History of Young Township
Founding and Population
Young Township was formed from parts of Blacklick and Conemaugh Townships in 1830. In
1870, 1910, and 1950 the Township had a population of 1,509, 3,751, and 2,984
respectively. The increase in population between 1870 and 1910 can be attributed to the
labor needs of the Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal and Iron Company as it purchased
coal rich lands, developed coal mines, and built a number of company towns. (In
the future the company would be known as the Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal Company).
An influx of immigrant laborers and their families,
primarily from southern and eastern Europe, soon followed. The disbanding of the company towns by the
Coal Company after World War II eventually caused a decline in the town's population.
Most of the very early settlers and immigrants to the area were of Scottish, English,
Irish or Welsh descent. Among the common family names in the
18th and 19th
century were: Neal/Niel, Cunningham, Stuchal/Stuchell, McIntire, Gilmour, Lowman,
Harbison, Hutchinson, Watson, and Ewing. One of the earliest settlers in the area that
would be known as Young Township was William Niel who settled there in 1790.
Robert Elder and his oldest son, James, who came to the area that
would be named Young Township from their previous home near Harrisburg,
Pennsylvania, were among the earliest settlers to this area. James
McKisson developed a homestead in the area in 1776. However, after
building a cabin he was forced to flee due to Indian raids. However,
he returned in 1790 and established his farm. Other names of early
pioneers who settled in the area were Robert Henderson, Allen McCombs,
and Robert Fulton. (This was not the famous Fulton of steamship
Livelihoods of Early
In the 18th and 19th centuries, before the development of
large scale production coal mines, most
of the residents of the area made their living from farming, milling
or trading. A pottery kiln was built by Thomas Anderson
in 1850 and employed only two men. Anderson's successor, McNees, expanded
the business and employed four men. A later proprietor, Caldwell, employed five to eight men.
The kiln produced gray stoneware, stone pumps, drain pipes and other articles which were either sold
at the kiln or
delivered to stores in the area. The manufacture of threshing machines, by
George W. Collins in his factory, was carried on from 1866 to 1877.
First Elections in Young
The first recorded election in Young Township was held in the home of Thomas M. Andrews
in 1834. The following officers were elected: Constable, Horace Ferguson; Supervisors,
William McFarland and David Elder; Overseers, Nathaniel Lewis and Thomas Brown; Township
Clerk, Thomas M. Anderson; Judges of Election, Hugh Blakely and Nathaniel Lewis.
1913 Assessor's Book
The assessor's book for the year 1913 indicated the following for Young Township: 332
horses valued at $14,430; 292 cows valued at $5,740; taxable real estate valued at
$775,977. The book also indicated 20,183 acres of cleared land and 1,481 acres of
Coal Company and the
About 1900, the Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal and Iron Company began
to purchase land from established families in Young Township,
from coal speculators, and from other smaller coal companies in the
area. Because the new mines required many workers, the lure of a steady
job was the impetus for men and their families to immigrate from eastern
and southern European countries through New York or Canada. They learned
of coal mining jobs through friends and relatives from their
home villages who had previously immigrated to the area, or through
agents from the Coal Company who actively recruited them as newly
arrived immigrants. As the company towns in Young Township, such as
McIntyre, developed and expanded, families with names such as Arduini,
and Setlock, settled and brought with them their varied, rich, and
unique culture and customs from their homelands. Although the immigrants
were valued by the Coal Company for their hard work in the mines,
to most of the native Anglo-American population, they were considered
as second-class persons. Slang words used to describe particular ethnic
groups, such as "dago" and "wop" for the Italians,
"polack" for the Polish, and "hunky" or "bohunk"
for the Slavs and other eastern European groups, were used by earlier
settled Americans in a derogatory way. In turn, the newer immigrants
frequently referred to the earlier settled families as "johnny
bulls." In McIntyre, intermarriage between individuals from either
the various immigrant ethnic groups or the earlier settled Americans
was not uncommon. Within one extended family it was possible
to have relatives of several ethnic origins.
Joshua T. Stewart, Pennsylvania: Her People Past and Present,
(Chicago: J.H. Beers and Company, 1913), vol. 1, 572-574.