Place:Centre, Pennsylvania, United States

Contained Places
Bellefonte ( Mar 1806 - )
Centre Hall ( 1881 - )
College ( 29 Aug 1896 - )
Howard ( 3 May 1864 - )
Milesburg ( 3 Mar 1843 - )
Millheim ( 3 Feb 1879 - )
Philipsburg ( 1864 - )
Port Matilda ( 1850 - )
Snow Shoe ( 16 Aug 1907 - )
South Philipsburg ( 23 Nov 1891 - )
Unionville ( 1859 - )
Advent Cemetery
Pine Hall Cemetery
Union Cemetery
Census-designated place
North Philipsburg
Park Forest Village
Pine Glen
Pine Grove Mills
Pleasant Gap
Sandy Ridge
Spring Mills
Inhabited place
Beaver Mills
Big Run
Big Spring
Buffalo Run
Bush Addition
Centre Hill
Cherry Run
Circle Ville
Dale Summit
Dry Top
East End
Farmers Mills
Fishermans Paradise
Flat Rock
German Settlement
Glass City
Green Grove
Gum Stump
Harris Acres
Hunter Park
Linden Hall
Loch Lomond Junction
Locust Grove
Martha Furnace
Mount Eagle
Musellmans Crossing
New Town
Oak Hall
Old Fort
Old Side
Overlook Heights
Panorama Village
Park Hills
Penn Five
Penn Hall
Penn View
Penns Valley ( bef 1775 - )
Pine Hall
Pleasant View
Poorman Side
Potters Mills
Red Mill
Rock Forge
Shakespeare Club
Spike Island
Spring Bank
Twin Hollows
Valley View
West Beech
Wolfs Store
Benner ( 1853 - )
Boggs ( Apr 1815 - )
Burnside ( Nov 1856 - )
College (township) ( 25 Nov 1857 - )
Curtin (township) ( 25 Nov 1857 - )
Ferguson ( Jan 1801 - )
Gregg ( 29 Nov 1826 - )
Haines ( 13 Feb 1800 - )
Halfmoon ( Jan 1802 - )
Harris ( 27 Apr 1835 - )
Howard (township) ( Jan 1810 - )
Huston ( 1838 - )
Liberty ( 28 Aug 1845 - )
Marion ( 26 Aug 1840 - )
Miles ( 13 Feb 1800 - )
Patton ( 13 Feb 1800 - )
Penn ( Nov 1844 - )
Potter ( May 1774 - )
Rush ( Apr 1815 - )
Snow Shoe (township)
Spring ( Jan 1801 - )
Taylor ( 27 Jan 1847 - )
Union ( 1850 - )
Walker ( Jan 1810 - )
Worth ( 1845 - )
University Park
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Centre County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 153,990. Its county seat is Bellefonte.

Centre County comprises the State College, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area.



Date Event Source
1800 County formed Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1800 Probate records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1801 Land records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1810 First census Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990
1840 No significant boundary changes after this year Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990

Population History

source: Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990
Census Year Population
1810 10,681
1820 13,796
1830 18,879
1840 20,492
1850 23,355
1860 27,000
1870 34,418
1880 37,922
1890 43,269
1900 42,894
1910 43,424
1920 44,304
1930 46,294
1940 52,608
1950 65,922
1960 78,580
1970 99,267
1980 112,760
1990 123,786

Note: in 1800 Centre was reported with Mifflin.

General History


The act “for creating parts of the counties of Mifflin, Northumberland, Lycoming, and Huntingdon into a separate county, to be called Centre.” was approved February 19,1800. [Dallas’ Laws, vol. Iv. 541.] The bounds of its territory then commenced on the river, opposite the mouth of Quinn’s run (improperly called in present maps “Queen run”); thence running nearly due south to the mouth of Fishing creek (where Mill Hall has been built since); thence a course a little south of east, to the old north-east corner of Haines, including Nittany valley; from which point they followed the present boundaries of the county to the Moshannon creek; thence to the mouth of the Moshannon; thence down the river to the place of beginning.

The act creating Clinton county (21st June, 1839, P. L., 362) carved from Centre the territory now embraced in that part of Chapman and Crugan townships south of the river; all of Beech Creek, Porter, and Logan, and nearly all of Greene, Lamar, and Bald Eagle townships, in the former county.

The northern line of the purchase of 1758 ran from a point on Buffalo creek, a few miles west of Mifflinburg, Union county, due west, passing through where Bellefonte now stands, to the east side of the Allegheny hills, where the boundary deflected southerly to the State line at what is now the intersection of the bounds of Bedford and Somerset with the latter. About the half, then, of the present territory of Centre was within the purchase of 1758, and that the more tillable portion. “So cautious, however, were the proprietors at this period, of offending the Indians, by making surveys beyond the line, that the most positive instructions were given the deputy surveyors on this head; and as the line was not run, nor its exact position known, the end of Nittany mountain appears to have been assumed as a station, and a west line from thence presumed to be the purchase line.” [Charles Smith, 2 Smith Laws, 122.]

Cumberland county had been formed January 27, 1750, including all the western portion of the Province. All the southern half of Centre county therefore was within the bounds of Cumberland until the following changes took place: first, Bedford county was erected March 9, 1771, and that part of Frankstown township, which included the territory forming now the southern portions of Harris, Ferguson, Half-Moon, Taylor, and Rush townships, came within the bounds of Bedford, and remained there until Huntingdon was erected, September 20, 1787; second, Northumberland county was erected March 21, 1772, embracing the present territory of the county north of the Bedford county line; speaking with reference to the lines between Bedford and Northumberland, ascertained in pursuance of the act of 30th of September, 1779, Mifflin county was formed [Dallas’ laws, vol. i. page 803.] On the 19th of September, 1789, Mifflin county was formed [Dallas’ Laws, vol. Ii., 718], including all the southern half of the territory of Centre except the part in Huntingdon county above referred to, and Gregg, Penn, Haines, and Miles townships, as now constituted, which remained in Northumberland.

On the 22nd of September, 1766, William Maclay made the first survey in Penn’s valley, then in Cumberland county, a reservation of the Proprietaries in the name of Henry Montour, eight hundred and twenty acres, called the Manor of Succoth, described as on the head of Penn’s creek, above the great Spring and north-west of it. It adjoins the Matlack survey (where Spring Mills now stands) on the north, in Gregg township, and is called for by all the surrounding surveys. On the 23d and 2th of September, 1766, Mr. Maclay surveyed what is now known as the “Manor,” for the Proprietaries, embracing one thousand and thirty-five acres in what is now Potter township, described as “near the Indian path leading from the head of Penn’s creek to Old Frankstown, where the waters seem to turn to Little Juniata.” Its bounds ran south-westerly from the tract on which Potter’s Fort tavern stands, eight hundred and fifty-seven perches, or nearly three miles, its width varying from one hundred and fifty-eight perches on the east, to two hundred and fifty-four and a half on the west. The Haines’ surveys running from the mouth of Elk creek, along Penn’s, and for nearly a mile up Sinking creek, were made by the same surveyor in September and October, 1766; a few others were made for General Potter (now in Gregg township), in 1766. A number of surveys, commencing with the John Chandler, immediately west of Woodward, were made in October, 1766; but the larger portion of the valley surveys do not date beyond 1774.

On November 5, 1768, the upper half of the present territory of Centre was secured by purchase at Fort Stanwix from the Indians. It was all within Cumberland until the erection of Northumberland, in 1772. It being within Charles Lukens’ district, the oldest surveys were made by Lukens and his deputies, in the summer of 1769. The “officer’s surveys,” extending from Lock Haven to Howard, were made by Charles Lukens, in March and April, 1769. The Griffith Gibbon, on which Bellefonte now stands, was surveyed July 20, 1769, and the Peter Graybill (on which Milesburg is now built), on the 18th of July, 1769, then known as the “Bald Eagle Nest.”

The valley surveys, commencing near Stover’s, in Brush valley, and running up to Gregg township, were all made by William Maclay, for Colonel Samuel Miles, in 1773. A manuscript journal of Richard Miles probably indicates the surveying party: “April 20, 1773, started for Shamoken, from Radnor, Chester county, in company with James and Enos Miles, Abel Thomas, and John Lewis.” They passed up the river by way of Muncy Hill and Great Island; then went up the Bald Eagle, returning by way of the Narrows, down through Buffalo valley.

Elk, Penn’s, Sinking, and Bald Eagle creeks had their names as early as 1766. Marsh, Beech, Spring, Fishing, Moshannon creeks, Wallis, Davis, and Buffalo runs have their names in 1769. Scull’s map of April 4, 1770, indicates the position of the Eagle’s Nest, Great Plains, Big Spring, now Spring Mills, the Indian path from “the Nest,” up Buffalo run to Huntingdon.

In 1772 the territory was nearly all included in Buffalo and Bald Eagle townships, Northumberland county-Buffalo, extending up to the forks of Penn’s creek, thence by a north line to the river, and Bald Eagle beginning at the forks, thence by a north line to the river, thence up the same to the county line, etc. at May sessions, 1774, Potter township was erected out of Penn’s, Buffalo, and Bald Eagle, bounded eastward by a line from the top of Jack’s mountain, by the four-mile tree in Reuben Haines’ road in the Narrows, to the top of Nittany mountain, thence along the top thereof to the end thereof, at Spring creek, on the old path, thence south or south-east to the top of Tussey’s mountain, thence along the county line to the top of Jack’s mountain, etc. At February sessions, 1790, the name of Potter township was changed to Haines.

The southern portion of Centre county was settled by emigrants from Cumberland valley as early as 1766, and before that. The settlers of the northern portion came in by way of the Bald Eagle creek in 1768 and 1769. among the earliest settlers of this northern portion of the county were Andrew Boggs, who built his cabin on the Joseph Poultney, opposite Milesburg, Daniel and Jonas Davis, who settled a little farther down the creek, William Lamb, Richard Malone, etc.

Among the Revolutionary soldiers of Centre county were Philip Barnhart, who died April 3, 1843; Lawrence Bathurst; Nicholas Bressler, died in April, 1843; Isaac Broom, wounded at Germantown; John C. Colby, a deserter from the Hessians; Jacob Duck, died in 1836; Peter Fleck, Peter Florey, of Haines township; Jacob Fliescher, Ludwig Friedley, John Glantz, John Garrison, of Spring; Henry Herring, William Hinton, of Boggs, who died in 1839, aged ninety-one years; Christopher Keatley, of Potter township; William Kelly, John Kitchen, Daniel Koons, David Lamb, died April 19, 1837, and who was with Arnold at Quebec; Mungo Lindsay, of Col. Miles’ regiment; William Mason, of Spring township; John McClean, of Potter; Jacob Miller, of Walker; Henry McEwen, of Potter, who was also at Quebec; Alexander McWilliams; Isaac McCamant, of Ferguson; John F. Ream, Evan Russel, Adam Sunday, Valentine Stober; Nicholas Schnell, of Potter, Nicholas Shanefelt, of Harris; William Taylor; Joseph Vaughn, of Half-Moon; David Wilson, of Bald Eagle; Joseph White, of Boggs; Neal Welsh, of Half-Moon. Robert Young, of Walker, of Lowdon’s company at Boston, in August, 1775; also James Dougherty, who was made a prisoner at Quebec, and afterwards served in Washington’s Life-Guards until the end of the war. In 1776 Penn’s valley was pretty numerously settled, and Potter township, which then embraced that valley, was represented in the county committee of safety by John Livingston, Maurice Davis, and John Hall. A company of associators from it and the Bald Eagle settlement, in March, 1776, was officered as follows: Captain William McElhatton, First Lieutenant Andrew Boggs, Second Lieutenant Thomas Wilson, Ensign John McCormick. A Presbyterian church was organized in East Penn’s valley, and a church built at Spring Mills at a very early date. The first regular pastor, of whom we have any account, was Rev. James Martin, who commenced his labors there April 15, 1789; he died June 20, 1795, and is buried at Spring Mills. He was the ancestor of the Bell family of Blair county.

On the 8th of May, 1778, the Indians killed one man on the Bald Eagle settlement, Simon Vaugh, a private of Captain Bell’s company; he was killed at the house of Jonas Davis, who lived a short distance below Andrew Boggs, opposite Milesburg. Robert Moore, the express rider, who took the news, stopped at the house of Jacob Standiford to feed his horse, where he found Standiford dead, who, with his wife and daughter, were killed and scalped, and his son, a lad of ten or eleven years of age, missing. Standiford was killed on what was lately Ephraim Keller’s farm, three miles west of Potter’s Fort. Henry Dale, father of Captain Christian Dale, who helped bury them, said that Standiford and four of his family were killed. They were buried in a corner of one of the fields on the place, where their graves may still be seen.

On the 25th of July, 1778, General Potter writes from Penn’s valley, “that the inhabitants of the valley are returned, and were cutting their grain. Yesterday two men of Captain Finley’s company, Colonel Brodhead’s regiment, went out from this place in the plains a little below my fields, and met a party of Indians, five in number, whom they engaged; one of the soldiers, Thomas van Doran, was shot dead, the other, Jacob Shedacre, ran about four hundred yards, and was pursued by one of the Indians; they attacked each other with their knives, and one excellent soldier killed his antagonist. His fate was hard, for another Indian came up and shot him. He and the Indian lay within a perch of each other; these two soldiers served with Colonel Morgan in the last campaign.” (At Burgoyne’s capture.) James Alexander, who in after years farmed the old Fort place, found a rusted hunting knife near the spot of the encounter. Two stones were put up to mark the spot, still standing on William Hennings’s place, near the fort.

In 1792, when Reading Howell published his map, his stations on the main road were Hubler’s, Aaronsburg, McCormick’s, now Spring Mills, and Potter’s. Connelly’s is marked in Nittany valley, Malone’s opposite the Nest, Antes’ below. Miles’ in Brush valley, Willy brook (Willy-bank), name of a stream issuing principally from Matlack’s spring, and running into Spring creek; the Buffalo Lick, on Buffalo run, on the place now owned by Mrs. Samuel H. Wilson’s heirs. Aaronsburg was then the only town in the territory.

In the years 1770 or 1771 Reuben Haines, a rich brewer of Philadelphia, who owned the large body of land above referred to, cut a road from the hollow just below the Northumberland bridge, up along the south side of Buffalo valley; through the narrows into Penn’s valley. In 1775 a road from the Bald Eagle to Sunbury, along the west side of the Susquehanna, was laid out, and the main road through buffalo was pushed up as far as the Great Plain. The turnpike era commenced March 29, 1819, with the incorporation of the Aaronsburg and Bellefonte turnpike road company and the Youngmanstown and Aaronsburg turnpike road company. Inland navigation, with the incorporation of the Bald Eagle and Spring Creek navigation company, April 14, 1834. Railroads, with the incorporation of the Tyrone and Clearfield railroad company, March 23, 1854, and the Tyrone and Lock Haven, February 21, 1857.

The development of the iron interest of Centre county commenced with the purchase by Colonel John Patton, of the tract upon which he erected Centre furnace, now in Harris township, and twenty-eight other contiguous tracts from Mr. Wallis, May 8, 1790. He built Centre furnace in the summer of 1792.

The next adventurer in that business was General Philip Benner, who bought the Rock Forge place of Mr. Matlack, May 2, 1792, and in 1793 erected his house there, together with forge, slitting, and rolling mill.

In 1795, Daniel Turner erected Spring Creek forge, of which nothing remains now but the site, and in 1796 Miles Dunlap & Co. had Harmony forge, on Spring creek, in operation. In 1837 the following iron works were in operation: On Bald Eagle creek: Hannah furnace, owned by George McCulloch and Lyon, Shorb & Co.; Martha furnace, owned by Roland Curtin; a new furnace, owned by Adams, Irwin & Huston. On Moshannon and Clearfield creeks: Cold stream forge, owned by Mr.___ Adams; a forge and extensive screw factory, owned by Hardman Phillips. On Spring and Bald Eagle creeks: Centre furnace and Milesburg forge and rolling mill, owned by Irwin & Huston; Eagle furnace, forge, and rolling mill, owned by Roland Curtin; Logan furnace, forge, rolling mill, and nail factory, owned by Valentine & Thomas; Rock furnace and forge, owned by the heirs of General P. Benner; forge owned by Irwin & Bergstresser. On Fishing creek and Bald Eagle creek: Hecla furnace and Mill Hall furnace and forge, owned by John Mitchell & Co.; Howard furnace, owned by Harris & Co.; Washington furnace and forge, owned by A. Henderson. Also, in the county: Tussey furnace, owned by Lyon, Shorb & Co., not now in operation; and a furnace owned by Mr. ----Friedley. In all, thirteen furnaces, making annually eleven thousand six hundred tons pig metal; ten forges, making four thousand five hundred tons blooms; three rolling mills, manufacturing two thousand three hundred tons into bar iron and nails.

AARONSBURG was laid out by Aaron Levy, of the town of Northumberland, on the 4th of October, 1786. The town plan is recorded at Sunbury on that date. Aaron’s square, ninety feet in breadth, extending from East street to West street, was reserved for public uses.

BELLEFONTE was laid out by Messr. James Dunlop and James Harris, upon the Griffith Gibbon tract, which they purchased of William Lamb, in 1795. The first members of town council were William Petriken, Roland Curtin, J. G. Lowrie, Thomas Burnside, Andrew Boggs, and Robert McLanahan. It was incorporated March 8, 1806. The first water works were erected in 1808. On the 18th of March, 1814, another act of incorporation was passed, including Smithfield in the borough, and repealing the former one.

MILESBURG was laid out by colonel Samuel Miles, on the Peter Graybill tract, known as the Bald Eagle’s Nest, in 1793. The old Indian town stood on the right bank of the creek about a mile below where Spring creek empties into the bald eagle. Many applications of 1769 have referenced by distance or otherwise to the Bald Eagle’s Nest. The Joseph Poultney, on the opposite bank of the creek, is described “as near the fording, including his improvement, and opposite the Nest.” Milesburg was incorporated March 3, 1843.

The “Bald Eagle’s Nest” was the residence of an Indian chief of that name, who had built his wigwam there between two white oaks. Bald Eagle was the chief of a Muncy tribe, and commanded the party which made the attack upon a party of soldiers who were protecting some reapers on the Loyal Sock, on the 8th of August, 1778, when James Brady was mortally wounded. He was killed at Brady’s Bend on the Allegheny, fifteen miles above Kittanning, by Captain Samuel Brady, in the early part of June, 1779. [Appendix to Pennsylvania Archives, page 131.] It was a place of resort by the Indians even after the Revolutionary war. Shawanee John and Job Chillaway, friendly Indians, made it their rendezvous. The former, who belonged to Captain Lowdon’s company, which fought in front of Boston, died at the “Nest” many years after the war. All traces of the village have long since disappeared.

PHILIPSBURG was laid out before Centre county was erected. Henry and James Phillips were the proprietors, and the first house was built by John Henry Simler, a Revolutionary soldier, in the year 1797. Simler enlisted in Paris, in 1780, in Captain Claudius de Berts’ troop, Colonel Armand’s (Marquis de La Rouarie) dragoons, and was at the taking of Cornwallis; he was wounded in the forehead and eye by a sabre. He died in Philadelphia in 1829.

William Swansey, Robert Boggs, and Andrew Gregg, the trustees specified in the act of Assembly erecting the county, met at Bellefonte on the 31st of July, 1800. a conveyance for one-half of the tract of land on which the town of Bellefonte was laid out, including a moiety of the lots in said town as well as those sold or those not sold, was presented by James Dunlop and James Harris, Esqs., according to their bond given to the Governor. It was agreed that the sale of the lots should be indiscriminate, and the money arising there from should be divided equally between the proprietors and trustees; and that on the first Monday of September, the residue of the part undivided in the town should be laid out in lots of two and a half acres each, and sold at public auction. It was the prison in the public square, and that application should be made to the Legislature to vest the trustees with discretionary power to erect the prison in any other part of the town. On the 1st of September they met again, articled with Colonel Dunlop and Mr. Harris for payment of one half of the proceeds of lots to be sold, and contracted with Hudson Williams to build the prison on such lot as should be designated. It was to be thirty feet long and twenty-five feet wide in the clear. Among other specifications “there shall be an apartment in the cellar for a dungeon; said dungeon shall be twelve feet by nine in the clear, covered above with hewed logs laid close together, under the plank of the floor, and a proper trap door to let into the dungeon.” The contract price for the jail was one thousand one hundred and sixty-two dollars.

The first court held in Bellefonte was the quarter sessions of November, 1800, before Associate Judges James Potter and John Barber, when, upon motion of Jonathan Walker, Esq., the following attorneys were qualified: Jonathan Walker, Charles Huston, Elias W. Hale, Jonathan Henderson, Robert Allison, Robert F. Stewart, William A. Patterson, John Miles, David Irvine, W. W. Laird, and John W. Hunter.

The January sessions, 1801, were also held by Judge Potter and his associates; constables appearing; for Upper Bald Eagle, William Connelly; Lower Bald Eagle, Samuel Carpenter; Centre, John McCalmont; Haines, Philip Frank; Miles, Stephen Bolender; Potter, Thomas Sankey; Patton, Christian Dale. The following persons were recommended for license as inn-keepers: John Matthias Beuck, Aaronsburg; Robert Porter, Franklin; Thomas Wilson, Centre; James Whitehill, Potter; and Philip Callahan, Aaronsburg. The name of Upper Bald Eagle was changed to Spring township, and Ferguson erected, beginning at the line of Bald Eagle and Patton, near Robert Moore’s, including his farm, thence through the Barrens, to include Centre furnace and James Jackson, near Half Moon, the line to be continued until it strikes the Huntingdon county line, thence along same and Centre till it strikes Tussey mountain, thence along the mountain to Patton and Potter and part of Bald Eagle, to the place of beginning.

The first grand jury was assembled to April sessions, 1801, when the presiding judge, James Riddle, appeared on the bench for the first time in the county. The names of these jurors were William Swansey, Esq., James Harris, Esq., Philip Benner, Richard Malone, John Ball, David Barr, William Kerr, Esq., Michael Bolinger, Esq., James Whitehill, William Irvine, John Irvin, William Eyerly, Esq., James Newall, Samuel Dunlop, Alexander Read, General John Patton, John M. Beuch, James Reynolds, Michael Weaver, and Felix Chrisman.

Additional persons recommended for license: Hugh Gallagher and Benjamin Patton, Bellefonte; Jacob Kepler and John Benner, Potter; John Motz and William Lowerwine, of Haines.

The first case of notoriety, particularly from the array of counsel concerned, was George McKee vs. Hugh Gallagher, 18th August, term, 1801. McKee kept a tavern in a stone house, on the lot where Thomas Reynolds now resides; Gallagher, in a long frame house, which stood in the lot now occupied by D. G. Bush, Esq. A wagon loaded with whiskey in barrels did not stand over night in front of McKee’s, as some one took out the pinnings, and it rushed, like the swine of old, down the declivity into the creek, and the whiskey floated off with its waters. Hinc illae lacrimae.

For several years prior to 1820, the people of Centre county were kept in constant terror by the operations of a bold band of highwaymen and counterfeiters, among whom were McGuire, Connelly, and David Lewis. Lewis was a son of Lewis Lewis, a former deputy surveyor under Charles Lukens, who removed to Centre county, then Mifflin, in 1793. They operated along the road through the Seven mountains, their last adventure being the robbery of a wagon loaded with store goods belonging to Hammond and Page of Bellefonte. An armed party from Bellefonte tracked them to the house of Samuel Smith, at the junction of Bennett’s and Driftwood Branch, where a battle occurred, resulting in the mortal wounding of Connelly, who died July 3, at KARSKADDEN, near the mouth of Bald Eagle, and of David Lewis, who died in the Bellefonte jail, in July, 1820.

Twelve miles south-west of Bellefonte, in College township, is located the State College. As originally proposed by the Pennsylvania State Agricultural Society, and organized under its auspices, it was named the Farmer’s High School of Pennsylvania. The act of incorporation is dated April 13, 1854. In 1862 its name was changed to “The Agricultural College of Pennsylvania.” In 1867, the institution having then come under the law of Congress of July 2, 1862, was compelled to extend its course of instruction, in order more fully to comply with the educational requirements of that act, which directs that “the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies, and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanical arts, in such manner as the Legislature of the State might prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions of life.” The scope of the institution being thus greatly extended, the name was again changed (January, 1874) to “the Pennsylvania State College.” In 1863 the Congressional land grant was accepted by the State, and subsequently the scrip of the 780,000 acres of land granted, sold and properly invested as an endowment fund for the State College. Since the 1872 the annual income from this fund has been $30,000. the college property consists of a tract of four hundred acres, of which one hundred are set apart as a model and experimental farm, and worked separate from the main college farm of three hundred acres, though under the supervision of the professor of agriculture. The main building is a plain substantial structure of limestone, seated on a pleasant rise of ground, and is two hundred and forty feet in length, eighty feet in average breadth, and full five stories in height, exclusive of the basement, with ample lodging rooms chapel, library, society halls, laboratories, cabinets, and refectory for three hundred and thirty students, the whole well heated and supplied with water. A large campus for exercise and drill and extensive pleasure grounds adjoin the buildings. A full college course is pursued, consisting of instruction in agriculture, chemistry, geology, botany, surveying and engineering, telegraph, physics, language, and literature, combined with military instruction. No charge is made for tuition. The faculty consists of twelve professors, of whom Rev. James Calder, D.D., is president. The State College is at present in a flourishing condition.

ORGANIZATION OF TOWNSHIPS. -The original townships of Centre county were Upper Bald Eagle, Lower Bald Eagle, Centre, Haines, Miles, Pattton, Potter, and Warrior Mark. In January, 1801, the name of Upper Bald eagle was changed to that of Spring township, and at the same session Ferguson was erected, including Centre furnace. January session, 1802, the name of Warrior Mark was changed to that of Half Moon. On the 26th of March, 1804, Clearfield and M’Kean counties were erected and placed under the jurisdiction of the several courts of Centre county. Accordingly at August session, 1804, M’Kean was erected into a township call Ceres, and Clearfield into a separate township called CHINKLACAMOOSE, by the Quarter Sessions of Centre county; and roads laid out in those counties by the Court in 1806. At August sessions, 1807, Bradford and Becaria townships were erected in Clearfield county.

At January sessions, 1810, Howard and Walker townships were erected out of Centre township, and the latter name abolished. Howard was called after the great philanthropist Howard, and Walker after Judge Walker, at the request of the inhabitants.

At November sessions, 1814, Rush and Jenner townships were erected out of Half Moon, the former called after Dr. Benjamin Rush, the latter after Dr. Jenner. (On 26th January, 1815, the name Jenner was changed back to Half Moon.) In August of same year Spring township was divided, and one part called Allen, after Captain W. W. Allen, of the sloop Argus; the other Covington, after Leonard Covington, who fell at Williamsburg. At April session, 1815, Allen was changed to Boggs, after the late Robert Boggs, and Covington back to Spring.

In April, 1817, Gibson was erected out of Lawrence, in Clearfield, and called after Colonel George Gibson. In August Bald Eagle was divided, and the part adjoining Walker called “Lamar, after Major Lamar, who fell at the surprise at Paoli, in the midst of the British on the retreat. His last words were, ‘Halt, boys, give these assassins one fire.’ He was instantly cut down by the enemy. Shall he not be remembered by a grateful country? He shall. In honor of this martyr in the cause of his country, we name the within township, Lamar. N.B. The above order of Major Lamar was distinctly heard by Colonel Benjamin Burd.” Signed by Jonathan Walker and James Potter. Major Marien Lamar commanded a company in Colonel Philip de Haas’ battalion in the campaign of 1776, in Canada; was promoted Major of the Fourth Pennsylvania Line, and killed at Paoli, September 20, 1777.

On the 27th of March, 1819, that part of the township of Bald Eagle beginning at the river opposite the mouth of Quinn’s run, thence along the division line of the counties of Centre and Lycoming, one mile, thence by a direst line to the mouth of Sinnemahoning creek, was annexed to Lycoming, and attached to Dunstable and Chapman townships.

April, 1819, Logan appears among the list of townships. No record of its formation can be found.

January 25, 1821, Sinnemahoning township erected in Clearfield county.

Gregg township was erected November 29, 1826, and called for Hon. Andrew Gregg; Harris out of Potter, Ferguson, and Spring, April 27, 1835, and called after the late James Harris. Huston appears among the list of townships in April, 1839; no record of its erection can be found. Snow Shoe was erected out of Boggs, January 31, 1840. Marion, August 26, 1840, out of Walker. Penn appears among the list of townships in April, 1845; Liberty was erected August 28, 1845; Taylor, January 27, 1847, out of Half-Moon; Worth, January 27, 1848, out of Taylor; Union November 25, 1850, out of Boggs; Burnside in April, 1857, and Curtin, November 25, 1857.


President Judges.-James Riddle (Centre being annexed to the Fourth District of which he was then, 1800, President Judge); Jonathan Walker, commissioned March 1, 1806; Charles Huston, commissioned July 1, 1818; Thomas Burnside, commissioned April 20, 1826.

Associate Judges.-James Potter, commissioned October 20, 1800, died 1818; John Barber, commissioned October 22, 1800; Adam Harper, commissioned December 1, 1800, died November, 1827; Robert Boggs, commissioned December 2, 1800; Isaac McKinney, commissioned January 8, 1819; Jacob Kryder, commissioned December 10, 1827.

Deputy Attorney-generals.-Thomas Burnside, January 12, 1809; William W. Potter; Gratz Etting, July 17, 1819; James M. Petriken; Ephraim Banks; James MacManus, February 28, 1833.

Prothonotaries.-Richard Miles, October 22, 1800; John G. Lowrey, May 10, 1809; John Rankin, February 2, 1818; John G. Lowrey, February 10, 1821; John Rankin, January 22, 1824; William L. Smith, March 3, 1830; James Gilleland, March 23, 1831; George Buchanan, January 12, 1836.

Registers and Recorders.-Richard Miles, October 22, 1800; William Petriken, May 10, 1809, re-commissioned February 2, 1818; Franklin B. Smith, February 8, 1821; William Pettit, January 22, 1824; William C. Welch, January 12, 1836.

Sheriffs.-James Duncan, October 28, 1800; William Rankin, October 25, 1803; Roland Curtin, November 14, 1806; Michael Bolinger, November 11, 1809; John Rankin, November 6, 1812; William Alexander, December 1, 1815; john Mitchell, October 23, 1818; Joseph Butler, October 22, 1821; Thomas Harkness, Jr., November 17,1824; Robert Tate, December 19, 1827; William Ward, October 22, 1830; George Leidy, October 31, 1833; William Ward, October 29, 1836.

Commissioned Deputy Surveyors of Districts of which its Territory formed part.-John Canan, September 20, 1791; James Harris, October 19, 1791; Frederick Evans, November 9, 1791; James Harris, October 19, 1791; Frederick Evans, November 9, 1791; Joseph J. Wallis, January 18, 1792; Daniel Smith, August 10, 1795. William Kerr, May 11, 1815; Joseph B. Shugert, June 4, 1826.

First Justices of the Peace.-Bald Eagle (Lower)-Matthew Allison, October 22, 1800. Bald Eagle (Upper)-William Petriken, October 22, 1800.

CENTRE.-William McEwen, October 22, 1800; William Swansey, October 22, 1800; Thomas McCalmont, October 22, 1800.

HAINES.-Michael Bolinger, October 22, 1800; James Cook, October 22, 1800; Adam Harper, October 22, 1800; John Matthias Beuck, December 6, 1800.

PATTON.-Thomas Ferguson, October 22, 1800; William Early, December 1, 1800. The first County commissioners were John Hall, David Barr, and Matthew Allison; Commissioners’ Clerk, William Kerr.

Source: The History of Pennsylvania By William H. Egle, M.D., M.A. Published 1883 Author of Centre County History JOHN BLAIR LINN, BELLEFONTE

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External links

  • Outstanding guide to Centre County family history and genealogy resources (FamilySearch Research Wiki). Birth, marriage, and death records, censuses, wills, deeds, county histories, cemeteries, churches, newspapers, libraries, and genealogical societies.

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