Russell-Akeley Life

November 11, 2020


In the September edition of Russell – Akeley Life, I wrote about some of the early residents of Pine Grove who distinguished themselves during the early years of the community. In this edition of Russell – Akeley Life, I’ll continue this theme with distinguished citizens of the mid-Nineteenth Century in Pine Grove.

Samuel T. Allen (1837-1895) grew up on the farm of his parents, Samuel P. and Mary E. Allen, near Russellburg. Samuel was educated in local schools. He participated in the Civil War, where he was an adjutant. In November 1862 Samuel was wounded and mustered out of the War. After his recovery, he studied law in the offices of Johnson and Brown and was admitted to the bar in February 1864. Allen served as a clerk to General E. B. French in the Treasury Department in Washington, D. C. from 1884 until his untimely death in January 1885.

Orrin C. Allen (1840-1914) was the brother of Samuel T. Allen. Orrin’s early education also was in local schools; he attended academies in Jamestown and Randolph NY. In 1861, Orrin studied law in the offices of Scofield and Brown in Warren and was admitted to the bar along with his brother Samuel, in February 1864. In 1865, Orrin Allen was elected District Attorney and in 1886 he was elected a Pennsylvania State Senator. He also served as Warren Postmaster for eight years. Orrin Allen had a reputation as a shrewd businessman.
The Honorable Wilton M. Lindsey (1841-1911) was born in Pine Grove Township. He achieved the rank of Corporal in the Civil War and was discharged June 27, 1863, on a surgeon’s certificate. Lindsey was Superintendent of Warren County schools from 1865 to 1869. He studied law in the offices of the Honorable S. P. Johnson, was admitted to the bar in 1872 and practiced law from 1872 to 1877. Wilton Lindsey was elected to the Pennsylvania Legislature in 1877. He was President Judge of Warren County from 1901 until his death in 1911.

George W. Allen (1844 – ?) was born on a farm near Russellburg, the third child of Samual P and Mary E. Allen and attended local schools. Like his brother Samuel, George Allen served in the Civil War as a private in Company G, the Warren County Company. He attended Edinboro Normal School, then studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1866. In 1873 and again in 1876, George Allen served in the Pennsylvania legislature. He later moved to Tidioute where he was in the oil business. In 1882 George was appointed as a United States federal judge in Denver Colorado.

James Cable (1848 – 1935) was born in Cable Hollow, Pine Grove Township, the son of Thomas Cable and Sally Wetmore Cable. Educated in local schools, he attended Union School and Collegiate Institute in Jamestown NY. James Cable married Esther Clendenning in 1874; they had no children. James studied law in the Warren law offices of Dinsmoor and Reeves; he became a lawyer and was admitted to the bar in Warren County in January 1876. He practiced law in Warren for 12 years. During this time, he became interested in the oil business and used his knowledge of oil law to make investments.

John T. VanOrsdale (1850 – 1921) was born in Cable Hollow. He was a graduate of the Class of 1872 at West Point. Following his graduation, John became a lieutenant in the 7th Infantry in Cuba, retiring in 1914 at the age of 64. During World War I, he was recalled to active duty to serve as the commander of the German war prisoner camp at Fort McPherson Georgia, his final assignment.

Walter Vernon Hodges (1851 – 1916) grew up in Russellburg and attended local schools. In 1873, he married Rose Marie Phillips. With his uncle, Thomas Akeley, they built a general store on the east side of Russell (The building still stands). It became the general store of Clarence Akeley and now is a private residence. The Hodges willed money to the “old ladies home” which stood at the corner of Conewango and East Streets in Russell. The house was later sold to Pearl Riley, Dr. George Riley’s mother. Drs. George and Veryl Riley first set up a practice in this house. The house burned in 1961.

Frank M. Knapp (1851 – ?) was born in Pine Grove Township, the son of Thomas and Lorinda Brown Knapp. Much of his early life was spent on the farm. He attended local schools. After graduation, he became a school teacher, attending Jamestown Collegiate Institute and later Edinboro Normal School. In 1873, Frank Knapp entered the law office of Johnson and Lindsey in Warren as a student. He was admitted to the Warren County Bar in 1876 and remained in the law profession until1880 when he was elected the treasurer of Warren County. From 1898 until 1904 he was the county prothonotary and clerk of courts. After 1904, Frank Knapp continued his law practice, but became president of Jacobson Machine Company, treasurer and vice-president of Warren Table Company and president of Glade Oil Company.

OCTOBER 5, 2020

The regular monthly meeting of the ROAR Committee was held at the Russell Town Hall on Oct. 5 at 6:30 pm. Guest speaker, Mr. Farley Wright, representing the Villages at Tionesta, talked with the group about the positive impact construction of shelters for vendors has had on visitation of Tionesta. Initially five 10 x 12 foot shelters that could be rented by vendors to sell their wares to town members and visitors were constructed on a vacant Main Street lot in downtown Tionesta. The shelters have electricity for lighting, etc. Vendors are charged a monthly fee to occupy the shelters. The project has been so successful that there are now 11 shelters operating from Memorial Day to Labor Day (and beyond). The project has been successful in attracting visitors to their town. Today (10/10/2020) my wife and I visited Tionesta to check out the shops. It was a sunny day with moderate temperature and great fall foliage. The shops were selling produce, Bar BQ, crafts, art, jams and jellies, wine, cloth, soap and stained glass, plants and bakery goods. There was a continuous flow of people visiting the stores and visitors to the shops were enjoying a great fall day. ROAR will be discussing whether a similar project could be successful in promoting business here in downtown Russell.

Art Segar reported that a rough draft of a grant proposal for improvement of the canoe / kayak launch site has been prepared and should be ready to submit for funding in December. Priscilla Prowley reported that Christmas banners on Main St. will be hung by November 27. Beautification Chair Karen Martin noted that the flower beds are being prepared for the winter.

ROAR applied for a grant through WCCBI – Warren SBG . This grant is for small businesses and non-profits for losses sustained because of Covid-19. ROAR received $3000 for losses from fundraising projects, ie. Pine Grove Days, Breakfast with the Easter Bunny and 50-50 ticket sales.

The Master Gardners have constructed six 6 x 6 foot garden beds for placement in downtown Russell. The beds will be filled with soil and planted in the spring with flowers. They will be located to the left of the Russell United Methodist Church at the end of the gravel parking lot and to the left. The Master Gardenens will be planted and maintained by Master Gardeners. Freda Pyles of Master Gardeners and Dave Martin of ROAR are responsible for the selection and placement of the beds.

The Hometown Christmas celebration has been cancelled for 2020 due to Covid – 19. The Pine Grove Lioness will be sponsoring the Christmas Tree Lighting at Larimer Park on November 27, 2020.

Sharp-eyed residents traveling north on Main St. near the junction with Woodland Ave. will notice that the blue and yellow Russell sign has a new coat of blue and yellow paint. Karen Martin arranged with local artist Kelley Hunt to repaint the Keystone Marker. Thanks, Kelley, it looks Grrreat!

OCTOBER 14, 2020

With the summer road maintenance season ending, the township maintenance crew is working on a list of tasks that should be done before winter arrives. The list includes: opening plugged storm drains, cleaning culverts, removing dead trees from Larimer Park, preparing the trucks for snow removal, dealing with the large brush pile at the township’s storage yard, patching any potholes that emerge and doing routine maintenance and repairs on equipment. All in all, the maintenance crew has done a good job of upgrading several township roads and anticipating several more for next spring and summer.

This month, the Board of Supervisors has begun working on the 2021 township budget. Due to the impact of the pandemic, a reduction in revenue is expected – the exact amount being unknown at this point. The township does know the revenue from the state’s liquid fuel fund will be reduced somewhat, but we are unsure of just how much the township will loose from other taxes and especially revenue from earned income tax. Some predictions are from 15% to 20% reduction. With these factors in mind, the supervisors are working on a conservative budget that will still allow the township to continue with road improvements and maintain the current level of service in 2021. The next budget meeting will be October 30 at 8:30 AM at the township hall on East Street. Township residents are welcome to attend this meeting. Once completed, the budget will be available for public review and comment before being finalized at the December supervisors’ meeting.

Other issues the Board of Supervisors are addressing include: poorly maintained property, blighted property, a number of unlicensed vehicles being stored on property, revising the township’s property maintenance ordinance, gathering input and relevant information on the possible closure of the Big Four Road and efficient operation of municipal services (water and sewer systems). Regarding municipal services, approximately 30 residences have been notified that their water service lines do not meet current standards and must be replaced. There are grants available to help fund service line replacement for individuals meeting income guidelines. For information on the grants, call the township office. If you have replaced your service line or have made plans with a contractor to do so, please notify the office, so our records can be updated.

The next meeting of the Board of Supervisors will be November 11 at 7:00 PM at the Pine Grove Municipal Building on East Street. The public is welcome to attend and if anyone would like to speak before the supervisors, please call or email the township office before the meeting to be placed on the agenda. The office number is 757-8112 and the email address is [email protected]. The township’s website is

Pine Grove Lions Club

The Pine Grove Lions’ Club thanks all those individuals who supported their September 26 “drive-up” broom sale at Larimer Park. The response was outstanding and much appreciated. The club will be distributing Thanksgiving dinners to some families throughout its service area the week of November 23.

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