East Finley Twp. (pp. 774-781)This township, as also the present township of West Finley, was embraced in the old township of Finley, the territory of which formed a part of the original township of Donegal for nearly seven years from the time of its formation by the trustees. The first movement towards the erection of Finley township was made in 1788, in which year a petition of certain inhabitants of Donegal township was presented to the Court of Quarter Sessions of Washington County at the January term, setting forth:
History of Washington County, Pennsylvania*
"That the said Township is very extensive, being in length more than Twenty and in breadth more than Ten Miles, and of increasing population; that such an extent renders the publick business of that Township very burdensome to its officers and highly inconvenient to all its inhabitants. That your petitioners conceive it is their privilege as members of a Free State to have the administration of Government and Justice among them, with as much ease to themselves as is consistent with the publick advantage. They therefore most humbly pray your Worships that a division of the said Township of Donegal may be appointed and a new township erected in the South Division as your Worships may judge proper."
The prayer of this petition was granted, and Finley township erected by the court May 6, 1788. The original township of Donegal embraced territory extending south about half-way into what is now Greene County, and upon the erection of Finley township all this southern part was embraced in its limits. Three years later, at the April term of the Court of Quarter Sessions, in the year 1792, a petition of inhabitants of Finley township was presented, representing "that your petitioners are subject to many inconveniences, arising from the great extent of said township, and their remote situation from the body of the inhabitants therein, it being thirty miles from the north to the south bounds of the same. That they cannot conveniently, and seldom do, partake in the choice of town officers from that cause, and are often obliged to go a great way on business with them, sometimes too on the most trifling occasions, which we consider as a grievance. Besides being called to work on publick roads at a great distance from home, which is also a great burden." For which reasons they asked the court to cause a division of the township by certain boundary lines suggested in the petition. This petition (which was signed by Thomas Ryerson, Ellis Bane, and twenty-three others) was read at the April term and continued through the June and September terms, and at the December term, 1792, it was granted, with boundary lines as follows:
"Beginning at the State line where it crosses the Pack Horse Fork of Wheeling Creek; thence up said creek, including Robert Wharton's, to the mouth of Robison's Fork; thence up said fork to the first main forks; thence up the Right hand Fork to the head: thence straight to the mouth of Templeton's Ford of said creek: thence up Hunter's Fork to Doctor Moore's plantation, including said plantation to the mouth of Hunter's Run; then up the straight right hand fork of said run to the head of the Brushy fork of Ten-Mile Creek; then along the Dividing Ridge between the brushy fork and the south fork of said creek to the head of English's Run; thence down the Ridge on the east side of said Run, including the waters of said run, to the South fork of Ten-Mile Creek aforesaid; thence across said creek and along the Ridge, including the watters of Perkensons Fork to the head of the Duncard Fork of Weling; thence along said Dividing Ridge between the watters of the Monongahela and the Ohio Rivers to the State line; thence along said line to the place of Beginen."
The township thus taken from Finley was named Rich Hill, and in 1796 became a part of Greene County. By an act of the Legislature passed Jan. 22, 1802, an alteration was made in the line between Washington and Greene County, in which that portion of Greene County that became by the act annexed to Washington was made a part of Finley township.
On the fourth Monday of June 1828, a petition from certain inhabitants of Finley township was presented to the Court of Quarter Sessions of Washington County, praying for a division of the township, on account of "the disadvantages they labour under in consequence of their Township being large, that a great number of the inhabitants have to go from eight to ten miles to an election. Also there is so many roads that two supervisors cannot attend to them in good time." The court upon consideration appointed David Frazer, Abraham Van Voorhis, and Jacob McVey commissioners to divide the township if thought to be necessary. The commissioners reported Oct. 6, 1828, that they had divided the township "by a line commencing on the Greene County line, bank of Hunter's Fork of Wheeling, and opposite to the mouth of Shoup's Run, bearing north five degrees west, seven miles and two hundred and eighty perches to a stone pile in the Donegal township line on lands of the heirs of Thomas Stokely near the head of a small ravine north 66 ½ Degrees East 145 perches from the house whereon James Simmons formerly lived now the property of Elizabeth Roney." The report was confirmed Dec. 24, 1828, and the two divisions thus made of the territory of old Finley township were named, respectively, East Finley and West Finley townships. Since that time no material change has been made in the boundaries of East Finley, which are: On the northwest, Donegal township; on the northeast, Buffalo; on the east, Franklin and Morris; on the west, West Finley township; and on the south, Greene County. The streams of the township are Hunter's Fork of Wheeling Creek (which fork marks the south boundary of the township), Templeton's Fork and Gordy's Fork of the same creek, both of which pass through the township in a southwesterly course, and a small tributary of Buffalo Creek, which rises in the northeastern part of the township, and flows in a northerly course into the township of Buffalo.
Early Settlements.---Abraham Enlow was among the first of the settlers in what is now East Finley township. There is little doubt that he was here as early as 1775. He settled on Wheeling Creek, where he built a block-house for the protection of himself and family from the Indians. His first land purchase was of a tract containing four hundred acres, called "Big Flat," situated on the waters of Big Wheeling Creek, which was granted to him Feb. 21, 1788, and surveyed March 30th following. On March 26, 1788, "Sugar Stick Run," a tract of three hundred and ninety-one acres, was warranted to him, and surveyed April 26th of the same year. Again, in 1790, he received a warrant for one hundred acres of land, which was not surveyed until June 9, 1799. Abraham Enlow's sons were five, ---Elliott, Luke, Henry, William, and Michael. His daughters, four in number, were Mrs. Thomas Hill, Mrs. James St. Clair, Mrs. Wolf, and Mrs. Jeremiah Post. Michael Enlow married and emigrated to Monroe County, Ohio; Elliott Enlow married a Miss Atchison, and they had a large family of children. Their sons were three, ---Henry, John, and Gideon.
Luke, second son of Abraham Enlow, married and died near where he was born, leaving a large family, six sons and three daughters. All except Ruth, who married John Montgomery, emigrated to Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. William Enlow, another of Abraham's sons, married a Miss Wolf, who died in this township a quarter of a century ago. They had four children, ---Abraham, Elliott, Luke, and Peter. Abraham, Jr., and Peter emigrated to Ohio, and Luke Enlow, Jr., died in Washington County. Of this branch of the Enlow family, Elliott, Jr., is the only one now living. He still owns a part of the old homestead, and another portion is the property of William McCleary.
Henry Enlow was one of Abraham Enlow's sons, and may be termed one of the original settlers, as he was one of the oldest children. He married a Miss Atchison. Of his numerous family the sons all emigrated to Ohio, and the daughters married and died in Washington County. From Ruth Enlow, daughter of Luke, and granddaughter of old Abraham Enlow, have sprung a numerous family. She married Hugh Montgomery, son of James Montgomery, who, Oct. 21, 1784, warranted the tract of land called "Tragical," containing four hundred acres, situated on the Robinson Fork of Wheeling Creek, and which was surveyed to him Dec. 30, 1784. Hugh and Ruth Montgomery had eleven children. James, the eldest, went to Ohio; John settled in East Finley township and died here; William resides in Washington borough, where he has for several years been a justice of the peace, and is at present proprietor of a hardware-store; Jesse died in this county; Alexander resides in this township on the old Montgomery homestead; and Cyrus lives on an adjoining farm. The daughter, Susan Montgomery, married John Thornberry; Annie was the wife of William A. Sprowls; Rebecca became Mrs. Martin Post; Mary married Simeon Sprowls; and Phebe, who married Henry Martin, resides in Ohio.
Benjamin and Isaac Elliott were brothers and Quakers, who came from the eastern part of Pennsylvania, and settled in East Finley township some time after 1780. In 1812, all the families of Elliott relatives emigrated in a body to "Slippery Rock," in Ohio, where there was a Quaker settlement and a church of the Society of Friends.
Charles Cracraft was of Irish extraction, and originally a resident of Virginia. In 1781 he was the owner of a farm located on the waters of Ten-Mile Creek, and Feb. 11, 1792, he purchased the tract of land called "Content" of William Atchison, located in the vicinity of his other property. Charles Cracraft married Miss Atchison, and their children were three sons, ---Joseph, Charles, and William. Joseph married and removed to "Owl Creek;" Charles went to Virginia, where he was a miller, and married there; William married Miss Lackey, living and dying upon the old farm, which is now owned by his son Archibald. Charles Cracraft, Sr., becoming a widower, married the widow Ruple, but they had no children.
Andrew Kerr emigrated from Ireland in 1781, and bought a farm of Mr. Leeper, located on Buffalo Creek, in this township, containing one hundred and eighty-five acres. He married Esther Stephenson, a daughter of Squire Stephenson, their family numbering six, three sons and three daughters. Robert Kerr married Nancy Vanderhuff; James married Harriet Vansyock; and William married Cynthia Pedan, and lives in East Finley township. The daughter Jane became the wife of Jesse Bane, and Eliza and Esther died single.
Charles, William, and Barnet Boner came into this section and warranted the tracts "Peace," "Plenty," and "Quarrel," containing respectively three hundred and seventy-five, and three hundred and eighty-five, and three hundred and seventy-eight acres. These bodies of land were situated on Lick Run of Buffalo Creek, the run passing through the tract "Peace." The adjoining lands were then the property of Thomas Stokely, William Hawkins, James Stephenson, and Widow Hutchins. At the time of the survey, Aug. 11, 1785, the land was in Donegal township, but came within the limits of Finley upon its erection.
The Sprowls family of five brothers came from England to Pennsylvania, remaining for a time near Shippensburg. Eventually two or three of the brothers came to Washington County, and John Sprowls settled in what is now East Finley township. These brothers must have located in this county early, as an account of Hugh Sprowls, dated April 19, 1786, is found in the controller-general's report for a horse lost in the Sandusky expedition of 1782.
The children of John Sprowls were five sons and four daughters. One of the daughters married Mr. Kerr and emigrated to Ohio. James Sprowls married Eleanor Enlow. They had seven children, ---Melinda, Cyrus, Jesse, Elliott, John, Simeon, and James. Melinda married Joseph Martin, and both are still living in West Finley township. Jesse lived and died single, and Elliott, who is also unmarried, resides in Washington borough, where he is engaged in the boot and shoe trade. Cyrus Sprowls was married first to Miss Post, second to Miss Melinda Elliott, and the third time to Miss Mary A. Ashbrook. He died in East Finley township, leaving three children, Jesse P., Mary A., and Milton R. Sprowls. The daughter married J.L. Rockafellow, and resides in this township on the old home place. Jesse P. graduated from Amherst Theological Seminary, and is now a minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Ohio.
John Sprowls, another son of James and brother of Cyrus Sprowls, married Miss Hannah Reed, and spent most of his life in East and West Finley townships. His trade was that of a tinner, at which he worked for a time in Claysville and Washington. Abandoning it he bought a small farm in East Finley, but eventually sold it and purchased a larger one in West Finley township, upon which he died. His seven children were James, Luther, Winfield, Alfred, Jesse, John, and Elizabeth Sprowls. All of these except James and Luther are single, and still living with their mother upon the home farm. James married Jane Lively, who, with their two children; reside on a part of the homestead. Luther married Armice Fields, and lives in West Finley. Simeon, a third son of James and brother of Cyrus and John Sprowls, married Mary Montgomery, and seven of their eight children are still living. Oliver M., one of the sons, married Charity Cooper, and they with their three children are living on one of his father's farms in East Finley township. Albert S., another son, is an attorney of the Washington County bar, to which he was admitted Sept. 15, 1879. The other children live with their mother on the home farm, which is the old McCreary tract.
James Sprowls, Jr., the fourth son of James and grandson of John Sprowls, married Mary A. Sampson, by whom he had four children, three of whom are living. He is a farmer, and resides in West Finley township. William Sprowls, one of the five brothers who came to this county, married Dorcas Lowne, and they had five sons and two daughters. The daughters both reside in Washington. The son Eli, unmarried, resides upon the farm of his father. William W. Sprowls, another son, married Miss Stockdale, and they with their large family live upon the original Sprowls tract. Henry married Miss McClellan, and is a farmer in West Finley township, where he has reared a large family. Cyrus entered the Union army in the beginning of the Rebellion, and died in the service. John, who married Miss McCrary, was also a soldier, entering the army from Illinois, whither he removed soon after his marriage.
Enoch Vansyock and Isaac Elliott, brothers-in-law, came into this township and settled on land near where the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church now stands. Enoch Vansyock's property was purchased by him of Thomas Atchison Oct. 9, 1795. It was the tract "Great Snake," containing three hundred and ninety-eight acres, situated on the waters of Wheeling Creek. His children numbered ten, ---Abraham, Enoch, Moses, Aaron, Ann, Rebecca, Mary, Lydia, Hannah, and Rachel. Moses, Hannah, and Rachel all married members of the Shederick family, two brothers and a sister, of Dauphin County, in this State; Abraham married a daughter of Samuel England; Enoch married a daughter of Rev. John Patterson, of Ohio; Aaron's wife was Miss Cope, of Fayette County; Ann became the wife of Mr. Blackburn, of Ohio; Rebecca married Timothy Patterson, and Mary and Lydia married two brothers named Newburn. Some of these families removed to the West, and the others remained in this section.
Joseph Ayers was a native of Eastern Pennsylvania. In 1802 he purchased one hundred and fifty acres of land of Francis Stone, Jr., a part of the tract "Stone Hill," situated on the waters of Buffalo Creek. The original tract was warranted to Isaac Phillips, April 3, 1787. By the will of Francis Stone, Sr., dated Nov. 8, 1788, the property descended to his heirs, Francis, James, and Thomas Stone. On Oct. 17, 1801, Thomas deeded his share to his two brothers, and Francis sold a part of his share to Ayers, as stated. Joseph Ayers had a son and daughter. The son married a Miss Tilton. She died in a short time, when he married again and went West. The Ayers homestead is now the property of Mr. Grummond.
William Noble married Miss Harriet Spencer in Winchester, Va., and came to East Finley township to make his home. They had eleven children, five dying in infancy, and six reaching maturity. Sarah's first husband was Samuel Hornish, who was accidentally shot in Claysville. Her second marriage was to George Miller, and they now reside in Donegal township. James Noble has been married twice. His first wife was Maria Maley, and his second Rebecca J. Richey. They are now living in Buffalo township. Robert, who also married twice, had for his first wife, Rachel McKean, and for his last Mary Graham. They reside in Buffalo township. Nancy Noble and her husband, Daniel McPherson, live in Donegal township, as do Samuel Noble and his wife, Catharine Shaler. Henry C. Noble married Rachel Carson, and they live in Buffalo township.
The Knox post-office was established in 1856, Mr. Knox being appointed postmaster, and keeping the office in his store. There was one also at the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, called "Pleasant Grave" post-office. The office known as the Simpson post-office was so named from the fact that the Rev. Mr. Simpson was the postmaster for many years. It has been removed to near the Greene County line. The list of postmasters of the Simpson post-office is Rev. Mr. Simpson, Israel Wood, John Fitzpatrick, and the present incumbent, Milner Hays, who has a general store in connection with the office.
The medical men practicing in the township in the early days were Dr. Hatcher, Dr. Joseph Pedan, and Dr. Jonathan Simpson.
Churches.---The first building known to have been used in East Finley township for religious worship was the Quaker meeting-house, built in 1797. It was a simple log house, which also did duty as a school-house. In the year 1800, during the term of school taught by Mr. Heaton, this building was burned, and the society was without a regular place for services until 1803, when a house of hewed logs was erected. The most prominent members in this Friends' meeting were Robert, Joseph, and Samuel England, Enoch Vansyock, Isaac Elliott, and their families. The organization was never a strong one, and when many of the members moved to Ohio and other Western States it gradually died out. Samuel England, an old gentleman of more than eighty years, is the only Friend remaining in this part of Washington County. Their last meeting in this vicinity was held more than forty years ago, July 14, 1841.
In 1824 some of the people known as United Brethren in Christ organized a church in this township, which was called "Mount Hope." The leading one in the work was George Ealy, and among the earliest members were Andrew Stellar, Samuel Featherly, Isaac Earnest, Henry Sherrick, and Christian Earnest. There is no account given of their place for holding services until 1850, when a meeting-house was built upon land given by George Plants for that purpose. Again in 1874 a new church was erected, this time a handsome frame edifice. The pastors who have ministered to these people have been Rev. Jacob Ritter, under whose preaching the society was organized; Revs. Winter, Adolph Harndon, and C. Wortman. The last named is the present pastor, who has a church numbering one hundred members. Connected with this church is a burial-ground, wherein some of the burials date back more than half a century.
Stony Point Methodist Church was organized as early as 1826. For want of a place of worship preaching was first held at the house of Luke Enlow full sixty years ago, and afterwards at the house of Elliott Enlow. The first church building owned by this society was built in 1830 on the old Enlow farm, and its frame was the same as that of the present building. The first members were Sabina, Henry, Ellen, Elliott, Martha, Luke, and Susannah Enlow, Warren and Elizabeth Thornberry, Larry and Elizabeth Coffield, James, Margaret, Elizabeth, and Joseph Pedan, and Jemima Patterson. This church is often called the Enlow Church. The present pastor is Rev. Thomas Patterson, and the society, which is not strong, is under the Claysville Conference. A burial ground is connected with this church, in which is a handsome monument bearing inscriptions to the memory of George Sprowls, Company K, One Hundred and Fortieth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, aged twenty-seven years, supposed to have died at Andersonville; Jesse M. Sprowls, of the same company, aged twenty-four years, killed at Gettysburg, July 2, 1863.
The United Presbyterian congregation of Wheeling dates back forty-six years. In May, 1836, a number of members of the congregation of South Buffalo living in East and West Finley townships, together with a few families from the congregation of Mount Hope, petitioned the Presbytery of Chartiers to be formed into a congregation of Wheeling. The name of the congregation was taken from Wheeling Creek, the branches of which drain the section of country in which the petitioners lived. In answer to this petition, on July 5th the Presbytery appointed Rev. David French to preach in the new congregation on the second Sabbath of August, and to hold an election for elders on Monday following. There is a record in the oldest minute-book of the session as a kind of preface stating that "The Rev. David French preaches and holds an election for elders, where and when Thomas Hutcheson and William McClellan, were elected, and James Hutcheson and John Scott, formerly elders, the first in South Buffalo and the latter in Mount Hope, were installed as ruling elders in Wheeling congregation."
The number of persons and the names of those uniting in the organization we have no means of ascertaining, as the minutes of the session for the first seven years were either not recorded at all or that record has been lost. During these years the congregation enjoyed the services of various ministers and licentiates sent to them as supplies from the Presbytery. We know but little of their efforts and struggles during this time. Their number most have been few, for they were not able to procure more than the half time of a minister's-labors in those days of low salaries. Their place of meeting for public worship for a time was in private houses and at a tent erected on the side of a hill, a romantic spot, still adorned by its native forests. This little assembly, which for a few years was migratory according to the convenience of those who entertained it, or the character of the weather, at length found a sanctuary house in a little frame church building erected on the crest of the hill, on the site of which had stood the tent around which the people had often gathered to worship God.
The first pastor was Rev. Joseph Shaw, who accepted a call from this congregation in connection with West Alexander on Sept. 5, 1843. The session at this time had but two members, Thomas Hutcheson and John Scott, the two others elected at the organization having been removed by death. An addition was soon made to the session in the election of John Johnston, James Holmes, and James Hunter, who were ordained and installed on Sabbath following the 3rd of August, 1844. Mr. Shaw continued in the pastorate till Oct. 5, 1852. His labors appear to have been blessed, and thus made effectual in the upbuilding of the congregation. At every communion season some were added to the church. At one time eighteen were received. Near the end of this pastorate a spirit of emigration took possession of many in this part of Washington County, and from it the congregation suffered a severe loss in the depletion of its roll. But while Washington County lost some good citizens, and Wheeling congregation some good members by this emigration, it is a pleasing reflection that the Brownlees, the McClellans, the Richmonds, the Holmes, and many others who left this part of the country carried with them the savor of that piety which had shed its benign influence around them whilst they had their homes in the Scotch-Irish region of Pennsylvania.
The Rev. James C. Murch was ordained and installed pastor of West Alexander and Wheeling congregations on Sept. 8, 1853, giving half of his time to each place. Mr. Murch entered upon this his first pastorate with a vigorous constitution, and with real devotion to the distinctive principles of the church of his choice. He was a fearless defender of the anti-slavery position of the church. Though there was not a formal organization of a Sabbath-school during his ministry, yet the instruction of the youth was not neglected. He met with the young people of the congregation on Sabbath morning before public worship commenced, and spent one hour in the study of a portion of the scripture which had been assigned as the lesson for the day, and in addition to this held "diets of catechising" frequently in different parts of the congregation. The congregation was not largely increased in numbers, but by the fruits of this faithful labor it made some advance. The session, which had again been reduced by death and removal, was strengthened by the addition of Ebenezer Brownlee and James R. Donaldson some time in the month of June, 1857.
Mr. Murch was released from this charge in June, 1859. This release was caused by changes taking place in the West Alexander part of his charge, by which that congregation wished to secure the services of a pastor for the whole of the time. Mr. Murch left Wheeling congregation with the kindliest of feelings existing between him and the people. Some time in 1859 this church united with a little congregation known as the Heads of Wheeling, the place of worship in which was six miles southeast, and early in 1860 these two congregations, with a few people living in and around Burgettstown, united in calling the Rev. James A. McKee to become their pastor. Mr. McKee entered upon his labors on the first Sabbath of June, and was installed pastor of this united charge on Aug. 9, 1860, and still continues in the Wheeling branch of this charge.
In 1860 but thirty-eight members are reported as belonging to the Wheeling congregation. There was an organization of a Sabbath-school effected in June, 1860, and a semi-monthly prayer-meeting started, both of which have been kept up with varying degrees of interest and success till the present time. The Sabbath-school has had an enrollment of from fifty to ninety-five scholars, and under the care of from eight to ten devoted teachers has been doing a good work.
Three times has the session felt the need of adding to its membership. On Jan. 7, 1864, Mr. William Sutherland was ordained and installed, and Mr. Franklin Bell installed as ruling elders, and on April 23, 1868, Messrs. James Howe and James Reaney were ordained and installed as ruling elders, and on April 22, 1881, Henry P. Danley was added to the session.
The old house in which the congregation had met for twenty-five years or more began to show the effects of the storms to which it had been exposed on the high hill where it stood, and during 1866 arrangements were made for the erection of a new one. The congregation selected a site about fifty rods north of where the old church stood, and contracted for a new building to be completed in the fall of 1867. It was first occupied on the first Sabbath of December, 1867. This house is thirty-two by fifty-five feet, designed to seat about two hundred and seventy-five persons. The Mite Society of the congregation repainted, carpeted, and partly refurnished the church during the summer of 1880.
The record of the congregation at this time (March, 1882) may be briefly stated as follows: Pastor, Rev. James A. McKee; number of members, ninety-two; Sabbath-school officers and teachers, ten; scholars, seventy-five; session, James Howe, James Reany, H. P. Danley.
Pleasant Grove Baptist Church was organized Nov. 14, 1840. Letters of dismissal were asked for from the Ten-Mile Baptist Church, and granted to Messrs. Tilton, Vansyock, and Griffith, and fifty others, representatives of the Pleasant Grove Society, on Saturday before the fourth Lord's day in October, 1840. The members of the newly-organized society were Levi Griffith, Ann Griffith, John Tilton, Elizabeth Tilton, Enoch Vansyock, Catharine Vansyock, Robert Patterson, Nancy Patterson, Edward O. Towne, John Pedan, Hannah Pedan, Rebecca Pedan, Enoch Tilton, Elizabeth Tilton, Charles Tilton, William Pratt, Joseph Bierr, Isabella Bierr, Martha McNeal, Easter Kerr, Eva Towne, Nancy Dixon, Adam Reid, Daniel Tilton, Abagail Tilton, John Horn, William McPeak, Samuel Kelley, Nancy Tilton, Margaret McCracken. Letitia Patterson, Sarah Williams, Rachel Vansyock, Mary A. Towne, Nancy Kerr, Mary Horn, Sarah Carter, Mary M. Horn, Morrison Jones, Rebecca Jones, Elliott Patterson, Sarah Patterson, Oma Jobs, Catharine Brown, and William Patterson.
On Nov. 14, 1840, services were held, conducted by Simon Sigfried, John Thomas, and others. The first pastor who labored with this people came to them Dec. 17, 1840.
The following named have been pastors of this church: Rev. Levi Griffith, Dec. 17, 1840; Eli C. Town, March, 1848; John Scott, May 17, 1851; Job Russell, March 20, 1858; John B. Lineka, April 1, 1861; G. W. Wharton, May 5, 1866; Morgan Linton, April 1874; J. A. Snodgrass, July 1, 1873; J. A. Simpson, Dec. 12, 1874; L. R. Steele, May 10, 1877; J. A. Simpson, July 14, 1879; J. R. Foulks, July 10, 1880.
The following persons have been chosen deacons since the organization: John Tilton, Samuel Kelly, Elliott Patterson, Daniel Tilton, Thomas McKehan, J. Y. Holmes, Josiah Patterson, William MeCreery, Joseph Ryan, Munson Trussell.
From this church have gone out members to assist in the establishment of the churches of Buffalo, North Wheeling, and West Finley. Four young men from this church have been licensed to preach: Eli C. Town (in 1847, who soon after became its pastor), Hugh R. Craig, William Scott (in 1854), and J. G. Holmes. The present membership of the church is one hundred and twenty-three.
The Enon Baptist Church was organized many years ago, including members in East Finley and in Rich Hill township, Greene County. The records having been kept in Greene County, no facts have been gained from them in reference to the organization and first members of this church. The church edifice (located in Rich Hill) in which this congregation worshiped has given place to a new frame church, which has recently been built on a site some distance above the little village of Enon, on the Washington County side of Wheeling Creek. It was formally dedicated on Sunday, Jan. 29, 1882, the dedication sermon being preached by the Rev. Mr. Miller. The following is an extract from a published report of the dedication:
"After the preaching of the sermon it was announced that a debt of some four hundred dollars stood against the building, and it was necessary that this should be removed. Little by little this amount was cut down until it was reduced to about one hundred, when Rev. Miller related an incident of a boat which was being assisted through a lock, and was thrown out of the current by means of a rope which was used to ease it on its passage through, when the captain called out 'cut her loose and let her float.' The application was that now the church must be cut loose from this debt and left to float free. At this Deacon James Allum arose and said he would 'cut her loose,' and assumed the payment of the remainder of the debt, this in addition to his already magnificent subscription of $500.
"The Baptists here now have an excellent, fine, large frame church building, being thirty-eight feet in width and sixty in length. The ceiling is eighteen feet in the clear. Outside the building is white and mounted with a fine belfry, which the lady members will soon provide with a bell. Two ante-rooms are cut off in front, leaving a vestibule between. The main room is fifty feet in length, while back of the pulpit is a fine recess which adds much to the appearance of the room . . . And taken all in all it is said to be the finest and best building in the Ten-Mile Association. This edifice was erected at a cost of twenty-seven hundred dollars, and the people of the vicinity justly feel proud of it as their work, nearly all the money having been subscribed and paid by them.
"The members and community at large feel under many obligations to their pastor for the interest and active part he has taken in this work from the start. With the exception of very little help, he did all the work towards raising the money, attended all the meetings of the committees, and kept things on the move; also f]gave largely of his own means, and no one could have raised this last four hundred dollars with more ease than he."
The Fairview Cumberland Presbyterian Church was recently organized in the township with forty members, mostly from Old Concord Church. The pastor is the Rev. James S. Keener, a licentiate.
Schools.---Subscription schools were taught in early years in what is now East Finley township in the old Quaker meeting-house, and in school-houses in what is known as the Jordan and Ely Districts. Among the teachers who taught in these early schools were James Hunter, George Plauts, Samuel England, and John Adams. The last named was in all points a specimen of the old-fashioned "schoolmaster."
The township of East Finley accepted the provision of the common school law in 1835. At that time there were two hundred and thirty-three persons in the township liable to school tax. The amount of money raised by tax in 1835 was $191.99, and in 1836 $235.46. The names of the school directors of 1835 are not reported. In 1836 David Pedan and Samuel England were elected. The township was districted in that year, and school-houses were erected. The school report for the year 1863 showed in East Finley nine districts, nine schools, and three hundred and fifty-one enrolled. Amount of money levied for school purposes, $1660; amount expended, $1738. In 1873 the report gave nine districts, nine schools, and four hundred and nineteen scholars enrolled. Amount of money raised for school purposes, $2298.33; amount expended, $1952.32. In 1880 there were eight districts, eight schools, and three hundred and thirteen scholars enrolled. Amount of money levied for school purposes, $2428.66; amount expended for schools, $1862.63.
Justices of the Peace.---Finley township was erected in 1788, and forty years afterwards was divided into East and West Finley. Finley remained separate and independent as a district from the time of its erection till 1803, when it was united with Donegal to form District No. 11, which from that time continued to embrace the territory of Finley (which became East and West Finley in 1828) with Donegal until the adoption of the Constitution of 1838. Since that time East and West Finley have been separate and independent. The following list of justices embraces the one appointed in Finley township prior to the operation of the Constitution of 1838, with those elected in East Finley since that time, viz.:William Smith, Dec. 21, 1789. William Montgomery, April 20, 1864. David Pedan, April 14, 1840. Matthew McKeen, June 3, 1865. James Nichols, April 14, 1840. James L. Wood, May 5, 1866. Hugh McClelland, April 15, 1845. Matthew McKeen, Nov. 24, 1869. James Nichols, April 15, 1845. George H. Wright, April 19, 1872. James Nichols, April 9, 1850. Matthew McKeen, Jan. 15, 1874. John W. Howell, April 9, 1850. J. B. McGuire, Jan. 28, 1874. William Montgomery, April 11, 1854. George H. Wright, Feb. 14, 1874. Israel L. Wood, April 10, 1855. Matthew McKeen, March 17, 1875. William Montgomery, April 12, 1859. Nicolas Pease, March 14, 1877. James Howe, April 10, 1860. Matthew McKeen, March 30, 1880.
WILLIAM McCLEARY.William McCleary was one of eleven children of Thomas and Mary (Lynn) McCleary, who emigrated from Ireland after their marriage and settled in Virginia, where William was born, Feb. 10, 1805, and where he spent his infancy, childhood, and early manhood years. In 1830 he came to Washington County, Pa., and engaged in stage-driving on the National pike, which he followed for eighteen years from Wheeling to Uniontown and intermediate points. His next business was as constable of Donegal township. This position he held for five years. He was then toll collector near West Alexander, on the National road, for two years. He then purchased and moved to the farm in East Finley township, which was his home until his death, April 3, 1882, and which is now in possession of his descendants. He also held the position of superintendent of the Cumberland road for three years. He was an exemplary member of the Baptist Church for many years, and in politics a decided Democrat, always attending elections and voting as a matter of duty. He was a lover of his home, with its quiet cares and enjoyments, and was never ambitious for office. He was a man of perfect and unquestioned integrity and truth, and of generous impulses, who did his duty as he understood it, and was content. He was married Jan. 17, 1836, to Susan G. Wilkinson, daughter of Thomas and Prudence (Lewis) Wilkinson, of Fayette County, Pa. Their children are as follows:
Thomas J., born Feb. 20, 1837, married Martha Rossel. He is a farmer, and resides in East Finley township, Washington Co., Pa.
James C., born Jan. 3, 1839, married Maggie Hair. He is a farmer, and resides in West Finley township, Washington Co., Pa.
John E., born June 24, 1841, married Cornelia Carter. He is a farmer, and resides in Marshall County, Va.
Mary J., born Dec. 17, 1843, married Robert Bell, a farmer of Franklin township, Washington Co., Pa., where they reside.
Sarah E., born Jan. 16, 1846, married Porter McCarrell, a farmer of Morris township, Washington Co., Pa. She died Aug. 6, 1876.
William L., born May 23, 1848, married Lizzie Brinton. He is a dentist, and resides in Washington, Pa.
Martha L., born Aug. 16, 1850, married John Danley, a farmer of East Finley township, Washington Co., Pa.
Francis M., born July 18, 1853, married Adelphia Mitchell. He is a farmer in East Finley township, Washington Co., Pa.
Lewis C., born June 6, 1855, married Violet Porter. He is a farmer in East Finley township, Washington Co., Pa.
Martin L., born Aug. 13, 1857, married Laura Stoy. He is a dentist, at present not permanently located.
Caroline A., born Dec. 6, 1860, resides with her mother.
LEONARD PLANTS, Sr.Leonard Plants, Sr., probably the oldest man living in East Finley township, and certainly one of the most vigorous in mind and body for one of his years in any community, is of German descent, and was born at the foot of Gallows Hill, Washington Co., Pa., March 22, 1797. His father, Christian Plants, who was a native of Eastern Pennsylvania, married Catharine Haines and settled in Washington County about the year 1796. Their living children are Leonard, Solomon, George, Christian, Catharine, and Maxwell. Those dead are Elizabeth, Hannah, Jacob, Mary, Daniel, John, and an infant unnamed. About the year 1806, Christian Plants moved to Finley (now East Finley township), and settled upon the farm now owned and occupied by his son Leonard, who assisted his father in tilling the farm until 1815, when he indentured with Jesse St. Clair, with whom he learned the mason trade. After serving an apprenticeship of two years he began work for "wages" upon the National pike, then building, and followed his trade from that date until 1880. For the last two years he has superintended the improvements of the lands in which he has invested most of the surplus earnings of his labor. He says "he began life one of the poorest boys imaginable." His strong body, strong common sense, great energy and business tact have secured for him the considerable possessions which he now enjoys. He has been a member of the United Brethren Church since 1840.
Mr. Plants married for his first wife Elizabeth Barney, May 6, 1819. She died in 1826, leaving four children, ---Elizabeth, Christian, George, and an infant which died unnamed.
He married for his second wife Fanny Barney, sister of his first wife. She died January 1874. Their living children are Jesse, Leonard, Mary J., Hannah, John B., Margaret, Martha, and Daniel. Those dead are Catharine, Fanny, Nancy, Adolphus H., and Christina.
He married his present wife, Nancy L. Miller, July 23, 1874. They have one child, Catharine L.
*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 Gina Nestor of Canonsburg, PA in March 1998. Published in March 1998 on the Washington County, PA USGenWeb pages at http://www.chartiers.com.
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