Paint Township (Chap. 62)


edited by A. J. Davis, 1887



By D. A. Bryner.

transcribed by
Michael Goughler

PAINT township lies east of Beaver and Elk townships, and north of the  Clarion River, which separates it from Clarion borough, Piney, Monroe and Clarion townships. It is drained by Paint Creek flowing west into Deer Creek and Toby Creek, which flows southwest into the Clarion River. It was first settled about the year 1820 by F. Eshleman, Andy Gardner, George Walters and Daniel Brenneman. In 1828 John H. Groce, the father of John Groce, who is still a citizen of the township, settled on what is known as the Patrick farm, two miles west of the Clarion River on the turnpike. In 1830, Sebastian Cook emigrated from Germany, and settled on lands joining John H. Groce. He was the father of Mrs. I. C. Bryner, and George and S. Cook, who are still citizens of the township. About this time the McClains, Alexander Bell and a few others settled in different parts of the township.

At that time the township embraced a wide territory, and belonged to Venango county. It was covered by a dense forest of pine and oak timber, and was inhabited by wild animals, such as deer, bears and panthers, which were more or less troublesome to the early settlers. As the population increased, new townships were erected, but the writer will only give the history for what is now known as Paint township.

Schools. -- In 1828 a log school-house was built on the pike, near the lands of John H. Groce. One of the first teachers was Jacob Phipps, and the series of books was the United States spelling book and the Bible. A man who could read and write well was considered a teacher fit to educate the children of the early settlers. Some children went to the school from a distance of five or six miles. They would board with their neighbors living near the school during the week, and return home on Saturday. A few years later a school-house was built in the southern part of the township on the lands of Daniel Brenneman. It was used for a school-house and church, and was afterwards abandoned and a new one was built a mile farther south, known as the Manor school-house. It was built about the year 1850, and the first teacher was Miss Messenger.

In 1850 a school-house was built on the Pike, a mile west of the Clarion River. The first teacher was Robert Livingston. The old house still stands, although a new one was built in 1878 near the same place. In 1859 a schoolhouse was built in the northern part of the township on the land of Isaac Hicks; it was abandoned in 1877, and a new one was built a mile further south known as the Goble school. In 1880 a school-house was erected at Paint Mills.

Churches. -- The township has but one church within its limits. It was erected in 1880, near Paint Mill Station, on the line of the P. and W. Railroad, and dedicated as a union church.

Lumber. -- The principal lumber manufacturing was operated first at the mouth of Little Toby on the Clarion River; the mills were built by Myers & Shippen about the year 1825. From 1825 to 1858, the writer cannot give the different names of the proprietors. From 1858 to 1864, it was owned and operated by Zigler and Baker. They were succeeded by Corbet & Wilson, and in 1883 they sold the property to Thomas Rane, who is still engaged in the manufacturing of lumber and boat-building.

From 1857 to 1865 Curll, Pritner & Company were engaged in the manufacture of lumber, at a place known as Penn Mills, on Little Toby. The capacity of their mills was about thirty thousand feet of sawed lumber per day. The engine that drove their machinery was made by Nathan Myers, of Clarion, and is still in use at the mills of Porter Haskell, at or near Tylersburg.

In 1870, Hahn, Metzgar & Wagner purchased of Jacob Black a tract of pine and oak timber, on Paint Creek. This was considered one of the finest tracts of timber land in the township. The firm erected mills known as Paint Mills and engaged in the manufacture of lumber. They were succeeded by Wagner & Curll, who are still in the business.

In 1880 Arthurs Coal and Lumber Company purchased a tract of timber land in the northern part of the township, on the line of the Pittsburgh and Western Railroad. Their timber has been all cut and shipped, and what was once a forest of pine and oak timber, has been reduced by the woodman's ax, to a forsaken lumber camp, and is growing up with brush. A few more years will wipe out the lumber industry in Paint township. The rising generation will then have to look elsewhere for building material. What their forefathers manufactured and shipped to Pittsburgh and other markets, they will have to buy from other sources.

Coal. -- The first coal bank was opened in 1839 on the Sebastain [sic] Cook farm. The township is underlaid with different veins of coal, and of late years a number of banks have been in operation.

Oil. -- In 1864 Shandler & Company drilled a test oil well on the John H. Groce farm, better known as the Patrick farm. It was drilled a wet hole, and was tubed and pumped for weeks, but it could not be made to produce any oil. In those days a leather bag filled with flax seed was fastened around the tubing at a depth of five or six hundred feet. In this way they could shut off the water from the oil-bearing rock so long as they did not need to pull the tubing.

In 1876 Jacob Black drilled a test well on the same farm. A small flow of gas was found, but no oil, and the well was abandoned.

In 1878 C. Leeper & Company drilled a well on the Joseph Banner farm in the northwestern part of the township. It produced five barrels of oil per day, and was the first producing oil well in the township. Nothing more was done in oil until 1885 to 1887, when quite a number of producing wells were drilled in the same locality.

Farming. -- The early settlers did not turn their attention to farming. They were mostly engaged in boat-building, lumbering, and daily toil for the iron manufacturers, and they used their farms mostly for a home to live on, and, only tilled them when work was scarce about these manufactories; but in later years the farmers have been turning their attention more to agriculture, and at present a number of well tilled farms may be seen in different parts of the township.

Area of township. -- 13,511 acres. Population in 1887, 437.

Township officers in 1887: Justice of the peace, George Cook and H. G. Verstine; judge of election, John M. Wagner; inspectors, John Near and Amos Wagner; constable, Sebastian Cook; assessor, S. D. Young; overseers of the pc6r, George Cook and Joseph Heppinger; supervisors, Fred Stark and William Bish; collector of tax, J. P. Rapp; school directors, George Cook, Joseph Heppinger, William Brenneman, Samuel Brenneman, Martin Wagner and Christopher Shultz; auditors, D. A. Bryner, C. G. Thompson and Martin Wagner.

War Record. -- The little township of Paint furnished thirty-two men for the late rebellion, and there are still living in the township Sebastian Cook, who enlisted January 19th, 1862; was discharged July 13th, 1865, having spent nine months in a rebel prison. Alexander Goble enlisted November 1, 1861 was discharged June 10th, 1865. John Smith enlisted February 13, 1862; was discharged June 29th, 1865. Frederick Brenneman enlisted in 1861, and served three years for his country's cause. J. W. Young enlisted July 1, 1861, and was discharged March 23, 1863. Wolff Heppinger was killed at the battle of South Mountain. Alf Rynard and A. Whistner were killed at the battle of Gaines's mill. Joseph Groce died in prison. David Thomas and Horace Young died in the hospital. Horace Kiskadden, Andy Smith, John Young, John Goble, Dock Goble, Burt Goble, John Shull, John McDonnell, David Sheets, Lewis Dolby, Charles Harps, Miles Brenneman, and some five or six others were credited to the township, as they were citizens at the time they enlisted. The population of the township at the time of the rebellion was about 330. The majority of her young men fit for military duty were in the army. Thus closes the chapter for Paint township.

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