Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 190 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 190 of 193)
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as a government surveyor. He took land for his
Bervices, and owned all the lands novt' in posses-
sion of his progeny. He married Elizabeth Brown,
of Chester County, Pa. They had seven children, —
Nathaniel, Sarah, John, Levi, Nancy, Elizabeth, and
Thomas, — who grew to manhood and womanhood and
married. Two of their children died in infancy.

Levi, the last surviving member of this family,
was born Sept. 10, 1790. He spent his early life
tilling his father's farm and attending the district
school of the neighborhood. lu 181.3 he was married
to Mary Farquhar, of Washington township, Fay-
ette Co. They located upon the farm where his
widow now resides, and his entire life was spent here
as a farmer. He died Jan. 13, 1878. His widow
survives him, aged eighty-six. They have had nine
children. Six are now living. Robert, Esther, and
Aaron are dead. Jehu, Israel, Johnson, Rachel,
James, and Mary are living, married, and have

Levi Stephens never had time to hold an office.
He was a busy farmer, and gave all his children a pe-
cuniary start in life. He was an amiable, benevolent
gentleman. He was not a member of the church, but
his moral standing was excellent, according to the
testimony of his discreetest neighbors.


The first of the fiimily of the late Mr. John Brown,
of Washington township, and who died April 15, 1872, j
of whom there is any special record at hand was An- j
drew Brown, who was born in Ireland in 1759. He ;
emigrated to America in 1779, and settled on West j
Conococheague Creek, in Franklin County, Pa. His
wealth at that time consisted of one shilling. He
remained there just long enough to make the money
to bring him to Fayette County. When he came here i
he settled on Mill Run, one and a half miles east of ]
Fayette City, where he bought a farm from Col. Ed- I
ward Cook. He engaged in farming, and continued
in that occupation all his life. April 24, 1788, he
married Jane Bigham, of Westmoreland County, Pa.
They had seven daughters and three sons. Of the
children, Hester and Andrew died young ; Elizabeth
married Hugh C. Ford; Nancy died single; Polly
married Capt. Duncan Campbell ; Jane married John
Moore; Martha C. died single; Margaret married
James Torrance.

John was the seventh child, and the only one of the
sons who grew to manhood. He was born April 1,
1805. His early life was passed upon his father's farm.
His opportunities for early education were limited,
being confined to the common schools. The little
learning he gathered there was supplemented by ex-
tensive reading in after-years. His father died in
1823, and the management of the farm devolved upon '

him. He proved himself a successful manager, and
although a liberal giver to all benevolent causes, he
added largely to what he inherited from his lather.
He was married Dec. 12, 1844, to Sarah H. Power, of
Allegheny County, Pa. They had five children. Ada
and Anna died at two years of age ; Nannie J. died
at the age of twenty ; Mary Emma, married to M. M.
Willson, of Westmoreland County. They have one
child living, Andrew Brown Willson.

Andrew Brown, the only son, re.'iidcs with his mother
upon the old homestead. John Brown held the office
of justice of the peace for a number of years. He
was a man of peace. He rarely charged anything for
his services, and always counseled an amicable settle-
ment of difficulties between neighbors. He was for
many years an active member and liberal supporter
of the Rehoboth Presbyterian Church. His family
are all members of the same communion, lie left
his family valuable possessions, a good name, lands,

His family and friends bless his memory, and love
to tell of his charities, gentleness, lowliness of heart,
and many other Christian graces. His virtues were

Andrew Brown, Sr., was for fifty years an elder in
the Presbyterian Church of Rehoboth. He died
March 27, 1823. Jane, his wife, departed this life
April 7, 1833, aged sixty-nine years.


Denton Lynn, of Washington township, is of Irish
descent, and was born upon the farm where he now re-
sides fifty-one years ago. His education was received
in the common schools. He early learned the business
of farming, and has been engaged in it ever since.
He was married Feb. 8, 1857, to Margaret A. Corwin,
of Belle Vernon. She died May 22, 1881. There
were born to them eleven children, all of whom are
living, — Sylvania, married to Johnson Hough, Jo-
anna, Olive R., John C, Charles Sumner, Joseph
Denton, Robert Finley, Martha D., George E.,
Nellie, and Mary Emma.

Mr. Lynn has held the usual township offices. His
father was John Lynn, who was born in 1794, and
lived and died upon this farm. He married Drusilla
Curry, of Fayette City. They liad eight children.
Denton is the youngest. His grand fatiier's name was
Andrew Lynn. He was born on Town Creek, Alle-
gany Co., Md., Sept. 23, 17()6. When very young
his father, whose name was Andrew, settled upon
Big Redstone, in Redstone township, upon tlie farm
which James M. Lynn now owns. Soon after settling
there Andrew (1st) purchased the land owned now
by Denton Lynn from the Indians. He added to his
first purchase a farm of 130 acres, owned by one
Pearce. The deed was made in 1790, and bears the
name of Thomas Mifflin, first Governor of Pennsvl-


vania. Upon this tract are some of the largest locust-
trees in the State, one, measuring twenty feet in cir-
cumference, and known to be nearly two centuries
old, is probably the progenitor of all the living locusts
of this region. It also contains the remains of " Fort
Sedgy." The tract was known by that name. The fort
consisted of a strong stone wall about four feet high,
built in the shape of a horseshoe. Many relics have
been found here, such as tomahawks, skeletons, etc.

One human skeleton here found measured eight feet
in length.

Mr. Lynn's possessions are chiefly lands, and he
has added considerably to what he inherited. He is
a prudent business man, and has a comfortable home.
He is noted for his sobriety, industry, and honesty.

Mr. Lynn's great-grandfather, Andrew Lynn, was
a colonel in the Revolutionary war, and served during
the entire struggle.


Bouiiduries and General Description— Indian Trails and Graves— Battle-
Grounds of 1754— Roads- The Old BradJock Road— The National
Road— Braddock'8 Grave— Fayette Springs— Pioneers and Settlement
—Township Organization and Officers— Tillages— Cemeteries-Mail
Service— Wharton yiirnace— Religious Denominations— Schools.

AVharton is one of the nine townships into which
Fayette County was originally divided by the first
court for the county, at December sessions, 1783. After
naming eight of the townships the record mentions
Wharton, the ninth, in the following language : " The
residue of the county, being chiefly mountainous, is
included in one township, known as Wharton town-
ship." Wharton, in order of size, is first ; in order
of age is the fifth, and in order of designation is the
ninth of the twenty-three townships into which the
county is now divided. It is bounded on the north
by Dunbar, on the east by Stewart and Henry Clay,
on the south by Mason and Dixon's line, on the
west by Springhill, Georges, South L" nion, and North
Union. It is the southwestern of the five mountain
townships of the county. Its greatest length from
north to south is eleven and one-half miles, and its
greatest width from east to west is thirteen and one-
quarter miles.

Wharton lies in the southern part of the Ligonier
Valley, between two ranges of the Allegheny Moun-
tains, but in reality presents very little appearance
of a valley. Its surface is broken, and high hills
with abrupt slopes extend through the centre. On
the west the deep cut made by the waters of Big
Sandy only preveuts Laurel Hill Ridge from uniting
with the high hills of the centre. In the southeast a
small portion of the township is an elevated plain
known as the Glades. Wharton is from 1800 to 2000
feet above the level of the sea.

The township at the time of its settlement was
heavily timbered, lacking the heavy undergrowth
now so abundant, — on the hills, oak; on the mountain
ridges, oak and chestnut ; on the creek bottoms, oak.

By Samuel T. Wiley.

pine, poplar, sugar, and cherry. The timber has been
greatly, and in many cases needlessly, cut off to sup-
ply furnaces and tanneries, yet the township is well
timbered to-day.

The soil is clay loam on the hills, and sand loam
on the chestnut ridges, streams, and glades, 'and the
surface in some places rough and rocky. The town-
ship is admirably adapted to stock- and sheep-raising,
the only bar to agriculture being the length of the
winter season. Over 2000 feet above the level of the
sea, the climate is healthy, with pure air and excellent
water, with short summer and long winter seasons.

In 1840 coal was hardly known here ; now ten
different coal-beds have been opened, varying from
one and a half to nine feet in thickness, on Big
Sandy, Little Sandy, Stony Fork, and Great Meadow

Limestone was thought twenty-five years ago only
to exist in' mountain ridges, but now has been dis-
covered in many places in the township. On Big
Sandy Creek a vein of ten feet has been found, and a
vein twenty feet thick one mile from Wharton Fur-
nace. The Morgantown sandstone shows twenty feet
thick near Wharton Furnace, and is a splendid build-
ing stone. It weathers dull gray, splits well, and is
abundant. Fire-clay exists in several places, but
contains lump iron ore.

Iron ore is abundant and of excellent quality.
There are many legends of zinc, lead, and silver-
mines, and traces of these metals have actually been
found, but upon examination proved not to be in
paying quantities, — lead above Elliottsville, silver in
Little Sandy, near Gibbons' Glade, zinc on Mill Run,
near Victor's old mill. Water-power is abundant.
Big Sandy and its branches. Little Sandy, and Great
Meadow Run afford many locations for saw-mills,
flouring-mills, and factories. Mineral springs of re-
ported curative properties exist in several places,
— a large red sulphur spring at Baumgardner's,
near Gibbons' Glade, chalybeate springs at William



Smith's, on the turnpike, a very strong sulphur spring
near Farmington, and the celebrated Fayette Springs,
near Chalk Hill, on tlie National road, where some
summer seasons from two hundred to three hundred
persons have been boarders to try its virtues.

In July, 1783, Wharton was erected a township of
Westmoreland County, comprising all of Springhill
township east of the top of Laurel Hill to the
Youghiogheny River. It included all of what is now
Henry Clay, and all of that part of Stewart weot of
the Youghiogheny River, with all of Dunbar south
of Laurel Hill. The first court of Fayette Count\
December sessions, 1783, laid it out as a township of |'
Fayette. In 1793 that part of Dunbar south of j
Liurel Hill was taken from Wharton and added to
Franklin. In January, 1823, Henry Clay was erected
from Wharton. In November, 1855, Stewart, west of
the Youghiogheny, was erected, including that part
of Wharton. Afterwards a small portion of Henry
Clay was added to Wharton on the east side.

The township contains three villages, — Farming
ton, Gibbons' Glade, and Elliottsville. Farmington is
in the northeastern part on the National road. Gib
bons' Glade, six miles from Farmington, is in the I'
southern part on Little Sandy, and on a weekly imil
route from Farmington to Brandonville, W. Va. Elh
<3ttsville is in the western part on Big Sandy, at the
junction of the Haydentown and Uniontowu roads
and is four miles northwest of Gibbons' Glade, and
five miles southwest of Farmington.

In 1796 Wharton contained 34,319 acres ; its valua
tion was $41,567. In 1870 its population was 1478
In 1880, as shown by the census of that year its
population was 1704, with over 400 farms.

The Indians, it seems, never had any villages in
Wharton, and only came into the township to hunt
At Dennis Holland's, on the Old Braddock road in i
deep hollow head, some years ago the marks of nig
warns were to be seen near a spring. It was supposed
to have been a hunting-camp. Some stone piles on
Sandy and back of Sebastian Rush's on the pike, mark
Indian graves, while flint arrow-heads and spear-points
are found all over the township. Nemacolin's path or
trail, running east and west, passed through Wharton,
leading from the "Forks of the Ohio" (Pittsburgh)
to Wills' Creek (Cumberland). Its route afterwards
became the Braddock road. Another Indian trail
(running north and south) came past Delaney's Cave
and down Big Sandy into West Virginia. Just beyond
the Wharton line (below Mason and Dixon's line ceme-
tery) was a camp, and a short distance west of the
trail, where the Tuttle school-house stands, was sup-
posed to be an Indian burying-place. The remainder
of the township was used only for hunting purposes,
and no trails were made through any portion of it.

Old Braddock road. One-quarter of a mile south of
Dunbar's Camp is Dunbar's Spring, and nearly one-
quarter of a mile down the run from the spring, about
ten feet from the right bank, is the spot supposed to
be Jumonville's grave; then west about twenty yards


Jumonville's c
Dunbar's Camp.

is nearly half a mile south of
five hundred vards east of the

in a straight line is the camp half wa^ along and di
rectlj under i ledge of rotks tnentj feet high and
covered with laurel, extending in the shape of a half-
moon half a mile in length in the hill and sinking
as it approaches, and dipping into the earth just be-
fore it reaches Dunbar's Spring. Thus situated in the
head of a deep hollow, the camp was almost entirely
concealed from observation. Here in the dawn of
morning light Washington fired the first gun of a
great war that swept New France from the map of
the New World and established the supremacy of the
English-speaking race in North America.

Fort Necessity. — Authorities differ on the shape of
the fort. Col. Burd says in his journal in 1759 the
fort was round, with a house in it. In 1816, Freeman
Lewis made a survey of it, and says the embankments
were then near three feet high, and the shape and
dimensions as follows: An obtuse-angled triangle of
105 degrees, base on the run eleven perches long.
About the middle of the base it was broken, and two
perches thrown across the run. One line of the



angle was six and the other seven perches long, em-
bracing near one-third of an acre. Outside the fort
the trenches were filled up ; inside ditches about two
feet deep still remained. Sparks, who saw it in
1830, malves the fort to have been a diamond shape.
At the present time it presents the shape of a right-
angled triangle. It was a stockade fort or inclosure,
hastily constructed under Washington's direction by
Capt. Stobo, engineer. The French demolished it,
and five years elapsed before Col. Burd visited it,
and some of its outlines may have been indistinct by
that time, and seeing ruins on both sides of the run,
may have concluded the fort was round. Mr. Facen-
baker, the present occupant, came to the property in
1856, and cut a ditch, straightening the windings of
the run, and consequently destroying the outline.
The ditch is outside the base-line, through the out-
thrown two perches. A lane runs through the south-
east angle. The ruins of the fort or emb inked
stockade, which it really was, is three hundred \aid-.
south of Facenbaker's residence, or the Mount \\ a>-h
ington stand, in a meadow, on waters of Greit
Meadow Run, a tributary of the Youghioghen\ On
the north, 200 yards distant from the work, w i^
wooded upland ; on the northwest a regular slope t >
high ground about 400 yards away, now cleared then
woods; on the south, about 250 yards to the top
of a hill, now cleared, then woods, divided b\ i
small spring run breaking from a hill on the south
east 80 yards away, then heavily, and still parti ilh
wooded. A cherry-tree stands on one line and two
crab-apples on the other. The base is scarcely \i>-i
ble, with all trace gone of line across the run Mr
GeoflTrey Facenbaker says he cleared up a locu-t
thicket here, and left a few trees standing, and th it
it was the richest spot on his farm. About 400
yards below, in a thicket close to his lower barn,
several ridges of stone were thrown up, and here he
thinks the Indians buried their dead.. He found in
the lane in ditching logs five feet under ground in
good preservation.

In 1854, W. H. N. Patrick, editor of the Democratic
Sentinel, urged a celebration on tlie 4th of July, 1854,
and a monument at the site of the old stockade. A
celebration was held by Fayette Lodge, No. 228,
A. Y. M., of Uuiontown, and citizens. Col. D. S.
Stewart laid the corner-stone of a monument, but
nothing more has ever been done since towards its
erection. Mr. Facenbaker says no plow shall ever
turn a sod on the site of the old stockade while he
owns the land, and he would give an acre of land and
the right of way to it if any parties would erect the
monument and fence the ground.

Braddock's Grave. — A lew yards west of the Brad-
dock Run stand, on the north side of the road, is the
grave of Gen. Braddock. When the road was being
repaired in 1812 human bones were dug up a few
yards from the road on Braddock's Run ; some mili-
tary tra|)|iings found with them indicated an officer

of rank, and as Gen. Braddock was known to have
been buried on this run, the bones were supposed to
be his. Some of them were sent to Peale's Museum
in Phihiik'lphia. Abraham Strwart gathered them

up a-s well as he could secure thorn, and placed them
under a tree, and a board with "Braddock's Grave"
marked on it. In 1872, J. King, editor of the Pitts-
burgh Gazette, came out to Chalk Hill, cut down the
old tree, inclosed the spot with the neat fence now
standing, and planted the pine-trees now standing
round the grave. He procured from Murdock's nur-
sery a willow, whose parent stem drooped over the
grave of Napoleon at St. Helena, and planted it over
the supposed remains of Braddock, but it withered
and died over the grave of England's brave but ill-
fated general.

In September and November, 1766, the Penns
granted patents for tracts of lands in what is now
Wharton township to B. Chew and a man by the
name of Wilcocks. These tracts were north of Brad-
dock's road, and along the Henry Clay line, now
owned by Joseph Stark and others. In 1767, Gen.
Washington acquired a claim to a tract of two hun-
dred and thirty-four acres called " Mount Washing-
ton," and situated on Big Meadow Run, including

1 ^ J

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Fort Necessity. It was confirmed to him by Penn-
sylvania, and surveyed on warrant No. 3383 for Law-
rence Harrison, in right of William Brooks, and was
patented to Gen. Washington, and devised by his
will to be sold by his executors, who sold it to An-
drew Parks, of Baltimore, who sold it to Gen. Thomas
Meason, whose administrators sold it to Joseph Hu-
ston in 1816. Col. Samuel Evans bought it for taxes
in 1823, and in 1824 Judge N. Ewing bought it at
sheriff's sale as Huston's property, and sold it to
James Sampey, whose heirs sold it to Geoffrey Facen-
baker in 1856. In 1769, " Prosperity," a tract of land,
was taken up, running from the Old Braddock road to
the pike. G. W. Hansel owns and resides on it.

About 1778, Jacob Downer and his wife, whose
maiden name was Elizabeth Starner, or Stiner, was
moving from Lancaster County to Kentucky, and
winter coming on, they stopped near the Old Orchard
and near Braddock's Run, and occupied a log cabin
by a spring. They came from Germany to Lancaster
County. They stayed here about two years and raised
grain. Elizabeth, their oldest daughter, had married
a man by name of Brubaker in Philadelphia, and
they had their other five children with them, — Katy,
Susan, Daniel, John, and Jonathan. Jacob Downer
left his family here and went on a flat-boat to Ken-
tucky to look out a place, but he was never again heard
from. His wife and children then moved to Union-
town. Elizabeth Downer lived to be one hundred
and five years old. Of her children, Katy married
Cornelius Lynch ; Susan married one Harbaugh, and
after his death married Squire Jonathan Rowland ;
Daniel was drowned in trying to cross the Yough at
the Ohio Pile Falls; John was a surveyor. He pur-
chased land in Uniontown in 1780, on which he built
a tannery. He went to Morgantown, W. Va., and
finally to Kentucky. Jonathan married Drusilla
Springer, and lived in Uniontown from 1785 till 1813,
and came back and built his tavern stand. He kept
on the Old Braddock, and afterwards moved to the
National road and built the Chalk Hill stand. He
was born in 1754 and died at seventy-nine years of
age, a highly-respected citizen. His wife died in
1843. They had thirteen children,— Levi, William,
Ann (who married H. N. Beeson), Jacob (who was
in the war of 1812), Elizabeth (who married Jonathan
Allen, and is still living), Daniel, David, Drusilla
(who married Jonathan West), Hiram (who was in
the Mexican war and died on the Ohio River on his
way home), Sarah, Rachel, Springer, and Ruth, who
is still living at Chalk Hill, an amiable, pleasant,
and intelligent old lady.

The Revolutionary war stopped settlements. At
its close emigration pushed westward, and the Old
Braddock road was naturally one of its great routes
across the mountains, and men adventurous and dar-
ing located along the road in the wilderness. Thomas
Inks came out and built a tavern-house where Eli
Leonard now lives about 1780. He came from Eng-

land. His wife's name was Nancy Leasure. They
raised a large family. Thomas, one of his sons, born
in 1784, here lived ninety-two years, married Susan
Flannegan, from Bedford, raised a family, and lived on
the old road as a tavern-keeper. George, another son,
married Elizabeth Jonas, and followed tavern-keeping
on the old road and on the pike. John, another son,
was in the war of 1812. He had five daughters, —
! Rachel, who married Samuel Span, and mother of
I Thomas Span, near Farmington; Elizabeth, who mar-
ried John Carrol and went West; Nancy, who mar-
! ried James Hayhurst, a son of Hayhurst, the old
i tavern-keeper, and went Weft; Mary, who married
I James Wares and went West; and Rachel, who
married Peter Hager.

In 1780, Daniel McPeck was living near Gibbons'
Glades. In 1783 Tom Fossit was on the old road at
the junction of Dunlap's road and Braddock's, close
I to the Great Rock, a few feet west of Fred Hamerer's
house. He kept a house for travel. He was a tall,
large, grim, savage-looking man. He died in 1818, at
one hundred and six years of age. He came from
the South Branch, in Hardy County, W. Va. Next
came Isaac Cushman, and kept the Cushman stand,
one mile south of Fossit's. On the 14th of No-
vember, 1787, we find him near Gibbons' Glade, tak-
ing out a patent for four hundred and twenty-three
acres, where George H. Thomas now lives. He was
a great hunter, and one winter when a hard crust
froze on the snow and the deer broke through and
could not run, Cushman and others killed them
nearly all off. Cushman had two sons, Thomas and
About 1783 the Moores came from Ireland and set-
I tied west of McPeck's. Robert was at Jacob Prin-
key's, and patented land in 1786. Thomas Moore, an-
other brother, was on Sandy Creek, on the State line,
at the old James place, now owned by D. Thor.iton.
John, another brother, was where Squire Isaac Arm-
strong resides. He had five sons, — Col. Anilrew,
Robert, Archibald, Thomas, and William, who went
West; and one daughter, Sarah, who died in the

John Moore built a one and a half story log house
near where the log tenant house of I. Armstrong
stands, and there kept tavern. He died and his
widow kept it a while, but went West in 1812. Col.
Andrew Moore served in the war of 1812. He kept
tavern and a small stock of goods in one room of the
house. He married Nancy Williams, and the late
Samuel Moore was one of their sons.

In January, 1786, John Cross patentejl three hun-
dred acres on Mill Run near R. Kingham's, and after-

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 190 of 193)