307 South Park St. PO Box 101 Franklin, PA 16323 814-432-8260
Venango County Historical Society
Mineral and Victory
PO Box 101 301 South Park Street Franklin, Pennsylvania 16323
Mineral Township was formed in October, 1870, from parts of Sandycreek and Frenchcreek Townships. The first settler here was Samuel Gildersleeve at about 1797. Other early settlers were Shadrach Simcox in 1800, Andrew Smith, Daniel Crain, and brothers, Archibald and Charles Henderson.
The township got its name from A.W. Raymond because of the great quantities of coal and iron found there. Mr. Raymond was also the founder of Raymilton and had several business operations there including a general store, a grist mill and iron furnace.
Victory Township was formed by another subdivision of Sandycreek Township in 1876. The earliest settler here was John Dewoody, a native of Ireland, who built a house/hotel on the old Pittsburgh Road in 1796. Daniel McMillin arrived in 1802, and George McClelland, also from Ireland, in 1803. Samuel Lindsay, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, was also an early resident.
The iron industry played a significant role in the history of Victory Township. Sandy Furnace, also known as Castle Rock Furnace, was erected in 1835 by William Cross and Thomas Hoge. It had a capacity of two tons per day at its start. Victory Furnace was built by Andrew Boner in about 1843. It blew out in 1851.
The Donation Lands
The area of the present Irwin, Mineral and Victory Townships lies within the northwestern section of what was designated as Donation Lands under legislation by the Commonwealth enacted on March 12, 1783.
Under this act, all persons who had served in the Revolutionary War, and did not receive pay, were entitled to receive land in the newly created district.
The mode of distribution was both elaborate and complicated - the amount of acreage received was determined by the rank of the veteran. The most common rank was the private, and he was entitled to 200 acres of land. In an effort to encourage settlement of the northwest territory, land distribution was made by lottery. Acquisition could be done in one of two ways - by purchasing a warrant at the land office, or to settle and make payment later. The former method was used by land companies; the latter by the settler.