So, has it always been Antes Township, or Antis Township? Can everyone answer this question with absolute certainty? If you are not sure, and even if your are sure of the answer, you will find the following information somewhat enlightening.
The starting point would be in determining how easy it really is to dot an ‘e’ and turn that into an ‘i’, which is exactly what happened during the early years gone by.
The actual name Antes has been derived from a man not from the township, Bellwood, Bell’s Mills, Bells Woods, then known as Bellwood, or even Blair County, but from a famous Revolutionary War Officer of Northhumberland County, Colonel John Henry Antes.
This interesting and thought provoking information has been provided by Antis Township historian Mary Brunner. Brunner has dedicated a lifetime to gathering, searching out, documenting, and maintaining the historical facts and information on all aspects of Northern Blair County.
Antes Township was first documented in the year 1810. However, the courts actually started the formation and the name on March 24, 1803 during a recorded court session.
The research started and continued until 1818. That is when the three men, Mr. Henderson, Mr. Patton, and Mr. Blair, submitted their findings of their report.
It was during this court testimony that the memory of the late Col. Antes of Northumberland County was provided. Along with this documentation, as well as an account of Col. Antes Revolutionary War services, his personal worth, his talents, integrity, and character.
At the completion of all of this review, the new township was then determined by the court to be called hereafter and known as the name Antes.
According to Brunner, Col. John Henry Antes was commissioned as a Lt. Col. in May of 1777 of the Second Battalion. Antes and his associates were stationed at a fort that he had built as a place for the settlers of the time, which was located at the western part of the West Branch Valley.
This fort had been built on the hill that was overlooking the entire section of the country, settled by squatters that had become known at this time as Fair Play Men.
Located in the family Bible, it was discovered that John Henry Antes was born on October 5, 1736, and he then passed away on May 13, 1820 at the age of 84 years.
Let. Col. Antes was buried in a cemetery that was located at the top of the hill that was near the old stockade fort by the very soldiers that he had served with.
On March 6, 1821, from the history of the Postal Service, the Bellwood Post Office was first established as Antestown.
Another mention of Antes Township that was recorded in the book ‘Blair County’s First 100 Years’ on page 385 indicated that the Antes Forge was built in 1828 in Antes Township.
In the Pontic Atlas of 1873, there was the mention of Antistown. Then, in 1886, a deed transfer was recorded to a Howard Walker and was marked as in Antes.
Further investigation between the years of 1880 and 1890 the names of Antes and Antis were switched back and forth on numerous occasions.
It appears that through the years, in the beginning it came down to who was doing the writing, or spelling, that an ‘e’ or an ‘i’ was out or in.
According to additional documentation that was provided by Brunner, the dates that the area was called Antestown from after 1810, until the Borough was incorporated in 1887. Then, the township once again switched from Antes to Antis, depending on who did or did not dot the ‘i’.
It finally appears that the Antis Township title was used beginning with the tax rolls indicated that Antis Township had a population of 3,000 in the early 1900s.
Thanks again goes out to Mary Brunner of Tipton, who provided volumes of historical documentation that was included in this article.