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Rural Valley Borough

Rural Valley Borough, P. O. Box 345, Rural Valley PA 16249; phone: 724-783-6996.

Homes along Main Street, Rural Valley, PA.

Photo: Homes along Main Street, Rural Valley, PA. Photographed by User:Nyttend (own work), 2015, [cc0-by-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons, accessed May, 2016.

Beginnings [1]

John Patterson settled in the central part of this township on Cowanshannock creek, and gave the name of "Rural Valley" to the homestead, from the quiet beauty of this natural rural landscape. The post office of Rural Valley was established here in 1830 at his residence, he being postmaster. In 1835 Ebenezer Cross erected here a gristmill.

In the summer of 1836 John Patterson laid out the old plot of the village, consisting of forty lots on each side of the turnpike. This portion of the valley proved attractive to settlers and the sale was quite successful. Thompson Purviance, the pioneer merchant of the new village, opened his store in 1836, and David Patterson the next year. Their successors were Robert A. Robinson, John McElroy and Joseph Alcorn, who for some years kept a cooperative store which was not a success. Other later merchants were George B. McFarland, James E. Brown, George A. Gourley, Andrew Gallagher, Joseph K. Patterson and James McFarland. The second innkeeper was Zachariah Knight.

In the fall of 1839 Alexander Foster and his son of the same name laid out the new plot of the village adjoining the old one on the west. Their sales were as successful as that of the old plot.

The first resident doctor was William Aitkins, the first blacksmith, James Gourley.

A select school, for the teaching of Latin, Greek and mathematics, was opened by Rev. James D. Mason in 1845 in the Presbyterian church. He was succeeded in the work by Rev. Cochran Forbes, and he by Mr. John McElroy in a building erected by him on his own premises. Other teachers during a period of twenty-five years were H. C. Fouke, Mr. Talmage. T. R. Ewing, Louis Kimmel, Joseph Beer, L. M. Belden and others. The school was not opened continuously and is now closed.

  1. Armstrong County Pennsylvania: Her People Past and Present, Volume I, J. H. Beers & Co., Chicago, 1914
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