Donegal Twp. (pp. 742-764)
History of Washington County, Pennsylvania*
DONEGAL was one of the thirteen original townships of Washington County laid out in 1781. Its territory then embraced what is now included in the townships of Donegal, Buffalo, East and West Finley, and the western portion of Greene County. The first reduction of the large area of this township was made by the erection of Finley township from it, in 1788, as mentioned in the history of East Finley. Five years later (1793) the petition of John Hill, Martin Horn, Nathaniel McDole, David McMillan, John Buchanan, and fifty-five others, inhabitants of the township of Donegal, was presented to the Court of Quarter Sessions at the June term of the year named, representing that the inhabitants of the eastern part of the township were laboring under great difficulties in transacting business before the justices "at unreasonable distances from home, as also in being obliged to repair roads at extreme distances, with divers other inconveniences occasioned by the great extent of the township," and praying that the court divide the township and erect from a part of it a new township, to be called New German township, with boundaries as follows: "Beginning at the forks of the run near Richard Waller's, thence by a straight line to Buffelow Creek at Capt. Glover's, thence up the creek to Canton or Hopewell Line, thence by Canton township line to the Widdow Dickerson's, inclusive, thence strait by the Ridge Dividing the waters of Wheelen and Buffalow untill south of Thomas Byers', thence by a straight Line to the place of Beginning."
This petition was reported on unfavorably and rejected by the court. Five years later, at the April sessions of the court, in the year 1798, the inhabitants presented another petition praying for a division and erection of a township, to embrace the territory mentioned in the former petition, and an additional area lying north of it. This petition was laid over from the April term till the January term of 1799, then continued through the February term and to March, at which term the court ordered a division of Donegal township, and the "upper division" to be erected into a new township, "to be called Buffalo township," thus reducing Donegal to limits nearly identical with those of the present time, only slight changes in boundary having since taken place. The boundaries of Donegal are Independence township on the north, Buffalo and East Finley on the east, East Finley and West Finley on the south, and the State of West Virginia on the west. The principal streams of Donegal are Buffalo Creek and the "Dutch Fork" of the same creek, the former marking the northern boundary of this township against Independence, and the latter flowing northwardly through the central part of Donegal into Buffalo Creek. Buck Run and Rogers' Run are inconsiderable water-courses, flowing into Buffalo Creek by courses generally parallel to that of the Dutch Fork. Several small streams head in the southwest part of Donegal, and flow southwestwardly to join their waters with those of Wheeling Creek. The old National road crosses Donegal township south of the centre, running in a general east-and-west course, and passing through the boroughs of Claysville and West Alexander. The Hempfield Railroad, connecting Wheeling, W. Va., with Washington, Pa., also passes in the same general course through the township and by the two boroughs above named. Its route through the eastern part of the township is nearly parallel with that of the National road, but through the western half lies more northerly along the waters of the Dutch Fork. The railroad has been in operation from Claysville westward for more than twenty-five years.
The earliest white settlement within the limits of the township of Donegal of which any record or other information has been found was that made by Thomas Clark in 1773. Proof that such a settlement was made by him at that time is found in the records of the surveyor of Ohio County, Va., which county at that time, and until the adjustment of the boundary line between that State and Pennsylvania, was supposed to extend eastward so as to include the western half of the present county of Washington. The part of the surveyor's minutes above mentioned as proving Clark's settlement has reference to a tract of three hundred and sixty-three acres, called "Apollos," taken up by John Chapman, assignee of Thomas Clark, on a certificate issued by the Virginia commissioners at Redstone Old Fort, Nov. 16, 1779, describing the tract granted as "lying in the county of Ohio, on the waters of Buffalo Creek, to include an actual settlement made by the said Thomas Clark in the year 1773." Nothing beyond this is learned concerning Thomas Clark or his settlement. His name has not been found elsewhere in any of the records pertaining to this region, nor does it occur in any of the early assessment-rolls of the township. The names of John, Benjamin, and Hezekiah Clark are found among those of the early taxables of Donegal, but whether or not they were sons or other relatives of Thomas, or whether the latter died or removed to other parts after his settlement here, and before the issuance of the Virginia certificate to Chapman for the tract on which Clark settled six years before, is not known. Other facts taken from the survey books, having reference to tracts on which very early settlements were made by persons concerning whom no further information can be had, are given below, as follows:
The tract of four hundred acres named "Sylvia's Plain" in the survey, which was made Feb. 17, 1785, was granted to Jacob Lefler by a Virginia certificate, in which it was described as being adjoining lands of Jacob Rice (Reis) and Christopher Wygand, "in the county of Ohio, on Buffalo Creek, to include his [Lefler's] actual settlement made in the year 1774."
"Content," a tract of four hundred acres on Buffalo waters, in what afterwards became the township of Donegal, was granted to Thomas Waller, on a Virginia certificate, dated Feb. 22, 1780, "to include his actual settlement made in the year 1775." In the survey this tract is described as adjoining lands of Richard Wallace, Samuel Boyd, and Barnet J. Boner. The name of Richard Wallace is not found on subsequent assessment-rolls of Donegal, but there are found in 1787 the names of Barnet Boner and Thomas Waller. The last named was the original owner of the tract "Superfine Bottom," on a part of which the town of Claysville was laid out as elsewhere related. It was a tract of four hundred acres, taken by him on a Pennsylvania warrant, Feb. 25, 1785; surveyed on the 2d of April next following, and adjoining lands of Robert Henry and Robert Walker, both of whose names appear in the Donegal assessment of 1787.
A Virginia certificate dated Nov. 16, 1779, grants to Thomas Chapman four hundred acres of land "lying and being in the county of Ohio, on the waters of Buffalo Creek, to include his settlement made in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five (1775)." This tract was surveyed to Chapman as "Indian Burying-Ground." It appears that he became a permanent settler in Donegal, for his name is shown on the assessment-roll of the township for 1787, but without specification of the number of acres on which he was then assessed.
"Spring Head" tract was surveyed to Lorgy (?) Smith Nov. 25, 1785, on a Pennsylvania warrant issued to him on the 8th of the preceding September. It was surveyed as two hundred and fifty-nine acres, adjoining lands of James McMillan and Thomas Hamilton. McMillan is found named as a taxable in Donegal in 1787, but neither Thomas Hamilton's nor "Lorgy" Smith's names appear.
James Glover received a warrant (dated June 3, 1793), for forty-seven acres, situated on the waters of Buffalo Creek, and including an improvement. This improvement was evidently made by Glover prior to 1787, for in that year his name appears on the Donegal assessment. The tract warranted to him as above mentioned was surveyed to the Rev. David French Dec. 30, 1823.
Jacob Rice's (Reis') tract of four hundred acres, surveyed to him by William Hoge, Sept. 21, 1785, as "Turkey's Nest," was taken up by him on a Virginia certificate granted in January, 1780. This tract has before been mentioned as adjoining the tract on which Jacob Lefler made a settlement in 1774.
William Hawkins (as assignee of Robert McKain, who must therefore have been an earlier settler here) received a Virginia certificate for four hundred acres of land on the Dutch Fork of Buffalo. The certificate bears date Feb. 17, 1780, and it was surveyed to Hawkins in the July next following. On this tract William Hawkins built his cabin home, on the south side of the route of the later National road, at or near the foot of the hill which has since been known as Hawkins' Hill. The land on which the Hawkins home stood is or was recently owned by John Connor. The old Hawkins cabin was demolished, and the logs from it were used to build a stable on the opposite side of the National road. William Hawkins did not long occupy and enjoy the farm obtained on the Virginia certificate as above mentioned. In September, 1781, the Indians made an incursion, attacking the house of Jonathan Link, on Middle Wheeling Creek,(1) and taking prisoners the inmates (except Jacob Fisher and Frank Hupp, whom they killed) proceeded to the Hawkins cabin, where they captured Miss Elizabeth Hawkins, daughter of William Hawkins, who had himself already been taken prisoner by the same party at the house of Presley Peak (or Peck) on the Dutch Fork. Mrs. Hawkins, the wife of William and mother of Elizabeth, avoided capture by hiding (with an infant in her arms) in the bushy top of a fallen tree near their cabin. On their journey West the Indians barbarously murdered Link and William Hawkins. His daughter Elizabeth became the wife of a Shawanese chief, and though she afterwards revisited the settlements, and could have remained had she so elected, chose to return to live among the savages, and did so. Jacob Miller, who was captured with Link and William Hawkins, made his escape from the Indians, and returned to his friends on the Dutch Fork of Buffalo.
[1In Donegal township about three miles south-southwest of the site of West Alexander, and only two or three rods from the State line.]
Capt. Jacob Miller received a Virginia certificate for four hundred acres of land in Donegal township, which was surveyed to him Sept. 23, 1785, under the name of "Wild Cat's Forest." He married Ann Lefler, and their family was a large one--four boys and five girls. Adam Miller married Miss Hewitt, and for many years they lived on Ten-Mile Creek. Being left a widower Adam was married again, to Miss May Hootman, and they removed to Ohio. Isaac Miller married Catharine Kelley, and they lived and died in Licking County, Ohio. John Miller's wife was Margaret Miller, and they lived on Buck Run, in this township. Jacob, Jr., fourth and last son of Capt. Jacob Miller, married Rebecca Miller. Mary, Capt. Miller's oldest daughter, married Nicholas Clemens. Ann married Christian Horn, and Catharine became the wife of Jacob Winter, who in those days was a minister of considerable celebrity. Jacob Winter, of Ohio, a politician of note and popularity, is a descendant of theirs.
John Hupp was one of the early settlers in Donegal, coming here from the East before 1780. An account of the manner in which he was killed by Indians at Miller's block-house in 1782 is given on page 112 of this volume [Ch. VIII entitled "The Revolution"]. The block-house mentioned stood on the farm now owned by Clinton Miller. Two miles distant, on Buffalo Creek, was another called Rice's block-house. This was on the farm now owned by Charles Burrick. The locality where Hupp and Miller were killed is between West Alexander and West Middletown, in Donegal township.
Isaac Cox might properly have been termed one of the pioneers of Donegal township, as well as of Washington County. In 1776 he held the military grade of captain, and was afterwards colonel. He took part in Crawford's campaign, with Col. John Canon and many other prominent people in the county. On Nov. 3, 1786, Col. Cox took up one hundred and seventy-eight acres of land in this township, to include his previous improvement on the waters of Buffalo Creek, James Clemens, James Russell, and James Williams being the adjoining owners.
Robert Humphreys took up the tract of land upon which West Alexander is built, and on it he laid out the town as elsewhere mentioned. He was a Virginian, and lived nearly on the State line between Virginia and Pennsylvania. Robert Humphreys was a Revolutionary soldier, and also took active part in the numerous expeditions against the Indians. He was a farmer afterwards, and for fifty years was an elder in the Seceders' Church. He died Aug. 19, 1834, aged nearly eighty-three years. His son Robert owned his farm after his death, and it is now the property of William Rice. The descendants of Robert Humphreys, Sr., are few. Miss R. Humphreys and Thomas Patterson, Esq., are said to be lineal descendents, as is also Robert Humphreys, of West Virginia.
William Humphreys took up, on a Virginia certificate, four hundred acres of land on Buffalo Creek, which was surveyed to him Jan. 27, 1786, under the title of "Venice." It was situated close upon the State line, and adjoined the lands of David McClure, John McPherson, and Robert Humphreys.
Robert Stephenson came into this section from York County just after the close of the Revolutionary war, in which he served as a soldier. He owned four hundred acres of land in Donegal township, near the present railroad station near Vienna. His wife was Elizabeth Baird, of Virginia, and they had eight children. John Stephenson married Sally Porter, and Esther became the wife of Andrew Kerr. Robert Stephenson was a justice of the peace during his residence in Donegal township. After some years living here he sold his property to Thomas Stokely, and removed to Brown County, Ohio.
James Stephenson, a brother of Robert, on April 18, 1796, warranted ninety-two acres of land on the waters of Buffalo Creek, in Findley township. He also had two hundred and two acres adjoining, called "McCauley," which was warranted July 13, 1786. He was a member of the State Legislature of Pennsylvania, and died during one of the sessions. James Stephenson had but one son, John, and he never married. The daughters were Margaret, who married Benjamin Anderson, and lived and died on the old farm; Mary, who married John Barr, and emigrated to the West, where she died; Ann, who married David Brownlee, and also went West and died; Nancy, who is the wife of Adah Ramsey, and resides in Ohio; and Catharine, who married James Denison, and lives on a part of the old James Stephenson tract.
John and William Bryson bought land in Donegal township as early as 1792. On August 27th of that year they purchased two hundred acres of David M. Clemmens, who had bought it of John and Andrew Moore. The land was described as "lying on Castleman Run," and was held by the last-named gentlemen by virtue of an old improvement. William Bryson also bought one hundred and sixty-six acres of land in this township of John Williamson, Nov. 30, 1808. John Bryson's wife was Priscilla Lefore, and their family numbered ten children,--five sons and five daughters. Of the daughters, Margaret married John Lowe, and after some years removed to Ohio and died there. Mary married another John Lowe, a cousin of the former, and also went to Ohio. Jane became the wife of Kennedy Kerr, and lived in Kentucky. Hannah was the wife of William Bryson, who purchased the land with her father, John Bryson. Priscilla became Mrs. Andrew Anderson, and emigrated to Ohio. Of the sons of John Bryson, three--John, Thomas, and James--never married. Isaac married Jane Kerr, and went to Kentucky. William also married, and removed to that state. William Bryson, who was a son-in-law of John Bryson, had a family of six children. His daughter Margaret married Thomas M. Hughes, and resides in Taylorstown. John married Nancy Chambers and lives in Missouri, and William married Louisa Wyatt and emigrated to Texas. Mary is Mrs. David Winters, of Donegal township. John married Isabella Rizer, and lives near the Virginia line, and Hannah is still unmarried. The farm of the elder John Bryson is now in the possession of his grandson, Joseph Bryson.
Christopher Winter emigrated from Germany to this country, stopping first in this State east of the mountains. There he married Miss Catharine Shaffer, and with her crossed the mountains, and settled in Donegal township. He took up a tract of land containing four hundred acres, and afterwards bought three hundred acres of the McClelland tract. The land which Christopher Winter took up is now the property of the Linvilles and David Winter. The family of Christopher Winter was four sons and four daughters. John, the eldest, married Miss Fremmer, and removed to Indiana. David married Elizabeth McCoy, and remained in Donegal township. A son of theirs lives on the Winter homestead. Samuel Winter and his wife, Catharine Ravenaught, went to Hancock County, Va. Jacob Winter became a minister. His wife was Catharine, a daughter of Capt. Jacob Miller, and their home was in Licking County, Ohio. Christopher Winter, Jr., married Catharine Simmons. Catharine Winter became Mrs. Simmer, and emigrated to Kentucky. Elizabeth was the wife of Samuel Sheller, and lived and died in Washington County. Daniel Sheller, of Claysville, is her son. Mary Winter married Solomon Reed, and moved to Coshocton County, Ohio. The Winter family has been intimately associated with the church of the United Brethren in Christ.
William Bonar was of Scotch-Irish descent. On Jan. 28, 1797, he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land of Charles Bonar, a part of the three hundred and seventy-five acre tract called "Quarrel," for which Charles Bonar received a patent in 1786. Barnet Bonar, a son of William Bonar, married Miss Jane Donoughey. They had a family of nine children. William married and went to Indiana. David married Miss Dickey, and emigrated to Fairfield, Iowa. Joseph married Miss Brotherton, and went to Ohio. Samuel married Elizabeth Andrews, and lives in this township on the old Bonar homestead. Mary Bonar became Mrs. Kirkpatrick; Elizabeth became Mrs. McCullough; Sarah became Mrs. Kelley; Martha died in infancy; and nothing is learned of Margaret.
Robert Gourley was a resident of this township in 1798, and at that time lived on the farm now owned by John Stewart, which is the Gourley homestead. He was a son of the Mr. Gourley who was killed many years ago near Claysville. Robert Gourley married Margaret Roney, whose people lived in Wheeling, Va., where her mother died in 1852. The children of Robert Gourley numbered nine, five sons and four daughters. Of these Robert, Eliza, Thomas, and James never married. Robert, Thomas, and James are residents of Illinois. Alexander married Hester Richey, and they live in Montgomery County, Iowa. John married Mary J. Marshal, and Sarah is the wife of Rev. N. L. Laferty, of the United Presbyterian Church, and lives in Illinois. Catharine married James Mercer, also of Illinois, and Susanna died unmarried in 1850. Robert Gourley and his wife are still living, both octogenarians. They have had no death in their family for thirty years.
James Campsey was a farmer, who came from the north of Ireland in 1794, and first located in the East. From there he came to Washington County, arriving here May 1, 1801. He purchased one hundred and thirty acres of land in Donegal township and built him a cabin after the fashion of those days. He reared a family of five children,--four sons and one daughter,--all of whom are dead save the two youngest, James Campsey and Mrs. Rebecca Connaughey. The nearest neighbors to the cabin home of James Campsey were the Bonar and Roney families, and that of James Hutchinson. The Roney descendants now live in East Finley township. Before Mr. Campsey's arrival. the Roneys had erected a fort as a place of refuge in times of danger, which was located on Hercules Roney's farm. Another fort was built on the farm now belonging to T. C. Noble, near Claysville. North of the site of Claysville was the renowned Rice's Fort, built by Daniel Rice, who owned the farm upon which it was built. Northeast of that was the property of Robert Walker, who also built a block-house; and not far west of Claysville was still another block-house, built and owned by Thomas Wallower. Notwithstanding Robert Walker had built a place of safety upon his own farm, the Indians captured his wife and took her down the Wheeling Creek trail, but she escaped and returned home. Thomas Stokely took up and received a patent for a tract of land containing three hundred and fifty-two acres, on the head-waters of Buffalo Creek, in Donegal township, which was called "Stockdale." This property still remains in its original shape (save improvements that have been made upon it), and has never changed hands but once, when James Campsey, Sr., its present owner, purchased it of the Stokely heirs. James Campsey, Sr., is the son of the subject of the beginning of this sketch, and is now in his seventy-ninth year. He has a property of one hundred thousand dollars made by farming. He has a fine home in Claysville, and, having placed his splendid farm in the care of his son, James Campsey, Jr., is enjoying the evening of his life in the midst of plenty, and surrounded by his family and numerous friends.
Charles Stoolfire was a farmer who lived and died in Donegal township. His home was a farm of one hundred and six acres of land, which he purchased of George Humbaugh, Aug. 18, 1804, a part of the tract "Freedom," patented to Mark Causland Jan. 15, 1798. The homestead of Charles Stoolfire is now owned by Mr. Ralston. He had a very large family of children, eleven of whom reached mature age. Joshua married Margaret Miller. Jacob, who married Isabella Rogers, and Margaret, the wife of Alexander Hunt, both live in Licking County, Ohio. Catharine married Jacob Grear, and went to Hancock County, Ohio. Lydia also married, and lives in Ohio. Sarah became the wife of James McKey, and removed to Illinois. George married Nancy Madden, and lives in this State. David went to Kansas, where he married, and Susan, who became Mrs. Joseph Ritchie, lives in Ohio. Nancy is Mrs. John Rush, and resides near West Middletown, in this county. Eliza died single. Mrs. Daniel Sheller, Mrs. Ruth Hayburn, and other residents in this vicinity are lineal descendants of Charles Stoolfire.
George Morrow came with his family from the north of Ireland directly to Donegal township in 1819. He settled on a farm containing one hundred and sixty acres, which he bought of Adam Weaver. It is now owned by Abraham Morrow, his son, who was born in 1817, two years before their emigration to America. George Morrow had a family of ten children, two of them, girls, dying in infancy. Of the others, Thomas died when five years of age, and Isaac died quite young. David married Emily Snedbaker, and lives in Licking County, Ohio. Abraham married Jane Defrance, and lives in this township. Noah married Mary A. Guy, and went to Delaware County, Ohio. Mary became the wife of Joseph Alexander. Their only son, Joseph, resides in Athens County, Ohio. Elizabeth Morrow married John M. Sloan, and removed to Ohio; and Matilda Morrow, who became Mrs. Milton Samburn, removed to Athens County, in that State.
James McQuown, who died in 1864, at the age of eighty years, was an early settler in this township. In 1805 he married Miss Sarah McGaw, and in 1810 they settled in West Alexander, where he followed the trades of carpenter and cabinet-maker. In 1840 he was county surveyor. He purchased a farm of William Hawkins, which is at present owned by John G. Page. His wife, Sarah McQuown, died in 1858, aged seventy-six years.
John Laird was born in Ireland, and with his father, John Laird, Sr., emigrated to America, and after some years came to Donegal township. John Laird, Jr., bought the tract of land which is now the property of the widow of Alexander Hayborn. He had five children,--Jesse resides in Kansas, Robert is in this township, John resides in Claysville, and Mary Jane died after her marriage. The daughter Margaret died many years ago.
Jacob Rizor was a settler in Donegal township before 1787, as his name is found on the assessment-roll of that year. He purchased by verbal contract from Jacob Lefler, the father of his wife, fifty acres of land, to which he did not obtain a legal title during his lifetime. On the 20th of October, 1825, the land was conveyed to Elizabeth, widow of Jacob Rizor, for her use during her life, to go at her death to the sons of Jacob and Elizabeth Rizor, viz.: John, Abraham, Jacob, George, and Henry Rizor. An account of an interview with the last-named son of Jacob Rizor, by a correspondent of the Chronicle, was published by that paper in the fall of 1880, as follows:
"At Dutch Fork there resides an old man, Henry Rizor by name, who it was said could possibly relate something about the Indian ravages in the county. Thither the writer bent his steps, and had the pleasure of meeting a white-haired old man, whose health was quite vigorous until within a year since. He was born at Dutch Fork Feb. 29, 1790, and if he lives until next February he will be ninety-one years old. A year ago he was knocked down and run over by a buggy. He was ruptured, and has since been unable to perform work or go far away from the house. He distinctly recalled the incidents connected with Abraham Rice's block-house, and says at one time two hundred Indians appeared at the fort. Until within a year ago Mr. Rizor rode to Claysville, distance twelve miles, on horseback every Saturday evening, and got on and off the beast without assistance. Up to that time he was also in the habit of walking to Acheson post-office for his mail. The distance is two miles. 'If the sun shines,' said Mr. Rizor, 'I can see to read without spectacles. Until I was hurt I could chop and haul wood with any of them. I could make seventy-five rails a day,--a full day's work.' Mr. Rizor has been married twice, and lives in the old-style log cabin, with the veritable latch-string on the outside of the door."
Justices of the Peace of Donegal.1--The following-named persons were and have been appointed and elected to the office of justice of the peace in Donegal township from the time of its erection to the present, viz.:
Samuel Mason, July 15, 1781. Humphrey Blakeway, May 6, 1835. Samuel Williamson, July 15, 1781. David Peden, May 6, 1835. William Johnstone, Feb. 9, 1786. Isaac Mayes, April 14, 1840. John Stevenson, March 12, 1793. John Sutherland, April 11, 1843. Jacob Wolfe, June 7, 1793. John Miller, April 15, 1845. Samuel Taylor, Aug. 29, 1797. John Sutherland, April 11, 1848. Joseph Alexander, Feb. 9, 1799. John Miller, April 9, 1850. William Clemens, Feb. 5, 1801. John Sutherland, April 13, 1853. Robert Stevenson, June 22, 1803. Hugh Defrance, April 13, 1853. Joseph Henderson, Jan. 7, 1805. Shepherd L. Guy, May 19, 1857. Jacob Lefler, Jan. 7, 1805. Wm. S. Alexander, May 19, 1857. Samuel England, Oct. 24, 1807. John C. Hervey, April 10, 1860. Isaac Mayes, July 13, 1811. Joseph F. Mayes, April 21, 1862. Isaac Lefler, Feb. 17, 1813. James Noble, Aug. 23, 1864. Henry Emlow, Dec. 10, 1816. John Jameson, July 12, 1865. David Frazier, Dec. 10, 1816. Joseph F. Mayes, April 17, 1867. Joseph Alexander, March 26, 1817. John Jameson, April 13, 1870. David Winter, Sept. 20, 1819. Joseph F. Mayes, April 12, 1872. Thomas Miller, April 4, 1822. John Jameson, May 27, 1874. Jacob McVey, Aug. 12, 1827. T. C. Noble, March 24, 1874. Jesse St. Clair, Aug. 13,1827. Alex. Chapman, March 17, 1875. Hugh Armstrong, Oct. 29, 1829. T. C. Noble, March 27, 1879. Nathan Rockafeller, April 24, 1834. George Y. Holmes, March 30, 1880. Amos Enlow, April 24, 1834
[1 The township of Donegal was a separate district from the time of its erection till 1803, when Finley was included with it in District No.11. In 1838, Donegal again became a separate and independent district, and has so continued to the present time.]
Borough of West Alexander.--Upon a tract of four hundred acres of land lying in the extreme western part of Donegal township, very near the Virginia line, Robert Humphreys(2) (who was the original owner of the tract, having taken it up on a Virginia certificate) laid out and platted a town in the year 1796, and called it West Alexander, in honor of his wife, who was Martha Alexander. In the plat and charter he reserved and set apart certain grounds in the northern part of the town as a common for the perpetual use of the inhabitants. A suit at law was brought by Thomas Stokely against the proprietor, Mr. Humphreys, for this tract of land, which suit resulted in a compromise.
[2 Robert Humphreys, proprietor of West Alexander, was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, and served under Lafayette. When the marquis visited this section of country in 1825, Humphreys made himself known to his former general, and a published account of the meeting of the two veterans says "the scene was most affecting." Robert Humphreys died Aug. 19, 1831, at the age of eighty-two years, ten months, and ten days.]
Immediately after the laying out of the town a considerable number of the lots were sold, and these were from time to time resold by the first purchasers. On the 21st of May, 1806, John Wilson sold a number of town lots in West Alexander to William Carroll, who, on the 8th of January, 1810, sold them to John Sargent. Many other similar sales were made, and in the mean time something was done (though not as much nor as rapidly as Humphreys had anticipated) towards the creation of a town. The first store in the place was opened in 1801 by John Craig, some of whose accounts are still in existence, kept in pounds, shillings, and pence. He received his goods from Philadelphia at a cost of about three pounds, Pennsylvania currency (eight dollars), per hundred-weight for transportation, and in about six weeks' time after they were purchased in the city.
A tavern was opened in the town in 1797 (the year following the laying out) by Duncan Morrison, who called his house the "American Eagle," and had a picture of the national bird painted on his sign, which hung from a horizontal arm extending from a tall post planted in front of his door. The town had a resident physician, Dr. Potter, who came here about the year 1800. The post-office was established here in 1809, with James Stephenson as postmaster. He held the office for forty-two years, until his death, May 18, 1851. His successors have been John Baird, B. L. Craven, Joel Truesdell, and Lizzie A. Ray.
Most of the town lots sold by the original proprietor, Humphreys, were resold by the first purchasers to other parties, who in turn transferred them to others, and by these transfers, or otherwise, the greater part of the lots came into possession of Charles De Hass, who also became owner of other lands adjoining the town. Having thus become principal proprietor of the place, he made an effort to do that which the original proprietor, Humphreys, had failed to accomplish to any considerable extent, viz., to found a town or village of size and importance. On the 22d of May, 1817, De Hass advertised to be sold on the 10th of June following "a number of town lots adjoining the east end of the continued part of West Alexandria,"3 and adding, as an inducement to purchasers, that a "brewery and distillery are erecting, a brick-yard is established and another one progressing, and a nail-factory is in contemplation." This was at a time when the National road was in process of construction, and had been actually opened for travel from Cumberland west to the Youghiogheny River, and it was believed that all the towns upon its route must become places of prosperity and importance. West Alexander (or Alexandria) was one of these, and the result was that De Hass sold many of his lots, and a number of additional dwellings and places of business were built; but the town received a severe blow in the destructive fire which occurred on the 4th of May, 1831, destroying more than twenty of the best buildings in the place. It was a severe disaster, but the town slowly recovered, and in the succeeding twenty years--which was the period of the greatest prosperity for the National road--it became one of the important points on the great thoroughfare, having three or four good stores, several other places of business, and two principal public-houses, the latter patronized respectively by the rival stage-lines on the road.
[3 De Hass changed the original name "Alexander" to "Alexandria," and the change was adopted to a considerable extent. In the records and all public documents having reference to the construction of the National road, the place is almost invariably mentioned as West Alexandria, or still more frequently Alexandria.]
The keepers of public-houses in West Alexander, successors of Duncan Morrison (proprietor of the "American Eagle" in 1797, as before mentioned), have been Charles Mayes, Zebulon Warner, John Cooding, John Woodburn, William McCall, Solomon Cook, James Sargent, Charles Hallam, Mary Warner, James Bell, Silver Gillfillin, Samuel Beymer, James Mathers, John Irons, Moses Thornbury, Samuel Doak, Joseph Lawson, Joseph Dondal, William F. Gordon, William McCutcheon, and perhaps some others whose names are not now remembered. There are at the present time in West Alexander two hotels, the Wheeling House and the Centre House, both of which are fairly patronized.
Since John Craig (the pioneer merchant before mentioned) opened his store in West Alexander in 1801, a multitude of mercantile firms and individual merchants have been established in the town, among whom have been James Stephenson, John Mayes, John Alexander, George Wilson, John Gallagher, G. W. and W. B. Hall, Hall & Waddell, James T. McVey & Co., A. R. Howe, Bryant & Craien, McVey & Ewing, Holmes & Frazier, B. L. Craien, Joel Truesdell, L. R. Gilfillan & Co., John Limback, Aaron Strouse, Eli & Pollock, Isaac Post & Co. There are now in the town ten stores (exclusive of two grain and feed dealers) besides other smaller places of business, stores and shops.
It has been mentioned that the first physician of the town was Dr. Potter, who commenced practice here about the year 1800. Among the medical practitioners in the place since that time have been Drs. Mott, E. Warring, J. F. Byers, William Gilfillan, Samuel McKeehan,1 Cunningham, Joseph Davidson, Crawford, Marshman, Swartz, and Little. There are now here in active practice Drs. W. M. Gilfillan, D. S. Eagleson, and J. B. Reed. Dr. R. Davidson has now retired from practice.
[1 Dr. McKeehan was a surgeon in the war of 1812, in which service he was wounded and taken prisoner at Malden, Canada. He came to West Alexander in 1826, and died Sept. 20, 1866, aged ninety-three years.]
The borough of West Alexander was erected in 1873. At the May term of the Court of Quarter Sessions of Washington County in that year there was presented a petition of a number of persons "inhabitants of the village of West Alexander, in the said county of Washington," respectfully representing "that your petitioners reside within the limits thereof as hereinafter set forth and described; and that the same contains more than eighty freeholders; that they are desirous that the said village should be incorporated by the name, style and title of the borough of West Alexander, according to the following boundaries," proceeding to describe the proposed boundary lines by a number of courses and distances. Upon the hearing of this petition the court ordered the same to be laid before the grand jury. That body made a favorable report, the action upon which by the court is shown by the record as follows:
"And now Aug.18, 1873, the court confirms the judgment of the grand jury and decrees that the said town of West Alexander be incorporated into a borough in conformity with the prayer of the petitioners; that the corporate style and title thereof shall be the borough of West Alexander; that the boundaries thereof shall be as follows, viz. [describing the boundary lines of the borough]; and that the annual borough election shall be held at the public school-house in said borough on the third Friday in March, in accordance with, and subject to, all the provisions of the laws regulating township elections; and the court declare the said borough a separate election and school district; the court further decree and fix the first election in said borough for the election of the officers provided for by law at the public school-house in said borough on the 23d day of September, A.D. 1873. . . ."
The first election was held at the time and place designated. The borough officers elected at that and succeeding annual elections were and have been as follows, viz.:1873.--Burgess, Samuel Kimmens; Council, Christopher Sheller, Thomas Frazier, William C. Anderson, Samuel Noble, Michael Daugherty. 1874.--Burgess, Christopher Sheller; Council, Robert Davidson, Samuel Kimmens, J. B. Reed, Joel Truesdell, W. C. Anderson. 1875.--Burgess, Christopher Sheller; Council, Benjamin L. Craven, Joel Truesdell, William C. Anderson, John R. Anderson, Dr. J. B. Reed. 1876. -Burgess, James Ely; Council, Robert Sutherland, John Reed, Samuel Kimmens, James S. Waltz, William E. Spriggs, Michael Daugherty. 1877.--Burgess, Joel Truesdell; Council, Joseph F. Mayes, Robert Sutherland, George C. Stoolfire, M. Daugherty, Dr. S. A. Craig, William M. Murray. 1878.--Burgess, James Leyda; Council, Samuel Kimmens, William A. Barry, James Alexander, John R. Anderson, George C. Stoolfire, Joseph S. Mayes. 1879.--Burgess, Michael Daugherty; Council, Isaac Post, William L. Porter, James Leyda, Dr. S. A. Craig, John R. Anderson, William Frazier. 1880.--Burgess, Isaac Post; Council, Joel Truesdell, Samuel Kimmens, William E. Spriggs, Oliver E. Murray, Robert Sutherland, John McKenzie. 1881.--Burgess, Robert Sutherland; Council, William C. Spriggs, William Guess, David Holmes, Samuel Bushfield, Michael Daugherty, Joseph S. Mayes.
The justices of the peace of West Alexander since the town became a borough have been the following named: Joseph F. Mayes, September, 1873; J. S. Waltz, March, 1874; Joseph F. Mayes, March, 1877; J. S. Waltz, March, 1879. Of those named in the list (given in another place) of justices appointed and elected for the township of Donegal, the following named were residents in West Alexander, viz.: Joseph Alexander (commissioned Feb. 9, 1799), died Oct. 1, 1834; Isaac Mayes (first commissioned July 13, 1811), died July 16, 1844; John Sutherland (commissioned April 11, 1843), died Dec. 12, 1856; William S. Alexander (commissioned May 19, 1857), died January, 1874; John C. Henry (April, 1860); and Joseph F. Mayes, who was elected in 1862, re-elected in 1867 and in 1872 in the township, and in 1873 and 1877 in the borough, as before stated. West Alexander, being located within a very short distance of the State line, has for at least three-fourths of a century been regarded as a sort of Pennsylvania Gretna Green, whither an immense number of couples have come from across the State line and elsewhere to have the marriage ceremony performed by the justices and clergymen of West Alexander. Up to the 4th of July, 1876, the Rev. William H. Lester had married more than five hundred couples. Joseph Alexander, Esq., married four hundred couples during the long time he held the office of justice of the peace. Justices Isaac Mayes and John Sutherland married, respectively, nine hundred and thirty and nine hundred and seven couples, and William S. Alexander, Esq., performed the marriage ceremony two hundred times. But all these figures are belittled by comparison with the record of Justice Joseph F. Mayes, who during his official career down to the 19th of September, 1881, had joined one thousand nine hundred and eighteen couples in wedlock. The total number of couples married by the justices and clergymen of West Alexander considerably exceeds five thousand, of which number a large proportion came from West Virginia.
Joseph Finley Mayes, the veteran justice above mentioned, who has now filled the office with honor for twenty years, is a native of West Alexander, …and a grandson of Charles Mayes, who came to Washington County with his family in 1786 from his previous home near Gettysburg, Pa., where he had lived on the "Carroll Tract," owned by Charles Carroll of Carrollton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Soon after his arrival in Washington County he purchased from Henry McDonough, of Somerset township, a tract of two hundred and forty-three acres of land in Donegal township, about one and a half miles east of West Alexander, paying therefor (whether in part or in full is not known) a rifle and a yoke of oxen. On this tract of land he settled and made his home. Charles Mayes' son, Isaac Mayes (the father of Joseph F. Mayes, Esq.), was a blacksmith, and worked at his trade in West Alexander, which was his home for many years. He served as justice of the peace for the long period of twenty-nine years (1811 to 1840), and died in July, 1844.
The first school in West Alexander was taught by _____Robinson, commencing about two years after tho town was laid out by Robert Humphreys. How long the first teacher continued in charge of it is not known. Samuel R. Mayes taught the school some time prior to 1810. The immediate successors of these early teachers are not now remembered. Of the great number who taught in the town since that time the names of a few are here given (though the dates of their teaching have not been ascertained), viz.: Gilbert Marshall, Thomas J. Holliday, John Gordon, William Dickey, George McDonald, Miss Jane Pollock, Miss A. C. Bell, Jnmes McElroy.
The West Alexander Academy was established in 1828, with the Rev. John McClusky as principal. It became a chartered institution in 1840. In 1853, Mr. McClusky was succeeded by the Rev. William H. Lester, and in the next year the present fine academy building was erected. For twenty-four years the school remained in charge of the Rev. Mr. Lester. In 1877 it was in charge of Miss May Pollock. It is not now in operation. Fifty-nine students of this academy became ministers of the gospel.
Upon the erection of the borough it was made a separate and independent school district. It has now a good commodious school building, of capacity to accommodate one hundred and twenty pupils. Two schools are taught in it. During the time that West Alexander has existed as a borough and an independent school district its school board has been composed as follows:
1873.--Rev. M. Ormund, James Ely, Rev. W. H. Lester, Samuel Noble, John R. Anderson, James S. Waltz.
1874.--Samuel Kimmins, Dr. R. Davidson, William C. Anderson, James Ely, B. F. Craven, James S. Waltz.
1875.--Dr. R. Davidson, J. R. Anderson, J. S. Waltz, Samuel Kimmins, David Howell, W. C. Anderson.
1876.--J. R. Anderson, Dr. R. Davidson, Samuel Kimmins, W. C. Anderson, David Howell, J. S. Waltz.
1877.--W. C. Anderson, David Howell, J. S. Waltz, William Barry, R. B. Daugherty, Joel Truesdell.
1878.--W. A. Barry, J. R. Anderson, W. H. Nease, Dr. J. B. Reed, J. S. Waltz, R. B. Daugherty.
1879.--W. A. Barry, J. R. Anderson, W. H. Nease, R. B. Daugherty, Samuel Kimmins, J. S. Waltz.
1880.--Samuel Kimmins, J. R. Anderson, R. B. Daugherty, W. H. Nease, O. E. Murray, James. S. Waltz.
1881.--Samuel Kimmins, R. B. Daugherty, S. A. Craig, O. E. Murray, J. S. Waltz, W. H. Nease.
Presbyterian Church of West Alexander.1--The first Presbytery west of the Allegheny Mountains was Redstone. From its minutes Nov. 19, 1785, it is learned that "supplication was made for supplies from Three Ridges," now West Alexander. "Mr. Frisby was appointed to supply Three Ridges the last Sabbath in November." This is the earliest recorded mention of the church. After this its name is frequently found in the records of that body. In the published journal of Col. John May, who traveled through this part of the State in August, 1788, is found the following: "In the course of the day's ride I saw a little box, something like a sentry-box, near the side of the road, but several miles from any house I could see, and standing on four posts. I was told on inquiry that it was a pulpit, and to that spot people went to worship the God of Jacob. As all the earth is His temple, I think this is not an improper place for worship. Near this place was cut the section of a vista through the forest making the boundary line up to Lake Erie between Virginia and Pennsylvania." This allusion to the boundary line makes it certain "the little box" was on the very place where the Presbyterian Church now stands.
[1 By Rev. William H. Lester.]
In 1790 a call was made for the pastoral labors of Rev. John Brice. In April of that year he was ordained and installed over the church. Being unable to support a minister the entire time, it was connected with the church of the Forks of Wheeling, each having the services of the pastor half of the time. This connection continued until 1814, when, through the increase of numbers and means, it was able to support a minister the whole time. This the first pastorate continued till 1807, when Mr. Brice, through infirmities of age, resigned the charge. He died in 1811.
In 1809 the Rev. Joseph Stevenson became the pastor, and, like his predecessor, remained such seventeen years. On account of the spiritual destitution of the then "Far West,"--Western Ohio,--he resigned the charge and settled in Bellefontaine, Ohio. He there organized a church, and spent several years in successful pastoral work. He died in 1865.
The third pastor was the Rev. John McClusky, D.D. He was settled over the church in October, 1828, and remained until 1854. He removed to Philadelphia, and died in 1881. Through his efforts and under the care of this church the West Alexander Academy was founded. From this school nearly fifty ministers have gone out to preach the gospel. As preachers, lawyers, physicians, and teachers, its pupils may be found in almost every State.
The fourth pastor is the Rev. William H. Lester, who was ordained and installed here in 1854. Nearly twenty-eight years of pastoral service, and not unblessed, have been rounded out, and he still remains to "break to the people the bread of life." This has been a church of long pastorates. The modern custom of frequent ministerial changes has not as yet been imbibed by this congregation. Almost a hundred years have passed since its organization, and it has had only four ministers.
The first church building was a rude log house, the timber of which grew on the spot where the church stood. Its seats were slabs split from logs. It had no stoves for heating, and was destitute of every outward comfort. In the summer the preaching was in the woods. In rainy weather and winter it was it was in the church. Years afterwards the growing congregation required a larger building and increased accommodations. It stood on the site of the old house, and was also a log one. It was seated with pews. It also had a pulpit, a lofty one. This church is said to have been the admiration of the whole region of country. The present building is brick, large, plain, neat, and comfortable, with a sitting capacity for six hundred persons, and is usually well filled. "God's word and its doctrines as formulated by the Westminster Assembly of divines" is the creed. It has been blessed with "revivals" all through its history. From thirty to a hundred persons have many times been received into membership at a single communion. Its most remarkable work of grace was at the great religious awakening in all this region of country about 1800, known as "The Falling Work." The preaching was of the kind called "the terrors of law," solemn and alarming. The hearers, becoming violently agitated in body and mind, would fall to the floor, and for a considerable time would remain unconscious. This state was followed after by an experience of peace and joy. The most wicked and hardened persons were those who would be the most affected. Without attempting to explain these bodily movements, it may be said the fruit of the work was a deep and abiding piety, the influence of which is felt even now. The old Scotch custom of communing (at the Lord's Supper) sitting at the tables was introduced here, and is still observed. This is almost the only church in the entire body which adheres to this form of communion.
This church has not always sailed on smooth seas and on peaceful waters. All the people here originally worshiped as one congregation. "Rouse's Version of the Psalms" was the medium of praise. On the occasion of Mr. Brice using "Watts' Psalms" the division came. The grandfathers and grandmothers of those who now compose the United Presbyterian Church of this place, true to their grit and conscientious convictions, would not endure "human composure," and so went out. An arbitration in regard to the church property followed. The whole matter was amicably arranged. The Presbyterians held the property on the payment of a sum of money, which was satisfactory to both parties.
The "Anti-Slavery" element in this part of the State has always been strong. This church is located on a line of a once slave and a free State. This no doubt increased the intensity of the feeling. Here the subject passed beyond the limits of a political question. It became a religious one. The storm which gathered and broke over the country in 1861 gathered and broke over the church nearly twenty years before. A paper passed by the General Assembly to the effect that slaveholders were not to be debarred from Christian fellowship and communion was regarded by many as an indorsement of the system. Sadly and conscientiously a very considerable number left in 1849 and formed the Free Presbyterian Church. It harmonized in doctrine and polity with the old church, and in the main differed only on the manner slavery was to be viewed and treated. It was ministered to by the Revs. J. S. Poage, Robert Burgess, _____ Dawson, and Samuel McLain. At the close of the civil war, slavery having been abolished, and the General Assembly having made deliverances on the subject, substantially agreeing with the views of the church, it was disbanded, and most of the members found a home in the church they left years before.
Emigration has drawn heavily upon the numbers and resources of this church, yet it is now perhaps as strong as at any previous time in its history. It has a membership of fully three hundred, and its Sabbath-school is large and flourishing.
United Presbyterian Church of West Alexander.(1)--The precise date of the organization of the United Presbyterian Church of West Alexander is not definitely known. The earliest Presbyterial records to which the writer had access state that in the year 1793, "a supply of preaching was granted to the Associate Reformed Church of Three Ridges," the name by which it was known at that time. But from other records it may safely be considered as having had an existence some years prior to that date.
Its first pastor was the Rev. Alexander McCoy, who afterwards became the leader of a party known as the "McCoyites."
Mr. McCoy was born in Ireland in 1754, came with his parents to the province of Pennsylvania in 1774. He had received a classical education in Ireland, and some time after his arrival in this country concluded to complete his studies, and entered Dickinson College in 1792. He studied theology under the Rev. John Jamison, and was licensed May 4, 1795, by the Second Associate Reformed Presbytery of Pennsylvania.
By the same Presbytery he was ordained and installed Oct. 29, 1795, over the united charges of Three Ridges at West Alexander, Pa., and Short Creek, Ohio Co., W. Va.
The Associate Reformed Synod at its meeting in May, 1799, in Greencastle, Pa., adopted its constitution and standards, and in doing so modified the doctrine of the Westminster Confession of Faith concerning the power of the civil magistrates in matters of religion. Against this change Mr. McCoy protested, and declined the further authority and jurisdiction of the Synod. His name was therefore stricken from the roll of Presbytery June 25, 1799.
On the 11th of November, 1800, Rev. Robert Warwick settled in the vicinity of Cincinnati, also declined the authority of the Associate Reformed Synod, and for the same reason as Mr. McCoy these two ministers, with two ruling elders, met in Washington, Pa., Jan. 27,1801, and formed themselves into an independent Presbytery, naming it "The Reformed Dissenting Presbytery." This new organization seldom numbered more than three or four ministers, and often not more than two. Its weak condition impelled it at last to a union with the Associate Church, in the year 1851. Meanwhile Mr. McCoy's two congregations adhered to him, and for some years he gave part of his time to a third congregation in Belmont County, Ohio. On account of an infirmity which made it difficult for him to ride on horseback, he resigned his charge about 1815 and moved to Pittsburgh, Pa., and preached there until his successor, Rev. John Pattison, died (in 1825), at which time he returned and served his two original congregations for five or six years. The infirmities of age at length compelled him to cease from his labors. He died of paralysis June 17, 1834.
His successor was the Rev. William Neil, who was born in Ireland about 1800; was educated at Franklin College, and studied theology with his predecessor, Mr. McCoy. He was licensed May, 1829, by the Reformed Dissenting Presbytery, and accepted a call Oct. 18, 1831, from the united charge of Three Ridges and Short Creek. He performed the duties of pastor for a number of years, after which he joined the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and then the Associate Presbytery of Chartiers, finally withdrawing altogether from the active duties of the ministry.
Rev. Joseph Shaw was the next pastor. He was educated at Franklin College, studied theology privately, was licensed May 29, 1839, by the Reformed Dissenting Presbytery, and ordained and installed in 1840. In April, 1843, he and a majority of the congregation withdrew from the communion of the Reformed Dissenting Presbytery and united with the Associate Church, which was the beginning of the Associate congregation of West Alexander.
When Mr. Shaw joined the Associate Church the validity of his ordination was called in question because the Presbytery which had ordained him was composed of only one minister and two ruling elders. The Associate Synod, however, decided that the ordination, although irregular, was valid. He remained pastor of the congregation until Oct. 5, 1852, when he resigned. In the spring of 1853 he moved to Bellefontaine, Ohio, where he united with the Presbyterian Church, and conducted a High School. He died in December, 1875.
A short time after the resignation of Mr. Shaw, the congregation called Rev. J. C. Murch, who was born March 20, 1820, at Sandgate, Vt. He was a graduate of Dennison University, Granville, Ohio; studied theology at Canonsburg, Pa., and was licensed Oct. 29, 1850, by the Presbytery of Chartiers. He was installed pastor of the West Alexander congregation in September, 1853, and continued to labor there until the union of the two branches of the church in 1858. He took charge of the congregation of New Concord, Ohio, February, 1860, and continued there until February, 1876. On Jan. 15, 1879, he was installed over the congregation of Scotch Ridge, Wood Co., Ohio, where he remained until his death, May 27, 1879.
From 1799 the Associate Reformed congregation of Three Ridges lost its identity as such until the year 1838, when it was reorganized. After the reorganization in 1838, the congregation called the Rev. Joseph S. Buchanan, who was ordained and installed pastor Nov. 24, 1840, and who remained with it until 1854, when he resigned on account of ill health. He moved to Portersville, Pa., where he taught a classical school for some years, and eventually retired from active labors to Monmouth, Ill., where he now lives.
Rev. D. G. Bradford was the next pastor. He was ordained and installed April 8, 1856, and released October, 1857, when he became pastor of the Second Associate Reformed congregation of Allegheny City, Pa., and was released April 14, 1863, to take charge of the First Church of Monmouth, Ill., where he continued until 1867. Subsequently he joined the Presbyterian Church, and has filled several pastorates in it.
After the union in 1858, the two congregations united their strength and called Rev. Josiah Stevenson to be their spiritual guide. He was ordained and installed December, 1859, and released November, 1870. From this he went to North Buffalo, Pa., where he remained until February, 1876, when he afterwards took charge of the congregations at Greensburg and Latrobe, Pa., where he at present labors.
In the fall of 1871, Rev. Marcus Ormond was chosen pastor, who entered upon his new field of labor on January 1st, was installed June 11, 1872, and was released Oct. 12, 1876. Some time after his resignation he was smitten with congestion of the brain, from the effects of which he never fully recovered. His memory failed him and he lost the power of speech. The ordinary transactions and acquirements of his past life he could recall, but the knowledge he had acquired in his college course became an entire blank, and did not return until the hour of his death.
On Wednesday morning, Nov. 28, 1881, he left his home on Oxford, Ohio, to go to Indianapolis, Ind. On Friday evening, having reached Milroy, Ind., he stopped for the night with a family with whom he was acquainted. An hour after retiring the family heard him moaning, and on going into his room found him just expiring. A few moments later and before the physician arrived, his spirit had taken its flight.
Rev. W. M. Coleman, the present pastor, was installed Dec. 4, 1877. He found the congregation somewhat divided and depressed, but better days have come, and its members are united and earnestly at work.
On April 10, 1875, the congregation dedicated to the worship of God a beautiful and substantial structure, built of brick, roofed with slate, and furnished after the latest and most improved style.
Like an individual life, the congregation has had its ups and downs, and as it made its progress through the years it has rested sometimes in the sunlight and sometimes in the shade. Though its history has been a checkered one, the Lord has been always on its side.
Methodist Episcopal Church of West Alexander.--A Methodist Episcopal Church was organized here before the year 1825. The first church was a log building on Main Street, occupied at that time by William Whitham. The early preachers were Rev. Hiram Gilmore, Rev. William Summers, Father Lock, Rev. Mr. Brock, and others. In 1835 a good frame edifice was erected, where a small congregation continued to worship until recently. The pastor having it in charge is Rev. George Sheets, of Claysville Circuit. The class-leader is Mr. A. Daugherty.
West Alexander Cemetery.--The company by which this cemetery was laid out was organized early in 1871, and incorporated August 31st in that year. The board of directors was composed of Thomas Frazier (president), Samuel Kimmens, William Armstrong, E. Buchanan, William Reed, E. Brownlee, David Blaney, Joel Truesdell (secretary and treasurer), James Todd, and Alexander McCleary. A tract of ten acres was purchased from W. A. Hagerty at three hundred dollars per acre. This tract was handsomely laid out as a cemetery in the modern style, with walks and carriage-ways, and tastefully decorated by the planting of evergreen and other trees. The cemetery occupies a beautiful site on rising ground, from the higher parts of which the views are fine and extensive. The first interment in this ground was that of Thomas McConn, who died in the fall of 1871. On his tombstone is an inscription (made in accordance with his wish, expressed a short time before his death) noting the fact that his remains were the first deposited in the ground of the new cemetery.
I. O. O. F.--Lodge No. 966 was organized in West Alexander July 8, 1879. The charter members were Oliver Murray, William Frazier, John A. Luse, James Alexander, Duncan Blayney, John C. Porter, Rufus T. Slater, William H. Leyda, Andrew W. Tense, J. N. Donnely, D. R. Frazier, James Lidey, Felix Muldoon, Jacob Guess, A. Blayney, E. N. Dulap, William B. Gibson, David Sheller, C. M. Leggett, John Sheller.
Murray Brothers.--The young men composing the firm which conducts a general merchandising business in the building here represented were born and reared in West Virginia, near the boundary line between that State and Washington County. The business was begun in West Alexander in 1871, by J. W. and William M. Murray, under the firm-name of J. W. Murray & Brother, and was continued under that caption until 1878, when J. W. disposed of his interest to his brother, O. E. Murray. The firm-name was then changed to William M. Murray & Brother, and so continued until 1882, when they enlarged their store-room that they might accommodate their constantly increasing trade, and changed the firm-name to Murray Brothers.
West Alexander is located within the boundaries of Donegal township, in its southwestern part, and only a short distance from the line of West Virginia. The elevation of the place above tide-water is seventeen hundred and ninety-two feet, according to the survey made by David Shriver, Esq., for the route of the old National road, which passes through the town, forming its main street. Along the north line of the borough runs the track of the Hempfield Railroad, which at this point passes through a tunnel about six hundred feet in length. This railway connects the city of Wheeling with the borough of Washington, and was opened for travel in this part (from Wheeling through West Alexander to Claysville) in the fall of 1856.
The borough of West Alexander contains one hundred and ten dwelling-houses, many of them of modern style and fine architecture, three church edifices in use, and another not used as a place of worship, a fine school-house, an academy building (not now in use for educational purposes), post-office, railroad depot and telegraph station, two hotels, nine stores, two saddlery- and harness-shops, one carriage- and wagon-shop, two furniture- and cabinet-making shops, two shoe-shops, one cigar-factory, two grain- and feed-stores, three millinery-stores, five physicians, two pastors of churches, two justices of the peace, two blacksmiths, and several artisans of other trades. The population of the borough by the census of 1880 was four hundred and twenty-five.
Vienna is a station on the Hempfield Railroad in Donegal township, about midway between Claysville and West Alexander, and is also the name of a little village or hamlet clustered about it and on the National road, which at that point is near and parallel to the railroad. Locally this settlement was known, years ago, as "Coon Island." The railroad was opened at this point in the fall of 1856, and about the same time a post-office was established at Vienna, with George Chaney as postmaster. He was succeeded by John Lights, and he in turn by David Frazier, who has been the postmaster here since 1874. Besides the post-office, Vienna has two stores, two blacksmith-shops, and seven dwelling-houses.
Just south of the railroad and west of the bridge at this place was the location of William Hawkins' house, which was attacked by Indians in the fall of 1781, on which occasion he and his daughter with others were taken prisoners, and Hawkins was butchered by the savages while on their retreat to their villages beyond the Ohio, the daughter being spared from the slaughter to become the wife of a chief.
The Borough of Claysville lies within the boundaries of Donegal, in the southeastern part of the township. Like the town of West Alexander, it is located on the line of the old National road, which forms its main street, and also on the line of the Hempfield Railroad, which was opened from Wheeling to this point in the fall of 1856. The line of the railroad lies through the south part of the borough, and the track passes through a tunnel a short distance east of Claysville. The borough contains ninety dwelling-houses, three churches, a good school-house, a steam grist-mill, a tannery, a saw- and planing-mill, two hotels, post-office, railway station and telegraph-office, five stores (including grocery and dry-goods), a drug-store, five physicians,--Drs. William Denny, J. N. Sprowls, George Inglas, George Calder, and S. C. McCracken,--one clothing-store, a hardware-store, a tin-shop and farm-implement store, four millinery establishments, a marble-factory, a wagon-shop, two saddlery- and harness-shops, one jewelry-store and watch-repairing shop, two livery stables, two blacksmith-shops, and the usual proportion of artisans of other trades. The population of Claysville by the census of 1880 was three hundred and twenty-six.
The site of Claysville is part of a tract of land taken up by Thomas Waller, on a Pennsylvania warrant to him date Feb. 25, 1785, surveyed April 2d of the same year as "Superfine Bottom," containing four hundred acres, adjoining lands of Robert Walker, Robert Henry, and other lands of Thomas Waller. The Robert Walker tract referred to as adjoining was a tract of four hundred and twenty acres, located on the waters of Buffalo Creek, taken up by Walker on a Virginia certificate dated in January, 1780, and filed for survey June 5th of the same year, with Robert Woods, surveyor for Ohio County, Va. (then claiming to cover the western part of the present county of Washington). A warrant for part of this tract (ninety-two acres) was issued to John Stacks May 30, 1785, and surveyed to him November 25th of that year.
The first-mentioned tract, "Superfine Bottom," or at least the part of it embracing the site of Claysville, passed by subsequent transfer from the original proprietor, Thomas Waller, and became the property of John Purviance. The old Wheeling road was laid out and opened through it, and on this road, not long after the year 1800, Purviance opened a tavern in a large two-story log house (having three rooms on the lower and four in the upper story), which stood on the lot now occupied by the hotel of David Bell, Esq., in Claysville. The old Purviance house was demolished when Mrs. Kelly was proprietor of the land on which it stood.
John Purviance had been keeping tavern in his large log house a number of years when the preliminary surveys were made for the great National road from Wheeling to Cumberland, and when it became certain by the final surveys for location, made under Col. Eli Williams, that the route of the road would pass his place, he promptly surveyed and laid out a prospective town upon his land, and inserted in the Washington Reporter (and no doubt also in other newspapers) the following advertisement, which is found in that journal's issue of April 21, 1817, viz.:
"CLAYSVILLE.--The subscriber having laid off a number of building lots in the new town of Claysville, will offer the same at public sale, on the premises, on Thursday, the Eighth day of May next. Lots will be sold agreeably to a plan or plot exhibited on the day of the sale.
"Claysville is distant ten miles from Washington westward, and about 18 east of Wheeling, and six from Alexandria.1 The Great National Road from Cumberland to Wheeling, as located by Col. Williams, and confirmed by the President, and now rapidly progressing towards its completion, passes directly through the town. The lots contain a front of fifty feet on the road, and a depth back of two hundred feet, with suitable and convenient avenues to each block of lots. The scite of the town is beautiful, well watered, a fertile country around it, and a good population. To persons who may purchase and improve the present season, the subscriber will give timber for any frame building that may be put up without price. On the day of the sale the terms of credit will be made known.
"Washington, April 21, 1817."
[1 The town of West Alexander, which had been laid out by Robert Humphreys in 1796, was re-laid out (or added to) by Charles De Hass in the same year in which Claysville was platted (1817). And De Hass in this reviving or relaying out of his town changed the name from the original "West Alexander" to "Alexandria."]
The result of this advertised sale of lots in Claysville has not been ascertained, but it is known that soon afterwards a store was established in the new town by George Wilson, who had a thriving trade there during the construction of the National road, from 1817 to 1820, when it was completed. It appears that he was an enterprising man, and in addition to the business of the store he carried on that of tailor or manufacturer of clothing, and furnished cheap garments (principally of cotton and linen) to the laborers and others engaged in the construction of the road. Another merchant who established a store here very soon after Wilson was Alexander Chapman.
The first house built on the site of Claysville after its laying out by Mr. Purviance was one erected by Samuel Sherr. Whether it was a frame or a log building has not been discovered. Another early dwelling (and perhaps the next after Sherr's) was that built by Mr. Miller, and at about the same time a house was built here by William Brownlee. One of the earliest residents in Claysville was James Sawhill, who opened the first tailor-shop. Joseph Bryant was a blacksmith here, and perhaps the first in his business. The first resident physician in Claysville was Dr. James Kerr. It has already been mentioned that the first tavern here was that kept in the two-story log house by Purviance. How long he continued to keep it is not known. On the 11th of June, 1821, James Sargent advertised that he had removed from Washington to Claysville, and opened a public-house "at the sign of the Black Horse, in the brick house formerly occupied by John Porter." Whether the brick house referred to was erected for a tavern or a dwelling, and for which of these purposes Porter had used it, does not appear from the advertisement, but it is evident that it had been built very soon after the laying out of the town.
That Claysville was a place of some importance even at the time of its laying out is to be inferred from the number of signatures appended to a subscription agreement made for the purpose of establishing a school and building a school-house in the new town in the first year of its existence. It is not to be supposed, however, that the people whose names appear on the paper were all residents of Claysville. Many, and probably most of them, were inhabitants of the township, outside of but of course reasonably near to the town. The paper referred to is as follows:
"We, the undersigned subscribers, do agree to pay the several sums annexed to our names [the sums subscribed are omitted in the list] for the purpose of building a school-house in the town of Claysville, on a lot given by John Purviance, Esq., for the said use. Claysville, 1817. Simon Shurr, Solomon Cook, George Wilson, Patten Gawlel, Samuel Gilman, William Porter, John Brownlee, John Griffith, B. McGiffin, Esq., Alexander Buchanan, Thomas Stuart, Michael Curran, M. Martin, Robert Graham, William Creswell, Samuel Porter, Robert Graham, John Mesruken, Curtis Melonefy, John Stevenson, Leonard Carpenter, John Young, Edward McLaughlin, Jasper Campsey, James Brownlee, William Robinson, Thomas Gorley, George English, Mrs. Adams, John McMillin, Samuel Gumlel, Samuel McMillin, Ebenezer White, Michael O'Curran, Daniel Cray, Alexander Porter, John Stevenson (hauls the timber), James Chruthen (one shingle tree), Abraham Morris, John Knox, John Marshall, Michael McGlanghlin, William McCall, Hugh Crary, John Mulligan, Andrew Bell, Robert Mulligan, Daniel Mesaughan, Joseph Thompson, William Stevenson, William Marshall, William Hawkins, James Mitchell, John Hains, Robert Caughan, Burnet McKeehan, John McMillan, Esq., Hugh Crary, James Chruthers, James McNinch, Thomas McGlanghlin, Jacob Ozenbaugh, Jacob Werick, Esq., George Knox, William McGuffin, Andrew Bell, Christian Werick, Mrs. Kurtz, Philip Keesler, Burnet Boner, David Alexander Lyel, Alexander Lyel, Peter Carpenter, James Nabal."
The total amount subscribed by these persons for the building of the proposed school-house in Claysville was $255.50.
From the time of its laying out in 1817, Claysville remained an unincorporated town for fifteen years, and then, in 1832, it was erected a borough by act of Assembly, passed on the 2d of April in that year, by which it was provided and declared:
"That the town of Claysville, in the county of Washington, shall be, and the same is hereby, erected into a borough, which shall be called the borough of Claysville, and shall be bounded and limited as follows, to wit: Beginning at a stake at the corner of land of Porter's and Dougherty's heirs; thence by lands of Porter's heirs north thirty-one and a quarter west, two hundred and fifty-three perches to a white oak; thence by lands of Charles Wilson north eighty-two and a quarter east, one hundred and sixty-three and three-tenths perches to a white oak; thence by lands of James Worrel south one quarter east, one hundred and ninety-eight and seven-tenths perches to a white oak; thence by lands of Thomas Stewart and Dougherty's heirs south sixty-five and a quarter west, ninety-two perches to the place of beginning."
The time of the first borough election was fixed by the incorporating act on the second Friday of May, 1832. The result of that election cannot be ascertained, for the reason that the first six pages have been cut from the borough records. The first entry found having reference to officers of the borough is as follows: "May 28, 1833.--The Town Council met agreeably to adjournment. Members all present. Mr. Simon Shurr, the president, called the house to order, after which the following-named gentlemen were respectively elected to fill the several offices, viz.: Mr. Henry Jamison, treasurer; Mr. John Barr, street commissioner; Mr. James Shannon, collector. . . ." In 1834 the Council was composed of Henry Jamison, Leeman McCarrell, James Noble, Robert McNeal, John Kelly. For succeeding years none but a very imperfect list of borough officers has been found, which, on account of its incompleteness and inaccuracy, is omitted here.
The first justice of the peace of the borough of Claysville was James Noble, who held the office by appointment until after it became elective under the Constitution of 1838, and was one of the first two elected under that constitution. The dates of his previous appointments and commissions have not been found. The list of justices of the peace chosen in the borough of Claysville since the office became elective is as follows:
Nicholas Bearly, April 14, 1840 James Noble, April 12, 1859 James Noble, April 14, 1840 G. W. Bodkin, April 9, 1861 John Birch, April 15, 1845 John Birch, April 12, 1866 Nicholas Bearly, April 15, 1845 John Birch, April 12, 1871 Nicholas Bearly, April 9, 1850 John Birch, Jan. 17, 1874 Hugh McCaskey, April 9, 1850 A. J. Stillwagon, March 17, 1875 Alexander White, April 13, 1853 James McKee, March 11, 1876 James Noble, April 11, 1854 A. J. Stillwagon, March 30, 1880 Thomas S. Irwin, June 9, 1856 James McKee, March 11, 1881
From the time of the building of the first school-house in Claysville in Claysville (1817-1818), as before mentioned, it remained on the same footing with other districts of the township until 1858, when it became a separate and independent district. The present school-house was erected in 1860-61. It is a fine and commodious building, in which the schools of the borough are taught in three departments.
Societies and Orders.--Hopewell Lodge, No. 504, I. O. O. F., was organized at West Middletown, May 17, 1854; reorganized at Claysville in 1872.
Claysville Lodge, No. 447, A. Y. M., was organized Aug. 5, 1869. Officers: Isaac Teal, W. M.; William Wilson, S. W.; T. J. Bell, J. W.
The Claysville Sentinel, a newspaper "devoted to the interest of the Republican party politically and to the dissemination of useful knowledge," was established in 1878, the first number having been issued on the 21st of November in that year. Horace B. Durant, Esq., editor.
Hon. Daniel Rider, a former citizen of Claysville, was born in Masontown, Fayette Co., Nov. 28, 1808. He received his education at the old subscription schools taught by Clark Ely, James T. Redburn, and others. After leaving school he acquired an extensive library and pursued a systematic course of reading. His father died in 1826, and he came to Claysville, and engaged in the tanning business, afterwards having the Hon. John Birch for his partner for several years. Daniel Rider was a resident of Claysville for a period of twenty years. He emigrated to Fairfield, Jefferson Co., Iowa, in the year 1847, where he is engaged in the location and sale of government lands, in which business he has had great success. He participated in the centennial exercises at Washington, in September, 1881, and returned to his Western home, followed by the good wishes of the surviving friends of his earlier days in Washington County.
Hon. John Birch, another of Claysville's honored citizens, was born in Cumberland County, near Shippensburg, Aug. 5, 1810. He was educated in the old subscription schools, and came to Washington County in 1817, and settled on the waters of Buffalo Creek. He moved into Claysville in the year 1832, where he has since resided. He is a tanner by trade. He was elected justice of the peace in 1845, and has been re-elected three times to the same office, but resigned before the completion of his last term. In 1848 he was elected county commissioner. He received the nomination for representative, and was elected, serving with Billingsley and Barnet during the sessions of 1875 and 1876.
Presbyterian Church of Claysville.--This church was formally organized on the 20th of September, 1820, while there were yet but a few scattering inhabitants in the town. An unpretentious frame building was erected as a house of worship, and was used by the congregation until 1830, in the fall of which year they occupied a new church edifice of brick, which had been erected at a cost of about $3000. The first minister in charge of this church was the Rev. Thomas Hoge, who continued in that relation till 1834, when he was succeeded by the Rev. Peter Hassinger, whose pastorate closed in 1838. Then for fourteen years the church was served by supplies, among whom were the Revs. John Knox, _____ Whythe, and, after October, 1846, the Rev. Alexander McCarrell, who served in that capacity till December, 1852, when he was installed pastor.
The Rev. Alexander McCarrell was born in Hanover township, Washington County, Sept. 22, 1817. He was reared under the ministry of the Rev. John Stockton, graduated from Washington College in 1841, then followed a course of theological study, and was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Washington in April, 1845, after which for a time he served the churches of Wolf Run and Amity as stated supply. From October, 1846, as before mentioned, he supplied the church at Claysville for more than six years. On the 16th of December, 1852, he was installed, and commenced a pastorate which continued until his death, April 18, 1881. His wife was Martha, daughter of William McLean. They had four sons and a daughter. One of the sons is an attorney at Harrisburg, Pa., the others are Presbyterian ministers,--one at Shippensburg, Pa., one at Waynesboro', Greene Co., Pa., and one at Shelbyville, Ky.
The successor of the Rev. Alexander McCarrell, and present pastor of the church at Claysville, is the Rev. J. L. Leeper, a graduate of Princeton, who was licensed in the spring of 1881, and called by this church March 6, 1882. He assumed charge on the 1st of May following.
The present membership of the church is two hundred and fourteen. Connected with the church is a Sabbath-school of two hundred pupils, under the superintendency of T. C. Noble.
Methodist Episcopal Church.--The Methodist Church of Claysville dates back half a century, but the records have been so badly kept and are so defective that it is impossible to gain from them much information concerning the history of the church. Their first church edifice was a brick structure, which became insufficient for the requirements of the congregation, and the present commodious frame building was erected to take its place. The present membership of the church is forty-eight. It is one of several churches recently composing the charge of the Rev. George Sheets, and now under charge of the Rev. Thomas Patterson.
Roman Catholic Church.--For many years the Catholics of this vicinity worshiped in an old log church building that stood about three miles east of West Alexander. Scarcely a vestige of this old edifice now remains. In 1873 a brick church was erected for the use of the Catholics at the west end of Claysville. This congregation is more fully mentioned in the religious article of the general history of the county in this volume.
The Dutch Fork Christian Church.1--In giving a historical sketch of the Church of Christ, known as the Dutch Fork Church, it becomes necessary to refer to some facts which preceded its establishment, which facts will be found narrated in the account of the early labors of Thomas and Alexander Campbell, given in the Rev. W. L. Hayden's article on the Christian Church (page 416 [Ch. XXXIV "Religious History"], et seq.) in this volume, to which article the reader is referred.
[1 By Rev. A. E. Myers.]
At a meeting held at Buffalo, Aug. 17, 1809, consisting of persons of different religious denominations, most of them in an unsettled state as to a fixed gospel ministry, it was unanimously agreed to form themselves into a society to be called "The Christian Association of Washington, Pa." The first article of the constitution which they adopted, after giving the name, declares the object of the organization to be "for the sole purpose of promoting simple evangelical Christianity, free from all mixture of human opinions and inventions of men." After the organization of the above-named association, Thomas Campbell labored under its auspices for a while. During this year his son Alexander and the rest of his family arrived in this country and joined Thomas Campbell in Washington County, Pa. In the spring of 1810, at the house of Jacob Donaldson, after his father had given a discourse, Alexander Campbell, for the first time and at the request of his father, addressed the congregation briefly in a word of exhortation, and on the 15th of July of that year he gave his first regular discourse under a tree on the farm of Maj. Templeton, some eight miles from Washington. This discourse was based on the closing verses of the Sermon on the Mount, and was very acceptable to those who heard it.
In the fall of that year the members of the Christian Association decided to build themselves a meeting-house, and they accordingly selected for the site a piece of ground on the farm of William Gilchrist, now the property of _____ Miller, in the valley of Brush Run, about two miles above its junction with Buffalo Creek. Early in the following spring this house was erected, and the opening discourse was given by Alexander Campbell, on the 16th of June, 1811, from these words: "Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world,"--Gal. i. 4. On the 4th of May, a little over a month before the new house was thus opened, the members of the Association had met and organized a church. Thomas Campbell was appointed elder, and Alexander Campbell was licensed to preach the gospel. John Dawson, George Sharp, William Gilchrist, and James Foster were chosen deacons. The names of the members constituting this Brush Run Church were Thomas Campbell, Alexander Campbell, Mrs. Jane Campbell and her daughter Dorothea, James Foster and wife, John Dawson and wife, Thomas Hodgens, Sr., and wife and his son James Hodgens, James Hanen and wife, William Gilchrist and daughter, with his wife and her mother, George Sharp, Sr., and wife and son John, Thomas Sharp and Mrs. Sharp, wife of George Sharp, Jr., George Archer and wife, Abraham Altars, Margaret Fullerton, Joseph Bryant, and John Donaldson. These met and worshiped alternately here and at Cross-Roads. At Mount Pleasant, sometimes called Hickory, another church was organized about the same time as the one on Brush Run. The Campbells continued to minister to these and to preach and plant other churches in new fields. In 1813, James Foster was ordained an elder in the Brush Run congregation, and aided in the instruction of the church, and Alexander Campbell had been ordained "to the work of the holy ministry" on the 1st day of January, 1812.
By the year 1823 the number of members had increased considerably, and being very much scattered, they decided to form a church at Wellsburg, Brooke Co., Va. (now W. Va.). Accordingly the following persons, on the 31st of August, 1823, were dismissed by letter from the Brush Run Church for this purpose, viz.: Alexander Campbell, Margaret Campbell, John Brown, Ann Brown, Mary Sayers, Mary Marshall, Mary Little, Richard McConnel, Stephen Riest, Mr. Jones, John Chambers, Mary Chambers, Jacob Osborne, Susan Osborne, Mrs. Bakewell, Selina Bakewell, Mrs. Dicks, William Gilchrist, Jane Gilchrist, Mr. Brockaw, Nancy Brockaw, Alexander Holliday, Joseph Freeman, Margaret Parkison, Jane Parkison, Mrs. Talbort, George Young, Daniel Babbit, Catharine Harvey, Mrs. Braley, Solomon Salah, Delilah Salah. The remainder of the disciples at Brush Run continued to meet regularly for worship, although considerably reduced in numbers. In 1826, James Foster, with several others, removed to Marshall County, Va., near to Beeler's Station, where they formed another church, and soon after, in the latter part of 1827 or the early part of 1828, those nearest to Bethany began to meet in that vicinity, and the Brush Run Church being thus weakened, they soon discontinued their meetings there. Very soon after this, however, we find a number of these members, with others, meeting in private houses on the Dutch Fork, some five or six miles south of the old Brush Run Church, and others meeting in a similar manner near West Middletown, on the north.
But before giving a specific account of either the Dutch Forks or West Middletown churches it is proper to remark, as a part of the true history of this movement and the chief actors in it, that after the Campbells withdrew from the Seceders and were thrown upon their own resources as independent religionists, they devoted themselves assiduously to the study of the Bible, and their minds and those associated with them underwent some important changes on the subject of church government, the mode or action of Christian baptism, its subject, design, etc. Hence, on the "mode" of baptism, becoming satisfied from the Scriptures that the immersion of a true believer is the apostolic action of baptism, on the 12th day of June, 1812, the Campbells, their wives, and three other persons were baptized in Buffalo Creek, on the farm of David Bryant, now the property of John Stewart, by Elder Matthias Luce, a Baptist minister, who had been sent for to administer the ordinance. From this time forward they and their brethren practiced immersion alone for baptism. We have thus given a few facts in connection with the early movements of the Campbells (Thomas and Alexander) in Washington County, because these facts and the efforts of these noted men have become a part of the religious history not of this county only, but of this age and of this country. The religious movement commenced by them in this county has assumed much larger proportions at this early date, we apprehend, than they or any of their friends at the time expected, the denomination now numbering over six hundred thousand communicants.
In the year 1828 a young man of the name of Absalom Titus, living with his widowed mother, Margaret Titus, on the Dutch Fork, about four miles above its junction with Buffalo Creek, becoming satisfied that it was his duty to become a Christian, went to Bethany, and on a profession of his faith in Christ was baptized by Alexander Campbell. Soon after this Campbell began occasionally to preach at Mrs. Titus', and in 1830 she was baptized near her own residence, now the property of Franklin Titus. The following year Alexander Campbell and Walter Scott held a meeting in a sugar-tree grove on the farm of Elizabeth Rodgers, now owned by her son, Patrick Rodgers, but occupied by his son Franklin, at which several persons were immersed. These persons, in connection with several of the former members of the old Brush Run Church who lived near enough, began to meet regularly for worship at Mrs. Titus' residence, and they were led and instructed in these meetings by the Campbells, James McElroy, James McVey, Robert Dawson, Walter Scott, and others. They first attended to the breaking of bread here under James McVey, in 1831. Soon after this they would, for the convenience of a portion of the members, meet occasionally at Jacob Deeds' house, now John Deeds', near the present church, known as the Dutch Fork Church. They afterwards met in a school-house near the same place, until 1834, when, on the 31st of May, the present church site was deeded to Samuel Cox, Jacob Deeds, Joseph McCoy, George Morrow, and Patrick Rodgers as trustees, and their successors, for the benefit of the church, by Jacob Deeds and wife and George Morrow and wife. The members immediately erected on this land a meeting-house, which they continued to occupy until the present house was built in 1863, which was dedicated on the first Sunday of December of that year by President W. K. Pendleton, of Bethany College, assisted by A. E. Myers.
The original members of the Dutch Fork Christian Church were the following viz.: Absalom Titus, Margaret Titus, and her daughters Sarah and Margaret, Elizabeth Rodgers, Jacob Deeds, and Ann his wife, Jonathan, Elizabeth, Sarah, and Adam Simmons, George Morrow and Hester his wife, Jeremiah Linville, Elizabeth his wife, and Maria their daughter, George Guy, and Mary his wife, Joseph McCoy, and Mary his wife, Lydia and Mary Stoolfire, Fanny, Alexander, and Maria Martin, Andrew, Levi, Sarah, Ann, David, and Mary McKune, Mary McCreath, Henry Jameson, and Esther his wife, Joseph Kine and wife, Rosa Cox, and Lavenia Matthews. The following were from the old Brush Run Church: Andrew Chapman, and Nancy his wife, Joseph Bryant, and Dorothea his wife, William Matthews and wife, and Joseph Matthews. This church was organized about the year 1833 by Walter Scott and James McVey, but the records of the church here are somewhat defective; only relatively correct. In the regular weekly meetings of the church to break bread and for edification, William and Joseph Matthews, with others not mentioned above, contributed of their Bible knowledge in the instruction of the congregation for quite a number of years.
In 1844, Robert Graham, a student then of Bethany College, and now president of the Bible College of Kentucky University, was employed to preach regularly for the church, and did much towards bringing the congregation into scriptural order and correct discipline. In 1846-48, Moses E. Said, a man of very considerable power as a preacher and writer, ministered to the congregation the word of life. Occasionally during all of these years evangelists from Ohio, Virginia, and this State visited this church, and held protracted meetings for days, and often added to their numbers many souls.
From 1849 to 1862, James Hough was the regular teaching elder of the church. During this period a number of protracted meetings were held by various ministers of the gospel, among whom were L. P. Streator, of this county; T. V. Barry, now of Iowa; W. T. Moore, now of London, England, and A. E. Myers, now of West Liberty, W. Va. The last of these held his first protracted meeting here in June, 1851, and often visited and labored for the church up to 1862, when he became the evangelist of the church, and virtually took charge of it. He has remained in charge, except for a few short intervals, up to this date, having often young men from Bethany College as assistant preachers and teachers of the congregation. But being an evangelist, and laboring occasionally in an extended field in several of the States, he has not generally for long periods of time together devoted all his time to this church, but in connection with the regular elders and deacons of the church, and the aid of younger ministers from the college, has kept a general watch-care over the flock.
In 1878 the following persons, having been duly elected by the brethren, were formally ordained by fasting, prayer, and the imposition of hands, A. E. Myers and President Pendleton, of Bethany College, officiating: John Crow (now deceased), Abraham Morrow, and George Smith, elders; Henry Chapman, David Winter, George Kernes, and William Shaler, deacons. The church now numbers two hundred and eight communicants; they are at peace among themselves, have no debt hanging over them, and their church property is worth about fifteen hundred dollars. They keep up a respectable Sunday-school all the year, and at present have for their ministers, each one-half of the time, A. E Myers and King Pendleton, a son of President Pendleton, of Bethany College.
Zion Chapel of the United Brethren Church dates back to the year 1800, when the first organization was effected. The members at about that time (and who, as is believed, were the original ones) were Christopher Winter, Daniel Rice, George Crider, William Barnhart, George Framer, Capt. Jacob Miller, Andrew Deeds, David Simmons, William Sheller, George Kerns. Among the preachers to this church during its long period of existence were and have been _____ Flemmer, Jacob Winter, John Wallace, Jacob Ritter, John Fohl, _____ Holmes, William Beighell, J. L. Baker, Martin Spangler, Joseph Medsgar, M. O. Lane.
The first house of worship of this congregation was erected on Christopher Winter's land, at about the time of the organization. It was a log building, two stories high, with a gallery. The second meeting-house was built in 1839, and after being in use for twenty years gave place, in 1859, to the edifice which has since been the place of worship of the congregation. The present membership of this church includes about fifty persons.
Pleasant Grove Regular Baptist Church.--This church was organized on the 14th of November, 1840, with fifty-three members. The pastor was the Rev. Levi Griffith. Deacons, John Tilton and Samuel Kelly. Church clerk, Edward O. Town. A house of worship was erected on land donated for the purpose by Deacon John Tilton. The church has now a membership of about one hundred and thirty, and connected with it is a Sabbath-school of about forty pupils.
THADDEUS CLARK NOBLE.Thaddeus Clark Noble, of Claysville, was born on Dec. 29, 1818, in Amwell township, Washington Co., Pa., on the farm now owned by Mr. Archibald McCracken. His grandfather was William Noble, who emigrated from near Glasgow, Scotland, and settled in Lancaster County, where he married Elizabeth Howe, a native of that county, became a soldier, and was killed in battle in the Revolutionary war. The widow, with her son, James Noble, the father of the present Mr. Noble, and another son, subsequently removed to Washington County, while her sons were yet small. James Noble married Jane Boyd, who was born in the town of Dennaughey, County Tyrone, Ireland, and was the daughter of Robert Boyd and his wife, Margaret (Latimore) Boyd, a sister of Robert Latimore, late of Washington, Pa. Robert Boyd and his family, including Jane, removed to America and settled in Washington County when the latter was about eleven years of age. Jane (Boyd) Noble was a full cousin of Mrs. Martha McCook, the mother of the well-known "fighting" McCook family. James Noble settled in Claysville in the year 1821, where he continued to reside with his family, consisting of five sons and five daughters (of whom T. C. Noble was the eldest), until his death in 1873.
T. C. Noble attended the common schools of his neighborhood, living with his father, until he was eighteen years old, and worked occasionally at cabinet-making and undertaking, which was his father's business, until the age of twenty years. He then went to Illinois, stopping at Winchester, Scott Co., with twelve and a half cents in silver and a three-dollar note on the bank of Xenia, Ohio, the note not then known by him to be worthless. Unable to buy his breakfast with the bank-note, he went to work as a journeyman cabinet-maker, continuing in that employment for about six months, when he found he had earned one hundred and twenty-six dollars. He then started home, arriving in time to cast his first vote in 1840 for Martin Van Buren. Thence until the spring of 1844 he was occupied alternatively teaching school, selling merchandise, and working at his trade. In the spring of 1844 he went back to Illinois, taught school during the summer, returning again in the fall to his Washington County home, and from that time to 1849 was most generally engaged in selling goods for George A. Cracraft and Paden & Noble, during which time he also studied surveying, in theory and practice, with the Hon. E. G. Cracraft. In 1846 he was appointed by Governor F. R. Shunk to the office of deputy surveyor for Washington County and served three years, and was then reappointed for another term of like extent. The office then becoming elective, he was nominated by his party, but defeated by Hon. H. J. Vankirk by a majority of five votes. At the end of that term both gentlemen were again nominated by their respective parties, Mr. Noble this time being chosen by a majority of five hundred and five votes.
In 1849, Mr. Noble was married to Miss Sarah Mehetable Truesdell, daughter of Josiah and Mary Truesdell, who moved to Washington County from near Bristol, Conn., and settled near Claysville about the time the town was laid out. By this marriage there have been ten children, three of whom, Lizzie M., Charlotte G., and Joel J., are dead, and seven of whom, Joseph T., James, T. Clark, Jr., Frances M., Harriet W., Ella I., and Katie M., are still living. J. T. Noble, the oldest son, is a graduate of Washington and Jefferson College, and a member of the Washington County bar. Frances M., Harriet W., and Ella I. are graduates of Steubenville Seminary, and T. Clark, Jr., is at present a member of the sophomore class of Washington and Jefferson College.
Soon after his marriage Mr. Noble commenced merchandising in Claysville, keeping a general store, at which business he continued for a period of twenty-five years, at different times having for partners L. C. Truesdell (a brother-in-law), C. B. Abercrombie, and M. L. Stillwagen. During the thirty-three years which have elapsed since his marriage, Mr. Noble has surveyed more than a thousand farms in Washington County and Western Virginia, besides running many disputed lines, and serving under appointment as road- or bridge-viewer and in dividing townships for nearly every term of court for these thirty-three years, sometimes having filled as many as three appointments for one term. In 1855, Mr. Noble was the candidate of the Democratic party for prothonotary, and was defeated by twenty-five votes, while all but one on the same ticket were defeated by from seventy-five to two hundred and twenty-five votes. In 1857, under an appointment authorized by an act of the Legislature, he transcribed from the official records at Harrisburg, for the use of the county, all the drafts of the original surveys not found in the record books of the county. The surveys thus transcribed number about twelve hundred, and fill two large volumes.
During these thirty-three years he has been extensively engaged in other business of various kinds,--the purchase and sale of land for himself and others, the buying of wool to the extent of from thirty thousand dollars to one hundred thousand dollars each year, the sale of harvesting machines and other farm implements, and during the war he dealt largely in grain, hay, and hogs. Besides his private business, Mr. Noble has also filled many appointments to offices of trust, such as executor, administrator, etc., and for fifteen years was a school director of his district, and was twice commissioned a justice of the peace, 1874, and 1879.
In politics Mr. Noble has always been a Democrat, has been nominated without solicitation on his part five times for different county offices, and in 1880 was chairman of the County Vigilance Committee, in which campaign George Perritte, Esq., was elected sheriff, though that was the only important office to fill that year, and notwithstanding his party was largely in the minority. His standing in his party is such that at different times he has been urged to become a candidate for the Legislature, and always declined, alleging his entire unfitness and his preference to be at home with his family. He has always been a strong advocate of temperance, never indulged in the use of liquors of any kind, and has even always abstained from the use of tobacco. For a number of years he was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, but for the last eight years he has been a member of the Presbyterian Church. For ten years he has been a Sabbath-school superintendent, which honorable office he now fills. Though thus long engaged in active business, in employments of many kinds, as well as in managing the farm which he bought in 1854, and on which he now resides, he has never been a party to a suit in court, or even before a justice of the peace, and his own tastes have been such, and his character of that quiet and unobtrusive kind, that not only has his popularity been wide-spread, but his influence with both old and young has always been decided and effective.
THOMAS FRAZIER.Thomas Frazier's grandfather, Andrew Frazier, was a native of Dornoch, shire of Sutherland, Scotland. He married Christiana Ross, and in 1772 emigrated to America and settled in Maryland. In 1786 they removed to Washington County, Pa., and settled in Chartiers township, where they remained until the year 1800, when they moved into Finley township in the same county, where they lived until their deaths. Andrew died Dec. 11, 1838, aged eighty-six years. Christiana died Oct. 9, 1842, in the eighty-eighth year of her age. They had four children,--David, Alexander, Daniel, and Nancy.
David Frazier was born in Maryland in 1779. When seven years of age he went with his parents to Washington County, Pa., wherein his home was the remainder of his life, and his business, farming. He married Jane Ross, of Finley township. They had seven children,--Thomas, Margaret, Jane, Andrew B., Christiana, William, and Alfred. But one of these, Andrew B., is now living. He is a minister in the Presbyterian Church, and resides in Illinois. David Frazier died in 1839. His wife, Jane (Ross) Frazier, died June 20, 1868.
David Frazier was a very remarkable man, and it is to be regretted that so few details of his life and deeds can at this time be readily gathered. He was a man of fervid piety, one of the leading members of the Presbyterian Church of his neighborhood, and lived a life of noble Christian deeds. He was appointed justice of the peace in 1815, and held the office until 1834. He was a just man and a peace-maker, always urging upon those disposed to go to law an amicable settlement of their differences. In 1834 he was elected a member of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania, and served one term. He discharged his duties honorably and creditably.
Thomas, eldest son of David and Jane (Ross) Frazier, was born in West Finley township, Washington County, Pa., in 1810. In his boyhood he attended the district schools and also for a time West Alexander Academy, and thereafter entered Jefferson College, from which he graduated about 1831. After leaving college he engaged in merchandising in West Alexander, where he remained for several years, when he removed to Concord, Ohio, and continued in business as a merchant. He remained there but two years, when he returned to the farm whereon he was born, and engaged in farming and general stock-raising. In 1869 he moved from the farm to the borough of West Alexander, which was his home until his death, Sept. 17, 1877. In business he exhibited good judgement, caution, perseverance, and watchfulness, combined with a good knowledge of market values. His long-time acquaintances speak of him as a man of high integrity, an obliging and liberal friend, one whose word was always as good as a bond for what he promised. He was a lifelong Democrat, and was elected to a number of important local offices, whose duties he discharged in a manner approved by his constituents. For the office of justice of the peace, to which he was twice elected, he showed a peculiar fitness.
He was twice married: first in 1839 to Nancy Hall, who died April 6, 1862. By this marriage there were four children,--William H., a farmer living in West Alexander; Agnes J., married to J. W. Blaney, a farmer of West Finley township; David R., a general business man of West Alexander, married to Mary Blaney; and a child which died in infancy. Thomas married his second wife, Barbara McDonald who is still living, in 1865.
WILLIAM McLAIN.William McLain, of Scotch-Irish stock, the descendant of a family which came to America and settled in Western Pennsylvania when it was an unbroken forest, was born near Canonsburg, Washington Co., June 23, 1779. His father died when he was very young, and the difficulties which he overcame in obtaining an education would have discouraged a boy of less resolute character. His thirst for knowledge led him to great application to study, and he was soon thoroughly equipped for teaching, which, although a farmer by occupation, he followed for more than thirty years of his life. He was a skillful teacher, a lover of learning, imbued with those virtues which make the character great, and many who hearkened unto his instruction and advice attribute much of their success in after-years to the lessons which he inculcated. He moved to the village of Claysville in 1830, and resided there until his death, March 2, 1872. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church for more than sixty years, and a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church of Claysville for over forty years. He was a faithful, consistent, zealous Christian, always holding the interests of the church most dear, and ever ready to devote himself to her work. While a man of deep and abiding piety, he yet took an earnest interest in all that related to his citizenship. His life of ninety-three years was full of worthy, helpful deeds, and he was permitted to see all of his children, to whom his memory is a precious legacy, members of the church which he loved and served so well.
William McLain was twice married. His first wife, Agnes Fink, whom he married March 4, 1806, died Aug. 21, 1808, leaving two sons, John and Samuel A.
John McLain, who was born Dec. 21, 1806, never married. He lived with his father until 1846, when he settled upon a farm in East Finley township, Washington Co., Pa., where he still resides. He is an honored and respected citizen, an earnest Christian worker, always a leader in church enterprises. The Claysville Presbyterian Church, of which he has been a ruling elder for more than twenty years, has received much substantial support from him.
Samuel A. McLain was born July 23, 1808, and died in Jasper County, Iowa, April 26, 1869. He graduated at Jefferson College, Washington County, Pa., and entered the ministry of the Presbyterian Church in 1835. He possessed many excellent traits of character. He was a firm adherent to the doctrines of his church, a lifelong foe of the system of human slavery, a thorough reformer, and an advocate of the cause of the oppressed. He was twice married. His first wife was Anna Hughes, and by her he had eight children, four sons and four daughters. Three of his sons, Thomas, William, and John, served in the Union army during the war of the Rebellion. John was killed at the battle of Cold Harbor. By his second wife, Kate Dawes, he had one child, a daughter. Three of his sons and two daughters are now living, all in Iowa, except Thomas, who is chief clerk in the Cincinnati City Hospital, which position he has held for the last twenty years.
William McLain's second wife, whom he married Nov. 7, 1811, was Margaret McClelland. She survived her husband three years. By this marriage there were ten children, three sons and seven daughters; two of the sons, Thomas and William, died in childhood. The third son, Joseph R. McLain, was born Jan. 8, 1828, and resides in Claysville, Washington Co., Pa. He was married Nov. 27, 1849, to Susanna Ralston. By this marriage there were nine children, of whom, Lauretta M., the eldest daughter, died Dec. 28, 1879. Those living are William J. E., Maggie M., John A., Joseph M., David C., Susie S., Beckie E., and George W. Joseph R. McClain is an active member of the Republican party, and by it has been elected to important offices. He was the first Republican jury commissioner of Washington County, and has held the position of chairman of the Republican County Committee. He has been a member of the State House of Representatives, and served in the sessions of 1876 and 1877. He is now engaged in the wool and mercantile business in Claysville, Pa., and in the mercantile business in Dravosburg, Pa.
The daughters of William McLain were Agnes, Hannah, Mary, Martha, Margaret, Eliza J., and Sarah.
Agnes was born Aug. 8, 1812. She is the widow of James Sawhill, and lives in Washington, Pa.
Hannah, born Jan. 14, 1814, is the widow of Ira Blanchard, died in Claysville, Pa., March 5, 1882.
Mary, born Dec. 1, 1816, lives in Washington, Pa.
Martha, born Sept. 21, 1818, died in June, 1880. She was the wife of Rev. Alexander McCarrell, D.D., who was pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Claysville, Pa., for thirty-five years previous to his death in 1881.
Margaret, born Feb. 15, 1822, is the wife of Robert McKahan, surveyor of Guernsey County, Ohio, where they reside.
Eliza J., born Feb. 11, 1826, died July 10, 1856. She was the wife of James Wright, deceased.
Sarah, born Dec. 7, 1830, is the wife of A. K. Craig, and lives near Claysville, Pa.
DR. GEORGE B. WOODS.Dr. George B. Woods is of Irish descent, and was born in Centre township, Greene Co., Pa., Sept. 7, 1850. He obtained a good preparatory education in the common schools and Waynesburg College, in his native county, and studied medicine with Dr. J. H. Pipes, then of Cameron, now of Wheeling, W. Va. In 1872 he matriculated in the medical department of the University of Wooster, of Cleveland, Ohio, and was graduated M.D. in February, 1874. For one year after graduating he was associated in practice with his preceptor. He then established himself in Dallas, W. Va., and remained four years. In the summer of 1880 he settled in West Alexander, where he has a growing practice. Dr. Woods has made his own way in the world, earning by teaching and in other ways the money necessary to defray the expenses of his literary and medical education. He knows the value of time, and the probationary years so often spent by young physicians in bewailing their misfortunes were utilized by him and spent in making himself more conversant with the medical and surgical science, as found in text-books, special treatises, and periodicals of the day. He is wedded to his profession, and does not permit outside matters to engage his attention. He was married in 1875 to Lizzie M. Lucas, of Waynesburg. They have two children,--Lynn and Paul Woods.
DR. D. S. EAGLESON.Dr. D. S. Eagleson was born in Hopewell township, Washington Co., Nov. 19, 1837. Having received a good education in the common schools and academy, he engaged in teaching, which he followed for several years during the winter months. In 1859 he commenced the study of medicine with Dr. Erastus Bemis, a native of Brattleboro', Vt., but at that time and for many years thereafter a resident of West Middletown, Washington Co., Pa. After reading a sufficient time, he attended lectures at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, where he graduated in 1863. He opened an office in Montgomery County, Ohio, and practiced in and near Dayton until the spring of 1867, when he removed to West Alexander, in his native county, where he opened an office and is now practicing. His time has been well employed, and he enjoys the confidence of the community. He clings to the Presbyterian faith, of which his father was a life-long minister. He was married Nov. 4, 1863, to Annie J. Blaney, of Buffalo township, Washington Co., Pa. They have five living children,--Mary C., Laura I., Annie J., Nancy C., and Lizzie L. One of their children, Eva I., died Jan. 23, 1877, in her sixth year.
Dr. Eagleson's father, Rev. Dr. John Eagleson, was born near Cadiz, Ohio, Feb. 12, 1809; graduated at Jefferson College, Pennsylvania, in 1829; was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Steubenville at Beech Spring Jan. 8, 1833; commenced his ministry in Upper Buffalo Church Jan. 19, 1834; was ordained and installed pastor by the Presbytery of Washington Dec. 24, 1834; and died Jan. 23, 1873, having spent his life as a minister with the one charge. He was married in 1835 to Mary Stewart, who died in 1842, leaving three children,--Andrew S., David S., and William S. In 1843 he was married to his second wife, Mary Gordon, by whom he had five children,--Alexander G., Henry G., Jane G., Hannah G., and George G.
Rev. Dr. John Eagleson was a man whose character was wonderfully symmetrical. He was unselfish, seeking not his own aggrandizement, but God's glory. He knew his duty and did it. Piety like a silver thread ran through his entire life. He believed with all his heart in the scriptural character of the doctrines of his own branch of Christ's Church, yet always entertained a cordial feeling for those who differed from him. His readiness to maintain his own views of Christian doctrine with great firmness never impaired the fraternal and confidential relations existing between himself and his brethren in the ministry of other churches. As he expected to commune with God's people in heaven, he took great pleasure in affiliating with them here upon earth.
DR. J. C. BROWNLEE.Dr. J. C. Brownlee is the third son of Ebenezer and Eliza (Davidson) Brownlee, of West Finley township, Washington County, where he was born Feb. 9, 1854. He was prepared for college in the common schools and in West Alexander Academy, under the tutorship of Rev. W. H. Lester. In 1873 he entered the freshman class of Amherst College, where he remained one year. He then entered Cornell University, and took a special course of two years, devoting his time mainly to the departments of natural history and chemistry, preparatory to entering upon the study of medicine. In the fall of 1876 he entered Bellevue Hospital Medical College, New York City, and attended the course of lectures for that year. He returned home in the spring of 1877, and during the winter of that year taught school, his health not permitting him to return to lectures at that time. During the summer of 1878 he was principal of the West Alexander Academy, and illness after the close of his term prevented his attending lectures that year. After his recovery he practiced with Dr. Marshman, of Dallas, W. Va., where he remained until the fall of 1879, when he re-entered Bellevue Medical College, from which he was graduated M.D. in the spring of 1880. In addition to the regular course of the college, he took special courses on "diseases of the eye, physical diagnosis, and surgery." Soon after his return home he opened an office and began practice in West Alexander. He is well up in a knowledge of the most approved and latest methods of diagnosis and means of relieving human suffering. He is a member of the Washington County Medical Society, of the Presbyterian Church, and of the Young Men's Christian Association, in which he takes the greatest interest, having filled the offices of president and secretary of the same, and having been a delegate to their international convention held in Cleveland in May, 1881.
JOSEPH FINLEY MAYES.Charles Mayes, grandfather of Joseph Finley Mayes, was of Scotch descent, and was born in Adams County, Pa. He married Margaret Finley, of the same county, about the year 1773, and in the year 1786 migrated to Washington County, Pa., and settled upon a farm near West Alexander, where he lived until his death, March 1, 1823, aged seventy-eight years. The children of Charles and Margaret (Finley) Mayes were Elizabeth, born March 26, 1774; James, born June 3, 1775; Isaac, born March 6, 1777; Charles, born June 22, 1779; John, born May 12, 1781; Samuel R., born Aug. 23, 1783, he died in infancy, and the next son was Samuel R., born Aug. 12, 1785; Margaret, born Nov. 20, 1790; Mary Finley, born April 18, 1793; Jane, born Nov. 15, 1795. The last named is the only one of the family now living.
Isaac Mayes, the third in the above list, spent his early life in farm labor, and while he superintended and directed the working of his farm during the last thirty-three years of his life, much of his time and attention of that period was given to the discharge of the duties of the office of justice of the peace, to which he was appointed Dec. 6, 1811, and which he held until his death July 16, 1844. He was a man of correct business habits, and left a systematic register of all his official transactions. Among the interesting items recorded is this, that during his terms of office he married nine hundred and thirty (930) couples. He was upright, kind, and faithful, a good man. He was married Nov. 25, 1813, to Elizabeth Alexander, who died April 16, 1816, leaving one child, Joseph Finley Mayes.
He married his second wife, Elizabeth King, Nov. 25, 1818. She died July 2, 1872, in her eighty-eighth year. By this marriage there were five children,--Margaret M., who died in 1830, aged eleven years; Sarah S., who is the wife of Dr. Edward P. Hale, of Wichita, Sedgwick Co., Kan.; Kate W., who is the wife of Joel Truesdell, of West Alexander, Washington Co., Pa.; Rebecca R., who died in 1825, aged six years; and Samuel R., who died in infancy in 1827.
Joseph Finley Mayes was born in West Alexander, where he now resides, Aug. 25, 1814. He obtained his education in the district school and the academy of his native village. After leaving school he engaged in farming, which was his chief business until 1874. Since that date he has been busied with the duties of his office, that of justice of the peace, to which he was first elected in 1862, and in which he has been continued by his successive elections ever since. He was elected to his fifth term in this office in February, 1882. In politics he is an ardent Republican, and earnest in his efforts to promote the principles of his party, but is esteemed by his political opponents, as is evidenced by the fact that he has at times been elected to the position which he now fills by the combined vote of all parties. He is a clever gentleman, with good natural and acquired business ability, and has the confidence and respect of a large acquaintance. His "book" shows at the present date, July 23, 1882, that he has performed the marriage ceremony for two thousand and thirty-nine (2039) couples, for which much-enjoyed and well-performed duty he has received in fees $6387.84. Twenty dollars ($20) is the largest fee he has ever received, ninety cents ($0.90) the smallest, and but five or six of this large number have failed to pay something. His marriage-list includes representatives from various parts of the United States. The fact that his office is near the State of West Virginia, in which a marriage license is required before the important rite can legally be performed, doubtless brings to him many who desire to enter wedded life. Others go because of his reputation for knowing and doing his duty well.
Mr. Mayes is a member of the Presbyterian Church, as were also his father and grandfather. He was married Nov. 30, 1854, to Cassandra R. Jacob, of Ohio County, Va. She died Feb. 15, 1872, leaving one child, Lizzie A. Mayes, who died Dec. 24, 1879.
Joseph was married to his second wife, Carrie D. Agnew, of Wheeling, Dec. 18, 1874. She died Nov. 27, 1877.
He was married to his present wife, Rettie R. Bare, Nov. 22, 1881.
JAMES McQUOWN.Thomas McQuown, a gentleman of Irish descent, married Mrs. Margaret Galloway, by whom he had two children, Margaret and James. Margaret married William Davidson.
James McQuown was born in Washington County, Sept. 24, 1784, and died in 1864. His father died when he was ten years of age, and he was thus early thrown upon his own resources. He learned the carpenter's and cabinet-maker's trades, which he followed for many years. He studied surveying, in which he became very proficient, and he at one time held the office of county surveyor. The latter years of his active life were spent in farming. The chief ambition or desire of his life was to accomplish whatever he undertook, and to excel in his work. His determination and native intellectual capacity, disciplined by reading and observation, were the mainsprings of his success. He was a member of the Associate Reformed Church in early life, and afterwards of the United Presbyterian Church. In politics he was a Whig, afterwards a Republican, advocating the principles of the latter long before the party was organized. He was married Sept. 29, 1805, to Sarah McGaw. They had ten children,--Isabella, Margaret, Delilah, Thomas, Sarah, James, Jane, Elizabeth, John, and Agnes. But two of the children, Sarah and James, are now living.
DRS. J. N., I. N., AND LEE M. SPROWLS.These three physicians are of Irish stock. Their grandfather, John Sprowls, came from County Tyrone, Ireland, to America near the close of the last century. Their father, whose name was also John Sprowls, was born in East Finley township in 1818, and died Aug. 8, 1870. He learned the business of farming, and followed it successfully all of his life. He was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church for many years, a charter member of the Windy Gap Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and an elder in that organization for a long time. He was married in 1850 to Mary A. McNay. Their children were J. M., J. N., I. N., Lee M., Annie M., Clara B., A. H., and Lucy E.
Dr. J. N. Sprowls was born in West Finley township, Washington County, Sept. 14, 1852. His literary education was received in the common schools and Oberlin College, Lorain County, Ohio. After leaving college he read medicine with Dr. Silas C. McCracken, of Claysville. In September, 1875, he entered Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, from which he graduated in March, 1877. After graduating he pursued the practice of his chosen profession with his preceptor for one year. He then established himself in his own office. He takes a great interest in everything that affects the efficiency and standing of himself and his profession before the public. In his youth he joined the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and afterwards united with the Presbyterian Church, of which he is now a member. He was married March 6, 1878, to Maggie M. McLain, of Claysville. They have one child, Joseph William Sprowls, born May 6, 1882.
Dr. I. N. Sprowls was born in West Finley township, Washington County, in 1854, and died in February, 1882. In his youth he worked on the farm with his father, attending the common schools, from which he was advanced to Waynesburg and Mount Union Colleges, where he completed his literary education. His medical studies were under the direction of Dr. W. L. Grim. He attended the usual courses of lectures, and graduated M.D. from Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, in 1879. In the same year he opened an office in Burnsville, where he practiced until his death in 1882. He was thoroughly in love with his profession, and is gratefully remembered by his family and medical brethren.
Dr. Lee M. Sprowls was born in West Finley township, Washington County, Dec. 22, 1856. He received his education in the common schools and Mount Union College. He began his medical pupilage under his brother, Dr. I. N. Sprowls (deceased), of Burnsville, and graduated from Jefferson Medical College in March, 1882. Immediately after graduating he opened an office and began practicing in Burnsville.
DR. WILLIAM L. GRIM.Dr. William L. Grim, who is of Scotch descent, was born in Richhill township, Greene Co., Pa., Aug. 19, 1839, and is the son of Armstrong and Mary A. (Scott) Grim. His life until twenty years of age was spent upon his father's farm. He then taught school for two years. Aug. 20, 1862, he enlisted in Company K, Fifteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, One Hundred and Sixtieth Regiment, and served until his discharge, July 1, 1865. Aug. 1, 1865, he entered the office of Dr. S. C. McCracken, of Burnsville, Washington Co., Pa., as a student of medicine. He remained with him two years, and then attended a course of lectures in Cleveland Medical College. He returned to Burnsville, bought out his preceptor, and began practicing, which he continued until 1874, when he again went to Cleveland, attended another course of lectures, and graduated the following spring. He returned to Burnsville, where he has since been practicing with fair success. Like most rural practitioners, he engages in general practice. He is a member of the Baptist Church. He was married Feb. 11, 1869, to Lizzie A. Litman, of Fayette County, Pa. Their living children are John E., William E., Jesse E., Sturgis G. Outside matters do not attract him. He gives to those things only such time as becomes the good citizen. His father's family consists of nine children, all of whom are living. The doctor is the second son, and fourth in the order of birth.
DR. JAMES W. TEAGARDEN.Dr. James W. Teagarden, of German Descent, was born on Greene County, Pa., Aug. 14, 1850, and is the second son of Hamilton and Sarah A. (Burns) Teagarden. His literary education was obtained in the common schools and academies. When fifteen years of age he began teaching school, which he followed for eleven years. In 1876 he entered the office of Dr. W. L. Grim, of Burnsville, where he prosecuted the study of medicine for nearly two years. In 1877 he matriculated in Cleveland Medical College, from which he received his degree in 1879. For one year after graduating he practiced at Crane's Mills, in his native county. He then settled in Burnsville, Washington Co., as the partner of his preceptor. He enjoys a good general practice. He has been a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church for fifteen years, and is a rigid temperance man. He was married, Oct. 26, 1881, to Hattie N. Crow, of Greene County, Pa., oldest daughter of Michael and Sarah J. Crow, of Richhill township.
DR. WILLIAM DENNEY.Dr. William Denney, of Claysville, was born in Jefferson, Greene Co., Pa., Oct. 28, 1851. He received his primary education in and near his native village. In the autumn of 1864 he went to Mount Pleasant, Iowa, where he studied for four years in the Mount Pleasant Seminary, under the direction of his uncle, Rev. E. L. Belden, who was principal of that institution. He then entered the Wesleyan University of Iowa, where he studied for about two years. In 1870 he returned to his native town of Jefferson and engaged in school-teaching, which he followed in different parts of Greene County until 1876. He then entered regularly upon his medical studies, which he had been pursuing during his vacation in teaching, in the office of his uncle, Dr. B. W. Denney, of Garard's Fort, Greene Co., Pa. He afterwards entered the Miami Medical College, Cincinnati, Ohio, in which he took the progressive course, and from which he graduated in the spring of 1879. In June of that year he established himself in Claysville, where he has since practiced. Professionally and socially he is esteemed by the community. He was married March 3, 1881, to Lucinda, third daughter of John and Sarah Bell, of Morgan township, Greene Co., Pa.
*Boyd Crumrine, "History of Washington County, Pennsylvania with Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men" (Philadelphia: L. H. Leverts & Co., 1882).
Transcribed by Thomas McQuown in July 1998. Published in July 1998 on the Washington County, PA pages at http://www.chartiers.com.
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