Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 129 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 129 of 193)
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remains of the houses, one of which had a solid stone
foundation and a floor of stone. Some articles of
crockery-ware were also found, and irons of peculiar
device ; the remnant of what had been a well ; also a
macadamized road running through the farm ; and
upon opening the coal-bank near by it was found that
it had been mined before and considerable of coal
used. To make all of these improvements would re-
quire a good many years of labor for such a small
colony, and the land, too, was densely overgrown with
hazel-bushes when the first permanent settlers came
into Fayette County. In order to have erected this
village and added all the improvements it would, as
we have stated, have required no brief time ; then
after it had been abandoned it must have taken a
series of years to have reduced such durable build-
ings to ruins so that a thicket might spring up and
occupy the place where the buildings had been
erected. All of which would tend to impress us with

the fact that there were settlers of our own color in
this county long before the coming of the permanent
settlers, such as the Browns, Gists, and others. What
the name of this French village was we never may
know, neither can we expect to learn of the particu-
lars as to the length of its duration or the causes
which led to its abandonment; yet it is a satisfaction
to know that there were white people who had a
home in these beautiful valleys a century and a half
ago. In addition to this fact, Georges township
has the credit of one of the earliest permanent set-
tlers. As early as 1752 or 1753, Wendall Brown and
his three sons, Maunus, Thomas, and Adam, settled
in Provance's Bottom, on the Monongahela River,
but changed very soon to Georges and Union town-
ships, where some of their ili'srornhints yet live. The
change from the ]ilac(' of tluir iniLiiiial settlement brought alinut by the Indians, wlio assured them
that their new home, in what is now Georges town-
ship, would be better, the land being, as they said,
much richer. When Washington surrendered Fort
Necessity in 1754 the Browns accompanied him and
his troops back to their old Virginia home, but a few
years thereafter returned to their former frontier
home, after Gen. Forbes had reinst.ated the English

In 17S7 the number of property-owners in Georges
township had increased until there were more than
two hundred, as follows: Jacob Abraham, Ichaljod
Ashcraft, Daniel Ashcraft, Richard Ashcraft, Riah
Ashcraft, Robert Allison, John Archer, William
Archer, Robert Brownfield, Charles Brownfield, Bazil
Bowell, Alexander Buchanan, Joseph Boultinghouse,
John Boultinghouse, John Bell, Humphrey Bell, Eze-
kiel Barnes, Sylvanus Barnes, Jeremiah Bock, Cathe-
rine Baviix, Vrtcr I'.xrnhardt, Samuel Bovey,Melchior
Baker, Jolni Carr, Moses C'arr, Thomas Carr, Elijah
Carr, Absalom Carr, Joseph Coombs, John Coombs,
William Coombs, Edward Coombs, Jr., George Conn,
William Cubert, William Cross, John Chadwick, John
Coon, James Calvin, Christley Cofl^man, Jr., Edward
Coombs, Sr., Owen Davis, James Dale, Roger Dough-
erty, William Downard, Jacob Downard, James
Downard, Benjamin Davis, John Drake, Samuel
Drake, James Dummons, Evan Davis, William Davis,
Lewis Davis, Sarah Drake, Thomas Downard, John
D. Duval, Peter Edwards, Benjamin Everett, Henry
Efford, John Fowler, John Finley, Daniel Ferrel,
William Forsythe, Mark Graham, Daniel Green,
William Green, Uriah Glover, James Graham, Charles
Glover, Moses Gard, William Graham, John Graham,
Benjamin Hardin, John Hutson, John Hustead, Mat-
thias Hawfield, Peter Hawfield, Catherine Hawfield,
Elizabeth Hawfield, Thomas Heddy, Sr., Thomas
Heddy, Jr., James Heddy, John Hayden, John Har-
rison, John Harnet, James Hay, William Hoagland,
Isaac Hoagland, Robert Hannah, David Johns, John
Jenkins, Philip Jenkins, James JamesOn, " Little"



Daniel Johnston, James John, John Jackson, Henry
Jcauiiigs, Joseph Kinuison, James Kinnison, Sr.,
James Kinnison, Jr., James Lupton, Alexander Mc-
D maid, Isaac McDonald, David McDonald, Mary
ilcDonald, John McDowell, Arthur McChristy, Abra-
ham McCafterty, William Mininirer, Daniel Minson,
David Meredith, Dani.d Mnxlnrd, William MitclieU,
John Moore, Kaclirl M.Dunald, Adam McCarty,
James McClcaii, Si., .Iauir> M.Cl,,aii. .Tr., Alexander
McPlierson, J.:r.n,iah M. Ii ,nald. Julm 31. Dow, Ste-
phen Mackey.C.iiuv Main. Williuni Mx-.n, Cliristo-
pher Noon, Allen l_)liver, James Orr, John Phillii.s,
Isaac Phillips, Thomas Phillips, Jenkins Pliillip.-,
Benjamin Philli]is, Richar.l Ponndstone, John Pat-
terson, William Patters,, n, J,, Im Pie-r-on, John (jiiar-
den, Adam Quarden, Pi.-luiid P, -,1, Thomas Reed,
Sanuiei Reed, Caleb Rvr,\. Andnw Itecd, Giles Reed.
Thomas Reed. Jr., R..l, Ititdiey, .lames i;o!,in,on.
Joshua i;.. bill-.,,, Jleiiry Kobin-on, William Rubin-
son, I'hilip Ko^vix, Sr., Philip lio-ei-, Jr., Henry
Rogers, AViliiam Plioadr-. .larul, Uililo, Nathaniel
Beeves, Jonathan K ■.-. W.lliain Salli4mrv. John
Shacklet, Pfter Smith, 1 'liailrs Smith, llenrv Smith,
Philip smith. Pln-lty Smith, George Smith", Coi b. t
Smith, \Villiani Smith, Andrew Smith, li. SanuMun,
Zadoc Sprin-.T, Street, John Shanks, Puter
Snider, .b,-rpli Stillwell, Jacob Southard, .1. dm Scott,

Basil Silhv 1, Samuel Steidiens, Philip Slick, James

Steel, William Sharon, Obadiah Truax, Hendrick
Taylor, John Taylor, John Tucker, Jo-eph Thomas,
George Tobin, Levi Thomas, U. Vandeveiiter, James
White, John White, Sr., John White. .Ir., James
White, Jr., Levi Welks, Samuel Woodbrid-c, James
Walker, ^\■illiam Welsh, William Wat,-on. Je>,-e
Worthin-ton, Zachariah Wheat, Abr.diaiii White,
Isaac White. D.udel Wood.D.ivid Wn,,d, Ruth White,
Ephraim Woodruli; Je^se York, .lereniiah York.

The quota of tax for (ieorges township in 17'.iJ was
S272..J7. In 1808 it had increased to y:;:17, and had
nine mills, five forges ami birnaces. tinee tan-yarls,
seven distilleries and breweries, Inur hundred and
ninety-two horses, five hundred and eiulit cattle; the
total amount of the assessment beiii- . - ■:;,,;(;;). The
number of acres of land taken up in 17'.m; was more
than tweuty-tliree thousand. In Ispl the population

census was tiikeu, it was found that there was a de-
crease of fifty-five in the population. At the next
census of 1830 the population was two thousand four
hundred and sixteen.

Georges township has the honor of the first road
after Fayette County was organized. An old trail,
known as the "Cherokee" or "Catawba Trail," ran
through Georges township, i iitcrin- Fayette County
at Grassy Run, in Sprin-hill township, and passing
through the land of Cliarles Grilhn by's Mill",
Ashcraft'sFdrt, PhilipRogers' I now Alfred S:ewart's),

William James'; thence through the remaining por-
tion of Georges township almost on a line with the
present Morgantown road. It was on this trail that the
Grassy Run road was laid out. It was confirmed and
ordered opened up, thirty-three feet wide, at March ses-
sions, 1784, which w'as the second sessions of the court.

] At the previous sessions the view had been prayed
for, and Empson Brownfield, Henry Beeson, James
Neal, John Swearingen, and Aaron Moore appointed
viewers. The " Sandy Creek" road was in existence
long before Fayette County came into being. It came
from the Ten-Mile settlement in Greene County,
cr.,-.iii- the Monongahela River at Hyde's Ferry, and
thence p. i - ing through Haydentown to David John's
mill ; thence up Laurel Hill, through the Sandy Creek

I settlement, to Daniel McPeck's and on to Virginia. It
wasby this road that Rev. Joseph Doddridge traveled
in 1774 when he made his tour west of the Allegheny
Mouiitains, at wliich time he preached at the Mount
Muiah Presbyterian Church, in Springhill townshij),
near New Geneva. After the organization of the
county this was the second road viewed and ordered
o|ieiied l>y the court. This was opened as so ordered
Dec. L's, KS'i. Tlie viewers were Zadoc Springer,
Piiilip .Icnkius, John Hill, Owen Davis, and W^il-
liam Hill.


On the pro])erty now owned by Mrs. Evans Willson,

, in this township, and on the line of the Cherokee
trail, stood the Ashcraft fort. To this place of refuge

! the settlers were accustomed to flee when Indian difii-
culties were feared. It was named after Ichabod
Ashcralt, who took up this property (199J acres,
called " Bull'alo Pasture"), receiving his warrant for
it. dated May 2'.), 1770. Here they built their fort
near a bubbling spring. Long since the fort has
disajipe.ired, but the spring gushes forth to the
sunlight just as it did a century and a quarter ago.
The fort was built on the same plan as other early
forts, — the second story projected out about one foot
over the lower, so that in case the Indians should

j attempt to fire the fort they could he readily shot from

[ the loop-holes above. There was a stockade of an
acre with a ditch and picket-line for the purpose of
protecting the stock from the depredations of the
savages. It is related that one morning Mrs. Rachel
Ashcraft was awakened by the call of a turkey gob-
bier. She told her husband that she believed she

j would go out and kill it. Her husband said she had
better not. it miLrht be an Indian. The call was re-
peated, and Mrs. Ashcraft cautiously opened one of

j the port-holes and looked out. Presently the call of
the turkey gobbler was repeated, and then out came
the head of an Indian to see if any on© was stirring
in the fort. She quietly took down her trusty rifle,
and the next time he gave the call and protruded his
head from behind the tree she sent a bullet through
his head, striking him square between the eyes. Ash-

' craft's fort was built at the crossing of two Indian



trails. At' tliis cross-roads -suicides were buried, in
couforniity with an old English custom. It is said
that the Indian shot by Mrs. Ashcraft was interred at
this place. It is also related (but how truly is not
known) that he was skinned, and his skin tanned
and made into razor strops, which were distributed
among the settlers as trophies.

In the valley, near Fort Gaddis, Daniel Boone and
liis companions encamped when on their way to the
Western wilds. This was previous to the year 1770.
Mr. Basil Brownfield said that an old man who died
a great many years ago — in fact, soon after the com-
mencement of this century — informed him that he
saw Daniel Boone when he was camped near Gaddis'

There was an Indian village near where Abraham
Brown now lives, four miles west from Uniontown,
and there was an Indian burying-ground near the
village. In this graveyard some bones of immense
size have been found, indicating an unusual height
for the person when alive.


This town is located upon a tract of land known as
Haydenberg, which was patented by John Hayden
in 1787. Haydentown was laid out soon after 1790,
and at first bore the name of Georgetown. By deed
for one-fourth of an acre of ground, lying in George-
town, from Robert and Mary Peoples, dated Nov. 20,
1793, we learn that there was a forge there then, and
one of the boundaries in the description is Forge
Street. Robert Peoples evidently owned much of
the land, and may have laid out the town. The
forge spoken of is evidently the same one which
■was sold to Hayden and Nicholson in the previous

John Hayden was the son of William Hayden,
who came from the East to Georges township in
1781. His mother was a daughter of a wealthy
merchant of Philadelphia by the name of Nichol-
son. We believe that it was Mr. Nicholson's son
who was State comptroller, and embarked with John
Hayden in the iron manufacturing business. In the
town named in honor of John Hayden there was
more iron made in 1810 than in the city of Pitts-
burgh, the iron being worked into hoes, axes, sickles,
scythes, log-chains, trace-chains, etc. The subject of
tills brief notice was a good soldier in the war of
ITTii, and an estimable and energetic citizen there-
after, doing much to promote early industries. He
raised a family of twenty-two children.

The first store ever kept in Haydentown was prob-
ably that of Jesse Evans, who had one there about
the year 1800. Since then Joseph Kyle and James
D. Low have had stores.

In 1818, Jehu Shadrack was making scythes and
edge-tools in Haydentown. Samuel Anderson learned
the trade under him, and followed it successfully at
Haydentown and at his stand on the Morgautowu

road. Mr. Shadrack also carried on the wagon-
making business.

James Miller a powder-mill here in l'<\U. He
pulverized the charcoal by hand in a ninrtar, and
made both rifle and blasting powder. He also made
grindstones, and he was the man who took a stone
such as he used for grindstones and cut the inscrip-
tion upon it and put it up at his own expense to mark
the last resting-place of the murdered Polly Williams.

The Haydentown flouring-mill was built about
1775. It was afterwards owned by Philip Jenkins,
who received it from his father, John Jenkins. In
February, 1790, it was sold to Jonathan Reese. March
7, 1792, Reese disposed of it to Robert Peoples, who
remained in possession of it for a number of years.
Afterwanls it was owned by William Ni.xon, Abra-
ham Stewart, J.ilin Oliphant, Jehu Shadrack, An-
drew McClelland, Joseph Davison, Philip Victor
(who remodeled it), and the present owner, William
Swaney. This was one of the very earliest flouring-
mills west of the mountains. Previous to its erection
it was the ni^toni tn -n t(i Cniiibcrland for flour.

Publir-hnn-,< wnv k.^pt by William Spear, James

Miller, George Ni.xuii, Matthew Doran, Davis,

Joseph Victor, Otho Rhoades, Jacob Kyle, and Joseph
Kyle. The first school ever taught in Haydentown
was taught by Andrew Stewart, before 1810.

For a number of years, commencing about 182.5,
Rev. Peter T. Laishly held religious service in the
house of Philip Victor, and organized what was called
the "Bible Christian," or "New Light Church."
Some years afterwards he left the New Lights, and
connected himself with the Methodist Protestant
Church, and preached for that denomination for a
number of years. About fifteen years ago the ad-
herents to this church succeeded in building a house
of worship in Haydentown.

In the vicinity of Haydentown was tlic oM Fair-
view Furnace, previously known as the " Jlary Ann"
Furnace, with considerable settlement clustered about
it. At this place Melchior Baker manufactured guns
about the year 1800. Abraham Stewart made knives,
forks, spades, shovels, stirrups, bridle-bits, trace-
chains, etc. He was what was called a whitesmith.
Col. John Morgan and the Hon. Andrew Stewart (son
of Abraham) both learned the trade of whitesmith in
Stewart's factory. Here at the Mary Ann Furnace,
which ran about a ton and a half of metal daily, the
pig-metal was converted into salt-kettles, tea-kettles,
etc. These were usually taken to New Geneva,
and shipped by the river down to New Orleans. They
were also sent to Canada. At that time there were
eight or ten moulding-shops there in full operation.
The place is now but a ruin of what was once a pros-
perous and thrifty village.

Not far from Haydentown is the Woods tannery,
which was built by George Patterson about 182.5.



He was succeeded by Charles Brownfield, Zadoc .
Brownfield, Henry Stimple, George Woods, and ,
Smith Fuller, and William H. Baily. Dr. Smith [
Fuller is now the proprietor. The new tannery was [
built about 1857.

Before 1800 Joseph Page had a carding-niachine
above whore Smith Brownfield now has one. The
new one of Rrownfiekl's was built in 1868. There was
one other before ihat, located farther up the Pine
Grove Run ; it was built by Alexander Brownfield.


This township was one of the first west of the Alle- '
gheny Jlountains to introduce the manufacture of
iron. Here, about the year 1790, Thomas Lewis built
the old Pine Grove Forge, which was located on the
Pine Grove Run, on the property now owned by Mr.
Tiiomas Farr. The first mention of the old Pine i
Grove Forge is in tlie minutes of the Mount Moriah
Baptist C'hurch, in Smithfield, showing that Richard ^
Reed had loaned Thomas Lewis one hundred pounds
of Pennsylvania money, and was to receive in pay-
ment four tons of iron from his forge. Previous to
this lie had been making iron, and Mr. Basil Brown-
field said tliat he had always understood from old
people tliat Pine Grove was the very first forge west
of the Allcghenies, and Mr. Brownfield was raised at
Smithfield, but a few miles from the location of this
forge, and could remember back as far as 1800. Jacob ,
Searing, when a very old man, informed Joseph
Hickle that he dug ore for Thomas Lewis for a num-
ber of years before he failed, and the failure occurred
in 1799. The earliest mention of this forge which we
find upon the county records is in a mortgage made
by Thomas Lewis to Philip Jenkins, of Georges town-
ship, in 1791), which embraced "all that certain
tract of land, located in Georges township adjoining
lands of Joseph Stillwell, John Shacklet, the lieirs of
Augustus Smith, and William Davis, witli his forge,
houses, and all manner of buildings." All of this
tract of land was held by warrant and improvement.

At this forge, by the use of charcoal, they worked
the raw ore into bar iron of unusual toughness. The
ore used was siieciallv adapted to their cnidc iiruci's^,


what is known as the " Re.l Short ;"
the vein is about two and one-half feet.

The forge property was finally sold at sherifl!''s sale
to Isaac Sutton, for one hundred and forty-five dol-
lars. After this sale by the sheriff in IS(H) we find
Thomas Lewis mortgaged one-half of a four-hundred-
acre tract, upon which was erected a forge, dwelling-
house, etc. This tract was located on Georges Creek.

About the year 1789, John Hayden dug out what
he supposed was limestone from the creek-bed of a
tributary to Georges Creek, in Georges township.
The location is said to have been on the line which
divided the properties of the late F. H. (_)lii)hant and
Rev. Isaac Wynn. He attempted to burn his sup-

posed limestone, but found it would not work; taking
some of it he went to an old blacksmith-shop which
stood at the corner of an orchard on the property of
Richard Reed, bought by the Leathermans in 1799,
and at present in the possession of Mr. Joel Leather-
man. Here he soon discovered that the supposed
limestone was iron ore of the best quality. After
making bis discovery, Mr. Hayden hurried off to
Philadelphia to see if lie could there interest some
wealthy person orjiersons in the manufacture of iron.
We find he was successful in his eflfbrts, for in 1792,
March 31st, he entered into partnership with John
Nicholson, State comptroller, under articles of agree-
ment, by which a forge and a furnace were to be built
and put in operation on land which had been pur-
chased by Hayden, and on other lands in Georges
township to be purchased of Joseph Huston, then
sheriflf of Fayette County. The result of this agree-
ment, the completion of Hayilen's forge, but failure
to finish the contemplated furnace, will be found
more fully mentioned in another part of this work, in
the account of iron and iron-works in the county, as
will also be found separate mention of the old "Fair-
field," the "Mary Ann," the " Faircbance," and Oli-
phant's Iron-Works, which were erected at different
periods in Georges township.


This business has recently taken rapid, progressive
strides in this township, and it is only a question of a
few years until there will be a continuous line of
ovens through Georges township, along the line of the
Southwest Railway. Already the Fairchance Iron
Company have ovens manufacturing coke, wdiich
they consume in the furnace. The " Fayette Coke
and Furnace Company" erected extensive coke-works
in 1881 at Oliphant's, and have now one hundred
and thirty ovens in successful operation.

The " Marie Coke-Works," owned and operated by
Bliss & Marshall, of Uniontown, are located on
Georges Creek, about half a mile from Fairchance,
on the land kniwn as the Jacob Kyle farm, which
is one of the finest mineral farms in Fayette County.
Fifty or .ixty acres lie on water-level. The ores are of
superior ipiality, — Blue Lump, Big Bottom, and Red
Flag,— all of them the of blue carbonates. The
coal is worked from crop. The land on which this
plant is located is admirably adapted in every respect
for furnaces and for the manufacture of coke, being
abundantly sii])p!ied with pure water from copious
springs and from tieorges Creek, which runs through
the larm. The present number of ovens at these
works is sixty, which will be increased to one hun-
dred, giving employment to about forty men.


One of tlie earliest industries of the township was
the erection of mills. One of the first mills west of
the mountains was that at Georgetown, now Hayden-



town. Before the erection of lliis mill, and Beeson's,
at Uniontown, the people went to Fort Cumberland
for their flour. This mill was built, it is said, by
Robert Peoples and Jonathan Reese, two of the most
energetic business men of the frontier country. It
was in existence at the opening of the Revolutionary
war, and was owned by Philip Jenkins as early as
1787. Other proprietors have been AVilliam Nixon,
Andrew Stewart, John Oliphant, Jehu Shadrack,
who was succeeded by Andrew McClelland. Philip
Victor, when he came into possession of it, remodeled
it and sold it to Jehu Shadrack, after which it passed
into the hands of William Swaney, who operated it
a number of years, but long since it was allowed to
pass into disuse, and is now but a remembrance of
what it was in past years.

Near Smithfleld, Jonathan Reese built a saw-mill
before 1790, aud it was at this mill that the timber
was sawed for the Mount Moriah Baptist Church in
1785. At first horse-power was used ; afterwards
they substituted water-pow er for its propulsion.

Nixon's mill, now Abel's mill, was built before the
year 1800. It was originally constructed by Moses
Nixon, who disposed of it to Jefferson Nixon, after
which it passed into the hands of Pierce Vernon and
John Vernon, then J. Mackeldowney, who sold it to
Bryson Abel, and it still remains in the possession of
this family. This was an excellent flouring-mill in
its time.

The Ruble mill was originally the property of Me-
shack Davis and Jesse Evans, and was a log struc-
ture. After Davis and Evans sold it, Lyons and
Thomas Batt came into possession, and they sold to
Nathaniel G. Hurst. In 1844, Mr. Hurst had the new
mill built upon the site of the old one, the millwright
being William 8. Barnes. The contractors upon the
framework were Robert Britt and Robert Britt, Jr.
The mill was remodeled by Mr. Mickey. Mr. Hurst
traded it to George T. Paull for a farm in Dunbar
township about the year 1858. Mr. Paull disposed of
it to William Mock, of Westmoreland County, from
whom the present owner, Mr. Jacob Ruble, pur-
chased it. He has remodeled it recently. It has
been a good mill, and the water supply is sufficient to
run it all the year.

Weaver's mill was built about 1806 by Charles
Erownfield, who eventually disposed of it to James
Downard. Other owners have been William and
Henry Brownfield, William and John Bitenour, John
Weaver, and the present proprietor, Jacob Weaver,
who has constructed in recent years one of the best
grist-mills in this section of the county.

About 1825, George Patterson erected what was
afterwards known as Whistler's mill ; it occupied a
site near where Wood's tannery is at present located.


For the accommodation of the public taverns were

established at a very early date. Soon after 1800

these houses of entertainment had increased until
they numbered fifteen or twenty in Georges township
alone. A considerable number of these were located
on the Morgantown road. One feature of the hotels
of that day was their peculiar signs ; for example, Pat-
rick Gallaher kept the tavern where he had as a sign
the "Jolly Irishman;" Daniel Dimond, the " Black
Bear ;" John Emery, " The Green Tree ;" John Chad-
wick, "The White Horse;" Moses Nixon, "The Fox
and Dogs;" William Spear, in Haydentown, the
" Cross Keys ;" James Miller, in Haydentown, " The
Black Bull." In 1791, Hugh Marshall was keeping

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 129 of 193)