Conneautville History 1885

Crawford County


Conneautville, the third place in size and importance in Crawford County, was incorporated as a borough by act of the State Legislature of 1843-44. In compliance with the terms of the act the first election was held Friday, May 24, 1844, at which date the following borough officers were elected: John E. Patton, Burgess; William S. Crozier, Minor T. Carr, George M. Meyler and Charles Rich, Council; Daniel Scovil, High Constable; J.W. Brigden, Clerk; Chancellor St. John and Alexander M. Stilwell, Street Commissioners; Samuel C. Sutliff, Assessor. Mr. Patton served as Burgess until 1853, and his successors with dates of election have been as follows: C. Courtright, 1853; J.E. Patton, 1854; J. Norton, 1855; J.E. Patton, 1856; H.Z. Howe, 1857; S.G. Krick, 1858-59; William H. Darby, 1860; W.W. Power, 1861; W.L. Robinson, 1862; M. Landon, 1863; N. Truesdale, 1864; W.B. Gleason, 1865; Matthew Stilwell, 1866; David Bligh, 1867; G.W. Slayton, 1868; H.J. Cooper, 1869; W.A. Hammon, 1870; J.C. Sturtevant, 1871; F. Molthrop, 1872; J. Bolard, 1873-74-75; H.A. Brinker, 1876; Irvin S. Krick, 1877; T.F. Scott, 1878-79; W.W. Power, 1880-81; John W. Crider, 1882; W.A. Rupert, 1883; E.L. Litchfield, 1884.

The borough about 1878 erected a two-story frame engine-house on Canal Street. It also owns a good hand fire-engine, which has been in service for about twenty-five years. The fire department includes a hook and ladder company.

The population of Conneautville in 1850 was 787; in 1870, 1,000, and in 1880, 941. The borough received its territory partly from Spring and partly from Summerhill Township. It is located in the valley of Conneaut Creek, and on the old Beaver and Erie Canal. It is one and a half miles east of the Erie & Pittsburgh Railroad, with which it is in communication by hack lines. A rich and populous agricultural district surrounds the borough, and of the northwestern portion of Crawford County Conneautville is the principal trading point. In the palmy days of the canal, business was brisker than at present. A heavy lumbering business was transacted here through the facilities afforded by this water-course, and the village reached a population of almost 1,200 in 1860. The discontinuance of the canal wrought a temporary depression of trade, but during the last few years business has again revived, and the present improvements and growth of Conneautville bespeak its future welfare. Among its industries may be specially mentioned the extensive tannery of J. Bolard & Co., with which the one at Spring Borough has been recently consolidated; the Saxon Chemical Works, where acetate of lime, alcohol, tar and charcoal are produced from hard woods; the foundry of Moulthrop & Sons; the large furniture establishment of William H. Derby; another, owned by J. Field; the two grist-mills, one operated by steam and water, owned by O.O. Ticknor & Co., the other operated by water and owned by Butts & Co., both custom mills; and the woolen-mills of J.W. Crider.

The mercantile business of the borough includes three general or dry goods stores, four groceries, three drug stores, three clothing stores, two tailoring establishments, two jewelry stores, two furniture stores, one boot and shoe store, two hardware stores, three millinery stores and two tin-shops. There are also several meat markets, two hotels, two livery stables, a marble-shop, a wagon-shop, three blacksmith-shops, two cooper-shops, two shoe-shops and three harness-shops. Four physicians, two lawyers and two dentists reside and practice at Conneautville.

Alexander Power was the founder of the village. When a young, unmarried man, scarcely past his majority, he with others engaged in the hazardous business of surveying northwestern Pennsylvania during the years 1794 and 1795. Repeatedly the surveying party was obliged to flee from the hostile savages and once the cook, James Thompson, was taken prisoner and conveyed to Detroit, while the camp equipage was scattered and destroyed. While thus engaged, Mr. Power selected a number of tracts which were afterward patented in his name. He was married in 1798 at his home in what is now Perry County, and at once set out on horseback with his wife for a Western home, and settled at the head of Conneaut Lake. About 1804 he removed with his wife and two children to the site of Conneautville, where he remained till his death in May, 1850, at the age of eighty-seven years. He was appointed Justice of the Peace for Allegheny County in 1798 and served many years. About 1800 he built a mill on the site of Butts & Co.’s present mill. Mr. Power was the first Postmaster at Conneautville, receiving his appointment in 1815. His son William was the second. The original plat, as laid out by Alexander Power in 1815, was rectangular in shape, and was included within High and Main and Arch and Pearl Streets, with a few lots on the southwest side of Main Street. The direction of Main Street is south 60-1/2° east. The public park was included in the original plat. By the construction of the canal the direction of some streets was changed. William Power laid out an addition to the southern line of Spring Township, and the village was afterward extended into Summerhill. For a number of years it was known as Powerstown.

The first house, Alexander Power’s, stood on the site of the Presbyterian Church. It was built before the town was laid out. In 1816 William Douglas and Henry Christie erected log-cabins, and in 1817 William Crozier built a frame house, in which he commenced keeping the first tavern in the following December. Peter G. Benway, a shoe-maker, opened a shop in 1819, and Curtis Adams about the same time erected a hewed-log cooper-shop near the corner of Main and Mulberry Streets. His health failing, several years later he abandoned the building, which then became a schoolhouse and ball room. Joseph Pratt, the first blacksmith, came in 1820, occupying the site of the Courier office, Main Street. The first store was kept by Richard Dibble in 1815, in Alexander Power’s dwelling-house. Mr. Power kept the second in the front room of his dwelling, commencing about 1819; Zimri Lewis the third in 1827. Francis McGuire in 1821 erected the first tannery, on the site of the Courtright Block, corner of Main and Pearl Streets.

The village continued to grow slowly. The building of the canal produced an influx of laborers, mechanics and tradesmen, and the tide of prosperity set in, which has continued with brief interruption to the present. Two destructive fires have visited the place, one in 1867 and the second in 1874, but the village has recovered from the effects of both.

The first newspaper published in Conneautville was the Union, started by Platt & Son, in October, 1846, and discontinued the following May. Another unsuccessful venture was the Crisis, launched into existence in 1868 by Mr. Field. After three months it was removed to Girard. The first number of the Conneautville Courier was issued November 14, 1847, by A.T. Mead and George W. Brown. A year later Mr. Brown became sole owner by purchase, and in October, 1854, he sold the paper to A.J. Mason and Daniel Sinclair. The subscription list increased so rapidly that the introduction of a steam press became necessary. In 1856 Mason purchased Sinclair’s interest, and in 1862 sold the paper to R.C. and J.H. Frey, to accept the command of a company in service. He was fatally wounded at Fredericksburg, Va. In February, 1864, the Frey brothers sold the Courier to J.E. and W.A. Rupert, publishers of the Crawford County Record. The Record was started in 1858 by John W. Patton as an advertising sheet, but soon developed into a regular weekly, and a formidable rival of the Courier. Mr. Patton entered the army at the breaking out of the Rebellion, and died while holding the rank of Major, of wounds received at Chancellorsville in May, 1863. The establishment had been leased, and was subsequently purchased by Fred T. Braggins, who in December, 1863, sold it to J.E. and W.A. Rupert. Alter purchasing the Courier they published the consolidated papers, under the title Record and Courier, until 1870, when the old name, Conneautville Courier, was restored by them. These gentlemen still publish the Courier, which is Republican in politics, local in character, and has a wide and extensive circulation through Crawford and adjoining counties.

The Conneautville Independent was started in April, 1881, by William F. Zell. In the following June he sold it to Rev. J.S. Gledhill, who in turn disposed of it in September of the same year to W.E. McDowell, its present publisher and editor. As indicated by its name, this paper is independent in politics, and has a good circulation, which is rapidly increasing.

The Conneautville National Bank was organized January 1, 1864, and has a capital of $100,000.

The present beautiful cemetery was laid out in 1836, and the first burial in its grounds was that of William Foster, aged three years, son of George G. Foster. In 1864 the grounds were greatly enlarged.

The Crawford County Agricultural Society is the pioneer organization of the kind in the county. It held its first fair at Conneautville in 1852, and fairs have been held annually ever since, increasing in exhibits and visitors until now the society is one of the best and most successful in this portion of the State. The grounds, spacious and well-improved, are located near the southeast corner of the borough.

The first schoolhouse within the limits of the borough was a log building erected in 1812 in the wilderness near Robinson’s machine-shops. Long openings for windows were covered with greased paper. The fireplace was without jambs and above the back wall the chimney was built with sticks and mortar made of clay and cut straw. The firewood used was six or eight feet long. Children attended for several miles around. Josiah Brooks was the first teacher, Sheffield Randal the second, James McEntire the third, and Samuel Steele the fourth. In 1813 or 1814, when the school was in session, a messenger in hot haste brought the false news that the British were landing Indians at the mouth of Conneaut Creek to plunder and slaughter the settlers, The children, thoroughly frightened, were at once dispatched to their homes through the woods to spread the alarm that their parents might prepare for defense. During the term of Samuel Steel the schoolhouse burned. He was an Irish shoe-maker and earned an extra honest penny by cobbling for his patrons. A frame schoolhouse was erected in 1828 on the west corner of Water and Center Streets, wherein early church services were also held. The building now used as a Catholic Church at the west extremity of Washington Street was afterward the village schoolhouse. It contained four rooms and was occupied until the present substantial brick structure was reared in 1867-68, at an expense of about $20,000. It contains seven rooms and is situated on a fine school lot of nearly four acres near the east end of Washington Street....

Western Crawford Lodge, F. & A.M., No. 258, was chartered September 1, 1851. The charter officers were: William F. Owen, W.M.; Ammi Bond, S.W.; James Norton, J.W. The present membership is about sixty-five. Meetings are held the first and third Mondays of each month.

Oriental Chapter, R.A.M., No. 187, was granted a charter July 8, 1856. Its charter officers were: William F. Owen, H.P.; Ammi Bond, King; John W. Patton, Scribe. This is the oldest Chapter in Crawford County, and one of the oldest in northwestern Pennsylvania. The membership is about thirty. Regular meetings are held on the third Friday of each month.

Goodwill Lodge, A.O.U.W., No. 49, was instituted at Conneautville with twenty-two members March 24, 1873. William P. Gleason was the first Past Master Workman; J.C. Sturtevant, the first Master Workman. The lodge now numbers eighty members, and meets every Wednesday evening.

Union Council, R.T. of T., No. 8, was instituted with twenty-three members June 4, 1878. Its first officers were: S.H. Gibson, S.C.; Mrs. R.A. Frasier, V.C.; C.B. Stone, Sec.; Charles Landon, Chaplain; John Davenport, Treas.; Orlando Crozier, Herald; Mrs. F.S. Lawrence, Guard; S.F. Lawrence, Sentinel. The membership is about 100, and meetings are held every Tuesday evening.

Conneautville Lodge, K. of H., No. 1,131, was organized with nine members, July 9, 1878. The first officers were: W.H.H. Brown, Dictator; A.L. Power, Vice Dictator; F.R. Nichols, Assistant Dictator; E.T. Montague, Treasurer; W.W. Power, Financial Reporter; J.G. Leffingwell, Reporter; W.H. Montague, Guard; C.R. Benjamin, Chaplain and Past Dictator; W.C. Oakes, Guardian. The membership is thirty-six, and regular meetings are held the second and fourth Mondays of each month.

Conneautville Union, E.A.U., was instituted in 1881, and is in a prosperous condition. It holds regular meetings twice a month.

Capt. M.L. Stone Post No. 374, G.A.R., was organized September 14, 1883, with twenty-five members. The following officers were elected: Commander, Capt. J. Bolard; Senior Vice Com., R.D. Leet; Junior Vice Com., O. Crozier; Officer of Day, W.L. Benedict; Adjutant, E.S. Cheney; Quartermaster, W.E. Sanderson; Chaplain, Francis Clow; Sergeant, Albert Stevens; Officer of Guard, A.G. Irish; Sergeant Major, Aaron West; Quartermaster Sergeant, George H. Brown; Guards, R.J. Waldo, A.S. Baker. The post meets on the first and third Friday evenings of each month. The membership has increased to about forty.

History of Crawford County 1885


George H. Brown,Quartermaster Sgt. G.A.R. was my grandfather twice removed!! I looking for his father,Hiram Brown ,born 1832 ? at sea. He setted in Conard Kings,Nova Scotia. Any information about him would be helpfull. TKU!!

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