Brady Township (Chap. 45)


edited by A. J. Davis, 1887



By L. L. Himes.

transcribed by
Michale Goughler

THIS township was christened in honor of Captain Brady, of Indian fame. His venturesome career is so familiar to the people of Clarion county that an extended recital of his daring deeds is unnecessary.

Brady township was formerly a part of Madison. In 1866 the will of the people was ascertained by a vote, and the new township of Brady was ordered and decreed; the township to contain all lying in the great bend of the Allegheny River southwest of Madison, and to be separated therefrom by a straight line connecting Catfish and Redbank, passing through the lands of the Pittsburgh Coal and Mining Company.

Brady township is connected to Madison by a very high and narrow strip of land, which is quite famous in the early history of the county. On one occasion the Indians had captured two whites down the river, and had brought them to their camp in the bend and secured them to stakes. Captain Brady came up on the Armstrong county side, and from the rocky cliff on that side discovered the prisoners. At night he descended the cliff, swam the Allegheny River, released the prisoners, and with them returned to the opposite side of the river and escaped.

This township contains about one thousand five hundred acres of land, five hundred under cultivation, the remainder rough, but valuable on account of the great deposits of coal, iron ore, and limestone.  The land lying next the river is low and level and valuable for farming purposes. The interior is very rocky, and contains high elevations with. abrupt descent, and cut through by deep hollows.

Early Settlers. -- Captain Samuel Brady was not only the first white settler in Brady township, but the first in Clarion county. He located near the present site of East Brady shortly after the close of the Revolutionary War, and lived by hunting and fishing. No marks of improvement were made by white settlers until many years after.

Captain Thomas Phillips was among the first white settlers that made any -improvement. He located a tract of land where Phillipston (Phillipsburg) now stands, and built.the first house ever built in this township. The first story was a studding frame and the second of hewed logs. About this time Captain Brady conveyed to Judge Ross, of Pittsburgh, the Brady tract for defending him in the courts for the killing of an Indian.    Some time after this judge Ross conveyed to J. M. Cunningham (1) a five hundred-acre tract, joining Phillipston. Cunningham moved on the land, cleared it up, and divided it into smaller tracts, conveyed one hundred acres to W. J. Cresswell, which at present is owned by Mr. N. Myres, of Clarion.

Alexander Giffen was likewise an early settler. He was born in Irvine Ayershire, Scotland, March 5, 1809, and came here in 1830, and is to day the oldest person living in the township. He has been engaged in the mercantile business for a long time.

Adam McGee was among the early settlers; he followed the river as a pilot, and died at the age of eighty-four years.

While nature has been lavish in mineral deposits in this township, she has been niggardly in her gifts of forests. A few ridges of white oak are the only forests to which Brady can lay claim.

East Brady (see history of) and Phillipston are the only towns of note in this township. Phillipston, situated on the Allegheny River, is a thriving village, named after the pioneer, Captain Thomas Phillips. No regular survey of lots was ever made, but pieces of land were sold to purchasers as desired.

The first M. E. Church was built in 1852, and this one was replaced by a new one in 1876.

The first school-house was built in 1852, and the teacher's desk therein was successfully occupied by Messrs. Giffin, Martin, Edward and Burns. In those good old days they did not have lady teachers. Much of the instruction was good and forcible, and laid the foundation for the character of many of the present citizens of Phillipston. The old school-house gave way to a new and more modern one in 1873, and has been no less fortunate in the character of its teachers, but, on the contrary, as the house was a modern improvement, so the teachers that have occupied it were modern teachers, and stand high among that class in the county.    Those especially worthy of mention are the following: James Pinks, in 1879; H. S. Lerch, in 1880; Nannie Cochrane, 1881 and 1883 ; Lizzie Hull, 1882 and 1887; J. G. Conners, 1883; Miss S. H. Hosey, 1884; L. A. Cowan, 1885 ; S. G. Hover. 1886.

The school has ever kept pace with the rapid advancement of the times, and has been the means of great good.

The Green Line tank and repairing shops of the A. V. Railroad, are a valuable part of the town, furnishing employment for a number of men at good wages. These shops burned down in 1886, but were immediately rebuilt.

The only county officer ever elected from Brady township was Mr. Jacob Turney, to the office of sheriff, which office he filled with credit to himself and to the entire satisfaction of the people.

The following named persons served in the army during the late civil war: Messrs. Andrew Mock, William McCoy, Alexander Giffen. J. W. Gannoe, W. S. Gannoe, Henry Templeton.

In 1879 the firm of Stephenson & Mitchell leased the old Martin farm and developed the celebrated Pine Run coal mine, which gives employment to one hundred and fifty hands, producing one hundred thousand tons of coal annually, and is considered one of the best mines in Western Pennsylvania.

The Hardscrabble Mines, on lands formerly owned by Brady Bend Iron Company, are owned and operated by the Hon. G. A. Grow, and Mr. Hartwell. They give employment to over one hundred men and add materially to the wealth of the township. The mines owned by the Pittsburgh Coal and Mining Company, a few years ago, employed several hundred men, and shipped more coal than any other mine along the Allegheny River, but the coal is exhausted and the mines abandoned. Brady township has the best railroad facilities of any township in the county. The Allegheny Valley Railroad almost encircles it, and has been of much benefit, giving an outlet for the great mineral wealth of the township.

1 See history of East Brady.

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