DEERFIELD township was organized by the Court of Warren county on
the 8th day of March, 1821, and first called " Number Eleven." The
whole township was then a vast wilderness, very little land having been cleared.
A few venturous pioneers had wandered this far into the wilderness and taken
up claims along the river years before. The Allegheny River, winding in and
out among the hills, divided the township as it was then into about equal
parts. The Allegheny has always been noted for its beauty, but it was far
more beautiful at that early day, with the great forests still growing in their
natural state from the hilltops down to the river's brink, than it is now, with
most of the forests cut away, and many refineries scattered along its banks,
giving it a continuous coating of filth. The river was narrower and deeper
than it is now, and full of fish. It never became so high in the spring and fall,
nor did it become so low in the summer, as it does now. The vast forests
along the river and its tributaries protected it from sudden rise, and prolonged
the flow of the springs in the dry seasons. The river banks were also kept
from washing away by the growing timber. The river was the main thoroughfare
for travel and the transportation of burdens—in the summer by means of
the canoe, and in the winter by means of the ice. Driving on the ice at this
early period was much more common than it is now. Nearly every winter the
river afforded a splendid road-bed from Franklin to Deerfield and Warren, and
it was utilized by the few travelers of that day; for there was no other road that
would compare with it. There was a rough road cut through from Deerfield
northward to Brokenstraw, and from Deerfield southward to Franklin, but it
was hardly more than a trail. Along this road or trail, which left the river
valley at Deerfield and went over the hills, a distance of thirty-three miles, to
Franklin, there were only four or five families scattered along the whole distance.
The following are about all the families that lived at that time along
this road from Deerfield to Franklin: William Neal, Henry McCalmont, and
Mr. Renn. Could we look back at Deerfield township as it was then, we
would certainly consider it well named; for deer were in abundance here, and
all kinds of game peculiar to this climate and region held undisputed sway
over about the whole township.
In 1821, when the township was organized, those settled here were a sturdy
class of men and women, honest, and, of necessity, hard working. They came
in here with their families and came to stay; for it was too difficult a matter to
move, to get away easily. But their wants were simple, and, with an inexhaustible
fund of contentedness, that stands in contrast to the nervous and
restless spirit of the present day, they were happy. Their log cabins were
scattered along the river valley, a mile or so apart; they were all on an equality,
and so there was a oneness in life's burdens and pleasures. There were
living in Deerfield, when the township was organized, Thomas Arters, Samuel
McGuire, Michael Gorman, sr., Charles Smith, John Thompson, Caleb
Richardson, Arthur Magill, sr., Robert Hunter, sr., and some others. Brief
sketches of the early history of these old pioneers will be found below. They,
and those who came during the next ten years, deserve the honor and credit
of first opening and settling this part of the Allegheny valley, which years
later was the scene of the greatest activity. They felled the trees, built their
log cabins, tilled their little clearings in summer, and in winter put in a few
logs, which in early spring were run to Pittsburgh, and with the proceeds
thereof they purchased the necessary articles of food and clothing which they
could not raise or make. This merchandise was not shipped home by means
of the express train which now rolls every few hours from Pittsburgh up the
valley, but was placed in a canoe and towed or poled the whole distance, one
hundred and fifty miles. The canoe soon gave way to the keel-boat, and
years later the steamboat took up the task and conveyed the merchandise part
way up the river, and often all the way.
Deerfield township was well timbered. Pine and hemlock in enormous
quantities covered nearly every valley and ridge. At first the lumbering consisted
in felling trees and cutting them into logs, and in splitting lath. The
choice pine tree was selected for lath, cut by hand four feet long, and packed
in bunches of one hundred each. This lumber was placed on the river to
await the spring freshet.
In 1826 William Kinnear, sr., built the first saw-mill in Deerfield township.
It was run by water power. Later other mills were erected, and soon
the class of lumber changed to boards and shingles.
In 1829 all that part of Deerfield township lying on the east side of the
Allegheny River was organized into a separate township called Limestone.
This took away fully half of Deerfield's fine forests, but still there were remaining
broad tracts of fine timber, far more than the inhabitants of that day could
handle with their upright saws and water-power saw-mills. There is, in fact,
at the present day, some pine and a large quantity of hemlock remaining in
Deerfield, and lumbering is still an important factor in the business of our
In early years piloting rafts down the river to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati
became quite a trade, and many of the early settlers of Deerfield became
About the year 1818 the first school in the township was held in a log
house belonging to John Thompson, situated about two miles above the mouth
of Tidioute Creek. John Elder and a Mr. Smith taught here at different times.
In 1824 John Elder kept school in a log house near McGuire Run, and from
that time there was school nearly every winter in some place in the township.
In 1832 a building, standing in upper Tidioute, used for holding elections, was
used for school purposes. In 1849 the first school-house in Deerfield was
built. This was a framed building, and was supported by subscriptions. This
school was located on the east side of McGuire Run. Another framed schoolhouse
was erected in 1851 near Tidioute Creek. In 1867 a two-story building
containing four rooms was erected near the central part of the borough,
and the school thoroughly graded. In 1877 two large rooms were added to
the building, and since that time an addition of five or six rooms has been made,
several new lots added to the grounds, and a complete steam heating system
placed in the building, making the school building second to none in this part
of the State as regards convenience. These additions were made under the
direction of H. H. Cumings. A. W. Couse, John Hunter, J. L. Grandin, M.
Ross, and W. W. Hague, school directors. When the repairs were finished,
and the school buildings in proper shape, there was a bonded debt upon the
school of $5,000. This debt was canceled by Mr. Samuel Grandin, who drew
his check for the whole amount and gave the same to the borough of Tidioute.
An industrial school building and other property have been added to the school
possessions through other benefactors residing in the borough of Tidioute.
The first post-office in Deerfield was opened in 1828 and kept by Samuel
Parshall at his residence. It was called Deerfield Post-office. G. W. Turner
was second postmaster. The first store in the township was opened in 1832
by Joshua Turner and son. It was a general store, for furnishing provisions
and dry goods. The first framed house was erected in Deerfield township in
the year 1824, ; it is the same house, with the exception of frequent repairs,
that is now the property of L. D. Galligan. The first grist-mill was erected
by Michael Gorman, sr.
Religious services were held occasionally at different houses, whenever a
wandering itinerant chanced along. There were no regular services held here
until years after the township was organized. The framed house of Thomas
Arters was used after its erection for nearly all religious meetings.
The following is a list of the ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church
who have labored along this part of the Allegheny valley since the formation
of Deerfield township, and their respective years of labor:
Ira Eddy, Charles Elliot, 1820; Z. Paddock, 1821; Josiah Keyes, 1822;
S. Gary, 1823; Robt. C. Hatton, 1825; John W. Hill, 1825; I. H. Tackitt,
1826; John Leach, J. H. Tackitt, 1826; Job Wilson, W. R. Babcock, 1828;
N. Callender, A. Callander, 1829; A. Callander, A. Plimpton, 1830; A.
Young, B. Preston, 1831; H. Kingsley, J. E. Lee, 1832; D. Richey, S. W.
Ingraham, 1833; Jacob Jenks, 1834; J. Robinson, D. Richey, 1835; H. Luce,
1836; J. O. Rich, W. Todd, 1837; V. Lake, 1838; J. E. Chapin, D. Rolland,
1839; D. Rolland, 1840; John Scott, C. R. Chapman, 1841; E. Bull, 1842;
A. P. Brown, 1843; D. Pritchard, 1844; J. W. Wilson, 1845; J. W. Wilson,
M. Himeburgh, 1846; M. Himeburgh, A. Barnes, 1847; A. Barnes, J. B.
The first Methodist society was organized in Deerfield about the year 1826.
Joseph Lindsey, Susan Middleton, and Dorcas Hunter, members of that early
day, are still members of the church militant, awaiting the time when they shall
be relieved from their long service, and called to the church triumphant.
The first church in the township was a Presbyterian Church, built of logs,
about the year 1828, and situated near the old Tidioute cemetery, one-half
acre having been donated for a church and one-half for a public cemetery, by
Alex. McCalmont. The first Presbyterian minister was the Rev. Mr. Chase;
Thomas McGee and Joseph McCauley were deacons. Rev. Chase was followed
by the Rev. Mr. Hamson. The Presbyterians built a new church on the
above-mentioned lot about the year 1841, which was afterwards sold and the
present church built in 1867.
The following is a list of the Presbyterian ministers who have labored in
Tidioute since 1867:
D. M. Rankin, J. J. Marks, D. D., 1867; W. B. Cullis, 1868; A. B. Lomes,
1869; J. H. Edwards, 1871; W. L. Findley, 1873; Theodore Crowl, 1874;
L. M. Gilliland, 1877; J. C. Olliver, 1885.
The first M. E. Church was built about the year 1836, where the Grandin
brick block now stands. This church was sold in 1854 to Samuel Grandin
and a new one built in the eastern part of Tidioute. This edifice was sold to
the Lutherans in 1872, and a new one built where the present church now
stands; this church was burned in the fall of 1872, before its completion. The
present brick structure was commenced in the spring of 1873, and dedicated
in September, 1874.
The following named M. E. ministers were appointed to labor in Tidioute
the years opposite their respective names:
T. G. McCreary, 1849-50; J. T. Boyle, P. Burroughs, 1851; J. Wrigglesworth,
1852; S. Hollen, 1853; J. Gilfillen, J. B. Hammond, 1854; J. Gilfillen,
1855; James Gillmore, Edwin Hall, 1856; M. Colegrove, 1857; G. F. Reeser,
W. W. Warner, 1858-59; J. K. Mendenhall, 1860; W. Hayes, J. F. Stocker,
1861; N. W. Jones, J. F. Stocker, 1862; John Crum, Z. W. Shadduck, 1863;
A. H. Domer, 1864; D. Smith, 1865-66; W. Sampson, 1867-68; E. A.
Squier, 1869-70; W. H. Mossman, 1871-72; Francis Brown, 1873-74; A.J.
Merchant, 1875-76; J. M. Bray, 1877-79; M. Martin, 1880-82; W. P. Graham,
1883; S. H. Prather, 1884-85; D. S. Steadman, 1886.
The Universalist Church was erected in 1868. Rev. S. J. Dickson was the
The Episcopal society erected their present structure in 1872, and called
Rev. G. W. Dunbar to the pulpit.
The Catholic Church was built in 1866. A school building was erected
by and under the charge of the Catholic society in the year 1875.
Biographical.—Arters, Thomas, was born of English parentage in 1787.
He came with his father, Richard Arters, from Lewistown, Pa., in the year
1806, and settled at the mouth of Tidioute Creek, on the Allegheny River, on
a tract of land containing four hundred acres, surveyed by John Spangler. He
afterwards received one hundred acres of said tract for making a settlement
thereon, from Alexander McCalmont, who was their agent for eastern parties.
Thomas Arters also had a claim of four hundred acres of land on the south
side of the river, on tract number 5278, now in Limestone township. He built
the first framed house in Deerfield, in 1824. The house, having been often
repaired, is still standing in the central part of the borough, and is the property
of L. D. Galligan.
Of his family of nine children, one, Jackson Arters, was killed while in the
army, in the battle before Fredericksburg. All the rest are still living, and
four of his children—W. M., Mary, Washington, and Thomas—are still living in
Tidioute and vicinity.
To Thomas Arters is given the credit of having made the first permanent
settlement in this part of Warren county. He died at his home in Tidioute
in 1858, and his wife survived him until 1869.
McGuire, Samuel, of Irish descent, was born in Huntington county, Pa., in
1788. In 1808 he came to Deerfield and settled on the John Keller tract, of
which he owned two hundred and fifty acres. His land joined Thomas Arters's
land on the east. He was married the same year, to Charity Gilson, and made
his permanent home on this tract. They had a family of ten children born unto
them, all of whom grew to be men and women, and were all married. Father
McGuire died in the year 1865, at the age of seventy-seven years, and Mother
McGuire survived him until 1869. Of their family five have passed away.
Those still living are Elsie, born in 1810, and married to John Parshall;
Patience; McCray, born in 1820; William, born in 1822, married Mary Stuart,
and still lives in the borough of Tidioute; and Charity, born in 1827, married
Henry Lott, and still resides in Tidioute.
Parshall, Samuel, of English descent, came to Deerfield in the year 1824
and settled on a claim of three hundred acres, at the mouth of Gordon Run.
Parshall was born in 1781, and came originally from Massachusetts to
county, Ohio, where he married Elizabeth Goutcher in 1806, and lived
there for some years before he removed to Deerfield. He kept the first postoffice
in the township, and the first elections were held at his place. They had
a family of eight children. All grew to maturity, and married. Many of them
are still living in this vicinity, while their children and grandchildren are many.
Samuel Parshall died in the year 1839; his wife, born in 1783, died in 1865.
Six of their children still survive. John Parshall, born in 1809, married
McGuire, and raised a family of nine children. He now lives in Crawford
county, Pa. Eliza Parshall, born in 1812, married Robert Henry. She still
lives in Tidioute, Pa. Nancy Parshall, born in 1817, married Joseph Richardson.
She now resides in McKean county, this State, with her daughter.
Samuel Parshall, born in 1814, married Lucy Henderson. They now live in
Venango county, Pa. Jennette Parshall, born in 1822, married James Kinnear,
and they still reside in Tidioute. James Parshall, born in 1827, married
Henrietta Shugert, and now lives in Titusville.
Gorman, sr., Michael, of Irish descent, was born in 1761, and came from
Center county, Pa., to Deerfield, in the year 1818. He settled three miles
west of Tidioute, where he claimed four hundred acres of land and made a
permanent settlement. He built the first grist-mill in Deerfield township and
in this part of Warren county. He married Sarah Gilson, and they had thirteen
children. He died in the year 1859, and left three sons living: Michael
Gorman, jr., lives in Ohio; J. Benjamin Gorman lives in Tidioute; and Peter
Gorman lives on the old homestead.
Smith, sr., Charles, of Irish descent, came to Deerfield in 1807 and settled
five miles northeast of Tidioute, on the Allegheny River, where he made his
home. He had five children: James Smith, Peter Smith, Charles Smith, Nancy
(Smith) Magee, and Luke Smith, all now deceased.
Smith, James, eldest son of Charles Smith, sr., was born in 1800, and came
to Deerfield with his father in 1807. He married Margaret Magee, and passed
most of his life in Deerfield as a farmer. During the first oil excitement he
sold his possessions here and went West, where he died in 1884. His children
still live in Deerfield and vicinity.
Smith, Peter, second son of Charles Smith, sr., was born in 1802. His
whole life was passed in Deerfield and vicinity. He became a man of considerable
importance, and had good business ability; was in early days a successful
lumberman. He married Matilda McGuire, and they had three children—
Hugh, John, and Nancy—who are all still living.
Thompson, John, moved to Deerfield about the year 1817 and settled two
miles east of Tidioute, on the Allegheny River, where he cleared his farm and
made his permanent home. He kept the first tavern in Deerfield, and became
quite well off for those days. He had three children. His death took place
about the year 1830.
Courson, Anthony, was born in Center county, Pa., in 1788, and came to Deerfield
with his family of seven children in 1825. He settled upon four hundred
acres of land fronting upon the Allegheny River. Here he kept a tavern for
many years, affording the weary raftman returning on foot from Pittsburgh a
shelter. He was a lumberman and farmer. He married Elizabeth Gates and
they had a family of nine children, some of them still living in Tidioute and
vicinity. His children are: Nancy Courson married John Hazeltine and is
now deceased; Margaret married D. N. Richardson and now lives in the West;
Sarah married Charles Magill and is now living in the West; Jane married
Arthur Magill and is still living in Tidioute; Hannah married William Church
and resides in the West; Benjamin Courson married Elizabeth Morrison, now
deceased; his widow and children still live in Tidioute; Samuel Courson
married Rachael Thompson and lives in Wisconsin; John Courson married
Martha Brown and is still living in Tidioute. In 1842 Father Courson lost his
wife, and after disposing of his farm he moved west, where he died in 1883.
His remains were brought east and interred in the cemetery in Tidioute. A
portion of the borough of Tidioute is now located on part of Anthony Courson's
Kinnear, William, was born in the northern part of Ireland in 1783. He
came with his father and mother, Alexander Kinnear and Jane (Ganley)
Kinnear, to America in 1790. They were descendants of Huguenots. William
Kinnear married Rebecca McElvain in the year 1806, and moved from Center
county, where his father had settled, to Venango county, in 1819. He
bought a tract of two hundred acres of land at the mouth of Oil Creek, of
Cornplanter, chief of the Seneca Indians. Here he cleared about thirty-five
acres of land, where the business part of Oil City is located, and ten acres on
Cottage Hill, as it is now called. He also erected a furnace at this place. In
1826 he sold his property in Venango county and moved to Warren county,
settling in Deerfield township at the mouth of Tidioute Creek. Here he purchased
two hundred acres of the John Spangler tract of Alex. McCalmont,
agent. This purchase included the Tidioute Creek for about one mile from
its mouth. On this creek he erected a saw-mill in 1827, the first one in Deerfield
township. He had a family of seven children. Father Kinnear died in
the year 1851, and Mother Kinnear survived him two years.
Roup, Christian, was born in 1809 and came to Deerfield with his father
in 1829. In 1833 he married Rebecca Richardson, and they have had a family of
six children born to them; some of them now live in the Far West. He held
the position of justice of the peace for many years, and he and his wife still reside
James Magill, the eldest son of Arthur Magill, was born in 1804 and came
to Deerfield with his father in 1812. He was the first constable in Deerfield
township, and held the position of justice of the peace for many years. He
married Rhoda Parshall and had a family of eight children. The mother and
four of the children are now deceased. James Magill resides with his daughter
in Tidioute. Of his family now living are Elizabeth (Magill) Walker,
Irvin Magill, James Magill, and William Magill.
William Magill, third son of Arthur Magill, was born in 1810, and was
married to Margaret Hartnes in 1835. They have no children. He was a
farmer and a lumberman, and still lives in Tidioute, but has long since retired
Magill, Arthur, was born in Deerfield in 1816; he married Jane Courson
and had a family of nine children. He settled on a part of the Anthony Courson
tract. He was a local preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church; was
constable of Deerfield for some years, and was commissioner of Warren county
for 1857 and 1860. He was a farmer and a man of the strictest integrity. He
died in 1862. His widow and four of his children reside in Tidioute.
Magee, Samuel, the oldest son of James Magee, sr., settled four miles up
the river from Tidioute, at the mouth of Magee Run, about the year 1821.
He married Anna Allender, and they had a family of eight children born unto
them. He was the first justice of the peace in Deerfield township. Two of
his sons, Joseph Magee and Perry Magee, were prominent men in their day,
but have passed away.
Morrison, R. H., esq., a son of Thomas Morrison, was born in 1821, He
was elected justice of the peace in 1858, and has been continued in that position
ever since. He has resided in the borough of Tidioute since its organization,
and has been one of its prominent and influential citizens. He has a family of
four children and still resides in Tidioute.
The sign reads:
The first flowing
oil well in the world
was drilled on this land
By C.L. Hequembourg
August 13, 1860
Erected by the Tidioute Lions Club - 1941
The Oil Development.—In the year 1860 Deerfield township and the whole
western part of Warren county underwent a great change. The little village
of Tidioute, nestling quietly among the hills, was transformed suddenly to a
booming oil town of thousands of inhabitants. Years before oil had been noticed
in different springs in this locality, and had been gathered by the use of
blankets. It was used for many purposes and was considered a good remedy
for many diseases. The success of Mr. Drake on Oil Creek encouraged Henry
Dennis and J. L. Grandin to commence a well in 1859, on the Gordon Run,
near a spring where oil had been gathered. This, for some reason, proved a
failure. The next year King 81 Ferris started a well below the mouth of Gordon
Run, on the bank of the river. This was a success, and oil in abundance
was found. How to save it was then a great question to be solved; barrels
were in demand, but a sufficient number could not be had. Coopers were
brought in and set to work; but for immediate use a tank was proposed and
built in the form of a rectangle, 16 by 24 feet, and eight feet high. The success
of this and other wells brought people and prospectors by the score to our
township. There was no available railroad for shipping the oil at that time, as
neither the Sunbury and Erie nor the Oil Creek and Allegheny Valley Railroads
were then completed, and the only outlet was the river. Boats of all kinds were
immediately pressed into service, and many barges of all descriptions built for the
purpose. They were towed up stream by horses, and after being loaded with
oil were floated to Pittsburgh. The river was alive with these craft. About
this time Captain Amasa Dingley built a steamboat to run on the river between
Oil City and Warren, and applied to the Legislature of Pennsylvania for the
exclusive right to navigate the Allegheny River between these two points.
This was defeated, much to the relief of the inhabitants of this section of the
Undated photograph of the refinery at Tidioute
|From the collection of W. R. McKown
Organization of the Borough.—In 1862 the borough of Tidioute was organized,
and on the 27th day of June of that year the first election under the
new charter was held. The following were the officers elected: Burgess,
Luther Green; council, Samuel Culbertson, W. S. Cohill, Thomas Goodwin,
R. Christy, and J. Hunter. Isaac Scott was appointed clerk; constable, R.
At this time the inhabitants of the town were doubling and trebling in
number every year, houses and shanties sprang up as if by magic, and still
there were not accommodations for the incoming throng. All classes of men,
from the speculator and, honest workman to the blackleg and knave, came
with this great rush. The prices of lands in various parts of the township became
fabulous. Speculation in real estate became at once a great business.
Lands were bought or contracted for, stock companies formed for operating
and controlling the same, and the stock sold in many of the eastern cities,
chiefly New York. The throng of all classes became so great that it soon became
necessary to have a change in the municipal control. The government
necessary for the quiet village of Tidioute would not answer for the booming
oil town. In response to a call of the citizens, a small hall was crowded; many
men of rank and ability were present, and after the object of the meeting was
stated by one of the old citizens, a judge from Buffalo was elected chairman. A
police force was appointed at this meeting and two hundred dollars raised for
the purpose of erecting a lock-up. Within three days the lock-up was built,
and in less time it was filled with the worst kind of roughs. Some of the prisoners,
being assisted by parties without, escaped, and it was found necessary
to guard the lock-up day and night. Different citizens were detailed for this
duty, and they paced their beats as regularly and faithfully as a sentinel upon
an advanced picket line. The parties arrested were tried and fined according
as they deserved. By this means good order was soon restored in Tidioute,
and has been maintained ever since.
At this time Babylon and Triumph, oil towns adjacent to Tidioute in Deerfield,
appeared and flourished as business centers for awhile; but as the oil was
exhausted in their vicinity their prosperity faded out. Babylon, at one time
mighty in sin and debauchery, has long since fallen. Triumph clung to life
longer than the average oil town on account of the quality of the oil-bearing
rock of this section, which has not been excelled in any part of the oil regions.
The rock here was often found seventy-five and one hundred feet thick, and it
has proved the longest-lived oil territory yet discovered. Many wells in this
locality are still yielding a small production.
A little later Fagundus loomed up in the extreme southern part of Deerfield
township. A small but rich yielding territory was found here, and
Fagundus became for a while a flourishing banking town; but it has met the
sad fate of other similar oil towns, and there remains now only a relic of what
there once was.
All these towns were tributary to Tidioute, and their prosperity only added
vigor to its flourishing business of that day.
Several daily and weekly papers sprang into existence at this time in
Tidioute. The Morning Journal and the Evening Commercial both had their
day and death. The Weekly News, ably edited by Charles E. White, is the
only publication now issued in the borough. Mr. White is not surpassed in
this part of the State in neatness and dispatch of job work.
The train depot in Tidioute - date unknown
|Photograph from the collection of W. R. McKown
The Oil Creek and Allegheny River Railroad was laid through Tidioute in
1866, and was completed in 1867. The first bank in our borough was under
the title or Wadsworth, Baum & Co., afterwards changed to Grandin & Baum,
and at present Grandin Bros. The Tidioute Savings Bank and the People's
Savings Bank were started in 1872; the latter was closed some years ago.
The present water system was commenced by Luther Green in 1872. In
December of the same year a stock company was formed, which purchased
the works and completed them. Since that time a supply pipe has been laid
four miles up Tidioute Creek, which secures pure spring water and a natural
flow into the reservoir.
The Tidioute and Economy bridge across the Allegheny River was built
in 1873, and the same year the gas works were completed.*
The early history of Deerfield having been so fully and thoroughly written by
Mr. Kinnear, little is left to write but such mention of the present business and
professional interests as is customary in works of this nature. Deerfield township,
as now constituted, is of irregular formation, having no fewer than eight
or ten sides, and is bounded north by the townships of Pittsfield and Brokenstraw,
east by Allegheny River, separating it from Pleasant, Watson, and Limestone,
south by Allegheny River and Triumph, and west by Triumph, Eldred,
and Pittsfield. The beginnings of settlement within the limits of the present
borough of Tidioute date very early in the century, as has well been shown.
About the year 1825 the settlers within these limits, on the north side of the
river, were about as follows: Beginning in the extreme western part of the
borough, and partly outside of the line, was the place owned and occupied by
Samuel Parshall. Next east of him was William Kinnear (1826); Thomas
Arters was his adjoining neighbor on the east, the territorial succession eastward
being Samuel Hunter, Anthony Courson, and no others that have not
The history of this township would be indeed incomplete without some
mention of one who has done more, probably, than any other one person for
the upbuilding and prosperity of Tidioute, viz., Samuel Grandin. A more
detailed sketch of Mr. Grandin appears in later pages. As will be seen by
reference to that sketch, he came to Tidioute from Pleasantville, Venango
county, in 1840, and began dealing in general merchandise and trading extensively
in lumber. This business he continued on an ever-increasing scale until
his practical retirement from business, about 1860. His present residence he
built in 1867. He has ever had the welfare of Tidioute at heart, and has
never been tardy in extending his aid and influence for the furthering and success
of any project looking to its material or moral advancement. He is deservedly
an honored man. His sons have displayed the sagacity and public
spirit which might, in the circumstances, have been expected, and have wielded,
and do still wield, an influence in affairs which extends far beyond the borders
of this township, or county, or State. The banking firm of which they are
the members was formed in 1870, and the large brick block which they now
occupy was built in 1872. As to their other interests, and their general reputation,
no better idea can be gained than by a perusal of the following extract
from one of the leading newspapers of the day:
"The proneness, as it were, of the oil people as a rule for the concentration
of capital in single industrial lines is proverbial. This mode of procedure is,
in some instances, attended with the most gratifying results; and again it is
followed by consequences most disastrous to the investor. There are exceptions,
however, to every rule; among this class may be cited the firm of
Grandin Brothers. Everything undertaken by the Grandins is gone about in
the most practical and matter-of-fact way, and about everything they take a
hand in turns into money. Their one thousand and one successful oil ventures
is a matter of public information in this region, where the gentlemen are widely
known and uniformly respected, and a reiteration of the same here and now
would only be to dispense stale news. The Grandin boys have been called
lucky, and their luck has been extolled far and wide, while the truth of the matter
is, there never has, perhaps, been a business firm in this or any country
that depended so little on the deceptive tyrant luck. They have made what
the world would call unlucky investments, but by the exercise of good horse
sense or shrewd business judgment, as you will, they seldom make large losings.
In 1873 the Jay Cook failure cost the firm $93,000; in the final settlement
with Cook they accepted Northern Pacific Land scrip for their claim, in lieu
of Cook's personal acceptances. This gave them 38,000 acres of land. Being
practical men, they set about it at once to develop the soil. In due course
they had a wheat production and the annual clean up, showing a handsome
profit; other land purchases followed, and now the boys find themselves in
possession of a little garden patch of 86,000 acres of the best wheat lands on the
American continent. This small farm has been split up in two smaller farms
of unequal proportions. In the Grandin farm there are 38,000 acres, and
26,000 in the Mayville farm. The wheat production of this year for both
farms was 315,000 bushels. The Grandin farm produced 215,000 bushels, the
balance belongs to the Mayville farm. There is about 18,000 acres under
cultivation, leaving 68,000 acres of virgin territory in which the plowshare
has never trespassed. The Grandins have their own line of elevators, and a
steamer on the Red River, and by means of their own traffic-arrangements
deliver their wheat in Duluth. This comes pretty nearly managing one's own
business. Each farm is managed by a superintendent and financial agent.
During the harvest season they find employment for 400 men and 350 mules.
Their Mayville farm is operated more for stock-breeding purposes than agriculture.
For several years past the profits in wheat production has been
greater than oil; when oil is depressed the Grandins turn their attention to
wheat, and vice versa. There has not been a year in the past ten when their
Dakota farms' products did not pay a sum equivalent to the $93,000 supposed
to have sunk in the Jay Cook collapse. All this shows what pluck and enterprise
will do for those who are wise enough not to carry their eggs in one
Present Mercantile Interests.—Of the merchants now in trade in Tidioute,
W. D. Bucklin is of the longest standing, as he dates his arrival here in the
year 1861. James L. Acomb started his drug store here in 1866, at which
time he came from Pithole. His stock is valued at about $2,500. A. Dunn
opened a grocery store in Tidioute in 1866, and in the fall of 1886 he put in
an additional stock of clothing, and boots and shoes. He carries about $10,000
in stock at his store, besides stock in flour and feed at his grist-mill, worth on
an average about $2,000. W. R. Dawson has kept a variety store in this
place something more than twenty years. He has been postmaster since January
5, 1886. The jewelry store of Henry Ewald was opened here by the
present proprietor in 1867. The store of C. Kemble & Son (William W.
Kemble), containing a full stock of drugs, artists' materials, paints, oils, wall
paper, etc., and a general line of holiday goods in season, was first opened by
the senior member of the present firm in 1871. The firm was formed in 1878.
J. O. Strong has carried a good stock of stoves and hardware in Tidioute for
more than fourteen years. The dry goods and general store of John Siggins
was started here by the present owner about fourteen years ago. At that
time Mr. Siggins came from East Hickory, where he had been in business since
1864. He now carries stock valued at about $15,000. D. M. McCall, dealer
in all kinds of furniture, picture frames, pianos, organs, etc., and undertaker,
has been in business in this place since February, 1876. He then came from
Crawford county, where he had been engaged in the furniture trade since
1857. R. Chaffey, the grocer, who carries stock worth some $2,500, started
in Tidioute in 1877, and first occupied his present corner in 1881.
Head, merchant tailor, has been here more than five years. E. A. Culver,
dealer in groceries, provisions, etc., established his present trade about three
years ago. The store of C. P. Bucklin, dealer in dry goods, boots and shoes,
etc., was opened many years ago by Maybie & Hunter, who were succeeded
by the present owner in 1883. His stock is valued at about $10,000.
Ulf, merchant tailor, began here on the 1st of January, 1884. The dry goods
and clothing dealers, Hopkins & Co., conduct a business established in April,
1885, by H. J. Hopkins and J. H. Lockwood. Their stock is now valued at
about $12,000. The harness shop of A. Allen was started by the present proprietor
in the fall of 1885, ne then succeeding Scott Allen, who had been here
several years previously. C. A. Allen, dealer in general furnishing goods, has
been in Tidioute in business since January, 1886. H. W. Kunn established
his boot and shoe trade here in April, 1886.
Other Interests.—The steam grist-mill, now owned and operated by
Dunn, was built by Kemble & Coleman about 1877. In 1880 Mr. Dunn
rented it from the estate of Peter Evans, and in the fall of 1886 purchased it.
Others mills are the planing-mill belonging to the estate of Z. M. Jones, who
started the mill some fifteen or sixteen years ago; the machine shop of R. J.
Carson, which has been in operation in Tidioute about fifteen years; the chair
factory, operated by the Chair Company (limited), whose general manager is
M. Clark. This business was established in September, 1881. The capital is
about $50,000. About 500 chairs are manufactured here daily. The hub
factory of Martin (Joseph) & Homer (C. S.) was established also in the fall
Hotels.—The oldest hotel in Tidioute at present is the Shaw House, which
was built by the present proprietor, W. P. Shaw, more than twenty years ago.
The National Hotel was built for mercantile purposes by H. Greiner, a number
of years ago, and converted by W. D. Bucklin, the present owner, into a
hotel some fifteen years ago. The Hanchett House, so named from the proprietor,
N. N. Hanchett, was built, and for some time kept, by Mr. Wheelock.
Mr. Hanchett has owned and kept it now for about twelve years.
Physicians, Past and Present.—The first physician to practice in Deerfield
township was Dr. Kellogg, of Titusville, who used to come out this way with
his horse and saddle-bags about once in three months. This he began as early
as 1826, and continued for a number of years. The physician now in practice
here who deserves the distinction of belonging to the longest residence is
Dr. F. A. Shugart, who was admitted to practice in 1838, and after practicing
in Philadelphia and other places came to Deerfield township in 1849, and has
continued here ever since. Dr. Charles Kemble came here about ten years
later, and also remains here yet. Dr. Freeman, who died a few years ago,
had also been here for many years. Dr. J. L. Acomb came here from Pithole
about 1866. Dr. A. C. Magill came in March, 1885, immediately after graduating
from the Detroit Medical College. Dr. N. W. Shugart was admitted
to practice from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Baltimore on the
13th of March, 1885, and after an experience of a few months in the Bay View
Hospital came here and went into practice with his father.
Post-office.—We have already seen who was the first postmaster in town,
and the date of his service. The present incumbent, W. R. Dawson, owes his
appointment to the present administration. He was preceded by James C.
Long, who served more than eight years; Thomas B. Monks, his predecessor,
held the position about two years, having succeeded Levi L. McCall. S. H.
Evans was postmaster from December 1, 1866, to June 30, 1874. He was
preceded by Mr. Hanna, and he by S. H. Evans again. H. H. Evans was
postmaster next previous to S. H. Evans. In Deerfield township also is a
post-office called Parthenia, which was established through the efforts of the
Grandin brothers, in the summer of 1886. Here these gentlemen have a saw
and planing-mill, which they have been successfully operating twelve or fifteen
Civil War monument in the Tidioute Cemetery
Dedicated on Memorial Day, 1885
The members of the Colonel George A. Cobham Post 311, G. A. R., and
the citizens of Tidioute and vicinity are justly proud of one of the finest soldiers'
monuments in this part of the State. It was erected mainly through the efforts
of Major Curtis and others in this neighborhood, in the spring of 1885, and
dedicated on Memorial Day of that year. It stands in the center of a plot
of ground set apart for the purpose years ago by the projectors, in the cemetery.
The circle is about sixty feet in diameter, and is finely graded from the
circumference up to the monument. The structure itself is imposing and
beautiful. It is from the Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport, Conn.,
and is built of white bronze, one of the most durable substances known. Its
height from base to top is sixteen feet and eight inches, while the base stands
about four feet above the surrounding ground. The base is fifty-two inches
On the several tablets are appropriate inscriptions, among them being the
names of the following members of Company F, One Hundred and Forty-fifth
Pennsylvania Volunteers, killed in action, or from the effects of wounds received:
O. S. Brown, John T. Roberts, Darius W. Hunter, George W. Alcorn, R. J. Arters,
Thomas Acocks, Sullivan Baker, J. C. Brennesholz, Shambert Chambers,
Stephen Chambers, Philemon Clark, J. Clonay, Thomas Clark, Daniel Cochran,
John J. Gorman, Charles W. Grove, Leonard Horn, David E. Jones, Ransom
Kendall, Jesse Kightlinger, Samuel C. King, Virgil Libby, Joshua Lloyd, Samuel
May, Thomas J. Magee, William Magee, George B. Miller, John M. Pearce, Simeon
J. Roosa, Jacob Rutledge, George W. Shay, William Shreve, Reuben Swaggart,
Charles Thompson, John Thompson, John Tuttle, Hiram K. Young. On
the west base are the following names of soldiers in varrious regiments killed
in action: One Hundred and Eleventh Pennsylvania Volunteers—J. R. Broughton,
jr., Walker H. Hogue, William M. Jones, Charles Miller, John M. Richardson,
Samuel Sturgis; Fifty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers—Samuel Richardson;
Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers—Theodore Barber; Seventy fourth
New York Volunteers—Zachariah Barber, W. H. Brown, Washington
Magee, Grandin Magee, James Magee, Amos Magee, Joshua Richardson;
Regiments Unknown—Solomon Cias, Daniel Henderson, John Russell, Frank West.