In celebration of the Clarion River’s status as Pennsylvania’s 2019 River of the Year, the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau will share one excerpt each month this year from the book “True Tales of Clarion River,” published in 1933 by George P. Sheffer and the Northwestern Pennsylvania Raftsmen’s Association. The below story was written by Mrs. Clinton Fitzgerald of Marienville, Pennsylvania.
“I think I will comply with your wish and write a few lines. My grandfather, David Watson, and Samuel Thompson were pioneers of Gravel Lick and Thompson’s Eddy. D.B. Watson, my father, built boats at Gravel Lick. We lived two miles from the river. When I was 12 years old I helped my father cook in his shanty. We went to the river on Monday and came home on Saturday evening.
I was married to Clinton Fitzgerald when I was seventeen years old. We went to housekeeping at Scotch Hill. Several years later we moved to Gravel Lick. Clint built boats for Stiner and Barlett. Peter Heffron had a mill there. He wasn’t married and we boarded his men. He got married later and went to housekeeping there. I think we lived in Gravel Lick for six years. Mr. Heffron and Clint bought some timber in Elk County and we moved to Wyncoop Run, now called Belltown. Cyrus Thompson lived across from Gravel Lick. Samuel Barr lived there with Robert Simpson and Samuel Simpson.
I meant to say in the start that my grandfather was a hunter. What is called Gravel Lick is where he had a deer lick. He scattered salt under a tree and got up in the tree and shot deer when they came to the salt. I don’t suppose he shot more than one at a time. Jim Wood, Al Cassett, and John and Charlie Moore live here and I don’t know if there is any more of the old timers here or not. Mile Harriger lived at Wyncoop. His son Wayne lives there now. John, Alex, and Jim McClelland worked at Heffron’s mill. I don’t have any dates, but I know it is more than 100 years since my grandfather came to live at what is now Scotch Hill. Ed was home. Someone said he was the champion oakum spinner at Gravel Lick. He was running the river when he was 16 years old. I thought of some more names of men at Gravel Lick. Mike Brady, Jim Johnson, Dave Allison, Jim Patterson, Jim and Sol Foy, Andy Kifer, Tom Hulings, Ed Stover, and Frank Slocum.”
Learn more about the Clarion River and find other interesting places to visit in the Pennsylvania Great Outdoors region by going to VisitPAGO.com or calling (814) 849-5197.