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Virtual Museum of Pennsylvania Iron Furnaces & Iron Works

Digital Iron Furnace Research Library
The 19th Century Society of Pennsylvania
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The Iron Furnaces of Clarion County Pennsylvania
Cocheco Furnace & Iron Works
(St. Charles Furnace);

(Leatherwood Furnace)
St. Charles,
Village of Leatherwood,
Porter Twp.,
Clarion County,
Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Pennsylvania Iron Furnace Sourcebook
Clarion County Iron Furnaces

A Tribute to the Iron Masters and Iron Workers
that built and keep in-blast
the old Stone Blast Furnaces of Pennsylvania.

Raymond A. Washlaski, Historian, Archaeologist & Web Master,
Ryan P. Washlaski, Technical Advisor.

Virtual Museum of Pennsylvania Iron Furnaces & Iron Works
A Publication of the 19th Century Society of Pennsylvania
Updated Nov. 2, 2002

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Cocheco Furnace & Iron Works:  Located on Leatherwood Creek, along Rockville Road, at St.Charles, near the Village of Leatherwood, Porter Twp., Clarion County, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Date Built: ca. 1844
Date Out-of-Blast: ca.1865

Other names Cocheco Furnace was known by:
Carrs Furnace;
Kerr's Furnace (ca.1846);
Leatherwood Furnace;
McCue's Furnace (ca.1861-1865);
Reid & Howley Furnace;
St. Charles Furnace;
Wilson's Furnace (ca.1844).

Cocheco Furnace & Iron Works:
A Stone Blast Furnace & Iron Works
John & Samuel Wilson (ca.1844)
Reid and Howley (ca.1887)
J. & P. Kerr
Michael McCue

Short History of Cocheco Furnace [St. Charles Furnace],
Clarion Co.:
Documents Relating to the Manufacture of Iron in Pennsylvania, 1850
A Detailed Statement of all the Charcoal Cold Blast Furnaces in Western Pennsylvania in the year 1850
Published on behalf of the Convention of Iron Masters,
Which met in Philadelphia, on the Twentierth of December, 1849
Philadelphia: Published by the General Committee. 1850
Name of Works date of Sheriff's
sale or failure
in-blast 1849
out-of-blast 1849
date of construction Capacity in Tons
St. Charles Furnace     1        1844   1,400 Tons
        Owners  Post Office      Kind of ore used  No. of Men &
Boys Employed
 No. of horses &
mules Employed
Patrick Kerr Leatherwood Argillareous Carbonate       81         48
No. Tuyeres
 Kind of
Power used
Kind of Metal Made  Largest product Actual Product
in 1849
   2 9 feet 32 feet Steam & Water Close Gray Iron    1,000 Tons   800 Tons

                                                                                                           (Iron Masters Association,1850:n.p.)

From "History of Clarion County" 1887.
The St. Charles Furnace, originally called Cocheco Furnace, built in 1844 or 1845, was one of the largest stacks in the county. It was 10 feet across the bosh, 33 feet in height; situated on Leatherwood Creek, about 2 miles from the Low Grade Railroad. The property, adjacent to Donald G. Phillips, is now [ca.1887] owned by Reid and Howley of Pittsburgh. It was built by John and Samuel Wilson.  Andrew Reed, a son of James and Jane (Blair) Reed, broke the first sod for the furnace. It was purchased in the spring of 1846 by J. and P. Kerr of Clarion, leased in 1861 to Michael McCue who operated it until 1865 when it was dismantled.

Originally St. Charles Furnace  [Cocheo Furnace] was built as a charcoal iron furnace. The Hot blast was introduced in 1857. It is the only furnace that employed raw coal. Though essentially a charcoal stack, this furnace was run for one year on coke, made from the Freeport lower coal seam and for nearly a year on raw coal from the Freeport upper coal seam, which in this vicinity is a "block" character [coal].  Innumerable thin layers of mineral charcoal disseminated through the bed, divide the bituminous portion intop such thin laminae that any appreciable swelling or melting of the mass is rendered impossible, and each lump preserves its shape until it is entirely consumed.

In 1845, it produced 1,000 tons; in 1850 it produced 2,000 tons. Furnace was dismantled in 1865.

All that remains today [ca.1887] is a, crumbling pile of stones, and many passersby never notice it as they travel along the Rockville Road, Route 854. (Davis,1887:117;118)

Cocheco Furnace.  Located on Leatherwood Creek, 2 miles from the Low Grade Railroad.  Height 33 feet, 10 foot bosh.  Also known as St. Charles Furnace.  Built by Wilsons.  Sold to J. & P. Kerr, of Clarion, in 1846.  Leased 1861-1865 to Michael McCue.  Production in 1845 and 1847 was 1,000 tons;  1850 was 2,000 tons.  Originally charcoal furnace; used coke from Freeport lower coal one year, one year on raw coal from Freeport upper bed.  Only Clarion County furnace that used raw coal.  Began hot blast in 1857.  Dismantled 1865. (Caldwell,1877:  )

St Charles Furnace (Carrs and /or Leatherwood Furnace).  Was built in 1834 by John and Samuel Wilson of Strattonville as a cold blast charcoal furnace.  In 1857 it was changed to hot blast and at the same time steam power was substituted for water power.  In 1846 it was purchased by J. and P. Kerr of Clarion.  In 1861 it was leased to Michael McCune, who operated it until 1865, when it went out of blast.  This was the only furnace in Clarion County that ued raw coal at times. (Sharp & Thomas,1966:40)

Location:  Starting at New Bethlehem, follow PA Rt.861 west, you will cross Long Run, continue on PA Rt. 861 to the crossing of Leathwood Creek, just after crossing Leatherwood Creek is the Junction of PA SR2007.  Turn right, go north on PA SR2007 for about 200 feet.  The stack is to the right and below the road on the west bank of  Leatherwood Creek.  It was covered and surrounded with heavy brush, ca.1966, so that it was almost impossible to get close to the stack.  Also, the local residents say that there are copperheads in the furnace stack.
(Sharp & Thomas,1966:40)
(It is recommended that you obtain and use the "Pennsylvania Atlas & Gazetteer" by DeLorne Mapping, as you map source in finding the Clarion County Iron Furnaces.)
The Porter Township map is cropped from a 1/50,000 USGS Geological Survey Map of Clarion County dated 1986; based on 1/24,000 maps dated 1963 through 1969.
(Courtesy of the U.S.G.S. Topographic Survey, Washington, D.C.)

Cocheco Furnace
(St. Charles Furnace),
Porter Township, Clarion Co.

1872 Map of Porter Township, Clarion, showing the location of Cocheco Furnace (St. Charles Furnace) and the settlement around the furnace.
(from "Atlas of the County of Lawrence & The State of Pennsylvania,"  Published by G.M.Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia, PA, ca.1872)

Bibliographical Sources:  This section under construction.                                                    

[no pictures are presently available for Cocheco Furnace (St. Charles Furnace), Clarion Co., Pa.]
If you have pictures or know of where pictures of Cocheco Furnace are located or additional information on Cocheco Furnace [St. Charles Furnace], Porter Twp., Clarion Co., please contact the Ironmaster

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