HISTORICAL VIEW OF CLINTON COUNTY
This township was organized in February 1840.
It is located in the southeast corner of the county, and bounded as follows: On the east by Lycoming county, on the north by Crawford, Wayne and Lamer townships, on the west by Lamer and Logan, and on the south by Centre county, and averages about four and a half miles in width by ten or twelve in length.
About one-half of this township lies to Sugar Valley, one of the most beautiful and attractive vales in Central Pennsylvania. This valley is about twenty miles in length and has an average width of about two miles. It is bordered on each side by verdure-covered mountains, and checkered throughout its entire length with well cultivated fields, and groves of original forest trees, presenting a grand and beautiful view. Fishing Creek, which take's its rise in the extreme eastern end at what is called the "tea spring," flows its entire length, and breaks through the mountain range and emerges into Nittany Valley at Washington Furnace.
That portion of Greene Township lying in Sugar Valley, is about eight hundred feet higher than the West Branch of the Susquehanna at Lock Haven. The remainder of entire township is several hundred feet higher still, occupying the highlands which lie south of the Nittany and Bald Eagle mountains.
The timber of the entire township originally consisted of heavy growths of pine, oak, chestnut, maple, &c.; the elevated portions still afford v large amount of choice varieties, which each season is being reduced by the operations of lumbermen
The soil of the region compares favorably with that of other portions of the county. In certain localities it is composed of loam intermixed with sand and gravel; this is the case in the valley. In other places red shale predominates. The principal stream is Fishing Creek, already mentioned. Other smaller ones take their rise in the elevated parts of the township and flow in various directions, affording sufficient water for the use of live stock, etc.
Fishing Creek is a remarkable stream. It originates in the gap between Sugar and White Deer Valleys, near the headwaters of a tributary of White Deer Creek. The spring by which it is mainly fed has been called for many years the "Tea Spring," because of the existence in its vicinity of the plant called golden rod, the leaves of which have valuable medicinal properties, and were used by the first settlers as a substitute for the herb of China; even at this day it takes the place, with many, of the imported article. In its action on the system it is said to be diaphoretic and carminative.
Near the springy there has lived for many years an old German by the name of Zimmerman. He is one of the oldest citizens in that region. He keeps a public house fur the accommodation of people passing through the gap between Sugar and White Deer Valleys. His place is quite a resort for hunters.
About five miles from its source Fishing Creek sinks into the ground arid ,lows underneath the surface for a distance of four or five miles, when it again appears in the form of springs, and continues in its channel to Nittany Valley. The average fall per mile in this stream is about thirty-three feet, which would make the "tea spring" something over eleven hundred feet higher than Lock Haven, or about sixteen hundred and fifty feet above the level of the sea. Logansville is about seven hundred feet higher than Lock Haven, and more than twelve hundred feet above the sea.
Greene Township contains considerable mineral wealth. It remains undeveloped as yet, however, with the exception of iron ore, which was mined and smelted to some extent many years ago, a furnace having been erected for that purpose on land now owned by Philip Cromley. This ore was taken from the ground at a depth of 75 or 80 feet, and is of a superior quality of hematite, yielding over sixty per cent. of metal through the furnace. Fine specimens of marble, suitable for statuary and like purposes, have been found at various places throughout Sugar Valley; but thus far no extensive deposits have been discovered, though it is believed immense beds exist. Quite recently the attention of the public has been directed to what is pronounced zinc ore of good quality, found on the Price farm about two miles east of Logansville. Clay from which "redware" is made is extensively found and manufactured into ware at Logansville.
At several points in Sugar Valley there are indications of coal. None has yet been actually found in Greene Township. Probably no other portion of Clinton County is as liable to periodical attacks of mineral fever as this valley. During the past four or five years numerous "companies" have prospected through the valley and leased land for a term of years, but have failed to find anything of value. There is no doubt, however, that systematic and thorough explorations would reveal extensive deposits of mineral wealth. Underlying the valley its entire length are inexhaustible beds of limestone, which afford to the farmers of the surrounding country an ample supply of lime for agricultural and other purposes.
In 1774 a patent for a tract of land lying immediately east of Logansville and containing two thousand five hundred and eighty-seven acres, was granted to Joseph Anthony, but it was not settled upon for many years.
The first settlement in Greene Township was made about the year 1800, by Rudolph Karstetter, who located on the property now owned by-. During the following twenty years, quite a number of the citizens of Brush and Penns' Valleys moved into Sugar Valley. Anion; them were John Schrack, grandfather of the present Schracks living south of Logansville, and Martin Brumgard Sr. John and Jacob Kahl, came from Sunbury, and John Kleckner from Union county. The other early settlers in the east end of the valley were John Brown, father of Samuel Brown, Jacob Franck, Henry Price, Daniel Cromley, Jacob Snyder, Major Philip Wohlfart, Philip Cromley, John Brumgard, Francis Cromley David Stamm and a family by the name of Beaver.
Previous to 1830, a man by the name of Frederick Friedley purchased a large tract of land in the extreme eastern end of the valley, of Joseph Simms, a Philadelphia Quaker, and cleared quite a number of acres on what is now Samuel Brown's farm. During the season of 1829, being convinced that there was ore of a good quality on his farm, Friedley commenced the construction of a furnace on the right bank of Fishing Creek, and had it ready for blast the following season. Friedley himself not being a practical iron manufacturer, of course had to depend upon others to superintend his operations; as a consequence it proved almost impossible to obtain experienced and trustworthy men who would manage the business to his entire satisfaction; this was all the more difficult owing to Friedley's irritable and petulant disposition. After employing and discharging a number of different managers, he finally decided to take charge of the furnace himself, as he claimed he had sufficient experience to enable him to do so. Accordingly, with the assistance of Jacob Franck, who was then in his employ, he proceeded to charge the furnace, but before the metal could be drawn out it had chilled, which, of course, was no trifling affair, as its removal was a very difficult matter, and could not be accomplished except by a person of skill and experience. At this stage of affairs, John Pluff (now living at Miner) came along and gave Friedley to understand that he could clear the furnace and again get it in blast, whereupon he was employed to take it in charge, and soon had it in working order. Under Pluff s supervision considerable iron of the very best quality was manufactured, but through general mismanagement Friedley became heavily involved in debt, and abandoned his property, which was afterwards sold by the Sheriff. The ruins of "Deborah furnace" (such it was called) may be seen at the present time, a portion of the stack still standing.
About the year 1800, John Kleckner, father of Col. Anthony Kleckner, built the first grist mill in what is now Greene township. It stood on the site of the mill at Logansville, now owned by Henry Wirth. The present mill was built by Col. Kleckner. About the same time the grist mill was built John Kleck
Kleckner also erected a saw mill about three miles further down the valley.
The first school house was built in 1824, a short distance south of where John Schrack now lives. At present it is used as a Union church. The next was built a few years after and occupied the site of Stamm's store; it was made of logs.
The first Justice of the Peace in the valley was Samuel McKesson, who dispensed justice for some years, quite to the satisfaction of the settlers.
About the year 1820, Henry Barney, grandfather of the present generation of Burners, came froth Perry county and settled on the mountain about a mile north of where Logansville now is; he preferred locating there because he thought the soil was mach better than that of the valley; he afterwards discovered his mistake.
Mr. Jacob Karstetter, son of the first settler of the township, Rudolph Karstetter was a peculiar case; He was born in the valley and continued to live there till his death, which occurred when he was about seventy years old. The following from the Clinton Democrat, of Jan. 2, 1873, gives an interesting sketch of his life:
In the cool, sequestered vale called Sugar Valley, in Clinton County, resides an old man with his family, named Jacob Karstetter. He is now 67 years of age, stout and rugged yet for a man of his age, and for one who has roughed it as he has. In the earlier days of Clinton's history, and even before she had a history, "Jake" Karstetter was one of the strongest among the strong, a splendid shot so good, indeed, that he was ruled out of the shooting matches, because he was dead sure for the "bull's eye"-and he was never willing to stand back if a little scrimmage was going on, but ready and willing to take a hand. . But few cared to tackle Jake Karstetter; those who did generally came off second best, and it was seldom, if ever, that any one cared to try it over again. We are not advised that he was a quarrelsome or meddlesome man-on the contrary, we are led to suspect he was not-but the above were some of his physical qualities, and from what follows it will be seen that he had in him the ring of the true metal.
He lived among and shared up to the beginning of the war, and does now, the life of the sturdy yeomanry of Sugar Valley. At this time he was 54 years of age and "eager for the fray," but he was to old to get mustered in, To overcome this, he, reported his age as 44, entered Company C, 7th Pennsylvania Reserves, Colonel Harvey, afterwards Colonel Colin- and served two years. In the seven days fight he was injured by being trodden upon, on the breast by a horse of one of General Mead's aides. While lying wounded, to escape: capture he rolled into a muddy ditch and there lay twenty-six hours in the hope of escaping detection; but he was nabbed and sent to Libby. After confinement for a week or so, he vas offered a parole, but refused to take the oath obligating him not to take up arms till regularly exchanged. He told his captors, he says, he'd "be (cussed) if he'd take any such oath. When he got out of there he was going to fight them; he wasn't going to be lying rotted doing nothing; and if he couldn't do that if he went then, he'd stay there till he could!" having served two years, he returned home and resumed his peaceful avocations, intending to remain home at the earnest request of his family. But before long something offended him, and off he put to enter the army again. Persuasions were in vain; go he would. Ire went to Harrisburg and called on Governor Curtin, with whom he was acquainted, and told him he was going again to light for the Union. The Governor told him that was right, and directed him, by a messenger, where to go, and he went and was examined by the Surgeon, who refused him on account of age. He was then 56, when fight is knocked out of most men, but neither age nor two years' service had phased him. Go he swore he would. He was told on the sly that if he insisted, he could be put through for $260. He did pay $200 to get in.
Instead of paying to get in, tradition says that some paid much more than this to stay out. But the hero of our story wasn't of these. He would go, and if he couldn't go any other way, he world pay to go. he served till the battle of Cedar Creek, or Fisher's hill, the occasion when Sheridan made his famous ride, rallied the army, and turned defeat into victory. Some time afterwards he was discharged fur disability. Altogether he was in twenty or more fights.
>From the peculiarities of our subject it will be readily believed that he was somewhat erratic and a little hard to keep to company duty. He yearned for sharp shooting duty, and was disposed to and did go off now and then to have a few shots all to himself. On picket duty he lost two fingers, taken off by a shot from one of Mosby's men. Such is a brief sketch of what was related to us about Jake Karstetter.
The mountain portion of the township was not settled till quite a number of years after the valley. Among the first to penetrate the highland wilds and make permanent improvements, was Jacob Frantz, who constructed a saw mill upon the bead waters of McElhattan Run, about 1830 or '35. After the death of Frantz the property passed through the hands of several different owners. Among others, J. R. Fredericks, now of Pine Station, and A. T. Nichols, of Williamsport. At present the entire tract owned by Frantz, which contained seven or eight hundred acres, and about a thousand acres additional is owned by Jamison & Co., and is under the management of Mr. Andrew Jamison, one of the firm. The original mill, which of course was run by water, has been replaced by a good substantial structure, with steam power attached.
A mile or so below Jamison's mill, on the same stream, J. Herman has a saw mill, and on Long Run, near the northwest corner of the township is what is called the "Philadelphia mill." It was built by Thomas Furst about the year 1845. A post-office called "Rosecrans," has been established at this mill, it being located on the stage route front Lock Haven to Logansville.
Hoffa's mill is located near the northeast corner of the township, on a tributary of Fishing Creek. It is now in operation. The other principal mills are: Murray's, at Carroll; and Kemerer's located about one mile and a-half northwest of Logansville.
After the first settlement was made upon the mountain lands of Greene township, it was not long before they were "taken up" by hardy and industrious Germans, from the neighboring counties, and the result is: to-day there arc many as finely cultivated stud highly productive farms on what is called Sugar Valley Mountain, as there are in any ether part of the county, and more; the general improvements, such as roads, fences, buildings, etc., compare favorably with those of localities that have been settled mach longer. Upon the "mountain" there are already several school houses and three churches; the latter are called respectively, "Mount Pleasant church," "Mount Zion church," and "Green Grove Chapel." The following are the names of some of the prominent settlers of the mountain lands: J. Schitze, M. G. Wismer. P Wert, J. Herman on the western end, and F. Stark, lamp-black manufacturer, J. Henninger, J. Bickster, and J. Ambig, on the east end.
The township has ten school houses in which school is kept open five months each year, the teachers receiving the meager salary of from twenty-seven to thirty dollars per month, and pay their own board.
Near the east end of Sugar Valley is the little village of Carroll. It contains' one store owned by D. A. Clark, but now in charge of G. C. Righter; one blacksmith shop, owned by Mr. Knauff; I. D. Banner's carpenter shop, and a saw mill owned by Hiram Murray and J. P. Barter, and a post once kept by I. D. Barnes. In all, the place contains a dozen or so dwellings, most of which have been recently built. In time, Carroll will be a prominent business point for the people of the east end of the valley.
About a mile west of Carroll is Eastville, a collection of twelve or fourteen dwellings, two or three saw mills, a blacksmith shop, and a church (U.B.) in course of construction.
Centreville is a rather small collection of houses about one mile west of Logansville
Extending the entire length of Sugar Valley, on the, north side of fishing Creek, is the "Sugar Valley and White Deer turnpike." This road is the main thoroughfare leading from White Deer Valley to the Bald Eagle Creek. Owing to its position on the south slope of the mountain, it is exposed nearly the whole length of the valley to the rays of the sun, which in winter cause the snow to melt more readily than it does in more shaded places, rendering the sleighing poor oftentimes when it is good in other localities; in consequence of the fact the road is called the "summer-side road," being used more in the summer and less in the winter than a parallel road running along the shady side of the valley, which is known as the "winter-side road.'' These two roads run about one mile apart nearly the whole length of the valley, and are connected every mile or so by cross-roads.
The township derived its name from the tradition that a certain Captain Greene, with a party of men was surprised, many years ago in the gap, (since known as Greene's gap) by a band of Indians and a number of the men killed. The story of the surprise and murder does not seem to be well authenticated. By some it is said to have never taken place; others claim that the event as stated, actually occurred. Be that as it may the narrative that
gave the name to the Gap and the township.
The population of Greene in 1870, was 1,102, of which 1,074 were native and 28 foreign born.
John L. Eckel, Esq., the present County Surveyor, (having previously served four terms) resides in this township, a short distance east of Logansville, and is a prominent and substantial citizen.
The principal village in the township is LOGANSVILLE BOROUGH, which is located on the north side of the valley about half way between the eastern and western ends.
The land on which Logansville is situated was originally surveyed to Dr. Casper Vistas, the first professor of anatomy in the University of Pennsylvania. The tract contained several thousand acres, and was bounded on the east by the David Stamen form, a portion of the Anthony tract, on the south by lands surveyed to Nicholson, McPherson & Co., on the west by the Morgan Sergeant & Ash tract, and on the north by the mountain survey of Will. Steadman. The farm of Wm. Strohecker, occupies the extreme western end of the Wistar purchase. Dr. Wistar had an anent to look after his interests in Sugar Valley, but occasionally visited the region himself. As there were no railroads at that time he usually made the journey in his own conveyance accompanied by his colored servant. Just previous to one of his visits, Henry Garner, who has been mentioned as having settled on the mountain, was startled one day by hearing his pigs squeal. On going to the door he saw a hone panther trying to bet one out of the pen through a hole in the fence. On be- discovered the panther skulked under some laurel bushes near by. Garner followed with his gun in hand and shot the beast just as it was about to springy upon hint. It was found to measure more than eleven feet from tip to tip; it was the lamest animal of the kind ever seen in that part of the country. Upon reach- neighborhood the Dr. soon learned that an unusually large panther had been killed by Mr. Garner, and immediately proceeded to the house of the settler to ascertain the particulars of the capture. As he approached the dwelling he saw lying in the yard the grinning head of the panther in an advanced stake of decomposition, but being prompted by an extreme devotion to the cause of science, he desired to procure it for dissection regardless of its condition. Accordingly he ordered his servant to place the head in his carriage that he might take it to Philadelphia. This the negro did, but said to himself, "bad smell! bad smell!"
The Wistar lands were eventually sold to different individuals, the portion on which Logansville stands being purchased by John Kleckner, father of Col. Anthony Kleckner, into whose hands it finally passed.
Col. Kleckner was a remarkable man in many respects, and did very much toward the improvement of the locality in which he lived. Logansville owes much to his energy and public spiritedness. Though plain and oftentimes blunt in expression, no one will say that he was not kind-hearted and mindful of the interests of others-especially tire poor and afflicted. It is said that when Capt. Anthony became so burdened with debt that a Sheriff's sale of his lands was inevitable, certain capitalists of Bellefonte questioned Col. Kleckner (who was at that time a commissioner for Centre county, of which Clinton then formed a part) as to the value of those lands; but he invariably answered evasively, or at least have I no definite information on the subject be aware that the object of his Bellefonte friends was to purchase the tract if it proved valuable, and dispossess the few squatters who had already settled upon it, or make them pay whatever price should be demanded. This was just what Col. Kleckner wished to prevent. Therefore he gave the would-be land speculators no satisfaction, and saved the settlers their homes. Running through his matter-of-fact nature there was a manifest vein of humor, which occasionally cropped out. After the organization of Clinton county he was elected one of its first commissioners. Soon after his election, it is said, he rode to Lock Haven, the place at that time being very small, tall, and halting his horse on the bank of the river said to a bystander that "he had been elected County Commissioner, and had been directed to go to Lock haven, the county seat, and would be very much obliged if some one would tell him where Lock Haven was located." Col. Kleckner served the public honestly cud faithfully during his term of service as commissioner, and was subsequently elected :associate Judge, which position he filled with honor till the time of his death, which occurred in tire fall of 1861.
Of the prominent citizens of Logansville, the Hon. George A. Achenbach hats occupied a conspicuous position, not only in Clinton county, but before the citizens of the State. He is now serving his sec- term as a member of the assembly to which he was first elected is 1860. He was also a delegate to the late Mate constitutional convention, and had the honor of voting first on all measures as they were presented for consideration, his name being first on the list of delegates. In giving sketches of the members of the convention, the Philadelphia, Press says of Mr. Achenbach:
A man of square mould and frame, with well balanced head and ;cod natured face, is the Hon. George A. Achenbach, of Clinton county. He is not over five and a-half feet in height, but is compactly put up, and weighs nigh unto one hundred and ninety. He was born in Columbia county, Oct. 22, 1815, before the birth of the common school system, consequently was educated at the subscription schools in vogue in his early day At the age of twelve or thirteen he found himself a clerk in a store, and in 18 moved to Sugar Valley, then Gent but now Clinton county, and was engage to manage the mercantile interests of furnace company. In 1860 he was elected to the Legislature from Clinton and Lycoming counties, and he served people with such pronounced intelligence and integrity that they sent him as the delegate to this convention, where faithfully serves them on the two important committees of legislature and industrial interests and labor. He never assumes to be anything but just plain, honest George, and his compeers always know exactly where to find him-at the post of duty. He has a large head, gray hair, face cleanly shaven, and he sits the opposite extreme from Mr. Lambton. Socially he is every inch a man and although he takes no talking part, is morally and mentally a match for the mightiest in voting for measures of substantial reform.
The village of Logansville was laid out in 1840. It derived its name from Logan township, which formerly included what is now Greene. In 1870 it contained population of 414. It was incorporate as a borough in 1864. At present it h two churches, a German Reformed a Lutheran combined, and an Evangelic a good substantial school building v' graded school, one hotel, the Lob house, which at one time was a popular resort for health and pleasure seeker Mr. J. Kleckner is the present proprietor Within a short distance there is a mineral spring possessing valuable medicine properties.
There are three general merchandise establishments in the place, owned respectively by I. C. Smith, Levi Cons and Samuel Stamm, and one hardware store owned by Daniel :Morris. The usual supply of shoe shops and blacksmith shops are found in the village.
The Odd Fellows and Patriotic Order of the Sons of America, each have an organization
The Sugar Valley Insurance Company which was incorporated in 1861, with Wm. Murray, President; and J. E. Roush, Secretary, has its headquarters in the borough: The present officers are Gen. Heckman, President; and G. A. Achenbach, Secretary.
Logansville maintains two physicians, Drs. Jonathan "Moyer, and J. A. Houtz. The former was the pioneer physician of the place, having located there in 1842, immediately after the village was started, and continued is practice there over since, except during a term of service as Prothonotary.
The place is quite well supplied with manufacturing establishments, there being within its limits or immediate vicinity a flouring mill, three saw mills, a foundry and a stone-ware manufactory, the latter conducted by John Gerstung. What is known as "redware," is made at this establishment from clay procured m the neighborhood.