Hopewell Twp. (pp. 811-824)
History of Washington County, Pennsylvania*
HOPEWELL, the seventh of the list of original townships of Washington County, formed July 15, 1781, embraced at the time of its erection the territory of the present townships of Hopewell, Independence, Cross Creek, and Jefferson, and part of that of Mount Pleasant. The successive erections of the last-named four townships reduced the area of Hopewell to its present boundaries, which are, on the north, Cross Creek township; on the northeast and east, Mount Pleasant and Canton; on the south, Buffalo; and on the west the township of Independence. The principal streams of Hopewell township are the south branch of Cross Creek and Brush Run of Buffalo Creek, which respectively mark the northern and southern boundaries of the township. A number of smaller creeks and runs flow into these streams from the north and south, heading in the dividing ridge which extends in an easterly and westerly direction through Hopewell north of its centre.
One of the earliest white settlers within the present limits of Hopewell township was Jesse Martin, who received a Virginia certificate, dated at Redstone Old Fort, Dec. 6, 1779, for a tract of land in Ohio County, Va. (which county, as then claimed by the State of Virginia, covered all the west part of the present county of Washington), "situate on the waters of Buffalo Creek, and to include his settlement, made in the year of our Lord 1772." This fixes definitely the date of Martin's settlement on the tract granted by the certificate. Its location was in the present township of Hopewell. When afterwards surveyed it was found to contain four hundred and five acres, and was named "Buffalo." It adjoined lands of William Slemman, John Johnston, and Hugh H. Brackenridge. It was sold by Martin in 1785 to Robert Caldwell.
William Smiley was a Scotchman, who first settled in York County, Pa. Very soon after, however, he emigrated to Washington, and the year 1779 found him a resident of Hopewell township. In 1780 he had made a comfortable dwelling for his family, and brought them here, settling upon that part of his land now owned by his grandson, William Smiley. The land upon which William Smiley, Sr., located in 1779 was warranted to him Feb. 21, 1785, and surveyed September 11th of the same year. The tract contained three hundred and eighty-seven acres, was situated on the waters of Buffalo Creek, and was called "Moab." William Smiley was an elder in the Buffalo and Cross Creek Presbyterian congregations, and always efficient and enthusiastic in the work of the church. He was of a strong mind, very shrewd, and eminently pious. His manners were somewhat blunt, and he had an integrity and honesty about him which would not allow him to connive at anything which he thought to be wrong. He disliked everything which is any way set aside the claims of religion, and did not give it its proper place in the business of life or the enjoyment of the social circle. He held the office of justice of the peace in Hopewell township for some years. His son William married Nancy Caldwell, and reared a family of six sons and one daughter. Margaret, the only daughter, became the wife of Alexander Hamilton. William lives upon a portion of his grandfather's original property. He is now in his eighty-fifth year. Robert Smiley married Rebecca Anderson, daughter of a clergyman. He died in Omaha, Neb. James married Nancy Hull, and died in Cincinnati, Ohio, whither he had removed. John married Mary Williamson, and died in Mount Pleasant. Samuel married Hannah Cool, and went to Morgan County, Ohio, where he died. David C. Smiley, who married Nancy Tweed, died on the old homestead.
Robert Caldwell was one of the earliest settlers of Hopewell township. On April 7, 1785, he bought four hundred and five acres of land, situated on the waters of Buffalo Creek, of Jesse Martin, it being the tract "Buffalo" previously mentioned in the account of Martin's settlement. Robert Caldwell was of Irish parentage. The property he owned and lived upon here is still in the family, being owned by Samuel Caldwell, a descendant. His family consisted of six children,-Robert, David, Nancy, Margaret, Jane, and Martha. Robert married Jane Caldwell, and lived and died in Armstrong County; David married Nancy Curry, and died in Washington County; Nancy became the wife of William Smiley; Margaret went with her husband, George Anderson, to St. Clairsville, Ohio, and died there; Jane married a Mr. Johnson; and Martha married William Nesbit. They removed to Beaver County, in this State, and died there.
The Rev. Joseph Smith, one of the early settlers in Hopewell, was of English parentage. His father settled on the road leading from the Susquehanna River to Wilmington, Del., near what is called Rising Sun, the township of Nottingham, Md., where Joseph was born in 1736. His early education fitted him for a collegiate course, and he entered Princeton College, where he graduated in 1764, when he was twenty-eight years of age. He was licensed by the Presbytery of New Castle to preach the gospel at Drawyers, Aug. 5, 1767. On the 20th of October, 1768, he accepted a call from the congregation of Lower Brandywine, and was ordained and installed as pastor April 19, 1769. A short time before he was licensed he had married Esther, daughter of William Cummins, merchant, of Cecil County, Md. His relation of pastor was dissolved Aug. 26, 1772. At the same meeting of Presbytery he received a call from the congregations of Rocky Creek and Long Cane, S.C., which he declined, and acted as supply to his former congregation for one year, and also preached at Wilmington, Del. On the 12th of August, 1773, a call was placed in his hands by the Presbytery; this call he held till the fall of the next year, when the congregations of Wilmington and Lower Brandywine having united, he accepted a united call, and became their pastor Oct. 27, 1774. In these churches he labored until April 29, 1778, when at his request the connection was dissolved. In the fall of that year he was taken suddenly and dangerously ill of a fever, and only recovered after a long and severe term of sickness.
At that time Judge James Edgar, who had for several years been an acquaintance and intimate friend of his, was living in what is now Washington County, and it has been said that it was largely through his influence that Mr. Smith was induced in the spring of 1779 to visit this section of the country, to which the Rev. John McMillan had removed with his family a few months before, and where the Rev. James Power had resided since 1776. A short time after his return from the West Mr. Smith received through his Presbytery a call dated June 21, 1779, from the united congregations of Buffalo and Cross Creek, promising him £150 per annum. This call was signed by two hundred and four persons, with an amount of subscriptions already raised reaching £197 5s. 5d. The call and subscription-list were embodied in one paper - an original and singular document - thought to have been drawn up by James Edgar, who had been for some time an elder in the Cross Creek Congregation. Mr. Smith accepted the call on the 29th of October, 1779, and in the following year moved his family to his new field of labor, and settled in what soon became Hopewell township, and where he passed the remainder of his life.
On the 2d of May, 1780, he purchased from Joseph Wells three hundred and seventy-six acres of land lying on the waters of Cross Creek, the consideration being £1625. Of this tract Mr. Smith afterwards sold eighty-four acres to Thomas Polke, and later it was sold to Robert Fulton. When Mr. Smith purchased the land of Wells he depended largely on the prospective income from his salary as a means of meeting the payments, a calculation which brought him to no little disappointment afterwards. The Rev. James W. Miller relates an incident having reference to the financial relations between Mr. Smith and his people, as follows:
"He found them a willing and united people, but still unable to pay him a salary which would support his family. He in common with all the early ministers must cultivate a farm. He purchased one on credit, promising to pay for it with the salary pledged to him by his people. Years passed away. The pastor was unpaid. Little or no money was in circulation. Wheat was abundant, but there was no market; it could not be sold for more than twelve and a half cents in cash. Even their salt had to be brought across the mountain on pack-horses, was worth eight dollars a bushel, and twenty-one bushels of wheat had often to be given for one of salt. The time came when the last payment must be made, and Mr. Smith was told he must pay or leave his farm. Three years' salary was now due from his people. For the want of this his land, his improvements upon it, and his hopes of remaining among a beloved people, must be abandoned. The people were called together and the case laid before them; they were greatly moved' counsel from on high was sought' plan after plan was proposed and abandoned; the congregations were unable to pay a title of their debts, and no money could be borrowed. In despair they adjourned to meet again the following week. In the mean time it was ascertained that a Mr. Moore...would grind for them wheat on reasonable terms. At the next meeting it was resolved to carry their wheat to Mr. Moore's mill; some gave fifty bushels, some more. This was carried from fifteen to twenty-six miles on horses to mill. In a month word came that the flour was ready to go to market. Again the people were called together. After an earnest prayer, the question was asked, 'Who will run the flour to New Orleans?' This was a startling question. The work was perilous in the extreme; months might pass before the adventurer could hope to return, even though his journey should be fortunate; nearly all the way was a wilderness, and gloomy tales had been told of the treacherous Indian. More than one boat's crew had gone on that journey and came back no more. Who, then, would endure the toil and brave the danger? None volunteered; the young shrank back and the middle-aged had their excuse. The scheme at last seemed to likely to fail. At length a hoary-headed man, an elder in the church, sixty-four years of age, arose, and to the astonishment of the assembly, said, 'Here I am, send me.' The deepest feeling at once pervaded the assembly. To see their venerated old elder thus devote himself for their good melted them all to tears. They gathered around Father Smiley to learn that his resolution was indeed taken; that, rather than lose their pastor, he would brave danger, toil, and even death. After some delay and trouble two young men were induced by hope of large reward to go as his assistants. A day was appointed for their starting. The young and old from far and near, from love to Father Smiley, and their deep interest in the object of his mission, gathered together, and, with their pastor at their head, came down from the church, fifteen miles away, to the bank of the river to bid the old man farewell. Then a prayer was offered up by their pastor, a parting hymn was sung. 'There,' said the old Scotchman, 'untie the cable, and let us see what the Lord will do for us.' This was done and the boat floated slowly away. More than nine months passed and no word came back from Father Smiley. Many a prayer had been breathed for him, but what was his fate was unknown. Another Sabbath came; the people came together for worship, and there, on his rude bench before the preacher, composed and devout, sat Father Smiley. After the services the people were requested to meet early in the week to hear the report. All came again. After thanks had been returned to God for his safe return, Father Smiley rose and told his story; that the Lord had prospered his mission, that he had sold his flour for twenty-seven dollars a barrel, and then got safely back. He then drew a large purse, and poured upon the table a larger pile of gold than any of the spectators had ever seen before. The young men were each paid a hundred dollars. Father Smiley was asked his charges. He meekly replied that he thought he ought to have the same as one of the young men though he had not done quite as much work. It was immediately proposed to pay him three hundred dollars. This he refused till the pastor was paid. Upon counting the money it was found that there was enough to pay what was due Mr. Smith, to advance his salary for the year to come, to reward Father Smiley with three hundred dollars, and then have a large dividend for each contributor. Thus their debts were paid, their pastor relieved, and while life lasted he broke for them the bread of life. The bones of both pastor and elder have long reposed in the same church-yard, but a grateful posterity still tells this pleasing story of the past."
After the removal of his financial difficulties by the fortunate issue of Father Smiley's trip to New Orleans, Mr. Smith took up more land, including the tracts "Welcome" and "Mount Joy," amounting to seven hundred and sixty-six acres.
In the year 1785 he opened a select school with a special view to the training of young men for the ministry. Mr. Dodd's school on Ten-Mile Creek had just closed, and three young men from that school, James McGready, Samuel Porter, and Joseph Patterson, began a course of study with Mr. Smith. The class was soon afterwards joined by James Hughes and John Brice. The school was at first taught in a room which Mr. Smith had built for a kitchen, but was afterwards held in a building erected for that special purpose in his garden. It was continued for some time, and was finally merged in the academy at Canonsburg, afterwards Jefferson College. To the project of the academy Mr. Smith gave his hearty support. He labored with his people until his death, which occurred quite suddenly on the 19th of April, 1792. His remains were interred in the graveyard at Upper Buffalo. His wife survived him more than twenty-eight years, and died Oct. 7, 1820, in the seventy-eighth year of her age.
The Rev. Joseph Smith left three sons and five daughters. To his son, William Cummins Smith, he bequeathed two hundred acres of land; to his daughter Mary one hundred acres; and the same amount to his daughter Agnes. These lands were parts of the tracts "Welcome" and "Mount Joy." To his son David, who was a minister of the same denomination, he left seventy pounds in gold "for ye single purpose of supporting my said son David in his learning." To his daughters Esther, Elizabeth, and Naomi Smith he left the tract "Argyle," containing three hundred and eighty-five acres. To his son Joseph he left two hundred and seventy-eight acres, the homestead, it being a part of the tract "Mount Joy." Of the daughters of Mr. Smith, one died in early womanhood; Mary became the wife of Rev. James Hughes, the first president of Miami University; Agnes became the wife of the Rev. James Welch; and Esther the wife of the Rev. William Wylie. Another daughter became the wife of the Rev. Joseph Anderson. Of the three sons, one died while preparing for the ministry. David became a minster, preached with great success for nine years, and died at the age of thirty-two. Several of the grandsons of Mr. Smith also became ministers.
Thomas Polke (whose name is also frequently found spelled Pollock in early deeds and records) has already been mentioned as the purchaser of land from the Rev. Joseph Smith. The purchase and sale was made May 3, 1786. The land conveyed by Mr. Smith to Polke (or Pollock) was a tract lying on Cross Creek, which was a part of the body of land granted by Pennsylvania to Joseph Smith, Dec. 12, 1785. There were eighty-four and three-fourths acres in the tract, and the consideration was five pounds, nineteen shillings, and six pence. The description in the deed is followed by this remark: "Which said land was formerly surveyed and patented by a certain John Hall for a certain Thomas Gardner, and afterwards surveyed with a tract of land in pursuance of a warrant granted to Joseph Smith, Sept. 30, 1785." Afterwards Thomas Polke and Margaret, his wife, sold this same property to "Robert Fulton, a miniature painter, of Philadelphia," for eighty pounds. This "miniature painter" was the same famous Robert Fulton who built and ran the first steamboat on the Hudson River. Upon the tract of land above mentioned the father, mother, and three sisters of Robert Fulton lived, and the parents died there, the mother last in 1799. Robert Fulton also purchased a lot in Washington borough, on which his sisters, Mrs. Isabella Cooke and Mrs. Mary Morris, lived. The farm was left to the third sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Scott, by Mr. Fulton's will, made in 1814.
David Boyd, one of the best-known, as he was also among the earliest of the pioneers of this township, was a native of Cumberland County, Pa., and came for settle in Hopewell in or about the year 1878, bringing with him his wife, two daughters, and two sons, - James and John. The eldest son, James, known familiarly for many years in the latter part of his life as "Uncle Jimmy Boyd," died in Independence township in his ninety-ninth year, and immediately after his death there was published a narrative of his father's early life, which embraces events and adventures so remarkable that it is thought worthy of a place in this history. It is accordingly given as follows:
"In the year 1764 two cabins stood in the woods near where Carlisle, Cumberland Co., now stands. They were the dwelling-places of John Stewart and John Boyd and families, and were upwards of a mile apart. On day John Body was at the house of the Stewarts when marauding Indians burned the cabin. He hurried home to give the alarm, when he found his own cabin in ashes, and his wife and three children - two boys and a girl - missing. The red devils had annihilated the happy home he left a few hours before. It would appear that two Indians straggled from the band which burned Stewart's home, and surprised David and his brother, while they were gathering bark not far distant from the house, and with raised tomahawks frightened them into quietude. They then entered the cabin, helped themselves to what they wanted, took prisoner the mother and daughter, set fire to the house and laid it waste. The mother was not in a condition to travel, and the murderous fiends took her into a thicket a short distance from the house and butchered her. David was then between six and seven years of age, and he not only witnessed the tragedy, but the Indians compelled him to carry the scalp of his loving and affectionate mother. He never forgot this circumstance. It was burned into his heart. he never saw his brother and sister after the murder of his mother, nor did the relatives ever get a trace of them. The Indians parted after the massacre of Mrs. Boyd, David going with one squad, and the brother and sister with another.
"The next thing the youthful prisoner recalled was the Indian camp, where all manner of indignities were heaped upon him by the 'young braves.' Running the gauntlet was one of the favorite pastimes of the braves, and he had to go through it every morning. He soon discovered that one of the Indian boys, in particular, laid the blows unusually heavy, and was bent on punishing him. He was very savage in his attacks. Smarting with pain as well as the indignity, young David resolved that if the Indian lad continued his malicious attacks he would stop and knock him down, and one morning he executed his design, sending the little redskin head over heels in a twinkling. Instantly there was hilarity in Choctaw, and the chiefs, with raised tomahawks, ejaculated, 'Pale-face make good Indian!' This circumstance, unexpectedly to David, ended his gauntlet experience, and from that time forward he became a favorite with old and young of the band.
"One of the Indian chiefs, an aged man, who had lost a son by death, agreed to adopt David Boyd. He accordingly had his head shaved until there was only a tuft left on the top; then he was taken to a creek and ducked three times, in order to wash out the white blood and introduce the Indian blood. Meanwhile there were incantations and all sort of gibberish. He was then dressed in an Indian garb and had all the privileges of the wigwam and camp. he was in the redoubt erected by Maj. William Grant.1 There were about seventy-three Indians in the fort, and when they left it some of them went up the Allegheny, and others up the Monongahelia River. He was with the Indians for three years and six months, and possibly would have remained with them had it not been for the kind-hearted old chief who had adopted him as his son. Recognizing the fact that age was creeping upon him, and that he would soon be called to the happy hunting-grounds, he resolved on taking the lad to Cumberland County, in order to ascertain if any of his relatives were still living. He found some, and delivered the lad into their custody. David wept bitterly when he came to part with the old chief, and would have returned with him, but the old Indian forbade it. In after-life he often referred to the redskin, and said when provisions were low his Indian father would share his last bite with him. He lived for a while near Carlisle, from which place he removed to what is now Washington County."
[1This has reference to the time when Maj. Grant was defeated on Grant's Hill, Pittsburgh, in 1758, when pushing forward with the advance-guard of Gen. Forbes' force to attack Fort du Quesne. Young Boyd was with the Indian force that marched out from the French fort to attack Grant; and he witnessed the atrocities committed by the savages on the wounded and captured Highlanders after the defeat and rout of the whites.]
Before he came to the West, however, he served in the Continental army through the Revolutionary war. He was present in the army of Gates when Burgoyne surrendered at Saratoga, in 1777, and was also with Washington when Corwallis surrendered at Yorktown. The farm on which he settled is the same which is now owned by W.W. Dinsmore. located on the road leading from Washington to West Middletown, and three miles east of the latter place.
David Boyd was always a highly-respected citizen, and was a justice of the peace in Hopewell for twenty-five years, holding the office at the time of his death, which occurred about 1830, at the age of nearly seventy-five years. His children were four sons, - James, John, David, and William. James was born in Cumberland County in 1782, and was about five years old. In 1805 he settled in what is now Independence township, and died there, as already mentioned, in 1880, almost a centenarian. John, the second son of David Boyd, was also born in Cumberland County, and was three years of age when he came with his parents to Hopewell. He settled in West Middletown in 1808, and served there as justice of the peace for twenty-five years, being first appointed by Governor Joseph Ritner. He died in 1866, eighty-two years of age. Of his younger brothers, David and William, little has been learned, except that the latter died in Kentucky. David Boyd, Sr., had also four daughters, - Sarah, Mary, Nancy, and Betsey, - two of whom were older than James, and born east of the mountains, before their father's settlement in the West.
David M. Boyd, son of John, and a grandson and now the oldest living descendant of David Boyd the pioneer, was born in West Middletown, where he still lives. He was early apprenticed to the carpenter's trade by his father, and followed the business for twenty-five years. He then engaged in flat-boating on the Monongahela, Ohio, and Mississippi, continuing in the trade for several years. In 1844 he married Eliza Boyd. In 1853 he was appointed postmaster of West Middletown, and about that time engaged in mercantile business also, in which he still continues. He held the office of postmaster for eight years. Mr. Boyd's wife died in 1865 (leaving an only son), and in 1866 he married Miss Annie McNulty, granddaughter of Col. David Williamson. In 1872, Mr. Boyd was a delegate to the Republican National Convention held at Philadelphia, which nominated Gen. U.S. Grant for President. He is now about seventy years of age, healthy and vigorous. He has served as justice of the peace for nearly twenty years, his father and grandfather before him having each filled the same office in Hopewell township for twenty-five years, as before mentioned.
Thomas Urie was a native of Ireland, who, emigrating to this country, lived for a time at Bloody Run, Pa., coming from there to Washington County. He received a Virginia certificate for four hundred acres of land by estimation, but when it was surveyed, Jan. 10, 1787, it was found to contain but three hundred and twenty acres. The name given his tract was "The Constitution." It was situated on the waters of Buffalo Creek, adjoining the lands of George Ramsey, Solomon Shepherd, James Martin, and John Chapman, and upon this place he passed his life. It is now in the possession of Robert Clark and John Brownlee. Thomas Urie had three sons, - Samuel, Solomon, and Thomas, - all men of remarkable stature and great physical strength. Samuel and Solomon each weighed over three hundred pounds. They were also men of prominence and ability, and Samuel represented his district in the State Legislature, besides filling the office of justice of the peace from 1810 to 1826. Solomon and Thomas were great hunters, and while thus engaged near Stillwater, Ohio, Thomas was killed by Indians. Solomon escaped, and years afterwards (in 1815), while living at Coshocton, Ohio, he killed an entire band of six Indians, one of whom had made an insulting boast of being the one who killed his brother Thomas on the occasion referred to above. Solomon was arrested and taken to Mad River for trial, but was acquitted and returned to his home. He was killed in 1830 by a fall from his horse. George W. Urie, a son of Solomon, was present at the centennial celebration of Washington County in September, 1881.
Thomas Urie, Jr., who was murdered by Indians, as above narrated, left a widow and two children, Elizabeth and Thomas. The widow married David Craig, and they had a large family of children. Mr. and Mrs. Craig died in West Middletown. Elizabeth, the daughter of Thomas Urie, Jr., Married James McBride, and their descendants live in Independence township.
James Davis came from Delaware to Hopewell township in 1791, locating upon the tract of land now owned by D.C. Ross, which was patented to Joseph G. Chambers. Previous to removing from Delaware, Mr. Davis married Celia Galloway. Their family numbered eight children, three sons and five daughters. Rebecca, one of the daughters, married John France, and went to make her home in Harrison County, Ohio. John married Jane Dolan, and also lived in Ohio, as did Sarah, who married Hanson Hamilton, and settled in Richland County. Susan became the wife of Robert Cruthers, and removed to Belmont County, Ohio. Elizabeth married Mr. Tweed, also going to Ohio, Harrison County. Ezekiel married Elizabeth Wylie, and resides in Hopewell township. Joseph died unmarried.
James Thompson came with his parents to this county from Ireland in 1796, when he was but fifteen years of age. They came almost directly to Pittsburgh, Pa., and thence to this county. Mr. Thompson was a surveyor by profession, having much and varied experience in that line in the years he pursued the vocation. His books and field-notes are models of neatness and accuracy. Mr. Thompson married Jane Craig for his first wife, and in 1840, having become a widower, he married Mrs. Matilda Ritchie, who still survives him. She resides in West Middletown, but her children are all residents of Washington borough. Mr. James Thompson died in 1863, aged eighty-two years.
George Work came into the township in 1802, and on May 4th of that year became the owner of one hundred acres of land, which was a part of the tract of four hundred and eight acres that was taken up by John Tweed, situated on the waters of Buffalo Creek, and patented to him under the title of "Tweed." John Tweed left one hundred acres of this land by will, March 16, 1791, to his son John, of whom George Work purchased it. It is now owned by Samuel C. Work, a grandson. George Work married Margaret Dunlap, and they had five children, - James, Alexander, John, Jane, and Mary. James married a Miss Tweed and their children numbered eight, - George, Elizabeth, Nancy, Sarah, Isabella, Emeline, Ann, and Samuel C. Work. Alexander married Jane Taggert, and they also had eight children, - George, John, James, Jane, Mary, Samuel, Anderson, and Alexander, - all living in Ohio. John married a Miss Brown, and their four children - George, William, Nancy, and Mary - live in Indiana and Kansas. Jane married Andrew Gilmore, and removed to Highland County, Ohio. Mary became the wife of Robert Tweed, and lived and died in Buffalo village, in this township.
Peter McKee, an Irishman by birth, emigrated to America, and soon after his arrival came to Hopewell township, bringing his family with him. He purchased one hundred acres of land of John Brown, the deed being made Jan. 20, 1803. This was a part of "Castle Bracken," a tract of three hundred and eighty acres. Peter McKee's children were Thomas, John, James, and Margaret. John never married; Margaret became the wife of Jacob Logan; Thomas married Mary Vincent, and they had three children, - Jane, James, and Samuel. James McKee married Margaret Dryden, and their two children were James and Margaret. The farm that belonged to Peter McKee is now owned by James McKee, his great-grandson.
William Vasbinder came from Carlisle, in this State, and located in West Middletown when that place contained but seven or eight buildings. He was a wagon-maker by trade, also occasionally working at harness-making and blacksmithing. His wife was Mary Buchanan. They had six children, three sons and three daughters. Jane married T.B. Slemmens, John married Margaret Slemmens, and Margaret married John Slemmens. The last-named couple live in Canton township, Washington County. William married a Mill Sibley, and emigrated to Louisville, Ky.; George married Ann Craig, and lives in Mansfield, Ohio; Mary died single.
William Craig, who was an early resident in Hopewell township, had four sons, - David, John, William, and Walter. David married the widow of Thomas Urie, and settled in West Middletown. To David Craig and his wife were born a large family of children, all girls. When Mr. Craig died, in 1857, he left a large landed estate. John Craig, second son of William Craig, went to Ohio. William, Jr., settled on the homestead and died there, leaving a large property, which was divided among his children. Walter Craig, youngest of William Craig's' four sons, married a sister of Col. Joseph Scott. In 1818 and 1819 he was a member of the House of Representatives from this district. After his marriage and his removal to Cross Creek village he was elected to the State Senate.
Robert B. McClure is a son of Robert McClure, of Washington, who was a noted draughtsman. He also practiced medicine in Washington for twenty-five years under the "Thompsonian" system, and was very successful in his treatment of cholera during its prevalence in 1832. Robert McClure died in 1852. Robert B. McClure, his son, settled in West Middletown in 1844, and the following year commenced the manufacture of threshing-machines. He is said to have been the first to manufacture machines for threshing and cleaning grain in the State of Pennsylvania. He is still engaged in that business and in the manufacture of carriages and agricultural implements. Previous to his commencement of the business in 1845, Mr. McClure had followed the trade of millwright. Since April 20, 1864, he has been a justice of the peace.
Justices of the Peace.--Following is a list of justices appointed and elected in Hopewell township1 during the century of its existence, viz.:
William Scott, July 15, 1781.
John Marshall, July 15, 1781.
William Smiley, Nov. 11, 1788.
Samuel Urie, April 1, 1794.
William Slemmens, Nov. 1, 1799.
John Buchanan, Dec. 20, 1799.
James Gillespie, Aug. 4, 1801.
William Hughes, Jan. 7, 1805.
David F. Finney, Oct. 20, 1808.
Thomas Smith, March 15, 1809.
Thomas Patterson, March 15, 1809.2
Samuel Urie, March 21, 1810.
Robert McCready, April 1, 1811.
Alexander Adams, Nov. 18, 1811.
David Boyd, Aug. 23, 1813.
Matthew R. Acheson, Nov. 1, 1813.
George Plummer, April 14, 1840.
John H. Smith, April 14, 1840.
John H. Smith, April 15, 1843.
Thomas G. Allen, April 15, 1845.
James E. Lindsey, April 10, 1849.
Robert McKee, April 9, 1850.
John H. Smith, April 9, 1850.
John Vasbinder, April 10, 1855.
George Linville, April 10, 1855.
Robert Garrett, May 25, 1815.
William McClean, May 16, 1818.
Alexander Adams, Nov. 13, 1818.
George Plummer, June 13, 1822.
William Rea, March 6, 1823.
David T. Archer, Dec. 3, 1823.
Thomas McKeever, July 2, 1824.
James McFadden, March 3, 1826.
John Ramsey, Oct. 19, 1829.
George Elliot, Nov. 30, 1830.
James Lee, Nov. 18, 1835.
George Elliot, Nov. 18, 1835.
James Donahoo, Nov. 18, 1835.
Nathan Patterson, Nov. 18, 1835.
John Boyd, Nov. 17, 1837.
Henry Smith, Jan. 18, 1838.
Abraham Wotring, April 14, 1857.
David Brown, April 14, 1857.
Abraham Watring, April 21, 1862.
John White, April 14, 1863.
D.M. Boyd, July 11, 1865.
George W. Richie, April 15, 1867.
George W. Richie, Jan. 19, 1874.
George W. Richie, March 25, 1878.
[1Hopewell township at its erection in 1781 embraced in addition to its present territory that of the townships of Independence, Cross Creek, and Jefferson, and part of that of Mount Pleasant. Upon the erection of Cross Creek, in 1790, that township became a separate district (embracing its own present territory with that if Jefferson and a part of Mount Pleasant), and so remained until 1803, when it, with Hopewell, became embraced in District No. 3. In 1822 a part of Mount Pleasant was attached. In 1823 West Middletown borough was erected, but remained attached to the district, which remained then with that jurisdiction till the commencement of the operation of the Constitution of 1838, under which the office of justice of the peace became elective, and each township a district.]
[2Not sworn in until April 27, 1813.]
West Middletown Borough.--West Middletown is situated within the boundaries of the township of Hopewell, in its northwestern part, on the dividing ridge between the waters of Buffalo and Cross Creeks, and on the main road leading to Washington borough, which road forms the main street of the town. The borough of West Middletown now contains four churches, a school-house, post-office, two resident physicians, five stores, a drug-store, machine-shop, two wagon-shops, a cabinet-maker's shop, two blacksmith-shops, a hotel, a livery stable, seventy-five dwellings, - one-third of which number are of brick, - and a population of three hundred and twelve according to the return of the United States census of 1880.
The site of West Middletown borough is upon parts of two tracts of land that originally belonged to James Martin and Samuel Gill. The tract of James Martin was taken out under a Virginia certificate granted in February, 1780, and when surveyed was named "Saint Martin," and contained three hundred and four acres. A patent for it was obtained March 4, 1794. The tract belonging to Samuel Gill when surveyed was called "Rosegill." Patent for this tract was granted Oct. 28, 1790. One of the first settlers in the locality was Galbraith Stewart, who was a blacksmith by trade and for several years previous had carried on his trade near Mount Hope Church, now in Independence township. In the year 1795 he removed to what is now West Middletown, where he built one of the first dwellings and opened a blacksmith-shop. Soon afterwards David Craig settled there and opened a store. The election district composed of Hopewell, Buffalo, and Cross Creek townships was erected in 1797, and this settlement became the polling-place and so continued for many years. At one time during this period there were three licensed taverns in the town. A post-office is mentioned as being at West Middletown in the Postmaster-General's report in 1805. At this place William McKennan (who afterwards removed to Washington) settled and lived for a time. Robert Garrett (the father of John W. Garrett, president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad) also settled here, and opened a store which he kept many years. It is stated that while living here his son, John W. Garrett, was born. The house in which he lived is now owned by Robert Garrett.
William McKeever was a hatter by trade, and was also an early resident here. Later, Thomas and Matthew McKeever were prominent men, and they were among the first Abolitionists of the county. Thomas was a justice of the peace, and upon a certain occasions a number of Virginians came up from Wellsburg in search of a negro slave, whom they captured at the house of his brother Matthew. He was brought before Justice Thomas McKeever. The negro claimed that he was a freeman and was born in Somerset County, Pa., and gave names of parties living there to prove it. Justice McKeever returned the case to court, and demanded bail of the negro for his appearance. Col. McNulty signed the bond. The justice then demanded bail of the claimant for his prosecution of the claim, and no one responded, but the claimant threw down the amount claimed, which the justice refused upon the ground that it was not bail but forfeit. The justice then ordered the handcuffs to be taken from the negro, deciding that he had complied with the law and was a free man. The negro was surrounded by his friends and marched off in triumph. McKeever was a director of the "Underground Railroad" for forty years. "I was acquainted," said he, "with a large number of slaves, and also their masters, and I never advised a slave to run away from his mater, but when they came to me I helped them all I could."
West Middletown was erected a borough by an act passed by the Legislature of Pennsylvania on the 27th of March in that year, and, in accordance with other provision in this act, borough officers were elected, and the board organized and proceeded to business, but little of importance was transacted. The road that passes through West Middletown was paved in 1824, but was taken in hand by the citizens, and the burgess and Council, as such, seem not to have been recognized in the action. A call was made for a public meeting of the citizens of West Middletown, to be held on the 19th of August, 1823, "for the purpose of taking into consideration the propriety of laying a road tax for the construction of a paved road through the borough." At a later meeting the same year (December 15th) the citizens decided to build one hundred rods of pavement, to be paid for in two years, to be contracted for in sections of five rods each. It extended from the east end of Joseph Lane's shop to the west end of Samuel Clutter's house. On the 26th of December, William Lindsey, Thomas White, and Thomas McKeever were appointed a committee to lay out the street in sections of five rods was as proposed, which was done, and during the next year the road was paved. It was not until the year 1832 that the burgess and Council took action to procure apparatus for the extinguishment of fires. In the latter part of that year a contract had been made for a fire-engine with parties in Wheeling, and on the 5th of January, 1833, Hugh Hamilton was sent to Wheeling by the Council to nullify the contract. A meeting of the citizens was soon after held, to vote whether or not a fire-engine should be purchased. Forty-one votes were cast, twenty-four in favor and seventeen against. A hand engine was thereupon purchased for two hundred and seventy-five dollars of Ira Cummings, of Vermont. The engine was kept at the house of David Craig, who kept a store where the hotel now stands. It was in use for twenty years, and then housed till 1868. On the 13th of March of that year the Council ordered the fire-engine and all pertaining to it sold. A report made to the Council, March 24th, shows that the engine, ladder, hooks, weigh-scales, etc., were sold, and for then twelve dollars and twenty-five cents was received. Since that time no attempt has been made to organize a fire department in West Middletown.
Justices of the Peace.--Following is a list of justices of the peace for West Middletown from 1840 to the present time, viz.:
The following incident in connection with Squire Samuel Urie, who lived in West Middletown, is interesting. The docket from which it is derived is in possession of D.M. Boyd, Esq. On the 1st of February, 1818, complaint was made that a certain yoeman did "yesterday, the 31st day of January, being the Lord's day, commonly called Sunday, at Hopewell Township chop off wood to the amount of two big sticks as big as his leg or thigh and further sayeth not."
James McFadden, April 14, 1840.
John Boyd, April 14, 1840; June 23, 1845
Alexander Burns, June 23, 1845.
John Boyd, Aoril 9, 1850.
James E. Lindsey, April 11, 1854.
Thomas McFadden, May 25, 1857.
James E. Lindsey, Aug. 8, 1859.
Andrew C. Ritchie, April 10, 1860.
R.B. McClure, April 20, 1864; Jan. 8, 1874.
D.M. Boyd, Feb. 1, 1874.
R.B. McClure, May 24, 1874.
David M. Boyd, March 17, 1875.
R.B. McClure, March 27, 1879.
D.M. Boyd, March 30, 1880.
For this outrageous violation of law and order Squire Urie, on the 6th of February, five days after, delivered the following decision: "I do adjudge him to forfeit for the same the sum of four dollars." In addition to this were the fees of the justice, seventy-five cents, and of the constable, twenty-five cents.
Post-Office.--The Postmaster-General's report of 1805 shows at that time there was a post-office at West Middletown, but fails to state who was postmaster. It is learned from the newspapers that David Craig was postmaster in 1808. He remained in that office till 1832, and was succeeded by Thomas J. Odenbaugh, who occupied the position till 1839. The following are the names of the postmasters of West Middletown and their terms of office, viz.: John Smilie, 1839-45; Thomas B. Slemmens, 1845-49; Robert Dougan, 1853-57; David M. Boyd, 1857-65; Thomas McFadden, 1865-69; George McFadden, 1869-80; William Fowler, 1880 (present incumbent).
Schools of West Middletown.--The first school-house was a log building situated on the State road. School was taught in it by one of the McFaddens. The early history of the schools of the township, then embracing Independence, contains the history of the schools of this town up to the year 1856, when on the 12th of May in that year it became a separate district. The first school directors under this act were A.S. Ritchie, president; S.S. Quest, secretary; and James Vasbinder, treasurer. Two schools were opened, and in 1863 there were one hundred and twenty-two scholars enrolled; the amount of money raised for school purposes of the district was $409.28, and the expenditures were $431.53. In 1873 there were one hundred and eight pupils; receipts for school purposes, $625.80; expenditures, $587.33. For the year 1880, seventy-seven pupils; receipts, $637.92; expenditures, $533.82.
Union Grove Seminary.--About the year 1828 this seminary was first opened, with James Sloan, principal. An anniversary meeting of the Franklin Literary Society, connected with the seminary, was held on the 4th of November, 1831. The trustees of the school at this time were Daniel McGugin, David Wherry, and William Lindsey. At an examination held on the 15th of November, the same year, J. Anderson, William Wallace, and Dr. Al. Hamilton were appointed by the trustees to take the charge. On the 22d of October, 1832, the school was opened under the superintendence of the Rev. Charles Wheeler as principal, and Mr. George Gordon (graduate of Washington College) as assistant, and on April 7, 1834, George M. Hall was principal. The school flourished a few years after this time with varied success, and was finally discontinued at a date which has nor been ascertained.
The old "Horse Mill Academy," established in 1844, the Upper Buffalo Academy, which commenced in 1853, and the Pleasant Hill Seminary, located near West Middletown, are mentioned on pages 453 and 455 of this volume, in Dr. Brownson's chapter on the educational interests of the county.
The West Middletown Christian Church.1--The early history of this congregation is so intimately associated with the movements of Thomas and Alexander Campbell, and the first church they planted on Brush Run, that the reader is referred to the article on the Christian Church, or Disciples of Christ, in the general history of the county, and the early labors of these men as there presented, as a necessary introduction to a true sketch of the planting of this church.
[1By the Rev. A.E. Myers.]
Commencing in the year 1830, some of the former members of the old Brush Run Church, and of another church planted by the labors of Thomas Campbell, near to Hickory, began to meet for worship at Matthew McKeever's. The following are the names of some of the first members: Matthew McKeever and wife, Isaac Cox and wife, Martain and wife, Mother Buxton, George Webster and wife (colored), Mothers McCray and Gillen, James McElroy and wife, and occasionally Joseph Briant and others.
They afterwards met in a school-house at the east end of the village for some time, and also in other private houses besides McKeever's. During these years they were ministered to by the Campbells, by James McElroy, and others, who ministered Bible instruction for their mutual edification and encouragement. There was, however, no regular organization of them into a church until the year 1837, which was effected at Pleasant Hill Seminary.
The following were then members: James McElroy and family, _____ Wort and family, James Ryon and family, Matthew McKeever and family, Polly Gillen, the Tarr family, and John Mendle and family. John Mendle and Matthew McKeever were chosen as their elders, and in addition to the labors of the Campbells they had for some time the labors of Matthew Clapp and Dr. A.W. Campbell, with occasional visits from other ministers of the word. After this they met for some time in town, in the school-house and in private rooms, until 1848, when they erected their first meeting-house, in the western portion of the village, a small brick building. Here they worshipped until 1861, when they sold their house and bought their present church building.
During these years, from the time of the erection of their first house for worship up to the present, many of the young ministers attending Bethany College have ministered to them the word of life, but for quite a number of years previous to his death T.C. McKeever was their most active elder, laboring very acceptably to them and the public in word and doctrine. After his death Samuel Matthews was located there for a while, and since his resignation the church has depended for preaching very much on the Bethany students.
This congregation has had much trouble and affliction from internal dissension, which at times prostrated it very much; but for some years past they have been doing well, having got rid of the disturbing element, and they are now in a good condition, though not strong, and their prospects for usefulness are very encouraging. The present number of members is forty-eight. The elders are Daniel Hare, John Nelson, and Thomas Lake. Their church property is worth about $1200.
United Presbyterian Congregation of West Middletown.1--The old minutes of this congregation have not been preserved, so that it is difficult to know the date of its organization. From the best information it was about 1810. Dr. John Riddle, of Robinson's Run, preached the first sermon for our people in the month of May, 1802. From that time till 1814 more or less supply of preaching was furnished. In the month of June, 1814, Samuel Findley was settled here only part of his time. His pastorate continued for eight years, when he demitted his charge; afterwards he spent most of his long life and labors at Antrim, Ohio. The congregation remained vacant until the fall of 1828, when William Wallace was settled here, in connection with Wheeling and Short Creek, West Middletown receiving half his labors. In April, 1833, at the urgent desire of the Wheeling branch, but much against the wish of the people here, he saw fit to demit his charge here and removed to Wheeling, where he spent the most of his labors, though he finished his course at Canonsburg. The memory of Drs. Findley and Wallace is dear to many here, and through a large portion of the church.
[1By the Rev. Samuel Taggart.]
The present pastor accepted a call from the congregation, in connection with Mount Vernon, a new branch some nine miles east, two-thirds of his time to the former, and one-third to the latter. This relation continued ten years, when for reasons deemed sufficient the Mount Vernon branch was demitted, and the whole time was given to West Middletown. This relation continued until the spring of 1855, when by mutual agreement he gave up the congregation and removed to Illinois. He found the climate did not suit his constitution, and though he had accepted a call in Peoria County, he concluded that he must have his home somewhere among the hills, he knew not where. After having been "well shaken," returned from the West in 1856. He accepted the second call from his old charge, and remains here at this present date, January 1882.
In 1818 the congregation built a house that remained intact until 1860, when we entered our new church. The present building is a substantial one, built of brick, with a view to utility rather than ornament. It is fifty by seventy-five feet in size, with a gallery over the vestibule at the west end. It cost about four thousand dollars without the furniture. The people are pleased with it, and think it good enough for any country congregation.
This congregation belonged to the Associate Reformed Church up to the period of the union with the Associate Synod in 1858. Then the present name of "The United Presbyterian Church" was assumed. We have a legitimate claim to this title, for both these bodies were "true blue" Presbyterian previous to the union. While we do not claim to have attained to perfection, yet we are not ashamed of our creed, our profession, and our descent from faithful Scotch and Irish ancestors.
This congregation had about eighty communicants in 1834. It has varied from that number up to one hundred and seventy-five. There have been admitted to communion since that date more than six hundred, but from deaths and removals and other causes our number at present is about one hundred and thirty-three. Of the present congregation only one female member remains who had her name on the roll of membership when the writer was first settled here. About one-third of the ministers of the Presbytery of Chartiers have been called home to their reward since the union.
I will record the names of the ruling elders of the congregation who served here, most of whom have gone to the "house of silence:" Thomas Fullerton, James Welch, Thomas Patterson, Thomas McCall, Nathaniel Paxton, Thos. McCorkle, Samuel Patterson, Thomas Ritchey, Jas. Thompson, Thomas Gormley, Hugh Reed, John McCorkle, John W. Stewart, John Jamison, Samuel E. Brownlee, Aaron Welch, John Hemphill, all dead, making in all seventeen. Elders John Miloy and John Mustand removed from the bounds of the congregation, and are yet living. Walter Denny, R.C. Clark, D.F. Cummins, William Morrison, David McNary, and J. Forbes Welsh compose the present session. As to our progress in raising funds for ecclesiastical and benevolent purposes, we have advanced about one hundred and fifty percent. In spiritual advancement we cannot speak with the same degree of certainty. The true condition of the soul is known only to the Omniscient One. The members attend regularly on the public ordinances, and we are generally favored with a number of outsiders and others. We have generally enjoyed peace and harmony, so that, everything considered, I say this has been to me a pleasant charge. During the troubles in our country more than thirty communicants left this church. They sent to the South for a minister, and have a small congregation at Patterson's Mills. Whether they have gained by this change I do not pretend to determine. "To their own Master they stand or fall."
But I must bring this imperfect sketch to an end. In looking over our roll of six hundred and ninety ministers I find West Middletown has the oldest settled pastor in the whole church. If the work done has not been very fruitful, we cannot complain that the time to perform it has been abbreviated.
Methodist Church.--A Methodist Church, located in West Middletown, has an excellent house of worship, which was dedicated Jan. 15, 1878, but it has not been found practicable to obtain any connected history of the organization and subsequent progress of this church. There is also an African Methodist Church located in the borough of West Middletown.
Hopewelltown.--James Gillespie, who was a settler in the township prior to 1788 (his name being found on the assessment-roll of that year), conceived the idea of starting a town upon his tract of land. The land was on the east border of the township, nearly adjoining the present the present town of Buffalo. He inserted an advertisement in the Washington Telegraphe and Western Advertiser of Feb. 10, 1797, which is here given:
"The subscriber has laid out a Town on his plantation (called Hopewell town) in Hopewell Township. on the great road leading from Henderson's Mills to Charlestown, mouth of Buffaloe, the 20th ultimo. The corner lots will be sold to twenty dollars each, the others at ten dollars each. The situation is elegant, about twenty rods from Henderson's Mills, and within one mile and a half from the two meeting-houses. Those that choose to purchase shall have a title in fee simple forever.
No further account of the embryo village is obtained till 1800. No deeds were on record prior to that time that show that lots were sold, but on the 10th of June in that year Michael McClung sold to Francis Henry "lot No. 20 in Hopewell town," and the same was sold by him on the 26th of August, 1809, to John Trimble, William McClelland, Thomas Gillespie, and James Clark. Nothing more is known of it. All recollection or tradition of the town seems to have passed from the memory of man. Ezekiel Davis now lives on the James Gillespie property.
Schools.--Primitive schools, supported by subscription, were taught in this township, as elsewhere in the county, several years before the beginning of the present century; but few particulars have been learned concerning them, or the teachers employed in them prior to 1828. Mr. William Hunter says he recollects at that time but four log school-houses in Hopewell, and that the teachers in that year, or in two or three years following, were John Ross, Bartley A. McClean, Nathaniel Jenkins, Samuel Elder, George Forester, and Joseph G. Chambers. The last named died in 1829.
Under the school law of 1834 the township (then comprising also the territory of Independence township) was districted in that year and 1835 by a committee chosen for the purpose, consisting of George Plummer, John Lowry, James Thompson, James Bell, Aaron Johnston, Abram Wotring. The number of districts into which the two (present) townships were divided was twelve. There were then in the entire territory (Hopewell and Independence) four hundred and twenty-four persons liable to taxation for school purposes. David Craig and Hugh McGuire were elected the first school directors, and James Thompson treasurer. The amount of money raised in that year for school purposes was $349.37. In 1836 the township refused action under the school law, and only the State tax of $124.78 was raised. In 1837 the provisions of the law were accepted by the township, and a total of $718.15 was raised.
On the 26th of August, 1836, the township "resolved to build the necessary school-houses for the districts as soon as proper arrangements can be made, and that the secretary give notice in the Reporter and Examiner for proposals on the first Monday of October next." Feb. 14, 1837, it was "resolved that the secretary be authorized to contract for brick for eight school-houses." David Craig and James Thompson were appointed "a committee to obtain right of school property for West Middletown District, No. 3." Aug. 18, 1837, it was resolved that equal amounts be distributed among the several districts, except Middletown, No. 3, and Williamsburg, the former of which was to receive one hundred per cent. and the latter fifty per cent. more than the others. The secretary was authorized to contract with George Newcome to build these school-houses. The Adams school-house, No. 6, was also built by Newcome, Abraham Wotring, John Lowry, Henry Smith, Hugh McGuire, William Tweed, and James Thompson were authorized to procure school lots, which they did, as follows:
Lease, 99 years from James Boyd, 80 perches....... $1.00
Purchase from Joseph Scott, 80 perches............ 1.00
Purchase from Alexander Adams and Aaron Templeton,
79 perches................................... 10.00
Purchase from John Lowry, 72 perches.............. 10.00
Purchase from William Jamison, 80 perches......... 1.00
Purchase from John Dunkle, 80 perches............. 12.00
Purchase from Joseph Bigham, 80 perches........... 1.00
Purchase from Isaac Manchester, 82 perches........ 10.00
Purchase from Robert Harvey (Williamsburg)
36 3/4 perches............................... 60.00
These purchases were all made in 1837 and 1838. On the 27th of May, 1839, a lot was purchased of George Plummer, thirty-six perches, for the consideration "Love and respect for education, and the better maintenance and support of common schools." In 1845 the store of James McFadden was purchased for a school-house, in District No. 3. On the 14th of September, 1846, a lot was purchased of William McNulty for a school-house, and one the 16th of April, 1847, it was voted to proceed with the erection of a house forty-two by thirty-two feet, brick, thirteen inches thick, ten feet story, two stories in height. To this building another story was added in 1858.
The school report for the school year ending June 1, 1863, showed the following school statistics of the township: Number of schools, 6; number of teachers, 6; number of pupils enrolled, 216; receipts for school purposes, $983.69; expenditures, $695. The report for 1873 showed: number of schools in township, 6; number of teachers, 6; number of pupils enrolled, 162; receipts, $1389.95; expenditures, $1312,46. In 1880 the report showed the same number of schools and teachers; number of pupils enrolled, 210; school receipts, $1356.11; expenditures, $1217.29. The present number of districts and school-houses in the township is six, exclusive of the West Middletown district, which has been separate and independent from the township in school matters in and since the year 1856.
Churches.--The Upper Buffalo Presbyterian Church was organized in May or June, 1779.1 The location of the house of worship of this early congregation was a spot "near the northwest corner" of the old burial-ground, or "graveyard," as the old settlers in their austerity of speech as well as of manner loved better to express it. The building was simply a log house, differing in no essential particular from the meeting-houses of all denominations in the pioneer days, but it served the needs of this weak but devoted congregation for nineteen years, from 1779 to 1798. This included the period of the labors of their first pastor, the Rev. Joseph Smith. He had been called by the congregations of Upper Buffalo and Cross Creek, June 21, 1779. Each congregation agreed to pay him seventy-five pounds. The story of his labors, pecuniary trials, and pastoral success is told elsewhere in the history of Hopewell township. He continued as pastor of both churches till the time of his death, April 19, 1792, in the fifty-sixth year of his age. During his pastorate, "in the latter part of the year 1781, the Lord began a gracious work in the congregations of Cross Creek and Upper Buffalo....At the time the Lord's Supper was administered at Buffalo, in the fall of 1738, about one hundred of the subjects of this good work were admitted to communion."
[1The reader is referred to the history of Cross Creek Presbyterian Church for the early history of this church; also to the personal sketches of the Rev. Joseph Smith and William Smiley in the early settlements of this township. Much of the account here given of the Upper Buffalo Church is taken from the centennial addresses of the Revs. William E. Eagleson and James D. Walkinshaw, delivered June 19, 1879.]
On the 13th of June, 1794, the Rev. Thomas Marques was ordained and installed pastor of the Cross Creek congregation, and so continued until the beginning of the year 1798, during which pastorate he also acted as stated supply of the Upper Buffalo Church.
The second house of worship of this church was built in 1797-98. It was a large building, made of hewed logs, furnished with galleries on the ends and also on one side, the pulpit being on the other side. The first stoves were put in it in 1806; it was weather-boarded in 1808; pews were put in it in 1812. Some time afterwards the pulpit was painted and the house plastered. It was first used in 1798, and was occupied as a place of worship for forty-seven years.
The Upper Buffalo Presbyterian Society was incorporated under civil law by act of Assembly passed March 29, 1804, and approved by Governor Thomas McKean. The first trustees of the society (named in the incorporation) were James Taggart, Sr., David Boyd, Alexander Hunter, William McComb, John Flack, Matthew Morrow, James Dinsmore, John Gilchrist, William Hughes.
From 1798 to 1800 this church was dependent on presbyterial and transient supplies. In October of the latter year the Rev. John Anderson, D.D., accepted a call and at once entered on his pastoral duties. He was esteemed a good theologian, and superintended the studies of a number of young men for the ministry. who took high rank among their ministerial brethren; among them were Henry Hervey, D.D., William C. Anderson, D.D., James McKennon, D.D., and Rev. James Anderson.
The Rev. John Anderson, pastor of Upper Buffalo, was born in Guilford County, N.C., in April, 1768, and received his education, both academic and theological, under the Rev. David Caldwell. He was licensed by the Presbytery of Orange in 1793, was shortly afterwards ordained as an evangelist, and spent several years in itinerant labor in the States of North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky. In 1799 he visited this part of the county, and in 1800, after the meeting of the General Assembly at Philadelphia, came here to remain as pastor of the church, as before mentioned.
"He himself stated," says the Rev. W.E. Eagleson, "that the first two years of his ministry were not very fruitful, and that in the summer of 1802 about twenty careless persons were awakened to serious concern. This was the beginning of that great work of grace that swept over this whole region in the beginning of the present century, commonly known as 'the falling work.' The most memorable Sabbath in the whole history of the church was the 14th of November, 1802, when the Lord's Supper was administered here. It is estimated that ten thousand people were present. They brought their provisions with this, encamped on the ground, and slept in their wagons. Fifteen ministers were present. On Saturday afternoon Dr. McCurdy and one of the brethren preached simultaneously, one in the meeting house and the other in the tent. Two sermons were preached in the same way on Sunday morning. Whilst Dr, Milligan and some of his brethren were administering the communion in the open space in front of the tent to about one thousand communicants, Dr. McCurdy preached his famous was sermon from a wagon some distance west of the meeting-house. The exercises on this occasion were continued until Tuesday evening. The divine power was signally displayed. Some hundreds were convinced of their sin and misery, and many of then sank down and cried bitterly and incessantly for several hours. Some fell suddenly; some lost their strength gradually; some lay quiet and silent; some were violently agitated; and many sat silently weeping, who were not exercised with any bodily affections."
The pastorate of Dr. Anderson continued for thirty-two years and eight months, the pastoral relation being dissolved on the 18th of June, 1833, at his request, made and urged on account of his declining health. In the fall of 1834 he preached his farewell sermon at a meeting of the Synod held at Steubenville, Ohio, and on the 31st of January, 1835, he died, aged sixty-seven years. His remains were interred in the burial-ground of the church.
After Dr. Anderson's death this congregation was served for a time by supplies. On the 24th of December, 1834, the Rev. John Eagleson, D.D., was ordained and installed pastor of this church, and served in that capacity just thirty-nine years, during which time six hundred and twenty-three members were added to the church. He died Jan. 23, 1873, at the age of sixty-four years, and while he was yet in all the vigor of his usefulness.
After the death of Dr. Eagleson the congregation was supplied by the Washington Presbytery until 1874. On the 3d of February in that year a call was made to the Rev. James D. Walkinshaw (who had preached his first sermon here on the second Sabbath of the preceding November). The call was accepted on the 29th of April following, and on the 22d of May, 1874, he was installed the fourth pastor of this church, which relation still continues.
The building and occupation of the first and second houses of worship of the congregation have already been mentioned. The second, after being in use for forty-seven years, gave place to the third, which was built and occupied in 1845. It stood on the site occupied by its predecessor, and was dedicated on the Sabbath, Oct. 26, 1845. The dedicatory sermon was preached by the Rev. John Eagleson from 2d Chronicles vii. 1. The lecture-room was "raised" April 29, 1845, and was occupied (in an unfinished state) on the following 11th of May.
The fourth church building was commenced in 1872. It was in process of erection at the time of Dr. Eagleson's death, in January, 1873, being then under roof and inclosed. The funeral services over the remains of the old and beloved pastor were the first ever held within it. The basement was provided with temporary seats, and here the funeral was held; it was the first meeting of the pastor and people within its walls, "he in the embrace of death, they to weep over their sore bereavement." The church was dedicated May 22, 1874, the day of the installation of the present pastor, Mr. Walkinshaw. The dedication sermon was preached by the Rev. J.T. Fredericks. The church edifice is a good and commodious building of brick, forty by fifty feet in dimensions. In 1875 the congregation built a parsonage, at a cost of twenty-five hundred dollars, completed in August of the year named. The present membership of the church is two hundred and sixty-six. A Sabbath-school has been in operation since 1815. A library was furnished to it in 1827.
The elders of this church, prior to 1834 were William Smiley,1 John Johnson, William McCullough, William Hughes, John Cowen, James Dinsmore, Robert Lyle, James Brice, William Patterson, John Flack, and David Rannello. At the commencement of Rev. John Eagleson's ministry the elders were John Gilchrist, William Wallace, John Dinsmore, John McWilliams, James McConahey, Robert Caldwell, William Smiley, and David McComb. On the 9th of January, 1840, James Taggart, Parker Reed, Andrew Herron, and Samuel Donahey were ordained to and installed in the office of ruling elders, and on the 25th of September, 1853, Ezekiel Davis, William Donahey, and Robert Sloan were so ordained and installed. On the 7th of January, 1872, William W. Hunter, David C. Ross, and Samuel A. Caldwell were ordained and installed. The elders composing the session at the time of the commencement of Mr. Walkinshaw's pastorate were William Smiley, William Donahey, Ezekiel Davis, Robert Sloan, S.A. Caldwell, W.W. Hunter, and D.C. Ross, the first named an elder since the pastorate of Rev. John Anderson, the next three since Sept. 25, 1853, and the last since Jan. 7, 1872.
[1The same brave and devoted old man who took the cargo of flour to New Orleans for sale to procure the means to pay the arrearages of the Rev. Joseph Smith's salary, and avert the impending disaster of the loss of his farm and the congregation's pastor when all other means had failed. (See account of Rev. Joseph Smith's settlement in Hopewell.)]
Buffalo Village, situated in the east part of Hopewell township, on the road leading from Washington borough to West Middletown, is a hamlet of twelve dwellings, a post-office, a store, and having one resident physician, Dr. Henry L. Snodgrass. Here also is located the house of worship of the Upper Buffalo Presbyterian Church. The post-office was first established at the Wotring farm, with Abraham Wotring as postmaster. After him came John Smith and Samuel Merchant. Under the last named the office was removed to Buffalo village. The present postmaster is William McGill, who is also the merchant of the village.
Brush Run Post-Office was established in 1846, largely through the instrumentality of James Clark, who was made postmaster. His successor was Samuel Merchant, under whom this office and that at Wotring's were consolidated and the new office established at Buffalo village, about midway between the original sites of the two old offices. Merchant was the postmaster in charge in 1866-67. His successor was William McGill, as above mentioned.
Parker Reed, farmer, was born in Hopewell township, Washington Co., Pa., March 11, 1811, and died there March 27, 1871. He was the son of James Reed, a native of Scotland, a carpenter by trade, who built the first court-house erected in Washington, Pa. Parker Reed was tutored at home and in the country schools, and reared upon the farm which he subsequently inherited. He was an elder in the Upper Buffalo Presbyterian Church for thirty-three years, and superintendent of the Sunday-schools for seventeen years, and was efficient and zealous. His record as a man and citizen was unassailable. He was married June 13, 1838, to Jane Ann Brice, by whom he had six children, - John B., a Presbyterian minister of Sisterville, W. Va., married to Isabella Shields; Lina Catherine, who died when eight years of age; James P., a grocer of Larned, Kan., married to Georgia Walker; Rebecca J., the wife of Samuel P. Wilson, a farmer of Hopewell township, Washington Co., Pa.; Henry H., a flour and grain merchant of Larned, Kan., married to Anna Dumont; L.C., a concrete maker of Garden City, Kan., married to Nancy J. Matthews.
Mrs. Jane Ann Reed, who survives her husband, is the daughter of Rev. John Brice, who died Aug. 26, 1811, aged fifty-one years, and in the twenty-second year of his ministry. He was a self-made man in the best sense of the word, having pursued his studies when a boy under the discouraging restraints of poverty, and having advanced upon his merits. Aug. 16, 1786, he appeared before the Presbytery of Redstone, and asked to be taken on trial in order to his being licensed to preach. April 16, 1788, "Presbytery having received sufficient testimonials in favor of his having gone through a regular course of literature, of his good moral character, and of his being in the communion of the church, etc., having given satisfaction as to his accomplishments and experimental acquaintance with religion, and as to his proficiency, etc., in divinity, did license him to preach as a probationer for the holy ministry wherever he might be orderly called." April 22, 1789, a call was received by him from the united congregations of Three Ridges and Forks of Wheeling, and at the meeting of Presbytery May 25, 1789, he declared his acceptance of the same. He was ordained at Three Ridges in April, 1790. After leaving this charge he removed to his farm in Virginia, where he spent his remaining years. While there he organized the church at Unity, Greene Co., Pa. His first wife, Rebecca Carr, a woman noted for her piety, died in 1794, leaving two children, - James, and Jane, who married John McCoy.
By his second wife, Jane Stockton, he had nine children, - Mary, who married Dixon Coulter; John, who married Nancy Byers; Rebecca, who married Samuel Frazier; Margaret S., unmarried; Sarah, who married Isaac Oldham; Elizabeth, who married Edward Supler; Alice, who married William Craig; Fannie S., who married Joseph Blaney; and Jane Ann, the wife of Parker Reed, and the only one of the family now living.
GEORGE T. WORK
George Work and his wife Martha Dunlap, were natives of Londonderry, Ireland, where they were married, and whence the emigrated to America in 1789, landing in Wilmington, Del., July 24th of that year. They resided in Eastern Pennsylvania for three years, and then settled in Hopewell township, Washington County, upon a farm now owned by their grandson, S.C. Work. Their children were as follows: Alexander, born Feb. 11, 1781; Jane, born May 9, 1783; Mary, born Nov. 8, 1790; James, born Sept. 12, 1792; John D., born Dec. 14, 1794.
Alexander Work married Jane Taggart, Jan. 10, 1809. They died in Harrison County, Ohio. Jane married Andrew Gilmore, July 3, 1810. Their home was in Highland County, Ohio. Mary married Robert Tweed, Oct. 10, 1821. They lived and died in Hopewell township, Washington County, Pa. John D. married Mary Brown. They died in Jasper County, Ind.
James Work was twice married, - first, Feb. 7, 1822, to Grizzilla Tweed, who was a daughter of Robert Tweed by his first wife, Elizabeth Wylie, sister of Adam Wylie, M.D., and Andre Wylie, D.D., and after whose death he (Robert) married Mary Work. The children of James and Grizzilla (Tweed) Work were Grizzilla Elizabeth, born Dec. 20, 1822, who was the wife of Robert Denny, and died in 1859 in Morrow County, Ohio; and George T., born April 7, 1825. Grizzilla (Tweed) Work died Jan. 27, 1827, and James married his second wife, Margaret Caldwell, June 3, 1828. By this marriage there were nine children, - Martha L., born June 1, 1829, died Aug. 19,1832; Agnes A., born Nov. 17, 1831, is the wife of Robert S. Caldwell; Sarah J., born Oct. 14, 1832, is the wife of William Denny of Harvey County, Kan.; Mary B., born May 8, 1834, died Aug. 14, 1834; Clarissa E., born Nov. 8, 1835, died Aug. 29, 1840; Samuel C., born July 16, 1835, died Aug. 29, 1840; Samuel C., born July 16, 1838, married Anna Donahey; Maria I., born Aug. 11, 1840; Margaret E., born Oct. 26, 1842, is the wife of Joseph H. Rankin; Sophia M.A., born March 6, 1846, is the wife of William Smiley; James Work died Sept. 26, 1868. His second wife is still living.
George T. Work received a good practical English education, the principal part of which he obtained in the common schools, and assisted his father in the business of farming until twenty-six years of age. He then engaged in the lumber business, to which he has given attention ever since, except during the war of the Rebellion. He was married Sept. 19, 1850, to Catharine Denny, daughter of Robert Denny, of Chartiers township, Washington County, Pa. Their children were seven in number, - Lydia J., was drowned June 29, 1857, in her fourth year; John D., died Jan. 30, 1858, aged nineteen years, five months, and thirteen days. Those living are James A., married to Laura B. Logan; Margaret E.; Grizzilla, the wife of William Patterson; Emma C.; and George R.
George T. Work enlisted as a private in Captain W.W. McNulty's cavalry company in May, 1861. On their way to camp (Camp. Wilkins) he was appointed orderly sergeant. In August, 1861, their company was ordered to Washington, D.C. Soon after its arrival there it was disbanded by order of Gen. Stoneman, who, at the request of Mr. Work, who was then a second lieutenant, assigned his company to the First Pennsylvania Cavalry, in which it became Company I. In a short time thereafter Mr. Work was its first lieutenant, and in November following captain, and while holding that position he took part in the battle of Dranesville, where he commanded a squadron, and was also a participant in minor engagements. He was under McDowell on the Rappahannock during the Peninsular campaign in 1862. He remained there until his regiment was ordered to join Fremont in the Shenandoah Valley, and was with his column in advance at Mount Jackson, having participated in all the marches and skirmishes in which his regiment had been engaged up to that time. Suffering from malarial fever, he was sent from Mount Jackson to Douglas Hospital, Washington, D.C., from which he was discharged because of disability in July, 1862.
On his way to his home, which he reached in August, he was authorized by Governor Curtin to recruit two cavalry companies. The Governor laughed at the idea of recruiting, as he then had recruiting officers in nearly every county in the State, who were getting very few volunteers. In less than sixty days Capt. Work had recruited two full companies, and joining his efforts with those of Capt. John Keys, of Beallsville, they were able to take into service in West Virginia six companies of cavalry, which were known as the Ringgold Battalion until March, 1864, when, together with the Washington Cavalry and five new companies, it was organized as the Twenty-second Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry. In this organization Capt. Work was chosen major, and served in that capacity until the close of the war. He was twice wounded at the battle of Port Republic, Sept. 27, 1864. He was discharged in August, 1865.
Immediately after his return home he engaged in the oil business in West Virginia, where he remained for two years. He then engaged in farming and milling, which he followed in his native county until 1876, when we was elected as the Republican candidate for sheriff of Washington County. He filled the office for three years, when he returned to his farm in Hopewell township, where he lives quietly, enjoying good health, a comfortable home, and the esteem of a large acquaintance. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church, as were also his father and grandfather.
John Maxwell was born in Hopewell township, Washington County, Sept. 5, 1809. He is of Scotch lineage, the son of Robert and Hannah (Graham) Maxwell. He learned the cabinet-maker trade in West Middletown, Washington Co., and worked for a while as a journeyman, a part of the time in Cincinnati, Ohio. About the year 1834 he purchased the farm where he now resides, and has since been engaged in farming and stock-raising. He has been twice married, - first to Elizabeth Dinsmore, and after her death to Mary E. Caldwell, who died Nov. 24, 1873. But one of his first wife's children, Robert G., grew to manhood and married. He died April 12, 1881 having been twice married. His first wife was Bell S. McCarrell, who died, leaving two children, Edna D. and William W. His second wife, Jennie Caldwell, survives him, and has two children, John Ralph and Robert Graham. John Maxwell by his second marriage had three children, all living, - Samuel, a farmer of Hopewell township, married to Anna Hemphill; John, a farmer, of Hopewell township, unmarried; and Jennie, the wife of James McBride Taggart, a farmer, of Buffalo township. Mr. Maxwell was in early life a member of the United Presbyterian Church, but afterwards united with the Presbyterian Church, of which he is now a communicant. He has followed his business steadily and very successfully, gathering together much valuable property. Among the self-made men of the county he occupies a most worthy and honorable place.
*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 Liz DuBois of Bremerton, WA in April 1998. Published in April 1998 on the Washington County, PA USGenWeb pages at http://www.chartiers.com.
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