Greenville Township, Somerset County, PA

Greenville Township Genealogy Pages

General Information

History of the Township

Greenville Township was organized from a portion of Southampton in 1812. It contains a small population which mainly depends on agriculture for support. No mineral deposits have yet been developed. Limestone of a fine quality is known to exist in abundance.

Samuel Finley and his brother William were the first settlers of the township. Samuel's farm is now owned by the Hon. A. H. Coffroth, of Somerset. Other early settlers were: David Miller, George Clingaman (Klingaman), Michael Varner, Peter Houtzel, Micheal Houtzel, George Houtzel, and Christian Lint. (Note: Houtzel - Hutzell?)

The entire region was densely wooded and in the early years afforded shelter to game of all kinds. The pioneers were generally adept in the use of the rifle and found no difficulty in procuring fresh meat at nearly all times of the year. But in other respects they were not so fortunate. They were in the midst of a lonely wilderness without any roads except bridal paths to connect them with the outer-world; they were obliged to work diligently, early and late, to clear the fields and plant them; and as for educational, religious, and social priveledges, for many years they were entirely without them. Only the rudest kinds of farming implements were in use; hoes and forks manufactured by the blacksmith, wooden plows, wooden harrows, the sickle and the mattock were the chief tools. Flax and wollen goods; home-made; moccassins and shoes made by some itinerant shoemaker, and buckskin pantaloons were the clothes worn. Furniture was scanty and simple; benches, tables, and bedsteads were made by the settlers themselves were deemed good enough to furnish houses which were built without the use of nails or boards

Greenville is located in the southern portion of the county.  Neighboring townships include Southampton, Larimer, Elk Lick and Allegheny county in Maryland (across the state line.)

Miscellaneous Facts

The first blacksmith in the township was Peter Kieffer, who erected a shop on his own land, one mile west of Pocohontas, in 1806. The shop was burned in 1856(?)

The first distillery in the township was erected in 1792 by Peter Deal, an early settler, and his sons. There have been no distilleries operating in Greenville for many years.

The first sawmill was erected on the present farm of Jacob P. Miller, by John Klink. At present there have been three steam sawmills in operation in the township. They are owned by the Beck brothers, Rosenberger Brothers and Jacob P. Miller.

Religious History

Greenville Reformed church was organized by Rev. D. H. Kieffer, probably in 1820. Among the original members were Elder Christian Lint and wife, Deacon Jacob Lint, John Lint and wife, Peter Engle and Jacob Garlitz. The pastors have been:

Rev. D.H. Kieffer, 1825
Rev. H.E.F. Voight, 1827-8
Rev. H.G. Ibbeken, 1836-41
Rev. Benjamin Knepper, 1846-74
Rev. L.D. Steckel, 1874-81
Rev. J.M. Schick, 1881-1896

From it's organization the congregation worshipped in an old log church and schoolhouse, now burned down. The present house of worship was erected in 1848 at the cost of $100. Present number of members is 106. Sabbath School scholars is 80.

Source: History of Bedford and Somerset County, by William H. Welfley, 1906, 3 volumes, 1802pp.

Church History

The first church in the township was erected by the citizens as a union-meeting house about 1810, and was principally occupied by the Presbyterians and the Lutherans. It was also used as a school house. The old building stood about 1 1/2 mile northwest of Pocohontas. It was of logs and the shingles were fastened on by means of wooden pins driven into holes made with a gimlet.

Probably the first preacher was Rev. Hunger, who preached in the farmhouse of Peter Deal. There are at present two church edifices in the township - one owned by the Reformed and Lutherans and the other by the German Baptist Brethren. The Reformed and Lutheran church was erected in 1848 at the cost of $1200, on land presented to the congregation by Jacob Deal.

The Brethren church was erected in 1855 on a lot given by George Clingaman (Klingaman). The cost of this house was $400. The present minister is Rev. E. K. Hostetler. This is a branch of the Meyersdale Church.

Towns in Greenville

Pocohontas, the only collection of houses in Greenville township, was laid out about 1845 by Samuel M. Heller, surveyor, on land then owned by Daniel Yutzy. The place at present contains one hotel, one store, one blacksmith shop and one carpenters shop.

Charles Miller built the first house in Pocohontas in 1843. It was a log building and was kept as a hotel. It burned down in 1875, and Mr. A.J. Stoner has erected a fine dwelling house upon it's site.

Jacob Lint and Gabriel Miller built the first store about 1852. The building was burned in 1875, and in 1876 Frederick Durr erected his hotel upon the same site.

The post office at Pocohontas was established about 1851. The postmasters have been B.J. Joder, A.J. Stoner, Solomon Houtzel, and Sallie Houtzel.

Source: History of Bedford and Somerset County, by William H. Welfley, 1906, 3 volumes, 1802pp.


Resource and Reference Information

Census Records Cemetery Records


Biographical Records Estate and Wills
Family Records Obituaries
Family Websites (offsite) Somerset County Resources


This township page is maintained by Carol Hepburn.

Last Revised: March 1 ,2007

Carol Hepburn for Somerset County, PAGenWeb.