Situated near the corner of
Hickory, Shenango and Lackawannock Townships is the village of Bethel.
It was incorporated as a borough May 22, 1872. Prior to that time there
had existed a little village known as Sempletown,
or Semple’s Mills. At the time of incorporation,
however, a regular tract, taken from the three townships already
mentioned, was laid out in the form of a rectangle.
The first settlement in the
place was made in March, 1846, when S.
S. Semple, its first resident, erected a small frame
dwelling-house. His father, David
Semple, had, some years previous, purchased the land from David Kitch, but had made no
In 1862 James McConnell and Thompson Hyde had erected a
steam saw mill, which rapidly swept away the woods. In 1811 S. S. Semple erected a second
mill, of grander proportions, which added much to the business of the
Thompson & Co. erected, in 1863, a large
grist-mill, a three- story building with three sets of burrs, and
intended mainly for custom work. it became a source of great interest
and prosperity to the vicinity.
A store was also needed. This
want was supplied in 1868 by S. S.
Semple, the enterprising godfather of the place, who was
ready to take hold of every enterprise. He erected the building
subsequently used by T. J. Marshall
& Co., and put in a stock of goods well adapted to the trade.
It passed through various changes to accomplish its purpose as a
permanent business of the place.