Armstrong County History
Biographical and Historical
Cyclopedia of Indiana and Armstrong Counties, Pennsylvania.
by John M. Gresham & Co.
by Samuel T. Wiley, Historian and Editor.
1218 and 1220 N. Filbert Street, Philadelphia
and Historical Sketch of Armstrong County. (Continued..)
salt wells and furnaces -- Railroads
-- Great civil war --
Religious -- Educational --
Journalism -- The bar
-- Political history --
Census statistics -- Oil
excitement -- Progress and development
early day distilleries were plenty, but subsequently decreased
in number. To-day one of hte largest and most important
group of distilleries in Pennsylvania is the Guckenheimer
plant at Freeport.
The manufacture of salt along the Kiskiminetas was formerly
more extensively carried on than now. Only one well
is at present in working order, the others having from time
to time been abandoned as the business became unremunerative.
The salt water comes from the sandstones of the Pocono formation,
the top of which underlies the river bed about 250 feet
at the centre of the Roaring run anticlinal. From
the same geological horizon the water is pumped that is
used in the manufacture of salt near Saltsburg, in Indiana
Furnaces.---The manufacture of iron commenced
as early as 1825 in Armstrong county. In that year
Rock furnace was built, on the Kiskiminetas river, east
of Apollo; although it is claimed that Bear Creek furnace
near Parker City was built a few years earlier. Rock
furnace made 20 tons of iron per week and ran until 1855,
while Bear Creek furnace had a capacity of 40 tons per week.
Allegheny furnace, on the west bank of the Allegheny, was
two miles north of Kittanning and was erected in 1827.
Buffalo furnace No. 1 was built in 1839, by P. Graff &
Co., on Buffalo creek, at the crossing of the Kittanning
and Butler pike. It was continued in blast until the
close of the war, in 1865.
Following the completion of Buffalo furnace was a period
of considerable activity in the iron industry of Armstrong
county, extending for nearly twenty years, until the financial
crash of 1857. Many new furnaces were in that time
added to the list. All used charcoal for fuel.
In 1840 the first of the Great Western furnaces was built
at Brady's Bend by Philander Raymond, who subsequently erected
here three additional furnaces, besides a rolling-mill and
a nail factory. In fact this plant ultimately became
one of the most extensive in Western Pennsylvania, being
among the first in America to make iron rails. Financial
embarrassment, however, in the end wrecked the enterprise,
and both the furnaces and the rolling-mill were dismantled.
The rolling-mill and nail factory were built in 1841.
Great Western furnaces No. 2 was an exact copy of the
first, and was built in 1841. The capacity of each
was 100 tons of metal per week. They employed the
hot blast, but were chiefly distinguished by the large size
of their boshes (14 feet) the poor success of which established
later the 12 foot boshes as the favorite size for coke furnaces.
No. 3 furnace was built in 1843. Its capacity was
nearly as great as that of the larger furnaces.
In 1845 three smaller stacks were erected in other parts
of the county:
Ore Hill Furnaces, on the left bank of the Allegheny
river, 8 miles northeast of Kittanning. Its capacity
was between 35 and 40 tons per week.
Cowanshannock Furnace (called also Boner Furnace) was
situated on Cowanshannock creek, three miles north of Kittanning.
Mahoning Furnace, on Mahoning creek, below Putneyville,
was built by Mr. John A. Colwell, of Kittanning, by whom
it was most successfully conducted for more than 30 years.
The stack originally, like all the furnaces of that time
in the county, was built of stone. It used the cold
blast, and made from 30 to 40 tons of metal per week.
In 1860 the furnace was remodeled to use coke, at which
time, also, the stack was not only enlarged, but the stone
structure was replaced by an iron jacket, lined with fire-brick.
The hot blast was applied at the same time. These
alterations more than doubled the capacity of the stack.
It went out of blast in September, 1878, in consequence
of the depression then existing in the iron trade.
Until the completion recently of the new furnace at Kittanning,
the Mahoning furnace was the best arranged iron plant in
In 1846 five new furnaces were erected:
Brady's Bend Furnace No. 4 was completed. It made
hot blast charcoal iron; was 11 feet in the boshes and 43
feet in height, and had a capacity of about 60 tons of iron
Buffalo Furnace No. 2 was completed by Mr. Graff, on
Buffalo creek. It was 8 by 35; made hot blast charcoal
metal, and had a capacity of from 40 to 50 tons per week.
America Furnace was built in the same year, on the east
bank of the Allegheny river near the present village of
Rimerton. Its capacity was about 40 tons of hot blast
charcoal iron per week.
Phoenix Furnace (coal blast) stood on Mahoning creek
below Milton. Instead of smelting the usual "buhrstone"
ore which is locally absent from that region, the furnace
used a loamy hematite ore found near Milton. The ore being
lean and poor, the enterprise soon proved a failure.
Pine Creek Furnace owned by Messrs. Brown and Mosgrove,
of Kittanning, is one of the few original stacks in Armstrong
county that were remodeled to use coke after the supply
of charcoal had been exhausted. It occupies a site
on the left bank of Pine creek, six miles northeast of Kittanning.
In 1847 little additional capital was invested in the
iron trade in Armstrong county.
Olney Furnace alone was built. It occupies a position
on the left bank of Mahoning creek above Eddyville.
It was enlarged in 1855 and shortly afterwards abandoned.
was built at Kittanning. It had 20 puddling furnaces,
3 trains of rolls, and seven machines driven by water.
In 1857 it made 2550 tons of bar iron, nails and castings.*
It was abandoned shortly after the financial break of 1873,
remaining then idle until 1880, when, after complete remodeling,
operations in it were renewed in connection with the new
furnace at Kittanning. It was formerly called Valley
Rolling-mill, and its annual capacity in 1880 was 7000 tons.
Stewardson Furnace was built in 1851. It is situated
on Mahoning creek, 1 1/2 miles from the Allegheny river.
It is built of stone, and its capacity is from 75 to 80
tons per week.
In 1856 the Apollo Rolling-mill was built at Apollo.
The primary object of this enterprise was the manufacture
of nails, which proving unsuccessful, was abandoned about
1861, when the production of sheet-iron was commenced.
The mill was originally erected by the Kiskiminetas Iron
Co. but subsequently passed out of their hands, and in the
next ten years changed ownership several times, finally
passing into bankruptcy in 1875; in 1876 it was purchased
by Messrs. Laufman & Co., who have since conducted it
with marked success and profit. The iron made is of
excellent quality and finds a ready sale in all the markets.
The mill has seven puddling furnaces, and five charcoal
fires for sinking wrought scrap iron; two trains of rolls;
one steam hammer striking a fifteen ton blow; one set of
bar rolls, and one pair of cold rolls. At the present
time the full capacity of the mill is 65 tons of finished
iron per week.
The erection of this mill at Apollo in 1856 about completes
the period of the production of charcoal iron in Armstrong
county, which, as we have seen, flourished with considerable
vigor between 1840 and 1850, rising perhaps to its maximum
height between 1850 and 1856 and then rapidly declining.
According to the statistics in the Iron Manufacturers' Guide,
20,411 tons of pig iron were produced here in 1856 from
* Iron Manufacturers' Guide, p. 252
The manufacture of iron in Armstrong county during the
charcoal period was not attended financially with much success.
Abundant railroad facilities, and the recent improved
appliances for making iron have wholly changed the conditions
which caused the failure of the charcoal furnaces.
With prudent and intelligent management there is now no
reason for the failure of a furnace in Armstrong county.
Monticello Furnace was built in 1859, at the mouth of
Cowanshannok creek, or Robert E. Brown, and was in operation
until 1873 and attempted to use high grade lake ores with
The Leechburg Rolling-mill was built in 1872. It
is distinguished for having been the first to successfully
employ natural gas in iron-making. The iron produced
is of excellent quality.
The Kittaning Furnace, erected in 1880, is not only the
largest, but by far the most complete in all its appointments,
of any furnace plant int he Allegheny Valley, out of Pittsburg.
It stands on the river bank at the southern end of Kittanning,
close to the rolling-mill.
Iron Ores.--- The greater part of all the
iron made in Armstrong county, either in times past or recently,
has been from the reduction of the so called Buhrstone ore.
The Brady's Bend furnaces, and those also of Mr. Graff,
on Buffalo creek, used some ore from the Freeport group,
of which, however, the outspread in workable thickness in
Armstrong county is confined to the neighborhood of those
furnaces. Monticello furnace in its time, as already
stated, attempted the importation of the lake ore, but without
Whatever importations of other ore may in future be made
into the county, to improve the grade of the iron, the Buhrstone
stratum will always remain the chief source of supply so
long as furnaces are operated here. Its range of outcrop
extends over hundreds of miles in nearly horizontal rocks;
its average thickness is about 8 inches; its character is
singularly uniform; it can be easily and inexpensively mined;
it is always accompanied by the Ferriferous limestone stratum
which directly underlies it and which serves for flux in
the furnace; it works easily in the stack; and when proper
attention is paid to the assortment of the ores and their
preparation for the stack, this Buhrstone stratum is capable
of producing a pig metal containing about five-tenths of
one per cent. of phosphorus.
Mr. McCreath analzyed samples of the ore, selected from
all parts of the county. The results as a whole show
not only the uniformity in the grade of the ore above alluded
to, but they show the ores also to consist of three varieties,
according to the amount of decomposition that has taken
place, namely, limestone-carbonate ore, brown hematite,
and an impure variety of red hematite. The carbonates
unroasted average from 33 to 38 per cent. of metallic iron;
the brown and red ores contain as high as 50 per cent. of
iron, the average being about 45 per cent. All of
the ores are comparatively low in phosphorus -- two-tenths
of one per cent. being the usual amount, both in the
carbonates and hematites. The sulphur is also low,
amounting in many cases to scarcely more than a trace.
The hematites contain none of the protoxide of iron.
Any poor quality of iron made from these ores will be
due to defective methods of manufacture and not to the impurity
of the ores.
is now supplied with railroads which carry its products
to all the important markets of the world.
The Allegheny Valley railroad with its connections opens
up this county to the region of the lakes and Canada.
Southward it connects with the Pennsylvania railroad at
Pittsburgh. Its Bennett's branch extension, 110 miles
long, affords another outlet north and east, as well as
also southward; it occupies the Red Bank Valley, passing
subsequently at easy grades across the mountain region of
Jefferson and Clearfield, and on thence to Driftwood, where
it intersects with the Philadelphia and Erie railroad.
The Butler and Karns City narrow-gauge railroad starts
at Parker City, on the Allegheny river, and follows thence
up Bear creek across the oil fields of northern Butler.
The West Pennsylvania railroad (standard gauge) occupies
the valley of the Kiskiminetas river, whose left bank it
follows until it crosses the Allegheny river above Freeport.
It belongs to the Pennsylvania railroad system, and runs
from Blairsville Interjunction to Pittsburgh. The
Butler Branch of the West Pennsylvania railroad extends
from Freeport to the county-seat of Butler.
The question of slack water navigation on the Allegheny
river has recently received some discussion, as also that
of re-opening the old line of water communication between
Pittsburgh and the east.
by Linda Blum-Barton November 2008
The Great Civil War.---Armstrong
county was prompt in her response to Abraham Lincoln's call
for troops when the Union flag went down on Sumter's shattered
walls. On April 18, 1861, Capt. Sirwell left with
a company of one hundred and fourteen men for the seat of
war, and four days later another company left which was
followed in a short time by a company from Apollo, under
Captain (afterwards General) S. M. Jackson. Camp Orr
was soon established on the fair grounds above Kittanning,
where the 78th and 103d regiments were recruited and drilled.
The 78th, commanded by Col. William Sirwell, left camp on
October 14, 1861, and the 103d, under Col. T. F. Lehman,
went to the front on February 24, 1862. Citizens of
Armstrong county served in considerable numbers in the 8th,
9th and 11th Pennsylvania Reserves, the 2d cavalry and 62d,
78th, 103d, 139th, 155th, 159th (14th cavalry), and 204th
(Fifth artillery) regiments, Pennsylvania Volunteers.
The county was also represented in forty-five other Pennsylvania
regiments. According to an accurate calculation of
Col. Sirwell, Armstrong county furnished three thousand
six hundred and fifty-two men to the Union armies during
the war. Over fifty-seven thousand dollars were paid
from the county treasury for relief of soldiers' families,
and thirty-three thousand dollars were paid for bounties.
Religious. ---- In 1802
there were two (Presbyterian) churches on the west side
of the Allegheny river, and sixteen years later Sunday-schools
were organized. By 1850 the churches had increased
to sixty-five in number. In 1876 there were in the
county over one hundred churches, of which twenty-nine were
Lutheran, twenty-four Presbyterian, nineteen Methodist Episcopal,
thirteen United Presbyterian, twelve Reformed, ten Baptist,
some German Baptist and several Catholic. The Armstrong
County Bible society was formed September 15, 1828.
had as good subscription schools from 1800 to 1838 as any
of the western counties of Pennsylvania, and her public
schools since 1838 have continually increased in number
and efficiency, until now they will compare favorably with
the schools of any county in the State. Of the early
teachers and schools, Superintendent A. D. Glenn, in his
valuable centennial school sketch of the county, states
that he could obtain but little information. Teachers'
institutes were held as early as 1856, and the first county
institute was held in April, 1858. The Dayton Soldiers'
Orphan school was opened November 1, 1866, with Rev. T.
M. Elder as principal. The following academies in
the county were opened at the dates: Kittanning
academy, 1820 (ceased 1866); Freeport academy, 1836; Glad
Run academy, November 1, 1851; Dayton Union academy, April,
1852; Leechburg academy, 1855 (burned down 1876); and Elderton
academy, 1864. Slate Lick classical institute began
its work in 1865, and Plum Creek Normal school ran
from 1874 to 1877, while Doeville seminary was a useful
institution for several years. Lambeth college was
incorporated by the court in December, 1868, and existed
until 1876. In May, 1868, Columbia university (a continuation
of Kittanning university) was opening at Kittanning, but
in two years was closed.
Journalism.--- The first
paper in the county was The Western Eagle, which
was established at Kittanning, by Capt. James Alexander,
on September 10, 1810. Twenty-three years later William
Badger issued the Olive Branch, at Freeport, and
November 6, 1835, the first number of the Lacon was
issued at Apollo. The Leechburg Enterprise
was established in 1873 and the Dayton News made
its appearance on November 10, 1882. The present press
of the county comprises the following weekly papers:
Armstrong Democrat and Sentinel, Armstrong
Republican, County Standard, Globe,
Times and Union Free Press, of Kittanning;
Herald, of Apollo; News, of Dayton; Journal,
of Freeport; Advance, of Leechburg, and Phenix,
of Parker City.
The Bar.--- The Armstrong
county bar compares favorably with the bars of the other
counties of western Pennsylvania, and will receive more
extended mention in the history of Kittanning.
Medical Profession ---
The medical profession is well represented in Armstrong
county an its prominent members will receive mention in
the borough and town histories.
In place of township and county elections, we give the
vote of the county cast at every Presidential election since
the people have had the right to vote for president:
Popular Vote of Armstrong
County at Presidential Elections from 1824 to
||John Q. Adams
||William H. Crawford
||John Q. Adams
||Martin Van Buren
||illiam H Harrison
||Martin Van Buren
||Wlliam H. Harrison
||James G. Birney
||James K. Polk
||Jmes G. Birney
||Mrtin Van Buren
||Joh P. Hale
||John C. Fremont
||John . Breckinridge
||Stephen . Douglas
||George B McClellan
||Ulysses S. Grant
||Ulysses S. Grant
||Dem. & Lib.
||Rutherord B. Hayes
||Samuel J. Tilde
||Green Clay Smit
||James A. Garfield
||Winfield S. Hancok
||James B. Weaver
||James G. Blaine
||John P. St. John
||Benjamin F. Butler
||Clinton B. Fisk
||Alson J. Streeter
Population of Armstrong county at each census
from 1800 to 1890: 1800: 2,399; 1810: 6,143; 1820: 10,324;
1830: 17,701; 1840: 28,365; 1850: 29,560; 1860:
35,797; 1870: 43,382; 1880: 47,641; 1890, _______.
Colored population from 1800 to 1890:
1800: 0; 1810: 4; 1820: 42; 1830: 96; 1840: 112; 1850:
129; 1860: 178; 1870: 179; 1880: 278; 1890: _______.
By the census of 1820 there were in
Armstrong county: 1,146 spinning-wheels, 244 looms,
1 fulling-mill, 4 batteries, manufacturing 1000 hats;
1 nailery, making 2,500 pounds of nails; 16 blacksmith
shops, doing $8,000 worth of work; 21 distilleries,
making 63,000 gallons of liquor; 4 potteries, 29 wheat-mills,
grinding 87,000 bushels of wheat; 11 saw mills cutting
550,000 feet of lumber. There were in the
county 1,821 horses and 4,689 neat cattle.
By the census reports of 1880 Armstrong
county had 4,026 farms, containing 378,960 acres.
In 1879 the following amounts of grain were raised from
the number of acres given:
There were 3,463 acres of meadow which yielded
27,878 tons of hay and also five acres of tobacco
which made a yield of 2,730 pounds of that article.
There were in the county 10,342 horses, 14,159 milch
cows, 18,272 other cattle, 34,814 sheep and 30,975
swine. There were two hundred manufacturing
establishments with an invested capital of nearly
$2,000,000 and employing over 1,000 hands.
Minor Civil Divisions of Armstrong County,
from 1850 to 1880.
|Twp or Borough
Allegheny township and Aladin boough have
passed out of existence and the census returns
of 1890 could not be obtained at this writing.
of Early Townships from 1810 to
Excitement.--- The northwestern part
of the county lies in the "Lower Oil Fields"
and the belt of the Third Oil sand crosses the
Allegheny river from Clarion county, above Parker
City, stretching thence across Hovey township
into Butler county. The "Fourth sand"
belt trending nearly east and west is at Brady's
Bend. South from this locality and across the
Brady's Bend anticlinal no oil has yet been
discovered, either at the horizon of the "Third"
or "Fourth" sands, or at any other
horizon within a distance of two thousand feet
below the surface. It would therefore
appear that the oil-producing area is confined
to the region west of the Brady's Bend anticlinal
We quote concerning the first
oil well in the county from Henry's "History
of Petroleum": "In the winter of 1864-65
the oil excitements of the upper and lower Oil
creek regions were at their height, and Mr.
William D. Robinson very earnestly conceived
the idea that oil deposits existed in the region
of his third of a century's residence.
He had examined and carefully noted the then
generally received opinion of 'surface indications,'
and soon reached the conviction that oil could
be found there. He purchased thirty-six
acres of the old homestead farm, lying on the
Allegheny river and now forming a portion of
Parker's Landing. This thirty-six acres
of land he made the basis of a stock company.
In the spring of 1865 he commenced his first
well under the auspices of this company, and
this was the first oil well drilled at Parker's
Landing. The embarrassment attending the
first effort to find oil at Parker's Landing
may be estimated by those familiar with new
territory. All the machinery for the new
well had to be boated from Pittsburgh or Oil
City, and there was neither derrick nor development
between these two points, fifty and sixty miles
from a machine shop, if a break occurred.
Pittsburgh, Oil City, or Titusville, were the
nearest points for repairs. It required
the entire summer of 1865 -- nearly six months
-- to complete this well. In October,
1865, the sand pump brought up the unmistakable
evidence of a 'third' sand, or oil rock.
The well was tubed and started off at about
ten barrels per day."
and Development.--- In the history of
the territory of Armstrong county, the pioneer
period of 1781 to 1800 was a war period full
of dangers from the Indians. From 1800
to 1825 was a period of great improvement.
The single-story round-log cabin of the frontier,
standing in a deadened clearing, had been succeeded
by the respectable two-story hewn-log house,
surrounded by cultivated fields and waving grain.
The bridle-path and pack-horse road had been
transformed into the more commodious emigrant
road, which had in turn given place to county
and State pikes; while the hand-mill and tub-mill
were replaced with the water-power grist-mill.
During the days of the pack-saddle paths and
early roads the necessaries of life commanded
high prices, a bushel of salt being worth four
dollars, and a pound of iron twelve cents.
Luxuries commanded extravagant figures; a pound
of coffee sold for a dollar, and a yard of calico
for half that amount.
From 1825 to 1860 was the period
of charcoal iron manufacture, during which time
also the salt industry was developed and reached
the height of its prosperity. Substantial
stone and good brick dwellings succeeded the
hewed log houses, and the Allegheny Valley R.
R. was built during the latter years of this
period. The development inaugurated by
the building of railroads and the introduction
of coke as a fuel in the manufacture of iron
was checked in 1861 when the late civil war
commenced. During that great struggle
the sons of Armstrong county won for themselves
under McClellan, Sherman, Sheridan and Grant,
a highly-honorable and imperishable war record.
About the close of the war came the oil excitement,
which was followed some ten years by an era
of railroad building which will not be completed
until the great coal, iron ore and fire-clay
beds of the county are fully developed.
The old log subscription school-house,
which also answered for a preaching-place, has
long since disappeared, but, in its stead, on
every hill and in every valley, the spire and
dome of church and school appear, indexing the
upward tendencies and onward progress of the
Armstrong is one of the richest
mineral counties in the Union, its great coal
beds average four feet in extent and underlie
almost the entire surface of the county, while
a very rich deposit of cannel coal nine feet
thick is within its borders. Limestone,
building-rock and roofing slate with traces
of lead are found in the northern part where
salt-water, oil and natural gas are to be obtained.
Iron-ore, limestone and fire-clay are abundant
in almost every section of the county and valuable
beds of mineral paint are said to exist in some
of the townships. The county, while wonderfully
rich in minerals, is not backwards in agriculture,
for it possesses a productive soil and ranks
as one of the foremost agricultural counties
of the State.
The growth of its manufacturing
interests has been commensurate with the development
of its material resources. The Kittanning
rolling-mill, the sheet-iron and carbonized
steel mills of P. Laufman & Co., of Apollo,
and the rolling-mill at Leechburg are leading
iron industries of the State as well as of Armstrong
The Graff and the Rumberger
woolen-mills on Buffalo creek will compare favorably
with the woolen manufacturing establishments
of any section of hte State; while Reese's silica
fire-brick works and the Wick China-ware potteries
of Kittanning are the largest works of their
kind to be found in the United States.
Rock quarries, cement beds and glass sand deposits
exist in many places throughout hte county.
The coke industry is in its infancy, but will
soon attain to respectable dimensions through
the labors of Capt. Albert Hicks and other public-spirited
and progressive citizens. A detailed account
of all these resources and industries will be
found in the township histories.
"Gen. Armstrong purchased from
the proprietors of the then Province of Pennsylvania
556 1/2 acres with the usual allowances.
The tract was surveyed to him by virtue of a
proprietary letter to the secretary, dated May
29, 1771, on November 5, 1794. The patent
for that tract bears date March 23, 1775.
It is thus described: 'A certain tract of land
called Victory, containing five hundred and
fifty-six and one-half acres and the usual allowances,
including the Indian town and settlement called
Kittanning.' That tract of land, with
other property, was devised by the will of Gen.
Armstrong, proven July 25, 1797, to his two
sons, John and James."
The Armstrong county Bible society
was formed at the court-house on Monday, September
15, 1828, when Thomas Hamilton was chosen president
and James E. Brown, secretary. In 1841
it made an effort to distribute Bibles and Testaments
in every township and during the Centennial
year it sought to supply every family in the
county with a Bible.
In 1850 Armstrong county had:
grist-mills, 21; saw-mills, 13; salt-boiling
establishments, 12; carpentering and building
establishments, 5; manufactories of brick, 9;
manufactories of tin and sheet-iron ware, 3;
manufactories of woolen fabrics, 3; manufactories
of nails, 1; rolling-mills, 2; furnaces for
making iron, 6; iron foundries, 2; tanneries,
"At a Court of General
Quarter Sessions of the Peace, held at Robert
Hanna's, Esquire, for the county of Westmoreland,
the sixth day of April, in the thirteenth year
of the reign of our Sovereign Lord, George the
third, by the grace of God of Great Britain,
France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith,
etc. And in the year of our Lord one thousand
seven hundred and seventy-three, before William
Crawford, Esquire, and his associate justices
of the same court.
"The court proceeded to
divide the said county into the following townships
by the limits and descriptions hereinafter following,
Pleasant ... Hempfield ... Pitt ... Tyrone ...
Spring Hill ... Manallan ... Rostraver ... Armstrong.
Beginning where the line of the county crosses
the Conemach" --- nearly midway between
the Conemaugh Furnace and Sang Hollow, on the
Pennsylvania Railroad --- "then running
with that river to the line of Fairfield, along
that line to the Loyal Haunon, then down the
Loyal Haunon and the Kiskiminetas to the Allegheny,
then up the Allegheny to the Kittanning, then
with a straight line to the head-waters of Two
Lick or Black Lick creek, and thence with a
straight line to the beginning."
The Holland Land company owned
large tracts of land in Armstrong county, as
well as in Indiana and other counties of Pennsylvania,
and its history will be found on page 66 of
In 1828 Armstrong county paid
$3625 for the scalps of wolves and panthers
that were killed within the borders of the county.
The Pensioners for Revolutionary
and Military services in Armstrong county in
1840 were: Peter Yungst, Daniel Davis,
Addy Anderson, David Shields, John Brown, Thomas
Meredith, Henry Davis, Sarah Smith, James McCaine,
James Buchanan, Martha Stone, Joseph Everet,
Gideon Gibson, Hugh Callen, Sr., Samuel Austin,
John Wilson, Sr., Mary Soliday, Isaac Steel,
Sr., Daniel Gould, Ezekiel Lewis, Manassas McFadden,
Joseph McDonald, Henry Reefer, William Hill,
Samuel Murphy, Margaret Laughrey, John Sipe,
Eleanor Rayburn, Andrew Daugherty, Killian Briney,
John Davis, Sr., Michael Hartinan, Sarah Williard,
Michael Truby, James Walker, Thomas Taylor,
Robert Patrick, Sr.
The Pennsylvania canal entered
Armstrong county nine miles above Apollo, and
crossed the Kiskiminetas to its north bank,
which it followed to the Allegheny, and crossing
the latter river by an aqueduct, followed the
Allegheny for one and one-half miles below Freeport,
where it left the county. The Indiana
and Kittanning turnpike runs northwest through
the county to the Butler county line.
The timber of the county is
black, red, white and rock oak, chestnut, hickory,
ash, walnut, sugar maple, elm and cherry.
By Act of Assembly, March 12,
1800, the county-seat was to be located not
farther than five miles from "Old Kittanning
Town," and John Craig, James Sloan and
James Barr were appointed trustees to receive
the title for the land for the public buildings.
In 1803, James Matthews and Alexander Walker
were appointed in place of Craig and Barr, and
Walker having declined to act, it devolved upon
Sloan and Matthews to locate the county-seat
and organize the county. They selected
the present site of Kittanning, and on December
17, 1804, received a deed for 150 acres of Gen.
Armstrong's "Victory" tract from his
sons, Dr. James and John Armstrong. This
land was given by the Armstrongs in view of
enhancing the value of the remainder of their
Armstrong was attached to Westmoreland
county for several years after its organization.
It was organized for judicial purposes in 1805,
and the first court was held in a log house
on the site of the Reynolds house in Kittanning,
with Samuel Roberts as president and James Barr,
Robert Orr and George Ross as associate judges.
The scenery of the Allegheny
Valley is so beautiful and impressive, as to
have received high praise at the hands of Bayard
Taylor, Dom Pedro and other noted travelers,
who have passed over the Allegheny Valley Railroad.
In 1818 there were only two
post-offices in the county and seventy years
later (1888) the following offices were in the
county: Adams, Adrian, Apollo, Arnold,
Atwood, Barnard's, Belknap, Blanco, Blanket
Hill, Brady's Bend, Brattonville, Bryan, Cochran's
Mills, Cowansville, Craigsville, Dayton, Deanville,
Dime, Echo, Eddyville, Elderton, Foster's Mills,
Freeport, Girty, Goheenville, Gosford, Greendale,
Kaylor, Kellersburg, Kelley's Station, Kittanning
(c. h.), Leechburg, Logansport, Long Run,
McHadden, McVill, McWilliams, Mahoning, Manorville,
Muff, North Buffalo, North Freedom, Oakland,
Oak Ridge Station, Olivet, Parker's Landing,
Phoenix, Pierce, Putneyville, Queenstown, Rimer,
Rosston, Rural Valley, Schenley Station, Shady
Plain, Sherrett, Slate Lick, South Bend, Spring
Church, Sydney, Templeton, Top, Walkchalk, West
Valley, Whitesburg, Widnoon, Worthington.
In 1820 there were 20 stores
in the county, which had increased to 79 in
number in 1840. In 1876 there were 358
wholesale and retail dealers on the mercantile
The Armstrong county Agricultural
society was organized in 1855, and existed until
1857, when it went out of existence after it
held two very successful fairs.
By resolutions of Congress two
surveys of the Allegheny river have been made:
one in 1829 and the other in 1837.
In 1863 the first telegraph
line was erected, and now telegraph lines extend
along every railroad.
As Armstrong county is rapidly
nearing the threshold of the second century
of her existence as a political division of
Pennsylvania, let not her people forget the
obligations which rest upon them as individuals,
to do each his part in the future, to secure
the continued prosperity of their county and
the happiness of their fellow-citizens.
Let the people of Armstrong county rejoice in
their arts and industries, in their fields and
mines, in their homes, their schools, their
churches, and, above all, in their Christian
Samuel T. Wiley [sig]
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page was last updated on -12/31/2012
Compilation Copyright 2008 to Present
By Linda Blum-Barton