Keating, PA

The Chronological History of Keating, Pennsylvania
by Stephen F. Miller Jr.


Pre -1700  |  1700's  |  1800's  |  1900's


Pre-1700’s:

Leni Lenape Indians, a branch of the Minsi Tribe, used the area as a vast hunting ground.  The virgin pine, hemlock and hardwood forest was populated with deer, elk, bear, wolves and panthers and the streams teamed with pike, eel, shad, trout and salmon. 

An ancient trail, the Sinnamahoning Path, passes through what will be called Keating on its way to the upper Alleghenies.  The Sinnamahoning Path followed the West Branch of the Susquehanna from  “the Great Island” at Lock Haven to the Sinnamahoning Creek at Keating, to Portage Creek, then to Canoe Place near Port Allegheny and on to the Seneca Indian country in the upper Alleghenies.

February 1692 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries.


Pre -1700  |  1700's  |  1800's  |  1900's


1700’s:

February 12, 1731 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries.

February 17, 1733 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries.

1736 - The Six Nations of the Iroquois, headquartered in New York, conquer the Indian tribes of Pennsylvania.

January 28, 1737 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries.

January 7, 1762 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries.

November 1768 - the British purchase lands south of the West Branch of the Susquehanna from the Six Nations of the Iroquois at Fort Stanwix, NY for ten thousand pounds.

1768 - General Potter, who served under Washington during the Revolutionary War, surveyed the lands purchased from the Indians as far up the West Branch of the Susquehanna River as the Forks of the Sinnamahoning

1768 to 1784 - White settlers begin taking up lands which had not been purchased by treaty from the Iroquois.   After repeated warnings to leave, the Iroquois attempt to force the settlers from their lands by conducting numerous raids against these settlers.  These Indian raids were especially unpleasant between 1778 and 1779.

Fall 1778 - Four-fifths of the West Branch population left their homes for forts and stockades in what was called the “Big Runaway.” 

Spring 1779 - In what is called the “Little Runaway,” settlers flee their cabins to the frontier forts and stockades as General Sullivan leads an expedition to destroy Iroquois villages and crops to the north in New York.  Unprotected cabins are destroyed as the Iroquois and the Tories (British) move to meet Sullivan. 

1781 - A number of small Indian hunting and fishing camps are in the general area of Sinnamahoning Creek and the West Branch of the Susquehanna.

1781 - A party of Seneca Indians make an attack on the settlement of Buffalo Valley, killing several settlers.   Peter Grove, a famous Indian fighter, and his companions follow the raiders up the West Branch to the mouth of the Sinnamahoning where the Indians were encamped. Grove and his companions attack the raiders at the mouth of Grove's Run, near present Village of Sinnamahoning, where they kill a few of them before making their escape.

March 15, 1784 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries.

October 1784 - A treaty was made at Fort Stanwix, NY between the United States and the Six Nations of the Iroquois, by which all the remaining Indian territory was transferred to the State.  This land deal, known as “the Last Purchase” included land in the present counties of Bradford, Tioga, Potter, McKean, Lycoming, Clinton, Cameron, Elk, Clearfield, Indiana, Jefferson, Forest, Warren, Armstrong, Clarion, Butler, Venango, Allegheny, Beaver, Lawrence, Mercer, Crawford, and Erie.

January 1785 - Fort Stanwix Treaty confirmed by the Wyandot and Delaware Indians.

August 1785 - First survey of the township made by John Huston in pursuance of a warrant, dated May 17, 1785, for John Strawbridge of Philadelphia and contained 285 acres of land situated on both sides of the Sinnamahoning Creek, at or near the mouth.  A few years later the land was sold to Patrick Lusk, who in turn sent his son and daughter to settle on it, eventually giving to his son the land on the south side of Sinnamahoning Creek and the north side to his daughter, Martha.   

October 5, 1786 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries.  Called the "The Great Pumpkin Flood" due to many pumpkins that floated away.

October 1, 1787 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries.

October 1788 - By the act of October 2, 1788, the sum of twelve hundred pounds was appropriated to purchase the Indian title to the tract. The deed from the United States of the above tract was dated March 3, 1792.

1788 - A group of New England settlers, under General Rufus Putnam, traveled up the West Branch of the Susquehanna and onto the Sinnamahoning in canoes, then they trekked over the Alleghenies to settle in Ohio.

1797 - Francis King, a surveyor, was hired by John Keating of Philadelphia to explore lands in the northern part of the State then owned by William Bingham of Philadelphia.  King, struggling with a fourteen-year-old boy and a packhorse, became lost and wandered the wilderness for six weeks. King was taken violently ill at the home of a settler near the intersection of the Sinnamahoning and West Branch of the Susquehanna and was laid up for approximately six weeks before returning to his home at Asylum.  Following King’s recommendation, John Keating purchased 300,000 acres of land in Northwestern Pennsylvania, in the present counties of McKean and Potter.


Pre -1700  |  1700's  |  1800's  |  1900's


1800’s:

April 1800 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries.

April 23, 1804 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries.

November 20, 1810 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries. Also called "The Great Pumpkin Flood"

1819 - Martha Lusk marries John Kryder, a famous bear hunter, river pilot, millwright, lumberman and carpenter. Kryder is responsible for many of the old buildings still in use along the Susquehanna from Renovo to Lock Haven. John Kryder’s daughter married Wallace Gakle.

1822 - Lumbering operations begin along the Sinnamahoning Creek for the market down the West Branch of the Susquehanna. The principal marketing points for lumber cut in the region during these years was at Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Marietta, where the large buyers from New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, and other large cities east and south, came to make their purchases.

July 20, 1824 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries.

1830 - First school house built.   It was built of logs and stood on the other side of the Sinnamahoning directly opposite Keating Station.

March 5, 1831 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries.

May 17, 1834 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries.

1835 - In one version of the silver mine story, a man named Groves was visiting Thomas Burns, on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, approximately three miles above Keating.  While at Burns’, Grove saw a party of Indians carrying knapsacks pass by going upstream.  In a few days the Indians returned and stopped at the Burns farm. Groves examined one of the bags and found it filled with silver ore.  Groves backtracked upstream to Birch Island Run, where the tracks went into the river.  

1835 - Commercial log rafting begins.

February 12, 1837 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries.

1839 - Clinton County formed from Centre and Lycoming Counties.

1840 - Another version of the silver mine story has the Indians beaching their canoes on “the Point” and taking off into the hills near Moccasin Run and returning with a heavy bags.   The Indians stayed the night with their canoes with the permission of Wallace Gakle. When one sack broke open, rough lumps of stone fell out, which proved to be silver ore.

December 21, 1844 - Keating Township lying in the extreme Southwestern part of Clinton County was erected.

October 9, 1847- Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries.  Flood destroys nearly every building in the township.  Settlers suffering from hunger dispatch canoes to Dunnstown and Long Reach for flour and other provisions.

1853 - Keating-on-the-Sinnamahoning becomes a hub of activity, attracting lumbermen, miners, hunters, river pilots, runaway slaves, mountain whites, back woodsmen and Irish, German and Hungarian immigrants who came to work on the railroad, in the lumber camps or mines.  The Gakle house and the Keating Hotel were the primary centers for fun.

February 7, 1853 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries.

1857 - Log floating along the Susquehanna and Sinnamahoning commences.

1858 - An engineer employed by the P&E Railroad found petroglyph under the ledge of rocks nearly opposite Keating Hotel.  On the rock were many images of various birds and animals.  The most conspicuous carving was a rough draft of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and Sinnamahoning Creek.  The head of the creek was embellished with the likeness of an elk and the source of the river with the figure of a deer, seeming to point out that, on the creek elk were found, while the deer most abounded along the river.

1859 - First blacksmith shop built by Matthias Flaig.

April 27, 1861 - Hardy mountaineer riflemen from McKean, Elk and Cameron Counties who had adopted the Bucktail as an insignia, met at Driftwood, Pennsylvania. There they built rafts by which they transported themselves downstream to Lock Haven, then by train to Camp Curtin at Harrisburg. 

September 28, 1861 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries. Flood ravages the valley after a  log drive hangs up about a mile below the creek and torrential rain causes the river and creek to flood rapidly.   Many buildings, along with rafts and logs, jam against the railroad bridge and sweep it away.  Bodies from Village of Sinnamahoning cemeteries rise from their graves and are swept by. 

March 17, 1865 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries. Called St. Patrick's Day Flood.  Carries away several houses and an enormous amount of logs and timber rafts.

1865 - Commercial log rafting comes to an end.

February 1872 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries caused by ice breakup.

January 19, 1875 - Election held to divide Keating Township into East and West Keating.

1875 - East Keating is home to three railroad depots and post offices.   Round Island, Wistar and Keating Station (Nasby PO).   Keating post office named Nasby by Col A.C. Noyes since Keating was already taken.  J.R. Van Daniker postmaster, telegraph operator and ticket, freight and express agent.  Two stores are in the township, one at Wistar, owned by Eldrige and Averill proprietors of the coal mines and coke works.  The other is near Keating Station and was owned by J.W. Merry, who also also built and owned the Keating Hotel, a four story building, including basement, capable of entertaining fifty guests.

Late 1883 - The Karthaus Railroad extends from Keating Station on the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad to Karthaus at the mouth of Mosquito Creek.

1885 - The Karthaus and Three Runs or "Cataract" mines open.  Coal is shipped from the collieries over the Clearfield and Susquehanna Railroad (incorporated December 8, 1879), which joins the Philadelphia & Erie Railroad at Keating.

May 30 - June 1, 1889 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries caused by a major storm from the west.   Flood severely damages towns of Renovo,  Lock Haven, Williamsport and Sunbury downstream.

1894 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries.


Pre -1700  |  1700's  |  1800's  |  1900's


1900’s:

March 18, 1936 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries. Called St. Patrick's Day Flood.

Feb 12, 1731 - Major ice flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries.

1946 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries.

1964 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries.

April 1965 - Keating Hotel, owned by Mike and Helen Donnelly, destroyed by fire on April 15.

June 1972 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries caused as Tropical Storm Agnes dumps 28 trillion, 50 billion gallons of water on the Susquehanna basin. Village is  flooded, knocking down the road bridge.

December 1975 - The old railroad house of Stephen and Marguerite Miller destroyed by a train derailment.

Spring 1976 - Log raft is floated down the West Branch of the Susquehanna to commemorate the United States bi-centennial.   The raft is moored at the property of Stephen and Marguerite Miller.

May 1985 - A tornado passes approximately a mile up river destroying the forests on both sides of the West Branch of the Susquehanna.

January 19-20, 1996 - Major flood of Susquehanna and it tributaries following melt of winter snowfall.

1996 -  Pennsylvania Game unveils the elk trap and transfer program. The plan calls for moving elk from the traditional range in Elk and Cameron counties to establish an elk population that could once again sustain limited hunting opportunities.

1998 - Elk returned to Keating by the PA Game Commission but prior to that date the Elk were returning on their own via the Sinnamahoning Creek.

February 2000 - The historic farmhouse owned by George and Susan Stimpson is destroyed by fire.


Pre -1700  |  1700's  |  1800's  |  1900's