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Chippewa Township
By Babs Donnell
Milestones Vol 23 No 1 Spring 1998

Settlement of the area known as Chippewa began when the treaty of 1795 was signed with the Chipwayanwok Indians. Chippewa Township was incorporated in January 1816 by the Beaver County Courts. It was annexed from the original South Beaver Township as were Brighton and Ohio Townships. At the time of annexation Chippewa Township included areas now known as the municipalities of West Mayfield and White Township. In 1887 White Township was formed followed by West Mayfield in 1923.

Following annexation the area was known as Adams Township having been named for Dr. Samuel Adams. Dr. Adams had settled Adamsville, the upper part of Beaver Falls, before 1800. At the time of incorporation Adams Township became Chippewa Township. Chippewa is derived from Chipwayanwok meaning "tailskins". The Indians inhabiting the area wore animal skins as a fringe on their clothing and were thus called Chipwayanwok.

The main branch of Brady's Run passes across the southwest corner of the township while the north branch flows south and east through the township.

In 1880 Chippewa Township was described as the most broken and uneven district in the whole county. Small swift streams cut narrow gorges through the sandstone. The only farmland worth tilling was found high on the hilltops in what geologists term barren measures.

There were small deposits of coal of limited value. However, shale and limestone were plentiful. The existence of granite rocks revealed the influence of the northern glaciers and icebergs of an earlier era. Vast virgin forests covered the area.

The early settlers of the area that would become Chippewa Township were farmers of Scotch and ScotchIrish ancestry. The farms established in the township were from 100-300 acres. Many of these were dairy farms, but wheat, corn, hay and oats were produced as well as apples, pears , cherries and peaches. People earned their living by selling their crops and produce in Beaver Falls once a week. The Chippewa Grange was chartered in 1892 with George Louthan as master.

During the early frontier period manufacturing consisted primarily of sawmills. In 1900 natural gas was discovered and Manufacturers Light and Heat Company began to draw gas from wells throughout the township. The first actual business was established in 1901 on the corner of Blackhawk Road and Winterburn and was known as the McLaughlin Blacksmith Shop. In 1913 Amond's Grocery Store opened for business.

Life on the farm included making clothes from Lindsay-Woolsey and Flax. Buckskin was prepared and made into shoes and other clothing. Garden and wild herbs and plants were gathered and boiled in a large iron kettle to dye yarn and thread in order to add some color to otherwise drab clothing.

The early residents faced many hardships as they carved their homes out of this wilderness. In addition to the wild animals that inhabited the territory, the elements also posed threats. On February 4, 1817 there was a snowfall of 4Y2 to 5 feet.

In spite of the fact that ScotchIrish Presbyterians settled the area it was a Methodist Church that was first organized and subsequently built in the township. Having been organized in 1796, the first church was built of native sandstone and measured 25' x 20". It was built on the north slope of the Thomas Stratton Farm in 1810. It was located 200' east of the present Shenango Road on what is called Church Lane. It was known as the James Powers Meeting House and then as the Old Stone Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1848 the building was partially burned and subsequently a red brick church was constructed at the intersection of Darlington Road and Shenango Road in 1857. The bricks having probably come from the old brick kiln near Oakville Road.

The Old Stone Church Cemetery, located on the west side of Shenango Road opposite the original site of the church lies 600 feet back from the road. The burial dates span the years from 1798 to 1921. Two of the graves belong to Revolutionary War Veterans, Matthias Shanor and Thomas Stratton.

Matthias Shanor came to the district in 1783 after he was mustered out of the Revolutionary Army. He purchased 200 acres of land on the north branch of Brady's Run later known as the Old Thomas Stratton Farm in Chippewa Township. At that time the woods were full of wild beasts including wolves.

Other early settlers included Robert Herron who was born in York Pennsylvania of Scotch-Irish parents. He settled in Chippewa Township in 1798 and lived near the Dunlap School District. In 1799 he moved to a farm on the southside of the township near Brady's Run. He died August 17,1838. He served as a justice of the peace for 19 years prior to his death. He was an elder of the Associate Presbyterian Church in Darlington and then the Four Mile Presbyterian Church. His four sons and two daughters all lived in and were identified with the history of Chippewa Township.

Robert McFarland came from Westmoreland in 1812 and was living in Chippewa Township in 1824. He was a shoemaker. He died in 1862.

Ethan and Elizabeth Thomas were pioneers of Beaver County having come from Maryland to settle first in Patterson Township and then in Chippewa. Their son, William Thomas was born in 1821 and resided on the family homestead except for six years, three of which he was in the mercantile business in Beaver and three when he was in New Brighton. He served one term as a Justice of the Peace and County Auditor.

John Stratton came from New Jersey and settled in Chippewa Township in 1825 where he cleared and improved a farm. His son Elijah Stratton returned to Chippewa in 1874 and engaged in farming

Henry Wagner came to the United States in 1849 from Germany and established a brewery in Beaver Falls. He settled in Chippewa Township in 1858 where he engaged in farming.

Jacob Young a farmer and milkman was born in Germany, September 14,1846. He came to the United States in 1864 and settled in Chippewa in 1870 where he engaged in farming In 1884 he entered the dairy business with twenty-one cows. He supplied a milk route for Beaver Falls.