A description of the township from the History of Huntingdon and Blair Counties, Pennsylvania by J. Simpson Africa published by Louis H. Everts of Philadelphia, PA in 1883. The township information starts on page 217.
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Brady is one of the border townships of the county, situated north of the Juniata River. On the northeast, east and southeast it is bounded by Mifflin County, being separated from it in the latter course by Jack's Mountain. West and northwest is the township of Henderson, and on the north is Miller township. The Juniata River separates Brady from Shirley and Union Townships on the south and southwest. The township is mainly mountainous, the foot-hills of Jack's Mountain extending far into the interior. Beyond these is Standing Stone Mountain and it attendant ridges, trending in a general northeast to southeast direction. The intermediate areas form small valleys, and embrace also a portion of the noted Kishacoquillas Valley, which may be said to begin about three miles from the Juniata, widening from that point in its extent to the lower part, twenty miles distant in Mifflin County. That part of the valley in Brady drains to the southwest, and in local terms the former configuration of the land is disregarded and entirely being regarded as down from its head, despite the direction of the water-courses. The part in Brady is drained by Saddler's Creek and its affluent runs, which form a junction with Mill Creek, the other stream of the township, about two miles from its mouth. The latter rises in the ridges of Henderson, and having a very rapid descent afford several small but good water-powers. Many years ago it was called Pridmore's Mill Run. There are numerous springs in the township, several of them being strongly impregnated with mineral properties, among the most noted being a sulfur spring in the northeastern part of the township. The soil of the Kishacoquillas Valley is fertile, resting upon a limestone base, and in this part are some finely improved farms. In other localities the soil is a slaty loam and but moderately productive. Sandstone of superior quality for the manufacture of glass is obtained from Rocky Ridge, and iron ore and fire clay abound in almost inexhaustible quantities. The development of these minerals and the ordinary agricultural pursuits constitute the chief employment of the people.
The accounts of the early settlers of Brady are obscure and conflicting. A number of pioneers lived within its borders prior to the Revolution, of whom little can be said. The Pridmore, Vandevender, Eaton, Loudenslager, and several other families were among the inhabitants of that period. The former removed before 1800. The memory of the Eaton family and young Loudenslager is perpetuated in connection with Indian troubles in 1778. It is stated by the historian of the Juniata Valley that these parties lived near the head of the Kishacoquillas Valley, and that in the year mentioned they became victims of savage atrocity. It seems that young Loudenslager had determined to go to Standing Stone, to join the men then being enlisted by Captain Clugage for the protection of the leadmines. With this purpose he mounted his horse and rode unsuspecting through the gap towards the river, when he was fired upon by a small party of Indians and a white man and very severely wounded. Yet he managed to cling to his seat in the saddle, and reached Huntingdon in a fainting condition. After receiving such treatment as the place afforded it was determined to send him to Middletown, where proper attention might be given him. He was accordingly placed in a canoe to be conveyed down the river, but did not proceed far before life became extinct. The same day Loudenslager was assassinated the Indians visited the cabin of the Eaton family, and finding the husband away, took captive his wife and two children, plundered the house, and set it on fire. Before it was entirely destroyed Mr. Eaton reached his home, and saw enough to lead him to believe that it was the work of savages. Quickly mounting his horse he sped to Standing Stone to alarm the garrison, and there learned from the lips of the wounded man that his suspicions were only too true. A scouting party set in pursuit of the savages, but failed to find their trail, and although the search continued for several days no trace of the Indians could be found. Mr. Eaton became a heart-broken man, and persisted in the search of his loved ones, being satisfied that they had been murdered only when their blanched bones were found years afterward by some hunters in the mountains of Warrior's Mark township. The Eaton house was on the hillside by the spring below the present Eagle Mills. Whether rightfully or not, Jacob Hare, of Hare's Valley, was accused of being the white man who was with the Indians when they fired upon Loudenslager, and the feelings of the people entertained towards Hare for his affiliations with the enemies of the patriot cause came near costing him his life. At this time Peter Vandevender was living on the Juniata, on a fine tract of meadow lands, in the locality which became known as Vandevender's Bridge. He was of Holland descent, moving from New Jersey to Montgomery County, PA, from there to Virginia, and thence to the above place some time before the Revolution, being attracted thither by the beauty and fertility of the lands along the Juniata. He brought with him a Negro slave, and had an Irish servant working for his passage money. He carried on a distillery, and, owing to the prominent location of his place, his house was somewhat of the nature of an inn, where every one enjoyed the old gentleman's freely-dispensed hospitality. Although not a soldier in the cause for independence, he was an ardent patriot, and thoroughly detested the Toryism of his neighbors, and especially the pronounced sentiments of Jacob Hare. On the day following the events above related Vandevender was attracted to the door of his house by the rattle of a drum in the possession of some of Captain Blair's Rangers, who were coming up the road on their march in pursuit of Tory John Weston. Upon their approach Vandevender demanded the cause of the noise, and being told that they were hunting John Weston and his Tory adherents, exclaimed "Hunting Dories, eh? Well Captain Blair, you chust go and hunt Jake Hare. He is the vilest Dory in all Pennsylvania. He told Weston he would fight vit him when he came down here with his Inchians." This little speech and the whiskey Vandevender was dealing out freely induced the Rangers to hunt up Jacob Hare at once for the purpose of castigating him. When they reached his little valley they found him at work in his barn. A rope was fastened around his neck and the other end thrown across a beam in the building, but before he was seriously injured the soldiers listened to the entreaty of Captain Blair and spared the life of Hare, under promise that he would leave the country.
Peter Vandevender was a great hunter, and many stories of his skill and narrow escapes used to be related. He died in Brady. Of his family he had sons named Isaac, Abraham, Jacob, and John. His daughter married - Sarah, George Armitage; Catharine, Samuel Shaver of Hill Valley; Rebecca, Samuel Hampson of Brady; Elizabeth, a man named Echelberger, who moved to Alabama, he and his wife going thither on horseback; Dorcas, Alexander Jacobs of Hollidaysburg; Martha, Peter Swoope of Huntingdon, a hatter by trade, and for many years a Justice of the Peace. Dorcas received for her patrimony the Negro slave, but not liking his disposition, traded him off for a horse and saddle. The sons Abraham and John Vandevender lived and died in Brady, Jacob migrated to Indiana, and Isaac married Mary Enyeart, and lived in McConnellstown until his death in 1844, at the age of sixty-four years. He served as a Captain in the War of 1812, and held the office of justice for many years. He was the father of John Vandevender of Walker; Peter, who was assassinated near Barree Forge in 1863; and of a third son named William. His daughters married Thomas Lucas, James Patton, Charles Geissinger, John Householder, Thomas G. Strickler, John Dean, and Henry Barrick.
Caleb Armitage, a German, after his emigration to America lived at Germantown, but before the close of the Revolution the family settled near the mouth of Mill Creek, and he became the owner of the Pridmore Mills. For a time he was an officer in the struggle for independence, but left the service at the time indicated. He had sons named John, who was born in 1767 at Philadelphia, and lived near Petersburg, but was drowned in the Juniata near Huntingdon. He was the father of sons named Benjamin and Valerias, who removed to the West. Benjamin, the second son, after living many years in Henderson, died at Huntingdon. Caleb, the third son, married Jane Simpson of Brady, and settled in that township. His daughters married Joseph Galbraith, Robert Wallace, Samuel Hemphill, William Rung, John Houck, and Sarah remained single. His sons were Caleb and Alexander, the latter yet living in Huntingdon. George Armitage, the fourth son, was in the War of 1812, where he contracted a disease which caused him to be lame for life. He was married to Sarah Vandevender and lived in Henderson. Of his family, John was elected sheriff in 1844 and died at Huntingdon; Margaret married John Cresswell, Jr., an attorney at Hollidaysburg. Another son of Caleb Armitage died while a youth. His daughters were Nancy, who married a Mr. Alexander and moved to Western Pennsylvania; Sally, who became the wife of Alexander Powers and lived in the Kishacoquillas Valley; Jane became the wife of John McConnell, proprietor of the Black Bear Hotel at Huntingdon. He was the father of Dr. James McConnell, of Sandusky, Ohio, and of daughters, who became the wives of David McMurtie, August Banks, William Williams, and Seth T. Hurd. Margaret became the second wife of John Miller, Esq. of Huntingdon, the father of Dr. George A. Miller, who lost his life in the Mexican War. His daughters by this marriage became the wives of Albert J. Gower of Staunton, VA; George Welch of Bellefonte; William Welch of Bellefonte; and Judge George Taylor of Huntingdon. The descendants of the Armitage family became very numerous, and live in all parts of the country.
Alexander Simpson, an Irishman, came to Brady some time after the Revolution, living many years near the mouth of Mill Creek, but later made his home on the ridge in the western part of Brady, where he died about sixty years ago. His son Robert married Katie Houck, and moved to McKeesport, PA; James married Anna Goodman, and lived on the homestead until his death in 1862, aged seventy-eight years. He was the father of Samuel G. Simpson, living in Brady; Captain William H. of Illinois; David P. of Mill Creek; John of Henderson; James of Illinois; Dr. George W. of Mill Creek; Alfred deceased; and Andrew P. of Brady. His daughters married A. V. Westbrook of Philadelphia, and E. A. Shaver of Illinois. Foster, another son of Alexander Simpson, lived in Henderson until his death about forty years ago. His daughters married John Westbrook (of Huntingdon), Caleb Armitage (of Henderson), and William Copeland (of Wisconsin).
The Reverend Samuel Lane was one of the pioneers of Brady, settling on Mill Creek some time about 1790; but his residence at Three Springs was many years earlier. The Lane family came from England, and from the parental home in Virginia some of the members found their way to Maryland and later to Pennsylvania. The life of Samuel Lane was mainly given to the ministry of the Baptist Church, and, as its missionary, he rode through many parts of Huntingdon County when it almost an unbroken forest and he had to blaze his own paths to the homes of the poor settlers, who heard him gladly as he preached in their cabins or in the open air. He attained the advanced age of ninety-five years, dying about 1812 on his farm in Mill Creek, which is now owned by Amos Smucker. He was thrice married, and reared twenty-one children, all of whom became heads of families and had numerous children of their own. Of his sons, Joshua moved to Ohio; Jacob lived in Springfield Township; Caleb in Maryland; George lived in Brady and had sons named Michael, Washington, and John the latter living in Mifflin; Abner was an early teacher, and later a merchant at Williamsburg and at Freeport, PA; John moved to Ohio. Of the daughters, Delia married Matthew Hall (of Henderson); Sarah, Captain Levi (of Lewistown), yet living at Milesburg, PA at the age of eighty-six years; Ellen, Paul Orlady of Brady, who was for many years a blacksmith at Roxbury, where the widow now resides at the age of eighty-four years. James Lane was the oldest of the second family of children. He purchased the old homestead, to which he moved in 1827. He was by trade a miller, and engaged in that business in Brady, erecting several mills. He was twice married, his first wife being Martha Steel, his second Eleanor Postlewaite of Henderson and thirteen of his children attained mature years. He had sons, Samuel M. who was a merchant in Butler County and in Allegheny City, but is now a citizen of Philadelphia; William S. an attorney at Philadelphia; James R. a minister of the Dunkard Church, living in Hill Valley; Frank H. a merchant at Huntingdon and candidate for Governor on the Prohibition Ticket in 1876; Abner P., George W., and John (who moved to the West). The daughter married, Mary, the Rev. G. W. Hamilton of Mifflin County, and for her second husband Robert Brown, who moved to Illinois; Eliza became the wife of Isaac Woolverton of Juniata County; Eleanor, of John McCarthy of Brady, who moved to Mifflin County; Martha Jane, of John Allison of Henderson, who moved to Illinois, Hannah Isabella, of William Porter of Hernderson who moved to the same state; and Sarah, who married John E. Smucker of Brady, and lives in Huntingdon.
On Mill Creek, above the Lanes, lived the Hall family, of which Adam was a son, dying some time about 1809. His daughters married Samuel M. Lane and William Buchanan. The farm was afterwards occupied by John Hampson, who died on the place, and his wife at Huntingdon at the age of ninety years. They had a large family, among ths sons being Evans and John, the latter living in Union Township opposite Mill Creek. He was the father of James K. Hampson, for many years the keeper of the public-house at the village of Mill Creek. In the same neighborhood lived John and Israel Smiley, the latter afterwards settling on Murray's Run. George Snack lived near the Lane school-house many years, but becoming reduced in circumstances, was taken to the almshouse, from which he wandered a few years ago and perished, being more than ninety years in age.
James Miller, a tailor by trade, and a man of more that ordinary intelligence, lived in the western part of Brady. His sons, Thomas and Joseph, yet reside in the county, and James became a government official, losing his life while on service among the Indians. In the same neighborhood lived Matthew Glasgow, on the farm which was afterwards occupied by Jessie Yocum, the father of Marshall and Lewis Yocum, of Mapleton. Several of the Glasgow daughters married - Mary Jane, Matthew Postelwaite of Henderson, who removed to Illinois; and Eleanor, John McDonald of Mill Creek.
On a place which had been improved by Adam Hall, on Saddler's Creek, lived William Woolverton, and after his death there his wife removed to Missouri. He was a miller by trade, yet carried on a large farm. Nearly all his sons became millers. John H. removed to Indiana. He was the father of William Woolverton of Philadelphia, noted in railway circles. Charles removed to the West; Isaac resides in Juniata County; Washington, Franklin, and William removed to the West.
Lewis Metz, a native of Lancaster County, settled first in Huntingdon and afterwards in Logan township, in the early history of the county, from which place he moved to Ohio. He had two sons, John and Lewis. The latter was a tailor, and died while working at his trade at Johnstown. John was a physician, and settled in Brady on the farm now occupied by Samuel K. Metz, in the upper part of the township, but died on the old Jackson farm, in Logan in 1874, aged eighty-nine years. He was the father of John K. Metz, the proprietor of the "Eagle Mills" of Brady; of Henry K. Metz living on the old Jackson farm in Logan; of Samuel K. Metz living on the homestead in Brady; of Jonathan K. Metz living in the same neighborhood; of Jacob K. Metz who became a physician and after practicing in Standing Stone Valley and Brady, moved to Allenville, Mifflin County where he resides. He is a gradaute of the Jefferson Medical College. His father, Dr. John Metz, was a physician in the county more than sixty years, having a ride which not only embrace all the township of Brady, but extended across the mountains on either side of the valley. He was a highly esteemed and successful practitioner. His daughters married - Maria, Jacob Shaffner of Brady; Elizabeth, John Baum of Dauphin; Frances, George P. Wakefield of Brady, but at present living in Logan Township. The latter is a son of Eli Wakefield, who occupied a place in the valley which had been improved by Christian Detwiler. Other sons were Caleb, Robert and Bennett, yet living in Brady.
In this part of the valley Christian Yoder, a Mennonite, was a pioneer settler. He was a corpulent man, weighing more than two hundred eighty pounds, and from this circumstances was commonly called "Big Christian." He had a son named Christian, who lived in Mifflin County, near the Brady line, moving from there to Ohio. Jacob, another son, lived many years on the Eli Wakefield place, also removing to Ohio, where he was killed by a horse running away. Daniel lived above Roxbury, and was the only son that died in the township. He was the father of John, Christian, Daniel, and Benjamin Yoder. Of the daughters, several married David Hostetter and Jacob Zook of Mifflin County.
The settlements of Christian Detweiler, of Quaker parentage, was much earlier. He located near the Sulphur Springs, on the present J. Bennet Wakefield farm, where he died more than sixty years ago. His son Jacob settled on the Joel Kauffman farm, where he reared sons named David, Jonathan, Jacob, and Benjamin, the former yet living in the township. Christian, the second son, lived near the Mifflin County line, where some of his family yet reside.
John Brown, of Scots-Irish descent, came from Berks County, PA after the Revolution, and settled near the head of the valley. His family at that time consisted of his wife and one child, and the journey was made on horseback, over very rough roads, causing the mother at one time to drop her child, fortunately without injuring the boy. This son was named William, who lived on the homestead until his death in 1850, aged sixty-four years. He was the father of sons named John who died in Brady in 1862; James and Samuel, also deceased; Cyrus, living on a farm adjoining the homestead; and William, living near Hollidaysburg. The daughters of John Brown, Sr. were never married, and the last of his children died in January 1880, aged eighty-nine years. The Livingston family came about the same time as John Brown, and although it owned lands in Brady, the settlement was made in other parts of the county. The Browns were related with them, the Hustons, Robbs, and other pioneer families of Huntingdon.
Jesse Yocum came from Chester County and settled in Henderson about 1812, keeping a public-house at the old Fee stand below Ardenheim Station. This house was destroyed by fire in 1814. In 1813, Yocum became a citizen of Brady, settling in the valley, where he also kept a public-house. He died in that locality a few years ago, more than ninety years of age. Several of his sons yet reside in the neighborhood, where the Oatenkirk, Shoup, and Ross families were also among the early settlers. John Ross, a son of Joseph Ross, is now a citizen of that part of the township.
Some time about 1800, Michael Speck settled on Jack's Mountain, several miles from Mill Creek. Here he planted a peach orchard, containing a large number of trees, some of which are yet in bearing condition. He had a son named Martin, who moved to Juniata Township, where he reared a large family, among them being a son Abraham, now a well-known citizen of Brady. The daughters of Michael Speck married - Margaret, Joseph Robinson; Mary, George Lane; and Eve, Michael Hawn. The latter was a son of John Hawn, who settled near Mill Creek village in 1793, occupying a farm on which was a small barn and a log cabin, erected by an earlier settler. He died September 9, 1805, and most of the family removed to Walker township in 1814, and later to Juniata. Michael Hawn lived in Brady. He was the father of George Hawn, and has brothers living in the township at present. A pioneer neighbor of theirs was Abraham Kurtz, who lived where is now the village of Mill Creek. Christian Stover lived farther up Mill Creek, at one time owning the Pridmore Mills, and after him came Matthew Wilson, who carried on the mills a number of years, and reared sons named John, Benjamin, Matthew, and William Wilson. A daughter became the wife of Leonard G. Kessler, who now lives at Philipsburg, Center County. Above Jack's Narrows lived Peter Igo, one of the earliest of Brady's citizens, dying in that locality, as did also his son Daniel.
Among the citizens of a later period may be classed William Lightner, who was a soldier in the War of 1812. He was born in Berks County in 1796, and was but sixteen years of age when he enlisted. He came to Brady in 1820, and has since resided there, both he and his wife being among the oldest inhabitants. The Goodman family came from the same county about the same period, and some of its members became actively indentified with the milling interests of the township. Jacob Goodman died in the Kishacoquillas Valley. He was the father of John Goodman of Roxbury, and of Dr. Edward Goodman of Altoona.
As early as 1780, James Kelley settled on the Stackhouse farm in Brady, coming from Maryland. He died on that farm, but his sons and their families removed to the West. Stephen Kelley, a half-brother of James, settled on Pike Run, in Henderson township. The names of other pioneers appear in the assessment of Huntingdon township in 1788 and 1802, and of Henderson in 1820.
Mordecai Gosnell commenced an improvement on the tract of land that included the mouth of Mill Creek in the spring of 1766, and was residing there when the official survey was made on the 20th of June of that year. This family name is often incorrectly pronounced Goslin. The stream now known as Mill Creek was designated by the early residents as Goslin Run. The branch that issues from Kishacoquillas Valley was often called Beaver Creek. It was so known as early as 1774. After Joseph Pridmore had built his grist-mill, which stood near the site of the furnace, the main stream was known as Pridmore's Mill Creek, and when Caleb Armitage became proprietor the name was changed to Armitage's Mill Creek.
John Haun, of Juniata township, mentioned above, in a conversation with the writer August 7, 1871, detailed his early experiences in Brady. From his statement the following facts are noted: The Haun family, consisting of the father John, Juliana, his wife, Jacob, a son born October 22, 1789, and John (the narrator), second son born August 3, 1791, moved in a wagon from Codorus township, York County in 1793, and settled on the Mill Creek farm owned by John Wartz. The dwelling house was within Pridmore's fort; the stumps of the stockades were yet visible, and some of the block-houses remained; one of them was used to shelter the "shaving-horse." This fort included the ground on which Norris' hotel now stands.
Wartz lived in the house that stood below the lower end of the village. He knew Joseph Eaton, the surveyor, who was a tall man; his wife's name was Bathsheba, and his step-mother (wife of David Eaton) was called "Betty" whence the name of "Betty Eaton's Spring" applied to the stream that issues from Rocky Ridge near where the family lived. He was under the impression her maiden name was Razor. David Eaton was the first man buried at Mill Creek.
John Cadwallander of Huntingdon, who then owned "Sugar Grove" had a saw-mill erected on Mill Creek between the turnpike and the river. A man named Smith was the millwright, adn was assisted by Benjamin Armitage. The mill was leased and run by Andrew Chambers.
The contemporaneous settlers of the township were Caleb Armitage, James Kelley, who lived on Flush Run, Peter Vandevander, Jacob Hare, on the Plowman farm, who afterwards moved to Ohio, James Hampson, and Charles Kelley and Samuel Lane, up the creek; John and James Williamson, John Dorland, Stephen Kelley, Captain John Fee, at the "Burnt House"; Jesse Adams and William Grady lived in Henderson.
Brady became a separate civil body in compliance with the following report:
To the Honorable A. S. Wilson, Esq., president, and his associates, judges of the Court of General Quarter Sessions of the Peace at August Term, 1844;
"We, the undersigned, commissioners appointed by the order of the court to inquire into the propriety of granting the prayer of the petitioners therein set forth, having met and after being duly sworn or affirmed faithfully and impartially to perform the duties of our several appointments, do report that in pursuance of said order we went upon the ground in said township of Henderson, and having a county map before us, taking into consideration the great extent of the said township, and how inconvenient it is for citizens of said township to meet at any one place to hold their annual election, and to do other business of the township, and likewise the arduous taks it must be for an assessor to travel all over the present township of Henderson to assess it as should be done, or for the collector of the County, State, and other taxes necessary to be collected, it would seem a hard task for any man to perform. These, together with the inconvenience attending upon such a large township, induces us to be of the opinion that the prayer of the petitioners should be granted, and that the said township should be divided, and so far as our power extends we have carried it into effect; that is, we have made a division of said township, and for said division we began on the bank of the Juniata, at a beech tree a short distance southwest of James Stevens' tavern; thence along the hill north fifteen degrees east, in all seventeen hundred and fifty perches to a post on the line of West township, a short distance south of John Postlewaite's house, the division line as actually run being marked on the draft, a copy of which is hereunto annexed."
Witness our hands 13th May 1844.
"And now, to wit, 25th April 1846, the Court confirm the report of the commissioners, and order that the new township be called Brady, in honor of General Hugh Brady, of the United States Army."
The water-power of Mill Creek was utilized before the war of the Revolution to operate a small grist-mill for Joseph Pridmore. It stood near where is now Mill Creek Furnace, and was probably not kept up more than a few years. Christian Stover next made some improvements, whereby the water-power on the same stream below was made to operate grist- and saw-mills, which were listed as his property as early as the ogranization of the county. The house he occupied stood near what is yet called Stover's Spring, above Mill Creek school-house. Matthew Wilson was a later owner of the property, and from him it passed into the hands of the furnace company about 1838. The present mill has been repaired several times, but remains in essentials as built by Wilson eighty years ago. It is now owned and operated by the Green family.
A mile above, Adam Hall had grist- and saw-mills about 1804, and about eight years later began to build a stone grist-mill, but before it was completed died, and the mill was finished by William Woolverton. After being operated by him and others for several score years it was allowed to go to decay, and nothing now remains there but the ruins of the stone walls. For a number of years other small interests were there carried on.
Less than a mile from this point, up Saddler's Creek, were a carding-machine and fulling-mill, owned by John Piper and operated by James Porter when James Lane purchased the property in 1843. The latter put in machinery for grinding corn, built a plaster-mill, and several years later a very good grist-mill, the millwright work on the latter being done by Samuel Goodman and his sons. When it first was set in operation it had no superior in the county and enjoyed a large patronage. In 1865, the property passed into the hands of George Eby, who repaired the mill and added another run of stones, making four in all, capacitating it to grind two hundred bushels per day. Since 1869 the mills have been owned and operated by John K. Metz, and are designated as the "Eagle Mills." The building is a frame, three stories high, and located so as to afford easy access to its patrons.
On the same stream James and John McDonald had a saw-mill and distillery, which later became the property of Jacob Goodman. The latter has long since been discontinued, but the former is yet operating to a limited extent. Above that point, on the same stream of water, small lumber-mills were formerly carried on. McDonald subsequently distilled liquor in the southern part of the township below Jackstown for G. W. Thompson and others. In other localities a number of small distilleries were carried on sixty years ago.
On Mill Creek the Lane family had a pioneer saw-mill, and there Amos Smucker has at present mills for the manufacture of lumber, which are operated by water- and steam-power. Above that point the Hampson family had a saw-mill, and yet farther above is a mill owned by Levi Decker, while in Henderson, on the same stream, John G. Miles had a small water-powered saw-mill, whose usefulness has passed away.
Above the furnace mill, Kessler & Brother put up a mill in 1850 for the purpose of grinding the leaves of the sumach bush and triturating it to a fine powder. It was successfully operated until 1868, since which time the mill has been idle, although the machinery remains in the building. The leaves crushed were gathered in the surrounding country in the months of June, July, and August, and after being shade-cured were purchased at the rate of one dollar per hundredweight. The ground material was sold chiefly in Philadelphia, and used for the purpose of coloring morocco leather.
Mill Creek Furnace was built in 1838, above the old Wilson Mills, by Dr. Jonathan H. Dorsey and General S. Miles Green, proprietors of the Barree Forge. It contained one stack with a thirty-two foot base, had two tuyeres, and was supplied with steam and water blast, ther former being seldom used. The site was selected on account of the water privileges, on the line of the canal, and the abundance of wood, which could be used for charcoaling. The ore was chiefly brought from Franklin township by canal and later by railroad, although a quantity of the fossil ores found in Brady were combined with them, producing a metal which had a most excellent reputation among manufacturers, and which was used to a large extent to produce imitation Russia sheet iron. John Patton was the first manager, and was succeeded by James Wilson. After the failure of the firm in 1842 the furnace became the property of General James Irwin and Joseph Green of Centre County, and John McCahan of Huntingdon, who had Alexander Campbell as manager. In the course of a year McCahan retired, and his place in the firm was taken for two years by Kessler & Co., Leonard Kessler being the manager at Mill Creek and Peter F. Kessler at the ore mines near Spruce Creek; John C. Watson serving as clerk, but afterwards becoming the manager. This firm carried on operations until 1857, when the remaining stock was placed in the hands of trustees and the business closed up in March 1858. E A. Green & Co. again put the furnace in blast in 1863, but after six years' operation blew out, and the furnace has since been idle. When fully operated about one hundred and tweny men were employed, and the location of the furnace in Brady caused more than forty houses to be built to accommodate the employees, and made the site of the furnaces the scene of great activity. The metal was nearly all taken to Barree Forge, where it was wrought into blooms, which were shipped to all parts of the country, adding greatly to the excellent reputation of Juniata iron. The furnace property in Brady embraces about three thousand acres of land (on which are found two veins of fossil ore, having an average thickness of eighteen inches, and of a quality yielding thirty-three percent of metal), a number of houses, and several mills.
Since the furnace has ceased to operate the principal industry of the township has been quarrying and crushing of sandstone for the manufacture of glass. The enterprise was begun in 1854 by Ulrey, King & Co. who shipped the crude stone to Pittsburgh, where, after being reduced, the sand was found to be of a superior quality. Experiments were then made by Mr. King of Pittsburgh, and Elliott Robley and D.H. Foster of Brady, with a view to crush the stone at the quarry. A machine was finally devised to be operated by steam power, which was successfully set in operation in 1857. Since that time other improvements have been made which enable the production of large quantities of sand annually, the principal process being stamping and grinding. By the former method the stone is reduced to a sandy condition, screened, and shipped in a dry state. When the chaser-mill is used the sand is shipped wet, the process requiring the use of water in grinding. The mill in use by A.P. Burnham at his quarry since 1879 consisted of a large pan of iron, in which revolve two rollers, weighing more that a ton each, thoroughly crushing the rock, which is shoveled into the pan of the size of nuggets. Water is constantly added, and the crushed matter is run upon a revolving sieve, which throws off the coarser particles, while the clean sand is taken up by the water on the inside, thoroughly washed, and thence passed into a receptacle for shipment. Mr. Burnham employs from fifteen to twenty men. Two other quarries in Brady were successfully worked in 1881, that of the "Juniata Sand Company" half a mile below Mill Creek, which employs fifteen men under the management of Thomas Logan; and B.R. Foust's, at the old Elliott Robley quarry, which has been under the present management since 1875, and which employs twenty men. A fourth quarry was opened by John McCombe a few years ago, which employed eight men, but which has not been in operation for some time past. The aggregate shipments amount to about two hundred car-loads of sand per month. Near Standing Stone Mountain, where the above quarries are, is a large deposit of fire-clay, which is controlled by A.P. Burnham, on a lease from the owners of the land. Practical tests have demonstrated it to be absolutely fire-proof, its equal not being found in this country. It has not been successfully used for pottery purposes. A limited quantity of clay is being shipped each week.
The hamlet of ROXBURY is in the upper part of the Kishacoquillas Valley, about five miles from Mill Creek. It consists simply of a few houses along the public highway, and was never regularly laid out, having its beginning from the sale of a few lots to mechanics from teh lands of Paul Orlady and others. The post-office here maintained bears the name Airy Dale, and was established with Robert K. Allison as postmaster. Subsequently the duties of the office were discharged by George D. Metz, John Goodman, and William J. Wagner, the latter being the present postmaster. The mail service is from Mill Creek several times per week.
About 1850, Samuel Secrist opened a store at Roxbury, and was a merchant there about ten years, when he removed to Allenville. The next in trade in that neighborhood was George D. Metz, who was merchandised a number of years, and is yet in trade. More recently Jonathan K. Metz opened a store which he is yet carrying on. Bartlett Ely has for many years had a blacksmith shop, and William and Robert Gregory are the carpenters. Robert K. Allison began a tannery at Roxbury about forty years ago, which after his death was continued some time by his son, J. G. Allison, but for the past few years has been idle. It had but a small capacity, but produced good work.
MILL CREEK is a village to two hundred and eighty-eight inhabitants, situated at the mouth of Mill Creek and on both sides of that stream. The original plot of the village embraced ten lots, sixty-six by hone hundred and fifty-four feet, on the north side of the turnpike leading from Huntingdon to Lewistown. It was laid out October 12, 1846, by James Simpson, for David Zook & Co., on part of a larger tract of land surveyed June 14, 1786, in pursuance of a warrant granted to Joseph Pridmore March 11, 1786. Additional lots were sold adjoining these and the other side of the turnpike, but no other plan appears to have been recorded. The location of the village on the canal and the Pennsylvania Railroad made it favorable for a business point, and the place has an active trade from the townships of Henderson, Union, and the Kishacoquillas Valley. Mill Creek Station is about five miles below Huntingdon, and the depot building is spacious and well arranged, while all the surroundings are neatly kept since the spring of 1880. A. M. Menold has been the agent, and this position had been filled for more than ten years previously by A. P. Burnham. Telegraphic and telephone priveleges are supplied.
The village of Mill Creek at present has a large school building, Methodist and Baptist Churches, three stores, a hotel, and a number of mechanics shops.
One of the first stores in this locality was kept at Wilson's Mills, by David Snively, as early as 1828; and soon after Milliken & Thompson sold goods in part of the "Old Red House" moving from there to the center of the present village of Mill Creek, occupying a building which they had erected for business purposes on the lot where now is the store of Foust & Son. They occupied the room before the canal was finished, and had at once a good trade. Subsequently the McGees sold goods, and in 1840, J. & J. Milliken. In 1845 the merchants were Millikens & Kessler, and later Leonard G. Kessler alone. Subsequently the firm became Kessler & Brother. In 1856, George Eby was Kessler & Brother's successor, and nine years later was succeeded by Adam Hershberger. In 1866 the merchants were Etnier & Foust, who were followed in 1874 by B. R. Foust, the senior member of B. R. Foust & Son, who have been extensively engaged in trade at that stand since July 1877. In the upper part of the village small stores were kept as early as 1865 by John Thomas and others, and the building is now occupied by a co-operative store opened in January 1881, of which J. G. Allison is the manager, the store being in charge of D. Etnier. Near by is a store which has been carried on the past four years by A. P. Burnham, in which is kept Mill Creek post office, of which Mr. Burnham has been postmaster since May 1880. His predecessors in the order named have been Jane E. Mehaffy, S. A. Hughes, Perry O. Etchinson, Isaac Woolverton, John G. Stewart, George Eby, Lloyd Meredith, Leonard G. Kessler, and William G. Wagoner. The office has daily mails from points east and west, in addition to an extra daily mail from Huntingdon, and is the distributing office for the Cassville region and the Kishacoquillas Valley.
Store have been kept at West Mill Creek, in addition to the one named as having been in the "Red House" by Washington Buchanan and Jesse Diffenbach. At the furnace small stores ahve usually been kept by the proprietors of the works, and at Jack's Narrows, near the old tavern stand. Washington Buchanan was in trade a short time. The tavern was long kept by Andrew Wise, and enjoyed the distinction of being a local shopping-point in canal and turnpike times, where packet and stage-horses were changed. The predecessors of Wise were John Houck and Thomas Wallace. The house was of stone, and nothing but its walls remain to indicate the site.
Near Mill Creek public-houses have been kept by Samuel Hampson, Edward and Richard Plowman, James Stevens, William Buchanan, Samuel G. Simpson, and James Kerr, the house at West Mill Creek being destroyed by fire while owned by the latter. In the village proper, among the keepers of the public-houses have been James McDonald, the Widow Hampson, Adam Hall, James K. Hampson, James Thompson, Valentine Crouse, Robert Kyle, John G. Stewart, Thomas McGarvey, and Harry Z. Metcalf until 1879. The hotel is pleasantly located, and is a spacious brick building.
Among the mechanic shops at Mill Creek were the smith of Frank Haller, opened in 1851, and continued by him until his death in 1880. After 1865 another smith-shop was opened by Adam Warfel, which has been occupied for a number of years pas by Isaac Gorsuch, being the only shop on the east side. On the west side the Simpsons put up a shop, in which Aquilla Long carried on that trade until his death, when Charles Fultz became the blacksmith, and yet continues. Near by Samuel Goodman has a wagon-maker's shop. Others who have been mechanics at Mill Creek have been William Hall, Philip Haller, James Stell, Don Civils, Martin Haller, Robert Fritz, George Berkstresser, Joseph Cornelius, and Peter Smith. The latter was the only gunsmith that ever opened a shop to carry on that trade at Mill Creek.
The first physician at Mill Creek was a Dr. Chestnutwood, who came about 1846 and remained a few years. He was accounted a good physician. His successor was Dr. J. M. Haggerty, whose stay here was also limited to a few years, removing thence to the West.
The third practitioner was Dr. G. W. Thompson, who removed from this place to Mt. Union. His successor was a young man named Dr. J. A. Kerr, who died at Mill Creek in 1868. Dr. I. J. Meals located here about 1869, and at the time of his death, in June 1874, had a good practice, being regarded a successful physician. He was a native of Adams County, PA and but thirty-three years of age at the time of his death.
Dr. Samuel L. McCarthy is a native of Brady. He was born in 1844, and is a son of John R. McCarthy, for many years a teacher at Roxbury. He was educated in the common schools, and graduated at the Jefferson Medical College in 1870, beginning the practice of medicine at Mill Creek the same year, and continuing to the present.
Dr. George W. Simpson, a contemporary physician at Mill Creek, is also a native of Brady, and born in 1844. He received his education in the common schools and at Kishacoquillas Seminary, read medicine with Dr. S. L. McCarthy, graduated from Jefferson in 1876, and has since been a practitioner at Mill Creek.
The pioneer schoolhouse at Mill Creek stood near the spot where are now the churches. It was a small log building, if anything, ruder than the cabins of the patrons of the school. It was, nevertheless, kept comfortable from the cold of winter, as there was an unlimited supply of wood close at hand. The school was attended by the Kelley, Wilson, Igo, Woolverton, Robinson, Armitage, and Lambert children, and among the teachers were men named Starr, Enyeart, and McCullough. The school at Roxbury, since the free school has prevailed, has always ranked superior to the ordinary country school, and is noted for the number of teachers and professional men it produced. Amond the teachers were Jacob Kryder, Henry McCarthy, and John R. McCarthy, the latter two teaching many years. A well-known teacher of a recent period is John Goodman. Among those who were pupils of the Roxbury school who have become teachers were Samuel, Jacob, Rebecca, and Edward Goodman, the latter being at present a physician in Altoona; John, Nancy, Rebecca, Martha Jane, Cyrus S., and William Brown; John McCarthy; James, Scott, William, Samuel, Virgil, Willard, and Miles McCarthy; Henry McCarthy a physician at Petersburg; Samuel McCarthy a physician at Mill Creek; Alvin R. McCarthy a physician at Mt. Union; James Hinua, Jennie Weston; E. R. Wagner, M. L. Shaffner, and M. R. Shaffner.
In 1846 three months' school per year were maintained, in which were employed three male teachers at ten dollars per month. The number of male pupils was seventy-five; of female, thirty; and thirty pupils were reported as studying German. The total cost for instruction was one hundred and eight dollars, or thirty-nine cents per pupil for each month of school. No report of the value of school building appears. The township has made commendable progress in school buildings, in which six schools are taught. These houses have an average value of one thousand dollars, and were erected as follows: The Concord building, on the Eli Wakefield place, in 1859, of brick, twenty-four by thirty feet; The Roxbury House, of same material and size, built in 1863; The Mill Creek Edifice, of brick, twenty-eight by thirty-six feet, and two stories high, built in 1870, at a cost of two thousand five hundred dollars; The Lane House, a frame, twenty-two by twenty-eight feet, built in 1878; The Centre Building, erected of wood in 1880, the size of the house being twenty-four by thirty feet. All the buildings are supplied with seats of the Rankin pattern, and have good wall boards and other requisites.
The schools were maintained five months per year, and were in charge of five male and one female teachers, whose average salary was $24.75 per month. The male pupils number one hundred and thirty; the females, one hundred and twenty-two; and the average attendance was one hundred and thirty-five. The total amount levied for all purposes was $1,126.86.
In 1840 the Methodist class at Mill Creek was under the leadership of Jacob Isenberg, and among its members were Leonard G. Kessler and wife, Mrs. Spielman, Mrs. Buchanan, William Pryor and wife, John Ritter, and a few others, numbering about twelve in all. These enjoyed preaching at stated periods, belonging to a widely-extended circuit. The services were usually held in the school-house, but with the increase of membership measures were taken to build an appropriate house of worship. But this purpose could not be accomplished until 1852, when the church edifice which is yet used at Mill Creek was erected. It is a plain brick house, capacitated to seat three hundred persons, and has lately been placed in good repair. The builders of the church were Jesse Meredith and Matthew Gill, the brick being furnished by Leonard G. Kessler. George Hawn and Philip Haller were among the workmen. The graveyard on the same lot is somewhat neglected. The trustees of the church in 1881 were S. A. Anderson, S. A. Hughes, Anderson Cozens, Samuel Prough, and B. R. Foust.
Until 1875 Mill Creek was served in connection with Mount Union and Mapleton as a circuit, but at the date given was connected with West Huntingdon in forming a new charge. The ministers since that period have been: 1875, Rev. J. S. McMurray; 1876-1877, Rev. J. R. Eckert; 1878-1879, Rev. Fred. Rogerson; 1880, Rev. William H. Dill; 1881, Rev. C. V. Hartzell.
The church has about sixty members, forming a class, led by Anderson Cozzens. A Sabbath-school has been maintained the past fifteen years, having at present a membership of one hundred, and S. B. Hughes for superintendent.
Some of the earliest settlers of the township were adherents to the Lutheran Church, having their membership at other points. Later a small congregration was formed in Brady, which had among its members John Piper and wife, John Wolfkill and wife, Michael Hawn and wife, Joseph Camp and wife, and later, Franklin and Margaret Wolfkill, George Hawn, and Amos Smucker. The ministerial service for many years was in connection with Belleville, and of late with Lick Ridge and McAlevy's Fort, the present minister being the Rev. S. Croft, whose pastorate began July 1, 1881. The congregration in 1881 had some seventy members, and the following church council: Abraham Speck and Amos Smucker, elders; Frank Wolfkill and J. G. Corbin, deacons. The services are held in the old Mill Creek Baptist Church, to which the congregration obtained a right by lease in 1858. It has since been repaired and made more inviting. The cemetery in connection is the oldest in the township, and one of the first persons interred there was Adam Hall. His remains were carried to the yard by an ox-team driven by Jacob Hawn.
The Sunday school, which was formerly held in this house, has been transferred to the Lane School-house, and has Isaac Bagshaw for superintendent.