In the following narrative, (originally written by school teacher, Mrs. Margaret MARGARGEL), which first appeared in the Centre Daily Times on March 16, 1936. and was transcribed in Jan. 1997 for Rootsweb's USGenWeb Archives by my cousin, Rick HUGHES), you will see how the John FUREY, Esq. Family fit into Centre Co. PA. history from 1802-1870:
Excerpts from "The History Of Pleasant Gap", Centre Co. PA. [Complete History: "History Of Pleasant Gap"]
"This road by the Blue Spring has continued to be a public thoroughfare to this day. It is one of the oldest in the neighborhood and is the one on which the State Fish Hatchery is located. The Spring itself deserves a word in passing. It is reputed to be bottomless. According to current belief, it has swallowed, at one time or another, a team of oxen, a large copper kettle, and a number of small animals, sheep, calves, chickens more of them than the raconteurs can remember.
Mothers still warn their offspring not to go near it, and are uneasy if the school children who must pass it do not get home on time. Practically all of what is now Pleasant Gap was once the property of Michael SWANEY, or SWINEY or SWEENY. The second spelling is the old Scotch-Irish. The third is the legal, as found on documents, and the first is the local pronunciation.. He came to this country when he was 24 years old, and with his wife, Martha STEELE, took up wild land from Harrisburg at one-half cent per acre. There is no record of this in the Centre County court house, so it must have been some time before 1800 when Centre County was formed. One account gives him 22 tracts of land. Another account says he owned 234 acres. The boundaries of his possessions seem to have been the FUREYs on the east, the ROSS acres on the north and the NOLLs on the south. This latter is not verified, nor has his western boundary been certified.
The STEELE farm lay to the west of the LARIMERs. It is still in possession of the family heirs, being owned and occupied by Mrs. CROTZER, whose father was a STEELE. Four of Michael SWANEY's children stayed in this place and settled on their father's acres. His son John is recorded as having built the first house in Pleasant Gap in 1845 at the Cross Roads and in it keeping a tavern called the Green Tree Inn. It is declared, however, by one of the SWANEY descendants that she remembers her mother said a man named BATES kept the tavern before John SWANEY went in to it. It had a bar room on the lower side, and was not nearly as large as the house is now. John SWANEY made an addition to it when he moved in. The house is still standing and in good condition. It is now owned by George GETTIG and is occupied by them and also by their daughter and her family. The old SWANEY home was a cabin located near the railroad that connects White Rock quarries with the main line.
In the midst of the dense woods it was alive with wild animals. Many times did the father rise to drive the wolves from his door at night. His nearest neighbors were a mile away, and although other settlers came into the Upper Bald Eagle Township in sufficient numbers to allow a new township, Spring, to be erected in 1801, it was for the most part wilderness with each family living in isolation in its own little clearing, for many years.
Among the families recorded as neighbors of the SWANEYs, or at least part of Spring Township that fed the town of Pleasant Gap, are the following names: TREASTER, LARIMER, ROSS, BAIRD, FUREY, MEASE, FLOREY, HAMILTON, LONBARGER, ROTHROCK, JODON, WEAVER, SWARTZ, GILL, TATE, STEELE, RIDDLE, NOLL, HILE, WADDLE, BENNER, BARNES, HARRISON, KRISE and HORNER.
Besides John SWANEY, three of his sisters married and stayed near home. One married William RIDDLE, another John R. TATE and the third married Elijah GETTLE. RIDDLE's wife died and he married a second time, but inasmuch as a considerable acreage in the village was owned by RIDDLE, apparently carved out of the SWANEY land, it is highly probable that the RIDDLE land was part of the SWANEY girl's dower. Martha, who married TATE, lived in a new house still known as the "old TATE home," located between the houses of Mrs. Verda RIMMEY and Perry KRISE, and now owned by White Rock.
The GETTLES built and occupied the house now owned by the ZIMMERMAN heirs, and housing for the past few years the Frank IRVIN family. While not the oldest, these houses are among the first ones built on the new pike. The ROSS home lay north of the SWANEYs, and part of the ROSS acres are still in possession of William ROSS, son of Joseph ROSS, grandson of the William ROSS who came from Ireland in 1822. The year 1800 had seen the first ROSS in this country, Joseph ROSS, who came with his brother-in-law, William BAIRD. The death of William ROSS and his legacy of American land to the brother still in Ireland, made the latter an immigrant.
The first house was a small cabin in a meadow below town. Here William's son Joseph was born. Later, the stone house was built a short distance below on the public road. The farm now owned by the second William, who rents it with his tenant living in the stone house, is part of the first clearing of the brothers. That the acreage was a large one is proven by the fact that they erected their second stone house on the farm at a considerable distance from the first. It is still used. Wings have been added, the lawns have been landscaped, and the entire effect now is that of an age old classic home. It is a show place for thousands of people every year, for it is the residence of the superintendent of Rockview penitentiary.
The BAIRD property lay across a small stream from that of his brother-in-law ROSS. The same spring fed the stream and supplied water to both families, each building his own spring house. While the ROSS home has remained in the family, the BAIRDs long ago disposed of their share. The name BAIRD is quite well known in town and is borne by more than one family, but they are said to be of different stock, that came later to the Gap. The ROSS family, on the contrary, has one male resident, with his little grandson, Joe, and two ladies, the latter being Mrs. Roy BELL and Miss Belle ROSS, both sisters of William ROSS, who live near the Bell home. Miss Belle ROSS has been housekeeper at Rockview for more that 15 years. Mrs. Roy BELL still has a cradle belonging to the first ROSS baby in America.
The LARIMER family came from Lebanon County. John and Hugh LARIMER appear at the same time as owners of land against the mountain. John's sons were John GIBSON, usually written J.G., Adam and Harry. J.G. later moved down to a house below the Cross Roads, now occupied by Roy BELL, but still called "The Old Larimer Place" by the older residents of the town. Harvey LARIMER remained on the farm until he died. The only ones in the Gap at present to carry on the name are J.G.'s son RUSH, now 83 years old, and his son John, together with John's family. The old gentleman lives with his son and the family. He is unusually active for his years, many of which were spent in Lock Haven as a druggist. The rest of the LARIMER family is scattered over the country, as are many others who were born and reared in Centre County.
The FUREYs originally came from Ireland and moved from Carlisle to Centre County on pack-horses. They cleared their farm to the east of what is now the Zion road. The old FUREY house stood across the road from the present home of Frank BROOKS, a mile below Pleasant Gap. When Mrs. FUREY went to visit her neighbors, the SWANEYS, she made the trip on horseback through the woods that were so dense she could see the sky above her only at the cross-roads, when there was a small clearing. One of the FUREY daughters married Hugh Beatty TATE, and became the mother of two ladies who reside in the Gap today, Mrs. Rachel NOLL and Mrs. Blanche FETTERHOFF. Mrs. NOLL is the older, now up in her 70s, and has an excellent memory. The writer is indebted to her for much information concerning the past. Neither woman has a family and the name FUREY, while heard often in other places, is no longer registered in Pleasant Gap.
The MEASE family came here from Lebanon County. Mr. MEASE owned 800 acres of land in Benner Township. Martin MEASE II came from his father's home in Penn's valley and lived for a time on what is now state land, occupying the site where the chaplain of the prison lives. Then he built a grist mill on Logan branch, near the site of the fish hatchery. The exact location of the mill can be determined by the old stone ruins by the hatchery barn. The mill was on the road spoken of as originating from an Indian path between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and was completed in 1830. He also built himself a stone house against the hills, now occupied by the FETZERS, and is said to have built the house which is the present residence of the superintendent of the hatchery. While not verified, this may be true. The wide floorboards and other evidences show that it is an old house. Mr. MEASE also built the stone house near the Pleasant Gap railroad station, but did not live in it himself. This is the old HAMILTON home.
The name MEASE is no longer heard in the neighborhood, but the family survives through the distant side. Two MEASE daughters married brothers named KELLER. M.M. KELLER and his sisters, Mrs. A.D. SMELTZER and Mrs. R.W. NOLL belong to the MEASE family."
It was (Washington LONBARGER's second son) Oscar LONBARGER who came down to Pleasant Gap and made his home in Horntown, where his widow and sons still live. The younger son, Curtis, occupies the house with his mother, and has a small barber shop at the lower end of town in which he works evenings after his day's employment at the Fish Hatchery. Another son is also employed at the hatchery. The Lonbargers originally came form York in 1809. The first of the family settled in Bellefonte, and about 1834 went to the Nittany Mountain acreage, which was then wholly untenanted. Known as the old LONBARGER road, a little traveled dirt road branches off from the state highway a mile or so above Pleasant Gap and winds up and westward. On this are the ruins of the old school house, and father out, open fields partly grown up with brush. This is the site of the old settlement. Beside the LONBARGERs, who made their home there, were later the FUREYs, John HOUSERs, "Ad" HOOVER and a family named RAYMOND.[Sixth installment - first printed March 24 and 25, 1936] The first route of the Bellefonte and Lewistown turnpike passed to the east of the present highway, and approximated the Horntown road thru the Gap. It was on this that Thomas HARRISON laid out his plan of lots for the village to be known as Harrisonville. It was recorded in the court house in 1846. It provided for two streets parallel to the turnpike, which is now the Horntown road, the one on the west side to be named Pine and on the east Oak street. Crossing these three streets at approximately right angles are four more streets, spaced at intervals of five lots, and named in order, Walnut, Chestnut, FUREY and Logan, Walnut being nearest to a road traced and marked "Road to Nittany Mountain." Beyond Pine street appeared Michael SWEENEY's holdings. HARRISON sold lots in 1834 to Elias HORNE and to David HORNE in 1835. Other buyers were John POORMAN, James HARRISON, Peter MARKEL, William A. CLARK, William BLAIR, and in 1893 Thomas HARRISON's heirs continued the sale. Elias HORNE is said to have been a shoemaker. He paid $11.50 for the 50 foot front and 300 feet back that constituted his venture into a planned village. It is doubtless his name that is carried on as Horntown. His house is only two doors from the one erected and still designated as the old HARRISON place and occupied every summer by Mrs. Etta GRETHERS, who is the grand-daughter of Thomas HARRISON. Tom TAYLOR was another buyer. He put up a blacksmith shop and its ruins attracted children 30 years ago who played on its site and found old horseshoe nails and pieces of iron there. It set opposite the house owned by H.V. KILE, and now rented to the KLINE family.
It was in Harrisonville that the RIDDLEs lived. William RIDDLE married one of Michael SWAYNEY's daughters. They lived first in a house that is now torn down, but it was located a short distance north of the brick home they put up later, which is directly below the HILE place, above mentioned. William was twice married and had two sons, Hugh, son of the SWAYNEY girl; Matthew, son of the second wife, named TAYLOR. In 1845 the route of the turnpike was changed. No longer did it pass through Harrisonville, but took a course almost identical with the state highway between Bellefonte and Lewistown as it runs today.
The newly formed hamlet was cut off from the main artery of travel, and people who built here afterwards generally preferred to live along the Pike, as it is still called. The first house on the new road was John SWAYNEY's tavern at the Cross Roads. A man named BATES kept it at first, but after he went out, SWAYNEY made an addition to it and kept tavern there himself. He called it the Green Tree Tavern. The land, of course, had belonged to his father, Michael. Michael and his wife, by the way, are buried in the Union cemetery in Bellefonte.
The second house was the AMMERMAN place, already mentioned and located. Other homes among very early ones but not dated exactly are those of SWAYNEY's daughters, Martha and Mary, both on the new road, while another daughter married to William RIDDLE lived in Harrisonville the few years before she died. Mary SWAYNEY, who married John R. TATE, lived below the Methodist church in the house with two front doors belonging now to White Rock. It must have been a very fine house in its day but now is rented to employees of the White Rock company. It stood by itself until the TATE sons, Potter and Scott, each built himself a house on either side of his father's home. In the Potter TATE house, his daughter Mrs. Verda Tate RIMMEY now lives alone. The Scott TATE house is owned by Perry KRISE who also occupies it by himself. Martha SWAYNEY married Elijah GETTLE and a house was built for them on the same side of the road, in a little clearing. The White Rock road has been opened opposite. It is owned now by the ZIMMERMAN heirs, and has been occupied lately by the Frank IRVIN family.
An old house near the foot of the mountain was called the toll gate house. Out from the Cross Roads toward Zion, scurrilously known as Sheep street, were the house now occupied by John RIPKA, first by Squire THOMPSON; the one now tenanted by the PARK family, then owned by John HARRISON; the Henry NOLL home which burned down and was located about where H.J. MARKLE has built a concrete house, and the foundations of the Jerry ECKENROTH house which is now owned by Harry ISHLER. Below the Cross Roads was the RAPP place, now owned by the COLBURNs, John FUREY's place which is the old FLOREY place, through the marriage of John FUREY's daughter Ida to William FLOREY and their long residence there. The LARIMER home is now owned by Roy BELL, but was built by a Mr. AMMERMAN and at first consisted of only two rooms, one up and one down, and the log house is now occupied by John TATE, once the home of Johnny D. MILLER, a school teacher. Between the Cross Roads and what was once known as Lauvertown, now Peru, there were none of the present day dwellings.
The year is given as 1808 and names of the pupils attending it included BAIRD, MEASE, HAMILTON, SWANEY, NOLL, WADDLE and MOORE. Its teachers were James HARBISON, Malcolm ANDER, Charles NAB and Lewis McKEAN. Seven or eight years later this school house was moved down to Logan Forge and another put up on John FUREY's land. In the FUREY school the roll bore such names as SWARTZ, POORMAN, FUREY and McLELLAN. Its teachers included Joseph WILLIAMS, Miss BLAKENEY and David KELLER. At the Logan Forge school Miss BLAKENEY was also a teacher, as were John THOMPSON, James MORELAND, Harvey McCLANAHAN, Charles LARIMER and the Rev. KOTALOW.
One of the men who went to the first Horntown school, and has vivid recollections of being whipped at least two or three times a day (so he says); is John NOLL, who lived with his father and brother down near the present Markle farmhouse. John SCHREFFLER is the teacher that "Jack" NOLL remembers as the man who laid on the rod to big and little alike whenever he thought they needed it.
Going back to early records, we find the following names in LINN's history as teachers prior to 1881: Joseph WILLIAMS, David KELLER, Miss BLAKENEY, John THOMPSON, the Rev. Mr. KETALOW, James MORELAND, Henry McCLANNAHAN and Charles LARIMER. Since that time the following are remembered as grade teachers: John HARRISON, James CORL, Samuel BROOKS, James NOLL, Samuel NOLL, William NOLL, Abner NOLL, Harvey MEASE, Clem DALE, Jennie TWITMIRE, John KLINE, Lillie ROSS, Johnnie D. MILER, Harry BREON, John SCHREFFLER, Frank MILLER, Alice DAVIS and Elsie HERMAN. The town remembers the two-room schoolhouse so well that it is hardly necessary to state that it is now the property of White Rock company and has been made into a double house for the employees after being moved into Bilger Ave.
[Eleventh installment - first printed April 2, 1936] The first public building in Pleasant Gap was used not only as the Horntown school, but also as a meeting place for the Methodists. A class had been organized about 1836 under the leadership of William HUNTER, after whom came William FUREY and Frost McGINLEY as leaders. It was part of the Bellefonte circuit and met every two weeks. With the Rev. GUTHWALT as pastor, a great revival was held and 56 joined the class.
This past year one notable improvement has been started: that of stained glass windows. One large one has been placed in front, a gift of the Ladies' Aid and of R.P. BELL and Mrs. R.U. WASSON, brother and sister of Miss Ida BELL whose will had given the Ladies' Aid a legacy of $50. This money was used, and with it an equal amount from the brother and sister, to make a memorial to Miss BELL and her parents, who were faithful members of the church. Continuing the history of this church, it is unique in having been owned for a time by three of its members. Michael WEAVER, James HAMILTON and John FUREY came to the rescue when a company which had not been paid had the church put up at sheriff sale.
[Eighteenth installment - first printed April 13, 1936] In 1870 the villagers were delighted to hear that a man from Williamsport was to move to Pleasant Gap and start a cigar factory. Heretofore, there had been no industry of any sort to employ workers. One can imagine the hopes and speculations that were rife as Gottlieb HAAG made his way into their midst. HAAG arrived the first of November, 1870, driving up from Williamsport with a one-horse spring wagon. He was accompanied by young John MULFINGER, then 11 years old, and in the wagon besides themselves, HAAG had two shoats, two dogs, some seed potatoes and various other articles. It took a day and a half to make the trip by wagon, HAAG's wife and son, Harry, having gone by train. They took possession of the hotel which HAAG had bought from a man named HICOCK, it having passed through the hands of FUREY, LARIMER and MORRISON since RIDDLE built it 20-odd years before. With the hotel, HAAG purchases two acres of land. One acre of this was put in tobacco the next spring, the crop being planted back of the hotel about where the WESTERVELTS live now. More tobacco was raised down in VALENTINE's fields, now owned by T.E. JODON and the Independent Oil Company.