Independence Twp. (pp. 824-835)INDEPENDENCE is one of the townships lying on the western border of Washington County. Its northern boundary is the stream Cross Creek, which separates it from the townships of Cross Creek and Jefferson. On the east it is bounded by Hopewell township; on the south by Donegal, from which it is separated by Buffalo Creek. Its western boundary is the State of West Virginia. The two creeks above mentioned (Cross and Buffalo), forming respectively the north and south boundaries of Independence, are the only streams of any size or importance belonging to the township.
History of Washington County, Pennsylvania*
Independence was originally a part of Hopewell, as mentioned and explained in the history of the latter township. The two remained together as one township for almost seventy-five years from the formation of Hopewell in 1781. At the November term of the Court of Quarter Sessions in 1854 there was presented to the court "A Petition of Divers inhabitants of Hopewell Township for a division of said township, Commencing at the mouth of Brush Run in Buffalo Creek, running up said Run, the line between Nos. 7, 8, School Districts, to the line of Middletown district; thence the line between Middletown and No.8; thence between No. 2 and the Middletown district to the mouth of a run emptying into Crisswell's Mill-Dam on Cross Creek." The court appointed as viewers Lysander Patterson, John Cole, Esq., and William Gillespie. The matter was continued from term to term until February sessions of 1856, when the court ordered the division and the erection of "a new township, to be called Independence, elections to be held at the house of William White. in the village of Independence."
Early Settlements.-The first authentic record found of a permanent settlement in the present territory of Independence township is of that made by John Doddridge, who came here from Bedford County, Pa., in 1773. Upon a Virginia certificate he took up four hundred and thirty-seven acres of land, which was surveyed to him April 6, 1786, under the title of "Extravagance." This tract was adjoining the one soon after warranted to Samuel Teeter, and upon it was built the "Doddridge Fort," of which Samuel Teeter, a relative of the Doddridge family, had command during the times of trouble with the Indians. Mrs. Doddridge was a niece of Alexander Wells, an extensive landholder in Independence, Jefferson, and Cross Creek townships. She died, and Mr. Doddridge married Elizabeth Reeves, who survived him. He died in February, 1791. The children of the first wife were Joseph, Philip, Ann, and Ruth. Those of the second union were Josias, Benjamin, Enoch, John, and Eleanor. The daughter Ann became Mrs. Nathan Reeves, Ruth became Mrs. Carson, and Eleanor married Mr. Gautt. The greater portion of the land owned by John Doddridge is now the property of David Huston.
Samuel Teeter was a relative of the family of John Doddridge, and soon followed them into what is now Independence township. He located a tract of land that contained three hundred and eighty acres, which was surveyed to him May 1, 1780, and twice resurveyed by an order of the board of property, Sep 15, 1784, and March 7, 1785. Upon the tract "Plenty" Samuel and Mary Teeter, with their sons Samuel and George, resided in a two-story log house, which stood near the house now occupied by Col. Asa Manchester. Northwest of the house and adjoining it was a fort known as "Teeter's Fort," which was not far from the "Doddridge Fort," and is well remembered by Col. Manchester. Around the house and fort Mr. Teeter. had built a stockade, which inclosed about one-eighth of an acre of ground. This stockade was built high above the house, and was constructed of logs sixteen feet long, which were split and set in the ground, with another tier placed over the interstices. Some of the logs which composed the house and fort of Samuel Teeter are still in use in the woodshed of Col. Manchester, who now owns and lives on the Teeter homestead. The property descended to him from Isaac Manchester, to whom Mr. Teeter sold it in 1797, when he removed to the State of Kentucky.
Benjamin Wells settled on a tract of land on or very near the State line in this township. A few years after his settlement he died, leaving the farm to his widow and son Charles, the latter eventually owning the whole of it. He died, leaving a widow and two children. The property was left to the widow for her sole use while she remained unmarried. She, however, married a man named James, who had nine children, and the estate left her then passed to her children. The son, Charles Wells, Jr., went to Wellsburg, Va., learned the tanner's trade, married, and came back to the Wells homestead in 1817, building a tannery, which he carried on until 1824, becoming quite wealthy. He died from an accident which occurred while he was attempting to repair the roof of his house. His wife survived him but one week. Eliza Wells, daughter of Charles and sister of Charles Wells, Jr., married Mr. James, a son of her stepfather. The old Wells place is now owned by David Buchanan, but the house and tannery have disappeared.
The tract "Pembroke," in the territory of Independence township, was owned by Thomas Maguire, and contained nearly four hundred and forty-four acres. Francis Maguire, a brother of Thomas Maguire, lived in Virginia, on a farm adjoining the "Flower Garden" tract. Thomas Maguire had three sons, -Hugh, John, and Thomas, Jr.,- who inherited his property. John sold his portion, which extended nearly to the village of Independence, to Richard Carter, who in turn sold it to Arnold Lee. It was disposed of by Lee to Bazil Bell, and is now in the hands of his son, Cornelius Bell. Hugh sold his inheritance in 1840 to Dr. Parkinson, who still possesses it.
Samuel Buchanan, with his wife and son John, came from Lancaster County, Pa., to Hopewell (now Independence) township in 1783, and purchased the property of Joseph Worley, who received the tract on a Virginia certificate granted Jan.28, 1780, which recites that it is situated "in the county of Ohio, on the waters of Buffalo Creek, to include his settlement made in the year 1773." It was assigned by Mr. Worley to Samuel Buchanan, and surveyed to him as "Comfort," containing three hundred acres, on the 19th of April, 1785. The creek on which it was situated was known as Worley's Run. Joseph Worley returned to his home in the East, and died there within a year.
After coming to this township three sons were born to Mr. and Mrs. Buchanan, -William, Samuel, and David. They, with the son John, inherited the property at the death of the parents, and all settled in this township. John Buchanan, as assignee of Henry Nelson, took up the tract of land called "Dundee," adjoining the lands of Henry Levens and John and Philip Doddridge, which was surveyed March 27, 1786, as containing two hundred and twenty-five acres John Buchanan died in this township. Samuel, who lived upon his father's farm, died there in 1804 or 1805. William removed to Zanesville, Ohio, where he lived and died. David Buchanan married a daughter of Robert Cummins, and also settled upon a portion of the homestead, where he built a tannery in 1810, but a son of his being drowned in the vat in 1817, he soon after discontinued the business. His son, David Buchanan, Jr., now lives in Independence township, and owns the old Buchanan farm, which is occupied by John McAllister, and his son George came into possession of "Dundee," which he sold to his cousin, Robert Buchanan, in 1840, when he removed to Indiana. About six years ago the property passed into the hands of William Craig, who still owns the greater portion of it.
Samuel, Arthur, and Josiah Scott were natives of Lancaster County, Pa., who made early settlements in Washington County. Samuel and Arthur Scott settled in the eastern part of the county just after the close of the Revolution, and lived near Ginger Hill, on the waters of Pigeon Creek. In 1786 they came into this section, and purchased one hundred and seventy-five acres of unpatented land of a German who had settled upon it. This tract of land was in that portion of Hopewell township which has since been set off as Independence. Arthur Scott married Ann Hamilton, and the two families resided here together. Not long after their settlement Samuel Scott was killed by the accidental discharge of a gun in the hands of James Law, who was out with him on a hunting expedition. He left one child and a widow, who afterwards became the wife of Mr. Hutchinson. John Scott, son of Samuel, married Miss Ferguson, a daughter of one of the pioneers of Hopewell township, and continued to live on his father's property from his marriage in 1808 till 1831, when it was purchased by Joseph Scott, son of Arthur.
The property adjoining that of the Scott brothers (Samuel and Arthur) on the north was the four-hundred-acre tract belonging to Col. David Williamson. Of this Arthur Scott purchased one hundred and thirty-five acres, which, with is early purchase, made his estate nearly two hundred and twenty-five acres. He lived upon this place until 1843, the year of his death. The only children of his family now living are David Scott, of Portsmouth, Ohio, Mrs. Hugh Miller, of Knox County, Ohio, and Col. Joseph Scott, who resides on the homestead. He was born on the old farm in May, 1808, and his present residence occupies the site of the old log house.
Col. David Williamson owned a tract of four hundred acres of land in the extreme southern part of Independence, but he never lived upon it. He first sold a part of it to Arthur Scott in July, 1802, and William Haggerty afterwards purchased the remainder. Thomas Haggerty, a grandson, now owns on hundred acres of William Haggerty's portion and Barnet Jones the remainder.
James Welch came into this part of Hopewell township soon after 1788, and settled upon a tract of land adjoining that of Arthur Scott. Mr. Welch married for his first wife Agnes Smith, a daughter of Joseph Smith, who at her death left her husband one hundred acres of land, which had been her portion of the Smith patent. Mr. Welch was married the second time to Margaret Johnston, a native of Hopewell township. She was born in 1776, on the farm (east of Mount Hope Church) that Thomas McFadden occupies. Two of her brothers, Nimrod and Aaron Johnston, removed to Ohio, where both died at a very advanced age. Mrs. Margaret Welch spent her whole life in this township, and died in 1867. Mr. Welch died in 1840, aged seventy-seven years, leaving a family of ten or twelve children. Several of the sons removed to the West. Aaron Welch lived and died near West Middletown, in Hopewell township, and Abel Johnston Welch still owns and lives on the homestead. The daughter Jane, now Mrs. Jane Hunter, is living here with William Smith, and is eighty-four years of age.
"Levens' Hall" was a two hundred and fifty-three acre body of land in this township, which was patented to Henry Levens, March 28, 1788, adjacent to the lands of John Doddridge and Samuel Teeter, and now possessed by Col. Asa Manchester, Elijah Carman, and Mr. McMurray. Henry Levens never lived upon this property, but leased it to Jehial Carman, a native of Trenton, N.J. Carman's wife was a niece of Robert McCready, who was a brother-in-law of Mr. Levens. Jehial Carman in time bought one hundred and twenty acres of the tract "Levens' Hall." He finally emigrated to a place near Richmond, Ohio, and thither all of the family removed except the sons, Elisha and John Carman. John Carman removed to West Virginia, and Elisha lives upon the Levens' Hall property, which Jehial Carman left to his grandson, William Carman, who is Elisha's son, and is now eighty-five Years old.
Galbraith, Benjamin, and William Stewart were three brothers, who lived in Independence township as early as 1788, and all were blacksmiths by trade. Galbraith Stewart lived near Mount Hope Church, on the place later occupied by George Macauley, and now owned by David Buchanan. Benjamin Stewart lived on the road leading from Independence to Patterson's Mills, in Cross Creek township and on the place Joseph Brown now occupies. His blacksmith-shop at this point was kept up until 1825, when Thomas White purchased the property, and also started a shop of the same trade. His shop did not occupy the Stewart site, as the house in which Mr. Magee lives was built upon that. No information of the brother, William Stewart, has been gained, save that he resided here as early as the others, and followed the trade of a blacksmith. Galbraith Stewart lived in West Middletown, and carried on black-smithing in and after 1795.
Matthew Mitchell came from Cumberland County, Pa., into Hopewell township in 1790, and June 29th of that year purchased two hundred acres of land of Robert Caruthers, a portion of the tract "Liberty," patented April 8,1788. This land was situated in the vicinity of Mount Hope Church, and is now the property of Samuel Cosner. Mr. Mitchell lived there until his death, which occurred in 1829, at the very old age of ninety-six years. Soon after the death of Mr. Mitchell, Rev. Thomas Allison came into possession of the property, and it later descended to his son, Matthew Allison. The Mitchell family has entirely disappeared from this vicinity.
Robert Cummings lived in what is now Independence township as early as 1792, if not before that time. On March 6th in that year he purchased one hundred and twenty-one acres of land of William Spry. Again, Nov. 24,1800, he bought two hundred acres of Thomas Sheirer, part of a tract situated on the waters of Buffalo Creek, for which a warrant was issued Sept. 5, 1787. It is not known upon which purchase Mr. Cummings resided, but he lived so exactly upon the State line that one-half of his house was in Virginia and the other half in Pennsylvania. He built a grist-mill upon his property in this township, which is now known as the "Applegate Mill." One of Mr. Cummings' daughters married William Stewart, a grandson of Galbraith Stewart. He ran the mill for a time, and then Thomas Buchanan, a son-in-law, assumed its management. His daughter, who married Lewis Applegate, inherited the property, and it now belongs to their daughter Margaret, who is a great-granddaughter of Robert Cummings, who died on July 4, 1836.
Isaac Manchester was born Aug. 18, 1762, in Middletown, Conn. In 1796 he left his Connecticut home and traveled into the Western country on foot, looking for a place to make a permanent settlement. He went as far as Kentucky, passing through this section on his way out. After a prospecting tour, Mr. Manchester returned to this township, then Hopewell, and purchased the tract "Plenty" of Samuel Teeter. It contained three hundred and eighty acres. He then returned to the East, and the following spring came back to take possession of his property, bringing his wife and five children, and also accompanied by Philip Jenkins, his nephew. There was a house upon the land, built by the former proprietor, and into this they removed, Mr. Teeter at the same time emigrating to Kentucky. Mr. Manchester soon had a large acreage under cultivation. He had a large family of children,-four sons and six daughters. The son Benjamin went to the Western Reserve in Ohio. Ruth, who married Asa Crutchfield, Hannah, who married Pardon Cook, and Isaac Manchester all removed to Holmes County, Ohio. The daughter Avis became the wife of John Doddridge, and is now living in Wayne County, Ind., at the age of ninety-two years. Col. Asa Manchester, the youngest child, has always remained upon the homestead, where he still resides. The house he occupies was built in 1815 by Isaac Manchester. It is located in a pleasant valley, and is one of the most elegant country homes in Washington County. Isaac Manchester lived upon this place for a period of fifty-four years, and died in 1851, at the age of eighty-nine years, honored and respected by all who knew him.
George Plumer came from the State of Maryland to this township when he was seven years of age, and for the first seven years of his stay here lived with an uncle. He then entered the employ of Richard Wells, working in the store at Wells' Mills, and was sent down the river with a cargo of flour from the mills. Mr. Plumer married the daughter of Richard Wells. Mr. Wells then purchased the George Sparks mill property and gave it to his daughter, Mrs. Plumer. Mr. Plumer refitted and remodeled the mills, which, were after known as the Plumer Mills. They were in operation until 1870, when the dam washed out and has never been repaired. George Plumer purchased a part of the McDowell tract called "Fallen Timber," also the part of "Shannon Hall" now owned by James Magee. He finally became the owner of the "Flower Garden" tract. He died in 1877. His son; Jerome Plumer, still lives in Independence township.
Dennis Dorsey was a native of Maryland. In 1807 he came to Wellsburg, Va., then known as Charlestown, with his wife and six children. In 1809 he moved across the State line and located on a portion of the Widow Wells' farm, near the Forks, which is now the village of Independence. He remained there until the year 1813, and then removed to Fowlertown. His daughter, Mrs. Martha Leech, has been a constant resident of this township since her father came here in 1809, and she still lives in the village of Independence. She is now seventy-nine years of age, and possesses a remarkable recollection of the early people and early history of Independence township.
In the year 1800 there were living in that part of Hopewell township which is now Independence (as shown by the Hopewell assessment-roll of that year) the following-named persons, who followed vocations other than that of farming, viz: James Brown and Robert Cummins, millers; John Crutchfield, cooper; William McCormick, carpenter; John Brown, mason; Benjamin Anderson, William Stewart, Jonathan Buchanan, and Benjamin Stewart, blacksmiths; John Buchanan and Robert Wilkins, inn-keepers; John Cuthbertson, physician.
James Boyd, who was a resident within the territory of Independence township for fully three-fourths of a century, and was one of its best known as well as most respected citizens, was the son of David Boyd, who settled in Hopewell township, three miles east of West Middletown, in 1787, from which place his son David removed in 1805, and settled in the west part of Hopewell, which afterwards became the township of Independence, where he lived to the day of his death, Oct. 8, 1880, in his ninety-ninth year. He born in the year 1782, in Cumberland County.
His first farm was about three miles from West Middletown, in Independence township. He had a great taste for horses. David Craig furnished him the money to buy the team which he used when he started wagoning, and this team be paid for in silver on his return from the war of 1812. He first bought forty or fifty acres of ground, and after some years bought a larger farm. He was not brilliant or quick, but had good judgment, a clear memory, and robust health. Three weeks before he was taken sick he recalled events of recent occurrence as vividly as he did those of seventy-five years ago, showing that his mind was still unimpaired.
He was married three times, and had nine children. The last time he was married he was over eighty years of age. He was an elder in the Presbyterian Church of Upper Buffalo for nearly fifty years.
In 1819, Joseph Brownlee, a son of James Brownlee, who lived near Washington borough, came into what is now Independence township, and purchased one hundred and eighty-one acres of the John Doddridge tract, called "Lexington," upon which he lived until his death. He died Nov. 16, 1867, aged seventy-six years. Of his children, Paul B. Brownlee lives in Richmond, Kan.; Joseph W. Brownlee lives in Cross Creek township; David A. Brownlee lives on the homestead; and Rev. John T. Brownlee lives in West Middletown, in charge of the Mount Hope Church. The daughter Jane married R. Y. Melroy, and Esther became the wife of Samuel Moore. Both still live in this township.
The property of Thomas Swearingen was a tract of four hundred and four acres, called "York," adjoining the tract of Thomas Shannon, and was granted to him on a Virginia certificate, dated Dec. 7, 1795. It was located in the southwest part of Independence township, touching the three lines of the township, county, and State.
Physicians.--Of physicians resident in that part of the old township of Hopewell which has since become the township of Independence, the earliest one of whom any knowledge has been obtained (and no doubt the first of his profession actually located within the bounds of the present township) was Dr. John Cuthbertson, who lived and practiced here several years before the beginning of the present century. He lived on and owned the beautiful farm now owned and occupied by Mr. Robert Vance. He was known as a man of large intelligence and influence in the community. His medical practice, which was large and laborious, continued for a period of not less than thirty years. He lived unmarried, his sister Sarah, or, as she was known in the community, " Sally Culbertson," being his faithful housekeeper till his death, which took place about the year 1828. The sister survived a few years longer, and at her death the estate passed into the possession of friends in the East. Another physician not less famed than Dr. Cuthbertson, who began the business of his profession in Independence township about ten years after the death of the latter, is Dr. Joseph Parkinson, who is still engaged in the practice of his profession in Independence township. He commenced the practice of his profession in the village of Independence on the 1st of April, 1838. For a period of almost forty-four years he has now continued in the same field of labor, and has had all the while a measure of practice as large as he desired. With a sufficiency of wealth to assure for himself and household a comfortable subsistence, living in a beautiful home, made doubly attractive by the aesthetic taste and culture of himself and wife and daughter, he might retire from the toil of his profession without bringing censure upon his head from any source. But be loves his profession and still perseveres in its practice. His enjoyment is rather in well regulated labor than in ease. At a time of life when most men incline to lay the harness off he still inclines to keep it on, and seems to have real pleasure in ministering to the bodily relief of any, and more especially when called to minister to the relief of those who were his friends and patrons in years long gone by.
Dr. Smith, of Brooke County, Va., had a large practice in this township from 1820 to about the time of Dr. Parkinson's settlement here.
Dr. Ramsay was a physician who settled at Independence about the year 1836, but after a short period of practice removed to West Middletown, where he soon after died.
Dr. Robert Hartman, a native of Alsace, France (now Germany), studied medicine there and in Germany, and came to America in 1856, having previously practiced a short time in Europe. He came to Independence in 1859, and has been in practice here from that time until the present.
Dr. J. P. Johnston is a native of Canton township, Washington County. He studied medicine two years with Dr. David Crise, and afterwards with Dr. A. S. McElree, of Washington, for one year. He attended two seasons at the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, and graduated in 1879. In April, 1880, he located at Independence, where he has continued in practice to the present time.
Independence Village.--The land upon which the village of Independence has been built was a part of the two tracts "Pembroke" and "Shannon Hall," patented and improved by Thomas Maguire and Thomas Shannon. The first purchase for this purpose was made by William McCormick, who on Sept. 26, 1798, bought three acres of the "Shannon Hall" property, which was described as "beginning at a post on the south side of the road leading from Washington to Charlestown, crossing the road, and running along the line of the late Thomas McGuire..." On Dec. 14, 1801, William McCormick bought fifty acres of land of Francis Maguire, which was adjoining the land of William Harvey. This fifty-acre tract was located just south of the village site, and was conveyed to Mr. Maguire by Charles Wells, son of Benjamin Wells, and executor of his estate. Again, Oct. 14, 1802, William McCormick purchased fifty acres of the "Pembroke" tract or William Maguire. In the following year (1803) Mr. McCormick laid out the plat of the village, and on October 5th of that year an article of agreement with prospective purchasers was filed in the recorder's office by him, pertaining to the sale of the lots in the village he had laid out. The article was signed by William McCormick, with John Cuthbertson and David Buchanan as witnesses, and provided that the lots should be 60 by 110 feet in size, and each contain one-fourth of an acre.
The prices for these village lots at the first sale ranged from $8.50 to $20. The names of the earliest purchasers and the numbers of their lots were as follows: Philip Everhart, No. 11; Patrick Fowler, No. 9; Benjamin Stewart, Nos. 6 and 8; William Maguire, Nos. 13, 31, 32, 33; James Sellers, No. 25; James McMurray, Nos. 19, 21; Caleb Wells, No. 12; John Crutchfield, No. 10; Alexander Irwin, No. 26; John Cuthbertson, Nos. 3, 20; James Carr, No. 13; Samuel Davidson, No. 5; Robert Cummings, No. 18. Soon after making these preliminary arrangements Mr. McCormick died, and his plans were carried out by his widow, Margaret McCormick, John Buchanan, and Galbraith Stewart, who were the administrators of the estate. The original name of this place was "The Forks," given it from the junction of two roads at this point, but where the village was platted it received the name of Williamsburg, retaining it until 1836, when it was changed to Independence.
Robert Harvey, a son or William Harvey, who owned the "Flower Garden" tract, married the widow of William McCormick, and for many years kept a tavern at Williamsburg. He finally became deranged, his wife left him, and was taken to his sister, Mrs. David Archer, in Ohio, and died in 1840, while in her care. The first store in the village was opened here by William Gilchrist, who lived on the same side of the road that Robert Harvey did, and also kept a tavern. In 1816 he removed to Ohio, and died there. Some of the village lots changed hands several times. No.20 was disposed of by John Cuthbertson to Robert Harvey, and Jan. 17, 1825, he sold it to Richard Carter. He, in partnership with his cousin, James Bell, built upon it, and opened a store near the Harvey tavern, where Jehial Carman now lives. A little later, John Bell, a brother of James, built a store on the hill where Mr. Leggett at present resides. In 1812 a man named Gregory started a blacksmith-shop on the main road, below the site of the present tannery. The log house he lived in was the one built by Dennis Dorsey; and, having since been repaired and weatherboarded, is now occupied by Miss Katy Baker. William Waters, a hatter, who came from east of the mountains, kept a shop in the field south of Jerome Plummer's present residence.
In 1830, Richard Carter purchased the tannery then in operation near the village of Williamsburg. He opened a store in connection with the business of the tannery, and carried o a very flourishing trade. Mrs. Leech, who retains a most accurate knowledge of the events and incidents of those days, says she has carried many pounds of butter to this last-mentioned store of Richard Carter, which she sold "at a fip-penny bit a pound." Robert Shaw kept a tavern in Williamsburg from 1833 to 1836, when he sold out to James McCreery. McCreery kept this tavern about a year, when he purchased the hotel property and store now owned and occupied by William Leggett. This was the first brick building put up in the village, and was built by Thomas Potts, of whom McCreery bought it in 1837, and opened a tavern there at that time. He remained in that place and business for several years, when he sold out to Jesse Litton, from whom Samuel Leggett obtained the property, which has descended to his son, William Leggett, who is now proprietor of the hotel and store, and also holds the office of justice of the peace. Mr. McCreery died, but his widow still lives in Independence village, and his son, William S. McCreery, is postmaster at Woodrow, Mount Pleasant township. A man named Ephraim Johnston also kept a tavern in Independence in 1837, at the lower end of the village, and continued to live there until after the war of the Rebellion, when he died.
The post-office was established here in 1836, and at that time the name or the village was changed from Williamsburg to that of Independence. Richard Carter was the first postmaster, holding the position for several years, and was succeeded by John Lane. James K. McConaughy took charge of the office in 1864, and is still postmaster. Independence village has, beside the post-office, two stores, several other places of business, three churches, and a fine school-house. A lodge of the Masonic Order, No.448, was organized here, but has been removed to Patterson's Mills.
Lower Buffalo Presbyterian Church.--The earliest mention of the existence of this congregation is in the records of the Redstone Presbytery, which met at Chartiers on the 25th of May, 1789, at which time "Mr. Hughes declared his acceptance of the call from Lower Buffalo and Short Creek." A congregation had been gathered at Lower Buffalo before this time, but no minister had been settled. James Hughes, the pastor above referred to, was a native of York County, Pa. He came to this county in 1780 with his parents, and in 1782 entered the academy of the Rev. Thaddeus Dodd, at Ten-Mile. Upon the suspension of that school in 1785 he went to study with the Rev. Joseph Smith, with whom he completed his course. He was licensed by the Redstone Presbytery April 18, 1788, and soon after received a call from the congregation of Short Creek and Lower Buffalo, Donegal, Fairfield, and Wheatfield, and New Providence and South Fork of Ten-Mile. He accepted the former, as be(ore stated, and was ordained on the 21st of April, 1790, and served in that capacity until the 29th of June, 1814, when he resigned. Upon the erection of the Presbytery of Ohio in October, 1793, this church became one of the constituent churches. Mr. Hughes, after his resignation, removed to Urbana, Ohio, and became a member of the Presbytery of Miami. In 1818 he was chosen president of the Miami University, which position he held till his death in 1821, at the age of fifty-six years.
The church of Lower Buffalo was ministered to only by supplies from 1814 to 1819. At the first meeting of the Presbytery of Washington in 1819, the Rev. Jacob Cosad, who had been acting as missionary for the Bible Society for a year or two previous, received a call from the congregations of Lower Buffalo and Short Creek, which he accepted. He was ordained and installed by the Presbytery of Washington, which met at Lower Buffalo on the 5th of January, 1819. The Rev. Joseph Harvey preached the sermon. Arthur Scott was an elder at that time. Mr. Cosad served this church till 1827, when, on the 29th of April, he asked a dissolution of the connection, which was granted. At a meeting of Presbytery Dec.30, 1828, Lower Buffalo and West Liberty applied for James W. McKennan as stated supply, which was granted. At a meeting of Presbytery July 1, 1829, a call was presented to Rev. J. W. McKennan from the congregations of Lower Buffalo and Short Creek, offering a salary of two hundred and fifty dollars from each church. The call was accepted, and Mr. McKennan was ordained and installed over these congregations Dec.29, 1829, on which occasion the Rev. John McClusky presided, and the sermon was preached by the Rev. John Stockton. The membership of the church at about this time was reported at sixty-five.
The Rev. James W. McKennan was born in Washington borough, Sept. 2, 1804, being the youngest son of Col. William McKennan, of Revolutionary fame, and brother of T. M. T. McKennan, of Washington. He was licensed in 1828, and ordained in 1829, and in December of the latter year installed over the congregations of Lower Buffalo and West Liberty, as mentioned, and remained in that relation for five years, during which time his health became seriously impaired, and on that account he spent two winters in the Southern States and in Cuba. On the 28th of December, 1834, his pastoral connection with the West Liberty (Short Creek) and Lower Buffalo Churches was severed, and he was dismissed by the Washington Presbytery to the Presbytery of Cincinnati, which included Indianapolis, Ind., and he accepted a call from the First Presbyterian Church of that place. The duration of his pastorate there has not been ascertained. He was afterwards connected with the preparatory department of Washington College, and adjunct Professor of Languages in that institution. He died in the fall of 1861.
On the 21st of June, 1835, the Lower Buffalo Church extended a call to the Rev. David Hervey, who accepted and became their pastor, in which relation he remained until Oct. 3, 1849. From that time the church was without a settled pastor until 1858. In April of that year a call was extended to the Rev. James Fleming, who accepted and was installed over this church on the 20th of May following. He remained until the 28th of April, 1869, when the relation was dissolved by his resignation. His successor as a settled pastor was the Rev. J. Linn Reed, who was ordained and installed on the 15th of December, 1874, and who still remains pastor of this church.
The first church edifice of this congregation was built of logs, and was situated in Virginia, near the State line. A graveyard was laid out on the church grounds, which is still used. All burials of the members of the church are made in this old yard, which is well inclosed with a stone wall. The second church building was erected of stone, in 1822, on the ridge about one mile south of Independence. This church was used till 1850, when the present frame church was erected in the village of Independence. Among the early elders of this church were Arthur Scott, --- Green, and John Armspoker. The present board consists of William Patterson, David Buchanan, James McConnaughy, William Leggett, Joseph Scott, and Alexander Adams.
Methodist Episcopal Church.-- Methodist preaching was known in Independence township as early as 1808, although they had no church building, no pastor, nor any regularly organized society. In the year mentioned (1808), Mrs. Leech, who was then a little girl nine years of age, remembers a Methodist camp-meeting that was held on the flat by Cross Creek, below the site occupied by Plummer's mill. Thick woods then stood upon the place, and very many people gathered in them to listen to the preaching of Rev. Mr. Harrison, the minister in charge, who is described as a tall, slim man, full of "Methodist fire." In 1840 a church society of the Methodist Episcopal faith was organized in the township. Previous to that date there had been only irregular services of that denomination by the occasional preachers who traveled through this section of country. After the church was formed services were held in the brick schoolhouse, the first preacher in charge being Rev. James C. Taylor, and Joseph Adams the first class-leader. Other preachers of the circuit were sent from time to time, among whom were Samuel Worthington, Mr. McCall, and Dr. Edward Smith. Dr. Smith was a physician, who resided in Virginia, but practiced all through Independence township. A lot was donated to the society by George Plummer, and in 1848 a church edifice costing $800 was erected. The society then numbered seventy-five members. Now there are three churches in the charge, under the Rev. G. H. Hoffman, the three church buildings having an aggregate value of $6000, and the churches a membership of one hundred and twenty-eight persons. There are also three Sunday-schools in the charge, with an enrolled list of one hundred and seventy-two scholars and thirty-four teachers, and the three libraries have a collection of three hundred volumes.
United Presbyterian Congregation of Mount Hope.1--The United Presbyterian Congregation of Mount Hope is in Independence township, two and one-half miles southwest from West Middletown, and four miles southeast from the village of Independence.
[1By Rev. John T. Brownlee.]
The date of its organization, if formal organization it ever had, is unknown. Scattered families in connection with the Associate Presbyterian Church had been residing in the territory afterward occupied by the congregation for a period of near twenty years before the beginning of the present century. The place of worship for most of these was with the congregation of North Buffalo, of the same religious faith, in Buffalo township. But they grew weary of their long journeyings, from five to fifteen miles, to Buffalo, and sought and obtained supplies of preaching nearer their homes. In houses or barns, or in "God's first temples, the groves," this was furnished to them from 1790 to 1800 at long intervals of time. The earliest recorded notice of the existence of the congregation as an organized body is in the minutes of the Associate Presbytery of Chartiers, which set forth that a call addressed to Rev. Thomas Allison to become pastor of the congregation was accepted by him Nov. 12, 1801. On the 10th of February, 1802, Mr. Allison was ordained and installed as pastor of the congregation. The deed from John McFadden and wife, by which the ground on which the church was built was conveyed to the congregation, bears date Feb. 17, 1804, from which it is evident that the first house of worship was not erected till that year. It was a log building, in the usual form of the early churches of the county, constructed almost entirely without financial cost by the labor of the members. With various renovations from time to time, this house served the need of the congregation for a period of forty years.
The members of session at the time of the installation of the first pastor were John Templeton, James Dickey, Robert Ferguson, and George Sharp. The first addition to the session consisted of Robert Humphrey, Samuel McEwen, and David T. Archer, who were elected Oct.30, 1806, and soon after duly installed. The congregation grew and prospered during these early years of its history. The members were widely scattered, but they bore cheerfully the hardships of their long journeyings on horseback or on foot to the place of worship. About the year 1817 the names of Messrs. Sharp, Ferguson, and Dickey no longer appear in the records of the sessions, though no notice is given of how they became separated from it. During this year Mr. David Gibson and Mr. John Scott were elected and duly installed in the eldership. The service of public social covenanting was conducted in the congregation in the year 1824, in which the pastor was assisted by Dr. James Ramsay, pastor of the church of Chartiers, and Rev. David French, pastor of North and South Buffalo. Mr. Gibson having removed, and others of the session becoming infirm through age, an election was held in 1831, which resulted in the addition to the session of Messrs. John Gilmor, Thomas Hagerty, and Joseph Brownlee.
The pastor of the congregation, having officiated in that capacity for a period of almost thirty-six years, was now no longer young, and feeling that his labors in the future would not be so much for edification as they had been in the past, tendered his resignation, and on the 28th of November, 1837, was released from the charge of the congregation. He continued for some time to minister to the other branch of his charge, to which one-third of his time had been given; but the infirmities of age increasing, he was soon released from that field of labor also, and passed at length to his final rest on the 6th of April, 1840.
The Rev. Thomas Allison was born, probably, in York County, Pa, June 3, 1771, but removed while still a child with his parents to Washington County. He prosecuted his classical and scientific studies in Canonsburg Academy, afterward Jefferson College, and having gone through the regular course of theological study, in a class with three others, under the supervision of Rev. Dr. John Anderson, the regularly appointed theological professor of the Associate Presbytery of Pennsylvania, was licensed to preach in the beginning of the year 1800. He was of medium size, erect and well-proportioned form, aquiline nose, of dignified and solemn demeanor, and of a general bearing calculated rather to elicit respect and admiration than draw those around closely to him. The wife of Mr. Allison was Anne, daughter of Rev. Matthew Henderson, the first pastor of the Associate Congregation of Chartiers, at Canonsburg. They had twelve children, eight daughters and four sons. The daughters and one son have passed away. Three sons still survive. The widow, having. survived her husband more than thirteen years, died. Oct. 4, 1853.
During the winter immediately following the release of Mr. Allison the congregation of Mount Hope was supplied for a considerable time by Rev. David Thompson. Some ten or twelve- years before he had emigrated from Ireland, and, traveling alone, found his way to the village of West Middletown, where he had some relatives residing. Possessed of a burning desire to obtain a liberal education, with the gospel ministry in view, and being without means of his own, and without friends on whom he could draw for help, he set himself to work, and by laboring on a farm and on a flat-boat on the Ohio River, by carrying a pack of dry-goods and notions from house to house, by teaching school, by one means or another, he was enabled to graduate from Jefferson College in the class of 1829, and, having gone through the regular course in the theological seminary at Canonsburg, was licensed to preach the gospel March 18, 1834. Having itinerated for some time through the church, he received a call to the pastorate of Mount Hope, which he accepted July 3, 1838. Having been admitted to the communion of the church by the session of Mount Hope in 1826, he was installed as the pastor of that congregation, Sept.12, 1838.
It is matter of regret that the minutes of the session of the congregation during the whole of the pastorate of Mt. Thompson and up to the year 1860, twenty-one years in all, were lost in the burning of the house of the clerk. The exact date of some events during this period cannot therefore be given. Near the close of 1838 or in the beginning of 1839, Messrs. William Ralston, Sr., and David Archer were elected and ordained to the eldership in the congregation. The old church building, which for a period of forty years or more had served the congregation as a place of worship, was becoming dilapidated and antiquated in appearance. It was taken down in the year 1845, and a new structure erected on the same ground. The new building was somewhat smaller than the old, being thirty-eight by forty-five feet. It was substantial and neat, but quite plain, as may be inferred from the fact that its whole cost was but $1060.
The pastorate of Mr. Thompson terminated June 15, 1847. Not long after he removed with his family to the State of Oregon, traveling by the overland route. Remaining there for a few years he returned to the East, and was settled for some time as pastor of the congregation of Clear Fork, in Guernsey County, Ohio. He afterwards removed to the State of Kansas, and located in Arkansas City, Cowley Co., where he still remains.
For a period of four years following the close of the pastorate of Mr. Thompson the congregation was supplied with some regularity by various itinerating preachers. The call addressed to the present pastor was accepted in the month of May, 1851, and on the last Sabbath of June following, being about the 25th of the month, he formally assumed the charge of the congregation. Its number during the period since the close of the former pastorate, according to the usual experience in such cases, had become considerably reduced. Of the session but two members, Mr. Joseph Brownlee and Mr. Thomas Haggerty, were now remaining. An election for elders was soon held, the result of which was that Messrs. William Smith and Samuel Jamison were ordained and installed on Saturday, Oct.16, 1851, and Mr. John B. Garrett on the Monday following, October 18th. Of these, Mr. Smith survived only till the 25th of January following, so that the substantial result of this election was only the addition to the session of Messrs. Jamison and Garret. The union of the Associate and Associate Reformed Churches in 1858, resulting in the formation of the United Presbyterian Church, had its effect on the congregation of Mount Hope, in common with all other congregations in communities where both branches had before existed. A few of its families, who were geographically nearer to the adjacent congregation of West Middletown, changed their membership to that congregation, but the loss thus sustained was made up by the reception from West Middletown of as many, whose names were now added to the roll of Mount Hope. Partly in view of the increasing age of the two senior members of the session, and in part from a desire that the new element introduced into the congregation should also be represented in the session, an election was held during the month of December following, which resulted in the addition to the session of Messrs. John Meloy, Esq., and William Smith. Mr. Meloy had been for many years a member of the session of West Middletown, and Mr. Smith a member of that congregation. The former was installed and the latter ordained and installed at Mount Hope during the month of January, 1859. Mr. John Jamison, who had been for many years a member of the session of West Middletown, was received into membership at Mount Hope Oct. 27, 1860, and on the same day, on the recommendation of the session, was chosen as an elder, and accepting the position, was at the same time installed as a member of session.
The war of the Rebellion drew its recruits from the congregation of Mount Hope as well as others. Nine young men went forth to the "high places of the field" from its midst who were either communing members of the congregation at the time or became such soon after the close of the war. Their names deserve to be recorded in the history of the congregation, and are as follows, viz.: Samuel Williamson, William R. Jamison, Thomas B. O'Donald, Alexander Walker McConnel, Samuel Donaldson, Joseph W. Brownlee, Samuel A. Garrett, John F. Gibson, and Thomas J. Zeigler. Though exposed, in common with others, to the dangers of the camp, the march, and the battle-field, it is a noteworthy fact that these young men all returned to their homes at the close of the war, none of them having been even seriously wounded during the progress of the conflict.
The house of worship occupied by the congregation since 1845 was still firm on its foundations and without defect in its walls, but it was small, the number of the pews not quite equaling the number of families in the congregation, and in many respects its appointments were regarded as not quite up to the demands of the times. After the usual amount of consideration, investigation, and argumentation, it was decided that the old house must give way to something better. The contract for the new erection was made in the spring of 1867, and on the first Sabbath of November in the same year the completed house of worship was occupied for the first time by the congregation. It is a frame, forty-three feet wide by sixty feet in length,with story twenty feet high, the whole cost to the congregation being about $4500. It is not fine or grand, but fully meets the wants of the congregation, and is a house of worship of which they do not feel that they have need to be ashamed.
Messrs. James M. Welch and Nathan Patterson on the 28th of November, 1870, were elected to the eldership, and a short time afterwards were ordained and installed in the office. The latest addition to the membership of the session is that of Messrs. James H. Welch and David A. Brownlee, who were elected in the month of November, 1880, and ordained and installed Jan. 7, 1881.
The congregation of Mount Hope has never been one of the large and strong congregations of the United Presbyterian Church in Washington County. During the earlier years of its history statistics of its membership do not appear to have been taken, and when afterwards taken give evidence of inaccuracy, and of being corrected only at long intervals from year to year. During the incumbency of the first pastor there is no evidence that the number of members was at any time higher than one hundred and twenty, and at the close of that pastorate was reduced much below that number. During the nine years of the pastorate of Mr. Thompson, when returns began to be more carefully corrected, the whole number of members at no time rose higher than eighty-eight. At the beginning of the present pastorate in 1851 the corrected roll was found to contain but sixty-six names. From this time the increase was slow and gradual till the year 1864, when the membership numbered one hundred and sixteen. There was then a decline, mainly by removals, till 1877-78, when the number was eighty. The tide then turned, and with gradual increase the number is now (February, 1882) one hundred and seven. The whole number of accessions to the membership of the congregation during the present pastorate has been two hundred and seventy-six, of which one hundred and forty-one have been by examination and profession of faith, and one hundred and thirty-five by certification or other attestation of membership from other congregations. The average annual additions from both sources has been nine. The largest accession during any single year is twenty, which is during the year yet to close (April, 1882). Infant baptisms during the present pastorate, one hundred and fifty-six, an average of five each year. Adult baptisms, twenty-two, being less than one each year.
The contributions for charitable and religious purposes, at home and abroad, during the year closing April 1,1881, were an average of $14.43 to each member. The whole amount of contributions for charitable and religious purposes during the thirty years of the present pastorate has been about $30,000, being an average to each member of about $10 each year. Of those who were members of the congregation at the beginning of the present pastorate but seven continue to be members now. But one remains (Mrs. Jane A. Brownlee) who was a member during the pastorate of Mr. Allison, which closed forty-five years ago.
The officers of the congregation are as follows: Pastor, John T. Brownlee; Ruling Elders, John Meloy; Samuel Jamison, William Smith, James M. Welch, James H. Welch, and David A. Brownlee; Treasurer, James M. Welch; Sabbath-school Superintendent, Samuel Jamison.
The Church of the Disciples was organized in this township in 1865, by Paul Ralston, Mr. Dean, George Armspoker, Mrs. Robert Hartman, Mrs. Robert Buchanan, and others. Services were held in the school-house until 1867, when the present building of the society was erected. The pulpit was supplied most of the time from students of Bethany College, no regular pastor being in charge. The services ceased in 1876, and the church has been practically discontinued since that time.
The Old Doddridge Chapel.--On the Reeves farm (originally the Doddridge property) is the site of a house of worship that was erected by the Rev. Joseph Doddridge, though the date of its erection is not known. It afterwards came into possession of the Methodist Episcopal denomination, and was by them used for the holding of their services. Later it became the place of worship of the African Methodist Episcopal congregation, who used it for several years, but it was given up by them and abandoned when they purchased the Wesley, a church building in West Middletown, about 1860. It was then taken down, and the logs removed to the McConnell farm adjoining. An old burial-ground, adjoining the site of this old meeting-house, is still inclosed, though not in use for its original purpose.
On the Dr. Parkison farm, in the west part of the township, is an old burial-ground containing many graves, among which may be seen those of Maj. Francis Maguire and his wife Barbara, their tombstones being still standing. Other graves in this ground are marked by rude headstones, but few of them having legible inscriptions. There is a tradition that there once stood on a site adjoining this graveyard an old log meeting-house, in which the Rev. Joseph Doddridge sometimes preached. This is but a tradition, as there is now no vestige of the old building, nor is there any person living who remembers having ever seen it.
Camp-Meeting Ground.--On or near the west line of the township is a lot of about seventeen acres of ground, a part of the tract originally warranted to Benjamin Wells, which, about 1874, was leased of Thomas Buchanan by the Methodist Episcopal people, who fitted it up as a camp-meeting ground, and named it "Belle View." At the expiration of the lease the ground was purchased, and is now owned and used as a place for the holding of camp-meetings by the Methodist Churches of the district.
Schools.--The first school building known to exist within the territory of Independence township was built as early as, if not before, 1800. This is one that Mr. J. Scott, of this township, remembers very well, as he attended school there. It was situated on the hillside of the farm belonging to James Welch, mow the property of his grandson, James H. Welch. Mr. Scott describes it as a log cabin, in the construction of which not a nail was used. Yet, rude as it was, this building served its purpose well, and within its walls gathered the pioneer children of its immediate section, to be taught by John Robinson, and after him by Thomas McCready, and again for a time by John Robinson. Lawrence Gardner, who was a noted penman, was also a teacher in this school-house, as was Isaac Sharp and others. In 1810 another log school-house, in which were used the oiled paper windows, was built in the vicinity of The Forks, on the Widow Wells' farm, but not a vestige of the building remains. An Irishman named Moses Hanlan was the teacher in 1810 and 1811. Hugh Maguire taught a school on the property of Cornelius Gist, just over the Virginia line. This was said to be at "the far end of The Forks." In 1820 a school-house was located on a branch of the creek, which was called Witch Run from its banks being lined with witch hazel. Nathaniel Smith, who owned a farm near by, was a teacher in this school-house. His son, William Smith, was a later teacher in the township. This school building was succeeded in 1830 by what is known as the Cuthbertson school-house, built on the farm of Dr. Cuthbertson, and which is still standing, but unoccupied. Among the teachers in the Cuthbertson house were William Smith, Joseph Baker, Thomas Patterson. In 1833 a log schoolhouse-stood about twenty rods east of the site of the present Mount Hope Church, and Joseph Baker and George Vasbinder were among the teachers.
In 1836, under the operation of the school law of 1834, eight new school buildings were erected. One of them stood about one-fourth of a mile east of Mount Hope Church. In 1840 a brick building for school purposes was put up in District No.5, known as Scott's District. In 1874 the present frame structure replaced it.
In 1834, after the enactment. of the school law, a brick addition was made to the school-house then in use in Williamsburg. At that time Paul Ralston, David and Robert Buchanan were school directors. In 1855 or 1856 the first frame building was put up, the site on the hill, which belonged to the village, being exchanged with George Plummer for the one now occupied by the school buildings.
In 1863 Independence township comprised six school districts, in which six teachers were employed, and two hundred and forty-five pupils were enrolled. The amount of money received from all sources for school purposes was $914.92; the State appropriation was $97.20; and the expenditures for the year were $777.51. In 1873 there were six districts, six teachers employed, and two hundred and twenty-eight pupils enrolled in the township. The amount of tax raised for school funds was $2411.13; amount received from the State was $144.46; cost of schools for that year, $2496.40. In 1880 the township had still six districts, which were supplied with six teachers; number of pupils enrolled, 257; $1424.37 was raised by tax; $330.30 received from the State; and the expenditures for the schools were $1550.42.
Justices of the Peace.--The names of persons appointed and elected to the office of justice of the peace in and for the territory now forming Independence, prior to the time of its erection as a separate township, are included in the list of justices in Hopewell township. The list of those elected for Independence since it became a separate township is given below, viz.:
Jefferson Wells, April 16, 1856. David Buchanan, March 29, 1870. James K. McConnaughy, May 18, 1858. Lemuel Leggett, Nov. 30, 1870. David Buchanan, Jan. 31, 1874. John Jeffrey, April 10, 1860. Robert Y. Meloy, March 17, 1875. R. McConnaughy, April 14, 1863. W. C. Leggett, March 21, 1877. John Jeffery, July 12, 1865. Robert Y. Meloy, March 30, 1880. Thomas Boyd, April 14, 1868.
DR. JOSEPH PARKINSON.Dr. Joseph Parkinson, the eleventh and only living child of Thomas and Margaret (Latimer) Parkinson, was born in 1807. The Parkinson's were of English ancestry, having come to this country in the early part of the last century. Afterwards William Parkinson, grandfather of Dr. Joseph Parkinson, settled near Carlisle, Cumberland Co., Pa. He had a large family, most of whom were sons. Of these, Benjamin, Joseph, and Thomas came to Washington County at an early date. Joseph owned and kept the ferry on the Monongahela River, then called "Parkinson's Ferry," now Monongahela City. He and Thomas were also engaged in the mercantile business at that place. Thomas was enterprising and energetic, taking an active part in all the efforts of the time in the material development of the county. He was strictly temperate in his habits, and opposed to the "Whiskey Insurrection," in which his brother Benjamin was one of the leaders. In 1777, Thomas Parkinson bought a farm of three hundred acres from John Decker, on Pigeon Creek, near Parkinson's Ferry. Subsequently he built at this place the first mill on Pigeon Creek, where he carried on the business of milling and farming for a number of years. In 1792 he sold this property to James McFarlane, and the next year he moved to Fayette County, Pa., in the immediate vicinity of Connellsville, where he owned a mill and farm. He also owned five hundred acres of land in Huntington township, Westmoreland Co., Pa. In 1804 he sold his firm and mill in Fayette County, Pa., and bought a farm in Brooke County, Va., adjoining the farm on which the college and village of Bethany were afterwards built, and to which he removed with his family in 1805 or 1806. About the year 1783, Thomas Parkinson was married to Margaret Latimer, whose parents lived in the Ligonier valley, Westmoreland Co., Pa., not far distant from Hannastown, then the seat of justice for the county. The Latimers were of English descent, and came from Philadelphia to Ligonier valley in the exciting times of Indian warfare. In the days of their early married life, Mr. Latimer and his wife, with their infant child, were taken captives by the Indians, and subjected to a five days' march across the Ohio River into the wilderness. The parents, with their child, finally managed to escape, and after undergoing many hardships reached their home. Mr. Latimer was also badly wounded by the Indians while carrying a message from one fort to another in the Ligonier valley. They lived when the dangers to which they were exposed developed strong points of character. In her girlhood Margaret, with her only sister, Martha, would follow the reapers in the harvest-field, carrying loaded rifles for their use in case they should be attacked by the Indians. Thomas Parkinson had lived at his Brooke County home but a short time when, in May, 1807, he became ill, and September 30th of the same year he died. At this time Dr. Joseph Parkinson was but seven months old, so he never knew a father's care. This loss, however, was in a great measure supplied by the affectionate care and good training of a kind mother. She was an excellent woman, largely endowed with common sense; intelligence, prudence, and strong will power, but of quiet and gentle manners, and of more culture than the women of her time in the Western country, having been educated in one of the girls' schools of Philadelphia. While she had strong affections for her children, she never allowed that affection to control her better judgment, and believing that the future development of the man or woman depended largely upon the early training of the mother, she taught her children to be industrious, persevering, and energetic, and warned them against indolence and vices. Her chief desire was that her children should become good and useful members of society.
Dr. Joseph Parkinson was sent by his mother at a very early age to a school kept by Alexander Campbell, afterwards the celebrated Bishop Campbell, whose home and school were upon the farm adjoining the home of the Parkinson's. The school was called Buffalo Seminary. In it were taught the English, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages, together with the higher mathematics. Dr. Parkinson took a six years' course in this school, and holds a certificate signed by Bishop Campbell, certifying to his proficiency in the branches taught therein. For one year after leaving school he taught Latin; Greek, and the higher mathematics in school in Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio. He then returned to his home, where he remained for some time, and finally decided to study a profession, and chose that of medicine. In 1831 he entered the office of Dr. John C. Campbell, a distinguished physician of Wellsburg, Brooke Co., Va., and while there was enabled to pay his boarding by working two hours daily as transcript clerk in the recorder's office. He remained as a student with Dr. Campbell for two years, and in 1833 went to Philadelphia, and matriculated in Jefferson Medical College, and attended the lectures of 1833 and 1834, under Granville Sharp Pattison, George McClellan, John Revere, and their associates.
Upon his return home his funds were exhausted, and he concluded to seek a place in the office of some eminent physician in one of the cities. He obtained the position sought for in the office of Dr. James R. Speer, of Pittsburgh, a gentleman of fine attainments in his profession, in full practice, and with a large and well-selected library. Dr. Speer had a high reputation as an operator in general surgery, and as an adept in surgical and medical treatment of the eye, and of the treatment of diseases in general. Dr. Parkinson entered the office of Dr. Speer, where, as an equivalent for the use of the library, instruction, and boarding, he kept the books, made out bills, compounded medicines, put up prescriptions, etc. After remaining with Dr. Speer for three years, he decided to begin practice upon his own account. He accordingly settled at the village of Independence, Washington Co., Pa., April 1, 1838, where he still continues to practice. In six months after commencing he had as much practice as he could attend to properly. During the forty-three years, which have since elapsed it may be said he has lived in the saddle. He has rarely been absent from his post, except a few flying visits to some of the Western States, and the winter of 1870 and 1871, spent in the South for recreation and rest. During that visit he availed himself of the opportunity to attend the lectures and surgical operations in the medical colleges of Nashville and New Orleans. In the spring he returned home and resumed the active duties of his profession. Some years after he settled in Independence he bought the farm which is now his home. After buying this farm he married Elizabeth Pogue, a lady of Scotch-Irish ancestry, eldest daughter of the late David Pogue, of Jefferson township, Washington Co., Pa. They have one child, Margaretta E. Parkinson.
During his long and active life Dr. Parkinson has uniformly had good health, which he attributes to his constant exercise in the open air and his temperate habits in eating and drinking. His patrons in the community where he has lived so long decide that his life has been a successful one.
*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 George and Mary Ann Plance of Gainesville, FL in November 1998. Published in November 1998 on the Washington County, PA USGenWeb pages at http://www.chartiers.com.
Back to Table of Contents