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Honoring residents who have served their community

By Steve Horsley

Most communities have individuals who distinguish themselves during their lives with service to their community or their country. This was true of residents of the Pine Grove area in its early years.

In this issue of Russell-Akeley Life, I will mention some of the residents from the early years of our town who distinguished themselves in this way.

Thomas Slone (1796 – 1886) came to Pine Grove as a child. In March 1820 he was licensed to run a tavern in Russellburg. Slone was a Warren County Commissioner from 1837 – 1840 and was actively involved in the welfare of both the township and county.

Peter Burgett (1800 – 1874) came with his family in 1815 from Oxford, Chenango County, New York. Burgett was a farmer and surveyor. He surveyed and straightened out a portion of the Indian trail we now know as State Line Road.

Major James Harriott (1767 – 1842) grew up in Meadville Pennsylvania and was first recorded in Pine Grove Township in 1815, when he and Colonial Hackney owned a sawmill in Irvineburg, below Russellburg. Both men were in the business of manufacturing and rafting lumber on the Conewango Creek. The tax records for 1822 show that Harriott owned 1965 acres of land and had a double sawmill.

Guy C. Irvine (1792 – 1868) came from Northumberland County to Brokenstraw Township in 1817. Called the “Napoleon of the lumber business”, he was well known from Olean, New York to New Orleans, Louisiana. Guy Irvine was in the lumber and sawmilling business and owned a number of sawmills on the Conewango Creek and the Allegheny River. He and Rufus Weatherby built the home on today’s US Route 62 that we know as “The Locusts” (See Russell – Akeley Life, June 24, 2020). During the springs of 1836 – 1840, Irvine ran lumber rafts on the Conewango Creek and other local streams that were floated down the Allegheny River to Pittsburgh and subsequently to Louisville Kentucky and New Orleans Louisiana. Irvine is said to have cut three million board feet of timber from his forest holdings.

Asahel G. Lane (1812 – 1876) was born in Camden, Oneida County, New York and came to Warren when he was about four years old. In 1832, he moved to Russellburg, where he owned and operated a store, a sawmill and a gristmill. In 1848, he became the Justice of the Peace for Pine Grove and by 1865 he was the Treasurer for Warren County. In 1870, he built the Lane Hotel at the northwest corner of Main and Liberty Sts. in Russell (See Russell – Akeley Life, November 19, 2019).

Charles Chase (1833 – ?) was born in a log cabin on Valentine Run Rd. and shortly moved north to Akeley, where his father, Reuben, ran a sawmill with William and Danforth Hale. At the age of 16 Charles made his first trip down the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers on a lumber raft headed to Cincinnati Ohio. Beginning in 1872 he contracted delivery of lumber for L. F. Watson of Warren. After Watson’s death, Charles continued to pilot lumber rafts, with his last trip in 1891. He was an original stockholder in the Warren National Bank and a member of its Board of Directors.

Theodore Lafayette Putnam (1834 – 1913) grew up on a farm in Pine Grove Township and attended local schools. He was a wagon maker and a school master. Theodore Putnam was a Warren County Commissioner and an auditor for Warren County. For 12 years he was the Pine Grove Township Assessor and he served as a school Director and Justice of the Peace.

Harrison Allen (1835 – ?) was born on a farm in Russellburg and educated in local schools. In 1861, while a law student in the law offices of Johnson and Brown in Warren, he organized a regiment of Pennsylvania volunteers (Warren Guards) to fight in the Civil War. During the war years, he was under the command of Generals Doubleday, Reynolds, Meade and Ord at Drainsville, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg and Williamsport. During his service, he was promoted from Captain to Major, then to Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel. He was awarded the rank of Brigadier General at the end of the war. After the war, Allen was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly (1867 – 1870) and was a Pennsylvania State Senator from 1870 – 1872. In 1872, he was elected Auditor General, serving from 1872-1875. In 1885, Allen was appointed United States Marshal of the Dakota Territory.

Edwin W. Thompson (1835 – ?) was the son of William P. Thompson, who had come to Pine Grove Township in 1829. When Edwin was 29, he operated a water-powered sawmill on Satterlee Run. Edwin Thompson built the first “circular sawmill in Russellburg in 1862. He sold the mill to Thomas Briggs in 1867. In 1884, Thompson built the most complete saw and planning mill in Warren County, marketing his lumber in Pittsburgh PA and Louisville KY. He was known as the most enterprising businessman in Pine Grove, running milling businesses for over 40 years with his son Fred Thompson.

ROAR

SEPTEMBER 14, 2020

The regular monthly meeting of the ROAR Committee was held at the Russell Town Hall on Sept. 14. Karen Martin, Beautification Committee Chair, reported that the flower beds at the corner of U.S. Route 62 and South Main Street and across from the Post Office in downtown Russell are being maintained on a regular basis. Katie Walker, Flag and Banner Co-chair, reported that new banners have been hung in downtown Russell.

Progress on enhancement of the canoe/kayak launch site on the Conewango Creek in Larimer Park was reported by committee Chairman Art Sager. Two successful meeting held at the Russell launch site in August with township supervisors, and representatives of several government and outdoor organizations have resulted in a draft grant proposal that is now being edited and will be submitted for funding shortly.

It was voted to implement Phase Two of the “Walkable Russell” program by replacing old broken sidewalks on North Main Street between Liberty and East streets with new cement pavements on both sides of North Main Street.

SUPERVISORS’ REPORT

SEPTEMBER 9, 2020

The summer road maintenance season is coming to an end. With the oiling and sealing of Townline Road, which is scheduled for September 15, all budgeted sealing and paving will be done for this year. Roads that have been completed this year are: Egypt Hollow Road, Gouldtown Road (approximate one mile), about a quarter mile of Norberg Road, two blocks of East Street, all of Woodland Drive, State Street, Pine Street and Cider Mill Hill Road.

The township maintenance crew will now turn its attention to preparing Norberg, Howard and Hultberg roads for winter. This will include ditching and grading of these roads. Also, the supervisors and the road foreman have developed a list of work that must be done before winter and the crew has already begun working on some of the tasks.

The crew also has completed the majority of the clean-up from the Labor Day wind storm. The supervisors and road foreman have already begun planning for major road work that should be completed next year. However, without knowing the impact of funding for next year, final decisions will depend upon available funds. The supervisors are pleased with the amount of work the maintenance crew has accomplished this summer.

The supervisors meet regularly with the Russell Volunteer Fire Department to maintain open communication with the department and to support their responsibilities for providing emergency medical services, firefighting and emergency/disaster management for Pine Grove Township residents. For the first six months of this calendar year, the department has handled 117 EMS calls and 54 fire calls for a total of 171 calls. As of the middle of September, the department has responded to a total of over 200 calls, with an EMS response rate of 93%. The department also is trained in the handling of suspected COVID-19 cases and has responded to such without difficulty. The supervisors thanked Chief Dave Schwanke for his leadership and direction of the fire and EMS services. They also thank the numerous volunteers that give generously of their time to provide fire and emergency medical services to the community.

The supervisors are continuing their work to revise the township’s nuisance ordinance and to develop a basic property maintenance ordinance. Once this process is complete, drafts will be available for township residents to provide their comments. Also, residents are reminded that supervisor meetings are held the second Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Township Hall in Russell. Township residents are always welcome to attend and address the supervisors, if they choose to do so. If addressing a specific issue with the supervisors, it is always better to call or email the township office in advance of the meeting and ask to be placed on the agenda. Once approved, minutes of supervisor’s meetings are available on the township’s website along with other items of interest to residents. The website address is www.pinegrovetownship.org. The email address is pinegrovetwp@verizon.net.

PINE GROVE LIONS CLUB NEWS

The Pine Grove Lions Club will be holding a special sale at Larimer Park on Saturday, Sept. 26, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Several types of brooms will be available. These include the traditional heavy corn brooms and a light kitchen corn broom. Push brooms, angle brooms and whisk brooms also are available. The price is $12 each with whisk brooms being $5 each. Thirty-three gallon and 13 gallon kitchen garbage bags also will be sold at $8 per box. All profits from the sale go to the club’s Sight and Activity Fund, which is used for vision services and charitable purposes throughout the club’s service area.

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