Sheffield Township

History of Warren County Pennsylvania                    Schenck 1887

               Sheffield Township was formed in 1833. Its territory occupies the entire southeastern comer of Warren County. The land is drained by the Tionesta Creek. There were seven men present at the first town meeting, which was held on the old farm of Timothy Barnes. Their bench consisted of a bobsled turned upside down. There were not men enough present to fill all the offices, and those who were there merely agreed upon the persons who should perform certain duties. The names of these seven men were: Timothy Barnes, Erastus Barnes, Samuel Williamson, Stephen Taylor, John Williamson, John Brown, and John Gilson. The only families in town at that time were those of Timothy Barnes and John Gilson. The first tax list for Sheffield, completed in 1834, reveals the names of thirty-three permanent property owners in the township, not more than twenty of whom were permanent residents. Several of them were squatters, who ‘folded their tents” and departed upon the slightest occasion, while others were men of prominence elsewhere, who, in their speculative reach, had taken hold of land in the area.

               Timothy Barnes has been named the pioneer of Sheffield Township. He built the first sawmill on the south branch of the Tionesta Creek. His son Erastus also ran a sawmill in the area. Timothy Barnes was noted for his charity and benevolence, which were also attributed to his son. It is said that in the early settlement, food and provisions were often scarce, but Barnes permitted no one to want for either food or work. He was the mainstay of the whole country. It is related that in the winter of 1829, Timothy Barnes went back for his family in New York, while Erastus hired out to work in a mill in Warren. During the winter, Erastus came back to see how the men who worked in his father’s mill were improving their time, and how they prospered. He made his way through the woods on foot alone, and was followed the entire distance by wolves. The men he found had gone hunting and left nothing to eat in the shanty but a few spoonfuls of buckwheat and a small piece of venison. Of this, young Barnes made a partial meal and passed the night alone in this rude hut with the hungry wolves howling about. On his return to Warren the next day, he found the wolves had returned before him.

               Lower Sheffield, at Barnes Station, is by far the oldest village in the township. The main businesses here were mills and gas. The village of Sheffield owes its origin and growth to the several firms engaged in tanneries. In 1864, W. & W. Horton purchased land, and three years later the firm of Horton, Crary & Co. was formed and built one tannery. They had controlling interest in several tanneries and were producers of sole leather. They also owned sawmills and oil wells.


Courtesy of the Warren County Historical Society