Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 141 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 141 of 193)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

' treatment at the hands of Dr. Marchand. That the
doctor did produce a pill of wonderful curative powers
is verified by the testimony of those who were his
1 neighbors, and from whom we hear to-day of his un-
j bounded success. After practicing on the river about
twenty years. Dr. Marchand removed to Uniontown,
I where he remained about twenty years, and during
' his residence there married Sally, daughter of Sam-
uel Sackett, of Smithfield. From Uniontown he re-
turned to his Jefferson farm, where he ended his days,
dying in 1864.



The Brackenridge tavern stand spoken of was on
the road between Perryopelis and Brownsville, near
the site of the Mount Vernon Methodist Church.
Bryant Taylor was perhaps the first landlord there,
and after him Samuel Brackenridge conducted its
hospitalities for some years. Brackenridge's was a
favorite resort, and merry reunions there of young
folks were of frequent occurrence. Old Mr. Bracken-
ridge was peculiar in being easily annoyed, and the
mischievous ones of the neighborhood never lost an
opportunity to vex and harass him. There was much
travel over the road, for it was by that way sand and
other supplies were conveyed from Perryopolis to the
Albany Glass- Works. Brackenridge kept the tavern
until his death in 1840, after which it was closed.

William Forsyth purchased in 1780 a tomahawk
right to four hundred acres on the river, and gave in
exchange two cows, a bushel of salt, and a gun. Ad-
joining Forsyth one Isaac Hastings had already
made a settlement, but he soon grew tired of staying
there and moved away. Eli, son of William For-
syth, threw a cobblestone dam across the river, and
for a little time operated a grist-mill on the Forsyth

Not far from Albany, at a locality known as Turtle-
town, old Billy Norcross was a blacksmith at an early
day. Billy was not a very nice man to look at. In-
deed, he was so objectionable in appearance that
horses taken to him to be shod utterly refused to go
near him until they were blindfolded. At least, such
is the story told of him.

William Goe, a Marylander, came to Fayette
County in 1780, and located in Jefferson, on the
river near Troytown, and there resided until his
death. He lived to be nearly a hundred years old,
and was buried in a coffin that he had kept in his
house for years. He concluded it would be well to
have his coffin about him during life, so that he might
get used to it, and accordingly ordered Samuel Brown
to make one for him. He stored it in his garret,
where in due time it became a receptacle for dried
fruit, and soon served as a lodging-place for rats.
When old Mr. Goe discovered the base uses to which
the coffin had come he declared he wouldn't allow
himself to be buried in it, and gave it over for the
last home of one of his slaves just deceased. For
himself a second one was made by Samuel Brown,
and in that one Mr. Goe was accustomed to lie occa-
sionally during life, to make sure, perhaps, that he
was not outgrowing it. William Goe was eccentric
f nough to sow his grain while riding horseback through
his field, but just why he followed that fashion no one
appears to know.

One of the largest distilleries in Fayette was built by
Bateman Goo (son of William Goe), on Whiskey Run,
about the year ISOQ. Goe had a still-house, malt-
house, and choiiping-house, and manufactured great
quantities of apple-jack. In 180!t a severe flood came
and swoi't still, malt-liouso, and all into the Redstone.

A hundred barrels of manufactured whiskey stored
in the still-house were carried away in the general
■wreck, and, like the rest of the property, utterly lost.
Nearly forty years afterwards the still " worm" was
found buried in the sand on the creek bottom. Mr.
Goe rebuilt the distillery and carried it on until his
death in 1817. After that his son Henry conducted
the business until 1830, and then gave it up. In this
connection comes a recollection of a story about W.
G. Patterson and John Watson. They wanted some
whiskey for harvest-time, and undertook to make it at
the old Goe distillery, then abandoned. The whiskey
was scorched a little and turned blue, but it passed
muster after a fashion, not, however, without some
misgivings on the part of the ferm hands, who were
at first suspicious of the color. Subsequently they
gave it the name of blue jay whiskey, and as the manu-
facturers of the "blue jay" brand, Messrs. Patterson
and Watson became famous far and near.

Philip, another of William Goe's sous, moved to
Kentucky, and married a daughter of Daniel Boone.
Bateman Goe, the distiller, was grandfather to Robert
S. Goe, Gen. John S. Goe, and Mrs. Robert Elliott,
of JeflTerson. Allusion to Bateman Goe and his dis-
tillery suggests the remark that stills were in the early
time as plentiful almost as blackberries in June, and
that every large farm should have its still-house was
expected as a matter of course. David Porter, living

[ near Merrittstown, was the ganger for the government
about 1809, and as he embraced within his jurisdic-
tion a large stretch of country, he was kept as busy
as a bee.

On Sejjt. 5, 1784, a tract of land, including four hun-
dred and twenty-three acres, and called '" Tunis," was
surveyed to Tunis Wells, and in 1790 patented to

i him for three pounds, ten shillings, and sixpence.
Mr. Wells made his settlement about 1780, and, losing
his wife by death soon after coming, married for his
second wife Margaret Williams. By his first wife he
had six children, of whom none are now living. By
his second the children were Mary, Joseph, Rachel,
Elizabeth, Margaret, James, Jacob, and Charlotte.
The only one living is Charlotte, whose home is in
Iowa. James died in Jeffijrson, Jacob in Ohio, and
Joseph on the old homestead in 1877. There his

I widow still lives. Tunis Wells himself died on his

i Jeflerson farm in 1811, and was buried in the Dunlap
Creek churchyard. His widow died in 1845. Jo-
seph Wells' widow, now residing on the Tunis Wells
place, came with her father, Issachar Shaw, to Jefler-
son in 1816.

Near the Sharpless paper-mill site William Norris
lived on land that he warranted in 1772, Richard
Noble on the W. C. Johnson place that he patented
in 1785, and John Ray on land now occupied by Jo-
seph and E. D. Stewart, and patented by Ray in
1788. Adam Laughlin lived on a farm adjoining S.
R. Nutt's place, where he died in 1811.

Peter Miller, a Qiuiker, was conspicuous witli Joiia-



than Sharpless as a leading member of the Society of
Friends worshiping at Centre Meeting-house, in Red-
stone. He came to the vicinty of Redstone Creek
from New Jersey in 1791, and located land now oc-
cupied in part by Thomas Miller, in .Tefferson town-
ship. Peter Miller was a most e.xcellent gentleman,
of particular methods, and famous withal as a model
farmer. In illustration of his rustic ideas and non-
familiarity with law, it is told that upon being sum-
moned to court as a witness, and being asked how he
would swear, insisted upon replying, " I qualify."
Much to his and the court's relief, Jonathan Sharp-
less, there present, came to the rescue with " he af-

Mr. Miller and his family were constant and [
zealous attendants at the Quaker meeting-house in
Redstone, whither the young ladies frequently pro-
ceeded upon their father's oxen. At the junction of
Crab-Apple Run with Redstone Creek may be seen
a rock yet known as Quaker Rock, so called from the
fact that from the rock the Quakers had thrown a tree
across the creek, and thus easily constructed a bridge
that served them when they journeyed to church each
First Day. Peter Miller had six children. The sons
were named David and Joseph. David moved in
1820 to Ohio. Peter, the father, died in Jefferson in
1838, at the age of eighty-five. Joseph died in 1875,
aged ninety-two. Of the latter's sons, Thomas and
J. D. are residents of Jefferson township.

The place now occupied by Jacob Wolf was origi-
nally settled by one McGuire, who sold it to Alex-
ander Deyarmon, a moulder at Jackson & Sharpless'
paper-mill. Deyarmon was a very eccentric man,
and indulged in such queer freaks of contorting his
body and communing with himself while walking out
that strangers often thought him demented. He
was, on the contrary, a person of exceedingly sound
mind and quite shrewd withal. Once, he with his
wife, attended divine 'services at James Patterson's
house, where Rev. Mr. Johnston had been preaching.
After service the members of the company gathered
about the fireside for an after-church conversation.
Presently Mrs. Deyarmon asked Mr. Johnston the
question, " How long were Adam and Eve in the
Garden of Eden before they fell ?" Mr. Johnston
replied, " Well, madame, I have frequently discussed
that question with myself, but thus far I have not
been able to solve it satisfactorily." At this Mr. De-
yarmon jumped up and sharply exclaimed, " I'll tell
you, Mr. Johnston, how long Adam remained in the
Garden of Eden. He stayed until he got a wife,
then he had to quit."

Of Andrew Hammell, who was an early settler on
the place now owned by James Esington, it is told
that being a strong Covenanter he was most bitterly
opposed to the organization of Fairview Methodist
Episcopal Church, and when the erection of a church
edifice was proposed he prophesied most dire misfor-
tune in the event of the project being consummated.

He forbade the members of his family setting foot
within the building, and at all times, when occasion
offered, lifted his voice in condemnation of the ad-
herents of Methodism. One day he and a lad named
James Dumm were riding homeward from mill, and
being overtaken by a violent thunder-.storin were
both with their horses instantly killed by a lightning
stroke while passing Fairview Church. When found
their bodies were carried into the church, and people
pondered over the singular circumstance that when
dead Hammell's first resting-place should be the
sanctuary that nothing could have induced him to
enter while living.

Joshua Clark lived on the Red Lion road before
1800, upon the place now occupied by Archibald
Boyd's widow. Clark's son Nathaniel was a school-
teacher, and taught in Jefferson some years. Joshua
Clark bought an original tract including the present
Amos Cope and James Clark farms, paying for it a
horse that cost him forty dollars.

Two of Jeflerson's early blacksmiths were Reason
Grimes (on the Tunis Wells farm) and James Coul-
son, on the Mrs. D. Coulson place. Mr. Coulson was
noted as a hunter, fisherman, and botanist. Of his
resolute character and somewhat eccentric disposition
many stories are still extant. His sons, William,
Martin, and Sanford, are now among the best known
and wealthiest steamboatmen on the upper Missouri.
Martin, whose home is in Pittsburgh, once worked
for W. G. Patterson for fifteen dollars a month.

Henry Murphy lived on the farm now occupied by
Samuel Murphy. Henry's son John lived to be up-
wards of ninety. James, another son, was a black-
smith on the " pike."

The Copes settled at an early day in the Red Lion
neighborhood. They were exceedingly numerous, and
ranked among the best known and most highly re-
spected Quakers of Fayette County. The greater
portion of the Copes moved from Jefferson to Colum-
biana County, Ohio, and located at New Salem.

John Lyons settled on the Christian Swarlz farm,
and George Crawford on a tract that includes the
farms of Eli Forsyth and the Messrs. Byers. In the
Red Lion neighborhood some of the early comers
were the families of Stewart, Stephens, Farquhar,
Patterson, Shearer, Ford, Negus, and Clark.

In 1816, Philip Bortner bought of William Goe the
place upon which John Bortner now lives. Philip set
up a wagon-shop there and followed the business
many years. In his eighty-fourth year he made a
wheel, and it was pronounced a most excellent job.
He died in 1847, aged ninety-one.

David Hough, one of the pioneer millers on the
Little Redstone, in Washington township, moved to
Jefferson at an early day. In his neighborhood were
also Bcriel Taylor and Samuel Brown. Samuel Brown
was esteemed a mechanical genius of more than ordi-
nary capacity, and according to popular opinion wa.s
able to make anything that mechanical skill could



produce. For a long time be had a workshop on his
place, and manufactured among other useful things a
great many cider-press screws, and cofBns. Mr. Brown
died in 1845, aged eighty-two.

William Parkhill came from Dunbar to Jefferson
about 1800, and bought the old Martin Schilling mill
property on the Little Redstone, now owned by D. M.
Shearer. In 1776 the Schilling mill-site was occu-
pied by John Carmichael, a member of the Constitu-
tional Convention of 1776. Below that point Barzillai
Newbold carried on a mill before ISOO on the Krepps

Christian Tarr, the potter, lived on the present
J. S. Elliott place, and for many years made earthen-
ware there. He was elected to Congress in 1817 and
1819, and served, it is said, with a good deal of credit.
Mr. Tarr had on his place a colored man named
Charles Smothers, who fought with Perry on Lake
Erie, and for whom Mr. Tarr succeeded in obtaining
from Congress an allowance of prize money for his
share in the capture of the enemy. After Mr. Tarr's
death his family removed from Jefferson to Ohio.

The only post-office Jefferson has ever had is the
Redstone post-office, in the Pleasant Valley school
district. Dennis Smith, who had for some time be-
fore that been keeping a store at that point, was ap-
pointed postmaster when the office was established in
1856. Successive postmasters and store- keepers were
Joseph Wilgus, Hugh Conley, Edward Stephens, Gib-
son Binns, and .James Forsythe, the latter being the
present merchant and postmaster.

The people of Jefferson remember with a good deal
of distinctness the great wind storm of 1852, which
passed through the tuwnship over a belt of a half
mile or more in width and inflicted a great amount
of damage. Tlie storm set in after nightfall and con-
tinued about two hours. It blew down fences, barns,
and houses, killed small stock, and uprooted great
trees as if they were twigs, but happily no human
lives were lost. Among stories of the freaks of the
hurricane one tells how feathers were blown from
tliickensas completely as if picked by hand. Another
that the daughter of Rev. Mr. Rose, lying ill in her
lather's house, was carried, bed and all, a distance of
tun liiiu'lrcil yarils and set down without the slightest
iiijurv, while the Imuse in which she had been lying
was utturly demolished. Still another relates that a
lot of James Gary's papers were blown from his house
through an open window, and one of the documents
carried a distance of four miles, to just east of Smith-
licld, whence it was mailed to Mr. Cary the next day.
\V. G. Patterson lost an entire field of wheat, which,
ready sheaved, was swept to the four points of the
compass, leaving not a straw behind to mark the spot
where it stood. Similar instances were common.
Some farmers found that after the storm they had no
fences left standing. The aggregate loss was very
considerable, and the general spoliation consequent
upon the blow gave the country a desolate look.


At the September term of court in 1784, Andrew
Linn, Jr., Basil Brown, Samuel Jackson, William
Forsythe, William Goe, and John Stephens were ap-
pointed viewers upon a petition for a road from Red-
stone Old Fort to Samuel Jackson's mill, at the mouth
of Redstone Creek, and thence to Edward Cook's mill.
At the December term the report of the viewers was
confirmed. The length of the road was eight miles
and a half and thirty-seven perches. At the March
term of court in 1788 a road was petitioned for from
Peter Patterson's to Samuel Jackson's mill, and at
the September session the report of the viewers was
confirmed. The names of the viewers were James
Crawford, William Camjibell, Josiah Crawford, Amos
Hough, Thomas Gregg, and William Sparks. At the
December sessions in 1789, John Cooper, Richard
McGuire, James Patterson, James Finley, and Samuel
Jackson were appointed to view a road from Browns-
ville by Sauiuel Jackson's mill to Moncraft's Ferry
on the Youghiogheny River. In June, 1794, John
Fulton, Charles Chalfant, Richard McGuire, Hugh
Laughlin, Jeremiah Pears, and Jacob Beeson viewed
a road from Jackson's new mill to the mouth of
the Redstone. In March, 1797, a report of the
review of a part of the road from Jackson's mill
to Kyle's mill was made by John Patterson, Edward
Chambers, Andrew Brown, Moses Davidson, George
Crawford, and Joseph Downer. Aug. 15, 1792, an
order was issued to James Patterson, William Patter-
son, John Robison, Peter Miller, Andrew' Ai-nold, and
Samuel Freeman to view a road from Andrew Ar-
nold's to Samuel Jackson's new mill. In June, 1793,
a petition for a road from Samuel Jackson's new mill
to the mouth of Redstone Creek was granted. The
viewers were John Work, Ebenezer Finley, Philip
Galaday, Samuel Torra'uce, James Allison, and Hugh

The first paper-mill west of the Alleghenies was
built upon Redstone Creek, in Jefferson township,
and as that incident was a matter of no ordinary im-
portance in the history of Western Pennsylvania,
there is good warrant for making detailed rel'erence
to it here. In 1791, Jonathan Sharpless, a black-
smith and general mechanic, living in Chester County,
Pa., made a western trip to visit his brother-in-
law, Solomon C. Phillips, then living in Washing-
ton County. While there, Sharpless, who was a
stanch member of the Society of Friends, made the
acquaintance of Samuel Jackson (also a Friend), who
owned and carried on a grist-mill just across the
Monongahela at the mouth of Redstone Creek, in
what is now Jefferson township. Sharpless made
frequent journeys over to Jackson's mill, and in some
manner they came to discuss the subject of the want
of a paper-mill west of the mountains, and from that
to speculate upon the feasibility of themselves supply-
ing the want. The result of their discussions was an
agreement to build such a mill upon the Redstone



Creek, on some land owned by Jackson. As a pre-
cedent thereto Sharpless returned home to provide
the sum of fifteen hundred dollars, his half of the
capital necessary to start the proposed enterprise,
also to further investigate the business of paper-
making as conducted on the Brandywine, that the
new firm might have some practical knowledge of the
business before embarking in it, for neither knew
anything of the details of paper manufacture. Sharp-
less found the work of raising fifteen hundred dollars
upon the fruits of his smith-labor a slow process, but
within two years he had laid by the amount, and in
1793 he set out with his family for the West, prepared
to set the paper-mill in motion. In 1794 the erection
of the structure was begun upon the Redstone Creek,
in what is now Jefferson township, and on what is the
present site of the Parkhill grist-mill, at the mouth
of Washwater Run. There was then upon the site
an abandoned grist-mill, containing an undershot
wheel, but when or by whom that mill had been built
is not known.

The paper-mill building was made capacious. Its
dimensions were seventy-five by forty, and three
stories high, with a half-story cellar on the creek
side. The understanding between the partners was
that Sharpless should have the sole management of
the business, while Jackson should simply provide
means, and so, in accordance with that arrangement,
Jackson gave his time to his grist-mill business at the
mouth of the creek, where he resided, and otlier im-
portant matters, while Sharpless made his home near
the paper-mill, and looked closely after matters
there. The house in which he lived stood just across
the creek in Redstone township. It hail Ijctii built
but a few years, and stands in part yet as a imrtiuu of
the residence of Joseph Gadd. It was originally sup-
plied with a "stick" chimney, which Mr. Sharpless
replaced in 17i)9 with the stone chimney now used.
Joseph Grist agreed to build the new chimney for
eleven dollars, but he was twice as long at it as he
expected to be. Nevertheless he held to his bargain,
although a poor one, but generous old Mr. Sharpless
determined that, bargain or no bargain. Grist should
have a fair price for his labor, and so paid him just
twice the sum agreed upon. I'jion his place Mr.
Sharpless had put up a lila.ksmiiirs shop, and there,
assisted by Nathan Mitchill and .Inhu Piersol, worked
the iron used in building the mill. Their most im-
portant work was the manufacture of six large iron
screws intended for pressing the paper. Each screw
was five inches in diameter and four feet six inches
in length. The threads were cut by horse-power.
Sharpless was noted, during his residence in Chester
County, as a skillful inventor, and among other
things he invented a powerful pressing-screw for use
in the United States Mint in Philadelphia. The
story goes that when the Mint was in its infancy a
visitor remarked upon the poor work made by the
coin-pressing machines, saying he knew of a young

blacksmith who could make a screw infinitely bcttir
than the ones there in use. He named Jonathan
Sharpless as the man, and Sharpless was thereup n
engaged to make a screw. It proved so satislactory
that he was at once requested to I'urnish more. Hi-i
contract completed he was asked to make out his bil ,
and named two hundred and fifty dollars as his price
although, truth to tell, he feared the bill would be re-
jected as too high, for his work upon the whole job
had not covered more than a month's time. " Still,"
said he, when relating the story afterwards, '" I
thought the government was rich, and ought to pay
me a big price." Not only was the bill not rejected,
but it was paid cheerfully and quickly. After pay-
ing it the Mint superintendent gleefully remarked,
" Mr. Sharpless, those screws are of such value to us
that had you asked three times two hundred and fifty
dollars you would have got your price." " That's the
time they bit me," remarked the old gentleman while
relating the incident years afterwards.' As to Mr.
Sharpless' shop in Redstone, it may be related in pass-
ing that there he made for Capt. Shreve what are
said to have been the first steamboat anchors used on
the Monongahela River.

Returning to the subject of the paper-mill, the
completion of the mill building, tenement-houses for
mill-hands, and a small grist-mill was not effected

lich vcar the mill was startec



first papi

The following editorial is taken from the Wo.-^/u,,;/-
ton Tdec/rajjhe of Jan. 12, 179G, published at '\\'a>li-
ington, Washington Co., Pa., and refers to lln.^ mill :

"We are happy in being able to announce to the
public with a considerable degree of confidence that
a paper-mill will shortly be erected on this side the
mountains; that there is little doubt of its being com-
pleted by the ensuing fall. The gentleman who un-
dertakes it is of an enterprising disposition, and capa-
ble of going through the business with spirit. The
work, for which several preparations are already
made, will be erected on a never-failing stream, in a
thick-settled part of the country, and close to navi-
gation. The advantages accruing to our community
from this addition to its manufactures will be very
great, and it behooves every well-wisher to the com-
munity to contribute his mite toward the supporting
it. It cannot be carried on without a supply of rags.
Of these every fiiniily can supply more or less, and
there will be stores in every town and various parts
of the country ready to receive them. Every patri-
otic family then will doubtless cause all their rags to
be preserved and forwarded to some place where they
are collected, not so much for the pecuniary advan-
tage to be derived from them as for the pleasure aris-
ing from having deserved well of their country. We
shall shortly be furnished with a list of such store-

5Ir. Sliarpless ^

iais. Tliese hitttu:



keepers as can make it couvenient to receive them,
and sliall then announce their names to the public."
The Tehfjraphe bearing date May 24, 1796, contains
the Ibllowino; advertisement:

"Siuiuiel Jackson an.l Co.

"Inform ll.e ^

f the ■5V, stern Country that they

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 141 of 193)