The Founding of Philipsburg, Pennsylvania
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by Rodney Reese
During the recent bicentennial celebration in Philipsburg, a plaque was dedicated which shows the twelve original founders. "Christian Ries (Rees)" is listed ninth. The plaque may be seen in front of the Borough building on Presqueisle Street in Philipsburg. In 1797, Henry Philips recruited the 12 settlers who scaled the ridges of the mountains, climbing out of the valley below. To get to this new land, they endured heavy snows, severe frosts, and other hardships little known to us. See the historical marker on Philipsburg.
Philips gave each one a building lot in town and four acres out of town. As land owners started to raise grain, Hardman Philips built a grist mill and hired John Christian Ries to run the mill. An 1813 town map shows that Ries left his partially built home and moved to the "miller's house" near the grist mill on Cold Stream dam. All nine children were born in Philipsburg. Abel, born in 1812, was the youngest. In later years, Christian Reese moved over the mountain to Abraham Elder's mill on Laurel Run near Port Matilda. The mill had been started in 1806 by Elder, who was one of the first settlers in the Port Matilda area.
Read more on Philipsburg history
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