“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Hillsville in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Quaker Falls


Quaker Falls Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, July 2, 2022
1. Quaker Falls Marker
Inscription.  Around 1804, Septimus Cedwalader and his family settled at Quaker Falls. They were Quakers, as the town's name will suggest, who came from Brownsville, Fayette County in the twenty years after Cadwalader laid the stones of his home and grist mill. the settlement became a thriving agricultural community known as Quakertown. The first school in the area was founded close by in Mahoning Township around 1806. Just two years later, Septimus was joined by Talbot Townsend and Benjamin Sharpless. These early families built various mills along Falling Spring Run setting the foundation for the community. In keeping with the idea of laying foundations and setting precedents, the three men were defined by the Quaker beliefs and as the nation faced trials in the time leading to the Civil War, their Quaker ideals seemed to hold steadfast.

The three early families were confirmed conductors on the Underground Railroad, and relative to its size, Quakertown seemed to be a productive stop. This makes sense, of course, as Abolitionism and Quakerism have a long history. Before liberty as a human right was a popularized
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idea in the nation's revolution all of the nation's Quakers were abolitionists and were barred from owning slaves. Just outside of Quakertown, Alexander Wright, Jr., and his son Joseph used their family farm as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Wright would shelter passing slaves until it was safe enough for them to pass north toward the next station. The first slaves to pass through Wright farm came from Benjamin Sharpless, one of the early families to settle at Quakertown. However, a complete picture of Quakertown's place as a station on the Underground Railroad is based largely on first-person accounts with few records existing. This fact is troublesome as Susan Linville and Elizabeth DiRisio described, "The consequence of this lack of accurate record keeping is that many myths and legends have taken root concerning the Abolitionists who transported runaway slaves during the three decades preceding the Civil War."

Septimus Cadwalader's son, Septimus Cadwalader, Jr. operated a tannery in the late 1830s. This was part and parcel of the industrial and agricultural success that the town saw at its peak in the later half of the nineteenth century when industry was thriving in Quakertown. In 1894, the Pennsylvania & Lake Erie Railroad Bridge was installed spanning over the creek. Fortunes change, however, and Quakertown post-1900
Quaker Falls Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, July 2, 2022
2. Quaker Falls Marker
is a story of abandonment and decay.

As iron, steel, quarry, and munitions industries moved into the area, Quakertown's farm families were bought out of their land, primarily by the Burton Powder Company, which later became known as the Atlas Powder Company. This opportunity for fast cash and the expansion of heavy industry also brought with it tragedy when the Burton plant near Quakertown was ravaged by a massive explosion on 4 April 1912. As the New Castle News reported of the event, "fojne man was killed, his body being blown three hundred yards, and another was so badly burned that be died later, when the press building of the Burton Powder company, located at Quaker Falls 2 1/2 half miles east of - Lowellville, was blown to pieces at 8:20 this morning. The concussion was so great that it could be heard twenty miles away, windows were smashed in homes five miles away and in this village men and horses were knocked off their feet.” This tragedy was one of many in short succession that led to numerous lives lost.

However, these tragedies did not deter men seeking decent wages and honest work, and eventually Quakertown met its demise. By the late 1930s, some 130 years after its founding, the final resident of Quakertown left and the buildings followed a natural course of decay as the landscape returned to its woodland
Quaker Falls Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, July 2, 2022
3. Quaker Falls Marker
origins. All that remains today are foundations of a once thriving American community.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Settlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels.
Location. 41° 1.341′ N, 80° 30.63′ W. Marker is in Hillsville, Pennsylvania, in Lawrence County. Marker is on W. State Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Hillsville PA 16132, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Burton Powder Company (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Quaker Falls (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Quaker Falls (within shouting distance of this marker); Mahoning Township Veterans Memorial (approx. 1˝ miles away); Lowellville Veterans Park (approx. 1.6 miles away in Ohio); Lowellville Veterans Memorial (approx. 1.6 miles away in Ohio); The Mahoning River on Display (approx. 1.7 miles away in Ohio); Lowellville: The Valley's Flour and Grain Center (approx. 1.8 miles away in Ohio). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hillsville.
Quaker Falls Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, July 2, 2022
4. Quaker Falls Marker
Credits. This page was last revised on July 16, 2022. It was originally submitted on July 15, 2022, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 266 times since then and 113 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 15, 2022, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Jul. 19, 2024