History of Butler County Pennsylvania, 1895x32

History of Butler County Pennsylvania, 1895

Adams Township, Chapter 32

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Transcribed by: Dolores Carlson. For an explanation and caution about this transcription, please read this page.
Link to a sketch of Adams Township from the Atlas of Butler County, G.M. Hopkins & Co., 1874.

Surnames in this chapter are:




[p. 440]

ADAMS township, named in honor of John Quincy ADAMS, the sixth president of the United States, was organized in 1854, its territory being taken from Cranberry and Middlesex townships. It is drained by Breakneck creek, Little Breakneck and Glade run. They flow through broad, fertile valleys, and serve to diversify as well as beautify the scenery of the township. Along the Breakneck, near the Forward township line, a four to six-inch layer [p. 441] of cannel coal is found, resting on about two feet of the Upper Freeport coal. Both deposits were mined by George MARBURGER; while on the hill above, fully seventy feet over the cannel, DUNBAR opened a bank in eighteen inches of what is locally called the Brush creek coal. The DAVIDSON and HAYS banks above this, show the Upper Freeport on each side of the river in veins fourteen to twenty inches thick. In 1876 coal was discovered on the PARK farm. The green, crinoidal limestone found on a few of the higher summits, as on the STOUP and HILL farms, has seldom, if ever, been utilized for lime or building purposes. The red shale banding other summits is simply an ornament of nature. This township escaped the enterprise of the oil man for many years; but his industry has at last gained him a foothold and created a new and prosperous section of the Butler oil field.


The first settler of this township was James GLOVER, born in New Jersey, in 1753, a soldier of the Revolution, and a pioneer of Pittsburg. During his hunting expeditions, he found, in what is now Adams township, a deer lick, and near it, in 1792, he built a hunter's cabin. In 1795 he made a clearing, and the following year claimed a tract of 400 acres round it. In 1796 he abandoned the cabin to take possession of a log-house, which he had erected that year, and there resided until his death, in 1844. Prior to the building of the log house, James IRVINE, who came from Ireland in 1770, to Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, and thence to Butler county, erected a large house of round logs, in the center of his claim of one hundred acres, where he died in 1830. He was one of the pioneer teachers of the county. About that time, William McCANDLESS, the tailor; William McCANDLESS, the distiller, and Robert McCANDLESS appeared upon the scene. Adam JOHNSON, who died at the age of 103 years, in 1827, came about 1796, accompanied by his son, also named Adam, with Joshua and George STOOLFIRE, Moses MEEKER, who did not stay, Timothy WARD, a teacher, who moved to Ohio, and David SPEAR.

In 1798 William CRISWELL, a native of Ireland, came into the township, as did William ROSEBORO, James and Matthew PARK, Silas MILLER, Isaac COVERT, Joseph and Thomas MEANS and one or more of the GILLILANDs, John GILLILAND being born here, November 25, 1798. The DAVIDSONs were also among the pioneers, as prior to 1803; James, Sr., James, Jr., and Peggy had 800 acres of land, with horses and cows. John RICHARDSON and William FORSYTHE came about the close of the century; Andrew BARR with wife and three children came in 1813 and settled on the old ROSEBORO farm, which the original owner called Edenderry. Thomas KENNEDY located here about the same time. Robert McKINNEY came in 1816, and established a distillery in 1819; Job STAPLES, a farmer, preacher and school-teacher, moved in from the Brush creek country, and the COVERTs, PLUMMERs, ORRs, McMARLINs, KENNEDYs, CASHDOLLARs, KIDDs, MARSHALLs, WALTERS, COOPERs and HALLs followed the pioneers and cleared the glades.

The township has never departed from its attachments to agriculture, and hence the record of manufacturing industries is confined to Robert McKINNEY's distillery, established in 1819, and Samuel ROSEBORO's grist mill, near Mars, built in 1883, near the site of Matthew PARK's old mill.

[p. 442] The population in 1860, was 866; in 1870, 973; in 1880, 1,156, and in 1890, 1,817. The last number has been increased, owing to the rapid development of the oil field and general progress of the township. The total assessed value of property in 1894 was $415, 840; the county tax $1,663.30, and the State tax $415.28.


Though the first log house for school purposes was not erected until 1805, the children of the pioneers of Adams township were not left without instruction, for a wandering teacher or some resident capable of teaching reading, writing and arithmetic, would convene a class and preside over it. After 1805, such teachers as Timothy WARD, Matthew WRIGHT and later Job STAPLES of Cranberry taught in this township and prepared the way for the common schools. The first building erected for common school purposes, was that in which Robert HILL taught, in the McMARLIN-CRISWELL neighborhood, on or near the old DAVIS farm. Near the present village of Callery, a log house was built in 1837. Samuel HOOD taught a school, in what is now Adams township, about forty-six years ago, in the untenated house of Reuben CONABY, just south of the ROBBINS mill. It was the first school in that neighborhood. HOOD, with Joseph and Robert COWAN and, it is said, one or two of the DOUTHETTs, as well as John IRVINE and Silas MILLER, were among the first teachers of the public schools. In 1894 there were 230 male and 209 female children of school age reported; the school revenue was $5,558.05 and the number of schools, ten.

The justices of the peace, elected in Adams township, since its organization in 1854, are named as follows: William REA, 1854-59 and '64; John S. DOUTHETT, 1857-59; Francis H. DAVIDSON, 1864; Samuel MARSHALL, 1865-70; Benjamin DOUTHETT, 1869; Jacob HUTCHMAN, 1872-77-82; James BARR, 1874-79; Thomas M. MARSHALL, 1884; Joseph CASHDOLLAR, 1885; D. B. WILSON, 1887; T. W. KENNEDY, 1890; John SHANNON, 1894, and W. J. GILLILAND, appointed in July, 1894, vice KENNEDY, deceased.


The United Presbyterian Church of Adams township, known as the "Union church," was organized in 1806 near Brownsdale, as related in the history of Forward township. In 1820 the place of meeting was changed to the point near the present house of worship, and the tent was carried thither. In 1824 the society purchased two acres from Robert McKINNEY, and in 1825 erected a log building in which Rev. Matthew WILLIAMS preached until 1826, when Rev. T. C. GUTHRIE, a licentiate of the Pittsburg Reformed Presbytery was installed pastor of Union and Pine Creek churches, with William CRISWELL, of Glade Run Associate church, and David SPEAR of the Pine Creek Reformed Presbyterian church, additional elders. When the division took place the followers of the "New School" section of Union church, held the property.

In 1839 the log house was abandoned, the "Old School" party purchasing an adjoining lot and erecting a brick building on it, in which they afterward worshipped. In 1835 the "Old Schools" had called Rev. Hugh WALKINSHAW as pastor, who served them until April, 1843, when he resigned. In the following [p. 443] June he was succeeded by Rev. John GALBRAITH, who remained until 1872, when he accepted a call for his entire time from North Union church. Mr. GALBRAITH was born in Donegal county, Ireland, April 6, 1818. He came to the United States in 1832, graduated from the Western University at Pittsburg in 1838, from the Reformed Theological Seminary of Allegheny City in 1842, was ordained in 1843, and took charge of the Union church of Adams township the same year.

On May 17, 1876, Rev. A. KILPATRICK was installed pastor of Union and Pine Creek churches. In 1877 the congregation of Union removed their church to Mars, two miles south of the old place.

The "New School" Presbyterians date their church building back to 1839. The "Old School" Presbyterians having led the way in church building, the "New School" people purchased a lot about one mile northwest of the "Old School" building, and erected a large brick house, which now carries the name, "Union Church, 1839," on a stone inserted in the gable. In 1840 an election of elders resulted in the choice of John McGEORGE, Samuel BOYD, John WALDRON and David GILLILAND. About that time Rev. T. C. GUTHRIE resigned the charge, and the pulpit was supplied at intervals until 1851, when Rev. Andrew WALKER was installed pastor of this and the Mount Pleasant church, as formed in 1850. In 1854 his pastorate with these organizations ceased. The elders chosen in 1855 were David DICKEY, William ANDERSON, Joseph DOUTHETT and Jacob STOUP. With the exception of 1857 and 1858, when Rev. GUTHRIE was stated supply, the pulpit was vacant until after the society merged into the United Presbyterian church. The members from the Brownsdale neighborhood withdrew in 1859 to attach themselves to a new organization there, and in June, 1859, the remnant of the Union congregation became allied with the United Presbyterians. The elders elected in January, 1860, were Joseph JOHNSTON, Joshua DAVIDSON and Jacob HUTCHMAN. About that time the application for transfer to the Butler Presbytery was acquiesced in by the Allegheny Presbytery. Union and Brownsdale churches agreed to unite in one charge, and in the summer of 1861 extended a call to Rev. R. M. PATTERSON, who was installed as pastor November 11, 1861. John DONALDSON, an elder of the Evans City society, was installed an elder here in 1864; John S. DOUTHETT and John MARTIN were elected elders in 1867, and Alexander HUNTER, an elder of the Middlesex Presbyterian church, in 1875. In 1864 the Union and Brownsdale societies dissolved connection, and Mr. PATTERSON was allowed to devote his whole time to the Old Union church until appointed by the Freedmen Missions' board school teacher at Knoxville. The society was incorporated June 14, 1866, with Jacob HUTCHMAN, Francis H. DAVIDSON and Samuel ORR trustees. In 1871 Rev. R. G. YOUNG was called by Union and Brownsdale. He accepted the call and remained until 1875. In 1880 the two churches joined in a call to Rev. R. P. McCLESTER, who was installed June 15 of that year. May 3, 1881, J.J. SMITH, a ruling elder of the United Presbyterian church of Buena Vista, was installed an elder here, and on October 14, 1886, William A. SLOAN and James W. PARK were elected elders. On June 9, 1890, Mr. McCLISTER resigned, since which time the pulpit has been vacant. The session is made up of John MARTIN, J. J. SMITH, William A. SLOAN and Jacob [p. 444] HUTCHMAN. The last named has been clerk of the session for many years. The number of members in 1894 was 144.

Crest View Presbyterian Church was organized in 1890, letters being granted August 10, of that year, by the session of Plains church to the following named members: John STAPLES, Mandana STAPLES, Nancy STAPLES, Susan STAPLES, Maud STAPLES, William STAPLES and Seth P. STAPLES; Joseph, Maria, Fleming, Margaret, Ida, Mary, Andrew and Annie L. WEST; Nicoll and Nancy ALLEN; Annas and Mary METZ; Elizabeth, Alfred, Annie and Sarah RICHARDSON; Joseph and Jane DAVIS; John VANDIVORT, and Tillie GOEHRING. The petition, bearing the above signatures was presented by Rev. R. C. YATES, and granted. The society was incorporated February 15, 1892, with Nicoll ALLEN, F. C. McNEAL and Alfred RICHARDSON, trustees.

The United Presbyterian Church of Mars, the early history of which is related in that of Union church, was incorporated May 16, 1893, on petition of Dr. John C. BARR, T. M. MARSHALL, John DAVIDSON, John A. CRISWELL and Presley DUNCAN. On January 20, 1894, the new church building was completed at a cost of about $4,000.

The Methodist Episcopal Church of Mars was organized with eight members, Joseph BORLAND, one of the most zealous friends of the society, being one of them. The church building followed organization. Rev. Mr. HUNTER is now the preacher in charge.

The Evangelical Association is a recent addition to the churches of this township. They have a church building, and fair sized congregation.


Mars, formerly Overbrook postoffice, is a stirring hamlet, the center of a promising oil field. In 1875 Samuel PARK, the miller, was appointed postmaster at Overbrook. When the Pittsburg and New Castle Narrow Guage railroad was completed to that point, Frank JOHNSTON built a small store, which he sold in 1877-78 to W. H. WALTERS and W. J. GILLILAND. Two years later they sold to J. B. DICKEY, when GILLILAND erected a larger building west of the railroad for mercantile purposes, which DICKEY also purchased. Oliver PINKERTON commenced building the third store, when the report that the depot would be moved to Little Breakneck stopped the enterprise, and caused DICKEY to sell his building to W. H. WALTERS, who carried on business for a year, when Samuel and Andrew THOMPSON became the owners. Then W. J. GILLILAND purchased five acres of the S. A. KENNEDY tract and erected a building, now occupied by Thomas MARSHALL. In the fall of 1883 W. J. GILLILAND and D. G. MARSHALL erected the store and depot, where they carried on business until 1884, the railroad office being removed from the THOMPSON location. D. B. WILSON, who came from Hendersonville, built a house, which he traded for the Samuel THOMPSON store. Later he built a second house near the depot. F. P. CONFER erected a blacksmith shop and dwelling. The shop he sold one year after to John CONLEY and the dwelling to John DAVIS. Samuel ZIEGLER followed CONLEY as blacksmith. Mrs. CRANEY, J. W. DAVIDSON, Joseph DAVIDSON, Samuel CROWE, J. E. BROWN, Al. SHOOK, Margaret BARR, Benjamin DOUTHETT, Brice OWENS, S. J. MARSHALL, Andrew BARR, G. H. [p. 445] McCAW, John MAGEE, W. J. LINK, Joseph BORLAND, and the Methodist Episcopal and United Presbyterian societies, were the builders of the village next to the pioneers named.

The postmasters, in order of service, were Samuel PARK, W. H. WALTERS, J. B. DICKEY, J. F. SHANNON, Samuel THOMPSON, Thomas MARSHALL, D. B. WILSON, J. E. BOGGS, and the present incumbent--T. M. MARSHALL. In November, 1882, the postal authorities changed the name to Mars. The fire of September 18, 1892, originated in the William BOWSER building and destroyed that, with the houses owned by J. B. CONLIN, W. J. GILLILAND and J. D. MARSHALL. The merchants of the village are Dr. J. C. BARR, drugs; W. D. BOYD, lumber; J. E. GRAHAM, general stock; IRVINE Brothers, furniture; JORDAN & Company, general stock; W. J. LINK, coal; J. D. MARSHALL, general stock; and T. H. MILES, restaurant. The estimated population of the village in 1894 was 350, showing a remarkable advance since 1890.

Valencia, a hamlet near the south line of the township, was surveyed for Dr. S. O. STERRETT and named by him. It contains at present the general stores of J. A. & W. F. ANDERSON, A. L. COOPER and Dr. S. O. STERRETT, and the agricultural implement store and coal yards of J. C. BARR.

Myoma is a small village, unpretentious in its buildings, but yet the center of a rich agricultural section. The mercantile houses of H. H. BERRINGER and C. B. IRVINE, who took the place of J. C. DAVIDSON; W. W. WILSON's blacksmith shop; Rev. Mr. SHIMP's church and the school-house, with a number of dwelling houses, constitute the village. The postoffice is administered by Mr. BERRINGER.

Downeyville is the name given to a hamlet in this township, near the Allegheny county line.

Callery, at the junction of the Butler branch and Pittsburg and Western railroads, was named in honor of the president of the railroad company and dedicated as a railroad town. A postoffice was established in 1880, with A. M. BEERS as postmaster. His wife, Emma J. BEERS, succeeded him, and then came John F. SHANNON in 1888, whose successor, J. M. LITTLE, was appointed July 10, 1894. Before the close of March, 1883, William GILLILAND sold several lots at Callery, among the buyers being P. H. MURRAY, Alexander BLAIR, A. M. BEERS, T. M. MARSHALL and F. C. MEEDER, who erected buildings there in April, even before the railroad depot was completed. The MEEDER House was opened in July and the beginning of the village really made. The fire of October 29, 1892, destroyed the dwellings of L. GODDARD, B. BEERS, J. CASHDOLLAR, Mrs. HARKLESS, A. FOOTZ and T. KANE; the hotels of W. H. WHITE, H. MATERS and Van BOISE; the stores of James LITTLE and W. SHANNON; MURRAY's restaurant, and the railroad depot and freight house, the total loss being placed at about $25,000. Of this sum the Glade Mills Mutual Fire Insurance Company paid about $7,000, and other companies about an equal amount, so that, notwithstanding the protection offered by insurance, the people of the town lost heavily in property and time. The rebuilding was slow and sure. By the fall of 1893 several new buildings were completed. The depot was about the first to rise out of the debris. The business interests of Callery in 1894 were CARRUTHERS, PETERS & Company, machinists and blacksmiths; M. J. GODDARD, coal; John F. SHANNON and J. H. [p. 446] THOMAS, general stores, and H. B. HUNT, restaurant. Pool rooms, hotels and all the trades that go to make up a little railroad town are found here. It is also the center of a busy oil field, and quite an important shipping point.

[End of Chapter 32 - Adams Township: History of Butler County Pennsylvania, R. C. Brown Co., Publishers, 1895]

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13 Nov 2000, 14:06