History of Greene County, Pennsylvania

The section of country, of which Greene County occupies a central position, has more vitally interesting problems in its history, than any other portion of the United States. The nationality which should occupy the great Mississippi Valley Spanish, French, or English; the narrowed struggle between the French and the English, inaugurated by Marquette and LaSalle, in their pious ceremonials, and by Celeron in planting the leaden plates; the fierce military contest led by Washington, Braddock, and Forbes for possession of Fort Pitt and the final banishment of the French beyond the lakes; the long and wasting conflict with the natives in which isolated pioneers with their families were exposed in their scattered cabins in the forest, to the fiendish arts of the stealthy and heartless savage, who spared neither the helpless infant, the tender female, nor trembling age; the protracted controversy with Maryland over the possession of territory which both States claimed; the settlements of a Virginia company on Pennsylvania soil, and the claim of the former State to the whole boundless Northwest; the chances by which the final, settlement of possession was invested, and the finding of the southwest corner of the State finally accomplished by astronomical observations at the instance of Thomas Jefferson; the subtle influences which swayed the vocation of the National road, and the Baltimore and Ohio railway these were all questions which nearly touch the ultimate reaches of its history. It has been thought best accordingly, to give generous space in this volume to these vital subjects, which will ever command the attention of the thoughtful, will daily increase in interest to the oncoming generations, and by means of which we trace the philosophy of the vital events of history that are really useful.

In preparing these pages for publication it has been decided not to encumber the text with marginal notes, and references to authorities; but to name authors where their investigations have been used, and to make acknowledgements in a general way. It would be impossible to name all, but the following have been found especially useful and have been freely consulted: The Histories of the United States by Bancroft, Hildreth, Spencer, Bryant, and Lossing; Irving's Life of Washington; Life and Writings of William Penn; Colonial Records, and Pennsylvania archives; History of Pennsylvania Volunteers; the Western Annals; History of Western Pennsylvania; Redstone Presbytery; McConnell's Map of Greene; County; The Historical Atlas; the State Reports of Education from 1837 to 1887; and Crumrine's History of Washington County.

Especial acknowledgements are due to L.K. Evans, Esq., who, during the Centennial year of American Independence, published in the Waynesburg Republican, which he then edited, a series of articles running through an entire year of weekly issues, embracing investigations which he pushed with singular perseverance and marked success, covering much of the early history of the county. In a spirit of generosity and kindness, he not only placed at my disposal a complete set of these articles, but also a mass of manuscript which had been addressed to him by aged citizens in various sections of the county, bearing upon the subject of his investigations. From these sources matter has been freely drawn; and though it has not been possible, on account of the limits prescribed to this work, to use as much as might have been desired, in the interesting style in which it appears, yet in a condensed form it has been freely appropriated. Probably no equal portion of any part of the United States has been, the scene of so many cold-blooded and heartless murders by the Indians! as this county; not because the pioneers here provoked the natives to revenge, nor because they were the special objects of hatred, but because they happened to be in the way of the savages in their march to and fro upon their war expeditions, and because this was their ancient hunting ground. The Indians never made this section their home, having no villages nor wigwams in all its limits; but from time immemorial had kept this as a sort of park or preserve for the breeding of their game. They may have felt aggrieved in seeing their favorite hunting grounds broken in upon, and the game scared away by the ring of the settler's ax, the echo of his gun, and his frequent burnings; but it is probable that this has less influence than the fact that their war-paths happened to cross here,) and they found in their way subjects on whom they could glut their savage instincts. There are over one hundred well authenticated records in the State archives of murders committed within the limits of this small; county alone.

Hoping that the work will prove useful to the citizens of the county, and especially to the rising generation, and will serve to stimulate to, further inquiry into the subjects which it touches, it is respectively submitted to their considerate judgment.


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We have now considered the general features of the territory known as Greene County. But before entering upon a more particular description of the settlement, and growth of its civil and religious institutions, it will be proper to consider several very interesting (questions vitally touching its early occupation. The manner in which the original inhabitants became dispossessed of the inheritance of their fathers, and were driven towards the setting sun; why the dwellers in this valley are English, and not a French-speaking people; how it has transpired that we are the subjects of Pennsylvania rule, and not of Virginia or Maryland, and, Anally, why we are not the constituent parts of a new State formed out of western Pennsylvania and portions of West Virginia and eastern Ohio, these were living questions which plagued our fathers, and were not settled without desperate struggles, marked with slaughter, which may justly give to this county of Greene the title of the "dark and bloody ground."