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Site last updated
Monday, 10-Sep-2018 18:32:37 MDT

HISTORY OF
QUEMAHONING TOWNSHIP

Quemahoning Township lies in the north-central part of Somerset County. It is bounded on west by Jenner Township, on the north by Conemaugh and Paint Townships, on the east by Shade Township, and on the south by Stony Creek and Somerset Townships. Quemahoning Township's eastern border is formed by Stony Creek and the north-western border by Quemahoning Creek, from which the township got its name.

"Quemahoning" is an Indian word meaning "water issuing from a lick." (A lick is a place where salt is found on the surface of the earth and wild animals resort to licking it up; also a salt spring or brook.)

Christopher Gist's Journal

Reference to Quemahoning was made by the surveyor Christopher Gist in his 1750 report. He had been commissioned in 1749 by The Ohio Company to explore and report on the Ohio Valley. The Ohio Company was formed in 1748 by several planters from Virginia and Maryland (including two brothers of George Washington) to promote settlement of the Ohio Valley. Gist travelled the Old Northern Indian Trail and passed through what would become Quemahoning Township. His journal provides early information about this area. Gist also made reference to an old Indian village named Kickenapaulin's Town which was located near the Quemahoning Creek. This land was eventually submerged when the Quemahoning Reservoir was formed. He also recorded staying in an old Indian cabin which was believed to be near Kantner.

Forbes Road

There was an old Indian trail called the Raystown Path which went from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh. In 1757, during the French and Indian War (1754-1763), Brigadier-General John Forbes was in command of an army expedition to attack Fort Duquesne, which was held by the French, on the forks of the Ohio River. In July 1758, Forbes ordered Colonel Henry Boquet to cut a wagon road westward from Raystown (Bedford) to Loyalhanna Creek (Ligonier). Following the old Indian trail, the Forbes Road was built.

Forts in Quemahoning Township

Along the Forbes Road, forts were built by Boquet's troops. One was Fort Stony Creek which was west of the Stony Creek on what would become the Thomas Ringler farm in Quemahoning Township. This was near what had been referred to by early fur traders as "Stony Creek Crossings." About six miles from Fort Stony Creek, another fortification was built at Kickenapaulin's Old Indian Town, east of the Quemahoning Creek on land that would become Joseph Rininger's farm in Quemahoning Township. There was also a small pallisade at Stoystown which was believed to have been built by the early settlers there.

Formation of Quemahoning Township
Bedford County

In 1775, Quemahoning Township was organized, by the Bedford County Court, out of part of Brothersvalley and part of Turkeyfoot Townships. At that time, it included the northern portion of present-day Somerset County and part of what is now Cambria County. Its size was ultimately reduced through the formation of new townships.

Quemahoning Township
Somerset County

The portion of Bedford County west of the Allegheny Mountain was so remote from the county seat of Bedford, which was east of the Allegheny Mountain, that the residents petitioned the Pennsylvania legislature to organize a new county. April 17, 1795, Somerset County was created, consisting of six townships: Brothersvalley, Turkeyfoot, Quemahoning, Milford, Elk Lick, and Stony Creek. In 1795, from Quemahoning Township, James Wells was appointed as an associate judge, and John Reed was elected as one of the first county commissioners.

Trostletown Bridge

The Trostletown covered bridge (pictured on Main Menu page) crossed Stony Creek near Kantner. In 1964, the Stoystown Lions Club acquired the this bridge. In 1965 a dedication ceremony was held in honor of the Stoystown Lions Club's efforts in restoring this historical landmark.

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