Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 128 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 128 of 193)
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mained until 1844 in charge of both congregations,
when he gave his whole time to Bethesda. During
his pastorate the ruling elders ordained were James
Gilchrist (in 1837), Edward Gilchrist (in 1840), and
Samuel P. Junk (in 1840).

After :Mr. McKinstry's departure the pastorate was
vacant until August, 1849, supplies being regularly
furnished iiieanwhile. During the interregnutn, An-
drew Bryson, Sr., M. M. Patterson, and John Gilchrist
were chosen ruling elders. Mr. Bryson still lives, and
is still one of the elders. Rev. D. H. Pollock, the
next jiastor, accepted a call April 10, 1849, and was
installed the following .\ugust. The church was then



in a flourishing condition, and under his ministra-
tions prospered greatly. His labors closed Oct. 25,
1853. During his pastorate James R. Patterson and
Alexander H. Patterson were ordained ruling elders.
Supplies were again in order until the spring of 1856,
when Laurel Hill and Mount Pleasant called Rev.
James H. Fife, who labored in the pastorate until his
death, July 26, 1801. There was after that no regu-
lar pastor until June 20, 1865, when Rev. T. F. Boyd
was called to Laurel Hill to devote all his time to
that church. His stay extended to Sept. 3, 1867.
AV^hen he took charge the membership was ninety,
and when he retired it was but seventy-five. After
this the pastorate was vacant two years and seven
months, until Jan. 10, 1870. On that date Rev. T.
P. Patterson was called, and installed June 21, 1870.
He was released Sept. 4, 1877. J. H. Patterson was
chosen ruling elder Oct. 14, 1870, and Oct. 5, 1871, ad-
ditions to the session were m.ade in William S. Gil-
christ, Joseph Humbert, and D. P. Patterson Aug.
13, 1878, Rev. S. B. McBride, the present pastor, was
installed. He was ordained in September, 1870.

During the existence of the church but two houses
of worship were erected. Soon after its organization
six acres of land, lying on the township line between
Franklin and Dunbar, were deeded to Jeremiah Pears,
William McFarland, and John McClelland, "trus-
tees of the Associated Reformed Congregation of Lau-
rel Hill." Upon the land (in Dunbar) a graveyard
was laid out and a stone church built, measuring
forty-four by fifty-five feet, and sixteen feet high.
During Rev. Mr. Pollock's pastorate the church was
repaired and remodeled, and the pulpit " taken down-
stairs from up-stairs." From 1792 to 1874 the same
house was used. In the latter year the present edi-
fice, standing in Franklin, was erected. During the
summer of 1871 a parsonage costing $2000 was built.
In March, 1881, the membership was ninety-six, and
the ruling elders at that time were Andrew Bryson,
Sr., J. H. Patterson, Joseph H. Humbert, and D. P.
Patterson. The trustees were James Junk, John
Dunn, and David P. Long. In the Sunday-school,
of which J. H. Humbert is superintendent, there was
an average attendance of sixty-five. In the church-
yard the older headstones are defaced, broken, or de-
stroyed, so that the earliest .burials cannot be noted
here. The oldest inscriptions traceable include the
following: Catharine Jackson, 1803; Thomas Dunn,
1802; William Rankin, 1807 ; Robert Jackson, 1808;
Flora Patterson, 1811; Samuel Bryson, 1808; John
Richey, 1814; Elizabeth Rankin, 1818 (aged ninety-
one) ; John Reed, 1815 (aged one hundred) ; and
Samuel Rankin, 1820 (aged eighty-three). Upon the
headstone of Alexander Work — died 1813— it is re-
corded :

Widow and orpin
Alas! must bci


About 1833 Andrew Arnold engaged Rev. William
Wood to hold Baptist services in the Arnold school-
house, one and one-fourth miles east of the present
church building. Mr. Wood held services there and
in private houses, from time to time, and on the fifth
Sunday in June, 1834, in a grove near the school, Jlr.
Wood, assisted by Revs. John Patton and Benoni Al-
len, organized the Flatwoods Baptist Church. An-
drew Arnold and John Detwiler were chosen deaconr^,
Andrew Arnold the singing clerk, and twenty-two
persons were received as constituent members. A list
of members received into the church up to 1842, gives
the names of Andrew Arnold, Hiram Norris, John
Detwiler, David Rittenhouse, James Rittenhouse,
William Bell, Henry Stevenson, Obadiah Bowen, Til-
son Fuller, John Goucher, Whitset, Levi Mor-
ris, Lewis Zimmerman, Job Ro.ssel, Amos Payne,
James Blayer, Caleb Rossel, J. H. Patterson, James
Shanks, James Fry, David Loof berry, Charles Rossel,
William Abrahams, William Johnston, Henry Ret-
inoyer, Jonathan Hoge, E|)hraim Lynch, William
Beal, William Wadsworth, S:uiuu-1 Ros.-el, Jo.seiili Til-
ton, Benjamin Wlialey, Reulicn Sutton. In Xovem
ber, 1842,a fourteen-days' prutrariiil inciting was hulil

by Revs. Milton Sutton and William W 1, and as a

result sixteen members were added to the church, —
Jacob and Jane Hazlet, William Martin, John Town-
send, Thomas Truman, James Arnold, Benjamin Hig-
bee, Ausley Blayer, Andrew Oldham, Jesse Arnold,
Jr., Joseph Kerr, Joseph Bute, John BeH, Joel Cooper,
Jonathan Shaffer, and Elizabeth Shaffer. An extract
from the records touching this protracted meeting
reads thus: "Nov. 12, 1842, a protracted meeting
commenced with this church and continued fourteen
days, attended by ministering brethren Wood and
j Sutton, when we had the presence of the Lord, as we
trust, in granting us a special season of grace, and as
the meeting progressed, while some were halting and
others weeping and praying over the condition of our
Zion, the spirit of Almighty God was evidently work-
ing in our midst, and he attended the word preachid
with the power of the Holy Spirit. Sinners were
alarmed, and many were made to weep under a sense
of their sin and guilt to cry for mercy."

Rev. William Wood was installed as pastor of the
church upon the day following its organization, Rev.
Mr. Estep preaching the installation sermon. May
23, 1835, the church was received as a member of the
Mouongahela Association, then in session at Peter's
Creek. In 1835, William Dunlap donated land for a
church and churchyard, and that year a framed house,
forty by thirty-six feet in size, wiis erected upon the site
of the present building. To the graveyard lot addi-
tional donations of land were made by John Bowman,
Andrew Bowman, and John Townsend. Sept. 15, 1836,
Abner Rittenhouse, Andrew Arnold, and Hiram
Norris were chosen church trustees. In 1838 a Bap-
tist ministtT living east of the mountains, happening




to be at Flatwoods during a meeting of tlie Monon-
gahela Association there, wrote upon his return home
a newspaper slvetch of liis experiences in the West.
Touching Flatwoods he said, " We met at a place
called Flatwoods, but I called it anything but flat.
Some people came twenty and twenty-five miles. I
was surprised to see so many ladies on horseback,
and they told me too they could ride just as fast as
the horses could go."

The church has had since 1834 an almost uninter-
rupted pastorate history. Rev. William Wood, the
first pastor, preached until .Tanuary, 1842; E. T.
Brown tliun Mippliri] I'.n- .in,- yr-jr, ;md Milton Sutton,
being iiistiilloil in Jniiii:iry, 1^1:;, served three years
longer. April 1, 1S4G, William Wood returned for a
.second term and remained two years. Eev. J. W. B.
Tisdale was the pastor from April, 1848, to April,
1S52; Milton Sutton fsocond term), from April,
1852, to .\;.ril, is:.:;: W. W. Hickman, from 1853 to
1860; Julin Scofr, from ISiiii to IsiU; W. B. Skinner,
from 18114 to IsiM; W. W. Hickman (second term),
from IS!).-, to iscs; (_'. \V. Holdall, from 1868 to
1869; N. 1!. Crutchlield, ISiiD to 1870; J. R. Brown,
1870 to 1S72; Daniel Kolsey, 1872 to 1874; W. R.
Patton, 1874 to 1880; and j. A. .1. Lightburn, from
April 1, 1880, to the present time. Following is given
a list of deacons tlected since 1S:!4: Andrew Arnold
and John Detwilcr, May, 1834: .T..!. Rossel and James
Fry, May 12, 1>;:;4: II. W. Xonis, June 14, 1846;
James l>i,.,sol. .lames AniuM, and Ephraim Lynch,
Jan. 11, Is-.l : ,1, A, Piers .1. K, H. Abrahams, Jarret
Jordan, Matli.'W .\rison. July 14,1860; Joseph Bute,
April 20, \sC,2- .\aron Townsend, Joseph Essington,
John Blair, and T, P. :\Iurphy, Nov. 19, 1865. Messrs.
Arison, Bute, Townsend, Essington, and Murphy are
still elders. The first church clerk was Abner Rit-
tenliouse. James Fry, the second, was chosen Jan.
8, 1842 ; Jesse Arnold, Feb. 7, 1852 ; E. H. Abra-
hams, March 19, 1859; and Joseph Bute, the present
clerk, June 15, 1861. In 1861, Joseph Bute, Joel
Cooper, and .John Townsend were appointed a com-
mittee to provide a new meeting-house, which re-
sulted in the present brick edifice, that was dedicated
April 20, 1862. It measures fifty-five by forty-five,
with a seventeen-feet story, and costsl725. Upwards
of five hundred memUeis have been received since
1834, about one hundred and ninety of these remain-
ing at this time. The church trustees are P. P. Mur-
pliy, Freeman Cooper, and James Blair, and the Sun-
day-school superintendent is P. P. Murphy.


In 1834, Rev. Mr, Wheeler i.n-aelicl occasionally
in William Shank's barn to Mich of the members of
the Disciples' faith as lived within convenient dis-
tance. He secured the attendance of a good many
people, who propo.sed to ertect an organization. Mr.
^VheeIersuggested that it would be as well to join Flat-
woods Church, but being opposed in this •measure he

withdrew, as did a few others of his opinion. Those
remaining sent for Rev. David Newmeyer, of Ohio,
who came and organized the Redstone Disciples'
Church in a school-house that stood upon Robert
Smith's farm. The constituent members numbered
about thirty. Levi Morris and John Shotwell were
chosen deacons; Henry Goe and John Higbee, elders.
John Shotwell and others lost no time in pushing
their efforts towards the building of a house of worship,
and in 1838 the church now in use was erected. The
first regular pastor was Rev. Alexander Campbell,
who preached for the church uninterruptedly until his
death in 1864. The present pastor is Rev. John
Satterfield, who holds services once a month. The
membership is now ( 1881 ) about thirty-five. Emanuel
Shearer is the deacon ; William Harper and Owen
Blair, elders.


.Tohn Burton, of Franklin township, is a native of
England, and was born in Yorkshire, June 17, 1817.
He is the son of Thomas Burton and Jane Mason
Burton, of Yorkshire, England, who were married
March 7, 1810, and emigrated to America in 1818,
when John was only a year old. They first located
near Winchester, Va., but in 1823 moved into Fayette
County, Pa., and settled upon a fiirm which is now a
part of the one owned by their son John. There they
lived in fact the rest of their lives, Thomas Burton
dying July 16, 1844, at the age of fifty-eight; Mrs.
Jane M. Burton, who survived her husband thirty-
one years, residing during this period wholly with her
son John, died Nov. 23, 1875, at the age of ninety-
five years. She was noted for her piety, and was a
devoted member of the Methodist Protestant Church
for over half a century. They had four children, —
William, married to Catharine Wolf, March 12, 1835;
Isabel, married to David Deyarmon Dec. 4, 1832;
Thomas, deceased ; and John.

John Burton was married to Tacy Hogue, daughter
of Jonathan and Anne Hogue, of Redstone township,
Fayette Co., Sept. 27, 1838. By this marriage there

I are two children, — Thomas J. and Jonathan H.

! The former married Louisa S. Johnson, and has one
child living, Annie Florence; Thomas J. is a mer-
chant, and resides in West Brownsville, Washington
Co., Pa. Jonathan H. married Mary E. Strong, and
has one child, — Col well Burton. Jonathan is
a farmer, and resides upon his father's farm.

John Burton has filled important township oflSces,

i and has always discharged these duties, as all others
devolving upon him, with fidelity. He and his wife

I have long been members of the Methodist Protestant
Church. Mr. Burton has held all the ofllces imposed
upon laymen in his church. He is recognized by all



^i^t^'^'f'Z.ct.^ ^^y^ic.t.^»^j^zy^



who know him as a Christian gentleman. He has been
engaged in farming all his life upon the farm which
lie now owns and occupies. His possessions are
chiefly lands, coal, etc. Mr. Burton has the esteem
of everybody for his honesty, social, neighborly kind-
nesses, and upright, straightforward life.


Robert Smith was born Nov. 19, 1799, in Franklin
township, upon the farm on which he died, Nov. 21,
1881. He was of Scotch stock. His education was
received in the common schools. Mr. Smith was
married Jan. 4, 1827, to Rosetta, daughter of John
and Sarah Shotweli, of Franklin township. They
had twelve children. Ten of them grew to manhood
and womanhood. Nine are now living.

Mr. Smith held the office of justice of the peace
for a number of years. He was one of the first jus-
tices after the office was made elective in this State.
He also held other important township offices.

As a man, lie was modest and unassuming. True
to his convictions as a citizen, he was upright, honest,
and enterprising; as a husband, he was faithful, de-
voted, affectionate; as a father, kind and indulgent;
as a Christian, he was consistent and exemplary.

He was a member of Laurel Hill Presbyterian
Cliurch more than forty years.

His father, Robert Smith, emigrated to America
i'rom Scotland in early life, and settled on the farm
wliere his son Robert lived and died. He married
Mary Starret. Robert Smith, Sr., died in 1837, aged
seventy-nine years ten months and eighteen days.
His wife Mary died in her seventy -second year.


Mr. Jacob Shearer, of Franklin township, is the
son of Frederick Shearer, who was born March 24,
1770, in Eastern Pennsylvania. He was married
March 23, 1793, to Rebecca Markle, of Berks County.
They had eleven children, of whom Jacob is the
eighth. He was born in Franklin County, Pa., Jan.
30, 1809, and removed with his father in 1815 to
Jefferson township, Fayette Co. Mr. Shearer is of
German stock. He received his early education in
the common schools, and was married March 27,
1838, to Emily Shotweli, daughter of John Shotweli,
long a prominent man of Franklin township. They
had seven children, two of whom, Emanuel and Sarah
Catharine, are still living. Emanuel married Eliza-
beth Cook, and has five children,— Esther E., P'red
Orville, Harry J., Jessie, and an infant boy yet un-
named. Sarah Catharine married Rufus Flemming,
of Franklin, and has three children,— John Freder-
ick, Guy Shearer, and Esther Emma.

Mr. Jacob Shearer has never Jield office, never as-
piring to public place, and has led a modest and in-

dustrious life, and bears an excellent reputation for
integrity. He and his family are all members of the
Christian Church. The church which they habitu-
ally attend stands near the spot where, in the open
air, Alexander Campbell, the founder of the sect
called Disciples, first promulgated his distinctive doc-
trines after the severance of his relations with the
Baptist Church.

Mr. Shearer has resided in his present home since
1843, and is the possessor of valuable properties, con-
sisting of coal lands, etc. For the last few years he
has been a considerable sufferer under physical ills,
which he lias patiently borne.


Thomas Dunn, of Franklin township, was born
April 7, 1824, of Scotch-Irish stock, and was educated
in the common schools. He was married Feb. 4,
1844, to Eleanor Scott, of German township. They
have ten living children, and have lost one. Thomas
Dunn was born in the house in which he lives, and
which was built by his grandfather in 1796. His
entire life has been spent upon the farm on which he
now resides. He, his wife, and nearly all of his chil-
dren are members of the United Presbyterian Church.

The ehil.hen arc John A., marrie.rto Mary Junk;
Agnes R., iiiarric'ci to John Junk; Thomas S., mar-
ried to Jenuie Murphy ; .Alary C, iiiarried to Bryson
Gilchrist; Samuel W., married first to Ellen Stoner,
and again to Clarissa Hanshaw ; Annie E., married
to Jacob Cooper; William C, married to Mary E.
McClure ; Harriet, deceased, unmarried ; Robert C. ;
Major E. ; Harry G.

Thomas Dunn's father, John Dunn, first married
Mary Smith in 1815. She died June 5, 1835. His
second wife was Mary Oldham. She died in 1843.
In 1844 he married Catharine Scott, who still sur-
vives him, an active woman of eighty-two years. He
was a farmer, and lived upon the farm now occupied
by Thomas. He was also a soldier in the war of
1812. They had eight children ; Thomas was the
fourth. John Dunn died Oct. 21, 1861.

Thomas Dunn, grandfather of the subject of this
biography, was an Irishman. He married a Scotch-
woman, Mary Caldwell. They came to Fayette
County about 1772. Thomas patented the farm
upon which his grandson Thomas now lives. He
was a Revolutionary soldier, and had twelve chil-
dren, each of whom raised fiimilies. They are scat-
tered all over the United States. Thomas, Sr., died
in 1799, aged fifty-five. Mary (Caldwell) Dunn was
born Jan. 20, 1746, and died 1824.

Mr. Thomas Dunn is held in high esteem by his
neighbors, — an honest, genial man ; and it may prop-
erly be added that the Dunn family are noted for
their frankness and general good nature or aftability.
Mr. Dunn raised his large family in a commendable
manner, and, like himself, they are good citizens.

GEORGES township;

Ix 1783, when Fnyette Cnnnty was formed from a
part of Westmoreland, tliis was one of tlie original
townships, and was bonnded and described as follows :
" Beginning at John Main's, on Jacob's Creek ; thence
to Jesse Bayle's ; thence in same direction to the line
of Wharton township ; thence by the same until oppo-
site Charles Brownfield's; thence by Charles Brown-
field, Thomas Gaddis, the Widow McClelland, and the
residue of the line of Union township to the head of
Jennings' Run ; thence by the lines of German town-
ship to the beginning, to include the three first above-
mentioned persons, to be hereafter known by the
name of George- township."

This township seems to have possessed many natu-
ral attractions, and was settled at a very early date.
The fertile valleys, the abundant supply of excellent
water, the superior timber, and many other attractive
features of this township ltd to its rapid settlement,
and soon made it one of the most populous and
important to\vnshi]is of the county. Before West-
moreland County had been erected this region had
quite a number of settlers, and when Fayette was
struck off from Westmoreland, after the burning of
Hannastown by t!ie Indians, this was quite a densely-
peopled section of tlie new county. In December,
1845, a jiart of Georges township was taken to form

This township in its varied and picturesque beauty
is excelled by few in the United States. Here we
have the " White Rocks," famed not only for their
great natural attractiveness, but aside from this they
are noted as the place where the " Polly Williams
murder" occurred in August, 1810. The chasm is
some fifty feet in depth, 'and the huge gray stones
stand in mute grandeur with all their romantic his-
tory clustered around them. In ages to come, when
they have gathered all the cncbantnieiit wliich time
can lend, and the additional charm of ancient re-
menibranrc ^hall have caused tlie facts to be thought
of as tr;Mliti"n.iry, then will the traveler come for
hundreds of miles to look upon the place where the
base inhumanity of man was displayed, and examine
the great gray stones where the crimson heart-blood
of Polly Williams was shed by the hand of her re-

' Dy M. M. Hoimood.

= Tb.' name of tliis township, originally Reorjclias Iwonie t.y gpiipriil
usage aeorgen, and the la.ter is Iherefoio adopteil iu this history.

For a hundred years past the Delaney Cave has
been sought as a place worthy of the sight-seer. Lo-

I cated as it is near the summit of the Laurel Hill
range, and commanding thus a magnificent view of
the beautiful lands towards the setting sun, it affords

j attractions not possessed by the Mammoth Cave of

i Kentucky. It would be difficult for the most accu-
rate observer to form any definite conception of the
vastness of space here presented to the eye. Miles to-
ward the north and south, the fair valley at the base of
the mountain is visible, while stretching far toward the
west the beautiful landscape is shut out from view only
when the horizon limits it, far away over the Monon-
gahela in Greene County. A description of the cave,
from the pen of John A. Paxton, of Philadelphia,
who visited it in 1816, is given in the general history
of the county. The manner in wdiich this cave de-
rived its name is readily traceable to the fact that a

' Mr. Thomas Delaney was owner of the lands be-
neath which the cave is located. About the year
1800 two men, Grain and Simmons, from Smithfield,
went to the cave to explore it; they were lost in it,
and remained there two days and two nights before
the people succeeded in finding them. When found
they were locked in each other's arms, and were almost
dead for want of water and food.

This township is very rich in mineral resources,
and on this account the early settlers, seeming to un-
' derstand thoroughly where to locate in order that they

might have rich possessions in mineral lands, came
and settled near the base of the mountain, and soon
thereafter the ores they had discovered were worked
into iron, and the coal was dug and used as a fuel,
although not to any great extent, for the wood was
everywhere abundiint at that time. As early as 1790
coal was dug by George Hertzog in this county, on
the Springhill Furnace property, not far from Hay-
dentown. It was the Upper Freeport vein, and people
came many miles to get some of the wonderful fuel
dug from the earth. In addition to the bountiful
supply .of coal and iron ore, the hand of Nature has
provided the very best fire-clay in the country. On
the property of Abraham Low there is a silver-mine,
which, perhaps, might be worked in paying quanti-
ties if capital was brought into requisition. It is said
that Mr. Low was at one time oflfered five thousand
dollars for his mine by an experienced mineralogist.
The silver-bearing rock is of a dark color, and when



broken the metallic lustre can be seen on every face
of the fracture. It is stated that the Indians had a
lead-mine in this township, and used the lead in
moulding bullets. Evidently it must have been very
pure ore, or it would not have been either possible or
expedient to have used it as we use merchantable
lead. Upon several occasions the Browns and other
very early settlers attempted to' find out the locality
of this mine, for lead was in demand on the frontier;
but, owing to the fact that they risked their lives if
found watching the Indians, they never succeeded in
finding the treasure for which they sought.

The earliest settlement of which any positive in-
formation can be gathered is that which was made
upon the land now owned by Mr. Joel Leatherman.
This settlement was made probably as early as 1730,
which is demonstrated from the following facts: The
grandfather of Basil Brownfield settled in this county
soon after Braddock's defeat, say 1760; he lived to be
a very old man, and Mr. Basil Brownfield said that
when he was a little boy he often heard his grand-
father and father mention the French village which
had once stood upon the Leatherman farm. At some
time, early in the eighteenth century, a party of
Frenchmen settled there and built a village; they
were on good terms with the Indians, and to some
extent intermarried with them. They were a pro-
gressive and intelligent community, and immediately
began to improve their new home. After h.aving re-
sided there a number of years, they from some cause
vacated the premises, and when the next white settlers
came upon the scene, some thirty years later, the vil-
lage had gone to wreck, and a dense thicket had
taken its place.

Towards the close of the century Mr. Joel Leather-
man's father purchased the tract of land from Richard
Reed, and soon thereafter they proceeded to grub the
thicket of hazel-bushes, and after due preparation it
was sowed in grass. Upon plowing it they found the

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 128 of 193)