Samuel Holliday

Samuel Holliday (1755-1841) was the first European settler in the area that is now Camp Fitch.[1] He was born on November 26, 1755 to James Holliday and Elizabeth (McDowell) Holliday in Franklin Country, Pa. His father was born in Ireland, immigrated to the US, and was killed in a skirmish with Native Americans at Fort Laudon, PA when Samuel was two years old.[2] [3]

Samuel enlisted as a Private and served as a Captain in the Cumberland County Militia during the Revolutionary War.[4] [5] In 1796, he came from what is now Franklin County PA, to what is now North Springfield, PA. He bought the 700 acres around Crooked Creek from the Pennsylvania Population Company, a land development company. He built a cabin on the property and then returned to Franklin County to spent the winter. Samuel married his wife, Jeanette Campbell (born 1770), in April 1797 and they returned to the log cabin in North Springfield soon after the wedding. No roads existed so they followed a trail from Pittsburgh to Erie. From Erie, they walked the beach to the mouth of Crooked Creek. Jeanette traveled on horseback, while Samuel walked beside her, gun on his shoulder.[1] Jeanette gave birth to the first European to be born in the area, Elizabeth Holliday, on May 14, 1798.[1] They raised a total of six children: Elizabeth, John, Samuel, William, Jane, and Lucinda.[6] Samuel farmed the land and constructed a sawmill in 1801 at the mouth of Crooked Creek. Two years later he built a grist mill.[1] In 1806 Samuel constructed his saltbox homestead,[7] the building Camp Fitch would use as a dining hall over a century later.[8] When the War of 1812 broke out, he returned to the battlefront. After the war, Samuel continued to run the mills at the mouth of crooked creek until they burned down in 1836. He died in 1841 at the age of 86 and is buried in the East Springfield Cemetery, which he helped found. It is located next to the Presbyterian Church he also helped to start. Jeanette died a few years later in August, 1851.[1]

The city of North Springfield grew primarily on the Holliday's Land. By the 1850's the Lake Shore Railroad Station in North Springfield had lead to a large increase in population to approximately 60 people and 20 buildings including an academy, a hotel that was converted into a boarding house, general store (Now Peggy Gray's Candy Store), grocery store, and a public school.[1]

In 1923, the family of John H. Fitch gave the money to purchase 93 acres from the Holliday Family. This allowed camp to move to its present location from Little Beaver Creek.[8]

The family still lives on the property west of camp and runs a farmer's market and Peggy Gray's Candy Store.


The Lake Shore Railroad was originally constructed in 1852. The Railroad purchased land from the Hollidays. They built a station, two water tanks, and a pump house to pump the water from Crooked Creek for the trains. If any thing remains of this construction, it may still be on camp property.

To cross Crooked Creek, the Lake Shore Railroad constructed the culvert and embankment, at the southern end of Camp's property about 700ft long. In the fall of 1878, Crooked Creek flooded enough to wash a house through the culvert.

Further Reading

This information is a synopsis of the following, much more info can be found in:

  • Erie, Pa., Times-News, Sunday, July 4, 1976 page 7-D
  • Bates, Samuel; History of Erie Co., Pennsylvania; Chicago: Warnerm Beers & Co., 1884
  • Nelson; Biographical Dictionary and Historical Reference Book of Erie County, Pennsylvania; SB Nelson Publishing, 1896


1. a, b, c, d, e, f Bates, Samuel, 1884. History of Erie Co., Pennsylvania. Warner, Beers, Co; Chicago, pp.157, 751-760, 909.
2. a Whitman, Benjamin, 1896. Nelson's Biographical Dictionary and Historical Reference Book of Erie County. S.B. Nelson Publishing, pp.582.
3. a Levine, Cheryl, 2007. James McLene Descendants and Others. Roots Web.
4. a Erie Times News, July 4, 1976. Holliday Settled Springfield Township. Erie Times News Publishing.
5. a Muster Rolls of the Navy and Line, Militia and Rangers, 1775-1783. William Stanely Ray, State Printer, 1897.
7. a Springfield Township, Retrieved June 2013. Parcel Profile: 747 HOLLIDAY RD.
8. a, b Tear, Phil, 1964. Camp Fitch Golden Anniversary. Allied Printing, pp.1-35.