Franklin Ellis.

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

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tavern still greets with entertainment occasional way-
farers. The tavern was built by Josiah Frost in 1819,
but before he had made it ready for business he sold
it and adjacent landed property to William Searight.
William Searight was by trade a fuller, and in 1807
had a mill on Dunlap's Creek. From there he moved
to Cook's Mills, and thence to Perryopolis, where he
built a fulling-mill. While there he bought the tav-
ern stand property, and when he had completed the
erection of the buildings, including with the tavern a



blacksmith's and wheelwright's shop, he leased them,
but to whom is not now remembered. In a little while
Mr. Searight sold his Perryopolis mill, and removing
to his new possessions on the National road, became
himself the landlord of the wayside inn, which he
soon made a noted and popular halting-place. In
that day there was a great volume of travel over the
National road, and as the tavern was maintained in
most excellent order, "Searight's" soon became well
known from one end of the road to the other as a place
where good cheer for man and beast awaited all comers,
and where great numbers of people and teams were
constantly entertained. Four-horse passenger-coaches
rolled over the road in rapid succession, and as Sea-
right's was a " stage-house," there was always plenty
of business, bustle, and profit at the "Corners."

Before .lames K. Polk was chosen to the Presi-
dency, and while he was a congressman, he rode with ,
his wife by stage-coach over the National road en-
route to Washington to attend a congressional session. |
When near Searight's the stage-coach broke down,
and it being decided that the journey could not be
resumed before the following morning, Mr. and Mrs.
Polk walked to Searight's, where they proposed to
pass the remainder of the night, it being then well on ,
towards morning. They found the landlord up, in
anticipation of their arrival, and they i'ound, too, the
floor of the great bar-room thickly -tic un with sleep-
ing wagonere, who had halted tlicrr for (lie night. In
response to tlieir ri'ipiest fir a rn.mi with ;i tiru tlir
landlord made ready t.. exiM-iite tlieir mniniaiids, but
expressed the fear that th.y might lir annoyed over
the delay in the makini; oi th.' aiiMrtiiimt (■unifortably
warm. At this declaratinii Mrs. I'nlk, lonking earn-
estly at the cheerful, briglitly-lmining fire in the bar-
room grate, as if charmed with its inviting warmth,
proposed that they should sleep there. A " shake-
down" was accordingly made, and they passed the
remainder of the night in the bar-room. In the morn-
ing they breakfasted and went forward upon their
journey. The accidental visit of Mr. and Mrs. Polk
to Searight's was for a long time afterwards a toi)ic
of interesting discussion among those who tarried to
enjoy the hospitality of the tavern, and Searight's
was greatly profited by the incident, in fame if not in

One McDermott was a landlord at Searight's at an
early day, and so was old Johnny Gray, but it is
likely that some Boniface had possession before Mc-
Dermott's time. Mr. Searight himself did not take
charge of the tavern until 1828, or two years after his
marriage. He presided as landlord a few years, and *
then retired to his adjacent farm, after leasing the
tavern stand to Joseph, son of old Johnny Gray.
Mr. Searight was appointed by Governor Porter su-
perintendent of that portion of the National road
passing through Pennsylvania, and in 1852 he re-
ceived the Democratic nomination for the office of i commissioner. Before the election he died.

August 12th. Col. William Hopkins, of Washington
County, was nominated in his stead and elected.
Mr. Searight's widow, who survives him, lives in
Fniontown, where also live his sons, Thomas B., Wil-
liam, and J. A. Ewing, another son, resides upon
the old tavern property.

In 1830, Mr. James Allison (who had worked in
Mr. Searight's fulling-mill on Dunlap's Creek) came
to Searight's, and at the Corners he has lived ever
since. He found Hugh Keys keeping a store there.
In 1833 a post-office was established at Searight's, and
Thomas Greer, the blacksmith, appointed postmaster.
He served until 183-1, when the office was discon-
tinued. In 1849 it was revived and James Allison
appointed postmaster. He was the incumbent until
18S0, when Elias Hatfield, the present postmaster,
was appointed.

Hugh Graham, a carpenter and architect, landed
in Philadelphia in 1822, and worked two years for
Stephen Girard. His entire possessions upon reach-
ing Philadelphia amounted to ten guineas and a chest
of carpi ntii'><. In 1824 he journeyed on foot
from I'liiladi. l|ihi:i t^j Pittsburgh, and although suf-
fering from an injured foot (is said to have) made the
trip of three hundred miles in six days, — most excel-
lent time if true. En route he passed the house of
Jacob Black, in Menallen, near which, at a spring, he
saw Mr. Black's daughter Margaret washing clothes.
She was so much amused at the appearance of Gra-
ham's foot-gear, consisting of a big boot and a small
sfme, tliat she laughed most immoderately. This in-
cident was Graham's introduction to Margaret Black,
and as he happened to return that way from Pitts-
burgh, after a sojourn of two weeks at the latter
place, he stopped for rest at Jacob Black's house, and
renewed his acquaintance with the young lady. The
acquaintance proved to be so satisfactory upon both
sides that Miss Jlargaret eventually became Mrs. Gra-
ham. Mr. Graham became a builder and architect
of some renown at Uniontown, and in 1835 he retired
to a farm in Meunllen that was originally taken up
by Hugh CrawloKJ. In is in lie came into possession
of the Jacol) lilack taiiii, and lived there until his
death, which occurred May 19, 1878, when he had
reached the age of eighty-five years. His father-in-
law, Jacob Black, was a German, and came to Men-
alien about 1790. His location was made upon the
farm now occupied by his grandson, Thomas B. Gra-
ham, and there he died.

William Wheatley enlisted from New Jersey for
the war of the Revolution, and served through the
conflict as captain of a company of light cavalry.
After the Revolution he settled in Menallen An old
account-book kept by him and beginning with the
date June 15, 1785, is now in the possession of his
great-grandson, John S. Marsh, of Cook's Mills.
Mr. Marsh has also a full set of silver buttons worn
by Capt. Wheatley upon his Revolutionary uniform.
Anthnnv Cumniard, an earlv settler in Franklin, mar-


ried one of Capt. Wheatley's daughters. She used to
tell how during the battle of Trenton she sat in the
Wheatley mansion when a cannon-ball tore its way
through the house. Anthony Cummard himself
fought through the Revolution, and shared in the
victory of Yorktown. Thomas Marsh, grandson of
Capt. Wheatley, died in Indiana. His living children
are Mrs. Westcott, of Fayette City, Mrs. Duval, of
Ohio, and John S. Marsh.

In 1808, Menallen's taxable property was assessed
at $117,950. The quota of county tax was $177. The
taxable acres numbered 12,944. There were seven
mills, one forge, one rolling-mill, two tan-yards,
eleven distilleries, one slave,' three hundred and
sixty-five houses, and three hundred and twenty-
eight cattle.


At the March term of the Court of Quarter Sessions
in 1793 mention of an early road was made in the
following report: "We, the undersigned subscribers,
being by Your Honors appointed to view a road from
Ebenezer Finley's saw-mill,' to intersect the road
leading from Uniontown to the old fort at or near
the Episcopal church,^ according to order, etc." In
September, 1785, a petition was granted by the court
to Menallen for a road from Jeremiah Pears' saw-
mill^ door (from which the Uniontown road bore
south 16° 45' east), past Eobert Gadds' house, on
the middle of Peters Street and centre of Middle
(Meadow) Alley. June, 1784, a petition was pre-
sented for a road "from Robert McGlaughlin's to
Jeremiah Pears' mill, from there to strike the road
that leads from Uniontown to Middle Run near John
Watson's." December, 1794, a petition was pre-
sented for a road from Meason's furnace (in Dun-
bar) to Pears' forge,* to intersect a road from Union-
town to Redstone.

At the March term of court in 1784, John McMar-
tin was recommended for a license as tavern-keeper
in Menallen, but he did not at that time obtain it.
At the December term, 1784, Reuben Kemp and
Jacob Hewitt were licensed ; December, 1785, Mat-
thew Campbell ; June, 1786, Joseph Price and John
Heath ; June, 1790, Patrick Tiernan and John Far-
quar; December, 1791, George Kruman. In addition
to the list given, Josiah Tannehill was licensed June,
1788; George Mitchell, March, 1789; Zachariah
Doty, June, 1789; Ephraim Hewitt, March, 1795;
Robert Willis, John Ayers, and William Ayers,
June, 1795; George Kinnear, September, 1790; Jon-
athan Hickman, Richard Weaver, Anthony Swaine,
John Brown, and John Grier, September, 1795; Wil-
liam Cox, December, 1795 ; Amos Wilson and Ben-
jamin Bowman, September, 1796 ; John Jones, Fran-

1 In Redstone. - In MenaUen, on the pike.

cis Griffith, and Peter Kinney, September, 1797 ;
James Brown, December, 1798, and Alexander Wil-
liamson, March, 1800.

Menallen was one of the original townships created
by the Court of Quarter Sessions at the December
term in 1783. The court decreed as follows :

Redstone Creek;

" A township, beginning
thence up the same to the mouth of .Jennings' Run; thence up
the same to the head of the ivest fork thereof; thence by a
straight line to the head of the Burnt Cabin branch of Dunlap's
Creek ; thence down said branch and Dunlap's Creek to the
road that leads to Oliver Crawford's ferry ; thence along the
said road to McKibben's Run ; thence down the same and Dun-
lap's Creek to the river; thence down the same to the begin-
ning, to be hereafter known by the name of Menallen township."

In March, 1797, the petition of sundry inhabitants
of Menallen township prayed for a division of the
township. In response thereto the court, at the De-
cember term in 1797, set off and erected Redstone
township from the west and northwest part of Men-

The records containing the civil list of the town-
ship are imperfect. From 1784 to 1808 the elections
of township officials are recorded and kept. From^
1808 to 1840 nothing of consequence has been pre-
served. From 1840 to 1881 the records have been
kept, and from them the lists for that period have
been taken, as given below :

1S40. Robert Boyd.

John Cunningham.

1542. Adam McCray.

1543. Wilson Scott.

1844. Joseph Gray.

1845. William McGinnis.

1846. Robert S. Henderson.

1847. Ebenezer Finley.

1848. Adam McCray.

1849. Robert S. Henderson.

1850. William McGinnis.
Simon Johnston.

1851. Thomas Barton.

1852. William Bolsinger.
William McGinnis.

1853. William Johnston.

1854. William McGinnis.
Albert G. Hague.

1855. Hugh Poundstone.

1856. Hugh Keyes.
Andrew Lynn.

1857. John McCray.

1858. Nathan Holloway.

1859. William I. Johnson.

1860. William JIcGinnis.

1861. James McCormick.

1862. William McCormick.

1863. L. Colly.

1864. W. McGinnis.

1865. 6. Colley.

1866. J. Di.\on.

1867. AV. McCormick.

1868. G. McCrary.

1869. T. Jeffries.

1870. W. McCormick.

1871. J. McCormick.

1872. James Nickel.

1873. W. J. Johnston.

1874. James McCormick.

1875. Abram Osborn.

1876. Alfred Frost.
T. B. Graham.

1877. E. Courtney.
Charles McCormick.

1878. EwingSearight.

1879. S. W. Colley.
Ewing Searight.

1881. Joshua Woodward.
Hiram B. Jackson.

184(1. Adam McCray.
1842-46. John Dixon
1847-48. Andrew Spr


1850. Joseph Smith.
' 1851-52. John McCray.
;er. 1853. William Krepps.

1854. John Ferren.


1855. John JleCray.

1870. N. Holloway.

1S56. Joseph I. Smith.

1871-72. A. Stewart.

1857. George Friend.

1873. Joseph McCray.

1858-60. Joseph Smith.

1874. W. Gunison.

ISfil. Franci.s Marion.

1875-79. F. M. Smith.

1S02-65. F. JI. Smith.

1880. F. M. Smith.

1866-69. A. Stewart.

1881. Amos Fry.


istl. Ebenezer Finley.

1862. Taylor Jeffries.

William McMillan.

I. I. Harris.

1842. Hugh Graham.

1863. J. C. Grable.

James Dunn.

Peter Colley.

1843. Warwick Miller.

1864. I. Cuwell.

Thomas Hazen.

J. Kelly.

1S44. Caleb Antram.

1865. T. Jeffries.

James Allison.

I. I. Harris.

1S45. Thomas Di.Non.

1866. P. Colley.

Daniel Esf.ey.

J. C. Grable.

1S46. Nathan Lewis.

1867. J. Kelly.

Simon Johnson.

I. Cowell.

1847. John M. Claybaugh.

1868.' J. Woodward.

James Campbell.

William McGinnis.

184S. Robert Boden.

E. Searight.

Taylor Jeffries.

1869. E. Campbell.

IS40. Mifflin Jeffries.

J. Graham.

William MoGinnis.

J. Dixon.

1S5IJ. David Poundstone.

1870. H. McGinnis.

Robert Powell.

E. 0. Leonard.

185 1. Jesse Johnston.

1871. J. Woodward.

Robert Powell.

M. V. Whetzel.

1852. Charles S. Sexton.

E. Searight.

Thomas Moxley.

1872. J. Cromwell.

1853. Warwick Miller.

A. Colley.

James H. Lewis.

1873. J. B. Graham.

1854. Isaac Cowell.

M. V. Whetzel.

David Phillips.

1874. John Dearth.

1855. Thomas Moxley.

Hiram .Miller.

S. C. Chalfant.

1875. Benjamin Beall.

1856. C. V. Tracy.

John Williams.

William J. Johuston.

1876. J. B. Graham.

1857. Samuel Lynn.

M. V. Whetzel.

Robert Finley.

1877. Joseph Woodward.

1S5S. Warwick Miller.

Ethelbert Courtney.

Daniel Binns.

1878. W. B. McCoy.

Xicholas Deffenbaugh.

John Shaw.

1859. Williani Boyd.

1879. M. V. Whetzel.

Taylor Jeffries.

Levi Beall.

1861). Robert Powell.

1880. Ethelbert Courtney.

Peter Colley.

Levi Beall.

1861. Isaac Coma.

1881. E. Campbell.

John Kellcy.

John Shaw.



1S4II. Simon Johnson.

ISen. JIatthew Arisen.

William Jlorrison.

1862. John Kelly.

1S45. William Balsinger.

Lyman S. Herbert.

James Dixon.

1867. J. Kelly.

1848. John Kelly.

R. A. Moss.

Hiram McCoy.

1868. T. Di.xon.

1850. Hiram Jackson.

1869. M. Hess.

1852. William Allison.

1872. W. McGinnis.

1853. Joseph W. Miller.

A.J. Tait.

1854. John Kelly.

1877. A. J. Tait.

1857. Hiram H. Kackney.

M. V. Whetzel.

1858. Daniel Binns.


New Salem, also known as " Muttontown," is a
small village of about one hundred and fifty' inhab-
itants, lying on the western border of Menallen town-

I ship. It contains three stores, a post-offlce, an Odd-
Fellows' hall, three churches, and a fine public school,
the district in which it is included being independ-
ent in school matters from the township. The vil-
lage site was owned by John Butterfield in 1790, and
later by James Vandement, who was also the owner
of no inconsiderable land tracts in that locality be-
sides. David Arnold bought the village property in
1799, and August 17th of that year laid out a village
which he named New Salem, containing sixty lots.
Why he called it New Salem no one knows. From a
copy of tlie original plat of the town it appears,
however, that the land upon which he laid it out had
been called " StulHe's Policy." The nucleus of the
village was James Thompson's grist-mill, a rude log
structure, built some time before Arnold conceived
the idea of founding a town. Others than himself


the same tinu


as the village


from Marvlai

d i

f till- village prospects, for one
.pencd a tavern there in 1802, at
lis father, Dr. Hickman, located
ian. In 1803, John Funk came
pursuit of a favorable opening
for trade, and found at New Salem one to suit him.
He put a few goods into a log cabin on the " Odd-
Fellows' corner," and traded a year, until 1804, when he
died. There was John Boner, the village blacksmith,
and soon afterwards Alexander Campbell, who thought
the field so promising that he too opened a smithy.
Campbell was, moreover, a firm believer in his ability
to discover the secret of perpetual motion, and be-
stowed so much time upon his eftbrts in that direction
that he did not s|.ai-,' much time to theblacksniithing
business. He did M)i]iitliing in the wa}- of making
]>ottery, but perpetual motion was his hobby, and of
course he wore himself out without achieving the
object of his ambition. Dr. Hickman and Alexander
Campbell lived in two log houses that stood near to-
gether. Campbell's house has been demolished ; Dr.
Hickman's still stands, and is now the home of Henry
Funk, son of John Funk, store-keeper in New Salem
in 1803, at which time Henry was two years old.
After that he lived back from the village until 1835,
when he resumed his habitation at New Salem and
set up a blacksmith-shop. Since 1836 he has lived
in New Salem, although long since retired from active

For some reason unexplainable at this day New
Salem soon assumed and maintained a reputation for
immorality and disorder that made its name a by-
word and reproach among peaceful and law-abiding
people. What especial circumstance led to this is
not now apparent, nor is it necessary to inquire. But
by common consent New Salem was mentioned as a


place conspicuous for dram-drinking, horse-racing,
drunkenness, and vicious idleness. Well-behaved
people shunned it, and in deri.sion rechristened it
Multontown, — some say because many a stolen sheep
was traced to the village. Taverns, so called, but
really whiskey-shops, were numerous and flourish-

In 1816 certain keen-eyed speculators concluded a
bank would pay at New Salem, and accordingly built
a stone banking-house in that year upon the lot now
occupied by J. W. Scott's store, and without delay
began to issue seductive-looking bank-bills of all de-
nominations, ranging from sis and a quarter cents
upwards. The bank was called The Farmers' and
Mechanics' Bank of Fayette County, at New Salem.
Aaron Torrance was president, and Timothy Smith
cashier. The people of the surrounding country failed
to exhibit any very great confidence in the matter
of depositing money in the bank, but Messrs. Tor-
rance, Smith, and others managed to keep themselves
moderately busy and the bank in a state of temporary
prosperity by an industrious issue of bills, which pene-
trated not only into remote corners of Pennsylvania,
but into Maryland, Ohio, and other States. In a little
while, when no more bills could be issued, the col-
lapse came, for of course a collapse was inevitable.
The banking-house was closed. Torrance, Smith, and
their associates departed for other scenes, and the
unhappy bill-holders, whose name was legion, were
left to bewail an overweening confidence in promises
to pay. This New Salem bank was from the outset
looked upon with distrust by the State banking au-
thorities. It appears that a letter of inquiry concern-
ing the bank came to the Union Bank at Uniontown
in June, 1816. To that letter the cashier of the Union
Bank made the following response :

"Union Bank or Pennsylvania, July 11, 181G.
"Deai! Sir,— Your letter of the 27th ult. was duly received.
As I could not answer it before this day (when our Directors
meet), I laid your letter before them ; they say from informa-
tiou received in regard to the Association named in your letter
that they have reason to believe that such does exist, but that
the persons composing it are not of sufficient re.spectability to
render it reputable; for myself, I know none of the names men-
tioned, and from that am led to believe they are not men of
much consequence. The village where the bank in question is
to be established contains a few small lug houses, as I am in-
formed ; 'tis situated about six miles from this place, and five or
six miles from Brownsville, where there is a chartered bank.
" I am, respectfully, your ob't servant.

, CaM.

P. Ha


There is still in preservation one of the plates from
which were printed bills of the New Salem Bank of
the denominations of one, three, and five dollars.
The one dollar notes bore the vignette of a recumbent
female holding a sheaf of wheat. Over the figure is
the line " Instituted in 1816." Below the figure ap-
pears the following :

" The Farmers' and Mechanics' Bank of Fayette County
promise to pay , or bearer, on demand, dol-
lar out of their joint funds according to their articles of asso-



The three and five dollar notes were essentially
similar to the one described, except that the vignette
of the three is a soaring eagle, and of the five an
eagle perching upon the back of a lion.

Of this bank one Peter Black was one of the di-
rectors. An advertisement appearing in the Genius
nf Liberfy under date of April 20, 1819, thus alludes
to Mr. Black ;

"$100 Reward, and all necessary expenses, will be given by
the subscriber for the apprehension and delivery of Peter Black
in any jail in the United States. Said Black is charged with
the murder of Crawford Laughlin. Peter Black is a man six
feet high, of dark complexion, has a large head thickly covered
with black hair, has prominent cheek bones, and large shoul-
ders. He is a man of about thirty years of age. He had on
when he went away a blue surtout, pants, and vest, and it is sup-
posed he has also taken with him a quantity of gray clothes. IIo
was formerly a director in the Muttontown, or New Salem Bank
of Fayette County, Pa., and he will be doubtless recollected in
Ohio, where he distributed large quantities of the paper of that
bank. It is supposed that Black has gone into the State of Ohio.
The circumstances attending this horrid deed are as follows:
On the 20th inst., while the deceased was at the house of Black,
in Fayette County, a dispute arose between the deceased and
another man. Black interfered and slabbed deceased in the
neck, making a gash about one and a half inches deep.

"March 27, 1819.'



the Jonah

Alexander Wilson had a store i
Dearth place.

Harmon Ficke came here in 1816, announcing that
he had come from Baltimore for the purpose of start-
ing in trade at New Salem. He put a few goods into
John Funk's old store building, and declared himself
ready for business. Ficke claimed to be a doctor as
well as trader, but his medical and surgical skill were
not made apparent. He kept his store open six or
eight years, and departed because store-keeping in
New Salem was overshadowed in importance by
whisky-selling and rendered a profitless undertaking.
There was no store at New Salem for many years
after Harmon Ficke left, but taverns abounded and
whisky was king. Martin Wolf was one of the tav-
ern-keepers at this time, and soon after him came
two others, named Emmons and Mitchell. At one
time there were three taverns in the village. Jacob
Balsinger was one of the later and most widely
known of New Salem's tavern-keepers, but during
his time the popular voice made itself heard in em-
phatic protest against a further continuance of whisky
traffic at the village, for matters had been going from
bad to worse, and, like other evils, that evil had got to
the point where it was likely to cure itself .V tem-
perance society wa.s organized in 183.5 at the village



school-house, and at that meeting speeches were made
by Gen Joshua B. Howell and Dr. Hugh Campbell.
The temjterance reformers once fairly started, kept
the ball in motion and worked assiduously. The
whisky men fought to stop it, liut to no purpose.
Balsinger finding his business waning, sold his tavern
— the only one then in the village — to James Down-
ard. Downard got the impression that the temper-
ance wave would exhaust itself and eventually leave
him master of the field, but the longer he waited the
more certain became his conviction that the temper-
ance crusade had come to stay. All the village dram-
shops but his had been driven out of existence, and
his was doomed. One day he received a note of
warning, threatening him with an immersion in the
horse-pond if he failed to close his bar within a week.
Discretion prevailed with him, and within less than
a week his house was closed and he on his way to
other parts. That was in the year 1843, and fmin
that day to this no strong drink has been sold in Xcw

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 150 of 193)