SUMMERHILL TOWNSHIP was formed in 1830. It is an interior township lying west of the center of the County and contains 14,603 square acres. It is watered in the western part by Conneaut Creek, and numerous small streams tributary to it, and in the eastern part by a small stream which empties into Little Cussewago Creek in the western part of Cussewago township and by the head waters of Pine Run, which discharges into Conneaut Lake. The old Beaver & Erie Canal extends through the township, along the valley of Conneaut Creek.
The good quality of the soil and the early date of settlement are attested to the fact that twenty of the thirty-six tracts were patented by individuals before the land companies were locating claims. These individual tracts are situated mostly in the valley of Conneaut Creek, where consequently, the first settlements of the township were made.
James McDowell is reputed the pioneer settler, coming about 1796 or 1797. He was of Scotch extraction, came from the region of Susquehanna and remained a life-ong resident on his farm on the Conneaut, below Dicksonburg. He had five sons and two daughters and many of their descendants are yet in the township. Daniel Myers came from the same locality about the same time and settled on the adjoining tract near the center of the township surveyed in the name of A. Power. He was killed while on his way home from Harmonsburg by being thrown from his horse. John Sterling, an old neighbor soon followed to the new country, and his sons James, Washington and Andrew became well known property holders. James Fetterman settled on the John Power tract, about one and a half miles southeast from Conneautville where he remained 'til death in old age and where his descendants now reside. He at one time owned 1,100 acres of land. He came a young, unmarried man, and in 1798 wedded Betsy McDowell; this was the first marriage in the township.
Among the more important manufacturing establishments are McMullin's and J. Close's steam saw mills, the former situated about three miles south of Conneautville, and the latter in the south eastern part of the township, each giving employment to three persons and being capable of sawing 4,000 feet of lumber per day; McDowell & Hammond's cheese factory, situated at Dicksonburg, which was erected in 1873, gives employment to two persons and manufactures the first quality of Cheddar cheese, in quantity about ten cheeses per day, each weighing fifty-seven pounds; and J. & R. Wormald's woolen factory located in the eastern part of Conneautville (which is partially in this township) which occupies a large three-story building erected in 1843 for carding and fulling mill, and which was adapted to it's present uses in 1849. It is operated by water and has recently been repaired and furnished throughout with new and improved machinery. Six to eight persons are employed and 15,000 to 18,000 pounds of wool annually consumed in the manufacture of cloths, cassimeres, flannels, blankets, yarn, &c.
DICKSONBURG (formerly known as McDowell) is a little village located in the southern part of the township and containing about fifteen dwellings, a store, school blacksmith shop, Methodist Church and a large grist mill owned by J. B. McDowell. The place was on the Old Beaver & Erie Canal. John Thompson and Thomas Proctor were early merchants. George Dickson built the first g rist mill, Joseph McCray erected the present one.
NORRISVILLE, is situated a little north of the center of the township. Settlement was commenced as early as 1803 by Valentine P. Gwin of French descent, who is still living in the township at the age of seventy-seven years. His father accompanied Lafayette to this country and served under him in the Federal army 'til the close of the Revolutionary War. He then settled in Berks County and worked at his trade, that of a blacksmith, until 1803. He died in 1821.
THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH OF SUMMERHILL was organized with twenty-tive member in 1863 by Rev. James Crossman, the first pastor and their church edifice, which will seat 800 persons was erected in 1871 at a cost of $1,800, the present value of Church property. There are thirty-four members. The pastor is Rev. Myers. (Information furnished by Mr. Minor Walton)
THE M.E. CHURCH, at Dicksonburg, erected their first house of worship in 1835 and the present one, which will seat 800 persons, in 1851 at a cost of $975. The Society numbers eighty and it's property is valued at $4,000. The pastor is Rev. A. R. Rich. (Information furnished by Mr. John F. McDowell)
SOURCE OF THIS INFORMATION IS A 1872/73 GAZETEER & BUSINESS DIRECTORY