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About Clarion County

From History of Clarion County, published circa 1976, compiler unknown.

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Year Event
1888 The oil boom was still at its height in Clarion County.

1889 For the first time, the clock faces on the Courthouse tower were illuminated at night.

1890 The oil boom slackened, but lumbering and clay-mining increased.
The Clarion River (Turnpike) Bridge was bought by the county, and toll collections upon it ceased.  There was strong agitation for elimination of tollgates on the Turnpike.
Clarion Borough had jumped from 1,169 to 1,958 residents in a decade.

1891 February brought heavy floods on the Clarion and Allegheny Rivers.
In May, forest fires ravaged the region, destroying timber tracts, sawmills, houses, and barns.

1892 In a unique Grand Jury action, Joseph Kelly, Postmaster at Lickingville, was indicted under an ancient law prohibiting dueling.  He was later found "not guilty" because his adversary refused to fight "with guns, clubs, or swords," as challenged.

1893 Lee N. Young, Clarion's Chinese laundryman, faced deportation under the Chinese Exclusion Act.  Local attorneys won him the right to stay.
Jared Cook, notorious Licking Twp. horsethief, was jailed in Clarion for the seventh time.  He receved a 5-year penitentiary sentence.
Redbank Township was split into East and West precincts by court order.
The oil summary showed Clarion field production down from 12,000 barrels daily in 1889 to 90 barrels in June, 1893.
Judge Clark ordered the Commissioners to rebuild the storm-razed Toby Bridge after citizens sued.
There was agitation for a county hospital.  "Agreed, and it shall be in Clarion," said a local newspaper.

1894 Col. W. T. Alexander published the county's first newspaper.
Clarion County was one of 17 in the state that were debt-free.

1895 The notorious Charley Gordon, wanted in Clarion and Jefferson Counties for many robberies, was caught in Jefferson County.  It was said that conviction on all charges against him would mean jail terms of about 179 years.
Clarion's new electric light system for homes, stores, and offices was turned on July 4 and "worked like a charm."
The new Clarion-Armstrong County bridge across Redbank Township opened.  It was 223 feet long and cost $4,000.
The General Assembly approved an act, making it illegal for any person, except a close, blood relative, to attend the funeral of any person who had died of cholera, smallpox, yellow fever, diphtheria, or leprosy.

1896 Lena Sherman, age 35, went to Western Pennsylvania Penitentiary for two and one-half years for bigamy.  She had had seven husbands and was about to marry the eighth.

1897 Amidst loud objections from some county taxpayers, the Civil War Soldiers' Monument was placed in the park opposite the Courthouse.  It was the first such memorial to be erected in Pennsylvania under a new law permitting use of county funds for this purpose.
Reputedly the oldest living person in western Pennsylvania was "Mother" Nancy McCloskey, of Crown, in Farmington Township.  She was 107-years-old. Mrs. McCloskey died on March 5.
An active unit of the Anti-Saloon League was formally instituted.
There were 74 post offices in Clarion County.
Five large coal mines operating in the Rimersburg area employed about 500 men.  The mines were Cherry Run, Briar Ridge, Acme, Diamond, and Keystone.

1898 J. Elder, from Foxburg, reported finding gold ore, testing $60 to $200 a ton, in the mouth of the Clarion River.  Hopeful gold-seekers rushed to the Klondike (West Clarion) field, despite reports that all claims within fifty miles of Dawson City were assigned.
A Rimersburg ordinance set fines of $1 for letting pigs run at large, $5 for hitching a horse or mule to a shade tree, and $10 for burying a dead human within the borough limits.
On August 22, most Clarion residents turned out to see the new electric street lights switched on for the first time.
Voters approved a proposal to build a county poorhouse.

1899 Barn burnings became epidemic in the southern part of the county.
Steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie offered to give Clarion a public library, and it was rumored that an electric railway would be built into Clarion before the end of the century.
The Clarion and Armstrong County Commissioners planned joint purchase of the Allegheny River Bridge and the cessation of toll collections upon it.

1900 The county's first National Guard company since the Civil War was formed at West Freedom in 1871.
The Clarion Golf Club was formed.

1901 The Parker's Landing Bridge Company sued Clarion and Armstrong Counties to get more money for its bridge over the Allegheny River and won an increased award of $32,000.
On April 21, the first automobile ever seen in Clarion arrived.  It was a Conrad Motor Carriage. Frank M. Arnold was to be agent for the makers and Clarion's first automobile dealer.

1902 A housewife, burning rubbish near the Fertig's gas station, started a brush fire that swept miles of land in the Big Sandy area and caused an estimated $30,000 in damage.
There was an increasing boom in coal lands in the county.  Thousands of acres were put under leases in Madison Twp. and in adjourning areas.

1903 Clarion residents watched with awe as a huge forest fire burned north of town for several days and nights, reaching from the mouth of Toby to Miola.
A Clarion newspaper said "One of the most disgraceful sights ever seen in Clarion in the line of filth was exhibited a few mornings ago at the front of the Second National Bank.  The whole pavement was literally plastered all over with big splotches of tobacco juice and enormous wads of tobacco.  If such disgusting uncleanness continues in such public places, and in front of our hotels, the Borough Council ought to pass a law imposing a heavy fine upon any person who spits upon our pavement."
The County Commissioners bought the G. V. Curll farm for $71 an acre, for use as the County Poor Farm.

1904 Clarion's Town Council hired a policeman and warned that ordinances governing fast driving would be strictly enforced.  Horsemen driving fastr than eight miles an hour would be fined $5.00.

1905 In the biggest timber transaction in Clarion County history, A. W. Cook and Company bought 6,000 acres, a bandsaw mill, a railroad 12 miles long with cars and locomotives, a store, a hotel, and 25 housees from the former Droney Lumber Company.  The cost was $200,000.
Mrs. Elizabeth Freeman, from Madison Twp., celebrated her 113th birthday.  She had eleven children, twenty grandchildren, fifty-five great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren.

1907 A marriage license was granted to H. A. Davis, 84, and Ellen L. Jones, 72, of Brady's Bend.  Both were natives of Wales.
Henry Frank, from Lickingville, received a U. S. patent for his invention of a bread slicer.

1908 Clarion's new nickelodeon, owned by Finkbeiner and O'Brien, opened at Wood Street and Sixth Avenue.
Payment on bounties on "noxious animals" were suspended by the County Commissioners when the bounty fund ran out.

1911 Ways and means of securing the 10,000-acre Cook Forest Estate lands for a huge state park were studied.  The tract lay in Clarion, Forest, and Jefferson Counties.
Vincent Voycheck was hanged in Clarion County's only execution.

1913 A bill for purchase of Cook Forest tract for a state park was for third reading in the General Assembly.  The cost was to be $600,000.

1914 The Clarion Free Library opened its doors in Fourth Avenue with 225 books.

1917 As war talk spread, it was announced that Clarion County had almost 5,000 men of military age.
Clarence D. Van Duzer, who represented the State of Nevada in Congress, was arrested for fraud in the sale of $25,000 worth of allegedly valueless mining stock to Clarion County residents.  The Congressman was brought back to Clarion for trial.

1920 The will of the late John D. Ross, prominent Clarion citizen, provided for the erection of a memorial library and community building, to be known as the Ross Memorial Library and to be built in Clarion to perpetuate the memory of his late mother, Mrs. Mary Ann Wilson Ross.

1921 Nora D. Young, of Redbank Twp., became the first woman ever appointed to a political post in Clarion County when she was named as County Assessor.
County detective Charles H. Sullivan was shot during a raid on a moonshine still in Huey. Fifteen barrels of liquor were seized.

1922 Clarion County voter registration was as follows:
Republicans 8,420
Democrats 8,059
Socialists 305
Prohibitionists 728
Independents 971
TOTAL 18,483

1923 The County's Courthouse was wired for electric lights.
Six one-room schools were scheduled to be closed.

1924 A state geologist estimated that Clarion County still had 1.2 billion tons of recoverable coal in 12 beds covering 784 square miles.
On May 23, Piney Dam's gates were closed.  The river below the dam dropped sharply.  The new dam's power plant immediately began to generate and transmit electric power.  The Clarion River Power Company announced that the new dam at Piney would serve consumers in twelve counties and would stop the flow of 1.4 billion cubic feet of water weighing 44 million tons.

1925 An old county landmark, the Gatesman Hotel in Lucinda, burned down.

1926 Clarion and Armstrong County Commissioners took over the tollbridge across the Allegheny at Parker, making it a free bridge.  The counties were to pay the company owning the bridge a total of $2,500 a year.  It was the last tollbridge remaining in the region.
A tribe of Seneca Indians camped at Cook Forest for a week, and an estimated 10,000 people went there to see them as the New York State tribe staged some tribal ceremonies in the last stand of virgin pine and hemlock in the area.

1927 A report said there were 308 radio sets in Clarion County.
Clarion County paid off the last of its 1903 bonds for building the Poor Farm.  The original debt was $90,000.
Governor Fisher signed the Armstrong Bill, which appropriated $450,000 for purchase of 7,000 acres of Cook Forest land to become a state park under supervision of the Department of Forests and Waters.
Clarion State Normal School's name was changed to Clarion State Teachers' College [now Clarion University].

1929 The County was to receive more than one billion dollars in state aid for road construction in 1929 and 1930.
The long campaign for public ownership of Cook Forest ended.

1930 The Clarion Milk Company formed.
The Coca-Cola Bottling Company opened.
The former Berney Band Glass Company was acquired by the Owens-Illinois Glass Company.
Thomas B. Slick, a Clarion oil millionaire, died after a brief illness.  He was the largest independent oil producer in the United States.  A town in Oklahoma was named in his honor.  Asking of the wildcatters, he had run a "shoestring" up to a reported one hundred million dollars.
Twenty State Police officers from Butler made fourteen arrests in a series of moonshine still raids in Clarion County.  They seized several stills, destroyed much mash and liquor, and retained some liquor evidence.

1933 Clarion Borough inaugurated 24-hour police protection.
Reports of the National Re-employment Service reported that this agency had found jobs for more than 1,000 jobless residents of Clarion County.

1935 The County had an outbreak of chicken-thieving.

1936 Jack ("Red") Barton, an early flyer in the Clarion County area, invented an aircraft landing beacon that was expected to be a boon to pilots landing planes at night or in bad weather.

1939 Rimersburg celebrated the centennial of its founding.

1940 Clarion Borough marked the centennial of its founding with a week-long program of varied events.

1942 County coal production in 1941 was 1,250,000 tons.
The County faced a critical teacher shortage, caused in part by a ban on hiring married teachers.  Another problem was unavailability of school buses.

1943 The County had 2,042 men in all branches of military service.  Civic groups planned erection of a County Honor Roll listing names of men and women in service.
Clarion attorney, George F. Whitmer, filed the second largest mortgage ever recorded in the county, a $15 million instrument from the Pennsylvania Electric Company.