Crawford County, Pennsylvania
History & Biography
"GAZETTEER OF TOWNSHIPS."
CUSSEWAGO was formed in 1811. It lies upon the
north border of the county, a little west of the center, and contains
23,496 square acres. The surface is a rolling upland, the
highest point being about 200 feet above the surrounding country. In the eastern part of the township, north of the center, <p. 47>
is a fine plateau, and a more extensive one in the south-western
part. The valley of Cussewago Creek, south of the center of
the township, is somewhat swampy and is consequently more
heavily timbered and less improved. The western, central and
south-eastern portions are drained by Cussewago Creek, (which
flows in a southerly direction through the west part,) and its
numerous branches, and the north-eastern portion by
small streams which are tributary to French and Conneaut
creeks. The soil in the valley of the Cussewago is a highly productive
gravelly loam, interspersed occasionally with a mixture
of clay and sand, the first range of farms upon either side being
free from stones; that upon the uplands consists generally of a
good quality of clay loam and sand, and occasionally of gravelly
loam. Agriculture is a prominent industry, the attention of
the farmers being directed principally to dairying and stock
raising, though grain in sufficient quantity for home consumption
is raised. Manufacturing is carried on to a limited extent.
Among the establishments devoted to the latter branch of industry
are two steam saw mills, one located one and one-half
miles west of Mosiertown and owned by Bennett Bros., and the
other in the south part, owned by P. L. Potter; a planing mill,
located in the east part; a fork handle and stave factory, located
a Mosiertown, and owned by Clark & Benjamin; and two cheese
factories now in successful operation, one at Crossingville,
owned by Wm. Nash & Bro., and the other located in the east
part and owned by John Cole, while the building of a third one
at Mosiertown is being agitated by the farmers in that vicinity.
The population of the township in 1870 was 1,674, of whom
1,578 were native, 96 foreign, 1662, white and twelve, colored.
During the year ending June 3, 1872, the township contained
thirteen schools and employed twenty-five teachers. The number
of scholars was 438; the average number attending school,
328; and the amount expended for school purposes, $1,806.39.
CROSSINGVILLE, (p. 0.) is a flourishing village, pleasantly located on Cussewago Creek, in the north-west part of the township.
It contains two churches, two stores, one hotel, two
blacksmith shops and a cheese factory. It is surrounded by a
good farmiug country, and derives its name from the fact that
the Indians were accustomed to cross the Cussewago here.
CUSSEWAGO (Mosiertown p. o.) is situated south-east of the center, on a branch of Cussewago Creek, and is equi-distant
from Crossingville, Saegertown and Venango, being within five
miles of either place. It contains two churches, two stores, one
hotel, blacksmith, shoe, carriage and harness shops, one of each,
a tannery, which is temporarily inoperative, and eighteen or
POTTERS CORNERS (p. o.) is located in the south-west part, at the confluence of Cussewago and Little Cussewago creeks.
Settlement was commenced in 1795 by Robert Erwin, (father
of Leonard Erwin,) who located on the farm on which James
Hatch now resides, where he built a log house and remained
several years. He married in 1802. Settlements were made in
1797 by Alex. and John Sweeney, John Chamberlin and John Clawson. The Sweeneys were brothers and natives of Ireland,
and came in the spring of that year, after a three years residence
in Northumberland county. Alex. bought 1,600 acres of land,
and built a log cabin on each 400 acres, in which he settled his
relatives. Their united efforts were bent to the furtherance of
improvements, and in a few years they were able to support a
school composed of their own children. During one winter
the school was attended by thirty-six scholars, all of whom were
first cousins. Chamberlin was a native of New Jersey, near
Trenton, where he married Elizabeth Wykoff, who was born at
the same place. After his marriage he resided some time in
Sussex county, whence he came to this township, where most
of his children were raised. He built a cabin of such logs as he
and another man could roll up. The chimney was constructed
of sticks and mud, and the roof, door and floor of split
poles. The openings for windows were covered with greased
paper as a substitute for glass. He was obliged to carry his
grist to Meadville. A bushel of grain was conveyed thither upon
his back, ground, and he returned with it the same day. With
his gun he provided meat for the family from the game which
was abundant. Wild beasts were numerous and troublesome,
especially to the stock. After a few years he built a house of
hewn logs, and when it was raised, so few and scattered were
the settlers, that help came from Meadville, among them the
county judge. Clawson also came from New Jersey and settled
about the center of the township, on the farm now occupied by
his son Martin. Upon this farm is an orchard raised from seed
planted by John Clawson. In it is an apple tree seventy-five years
old and measuring nearly seven feet in circumference. The
following year, (1798,) Jacob Hites came in from Philadelphia
county and settled upon the farm on which Jacob Moyer now resides.
He erected a cabin of rough logs, exhibiting the devices
employed in the construction of houses of that period. Mr. David
Hites, who was six years old when his father came here, says their
nearest neighbor was Rev. Owen David. Michael Greeley, a
Virginian, lived north of them, and Robert Erwin next north
of him. Several families had located in the vicinity of Crossingville.
Among those who settled about this year (1798)
were Patrick and Bartholomew McBride, Miles Tinny, (natives
<p. 49> of Ireland,) and John Donohue, a native of Delaware. Tinny
on coming to this country first settled in Northamberland
county, where, after a few years residence, he married Miss
Martha, daughter of Bartholomew McBride. Many of the
descendants of these families still reside in this part of the
country. Daniel McBride, son of Patrick, who was born within
sight of the place where he now resides, says his father
settled here in 1797. Donohue settled one mile from John
Clawson. He built a log cabin, in which he kept bachelors
hall four years, when he erected a better house and married.
He carried his supplies, except such articles as he could raise on
the limited piece of ground he had cleared, on his back from
Meadville. He traded his cow for a gun, with which he supplied
himself with meat. Grove Lewis, a native of Bucks
county, came with his family to Meadville in 1798, and to Cussewago
the following year. The settlements were then very
sparse, and as the product of the cleared lands was inadequate
for their support, much suffering was experienced. Mr. Eber
Lewis, (son of Grove,) who now resides in the north-eastern
part of the township and is the only surviving soldier of the
war of 1812 living in that part of the county, relates that some
of his neighbors felt so keenly the pangs of hunger that they
were driven to the necessity of digging up the potatoes they
had planted for food, and he recollects of being obliged himself to
eat bread made from sifted bran. Many of the necessaries of life
could be obtained no nearer than Pittsburgh, and the article of
salt was worth $20 per barrel. Mr. Lewis has just obtained a
pension for services rendered in the war of 1812, the installment
just received amounting to about $2. John McTier came
on foot from Cumberland county with his family, consisting of
his wife and three children, and settled in Cussewago in
November, 1799. He carried one of his children (now Mrs.
Nancy McBride) all the way in his arms. He immediately
commenced the erection of a log cabin, which he covered with
poles, brush and moss. It had no door, the only means of ingress
and egress being ladders placed within and without the
wall, which was thus scaled. It was also devoid of a chimney,
one corner of the building being occupied by the fire place.
In this rude habitation the family lived about a year,
when a more comfortable log house was built. Lewis
Thickstun came from New Brunswick, N. J., in 1802,
and settled on the farm on which his son William now
resides. Samuel Lefever came in 1810 and moved his
family in the next year. At his house, says his daughter,
Mrs. P. King, was held the first township meeting. Harmon
Rice moved iuto the county from Orange county, N. Y., in 1815,
<p. 50> and in 1816, he settled in Cussewago, on the farm upon which
his son, L. E. Rice, now lives. Thomas Potter and his two
sons, (Aaron T. and Job,) natives of Connecticut, came the
latter year and took up about 800 acres in the vicinity of
Potters Corners, where his grandsons, C. H. Potter and his
brother, now reside, and in 1819 he moved his family here. In
1818 he built a saw mill and in 1821, a grist mill, each of which
was the first of its kind in the township. Wm. Alward settled
in the township in 1832, and at that late day, says his son,
Daniel, the country was an almost unbroken wilderness and
log houses and barns were in vogue.
Upon the farm of Mrs. L. Erwin and in other localities in
that vicinity the relics, consisting of tomahawks, arrow-heads,
&c., which have been exhumed indicate that there were Indian
burying grounds there. It is supposed that this point on Cussewago
Creek was the site of an Indian village, and that the
soil was cultivated by the aborigines to some extent. Apple
trees in this locality evincing great age were beleived to have
been planted by the Indians.
There are seven churches in the township, two at Cussewago,
(Baptist and Lutheran,) two at Crossingville, (Catholic and
United Brethren,) one (Seventh-day Baptist,) located in the
east part of the township, near Coles cheese factory, one
(United Brethren,) at Hotchkiss Corners, and one of the same
denomination on the Saegertown road, about three-fourths of a mile from Cussewago.
Carmel Church, (Baptist,) at Cussewago, was organized with twenty
members, in November, 1805, by Thomas G. Jones. The first church
edifice, constructed of hewn logs, was erected in 1810; the second one, in
1839; and the present one, which will seat 250 persons, in 1856, at a cost
of $1500. The first pastor was Elder Miller; the present one is Rev. J. M. Collins. The Society numbers 123; its property is valued at $2000. [Information furnished by Mr. Wm. Thickstun.
Union Church, (Lutheran and Reformed,) near Cussewago, was organized
with sixteen members in 1829, by P. Yeiser, its first pastor. The first
house of worship was erected in 1832, and the present one which will seat
150 persons, in 1855, at a cost of about $700. There are forty-four members
who are under the pastoral care of Rev. J. Apple. The Church property
is valued at $1500.[Information furnished by Deacon Reuben Mosier.
Cussewago Church, (United Brethren in Christ,) near the Hotchkiss school house, was organized with twenty members, in 1852, by Rev. Wm.
Cadman, the first pastor, and the church edifice, which will seat 350 persons,
was erected in 1857, at a cost of $660. The present pastor is Rev.
H. F. Day, and the number of members, sixty. The Church property is valued at $1500.
The Seventh-Day Baptist Church, at Cussewago, was organized with
seventeen members, in 1857, by Elder A. A. F. Randolph, the first pastor. The house of worship was erected in 1858, at a cost of $800. It will seat 175 persons. The pulpit is supplied by Rev. Joel Green. There are <p. 51> thirty members, and the Church property is valued at $1500.[Information furnished by Mr. Perry Cole.
The United Brethren in Christ Church, at Crossingville, was organized
with seven members, in 1870, by Rev. Cyrus Castiline, its first pastor.
The Church edifice was erected the same year. It cost $1700, and will
seat 400 persons. The Church consists of thirteen members and is
ministered to by Rev. Lafayette Day. The Church property is valued at
$1900.[Information furnished Mr. Wm. Ward.
1 Hamilton Child, comp., Gazetteer and Business Directory of Crawford County, Pa., for 1874 (Syracuse, N.Y.: By the comp., 1874), pp. 35-37.