Early History of Oswayo
Oswayo was incorporated on
January 8, 1901 and named for the Township. The Oswayo Valley had one of the best white
pine stands in Pennsylvania. The name is the English derivative of the Seneca word
"O-sa-ayeh", meaning pine forest. The whole of the valley was a vast pine forest
of trees standing so close that it was impossible for underbrush to grow. Some of the
trees reached heights of between 100 and 150 feet with the lowest branches 50 to 75 feet
above the ground.
The nucleus of the town had been well established in the days before the Civil War. Early settlers earned their living harvesting white pine. Many of the logs were splashed out on the high waters in the spring of the year. The cities along the Ohio often specified "Oswayo White Pine" because of its quality.
The village was first called Brindleville, But was changed when the post office was established late in the 1840's. During early years, the village contained two sawmills and shingle mills and several small shops which catered to local business. Several doctors and attorneys were also located here.
The first large tannery to begin operation in the county began tanning here in 1877. It was sold to P.H.. Costello Company in 1879. The tannery was destroyed by fire on June 20, 1903. At that time, it was owned by the Penn Tanning Company. From 1894 to 193, the town was served by the New York & Pennsylvania Railroad.
The borough probably reaches its peak in population at the time of incorporation with about 1000 people. By 1910, the Census showed only 382 residents. The loss of the tannery and several other lumber related business had rapidly taken its toll. By 1920, the Census showed only 209 residents.
Today agriculture remains important and there are a few loggers in the region. A state Fish Cultural Station, located above the village, raises trout for stocking in streams throughout the State.
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