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Elk County

Elk County was formed on April 18, 1843, from parts of Jefferson, Clearfield and McKean Counties.  Named after the Eastern elk that historically inhabited the region, its county seat is Ridgway.  Today, Pennsylvania’s sole remaining elk herd freely ranges over the area between Elk and Cameron Counties.  It is believed that the county’s first residents were the Seneca or Cornplanter Indians.  Ruins of Native American forts pepper the area around Russell City in Highland Township.  Additionally, the old Kittanning Indian Trail–the most direct trail from Olean, New York–passes through western Elk County on its way to Kittanning, Pennsylvania.

The act establishing Elk County said:  “Court would be held on the third Monday of February, May, September, and December in each and every year, and continue one week of each term, if necessary.”  The first court session in Elk County took place on December 19, 1843 in a schoolhouse in Caledonia (Jay Township).  At the first court of record, no Pennsylvania law judge was present, though two Associate Judges, James L. Gillis and Isaac Horton, presided.

Pennsylvania lawyers practicing law in Elk County specialize in various niches of the law, including areas like bankruptcy law, employment law, personal injury law, immigration, family law, medical malpractice law, workers compensation law, and even criminal law.  Criminal law involves, logically enough, crimes committed by one party against another and are broken up into two subsets:  felonies and misdemeanors.  Felonies are larger offenses that typically result in harsher punishments.  Misdemeanors are smaller offenses that yield sentences that are not quite as harsh.  It is recommended that defendants retain one of the many experienced Pennsylvania lawyers practicing criminal law to represent them no matter which type of crime they have been accused of committing.

One common area of law for which Pennsylvania residents in Elk County often need the assistance of a good Pennsylvania lawyer is that of estate planning.  Advance health care directives, also known as living wills, are written statements that allow individuals to set out the conditions under which their lives should be prolonged by artificial means should they be rendered incompetent when suffering from a terminal condition, or should they become permanently unconscious.  Pennsylvania law provides for living will and states that an individual’s desire to withhold or withdraw medical treatment is not to be considered suicide, euthanasia, or homicide.

Under Pennsylvania law, your living will advises your family and friends of your wishes concerning artificial means of prolonging life so there is no question of what you “would have wanted”.  It also instructs health care providers whether or not to utilize medical means of prolonging your life, even if you are in a state of permanent unconsciousness with no hope of recovery.  Health care providers must follow the provisions of your living will should you become unable to provide instructions when medical decisions need to be made.  Pennsylvania law allows you to authorize the withholding or withdrawal of all treatment and procedures through your advance medical directive.

Pennsylvania law provides for four types of incorporated municipalities:  cities, boroughs, townships, and, rarer cases, towns.  Below are listed the cities, boroughs and townships located in Elk County:




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