Licking Township (Chap. 56)


edited by A. J. Davis, 1887



 transcribed by
Gene Shirey

LICKING township lies next north of the southern tier of townships in Clarion county. It is bounded on the north by Beaver, east by Piney, south by Toby, and west by North Perry and East Richland.

The surface of the township is considerably broken by numerous ridges, but almost all the land can be cultivated. The township is divided by the Clarion River passing through it, and is well watered. The Clarion'River strikes it on its northeast corner, where the Piney line comes in. The river forms the boundary between Licking and Beaver, till just at the foot of Delo's Eddy the line crosses the river, and from there to the Perry line, immediately below Ebling's sawmill, the river flows within the township--something it does not do in any other township of the county. From Ebling's Mill to the mouth of the Alum Rock Run, the river forms the Perry-Licking line, and at the mouth of this Run the Licking-East Richland line begins. Licking, the next stream in size, enters the township at Craig's saw-mill on the Callensburg-Sligo road, and empties into the Clarion immediately below Callensburg. Cherry Run enters the township at John Russell's place on the road to Millerstown, Toby township, and empties into Licking at the grist-mill of W. Craig, jr., one-half mile from the mouth of Licking.

These are the only streams upon which water-power is now utilized, or upon which lumbering is carried on. Licking and Cherry Run are not lumbering streams, but have good water-power.

South of the Mount Zion Ridge the numerous small streams flow into Licking, except some west of the Thomas Elliott Ridge flow into the Clarion. North of the Mount Zion Ridge the streams flow into the Clarion. North of the river the streams on the northeast slope of the main ridge flow into the Clarion above the mouth of Licking, while those on the southwest side flow into it below the mouth of Licking. This odd shaped portion of the township is known as the Loop.

Originally the township was covered with a fine growth of timber, principally oak and chestnut on the ridges, with maple and walnut in the valleys. South of the Clarion there was a strip of pine extending from the Piney township line above Canoe almost to the mouth of Pifer's Run, near Callensburg.

The climate is uniform with other sections of the county, only it is noticeable that the snow does not accumulate as it does in the northern townships, and perhaps the snow-fall is not so great.

Good crops of wheat, corn, oats, rye and buckwheat are produced. Many potatoes, beans, and other vegetables are grown. Apples and cherries and other small fruits are generally a bounteous crop. Peaches are uncertain. Above the limestone the crop is more uniform than on the lower lands. Formerly a considerable quantity of flax was raised, but of late little attention is given to that industry. Some tobacco is cultivated. The hills are rich in minerals, especially coal. The most important vein of coal, the "four feet" vein, or the one next below the limestone, runs through every ridge in the township, while the vein above the limestone is worked in several localities and yields a good quality of coal.

The supply of limestone is practically inexhaustible. On the slopes of the Mount Zion Ridge and its minor ranges, a vein of splendid iron ore lies immediately on top of the limestone. This vein has been profitably worked from Mount Zion to where the vein crops out toward Licking. This vein has also been worked north of the Clarion, and other veins have been opened at various places in the township.

Whether the Indians lived here at any time or not, is not known. Many relies of their presence have been found -- tomahawks, arrowheads, wampum, &c., but this may have been only a hunting-ground. The writer has often gathered flint arrowheads along the Clarion at the Bullock Ford, a short distance up stream from the mouth of Licking.

Early Settlements. -- It seems to be a pretty well established fact that the first settlement within the limits of Licking township was made in the extreme northwestern part, on the farm known as the "Old George Best farm," and now owned by Elias Ritts. A small brook runs from the ridge southwest of Cyrus Neely's residence, and flows almost southwestward into the Clarion at Alum Rock. On the northwest side of this brook, about forty rods from the present farm-house on the farm referred to, a man named Range built a house in 1802. This house stood close by a spring of water which joins the brook a few rods from where it comes from the earth. A solitary apple tree marks the spot where the cabin stood.

In 1804 Thomas Morgan squatted on and made an improvement in the northern part of the township. The tract on which he squatted was patented by a man named Peters. This improvement was in the vicinity of the St. John's or "Loop" church. The cabin into which Mr. Morgan moved stood about where Mr. Disher's house now stands. Jacob Allebach and his son David settled on.the tract and purchased it in 1834, the deed being made to David. Bartley Clark settled where Lawson Morgan now lives; date not known.

In 1804 Alexander Wilson, sr., settled on the Pine Hollow Road near the present home of Alexander Wilson, jr., on the tract known as the Samuel McCauley lot. A few old apple trees mark the location of the house.

John Elder settled in 1807, and built a house about forty rods cast of the Oak Grove school-house.

In 1808 Christopher Reicherd settled where Philip Over now lives.

In 1809 Andrew Lowers built a house at the Bullock Ford, on the Kilgore farm, near Callensburg.

Samuel Lobaugh settled in the present Oak Grove district in 1811, and Jacob Whitmer in 1815.

Benjamin Gardner, sr., settled at the mouth of Beaver in 1812.

Hugh Callen came in 1812.

John Colwell settled where Miles Colwell now lives. He and his family came in 1824.

John Elliott settled at W. D. Elliott's homestead, on the present Sligo road, in  1824.

Sidle Lobough settled in 1822 at the old tannery.

John Henry settled in the township in 1826.

In 1831 Paul Neely settled where William Neely now lives.

In 1836 James IWilson settled where he now resides.

Among the other early settlers were Christopher Over, George Heeter, sr., George Elliott, sr., William Elliott, sr., John Dunkle, Htigh Kilgore, John L. Reid, Abram Frampton, Henry Alexander, and others, whose descendants still live in the township.

The excellent water-power of the township and the mineral and forestry resources have given considerable activity to the milling, lumbering, and iron industries from time to time.

Grist-Mills. -- As early as 1814 Alexander Wilson built a grist-mill on the Clarion, a short distance from the mouth of Licking. This mill was burned, and soon after being rebuilt it was again burned. A man named Myers had built a rival establishment about two hundred yards up Licking, and the fact that a controversy arose between Wilson and Myers gave currency to a rumor that Myers burned the mill, but the crime was never proven against him. The mill was put up a third time, and it went to decay when Mr. Wilson became too old to operate it.  In connection with the first two structures a carding-machine was erected, which was operated by John Craig. The Myers mill was sold to Michael Reichart, late of Perry township, who sold it to Abram Frampton. Mr. Frampton saw the advantage of being located on the "pike," which had been laid out from Graham's Landing (now Parker) to the place where the pike now crosses the Jefferson county line, so he proceeded to build a new mill where the road crossed Licking. This mill has long been known as Craig's mill, now owned by W. Craig, jr. The machinery of Frampton's old mill was set up in a mill at Matildaville, and ran for a long time.

In 1833 Benjamin junkins built the Bell grist-mill, long known as Best's mill, on the Clarion below Sassafras Point. The ice flood of 1885 tore the mill from its foundation, and it was taken down soon after. William Bell had a grist-mill at Sassafras Point.

The Buchanan furnace mill was erected to supply the wants of the furnace people, probably in 1850. It was afterwards torn down, and moved away.

Saw-Mills. -- There have been twenty saw-mills erected in the township; fifteen along the Clarion and five on the smaller streams out from the Clarion. A water-mill, at the mouth of Beaver, erected in early days by Benjamin Gardner, sr., was rebuilt by Benjamin Gardner, jr., and converted into a steam-mill. It was afterward owned and run by J. B. Revnolds, and at present it is owned by J. B. Miller. For years a boat scaffold has been connected with this mill, and run by H. C. Heeter & J. B. Miller.

Next down the stream above the present site of G. W. Heeter's mill was one built by Sidle Lobough. Some ruins of it still remain. The mill and scaffold of G. W. Heeter & Bro. were erected in 1877.

Crary's saw-mill, below the bridge, was built about the year i85o. It had two boat scaffolds in connection with it, one above, and the other below the dam. Samuel Stover afterward owned and operated the mill.

The saw-rnill at the mouth of Licking was built at an early date. At the time Prospect furnace was in blast William Moore had control of the mill with a boat scaffold on the Callensburg side of Licking, where they built many boats.

In 1857 or 1858 G. W. Elder and Allen Fowler built a mill and scaffold where Stover & Neely now have their new mill. The new establishment was erected in 1886 by C. G. W. Stover and Samuel Neely.

William Bell once had a saw-mill at Sassafras Point; Robert Bell had one at the Turnip Holes, and Thomas Bell had one at the mouth of Best's Run.

A saw-mill stood for many years beside the Best grist-mill, and a steam saw-mill only a short distance below the grist-mill.

South of the river, at the mouth of Wilson's Run, Allen Fowler had erected a mill early in the history of our saw-mills, and in 1870 Isaac Shorman built what is now known as Ebling's mill, being now owned by Charles Ebling, of Callensburg. At Fowler's old mill the first boat was constructed that was built on the Clarion.

Another mill on the Clarion, just above the Gardner mill, was erected in 1872 by William Thomas. This establishment was not very well equipped, and it soon went into disuse.

On the smaller streams, out from the river, we find that one saw-mill was erected on Beaver, not far up the stream from the Gardner mill. One was erected on Stoneham Rum by Henry and Isaac Shorman. One was built on Alum Rock Run by Samuel Sharrar, a short distance above the rock, and the last one by William McFarland, on Cherry Run, near the Prospect furnace site. This mill is still standing.

In Prospect's time a mill was in operation here near the furnace. Besides these, before the war, John P. Stover built a fully equipped miniature saw-mill on Lewis's Run.

Woolen Mills. -- Alexander Craig built a carding-machine on the Clarion, below Wilson's Bend, in 1827. It was afterward owned and run by Hugh Kilgore. It was taken away by the high water of 1847, which tradition says was the highest water ever seen in the Clarion River by white men.

William Elliott, sr., had a carding-machine, or fulling-mill, on Licking, near the W. D. Elliott farm.

Furnaces. -- Buchanan Furnace was built in 1842 by Fred Crary and Samuel Plummer. As it is intended to write up furnaces in a separate chapter, we shall only observe here that the stack of the furnace is still standing.

Prospect Furnace, on Cherry Run, was built by Henry Alexander and James McElroy, in 1845. Its site is marked by an immense pile of ore dust.

The Buchanan wharf, where the pig iron was loaded in the boats for transportation, was located below the furnace. The Prospect wharf was on the east side of the mouth of Licking. Above Crary's Dam, on the south side of the river, was located the Sligo metal wharf, many of the timbers of which are still to be seen.

Distilleries. -- Within the limits of the township there have been four distilleries. Wooders's, on Thomas H. Elliott's farm; Louis Wilson's, on Cherry Run; Mr. Fenton's near the lot of W. C. Dunkle; and Gould's, in Easton. The township has but one hotel, that of P. D. Painter, at Easton. There has been no licensed hotel in the township for almost twenty years.

Other Industries. -- The first well for oil drilled in the township was drilled to a depth of six hundred and fifty feet in 1861. It was located below the Callensburg bridge, on the north side of the Clarion. J. B. Reynolds owned the well. It was drilled by C. G. W. Stover, and P. M. Dunkle, who both enlisted in August, 1861, and left the well with plenty of salt water and gas, but no oil. Since then, at various times, wells have been drilled at different places throughout the township. One was drilled at the mouth of Licking, one below that on the Point, one on C. Lobaugh's farm west of Callensburg, one on Harry Garner's farm northeast of the town, one on John W. Black's farm, one on John Best's farm, and quite a number in the western part of the township. Two or three wells in the extreme western part of the township, on Mr. Neely's farm, once produced some oil, but now there is not a producing well in the township. In April, 1887, a well was drilled near the new mill of Stover & Neely.

Considerable attention is given to stock-raising, principally for the market. Several farmers, however, are introducing blooded stock.

The smaller timber and the saplings have of late been worked into pit-posts, brace poles or hoops, affording quite an income to the people.

John Elliott had the first store in the township. He opened it in 1824, where W. D. Elliott now lives. Abraham Allebach kept the first store in what is now the Anderson school district. H. E. Best & Company kept a store at Best's Corners, where R. P. Hughes has his store. Solomon Shirey kept for many years at Easton. The furnace companies at Prospect and Buchanan each had stores. Samuel Rhea kept once near the present homes of James M. Dunkle and R. M. Kilgore. He did business for a while at Easton, and later at the bridge. He sold out to J. G. Wyon, who did business till the winter of 1886, when his building and goods were destroyed by fire. Thomas Purviance kept the first store in the western part of the township. Various kinds of shops are scattered over the township now, and have been since its early settlement. Among these workmen were Wilson Colwell, blacksmith; Sidle Lobaugh, D. R. Lobaugh, and James H. Lobaugh, tanners; William Williams, Henry Smith, Daniel Low, a Mr. Russell, and S. S. Whitmer, blacksmiths; and many others too numerous to mention. W. Craig & Son now have a store at Easton.

Churches and Schools. -- There are three church buildings in the township: The Mount Zion Lutheran, built in 1847; the Mount Zion German Reformed, built in 1883 and '84, and the St. John's, built at a date not known to the writer.

The township has eight school districts with as many houses, viz., the Rock, the Anderson, Union Hall, Prospect, Easton, Fairview, Oak Grove, and Patterson. The buildings are all considered fair houses.

The first school in the township was held in the Range cabin, in 1818, by a man named John Wright (or Rite). Later Charles Haas, Hugh Kilgore, C. G. W. Stover, and William Cupples did pioneer work in education. It is noticeable that many of the teachers of the township became men of affairs. Hugh Kilgore was prominent in early military operations in the county. C. W. Elliott is now a Methodist Episcopal minister; S. W. Kuhns is a Lutheran minister; H. P. Elliott has been elected county auditor; A. M. Neely twice elected to the Legislature, and W. A. Beer once.

Public Officers. -- The township has produced the following county officers: J. M. Best, treasurer; J. C. Galbreath, sheriff; John Elliott, auditor; B. B. Dunkle, sheriff; C. Reichart, prothonotary (two terms); H. E. Best, auditor; Emanuel Over, commissioner; H. P. Elliott, auditor, and R. Laughlin member of Legislature in 185i and '52. Besides these S. A. Bell, commissioner, was born in the township, as was also W. A. Beer, member of the Legislature in 1883.

Sidle Lobaugh was a colonel in the State Guards in 1829 and '30. Alexander Colwell was aid-de-camp to the major-general of the Twelfth Division from April 28, 1855, to the first Monday of July, 1859, with the rank of major. Mr. Colwell has been a justice of the peace since 1864, holding five commissions.

Under "Company B, One Hundred and Sixth-ninth Regiment," beginning on page 329, the reader will notice the name "Andrew Sippey, corporal." This name should be "Andrew Tippery," who is a respected and influential citizen of this township.

Crimes and Casualties. -- The town of Easton was laid out in ----, and during the more stirring times of the iron and lumber industries, it became quite a village, and its reputation for good conduct was not the best. For many years this village was the home of a man called Jesse Major. His name was said to be Jerry Johnson. Major's house was the rendezvous and refuge of a bad set of characters, thieves, counterfeiters, robbers, and lewd women. Two of the gang were Charlev Logue and Ira Shotwell or Ira Davis, an account of whose crimes, capture and trial is given in the chapter on "Bench and Bar."

Various other lesser crimes from time to time serve to cloud the fair memories of this people, but to the great credit of the township be it said, the resident population is almost unrepresented on the criminal annals of the township.

John Elliott, sr., in a fit of melancholy drowned himself in Crary's dam, and Miss Mary Henry, an ancient maiden lady, drowned herself at the foot of Delo's Eddy. Miss Clara Cupples a few years ago took her own life by shooting herself. So far as known, this completes the list of suicides.

There have been a number of accidental deaths. Many years ago John Gardner accidentally shot two of his sisters, killing both at one shot. The tragedy had such an effect upon his mind that he laid the gun up in the barn, where it lay untouched for thirty-five years. A son of James Carroll was drowned in the Clarion, below the dam. A child of Mr. William Prosser was drowned in the Turn Hole. A Miss Wilson was drowned below the mouth of Licking, as was also a Mr. Elgin. A man whose name is unknown to the writer, was thrown from a raft and drowned near the mouth of Licking. A son of John Murray was drowned at the mouth of Cherry Run. A child of Mr. Clugh was drowned in a well in Callensburg. A Mrs. Hoveler was burned to death at Buchanan furnace. A Mr. Stroup was killed by a part of Callensburg bridge falling on him in 1865. The ice had torn the bridge away, but a part hung to the pier. The raft on which Stroup was, struck the pier and jarred the pendant structure, causing it to fall and strike him just as he passed under it. A Mr. Graham was killed by his horse at Easton. A son of John P. Stover was killed by a log rolling on him, a few years ago, and James Cunningham was killed in an ore bank. This is the list of casualties of the township since its settlement, so far as can be ascertained.

The dam across the Clarion at Callensburg bridge, is said to have caused the greatest loss of lumber that was ever caused by any dam on the Clarion, but this obstruction to navigation was removed by the ice gorge in March, 1865, at the time the bridge was taken away.

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