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Notes and queries: Chiefly relating to Interior Pennsylvania, Volume 2 online

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in the same township, who was known as
"Captain McKee." The first named d. in
1794; his wife Isabella Sample prior to 1816,
and their children were :

i. James; d. s. p.

ii. John; d. s. p.

Hi. Robert; d. 8. p.

iv. Henry; d. s. p.

t?. Sample; m. and removed to Western

vi. Isabella; m. David Dempsey, of Ve-


Historical, Biographical and Genealogical.



Extracts Taken from the Life of John Kean
of Harrfohnrg.


My father placed me with a Mr. Clnnie
(3) in Hnmmelstown, Danphin County, a
storekeeper, with whom I continued to reside
for two years. My salary was one hundred
dollars per year and a suit of clothes, with
my boarding. My employment was that of
book keeper and store assistant Being mas-
ter of the German language was also of very
great service to me. Mr. C. carried on an
extensive business in which I found constant
employment. Having by reading and indus-
try acquired some knowledge of conveyanc-
ing, a knowledge much wanted in that part
of the country, I determined to make my ac-
quirements serviceable to the community and
profitable to myself, by writing deeds, wills.

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Historical and Genealogical.


mortgages, etc., which was done at night after
the business of the day was over and very
frequently employed me until midnight By
this kind of industry my salary was more
than doubled in clear cash.

In 1785, my old friend, Mr. Clnnie, hav-
ing been appointed by the Supreme Execu-
tive Council, excise officer for the county,
-at his request I undertook the duties as his
Deputy at the* county town. I removed to
Harrisburg the 22d of April, 1785, where
from the vast numbers of fieople crowding
to this new place and uo houses being yet
-erected, I was compelled to take lodgings
with a Dr. Sterling a mile above town. In
the beginning of June, 1785, I entered into
partnership with Mr. Clunie in storckeeping
at Harrisburg. We erected a house and in
August opened shop — our sales quite equaled
♦our expectation.

On the first of May, 1786, I married Mary
Whitebill, daughter of the Honorable Robert
Whitehill, of Cumberland county. Before
our honeymoon was ended, my fellow towns-
men set about framing a system of police for
the rising town and elected me a justice of
the peace, an office altogether unthought of,
not looked for, nor solicited by me ; indeed,
I knew nothing of the design until the even-
ing of the election, on the 20th of June, 1 786.
I was, however, commissioned and entered
upon the duties of the office. From this
period I may date any troubles I have had in
fife, having been selected to office in prefer-
ence to many others. As I could no longer
attend the store, Mr. Clunie and myself dis-
solved partnership in the September follow-

In December, 1786, having taken a house
at the corner of Market and Second streets, I
•commenced a small store. Finding rents ex-
travagantly high, we concluded to purchase.
This purchase was a lot and small frame
house on the corner of Walnut and
Second streets, for one hundred and
^nd seventy-five pounds. To this we re-
moved in April, 1787. In the fall of this
.year I was elected County Commissioner, in
which office, by endeavoring to reform some
abuses in the handling of public moneys, I
raised a hornets' nest, which to this day has
•done me every mischief, I, however, perse-
vered in the system which appeared best cal-
culated for the interests of those who had
-appointed me, regardless of either praise or

The adoption of the Federal Constitution

about this time engaged the attention of
every one who in any degree regarded the in*
terests of his country. An acquaintance

with Mr. , a gentleman in office, gave

me frequent opportunities of hearing his
opinion on political subjects. I revered his
talents and eagerly attended to his argu-
ments, all of which went to prove that the
members of the Convention aimed only to
make a form of Government which should
tend to aggrandize themselves. Of course
when the new Constitution appeared
I was prepared to view it with a scru-
tinizing eye. On first reading, the dreadful
features predicted did not appear to be in it,
but I saw parts ill calculated for the mere-
dian of Pennsylvania. These I at once con-
sidered as international blemishes, never con-
sidering that to give and to take must alone
be principles on which a Government could
be formed to suit so wide extended a country
as the United States, the inhabitants of
which differed from each other widely in
laws, manner, and religion. My political
ideas of that time did not extend beyond the
circle of Pennsylvania, and I absurdly
thought that a Government suited to that
State would be the form best suited to the
whole Union. (5.) Experience has since
taught me better, and although the Constitu-
tion of the United States has some defects,
as no human work is without them, I now
believe it to be the best form of Government
upon earth, and better calculated to insure
an equal participation of equal rights than
any other form. My former sentiments of
distrust of those who made it are changed
into admiration of their wisdom and virtues.
In 1787 I lost my wife, and the course of
my life was changed. I quit business and
became deeply interested in the progress of
schools, churches, fire companies, a library,
improvement of streets and other needful
improvements. (6) I sold my house for £482
and purchased between Chestnut street and
Market Square, fronting on Second, for
£510, one-half of which 1 conveyed a few
days afterwards to Alexander Bery hill, Esq.,
(7) for £360 thus I had as good a lot as any.
On the 10th of December, 1789, I was again
married, to Jane Hamilton, daughter of Cap-
tain John Hamilton, one of the largest mer-
chants in this part of Pennsylvania. This
union has always been a great blessing to
me, and I am sincerely thankful that it has
been an unalloyed happiness to myself and
my family.

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Historical and Genealogical.

I began to build in 1793, and in 1795 we
removed into the new house. In 1792, with-
out solicitation on my part, Governor Mifflin
sent me a commission as associate judge. I
never knew who to thank for this act of
friendship; the Governor did not know me,
and some person must have recommended
me to him. My legal qualifications were
very inadequate to the proper discharge of
the duties of my new station, but consider-
ing that a good exterior might be serviceable,
I purchased a black suit and sixty dollars
worth of law books. Nature had furnished
me with a frowning look, which, with a
black suit on, was construed into a wise one,
aud I did my duty as well as my associates.
* * • * •

In 1793 Harrisburg was visited with an
epidemic disease much resembling yellow
fever, which carried oflf great numbers. My
worthy and good friend Mr. Hamilton was
among the first to fall. I felt it most se-
verely from a sincere affection for the man,
I was his partuer and son-in-law, and I say
he was a first rate citizen, a perfectly up-
right and honest merchant, under a due
sense of the responsibility of this opinion (8).

3. James Clunie, son of James and
Elizabeth Clunie, was a native of Scotland,
born in 1761. He was brought up as a mer-
chant, and towards the close of the Revolu-
tion established himself in business with his
father at Huramelstown. It is more than
probable that he saw service in the war for
Independence. Sometime after the death of
his father he removed to Harrisburg. He
was appointed October 3, 1 785, collector of
Excise for Dauphin county, at the same time
holding the office of Agent for Forfeited
Estates. He was elected sherifi, commis-
sioned 20th October, 1788, and upon the
resignation of David Harris appointed by
Governor Mifflin February 23, 1792, one of
the Associate Judges of the couuty. He
died suddenly at Harrisburg September 14,
1793. Judge Clunie was an intelligent,
high minded gentleman, and very popular
among the people. His appointment to the
Bench was warmly pressed by them against
the bitter opposition of the leading politi-
cians. The Governor, however, did not
hesitate in commissioning Mr. Clunie. He
resided at the corner of Front and Walnnt
streets at his death. This property is now
the residence of James McCormick, Esq.

This lot was numbered 49, and extended

from Front street to River alley. The fol-
lowing is a copy of the settlement made with
the executors of Harris :

"Jame Clunie, to Lott No. 49,

April 14, 1785, Dr. £100.0.0

To interest thereon to the present

time, being 7 years 42.0.0*

Credit Mr. Clunie with the bal-
lance on account, this day ex-
hibited, against the estate of
John Harris, deceased



June 27, 1792.

[Signed in a fine open hand.]

James Clunie."

The original cost of the lot was $266 67.

Gen. Hanna, William Maclay, Alexander
Graydon, Adam Boyd, Andrew Gregg all
spelled lot with a double *t," and balance
with double "1."

4. Robert Whitehill, b. July 24, 1735,.
in Salisbury township, Lancaster county,
Fenna; d. April 8, 1813, in Pennshoro'
township, Cumberland county, son of James
and Rachel (Cresswell) Whitehill. He was
a pupil of the Rev. Robert Smith, who was-
called to pi each at Fequea church in the
year 1750, purchased a farm adjoining the
Whitehills and established a classical school.
Robert was also a pupil of Rev. Francis-
Alison's school at New London Cross
Roads. About the year 1772 he removed to
Cumberland county two miles west of Har-
risburg, the site of the present orphans*
school, where he resided until his death. He
married in 1757, Eleanor Reed, daughter of
Adam Reed, Esq., of Hanover; they had.
eight children, of whom Mnry m. Judge
Kean, Rachel m. Alexander MacBeth, and
EUzabeUt m. Richard M. Crain. Mr. White-
hill in 1779 represented his county in the
Supreme Executive Council, and in 1784.
chosen to the General Assembly. He was.
a member of the Pennsylvania Conven-
tion to ratify the Federal Constitution,,
of which instrument he was one of the most
formidable opponents, and one of the leaders-
in the Harrisburg conference of 1788. He
was a fluent speaker, logical and forcible^
and it is to be regretted that his remarks dur-
ing the debates were not reported by Lloyd,,
who seems only to have taken down the re-
marks of those favorable to the Constitution.
Mr. Whitehill served in the Council of On-

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Historical and Genealogical.


sors and as a delegate to the first and second
Constitutional conventions of the State.
Under that of 1790 he was elected member
of the House oi Representatives from 1797
to 1801, of the Senate from 1801 to 1804, of
which latter body he was speaker. In 1805
he was elected to Congress, and continued to
be a member thereof until his death. His
remains are interred in Silvers Spring Presby-
terian graveyard.

5. Mr. Kean was a member of "the Har-
risburg Conference" in September, 1788,
which suggested many amendments to the
Constitution of the United States. Most of
them were adopted in a few years, and gave
the Constitution the popularity which it has
since enjoyed. This conference was com-
posed of experienced and educated gentle-
men from most of the counties of the State.
Amongst its members were Findley of West-
moreland, Whitehill of < Cumberland, Smilie
of Washington, Gallatin of Fayette, Hanna
and Kean of Dauphin, and Bryan and Mc-
Clenachan of Philadelphia, all gentlemen of
acknowledgd ability.

6. Mr. Kean was the second treasurer of
the Presbyterian congregation, president of
the first fire company, an original manager
of the Library company, and after the death
of John Harris and John Hamilton a trustee
of the Harri8burg Academy with Adam Boyd
and Dr. John Lnther.

(7.) Alexander Berryhill, son of
Andrew Berryhill, was born in Paxtang
township, Lancaster, now Dauphin county,
in 1738. He secured a good education,
served in the war of the Revolution, and
was prominent and influential in the organi-
zation of the new county of Dauphin. He
became one of the first residents of Harris-
burg on its being laid out in 1785, and after
its incorporation as a borouph he was ap-
pointed one of its justices of ihe peace by
Gov. Mifflin. He was one of the burgesses
of the town In 1794, and signed the address
to President Washington on his way west-
ward to quell the so-called Whiskey Insur-
rection. He died at Harrisburg September
7, 1798 at the age of sixty years. Mr.
Berryhill was an excellent penman and
many of his papers still extant are models
of chirography.

8. John Hamilton, the only child of
John Hamilton and Jane Allen, daughter of
Robert Allen, was born in Chester county in
1749; married Margaret, daughter of Hon.
Hugh Alexander, born 1754, married 1772.

Mr. Hamilton was one of the earliest pur-
chasers from Harris. Erected a store house
on the line of what is now known as Mul-
berry street, between Second and Third
streets, as early as 1770; was the first who,
on a well organized system, "packed over the
mountains" to Pittsburg; a captain of
horse in the Revolution; farmer,
merchant, miller, in everything enthu-
siastic, energetic, intelligent. His edu-
cation was good, his judgment clear; in per-
son erect, quite six feet in heighth ; a florid,
handsome man. His residence was on
Front street, corner of Blackberry alley,
having paid the high price of £120 for his
lot March 3, 1786. Three days after his
opposite neighbor, Henry Fulton,
paid a like amount for his.
Harris notes these transactions as un-
usual, as both fee and ground rent were ex-
tinguished in a single payment. His estate
isratedonthe Mill Purchase £53 14. He
died and is buried at Harrisburg. This mar-
riage of Mr. Kean, made him brother-in-law
to John and Hugh Hamilton, Moses Mac-
lean, James Alricks, Jacob Spangler, all
prominent and respectable gentlemen.


Historical, Biographical and Genealogical*


Dead Towns in Pennsylvania. — We
are preparing sketches of the following
"Dead Towns'' in this State and would be
glad to secure such information as may throw
additional light upon the subject: Buelah, in
Cambria county, Tuetonia, in McKean county,
Asylum, in Bradford county, and that mush-
room of a day, Pit Hole City.

Revolutionary Soldiers. — From our
note books we cull the following record of
deaths of soldiers of the Revolution:

Samuel Cochran, d. in Middle Paxtang
township, Dauphin county, April 8, 1816,
aged 84 years, a soldier of Quebec.

James Dixon, d. in Hanover township,
Dauphin county, January, 1824.

Captain Patrick Hayes, of the Revolution,
d. at Pine creek, Lycoming county, Pa.,
April 16, 1813.

Col. Samuel Hogdon, an officer of the
Revolution, d. at Philadelphia. June 9, 1824.

William Hall, of the First City Troop of

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Historical and Genealogical.

Philadelphia, d. December 10, 1831, aged 80

William Kersey, d. June 30, 1821, in
Chester county, in his 76th year.

Thomas Lei per, of Philadelpnia, d. July
«, 1825, in his 80th year.

Joseph McClelland, d. at Mifflin town,
Febrnary 24, 1813, at an advanced age.

Gen. David Mead, d. at Mead vi lie, August
23, 1816, aged 64 years.

Dr. Samuel McCroskey, d. at Carlisle,
September 4, 1818, aged 67 years.

Andrew Osman, a soldier of the Revolu-
tion, d. at Millersbnrg, September 2, 1826,
in his 67th year.

Gen. William Reed, Adjutant General of
Pennsylvania, d. June 15, 1813, at New
Alexandria, Westmoreland county.

George Shiley, d. at Harrisburg, April
11, 1824, aged 83 years.

Capt. John S toner, d. at Harriaburg,
Thursday morning, March 24, 1825, aged 78


Extract* Taken from the Life of John Kean,
of Harriaburg.


In 1796, I entered into partnership with
Mr. John Elder, in the purchase of a New
Market Forge and lands, at the price of £22,-
«000, four thousand to be paid in hand and
one thousand pounds the first day of May
following, the remainder in heavy payments
in the spring of 1797. We took possession in
1797. I removed my family to the Forge.
We were as industrious and attentive as men
could be, but had clouds and difficulties to

struggle with. I was still in the Senate. *

****** * • • *****

I determined never to run but willing to
serve my constituents; and was re-elected in
1798 by a majority of 3,651 votes. I had
still one year to serve of the period for which
I was last elected, but was fully determined
at the end of that period to retire and never
again to be found in the walk of Legislative
life. While under the influence of this deter-
mination, about the first of October, 1805,
>the Governor, Mr. McKean, sent for me and
•offered me the station of Registrar General
of the accounts of theC on mon wealth which
after a few days hesitation I accepted, and
•on the 15th day of October, 1805, was com-
missioned and sworn into office in which ca-

pacity I yet serve, with no intention of re-
maining longer than the present Governor's
term which expires in 1808. Having ac-
cepted the office of Registrar General, I be-
gan to do precisely what oaght to have
done make a calculation on the cost, I argeed
to take it. The salary was $1,666 67/ I
could not remove the family to Lancaster,
and live upon that salarv — so fixed them at
Palmyra, and betook myself to Lancaster,
where I was very lonely, but was politely
and hospitably welcomed.

In the year 1791 the Assembly appointed
me, in conjunction with Robert Harris (10)
and Michael Kapp (11), commissioners to
build a court house and public offices at Ilar-
risburg. This we undertook and completed.
By the act of Assembly, which authorized
the erection of the building, three thousand
pounds were appropriated for that purpose,
and our compensation for constructing and
superintending was 6 per cent on the moneys
expended. About this time strong hopes
were entertained that the seat of government
would be removed to Harrisburg, and by the
advice of almost everybody in the county we
laid our plans so large as to accommodate
the Legislature in case they should choose to
remove to that place, and in conseqnence of
this enlargement the building cost £5,327.49.
My enemies immediately laid hold on this,
and although [here are some names erased]
had advised it, with many others, said 1 had
squandered upwarJs of £2,000 of the public
money. They carefully left out the name of
Robert Harris, who went hand in hand with
me in all this business. Mr. Kapp, the
other, stood aloof and wished success to the
prosecutors, for I had offended him by pre-
venting him from being coroner when he ran
for it

This charge was handed to the court, who
appointed auditors. The commissioners and
grand jury had settled and approved the ac-
counts, and from their knowledge of the
troubles we had, allowed us two per cent,
more on tbe monies expended over the £3,-
000 than had been allowed by the act on that
sum. We had, in the course of the business,
paid out considerable sums for which we had
no vouchers ; but had our accounts, and thus
satisfied the commissioners that they had
been really and necessarity expended, for
which they allowed under the denomination
of clerk hire 83 dollars. Both of these
items the auditors struck off and ordered
them to be refunded. I refused and the

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Historical and Genealogical.


(business was left to the court and a jury
specially called for the purpose, who ordered
us to repay two per cent on the monies
*pent over £3,000 and the 83 Dollars which
■had been allowed for contingent expenses,
which we did.

In the summer of 1794 we were proceed-
ing with building the Court House, when
the inhabitants of the western part of the
State exhibited symptoms of extreme dis-
satisfaction with the operations of the law
•of Congress for raising and collecting an in-
ternal excise. In Europe, from whence per-
haps one-half of the inhabitants of Penn-
sylvania had emigrated, excise laws were ex-
tremely odious. They had been there en-
gines of oppression in the hands of the Gov-
ernment, and the moneys raised by them had
been seen and known to be principally wasted
in the collection, and thus the mere tools
and minions of arbitrary Governments were
fattening on the spoils of the laboring and
industrious. In addition to this, an attempt
-of the British ministry to lay an excise on
the American Colonies had been the cause of
the war, which terminated so gloriously in
the independence of the United States. A
knowledge of these things induced the peo-
ple of Pennsylvania to hate the very name
•of Excise. They did not reflect on the dif-
ference between having indirect taxes of this
•description forced on them by an arbitrary
master and of laying them on themselves
•through the medium of their own Repre-
sentatives. . I saw the rising dissatifaction
.and viewed the probable event with horror in
.a Government framed by the people them-
selves. To oppose the operation of any law
by force was folly in the extreme, and sug-
,gested to my mind fears that a Republican
Government could not in any nation long
.exist. The coal of discord was blown by two
•descriptions of persons very different in their
views and intentions. * * * * " * *

In addition to those two parties sounding
the trumpet of discord, the sober but honest
class of citizens had been alarmed at the
official insolence displayed by the collectors,
^nd by seeing men thrust into those employ-
ments whose honesty was doubted and
whose poverty was conspicuous, but who
now reveled in wealth which every body
.knew could not be their own. I at once per-
ceieved the propriety and necessity of sup-
porting the Government, though I did not
approve of the law, yet was determined to
support it until we conld have it regularly

repealed by law. In this disposition, and
with the most patriotic views, was I endeav-
oring to reason this folly down, when news
arrived that the Western people were in arms,
and opposed and maltreated some collectors.
Nothing was now heard but drums and war-
like preparations, drafts were ordered from
the militia, and a formidable army was
forming to march against our deluded breth-
ren of the west


9. John Eldeb was the second son of
the Rev. John Elder, of Pax tang, b. August
3, 1757, d. April 27, 1811, and is buried in
Paxtang church graveyard. He served in
the Revolution as an ensign in Col. Bard's
battalion; was depnty surveyor in 1780, and
sheriff of Dauphin county from 1794 to 1797.
He was an enterprising man, erecting the
first steel plant in this State at Middletown,
but like the forge it did not prove a success-
ful business. His wife was Elizabeth Awl,
daughter of Jacob Awl, of Paxtang.

10. Robbbt Harris, son of John Harris
the founder of Harrisburg, was born at
Harris" Ferry, Sept 5, 1768, and d. there
Sept 3, 1851. He filled various positions
of honor, apart from the commission re-
ferred to by Mr, Kean. During the war of
1812-14, he was paymaster of the Pennsyl-
vania troops, and upon the removal of the
State government from Lancaster was
one of the commissioners for fixing the loca-
tion of the Capitol buildings at Harrisburg.
He served in Congress two terms from 1823
to 1827. He was one of the most active and
energetic men of his day, was possessed of
great public spirit and aided in the establish-
ment of various enterprises, including the
bridge over the Susquehanna, the Harris*
burg Bank, and several turnpike companies.

12. Michael Kapp was an early lot
holder. He resided on Market square, where
Mr. Zollinger's hat store is at present, and
there died. He must not be confounded
with a gentleman of similar name, a nail
maker, on the corner of the square and
Strawberry alley.


Historical, Biographical and Genealogical.


Ogle. — In reply to an inquiry from Kan-
sas City, for information concerning the Ogle

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Historical and Genealogical.

family of Cumberland and Dauphin counties,
we have the following information:

A family of the name settled in
Cumberland now Perry county on or
near Shearman Creek prior to the Revo-
lution, but we have nothing definite. Thomas
Ogle located on a tract of 350 acres of land
in Derry township, Lancaster, now Dauphin
county, prior to 1770. He served in Cant

Online LibraryFrance) Société asiatique (ParisNotes and queries: Chiefly relating to Interior Pennsylvania, Volume 2 → online text (page 26 of 81)