Cambria County, Pennsylvania
Annals of Jackson Township
Mrs. Betty Burkhart
Communities And Their First Settlers (Continued)
Burkhart's Crossing was named when the Southern Cambria railroad was first built and was called that in honor of Daniel Burkhart thru whose farm the right-of-way ran. Daniel, who was a son of Joseph Burkhart lived in his later years on the former Henry Ely farm. Lewis Burkhart, a son of Daniel, still lives on the old farm.Henry Ely was a man who was outstanding in many ways and is still remembered by the older settlers. He was something of a wit and many of his stories and also interesting details of his own character are still remembered and repeated. He taught school in the township schools for sixty years (that feat alone would make him outstanding), and was the first superintendent of schools of Cambria county. Mr. Ely was of Scotch decent and came here from Boston when he was quite young. He married Mary Wilson of Johnstown and they were the parents of four children, Mary (Ely) Stewart, Maud (Ely) Paul, Elizabeth (Ely) Russell, and Alice (Ely) Goodroe. He was the grandfather of Mrs. W. T. Wilson of near the airport.
community sixty years ago Henry Ribblett had a grist mill, a shingle
mill and a blacksmith shop. He was the son of Abraham Ribblett who
first settled on the farm that is still known in this community as the
old Ribblett farm. His father received the grant of land from the
government, cleared the ground and established his home here. It was on
this land that oil was discovered, which has been mentioned in a
Chickaree Mountain is 2,400 feet
above sea level and is the highest point in the township. A few years
ago a fire tower was erected there and on a clear day one could see
Cresson, a distance of over 20 miles, with a pair of field glasses.
John Meegan, on whose farm the tower was located was its caretaker for
the five years it stood there. The farm now occupied by Miss Jennie
Meegan and her nice, Catherine Mahan, was first cleared by John Rager, a
descendant of Michael Rager. John built a two-room house on the land
which he cleared, and lived there many years, later moving to the
Lambaugh place near the Jack Rager school. John Rager was a great
uncle of Israel Rager, an old resident of Vinco who has descendants
living there. A widow named Vochrod of Johnstown purchased the farm
from Rager who in turn sold it to Charles Ellis, and from him it went to
Squire Flattery who sold it to James Meegan in 1871. James Meegan, his
wife and two of their children came to this country from Ireland. The
rest of their family were born here. They were Hugh, Margaret, John and
Jennie. They came to Jackson township seventy years ago.
Dishong Hill lies in the southwestern part of Jackson township and was named for Abraham and Mary Dishong who settled there between 1821 and 1830. They were the parents of Henry, Peter, John and Fred. Henry moved to Johnstown just before the Flood of '89 where he and his mother died shortly after moving there. His wife and two daughters died in the flood and one son, Webster, survived. Fred married and acquired 400 acres of land in 1840, but left no heirs. Peter married and owned a 200 acre farm where the Dishong school now stands. He left several descendants. John was also the father of a large family.
Noah Dishong, a descendant of Abraham, was born on Dishong Hill on property now owned by a water company. A brother, Israel, a soldier in the Civil War, starved to death while a prisoner at Andersonville prison. David Dishong, another brother was also a soldier in the Civil War, as was Noah. George Dishong married Ellen Rager, daughter of Jackson Rager, who settled near the school that bears his name. She still resides there. Noah Dishong married Amanda Rose and they were the ancestors of 82 descendants. Among their fourteen children was Oscar, who died in Vintondale in 1927, Amos of Nanty-Glo and Mrs. Priscilla Altimus of Mundy's Corner. Noah was a farmer, the farm now occupied by Mrs. Ida Ditchcreek having belonged to him. He also operated a coal mine on his farm. He was wounded in the battle at Gettysburg and two years after leaving the army his right leg had to be removed due to the old wound having failed to heal.
At one time there was a Duncan settlement, near Vintondale. In 1830 there were four Duncan families living there. They were Davis, Thomas, Joseph and James. Davis owned 80 acres of ground, Thomas 100 acres, Joseph, 149 and James 183 acres. The mother (see note) of Mark Kerr, whose many descendants make up a part of the population of Jackson township, was a Duncan. For a time a Duncan school was in session, but its existence was brief and the children of the locality now attend other nearby schools.
NOTE! The following correction was not a part of the original chapter seventeen and was added by R.E. McDowell in 2006.
It was Mark Kerr’s wife that was a Duncan, not his mother. Mark Kerr’s wife was Mary Ellen Duncan, daughter of John W. Duncan and Sarah Weagley. Mark Kerr’s parents were James Kerr and Sara Repine. Both John Duncan and James Kerr lived just over the line in Indiana County, a few miles from Vintondale.
Ford's Corners was named for Ben
Ford who owned 114 acres there and conducted a general merchandising store on the corner several years from
1910. His grandfather was Michael Ford, born in 1798, who settled on
what is generally known as the old red Grove place at Vinco. William,
son of Michael, was born in 1835, married Sussana Snyder, daughter of
Christian Snyder, one of the first settlers who lived on what is now the
Earl Varner property at Vinco. William moved to what is now Ford's
Corners in 1894 and later his son, Ben, bought the property from John
Gray who had received it from his mother, a daughter of Henry Rager. Henry Rager was born in 1810 and
was the son of Michael Rager. Henry had a tavern and a stable for coach
horses which stood near the corner. He also was a freighter. With six
horses he would make the trip between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh,
taking six weeks for the round trip. This was before the time of
railroads and all freight not hauled by canal was taken overland. Mr.
Rager was also a blacksmith and made his own nails.
To Be Continued Next Week