Jackson Township
Cambria County, Pennsylvania

Chapter 16

Annals of Jackson Township

Mrs. Betty Burkhart
Nanty Glo Journal

July 30, 1942

Communities And Their First Settlers


In Jackson township we have a number of communities named in several instances for the first settler of that particular part of the country, or named by a landowner or later resident.  Here we have the communities known as Brown, Burkhart's Crossing, Clinefelter, Dishong Hill, Gray, Jack Rager, Ford's Corners, Millwood, Mundy Corner's, Ogden, Pergrim Hill, Teeter, Wagner, Wellview, and Vinco.  Some of these communities are less in population than they were fifty years ago but most of them are growing with the years.  Particularly at Mundy's Corners, Vinco and Wellview has there been rapid growth.  Many people from the surrounding towns have moved to these places and have built modern homes.

The Brown community is a very old one, although its growth has not been so rapid.  As in many of these communities, few records are available of the earlier times.  However the place was named for John Brown who has many descendants yet living here and also in Nanty-Glo.  Two sons of this first Brown were Daniel and Jerry.  Jerry lived in the community until his death and he was the father of seven children and Daniel died in Johnstown in 1929 at the age of 82.  George Brown, well known man of Nanty-Glo, (intermarried with Elva Shuman, granddaughter of John Shuman, one of the first settlers in the Jack Rager community), is a grandson of this pioneer, and a son of Daniel.  Residing near the site of the old homestead are Daniel Brown and Mrs. Ada Grove, children of Jerry Brown.  The old Brown Cemetery, mentioned in an earlier chapter, is a landmark of this early settlement.

One of the earliest settlers of this community was Ephraim Burkhart.  He was the great-grandchild of an Irish patriot who, with his brother, hitched up an ox team, according to an early history of the Burkhart's, emigrated to Bavaria, Germany and changed their names from Bourkets to Burkhardts, (now Burkhart).  The Ephraim Burkhart who settled in Jackson township received the grant of land from the government when it was yet wilderness.  He had been "bound out" to Lous Dunmyer who owned a grist mill on Big Paint creek, when he was 13 years old, and later he worked for Judge Hildebrand who had a grist mill where Conemaugh is now and, according to the story, "he must have been a sticker for he stuck on that job seven years, and he must have been successful for he ran away with the judge's daughter." He was assessor in 1840.

Ephriam and Katy, his wife, built their home in the wilderness and it was located not far from where the Brown cemetery now is.  Later the George Byers family lived there.  To the couple were born 10 children.   Two of the daughters taught in the local schools, both of whom have been mentioned in a previous chapter.  Ephriam was one of the first to be buried in the Brown cemetery.  Mrs. Hannah Gillin recalls that on the day of the funeral school was dismissed in the little Brown school so that funeral services might be held.

Ephriam was a brother of Joseph who has been mentioned as a first settler in the community near Burkhart's Crossing and he also had a son Joseph who lived in the township near his home for many years, but later went to Richland township where he died when he was over 90 years old.  Queen (Muller) Keppler of Vinco is a granddaughter of Ephriam.

The first Gillin to settle here was William whose father, John, moved near to what is now Nanty-Glo.  In 1830 John owned 150 acres in the township.  The ancestors of this first Gillin came from Ireland.  William settled on the farm that is still in the Gillin family.  Miss Verna Gillin now lives there with her two nephews.  This is the old Timothy Hunt farm.

Another early resident in this community was Christian Good.  He was born in 1810, the son of another Christian Good and was the grandson of Jacob Good who settled on what is now known as the Singer farm on Singer Hill in 1796.  A great-grandson of Jacob, Daniel Good taught school for several years at the Leidy school and served two terms as recorder of deeds of the county, elected to the first term in 1911.  He was the first recorder of deeds in the county.  Hannah (Good) Gillin is a daughter of Christian Good.  She has lived all her life in this township with the exception of short periods spent among her children.  The first house Christian Good built was a small one of logs.  Later he built a larger one. Abraham Fresh did the carpentering.  Lew Gillin now lives on the place.  There are many descendants of both the Gillin and Good families in this locality.

Arthur Devlin came to this country from Ireland shortly before 1843.  He came over on a cattleboat and in the group was one, Peter Kinney, who later settled in the Vinco community.  Mr. Devlin had in his possession a bowl of butter and until recently the bowl has been a keepsake of the Devlin family.  There were five of the Devlin boys and Arthur settled on the farm that has passed from father to son until it is now owned and occupied by Bert Devlin, great-grandson of this first settler.  The house, which he built with the logs he cut from the trees of his own forest, was a rather large one, and was built under a big pine tree near where the present house is located.  His son, Daniel, named for Father Daniel Devlin, a well-known priest in the Catholic church, remodeled it.  Frank, another son, lived with Daniel and was blind.   Daniel married Mary Jane (Jennie) Berkeybile, recently deceased, and they were the parents of Michael and Annie (Mrs. Lou Byers), both of whom were residents of this community.

Joseph Funk lived in this community and was a taxpayer in 1830, owning 100 acres at that time.  His farm was what are now the Mahafky and Grata farms.  He was the grandfather of Milt Funk of Conemaugh, who lived with him when he was a boy and attended the Brown school.   Rachel (Funk) Rummell of near the Teeter school is a descendant of this pioneer.

George Page who married a daughter of Joseph Funk came from England.  He had been married before but his first wife died.  George Page bought the farm from his father-in-law and they lived there for many years, rearing a large family.

To Be Continued Next Week

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