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Origin of Cambria County

Compiled by Anthony Bentivegna

I received some requests for the information I have on township and borough origins for Cambria County. There may be some errors and formatting problems. One error I see is the statement that the McGuire cabin on Chest Creek was built in 1788. Actually, the cabin was built in 1768. He moved to the area permanently in 1788. I have an interesting newspaper debate over whether the McGuire Settlement near Loretto or the Adams settlement near Johnstown should be considered the "first White settlement in Cambria County." Anyway, here goes:


COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, CAMBRIA COUNTY, Ebensburg, Pa.

The territory comprised within the limits of Cambria County was formed in to a separate [sic] County by an Act of Assembly passed the 26th day of March, 1804. The territory comprising it was taken from the Counties of Huntington and Somerset. The Act provided "That so much of the Counties of Huntingdon and Somerset, included in the following boundaries, to-wit:

Beginning at the Conemaugh river, at the southeast corner of Indiana County, thence by a straight line to the Canoe place on the West Branch of the Susquehanna; thence easterly along the line of Clearfield County to the southwesterly Corner of Centre County, on the heads of Moshannon Creek; thence southerly along the Allegheny mountain to Somerset and Bedford County lines; thence along the lines of Somerset and Bedford counties about seventeen miles until a due West course from thence will strike the main branch of Paint Creek; thence down said Creek, the different courses thereof till it empties into Stoney Creek; thence down Stoney Creek the different courses to the mouth of Mill Creek, thence a due West line till it intersects the lines of Somerset and Westmoreland counties; then northerly along the line to the place of beginning; be and the same is hereby erected into a separate county, to be henceforth called Cambria County." It is bounded by Clearfield on the North, Blair and Bedford on the East, Somerset on the South and Westmoreland and Indiana on the West. It was originally divided into three townships, Allegheny, Cambria and Conemaugh. The following present townships were the first three: Allegheny, Cambria and Conemaugh.

Land Area: 694.9 Square Miles.


TOWNSHIPS, FORMED FROM AND COUNTIES

Allegheny, Cambria and Conemaugh Were The Three Original Townships Created When Cambria County was formed By an Act of Assembly Passed the 26th day of March, 1804.

Township Formed out of:
Summerhill Conemaugh Feb. 10, 1810 - R. D. 1 - P. 29
Clearfield Allegheny Dec. 31, 1822 - R. D. 1 - P-85-95
Susquehanna Allegheny & Cambria Jan. 6, 1825 - R.D. 1 - P-84-113
Jackson Summerhill, Cambria & Conemaugh Twp. Jan. 3, 1828 - R. D. 1 - P-134
Washington Summerhill, Allegheny & Cambria Jan. 6, 1831 - Twp. F
Richland Conemaugh April 2, 1833 - R. D. 1 - P-164
White Summerhill, Allegheny & Cambria July 6, 1838 - Twp. File
Carroll Susquehanna Twp. Jan. 1, 1840 - R.D. 1 - P-181
Blacklich [sic] Cambria and Jackson Oct. 10, 1850 - R. D. 2 - P-98
Chest Susquehanna and White Twp. Dec. 10 1853 - O.S.D. - Vol. 3 P-289
Munster Cambria, Allegheny & Washington Twp. Sept. 9, 1854 - Q.S.D. - Vol. 3 P-556
Taylor Conemaugh Twp. Sept. 16, 1857 - Q.S.D. - Vol. 3 P-483
Yoder Conemaugh Twp. July 17, 1858 - Q.S.D. - Vol. 3 P-556
Croyle Summerhill Sept. 9, 1858 - Q.S.D. - Vol.3 P-556
Gallitzin Allegheny June 4, 1866 - Q.S.D. - Vol.5 P-74
Adams Richland Jan. 5, 1870 - Q.S.D. - Vol.1 P-9 (Dist. Ct.)
Barr Susquehanna, Blacklick and Cambria Twp. Sept. 4, 1872 - Q.S.D. - Vol. 6 P-50
Stoneycreek Conemaugh Jan. 4, 1876 - Q.S.D. - Vol. 6 P-307
Dean Clearfield July 10, 1877 - Q.S.D. - Vol. 6 P-381
Elder Chest Feb. 12, 1878 - Q.S.D. - Vol. 7 P-34
Portage Summerhill & Washington Mar. 4, 1878 - Q.S.D. - Vol. 7 P-61
Lower Yoder Yoder Twp. Sept. 1, 1879 - Q.S.D. - Vol. 7 P-237
Upper Yoder Yoder Twp. Sept. 1, 1879 - Q.S.D. - Vol. 7 P-237
Reade White Twp. Sept. 1, 1879 - Q.S.D. - Vol. 7 P-237
East Taylor Taylor Twp. June 2, 1884 - Q.S.D. - Vol. 8 P-120
West Taylor Taylor Twp. June 2, 1884 - Q.S.D. - Vol. 8 P-120
Cresson Washington Twp. Dec. 4, 1893 - Q.S.D. - Vol. 10 P-377
Middle Taylor West Taylor Twp. June 30, 1908 - Q.S.D. - Vol. 18 P-466
East Carroll Carroll Twp. Sept. 5,1910 - Q.S.D. - Vol. 21 P-138
West Carroll Carroll Twp. Sept. 5,1910 - Q.S.D. - Vol. 31 [sic] P-138

Note:

1. Carroll, Yoder and Taylor are no longer Townships, having been divided into other districts.
2. There are a total of 30 Townships in Cambria County.


Cambria County Facts
  • "Cambria" is derived from the ancient Celtic word for Wales, Cymri or Gymra.
  • First permanent settlers known in Cambria were in 1771.
  • First permanent settlers known in Johnstown were in 1777.
  • In 1788 Michael McGuire built a cabin on Chest Creek.
  • In 1793 Joseph Johns settled at mouth of Stoneycreek river.
  • In 1795 settlement of Beula founded along the Blacklick.
  • In 1796 a Welsh colony settled where Ebensburg now stands.
  • In 1805 Ebensburg chosen as the County seat by a special Act passed March 29, 1805.
  • In 1807, January 26, Cambria County by Act of Assembly was given complete status.
  • In 1808 John Young was First President Judge.
  • 1 - 3rd Class City - JOHNSTOWN
  • 1 - 1st Class Township - STONYCREEK
  • 29 - Second Class Townships
  • TOTAL ELECTION DISTRICTS 199
    Johnstown City 47
    Boroughs & Townships 152
  • CAMBRIA COUNTY - 4th Class
  • Formed on March 26, 1804 from parts of Huntingdon and Somerset Counties.
  • Third Class City
  • Name of City Incorporated Prior Status: Johnstown Dec. 18, 1889 Laid out as a town in 1800.
  • Incorporated as the Borough of Conemaugh on January 12, 1831.
  • Name changed to Johnstown on April 14, 1834


Boroughs Town Laid Out

Name of Borough Date Incorporated
or Settled
Incorporated From
Ashville Mar. 9, 1887 (1) 1842 Gallitzin Township June 6, 1887 (2)
Barnesboro Mar. 5, 1893 (1) Susquehanna Township Mar. 5, 1894 (2)
Brownstown June 10, 1908 Lower Yoder Township
Carrolltown Mar. 30, 1858 Carroll Township
Cassandra Sept. 23, 1908 Washington Township
Chest Springs Apr. 19, 1858 (1) Allegheny Township May 10, 1858 (2)
Cresson June 7, 1902 (1) Cresson Township Dec. 4, 1905 (2)
Daisytown June 9, 1893 S 1776 Conemaugh Township
Dale Mar. 9, 1891 Stonycreek Township
East Conemaugh Sept. 10, 1868 Taylor Township
Ebensburg Jan. 15, 1825 S 1796 Cambria Township
Ehrenfield Aug. 4, 1956 Croyle Township
Ferndale June 1, 1896 S 1785 Upper Yoder Township
Franklin Mar. 9, 1868 Conemaugh Township
Gallitzin Dec. 3, 1873 1849 Gallitzin Township
Geistown 1930 S 1812 Richland Township
Hastings Apr. 16, 1894 (1) 1889 Elder Township Dec. 4, 1894 (2)
Lilly June 11, 1883 S 1806 Washington Township
Lorain Nov. 4, 1915 Stonycreek Township
Loretto Mar. 8, 1845 1816 Allegheny Township
Nanty-Glo Sept. 2, 1918 S 1797 Blacklick and Jackson Twps.
Patton Sept. 4, 1893 S 1844 Carroll, Chest, Clearfield and Elder Townships
Portage Oct. 7, 1890 Portage Township
Sankertown June 11, 1906 Cresson Township
Scalp Level Nov. 6, 1898 S Before 1835 Richland Township
South Fork Aug. 3, 1887 Croyle Township
Southmont June 2, 1919 S About 1850 Upper Yoder Township
Spangler Nov. 13, 1893 (1) Susquehanna Township Dec. 13, 1893 (2)
Summerhill Sept. 6, 1892 (1) 1810 Croyle Township Sept. 4, 1892 (2)
Tunnelhill Dec. 5, 1876 Gallitzin Township
Vintondale Sept. 4, 1907 Jackson Township
Westmont June 13, 1892 S About 1788 Upper Yoder Township
Wilmore Feb. 10, 1859 1831 Summerhill Township

Townships

Name Incorporated Settled Incorporated From
First Class Township
Stonycreek Jan. 4, 1876 Conemaugh Township
Second Class Townships
Adams Jan. 5, 1870 Richland Township
Allegheny 1807 1788
Barr Sept. 4, 1872 Blacklick, Cambria and Susquehanna Townships
Blacklick Oct. 10, 1850 Cambria, Carroll and Jackson Townships
Cambria 1798  
Chest Dec. 10, 1853 White and Susquehanna Twps
Clearfield Dec. 31, 1822 Incorporated while part of Allegheny County
Conemaugh 1801  
Cresson Dec. 4, 1893 Washington Township
Croyle Sept. 9, 1858 1802 Summerhill Township
Dean July 10, 1877 Clearfield Township
East Carroll Sept. 5, 1910 Carroll Township
East Taylor June 2, 1884 Taylor Township
Elder Feb. 12, 1878 About 1800 Chest Township
Gallitzin June 4, 1866 About 1800 Allegheny Township
Jackson Jan. 3, 1828 Cambria and Summerhill Townships
Lower Yoder Sept. 1, 1879 1820 Yoder Township
Middle Taylor June 30, 1908 West Taylor Township
Munster Dec. 9, 1854 Allegheny, Cambria and Washington Townships
Portage Mar. 4, 1878 Summerhill and Washington Townships
Reade Sept. 1, 1879 White Township
Richland Apr. 2, 1833 About 1780 Conemaugh Township
Summerhill Feb. 7, 1810 (1) 1792 Cambria Township, Feb. 10, 1810 (2)
Susquehanna Jan. 6, 1825 Allegheny and Cambria Twps.
Upper Yoder Sept. 1, 1879 1820 Yoder Township
Washington 1834 (1) Allegheny, Cambria and Jan. 6, 1831 (2) Summerhill Townships
West Carroll Sept. 5, 1910 Carroll Township
West Taylor June 2, 1884 Taylor Township
White July 6, 1838 Before 1850 Clearfield Township

Notes:

(1) Godcharles
(2) Cambria County Historical Society, A Brief History Commemorating the Sesquicentennial of Cambria County (Ebensburg, Pa. Cambria County History Society, 1954).


Source

1. "Origin of Cambria County," Office of the County Commissioners, Cambria County Pa. (Ebensburg, Pa., n. pub.), undated two page monograph with supplemental data. Prepared under offices of Commissioners Joseph P. Roberts, Joseph B. Gorman and Raymond B. Johnson.


Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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