Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 136 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 136 of 193)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

representative in the State Legislature and a member
of the convention to amend the State Constitution in ;
1838. In the war of 1812 he was a member of Capt. j
James A. Abrams' company, and saw hard service in
the Northwest under Harrison. His brother Hugh
was a lieutenant in the same company. He died [
April 30, 1847. I

The Hon. Andrew Stewart was born near SlcClel-
landtown, in German township, in 1791. His life and
public services are of national fame. He died near
Uuiontown, July 16, 1872.

Hon. Henry Clay Dean was born in McClelland-
town, Oct. 27, 1822; attended Madison College;
clerked for George Hogg, Esq., of Brownsville ;
taught school, and finally entered the law-office of
Hon. Andrew Stewart ; was chaplain of the United
States Senate in 1855-56, and candidate for elector on
the Stephen A. Douglas ticket in 1860. He refuses
all office, and says he " considers office-seekers the
most detestable spaniels that lick the dust from the
feet of power." He lives in Missouri, on a farm of
eighteen hundred acres on Chariton River. When
not engaged in the courts he employs his time in
studying philosophy, history, and literature ; admitted
to the bar of Fayette County Sept. 11, 1863.

Capt. Cyrus L. Conner, born in 1825, was a soldier
of the Mexican war. He was captain of a company
in the Pennsylvania Reserves in the civil war of
1861-65; promoted to major and served in Georgia.
Died in Masontown, April 5, 1877.

William Parshail, Esq., was born near McClelland-
town, Sept. 21, 1822; studied law with Hon. Joshua
B. Howell ; was educated at Rector, Va., and Wash-
ington, Pa.

Seth Ely and George W. Rutter, noted musicians
and composers, were both of German township.

Ashbel Fairchild Hill was born near Masontown,
Oct. 23, 1842. He was a member of Capt. Conner's
company, and lost a limb in the war. During his
soldiering he wrote " Our Boys." This was followed
by "White Rocks," "Secrets of the Sanctum," and
several romances for literary papers. He died at the
close of the Presidential contest, Nov. 7, 1876.

Capt. George W. Gilmore was born June 9, 1832.
He was a prominent actor during the Kansas troubles,
— an aide to Gen. James Lane. He raised a company
in Fayette County, and was mustered into the Vir-
ginia service at Clarksburg in July, 1861. He resides
in Dade County, Mo.

Daniel Yandes was born and raised on the John
Mason " East Abington tract," near Masontown. He
emigrated to Indiana. His mother was a Rider. He
married a half-sister to John Wilson, Esq., and Mrs.
Eleaser Robinson, of Uniontown. During the Kan-
sas troubles he acted a conspicuous part on the Free
State side.

In the Wliiskey Insurrection, after the people had
been misled by their leaders, they raised " liberty
poles," and proceeded to organize companies for the
purpose of forcing the general government to repeal
tlie act of 1791, which imposed a tax on whiskey. The
government having raised an army of fifteen tliousand
men, sent them into the western part of Pennsylvania,
where the Whiskey Boys had some seven thousand ill-
disciplined men to oppose them. Before this show
of force the Whiskey Boys dispersed without firing a



gun. Detachments were sent out to arrest prominent
offenders, but generally failed. German had furnished
a company of one hundred men under the command
of Capt. Robert Ross. A squad of cavalry from Union-
town attempted to capture him, but were not suc-

Tradition furnishes no clue by which the historian
can discover who was the first regular physician to
practice the healing art in this section. Indian root
and herb doctors were found in almost every family.
In 1809, Dr. Joseph Ross was a regular practitioner,
having located in Germantown some time previous.
His brothers, C. J. and James, were also physicians,
having considerable practice in the neighborhood of
McClellandtown. Dr. Lewis Sweitzer followed them
in 1822, and Dr. David Rhoads in 1825 ; he had a
very large practice, dysentery and putrid sore throat
prevailing for a number of years. For several years
Dr. John Wilson was in partnership with him. In
1835, Dr. John J. Steel located in Masontown, and
soon after Dr. John Fithian. Dr. — ^ Bloomino
was also practicing near McClellandtown, while Drs.
Merchant and Campbell, of Uuiontown, were called
frequently in the northern part of the township. The
famous Dr. Braddee was often consulted between 1833
ami 1839. About 1838-39, Dr. Rhoads took into
I'artnership Dr. George W. Xeft" of Uniontown, who
Avas highly recommended by Dr. Hugh Campbell.
NeH' is said to have been the first dentist in Fayette
County, having practiced in Uniontown nearly fifty
years ago. Dr. Rhoads dying in 1841, Neff took his
practice, which lie kept as long as his health re-

In 1843, Dr. Jesse E. Penny settled in McClelland-
town, wlicre he lesided for suveral years. Dr. George
Ringl.nnil boii;^l,t him out. and in turn sold to Dr.
Caspev M. MiU.r. uliu, i„ ]s7ii, ^„i,l bis ,,rnperty to
Dr. H, W. r.ra-lnar, nml in Issii was sur.veded by
Dr. Jaim- P. ,<anu-tn„. win, uiadiiated in ISGS at the
Charity Hosi.ital .Aledical College, Cleveland, Ohio,
now the iledical Department of the University of

In Ma<..ntown, in 1S48, Dr. N. W. Truxal (now of
nl a large practice. Near the same

Charles Mv

Finfrock lived and

place 1
practiced in IS-'iO.

The ruins of many old caljins used in the past as
school-hoTises are still to be seen. Among these were
Mason's school-lnin-e in Masonborough ; one on the
Fast or Bullit tract, ikjw iji Nicholson; later, one on
Provance's Flats ; one near the Seceders' Church, now
near the line of Luzerne; one near Rabb's mill, now
Hoover's; one on Middle Run, to the right going
towards the river on I'.iown'- land: one near High
House; one on the (innian l.ntluran and German
Reformed Lutheran gklie; one near the cross-roads
on the Newcomer lands ; one on the farm now owned

by John Riley, near cross-roads; one near Dunlap's
Creek, and one or two in the northeast corner of the
town.ship. In these huts taught John Knox McGee,
Jacob Ish, Samuel Taggart, John Hickenloper,
Thomas Green, Fred Frazer, James Anderson, Joseph
DefTenbaugh, Amos Gray, James T. Redburn, Moses
A. Ross, John Atkinson, and many others; in the
past fifty years, Bridget Hainey, John G. Farmer,
.lohn G. Hertig, Henry Jennings, and others. The
introduction of the free school system inaugurated a
new era in the schools.

At January sessions, 1835, tlie court appointed
Jeremiah Kendall, Jr., and Elisha Laughead school
directors of German township. The new system met
with great opposition, and several years elapsed before
its benefits were seen or appreciated.

The rich opposed being taxed for the purpose of
helping to school the children of the poor. The real
objection was their objection to schools in general at
all. By statute they had been taxed by the county
for the same purpose before the passage of the law or
act complained of. The township was districted and
suitable school-houses erected prior to 1837.

Following are extracts from the county records re-
ferring to schools in German :

Oi-der of John Hi'kr-nlr.p.T. nf Opiman, for teaching

poor children. 'i ' i i . : i-li', ain't $U 25

Sept. 24, 1813. t. -. 28.7^*

June23, 1SI5, tn . ,i: IB. 19

Jan. 13, 1.S1.3, tu S o,i ,vl T,i„„:iit I'm' same 4.64

In 1838 the system had made considerable progress,
and Nathaniel Darrall, John Ross, Jesse Antram,
David Jennings, Isaac Core, and Richard Poundstone
were the directors, and all advocates of the system.
Its progress from year to year has been good since
that time.

Present number of districts in lown-^liip 11

XumlxT of teachers U

JMales 11


Mi.Mle linn SiHl Cure's 650


les 217

nalcs 244

Total receipts $311 6.36

Total cvpentiitures 3046.23

School property, furniture, etc 1200, IH)

Cost of sehool-houses 8040.00

Cost of land 500.00

The following is a list of school directors of Ger-
man township from 1840 to the present time :

1841. Samuel Winders, John Mosier.

1842. John Poundstone, Henry Jennings.
1S43. Philip Poundstone, Ellis Freeman.

1844. Samuel Winders, George Vance.

1845. Thomas Conner, William B. Alton.



Nicholas Miller, William Jeffreys.

John P. Williams, Alexander Black.

Ellis Coldren, Joseph Woodward.

Jesse Overlurf, Uriah Higinbntham, William Schroyer

Joseph DoflTenbaugh, Jacob F. Longaneckcr.

William Jeffreys, John Ilaney.

Siimuel D. Ham, John Brown.

John Moore, Jacob Mack.

Vincent Par.<hall, Jesse Overturf.

Lewis Campbell, John Ilaney.

John Sterling, Allen Q. Darrall.

Harvey Grove, George Balsinger.

James C. Higinbotham, Isaac Crow.

Johnson Dearth, John Emery.

Thomas AVilliams, Alexander Black.

William P. Green, Peter Crago.

Ilarvcy Grove, Jefferson Sangston.

John J. Riffle, James Newcomer.

John D. Rider, John Sterling.

Isaac Crow, John Ferren.

Michael S. Franks, Levi Antrara.

James M. Howard, Rezin L. Debolt.

AVestly W. Altman, .

Nathaniel Gray, leaae N. Ross.

James M. Harvard, John trterling.

Hugh J. Gilraore, George Porter, John D. Rider.

John D. Rider, Jacob Johnson.

Joseph Rockwell, Nicholas Johnson.

John H. Newcomer, George Dearth.

Jesse V. Hoover, George Porter.

William H. Brashear, Nicholas JohnsoD.

Samuel Campbell, Henry D. Core.

John Iluhn, David S. Longaneeker.

Joseph Gadd, Levi Brown.

Samuel Real, Henry D. Core.




For the purpose of establishing a church
man township, Michael Franks and others olitained a
warrant for a tract of land south of Brown's Run,
called the "Straight Narrow Way," Feb. 2, 1785.
In 1785, April 25th, it was surveyed, and found to
contain 117f acres and allowance. This they re-
ceived a patent for from Governor Thomas Mifflin,
July 22, 1794. Prior to the year 1793 they had built
a log meeting-house, the only kind in the county at
that time. It had a gallery, a rude pulpit or seat for
the minister, and rough seats for the congregation.
In 1792 the Rev. John Stough was sent out as a cate-
chist. In May, 1793, he was licensed to preach by
the Lutheran Synod in the city of Philadelphia. In
the same year he organized the church known since
as the Dutch Church, because the sermons were de-
livered in that language. The minutes of the organ-
ization contain twenty-five names, among which are
the following: John Huhn, Philip Lawrence, Fran-
cis Fast, William Fast, Michael and Jacob Frank,
Henry Barricknian, Daniel Schmidt.

The patent was made to Michael Frank, Nicholas

Pock, John M.ason, John Hartman, Everly, and

Joseph Yeager. In 184<3 the old log house was re-

placed by a brick house, the one in use at present.
The congregation are about remodeling or erecting a
new house. Upon the grounds attached Rev. W. 0.
Wilson and the church council succeeded in having
a cemetery chartered, but not without great opposi-
tion. During the time in which the minutes of this
church were recorded in German twelve hundred
baptisms were performed.

Since the organization in 1793 the following min-
isters have been in charge : From 1763 to ISOlJ, Rev.
John Stough (born in York County, Pa., 1762 ; died

in Crawford County, Ohio, July 25, 1845), Rev.

Redman, Rev. Ravenock, Rev. Henry Weygandt, Rev.
Charles Koebler, Rev. John Brown, Rev. .Vbraham
Weills; from 1852 till 1865, Rev. Jacob K. Mel-
horn (now of Allegheny County, Pa.) ; 1866 to April,
1873, Rev. Henry Aclier ; April 25, 1873, to 1881,
Rev. William Orris Wilson, of West Chester, Pa.
He was educated at Ceylon Grove and other schools.
The present membership (1881) of this church is
two hundred and forty-five.


From the most authentic sources it is found that the
following-named individuals were the founders of the
Methodist Church in German, namely, .Vndrew Long,
Caleb Hanna, and Alexander McDougle, who, in the
year 1819, began preparations for building a church.
In 1820, in June, the house was nearly completed,
when, on the night of the llth,it was almost entirely
ruined by one of the most violent storms that has ever
visited this section of the county. It was, however,
finished and used until 1833, when, the walls having
crumbled, the congregation took measures to re-
build it.

In 1876, when the court erected Masontown a bor-
ough, this house was included in the town. Being
built by persons of every shade of belief, it has been
the bone of contention in many a strife. The most
liberal subscribers to the building fund were Epliraim
Woodruff and his wife Frances, Miss Rainey Cheno-
with, Solomon Altman and his mother. A host of
worthy ministers have labored here, but to enumerate
would occupy more space than can be allotted the
subject. The first to preach the Wesleyan doctrine
in this new field was Rev. Wesley Webster, an Eng-
lishman, in 1818. Then came Revs. Batty and Pool.
But the most noted was the eloquent H. B. Bascom.
There was connected with this church for nearly half
a century an individual by the name of Solomon Alt-
man, licensed in Pittsburgh in 1825 as a local preacher,
who was eminent for his industry and benevolence.
He died near Weston, W. Va., in 1846. The present
(1881) minister in charge is the Rev. H. D. McGrew.
The present membership is forty-five,— males, twenty-
one ; females, twenty-four.

The lot on which the Methodist Church stands, as
well as the cemetery attached, was purchased from
Caleb Hanna.



By an order of the Redstone Association a church
was organized near McClellandtown in 1828. The
ministers appointed for the work were Revs. William
Brownfield and Francis Downey. The church officers
were : Deacons, Elias Parshall, Sr., Erasmus Alton ;
Clerk, John Grove. Following is a list of the minis-
ters in charge of this church from organization till the
year of its dissolution: Revs. William Brownfield,
Francis Downey, James Seymore, William Woods,
Sr., James McCoboy (not certain). Garret Patton,
Thomas Rose, in 1851, when the congregation dis-
solved. The church grounds were donated by Elias
Parshall, who, with Erasmus Alton, contributed
mainly to its support during the period of its exist-


Presbyterianism was not introduced into German
until after the Scotch-Irish element began settling
here. The members who resided in it were visited
by ministers from more fortunate regions at regular
periods. The best known of these missionaries were
the Rev. Crittlebaugh and Rev. George Van Enem.
" At a meeting of the Redstone Presbytery an order
was granted for the organization of a church in Ger-
man township. The ministers appointed for carrying
the order into effect were Me-srs. William Johnson,
Ashbel G. Fairchild, and Samuel Wilson. On the 23d
day of November, 1839, tiie Rev. committee convened
at the Baptist Church on Church Hill, west of and
near to McClellaudtown, for the purpose of executing
the order of the Presbytery. After a sermon by the
Rev. Ashbel G. Fairchild, Rev. Samuel Wilson pre-
siding, they proceeded to organize a church. Thomas
Wilson, Samuel Gettys, William Grove, Joseph Def-
fenbaugh, and Elisha Langhead were ordained el-
ders." In the year 1843 they erected a brick church,
which has been their reguhir place of worship since
(except when being remodeled a few years ago on ac-
count of its having been damaged by fire).

From the organization of the church to the present
time the following-named preachers have had the
congregation in charge, viz. : Rev. Samuel Wilson,
Rev. James P. Fulton, Rev. S. S. Bergen. Member-
ship in 1881, fifty.


About the year 1839, Revs. Bird and Jlorgan were
sent out by the Cumberland Presbytery as mission-
aries to [treach the new faith. Tiieir success at Ma-
sontown induced the Presbytery to select and send
"Revs. Abraham Shearer, Isaac Hague, and Daniel
A. Murdock to organize a church. These ministers
began their labors in the spring of 1840. Having
gained twenty-nine members in a very short time,
they founded the Cumberland Presbyterian Church
of Masontown, July 23, 1840." The Methodists
kindly permitted the new sect to occupy their build-
ing until they should feel tliemselves able to build

one of their own, which they did in 1852. Their
trustees — Samuel Winders, John Henry Bowman, anil
Jacob Newcomer — purchased a piece of ground ot
John Ross, west of Masoutown, upon which they
erected a brick church. On the 7th day of May,
1852, they received the deed for their property.

The following-named ministers have been in charge
of this church since its organization, viz. : Rev. An-
drew G. Osburn, 1842 to 1853 ; Rev. John T. A. Hen-
derson, 1853 to 1854; Rev. William Hanna, 1854 to
1858; Rev. Andrew G. Osburn, 1858 to 1863; Rev.
James P. Baird, 1863 to 1865; Rev. Jesse Adams,
1865 to 1867 ; Rev. Ellis E. Bailey, 1867 to 1871 ;
Rev. John S. Gibson, 1871 to the present time. The
membership Jan. 1, 1880, as given by Josiah S. AUe-
baugh, Esq., was one hundred and eighty-three, —
males, sixty-seven ; females, one hundred and sixteen.


The followers of the teaching of Menno Simon
constituted a very great portion of the early inhabit-
ants of German, but they were without any churches
for many j-ears after settling. For religious exercises
they met at certain of the brethren's residences till
about the year 1790, when they built a log church
near the road leading from Uniontown to Masontown,
via High House, on lands now owned by John Riley.
It was used both as church and school-house for nuiny
years. In it preached and taught Peter Longanecker,
one of the great lights in those days. The Revs. Jacob
Newcomer and Joseph Bixler were contemporary.
The first house having gone to decay, the congrega-
tion in 1838 built another on lands of Nicholas John-
son, which was known as the " Dogwood Church."
In 1870 dissensions in the church caused considei-able
trouble, and ended by Nicholas Johnson, deceased,
donating ground for a site for a new house as well as
furnishing the necessary funds for building it. In
1871 their present house (brick) was dedicated. It is
located east of Masontown, on the Smithfield road.

Ministers in charge : Revs. David Johnson, John
Durr, Christian Defienbaugh. Membership in 1881,
forty, — twenty males and twenty females.


The pioneer of this denomination in German was
Elder J. D. Benedict, who, in the fall of 1873, held a
meeting in McClellandtown. He was followed by
Elder M. L. Streator in January, 1874, and in May
following fifteen persons professed religion. On the
26th day of July, 1874, the first organization of this
sect took place by the election and confirmation of
the following persons as church officers, viz. : James
W. French, Sr., and Clark B. Scott, elders; Melanc-
thon J. Crow, Elias Parshall, and James W. French,
Jr., deacons. The total membership at that time was
twenty-nine. In the spring of 1876 nearly the entire
congregation emigrated West and South, and at pres-
ent not more than five or six members remain.



The following is a list of cemeteries and burial-
places in German township, designating them by the
names by which they are commonly known, and in-
dicating their location in different parts of the town-
ship, viz. :

Lutheran (chartered), on the glebe attached to
Lutheran Church, in Southeast German. Dedicated
Oct. 1, 1879.

Leckey, north of McClellandtown.

Presbyterian, Church Hill.

Methodist, Masontown.

Cumberland Presbyterian, Masontown.

Mennonite, on Catt's Run.

There are numerous family and private burial-
places located on farms in different parts of the town-
ship. These are chiefly old grounds, many of them in
disuse. Some of them are fenced, and others lying
common with the lands of the farms on which they
are located. Among these are the following :

One near old Mennonite Church and school-house
lot on John Riley's farm.

Kendall, on Jonathan Galley's farm.

Longanecker, on Lnuch's farm.

Harrison, on John Sterling's farm.

Gilmore, on Ephraim Sterling's farm.

Bowman's, on Jonathan Sterling's farm.

Gilliland (2), on John Coffman's farm.

Messmore, on George Haught's farm.

Newcomer, on Newcomer heirs' farm.

Bixler, on David Johnson's farm.

Ross, on Asbury Struble's farm.

Col(}ren, on William Schroyer's farm.

Hostetler, on John Coffman's farm.

Unknown, on William Coffman's farm.

Mason, on Mason Borough farm.

Free Blacks, on William M. Lardin's farm.

Fretz's, on James H. Hoover's ftirm.

, on George Dearth's farm.

Gordon's, on Samuel Brown's farm.

Brown's, on Levi Brown's farm.

McClelland's, on John S. Mosier's farm.

Antrim's, on William H. Riffle's farm.

There are three other burial-grounds on lands be-
longing to Poundstone and others, not well cared for.

JUSTICES, 1785 TO 18S1.

Andrew Rabb, Jan. 24, 1785, appointed by Governor James
Irvine; poisoned by his slave; died .it White Sulphur Springs,
Va., Sept. 5, 1804.

Ephraim AV alter, by Governor Charles Biddle, Nov. 21, 1786 ;
died Dec. 8, 1835, aged 91 years.

Abraham Stewart, by Governor Thomas Mifflin, Aug. 18,

Jeremiah Kendall, by Governor Thomas Mifflin, July 22,
1799 ; died Jan. 28, 1843, aged 85 years.

James Wilson, by Governor Thomas MoKeanj died Feb. 19,
1811, aged 77 years.

John Auld, by Governor William Findlcy, 1819; died in

Moses A. Rofs, by Andrew Schulize, March 17,1824; died
in Alnmakce County, Iowa, Nov. 22, I8ii2, aged 72 years.

Jesse Becson, by Governor George Wolf, 1832.

John P. Williams and (ieorge Messmore, elected March, 1840;
Mcssmoredicd in Ohio. March 20, 1878 ; Williams was re-eUcted
in 1845, and died in Greensboro", (ireene Co., Pa., 1875, aged 66

James C. HigiTibotham, elected 1845; died in Luzerne town-
ship, Dec. IS, 1870, aged 66 years.

John Wilson, elected 1849; now living.

PljiHp D. Stentz, elected 1850; re-elected 1855; died in Con-

David Miller, elected 1854; living; age 64.

John Messmore. elected 1858; re-elected 1863; living in
Uniontown ; age 60 years.

James C. Edington, elected 1859 ; re-elected 1864 ; died .^pril
20, 1873, aged 78 years.

John W. Lynch, elected 1863; re-elected 1877; living; age

Thomas Willi-ims, elected 1869;
James W. French, elected 1873 ;

Col. David Gilmore, elected 1874; died Aug. 9, 1876; aged
4 years.
John B. Woodfill, elected 1878; living; .age 59 years.



William Grove.


Solomon G. Riffle.


John AVeltner.


Alexander Leckey, Jr.


Harvey Grove.


Christian T. Rhoads.


Isaac Smith.


Hugh C. Poundstone.


John Poundstone.


William Pound.'tone.


Jesse Antram.


Daniel F. Hosteller.


John Brown.


George W. Green.


John H. Bowman.


Reuben Grove.


Jacob F. Longanecker


Isaac W. Coldren.


Robert Moss.


71. Lewis C. Lewellen.


Isaac Messmore.


James H. Hoover.


John Riley.


James A. Weltner.


William P. Green.


Michael Crow.


John A. Walters.


John Sterling.


John J. Riffle.


Henry D. Core.


S^imuel Allebaugh.


John H. Crago.


Alfred Core.


James A. McWilliams.


John D. Rider.


Henry S. Lynch.


Clark B. Haney.
Quincy A. Partridge.


Thomas A. Jackson.
AVilliam L. Moore.



William McKean.


Joseph Rockwell.


Stephen Grove.


Hugh J. Gilmore.


Isaac Co.e.


William Parshall.


William McKean.


Joseph S. Struble.


James Wilson.


Allen Q. Darrall.


Isaac Core.


John Wilson.


Wm. G. Higinbotham.


Levi Antram.


49. Jesse Antram.


Quincy A. Partridge.


Isaac Core.


James Lewis.


John Wiltner.


Peter H. Franks.


William P. Green.

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 136 of 193)