First White Men Here

The first white mend seen in this section were the Ackerman brothers. Who came to the top of Turkey-foot Knob, on the late J.C. Lemley farm. This knob is taken from the anme of the Turkey-foot Rock. This rock is at the base of the knob. A large turkey-foot the size of a human hand, was cut on the rock by the Delaware Indians. This was their symbol.

The Ackerman brothers came from Virginia. One returned to Virginia for supplies, and while this brother was away, the remaining one was killed by the Indians. When the brother returned from Virginia he found his brother dead. Therefore he took all precautions possible and he camped in a large sycamore tree. He was afraid to make a fire, therefore he built a small chimney, up inside the tree. Which was hollow. He built it so the smoke would come out a knothole , sever l feet from the ground and not be seen by the Indians. He was lured to his death by an Indian who had discovered his tracks in the forest. The Indian imitated the gobble of a wild turkey, then when Ackerman, hearing the gobbble wient to kill the turkey, he was shot by the Indian in hiding.

There is a story of Lewis Wetzel, who fount Indians near this community - a turkey was heard to gobble and a boy hearing the gobble, asked permission to take a gun to go out to kill it. Wetzel's keen ear discerned the Indian trick and he said he would go himself. He went by a circular route coming in behind the supposed turkey. Wetzel waited for some time and then heard the gobble and saw the head of an Indian peering out to see if the whites were coming. Wetzel took deliberate aim and shot the Indian through the head. The Indian was scalped and when Wetzel came into the house, he threw the scalp at the boy's feet saying, There is your turkey." It was a lesson to the boy to be careful. \par At another time Wetzel had a fight with two Indians and killed them both. It was in this fight that and Indian said, "No catch that man for his gun always loaded." The fact was, Wetzel could load his gun while running at full speed, an art which few have ever accomplished.

Settlement of Mt. Morris

Mt. Morris was founded and settled by Levi Morris in the year 1765. He firs tpurchased a farm near Mt. Morrris on Dunkard Creek. After living there, he then purchased another farm where Mt. Morris now stands. Levi Morrris was the first Justice of the Pe ace of Mt. Morris and one of his law books is in the possession of Margaret A. Headlee and was on exhibition in the Mt. Morris theater recently.

Levi Morrris was a veteran of the War of 1812. He was a son of George Morris , who was a nephew of Robert Morris, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Levi's son was Major J.B. Morris, who served in the Civil war. The first soldier killed in Greene County belonged to Major Morris's company. His name was Jesse Taylor.

Mt. Morris is built upon an elevation along Dunkard Creek and Wades Run. From this little mount, a part of the town name is derived. The town was at first called Morristown, but changed when securing the charter. It is a town of beautiful homes, well kept lawns, and at one time boasted of bank assets of a half million dollars. Tourists passing through would remark that "this is the town where nobody works."

Mt. Morris was on the route of the underground railroad. This was a means of conveying slaves to the Dominion of Canada. Brownsville was the first landing place. Bowman's Castle, which is still standing, had underground passage ways to the river. One may still be seen back of a parking lot. It resembles the opening of a coal mine.

Life of Some of the First Settlers

In the year 1765, John Glassglow, companion of John Minor, hoping to better his conditi0n, came across the Monongahela River on a raft made of logs and tied together by strips of bark. He came to Mt. Morris, some where along Dunkard Creek, for protection from then Indians, as they seldom followed the course of a stream.

He cleared this land and built a rude log hut. In the winter he returned to Maryland, his former home. By the time he returned to his home near Mt. Morris, he found a giant by the name of Scott had taken possession in his absence. Scott could not be persuaded to give it up. It was agreed to fight for it, the winning man to have the land. Glassglow secured his friend, John Minor as a second. Glassglow was much the smaller man and seemed to be worsted in the first encounter, but by wily tactics, he threw the giant to the ground. He was soon up again but again he was tripped. Finally he became so bruised and exhausted he could not shake off his asssailant. Glassglow could now give him the punishment he deserved. Scott now called for him to stop. They then shook hands and agreed the land belonged to Glassglow. Scott left immediately and settled on Scotts Run, West Virginia.

Local history has it that Glassglow's wife, seeing Scott getting the best of her husband, called encouraging words to Glassglow, giving him renewed energy and causing him to win the bout.

Glassglow is buried near the land he cleared. His tombstone has been removed from his grave, so that farming might be done more easily. This spot, sacred to his wife, family and friends, has been farmed hand no trace of the burial spot can now be found.

Let us all preserve these old burial plots.

The life of the first settlers was hard as the closest store was at Greensboro, 12 miles distant. The trip was at first made in ox carts, then later by horses and wagons. Salt and crocks, as well as dry goods and groceries were bought at Greensboro. Boats ran no farther than the point.

The Settlers took out tomahawk claims of land, by blazing trees around a piece of land and later making a record at Washington. Many patents were granted later, and deeds were written on tanned sheepskin. A few old sheepskin deeds are still in this neighborhoods.

The settlers' food was pork, beans, and corn bread. It was sweetened by sorghum molasses. Flax was raised and woven into linen. Wool was carded at Scotts Run and spun into yarn. Logs were cut by water power, using a saw that went up and down. The water power saw mills were on Big Shannon Run, one on the farm now owned by Leasure Cowell, the other owned by the Jonathan Kennedy heirs. These mills were operated in winter o spring when the water was high.

These mill dams were the fishing grounds fo r the whole community. Many fine fish were caught in these dams and even above them. The largest fish ever caught in Big Shannon Run was a white sucker. It was too large for a wash tub. It was shot by D.L. Headlee, deceased. The boys were going to Su nday school, the fish was going too, and met his doom. These streams used to be alive with fish, so many that they could be seined in a willow seine. Today they are all gone. No longer on a summer afternoon do you see the boys and girls wending their w ays to fishing streams.

The largest fish ever caught in Dunkard Creek was landed above the iron bridge at Mt. Morris. It was caught by Davistown boys, the Furman brothers. They marched up through Mt. Morris exhibiting their catch to the bewildered citizens. We believe it weighed 51 pounds. Other large fish were caught by the late Williom Pomerov and J.M. Holtes. Our best and most skillful fisherman is Frank Burris.

First Industries of Mt. Morris and Community

Several people remember the two flour mills. One was located on the Riverside Lumber Site and was fist known as the Morris Mill. It was run by water power and a part of the race can still be seen near Glen Pyle's residence . Boys on Sunday used to play on the old water wheels. They were Jack Cannon, Jim Cannon, Minor Dean, and many others.

After this old water mill, came the Kennedy mill owned by David and George W. Kennedy. It was in this mill that the latter almost lost his life and did lose an arm.

Next came Moslander and Lewellen as operators. It was in this mill that Joe Lewellen lost one finger and a part of another one when a small boy. This mill burned in 1925. The Miller mill, located along Dunkard Creek near the old swinging foot bridge . The dam was placed in the creek and some of the stones can still be seen. Both of these mills were kept very busy. At one time feeding boxes were erected for teams and this was a busy section. Farmers had wheat to sell, now they neither buy flour nor bake bread. This meeting place for the country side, while they waited for their wheat to be ground, has passed on. They no longer wend their way to mill with loaded wagons and make a a day of it. The hum of the mill is stilled and nothing has taken its place.

There was also a mill located at Fairchance. It was built by William Boyer, Sr. It contained a grist mill., carding machines, and a saw mill . A store was op erated where Charles Johnson's house now stands. The mill was later owned by Dennis Fox. There were several homes in Fair chance at one time.

The old planing mill was hauled from Waynesburg by Benson Strosnider. It was located where Baer's Funeral Home now stands. A steam sawmill was later operated by John Maxon. Logs were hauled to this mill, cut into boards and later dressed into lumber.

The old iron bridge across Dunkard Creeek is 60 years old and was haulde there by Dennis Fox

The first board walk in town was built by C.M. Fox and T.A. Maxon. It was from the corner of Mechanics St. to the Dr. Hatfield corner. Girls solicited money for the walk and these two men built it. At that time a canopy of silver maples extended across this street from each side

A harness shop stood on the corner at one time and was owned and operated by B.F. Dean. The building was moved and is the present barber shop today. The livery barn was located almost opposite the Mt. Morris Motor Co. and was 100 feet long and 40 feet wide. The first owner was W.L. Wade, the Ellsworth Donaley, John L. Blake and Later Lewellen & Moslander. This old landmark is torn down.

The old jail in which offenders were subdued, was moved to the cemetery, its last resting place.

The first school building was located where Hatfield Callahan now lives. It was a log building.

Jim Canon had a gun shop on Buchanan Street. All important topics of the day were discussed in loud tones by local orators.

A cigar factory, belonging to D. Hamilton was located where P.H. Miller now resides.

A brick yard was operated on property now owned by Ben Molander.

The Washington Morris Store, the Hood Hotel, Henry Hood Cigar Store, B.F. Donley Store and Whitiney Cigar Factory were at tone time located on Main Street.

Henry Hood had a small printing shop where he printed a small paper called the Mt. Morris Tidings. It was the first and only paper ever printed in Mt. Morris.

L.R. Strosnider owned and operated a grocery store, where S. Lemley now lives. Mr. Strosnider burned the first natural gas ever used in the United States. He used it to cook oysters and it came from a well in his garden.

Jacob South had a store in the building now occupied as a residence by T.A. Maxon.

Frank Morris store, now the building occupied by Clover Farm Store.

Newton Smith operated a jewelry store in a building opposite the Clover Farm Store.

H. Younginger and Charles Bush each operated meat shops. M. Younginger has made the statement that he had killed enough stock to cover all the roads in Perry Ttownship.

Owen Brown operated a picture gallery where Floyd Kiger's house now stands.

D.K. Fox and Mike Monroe each had cabinet shops.

Coleman Lewellen had a buggy and wagon shop.

Abraham Snyder had a blacksmith shop opposite the M.E. parsonage.

J. H. Barrick's blacksmith shop was located where the Post Office now stands. \par The Kennedy Hotel is now owned by Eugene Fitzgerald.

The Henderson Hotel was located on the corner of Locust Avenue, no longer stands

The tan house was owned and operated by Allie Morris. He tanned hides into leather that was made into harness, boots, and shoes. The bark was purchased from the farmers and it was s a familiar sight to a load of tan-bark, piled high on wagon, going to this tanner. Miscellaneous boys would hide behind the piles of tan-bark and holler to the horse to stop. The driver, being a little deaf, could not understand what made his horse stop so much. One driver was Bosey Basnett, w hom many older people now living, may remember. Mr. Basnett often visited people in Perry Township but he always made his ax pay for his keep. He had an impediment in his speech and puckered his lips when he uttered a hard word. He died in the poor house near Cassvielle, West Virginia, leaving no relatives but a host of friends.

B.F.. Dean and John Billingsley each operated harnes shops.

Jacob Coleman and the Creels operated boot and shoe shops.

William Burris was the inn keeper on Mechanic street. All streets were then paved with coal.

J.E. Miller built and operated a flour mill about 1880. It was burned and was never re-built.

The following were the early doctors and physicians: Dr. Spencer Morris, J.V. Boughner, Scott Winnet, J. Hatfield and McMillan.

Doctors of later times were: Dr. G.M. Bradford, Dr. G.W. Hatfield, Dr. P.H. Miller and Dr. Mahan.

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