History of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania

VOLUME I

The purpose of the first volume of this work is to present a history of Westmoreland County from its first settlement down to the present time. The publishers feel confident that the author, Mr. John X. Boucher, has not only laid before the reader in a pleasing manner the salient facts of the long and interesting story, but that he has included much of that purely antiquarian lore which is to many the most instructive and delightful feature of local history.

This volume covers a century and a half of the history of Westmoreland County. Its settlement began properly in 1755, with the lamentable expedition of the English army under General Edward Braddock, to capture Fort Duquesne. The next step in developing this territory was the opening up of a road directly across the county by General John Forbes' army in 1758, in his more successful expedition against the French fort. Immediately following these events came the early pioneers, and then began the great battle with the wilderness which he must tame, and with a savage race which opposed him at every step. For a third of a century the history of the county is mainly made up by a strange mingling of tragedy and romance on the one hand, and of the privations and exertions of the pioneer on the other.

Formed as the county of Westmoreland was before the Revolutionary War, the story of its patriotism in that great struggle is and must ever remain one of its brightest pages. Coming down through all these years, the author has chronologically told of its formation, its first courts, the building of its roads and turnpikes, its canals, railroads and public buildings. He has told of its participation in the Whisky Insurrection and in five wars, and has dwelt at length on its industries and its modern cities and towns. Interspersed with these narrations are chapters devoted to the social customs, manners, industries, homes and home life of the early settlers.

The reader who is interested in transportation may follow the subject by complete descriptions of the pack-horse trains, the slow moving Conestoga wagons, the romantic stage coach, and the canal boat, down to the present complete system of railroads which has so greatly developed Westmoreland that it has taken a first rank among the rural counties of the United States. So likewise may he trace the great industries from their most primitive stages in the county to their present gigantic proportions. He may also learn of the Bench and Bar, the Press and its editors, the Church and its ministry, the Medical profession, and School history, for each in turn is treated exhaustively from its beginning to the present day.

This volume relates entirely to the history of the county and to its prominent men of the past. Throughout the entire volume the reader will find biographical sketches of men who contributed to the county's history in war, and to its development in peace.

Mr. Boucher wishes us to state that he has been untrammeled in the preparation of the work, freely treating all subjects and men as he thought they deserved. If he has given too great a prominence to any event, or has with- held from some true hero an economic justly due him, it is a mistake in the judgment of the author, and is not due to any obligation to eulogize or censure any person or event treated in these pages.

In view of the foregoing, the publishers with great confidence submit this History of Westmoreland County to her intelligent and public spirited people, asking, in return, a careful consideration of the work.

 

Table of Contents

CHAPTER I.
The French and English Struggle for Supremacy. Braddock's Expedition. Forbes' Expedition. George Washington. Pontiac's War. Battle of Bushy Run. Henry Bouquet I

CHAPTER II.
The Grant to William Penn. Disputed Boundaries. Mason and Dixon's Line. Indian Purchases. Military Permits. Titles, etc 33

CHAPTER III.
Formation of County. First Courts. Elections 42

CHAPTER IV.
Selection of a County Seat. Old Hannastown. Erection of a Jail. Sentences of the Court. Slavery 49

CHAPTER V.
The Boundary between Virginia and Pennsylvania. Dunmore's War 60

CHAPTER VI.
The Indians of Early Westmoreland 67

CHAPTER VII.
Early Indian Troubles. Places of Refuge. Forts. Stockades. Blockhouses. Cabins. Indian Stories 79

CHAPTER VIII.
Scotch. Irish. Germans 116

CHAPTER IX.
The Beginning of the Revolution. Early Movements towards Freedom. Westmoreland Patriots' Resolutions. The Rattlesnake Flag 122

CHAPTER X.
Westmoreland in the Revolution 132

CHAPTER XI.
The Closing Years of the Revolution. Indians. Hard Times. Lochry's and Crawford's Ill-fated Expeditions 145

CHAPTER XII.
The Hannastown War. Burning of the County Seat. Destruction of Miller's Blockhouse 171

CHAPTER XIII.
The Removal of the County Seat to Greensburg 186

CHAPTER XIV.
The Whisky Insurrection 194

CHAPTER XV.
Old Customs. Crops. Industries. Clothes. Wild Animals, etc 208

CHAPTER XVI.
Indian Trails .Across Westmoreland. Braddock's Road. Forbes' Road. State Road. Felgar Road. Post Road. The Main Turnpike from Pittsburgh to the East... 234

CHAPTER XVII.
The Westmoreland Soldiers in the War of 1812 242

CHAPTER XVIII.
Taverns. Turnpikes. Wagons. Stage Coaches 253

CHAPTER XIX.
Canals 265

CHAPTER XX.
Mexican War 271

CHAPTER XXI.
Railroads 279

CHAPTER XXII.
Church History 285

CHAPTER XXIII.
Bench and Bar 320

CHAPTER XXIV.
History of the Medical Profession 376

CHAPTER XXV.
Westmoreland Press 398

CHAPTER XXVI.
Common Schools 405

CHAPTER XXVII.
The Civil War 426

CHAPTER XXVIII.
The Court Houses. County Home 437

CHAPTER XXIX.
Agriculture 442

CHAPTER XXX.
Iron 445

CHAPTER XXXI.
Coal 458

CHAPTER XXXII.
The Coke Industry 466

CHAPTER XXXIII.
Manufacturing Industries 471

CHAPTER XXXIV.
The Spanish-American War 473

CHAPTER XXXV.
County Officers 478

CHAPTER XXXVI.
Greensburg 487

CHAPTER XXXVII.
Hempfield Township. Jeannette, "the Glass City." Mt. Pleasant Township 502

CHAPTER XXXVIII.
North Huntingdon Township. Irwin Borough 515

CHAPTER XXXIX.
Rostraver Township. North Belle Vernon. Monesien. Fairfield Township. Bolivar Borough 519

CHAPTER XL.
Donegal Township. Derry Township. Livermore Borough. Franklin Township. Murryville. Washington Township 534

CHAPTER XLI.
Unity Township. Latrobe Borough. New Alexandria 554

CHAPTER XLII.
Salem Township. New Salem. South Huntingdon Township. West Newton. East Huntingdon Township. Scottdale 561

CHAPTER XLIII.
Allegheny Township. Vandergrift. Vandergrift Heights. Ligonier Township. Ligonier Borough 579

CHAPTER XLIV.
Sewickley Township. Suterville. Loyalhanna Township. Burrell Township. Parnassus. New Kensington. Cook Township. Bell Township. Penn Town- ship. Manor. Penn Borough. St. Clair Township. New Florence 598

CHAPTER XLV.
Miscellaneous. New Court House. The Evans Execution. The Year of the Frost. Visit of Lafayette 615

CHAPTER XLVI.
Special Biographies. Maj. Gen. Arthur St Clair. William Findley. Alexander Johnston. William F. Johnston. Joseph Marrkle. William Larimer, Jr. Gen. James Keenan. John W. Geary. Richard C. Drum. John Covode. Dr. Alexander. Alilligan 624

 

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VOLUME II (Genealogical Memoirs)

As a proper accompaniment to such a narrative history as is contained in the first volume of this work, is the department of Genealogical and Personal History, prepared under the editorial supervision of John W. Jordan, LL. D., of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Its purpose has been to present many of the most important family records of Westmoreland county. History, proper, of necessity, is a narrative of what has been accomplished by people in the mass, and can take little note of individuals. Here begins the mission of the genealogist and investigator of the personal lives of those who have borne the heat and burden of the day, in tracing whence and from whom they came, in portraying their deeds and the spirit with which they were actuated, and holding up their effort as an example to those who come afterward. The story of such achievements is a sacred trust committed to the people of the present, upon whom devolves the perpetuation of the record. The custodian of records concerning the useful men of preceding generations, and of their descendants who have lived lives of honor and usefulness, who places his knowledge in preservable and accessible form, performs a public service in rendering honor to whom honor is due, inculcating the most valuable lessons of patriotism and good citizenship. This fact finds recognition in the warm welcome given in recent years to Genealogical and Family Histories. Such are in constant and general demand, and are sought for m the great libraries, by book, magazine and newspaper writers and lecturers, from foreign lands, as well as from all portions of our own country. Such a work as this now in hand will possess an especial value for those who, out of a laudable pride, seek to trace their descent from those who battled for the making of the United States, and who may thus establish their eligibility to membership in various patriotic orders.

With reference to the genealogical and biographical matter contained in these pages, it is to be said that in its preparation the publishers have observed the utmost care. With such a mass of material, as a matter of necessity, the work must needs be committed to various writers. If, in some cases, the sketch should be incomplete or faulty, the shortcoming is ascribable to the paucity of data furnished, many families being without exact records in their family line. In all cases the sketches have been submitted to the subject or to his representative, for correction and revision.

It is believed that the present work will prove a real addition to the mass of literature concerning the people of the historic region under consideration, and that, without it, much valuable information therein contained would be irretrievably lost, owing to the passing away of many custodians of family records and the disappearance of such matter.

 

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Both the French and the English were anxious to acquire and hold dominion over Western Pennsylvania. In view of this scheme the French had prior to 1752 erected and projected a line of fortifications reaching all the way from their strongholds in Canada to the mouth of the Mississippi river. They erected Presque Isle, on Lake Erie, near the present city of Erie; Fort Le Boeuf (now Waterford) in Crawford county; Fort Venango, where Franklin, Pennsylvania, is built; and one on French creek, in Venango county. They were about to erect Fort Duquesne, now Pittsburgh.