Clinton Township, Butler County, Pa

Transcribed from

History of Butler Co., PA
R. C. Brown Co., Publishers, 1895

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This township was organized in 1854, out of parts of the original Middlesex and Buffalo townships. It is situated on the Allegheny county line, just west of Buffalo, the southeastern township of Butler county. In the central and southern parts it is watered by the tributaries of Bull creek, which cut it up into valleys, and give its surface a broken and rolling appearance. It is not so rugged and picturesque as many of the other townships in the county, its scenic beauty being of a quieter but no less pleasing character. Its soils, varying from heavy clay to sandy loam, are fertile and productive, and the township is one of the best cultivated portions of the county. Its coal deposits have never been fully developed, although coal for local consumption has been mined for many years. The Upper Freeport coal, below the mill, was mined for many years by John LARDIN, while above the mill was the Halstead bank in the same coal, lying under the Buffalo sandstone. Near the old MONTGOMERY farm, on a branch of Bull creek, -at a point seventy feet above its bed, - as well as on the McGREGOR and WOOD farms, the same coal was mined for years, while at other places outcrops and openings occur. The Buffalo and Mahoning sandstones are massive rocks in this section of the county, while the hard, brown Butler sandstone and the huge Freeport limestone are visible in several localities.

PIONEERS

The first actual settlement was made by Patrick HARVEY a native of Down county, Ireland. Locating a farm here in 1792, while the scouts were still on duty along the Allegheny river, he came again into the wilderness in 1794, constructed a log hut, cleared a tract of ten acres and, in May of the following year, brought his family from Westmoreland county. The brave mother of this family resided on the homestead for thirty-six years, or, until her death, in 1831,while the pioneer, himself, survived until 1849. James McKEE made a nominal improvement, on what afterward became the CUNNINGHAM homestead, in March, 1794. In March, 1797, Samuel COPELAND purchased the tract, built a cabin and, in May of that year, tenanted it with his family. George PLANTS made an improvement on what was known, in later days, as the KRUMPE farm, though its material improvement is credited to John BURTNER, who succeeded PLANTS as owner.

George STINCHCOMB a native of Ireland, located here towards the close of

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1796, but soon after sold his improvements to Barnett STEPP. Henry SEFTON came from Ireland the same year, and founded a home in this township, which he occupied until his death, in 1840. Thomas STEWART, who built a cabin on a tract adjoining COPELAND's; Robert McGINNIS, who made the first improvements on the Francis ANDERSON farm in 1799; Thomas WATSON, a native of Down county, Ireland, and a soldier of the Revolution; Hugh RIDDLE, who died in 1851, and Robert RIDDLE, who died in 1853; Samuel A. RIPPEY, who came in 1799, and John BURTNER, who arrived about the same time and improved the KRUMPE farm, were all here before 1800. James and Edward BYRNE, brothers, natives of Ireland, the former a soldier of the Revolution, settled here in 1800. Daniel PUGH, the father of John, Michael and Peter PUGH, came about 1801. He called the lands upon which he settled "Pughtown." Francis ANDERSON, who was commissioned justice of the peace for District Number 4 in 1804, came in 1802, purchased the McGINNIS improvements in1809 for a trifle, was elected commissioner in 1807, served in the War of 1812, and died in 1839.

At the close of 1802, or early in 1803, Thomas LARDIN arrived from Ireland, bringing with him his wife and three children. He was an enterprising farmer, and owner of one of the first iron plows used in Butler county. He died in 1833 in his eighty-sixth year. James HAY purchased land from Philip MOWRY in1803. John CUNNINGHAM, a native of Ireland, who had made his home for some years in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, came to Clinton township in 1805, purchased the COPELAND improvements and resided here until his death. William LOVE, Sr., the pioneer of the LOVE family, immigrated from Ireland early in the century, lived for a while in Delaware, and in 1806 came to what is now Clinton township, where he died in 1848 in his eighty-third year. James LOVE, who died in 1857, came from Ireland in 1816 to this township. His wife and father, Samuel LOVE and family, came in 1818. Thomas, Jonathan and William WALKER purchased 1,800 acres of land here in 1822, and in 1823 Thomas and Jonathan came to improve the tract. William arrived within a few years and made his home here until his death in 1855. Thomas died here in 1839, and Jonathan in1879, aged eighty-three years.

In the chapter on The Pioneers the names of all who owned property here when the county was organized in November, 1803, are given, together with the amount of their real and personal property. In a list of that date many names of old and honored settlers do not appear, for the simple reason that they were enacting the drama of settlement in some other district or county. Such names as those Garrett MOORE and Stephen BREWER; Robert THOMPSON, who moved here from Middlesex township; the GIBSON family, who came in from Allegheny county; James CRISWELL removed here from Washington county in 1830; Thomas WESTERMAN, who came from England to Allegheny City in 1832, and bought one hundred acres of land in Clinton township in 1839; Matthew BICKETT and James HEMPHILL, who came from Ireland in 1823 and settled in Clinton township in 1835; James NORRIS, a native of Ireland, and William NORRIS, who came into Clinton township from Allegheny county in 1837 must undoubtedly be ranked with the old residents.

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In 1860 the population was 1,021; In 1870, 1,132; in 1880, 1,048, and in 1890, 918. The assessed value on January 1, 1894 was $351,099; the county tax, $1,404.40, and the State tax $117.36

SCHOOLS AND JUSTICES

The early schoolhouses of this township were located on the DAVIS and RIDDLE farms, and were presided over by such well-known pioneer educators as Robert CUNNINGHAM, Michael HERRON, James JACK, James LOVE, Edward McCORKLE, William McGARRY, Thomas WATSON and Cyrus E. ANDERSON. The re-subdivision of the county in 1854 was the indirect result of a meeting held in a log schoolhouse in this township in 1852 or 1853. Cyrus E. ANDERSON, now of Butler, was then teaching there, and in responding to his request to have the log building made habitable the fathers of the district assembled. Their resolution to erect a new building was tempered by the reflection that a new district was necessary, and from that meeting to a director's meeting, and thence to a convention of the school directors of Buffalo, Middlesex and Cranberry townships, the question of redistricting the three townships was carried. The school statistics of 1894 show six schoolhouses, six teachers, 116 male and 124 female pupils, and average attendance of 163, and a total revenue for school purposes of $3,021.12.

The Clinton Normal and Classical Academy was chartered September 8, 1890, with thirty-seven stock holders: A board of fifteen trustees was elected to manage the affairs of the Academy, comprised of J.C. NORRIS, William HECKERT, William THOMPSON, John HEPLER, Dr. William McCAFFERTY, Rev. P.E. SIMPSON, J.S. LOVE, James WATSON, George P. HARVEY, James M. RIDDLE, John B. CUNNINGHAM, John HALSTEAD, John P. KIRKPATRICK, R.A. BARTLEY and Thomas HAYS. The Academy gives promise of becoming an important addition to the educational institutions of the county.

The justices of the peace elected since the township was established, are as follows: Cyrus E. ANDERSON, 1854; William HARVEY, 1855-60-75-80-85; Samuel B. McNEAL, 1860; Samuel ANDERSON, 1865-1870; James CRISWELL, 1865-1870; W.A. WALKER, 1875; John B. DAVIS, 1880-85; J.B. CUNNINGHAM, 1886; Frederick EBERT, 1889; John B. CUNNINGHAM, 1891, and Frederick EBERT, 1894. William HARVEY served at least five terms as justice of the peace in this township, and during that long period never had an appeal from his decision to the higher courts.

CHURCHES

Westminster Presbyterian Church of Clinton township was organized June 12, 1835, with nineteen members, by Rev. Newton BRACKEN. The first elders were James BOYD and William McGARRY. Rev. Abraham BOYD was pastor until 1845, in which year a small log church was erected. Rev. James M. SMITH was stated supply in 1847; Rev. Ephriam OGDEN pastor from 1848 to 1858; Rev. John V. MILLER from 1859 to 1863; Rev. Josiah McPHERRIN from 1865 to 1873; Rev. James T. PATTERSON from 1874 to 1879, and Rev. John S. ATKINSON from 1881 to April 24, 1888. Rev. L.E. KEITH was installed pastor in 1889 and remained until October, 1890. On February 8, 1894, Rev. W.J. HAZLETT was installed as pastor, the pulpit having been previously supplied for over

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three years. The elders in 1888 were William NORRIS, Robert BREWER, Jacob B. FLICK, John S. LOVE and James McCAFFERTY. A new church building was begun in 1852, completed in February, 1853, and was dedicated, March 6, 1853. On December 15, 1857, the church recorded articles of association, Adam REED, James HEMPHILL, James McCAFFERTY, William WOODS and George GIBSON being then trustees. In 1894 there were about seventy-five members in this church.

The United Presbyterian Church of Clinton was organized April 20, 1845, as the Associated Reformed church, and incorporated December 7, 1863, under its present name. The elders were Matthew BICKETT, Joseph LOGAN and William HARVEY; the original members being William LOGAN and wife, Jane SEFTON, Mary A. COX, John McGAHEY and wife; Daniel BEERY, Minnamy QUINN and wife, John BROWNLOW and wife, Joseph BARTLEY, John DAVIS and wife, Joseph HARPER and wife, Matilda DAVIS, Margaret DAVIS, Levi LOGAN and wife, Joseph QUIGG and wife, James CARSON and wife, William HARVEY and wife. The signers to the petition asking that the society be incorporated were David LOGAN, Henry SEFTON, John ANDERSON, Stephen BREWER, James HAY, Robert TRIMBLE, J.W. MONKS, W.M. HAY, J.H. LOVE, D.S. McELWAIN, Joseph DAVIS, John BROWN, Obed SEFTON, W.H. BICKETT, Thompson LOVE, B. LOGAN, Thomas FRAZIER, David HAY, C.J. ANDERSON, S.H. MATHESON, S.M. LOVE and J.C. NORRIS. The trustees were Joseph LOGAN, Sr., John BROWN, Robert TRIMBLE, John ANDERSON and Thomas FRAZIER.

The following pastors have served the church since its organization: Rev. Isaiah NIBLOCK from April, 1845, to June, 1854; Rev. John JAMISON, October, 1855, to October, 1859; Rev. W.R. HUTCHINSON, 1861 to 1873; Rev. J.M. IMBRIE, 1875 to 1877; Rev. S.B. STEWART, 1881 to 1887, and Rev. W.J. COOPER, the present pastor, who came in 1888. The 1845 a log house, twenty-two by twenty-five feet in size, was erected on land donated by James M. HAY. It was first furnished with split log seats, but within a few years the pew was introduced. In 1854 a large frame building was erected at a cost of $1,600. It is the present house of worship of the congregation, which numbers 120 members. The members of the session are Matthew BICKETT, Archibald MONTGOMERY, Robert TRIMBLE, Richard SMALLEY, Thomas A. HAY and J.B. MAHAN. The trustees are William LOGAN, Ross MAHAN, Thompson LOVE, William MONKS and Harvey BICKETT.

Oak Grove United Presbyterian Church was organized August 27, 1878, with James HEMPHILL and Stephen BREWER, elders; J.B. CUNNINGHAM, J.C. MORRIS and Thompson LOVE, trustees. Under the supervision of the trustees, and Edward SEFTON, J.B. SEFTON and Stephen BREWER, a frame building was erected in 1878, at a cost of $1,300, which was dedicaled [sic] March 28, 1879. The formal meeting to organize was held June 1, 1878. On June 11, the Presbytery met at West Union church and granted permission to organize, and by August 27, that year, the following names were enrolled: James, Sarah, and Susannah HEMPHILL, Samuel and Ella HEMPHILL, John C. NORRIS, and Jane, his wife, Stephen and Jane BREWER, James and Margaret HARVEY, Samuel and Melissa E. MARSHALL, John B. and Catherine CUNNINGHAM, Jane CUNNINGHAM, Margaret

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and Jeannette CUNNINGHAM, James and Sarah T. LOVE, Thompson and Margaret E. LOVE, Rachel LOVE, and Mary A. SMITH. In 1894 there were 107 members enrolled. Eight deaths were reported from August, 1878 to February, 1894. The elders elected since the organization are J. B. SEFTON, who organized the Sabbath school in April, 1879; James B. CUNNINGHAM and John C. NORRIS, 1880, and William H. SEFTON, the new member of the session. The pulpit was supplied from 1878 to April 1885, when Rev. J.M. DUNCAN was called as pastor. In May, 1890, Rev. P.E. SIMPSON took charge, the pulpit being vacant from the summer of 1888 to that period.

CEMETERIES

Oak Grove Cemetery is a donation from J.B. CUNNINGHAM, made in May, 1880. Robert CLENDENNING, who was killed accidently, was the first person buried therein. One of the rules for the government of this little burial ground provides, that all who are able to pay for a lot must buy one, while those not blessed with means shall be entitled to a free lot for the burial of their dead.

Clinton Cemetery adjoins the Presbyterian church. In its graves many of the old members have found a resting place, among whom may be mentioned the following: James BARTLEY, Sr., who died in 1852; Nancy HAY, in 1853; Lydia HAY, in 1855; Margaret BARTLEY, in 1856; Elizabeth LOGAN, in 1856; Catherine GOLD, in 1858; Wilson WIGFIELD, in 1863; Susan YEAKEL, in 1866; Elizabeth WAREHAM, in 1867; Levi LOGAN in 1871; John GRINER, in 1871; Nancy GRINER, in 1872; Joseph HARPER, in 1873; John WAREHAM, in 1874; Samuel GRINER, Sr., in 1876; David LOGAN, in 1878; James HAY, in 1883; James BARTLEY, in 1884, Betty Ann HARVEY; in 1886, and Jane HARPER in 1887.

Westminster Cemetery.- The first grave in the Westminster Cemetery is said to be that of one ANDERSON, who was buried about 1832. One or more of the RIDDLE family were interred there at an early date. The oldest headstone is that which commemorates Sarah Ann, a daughter of Daniel LARDIN, who died in 1834. Among others, whose names appear on the monuments, may be mentioned:- Henry FLICK, who died in 1853; Joseph BREWER, in 1846; Thomas WATSON in 1845; R.M. CARSON, in 1844; Sarah GIBSON, in 1847; Thomas CALENDER, in 1852; Rebecca KIRKPATRICK, in 1852; Susanna NORRIS, in 1859, and James WOOD, in 1863.

VILLAGES

Lardintown, about one-half mile east of RIDDLE's Cross Roads was not founded by the pioneer Thomas LARDIN, but rather by his son, Daniel. The latter erected the first grist mill in the township, during the winter of 1849-50, where the head waters of Bull creek meet. After operating it as a water mill for some years, he introduced steam power and did a large milling business. William LARDIN, son of Thomas, also owned the mill for some years, until fire destroyed it. James KIER and Adam EKAS purchased the property and built the present mill. It was operated by them and by RENOUGH until the seventies when Christian HELLER became owner. After his death, John and William HELLER acquired it by inheri-

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tance. It is the only industry of the kind in the township, and to the old settlers is a precious reminder of "going to mill" forty years ago.

Long prior to 1849-50, the Francis ANDERSON saw mill on the RIDDLE farm was an industry which played an important part in the development of the township, although the first frame house was not erected until 1840.

The KIRK carding and woolen mill was established in 1848 and was carried on successfully until the days of the Civil War. The mercantile interest of the township are represented by R.J. ANDERSON at Flick; Daniel EKAS at Ekastown, and S.S. SNYDER at RIDDLE's Cross Roads.

FLICK and RIDDLE's Cross Roads, are the post-offices of the township. The old hamlet of Pughtown is unrecognized by the post-office department.

Harvey Post, Number 514, G.A.R., was organized March 25, 1886, at school house Number 2, with the following named charter members; William HARVEY, John S. LOVE, J.B. CUNNINGHAM, J.P. KIRKPATRICK, William THOMPSON, M. THOMPSON, G.P. HARVEY, John HALSTEAD, Martin GIBSON, H.H. HALSTEAD, E. SEFTON, Adam EKAS, D. HUEY, J. JONES, John E. BURTNER and J.J. BURNS. The following commanders have been elected since the organization; Adam EKAS, John S. LOVE, two terms, John B. CUNNINGHAM, William CARSON, A.B. KATZ, Joseph JONES and W.J. GILLESPIE. The adjutants are as follows: John HALSTEAD, 1886; H.H. HALSTEAD, 1887-91; John S. LOVE, 1892-94. In the fall of 1887 John S. LOVE donated ground for an armory building and the present hall was erected.