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Harbor Creek Township, Near
Erie County, Pennsylvania
Illustrations from 1876 Erie County Atlas
Property Documents—Mortgages & Lease
About The Atlas
An atlas is a wonderful resource for genealogical research like so many atlases published in the second half of the 19th Century. The two illustrations below came from the Erie County Pennsylvania Atlas of 1876. The title page is show to the right. The building is the Erie County Court House on West 6th Street in Erie. The building is still actively used by the county as a court house, however it has been more than doubled in size in the later part of the 20th Century.
Engraving of the Farm From the Atlas
The engraving on the left shows the farm house, barns and field across the street. The house was built in 1875 just one year before the book was published. The farm land was purchased in 1865 for $7731. The atlas has many such illustrations, most of the homeowners paid for the engraving and to have it included in the book.
The engraving to the left fills one half of a page. Charles Bliley certainly had something to be proud of. The building is still completely intact today!
Enlargement: Medium (60k)
Enlargement: Large (280k)
Engraving of the Farm From the Atlas
The atlas has 80 pages of maps and illustrations like the one to the right. The book's of approximate size of 15" x 18" provided plenty of space for detailed information. All material was printed in black and white. I have added color to the illustration to make locating the farm easier. To the North to the property is the village of Wesleyville. Millcreek Township and the City of Erie are located out of view to the left of the map's border.
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Click here to view the gallery of our visit and the graffiti by my grandfather, Frank A. Bliley.
Kuhl Road Farm —First Farm in America
First farm purchased immediately after emigration from Germany in 1834. Held in the family until 1865 when a larger Station Road farm was purchased.
- Mortgage on Sale of farm in 1865 to J. A. Sawtell ( PDF / 19M)
Station Road Farm —Second and Last Farm for Charles and Mary Jane Bliley
After 31 years on the the Kuhl Road farm, Charles was old enough, experienced enough and married, to take on a larger farm. The property he bought was closer to local markets and had better land than on Kuhl Road. Here are some documents that have survived over 150 years!
- Mortgage on Purchase of farm in 1865 from George J. Russell ( PDF / 38M)
- Lease of Farm to Son Wilfred in 1892 ( PDF / 16M)
- Wilfred's Expenses Notes from 1901 to 1905. PDF / 27M) —There is nothing special about this time period that is known to me that would justify making and keeping these documents..
August 1999 Tour—House For Sale
From a friend, I learned the old Bliley farm house in Erie was up for sale. Wow! How interesting. I decided to connect with the owner and see if they would oblige me with a tour of the property. The answer was "Yes.", and we made arrangements for a visit on an August weekend while visiting with family and friends in Erie. Click here to view my gallery of photos. The principal people in the photos are my daughter, Elizabeth Ann Bliley and the deceased owner's daughter.
July 30, 2005 Tour—Extended Family House and History Tour of Erie
So many people in my family history circle asked questions of me about the old farm house. I tried to answer them as best I could, but I thought a tour of the farm in person would be the "best way" to see it.
A simple request by cousin my Dave Wagner for directions to aid him in driving by the old Bliley farmhouse in Erie has turned into something much more. While much of the house can be seen on my family history site, there is nothing better than standing inside the house of such a successful and loving family, walking the hallways they walked, and placing your hand on the barn door that they walked through every day.
Fortunately for us, the current owner of this 140 year-old house, Dan and Melissa Toperzer, agreed to our visiting them for a few hours and opening up their home and property to us. They even offered to allow us to hold a simple picnic on the property during our visit. Dan initially thought there would be more than 50 people attending. I told him not that many, perhaps up to 25. He was delighted and I was on my way to planning a tour of the property and a tour of Harborcreek homes and sites of activity for the early Bliley family.
The day went without a hitch, and Dan and Melissa were more than gracious hosts. The totally cleaned up the inside and outside of the house for us. It sparkled and and so did the Bliley family descendents. In short, we felt "right at home"!
Here is a link to a working photo gallery that reflects the contributions of four family members. It was not intended for prime time, but merely as a online souvenir for those who attended.
July 6, 2016 Tour—A Birthday Party Surprise
We were in Erie to be part of the celebration of my brother Dick's 75 birthday celebration. At the party, my oldest brother, Dave, spoke of a visit he made the previous year and was told by the current owner, that there was the name of a Bliley chiseled into the outside wall on the north side of the house. What? I could not believe that an ancestor of mine had put personal graffiti on the house's walls. I decided to change my panned drive home and stop by the old farm house for a look-see.
When we arrived, we were greeted by, Russell Banks, a renter of the property who hoped to buy and restore it. Russ had seen us drive up to the house while he was working on a project within the house. He was very delighted to meet me, in particular because I was a Bliley descendent and the author of the historical material he was given to read by Walter Toperzer. It was an impressive project he had started and we were shown the grafitti of my grandfather Frank A. Bliley, on the wall from 1883! He was 17 years old.
Marilyn and I tour the inside of the house with Russell pointing out his projects and the house's features. We had a delightful time and ended up delaying our return to Rochester by almost two hours. No problem, the day was beautiful and special at all levels.
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This site and associated images are Copyright 2000 , 2005 2016, by Charles A. Bliley, Webster, NY, U.S.A.
Permission granted for use in personal genealogy work and non-profit distribution with copyright and source credit.
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