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Valley Township

Montour County, Pennsylvania

Valley Township Municipal offices are located at 5 Indian Run Road, Danville PA 17821.
Phone: 570‑275‑2449.

Beginnings [1]

It is thought that the first settler into the vicinity of what is now known as Valley Township was Philip Maus, the founder of the family whose members for many generations have been such factors throughout this portion of the State. He purchased a plat of land located on Mahoning Creek in May, 1769, which was the earliest date that it was possible to obtain a clear title to land that had been purchased from the Indians, and which included a great area in this section. At the close of the war of the Revolution, Philip Maus, together with his son and two carpenters, made plans to visit his purchase. The little party first appeared in the settlement at the mouth of the Mahoning, which had just been founded by Daniel and William Montgomery, and from there Mr. Maus proceeded to the site of his new home. With the aid of his son and the carpenters the pioneer built the first log cabin in Valley Township. It was located on the right bank of the stream. He proposed to clear away a small tract of woods near his humble home, but prowling Indians prevented an immediate consummation of that plan and the tools which he had provided for that purpose were, together with other personal possessions, finally buried, in order to preserve them from the savage foe. Philip Maus has left recollections, which he intrusted to his friend John Frazer to write. From these memoirs is gathered what is probably the most reliable account of the killing of Robert Curry, as follows:

"Two years previously," in May, 1780, Robert Curry and his wife, traveling on horseback from Northumberland, on the way to their little farm on the Mahoning, when about midway between the two places, were attacked by savages. He was killed and scalped and his skull broken to fragments with their tomahawks. She was taken prisoner. Her hair was long and jet black, which they greatly admired. They told her she was a "much pretty squaw," and that they would not hurt her. They traveled until night, when they encamped. They then tied her hands and feet with hickory bark. Soon they were in a profound sleep, when she cut the bark from her wrists and ankles. She had concealed a pair of scissors about her person which, fortunately for her, escaped their vigilant search when she was first made captive. She fled from their camp as fast as possible, but they soon missed her and, lighting torches, pursued her in all directions. She concealed herself in the top of a fallen tree. They passed over the trunk of the tree and, as they did so, cried out: "Come on, squaw, we see you. Come out, pretty squaw, we see you!" After some time spent in fruitless search they abandoned it, broke up their camp before daylight, and pursued their journey. She then returned to the remains of her murdered husband, and gathering up the pieces of his skull in her apron took them to her house, which she reached the next day. The agony and deep distress of this poor woman may be conceived, but the pen utterly fails to describe them.

A fragment of a letter from Mrs. Maus, dated "Northumberland, 1783," is so full of interest that a portion of it is reproduced: "Your brother George likes this place very well. When you come, do not fail to bring 100 White Chapel needles and two or three ounces of thread suitable for sewing calico and homespun linen. Give my love to your grandpa and grandma, and tell her I wish her to come with you and see us; we will arrange for her journey to Lebanon and back. You will see Rev. Stoy's palace. Tell her the Peninton's house up Race street is nothing to compare to it and Dr. Stoy lives only seventy-five miles from us. Tell the girls that Susy and the young girls here take a canoe and go into the river fishing here by themselves; the river is as clear as a spring and not half a yard deep. This is a most beautiful and picturesque place. We have the wild deer not half a mile from us, skipping about the hills where the boys go to fetch the cows."

"Your loving mother,

Frances Maus."

In 1793, Philip Maus built his sawmill, and for years cut the lumber for every building that was erected in the neighborhood. The limestone that was found in abundant quantities in the neighborhood formed another natural resource to construct the homes of the settlers, and as Danville grew into a flourishing industrial community proved a great source of supply for her iron furnaces. Seven years later this sturdy pioneer built a flouring mill, which for its day was an imposing structure. An anecdote covering his experiences in digging the mill-race has descended to the present time. One portion of the work was being done by the Catholics, and the other by the Protestants, and such was the factional feeling that the proprietor had to take possession of the clubs and shillalahs of the contending elements in order to prevent bloodshed. Tradition has it that eleven barrels of whiskey were consumed during the progress of the work, which apparently was a community affair, and the whiskey was contributed because the new mill was to be a public convenience.

Early in the days of their settlement the Maus family cultivated two acres of flax, and took the product to a Scotch family in the hamlet, who did much of the neighborhood weaving. From the flax was woven the linen cloth which made their summer clothing. Their heavier winter garmenture was obtained from the wool clipped from the backs of the sheep that they raised. Before the era of wool and flax, cured and dressed animal skins provided their clothing. During the long evenings of winter the Maus family, by the light of lard oil lamps, perused the literature of the day, which, so far as their library was concerned, consisted of such works as "Cook's Voyage," Weems's "Life of Washington," the works of Oliver Goldsmith—the "Deserted Village," "Vicar of Wakefield"—and even "Don Quixote." It is stated that on rare and festive occasions, Maus senior would add to the enjoyment of the reading by apportioning the dramatis personae amongst them. When the Maus family fortunes had grown to the point that justified the acquisition of a family carriage, one of the style of Louis XIV. was purchased, and its arrival in the valley created a profound sensation among the neighbors. This vehicle is thought to have been the first one of its kind imported into the vicinity of what is now Montour County.

One of the first neighbors of the Maus family was Samuel Music, who soon became known to the community as a Godly man and an excellent citizen. He was subject, however, to periods of moroseness, and when in that mood was exceedingly gruff and brusque to all. His neighbors understood him, even in the grimmest of tempers, and his roughness of speech was a source of amusement to them.

The poorhouse farm of this township was established a few years after Danville and Mahoning had established similar institutions.

The Valley Furnace was built in 1846 by the sons of Philip Maus. It used anthracite and was operated by them for many years very successfully.

A postmaster at Mausdale was Elmer Renn, and the storekeeper was Edwin S. Delsite.

Arthur Mourer and George Artman operated sawmills in different parts of Valley Township.

This township had five good schools. The school directors for 1914 were: Frank Hendricks, N. E. Sidler, Andrew Steinman, A. H. Weitzel, Edward Volkman.

  1. Historical and Biographical Annals of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Vol. 1, J. H. Beers & Co., 1915.