Keystone Gazette February 28 1902, page 2
ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO
A History of Zion and It's Surrounding Country
by J. P. Gephart of Zion
Zion, February 24, 1902
First settlement at Zion was made by Jacob Pifer who came here in the spring of 1841 or 1842, and cleared one acre of land, built a house on it and had or kept a hotel, now owned and occupied by J. G. Royer. The second house w as built by Daniel Womer, shoemaker, now owned and occupied by Mr Eby; third house built by Jackson Clevenstine, now owned and occupied by Jacob Shafer; fourth house also built by Jackson Clevenstine, now owned and occupied by John Royer, carpenter. The Samuel Decker house was built by Conrad Friedly; Isaac Stover's house by Joseph Garbrick; Jacob Garbrick house by Amos Garbrlck; B. A. Noll house by Benjamin Smeltzer; Samuel Dorman house by Benjamin Housel; John Baney house by J. Baney; Aust Brungard house by Martin Brungard; Jacob Stine house by J. Stine; Mrs. Lutz house by Ad. Garbrlck; John Eby house by Joseph Alters; Dr. Fisher's house by Dr. Fisher; Henry Lesh house by H. Lesh; Mother Lesh house by Mother Lesh ; Robert Homan house by H. Homan; Conrad Lesh house by said Lesh.
The village of Zion consists of three churches. First church built was the Lutheran in 1844 ; second one, Reformed, built in 1859; third one, Evangelical, built in 1890; Reformed church rebuilt in 1891. There are two stores, one blacksmith shop, two shoemaker shops, a post-office, one doctor, two carpenter shops and nineteen dwelling houses.
Prior to 1831 a Mr. Grove cleared and opened what is known as the George Shaffer farm, and moved there in the spring of 1831 from the Thomas farm in Bellefonte, then located where the glass works now stand. The farm is now owned by Samuel Decker and occupied by Adam Rish. The Isaac Stover farm, better known as the Lesh farm, was first opened by Mr. Irvin about the year 1825 ; then by Mr. Workinger about 1833. In the spring of 1834 the Leshs came from Berks county. In the spring of 1831 Henry Gebhart, with his family, moved from Oak Hall into the tenant house of George Shaffer. In the spring of 1832 he moved into the Joel Foyer house, and in the summer of 1834 he erected a house of his own in the woods. In 1835 he moved to what is known as the Henry Gebhart farm, now owned by Samuel Decker and occupied by Mr. Baumgardner. In the spring of 1835 John Gebhart moved from Slab Cabin, some two miles south of State College, onto the farm now owned by J. G. Royer and occupied by Joel Royer. The Adam Vonada farm was opened by William Adamson in 1835 or 1836. He was followed by John Shirk, Emanuel Noll, Mr. Stover, Benjamin, Harve and William Vonada and Mr. Fisher. It is now owned by Adam Vonada, Sr., and occupied by Mr. Swartz. What is known as the Twitmyer farm was first opened by Mr. McGown, next by Clark Miller. It was then purchased by Emanuel Twitmyer, afterwards by Watson Struble and Franklin Garbrick. The said farm is now owned by Samuel Decker and occupied by Mr. White. The Rupert farm was first opened by Thomas McCalmont and he "batched" it between 1790 and 1800. In 1802, just 100 years ago, he was married to Miss Baird, north of Pleasant Gap. T. B. Rupert was the next to take charge of the farm, which is now owned and occupied by W. W. Rupert. The Jessie McCalmont farm, better known as the J. P. Gebhart farm, was opened by said McCalmont in 1839 or 1840, and is now owned by Mrs. J. P. Gebhart and occupied by Ed. Gehbart. The John Kole farm was opened by David McCalmont in 1840 ; next by John Haus, Mr. Robison and H. D. Shower. It is now owned and occupied by John Kole. It is there that the writer saw the house and barn built in the woods. The Isaiah Struble farm was opened in the spring of 1839 by Jacob Struble, who moved from Union county, Pa Said farm is now owned by Isaiah Struble's heirs and occupied by Howard Struble, his mother and sister. The Joel Struble farm was opened in the spring of 1839 by Daniel Struble, also from Union county, who was followed by Samuel Kline, next by Conrad Struble. It is owned by Joel Struble and occupied by Calvin Struble. The Kauffman farm was opened 1840 by Conrad Struble who moved from Penns valley, followed by Ed. Kole and Mr Krider, and is now owned and occupied by Harris Kauffman. The Shearer farm was opened by Mr. Oramagost, followed by Mr. Hoover, Mr. Bickel, (grandfather of Isaac Bickel) and Jacob Garbrick. Said farm at that time consisted of the Shearer, Henry Garbrick and John Rockey farms. Said Shearer and Garbrick farms were improved by Jacob Shearer, who came from Lancaster county, Pa. The John Rockey farm was bought from Mr. Shearer, who improved said farm. He was followed by John L. Rockey and William Rockey, and the farm is now owned and occupied by John Rockey, Jr. The Shearer farm is owned by Jacob Garbrick and occupied by Foster Shearer. The Henry Garbrick farm owned and occupied by said H. Garbrick. The David Kauffman farm was opened and improved by said David Kauffman, and is now owned by Benjamin Kauffman and occupied by Benj. Royer. The Jacob Kauffman farm, first opener not known by the writer, followed, was improvsd by Jacob Kauffman, now owned by Jacob Garbrick and occupied by Hiram Lutz. The Perry Gentzel farm was opened and improved by Albert Hoy, now owned occupied by Perry Gentzel. The Stover farm first opened by a Mr. Mecht, improved by Joseph Stover, now owned by Isaac Stover and occupied by Mr. Keller. The Lutz farm was opened and improved by Daniel Lutz, is now owned by Hiram Lutz and occupied by Mr. Royer. The Eby farm was opened and improved by William McCalmont, followed by Samuel and John Eby, now owned by the Ebys and occupied by Solomon Poorman. The Garbrick farm was opened and improved by William Gerbrick, now owned and occupied by Alf Garbrick. The Shafer farm was opened and improved by Thomas Lesh, now owned and occupied by Harve Shafer. The Corman farm was first opened by Mr. Rishel, then by Samuel Neff and improved by Mr. Harshbarger, now owned and occupied by Michael Corman. The Elias Vonada farm was opened by Daniel Lutz and is now owned and occupied by Elias Vonada. The William Corman farm was opened by Michael Shafer, now owned by Michael Corman and occupied by William Corman. The Shafer farm was opened by Geo. Lutz and is now owned and occupied by William Shafer. The Hoy farm was opened by Mr. Dunkle and is now owned and occupied by Al. Hoy. The Truckamiller farm was opened by John Lutz and is now owned and occupied by Harvey Truckamiller. The Friedly home opened by George Friedly, now owned by Mrs. Friedly and occupied by Mrs. Friedly and Albert Shafer. The Jesse Shafer home opened by John Dear, followed by Willima Shaffer, now owned and occupied by Jessie Shafer. The Hull farm was opened by James Hull ; the Isaac Bickel farm by Jacob Bickel, now owned by Isaac Bickel and occupied by a Mr. Bickel. The Strohm farm opened by David Gingery, is now occupied by Ed. Strohm. The Johnson farm opened, owned and occupied by James Johnson. The Bickel farm opened by John Shafer, Jr., owned by Isaac Bickel and now occupied by Lyman Bickel. The Brungard farm opened by Samuel Rodman; (hear is where the first blacksmith shop in this section of the country was located) followed by Martin Brungard, now owned by Aust Brungard and occupied by Newt Hockamn. The Clevenstine farm first opened by Geo. Boyer, then bought and improved by Adam Decker, followed by Thomas Schenck, John Decker, Edward Cole, and others and is now owned and occupied by Isaac Clevenstine. The Garbrick farm, including the Wm. Vonada farm, first opened by Joseph Krice then by Adam Vonada, who improved the same. Said farm is now owned and occupied respectively by Emanuel Garbrick and Wm. Vonada. The Rockey and Decker farm was opened and improved by Thos. McKane bought by John Rockey, now owned and occupied respectively by Geo. Rockey and Christ Decker. The Gordon farm opened first by Mr. Neff, grandfather of Kline Neff of Hecla Park, improved by James Gordon, now owned by Judge Gordon of Clearfield and occupied by Mr. Carson. The Geiser farm opened and improved by Judge McKinney and is now occupied by Mr. Geiser
Hecla Furnace was first started by Judge McKinney about 1835 or 1836. The J. C. Showers home, east of W. W. Rupert, was first opened by Michael Neff about 1840, is now owned and occupied by Frederick Wells. Shamp home was first opened and improved by Emanuel Twitmyer about 1840 or 1841, now owned by John Fulgar and occupied by Mr. Lucas. The first school house in this section of country was built by Thomas McCalmont in 1833 or 1834, along the mountain east of W. W. Ropert's. A Mr. Morris of Philadelphia donated one acre of ground which was to be used as a union burial ground and school and church purposes. The second schoolhouse was erected thereon. The first person buried in this cemetery was Catherine Fisher In 1835 or 1836; second one, Mrs. John Twitmyer, mother of Jos. Twitmyer of Bellefonte, in 1837; third one, in 1838, Mrs. Albert Hoy, mother of Judge Hoy, deceased ; fourth one, in 1839 or 1840, Mrs. Henry Dunkle, mother of Thos. Dunkle of Hecla Park. She was a sister to Thomas and Daniel Lesh, deceased, of Zion. At that time the greater part of this section of the country was barren.
The writer of this article lived here before a single one was buried in the Zion cemetery. He is the only person living between Pleasant Gap and Hublersburg who came to this place in 1831. He witnessed the erection of the houses in the woods after enough land had been cleared. The houses were built by the following persons Heury Gebhart, Jno. Cole, Issiah Struble, Joel Struble, Horace Kauffman, John Rockey, Hiram Lutz, John Eby, Alf Garbrlok, Hull, Shafer, Friedly, Truckamiller, Wm. Shafer, Ellis Vonada, Wm. Corman, Al. Hoy, Isaac Bickel, Strohm, Johnson, Lyman Rickel, and Brungard. In Zion J. G. Royer, Jacob Shafer and Mrs. Eby.
NOTE - The author, J. P. Gephart, is a son of Henry Gephart, mentioned in the article. He was one of a family of 13 children and is the only one residing in Nittany valley."