Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 115 of 193)
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tains, alone and on foot, looking for a land location,
the country was a wilderness and swarming with wild
beasts. Upon the high bluff that overlooks the Youg-
hiogheny just above East Liberty he made his camp
under an oak-tree, and when he came to examine at
leisure the region about him he was not slow to de-



504



HISTORY OF FAYETTE COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.



terinine that he had found the location he had been
looking for. As far as be could judge, there was no
white settler anywhere near bim, and if he had taken
the trouble or time to reflect upon the circumstance,
it would have doubtless occurred to him that he was
in not only a lonesome but a rather dangerous locality.
He had, however, no inclination to dwell on such
matters at first, for he was fired with an ambition to
get a start as a settler, and so he, working early and
late to get up a habitation and make a small clearing,
found no time to do anything else. He had not been
long on the ground, so the story goes, when he real-
ized very forcibly the dangers of his situation at all
events. Looking from the river bluff one day he saw
the spectacle of a company of ugly-looking savages
wading across the stream, as if they had detected the
smoke of the white man's camp-fire and were bent upon
mischief That seems at least to have been the view
taken of the case by Dickinson, for, understanding
that the redskins might murder him, he lost no time
in ]iacking up a few trifling effects and striking off
for the far East. He made his way to his old home,
and concluded to stay there until there should be
promise of a peaceful life in Southwestern Pennsyl-
vania. Within about a year he thought from what he
heard that the danger of Indians was past, and once
more he set out for the Western wilds, this time taking
with him his wife and infant son, Tlionias, lor. to use
his own langu.age, "he proposed to >tay." They
came to the s|]ot he first occupied, and there he built
a cabin. One autliority declares that another man
with his family accompanied the Dickinsons west-
ward and located near them. Who they were is not
ascertainable, but it is altogetlier likely, since Dick-
inson relumed eastward for supplies in a short time,
scarcely likely to have done had he
lied to leave his wife and child unpro-
' had made a clearing he began to
1st then he began to get glimpses of
savaiii's :ind ti> tear much for his safety. He was
not nioKstc^, but he never went out into his field
withiiiit takinii- his wilr with him, who while he
workcMl would stan.l watch with gun in hand, and
after a time would take the hoe while he did sentinel
duty. Naturally eiiongh they could not avoid be-
lieving that the Indians were likely to butcher them
at any time. Eternal vigilance was for them the con-
stant watchword. Despite their fears they never
came to any harm through the Indians. Mr. Dick-
inson was eminently a pioneer, and for years battled
almo~t singh-haiiiled among the wilds of Fayette
County, apart from other settlers, and met at every
turn snili pii\ alioiis, trials, ami toils as would have
checked hi, proLTrssaiHl srnt liiin l.a.-k to the haunts
ofcivilizatL.n had hcn..t poss,.sse.l a heart of oak and
a courageous, stout-souled helpmeet, who bore like a
heroine her full share of the burden.

In the fall Dickinson made a trip to the East for salt



and th


t he


been c<


mpel


tccted.


Wlu


till the


soil.:



and other supplies, and



L'd them west



horses. Salt was one of the greatest and scarcest of
luxuries, as well as a necessity, and that it was
carefully husbanded when got may be well believed.
Bullets were articles of value. So careful was Dick-
inson of his small hoard that when he shot small
game he made sure to shoot in range with some tree,
so that if he missed he could secure the bullets for
further use. Just before he left for his first trip
to the East in quest of provisions he found himself
the possessor of just two bullets. With one of them
he killed a bear, whose carcass supplied his family
with meat while he was absent; and with the other
he killed game for his own sustenance during the
journey over the mountains. Mr. Dickinson lived
to see the country blossom and teem with civilized
life. He became a large landholder in Dunbar upon
the river, and died upon the homestead farm near
East Liberty, Oct. 10, 1827, in his eighty-eighth year.
j He built a grist-mill upon the site of the mill now
! owned by Oglevee Brothers about the year 1780. He
j had six sons, named Thomas, William, John, Joshua,
' Levi, and Eli, all of wdiom removed at an early day
to Ohio. Mr. Dickinson was a stanch Methodist,
and for some years maintained preaching at his
house, where a class was organized in 1820. In 1823
he gave material assistance in the erection of a Meth-
odist Episcopal house of worship, and there until
1861 the organization flourished. At that time the
question of politics entered in some shape into the
chnrch, and proved a rock upon which the organiza-
tion soon became a wreck. The building then used
as a church is now the residence of Mr. Dunham.
The lot for the church and churchyard was donated
by Mr. Dickinson, and within the latter still lie the
mortal remains of himself and his wife.
! Tradition says that upon the blufli" overlooking the
Fort Hill Coke- Works there was once an Indian fort
and an Indian graveyard, both upon the A. J. Hill
farm. Mr. Hill relates that bones and various imple-
ments of Indian manufacture have frequently been
plowed up there, and that one of his men unearthed
some time ago a curious-looking iron instrument, con-
sisting of an iron ring about the size of a man's neck.
From that ring projected short chains, at the end of
each of which was fastened a small ring. It was re-
garded as a curious relic, and by some it was deter-
mined to have served either in confining criminals or
' fastening victims to the stake. These theories had,
i however, but a vague foundation to rest upon, while
j the generally accepted theory that Indians in those
days used no iron instruments appears to render it
I doubtful whether the relic was of Indian origin or
use. Whatever it had been or was, it certainly
j awakened much curious interest among antiquarians,
and eventually found its way to the cabinet of a col-
lector of curiosities. Since that time it has not been
1 seen or heard of in these parts. The hill upon which
; the Indian fort was located bears to this day the name
'' of Fort Hill.



DUNBAR TOWNSHIP.



505



Thomas Jones was one of the very earliest settlers
in Joshua Dickinson's neigliborhood. His home was
the farm now owned by William and James Collins,
whose father, James, came to Dunbar from Maryland
in 1822 and bought out Thomas Jones, who thereupon
moved to Ohio, and died there at the age of ninety-
eight. Jame-i Collins the elder died in 1855, aged
seventy-seven.

Jacob Lcet was an early settler near Dickinson,
upon the place now owned by Alexander Work, on
which his grave may now be seen. His son Christo-
pher, now an old man of ninety-four, lives in Illinois.
Mr. Leetvvas regarded as an old-fashioned but rigidly
honest man, and a most excellent neighbor. When
Christian Stofer returned to Dunbar after a brief ab-
sence, and found Leet's grave instead of the living
Leet, he is said to have remarked with a show of deep
feeling, " There lies the body of an honest Dutchman."
Christian Stofer himself came from Westmoreland
County to Dunbar in 1815, but returned in 1819 to
the former place. In 1819, Christian Stoner, his son-
in-law, bought Stofer's Dunbar farm, and occupied it
as a permanent settler. The Morelands, Galleys,
Spratts, and Wilkies were residents thereabout at an
early day. James Wilkie was a famous school-teacher,
and taught in those parts more than twenty years.
One Clare was also an early school-teacher in that
vicinity. William McBurney says that in 1814 he
took his first day's schooling under pedagogue Clare.
Some maliciously disposed lads reported young Mc-
Burney to the teacher forswearing, and upon the com-
plaint the boy was compelled to get down upon his
knee before the school and sue for pardon. The fol-
lowing day he was similarly reported, and that time
most unmercifully whipped by Clare. As soon as he
could, the bruised victim made for the school-room
door and ran home. There he told his mother that
he was afraid to go to school again, ibr he knew old
Clare would evcntuallj' murder him. And he did not
venture into that or any other school again for three
years.

An old woolen-factory, now standing on the river's
bank at the Broad Ford, was started in 1824 by White
& Sous, and carried on with varying fortunes for
some years. It served also later as a grist-mill, but
for years has lain idle.

In the fall of 1782, David Parkhill (who had come
from Ireland to America during the Revolution) set-
tled in Dunbar, upon lands that joined Joshua Dick-
inson's and Joseph Oglevee's. Although a strong
Covenanter, his blood arose in resentment at the
thought of the troubles worked by Indian depreda-
tions, and at the head of a company of his neighbors
sallied out one Sunday morning to hunt and punish
the savages. The enemy had taken the alarm, and
luckily for themselves fled beyond the reach of the
determined pioneers. Mr. Parkhill's wife lived until
she had rounded out a century of existence. She
died in 1842. Stephen Fairehild, who died in Dun-



bar in 1837, came to Pennsylvania in 1810, and lo-
cated in Salt Lick township. He was born in New
York State, and at the age of fifteen enlisted with his
six brothers for service in the war of the Revolution.
One of the seven was wounded at the battle of Bunker
Hill. Stephen Fairchild's widow died in 18U3, aged
eighty-four, and was at her death one of the oldest
persons then in receipt of a pension.

In the spring of 1880 one of the " characters" of
Dunbar died in a cave near Cow Rock, where for a
period of sixty years or more he had led the life of a
recluse. This singular personage, never known by any
other designation than " Captain Cook," is said to
have come to Fayette County from England simply
to show his reverence for the memory of Gen. Brad-
dock. While in his English home he read in a book
the story of Braddock's fate, and straightway felt a
very strong desire to visit the region wherein that un-
fortunate general met his death. He came to Amer-
ica, and to Fayette County. In Dunbar township,
east of Union Furnace, and near the river, he found
a cave that suited him for a home. Of it he took
squatter possession, and in it he passed the remainder
of his life, which was, by the way, a life conspicuously
devoid of an object, except, perhaps, in respect to his
satisfaction in being near the scenes that surrounded
Braddock when he died. It is said that for as long
as six months at a time he would keep himself utterly
secluded from the gaze of man. Near his hut was a
bank of fire-clay, and once in a while he would nuike
a few fire-bricks, and descend into the Furnace settle-
ment for the purpose of exchanging the bricks for
provisions. His mission concluded, he would return
to his mountain den, and emerge no more for months.
Samuel Work, alluded to as having purchased the
Rogers farm, was grandfather to Samuel Work, now
of Dunbar township. John Work, son of Samuel
the elder, was born in 1787. He married Nancy
Rogers.

Jacob Lowry was a man of considerable note in
Dunbar before and after 1800. In 17S8 he moved
from Northumberland County to Jurol.'s C'n ek, and
entered the employment of his bintlni-iii-hiu, John

I Gerhart, a miller. In 1794 he went over lo ( '(j1. Isaac
Meason's Union Furnace, and for five years was Col.
Meason's miller at the Furnace grist-mill. In 1799 he
built a framed grist-mill on Dunbar Creek below the
Furnace, and carrying it on until 1815, built in that
year upon the same site, in conjunction with John
Strickler, the stone grist-mill now owned by William
Speers. He leased the grist-mill to Strickler, who
after a five years' experience therein failed and re-
tired to a farm near New Haven. Lowry had mean-
while been living on a farm and running a saw-mill

' on Tucker's Run, but upon Strickler's failure resumed
his control of the grist-mill property. Of the old
framed grist-mill he had made a fulling-mill, and

j about 1828 built the woolen-factory now owned by

' Daniel Harper. After his death, in September, 1800,



506



HISTORY OF FAYETTE COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.



liis son Lewis came into possession of tlie grist-mill,
and liis son William of the woolen-factory. In 1S41,
John Speers purchased the grist-mill.

John Sherrard was a settler in Dunbar in 1773.
He remained in his new settlement but a year, and
then moved to Kentucky. In 1778 he resumed his
habitation in Dunbar, and retained ituntil 1805, when
he concluded to push farther westw^ard to Ohio, where
he died in 1809. He was in the Continental service
during the Revolutionary war, and was with Col. Wil-
liam Crawford in the expedition to Sandusky in 1782.
Although but a ]irivate, he bore a somewhat conspic-
uous part in that affair. David Alexander Cathcart
Sherrard, born in Dunbar, Sept. 2, 1786, died June 2,
1880 (upon the farm that had been his home from his
birth), in the ninety fourth year of his age. In early
life he was conmctiil with the Laurel Hill Presbyte-
rian Church, and for over sixty years was a ruling
elder of that church. In 182-5 he was appointed a
justice of the peace, and held the office fifteen years.
It is said that during that time he tried eight hundred
and eighty civil cases, of which but four were appealed,
and of these but one reversed.

" John Travis and his brother-in-law, George Thomp-
son, emigrated from Ireland shortly after the Revolu-
tion was over;' and immediately after landing off
shipboard they crossed the mountains, and each pur-
chased a farm of one hundred and fifty acres of good
land of my father [John Sherrard], which they im-
proved, and each raised up a large family.

" Mr. Travis became an elder in the Laurel Hill
congregation. In the spring of 1798 he bought a farm
one mile and a half east of the cross-roads, on some
of the branches of Raccoon Creek, on which he settled
with his family. Some time after he settled in the
bounds of Laurel Hill eongregation, from some cause,
he became cumpletely ira/y, so much so that he had
to be confined and hamleulfed and guarded by two

men of the neighlHiili 1 to keep him from doing

damage to liiiii>eir or others. A neighbor by the
name (if Thomas (Iraliam was one of the two. Many
years afterwards be inloniied me thatou one occasion
it was neees-arv lo eliaii,i;e his linen, and to make
that change (irahaiii ha<l to take off the handcuffs,
after which, while he was in the act of turning round
and reaching for a shirt that was airing by tlie fire,
Travis took advantage of the attitude Graham was
in by lifting the bolt that fastened the handcuff, and
threw it with great force at Graham's head, just graz-
ing it. After which assault Graham was careful at
such times to leave nothing in the crazy man's way
by which means he could do any one of his keepers
or himself any damage.

"At length the physician recommended that they
should seek out a waterfall in some of the mountain
rcaons where a small cold stream of water fell over



rocks several feet with some weight and force. The
rill having been sought out, the neighbors built a
small house close to the waterfall, and divided it off
with a partition of logs, keeping Mr. Travis confined
in one end, wdiile the other served as a place of lodg-
ing and shelter for those who waited on bim. And it
was made the duty of the two men each morning to
place Mr. Travis under the waterfall, in such a posi-
tion as that the descending stream fell on his bead,
and thus once a day he was treated to a cold bath,
with its influence direct upon the head, and the pro-
cess was continued daily until unmistakable signs of
returning sanity had made their appearance, and was
continued daily once a day until it had the desired
effect. Mr. Travis was thereby restored to reason,
and remained a man of sound mind to the day of his
death."

Samuel Martin came to Col. Meason's Union Fur-
nace about 1793, and worked there as a teamster.
His son John was a founder, while his sons Alexander,
James, and S.amuel, Jr., were also employed about
the furnace in various capacities. Alexander Martin,
of Dunbar, is a son of John the founder above men-
tioned. William J. and Samuel Martin, other sons
of John, live in Dunbar township. Mrs. Nancy
Ilanen, living near Dunbar, is one of his daughters.
Cambridge, a son of James Martin (who worked at
Union Furnace in 1794), lives now at Dunbar Fur-
nace.

Alexander Martin, of Dunbar, says there used to
be an old graveyard at Dunbar Furnace, and that the
place was doubtless used for tlie burial of those who
died in Col. Meason's service. Rude headstones
marked many graves up to a few years ago, but no
stone bore an inscription or date-mark. Mr. Martin
says he recollects hearing of the burial in that yard
of an old lady named Flood, who hung herself at her
home at the Furnace with a skein of yarn.

William Hardy came to Fayette County in 1794
with the Maryland troops to assist in quelling the
Whiskey Insurrection. At the Meason Furnace they
found a liberty pole, and across it a board labeled
" Liberty and no Excise." After that bloodless cam-
]iaigii was ended he returned to Union Furnace, and
worked for Col. Meason as a wood-chopper. When he
was twenty -six years old he bought a farm on the
mountain-side, and lived about Dunbar until his
death, in 1870, at the age of one hundred and three.
One of his sons lives in Michigan, and another in
Nebraska.

About 1790, John Artis and his brother Isaac came
from Delaware to Fayette County. John located at
Mount Braddock, and Isaac on the place now the
farm of John Hanen. John Artis was killed in 1811
while wood-chopping on Isaac Meason's lands. He
left nine children, of whom none are now living. At
the time of his death his home was where Stoneroad
Bodkin now lives, back of Dunbar village. Isaac
Artis, his brother, died in Connellsville. In 1796,



DUNBAR TOWNSHIP.



507



Isaac Young had an old log grist-mill on Young's
mill-run. How long before that he had been oper-
ating the mill is not known. Tradition says that
for some time Young's mill was the only one for a
long distance around. Isaac Meason built a stone
grist-mill at Union Furnace probably before the year
1800. Among the customers at that mill the most
famous one was Betty Knox, who lived on the other
side of the mountain, and made regular trips to
Meason's mill mounted on an ox. The mountain
path by which she came and went was known for
years as Betty Knox's road.

ORIGINAL LANDHOLDERS IN DUNBAR.
Original surveys made of lands now in Dunbar
township show, as fiir as the subject can be pursued
with certainty, the original landholders to have been
the following :

Isaac Beeson 511 | Isaac Meason 22S2

John McLean 436i

Alex. MoLelland 96i

Geo. Meade 4.',6i

Thos. Mcat^on 3S5J

Win. McMullen 2S

31 2i ' Jacob Murphy ]92i

3I2i I Geo. Niohol..' Ufi

Thos. Gist 2:'.09 Geo. Paiill 165

AVm. Gun 444i Geo. Paull 32(li

L.iwrence Harrison 3II4J Geo. I'aull 317

L.J.Harrison 32oi ' Robert Pollock 2S3i

nj. Harrison 214i [ Wm. Rogers 14*

""" Robert Ross 41o|

John Sampson 349

Edward Ware 272



John Barron

John Ball

AVm. Cracraft ,

Moses Dillon

L.vi Downer

Ilczin Gale

Geo. Gale



3S8i
239
1195



lOli



Catharine Harrison...
Jas lIi"cinson


.. 238
155i










R .bert Irwin


. 39U


Andrew Jakle

Sampson John


. 3Si
. 349


Job John

Robert John

David John


. 42:!i
■■ ^."'1'"'



Edward Wj
Samuel Work..
Isaac Young...

Jas. Paull

Jas. Paull

Ale.x. Pollock..
Thos. Rogers..
Ja«. Rogers



PeterJohn

Thos. Leech

Thos. Moore.'.'.'.'.'.".
Ale.\. Moreland...



8l!i
3Hri
325i



Win. Stfcdman 438

Geo. Thompson 223

Geo. Woods 209i

.John Wells 96

Benj. AVells 4304

John Crawford 375*



TAX-PAYERS IN DUNBAR TOWNSHIP IN 1799.

The first assessment-roll made for the township of
Dunbar, bearing date 1799, presents the following
names as tax-payers in that year :

Horses. Cattle. Acres.



Josiah Allen, merchant


9


1




Benj. Archibald, Sr


1


o




AVm. Anderson..


. 2


1




Anthony Able


2


2





Jas. Allen (one lot)








Isaac Artis




1




Benj. Archibald, Jr








Robert Archibald


1


1


11)11


J(ihn Barkelow, single








Wm. Barns




3




John Barnhill


1




Thos. Eurch




1




Jonathan Black








Leonard Barns




2


5(1


Isaac Bvers


2




70


David Byers


1


2


70


Benjamin Byers


1


1


ino


Daniel Barkelow


1




90


Conrad Barkelow


2


5


60



Andrew Byre= (1 lot)....

John Boyd (2 lots)

Patrick Barr


;;;;;;;;;;;;:;;;:::


Horses.
.. 2
.. 2
.. 1


Cattle.
2

1
3

4
1
3

1

4

2

1
4

1

1
1
3

5
1

1

5

5
G


Acres.
2


Jos.
Lev


Bell (1 lot)

n Rams















Frar


cis Bryan, merchan
Bell














Sa,n


lel Barr





'.'. "i
... 1

... 1

1


IS
250

' 51)


Anthony Banning

Wm. Bowers, weaver....

Wm. Boner, single

Thos. Boyers

Christopher Cummins....
Wm. Connell


■;;;;;;;;;;;■;;••


Johr
Johr


Christy

Carlisle







Dan
Tesh


cl Carlisle

Clark




]'.'. 1




Jas.
Wm
Ale\


Cunningham (1 lot)
Craig

. Carson




... 1




Tho


. Orai"






John
AVhl


Cannon (2 slaves).
5W Canaan




... 2


220


Wm

Thn

Th-o

llav

Han
Joht
Jam
D. C
Johr


Cuniberland

lal, c'raulord'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'

Clark

es Cunntngham

■acraft. chargeable

Cnr,l_


o"c'o'i."McaJo'i;


;; 2
.. 1


100

200

2

80

"I'ii'ii


Adam Cunningham

John Davis




Sam
Levi


icl Dunlap

Diekerson


andsaw-mill)


140

3^0


I'nl,


Ill, „,,,|,| ||.






I'li


ii"l (1-




:: I




A.Im


i;,'- i>,.i,.,.nn,"bhicksii.'i'th!;";!!;:!!

1 IM -kri. i,i„-kceper(1 lot)


' 90


Hill

.Into
Jun:
Ada


" Ml, lll:,'|, ..'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'. .'.'.'.

than Davis

1 Dun);.].


";;;;;;::;;;;:::;


.'. 2


150


Tliui


II, I"l..r




.. 3
.. 1
.. 1


3




■I. 1










HISTORY OF FAYETTE COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.





dler


'.'.'.'. "l

.".'.'. "i
.... 1

. .. 3
.... 1
.... 1

'.'.'.'. "2

.... 1
.... 1

.... 1

'.'.'.'. 1
.... i

'.'.'.'. 1


Cattle.

"1

1
1

1

"?,
2

4
6

3

i

5
5

2
4

"i

1

6
3

5

"2

"i

3

4


Acies.

■"52
100

130
109

105

300

400
375

350
6400

"100

300
450

250

"?.i)0
100

130






Hnrses.

'. 2
. 4

. 5
. 4

; "2


Cattle.
4

3
4
6
3

"1

2

6
5

4
3

1

3
6

"3
3

1

"i

3

4
1

1
5

'i

4

t;

2
i

"2

2

4


.\cres.




Isaac Patterson






Emanuel Hoover,
Thos. Haggorty...
William Jlunt.th.


blacksmith

emaker

or

ilor

blacksmith

ackimith!"!;;;;!!^'^!




Thomas Parkinson (grist
Phincas Porter, tanner..
James Paull (2 slaves)...
Samuel Preston, bliicksi
Jesse Passmore, one hou

Samuel Pa.xton

Thomas Pew

Samuel Phillips

William Patterson


-and saw-mill)


280
150


David Howard,,..

Daniel Hare

Alexander Hui.te
William Henry, t
Nicholas llMward

J.acob Hunt

James H.ndmaii.
Christopher Isuog
Mordecai .John, b
Thomas Jones....
John Hamilton...
William Johnston
Isaac Jobu^ton


ith


100


e, not shingled.


2


:::::::;:;:::::::::


150


John Plystone, wagon-m
Joshua Porter, schoolma
Jonathan Paul, blacksm






-ter

Ih


'. 1

'. 5
. 1

'. "i

'. "i

'. 2
. 5

.' 1

'. 1

, 4
. 4

'. 3
. 1
. 1

'. "i

. 4




Thomas Paiton, sohoolm

R.ibert Patterson

Hugh Pattison

Widow Parkhill

Jonathan Phillips

Mathew Russell

John Reed

John Rogers, Jr., inn-kc

John Rogers. Sr

Jesse Rebecka

Thomas Rogers 1 1 slave
William Ramsev


ister


40


Elijah John>ton...
Thomas Kirkpatr


ck;;:::::;::::::::::::::


100
200


rijilip Kvl, aider.

Jacob Lnwry

Andrew J.uekey..

Thomas l.itile

Jacob Le.ghl

James Lnngen




■]io

40

"■i'm
35






JohnRvan

John Reed, mason

William Ross

Henry Sairing

Joseph Sloan

Isaac Shallenbargcr

Daniel Smithson, shocm:
John Shearer


ker










Benjamin Lowry.
Thomas Lasher, jo
Will, am Mnrehind
Robert -Mcl.aoghl
Robert .Mcl.nuu'hl
Jolu, MM,.Mu'blin

\Vldow M-l'et-IS



Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 115 of 193)