Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania on September 14, 1990 · Page 11
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Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania · Page 11

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Indiana, Pennsylvania
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Friday, September 14, 1990
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Page 11
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,3(nbuma jBythe jnumbers JHistory ;• Settled: 1834 ;• Incorporated: 1834 *• Namesake: John Montgomery, a Revolutionary jWar veteran jBTotal area: 28.7 sq. mi. ;• People/sq. mi.: 59.4 • Below poverty: 11.7% • Population COO): 1,706 1,958 1,706 1850 1900 1950 2000 Government p School district: Purchase "Line i • Governing body:Three Supervisors Economy • Budget: $348,079 • Households ('90): 671 • Median household income .('90): $16,726 • Median home value <'90): $33,100 -... • Gipsy Arcadia • • Hillsdale Points of interest • Hillsdale • Gipsy • Arcadia I i Next week: N. Mahoning Township Timeline Indiana 1803 Tuesday, September 16, 2003 - Page 11 County Montgomery Township Township was important canoe site By PAT RICH Gazette Staff Writer Montgomery Township has a colorful history compared to many of the county's other municipalities. Much of that history centers around Cherry Tree Borough. Maybe it was the location that made this borough stand out among the other small towns that were developing in the township. Or maybe it was its folklore. Whatever the case, Cherry Tree Borough became the place to gather and the place to visit in the early days of Indiana County. According to an article that appeared in the Indiana Countian in February 1947, the borough was located at the junction of three counties: Indiana, Cambria and Clearfield. In the early days, the spot where the three counties meet was called the John Montgomery is buried in the Ebenezer Presbyterian Church Cemetery. "canoe place" by Native Americans because it was easily accessible by canoe since it is on the fork of Cush Cushion Creek and the Susquehanna River. It was marked by a large cherry tree, which has since been carried away in a flood. In 1893, the Cherry Tree Monument was erected in that spot. Cush Cushion runs alongside Gettysburg, which is now known as Hillsdale, created in 1851 on the land of Hugh Rankin. Other principal streams in the township include Rock Run and Shryock, which all flow east into the Susquehanna River. According to The Shop-Rite News, which was published in Glen Campbell in September 1937, the latter stream was named after Henry Shryock, who made the first improvements on the site of Indiana Borough. In 1818, he got lost in the dense forests of the eastern part of the county and was found near the stream that bears his name. The township was named after John Montgomery, an early settler of Conemaugh Township, who owned the largest tract of land in the area. A native of County Antrim, Ireland, he came to America in 1774 and participated in the battles of Three Rivers, Germantown, Brandywine and Monmouth. He later became one of Gen. George Washington's bodyguards and died on Nov. 11, 1840 at the age of 81. His body is buried in the Ebenezer Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Lewisville. According to The Shop-Rite News, the southern boundary line of the township is the famous Penn's Purchase line. From 1840 to about 1890, the lumbering of white pine was a prominent industry in the township. The pine was made into sticks in the fall and hauled in the winter to the river, where they were fastened together in half rafts and sent down the river and through the mountains to market at Marietta. A raft contained about 8,000 cubic feet and was sold at market anywhere from 12 cents to 24 cents per foot. Oak timber was often rafted with the pine and brought a better price. From about 1880 to 1900, splash dams were built in the creeks to allow pine and hem- lock logs to float to Williamsport', where great boons would catch and hold the logs. The logging industry prompt-: ed the construction of log camps, built in the dense forests and housing as many as 100 men. According to The Shop! Rite News, the first camp was Bard & Cassiday on Cush Cushion Creek at the site of present- day Arcadia. Many of the employees came from Nova Scotia.^ Since residents were too busy with lumbering operations; meat, grain and feed were supplied from farmers as far west as Indiana and Marion Center. Be-j sides logging, sawed lumber was hauled to Indiana or "town" as the locals called it. It took at least two days to make the round trip of about 20 miles. In exchange for the lumber, township residents brought back food, farm implements and tools. THEN 102-year-old woman reflects on life in Gipsy By PAT RICH Gazette Staff Writer T tury. he village of Gipsy has changed considerably from what Freda Gearhart remembers. But a lot can change in a cen- The main street in Arcadia, shot on July 9, ] 908. (Photo provided by John Busovicki) Gazette photographer Tom Peel shot this photo, looking across I Route 286 toward Arcadia. Did you know... 1834: The land for the township is first surveyed. 1900: Lots for Arcadia are sold. 1930: The population reaches 1,526. 1934: Centennial. February, 1990: Four members of the Marsh family perish in a house fire. ' • Hillsdale was known as Gettysburg until 1855. • The Continental Divide runs through Montgomery Township. "Gipsy was a very popular town when I was growing up," said Gearhart, 102, who most recently lived in Hillsdale. "It was an exciting place to live." Gearhart is one of seven children of the late Daniel Porter "D.P." and Matilda "Kellie" Spicher. They married on Nov. 4, 1897. Her mother was postmaster of Gipsy for 48 years, while her father owned and operated a mill and a soda-pop factory, before the days of Coke and Pepsi. "In one area of the factory, the bottles would be washed," she said. "In another, they would be filled with flavored carbonate d water. One of the most popular.flavors was root beer." Gearhart said the mill and pop factory were only two of many businesses that lined the main street of Gipsy at the beginning of the 20th century. They also included a dry goods store, three restaurants, a large hotel, a millinery (hat factory), barber shop, hardware store, company store for the area miners and a meat market. A blacksmith was also part of the area businesses at one time, she recalled. Gearhart said there was always plenty to do as a child growing up in Gipsy. If she wanted to take in a baseball game, all she had to do was sit on her front porch, which overlooked the town's big ballfield. "We had a real ballteam in Gipsy back then," she said. A favorite pastime for her and many other area children was visiting "Neighbor" Hayes, the train conductor at the railroad station. "We never knew what his first name was," she said. "We always called him 'Neighbor.'" In the winter, Gearhart said a favorite pastime was sled riding. "We always had lots of snow, but we didn't seem to mind it," Gearhart said. "My dad used to take us for sled rides with the horse. If the snow was too deep on the road, we would just go through a field." In her later childhood, she recalled walking to the nickelodeon, or movie theater, in Glen Campbell, at least once a week, a walk of about five miles. Gearhart said her father, D.P., was very involved in activities in Gipsy. He was a member of the town's band, which played at Frye Cemetery, an area cemetery, on Decoration Day, now called Memorial Day. Gearhart said as her family grew, there was a need for a larger home. The family also included her maternal grandmother, Margaret Kinnan, who came from Holland and later lived in Covode. Her father always said he wanted to build the biggest and tallest house in Gipsy. So he did. She recalls that several homes had to share water pumps, which were located outside, and spread throughout town. Her family had a pump of its own and its home was the first home in Gipsy to receive electricity. She doesn't recall Freda Gearhart, who turned 102 in July, remembers walking five miles to the nickelodeon in Glen Campbell. (Gazette photo by Tom Peel) when, but said she was very small at the time. She said they always had a telephone, as far back as she can remember, which was called the "party line." i Gearhart said medical care was on the primi-; tiye side. She remembered the time her parent^ had to take her to the "big hospital" in Dixonville after she pierced her side with a needle. It was the only medical facility around. Going to school was also very important to Gearhart, who grew up to become a teacher at Harter School, which used to be located a short distance from her home near Hillsdale. She recalled that she never missed any days of school because she liked it so well. > • "There were five grades, starting at first," she said. "You could attend for as long as you wanted. I ended up going three years more (than most students), until the age of 15, because my mother didn't want me staying at home. She wanted me to get as much schooling, so I could become a teacher." ; To further her education to become a teacherj she attended summer school in Rochester Millsi she walked every day. "They gave you a final test and you had to get good marks in order to pass," Gearhart said. Besides trains, the main source of transportation in Gipsy at that time was by horse or mule and buggy. She remembered going with her father to deliver his pop to towns such as Sidney and Rossiter with his mule team. '. Her father was the first resident of Gipsy to own an automobile, an Overland. Gearhart could not recall the year. ! "Before I left home, he got a big truck," shii said. "He and I would go to Indiana to shop and look at the stores on Philadelphia Street. He; would let me drive because you didn't have to have a driver's license in those days. I never did get a license." = Gearhart eventually married Frank Gearhart and they had nine children together. Her husband has since passed away. In her living room,; she smiled when asked what it was like growing up in Montgomery Township. '•• "It was a good place to live. It seems like everyone had a way of living. There was no relief in them days. If you wanted money, you had to work for it." Four generations of the Rairigh family have been honored to serve the families of our community. ' I s The Rairigh family has provided personalized funeral service since 1915, when H. Albert Rairigh opened his funeral home in Gipsy. In 1931 his son, H. Daniel Rairigh, joined his father's firm and the two moved the family business in 1935 to its present location in Hillsdale. Dan's son, Albert E. Rairigh, owned and operated the family funeral home from 1965 through 1998. Albert's daughter, Judith I. Rairigh, is now the fourth generation of the Rairigh family to cany on her<family's tradition of funeral service in Montgomery Township. :/ RAIRIGH *•*.. i^StBSJyJIBfBigliaHU.Kl *^SE= P.6: *: 814-743-6833 • 800-448-2712

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