Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 183 of 193)
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bilities their office involved without any addition to
the session, without a pastor, and for the greater part
of the time without even a stated supply to assist
them. But they both lived to see the old cabin
church, with its earthen floor, split-log benches, and
unglazed windows, give way to the comparatively
comfortable "meeting-house," with floor and glass
windows and a pulpit, and at length even the luxury
of a fire. Each of them was permitted to see his sons
sitting in the seat of the elders, and the flock they had
tended so long and .so anxiously fed and cared for by
a faithful under-shepherd.

Barnett Cunningham departed this life Sept. 13,

1808, in the seventy-third year of his age. Four of

I his sons and three of his grandsons have been called

to the same oflice, and the session has never been

without one or more of his family on their roll.



James Torrance died May 12, 1826, at the age of
eighty-three years, haviug served this church as an
elder fifty years. Three of his sons and three of his
grandsons have been ordained to the office, and the
husband of a great-granddaughter is now in the
.session. Of Robert Smith, James Goudy, John Cum-
niings, and John Cooly little is known, save that,
having served in the office of ruling elder for a
longer or shorter period, they all removed out of the
church bounds, and that Mr. Smith has also this
enviable distinction, that he and William Smith edu-
cated each a son for the ministry.

William Huston, eldest son of Margery Cunning-
ham, and nephew of the two senior elders, was born
east of the mountains, a.d. 1751, and died Sept. 6,
1827, aged seventy-six years. He came to the West
before he was sixteen years old, and with his rifle by
his side for protection against the Indians, cultivated
the hills around what is now known as "Cochran's
graveyard." His father, Capt. Joseph Huston, gave
the land for it just before starting with Col. Crawford
on his disastrous expedition against the Indians.
Capt. Huston soon returned to die, and was the first
to claim a resting-place within its sacred ground.

Frank Vance was born in Ireland about 1766, and
died aged about eighty years.

William Smith (Rev. James Guthrie's third father-
in-law) died Feb. 2, 1832, in the seventy-fifth year of
his age.

Joseph Huston Cunningham, son of Barnett, was
ordained in Tyrone in 1818. He served in Connells-
ville for a few years prior to 1851, when he returned
to .Tyrone, and was the same day unanimously re-
elected and reinstalled. Having borne the oflice for
forty years, on the 18th of April, 18.58, "he slept with
his fathers," and Barnett, his son, ruled in his stead.

Hugh Torrance, eldest son of James, was born in
Cumberland County, Pa., June 29, 1770, and carried
over the mountains on horseback while an infant.
He was the father of Robert, who was ordained an
elder at Connellsville, and of David, who served the
church of Altona, 111., in the same oflice. Having
attained the age of seventy-three years, he died Sept.
7, 1843.

Alexander Johnston came from Ireland about 1807.
His first connection with the church was at Cross
Creek, Pa., under the ministry of Rev. Thomas Mar-
quis. He came to Connellsville about the year 1811,
and became a member of Tyrone Church, which then
included Connellsville in its bounds. How long he
was an elder here prior to 1831 there is no record to
show, but at that time he was " set oft"" to the new
organization. Of this he was the only elder for one
year, and continued a " pillar" in the church until
age and infirmity laid him aside. He died Sept. 8,
1864, aged about eighty-three years.

Cunningham Torrance, also son of James, was born
June 7, 1789, ordained in Tyrone, 1833, removed to
Missouri, 1847, and died soon after.

Nathaniel Hurst was a nephew of Dr. Power's son-
in-law, and elder of that name, whose piety, intelli-
gence, and practical wisdom adorned the office he so
ably filled at Mount Pleasant. Mr. Hurst was or-
dained in Tyrone in 1833, and served until Feb. 29,
1860, when, having lived upon earth fifty-nine years,
he was transferred from the church militant to the

j church triumphant.

John Staufler was " selected" from the original
members of Harmony Church by the committee of
Presbytery appointed to complete that organization,
and on the 27th day of June, 1849, was ordained and
installed the only elder in that church. Two years

I later he removed to Tyrone, where he was elected
and installed, and where he continued an elder until
he departed this life, May 7, 1857, in the forty-seventh
year of his age.

j Joseph Gaut was ordained with Cunningham Tor-

i ranee and Nathaniel Hurst, in 1833, by the first
pastor of this church. For forty-three years he ruled

I in Tyrone without reproach, by the purity of hi.s life

i commanding the respect of all, by the gentleness of
his spirit securing the atlection of his brethren, and
most loved by those who knew him best. He was
permitted to see two of his sons ordained and in.stalled
elders in this congregation. He died July 17, 1877,
aged seventy-five years.

Barnett Cunningham, son of Joseph H., and grand-
son of Barnett, was ordained in 1843, and served the
church with fidelity and acceptance until a few years
since, when, in the providence of God, through bodily
and mental affliction, he became unable to fulfill the
duties of his office. He died July 3, 1877, in his sev-
enty-second year.

Joseph Cunningham, descended by both father and
mother from the old pioneer Cunningham-Torrance
family, was a nephew of William Huston the elder.
He was ordained with his cousin Barnett in 1843,
and, like him, served in the church faithfully and
long. He died April 8, 1877, in his seventy-seventh

1 year.

William V. Hurst (nephew of Nathaniel) and Rob-
ert F. Gaut (son of Joseph) were ordained and in-
stalled Dec. 6, 1871. Mr. Gaut soon removed of this
congregation without serving in the office.

Henry C. Boyd, Jonathan Merritt, and William
Gaut were elected Dec. 4, 1875, and on the 19th of
the same month Mr. Boyd and Mr. Gaut were or-
dained, and, with Mr. Merritt, who had been ordained
in the Dawson Presbyterian Church at its organiza-
tion in 1874, were installed ruling elders in Tyrone
congregation. *

T. Robb Deyarmon was elected elder, and installed
in June, 1881. The present (1881 J session is com-
posed of William V. Hurst, Jonathan Merritt, Wil-
liam F. Gaut, and T. Robb Deyarmon.

The original territory of Tyrone congregation was
■ large. Extending to Laurel Hill, Rehoboth,Sewicklv,



and Mount Pleasant, it embraced Connellsville and the
" regions beyond," and at one time included several
families on Indian Creek, fifteen miles away. Its first
hous^e of worsliip was for a long time the only meeting-
house of any denomination within its wide bounds,
where now stand nineteen Protestant Churches, not
counting those in Connellsville or across the Youghio-
gheny River. Notwithstanding its wide territory,
the menibershi|] of the church in its early years was
not lari;e. liiit when we know that the pioneers had
no c:nriai;i-, iiliihjst no wagons, and very few horses^
that thu young people of many families, male and
female, habitually walked four, five, even six miles,
generally barefoot in the summer, carrying their shoes
and stockings in their hands till they came near the
church, that Jacob's Creek had no bridges, and that
pedestrians from the neighborhood of Ragantown
were accustomed to come together to the creek and
wait for those who rode to " ferry" them over ; when
we know that some of the families lived so remote
that they could attend the few meetings at the church
but irregularly, that the Cummings, the McCunes,
and others on Indian Creek often started (as has been
related by old Ur. Fleming, who remembers seeing
them) before daylight in order to reach the church in
time for the service, and remendjer that for so many
years they had nci pasti.r. and when they had a stated
supply it was (,iily lor a brief ].eriocl, and he always
resided at a distance, it is a wonder that at tlie first
call of the Presbytery of Redstone for statistics in
1808, Tyrone reported ninety members, and three
years later one hundred and eight, — below very few
churches in the Presbytery.

From this time no record is found of the member-
ship, but the growth seems to have been steady. The
pastor preached at Connellsville occasionally until
the year 1831, when, at the request of the members
residing in the village and vicinity, the Presln-tcry of
Redstone authorized the organization ot the Couinlls-
ville Church, and Alexander .Johnston > elder), 3Iar-
garet and N. C. Johnston, William and Mary Little
(or Lytle), Isaac and Mary Taylor, Sarah Turner, 1
Joseph and Elizabeth Rogers, Mary and Louisa Nor- (
ton, Margaret Francis, Harriet Fuller, Mary Barnett,
Samuel and Mary Finlcy, witli Samuel and Elizabeth
McCormick, were dismissed lor that purjjose.

After Mr. Johnson had served alone one year, Isaac
Taylor, Joseph Rogers, and William Lytle, formerly
members at Tyrone, with Joseph Paull and Samuel
Russell, members at Laurel Hill, were added to the
session. Thus Tyrone furnished nineteen of the
twenty-two original meiabers of the church at Con-
nellsville, and four of the six elders who composed
its first se.ssion. The vigor of this ofl^shot from Tyrone
may be inferred from its subsequent history. After ;
only fourteen years, in 184.5, Indian Creek Church was
organized, embracing some of the original members [
of the Connellsville Church, who came from Tyrone.
Dr. Joseph Rogers was long its principal, perhaps its '

only, elder. Nineteen years later, in 1874, eighty-six
members of Connellsville Church were included in a
new organization at Dunbar. In its first session we
find Tyrone represented by Isaac Taylor's eldest sou.
Indian Creek reports fifteen members, Dunbar one
hundred and fifty, and Connellsville three hundred
and sixty-three.

Perhaps the parent organization has never entirely
overcome the withdrawal of so important a part of
her life and strength, and the cession of so much of
her most populous territory ; but her order and vigor
are manifested in the significant fact that in the last
seventy-two years she has been only six without a
pastor or stated supply.

In the year 1849, Tyrone furnished just one-half
of the original members of Harmony Church, namely,
Nathan, Marjory, Henry, and Margaret Smith, Eli
and Susan Hendricks, and John Stauffer, who was
for some time the only elder.

The youngest offspring of the parent congregation
of Tyrone was the church at Dawson, which was or-
ganized in 1874, embracing in its membership twenty-
four persons who had received certificates from Tyrone
for the purpose. After about three years, however,
the congregation disintegrated, and the members re-
turned to the mother-church of Tyrone, which now
(1881) numbers one hundred and sixty members.


About the year 1799, Martin Stuckman and Lud-
wick Snyder came from Hagerstown, Md., to Fayette
County, Pa., and settled in what was then, and is now,
the township of Bullskin, where for more than Jen
years they held meetings for religious worship in pri-
vate dwellings. About the year 1812 they removed
to a new location in the present township of Lower
Tyrone. There they held religious meetings in pri-
vate houses for about five years ; but after 1817 they
were held in a stone school-house which was built in
that year on land of Philip Lucas, the people living
in that vicinity being principally of the German Bap-
tist or Dunkard denomination. A church was soon
after organized with Martin Stuckman as chief bishop,
Ludwick Snyder as under-bishop. The first elder
of the congregation was Frederick Blocher, whose
son Samuel, and also his son-in-law, Isaac Shoemaker,
were also elected elders. George Shoemaker,' a brother
of Isaac, was also a bishop or preacher. Following is
a list of the elders of this church (all elders being
also preachers) from that time to the present, viz.;
Michael Myers, Jacob Murray, Eli Horner, Martin
Coder, John Nicholson, John Murray, David Ober,
Jacob Freed, Samuel Gallatin, Joseph Freed, Jacob

1 George Slioemaker, after preaching a number of years, became dis-
satisfied with the manner of worship in the Dunkard Church, and
thereupon broke off liis connection and started a new sect, which (for
lack of a better name) were called " Shoemakerites." He had a sou
named Jacob, who became quite distinguished as an elocutionist. He
lived in Philadelpliia, and died there in ltl79.



Snyder, and John Gallatin. The present preacher
to this congregation is Frederick Winner.

About the year 1840 the edifice known as the Ger-
man Baptist meeting-house (a stone structure, plas-
tered outside as well as inside) was built, and from
that time became the house of worship of the Dun-
kard congregation, which had previously met in the
stone school-house on the. farm of Philip Lucas.

The congregation at one time numbered over one
hundred members, but on account of divisions, deaths,
and removals the number has become reduced to a
total of from twenty to twenty-five members.


This was organized in May, 1845, with thirty mem-
bers. Jacob Newmyer, Peter Galley, and John Tay-
lor were elected elders, and Nathan Reece and Jacob
Newcomer deacons. A lot was donated by Jacob
Newmyer from his farm, and on this lot the congre-
gation erected a church edifice of stone, thirty by
forty-five feet in dimensions. This was replaced in
August, 1880, by a frame church, thirty -sis by fifty
feet, built on the same site, but an addition was made
to the grounds for church and cemetery purposes.

Among those who have ministered to this congre-
gation may be mentioned the Revs. James Dorsey,

A. S. Hale, L. M. Streeter, H. B. Carleton, M. L.
Streeter, J. D. Benedict, J. W. Kemp, Charles C.
Berry, J. Grigsby, and L. C. McClane, the present
pastor. The congregation now numbers one hun-
dred and twenty. A Sabbath-school in connection
with it contains thirty-five scholars, under William

B. Chain as superintendent.


This church was organized in 1856 with about
eighty members. A house of worship was erected, at
a cost of about nine hundred dollars, on the property
of James Bryan. The first pastor was the Rev. Syl-
vester Burt. Among his successors in the pulpit of

this church there have been the Revs. McAlier,

W. A. Steward, Moffatt, Appleton, J. Man-
sell, — — • Taylor, Eaton, and S. Lane, the present

pastor. The church is now in a flourishing condition,
with about forty members. It is out of debt, and its
house of worship is in good repair. It has a Sabbath-
school of seventy-five scholars, with Irvin Cottom as


It is not known precisely when or where the first
school was taught in Tyrone. One of the earliest
school-houses was a log building erected more than
seventy-five years ago in the present township of
Lower Tyrone, on a site embraced in the farm of
Samuel Cochran. Among those who attended the
schools in that house were the children of the fami-
lies of Cunningham, Torrance, Newcomer, Cochran,
Ross, Galley, Lyttle, Gallatin, and McDonald. The
first teacher was an Irishman named Craig. His or-

dinary modes of punishment were by the "dunce-
block," fool's cap, and leather spectacles, but in many

j cases he used the heavy ruler with great severity, if
not brutality. So say some of his yet surviving pu-
pils. Besides this school there were others taught

I near Jacob's Creek, at Overholt's, and on the Quay-
farm, near the bottoms on the Youghiogheny. Mr.
Henry Galley recollects that the stone school-house

j on land of Philip Lucas was built in or about 1817.
Under the operation of the public school law ot
1834, the first school directors (appointed by the
court in January, 1835) for Tyrone were Jacob New-
myer and William Espey. The township was re-
ported to the county treasurer as having accepted the
provisions of the law Jan. 3, 1838. The first appor-
tionment of money to the township under that law
was from the State, $64.72.] ; from the county, $129.67.
Prior to the division of old Tyrone, the township
contained nine districts (which have been very little
changed since), as follows :

In the extreme western end, the Quay District ex-
tends entirely across the township from the Youghio-
gheny to Jacob's Creek. The school-house is near
the centre of it.

East of and adjoining the Quay District are the
Cunningham and Gaut Districts, which join near the
centre of the township. The former lies on the
Youghiogheny River, and extends up that stream
nearly to the borough of Dawson. The Gaut District
lies on Jacob's Creek.

The Cochran Di.strict borders on the river for a
short distance, embracing the borough of Dawson,
and extends northeasterly to include a part of Hick-
man's Run. Its northern boundary is nearly all on
the Gaut District.

The Taylor District lies in the bend of the river
above the Cochran District, and embraces the mouth
of Hickman's Run. All the districts above named
lie wholly in the present township of Lower Tyriine,

, as do also a part of each of the three next men-

The Strickler District lies on the river next ab )ve
the Taylor District, and extends eastward to the east
line of Upper Tyrone.

I The Ridge District lies north of the Strickler, and
extends from the east line of Upper Tyrone westward
to the Cochran District.

The Washington District lies along Jacob's Creek,
and extends south to the Ridge District, east to the

I east line of Upper Tyrone, and west to the Gaut Dis-

j trict.

The Walnut Hill District embraces the north-
eastern corner of Upiier Tyrone, extending from the
township line on the east to Jacob's Creek on the
northwest, and joining Washington District on the

j The report for the school year of 1880-81 shows
in Upper Tyrone seven hundred and sixty pupils
and seven teachers. Total expenditure for schools,



$2452.99 ; valuation of school property, S6000. The
same report gives for Lower Tyrone four hundred
and ten pupils and seven teachers. Total expendi-
ture for school purposes, 81425.44; valuation of
school property, $9000.

The following is a list (as nearly complete and
accurate as can be obtained from the defective rec-
ords) of school directors elected from 1840 to the
present time :

ISJO.— James Wade, Joseph Cunningham.
1841. — Jacob Newcomer.
1842.— David Galley.

1843.— Joseph Cunningham, John Smilie, Hugh Torrance.
1S44.— Joseph H. Torrance, William Vance, John Taylor.
1845.— Martin Sherricli.
1846.— William Huston, James Darsie.
1847.— Peter Galley, John T. Stauffer.
1848. — Jacob Newmyer, Robert Laughrie.
1840. — Joseph Cunningham, Joseph Gaut.
1850.— Joseph Gwinn, Stew.xrt Strickler.
1851.— J.acob Newmyer, Alexander Boyd, John T. Stauffer.
1852.— Samuel Gallatin, Eli Homer, Hugh Chain.
1853. — Tilghman H. Strickler, Joseph Gwinn, Ebenezer Moore.
1854. — Samuel Heath, Solomon Keister, Ebenezer Moore.
1855.— Hugh Chain, George Strickler.
1856.— David M. Frame.
1857.- Solomon Keister, Jacob Sherrick.
1858. — William Washington, Joseph Newmyer.
l'S59.— Joseph Cunningham, David Galley.
1860.— Solomon Keister. Jacob Sherrick, Moses Porter.
1861.— Jacob Newmyer, John Keith, Wesley Collins.
1862. — Alexander Boyd, John L. Hutchinson.
1863.- Jiicob Sherrick, Samuel Gaddis, William Strickler, Amos

1864.- Samuel Smouse, George Strickler, J. R. Stauffer, Gesrge

1865.- Joseph Newmyer, Daniel Strickler, C. S. Sherrick.
1866. — James Cochran, J.acob Sherrick, Solomon Hunter, Jacob

1867.— George W. Anderson, Wesley H. Cottom, William L.

1868. — Solomon Keister, S. Cottom.
1869.— J. W. Stillwagon, Isaac Cochran.

1870.— George W. Anderson, Jacob Sherrick, J. M. Cochran.
1873.— J. D. Porter, William Landenberger, J. W. Sherbondy.
1S74.— N. M. Anderson, Jacob Sherrick, H. J. Molliston.
1375.- J. W. Stillwiigon, J. G. White, W. B. Chain, John

1876. — W. Landenberger, Jacob Sherrick, Joseph Strickler.

1877.- James W. Cochran, J. D. Porter.

187S.— W. T. Kinney, Samuel Barnum.

1879.— Upper Tyrone, J. R. Stauffer; Lower Tyrone, Hugh

Ryan, W. M. Anderson.
1880. — Upper Tyrone, Bcnj. Newcomer, John Beatty; Lower

Tyrone, P. Snyder, B. F. Oglevee, D. M. Newcomer.
1 SSI. —Upper Tyrone, James D. Porter, David L. Sherrick;

Lower Tyrone. Paul Hough, Wesley Galley, A. Shallen-

The land forming the site of the borough of Daw-
son was included in the original tract, called " Pros-
pect," which was warranted to John Smilie in 1786,
but for eighty year.s after tluit time no attempt was

made to centralize business and settlements at this
place other than the erection of a steam saw-mill by
two sons of John Smilie, Eobert and John, who
did something of a business there in sawing lumber
for the construction of keel- and flat-boats for the
transportation of iron, coal, and sand.

The Smilie farm, except the river bottom, was sold
to Stewart Strickler. The bottom land was sold to
George Dawson, who used it for purposes of cultiva-
tion. The Pittsburgh and Connellsville Railroad
was located through the tract, and upon the opening
of the line Dawson's Station was established at this
point. A post-office was established at the same time.

The property passed, in the division of the Daw-
son estate, to Mrs. Alfred Howell, and in 1866 a town
plat was laid out and surveyed by Martin Dickson
for Mr. Howell. The brick building now known as
the Ebbert House was built by Henry H. Galley in
1868. The first store was opened by Samuel Smouse.

For some reason the new town received the name
of " Bloomington," and held it, without entirely su-
perseding the railroad designation of Dawson's Sta-
tion, until the incorporation of the borough, which
was effected in 1872, upon a petition of certain free-
holders presented to the court of Fayette County at
the March term of that year. The court ordered the
petition to be laid before the grand jury, which body
reported the ne.\t day (March 7th) that after a full
inve.stigation of the case a majority of the said jury
" do find that the conditions prescribed by the acts
of the Assembly relating thereto have been complied
with, and believe that it is expedient to grant the
prayer of the petitioners."

The report of the grand jury was confirmed on the
8th of June, 1872, and the court decreed " that the
said town at Dawson's Station be incorporated into a
borough in conformity with the prayer of the peti-
tioners; that the corporate style and title thereof
shall be the borough of Dawson," giving the bounda-
ries in detail. It was further provided that the first
election should be held at the school-house in the
said borough on the 31st day of August, 1872. At
the time designated the following-named ofiicers were
elected, viz. : Justices of the Peace, William Lent,
M. McDonald; Burgess, Alexander B. Luce; Asses-
sor, W. W. Luce ; School Directors, Joseph New-
myer, James Mosser, William Luce, Jacob Oglevee,
Frank Snyder, Henry Newmyer; Council, Joseph
Newmyer, Frank Snyder, Daniel Wurtz, James
Fairchild. John McGill, Isaac Cochran ; Auditor,
John Orbin.

The list of succeeding borough ofiicers to the year
1881 is as follows :

1873. — Justice of the Peace, A. J. Anderson; Assessor, Henry
Newmyer; Auditor, J. F. Oglevee.

1874.— Justice of the Peace, T. Robb Deyarmon ; School Direc-
tors. William Lent, William Ebbert; Auditor, George New-
myer; .\ssessor, David Forsyth.

1S75.— Justice of the Peace, John W. Sherbondy; Assessor,



Eli Galley; Auditor, John Arnold: Scliool Directors, J. C.
Henry, James Fairohild.

1876. — Justice of the Peace, Mordecai McDonald; Burgesp,
John H. Sherbondy ; Council, John Corder, James Stauf-
fer; Assessor, J. R. Laughrey; Auditor, A. C. McCune.

1877. — Burgess, James Newmyer ; Justice of the Peace, James
Newmyer; Council, W. B. Frier, George Newmyer ; School
Directors, Isaac Cochran, J. R. Laughrey, John Orbin ;
Auditor, E. Galley.

187S.— Burgess, Joseph Newmyer; Council, Eli Galley, William
H. Rush : School Directors, William Johns, William Fair-

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 183 of 193)