Crawford County, Pennsylvania

History & Biography

    BLOOMFIELD was formed in 1811.  It lies upon the north border of the county, east of the center, and contains 39,465 square acres.  The surface is broken by the valley of Oil Creek, (which extends diagonally through the central part of the township,) and its numerous tributaries, the principal of which are West Gate Creek and Streve and Mosey runs.  The east and west branches of Federal Run irrigate the surface of the western part of the township and contribute their waters to Muddy Creek, a tributary of French Creek.  Oil Creek Lake lies about the center of the township.

    Dairying is an important industry of this township, and manufacturing is carried on to a limited extent.  The staple productions of the manufactories are lumber and cheese, among the industries which engage the attention of the people, are Wm. Porter & Son’s butter and cheese factory, situated at Chapinville, which was completed in May, 1873, gives employment to four persons, receives the milk of 275 cows and produces fifty pounds of butter and eight to ten cheeses per day; Dawson H. Fisher’s cheese factory, located on road 17, which employs two persons and produces eight cheeses per day; Eugene C. Wood’s shingle mill, situated on road 43, which employs two men and is capable of cutting 6,000 shingles per day; W. D. Brunstetter’s saw and lath mill, located on road 1, which employs eleven men and is capable of sawing 7,000 feet of lumber and 3,000 lath per day ; Samuel B. Wallace’s saw mill, situated on *40 Mosey run and on road 4½, which has facilities for sawing 2,000 feet of lumber per day; Wm. W. Woodward’s saw and grist mill, situated on Mosey Run and on road 20, with one run of stones and a capacity for sawing 2,000 feet of lumber per day; Perry Shreve’s saw mill, situated on a branch of West Gate Creek and on road 46; Dobben & Wise’s saw mill, situated at the junction of roads 17 and 19, which employs five men and has facilities for sawing 10,000 feet of lumber per day; Henry M. Batchelder’s saw mill, situated at Lincolnville, employing five men and producing 8,000 feet of lumber per day; and Davenport & Son’s saw mill, located at Riceville, which employs four men and is capacitated to saw 2,500 feet of lumber per day. 

    The Union & Titusville R. R. extends diagonally through the township, following the course of Oil Creek.

    The population of the township in 1870 was 1,262, of whom 1,238 were native, 24, foreign and all, white.

    During the year ending June 8, 1872, the township contained “ten and one-half schools,” and employed nineteen teachers.  The number of scholars was 377; the average number attending school, 274; and the amount expended for school purposes, $1,512.50. 

    RICEVILLE, (p. o.) situated on the south line, near the south-east corner, and upon Oil Creek, is a station on the U. & T. R. R.  In 1870 it had a population of 301.  It contains a church school house, hotel, four stores, two saw, one grist, and two shingle mills, one cabinet, two wagon, and two blacksmith shops, a foundry and agricultural implement manufactory, a sash, door and blind factory and about seventy-five dwellings.

    LINCOLNVILLE (p. o.) is situated on Oil Creek and on the U. & T. R. R., a little south of the center of the township.

    CHAPINVILLE (p. o.) is situated on the line of Rockdale.

    BLOOMFIELD (p. o.) is situated north-east of thecenter, at the head waters of West Gate Creek.

    The first settlement of which we have knowledge, was made by a man named Cunningham, who is believed to have located in 1795, on land subsequently purchased by James and Elkanah Blakeslee.  In 1798, James Hamilton came into the township, as the agent of John Fields, of Philadelphia, and with his advent commenced the first substantial improvement.  He built the first grist mill in 1800, near Oil Creek Lake.  It was rebuilt in 1821.  Mr. Hamilton removed to Meadville in in 1808.  Between 1798 and 1800 settlements were made by the Bloomfields, — Negus, — Piper, James Bryan and Joseph Kirk.  Richard Shreve, a son of Gen. Wm. Shreve of Bordentown, N. J., who served seven years under Washington, was *41 born Sept. 22, 1760, and came to Bloomfield in 1798, from Red Stone, where for eight years previous he was in charge of the Washington Mills, built by George Washington.  He had thirteen children, nine sons and four daughters, of whom Charles and Margaret are the only survivors.  Charles is now living on road 16, and has raised a large family.  Wm. and Barzillai Shreve brought a carding machine, which they run two seasons.  It was the third brought into Allegheny county, of which Crawford county was then a part, the other two being owned by Lot Lewis, of Meadville, and E. Hewes, of Erie.  James Blakeslee came to this township from Genesee county, N. Y., in May, 1819, followed in June of the same year by his son Elkanah, who was born August 23, 1796, in Washington county, N. Y., and removed thence with his father to Genesee county, in 1799.  The Blakeslees located on the Cunningham place, which they purchased of some Swedes, who succeeded Cunningham in the settlement thereon.  James died at the age of 87 years.  The first house built on the site of Riceville was erected by Samuel Rice.  It was constructed of logs.  The first saw mill at that village was built in 1830.  Seth Lincoln, a native of Massachusetts, came from Fabius, N. Y., in December, 1837, and took up a tract of 400 acres on the site of Lincolnville, where he cut the first tree and erected the first saw and grist mills.  The saw mill is still in operation, but the grist mill relapsed into disuse about two years ago.  While passing a chute with a raft, on his way to Pittsburgh, in 1847, Mr. Lincoln received a blow on the head from a scantling, which caused his death.  Salmon N. Sturdevant, also from Fabius, joined Mr. Lincoln the year following that of his settlement.  He purchased ten acres from a gentleman living in Meadville, and subsequently fifty acres from Mr. Lincoln, on which he is still living at the age of 74 years, and filling the office of town clerk.

   The Bloomfield Baptist Church, at Shreve Corners, was organized with eighteen members, Dec. 24, 1850, by Rev. R D. Hays, the first pastor, and and their church edifice, which will seat 250 persons, was erected in 1854.  The Church now has eighty-five members.  During its existence 167 persons have been added by baptism, letter, experience, and former baptism; 71 have been dismissed by letter; and 22 have been excluded and their names erased from the Church membership.  It has had seven different pastors, the present incumbent, Rev. C. Shreve, our informant, now being on the twelfth year of his pastorate.  The Church property is valued at $2,500.

1 Hamilton Child, comp., Gazetteer and Business Directory of Crawford County, Pa., for 1874 (Syracuse, N.Y.: By the comp., 1874), pp. 118-19.