Celebrating Spring Creek

Celebrating Spring Creek

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton Elijah Jackson, one of the first two settlers of what we know now as Spring Creek, is buried at the Spring Creek Cemetery.

Now we know it as Spring Creek Township.

Before that it was “Number Two.”

Before that, Benjamin Franklin was part of its story.

Spring Creek Township turns 200 this year and the community is planning a bicentennial event for Sunday, August 22. So for the next several weeks, this space will highlight some Spring Creek stories you’ve surely heard of (I can’t write about Spring Creek without writing about the Supreme Court justice born there) and some that you haven’t (perhaps my favorite on that side of things is a veteran who fought for the Blue… and the Gray.)

The first mention in Schenck’s History of Warren County – by far the best resource when digging back this far in the county’s past – to the space that is now the township blasts past 200 years though.

Photo courtesy of Spring Creek Township While nowhere near the township’s founding, here’s another look at Spring Creek as it once was with a very, very early automobile.

Schenck writes that “part of the Indian purchase of 1784” was added to Westmoreland county in 1785. Remember, this is well before the advent of Warren County and this action included land in Warren County.

Two years later, the Supreme Executive Council (which essentially functioned as the state’s governor) awarded 500 acres to James Chambers, a Revolutionary colonel. That 500 acres was in Spring Creek Township. Franklin, at this stage, was the president of the council.

“This deed or grant,” Schenck writes, “was signed by Franklin August 17, 1787 and is one of the oldest papers of record relating to Warren county.”

From there we jump ahead to the 1820s when the county’s municipalities started to take shape. What was one township was turned into two and in March 1821 two were split into a total of 12, one of which was deemed “Number Two.”

An order dated March 8, 1821 said the court “do approve of and confirm the same and order and direct that the same be entered of record, and that the Townships be laid off agreeably to said report, and that the same be organized and known by the following names….”

Photo courtesy of Spring Creek Township The Donald Brothers Store in this undated photo. Given the presence of electricity, circa 1900 would be an appropriate estimate for this photo.

“Number Two” became Spring Creek Township amid a series of other namings.

That list included Brokenstraw, Conewango, Spring Creek, Sugar Grove, Pine Grove, Kinzua, Deerfield, North West (now Columbus), Limestone, Tionesta (obviously obsolete). Elk, and South West. “Of these seven,” Schenck writes, “Brokenstraw, Conewango, Spring Creek, Sugar Grove, Pine Grove, Kinzua, and Deerfield, were organized, the remainder being attached to the organized townships for a number of years.”

But those boundaries weren’t even settled as Pittsfield township was formed from Brokenstraw and Spring Creek in 1847. Long story short, it took decades before the current boundaries of the municipalities in the county were settled.

Schenck writes that the early inhabitants of the township got to pick the name and he described the land as “pleasantly diversified by hill and dale, and the soil is fertile and excellently adapted to agriculture, being especially favorable to dairying and stock raising.”

The first two settlers of the area are identified as Andrew Evers and Elijah Jackson (yep, that Jackson family), who came to the area together in November 1797.

Photo courtesy of Spring Creek Township While nowhere near the township’s founding, here’s another look at Spring Creek as it once was with a very, very early automobile.

With the creation of the township in 1821, the first tax rolls appear in 1822 but there was “practically no village there,” Schenck writes. That continued to be the condition on the ground until the railroad came through the township.

In classing 19th century prose, Schenck details the names of those early founders and then, well, here’s what he wrote: The first list of taxables of the town, made out in 1822, reveals the names of the settlers who had made this town their home previous to that time, and attests that they were men of the right sort to open a new country – men of nerve and courage, who were willing to suffer hardships and privations for the promised reward of a settled habitation, where a competence might with diligent application be obtained ; men of enterprise and foresight sufficient to see the benefits of living in a country covered with such valuable timber, and to take advantage of their sagacity.”

The first school however was much earlier, taught by Daniel Jones in a log house at the mouth of Spring Creek in 1804 and 1805.

The first store opened in 1836 and the first Spring Creek postmaster – George Yager – assumed the office in 1828. “While he was postmaster the mail was distributed at this house,” Schenck wrote. “At that time the mail was carried on horseback, one of the routes being from Titusville, through Columbus, and another from Meadville to Jamestown.”

The first church followed – a Congregational church in 1847.

We’ll spend the weeks between now and the bicentennial event looking at other facets of Spring Creek’s history.


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