Jackson Township
Cambria County, Pennsylvania

Chapter 3

Annals Of Jackson Township

By Mrs. Betty Burkhart
Nanty Glo Journal

April 23, 1942

Following the purchase of the land of which Jackson township is now a part, more white settlers came to this part of the country and established their homes. All that they had to do to claim ownership was to have a piece of land surveyed, pay taxes on it for so long a time and reside there for a given period, then the land became theirs. The land would be marked off by "blazing" trees, using them as the boundary lines. 

When the township was organized in 1828 there were less than ninety land owners living here. When the first assessment was made in 1830 we find the names of many who were the ancestors of the present residents of the township. The names, Funk, Gillin, Good, Grove, Goughnour, Harrrison, James, Leidy, Paul, Reed, Rager, Snyder, Singer, Wilson, Waggoner, Burkhart, Shuman, Brown, Bracken, Bowman, Duncan, and Davis all have a familiar sound. At this time of course there were many residents who were not property owners, and who will be mentioned later. Others who were property owners at that time, but have no descendants bearing their name living here now are Benshoff, Bearinger, Cameron, Dunmire, Evans, Garber, Gorman, Helman, Killin, Kirkley, Lambaugh, Luke, Murray, McDonnell, Fisher, Perry, Rowland, Roberts, Shoup, Slonaker, Thomas, and Wallace. John Murray, Esq. Was the owner of the largest piece of land, having 800 acres. Several of the others owned 400 acre tracts. 

At the time there were six inns in the township, four sawmills and three blacksmith shops. Oxen were still much in use for farm work and transportation to short distances. There were no buggies nor carriages. Horse-back riding, the spring wagon (later), or by foot were the modes of traveling distances not too great, although sometimes the trip to Pittsburgh would be made by horse and saddle. Valentine Rosbaugh(in later years) often made the trip to that city, traveling that way in one day, returning home the following day, a distance of 65 miles or more. 

It was not until about the time of the Civil War that buggies came into general use. In 1859 Samuel Goughnor had one and William Harris had a carriage. In 1871 Edward Burkhart, son of Joseph Burkhart, a first settler, had the second one. 

The average income of these first settlers was twenty-five to thirty-five dollars a year, although in some cases where a man had a sawmill in addition to his land it might be fifty to one hundred dollars a year. Much that would be needed for food and clothing in those days was raised on their farm, so the dollar went much farther than it does today. Flax and sheep supplied the early settler with clothing, wheat was raised and taken to a grist mill (in 1859 Sam Goughnour had the first one here, located at Vinco), corn was made into meal and hominy and the cobs of the corn used in making syrup. Sugar maple trees were then plentiful and several sugar camps were located in various parts of the township. Each farmer had at least one cow, a few chickens and hogs and the woods were filled with wild game. Candles were then in general use and candle dipping was an art known to every  housewife.

To Be Continued Next Week

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Annals