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of the elevated bank upon which the town is built. Berwick is the termination of the important turnpike, made some 20 or 30 years since, leading through Bradford co. to Newtown, in New York. The Nescopeck turnpike leading to Mauch Chunk, also terminates here. Annexed is a view of the village, taken from the opposite bank of the river. Population about 800.
Berwick. Berwick was originally settled in 1783, by Evan Owen, who-judging by his name-must have been a Welshman, with several other pioneers. The population is now principally of German extraction.
MIFFLINBURG is on the left bank of the river, about five miles below Berwick. It contains Methodist and Lutheran churches, and some 20 or 30 dwellings, mills, tanneries, &c.
WASHINGTON is a village containing some 40 or 50 dwellings, in the fertile valley of Chillisquake creek. The other villages of the county are FRUITSTOWN, at the head of Chillisquake valley, JERSEYTOWN, seven miles north of Danville, WILLIAMSBURG and ORANGEVILLE, on Fishing creek, and WHITEHALL, four miles northeast of Washington.
CRAWFORD COUNTY was taken from Allegheny co. by the act of 12th March, 1800. It received its name in honor of Col. Wm. Crawford, one of the heroes of the western frontier, who was burned by the Indians at Sandusky. Length 41 m., breadth 24; area, 974 sq. miles. Population in 1800, 2,346; in 1810, 6,178; in 1820, 9,397; in 1830, 16,030; in 1840, 31,724.
The land generally is undulating, of good quality ; better adapted, however, to the raising of stock than of grain, but there is nevertheless an ample proportion suitable for the latter. French cr., formerly known
as Venango river, enters from Erie co., and meandering centrally through the co., passes out through a corner of Mercer into Venango co., emptying into the Allegheny at Franklin. It is a beautiful stream, navigable for large boats and rafts, during high-water, and affords an abundant supply, at all seasons, for the various mills along its banks. Several other small streams water the co., as Cussewaga, Big and Little Sugar cr., Oil cr., Woodcock cr., Muddy cr., and Conneauttee cr.
According to the pronunciation of the venerable Cornplanter, the first of these names should be spelt Kos-se-wau-ga. Tradition states that the Indians, on coming to the creek for the first time, discovered a large black-snake, with a white ring round his neck, among the limbs of a tree. The snake exhibited a wonderful protuberance, as if it had swallowed a rabbit. They hence called the creek Kossewauga, which means big-belly..
Conneaut, or Conneot, means something about snow, or the snow place. It was noticed that the snow remained some time on the ice of the lake after it had disappeared in the vicinity. Cou-ne-aut-tee is a diminutive, formed by the Americans from the name of the larger lake. Rev. Mr. Alden.
There are three handsome lakes in the co. The Conneaut is a beautiful sheet of water, about four miles by two, abounding with fine fish. The other two are of smaller size, but equally picturesque. Agriculture
is the main object of pursuit. The manufactures of the co. are chiefly * for the consumption of its own citizens. Iron ore is found in many locali
ties. The French creek feeder, which supplies the canal from Pittsburg to Erie, and is of the same size, runs from Bemis's dam, 3 miles above Meadville, down French cr. 11 miles, and then up the valley of Conneaut outlet, to the summit level near that lake. Slackwater navigation also extends down French cr. to the Allegheny. This co. possesses all the resources in abundance necessary for the
support and comfort of industrious farmers. It is a healthy and pleasant country to live in, and the citizens are remarkable for intelligence and enterprise. It is said there were formerly forty distilleries in the co.; now they can scarcely number four. The following notice of curiosities in the co. is from the N. Y. Journal of Commerce of 1830.
On an extensive plain, there is a vast mound of stones, containing several hundred thousand cart loads. This pyramid has stood through so many ages, that it has become covered with soil, and from the top rises a noble pine-tree, the roots of which, running down the sides, fasten theraselves in the earth below. The stones are many of them so large that two men can only move them with difficulty, and yet they are unlike any others in the neighborhood. Indeed there are not in the neighborhood any quarries from which so large a quantity could ever have been taken. This artificial curiosity is on the borders of Oil creek ; a name derived from a natural curiosity no less remarkable than the foregoing. Springs exist on its margin, from which there is a constant flow of oil, floating on the surface of the water and running into the creek, which may be seen for a great distance down the stream. The oil is burned in lamps, and used in various ways, but is particularly valued for its medicinal qualities. The inhabitants make excava. tions in the low and marshy ground, which are immediately filled with water, covered with oil, which they skim off. Considerable quantities are annually brought to this city and sold to the apothecaries.
The Seneca Indians held sway over this region. The first white men whose feet pressed the soil of Crawford co., were undoubtedly the French, who availed themselves of the short portage between Presqu'isle and Le Beuf, one of the sources of Venango, or French cr., to extend their chain of posts to the Allegheny, and thus control the waters of the Ohio. As regards this co., however, they were mere birds of passage; they had no moiive to form any establishment here. Their movements in this region were principally between 1748 and '58. (See Allegheny, Erie, and Venango counties.)
The ancient Indian path from Fort Venango to Fort Le Bæuf, was on the eastern side of French cr., not far from the present lower road to Meadville, where it crossed and stretched over the island opposite the town, and continued on the western side a number of miles, and again crossed the creek. Major George Washington followed this path in 1753, on his journey to visit the French commander at Le Beuf.
After the French had departed, this region remained a cheerless solitude for many years. In 1788, the cheerful sound of the pioneer's axe broke upon the solemn stillness of the forests of Cassawaga, David Mead, and his brother John, two brothers of the Randolph family, Stophel Seiverling, James Miller, and Cornelius Van Horn, came out from Northumberland co., by the way of Bald Eagle and the old Chinklacamoose path to the mouth of French cr., and thence up the creek until they discovered the beautiful flat where Meadville now stands. Several of these gentlemen had held lands in Wyoming valley, under the Pennsylvania title, from which they had been driven by Connecticut claimants. Knowing well the quality of land and the value of a good title, they were cautious and judicious in their selections, as the fine estates now in possession of their families will show. Subsequent events, however, threatened to shake the foundation of their titles, and cast them out upon the wilderness for a new selection. The vexed questions, and numerous delays and lawsuits growing out of the land law of 1792, had a dispiriting influence upon the early settlers of Crawford co., until settled by the decision of the great Holland Land Co. case, and others of a similar nature. Besides the gentlemen above mentioned, several others came a few years later, among whom were Mr. Heidekoper, Mr. Bennet, Mr. Lord, Mr. Morgan, Mr. Reynolds, on Oil cr., and others.
The biographies of several of these pioneers have been preserved, and furnish an excellent history of the co. The following is abridged from Rev. Timothy Alden's Allegheny Magazine, published at Meadville in 1816.
The Hon. David Mead, the first settler of the pleasant village which bears his name, was born at Hudson, N. Y. His father, Darius Mead, (also an early settler in this county,) when David became of age, removed to the Wyoming country, where they both had purchased lands under the Pennsylvania title. In consequence of the adverse claims, and the superior force of the Connecticut claimants, they were obliged to abandon their lands, and settled near Northumberland. David Mead became a citizen of Sunbury, where he kept an inn for a number of years. After various discouraging struggles, with fortune, with the Indians, and the Wyoming boys, Mr. Mead resolved to leave that region, seek a new home, and commence a new career on the lands west of the Allegheny river. In 1788, he visited this section of the country, then a wilderness, in com. pany with his brother John and several others. In 1789 he removed his family. Some time af. terwards he obtained a remuneration from the state in lands, for those of which he had been dis. possessed at Wyoming.
After several years of incessant toil and hardship, his prospects began to brighten; but they were soon overcast with a gloomy cloud. Another Indian war menaced the infant settlements of the west. Many fled: those who remained were exposed to constant perils and privations. Mr. Mead, having an important interest here, continued on his plantation, resolved to brave every danger, and bear every privation while the war should exist. The war was at length happily ter. minated by Gen. Wayne, in 1795. For several months, in 1791, when the Indians were daily expected to attempt the extermination of the people on French cr., Mr. Mead with his family resided at Franklin, that he might have it in his power to repair to the garrison in that place as a last resort. During this period his father was taken by two Indians, from a field where he was at work, and carried to the vicinity of Conneaut lake. Some days afterwards he was found, together with one of the Indians, both dead, and bearing such marks of violence as showed they had had a contest; and it was deemed probable that the other Indian had been wounded in the encounter, from the circumstance of his companion having been left unburied.
Mr. Mead held the office of justice of the peace both at Wyoming and here. In 1799 he be. came one of the associate judges for Crawford co. He was also a major-general in the militia. He was a man of uncommon bodily strength, standing six feet three, and large in proportionin deportment sedate and grave, but affable, easy of access, and without ostentation. His vigorous mind was ever actively engaged upon public or private business. His first wife was Agnes Wilson, of Northumberland co.; his second, Janet Finney, daughter of Robert Finney, Esq. His mansion was noted for hospitality, and in his later years the inorning and evening sacrifice arose from his family altar. He died on the 23d Aug. 1816, in the 65th year of his age.
The following is from the Crawford Messenger, of July, 1830:
Died at his farm, near Meadville, on the 16th inst., Robert F. RANDOLPH, in the 89th year of his age. The deceased was born in Woodbridge township, Essex co., N. J. He married when young, and in 1771 removed to Northampton co., Pa., where he resided two years; from whence he removed to Northumberland co., then on the frontier of this state, there being hardly a white inhabitant above the spot where Northumberland now stands. There he resided until the year 1776, when hostilities commenced upon the inhabitants of the county, and they were driven from their homes by the savages. He with his family fled to Bucks co., but returned to his residence the same year. He then joined the regiment commanded by Col. William Cook, and was with it in the memorable battle of Germantown. Shortly after his return from the army, the county of Northumberland by one desolating sweep was cut off, and its inhabitants drove out by the cruel and unrelenting hand of the savages. Finding no prospect of peace or safety for his family, he returned to his native state, where they would be at least secure from the terrors of the scalpingknife. He then reëntered the army of the United States, in which capacity he served until the close of the war.
When peace was restored, he returned, in 1783, to Northumberland co., and settled on Shamokin cr., where he continued to reside until 1789, when he with his family emigrated to this county, at that time one entire wilderness; and on the 6th of July, the same year, arrived on French cr., near where the village of Meadville now stands, and settled on the farm upon which, till his death, he has ever since resided. When he made his selection and took possession, there were none to dispute his right but the tawny sons of the forest, from whose pitiless hands he had much to fear. But that spirit of enterprise, with an honest view of procuring a permanent home for himself and family, which had induced him to the wilderness and cheered his pathless way into it, continued to support him under every privation, difficulty, and danger incid to the settlement of a new country. His zeal in the cause of freedom was unwavering. Of this fact, the following will serve as an illustration: In one of the alarms occasioned by the approach of the enemy to the town of Erie, during the late war, like the patriarch of old, he mustered a strong band of his own household, consisting of his four sons and two or three grandsons, put himself at their head, and thus armed and equipped marched to meet the expected foe.
Mr. Cornelius Van Horn has been named as one of the early pioneers. He is still (1843) enjoying a quiet old age, on the farm, near Meadville, earned and cleared by the toils and exposures of his youth. The following story of his adventures was derived by the compiler of this work, in conversation with a member of Mr. Van Horn's family :
Mr. Cornelius Van Horn had been a settler in Wyoming valley under the Pennsylvania title, and relinquished his possessions there under the compromise, receiving compensation from the state. In 1788, he was persuaded by David Mead, (who had also been a Pennamite,) to make one of a party of nine to come out and settle in Crawford co. They took the route from Bald Eagle, in Centre co., over the Allegheny mountains, nearly on the route of the present turnpike; struck the mouth of French cr., and thence followed it up until they discovered the beautiful flat upon which Meadville is now seated. They here selected their lands, and entered upon their la. bors. Until 1791, nothing of special importance occurred, except that one day, as he was returning from Pittsburg with pack-horses, he was overtaken by an Indian near a lonely swamp; but he proved to be friendly. His name was McKee; and from this friendly interview and exchange of provisions, courtesies, &c., commenced an acquaintance, which was afterwards probably the means of saying Van Horn's life.
In the month of May, 1791, Mr. Van Horn, Thomas Ray, and Mr. Gregg, were ploughing on the island opposite the town. Gregg and Ray had gone in to fetch the dinner, when Van Horn, who continued ploughing, observed his horses take fright, and turning suddenly he saw a tall Indian about to strike him with his tomahawk, and another just behind. As quick as thought he seized the descending arm, and grappled with the Indian, hugging him after the manner of a bear. While in this close embrace, the other Indian attempted to shoot Van Horn; but the lat. ter, who was no novice in frontier tactics, kept turning round the Indian in his arms so as to present him as a shield against the bullet-and thus gained time enough to parley for his life
No fine-spun diplomacy was practised in this treaty: a few words of broken Indian on one side, and broken English on the other, resulted in a capitulation, by which he was to be taken prisoner, together with his horses. He was pinioned and taken to the top of the hill above the college, where they met the old chief and a fourth Indian. After some parley, the chief mounted one of the horses and the prisoner the other, and pursued their way towards Conneaut lake; while the three other Indians returned to the island for further adventures. Gregg and Ray had just returned to their work, and were deliberating over the meaning of the tracks in the field, when they descried the three Indians. Gregg took to his heels, Ray calling to him to stand his ground like a man; but he was pursued, killed, and scalped. Ray was taken prisoner.
The old chief had tied Van Horn by a thong to a tree, in a sitting posture, with his arms behind him; but the thong working a little loose, the chief pulled it obliquely up the tree to tighten it, and laid himself down in the bushes to sleep. Van Horn, by raising himself, loosened the thong enough to allow him to get a small knife out of his cuff-(he had previously, to conciliate his good-will and allay suspicion, presented the chief with his jackknife, powder, Aints, tobacco, &c.)-and cut himself loose from the tree, but could not unpinion his arms. He made his way back to the settlement, where he found an officer from Fort Franklin, who ordered the whole colony to repair for safety to that place, lest there might be a larger force of Indians in the vicinity than had yet appeared. Van Horn pleaded hard for permission to remain, and learn the fate of Ray and Gregg; and as the officer's horse had been lost, he was allowed to remain if he could get another to remain with him. A friendly Indian, by the name of Gilloway, agreed to remain ; and for some other reason it was thought necessary (this was to catch the horse) that another friendly Indian, McKee, should remain also. They found the horse; and taking some bear-skins, furs, &c. in the canoe, embarked for Franklin. Gilloway, as he was the least of the two, volunteered to ride the horse, while the others went in the ca. noe; but he rode the horse a little too far, and in the wrong direction, not being heard of again until he had been seen at Sandusky. Van Horn afterwards had reason to think that Gilloway had remained behind to murder him, but that his plan had been frustrated by the determination of McKee to stay also; and he then stole the horse.
Van Horn and McKee determined to return from Franklin; and by way of getting an early start, to lodge in a deserted cabin, a mile or two this side of Franklin. The commanding officer urged in vain the danger of a surprise and attack from savages. Van Horn and his comrade thought themselves competent to the defence of their position. In the night, however, the officers and soldiers of the garrison determined to make good their surmises, and have a little fun, by raising whoop, and surrounding the cabin where Van Horn lay. The latter, hearing the noise, was on the alert; and while the soldiers were listening at the door, they heard Van Horn make arrangements with his comrade that he should stand by to haul them into the cabin, while he cut them down at the door with an axe. This was a kind of sport for which the party was not prepared, and they withdrew, laughing at the frustration of their own scheme. Van Horn soon after went to Jersey to attend to his Wyoming business, and then returned. Some few parties of Indians skulked about until after Wayne's treaty, when they all disappeared.
When the three Indians with Ray had arrived at Conneaut lake, and waked up the old chief, and found his prisoner gone, they told Ray that it was fortunate for him, as they could have taken only one prisoner away with them. They took him to Sandusky, where he recognised an English trader, who bought him off for a keg of whiskey. He returned by the lake to Olean, and thence down the Allegheny. On passing Franklin he inquired of those on shore for his “Sally," and being told she was in Pittsburg, pursued his way down there, where he found her.
James Dixon, another old settler, better known as Scotch Jemmy, was surprised by a number of Indians in the woods, and shot at several times. He turned his face towards them, levelled his rifle, and dared the rascals to come out of the woods like men, and give him fair play—"Noo coom on wi' your wee axe," said Jemmy. With his rifle thus presented, he continued to walk backwards until out of reach of their fire; and reached the old blockhouse, that stood where the blacksmith's shop is, near Bennett's tavern. This occurred about 1793 or 1794.
The Rev. Charles Wm. Colson, or Von Colson, who died at Meadville 28th Dec. 1816, was the founder and pastor of the Lutheran church at Meadville, and of several others in the vicinity. He was a native of Westphalia in Germany, and had graduated at Gottingen as a Doctor of Medicine. He was a man of great promise and usefulness, and would probably have been Professor of the German and French languages in Allegheny College, if his life had been spared.
The following letter to Dr. Samuel L. Mitchill, of N. Y., details a most remarkable case of alienation of mind. John Reynolds, Esq., the gentle