Cameron County Genealogy Project, Sinnamahoning

Cameron County Genealogy Project
Gibson Township


"The Village of Sinnamahoning, PA"

By Pete Bennett

A small town located in southeastern Cameron County, PA the village of Sinnamahoning is a historic place. Situated in the deepest part of the Allegheny Mountains 21 miles south of the county seat of Emporium, it still holds the allure and excitement of it's golden past, when it was the focal point of the logging industry in Central Pennsylvania. Those were the years 1860-1910.

The name "Sinnamahoning" comes from the Indian name "Achsinnimahoni" which means "Stony Lick." It's first claim to fame was in the 1780's when a band of marauding Indians were attacked by Peter Grove and his Northumberland Rangers at the mouth of Grove Run in the village. Grove had followed the savages there after they had attacked and killed members of his family in eastern Pennsylvania. After killing several of the war party, Grove and his men fled to the protection of the nearest fort at Bald Eagle.

Sinnamahoning also has the distinction of being the hometown of the first woman to run for President of the United States. Victoria Claflin Woodhull was the daughter of Buckman Claflin who opened a pioneer store there in 1839. She was born in Homer, Ohio, in 1838, but raised in Sinnemahoning. She, and her sister Tennie C. Claflin, later moved to New "York City where they took part in the women's suffrage movement, even challenging the famous Susan B. Anthony for the leadership role. She was nominated for President by the Equal Rights Party in 1872, but lost the election to U.S. Grant. She later married a wealthy Englishman and lived the remainder of her life in London, where she died in 1927.

Once a boomtown, Sinnamahoning had two railroads running through it. The Philadelphia & Erie and the Buffalo & Susquehanna. Logging was the major industry for years, later giving way to the Dynamite Plants in the early 1900's. Dynamite manufactured at these plants was used in the building of the Panama Canal and gunpowder from them was used in the war effort in WWI and WWII. Flagstone from quarries in the area was used to build the facade at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near Washington, DC.

In 1872 John Brooks, a prominent citizen and member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from Cameron County, built the Brooks Academy there. It was the first school of higher learning ever established in the area.

Sinnamahoning today is the center of a vast hunting and fishing paradise, although it's not over commercialized. Whitetail deer and black bear abound in the woods surrounding the town and each year many sportsmen visit the area to practice their hunting skills. The George B. Stevenson Dam is conviently located just nine miles north of town on the First Fork of the Sinnamahoning Creek. Trout fishing at the Dam and in the Creek is the best you'll find any where in Pennsylvania. Also located there is the Sinnamahoning State Park with it's lovely Forty Maples Picnic Area. The park is a great place to watch for eagles as they soar high over the lofty mountains. Camping facilities are available by the day or by the week. Plan a week and RELAX.

For dining stop at the Willows Restaurant or you may wish to visit one of the local sportsmen clubs. The Sinnamahoning Sportsman's Club is located one mile west of town on State Route 120, which each year sponsors a Rattlesnake Hunt. The second is the Mountain Country Sportsman's Club, located nine mile north of town on State Route 872 near the Stevenson Dam. They sponsor a yearly Coyote Hunt.

To say the least, you'll find Sinnamahoning, PA a great place to visit and get to know, as many others have done in the past.

Article from the "Highland Gazette" May 1996 by Pete Bennett


This page was last updated on  Wednesday, June 12, 2002.

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2002 Cameron County Pennsylvania Genealogy Project