Crawford County, Pennsylvania
History & Biography
"GAZETTEER OF TOWNSHIPS."
SUMMIT was formed in 1841. It is an interior township, lying west of the center of the county, and contains 14,012 square acres. It is drained in the eastern part by Pine Run, which flows south into Conneaut Lake, the northern part of which lies in this township, and in the north by the head waters of Conneaut Creek. The old Beaver & Erie Canal extends north through the central part, and unites with the Beaver Canal near the center of the south line.
Upon the farm of Mr. Almon Whiting in the south-east part of the township is a fine bed of marl, which is used as a fertilizer.
The population of the township in 1870 was 1,034, all of whom were white, 991 native and 43, foreign.
During the year ending June 3, 1872, it contained nine schools and employed ten teachers. The number of scholars was 272; the average number attending school, 227; and the amount expended for school purposes, $1,240.97.
HARMONSBURG (p. o.) is situated on Pine Run, at the head of Conneaut Lake, a little east of the center of the township.
Settlement was commenced by Joseph and Jacob Gehr, brothers, with their families, including Samuel, Adam, David and Baltzar Gehr, but in what year we have not determined, though it was probably near the beginning of the present century. Baltzar, being the youngest and not over fond of work, was furnished with a gun and ammunition and was expected to supply the two families with game. Adam Foust and Henry Bright settled here in 1797. Foust came from Berks county and purchased 1,200 acres of land on the east bank of Conneaut Lake. Michael Foust, his son, came with him at the age of six years. He says this section of country was then a wilderness. There was but one house between them and Meadville, and that was unoccupied. Bright came from Bedford county, at the age of twenty-five years, and settled upon a tract of 200 acres on the site of Harmonsburg. His parents were captured by the Indians during the Revolution and were literally starved to death. James McClure came in from Mifflin county, in 1798, and bought of one named Field a tract of 400 acres, one-half of which he subsequently gave to his cousin, John McClure, as an inducement to settle upon it. In 1814 James returned to Mifflin county to care for his father in his old age, and in 1827, six years after the latter's death, he again removed <p. 105> to his new home in Summit, and died there in 1852. His son, John, still lives upon the old homestead. He has a tannery upon the farm and works a little at the business. William McFaden, from Philadelphia, settled here in 1801. Mrs. Elizabeth Clark, his daughter, of Venango township, was born here in 1803. Daniel Close, came from Union county in 1823, and settled upon a tract of 400 acres, which he bought at an advance of $50 of Judge Smith, of Waterford, who purchased it at auction sale the same day for $1,200. There were then no improvements from this tract to the Cussewago, though many had settled and made improvements on the Meadville road.
The following, entitled "A CURIOUS CUT IN A TREE," is an extract from The Conneautville Courier and Record, and as we have not had opportunity to examine and determine its significance we give it, with the credit, without comment:
"Mr. Eli Brown, of Summit township, in felling a large oak tree on his farm, noticed in one of the large splinters torn out of the center of the stump the marks of a sharp instrument, the cut seeming to have been made with an ax or something similar. Mr. Brown had the curiosity to count the layers marking each year's growth from the cut to the outside, and was surprised to find them to number upwards of three hundred, showing that the cutting must have been done as early as 1573. The block of wood was brought to our office, where it may be seen."
1 Hamilton Child, comp., Gazetteer and Business Directory of Crawford County, Pa., for 1874 (Syracuse, N.Y.: By the comp., 1874), pp. 104-5.