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Genealogical and personal history of Fayette county, Pennsylvania (Volume 2) online

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moved to Connecticut to avoid the British. A
document extant dated September 21, 1779,
recites: "That he is a friend of the United
States; that he had lately built a small vessel
of twenty tons for trade; that by means of
the threats and usage from the enemy, he
dared not remain longer on said island, and
has, therefore, brought over part of his family
and effects on board said vessel to this state
for liberty of landing and safe protection."
The council of safety granted his petition,
but there are no records to show when he
returned to Long Island. He married, and
had sons Elias (2), Lewis and Daniel, the
last two drowned in 1813 with nine others.

(XVII) Elias (2), son of Elias (i) Par-
shall, was born on Long Island about 1776,
died at McClellandtown, Fayette county,
Pennsylvania, 1854. He removed in 1797 to
Fayette county, Pennsylvania. LTntil the re-
moval to Fayette county, the family had been
seafaring men, now they became farmers,
builders and merchants. They settled in
German township, where he followed farming
and merchandizing. He married and left
issue, including a son Elias (3).

(XVIII) Elias (3), son of EJias (2) Parshall,
was born in Morris county, N., J., 1797, died
at McClellandtown, Pennsylvania, July 4,
1882. He grew up a farmer and in the


3 U-S^^ C/^CgytsO-AyfTy^





rionrishing- clays of the National Pike
operated a number of teams on that historic
road. He was a large land owner, farmer
and stock dealer. He became inliuential and
wealthy. He was a Whig, later a Tiepublican.
He was one of the pillars of the Baptist
church and liberal in his donations. He mar-
ried, in 1817, Hannah Matilda Grove, born
in Alasontown, Pennsylvania, September I,
1800, died April 28, 1881, daughter of John
and Mary (Brown) Grove. Children: i. Vin-
cent, born December 12, 1817; he moved to
the Shenandoah \'alley of \ irginia in 1878,
purchased an estate of six hundred and
eighteen acres and ended his days there;
married Eliza Ann Crow, and left issue. 2.
Harvey, born July 19, 1819, died June 5,
1822. 3. WiUiam Grove, of whom further.
4. Reuben, born November 9, 1823, died un-
married April 26. T884. 5. Emily, born Sep-
tember 25, 1825, died in Toledo, Ohio, June
12, 1902; married John T. Worthington. 6.
Mary, born August 30, 1827, died September
29, 1883; married Thomas W. Lyons, and
lived in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. 7. James
M.. born August 22. 1829, died February 11,
1903; married Mary Higginbotham. 8.
Maria, born May 7, 183 1, died September 16,
1873; married William Porter, and lived at
Merrittstown, Pennsylvania; no issue, g.
Hamilton, born January 10, 1833. died Octo-
ber 2, 1833. 10. Nfelson, born February ^2,
1834, died July 2, 1834. 11. Elizabeth, born
March 9, 1836; married George (2) Porter
(see Porter VH), and lived in Uniontown. 12.
•raroTine, born January 2y, 1838, died August
10, 1900; married Thomas N. Wettner, and
lived in German township, Fayette county,
Pennsylvania. 13. Hannah Matilda, born
February 2, 1840, died October 28, 1844. 14.
Stephen Calvin, born February 13, 1842, died
November 9, 1844. 15. Sarah Helen, born
April II, 1844; married Melancthon J. Crow,
and moved to Grand Ridge, Illinois ; he died
April 8, 1884: no issue. 16. Luretta, born
August 17, 1845, married Dr. George Wash-
ington NefT, of Masontown, Pennsylvania.

iXlX; William Grove, son of Elias (3)
Parshall, was born in German township, Fay-
ette county, Pennsylvania, September 14,
1821, died July 4, 1883. He was educated at
Jeticrson College; read l.^w under General
Joshua E. Howell; was admitted to the Fay-

ette bar in 1847, and continued in active suc-
cessful practice all his life. He was an active
Republican, and inliuential. He served on
the county committee, was often chairman
and a frequent delegate to party, county and
slate conventions. He was an able lawyer
and a man of liigh character. He married
Martha A. Hawks, born February 14, 1836,
who survives him, daughter of Jonathan
Hawks, a native of Massachusetts. Children :
Three died in childhood; Emily, born Novem-
ber 8, 1874, died October 8, 1908, mar-
ried Frank Raymond Crow; children: Martha
Louisa, born January 10, 1903, and Frank
Raymond, born May 29, 1905; William W.,
of further mention.

(XX) William W.. son of William Grove
Parshall, was born in Nicholson township,
Fayette county, Pennsylvania. June 18, i865.
He received his early and preparatory educa-
tion in the public schools of Uniontown,
where his boyhood and youth was passed. He
then entered C'ornell University, whence he
was graduated B. S., class of 1888. He then
began the study of law under the direction
of W. G. Guiler, of Uniontown, continuing
until his admission to the Fayette county bar
in 1890. He at once began the practice of
his profession in Lmiontown, and continued
without interruption up to the present time.
He is qualified to practice in all state and
federal courts and commands a large inliuen-
tial clientele. He has large business interests
independent of his profession ; is director of
the Second National Bank of Uniontown ;
president of the First National Bank of
Smithfield; director of the McKeefry Coke
Company; director of the United Connells-
ville Coke Company; has a large interest in
the Puritan Coke Company; a large operat-
ing company, and in various other coal and
coke companies of his section. He stands
high among his professional brethren of the
bar, and is an energetic capable man of af-
fairs. He is a Republican in politics, has
served as a frequent delegate to party conven-
tions and as a member of the Fayette County
Central Committee. He is a member of the
Episcopal church, as is also his wife, both
being active and efificient workers. His club
is the Uniontown Country. Both he and his
wife are members of the Laurel Club. Their
house is situated one mile south of Union-



town on the National road, and is a most
heautitu! and attractive suburban home.
The property first owned by EHas Parshall,
great-grandfather of WiUia'm W. Parshall, in
German township, is now owned bv W. W.

Mr. Parshall married, June ii, 1902,
Amelia, daughter of Henry and Maria (Daw-
son) Baldwin, of Springfield, Ohio. Chil-
dren: William B. (2), born April 30, 1903;
Louise B.,, born December 10, 1904; Law-
rence, born May 19, 1907; Henry Baldwin,
June 15, 1909; Edward Rodney, October 30,

This branch of the Porter

PORTER family, of which John R. Por-
ter is a representative, de-
scends from John Porter, born in England,
1690, came to America, and settled at Balti-
more, Maryland, in 1715.

(H) John (2), son of John (i) Porter, was
born about 1720 at Baltimore, and settled in
Allegheny county, Maryland, in 1782. He
married Nancy, a daughter of Moses Mc-
Kenzie, and left eight children.

(HI) Caleb, son of John (2) Porter, was
born in Maryland about 1760. He lived at
Ellicotts Mills, near Baltimore, IMaryland,
and about the year 1800 came to Pennsyl-
vania, where he purchased twelve hundred
acres of land in Westmoreland county, on
which he buiit a stone house. This house
with part of the original purchase is yet held
in the Porter name. He married and had a
large family. Two of his sons, James and
Joseph Porter, served in the L'nion army dur-
ing the civil war.

(IV) Peter, son of Caleb Porter, was born
about 1795 at Ellicotts Mills, near Baltimore,
Maryland, died at Jacob's Creek. Pennsyl-
vania, July 3, 1889. He was brought to West-
moreland county, Pennsylvania, by his
parents in 1800. He followed farming all his
life, although two of his brothers. Ezra and
Nathan, were pioneer boat builders with
yards on the Ohio river, near Pittsburgh. In
1847 or 1848 Peter Porter moved to a farm
at Jacob's Creek, where he lived until his
death in 1889. He was a well known and
highly respected man and was successful in
his business affairs. He married Isabella Mc-
Creery. born about 1804. at Cherry Tree, In-
diana county, Pennsylvania, died January 3,

1889. They had four sons and four daugh-
ters. Sons: Elliott; Hudson; Elias, de-
ceased; he enlisted from Clearfield, Pennsyl-
vania, in the Eleventh Regiment, Pennsyl-
vania Cavalry, and served in the civil war;
John Ritchie, of whom further. Daughters:
Harriet, married James T. King and resides
at Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania; Emma, re-
sides in Pittsburgh, Missouri ; Margaret,
married William Reed, of Lafayette county,

(V) John Ritchie, son of Peter Porter,
was born in Westmoreland county, Pennsyl-
vania, August 9, 1844. He was educated in
the public schools at Jacob's Creek and re-
mamed on the paternal farm until attaining
legal age, then entered the employ of the
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company as fire-
man on a locomotive. He soon left the Balti-
more & Ohio for a better position with the
Pennsylvania railroad, remaining three years.
He then returned to the employ of the Balti-
more & Ohio and has been continuously
"witii that road until the present date (1912).
He has passed through successive grades of
promotion in the transportation department,
attaining the position of passenger con-
ductor, having held the latter position many
years, and enjoys the distinction of being the
oldest conductor in the company's employ.
He is well known in his home city and to the
traveling public and is held in universal
esteem. He has had many thrilling experi-
ences in his long career "on the rail," not
having gained his title of "veteran" witliout
experiencing every sensation that falls to the
lot of the modern railroad man. He is a
Democrat and a Mason.

He married. April 15. 1874, Caroline Mc-
Beth, born in Normalville, Pennsylvania,
daughter of John A. and Anna (Nickle) Mc-
Bcth, and granddaughter of George Nickle.
Children: i. Anna Mae, born May 25, 1875,
died February 16. 1902: married F. T. Evans,
of Connellsville. 2. J. Donald, born March
20, 1877; now engaged in the real estate and
insurance business in Connellsville; married
Myrtle I\Iay Pfeifer. 3. Roy M.. died in in-
fancy, April 3, 1878. 4. Ralph Ewing. born
April 28. 1879; married Olive Boyd, April 15,
1907. 5. Elmer Reed, born September 9,
1885. 6. Imogene A., born July 10, 1899. 7.
Kathryn M.. born September 18. 1891.



There are bany different
PORTER branches of the Potter family
in Fayette county tracing to
English and Irish progenitors, (^ne branch
entered the county from the south, another
■from New York state and still another from
Indiana. The larger branch is the southern
family, of which Phineas Porter is recorded
as being overseer of the poor of Dunbar
townsiiip in 1803.

(I) Phineas Porter was born in Maryland
He was a tanner. He came to Fayette
county about the year 1800 and established a
tannery in Dunbar township. All the salt used
in the tanning process had to be carried over
the mountains on horseback, the tanned
leather being sent to market in the same
way until the opening of the National Pike
about 1822. He married Susan McNutt,
who was of Irish descent, the Porters being
Scotch-Irish. Children: i. Phineas, married
Hannah Bunker and moved to Appamoose
county, Iowa, where he engaged in farming.
2. John, married Lowry and joined his bro-
ther in Iowa. 3. Sarah, married Joseph Mc-
Farland and moved in the old-fashioned
prairie schooner to join her brothers in Iowa.
4. Moses, of whom further.

(II) JNIoses, son of Phineas and Susan
(MrNutt) Porter, was born in Dunbar town-
ship. Fayette county, Pennsylvania, October
lb, 1807, died in October, 1875. He grew to
manhood on the home farm, learned tanning
from his father and later .the shoemaker's
trade, but did not follow it after his marriage.
His health failed him and he was obliged to
seek out-of-door employment. He was first
manager of the "Woolen Mill Farm," on
which New Haven was later built. He then
cultivated for five years the farm on which
the village of Wheeler is built. He prospered
and saved enough money to purchase a farm
in Dunbar township. He moved to his own
farm in 1849, continuing there until his
death. He was energetic and thrifty, hold-
ing the respect of his community. He was
a Democrat in politics, serving in the offices
of assessor and school director.

He married Elizabeth Murphy, born on
the farm on the National Pike now known
as the county farm, December 14, 1814, died
February 4, 1906, daughter of Jacob and
Elizabeth (Mason) IMurphy. Three Murphy
brothers came to Favette countv from Mary-

land about the time of the American revo-
lution, Jacob, William and Asa. They set-
tied near where Mount Braddock now is and
wore getting along finely until suddenly at-
tacked by the Indians. Jacob escaped, Asa
was killed outright and William hid in a
brush pile and was not found. William was
so frightened at his perilous adventure that
he returned to Maryland and never again re-
turned to Pennsylvania. Jacob Murphy was
a well-to-do farmer and owned ten slaves,
whom he employed in his farming operations.
Elizabeth, his wife, was born in Fayette
county m the stone house her father, Isaac
Mason, an early iron master, had erected in
1802 on the present site of Mount Braddock.
Isaac Mason built the first iron furnace
erected in Dunbar and operated it many
years. Elizabeth (Mason) Murphy was a de-
voted, prominent Methodist, and on one oc-
casion entertained at her home the entire
Methodist conference then in session nearby.
Children of Jacob Murphy: i. Rev. Jacob, a
minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian
church. 2. Ross, married Anna McCormick
and moved to Connellsville, Pennsylvania,
where he was constable for many years. 3.
Thomas, a farmer, married Matilda Patter-
son, of Perryopolis. 4. Isabel, married John
Taylor and died one year later. 5. Sarah,
died young. 6. Allen, died young. 7. Eliza-
beth, of previous mention, wife of Moses
Porter. Children of Mr. and Mrs. Porter:
I. Emily, married J. Phinley Patton, a farmer,
both deceased. 2. Ann H., married William
Gaddis, a farmer of North Union township.
3. Susan, married J. N. Miller, a veteran of
the civil war and later editor of the Sac Sun,
Sac City, Iowa, where they now reside. Chil-
dren: Blaine, married Miller Stadt, of
Wichita, Kansas; Cuyler, a printer of
Wichita. 4. Irwin R., married Joanna
Ryner and they now reside on their own
farm in Montgomery county, Missouri. 5.
Ewing B., of whom further mention. 6.
Louisa B., resides in Uniontown with her
brother, Ewing B. 7. Aaron T., married
Lvdia Hackney and resides on his farm near
Emporia, Kansas. 8. Sarah Ellen, died un-

(Ill) Ewing B., fifth child of Moses and
Elizabeth (Murphy) Porter, was born in
Dunbar township, Fayette county, Pennsyl-
vania, February 26, 1850. He was educated



in the public school, grew to manhood on
the home farm, continuing his residence there
until iS8i He then became manager of
mine fauns for the H. C. Frick Coke Com-
pany, and during the next ten years had
charge of forty farms owned by the company.
In i8t-j5 he became manager of the "Tower
Hill" farm of seven hundred and twenty-five
acres, continuing there eleven years until
1906, when the farm, rich in coal deposits,
was sold; the price paid was twelve hundred
aollars per acre. Since 1907 Mr. Porter has
resided in Uniontow^n in charge of real
estate. He is a confirmed third party Pro-
hibitionist and for thirty years has voted ac-
cording to his principles, being one of the
oldest voters of that party in the county. He
was for many years a member of the East
Liberty congregation of the Cumberland
Presbyterian church, and a faithful, devoted
Christian. He married, June 11, 1878,
Susan Phillips, born in North Union town-
ship in 1855, daughter of William S. and
F21iza (Swan) Phillips, both born in tl-tat
township. Child: Kennedy E., born March 3,
1879; a farmer of North Union township; he
married Ella Dawson and has children: Wil-
liam and Robert Ewing. The family home of
the Porters is at No. 78 ]\Iine street, Union-

The Welsh family of Thomas
THOMAS date far into antiquity. While

the descendants of Sir Rhys
Thomas, E. (}., who lived during the reigns
of Henry VII and VIII of England, claim
for him an extant pedigree going back to
Adam, the historical line probably begins
with Uricn Rheged, a British prince, living,
according to the best authorities, in the sixth
century after Christ. While the links con-
necting him with Sir Rhys may not all be
oi equal certainty, it is the uniform judgment
of all writers upon Welsh history and gene-
ology that Sir Rhys descended from Urien,
son of Cynvarch, a prince of the North
Britons, in Cnmbria, on the borders of Strath
Clyde, who, driven out by the invasion of the
Saxons in the Sixth century, took refuge in
Wales. Urien, his eldest son, is called by the
Welsh bards "brave as a lion, gentle as a
maid." The Welsh name him one of "the
three bulls of conflict," and "the three pillars
of battle." His greatest feat was the expul-

sion of the Irish-Scots from the territory be-
tween the Tawe and Savery rivers. From
these early warriors there is an unbroken
line of descent to Sir Rhys ap (son of)
Thomas, born 1449. He is the acknowledged
head of the Thomas family of Wales, from
whom the numerous family of Thomas de-
scend. He was brave, wise and politic,
uniting the branches of his own family and
acquiring unbounded popularity. He main-
tained an establishment in keeping with his
great wealth, having nineteen hundred ten-
ants bound by their leases to attend him at
the shortest call, and, that brief warning hav-
ing been given, he could bring into the field
five thousand disciplined men mounted and
armed. He took sides with the Earl of
Richmond and fought by his side at the bat-
tle of Bosworth Field, August 22., 1485. In
fact, he broke the attack of King Richard on
the Earl's person, and is said to have slain
King Richard at the moment of his reaching
the Earl. Be as it may, the new king was
very grateful to Sir Rhys, and loaded him
with gifts and honors. He rose to high
power and continued a glorious career as a
soldier. He was appointed to the highest
honors in Wales and there reigned in royal
st_\le. He is buried in the Church of Grey
Friars, at Caermarthen, where a most re-
markable monument indicates the spot. His
will was probated July 5, 1525. He left six sons
and three daughters. From these sons of Sir
Rhys Thomas came the families of Wales \
bearing the name, and from these latterday \
families of Wales the many families in the '
United States. These families are found all
over the country, Pennsylvania having a fam-
ily of ironmasters of the name known as the
Thomas family of Catasauqua. Maryland and
Virginia have many families of the name
tracing to Wales, and some of them to
Glamorganshire. The family is strong in
England, and a branch settled in Italy, :
where they are known as Tomasi. The family
is also prominent in Wales and exceedingly •

The family herein traced, from the first \
to come to the United States, were natives of :
North Wales, the father of John Thomas be- i
ing a mining superintendent in charge of lead ■(
mines until his early death at the age of forty j
years. He lived and died in Wales, a man 1
of strong character, and a devout member of



the established Church of England. He had
two sons, William Henry and John. William
Henry emigrated to the United States, but
after his arrival at Philadelphia all trace of
him was lost and nothing can be tMd of him.
His younger brother John, who came in 1847,
made a diligent search for his brother, but
without success. It is probable that he went
west and founded one of the Thomas fam-
ilies of that section. The Thomas brothers
of Fayette county, Pennsylvania, are of pure
Welsh blood, father and mother both being
born, one in North, the other in South Wales.
The Beynon family also has an ancient Welsh
history, but theirs is a history of life on the
seas. Both branches of the family furnished
a soldier to the great conflict between the
Slates, while from the same W^elsh ancestry
came General ("Pap") Thomas, the hero of
Chickamauga and of many other hard-fought
battles. The record of this branch of the
family in the United States, although cover-
ing but two generations, is most creditable,
and proves that the traits of courage and am-
bition did not die with the ancient hero. Sir
Rhys ap Thomas. The American history be-
gins with John, father of John L., William H.
and Robert O. Thomas, of Fayette county,
of whose lives a detailed, account follows.

(1) John Thomas was born in North Wales,
January 21, 1821, died in Allegheny county.
Pennsylvania, January 6, 1906. He attended
school in his boyhood, but his father died
v,hcn he was young and the lad early became
a wage earner. He worked *first in the lead
mines, but later went to South Wales, where
lie worked at coal mining, becoming a skilled
miner. He there met his future wife, but they
; were not married until after coming to the
, Umted States. In 1841 he emigrated to this
t country, settling in Pittsburgh, South Side,
where he w^orked at his trade in the old Keel-
: ring mines near by. He married, in 1851, and
moved to Coulter, Alleghenv countv, then
: an inviting coal field, convenient to the river.
He continued a miner all his life, becoming
mine overseer and having interests in coal
mines in that district. He prospered and was
' a highly respected, honorable citizen. Dur-
ing the war between the states he enlisted in
the Fifth Regiment, Pennsylvania Heavy Ar-
tillery, Company F, and served over a year,
seeing hard service in the Virginia campaign
; and on detached service in pursuit of Mosby

and his guerillas. He was a member of the
Alethodist Episcopal church, and an active,
devoted Christian worker. For twentv-five
years he was superintendent of the Sunday
school, filling that office continuously during
that period.

He married, in Pittsburgh, Soutln Side, in
185 1, Elizabeth Beynon, born in South Wales
in 182b, died in Allegheny county, Pennsyl-
vania, September 7, 1875, daughter of Wil-
liam and Mary Jane Beynon, both natives of
South Wales. Her father w^as of a Welsh
seafaring family, some of them being in com-
mand of ships. Children of William Beynon:
I, William (2), emigrated to the United States
and is now in the coal business in Allegheny
county, Pennsylvania. 2, Ann, married Rob-
ert Knox, in their native land, but in 1870
came to the United States, settling in Pitts-
burgh. They were then quite aged, but being
financially independent, came to visit with
their children, who haj preceded them many
years. Their children: Jane, married and
lived in Easton, Pennsylvania, where her hus-
band was killed accidentally; she married
(second) George Davis, a master roller in the
steel mills at Pittsburgh; Thomas, a steel
roller of Pittsburgh, deceased ; Agnes, mar-
ried Rhiniman Buck, a steel worker of Pitts-
burgh ; William, Alice and May remained in
Wales. 3, Jane, married John Morgan, in
Wales, came to the United States, settling in
Pittsburgh, where he engaged in the retail
coal business, owning his own mine. 4. Alice,
married William Thomas, an iron worker of
South Wales, where both died; two of their
children came to the United States; John, an
iron worker at Homestead, and Alice, who
later returned to Wales. 5, Elizabeth, who
married John Thomas, of previous mention.
After her sister Jane and her husband, John
Morgan, came to the United States in 1843,
they sent back to Wales glowing accounts to
their relatives. In 1847 Elizabeth and her
mother and uncle William Beynon sailed for
the United States, coming on the same boat
with John Thomas, who had known them in
Wales. The Beynons settled in Pittsburgh,
where others of their family were living.
William Beynon, brother of Elizabeth, en-
listed in Company F, Fifth Regiment, Penn-
sylvania Heavy Artillery, with his brother-
in-law, John Thomas, and served during the
entire war.



Children of John and EHzabeth Thomas:
I, Alary Jane, born in Pittsburgh, South Side,
died aged three years. 2, John L., of whom
further. 3, VVilHam Henry, of whom further.
4, Robert O., of whom further. 5, James B.,
born June 10, 1862, hves at Coulter, Pennsyl-
vania; now located at McKeesport, Pennsyl-
vania, cashier for Pittsburgh & Lake Erie
railroad; married Victoria Black, of Coulter,
6, Eliza Jane, died aged three years.

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