Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 161 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 161 of 193)
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is the recorder's office at Uniontowu :

" Know all men by these presents that whereas the members of the
Congregation of TVIount Moriah have fi.\ed with my free will & consent
on a spot of the land I claim to erect a prisbaterian church upon that
I do hereby bind myself my Hairs E.vt. & Adm. & every of them firmly
by these presents to John Swearingen & George Wilson Trustees & to
their successors for ye standing use of that congregation to give grant
and bequeath & a good legal title to make to4 acres of land A the benefit
of ye spring joyning the same where ye meeting house is now a building
for ever as soon as it shall Be in my power to make it To the just per-
formance Here of For and in consideration of One Shilling to me in
hand paid by ye said Trustees for ye Congregation the Receipt Whereof
I hereby acknowledge I bind me my Heirs Ex. Adm. & every of us and
them in the just sum of one hundred pounds as Witness my hand & Seal
July ye Ist 1773. "Joseph Caldwell.

& in Presence of


In 1798, Georges Creek, Muddy Creek, and Union
or Tent united, with the Rev. James Adams in charge,
he being the second regularly installed, Oct. 16, 1799.
He resigned in 1808. The members having nearly all
emigrated West, the church was suffered to fall into
decay. An occasional sermon was preached by the
Rev. James Dunlap to the remnant. He was at
this time teaching school in New Geneva. This state
of things continued for some years. In 1816 the
house was thoroughly repaired, and in the follow-
ing year Ashbel Green Fairchild, a licentiate of
New Jersey, preached for the members. This he
continued to do in 1818, and in July, 1819, was or-
dained and installed as pastor. The membership at
this time was ten, with Henry Jennings as elder. In
a few months the membership was increased to ninety
persons. In 1822 he was in charge of Georges Creek,
Morgantown, and Greensboro', Greene Co., Pa., con-
gregations, with a salary of $333. In April, 1827, he
resigned the charge of Morgantown and Greensboro'
congregations and took Union or Tent Church. The
Old Frame was under his care until 1854, a period of
thirty-six years. This justly celebrated divine con-
tinued in charge of the Tent Church until his death,
June 30, 1864.

The great addition to membership was made from
1829 to 1832, when it reached one hundred and eighty.
Eighty joined during the year 1829.

In July, 1854, the " Mount Moriah Church" called
H. O. Rosborough, who on June 5, 1855, was ordained
and installed the fourth regular pastor of this church.
His salary has been increased several times. Georges'
Church agreed to pay him S600 alone in September,
1872, the remaining portion of his time, one-third,
being in the service of Mount Washington, twenty-
four miles distant. The property of Ashbel G. Fair-
child was purchased of L. 8. Hough, executor of his
estate, March 31, 1866, for the sum of $2188, con-
sisting of seventeen acres and buildings. This is
now attached to Mount Moriah, Old Frame, or
Georges Creek Church, as a parsonage. Rev. H. O.
Rosborough, the minister in charge, resides here, a
short distance south of Smithfield.

The parsonage property was paid for and freed of
incumbrance in less than two years.

The ministers in charge since the organization by
Rev. James Power in 1774 have been the following :
Rev. James Power, 1776 ; Rev. David Smith, August,
1794 ; Rev. James Adams, 16th October, 1799 ; Rev.
Ashbel G. Fairchild, called 1817, regular from July,
1819, to April, 1854 ; Rev. H. O. Rosborough, called
July, 1854, and remained from 18.55 to the present
time (1881).

Membership of the church in 1788, 50. Member-
ship in 1819, 10 ; in 1832, 180 ; in 1881, 160.


The German Baptists in this section worshiped in
J school-houses and barns in early times. The first



church edifice built by this denomination in this part
of Fayette County was " Fair View," in the year
1835. Ephraim Walters donated the lot upon which
the church stands. John Debolt sawed the lumber,
and Joseph Mosier was one of the contractors to build
the house. The trustees of the church were Ephraim
"Walters, Samuel Aughey (now written Ache). The
ministers or bishops were Eev. James Kelso, James
Fouch, Letherraan Sphon, Rev. James Quinter, Jacob
Mack, succeeded by Elder Joseph I. Cover, the bishop
having it in charge at present. Its membership at
present is .ibout two hundred.

The Baptist Congregation in Geneva is a branch of
the Greensboro' Church, and cannot be considered as
belonging to Nicholson.


The history of Methodist worship at this place and
vicinity prior to 1852, and the various eftbrts for the
establishment of a church of this denomination, be-
long to the rcligi'His history of Springhill township.
In the year n.iiii. a a ..m^it-ation was gathered here,
and a frame buiMiiii; > r.cicd as a house of worship,
mainly through tlir iUnn^ ..f the Rev. I. C. Pershing.
The church buiKliiiL' -taiid- on huid formerly belong-
ing to the estuU' "f .MiUtr Denny, and sold by his
executor, Jonathan .Alouroe, Esq., to the church.
Trustees, Isaac Crow, Frederick Eberharl, David
Franks, Alexander Conrad, and Joseph Provance.

The present membership of the church is thirty-
live. Pastor, Rev. S. W. McCurdy.


There are in Nichnl,.-oii thr lull,, wing-named burial-
grounds, most of them l),iiig the last resting-places of
old settlers in the township, viz. : One at the stone
school-house. New Geneva ; one at McLain's, Pro-
vance Bottoms ; one at Provance's, Provance Bottoms ;
one at Fair View (German Baptist) ; one at Young's;
the Debolt ground at Rise's ; the Cover and Aughey
ground at Woolsey and Cover's ; and the old Frame
Church burial-ground. The last name,!, as als,, the
Fair View and the burial-place at Y,,ini-'-, ar,' \scl\
kept and cared for. The same can hanlly he ~ai,l ,)f
the others.


In the Mexican war of 1846-48 a number of men
from Nicholson entered the United States service,
among whom were Albert G. Nicholson and William
Fairchild Nicholson, the latter of whom died of
cholera on his way home from Mexico.

In the war of the Rebellion, 1861-65, Capt. William
West enlisted many men in this part of Fayette
County, and had them mustered into the service as
West Virginia troops. Capts. Thompson and Leas-
ure, of Morgantown, also did the same. The length
of time elapsed since the war has caused the names of
many to be forgotten. The following persons were
among the number who enlisted in Virginia regi-

i ments : Joseph G. Provance, Jesse Poundstone, Har-
[ rison Mack, John Knife, Martin Stoneking, James
I Wood. In Capt. George W. Gilmore's company,
which was mustered to the credit of West Virginia,
were the following-named men from Nicholson :
Joseph Provance, John Debolt, John Gilmore, James
W. Nicholson, Albert G. Sandusky, Johnson J. Mal-
lory, Abijah Farmer. Following is a partial list of
Nicholson men who served in Pennsylvania regiments
in the war of the Rebellion :

In the 85th Eegt., Capt. I. M. Abrams, John Mc-
Donald, William Pratt, Ashbel Pratt, Isaac Pratt,
James Gray, Alfred O'Neil, Hugh O'Neil, Henry
O'Neil, James H. Core, James Sturgis.

In the 168th Regt., Capt. Joseph Stacy, Henry
Miller, William Harrison, Peter Bricker, Robert
Armstrong, John Hill.

In the 112th Regt., Capt. Amzi S. Fuller, A. Turner
Dougherty, David L. Provance, Harmar Denny,
Hugh T. Davenport, Nicholas Honsaker, Warwick
H. Ross, John Campbell, sub.

In the 14th Cavalry, Capt. Duncan, William Conn,
John Wesley Poundstone, Joseph E. Dilliner, John
Beatty, William Abram.

In the 16th Cavalry, Gapt. Fisher, John Dugan,
sub., Adolph A. Eberhart, Isaac P. Eberhart, Henry
Blair, Andrew J. Dunham, Albert G. Dougherty,
Abraham Dunham.

Other regiments which cannot now be designated
contained the following-named soldiers from Nichol-
son :

Martin L. Blackford, Josiah Honsaker, Calvin
Malaby, John Ross Summers, John Jaco, William
Jaco, Henry K. Atchison, Samuel Davis, John Davis,
John Whetstone, Asa O. Cooley, William Eberhart,
Henry Huhn, Doc Arnold, William Patterson, John
Mallory, Miller Dunaway, William Franks, Wesley
O'Neil, Benjamin F. Huhn, Isaac P. Huhn, William
A. Stewart, Charles Nicholson, James Mallory, Mor-
gan Kelbver.

The Catt's Run Coke- Works are located on Pro-
vance Bottoms, nearly two miles south of Catt's Run.
They were built by a company of Uniontown capital-
ists in 1877, the first coke being made in October of
that year. The style of the company was Ewing,
Kendall & Co. Having erected si.xty ovens, the
works were leased to a Pittsburgh firm, Messrs.
Charles H. Armstrong & Son. At these works the
coal is crushed and thoroughly washed before being
placed in the ovens. The entire product of these
works is sold to the Ironton Manufacturing Com-
pany, of Ironton, Ohio, at three dollars per ton.

The minerals of Nicholson township are the same

that are found generally in Fayette County. Iron

ore has '.been mined and shipped to Wheeling from

I Fred's Run (a tributary of Catt's Run), but the cost






^. Vz-^^^^^



of transportation is found too great for tlie profitable
working of the mines. Petroleum has been obtained
at a depth of five hundred feet on Jacob's Creek in
this township.

The manufacture of stone-ware from clay found in
Springhill township has become the most important
industry of New Geneva. The manufacture cont-ists of
milk-pans, jars, jugs, fruit-jars or '" jugoos," also chem-
ical pots and piping. Two firms are now carrying on
this business, viz. : Isaac P. Eberhart & Co. and
Alexander Conrad, each producing about forty-eight
thousand gallons of ware per year.



John Poundstone, of Nicholson, is of German de-
scent. His grandfather, Philip Poundstone, came
from Germany and settled in Nicholson township
at an early day. Nicholas Poundstone, father of
John, was born in Fayette County, and spent his life
here as a farmer. He married Elizabeth Everly, and
they had eight children. Their son John was born
in Nicholson township, Aug. 30, 1S04, and was edu-
cated at the public schools, and growing up learned
the trade of cabinet-making, and followed it for about
four years in Masontown. In 1830 he moved to where
he now lives, and has ever since " farmed it."

Aug. 12, 1827, he married Susanna Rider, of Ger-
man township, who died in June, 1869. They had ten
children, seven of whom are now living. June 4,
1871, Mr. Poundstone took to himself another wife in
the person of Barbara A. Hunsaker. Of his children,
one, a son, is living in California, another son is a
hotel-keeper, and the others are farmers. He has
but one daughter living, Louisa, who married a
farmer by the name of Law.

Mr. Poundstone has held important township offices,
that of school director, etc., and is a member of the
Lutheran Church, in which he has held the office of
elder for many years. His possessions consist chiefly
of lauds. Mr. Poundstone is a gentleman of unas-
suming modest manners. His neighbors speak highly
of him as an honest, honorable man, whose life is
gentle, and whose good deeds, quietly done, are nu-

Michael W. Franks, of Nicholson township, the
late popular treasurer of Fayette County, is of Ger-
man lineage. His father, Michael Franks, was born
and raised in Fayette County, upon the farm whereon
he, Mr. Franks, our subject, now resides. He was a
farmer, and married Charity Kendall, of Nicholson
township, by whom he had seven children. Michael
W. (the third, for his grandfather as well as fiither
bore the same Christian name) was born A|iril

1 29, 1832, and was educated in the common and select

I schools, learned the business of farming, and since

his marriage, in 1864, has resided where he now lives,

except for three years, during which time he held

j public ofiice and resided at Uniontown.

I He was elected treasui-er of Fayette County by a very

[ large majority in November, 1878, and performed the

{ duties of his ofiBce from Jan. 1, 1879, to Jan. 1, 1882,

1 giving universal satisfaction. It may be added here

that he was nominated by his party for that ofiice

over more good men, probably, than were ever before

, beaten as aspirants for the same office at the same

' time in Fayette County.

i It is generally conceded by his political opponents
that Fayette County never had a better treasurer
than Mr. Franks, and there are gentlemen of stand-
ing in the county who declare it never had so good
; an one as he. He is popular in all parts of the county,
generous, and gentlemanly.

Mr. Franks and the family of Franks are distinc-
tively Democratic in politics.

May 17, 1864, Mr. Franks married Martha J. Bell,
of Greene County, and has three children, — Emma B.,
Charles O. B., and Estella R.


Dr. Wilson Greene, of New Geneva, Nicholson
township, was born in Greene County, Dec. 1, 1829,
and is of Puritan descent on his paternal side, but on
his maternal of German extraction.

His grandfather, William Greene, was born in New
England. He migrated to Greene County, Pa., at an
early day, and settled on Whitely Creek, near " Wil-
low Tree." He married Rebecca La Rue, and their
issue were five sons and three daughters.

Henry Sycks, his maternal grandfather, was a native
of Virginia, but while quite young removed with his
father to Greene County, Pa., and settled on the waters
of Dunkard Creek, in Monongahela township. They
were among the pioneers that first permanently located
west of the Monongahela River. Young Henry par-
ticipated in the Indian wars of the period, and endured
the privations and hardships incident to border life.
He was united in matrimony with Barbary Selser, a
daughter of a contemporary settler, and ten children
were the fruits of their marriage.

Matthew Greene and Rachel Sycks, the parents of
Dr. Greene, were married in 1828, and reared four
children, of whom the subject of this notice was the
only son, born on the farm his great-grandfather
located, where his mother was born, and where she
died, and where his father still resides.

Dr. Greene is eminently a self-made man. His
advantages for acquiring an education were very lim-
ited. Supplementing his scant public school oppor-
tunities by several terms of select school, which he
was enabled to attend through the summer by teach-
ing district school through the winter, ho succeeded



in obtaining a very liberal and thorough English
eilucation. In like manner he earned the means that
supported him at Cleveland Medical College, Cleve-
land, Ohio, where he completed his professional studies.

March 23, 18.59, he formed a propitious matrimonial
alliance with Pleasant M., second daughter of Evan
Evans, who owned an adjoining farm. He was of
pure Welsh lineage, both parents having been born
in Wales. Mrs. Greene's mother, Nancy Myers, was
a granddaughter of the historic Rev. John Corbly,
whose wife and several children were massacred while
on their way to church, Sunday moi"ning. May 10,
1782, by the Indians, near Garard's Fort.

They began their married life at Bristol, Perry Co.,
Ohio, where he soon acquired a lucrative practice.
Having pursued his ]irofession here for five years, he
returned to Pennsylvania and located in New Geneva,
wliere he now resides. Here, too, he soon attained to
an extensive piaetice, whiih he ^till retains. Person-
ally he is eminently poptilar, having merited the
esteem of his fellows by being in.stant in good words
and works. Professionally he has been signally suc-
cessful, and is held in high esteem by the medical
fraternity. At present he is vice-president of the
Fayette County Medical Association, and holds the
appointment as delegate to the National Medical Con-
vention, to be held in St. Paul, Minn., in July next.

Dr. Greene is the father of two children, — Isa D.
and Willie W. Isa is an accomplished young lady,
educated at Monongahela College, and a graduate of
Dana's Musicallnstitute, Warren, Ohio. She possesses
a rare talent for instrumental music and enjoys a sweet
and delicately-cultured voice. Willie is at present
pursuing a course of study at Monongahela College.

Tlie doctor has for a luimber of years been a promi-
nent and influential member of one of the leading
Evangelical Churches, of which also his wife and chil-
dren are all communicants.

Though not luxuriating in unbounded aflluence, he
lias accumulated much valuable property, which con-
sists of houses and lands and moneys at interest, etc.
He is one of the solid and useful citizens of the county.

Mr. William P. Griffin, of Nicholson township, is
of Welsh stock. He is the son of William and Rhoda
Griflin, who, coming to Fayette County, settled on
Georges Creek, in Springhill township. He was a
miller. They had a family of eight children, of whom
William P. was the seventh, and is the only one liv-
ing, and was born Sept. 2, ISO',1. He was educated in

the common and select schools, and has been engaged
in farming all his business life. He has resided upon
the farm which he now occupies for fifty years.

In August, 1837, Mr. Griffin married Ann Gans, of
Springhill township, by whom he has had thirteen
children, eleven of whom are living. Mr. and Mrs.
Griffin were for many years members of the Baptist
Church, but about 1868 they united with the Chris-
tian Church, of which they are honored and useful
members, Mr. Griffin being an elder thereof He
was once a lieutenant in the State militia, and two
of his sons, William L. and Charles A., served in the
war of the Rebellion, the former of whom is a physi-
cian, the latter a general trader. Mr. Griffin's third
son, Newton, is a farmer ; the fourth son is a grocer ;
and all the sons have left the old homestead and the
county, living in various parts of the Union.

Mr. Griffin is a substantial, excellent farmer, an
honest, hard-working man ; and Mrs. Griffin has con-
tributed to their success in life her full share of man-
agement and hard work. They command the respect
and esteem of their neighbors. Mr. Griffin has held
important township offices.


Henry Dils, of Nicholson township, who was born
July 3, 1816, in what was then Springhill township,
is descended from good old Dutch stock, it is believed.
His father, Philip Dils, married in Springhill town-
ship Mary Hager, and located in the same township
about 1807. They had five children, of whom Henry
was the third. Three are yet living, — Henry, Peter,
and Mary Core. Mr. Dils' father passed most of his
life as a farmer, and was successful, leaving each of
his children a good farm.

Mr. Dils received a limited education in the com-
mon schools, but is a man of observation and intelli-
gence, and has held the position of school director
and other offices. He has been a member of the Old
Frame Presbyterian Church for many years, and has
for several years been an elder in that church. He
was married Dec. 28, 1843, to Martha Vander-
vort, of Nicholson township. They had eleven chil-
dren, eight of whom are living. His wife being de-
ceased, he married again Nov. 10, 1870. Six children
were the issue of this latter marriage, four now living.
Mr. Dils has resided in his present home thirty-eight
years. Here his children have been reared, and he
has assisted his grown-up children to a start in life.
His sons are all farmers. Mr. Dils is a gentleman of
excellent moral character, without reproach as a busi-
ness man. His possessions are chiefly lands.


Perry is one of the nortliernmost townships of
Fayette County, its northern line being a part of the
bonndary between this county and Westmoreland.
On the east the township is bounded by Lower Ty-
rone and Franklin, on the south by Franklin, and on
the west by Jefferson and Washington. Perry lies
on both sides of the Youghiogheny River, which
flows through the township in a general northwest-
erly course. Its other principal streams are Jacob's
Creek, Washington Run, and Virgin Run. The last
named enters the Youghiogheny from the south, and
marks the southeastern boundary of Perry against
the township of Franklin. Washington Run flows
northeastwardly through the central part of Perry,
past its principal town (Perryopolis), and falls into
the Youghiogheny. Jacob's Creek enters the Youg-
hiogheny from the eastward, and marks the northeast-
ern boundary of Perry against Westmoreland County.

That part of the township which lies east of the
Youghiogheny, and between it and Jacob's Creek, is
mountainous, rising in some parts quite precipitously
from both streams, and having but little bottom-land.
In that part of the township which lies on the south-
west side of the river the land rises to a considerable
height from the Youghiogheny, then slopes back to
what are called Washington Bottoms, which are
drained by Washington Run. Where the village of
Perryopolis is located is a moderate elevation of land,
which from there has a gradual descent in all direc-
tions. This section is excellently adapted for the
production of grain and grass, and nearly the whole
township, particularly that part southwest of the
river, embraces very fine lands for purposes of agri-
culture. The Pittsburgh and Conncllr<vilk- Railroad
— now generally known as the,' ami i ihid,
because leased by that company — traverse^ ihr tnwn-
ship along the right bank of the Youghiogheny
River, and has within the boundaries of Perry two
stations, — Layton and Banning's. The population
of the township by the census of 1880 was fourteen
hundred and seventy-six.


William Athel, Z3\\U acres, Sj.ring Rum warranted April .■),

1769; surveyed Oct. 27, 1769.
Ge«>rge Washington. 329 acres, Meadows; warranted April ?,,

1769; surveyed Oct. 25. 1769.
Tliumas Jones, 332 acres. Deer Range; warranted April 3. 1760;

surveyed Oct. 26, 1769.

John Paty, 330 acres, Crab-Tree Run ; warranted April 3. 1769;
surveyed Oct. 27, 1769.

John Bishop, 319 acres, Flatt ; warranted April 3, 1769; sur-
veyed Oct. 28, 1769.
Note. — Tlie five tracts above were surveyed to the original warrant-
holders, Oct. 26 and 27, 1769, but were all patented to George Washing-
ton, Feb. 28, 1782.

George Brown, 326 acres; warranted April 3, 1769.

James Hunter, 276j acres; warranted April 19, 1769.

Eleanor Hunter, 326 acres; warranted April 19. 1769.

Hopewell Jewell, S2J acres; warranted April 17, 1794: sur-
veyed Aug. 25, 1795.

John Jones, 224 acres.

J. Augustine Washington, 320i acres. Fork ; warranted April
3, 1769 ; surveyed October 2S.

Laurence Washington. 3203 acres. Bear Hill ; warranted April
3, 1769; surveyed October 28.

William Wilson, 205J acres.

Christopher Bealer, 2981 acres; warranted Dec. 16. 1788; sur-
veyed March 11, 1789.

Mary Iliggs, Springfield; patented April 6, 1791.

John G. Zizing, 681 X 158 acres; warranted March in. 1819,
and Feb. 25. 1S22. Espey, 149 acres; warranted May 27, 17S5 : surveyed
Oct. 31, 1811.

Hugh Espey, 113i acres, June 27, 1809.

Robert Espey, 66 acres, 1815.

William Turnbull, 301 acres, Rocksbury ; patented July 13,

ibull, 219


July 1.3,

Jacob Lawrie, 223 acres, Luton; patented Jan. 9, 1789.
Valentine Secrist, 108J acres; warranted Sept. 29, 1791 ; sur-
veyed Oct. 2fith.


The earliest as well as the most extensive pur-
chaser of lands in what is now Perry township was
Gen. (then Col.) George Washington, who received
a warrant for lands here on the first day of the land-
office of the proprietaries for the sale of tracts west
of the mountains, April 3, 1769. Nearly two years
prior to this, however, Washington had begun to en-
tertain the idea of purchasing large tracts in this
region, as is shown by the tenor of a letter written by
him to Capt. William Crawford, of Stewart's Cross-
ings (now New Haven), as follows :

" Mot-NT Vebxox, Sept. 21, 1767.

" De.1I! Sir, — From a sudden hint of your brother's 1 I wrote
to you a few days ago in a hurry. Having since had more

1 The brother of William Crawford here referred as having given

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 161 of 193)