North Strabane Twp. (pp. 866-882)STRABANE was an original township. For its erection reference is made to the history of South Strabane. The division of the township into North and South Strabane was made by order of court at the May term in the year 1831.
History of Washington County, Pennsylvania*
The township was an independent district for the election of justices from its erection till 1803, when it was embraced with Washington as District No. 1, and so remained until 1838, at which time it again became independent. The list of justices of old Strabane and of District No. 1 are here given from the first until 1838, from which time the justices only of North Strabane are mentioned:
Alexander Eddie, July 15, 1781. James Blaine, Jan. 1,1817. Daniel Leet, July 15, 1781. Joshua Monroe, March 12, 1819. Nicholas Little, July 15, 1781. Richard Johnston, March 22, 1810. David Clark, July 15, 1751. Daniel Palmer, May 7, 1819. Henry Taylor, July 15, 1781. Matthew McNary, Dec. 4, 1820. John White, July 15, 1781. David Quail, Jan. 31, 1822. Matthew Ritchie, Oct. 6, 1784. John Marshall, May 20, 1822. Henry Taylor, Sept. 30, 1788. Thomas Morgan, Dec. 3, 1823. Thomas McNary, Feb. 8, 1799. Matthew Linn, Dec. 20, 1825. George Craighead, Jan. 19, 1799. Thomas Smith, Jan. 23, 1826. Alexander Lyttle, April 6, 1805. James McDowell, May 19, 1836. John Colmery, April 1, 1811. Dickerson Roberts, May, 1833. James Orr, Feb. 8,1812. Archibald Kerr, Nov. 14, 1833. David Little, Dec. 11, 1813.
David Quail, April 14, 1840. Matthew Linn, April 10, 1860. Matthew McNary, April 14, 1840. James Kerr, April 14, 1864. Matthew Linn, April 15, 1845. Matthew Linn, June 3, 1865. Matthew McNary, April 15, 1845. Matthew Linn, March 29, 1870. Matthew Linn, April 9, 1850. J. D. McBride, April 19, 1872. Ira C. Bebout, April 15, 1851. William Reas, May 24, 1874. Matthew Linn, April 10, 1855. William Reas, April 11, 1874. David Keyes, April 16, 1856. Wm. II Lawrence, March 22, 1877. James Kerr, April 12, 1859. William Pease, Marcy 27, 1879.
The Morganza Tract and Morgan Family. When the proprietaries land-office was opened, April 3, 1769, there were three thousand two hundred applications on file, and on these warrants were issued in the order of the dates of applications. The first warrant issued for lands in this county was No. 517 to William Preston, and three others were issued immediately afterwards for tracts contiguous to Preston s, and all adjoining each other, forming a body of land of nearly eleven hundred and forty acres, all in the township of North Strabane. These tracts were all surveyed Nov. 3, 1769, as follows: William Preston, warrant No. 517, "Leicester," 374 acres; Robert Harrison, warrant No. 549, "Norfolk," 273 acres, 3 roods, and 33 perches; Paul Folks, warrant No. 1916, "Shrewsbury," 288 acres, 3 roods, and 3 perches; David Evans, warrant No. 1969, "Leeds," 201 acres, 3 roods, and 26 perches. The original survey is now in possession of D. T. Morgan, Washington, Pa.
The tract of William Preston was in the forks of the East and West Branches of Chartiers Creek; and lay on both those streams. The land of Robert Harrison and Paul Fooks was on the East Branch, the former adjoining Preston, the latter adjoining Harrison, and being the southernmost. David Evans tract was on the West Branch south of Preston, west of Harrison, and north of Fooks.
Dr. John Morgan, of Philadelphia, had become interested with others in the purchase of large tracts of land in the Western country, and purchased these four tracts lying in the valley of the Chartiers, containing eleven hundred and thirty-eight acres two roods and twenty-two perches, with six per cent. allowance. The Preston, Harrison, and Fooks tracts were deeded to him May 1, 1769, and the Evans tract May 1, 1771.
A certain William Wilson had settled upon a part of these lands, and had made some improvements, and by an article executed Oct. 18, 1774, between Morgan and Wilson, the former agreed to purchase Wilson s Improvements at such valuation as should be put upon them by referees agreed on by the two parties. Beyond the making of these betterments and their purchase by Dr. Morgan, nothing is known of the progress made in the improvement of these lands until they came into possession of Col. George Morgan, a brother of Dr. John Morgan. The latter died in 1789, and in his will, made July 22, 1788, and probated Dec. 23, 1769, he devised to his brother, Col. George Morgan, all his estate, real and personal, except such bequests as are otherwise mentioned. The lands in the valley of Chartiers were still in the possession of Dr. Morgan, and by this will the title became vested in Col. George Morgan. His relations with the government as Indian agent at Pittsburgh from 1775 to 1779 brought him into this section of country, and it is quite probable that he then visited those lands at that time, but nothing definite is known.
He came to the property in 1789, and from an advertisement issued in the Pittsburgh Gazette, bearing date Nov. 26, 1796, it is evident that the land had been pretty well improved, and that settlers, or rather tenants, had been living upon it some time. The time that Col. George Morgan removed to the Western country to reside has been a matter of dispute, but one which a letter written to his son in 1796 and the advertisement hereafter given definitely settled. His son George when sixteen years of age, was at tending school at Princeton, preparatory to a three years course at college. The letter referred to is written from Prospect (where he resided), a short distance from Princeton, and was written for the purpose of ascertaining whether George would prefer remaining at school, finish his course, and prepare himself for a profession, or to go West with the family. He says, "The resolution I have long since formed to leave New Jersey has now become necessary to be executed. . . . As there are good schools in Pennsylvania, I shall take Tom with me. I hope to leave Prospect next October." It is evident he removed at the time he intended, as on the 26th of November, 1796, he published an advertisement in the Pittsburgh Gazette, in which he said,--
"I have six farms in and adjoining the forks of Chartiers Creek, twelve or thirteen miles due south from Pittsburgh, which I will rent for one year or a term of years, taking a share, or cash, or a certain quantity or produce in payment. On each farm are buildings with from forty to eighty acres of clear land under fence, with a proportion of good meadow. On one of them is an orchard of one hundred bearing apple trees, and on two of them are distill houses.... Lots will be ceded on easy terms to those who wish to build for themselves, which may be done as cheap in stone and lime as in wood.... One able to erect suitable buildings hero for an inn to accommodate travelers will meet particular encouragement, as the great number passing the route stand in daily and hourly need of supplies and accommodations here.
"Mr. Moses Coe's saw and grist mill adjoin Morganza, about nine hundred yards down the Little Chartiers from the Cross-Roads, and Mr. J. Struthers' Fulling Saw and Grist Mills adjoin it on the West, one mile from the intersection of the above-mentioned public roads, from whence it is two miles to Mr. McMillan's Presbyterian Meeting House, three miles to Canonsburg, and nine miles to the county town of Washington...."
The advertisement was dated "Morganza, Nov. 26, 1791," this being the first mention found of the name which Col. Morgan gave to his great tract, the name "Morganza," which is still well known as applied to these lands.
It was evidently Col. Morgan s intention to make extensive improvements at Morganza. On the William Preston tract, "Leicester," he built a large frame house about fifty feet square, two stories high, with an extensive wing on each end. In the rear of these buildings was a frame barn one hundred and thirty by one hundred and fifty feet. The main road passed on the south side of the house, and along this he planted trees. He brought with him from Prospect many articles of comfort and elegance, and was surrounded with much of culture and taste. Upon this farm he lived with his family till his death.
In the fall of 1806, Col. Aaron Burr (with whom Col. Morgan had long been acquainted) visited him at Morganza, with the purpose (as it afterwards became evident) of enlisting Morgan with him in his scheme for the founding of a Southwestern government. At Col. Morgan s dinner- table the subject of a dismemberment of the Union was adroitly brought up by Col. Burr, who remarked that, so weak was the government, two hundred men could drive Congress into the Potomac, with the President at their head; also, that with five hundred men he could take possession of the city of New York. To this remark Thomas replied that he would be d----d if the little town of Canonsburg could be taken with that number of men. To all his specious arguments and overtures Col. Morgan turned a deaf ear, and Col. Burr left baffled, and with his companion, Col. Dupeistre (De Peyster?), left the next morning, and proceeded to Wheeling. When Col. Burr was afterwards tried for treason at Richmond, Va., Col. George Morgan and two of his sons, John and Thomas, were called as witnesses, and related the circumstances of Burr s visit at their home, and the conversation that there took place. It was while at Richmond on this occasion that Thomas Morgan, son of Col. George, became acquainted with Catharine Duane, daughter of Col. William Duane, of Philadelphia, who not long afterwards became his wife. Mrs. Catharine Duane Morgan was a woman of remarkable talent, and one whose name was for many years a familiar one in Washington County.
Col. George Morgan lived but a few years after that time, and died in 1810. His wife survived him fifteen years. They were both buried in the family ground at Morganza.
On the 24th of October, 1764, Col. George Morgan was married by the Rev. George Whitefield, at Philadelphia, to Miss Mary Boynton. Their children were John, Ann, George, Thomas, and Maria.
John Morgan was born in 1770, was educated at Princeton College, married Margaret, the only daughter of James Bunyan, of New York City, in 1795. He removed to this place with his father s family. His father-in-law, James Bunyan, also came to this section and purchased land on Chartiers Creek, opposite Morganza, in Cecil township. Col. John Morgan lived on this property, and died there in 1819, leaving five sons and three daughters. The only survivors are Col. James B. Morgan, of Pittsburgh, and Mrs. Barker, wife of Major Barker, of Washington, D. C. Thomas Gibbs Morgan, a son of Col. John Morgan, emigrated to New Orleans about 1824, where he resided until his death. He was one of the leading lawyers of the State. His son, Philip Gibbs Morgan, also an attorney, is now minister to Mexico.
Ann Morgan, the eldest daughter of Col. George Morgan, was born in 1772, and became the wife of Thomas S. Gibbs, of John s Island, S. C., in 1793. He died in 1798, leaving three sons and one daughter. Later she married John Gibbs, a brother of her first husband.
George Morgan was born in May, 1780, educated at Princeton College, came West after he had finished his studies, and attended to his father s business. He had charge of the saw- and grist-mill built across the creek in Cecil township. After the division and sale of the property he went to Bower Hill, Allegheny County, where he resided on a farm of about five hundred acres. His children were David T. Morgan, Mary B., Elizabeth, Nancy, Maria, George, Matilda, William McK., and Lauretta. Of these, David T., George, Maria (Mrs. James Watson), and Lauretta are living in Washington, Pa. William McKennan Morgan became a physician, studied medicine with Dr. F. J. Le Moyne, practiced in Pittsburgh, and died about 1854.
Thomas Morgan, the youngest son of Col. George Morgan, was born Aug. 25, 1784. Came to Morganza with his brother s family in 1796. Studied law in Pittsburgh, and was admitted to practice in Washington County in 1813. He was elected to the Legislature of the State in 1814-15, was prothonotary from 1821-23, postmaster at Washington, Pa., from 1829 to 1839. He was prominent in the organization of the Franklin Bank (now the First National), and of the Washington Female Seminary. He died July 19, 1855, aged seventy-one years. He married Catharine Duane, as before mentioned. She survived him eight years, and died March 23, 1863, at the age of seventy-six years. Their children were Thomas J., William D., George W., and Anna. Thomas J. Morgan was born at Morganza April 3, 1815, and died Nov. 30, 1850. He commenced the study of law with Isaac Leet. He established a newspaper at Washington called Our Country, which he published a few years. In the summer of 1836 he raised a company of men for the war in Texas. In December of 1837 he was located at Columbus, Ohio, and received the appointment of chief clerk in the post-office of that city. In 1841 he completed his study of the law in Columbus with Noah H. Swayne. Was clerk of the Senate of Ohio in 1841-42. In the spring of 1846 he was appointed law clerk in the office of the solicitor of the treasury of the United States. In the spring of 1847 he was appointed secretary of legation at Brazil, under Governor David Todd, of Ohio. He died of yellow fever at Rio de Janeiro, March 30, 1850.
William Duane Morgan, son of Thomas, is now living at Newark, Ohio. Gen. George W. Morgan resides at Mount Vernon, Ohio, and Miss Anna Morgan is still a resident of Washington, Pa.
Maria Morgan, the youngest child of Col. George Morgan, was born in 1787, and became the wife of Dudley Woodbridge, of Marietta, Ohio, where she settled. Their descendants are numerous in that place.
About 1818 a division took place of the Morganza tract, which later was sold in parcels to several different purchasers. It is now owned by Samuel Vaneman, William Pollock, McClelland Brothers, and John McConnell. The old homestead is owned by William Pollock, who married a daughter of James Murray, by whom it was purchased from the heirs.
Other Settlements. Dorsey Pentecost was one of the first to take up lands in the "New Purchase" in Western Pennsylvania. In 1769 a return of a survey was made to him from the surveyor s office of a tract of land which contained three hundred and fifty-two acres, and was called "Green Way." It was situated on the Youghiogheny River, in what is now Rostraver township, Westmoreland County. Soon after this purchase he came into possession of other tracts, one of three hundred and seven acres, another of five hundred and twenty-one acres, another of one hundred and sixty-three acres, and still another of four hundred and six acres, all lying in the neighborhood of the Youghiogheny except one, which was near the mouth of Mingo Creek, in what is now Washington County. The "Green Way" tract was the one on which he settled, and was known as the Mansion tract. The valley of the Chartiers attracted his attention, and he determined to sell his property on the Youghiogheny and remove to that section. On the 16th of May, 1777, he sold the "Green Way" tract to Samuel Purviance, Jr., and Robert Purviance, merchants of Baltimore, Md., for £500, and soon after disposed of the others. He was a Virginian, and as a portion of this territory was in dispute between Pennsylvania and Virginia, he became an active Virginia partisan. His connection with the boundary controversy between Pennsylvania and Virginia will be found mentioned elsewhere. His first purchase in what is now Washington County, except the tract on Mingo Creek, was made in the summer of 1777 from Paul Froman, of Yohogania County, Va. The deed recites that in consideration of £2000 the former conveys to Dorsey Pentecost that plantation on both sides of the East Fork of "Churtees" Creek, adjoining lands "claimed by Thomas Edgerton, Nathaniel Blackmore, Thomas Cook, James Allison, and others." Later, Pentecost purchased other lands in what is now South Strabane township.
Upon this tract of land purchased of Froman a mill had been erected, known in the early records as "Froman s Mill on Chartiers." On this tract Dorsey Pentecost built his log house, near the present residence of John Gamble, and resided there for some years. The titles to these lands, after the purchase from Froman, he secured from Virginia by certificates dated Dec. 20, 1779. They were afterwards confirmed by warrants of acceptance, and were surveyed to him on the 20th of April. 1786, as follows: "Independence," 403 acres; "The Big Meadow," 407 acres; "Sugar Tree Hill," 402 acres; and "Gravity," 194 acres.
"The Recovery," containing one hundred and forty-seven acres, was a pre-emption warrant in the name of George Rooles, assigned to Dorsey Pentecost, and surveyed to him on the 20th of December, 1786, adjoining lands of James Campbell and Thomas White. It was located on the North Fork of Chartiers.
The records show further that Mr. Pentecost was extensively interested in real estate transactions in other localities from 1779 to 1786, both on his individual account, as partner with Levi Hollingsworth, with Samuel and Robert Purviance, and as a member and director of the Ohio Trading Company, composed of himself, John Canon (the proprietor of Canonsburg), Andrew Robinson, Samuel McCullough, and Ebenezer Zane, of Ohio County, Va., Thomas Cook, Isaac Cox, and James McMahon. He had interests in large tracts on Saw-Mill Run, on "Tumblestone s" Run, above Logstown, on the south side of the Ohio, at the mouth of Chartiers Creek, and at other places.
On the large tract of land on which he lived in the township of Strabane, and on the site of the present town of Linden, Mr. Pentecost laid out a town in 1778-79 by the name of "Louisburgh," which is today one of the lost towns of the county. The only evidence of its existence is contained in the records of the county, from which it is learned that on the 20th of May, 1779, Dorsey Pentecost conveyed to Benjamin Mills lots Nos. 1 and 2 "in the town of Louisburgh, laid out on the mansion plantation of the said Dorsey Pentecost, adjoining the lots whereon the said Pentecost s Mills are erected," and on June 11, 1779, lots Nos. 72 and 73 are conveyed by him to Charles Records.
About the year 1784, Mr. Pentecost, by his large landed interests, became involved in financial difficulties, owing to the lessening of values, a depreciated currency, and other causes. On the 26th of February, 1785, he mortgaged his lands to Levi Hollingworth to secure the existing indebtedness and future advances. This mortgage was satisfied eleven years later.
On March 29, 1786, Mr. Pentecost executed a power of attorney to Gabriel Peterson to enable the latter to collect debts and demands for him "in the western part of Virginia, commonly called Kaintucky Country;" also "in the Illinois country at the villages of Kaskaskie, Kahokia, Post St. Vincent, or elsewhere below the falls of the Ohio." On Sept. 29, 1786, he executed a power of attorney to George McCormick and Andrew Swearingen to sell ten lots of five acres each, laid out on the Richard Yeates tract.
Other mortgages were afterwards given and other powers of attorney executed by Mr. Pentecost for the selling of his lands in Washington County and other localities; and in November, 1789, certain lands which be had mortgaged to Levi Hollingsworth, July 25, 1787, were sold by David Williamson, sheriff of the county. But in the mean time (in or about the year 1786) he removed to Frederick County, Va., and retired permanently from all participation in the affairs of Washington County. He had held the highest positions in the gift of the people of the county where he had resided. His public acts will be more fully, as well as more appropriately, mentioned in the accounts of the boundary controversy and other political movements of his time. Neither the time nor place of his death is known. His wife was Catharine Beeler, and their children were Joseph, Dorsey, Catharine, Sarah, Lucy, George W., and Rebecca. Joseph, the eldest, studied law, and was admitted to the bar of Washington County in 1792, and settled in Washington, Pa. He was known by the people throughout the county as "the Honest Lawyer." He died of apoplexy in 1823 in Washington borough. He left, among other children, a son, George W. Pentecost, now living with his family in West Middleton; the latter s son, Joseph, the great-grandson of old Dorsey Pentecost, was mortally wounded at Fort Steadman, March 25, 1865, in the war of the Rebellion, while lieutenant-colonel of the One Hundredth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. His death occurred the next day.
Of the other children of Dorsey Pentecost, Catharine became the wife of Andrew Rabb, of German township, Fayette County. Lucy married James Ashbrook, at one time a prominent member of the bar of Washington County. Sarah married Ezekiel Graham, and removed from the county. Of the other children nothing definite has been learned.
The large brick house on the Pentecost lands was built by Joseph Pentecost, and later came into possession of Robert MeClelland, ex-sheriff of Washington County; and about two hundred acres of the tract, including the Pentecost house, is now owned by John Gamble. M. O. Brownlee, Mrs. Ada B. Reed, of Washington, Homer, and others own the old Pentecost estate.
John McDowell was a native of Ireland, born a few miles from Belfast on the 23d of September, 1736. When a young man he emigrated to this country, and settled near Elizabethtown, N. J., where he married Agnes Bradford, daughter of James Bradford, and sister of David Bradford, whose history is so well known in connection with the Whiskey Insurrection of 1794. In company with the Scotts, Allisons, and other families, they emigrated west of the mountains in 1773, and settled on the waters of Chartiers Creek, in what is now Washington County. That he lived here in August, 1775, is shown from Rev. John McMillan s journal, in which he says, "The fourth Sabbath of August, 1775, preached at John McDowell s." Other records show that in pursuance of a warrant be obtained possession of a tract of land, which in the survey was called "Mount Pleasant," and contained four hundred acres, situated about two and a half miles southwest of where Chartiers Church now stands. On this tract he built the log cabin in which Dr. McMillan preached his first sermon in the territory now Washington County. This log cabin served as his dwelling for some years, and was replaced by a two-story log house. This house was for a long time the finest residence in the vicinity. He purchased numerous tracts of land besides that already mentioned. In October, 1776, he was commissioned one of the justices of the peace of Yohogania County, and was one of the first elders of the Chartiers Church. Upon the erection of Washington County, in 1781, he was appointed one of the three commissioners of the county. In 1783 he was one of the Council of Censors of the State, appointed by the Supreme Executive Council. In 1798 he was elected a member of the House of Representatives; re-elected in 1799, 1800, 1801. He was prominent in the organization of the Canonsburg Academy in 1791, and was one of its trustees from the first. He succeeded Judge James Edgar, April 27, 1803, and served in that capacity four years. On the 31st of May, 1802, he took the oath of office as associate judge of Washington County, having received a commission from Governor Thomas McKean the 8th of April previous. He died on the 12th of August, 1809, in the seventy-third year of his age, leaving a widow, three daughters -- Mary, Rachel, Rebecca, Sarah, and Agnes -- and two sons, James and William.
Mary, the eldest child, was born April 24, 1766, and married John Urie, who then resided in the township of Strabane. They had seven children, -- John, Thomas, Agnes, Rebecca, Sarah, William, David, and Mary. John Urie and Mary, his wife, both died about 1802. John, the eldest son, was born April 28, 1784. In 1822 he was elected county commissioner. In 1837 he was elected prothonotary, and served one term. He was president of the board of managers of the Washington and Pittsburgh Turnpike Company, and afterwards sequestrator of the road many years. His children were Nancy, William, and Samuel. Mrs. Georgie Cook, of Canonsburg, is a daughter of William McDowell.
James, the eldest son of John McDowell, was born in November, 1767. Arrived at years of maturity he married and settled on part of his father s farm, and died in early manhood, leaving four sons,-- John, Elijah, William, and Samuel. William, born in October, 1771, also settled on part of the estate and died, leaving two sons, John and James.
Rachel McDowell was born in November, 1773, after her parents had removed to this section of country. In 1790 she became the wife of Alexander Scott. They settled on part of the McDowell estate, where they raised a large family of children. Violet, the eldest daughter, became the wife of William Colmery in April, 1810. She lived to be eighty-five years of age; their children are now residents of Ohio. A daughter Sarah became the wife of John Kerr, son of James, who lived in the neighborhood. A son Josiah was born Dec. 1, 1803, and early entered Jefferson College, where he graduated in 1823, when in his twentieth year. He was one of a class of thirty-two members, and the first class that graduated under the presidency of the Rev. Matthew Brown. Soon after this he went to Newton, Bucks Co., Pa., and taught in a classical academy for about two years. He then taught near Richmond, Va., two years, and while there commenced the study of law. About 1828 he returned home, and was a tutor in Jefferson College, still continuing the study of law. In the spring of 1829 he removed to Bucyrus, Ohio, and opened a law-office. Both his knowledge and practice were at first limited, but careful, unremitting study and his natural abilities soon placed him on a level with the best lawyers of the time. In 1849 he removed to Hamilton, Ohio where he at once ranked with the foremost. In May 1856, he was nominated for the office of judge the Supreme Court of Ohio, and was elected, and remained on the bench fifteen years, at the end of which time he declined a renomination. He died in 1878, in the seventy-sixth year of his age.
In 1839, Alexander Scott, the father of Josiah, removed to Knox County, Ohio (where most of his children had settled), and died there in December, 1868, at the age of eighty-five years.
Rebecca, daughter of John McDowell, was born in 1776, on the farm in what is now North Strabane township, and in June, 1793, became the wife of the Rev. Abraham Scott, a brother of Alexander. He was connected with Jefferson College, and lived in Canonsburg for a time. They had eleven children, --William, Violet, Nancy, Josiah, John, James, Rebecca, Abram, Park, Samuel, and Alexander T. Of these, Josiah studied law, and practiced in Cadiz, Ohio, represented Harrison County in the State Legislature, and was a member of the Constitutional Convention of that State that framed the present constitution. Most of the other children emigrated to the West.
Sarah, also a daughter of John McDowell, in 1792 became the wife of John Parks, of Cecil township, where they settled. Further notice of this branch of the family will be found in the sketch of the Parks family in that township.
Agnes McDowell, the youngest daughter, became the wife of Dr. John White. They settled in Hickory, where he was in practice many years. Mrs. Dr. John H. Donnan, of Washington, Pa., is a daughter.
The Rev. John McMillan has already been mentioned so fully in the religious and educational chapters of this history that it is not thought necessary here to do more than note the facts immediately relating to his settlement and life as a citizen of this township, with a brief account of his descendants. He was a native of the eastern part of the State, and when he made his first visit to this section of country resided at Fagg s Manor, Chester Co., where he had been preaching. He was licensed to preach in October, 1774. In the summer and fall of the next year he started out on a preaching tour, and passed through the settlements between the North and South Mountains in Augusta and Rockbridge Counties, Va., crossed the mountains between Staunton and the head of Tygert s Valley, preaching along the route. On the first Sabbath of August he preached at Mount Moriah Meeting-house, in Fayette County; the next Sabbath at John McKibbin s, on Dunlap's Creek, also in Fayette County. The next Sabbath he had reached the house of Dorsey Pentecost, who then raided on the Yough River, now in Rostraver township, Westmoreland Co. The fourth Sabbath of the month he was stopping at the house of John McDowell, at which place he preached his first sermon in what is now Washington County. Here he remained for a short time and returned to his home at Fagg s Manor. He made a similar tour the next spring, and preached to the people in this section, who were much interested, and decided to give him a call to become their pastor. He returned home, was ordained by the Presbytery of New Castle at Chambersburg, to which Presbytery he had been dismissed by the Presbytery of Donegal that he might accept the call of the people of Chartiers and Pigeon Creek, who were within the limits of the territory embraced by that Presbytery. He married Catharine, daughter of William Brown, a ruling elder in the church of Upper Brandywine. She remained at home until 1778, when they removed to the new home in what is now North Strabane township. This course was thought best by reason of the troubled condition of the country. He accepted the call of the congregation, the church was organized, and he commenced his labors, spending a part of the time at home with his family, and also preaching throughout the county of Washington.
On the 8th of September, 1777, John McDowell, as trustee of Mr. McMillan, purchased three hundred and thirteen and seven-tenths acres of land of Michael Thomas and Thomas Cook, "on the western side of the eastern prong of Shirtees Creek," adjoining lands of Paul Froman, Samuel Shannon, and Dr. John Morgan (Morganza). It was not until Oct. 29, 1784, that a warrant was obtained for the land. It was later surveyed, and named "Snow Hill." His settlement on his place with his family is best described in a letter by himself written in 1832 to Dr. Carnahan, president of Princeton College:
"When I came to this country the cabin in which I was to live was raised, but there was no roof to it, nor any chimney nor floor. The people however, were very kind. They assisted me in preparing my house, and on the 16th of December I removed into it. But we had neither bedstead, nor tables, nor stool, nor chair, nor bucket. All these things we had to leave behind us, as there was no wagon-road at that time over the mountains. We could bring nothing with us but what we carried on pack-horses. We placed two boxes, one on the other. which served us for a table, and two kegs served us for seats; and having committed ourselves to God in family worship, we spread a bed on the floor and slept soundly till morning. The next day a neighbor coming to my assistance we made a table and a stool, and in a little time had everything comfortable about us. Sometimes, indeed, had no bread for weeks together, but we had plenty of pumpkins and potatoes, and all the necessaries of life. As for luxuries, we were not much concerned about them. We enjoyed health, the gospel and its ordinances, and pious friends. We were in the place where we believed God would have us to be, and we did not doubt but that He would provide everything necessary, and, glory be to His name we were not disappointed."
In the cabin of which he speaks in the letter he lived many years. About 1782 he established a Latin school in his own house, and soon after built upon his farm not far from his house a log cabin school-house, and commenced the education of young men for the ministry. The first cabin was destroyed by fire, and another, still standing, was erected near the site of the first one. This school increased in numbers, and an assistant was obtained in James Ross, who later became a prominent lawyer at Pittsburgh and United States senator. This school was kept in operation until the opening of the Canonsburg Academy in 1791, at which time the students were transferred to that institution.
Upon the organization of the college, in 1802, Dr. McMillan became the president of the board of trustees and Professor of Divinity. He retained his connection with the Pigeon Creek Church for nineteen years, and from that time his life was devoted entirely to Chartiers Church. His wife, with whom he had lived forty-three years, died on the 24th of November, 1819. He lived at his home on the farm all his days. When returning from a visit in 1833 he stopped at the house of Dr. Jonathan Letherman, his friend and physician, where he was taken sick and died Nov. 16, 1833, aged eighty-one years.
Dr. McMillan had three sons, William, John, and Samuel, and four daughters, Jane, Margaret, Mary, and Catharine. William settled in Mercer County, Pa., married and died there, leaving no children. John settled on the home farm and died there, leaving a family of children. John, his eldest son, lives on an adjoining farm. Rebecca (Mrs. Caldwell) and Sarah, her sister, settled in Allegheny County. Catharine became the wife of J. B. Haines, who lived on the Haines farm near the McMillan homestead. Thomas settled near Chartiers Church, and died there. Jane married T. H. Lyons, and settled at Linden. Robert became a minister in the Presbyterian Church, and settled in the West. Samuel now resides at Canonsburg. William settled on the home farm, and about 1874 sold the homestead to the Fulton Brothers, whose mother, Mrs. John Fulton, was a daughter of Samuel, son of the Rev. John McMillan. Mary became the wife of John Means, and settled in the neighborhood.
Samuel, the third son of the Rev. John McMillan, settled on part of the homestead and died there. Two of his children arrived at maturity; one became the wife of John Fulton. They settled at Letonia, Ohio. In 1874 two of her sons purchased the homestead place of John McMillan, and now resides there, their mother living with them. Another son is a dentist in Washington, Pa.
Jane McMillan, daughter of the Rev. John Mc Millan, married the Rev. William Moorhead, a Presbyterian minister. He died Nov. 30, 1802. She afterwards married Samuel Harper, of Greene County, where their descendants now live. Margaret married the Rev. John Watson, the first president of Jefferson College. He also died on the 30th of November, 1802. These two clergymen were married on the same day; a short time afterwards they were taken sick on the same day, and died on the same day. The funeral services were held, one at Canonsburg, the other at the residence of Dr. McMillan. The processions met at the Chartiers churchyard, and they were buried in the same grave, and one slab covers their last resting-place. The widow of the Rev. John Watson later became the wife of John Neill, and settled in Peters township.
Catharine, a daughter of Dr. McMillan, became the wife of the Rev. Moses Allen. He was for many years pastor of the Raccoon Presbyterian Church. Of their children, Eliza became the wife of John Simonton, of Mount Pleasant township, and is still living. Watson died leaving two children, John and Catharine. Harper, also a son of Moses Allen, became a physician, and settled in Butler County, Pa. Moses R. Allen, of Burgettstown, is a son of Harper. He has in his possession the original journal of his great-grandfather, also a fine portrait of the veteran clergyman.
John, David, and James White, three brothers, emigrated to this county and township about the year 1773, and settled here. John was elected a justice of the peace July 15, 1781. He died in 1806. He had sons John, Jones, Samuel, William, George, Nathaniel, and Benjamin. The latter remained at the homestead. This land was adjoining that of his brothers David and James.
David White, brother of John and James, received a Virginia certificate for land which was surveyed to him on the 24th of September, 1787. The property was sold on the 31st of May, 1802, to William Smith, of Philadelphia, who transferred it to Joseph Pentecost on the 8th of December, 1806, and on the 15th of July the next year he conveyed it to Reynolds C. Neill, by whose heirs it is still owned.
James White received a Virginia certificate for a tract of land "on water of Chartiers Creek," dated Feb. 25, 1780, "to include his actual settlement made in the year 1773." On the 2d of February, 1797, he sold the whole tract to his son Samuel.
Col. George Craighead, who lived in his early days near Carlisle, was a colonel in the Revolutionary army. He emigrated to this township in 1795, and purchased ninety acres of land on the 15th of September in that year of Levi Hollinsworth. It was part of a large trait (the Pentecost lands) sold by David Williamson, sheriff of the county, in 1789. He was justice of the peace from Jan. 19, 1799, till his death in 1811. His two sons, Thomas and William, by a first wife, came from the East with their father. Thomas was a physician settled in Chartiers township, and died there, leaving two children, who died young. William settled in Cecil township, and purchased in 1802 part of a tract taken up by Thomas Brocken, and later moved to Chartiers Creek, near the Morgan mill on the Bunyan property, where he died. Of his children, George settled in Peters township. His son, William R., lives on the homestead in Cecil township, and James and John, also sons of William, live in Cecil, near Canonsburg.
Jonathan Crawford was in the township in 1788, and was in possession of a tract of land containing about one hundred acres. In 1799 he was assessed on three hundred, and each of his sons on one hundred acres each. He had four sons, -- Josiah, John, James, and Gavin, -- to each of whom he gave one hundred acres of land. The settlement of the Crawfords was in the southeast quarter of the township. These sons left numerous descendants, some of whom are on the original tract, others in the neighborhood, while many emigrated to the West.
Samuel Pollock emigrated to this country from Scotland, and warranted a tract of land called "Plenty," containing one hundred and forty-eight acres.
On this place he settled and died, leaving three sons and four daughters, -- John, Samuel, William, Mary, Grizella, Jane, and Margaret. John lived at home, single, and died there; William married Nancy McNary, and settled upon the homestead, where he lived and died; James, his son, now lives upon the place. Samuel, son of Samuel Pollock, Sr., married Ellen Young, and settled in Mercer County; Mary married a Mr. House; Grizella became the wife of Robert Johnson, and located in Canton township; Jane became the wife of John Crow, and emigrated to Butler County, Pa.; Margaret married Alexander McNary. and settled in Ohio.
Daniel Weller was born near Lancaster, Pa., and on the 2d of May, 1781, married Elizabeth Mechie. He was a weaver by trade, and settled in that locality several years before coming to this county, and where the older children were born. On the 28th of May, 1790, he purchased a tract of land in Strabane township of William Price, who had purchased of Craig Ritchie in 1790. Price had built a cabin on the tract, and in this cabin Mr. Weller lived several years, then built the residence now occupied by his grandson, Daniel Weller, who was born in the old cabin in the year 1801. Daniel Weller died on the 23d of March, 1824, and left one hundred and four acres to each of his sons, Jacob and Daniel. His children were Barbara, John, Elizabeth, Jacob, Catharine, Agnes, Daniel, and Peter. Agnes became the wife of John Hair, who settled at Linden, and built what is known as Hair s mill; Jacob settled on the homestead part of the farm, and died there, leaving the farm to his son Daniel.
James Bradford was a native of Ireland, who came to Washington in 1784, and obtained a warrant for a tract of land which was surveyed as " Montgomery," and contained three hundred and six acres, adjoining land of Robert Hamilton and Samuel Stewart. Several of his children had married and settled in the county prior to his coming. He lived on this farm till his death. On the 26th of December, 1788, he sold one hundred and ninety-one acres of the tract to his son James, who was afterwards one of the elders of Chartiers Presbyterian Church. His son, the Hon. John Bradford, of Bell Brook, Greene Co., Ohio, is still living at ninety years of age.
On the 3d of December, 1811, William Quail purchased one hundred and forty-seven acres of this land of the Rev. Thomas Hamilton, of New York City, March 12, 1813; he also purchased of Hamilton one hundred and fifty-seven acres, and later purchased other tracts. He lived and died on the farm, leaving four sons and two daughters, David, James, Robert and William, Jane, and Mrs. John Hoge. David settled on the homestead, and left the farm to his son, William McA. Quail, who now resides upon it. James bought a part of the old tract and died there. His son William now lives in Topeka, Kan. Jacob Moringer now owns the farm. Robert was a carpenter, and lived in Washington, Pa., where he died. Jane married Dr. George McFarland, and removed to Indiana. John Hoge married a daughter of William Quail. They lived in Washington for a time, and retired later in life to his farm in South Strabane, where he died. She survived him, and died in Cleveland.
A Virginia certificate was granted to George Vaneman on the 22d of February, 1780, for three hundred and eighty acres of land, "lying on the east fork of Shirtees Creek." Patent for it was granted Feb. 28, 1786. George Van Emen had four sons, Joseph, George, William, and Nicholas. Joseph settled in Cecil township, on the farm now owned by his son Samuel, who resides upon it. George, son of George, emigrated West, as did William, who later returned and purchased the mill property (now owned by William Smith) and resided below Canonsburg. The Rev. Thomas B. Van Emen, of Canonsburg, is his son. Nicholas, the youngest son of George, Sr., also emigrated West. Elizabeth the only daughter of George Vaneman, became the wife of the Hon. Joseph Lawrence, and resided in West Bethlehem, in Washington County.
Andrew Vaneman, brother of George, also took up a tract of land on a Virginia certificate, which was named "Zobeide," containing three hundred and ninety-five acres. It was located on Chartiers Creek, adjoining land of his brother George. On this farm he lived and died, leaving a large family of childien, of whom Catharine married John McCully and moved West. William settled near Burgettstown, but finally went West and died there. Polly married JamesWilson, and settled on the farm now owned by Homer Donnelly, who married a daughter. John died young. Margaret married James McDowell. Jane became the wife of Andrew Vaneman, a cousin. He died in Canonsburg, and she moved West. Andrew lives in Kansas. Elizabeth became the wife of Squire William Smith, of Somerset township. He owns the most of the original tract, which is in both Somerset and South Strabane townships. His son Wylie lives in the old Vaneman homestead. Hannah, a daughter of Andrew Vaneman, remained unmarried, and now lives in the township.
James Leeper received a warrant dated April 8, 1786, for the tract of land "Round Bottom," containing two hundred and forty acres. He sold a portion of it to James Thorn, who also bought ninety-six acres of Andrew Vaneman, April 1, 1813. James Thorn, a son of James, now lives on the land his father bought of James Leeper.
One of the earliest warrants issued by the Pennsylvania land-office in what is now Washington County was to John Altman, and bears date May 23, 1769. It came into possession of Alexander Speer by patent, April 2, 1798. Alexander Speer left four children, Robert, Maria, James, and Ellen. Robert settled on the hill on a part of the tract now owned by Mrs. John Weaver, who is a daughter of Robert. He had four children, John, who settled in Mount Pleasant and still resides there; Mrs. John Weaver, now living on the homestead of her father; Nancy (Mrs. Porter), Jane (Mrs. James McCoy), who both emigrated West. Maria became the wife of Moses Linn, and settled on the Linn farm in North Strabane township. Of their children, one became the wife of Ebenezer Boyle; Jane married John Campbell and settled near Venice; Hannah married Andrew Henderson, and settled near McConnell s Mills. James, a son of Alexander Speer, lived at home, and died when a young man. Ellen, the youngest daughter, became the wife of John Patterson, and settled where their son Speer Patterson, now resides.
About the year 1827, Alexander McConnell, of Cecil township, purchased two hundred and seventy acres of land, a part of the Morganza tract, in North Strabane township. His sons were John, who lives on the home place; Alexander has resided at McConnell s Mills (Locust Hill), in Chartiers township; Anderson lives at Burgettstown, and James at Houstonville.
Thomas McNary emigrated from York County, Pa., in 1782, and on the 30th of December in that year purchased of James Allison two hundred and fifty acres of land "situate on the forks of Shirtee Creek, on Sugar Tree Run, bounded by lands of Dorce Penticost, and to a line of said tract run by Hendry Taler [Henry Taylor], and lands of John McDoll [McDowell]." For this tract he received a warrant dated Oct. 29, 1784, and on the 21st of February, 1785, it was surveyed to him as "Sugar Tree;" and contained two hundred and nineteen acres. He was the son of James McNary, of York County, who settled in Hanover township in 1787. He was elected an elder in Chartiers Church prior to 1799, and remained in that capacity till his death in 1820. His children were Samuel, James, David, Joseph, and Matthew. Samuel settled in Jefferson County, Ohio; James in Munntown, in Nottingham township, where he was an elder in the Pigeon Creek United Presbyterian Church; David in North Strabane, where his sons Samuel and James now reside. Joseph settled in Cecil township, near Canonsburg, where his son-in-law, Andrew Griffin, now resides. He was elected an elder in Chartiers United Presbyterian Church May 10, 1832. Matthew settled on the old homestead, and later sold it to John Struthers. It is now owned by William Donaldson and James Barns. Matthew was elected an elder in Chartiers United Presbyterian Church May 21, 1825.
John McNary, a son of James, who settled in Hanover township, settled some years after his father removed to this county. On the 21st of December, 1801, he purchased one hundred and eighty acres of land of Samuel Smith. After the purchase he returned home, and died early the next year. On the 4th of May in that year (1802) the family removed to the new home, and John, his son, purchased the farm of his father s estate and settled upon it. In 1816 he was elected an elder in the Chartiers Presbyterian Church. His children were John, who lived on the homestead and died there; James G., who now owns the farm; Esther, who married Samuel Pollock; and Jane, who now resides on the homestead with her brother.
John Murdoch and his wife (both natives of Scotland) removed from near Carlisle, Pa., to Washington County in 1778. Soon after his arrival in this county he purchased from Nathaniel Blackmore a tract of land containing three hundred and fifty acres on Chartiers Creek (or, as it is written in the deed, Shirtee Creek), in Strabane, now North Strabane township, paying therefor £349 10s.
The journey was made over the mountains and through the wilderness on horseback. They occupied this farm with their children until the death of Mr. Murdoch. The farm was devised to Alexander Murdoch, the youngest son. In 1804 he sold the land to John Bebout for the sum of £1572 15s.
John Murdoch left four children, three sons and one daughter, all of whom were born near Carlisle, Pa. John Murdoch, Jr., the eldest son, left home at an early period, went South, studied the Spanish language and was for several years employed as a Spanish interpreter. He finally settled down upon his plantation near Bayou Sara, La., and there died in 1822. He never married.
Nicholas Pees, a German, came here prior to 1780, bringing his wife, his oldest son, Andrew, his daughter Molly, and his son George, four years old. He built a cabin on Chartiers just above the present mill of John Berry. Afterwards he built a log mill and a distillery. His daughter Mollie married John McGlumpey, and settled on land which James Roney now owns. George Pees bought of his. father one hundred and two acres, a part of "Amsterdam." He lived in the homestead; and there his son Zachariah was born in 1798, who is now living at the age of eighty-four years.
Andrew Pees purchased from his father one hundred and eighty-seven acres and lived on it till his death, leaving eight children, who are all dead or removed. John, James, and Nicholas Bees, of Finley township, are sons of John Pees, son of Andrew.
James Linn came from Carlisle, Pa., and settled in what is now North Strabane township, on a tract (two hundred and eighty acres) called "Cranberry." He married Eleanor, daughter of Robert Young. They had five sons, Robert, Moses, William, James, Matthew, and two daughters, Sarah and Mary. The farm was divided between the sons. Robert settled on the farm; his descendants moved to the West. Moses settled on his portion and died there. Elizabeth, a daughter, became the wife of Boyle. and settled in the north part of the township. William settled in West Newton, and died there. James settled on his part of the farm, and late in life sold out and settled near Washington, on the farm where Linntown now stands, that settlement deriving its name from the proprietor. His daughters were Eleanor (Mrs. James Pollock), of North Strabane; Elizabeth (Mrs. Thomas Miller); Sarah J. (Mrs. Alexander McCoy), both of Canonsburg; Margaret (Mrs. Teasdell), of Batavia, Ohio. The sons were John Linn, of Washington, Pa.; Matthew Linn, of Linntown, and Robert Linn.
Matthew, a son of James Linn, Sr., settled on part of the homestead, and died there. He was a justice of the peace. Samuel, a son, lives on the old Hughes tract. Harriet, a daughter, married a Mr. Pitman, and lives on the homestead.
Richard Johnston (now spelled Johnson) emigrated with his fathers family from County Down, Ireland, when nine years of age, to Lancaster County, Pa., and came to this county about 1800 and purchased a tract of land where R. V. Johnson, his grandson, now resides. He was elected an elder in the Chartiers Presbyterian Church, and served many years. He died in November, 1836, aged seventy-four years, leaving seven sons and three daughters. James and Richard, the first and fourth sons, died when about nineteen years of age. Mary became the wife of Thomas Allison, of Chartiers township, where she now resides at eighty-two years of age. William studied medicine with Dr. John Wishart, and graduated at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, commenced practice at Cadiz, Ohio, and continued there till his death. John settled on the home farm and lived many years, and about 1871 removed to Canonsburg, where he now resides. His son, R. V. Johnson, resides on the homestead, at Johnson s Station. J. B. Johnson, another son, lives on Chartiers Creek, opposite his brother. Elizabeth became the wife of George Gladden, and after his death married the Rev. John Stockton, of Cross Creek, who died May 5, 1882, leaving her a second time a widow. She still resides at Cross Creek. David settled on a farm near Steubenville, Ohio, and now lives there. Thomas graduated at Jefferson College, studied medicine, became a physician, and settled first at Bloomfield, and later at Steubenville, where he died. George graduated at Jefferson College, studied law with J. Marshall, of Steubenville, was admitted to the bar, but did not enter into active practice. He was elected president of the Bank of Portsmouth, Ohio, where he resided, and died there about 1875. Jane, a twin sister of Thomas, became the wife of Guion Morrison, of Chartiers township. They settled four some years in Stillwater, Harrison Co., Ohio, and returned to the old Morrison farm, where he died. She now resides near Philadelphia.
Alexander McClure purchased of William Wier one hundred and eight acres in this township in 1800. He lived and died on it, leaving two daughters, one of whom became the wife of Samuel Clokey. Elizabeth married Andrew Borland, who settled on the farm where he still lives. Of their children, Mary married Thomas McClelland; Sarah became Mrs. John Watson of Nottingham; Elizabeth married James McClure, of Houstonville; Robert Henry married, and lives on the old Henry farm. Alexander, a son, lives near Speers' Church.
James Martin came from York County, Pa., to this county in 1804. He married Margaret McNary, a daughter of John McNary, who, in 1801, purchased land in the township, and died soon after, and whose son John took the farm where James S. McNary now lives. He settled on the farm, and resided there till his death, and left three daughters and one son, Samuel, who was born in 1790. He inherited the farm, and lived there many years, till declining health rendered him unable for active duties; and he moved to Canonsburg, and died March 16, 1878. He was an active member of the Chartiers United Presbyterian Church. He married in 1812, and had three sons, -- William, James, and Isaac. William now owns the homestead, and James and Isaac are in the West. Of the three daughters of James Martin, Isabel married John C. Hanna, of Hopewell. The Rev. Thomas Hanna, of Illinois, is their son. Esther became the wife of Joseph McNary, of Cecil township, and Margaret married David Templeton, of North Strabane, where they settled.
James Grier came to this township from Cumberland County about 1810 with his wife and one son, Samuel S., who later removed, to Columbiana County, Ohio. James Grier died about 1833, leaving five sons and one daughter, -- Samuel S., Thomas, James, Jane, Gulon, and David.
Thomas graduated at Jefferson College and at Princeton Seminary. He then entered the ministry of the Presbyterian Church, and settled as pastor over a church at Sidney, Shelby Co., Ohio, where be died. James settled on the home farm, where he still resides.
James Clokey purchased on the 5th of May, 1813, a tract of land situated on both sides of Chartiers Creek, and containing three hundred and eighty acres. He had but one son, Samuel, who resided on the home farm till his death. A tavern was opened at this place soon after the pike was opened, which was kept by one Applegate. The place was named Clokeyville, after Samuel, who at that time was proprietor of the lands. Joseph Clokey, a son of Samuel, now lives on the homestead. A post-office was opened at the place, and Samuel Clokey was appointed postmaster. He was succeeded by his son Joseph. The office is now held by John Paxton, who keeps a store at the town, which is a station of the Pittsburgh Southern Railroad.
Robert and James McClelland were brothers, of Scotch-Irish descent. Robert, at one time sheriff of Washington County, married Anna, daughter of Robert Officer. He purchased in 1823 at sheriff s sale a portion of the large Pentecost tract, now owned by John Gamble, Esq. He had no sons, but four daughters, -- Anna, Manilla, Eliza, and one who became the wife of Dr. Adams, of Canonsburg. Anna married John Johnson, Manilla married Samuel Hughes; both resided in Washington County. Eliza married the Rev. James P. Smart, a minister of the United Presbyterian Church, and settled at Xenia, Ohio.
James McClelland, the brother of Robert, raised a large family of daughters and one son, James, who now resides in Birmingham. Of the daughters, Margaret married Levi Griffith, Jane married Thomas Jackson, Julia became the wife of Robert McCoy, Sarah married Samuel McCloy, Emi married John McNary. They all resided in or near Canonsburg. Nancy J. married John Simpson, and Elizabeth married James Smith, of Mount Pleasant township.
Ebenezer McClelland purchased two hundred and seventy acres of land of Dudley Woodbridge on the 15th of November, 1831. This tract was part of the Paul Fooks tract, "Shrewsbury," and part of the Morganza plantation. Mr. McClelland built upon it a cabin twenty feet square, and it became the home of the family. Mrs. McClelland is still living at the homestead and now in her eighty-first year. Here grew up to maturity five sons and two daughters. Three sons, William, Ebenezer, and James, known as the McClelland brothers, reside upon the farm, which has been increased from time to time until at present it embraces an area of eight hundred and twenty-seven acres. Each of the brothers have a specialty: William, the management of sheep, of which they have a flock of about eighteen hundred; Ebenezer, the care of the cattle, of which twenty-eight are thoroughbred Shorthorns with a registered pedigree; James has the care of the horses and hogs, which are also thoroughbreds. The large farm is divided up into suitable fields for pasturage for the different stock. The farm is well provided with large, commodious, and suitable buildings necessary for the protection of stock.
William Berry, a son of John Berry, of Mount Pleasant (who settled on the Washington lands), after many years residence near Venice, in Cecil township, came to this township and purchased three hundred acres of land June 23, 1835, of Dr. Jonathan Letherman and John Ritchie, executors of Craig Ritchie. The tract was originally taken up on a Virginia certificate, and surveyed to Nathaniel Brown as "Peach Garden," and contained three hundred and twenty-four acres. The land had been rented over forty years when purchased by Mr. Berry. He moved his family to the farm on the 1st of March, 1836, and lived upon it till about 1850, when he moved, to Canonsburg, and resided till his death, which occurred about 1865, in his eighty-fifth year. His son John settled on part of the old Nicholas Pees tract in this township. Mary became the wife of William McGlaughlin, and settled in Ohio. Jane married John Thorne, of Canonsburg. William married Elizabeth Collahan, and emigrated to Iowa. Prudence married Mr. Carson, and now resides in Canonsburg. Matthew settled on the farm his father purchased in 1835, and where he still resides. He and his sons are prominently engaged in the breeding of the "Black Top" merino sheep. James resides in Pittsburgh. The sons of John also are prominently engaged in sheep-breeding.
Linden.-- On the site of the "lost town" of "Louisburgh" now stands the town of Linden. The first store at this place was opened by James Hamilton, who was also the first postmaster. The mill site here is that of the old Pentecost mill. It passed from the Pentecost estate to the ownership of John Hair, and is now owned by Thomas Hessian. The town at present contains two stores, post-office, mill, blacksmith-shop, and a few dwellings.
Chartiers Presbyterian Church. -- It is not known in what year the congregation of Chartiers was organized. It is probable there was no regular organization until Rev. John McMillan came. On his first visit to this region, in 1775, he preached at the house of John McDowell, on Chartiers Creek, on the fourth Sabbath of August. This is the earliest record of service at Chartiers, but there can be no doubt that the settlers had previously met many times for divine worship. In an obituary notice of the Rev. Reid Bracken, published in the Presbyterian Advocate in August, 1849, it is stated that he was born in September, 1778, that his father removed from York County to Washington County, Pa., when he was an infant six weeks old, and that he was the first child baptized by Mr. McMillan in Chartiers Church. We know that Mr. McMillan preached and baptized at Chartiers three years before the Bracken family came, for he put it on record. We may reconcile the newspaper statement with historical facts by supposing that a house of worship was built by Chartiers congregation soon after Mr. McMillan was settled as pastor, and that Reid Bracken was the first infant baptized in the new church. The word "church" used in the obituary refers, as we understand it, to the sacred edifice, and not to the congregation.
A charter was procured by the congregation of Chartiers in February, 1798. More than thirty of the male members signed the petition for the charter. The following is a list of the signers: John McMillan, John McDowell, Craig Ritchie, Moses Coe, Robert Hill, William Cochran, George Craighead, William Kerr, Robert Hughes, James Foster, James Allison, John Johnson, William Welch, James Officer, Hans McClean, Abraham DeHaven, Robert Welch, Robert Bowland, William Hayes, John McCahey, William Hartapee, Nicholas Smith, Daniel Kirkpatrick, James Wishart, John Donnell, William Gault, Alexander Frazer, John Lindsay, Thomas Briceland, Samuel Logan, Thomas Bracken, John McClain, James Gaston, John Crawford, George McCook. The charter was signed Feb. 15, 1798; and approved by the Governor March 28, 1798.
The first trustees were Robert Hill, William Kerr, James McCreedy, William Hays, John Mercer, James Morrison, George Craighead, James Brad ford, and John Cotton. After the church was incorporated Josiah Haines conveyed to the trustees, in June, 1798, two and one-fourth acres of land. A year after, Samuel Gilpin, of Cecil County, Md., conveyed seven acres and three-fourths to the board of trustees. The church thus became possessed of ten acres of land. A part of this tract the trustees afterwards exchanged for other land more conveniently located.
The first pastor of Chartiers was the Rev. John McMillan. His parents emigrated from County Antrim, in the north of Ireland, in tile year 1742, and settled at Fagg s Manor, in Chester County, Pa. There he was born on the 11th of November, 1752. In his infancy he was dedicated to the Lord by his pious parents, and their earnest prayer was that God would spare his life and make him a minister of the gospel. They first gave their son an English education, then, when he was prepared, they sent him to the Rev. John Blair s classical school at Faggs Manor, and subsequently to the Rev. Robert Smith s classical school at Pequea, Lancaster Co., Pa. He entered Princeton College in 1770, and in two years graduated, at the age of twenty.
Having finished his course at Princeton, he went back to Pequea to study theology under the direction of Rev. Robert Smith, D.D. At this period, as we learn from his famous manuscript, he was in an uncertain and perplexed state of mind about undertaking the work of the ministry. He determined to leave the matter wholly with God. If the way was opened he would go on; if it was shut, he would be satisfied. When in the twenty-second year of his age he was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of New Castle. This occurred on the 26th of October, 1774, at East Nottingham, Chester Co., Pa. The winter following he preached in the vacant congregations of New Castle and Donegal Presbyteries.
Young as he was, and difficult and hazardous as was the undertaking, he set out in the summer of 1775, under instructions from his Presbytery, to visit the settlements in Virginia and Western Pennsylvania. His course was in part determined by a desire to see some of his friends and kindred who had settled in this region of country. Starting from Chester County, Pa., he made his way westward and southward through the Cumberland and Shenandoah valleys. In July he crossed the Allegheny Mountains near Staunton, Va., and, it is probable, came down the valley of the Monongahela. As be traveled from place to place he preached the gospel. On the fourth Sabbath of August he preached at John McDowell s, on Chartiers Creek, and on the Tuesday following at Pigeon Creek. He then journeyed eastward, and in the month of October reached his father s house at Fagg s Manor. But he did not remain long at home. He returned to this region in the winter, by the same circuitous route through Staunton, Va., and preached at Pigeon Creek and Chartiers from January until nearly the end of March, 1778, when he received a call from these churches to become their pastor. He was not as yet ordained, but preached as a licentiate. He went East, and at a meeting of the Presbytery of New Castle, held in April, accepted the call. He was thereupon dismissed to the Presbytery of Donegal, and on the 19th of June was ordained at Chambersburg, Pa.
Before going to his field he married, on the 6th of August, 1776, Catharine Brown, a pious young woman, whose father, William Brown, was a member of "The Forks of Brandywine Presbyterian Church," or, as it is now more commonly called, "Brandywine Manor Church," in Chester County, Pa. It was the period of the Revolution, and the country was in such a disturbed condition that he judged it imprudent to take his wife to the frontier. He went himself and took charge of the churches, preached, ordained elders, and administered the sacraments, but at times returned to the East.
The account of Dr. McMillan s settlement in the wilderness of Washington County, his establishment of the log cabin school, and other matters not strictly pertaining to his pastorship of this church will be found in the chapters on the religious and educational interests of the county, and in that part of the history of this township referring to its early settlements and settlers.
Dr. McMillan was not more distinguished as an instructor than as a preacher and pastor. He explained the Scriptures with great clearness, ability, and skill. The inspiring theme of his discourse was "Jesus Christ and him crucified." He did not hesitate to preach the terrors of the law, and at the same time he proclaimed the sweet promises and encouraging invitations of the gospel. Death and the judgment, heaven and hell were realities to him, and he urged men to flee from the wrath to come. He alarmed the careless, encouraged the timid, consoled the afflicted, instructed the ignorant, confuted the skeptical, and reproved the proud and presumptuous, the hypocritical and contentious, the wicked and worldly-minded.
Sometimes his manner was austere. He ridiculed the man who first appeared at church carrying an umbrella, and the family who first rode to church in a carriage.1 As two young women arose to leave during service he cried out, "Sit down, girls, sit down, for we have all seen your high combs." Meeting a man who had just recovered from an attack of sickness he said, "It is better that you are here than in hell." For his harsh expressions we offer no apology. They were the faults of a good man.
[1Col. George Morgan's family.]
Dr. McMillan s costume would not accord with present fashions. He wore buckskin knee-breeches, blue stockings and buckled shoes, a coat and a vest of a peculiar style, and a hat with a broad brim.
He preached with marked effect upon sacramental occasions and at camp-meetings. With his powerful voice he could be distinctly heard by a great multitude. He expressed regret before his death that he could not leave his lungs as a legacy to some weak-voiced minister, for he thought they were strong enough to last for another generation.
For many years his salary did not amount to more than one hundred pounds in Pennsylvania currency, a sum equivalent to two hundred and sixty-six dollars. Some paid their subscriptions in cash, others in merchandise. In a small paper book in the writer s possession, dated 1782, Mr. McMillan gives one person credit for six pounds and a half of tallow, another receives credit for a quire of paper valued at two shillings and sixpence, others are credited for corn and wheat. The salary seems meager and insufficient, but we must remember that provisions were cheap, the style of living was very plain, and the pastor was the possessor of a large farms which he purchased when land was worth but three or four dollars an acre. Small as was his salary, Dr. McMillan was able by strict economy to save a portion, which he used for charitable purposes. Dr. McMillan served the united congregations of Chartiers and Pigeon Creek for a period of nineteen years, and afterwards devoted his pastoral labors exclusively to Chartiers.
During his ministry it was Dr. McMillan s good fortune to have around him a noble band of elders, men of intelligence, energy, prudence courage, and piety. Such men were John McDowell, James Allison, Moses Coe, George Craighead, James Foster, Samuel Logan, Jacob Bell, Thomas Briceland, Richard Johnstone, John Phillips, John Colmery, Samuel Miller, Jacob Howey, John Hare, John Neil, and others at Chartiers, and James Wherry, Patrick McCullough, Hugh Scott, John Hawkins, William McCombs, Patrick Scott, and others at Pigeon Creek.
In the year 1822, Dr. Matthew Brown, the eminent instructor and divine, whose praise is in all the churches, removed from Washington, Pa., to Canonsburg, being called to the presidency of Jefferson College. Dr. Brown preached each Sabbath at Chartiers, in conjunction with Dr. McMillan, for a period of eight years, or until the College Church was organized in 1830, when Dr. Brown became its pastor. In his historical sketch of the Jefferson class of 1828, the Rev. Loyal Young, D.D., said, "Our usual place of worship was old Chartiers Church. Dr. McMillan was still vigorous but aged. His voice when he became animated was stentorian. In the days of summer, Dr. McMillan preached the sermon in the morning and Dr. Brown in the afternoon. Our religious exercises were solemn, and at the prayer-meetings on Wednesday evening, in Franklin Hall, Dr. Brown exhibited a warmth and an unction in his address that often melted the listeners to tears."
In 1830, the same year in which Dr. Matthew Brown ceased his labors at Chartiers and took charge of the church organized in Canonsburg, Dr. McMillan, then an old man, resigned his pastorate, but he did not cease to preach the gospel. Being strongly urged, he accepted invitations to visit the churches in this region. In his eightieth year Dr. McMillan administered the Lord's Supper fourteen times and preached fifty times, leaning on his crutch on some occasions. In the last year of his life he assisted in administering the Lord s Supper seventeen times and preached about seventy-five times. Before he was called to rest his successor was installed at Chartiers, and some changes and improvements were made in the old house of worship. The building was enlarged and a new pulpit constructed. Dr. McMillan did not like to see the old pulpit set aside, and he was unwilling to enter the new, and in his last days, when he addressed his people, he stood on the platform in front of the pulpit. The old pulpit was endeared to him by many associations.
Dr. McMillan s useful, laborious, and eventful life ended on the 18th of November, 1833. Of him, as of Moses, it could be said, "His eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated." The church mourned his departure, for a great man bad fallen in Israel. "He, being dead, yet speaketh." His influence survives; his memory is imperishable. He was buried at Chartiers, where the remains of his father, wife, and two sons-in-law were interred. His sons-in-law, the Rev. John Watson, first president of Jefferson College, and Rev. William Moorehead, were married by Dr. McMillan on the same day; a short time afterwards they took sick on the same day, died on the same day, and were buried in the same grave. They died on the 30th of November, 1802; his father on the 2d of July, 1792; his wife on the 24th of November, 1819.
About two years before the death of Dr. McMillan the Rev. Lemuel F. Leake was installed as the second pastor of Chartiers. This took place on the 12th of October, 1831. He served the congregation twelve years. He resigned in April, 1843, and became president of Franklin College, at New Athens, Ohio. Mr. Leake was a native of New Jersey, born at Chester, in Morris County, in 1790. He was educated at Princeton College and Theological Seminary. For a few years he was pastor of Oxford and Harmony Churches in New Jersey, in the Presbytery of New ton. Resigning his charge, he engaged for a while in missionary labors. In 1831 he made an extensive tour through Virginia, as McMillan had done, and preached the gospel, and came to Chartiers, where he was induced to settle. He was prospered in his ministry. In the first year twenty-two persons united with the church on profession, and seventeen in the second year. These were seasons of special religious interest which Dr. McMillan witnessed before he was called away. Soon after Mr. Leake came to Chartiers he was married to Miss Catharine Ritchie, of Canonsburg. She was his second wife. In the year 1835 he established a class of catechumens at Chartiers, and the session adopted a rule that in ordinary cases young persons should not be received into the communion of the church unless they had been for a time members of that class.
During Mr. Leake s pastorate a new church was built, at a cost of two thousand five hundred dollars. It was finished in the summer of 1841, and having been repaired and improved from time to time, it remains to this day. The first house of worship erected by Chartiers congregation was made of logs, and it was probably built in the year I778. The people who worshiped in it knew nothing of the comfort afforded by a stove or furnace on a cold winter day; and indeed when stoves could be had some were as much opposed to their introduction as they were to the use of hymns or organs in the house of God. The log church lasted until about the year 1800, when a stone church was built. The stone used in its construction was taken from an Indian mound which stood near by on the top of the hill. The stone church was enlarged and improved in 1832, about the time Mr. Leake was installed, and it stood until the present brick church was erected.
In Mr. Leake s time we find the first record of the election of church officers. An election of elders held April 2, 1838, which resulted in the choice of Thomas Connelly, Samuel Logan, Jr., William Scott, George Gladden, and John Johnson. Mr. Scott declined the office; the others were ordained and in stalled in May. Another election took place in September, 1841, at which Samuel Kerr, Joseph Homer, and Andrew Allison were chosen elders, and Samuel Logan, Jr., deacon. Mr. Kerr accepted, and in December was ordained and installed; the others declined.
After Mr. Leake left Chartiers he resided at New Athens, Ohio, Zelinople, Butler Co., Pa., Waveland and Terre Haute, Ind. He died on the 1st of December, 1860, and was buried at Terre Haute.
After the resignation of Mr. Leake, in April, 1843, the pulpit remained vacant two years. The third pastor of Chartiers was the Rev. Alexander B. Brown, D.D. He was elected to a professorship in Jefferson College in the year 1841. For some time after he supplied the pulpit of Centre Church, located about five miles east of Canonsbnrg. In the spring of 1845 he became pastor of Chartiers congregation, and so continued until the fall of 1847, when he was elected to the, presidency of Jefferson College as successor to Rev. Robert J. Breckinridge, D. D. "During his short pastorate," says Dr. D. H. Riddle, "twenty-two persons were admitted to the communion of the church on professions of their faith, and in many hearts and households there the memory of his preaching and usefulness remains fragrant to this day."
Alexander B. Brown was the son of Rev. Matthew Brown, D.D., and Mary Blaine. He was born in Washington, Pa., on the 1st of August, 1808. He graduated at Jefferson College in 1825. He received his theological training at the Western Theological Seminary, Allegheny. After his licensure he labored for a while as a missionary in the mountain regions of the State of Virginia. It will be remembered as a remarkable coincidence that his predecessors at Chartiers, Dr. McMillan and Mr. Leake, preached in the same region. He was married in December, 1833, to Miss Elizabeth Finley Nevin, whose brother was then a professor in the seminary at Allegheny. Dr. Brown was settled at Niles, Michigan, and Portsmouth, Ohio, before he was elected professor at Canonsburg. He was connected with Jefferson College as professor and president from 1841 to 1856. After years of devoted service in the cause of education and religion, his increasing bodily infirmities led him to seek rest and retirement in the country. But the change of residence did not bring him that freedom from care and labor which he needed and sought. Living near Centre Church, where he had formerly preached as stated supply, he was induced to become its pastor, and he continued to hold this relationship for several years, until he had not strength to preach. At his rural home he waited patiently until the Lord called him. He died on the 8th of September, 1863.
The fourth pastor of Chartiers was the Rev. Robert M. White. His pastorate lasted but a short time. He was called in September, 1848, about a year after Dr. A. B. Brown resigned his pastoral charge at Chartiers and was installed in October. Two months later, on the 14th of December, he died.
Mr. White was an earnest advocate of the cause of temperance. He twice represented his Presbytery in the General Assembly, the last time in 1846, when he took a prominent part in a debate on slavery, in which he displayed great ability, and tact. In June, 1848, he was elected professor extraordinary of rhetoric in Jefferson College.
Six months elapsed after the death of Mr. White before another minister was settled at Chartiers. The fifth pastor was Rev. Joseph R. Wilson, a native of Steubenville, Ohio, a graduate of Jefferson College and of Princeton Theological Seminary. In June, 1849, he was ordained and installed as pastor of Chartiers congregation. In July he was elected professor extraordinary of rhetoric in Jefferson College. He was encouraged during the first year of his ministry by the addition of twenty-five persons to the church on profession of their faith. His pastorate lasted less than two years. In January, 1851, the Presbytery released him from his charge. Mr. Wilson afterwards removed to the South, and became thoroughly identified with the Southern people, in feelings, principles, and interest.
Following the resignation of Mr. Wilson there occurred a vacancy of one year in the pastorate. The sixth pastor of Chartiers was the Rev. William Ewing, a native of Washington, Pa., a graduate of Washington College, and of the Western Theological Seminary, Allegheny. After leaving the seminary he went to Europe and spent some time in travel and study. He was ordained and installed Jan. 14, 1852, and he ministered to the congregation more than eighteen years. During three years of his ministry there was more than ordinary religious interest in the congregation. Twenty-one united with the church on profession in 1858, sixteen the next year, and twenty-two the year after. During his pastorate one hundred and twenty-nine persons were received into Chartiers Church on profession of their faith.
The session was increased during Mr. Ewing s ministry. In June, 1855, William Black and Thomas Weaver were ordained to the eldership. Alexander Boland and John Chambers, who had been chosen at the same congregational meeting, declined the office. In July, 1860, John Weaver, William McMillan, John Norris, and Israel Haines were ordained elders.
Towards the close of Mr. Ewing s pastorate a new roof was put on the church edifice, and the interior was renovated and improved.
Mr. Ewing was released from his charge in April, 1870. He became successfully engaged in the important work of instruction as principal of the academy in Canonsburg, organized since the removal of Jefferson College to Washington. He was elected I professor extraordinary of history and modern languages in Jefferson College in 1852. It is a fact worthy of mention that several of the pastors of Chartiers have been noted for their zeal in the cause of education.
For several months after Mr. Ewing left Chartiers the pulpit was supplied by different ministers. In the winter of 1870 a call was given to Rev. Robert S. Morton, a graduate of Jefferson College of the class of 1845. The Presbytery placed the call in his hands. He asked and obtained permission to hold it for six months before making known his decision. At the expiration of that time he declined the call. A vacancy of three years followed the withdrawal of Mr. Morton.
The seventh pastor of Chartiers is the Rev. Matthew H. Bradley. He was born at Mercersburg, Pa. He received his academical, and one year of his collegiate education at Mercersburg College; graduated at Lafayette College, Easton, Pa., in June, 1871, and received his theological instruction at the Western Theological Seminary, Allegheny. He was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of Carlisle, convened at Chambersburg, Pa., in the same church in which Dr. McMillan was licensed. He was ordained and installed at Chartiers on the 10th of June, 1874. He has the confidence, respect, and affection of the people.
On the 10th of July, 1875, James McLaughlin and Robert Munnel were ordained to the office of ruling elder in Chartiers congregation, and in 1877, James T. Craighead was ordained and elected to the office of elder. The board of elders as at present constituted are John B. Weaver, James McLaughlin, Robert W. Munnell, and James T. Craighead. The deacons are Samuel McMillan and Frank C. Lyon. The number of communicants at present in one hundred and forty-eight.
Canonsburg United Presbyterian Church. -- This society was organized in 1830 as the Speers Spring Associate Reformed Church by the Monongahela Presbytery. The meeting for organization was held in a tent erected at the foot of the hill by a spring on the grounds of Alexander Speer. Worship was held at this place until 1832, when the main part of the present brick edifice was elected. An addition of twenty feet was afterwards made to this.
The first elders were Samuel Fergus, James Stewart, Moses Wa1ker, James Gabby, Andrew Monroe, and William Berry, and on the 5th of April, 1832, John Ballentine, Sr., and Alexander McConnell were ordained and installed as elders. The present board of elders are D. G. Philip, John Thorne, John Connor, Sr., Isaac Weaver, William Giffin, and Alexander B. Borland.
The pastors who have presided over the congregation are as follows: Rev. Alexander McCahan, a native of Ireland, was installed on the 21st of September, 1831, as pastor of the Canonsburg and Cross-Roads Societies. He was released from the care of Canonsburg on the 12th of April, 1837, and remained in charge of Chartiers Cross-Roads till March 28, 1843. He died in Canonsburg Oct. 4, 1 873.
Rev. Thomas Callahan, the second pastor, was born in Washington County, Pa., in 1820; was licensed to preach March 29, 1843, and ordained as pastor of the church July 16, 1844. He remained in this connection till 1848, when he was released.
Rev. William Wallace, D.D., was a native of Allegheny County, Pa.; graduated at Washington College in 1824; licensed April 24, 1827; ordained Oct. 3,1828, as pastor of the church at Wheeling, Va., and Sept. 24, 1850, was installed pastor over this church. He died Jan. 31, 1851. In connection with his duties as pastor he was Professor of Moral Science in Jefferson College, at Canonsburg.
Rev. David Paul, D.D., succeeded Rev. William Wallace, and was ordained Dec. 13, 1853. He remained but two years, and was released Dec. 26, 1855. He now resides at New Concord, Ohio. Rev. William H. Andrews, D.D., studied theology at Canonsburg about 1846, and served as pastor over several churches. On the 30th of June, 1857, he became the pastor of this church, and after two years' service was released July 26, 1859. He died at Galt, Canada, March 80, 1869.
Rev. John W. Bain was ordained pastor over the society by the Presbytery of Chartiers Nov. 12, 1801, and remained till June, 1867.
Rev. J. G. Carson, D.D., graduated at Jefferson College in 1849; studied theology at the theological seminary at Canonsburg; was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Chartiers June 22, 1855, and ordain pastor of South Buffalo Church Nov. 13, 1856. He was released in May, 1867; was installed as pastor of this church October 1st the same year, and released Nov. 5, 1869. He is now professor in the theological seminary in Xenia, Ohio.
Rev. William Weir was ordained pastor in June, 1870, and remained till June 17, 1878, when be was released. He was succeeded by the Rev. John S. Speer, who was installed pastor on the 21st day of April, 1874; and has charge of the congregation at the present time.
The society has a membership of one hundred and ninety. A Sunday-school in connection with the society has one hundred and forty scholars, under the superintendence of William P. Morgan, assisted by eight teachers.
A cemetery also is connected with the church lot, the ground having been donated by Alexander Speer. It is situated in the township of North Strabane, but adjoining the town of Canonsburg.
JAMES S. McNARY.James S. McNary was born in North Strabane township, Washington Co., Pa., May 22, 1810, the third in a family of eight children of John and Jane E. (Hill) McNary. (For full account of genealogy of the family, see biography of his brother, Wm. H. McNary.) He was born on the place where he now lives, and where he remained until he was thirty years of age. His education was received in the district school of the neighborhood. For a number of years prior to the death of his father the sole management of the homestead farm devolved upon him. He eventually became its owner. To the original one hundred and seventy-nine acres he has since added sixty acres. He married, September, 1841, Hannah, daughter of John and Hannah (Rankin) Anderson, who was born in North Strabane township Aug. 18, 1822. She died Aug. 3, 1842. Mrs. McNary was a most amiable and lovely woman, and her early death was most keenly felt by a large circle of friends. To her husband it was a stroke hard indeed to be borne. Since her death Mr. McNary has remained single. After marriage he removed to his farm of one hundred and fifty-six acres, situated in South Strabane township, and lived there till 1857, adding, while there, sixty-five acres to the original farm. Having that year purchased the homestead farm, he removed to it, and has ever since resided there. The farm residence, a substantial brick, was built by his father in 1828. His family at the present time (1882) consists of himself, a sister, Jane E., a nephew, James E., and niece, Clara Ella, children of his brother, O. R. McNary.
In politics Mr. McNary was first an anti-slavery Whig, but has been actively identified with the Republican party since its organization. Has been no office-seeker.
He became a member of the Chartiers Seceder Church, now the Chartiers United Presbyterian, at the age of eighteen, and is still a member of the same church. He has been a member of its board of trustees, and was on the building committee in the construction of their present house of worship. Though by nature a quiet and reserved man, no private citizen in the community wields a more potent influence in either church or political matters. In all public enterprises he has always stood among the first with his influence and means. As a farmer he has always ranked among the most thorough and successful in a region noted for its good farmers. He is no visionary; ideas which may be wrought into PRACTICAL RESULTS have been the sort he preferred to entertain. Mr. McNary has been a man of wonderful physical endurance, still doing a man s work at the age of seventy-two. His motto has always been "Come on," not "Go." His house is one of the most hospitable in the region, always a pleasant resort for his friends. One who knows him well says, "If ever there was a man who for years has lived for his friends, that man is James S. McNary.
ZACHARIAH PEES.Zachariah Pees was born in North Strabane township, Washington Co., Pa., July 15, 1799. His grandfather, Nicholas Pees, accompanied by an uncle, emigrated from Germany when but twelve years of age. Eventually he settled and married in Caniguagig, east of the mountains. Here three of his children, viz., Mary, Andrew, and George, were born. About the year 1769 he journeyed on foot to the "backwoods," and located in what is now the township of North Strabane, on Little Chartiers Creek, four hundred acres of land. Returning East, with the aid of one horse, upon which were placed his worldly effects and the youngest child, he moved to the new home, the whole journey being made by himself, wife, son, and daughter on foot. At first a small log hut was built, in which the family lived during the first winter. It was situated near the present residence of John M. Berry. Mr. Pees was one of the three first settlers of the township. Here were born children as follows: Nicholas, Catharine, Betsey, and Susan. All of his children but Nicholas were married and raised families.
The grandfather died at the advanced age of one hundred and five years. In physique he was indeed a "stalwart," being six feet and one inch in stature, and well proportioned. He was capable of great physical endurance. He raised cured, and prepared his own tobacco, and was both a chewer and smoker of the weed. His wife lived upward of ninety years.
George Pees, father of Zachariah, was but four years of age when the family removed to Washington County. He was the only one privileged to ride over the mountains. He married Lydia, daughter of John Vaughn. She was a native of New Jersey. Their children were Polly, Andrew, Rebecca, Zachariah, John, Nicholas, George, Joseph, James, Eliza, Polly, Lydia, and two daughters who died in infancy. Polly was burned to death when a child, Joseph died at about the age of thirty, and James when twenty-five years of age. All the rest were married, raised families, and settled in Washington County. Only Zachariah, John, and George (1882) are living. George Pees died March 1, 1849. His wife died Oct. 16, 1865. Father and mother were first members of the Chartiers Presbyterian Church, but for about twenty years prior to their death were members of the Pigeon Creek Presbyterian Church. Both are buried there.
Zachariah Pees was born in the house now owned and occupied by John M. Berry, then owned by his grandfather. Lived on the place of his birth till twenty years of age. His opportunities for education were very limited. For a number of years he, drove team for his father to Pittsburgh, carrying the products of the farm, and bringing in return supplies from that market. The cost of transportation in those days to Pittsburgh was two dollars per barrel for flour, eight cents per bushel for oats, and fifteen cents for corn. The journey was made for most of the way through the woods, and at this time there was not a house on Mount Washington.
When twenty-one years of age his father exchanged farms with his uncle, Andrew Pees, securing in the exchange a saw- and grist-mill, which have always been known as "Pees' Mills." These mills were operated by Zachariah Pees fourteen years. The "Pees" brand of flour was well known throughout the region as the best in the market. He married, Dec. 27, 1820, Hannah, daughter of Andrew and Polly Pees. She was born April 25, 1800. Their children were William, born Oct. 13, 1821; married Mary Jane Cheesman, May 20, 1844. The latter died Feb. 12, 1846. By this union one child, Mary Jane, wife of John L. Gault. Second wife, Eliza Davis. Two children, Hannah and Anderson, both deceased. Third wife, Cordelia Sutman. Children, Catharine, William, Abner, Mattie, John, Belle, and Susan.
Joseph, born Aug. 21, 1823; married Sarah Newsom.
Andrew, born July 4, 1825; married Julia Ann, daughter of John and Sarah (Haines) Dickson. Children, Zachariah Mason, Ida, Elizabeth, and John Dickson.
Mary, born May 1, 1827; wife of Jacob Anthony, farmer living in Illinois. Children, Hannah, Pearson, Belle, Jane Ann, Abbie, Ettie, Grant, and John Zachariah.
Lydia, born July 24, 1830, wife of Zachariah Pee., a farmer, also living in Illinois. Children, Swan, Francis, Clark, and Lessie.
Elizabeth, born June 5, 1833; died March 11, 1841.
George, born April 27, 1833; died May 3, 1835.
Hannah Jane, born May 20, 1839; died May 18, 1841.
Phebe, born April 7, 1841; died Oct. 30, 1841.
Mrs. Pees died Oct. 4, 1846. Mr. Pees married Jan. 13, 1848, for his second wife, Jane, daughter of Robert and Margaret Jackson. Her family were a connection of President Andrew Jackson. Mrs. Jane Pees was born in Lancaster County, Pa., Oct. 18, 1800. One child was the fruit of this union, viz., Margaret Jane, born May 12, 1849; died May 18, 1877.
About the year 1825, Mr. Pees purchased a farm in Ohio, near Richmond, with the intention of removing to it, but was persuaded to remain in Pennsylvania by his father. Sold his farm in Ohio, and purchased the farm in North Strabane township now owned and occupied by his son William. He subsequently purchased the farm upon which he now resides, which is worked by his son Andrew.
In politics Mr. Pees has been a lifelong Democrat. Has been called to fill a number of township offices.
He became a member of the Chartiers Presbyterian Church when eighteen years of age, but for the last sixty-four years of his life has been a member of the Pigeon Creek Church, and an elder in the latter for many years. Mr. Pees has always commanded the respect of his neighbors, and the declining years of his life are brightened by the loving regard of a large family circle.
*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 Sharon McConnell of Coto de Caza, CA in July 1998. Published in July 1998 on the Washington County, PA USGenWeb pages at http://www.chartiers.com.
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