Please select various resources on this site from the menu below.

Please select various resources on this site from the menu above.

Research Aids

Compiled by Paul E. Beck and originally published in the Lancaster County, PA, Papers, Vol. 31 (1927).  Reprinted in the Western PA Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 21, No. 3 (Winter 1995), pg. 32.  No copyright infringement intended.

Christian Myers was born on a farm near Bareville, Lancaster Co., Pa., 24 June 1796.  On May 30, 1819, being then 23 years of age, he was married to Martha Henaberger of Mount Joy at Cooper's Hotel, Lancaster City.  The couple settled in East Petersburg.  Their home was a large double house built of bricks brought from England and laid in Flemish bond. Subsequently, and for many years, it was used as a tavern, the Captain Lawrence, which carried a famous sign by Peter Lehn Grosh (1798-1859) showing the blue-coated Commodore above his brave legend, "Don't Give Up The Ship."  The house is still standing (1927) at the NE corner of State & Lemon Sts.

In 1816, previous to their marriage, a number of well-to-do farmers from Lancaster county had united to form what was known as the Lancaster Land Company, organized for the sole purpose of purchasing, as an investment, an extensive tract of land in what was then the wilderness of W. Pa.  The tract lay in the area covered by the counties of Jefferson and Venango and included the greater part of what became Clarion county in 1839.  The tract purchased contained 187,110 acres of land, for which $73,280.77 was paid.

The purchasers were:  Christian Kaufman, J. Sherer, D. LeFebre, Christian Huber, John Bachman, Daniel Reigart, Benjamin Long, Chris Stauffer Jr., George Morry, Lewis Urban, Henry Shippen, Samuel Miller, Gerhardt Buback, Daniel Reynor, George Snyder, John Houtz, James Humes, Joseph Ogilby, Thomas Crawford, Henry Carpenter Jr., Jacob Miller, Henry Bear, Benjamin Bear -- with Henry Shippen, James Humes, and John Bachman as the Executive Committee.  They acquired this land from the Holland Land Company.

Harm Jan Huidekoper, who represented the Holland Land Company, kept a diary in which there is recorded much early data on Lancaster.  He was on horseback en route from New York to Meadville.

In 1826, desiring to view the lands of which he had become part owner, Christian Myers, now aged 30, set out on a journey.  He had heard that there were indications of vast beds of underlying iron ore in this new country.  He prevailed upon his friend, Henry Bear, an expert iron master, to accompany him.  Bear's eastern home had been Cornwall, Lebanon county.  The great ore banks of Cornwall, with their blast furnaces, had been worked since 1732.  Bear understood the construction and operation of the primitive iron furnace thoroughly.  They made the trip on horseback.

Upon arrival, they settled near the junction of Little Toby Creek with the Clarion river.  The name Clarion replaced the earlier name of Stump Creek.  They built a log shack and, in 1828, having found Iron ore, timber, limestone and waterpower in abundance, they erected the first iron furnace in the county.  It was known as Clarion Furnace after the river.  The furnace stood on the river just west of the mouth of Little Toby creek.  In 1828, Myers returned to Lancaster county and came back with his wife and two young sons, Amos and Christian.

Myers and Bear

were so successful that their venture was quickly followed by others.  Shippenville and Lucinda furnaces were built in 1832 and 1833.  Eight new furnaces were built in 1845, and a few after that date.

Henry Bear was the designer of Clarion Furnace, and all that followed were exact replicas.  Bear's furnace was built of rough stone, dressed at the edges and keyed with wooden crossbeams.  It was 30 feet high.  The stack measured 24' x 24' at the base; the inside was lined with firebrick.  Charcoal was the fuel used, in later years it was supplanted by coke.  Ore was mined from drifts or banks.  The process is described in detail.  Furnaces produced 15-25 tons of pig iron per week at the beginning, and, in later years, produced as much as 50 tons per week.  The iron was sent to Pittsburgh in great, flat-bottomed boats.  Since they [the boats] could not be brought back, they were sold in Pittsburgh where there was a ready market for them.

Chief loading points were at Clarion, at Hahn's Ferry, at the mouth of Piney Creek, at Callensburg, and at Redbank.  These places were the scenes of much active life and bustle for several hundred men would be found there at one time, loading barges for the various iron companies.

The larger furnaces, such as Lucinda, Madison and Shippenville, employed from 75-100 hands.  The smaller ones, as Washington, Wild Cat, and Mary Ann, from 25-50.  The men were miners, teamsters, woodchoppers, charcoal burners, and furnace men.  Their wages ranged from $20-$26 per month.  One quarter of a man's wages was usually paid to him in cash, the balance in orders on the company's store.

Between 1845 and 1854, more than half of all the iron made in NW PA was manufactured in Clarion County.

Christian Myers was a man of high public spirit.  He and Henry Bear continued the operation of Clarion Furnace and were prosperous.  They held their partnership for about 15 years, when it was dissolved by Bear, and Myers carried it alone.  In 1836, he was elected a member of the Constitutional Convention when it met for the purpose of revising the State Constitution.

In 1839, seeing that the new county was certain to be sanctioned, Myers, Philip Clover, and James P. Hoover, who then owned all of the land upon which Clarion now stands, offered it to the commissioners as a site for the proposed county seat, if they should receive half the proceeds of the sale of building lots.

The county of Clarion was formed 11 March 1839, with the county seat located at Clarion.

In 1840, Myers was commissioned by the Governor as an Associate Justice of the county, thereupon he became known as Judge Myers, and he served in this capacity until 1858.  In 1844, he replaced the now exhausted Clarion furnace with a new stack in Monroe Twp. near Reidsburg.  He called the new furnace Polk Furnace in honor of the then President.  He re-christened the new furnace Martha in honor of his wife.

The repeal of the protective tariff by Congress in 1846 was the deathblow to the iron industry in the county.  Of the 31 furnaces once flourishing here, Washington Furnace alone remains a melancholy memorial to its departed fellows.  It stands in the SW corner of the county on the road leading from Mechanicsville to Reidsburg.  The lower part of Martha Furnace is still standing a short distance south of Reidsburg.

Christian Myers died in Philadelphia 6 Oct 1877 aged 81 years.  His wife, Martha Henaberger, died there in 1880.  Both are buried in Mount Moriah Cemetery in that city.

List of Iron Furnaces Formerly Operated in Clarion County

  • Clarion Furnace built 1828.  Stood on Clarion river west of Little Toby Creek.  Owners Christian Myers and Henry Bear, then Myers alone until 1851, when he assigned it to his son-in-law Nelson Hetherington.  Produced 1300 tons of iron a year.  Closed in 1852.
  • Shippenville Furnace, 1832.  Hot blast.  Stood at junction of Deer & Paint creek 1 mi. SE of the town.  Owned by Richard Shippen and Jacob Black.  32' high 9' bosh. In 1856 produced 1500 tons. Abandoned 1859. There was a forge in conjunction with this furnace.
  • Lucinda Furnace, 1833 on Paint Creek in Knox Twp.  Owners James Humes and George Hamilton, purchased from John F. Steinman, Humes assignee in 1843, by Hon. James Buchanan (afterward President) & John Reynolds of Cornwall, Lebanon Co.  In 1856 produced 1500 tons.  Abandoned in 1858.
  • Beaver Furnace, 1835 on Deer Creek 2 mi. from its mouth.  Cold blast at first, hot blast later.  Used steam and waterpower.  Output 1852 1500 tons.   Owners Long, Blackstone & Co.  Abandoned 1854.
  • Madison Furnace, 1836 on Piney Creek 2 mi. from Clarion river.  Produced, 1856, 2500 tons of mill iron.  1872, 3048 tons.  Abandoned 1873.
  • Jefferson Furnace, 1838.  Stood on Beaver Creek at Jefferson Station.  Run very irregularly.  Produced, 1856 about 600 tons, abandoned in 1858 lack of timber.
  • Elk/Smearkase Furnace, 1842.  A small stack on Deer Creek 1 mi. above Deer Creek Furnace.  Production 1845 about 700 tons.  1855 abandoned.
  • Buchanan Furnace, 1844, cold blast.  Stood on north bank of Clarion river opposite Callensburg.  Average 1200 tons a year.  Abandoned 1858 timber gone.
  • Clinton Furnace, 1841 on Hemlock Creek in extreme NW corner of Washington Twp.  Production 1856 2000 tons.
  • Tippecanoe Furnace, 1844.  Stood on Canoe Creek 1½ mi. above Eagle Furnace.  1845, 1000 tons of metal.  Timber gone 1851.
  • Mary Ann Furnace, 1844.  Stood on Paint Creek at crossing of the Franklin-Brookville turnpike.  In 1846 produced 1100 tons iron.  Abandoned in 1851.
  • Deer Creek Furnace, 1844.  On Deer Creek at turnpike crossing just west of Shippenville.  Abandoned 1851.
  • Cocheco/St. Charles Furnace.  Built 1844.  On Leatherwood Creek 2 mi. from low-grade railroad.  In 1850 made 2000 tons.  Dismantled 1865.  The only furnace that used raw coal.
  • Wildcat/Franklin Furnace, 1843, steam, cold blast.  Stood on Wildcat Run 1 mi. SE of Rimersburg.  In 1847 produced 1380 tons.  Blown out in 1857 but not abandoned until 1863.
  • Black Fox Furnace, 1844, steam hot blast.  Stood on Black Fox Run in Perry Twp 1 mi. from the Allegheny River.  In 1856 made 2000 tons.  About 1868 the boiler exploded, killing 1 man and severely injuring several others.  The furnace never resumed.
  • Pike Furnace, 1845.  Stood near Wildcat Run 3/4 mi. N. of Lawsonham.  In 1845 made 1700 tons; in 1856, 1500 tons.  Dismantled in 1869.
  • Prospect Furnace 1845.  On Cherry Run 1 mi. S. of Callensburg.  In 39 weeks of 1856 made 1450 tons of mill-iron.  Abandoned in 1862.
  • Sligo Furnace, 1845.  On Licking Creek near Sligo, Piney Twp.  Changed to hot blast 1857.  1856 produced 2400 rolling mill metal. Abandoned 1871.
  • Monroe Furnace, year not known.  On Piney Creek in eastern Monroe Twp.  In 1855 produced 1250 tons.  Went out of blast 1882.  Was standing until summer of 1922 when dismantled.
  • Limestone Furnace, 1845.  Stood on Piney Creek in Limestone Twp.  Made about 1000 tons a year.  Abandoned in 1853.
  • Polk / Martha Furnace, 1845 built by Christian Myers.  Stood near Reidsburg in Monroe Twp.  Erected as a successor to Clarion Furnace (see #1).  Owned by Nelson Hetherington.  In 1854 made 1260 tons.  Dismantled 1856 because timber exhausted.
  • Hemlock Furnace, 1845.  On Hemlock Creek close to Clinton Furnace.  In 1856 made about 1200 tons.  Abandoned about 1860.
  • Licking Furnace, 1845.  Stood on Licking Creek near Lickingsville in Washington Twp.  In 1846 made 1200 tons, later only 400 tons.  Abandoned 1856.
  • Heleen / Helen Furnace, 1845 stood on Scotch Hill road 8 mi. from Clarion.  In 26 weeks of 1856 made 756 tons.  Stopped manufacture ca. 1857.  This furnace was called Heleen locally.  It was erected on the old McNaughton farm by Robert Barker and Wilson S. Packer in 1845.  The builders named it Highland furnace in honor of Alxr. McMaughton who prided himself in being a Highlander, and the name was pronounced after the north Scottish dialect "Heeland," the name soon corrupted to Heleen.  The township has the same origin and is commonly, but incorrectly pronounced "Heleen" township.
  • Catfish Furnace, 1845.  Stood on the Allegheny River at the mouth of Catfish Creek.  In 33 weeks in 1856 it made 925½ tons.
  • Washington Furnace, 1846.  Stood in extreme SW corner of Clarion Twp. some half mile north of Monroe Furnace.  In 1846 it made 1000 tons.  Blew out in spring of 1855 having made 706 tons that year.  The furnace still stood in 1924.  At that time is was the only known stack still standing in the county.
  • Richland Furnace, 1846 stood on a branch of Turkey Run in Richland Twp.  Made in 1854-55 and 1856 an average of 550 tons per year.
  • Eagle Furnace, 1846.  Stood on Canoe Creek a mile from the Clarion River.  Made 700-800 tons per year.  Abandoned 1858.
  • Mt. Pleasant / Corsica Furnace, 1849.  Stood in Clarion Twp. NW of Corsica and a little north of the pike.  Made about 500 tons yearly.
  • Redbank Furnace, 1859.  In 1887 there were 40 coke ovens in connection with the plant and the capacity of the stack was 150 tons of metal per week.  Suspended operations Jan 1883.
  • Sarah Furnace, 1860.  Stood at the bottom of the bend of the Allegheny about 1 mi above Catfish.  Abandoned about 1867.  Built by S. Plummer after his retirement from part ownership of Prospect Furnace, and named for his wife.

For names of owners and operators of most of the named furnaces, see Davis' History of Clarion County (1887).  In addition to the 31 named, Caldwell's Atlas of Clarion County (1877) mentions two more:  Callensburg Furnace & Perry Furnace.

Click the link below to share this site with your friends. A new window will open. (We don't collect e-mail addresses.)
We recommend...

Copyright Information

Unless otherwise indicated, all content and images contained in this domain path [] are copyrighted exclusively to Billie R. McNamara.  All international rights reserved. All material donated by others or located on-line is identified, and copyright in those items is vested in the owner(s).  No copyright infringement is intended by the inclusion of Web-available information on this site for the benefit of researchers.

Neither the Webmistress nor the PAGenWeb Project is responsible for the availability or content of any external Web sites or pages linked from this site.  All links are provided for information purposes only.