Townships Boroughs Villages 

New Lebanon


New Lebanon borough, geographically one of the large ones of Mercer County, is located in the northwestern part of Mill Creek Township, about five miles north of Sandy Lake, and seven miles southeast of Sheakleyville. Its removal from serious competition would, but for the absence of modern railroad facilities, make it a sprightly inland town.

The first settler within its limits was Rynheer Van Voorhies, a German immigrant from Washington County, in 1803. He erected a log cabin and made quite an extensive clearing preparatory to removing his family to the new country. In the course of a few years his cabin was found to be too small. An addition of hewed logs made his home more commodious, and sufficed until a more modern style of architecture supplied the place of the old mixed structure, no part of which remains at the present day. Van Voorhies had no neighbors within the borough limits for some time, but had country neighbors to share in his pioneer loneliness—the Morgans, the Carnahans, the Reeds and others.

The northern part of the village was laid out first. This occurred in 1838, when Ephraim Van Voorhies, of New Vernon, then owning the inherited estate, laid out and began the sale of lots. This plat was increased in 1846 by proper additions, and then the first plank house was erected by Josiah Cratly, on land subsequently owned by Rev. Isaac Bruaman. This accession to the village was on the south.

Jacob Carbon erected the first blacksmith shop, that great necessity of a growing village. This industry was followed by others of like character and necessity.

The first tavern was the east part of what is now the Commercial House, owned by J. L. Peters. It was built in 1851 by John Duff, who ran it until 1854, when he sold it to James Muse. The later gentleman built the west addition to it about 1858 or 1859, and kept control for a time, and then disposed of it to Peters. By the latter it was continued until April, 1876, when Dr. J. P. Bassett concluded to conduct both the hotel and his medical practice. For a time this plan succeeded, but he finally relinquished the hotel, and it came back into the hands of its present proprietor.

The first store was owned in 1848 by James Muse and John Conduit. It stood in the north part of town. It was a hewed log house, weather boarded. A new building was erected north of it, and the firm changed to Muse & Gordon. The name was subsequently changed to Gordon & Muse. About the time this change occurred (the autumn of 1855,) a steam grist and sawmill was erected by Gordon & Muse, the contractors being James and Edward Powers. When the structure was approaching completion, Gordon accidentally fell from one of the beams and was killed. The mill was operated a short time, when it was sold to John Shoffler. He continued to run it until the structure was destroyed by fire in 1867.

In 1875 Robert Bell erected a cheese factory in the eastern part of the borough. It flourished from the first, consuming from 2,000 to 5,000 pound of milk per day.

The woolen mill of Daniel Bruner & Son was begun in the third week of April, 1862, and in six weeks (viz., June 14) was in running order, the timber for the structure having been cut, meantime, from the woods, and put in form for service. A dwelling house was also erected within the same brief period. The mill is still in operation [1888]. The following are prices of wool at different periods: 1863, $1 per pound; 1864, 60 cents; 1865, 50 cents, and in 1866, 45 cents.

In the list of physicians at New Lebanon mention is made of the following: John Orwig was the first. He was in the place as early as 1854, and remained several years. He removed to Butler 

County, where he died. He was succeeded by A. C. Axtell, about 1856 or 1857, who remained six or eight years, and then removed to Youngsville, Warren County, where he still resides.

During the early part of the war R. A. McCormick located, and remained about five years. He now resides in Clarion County. James Chase began to practice about 1868, and continued about six months, when he returned to Meadville, whence he came. J. P. Bassett, an educated man, came from Covington, Ky., about 1870, and remained about five years. He then removed, in succession, to Clark’s Mills, Sheakleyville, Girard, Erie and Cleveland, where (last place) he finally died. He was successful in practice but not in business management. C. F. Daubenspeck, the present physician [1888] of the place, came from Clarion County about 1880, and has built up an extensive and profitable practice. 

Among the early settlers around New Lebanon were Adam and A. J. Carnahan, brothers; Jacob Reed, William, George, John and James Montgomery, Ryheer Van Voorhies, Archibald McCormick, Andrew Borland, Thomas Robb, Ira Conduit and Ezekiel Conduit, Mrs. John Montgomery, one of the pioneers, attained the age of ninety-one, having lived seventy years on one farm in French Creek Township.

New Lebanon was regularly incorporated, by decree of the court dated August 22, 1868. The first election was held September 25, 1866. Abner and William Dean acting as inspectors. John McElheny was chosen justice of the peace, and C. N. Smith, burgess.

In the campaign of 1880 Mr. S. C. Koonce, of Clarksville, offered to the precinct in Mercer County giving the largest Republican gain over the previous State election, a flag worth at least $50. It was obtained by New Lebanon. It cost $75, and bears this inscription: “Presented by S. C. Koonce to the New Lebanon Republicans for the largest gain in the county, November 2, 1880, 56, 3, 6, 329.” Explanation: 56 Republicans, 3 Democrats, 6 Greenbacks; 329, the alleged dividend on Credit Mobilier stock.

Societies. —Lincoln Lodge No. 54, A. 0. U. W. , was instituted June 26, 1873, with the following charter members: Abram Blatt, A. C. Grove, R. C. Farver, S. S. Overmyer, E. C. Voorhies, J. M. Grove, J. B. Grove, C. C. Dickey, T. M. Cooley, S. Weider, Wilson Bowles, George Bowles, T. M. Wilson, E. Rupert. The first officers consisted of P. M. W., T. M. Cooley; M. W., A. C. Grove; G. F., J. B. Grove; overseer, C. M. Voorhies; Rec.. S. S. Overmyer; receiver, R. C. Farver; financier, Abram Blatt; guide, C. C. Dickey; I. W., J. M. Grove; O. W., Wilson Bowles. The lodge meets every Tuesday in Voorhies Hall. It has twenty-eight members.

Norval Muse Post No. 251, G.A.R., was organized May 27, 1882, with the following charter members: A. C. Grove, Emanuel Rupert, Abram Blatt, J. W. Reed, J. M. Gibson, A. F. Klingensmith, D. W. Dilley, Abner Dean, Jr., Joseph Mook, J. L. McCormick. Moses Spencer, John Vorous, Wilson Dean, Isaac Adams, J. S. Moore, W. G. Dilley, Solomon Firster, J. B. Hogue and J M. Hill. The first officers were: A. C. Grove, P. C. Abram Blatt, S. V. C.; J. M. Hill, J. V. C.; Wilson Dean, adjutant; John Vorous, Q. M.; J. S. Moore, chaplain; W. G. Dilley; O. D.; J. M. Gibson, Q. M. S. Its maximum membership was sixty. It meets in the same hall as the A. 0. U. W. 

The population of New Lebanon by the census of 1870 was 273, which was increased during the next ten years to 279, a growth of only six inhabitants. 

History of Mercer County, 1888, pages 479-482

Return to New Lebanon    


Copyright © 2004 Teri A. Brown, Walter Brown and Assoc. All rights reserved.