The original settlers of the Brady Township area were the Pennsylvania Dutch. Lebbeus Luther, for whom Luthersburg was named, was born on March 22, 1792, in Massachusetts, and came from Bradford County to Oldtown (now Clearfield) in 1813. He became a local agent for the real estate firm of Fox and Company and sold much of their holdings in Brady Township for which Luther paid $5 per acre for 140 acres.
Benjamin Bonsall, who came from Perry County in 1824, bought the first tract. Frederick Zeigler came from York County about the same time and settled near the Indian spring. The first pioneer settler in the township was James Woodside in July 1785. A monument in his memory is located in Luthersburg’s Union Cemetery.
Other early settlers included Jacob Kuntz and George Elinger in 1822; John Carlisle in 1828 or 1829; Adam Knarr in 1826; and the Weisgarbers, Wingerts, Korbs and Yoes in 1831. Jacob Troutwein, after whom Troutville is named, arrived in 1832. John Kirk and David Welty came in 1832, John Potter in 1834, Henry Goodlander and John Pentz in 1837. Many of them were “squatters” but gained title to the land by peaceable possession for 21 years.
THE TOWN OF LUTHERSBURG
Brady Township was officially organized in 1826. A road from Luthersburg to Troutville (Route 410) was completed in 1831, and in 1835, Luthersburg was laid out as a town.
In 1883 Luthersburg boasted three general stores, a hardware store, a tin shop, a harness shop, a livery stable and an undertaking business. There were two blacksmith shops, three cobblers, two confectionery stores, a dry goods store, a squire’s office, a barber shop, a lodge hall and many other general stores. Men could belong to the Mingle Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
In 1824 Mathew Irvin came to Luthersburg and opened a store but did not erect the actual building until 1827. Mathew Irvin bought the first two lots and was first taxed for them in 1831. Three years before this time, Irvin built the first frame barn in the township.
The highest point in Brady Township is the Luthersburg “Knob,” locally known as “Cream Hill,” which has an elevation of two thousand, sixty feet, or about two hundred feet higher than the village of Luthersburg and about six hundred and sixty feet higher than the City of DuBois.
On November 15, 1889, a fire destroyed many buildings in town, on the north side of Route 219 and 322. The fire broke out about 4:30 p.m. in Dr. Gregory’s carriage shed. Without a hose company and fire hydrants, the citizens formed bucket brigades to contain the flames to one side of the street. In addition to six businesses and several homes, everything between Schwem’s Hotel on the east and Goodlander’s store on the west was destroyed. Property loss was estimated at $19,000.
A fire on March 4, 1943, almost destroyed the old Moore building, then occupied by the post office and the telephone exchange. DuBois Volunteer firemen assisted in dousing the fire, limiting the loss to a few hundred dollars.
On November 1, 1961, a rupture of a main gas line occurred at the New York State Gas Co. offices and warehouses, located on Route 322 and 219, a quarter of a mile west of Luthersburg. The large fire could be seen for miles and caused over $300,000 in damages. It completely destroyed the gas company’s offices, garage, and 18 of its vehicles.
It was not until 1958, 69 years after the fire of 1889 which partially destroyed the village of Luthersburg, that the Brady Township Fire Company was formed.
The first religious services in Luthersburg were held in the barroom of the Cream Hill Hotel by Reverend Anderson in 1822 or 1823. In 1826, a young Methodist circuit rider named Davis Kinneson visited Luthersburg and preached in the log schoolhouse built that year on the location of the cemetery. Rev. Kennison went on to organize the first Methodist Society in the Luthersburg Charge in 1827 in a barn one-fourth mile west of the town. In 1841, a church building was begun on land that is now part of the Union Cemetery. A parsonage was built in the summer of 1883, when membership was about eighty-five. Rev. J. W. Spangler was the minister.
A new church structure was started in 1871 which measured 45-feet-by-75 feet. It was built at an estimated cost of $5,600. A 600-pound cast iron bell was placed in the belfry. In 1956, the decision was made to replace that building with a new one. Consecration services were held in the new brick structure on September 29, 1957. The total cost for construction, $51,238, was paid in full when it was dedicated on September 18, 1960.
The first church in Luthersburg was a Lutheran church built in 1845. It was the first church of that denomination constructed in the county. St. Peter’s Lutheran Church congregation built a wood frame building in 1844. On May 27, 1883, the cornerstone of the current building was laid and was dedicated on November 18 of that year. Statistics in the church’s Anniversary Book state that the building was 40 x 60 feet and had a 94-foot steeple. This steeple was struck by lightning in the 1920s and was replaced by a shorter one. The original cost of construction was $5,000.
St. Luke’s United Church of Christ was organized in April 1891 when a group gathered at the home of David Reams to discuss purchasing land for a new church. Until that time, it had been part of a church located between Luthersburg and Troutville. The cornerstone was laid on August 9, 1891, and the dedication service held January 31, 1892. In 1893, more land was purchased to create a cemetery to be located behind the church. A new Sunday school building was dedicated on June 30, 1974.
SITES AND MARKERS
Approximately .3 mile southwest of Luthersburg on Route 410 is a marker denoting the site of the Indian Trail known as the Mead Brothers Trail. One mile south of the marker on 410 is the Indian Spring and Indian Campground which was used by Major George McClelland and his army in the War of 1812. Approximately 2.2 miles southwest of Luthersburg on Route 410 is the memorial marker dedicated to the Trinity Reformed Church, which was erected in 1853.
Lebbeus Luther built a hewn-log tavern at the intersection of the Rockton and Grampian roads, near where the Daughters of the American Revolution marker now stands, and named it “Cream Hill Hotel.” When the pike was finally completed in 1824 and a stage line was started by Robert Clark, the tavern became a busy place. Conestoga wagons, drawn by four or six horses and bearing three to four tons of freight, could be seen at Luther’s tavern. Drovers, cattlemen and peddlers also stopped there. As many as sixty iron sleds might be parked at the tavern, on their way to the Clarion River from the furnaces in Centre and Huntington counties. Shipment was made down the river in barges and rafts to Pittsburgh and other western cities along the Ohio River. The photo above, taken the day of its dedication, shows the marker for Luther's hotel.
Once Lebbeus Luther relocated to Ridgway, the tavern business fell to two owners at two different locations. Little is known of these early ventures, but the stages chose the hospitality of George Long, who was located across the road from the D.A.R. marker. This establishment was later acquired by William Schwem, Sr., in the 1850s and was known as the “Eagle Hotel.” Later, his son, Charles Schwem, became proprietor. Finally, in January 1901, H. M. Carlisle bought the hotel, obtained a license, and installed acetylene lights. The Aricks operated the hotel for a time before it was finally dismantled.
The other hostel was “The Golden Yoke.” This hotel (above) was built in 1863 by Robert W. Moore to accommodate the heavy stream of traffic over the pike. After passing through numerous hands, the property was eventually acquired by Daniel Goodlander, a wealthy farmer and merchant. His scruples against alcohol led him to discontinue the taproom and to name it the “Temperance House.” The building was subsequently converted into a private home, but was reopened to the public in 1946 by Arthur and Harold Miller as an eating place under its former name. In 1952, Mrs. Charles Wingert of Brookville assumed the proprietorship.
Game was so plentiful that Adam Knarr counted 30 deer in a four acre field. Frederick Zeigler killed over 600 deer in his time, then lost count, and shot many more. He also killed or captured 82 bears. Mrs. David Haney had a unique reputation of being able to scold wild animals. On one occasion the wolves attacked her cattle while she was alone in her cabin and she scolded them until they ran away.
A feasibility study of a public water system began on December 7, 1964. On February 8, 1968, the first meeting of the Brady Township-Troutville Borough Municipal Authority was held. On January 9, 1969, this organization was changed to what is now known as the Brady Township-Troutville Borough Water Association. In April 1972, water was provided to citizens of Troutville, and in July 1972 Luthersburg citizens received water.
Brady Township was organized in 1826 and the first post office at Luthersburg was kept by David Irvin in 1824. The first Post Office, “Luthersburgh,” opened July 10, 1830, and became Luthersburg without the “H” on December 1, 1894. The first postmaster was G. Hoover, according to “Pennsylvania Postal History” by John L. Kay and Chester M. Smith, Jr.
BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY
The first tannery was built by Benjamin Bonsall on the left side of the pike going east, but the operation was not a financial success and was abandoned a few years later.
Another industry which was started around 1840 was a pottery factory by Robert W. Moore and Ira Fisher, located about a mile east of Luthersburg on the Rockton road. They manufactured what was known as red ware in a round log building until 1842 when the business was sold to Taylor and Teats. Although it passed through other hands and in other locations, the pottery business persisted in Brady Township throughout the remainder of the century. Stoneware was made after 1853.
The pioneer physician in Luthersburg was Dr. George Wilson, who had no professional schooling. He learned his methods studying under Dr. Dowling of Brookville, then practiced for five years in Big Run and two years in Grampian before coming to Luthersburg in 1846. He remained there the rest of his life.
Dr. R. V. Spackman, a native of Centre County, moved with his parents at the age of five to the Spackman farm near Curwensville. He spent ten years studying medicine under Dr. Woods of Clearfield and at the Jefferson Medical College, from where he graduated in March 1864. He bought his home in Luthersburg in 1868 and built an office in 1870.
A log schoolhouse was built around 1825, with Whitson Cooper as the first teacher.
In 1907, a three-year high school course began. In 1908, a one-room building known as the Brady Township High School was constructed. The first class of four girls graduated in 1910: Lillian Pentz, Lillian Kirk, Elizabeth Campbell and Lily Weisgerber.
Today a modern elementary school for kindergarten through fifth grades exists. Luthersburg is part of the DuBois Area School District. The two former schools that sit on a hill overlooking the town are now owned by Brady Township, connected by a hallway and remodeled, now used as a Community Center.
A local Luthersburg belief is that James Woodside’s ghost left a secret cave at midnight, July 29 th, of each year and prowled around the neighborhood.
by Gene M. Aravich
The DuBois Brewing Company Farm was located off Route 322 east in Luthersburg. In the early 1900s, the farm was looked upon as a show place. During the weekends dozens of area visitors toured the farm by horse and buggy. The R. W. Moore estate sold the farm to DuBois Brewing Company in July 1911. Frank Hahne Sr., owner of DuBois Brewery bred horses and cattle on the farm and had a model orchard. John H. Hayes managed the farm from 1912-25 and Bill Fairman Sr. and Jr. farmed the grounds from 1936-53. DuBois Brewing sold the farm to Milton Sr., Milton Jr., and Gordon Hartzfeld in 1946. Hartzfeld sold his portion of the farm to Crescent Brick Company, who sold it to present owner Larry Baumgardner. Today the farm is a memory, the buildings are gone and the land strip-mined for coal. There is new growth grasses and small trees and the old farm has become home for wildlife.
This township was named in honor of Captain Samuel Brady, a noted Indian fighter and a mighty hunter. The township was organized in 1826 and is situated in the northwest corner of the county and about 2000 feet above the sea level.
It is bounded on the north by Sandy Township on the east by Union and Bloom Townships, on the south by part of Penn Township and Bell Township and on the West by part of the dividing line between Jefferson and Clearfield Counties. The surface is somewhat hilly with a gentle slope to the westward and there are many excellent springs, some of which are mineral. There is considerable coal development in the township but the principal business of its inhabitants is agriculture. Much valuable timber was destroyed in the process of clearing the farms. The population, according to the census of 1910 was 2823. The township is traversed by the B. R. & P. and the B. & S. Railroads.
The first white settler of this township was James Woodside, a native of Chester county, Pa. He located on a tract of land situated on the head waters of Stump Creek, which was surveyed to him in July, 1785, whith was known as the “Woodside” and later as the Luther place. Here for twenty-two years he had no neighbors but the Red men of the for~ est. He was then cheered by the advent of a new white settler, Joab Ogden, who located a mile further down the creek—this was in 1807, on the spot which afterwards became the site of Carlisle station on the B. R. & P. Railroad.
In 1812 George, Michael and Frederick Scheffer settled on Sandy Lick Creek, George locating on land that is now a part of the site of DuBois. Fred and Michael located a few miles further up the creek.
James, Benjamin and Thomas Carson came in 1814. In 1820 Lebbeus Luther, a native of Massachusetts, bought and settled on a tract of land located where Luthersburg now stands, the place being named after him. He was appointed by Messrs. Fox & Co., who owned thousands of acres in this section, as agent to dispose of their lands. He made his first sale to Benjamin Bonsall, who came from Perry county in 1824. About this time also Frederick Zeigler, came from Center county and settled on what was later known as the “Thompson” place. Mr. Bonsall was appointed first justice of the peace after the organization of the township in 1826.
John Carlisle, who came from Lebanon county, was another settler on the site of Luthersburgh.
In 1830 Jacob Kuntz, a native of Germany, settled near where the Reformed church was later erected. The year 1831 saw the advent of the Knarrs, Weisgerbers, Wingerts, Korbs, and Yoases, Jacob Trautwein coming in the following year. These settlers were soon followed by many others, whose names we have not space to record. Many of these early settlers “squatted” on land—that is, took possession of it, without knowing to whom it belonged, and by keeping undisputed possession of it for 21 years became the lawful owners.
The first mill in the township was Ogden’s (near Carlisle Station). Two famous hunters among the early settlers were Fred Zeigler and “Uncle Billy” Long. Another excellent marksman was Lebbeus Luther. All these men could tell great hunting stories and, as game was exceedingly plentiful, did not have to draw much on their imagination, as modern Nimrods are so often accused of doing.
Luthersburgh was the first post office established in Brady township, dating back to the completion of the turnpike about 1820. David Irvin was the first postmaster. Troutville post office was established in 1857 to 1858, the first postmaster being Jacob Kuntz. The town had been laid out three years previous to this time, and was named, it is said, by Rev. John Reams, in honor of Jacob Trautwein, the name as finally adopted being a contraction of Trautweinville, which was found to be inconveniently long.
Joab Ogden built the first grist mill in the township, some time previous to 1830, though the exact date is not now known. About 1849-50 Jacob Kuntz built a grist mill on East Branch (of Mahoning) a mile and a half south of Troutville; this was later known as Risliel’s mill. In 1854 Jeremiah built a steam and water-power grist mill on the head waters of Stump creek, two wiles west of Luthersburgh. It was subsequently operated by his son Samuel, and afterwards passed through various hands.
The first saw-mill was built, it is said, by Fred Zeigler between 1824 and 1830, Jesse Line’s saw-mill being subsequently erected on the same site. The second saw-mill was built by Jeremiah Miles, it being later known as Zeigler’s mill.
The first minister who preached in Brady township was a Rev. Mr. Anderson, who came about 1822, and held servicesjn the bar-room of Luther’s tavern. He was a Presbyterian. In 1827 came Rev. David Kennison, being sent by the Baltimore conference of the Methodist Episcopal church; he also preached in the tavern at Luthersburgh. About the same time came Rev. John Althaus, a Reformed minister from Armstrong county, who made occasional visits preaching to the German settlers. These early pastors and others who soon followed them were the men who organized the religious element of the township and laid the foundation of the moral and religious development and thriving church societies that exist today in the township, and which in Union with good schools, have had so much to do in moulding the character of its inhabitants.