PLACE NAMES IN
WARREN COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA
Ernest C. Miller
Little did I suspect, when I decided to do an article on Warren County place names, what a frightening task I had taken upon myself. Rather than the “old-rocking-chair” exercise in source material investigation that I had anticipated, I quickly ran afoul of a great mass of contradictory evidence relating to many county names. Some evidence was found to be only myth, some information had passed down through generations of a family, and some so-called “facts” were, I am certain, manufactured on the spot as I questioned many people. Sorting out the accurate from the inaccurate was a long and taxing problem requiring patience, some luck, and at times I even thought some clairvoyance!
But of all the people I talked with, and there were many, all were interested, willing, and tried to be helpful in a myriad of ways. To thank all of them by name would be impossible.
I must give well-deserved thanks to Mr. Merle H. Deardorff and Mr. Harold C. Putnam, both of Warren, who guided me unerringly many times and who prevented horrible blunders.
Few if any place-name articles can ever be termed “complete” and no such claim is made for this survey; it is hoped that it will serve as a stepping-stone towards an eventual complete listing of all Warren County place names.
AKELEY --- a village in Pine Grove township.
Tradition says the crossroads at Akeley got its name from Levi Akeley, Jr., who settled here after his father and mother came from Brattleboro, Vermont in 1828. The family originally settled on the east side of Conewango Creek, opposite Russell, which land was owned by Levi’s older brother, Joseph, who arrived in 1815 and purchased six hundred acres of land.
While Joseph Akeley spelled his name as Akeley, the form now in use, there was a period of years during which some of the family spelled it Ackley. The post office was Ackley Station from 1878 to 1904 but during that year the name was changed to Akeley. The Grange, however, still clings to Ackley.
The first bridge across Conewango Creek at this point was built prior to 1846 and three bridges have stood here, one having been built as a covered bridge. The present steel bridge was built about 1900 and was heavy enough to carry the track of the Warren and Jamestown Street Railway Company from 1905 to 1929.
ALCUIN --- a small and brief utopian settlement on the Homer Preston farm, near Lander, Farmington township.
Names for Alcuin, the English scholar who aided Charlemagne in the revival of learning at the Court of Franks, 735 - 804.
On a farm of thirty-six acres that had been given to the Order of St. Benedictine, Inc.,
St. John’s Abbey of Collegeville, Minnesota, a small band of devoted Roman Catholics, chiefly from the New York City area, established a craft-agrarian community in February of 1940. The group learned farming methods from Red Carlson, a farmer who had been living on the farm. Although they worked hard and long, the advent of World War II doomed the society; some of the members were drafted, others became discouraged and left to take good paying jobs in industry, and new recruits could not be obtained.
Following the end of World War II, the farm was sold to Robert Sukoski, one of the original members of the community, and he operated it until 1953 when he sold it to Calvin Perry, a farmer from Ohio.
ALTHOM STATION --- a small settlement in Deerfield township.
Named by the railroad, this was a shipping point for lumber and silica sand. The AL part of the name came from the Allegheny River and THOM came from Richard Thompson, hence AL-THOM. Thompson, an early settler engaged in lumber trade, was a river pilot, and owned large tracts of land.
BABYLON --- once a small village west of Tidioute in Triumph township, now only a house or two stands at this location.
Here was the resort of the infamous Ben Hogan, often called “the wickedest man in the world.” He maintained a house of ill repute at Babylon during the oil boom in the area, chiefly 1866-1868. A clergyman riding past Hogan’s place one day was stunned to observe naked women playing in the yard and is said to have proclaimed, “This is the wickedest place I have ever seen! I name it Babylon!”
BARNES --- a village in Sheffield township.
For postal purposed Barnes was called Sheffield until 1872 when it became Barnes in honor of Timothy Barnes who has aptly been called “the pioneer of Sheffield township.” He was born at Litchfield, Connecticut, in 1780 and later lived in Cooperstown, Clinton, and Italy Hill, in New York state, and at one time held a commission as Captain in the New York Militia.
By 1828 he had settled along Tionesta Creek in Warren county where he built sawmills, operated them a few years, and then generally sold them. He died at the home of his son, Erastus Barnes, at the age of ninety-three.
BEANTOWN --- a small village in Mead township.
This name has often been used in place of Weldbank and both names refer to the same location.
Years ago the Clark Bean farm was located here and the Beans had many children. They often traveled to Erie and back by the Pennsylvania Railroad and the evening train from Erie to the east came through Weldbank about 8:30 P.M. Bean children were so often on the train that one of the conductors started to announce the stop by crying, “Weldbank and Beantown!” and thus the second name for the place was derived. (See Weldbank.)
BEAR LAKE --- borough located partly in Columbus and partly in Freehold townships, and a lake located in Freehold township one mile east of the borough.
The village was called The Summit until 1872 when it was named Bear Lake, taking this name from the nearby ten-acre body of water; it was feeding and watering place for bears before the timber was removed from the area. The village was organized as a borough on September 6, 1887.
BROKENSTRAW --- a stream and a township.
From the Indian word Cushanadauga, meaning “broken grass.” The French rendered it as Kachinodiagon and as Gachinantiagon from expeditions through the region in 1739 and 1749, and to them it was paille coupee or “cut straw.” The English called the place Buckaloons, a corruption of a Delaware Indian name.
Brokenstraw was the original Warren county township organized in 1800. In 1808 it was divided into Brokenstraw and Conewango townships by order of the Venango county court. The two were then split into twelve townships on March 8, 1821, but only seven were organized at that time.
CHANDLERS VALLEY --- a village ten miles northwest of Warren in Sugar Grove township.
Named for John Chandler, a Revolutionary War veteran who settled here shortly after arriving from Connecticut about 1815.
From 1848 through 1852, a considerable number of Swedish families emigrated to this area and for a few years the place was also known as Swedesburg. When the Swedes talked of the area, they generally referred to it as the vallan or valley. Chandlers Valley is considered the oldest Swedish settlement of a permanent nature in the eastern United States.
Just west of the village, the Rev. Jonas Swenson organized a Lutheran Church in 1856; it was named the Hessel Valley Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church and the name came from Hassleby, a Swedish community from which many of the people had come. The church is still active.
CHAPMAN DAM (Chapman Dam State Park) --- located on the West Branch of Tionesta Creek, five miles west of Clarendon and U. S. Route 6.
Named for Dr. Leroy E. Chapman, a long-time physician in Warren, who, as a member of the Pennsylvania Senate, introduced the bill that made this park possible. Completed in 1951, the place provides swimming, boating, camping, picnicking, hiking, and hunting and fishing in season.
CHERRY GROVE --- a township.
Named because of the great profusion of cherry trees in the vicinity.
Erected from Sheffield township by an order of the court confirmed December 7, 1847.
During 1882-1883, in this township took place one of the greatest oil booms ever witnessed in Pennsylvania. William T. Falconer and Frederick Morck of Warren owned leases in the township and they sub-leased their lands to George Dimick and Captain Peter Grace who operated as the Jamestown Oil Company.
Early in January 1882, this firm started to drill a “wildcat” well on map tract 646, miles from other productive territory. In March, watching oil scouts found the new well tightly boarded up and armed guards protecting it. On March 29 the well made a large flow of oil but as sufficient tankage was not available, the well was plugged; finally, on May 17 the plug was removed and the drill went a bit deeper. The well commenced flowing wildly and by June 13 a conservative estimate placed its daily production at over two thousand barrels. The Buffalo (N.Y.) Express proclaimed it as “The Largest Well on Earth.”
The discovery of this new oil field sent prices on the oil exchanges reeling downwards as oil men rushed to the region through Sheffield and North Clarendon. Over six hundred wells were drilled in the Cherry Grove area and five different pipeline companies rushed into the field to handle the output. By September 1, 40,000 barrels of crude oil were moving from the field daily and this was its largest production.
The chief pipeline struggle was between the Tidewater Pipe Line Company and the United Pipe Lines, but the latter, being a subsidiary of the potent Standard Oil Company, eventually won the leadership and did the greatest business. At Vandergrift, it installed huge boilers and pumps and created the largest crude oil pumping station in the world.
A narrow gauge railroad, the Warren & Farnsworth Valley, was built from North Clarendon to Cherry Grove to haul freight and passengers, and the thirteen-mile road was constructed in just over ninety days. The ephemeral villages in the Cherry Grove region included Farnsworth, Garfield, and Vandergrift. But by October, the great gusher wells were yielding only moderate amounts daily, and water from many abandoned wells was seeping through the field wrecking other wells.
Real estate values collapsed, equipment was taken down and moved into Forest county where the Cooper Tract was the new oil excitement, and gradually the area decreased in activity and production; by the end of 1883, the great 646 well was giving only five-eighths of a barrel daily! An oil magazine of that day, The Petroleum Age, reported, “The field surpasses any ever previously discovered in the capacity of the wells to produce.” There is nothing at Cherry Grove today to indicate the turmoil of 1882-1883. Time and nature have done a remarkable job of camouflage.
CLARENDON --- a borough in Mead township.
Named for Thomas Clarendon of New York City, a partner with F. H. Rockwell of Honesdale, Pennsylvania; they were joint owners of large land and timber tracts in the vicinity.
The place was called Pattonia for a railroad builder, William Patton, who had the contract to build the rail line through the area. Patton announced in The Warren (Pa.) Mail for June 2, 1860, that he was selling all his building equipment since his railroad construction contract had been completed.
The borough was chartered March 6, 1882. Much of the town was destroyed in a disastrous fire on July 4, 1887. Present-day Clarendon was previously called North Clarendon. Old Clarendon, unidentified today, is about three-quarters of a mile southwest of the Clarendon railroad depot and was at one time the site of the chief settlement.
COBHAM STATION --- a small settlement and a former railroad stopping place in Deerfield township.
Named to honor Brigadier General George A. Cobham of Warren, who was killed in the Civil War the day after he had been promoted to General, at Peach Tree Creek, Georgia, in 1864. The GAR post in Tidioute, Pennsylvania, was named “General George A. Cobham Post 311” in his memory.
The Cobham family history is most unusual, Henry Cobham of England, a descendant of Lord Henry Cobham, died in 1825 leaving his wife, Catherine, and two sons. Within a few years, a younger brother and law graduate, George Ashworth Cobham, married the widow. Upon the death of an aunt, the Cobhams inherited her estate and properties until the boys reached legal age.
Catherine and George Cobham spent their fortune lavishly and soon he was thrown into debtors’ prison; at the same time, the authorities tried to have the marriage annulled in the Ecclesiastical Court. To avoid more trouble, the Cobhams and their sons, now three in number, fled to France and thence to America in 1836. After spending some time in Jamestown, New York, George Cobham finally found the land he liked --- eleven hundred acres near Warren, Pennsylvania. Here Cobham Castle and many out-buildings were erected, all from lumber cut and milled on the Cobham lands.
When sons Henry and George reached manhood, they were told that Henry Cobham was their true father, not George. Stepfather George also had to tell the boys he had been receiving and spending their income without settling any of the past English debts. When this shocking information blew over, the boys worked harder than ever before at lumbering and farming operations. In 1856 a panic hit the country and suddenly unpaid bills flooded in upon George Ashworth Cobham. The stepsons were astounded at the amount of these debts and George took what funds he could and left home forever. Henry stayed on and completed the building program and in 1862 he enlisted in the Union Army and served for a short time.
Lady Cobham died in 1866 and her husband four years later. Though George Ashworth Cobham died broke, he left a grandiloquent will and many detailed instructions. Stepson Henry, the real Lord Cobham, was sued time after time by his half-sisters and the court struggles relating to the Cobham estate continued into the 1920’s.
The late Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Robert H. Jackson, wrote a learned article on this subject titled “Falstaff’s Descendants in the Pennsylvania Courts,” which was published in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review for December 1952.
Cobham Castle stands proudly on its Warren county hilltop today. It is privately owned and not available to the public.
COLUMBUS --- a township and a village.
The township was named in a most unusual manner. Two of the early settlers each wished to name it for their former places of residence. David Curtis had come from Sherburne, New York, and favored that name while Kimball Webber had come from Columbus, New York, and favored it. After an angry debate, the two decided that the one who furnished the most whiskey on election day would name the township. Webber supplied five gallons and therefore named the township Columbus.
The first post office in the township was called Coffee Creek, but after naming of the township it became Columbus, too.
The township was organized by the court March 8, 1821, and originally called Northwest township because of its location within the county. It was organized as a separate township, Columbus, on May 30, 1825. Columbus borough was incorporated March 19, 1853, but gave up its charter January 1, 1925, and became part of the township again.
CONEWANGO --- a stream and a township.
Conewango is Seneca for “in (or at) the riffles.” This came from an Indian name originally rendered as Kanonogan. The French called Conewango Creek Schatacoin and the English wrote it Conawagy, Conewanga, Conewagoo, Canawago, and Conewango. The present spelling dates from about 1795. The name and original boundaries of the township were established by a commission appointed by the Venango county court in 1806 with the recommendation of the commission confirmed by that court two years later. The township embraced the eastern half of the county, and the first township election was held in the home of Daniel Jackson in the spring of 1808.
On March 8, 1821, Brokenstraw and Conewango townships, which included the entire county, were divided into twelve townships.
CORNPLANTER INDIAN GRANT --- in the northwestern part of Warren county.
Named for Chief Cornplanter, a Seneca chieftain to whom the lands were given by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1791.
Located in Elk township, nearly all of the Grant lands were taken by the United States Corps of Engineers when the Kinzua Dam-Allegheny River Reservoir was constructed in 1966. The few acres of Grant lands not taken are nearly inaccessible and are not inhabited.
The story of Cornplanter and his people is a most interesting one and not well known, so it is presented briefly here. Cornplanter was a half-breed whose Dutch father was John Abeel of Albany and his mother was a Seneca woman from an important family. Born near Avon, New York, about 1752, the young half-breed lived, fought, thought, and finally died as an Indian. Fortunately, he inherited the best virtues of both the white and Indian blood from which he stemmed.
After the British victory at Quebec and the peace of 1763, the French withdrew from what is today northwestern Pennsylvania. Later, the Seneca joined with Pontiac who led an unsuccessful conspiracy in an attempt to expel the English from the Ohio Valley region. Defeated in this attempt, the Seneca traveled in greater numbers than before into the upper Allegheny River area and by 1775 were generally settled in towns from the present Kinzua Dam site to Olean, New York.
At a council meeting at Oswego in July 1777, the greater part of the Six Nations decided to fight on the side of the British during the Revolutionary War. Cornplanter and a few others seemed loath to approve this decision but they were outvoted and after the matter was settled, they fully supported the Indian cause. Cornplanter was among the Indian leaders made a Captain by the British.
By 1779 the Seneca found they had guessed wrong in siding with the British. General Sullivan in New York State and Colonel Daniel Brodhead in Western Pennsylvania had burned their crops and towns, defeated them in battle, and made life extremely difficult. It must be remembered that west of the Alleghenies, the Revolution was chiefly an Indian fight with Mohawk Joseph Brant, serving the British interest among the tribes. When peace came in 1782, these western Indians had trouble believing the British had been defeated, for the Americans were still holed up in Fort Pitt and did not act like victors!
About this time Cornplanter moved to the upper Allegheny River region and became the spokesman for the Seneca located there. His leadership, though several times taken away from him for short periods when he did not follow the wishes of his people, was solidly based. For one thing, his uncle was Kiasutha, who had been a brilliant leader of the western New York Seneca, and for another, his mother and wife both came from prominent Seneca families. More important, Cornplanter had shown his prowess in battle, and his diplomatic skill and his ability to speak for his people were demonstrated at Oswego and Fort Stanwix.
Recognizing his ability, the Americans supported Cornplanter and relied on his influence. They used his services often. Joseph Brant’s British leanings were increasingly unpopular and he did not attend the meetings at Fort Stanwix. His place was taken by a Mohawk chieftain and Cornplanter. Cornplanter’s determination to live at peace with the Americans seemed to be gaining favor.
Cornplanter was called on to aid Pennsylvania at the treaty of Fort Harmar (Marietta, Ohio) in 1789. At this assembly Pennsylvania materially bettered its title to Indian lands included in the now famous Erie Triangle area. Following the treaty, one of the commissioners, General Richard Butler, wrote President Mifflin of the Pennsylvania Supreme Executive Council suggesting a gift of land to the Seneca leader for past services and “to fix his attachment to the State.”
On January 22, 1791, Mifflin, who had now become governor, recommended that a land gift be made by the new legislature. In place of land within the Erie Triangle, however Cornplanter requested three separate tracts elsewhere, and an act granting this request was passed January 29 and approved three days later. A survey of the tracts was ordered two days after that.
As finally surveyed, one tract was called “Richland,” near the present site of West Hickory in Forest county, and this was promptly sold by the chief to his good friend, General John Wilkins, Jr. Another, the “Gift” tract, was the site of the present Oil City and included a famous oil spring much used by the Indians. This was sold in 1818, and it is said Cornplanter received worthless money and notes as payment, but neither he nor his heirs ever succeeded in recovering the land or securing suitable payment. The third tract, “Planter’s Field,” comprised six hundred acres on the west side of the Allegheny River , beginning just south of the New York state line. It included Jenuch-Shadega, the main town of Cornplanter and his people, and two river islands called “Donation” and
These lands were given Cornplanter in fee, and the land remaining at the Grant is still owned by his heirs. It is tax-exempt but not an ordinary reservation and the national government has no special jurisdiction over it. The fact that Cornplanter personally owned the land made it a natural haven for many Indians who were fearful of the gradual but steady encroachment upon their lands by the white settlers.
In 1866 Pennsylvania erected a monument on the Grant in memory of Cornplanter and this was the first monument erected in honor of an Indian in the United States.
Off and on over the years the Quakers conducted a school on the Grant. In 1857 the Commonwealth supplied a teacher and building and continued to do so until the Indian school closed forever in 1953. With the construction of the Kinzua Dam in 1966, all but a few acres of the Grant lands have disappeared beneath the waters.
CORYDON --- a township and a village.
Named for Corydon township in McKean county. As it has been impossible to track down how the McKean county township received its name, it seems likely Corydon was adopted from Greek and Roman poetry, as this was the name of the shepherd in Theocritus’s Idyls and Vergil’s Eclogues, and became virtually standardized as the typical name for an enamored rustic.
The boundary line between Warren and McKean counties was in dispute and by an act of the legislature April 16, 1845, a commission was appointed to settle the matter. Andrew H. Ludlow of Warren and John Williams and Jonathan Marsh of McKean county constituted the commission with authority to establish the new line. On March 20, 1846, the new boundary having been established, part of Corydon township of McKean county became the newly-formed Corydon township of Warren county.
The first settler was Philip Tome who came from Lycoming county in 1827 although he had resided briefly at Kinzua as early as 1815 and probably before that date. Tome was a famed hunter and interpreter for Chief Cornplanter and Governor Blacksnake for fifteen years. In 1854, with the aid of a relative, believed to have been Miss Juliet L. Tome, first teacher in that State school on the Cornplanter Indian Grant, he wrote Pioneer Life, or Thirty Years a Hunter. This is an excellent account of early hunting and thrilling experiences in northwestern Pennsylvania. The book was published at Buffalo, New York, on rather poor paper and copies are scarce today.
The village of Corydon really boomed in 1881 with the grading of the Buffalo, New York & Philadelphia Railroad past the place. The business section was destroyed by fire in 1892. In the winter of 1918 an ice jam in the Allegheny
River caused considerable damage to many houses in the town. With the building of the Kinzua Dam and Allegheny River Reservoir, Corydon was wiped off the map in 1965 in preparation for the waters of the dam.
DEERFIELD --- a township.
Named because deer were in great abundance in this region.
Organized by the court March 8, 1821, and called Number Eleven.
DONALDSON’S --- a small settlement in Sheffield township.
Named for Andrew Donaldson who owned a large farm in this area and came here from Kittanning, Pennsylvania, in 1848. During 1881, an oil excitement started on the farm with some twelve productive wells having been drilled. The place today is marked by several crude oil collection tanks owned by the Valvoline Oil Company Division of the Ashland Oil & Refining Company.
DUGALL --- a small settlement located halfway between Pittsfield and Wrightsville, in Pittsfield township.
Originally the vicinity was known as the Dugway as most of the houses were located along a dug road. Gradually the name was slurred and abbreviated and became Dugall.
The post office was so named and operated from 1886 to 1903.
EAST BRANCH --- a small settlement located on the East Branch of the stream Spring Creek, in Spring Creek township. (See Spring Creek)
ECONOMITE HILL --- across the Allegheny River from Tidioute, Pennsylvania, in Limestone township.
Named for the Economy Oil Company which firm was owned by the Harmony Society with headquarters at Economy (now Ambridge), Pennsylvania.
From their boarding house close by the Allegheny River, 473 steps led to the top of this steep hill where a Union Church had been built (erected 1870 --- burned 1910) which was available for the use of all. Itinerant preachers from Tidioute and from Clarion county most often served this church.
The Economites, more generally known as the Harmonists, were followers of George Rapp, the German vine-dresser and weaver, who successfully brought more than five hundred of his people to the United States in 1804 and guided them well but dictatorially until his death in 1847.
Rapp, the founder, was born in Wurttemberg, Germany, in 1757 and he believed and taught socialistic community living well spiced with deep religious worship. His followers, known as Separatists, were hounded by the German clergy who denounced them to the civil authorities and they were persecuted, fined, and often imprisoned. In 1803 Rapp sold his property in Germany and headed for America, searching for a location where he could establish his people. Impressed with the land in the Connoquenessing Valley of Butler county, Pennsylvania, he purchased five thousand acres there for $15, 000. The next year his followers arrived and commenced building the town they called Harmony, hence their name, Harmony Society. While George Rapp was the religious leader, his adopted son, Frederick, was in charge of administrative and financial dealings. Members of the Society pooled their wealth and possessions, renounced all personal ownership in favor of communal ownership, and prospered beyond belief.
The rules of the Society consisted of ten written contracts made from 1805 through 1903. In 1807 the Society spelled its eventual death-knell when it adopted celibacy in a fervor of religious enthusiasm and in the belief that the millennium would come in 1836. It did not take place, and while the Society hired workers and adopted people for many years, the ranks gradually decreased.
In 1815 the Harmonists decided to move west, selling their town for $100,000, and relocated along the Wabash River a few miles south of Vincennes, Indiana. For a decade they worked and prospered in Indiana but suddenly malaria reduced their ranks, hostility and misunderstanding against them grew and multiplied, and much of their business slipped away. They decided to return to Pennsylvania and this time they sold New Harmony, Indiana, to Robert Owen, the English industrialist, who had great faith in cooperative living and wanted to try it on a large scale in America. He paid $150,000 for exactly what he needed for his experiment.
The Harmonists now secured three thousand acres of land north of Pittsburgh and laid out a new beautiful town which they named Economy. All the members were situated here by 1825 and the buildings were in progress at that time. How well they built can be told today as seventeen of the original buildings of sixty-five total have been renovated and still stand as evidence of their skill and good taste.
The Harmonists and Warren county first met when the Society purchased two thousand acres of timberland across the Allegheny River from Tidioute, Pennsylvania, and erected a mill thereon. William Davidson of West Bridgewater, near Beaver, Pennsylvania, also had timber holdings in the same area and he was a frequent borrower of capital from the Society.
One of the new firms in which the Society invested was the Etna Glass Company and Davidson also owned an interest in it. When it failed, Davidson took over the company due to his belief that the Harmonists would assist him financially. This they did but Davidson failed too and found the Harmony Society to be his largest creditor. At the Sheriff’s sale of his possessions, the Society bid on the four thousand acres of land he owned in Warren county, also his home and furnishings, these last two items being restored to Davidson’s son.
In a generous attempt to assist the Davidson family, the Society offered the family managership of the Warren county lands, now six thousand acres, but Davidson refused and Michael Merkle, a relative of Rapp’s who came from Germany in 1853 became manager. Merkle was never a member of the Society.
And then suddenly Colonel E. L. Drake struck oil at Titusville on August 27, 1859, and one of the first places where the drillers tried their hand following Drake’s success was in Tidioute and area, only seventeen miles from Titusville. As early as December 21, 1860, we find the Economites with a well on their land producing six hundred barrels daily. Encouraged by this luck they drilled more wells and instead of giving them names, they lettered them as A, B, and C.
Most of their wells were shallow, seldom over one hundred and fifty feet in depth, and the individual production ranged from five to eighty barrels per day. In 1869 the wells brought the Society more than $200,000 profit. The buildings of the Economy Oil Company, all in Warren county, were clustered along the river opposite Tidioute, where they built a large wharf and a large boarding house for their workers whose speech and manners were regulated by printed rules.
During the period of the best oil production, the Harmonists had installed William Davidson, Jr., on its oil fields as lessee in order that he might recoup the family losses. In less than two and one-half years he had paid off $35,000 in old debts and had cleared $100,000. The Davidsons then tried to hold possession of the property rather than seek an extension of their lease from the Society. From this action generated the long series of Warren county court battles that ran for years and were eventually settled in favor of the Economy Oil Company.
While the company operated in Warren county, no members of the Society actually lived in the county; many visited the oil operations, and Harmony trustees were here very often attending to business. The Society saw to it that Christian goodness was practiced; the poor were aided, money was sent to immigrants, merchants in financial difficulties were helped, and the Methodist Church in Tidioute received $366 when it was seriously in need of funds. Eventually the oil production declined. Society membership reached a new low, and the treasury was in a deplorable condition. Some of the factories operated at a loss, hired workers had drained too heavily on the funds, and the many court suits were expensive. John Duss, last trustee of the Society, reduced the hired help, sold much of the land, liquidated nearly half a million dollars of railroad stock, and induced the American Bridge Company to buy a mile of land at Economy that was owned by the Society.
Trustee Duss instructed William Merkle to dispose of all the Warren county holdings and by 1895 this had been accomplished. Ten years later the Society was dissolved by permission of the court, and with the death of Mr. and Mrs. Duss, the Harmonists disappeared forever. They were a potent business force for many years in Warren county and served as an example all others could profit by.
Economy Street in Tidioute today serves as a small reminder of the past glories of this group of dedicated people.
ELDRED --- township
Named for Judge Nathaniel B. Eldred, president judge for the Eighteenth Judicial District which included Warren county when this township was organized.
Erected from the northern part of Southwest township by an order of the court confirmed September 8, 1843.
ELK --- township
Named because in earlier years elk frequented this area as they did in neighboring Elk county as well. A survey made in 1832 reported that a few elk still remained in the area.
The township was formed March 8, 1821, as Number Seven and was attached to Kinzua township. On May 1, 1830, it was organized as Elk township from that part of Kinzua township west of the Allegheny River.
ENTERPRISE --- a village in the southern part of Southwest township.
In the 1840’s there were ten active sawmills, two general stores, and a cluster of houses in this place; as it was a booming section, the citizens called it an “enterprising” place, hence the name of the village.
In 1865 it became the headquarters of the Enterprise Oil & Lumber Company, a company formed by Byron D. Benson and Major Robert E. Hopkins, both from New York state; they purchased large tracts of lumber owned by Myron Walters.
Schenck’s History of Warren County, Pennsylvania incorrectly states that there was a post office under this name about 1850 but the postal records from the National Archives indicate the first post office at Enterprise commenced February 23, 1874, with Myron Dunham as the postmaster. The confusion results from the fact that the earlier post office in this region was called SouthWest and it was changed to Enterprise as a postal station in 1874.
FAGUNDUS --- a small settlement in Triumph township.
Named for Charles G. Fagundus, an early setler.
On May 1, 1870, the Venture Well struck oil on the Fagundus farm and was yielding 175 barrels a day; William H. Calvert was the projector of this well which was eight hundred feet deep. A major oil boom followed and the town grew to sizable proportions. In June of the same year, a combination of five men (the Fisher Brothers, S. M. and J. L. Grandin, and Adnah Neyhart) bought five-sixteenths interest in the Fagundus farm for $100,000 in cash. Fagundus reserved his house and a one-sixteenth interest.
During the boom period, part of Fagundus was in Warren county and part was in Forest county. Today the area is hardly recognizable.
FARMINGTON --- township
Named because of the agricultural pursuits of its residents.
Formed from Pine Grove township by an order of the court confirmed October 7, 1853.
A story that may or may not be apocryphal is still extant among a few elder citizens. The story relates that some of the residents in the western section of Pine Grove township did not wish to pay for part of a covered bridge to be erected at Russell, Pine Grove township, across Conewango Creek in 1853. To eliminate such payments, they banded together and petitioned the court for the formation of Farmington township.
FREEHOLD --- a village and a township.
Named by the citizens who petitioned the court for the formation of the township and indicates that the land was held in fee simple. Freehold was a very popular name for towns and townships in the 1800’s.
Erected from portions of Columbus and Sugar Grove townships. The report of the commissioners was confirmed absolutely September 3, 1833.
FRIENDSHIP --- a former village in Elk township, north of Scandia.
Warren county maps prior to 1840 show the village of Friendship; the Quakers bought the lands from the county about 1824 and gave this name to the settlement and also named Quaker Hill.
On April 4, 1838, the state commissioned Daniel Pound, Jason Andrews, and Lansing Wetmore to lay out a road “through the Quaker Settlement” from Warren to the New York state line.
GARFIELD --- a small settlement in Cherry Grove township.
Named in honor of President James A. Garfield.
The village was spectacular during the oil excitement of 1882-1883; it rose meteorically but lasted only a year or two. (See Cherry Grove.”
GARLAND --- a village in Pittsfield township.
Originally named Mullingar by and Irish emigrant after his home village, it was soon shortened to The Gar. But the Rev. J. McMaster, Presbyterian minister at the town and the first postmaster, did not like that designation and renamed the place Garland because of its beautiful surroundings.
During the 1860’s Garland became a famous shipping point for barrels of crude oil from the lower oil fields but this railroad freight diminished greatly after the introduction of the pipelines.
In 1887 a mining entrepreneur claimed to have discovered silver near the Garland railroad station. He opened a mine, sold stock, and left to purchase additional mining equipment---but never returned! Mention is made of this mine in The Warren (Pa.) Mail of February 21, 1887.
GERMANY --- a former small settlement in Elk township, north of Scandia, now completely disappeared.
It was so named because of the many German emigrant families who settled here.
GLADE --- a stream and a township.
Named for the glades in the surrounding region.
Erected from parts of Conewango and Elk townships, March 8, 1844.
GOWANGO --- a former small settlement and railroad shipping point in Elk township; It was located just south of the Cornplanter Indian Grant but on the east side of the Allegheny River.
Named by the railroad when it was built through here, Gowango may derive from Seneca, and the Cornplanter Indians have said it means literally “boat up there” or “inside of a boat.”
A cable ferry was once operated here to get lumber from the Cornplanter Run area across the river to the railroad for shipment. Today Gowango is beneath the waters of the Kinzua Dam.
GRANDIN --- a projected village in Limestone township, just across the Allegheny River from Tidioute.
Named for the Grandin family of Tidioute who were large landowners, lumber merchants, bankers, oil producers, and wheat farmers on a very large scale in the west, and general entrepreneurs.
The town was laid out and mapped in 1873with Grandin Avenue as the wide main thoroughfare and a Fairmont Park included. A handsome map of the streets was published in Philadelphia the same year but the village never came into existence!
J. L. Grandin entered the map in the records at the Warren County Courthouse on March 6, 1878. (Deed book 42, page 588.)
GRAND VALLEY --- a village in Eldred township.
This village was named for the magnificent valley in which it is located.
Grand Valley was organized as a borough June 8, 1897, but gave up its charter of September 21, 1945, and became part of the township again.
GRUNDERVILLLE --- a small settlement in Pleasant township.
Named for Daniel and John Grunder, the original settlers at this location.
The temporary village of Grunderville has an interesting history. In 1900 the boat-building firm of Lawrence and Smearbaugh, with A. B. Kelley of Tionesta, bought a large tract of virgin pine timber from the Grunder heirs and much of this lay along the Allegheny River opposite Jackson or Leek Island. Under the name of the Warren Lumber Company, a modern band mill was erected and while the mill was being built, enough timber was cut and “squared” and piled on the river bank to make ten or twelve Allegheny rafts (rafts varied in size depending on where they were floated. The basic unit was the “platform,” a square varying from 25 to more than 30 alternating courses of 16-foot boards between a bottom and top frame bound together by “grubs,” which were oak saplings with roots) for floating down the river to Pittsburgh and vicinity.
Coincident with the building of the mill, a railroad was built to carry logs from the tract to a pond at the mill. Barge yards were established above the ferry land and boat scafffolds below, on which were constructed during the six years of operation a total of 201 barges and 230 flat-boats known as coal boat bottoms. The last fleet floated south in October 1906, and consisted of twenty-one barges and eighteen flat-boats. The Warren (Pa.) Evening Times for October 11, 1906, notes that “The barges sell for $1,600 and the flats for $350, making the sum total of the boat business of over $400,000. As the timber has all been cleared from the tract, the mill will be dismantled and moved to another place where the company has timber interests.”
When the mill was busy, there was a fair number of houses at Grunderville, as well as a schoolhouse and a river ferry.When the mill moved, the ferry, operated on cables and ingeniously propelled by the currents of the river, was moved down river to the mouth of Brokenstraw Creek.
HEMLOCK --- a small settlement strung out along the Allegheny River in Glade township east of Warren.
Named because of the heavy growth of hemlock trees in the region.
HENRYS MILL --- a small settlement bordering Tionesta Creek in Sheffield township.
Named for Frank Henry who had a lumber mill at this location for many years.
HERMIT SPRING --- a cluster of houses and cottages in the west-central part of Cherry Grove township.
Named because a so-called hermit lived near this excellent spring for many years. Samuel Wallace, whose home was originally in the Waterford (Erie county) -- Cambridge Springs (Crawford county) region, became angry at his parents and left home and journeyed to the Cherry Grove area during the 1860’s. Settling near the spring, he survived with a cow, a fine vegetable garden which he cultivated, and berries found in profusion in the woods; his clothing was made from deer hides which he tanned and sewed.
During the famous Cherry Grove oil excitement of 1882-1883, crude oil seeped into his spring and ruined it temporarily. Wallace left the place and disappeared forever.
HOOVER’S --- a very small settlement in Sheffield township.
Named for Harlow B. Hoover, an early settler and farmer who came from Vermont.
At one time this was a railroad stop on the Tionesta Valley Railroad and there was a hotel here. In later years the spelling of the name changed to Hover.
IRVINE --- a village in Brokenstraw township where the creek of that name flows into the Allegheny River. Generally the village and post office have been called Irvine and the railroad stop Irvineton.
Both were named for Brigadier General William Irvine, and the Irvine family history as it relates to Warren count is unique and interesting. Irvine was born in Ireland, served as a surgeon in the british Navy and emigrated to Carlisle, Pennsylvania , in 1793. During the Revolutionary War he commanded the 6th Pennsylvania Regiment and was commandant of Fort Pitt for some years. In 1795 he surveyed the Donation Lands in northwestern Pennsylvania and discovered the fine lands at what is today Irvine. In 1792 he obtained warrants for several tracts and these holdings were surveyed in 1795.
His first son, Callender Irvine, was a lawyer, Indian agent, and finally Commissary General of the United States. While he developed his Warren county lands, it remained for Callender’s only child, who became Dr. William A. Irvine, to reside upon the estate. He arrived on the Brokenstraw in 1825 and for the next sixty-one years engaged in a long series of improvements; he erected buildings, houses, barns, and maintained a general store, and a grist mill. Some of his lands produced oil following the Drake Well in 1859, and he was connected with transporting barrels of crude oil from the lower oil field to Irvine for rail transportation to eastern points.
Unfortunately, all of his enterprises lost money and he was deeply in debt to his father-in-law all during his life.
William Irvine’s daughters were Margaret, from whom no Irvine descendants survived, and Sarah, who married Dr. Thomas Newbold in Erie in 1863. The couple had five daughters but only one of them, Elizabeth, ever married. She married Edward L. Welsh in September 1889. Finally, with the death of Miss Esther Newbold at the Irvine house during April 1963, at the age of ninety, the Irvine property passed to her older sister’s heirs, Mrs. Caryl Roberts and Mr. John L. Welsh, Jr.
The property, still consisting of more than one thousand acres, the main Irvine house and several of the tenants’ houses, plus valuable timber tracts, was sold to the National Forge Company of Irvine, Pennsylvania, in 1966, for probable use in company expansion projects. At this writing (July 1969) the main house is vacant and rapidly falling into disrepair and the other out-buildings are in even worse condition.
KINZUA (Kinzoo or Kinz-ah) --- a stream, township, and former village.
From the Seneca (Iroquoian) Indian language meaning “impaled fish up there.” This could mean that the Senecas speared fish in this place along the Allegheny River, or that they referred to a weathervane on a house, shaped somewhat like a fish on a spear.
The village of Kinzua disappeared beneath the waters of the Kinzua Dam in 1966. The township was originally organized by the court March 8, 1821, and named Number Eight.
There is a village of Kinzua in Wheeler County, Oregon, so named when a group of Warren county men purchased large tracts of timber in that state many years ago.
LANDER --- a village in Farmington townshp.
The land here was first cleared by Aaron Scranton about 1830 who called the place Scranton’s Corners.
Shortly after 1853 a post office was established called Beech Woods with the Rev. Obed Ovatt, a Baptist clergyman, as the first postmaster. Later the settlement was named Farmington until it was discovered that there was a village in Fayette county by that same name. Finally it was called Lander in honor of General Frederick W. Lander, transcontinental explorer, railroad surveyor, and soldier, who died March 2, 1862, on the Cacapon River, in Virginia.
An article titled “A New Fighting Hero” tells of Lander’s career and appeared in The Warren (Pa.) Mail of May 5, 1860.
LIMESTONE --- a township.
So named because of the deposits of Limestone in the area.
Formed from the provisional townships of Tionesta and Limestone in August 1829.
Years before the township was organized, settlers took up claims along the Allegheny River believing this land was owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. After years of hard work clearing and farming much of this land, it was found that an English investor by the name of Maben held title and those people residing on his lands had to purchase them.
LOTTSVILLE --- a village in Freehold tonship.
Named for Harmones Lott, the second permanent settler here who came from Long Island, New York, in 1814-1815. He was born September 25, 1793, and died February 16, 1868.
The first permanent settler was James Irvine who came from Northumberland county in September, 1802.
McGRAWS --- a small settlement in Triumph township.
Named for Michael McGraw who settled here in April 1830.
The location was well known during the early oil excitement in this area, 1860-1870 chiefly.
MAHAN CORNERS --- the first four corners and very small settlement south of the New York state line on township road 508, Farmington township.
Named for James Mahan who settled here in 1823.
James Mahan came with his parents from Ireland, his parents dying in Philadelphia in 1789 from yellow fever. He was brought by an uncle to Deer’s Eddy, a location south of Brokenstraw Creek in Warren county, and grew up there. As a soldier in the War of 1812 he suffered great hardship and died in 1882.
MEAD --- a townsip.
Named for Darius Mead who settled here prior to 1838.
Erected from parts of Sheffield, Kinzua, and Pleasant townships by an order of the court confirmed June 7, 1847.
MEAD ISLAND --- in the Allegheny River three miles south of Warren.
Named for Joseph Mead, an early owner of the island.
Originally the island was called Conewango Island and the Pennsylvania legislature directed Governor Mifflin to patent it to Big-Tree, a Seneca Indian who had accompanied Chief Cornplanter on his trip to Philadelphia in 1790. Big-Tree died and the island was patented by Governor McKean January 26, 1801, to “Halftown and George, Seneca Indians, in trust for the heirs of Big Tree, deceased.” In 1813 the heirs sold the island to Chief Cornplanter who in turn sold it to Joseph Mead for $770.
NEW LONDON --- a former village in Triumph township.
Many of the settlers in this immediate area were English and they named the place after London, England. It was an active village during the oil excitement but now is represented by lonely pump houses and a few still productive wells.
NORTH WARREN --- a town in Conewango township just north of the borough of Warren.
Prior to 1874 the village was called Berry’s Corners after Stephen Berry; by providing free land for a railroad station he was instrumental in having Dunkirk, Allegheny Valley, and Pittsburgh Railroad make this a regular stopping-point shortly after it commenced operations in 1871. Through the influence of C. C. Allen, a Warren attorney of considerable prominence, the new stop was soon called North Warren because of its proximity to Warren.
The Warren State Hospital, located here was built in 1874 and has since grown to large proportions and serves thirteen northwestern Pennsylvania counties.
PARTHENIA --- a former lumber mill location in Deerfield township named by the Grandin Brothers of Tidioute who owned the mill.
Today the spot can be found at the Hunting Valley Lodge, near Althom, a little northwest of Tidioute, as the Parthenia post office was located in what is today part of this lodge. The post office operated from May 24, 1886, to July 30, 1910, after which date the mail was routed to Irvine, Pennsylvania.
PINE VALLEY --- a small settlement in Columbus township.
Named because of the heavy growth of gigantic white pine trees in the vicinity. In early days expert lumbermen were employed to cut selected trees from this area to serve as masts for sailing ships.
PITTSFIELD --- a township and a village.
Named for Pittsfield, Massachusetts, by James L. Acocks, the first postmaster, who had come from that town. Previous to this naming, the location had long been known as The Corners.
The township was formed from Brokenstraw and Spring Creek townships in 1847; the Commissioners reported June 5, 1847, but the order of the court confirming their report has not been found.
PLEASANT --- a township.
The petitioners for this township selected the name Mount Pleasant but the court disagreed, and because of the pleasant landscape, named it merely Pleasant.
Formed from Limestone township by order of the court confirmed during March Sessions, 1834.
PUTNAMVILLE --- a former village of historic interest in Farmington township; it was located on what is today Legislative Route 61062, on Thompson Hill.
In the spring of 1829, Jesse Putnam, seventy-nine years old, arrived at this place with his two sons, Daniel and Edson, from Boston, New York, where they had settled on arrival from Brattleboro, Vermont, some years earlier. Following the Putnams in the fall of 1832, William Thompson with his numerous family moved into the vicinity.
The children at first had to walk to Marshburg (site of the present Eisenhower High School serving the Russell-Lander area) to attend school, but soon a log school was built nearby. The present building at the forks of the road was built in 1861 by subscritions in the neighborhood; after use of this school was discontined in 1946, the building reverted to the local inhabitants and now serves as the Community House.
A post office was established at Putnamville on May 5, 1896, in the home of Elmer Thompson, a Putnam descendant, and consisted of a handmade bank of sixty boxes, and a slotted service window; this unit is still preserved. In 1899 the office was moved to Sparks’ store but with the institution if rural free delivery came the death knell of this office on October 4, 1903.
ROGERTOWN --- a cluster of houses in Mead township just across the Allegheny River at the east end of Warren borough.
Named for Alson Rogers who had a lumber mill at this site. The first mill at this place had been constructed prior to 1806 by James, Jeremiah, and Samuel Morrison, brothers who came from Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania.
ROYSTONE --- a small settlement in Sheffield township.
Named for Roy Stone who held the contract for grading this section of the railroad when it was put through here; at the time it was the Sunbury & Erie Railroad.
Stone is a figure befitting an able novelist. Born in 1836 at Prattsburg, New York, he engaged in lumbering and railroad construction and served with ability in the Civil War where he became a Brevet Brigadier General.
He gained ephemeral fame as the inventor and developer of the Safety Elevated Railroad used at Philadelphia’s Centennial Exhibit in 1876 and of the so-called “Peg-Leg” monorail railroad used at Bradford, Pennsylvania, later. But his greatest accomplishment was the founding of the United States Bureau of Public Roads.
Mark Reinsberg has written of his activities in a series of three articles titled “General Stone’s Elevated Railroad” in THE WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA HISTORICAL MAGAZINE for July 1966, October 1966, and January 1967.
RUSSELL --- a village in Pine Grove townsip on Conewango Creek north of Warren.
It was named for Robert Russell, a son of John Russell, who came into this area about 1800. Robert Russell died August 17, 1857, at the age of sixty-five.
The history of Russell is unusual, to say the least. According to the Voice of the People (Warren, Pa.) of February 4, 1835, at a meeting held at Thomas Turner’s hotel, Pine Grove, where the post office had heretofore been called Conewango, it was,
RESOLVED, That with the consent of the Postmaster General, this Post Office receive
the name of Russelsburg, and also that the village shall hereafter be known by that
The March 18, 1835, issue of the same newspaper reported,
RUSSELSBURG POST OFFICE --- The name of the Post Office at Russell’s Mills,
Pine Grove Township in this co. (sic) has been altered from Conewango to Russelsburg,
By the Postmaster General.
Rinaldo D. Ingalsby, P.M.
From the first settlement of the village, around 1800, it had been known as Pine Grove, or simply “the dam” with the name of Conewango Post Office being adopted to avoid confusion in the mails with a Pine Grove in southeastern Pennsylvania. But the name of Pine Grove persisted to some extent, along with Russelsburg, Russelburg, Russellsburg, Russellsburgh, and Russellburgh, until 1884 when Russell, presumably official, was adopted.
The name of Pine Grove, still carried by the township, derives from the wonderful stands of white “cork” pine which covered the Conewango valley and tributary valleys, and which furnished masts for ocean-going ships and lumber for the rapidly growing towns along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers during the nineteenth century.
The site of Russell, at the head of rapids and the foot of deep slack water extending into New York State, was a natural stopping place for the Indians from time immemorial, and for the French expeditions from the lakes to the Ohio and beyond, and furnished the setting for splendid all-year-round water power for early industry. Here it was that local lumber rafts from the vicinity, and from the upper Conewango Creek area, were supplied with pilots for the swift descent to Warren and where, during high water, the crews were assembled. Descriptions by the old timers of the bustling activity in Russell with the raftsmen in town, were vivid. Here it was that the famous pilots and the lumber tycoons lived and the business of the northeastern part of the county was transacted. Russell was a sort of metropolis before the coming of good roads and automobiles, with a variety of stores catering to the surrounding territory --- wagon shops, gristmills, blacksmith shops, planing mills, spoke and stave mills, old-fashioned chemical works, cider mill, carding mill, and others.
The first saawmill was built by Daniel McGinty and Ethan Jackson in 1803, in the vicinity of where the bridge across the Conewango was later erected in 1830. The larger mills, at the foot of the mill race, were built by Thomas Martin and Garrett Woodworth. They were soon acquired by Robert Russell and operated by him for many years. Russell had acquired most of the land in “Pine Grove” and in 1843 had the town formally laid out by A.H. Ludlow, with the streets named as at present, on a map showing his own handsome brick house, still in existence, built about 1830, and occupied in succession by Russell, Thomas Slone and the Weatherbys. The mills burned about 1918 while being operated by Fred Thompson, son of the long-time owner, Edwin Thompson. After this event, the venerable dam across Conewango Creek began to disintegrate and is now no more. It had served the ancient gristmill at the bridge, by means of a branch canal, until the latter burned in 1908.
The first inhabitant of the town was John Houghy, who, with his wife Betsy, lived in a cabin near “Johnnie’s Run” (today Johnny Run) around 1800. Other arrivals led them to move to the neighborhood of the later Guy Irvine house down the creek near the island called Houghy’s Island, whence they later moved down the river.
Most of the early settlers in Russell were Yankees from New England and Scotch-Irish from eastern Pennsylvania. Joseph Akeley arrived in 1815 from Vermont and was followed by many relatives. He secured six hundred acres of land on the east side of the creek and up Akeley Run, raised a large family, and bestowed the land on his children after they got married A few years later members of the Briggs family arrived, also from Vermont. These two families were very prolific, and through intermarriages the town soon became a “Briggs-Akeley” town. When the Briggs-Akeley reunion was held annually in French’s Grove, across the creek, the town almost became depopulated.
The coming of the Dunkirk, Warren, and Pittsburgh Railroad (Dunkirk, New York to Warren, Pennsylvania, in 1871) stimulated the town’s woodworking industries, and the Warren-Jamestown (N.Y.) street car line (1905-1929) livened things up considerably. During the first World War, with the operation of the guncotton plant at nearby Irvineburg, Russell had its liveliest days since the times of rafting.
With the coming of the hard roads, Russell has become more or less a dormitory town. While there has been a notable increase in population along the roads entering the town, business has chiefly departed and there are no important industries in operation since the burning of the last gristmill on the island in the fall of 1937. The famous old covered bridge, built by F.E. Perkins in 1853 to supplant the second bridge in 1840, gave way to the modern steel span, also in 1937, which year marked the suspension of passenger trains on the Dunkirk, Allegheny Valley, and Pittsburgh Railroad.
RUSSIAN HOUSES --- so called bcause these huge houses were built for the use of a group of Russians belonging to the Hutterische Society brought to this location in Limestone township from Dakota Territory by the Economites.
The Hutterites came in April 1884; and on June 30, 1886, most of them left to return to South Dakota. In a region where men worked six twelve-hour days a week, their religious demands for protracted holidays put them out of the economic competition.
The two large wooden houses measured 32-by-96 feet in size, were two stories high, and encircled by a high wooden fence. The stone foundations could still be plainly seen in 1965. (See Economite Hill.)
SANFORD a very small settlement in Eldred township.
Named for John Sanford who came to this place from Connecticut in 1838.
SAYBROOK --- a village in Sheffield township.
Known as West Sheffield for postal needs from 1853 to 1868 when the post office was discontinued. In 1886 the present name, Saybrook, was adopted.
Probably named by residents who were acquainted with Old Saybrook in Connecticut. Lord Say and Lord Brook, hence Saybrook.
SCANDIA --- a village in Elk township.
In ancient geography Scandia was the name of a supposed island reputedly once southern Sweden. During the Middle Ages, Scandia was the name used for all of
Scandinavia. As early settlers in this area were mainly Scandinavians, they adopted Scandia as the village name.
SHEFFIELD --- a township and a village.
Named for Sheffield, England, by the early settlers.
The place was first settled in 1836 by Newton Lounsberry and was an early tanning center because it was accessible to large supplies of hemlock bark used in tanning sole leather.
The township was organized by order of the court during June Sessions, 1833.
In 1908 the Pennsylvania Lumber Company built the largest electically-driven sawmill east of the Mississippi River at Sheffield; it was the first of its kind in the east.
The present location of Barnes was first called Sheffield, and the present location of Saybrook was known as West Sheffield from 1853 to 1868 when the post office was discontinued. (See BARNES and SAYBROOK.)
SOUTHWEST --- a township
So named because of its southwestern within the county.
Set off from Deerfield township as a separate township by order of the court during March Sessions, 1837.
SPRING CREEK --- a township and a village.
The name was derived from the stream, Spring Creek, so appropriately called by the first settlers by reason of the confluence of several springs forming the headwaters of this stream.
The township was formed from Brokenstraw township March 8, 1820 (??), and was originally called Number 2.
STARBRICK --- a village in Conewango township just west of Warren.
This now important industrial suburb of Warren owes its name to the somewhat transitory existence of a corporation named The Star Brick Company. The firm was located on the western end of the propery now owned by the General Concrete Products Co. It was first organized in 1899 by well-known Warren businessmen and the kilns were located near the railroad, and the clay pits were in the rear.
During the early years of the company, the bricks, with the figure of a large star moulded therein, were in great demand because of the lively building spree going on in Warren. About 1908 the plant failed, probably due to the fact that the clay on the land became exhausted. These bricks were in great demand among the boys of Warren; they melted lead, poured it into the star design, and inserted a heavy safety pin in the star as the lead hardened. The result was a fine replica of a sheriff’s badge!
Today both sides of the highway at Starbrick have been built up with diversified industries.
STONEHAM --- a small village in Mead township.
Named for Leroy Stoneham, an early settler. Prior to 1839 the place was called Rink Farm after Jacob Rink, the first farmer in this region.
SUGAR RUN (and SUGAR RUN STATION) --- a former small settlement and railroad stop in Corydon township located on the east side of the Allegheny River where Route 59 veered sharp right towards Bradford.
The large grove of sugar maple trees here provided the name for this place.
Seneca women formerly came here to boil maple sap in the early spring. The Cornplanter Indians called it dyeenodah gwa meaning “where women make sugar.” The site has been obliterated by waters of the Kinzua Dam.
TIDIOUTE --- a borough partly in Deerfield township and partly in Triumph township.
Tidioute is an Indian name meaning “log trap place” and the Indians often trapped deer at the mouth of the various streams flowing into the Allegheny River near Tidioute.
The town was first called Deerfield but with the influx of people following the discovery of oil in 1860 and 1861, an incorporated town was deemed necessary to handle the town affairs. Just before the papers for incorporation were filed, it was found there was another Deerfield village in the state so Tidioute was the name finally selected. The place was incorporated as a borough on June 7, 1862.
Following incorporation, a town jail was built in three days and fully filled in half a day!
The opera house and many fine early houses still stand in Tidioute and make it an interesting place to visit.
TIONA --- a village in Mead township.
Named by the Sunbury & Erie Railroad, later the Pennsylvania Railroad, when the road was built through here in the early 1860’s.
At this site a Mr. Wheeler operated a sawmill prior to 1839 which was later owned by Amasa Ransom and still later by Edward Clapp & Co. During the 1850’s, Joseph Hall owned a mill here and considerable land, and the place was generally known as Halltown until it was renamed Tiona.
Unfortunately, the meaning of the name cannot be clarified at this time as the historic and library records of the Penn Central Railroad Company in Philadelphia have been closed indefinitely with no present plans for the future use of these facilities.
Tiona does not mean “wolf” in any Indian language as some have suggested. Nor is it a contraction of the word Tionesta as stated in Donehoo’s volume, Indian Villages and Place Names in Pennsylvania.
TORPEDO --- a village in Pittsfield township.
Named for an incident when nitroglycerine, generally exploded by a falling weight in oil wells to increase production, failed to “go off” when struck by a train as the explosive was being transported to Clarendon, Warren County, Pennsylvania.
The best report is an article appearing in The Titusville (Pa.) Herald under date of February 24, 1882, which says:
Additional Local News
A Narrow Escape
How a Number of Passengers Were Badly Frightened
If accidents are ever fortunate such a one occurred last Wednesday (February 22) night. Fred Cohensquire was on his way to Clarendon with a load of 880 pounds of glycerin, driving the splendid grey team which once did service on the Brunswick carriage. While crossing the Dunkirk, Allegheny Valley & Pittsburgh railroad at Ross’ switch one of the animals caught his foot between the rail and a plank and fell down. The driver, knowing it to be about train time, made efforts to release the fallen horse but could not succeed. He had removed the other horse when the rumble of the train was heard, and summoning a Swede near by he began unloading the wagon of its dangerous load.
Probably not over one-half of the load had been removed when the train, the express due here at 7:40 in the evening, dashed around the curve. Engineer Daniel Beam immediately reversed the locomotive and applied the air brakes, but the short distance and the speed of the train prevented a full stop. The engine struck the horse, cutting both legs and also tilting the wagon about half way over but very luckily the glycerin did not explode. The chances are that had the wagon gone clear over, the explosion would have occurred, and undoubtedly caused a great destruction of life and property.
The horse was shot by one of the passengers and put it out of misery. The train men and passengers of course were startled by the sudden stoppage but hardly realized what a narrow esscape they had had. The more they discussed the matter the more they became frightened, and when their train reached this city they were a pretty excited lot. Conductor Nelson had charge of the train.
VANDERGRIFT (and VANDERGRIFT CORNERS) --- a village during the oil boom of 1882-1883 and a crossroads location since, in the exact center of Cherry Grove township.
Named in honor of Captain Jacob Jay Vandergrift. He was born in Pittsburgh in 1827 and became a captain of river steam boats. In 1861 he towed four thousand emply oil barrels to Oil City and decided to enter the oil hauling business. Using an idea patented by Richard Glyde of Pittsburgh, Vandergrift built twelve bulk boats measuring 80-by-14 by 3-feet deep, divided into compartments, and securely decked over; with this fleet he hauled bulk crude to the Pittsburgh refineries and laid the basis for one of the largest fortunes to emanate from the land of oil.
About 1870 he formed the United Pipe Lines Association and combined most of the small pipe lines in the region into one organization. In 1872 he was among the strong independent oil men who successfully defeated John D. Rockefeller’s South Improvement Company. Two years later, the Rockefeller interests purchased a one-third interest in the United Pipe Lines and Vandergrift soon became head of the Standard pipe system, a director of the company, and a very rich man. He was active in banking and other business affairs in the Pittsburgh area all his life.
During the great oil excitement in Cherry Grove township in 1882, the Standard erected eight huge boilers and three pumps in the Cherry Grove field, and one of these pumps was a Worthington-Duplex and at the time was the largest in the world. This pipe line station was called Vandergrift.
WARREN --- a borough and county.
Named to honor General Joseph Warren who was killed at the battle of Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775.
Warren, a Harvard graduate and Massachusetts’ famous doctor, was a leader of the patriot party along with Samuel and John Adams and Josiah Quincy. Urging forcible opposition to Great Britain, Warren drafted the “Suffolk Resolves” and his political ability landed him the presidency of the Provincial Congress and chairmanship of the Committee of Public Safety. He was the leader who dispatched Paul Revere to rouse the farmers April 18, 1775, and this act was so recognized by Congress several months later.
He favored waiting for the arrival of volunteers before fortifying Charlestown Heights but others outvoted him on this matter. Warren was commissioned a major general June 14, 1775, but as his commission failed to arrive, he volunteered to fight under Presscott and Putnam. When his ammunition was spent on June 17, he was leaving the redoubt on Breed’s Hill when a ball struck him in the head.
By an Act of March 18, 1795, the governor of Pennsylvania was required to appoint two commissioners to survey and lay out the town of Warren and certain reserved tracts adjoining, upon the land reserved for that purpose by an act of April 3, 1792. It was done that year by General William Irvine and Andrew Ellicott.
By 1795 or 1796, the Holland Land Company had a warehouse at the site of Warren which was used part of the time by Thomas Gillaspie and Joseph Johnstone, representatives of the company, and less frequently by Jacob Ulp and Daniel McQuay. The first permanent settlers in the present city limits of Warren were James Morrison and Ebenezer Jackson. In the county, the first permanent settlers were Robert Andrews of Pittsfield, his son, John Andrews, of Irvine, and John McKinney of Youngsville, although a few men were residing most of the time along Brokenstraw Creek as early as 1740 where they operated fur trading posts. The famous George Croghan had an interest in these posts as did John Fraser of Venango (Franklin, Pennsylvania) and at times the two traders cooperated in various ventures and both of them were often visitors along the Brokenstraw.
On March 12, 1800, the State Legislature created eight new counties; one of them Warren county formed from territory previously part of Allegheny and Lycoming counties.
Until the taxable inhabitants could be enumerated, five northwestern counties, including Warren, formed a single county, Crawford, and thus Meadville became the seat of justice for northwestern Pennsylvania. In October 1800 the Crawford court erected Brokenstraw township which became Warren county.
On April 1, 1805, Warren was detached from Crawford and added to Venango county for all judicial and other purposes. During March 1808, at the Court of Common Pleas held at Franklin, the report of the commissioners appointed in 1806 to lay out the townships in Warrren county was acted upon and in this manner Brokenstraw and Conewango townships included all of Warren county.
The State Legislature passed a bill March 16, 1819, introduced by Colonel Joseph Hackney, providing that Warren should be a separate county and commencing October 1, 1819, should be attached to the Sixth Judicial District. The first Court of Quarter Sessions of the Peace and Common Pleas to convene in the newly organized Warren county began November 29, 1819, in the unfinished home of Ebenezer Jackson.
In March of 1821, the two townships comprising Warren county were divided and ten other townships created from them, making a total of twelve. Warren was incorporated as a borough May 7, 1832.
WATSON --- a township
Named for the Honorable Lewis F. Watson of Warren who owned large tracts of timber in this township.
The township was erected from Limestone by an order of the court confirmed March 4, 1880.
Watson had been a member of the House of Repreentatives in the 45th, 47th, and 51st Congress; he died suddenly August 25, 1890, as he was leaving the Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., to go to the House of Representatives.
WELDBANK --- a small settlement in Mead township.
Originally called Watson, the commonly accepted story of the naming of this place is that because of a locaion in Forest county called Watson Siding, the postal service often became confused and mail was heavily misdirected. The post office deparment asked James Anderton, postmaster at Watson, if he could arrange to have the village name changed. He called the people together in his general store, explained the situation to them, and asked if they would change the name to Weldbank, a name dear to him because it was the name of his former home in England. The name was so changed.
However, this researcher, and the facilities of the British Information Services, have failed to find any town or location in Britain called Weldbank. It is possible that the name was a locally known name of an area in Britain and thus might not be recorded in any British book of locations. (See BEANTOWN.)
WEST SPRING CREEK --- a small settlement in Spring Creek township located in the western part of that township. (See SPRING CREEK.)
WHEEDALE --- a former village in Eldred township.
The name was concocted from the two names Wheelock and Martindale, joint owners of the lumber mill located at this site.
There was a post office here from August of 1886 to December of 1891, at which time the name of the place was changed to Selkirk and the post office continued into 1902 after which mail was routed to Grand Valley.
WRIGHTSVILLE --- a village in Freehold township.
Named for Joshua Wright who came to this site in 1821 from the vicinity of Rochester, New York. He operated a farm, a gristmill, and a sawmill, and died here on January 19, 1842.
During the years 1850 through 1860, Wrightsville was a booming town due to lumbering activity and at one time seven stores operated in the village.
YOUNGSVILLE --- a borough in Brokenstraw township.
Named for Matthew Young, a Scotchman, who settled here in 1796.
Young was a bachelor, a schoolteacher, and the second treasurer of Warren county. He built and operated a sawmill along with his other activities.
While visiting Charles Smith in Deerfield township, he died suddenly August 4, 1825, and his body was returned to Youngsville by canoe.
The borough was incorporated September 4, 1849.