Smith Twp. (pp. 910-931)
History of Washington County, Pennsylvania*
By a provision in the act erecting Washington County, passed March 28, 1781, the trustees appointed to lay off the county into townships were required to have them laid out before July 1st of that year. This was accomplished, and the township of Smith was the last one set off of the original thirteen. It was so named at the suggestion of Judge James Edgar (one of the trustees), in honor of the Rev. Joseph Smith.
The original township was bounded on the north by the Ohio River, on the east by the townships of Robinson and Cecil, on the south by Hopewell township, and on the west by the State of Virginia. It retained this large extend of territory for five years only. On the 5th of January, 1786, the inhabitants presented to the Court of Quarter Sessions of the Peace held at Washington an application for a division of Smith township. This application was favorably considered, and a certificate was sent to the Supreme Executive Council, and read before that body March 8, 1786. No action was taken upon the subject until the 2d of September of the same year, when it was again brought before the Council and confirmed. By this action that portion of the territory north of Harmon's Creek and north of Brush Run to the Ohio River was set off and named Hanover township. The original line dividing these townships ran "up Harmon's Creek to the source near Steven Smith's (the old McCurdy farm), thence across the ridge to the head of Brush Run, and down the run to Raccoon Creek." On the 11th of March, 1830, by order of court, the territory north of the present line between Smith and Hanover, not included in above, was set off from Smith township and attached to Hanover. Upon the erection of Mount Pleasant township, May 12, 1806, a portion of Smith was set off to from its territory. The eastern line of Smith at that time extended from near the present north point of Mount Pleasant township southward along the west line of Chartiers township, passing through Hickory, to the north line of Cross Creek, about one mile and a half south of that town.
The present boundaries of the township are Hanover township on the west, north, and northwest, Robinson on the northeast, Mount Pleasant on the southeast, and Cross Creek and Jefferson townships on the southwest.
Following is a list of justices of the peace for Smith township1 from its erection to the present time, viz.:
Samuel Johnston, July 15, 1781. William M. Moore, June 7, 1830. James Edgar, July 15, 1781. John Smith, Dec. 17, 1836. James Edgar, Sept. 30, 1788. Ebenezer Robb, Marcy 28, 1837. John Riddle, March 4, 1796. Joseph Campbell, April 14, 1840. John Wilkins, May 31, 1803. Alexander Kidd, April 14, 1840. James Proudfit, March 11, 1809. William Galbraith, April 15, 1845. Robert Bowland, March 13, 1810. John Ferguson, April 9, 1850. Matthew Provines, De. 9, 1811. John Stephenson, April 9, 1850. William McCreery, Dec. 10, 1816. John L. Proudfit, April 16, 1855. James Keys, May 16, 1818. John Ferguson, April 10, 1855. James Leech, De. 5, 1818. Samuel P. Riddle, April 10, 1860. Robert Polkerson, Dec. 5, 1818. John B. Hays, April 10, 1860. James McFarren, Aug. 29, 1821. Samuel P. Riddle, June 3, 1865. Moses Stephenson, March 12, 1822. J. L. Patterson, June 3, 1865. Thomas Biggart, June 12, 1822. Alex E. Walker, April 21, 1869. Edward McDonald, Aug. 15, 1822. Samuel P. Riddle, March 29, 1870. Benjamin T. Bubbitt, Dec. 8, 1823. James L. Patterson, Nov. 30, 1870. David Miller, March 4, 1824. James L. Patterson, Jan. 19, 1874. John Buchanan, Dec., 13, 1824. Samuel P. Riddle, Jan. 27, 1874. Archibald Hunter, Feb. 14, 1825. Samuel P. Riddle, March 17, 1875. Ebenezer Boyce, Oct. 4, 1828. George M. Tenan, March 16, 1876. Alexander Kidd, Nov. 18, 1835. John P. Wood, March 30, 1880. William L. Robb, April 3, 1835. Thomas W. Pedicord, April 9, 1881.
[1From 1781 to 1787 the township of Smith was an independent election district. At that time the county was divided into six election districts, and this township became part of the Sixth District: another change was made in 1803. Changes in the boundries were frequent, and it has been impossible to follow them by township. Since the change in the constitution in 1838, the township has been an independent district.]
Settlements.--One of the earliest settlers of Smith township, but one of whom but little is known, was Henry Rankin. He was in nowise related to the Rankins who settled in the valley of Mount Pleasant. On the 15th of June, 1778, Henry Rankin and Alexander McBride purchased of George McCormick five hundred and sixty-four acres of land adjoining Nathaniel Patton, Boston Burgett, and Joseph Phillis. He took out a Virginia certificate for the land, which was surveyed to him as "Chance" on the 23d of February, 1785, and patented Feb. 15, 1786. A small portion of this tract was sold by Henry Rankin to Thomas Miller Aug. 9, 1805.
The earliest record of a land title in Smith township is dated May 10, 1776, one hundred and eighty-six acres of land which was sold by William Crawford and Henry Houghland to Joseph Phillis, located on Raccoon Creek, "which lands the said William Crawford and Henry Houghland are entitled to by improvement, according to the custom of the country."
Arthur Campbell was a native of Ireland, who emigrated to America and settled near Winchester, Va. After remaining there a year or two he removed to Redstone Old Fort (Brownsville), and in looking over the country for land on which to settle he selected the tract in Smith township on which his grandson, John Campbell, now lives. It was owned by Andrew and Adam Poe, who both lived on the place at the time. Upon the purchase of the land of the Poes Mr. Campbell moved into the house occupied by them, which was built of hewed longs, one and a half stories in height. Arthur Campbell lived and died on the homestead, leaving five sons, William, John, Arthur, Robert, and Joseph, and three daughters, Nancy, Margaret, and Elizabeth. William, the eldest son settled in Jefferson County, Ohio, where his descendants still live. After the death of Arthur Campbell, Sr., the farm was left by will to John and Robert Campbell, the latter son of Arthur, by whom it was divided, John retaining the homestead, it being the north part, and is now owned by his son John. Arthur, another son of John, resides in Wisconsin, and a daughter, Margaret, is the wife of Allison Vance. Robert inherited the south side of the farm, and left three sons. Arthur and Ebenezer B. still live on the farm, and William, a third son, resides in California.
Arthur Campbell, Jr. had two sons, --Arthur, who settled in Jefferson township, on the Cassidy farm, and died there; Joseph studied medicine with Dr. McClean, of Florence, married his daughter, practiced medicine in Pughtown, and died in Eldersville. Nancy, a daughter of Arthur, died unmarried. Elizabeth married James Gobson, of Hanover township, and settled there. Margaret married Thomas Elder, the founder of Eldersville. Robert, son of Arthur Campbell, Sr., left three daughters. Ellen married John L. Prodfit, Esq., of Burgettstown. Elizabeth died unmarried. Margaret married Samuel P. Wilson, and settled in Virginia. A James and a William Campbell lived where George and N. B. Campbell now reside, in Smith and Cross Creek townships, but were not related to the family of Arthur Campbell.
James Leech emigrated to this country from Ireland with his wife and three children, and settled first in Northampton County, Pa., and was in the Revolutionary war. At the close of the war he purchased land of Robert Walker, of Cecil township, under date of Feb. 11, 1782. A part of the deed is as follows:
"Unto James Leech, of the county and township aforesaid, lying and binding on the waters of Raccoon Creek, adjoining William Renkins on the one side and the Redefords [Rutherfords] on the other, James Stephenson and Henry Hoglan and William Bashford, containing Three Hundred Eachers of land."
On the 22d day of February, 1786, he took out a warrant for the tract of land, which was surveyed June 30, 1786, under the name of "Litchfield," containing two hundred acres. This land is now occupied by his grandsons, Robert and Joseph P. Leech. On the 30th of November, 1802, he purchased the mill property on Raccoon Creek, containing one hundred and five acres, of John Wishart, with liberty to construct a dam farther up the creek and race-way to the mill though Wishart's land. In 1811 a road was ordered laid out from James Leech's mill to John Marshall's, in Cross Creek township. On the Litchfield tract he built a cabin, barns, and still-houses, about half-way between William Rankin's and where Robert's house now stands, and later built a larger house of hewed logs near the spring. He died in 1823, and was buried at Burgettstown. His sons were John, William, Thomas, Samuel, Robert, and James. John went to Ohio, and later to Putnam County, Ill. The rest removed to Cohocton, Ohio, except James, who remained on the homestead for a time. He married a daughter of John Wishart, purchased the property on the creek, where he lived and died. He served in the war of 1812 and was a justice of the peace of the township from Dec. 5, 1818, many years. He was the father of Joseph P. and Presley Leech. The property is now owned by Joel Case.
George McCullough with his wife and family emigrated from Little Britain township, Lancaster County, Pa., to Smith's township, and took out a warrant for a tract of land, which was surveyed to him by the name of "Gretna Green," a patent for which he obtained in April, 1785. He died in February, 1811, and left seven daughters and one son, the latter of whom died young. The name became extinct. The daughters married as follows: Christina married James Wilson, and emigrated to Trumbull County, Ohio, near the town of Poland (now Mahoning County); Betsey married Thomas McCullough, and went to the same locality; Jane married Joseph McNall, who resides in Finley township, Allegheny County, Pa.,; Mary married James Brown; Margaret married James Tenan, of Smith township. They settled on the "Gretna Green" tract, having bought out the heirs. Sons of this union were George M. Tenan, Esq., and James B. Tenan, both residents of Burgettstown. James Tenan, Sr., emigrated from Londonderry, Ireland, to Washington County; married here and settled in Smith township, on land now owned by Andrew Proudfoot. His son, James Tenan, married Margaret McCullough, as mentioned above.
A tract of land was warranted to Abram Scott Sept. 23, 1784, situated on the waters of Raccoon Creek, adjoining Joseph Phillis, Henry Rankin, and William Thompson. It was surveyed on the 21st of February, 1787, to John Smith, as the assignee of Abram Scott, under the name of "Shady Grove," and contained four hundred and ten acres.
Mr. Smith purchased two hundred and ninety-nine acres, a part of a tract of land which was patented by Jacob Neusly March 21, 1787, containing three hundred and ten acres. This was also on the waters of Raccoon Creek, adjoining William Thompson and Cornelius Murphy. On the 18th of February, 1794, Mr. Smith sold the two hundred and ninety-nine acres of the Neusly tract, and twenty-five of the "Shady Grove" patent to Andrew McClean. James McClean, the son of Andrew, was a bachelor; studied theology, and preached in the Presbyterian denomination, and lived on the homestead several years. The place is now owned by James Simpson. A part of the Smith tract was sold in 1792 to John Bell and John Patton. Bell sold to Thomas Miller Dec. 24, 1804.
Cornelius Murphy owned land adjoining John Smith. He had but one daughter, who married a man of the name Dodd, and removed to South Carolina. Squire John Riddle became the executor of Mr. Murphy after his death, and suits were pending for several years, the heirs of Mrs. Dodd claiming the property.
Among the officers who received grants of land for their services in the Dunmore was Lund Washington, a distant relative of George Washington. A patent of the State of Virginia, dated Nov. 20, 1779, was granted him by which two thousand acres of land were conveyed. This tract lay on the head-waters of the middle branch of Raccoon Creek, and in the townships of Smith and Mount Pleasant.
On the 8th of June, 1791, Washington sold three hundred acres to John McKibben. This tract is now owned by Charles Provines, the heirs of Ebenezer Smith, and the heirs of Robert Smith. On the 20th of January, 1792, Washington conveyed all of the remainder of the tract to George McCormick. In the deed to McCormick a statement is made concerning the large tract granted by the Virginia patent as follows: "Said to contain two thousand acres, but in fact only one thousand acres, and is bounded," etc. A part of this tract was sold by George McCormick, Feb. 7, 1792, to David Hays, who left it by will to his son, Joseph Hays. The latter conveyed it to Josiah Allen on the 3d of February, 1795, and two years later, May 4, 1797, Allen conveyed it to Robert Glass. Upon his death this portion of his estate fell to his son, Thomas Glass. He retained it till April 6, 1804, when he sold one hundred and fifty-nine acres of land to Samuel McFarlane. In this deed it is recited that it is part of the tract conveyed by the Virginia patent to Lund Washington. A small portion of the tract conveyed to McFarlane formed parts of two other tracts, one of which was patented to Thomas Edwards April 3, 1797, and the other to Andrew Swearingen Aug. 15, 1787.
Samuel McFarlane emigrated from Ireland to this country about 1800, and in 1804 made the purchase above mentioned, and on the 3d of September in the same year purchased one hundred and two acres of Ephraim Chidester. This tract was part of a tract patented to George McCormick Aug. 15, 1787. It was called "Hayes' Bottom," and contained three hundred and fifty-nine acres. McCormick sold it to David Hays September 13th the same year, and in June, 1797, the one hundred and two acres was sold to Ephraim Chidester. Samuel McFarlane settled upon the tract purchased of Thomas Glass, and where his youngest son, Thomas McFarlane, now owns. He lived here many years, and died at an advanced aged at the residence of his daughter in Cross Creek.
Of his children, William settled on a farm near his father's, and adjoining the Judge John Farrar farm, where he died. David studied theology, and became a Presbyterian minister. He settled first in Peoria, Ill.,and later went to Santa F, New Mexico, San Diego, Cal., and finally to Iowa, where he served as a missionary among the Indians, and died there. Joseph went to California when the gold excitement was at its height, in 1849, and has not since been heard from. John removed to Ohio. Andrew settled at Cross Creek, and later moved to Burgettstown, where he still resides. Samuel located on a farm left him by his father in Robinson township, near the town of Candor, and now lives in Burgettstown. His son, J. F. McFarlane, is an attorney in Washington, Pa. A daughter of Samuel McFarlane, Sr., married Thomas Farrar, lived in Cross Creek many years, and moved to Peoria, Ill., and died at the residence of her daughter in that city in 1880.
James Edgar was on among the earliest settlers in what afterwards became the township of Smith, and he was for a period of thirty-five years one of the most respected citizens of Washington County. He was born in York County, Pa., on the "Slate Ridge," Nov. 15, 1744. His father's family emigrated from Pennsylvania to North Carolina, but he was never in the latter State, except on a visit to his relatives. He represented his native county in the Constitutional Convention of 1776. In the summer of 1779 he migrated west of the mountains and settled in what is now Smith township, Washington County. July 10, 1784, he warranted a tract of two hundred and seventy acres "on the waters of Raccoon Creek." surveyed to him Feb. 22, 1785. And on the 6th of September, 1787, he warranted another tract of one hundred and forty-two acres, surveyed to him Oct. 17, 1787, as "Nineveh." In November, 1781, he was elected with Col. John Canon to represent the county in the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, and in the same year was elected to the Council of Censors. In 1788 he was appointed associate judge, which position he held till disabled by infirmities which compelled his resignation. Dr Carnahan says of Judge Edgar,--
"This truly great and good man, little known beyond the precincts of Washington County, had a good English education, had improved his mind by reading and reflection, so that in theological and political knowledge he was superior to many professional men. . . . He lived in retirement on his farm except when the voice of his neighbors called him forth to serve the Church or the State. He was a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church, and on one occasion addressed a congregation of at least two thousand people on the subject of the insurrection, with a clearness of argument and a solemnity of manner and a tenderness of Christian eloquence which reached the understanding and penetrated the heart of every hearer. The consequences was that few, if any, in his neighborhood were concerned in that affair."
Judge H. H. Brackenridge mentions Judge Edgar as follows: "He was an associate judge of Washington County, and a kind of rabbi in the Presbyterian Church in the Western country. His head was prematurely hoary with prayers and fastings and religious exercises; his face thin and puritanical, like the figures of the old Republicans in the Long Parliament of England." He died June 8, 1814. The Reporter (of Washington, Pa.) in its issue of August 22d of that year, published the following obituary notice of him:
"Departed this life on the 8th day of June last James Edgar, of Washington County, Pa., in the seventy-first year of his age. The character of this eminent and respected patriot and father in the church is extensively known in our county and in the churches. He was a native of this State; in his early youth he hopefully became a subject of true religion; while young was chosen and ordained a ruling elder in the church, which office he continued to fill with good effect while able to act. In the year 1776 he was called into public life as a statesman, being chosen to the convention which formed the constitution of the State, after which time he was repeatedly chosen a representative in the Legislature from the counties of York and Washington. In later life he several years filled the office of associate judge of Washington County, until disabled by infirmity he resigned. Till his last he continued to manifest himself a sincere friend of the cause of Christ and of his country; was much engaged to promote the interest of the church and the good of the State. In his last long illness he bore his affliction with Christian patience, breathing the spirit of Christianity. His end was peaceful and quiet. The evening before his departure he, with considerable confidence, informed his family that he hoped to get his di-mission from the body that night; accordingly about three o'clock in the morning he resigned his last breath without a struggle or any indication of pain."
In the numerous lists of distinguished men who have been residents of Washington County, there are found none who bore a higher character or were more universally beloved and trusted than was Judge James Edgar.
On the 10th of May, 1776, a tract of land on Raccoon Creek, adjoining George McCormick, containing one hundred and eighty-six acres, was conveyed to Joseph Philles, in consideration of twenty pounds, by William Crawford and Henry Houghland, "which lands the said William Crawford and Henry Houghland are entitled to by improvement, according to the custom of this country."
On this land Joseph Philles lived and died, and his descendants still occupy the property.
John Riddle came from Pigeon Creek to this township about 1790, and settled near the Raccoon Railroad bridge, on the farm now owned by J. L. Patterson, Esq. Mr. Riddle was appointed justice of the peace March 4, 1796, and acted in that capacity till his death. His family consisted of six sons and four daughters. Samuel, a son of John Riddle, settled in this township; John settled in Jefferson; Samuel P., in Smith; Scott in Muskingum County, Ohio; James, in Virginia City, Nev., Robert, at Hanlan's Station, Hanover township; Dr. William V., in Burgettstown. Catherine became the wife of William Proudfit, and Sarah the wife of James Hays, both of Smith township.
David Hayes was a native of York County, Pa., and came out to this region of country about 1783, and took up several large tracts of land on the West Branch of Raccoon Creek. On the 13th of September, 1787, he purchased a tract of land which George McCormick patented the August previous as "Hayes' Bottom," containing three hundred and fifty-nine acres. A part of this Mr. Hayes sold to Ephraim Chidester in June, 1797.
David Hayes built his log cabin on the farm now owned by the heirs of James Stephenson, and where George Robb now lives. On this farm he lived and died. When he came to this country he had a large family, of whom several of the sons had taken part in the Revolutionary war, and a son, John, was killed in battle. The sons who came here were Moses, Thomas, David, Joseph, William, and James. Moses settled on one hundred acres of the home tract, and died there. Joseph Hayes, a son of Moses, inherited a part of the estate left by his father, and lived upon it during a long life, and died of paralysis Feb. 7, 1882, aged eighty-one years, and the farm purchased by David Hayes, Sept. 13, 1787, now passes into possession of the fourth generation. David Hayes, also a son of Moses Hayes, and brother of Joseph, married Martha Fulton, and now resided in the township. Alexander Hayes married Ann, a daughter of James Stephenson. Their sons, John B. and James B., live on part of the "Long Bottom" tract James Stephenson bought of Thomas Bay and left to his daughter Ann. Thomas, a son of David Hayes, Sr., removed to Jackson County, Ohio. William died in 1830, from an accident while mowing. James settled in Allegheny County. Eleanor, the only daughter of David, married James Todd, and settled in Allegheny County.
Joseph Vance came to Smith township from Winchester, Va., in 1774, and commenced to improve land where Presely Leach now lives, but William Crawford and Henry Houghland had a prior claim, and he abandoned it and took up the land now owned by Allison, Thomas P., and John S. Vance. He was prominent in all the various expeditions against the Indians, and built the stockade fort known for many years as Vance's Fort by early settlers. He was prominent in the Presbyterian Church at Cross Creek, a member of the Legislature in 1802-3. He lived to eighty-two years of age, and died March 6, 1832, and was buried at Cross Creek. He left six children. William, who inherited the homestead, was a captain in the war of 1812, a member of the Legislature of Pennsylvania in 1815-16. He married Rachel, a daughter of William Patterson, the first of that family to settle in the county. She was born June 3, 1778, and died Jan. 9, 1817, leaving five sons, Joseph, James, William P., Allison, and David, and four daughters, Cynthia, Elizabeth, Anna, and Rachel. On the 12th of June, 1818, William Vance married Hannah, the sister of his first wife, by whom he had two sons, Thomas and John Stockton, and three daughters, Mary, Caroline, and Celesta. His marriage to his deceased wife's sister gave rise to lengthy proceedings in the assemblies of the Presbyterian Church, which finally adjudged the marriage to be "Contra legem ecclesi." William Vance died April 8, 1856, aged eighty years. His widow Hannah died in 1880, aged ninety-four years. His descendants still occupy the homestead.
Col. John Vance was the second son of Joseph Vance. He was colonel in command of the regiment that went to New Lisbon in 1812. He lived in this township all his life, and died Nov. 24, 1841, aged sixty-two years, and was buried at Cross Creek. He son Joseph was colonel of an Ohio regiment under Gen. Banks in the Rebellion, and was killed in the Red River campaign. Joseph, a third son of Joseph Vance, Sr., went to New Orleans, and was never heard from. Hannah Vance, a daughter to Joseph Vance, married -------- Patterson. Maj. William Vance came to this section of country soon after his son Joseph settled here. He located on land where John Easton now lives, on the valley road from Cross Creek to Burgettstown. A warrant was obtained later, and on the 4th of March, 1785, it was surveyed to his as the "Oat-Field," containing three hundred and seventy-eight acres. He was prominent in the organization of the Presbyterian Church at Cross Creek, a man of wide range of information and well-balanced mind. He died April 18, 1788, aged seventy years. Governor Joseph Vance, who was long a member of Congress from Urbana district, Ohio, and Governor of that State in 1836-38, was a grandson of Maj. William Vance. David Vance, a brother of Col. Joseph Vance and a son of Maj. William Vance, took out a Virginia certificate for land in 1780. This was surveyed to him as "the Corn-Field," containing three hundred and ninety-two acres, Dec. 10, 1786, adjoining John Marshall and William Campbell.
David Wilkin came to this county about 1786, and lived with his son John in this township. He died Oct. 2, 1793, aged sixty-two years. He left three sons, --John, William, and Thomas. John married for his first wife a lady of the same Armitage, by whom he had one son, David. He settled first in Burgettstown, and kept store there; then moved to Cross Creek, and built the first brick building in that town, now owned and occupied by Dr. John Stockton. Later he moved to Allegehny County, Pa., and died there. John Wilkin, after the death of his first wife, married Catharine, daughter of Judge James Edgar, by whom he had several children. James, one of the sons, was a blacksmith, and lived at Burgettstown a few years, and removed to Wayne County, Ohio, where he died. A daughter, Mary Ann Wilkin, now resides in Burgettstown, and is the only one living of six children. Stephen, a son of John and Catharine Wilkin, became a physician, and practices in the township, living on the farm owned by Clark and John Farrar. He married Sarah Van Emem, of the family who settled near Washington. Thomas, William, and John, also sons of John Wilkin, settled on the township, and died unmarried. Thomas was an elder in Cross Creek Church, and died in 1853, and John in 1858. Archibald married Jemima McElroy. He was a tanner, and lived in the township. Martha, a daughter of John, married Samuel Merchant, and settled in Buffalo township, where she died. John Wilkin, who married Catharine Edgar, after the death of Judge Edgar purchased of the heirs the landed estate. Here he lived till his death, Jan. 8, 1818, aged sixty-two years, and left it to his sons, John and Thomas, who later sold it to Finley Scott, by whom it is now owned. William and Thomas Wilkin, sons of David and brothers of John, settled with their families at Sewickley.
Thomas Whittaker was a resident of this township before 1786. On the 21st of February of that year he took out a warrant for four hundred acres of land, which was surveyed to him by the name of "Slow and Easy." It was adjoining the "West Boston" tract, on which Burgettstown was laid out. On this farm he lived till his death in July, 1794. He left a widow, Elizabeth, and sons, Samuel, Eli, and Dacon, and daughters Ann (Mrs. Holmes), Mary (Mrs. Hall), Elizabeth (Mrs. Chamberlain), Sarah, Rachel, and Esther Whittaker. In the year 1806 two hundred acres of the farm was sold to Josiah Patterson, and upon the death of Mr. Whittaker the remainder of the farm was left to Samuel Whittaker, who in later years conveyed it to his son Dacon. It was inherited by his daughter, Mrs. G. N. Tenan, who now owns and occupies it.
Josiah Patterson emigrated from Path Valley, Cumberland Co., in 1806, with his wife and three children, ---Robert, Mary, and Elizabeth. He purchased two hundred acres of land of the estate of Thomas Whittaker, north of and adjoining Burgettstown. On this farm he settled and lived till his death in 1823, aged seventy years. His son Robert succeeded to the farm, and lived upon it till his death in 1861, aged seventy-six years. He was a surveyor by profession; a justice of the peace from Dec. 5, 1818, to 1834; an elder in the Presbyterian Church at Burgettstown, of which he continued a member during the remainder of his life. At his death the farm was left to his son, James L. Patterson, who lives in Burgettstown, and is prominent in the banking business. The children of Robert Patterson were James L., Mary (wife of the Rev. James T. Fredericks, of Burgettstown), Jane, the eldest child, who married Watson Allen, and as his widow married James Ewing, of Washington, Pa. Mary, daughter of Josiah Patterson, remained unmarried, and died in Guernsey County, Ohio, about 1876, aged eighty-four years. Elizabeth, another daughter, married Ebenezer Smith, and lived for a time in Burgettstown. She later moved to Guernsey County, Ohio.
John Wishart was a native of Ireland, who emigrated to this country, and settled in Waynesburg, east of the mountains. At the close of the Whiskey Insurrection he came to this section of country, meeting some of the soldiers on their return east. On the 16th of May, 1795, he purchased one hundred and five acres of land for three hundred and fifty pounds of Humphrey Montgomery, containing the mill built by Samuel Johnston, situated on what was known as the "Milltown" tract. Three days later, Mr. Wishart purchased of Gabriel Blakeney one hundred and seventy-three acres of land for three hundred forty-six pounds, "situate and lying on the waters of Raccoon Creek, adjoining lands of John McKibbin and lands formerly of John McCormick." This last tract was part of the land granted by Virginia patent to Lund Washington, Nov. 24, 1779, who sold to George McCormick, Jan. 20, 1792, and who February 27th of the same year sold to Gabriel Blakeney. On this tract had been an old fort, known as Hoagland's Fort, which the Rankins, Buxtons, and others used as a place of protection. A school-house was erected on the hillside west of the fort. One William Loughrey was the teacher. John Wishart lived here till his death. A daughter of his married James Leach, who remained on the homestead. Other daughters married, and removed to Kentucky and Ohio. John, the only son, emigrated to Kentucky.
James Stephenson was the son of John Stephenson, who was a native of England, emigrated to this country in 1750, and settled near Chadd's Ford, on the Brandywine. At this place James Stephenson was born in 1773. Seven years later his father with family removed to Pigeon Creek (now Chartiers township), and settled and lived there till his death, in 1808. When James arrived at maturity he came to Smith township, and in the course of a few years purchased several tracts of land in different parts of the township. On the east branch of Raccoon Creek he erected a mill and built a house, where he lived, which became known as the Mansion House. He was a member of the House of Representatives of Pennsylvania in 1805-7. He married Jane Vance, a native of the township, by whom he had eight children, to whom he gave good farms. In 1802 he purchased two hundred acres of land of Thomas Bay. This tract was warranted by Mr. Bay, Feb. 25, 1785, and surveyed to him by the name of "Long Bottom, " four hundred and fourteen acres. This farm was given to his daughter Ann, who married Alexander Hays; their sons, John B. and James S. Hays, now own the property. Another tract of eighty-four acres, now owned by Matthew Welsh, was left to a daughter Mary, who married W. P. Vance. Of two other tracts now owned by Samuel Ghrist, one of one hundred acres was left to Elizabeth, who married Samuel Ghrist; the other, also one hundred acres, was left to a son, Joseph Stephenson. Later he sold to his brother-in-law, Ghrist, and emigrated to Illinois. The mill property, containing sixty acres, was left to his son, John Stephenson, who sold to John Armstrong, and it is now owned by John Keyes. After the sale of the mill John moved to Burgettstown, where he died. His widow still resides there.
Another tract in Mount Pleasant township was left to his daughter Martha, who became the wife of James Rankin, Esq., and is still in her possession. Mr. Stephenson was a man of fine executive ability, and commanded the respect and confidence of all with whom he came in contact. In 1805 he was elected State senator, with Isaac Weaver, of Greene County, to represent the district, then composed of Washington and Greene Counties, and served in the years 1806-7, and was returned and served 1808-9. He lived many years after, and died at this mansion house in 1846, aged seventy-three years.
Matthew Welch emigrated from Ireland to this country about 1802, with his wife and a daughter Isabella, then an infant. He lived a short time at Lancaster, and in the spring of 1803 removed to this county. On the 26th of July in that year he purchased one hundred acres of land of Hugh Lee, it being part of one of the tracts patented by Samuel Johnston. Mr. Welch lived on this place the remainder of his life, and died there at the age of eighty-four years. His widow lived a few years later, and died at ninety-two years. They left eight children. Isabella, the oldest daughter, married William Galbraith. The settled on the farm where a son, William R. Galbraith, now lives. Mrs. Galbraith is still living, at the age of eighty-two years. Nancy married Mark Stephenson, and settled in the township, where he still lives. Polly married William Campbell, and moved to Ohio. Margaret married Thomas McCorkle, of Cross Creek township. Eliza married Robert McBirney, of Robinson township. Rachel married Robert K. Scott. They now live on the tract of land patented for the heirs of Sebastian Burgett and named "Radius." Hannah married Matthew Welch, and they now live on a farm bought of William P. Vance, which was originally part of the James Stephenson lands. M. R. Welch, the only son of Matthew Welch, inherited the home farm, and still owns and occupies it.
A fort know as Allen's Fort was located near the line between Smith and Robinson townships, which the Baileys, Shearers, and others used as a place of security before the Beelor Fort was erected. It is possible that John Allen settled there prior to that time, but his name does not appear on a Virginia certificate as having lands under that title. He took a Pennsylvania warrant Nov. 5, 1784, which was surveyed to him by the name of "Derry," Feb. 25, 1785. He lived to an old age, and died there; married, but childless. The farm was left to a nephew, Moses Allen, who was not a thrifty man, and the farm passed to other hands. He moved to near Pittsburgh, where he kept a tavern, and there died.
John Ferguson, a native of Ireland, emigrated to this country in 1795, and settled in Lancaster County; married in the city of Philadelphia, and (in) 1798 came to Smith township and purchased ninety acres of John Bavington and settled upon it. On the 29th of December, 1813, he purchased eighty-nine acres of the administrators of John Bavington, adjoining William Brummer and Alexander Duncan, and on the 7th of February, 1818, he purchased of John Duncan one hundred and forty-four acres adjoining Jeremiah Andrews, James Moore, William Ferguson, and James Brown. This land was part of a tract which was patented by George Deed April 4, 1793, one-fourth of which was sold in 1797 to Abraham Crow, who sold to John Duncan March 7, 1816. John Ferguson died on the homestead in 1842, aged seventy-six years. His wife lived eight years later, and died in 1850, leaving three daughters and one son, John, who by purchase and inheritance obtained possession of the farm, and still owns it. Elizabeth married James Smith, and settled on an adjoining farm, now owned by John Culley. They lived there many years, and moved to Frankfort. After the death of Mr. Smith, his widow lived at the old homestead with her brother till her death. John Ferguson, the son of John, was a ruling elder in the United Presbyterian Church many years, and held the offices of school director and justice of the peace. He died at his residence Jan. 31, 1881, aged seventy-four years.
In the assessment-roll of the township for the year 1788, John Cook, Sr., is assessed on fifty acres, and John Cook, Jr., is assessed on personal estate. These two men were evidently married and settled. In the list of single men that follows is the name of James Cook, who is assessed on six hundred and forty-nine acres of land. A part of this tract, two hundred and fifteen acres, was a portion of a large tract of twenty-five hundred acres of land granted by Virginia patent to Robert Rutherford, and sold by him to Samuel and Robert Purviance on the 25th of April, 1782, and they by their attorney conveyed it to James Cook on the 8th of September, 1786. On the 7th of May, 1792, James Cook sold a portion to John Cook. James Cook died on the home farm and left three sons, David, Samuel, and Perry. David married, and his daughter married William K. Lyle. They lived on the homestead. Samuel was a bachelor, and died November, 1879, aged seventy-seven years, and William K. Lyle purchased his farm. Perry also married and lived on part of the farm. James Cook had four daughters. Julia married Col. James McDonald, of McDonald Station; Jane married Joseph Vance, and lived on the Vance farm, now owned by John Hemphill; Dorcas married Moses Lyle, of Mount Pleasant township; Matilda married David Gualt, of Cross Creek township.
John Proudfit emigrated to this county from York County, near Stewartstown, and settled in Smith township in 1806; married Elizabeth Lyle in 1809; remained in the township till 1815, when he returned to York County. In 1826 he again returned to the township, and settled adjoining the John Dinsmore farm. John L. Proudfit, of Burgettstown, is his son.
William McConnell was of Irish descent, and emigrated to this county when Burgettstown contained by the mill and the settlers' fort, known for a short time only as Burgett's Fort. He bought a farm, on the property of McCalmont. John McConnell was his son. William, a son, died at college. Three sons died in Ohio and Texas. Mrs. Blair, a daughter of William McConnell, is living in Hanover township at the age of ninety-two years. Aenath Blair is the only representative in South township.
On the 9th of February, 1787, William Kidd warranted a tract which was surveyed to him as "Plenty," and contained two hundred acres. He conveyed it by deed to John Elder, July 9, 1791, by whom it was patented Aug. 21, 1793. Upon the death of John Elder it was left to two daughters (one of whom married James Chamberlain). They sold the south half to Joseph Gladden, Jan. 26, 1829, and he to William Gladden in March, 1844. That part of the estate is now owned by William Campbell. The other portion passed through many hands, and is now part of the town of Midway, and part of the lands of the Walnut Hill Coal Company.
Burgettstown.---The land on which Burgettstown is situated was located by Sebastian Burgett, a native of Germany, who emigrated to this country with his wife and three children, and settled in Berks County, Pa. While living there his wife died, and left to his care two sons, George and Philip, and a daughter Agnes. He removed to near Robbstown (West Newton), Westmoreland Co., before 1773, where he soon after married Roxanna Markel. He came to this part of the country and located upon a large tract of land, which later was secured to his heirs. His name is mentioned as early as 1780 in connection with the Virginia certificate of George McCormick, Henry Rankin, and others whose lands he joined. At this time also his own lands were taken up on a Virginia certificate, as mention is made of the warrants being based on the certificate, but the copy of the certificate is not found. One of the tracts that later was surveyed and patented was known as "West Boston," containing three hundred and twenty-nine acres, warranted September 20, 1785, and surveyed Oct. 29, 1785. On this tract Sebastian Burgett built a mill on Raccoon Creek, where the present mill stands. In repairing or enlarging the mill about the year 1789, he became in need of castings with which to complete his work, and went to Pittsburgh for them. While returning through the woods and over the rough roads, and when within about two miles of home, the wagon upset in crossing over a log, and he fell beneath the iron castings and was killed.
The Burgett house stood near the Robert Scott house, and the old fort, as it was called, was near it. This last stood many years, and later was partially covered with clapboards. Several years ago, when Mr. Boston Burgett built a new house, the old log structure was removed across the street, and was used as a cow-house. The tomahawk and bullet-marks were visible. It was finally struck by lightning and destroyed. The widow of Sebastian Burgett lived on this place many years with her children after her husband's death.
On the 28th of September, 1789, George Burgett, in behalf of himself, Philip, his brother, and Agnes, his sister, entered into an article of agreement with Roxanna, the second wife of Boston Burgett for herself and her children, John, Andrew, Mary, Isaac, Elizabeth, Sarah, and Boston Burgett, that four hundred acres of the estate of Boston (Sebastian) Burgett be set off to her. The mill property in retained by George. The tract on which the widow of Mr. Burgett resided was known as "Radius," containing two hundred ninety-seven acres, for which warrant was not obtained until July 17, 1880, and patent December 10th of the same year. It is recorded on a slab in the Burgett family burying-ground that Boston Burgett departed this life Sept. 4, 1789, in the fiftieth year of his age. His widow lived to be eighty-three years of age, and died Feb. 3, 1839. Mrs. Burgett sold ninety-two acres of the tract "Radius" to Benjamin Shipley Nov. 21, 1804. The remainder was divided between the children by the second wife, ---Isaac, Andrew, Elizabeth, Mary, and Boston. Isaac was a hatter by trade, and emigrated to Natchez, where he lived and died. Andrew kept his share, and purchased the rights of other heirs. His son, Boston Burgett, Robert Scott, and Mr. Morgan, now own it. Elizabeth (Mrs. Zachariah Linn) sold her portion to Freegift Crawford, whose daughter, Mrs. Dr. George W. Bell, inherited it. Boston Burgett studied medicine with Dr. S. J. Perry, of Burgettstown; removed from the township. Elizabeth (Mrs. Lynn), after the sale, removed to Millersburg, Holmes Co., Ohio. Mary married John Smith, and settled in Liverpool, Columbiana Co., Ohio.
The patent for the "West Boston" tract recites the fact that letters of administration were granted to George Burgett, in trust for the heirs of the deceased Boston Burgett, and bear date March 28, 1797. On this tract George Burgett laid out a town, with Peter Kidd as the surveyor. The following is a copy of the writing that accompanies the plan:
"Raccoon Creek. The above is a draught of a Town laid off for Mr. George Burgett, called West Boston, on the west fork of Raccoon Creek, in Smith Township, Washington County, each lot containing one Rood, being eighty-two and one-half feet in front, and one hundred and thirty-two feed back, the course of the Main Street North 73 east.
"Laid off the 27th of January, 1795.
The draught contains fifty-six lots, No. 1 being on the north side of Main Street, west of the covered bridge (now owned by William Melfin), running west eleven lots, commencing opposite on Main Street with No. 12, running east to the creek to No. 22, inclusive. The remainder are in different parts of the town. At this time the only business place on the town plat was the grist-mill. David Bruce was the first to purchase a lot in the new town. He had lived for some time previous at Bavington, where he had a store. The first authentic account of his removal from Bavington to the new town is contained in an advertisement which appeared in the columns of the Washington Telegraphe, bearing date Dec. 22, 1795, and is as follows: "That he has moved his store from John Baventon's mill, upon Raccoon, to George Burgett's new town upon said creek. He is now opening at the above place a large assortment of dry-goods, etc."
David Bruce was a native of Scotland, and emigrated to near Bladensburg, Md., with his father, William Bruce, in 1784. The latter was associated with Matthew Ritchie as assignee of Barton Lucas for the sale of thirteen hundred and seven acres of land granted on a military warrant, and situated in what is now Mount Pleasant township. This land was partly sold by William Bruce and Matthew Ritchie, and the remainder by John Ritchie, son of Matthew, and his executor, and David Bruce, attorney for his father.
It is not known at what time he came to Bavington and opened a store, but in 1795 he moved to Burgett's Town, where he lived till his death. He was a bachelor, short in stature and thick set, with but one eye. In his leisure hours he was given to rhyming, and wrote many poems, which were published in the Western Telegraphe, over the signature of "The Scots Irishmen." They were afterwards gathered together and published in a volume by John Colerick, of Washington. Mr. Bruce was administrator and executor of several estates, postmaster of the town. He died in 1830, and was buried in the churchyard of the United Presbyterian Church. Mr. Bruce had accumulated considerable village property, in addition to that hereafter mentioned as purchased of Mr. Burgett. One lot No. 49, out-lot No. 1, fifty-five acres on the "West Radius" tract, sold by Mr. Burgett to George Maxwell. This property is now mostly owned by M. M. Brockman, the Rev. John Hood, and the United Presbyterian society. Another tract of eighteen acres he purchased May 24, 1806. His books, manuscripts, and papers were placed in possession of a Mrs. Smith, who later moved into Beaver County.
On the 17th of May, 1797, George Burgett advertised to the purchasers of lots in the town of West Boston to "come forward for their deeds," and in the same advertisement he advertised the saw- and grist-mill for sale. Three days later, May 10th, the deed of Mr. Bruce was executed. The following is a list of lots sold by George Burgett, with the date of the deeds, to 1802. They were all subject to ground-rents: May 19, 1797, David Bruce, lot No. 1, 45 5s; Sept. 12, 1797, John Black, lot No. 5 $5; Jan. 27, 1798, George Day, Jr., lots Nos. 28, 29, $8; Feb. 21, 1798, James McConnell, lot No. 31, $2; May 20, 1799, David Bruce, lots Nos. 25, 26, 27, $15; ; lot No. 49, $5. out-lot No. 1, two acres, $13.50; Aug. 21, 1801, Thomas Ross, lots Nos. 4, 50, $11; lots Nos. 42, 44, 45, $12, each one-quarter of an acre; Aug. 19, 1801, James G. Ward, lot No. 20, $50; Jan. 13, 1802, Robert McClelland, lots Nos. 39, 40, 41, $10.
In March, 1801, Peter Kidd, surveyor, laid out another portion of West Boston into lots, the addition being beyond Water Street in lots from fifty-seven to eighty-two, and out-lots from the village from No. 1 to 12. Nos. 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, each contained two acres, Nos. 5, 9, 10, 11, each three acres, No. 4 two and a half acres, and No. 12 half an acre. The following names are of purchasers of lots of George Burgett, and are given in order of purchase: Daniel Gorman, Ezekiel Shipley, Richard Donaldson, Jacob Myers, Robert Bowland, Benjamin Shipley, Thomas Thompson, James Leech, George Maxwell, Andrew Stephenson, John Fulton, Margaret McDonald, John Yeamer, Samuel Hines, trustees of Burgettstown School, Rowland Rogers, James Wiley, William Lindsey, Robert Bowland, Jr., Roxanna Burgett, Allen Huston, John Rankin, Joseph Caldwell, Mary Sanderson, James Stephenson, James Brooks, George Hamilton, Moses Stephenson, Robert Ritchie, John Vance, and Joseph Caldwell. The last lots sold by him were on the 4th and 5th of June, 1810, to Joseph Caldwell, and consisted of lots 11, 12, 15, 38, and No. 12 of out-lots. About this time Mr. Burgett removed to Jefferson County, Ohio, and later to Richland County of the same State. George Day, who received his deed for a lot in 1798, was a tanner, and on his lot he had erected a tannery, before 1793, as it was assessed to him that year, which was kept in operation many years, and in 1796 he kept a tavern. Robert McClelland, who bought a lot in 1802, was also a tanner. On the 21st of January, 1808, Rowland Rogers bought lots 2, 3, and eleven acres of land, including the mill property and privileges; this he ran till the sale to Freegift Crawford. He was licensed to keep a tavern in 1803, and continued till 1815. On the 21st of January 1808, he purchased of George Burgett lots Nos. 2, 3, and eleven acres of land, including the mill property and privileges, and becamd the miller for the town from that time till the sale of the mill property to Freegift Crawford. Caleb Russell, who owned land adjoining the town, bought lots in the town, and in 1804 opened a tavern, which he kept till his death in 1809. Margaret McDonald, on the 16th of August, 1806, purchased lots 34 and 35, built thereon a house, took out a tavern license, and opened a public-house in September of that year, which she kept till 1809. The next year she bought lots 36, 7 and 17. Joseph Caldwell also opened a tavern in 1806, which continued till 1815. George McKeag was a schoolteacher, and lived here before 1799 and bought lot No. 19 of some of the citizens, and on the 15th of October of that year sold it to Peter Kidd. Thomas Thompson, also a lot-owner from Mr. Burgett, was following the occupation of tailor in 1800. In 1807, Robert Rowland, David Bruce, Robert Ritchie, St. Clair Sutherland, and James Briceland were merchants. James Alexander, David Wigley, and Allen Huston were saddlers. Thomas Huston, Charles Henry, and Thomas Thompson were tailors. About 1808, Jesse Spencer and John Maxwell came to the town; they were hatters. Spencer lived where his daughter Cornelia now resides; Maxwell in a house by the coal bank. The tannery of George Day was carried on by Elijah Ramsey, _____Standish, and last by Milo Laflin, under whom it was discontinued. He also carried on a shoe-shop. Alexander McCready was a shoemaker, and traveled around the country with his stock and tools and worked among the farmers. He also had a shop in town, where the wagon-shop now stands, south of John Nichol's house. Ebenezer boyce before 1828 kept a cabinet-shop.
Thomas Miller, son of Samuel Miller, of Hickory, was in the town before 1810, where he kept a tavern, and on the 1st of January, 1811, became the first postmaster of Burgettstown. He was a drover, and later bought a farm out of town. In the year 1819, when returning home from Philadelhia, where he had been with a drove of cattle, he was taken sick and died. He had resided for at time in Hickory, and kept a tavern in that place, and was captain of a company organized there for the war of 1812. They, however, saw no service. Mrs. John P. Woods, of Burgettstown, is the daughter of Thomas Miller.
About 1820 a pottery was owned by John Franks, later by Hunter, who sold to Robert Brown, who in 1838 sold to John P. Woods, by whom it was operated till 1859, when it was discontinued and dismantled. About 1828 a woolen-mill was erected opposite Dr. Connan's present residence. It was owned by George Graham, and was burned a short time after its erection. In 1833 a second one was built near where David Pry's store now stands. It is owned and was operated by the Parkers for many years, but is now idle.
In April, 1810, David Jones was a blacksmith, and advertised "to give six cents and one box of cinders for the apprehension of his apprentice, Samuel Fisher. He has blue eyes, gallows' look, and evil disposed." It is now shown that the reward was ever claimed.
A public well from an early time had been in used in the town in the centre of the street at the four corners. For some reason complaint was made concerning it to such an extent that the matter was made a subject of legislation, and on the 26th of April, 1826, an act passed the General Assembly of Pennsylvania "that the public well at Burgettstown, in Washington County, in the public square, shall not be held a nuisance, but to remain the property of the inhabitants. On a petition of a majority of the taxable inhabitants to the Quarter Sessions for Washington County, setting forth that the same has become a nuisance, the judges may direct the supervisors of the town or of the township to remove the same." This well was filled up about 1830.
Alexander Kidd, a son of William Kidd, of Robinson township, lived in Burgettstown, on Lot No. 19, opposite of the "Cross Keys" tavern. He learned the trade of carpenter, married Mary, daughter of James Pyle, and settled in Burgettstown. In 1823 he was captain of the Burgettstown Volunteer Rifle Company. In 1835 he was elected justice of the peace and served several terms. He was active in the interests of the town and all public movements. He died Nov. 19, 1853. Mrs. A. J. Link and Miss Margaret Kidd, residents of Burgettstown, are his daughters.
The brick home now owned and occupied by Joseph Robinson was erected by the townspeople about 1834 for church and school purposes. The school directors of Smith township were under obligation to keep it in repairs. It was on ground donated for that purpose by Dr. Stephen Smith. Services were held therein by the different denominations until their respective churches were built, since which time and the building of the public schools it had been disused and was sold.
Dr. Donnan, one of the oldest residents of Burgettstown, gives the following description of the place as it appeared in 1837: A hotel was kept by Robert Bowlan where the building now stands on the corner of Main and Washington Streets, south of D. M. Pry's store. A store kept by Thomas Gormley was in the old Bowlan House. George and Thomas Shipley also had a store in the Brydges House. John and Andrew Provines kept a blacksmith-shop where James Carnahan now keeps. The post-office was at Jesse Spencer's hat-store, where his daughter, Miss Cornelia Spencer, now lives. Mails were received twice a week by the mail carrier from Washington to Georgetown.
The house of Andrew Burgett, where Robert K. Scott now lives, was a noted resort for travelers through that section. School was taught in the brick house now owned by Joseph Robinson. The woolen-factory (the second one) was then operated by Isaac Parker, and later by his son Benjamin. The pottery located above the present residence of Dr. Donnan was then run by Robert Brown. He sold it the next year, and opened a hotel at the Brydges House. Ebenezer Boyce was a justice of the peace (first elected in 1828); had his office in his house above Carnahan's blacksmith-shop. Denny Irons kept a hotel where Russell's store now stands. Lewis Leopold was a stone-mason, and is yet living. The grist-mill was then run by Thomas Crawford. Irwin Ackleson kept a tailor-shop in the Parker house, and John Stephenson in a house opposite Harper's dentist office. John Doughtery made and repaired wagons in the house now occupied by Mr. Morgan. Isaac Parker lived in the hewed log house south of Mr. Hood's hotel, and which was torn down in November, 1831.
The Burgettstown post-office was established April 25, 1810, to take effect Jan. 1, 1811. Thomas Miller was the first postmaster appointed. His successors were and have been M. S. Stephenson, 1820; S. J. Perry, 1821; David Bruce, July 1, 1822, to July 1, 1830; Dr. Stephen Smith, July 1, 1830, to 1834; Jesse Spencer, 1834 to 1864; Leander Robb; Samuel Wilson, 1866 to 1874; David M. Pry; John W. Pry, the present incumbent.
Old Burgettstown contains at the present time three stores, one hotel, three churches, town hall, public school, post-office, printing-office, steam grist-mill, steam saw- and planing-mill, photograph gallery, two blacksmiths, livery-stable, wagon-maker, shoe-maker, two market-houses, three dress-makers and milliners, one dentist, and three physicians.
The new town which has sprung up (chiefly within the past fifteen years) on the line of the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and St. Louis Railroad, about one mile north of Old Burgettstown, and which, together with the old town, has recently been formed and incorporated into the borough of Burgettstown, was started in 1854, as a result of the then recently projected construction of the Pittsburgh and Steubenville Railroad, the route of which was here identical with that of the present Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and St. Louis line, above mentioned. The project for building the road began to be strongly agitated and urged in 1852-53, and in 1854 the new town north of Old Burgettstown was laid out and called "Abeline." It was located on land owned by Deacon Whittaker. Except the survey of the town, nothing was done until near the completion of the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and St. Louis Railway in 1865. In the latter part of 1864, A. S. Berryhill started a store, and in the following spring a station and depot was opened. J. L. Patterson was appointed station and express agent. A post-office was established in this year, 1865, designated as Cardville. The first postmaster appointed was John D. McCabe, who was succeeded by John C. Ralston and George M. Miller, the present postmaster. Business increased rapidly, and at present three large warehouses are carried on, and the place is rapidly increasing as a stock, wool, and grain market, and is now equal to any shipping point between Pittsburgh and Columbus. The new town contains at present four general-stores, a drug-store, two hardware-stores, a jewelry-store, two merchant tailors, boot- and shoe-store, variety store, furniture establishment, two blacksmith-shops, tin-shop, market, three wool- and grain-warehouses, a carriage-factory, harness-shop, livery-stable, lumber-yard, two hotels, a bank, railroad depot, express- and telegraph-office, post-office, printing-office, insurance-office, three millinery-stores, two sewing-machine agencies, two music dealers, two physicians, and one dentist.
The Burgettstown National Bank was organized on the 2d of March, 1872, under the name of the Burgettstown Savings-Bank, with the following-named directors: J. L. Proudfit, J. L. Patterson, A. S. Berryhill, T. W. Bradley, and Robert Scott. J. L. Proudfit was elected president, and J. L. Patterson, secretary and treasurer. The bank had a capital stock of $10,000, which was increased from time to time until it reached $50,000, its deposits having reached $100,000. The banking-office was in the grocery-store of A. S. Berryhill until the completion of the present banking-office in the summer of 1874. In the winter of 1878-79 the bank closed business for the purpose of reorganizing under the National Banking Law. This was accomplished Jan. 23, 1879. The property of the savings-bank was purchased, and the national bank was organized by the election of Directors J. L. Proudfit, W. L. Archer, C. Campbell, Samuel Scott, A. H. Kerr, J. C. Ralston, and J. P. Leech. The directors elected J. L. Proudfit president; W. L. Archer, vice-president; J. L. Patterson, cashier; and J. P. Kelso, clerk. The capital stock was $50,000, which was increased in 1880 to $80,000. The first discount day of the national bank was Feb. 20, 1879. The present amount of deposits is $160,000. The present officers are J. L. Proudfit, president; W. L. Archer, vice-president; J. L. Patterson, cashier; J. P. Kelso, clerk; directors J. L. Proudfit, A. H. Kerr, c. Campbell, J. D. Leech, J. J. Carruthers, Samuel Scott, W. L. Archer.
Brough of Burgettstown.---At a meeting of the citizens of Burgettstown, held pursuant to notice a the town hall in March, 1877, for the purpose of taking measures for the erection of the borough of Burgettstown, to be composed of Old Burgettstown and Cardville, D. S. Walker was chosen chairman and F. McFarland secretary. After discussion, Findley Patterson, J. L. Patterson, and M. W. Murray were appointed a committee to take the initiatory steps to procure the incorporation of the proposed borough. This committee never reported, no meeting was called, and the subject was held in abeyance till July, 1880, when another meeting was called, and J. L. Patterson, J. L. Proudfit, S. J. Ghrist, William Melvin, J.P. Donnan, H. B. McMurray, and M. R. Allen were appointed to secure a survey and present the proper petition to the court. This committee performed their duties, and on the 8th December, 1880, gave notice that application would be made to the Court of Quarter Sessions of Washington County at the January term, 1881, "to incorporate the village of Burgettstown, including that portion thereof which lies at and around Burgettstown Station." The grand jury passed favorably upon the petition on the 12th January, 1881, and the court confirmed the action on the 23d of March, following, and further provided that a special election be held at the town hall, April 5, 1881, for the election of borough officers, at which time the following were elected: Burgess, C. M. Elder; Councilmen, Dr., W. W. Riddle, B. F. McClure, S. J. Ghrist, W. H. Witherspoon, J. P. Donnan, and W. S. Fulton; School Directors, R. T. C. Stephenson, W. P. Vance, William Melvin, James Carnahan, and William Blair; Auditor, T. L. McClelland; Assessor and Constable, M. W. McMurry. Upon the organization of the Council, J. P. Donnan was chosen president, and the following appointments were made: M. R. Allen, clerk; J. L. Patterson, treasurer; John Hemphill, street commissioner; M. W. McMurry, collector.
Physicians.---The first practitioner of medicine in this section of the county of whom anything is known was Dr. Ebenezer Jennings, a son of the Rev. Jacob Jennings. He was a descendant of the Pilgrims, but a native of New Jersey, where his father lived and practiced as a physician until he was licensed by the Reformed Dutch Church and received by the Presbytery of Redstone April 17, 1792, at which time the Rev. Jacob Jennings removed to Dunlap's Creek, Fayette Co.: his two sons, Obadiah Jennings (later know both as lawyer and divine) and Ebenezer, the one above mentioned, coming with him. He studied and practiced medicine in the East, and soon after coming to this county settled in Smith township, and resided at the house of Judge James Edgar for some years. Upon his marriage he purchased a small farm about two miles east of Burgettstown, from where he continued to practice till his death. He was elected a member of the General Assembly in 1806-7, and during the first year of his residence at the capital he became interested in the treatise of Dr. Jenner on vaccination, and at the close of the term visited Philadelphia, obtained some virus, and on his return vaccinated his own children and others. On his return to the Legislature the next session, but arduous labors, he procured the passage of a bill providing for the vaccination of the poor. His health became impaired by his exertions, and although renominated for another term he declined, and on the 21st November, 1808, he died, aged thirty-three years, beloved and respected by all. He left property consisting of five hundred acres of land in Beaver County, eighty acres of land where he resided until a short time before his death, and one house and two lots in Burgettstown. His executors were Thomas Smith, Robert Bowland, and Obadiah Jennings. The property was left in trust with them for his three children, ---Maria, Samuel C., and Jacob, and provided for their education; and in case one or both of the sons desired a classical education, a sufficient amount to meet the circumstances was to be taken from the estate. Rev. Samuel C. Jennings, one of the sons, is now pastor of a Presbyterian Church in Allegheny County.
Dr. Thomas Hersey advertised in the Reporter (Washington) under date Feb. 10, 1812, that he "offers his professional services to the people of Burgettstown." He delivered an oration on the 4th of July the same year, at a celebration held in the town. How long he remained there is not known.
Dr. Samuel J. Perry was a resident of the town before 1821, as in that year he was postmaster, but little is known of him. At one time he lived where Dr. Harper lives, and later where Dr. Donnan resides. He died about 1830.
Dr. Stephen Smith came to Burgettstown about 1826. He succeeded David Bruce as postmaster in 1830. About 1832 he went to Florence, remained there till about 1840, and moved to Virginia. As a physician he was well and favorably known, and had a wide practice in the vicinity.
Dr. Mossman was a resident of the town five years prior to 1837, and in the spring of that year removed to Peoria, Ill., where he lived for several years.
Dr. Joseph Campbell kept a drug-store in the old Bruce House, now William Melvin.
Dr. William Donnan, a son of the Rev. Alexander Donnan, born in Scotland, came to this country with his father in 1818, and in the next year settled at Hickory. He studied medicine with Dr. Stephenson in Canonsburg, and Dr. Hewitson, of St. Clairsville, Ohio; attended lectures at Jefferson Medical College, under Pros. McClelland, Pattison, Woods, and Reeves; commenced practice at Burgettstown in 1837, and has been actively engaged in the duties of his profession here from that time to the present.
Dr. T. W. Bradley studied medicine with Dr. P. H. McCullough, of Rumley, Ohio; graduated at Sterling Medical College, Ohio, in 1851; commenced practice in Florence in 1844, before graduation; came to Burgettstown in 1856, and has been in practice here from that time until the present.
Dr. G. W. Bell studied medicine with Dr. W. L. Wilson, of Beallsville; attended lectures in 1853 at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia; graduated in March, 1858; commenced practice in Burgettstown in 1854, and has remained there in practice to the present.
Dr. W. V. Riddle studied medicine with Dr. T. W. Bradley. In the winter of 1863-64 he attended lectures at Ann Arbor, Mich.; commenced practice at Candor in 1864; remained there about five years, and in 1869 removed to Pittsburgh. About one year later he removed to Burgettstown, where he commenced practice April 1, 1870, and has since remained there as one of the physicians of the town.
Dr. W. T. Miller was a medical student with Dr. M. R. Banks, at Livermore, Westmoreland Co., Pa., graduated at Cleveland, Ohio, in 1881, and in that year commenced practice in Burgettstown, where he is now located in the business of his profession.
The Burgettstown Call, a five-column folio, fourteen by twenty inches, was established by M. R. Allen, as an independent journal. The first number was issued on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 1881, and was the first paper ever printed in Burgettstown. It now (February, 1882) has a circulation of seven hundred.
The Burgettstown Enterprise was started as a monthly journal in March, 1878, by C. Knepper, proprietor and business manager, and J. P. Donnan, local editor. It remained as a monthly until March 1, 1881, at which time it was changed to a weekly. At the time of the change, J. P. Donnan retired from the editorship and was succeeded by M. R. Allen. This paper was printed at Mansfield, Allegheny Co., from its commencement until Aug. 10, 1881, when it was printed at Burgettstown Station, as at the present time. It is now under the management of the Enterprise Publishing Company, J. H. Cramer, business manager. Its circulation is about six hundred and twenty-five.
Richard Vaux Lodge, No. 454, F. and A. M.--A charter having been granted to this society Dec. 1, 1869. the persons designated therein met on the 21st of January, 1870, and were regularly constituted as above named, and with the following officers: G. T. McCord, W. M.; J. B. Hays, S. W.; R. T. C. Stephenson, J. W. The meetings of the society are now held in the town hall building. The membership is at present fifty-one. J. L. Scott, W. M.; William Melvin, Sec.
Cardville Lodge, No. 407, I. O. of O. F.-- The date of organization has not been ascertained. J. Z. McBride is the president Noble Grand, and A. J. Smith the secretary. The meetings of the society are held in the town hall buildings.
Burgettstown Grange, No. 480, P. of H.--Organized December, 1874. J. B. Hays, W. M.; W. K. Lyle, Overseer; O. R. Cook, Lecturer; R. C. T. Stephenson, Sec.; Members, J. C. Shipley, R. Campbell, John Russell, William Proudfit, Robert Vance, M. L. Cook, Andrew Boyd, John Vance, J. M. Stephenson, W. T. Shipley, A. J. Link, W. O. Stephenson, J. B. Hawley, Ladus C. W. Stephenson, E. A. Proudfit, Mary Hugo, O. A. Stephenson, Mrs. W. K. Lyle, E. V. Shipley, Kate E. Cook, E. B. Russell, M. H. Shipley, M. J. Vance, Andrew Proudfit, John Dimmet, Samuel Pyle, William Dunbar.
Presbyterian Church of Burgettstown.-- The people of this vicinity in sympathy with the Presbyterian faith were members of the Cross-Roads Presbyterian Church (now Florence). The first action taken in reference to the organization of a society at this place is found on record in the minutes of the Washington Presbytery bearing date Dec. 30, 1828, as follows:
"A memorial was presented by the inhabitants of Burgettstown and vicinity, praying the appointment of a committee of this Presbytery to confer with a committee of the Ohio Presbytery respecting the propriety of forming a congregation near the aforesaid village. On motion resolved that the petition in the memorial not be granted. Dr. A. Wylie and Mr. McCluskey were appointed to embody the reasons which influenced the Presbytery in passing the above resolution and to transmit them to the people."
No further effort seems to have been made for many years towards the permanent establishment of a Presbyterian Church in this immediate locality. In the year 1845 a Presbyterian church edifice was erected on the hill where the cemetery now is, in connection with the congregation of Florence, then under the pastorate of the Rev. Joel Stoneroad. Agreeably to a resolution of the citizens of Burgettstown and vicinity, an application was made to the Presbytery of Washington at its meeting at the Forks of Wheeling on the first Tuesday of October, 1849, praying for an organization of a congregation at Burgettstown, which petition was not granted. A complaint against which action was taken by Robert Patterson and others to the Synod of Wheeling, which met at Steubenville on the third Tuesday of October, 1849, at which time and place an order for organization was granted. The Rev. Joel Stoneroad was appointed by the Presbytery of Washington to organize the congregation. Having assembled for that purpose in the 18th of October, 1849, an organization was effected by the reception of sixty members, all of whom were members of the congregation of Cross-Roads (Florence). The following were elected elders: Thomas Thompson, Robert Patterson, John S. Lamb, William Cunningham, and John Moore. On the 4th of April, 1850, a call was extended to the Rev. James P. Fulton, of the Presbytery of Ohio, which was accepted. The Presbytery of Washington met at Burgettstown on the 1st of October, 1850, and on the next day the Rev. James P. Fulton was ordained and installed pastor of this congregation. He remained in charge until the spring of 1857, when he sent in his resignation, which was accepted.
The Rev. James T. Fredricks preached his first sermon at this place on the second Sabbath of February, 1858. On the 28th of April he received and accepted their call. He was ordained and installed on the 26th of October following, and from that time to the present has been the pastor. The first church edifice was enlarged in 1860, and again about 1868. In 1873 the present brick structure was erected, sixty by ninety, with a seating capacity of eight hundred, and at a cost of $25,000. The highest membership at any one time has been four hundred and forty-five; its present membership is three hundred.
A Sunday-school was established before 1840, and the church was the outgrowth of it. Robert Patterson, an elder in the Cross-Roads Church, was for many years superintendent, and others were connected with him. D. M. Pry, and elder in the Burgettstown Church, was a very successful superintendent for ten or twelve years. J. L. Patterson now presides over the school. It contains at present two hundred pupils. The elders since the first day have been S. P. Riddle, Josiah Scott, W. W. Van Emen, Finley Scott, John L. Proudfit, J. L. Patterson, John L. Rankin, D. M. Pry, W. W. Riddle, W. McFarland, A. E. Walker. The present elders are J. L. Patterson, J. L. Rankin, and D. M. Pry.
This church has been one of the most successful in Western Pennsylvania. There have been but two communions under the pastorate of the Rev. J. T. Fredericks in which some accessions have not been received. Within the last ten years four hundred and forty have been received into the church.
Burgettstown United Presbyterian Church.--- The congregation now known as the United Presbyterian Church of Burgettstown, Pa., belonged originally to the Associate Presbyterian branch of that church. It is now impossible to fix the date of its organization, if indeed it was ever formally organized. But it first appears as a congregation about the year 1800, at which time it was supplied with preaching, in connection with the congregation of Hickory, by the Associate Presbytery of Chartiers. Rev. (afterward Dr.) William C. Brownlee took charge of it in connection with Hickory about the year 1809. This pastorate continued about three and one-half years, when he left of Philadelphia, and afterwards removed to New York, where he united with the Dutch Reformed Church. The next pastor was Rev. Alexander Donnan, from Ireland, who had charge of it in connection with the congregation of Hickory at a salary of $500 from June 1, 1818, to June 6, 1840. He relinquished at that time the charge of Burgettstown to give his whole time to Hickory. The congregation continued without a pastor until 1845, when the Rev. Robert J. Hammond, who had bee settled in Albany, N. Y., became their pastor, at a salary of $350, which was afterwards increased to $400. He resigned and was released in the year 1857. The Rev. S. H. Graham, the next pastor, commenced his labors among them in April, 1862, and was ordained and installed their pastor August 12th of that year. In 1868, Mr. Graham accepted a call from a congregation in New York and was released. In the same year the Rev. John Hood accepted their call and became their pastor. The pastorate continued until April, 1878, when he resigned and was released. The present pastor, D. W. Carson, was installed in October of that year.
The first elders whose names appear on the roll of the session (thought without record of the time of their election or installation) are John Coventry, William Baily, from York County, Pa., Joseph Philles, William Donaldson, from Ireland, Nathan Porter, William Smith, James Brown, James Leech, and James Keys. In 1819, John McBurney, A. Hunter, and Robert Harvey were ordained as elders. In 1837, Joseph McNary, William Wilson, samuel Livingston, and Joshua Pyles. In 1839, William Galbraith, Sr., William Caldwell, and James McCalmont. In 1851, Samuel B. Shillito and John Ferguson. In 1863, Robert Scott and James McNary, who were received from the congregation of Mount Vernon at its dissolution, were chosen and installed, together with John Keys, William H. Witherspoon, M. R. Welsh, and W. R. Galbraith, who were also ordained at the same time. The session at present consists of John Ferguson (died February, 1882), Robert Scott, W. R. Galbraith, W. H. Witherspoon, and M. R. Welsh; Mr. John Keys, who is still a member, having resigned on account of bodily infirmities.
The earliest roll of members extant, though it is without date, numbers sixty-two members, with the following family names: Andrews, Brown, Cavert, Coventry, Donaldson, Ferguson, Keys, Leech, Nelson, Philles, and Smith. The roll of members in 1876 numbered two hundred and twenty. In consequence of some difficulties in which the congregation became involved through a heavy debt contracted in building a new house of worship, quite a number of members left about that time. These difficulties were also the occasion of the resignation and release of Mr. Hood in 1878. The present membership is two hundred and fifteen. The first house of worship, like that of all the churches in the same region at the same time, was a cabin of unhewed logs seated with slabs. During the summer season the congregation usually worshipped in open air, a wooden tent serving as a pulpit for the minister. On the 13th of October, 1826, Robert Coventry, Robert Tenan, and Thomas Philles, trustees of the Associate Congregation of Burgettstown, purchased one acre and one hundred and twelve perches of land of James Miller, it being "a lot of land on which a church is erected." In 1845, the date of Mr. Hammond's settlement, a neat and substantial frame building, fifty-four by forty-four feet, and sixteen feet in height, was erected at a cost of $1040 in money, besides the lumber from the old building. This building was located about a half a mile east of the village. It was afterwards moved into the village. In 1873 the present house was erected, at a cost of about $27,000.
Methodist Episcopal Chruch.---For many years the people of this place who inclined to the Methodist belief were dependent upon occasional visits from the preachers of the Florence Circuit. At first services were held in the old wollen-factory. After the brick school-house was built services were held with more frequency, and in later years with regularity. In the summer of 1872 the society erected a church edifice at a cost of fifteen hundred dollars. They now have forty members, and are connected with the Midway and Noblestown charge. A list of the pastors who have served in this connection will be found in the Methodist Church of Midway, Robinson township.
Centre United Presbyterian Church.--- This church edifice is situated in the southeastern corner of Smith township. It was organized in May, 1859, by Rev. J. C. Campbell, who was appointed for the purpose of Chartiers Presbytery. The elders elected at the organization were Jacob George, Thomas Stevenson, John Campbell, and John D. Reed. The first trustees were Robert McBurney, Jabob George, and John Campbell. At the organization there were fifty-eight members, fifty-three being received on certificate and five on examination. They held their services for a time in Mr. John Campbell's barn, but soon prepared for building a church. At a cost of two thousand five hundred dollars they built a frame church forty-six by sixty feet, which was finished and occupied the first time on the third Sabbath of February, 1860. On the 28th of January, 1862, they called Mr. D. S. Kennedy to become their pastor. He was installed and ordained on the 4th of September, 1862. This relationship continued ten years and six months, closing on the 13th of October, 1872. On the 10th of June, 1861, Mr. Robert McBurney and William Keys were ordained and installed as ruling elders. Mr. James McCalmont was added to the eldership Jan. 23, 1863. Fourteen persons in all have been elders here. At present there are six, viz., William Berry, James McCalmont, W. C. Aiken, J. G. Wilson, William A. Dickson, and J. S. Epsey. The present pastor, J. B. Waddell, is the second whom the congregation has had. He preached his first sermon at Center on the first Sabbath of January, 1873. He was called on the 30th of January, 1873, and took charge of the congregation, May 1, 1873, and still continues pastor. The congregation now numbers one hundred and fifty-three members; has a Sabbath-school of over one hundred scholars, and owns a parsonage with ten acres of land, worth four thousand dollars.
The original ground for church and graveyard was donated by Mr. John Campbell. His son, William C. Campbell, afterward gave some additional ground for the graveyard, but this too is now filled with graves, and the trustees have recently bought more land from Mr. W. C. Campbell.
Mount Vernon Associate Reformed Church.--- A society formed of people of this denomination was organized in 1829 in the southwestern part of the township, on the line between Smith and Mount Pleasant. In 1832 a brick edifice fifty by fifty-six feet was erected on land of James Leech. The society worshiped here under the ministrations of the Rev. S. Taggart until the formation of the United Presbyterian denomination, when the society went down and the church building was sold in 1859 to J. P. Leech, who now owns it.
Schools of the Township.1---The earliest school taught in the township was at the close of the Revolutionary war by William Lowrie, a surveyor and a soldier of that war, on that part of the Rankin tract owned by the estate of Andrew McFarland, within the present limits of No. 7 District. Mr. Lowrie died in Beaver County, Pa.
[1By William Melvin.]
A surveyor named Sinclair taught some time before 1800 within the limits of No. 3, as it stood previous to June, 1881. Mr. Sinclair's name is found in the early land records. The names of James Cresswell, Robert Colvill, and Nathaniel Jenkins appear on the assessment-roll of the township in 1796 as teachers. Where they taught is not known.
A school was taught in Burgettstown in 1798-99 by George McKaig. He afterwards taught (in 1803) in a house standing in land now owned by Prof. S. C. And John Farrar. John Burnett taught in No. 4 in 1806, on land owned by John Ferguson, Esq. John Smith taught in 1806. In 1807 the teachers were William Grant, James Lee, George McKaig, Henry Robinson, and John Smith. Mr. Smith taught on the Rankin tract.
In 1808, Henry Robinson taught on land of Jesse Campbell, now owned by Pressley Leech in No. 8. Dr. Joseph Campbell taught in 1808 on land of Capt. John B. Hays in No. 2. He also taught in the same place in 1812. John Crooks and John Vasbinder were teachers in Burgettstown before the school law of 1834 went into operation. The schools and their teachers previous to the time that the free school system went into operation were as follows: Burgettstown, Henry Robinson, Robert Patterson, Anthony Gallagher (1817), Mr. Hatch, Mr. Tellfair, Dr. Joseph Campbell, Rev. Joseph McLain, Rev. Foster, Samuel Douthett and his sister, and Mr. Brakeman; Miss Potter, afterwards the wife of Dr. Marshall. Hamilton, Washington Carter, Sallie Taylor, Miss Sibella Galbraith (afterwards the wife of Rev. Middleton), Dr. Sweeney, Houston Walker and Joseph Buchanan. Two schools were frequently in operation at the same time. Henry Robinson taught fourteen years in all in Burgettstown.
At the house on Capt. J. B. Hays' farm, resides Dr. Campbell, were William Conynghan (1817) and Anthony Gallagher. At the Kerr school, on lad of James Kerr, now owned by John Dinsmore, George Cunningham (suppose to be the first or among the first), Samuel Douthett, Sr., Aaron Aten, William Haney, Levi Hays, Samuel Dickey, Solomon Spindler, and the late Rev. Alexander McCarrell, D.D., of Claysville, Pa. A house stood on land now owned by John Vance in No. 3. John Matthews is the only teacher reported, and he was among the early teachers; he taught Latin and other high branches.
In No. 10, on land now owned by Isaac Simpson, John McCreary taught in 1825. Other teachers were Reuben Rich, James Hays, Thomas Clelland, and James Hoge. At the Cross-Roads, near the same place, Henry Robinson and Adam Rankin are reported. In No. 7, in addition to those reported, was Mr. Shellcock, who taught before 1812. The late William Galbraith, Esq., began to teach in 1817, and quit about 1840. Most of his teaching was in No. 7. He was reported as one of the best in his time. He was one of the examiners after the school law went into operation.
In the house that was built in 1825 on land of Joseph Vance, now Samuel G. Scott's , in No. 9, John Stephenson, John Crooks, Nathaniel Wilson, T.T. Camby, John Hartry, and Dr. Joseph Campbell. In a house that was on a farm now owned by John L. Proudfit, Esq., near school No 10, John Stewart, Nancy Bert, C. Shepherd, Tillie White, William Pyles, Ann Pyles, and Sylvester Robb. Other teachers, whose places of teaching are not mentioned, are David Hays, Robert Lee, David Galbraith, Hugh Barton, James Geary, and James Hays. Henry Robinson's teaching extends from 1807 until some time in 1842. In 1841 he taught in No. 8. His last term was in the Rankin district, Mount Pleasant township. Dr. Joseph Campbell's teaching extends through a period not quite so long, being from 1807 until 1837. He practiced medicine part of the time. William Galbraith's extends from 1817 until about 1840.
There are many teachers, no doubt, who deserve honorable mention, but they do not appear to be remembered to be handed down to succeeding generations.
The first land leased for school purposed was by George Burgett to David Bruce, Robert Boland, and James Wiley, trustees of the Burgettstown school, and their successors for the uses of said school a lot of ground No. 45, in the town of West Boston, bounded by Liberty Street and a lot of Joseph Caldwell, dated April 23, 1807. The house in now occupied by Mr. John Divitt. A lot of ground was leased by Dr. Stephen Smith in Burgettstown, on Washington Street (now Main), for church and school purposes. The house is brick, built in 1834 by Edward Downing, of Hickory. School closed when the house was needed for preaching. When the county commissioners were holding their triennial assessments appeals they were asked to contribute for the building; they did so, and gave their days' wages. The house is now owned and occupied by Mr. Joseph Robinson, an nephew of Henry Robinson, the teacher.
Much interest was manifested in the cause of education, and when the location of school buildings is asked for, you are told that one stood here, and one there, etc., all over the different portions of the township. If buildings used for school purposes were restored, Smith township would be thickly dotted with school-houses.
Smith township accepted the school law in the year of its passage, though there was considerable opposition to accepting its provisions. A part of the opposition was by men who were in favor of education, but were opposed to the policy of the immediate construction of new houses. On the day appointed to vote on its adoption the voters assembled in Burgettstown. The day being wet, and no room in the town large enough to hold them, they went to the covered bridge at the foot of Pittsburgh Street, near the steam-mill; all favorable to the law went to one end of the bridge, and those opposed went to the other. Robert Patterson, Esq., the leading spirit in the movement, and one of the early teachers heretofore mentioned, was the first president of the new school board, and Nathaniel Hunter the first secretary. Mr. Hunter was the last survivor of the original board, dying in 1879 in Jefferson County, Ohio.
Directors previous to 1843 were Robert Patterson, Esq., Nathaniel Hunter, Hon. James Keys, Jesse Spencer, Alexander Kidd, John Neal, Garrett Van Eman, Thomas Bavington, David Cook, Alexander Hays, Joseph McNary, James Dunbar, and Isaac Morgan. No others were reported. Robert Patterson Esq., was president in 1840; Garrett Van Eman was treasurer in 1837; John L. Proudfit, Esq., collector, and Alexander S. Berryhill, treasurer, in 1840. Isaac Morgan was treasurer at one time.
The township was divided into nine sub-districts. The log edifices then in use gave way to neat frame buildings, excepting in Nos. 1 and 7, where brick houses were built. From the school reports it appears that the free-school system did not go into effect immediately upon its adoption. In the State superintendent's report for the year ending Dec. 31., 1836, Smith township is credited with eight schools, and having received from the State appropriation $209.76 for 1836-37, and $99.48 for former years, but nothing for the county or district, and the schools not reported in operation. The $99.48 received must have been a part of the first State appropriation, distributed Jan. 12, 1835.
In the report for Dec. 31, 1837, eight schools are reported and one required. Three months taught; teacher, seven male and one female; salary of males, $20 per month; females, $14 per month; scholars, male 152; female, 136; cost of instruction, 54 cents. Receipts, district tax, $459; State appropriation, $732.97; county $355; $462 spent for instruction; three houses, $225. In the report for the year ending Dec. 31, 1838, the report for Smith township is not complete. Four schools are reported, seven houses in use, and two required. Receipts, for buildings, $644.70; from State appropriation, $322.19; county, $117.41; district, 185.10. The nine houses were all built previous to 1840. No. 1, Burgettstown, was built, as before stated, in 1834. Houston Walker, afterwards a minister in the Secession Church, taught the first school (a select) in it. The house was conveyed to the directors, they keeping it in repair, but the prior right to occupy it for church purposes was retained. James Logan taught two public terms in it in 1838 and 1839, and is probably the first of the public school teachers in Burgettstown. In 1865 the school was graded. Mr. and Mrs. Van B. Baker were the teachers. But one teacher was employed in 1866.
In 1868 a two-story frame of four rooms was built, and the school was permanently graded, George T. McCord, principal, and Miss Kate Ghrist (now Mrs. J. R. McNary, of Smith township), assistant. In 1869 another department was added, H. S. Phillips, principal, and Miss Carrie A. Brockman (now Mrs. Robert E. Hill, of East Liverpool, Ohio) and Miss Sarah Hays, assistants. The fourth department was added in 1875, William Melvin, principal, and Misses Mary Bingham, Eva Simmons, and Mattie Fleming (now Mrs. D. F. Enoch, of Pittsburgh, Pa.), assistants.
No. 2 school-house was built in 1836 by George Miller, on land of John Proudfit, now owned by his son, Robert F. Proudfit. It was generally known as Hays school-house. The house previously used was the Kerr school-house. James Fulton was the first teacher. About the year 1852 the house was moved to a location on the Burgettstown and Eldersville road, on a farm of Robert Campbell, now owned by his son, Arthur Campbell. Miss Eliza Ann Pyles was about the first teacher at the new location. In 1864 the location was again changed and a new house built on the same farm a few rods west of the old house. Van B. Baker taught the first term in the new house.
No. 3, now known as Cinder Hill, was built in 1837, on land of William Wilson, now owned by his son, William E. Wilson. The house used until it was ready was on land of James Rankin, now owned by John Vance. Andrew Vance taught the first term in the new house. His son John taught one term in it shortly before the civil war. A new house was built by James Seawright on the original location in 1868. It is the only house standing on the original location.
No. 4 was built by James Dunbar on a twenty-one-year lease, on land of Thomas Bavington, now owned by D. S. McBride. A new house was built in 1863, on land of Robert Coventry, now owned by Dr. William Donnan, of Burgettstown.
No. 5 was built by James Dunbar, on land of John S. Russell, now owned by his son, D. A. Russell. The house used until it was ready was on land of John Stephenson, now owned by William S. Russell. The first teacher, or among the first, in the new house was John H. McCombs, now practicing law in Ashland, Ohio. In 1866 a new house was built on the same farm near the old one. In 1873 a larger house was built near Bulger, on land of Lockhart and Frew. William T. Slater taught the first two years in the new house.
No. 6 was built on land now owned by William C. Campbell. The house previously used until it was ready is not reported to the writer. (In fact he failed altogether to get any information on the early schools and teachers in that locality.) In 1873 the location was changed, and a new house built in Midway, on a lot obtained from Mrs. Stephen Arnot. In 1878 an additional room was built, and the school graded. James C. Wilson, principal, and Miss McClure, daughter of Robert McClure, deceased, assistant.
No. 7, a brick house, was built by Andrew Bruce, on land of Samuel Farrar, now owned by Wiley Stevenson. The house used was on the site on which the brick was built. William Galbraith was the first teacher. After teaching one month he was obliged to quit, the scholars becoming sick. It is supposed the house was occupied too soon. The bricks were burnt in 1866, and a new house built on land of the late Judge John Farrar, now owned by his sons, Prof. S. C. And John Farrar. Mr. L. McCarrell taught the first term in the new house.
No. 8 was built by George Miller, on a lease obtained from William Stephenson, now owned by his grandson, Robert T. C. Stephenson, of Burgettstown. William Thompson taught the first term in No. 8. It is now used as a dwelling-house. The house used until No. 8 was ready was on land of Samuel Cook, now owned by William K. Lyle. The old house is used as a tenant-house. The location was changed and a new house built in 1860 on land of John Sturgeon, now owned by his heirs. Miss Sarah K. Lyle taught the first term in it. The house is now known as Cook's school-house.
No. 9 was built in 1837 by James Dunbar, on land owned by James Stephenson (miller), now owned by Matthew Welch. It was known as Russell's school-house. John Galbraith taught the first term in No. 9. Before No. 9 was built a house heretofore mentioned as being built in 1825 on land of Joseph Vance, now Samuel G. Scott, was used. The house of 1825 was bought by Mrs. Jane Perry (colored) and removed to her lot adjacent to Burgettstown, and is now occupied as a dwelling by her. The location of No. 9 was changed in 1862, and a new one built on land of Joseph Vance, now owned by his brother, John S. Vance. M. R. Allen, now editor of the Call, taught the first school in the new house. The old No. 9 school building was brought to Burgettstown, and is now owned and occupied as a dwelling by John Pry.
The 10th District was organized by act of Legislature by reason of opposition to a new district. The township board immediately resigned, and the court appointed six new directors, who levied and collected the tax. The act was afterwards repealed. The new school district, organized about the year 1849 as No. 10, was formed of parts of 2 and 3. Matthew W. Galbraith taught the first term in the old Kerr school-house; the next year a new one was built a few rods from the old one on land of Thomas C. Arnold, now owned by Finley Scott. George M. Tenan taught the first term in the new house. By resolution of the board May 29, 1858, it was resolved not to open No. 10 the coming year. The records do no show that a school was ever again conducted in that house under the control of the Smith township board.
No. 11 was formed by resolution of the board Sept. 17, 1853, from parts of Nos. 1, 5, 7, and 9. A house was built on land of James Fulton in 1854. Samuel G. McFarland taught the first term in the new house. It was known as No. 11 until No. 10 was disbanded. In 1869 the location was changed and the house moved to land of Thomas Houston, now William and Samuel Pyles, near the old mill-dam. It was known then as the Mud Hollow school-house. In 1876 the location was again changed and a new house built on land of John L. Proudfit, Esq., a few rods north of Raccoon Station. R. P. Stevenson was the first teacher in the new house.
After the incorporation of Burgettstown as a borough, New No. 1 was formed from parts of Nos. 1, 2, and 3, June, 1881, and a new house was built on land of George M. and James B. Tenan. Miss Bessie, daughter of James M. Stevenson, is teaching the first term.
James Fulton, a native of New York, taught in Nos. 1, 2, and 7. He was the most successful teacher of his time, commanding fifty per cent. more wages than any other teacher. His methods were far in advanced of the times. His reputation as a teacher spread far and wide, many patronizing him from a distance. He was the first to introduce the "object method." Many of his old pupils still remain in the township, and give him credit of being their best teacher. Like all leaders of reform, he had his enemies. He was called a Yankee, and his methods "new-fangled." He died on his farm near Wabash, Ind., after 1837. Other teachers were James Logan, Abel T. Richards, Miss Mary Ann Vincent (now the relcit of John S. Russell), Ann McDermont, Miss Nancy Jane Cunningham (now the wife of A. H. Duncan, of Smith township, was in charge of Burgettstown school in 1846-47), John Stevenson, Esq., Samuel Shillits, George M. Tenan, Esq., Hon. Joseph Hays, George Jardine, M. W. Galbraith, John B. Phillis, William W. Van Eman, William H. Hammond, James E. Stevenson, ex-County Superintendent Dickson, of Allegheny County, taught four years in No. 4; Miss Christiana Johnson (now the wife of H. Elliott McBride, of Allegheny County, Pa.), William P. Montgomery, Samuel L. Farrar, R. P. Allen, Miss Nancy McNary, afterwards the wife of Eli Marques, of Cross Creek township (Mrs. Marques died a few years ago), Misses Mary and Maria Raybuck; John H. Johnson, who taught twelve years at Cook's beginning 1861 and ending 1875; Miss Jane Ann Cook (now the wife of W. K. Lyle, of Smith township), William S. Fulton, R. P. Stevenson, S. E. Provines, S. C. Farrar, Miss Carrie A. Brockman, Misses Agnes and Clara Keys, William Melvin had charge of the Burgettstown school five years, a period longer than that of any other since the adoption of the school law. Misses Eva Simmons and Mattie Fleming each were assistants five years in the Burgettstown Union school.
Among the native teachers of Smith who became prominent abroad, James E. Stevenson was principal of Second Ward school, Allegheny city, some eighteen or twenty years ago. Rev. Samuel G. McFarland, D.D., now minister of education in Siam; Hon. Joseph Hays, for several years principal of the Temperanceville schools, now South Side, Pittsburgh. William P. Montgomery has for the last fifteen years been teaching in Allegheny City, from April, 1873, until July 1874. In July, 1874, he was elected principal of Irwin Avenue school, Second Ward, Allegheny City, which position he still holds (January, 1882).
Miss Carrie A. Brockman was for seven years on of the assistants in the East Liverpool, Ohio, schools; about five years of that time she was second assistant. She resigned her position in 1881, and married Robert E. Hill, of that place. Alexander White is noted as an academic teacher. Robert P. Stevenson for the last four years has been teaching in Robinson township, Allegheny Co., Pa.
Since the great light of education first shone in No. 7 it is but just to say that she has produced more prominent educators than any other district in the township. Of those mentioned as becoming prominent abroad, James E. Stevenson, Rev. Samuel G. McFarland, S. Clarke Farrar, and Alexander White were born within her limits. William P. Montgomery received a part of his education in No. 7. Robert Curry, since deputy State superintendent of public instruction of this State, and now principal of the Nebraska State Normal School at Peru, spend a part of his youthful days within her boarders, his parents residing on the farm on which the first school was taught.
Three of the Burgettstown principals went "up higher." George T. McCord was afterwards principal of the Second Ward schools of Allegheny City for several years. W. C. Lyne, after leaving Burgettstown, went to Washington, Pa., and from thence to the Sixteenth Ward, Pittsburgh. Thomas B. McCain is now in -----Ward, Wheeling, W. Va.
The first teachers' institute in the township was held Dec. 4, 1858. The directors by resolution, Nov. 27, 1858, agreed to allow teachers two days in each month for township institute. Members of the board at that meeting were John L. Proudfit, Esq., president; John P. Wood, Esq., O. P. Cook, M. I. Montgomery, and James L. Patterson, secretary. Messrs. Proudfit, Wood, and Patterson are still living.
In 1864 the school board issued bonds and sold them, to provide money to pay volunteers to fill the township's quota of troops. These bonds were signed by John Ferguson, Esq., president and James L. Patterson, Esq., secretary.
The present teachers of Smith township are, in No 1, Miss Bessie Stevenson; No. 2, Miss Ella Riddile; No. 3, Miss M. Ethie Brimner; No. 4 Wm. F. Morgan; No. 5, Miss Kate Hammond; No. 6, Henry Aten, principal, and Mill Willa Cook, assistant; No. 7, Miss Mattie Campbell; No. 8, Frank M. Magill; No. 9, Wm. Melvin; No. 10, J. B. Lyle.
The following is the rank of Smith as regards wages: For the year ending June, 1872, Smith stood third; in 1873, second; in 1874, third; in 1875, first; in 1876, second; in 1877, first. A chilling blizzard swept over the school finances of Smith in June, 1877, and the thermometer placed her No. 10 for the year ending June, 1878. Boroughs are excluded in making out the above rank. The wages have been advanced the last two years. It is just to say that the names of but few teachers appear on the records until 1869. The records are very imperfect from 1853 to 1869. No records found previous to 1853.
By act of incorporation, March 23, 1881, Burgettstown became a separate school district. At an election held in town hall, April 5, 1881, Wm. Melvin, Wm. P. Vance, Robert T. C. Stephenson, and James Carnahan were elected. Four were ties, viz.: C. C. Campbell, Wm. Brimner, Wm. Blair, and Joseph A. Rogers. On June 6, 1881, the four who were elected met in the Union school building and effected an organization by electing Robert T. C. Stephenson president, and Wm. Melvin secretary. Messrs. Campbell and Brimner not appearing to draw lots, as the law provides, the board appointed Wm. Blair and Joseph A. Rogers, who were present, members to fill the vacancy. The teachers for the first term in the borough are C. J. Vance, principal, and Misses Agnes Keys, Libbie McCarrell, and Alice Stevenson, assistants.
Bavington.---The town of Bavington is situated in the northeast part of Smith township, near the mouth of the east branch of Raccoon Creek. It is located on a tract of land which was warranted to John Bavington on the 22d of February, 1786, and surveyed to him Dec. 3, 1787, as "Mill Town," containing four hundred and four acres. Soon after the purchase he built a grist- and saw-mill, which did the grinding for many mile around. He built a cabin on the hillside, about one quarter of a mile east of the village. Later he built the house now owned by D. S. McBride, where he lived until his death in 1810. David Bruce opened a store at the mill before 1795, as in December of that year he advertised in the Western Telegraphe that he had removed his store from Bavington to George Burgett's "new town." He was succeeded by others. John Bavington, on the 10th of June, 1810, left his home for Steubenville, Ohio, with a four-horse-wagon load of whiskey and flour. When crossing the Ohio River at Kelly's Ferry, near the mouth of Haman's Creek, the stamping of the horses loosened the planking of the bottom of the boat, which filled with water and sank. Capt. Bavington and the ferryman were both drowned. His body was recovered, brought home and buried at the Cross-Roads (now Florence). He left a widow, Ruth, and five sons, Daniel, Charles, Henry, Thomas, and John, and several daughters. His widow and eldest son Daniel were administrators of the estate, and the property was divided; Daniel obtained the homestead and mill property. Later he sold the mill property to James Clark, and went to Illinois. Charles assisted to the purchase of the mill property near Murdocksville, lived there for a time and emigrated to Ohio. Henry lived and died here comparatively young. Thomas received the east portion of the home farm, now owned by D. S. McBride. In later years he kept a public-house at Bavington, and died there. John received his portion of the estate in money, and emigrated to Oregon. Of the daughters, Polly married Matthew McBride and settled at Canonsburg; Nancy married Matthew Hartford, a millwright, who built the Bavington mill; Betsey married Harvey Peterson; they settled at Bavington, an both died there. One daughter married a Mr. Burns, another a Mr. Backhouse; both removed to Allegheny County, where they lived and died. On the 21st of August, 1812, Daniel Bavington took out a warrant for a tract of land, which was surveyed to him as "Pine Bush," and contained two hundred and seventy-six acres. It was adjoining the "Milltown" tract. One hundred and sixty-four acres of "Pine Bush" was conveyed to Nathan Kimble by Daniel and Ruth Bavington on the 30th of October, 1813. In December, 1812, Daniel Bavington was licensed to keep a tavern. He continued about three years, when, upon his removal to Illinois, his mother, Ruth Bavington, opened the tavern. She was succeeded by her son Thomas. The family of Bavington are now entirely extinct in the township.
James Donnan, about the year 1812, kept store in the house now occupied by John Witherspoon. At the time the Pittsburgh and Steubenville pike was built, about 1819 or 1820, William Moody kept a store in town, and was the first postmaster. He was succeeded by John White, David McBride, John McElroy, Robert McAyeal, Charles McElroy, John McBride, Dr. James McCarroll, John Witherspoon, Joseph Hunter, James McBride. In 1856 the office was removed to Abijah Smith's store, west of the creek, and in Hanover township adjoining the town. It remained there but one year, and was restored to the town. John Witherspoon became the postmaster. He was succeeded by Dr. James K. White, and later by William Donaldson, who is the present incumbent. The Bavington mill passed from James Clark to William Clark, who sold it to D. G. McBride. It is now owned by Edward Hindman, by whom it is run as a grist- and saw-mill.
Dinsmore.---On the completion of the Pittsburgh and Steubenville Railroad through the township in 1865, this place was made a station and given the name Dinsmore. A depot, telegraph-office, post-office, and store were soon established. The postmasters who have held office from the first are as follows: John Pry, John M. Smith, J. W. Ralston, J. P. Cline, and William Provines, the present incumbent.
Bulger.---This settlement is a station on the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and St. Louis Railway, about three miles east from Burgettstown, and was made a station on the completion of the Pittsburgh and Steubenville Railroad in 1865. It was laid out on the Alexander Donnan tract, but at the time belonged to John Woodburn. It contains a depot, store, cheese-factory, and several dwellings. The store is kept by A. J. Russell. The cheese-factory is controlled by a company under the name of "The Cheese and Butter Association," with the following officers: Thomas J. Ackleson, president; George Hoffman, secretary; and A. J. Russell, treasurer. Substantial buildings were erected, and business commenced July 1, 1881. About one thousand cheeses of the average weight of thirty-three pounds were manufactured in the first four months. Milk is shipped from this station to Pittsburgh.
The mines of the Whitestone Coal-Works are located about half-way between Bulger and Burgettstown. A few dwellings are erected in the vicinity. A post-office was established a few years since at Cherry Valley, on the line between Smith and Mount Pleasant townships. Ebenezer Smith was the postmaster, and the office was kept at his store. Upon his death the office was discontinued.
Union Agricultural Association.---At the expressed desire of many agriculturists in this portion of the county and adjoining townships in Allegheny and Beaver Counties, and in the northern part of West Virginia, it was decided to organize an agricultural society. Prominent in the movement were Thomas Vance, of Cross Creek; W. P. Vance, now of near Elizabethtown, Hardin Co., Ky.; and John B. Philles, merchant, of Burgettstown (recently deceased at Cairo, Ill.). To this end a meeting was held in Burgettstown in the month of February, 1856, at which time an organization was effected by the election of the following officers: President, Joseph Vance, of Smith township; Vice-Presidents, William M. Lee, Cross Creek; James Rankin, Mount Pleasant; Holland Scott, Robinson; Thomas C. Hunter, Hanover; and William P. Vance, Smith; Directors, J. N. Scott, Jefferson; David Gualt, Lysander Patterson, J. S. Duncan, Thomas Vance, Cross Creek; O. P. Cook, J. L. Proudfit, Smith; James Hughes, John Symington, Mount Pleasant; Milton Miller, James Walker, William Van Ostrand, Jefferson; and James McCalmont, Robinson; Recording Secretary, Samuel G. Scott, Smith; Corresponding Secretary and Treasurer, John B. Philles, Smith.
At a meeting of the association held March 23, 1856, it was resolved to hold an exhibition in the month of October following. A committee was appointed to select a suitable site for the purpose, another to solicit subscriptions in the different townships, and another to frame a constitution and by-laws. On the 26th of April one hundred and sixty-seven names were reported as members of the society, and at a meeting in May two hundred and ninety-eight additional names were reported. On the 3d of June the same year the committee on site made a report, which was accepted, and they were discharged. Another committee was appointed. On the 24th of June the committee on the time for holding the fair reported Wednesday and Thursday, October 8th and 9th, as the most suitable time for holding the exhibition, which report was accepted and adopted. Two days later at a meeting of the society the constitution and by-laws were read, amended, and adopted. On the 12th of August the committee on site reported that Mrs. Freegift Crawford offered the society a site free of charge, provided the fence the society erected should be left on the ground when they should cease to hold their fairs on the site, which arrangement was accepted and concluded on the 23d of August, 1856. A fence and temporary buildings were erected, and the first exhibition of the society was held at the time and place appointed. The receipts of this exhibition were $620.40; premiums paid out, $340.
Exhibitions were held on these grounds until 1860, and on June 2d of that year nine and a half acres of land were leased for ten years of B. G. Burgett, at the expiration of which time additional ground was added, and it was released for ten years, and again, Feb. 11, 1780 (1880?), was leased for ten years. At the present time the company have inclosed seventeen acres. The grounds were fenced and permanent buildings erected the first year the society came into possession of the grounds, and fairs have been held there continuously. No account was kept of the amount of voluntary contributions for erecting fences, grading the tract, and other work.
The cost of rent of fair grounds from the first year (1856) to the present time has been $3350; repairing grounds, $2500; music, $2140; buildings, halls, stalls, etc., $9690; printing, $2187; amount of money paid for premiums from the first, $24,000. Receipts from entries and tickets, $49,832.34. The receipts from the fair held Oct. 4, 5, and 6th, 1881, was $2165.10.
The territory that is now included in the limits of the association from which officers are elected are the townships of Smith, Hanover, Robinson, Cecil, Mount Pleasant, Chartiers, North Strabane, Cross Creek, Buffalo, Hopewell, Independence, and Jefferson of Washington County; the west part of Allegheny County, the south part of Beaver County, and Brooke and Hancock Counties, W. Va.
The following is a list of the officers of the society:
Presidents.---John Vance, 1856-57; James McCalmont, 1858; John N. McDonald, 1859-60; William Lee, 1861; James Donaldson, 1862; William M. Lee, 1863; D. S. Walker, 1864; Samuel McGill, 1865; A. D. Burns, 1866; Thomas McCorkle, 1867; James Donaldson , 1868; S. B. Campbell, 1869; J. B. Hays, 1870; William L. Archer, 1871; M. H. Borland, 1872; R. S. Cook, 1873-74; James Donaldson, 1875; A. E. Walker, 1876; W. B. Moorhead, 1877-78; William L. Archer, 1879-80; William C. McFarland, 1881.
Secretaries.---Samuel G. Scott, 1856; John P. Woods, 1857; James L. Patterson, 1858; John Stephenson, 1859-60; John P. Woods, 1861; William Melvin, 1862; John P. Woods, 1863-80, inclusive; William Melvin, 1881.
Present officers: President, Wm. C. McFarland; Vice-Presidents: R. H. Brown, W. S. Bailey, A. H. Walker, D. S. Fulton, S.H. Cook; Managers, R. S. Cook, John S. Lee, Symington Farrar, R. Y. Meloy, John A. McCalmont, Hon. G. Y McKee, D. S. Taylor, Jr., David McNary, Wm. McBurney, S. S. Campbell, Matthew Berry, Samuel Bigger, R. K. Scott, S. W. Lee, Wm. Hanlan, S. G. Cunningham, R. S. Caldwell, S. C. Gist, W. H. McKee, David Bradford; Secretary, Wm. Melvin; Treasurer, C. J. Vance; Chief Marshal, W. L. Archer.
JUDGE JOHN FARRAR.
Judge John Farrar was born in Mount Pleasant township, Washington Co., Pa., Jan. 7, 1818, and died at his residence hear Burgettstown, Pa., Jan. 6, 1875. He was the eldest son of1 Samuel Farrar and Jane Simanton.
[1The lineage of these families given elsewhere in this volume.]
His early education consisted of that afforded by the common schools of that day, but he was possessed of a taste for literature and a thirst for higher education so strong that some years after arriving at maturity he studied the Latin and Greek classics, higher mathematics, and some of the natural sciences. In 1840 he was married to Miss Phebe White. For several years after this he engaged in farming, teaching school during the winter. Farming was a very discouraging business during those years famous for "hard times," so the young farmer, having a knowledge of the mercantile business, obtained while employed as a clerk previous to his marriage, forsook the fields and embarked in the store business, which he continued for a decade. During the first part of this period he strongly contemplated studying a profession,1 and at one time took initiatory steps to his end, but the claims of a wife and young children depending upon him for support caused the final abandoning of this intention.
Young Farrar's attention was attracted to politics by the famous campaign of 1840, when he cast his first Presidential vote for William Henry Harrison. In the great political questions that agitated the country after the Mexican war he took a deep interest, and from that time hence forth was a close student of national questions.
He removed with his family to Rock Island County, Ill., in 1853.
During the Presidential campaign of 1856 political excitement ran high in that land of Lincoln and Douglas, the champions of the opposing parties. Although a quiet farmer at the time, Farrar's zeal overcame his native modesty, and he mounted the stump in his own county for John C. Fremont and anti-slavery. Returning to his native county in 1857, he engaged in mercantile business in Burgettstown for several years.
At the breaking out of the Rebellion party hostility in this region became so bitter as to rupture society, churches, and families. Men engaged in business depending on the patronage of a community generally either kept their lips sealed or exercised great caution in expressing themselves on the questions that were distracting the country, lest their business should suffer. Contrary to this rule, and in opposition to the advice of his warmest friends, John Farrar, eminently a man of strong convictions and fearless of consequences when duty directed, was outspoken in his zeal for the cause of the Union, as well as in his denunciation of its enemies North and South.
In 1866 he was elected to the office of associate judge for a term of five years. When he entered upon the duties of this office a system of granting licenses to sell intoxicating liquors existed, under which it was a very easy matter to obtain a license, and as a consequence almost every village and hamlet in the county was afflicted with drinking-houses. Always having been a warm advocate of the temperance cause, he immediately went to work with his characteristic zeal to correct the evil, taking a firm and resolute stand against all licenses applied for under the then existing laws. Ere the close of his term of office, with perhaps two exceptions, not a drinking-saloon or bar-room remained. It was thus largely through his influence that Washington County was elevated to her present honorable and noble position on this question.
Notwithstanding the frequent and perhaps true assertion that ardent temperance men invariably suffer at the polls, he was elected a member of the State Legislature in 1874, when a number of other and honorable candidates of the same party from the same county were defeated. But death came, and he was carried to his grave the same week that he was to have taken the oath of office. His cherished wife died nearly five years previous to this.
It was, however, as a Christian gentleman that Judge Farrar was best known and most esteemed. In early manhood he became a member of the Presbyterian Church of Raccoon, next a teacher in the Sabbath-school, and then its superintendent, and ever afterwards connected with and working in the Sabbath-school in some way.
Soon after settling in Illinois he gathered together and established a flourishing Sabbath-school, from which soon resulted the organization of Beulah Church of the Presbytery of Rock River. In this church he was a ruling elder until his return to Pennsylvania, after which he served in this capacity in the church of Burgettstown, Pa., and in Raccoon Church until the close of his life.
Socially, he was gifted with a rare combination of qualities, easy, graceful manners, fine conversational powers, and a warm, generous, and sympathizing nature. Regarding no one, however poor and ignorant, as beneath his notice. Nor looking up to any, however wealthy and aristocratic, as above him, he was claimed alike by the high and lowly as a friend.
The universal esteem in which he was held in manifest from the positions he occupied at the time of his death. Filling honorable and responsible offices both in the Church and in the State; chosen to the one by the voice of the members of the church of his childhood, and to the other by the voice of the citizens of the county of his nativity, are facts that make an eulogy of words superfluous.
His family consisted of a daughter and five sons, viz., Mary L., now Mrs. Billingsly Morgan, of Canonsburg, Pa., S. Clark, for many years a principal of the Second Ward schools, Allegheny, Pa.; Preston W., physician in Nevada City, Iowa; John, a farmer, residing at the old family homestead; Watson W., a clerk in the Treasury Department at Washington, D. C.; and George W., merchant, at Braddock's, Pa.
J. L. PROUDFIT.
David Proudfit and his brother Robert, natives of Scotland, emigrated to America about the year 1759, and settled in York County, Pa. Two of their brothers, Andrew and James, had preceded them to this country. Andrew, who was a shoemaker, had settled in York County, and James, who was a minister in the Associate Reformed Church, had settled in Lancaster County. David and Robert were farmers. The former married Nancy Livingston, by whom he had eight children,---John, Robert, Andrew, James, Elizabeth, Nancy, Mary, and Jane.
John Proudfit was born in York County, Pa., in 1776. He settled in Smith township, Washington Co., Pa., in 1806, where, in 1809, he married Elizabeth Lyle. They lived in Washington County until 1813, when they removed to York County, where they lived fourteen years, when they returned to Washington County, and again settled in Smith township, where they died. Their children were David, John L., James K., Eliza J., Nancy, Robert F., Cinderella, William, Andrew, and Eleanor K., all of whom are living except David, James K., and Nancy.
John L. Proudfit was born in Smith township, Washington Co., Sept. 3, 1812, and the following spring went with his parents to York County, Pa., where he remained until he was fifteen years of age, when he returned with them to his native township. He received a district school education, and labored with his father upon the farm until after he was twenty-one years of age. He married Eleanor Campbell, of Smith township, June 9, 1841. She died Aug. 4, 1866, leaving three children, ---Elizabeth, the wife of W. A. P. Linn, of Shippensburg, Cumberland Co., Pa.; Jane A., the wife of Dr. W. P. Taylor, of Noblestown, Allegheny Co., Pa; and Martha E., the wife of John Moore, of Smith township, Washington Co., Pa.
John L. Proudfit was married to his second wife, Mrs. Nancy Byers, whose maiden name was Duncan, Dec. 24, 1867. In the spring of 1867 he removed from his farm in Smith township to Burgettstown, where he now has his residence. He still superintends the work upon his farms lying near the town. Since the organization of the National Bank of Burgettstown he has been its president. He was at one time captain of the Burgettstown militia; has held the office of justice of the peace and other important local offices. He was for many years a member of the Presbyterian Church, an elder in the same, but is now a communicant of the United Presbyterian Church. In his youthful days he underwent all the trials and hard knocks of poverty, and from them he can turn his eyes to his present prosperity with the reflection that to himself and his own exertions he owes it all.
*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 March 1998. Published in March 1998 on the Washington County, PA USGenWeb pages at http://www.chartiers.com.
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