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From History of Pennsylvania, by I. D. Rupp, published in 1847.


Clarion County was established by an act passed March 11th, 1839, which defines the boundaries as follows:

"That all those parts of Armstrong and Venango counties, lying and being within the following boundaries to wit:  beginning at the junction of Red bank creek with the Allegheny river, thence up said creek to the line dividing Toby and Saratoga townships, in Venango county, thence along said line to the corner of Farmington township, in Venango county, thence a straight line to the mouth of Shull's run, on the Allegheny river, thence down said river to the place of beginning, be and the same is hereby declared to be erected into a county, henceforth to be called Clarion."

By the same act James Thompson, John Gilmore and Samuel L. Carpenter, were appointed commissioners, to fix upon a proper and convenient site for a seat of justice.  Mr. Thompson resigned, and by the act of June 25th , John P. Davis, of Crawford County, was appointed to supply the vacancy.  (Laws of Pennsylvania of 1838-9, pp. 50, 465)


Clarion is bounded on the north by Venango County, on the east by Jefferson, on the south by Armstrong, and by the Allegheny River on the west, separating it from Armstrong, Butler and Venango.  By the return of the census of 1840, its population and general statistics are included in that of Armstrong and Venango counties.  The number of inhabitants within the new county exceed 15,000.  Average length 25 miles, breadth 24 miles, area 595 square miles.


The surface of this county is considerably diversified, generally rolling or hilly.  The soil in some parts is of a good quality and productive.  Agriculture is advancing with the other improvements of the county.  In its mineral resources, which have been only partially developed, it is not surpassed by any in Western Pennsylvania.  It abounds in limestone, bituminous coal, iron ore, &c.  A number of blast furnaces and forges are in successful operation.

Iron Furnaces

The furnaces produce annually between fifty and fifty-five thousand tons of iron, which is chiefly sent down the Clarion and Allegheny Rivers to Pittsburgh.

The amount of iron annually produced in this county is equal to all the iron manufactured in the different forges in Pennsylvania ninety-five years ago.  [A table of iron production statewide in the mid-18th Century follows the chapter.]

Clarion River

Clarion River, formerly called Toby's Creek, is the principal stream, flowing in a western direction, nearly through the middle of the county, and within a mile of the county seat, and falls into the Allegheny River.  It is navigable, at high water, for boats, arks, rafts.  A large amount of lumber, iron, and other produce is floated down it from Clarion and Jefferson counties.  The Redbank Creek, the south branch of which rises in Clearfield County, and the north bank in Jefferson County, forms the southern boundary, separating this county from Armstrong, falling into the Allegheny River.  Lumber and produce are also floated down this stream.  Besides these streams, there are several smaller ones, viz.:  Kern's Creek, Beaver Creek, Elk Creek, Deer Paint Creek [sic], Licking Creek, Pine Creek, &c.


The townships in 1840, and their population, were Beaver, with a population of 1,611; Clarion, 2,239; Elk, 585; Farmington, 799; Madison, 1,305; Monroe, 1,151; Paint, 491; Perry, 1,122; Red Bank, 3,070; Richland, 1,385; Toby, 1,829; Limestone, Porter and Washington townships were erected since 1840.


Education receives considerable attention.  Nearly all the districts had, a few years ago, adopted the general system of common schools.  Besides ninety common schools, there is an academy of advanced standing in the county town.


The prevailing religious denominations are Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, and Catholics, all of whom have houses for public worship.  The inhabitants are generally characterized for industry, sobriety, and morality.  Few idlers are to be found in this county.  They are literally "worked out."  The people do not stand lounging.

Clarion Borough

Clarion, the county seat, situated on the east side of the Clarion River, on the Bellefonte and Meadville turnpike road, was laid out by the commissioners in 1840.  The land had been owned by General Levi G. Clover, James P. Hoover, Peter Clover, Jr. -- heirs of Philip Clover of Strattonville -- and the Hon. Christian Myers.  "The persons made a donation of the town site to the county, on condition of receiving half the proceeds from the sales of lots.  Space for the county buildings and a public square, were reserved from sale."

The public buildings are a neat court house of brick, surmounted with a cupola, a county prison, built of sand stone, and a spacious academy, built of brick.  The borough is well laid out; neatness and much taste are displayed in both public and private buildings, and a brisk air of enterprise is presented everywhere in this town.  There are several churches here.

It is the opinion of an intelligent observer that in Clarion, like in many new places which have sprung suddenly into existence with delusive promises of great advantages, merchants, mechanics, tavern-keepers, professional men, all flocked to it in crowds, all eager for their share of patronage and profit from the new county.  It was, however, soon ascertained that some must leave unsatisfied, till the place should acquire a more healthy growth, which it has in a good degree already attained, in the development of its inexhaustible mineral wealth and other resources.

Other Towns

Besides the county town, there are several thriving towns and villages in this county.  The principal ones are Strattonville [Strattanville], Shippensville [Shippenville], Curlesville [Curllsville], Greenville, Collensburg [Callensburg], Edinburg [Edenburg-Knox], Reimersburg [Rimersburg], &c.


Strattonville was laid out by Mr. John Stratton, from New Jersey, about sixteen years ago.  It is on the turnpike road, about three miles east of the county town.  It had seen, until lately, better days.  It was the principal place of business for an extensive circle of thrifty and industrious farmers.  Business has been principally diverted from this village to Clarion.  There are several churches in and near this village.


Shippensville [sic], called after its proprietor, Hon. Judge Shippen, of Meadville, who laid out this town in 1826, is on the turnpike road, seven miles west of Clarion.  It is a place of considerable business and will undoubtedly increase rapidly.  A few years ago, the Lutherans erected a church in this town.


Curlesville [sic] is a small village on the right bank of Licking Creek, near the township line, between Redbank and Toby townships.


Greenville is situated near the head of Piney Creek, on the right bank, about one mile northwest of the Olean road.


Callensburg is on the right bank of Licking Creek, at its mouth.

Settlement of Clarion County

This region of country, forming Clarion County, was first settled only about forty-five years ago, by two different bands of immigrants.  One band came from Westmoreland County, the other from Penn's Valley, Union County.  They numbered in all about one hundred persons.  Those from Westmoreland County came into this region under the influence and patronage of General Craig, of that county, to settle on what they supposed to be vacant land; but they were mistaken, and were afterwards compelled to purchase it of the Bingham estate.  Among the early settlers were Maguire, Young, Rose, Wilson, Corbitt, Philips, Clover, and others.

Samuel Brady

The adventurous Captain Brady, who was a terror to the Indians, figured in this region of the country in his day.  [The chapter contains a recap of one of Brady's escapades.]

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