Fort Titzell 1775

On April 17th 2015, The Midatlantic Chapter of SPOOM The Union County Historical Society held a tour of historic mills in Union County PA.  This was one of the stops.

From the tour itinerary - 
""Arrive at Fort Titzell & Titzell’s Mill Site (involved in colonial Indian wars) with
presentation by John Moore , local historian, in period costume"

Inside the building - 

I found the following article on - 

Titzell's Mill and Fort by Harold Danowsky

On December 1, 1774, there is recorded the deed from William Robb and hif wife Olive, to Henry Titzell, for fifty acres of land on Little Buffalo Creek, just three tenth of a mile north of Kelly Cross Roads, whereon he erected a grist and saw mill during the following winter, for he was assessed in 1775 with a grist and saw mill.
   Titzell's mill was a rendezvous during the American Revolution, and a station of the defenders of the frontiers. Govenor Morris billeted a patrol here during the Indian incursions of the American Revolution. The patrol was ambushed at "French" Jacob Groshong's Mill on May 16, 1780, is believed to have spent the previous night here before going on the patrol west of Forest Hill. (location now marked by historical marker at the east end of the Fourteen Mile Narrows) where four of them met their death namely: George Etzweiler, Jno. Fouster Jr., James Chambers and Samuel McLaughlen.
   William Fisher made a narrow escape while running into the mill when his foot slipped on a board, and he fell through the doorway. The bullet intended for him struck the building on a line where his head would have benn had he not fallen.
    In July of 1778, the "Great Runaway" occurred, (this was when settlers living along the North and West Branches of the Susquehana River fled the area for safety, after which Northumberland and Sunbury became the frontier) and of course Henry Titzell went with them to Cumberland County from where he never returned, and we find Nagal Gray, of Northampton County, in possession of the property in 1783, and a conveyance of the property from Titzell to Gray on the 5th of May 1786. Gray died the same year, but his son John took the tract, who, with his wife Jane, sold it to George Reniger on the 18th of April 1796. Reniger failed, and it went by the name of Kelly's Mill for many years.
   In 1820, Peter Rauch purchased it and it remained in the Rauch Family for three generations - first Peter Rauch, second - Jonas Rauch, and third William S. Rauch. Then in the early 1900's it was sold to B.B. Keiser, who with his son James operated it until 1911 when it caught fire and burned to the ground.
  The next year Mr. Keiser's brother-in-law Mr. Christopher G. Pawling, came back to Pennsylvania, his home state, from Portland, Oregon and ably assisted Frank Keiser in the building of a two story mill, it did not have the machines for making flour that the first mill had, and consequently soon failed.  The original mill had the capacity for making twenty eight barrels of flour a day.  The second structure stood idle much of the time and is reported to have a still in it during prohibition days for the manufacture of the illegal product.
   It was a remarkable piece of work for that day, when there were no power shovels as we know them today; only animal power, such as: horses mules or oxen were available to pull the scoops.  He constructed a dam just south of the bridge that crosses the Little Buffalo Creek on the Pleasant View Road leading to New Comlumbia, and excavated a race to carry the water along the hillside, one half mile, until he reached the necessary drop to power an over-shot water wheel to run his mill. Later a turbine was installed to run the mill. He built a four story mill nearly all of stone, without the aid of any of our modern mixers or elevators to lighten the labor.
   Sometime during World War II most of the remnants of the second structure was taken away, and now the only evidence of the old mill is the east wall of the first story, which was cut out of solid rock, and the race are left of a once proud enterprise.
   About the author: Mr. Harold Danowsky, Kelly Crossroads, Lewisburg, Pa. graduated from local schools, and graduated from Bloomsburg State Teachers College in 1933. He was principal at the Buffalo Cross Roads School for 3 years and principal at the Linntown School for 6 years. He taught in several other schools in Union County. Served in the US Army for two years. He is now retired since 1972.

   The article also included a picture titled: Inside Titzell's Fort. Building is still standing. Picture taken during the U.C.H.S. Tour 1965. Some of the members on picture are Harold Danowsky explaining the history of the mill and fort. Mrs Vincent is daughter of the man who owned the mill when it burned in 1911. Also pictured is doll designer, Mrs. Rhodes and Mrs. Paul Pawling, cousin of Mrs. Vincent. The building is where the soldiers spent the night before proceeding to French Jacobs Mill.

Story is from the "Union County Heritage" Volume IV The Publication of the Union County Historical Society Union County Pennsylvania Est. Jan. 20, 1964

More about John Moore - 

John L. Moore, is an  author and living history interpreter.
Moore is a Northumberland writer who specializes in telling true stories about real people and actual events on the Pennsylvania Frontier. A retired newspaperman, Moore has participated in several archaeological excavations of Native American sites. These include the Village of Nain in Bethlehem, PA; the City Island project in Harrisburg, PA conducted by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; a Bloomsburg University dig in 1999 at a Native American site near Nescopeck, PA.; and a 1963 excavation of the New Jersey State Museum along the Delaware River north of Worthington State Forest. John Moore has written and self-published seven books about the Pennsylvania Frontier. His most recent book is “Bullets, Boats & Bears.”


All of my pics from this tour can be found here (once I finish sorting and uploading them):