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Mead township, which derived its name from Darius Mead, was created
from portions of Sheffield, Kinzua and Pleasant townships, on June 7, 1847.
Boroughs, Villages, Other
Family Histories & Biographies
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The links, below, are to the Mead Township section in the Schenck History where the individual's name first appears; however, many of these pioneers are mentioned numerous times throughout this site. To find these additional entries, use the Find (Ctrl-F) search feature for this page or the Google search box on the Warren County Genealogy homepage to search the entire site.
Pioneers and those who came later...
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To aid in finding your ancestor, names below are in bold.
H I S T O R Y
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS AND BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES
OF SOME OF ITS PROMINENT MEN AND PIONEERS
Edited by J.S. Schenck, assisted by W.S. Rann; Syracuse, N.Y.; D Mason & Co., Publishers; 1887
HISTORY OF MEAD TOWNSHIP.
|THIS township was erected from portions of Sheffield, Kinzua and Pleasant
townships, the report of the commissioners being confirmed absolutely on
the 7th of June, 1847. It lies east of the center of Warren county, and is
bounded north by Allegheny River, separating it from Glade, east by Kinzua
and a small part of Sheffield, south by Sheffield and Cherry Grove, and west
by Pleasant. There are four post-offices in the township, each a nucleus of a
more or less populous village or settlement, viz., Stoneham, Clarendon, North
Clarendon, and Tiona.
Settlement and Early Condition of the Township.— The territory lying
within the present boundary lines of this township was not generally inhabited
by civilized man as early as many other portions of the county. Along the
Allegheny River were a few early settlers, some of them squatters, who have
left no impress of their settlement. The most prominent and permanent, as
well as the earliest of the settlers, were three brothers, Jeremiah, Samuel, and
James Morrison, who came from Jersey Shore, Pa., at least as early as 1800,
and made clearings and built habitations on the south bank of the river, in the
northern part of the township, on the site of the present Rogers mill. In the
list of taxables for 1806 they were each taxed with a one-third interest in a
saw-mill, which stood where the Rogers mill now stands. They have many
descendants in Warren county at this day.
But immigration did not penetrate into the depths of the wilderness for
nearly forty years after the beginning of this century. When, in 1839, Samuel
Grossenburg, of whom there is a biographical sketch in this volume, immigrated
hither from Warren, there were but four or five families living within
the limits of the township as it is now bounded. Mr. Grossenburg's nearest
neighbor was Joseph Haaser, his brother-in-law, who occupied the farm next
north from that on which Mr. Grossenburg settled, and on which he recently
died. About 1841 Haaser sold to Michael Itle, who remained here a number
of years, dividing his time between lumbering and farming.
His next neighbor was Alson Rogers, on the river near Glade, whose sons,
Burton, Alson, and Lucien, live there now. In 1839 the old mill had gone to
decay and had not been rebuilt. The site of Stoneham in 1839 was known as
the Rink farm, from the fact that one Jacob Rink had been been living there,
and had made quite a clearing and planted an orchard, one tree of which remains
to this day. Rink had gone west a short time previous to 1839. He and
Francis Yost were the first settlers—after the Morrison family—in this township.
Yost settled as early as 1827 on the farm now owned and occupied by Mrs.
Grossenburg and the one next north. It was then a part of Kinzua township.
About 1838 he went to Rock Island county, Ill., where Rink had gone. In
1839 a Mr. Wheeler owned and operated a saw-mill on the site of Tiona, which
he afterward sold out to Amasa Ransom. The mill of Clapp & Co. stands on
the same site. The township derived its name from Darius Mead, who came
here at the same time as Alson Rogers, with whom he acted in partnership.
In 1839 the mail was carried through this part of the county from Warren to
Ridgeway on horseback, and distributed along the route. It was in the year
1832 that Francis Yost began to work on a portion of the Warren and Ridgeway
turnpike, the first traversable road in the township. The mail was first
carried in 1833 by Daniel T. Stanton. Previous to the opening of the turnpike
the only track for travel through the town was a footpath from Warren
to Barnes in Sheffield, which led to the east of the turnpike and occasionally
crossed its lines.
To lay before the reader a description affording a true idea of the strides
made in settlement and improvement for the next thirty years, we cannot do
better than to quote, substantially, from D. W. Brennan, of North Clarendon,
whose residence in town began in 1868. Mr. Brennan was born in Dover,
Morris county, N. J., on the 5th of April, 1825 ; married Sarah A. Cantrell, a
native of Ireland, at Monticello, N. Y., where he was then living, on the 3d of
June, 1851, and in 1868 came to this township from Chemung county, N. Y.
He removed into his present dwelling house in March, 1870.
According to his statements the township had advanced very little in either
settlement or improvement. There was a small tannery at Stoneham and a
clearing of perhaps 100 acres. There was no settlement at the village of
Clarendon. The clearings along the river were about as they were in 1839.
Samuel Grossenburg had perhaps the most extensive clearing on his farm.
The rest of the township was a dense wilderness; the pine trees had been taken
away, but hemlock timber was still thickly distributed through the forests, and
had attained a large size. There were no families between the river and Stoneham,
though there were nearly a dozen families about that place. Between
Stoneham and the Grossenburg farm lived David Riddlesperger. About in
the center of the present borough of Clarendon lived Thomas J. Place, Grossenburg's
nearest neighbor in that direction. Near the present Catholic Church
Mr. Brennan made a small clearing and occupied a small house. Nelson Elson
resided in what is now the south part of the borough, which is still in the
possession, as owners, of his heirs. About half a mile southwest of the present
borough limits had settled a farmer by the name of C. M. Davis. There
were no other buildings in that direction until the farm of C. K. Bean, in the
north part of what is now Tiona, was reached. Mr. Bean was engaged both
in agriculture and lumbering. Joseph Hall, now of Louisville, Ky., owned
and operated a saw-mill at Tiona, and had considerable property there. He
and his men were the only inhabitants of that part of the town. The community
was known as Halltown, the name Tiona having been a gift of the railroad.
Stoneham had then derived its name from Leroy Stoneham, an early
settler there. Previous to 1868, while the railroad was in process of construction,
and until 1872, there had been a post-office for a short time in the central
part of the present borough, which was known by the euphonious title of
Pattonia, from Thomas Patton, a contractor on the road ; it was then changed
to Clarendon, in honor of Thomas Clarendon, of New York city, the partner
of F. H. Rockwell. About 1869 or 1870 a post-office was established at Stoneham
by the appointment of J. K. Palmer as postmaster. He was afterward
succeeded by Willard W. White. The next post-office was established at
Tiona, soon after 1870, John Wood being the governmental appointee. At
the older village of Clarendon, about 1874 or 1875, F. H. Rockwell was appointed
the first postmaster. About 1880 Max Koch had a penny-post be-
tween Clarendon and North Clarendon, which resulted in his appointment as
the first postmaster of North Clarendon. His successors are as follows : N. M.
Orr, H. E. Norris, and the present incumbent, A. H. Simpson, who was appointed
in June, 1885.
Of the various mills and manufacturing industries in the township it may
be said : The tannery at Stoneham was started about the year 1868, by Palmer,
Hill & Co., who after a time failed. Charles Boardman owned the property
for a brief period, and was followed by W. W. White. White & Co. now own
and operate this mill.
F. H. Rockwell started the tannery and saw-mill at Clarendon village about
seven years ago. Brown Brothers & Co. started their saw-mill and planingmill
at North Clarendon about six or seven years ago.
There are now five saw-mills in town, that of the Rogers Brothers, Burton
Alson and Lucien (sketch of Alson Rogers, in other pages); that of Edward
Armstrong in the north part of the township at the head of Dutchman's Run,
which has been there seven years; that of F. H. Rockwell at Clarendon; that
of Brown Brothers & Co., at North Clarendon, and that of Edward Clapp &
Co., at Tiona. This mill was purchased from Hall by E. G. Wood, who sold
to the present owners about 1870 or 1871.
The Borough of Clarendon.—We have seen that the borough of Clarendon
is of recent origin even as a settlement. It is purely a product of oil operations
and oil excitement, and has had a mushroom growth that would indicate
in most villages a rapid decline and an early death. From its local situation
and the other interests that have been founded here, however, it is quite
evident that this borough is destined to a longer career of prosperity than most
oil towns. It may be that the oil excitement and the free circulation of currency
that accompanies the fever will be ephemeral and that the time will
come when gloomy prophets will think they see their predictions on the road
to verification; but it is more than probable that the near future has for Clarendon
a more healthy growth and a more solid prosperity than has been its
lot in the past.
The borough was chartered in the spring of 1882, when the following officers
were chosen : W. P. Nutting, burgess, resigned and immediately succeeded
by J. R. Clark; councilmen, J. R. Clark, Dr. J. W. Heath, L E. McNett, J.
B. Davis, R. J. Thompson, and G. M. Hill; clerk, F. M. Aiken, resigned and
succeeded by John A. Wilson; treasurer, L. E. McNett.
A considerable part of the land in Clarendon borough is leased, the owners
numbering but three or four. All of the land within the limits of the borough,
and south of the Sheffield road, was leased by Cornelius Eleston, and reverts
to his heirs. That north of the Sheffield road was originally owned by James
Aiken, who sold out; James Barrett, who leased his property; Martin Flanagan,
who sold out; James Malone, who merely leased his right, and Thomas
Grace, who yet owns the soil, having sold merely an oil right.
To show how sudden has been the rise of Clarenden borough, a resident of
the village has given the following description of the site as it was in 1878.
The only business here then was the planing and saw-mill of Brown Brothers
& Co. (this mill is not now running). The only residents on Main street were
James Barrett, James Jackson, James Eagan, Henry Welch, Martin Flanagan,
James Malone, Thomas Grace, Robert Thompson, John Burns, L. E, McNett,
John Belz, and Stacy Coggswell. James Kelly lived on Erie street, on the
south side of the railroad, and Albert Wood had just built a house near the
tannery property. These were the only inhabitants of the village. The first
impulse toward the growth of a village was probably received as many as ten
years ago, when the first oil well in the vicinity was drilled on Dutchman's Run
by Samuel Towles.
When the Keystone House was built by J. W. Crawford in 1882 (since
June, 1883, it has been kept by T. H. Willoughby), the oil excitement had
reached about its highest pitch. The Narrow Gauge Railroad was not then
open, and the Plank Road from North Clarendon to Garfield brought its tollkeepers
in from $100 to $150 a day. All the hotels and boarding-houses
were crowded with people, willing to pay the best of prices for meals and lodging,
while others often failed to find a suitable place whereon to lay their
heads. Well No. 646 in Garfield, opened in March, 1882, was producing
nearly 2,500 barrels a day. Oil well supply stores were opened, and had a
flourishing trade. There are now in Clarendon borough four large stores
which keep a stock of oil well supplies— the Jarecki Manufacturing Company,
the store of L. Emery, jr., the Oil Well Supply Company (limited), a stock
company, of which John Eaton is president, E. T. Howes, treasurer, and K.
Chickering, secretary, and the supply company and general hardware store of
Beecher & Copeland, which is a part of the business which this firm have
established in Warren.
The first store in what is now the borough of Clarendon was that of J. N.
Thompson, which he kept about a year from 1880. G. M. Hill, baker, and
dealer in groceries and provisions, located here in October, 1880, and was the
first merchant to settle here from away. Soon after this, or about the same
time, Asa Phillips established the Central drug store, as it is now called. The
present proprietor, C. S. McCandless, purchased it of W. P. Turner in 1881.
Next was started, in 1880, the dry goods store of Levi H. Hershfield, which
was purchased by R. N. Hershfield, his brother, in July, 1885. Since then
the following stores, named about in the order of their establishment, have
been started and continued to the present: In 1881, drug store, established
by Thomas Griffith, now owned by Dr. D. P. Robbins and F. N. Chapin, the
former of whom has had charge of it since October, 1881; the general store
of T. S. Flynn, started by T. S. Flynn & Co., on the 16th of May, 1881; the
shoe store of G. S. Rittmeier, founded in October, 1881; the news, stationery
and variety store of Driscoll (J. H.) & Whitling (M. H.), the purchasers in November,
1885, of the business which F. H. Cauley founded in 1881; the grocery
of G. Brown, which he established in the spring of 1882; the business as
merchant tailor of G. E. Ihlenfeld, started in August, 1882; the grocery and
provision store of Boyd Brothers (H. P. and A. J.), which they started in August,
1882; the Palace drug store, established by W. H. Sanborn & Co. in the
fall of 1882, and purchased in October, 1885, by Dr. J. C. Russell and M. E.
Sanborn, who still conduct the trade under the name of Dr. J. C. Russell &
Co.; the grocery and provision store of Thomas Painter, founded by him and
his brother in August, 1883; the stoves and hardware store of H. Spitler,
founded by him in June, 1883; the jewelry store of J. G. Lemmer, started in
1883; the grocery of J. Stevenson, started two years ago or more; the dry
goods store of I. Samuels, founded in the spring of 1885; the grocery and
provision store of Goal (J. C.) & Weaver (Z. T. ) , established in August, 1885;
the furnishing goods and clothing store founded by M. Harris, and now owned
by his brother, Albert Harris, since September, 1885; the drug store which
A. S. Knight founded in the fall of 1885 and still owns; the wholesale liquor
store of James O. Allen, established by W. H. Crowell, who sold to the present
proprietor in June, 1885; the trade in gentlemen's furnishing goods (we won't
say gents'), started here in the fall of 1885 by M. Jackson & Brother, who own
a similar business in Kane; the trade as merchant tailor, conducted since
April 1, 1886, by C. Weil; the tobacco store of James Morris, which has been
under his management since April 12, 1886; the dry goods and fancy goods
store of Henry L. Hershfield, which he founded in October, 1886; the furniture
store opened on the 21st of October, 1886, by S. M. Rhodaberger; and
the confectionery and restaurant opened in November, 1886, by
Mrs. W. J. Mullen.
Hotels.—Besides the Keystone House, which has received mention, there
are now in Clarendon borough the following hotels: The Clarendon Hotel,
built at the beginning of Clarendon's history by Reed & O'Connor, improved
in 1881 by Captain W. H. Crowell, from Oil City, who was succeeded by
T. W. Dempsey, and he in turn by the present landlord, K. Campbell; the
Henry House, built next after the last above named; the Weaver House, built by
Z. T. Weaver, and now kept by T. Mahoney; and the hotel built by Carl Prudentz
The Opera House in Clarendon was built in 1881, at a cost of nearly
$2,000, by Z. T. Weaver, T. S. Flynn, H. W. Brown and others, and has a
seating capacity for about 400. The stock is now owned by T. S. Flynn and
the estate of the Brown brothers.
The Mutual Gas Company was organized in September, 1884, as a material
protest against the rise in the tariff resulting from the sale of a former
company's stock to the Warren County Heat and Light Company. The mem-
bers of this company laid their own plant and claim to be the only company
in the State which the Standard Oil Company cannot buy. It started on a
basis of a $5,000 capital, which was doubled in a year. There are 500 shareholders.
The first officers were H. C. Huntington, president; M. S. Booth,
secretary; T. S. Flynn, treasurer; H. E. Norris, vice-president, and six
directors. No member can hold more than ten shares, and each member has
but one vote. No officer is empowered to sell the stock of the company.
The present officers are R. I. Shugart, president; L. Murkett, vice-president;
J. W. Dunkle, secretary ; A. H. Simpson, treasurer; H. Gandy, H. E. Waugaman,
James Davis, T. S. Flynn, E. H. Bradley, and R. S. Gray, directors.
The Fire Department, which now consists of two hose companies and a
hook and ladder company, was organized in 1881, by the election of A. R.
Bahny, chief of the department. The companies have done remarkably good
work since their organization, and by the bravery and zeal of their members
have saved the borough thousands of dollars in property.
Clarendon Village.—Three-fourths of a mile southwest of the depot is the
location of the old town, which is owned entirely by F. H. Rockwell & Co.
Some thirty-nine years ago a water mill was built near where the present
steam mill stands, and for a number of years was owned and operated by
Joseph Hall; but in the course of time it was burned, and Hall sold the adjoining
land to a New York oil company about nineteen years ago. The oil
fever failed to take permanent root in this section at that time, and no developments
were made. The first improvements worthy of note were begun in
1871 by F. H. Rockwell, of Honesdale, Pa., and Thomas Clarendon, of New
York, under the firm name of Rockwell & Clarendon. During that summer
the above firm erected a substantial saw-mill and tannery, built a number of
residences for the families of their employees, and practically started the old
Schools and Churches.—The first school-house in the township was built
not far from 1850, on what is now Main street in North Clarendon. It was
roughly thrown together of logs, and was the work of Samuel Grossenburg,
Michael Itle, "Sterry" Packard, and S. J. Severance. In 1854 school-house
number three was built, Alson Rogers, S. J. Severance, S. Only, jr., N. S.
Packard, Orren Hook, and Nash Abbott being directors. They were to purchase
half an acre of land, for which they were not to pay to exceed twenty
dollars, and were to pay not more than $240 for the school-house. Miss Mary
Hodges was the first teacher, at the following wages: eight dollars a month,
and eight dollars being allowed for her board and fuel for four months. In
1855 school-house number two was built at an expense of $250. Sarah A.
Shaw first taught in this building. Mary J. Brown taught the same year in
number three. In 1856 school-house number one was built at an expense of
$179. Sarah Jones taught the first school in this building. There are now
six schools in the township, if we include three that are in Clarendon borough.
The public school, having three departments, in the borough, was built in
1879 by the township, and after the organization of the borough was purchased
There are seven churches in Mead township, one at Stoneham and the rest
in Clarendon borough. (For the Roman Catholic Church, see history of Warren).
The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in September, 1885.
The original members were Z. Salisbury and wife, A. H. Beighley and wife,
E. A. Beighley, Ada Bean, Helen Howard, Mrs F. C. Campbell, Mrs. Morse,
Flora Groat, Mary Ort, Catherine Spence, and others. The house of worship
was erected—the Evangelical Church—in May, 1883, of wood, at an expense
of fifteen hundred dollars, and the Methodists have held services therein ever
since. The pastors of the Methodist Church have been as follows: C. W,
Miner, Henry Reecer, A. B. Phillips. The present value of the church property
is about $3,000.
The Trinity Evangelical Church was organized in 1882, meetings being
held at first in the old opera house under the direction of D. M. Baumgardner.
His successors have been Revs. M. L. Weaver, from March, 1883, to April,
1886, and C. H. Miller to the present. The first members were Solomon
Funk and Ann, his wife, A. C. Houser, Elizabeth Houser, Elsa Houser, Catherine
Wolf, J. W. Walter, Margaret Nail, Mary Nail, Jennie Farnsworth, Helen
Van Gorder, Jacob Knopf, Anna Knopf. The membership now numbers about
eighty. Besides these churches and the Roman Catholic, of more recent formation,
are the Episcopal Church, of which Rev. Joseph T. Wright is rector,
meetings being held in Barn's hall; the Congregational Church, Rev. Rowland,
pastor, services being held once in two weeks; and the Presbyterian
Church, Rev. H. Webster, pastor, services being held Sunday mornings in the
M. E. Church.
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Daniel Webster Downey and wife Anna (Plunkett) Downey, undated
|Photograph courtesy of Penelope Repko|
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