Friday, June 20, 2014

Brief History of Springfield and Saltlick Townships


    Located beside each other in the northeast corner of Fayette County, the township includes the villages of Pleasant Hill, Normalville, Rodger's Mill and (Skinner's), Mill Run and has always been a fairly rural place. Clearly, an area also known for it's saw, flour and grist mills. Bordered on the southwest by the Youghiogheny River, the west Connellsville and Bullskin townships, Saltlick on the north, Stewart on the south and Laurel Ridge State Park and thereby, Somerset County on the east. By action of the court it came into existence in 1848 and constituted with what was left of the old Youghiogheny township in 1855.
   It is traversed by the Laurel Hill and Chestnut Ridge mountains making it a steep and hilly place in much of the lay of the land. It contains the Indian Creek valley, so called on account of Native American artifact d found near to it. It certainly does appear the old designation of the township was 'Youghiogheny' long ago, but was not found satisfactory as the re-naming would seem to prove.

 The clay pike ran through here by 1810. Many of the early travelers to these townships, as with Bullskin, were German Lutherans.



   The later of the two townships for this article, is the farthest east and the most northeasterly as well. The main villages are Indian Head, Melcroft, Champion, Maple Grove, Clinton, Millertown and White. It has the fishing and boating area of Lake Donegal, a popular destination.

   Most settlers came here from the east in Somerset and Bedford and from Maryland as early as the late 1700's. Many of these gathered near Indian Creek which flows from the northeast to the southwest, once better known as Salt Lick Creek. Benjamin Davis was one of these who had a tavern in 1795. Andrew Trapp was another early settler with many children. He died in 1824. Also George Poe and John Martin should be mentioned as early residents. The Dumbauld family came quite early too with a blockhouse on Four Mile run in the Loyallhanna, or Ligonier valley.. The township is bordered by Springfield on the south, Westmoreland on the northern side, Somerset to the east and the Chestnut Ridge and Bullskin  bounds it on the west.

   Late in 1797, the residents successfully petitioned for a new township separate from the mother township of Bullskin. the old traditional name in use was either Yough or more probablyYoung, maybe from a usage connected with Maryland and Virginia, but this is speculation. It ia very hilly with deep valleys and does have more of a plateau area in the west that helped with agriculture. There was much coal and limestone taken from here. There were also many types of mill here high in importance before the coming of the railroads. A post office was established at Champion, near Jone's Mill in 1875, though the oldest was at Spark's store in Indian Head and Indian Head was first called Dawson, then finally Indian Creek.

   The area of Salt Lick was much larger once, but by 1848 the new township of Springfield had then limited the scope of Salt Lick in the size it presently holds. I noticed that one of the oldest road was petitioned from Broadford to a Christain Perkey's Mill and to Redstone in 1784.Schools were started by 1803.

(taken partly from Ellis' "History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania", in the public domain). 

   Anyone with more historical information or genealogical material for you family, please e-mail me or you can easily leave a comment, anonymously if you wish.

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