Franklin Ellis.

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

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1 was so narrow that he lost a portion of his scalp.



while Derry saved himself by burrowing beneath the
roots of a tree.

Michael Springer, likewise one of Andrew Lynn's
near neighbors, was a German. He bought his land
from the man who had tomahawked it, and gave in
exchange a shot-gun and a hog.

Levi Stephens, of Bucks County, was a govern-
ment surveyor, who in 1769 assisted in surveying;-
Southwestern Pennsylvania. He was so well pleasccl
with the land lying along the southern border of what
is now Washington township that he made a purchase
there of a large land tract, and there concluded to
make his home. Although after that busily engaged
on his land, he found opportunities to do considerable
surveying from time to time as his services were
called for. The compass used by Mr. Stephens is
still in the possession of his descendants. His sons
were four in number, and named Nathaniel, John,
Levi, Jr., and Thomas. Of Nathaniel's sons Nathan-
iel, Jr., Levi, and Joshua are living. Of Levi, Jr.'s,
sons the living are Jehu, Israel, Johnson, and James.
David is the only living son of Thomas. The widow
of Levi Stephens, Jr., now resides in Washington
township, aged eighty-five years. Nathaniel, the
eldest son of Levi Stephens, the surveyor, was a noted
river trader. The Stephens were long-lived. Levi,
the surveyor, died in 1808, aged sixty-four, two years
after the death of his father, John, who lived to be
ninety-one ; Levi Stephens, Jr., was eighty -seven at
his death in 1878 ; and Nathaniel eighty-seven when
he died in 1869. All those named were buried in the
cemetery at Little Redstone Methodist Episcopal

Contemporaneous with Levi Stephens in Washing-
ton was John Reeves, who served as a colonel in the
Revolution, as did also his father. John lived on the
farm now occupied by Jehu Stevens, upon which
once stood a famous red oak that measured eleven
feet in diameter.

John Brightwell, a Marylander, lived where J. B.
Stephens now resides. Briirlitwell's wife wa< a linive-
hearted woman, and altli'.ii^li iiiiirt\ -ninr yi-:iis ,,1.1
at her death was active a IP I In an\ t^ ihu last. During
her early life in Washington she not only crossed tlie
mountains once or twice to visit Eastern friends, but
made a memorable horsebaek-tripto Cincinnati alone,
anil brouglit her niece witli Iier on tlie return journey.
Such an undertaking, involving a ride of aix)Ut si.x
luiiidred miles tlin.ugh a wild and unsettled country
for a great part of the way, was no trifling task. Its
accomplishment was something unusual for even a
pioneer's wife. Along with tlie Stewarts, the early
settlers in the Stephens neigliburliooil imludtil the
Piersols (one of whom capture<l the last l.eai- -ei n in
this section), William Nutt, Tlmmas t'.nui, Thoiiias
Taggart, the Jeffries, Parkers, Peter Marstou, and
Jacob Harris. Robert Galloway, one of the early
settlers on Dunlap's Creek, was also an early comer
to Washinaton. He boUL'ht tlie niill-.-ite oritrinallv

owned by Col. Cook, and later by Mr. Kyle and An-
drew Brown, and for years was known as the pro-
prietor of Galloway's Mills. The Houseman place,
adjoining Galloway's, was the home of John Patterson
some little time before 1800. Just when he became a
resident is not known, but it is remembered that Pat-
terson was fond of telling how there was not, when
he came, a clearing " big enough to lay the broad of
his back on." Patterson built the stone house now
on the Joseph Houseman place, and inscribed over
the door " J. P. 1800," yet to be seen. He was a
blacksmith by trade, and had a shop on his farm.
For strength, endurance, and rapid work in the har-
vest-field he was noted. He worked hard and saved
his money until he was looked upon as a wealthy
man. In an evil hour he joined others in the glass-
manufacturing business at Perryopolis, and lost all
he had. In his old age he was very' poor. Not only
he but other well-to-do farmers in Washington were
ruined by the disastrous results attendant upon the
Perryopolis glass-works enterprise. William Nichols
lived near Patterson, but nothing has been preserved
to show who he was or what he did.

Joseph Patton was the owner of a large land tract
over towards the Perry line, where his grandchildren

j now live. In 1780 Andrew Brown bought of Col.

I Edward Cook the place upon which his grandson,
Andrew Brown, now lives. Brown bought also the
adjoining mill-site, and carried on the mill some years,
as well as a distillery near by. Mr. Brown's children
were seven daughters and three sons. Of the latter
only John lived to grow to manhood. He died on
the old farm April 15, 1872, and there his widow still
lives with her son Andrew.

In 1771, John Willson landed in Virginia from
Ireland, and from Virginia in 1788 he removed to
Washington township, Fayette Co., to occupy a two-
hundred-acre tract bought for him by his sons Hugh
and John, living respectively in Allegheny County
and Perry township, where they had then been re-
siding some time. The two hundred acres, lying on
the line between Westmoreland and Fayette Counties,
were bought for Willson from one Jones, and into the
house Jones had put up Wills'on moved with his fam-
ily. In 1804, Mr. Willson replaced the Jones cabin
with the log house now standing on the place. Three
sons came with him in 1788. They were James,
Robert, and David. James died in Washington in
1827, Robert moved to Ohio, and David, inheriting
the homestead, died there in 1863, at the age of ninety
years, after a residence of seventy-five years on the
farm. John, the father, died in 1807, aged eighty-
two years. It is wortliy of mention that three of his
sons — Hugh, John, and Robert — saw service in the
Revolution. Of the children of David, the living
ones are John R., Mary J., and James M.

Allen Farquhar (a Quaker) came from Maryland
about 1790, and located upon a farm of which his
grandson, Roljert Farciuliar, now owns a portion.



With Allen Farquhar came his three married sons,
Robert, William, and Samuel. Allen, the father,
bought two hundred and nineteen acres of Levi
Stephens, and divided the tract between his three
sons. Robert, the only one to remain permanently
in Washington, died in 1823. His brothers William |
and Samuel moved to Ohio, and died there. Robert
had nine children, of whom three were sons, — Joseph,
Robert, and William. Joseph died in his youth,
Robert and William settled and died in Washington.
David Hough, one of the early millers in Fayette
County, built a mill on the Little Redstone, but
moved, after a brief time, to Jefferson, where he
died. In 1801, John Hough bought one hundred ;
and eight acres of Hieronimus Eckraan for £220 18s. |
dd. Two years before that Eckman bought the land |
for $100. The patent for the tract was granted in
1788 by the State to Josiah Kerr, who had previously
built a saw-mill upon it and called it " Miuoria." '
Martin Lutz settled about 1800 on Lutz's Run, near
the Westmoreland County line. There he died. His
six sons were named George, Martin, David, Henry,
Barnet, and William. All but George and William
are still living. John McKee, traveling westward in .
1809, stopped on one of Col. Cook's farms, and re- ^
mained there as a renter. McKee was an ex-Revolu-
tionary soldier, and boasted an honorable record of
service. His son John, aged nearly ninety, is still a
resident of Washington township. On the place oc-
cupied by J. B. Gould, near Belle Vernon, the Wiley
family lived as early as 1800, and after them George
Haselbaker, who lived in a log house on the bank of the
river. Farther up was his brother Jacob, a shoemaker, |
and beyond Jacob was John Dinsmore. J. B. Gould, ;
who was teaching school at Cookstown in 1828, bought
the Wiley place that year, and since then has made it :
his home. Mr. Gould is now in his eighty-sixth year.
In 1810 he came to Fayette County with his father,
who settled then near the Red Lion, in Jefferson
township, a noted tavern in its day, the fame of which
penetrated even into far-off New England. I

Upon the division of the county into townships, at
the December session of the Court of Quarter Ses- ]
sions in 1783, the court ordered the laying out of " A
township beginning at the mouth of Spear's Run ; j
thence by the line dividing the counties of Westmore-
land and Fayette to the mouth of Jacob's Creek ;
thence by the river Youghiogini to the mouth of
Washington Mill Run; thence up the same to the
head of the south fork; thence by a line to be drawn
to the head of a small branch of Crab-Apple Bun, '
known by the name of Hardistus branch; thence '
down the same to Crab-Apple Run; thence down
Crab-Apple Run to Redstone Creek; thence down
said creek and Monongahela River to the place of
beginning; to be known hereafter by the name of
Washington township." March, 1839, the court '

created the township of Perry from portions of Ty-
rone, Franklin, and Washington. In June, 1840,
Jefferson township and Cookstown borough were
erected from Washington, and Belle "Vernon in 1863,
leaving to Washington the territory it now contains.
Imperfect records forbid the presentation of a com-
plete civil list for Washington. Such as could be ob-
tained are here given, viz. :


Harvey Barker.
.James Cunningham,
Harvey Barker.
John B. Gould.
Samuel Griffith.
John B. Gould.
Samuel C. Griffith.
James Springer.
John B. Gould.
Samuel C. Griffith.
James M. Springer.
Samuel C. Griffith.

1840. John B. Gould.
1S41. Robert Baldwin.

1842. Samuel Galloway.

1843. William B. Nutt.

1844. James C. Cook.

1845. John Thompson.

1846. Thompson Turner.

1847. John R. WiUson.

1848. John B. Cook.

1849. George Lutz.

1850. Levi Stephens.

1851. John B. Gould.

1852. Samuel C. Griffith.

1853. Joseph Galloway.

1854. John B.Gould.

1855. Joseph A. Ebert.

1856. Johnson R. Stephens

1857. Robert Farquhar.
1868. Jacob Houseman.

1859. Joshua N. Stephens.

1860. E. C. Griffith.

1865. John R. Willson.

1867. Samuel C. Griffith.

1868. Samuel C. Griffith.
John R. Willson.

1869. J. N. Dixon.
F. C. Herron.

1873. .John R. Willson.
Levi J. Jeffries.

1874. J. S. Moss.
1878. James Galloway.

Joseph Brown.

1861. Samuel C. Griffith

1862. John B. Gould.

1863. Thomas Patton.

1864. Samuel Galloway.

1865. John B. Gould.

1866. John McClain.

1867. John Brown.

1868. John B. Gould.

1869. B. M. Chalfant.

1871. Joseph Galloway.

1872. William Patton.

1873. Euclid S. Griffith.

1874. C. P. Powers.

1875. Levi J. Jeffries.

1876. J. B. Houseman.
John Stephens.

1877. Robert G. Patton.

1879. Samuel Galloway.

1880. Alexander Luce.

1881. J. Whetzel.


Levi Stephens.


John Lutz.

Samuel C. Griffith.


Robert Boyle.

Joseph Krepps.


James M. Springer.

Abram P. Fry.


John R. Willson.

William D. Mullin.


John B. Gould.

Joseph Houseman.


Levi J. Jeffries.

William E. Frazer.


William G. Huggins.

John B. Cook.


.John B. Gould.

Brazilla Newbold.


John MeClain.

Roger Jordan.


William G. Huggins.

George Lutz.


William Elliott.

Levi Stephen, -


Hiram Patton.

Roger Jordan.


William Patton.

George Lutz.


John R. Willson.

Joseph Houseman.

Samuel Galloway.

Solomon Specrs.


John R. Willson.

John R. Willson.

Samuel Galloway.

Thomas Stephens.

Niithan B. BrightwelL

John B.Gould.


Levi J. Jeffries.


187o. Johnson Dinsinc

1876. .John R. Willson
John Q. Adams.

1877. L. P. Stephens.

1878. Taylor Taggart.

1878. John Whetzel.

1879. Jasper Coldren
18S0. J. Q. Adams.
1881. J. Shook.


1841. William Everhart.
William Krepps.

1842. Joseph Houseman.
Samuel Larimore.

1841). Edward Mansfield.
Philip Lenhart.

1844. John V. Layton.
Isaac Banks.

1845. Harvey Barker.
James Hamer.

1841!. William D. Mullin.

David Shearer.
1S47. Thomas Stephens.

John B. Cook.
1848. Thomas Patton.

Johnson Cunningham.
1819. John B. Gould.

Robert Farquhar.
185(1. Joseph Houseman.

Johnson Dinsmore.

1851. Jesse Coldren.
John R. Willson.

1852. Joshua G. Newbold.
Robert Patterson.

1853. Johnson R. Stephens.
Roger Jordan.

1854. Samuel C. Griffith.
John S. Van Voorhis.

1855. James Davidson.
Jacob Houseman.

1856. Philip Linhart.
Daniel Forney.

1857. Levi Stephens.
William B. Nutt.

185S. Thonuas Patton.

James Davidson.

John Reeves.
1859. Thomas Stephens.

John Dinsmore.
1800. Joshua N. Stephens.

James Davidson.

Abraham Hough.

1861. John R. Willson.
James Davidson.
Joshua N. Stephens.

1862. Levi J. Jeffries.

1863. John R. Willson.
i Samuel L. Smock.

I 1864. David P. Stephens.
John Coldren.

1865. Levi J. Jeffries.
A. B. Brightwell.
J. K. Willson.

1866. William G. Huggins.
I John R. Willson.

! 1867. John Coldren.

James McCrory.

1868. JohnAnnell.
Johnson Dinsmore.
Denton Lynn.

1869. E. D. Stewart.

D. M. Shearer.

1870. Jehu Stephens.
John Kennedy.

1871. Levi J. Jeffries.
William Huggins.
James Montgomery.
Samuel Galloway.

1872. Israel Stephens.
William E. Cook.
Nathaniel S. Housema

187.3. John A. Bevans.
Johnson S. .Mo.=s.
William .M. Lenhart.

1874. Joseph Brown.

1875. Jasper Coldren.
X. S. Houseman.

1S7B. David Jones.

John P. Blythe.

1877. James Montgomery.
Frank Fields.

1878. Denton Lynn.
L. P. Stephens.
Frank Fields.

1879. Andrew Brown.

E. C. Griffith.
L. C. Dinsmore.

1880. William Leonard.
William Cook.

1881. M. Miller.
Joseph McKee.

At the September sessions in 1785 a petition for

road from Col. Cook's mill to hi:
road to Cherr)''s Mills, was grnii
tion for a road from Col. Cook's
A report of a road from the mmii

iding, and to the
:i> was the peti-
'hoiiia- Fossett's.
f l.iitlr Kedstone

to James Rankin's farm was made at the September
sessions in 1795 by Thomas Patterson, James Finney,
Francis Lewis, Chads Chalfant, and Samuel Davis.
The road began at the Monongahela River, a little

below the mouth of the Little Redstone Creek, crossed
the road leading from Col. Cook's to Uniontown and
the road from Col. Cook's to Fossett's, and at James
Rankin's intersected the road from Brownsville to the
Broad Ford. September, 1796, a road from Barzillai
Newbold's to the forks of the Little Redstone was re-
ported as viewed by William Goe, George E_spy, Wil-
liam Elliott, Michael Shilling, and Moses Davison.
In June, 1797, a road from the mouth of the Little
Redstone to the mouth of Spear's Run was viewed by
William Cunningham, George Espy, Samuel Becket,
Mich.iel Shilling, John Seward, and Andrew Brown.
The distance was reckoned at three miles and one
quarter and sixty-nine perches.


The only house of public worship in Washington
township is the Little Redstone Methodist Episcopal
Church, located at the forks of the road, just west of
Jehu Stevens' residence. The neat and substantial
brick edifice rears its modest front within a small but
well-kept churchyard, where many of Washington's
.pioneers have slept for many years. The Baptists
built a log church at that point forty years or more
ago, and maintained an organization and periodical
worship for some time. The Methodists held occa-
sional meetings in the Baptist meeting-house, as well
as at the neighboring school-house and houses of
members. The first Methodist meetings were held
at the houses of Nathaniel Stephens, Robert Ste-
phens, and Hugh Ford. The brick church was built
in 1857. and dedicated by Rev. J. G. Sanson, pre-
siding elder of the Redstone Circuit. At that time
the preachers in charge were Revs. Grifiin and Mcln-
tyre. Some of the earliest preachers after 1857 were
Revs. Wakefield, Mansell, Johnson, Kendall, and
Stewart. The present pastor is Rev. Josiah Mansell,
who preaches at Little Redstone every Sunday. The
membership is now (May, 1881) sixty-five. The class-
leader is Albert Gaddis. The trustees are David
Stephens, Jehu Luce, John Smith, and John Taggart.
The superintendent of the Sunday-school is Jehu


The coal deposits in Washington are extensive and
valuable, but lack of railway facilities forbids the de-
velopment of the interest except along the river- front,
where mining has been going forward for upwards of
forty years.

In 1840, John Garr and Richard Knight opened a
mine on the London Derry tract, above the Fremont
Works, owned by the Clarks. The Clarks (Samuel
being the first) began to mine at the latter place as
early as 1847, and have mined there more or less ever
since, although just now the works are idle.

Frazer & Frye, the largest operators on the river
in Washington, have been engaged in mining at their
present location since 1873, where coal was taken out



for shipment down the river in flat-boats as early as
1834. Frazer & Frye bought, in 1873, a tract of two
hundred and twenty-three acres of coal, of which
there are yet about one hundred and sixty acres
undeveloped. They employ eighty-five men, pay
out seven thousand dollars monthly for wages, etc.,
and take out seven thousand five hundred bushels
of coal daily. They have on the river a front of one-
third of a mile, running up from the mouth of the
Little Redstone Creek. On their property they have
a store and fourteen tenements.

J. H. Rutherford has been mining on the river
since 1866. He is now operating in Washington
township near Fayette City. He has forty acres of
coal and a river-front of two hundred and fifty yards.
Twenty-five to thirty men are employed, and three
thousand bushels of coal mined daily.

The Connecticut Coal-Works, adjoining Ruther-
ford's mines, have been idle since 1871. There are
there about two hundred acres of coal, belonging to
the Wheeler & Wilson Sewing-Machine Company.
They came into possession in 1870, and after working
there about a year abandoned the mines, and have
sufl'ered them to lie idle ever since. The property is
as valuable as ever, but the company seems but little
concerned about it.


On the east bank of the Monongahela, about forty
miles above Pittsburgh, lies Belle Vernon borough,
of which the population in June, 1881, was eleven
hundred and sixty-four, its chief claim to distinction
being the presence within its limits of the largest
window-glass manufactory in America. The borough
proper reaches to the Westmoreland County line,
where it is joined by the borough of North Belle
Vernon, located in the county last named, and pos-
sessing lumber-manufacturing and boat-building
interests that contribute materially to the business
prosperity of Belle Vernon. The business part of
the town lies along the river bottom, at the foot of a
stretch of hilly country, upon which many of the
townspeople dwell, and from which may be obtained
a fine prospect of river, hills, and plains. River
packets plying between Pittsburgh and Geneva touch
at Belle Vernon four times daily, and there is, more-
over, railway communication with all point.s ria the
Pittsburgh, Virginia and Charleston Railroad passing
along the western shore of the Monongahela. The
town is an active business centre aside from its man-
ufacturing enterprises, and maintains a private bank-
ing institution, founded by its present owners, S. F.
Jones & Co., in 1872.

Belle Vernon was laid out by Noah Speer in 1813
upon a portion of a tract of land located by his father,
Henry, in 1772, who with his wife came to the Mo-
nongahela in that year and bought considerable land,
of which the greater portion, and his own home, were

in what is now Westmoreland County. Henry Speer
was killed by the kick of a horse in 1774. As origi-
nally platted the town contained three hundred and
sixty lots, and covered a considerable area in West-
moreland County. The streets were Water, Main,
Solomon, Wood, Market, First, Second, Third, and
Fourth. The alleys were Long, Pleasant, Locust,
Strawberry, and Flint.

The following advertisement appeared in the col-
umns of the Reporter, published at Washington, Pa.>
of July 12, 1812:


" For Sale in the Town of Bellevernon.— They are laid out
in Fayette and Westmoreland Counties ; eauh lot is 75 feet in
front and 100 feet back. The street.s are 2300 feet in length
and -10 in breadth, cross streets 40 and one 50 feet in breidth.
Bellevernon is situated on that beautiful river bottom on the
east side of the Monongahela River, two miles below Freeport.
The bank is high, and water sufficiently deep for loaded boats at
low-water mark. Outlets on a level soil will shortly be pre-
piired for sale. Ground will be given gratis for a school-house ;
also it is nearly centrable to the four counties, and the most
agreeable situation near the centre. If a new county should
be struck off and laid thereon, ground will be given gratis for
a court- and market-house, and the sum of 2000 dollars for the
purpose of erecting public buildings, besides a generous sub-
scription is expected from the neighboring citizens. There is
also for sale 100,000 elegant brick of the best quality. ... It
is e.\|jected a steam-mill will be built on one of said lots, and
the foundation to be raised this fall above common high-water
murk, so that the work may go on early next spring. Those
who wish to have a share in said mill are desired to meet at
James Hazlip's, in Freeport, on Saturday, the 25th of July.
" NoAii Speers.

"June 22, 1812."

The first sale of lots was held April 18, 1814, and a
premium of ten dollars was offered to the purchaser
who should build the first house. Thomas Ward, a
carpenter, of Westmoreland County, claimed the
prize, having put up his house at the corner of Main
and Second Streets. That, the first house erected in
Belle Vernon, is now occupied by James Lewis. The
second house was built by William Hornbeck at the
corner of Main Street and Cherry Alley, and opened
by him as a tavern. In the spring of 1816, Morris
Corwin, a cooper, came from Westmoreland County,
and built upon Main Street the third house in Belle
Vernon. He constructed it of the lumber contained
in the house that had been his home in Westmoreland
County. Corwin set up a cooper's shop in a part of
the house, and worked at his trade more or less until
his death in 1835. His widow, hearty and active at
the age of ninety-one, still lives in the old home.

When the Corwins became residents of Belle Ver-
non, the present business portion of the town was a
fine sugar-camp. The village grew slowly, and during
1816 there were added but three families, — those of
Nathaniel Everson, a cooper. Bud Gaskill, a gunsmith,
and Joseph Billeter, a boat-builder. Before the year
1816, Billeter was living along the river below the
town and building flat-boats. In 1816, Noah Speer



built the present Brightwell House, and started his
son Solomon there as a store-keeper. Solomon was
the village trader for many years, until his removal
to the far West. Belle Vernon was for a long time a
dreary village, and did not rise above the dignity of
a backwoods settlement. The sugar-camp was not
cleared until some time after 1813, and then in its
place Noah Speer planted the town to corn, so that
Main Street was that season nothing but a path
through a corn-field, with other thoroughfares equally
primeval and contracted. The next season rye and
timothy covered the town-site, and made the place
look like a farm with a half-dozen or more houses
dotting it hero and there. The inhabitants told Noah
Speer that it was all very well for him to make a
grain-field of the village, but they must have a few
streets, and threatened to throw down fences so that
there might be free communication at least from one
part of the town to another. Speer heeded not their
complaints, but when he found his fences pulled down
again and again, he made up- his mind that it would
be perhaps well enough to open a few streets.

Mr. Hornbeck, who kept a poor sort of tavern and
dealt largely in whisky, set up a carding-machine,
but gave it up after a brief experiment. Thomas
Ward, the pioneer settler in Belle Vernon, moved to
the far AVest eventually. Rebecca Lenhart, his

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 186 of 193)