Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 163 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 163 of 193)
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of Greensburg, by whom it was sold to Caleb An-
trim, a Quaker. He left it by will to his daughter
Mary, Mrs. William Campbell, whose heirs sold it to
the present owner, John Rice.

A tract of two hundred and thirty-six acres of the
Washington lands was set off in the partition of the
Meason estate to Alfred Meason. He sold to Benja-
min Martin, who in turn sold in 1838 to Pierson
Cope, who still occupies it. His father was one of
the early settlers in Jefferson township, and he is
himself one of the oldest living settlers of Perry.

Other purchasers of lands belonging to the original
tracts of Gen. Washington were Isaac S])arks, one
hundred and eighty-five acres ; Ruel Sears, one hun-
dred and fifty acres; and John Lloyd, one hundred
and sixty acres. Of the latter, the heirs of Alexan-
der Thorn now own fifty acres. The tract of Isaac
Sparks was purchased by James Fuller and John F.
Martin, Jan. 19, 1831. Jatnes Fuller, of Dnnlap's
Creek, came to this township in 1817, and purchased
two hundred acres of the Washington lands of the
widow of Isaac Meason, and one hundred and fifty
acres of Conrad Shultz, a merchant of Baltimore.
He also purchased one hundred and twenty acres of
Thomas Burns, it being a part of the Burns tract,
which extended to the Youghiogheny River, and on
which the Burns Ford was situated. David ai>d John
Fuller were two of the si-x sons of James Fuller.

withstanding wliat lias been done, and in consideration of our ancient
friendship, I give yon further iudulgence. Take this letter to Col.
Thomas Collins, sheriff of Fayette County, and it will operate as a stay
of execution." Col. Shreve took the letter to the sheriff as directed ;
further time was given, the rayments were met (though with great dif-
ficulty) by Shreve, but both he and his great creditor passed from earth
leaving the transaction uncompleted and the lands still unconveyed.
The letter referred to reniai

■ possession of Sheriff Collii




A tract lying directly south of the town plat of
Perryopolis, and containing one hundred and seventy-
two acres of the Washington lands, was sold June
13, 1802, to Joseph Sayre. Of this, fifty-one acres
was sold in 180G to John Baldus, who sold in 1810 to
John Kubbs. On the 11th of May, 1815, it was con-
veyed to Saiiiupl Slireve, and on this was surveyed and
laid out tin- outer till- of lots that was added to the
town I'lal in isl'i. 'I'lic land comprising the original
plat of the town was purchased before 1814 of George
Meason by Samuel Shreve, Dr. Thomas Hersey, and
Nathan Hersey.

The Washington Mill property passed to Powell
Hough, and from him to John Strickler and Jacob
Strawn. Strawn's heirs sold it to George Anderson,
who repaired it in 1859, and later sold to Samuel
Smith, in whose possession it still is. The site has
been occupied by a mill in active operation for a
period of one hundred and five years without inter-
mission, except for a few years prior to 1790, during
which it was out of repair and in disuse.

James Hunter and his wife, Eleanor, were among
the owners of original tracts in this township, two
hundred and seventy-six acres on Virgin Run being
warranted to him, and three hundred and twenty-six
acres to her, on the 19th of April, 1769. They were
residents of the city of Philadelphia, and he a land
speculator. It was said of hiin that he could ride
from Philadelphia to Lake Erie and sleep every night
on his own land. He and his wife were in the habit
of riding through the country together to visit his
lands. Pierson Cope says he remembers that when
he was a boy James Hunter and wife came together
to the house of his father (who was Hunter's agent)
in a private carriage, with a white man for a driver.
This driver had heard of sugar-trees, and asked young
Cope to show him one. This he did, but the man
after examining the tree remarked that he saw no
signs of sugar upon it, whereupou the lad explained
at length (and much to the driver's surprise) the
process by which it was manufactured from the sap.
Both the two tracts above mentioned became Mr.
Hunter's property. He lived to a very advanced age,
and in a codicil to his will (made Dec. 14, 1819) de-
vised his lands in Perry township to his niece, Mrs.
Eleanor H. Curwin. Afterwards the greater part of
these lands were sold by Pierson Cope, as agent, to
Obadiah Bowne, Sr., and John H. Blaney.

The Bowne tract was sold by order of court after
the death of Mr. Bowne, Sr. The widow of Obadiah
Bowne, Jr., an interest of 8500 in the property
by will if she married, and the whole of it if she re-
mained single. She preferred matrimony, and in the
course of time married James Blair, ,Ir., her manager.
They bought in the farm, she paying one-half of the
purchase-money and he the other half. Mrs. ;]!hiir
by this last act helped to pay for tlie farm tliree times,
—first, in assisting her husband in helping his fatlicr

pay for tl:e place originally ; second, in paying off
legacies under the will of Obadiah Bowne, Sr. ; and
third, in the half-payment at the time of purchase by
Mr. Blair.
The remainder of the Hunter tract was purchased

i by John H. Blaney, James Blair, Sr., John B. Blair,
James Piersol, John Carr, John Hamilton, Samuel
Johnson, and Ephraim Lynch. A brother of Eph-
raim, Robert Lynch, was a blacksmith and an axe-
maker. For a time he had a shop on the Israel Shreve
farm, afterwards built on what is now the King farm.
The coal to supply his forge was brought from Little
Redstone. A few years later a vein of coal was found
within a short distance of the forge.
The tract of land situated north of the Hunter tract,

[ and running to the Youghiogheny River, contained

I over three hundred acres. Charles March became the

' possessor of the tract from the warrantee about 1790.
It pa.ssed from him to his sons, John M. and James.

j The widow of the latter is now living on the place.

I Christian Patterson became the owner of over one

! hundred acres of land before 1800. He sold to Ben-
jamin Martin, who later conveyed it to Thomas Price,
by whom the present brick house on the farm was _
built. The property now belongs to Mrs. Sutton.
The place where Aaron Townsend now lives was

i owned fifty years ago by his father, Aaron Townsend,
Sr., who purchased of Joseph Radcliff. Freeman
Cooper resides on a farm purchased by liis father,
Joel Cooper, of John Patterson.

Hugh Patterson is a son of James H. Patterson, of

! Franklin township. The latter purchased many
years ago.

North of the Joseph Radcliff tract is land that for-

' merly belonged to Patrick Robinson, who left it by
will to his wife. She conveyed it to Robinson Mur-
phy and Samuel Watson, who both live on the place.
Adjoining this last tract on the northwest is four
hundred acres of land now owned by James Piersol,
which was purchased by his father, William Piersol,
before the commencement of the present century.
Samuel, a brother of James, owned land adjoining,

I also a part of the land of his father. His son Levi
now owns this, and has added considerably to it.

Benjamin, Sarah, and Elizabeth Powers, all ad-
vanced in years, are old settlers, and live on an eld

j homestead.

j Thomas Cook, a native of Chester County, Pa.,
came to this township about 1800, and purchased over

' three hundred acres of land south of the Washington

I tract. He was a weaver and wheelwright, and forsook
farming after a time and bought the John Follies
mill on Big Redstone Creek, and resided there till his
death. He had a number of children. John, a son,
settled on Big Redstone Creek, and now owns the mill
his father purchased years before. Rebecca, the
daughter of Thomas Cook, married James D. Cope,'
the father of Eli and Pierson Cope. The farm of
Thomas Cook was purchased by George Stickle, Pat-


rick Watson, Josiuli Kiiii;-, iuid D^iviti Jcmos. .Idsiali
King, in addition to liis original purcliiise, now owns
part of the George Stickle farm.

A property lies in this section of the township for-
merly owned by William Wallace, and now by John
H. Patterson, that contains a fine vein of coal, which
is the eastern outcrop of the Pittsburgh or Mononga-
hela basin.

West of the Cook farm, adjoining the Jefferson
township line, is a farm formerly owned by Samuel
Brewer, whose son Henry now owns it. Adjoining
this tract north lies a tract that many years ago was
owned by John Negis. Later it was owned by Wil-
liam Binns, by whom it was conveyed to William
Price, who now owns it.

Jonathan Hewitt, a native of Ireland, came to this
country in 1770, and in 1786 to this section. No ac-
count is shown of purchase until Sept. 15, 1807, when
he purchased of Thomas Barns one hundred and sixty
acres of land, part of the tract which was patented
Oct. 26, 1795. The children of Jonathan were Abel,
Joseph, John, Elizabeth, Mary, and others who moved
West. Abel lived on Washington Eun, near the
mouth, where he erected a saw-mill and carding-ma-
chine. He died tliere, leaving a widow and large
family, now scattered in the West. John Bradley
now owns the Abel Hewitt property. In 1870, Brad-
ley started the manufacture of fire-brick in the run,
and later removed above Layton's Station, where he
is still manufacturing.

Joseph Hewitt lived on part of the old farm. His
.son Milton now owns it, and is devoting it to fruit
culture. In 1877 he started a fruit-house for preserv-
ing apples late in the spring. He studded and
sheathed an old house with eighteen inches space,
which was filled with saw-dust. The first year he
keiit successfully five hundred barrels, which were
sold in March for four dollars and seventy-five cents
per barrel. In 1879 five hundred barrels were also
kept, and in 1880 twelve hundred barrels were put up,
which were finely preserved. An additional house
was built in 1878, which was intended to keep them
still later.

John A., son of Jonathan Hewitt, settled on part
of the homestead where his daughter, Mrs. George
Jackson, now lives. Elizabeth married James Binns
and went West. Mary married Asa Chambers ; they
lived and died in the township. A son, Asa, now lives
on part of the farm left to his mother.

Jacob Harris purchased five hundred acres of land
of the warrantee. It lay west and northwest from
Washington Bottoms. He had four sons — Benjamin,
James, Isaac, and Jacob — and sis daughters, — Amy
(Mrs. Andrew Work), Annie (Mrs. Thomas Patton),
Kachel and Sally, who married brothers by the name
of Stenim ; Jemima (Mrs. John Coder), and Eliza
(Mrs. Harvey Henderson). Jacob in his will devised
his real estate to his sons and grandsons. The hun-
dred acres were owned by Benjamin H., one hundred

by James Harris.

Henry Stow, Samuel and David Luce now own land
long known as the Powers farm, a tract of over four
hundred acres. From Powers it passed to Hurst, who
sold it to John H. Martin, by whom at different times
it has been conveyed to its' present owners.

Joseph McGara many years ago owned a tract of
two hundred acres. He died. His family sold out and
removed West. The farm is now owned by Philip
Luce, Elliot Porter, William Wiggle, and others.

The section of the township known as the Brow-
neller settlement was formerly owned by Thomas and
j William Bleakley. Frederick Browneller came from
j Franklin County, Pa., and purchased the Thomas
Bleakley tract, and Jacob Snyder that of his brother,
William Bleakley. The heirs of Jacob Snyder still
own the property. On the Snyder f\irm was built the
old log church belonging to the Cumberland Presby-
terians, and known by the name of " Harmony."
The present church stands nearly on the same site.

Frederick Browneller built a saw-mill on a small
stream near his place, which was discontinued a few
years ago. He had four sons,— William, Samuel,
Frederick, and George. The two former remained on
the farm, and the other removed West. A steam saw-
mill at the mouth of Van Meter's Run is owned by
Peter Van Meter, of Rostraver township. He mar-
ried a daughter of Peter Marmie, who was for many
years connected with the Jacob's Creek Iron-Works.
The land now owned by Oliver Porter and John
Bryan was owned many years ago by one Peter Reed.
Joseph Whitsett took up a warrant for one hundred
and forty-four acres of land in the section. The land
where Ralph C. Whitsett now lives, on the Youghio-
gheny River east of Van Meter's Run, was formerly
owned by a Mr. Thompson, who sold to Robert Wil-
kinson. The Martin Elwell farm was formerly owned
by Henry Stone, Sr. A Mr. Rhodobacker purchased
of the warrantee the farm now owned by the heirs of
David Carson. Job Strawn, from Berks County,
Pa., prior to 1800 purchased a tract of three hundred
acres. When the excitement of magnificent enter-
prises broke out at Perryopolis, he became interested
I in the glass-works and the bank at that place, and
i when the crash came, his property was swept away by
the disastrous management of the former. The farm
was sold at sheriff's sale and purchased by his son Ja-
cob, who lived there until his death in December, 1855,
! by an accident on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
I near Layton Station. His son is now a merchant at
Perryopolis. Job Strawn, after the sale of his prop-
erty, removed to the West.

Thomas Carson many years ago purchased a tract
of land known as the " Round Bottom." It passed
from him to his sons John and James, and recently
the homestead was sold to Albert Marlin. Joel, a
grandson of Thomas, owns a part of the farm for-
1 merly owned by his grandfather.



Samuel Burns bought of the warrantee a tract of
land, which was patented to him Dec. 28, 1809, and
known as "Liberty Hill." He devised the property
to his son, Thomas E. Burns, who sold it on the 8th
of November, 1823, to Robert Bleakley. On the 31st
of January, 1848, it came into possession of James
Fuller, and is now owned by his son, David Fuller.
Of the other sons of James Fuller, John resides in
the borough of Perryopolis ; James, William, and
Alfred are residents of Philadelphia. The last two
are engaged in shipping beef to London, and are also
very extensive manufacturers of oleomargarine. Wil-
liam acts as managing partner in London.

The settlements before mentioned were all south of
the Youghiogheny River. In that part of the present
township north of the river, and thence to the county
line on Jacob's Creek, the largest purchaser was Wil-
liam TurnbuU, of the firm of Turnbull, Marmie &
Co., merchants of Philadelphia, who became inter-
ested in iron ore wliich was found in these lands.
This firm, in the spring of 1789, began the erection
here of the first furnace built west of the Allegheny
Mountains. At what time the warrants were taken
out is not known. The tract on which* the furnace
was built was named " Rocksbury," and contained
three hundred and one acres. The patent was issued
on the 13th of July, 1789. At this time the furnace
was so far completed as to be mentioned in a petition
to the court of Fayette County, at the June session,
for a road "from the furnace on Jacob's Creek to
Thomas Kyle's mill."

A tract of three hundred and one acres, named
" Frankford," and another adjoining of two hundred
and nineteen acres, named " Springsbury," were
patented to Mr. Turnbull at the same time. A tract
of two hundred and twenty-three acres adjoining,
named " Luton," was patented to Jacob Lowrie, Jan.
9, 1789. This was purchased by Turnbull & Mar-
mie on the 9th of October, 1791. In addition to the
ten hundred and forty-four acres owned by Mr. Turn-
bull in Fayette County, there was obtained by patent
and by purchase thirteen hundred and eighty-one
acres of land across Jacob's Creek, in Westmoreland
County, as follows: "Rural Felicity," 262 acres,
patented Nov. 1, 1787; "Bannockburn," 308 acres,
patented July 11, 1789 ; " Darby," 312 acres, patented
July 13, 1789; " Abington," 200 acres, patented
April 17, 1790; and a tract of 299 acres, named
" Spriiigliclil," which was jiatented to John CJebhart,
March 10, 17.s,^), and sold to Turnbull, Marmie & Co.,
Oct. 9, 1791. These tracts of land, by reason of the
financial difficulties of Mr. Turnbull, were trans-
ferred to Col. John Holker (one of the firm) on the
10th of February, 1797. But little was done at the
furnace after 1793, although it continued in operation
till 1802, when its fires went out forever. Col. Hol-
ker, on the 2iith of .lanuary, 1S17, entered into an
agreement with Henry ."-^wcit/rr for these lands. In
accordance with this agreement, Col. Holker, on the

27th of June, 1821, conveyed all the lands mentioned
to Paca Smith, in trust to convey to Henry Sweitzer,
and on the 27th of July, 1822, he conveyed the prop-
erty by deed to Henry Sweitzer and Jacob Bowman
as tenants in common. The greater portion of the
lands were afterwards sold to the Jacob's Creek Oil
Company, by whom they are still owned.

The ruins of the old furnace-stack, charcoal-house,
and other structures are still visible. The two first
mentioned are in Fayette County. The abutment of
the bridge which crossed the creek at this place is still
standing, a pile of stones without form. The ruins of
the forge are on the north side of the creek, in AVest-
moreland County. The ruins are approached from
Burns' Ford north to the school-house, thence west-
erly by an old road to the woods, and winding down
the hill into the deep valley of Jacob's Creek. As the
approach is made to the creek the stack is visible be-
low, and upon the upper side of the road, directly in
rear of it, are the ruins of the charcoal-house, a solid
wall of masonry, sixty feet in length, twenty feet in
height, and two and a half feet thick, the end walls
extending back to the hill, about twenty feet, the rear
wall being formed by the natural rock. With the ex-
ception of the east end and the top of this wall, it is
as solid and as true as when first laid. After passing
the ruin the road extends several rods westerly, still
descending to the creek, where it is met by another
road coming up from the mouth of the creek. From
this junction the road runs up the stream on the low
level a few rods to where the furnace is located, and
at which place the road crosses the creek into West-
moreland County. The stack is about twenty-five
feet square, with two arches, now partly broken away,
one on the north side and one on the west. A part of
a low wall is standing that extends from the south
side of the stack towards the hill. The northeast
corner is still true for a height of eight or ten feet,
except the lower stones, which have fallen away.
The others are crumbled. Shrubs, mosses, and climb-
ing vines partially hide the ravages of time, and trees
are growing from the upper part of the stack, one of
which is five inches in diameter. A view of the ruins
will be found with the article on furnaces in the gen-
eral history of this county.

On the extreme northwest corner of the township,
at the junction of Jacob's Creek and the Youghio-
gheny River, Chistopher Beeler took out a warrant
for 298.V acres of land, Dec. 16, 1788, and received a
patent therefor March 11, 1789. He came from Vir-
ginia, and lived in this section before he took out his
warrant, as he was with Col. Crawford in his cam-
paign of 1782. He sold this tract to Col. Isaac Meason,
who gave it to his daughter Mary, who married Dan-
iel Rogers. They lived in Connellsville, and the farm
was rented many years. It was finally purchased by
A. K. Banning, and when, about 1859, the Pittsburgh
and Connellsville (now the Baltimore and Ohio) Rail-
road was completed, a station was opened at that place



called Bauning's Station. The land is still owned
by Mr. Banning. About 1870, Daniel Hohenschell
started a store, which was kept for a year or two. In
1879, M. L. Wright built a store at the station, which
is still there. A brick manufactory is in process of
construction by Smith & Hough.

Gen. J. B. Sweitzer owns 240 acres of land adjoin-
ing the Beeler tract, east on Jacob's Creek. This was
part of the TurnbuU lands. !

Thomas Forsyth took out a patent for 171 acres of '
land in this part of the township. He had sons, — [
Ezekiel, David, and Thomas. Ezekiel settled on the
homestead. His son Thomas now lives on the farm
adjoining. Henry and John, sons of Ezekiel, both
live near. David, son of Thomas, lived in Westmore-
land County.

Valentine Secrist took up a tract of one hundred
and eight and three-quarter acres on a warrant dated
Sept. 29, 1791, for which he received a patent dated
October 26th the same year. He also received a war-
rant for two hundred and forty-five acres the same date,
which was surveyed November 2d of the same year,
and another of one hundred and ninety-eight acres, I
warranted Oct. 5, 1790, surveyed Feb. 11, 1791. These !
last two tracts were in what is now Tyrone township, I
adjoining the Turnbull lands. A part of these lands
are now occupied by descendants of the family. Da-
vid Secrist lives on the tract in Perry township. i

John Zizing came to this region of country as a cow-
boy with Peter Galley. He learned the trade of a
cabinet-maker, and for many years worked among
the farmers before purchasing any land. On the 10th
of March, 1819, he took out a warrant for sixty-eight
and one-quarter acres, and on the 25th of February,
1822, a warrant for one hundred and fifty-eight acres.
These tracts were patented to him June 23, 1822. He
had three sons, John, Gottlieb, and Solomon, who live
on the lands a short distance from Layton's Station.

Henry Stemmel purchased a tract of land which |
was a part of the Turnbull lands, now owned by Mrs. [
David Morrow. Samuel and John Stemmel, sons of [
Henry, live in the township.

The land on which Layton Station is situated was !
a tract called "Springfield," and was patented April
6, 1791, to Mary Higgs (a daughter of John Shreve),
and contained two hundred and seventeen acres. It
was deeded by her June 3, 1795, to Francis Bryson, and
was sold by hira Aug. 2, 1797, to George Johnston,
who conveyed it on the 2d of April, 1806, to William
Espy. It was devised in his will to his sons, Hugh
and Robert, in December, 1813. On the 25th of Oc-
tober, 1821, they conveyed the greater portion of it to
Abraham Layton for $2352. Upon his death the land i
passed to his sons, Michael and Abraham, who for a |
long time built keel -boats on the river to ship sand
and glass down the river. The land was sold by the ,
Laytons to Daniel R. Davidson, and in 1864 was con-
veyed to Joseph Wilgus. Michael Layton, after
the death of his father and sale of the lands at Lay-

ton's Station, purchased a tract south of the river,

said to have been formerly owned by Lloyd, and

now owned by Jacob Henderson. It is a tradition
that before the warrant was obtained for this land
Michael Sowers lived in an old cabin and ferried
people across the river. After his death one Dunn
lived in the cabin. He was drowned a few years
later, and the place was long known as " Dunn's
Deep Hole." There is an old burial-place in the
rear of where the cabin stood, where seventy or sev-
enty-five years ago hundreds of graves were to be
seen. In 1812, Aaron Jones lived there, and his wife
was drowned in the river while crossing in a canoe.
The name was changed from Dunn's to Layton's after
the purchase by Abraham Layton in 1821.

A tract of three hundred acres was located next east
of the Turnbull lands on Jacob's Creek. It was pat-
ented by Andrew Robinson, and owned by him as
late as 1859. He sold the farm to Plummer and
Stiner. It now belongs to Pierson Cope.

Many years since a grist and saw-mill were erected
on this tract at the falls, which are at this point
twenty-five feet high. Two dams have rotted down.
No improvements are on the place at present.

A petition of inhabitants praying for a township
to be formed out of parts of Washington and Tyrone
townships was presented to the January terra of
court, 1839. William Davidson, Thomas Boyd, and
Joseph Torrance were appointed commissioners.
They made a report at the June session of court the
same year, from which the following is extracted, viz. :

'•That in pursuance of said order they met at McDonald's
Mill, on Virgin Run, in Franklin township, being the most
convenient point of meeting for said viewers, and after view-
ing the ground proposed to be formed into a new township,

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 163 of 193)