Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 120 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 120 of 193)
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1781 he gave powerful aid to the unfortunate Col.
Lochry in raising men in Westmoreland County for
the expedition under Gen. Clarke, in which Lochry
and his men all lost their lives. It was the intention
of Crawford to accompany this expedition, but he was
prevented by the necessity of his presence at Fort Pitt
and on the Allegheny outposts.

In tlie autumn of 1781 he was retired from active
military duty, but without resigning his commission.
The war was evidently drawing towards a close, and
he resolved to pass the remainder of his life in peace
at his home on the Youghiogheny. For a time it
seemed as if this earnest wish miglit be gratified, but
it was not to be so. The surrender of Cornwall is was
clearly the end of the conflict, so far as the movements
of armies were concerned, but tlie Indian depreda-
tions on the Western frontier were not only continued,
but were becoming more frequent and daring. Fi-
nally, in the spring of 1782, the Sandusky expedition
was proposed, to inflict a decisive blow on tlie savages
by the destruction of their town. The proposition
met with favor, the campaign was decided on, and
preparations for it were pushed rapidly forward. Col.
Crawford approved of but did not purpose joining it.
" His advice was frequently and freely given, and al- I
though resolved to draw the sword no more, yet his

martial spirit was fully aroused as reports came in from
the frontiers of the early appearance of the Indians,
and their audacity and horrible barbarity. He could
hardly restrain himself from hurrying away with his
neighbors in pursuit of the merciless foe. . . . Many
eyes were turned upon Crawford as the proper per-
son to lead the expedition, but he refused. His pa-
triotism, however, pleaded powerfully against his set-
tled determination, as he saw the probability of a vol-
unteer force, respectable in numbers, being raised for
the enterprise. To add to the plea his son .John and
his son-in-law, William Harrison, determined to vol-
unteer for the campaign. Pentecost- was urgent that
he should once more take command. Irvine himself
thought it would be expedient for him to accept.

" Crawford could no longer refuse. He still held
his commis-^ion as colonel in the regular army, and
the commanding oflicer of the Western Department
desired him to lead the expedition; 'hence,' he rea-
soned, ' it is now my duty to go. I will volunteer with
the rest, and if elected to commaml, shall do all in
my power for the success of the expedition.' It is
the testimony of a grandson of Crawford (Uriah
Springer) that he had often heard his gnindraother
say it was against tlic will <>( bis urn ml lather to go
out on the Samlusky ux|Mililinii ; Imt as ho held a
commission under the irovrrnnimt, he yielded to the
wishes of the volunteers." '

Having arrived at this decision, he at once set about
making arrangements for his departure. On the 16th
of May he made his will,* and in the morning of the
18th he took leave of his children, relatives, and
friends, and departed. His wife accompanied him
across the Youghiogheny to its right bank, where,
bathed in tears and weighed down with the darkest
forebodings, she bade him a sorrowful and, as it
proved, a final farewell. The colonel mounted his
horse" and rode to Fort Pitt, where he held an ex-
tended conference with Gen. Irvine in regard to the
expedition. On the 20th he left the fort and pro-
ceeded down the river to the rendezvous at Mingo
Bottom, and was elected to the command of the forces.
The events which occurred in the few remaining days
of his life, and of his dreadful death at the stake in
the afternoon of the 11th of .June, 1782, have already
been narrated in the account of the disastrous San-
dusky expedition.

Crawford's farm and primitive residence at the cross-
ing of the Y''oughiogheny was called by him " Spring
Garden," but it was widely known by nearly all

3 Dorsey Pentecost, of Waeliington County, a particular fiiend uf Col.
Cl awford's

•i Buttc-i field's " Expedition against Sandusky.''

■1 " Hi- 1 1.1 I. I xi I I ■ I ri verge the Indian country as far as Sandusky
witlioiii.ti ,1,! "li-tacles, and perhapsfiylilingliard battles
so, cah iihii;t,„ I i I >^, tie tliou^'lit fit to pi'epare for the worst,



travelers to and from the Monongahela country as
'' Crawford's Place," and it was made a halting-point
by great numbers of those (particularly Virginians)
who came to or through this region on land-seeking
tours or other business. Crawford was a man of re-
markably open and generous nature, free-hearted,
and hospitable to a degree that was ruinous to his
own interest. The result was that his house at the
Youghiogheny crossing became a noted resort for
pioneers, and there was seldom a day or night when
his roof did not shelter others besides the mem-
bers of his own family. Under these circumstances
lie found that to escape being reduced to jidvcrty he
must do one of two things, — leave the cnuntry or
open a tavern at his house. He chose the latter, and
announced his determination to Col. George Wash-
ington, in a letter dated "Spring Garden, Jan. 15,
1774," in wliicli he said to his illustrious friend, "I
intend public housekeeping, and I am prepared for it
now, as I can live no longer without that or ruining
myself, such numbers constantly travel the road, and
nobody keeping anything for horses but myself.
Some days, now, if I had rum, I could make three
pounds. I have sent for some by Valentine Craw-
ford, and can supply you with what you want as
cheap as you can bring it here if you carry it your-
self" This last part of the extract has reference to
Washington's supposed need of rum for the use of the
men he had employed about that time in improve-
ments on his lands in what is now the township of
Perry. The Valentine Crawford mentioned in the
letter was William Crawford's brother, who came to
tliis region and settled on Jacob's Creek not Ion - alter
William settled on the Yougliiogheny. i'.utli the
liriithers were to some extent engaged in traile with
the Indians after their settlement here, and both at
different times acted as Washington's agent for the
care and supervision of his large tracts of land in
Fayette County and west of the Monongahela.

The widow of Col. Crawford was left in embarrass-
ment as to property. Crawford's private affairs had
come to be in a very unsettled condition on account
of his military and other duties having called him so
frequently from home, his absence sometimes being
greatly prolonged. The excitements and viei<-iliides
of the later years of his life had called his attention
from them necessarily. The result was that his es-
tate was swept away, most of it, by a flood of claims,
some of them having, doubtless, no just foundation.
For losses sustained upon the Sandusky expedition
the State afterwards reimbursed his estate. Hannah
Crawford afterwards drew a pension from the State
on account of the military services of her husli-uid.
In November, 1804, a jietition to Con-re^- for her
relief was |iresented to Congress. It recited tliat her
husband, William Ciawford, wns ;,i ihe time ofhis
death on the ( 'nnliiiental nt as colonel of
the Virginia line; that in the spring of 17Sl', in the
hour of imminent danger and the defenseless situation

of the Western frontier, by the directions and under
the instructions of Gen. William Irvine, who then
had the command of the militia and Continental
troops in the Western country, he took the command
as colonel of and marched with a detachment of
Western militia volunteers and some Continental
officers against the savage enemy, the Indians ; and
that in the month of June of that year he was de-
feated by the savages and fell in the defense of his
country. The prayer of the petition was, in view of the
fact that the petitioner was aged, infirm, and indigent,
that " your honorable body will grant such relief and
support as in your wisdom, justice, and discretion for
the services and loss of her said husband your peti-
tioner may be justly entitled to." Congress, how-
ever, refused to grant the relief sought for. For
thirty-five years after her husband's tragic death
Jlrs. Crawford lived upon the old place at Braddock's
Ford, and in the old log house that Col. Crawford
built in 1765. After the departure of her son John
for his new home in Kentucky, slie was left to the
care of an old slave named Daniel, and a man named
Ladd, who had long been one of the Crawford ser-
vants. These two, as well as all of the old Crawford
servants, she outlived, dying in New Haven in 1817,
at the age of ninety-three years and eleven months.

Mrs. Crawford was described as a remarkably active
woman in her old age. Provance McCormick, Esq.,
of Connellsville, remembers that one day, about 1807,
Mrs. Crawford, then upwards of eighty years old,
came on horseback to visit the McCormicks in Con-
nellsville. She rode a good-sized mare, and when
ready to return home after her visit was ended went
to mount her favorite " Jenny." " Wait, wait," called
one of the boys, "wait until I bring your horse to
the block." " I don't want a horse-block, my boy, to
mount upon Jenny's back," blithely replied the old
lady ; " I'm better than fifty horse-blocks," and so
saying she moved briskly towards Jenny, placed one
hand upon the horn of the saddle, the other upon
Jenny's back, and at a single bound was firmly seated
in her place. "There," cried she, "what do you
suppose I want of horse-blocks?" Whereat every-
body applauded and commended her performance,
saying but few women could equal it.

Of course the death of Col. Crawford was a terrible
blow to the widow. For years her grief was over-
whelming. Uriah Springer' says, "When I was a
little boy (long after Col. Crawford's death) my grand-
mother Crawford took me up behind her on horse-
back and lode across the Youghiogheny, past the
John Eeist farm, and into the woods at the left.
When we alighted we stood by an old moss-covered
white-oak log. " Here," said my grandmother, as she
sat down upon the log and cried as if her heart would
break, " here I parted with your grandfather.".

iSoii of Col. Cr.iwforc]'s daugliterSsii-.ili, wliose first husband, AVilliinu
Hiirrison, wmb Uillwl in tlio Cr.iwfurd cxiwJitiou, iiud wlio afti-nv«rJs



The old Crawford house contained but one room,
and stood upon a round knoll, about fifty yards from
the Crawford Spring, now on Mrs. Banning's prop-
erty, near the house of Washington Johnson. In the
stone house built over the spring is said to be a stick
of timber from the Crawford house, while other
timbers therefrom are said to have been used in the
construction of the buildings known as the Locomo-
tive-Works. When the house was demolished a few
speculative persons made walking-canes of some of
the timber, and sold them at liigh prices to relic-

Early in 1770 an occurrence took place at the home
of William Crawford which created considerable ex-

cerned in the murder of Indian Stephen," which,
from the best information the Governor could obtain,
was committed on a spot of ground claimed by Penn-
sylvania.' " You will find by the paper I have in-
closed," adds Botetourt, " that there never was an act
of villany more unprovoked or more deliberately
undertaken." Crawford took every pains to bring
forward the proper evidence against tiie prisoner,
but the latter escaped from custody and was never
heard of afterwards.

Contemporaneous with William Crawford as settlers
at and in the vicinity of the town of New Haven
were Lawrence Harrison and his sons, one of wlioni
was William Harrison, who becann; i:.e l-.usband of



citement in Western Pennsylvania. John Ingham, a
young man in his employ, who had been indentured
to him to learn the art of surveying, brutally mur-
dered (while intoxicated) an Indian, a warm friend
of the Crawford family. After committing the deed
the young apprentice fled to Virginia, pursued, liow-
ever, by Crawford and a few neighbors, who succeeded
in capturing him. He was then turned over to the
State authorities for punishment. Lord Botetourt,
the Governor of Virginia, alter a conference with
Crawford, sent Ingham, under guard, to Governor
Penn, of Pennsylvania, at the same time explaining
to the latter, by a letter written at Williamsburg on
the 20th of March, 1770, that he had sent " the body
of John Ingham, he having confessed himself as con-

Crawford's daughter Sarah, who was said to have
been the most beautiful girl west of the AUeghenies.
The Harrisons were settlers here in the spring of
1768, when the Eev. John Steele and his associates
came to inspect the settlements in the Youghiogheny
and Monongahela Valleys. The Harrison lands (ad-
joining those of Crawford) were entered at the Land
Office in that year. Those lands afterwards passed to
Daniel Rogers, James Blackstone, and others. Law-
rence Harrison's daughter Catharine married Col.
Isaac Meason. There are no Harrisons, descendants

this prisoner I.y Lord Bot.tourt to Pennsylvania f,r
iiKed uigeJ ivitli g:eiit force by Goverjior Peun agiiinst


(if this family, now remaining at or in the vicinity of
New Haven. John Harrison, the last of his name at
New Haven, died there about 1850.

Benjamin Wells, who lived near the William
Crawford place in 1790, or before, was an excise
otiicer during the Whiskey Insurrection of 1794, and
for that reason was especially obnoxious to the
\Vhiskey Boys. One night they gathered in force and ]
boldly marching to Wells' house set fire to it to show
their hatred of his office. Wells and his family were
not only left unharmed, but had received timely
warning, so that they moved out before the torch was '
applied. Considering that his presence was not wel- |
come on that side of the river, he moved across to
Connellsville. His house at New Haven stood very
near to the site of the house now occupied by Wash-
ington Johnson. j

John Crawford, son of Col. William Crawford, came
upon his fiither's death into actual possession of the
l>roperty now including the site of New Haven, and
Nov. 27, 1786, sold the homestead to Edward Cook.
A portion of it included Stewart's Crossing. Cook i
sold to Col. Isaac Meason. John Crawford removed
in 1786 to Kentucky, where he died. There is still
extant a story that tells of Col. Meason's acquiring a
portion of the Crawford tract on account of a claim
he held against Col. Crawford for the horse upon
which Col. Crawford rode away from his home when
he set out upon his expedition in 1782. The horse
was a purchase (so runs the story) from Col. Meason,
and was to be paid for at some future day. Crawford 1
did not return, and Meason brought an action against
the estate to recover the value of the animal. The
result was a protracted litigation on a sale of some of
the Crawford lauds to satisfy Meason's and other
claims. Under that sale Meason bought in a con- .
siderable tract. He acquired a large landed estate
in Fayette County at about the same time, and be-
came a famous iron manufacturer. His son. Col. Isaac
3Ieason, who was associated with him in business, 1
built a store in what is now New Haven borough, near
.•Stewart's Crossing. In 1796 he laid out New Haven
village. It is likely that the employes of the iron-
works had their homes there, and that he opened the
store for the purpose of supplying them with neces-
saries, for from all accounts there was not much else
at New Haven then save the Meason interests. At
best, however, not much is known of the history of ■
the village at that date, beyond what has been related
nlmve. John Rogers kept a tavern there in 1797 and
1798, and in 1800 Caleb Squibb was landlord of the
house, — the same afterwards carried on by Campbell.
In 1815 New Haven had come into the dignity of a
village, though with but two streets containing dwell-
ings and perhaps a hundred inhabitants. The year i
named saw the arrival at Ciiiiiioll~\ illc cf John A.
McI lvalue, a tailor, fonucrly a ii ~ii|c nt nf Washington
County. He lived a few months in i oiniellsville in
the house occupied bv Zachariah Council.

In 1815 he moved to New Haven, and opened a tailor-
shop in a house now the residence of Leander Dawson.
He had five children when he located in the town, and
had three born to him afterwards. The only one of
the eight now living in New Haven is Robert A. Mc-
Ilvaine, who has kindly furnished most of the follow-
ing facts and incidents relating to the early history of
New Haven. His residence in the village has
covered a period of sixty-five years, during which
he has for upwards of twenty-five years followed the
business of druggist. Of those living in New Haven
when he came to the village in 1815 not one has a
home there now. At that time Col. Isaac Meason
was keeping store in a log house, and lived in a stone
house now known as the Giles House. In 1816,
Samuel G. Wurts was also a store-keeper in New
Haven. James H. White and Samuel Sly had small
shops in which they made nails and tacks by hand.
Levi Atkins, the shoemaker, lived just below,
where Mathiott's drug-store is ; Charles King was the
village blacksmith, and Henry Beason the wheel-
wright. James McCoy and his sons had a cooper's
shop, and a man named.John Campbell was landlord
of a tavern that stood on the ground now occupied
by Mathiott's drug-store. Maj. James Rogers, an
uncle of Daniel Rogers, kept a hotel in the frame
part of what is now known as the Giles House.
Little is known of him save that he left a large
family. In the frame building nearly opposite to the
mill now owned by Kaine & Long, Adam Victor
was landlord in 1814. He was the son-in-law of the
Rev. John Fell, a Methodist minister. Fell was
married to Betsey Meason, a daughter of Col. Isaac
Meason, Sr. Victor's successor for some years was
William Salters. His wife was Miss Fanny Meason,
daughter of John Meason, a brother of Col. Isaac.
Salters appears to have been a jovial and joke-loving
man. This story is told of him : While traveling in
the West, as Ohio was then called, he halted for the
night at a small village inn. Hearing that some
strange preacher was to do missionary service in the
town school-house, to while away the time he con-
cluded to go and hear the preaching. On entering
the house, great was his surprise to see in the preacher
"Pete" Stillwagon, a noted character of Connells-
ville. Though equally surprised to see Salters, " Pete"
maintained his position undauntedly, and spoke quite
energetically. At the close he announced that
" Brother Salters" would now take his hat around
for their offerings. " Brother Salters" did as he was
desired, and took up the collection. On leaving the
house " Pete" begged Salters not to betray him, which,
of course, after his ])art in the matter, Salters did

"It was at Salters' house," says R. A. Mcllvaine,
" at an early period, that I first witnessed the still
popular performance of ' Punch and Judy.' Old John
Green and his wife were the managers. At that time
the puppets were brought out on the floor in front of



a curtain and worked by wires. One of tlie opera-
tors possessed some power of ventriloquism, and
delighted the audience immensely."

Saltcrs (who was sheriff of Fayette County one term)
left here and went to the iron regions of Ohio, where
he became wealthy, and lived till within a few years.
James McKee, his successor, died in the house. Of
the building occupying the lot on the corner of Front
and Ferry Streets, south of Ferry, it is said that at an
early day of the village, Adam Dickey, James Myers,
and Richard Weaver were its landlords. The first man
of whom there are any personal recollections was John
Campbell, an Irishman. He was spoken of as a very
passionate man. He had an old negro servant, called
Pompey, who often felt the effects of his rage in kicks
and cuffs. At last Pompey suddenly disappeared, and
some believed that he was the victim of his master's
violent temper. Some years subsequently the bones
of a m m were washed out from the sandy shore below
the town that were supposed to be his. Campbell was
here as early as 1817; he must have left about 1821.
For a proper understanding of his residence here and
also that of Andrew Byers it must be stated that both
occupied not only this house, but the house on the
opposite corner, where the post-office is now kept.

Andrew Byers, the next occupant of this house as
landlord, was widely known. His son Andrew mar-
ried Miss Phillips, of Uniontown. She was the sister
of John W. and Howell Phillips, who married the
two daughters (Margaret and Eliza) of Zachariah
Council, of Connellsville. His daughter Martha was
married to Joseph Miller, a brother of Col. Wm. L.
Miller, at one time a prominent business man. The
next occupant of the house was David Barnes, who
after several years' residence died in the house. He
was the father of a large family, most of whom are still
living, — -Hamilton (a son of his) represented Somer-
set County in the State Senate; William is a minis-
ter in the Baptist Church ; David is employed in the
office of the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad, Con-
nellsville; Ellis is in business in Connellsville. The
last in this line in this public-house was John Dou-
gan. He was married to a daughter of Thomas Gregg,
one of the earliest business men of the county. Dou-
gan occupied the house in 1837. On the opposite
corner of Front and Ferry Streets, north of Ferry,
Caleb Squibb was an early landlord. He was also en-
gaged in manufacturing salt on Sewickley Creek,
where he owned property. He died about 1820. He
had a large family of children. His daughter Ann
married Thomas Walker; Jane and Emily married
two men of Westmoreland County named Greenawalt ;
Martha married S. McCune, of Allegheny County.
One was married to a Whaley, another to John Rogers,
nephew of Daniel Rogers. His sons William and
Caleb went West. Eliza never married. Andrew
Byers and John Campbell, already spoken of, were
his early successors in the house. The next and last
in this house as a landlord was John Rogers, son-in-

law of Caleb Squibb. He wasin the business not more
than a year. His daughter Mary married her cousin,
Thomas Rogers, and now lives in Morgantown, W. Va.
In 1830, Joseph Keepes was in the place that Maj.
James Rogers once occupied. He had not been here
more than one year when he died. The house then
became a private dwelling for a few years. After this
John Dougan, already spoken of, occupied the stone
part as landlord. His occupancy here was about
1837. For a few years after this, the building was
used as a private dwelling by Thomas Foster, propri-
etor of the woolen-mill. The next landlord was Wm.
R. Turner, a saddler by trade. His father was a sol-
dier of the Revolutionary war, and in his later years
taught school in Coiinellsville. He was a man of some
culture and a surveyor. He kept his compass and
chain, and made plats of land in the neighborhood.
Wm. R. Turner lived here about 1846. It is not easy
to fix the time or date of occupancy of several per-
sons who come in as his successors, — Joseph Cramer
for about two years ; David L. Walker, subsequently
elected sheriff of Fayette County ; George Foust, for
many years in the same line in Connellsville; Silas
White, a descendant of one of the early settlers and
artisans of the town ; James H. ^Vhite, brother of
Silas, and largely connected with the bridge enterprises
of the place. D. L. Walker came in for a second
term, then Joseph Loon, a son of Michael Loon, who
lived in Connellsville. For the last twenty years
Thomas Giles has owned and occupied the house for
the same purpose. He was a stone-mason by trade.
Being a man of energy and determination, and hav-
ing a large family to supjiort, he was never at a loss
when one enterprise failed to pay to turn to some other.
He has at different periods carried on shoemaking,
harness-making, chair-making, and painting. In the
present residence of G. A. Torrance, D. L. Walker
kept a hotel here at the time he was elected sheriff.
His brother, Noah Walker, took charge of the house
for some time after him.

In 1816 there was an abandoned rolling-mill on the
river-bank, in which Thomas Gregg had been con-
cerned. Gregg lived- in New Haven, and first and
last was a man of some note and many enterprises, al-

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 120 of 193)