Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 180 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 180 of 193)
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upon a tract of land here in 1766, still his name does
not appear among these first surveys, and the land
which he then occupied was first warranted Sept. 4,
1790, to Benjamin Whalley, and surveyed November
18th of the same year. At that time the property was
named " Federal Hill." John Vance, whose ances-
tors came from Scotland and Ireland, was himself a
native of Virginia, from whence he came in the year
mentioned in company with Col. William Crawford,
his sister's husband. His wife was Margaret White,
whom he married in Virginia, and with whom he
lived until 1772, when he died, and was buried in the
Vance cemetery.

The family of John and Margaret Vance numbered
six children — David, William, Moses, Jane, Eliza-
beth, and Maria. After her husband's death, Mar-
garet Vance kept the original property for many
years, in the mean time caring for and bringing up
her family of little children. Among the records of
property is one where, under date of Jan. 10, 1781,
Margaret Vance, widow of John Vance, reported the
list of her registered slaves, — " one female, named

Priscilla, aged twenty-seven years, and two males,
Harry and Daniel, aged respectively seven and three
years." Priscilla and Harry afterwards became the
property of the daughter, Jane Vance, who was mar-
ried to Benjamin Whalley. The son David settled in
Kentucky, and William remained on the old place
until middle life, when he died, never having mar-
ried. Moses Vance also stayed upon the homestead,
and when, in 1790, the land upon which his father's
family had lived so long was warranted to Benjamin
Whalley, two hundred and fifty acres of it was trans-
ferred to him, arkd upon that he resided until his

Moses Vance's wife was Elizabeth, a daughter of
Jacob Strickler, and they reared a family of seven
sons and two daughters, — John, Jacob, Samuel,
Francis, William, Crawford, George, Margaret, and
Eliza. John still lives on the old Gamer place,
Jacob is in Lower Tyrone, and William's home is in
Connellsville. Before leaving his native town, Ty-
rone, William held the office of justice of the peace
for some years. George Vance removed to Illinois,
and Samuel, Francis, Crawford, and Margaret are

April 3, 1769, Absalom Kent took up, by warrant
No. 1179, a piece of land in this section comprising
791 acres, which was surveyed April 11, 1788. In the
year 1800 he owned the John Stewart tract, called
" Pleasant Garden." The township records show Mr.
Kent to have been auditor during the years 1793-96
and 1800. He and his descendants have now all
passed away, and the family has become extinct in
this section.

Benjamin Whalley, who warranted the tract of
land called " Federal Hill," settled in this section at
a very early date, and was among the number that
owned slaves. He was an ofiicer in the Revolution-
ary war. His son, Capt. James Whalley, one of his
large family of six sons and six daughters, was born
at " Federal Hill," March 20, 1788. In the war of
1812, Capt. James Whalley took out a company of
soldiers from Connellsville in Col. Robert Patterson's
regiment, and later went out in the Northwestern ex-
pedition on the Indian frontier. After his return
home he removed to LTniontown, living there until
his death, May 22, 1869.

In 1770, Moses Smith warranted two tracts of
land, containing respectively 178 and 164 acres, in
Tyrone. It was about this time that the Cunningham,
Torrance, and other families came here, and the
Smiths were classed with the settlers of that day.
They continued to live upon the farms they had
located, and in 1774 became connected with the Ty-
rone Church, which was situated very near their prop-
erty. In 1800, William Smith was chosen one of the
, trustees of the church. At the present time none of
the family remain in the township, and the land has
passed into other hands.

Like very many other of the pioneers of this town-



ship, Barnett Cunningham came here and settled on
land by tomahawk improvement. His advent was in
1770, and he held his land for the first seventeen
years of his residence under that right. A part of
the land is now in the possession of his descendants.
In 1787 he took a warrant for three hundred and
sixteen acres, with allowance, paying for it twelve
pounds six shillings, and received a patent therefor
in 1795. In 1794, Mr. Cunningham was superintend-
ent of highways, and in 1808 he died, in the seventy-
third year of his age. His children and grandchil-
dren all settled near his early home. April 18, 1829,
Barnett Cunningham's daughter Mary received a
warrant for one hundred and eighty-three and three-
quarters acres of land, and Feb. 1, 1831, his .son Jo-
seph received a warrant for one hundred and fifty
and three-quarters acres, both tracts being surveyed
March 22, 18.31. Joseph's wife was Agnes Huston.
His land was at the head-Avaters of Smilie's Run, and
there he spent his life, leaving two sons, Joseph and
William. Joseph, Jr., settled upon his father's farm,
and married a daughter of Matthew Gaut. He (Jo-
seph Cunningham) was justice of the peace for many
years, and also county commissioner. His children
were two sons also, Matthew and William, the former
succeeding his father upon the old farm. Matthew
Cunningham's children are Ezekiel, Sample, and
Jennings, and a daughter who married James War-
den. William Cunningham, son of Joseph, and
grandson of Barnett Cunningham, sold his portion
of the old farm, and entered business at Connells-
ville. Afterwards he returned to his home in Tyrone
and died here, leaving a large family, most of them
still residing in Fayette County.

James Torrance was a half-brother of Barnett
Cunningham. They were both natives of Ireland,
emigrating from that country to Peach Bottom Val-
ley, on the Susquehanna Eiver, and from there to
Tyrone township. Torrance came about 1772, mak-
ing a tomahawk improvement, as did Cunningham,
for which he received a patent in 1795. During the
years of 1789-97 and 1800, James Torrance offici-
ated as township auditor, and his name appears upon
the books as late as 1808. His family was quite
large, and when he died, in 182ti, he was eighty-three
years old. Of his children, Hugh, the eldest, settled
on a part of the old farm ; Cunningham, a half-
brother of Hugh, took another portion ; and Joseph
Huston Torrance, another half-brother, took the re-
mainder of the homestead, and the part upon which
stood the old log house. This he soon replaced with
a handsome frame building. Hugh Torrance married
a Miss McKee, of McKeesport, and together they
reared a family of twelve children. Of these, Hugh,
Jr., lived in his native town until he reached man-
hood, when he removed West. Robert engaged in
mercantile business at Connellsville, and David set-
tled on bis father's farm. He is the only son left in
the township. Cunningham Torrance's femily all

emigrated to the West, settling in Iowa, and his land,
which was first sold to William Homer, has passed
to strangers. The children of Joseph Huston Tor-
rance were twelve, but only four are left, — Joshua,
Samuel, Carrie, and James. They all live within or
near Tyrone, Joshua occupying the homestead.

John Stephenson and Mary Stephenson came to
Tyrone about the time the families of Vance, Cun-
ningham, and Torrance did, and settled on land very
near theirs, John receiving a warrant for seventy-
six and one-quarter acres, and Mary for three hundred

One of the earliest of the pioneers of this section
was Valentine Crawford, a brother of Col. William
Crawford. He was in correspondence with Gen.
Washington during the time from 1773 to 1776 in
reference to the Washington Bottom lands. As nearly
all his letters were dated at Jacob's Creek, they
show his residence to have been in this county at that
time, still it is known that for a while at least he
lived on the Westmoreland County side.

Near the year 1772, Capt. Joseph Huston, with his
family, came from Peach Bottom, Va., to this vicinity,
and settled upon a tract of land containing two hun-
dred and seventy-seven acres, for which he took out a
warrant in 1786. His wife was Margery Cunning-
ham, the eldest sister of Barnett Cunningham, who
I followed them thither within a year or two. Upon
the land which he located Capt. Huston built a cabin
for his family, wherein they lived prosperous and
contented. In 1782 the father accompanied Col.
Crawford upon his expedition which proved so dis-
j astrous. Before leaving home he gave to the town-
I ship a piece of land which has always been known as
' the Cochran graveyard. Soon after returning from
the Crawford expedition Capt. Huston died, and his
' remains were the first to be carried to the cemetery
j for which he had made provision, and where so many
of those ancient families now lie.

William Huston, the oldest son of Capt. Joseph

Huston, was born east of the mountains in 1754. He

I was but a boy of eighteen when his father crossed the

range to make his home upon the western side. April

14, 1791, he warranted twenty-seven acres of land ad-

I joining that of his father, the survey being made

j April 30th of the same year. William Huston had

two sons, William, Jr., and Joseph, who both lived

, and jdied upon the old place. William Huston, Jr.,

' three sons, — Lewis, Eli, and Boyd. The first two

are still living in Tyrone township. Joseph Huston,

the second son of William, Sr., had a daughter Kersey,

who became the wife of James Cochran, usually called

" Little Jim," and their home is upon the old Huston

homestead. John Huston, a son of old Capt. Joseph,

was born in 1757, while the family still lived upon the

east side of the mountains. He was at one time a

resident of Dunbar township, afterwards he kept a

tavern in Uniontown, and later went to Kentucky,

where he died. His son, John, Jr., or Judge Huston,



was born in Dunbar, anrl went to Kentucky with his '
father. When nineteen years old he returned to Ty-
rone, his father's home, and entered the employ of
Jiis uncle Joseph, as clerk in the Huston Forge and
Old Redstone Furnace. He afterwards became pes- [
sessor of the property, and conducted it until his death.
Agnes, a daughter of Capt. Huston, was born in 1760,
and was the wife of Joseph Cunningham. They lived
and died in the town of Tyrone, leaving many de-
scendants. Sarah, another daughter, married Mr. i
Nesbitt, and with him removed to Kentucky. Joseph I
Huston, son of Capt. Joseph Huston, was born in
1763. During his younger years he led a roving life,
but after reaching maturity settled in Uniontown,
where he built the first brick house the place boasted,
and where he was elected sheriff of Fayette County
in 17-90. Later he purchased land on Redstone Creek,
in North Union, and built a forge. In 1804 he be-
came proprietor of the Redstone Furnace, which he
operated until his death in 1824. His wife was a
daughter of John Smilie.

William Chain was an early resident in Tyrone,
settling here at the time the families of Vance, Cun-
ningham, and Torrance did, and living two miles
west of them. He had three sons, — Robert, John^
and William. Robert lived on the homestead, John
very near him, and William went into Westmoreland
County. Hugh Chain, a son of one of these brothers,
built the Chain mills, situated on Jacob's Creek.
AVilliam Chain, Sr., was auditor in Tyrone in 1789,
'94, '96, '98.

The land on which John Torrance located in 1780
was a tract of 193 acres, which is now the farm of
David Galley. The warrant for it was made Feb. 11,
1790, and the survey but thirteen days later. John
Torrance's sons were James, Barnett, and Joseph,
the last named having served three years (1787, '88,
and '89) as sheriff of Fayette County.

James Blackstone was a native of Maryland, and
must have located in Fayette County prior to 1784,
as in that year he is recorded as " appraiser of dam-
ages." He located upon the land called " The Sum-
mit," in Tyrone township, which now belongs to
William and Presley Moore. April 18, 1798, James
Blackstone was appointed a justice of the peace. His
fomily consisted of one son and three daughters. Two
of the daughters married James and Thomas Hurst,
leaving near Mount Pleasant, and the other became
the wife of Judge Boyd Mercer, of Washington
County. The son, James, Jr., removed to Connells-
ville in the year 1803, building for his home a brick
house on Water Street, which is now known as the
Dean House. He also carried on a general store in
this building. Of his two children, both sons,
Henry, the oldest, is a civil engineer, now in the em-
ploy of the government. James, the younger, has
lived upon a farm near Connellsville for the last forty
years. The land which was originally taken up by
the elder Blackstone, spoken of as the property of

William and Presley Moore, came to these gentle-
men through their grandmother, Mrs. James Hurst,
the daughter to whom Blackstone gave it by will.
The 208 acres of land adjoining the Blackstone prop-
erty was taken up by Joseph Copper before 1786. He
afterwards sold the property and emigrated West.

The Stewart family are found by the records to
have been connected with the history of the Tyrone
Church some ten years prior to the date of their land
patents. A deed is upon record reciting that on Nov.
19, 178.5, Edward Rice, of Tyrone, sold to Jacob
Stewart, of the county of Y'ork, Pa., three hundred
and fifty-three acres of land, — consideration five hun-
dred pounds. On May 12, 1787, Jacob Stewart re-
ceived a patent for three hundred and ninety-four
acres. The tract of three hundred and fifty-three
acres was purchased by Edward Rice of John Ste-
phens, April 23, 1773, and Dec. 22, 1791, Jacob Stew-
art sold the entire three hundred and ninety-four
acres to Jacob Strickler. Jacob Stewart was a brother
of Abraham Stewart, the father of Andrew Stewart,
who was generally known as "Tariff Andy."

The ancestors of the Stewarts of Fayette County
lived among the Grampian Hills of Scotland, whence
the grandfather of Jacob and Abraham Stewart emi-
grated to America, and settled first in New Jersey,
removing afterwards to Y'ork County, Pa. In that
county the father of Jacob Stewart married a Ger-
man woman named Snyder. They had four sons —
Jacob, John, Abraham, and David — and three daugh-
ters. They were all educated in German schools.
All settled in Fayette County except John, who set-
tled on the Muskingum, in Ohio, and Barbara, who
married William Morris, and remained at York, Pa.

In 1791, when Judge Nathaniel Breading con-
tracted with the government to survey the " depre-
ciated lands" up the Alleghany River, he employed
Jacob and Abraham Stewart to make the survey.
They were occupied on the work all the summer of
that year, and in the following winter Jacob com-
pleted the calculations and plans. In 1797 he, with
a man named Mowry, established the first newspaper
in Fayette County, the Fayette Gazette and Union Ad-
vertiser, published at Uniontown. Jacob Stewart was
never married. He was a justice of the peace for
many years, being first appointed to that office March
31, 1787. The people of Tyrone township and the
vicinity considered him an excellent adviser, and
many disputes which would otherwise have gone into
the courts were adjusted amicably through his in-
fluence and arbitration. David Stewart, brother of
Jacob and Abraham, also lived for some years in Ty-
rone, but removed to Connellsville, where he followed
the trade of cabinet-maker, and where he resided
until the time of his death. He left two sons, Abra-
ham and Hamilton. Two of the sisters of David and
Jacob Stewart married John and Jacob Strickler.
They both lived in Tyrone and reared large families.

Philip Meason received (Oct. 3, 1785) a warrant for



two hundred and seventy-two acres of land lying in
Tyrone township. It was surveyed Jan. 14, 1786, by '
the name of " Union," and a patent granted upon it
March 17, 1786. Mr. Meason disposed of this prop- 1
erty Oct. 14, 1797, to Abraham Newcomer and An- j
drew Schallenberger. May 4, 1799, these men divided
the tract, and Schallenberger conveyed one hundred \
and a half acres to Philip Galley. j

John Smilie took up, by warrant dated in 1786, a
tract of land, which was surveyed to him in the same
year under the name of " Prospect." This tract con-
tained three hundred and sixty-eight acres, and in-
cluded the site of the present borough of Dawson.
This land, which he left by will to his son, was sold in j
December, 1852, by Robert P. Smilie, trustee of John
Smilie. It was divided into three parcels, of which
one was purchased by Stewart Strickler, and the
others by George Dawson, of Brownsville, father of j
the Hon. John L. Dawson. Through this tract the
route of the Pittsburgh and Connellsville Railroad
was located, and on it was established " Dawson's [
Station," around which there grew up a village, which
was afterwards incorporated as the borough of Daw-
son, an account of which will be found farther on in
this history of the township.

The dwelling of John Smilie was on the hill liack
■of the site of the present town. One of his daughters
became the wife of Joseph Huston, a well-known
ironmaster. Another married Mr. Bryson, and, as
his widow, was again married, becoming the wife of
George Dawson. John Smilie was one of the most j
prominent men of Fayette County in public life, and
a more extended sketch of his career will be found
on another page of this work.

Abraham Strickler was one of the early settlers in
Tyrone, taking up by warrant 2041 acres of land.
On the 22d of December, 1791, Jacob Strickler bought
of Jacob Stewart, his brother-in-law, a tract of land
containing 394 acres, whereon he lived and brought
up his large family of children. His daughter Eliza-
Iieth married Moses Vance, and his daughter Mary
became the wife of Alexander Long. Jacob, his son,
after his marriage settled on Redstone Creek, near
the Sharpless paper-mills, but afterwards came to '
Tyrone, and settled upon the farm now owned by the |
Hickman Coke-Works. His son Stewart lived upon
the place many years after his father's death, and
first established the coke-works there. Stewart Strick-
ler married a daughter of John Newcomer, Sr., and
is now in Tennessee, where he removed some twelve
years ago. David Strickler, another son of Jacob,
was a cabinet-maker.

Valentine Secrist, Oct. 5, 1790, took up by warrant
198 acres of land, which was surveyed to him Feb. 11,
1791. This tract was in what is now Lower Tyrone,
and is situated on Jacob's Creek, adjoining the Perry
line. About the same time he took up other lands in
Perry township. He had lived upon them for years,
and they are still in possession of his descendants.

Matthew Gaut must have located near Jacob's
Creek, in what is now Lower Tyrone, some time be-
fore 179§, as we find him mentioned as auditor of
accounts in that year. His sons were James, John,
Matthew, Joseph, and Samuel. The daughters after
marriage were Mrs. Love, Mrs. Espey, and Mrs. Cun-
ningham. All the sons save' Joseph early emigrated
to the West. Joseph remained all his life upon the
homestead, and died there. He had a family of seven
children, viz. : Matthew, a physician in New York ;
Robert, a physician in Westmoreland County ; and
William, who kept the home-farm. The daughters,
four in number, married George and Henry New-
meyer, John Gallatin, and David Sherbondy. They
all lived in Tyrone township, where their children
and grandchildren now reside.

John W., Christopher, and Martin Stauffer were
natives of Tyrone, their father having settled here
early in life. John W. owned for a time a grist-mill
at Scottdale, on the Westmoreland side of Jacob's
Creek, but returned again to this township. Christo-
pher lived in Upper Tyrone, between Jacob's Creek
and BuUskin. Martin also settled in Tyrone, near
the Valley Works, where he passed his whole life.
Martin Stauffer's sons were John G., of Mount Pleas-
ant, and Abraham, who settled near his father, about
a mile below the iron bridge, where he lived and died,
and where his son Joseph now lives. John W. Stauf-
fer's daughter married Solomon Keister, who owns a
grist-mill on Jacob's Creek, and is also interested
with James Cochran in the coke-works.

James Sterrit was early in the township, and in
1797 was township auditor, still the name of Ster-
rit does not appear upon the books after 1801. He
lived upon the land now ownecj by the heirs of Alex-
ander Boyd. The daughter of James Sterrit became
the wife of James Power, of the family of Rev. James

Oct. 14, 1797, Abraham Newcomer and Andrew
Schallenberger together purchased a tract of land in
this section. Newcomer, who was a native of Ger-
many, lived and died upon his portion of the farm,
as did his son Uriah, and their descendants still own
it. John, another son of Abraham, purchiv.sed the
property known as the Smith place, but later sold it
to Mr. OverhoU and moved West.

Christian and John Newcomer came to Tyrone be-
fore 1800 with their father, who was also born in
Germany. Christian bought the property formerly
known as " Poverty Neck," which was the bottom-
land on the north bank of Youghiogheny River.
Christian's son Jonathan now lives at Connellsville,
and his daughter lives in the West. David New-
comer, Christian's son by a second marriage, lives on
a part of the Jacob Newcomer tract. John New-
comer, the brother of Christian, purchased a farm of
200 acres near Hickman's Run, and quite near the
Tyrone Church. This tract was originally patented
by John Stewart, Oct. 3, 1787, under the title of


" Pleasant Garden," and in 1800 was the property of
Absalom Kent. John Newcomer's children were
nine, — four boys and five girls. Jacob, th,e oldest,
lived until his death upon the homestead, which was
then sold, and is now owned by E. H. Reid. Dr.
George Newcomer, of Connellsville, is a son of Jacob
Newcomer. Of the other sons of John Newcomer,
John, Jr., also lives at Connellsville ; Joseph is a
resident of Dayton, Ohio ; and Samuel is in West-
morelaml County. Polly, one of the daughters,
marriril Stewari Strickler, and lives in Tennessee;
Barbara iiuuricd Joseph Strickler, and resides in
South Union; Catharine, who was the wife of John
Newcomer, and Sarah, who married Thomas Boyd,
are both dead.

Philip Galley was a native of Lancaster County,
Pa., and went from there to Frederick County, Md.
In 1799 he purchased one hundred and a half acres
of land of Andrew Sehallenberger, in this township,
a portion of the original Meason warrant, and imme-
diately after his marriage in Lancaster County came
here to reside. His family of eight sons and three
daughters all reached maturity, married, and reared
families of their own in and near Tyrone. The
daughters were Catherine, who married Jacob Smith,
of Connellsville ; Elizabeth, who became Mrs. Jesse
Oglevee ; and Barbara, the youngest, who married
Henry Snyder, of Westmoreland County. Philip
Galley first lived on the land now belonging to
the Morgan Coal- and Coke- Works. He was the
first fruit-raiser in this region, and continued to be
largely engaged in the cultivation of fruit-trees until
1S.35. In 1820 he sold his farm to his eldest son,
Peter, and purcliased that of Joseph Huston, in the
township of Franklig, living there until his death,
which occurred in 1852. This farm, lying on the
river, and on the line between the townshijis of Frank-
lin and Dunbar, is now owned by his son Henry.
John Galley, another son of Philip, lives on Dickin-
son Run, in Dunbar township, his property joining
that of his brother Henry. Peter lived and died upon
a part of the old homestead in Tyrone. Jac9b, a
fourth son, had the other portion, upon which he
lived and followed the business of a weaver. Below
is a notice of that business, which appeared in the
Oenin.« of Libert II Oct. 9, 1827, which is of interest in
this connection :

" Jacoli Galley informs his friends that he has com-
menced the business of coverlet-weaving at his resi-
dence in Tyrone township, one mile tiom the Youghio-
gheny River, near the road lea.lin- Inmi the Broad
Ford to Hurst's mill on Jacob's tVci-k, wliere he is
]irepared to weave all kinds of_ coverlets, carpeting,
and table linen, according to the most fashionable

In 1.S29, Jacob Galley was killed at Broad Ford by

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 180 of 193)