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Editor's Note--Although most of Enon Valley is in Lawrence County today, a small part of it still lies in Beaver County. We have previously published two stories by Robert Forsythe. This article imaginatively puts the Old Enon Tavern into historical perspective. It well describes what might have greeted travelers in many Inns throughout Beaver County at that time.
How it might have been...
The white frame tavern stood near the forks
of the Little Beaver Creek. The road coming up from Darlington
and Enon Station also split at that point--one branch going northwest
to Petersburg, Ohio, and one going northeast to New Castle, PA.
The rough and dusty (and often deeply rutted and muddy) thoroughfare
was aptly dubbed "Hardscrabble" by the locals.
The tavern waited expectantly, with a bustling
within its walls, making ready for the steady stream of travelers
that would soon be coming on the afternoon stage through Old Enon.
Good smells were coming from the small kitchen as utensils clattered
while preparing the evening meal.
Outside the tavern, horses' neighs could
be heard from the barn stalls, for they knew they must be prepared
to be off on an adventure when the next stagecoach came to a stop.
A ringing of metal could be heard from the blacksmith's anvil,
as well as the steady "WHOOSH" of the bellows coming
from the forge.
The tavern was a main changing station between
New Castle and Beaver, so the tavern keeper and his family certainly
had a vital occupation in the community, and they were held in
high esteem within the little village of Old Enon. Every day,
stagecoaches came directly from Newburg, about three miles north,
often carrying mail from the outside world. What would come in
the mail today? Would it be a lengthy epistle from Uncle Friedrich
in the Old Country, or a heartfelt note from a soldier in afar-off
Soon a rumbling and clattering could be
heard across the bridge, and a tin horn blew, as if announcing
the second coming. Four finely-matched, spirited grays were pulling
the stagecoach into town, with the driver calling commands from
upon the high seat, "Gee there, Bess and Bob!" and "Whoa
there, Abe and Annie!" And soon, the entire entourage halted
in front of the tavern.
A young girl stood at the corner of the
Tavern House, watching the passengers alight from the stagecoach.
This was one of her favorite pastimes, observing the characters
that came through each day: Young ladies coming from New Castle
to visit maiden aunts in Beaver, old farmers returning from the
County Seat, and railroad agents traveling down to inspect the
line at Enon Station. Every day saw a different cast of characters
to imagine and speculate about.
The tavern keeper's wife stood in the doorway,
"Welcome folks! It's so good to see you, Matilda! My how
you've grown!" and "The pump's out on the side to wash
the dust off-Savilla will get you a towel when you 're finished,
"and "Hope you brought your appetites with you, 'cause
there's roast beef for supper!"
Soon everyone was settled into the cozy
dining room, while conversation buzzed all around. The young girl
watched with interest and listened as local news was exchanged.
One of the farmers had brought The Lawrence Guardian published
in New Castle, and the travelers as well as the locals hungrily
devoured the news that it brought, along with the tasty roast
The young girl remembered when a few years
ago, the first news of the Civil War reached Enon Valley, and
she watched her brothers James, and later Joseph, march off with
all the others to board the train at Enon Station. It had been
the most exciting thing to happen in their little town, because
all the boys from New Castle and Mt. Jackson had come through
there too. Some proudly wore uniforms as if in a parade, and some
had never come back.
Her mama had said that life wouldn't be
the same after that, and as they waited day after day for each
letter from "their boys" Savilla knew that she was right.
The casualty lists came through Enon every so often, and each
of their neighbors waited anxiously to find out if their loved
ones had made it through yet another battle. But, there was still
the tavern to care for and chores to do everyday to prepare for
the travelers. It kept her mind off of wondering when her brothers
and all the neighbor boys would be coming home. She hoped it would
Sometimes the travelers stayed the night,
and sometimes they continued on their individual journeys, wherever
the road took them. And because the horses were changed each time
the stagecoach came through, the blacksmith was always on hand
to apply new shoes when needed Although her mama needed her in
the kitchen, sometimes Savilla stole away from her chores to visit
the horses in the corral.
As Bess and Bob and Abe and Annie rested,
she helped rub them down for the night. They would be needed soon
enough, when the stage came in tomorrow. Sometimes she talked
softly to them and asked about their adventures, but she never
heard more than an answering whicker or snort. "Oh, well,
"Savilla thought, giving the horses a final pat. "I'd
best get inside and help Mama with the dishes. Maybe we'II hear
from James and Joe tomorrow."
Because this is such an old property, "a
footprint" from the very beginnings of Enon Valley, this
article is a little longer than some of the others we have done
previously. Every effort has been made, with what resources that
have been available, to present a property search as correctly
and thoroughly as possible.
The white frame house, now owned by Robert
and Elsie Forsyth, has had many owners in its lifetime, as well
as many purposes. It is uncertain when it was built, although
we know that the town of "Old Enon," or the "Place
of Many Waters" was laid out by Enoch Marvin in 1838, according
to Durant's History of 1877. Mr. Marvin arranged to have the logs
for building the town cut at the Sprott Mill, not far to the west
up the Muddy Creek, one of the two streams that formed the Little
Beaver at Old Enon.
In looking at maps of "Old Enon,"
one can see a change of ownership in many of the properties from
1850 to 1860 to 1870. This was a time of growth for Old Enon and
its "daughter" Enon Station to the south, which sprang
up when the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railroad came through
in about 1850.
The original Warrantee was made to Benjamin
Scull, who was believed to have been Enoch Marvin's secretary,
in April 1792, and it was surveyed in 1795. It was patented on
October 1, 1816 to Thomas Astley, a lawyer whose name appears
on many patents in Little Beaver Township. It is referred to as
"Faltenburg" in the Lawrence County Warrantee Atlas,
although all of Little Beaver and Enon Valley was considered to
be part of Beaver County until Lawrence County was formed in 1848.
This land had been part of an original three
Warrants, each 400 acres, dated April 14, 1792, which included
the lands of Benjamin Scull, William Smith, and Jacob Schreiner.
John Dilworth had agreed to purchase Benjamin Scull's land from
the Pennsylvania Population Company on December 6, 1795. He also
bought an additional 14 3/4 acres from John Sprott to add to the
lands near Old Enon. (This had been a portion of the land assigned
to Sprott on January 16th, 1796 by the PA. Population Company).
On February 1, 1818, Thomas and Sarah Astley
transferred the deed over to Nancy Dilworth and her family, being
that John was deceased. John Dilworth had deeded 140 acres to
John Chambers, Sr. on June 12th, 1805, and on May 21, 1819, Nancy
Dilworth transferred that deed over to John Chambers, Jr. and
his brother James.
Both John Dilworth and Chambers, Sr. were
deceased at this point. And, on April 4th, 1832, John, Jr. and
James Chambers signed over that 140 acres, known in future deeds
as "The Old Chambers Farm," to Enoch Marvin. All three
of these transactions were recorded in Beaver County Book 10,
pp. 230-235, entered on April 11, 1832.
Enoch Marvin laid out Old Enon in the twilight
years of his life, as he died in 1840, two years after he had
laid out the land in plots. Eliza Marvin, of course, gained ownership
of all her husband's holdings at his death, being that they had
no living children. We have not found any further legal transfers
until Eliza's death about 10 years later. Her will is found in
the Lawrence County Courthouse, where she names her dear friends,
John and Abijah Hull, Executors of her Will. Eliza directed all
of her property to be sold for the best price possible.
Both Enoch and Eliza Marvin were laid to
rest in the Little Beaver Cemetery, across the road from the Honey
Creek Farm, which they had built and where they had spent so many
years. It is nice to know that they felt a connection to the "Place
of Many Waters" that they had worked so hard with their neighbors
The portion of land where the Forsyths now
live was sold to Samuel and Charity Taylor on August 20, 1852.
The Taylors owned it until August 8, 1856, when it was transferred
to William C. Shurlock. On April 1, 1859, William C. and Rebecca
Shurlock sold the property to Robert and Susannah Hughes. Robert
Hughes died, and Susannah Hughes sold to John and Margaret Marshall
on April 3, 1861.
Boundary lines changed so often that it
was difficult to decipher the deeds. However, the Chambers Farm
continues to be mentioned (Keep in mind, that the original Chambers
Farm contained 140 acres). There seems to be times when the actual
owners weren't living in the house. An 1852 survey map made by
Robert Dilworth shows William Alcorn on the property, which was
believed to have been a tavern at some point in its history. And
once again referring to Durant's History, John S. McCoy built
the second store in the town of Old Enon, which was later occupied
by William P. Alcorn.
Although this particular building is not
specifically mentioned in the Durant History, it refers to John
McCoy taking over the postmaster's position from Josiah McCaskey.
And, being that McCoy also owned a store, it is probable that
the post office was in the same building. In comparing the size
of the Forsyth home with others of the same era, it suggests that
it had other purposes besides being a single-family dwelling.
W.P. Alcorn is found in 1860 operating a hotel in Enon Station--
had he possibly had a taste for the business in the smaller of
the two villages?
In 1860, James Mountain and his family are
found in this location, where Unity Road meets what is now State
Route 351/551. He is listed as a farmer in this location, but
it still could be possible that they operated some sort of a tavern,
with all the traffic coming through Old Enon from New Castle.
Those were hard times, and many industrious souls found extra
ways to earn money for the family. His wife's name was Savilla,
and his 14-year-old daughter shared the same name. There were
other children in the family as well.
Two of the older sons served in the Civil
War. James H., who was listed as a teacher in 1860, joined the
130 PA Infantry in Beaver County with many other Enon boys on
September 1, 1862. He was promoted from 2nd Lieutenant to 1st
Lieutenant on December 13, 1862, after surviving the Battle of
Fredericksburg, where many of his friends from Enon fell. He was
mustered out with the company on May 26, 1863, and lived the rest
of his days in Enon Valley, until he died in September of 1901.
Joseph joined Company G of the 100th PA
"Roundheads" on February 19, 1864. He died in a military
hospital in Washington D.C. on July 11, 1864, from the effects
of a wound in the thigh, received at Spotsylvania Courthouse,
VA on May 12, 1864. Fortunately, his family was able to bring
his body home: he rests beneath a stone obelisk with an American
flag carved on it, in the family plot in the Little Beaver Cemetery.
The Alcorns and the Mountains are not found
in any of the deeds investigated, but they may have rented the
property from the owners. John Marshall shows up on the 1872 Lawrence
County Atlas in that exact location, although he only owned it
until March 19, 1875, when it was sold to Jacob Franz. And, since
Mr. Franz does not appear in any of the Little Beaver Census Records,
we may assume that the home was once again rented out. We wish
we knew all the particulars of who did what in regards to the
old home, but due to the passage of time, we may never know.
Today, the white frame, two-story house
with the old-fashioned purple lantern in front, is occupied by
Robert and Elsie Forsyth, who have lived there for 12 years. Mr.
Forsyth's parents, Emil H. and Marie C. (Steinecke) Forsyth had
inherited the place on February 23, 1944 from Theodore Steinecke
H, Marie's father.
Mr. Steinecke was from Pittsburgh's South
Side, and he had purchased the property from Jacob and Veronicka
Franz in 1906, who had been their neighbors there. The family
used it as a summer home until Mr. Steinecke's retirement in 1917.
Mr. Forsyth has been recording many colorful family stories that
have been passed down from the Steinecke's, which he is willing
to share with anyone who asks. They are indeed enjoyable!
The home has seen many Seasons come and
go, and has undergone many physical changes too. Up until the
early 1900's, the home had another front door, which led to a
small room on the left side of the house. In the early days, this
may have been used as the post office with a public entrance separate
from the house. This door is no longer visible, and the floor
plan of the downstairs was changed to accommodate modern conveniences
for the growing families that lived there.
Because of its unique character, this lovely home will continue to be a landmark of our town, with its purple lantern beckoning us to remember our rich heritage in the "Valley of Many Waters."