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Mount Jewett post-office was established in February, 1882, with Augustus Hollander postmaster.
The Presbyterian Society was organized July 13, 1888, and incorporated July 25, with O. B. Mosser, G. V. Thompson, E. W. Hevner, W. W. Brewer. L. A. Groat and Hubert Schultz, trustees, all of whom were members except Brewer, Hevner and Thompson. The list of original members also embraced Calvin Gray and wife, Mrs. W. W. Brewer, E. A. Conn, Mrs. Thompson, Mrs. Groat, Mrs. Schultz and Mrs. Mosser. Work was begun in July on a new church house and completed in October. Rev. W. J. Arney of Kane organized this society, and is its first pastor.
The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Nebo Church of Mount Jewett was incorporated in September, 1888, with B. C. and A. Lnndberg, Oscar Wiborg and J. Mellander, subscribers.... The Church of the Mission Friends was organized in 1887 and a small house for worship erected.
The Aldrich Cemetery was incorporated in May, 1877, with H. W. Burlingame, G. O. Garlick, O. Perry, H. L. Burlingame, J. E. B. White and Hiram W. Burlingame, trustees.
Fisher Tent of the K. O. T. M. was organized at Mount Jewett in May, 1887, with James Doyle, Owen Coyle, L. A. Groat, De T. Parrish, C. W. Obing, W. H. Reese, A. A. Van Slyke, W. J. Jackson, Dan. Shea, M. Sylvester, N. Marsh, R. Jackson and O. McLoud filling the several positions.
The Kinzua bridge was completed April 1, 1882. To the observer, as he stands upon the north abutment pier, and, facing southward, gazes down a depth of over 300 feet to the creek's bed, then up the slope of the opposite side to the south end, at a distance of more than 2,000 feet from him, and considers that these extreme points are connected by a continuous line of track of uniform grade, over which roll the heavily freighted trains, he can not fail to be impressed with the fact that this is a progressive age. The bridge is constructed of stone and iron entirely. It consists of twenty lower spans of thirty-eight and one-half feet each, and twenty-one intermediate spans of sixtyone feet, and contains about four and one-half million pounds of wrought iron. The height is 301 feet, and length 2,051 feet, giving it a title to being the highest bridge in the world and one of the longest. The stone piers which are to support the towering iron columns are built of massive sandstone blocks, quarried on the ground, which nature has provided in abundance, and of an excellent quality. These are skillfully jointed, bedded and bonded.
Stafford, the watchman, climbs over and inspects three of the towers every day. As there are twenty towers altogether he gets over the entire system of piers and braces in a week. Once, in the winter of 1883-84, while making his usual inspection, he fell a distance of sixty-five feet. The cold winter air numbed his hands so that he could cling no longer to the iron braces. Fortunately he fell into about ten feet of snow, which broke his fall, else the company might have been compelled to look for a new man. He said he only missed striking a stump by a few inches. He relates another narrow escape. He said he was climbing over the top girts one day when some one hailed him from above. It startled him, and he sort of forgot where he was. He let go his hold and was going. By a great effort he caught hold of one of the iron braces just in time to save himself. The accident of July, 1889, tested the strength of the structure. Conductor Keily's train, bound south, separated on the viaduct, the locomotive and attached cars reaching Mount Jewett before fourteen cars were missed. The engineer at once backed down and when near the bridge Brakeman Ryan discovered the conductor's signals. The engineer reversed his lever, and at once a coupling snapped and three cars went thundering down grade. At the bridge there was a terrible crash and three cars were converted into kindling wood. 301 feet above the creek. Had the cars gone over the sides of the viaduct there is little doubt regarding the damage which would have been caused to the structure.
The Anchor Oil Company's lease on the Kane oil reservation or the Swedish farms was developed in July, 1889. Up to the 21st the well was guarded, but it is now declared to be a gusher as well as gasser. The location is one and a half miles south of the tannery on Frank Nelson's farm. The Anchor and Forest Oil Company and Taylor & Torrey secured a piece of the Kane estate, consisting of 2,500 acres. P. W. Roth came to Mount Jewett in July, 1889, and located his first well July 29 on the John Mellander farm. Mr. Roth drilled the first producer in the Washington field, and has been connected with oil interests in th'e Bradford field since 1875. The Timbuctoo well at Lafayette was completed July 25, 1889.
Oil memories cluster round the big bridge. An old weather-beaten derrick is still visible from the viaduct a short distance up the stream, where Mart ens Hulings anchored some cash in the autumn of 1879 in searching for a continuation of the Cole creek streak. In the winter of 1883-84 Mumford, a former bookkeeper for Butts, together with Cheeney & Phillips, of Alton, obtained a 200-acre lease from Bowen, of Boston, on Warrant 2,241. The company drilled a well on the piece. The Barnsdall venture of August, 1884, is located in the southeast corner of Warrant 2,248—2,500 feet north and a trifle east of the Mumford & Cheeney well. In 1879 the Parker Brothers, and, in 1884, Higgins also, drilled on Ormsby lands.
KEATING TOWNSHIP—BOROUGH OF SMETHPORT.
Keating Township TopographY—Geology —oil Wells — Population— Township Officers In 1890—Port Of Entry—Early Settlers—The ForEster—Solomon Sartwell And Others—Resident Tax-payers, 1838-37 —early Merchants In The Township—Villages.
Borough Of Smethport Population, Etc.—Officers Elected In 1890—
First Cabin And House—Reminiscences Of Asa Sartwell—Early SetTlers— Some First Things—Post-office—Resident Property Owners, 1856-57—Municipal Affairs—Academies—Churches—Societies—Hotels —banks—Water And Gas Systems—Floods And Fires—Miscellaneous.
KEATING TOWNSHIP holds a semi-central position in the county. Nunundah creek enters the township near the southeast corner, flows north by west via Smethport to Farmers Valley, where it turns northeast to join the Allegheny beyond the north town line. Cole Creek' s south branch flows northeast from the plateau, receives the north branch in the center of the north half of the township, and enters Nunundah creek opposite Farmers Valley. Marvin creek enters the township a point west of the south center, and flowing northeast to Smethport forms a confluence with the main creek. In the southwestern corner the head-waters of the West Clarion unite with Three Mile run to flow southwest; and within it short distance of this confluence one of the heads of Kinzua creek is found. South of the road from Sinethport to Ormsby's summit a feeder of Marvin creek rises, which enters that creek south of the borough limits. A little over two miles east of Sinethport occurs the greatest elevation in the State west of the fifth bituminous basin—Prospect hill, 2,495 feet above tide level. The lowest point, of course, is where Nunundah creek exits.at Frisbee, which is 1,460 feet above tide. At Smethport depot the elevation is 1,488 feet, so that the grade from the track for two and a quarter miles east to Prospect peak is 1,007 feet. The altitude of the plateaus may be placed at 2,100 feet. In the southeast corner the Smethport anticlinal separates the Clermont coal basins. At Smethport the anticlinal is broken by the elevation of strata, so that the dome center lies one and a half miles east. Small tracts of Clermont exist along the western line, and on Ormsby's summit, 2,140 feet above tide. The Pocono formation at Smethport is 260 feet thick, and at Barnett's, southwest of Haskell's well, 285 —sixty feet covered, forty feet coarse-grained ferruginous sandstone, partly covered, ten feet fossiliferous flags, fifty feet covered rock, forty feet gray shale with bands of fossiliferous. ferruginous lime-rock; twenty feet of green and brown flags and shale, five feet of hard, fossiliferous, gray lime-rock, and sixty feet of olive and gray shales and shaly sandstone.
The well drilled by Lytle & Vezie in 1875 for the S-Smethport Oil Company reached a depth of 2,004 feet, its opening being 102 feet higher than the railroad track. Forty-three records of strata were obtained and the crust on the Taylor farm, where the drilling was done, thoroughly explored. From 330 to 378 feet slate and shale, and very hard shells, were taken; from 570 feet sand shells, and so on until oil was struck at 1,127 feet, the Bradford oil sand at 1,360 feet, and the Smethport oil sand at 1,720 feet. This well proved"a dry one; the 237 feet of casing were taken up, the hole plugged with five feet of pine below the water courses, and rock filled in above, but within six hours the gas removed such obstructions. The Haskell well, drilled in December, 1876, and April, 1877, for William Haskell, to a depth of 1.861 feet, is located on the east side of Marvin creek, one and one half miles southwest of Smethpoit. Gas was struck at 719 feet and also at 1,620 feet, where oil made a fair show for a short period. Brant & Co.'s well yielded one barrel per day; Lucius Rogers' well on Warrant, 2,058, near the borough; Sherman, Hatch & Co.'s well, and other ventures, mark the oil fever period of this township. The Miner said so much about the Haskell well that a skeptical contemporary, named Brandon, of the St. Mary's Gazette, perpetrated a pun, which was warranted by the circumstances: "If the Miner continues much longer to sound the praises of the Haskell well in its peculiar way we will not be surprised to learn that it has-killed somebody."
Keating township claimed a population of 2,974 in 1880. This included 364 residents of Bordell settlement and 986 of Coleville village, but not the borough of Smethport, which then had only 872 inhabitants. The vote of Keating in 1888, outside Smethport, shows 266 Republicans, 239 Democrats, 16 Prohibitionists and 21 Labor Unionists, or a total of 542, which, multiplied by five, gives 2,710 as the present number of inhabitants.
The officers chosen in February, 1890, are: Supervisors, J. H. Sowers, Richard Griffin; collector, Thomas Hussey; school directors, William H. Huff, D. B. Zillafro; constable, J. E. Stull; auditor, Allen Oviatt; town clerk, C. M. Capehart; judge of election, First District, C. D. Calkins; inspectors of election, First District, W. A. McIntosh, M. N. Allen; judge of election, Second District, R. S. Porterfield; inspectors of election, Second District, C. P. Smith, P. S. Kepler; judge of election, Third District, W. H. Barr; inspectors of election, Third District, M. J. Lynch, R. L. Stephens.
In 1809-10 Benjamin B. Cooper petitioned Congress to establish a port of entry at Smethport. He purchased twenty-one acres of land on the west side of Xunundah creek, near the bridge at East Smethport on which to build a town, and made propositions to men to get out timber for the proposed wharves. This was to be the harbor wherein the ships of the citizens of Instanter might be moored while receiving and discharging cargoes. His plans for hauling freight from the port to his town on the hill are not given.
Shortly after the disestablishment of Instanter, or in 1811, Arnold Hunter moved to the site of Smethport, and other settlers flocked into Farmers valley, as related in the chapter on pioneers. Among the pioneers was Jonathan Colegrove, who died April 11, 1872. He settled in Keating township in 1815, traveling from Portville to Smethport by canoe, with his wife and two children. From 1817 to 1852 he was one of the Ridgway land agents, P. E. Scull being also agent for another portion of the lands. Uncle Daunty, or Jonathan Dunbar, another pioneer, was certainly a stage Dutchman in general make-up and manners. His wife made what she was pleased to call "clothes" for her spouse. He built the first saw-mill in the county at Farmers Valley, but had so much trouble with it he finally exclaimed: "If the Lord had given Job a saw-mill instead of boils the devil would then have got him sure." Dunbar became leader of the first singing school, and, though a strange character in many ways, was a most useful citizen.
The Forester and Smethport Register, Volume I, No. 12, was issued by Hiram Payne June 30, 1832. The motto was: "The uncultivated forest shall become a fruitful field." W. E. Wolcott, of Sergeant, advertised cattle for sale; Tobias L. Warner his shoe factory at Smethport, and Isaac Burlingame advertised for stone masons; Isaac Harvey placed his books in the hands of John E. Niles for collection; Orvil Ketchum, of Farmers Valley, asked his debtors to pay up; the Erie Canal Company advertised their lines, giving as reference J. M. Hughes, of New York, an uncle of the present editor of the Reporter; P. E. Scull wished his neighbors to have their goods imported to Bushnell's basin; Sartwell & Rice offered ten barrels of pork for sale; the death of Harriet Young, aged twelve years, at Farmers Valley, was noticed, and the marriage of Harman Sprague and Adaline Vredenburgh, of the west branch of Tunuanguant creek was announced. B. B. Cooper advertised 60,000 acres of land for sale, and E. A. Smith his stock of goods.
Solomon Sartwell, one of the leading pioneers, who died August 4, 1876, was born at Littleton, N. H., January 16, 1796; settled in McKean county in 1816 (whither the lady to whom he was married in 1822 came in 1818). He served as postmaster twenty years and as associate judge five years, having previously filled the office of high sheriff for two terms and treasurer for one term. The Stulls and Ottos, to whom references are made in other chapters, must also be counted among the pioneers, while the Williamses, Youngs, Crows (of Sinnemahoning), the Hamlins, and fifty other families of whom mention is made in this volume, are connected with the beginnings of the progressive period. Of the Crow family several humorous stories are related. One is entitled "Called to Preach." It appears that along in the "thirties" Moses Crow and his father were engaged in the bottom lands back of the present Wright House in chopping trees. Work went on fairly well until a dry elm tree was encountered, and to it both men directed their strength. The day was sultry and the workers perspired freely. The younger one, looking round on the sea of trees, grew tired suddenly, and, addressing his father, said: "I think I am called to preach." Soon after he became an exhorter, passed a little while at the Meadville College, and received a regular appointment. David, Jr., followed his brother into the Methodist ministry in 1842, and a few years later the old squire was asked for a donation for church purposes, but as a response made the suggestion that he had given two sons to the Methodist church, contribution enough for one man.
The resident tax-payers of Keating township in 1836-37 were Daniel Acre, Samuel Armstrong, William J. Anderson, Aaron Arnold, Dudley Birge (a saddler at Smethport), J. L. Birge (moved west), N. G. Barrus, Joseph Brush (moved to Lafayette corners), Levi Bennett (who sold the site for the poorfarm to Col. Wilcox), T. Barrett, Willis Barrett, Gardner Barrett (died in 1888), Nath. Barrett, Daniel Burbank, Enoch Briggs (who still resides in the township), Aurilas Beman, Dr. Joshua Bascom, Elisha and Uri Bush, Daniel Brown (who cleared the Vincent farm), Harvey Brewer (a shoemaker), D. R. and O. R. Bennett, William Bell (of Ceres), John Brockham, Nicholas Baker, Curtis Bump, Amos Briggs (a mason), H. N. Burgett, P. W. Beach, B. C. Corwin, C. D. Calkins (now at Smethport), Ghordis Corwin (who owned the grist- and saw-mill), Daniel and David Cornelius, Amasa Cowles, Erastus Cowles (saw-mill owner), Henry Chapin, Thomas Curtis, Richard Chad wick (who died in 1866), E. J. Cook, David Crow, Elihu Chad Wick, J. F. Clark (merchant), C. S. Comes (living in Eldred), Daniel Crossmire, Silas Crandall, John and J. D. Dunbar, D. Othneal, Eliza De Golier, L. H. De Anbigny (non-resident), R. R. Fowler, Dr. George Darling, James O'Daily. Levi Davis, Jr., Brewster Freeman, Daniel Foster, Nathan Folsom, D. C. and J. A. O. Gunning, G. W. Griswold, Truman Garlick, Jesse, Hiram and Almon Garey, Wheeler Gallup, James Green, J. W. Howe (a lawyer), Simon Hammon, James Hoop (now of Lafayette), Barnabas Hill, George Hetchelder, Minard Hall, John Holmes & Co. (tan-yard owners, near F. Andrews' house), Holmes & Richmond (merchants), L. R. Hawkins (of Chacopee, Minn.), O. J. Hamlin (lawyer), Dwight Holcomb (moved to Florida), A. Housler, L. Havens, Gideon Irons, John King, Horace B. and Isaac King, Jared and Jonathan Ketchum, Rev. Abner Lull, Warren Lucore (merchant), John and T. Moore, J. McDowell, Dr. William Y. McCoy, T. Mattison, Chester Medbery (now in Dakota), John Nolan (lawyer), John E. Niles, John Needham (merchant), Alvin Owen, Dr. William Otto, James, John, Jemima and Charity Otto, W. D. Owen (merchant), Joseph Otto (saw-mill owner), W. S. Oviatt, Silas D. and Lewis Otto, Eben Parker (who owned a part of the A. H. Cory farm), Hiram Payne (editor), Elisha Randall (dealer), Dr. Salmon M. Rose (who owned the Freeman property), S. R. Robbins, William Rice, Allan Rice, Nelson Richmond, Jonas Riddle, William Ripley (died in 1888), P. E. Scull (died in 1867), Jonas, Sam. and Arnold Southwick, Cephas Scott, Asa Sartwell (fulling and saw-mill owner), Joel Sartwell (now of Cedar Rapids, Iowa), John Smith, Jesse Spencer, Sol. Stoddard, Charles Smith, and Samuel Smith (tailor, now in Iowa), Sjil. Sartwell, Jr., Sartwell & Arnold (traders), Sol. Sartwell, R. H. Stillson, John Taylor (merchant), Nathan Tinney, James Taylor, Enoch Tyler, D. Voorhes, D. S., William C., George W. and Nathan White, William Williams (trader), L. C. Willard (col.), Clinton and Stephen Young, Hiram Spencer and Henry Bunyan (trader). Abner Lull, the assessor, recommended Jared Ketchum and Ghordis Corwin for collectors. In 1837 A. H. Cory and Lawyer L. F. Maynard settled here.
In Keating township in 1846 were the general stores of C. Steele & Co., Ford & Holmes, O. J. & B. D. Hamlin, W. Y. McCoy and O. R. Bennett; the taverns of O. R. Bennett and Richmond & Bennett, and the grocery of James Miller. Elijah Bennett had a store in December. The merchants of Keating township in 1852 were B. D. & H. Hamlin, James Taylor & Son, C. K. Sart