in the war of the rebellion in Ohio, and served nearly two years. He was wounded at the battle of Malvern.
Peter H. Sellers is a native of Bedford county. His grandfather, Jacob Sellers, and his father, John Sellers, were both residents of the same county. P. H. Sellers came to Somerset county in 1866, and settled at Shanksville. In 1869 he came to Ursina, built the store which he now occupies, and engaged in the mercantile business which he still follows. Mr. Sellers has held various borough offices..
A. A. Miller is a grandson of Abraham Miller, elsewhere mentioned, who was the first sheriff of Somerset county. He was the first owner of the tannery now owned by J. Cunningham and sons, at Somerset. Of his ten children but two are living: Peter and Betsey. Abraham, son of Abraham, Sr., was born in Somerset in 1800, and died in 1867. His son, Abraham A. Miller, settled in Ursina in 1873, and followed railroading until 1880, when he engaged in his present business - hotel-keeping.
Odd Fellows. ---- Ursina Lodge, No. 806, I.O.O.F., was instituted July 12, 1873, with the following charter members: John Leslie, R. M. Freshwater, Samuel Thompson, W. S. Harah, J. R. Weimer, William Caldwell, Samuel Minder, Alex. Leslie, Ed. Korns, B. F. Snyder, R. H. Dull, W. W. Wolff, I. J. Miller, N. B. Lichliter, W. H. Sanner, S. R. Johnston, J. B. Davis, W. J. Jones, J. P. Miller, William Shaw and J. S. Peterman. The first officers were: W. S. Harah, N.G.; W. J. Jones, V.G.; N. B. Lichliter, Sec'y; I. J. Miller, Ass't Sec'y; S. Minder, Treas. Since the organization one hundred and sixteen members have been admitted. Present membership, fifty-six; value of lodge property, two thousand dollars.
Grand Army. --- Ross Rush Post, No. 361, G.A.R., was organized July 23, 1883. The oflicers and charter members were as follows: Col. E. D. Yutzy, C.; B. F. Snyder, S. V. C.; G. W. Anderson, J.V.C.; T. W. Anderson, Chap.; Noah Scott, Q.M.; William H. Kepler, O.D.; Jackson Lenhart, O.G.; LeRoy Forquer, Adj.; J. B. Jennings, Jacob J. Rush. Andrew Holliday
William R. Thomas, Alfred M. Snyder, Harrison Younkin, Harrison Vansycle, John Enos, Andrew J. Cross, Samuel O'Neal, Abram A. Miller, Marcellus Andrews, Sylvester Herring, William Shaw, Charles Rose.
Ross Rush Post was named after Ross Rush, of Co. H. 86th regt. Penn. Vols., who was killed in an infantry charge at Petersburg, June 18, 1864. He was a son of Jacob Rush, and great-grandson of Jacob Rush, a revolutionary soldier.
Confluence takes its name from its location, which is at the junction of three streams -- the Youghiogheny and Casselman rivers and Laurel Hill creek. It is a growing, prosperous town, and its commerce is constantly increasing in extent and importance. It is the largest shipping point on the Pittsburgh division of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad, between Cumberland, Maryland, and Connelleville, Pennsylva- nia. Its situation at the confluence of three important streams renders it the natural outlet for the business of a wide extent of country. A great deal of timber is brought down the river to this point, whence it is shipped by rail to various markets.
The town was laid out in 1870, under the direction of the Confluence Land Company, an association which purchased from A. N. Tissue, Jacob Sterner and Peter Meyers the land on which Confluence is situated. The town grew rapidly, and in 1873 was incorporated as a borough. In 1883 it contained a population estimated at four hundred and fifty.
The first house within the borough limits was erected by Henry Abrams, one of the pioneer settlers. After the town plot had been made, the first house was built by Andrew Bowlin, who still occupies it. The first store was opened by Van Horn & Liston in 1870. The first blacksmith and the first shoemaker came in 1871, and still work here --- John Stanton and T. B. Frantz.
An establishment for the manufacture of pottery and stoneware was erected by A. G. Black, in 1872. It does a large business.
Nearly all the charcoal made in Lower Turkey-Foot township is shipped from Confluence station.
Among other early industries of the borough was the tannery built by Joseph Cummins, its present proprietor. A factory for the manufacture of axlegrease was erected by a company from Westmoreland county, in 1876, but was operated only about eight months. A stave and heading factory, built by a Pittsburgh company in 1875 was in successful operation about two years.
Confluence now contains seven general stores, one hardware store, one drugstore, three hotels, one tannery, one steam sawmill, two blacksmithshops, two wagonshops, one shoemaker-shop, one millinershop, two churches, two physicians and one dentist.
The schoolhouse, erected in 1871, was used for the borough schools until 1882, when a two-story frame building, 38 X 48 feet, with a seating capacity of two hundred, was erected at a cost of about two thousand dollars.
Adam R. Humbert is a native of Milford township, where the family were early settlers. In early life he taught school. For thirty years he has worked at carpentry, since 1870 in Confluence. He served in the late war during two terms of enlistment. Mr. Humbert has held nearly all of the borough offices.
Levi W. Weakland is a native of Cambria county. From 1865 to 1872 he followed the shook and stave business in West Virginia. He then located in Confluence, and engaged in the lumber business and the manufacture of shooks and staves. In 1882 he entered into partnership with E. T. Nutter in the mercantile business, under the firm name of Nutter, Weakland & Co. Mr. Weakland has held various borough offices. The firm of which he is a member owns the timber on eighteen hundred acres of land in Addison township, and six hundred and fifteen acres of timber land in Fayette county, on both of which lots they have steam sawmills. They have shookshops at Casselman Confluence, Draketown Siding and Fort Hill. The industry is of great importance to the citizens of the timbered region of this part of the county.
A. Marshall Ross, son of Gen. M. A. Ross, of Petersburg, has followed the mercantile business from his youth. Since 1870 he has been located at Confluence. Mr. Ross was in Co. E, 133d regt. Penn. Vols., for nine months.
John Groff, a miller by trade, came from Germany in 1840 and settled in Brother's Valleytownship. His children were: Frederick, Simon, George G., Catharine (Engelder), Barbara (Custer), Margaret and Minnie (deceased). Frederick was elected state senator in the 36th district in 1878. He served in the war from September, 1861, to September, 1864, and was two months in Libby prison. He resides in Meyersdale. Geo. G. Groff built a store at Confluence in 1874, and engaged and is yet in the mercantile business. He is justice of the peace.
Confluence Lodge, I.O.O.F., was instituted December 12, 1872, with the following officers and charter members: F. R. Fleck, NAG.; Chas. Strohm, V.G.; James Baxter, Sec'y; W. S. Mountain fain, Ass't Sec'y; E. Valentine ,Treas.; W. R. Mountain, David Morrison, Henry D. Bole, J. K. P. Shoemaker, James Richardson, Ellsworth McCleary, Sam'l Neighley, Robt. Wallace, James B. Cross, M. Tannehill, W. H. Bishop, James Klingensmith, William Kessler. Present membership' twenty-one ; value of lodge property, four hundred and eighty three dollars and fiftynine cents; Cash in treasury, two hundred and eighty-three dollars and fifty-nine gents.
Draketown is a small village in Lower Turkey-Foot township, containing two small stores, a blacksmith-shop and a small number of houses. Oliver Drake settled at this place, probably about the time of the revolutionary war. About 1787 he erected a small gristmill. A mill erected by his son Jonathan, on the same site, in 1812, was burned a few years later. The present mill was built about 1819. He also built a woolenmill and a sawmill. These were probably the first industrial establishments in Lower Turkey-Foot.
A blacksmith-shop was opened at Draketown as early as 1812 by William Tannehill.
A tannery, built in 1854, by Hendrickson Welsh, is now owned and operated by Alfred Daniels.
The first schoolhouse was built about 1860, and rebuilt in 1875.
Turkey-Foot Baptist Church. --- This organization, which is more commonly known as the Jersey Baptist church, is the oldest Baptistchurch west of the Allegheny mountains. It is the oldest church of any kind in Somerset county, and perhaps' the oldest in Southwestern Pennsylvania. For many years after its organization, Maryland and Virginia settlers were among its members. while Sandv Creek Glades, Virginia, formed a portion of its parish. The Turkey-Foot church is the parent of all the Baptist churches included in a region hundreds s of miles in extent. The following is an exact copy of page seven of the minutes of the Turkey-Foot Baptist church: "The minutes of the proceedings of the church belonging to Turkey-Foot and Sandy Creek Glades. On Wednesday, the fourteenth day [of August], Anno Domini 1775, the Rev. Mr. Isaac Sutton and John Corbley met this church at the house of Moses Hall in Turkey-Foot, and after a sermon on the occasion they solemnly constituted a church in these places jointly consisting of the following members as subscribed to the succeeding covenant:
Robert Colburn, Jacob Rush, David Rush, John Rush, John King, Benjamin Leonard, James Mitchel Willets Skinner, Nicles Hartzell, Mary Rush, Mary Coventon, Mary Rush, Margaret Rush, Lucia Jones' Elizabeth Mountain, Sarah Skinner, Frankey Ketchem, Rebecca King."
April 5, 1789, William Blain was baptized and received into the church. July 4, 1789, Rebecca Blain was baptized and received into, the church. Among other names of members belonging to the church we find the Whittakers,. Melicks, Truaxes, Bosleys, Membles, Gordons, Kings, Joneses, Walls, Lobdills, Melotts, Manettas, Pitmans, Monys, Hannas, Tannehills, Woodmencys and Reams.
The first house was built in January, 1788. It was a two-story log structure with gallery, and was used as church, schoolhouse, and, tradition says, at one time as a blockhouse. While at tending, many of the early settlers brought their rides, which stood in a corner until service was concluded. The second house, a frame building, was erected in 1838; the third, also a frame, was finished in 1877, at a cost of twenty-five hundred dollars. At that time Mrs. Jane Brook, widow of John Brook and daughter of Hon. James Hanna, Sr., and her daughter, Mrs. Mary A. Forquer, paid to the building fund over twelve hundred dollars.
In 1862 Rebecca King bequeathed two thousand dollars to the use-of the church; and in May, 1881, Mrs. Jane Brook donated one thousand dollars to be kept as a perpetual fund, the annual interest to be applied to paying the minister's salary.
The first church officers mentioned in the record are Robert Colborn and Isaac Dwire, elders, in 1795; Jacob Rush, appointed deacon, vice Reuben Skinner, in September, 1796; Robert Colborn was ordained elder and Jacob Rush deacon, October 8, 1796. An examination of the church records shows that the following ministers were serving as pastors at the dates given: Present at the organization, 1795, Isaac Sutton, John Corbley. October 19, 1799, Nathaniel Skinner, Jr., was ordained to the ministry by John Corbley and Henry Speers. Succeeding pastors: John Cox, 1817-19; James Fry, 1820-32; William French, 1826; John Thomas, 1832-9; Isaac Wynn, 1839-42; Garrett R. Patton, 1842-5; William Hickman, 1845-7; Cleon Kees, C Gilbert, Isaac Wynn, 1848; William Hickman, 1849; John A. Pool (ordained), 1849; G. Lanham, 1852-4; John Williams, 1854; William Ellis, 1854-7; J. Williams, 1857; B. F. Brown, 1860; J. Williams, 1861; J. R. Brown, 1866; J. R. Brown, 1868-72; William Barnes, 1872-3; N. B. Scritchfield 1873-4; J. E. Watters, 1874-7; Wm. P. Fortney, 1877-9; James R. Brown, 1879, present pastor. Membership in September, 1883, sixty five.
Church of God. -- The first church in Ursina was the Church of God, built in 1869, at a cost of about seven hundred dollars. The first pastor, Rev. William Davis, was succeeded by Revs. Miles Pritts, John Wood and Wm. H. Long. At present the church has a membership of about thirty. A church of this denomination, situated about three-fourths of a mile from Draketown, was erected in 1879, during the pastorale of Rev. Wm. H. Long. ' It cost about nine hundred dollars. The first deacons were Jehu Rush and Frederick Krieger This church has a small membership.
Lutheran. --- The Evangelical Lutheran church of Ursina was organized in 1869, and a house of worship was created the same year at a cost of about twenty-five hundred dollars. The pastors have been Revs. Peter Gheen, Wm. Triday, David T. Kooser, A. M. Smith, A. E. Felton and Wm. G. Gettle. The first church officers were John P. H. Walker and John Davis, deacons; Arnold Kuhlman and Joseph Lichty, elders. Present membership, about forty.
Methodist Episcopal. -- The Ursina Methodist Episcopal church was built in 1871, at a cost of about three thousand dollars. The first pastor and his successors in order were: Revs. Wesley Davis, O. A. Emerson, H. J. Hickman, Theodore Shaffer, B. W. Hutchinson and N. B. Tannehill. The first Classleader was Norman Lichliter.
Confluence Lutheran Church. -- The first church in Confluence was erected in 1870-1, by the Evangelical Lutheran denomination. The house is a frame building, and cost about thirty-five hundred dollars. For list of pastors,' see sketch of Lutheran church at Ursina.Methodist Episcopal. --
The Confluence Methodist Episcopal church was erected in 1872, under the pastorale of Rev. Wesley Davis. It cost about four thousand dollars. For list of pastors, see history of the Ursina Methodist Episcopal church. The first trustees were Jonathan Frantz, A. G. Black, Daniel Mickey, William Pullin and Sebastian Tissue. First classleader Job M. Flanagan.
Draketown Methodist Episcopal Church.— This is a tasty and beautiful church, erected in 188O, at a cost of eleven hundred dollars. The first' trustees were A. S. Hyatt, Eli Conn and Thomas Ream. The first classleader. A. S. Hyatt; the first pastor, Rev. W. P. Hutchinson, was succeeded by Rev. B. Tannehill, the present pastor. The membership is about thirty.
Methodist Episcopal. --- The Harnedsville Methodist Episcopal church was organized about 1855,
by Rev. Jackson Endsley, the first preacher in the place, and under whose administration a house
of worship was erected at a cost of about five hundred dollars. The present membership is about