McKean County, PA History

McKean County, PA is a rural county in Pennsylvania created in 1804 and organized in 1826. McKean County was named for one of the greatest patriots of our state in the Revolutionary period, Thomas McKean, who represented Delaware in the Congress that adopted the Declaration of Independence. Later he was a citizen of Pennsylvania, serving as Chief Justice at one time and also three terms as governor of our State, 1799-1808.

McKean was one of fourteen counties that were carved from that area of Northwestern Pennsylvania, known as the “Last Purchase”, bought from the Iroquois Indians at Fort Stanwix for $10,000 in the year 1784. McKean County is in a sparsely populated region known as the “Pennsylvania Wilds”, including the Allegheny National Forest and borders New York. McKean County is home of “The Zippo Lighter” and boasts of being “The Black Cherry Capital of the World.” McKean County was founded because of its natural resources of oil and timber, both of which continue to provide a significant input to the economy. Today, a university, rural medical center, and manufacturing companies balance the area’s economy.