Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 153 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 153 of 193)
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thaniel Ewing, etc. In 1822 he was married to
Margaret Black, an estimable woman, of Menallen
township. They lived together for fifty-two years.

she dying about five years before her husband. They
had 'eight children, — Catharine and William died
young; Jacob married Caroline Gaddis, and is a
farmer ; Albert Gallatin graduated at Jefferson Col-
lege, read law, and practiced in Jonesboro', Tenn. ;
he was also editor of the Jonesboro' Union, and is now-
dead. Margaret married L. B. Bowie ; Thomas Baird,
who attended Emory and Henry College, near Ab-
ingdon, Va., read law and graduated from the Leb-
anon Law School of Cumberland University, Lebanon,
Tenn., and practiced in Tennessee, Missouri, and at
Pittsburgh, Pa., for several years. He is now en-
gaged in farming. Hugh died when eighteen years
of age ; Jennie G. married William Thorndell, de-

Mr. Graham held several important township offi-
ces ; was also director of the Poor Board. In all
public positions he discharged his duties well. He
was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian
Church for a number of years. Although his early
opportunities for education were limited, he by care-
ful study during his spare moments stored his mind
with a vast fund of useful knowledge. He possessed
a retentive memory, and having once learned a fact
he was able to repeat and detail it with the ease and
grace of the true gentleman. He was a great admirer
of the poet Burns, and could repeat from memory
probably more of his poems, in their Scotch dialect,
than any man who ever lived in Fayette County-
He was ever ready with the Psalms of David and
sacred lyrics learned at his mother's knee. He was
especially noted for his retentive memory, his genial
Irish wit, his great physical ability, honesty, charity,
and industry. Mr. Graham was reticent in regard to
his charities ; in other words, modest, apparently not
letting his left hand know what his right hand did.
Like all generous, really strong men, he was never
boastful, and was quiet in demeanor. Probably no
man exceeded him in a due sense of all the proprie-
ties of life and society. He suppressed all scandalous
tongues that wagged in his presence, carrying out
practically the maxim, " Let no evil be spoken of


For the reason that during the ninety-eight years
which have elapsed since the formation of the origi-
nal townships of Fayette County the territory (or
nearly all of it) now embraced in North and South
Union was for almost seventy years included together
in the old township of Union, it is evident that much

of the history of the two present townships should be
written together as that of old Union, and accord-
ingly that method has been adopted in the narrative
which follows.

In December, 17S3, the Court of Quarter Sessions
of Fayette County at its first session — held in the


month above named — decreed the erection of "a town-
ship beginning at the head of the west branch of
Jennings' Run ; thence down the same to the mouth
of said run ; thence up Redstone Creek to Burd's old
road ; thence along the same to the foot of the Laurel
Hill; thence aloug the foot of Laurel Hill to Charles
Brownfield's ; thence by a line or lines to be drawn
by Charles Brownfield's, Thomas Gaddis', and the
Widow McClelland's, including the same, to the head
of the west branch of the Jennings' Run aforesaid,
to be hereafter known by the name of LTnion town-

At the first election in the township James Finley,
Alexander McClean, Henry Beeson, Jonathan Row-
land, John Gaddis, and Moses Sutton were elected
justices of the peace. In reference to the election of
these officers. Gen. Ephraim Douglas wrote, in a
letter dated Uniontown, Feb. 6, 1784, and addressed
to John Dickinson, president of the Supreme Execu-
tive Council of Pennsylvania, as follows:

" Want of an earlier conveyance gives me the opportunity of
enclosing to Council the return of an election held here this
day for Justices of the Peace for this township ; and I trust the
importance of the choice of officers to the county will excuse me
to that honorable body for offering my remarks on this occasion.
Col. McClean, though not the first on the return, needs no
panegyric of mine; he has the honor to be known to Council.
James Finley is a man of a good understanding, good character,
and well situate to acoomuiodate that part of the township most
remote from the town. Henry Beeson is the proprietor of the
town, a man of much modesty, good sense, and great benevo-
lence of heart, and one whose liberality of property for public
uses justly entitles him to particular attention from the
county, however far it may be a consideration with Council.
Jonathan Rowland is also a good man, with a good share of
understanding, and a better English educatiou than either
of the two last mentioiud, but unfortunately of a profession
rather too much opposed to the suppression of vice and im-
morality, — he keeps a tavern. John Gaddis is a man whom I
do not personally know, one who has at a former election in
the then township of Jlenallen been returned to Council, but
never commissioned, for what reason I know not. Ilis popu-
larity is with those who have been most conspicuous in oppo-

1 The territory of Union township i
of the l.oroush of Uniontown, which

ture passed April 4, 1790.

sition to the laws of this Commonwealth. Moses Sutton is re-
markable for nothing but aspiring obscurity, and a great facility
at chanting a psalm or stammering a prayer.

" Duty thus far directs me to give Council an impartial de-
scription of the men who are to be the future officers of this
county, but both duty and respect forbid my saying more or
presuming to express a wish of my own ; for I have no predilec-
tion in favor of, or personal prejudice against, either of them.
" I have the honor to be, etc.,

" Ephraim Douglas."

But evidently Gen. Douglas afterwards changed his
opinions as above expressed, as is shown by a letter
(found in the Pennsylvania Archives, 1773-86, p.
G96) as follows :

*' E. Dongla>i to Sec'i/ Armstrong, 1785.

" UsiONTOW.v, 2Tth Jan'y, 1785.
"Sir, — Unwilling to send you this certificate in a blank, and
desirous of saying something on the subject, I have sat with my
head leaning on my hand these ten minutes to consider what
that something should be, and after all have considered that
whatever I could sajr upon it would amount to nothing, for I
have knowledge of Gentlemen foremost on it to justify my giv-
ing a character of him.

"I have already been deceived into a misrepresentation to
Council on a former one, for which I most penitentially beg for-
giveness, protesting at the same time my innocency in it, for the
Constable who made the return, and several others of the town-
ship of Menallen, assured me it would be petitioned against,
but I find they have not done it, nor are they attempting it.
I can offer nothing more on that subject, unless it be that the
township is in great want of a justice, I have given their
characters faithfully as I received them from the general voice
of the inhabitants hereabout. Council in their wisdom will do
the rest. I have the honor to be with high esteem, Sir,
" Your most humble and

"Obedient servant,

"EpHRAisf Douglas."

Of those elected justices of the peace, as before
mentioned, James Finley, John Gaddis, and Moses
Sutton were commissioned as such. Following is a
partial list of justices of the peace elected for the dis-
trict embracing the township of Union until the time
of its division into North and South Union, viz. :

Jonathan Rowland.

1826. Thomas Nesmith.

Robert Moore.

Clement Wood.

Jonathan Rowland.

1827. James Piper.

J h

1829. James Lindsey.


Moses Hopwood.

n nd.

Clement Wood.


1833. Samuel Keeler.


lS-tO-45. Thomas Nesmith.

r n n

William Bryson.

A I a ers.

1860. James McClean.


William Bryson.

I g en a list, made up from election returns,
Be of Union township down to the time

Be ow
f other I
f d on

88 89 — H n y B n, Jon.athan Rowland, James Ranki)

Jonathan Rowland, Ja


1793.— Junatluin Uuwiiiii.l, Jiiiius Itimkm.

1794-95.— Henry Beoson, James Rankin, James Gallagher,

Lewis Springer.
1796. — Henry Beeson, Samuel King, Joniitlian Downer, Lewis

1797. — Levi Springer, Henry Beeson, Samuel King, Robert

18U0. — Levi Springer, James Gregg, James Allen, Isaac Sutton.


1801.— Jacob Beeson, Morris Morris, John McCoy, William

1S03.— Jacob Beoson, Jr., Ellis Bailey, James Gallagher, Wil-
liam Crawford.

1805. — Jacob Beeson, Jr., Joseph Taylor, Reuben Bailey,
Thomas Hibbon.

1806.— Jacob Beeson, Jr., James Lindsey, Diiniel Keller, Rich-
ard Weaver.

1807.— Thomas Moason, John Kennedy, Thomas Hibben, Zadoc

1821. — William Swearingen, Abel Campbell, John Springer,
Samuel Cleavinger, Samuel Clark.

1822. — Abel Campbell, John Springer, Samuel Clark, Samuel
Cleavinger, William Swearingen.

1823.— William Swearingen, Samuel Cleavinger, Abel Campbell,
John Gallagher.

1824.^Abel Campbell, Samuel Smith, Samuel Cleavinger, John

1825.— S.amuel Cleavinger, William Bryson, John McClean,
Abel Campbell.

1826.— John Gallagher, John McClean, Abel Campbell, William

1827.— Abel Campbell, John McClean, John Gallagher, William

1830.— William Morris, William Bryson, Jacob Gaddis, John

1831-32.— Jacob Gaddis, J. Gallagher, William Morris, William

1833-34.— J. Gallagher, W. Barton, Uriah Springer, George

1835.— William Bryson, William Jones, Isaac Wiggins.
1836.— Isaac Wiggins.

1837.— Isaac P. Minor, John Gaddis, William Bryson.
1838.— William Barton, Jr.
1839.— Charles Brown.
1840.— Thomiis Rankin.
1841. — Isaac H.ague.
1842-43.— John Jones.
1844.— Charles Brown.
1845.— Uriah Springer.
1846.— Richard Swan.
1847.— Charles G. Turner.
1848.— Uriah Springer.
1849.— Benjamin Hayden.
1850.— E. G. Turner.


1841. John Deford.

1844. William Barton.
Henry Yeagley.

1845. Samuel H.-vtfleld.
William Bryson.

1846. Isaac Wiggins.
Everard Bierer.

1847. William Barton.

1847. Henry Yeagley.

1848. Charles G. Turne
Dennis Sutton.

1849. Samuel Hatfield.
James Carter.

1850. Henry Yeagley.
Emanuel Brown.

1835. Henry W. Beesot
Samuel Evans.

1836. James Hopwood.
Samuel Evans.

1838. Thomas Hopwood. , 1843. Thomas

Isaac Hague. Isaac Wi

1840. Ellis Phillips.

William Brownfield.
1842. John Huston.
Peter Humbert.


TLe only instance of a direct grant of land having
been made in Fayette County prior to April 3, 1769,
was that of Hugh Crawford, who, in 1767, was " in-
terpreter and conductor of the Indians'" in the run-
ning of the western part of Mason and Dixon's line.
The grant was given by Governor John Penn, dated
Jan. 22, 1768, and was a conveyance of land, called a
" Grant of Preference," for a tract of five hundred
acres. It was, besides, save the Gist tracts, the only
instance where any one person was given more than
four hundred acres. In consequence of this unusual
proceeding the tract of land was given the name of
"Injustice." Previous to this, however, Peter Red-
stone, or Indian Peter, who was the acting interpreter
for Hugh Crawford in his official term as Indian
agent, claimed to have owned this same land. In a
letter to His Excellency the Governor, Redstone
stated that he had lived peaceably upon the land given,
him by Penn until one Philip Shute, a Dutchman,
came and quarreled with him. He therefore asked
that another tract be given him, which was done, and
he vacated the one to occupy the second, located
near Brownsville, on the opposite side of the Monon-
gahela River. Conflicting titles of the original five
hundred acres caused numerous lawsuits between
Crawford and Shute, which were decided in favor of
Crawford, and he became the owner under tiie " Grant
of Preference," as stated. The order of survey of this
land was made July 4, 1770. and in that year Craw-
ford died. Not long after his death the property was
sold by his administrator, William Graham, by an
order of the Orphans' Court of Cumberland County,
to pay his debts, Robert Jackson being the purchaser.
The records of early transfers of property show that
on June 15, 1773, Hugh Crawford (probably a son),
in consideration of £50, purchased of Walter Briscoe
"a plantation containing two hundred acres, being
upon the waters of Big Redstone Creek, on a branch
called Lick Run, joining line with John Allen and
Elias Newkirk, it being a tract of land that said Bris-
coe took possession of in the year of our Lord 1768, to
have and to hold." Again, March 10, 1783, Walter
Briscoe, in consideration of £300, sold to Robert
Jackson three hundred acres of land " lying on the
waters of the Redstone, adjoining lands now held by
Benjamin Phillips, Hugh Crawford, and the said
Jackson." The property included in Hugh Craw-
ford's " Grant of Preference" is now within the limits
of the farm of Col. Samuel Evans, containing fifteen



hundred acres, and formerly owned by Judge Ken-

Philip Shute, after the decision against him in the
Crawford lawsuits, settled upon a tract of land called
Thorn Bottom, on what is now known as Shute's Run,
which was warranted to him Sept. 9, 1769. He was
one of the first persons to make a home here, and his
name appears upon the records as early as 1768 among
those settlers who met the commissioners at Gist's
place on March 23d of that year. On May 9, 1788,
tliere was surveyed to Philip Shute ninety-nine and
one-half acres of land. Elizabeth Shute had received
a warrant for thirty-two and one-quarter acres as far
back as April 1, 1773, but the tract was not surveyed
to her until Nov. 11, 1815.

The tub-mill which Philip Shute built on "The
Neck," now a portion of Col. Evans' large farm, is
said to have been the first one erected in the county.

William Cromwell was a son-in-law of Capt.
Christojiher Gist, and like him one of the earliest
settlers in the county. In 1786, Cromwell claimed a
piece of land on which Philip Shute was living that
year. This piece of land was called " Beaver Dams,"
and is a part of that now owned by Col. Evans.

Josiah and Nathan Springer were members of the
party whose applications for land were in the land-
office awaiting the first issue of warrants. The one
issued to Josiah was No. 819, for three hundred and
sixteen acres, and dated April 3, 1769, the first day
warrants were ever given for land in Fayette County.
This tract was surveyed under the name of " Elk
Lick," on June 2, 1770. Josiah Springer died at his
home in 1785, and his descendants all removed to the
West. His will is the first on record in the county.
Nathan Springer's land was located next to his
brother's on the southwest. It contained three hun-
dred and six and one-quarter acres, and was called
" Springer's Lot." The warrant. No. 1830, was
granted the same day as that of Josiah, and the sur-
vey was made June 22d of the same year. Nathan
Springer eventually removed with his family to the
West. Dennis Springer, another brother, in pursu-
ance of a warrant bearing date Feb. 28, 1786, located
a tract of three hundred and twenty-seven acres just
north of that belonging to Josiah, which was surveyed
May 15, 1788. The names of Dennis and Nathan
Springer also appear as purchasers of lots upon the
original plat of Uniontown in the year 1776. Dennis
was the contractor for the building of the court-house
erected in Uniontown during that year, and the bricks
for the purpose were manufactured on his farm. His
family of five sons and three daughters — Jacob, Jolin,
Dennis, Uriah, Josiah, Anna, Hannah, and Sally —
all reached the estate of men and women. The two
oldest sons were born before the parents crossed to
the west side of the mountains. All the sons, except
Dennis (who had a part of the homestead), settled on
farms near or adjoining tliat of their fatlier, — John,
where Henrv Smith nnw lives; Jacob, on the farm

now owned by Dr. Walker; and Uriah, upon a por-
tion of the William Hankins farm. The daughters
— Anna, Hannah, and Sally — married, respectively,
Morris Morris, Grifiith Morris, and William Morris,
— three brothers. They are all buried in the church-
yard of the old Baptist Church at Uniontown. Cal-
vin Springer, of Uniontown, is a grandson of Dennis,
Sr. As a result of Dennis Springer's becoming
security for Daniel P. Lynch, the old homestead was
brought under the hammer and sold at sherift's sale.
It is now the property of Greenbury Crossland. Levi,
a fourth son of the Springer family, was a resident in
this vicinity as early as 1782, as on May 12th of that
year he answered at the Court of Appeal held at the
house of John Collins, at Uniontown, and sent a sub-
stitute on the Crawford expedition. On Sept. 3, 1796,
he purchased of Jacob Beeson a piece of land adjoin-
ing the plat of Uniontown, lying north of Peter and
west of Pittsburgh Streets. This was a part of the
" Stone Coal Run" tract, afterwards known as Mount
Vernon, and was originally surveyed to Henry Beeson.
The same property now belongs to Levi, a grandson
of the elder Levi Springer. Dennis Springer, a son
of Levi, Sr., married Sally, a sister of Ewing Brown-
lield. She is now a widow, eighty-two years of age.
Daniel M. Springer, of Uniontown, is her grandson,
and Zadoc Springer, of the same place, is a great-

James, William, and Hugh Rankin were early in
this county, and each became the owner of a large
farm in North Union. James purchased 321 acres
called " Siege," which was warranted July 8, 1769,
and surveyed May 18, 1770. Tracts of land in Wash-
ington, Franklin, and Tyrone townships also came
into his possession afterwards, as did 338 acres called
" Sugar Bottom," on Shute's Mill Run, and 185 acres
was warranted May 30, 1788, to William Martin, in-
cluding his improvement. John Walter purchased
300 acres of one tract and sold it to Andrew Hoover,
Sr. Financial troubles overtaking Mr. Rankin, he
disposed of his property about the year 1800 and
removed to the West. William Rankin's farm, called
" Narrow Bottom," comprising 355 acres, was war-
ranted July 8, 1769, and surveyed September 30th of
the same year. His whole life was passed upon the
place. The name of the property upon which Hugh
Rankin settled was " Extent." It contained 225
acres, which was warranted to him Feb. 27, 1770, and
surveyed May ISth of the same year. In 1799 he
sold 193 acres of this land to Andrew Bryson. His
family numbered four children, — William, Esther,
Ann, and Thomas. The first three upon reaching
maturity settled in the West. Thomas remained
upon the homestead until 1851, when he removed to
the borough of Uniontown, and died there the same
year. The old farm has become tlie property of Rob-
ert Parkhill and others. Thomas Rankin was the
father of eight children, but only three are now
livina:,— Hugh I>. Rankin and Mrs. Albert G. Bee-



son, of Uniontown, and Mrs. Anna Smith, of Clarks-
burg, W. Va.

Isaac and Jonathan Pearce, two brothers, came to
this county with the earliest settlers, and each took
up a considerable tract of land. On Sept. 14, 17G9, a
tract of 820 acres was surveyed to Isaac, which was
given the name of "Discord," and upon which a
patent was issued March 10, 1786. In 1785 the busi-
ness of a distillery was carried on here, and June 29,
1791, the property was sold to Mordecai Lincoln, of !
Derry township, Dauphin Co. While yet in the
possession of Isaac Pearce the survey of " Discord" '
was disputed by the attorney of Thomas Gaddis, for
William Cromwell, by virtue of an order issued from
the Ohio Company. The property located by Jona-
than Pearce was called " Bowling Green," a body of
180 acres, adjoining that of Samuel McClean and
Jonathan Pearce. A survey of it was made March
20, 1787.

Samuel Lyon, Sr., and Samuel Lyon, Jr., came
here in 1769, and purchased extensive bodies of land
north of that located by Isaac Pearce. Samuel, Sr., i
had three hundred and fifteen acres, which was called
" Pretention and Contention," and which was sur-
veyed June 13, 1769. In later years the title of this
property was disputed by the attorney of Thomas
Gist for William Cromwell, under an order from the |
Ohio Company. The tract of Samuel Lyon, Jr., con- j
tained two hundred and seventy acres, which was j
surveyed to him June 12, 1769, under order No. 3352, '
and named " White Oak Level." This land was
afterwards found to have been granted to James Fin-
ley, assignee of Henry Boyle, under warrant No.
2107, dated April 3, 1769, the earliest day upon which
warrants were issued for lands in the county. James ,
Finley entered a caveat against the acceptance of the
Lyon survey, and he must have come into possession
of the property, as he lived here until his death,
holding prominent oflices the entire time. In August,
1791, he was appointed associate judge, remaining in
the position until his death, which occurred in 1828.
He was also a member of the Senate of Pennsylvania j
from this district, succeeding John Smilie, who was
elected to Congress in 1792. Mr. Finley was the in- I
ventor of the first chain suspension bridge ever put
up in this county, which was built in 1801 across
Jacob's Creek, on the road between Mount Pleasant
and Connellsville.

Thomas Junk settled in Union township on one
hundred and eighty-six and three-quarters acres of
land, warranted to him Feb. 1, 1796, and surveyed
under the name of " Consolation." The patent of
this tract to him dates April 16, 1798. Its location j
was on a branch of Redstone Creek, and adjoining
land of William Craycraft. Descendants of Thomas
Junk are still living in North LTniou.

A part of the property in this county upon which
Alexander McClean lived for many years is tliat now
owned and occupied by the Stewart Iron Company.

On June 11, 1769, James Stewart made application
for three hundred acres of land, described as " about
one mile from Laurel Hill, on a branch of Redstone
Creek, adjoining the lands of Phillip Shute and John
Davis, including his improvement made that year."
On this application warrant No. 3465 was issued to
James Stewart, June 14, 1769, for three hundred and
thirty-nine acres and one hundred and forty perches
of land, which was surveyed to him. On Sept. 26,
1769, Stewart assigned and delivered to Alexander
McClean all right and title to this property. Upon
it McClean built a log house, which was the home of
himself and wife on their coming into the county.
Upon this place all their children were born, and here
they lived for many years, but in after-time financial
difficulties necessitated the selling of a part of the
property. In 1822 the sherift'sold a portion to James
Piper. Later the greater part of the original tract
came into the hands of Gen. H. W. Beeson, and Nov.
8, 1880, the Stewart Iron Company purchased one
hundred and seventy-one acres of Beeson's heirs.
Most of the sons of Alexander McClean settled in
North Union township, on farms their father bought
for them in his prosperous days. James McClean, a
brother of Alexander, located his lands in North
Union township, near the base of Laurel Hill, and
near the site of the present village of Monroe. John
McClean, another brother, located one hundred and
forty-six acre, of land upon the side of the mountain,
but soon disposed of it and removed to Washington
County. Samuel McClean, also a brother of Alex-
ander, was a surveyor, and in that capacity was of
great assistance for many years to Alexander in his
profession. Samuel first located fifty-six and one-half
acres of land on the mountain, and afterwards pur-
chased six hundred acres of a squatter, who had cut
off" the timber from about three acres, paying him
forty pounds therefor. Another tract of sixty acres,
which Samuel McClean had located some years pre-
viously, was takeu possession of by a man named
Nealy, who built a cabin upon it in the night, and
purchased some implements for working the land.
This caused a lawsuit, which was tried at Hannas-
town and decided in McClean's favor. That tract of

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 153 of 193)