West Bethlehem Twp. (pp. 969-978) 

History of Washington County, Pennsylvania*

West Bethlehem is one of the southern tier of Washington County townships, its south boundary being formed by the county of Greene. On the west it is bounded by Amwell and South Strabane townships, on the north and northeast by Somerset, and on the east by East Bethlehem and West Pike Run townships. The surface is hilly, the ridges, which generally extend in a north-and-south direction being elevated and often steep, and divided by narrow valleys. The township has no streams of size, the largest being the North Fork of Ten-Mile Creek, which flows in a general easterly direction across the south part of the township, receiving the waters of Daniels' Run and a number of other inconsiderable streams from the northward in its course through West Bethlehem.

This township and East Bethlehem were embraced in the territory of the original township of Bethlehem from 1781 to 1790, when the latter was divided. An account of the erection of the old township, and of its division, forming the East and West townships, is given in the history of East Bethlehem.

Early Settlements.--One of the earliest settlers in the territory of this township was Joseph Hill, an Irishman, who, having emigrated to America, settled first in Maryland, and in 1774 came into Washington County and settled on Plum Run, in West Bethlehem township, where he took up a large body of land. Joseph Hill was twice married, first to Miss Ackley, and the second time to Margaret Joy. These two marriages resulted in a family of thirteen children, who married and settled in life as follows: Joseph Hill, Jr., married Mary Jameson; James hill married Ann Hill; Thomas married Rachel Speers; John's wife was Nancy Sergeant; Margaret became the wife of James Beatty; Elizabeth became Mrs. John Welsh; Sarah was Mrs. John Sargeant; Benjamin's wife was Delilah Notestine; William's wife was Narcissa Beatty; Atkinson Hill married a Miss Reemer, of Ohio; Rebecca became Mrs. William Freeman; Eleanor married William Hawkins, and now lives in Kansas; and Henry, who remained single, removed to Ohio. From this family, especially the son James, the Hill descendants have become very numerous, although they are widely scattered. Dr. Hill, of Burgettstown, and a host of others in other parts of Western Pennsylvania are members of this Hill family. The property of James Hill consisted of a tract of one hundred and ninety-seven acres of land, which has become the property of Joseph Hill, Esq. By intermarriage they are connected with the old German family named Weaver, who were all people of prominence. Adam G. Weaver is a representative of this branch of the Hill family.

The Enoch family were of English descent. They came into Washington County before the commencement of the Revolution. David Enoch and Col. John Enoch were brothers. Col. John Enoch resided near where the village of Clarksville, in Greene County, has since been built. He was colonel of the militia, and built a block-house on his property for a refuge when threatened by the Indians. David Enoch had a son, David Enoch, Jr., who was born in this country some years before the declaration of independence. David Enoch, Jr., was twice married, and was the father of fourteen children. Of these, Elizabeth became the wife of James Anton, and resides near Gallipolis, Ohio. David Enoch, the representative of the third generation bearing that name, married Susan Bigler and removed to Richhill township, Greene County, where he died. Sarah Enoch married James Lowrie, and died in this county. These were the children of David Enoch's first marriage. His daughter Eunice became the wife of George Gardner, and removed to the West. Henry Enoch married Sarah Reese and emigrated to Ohio. Cynthia Enoch became the wife of Levi Sowers, a son of George Sowers, who came from Maryland to West Bethlehem township and married Miss Gardner. Mr. and Mrs. Levi Sowers still live in the township on the Enoch-Gardner homestead. Margaret Enoch is married and living in Greene County, and Abner married Elizabeth Davis, who has since died. He is still living near the old family home. Catharine Enoch is still living in Greene County, whither she removed with her husband, Leonard Guthrie. Andrew, George, and William Enoch all died before they arrived at the age of manhood. Hiram Enoch is the youngest child, and is now forty-eight years of age. He studied medicine with Dr. Joseph W. Alexander. In 1863 he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, and immediately entered the service of the United States in West Virginia as Assistant Surgeon of the First Regiment of Mounted Volunteers of that State. Remaining one year in the service he resigned, and in 1864 located in Washington.

The homestead of Demas M. Letherman, who died in West Bethlehem Dec. 5, 1878, has been in the possession of the Letherman family for more than one hundred years. The house in which he died is but a few rods from the site of the one in which he was born sixty-two years before. When twenty-one years of age Mr. Letherman graduated from the Hazzard Academy at Monongahela City, and was afterwards a very successful teacher in Washington County. In 1871 he was elected a member of the Pennsylvania State Legislature, and filled the office with credit to himself and to the satisfaction of his constituents.

In the year 1784, John James took up or purchased a two hundred and fifth acre tract of land in West Bethlehem township, situated in the extreme southern part. Later he purchased a mill-site and tract on Ten-Mile Creek, on the line of Amwell and West Bethlehem townships. The mill property (adjoining his first purchase) had a mill upon it when it came into his possession, and is now owned by Morgan Martin, a grandson of James Martin.

"Rustick Defeat" was a tract of land of two hundred and fifteen acres which was warranted to Richard Hawkins, and the survey was made June 15, 1786. This property was partially bounded by that of Adam Weaver, Josiah Crawford, and George Myers, also early settlers in West Bethlehem township.

John and Henry Conkle came into this section as early as 1784, and both received Virginia certificates for large tracts of land, John taking thee hundred and eighty acres called "Solitude," and Henry three hundred and ninety-two acres named "German." The entire Conkle property is now owned by William Conkle.

Col. Thomas Crooks came into the territory of West Bethlehem township, and on a Virginia certificate took up a tract of land on Pigeon Creek, which was called "Richard's Valley." This property was surveyed to Mr. Crooks Feb. 25, 1785. Col. Crooks was a man prominent in all local and public affairs, and held many offices of importance and trust. He died Feb. 25, 1815, aged eighty years, and his widow, Mrs. Judith Crooks, died April 30, 1823, at the age of eighty-three years. The homestead upon which they lived and died is now owned by Jacob Swagler. At the death of Col. Crooks the Reporter, of Washington, published the following:

                              "Richard's Valley, Feb. 25, 1815.
      "Died. -- This morning, at his place, in his old mansion, at half-past five o'clock, that worthy old patriot, Thomas Crooks, of West Bethlehem township, where he was among the first emigrants in the western country, and was early on the stages of public business. In the militia he was an officer of high rank at the beginning of the Revolution, was alert in routing the savages to the westward, was a zealous patriot throughout the Revolutionary war, and presided many years as a justice of the peace. He was a very warm friend and an implacable enemy. He bore a severe and lingering illness with resigned patience."

John, Adam, and Peter Weaver were brothers of German descent who came to this township at an early date. Two tracts of land were warranted to Adam. The first was "Long Green," containing three hundred and ninety-nine acres, situate on a branch of Daniels Run. The second tract adjoined the first, was warranted to him Sept. 25, 1789, and surveyed June 24, 1790, under the title of "Short Green." The property of Adam Weaver was left by him to his wife and children at his death, which occurred in 1820. The sons were Daniel and Abraham Weaver, and the daughters were Catharine and Ann Weaver. From their marriages numerous descendants have come, among whom are Adam G., Solomon, Jacob, and Daniel Weaver. Levi Matthews and Daniel Greenlee are also descendants of Adam Weaver, and they, with Adam G. Weaver, now own the original settlers property. John Weaver, who resides near Hillsborough, in this township, is also of the family. Adam G. Weaver is a prominent member of the "Fairview Methodist Episcopal Church,: and is the class-leader of that society. He has been married twice. His present wife was Miss Hill.

Peter Drake received a Virginia certificate for three hundred and thirty-three acres and one-half of land in West Bethlehem township, which was surveyed to him Jan. 28, 1785, and was bounded by the tracts of Isaac Leonard, Henry Coonrad, Jacob White, and William Wallace.

Andrew Wise, who followed his sons into this township after they had located here, was a German, born at Hesse-Darmstadt in the year 1754. He died here in 1848, and was buried in the Wise graveyard. Peter and Adam Wise were brothers of Andrew. They came from east of the mountains, and both located large tracts of land. Peter Wise's tract was situated on the North Fork of Ten-Mile Creek. It contained three hundred and fifty-six acres, and was surveyed to him Jan. 26, 1785, under the title of "The Fishery." When Peter Wise secured this property he soon built a mill upon it, which he had completed before the survey was made.

The mill was located in a bend of the creek, the race, which was about seventy rods in length, running from the lower part of the pond across the bend, and having a fall of about twelve feet. This mill was in operation for many years, and only divided the milling business after 1836 with the Ullery mill, which was built about one mile above the Wise mill in that year. Previous to that date it had controlled the entire trade of all of West Bethlehem, and part of East Bethlehem and Amwell townships, and some of Greene County.

Peter Wise had several children, among whom were the sons, Andrew, Adam, and Peter, and a daughter named Hannah. Adam and Peter both removed to Ohio and settled near Canton. Hannah married Jacob Zollers, and to her Peter Wise, Sr., gave seventy-six acres of his land. To his son Andrew he gave one hundred acres, which Andrew afterward disposed of. In 1818, Peter Wise sold the mill-site to his brother Adam, who bought it for his sons, Frederick and Joseph Wise, whose descendants still own it.

Adam Wise, one of the brothers who settled in this township at an early date, located his land adjoining that of his brother, and according to the present division lines it is in both Washington and Greene Counties. Adam Wise had six sons and two daughters,--George, Samuel, David, Frederick, Joseph, Solomon, Rebecca, and Elizabeth Wise. Rebecca became the wife of Peter Crumrine, and removed to Ohio. Elizabeth married Jacob Shidder, and settled in West Bethlehem, on the farm now occupied by John Wherry. Most of their children went to Ohio. One son, Joseph Shidder, became a physician, and practiced and died in this township. Jacob Shidder, Jr., another son, is living in Amwell township. George Wise, the oldest son of Adam Wise, settled on Ruff's Creek, in Greene County, but later moved to Marshall County, Ill., where he died. He was a member of the religious society called Dunkards.

Samuel Wise, the second son, lived for a while near the village of Hillsborough, but subsequently removed to Knox County, Ohio. David Wise, the third son, located on a portion of the homestead property, and also purchased the Praker farm adjoining. David Wise lived and died upon this farm and left a large family of children, nearly all of whom went to the Western States. The son Henry remained in West Bethlehem and still resides here. Three of the sons of David Wise, as well as two of his grandsons, were preachers of the Dunkard faith. The fourth son, Frederick Wise, lived on the mill property which his father purchased of Peter Wise. Sr. He died on the place in 1876, and his son, Joseph B. Wise, now owns the property, as well as the seventy-six acres given by Peter Wise to his daughter, Mrs. Hannah Zollers. Joseph B. Wise is justice of the peace. Frederick Wise had two daughters; one of them, Margaret, married James C. Hawkins. Of their sons, Dr. A. W. Hawkins is a surgeon in the navy, and Col. A. Hawkins served as colonel of the Tenth Regiment of the State of Pennsylvania.

The fifth son of Adam Wise was Joseph. He came to be joint owner, with his brother Frederick, of the Peter Wise mill property, and lived upon it until his death. He left quite a large family of children. Of these, Samuel is in Kansas. Hon. Morgan R. Wise resides in Waynesburg, Greene Co., and is a representative in Congress from that district. Of the daughters of Joseph Wise, Elizabeth became Mrs. William Stewart, of Greene County; Mary married J. M. Day, of Morris township; Rebecca married Eli Tombaugh; Maria became the wife of Dr. J. P. Shields, of Pittsburgh; and Barbara became Mrs. Albert Hill, and located in West Bethlehem township. The youngest son of Adam Wise was Solomon Wise. He inherited the greater part of the homestead. In 1854 he sold it to Dr. James Braden, and removed to Marshall County, Ill., where he died. None of his family reside in this township.

Eleazer Jenkins was living in this township previous to 1789, and in February of that year was holding the offices of justice of the peace and judge of the Court of Common Pleas. He had also served as captain in the Washington County militia.

Peter Mowl came from Germany, settling first in the State of Maryland, but afterwards removed to this township, where he purchased a part of the Shidder property. This came into the possession of his son, Abram Mowl, at the father's death, and he also died upon the place (in 1861). During his life Abram Mowl held the office of director of the poor. Solomon and Charles M. are sons of Abram Mowl, and are still living upon the old farm.

Henry Hildebrand came from Germany and settled in this township, purchasing the property where his son, M. Hildebrand, now lives.

This son was born in West Bethlehem and married Christine Harsh, daughter of Philip Harsh, also of West Bethlehem township. M. Hildebrand is now nearly ninety years of age. His sons, D. and H. J. Hildebrand, reside near their father and the homestead.

George and John Sowers were sons of Michael Sowers, who was a German. They all lived in West Bethlehem. George Sowers was married twice, his first wife being Miss Gardner, the mother of Levi Sowers. This son married Cynthia Enoch, daughter of David Enoch, Jr. They lived upon a farm in Greene County, about four miles west of Waynesburgh, but finally inherited and moved to the old Enoch homestead. John Sowers married three times. He removed to the oil regions of this State, where his family still reside.

Joseph Lawrence lived on Pigeon Creek, in West Bethlehem, on the section north of the National road. He was married twice, and the children were Joseph, Jr., George Vaneman, Samuel, and a daughter who became the wife of Andrew Moore. Joseph Lawrence, Sr., was a member of Congress, and died at the National capital in 1842. George V. Lawrence married Elizabeth Welsh and resides in Monongahela City, where he has held many public offices, including that of member of Congress and State Senator.

The tract of land early settled by Erasmus Nichols adjoined the village of Hillsborough on the southwest. His family of ten children were five sons and five daughters. The son James married Nancy Kehoe; Stephen married Margaret Wise; William married Rebecca Smith; Atkinson married Sarah Hoover; Erasmus Nichols, Jr., died unmarried. The daughter Nancy became Mrs. Gabriel Trugo; Elizabeth married Jeremiah Coleman; Eleanor married David Phillips; Margaret became Mrs. Joseph Sargeant; and Sarah Ann was the wife of John Barnes.

John Sargeant settled at an early day upon a tract of land on Plum Run, south of Hillsborough, and the property is now owned and occupied by his grandson and namesake, John Sargeant. He had a family of nine children, -- six sons and three daughters. The son James married Susan Crumrine; Margaret became the wife of John W. Spohn; Joseph married Margaret Nichols; John married Sarah Baker; Valentine married Susan Conaway; William's wife was Susan Garee; Sarah Ann became Mrs. William Baker; and Nancy and Thomas remained unmarried.

The exact date of the settlement of the Tombaugh family in the county was about the time of the closing of the Revolutionary war. George Tombaugh and his young brother, Matthias, were the only children of their parents, and, so far as known, were at the time of their parents' death, the only representatives of the name in America. Previous to the date of their immigration they had lived at Georgetown, D.C. They were of German extraction, and were possessed of the industry, frugality, and patient endurance which are characteristic of that race. The young men, George and Matthias, had abundant reason for the exercise of their industry and frugality, for whatever may have been the pecuniary means of their parents at Georgetown, they came into this county without a penny. George, indeed, had a shilling in his pocket before crossing the Monongahela, but by some means lost it while crossing the river. With characteristic energy they went to work, and in time accumulated enough to purchase a tract of land on South Pigeon creek, which since that time has been held in the family name.

The younger brother, Matthias, enlisted under Gen. Harmar, and participated in the defeat at Chillicothe. When the command was given to Gen. St. Clair, Matthias remained with the army, and was killed in the disastrous campaign that succeeded.

The older brother, George (who was born Aug. 8, 1768), was now the only living representative of the name in America. He took an active part in Indian wars which harassed the inhabitants of the Ohio border, and fought under Col. Crawford, who feel a victim to savage ferocity in 1782.

Some time after 1782, George Tombaugh was married to Elizabeth Gardener, who was born March 2, 1758. To them were born seven children, as follows: Christina, born 1787, married George Swihart, and moved to Ohio; Elizabeth, born 1788, married Daniel Wise, and moved to Ohio; Jacob, born 1790, married Susan Wise, and also moved to Ohio; Matthias, born 1792, married Rachel Spohn; George, born 1796, married Susan Myers, and emigrated to Indiana; Solomon, born 1798, married Catharine Horn, and moved to Ohio; Sarah, born 1801, married George Myers, also moved to Ohio. Of these all are dead except Sarah, who still resides in Holmes County, Ohio.

The elder George Tombaugh lived on his farm in South Pigeon Creek until his death, which occurred Nov. 5, 1832. The Tombaughs now living in the county are all descendants of Matthias, who, as before mentioned, was born in 1792, and in 1822 was married to Rachel Spohn. To them were born ten children, eight sons and two daughters, viz.: Solomon, born in 1824, married Lydia Letherman; John, born 1827, married Louise Hosack; Levina, born 1829, married Jacob Swagler; George, born 1831, married Harriet Colvin; Mary, born 1833, married Andrew Hildebrand; Matthias, born 1834, married Jane Letherman; Eli, born 1836, married Rebecca Wise; Isaac and Jacobs (twins), born 1839 (Isaac lives at the homestead, and Jacob, who married Jennie Ostrander, lives in Illinois); Adam, born 1842, married Florence Letherman. Of these children of Matthias and Rachel Tombaugh, all are living except Mary and Levina, and of the survivors, all except George, Matthias, and Jacob, are living in Washington County. Matthias Tombaugh lived all his life on the farm of his father. He died in 1864.

The Buckingham family came originally from England and located near the city of Philadelphia. Soon after, they removed to Washington County, and settled in West Bethlehem, where William and Enoch Buckingham, lineal descendants of the family, still reside and own the farms of the pioneers of the family. Isaac Buckingham lived on Ten-Mile Creek, upon the present farm of Mr. Overholt. He married Miss Eaton, and had a family of several children, of whom Col. John Buckingham was the oldest. The son Henry married Mary Morton, and settled in Morgan township, Greene Co. Mrs. Robert Morton was a daughter of Isaac Buckingham.

Stephen Hill, an early resident of West Bethlehem, was born in Ireland. He lived in Bradford County, in this State, but finally came to this section, and settled on Plain Run, where he erected a distillery and a horse-mill. His wife was Mary Welsh, and their family consisted of five sons and four daughters. Of these, Eleanor, Mary, and Stephen Hill, Jr., died unmarried; George Hill married Nancy Speer; Nancy married Bennett Morton; John married Susan Hawkins; William married Elizabeth Morton; Robert married Mary Merrell; and Margaret died in childhood.

Christopher Sunedecker came from Germany, and located in this township near Ten-Mile. in 1801 he purchased half of a four hundred acre tract, owned by one of the Shedder family. The wife of Christopher Sunedecker lived to the etreme old age of ninety-six yers. Their son, George Sunedecker, was born in West Bethlehem, and also died in the township, leaving a son, Jacob Sunedecker, who now lives on the old homestead.

Dickinson Roberts took up a tract of land in West Bethlehem township at a very early date. His son, Leonard Roberts, was a prominent member of the Methodist Church in his day, and a stanch worker in the old Methodist Chapel near their home. Asa Roberts, a son of Leonard Roberts, was born on the homestead.

Peter Eller came to this township soon after 1800, and purchased seventy-five acres of land, which he soon after sold, and bought one hundred and sixty acres of Christian Ufford, on the south fork of Daniels' Run, above Christopher Cox's, and below Thomas Rees and Caspar Rickett, and also adjoining the lands of John Crumrine and Jacob Shedder. Henry Eller, son of the settler, Peter Eller, lives on the tract which his father purchased from Ufford.

Samuel Weir settled on Pigeon Creek, in West Bethlehem, on a farm now owned by his grandson of the same name. Samuel Weir married a Miss Robinson. They had seven children, whose names were follows: Thomas, Adam, James, Samuel, William, Jane, and Lavina. Thomas married Nancy Whitehill, and remained on Pigeon Creek. Adam married Mary Hall, and resides near the old homestead. James married Miss Lawrence, an aunt of the Hon. George V. Lawrence; his second wife was a Miss Jenkins; he resides on Pigeon Creek. William married a Miss Jane Lawrence, sister to James' wife. Samuel lived on the home farm. Jane (Mrs. James Robinson) is now living in Westmoreland County, Pa., near Ligonier. Lavina (Mrs. James Irwin) resides on Pigeon Creek, in West Bethlehem township.

On Nov. 9, 1802, Christopher Clouse bought one hundred acres of land of Noah and Thomas D. Summers, heirs of Benjamin Summers. This land was on Pigeon Creek, near the town of Hillsborough, where Mr. Clouse settled in 1812,when he came from Lancaster County to West Bethlehem township, and purchased more land of Stephen Hill. Christopher Clouse was a blacksmith, and when the National road was built he had a shop on the road, where he worked at his trade until 1824. From that place he removed to Martinsville, and lived there until 1835, then went to West Finley to reside with his son Daniel Clouse, where he died in 1854. Christopher Clouse had ten children, of whom Daniel was the eldest, being born the year his father came to this township. Two of his daughters are still living, -- Mary Clouse, of Burnsville, West Finley township, and Mrs. Eli Horace, of Martinsville.

Valentine Kinder was the owner of the tract "Valentine;" claim assigned to him by George Kinder, warranted to him Jan. 26, 1785, and surveyed to him April 8th of the same year. It contained 268 acres, adjoining James Crawford, Peter Lesley, Abraham Hartman, and David Ruble.

"Hyde Park" tract was warranted to Neal Gillespie Feb. 9, 1785; surveyed, December 6th, same year. Location on waters of Ten-Mile Creek; contents, 412 acres; adjoining Adam Weaver, Ezekiel Barnes, and William Miller. Situation about one mile south of the site of the town of Hillsborough.

"White Oak Flat" tract was warranted to Thomas Lackey, and surveyed May 10, 1785. Contents, 387 acres, and located adjoining Richard Lackey, who, on the same date, had surveyed to him a tract of 488 acres, called in the survey "Black Oak Flat."

"The Ant" tract, on the north fork of Ten-Mile, was surveyed, Nov. 10, 1784, to Myles Hayden, and patented Sept. 29, 1788. The present owners of this tract are Adam Horn, James M. Horn, and S. G. Bane.

"German" tract, 416 acres, taken on Virginia certificate by Henry Conkle; surveyed to him April 23, 1785; resurveyed on Pennsylvania warrant, Feb. 11, 1788; patented, June 13th, the same year, as 392 acres. John Conkle (presumably a brother of Henry) took up on Virginia certificate the tract of 380 acres, which was surveyed to him March 4, 1784; warranted to him by Pennsylvania, Feb. 11, 1788, and resurveyed June 13, 1788.

Adam Simon warranted the land of three hundred and forty-three and three-fourths acres, which was surveyed to him as two hundred and fifty-two and three thirty-seconds acres and named in the survey "Despair "(whether the name given it had any reference to the "shortage" in area is not known). The tract is described as adjoining James Barnett, Ezekiel Breaden, George Daneer, Thomas Richardson, and Frederick Teague. Adam Simon died, and on April 18, 1797, the tract was sold to Nicholas Simon by the heirs, who were Michael Simon, Catherine Simon (Mrs. George Daneer), Andrew Simon, Jacob Simon, Agnes Simon (Mrs. Michael Beltz), Elizabeth Simon (Mrs. Philip Strong, of Huntingdon County), Margaret Simon (Mrs. George Wright, of Franklin County), and Mary Simon (Mrs. James Stall, of Franklin Co. Pa.). Except as indicated in the above mention of the heirs of Adam Simon, his children settled in Washington County in locations not far removed from the homestead of their father.

"Buck's Haunt" was the name of the tract of land granted to Daniel Letherman on a Virginia certificate, and surveyed to him May 2, 1785. It was located next the land of James Braden, and contained three hundred and ninety-three acres. Demas Letherman, his son, lived in this township and died here some three years ago at about sixty years of age, from what was supposed to be a paralytic stroke. He was an active politician, and served several years as State senator. His farm is located on Pigeon Creek, northwest of Scenery Hill, upon which Mr. Letherman had erected a large and handsome stone mansion a few years before his death. He left a widow, one son, and several daughters, all of whom reside upon the homestead.

The first person known to have kept tavern in what is now West Bethlehem township was Isaiah Ball, his house being open to the public in 1782. In 1794, John Meeks had opened a house for public entertainment. He was followed a few years later by William Meeks and Absalom Hawkins, the first named having a tavern in operation in 1801, and the latter in 1803. The Hawkins tavern was upon the site of the residence of the heirs of Edward Taylor, east of Hillsborough.

Mr. William Robinson, now nearly eighty years of age, lives in Hillsborough, and from him can be learned many interesting anecdotes of the pioneer days of West Bethlehem township. He also relates many incidents of the staging days when the long lines of stages were passing over the National road between Wheeling and Cumberland, being himself one of the regular drivers. Addis Lynn, who worked for Stephen Hill, of Hillsborough, was a noted driver, and John Buck drove for Daniel Moore, of Washington, Pa., and L. W. Stockton, of Uniontown.

Churches. -- In the year 1797 measures were taken by the earliest religious society known in West Bethlehem township toward erecting a house for worship. This was known as the "Redstone" church, and was built upon land purchased of Thomas Crooks for that purpose. The trustees of the society were Joshua Davis, Leonard Roberts, William Allen, John Welch, Thomas Richardson, and James Eaton, who, on July 11, 1797, purchased of Thomas Crooks a piece of land containing one rood and thirty-seven perches, "situate on the Redstone road," for which they paid a consideration of five shillings on that date. A proviso in the contract granted to those attending church the privilege of passing to and from a spring on other land of Mr. Crooks. This church was built under the charge and supervision of Rev. Joseph Doddridge, and was located about a half a mile below the site of the village of Hillsborough. It was entirely abandoned many years ago, and by some it is thought to have been identical with the Episcopal Church which was pulled down some thirty years ago, the logs being used to construct the house now occupied by Edward Taylor. The graveyard in connection with this church is called the Crooks Graveyard. It was originally well laid out and cared for, but is now unfenced and neglected. In passing through it one sees that the first interments date back more than eighty years. From the inscription it is seen that Judith Parr died in October, 1802, aged seventy-nine years: Col. Thomas Crooks died Feb, 25, 1815, past eighty years of age: Judith Crooks died April 30, 1823, nearly eighty-four years of age; Henry Huntsbury died Feb. 7, 1830, seventy years old; Robert Rigle died Oct. 1, 1848, aged ninety years; Lieut.-Col. Roger S. Dix, U.S.A., died Jan. 7, 1849; William Dickerson died Aug. 13, 1859, ninety-two years of age.

The German Baptist (or Dunkard) Church was first organized in West Bethlehem about 1800, with the Rev. Mr. Bruist as its pastor. The first place for holding meetings was at the brick church on Ten-Mile Creek, which house is still in the possession of the society, and is used for one of the several meeting places. About the year 1858 the frame edifice situated on Pigeon Creek was built, having dimensions of forty by sixty feet. Some time prior to 1838, Rev. Mr. Bruist was succeeded by Rev. Mr. Helft, and he in turn was succeeded by that clergyman known as Grandfather John Spohn, whose father came from east of the mountains into this section in the year 1785. Rev. Mr. Spohn, when a small child, was brought across the Alleghenies in a sack thrown across the back of a mule, and, together with a stone, balanced the weight of his sister, who occupied the other end of the sac. Upon arriving here the father of Rev. Mr. Spohn purchased the farm now occupied by Solomon Mathews, of West Bethlehem township, giving a gun for the land. During the ministry of Rev. Mr. Spohn the German Baptist (or Dunkard) Society began to assume definite shape as a church. The succeeding minister was Rev. George Wise, who eventually removed to Illinois, and was succeeded by Rev. John Wise, who remained as the minister for forty years. He then removed to Illinois, and Rev. A. J. Sterling, of Fayette County, preached for four years.

The only minister of the German Baptist faith now officiating in Washington County is the Rev. J. M. Tombaugh. The following are the names of the members of this society prior to the year 1838, and after Rev. Mr. Helft had assumed the pastorate: Rev. Mr. Helft, pastor; Jacob Garber, Sr., elder; Daniel Spohn, Sally Spohn, Israel Bigler, Sr., Catharine Bigler, Andrew Wise, Samuel Thomas, Henry Tanner, Joseph Grable, Sr., Barbara Grable, Jacob Y. Spohn, John Spohn, John Miller, Sr., John Miller, Jr., John Miller, Nancy Miller, John Lane, Hannah Leasor, Robert Guttery, Peter, Joshua, Rebecca, Ezekiel, and Elizabeth Swihart.

On Feb. 19, 1803, there was organized at the residence of Joseph Hill, Jr., in West Bethlehem township, a Baptist society called the Lebanon Church, but was still better known as the Plum Run Old Side Baptist Church. This society was also of the Dunkard faith, and the trustees chosen to arrange for building a house of worship, and other business affairs, were Hugh Jennings, Ross Nichols, Joseph Hill, Jr., James Beatty, and James Hill. They purchased of Joseph Hill, Sr., a lot containing one acre of land, the lot being partly from each of the two tracts called "Hillsborough" and "Absent Brother." Among the organizing members of this church were Joseph and Mary Hill, James Hill, Ross and Margaret Nichols, Daniel and Lucretia Leonards, Rebecca Welsh, James and Margaret Beatty, Thomas and Rachel Hill, David Evans and wife, Mrs. Sarah Barnes, John Welsh, and James Burgan and family. Mr. Burgan and his family afterwards left the Dunkard, and became members of the Campbellite Church. The house of worship first set up by the Plum Run Baptist Church was built of logs, but that has since been replaced by a substantial brick edifice. The ministers who have had charge of this society were Revs. Henry Speer, Francis Downey, Cephas McClelland, Adah Winnet, and the present incumbent, Rev. Philip McInturff, a native of Eastern Virginia.

The Ten-Mile Methodist Episcopal Church at Zollarsville originated in the formation of a class composed of Bennett Morton and wife, Samuel Gass and wife, William Bennington and wife, Samuel Garrett and wife, William Garrett and wife, Solomon Wise, Stephen Ulery, and several others. Their first services were held about 1840 by John Gregg and Hiram Winnet, local preachers, in the old log church building of the Lutherans, near the residence of Adam Horn; but soon afterwards a brick house of worship was erected for the society by Stephen Ulery, located on a bluff of Ten-Mile Creek at Zollarsville. The first trustees of the church were Bennett Morton, Solomon Wise, and Stephen Ulery. The first preachers appointed to the charge were John Coyle and --- Ruter. The present paster is the Rev. J. G. Gugley. The church is embraced in a charge with Millsborough, West Bend, Clarksville, and Valley Chapel.

The Winnet Chapel, in West Bethlehem township, was erected in 1866 to replace the frame building formerly occupied by the society which worships there, and which was burned in 1864. In the interval between the destruction of the old house and erection of the new one services were held in the school-house near by. Both edifices were built while Rev. Hiram Winnet, now of Pittsburgh, was the clergyman in charge. The membership has attained the number of one hundred and eleven, and the present class-leader is John I. Martin.

Fairview Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in this township in 1876, and the church edifice was erected in the same year, the church site being donated by William Sargent. The present paster is Rev. Charles McCaslin, who has officiated since 1879. Previous to that year, and from the time of the organization of the church, Rev. William Stewart was the preacher. The members of the society number eighteen. Adam G. Weaver is the class-leader.

The Town of Hillsborough is located within the territory of West Bethlehem township, about midway between the boroughs of Washington and Brownsville, about twelve miles from either place. The town lies on both sides of the old National road, and it was one of the principal points at which the coaches of the different stage-lines made a stopping-place in the prosperous days of the great thoroughfare. The site of Hillsborough is a part of the tract called "Springtown," surveyed Feb. 23, 1785, to Isaac Bush, who sold to George Hill, June 18, 1796. On the 13th of February, 1800, George Hill conveyed the tract "Springtown" to his son, Stephen Hill, upon an agreement, from which is quoted the following: "Conditioned and covenanted by the said Stephen Hill to and with the said George Hill, his father, that he, the said Stephen Hill, doth promise, for himself, his heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns, and each and every of them, out of the above-described premises to keep him, the said George Hill, his father, and George Hill, his brother, in good and sufficient meat, drink, washing, lodging, and wearing apparel, in sickness and in health, during their natural lives; and if failures should arise in the fulfillment of the conditions, the same shall yearly and every year be settled by three reputable men." Whether any "failures in the fulfillment of the conditions" of this agreement arose or not does not appear. Probably there were none.

Nineteen years after the above-mentioned conveyance of the "Springtown" property by George Hill to his son, Stephen Hill, the latter, with Thomas McGiffin (to whom he had conveyed an interest in the land), laid out upon it the town bearing the name of the principal proprietor. The survey and plat was made in the early part of the summer of 1819, and an advertisement of the proprietors, dated July 19th of that year, appeared in the Washington Reporter of July 26th, as follows:


      "The publick are informed that a town has been laid off to be called Hillsborough on the National road, adjoining Hill's Stone tavern, about equal distance from Washington and Brownsville, and that lots will be sold on the premises on Monday the 19th of August at publick auction. Sale to commence at ten o'clock A.M.
      "The situation is healthy and pleasant and affords strong encouragement to the enterprise of the Merchant, the Mechanic, and Innkeeper. The surrounding country is fertile, well improved, and contains a numerous and enterprising population. There is no town or village within from ten to twelve miles distance which can rival it, nor is it presumed that any can be established short of that distance which can have that effect. The plan and terms of sale are liberal.
                                        "Stephen Hill,
                                        "Thomas McGiffin,

"July 19, 1819."

The plat of the town, recorded with the records of Washington County, is accompanied by the following remarks, viz.:

      "The above is a plan of the town of Hillsborough, situate on the United States Road, nearly equidistant between Brownsville and Washington, Pa. The town contains 105 lots, as numbered on the plan. The streets and alleys are as represented in the plan. The main street is 60 feet wide, except the back street on each side of the town, which is 40 feet wide. Each alley is twenty feet wide. Every lot (Nos. 1, 17, 18, 49, 50, 82, 83, 96, and 97 excepted) is 60 feet wide in front by 200 feet back, and right angles. Lot No. 1 is 60 feet front by 120 feet back, lot No. 50 is 53 feet in front, and lot No. 49 is 50 feet in front and wider back so as to form Waynesburg Street, with a bearing of S. 18 1/4? west, and 60 feet wide. Lots Nos. 17 and 18 are exactly opposite to the last-mentioned street, and lots 49 and 50 tapering back as in the plan, to make the angles of lots Nos. 16 and 19 square. Lots Nos. 96 and 97 are 50 feet each in front, and widening back on the principle of lots Nos. 49 and 50. And lots 82 and 83 are to be exactly opposite to these, and of such size as to make their adjacent lots square in their angles, and the street between them, S. 23 3/4? west and 60 feet wide.

                                        "Stephen Hill,
                                        "Thomas McGiffin,

"August 16, 1819."

The National road, as before mentioned, runs through the town, forming the main street. By the plan there was laid out, on the northerly side of the street, and near the centre, a plat of ground called "Hill's Reserve." On the same side of the street the lots, commencing at the west side of Hill's Reserve, numbered westwardly from No. 1 to No. 33, inclusive; then recommencing on the opposite side of the street. Opposite 89, on the north side of the street, was No. 90, from the lots numbered westward to 106, which last was laid out adjoining the east side of a reserved plat of ground smaller than "Hill's Reserve," and separated from the latter by a road called on the plan Crooks Street.

Upon the site of Hillsborough a public-house had been kept by Thomas Hill as early as 1794, and it was continued by the Hill family for many years, "Hill's Stone Tavern" being mentioned in the advertisement of Hill and McGiffin's sale of Hillsborough lots in 1819.

The Hillsborough post-office was established immediately after the laying out of the town. It is found in the Washington Reporter of Oct. 3, 1819, that "a post-office has been established at Hillsborough, in Washington County, Pa.; Mr. Samuel Stanley is the postmaster." Mr. Stanley was a carpenter by trade, and settled on the site of Hillsborough ten or twelve years before the laying out of the town. During the period of half a century in which he was a resident of this place he enjoyed the highest esteem and confidence of his fellow-citizens. He died in or about 1860, his daughter succeeding him in the charge of the post-office at Hillsborough. It is now designated as "Scenery Hill" post-office.

The first merchant of Hillsborough was Jeremiah Coleman. The first two physicians of the place were Drs. McGougan and Henry Halleck. The present physicians are Drs. T. R. Sterer and C. T. Dodd.

The town now contains two churches (Methodist Episcopal and Lutheran), one school-house, accommodating two schools, three stores, two blacksmith-shops, one wagon-making establishment, two shoe-shops, one cabinet-maker's shop and undertaking establishment, and fifty dwellings.

Scenery Hill Lodge, No. 770, I.O.O.F., was chartered May 18, 1871, with the following-named charter members: John I. Cleaver, Phillip Thornburg, James Dalrymple, Jacob Gayman, Andrew Horn, Mahlon Linton, Eli U. Myers, Norton M. Myers, Water S. Myers, William Oller, John A. Paul, Joseph W. Ross, Jacob W. Shedler, Taylor Smith, Solomon Wansetter, John A. Yerty. Officers: L. M. Cleaver, N. G.; A. A. Hill, V. G.; George M. Baker, Sec.; B. F. Wise, Asst. Sec.; J. W. Ross, Treas. The lodge now numbers seventy-eight members.

Zollarsville, a little hamlet within the limits of West Bethlehem township, was founded by Jacob Zollar, and named for him. He was of German descent, and built the first house in the place. The house was afterwards used by Elijah Hawkins as a store-room. Daniel Zollar located on Ten-Mile Creek, owning a large farm there, and had a family of five sons and two daughters. Mrs. Stephen Ulery, of Zollarsville, and Demas Zollar, of Westmoreland County, are grandchildren of Daniel Zollar.

Zollarsville is located on Ten-Mile Creek, which stream makes a remarkable bend at this point and is here forty yards in width. It is spanned by a fine bridge at this place. The village of Zollarsville contains twelve dwelling-houses and the various places of business, which are quite widely separated from each other.

In 1835 a large grist-mill was built here by Jacob Ulery, which was run by water-power, and for years did a considerable business. Since it passed into the possession of Stephen Ulery, steam has been applied with successful results. The "White Pine" hotel is kept by W. H. Ulery, the store and post-office are kept by Messrs. Baker & Lewis. Jacob Nickerson is the wagon-maker, James Porter the blacksmith, and John A. Patterson the resident physician of the place, Dr. James Braden, born in Greene County, educated at Canonsburg, and graduated at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, settled in Zollarsville as the first resident physician of the village, and practiced here from 1850 until the later years of the war of the Rebellion, when he removed to Indianapolis, Ind., where he is still in practice.

Schools.--The earliest school-teachers of whom any account is found in West Bethlehem were Walter Thomson, John Donahoo, and Peter R. Hopkins. The name of the first mentioned is found marked as "schoolmaster" on the assessment-roll of the township for 1800, and the two others were teaching primitive schools here at about the same time. Among the teachers of a little later date were Robert Jones, Jonathan Warner, and Peter Nonnasmith. The Donahoo above mentioned was also teaching in 1807. The oldest school-house that is remembered was a log building that stood near the site of the Lutheran and Presbyterian church, on land of the Simon family. In this old building German schools were taught in 1805, and prior to that time. Mr. Samuel Oller recollects it in the year named, and he does not think there was any other school-house in the township at that time. It had a clapboard roof, and windows made of greased paper. English schools began to be taught in the township about 1809. Prior to that time they were taught in German. Among the first teachers in English was Walter Thomson, who had previously taught in German. Scholars came from a distance of four miles to attend his school. In 1823, in the east part of the township, there was a log school-house standing on Joseph Grable's farm, others on the David Coonrod and Spindler lands. Another, a log building with a cabin roof, was on John Friend's farm. In this last named schools were taught by William McCleary and a teacher named Gordon. Jacob Ragan taught a school in a vacant log building on Jonathan Garben's farm. Later, William McCleary taught a school in a log building on Amos Walton's farm. One of the ancient log school-houses of this township was used until 1863, and was said to have been the last of its kind used for school purposes in Washington County.

Upon the passage of the free school law of 1834 a meeting was held at Washington borough, at which each township in the county was represented, the object being to take action in reference to the acceptance of the provisions of the law. At this meeting West Bethlehem was one of the five townships of the county that voted for non-acceptance. In 1835, however, the township had accepted the law, conformed to its requirements, and elected as school directors Messrs. J. Eagy and J. Mikesell, and was reported in that year as having assessed and collected $336.19 for school purposes. At that time the number of persons liable to school tax in the township was four hundred and eight.

The school report for the year ending June 2, 1863, shows the following school statistics for West Bethlehem: Number of schools in township, 14; number of teachers, 15; number of pupils enrolled, 659; receipts for school purposes for the year, $1397. The report for 1873 showed: Number of schools, 15; number of teachers, 16; number of pupils enrolled, 534; receipts for school purposes, $4205. In 1880 the school report for the township showed: Number of schools, 16; number of teachers, 18; number of pupils enrolled 600; receipts for school purposes, $3743.89; expenditures for same $2533.82.

Justices of the Peace of West Bethlehem1

        Robert Quail, April 14, 1840.
        Andrew Cox, April 14, 1840.
        Abraham Young, April 15, 1845.
        Stephen HIll, April 10, 1849.
        Andrew Alexander, April 10, 1849.
        Abraham Young, April 9, 1850.
        Atkinson Nichols, April 19, 1852.
        Andrew Cox, April 13, 1853.
        George Taylor, April 13, 1853.
        William Hedge, May 18, 1858.
        Samuel Barnett, May 18, 1858.
        George Taylor, April 21, 1862.
        William Hedge, April 14, 1863.
        Samuel Garrett, April 17, 1866.
        Samuel Garrett, Nov. 30, 1870.
        George Taylor, April 12, 1872.
        George Taylor, Jan. 21, 1874.
        Samuel Garrett, Jan. 27, 1874.
        Samuel Garrett, March 16, 1876.
        Jacob Gayman, March 21, 1877.
        George Taylor, March 27, 1879.
        J. B. Wise, April 9, 1881.

[1Until 1843 East Bethlehem and West Bethlehem formed one district and the justices for both townships for that period are given in East Bethlehem township.]



Samuel Barnard was born in West Bethlehem township, Washington County, Dec. 1, 1796, and died Jan. 26, 1881. After receiving such instruction as the district school afforded, he commenced the life of a farmer upon the old homestead, which he subsequently inherited. He cultivated his lands skillfully and profitably, uniting with this business that of general stock raising. He was a substantial citizen, and lived a quiet, unostentatious life, doing his duty as he understood it. He was married April 6, 1828, to Eleanor Barnes, who died Feb. 23, 1839, aged forty years. Their children were six in number, -- John, their first-born, died in infancy; their second, Demas, was a member of the Washington Cavalry, Capt. A. J. Greenfield commanding, in the late war, having gone of his own accord to Grafton, Va., a few weeks after the organization of the company, and there had his name placed upon the muster-roll. He was wounded by guerrillas while serving in Virginia, and died Feb. 12, 1863. His remains are interred in the Lutheran Cemetery near his home. His comrades bear testimony to his bravery and efficiency as a soldier, and his moral worth as a man. When informed by his physician that he had but a very short time to live, he said to Capt. Greenfield, who was by his side, "Captain, they say I must die! I would like to live a while longer to kill more traitors." The next two of Samuel Barnard's children, and the only ones now living, are twins, -- Elizabeth and Samuel B. Elizabeth is the wife of George Gayman, a farmer of East Bethlehem township, and has two children, -- Samuel and Emma. Samuel B. is a prosperous farmer, and resides at the old home. He was a soldier in the late war, enlisting in Capt. A. J. Barr's company Oct. 14, 1862, and serving until he was discharged, July 19, 1865.

The fifth child died in infancy, and the youngest, Eleanor, married Isaac H. Kinder, and died in 1868, aged twenty-nine years. March 12, 1843, Samuel Barnard married Elizabeth Drake, who died Aug. 10, 1860, aged sixty-four years. Mr. Barnard's father, Ignatius Barnard, was born in what is now West Bethlehem township, Oct. 25, 1762. he was a solider, and married Elizabeth Lewis, of Virginia. Their children were Mary, who married William Buckingham; James, who married Julia Bricker; Samuel, before mentioned; Ignatius, who died in infancy; Parmelia, who married Joseph Wise; Elizabeth, who married Joseph Ross; Catharine, unmarried; and Nathan, who married Hannah Zollars. Samuel Barnard's grandfather was a native of Scotland, from which country he emigrated and settled in Washington County, Pa.


George Crumrine, of West Bethlehem township, was born Oct. 28, 1813, in the township where he now resides, and was one of sixteen children (all of whom arrived at maturity) of John Crumrine and his wife Barbara, who was a Fohrman. John Crumrine was born on Jan. 22, 1779, in what is now Carroll County, Md., near the present village of Melrose, and there married. His father was Abraham, who was the son of George L., who immigrated from the Palatinate, in Germany, in 1748. Three sons came from Maryland early in the century. George settled in East Bethlehem township, Peter went on into Knox County, Ohio, and John, the above named, who came later, about 1811, and settled and lived till his death, on Jan. 13, 1857, upon the farm near the mouth of Daniels' Run, now owned by one of his daughters, Mrs. Julia Ann Theakston. His children were Elizabeth, wife of David Horn; Mary, wife of John Tinkey; Susan, wife of James Sargent; Margaret, wife of G. W. Crabb; George; John; William; Julia A., wife of Thomas Theakston; Abraham; Judith, wife of D. W. Longdon; Sarah; Barbara; Lucinda, wife of John Blackford; Valentine; David; Maria, wife of Dennis Drake.

The fifth named of this family, George Crumrine, had but little start in the way of pecuniary aid, but by means of industry and economy has succeeded in acquiring a competency, and is now a representative farmer of his township. In his youth he learned the carpenter's trade, and on Oct. 25, 1840, was married to Mahala, oldest daughter of James and Julia Ann (Bricker) Barnhard, neighbors of his father. In 1847 he abandoned his trade and removed to the farm which he now occupies and owns near Hillsborough, the post-office at that place being called Scenery Hill. His children are James B., born April 27, 1842 (married first, Jennie Collins; second, Gusta Harris), a physician at Pennsboro', W. Va., where he has been practicing for the last fourteen years. Taking an active interest in politics, he has been a Democratic member of the West Virginia Legislature during its last two sessions. His other children are Elizabeth A., born Dec. 26, 1847, wife of Jacob Gayman, a surveyor, residing at Hillsborough; Julia Ann, born June 2, 1849, is unmarried; Cordelia, born May 13, 1851, wife of Robert Hornbake, miller, Fredericktown; Emma Lucinda, born June 13, 1853, wife of Cephas Horn, of Hillsborough; George Leroy, born Sept. 4, 1855, and John Elwood, born Aug. 22, 1865, are unmarried and reside with their parents.


*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 Linda Vourlogianes of [TBD] in March 1998. Published in March 1998 on the Washington County, PA USGenWeb pages at http://www.chartiers.com. 

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Copyright © 1998 Jean Suplick Matuson. All rights reserved.