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Susquehanna Township was incorporated on January 6th, 1825 and was formed from Allegheny and Cambria Townships. Its border to the north is Burnside Township, Clearfield County, to the south Barr and West Carroll Townships, on the east Elder Township and on the west Green Township, Indiana County.
The typography of Susquehanna Township is similar to the surrounding townships, and offered lumber, farmland and later coal to those who settled here. It was the challenge of moving these resources to market that tempered the growth of the region. Most of the early landowners were speculators. On early maps, you find many Philadelphia names such as Biddle, Morgan, Norris, and Fisher.
The harvesting of the vast lumber resource brought many into the area in the late 1820's and 30's. Two of these earlier settlers were David Ralston and Peter Garman. The people also came out to work the land. The township holds in its boundaries some of the headwaters of the Susquehanna River. Many timberman settled on these creeks with names like Long Run, Moss Creek, Walnut Run, and Pine Run. Some timber was sent down the Susquehanna River as whole logs lashed together to make rafts, while others were milled at local steam-powered sawmills into construction lumber and sent by wagon to nearby towns. An increase in the development of the land continued to the next decade.
The 1840's to the 1860's continued to see a boom in the lumbering industry. Rafting lumber down the Susquehanna River had reached its apex. Splash dams needed to move the lumber were operated by landowners such as Lantzy, Burns, McAnulty, Garman and Douglas.
Occupations listed on the 1850 and 1860 census records show most of the heads of households as farmers and laborers. As towns and villages formed, occupations expanded to those who support the local community. Carpenters, shoemakers and merchants, blacksmiths wagonmakers and teachers are some to name a few. In 1860, there was even a single listing for a "Gentleman".
By 1860, it was clear that many of the children of the early pioneers were planning to stay and raise their family in the rolling hills of northern Cambria County. Yet, like many other Pennsylvanians, some inhabitants of Susquehanna Township heard the call to head westward.
The 1860's to 70's were a time of change. Logging replaced timberwork and large areas of standing timber were clear-cut. Loose logs were sent down river creating huge log jambs on the way to Williamsport.
The Civil War created a great demand for lumber, and a great demand for soldiers. Tax returns for 1862 shows many occupations replaced with the entry "soldier". Most of those from Susquehanna Township served in the 115th or 133rd Regiments. The 133rd engaged in battle at both Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. Those soldiers who returned help establish the Cherry Tree G.A.R. Post 40. It was hard for many to pick up where they left off in the days before the war.
Times were changing once again, as railroads made their way to the coal reserves found under the now exhausted timberland. By the late 1880's men like Tucker, Spangler, Barnes and Hastings began buying mining rights and brining the coal industry to Susquehanna Township. Companies like Blubaker Coal Co. and Sterling Coal Co. encouraged the railroad to the area. Jackson L. Spangler and Thomas Barnes established towns for those who worked the coalfields.
Susquehanna Township and its surrounding townships have always been viewed as a separate way of life from the southern part of the county with its big city of Johnstown and its iron industry. However, looking through the pages of the early newspapers like the Mountain Sentinel and Cambria Freeman, we see a familiar life. Announcements listed of births, deaths, marriages and parades. Gory tales and graphic detail of someone's mishap with train or horse cart. The home of our ancestors is rich in history and folklore.