Carroll Twp. (pp. 691-697)
History of Washington County, Pennsylvania*
The township of Carroll, which until its organization in 1834 formed part of Fallowfield and Nottingham townships, is situated in a great bend of the Monongahela River, on the eastern border of the county. Its boundaries are Union township and the Monongahela River on the north, the Monongahela River on the east, the same river and Fallowfield township on the south, and Fallowfield and Nottingham townships on the west.
The territory comprised within these limits has ever been noted as a fine agricultural district, and as the seat of some of the earliest settlements made in the Monongahela valley. Its surface is underlaid with vast beds of the best quality of bituminous coal, and skirted as it is for miles by a navigable stream, these mineral deposits have been opened and operated from that river for many years, thus enriching large numbers of its citizens in a greater or less degree.
The general surface of the township is undulating, and besides the Monongahela River it has as water-courses Pigeon Creek, which flows to the northward through the central part, and Mingo Creek on its western border. Both of these small streams turned the wheels of pioneer grist-mills before the commencement of the Revolutionary war. The total population of the township in 1880 was 2064. In 1840 there were 1235 inhabitants (not including Monongahela City), 1469 in 1850, 1907 in 1860, and 3178 in 1879.
Early History. - Just when or by whom the first settlements were made in that portion of Washington County now known as Carroll township is now impossible to determine. It is very probable, however, that the Depues, Fromans, Fryes, Irwins, McComus, Powers, Hairs, Coopers, Colvins, and Proctors were among the very first who settled outside of the present limits of Monongahela City, and that settlements were established by some of them as early as 1771. It seems that warrants for lands lying in the present township were issued as early as April, 1769, and as we have learned that Joseph Parkison was at "the ferry" as early as 1770, it is most likely that not many months elapsed ere he had neighbors living at no great distance away.
"Strasburg," containing two hundred and twenty-three acres, and situated "on a curve in the river," was surveyed for Nicholas Crist, July 20, 1769, under authority of warrant No. 3090, dated April 17th of that year. "Cherry Garden" was embraced by warrant No. 3091, of date April 17, 1769. It contained one hundred and seventy-eight acres, was surveyed for William Frye, and was situated "on the west side of the Monongahela River, adjoining Jacob Froman on the river." The warrant was finally returned to Abraham Frye, Aug. 26, 1785. "Wrangle" was covered by warrant No. 3075, of date April 17,1769, and was surveyed for Jacob Froman, July 22, 1769. It was situated on the west side of the Monongahela, contained two hundred and eighty-seven acres, and adjoining the lands of William Frye and Arthur Erwin. On the 27th of December, 1784, this warrant was returned to Frederick Cooper.
"Gloucester," covered by warrant No. 3079, of date April 17, 1769, was surveyed for Paul Froman, July 15, 1769. It contained one hundred and forty-nine acres, and was "situate on the west side of Monongahela, adjoining Abraham Decker and Tobias Decker on the river. "Fair View" contained three hundred and thirty-seven acres. It seems that on the 26th of August, 1769, Nathan Hammon received an order for its survey numbered 3768, and afterwards transferred his interest in same to Benjamin Frye. However, on the 13th of June, 1785, a warrant for this tract was issued to Jeremiah Proctor, and notwithstanding the representation of Henry Spiers, agent for Frye, the land was surveyed for Proctor.
"Christian's Queen" contained two hundred and ninety-three acres, and was located on the waters of Maple Creek, adjoining the lands of Abraham Frye; the warrant was issued Dec. 30, 1784, and the lands were surveyed for Samuel Frye, Nov. 23, 1785. "Samuel's Farm," a tract of two hundred and thirty-six acres, was covered by a Virginia certificate given to Frederick Cooper, Feb. 22, 1780. Afterwards he sold the same to Samuel Frye, who had it surveyed Nov. 22, 1785.
On the 21st of May, 1785, Jacob and Simon Fegley sold to Elisha Teeters three hundred acres adjoining the Monongahela River, Mingo Creek, and Paul Froman's tract, being lands purchased by the Fegleys of John Colvin, Jan. 24, 1780. Teeters obtained his patent for the same May 15, 1787, and Aug. 19, 1794, sold two hundred and ninety-seven acres to Sheshbazzar Bentley. James Rice received a warrant for a tract of two hundred and sixty-three acres of land, entitled "Romania," April 12, 1796, and the same was surveyed for him Oct. 20, 1797. It adjoined lands of Abraham Frye and the Monongahela River.
As the early settlers were chiefly Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, or descendants of such, not many years elapsed ere houses of worship, rudely constructed though they were, were erected at various convenient places in this and adjoining townships. Thus about the year 1785 a Presbyterian Church was built on the road leading from Parkison's Ferry to Brownsville at a point near the present line dividing Carroll and Fallowfield townships, and on lands now known as the Wilson farm. This structured was built of logs, and it has been stated that additions were made to it until it had sixteen corners. It is quite probable that Rev. John McMillan preached the dedicatory sermon in this house, and many others thereafter, or until the coming of Rev. Samuel Ralston in November, 1796. (See history of Presbyterian Church, Monongahela City.)
The Horseshoe Baptist Church1 is another early landmark. It is claimed that the first structure, a log building, was erected in 1790. Subsequently the present brick building took its place. Regular meetings were continued there until the completion of the Baptist Church edifice in Monongahela City.
[1 On the 8th of September, 1810, Abraham Frye and wife granted to Stacy Storer and John Grant, trustees, and their successors, for the use of the "Regular Baptist Society" one acre of land "Whereon the Baptist Meeting-house is built, situated in the Horseshoe Bottom and enclosed by land of grantor."]
Among those who were residents in 1790 in those portions of Fallowfield and Nottingham townships now known as Carroll were Daniel Depue, a justice of the peace, Joseph Depue, Samuel Cole, Thomas Nichols, who kept a ferry at the point now known as Columbia, Robert Galloway, Harmonus Cole, Jacob Stilwagon, Peter Weyandt, Cornelius Wyandt, Andrew Platter, James Coulter, Thomas Shaver, Jacob Rape, Jr., John Ammon, Benjamin Morrow, Thomas Legg, William Van Horn, Joseph Hall, George Grant, Nicholas Depue, Samuel Baxter, Martin Wirt, Samuel Quimby, Samuel Baxter, Jr., John Fenton, Stacy Storer, Richard Storer, Isaac Teeple, David Grant, Robert George, Alexander George, Thomas Coulter, Conrad Ammon, Peter Castner2, Daniel Rice, James Rice, Robert Williams, John Shouse, Jacob Ammon, Thomas Rape, Daniel McComus, Samuel Van Voorhis, Daniel Van Voorhis, Gen. John Hamilton, Elisha Teeters, David Hamilton, a justice of the peace, Peter Erigh, Vincent Colvin, Isaac Cole, Samuel Coulter, Daniel McGuire, Thomas Fenton, William Storer, Jonathan Hamilton, Thomas Coulter, John Ruth, Daniel Hamilton, Abraham Frye, Sr., Abraham Frye, Jr., Frederick Cooper, Samuel Frye, Abraham Brokaw, and doubtless a considerable number of others whose names we have been unable to gather. These men were all here during the Whiskey Insurrection, and many of them had borne arms during Indian wars and the war of the Revolution.
[2Peter Castner came from the vicinity of Philadelphia, and settled near what is now known at the town of Latrobe in 1775. Prior to 1790 he had become a resident of that part of Fallowfield township now known as Carroll, and in 1794 obtained a patent for "Walnut Bottom," a tract of two hundred and eighty-two acres. His father was a native of Germany.
Michael Castner (son of Peter) sold to Josiah Allen one hundred and eighteen acres of the tract mentioned, more than fifty years ago.]
During years prior to the beginning of this century, grist-mills were established in the township on Pigeon and Mingo Creeks. Thus, in 1796, we find Joseph Parkison speaking of "several grist- and saw-mills within one and two miles" of his new town of Williamsport. The mill interests at the mouth of the Mingo came into possession of Benjamin Parkison3 as early as 1800, and were carried on extensively by him for many years. He there had in operation a saw-mill, flouring-mill, fulling-mill, etc. Subsequently he built a second grist-mill on the right bank of the Monongahela, and called the place Elkhorn. In 1814 greater facilities were offered his patrons, as the following clipping from an early newspaper will show:
[3 A. R. Parkison, of the firm of McGrew & Parkison, City Flouring-Mills, Monongahela City, is a grandson of the Benjamin Parkison here mentioned.]
"May 23, 1814.
"The subscriber begs leave to announce to his many friends and customers that he has now in a complete state of readiness six carding-machines, viz.: one for cotton on an improved plan, and New York cards of the finest quality, No. 32, which will be occupied for merino in the wool season; one for picking and one for finishing into rolls common wool in his creek mill on the mouth of the Mingo Creek, opposite the old river mill; and three in the river mill, one for picking, one for breaking, and one for finishing into rolls."
The old "River Mill" was one of the most widely-known institutions in the western part of the State at one time. The farmers with their good wives came from long distance away to have work done, and sometimes waited two and three days before being enabled to start on their return with grists and wool-carding complete. At one period Benjamin Parkison had in operation at Mingo and Elkhorn no less than two distilleries, three grist-mills, a woolen-factory, comb-factory, sickle-factory, and a gun-factory.
As before mentioned, a tract of two hundred and twenty-three acres, entitled "Strasburg," was patented to Nicholas Crist April 17, 1769; was surveyed for him July 20, 1769, and his right to the same was confirmed June 23, 1784. On the 25th of April, 1794, Crist sold the premises to Robert Galloway, and the latter transferred his interests in the same to Harmonus Cole, July 21, 1795. Manuel Hoover purchased from Cole, July 10, 1797, and on the 13th of March, 1815, "Strasburg" was finally transferred by Mr. Hoover to Charles De Hass. During the summer of 1814, however, Mr. De Hass had platted a town site, and in September of the same year caused to be published in the newspapers of the day the following announcement:
"New Town of Pittsborough.
"To Merchants and manufacturers.
"The subscriber has lately laid out a town on the elegant farm owned by Mr. Hoover in Horseshoe Bottom, Washington Co., on the west bank of the Monongahela, 25 miles from Pittsburgh, 24 miles from Washington, 21 miles from Uniontown, 24 miles from Greensburg, and 4 miles above Williamsport on a direct course from Washington to Bedford, and on a direct course from Pittsburgh to Uniontown.
"As it is in contemplation to form a new county, and from its being so very central in the contemplated county, and its handsome situation induced the subscriber to lay off a town with large lots and wide streets and alleys, with public grounds for a church and burying-ground and also for an academy. The subscriber proposes selling the lots on moderate terms, by way of lottery in the following manner, viz.: On receiving a certificate which will entitle them to a lot, they are required to pay five dollars in hand, and twenty-five dollars when the lots are drawn for, and the article of agreement made between the proprietor and the lot holders of such lots as are drawn against the number of their certificates; and twenty dollars annually for three years to commence from the date of the deed. There is an abundance of stone coal within one hundred rods of the town, with which manufacturers can be supplied on moderate terms; and the proprietor agrees to give to each of the lot holders in said town stone coal for three years from the date of the deed. Those who do not use said coal shall be deducted fifteen dollars from the last payment. The lots will be drawn for on the premises as soon as all the certificates are disposed of, of which public notice will be given. An indisputable title and possession given the 1st of April next. The subscriber excepts the grain in the ground. Lot No. 84 with $300, which sum I do agree to give, and lots Nos. 9, 10 worth $200, which sum I do also agree to give.
"Pittsborough, September, 12, 1814."
On the 12th of November, 1814, Mr. De Hass announced that the name of the town had been changed to that of Columbia, and, after repeating what has just been quoted, added, "Any person who will purchase a lot and erect a building on it within one year from the time of sale shall be entitled to stone coal at the coal-mine for four years gratis." On the 15th of February, 1815, the proprietor notified all purchasers of lots that their deeds were ready. Soon after, he sold to John Neal a large portion of the plat, and they then became joint proprietors. The members of the "Columbia Steam-Mill and Manufacturing Company" were notified to assemble at Columbia, March 27, 1815, for the purpose of electing seven directors.
Charles De Hass and John Neal, proprietors of the town of Columbia, notified the public Jan.12, 1816, that a market-square, eighty by one hundred and twenty feet, and a public square composing lot No. 69, both bounded by Market and Third Streets, Scott and Decatur Alleys, had been laid out subject to the following conditions:
"If said square is not occupied by a court-house and other public buildings in fourteen years from the present date, then this square is to revert to John Neal, the proprietor, or his lawful representative. Lots Nos. 89 and 108 are for the purpose of building churches and school-houses. The Ferry rights are retained by the proprietors, except such as are already conveyed by deed. A lot of ground northeast of Market Street, two hundred feet square, is granted as a place of interment for all denominations of Christians."
In all there were two hundred and seventy lots in the original plat. On the 25th of March, 1816, John Neal, in acquainting the public that a public vendue for the sale of villages lots would take place April 11th of that year, added, "There are at present about twenty houses, all built last summer. It is expected that not less than thirty more will go up this season. A steam mill is erecting and expected to be in operation the ensuing fall."
The post-office of West Columbia was established in June, 1819, and Charles De Hass appointed post-master. The history of Columbia has been told, for though it started out sixty-eight years ago with such a brilliant promise for the future, in the mind of the projector, one glance at West Columbia of to-day sufficiently indicates that instead of advancing it has receded from the position attained in 1816, when, as one of its proprietors said, it contained about twenty houses.
In 1833 Williamsport, which until that time had comprised portions of Fallowfield and Nottingham townships, was made a borough. It was adjoined by the former township on the south and east, and by the latter on the south and west. Their anomalous situation seems to have been unsatisfactory to those residents of either township lying without the new borough limits, for, during the January session of 1834, various inhabitants of Fallowfield and Nottingham townships petitioned the Court of Quarter Sessions asking that a new township be erected. Thereupon an order of court was issued and viewers appointed to investigate the matter. They rendered a report in March following, which was set aside. However, on the 14th of April another commission was appointed, which body in June, 1834, reported in favor of a new township to be called Knox. This report was approved, and on the 30th of September, 1834, confirmed, when it was further ordered that the new township be known as Carroll.
Although the town of Williamsport was incorporated as a borough in 1833, it was so in name only, and had no independent separate existence aside from the township of Carroll (which embraced it) for a period of some eight or nine years thereafter. Thus we find that early in 1841 various inhabitants of Carroll Township petitioned the Court of Quarter Sessions asking for a division of the borough of Monongahela City1 and the township mentioned. Viewers were thereupon appointed, whose report was set aside August 20th of that year. The farmers were persistent, however, for during the sessions of the court in November, 1841, a second petition numerously signed was presented, the petitioners praying "to be struck of from Monongahela City." In answer, the court issued an order and appointed a second board of commissioners Jan. 26, 1842. On the 28th of February following these commissioners reported that the separation prayed for ought to be granted. This report was confirmed May 26, 1842, and from that time all assessment-rolls, census reports, etc., have been made separately.
[1 The name of the town had been changed to that of Monongahela City in 1837.]
The Hamilton and Van Voorhis Families. - The following items regarding the Hamilton and Van Voorhis families, written by Rev. W. F. Hamilton, of Washington, Pa., and Dr. J. S. Van Voorhis, of Belle Vernon, Pa, respectively, are given a place here, for the reason that while members of these families have ever been prominent in the township and county, the statements here inserted contain much interesting contemporaneous history.
Hon. John Hamilton, prominent in the earlier history of the county, was of Scotch-Irish lineage, being a son of John Hamilton, who immigrated to this country about the middle of the last century. He was born in 1754, most probably in Adams (then York) County, Pa., where the family resided for a time. Soon after reaching manhood he came to Washington County and settled on a tract of land lying on the south side of Mingo Creek, three miles from its mouth, of which tract he retained possession until his death. He became high sheriff of the county in 1793, being the first chosen under the constitution of 1790. During the time he held this office the troublous scenes of the insurrection transpired. While sharing in the general sentiment of opposition to the excise laws as unjust and oppressive, he used his influence, personal and official, to prevent this opposition from running into lawlessness and violence. Notwithstanding this he was regarded with suspicion and subjected to an oppressive prosecution. His excellence of character and the cruel injustice done him are fully attested in the historical records of those times. H. M. Brackenridge, in his "History of the Insurrection," remarks, "The case of Sheriff Hamilton, one of the most estimable men in the western counties, was much more aggravated." "It cannot but excite the liveliest indignation to read the details of this case."
Hon. William Findley writes as follows: "John Hamilton, of Washington, is high sheriff of that county and colonel of a regiment of militia in the Mingo Creek settlement; though a number of this regiment were known to have had an active hand in the attack on Neville's house, and were in fact considered the greatest promoters of the insurrection, yet he not only kept himself from those outrages, but endeavored, as soon as he heard of the design, to prevent the rendezvous at Braddock's Field. When he could not prevent this he put himself at the head of his regiment, and was very instrumental in preventing further outrages from being committed.... He attended all meetings for restoring order, and living when he did he merited higher approbation than if he had resided in Boston. Col. Hamilton was informed by a friend of the designs against him time enough to make his escape, but, conscious of his innocence, he preferred traveling alone thirty miles to where the judiciary then was, and presenting himself to Judge Peters, informed him that he had heard there was a charge against him, and requested to have it examined." After giving a detailed account of the subsequent events up to the time of his triumphant vindication, Mr. Finley adds: "Thus a man who was at the time sheriff of the county and a colonel in the militia, and who was in a part of the country and in circumstances where temporizing might have been excusable, was not only clear of any charge but had merit, was illegally taken from the exercise of an office at that time of importance to the peace of the county, and without examination dragged down to Philadelphia in the winter by a military guard, paraded in a barbarous manner through the streets, thrown for some time into the cells, compelled to wear the word insurgent in his hat, and then cast into prison, and after a long confinement admitted to bail. After this he was again required to cross the mountains to meet his trial, at which nothing was alleged against him."
That the popular sentiment fully approved Col. Hamilton's character and conduct appears from the civil honors which were immediately thereafter conferred upon him. In 1796 he represented the counties of Washington and Allegheny in the State Senate. In 1800 he represented in the same body the counties of Washington, Allegheny, and Greene. In 1802 he was commissioned an associate judge of the county, which office he continued to hold until his death, a period longer than that of any other incumbent.
About the beginning of the century he was married to Miss Mary Patterson, of Westmoreland County, Pa. Of their family but two daughters survived the parents. Harriet intermarried with David Hamilton, Jr., and Margaret intermarried first with a Mr. Parker, and after his death with a Mr. Purviance. These two daughters inherited the paternal estate. A grandson, Thompson Purviance, gave his life to the country in the war of the Rebellion. Another grandson by marriage was Col. H. A. Purviance, of the Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, who also fell in battle, and whose remains are in the Washington Cemetery.
In his personal appearance Judge Hamilton, or, as he was often called, Gen. Hamilton, was of medium stature, heavy build, inclining to corpulence, benign expression of countenance, and scrupulously neat in dress, never appearing in public without the snow-white ruffles and ivory-mounted cane which were so generally affected in those day by elderly men in official positions.
But besides being a courteous gentleman and a public-spirited citizen, he was also a devout Christian. He lived and died in the communion of the Presbyterian Church. His death occurred Aug. 22, 1837, in his eighty-third year. His wife survived him but a few years. Their remains lie interred in the old Mingo graveyard.
Joseph Hamilton, son of William, was born Sept. 1, 1784, near Gettysburg, Adams Co., Pa. Two strong ties attached him towards Washington County. David Hamilton, Esq., his brother-in-law, and Gen. John Hamilton, his uncle, were both residents of this county. Soon after coming West he was married, Jan. 7,1813, to Margaret, daughter of William Ferguson, of Pigeon Creek. For more than a quarter-century following he resided in Williamsport, now Monongahela City, where he wrought at his trade as carpenter and house-builder, carried on a cabinet and undertaker's shop, and also kept an inn. In 1841, having bought the Ginger Hill farm from David Hamilton, Esq., he removed there, and lived on it until his death, Nov. 9, 1849. His widow died at the same place June 10, 1865. They were both life-long members of the Presbyterian Church. He was for many years the director and treasurer of the Williamsport Turnpike Company, and director of the Williamsport Bridge Company. He did much in the way of settling up decedents' estates. Seven children survive the parents. Sarah, intermarried with H. Wilson, and Harriet, intermarried with T. R. Hazzard, Esq., survive their husbands and live in Monongahela City. May Jane, intermarried with N. A. Gregg, died in Iowa. Martha B. and her husband, M. P. Patton, live in Iowa. W. F. is a Presbyterian minister, and lives in Washington, Pa. John lives on the paternal farm at Ginger Hill, which he owns. David R. lives there also. Four grandsons fought through the war of the Rebellion, viz.: Joseph H. and Robert F. Wilson and Capts. C. W. and J. D. V. Hazzard. About fifty descendants, including children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren survive.
Mr. Isaac Van Voorhis was born on the farm now owned by John Van Voorhis on the 15th day of March, 1794. His great-grandfather immigrated to this country about 1670, and settled on Long Island, where Daniel Van Voorhis, the grandfather of the deceased, was born, Dec. 17, 1701. He married Miss Femmyte Bennett, Nov. 27, 1724. The issue of this marriage were Abraham, Jerome, Ange, John, Cornelius, Elizabeth, Femmyte, and Daniel (the father of Isaac). Daniel was born July 7, 1728, and as in the prime of life during the days of the Revolution. He was an accomplished scholar, and especially versed in the science of navigation, as his books now at the old homestead fully show. He followed the sea as captain of a merchant vessel for many years, and during the Revolution was taken prisoner three times by the British, twice having lost his vessel and cargo. At one time, being hard chased by a man-of-war, he raised the signal of surrender, but before it was recognized by the enemy a cannon ball carried away the post against which he was leaning. At one time he with several other prisoners were banished to an island, from which they escaped, only to be retaken, though shortly afterwards released. He was married three times. His first wife was a Van Voorhis, and they had two children, - Samuel, who was for a long time a successful merchant of New York city, about the beginning of this century came to this county, and lived for a short time in a cabin near where the Black Diamond Coal Works are now situated, and afterwards removed to Bucyrus, Ohio, where he died a few years ago at an advanced age. His sister Sarah lived and died near Goshen, N.Y.; she married a John Van Voorhis, and died Nov. 17, 1857, in her eighty-second year. The children of Capt. Daniel Van Voorhis by his second wife were John, who died June 28, 1874, in Muskingum County, Ohio, aged ninety-three years; Daniel, who died in 1852, aged sixty-eight years, on the farm given him by his father; and Abraham, who died in 1871. To his third wife were born Elizabeth, now Mrs. Frye, living with her daughter, Mrs. Redd; and Isaac Van Voorhis, who was born, as before mentioned, in 1794, in what is now Carroll township. His father, tired of seafaring life, came to this region in 1785, as near as we can ascertain, and purchased from a man named Decker sixty acres of land, now owned by John Van Voorhis and James Sampson. It was then a wilderness, but now the garden-spot of Carrol township. Here his two wives and three sons, with many others of their descendants, sleep in the beautiful burying-ground overlooking Pigeon Creek, a spot of ground selected by him long ago for his remains and that of his kindred. Four generations of the name are in that cemetery, incorporated and made perpetual by the laws of the land.
Mr. Isaac Van Voorhis was the oldest resident in Carroll township, within the bounds of which he always resided. Contemporary with him in the early history of this neighborhood were the Colvins, the Powers, the McCombs, Hairs, Randolphs, the older Fryes, Depews, McGrews, Parkisons, Irwins. He was married to Mary Hair by Rev. Dr. Ralston on the 13th of May, 1819. His wife and sister (Mrs. Frye) are the only living persons who as adults were at the wedding. They lived together a little over fifty-six years. Dr. S. M. King and wife are the only persons now living in Monongahela City who were residents at that time. He always took a deep interest in the town. He, with his brothers, built the first keel-boats, which were built at the mouth of the creek just at the close of the war of 1812. He built the first coal-boat loaded with coal at the wharf, which was then at the old red house on the bank of the river, at the mouth of the street below Rabe's residence. The boat was twelve feet wide and forty feet long. It was filled with coal by the late Edward Kearney, by hauling it with a one-horse cart from the old coal bank in Katzburg. It was sold to a returned horse drover for cash received from the sale of horses, and after his departure he was never heard from. In those days it was necessary to have such crafts, in order to get produce of the farm to market, and even the price of grain scarcely justified transportation. He was one of the projectors of the Washington and Williamsport turnpike, and for many years he served as one of the managers, with Joseph Hamilton, Samuel Black, Samuel Hill, James Manown, Col. Barr, and others. He was a great friend of education, and was a member of the first school board in the township after the adoption of the present school system. He was in early times a Federalist, in the days of Ritner a strong anti-Mason, afterwards a Whig, and finally a Republican. He and Robert McFarland were the only persons in Fallowfield (now divided into several townships) who voted for John Q. Adams at the time he was elected President. He was a subscriber to the Weekly Gazette>/I> for over sixty years, and was said to be the oldest continuous subscriber the Gazette ever had. He was a Presbyterian by birth and profession for over fifty years, and was a ruling elder for forty years. Ordained in 1836, he served in the session with Jesse Martin, James McGrew, James Gordon, Aaron Kerr, James Dickey, Henry Fulton, Joseph Kiddoo, all of whom died before him.
He first attended Presbyterian Church at the old Horseshoe building, situate on the farm owned by John Wilson, and in that old churchyard are still to be seen evidences of the resting-place of nearly all the first settlers of the country for many miles around. On the removal of the place of preaching to Monongahela City, he worshiped with his father-in-law, Elder James Hair, and a few others in the old log school-house near the old Presbyterian church. He contributed liberally towards the erection of the old brick church on the hill, also for the church building at the foot of the hill, and more recently aided in building the present beautiful church. Thus in his life he gave of his substance for three church buildings of the same congregation, -- not a common affair in one lifetime. He lived forty years on the farm on which he was born, and forty-one years on the farm where he died. He left behind his wife, seven children, twenty-five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. All his children survive him, except Daniel, who died in 1848. We need not say that he died a Christian: the world knew he was a Christian, for it was as an humble follower of Christ his character shone the brightest. As the end drew near his faith and trust in a crucified Redeemer grew stronger, and after a period of intense pain, which suffered without a murmur, he died, serene and happy, on the 4th of June, 1875.
Abraham Van Voorhis, who was born near Rancocas Creek, on the Delaware River, in New Jersey, on the 28th day of December, 1785, died Dec. 4, 1871. His father, Capt. Daniel Van Voorhis, was born at Oyster Bay, L. I., the 8th day of July, 1738, and died Feb. 21, 1819, on the old Van Voorhis homestead, where his grandson, John Van Voorhis, now resides, but in the old hewed log house which stood almost on the site of the present brick house. The captain first lived in the old round log house, which stood a short distance below the hewed log house. It was for many years used as a cooper-shop. The grandfather of Abraham was named Daniel also, and was born at Oyster Bay on the 17th day of December, 1701; was married to Femmyte Bennet on 28th day of November, 1724, who was born April 24, 1706. They had eight children, among whom was Daniel, the father of Abraham. Abraham's great-grandfather was one of three brothers who came from Amsterdam, Holland, about the year 1670, and settled on Long Island, where one was killed by a poisoned arrow shot by an Indian. The other two, Cornelius and Daniel, remained on Long Island, and their lineal descendants make up the sum total of the name in the United States. Abraham's father first came to this country in 1785, but did not bring his family until after the birth of the young Abraham, and prior to 1789, as his mother, Mary Newton Van Voorhis, died December 31st of that year, and was the first person buried in the Van Voorhis cemetery. She was Capt. Daniel Van Voorhis' second wife. His first wife was a widow, Mrs. Britt, whose maiden name was Van Voorhis. His third wife was Nancy Myers, who came from Hagerstown.
The first wife of Abraham Van Voorhis was Ann Watkins, sister of the late Elias and John Watkins. They had four children. Joseph died while very young. Garret Townsend was born in 1817. HE went to the old Colhoon school. Lived with his father on the farm now owned by James Sampson until he was married to Hester Frye, daughter of Noah Frye, who was killed at a coal bank near Dagg's Ferry. Her mother was Lucy Colvin, a daughter of the older Vincent Colvin, who came to this country in 1769, was a large landholder, and lived and died in a house that stood above the fine brick dwelling of the late Vincent Colvin, Jr. Father Vincent Colvin had a large family, among whom Moses died on the old home place; Stephen, who died at the stone house near Hair's old mill; Lot was killed by being thrown from his horse at the old sign-post of the Valley Inn. His wife was a Stecker, and subsequently married Rev. S. Wells. They lived for a time on the home farm, near the Dutch meeting-house, and then removed to the vicinity of Washington, where they still reside. G. Townsend's second wife died some years ago on the farm his father gave him, near Greenfield. His second wife was a Baxter, and is still living. They live on Pigeon Creek, on the Hickman farm, and he also owns the Richardson farm adjoining, or nearly so, and, Van Voorhis like, carries on farming, stock-raising, etc., taking it easy in his older days. Mary married Vincent Colvin, Jr., and died with diphtheria whilst her husband was in the army. He was shortly after her death discharged by the Secretary of War, returned home, and died in 1876. The remaining son, Robert, was born July 6, 1819, on the home farm, which his father in after-life gave him, in what was Fallowfield township, Washington County. He was also a scholar in the Colhoon school. He married Caroline Frye, sister to his brother Townsend's wife. They lived for a short time in the old log house near where Cornelius Carson now resides. From that house he moved up the hill to the old home, shortly after his father had finished the brick house on the original Van Voorhis homestead.
Some years ago he sold this farm to James Sampson, and purchased from Hon. G. V. Lawrence the beautiful and highly-improved farm on the turnpike two miles above town, now called the "Keystone Farm." Robert has been engaged in the thoroughbred sheep-raising since 1848. He is the highest authority in this line of business, and his advice and sheep are sought after in all parts of the United States. His ability as a shepherd is recognized by the Commissioners of Agriculture, at whose instance he communicates a valuable paper, which appears in the book recently published by authority of Congress, entitled "Diseases of Domestic Animals." Orders reach him from all parts of the United States, and strains from his choice flocks are found in Texas, Colorado, and every one of the Middle States. As for premiums, they never failed to take wherever exhibited. His clips are the largest ever known in this or any other country, some of them being eight hundred per cent. above the average. His fine infantado sheep, Don Carlos, is beautifully lithographed, and has the place of honor as the frontispiece of the "Pennsylvania State Agricultural Report for 1878." His eye is like a microscope in determining the firmness and other qualities of the wool fibre. His daughter, the only child, is the wife of Rev. R. B. Mansell, one of the most learned and eloquent ministers in the Methodist Episcopal Church, now located at Emory Chapel, East End, Pittsburgh.
Father Abraham Van Voorhis had by his second wife quite a family, of whom several are dead. Eliza married Thornton F. Watkins, who, after the death of his wife, leaving his little son Jimmy with its grandparents, started for California, but overtaken by disease died on his way, and among the list of those published in the "New York Tribune" in 1852 whose bones lay bleaching in the sands of the once "Great American Desert" appears the name of T. F. Watkins. Little Jimmy not many years ago died. Emeline married Joseph Brown, of Fayette County; Caroline married the late James Jones; Cynthia married J. Cooper Bentley, and lives on the pike near Valley Inn; and John is on the old homestead near his mother. He not only has one of the best farms, but is one of the best farmers in the county. He, too, is a sheep-raiser as well as a systematic farmer. He has been for years president of the Monongahela Valley Agricultural and Horticultural Society, and has at heart its true interests. His wife was a daughter of the late Elisha Teeple, Esq. Mrs. Jane Van Voorhis, his mother, is hale and hearty, full of vivacity, and greatly devoted to her children. She has for a long lifetime been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and listed to the preaching of the gospel in the "church on the river-bank" before many now in active duty were born.
Township officers. - The following list is of persons who have bee elected justices of the peace in Carroll since its organization, viz.:
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE
John Clemens, March 28, 1836.
John Kennedy, June 1, 1836.
John S. Clokey, April 14, 1840.
Thomas Collins, April 14, 1840.
Ira R. Butler, April 15, 1845.
Thomas Collins, April 15, 1845.
John S. Clokey, April 13, 1847.
David Mitchell, april 13, 1847.
Daniel Yohe, April 9, 1850.
Thomas Collins, April 9, 1850.
A. T. Gregg, April 10, 1855.
Daniel Yohe, April 10, 1855.
Ira R. Butler, April 10, 1855.
Thomas Collins, April 10, 1860.
Daniel Yohe, April 10, 1860.
Ira R. Butler, Jan. 16, 1860.
Francis Nelson, April 14, 1864.
Daniel Yohe, June 3, 1865.
Daniel Castner, June 3, 1865.
Thomas Collins, June 3, 1865.
Francis Nelson, May 30, 1868.
George W. Allen, March 20, 1870.
Thomas Collins, March 29, 1970.
B. W. Castner, March 25, 1878.
Miscellaneous. - The township of to-day includes territory about eight miles in length by three miles in width, and is skirted on its northern, eastern, and southern borders for a distance of some ten or eleven miles by the Monongahela River. The Pittsburgh, Virginia and Charleston Railroad, or, as now known, the Monongahela Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad, which was completed from Pittsburgh to Monongahela City Sept. 29, 1873, and from the latter place to West Brownsville, May 15, 1881, follows all the windings and sinuosities of that stream, and also affords superior advantages for travel, the shipping and receiving of freight. Its stations within the township are Riverview, New Eagle, Monongahela City, Black Diamond, Baird's, Webster, West Columbia, and Bamford. At these stations, and at other points beside, large numbers of men are employed in coal-mining. Coal-tipples line the river-banks, and by means of the appliances now in use coal is taken directly from the bluffs and hillsides and emptied into boats and barges awaiting cargoes.
Besides the old Presbyterian and Baptist Churches already mentioned, there stands in the western part of the township the Ginger Hill Lutheran Church, a brick structure, which was erected in 1847. During its prosperous days the congregation worshiping there listened to the preaching of such worthy divines as the Revs. Mr. Waters, Emory, Milhom, Wylie, Ryder, and others.
The United Brethren Church is found near the toll-gate on the Williamsport and Washington turnpike. The building is occupied at irregular intervals by various denominations.
*Boyd Crumrine, "History of Washington County, Pennsylvania with Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men" (Philadelphia: L. H. Leverts & Co., 1882).
^M Transcribed by Linda Vourlogianes of Petaluma, CA in July 1998. Published in July 1998 onhttp://www.chartiers.com. and associated sites.
Back to Table of Contents