Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 144 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 144 of 193)
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major ol'tlic First Indi|i.-nikiit S>|uadron of Dragoons
of uniformed militia of I'euiisylvania, in the Secoud
Brigade of the Seventeenth Division, obtained his
title of brigadier-general by commission issued by
Governor William Bigler on the 20th day of June, '
18.54, giving him command of the Second Brigade of ^
the Seventeenth Division of the forces of the Com- !
mon wealth. |

Oct. G, 1846, Gen. Goe married Miss Catharine E.

Colvin, then residing near Freeport, Harrison Co.,
Ohio. They have five children, — Dorcas C, John
S., Jr., Eva C, Emma Virginia, and Irene.


William G. Patterson, of Jefferson township, is of
Irish descent. He thinks that his great-grandfather
was born on the ocean, while his parents were on the
way to America. His grandfather, William Patter-
son, came with three brothers into Fayette County
from Dauphin County, Pa., about 1780. His father,
James Patterson, was born in Dauphin County in
1771, and about 1801 married Mary Given, a native
of Ireland. They had ten children ; William G. was
the fourth. James Patterson was a captain in the war
of 1812. His business was farming, distilling, and
teaming. He located on the farm where his son, Wil-
liam G., now lives, about the time the county was or-
ganized. He commanded a company in the State
militia for many years.

William G. Patterson was born in Jefferson town-
ship, upon the farm where he now resides, Dec. 20,
1809, and was educated in the common schools. He
was married April 6, 1854, to Mrs. Edith Nichols
Craft, daughter of Samuel Sharpless, of Jefferson
township. They have three living children, — Samuel
S., Mary E., Minerva C. Amanda, another child, is
dead. Mr. Patterson's entire life has been passed in
Jefferson, except a few years spent in California, Pa.,
while educating his children. He has been a farmer
and general business man all his life, and has been
successful. He is a member of the Presbyterian
Church, and has been a justice of the peace and held
other important town offices. Mr. Patterson is a use-
ful and honorable citizen, respected by his neighbors
and all who have known him in life.

Christian Swartz was born in Germany, near the
lihine, Jan. 6, 180C. He died in Jefferson township,
Fayette Co., Feb. 25, 1875. He was educated in
the public schools of Germany, and emigrated to
America in 1833, landing at Charleston, S. C, and
then went to Baltimore. He there took a road-wagon
and traveled to Westmoreland County, Pa., near
Mount Pleasant, where he rented a farm. There he
married Elizabeth Seightlinger, who had emigrated
from Germany with him. They remained in West-
moreland County eight years. Then they located in
Tyrone township, Fayette Co., where they remained
four years. They settled where the family now lives
in 1846. They had six children, five of whom are
living, — Susau, married to Hugh Laughlin ; John,
married first to Maggie Blair, again to Mary Krepps ;
Christian, married to Mary Jane Clark, who is dead ;'
Lizzie, unmarried ; Joseph, unmarried ; James, mar-
ried first to Mary S. Lytic, again to Catharine Beck.



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Cliristian Swartz was a farmer^ and one of the best
in the county.

Mr. Swartz and his wife had about three dollars
when he married and settled in Westmoreland County.
By industry and economy he accumulated a good
deal of property, leaving his children lands, bonds,
etc. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church
before he left Germany. He united with Little Red-
stone Presbyterian Church soon after coming to Fay-
ette County. He was noted for his piety, and was a
useful citizen. Mr. Swartz had the respect of all who
knew him, and was specially known and esteemed by
his neighbors as a kind father to his family, as a
faithful friend and honest citizen, upright in all his
dealings with his fellow-men. Mrs. Swartz, now sev-
enty-two years of age (1882), survives him, together
with three sons and two daughters. Another son,
Christian, died in the spring of 1878.


Tlie Hough families of the old stock in this country
are known to have descended from a William Hough,
who emigrated from Cheshire County, England, and
located first near Plymouth, and then at Gloucester,
Mass., and finally at New London, Conn., where he
died Aug. 10, 1683, or from Richard and John Hough,
who also came from Cheshire, England, in the ship.s
" Endeavor" and " Friendship," in the year 1683, and
settled in Bucks County, Pa.

David Hough was the first of the name to settle in
Fayette County. He emigrated from Eastern Penn-
sylvania at an early day, and located upon a farm
still occupied by his descendants. He was a tiller of
the soil, and lived an industrious, useful life. He
married Barbara Orally. They had twelve children.
David died March 3, 1858, a,ged eighty-four years.
Barbara died Oct. 11, 1841, aged sixty-two years.

The subject of this sketch, William Hough, was
the sixth son of David and Barbara Hough, and was
born in Fayette County in 1812, a few months after
the declaration of war against Great Britain. He re-
ceived his earl}' education in the district schools, and
spent most of his life upon the farm of his parent-
age, where for more than half a century his labor and
attention were given to agriculture. His first vote
was cast for Gen. Andrew Jackson. Becoming dis-
satisfied with uhe policy of the Democratic party, he
united with the Whig party, and continued in that
faith until the organization of the Republican party, j
when he joined it, and continued an earnest sup-
porter of its principles until his death.

William Hough was married Nov. 7, 1S33, to Cath- J
arine Fisher, of Rostraver township, Westmoreland
Co., Pa., and there were born to them five sons and
four daughters, of whom seven are still living, viz. :
Elvira, married to Richard Brown ; Abia Allen, mar-
ried to Mary Atkinson ; George F., married to Eliza-
beth Weaver; David S., married to Elizabeth Krepps ; I

Deraza, married to Daniel Bostner; Williani P., mar-
ried to Ruth Forsyth; Clara, married to Kwing ilc-

Mr. Hough held a number of township ofliccs, al-
ways discharging the duties satisfactorily. He was
for many years a devoted member of the Presbyterian
Cliurch, and for several years a ruling elder in Little
Redstone Church of that communion. During his
latter years he was much afflicted with paralysis,
which terminated his life Feb. 13, 1876.

He was held in high esteem by his neighbors. His
Christian life challenged the respect of all who knew
him. His life was one of industry, and he left his
family a valuable inheritance, namely, a good name,
lands, etc.


The late Archibald Boyd, of Jefferson township,
was born July 4, 1799, in North Huntingdon town-
ship, Westmoreland Co., Pa. He was of Scotch-Irish
descent, and was educated in the common schools,
learned the business of farming, and worked with his
father until he was twenty-one years of age. He then
engaged in droving. This he followed until his mar-
riage, Jan. 29, 1833, to Margaret Hunter, of West-
moreland County. He then rented a farm, and
worked it for six years. After that he moved to
Stewartville, and kept a hotel for one year. He ne.\t
bought a farm in South Huntingdon township, West-
moreland Co. Here he remained for twelve years,
when he bought the present homestead of his off-
spring, and here he lived until the time of his death,
Oct. 9, 1879.

He had three children, — Robert, married to Mar-
garet A. Gray, and who is a former, and lives upon
tlie Boyd homestead. His children are Jennie G.,
Maggie V., Mary E., Carrie E., George M., Maude O.

William, who was born March 13, 1836, and died
April 13, 1881.

Mary, who married John H. Bryson. They reside
in North Union, Fayette Co. They have seven living
children,— Maggie V., Susan V., Andrew O., Williani
H., Melvin H., Robert E., Lulu May.

Archibald Boyd held the usual township offices.
He was a member of the Little Redstone Presbyterian
Church. His pecuniary start in the world was small.
By industry and judicious management he increased
this largely, and left his progeny all well situated.
He was a first-class farmer, a valuable citizen, a good

His father, Robert Boyd, was a native of xVdams
County, Pa. He married Eliz.abeth Larimer, of
Chester County, Pa. They moved soon after mar-
riage to Westmoreland County, where most of their
children were born. They had nine. Archibald was
the fourth.



Louis S. Miller is the grandson of Israel Miller, in
Lis day a leading business man of Brownsville, Fay-
ette Co., and the only child of Augustus I. Miller, a
native of the same place. Israel Miller was born
April 6, 17S3, and on May (5, ISIO, married Anna Maria
Sowers, daughter of Michael and Dorothy Sowers,
who was born June 29, 1790. Michael Sowers was
one of the earliest business men of this region, and
was born Oct. Hi, 17G2. Israel Miller died April 16,
1871. Mrs. Anna M. Miller died May 5, 18.50, in her
sixtieth year. Israel and Anna Maria Miller were
the parents of eleven children, five sons and sis
daughters, of whom was Augustus I. Miller, who was
born Feb. 2, 1821, the third in number of the sons.
On Nov. 1.3, 184.5, he mani.',! Kliz;il,eth K. Marchand,
daughter of Dr. Louis ami Sarah Sark(_-tt Marchand,
of L'niontown, Pa. He was a soldier in the war of
the Rebellion, and enlisted among the three months'
troops in April, 1861, joining the Twelfth Eegiment
Pennsylvania Volunteers, and after the expiration of
that period of enlistment enlisted in November, 1861,
for the term of three years, being attaclied to Com-
pany II, Seventh Eegiment Pennsylvania Cavalry,
and died at Louisville, Ky., Aug. 19, 1863, of disease
contracted while in the service.

Louis S. Miller was born in Brownsville, Fayette
Co., Pa., :\Iarcli Id, 1848. His early education was
received in the public schools, his business education
in Iron City Commercial College and the business
world. His mother dying when he was two days old,
his early lil'e was spent with his grandmother, Mrs.
Dr. Louis ^larchand. He was married Nov. 10, 1870,
to JIary .V. Forsythe. They have live children, —
Laura, Frank, Oliver, Jennie, and Lizzie. He has
occupied his present residence three years. His farm
is worked by tenants under his direction. He devotes
most of his time to the coal business. His neighbors
resard him as a good business man.


It sometimes happens that refined feelings, the do-
mestic virtues, and true nobility of character adorn
anil brighten the obscurity of a country home, and
achieve for the possessor all the happiness and com-
fort that cultivated society and enlightened civiliza-
tion can -ive. Instinctively jn>t and upright in bis
dealing- with bis fclluw-nicn, kiiul-heartcd and chari-
table to tlie poor, careful and attentive to his busi-
ness, thrifty and economical, but single-minded and
generous, — in short, a good illustration of the domestic
and social virtues, — such a man was Joseph Wells,
late of Jetlerson township, Fayette Co., Pa.

Joseph Wells was of Irish descent, and was born
April I'.i, ISO;-;, on the farm where, with true Irish in-
stinct, lie lived all his days. He received such educa-
tion as the common schools of the Commonwealth
aflbrdcd in his youthful days, and in early manhood

became a " pike boy," driving his team on the Na-
tional road from Brownsville to Cumberland and return,
a business he followed for many years. On Dec. 1,
1824, he married Anna Shaw, an estimable lady, who
is still living, and who is well known for her many
social and Christian virtues. They had eight chil-
dren, one of whom died in infancy ; two others, mar-
ried daughters, are dead, and the remaining four
daughters and one son are all married and living in
the county, the son occupying the homestead.

Mr. Wells began life with little of this world's
goods, but by industry and careful husbandry he ac-
quired the ownership of the paternal homestead, and
a handsome competence besides, enjoying in his old
age the comforts and even the luxuries of life. While
struggling to pay for his farm he unluckily lost several
hundred dollars by indorsing for a friend, and al-
though he recovered from this financial trouble, his
autograph was seldom, if ever, afterwards seen on the
back of a promissory note.

In religion he was a Presbyterian, having been a
communicant in that church for fifty years. He
joined the Brownsville Presbyterian Church under
the ministrations of Eev. William Johnston, and in
1840 united with the Little Redstone Church at its
organization, wdiere for many years he was a ruling
elder, and continued a member until the time of his
death. Of Mr. Wells one who knew him long and inti-
mately, pertinently says, " Unlike many Presbyterians
we meet at this day, he believed the decrees wdiich
constitute the peculiar tenets of his church, or at least
he came as near believing them as any person I have
ever met, with a single exception." Still in business
he was human, and while strictly honest, his excellent
judgment often gave him the best end of the bargain
in buying a steer or selling a horse. To him the
sermon on the mount was law, but in practical opera-
tions he had acquisitiveness and secretiveness enough
to enable him to do business successfully, and add a
balance to the profit account at the end of each year.
In politics he was a Democrat of the old school, and
held as firmly to the Jacksonian and Jetfersonian De-
mocracy as he did to the everlasting decrees.

The poor of his neighborhood knew in him one of
their most charitable friends, and he gave liberally
to the benevolent enterprises of the church. Having
a sound and vigorous constitution, and being temper-
ate in his habits, he preserved a hale and healthful
body for more than threescore and ten years. After
one or two premonitory attacks he was stricken fatally
with paralysis, and died May 28, 1877, respected by
his neighbors, esteemed by his friends, and sincerely
loved and mourned by his family. To the last mo-
ment of his conscious life he held fast to his integrity
and his Christian faith. Not a single doubt clouded
his mind or cast a shadow over his peaceful soul.
His faith, steadfast to the end, is voiced in the lines, —
" An augel's arm can't snatch me from tlie grave,
Legions of angels can't confine me tliere."







John Steele, one of the most worthy men and lead-
ing farmers of Jeflf'erson township, Fayette Co., Pa.,
as well as one of the most methodical, solid business
men of the county, is the son of William Steele, who
was born in Westmoreland County, Pa., July 22, 1779,
and about 1806 married Sarah Elliott, and soon after
moved to a farm in Jefferson township, w.hich is now
owned by his son John. Upon this farm the eleven
children, five sons aud six daughters, of William
Steele were born. John was the eighth in number,
and is the only son now living. He was born Aug.
31, 1822.

Mr. Steele received his education in the common

schools. March G, 1850, he married Mary Jackman,
of Washington County, Pa. He has one child living,
Janles Harvey Steele, who married Ruth Nutt.
Mr. Steele has all his active business life been en-

1 gaged in farming. He owns large tracts of land, two
or three good farms of the best quality of soil, and
manages them excellently. Mr. Steele's father, a
justly considerate and sensible gentlenuin, gave him a
fair start in life, and he has added largely to his patri-
monial possessions. About twenty-five years ago he
built his present commodious residence and its com-
fortable outbuildings.
Mr. Steele and his family are members of the Little

I Redstone Presbyterian Church. He enjoys the con-

' fidence and esteem of his neighbors.


LuzEENE, one of the original townships of Fay- '
ette, lies on the Mouongahela River, which along the I
western and northern lines of the township describes i
a series of irregular bends, and flows for the most part
between hilly ranges that give sweeping views of the |
river's course and a long stretch of country beside.
The great bend on the west curves gracefully from Da- ^
vidson's Ferry to Millsboro', aud there taking a sharp ]
turu outward makes a second but more abrupt curve
to where William G. Crawford's farm fronts the stream.
Across by land from Davidson's Ferry to Crawford's
the distance measures less than three miles ; between
the same points by river it is more than eleven miles.
The river separates the township on the north and
west from Washington and Greene Counties. On the
south the boundary is German township, and on the ]
east Redstone. Steamboats ascend the Monougahela ^
as far as New Geneva. Ferries established at conven-
ient distances give easy access to the opposite shore.
These are located at Jacobs', Davidson's, Rice's Land-
ing, Millsboro', Fredericktown, and Crawford's. On
the river-front, as already noted, the land lies high and
forbids much profitable agriculture. Geuerally, how-
ever, the surface of the township is rolling and offers
a fine field for f\irming. Coal is plentiful, but mining
• is chiefly confined to production for local demand.
Merrittstown, the most important village in the town-
ship, is located upon Dunlap's Creek, whose mill-
power is freely utilized at that and other points.
Curious features in the landscape are found in so-
called carved rocks, of which the most striking are
on " the river hill" Millsboro'. They are two
in number, flat of surface, and jutting perhaps a foot
above the ground. The larger of the two measures

about sixteen feet upon either side, and bears numer-
ous sunken impressions of divers figures said to rep-
resent wild animals, fishes, turkey-tracks, etc. Le-
gends make the Indians the carvers of these strange
and in some cases unfamiliar figures, while specula-
tive antiquarians hold to the prehistoric theory.
Whatever the basis of argument, it is certain that the
impressions were upon the rocks when the first white
settlers came to the river region.

The total assessed valuation of Luzerne subject to
county tax in 1881 was §1,050,092, or a decline from
the preceding year of l?2061. The popul.-ition of the
township by the census of 1880 was fourteen hundred
and forty-five, including the village of Jlcrritistowu.

The opening of the road from Laurel Hill to the
mouth of Dunlap's Creek, by Col. James Burd, in
1759, brought settlers to the vicinity of its terminus
at an earlier date than settlements were made in
of the other parts of the Monongahela Valley. Among
the early comers William Colvin was the first who
came into the territory which is now Luzerne with
the intention of making a home here. He acquired
a settlement right in 1703, and afterwards sold that
right to Thomas Brown (the founder of Brownsville),
who, on the 16th of December, 1779, obtained from
the commissioners of the State of Virginia a certifi-
cate for four hundred and fifty-seven acres, " to include
the settlement purchased of William Colvin, near
Redstone Old Fort, made in the year 1703." This is
recited in the certificate, and thus the date of Colvin's
settlement is fixed. What became of Colvin after he
sold his settlement right here is not known. The
tract which he sold, and which was certificated to



Brown as above mentioned, was surveyed to the latter
in March, 178o. It was then described as bounded
on the north by land of John and Samuel McCul-
lough," northwest by land of Rees Cadwallader and
Thomas Gregg, and on the south by land of Basil
Brown. Thomas Brown soon removed to the north
side of Dunlap's Creek, where he laid out the town
of Brownsville, as before mentioned.

Basil Brown, Sr., brother of Thomas, settled on the
land nientiiJiied in the preceding description as ad-
joininji- tlic C'lilvia tract in the year 1770. It was a
tract of four hundred and forty-three acres, granted
to him on a Virginia certificate, and was surveyed to
him March 22, I7S5. The certificate on which it was
so surveyed recited that the tract granted was " to
include his settlement made in the 3'ear 1770." On
this homestead tract Basil Brown lived and died. He
left two sons, Thomas and Basil, Jr., and a daughter,
Sally, will) was a cri|;iple. Thomas Brown lived in
Luzerne, "U the farm now- occupied by Lewis Adams.
He married Dorcas, daughter of William Goe, and
for a second wife the widow of Philip Worley. His
brother, Basil Brown, Jr., was a bachelor, who re-
mained for some years in Luzerne, and afterwards re-
moved to llrnwnsville, where his father had purchased
a nuuibi r ol tnwn lots from his brother, the elder
Thomas Brown. Basil Brown, Jr., and his sister
Sally lived in Brownsville, on Market Street, at or
near the corner of Morgan Street, where he died at
the age of seventy-five years. Sally, the cripple, died
in that town some years later.

John 3IcKibben was a very early settler in what
is now Lu/.crue, locating on tliree hundred and eigh-
teen acres in A|iril, 17(JG, as is recited in a deed for
the same tract, made by David Breading to Nathaniel
Breadini;, in 17^:1. The tract is located about one
mile sunlliui'strrly from Merrittstown, and was for
many years the farm and lioine of Nathaniel Bread-
ing. It is now owned by his grandson, George E.
Hogg, of Brownsville.

Jehu Conwell and his brother, Capt. William Con-
well, settled within the limits of this t<iwnship in June,
1707. One James Bredin was in the territory before
the Conwells, who ujjon their arrival found Bredin
living in a log cabin upon a tomahawk claim, where
he had girdled a few trees, he having come in the pre-
vious April. For a small consideration the Conwells
purchased Bredin's claim and improvements, and he
departed for other scenes. The land thus taken by
the Conwells lies now in the Heistersburg school dis-
trict, and is included within the John McMullen farm.
The country was at that time infested by savages and
wild beasts, but with neither had the settlers then any
trouble, t'm- llie former were friendly, and tlie latter
not so much inclined to pursue man as afraid of being
themselves pursued. By and by, however, the In-

dians began to show .signs of hostility, and the Con-
j wells thought it advisable to withdraw for a brief sea-
j son to a more populous locality. In August, 1772,
Jehu returned to his old home in Delaware, in Octo-
ber was married, and in November of the same year
set out with his young bride for the Luzerne clearing.
I Existence was comparatively quiet and uneventful
until 1774, when Indian aggressions set in in earnest.
Jehu Conwell and his brother, Capt. William, then
bestirred themselves and started the project of build-
ing a fort. A site was selected upon the Coleman
plantation, on the west side of Dunlap's Creek, not
much more than half a mile below Merrittstown, on a
place now occupied by Harrison Henshaw. There a
block-house was hastily constructed, to include within
its inclosure the spring near the present Henshaw
house. Assisted and directed by the Conwells, the
settlers had the fort completed in quick time, and in
May, 1794, it was occupied. There appears to be no
evidence that the fort was ever attacked, or that the
people living in that portion of Luzerne met with
: serious injury at the hands of the savages, although
j they were for a time in great terror for fear of In-
dians. Several children are said to have been born
within the fort during 1774. The names of only two
can now be given. One was Ruth, daughter of Capt.
William Conwell. She married Abram Armstrong.
Another was a daughter of Jehu Conwell. She mar-
ried Judge William Ewing. After the autumn of
1774, the clouds of alarm clearing away, block-house
life was abandoned, and the peaceful pursuits of the
pioneer were pushed forward with renewed vigor.

When the flag of national independence was raised
in 1770, Jehu and William Conwell responded to the
call, and fought through the Revolution. Happily
surviving the struggle they resumed their rural labors,
and in good time ended their lives upon the Luzerne
lands they had cleared from the wilderness. Jehu
died in January, 1834, at the age of eighty-six, upon
■ the farm that had been his home for sixty years, and

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 144 of 193)