March 20 and 21, 1936
"Between the Florey clearing and the road over Nittany Mountain was the Lonbarger settlement. It was opened by Wash Lonbarger, Wash being the undignified abbreviation for George Washington. Mr. Lonbarger had a number of sons who helped him in his task. Their names were Pierce, Oscar, George and "Dode". There were also two daughters.
It was Oscar 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. Some lived on top of the mountain and counted Centre Hall the more convenient post office. The Black Hawk road provided one outlet for these folks, and the road down through McBride's Gap another.
When Rockview penitentiary was instituted, all this land was bought up by the state. A number of buildings still in use were torn down and it is estimated that the number of acres under cultivation in that section which are no longer tilled is around 500.
The Hamiltons lived near the railroad station in an old stone house built by Mr. Mease. Mr. Hamilton came to this section from Pine Grove, a descendant of the Carr family. It is he who helped establish Pleasant Gap Methodism by material assistance. So far as known, there are none of the Hamilton descendants in the neighborhood.
The Noll family has lived in this part of Centre County since 1801. The family itself sent its first representative to America from Rotterdam, Holland, in 1732. He landed in New York and later found himself in Lebanon County where his descendants stayed until John George Noll pushed on to this side of Nittany Mountain and settled near Rock Forge. His four sons were named Samuel, George, Henry and Emmanuel. George Noll built the little house across from T.E. Jodons and reared his family there. Samuel cleared and lived on the farm that is now owned by John Holubec and lies between the mountain road and Gilltown on the side of Nittany Mountain. He had three sons, William Henry, John and Samuel, and two daughters. Samuel married Rachel Tate, who is still living in the village and has been mentioned before as Mrs. Rachel Noll, her husband having died years ago. The couple was childless.
Henry settled on the Sunday farm, then called the Abe Stein farm, and his children were born there. When his son John was a little chap, the family moved to a new home that they had bought and built a house on. This was the land now owned by H.J. Markle, on the right-hand side going down. John or "Jack," as he is best known around his home town, remembers that he sat in the stove oven as the household goods were carried in wagons from the Stein farm to the new place. "Jack" and his little friend, Abe Stein, perched on the road, found the stove oven door was open and youngster-like crawled in and traveled in triumph together.
Other children of William Henry were the two brothers, William and Abner, who owned and operated the Noll Brothers store at the upper end of town since 1882; Boyd, of Zion; James C., a lawyer, who practiced in Bellefonte, then went to Oklahoma, and died there, and another brother, Samuel, is also deceased. The generation succeeding this one is almost too well known to need mention. Of the two brothers, William H. and Abner, the first has three children, Samuel Sr., associated with the older men in the store; Henry T., who enjoys the distinction of being one of the state's pioneer aviators, having been flying for more than 12 years, and conducting an aviation school here at home, and the daughter, Mrs. R.S. Melroy, who is also in the mercantile business with her husband.
Children of William H. include four daughters, living out of town with their husbands, and the youngest one, Miss Ethel, who teaches in the brick school house, at home; also a son, Ray C., residing in Pleasant Gap, and general manager of White Rock for 12 years.
Gilbert Noll, living in Pleasant Gap but maintaining an office in Bellefonte as interior decorator, is a descendant of John George, who was his great-grandfather. Gilbert Noll was also district chairman of the Democratic party of Spring Township."
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 Swaney'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 Swaney 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 Swaney's tavern at the Cross Roads. A man named Bates kept it at first, but after he went out, Swaney 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 Swaney'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 Swaney, 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 Swaney 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."
March 25 and 26, 1936
"Beside the Methodist church was Joe Florey's new house, which he bought before it was finished, and completed. The Hugh Beatty Tate place, now owned by his daughter, Mrs. Blanche Fetteroff, stood near the Cross Roads. On the present Griffith location was an old building, long since torn down. Above the Methodist church on almost the exact spot, was a small cottage where Mrs. Armstrong lived. The present Armstrong family in town is a lineal descendant of this woman. Above her place was the Robert Barnes house, now occupied by his son Frank, and having the usual addition to enlarge it. A log house stood on the site of Mrs. Mary Baumgardner's home. This burned down a few years ago, having caught fire from a bake shop operated on the premises. The small house opposite T.E. Jodon was there, having been put up by George Noll, son of John George Noll and brother of Samuel who is grandfather to Abner and William Noll.
Next came the Gettle house, and finally one built for Mrs. Emma Jodon Swarm by her brothers in Axemann. It was built for her when she married John Swarm who was a carpenter and preferred to live in this place because it was handy to towns where he could ply his trade. This house is the one Henry Noll now occupies. On the opposite side of the road was the school house, standing by itself with one house near. That was the one William Shuey now lives in. It was owned by Henry Eckenroth who taught school in the nearby building and also kept a little store in a small shop that is now a house occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Paul Waite at this writing. The Waites are about to move to one of the White Rock farm houses, but it will remain their property, Mrs. Waite having formerly owned it with her husband, William Klinger. Mr. Eckenroth was a veteran of the Civil War and had lost an arm in the service.
Another house was that now occupied by George Deibler. That building is said to have been moved here from Hecla, and was inhabited by a family named Cox.
The house across the railroad track was the third and remaining house on the west side of the new pike at that time. It was a log house, and was called the Fishburn place by the older residents, but housed a family named Corman. Miss Alpha Corman kept a millinery shop in one of the rooms. Charles Schreffler owns it now.
Additions have been made, as usual, the entire place has been weather boarded, and no one would suspect that it was built of logs so many years ago.
Above the Swarm home was the business center of Pleasant Gap. It consisted of the store, located where William Noll's house now stands, a saddler shop and two houses owned by John Barnes now the property of Harry Bilger on one side, on the other the hotel, a house now owned and occupied by John Noll, and farther up the road, the farm house now owned by the Nolls. 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 town grew slowly. Practically all the men had to go away from home to find work. A shoemaker, blacksmith, store keeper or the toll gate keeper might make a living in the village with the aid of his garden, poultry, pigs and cow, but these occupations were limited to one man, respectively. Most of the others worked at mine banks that furnished ore for Bellefonte's furnace. Some went to the furnace itself, or to the axe factory at Axemann, or to the woods, Green Valley being the nearest lumbering point.
But wherever they went the pay was pitifully small. In the mine bank, a man worked 10 hours for 80 cents; eight cents per hour. The "boss" made 12 and a half cents per hour or $1.25 per day. The so-called "bank" might be Gatesburg, Warsaw, Taylor or Nigh Bank, as they all lay near together and paid the same. Men walked there and back on their own time. For the workers in Pleasant Gap in those days, life was little more than work, eat and sleep six days out of seven.
March 27 and 28, 1936
"Men also went to State College to dig cesspools. Some were more skillful and had learned to do carpentering, and so engaged themselves at that. They might drive a horse back and forth, some carpenters keeping a horse for that purpose. Their pay ran a little higher, something like $1.15 per day and later a trifle more, but all eked out life with strict economy and the most meager of comforts, compared with what we enjoy today.
When the children grew old enough to work, the boys were often put on farms for the summer, getting their board and lodging, and $6 per month for doing a good share of a man's work. The girls went to "live out" as they called it, usually with some farmer's wife a $1 per week. If she was a good girl who could bake, wash, iron, churn, scrub and nurse the wife through sickness she might get $1.25. A really good girl, who in addition to all these other duties, could milk eight or nine cows night and morning, was worth $1.50 per week. Very few of the houses were plastered. None at all were papered at first. One woman says that when paper hangers came to work at the second Methodist church, they boarded with her mother and for their board, papered her parlor and hall, which was considered a great attraction. Some folks did not even have plaster on their walls. Everybody burned wood in the kitchen and coal was a luxury reserved for the "room stove," if used at all. Furnaces were unheard of. Practically all the houses, unless built very recently, have had additions put to them from time to time. Most of the early ones consist of the regulation two rooms in front and two or three upstairs with a closed stair and cellar way.
These have been remodeled by adding a kitchen to the back, raising the roof and making its pitch steeper, and generally, changing the closed stairway into an open staircase. Sometimes small shops, or wood houses have been moved to be made into summer kitchens, connected to the house. Always, unless the original structure has been too old to remodel, it has formed the nucleus that has developed into a comfortable and attractive home.
It was on Ross land along Logan Branch that the earliest school was established. 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."