West Pike Run Twp. (pp. 986-994)

History of Washington County, Pennsylvania*

The territory of this township, together with that of East Pike Run, was embraced in the old township of Pike Run, and so remained for a period of almost half a century from the erection of the township last named. An account of the erection of Pike Run township in April, 1792, and its division on the 9th of March, 1839, forming East and West Pike Run townships, is given in the history of East Pike Run. The boundaries of West Pike Run are Fallowfield and Somerset on the north, East Pike Run on the east, East Bethlehem on the south, and Somerset and West Bethlehem on the west. The township is abundantly watered fro agricultural purposes by small creeks and runs, but it has no river or other stream of sufficient importance to be mentioned among the principal water-courses of the county.

One of the earliest settlers (if not the first) within the territory that now forms the township of West Pike Run was Dr. Charles Wheeler, who came into this section of Washington County as early as the fall of 1774, and took up two tracts of land which were contiguous to each other, located on Falls Run, a branch of Pike Run, and which were warranted to him under the title of "Winter's Choice." The entire area was about three hundred and forty-five acres, but it was granted to him as three hundred acres, strict measure. When the establishment of township lines took place Dr. Wheeler's land was in both East Bethlehem and West Pike Run townships. The Virginia certificate which he received entitling him to his land was dated Feb. 21, 1780. In the survey the property was described thus:

"Situate chiefly on the north side of the main road leading from Redstone Ferry to Washington town in Washington County, called "Winter's Choice," containing three hundred acres of land, surveyed January 25, 1785, in pursuance of a Certificate granted to Charles Wheeler from the Commissioners of Virginia for a settlement right as followeth, to wit:

"Surveyor's Office-Yohogania County,
State of Virginia.

"Charles Wheeler produced a certificate from the Commissioners appointed to settle titles and grant unpatented lands in the counties of Yohogania, Monongalia, and Ohio, for three hundred acres of land in Yohogania County, to include his improvement made thereon in the year 1775, which was granted at Cox's Fort the 21st day of February, 1780, and duly entered in this office.
[Signed] "B. JOHNSTON,
"Surveyor Yohogania County.
"January 12, 1785."

In 1796, Dr. Charles Wheeler was one of three persons who purchased a town lot in Brownsville for the use of a Protestant Episcopal Church. In his history of Christ Church, of Brownsville, Rev. Samuel Cowell says of him, "Dr. Charles Wheeler, was an Englishman, and a surgeon by profession, who, after serving in Dunmore's War, settled on a farm about four miles west of Brownsville. He was warmly attached to the church, and when disposing of his worldly effects bequeathed to the same one hundred pounds, to be paid at the death of his wife. Mrs. Wheeler lived many years after her husband's death, having reached the advanced age of ninety-four years."

The wife of Dr. Wheeler was Miss Elizabeth Cresap, and she lived a quarter of a century after her husband had passed away. Her remains were interred in the Episcopalian churchyard at Brownsville. Dr. Wheeler was the owner of several slaves, all of whom he remembered in his will. Hannah Young was the last survivor of these slaves, she living until after 1870. As Dr. and Mrs. Wheeler had no children, he, after naming various minor bequests, gave the bulk of his property to Charles Wheeler, his nephew. The following are some of the clauses in the will, which was executed May 26, 1808, viz.: "After my debts are discharged, which are very trifling, it is my further wish and pleasure that the little I have which is of my own acquiring shall be disposed of in the following manner" [After naming several sums for other persons, he gave] L50 to black Samuel, L50 to black Benjamin, "50 to black Hannah, L25 to black Lydia, L50 to black Daniel, and L25 to black Rachel. The above named black people were raised under my roof. I therefore hope they will consider the intent of the small bounties bestowed them by an indulgent master and to apply the same discreetly to their interests...As it was not my lot to have issue by my wife, I did not embark in this world's speculation in search of more than what would enable me to live decently comfortable to my family and friends. Therefore it must be considered that the little I possess at this present, the total value thereof cannot now be fully estimated for the time to come by several hundreds. When it arrives at that epoch it is my desire and request that my executors will, from any additional sum arising from the sale of my real and personal property, equally divide the same in addition to every legacy I have bequeathed."

Joseph Crawford and Robert Clarke, of Fayette County, and Thomas Johnson, of Washington County, were named executors of this will, which was proved Sept. 25, 1813. On March 29, 1839, they sold to Jonathan Knight one hundred and seventy-three acres of the tract "Winter's Choice." It now belongs to Oliver K. Taylor, cashier of the Bank of Brownsville.

Jonathan Knight, above mentioned as the purchaser of a part of the Wheeler lands, was a resident within the present limits of West Pike Run township for many years. He was one of the most widely-known and highly-esteemed men of Washington County or of Western Pennsylvania. He served with honor in both Houses of the State Legislature, and was a member of congress from his district. He was the most famous surveyor in this section of the country, and became one of the most eminent civil engineers of his day in the United States. The place where he lived and died is about one mile east of the town of Centerville, and now within the limits of West Pike Run township, though originally in East Bethlehem, the change being caused by a readjustment of the lines between the two townships to conform to the route of the old National Road. His residence was but a very short distance north of the township line in West Pike Run, and apparently always continued to regard himself as belonging to East Bethlehem, which was his post-office address. A very brief and modest (yet comprehensive) autobiographical sketch of Mr. Knight, prepared for Lanman's "Dictionary of Congress" in 1858, copied from the original manuscript, and furnished by his son, William Knight, nor residing at or near Marysville, Marion Co., Iowa, is here given:

"I was born of poor but respectable parents,1 in Bucks County, Pa., on the 22d of November, 1787, and with them removed in 1801 to East Bethlehem, Washington Co., in the same State, where I yet reside, engaged in agriculture.

1[Jonathan Knight, the son of Abel and Ann S. Knight, was born in Bucks County, Pa., on the 22d day of November, 1787. His father was a weaver by trade, but could survey land and teach school.--Civil and Military Engineers of America, by Charles Stewart, C.E., 1871.]
"In 1809 I married Ann Heston, in a meeting of the religious society of Friends, in accordance with their good order, and we still remain in religious fellowship with that society. The limited means at command did not permit of my education in any college, nor in any seminary of learning above the ordinary primary school then in the country. Nevertheless, an unquenchable thirst for knowledge impelled me to read and study at home, mostly at nights, by which means I acquired a pretty good American education, and a competent store of mathematical learning, and became a teacher in schools and a surveyor of land and of roads.

"About the year 1816 I was appointed by the State government of Pennsylvania to make and report a map of Washington County, in order to facilitate the forming of Melish's map of the State. This duty involved much field labor, the instrumental surveys requiring an hundred days in their performance. That service having been satisfactorily performed, I served three years as county commissioner, to which office I was elected by the people. Soon I entered upon civil engineering, and after assisting in a subordinate station in the preliminary surveys for the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and in those of the National or Cumberland road, between Cumberland and Wheeling, I was appointed in 1825, by the Federal government, a commissioner to extend that road, and accordingly did extend it from Wheeling through the States of Ohio and Indiana to the eastern line of the State of Illinois.

"In 1822 I was elected a member of the Legislature of Pennsylvania, and served in the House of Representatives and in the Senate six sessions. In 1826 I resigned my seat in that Senate and entered the service of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, and visited England to acquire knowledge in that then new department of civil engineering. Returning, I accepted the office of chief engineer for that company in 1830, which I held until 1842.1 Retiring then to the farm, I continued the pursuit of agriculture, for which I was always partial, with only occasional times or absence from home on professional or other calls until 1854, when I was elected to the Thirty-fourth Congress in the Twentieth District of Pennsylvania, composed of Fayette, Greene, and Washington Counties. Having served through the three sessions of that Congress, and failing of a re-election in 1856, I again retired to a rural and private life on the farm at East Bethlehem.                 (Signed) "J. Knight."

1[On the 2d of March, 1842, on the occasion of the acceptance of Mr. Knight's resignation, the board of directors of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad Company took the following action:

"On motion of Gen. Marriott, seconded by Mr. S.J. Donaldson, the following resolutions were adopted, viz.: Resolved, unanimously, That in accepting the resignation of Jonathan Knight, Esq., as chief engineer, the board feel it to be a duty to express the high sense entertained of his worth as a man and merits as an officer; and also to acknowledge the value and importance of the services rendered by him in the responsible office which he has so long held with credit to himself and justice to the interests of the company. Resolved, That the president cause a copy of the above resolutions to be transmitted to Jonathan Knight, Esq."]

"The leading characteristics of Mr. Knight as a professional man," says Mr. B.H. Latrobe,2 who was Jonathan Knight's successor as chief engineer of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, "were strongly marked, and entitled him to a high rank in the roll of American civil engineers. His natural aptitude for the acquisition of knowledge in the exact sciences, and especially those which depend upon the skillful use of algebraic analyses, was unsurpassed. The habit of close thinking, into which he was led by the natural tendencies of his mind to mathematical investigation, made him reason rightly on all subjects, and gave a philosophical cast to his conversation upon almost every topic that he touched. Yet his remarks were not a series of dry abstractions, but were practical in their bearings and enriched by illustration and anecdote. In political economy he was well versed, and expressed enlightened and comprehensive views upon the subject of banking, trade, manufactures, and agriculture, of the last of which he possessed much practical knowledge, derived from experience and careful observation. Politics also was a favorite theme with him, and upon public measures he always expressed broad and national views. He discussed the characters of public men with great spirit, and often with a sarcastic humor which marked his conversation on most subjects. The character of Henry Clay appeared to be his ideal of a statesman and orator. In private life he was distinguished by many excellent qualities. He raised a large family,--ten children,--fulfilling his domestic duties in the most exemplary manner, bringing up his children in the fear of God, providing for them with a judicious regard to their several capacities and dispositions. He left a comfortable estate, after having settled all his children during his own lifetime, and among his neighbors and many friends a character of unsullied probity and consistent Christian kindness."
2[Stewart's "Civil and Military Engineers of America," pp. 240, 241.]
Jonathan Knight died at his residence in West Pike Run township, Nov. 22, 1858. The following account of the event, and of the fatal illness preceding it, is furnished by his eldest son, William Knight, of Iowa: "He was taken suddenly ill with bilious colic in a very severe pain and a continual oppressive sensation in the chest. He died on the tenth day of his illness, being the seventy-first anniversary of his birthday (November 22d). During his last illness he was very patient and calm, conversed little, but always spoke pleasantly to those about him, recognizing them until the last moment, and with his last words said that he had made his peace with God, and had no matter to make up with any man, and that he was entering upon a state of rest and happiness in the life to come."

Of the ten children of Jonathan Knight, William, the eldest, lived in East Bethlehem until 1864, when he emigrated to Mabaska County, Iowa, and resided there until the fall. of 1881, when he removed to his present home at Marysville, Marion Co., in the same State. Oliver lived in East Bethlehem township, Washington County. Zephaniah B. migrated from Washington County to Oakland County, Mich., and remained there until a few years ago, when he removed to Omaha, Neb., and now resided there. Jonathan Knight, Jr., settled early in life in Mehaska County, Iowa, but soon afterwards removed to Tonganoxie, Kan., where he is now living. Abel was located for a short time in West Pike Run township, then removed to Oakland County, Mich., and soon afterwards to Leavenworth County, Kan., where he remained but a short time, and removed to the State of California, where he remained till his death, in the fall of 1881. Three other children of Jonathan Knight--Eber H., Elizabeth, and Ann--resided in West Pike Run township with their parents until their death.

Benjamin White was the owner of "Apple Green," a tract of land in West Pike Run township which contained four hundred and sixty-three acres, and was surveyed to him June 5, 1786. Mr. White was an excellent scholar; he taught school and music, and practiced surveying. More that sixty years ago he taught school in the stone house which is now the mansion house of Amor Jeffreys. He was very badly crippled, and only able to move about with considerable difficulty. His wife was Jane Beall, a sister of Zephaniah Beall, who founded the town of Beallsville. Mr. and Mrs. White had but two children, both daughters, Tabitha and Keziah White. Tabitha died when very young, and Keziah became the wife of Simon Johnson. She inherited the homestead, or rather her father gave it to her during his life, and lived with her. She afterwards sold the property, and the whole family removed to the State of Ohio.

William Griffith came from Wales to America before the year 1690, and settled in New Castle, Del. Although William Griffith had formerly been wealthy, he came to this country poor, and remained thus all his life, dying at the age of one hundred and five years. His son, William Griffith, Jr., was born in New Castle in December, 1714, and in 1735 crossed the Susquehanna River and settled on Beaver Creek, in York County, remaining there until his death, which occurred Sept. 21, 1778. Jacob Griffith, a son of William Griffith, Jr., came to Washington County in 1790, and located upon the land in West Pike Run township now owned and occupied by Elijah Hawkins. He was a member of the Society of Friends, and founded the Clover Hill Friends' Meeting in this township, of which he remained a supporter until his death. Israel Griffith was a son of Jacob Griffith, who located on the property near the site of Henry Hornbake's mill, and worked in the old Benjamin Vore mill, though he was also a cooper by trade. He married Letitia Shaw, by whom he had eight children. Of these but five are living,--Eli R., Israel L., Emmor H., and the two daughters, Anna and Eliza. Israel L. Griffith resides in Marshall County, Iowa. Emmor H. Griffith lives in Centerville, Washington Co. Eli R. Griffith lives one and one-half miles northeast of Centerville. Emmor H. has no children; Eli R. has two--the son Oliver R. Griffith, who lives near his father, and another son, who is a merchant in Minneapolis, Minn.

Joseph Jeffreys, who was born in Chester County, Pa., was a farmer, and emigrated to Washington County in 1795. He was a witness of the battle of Brandywine, which occurred Sept. 11, 1777, but was not old enough to be a participant in the engagement. His wife was Miss Elizabeth Robinson, of Loudoun County, Va., and they had a family of nine children, of whom only Pleasant, Amor, Job, and Mary lived to the age of men and women. Of these four but Job and Amor are now living. Amor married Sarah Gregg, and they had a family of eleven children, of whom only five are now alive,--Joseph, Anderson, Jacob, Eliza, and B. Franklin Jeffreys. Amor Jeffreys is a fuller by trade, and own the old Benjamin White property. Mary Jeffreys, the daughter of the early settler, Joseph Jeffreys, became the wife of Samuel McCoy, and Pleasant Jeffreys married John Keys.

The present townships of Carroll, Allen, East Pike Run, West Pike Run, Fallowfield, and a part of Somerset were originally included in one township, Fallowfield. At that time all the residents of the territory mentioned gathered to vote at one point, which was usually at the residence of Edward West, the property in Fallowfield township now owned by Allen White and others. The paternal ancestors of Edward West were English, and those of his mother were Germans. Mr. West himself was born in Loudoun County, Va., and when he came to this section he purchased a tract of land containing three hundred and five acres, which is now owned by Edward West, Jr., Dixon Spahr, Allen White, and John Rider. Edward West, Sr., had quite a large family of children. One of the sons, the youngest died in infancy, and Edward, Jr., died leaving no heirs. the son Jonathan married Frances Nixon, and their sons--Thomas, Edward, Jr., Jonathan Jr., and Robert West--are living in Washington County. Thomas West, son of the pioneer, Edward West, Sr., had a son, Thomas West, Jr., who died near Pittsburgh. The sons, Joseph and Matthew West, had the old homestead. Joseph had a large family, who are now living in Southern Illinois. Edward West, Jr., the son of Jonathan, and grandson of Edward West, Sr., is the oldest representative of the family in this county. His sons are four,--Robert, Thomas, George, and Jonathan West. His daughter Anna married George Morrison, Esq., of Uniontown, Fayette Co. His daughter Mary became the wife of Robert Gregg, Jane West married Thomas Hondan.

Seaborn Crawford settled on a small tract of land in this township, located near the town of Beallsville, where he followed the trade of blacksmith, and lived upon the place until his death. He had two sons, Richard and Nathan Crawford. Nathan Crawford, Jr., of Somerset township, is a grandson of Seaborn Crawford, and Mrs. Susan Graves, of West Pike Run township, is his granddaughter.

Mr. Mahlon Riggs, now eighty-four years of age, and long a resident of this section, gives many names of persons who lived in West Pike Run township in the early part of the present century. Among them were Rezin Beall, Charles Dobbs, Mark Deems, George Fitzsimmons, Eleanor Hopkins, Thomas Hopkins, Alexander Hopkins, William Howe, Robert Hill, James Moffit, James Mitchell, Abijah Riggs, and George Riggle. Information has been obtained of but few of this number, save the fact that their names belong in the list of early settlers. The land owned by Mark Deems was a tract located near Beallsville, which is still in possession of descendants of the family. He had four sons,--Mark, Jr., Jacob, John, and George Deems. His daughter became Mrs. David Jenkins. Mark Deems, Jr., married Miss Baker. Jacob's wife was Miss Duvall. john died in Illinois. George Deems was married twice, first to Miss Baker, and after her death to Miss Sharp.

James Moffit was an Irishman, a good farmer, and a highly respected man. He owned a farm in West Pike Run, but followed the trade of a weaver and let his sons attend to the farm. The property is now owned by his grandson, John T. Moffit. James Moffit had quite a family of children. Thomas, the eldest of the family, was a physician, and practiced his profession in the town of Carmichael's, Greene Co. The son James married Miss Bennett, and lived in West Brownsville. John Moffit became a farmer, and after he had reached old age married a Miss Wilson. William Moffit, another son of the elder James Moffit, married Miss West. The son andrew, whose wife was Miss Vance, lives in this township. Of the daughters of James Moffit, Sr., Dorcas became a school-teacher and afterwards the wife of Ellis Johnson, removing to Ohio. Isabella became the wife of Judge James Hart; and Jane married John Hopkins.

John Baker was an early resident of this township. He was twice married, and reared two families of children. Of the first family, Nicholas Baker, the eldest child, lived and died on the homestead. Joshua, another son, married Miss Shaw, and died in the town of Beallsville. The daughter of this marriage became Mrs. Graham, and lived in Brownsville, Fayette Co. Lewis Baker was the oldest son and child of John Baker's second wife. He married a lady of the same name, and after her death married Miss Sowers. They lived for some time in the town of California, but he died in East Bethlehem township. The son Wesley removed West, and never married. The daughter Sarah went West after her marriage, and Elizabeth, who never married went to Ohio and died there.

William Almond was a farmer in this township, and had a family of children, many of whose descendants still reside here. The son Haman married Abigail Powell, and lived and died in this his native township. The son, Henry Almond, married a Miss Hopkins, and spent his whole life in Washington County.

Mr. Kelley was a resident of West Pike Run, who owned two fulling-mills, one situated on Pigeon Creek and the other on Ten-Mile Creek. He married Mrs. Cooper, a widow lady with two sons, Samuel and Moses Cooper. Mr. Kelley gave the mill on Ten-Mile Creek to his step-son Moses, and the one on Pigeon Creek to Lemuel Cooper. The last named is still living, having reached the age of eighty-five years.

James Riggle owned a farm near Centerville, and also kept a tavern on the old Washington and Brownsville road before the National road was built. Zephaniah Riggle, a son of James Riggle, kept a public-house in Centerville, the same that is now kept as a hotel by Joseph Jeffreys. He is still living in West Virginia. His two sisters, daughters of James Riggle, were Mrs. Mary Thompson and Mrs. Samuel Smith.

Henry Hornbake's mill, located on Pike Run, in this township, was built in 1857 upon the site of a former mill, which was burned in 1855 or 1856. The Hornbake family, originally from Germany, came directly to Washington County, and kept a hotel on Maple Creek, near the Monongahela River. Henry Hornbake had two brothers, George and Jacob. Henry's sons are Robert, William H., Jesse B., and Charles S. Hornbake.

The first and only post-office that has been at Clover Hill is that called Garwood post-office, established in 1880. John B. Graves is postmaster, and has the office in connection with his store.

Schools.--All that is known of early schools within the territory now embraced in this township has been given in the history of East Pike Run, in connection with those of old Pike Run township, which included in its boundaries nearly all that now forms East and West Pike Run. this was the case until after the adoption of the public school law of 1834. Soon after the erection of East and West Pike Run, in 1839, they were redistricted for school purposes, and school boards elected, that for West Pike Run consisting of John S. Cooper, Samuel Taylor, W.F. Hopkins, B. Taylor, and Nathan Rogers. The amount of school money raised in that year does not appear. According to the school report for West Pike Run for the year ending June 1, 1863, the number of schools then in the township was seven; number of teachers, seven; number of pupils enrolled, three hundred and forty-seven. Ten years later the report showed the number of schools, six; teachers, six; pupils enrolled, two hundred and seventy-four; amount of school funds received for the year, $1461.06. In 1880 the school report gave the following: Number of schools, six; number of teachers, six; number of pupils enrolled, two hundred and forty-nine; amount of school moneys for the year, @1848.65.

Churches.--The first Episcopal Church formed in Washington County was "St, Thomas' Church," which existed in West Pike Run township as early as 1777. In the year 1891 a building was erected for the use of the church, and as there were no other houses of worship in the neighborhood, this one was also used by other denominations, although the special property of the Episcopalians. It was built upon a lot of one acre of land, purchased of Edward West for five shillings, Thomas Dowler, William Crawford, Henry Gregg, John Gregg, Frederick Cooper, Jacob Springer, James Ellis, Edward Morton, Robert Kerr, William Riggs, Jacob Crabs, and John Honsb, vestrymen and trustees of the church, making the purchase. The building erected was of logs, twenty-seven by thirty feet in size. it was fitted up with a pulpit and gallery, was weather-boarded upon the outside, had plastered walls, and was ceiled overhead. From being built on land formerly owned by Mr. West it was called West's Church, although the name by which it was known among Episcopalians was St. Thomas' Church. In the gallery was a stone seventeen by twenty inches in size, upon which was the following inscription: "Surely the Lord is here. How dreadful is this place. This is no other but the house of God and gate of Heaven. A.D. 1791."

The first minister was Rev. Robert Ayers, who was preaching in St. Thomas' Church in 1803. he was succeeded by the Revs. Davis, Temple, Ten Broeck, and others. In the memoirs of the Rev. Joseph Doddridge is found the following report concerning this parish:

"At a convention held in St. Thomas' Church, in Washington County, Pa., there were present Rev. Robert Ayers, Rev. Joseph Doddridge, and Rev. Francis Reno. after divine service, Rev. Robert Ayers was appointed chairman, and Stephen G. Francis secretary. Several resolutions were passed. The last one declared that the next convention should be held near Gen. Neville's old place on Chartiers Creek, Pa., to commence the Saturday before next Whitsunday, and that the Rev. Rovert Ayers preach the opening sermon.
"Done in convention, September 25, 1803.
                "STEPHAN G. FRANCIS,

A convention of Protestant Episcopal clergymen again took place in St. Thomas' Church in the year 1810, when it was "Resolved, That the Rev. Dr. Doddridge open a correspondence with the Right Reverand Bishop White, of Philadelphia, for the purpose of obtaining, through him, permission of the General Convention to form a diocese in the Western country." The object ws to unite the western counties of Pennsylvania, Western Virginia, and Ohio in one diocese. this appeal, as stated, was made in 1810, eight years later, when it was incidentally noticed by Bishop White when replying to a letter the bishop gave sundry reasons for not responding to calls from the West. Beside the services held in this building by the Episcopalians, Rev. Boyd Mercer, an Old-School Presbyterian, preached in it for several years. About thirty years after its erection it fell into disuse, and the next to revive interest and attendance in services there were the Episcopalian clergymen, Revs. Rose man, Pfiffer, and Freeman. Under Rev. Mr. Freeman's rectorship the building was remodeled and new seats and a new pulpit put in it. After he left, however, there was but an occasional sermon by the minister at Brownsville, and finally Episcopalian services were entirely abandoned because the membership had died out. But Revs. James Samson and David Cross and Rev. Jacob Momyer, a Cumberland Presbyterian minister, all used the house. Rev. John Jordan, a Free-Will Baptist minister, also preached there two years. After Rev. Mr. Jordan came Rev. Mr. McKey, an Episcopalian Minster of Monongahela City, and with several others tried to revive the membership and services, with but indifferent success. The last Episcopal members to worship within the walls of the house were Jonathan and Mary A., Ruth, Ann, Francis, Jemima, and Melissa West, Azariah Crow and wife, and their daughter. The old building, that is nearly a century old, is a complete wreck, and vandalism will soon destroy the last vestige of it. In the churchyard attached to St. Thomas' Church the following old residents have been buried: Ann Johnson, died Feb. 2, 1819, aged eighty-two years; Edward West, died in June, 1872, eighty-three years old; James Kerr, died March 16, 1865, seventy-two years of age. John Stroud, Sr., died Feb. 6, 1820, aged fifty-one years; Elizabeth Stroud, died Feb. 6, 1855, seventy-five years old; Thomas Dowler, died April 1, 1824, eighty-five years old; Rosanna Chamberlain, died March 9, 1859, in the seventy-weventh year of her age. The yard is in poor condition, surrounded by a dilapidated stone fence. The place is full of graves, many unmarked, uncared for, and over grown.

The first Quakers in the vicinity of West Pike Run township were David and Ruth Graves, both ministers of that faith. Persons who become preachers among this people are never educated or ordained for the work. Their church in this section was known as the Westland Meeting-house, and was built upon land originally belonging to Michael Riggle. On March 5, 1785, the tract called "The Brewery," containing ninety-nine acres, and adjacent to the lands of Mark Deems, Herbert Wallace, and William Clouse, was warranted to Michael Riggle, and surveyed to him May 17, 1786. On April 9, 1794, he sold this land to Jacob Samms, and of him David Grave, Jacob Griffith,, John Heald, John Almond, Joseph Pennock, and Alexander Pedan, "trustees on behalf of the Society of the People called Quakers," appointed by Westland Monthly Meeting for this especial purpose, purchased four and one-half acres of land upon which to build their house of worship, the consideration being twenty dollars. The purchase was made on the 26th day of Sixth Month, 1797. Upon this land they built a frame house, twenty by thirty feet in sixe, and in it the regular meetings of the Friends were held, attended by all the persons of that faith in the vicinity, until the dissensions created by the preaching of Elias Hicks arose among them. Hicks taught "that the devil had no existence, and that if we did right our heaven was here." This was the rock upon which the society split into the "Hicksite" and "Orthodox" Quakers. The Orthodox Friends continued their services in the Westland Meeting house, and had quite a large membership, among them Philip and Jeremiah Rodgers, Mary and Priscilla Rodgers, Richard and Priscilla Crawford, Nathan and Mary Crawford, Francis Crawford, and Amos and Edith Griffith. All children born to parents who were Quakers had a birthright in the church. At the time Elias Hicks' preaching divided the original Westland Meeting he was a man a little past the prime of life, tall and spare in appearance, and having no permanent residence, but traveling about from place to place, wherever he believed his work to call him. His followers were William McGerr, who was the leader of the Hicksites after Mr. Hicks left, Rebecca McGerr, Benjamin and Elizabeth Taylor, Ann, Josiah, Alvina, and John Graves, and many others whose names have been forgotten. To accommodate these people another house of worship was erected upon the same lot, a brick building of the same size, twenty by thirty, and fifty-two feet distant from the first building. In these two houses the Orthodox and Hicksite Friends worshiped until the members of both societies passed away from the place. Elias Hicks died in the East, not far from Boston, The only one of his followers left in this section is Mrs. Rebecca McGerr, a beloved and respected old lady, now more than ninety years old.

About the year 1851, the Orthodox Friends ceased to exist as a religious origination, all the members except Amos Griffith and his family having emigrated to other parts. From this township Amos Griffith went to Brownsville, Fayette Co., and from there removed to the Quaker settlement near Mount Pleasant, Harrison Co., Ohio. Some years after the Quaker services ceased to be held in West Pike Run township, and all prospect of their revival had died out, their property was sold by them under permission granted by the Legislature of the State of Pennsylvania, as follows:


An act to authorize the sale of a certain lot of ground by the Society of Friends in the county of Washington.

"SEC. 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in General Assembly met, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, that Peter Clever, Josiah Johns, E.R. Griffith, Ellis Delly, and Joseph H. Miller, the representatives or committee of the two divisions of the Society of Friends, be and they are hereby authorized and empowered to sell and convey in fee simple and by a clear deed of transfer, at public or private sale, as they may determine, that tract or lot of ground situate in West Pike Run township, in the county of Washington, known as the West Pike Run Meeting-House lot, with the appurtenances appertaining or belonging there to. Approved April 1, 1863."

This resulted in the sale of the property, which, after passing through several hands, came into the possession of Samuel Price. On March 25, 1865, it was purchased by Mrs. Ann Gregg, a widow lady, who lived in the building used by the Orthodox society, and her son uses the brick building erected for the Hicksites for a wagon-shop. A graveyard for the common use of both churches was laid out by them, and although there are no tombstones at the graves,--their peculiar belief prohibiting the placing of them,--the yard is quite full of graves, and kept in a moderately good condition.

Taylor's Church, of the Methodist Episcopal denomination, is included in the Beallsville charge, and is under the care of the Rev. W.R. Spindler. The trustees of the church are C.B. Holland, Eli Greenfield, and James Hill. The present number of members is seventy-five. Their first house of worship was built of logs about the beginning of the present century; this was replaced by one built of stone, which was in use till 1857, when it was torn down, and a brick structure built on the site. This was partially destroyed by fire, and a new brick edifice was erected upon the same site, and was dedicated by the Rev. Edward B. Griffin. In the Taylor's Church graveyard, located near the National road, are found the graves of the following-named persons: George Baker, died July 26, 1840, aged eighty-two years; William Jackman, died Sept. 5, 1830, eighty-eight years of age; William Taylor, a native of Ireland, who was born in 1754, came to America in 1789, and died Aug. 6, 1841, aged eighty-seven years; David Powell, died January 5, 1854, aged eighty-five years.

Little Zion Methodist Episcopal Church, situated in West Pike Run township, was organized in 1844, under the ministration of Rev. Augustus R. Green, and with the following membership: Abraham and Rachel Lowdrake, William and Nancy Wallace, Mary and Rebecca Howard, Hannah Young, George and Patty Morris, Sabina and Cynthia McTerry, Samuel, Melissa, Permelia, and Clarissa Wheeler, and Elizabeth Kane. The religious services were held until 1850 at the house of Abraham Lowdrake. In that year the society purchased a building lot of Mrs. Mary Lewis and her son Charles, and upon it they erected a small log house and gave it the name of Little Zion Church. This effort on the part of the few members to secure a place for the worship of God seemed to receive its reward at once, and their numbers increased so rapidly that very soon the building had not seating capacity for the congregation. The school building near by, known as the Jenkins school-house was abandoned for another one, and the society made a purchase of the building and converted it into a house of worship. This they continued to use until 1881, when they erected a good frame edifice, which was dedicated in September of that year, Rev. Benjamin Wheeler preaching the dedicatory sermon. The clergymen who have had charge of Little Zion Church from the first have been Revs. Augustus R. Green, Fayette Davis, George and James Coleman, William Newman, Mr. Hart, William Ralph, S.T. Jones, C.W. Herbert, William H. Brownm Charles Smith, L. Gross, William B. Lewis, and the present pastor, Rev. S.T. Jones. The present membership is divided into two classes. The first class, having Abraham H. Wallace for leader, has fourteen members. Class No. 2 has also fourteen members, with Noah West as class-leader.

The Clover Hill Methodist Episcopal Church is located near the center of the township, and also near the sites of the old Westland and Hicksite Quaker Meeting-houses. After these were abandoned as places of worship, the Methodist people purchased land and built an edifice called Clover Hill Methodist Church. The church is embraced in the Bentleysville Circuit. The present preacher in charge is the Rev. Reimund C. Wolfe.

Fairview Church is located two miles south of the National road. The preachers who have served this church are and have been the same as those serving the Bethesda and Beallsville Churches.


In the year 1774 Robert Thornton "seated himself upon a tract of land situated on the waters of Fishpot and Plumb Run, now in Washington County."1 Whether he held it merely under a "tomahawk improvement" right at first, and afterwards under a Virginia certificate, is not known, but it is probable that such was the case, as he certainly did not hold under a Pennsylvania warrant. Whatever was the nature of his claim to the tract, it was sold by him to Zephaniah Beall before 1785. "The said Zephaniah Beall obtained a warrant from the Land-Office of Pennsylvania for the said land, dated May the fourteenth in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-five (1785), in pursuance of Zephaniah Beall the thirtieth day of May in the year of our Lorg one thousand seven hundred and eighty-five, three hundred and forty-nine and one-half acres and allowance (3491/2 A.) called 'Clear Drinking.'" On the 24th of October, 1796, Zephaniah Beall conveyed one hundred and eighty-four acres of this tract to his son, Zephaniah Beall, Jr. Afterwards Christian Kreider and George Jackson became possessed of an interest in these lands, with the elder and younger Beall, and in August, 1819, these four proprietors laid out on their property (a part of the "Clear Drinking"2 tract) the town of Beallsville; the "charter" being dated on the 30th of that month. A few days prior to that date the proprietors had published the following advertisement, viz.:


"The public are informed that a town is laid off to be called Beallsville, on the National road, including the tavern stand now occupied by Christian Kreider, at the Cross-roads, about nine miles from Brownsville and fifteen from Washington. The lots will be sold on the premises on Monday, the 13th of September next, at public auction. Sale to commence at 10 o'clock A.M. Any further comments of the advantages of this site is considered unnecessary, as those wishing to purchase will view the premises. "The conditions will be made easy to purchasers.
                "Zehp'a Beall,
                "George Jackson,
                "Christian Kreider,
                "Zeph'a W. Beall,
"Aug. 23, 1819.
"The Tavern House will also be sold on said day."

1 [This quotation (as also that which is given a few lines further on) is from the preamble to the charter of the town of Beallsville, made in 1819 by Zephaniah Beall and the three other proprietors.]

2 [There is no doubt that this name was given to the tract on account of the copious and perennial spring which supplies the never failing fountain in the present borough of Beallsville.]

The survey and plat of the town was made by the famed surveyor and engineer, Jonathan Knight, and dated Sept. 13, 1819. The lots from No. 2 to 110 inclusive (except Nos. 48, 49, 50, 71, 72, 73, 93, and 94) were laid out "right-angled, and sixty feet in front and one hundred and eighty feet back."

In the year 1821, two years after the laying out of Beallsville, there were residing in the town the following-named persons, most of whom were heads of families, viz.: Thomas Stewart, who kept tavern in a log house; John Havlin, who lived in a frame house; Moses Bennigton, who owned and occupied a brick residence; William McKinley, whose dwelling was a log cabin; Peter Herford, who had a brick house; and James Berry, whose house was built of logs. John and Bartley Curry were single men who kept a store in the village, but still had their own house, employing a colored housekeeper. William Ogden had a blacksmith-shop there at the time. Dr. Thomas H. Fowler was one of the first physicians, and at that time was postmaster. Dr. William L. Wilson, Dr. Willis, and Dr. Alburson were also among the early physicians. Previous to the laying out of Beallsville, Dr. James Mitchell, Jr., resided at or near the location of the village, and on May 8, 1809, advertised over his name "that he has opened a medicinal shop near the Washington road, within half a mile of the tavern formerly known by the name of Cross-Keys, and now kept by Mr. Jackson, nine miles from Brownsville." It is not known whether Dr. Mitchell removed from Beallsville to Canonsburg, or to the State of Virginia, as the statements of old residents disagree. The first house built in Beallsville is said to have been put up by Joseph Mills. On July 2, 1821, Thomas G. Norfolk announced through an advertisement "that he has removed from Ginger Hill to the large brick house in Beallsville, and opened a house of public entertainment at the sign of the 'Beallsville Sun.'" These were the beginnings of the town, but its growth was very slow during the first quarter of a century of its existence.

On the 16th of February, 1852, the town was "erected into a borough, to be called the borough of Beallsville, bounded, limited, and described as follows, to wit: Beginning at a corner stone on the Pittsburgh and Morgantown road, between the farms of Thomas H. Fowler, Peter Flick, and John McJunkin; thence including the farms of John McJunkin, James Thompson, Nancy Campbell, Joseph ____, Rezin Cramer, Joseph Weaver, and Thomas H. Fowler, to the place of beginning." The first borough election was held May 17, 1852, Judge Archibald D. Scott, Morgan Hartman, and William Greenfield being the inspectors. The borough officers elected then and in succeeding years for the borough of Beallsville were and have been the following, viz.:

1852,--Burgess Peter Flick; Council, William Greenfield, JAW. Mitchell, Samuel Beall, Job Pyle, S.P. Grey.
1853.--Same as in preceding year.
1854.--Burgess, James Thompson; Council, Samuel Beatty, Samuel Beall, John Ewart, John McJunkin, J.P. Morgan.
1855.--Burgess, Henry Page; Council, M.L. wilson, Thomas Odburt, John McDonough, Rezin Cramer, and A.D. Scott.
1856.--Burgess, John McJunkin; Council, John Pyle, James Thompson, Morgan A. Miller, Levi Bunson, and Butler Huggins.
1857.--Burgess, John McMath; Council, Job Pyle, Samuel Havlin, Gideon H. Hawkins, A.J. Buffington, and Thomas Sargent.
1858.--Burgess, A.G. Richardson; Council, Samuel Havlin, Charles Gattry, A.J. Buffington, David Mitchell, and Morgan Hartman.
1859.--Burgess, A.D. Scott; Council, David Butz, James C. Rogers, Charles Gattry, Job Pyle, and James M. Miller.
1860.--Burgess, John McJunkin; Council, John Butz, Job Pyle, Dr. John Keys, Morgan Hartman, and Charles Gattry.
1861.--Burgess, John McJunkin; Council, Morgan Hartman, Job Pyle, Charles Gattry, David Butz, and Dr. John Keys.
1862.--Burgess, John Martan; Council, Job Pyle, Morgan Hartman, Charles Guttry, James R. Rogers, and David Butz.
1863.--Burgess, John Martan; Council, Job Pyle, Moses Bennington, Milton McJunkin, Charles Gurrty, and James M. Miller.
1864.--Burgess, David Butz; Council, Morgan Hartman, Job Pyle, J.M. Miller, Charles Guttry, and Thomas Robinson.
1865.--Burgess, David Butz; Council, P.C. Rogers, a.D.Scott, Charles Gattery, Morgan Hartman, and J.W. Irwin.
1866.--Burgess, S.B.Holland; Council, Charles Gattery, George T. Binde, Thomas Hill, Milton McJunkin, and Henry McKee.
1867.--Burgess, William H. Crable; Council, J.M. Miller, Morgan Hartman, Peter Hickman, Hugh Keys, and Thomas Robinson.
1868.--Burgess, William H. Crable; Council, Hiram Winnett, S.R. Boram, J.F. Irwin, Job Pyle, and Thomas Robinson.
1869.--Burgess, John Ewart; Council, James M. Miller, Lemoyne Snellen, Morgan Hartman, and Job Pyle.
1870.--Burgess, Lemoyne Snellen; Council, James F. Irwin, James Hopkins, Thomas Robinson, and A. Odbert.
1871.--Burgess, James M. Miller; Council, Lemoyne Snellen, Morgan Hartman, and Job Pyle.
1872.--Burgess, Arthur Odbert; Council, Job Pyle, Morgan Hartman, and Samuel Bowen.
1873.--Burgess, A. Wilson; Council, Job Pyle, Charles Guttry, E.G. Greenfield, Thomas Robinson, and Stephen Beatty.
1874.--Burgess, George M. Baker; Council, Thomas Robinson, A.C. Powell, S.P. Beatty, K.I. Dawson, and E.J. Greenfield.
1875.--Burgess, J.W. Ellwood; Council, S.B. Holland, S.P. Beatty, Thomas Hill, S. Floyd, and C. Guttry.
1876.--Burgess, J.I. Fitzsimmons; Council, J.A. Hopkins, W.W. Brown, J.I. Irwin, Thomas Floyd, and S.P. Beatty.
1877.--Burgess, John McMath; Council, Thomas J. Floyd, Eli G. Greenfield, Henry McKee, and J.M. Miller.
1878.--Burgess, William C. Sargent; Council, E.R. McCready, J.I. Dawson, Thomas C. Sargent, and William B. Flick.
1879.--Burgess, S.B. Holland; Council, Eli G. Greenfield, George W. Snyder, William Hazen, John Craven, and Caleb Zollens.
1880.--Burgess, Walter Craven; Council, Eli G. Greenfield, John S. Gray, Thomas Floyd, James Frey, John Deems, and George W. Snyder.
1881.--Burgess, S.B. Holland; Council, John Deems, James A. Hopkins John Hadden, William C. Sargent, Thomas Floyd, and James Frey.

Justices of the Peace of Beallsville.

Mark Mitchell, June 11, 1852. James M. Miller, March 29, 1870.
A.D. Scott, June 11, 1852. A.D. Scott, April 28, 1873.
John Ewart, April 10, 1856. James M. Miller, Jan. 13, 1874.
John McJunkin, May 30, 1857. A.D. Scott, Jan, 19, 1874.
A.D. Scott, April 13, 1858. James M. Miller, Dec. 14, 1874.
David Betz, April 21, 1862. A.D. Scott, March 25, 1878.
A.D. Scott, april 14, 1863. James M. Miller, March 30, 1880.

The growth of Beallsville, which was very slow during its existence as an unincorporated town, and for a decade or more after its erection as a borough, has been much more rapid in recent years, until it has become a place of considerable business and importance. Its location is fifteen miles east of Washington borough, and nine miles west of Brownsville, on the old National road, the town being built on both sides of that great thoroughfare. It contains seventy-nine dwelling houses, one church, a good brick school-house, in which two schools are taught and two teachers employed, the post-office and telegraph-office, the banking-house of James M. Miller (which business was commenced in 1872), three physicians (Drs. L.H. Tombaugh, James Sargent, and T.P. Hasson), one dentist (Dr. Hugh Keys), two dry-goods stores (Hawkins & Miller and Harvey Young), the general store of Boren & Ebert, the hardware-store of Stephen P. Beatty, drug-store of L.H. Tombaugh, two shoe-stores, of which Butz and Borem are respectively the proprietors, the millinery stores of Mrs. Ewart and Miss McKee, the harness-making and saddlery-shop of Morgan Hartman, the cabinet-making and undertaker's establishment of James Frey, the marble-works of J.F. Dawson, the wagon and carriage shop of John Gray, the blacksmith-shops of Thomas Floyd, John Deems, and Isaac Cox, the livery-stables of V.S. & W. Sargent, and Gussman & Lewis, two hotels, kept by Eli G. Greenfield and Valentine Sargent, and a number of mechanics and minor industries.

Beallsville Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1872, with two classes. The pastor over this charge in 1880 was the Rev. C. McCarlin; class number one having sixty members, under S.W. Rodgers as class-leader, and class number two having a membership of sixty-nine, with Lemoyne Lewellen as class-leader. The pastors who have served this church will be found mentioned in the history of Centerville Church, in East Bethlehem township;

Beallsville Lodge, No. 832, I.O.O.F., was chartered March 4, 1873. The charter members were George M. Baker, Taylor Smith, William H. Crable, Thomas Robinson, W.H.H. Link, Johnson Hill, T. Regester, George W. Deems, J.A. Hopkins, H.J. Winnett, S.J. Lewellen, S.R. Hawkins, Thomas Martindale, Jackson L. Thompson, L. Jackson Baker, John A. Crawford, H.H. Young, George W. Eagey, S.P. Beatty, O.M. Harley, A.C. Powell, William Baker, and S.B. Lacy. The officers are William Baker, N.G.; William F. Guttry, V.G.; S.P. Beatty, Sec.; h.J. winnett, Asst. Sec.; Thomas Robinson, Treas.

Chandler Lodge No. 237, F. and A.M., hold their sessions in the upper story of the public school building. This building was originally the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the school directors purchasing it of Rev. Mr. Kerr, the minister then in charge of the society. The school board added the upper story, by which they incurred some indebtedness, to liquidate which led to its subsequent use as a Masonic Hall.

The burial-place of Beallsville is known as the Keys graveyard. This cemetery is in an excellent condition, being finely fenced and handsomely kept.

*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 Helen S. Durbin of Greene Co., PA 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.