Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 147 of 193)
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Hough's mill, and intersecting the road from James
Crawford's ferry to Uniontown, the course of which
road thereafter being followed.



A report of two roads from Redstone Old Fort was
made to the court at December sessions of 1788. One
of the roads reached from the ferry of Thomas Mc-
Gibbin, just below the Redstone Old Fort, on the
Monongahela River, to Septimus Cadwallader's grist-
and saw-mill, and from thence to intersect the road
from the Friends' meeting-house to the ferry afore-
said, near the mouth of Joseph Grayble's lane. The
second road was the road from the Friend.s' meeting-
house to the ferry aforesaid. The viewers were Sam-
uel Jackson, Josiah Crawford, James Crawford, Lewis
Deem, Samuel McGiuley, and Robert Baird. In Sep-
tember, 1794, Jehu Conwell, Charles Porter, Jr., Rob-
ert Baird, Michael Cox, Thomas Gregg, and William
Oliphant laid a road thirty-three feet wide from Kin-
sey Virgin's ferry towards Brownsville, a distance of
six miles and seventy-eight perches, intersecting a
road leading to Brownsville. June, 1795, a road was
laid from near Robert Adams' to James Crawford's
road. The viewers were Jeremiah I'ears, Robert
Adams, Samuel Adams, Thomas Gregg, Hugh Laugh-
lin, and Charles Porter, Jr.


At the December session of the Court of Quarter
Sessions for 1783 the county was divided into town-
ships, of which oue was Luzerne. The limits were
described as follows :

"A township beginning nt the mouth of Dunlap'a Creek,
thence up the Monongahela River to Oliver Crawford's Ferry,
thence along the road leading from Oliver Crawford's Ferry to
Uniuntown to McKibbin's Run, thence down the said run to
Dtinlap's Creek, thence down Dunhip's Creek to the beginning,
to be hereafter known by the name of Luzerne township."

At the December sessions of 1820 a petition of a
number of persons living near the dividing line be-
tween the townships of German and Luzerne was
presented, setting forth, —

"That the said line being declared to be the old Muddy
Creek path, which is now obliterated, its precise location being
known to few or none, whereby inconveniences may occur;

Brownsville, it would be more convenient for lliem to be in-
cluded in Luzerne township; they therefore pray the court to
appoint three impartial men to enquire into the expediency of
so altering said line as to make the same more cei tain and more
convenient to your petitioners by beginning at Seceders' meet-
ing-house, and running thence by a straight line to the head-
waters of Patterson Run, and down said run to the Mononga-
hela, or by such other course as they may think proper whereby
the greater part of said line will be a natural boundary not
liable to mistake or dispute. Viewers a|>poiuted, George Craft,
Charles Porter, and Robert Boyd. Order issued; returned
March 6, 1821; confirmed June 7, 1821."

A petition was presented to the court at this sessions
of June, 1845, for the alteration of the line between
German and Luzerne township. An order was issued
and commissioners were appointed. A report was
made and approved Sept. 4, 1845, and confirmed Dec.
12, 1845. The change of boundary is indicated in the

report of the comraissioncr.s, as follows, viz. : " Com-
mencing at the corner between German, Luzerne, and
Redstone townships, thence up Lilly's Run to Bixlcr's
line, thence with said line until it intersects the
present township line."

A list of the principal township ollicers chosen in
Luzerne between 1784 and 1881, as gleaned IVoin the
imperfectly preserved records, is here given, vi/. :



P. F. Gibbons.


Joseph G. Garwood

James Cunningham.

Isaac Covert.


James Cunningham.


Isaac Messinore.

Lewis Mobley.


W. S. Baker.


Jesse B. Ramsey.


William J. Stewart.

William R. Milligan.


John Conwell.


William Dunaway.


Lewis Mobley.

James Cunningham.


William S. Baker.


Isaac Jlcssmore.


Isaac Covert.

Moses B. Porter.

Levi Antrim.


Isaac Covert.


James C. Acklin.

Joshua .Meredith.

Jehu Conwell.


Isaac Mesfmore.



Samuel John.


John Vernon.


John Bradman.

Alexander Gibson.


James D. Williams.


William G. AVoud.


George D. Moore.


Richard Covert.


Lewis Kuight.

William Dunaway.


Mark R. Moore.


Joseph Scott.


James F. Baird.


Joseph Hackney.


John Bradman.


Albert McMullin.

isiy. (J. Ilaekney.


George A. Miller.


Saiiuicl S. Crawford.


John A. Messmoro.

JMm Aruistrong.
William P. Crawfo
John U. Hackney.
John A. Nealon.
George G. Johnson
William Heller.
John Conwell.

James Ewing.
P. F. Gibbous.
William Dunaway.
William C. .lohnston.
William R. Milligan.
James Cunningham.
Joseph Crawford.
William Miller.
James Cunningham.
Alexander Gibson.
James Ewing.
Cephas Porter.
James Cunningham.
George A. Nealon.
Hamilton H. Cree.
Johnston McGinnis.
James Ewing.

1871. Joseph T. Hackney.

1872. Reason Walters.

1873. George W. Crawford.

1874. John Hackney.

1875. George C. Porter.

1876. James Robinson.

1877. James Dunaway.
1378. William Porter.
1879. John W. Dearth.
ISSO. Oliver Miller.

1S58. Samuel Roberts.
Mark 11. Moore.

1 859. William Cattcll.
1800. .lohn D. Scott.

186 1. Jesse Coldren.

1862. G. M.Nelan.
Jesse P. Crawford.

1803. James Cunningham.

1864. John D. Cree.

1865. John Nelan.

1860. Joseph Crawford.

1867. OtisG. Harn.

1868. James Ewing.
William P. Craft.

1R09. John 0. Stewart.
1870. Lewis Knight.
1S71. David Porter.


1872. John N. Jacobs.

1573. AVilliam Dun.away.

1574. George W. Acklin.
1875. James Eiying.
1S70. William Moore.

John L. Xelan.
David Porter.
William J. Stewart.
Jetlerson liibbs.
Jehu Conwell.


The oldest scliool record extant in Luzerne is an

ancient document now in tlie hands of John M.

Moore, dated 1802, and inscribed " School-House

Subscription." The document reads as follows :


the unJersigners, do promise to pa3' such sums as
aid on us by James Thompson, John Work and David
. to William Moore and Ebenezer Finley, trustees for
)se of building a school house near Thomas Barnes, at
ection of the Morgantown and James Thompson road,
if 20 ft. by IS do. Such suras we jiromise to pay in
following: The one half payable in wheat at 9 p. rye

2-(i p. Du. in .James Thompson or Ebenezer Finley's
on demand, as witness our hands and seal this 1st day
S02. Further, we agree that the above witni-ss shall

a seven-plate stove and set it up iu the house when

John Moore So.-iO .^bram Ilanov S4.5n

Ebenezer Finlcv I t.;.ii ^^■illi mi Hiiorv C.IKI

Thns. Frainr '.'.ml S,,iini,i| Ih.iii-v 2. nil

AVilliaui -.oil \\m. I;i..un..; :-; oO

Roljt. l;:ii"l II. .Ml Jar. I. .-Mn - 2.110

John Xii-bolfnn l.OII Koht. Th<.inp^on :i.5l.)

Christ, liuuhanan 5.50 I Jacob Brown 2.(i0

James Fniiiic 6.50 : .\aron .Moore- :i.oO

John Frame 5.50 I James Hany 2.00

" We are of the opinion that the foregoing assessmeut is
ei^uitablc according to the above article.

[Signed] "J.iMES Thompson,

" JoH.v AVonK,
"David Bre.idixg."

The school-house they built still stands, and is
known as the old cross-roads or Morgantown road
school-house. It was constructed of round logs,
chinked and daubed, and covered with slat-boards
and shingles; chimney made of split sticks. Slabs
with two sticks under each end served for seats.
Rough boards fastened against the walls were writing-
desks. Two square holes about two by two and a
half feet, one on each side of the house, were win-
dows. There was one door, which was all that was
necessary. The building has been inhabited for a
number of years by Aaron Moore and John AVhite,
who vacated it on April 4, 1881.

Merrittstown was a little more fortunate than the
surniunding country in the matter of educational ad-
vantage-;, I'nr it had a school that was enough better
being designat.M a< "the cmIIc-oc." Th.' school-house,
which stood ii^.-ir tlir nM I'.apti-t gniv.'yard, was not

any different fr thi' Ing caliin scliuiil-hnuses of the

period, but old Anthony Burns, the teacher, must
have been considered a superior sort of pedagogue,
since in that respect only was the superiority of the
]\Ierrittstown school discernible. Schoolmaster Burns

must have been a teacher in great favor, for he taught
in Merrittstown and vicinity about fifty years, and
gave up the business of teaching only when, at eighty
years of age, he found himself too infirm to continue
it. Andrew Stewart (afterwards known to fame as
"Tariff' Andy") took his first lessons in that school-
house under a teacher named Carr, who ruled there
before 1805, or before the advent of Burns, and who
boasted in liis school a Latin class, of which three
members were Andrew Stewart, John Cunningham,
and William Cunningham. Andrew Stewart's father
was a blacksmith at Merrittstown for a while, and
thus Andrew was a pupil in Daddy Carr's school.
Later the Eev. William Johnston, pastor of the
Dunlap's Creek Presbyterian Church, opened a
Latin school at Merrittstown, and conducted it suc-
cessfully for some years. Mention may likewise be
made that William Darby, afterwards editor of The
Gazetteer, was among the earliest teachers in the old
Merrittstown log school-house, which, standing until
1836, was then accidentally burned. In 180G the
school-house in the present Crawford district stood
about three-quarters of a mile distant from the site
of the house now in use. The teacher in thaf year'
was Joseph Wanee, son of John Wanee, then living
where John Wanee now lives. School children were
not over plentiful there even in 1806, and by dint
even of strongest effort the number available fell
short of the requirement ; whereupon Joseph Craw-
ford, exceedingly anxious for a school, agreed to pay
for the tuition of ten children, although he could
send only three, and so the school was started. In
1813 the house in the Charleston district stood near
the present house.- Murdock, the then teacher, was
succeeded by Mr. McCleary, Anthony Burns, and

The following is a list of the school districts of
Luzerne as formed in 183-5 under the operation of the
school law of the previous year, and of the districts
of the township at the present time (1881), viz. :

In 1835. In 1881.

Merrittstown Jlerrittstown (No. 1).

Heistersbur- IKi.-terslun g (N'o. 2).

Middle Hi-llirt .,;lK,h;oa tn, II, IM-' X,, "1.

West Ili-ivl W, -1 l:, M.| \.,. 4).

CrawlMi-r- ' "I ■ -i- N .. 5l.

Cross-l;n:,.i- ;,.l,:ni-.dt.. I lii::. - ,.,n No. 0).

Scrabbletown (changed to) Lu/.erne Village (No. 7).

Davidson's (changed to) Sassafias ^Xo. 8).

Oak Hill Oak Hill (No. 9).

Colored School (No. 10).

The amount expended in the year 1835 for school
purposes was S611.36. Teachers' wages then were
from eleven to twenty-five dollars per month. The
directors in 1838 were Joseph Crawford, Jr., John
Moore, David Porter, Jr., Clark Breading, P. F. Gib-
bons, and David Craft. Joseph Crawford, Jr., was
president, and David Craft secretary. The list of
school directors of Luzerne elected since the year
1840 is as follows :




Ephrnim R. Crawford.


Isaac Woodward.

.Tohnston McGinnis.

Lewis Knight.


William Dunnmon.


John Armstrong.

Lebbeus Clark.

Jesse B. Glenwood.


Livrkin S. Dearth.


Samuel MeGinnis.

William R. Milligan.

George Vance.


Benjamin Vernon.


Samuel S. Meredith

John R. .Tenhison.

James Cunningham


Wm. G. Crawford.

Robert Doully.

David H. Wakefield.

Jacob S. Jamison.


James Ewing. .


Robert Harn.

Johnston MeGinnis.

Henry Crawford.


John R. Jamison.


AVilliam Hatford.

Cephas Porter.

John J. Cree.


Jesse B. Ramsey.

William Keller.

Lewis Mobley.


I. C. Woo.lward.


David Craft.

J. N. Craft.

James P. Baird.

Andrew Porter.


AVm. Y. Roberts.

Wm. J. Stewart.

AVilliam Cattle.


I. C. Woodward.


J. R. Jamison.

R. C. Vernon.

Jesse Ileacock.

Joseph Crawford.


James D. Williams.


E. T. Gallaher.

David Porter.

Aaron Hackney.


William II. Crawford.

J. L. Nelan.

Hamilton Cree.


John Conwell.


James Ewing.

John S. Pratt.

Samuel MeGinnis.


Hiram Calvert.


William HufTord.

C. D. Krepps.

John Conwell.

Caleb B. Doully.


Robert Williams.


John 0. Stewart.

G.'orge A. Nelan.

John McEldowney.


Clark Breading.

Thomas L. Wood.

John R. Jamison.


Levi Antram.

David Porter.

E. T. Gallaher.


William Cattell.


William S. Cruft.

Isaac Covert.

Caleb Duvall.


Ebenezer T. Gallnher.

Adin Horn.

William Dunaway.


Adin Horn.


James Ewing.

Charles Swan.

Elisha P. Gibbons.

David Porter.


William Xlurford.


L. C. McDougal.

S.amuel MeGinnis.

Oliver Miller.

AVilliam Cattell.


John L. Nolan.

Isaac Messmore.

William S. Cruft.


Jacob N. Ridge.


JohnW. Dearth.

Joshua Meredith.

Charles Swan.

The school board of 1881 was composed of Oliver
Miller, Charles Swan, John W. Dearth, John L. Ne-
lan, L. C. McDougal, and William S. Craft.

Although Luzerne contains now but three liouses
of worship, — a Cumberland Presbyterian, a Methodist
Episcopal, and an African Church (the latter at Lu-
zerne Village), — no less th!»u four other churches have
been known to the township's history, although of
those four nothing now remains save the recollec-
tion that they once flourished. Each church had
a history that began almost as soon as the history of
the township itself, and each has for so many years
been a thing of the past that but little save a refer-
ence to their existence can be here presented, since

the church records have disappeared, no one knows
where. One of the oldest of the four was the Baptist
Church at Merrittstown. It must have been organ-
ized as early as 1800, for the present recollection is
that when the church building was destroyed by fire
in 1836 it was old and dilapidated. The church
stood near the school-house, and was burned with the
latter structure. Among the leading members of this
Baptist organization were Abram Vernon, Josiah
Richards, David Wilson, the Crafts, Harfords, Hibbs,
and others. The congregation was a large one for
many years, but towards the last it became weakened,
and was virtually dissolved even before the church
was burned, so that there was not strength to create
a revival of the organization or the building of a new
house of worship, and so the record was closed. The
last pastor the church had was the Rev. William
Brownfield, whose home was near Uniontown. He
was a very eccentric preacher, and seems to take
great comfort in doing and saying things widely out
of the common way. Mr. James Cunningham re-
members going one Sunday with James Walker to
hear Brownfield preach, and that the parson paused
suddenly in the midst of his sermon to point his fin-
ger sharply and apparently at Cunningham and his
companion, to exclaim, in a loud voice, " Did you ever
see me fly ?" Then, keeping his eyes intently fixed
upon the two young men, who blushed and looked
much confused, he said, quite as loudly but more de-
liberately, " No, you haven't, and what's more you
never will." Having thus relieved his mind of a
seeming burden, he went on with his sermon. He
was once engaged in reading the Declaration of Inde-
pendence at a Fourth of July celebration, when, com-
ing to that part of it where recital is made of the
English king's oppressive acts, he grew quite excited,
and with flashing eyes commented upon the passage
with the single exclamation, " The villain !" delivered
in such emphatic and fiery manner that none who
saw or heard him could doubt for a moment that if
Parson Brownfield could get at King George at that
instant he would make short work of him.


was formed not long after the year 1800, and near
what is uow known as Heistersburg, where its house
of worship stood until about 183.5. Singing-schools
are said to have flourished there with considerable
vigor, but the church organization did not maintain
a very long lease of life. It may be well to say, how-
ever, that the dissolution of the church organization
was chargeable as much as to anything to the fact
that the location of the church edifice was not a con-
venient one. This statement would appear to be
borne out in the declaration that when West Bend
Methodist Episcopal Church was formed, about 183-i,
many of Hopewell's old members participated in or-
ganizing the new church.

In the southern i>ortion of the township a Seced-



ers', or United Presbyterian Cliurch was formed so
long ago tliat no one now living remembers anything
as to the details, and it is believed that none of the
constituent members are living. For more than fifty
years the church history has been but a memory. A
strong effort was made some years ago to revive the
organization, but the effort resulted in failure.

There was a Quaker Church in the Charleston dis-
trict even before 1800. It was a log structure, and
stood near where the old graveyard in that district
may yet be seen. It was burned about 1820, and re-
placed by a stone church, whose location was fixed
in Bridgeport borough. The land for the church lot
in the borough was deeded by Jonah Cadwallader
"to the Society of Friends and citizens of Browns-
viIIl- and Bridgeport, for the purpose of building
upi.n it a house of worship." The church is no more,
and Quaker meetings in Luzerne a thing of the past.


In the autumn of 1S31, Revs. Alfred M. Bryan and
Milton Bird, acting as missionaries under the General
Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church,
were called to vi^it the neighborhood of Hopewell,
and as their iiiini-iialinn^ wure met with an interested
awakening of rtli-imi^ Irivi.r, it was thought expe-
dient to form a Cumberland Presbyterian Society at
Hopewell. The Methodist Episcopal Society of
Hopewell tendered the use of their house, and May
14, 1832, the Cumberland Society was formed with a
membership of eighteen, to whom the Lord's Supper
was administered for the first time June 17, 1832, by
Eev. A. M. Bryan, assisted by Rev. Samuel M. Aston.
Tlienceforward priiirhing: was supplied by Revs.
Bryan, Sparks, and Aston. Liberal accessions were
made to the congregation, and on Sept. 19, 1832, the
fornuil organization of a church was effected. Sixty
members were enrolled, and there were, in addition
to these in the congregation, twenty-five seekers after
religion. The constituent members were Samuel
Roberts, Josephus Bindsley, James Gibson, John
Davidson, William Downey, Robert Baird, Enoch
Baird, William Chambers, Eleanor Mehaffie, Sarah
DaviJson, IJaclu'l I!itenli.,ur, Isal.ella Millij;an, Mary
Gibson, Knth W. Gibbons. ( »r,,l,u Mcl),.u-al, Moses
Baird, Kacluiel llainl, Mary I'orter, Rachel Downey,
Mary Longley, Eliza Abrams, Mary B. Henderson,
Eleanor Gibbous, Naomi Hurford, Sarah Moss, Ann
Moss, Ann Hurford, Jane Louden, Eliza J. Paul,
Lydia G. Gibson, Mary Jamison, Anu V. Gibbons,
Eleanor L-\vin, LIrsula Arnold, Alexander Wilson,
Deborah Wilson, Andrew P.irter, Jr., Henry Alex-
ander, AVilliam Kelly, .Maria Porter, Mary Hurford,
Eliza Rogers, Edward Rose, Hugh Kerns, Melinda
J. Porter, Esther Pennrll, A.-lisali A. Roberts, Mary
Lawrence, Reb,r,u Krinedy, Hester J. Roberts,
William G. Rol.ert-. Carol, ne Koherts, Tirza Rob-
erts, Isaac Covert, Nancy I'orter, ilossill Jamison,
George W. Baumgartner, Elislia Pierce, and Mary

Pierce. Samuel Roberts, Josephus Lindsley, and
James Gibson, Jr., were chosen and ordained ruling
elders. Lindsley being selected to represent the
church in Presbytery, reported that Revs. A. M.
Bryan and S. M. Sparks had been assigned to preach
at Hopewell during the ensuing six mouths. Nov.
3, 1839, John Davidson, Samuel Jennison, and Moses
Barnes were chosen trustees.

In the spring of 1835, Rev. Mr. Wood was ordered
to the charge as stated pastor, and remained until the
spring of 1838. In April of that year Rev. A. M.
Blackford succeeded to the pastorate. In April, 1840,
came Eev. John Gary, and remaining one year was
followed in April, 1841, by Eev. Samuel E. Hudson,
whose term of service endured to 1846. In the fall
of 1846, Fairview and Hopewell Churches united in
a call to Eev. J. T. A. Henderson, who remained
nearly all the time until 1856, Eev. Jesse Adams
preaching also occasionally meanwhile. Eev. J. H.
Coulter was the pastor a while after 1856, and then
Mr. Henderson returned, to give way again to Mr.
Coulter. Since April, 1880, Eev. A. W. White has
been in charge.

The first house of worship was built in 1833-34.
The second and present one was built in 1872. It is
a handsome brick structure, 60 by 40 feet in dimen-
sions, and cost six thousand dollars. The member-
ship is now about two hundred and forty. The elders
are John Vernon, William Heller, A. G. Swan, Sam-
uel Baird, and Elijah Craft. The trustees are William
Acklin, John Vernon, Oliver Miller. The Sunday-
school superintendent is Jesse P. Crawford.


The dissolution of the Hopewell Methodist Epis-
copal Church, about 1830, led to the formation of a
Methodist Episcopal class in the river bend, the
members being John Covert, Patience Lawrence,
Eichard Jamison and wife, George Lawrence and
wife, and William Roberts, formerly of Hopewell.
John Covert was chosen leader, and for many years
afterwards was one of the ruling spirits in the church.
Services were held in a school-house a few years, and
when the congregation became prosperous enough to
warrant the erection of a house of worship the one
now used was built. Increase of membership has
made the house too small, and within a short time
it will be replaced by a spacious brick edifice to cost
about six thousand dollars. The members number
now about one hundred. The pastor is Eev. J. G.
Gaugley. The trustees are Samuel Jamison, Benton
Covert, John Covert, William Hurford, Albert Jami-
son, John Wanee, and Joshua Strickler. The class-
leader is Joshua Strickler.

A Union Church near Jacobs' Ferry is a monu-
ment to the generosity of Mrs. Adam Jacobs, of
Brownsville. Eesiding during the summer seasons at
the Ferry, she caused the church to be bnilt for the
purpose of having Episcopal services therein regularly



during her suburban staj', and then caused it to be
declared that all denominations were free to hold
meetings in the house at all times save such as were
chosen for the meetings of the Episcopalians.


Burial-places are numerous in Luzerne, and include
among private and public graveyards some that are
old and neglected, but yet dotted with weather-
stained headstones that record the deaths and virtues
of many of Luzerne's pioneers. There is the old
Quaker burying-ground in the Charleston district
(but little used now), one at Merrittstown, where the
old Baptist Church once reared its modest front, one
at Hopewell (or Heistersburg), one on the John
Horner farm near the river, one on the David Porter
farm, another at the site of the United Presby-
terian Church, another on J. W. Dearth's farm, and
still another on the Joseph Crawford place. All
these are burial-places dating from 1800 or near that
period. There is a neat cemetery at the Hopewell
Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and one at the
West Bend Methodist Episcopal Church, at which
latter place there is also an unused graveyard, orig-
inally laid out for the family of Jonathan Arnold,
but used also by the neighborhood.


Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 147 of 193)