Village Called Ginger Hill
By Joan Force
Legends Abound Over Origin Of Name
S L I P P E R Y R O C K
Slippery Rock - One of the logos chosen for
Slippery Rock borough's
sesquicentennial, and it appears on the cover of the sesquicentennial
history - shows an Indian slipping off a rock in a creek. The trademark
of a local bank similarly depicts a frontiersman slipping off a rock. The
community celebrating its 150th birthday this year and the idea of an
historic but undertermined " someone " slipping off a rock in a creek
are inexorably related.
LEGENDS OF THE ROCK
Legends abound regarding the naming of the creek which flows in a
generally westward direction through what is now SLIPPERY ROCK
Township. One story has it that the creek was named during the French
and Indian War. As a British colonial led his forces down an Indian trail,
across the creek, a horse fell on a large smooth rock, severely injuring
the rider. The soldiers in the party then cristened the stream
" SLIPPERY ROCK ".
Another tale attributed the naming of the creek to the Delaware Indians
whocalled the stream " Weschachachapehka " --- SLIPPERY ROCK.
However, according to William Ralston's Early History Along the
SLIPPERY ROCK, the name of the stream is
derived from the fact that
before the advent of the coal mines, the water had a peculiar quality.
It had many stone riffles and rocks in its bed in the middle course and
these rocks had the quality of collecting slime. Some would hold an
inch of it and "sloping ice or soft soap was scarcely as slippery."
By the time the first settlers arrived the creek was known as
" SLIPPERY ROCK".
The area surrounding the stream became
Slippery Rock Township. Slippery Rock Township is one of the
four original townships in Butler County.
FIRST GINGER HILL
As the village in the morthernmost part of the township grew, there
was considerable controversy as to what it should be called. The
settlement was known to its original residents as GINGER HILL ---
a name apparently derived from a local tavern keeper's practice of
giving plenty of ginger with the whiskey he sold ( or selling the ginger
and giving away the whiskey).
CENTERVILLE was sebsequently selected by the commitee to find a
name for the town and the community remained Centerville until 1900.
The name itself was descriptive - the borough is located approximately
halfway between Butler and Mercer on what was the Butler-Mercer Pike.
The first Post Office for the newly settled area was established at Mt.
Etna ( later Daugherty's Bridge or Mill ) , the pioneer village in the
township, on SLIPPERY ROCK
Creek in 1824. The Post Office was
named SLIPPERY ROCK and
Issac Pearson was appointed postmaster.
At present, Shawnee Acres tourist home, built in 1812, occupies the site
which is located two and a half miles south of SLIPPERY ROCK
on Route 173. In 1826 the SLIPPERY ROCK
Post Office was moved to
Centerville where the original name was retained. According to legend,
the postmaster loaded the post office into a wheelborrow and moved it.
It was two or three months afterward before the government discovered
the change in location.
In 1900 the name of the community was changed to SLIPPERY ROCK,
to correspond to the name of the post office. Interestingly there is
only one " SLIPPERY ROCK " in all the United
After the Butler - Mercer Pike was completed in 1822, the first lots in the
community were laid out on land owned by Stephen Cooper and
William Hill. Records reveal that when the town was founded in 1825,
the population included Stephen Cooper, William Hill, John Reynold,
a tavern keeper, William Cross, an innkeeper, and Issac Pearson,
the first postmaster and a merchant.
At the beginning of the war, 35 years after the founding of SLIPPERY
ROCK, the population increased to between 300 and 400.
business in town were two general stores, two taverns, two blacksmith
shops, a foundry started in 1834 making stoves and cast iron plows
(the plows sold for $25), a tannery, a harnessmaker, a saddler, a wagon-
maker, tailor, gunsmith, cabinetmaker, a cooper, and a fancy weaver.
Two woolen mills which wove blankets were also in the area. The
community also boasted of a crockmaker, two shoemakers, a livery,
two docrtors, an undertaker and a carpenter.
Like many small communities, SLIPPERY ROCK
became virtually self-
sufficient. The sequicentennial observance in SLIPPERY ROCK
resume Oct. 8, with a full slate of activities scheduled through Oct. 12.
1825 Sesquicentennial 1975