Friday, October 23, 2009

Village of Chaneysville

~~Southampton Twp.~~Bedford County~~Pennsylvania~~
The 21st century finds Chaneysville a sleeping little village full of history... It all began in the mid 1830's when Thomas Chaney Jr. built the first house in what was once known as Watertown. This house doubled as a tavern/hotel, it has seen many owners come and go. Unfortunately on a sub-zero night in January 2004, fire destroyed over half of this old hotel.

In those early days the flourishing village of took care of it's own with two stores,two grist mills, two blacksmiths, two wagon makers, a sawmill, a tannery, a shoemaker shop, a public hall,hotel it's very own post office (1855-1938), a few churches and a doctor's office. Most of these building are gone now. Even our store is closed and the mail comes from the post office in Clearville. Today you'll find three active churches and a volunteer fire company taking care of our 1010 households.


1625-Thomas Powell's Expedition arrived from Jamestown, Virginia, where they saw the first Indians near the Warrior's Path

1728-The first 13 settlers moved into this area

1737-Joseph Powell built a Trading Post on Little Sweet Root, about the same time his cousin Robert Ray opened his Trading Post near Bedford

1737-Huff discovered Saltpetre Cave in Sweet Root Gap

1764-Mason and Dixon were commissioned to survey and mark the boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania

1758- Indians invaded Chaneysville

1758-Fort Bedford was constructed

1766-Village of Bedford was surveyed, Bedford was named for the Duke of Bedford, before that time it was known as Raystown, probably because of Robert Ray's Trading Post

1771-Bedford County was formed on March 9th of that year

1784-Two Methodist Preachers arrived in Beans Cove, Southampton Twp.

1787-Pennsylvania became the 2nd state, eventually it was divided into 67 counties

1799-Southampton Twp. was organized

1806-First log school was built

1830-Thomas Chaney Jr. built his house in Chaneysville, his family had moved here in 1786 from Washington Co. MD.

1840-Monroe Twp. seceded from Southampton Twp. and Providence Twp.

1840-William Perdew a Revolutionary War Veteran died

1862-Confederate cavalry scouts entered Black Valley from Flintstone, Md. and camped near Chaneysville

1869-New framed schools were built

1876-Mann Twp. was erected from Southampton Twp.

1879-Hewitt Covered Bridge was approved for use

1921-Forester W. Byers had the Martin Hill Fire Tower built

1930-Someone started a fire on Tussey Mt. that burned 1150 acres on 5/4

1935-CCC camps were set up in Sweet Root and Blankley Parks

1949-P.T.A. was organized

1957-Sweet Root Park opened in July

1960-Chaneysville Volunteer Fire Company received their charter in January

1981-David Bradley wrote the novel "The Chaneysville Incident" a story of 13 runaway slaves who passed through Chaneysville

1986-Sponsored by the Chaneysville Seniors, Mabel Hoffman was crowned "Ms. Senior Pa." (honoring women 60 and over) in Nov. at Hershey, Pa.

1987-April 1st in Atlantic City, Mabel Hoffman won the title of "Ms. Senior America"

1989-"In late 1980s, a BLACK panther paid visits to Chaneysville Cove School grounds, witnessed by law enforcement, 6 teachers & 30 students, who have never forgotten those events." (quoted

1998-Trica Miller complied a list of Veterans buried in Southampton Twp.

2000-Hewitt Covered Bridge restored

2001-Dec. 17th UPMC-Bedford Memorial Hospital donated $1000.00 to each of the 13 local fire companies including Chaneysville

2002-On March 16th the Martin Hill Fire Tower(built in 1921) was quietly removed. It is no longer the icon for Southampton Township that could be seen from miles around on a clear day.

2002-Chaneysville and Hewitt are included (with photos) in an article written about the Mason-Dixon Line by Anna & Lou Leopold for the June/August issue of the magazine "Westsylvania"

2004-Fire at the "hotel"

2007-Feb. 15th the Everett Area School Board voted to close Chaneysville-Cove Elementary School at the end of the school term

2007-March 14th Headlines from the Bedford Gazette read "Chaneysvlle parents file complaint; Group hires lawyer to review closing of elementary school"

2007-Friday, July 13 the Honorable Judge Howsare ruled the Everett school board's action was "an abuse of discretion" and Chaneysville-Cove Elementary will remain open

2007-The following week the school board put an automatic supersdeas on Judge Howsare's July 13th ruling, thus the school will be closed and the children will be bused over Tussey Mountain, unless...

2007- August 17th Save Small Schools won once again against the school board when the Honorable Judge Howsare ordered the automatic supersedeas would be lifted and Chaneysville-Cove Elementary would be opened August 29th

2007-August 29th the doors of Chaneysville-Cove Elementary opened as they had since 1954, the only difference is the bus routes

2008- March-DSL has finally arrived in Chaneysville

2010- Southampton Historical Society was formed... 1st project...restore Point Pleasant 2-room School.

2011-SHS Newsletter "Southampton Times" was created,  $10.00 membership dues (per calendar year) will get members a spring & fall newsletter, each newsletter includes articles with photos and "Rabbit Tales" which features a story of a plant, animal or natural formation which helped shape the history of our township.

2011- Our first newsletter ($5.00) The Early Days of our Township, 1st settlers, Powell Expedition, our timeline, Veterans buried in our township to 1998, and William Tell of Beans Cove

2012- Spring newsletter ($5.00) Post Offices of our Township, Updated vet burials, SS Robert Hartsock, Hewitt Covered Bridge and  Mt. Zion Church list

2012- Fall newsletter ($5.00) Election Houses, Olympian Natalie Dell, Penetecostal Church Bombed, Robert Hartsock Bridge, CCC Camp Halloween Party

2013-Spring newsletter ($5.00) with a lot of photos of the inside of the Beans Cove Methodist Church and the Caves of Southampton Twp.

2013-Fall newsletter ($5.00) Carl Cessna/Mid State Trail, William H. Knee, Double Murder of the Roses, and 1931 Superintendent Report of our schools.

Thursday, October 22, 2009



During the Fire:

The Day After:

Copied from "History of Bedford, Somerset, and Fulton Counties, Pa. 1884"

Southampton, now part of Bedford county, was erected by order of the court of quarter sessions during the April term in 1799. Its boundaries were then described as follows: "Beginning at the province line near the house of Joshua Lewman, thence along the top of Evitt's mountain to the dividing ridge between the waters of Flintstone and the Cove creek about nine miles, thence along the top of the said ridge to Terrace mountain about two miles, thence along the top of said mountain to the dividing ridge between the waters of Town creek and Sideling hill creek and the waters of Juaniata about six miles, thence along the top of said ridge to the top of Town hill about ten miles, thence along the top of said hill to the province line about ten miles, thence by said line to place of beginning."

At that time Southampton included Mann and Monroe townships.

Early Chaneysville

In this early photo of Chaneysville on the right you can pick out the Perdew house and the old mill. In the background is a covered bridge(326S). The building in the foreground that looks like a covered bridge was actually a wagon shed. Note the orchard on the hill.

This is a close-up of the beautiful Perdew house that once stood near where the DCNR building is today. Note the German Reformed Church on the hill in the background.

This photo was taken in the 60's.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


According to our Southampton Twp. Newsletter...

*There are 25 townships in Bedford County. Southampton Township is the second largest in square miles, but the least populated with only about 12 people per square mile.

*Southampton Twp. is 80 square miles.

*One third of that land is State Forest and State Game Land.

*There is 39 miles of township roads.

*The 2000 Census show 1010 people living in Southampton Twp.

*There are 435 registered voters in Southampton Twp.

*Pennsylvania stands for Penns Woods(because of William Penn) and sylvan, meaning "a forested region".

The Log of Thomas Powell

As copied from "The Kernel of Greatness"...The first white men on record to set foot in what is now Bedford County, Pennsylvania, were those of the Thomas Powell expedition in 1625. Thomas Powell was the brother of John Powell, who as captain of the "Seafoam" came into the James River (VA.) country in 1620.

Thomas fitted out an expedition to explore the western part of Virginia. His report was made to the ancestor of Martin L. Cresap, as follows: "I have the pleasure of reporting to your Highness, that after going many days, a little northwest through the wilderness we came to a high plateau of land, which abounds in all kinds of game. We camped and killed and ate our fill: when rested, we continued about the same direction, when we came upon water that drained north-ward; we followed it, and it got bigger, when to our great chagrin we heard thunder noise. We were then close to a great mountain when all of a sudden it disappeared and from all of its noise I think it fell through the earth. I know not what to name it unless "Lost Water." as it can never get on top of ye earth. (This could be "Lost River," West Vir.) We then went towards the setting sun for two days when we came to other waters going towards the North Star. We continued along its bank till it got larger. We found it not so good traveling, and crossed to the other side. In doing these things we lost one of our men, George South, which I much regret. We got him and of course buried him in his clothes near a big pine tree, that we marked. We came on down this water two days travel when we came to a large water. By making log rafts all got over safe, then we rested and fished two days. We took our course towards the North Star one day's journey and came to (1) another water as though it came from the North Star; we followed it three days travel; we came to where three waters came together, one was near the star. (2) This water had a sweetish taste; was full of the most beautiful speckled fish we have ever seen. There were lots of Indians here; they showed us all the friendship they could; we continued up this till we came to (3) high ground; we went beyond that, where the water runs towards the North Star; then we turned." Powell ended, "I assign myself your humble servant": Captain Thomas Powell, October 25th day 1625.

Indians around Jamestown had told the white men that there was silver and lead to the north, but that north of the great waters, where other waters ran toward the North Star, the natives were not friendly. Having no previous knowledge of this county, when this expedition crossed the Potomac River, they believed it to be the Indians' "Great Waters," so that when they found the stream running north (in what is believed to be Friend's Cove), they went only a short distance, then turned back toward Jamestown.
It is believed by several exploring groups that followed Powell's directions (1) that the stream with three forks is Town Creek, (2) the stream with sweet-tasting water is Little Sweet Root Creek, (3) the high ground is Martin Hill: and the place where Powell turned around is near Ashcom of today. None of Powell's group ever settled in Pennsylvania, but Joseph, a grand-son of Powell, led a group to this section over one hundred years later. They settled in the area south of Chaneysville.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Powell's

As you enter Sweet Root Park you will be amazed at the history that is surrounding you. The first explorers led by Thomas Powell made the dangerous 300 mile expedition from Jamestown, Virginia into this area as early as 1625. This was 50 years before William Penn received the charter for his colony.

Another Powell, Joseph led the first thirteen settlers into this area before he went back to Virginia. In 1737, he returned to the Sweet Root area with his brother George. Joseph, built a trading post situated near the Old Iroquois Indian Trail, on Little Sweet Root Creek at the foot of Tussey mountain.

On the path that leads to the broken down bridge is the "rabbit rock" which got it's name because of the giant rabbit track imprinted in the flat rock.

In the early 1900's this sawmill owned by the Greguss Kormierkowski family was located further upstream from the trading post.

Joseph Powell's 1st cousin was Robert Ray, who had a trading post near what is now Bedford. In Sept. 1756, Robert Ray got sick at his post and four men, Joseph Powell, John Perrin, Michael Huff, and a Mr. Vogan carried him to the Sweet Root area to the "Powell Trading Post". Ray stayed there until he felt better, he then walked 6 miles south of the post to his sister's home, Mrs. John Perrin. A few days later he died and was buried on the Perrin farm.

According to Mrs. Henry Nicum...

***Capt. John Powell came to Jamestown in command of a frigate, he brought with him, the first slave into the colony. (VA. history gives her name as Brass). John was Burgess in 1657-58 and in 1666 he was an Assemblyman of Elizabeth City,
***Capt. John Powell married a sister of Governor Argel, they had a son George in 1660.
***George Powell had two sons who settled in Southampton Twp., Joseph (who had the trading post) and George (who found the salt petre cave).
***Nathaniel Powell was governor and member of the Virginia Council in 1619 of Jamestown.
***Nathaniel had a son Thomas who arrived in Jamestown in the fall of 1620 commanding the "Seafoam", Five years later, Thomas led the expedition here.
***Joseph Powell was the son of George, grandson of John and a grand-nephew of Thomas Powell who led the expedition here in 1625.