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About Clarion County

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

For almost a century, Clarion County has been known as the home of the Anti-Horse Thief Association.  Although there is no record of a horse's being stolen for several decades, the Association holds an annual dinner each year, alternating between Leatherwood and Oak Grove Presbyterian churches.  It still costs $1.00 to become a life member, and such memberships are held by Dwight D. Eisenhower and Arthur Godfrey.

The Leatherwood Anti-Horse Thief Association, as it is now known, was formed in the Jacks (Oak Hall) School building on January 28, 1868, as a branch of the Curllsville Anti-Horse Thief Association, when a number of citizens of Porter Township and the surrounding territory met to organize and form a company to protect themselves from the horse thieves who were plaguing the area.

As a result of the initial meeting, 72 members were recorded on the rolls by February of that year.  The organization had a president with six vice presidents and a secretary.  Branding irons were immediately ordered, and the horses of all members were required to be branded under the mane.  The location was later changed to a brand near the hoof.

According to the rules, on receipt of the alarm that a member's horse had been stolen, all members were required to proceed immediately along predetermined routes in search of the horse and thief.  Members were required to travel 30 miles at their own expense.  If there was a promising lead after 30 miles, it was their duty to follow at the Association's expense.  If a horse were recovered, there was a reward of $20.  Recovery of the horse and thief meant a $30 reward; and, if only the thief were captured, the reward was $15.  It paid to aim for the horse!

In December, 1873, it was decided that mules should have the same protection as horses.

The first woman member was admitted on December 31, 1887, when Mrs. John Smith was admitted in place of her husband, who had died.

The first officers were:

J. S. Sample President
C. H. McNutt Secretary
R. M. Corbett 1st Vice President
James Campbell 2nd Vice President
Robert Sample 3rd Vice President
Joshua McKinley 4th Vice President
Crist Brinker 5th Vice President
C. M. Sloan 6th Vice President

The Leatherwood Association continued to meet in the Jacks School building until its use was discontinued and it was purchased by C. A. McCauley, of Leatherwood Farms, and converted into a dwelling.  The building still stands in the original location and is the site of the monument erected in memory of the founding of the company.

The Association is famous, not only in the County and State, but all over the United States.  It is usually referred to as the "Clarion County Horsethieves."

Retired teacher Edward B. Reighard, age 83, was born in Oak Ridge, Armstrong County, "just 1,000 feet from the Clarion County line."  He moved to Fisher, in Clarion County, when he was a boy.  Reighard has written 14 books, including a history of Fisher at its centennial.  His most recent work is a history of the notorious Sebastian Boston "Boss" Buck and the Clarion County Horsethieves.  The softbound book, filled with wonderful tidbits of local information, is just $15.00 from Mr. Reighard, 8 Turnpike Ave., Clearfield, PA 16830.
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