Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 119 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 119 of 193)
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coal, revert to the Connellsville Gas-Coal Company
in twenty years.


In the summer of 1880, W. J. Rainey, prominently
identified with the Cleveland RoUing-Mill Company

of Cleveland, Ohio, purchased of A. J. Hill the coal
right in a farm of three hundred and thirty-six acre.t,
located upon the Youghioghcny River just below New
Haven, and has built upon it eighty-eight ovens,
which number is to be increased to three hundred.
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company has
spanned the river with a fine bridge one mile below
Connellsville, and constructed a branch road to the
Fort Hill Coke- Works. It is the intention of the
railway company to ultimately push their extension to
Wheeling. Mr. Rainey will have a force of fully five
hundred employe-*, for whom he will erect tenements
on the opposite side of the river, with which he will
establish communication by means of a substantial
bridge. When his enterprise gets fairly in operation
he will have at the Fort Hill works and surround-
ings an investment of about §200,000. Daily ship-
ments of coke are expected to average about five hun-
dred tons. Mr. A. J. Hill has been in charge of the
works from the outset. Backof the river, in Dunbar,
Laughlin & 8ehuhenberger and Graff, Bennett & Co.,
two Pittsburgh firms, have about fifteen hundred
acres of coal lands that are likely to be developed
within the near future. The probabilities as well as
the poss;hi lilies dlthe e(>I<e interests in Dunbar point
to vast liiisiiH-s iiii, lists mid a steady increase over
the present prndiictimi ,,f eoke.


About a half-mile south of Dunbar village, Messrs.
Bliss & Marshall have, since 1872, been engaged in the
manufacture of fire-brick for coke-ovens. This was
the first and is the only enterprise of a similar char-
acter known to Dunbar township. About five acres
of land are occupied, and from twenty-five to sixty
men employed at the works. There are four kilns,
that produce about 4,500,000 bricks annually. Messrs.
Bliss & Marshall have about $20,000 invested in the


Daniel Harper has on Dunbar Creek, near Dunbar,
a woolen-factory, wherein he manufactures blankets,
flannels, yarns, etc. It was built .about 1821, by
Jacob Lowry, who before that had a carding-machine
and fulling-mill attachment in his stone
His son William succeeded him in business and im-
proved the woolen-mill. In 1840, James Hankins
and Thomas Rankin became its owners. In 1850,
Hankins was sole owner, and in 1862 Daniel Harper
came into possession of the property. Since then he
has carried on the mill.

The borough of New Haven lies in a bend of the
Youghiogheny River, directly opposite the borough
of Connellsville. Its population in July, 1880, was
four hundred and forty-two. Up to 1873 the town
was a manufiicturing point of considerable conse-
quence, but since then it has been devoid of special


interest in that direction, and a diminution in its I
prosperity has ensued. The near proximity to Con- 1
nellsville checlvs New Haven's progress. As an evi-
dence of this it may be noted that although New
Haven was laid out as a village in 1796, uo post-office I
was established there until 1S78, the people of the i
place being obliged to go to Connellsville for their
mails. The Southwest Pennsylvania Eailroad tra-
verses the village, and crosses the river at that point.
Communication with Connellsville is likewise main-
tained by means of a substantial wire suspension
bridge, built and opened in 1862 by the Youghio-
gheny Bridge Company. Its entire cost was about
twenty thousand dollars. Previous to 1862 the river
at New Haven had been spanned by three bridges.
The first one fell in 1816, the second was washed
away in 1831, and the third in 1860.

Upon or just below the site now occupied by New
Haven a scttlL'inent was commenced by Capt. Wil-
liam Crawliinl in 176-3, on the bank of the river, at the
point where (ien. Braddock forded the stream on his
way to the fatal battle-field of the Monongahela in
1755. That point is called " Braddock's Ford" to this
day. Stewart's Crossing, sometimes confounded with
Braddock's Ford, is farther up the river, and near the
suspension bridge. It was so called because, in 1753,
one William Stewart lived there on the south bank of
the river. The Indian troubles of that period drove
him away.

Evidence that Cajit. William Crawford commenced
his suttlriiniit improvements at Braddock's Ford in
1765 is I'.iuinl ill his own affidavit, taken at the house
of John Oniisby, in Pittsburgh, before the Virginia
commissioners, in the year 1780, which is given on
page #1 of this volume. In that affidavit he says
he began liis improvements on the Youghiogheny in
the fall (if 17i;">, und moved his family to his new
home in 17(ir,. The patent for his land was not issued
until 17611. For some reason best known to himself
he did not take it out in his own name, but caused it
to be issued to his son John. The original survey
was in 176!1, and included 3761 acres. This
tract ciiilnarid nil iil' what is now New Haven bor-
ough, 'i'lic (lescriptiiiii of the lands was as follows:
"Situated on the south side of the Youghiogheny
Elver, and includes what is generally called Stewart's
Crossing, in Cumberland County. The new purchase,
surveyed tlio twenty-second day of September, 1769,
by order of survey Nu. 2:!o'.i, date the third of April,
1760. r.y X. Lane, Deputy Surveyor."

Not only for the reason that Capt. William Craw-
ford was the original purchaser of the land now the
site of the borough of New Haven, but because he
was in his time one of the most prominent and influ-
ential men in the country west of the Alleghenies,
and still more because his fearful death by Indian
torture has made his name historic, a somewhat ex-
tended sketch of his lite is here given :

Williuiii Crawford was a native of Virginia, born

of Scotch-Irish parentage in the year 1732, in that
part of the county of Orange which afterwards be-
came Frederick, and is now Berkeley County. His
father, who wa-s a farmer of respectability, died in
1736, leaving two sons, William and Valentine, of
whom the first named was the elder. Their mother,
Honora Crawford, was a woman of great energy of
character and of unusual physical vigor, kind and
aflfectionate in disposition, and devoted to the welfiire
of her children. Remaining but a short time in wid-
owhood, she married for her second husband Richard
Stephenson, who died about ten years afterwards,
leaving six children of their marriage, viz.: John,
Hugh, Richard, James, Marcus, and Elizabeth Ste-
phenson, — five half-brothers and a half-sister of Wil-
liam and Valentine Crawford. The seven sons of
Mrs. Stepheusou were all remarkable for their size
and unusual physical strength, and they were all
living with their mother when, in the year 1749, the
young surveyor, George Washington, then seventeen
years of age, came to the neighborhood and took
lodgings at Mrs. Stephenson's house while engaged
in running lines in the vicinity for Lord Fairfax.
Here he remained for a considerable time, and during
his stay became much attached to the sons of his
hostess, particularly to the eldest, William Crawford,
who was of the same age as himself, and to whom he
always remained a steadfast frieud until death sev-
ered the tie, after an acquaintance of thirty-two

During the stay of Washington young William
Crawford became his assistant, and learned the busi-
ness of surveying, which he afterwards practiced in
connection with his duties as manager of the farm
until the year 1755, when he entered the military ser-
vice, receiving from the Governor of Virginia a com-
mission as ensign, which had been procured for him
by the intercession of his young surveyor friend of six
years before, who was now called C'ofo«e^ Washington.
It has been stated in some biographical account of
William Crawford that he marched with the army of
Gen. Braddock on the ill-fated expedition for the re-
duction of Fort du Quesne, taking part in the disas-
trous battle and defeat of the 9th of July, 1755; but
that such was not the case is shown conclusively by
his own affidavit, to which reference has already been
made, and in which he distinctly states that he never
saw the country west of the mountains until the year
1758. Prior to that time, for about three years, he
had been engaged in frontier duty along the line of
the Potomac and at Fort Cumberland, and during
that time had been advanced to a lieutenancy. In
the year mentioned, when the army under Gen. Forbes
was preparing to march westward for a second attempt
against Fort du Quesne, he received promotion to a
captaincy on the recommendation of his friend, Col.
Washington, who was then in command of all the
Virginia troops destined for the expedition. On re-
ceiving his commission Capt. Crawford recruited a



full company of frontiersmen,' and at their head
marched with Washington's regiments to join the
forces of Gen. Forbes.

In this campaign, which resulted in the occupation
of the French fortress (Nov. 25, 1758), Crawford ac-
quitted himself with gallantry and great credit. Three
years longer he continued in the military service, and
at the end of that time quitted it to resume his voca-
tions of former and surveyor in the Shenandoah Val-
ley. There he married Hannah Vance, a sister of John
Vance, who settled in Tyrone township, Fayette Co.,
and remained in the quiet of domestic life on the old
Virginia farm until the summer of 1765, when he
mounted his horse and turned his fiice westward to
cross the Alleghenies and select a location for the
future home ot his fomily beyond the mountains, in
the new country w-hich he had seen and admired
while on his march with the army of Forbes.

1 "The rendezvousing nf Ciawfonra company, preparatory to niarcli-
ing liis men to join the force under Wjishington, disclosed tlie fact that
there was a want of transportation. Here was a dilemma. Fortunately,
however, there happened to be at the place where the comi any was eu-
camprd a teamster who had stopped to rest and feed his horses. In
such an emergency Crawford felt no hesitancy in pressing the wagoner
into his service, and accordingly announced to the sti'aiiger his detcr-
luiuation. The owner of the team was in no humor to submit to what
lie considered an oppressive act. But how could it be avoiiled ? He was
alone in the midst of a company of men who were ready and strong
enough at a word to enforce their captain'^ orders. Remaining a short
time silent, looking sullenly at the armed men, as if measuring their
strength with his own weakness, he finally observed to Crawford that
it was hard to be forced into the service against his will; that every
Dnin ought to have a fair chance, and that he was taken at a great dis-
advantage, inasmuch as the odds agaiust him were so great as to deprive
him of the power of self-protection.

" He thought the captain was taking advantage of circumstances, and
he would now make a proposition, which the commander was certainly
bound in honor to accede to. ' I will fight you,' said he, ' or any man in
your company. If I am whipped I will go with you cheerfully. If I
conquer you must let nie off.' From what has heen,said of Capt. Craw-
ford's personal activity and strength it will uot be a matter of wonder to
learn that the challenge of the doughty teamster was at once accepted.
Both began to strip; the men prepared to forma ring, determined to
show fair play and to see the fun. At this moment a tall jonng man,
who had lately joined the company, but a stranger to most of them, and
who had been leaning carelessly against a tree, e^'eing the scene with
Hiiparent unconcern, now steppeil forward and drew Crawford aside.
'Capt:.iii,' said the stranger, 'you must let me fight that fellow; he will
wliip J/o», and it will never do to have the company whipped.' A few
additional words of like import, overheard by the men, with the cool,
collected, and confident manner of the speaker, induced them to suggest
to Crawford that perhaps it itottld be prudent to let the stranger try his
hand. The captain, having done all that policy required in accepting
the challenge, suftered hitnself to be persuaded by his men, and it was
agreed that the youth should be substituted in his place.

"By this time the wagoner was stripped to the I'll li ml f.iiv i i iln;

fight. He was big, muscular, well filled out, hank I'l

an adept in pugilistic encounters. His air wa.^ ,, i , ; ; i !,

his mien. defiant and confident. When the yoiithl;! I - ' -i,

therefore, stepped into the ring, clad iu his buM i .1,1;. - n,.!

lookingslender and a little pale, the men had not 111 ' 1 •

in his success. However, there was fire iu his eye, lui I i- ir i . . ,, , i.l,>
his garments a stalwart frame was disclosed of eidpiMiuus Liones and
muscle. The spirits of the company immediately revived.

" I'reparations bcijig finished, tlie word was given. The youth sprang
upon his antagonist with the agility and ferocity of a tiger. The blood
flowed at every blow of llis tremendous fista. The contest was shot t and
decisive. The teamster was completely vanquished. The hero of this
his first fight for his country was afterwards Blaj.-Gen. Daniel Morgan,
ol Kevolutiouary lame."— Bii«tr/ieid'» " Ex^tdUion agaimi Samluikii."

The spot which he selected was that which lias al-
ready been described on the left bank of the Youghio-
gheny, near the place where the army of Gen. Brad-
dock crossed the river, on its way to Fort du Quesne,
ten years before. Here he built a log cabin, and
began clearing land. He was joined in the same
summer by his half-brother, Hugh Stephenson, who
worked here with William Crawford for two years,
during which time he made a clearing and built a
cabin for himself, and in the year 17(59 brought his
family, which up to this time had remained at the
Virginia home. The family of William Crawford,
when he came to the Youghiogheny, consisted of hia
wife and four children,— Sarah, John, Effie, and Ann,
the first named of whom became the wife of William
Harrison ; Effle, the wife of William McCormick ;
.and Ann, the wife of Zachariah Connell.

In the year 1770, Col. George Washington visited
Crawford's home on the Youghiogheny, and the latter
accompanied him in an extended tour down the Ohio
to the Kanawha for the selection of large bodies of
land, in which Washington desired to make invest-
ment. In the same year Crawford was appointed one
of the justices of peace for the county of Cumberland
(which then emliruccd tlic iircsent county of Fayette),
and on the 11th nf, 1771, Governor Penn ap-
pointed him,witli Anhiir St. Clair, Dorsey Pentecost,
Robert Hanna, and others, justices of the peace of
the then newly-erected county of Bedford. Upon
the erection of Westmoreland County, in 1773, his
commission was renewed for that county, and he was
made presiding justice in its courts.

On the breaking out of " Dunmore's war," in 1774,
being anxious to take part in the conflict,. Crawford
was indiscreet enough to accept a captain's commis-
sion from the Governor of Virginia. Up to this time,
through the dispute which had existed between Penn-
sylvania and Virginia (in which both States claimed
jurisdiction over the region west of Laurel Hill), he
had remained true to the State under which he held
commission as justice of the peace, but now that his
military ardor had been reawakened he allowed it to
outweigh his loyalty to Pennsylvania, and to induce
him to recognize the claims of her adversary by
taking service under the Virginia Governor, Dun-
more. He raised a company of men, and in June of
the year named marched them to " Fort Dunmore,"
as the Virginians had now named the fortification at
the present site of Pittsburgh. He was made major
by Dunmore, and took quite a part in the " war" of
that year, being sent in command of a detachment to
destroy one of the Mingo towns, and performed that
duty thoroughly, taking some prisoners, whom he
sent to Fort Dunmore. He also did some service
with his command at Wheeling. At the close of the
Indian hostilities in November he returned from that
station to his home on the Youghiogheny.

While he was absent on the campaign Arthur St.
Clair (afterwards major-general in the war of the



Revolution), one of his associate justices of West-
moreland County, feeling aggrieved at the course
which Crawford had pursued in accepting a military
office under Virginia and engaging in a war against
the Indians, which the Pennsylvania government
disapproved of, wrote to Governor Penn on the 22d
of July, saying, " Capt. Crawford, the president of
our court, seems to be the most active Virginia otficer
in their service. -He is now down the river at the
head of a number of men, which is his second expe-
dition. . . . flow is it possible for a man to serve two
colonies in direct antagonism to each other at the
same time ?" He proceeded to argue that as Crawford
had "joined with the government of Virginia in op-
posing the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania," he should
be removed Irojn tin- otVuos which he held by appoint-
ment ill th ■ I .iiiiity .it' W'l -tmoreland. The argument
was iiuM to lie Mimil, :ind the reasons sufficient. He
was accordingly so removed on the 2.5th of January,
177.5, and never again held office under the State of

He now became fully identified with the Virginia
partisans as opposed to the jurisdiction of Pennsyl-
vania. Upon the erection of the Virginia county of
Yohogania, Capt. Crawford was a|ipointed deputy
surveyor and one of the justices for that county, and
occasionallv sat on the bench as one of the justices
of its courts in 1777 and 1778. He continued to hold
these offices during the existence of the county,—
that is, until Virginia surrendered her claim to juris-
diction in tlie territory between Laurel Hill and the
present western boundary of Pennsylvania.

During the first part of his career as deputy sur-
veyor tinder Virginia, when his surveys caused many
persons to be temporarily dispossessed and some im-
prisoned, Crawford became exceedingly unpopular
among the people of his section, in whose favor and
estimation he had previously stood high. But he soon
after regained his popularity by the patriotic course
which he took in the Revolution, sinking all his par-
tisanship in an ardent zeal for the cause of liberty.
At the convention which met at Pittsburgh on the
IGth of Jlay, 1775, to express their views as to the
aggressions of the mother-country, and to concert
measures for the general good, William Crawford took
a prominent part in the proceedings, and was made
a member of the " Committee of Defense." It has
been said that about this time he offered his services
in a military capacity to the Council of Safety, then
sitting in Philadelphia, but that, "in view of his
conduct in setting at defiance the laws of Pennsylva-
nia, and the bitter feeling engendered on account of
the transactions of other Virginians with whom he
had associated, his patriotic <'llir ivns r. jcM'ted ;" but
there is doubt of the authentiiily nf tlii^ statement.

In the fall of 177-5 he otfered his ^ervices to Vir-
ginia to raise a regiment for the general defense, and
the offer was accepted. He then at once commenced
recruiting, and it was not long before a full regiment

j was raised almost entirely by his own exertions. He,
' however, did not then obtain the colonelcy, which he
expected and which he had so well earned, for the
reason that Congress had determined to receive only
six Virginia regiments into the Continental army,
and as the number of regiments raised in Virginia
exceeded this quota all the expectant officers could
not be provided for. On the 12th of January, 177G,
however, Crawford was commissioned lieutenant-
colonel of the Fifth Virginia Regiment, and on the
11th of October received from Congress the appoint-
ment of colonel of the Seventh Virginia Regiment
in the Continental service, his commission dating the
14th of August preceding.

During the year 1776, Col. Crawford served with
his command in the campaign and battle of Long
Island, and in the later operations north of the city
of New York. He was with the dispirited army of
Washington in the'dreary retreat through New Jer-
sey and across the Delaware River, and was one
of the heroes who, recrossing thatstream in the night
of the 25th of December, fought the battle and
won the victory at Trenton on the morning of the
2Gth. On the 3d of January, 1777, he was present
at the battle of Princeton, and marched from that field
by way of Pluckamin to the winter-quarters at Morris-
town. In the fall of the same year he took part in
the camjiaigns of the Brandywine and Gerniantown.
Col. Crawford having represented to the com-
mander-in-chief that there was serious danger of
Indian attacks in the country bordering the Monon-
gahela, Allegheny, and Ohio Rivers, his views were
taken into consideration, and it was ordered that two
regiments of men be raised — one in Virginia and one
in Pennsylvania — for the protection of their frontiers ;
and it was hy Congress " Resolved, That General
Washington be requested to send Colonel William
Crawford to Pittsburgh to take the command, under
Brigadier-GeneralHand, of the Continental troops and
militia in the Western Department." In pursuance
of this resolution the order was issued, and Col.
Crawford having received his instructions from Con-
gress at York, Pa., proceeded to Fort Pitt to assume
his new command.' The regiment which Virginia

1 When Col. Cniwfoi-a bade farewell tu liis regimi'nt— the Seventh
Virginia— preparatory to leaving for hin new commaml iu the West, he
received from tlie officers of the Seventh the following address, which is
indicative of the higli esteem iu which he was held by them as a com-
mander and as a man :

"We beg leave to take this method of expressing our sense of the
warmest attachment to you, and at the same time our sorrow in the loss
of a commander who has always been influenced l»y motives that de-
servedly ;;ain the unfeigned esteem and respect of all those who have
tlie honor of serving under liim. Both officei-s and soldiers retain tiie
strongest remembrance of the regard and aflection yon have over dis-
covered toward them; but as we are well assured that yon have the
best interests of your country in view, we should not regret, however
sensibly we may feel the loss of you, that you have chos'-n another
field forthc displ.ny of yourmilitary talents. Permit us, therefue. to ex-
press our most cordial wi-h that yon may find a regiment no less at-
tached to yuu than the Seventh, and that your services nin.v ever be
niodnctive of benefit to your country and honor toyuursell."



had been required to furnish had been raised by that
State to the maximum ; that of Pennsylvania was
considerably deficient in numbers. Both reported at
Fort Pitt in the spring of 1778.

One of the first duties assigned to Col. Crawford in his
new command was the erection of a fort at a fording-
place on the Allegheny, sixteen miles above Pitts-
burgh, as a check to marauding Indians who were in
the habit of crossing the river at that place. This
work was performed successfully and to the entire
satisfaction of Gen. Mcintosh,' who named it " Fort
Crawford," in compliment to the colonel who super-
intended its construction, and who was the com-
mandant of its garrison a considerable part of the time
during 1778 and the following year.

In the fall of 1778, Col. Crawford (who was then in
command of a brigade formed of the militia of Yoho-
gania, Monongalia, and Ohio Counties, Va.) took
part in the expedition under Gen. Mcintosh for
the capture of the British post of Detroit. Nothing
came of it, however, except the erection of Forts Lau-
rens and Mcintosh. At the close of the expedition
Jie returned with his command to Fort Pitt. In 1779
he commanded several minor expeditions against the
Indians, and was generally successful. In 1780 he
appeared before Congress to urge a more energetic
defense of the frontier against Indian depredations,
and his representations caused that body to grant aid
in money and munitions of war, which latter were
forwarded to Fort Pitt and other Western posts. In

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 119 of 193)