Boyd Crumrine.

History of Washington County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men online

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1830, a tannery on the farm now owned by John Gam-
ble, Esq., and kept it running continuously until
1853, when it was dismantled. George Miller built a
tannery on his farm about 1830, but about 1845 it was
abandoned. Now no traces of any of these establish-
ments remain.

Dunningsville. — On the 10th of December, 1791,
Alexander Scott bought of Joseph and Alexander
Campbell a tract of land, embracing the present site
of Dunningsville, which tract had been purchased in
1788 by the Campbells from Nicholas Vaneman, who
had warranted it from the land-office March 23, 1786.
The " Glades road" passed through the tract, and on
this road, in 1798, Scott built a dwelling and store,



tlic site of which is now occupied by the residence of
James Leyda. In 1801-2, Scott built a liorse grist-
mill opposite his house, and a year or two subsequent
a tavern stand just east of the Leyda homestead, and
west of it a blacksmith-shop. Having installed Wil-
liam Sheets in the blacksmith-shop, and a certain
John Kehoe in the tavern, Scott gave his personal
attention to keeping store and grinding his neighbors'

Scott, who was an Englishman by birth, was a
strong Tory during the war of 1812, and this greatly
incensed the patriotic citizens of the vicinity, and his
life was openly threatened. Scott being frightened,
and believing the threats would be carried into exe-
cution, fled to Washington and subscribed to the oath
of allegiance.

In 183.5, Scott removed to Ohio, having sold his
farm, tavern, and store to John Dunning, who for
many years previous had been a wagoner on the road.
After taking possession of his purchase, Dunning
succeeded in having the little village made a post-
town, and from him it derives its name. He was its
first postmaster, having been appointed in 1830, and
continued in office until his death. During the time
of Dunning the sign of his tavern was two gold keys
crossed. And the " Crossed Keys" was a famous
tavern in its day, as its landlord was the typical land-
lord of the road. He died Sept. 7, 1843, and lies
buried in the graveyard of Pigeon Creek Presbyterian

After Dunning's death, a man named Bell kept the
tavern, the farm having been purchased from the ex-
ecutors of the •estate by Dr. Boyd Emery, who subse-
quently sold it and the tavern to Aaron Brawdy,
under whose administration the tavern was destroyed
by fire in 1858. Mr. James Leyda bought the prop-
erty from the assignee of Mr. Brawdy, and is its pres-
ent owner.

In 1863, William Welch built a wagon-shop, and
John Dornaii the same year built the present black-
smith-shop of the place. Both came from Pittsburgh,
and are still engaged in their respective pursuits.

The postmasters intervening between Dunning and
Thomas H. Long, appointed in 1858, have not been
ascertained, but following the latter have been John
T. Sumny, W. H. Hickson, and John Caseber. A.
C. Gamble, appointed in 1875, continues to hold the

Kammerer. — This village is located on a tract of
eighty-five acres, which was patented by George
Meyers, March 12, 1788, and which by subsequent
transfers became the property of William McFeeley,
who owned it in 1832, it being at that time under
lease to Thomas Officer, who placed John Kammerer
upon it. Kammerer built a dwelling and store-room
upon it, and April 1, 1841, bought the farm and build-
ings he had erected from the owner, JIcFeeley.
Shortly afterwards he built a tavern stand, which be-
fore the war of the Rebellion was a place of great

resort, and known far and wide as "Dutch John's."
In 1845, on Mingo Creek, near the site of the old
Leyda mill, built in 1790, he built a saw- and grist-
mill, which was burned on Sept. 22, 1850, and rebuilt
the following year. Mr. Kammerer died at his home
in 1856, and in 1859 his son Joseph built his distil-
lery and kept it in continuous operation until 1871.
In 1881 a partnership was formed between .Joseph
Kammerer, Christian Hootman, and John Leyda,
for the purpose of manufacturing liquors. The old
saw-mill, built in 1851, was changed into a distillery,
to which was given the name of Mingo. In connec-
tion with his distillery business, Joseph Kammerer
conducts an extensive country store, and is the post-
master of the village.

Munntown is located on a tract of land named in
the survey " Medina," which was patented to John
Munn, Sr., Oct. 2!), 1790. He sold it May 4, 1793, to
David Munn, from whom the place takes its name.
A small village grew up on Munn's land, and a post-
office was established here in 1843, Samuel Hamilton
being the first postmaster. The office was afterwards
removed to Thomas' store, on the Pittsburgh South-
ern Railroad. Mr. Thomas was appointed postmaster,
and still continues in the office.

Ginger Hill, a small village on the AVashington
and Monongahela City pike, in Southeastern Notting-
ham, on the Carroll line, has enjoyed a "local habita-
tion and a name" ever since the time of the Whiskey
Insurrection. On the night of Nov. 14, 1794, Robert
Johnson, excise collector for Washington and Alle-
gheny Counties, seized the still of Squire David Ham-
ilton, who lived near the site of Ginger Chapel. The
squire was a shrewd Scotchman, and pretended to be
in no way exercised over the action of the govern-
ment officials. It was a dark disagreeable night,
and the road to Parkinson's Ferry being none of the
smoothest, the officers were easily prevailed upon to re-
main under the hospitable roof of Hamilton. Around
the glowing logs of the backwoods fire Hamilton
and his guests discussed the excise law, the conver-
sation being enlivened by oft-repeated draughts from
" Black Betty," which had been previously " doc-
tored" by Hamilton with a liberal quantity of Ja-
maica ginger. One by one the officials dropped from
their chairs until all lay on the floor in the deep sleep
of intoxication. Hamilton speedily gathered his
neighbors, and taking the still and whiskey carried
them many miles across the country to a place of
safety. This action, which now would be a serious
matter, was then regarded as a good joke, and the
place became known as " Ginger Hill." Such at least
is the tradition.

At this time a man named Arbuckle kept a tavern
opposite the home of Hamilton, and after this occur-
rence gave it the name of " Ginger Hill Inn." About
1796, David Hamilton purchased Arbuckle's stand,
and the year following a competing one was estab-
lished by James McFlister, to which he gave the



name of the " Black Horse," and there was a strong
and even bitter rivalry between these two taverns for
many years.

Jacob Meyers about 1820 built a tavern on the
Glades road just east of the village of Kanimerer, to
which he gave the name of "Olive Inn." The first
landlord was Alexander Reynolds, and his successors
ill order were Joseph Butler, William McCune, Thomas

Officer, Poole, Alexander Campbell, John Kam-

inerer, and Daniel Meyers, eldest son of Jacob.
Daniel Meyers was succeeded by his brother David,
who abandoned the business in 1860, but still occu-
pies the stand as a dwelling.

Churches. — Wright's Chapel, in Northeast Notting-
ham, on Peters Creek, was built by Enoch Wriglit, who
was a member of the Baptist Church, and his chapel
was intended as a place of worship for members of that
sect, but by reason of internal dissensions he became
in 1835 a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
During the time the chapel was used by the Baptists,
Rev. Shadreck was the minister in charge, and under
Methodist administration the Revs. Pershing, Samuel
Wakefield, George Crook, David McCready, John
Snyder, William Ward, M. M. Sweeny, and Thomas
Patterson have been among the number of clergymen
in charge. The Conference of Butler in 1881 assigned
Rev. George A. Sheets to the congregation, which
numbers one hundred and fifty-seven. The trustees
are Thomas Robb, Nathan Crouch, James N. Barkley,
Alexander G. Hopkins, John Means, Charles Grant,
D. M. Anderson, Robert Barkley, and Samuel Devore ;
Stewards, Nathan Crouch, Robert Barkley, Thomas
Robb, and D. M. Anderson. The chapel building
and lot on which it stands was willed by Enoch
Wright to his son Joseph, a Methodist clergyman,
who at his death gave it to the Methodist Church, to
liave and to hold so long as it was kept free from debt ;
and adding the additional clause that all religious
bodies were to have free use of the church, providing
they were not pro-slavery.

The Mount Prospect United Presbyterian Cliurch
at Munntown was organized in January, 1860, by the
orders of the Presbytery of Chartiers, which convened
that year at Canonsburg. Rev. Thomas Balph was
the first pastor, and served until May 1, 1869, when
he was succeeded by the Rev. J. P. Davis, the present
pastor. Since its organization Thomas Rankin, James
Fife, Ezra Patterson, Mitchell Bryant, John Temple-
ton, Richard J^ife, John Bower, John Watson, and J.
C Mathews have been elected elders. The Sabbath-
school has. been successively under the superintend-
ency of John Templeton, J. C. Mathews, John Wat-
son, and Daniel Crouch.

The Presbyterian Church of Fairview, also at
Munntown, was organized by order of the Presbytery
of Ohio, on the petition of James McClain, Esq., and
at the instance of Robert McPherson, J. Hazlett, and

Rev. C. C. Braddock. On the 24th day of February
the organization was perfected, with twenty-one mem-
bers, in the district school-house, which building
was occupied as a place of worship until the comple-
tion of the church edifice the subsequent fall. The
Revs. George Marshall, James Black, George Birch,
S. M. Neebling, and John Aiken filled the pulpit as
supplies until Sept. 1, 1864, when the Rev. John
Ewing was called. He was almost immediately fol-
lowed by the Rev. Gray, and the latter was succeeded
Sept. 1, 1864, by Rev. William Hannah. Rev. Han-
nah resigned April 1, 1869, and for the three follow-
ing months Rev. William Brown was in charge. On
Sept. 1, 1869, Rev. Wasson was installed, and was
succeeded Sept. 1, 1872, by Rev. J. F. Hyde. On
September, 1879, Rev. O. A. Rockwell succeeded the
latter, and the congregation has since then been in
the pastoral care of that clergyman. Since the or-
ganization S. Thomas, James Kerr, Jonathan Caseber,
John P. Cochran, William Rees, Josiali Kerr, John
Crouch, and George Smith have been elected to the
oflSce of elder. The superintendent of the Sabbath-
school is John Crouch. The church has a member-
ship of one hundred and eight, with a Sabbath school
attendance of forty-three.

In 1868 the Methodists of Southeastern Nottingham
erected a chapel at Ginger Hill. The building was
completed in the summer of 1868, and dedicated in
November of that year, the Rev. James R. Mills
preaching the dedicatory sermon. It was given the
name of Edwards Chapel, in honor of the first pastor,
Rev. Charles Edwards. Succeeding Mr. Edwards the
pastors in charge have been the Revs. James Mea-
chem, R. B. Mansell, Samuel G. Miller, W. J. Kessler,
Joseph H. Henry, and E. B. Griffith, who was assigned
the charge in 1881 by the Conference of Butler. The
trustees have been William Jones, Andrew Griffith,
John Hess, William McKindry Nicholson, Zebulon
Hess, Jesse Jones, and William Griffith. Stewards,
John Kahle and Andrew Griffith. Sabath-school
superintendents, Andrew Griffith, David Sumny,
Homer Burgett, and William Jones. The church has
a membership of one hundred and four, and a Sabbath-
school attendance of thirty-one.

Schools. — About 1790 a man named " Forgee"
Johnson came from the East and became a school-
teacher in Nottingham township. He " taught round"
for several years until 1798, when a school-house was
built on Mingo Creek on the farm of Andrew Devore,
and near where the present School No. 1 now stands.
The schools taught by Johnson were " subscription
schools," a plan which was universal in this section
of country prior to the enactment of the public school
law in 1834. In that year Nottingham township sent
John Morrison as a delegate to attend the county
convention held on the 4th of Njovember to decide
upon the acceptance or rejection of the provisions of
the school law. Mr. Morrison voted in favor of it,



and Nottingham accepted the provisions and shared
in the first State appropriation issued to the county
Jan. 12, 1S35.

Election of school directors was held at the Mingo
school-house March 20, 1835, and H. Dunlap and G.
McGibbony were elected, and soon after laid out the
township into school districts, selected sites, and
erected school-houses. In that year (1835) there were
three hundred and fourteen taxables in the township
liable to school tax, and the amount collected was
$258.73. There was collecteil in 1836 from the county
$502, and received from the State $101.42. In 1837,
$319.26 was collected. The township in 1863 had five
school districts (which remain unchanged), two hun-
dred and thirty-four scholars. Total receipts for
school purposes, $723.17; expenditures, $629.17. In
1873 there were two hundred and twenty-five scholars.
Total receipts, $1539.02; expenditures, $1141.30. In
1880, two hundred and one scholars; receipts,
$1149.60 ; expenditures, $903.03.



Rev. Luke J. Wasson was born in the County An-
trim, Ireland, October, 1846, the youngest in a family
of six children of Hugh and Elizabeth (McQeety)
Wasson. The family emigrated to-this country when
he was two years old, and settled in the township of
Robinson, Washington Co., where both his father
and mother died.

He received his academic education at Cander,
where he prepared for the Junior Class in Jefferson
College, which he entered in 1863, and was graduated

from that institution in 1865. He prosecuted Ills
theological studies at the Western Theological Sem-
inary, Allegheny City, from which institution he was
graduated in 1808. He was licensed to preacli by the
Pre-sbytery of Allegheny City. Soon after leaving
the seminary he received a call as pastor to the cliurch
of Long's Run, at Calcutta, Columbiana Co., Ohio.
After preaching there one year, during wliich time
(April 28, 1869) he was ordained by the Presbytery of
New Lisbon, he returned the call as not accepted.

June, 1870, he united with the Pittsburgh Presby-
tery, and was installed pastor of the church of Fair-
view Oct. 12, 1870, from which he was released on
account of ill health April, 1873. During the early
part of that summer he went west in the expectation
of regaining his health, but while at Minneapolis was
suddenly called by the Master to his reward June 13,
1873, in the twenty-sixth year of his age.

He was united in marriage to Jennie, daughter of
James and Esther (Watson) Crawford, Nov. 5, 1868,
the year he began his ministerial labors. Mrs. Was-
son was a descendant on her mother's side of the
Watson family. William Watson, her great-grand-
father, was a soldier in the war of the Revolution.
He emigrated from County Down, Ireland, first set-
tled in Lancaster County, and was one of the first
settlers in the "backwoods," Washington County.
Her mother is the only representative of the Watson
family living. Alice G. and Frances C. are the only
children of the Rev. and Mrs. Wasson. We cannot
more appropriately close this brief sketch than by
quoting the following, taken from the minutes passed
Sept. 24, 1873, by the Pittsburgh Presbytery :

"As a man he was much respected; as a laborer
for Christ he was diligent and consecrated ; and as a
preacher earnest and successful. Among his late
parishioners his character and ministry are held in
fond and grateful remembrance."


Peters was the tenth on the list of the thirteen
original townships formed under the act erecting
Washington County, passed March 28, 1781, the
eighteenth section of which act authorized and di-
rected the trustees to divide the county into town-
ships before July 1, 1781. The territory originally
embraced in the township comprehended the present
township of Peters, the north part of Union towii-
shii"), and all that portion of Allegheny County lying
east of Chartiers Creek and south and west of the
Monongahela River.

The first effort to divide the township was made in

September, 1784, when a petition to that effect was
presented to the court of Washington County. The
court decreed the division and certified the same to
the Executive Council. No action was taken till Nov.
21, 1786, when the Council confirmed the order of the
court dividing Peters and erecting upon the part
taken off the township of Dickinson. In the mean
time the new township had assumed separate juris-
diction and elected township officers,' without waiting

1 In the election returns of constables in Wusbington County, madoat
the March term of court in 1785, the township of Dickinson appears in
the list, \vi(h the name of Oliver Elliott as coustiible.



for the confirmation by the Council. Dickinson con-
tinued a township of Washington County till it be-
came a part of Allegheny County upon the erection
of the latter. This township of Dickinson was formed
from the north part of the territory of the original
township of Peters. The part of the old township
which was thus thrown into Allegheny County was
all that part of Peters north of a line running from
Chartiers Creek at the mouth of Miller's Run east-
wardly to the Monongahela River, at a point opposite
the mouth of Perry's Run. In 1789 the township was
further reduced in territory by the extension of Alle-
gheny County southward to its present boundary
line between Chartiers Creek and the Monongahela.
In 1834, Union township was formed from Notting-
ham and Peters, thus reducing Peters to its present
area and boundaries, which are ; on the north by Alle-
gheny County, on the east by Union, south by Not-
tingham and North Strabane, and west by the last-
named township and Cecil, the western boundary
being marked by Chartiers Creek, which is the most
important water-course of the township, though
Peters Creek, which marks the eastern boundary
against the township of Union, is also a mill-stream
of considerable size.

Settlements. — The assessment-roll of Peters town-
ship for 1788 shows the names of a number of military
men, some of whom were well known as prominent
actors in the events and campaigns of preceding and
succeeding years. Among these were Gen. Edward
Hand, Gen. John Neville, Maj. William Lee, Col. John
Campbell, Col. David Philips, and Capt. Joseph Beeler.
The names of William Fife, Philip Ross, David
Steele, Daniel Shawan, Aaron Work, and John Watt,
— these were all residents in that part of old Peters
township which is now embraced in Allegheny County,
except Capt. Joseph Beeler. Gen. Hand's residence
was on the river nearly opposite Pittsburgh. He was
assessed in the year mentioned on thirteen hundred
acres. David Steel was in service in 1776 under Ca^t.
Isaac Cox, and himself rose to the grade of captain.
On the 1st of March, 1778, he was with the troops
who rendezvoused at Cox's Station, under Cols. Isaac
Cox and John Canon. His residence was where
Peter Simmons now lives. The property was owned
by Daniel McClure in 1800. Steele was a surveyor of
good repute, and well known through the county.
There are no descendants of his now living in this

Col. John Campbell lived (as before stated) in that
part of old Peters which is now Allegheny County.
(Another of tlie same name lived in Union township,
where he was justice of the peace for many years.)
Col. Campbell was assessed in 1788 on two hundred
and twenty-eight acres of land in Peters. In the same
year Jacob Bowsman was assessed on two hundred
and ninety acres. He lived on the south side of the
Monongahela, opposite Pittsburgh.

The Rev. John Clark was assessed on one hundred

acres in 1788. He was the Rev. Mr. Clark mentioned
in the annals of the Whiskey Insurrection as being
present at the Mingo Creek meeting in 1794, and as
having counseled and warned the infuriated people
present not to break the laws of the United States or
engage in hostile acts against the government,

Lieut.-Col. Stephen Bayard was another resident in
the same part of the old township, and was a very
prominent man in his time.

Col. David Phillips, who appears on the roll above
mentioned as taxable on three hundred acres in old
Peters, was a relative of the person then known as
" Preaching David Phillips," who was assessed on
three hundred and thirty acres. All the persons
above named, except the last, were residents in that
part of old Peters township which is now included in
Allegheny County.

Within the present limits of the township the first
tract of land taken up was that called " Benton,"
granted on a Virginia certificate, Feb. 11, 1780, to
James Matthews, "situate on the waters of Chartiers
Creek, to include his actual settlement made in the
year 1774." He died on the tract ; his widow sur-
vived him several years. They had three sons, Paul,
James, and Robert. The first and last named emi-
grated to the West. James settled near Washington,
Pa. He had two sons, James and William, of whom
the former is now living near the McMurray post-
office. William removed to the West. A daughter
of his married Andrew Crawford, and settled in Peters.
Of the original tract called " Benton," above men-
tioned, a part passed from the Matthews family,
through intermediate hands, to John and William

About 1765 two brothers of Scotch-Irish descent,
named Joshua and James Wright, came from the
Cumberland valley and settled on Peters Creek, in
Nottingham township. The brothers went resolutely
to work, and cleared a sufficient amount of their land
to put in a crop. Joshua then returned to their home
in the East and married Charity, a daughter of John
Harris, from whom the city of Harrisburg derived its
name, and soon returned with his bride to his forest
home. Sept. 16, 1779, Joshua Wright purchased
from his brother James all his share of their joint
purchase. After this sale James Wright went to
live in Kentucky, where he was killed by the In-

Joshua Wright engaged in the New Orleans trade,
and about 1783, while on his way to that city in one
of the flat-bottomed, square-prowed boats, was at-
tacked and captured by Indians and taken to a
point near Sandusky, Ohio, where he was burned at
the stake. The family thus left without a protector
were his wife and three children, Lydia, Enoch, and

Joshua Wright had sold to Daniel Towusend, his
brother-in-law, four hundred acres of the original



eiglit-hundred-acre tract purchnscd by himself and
brother James. Charity Wright, the widow of Joshua,
afterwards married a Mr. Colvin, who lived on Pigeon
Creek. Her daugliter Lydia married John Laird, and
settled on a part of the land which she inherited from
her father, and upon which she died. After lier
death her brother Enoch purchased the property.
The other daughter, Agnes, became Mrs. Joseph
Barrows. Enoch, the only son, was but a boy when
his father was killed. He became a man of influence,
and filled many positions of trust and honor in his
neighborhood. He had but one child, his son Jo-
seph, who became a Methodist minister. Joseph
Wright was a close student, and in the later years
of his life was engaged in work upon a dictionary.
He had reached the letter M at the time of his death.
And it proved labor lost, as the completed manuscript
was entirely destroyed in the hurricane which swept
over this township in 1854. Eev. Joseph Wright left
a family of ten children, as follows : Darthula, who
married Dr. James Miller, and died in Pittsburgh ;
Catharine, who married Tliomas Rankin, and set-
tled upon the farm her father gave her on Mingo
Creek. She raised a large family of children, who
emigrated to Nebraska, and she now lives with them.
Lucinda Wright married Jolin Storer, and settled on
a part of the home farm. Dr. John Storer, of Hills-
boro', is her son. Joshua Wright had that part of
the original Wright tract called the homestead,
which he still owns. The old log house in which
Joshua Wright first lived stood where the garden
now is. He now lives in Washington, Pa., where
he is engaged in banking. Enocli Wright settled on
a portion of the Wright land, but in 1866 left it and
emigrated to Iowa. Joseph, another son of Rev. Jo-
seph Wright, also inherited some of the original prop-

Online LibraryBoyd CrumrineHistory of Washington County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 227 of 255)