Mt. Pleasant Twp. (pp. 850-865)All the territory now embraced in Mount Pleasant township was originally comprehended in the townships of Smith, Cecil, Hopewell, and Canton. The erection of Chartiers from Cecil on the 12th of March, 1790, and of Cross Creek from Hopewell in the same year brought a part of this territory in those townships. In January, 1806, a petition of citizens of this section was presented to the grand jury of the Court of Quarter Sessions praying for the erection of a new township. This body passed upon it favorably, and the matter was brought to the notice of the court at the May term, and on the 12th of that month the action of the grand jury was confirmed, and the decree ordered for the erection of a township to be called Mount Pleasant. A slight addition was made to the township form Chartiers in 1831.
History of Washington County, Pennsylvania*
The territory comprehended in this township has been a different times in the early years included in election districts Nos. 3, 4, 5, and 6. It was erected into a separate election district March 28, 1808, but for some reason did not so remain, and continued to be included in districts with other territory till 1838, when it became independent. The names of justices having jurisdiction here prior to that time will be found in the lists of Smith, Cecil, Peters, Chartiers, and Cross Creek townships. Those elected for Mount Pleasant since that time are here given, viz.:
James Hughes, April 14, 1840. John Reed, April 14, 1840. James Hughes, May 5, 1863. John Reed, April 15, 1845. John Reed, Sept. 25, 1863. James Hughes, April 15, 1845. James B. Buchanan Nov. 24, 1869. James Hughes, April 9, 1850. John M. Miller, April 15, 1873. A. B. McKeever, April 9, 1850. James B. Buchanan, Jan. 17, 1874. James McCloskey, April 13, 1853. John M. Miller, Jan. 31, 1874. James Hughes, April 10, 1853. James B. Buchanan, March 7, 1875. John Reed, May 10, 1858. John M. Miller, March 27, 1879. Thomas McCarroll, April 10, 1860. James B. Buchanan, March 30, 1880.
Early Settlements. -Daniel McGugin, a native of Ireland, came to this county in 1770, and in 1775 his son David was born. He took up and afterwards settled on the farm adjoining the one to which he first moved. The land was not warranted until Dec. 4, 1816, and then to David, the son of Daniel McGugin. The following note is attached to the survey: "The above described land has been improved since the year 1770, and a continued resident settlement kept up ever since." In 1791 the land was assessed to Ann McGugin (widow of Daniel), in Cross Creek township, and in 1817 in Mount Pleasant. David lived on the homestead till his death in 1861. He was an early advocate of abolition principles, and lived only to see the fight for the downfall of slavery commenced. Daniel removed to West Middletown, where he kept a hotel many years, and died in 1852. James went to New Orleans in a flat-boat, and on his return to New York by sea died of fever on shipboard. A daughter married John Cloud, an elder in Raccoon Church; their son, John Cloud, Jr., was a missionary to Africa, and died in 1834. The homestead of Daniel McGugin is now in possession of Alexander McGuire, a grandson. On this farm an experimental oil well has been sunk. A depth of eighteen hundred feet was reached when there commenced a very strong flow of gas which accidentally took fire, and has not yet (July 1, 1882) been extinguished. The light from it can be seen at night a distance of twenty miles.
John McCarty emigrated to what is now Washington County about the year 1773. He located on a tract of land at the head of Cherry Run Valley. The farm is now owned by Robert Farrar. He was an energetic, hard-working pioneer, and in the course of a few years had made an extensive improvement. It was not until Feb. 13, 1786, that Mr. McCarty took out a warrant for his land, which was surveyed to him the 10th of June the same year under the name of "Rhodes," and contained three hundred acres. The first cabin was built a little east of where the dwelling-house of Mr. Farrar now stands. He lived here all his days and died here. He had five sons, -Timothy, John, James, Samuel, and Robert, and a daughter Cassia, who married William Elder, and settled on the west part of Midway village. He died, and the property was sold to J. M. Clark, Esq. She is now living at Butler, Pa.
Timothy, the eldest son of John McCarty, Sr., was born on the homestead in 1775, and when he arrived at maturity his father gave him one hundred and seven acres, part of the home tract. He married a daughter of Thomas McConnell, of Robinson township, and lived on the place till his death. John, his only son, inherited the place. John, the second son of John McCarty, settled on one hundred acres of the home tract also given him by his father. He sold it to John, the son of Timothy, in 1835, and removed to Ohio. James, the third son, never married, but lived with his father and brothers, and died there. Samuel lived on the homestead, and later sold to Robert Farrar, who still owns it. Robert, the youngest son, died in 1819.
A military warrant of thirteen hundred and seven acres lying on the waters of Chartiers Creek was granted to Barton Lucas for military services. A patent from Virginia, dated July 28. 1780, was issued to Matthew Ritchie and William Bruce, as assignees of Lucas. On the 17th of October, 1797, Ritchie and Bruce conveyed one hundred and nine acres of the tract to John Hammond, who occupied it and lived there till his death, when it was sold to Nicholas White. Mr. Hammond left nine children, who all went West except Martha, who married James Thompson, and Jane, who married Samuel Wilson and lived on a farm adjoining her father. McClure White now owns the property.
Robert Guthrie was one of the pioneers of the county, and settled on a tract of land in the township which was patented to him Sept. 25, 1788. It lay about three miles for Hickory, on the road to Canonsburg. On the 15th of June, 1793, he conveyed seventy-nine acres to James Guthrie. Other portions were sold to Andrew and Robert Wilson. Andrew devised his portion to his brother Robert and two nieces, one of whom married Alexander Gaston, the other Thomas Struthers. Robert Thompson married Joseph Guthrie's daughter, and they own a portion of the original tract.
William Campbell came from York County in 1772, and settled on the farm now owned by his grandson, Napoleon B. Campbell. He was driven away by the Indians, returned about 1778, and became a man of influence in that section of country. He was a commissioner of the county in 1799. He purchased large tracts of land in this and Hanover township. He lived many years and died on the homestead, leaving six sons and one daughter. They all emigrated but two, James and Jesse. The former lived on the homestead, where he died in 1837, leaving the property to his son, Napoleon B. Campbell. Jesse died in 1858.
Charles Campbell came to this township before 1780, and settled on the farm where Moses Lyle now lives on Raccoon Creek. He married Abigail Rankin, who died in 1804. He died in 1819. His children, except one, went to the West. John remained on the homestead, a part of which is now owned by his grandson, John Campbell.
John McCammant, whose father had settled previously in Cross Creek township, came to Mount Pleasant from Lancaster County in 1806, and bought the Zachariah Rankin farm. Later he bought the Tannehill farm, formerly the David Acheson tract. Here he lived till his death in 1860, aged seventy-eight years. His son John also remained on the farm till April, 1872, when he purchased the Samuel Cowen farm, where he now resides. James, the oldest son of John, is living in Robinson township. Alexander is living on the Zachariah Rankin farm. A daughter, Polly, married John Henderson, a grandson of the Rev. Matthew Henderson, and settled where John Carter now lives. Eliza married Samuel Moore.
Joshua Pyles emigrated from east of the mountains, and settled on a tract of land which was surveyed to him as "Albemarle," for which a patent was granted Aug. 15, 1787. He was a carpenter, as was his son James, who now lives in the township.
John Henderson, a son of the Rev. Matthew Henderson, then living in Ohio County, VA., purchased a tract of ninety acres from Williams McGarrah, and settled on it. It was left by him to his son John, who married Polly McCalmont, daughter of John McCalmont, of Mount Pleasant township. John Henderson, Jr., left the property by will to his brother Robert, a physician, who lived in the West. It is now owned by John Carter.
Robert Montgomery took out a warrant for a tract of land Oct. 7, 1786, which was surveyed for one hundred and ninety-two acres, and named "Greenville." He sold forty-eight acres to Sarah Chapman, March 4, 1809. Richard Chapman, the husband of Sarah, built a log tavern in the fields near this property in 1796. Custom was good, and they were soon enabled to move up to the road, where they built a better house. James Miller and Robert Thompson each had stills, and they each gave him ten gallons of whiskey to start with. The tavern was first called "Blue Ball," and later "Cross Keys." Richard died on the place, and his wife Sarah at Pittsburgh. They accumulated considerable property, and remained there till about 1815. Alexander, a son, and Joel Lambum, a son-in-law, removed to Claysville. Robert, the oldest son, went to Burgettstown, and opened a tavern, but soon failed. Andrew prospered, purchased a farm in Buffalo township, and married a sister of Alexander Campbell.
Lodowyck McCarroll, of Bladensburg, MD., married Martha, daughter of John Leman, of Canton township, and on the 6th of November, 1797, purchased one hundred and five acres of land of Arthur and John Patterson, sons of Thomas Patterson. It was situated in the southern part of Mount Pleasant township, and was a part of a tract termed "Complaint." On the 31st of August, 1803, he purchased two hundred and thirty-eight acres of land of John Ritchie, executor of the estate of Matthew Ritchie, and David Bruce, attorney for William Bruce. This was part of the Virginia patent of thirteen hundred and seven acres granted by Lord Dunmore to Barton Lucas. On this last purchase Mr. McCarroll lived and died, leaving four sons -John, Thomas, Leman, Andrew-and two daughters. John removed to Beaver County and died there. Thomas lived on part of the homestead. He was elected an associate judge of Washington County, June 3, 1862. He had six sons, of whom three became physicians, -Dr. John McCarroll, now of Wellsville, Ohio, Dr. James McCarroll, of Allegheny City, Pa., and Dr. David McCarroll, of Hickory. Leman McCarroll settled on the homestead, and still resides there. Lodowyck McCarroll is a lawyer, residing in Washington. Rev. Alexander McCarroll is pastor of a church at Stewart's Station, Westmoreland Co. Of the two daughters, Margaret became the wife of Joseph Cowden, of Cecil township, and Martha resides on the homestead with her brother Leman.
Andrew McCarroll, son of Lodowyck, is now living, at the age of seventy years, on a part of the homestead. Leman, brother of Andrew, was a tanner, and settled at Canonsburg, where he lived and died. Of the daughters of Lodowyck,, Elizabeth became the wife of John Cockins; the other daughter married Judge Isaac Hodgins.
James Ridgeway came to this country when the territory on which he took up land was in Hopewell township. A warrant was taken out Aug. 28, 1789. The tract he purchased was named "Forest." James Ridgeway married Mary, daughter of John Leman, and widow of one Stewart, by whom she had a daughter Mary. In the will of John Leman, dated June 28, 1794, Mary Ridgeway is mentioned, and on the 15th of September, 1796, James and Mary Ridgeway signed a release with the other heirs of John Leman to Mary, the wife of John Leman, and Aug. 19, 1796, James Ridgeway and Mary, his wife, conveyed to Joseph Irons thirty-seven acres of land adjoining the land of the heirs of Thomas Patterson. From the above facts it is evident that Mary Leman was the widow not only of Stewart, but of Thomas Patterson also, and as Thomas Patterson died soon after, it is quite possible she was his wife for a short time. Mr. Ridgeway in 1792 was assessed in Canton township on two hundred and twenty acres of land, and in 1807 in Mount Pleasant township on one hundred and seventy acres. The place on which he lived in 1796 was then in Cross Creek township, now Mount Pleasant. The Washington Telegraphe and Western Advisor of Sept. 6, 1796, gives the following account of a tragedy which occurred at his house:
"MURDER OF MARY STEWART.
"On the evening of Sunday, Sept. 4, 1796, Mary Stewart, a little girl of nine or ten years old, was found murdered in the house of her stepfather, James Ridgeway, on Cross Creek, in this county. It seems the deceased was left in charge of the house while the rest of the family were at meeting, and in their absence some person committed the above horrid murder by dashing the child's brains with an axe, and afterwards robbed the house of a sum of money, amounting to near one hundred dollars, together with several other articles. A man calling himself sometimes James Stewart, and at other times Brown, who was seen loitering about the neighborhood a few days before, is strongly suspected. Several persons are in pursuit of him, and it is hoped he will be shortly apprehended, and if guilty, meet that punishment which the perpetrator of so horrid a crime richly deserves."
The verdict of the coroner's jury (one of whom was David McGugan, father of A.V. McGugan, Esq.) was "that she came to her death by the hand of some one to the jury unknown."
"Suspicion did indeed rest1 on a young man named S---, the son of a pious father, but himself not above the suspicion. But there was no proof, not even circumstantial evidence sufficient to justify his arrest. But the eye of suspicion was closely upon him, and he soon disappeared from the community. Years after, John Brownlee, Sr., the cousin who was with the Rideways the Sabbath evening of the murder, while following his vocation as a 'New Orleans trader,' met with this man in a bar-room on the bank of the Ohio River. They were only so far acquainted as to enable them to recognize each other. In the course of a brief interview the matter of the murder of Isabel S. came up. The two were alone in the room, when S. proposed to B. the question, 'Did you ever hear my name connected with the guilt of that murder?' Feeling that it was an occasion for plain dealing, after a pause B. responded, 'Yes, I have so heard;' and looking him straight in the eye, he added, 'I believe that you were the murderer of my cousin, Isabel S.' The man S., without a word in response, arose, and, passing from the room, was seen no more. The name of Mr. Ridgeway, the step-father of Isabel, was also connected, in the judgment of some, with the guilt of the murder. The reasons for the suspicion were, first, the matter of his return for his tobacco after all had started to the church;2 second, the fact that the life of Isabel was all that stood in the way of his joint ownership with his wife of the farm on which they lived. But while these circumstances furnished a seeming basis for these suspicions entertained by some, the whole make-up of the man was such as, in the judgment of those who knew him best, and in the judgment of the extensive circle of the relationship of the murdered Isabel, entirely precluded the thought of his guilt. He died at an advanced age in West Middletown about the year 1834. The afflicted mother survived her bereavement a number of years, bearing all the while near to her heart the great sorrow of her life. It was almost literally true in her experience that 'she never smiled again.'"
[1From an account of the murder by the Rev. John T. Brownlee. It will be noticed that he gives the name Isabel to the murdered girl, while the account in the newspaper has it Mary.]
[2Mr. Ridgeway had started for church, and proceeded some distance, when he recollected he had left his tobacco behind, and returned to the house for it, when there was no one in the house but the child who was afterwards found murdered. ]
Matthew Atcheson's name appears first on record in a bill of sale made by David Rankin to him on the 10th of April, 1778, in which Rankin sells "unto Matthew Atcheson, of said county, a tract of land situate on the head-waters of Raccoon Creek, adjoining lands of William Rankin, Thomas Cherry, and John Reed." Matthew Atcheson was a native of Ireland, who emigrated to this country with his wife and four sons, David, Matthew, Humphrey, and Robert. Matthew Atcheson, Sr., died about 1814, leaving sons, David, Matthew R., Humphrey, John, and a daughter Jean (Mrs. Moses Cherry). The original farm is now owned by Robert and Matthew Atcheson and John Henderson.
David Atcheson, the oldest son, had a part of the estate, and lived and died there.
Matthew Reed Atcheson, the second son of Matthew, Sr., lived on part of the tract, which his father gave him by deed Dec. 10, 1803. He was justice of the peace many years, and died on the farm, leaving five sons, who all moved to Ohio except Samuel, who lives on the old homestead. Humphrey, the third son of Matthew, took out a warrant for three hundred acres of land, "including an improvement on the head-waters of Raccoon Creek," on the 8th of September, 1785. He was a school-teacher, and taught in the township. He gave to his sons David and John all of the land covered by the warrant except one hundred and nineteen acres, which was the homestead. John sold his portion to David and went West. Humphrey went West after a few years. Humphrey Atcheson, Sr., died about the 1st of December, 1814. John McCammant, Jr., now owns the homestead.
John McCalmont was a blacksmith and farmer. He had a distillery on the farm now owned by Alexander McCalmont, his son, on the road from Hickory to Burgettstown. He bought the farm of Robert Atcheson, and lived there till his death. James, his eldest son, lives near Raccoon Church. John lives in the township, southwest of Hickory.
Before, the year 1800, John Cloud lived on a farm adjoining that of William Hughes, where he remained a number of years. He was an elder in the Raccoon Church during the pastorate of the Rev. Moses Allen, and later moved to Beaver County, Pa., and still later to Ohio, then to Salem, Beaver Co., Pa. He was an elder in the churches where he lived. His son, afterwards the Rev. John Cloud, was born Dec. 9, 1801, on the farm in Mount Pleasant (then in Cross Creek township). He graduated at Jefferson College in 1830, and entered the Allegheny Seminary, and prosecuted a full course of theological study. He was ordained by the Presbytery of New York, in the Brick Church (Dr. Spring's), on the 11th day of October, 1833, with a view to foreign missionary work. He entered upon these duties at once, and sailed for Africa on the 6th of November the same year, with the Rev. Matthew Laird and wife. A few weeks after reaching Monrovia (the place of their labors) he was prostrated by the African fever, which so reduced him that a commencement of active duty in the spring brought on dysentery, from which he died April 9, 1834. Two sons and a daughter of John Cloud, Sr., still reside at Hookstown, Beaver Co., Pa., where the father lived in his latter days.
William Patterson, before 1788, owned one hundred and fifty acres of land, and later owned three hundred and fifty-five acres on the road from Canonsburg to Hickory. He lived here many years. He finally sold to David Huston, of Canonsburg, and he and his sons went West. He lived here for a time, and his son David now owns it.
William Hughes, a native of York County, Pa., was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. He emigrated to this county and settled in 1778, in the lower part of Cross Creek township (now Jefferson). He returned East and married, and in the spring of the next year came out to what is now Mount Pleasant township, with John and Elias Cowen. Mr. Hughes built a tannery, which was in operation until about 1835. He was elected a justice of the peace and served several terms, and was an elder in Upper Buffalo Church. He died in March, 1831, aged seventy-six years. A son, Dr. John Hughes, was a surgeon, and died in the war of 1812 at Lower Sandusky. James remained on the homestead. He was elected justice of the peace in 1840, and held the position for several terms. Was an elder in Mount Prospect Presbyterian Church, active in all good works, and died in 1872, highly beloved and respected by all.
Robert Lyle, a native of Northampton County, Pa., and a brother of Aaron and John Lyle, came to this township with his wife and one child in 1784, and bought one hundred and forty acres of land of David Decker, and also the eighty acres of John Brown, and on which he settled. Four years later, Oct. 31, 1789, he purchased a tract of one hundred and forty acres adjoining of David Decker, and sold the first tract to his brother, John Lyle. On this last tract he moved and lived till his death, Nov. 25, 1843. He was an elder at different periods in Cross Creek, Upper Buffalo, and Mount Prospect Churches. He had four sons, --Samuel, David, John, and William. Samuel was a teacher, and died in West Middletown in 1813. David died on the home farm in 1863 a bachelor. John and William married and removed to Belmont County, Ohio. The former died in 1851, the latter in 1854. Of the seven daughters, Ann married Robert Simpson in 1820, and in 1827 lived in cross Creek township on land now owned by their son, James Simpson. Isabel married John White, and lived in Hopewell township. Their son, R. Lyle White, was an editor, and for a time edited a paper in Connellsville, Fayette Co. Margaret married James Dinsmore, and settled in Cross Creek township. She still lives on the place where they settled. Mary married William Smith, and settled near Mansfield, Ohio. Their son, Dr. William Smith, was a lieutenant in the Mexican war, a lieutenant-colonel in the late Rebellion, and is now an eminent physician in Van Wert, Ohio. Their son, Joseph R. Reed, is now a judge of a district embracing ten counties in Iowa. He resides at Council Bluffs.
John Lyle was a native of Northampton County, and brother of Aaron and Robert Lyle. He was a lieutenant in the Revolutionary war, and was at the battle of Long Island. He came to the county with his brothers, and about 1876 purchased of his brother Robert, the one hundred and forty acres he first purchased of Decker and Wilson, where ---- Miller now lives. Here he lived, and died in 1826, aged seventy-four years. His children were David, John, and Joseph, Elizabeth and Nancy. David married a daughter of Peter Kidd, and moved to Ohio. John lived on the homestead, a bachelor, and died in 1853. He was a county commissioner in 1822. Joseph lived on a farm adjoining the homestead, and died in October, 1881, aged eighty-four years. Elizabeth became the wife of John Proudfoot, and moved to near Burgettstown, where their descendants still live. Nancy became the wife of William Rankin, and remained in the township. She died in 1870.
James Simpson, a native of Ireland, emigrated to Delaware in 1768, was in the Revolutionary war. In 1779 he married Margaret Conier, and in 1783, with two others, made a tour of the Western country with a view to the purchase of land. There were no public roads, but trail (supposed to be the old Mingo path) was marked by blazed trees. At that time but three cabins were at Burgettstown; the millwrights were placing the burr-stones in Burgett's mill. He settled first in Chartiers township, between Pigeon Creek and Chartiers Creek. On the 10th of April, 1797, he purchased fifty acres of land of George Stephenson, adjoining Hugh Patton, John Woods, George Stephenson, and Francis Andrew. It was part of two tracts on the head-waters of southwest fork of Chartiers Creek, one of which was called "Hillsbury," the other "Walnut Bottom." His wife died in 1815, and his death occurred in September, 1819. They left four sons --John, James, William, and Robert--and four daughters, who all married and removed to Ohio. John and James also went to Ohio and settled. William and Robert remained on the homestead, now owned by Williams Simpson, the son of William. Robert, in 1827, purchased a farm in Cross Creek township, where he lived till his death, April 22, 1875, aged seventy-eight years. James, the son of Robert, now lives on the property in cross Creek. There is no person living who is as well informed as James Simpson on all matters pertaining to the history of the western and northwestern part of Washington County, and it is from him that most of the facts given in this work in reference to the northwestern townships of this county have been obtained.
Robert and Thomas Thompson, on the 24th of February, 1790, purchased twenty acres of land on the north fork of Chartiers Creek, in Chartiers township (now Mount Pleasant), including a water-mill, horsemill, with dam and tail-race. This land was purchased of Hugh McKnight, and is now owned by Owen McKnight. The mill has long since been torn down. Later they purchased an adjoining fifty acres of James McElroy. On this farm they lived. Robert died in 1799, and left six children,--Joseph, Andrew, Alexander, James, and Robert and Lydia. The latter were twins, and born the year their father died. Joseph, the oldest, settled in Mount Pleasant township, where Alexander Gaston now lives. His sons--Joseph, Alexander, and James--were all ministers of the United Presbyterian Church. Joseph was born Sept. 15, 1823, graduated at Jefferson College, Canonsburg, in 1848, was licensed to preach in 1851, and was called to a mission church in West Twenty-fifth Street, New York City, and the same year received a call from a church in Baltimore, Md., and from the congregation of Mount Pleasant, his native township. The last call he accepted, and was ordained and installed April 25, 1853, and remained pastor of the church till his death, Dec. 16, 1861.
Alexander, a son of Joseph Thompson, Sr., was born Dec. 16, 1816, taught school for a time in Cross Creek. Entered junior class in Jefferson College, Canonsburg, in 1843. He entered the ministry and labored in New York City and State, and finally was given charge of a mission in Wilkinsville, Mass., where he died Nov. 12, 1854. James, also a son of Joseph, became a minister of the United Presbyterian Church, and labored in New York City and died there. John, another son of Joseph, lived and died at Canonsburg.
Andrew Thompson, a son of Robert, married Elizabeth Bell, settled on a part of his father's homestead, and died in 1859. His son Robert now owns the farm. James Thompson, a son of Robert, lived for a time with John Dawson, at the tavern called "Cross Keys," about half a mile south from Hickory. It was the old Chapman tavern stand. He married Martha Hammond. Her father, John Hammond, settled there in 1807. James Hammond and his wife are now living at Woodrow, he at the age of eighty-eight, and she at seventy-six years. Robert married Nancy Guthrie, and settled in Bloomfield, Ohio. Lydia, the twin sister of Robert, became the wife of Alexander McCall, and settled in Iowa.
Thomas Cherry emigrated from near Bristol, England, with his wife and three children, in 1770, and settled in Frederick County, Md. In 1774 he came to what is now Mount Pleasant township. He built a cabin about one hundred rods west of William P. Cherry's present residence. At this place he lived but a short time after making his entry. He was found dead at a spring near the place, with a bullethole through his brain and his empty gun beside him. His scalp was not taken. His own gun was discharged, and the character of the wound led to the conclusion that his death was accidental. The next year his son John was killed by the Indians. Tow hundred acres of the tract which was patented as Fairfield, April 12, 1788, was left to Moses Cherry. He married Jane Atcheson, daughter of Matthew Atcheson. In addition to this he took up a tract adjoining and east of the home farm. He was in the war of 1812, and died soon after, on the farm, in 1815, aged forty-five years. His children all went West. No descendants of this branch now live in the township. The farm passed from the heirs of Moses Cherry to John McBirney, whose sons now occupy it.
Edward, the youngest son of Thomas Cherry, married Rebecca Perrin, of Hopewell township (now Independence). He purchased the homestead of the heirs, and was born, lived, and died on the homestead. His death occurred July 1, 1854, at the age of seventy-eight years. He had ten children, of whom William P. is the eldest, now in his seventy-eighth year. He with two sisters, Maria and Sarah, all unmarried, are living on the homestead. Rebecca, also unmarried, lived with them until her death, Oct. 8, 1881. Of the other children, Aaron removed to Tuscarawas County, Ohio, where he died. Edward is settled on a part of the home farm, where he still lives.
The Cherry Fort was situated on this farm a few yards northeast of William P. Cherry's present residence, and consisted of three log buildings, one twenty-five feet square, the others smaller. They were arranged in a triangular form and inclosed with a stockade. This fort was built in the summer and fall of 1774, and was the residence of the Cherrys, and where in time of danger the McCartys, Rankins, and others fled. The large building was two stories in height, with a half-story above, and was built to withstand a formidable attack. Edward Cherry, the youngest son of Thomas, occupied this house many years after, and William P., his oldest son, was born there.
William Rankin, in the fall of 1773, came to what is now Mount Pleasant township, and purchased sixteen hundred acres of land, a part of which had been improved, and returned to his home in Winchester, Va. In the following spring some of his sons came out, cleared the land, and planted corn. One or two cabins were erected on the place. In the fall of that year, 1774, William Rankin, with his wife and seven sons and two daughters, moved out to the new plantation, leaving at the old home two sons, David and William, who were married and settled there. October 31st, William and his family moved into a cabin which stood on the hill above the barn in the rear of James Rankin's present residence, and near a fine spring. Here they lived for several years, when William Rankin built a hewed log house, large and more commodious, north of the old cabin, where he lived till his death.
Zachariah Rankin, a son of William, took up a tract of land near his father's on a Virginia certificate. It was surveyed in 1785 as "Black-Oak Ridge," containing three hundred and thirty-seven acres, adjoining William Martin and John Lyle, on the waters of Raccoon Creek. In the October following he was bitten by a mad wolf, and died three months afterwards of hydrophobia. He was married, and a daughter was born after his death. She inherited the property, and became the wife of Jesse Woods. In 1806, they sold the property to John McCammant, whose son Alexander McCammant, William and Zachariah Rankin took out a Virginia certificate for four hundred and two acres of land February, 1780, that was surveyed as "Chestnut Ridge."
Thomas Rankin, also a son of William, received a tract of land of his father, containing two hundred and fifty acres, a part of two tracts patented by his father, --"Chestnut Ridge" and "High Spring," --and Feb. 15, 1790, he received a patent for a tract adjoining Samuel Rankin. He lived on a part of his lands many years, and sold to John Cunningham, and moved near Cadiz, Ohio, where he died. Samuel Rankin, also a son of William, settled on land left him by his father. James, his son, now owns one hundred and twenty-five acres of it, and the heirs of David own a part. He died July 10, 1820, and left ten children. William and John settled where James now lives. After his father's death he purchased their interest, and has since lived there. The old mill was built as a saw-mill in 1806, by Samuel Rankin, and in a few years was changed to a grist-mill, and is still used in that work.
The Farrar family of this county are descended from James Farrar, who resided at the beginning of the Revolutionary war in Hunterdon County, N. J. He had six sons--James, John, Peter, Richard, Andrew, and Samuel--and several daughters, of whom all trace has been lost by reason of their marriage and change of name. The oldest son, James, was an army blacksmith, and with his father worked for the American army during its operations in New Jersey. The sons John and Peter were soldiers in Washington's army, and were both killed at the battle of Long Island, Aug. 27, 1776.
After the close of the war, Andrew, who is the immediate ancestor of the family, married Margaret Moore, the daughter of one James Moore, a Scotch-Irishman, who resided in what was known as the Craig settlement, in Northampton County, Pa., and removed in 1785 with his brother-in-law, Aaron Lyle (who had married Ellen Moore); across the mountains to Western Pennsylvania, and settled in Mount Pleasant township, where he died Nov. 5, 1832. His family were James, who married a McFarland, and removed to Guernsey County, Ohio, where he died in 1862; Polly, who married John Corey, and removed to Marion County, Ind., where she died in 1872. Nancy, who married first John Gillespie, and after his death --------Alcorn, and removed to Indiana, where she died; John, who married a Dunlap, and died at Midway, this county, in 1842; Samuel, who married a Simanton, and died at Mount Pleasant township in 1867; Thomas, who married a McFarland, and went to California, from where he never returned; Andrew, who married a Buchanan, and died at Buffalo, in Hopewell township, in 1867; Aaron, who married a Griffith, and died at Buffalo in 1846; Eleanor, who married Thomas Johnston, and died in 1821; and Joseph, who removed to Ohio in 1834, where he married Isabella Elliott, removed to Iowa in 1854, and died in 1859.
The Simantons are descended from one Robert Simanton, who prior to the Revolution lived in Northampton Co., Pa. His children were John, James, Ephraim, Robert, Peter, Benjamin, Jane, Margaret, Esther and Polly. The oldest son, John, was a soldier in the patriot army, and died on an English prisonship in New York harbor. James and Peter were also in the Continental service, and about 1810 removed across the mountains, and settled in Washington County, the former one mile west of Briceland's Cross-Roads, where he died in 1819, and the latter in Mount Pleasant township, on Cherry's Run, where he died in 1836 at the age of seventy years. James left one son, who never married, but removed to Ohio and died years ago; he also left a number of daughters, who cannot now be traced.
Peter Simanton married a McFarren; his children were first, Jane, who married Samuel Farrar, and died in 1881; second Eliza Allen, granddaughter of Rev. John McMillan, and died in 1871; and, third, Isabella, who married Robert Johnston, and died 1830. Jane left a number of descendants, who reside in Mount Pleasant and Smith townships. John left one son, Harper Simanton, who resides on the old homestead in Cherry valley, and two married daughters, Mrs. William Campbell, of Midway, and Mrs. Robert Patterson, of Westmoreland County, Pa.
James McElroy, a native of Scotland, emigrated to this country, and purchased a tract of land on Virginia certificate. He lived on the place the remainder of his days, and died at an advanced age. He had three sons, Alexander, James, and John. Alexander later owned the farm; Nancy, a daughter of Alexander, married James Cotton, who now owns the farm. They live in Washington. Eliza J., also a daughter of Alexander, married Joseph Rea, and settled in the neighborhood. James, an only son, was a farmer, and settled in Allegheny County. James, son of James McElroy, Sr., settled in Jefferson County, Ohio; John, also a son, settled in this township on a farm on the head-waters of Chartiers Creek, now owned by Mrs. Robert Maxwell; he lived and died there, and left four sons, James, John, Ebenezer, and Alexander, and seven daughters, Susan, ,Margaret, Eleanor, Mary, Elizabeth, Tabitha, and Jane. James settled on his father's farm, and died in Cross Creek township; John and Ebenezer moved to Ohio, and died there. John McElroy, of Washington, is a son of John. Alexander, son of James McElroy, Jr., lived on a farm near the home farm. Dr. Joseph McElroy, of Hickory, is a son. Eleanor married James Canon, a son of John Canon, of Canonsburg, and lived near the homestead of her father. Margaret married ------Smith, and lived near the home farm; the other daughters married and settled in Ohio.
Alexander McConaughy, an Irishman, came to this county and purchased a farm of one hundred and eighty acres, now owned by his great-grandson, Alexander McConaughy. He had a son, David, to whom his father left the farm. David had three sons, John, David, and Alexander. He died in October, 1827. John sold his portion of the farm to David and Alexander, and purchased a farm below Hickory, now owned by James White. He later moved to Ohio, where he died. David went to Ohio, and Alexander lived on the home farm, and died about 1870. His son Matthew now owns the farm.
The Washington Lands.--In the section of country lying between Raccoon Creek and Miller's Run, in Mount Pleasant township, lies a large body of lands, which are among the richest, and most productive in the county. These lands, drained on the east by Miller's Run and on the west by Raccoon Creek, include more than two thousand eight hundred acres, which have been know and mentioned for more than a century as "the Washington lands," having been at one time owned by George Washington, of Mount Vernon.
In 1767, before the trans-Allegheny regions had been ceded by the Indians, Washington, who had seen it in 1753-55, wrote from Mount Vernon ( September 21st) to his friend, Capt. William Crawford, who had settled at Stewart's Crossings on the Youghiogheny, "to look me out a tract of about fifteen hundred or two thousand or more acres somewhere in your neighborhood, meaning only by this that it may be as contiguous to your own settlement as a body of good land can be found. It will be easy for you to conceive that ordinary or even middling lands would never answer my purpose or expectations so far from navigation and under such a load of expenses as these lands are encumbered with. No, a tract to please me must be rich ... and, if possible, level. Could such a piece be found, you would do me a singular favor in falling upon some method of securing it immediately from the attempt of others, as nothing more certain than that the lands cannot remain long ungranted when once it is known that rights are to be had ..."
Under this arrangement and as soon as application could be filed in the land-office for lands in the "New Purchase" of 1768, four tracts of land, aggregating sixteen hundred and sixty-one acres, in what is now Perry township, Fayette Co., were taken up, warranted to George Washington, William Athel, John Bishop, John Paty, and Thomas Jones. These warrants were all dated April 3, 1769. They all passed soon after to George Washington, for whom they were originally intended, and were patented to him Feb. 28, 1782. The next year after these lands had been secured Washington made a tour through the section now Washington County, and having formed a favorable opinion of it, he instructed his agent, Capt. William Crawford, to select and purchase lands for him in this section. Thereupon Capt. William Crawford examined the great tract owned or claimed by George Croghan, but made no purchase from them. In a letter to Washington, dated April 20, 1771, he said--
"Agreeable to your request I went to view Col. Croghan's land, but before it could be done the line was to be run, which I attended, and viewed the whole, but I could not find the quantity of land you wanted, nor one thousand acres such as you would like, or such as I would have. ....What land is worth anything is already taken by somebody, whose survey comes within the line we run. But the colonel is not content with that line, as he thinks it does not include lands enough. I am afraid he has not a proper title to what he is now claiming; but I will avoid giving him any certain answer about the land as long as I can possibly do so. I have found some good tracts of land on the head of Chartiers Creek and the head of Raccoon Creek. It is good level farming land, and good meadow, but not that quantity you wanted. I believe I can procure you a tract in one body of three thousand acres, which is very good, well watered, and about fifteen or twenty miles from the fort. I have not told him where the line lies, and I am afraid to tell him till he runs the line, for I think if he knew of it he would run it on purpose to have the selling of it to you, as he prides himself much upon it and makes it a handle to all bargains he is making with other people."
In another letter dated Aug. 2, 1771, Crawford says, "I have done nothing with Col. Croghan in regard to the land you want of him as yet, as I could see none of his land in his line now run that will answer to be laid off as he wants it laid off. I have found some at about fifteen or sixteen miles from Fort Pitt, which is very good farming land, and as good meadow land as any. The upland is level, or no more hilly than is necessary to make the ground dry." The tenor of subsequent letters from Crawford to his principal show that he had succeeded in finding and selecting lands suitable in quality and extent; also that Croghan, on ascertaining this fact, claimed that the lands so selected by Crawford for Washington were within the limits of his (Croghan's ) grant, and used every means in his power to induce settlers to locate on the lands Crawford had selected, and promising them assistance to hold their claims against Col. Washington. In the summer of 1773, Crawford wrote to his principal, --
"Your lands on Chartiers are safe yet, but how long they may continue so I do not know, as the people that were going to settle on them at the time we come down were driven off, but attempted to return in the spring. I shall settle some man on them if possible, and hope by that means to secure them. Everything in my power shall be done. They must be stronger than I and my party are if they take them..." And again, in a letter dated Spring Garden, Nov. 12, 1773, he said, "The reason these people sat down upon your land was that Colonel Croghan told them the officers and soldiers could never hold one foot of the land, and he further told them that I had (no) orders from the Governor to survey any land on the Ohio, that it was only a scheme between you and myself. The only chance you have to get land settled is to get some of your people near where you live to settle, .....or bring up some hired men, set them to work, and clear some land, and then you may rent it for something. I believe that will be the surest way to improve your land, and with the least expense. Several persons are waiting for your land to relapse, who intend to fall on it immediately thereafter."
Again, in a letter dated Dec. 29, 1773, he said, --
"Some people, about ten or twelve in number, have gone on your Chartier's land within these few days, and there is no getting them off, except by force of arms. They are encouraged by Major Ward, brother (in-law) to Colonel Croghan, who claims the land and says he has a grant of it from the Crown. He will indemnify them, if they will move in any house where no person is living. He also offers the land for sale, warranting the purchaser a lawful title. He further adds that Colonel Croghan says you and I have used his brother very ill, in pretending to buy hi land and did not, but went and took the best of it, and would not agree to pay him. That was the reason offered for selling the land to any person who should choose to buy.....Those men have not bought of him but took your land, and say they will keep it. I could drive them away, but they will come back immediately--as soon as my back is turned. The man I put on the land, they have driven away, and built a house so close to his that he can not get in at the door......Your land is two miles and better from the utmost limits of his land, as you will see by the way it is laid down the stream called Miller's Run. When Thompson run the land and made out the draft and delivered it to him, Colonel Croghan said it was not run right. Then he employed Mr. Campbell and told him that the river must be twisted up to the mouth of Peter's creek, as that was the bounds of his lands. When Mr. Campbell had run the line as marked, and delivered the draft to him, Colonel Croghan said he not run the land right; he should have allowed him ten degrees variation of the compass. Then he got Mr. Hooper and run this last line as you see marked. He then employed Mr. (Dorsey) Pentecost to run thirty thousand acres on the head of Chartier's Creek and Cross Creek. This still left you out; but since then Major Ward takes you and myself and Lund Washington in, and says Colonel Croghan has a grant from the Crown for the land and has given him that part, as low as the mouth of Wheeling."
Capt. Crawford, in a letter dated Jan. 10, 1774, advised Washington to take out a patent (from Virginia) for his lands on Chartiers Creek and Miller's Run, as that would be sure to prevent further dispute and trouble. Thereupon Washington, as a preliminary to the procuring of a patent, directed a survey to be made, which was done, and Crawford, in a letter dated May 8, 1774, says, "Sir--Inclosed you have the drafts of the Round Bottom Lands, and your Chartiers land, agreeable to Mr. Lewis' direction."
On the 5th of July, 1775, a military patent for these lands was issued to Col. George Washington by Lord Dunmore, Governor of Virginia, describing them as "being in Augusta County, Vir., on the waters of Miller's Run, one to the branches of Chartiers Creek, a branch of the Ohio."
Crawford again wrote to Washington, Dec. 20, 1776, as follows: "Your land on Chartiers Creek is well cultivated, ready to your hand, the men on it thinking you have no patent for it, or if you have, that you will lease the land on reasonable terms, etc.....Some I understand have been trying to sell their rights to your land, but I have had an advertisement printed and set up forewarning any person not to purchase those lands, setting forth your titles, etc."
The settlers still remained in possession of the tracts on which they had located within the limits of the Washington patent. On the 10th of August, 1779, Col. Crawford wrote from Fort Pitt to Washington, who was then in the field as commander-in-chief of the patriot armies, saying, "Dear General, --Agreeable to my promise the last time I had the pleasure of seeing you, I advertised your lands on Chartiers that are settled by those men I formerly informed you of. They still remain on the land...." And they so continued undisturbed until after the close of the Revolution.
In the fall of the year 1784, after the close of Gen. Washington's military career and before he was called to the Presidency, he made a tour of exploration and inspection through this section of country, and kept a diary of the principal events of his "Journey over the Western Mountains,"1 covering the time from Sept. 1
[1 This journal has hitherto been unpublished, resting in the original manuscript in the State department at Washington, D. C. The presence of Gen. Washington in Washington County in relation to his lands here has been doubted by many, but that fact, as well as the authenticity of the journal quoted, is established by the following:
"Department of State, Washington, April 12, 1882."The Honorable W. S. Shallenberger, House of Representatives. "Sir,---The letter of Mr. Boyd Crumrine of Washington, Pennsylvania, under date of the 20th ultimo, transmitted by you has been received. In compliance with your request I take pleasure in sending you a transcript of a portion of the Journal of Washington, being the record of his visit to Washington County, Pennsylvania, September 18th-21st, 1784, which is all that has been found in relation to the subject of Mr. Crumrine's letter. "I have the honor to be, sir,
"Your obedient servants,
"Fredk. T. Frelinghuysen."]
to Oct. 4, 1784. From that journal the following extracts are made as having reference to his lands in this county. The transcript comprises the entries from September 18th to 21st inclusive, viz :
"September 18th. Set out with Doctr. Craik for my land on Miller's run (a branch of Shurtees Creek)--crossed the Monongahela at Deboirs (Devore) Ferry, 16 miles from Simpsons; bated at one Hamiltons, about 4 miles from it, in Washington County, and lodged at a Colo. Cannon's on the waters of Shurtees Creek, a kind, hospitable man; and sensible.
"Most of the land over which we passed was hilly; some of it very rich; others thin; between a Colo. Cook's and the Ferry the land was rich, but broken; about Shurtee, and from thence to Colo. Cannon's the soil is very luxuriant and very uneven.
"September 19th. Being Sunday, and the People living on my Land apparently very religious, it was thought best to postpone going among them till tomorrow; but rode to a Doctr. Johnson's who had the keeping of Colo. Crawford's surveying records; but not finding him at home, was disappointed in the business which carried me there....
"September 20th. Went early this morning to view my Land, and to receive the final determination of those who live upon it. Having obtained a pilot near the Land I went first to the plantation of Samuel McBride, who has about 5 Acres of Meadow, and 30 of Arable Land under good fencing; a logged dwelling house with a punchion roof, and stable, or small barn, of the same kind; the land rather hilly but good, chiefly white oak; next James McBride; 3 or 4 Acres of Meadow 28 Do of Arable Land, Pretty good fencing; Land rather broken, but good; white and black oak mixed; a dwelling-house and barn (of middling size) with Puncheon roofs. Thomas Biggart; Robert Walker living thereon as a Tenant. No meadow; 20 Acres of Arable Land. A dwelling House and single barn; fences tolerable, and Land good. William Stewart; 2 and 1-2 Acres of Meadow, 20 Acres of Arable Land; only one house, except a kind of building adjoining for common purposes; good Land and midling fences.
"Matthew Hillast; has with my line about 7 Acres of Meadow, 3 besides; Arable; also a small double Barn.
"Brice McGechen; 3 Acres of Meadow, 20 Acres Arable; under good fencing; a small new Barn, good.
"Duncan McGechen; 2 acres of Meadow 38 do Arable Land. A good single Barn, dwelling House, Spring House, and several other Houses,---the Plantation under good fencing.
"David Reed; claimed by the last mentioned (Duncan McGeechen), 2 acres of Meadow, 18 do Arable Land; Nobody living on this place at present--the dwelling House and fencing in bad order.
"John Reed, Esquire; 4 acres of meadow, 38 Do arable Do; a small dwelling House, but logs for a large one, Still House; good land and fencing.
"David Reed; 2 acres of meadow, 17 Do arable; a good logged dwelling House with a bad roof; several other small Houses and an indifferent Barn, or stable; bad fences, but very good Land.
"William Hillas; 20 acres of arable Land no Meadow. But one house, and that indifferent; fences not good.
"John Glen; 2 or 3 acres of Meadow within my liue; his plantation and the rest of his Land without.
"James Scott; Placed on the Land by Thomas Lapsley; has 17 acres under good fencing; only a dwelling House (which stops the door of a Cabbin built by Captn. Crawford)--white oak Land; rather thin, but good bottom to clear for meadows.
"Matthew Johnson; 2 acres of Meadow, 24 Do arable Land; a good Logged house, materials for a dble Barn; very good Land, but indifferent fences.
"James Scott; a large Plantation--about 70 acres of arable Land, 4 Do. of improved Meadow; much more may be made into meadow--the Land very good, as the fences al do are. A barn, dwelling House and some other Houses.
The foregoing are all the Improvements upon this Tract which contains 2813 acres. The land is leveller than is common to be met with in this part of the Country, and good; the principal part of it is white oak, intermixed in many places with black oak; and is estemed a valuable tract.
"Dined at David Reeds, after which Mr. James Scott and Squire Reed began to enquire whether I would part with the Land, and upon what terms; adding that though they did not conceive they could be dispossessed, yet to avoid contention, they would buy, if my terms were moderate. I told them I had no inclination to sell; however, after hearing a great deal of their hardships, their religious principles (which had brought them together as a society of Ceceders) and unwillingness to separate or remove, I told them I would make them a last offer and this was:--the whole tract at 25s per acre, the money to be paid at 3 annual payments with Interest; --or to become Tenants upon leases of 999 years, at the annual rent of Ten pounds pr. C. Pr. Ann. The former they had a long consultation upon, and asked if I wd. take that price at a longer credit, without interest and being answered in the negative they then determined to stand suit for the Land; but it having been suggested that there were among them some who were disposed to relinquish their claim, I told them I would receive their answers individually; and accordingly calling upon them as they stood, James Scott, William Stewart, Thomas Lapsley, Saml. McGBride, Brick McGeechen, Thomas Biggar, David Reed, Williams Hillas, James McBride, Duncan McGeechen, Matthew Johnson, John Reed, and John Glen, they severally answered that they meant to stand suit, and abide the issue of the law.
"This business being thus finished, I returned to Colo. Cannon's in company with himself, Colo. Nevil, Captn. Swearingen (high sherif) and a Captn. Ritchie who had accompanied me to the Land.
"September 21st. Accompanied by Colo. Cannon and Captn. Swearingen who attended me to Debore's ferry on the Monongahela which separates the counties of Fayette and Washington, I returned to Gilbert Simpson's in the afternoon; after dining at one Wickerman's (Wickerham's) Mill near the Monongahela.
"Colo. Cannon, Captn. Swearingen and Captn. Richie all promised to hunt up the evidence which could prove my possession and improvement of the Land before any of the present occupiers ever saw it."
Concerning the interview between Washington and the settlers, the story has been told and retold for almost a century that the general declared he would have the land, and accompanied the declaration with an oath, for which Squire Reed promptly fined him five shillings, which the commander-in-chief as promptly paid, and accompanied the payment with an apology for his violation of the laws of God and man. This is represented to have occurred at the house of John Reed, Esq., but it appears from the diary that the interview was held at the house of David Reed. Mr. Joseph Reed, still living, and son of David, says he has often heard his father relate that on that occasion Washington declared most emphatically that he would have the land, but that he never mentioned the circumstance of the oath and fine, and it is, therefore, more than probable that that part of the story is a mere fabrication. The story is related that after the dinner was over the business for which they had met was considered. Squire Reed, on behalf of the settlers, presented their case, spoke of the hardships they had endured, the improvements made, and the increased value of the lands by reason of their labor, and claimed that inasmuch as they preferred a peaceable settlement of the matter, and there were grave doubts as to the validity of Gen. Washington's title, the occupants would expect liberal terms from the distinguished claimant. Gen. Washington replied with dignity and some warmth, asserting that they had been forewarned by his agent, and the nature of his claim fully made known; that there could be no doubt of its validity, and rising from his seat and holding a red silk handkerchief by one corner, he said, "Gentlemen, I will have this land just as surely as I now have this handkerchief," and that he proposed to sell to them at eight shillings per acre cash. Then Mr. Reed, on behalf of the occupants, replied they neither could nor would accept such terms, and thereupon the conference ended. This story agrees very well with the diary, except as to the price at which he offered them the land.
Soon after this visit Washington secured the services of Thomas Smith, Esq., of Bedford County, leading attorney (afterwards a justice of the Supreme Court), to commence suits of ejectment against the parties. Suit was brought at the December term, 1784. Hugh M. Brackenridge represented the defendants. No claim was made on the part of the settlers to priority of title, and as the rights of Washington by the Virginia patent were well authenticated, the suit was successful against the settlers. The claim brought by them was that the lands were purchased by Col. Washington of Col. George Croghan, who obtained his rights by Indian purchase, which rights were not recognized by either the States of Virginia or Pennsylvania.
The names of the settlers who had located on the Washington lands and against whom ejectment suits were brought were Samuel McBride, James McBride, Thomas Biggert (Bigger), William Stewart, Brice McGehan, Duncan McGehan, John Reed, Esq., David Reed, John Glen, James Scott (the elder), William Hillis, and Matthew Johnson. Possession was given to Gen. Washington, some of the parties remaining on the land as tenants, others on lands adjoining. Thomas Bigger removed to the land on which he settled in 1773 in what is now Robinson township.
Matthew Ritchie acted as the local agent for Washington, and on the 1st of June, 1796, he purchased the entire tract for twelve thousand dollars. Shortly after the purchase he advertised the lands for sale, and says of it, "There are thirteen farms cleared and cultivated. The soil is of excellent quality, rich, level, well timbered, and well watered." No deeds are on record to show that Matthew Ritchie ever sold any of the tract. He died in the spring of 1798. By his will made on the 25th of February, 1789, and probated in March of that year, he devised this land to Alexander Addison, as follows: "My lands on Miller's Run, bought from Gen. Washington, I give to Alexander Addison and his heirs and assigns, subject to account for the profits after payment of the purchase-money." The executors of the estate were John Ritchie and Alexander Addison. The records do not show any settlement of account by them, nor is there any release on file to Addison, or settlement by him for profits on sale of land.
In the month of March, 1802, Absalom Baird, then sheriff of Washington County, advertised the two thousand eight hundred and thirteen acres of land for sale, they being "The Lands and tenements of Col. Matthew Ritchie, Deceased, in my Bailiwick." He was ordered to levy on the land, "as well as a certain debt of $6409.20., being the two last instalments due upon a mortgage which is held by Bushrod Washington, William Augusta Washington, George Steptoe Washington, Samuel Washington, and Samuel Lewis, Executors, and Martha Washington, Executrix, of Gen. George Washington." In pursuance of this order, the premises were exposed at public vendue on the day advertised, and were sold to Alexander Addison for sixty dollars, he being the highest bidder. The sheriff's deed bears date May 4, 1802.
Judge Addison commenced the sale of lands after this purchase, and on the 3d of April of that year conveyed three hundred and one acres to James Scroggs, one hundred and forty acres to John Cowden, and one hundred and ninety-four acres to James McDowell.1 On the 8th of September the same year ninety-nine acres were sold to Matthew Hillis. Two hundred and fifty-one acres were conveyed to John Berry, Aug. 15, 1804; one hundred and fifty acres to Robert George, April 10, 1805; and three hundred and nine acres to Samuel Scott on the 4th of May the same year. Judge Addison died Nov. 27,1807, and Mrs. Addison, his widow, was the executrix of the estate. She appointed John Johnston her attorney. He purchased two hundred acres of the remainder on the 1st of April, 1810, and on the 5th of April the same year Jane Addison, as executrix, sold all the residue or remainder of the two thousand eight hundred and thirteen acres yet unsold at this date, which was about thirteen hundred acres, to John Johnson.
[1 This last tract had been conveyed Jan. 3, 1799, but by reason of error was perfected in this deed of April 3d.]
Of the settlers on these Washington lands, James McDowell, in addition to his first purchase from Addison, bought of John Johnson one hundred and forty acres (also part of the Washington lands), Jan. 23, 1812. This tract he sold two days later to James Campbell. The land he bought of Judge Addison was sold by his executors, Feb. 5, 1828, to William Crawford, who left it by will with other lands, Feb. 27, 1846, to his sons James, Thomas, and Robert. The one hundred and ninety-four acres first purchased by James McDowell was sold by James Crawford to John Reed.
James Scroggs, who bought three hundred and one acres, lived to a ripe old age, and left two sons, James and Reynolds. The land now belongs to John Reed.
John Cowden, who bought in 1802 one hundred and forty acres, lived on this place until his death, when the land was sold to William Crawford. He left several children. Isaac, a son, settled near Hickory, where John McBirney now owns.
John and David Reed, brothers, and sons of David Reed, were natives of Lancaster County. They came to this county in 1777, and induced by the representations of agents of Col. George Croghan, and the offer of settlement rights by the State of Virginia on compliance with certain conditions, they settled on these lands, clearing off a small portion, and building each a cabin. In the fall they returned to Lancaster County. John was already married, and David was married on his return home. In the spring following they with their wives moved to their new homes. They lived several years undisturbed. Soon after the organization of Washington County in 1781, John Reed was chosen justice of the peace of the district which afterwards in 1787 became the Fourth, and justice of the peace of the court of Common Pleas, and was reappointed in November, 1788. On the 2d of October, 1783, he purchased of David Lindsey "all that tract or parcel of land lying and being on the waters of Miller's Run, within the county and State aforesaid, containing four hundred acres," adjoining James McCormick and others. After the ejectment suit was decided he removed to his land in Cecil township, now owned by Mrs. Cubbage, where he died in 1816, leaving a son, David, and daughters, Catharine, Ann, Jane, and Mary. David settled on the farm. His son John lived there many years, and sold to a party in Pittsburgh, who sold to John Cubbage. Catharine became the wife of the Rev. Daniel McClean, who settled at Chenango, Pa; Ann married Robert Story; Jane became the wife of the Rev. David Emery, and settled at Darlington, Beaver Co.; Mary married the Rev. Alexander Murray, and settled at Slippery Rock, Pa. David Reed, the brother of John Reed, Esq., lived here till the ejectment suits were decided, and purchased in Cecil township. It was at his house that Washington dined when he came up to these lands on the 22d of September, 1784.
Matthew Hillis was a settler here before these lands were sold. He had taken up a tract of land on a Virginia certificate, on hundred and thirty acres of which he sold Dec. 5, 1803, to John McKibbins. He died in 1803. He left a wife, Elizabeth, and seven daughters, --Elizabeth (Mrs. Hugh Dobbins), Martha (Mrs. John McKibbins), Eleanor (Mrs. Abraham Boyd), Rebecca (Mrs. Ebenezer R. Donaldson), Jane (Mrs. ---- Glass), Agnes (Mrs. ----- Smith), and Mary. There were in 1780 a Richard and William Hillis; the latter was one of those ejected in 1784.
Robert George, who purchased one hundred and fifty acres in 1805, lived here until his death. His son John now owns the homestead. Jacob, a son, lives northeast from Hickory. David, also a son, bought one hundred and five acres of Thomas Cherry, March 28, 1835, about one mile from Midway, where his son Samuel now lives.
John Berry, a native of Ireland, came to Mount Pleasant township, and purchased two hundred and fifty acres of the Washington lands of Alexander Addison on the 15th of August, 1804. He lived on this farm till his death, and left two sons, John and William. John remained on the original tract. His son William now owns it. John, a son of John, had four sons, ---Jonathan, who went to Ohio; John who settled in Steubenville, Ohio; William, who settled on the home tract; and Samuel, who became a Presbyterian minister. Of the daughters, Eliza became the wife of Alexander May, of Cecil township; Mary married Robert Riddle. William, the son of John Berry, Sr., moved to Venice, purchased a farm in North Strabane township, where he settled, and where his descendants still live.
Samuel Scott, on the 4th of May, 1805, purchased of Alexander Addison three hundred and nine acres of land, where he lived till his death. Of his sons, John settled on the homestead and died there. His son John now owns the farm. J.P. Scott, of Cecil township, married a daughter of Robert Cook, and now lives on the Cook farm in Cecil. Joseph Scott, a son of Samuel, was a soldier in the war of 1812, and settled in Mount Pleasant township, where his sons John and Joseph now reside. R. D. and J. L. Scott, of the township, are also sons of Joseph. Mrs. Joseph Scott is still living at the age of eighty-six years.
Of the lands John Johnson purchased of Mrs. Addison, Vincent Cockins bought two hundred and sixty-five acres, Aug. 1, 1817, on which his son, John Cockins, now lives; Dr. James Irwin purchased one hundred and four acres, May 7, 1810; John Hogseed, one hundred and eighty acres, April 1, 1813; David McConehey, one hundred and eighty acres, Sept. 10, 1817, and others later. Matthew Johnson was one of the ejected in 1784. He purchased, March 7, 1783, of David Long, a tract of land "supposed to contain two hundred acres, situated on the waters of Shirtee Creek."
Mount Prospect Church.1--- The history of this congregation really begins before the church had an organized existence. As early as the summer of 1824 the people began to congregate in or near this place for the purpose of public worship. The object in holding these first meetings in this place doubtless was to accommodate with the preaching of the gospel many people who were at inconvenient distances from their respective places of worship. The nearest Presbyterian Churches were those already named, ---Buffalo, Cross Creek, Raccoon, and Miller's Run, ---each distant about six miles.
[1 Taken chiefly from a historical sermon by the pastor, the Rev. T. R. Alexander.]
Meetings were at first held in private houses, and afterwards in the grove just south of the church. These meetings led to the organization of Mount Prospect Church. Prominent among those who were specially accommodated by these services were the following persons, with their families: William Hughs, John Cowen, William Simpson, Robert Marshall, Robert Wallace, Samuel Moore, Charles Campbell, David McGugin, Simeon Haynes, Archy Stewart, Hugh McConaughey, David Lyle, George Campbell, John White, and Samuel Jewell.
This new mission succeeded so well during that summer that it was thought practicable to continue and perhaps perpetuate it in an organized form . To this end a petition, signed by a part or perhaps all those whose names are above mentioned, was presented to the Presbytery of Washington on the 29th day of December, 1824, asking Presbytery to form a new congregation at this place. For reasons that cannot be discovered now this petition was not granted. In the light of the next minute that appears on the Presbyterial record it is inferred that this first petition was denied until it should be made to appear that a place of worship would be provided; this was done at the next meeting of Presbyter, as appears from the fact that a petition was laid before the Presbytery asking permission to build a house of worship on the farm of Simeon Haynes, half a mile west of Mount Pleasant, now Hickory. This request was granted on the 20th of April, 1825; and this, beyond question, implies also a grant of the former petition. Hence it appears that the history of Mount Prospect as an organized church begins April 20, 1825.
Until the settlement of the first pastor the pulpit was supplied as regularly as could be expected. The following is a list of the supplies, to which, of course, others should be added whose names have been lost: Revs. McCluskey, Mercer, Anderson, Elisha McCurdy, Nesbit, William Smith, John Hamilton, Vincent, Hoge, James Stockton, and David Hervey, who afterward became pastor. The price paid to supplies at that time was three dollars. The first sacrament of which there is a record was administered on the fourth Sabbath in May, 1827, by Dr. Anderson and Elisha McCurdy. But the time soon came when Mount prospect no longer contented herself with only an occasional sermon, and that coming as it were by accident. Accordingly in the fall of 1828 a call was presented to the Presbytery for the pastoral services of the Rev. David Hervey, and that he might be free from worldly cares and avocations, they promised and obliged themselves to pay him the sum of $350 annually. The call was accepted, and on the 3d December, 1828, he was installed the first pastor of this church, Dr. Wylie having preached the sermon and Dr. Anderson delivering the charges. This pastorate continued a little over six years, and was dissolved by Presbytery April 23, 1835. After the resignation of Mr. Hervey the congregation was without a settled pastor for about two years. The following is a partial list of the supplies during the vacancy: Revs. Knox, Sloan, Weed, Elliot, McCartney, Boggs, Kennedy, Moore, and Stockton.
In the spring of 1837 the congregation presented a call to Presbytery for the pastoral services of the Rev. James Moore, promising to pay him the sum of $450 annually, which sum was reduced to $400 after four years. The call was accepted, and Mr. Moore became pastor of the congregation about the 1st of April, 1837. His was the longest pastorate ever enjoyed by the congregation, having continued till the third Wednesday of April, 1845, a little more than eight years. After his release followed another vacancy till the fall of 1849, during a part of which time the congregation had Prof. Snyder (then a teacher at Canonsburg) as a stated supply. In addition to this the following names occur in the list of supplies for that period: Revs. Newell, Miller, Moore, Hastings, Nesbitt, Hare, and Todd. The church determined to call back one of her own sons to occupy her pulpit. Accordingly, at the fall Presbytery of 1849, a call was presented for the services of the Rev. David Campbell at a salary of $450, which after the first year was raised to $470. This call was accepted, and before the close of that year he was installed as pastor. Mr. Campbell's pastorate continued about six years, and he was released about Nov. 1, 1855.
The vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Mr. Campbell continued till December, 1858, when the Rev. William B. Keeling was installed as pastor. The following names occur among the supplies during this vacancy: Revs. John Stockton, J. P. Fulton, J. L. Pomeroy, Alexander McCarrell, Loyal Young, James Fleming, O. M. Todd, and D. R. Campbell. Mr. Keeling's salary was fixed at $600. His pastorate was the shortest thus far in the history of the church, ending with the September meeting of Presbytery in 1863. His successor, the Rev. J. C. Caldwell, was installed about September, 1864, leaving a vacancy of only one year. During that year mention is made of the following supplies: John Stockton, D.D., C. V. McCraig, and John Eagleson, D.D. Mr. Caldwell accepted the call at a salary of $600, which was subsequently increased to $700, then to $800. His pastorate ended Aug. 1, 1868, being one month less than four years.
The vacancy following the resignation of Mr. Caldwell was a short one, less than six months. During this time mention is only made of the Rev. Frederick Wotring and David W. Miller as having supplied the pulpit. In December, 1868, the Rev. R. T. Price, having accepted a call from the congregation, became its pastor at a salary of nine hundred dollars. He was released from the charge by Presbytery in January, 1873, having served the congregation as pastor for four years and about one month. Then followed a short vacancy of about four months, till the beginning of the present pastorate. The Rev. T. R. Alexander was elected by the congregation in April, 1873, and began to preach regularly on the 1st of June, but was not installed until October 10th, after the fall meeting of the Presbytery. At his installation the Rev. J. T. Fredericks presided, and preached the sermon. The Rev. J. H. Stevenson charged the pastor, and the Rev. Samuel Forbes the people. This pastorate still continues.
The congregation has been particularly fortunate in its elders. There first appear the names of William Simpson, John Cowen, and William Hughes; these were elected elders at the organization of the church in 1825. William Simpson was an elder in the church of Miller's Run, and John Cowen and William Hughes were elders in the church of Upper Buffalo when the organization was effected here. In transferring their connection to this church at its organization they were at the same time elected and installed ruling elders, being the first to hold that office in this church. The changes in the session since that time have been as follows: In 1828, Charles Campbell, Hugh McConaughey, and Andrew Farrar were elected elders. William Hughes died April 17, 1831; Charles Campbell died June 4, 1832; Andrew Farrar died Nov. 5, 1832; and John Cowen died Aug. 11, 1833. In 1832, Robert Lyle was elected ruling elder. About the close of 1833, Samuel Moore and Dr. John White were elected elders, but the latter declined to act. In 1842, James Hughes was elected. William Simpson, the last of the original elders, died March 20, 1848. Samuel Moore died soon after. In the fall of 1848, William M. Campbell and Samuel Cowen were elected, and in February, 1851, James Lee was added to the session. Jan. 26, 1857, all the members of the session resigned, and February 9th of the same year James Lee, James Hughes, Hugh McConaughey, and William M. Campbell were elected elders.
The session of four continued till March 9, 1859, when James Rankin, James F. Hill, and James McElroy were elected. The session was again reduced by the removal of James McElroy and W. M. Campbell, about April 1, 1861. No further change occurred in the eldership until Jan. 25, 1867, when Andrew Donaldson and A. V. McGugin, who had been previously elected, were ordained and installed. James Lee died June 12, 1867, and James F. Hill removed from the congregation in January, 1869. On the 17th of December in that year J. R. Lyle and A. E. Walker were ordained, and they, together with W. M. Campbell, who had returned to the congregation, were installed as elders of the church. The next change was that occasioned by the death of James Hughs, March 12, 1872, and the next that which took away the venerable Hugh McConaughy, after having faithfully served as ruling elder in his church for forty-six years. He died on the 14th of November, 1874. The next addition was made to the session by the ordination and installation of John H. Miller on the 6th day of November, 1875. James F. Hill, having returned to the congregation in the summer of 1877, was re-elected and installed as elder. The session was decreased in 1880 by the death of Andrew Donaldson, who died July 12th of that year, having served faithfully in the office for eighteen years and four months. The session also lost a member by the removal of A. E. Walker. It at present consists of William M. Campbell, James Rankin, Esq., A. V. McGugin, J. R. Lyle, James H. Miller, and James F. Hill.
There does not appear to have been a building of any kind until upwards of a year after the church was organized. Early in the summer of 1826, however, a board "tent" was erected in the grove just south of the church, which was occupied as a place of public worship during that summer. The first church building was built during the latter part of the summer and autumn of 1826, and was occupied by the congregation the following winter. The building was a frame one, and was erected by Hugh McConaughey. It occupied about the same site on which the present building stands. This building was never formally dedicated, but was simply occupied by the people. With some additions made to it afterwards, it remained the only house of worship for the congregation until the year 1861. In that year the old church building, which had been occupied for thirty-five years, was taken down, and in its stead a brick structure erected, at a cost of a little more than $4000. The first service was held in it Dec. 28, 1861, and it remained until March 23, 1871, when it was destroyed by fire. During the summer of that year the present building was erected at a cost of $9307, and on the 29th of February, 1872, was formally dedicated, free from debt.
The church has received into its membership since it organization, as near as can be ascertained, eight hundred and twenty-eight. The present membership is about two hundred and thirty. Of the former pastors two only are living, ---Rev. J. C. Caldwell, of Chambersburg, Pa., and the Rev. R. T. Price, of Dunbar, Pa. Rev. David Hervey, the first pastor, died June 19, 1881. Rev. W. B. Keeling died in 1878, and Rev. D. R. Campbell in 1873.
The United Presbyterian Congregation of Mount Pleasant.1 --This congregation is located in Mount Pleasant township. The house of worship is situated in the village of Hickory, and not far from the centre of the township. The precise date of its organization cannot now be ascertained. It was most probably organized by the Associate Presbytery of Pennsylvania between 1790 and 1800. It is recognized as a congregation in the oldest minute of Chartiers Presbytery now extant, the record of Nov. 10, 1801.
[1By the Rev. W. A. McConnell.]
It cannot now be ascertained who entered into the organization at the first, or who were the elders under whom the organization was effected, as the records of the Associate Presbytery of Pennsylvania are not now available, and the oldest record of the session of Mount Pleasant that can now be found bears the date of June 1, 1821. There is a continuous record of the session from that date to the present time. At the above-named date the following-named individuals composed the session, and were the ruling elders of the congregation, viz.: Messrs. Patrick Douglas, William Nelson, Thomas McCall, David Reed, Loudowick McCarrell, and John McBride.
Succeeding elders have been installed as follows:
Installed 1825, Elijah Coulter, Robert Acheson, and John Little.
Installed 1828, John Moore, Samuel Cunningham, and John McCall.
Installed 1836, Samuel Agnew, Andrew Miller, and Heuston Buchanan.
Installed 1841, William Caldwell, Ephraim McKimans, Joseph Thompson, and Joseph McKnight.
Installed 1846, John Reed, Esq., and E. J. Agnew.
Installed 1861, John McBurney, Robert Jeffrey, and John L. Thompson.
Installed 1865, W. S. White, Nathaniel White, William M. Russell, and James Caldwell.
Installed 1879, Samuel Moore, J. H. Moore, T. M. Berryhill, and Alexander V. Reed.
The following-named individuals are the elders in charge of the congregation at the present time, viz.:
Messrs. John McBurney, Robert Jeffrey, Nathaniel White, James Caldwell, Samuel Moore, J. H. Moore, T. M. Berryhill, and Alexander V. Reed.
The first pastor was the Rev. W. C. Brownlee. His pastorate was of short duration, extending over a period of only three years and four months. Dr. Brownlee was born in 1783. at Torfoot, Scotland; graduated at the University of Glasgow, and at a subsequent period received the degree of D.D. from the same institutions. He was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of Sterling in the year 1808. Coming to this country soon after his licensure, he was ordained and installed pastor of Mount Pleasant congregation by the Presbytery of Chartiers May 3, 1809. September, 1812, he received and accepted a call to become pastor of the Associate Congregation of Philadelphia, which terminated his relation to the congregation of Mount Pleasant. Soon after removing to Philadelphia he connected himself with the Reformed Dutch Church, in which connection remained until the year 1860, when he died, in the seventy-seventh year of his age and in the fifty-second year of his ministry.
The Rev. Alexander Donnan, the second pastor of this congregation, was a native of Scotland, born in the year 1775. At the age of seventeen he entered the University of Glasgow. He was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of Kilmarnock in 1800. In the spring of 1818 he emigrated with his family to America, and at once connected himself with "the Associate Church of North America." In January, 1820, he received and accepted calls from what was then the Associate, now the United Presbyterian congregation of Mount Pleasant and Burgettstown, both located in Washington County, Pa. Each of the aforesaid congregations received one-half of his pastoral labors until the year 1840, when he resigned the pastoral care of Burgettstown. The congregation of Mount Pleasant enjoyed his undivided labors from the year 1840 to the year 1852, when, on account of the infirmities of age, he resigned the charge of it also. After resigning this charge he lived upwards of seven years in the bounds of Mount Pleasant congregation. His death occurred on the 3d of June, 1859, in the eighty-fifth year of his age, and in the fifty-ninth year of his ministry.
The third pastor was the Rev. Joseph Russell Thompson. He was a child of the congregation, born and reared in it. Son of Joseph and Margaret Thompson, the former for about twenty years ruling elder of the congregation, he was born Sept. 15, 1823, nearly three years after the settlement as pastor of his immediate predecessor, the Rev. Alexander Donnan. In the year 1845 he entered the sophomore class in Jefferson College, Canonsburg, Pa., graduating in the year 1848. Soon after he commenced the study of theology in the Associate Theological Seminary, then located at Canonsburg, and was licensed to preach the gospel by the Associate Presbytery of Chartiers in the year 1851. He received a call to become pastor of the congregation of Mount Pleasant, and commenced to labor in said congregation January, 1853. On the 28th day of the April following he was ordained and installed pastor of the congregation, and the relation thus constituted continued most happily until it was dissolved by his death, which occurred on the 16th day of December, 1861, in the thirty-ninth year of his age, and the eleventh year of his ministry.
The fourth pastor, the Rev. W. A. McConnell, was born near Mansfield, Ohio, Jan. 11, 1830; graduated at Franklin College; studied theology at the Associate Reformed, now United Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Allegheny City, Pa., and was licensed to preach the gospel June 16, 1858. On the 15th of June, 1859, was ordained and installed pastor of the congregations of Mill Creek, Keen, and White Eyes by the United Presbyterian Presbytery of Mansfield, and was released from said charge in 1864. Received and accepted a call from the congregation of Mount Pleasant, in the Presbytery of Chartiers, July 4, 1865. Immediately took charge of the congregation; was installed pastor Oct. 31, 1865, the relation thus formed still continuing.
A Sabbath-school was first organized in the congregation under the pastorate of Rev. J. R. Thompson, in or about the year 1853. It has now one hundred and twenty-five scholars, and some two hundred volumes in the library.
The congregation at the present time is occupying its third house of worship, though a tent had been used for that purpose for some years prior to the erection of a house of worship, the tent being located near the site now occupied by the congregation. The first house of worship was a log building erected in the year 1803. The second was a good commodious brick building, erected in the year 1834, and completed in 1835. The third, the one occupied by the congregation at this date, is a brick building, sixty by eighty feet, one story, erected in the year 1867. Its cost with its fixtures was about $13,000. The congregation at the present time has about two hundred communion members, is free from debt, and in a state of peace.
Village of Hickory. ---The tract of land on which the village of Hickory is situated was located by James Ross, who died in January, 1781, before the warrant was secured. He left a wife Mary, a married daughter, Mrs. Hannah Andrew, and Margaret, Mary, and Isabel, and three sons, ----James, John, and Robert A. It was not until the 19th of October, 1785, the executors took out a warrant for the land in trust for the heirs of James Ross. It was surveyed to them on the 3d of September, 1786, under the name of "Executorship," and contained three hundred and two acres, adjoining John Ross, William Martin, James McClelland, and Matthew Hillis. The following advertisement appeared in the Washington Telegraphe of March 20, 1797:
"To be Sold
"By the Subscriber on the first day of May next by Public Vendue a number of Town Lots situate in Smith Township Washington County at a place commonly known by the name of the Hickory Tavern or Mount Pleasant.
"Andrew McCown."March 20, 1797.
"N.B. --A Horse Mill will be erected this summer for the convenience of the town."
On the 7th of July, 1802, a deed was executed by John Ross and John Shannon, executors, to Andrew McCown for one hundred acres of land, part of the Ross tract. There is no record of any sales having been made in 1797, but at this time McCown opened a tavern and sold several lots. A tavern had been at this point several years before. The first village lots that appear on record are as follows: Feb. 8, 1803, to William Hammond and Richard Donaldson; the next day one to Thomas Cooper; March 6, 1804, one to Neill McFarland; between that time and May 1st lots were sold to John Hoge, William Marshall, John Griffith, and one acre to the trustees of the Mount Pleasant Congregation. On the 1st of May, 1804, Andrew McCown sold the one hundred acres (except the lots mentioned above) purchased of the Ross estate to Samuel Miller. In this deed the town is called Mount Pleasant, and the land is mentioned as lying in Smith and Chartiers townships. The name "Hickory" originated from an incident which happened here before McCown owned the property. A party of axemen were opening a road from Wells' mill, on Cross Creek, to Canon's mill, on Chartiers. They came to this place at about dinner-time, and here found an old broken sled, which they used for a table. After the repast was over one of the company pulled down a hickory sapling standing near, to which the sled was fastened, and springing to its original position carried the sled with it, where it remained several years. They jocularly called the place the "Hickory tavern," and when in the course of time it became a cross-roads and a tavern, blacksmith-shop, and store followed, the name still clung to it and became the name of the hamlet and town.
Thomas Miller, son of Samuel Miller, kept tavern at the town about 1812. He kept the tavern a year or two and removed to near Burgettstown, where he died in 1819. In 1820, John and James McCluskey bought a lot in Hickory. James kept tavern in that place many years.
A post office was established about 1830. William Walker was the first postmaster appointed. He was succeeded by James McCluskey, Samuel Griffith, William Simcox, and James M. Campbell, the present postmaster. The village now contains about forty dwellings, a United Presbyterian Church, Union school-house, post-office, hotel, three stores, and two physicians.
Physicians.1---Owing to the imperfect data at our command we will be unable to go back of the year 1800. Two brother named Grant were located here in the practice of medicine somewhere between 1800 and 1810. Following them was one Dr. Carroll, who practiced for several years, winning the love and esteem of his patrons, and who died in the year 1815. The next in the practice was Dr. John White, who was a graduate of Jefferson College of the class of 1804, moved to Steubenville, Ohio, studied law, was admitted to the bar, subsequently returned to Washington County and married, was one year in the prothonotary's office in Washington as clerk.
[1 This sketch of the physicians of Hickory, Mount Pleasant township, is contributed by Dr. Joseph McElroy.]
Feeling that the practice of medicine was or would be more agreeable to his taste than that of law, he removed to Cecil township and studied medicine under Dr. Robert Thompson, of Thompsonville, remaining with him three and a half or four years. On April 1, 1816, he removed to Hickory, becoming a successor of Dr. Carroll, and continuing in the practice till the spring of 1849, when impaired health required that he cease from all active pursuits of life, and died on the 19th day of August, 1853, aged sixty-seven years.
Dr. White was an eminent physician of his time, as well as a man peculiarly gifted with qualities that made him a valued member of the community, holding for many years the office of justice of the peace, his knowledge of the law fitting him especially for the transacting of such business as usually comes before such an officer. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church at Mount Prospect, in the cemetery of which he was buried.
During the period of Dr. White's practice, from 1816 to 1849, we have, first, Dr. Hewitson, from 1833 to 1835, who removed to St. Clairsville, Ohio; next, Dr. Hughes, who was a practitioner in Hickory and vicinity from about 1842 to 1859, who afterwards studied theology, and became a minister of the gospel.
On the retirement of Dr. White from the practice, his son-in-law, Dr. John Hanna Donnan (son of the Rev. Alexander Donnan), commenced the practice of medicine, and continued till the fall of 1861, when declining health warning him of approaching dissolution, he sent for Dr. D. M. C. McCarrell, a young man of promise located at Frankfort, Pa., who, being strongly pressed both by the doctor and his friends, consented to locate. After several months of disease and suffering, Dr. Dorman died March 9, 1862, of chronic disease of the liver and bowels, in the forty-seventh year of his age. As above mentioned, Dr. McCarrell commenced the practice of medicine in Hickory in the fall of 1861, and he has been in continuous practice since. In the year 1863, Dr. A. M. Rea was a practitioner, and is now located in one of the northern counties of this State. In the year 1864, Dr. D. M. Read located here, and continued till 1868, when he removed West, where he died. In 1868, Dr. Isaac W. Chisholm located, and continued in practice a period of two years, when he removed to Ohio, and is now in practice in New Concord, in that State. In 1870, Dr. Joseph McElroy, a former student of Dr. McCarrell's, located here, going into partnership with him, and has continued so since.
Schools.1 ---The earliest school in Mount Pleasant township was on the farm of John McCalmont, known as the Cowen Farm, in the winter of 1783 and '84. There was a school taught there, but by whom is not known at this time. William Marshall, who died in 1860, aged ninety-three years, used to related his going that winter to this house. Among the young men that attended were Daniel Johnston. About the year 1795 this same Daniel Johnston taught in the same old school-house. The venerable David Lyle used to relate many things that happened during Johnston's teaching.
[1 Chiefly contributed by J. M. K. Reed, Esq.]
The next school-house built was near where Mount Prospect Church now stands. This was built about the year 1797. A widow lady with two daughters moved into the building, and taught school in it for some time. During the autumn of that year an old gentleman from Cross Creek named Reynolds one day called to pay his addresses to the lady teacher. The school was dismissed for the occasion. In a few weeks the lady teacher's name was changed to Mrs. Reynolds, and she removed to Cross Creek. Soon after the house was burned by an incendiary. Another house was then built on the farm of John Lyle.
This site was in the big woods know as "Poplar Hollow." The base of the old chimney can still be seen. The first teacher who taught there was John Dickey, a Scotch-Irishman, who died about 1860 in Hanover township.
Some years before the commencement of the present century a school-house was built on the farm of John Knight, now Joseph Rea's, on the old road. The remains can still be seen. A man named McCready taught there in the year 1803. He was a very severe disciplinarian, and taught after-years in Cross Creek township, but was always a dread to the scholars both large and small. What became of him or where he went to no one knows. In the same house school was taught in the winters of 1811-12. Samuel Campbell and George Wallace, two of the scholars that year, enlisted in the navy in 1812, and were both killed in Perry's victory on Lake Erie.
Some time about 1800 a school-house was built on the farm lately owned by George Carroll. Here Samuel Lyle taught, and a number of others now forgotten. Lyle removed to West Middletown in 1811, and taught some two years, dying there in 1813.
There was another school-house on the farm now owned by Jacob Donaldson, Jr., on the State road near Mr. Orne's. This was built prior to 1800. Among the teachers were Thomas Merchant, who taught a number of years, and John Hogwe, a Scotchman, also taught there in the winter of 1812-13. He died some fifty years ago at the house of Ludwic McCarrel, in Mount Pleasant township, and was interred in the Hickory churchyard. From the venerable William Rankin it is learned that about 1806 Humphrey Atcheson taught school in a log house on John Henderson's farm. James Rankin was a teacher about the same time. In 1807, James Irwin and Robert McClure were assessed as school-teachers. In 1818 and 1819, John Crawford and Humphrey Dedworth taught school in a log house on what is now the McCluskey farm. About 1820, James Rankin went to school on the Edward Cherry farm. John Hoge and Alexander Hays were the teachers. The school continued till 1826. A school was taught on the Josiah Allen farm (now J. Edgar Rankin) about the same time. Richard McClure was the first teacher, and Henry Robinson succeeded him.
In 1835 the township voted upon the acceptance or rejection of the school law, and declared in favor of it. S. Wort and William Rankin were chosen school directors. The township was divided into eight districts. Frame school-houses were built in each district, the greater part of which have been replaced. A new school-house was erected at Hickory in the fall of 1855, and opened with ceremonies on the 3d of December in that year. The districts have remained as at first, with the exception of Hickory, which was made independent about 1865.
*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 Susan Crayne of Morgantown, WV in August 1998. Published in August 1998 on the Washington County, PA USGenWeb pages at http://www.chartiers.com.
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