200 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
promising that, " As the Honor of Pennsylvania requires the strictest attention to the obligations of publick Faith, we shall take such Measures as shall be judged most proper to demonstrate the purity of our intentions and the rectitude of our proceedings." Immediately afterward Thomas Scott, the prothonotary and clerk of Washington County, was informed of the proceedings, the letter of Governor Harrison transmitted to him, and a full report on the facts was requested. This report,¹ which clearly showed that there had been no just ground for complaint, having been received, was laid before the General Assembly of Pennsylvania, which body; on Aug. 28, 1783, ² pronounced the remonstrance and complaints frivolous and unwarrantable, and adopted a resolution requiring the Supreme Executive Council to correspond with the executive of Virginia upon the subject of the permanent boundary line and the mode and time for establishing the same, and authorizing the immediate appointment of commissioners to act with others to be appointed on the part of Virginia in running said line, "this house being sincerely disposed finally to ascertain the boundary between the two States as speedily as possible."
On Sept. 11, 1783,³ the Supreme Executive Council proceeded to act upon the foregoing resolution. It was determined to appoint four commissioners immediately, with directions to provide the necessary astronomical apparatus. and to correspond with those to be appointed by the State of Virginia for the same purpose. The same day Rev. John Ewing, D.D., David Rittenhouse, Esq., the State treasurer, John Lukens, Esq., surveyor-general, and Thomas Hutchins, Esq., were appointed the Pennsylvania commissioners. The Governor of Virginia, on November 10th, responded to a notification of this appointment, and named as the commissioners appointed on the part of that State Rev. James Madison, Rev. Robert Andrews, Hon. John Page, and Thomas Lewis.' It will be observed that two of the commissioners on each side had been members of the Baltimore commission in 1779. The time agreed upon for running and marking the line was the 1st day of June next, and as it was the intention to run the meridian line, which would extend north of the Ohio River, notice was given to Congress of the time and place of meeting.4
All things now seem auspicious for a final termination to the long controversy. The American Revolution is become a fact accomplished, a definite treaty of peace has been made, and henceforward there is an end to border troubles arising out of the boundary controversy. As the actual running of the permanent line is a matter of great interest, scientific as well as political, and as that line formed the southern
¹ X. Penn. Archives, 65, 72, 78, 80, 171, 174.
² X. Penn. Archives, 95; XIII. Cul. Records, 672, 685.
³ XIII. Col. Records, 685.
4 X. Penn. Archives, 145
5 Ibid., 223.
boundary of Washington County for fifteen years after its organization, it will be proper to give the official record of the proceedings:
INSTRUCTIONS TO THE PENNSYLVANIA COMMISSIONERS.,6
" IN COUNCIL, PHILADELPHIA, March 26th, 1784.
" With this letter you will receive a Certificate of the act of Council respecting your appointment duly authenticated.
(1784). We confide in your abilities and attention, that the very important business committed to your charge will be performed in the best manner.
" Your first employment after the necessary astronomical observations, we presume, will be the Extension of Mason's and Dixon's line, due West five degrees of Longitude. This extended line we desire to have marked by Stones properly prepared and fixed in the ground, at the distance of five miles from one another, every stone to be inscribed with its distance from the River Delaware. The southwest corner of the State should be marked with a large Stone, well fixed, and by a considerable heap of smaller stones around it. The bearings and distance of near es remarkable objects around it should be taken & be mentioned in the Report of proceedings. The line from thence to the Northern Limit of the State should be marked as the Southern boundary is to be, computing the distance to be inscribed upon each Stone therein from the Southwest Corner.
"We hope that such a peace will be established with the Indians before you arrive at the Ohio in running the Western boundary, that you may safely proceed in that work to its northern Extremity. In that Case, we wish you to ascertain the Northwestern Corner of this State by astronomical observations in the Latitude of forty-three degrees, and to mark that as the Southwest Corner is to be.
"We have given Notice to Congress of your appointment as Commissioners to make these surveys ; and if any should be appointed on their part, you will be pleased to act in conjunction with them. As you Gentlemen in the Execution of this Commission, will travel over many parts of the Country, We cannot but ardently wish that you may embrace the opportunity of making every observation and obtaining all' possible information concerning the situation and courses of Rivers, Streams, Hills, and Mountains, that may be of the least use in assisting the publick Councils, on the very interesting subjects of forming the most advantageous communications by roads' and canals between the different parts of the State.
“We have appointed Colonel Andrew Porter to attend you as Commissary under your direction. He is to purchase before you set put the articles of which a list is enclosed,7 except such as can be obtained from the publick stores, procure provisions at the places of operation, hire necessary labourers, and to render a just and true account of the Monies expended.
" I am Gentlemen,
" with great Esteem and Regard,
"your obedient and very humble Servant,
PENNSYLVANIA COMMISSIONERS TO PRESIDENT DICKINSON.,8
"We have considered the proposals made to us, by the Executive Council, and are unanimously of opinion that it will be inconsistent with the business for us to have anything to do with providing Necessaries for ourselves, or with being dependent on the Humor of a Commissary, so that unless it be part of his duty to provide for us, we cannot undertake the Work. And when we reflect upon the accuracy necessary for the accomplishment of the Work, the constant attention to the observations both Night and Day, the frequent interruptions of our natural Rest, the daily Fatigue we must undergo, the Danger of losing our Health and above all the regard we ought to have to our Characters with all the Gentlemen of Astronomical Knowledge in Europe, whose Eyes will be turned upon us, and who will expect from us all that Precision, that can be derived from the greatest astronomical Discoveries that have yet been made; We expect that the Supreme Executive Coun-
6 Ibid., 230.
7 This list included 120 gallons spirits, 40 gallons brandy, and 80 gallons Madeira wine, 200 pounds loaf sugar, 2 dozen hams, with a liberal supply of other articles.—X. Penn. Archives, 573. The commissioners must have lived well.
8 X. Penn. Archives, 233.
CIVIL AND LEGAL-THE RUNNING OF THE PERMANENT BOUNDARY - 201
oil will enable us to meet the Commissioners from Virginia upon equal Terms: which, we have good Reason to believe, is for Six Dollars per Day, and all their Expenses paid by the State.
" We are with greatest Respect, Sir,
"your very, humble Servants,
"30th March, 1784."
PENNSYLVANIA COMMISSIONERS TO SUP. ES. COUNCIL ¹
"The time of our Departure from Philadelphia drawing near, it is necessary that the Commissary should be employed in looking out for the articles that may be wanted. As the Council have signified to us that they would be glad to know who would be agreeable to us in this Expedition, we would inform them that it appears probable to us, that Coll. Porter, from his long Experience in the army, and his knowledge of the most (Economical and ready way of supplying a number of Men with the Necessaries would answer the Expectations of the Council and of the Commissioners, as well as any Person they ran think of at present. He has informed us that if the Council will appoint him, be will go with us, and he is acquainted with the Terms which you have proposed.
"With Respect to the Provision to be made for the Commissioners, we have expressed our Sentiments fully in our last letter to Council, and we have agreed to undertake the Business, and hope to accomplish the Work in such a manner as will give satisfaction to the State and answer the Expectations of Gentlemen of science in Europe, if the Council do not wish to have Men of greater abilities employed; in which Case we will cheerfully resign the Business into the Hands of any others that may appear to the honorable Council to be better qualified for the Work, or more eligible on the whole.
"An anxious Desire to gratify the astronomical World in the performance of a Problem which has never yet been attempted in any Country, by a Precision and Accuracy that would do no Dishonour to our Characters, while it prevents the State of Pennsylvania from the Chance of Losing many hundred Thousands of Acres, secured to it by our agreement at Baltimore, has induced us to suffer our Names to be mentioned in the accomplishment of the Work. We assure you that the lucrative motives that might have Influence with us, in other Circumstances, have not sufficient Weight to engage us in so difficult a Work, that will separate us from our Families fur half a year, and subject most of us to Fatigues to which we have not been accustomed.
"And we cannot persuade ourselves that the State of Pennsylvania will avail itself if this Desire, to subject us to the mortifying Circumstance of meeting with the Commissioners from Virginia upon any unequal Terms. However, we submit the whole affair to the consideration of the honorable Council, and if upon our Return from the work it should be found that the Commissioners from Virginia have been employed on the same Terns, we shall perfectly acquiesce; as we look for no more than an Equality with then,.
" We are, Gentlemen,
"with great respect,
"your most obed't h'ble servants,
" DAY. RITTENHOUSE.
" THO. HUTCHINS.
"PHILADELPHIA, April 7th, 1784."
REPORT OF PENNSYLVANIA COMMISSIONERS.²
" To his Excellency JOHN DICKINSON, Esq., President of the State, & To the honorable the Supreme Execattive Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
"The Commissioners appointed for ascertaining the Length of five Degrees of Longitude and for determining and fixing the Boundary Lines between this State and Virginia by Astronomical Observations, beg Leave to Report,
"That after procuring the necessary Instruments, according to the Directions of Council in the preceding Spring, we sett off for our respective Places of Observation about the Beginning of June, Messrs Rittenhouse and Lukens to Wilmington, and Ewing and Hutchins to the South Western Corner of the State.
"The observers at Wilmington completed their Observatory, and furnished it with the necessary Instruments, so as to begin their astro-
¹ X. Penn. Archives, 236.
² Ibid., 376.
nomical Operations, in Conjunction with Messrs Page and Andrews, Commissioners from Virginia, about the Beginning of July; where they continued observing the Eclipses of Jupiter's Satellites, till the 20th of September, that they might have a sufficient Number of them, both before and after his opposition to the Sun; And altho' the Summer proved very unfavorable for astronomical purposes, they were fortunate enough to make, amongst them, near 60 observations of these Eclipses, besides many other Observations of the other heavenly Bodies for the Regulation of their Clock and fixing their Meridian Line; so that they were well ascertained of their Time to a single Second.
"In the mean Time, the other Observers, setting out from Philadelphia, pursued their Rout, to the South Western Extremity of the State, where they arrived about the middle of July, having been greatly retarded by the Badness of the Roads through that mountainous Country. There they met with Messrs Madison and Ellicott, the Commissioners from the State of Virginia, who had arrived about the same Time. With all possible Dispatch, they erected their Observatory on a very high Hill at the place where the Continuation of Messrs Mason and Dixon's Line by Messrs. Neville and McClean Ended; supposing that this place would prove to be near to the Western Extremity of five Degrees of Longitude from the River Delaware. After erecting their Instruments, which had not sustained the least Damage, by the Carriage through so long a Journey, and the most unfavorable Roads, they began their astronomical Observations about the middle of July, and they continued them Night and Day till the 20th of September following. Although they were frequently interrupted and disappointed by an uncommon quantity of Rain and Foggy Weather, which seems peculiar to that hilly Country, yet by their Attention to the Business of their Mission, they made between 40 and 50 Observations of the eclipses of Jupiter's Satellites, many of which were correspondent with the Observations made by the other Astronomers at Wilmington; besides innumerable Observations of the Sun and Stars for the Regulation of their Time Pieces and the marking of their Meridian with the greatest Precision.
"In this part of their work, situated near 30 miles beyond any of the Inhabitants, the Commissioners were greatly assisted by the Diligence and indefatigable activity of Coll. Porter, their Commissary, to whose Industry in providing every Thing necessary, and prudence in managing the Business of his Department with the utmost (Economy, the State is greatly indebted.
" The Astronomical Observation, being competed on the 20th of September, the Eastern astronomers set out to meet the other Commissioners in the West, in order to compare them together. Messrs. Rittenhouse and Andrews carried with them the Observations made at Wilmington, while Messrs. Lukens and Page returned home, not being able to endure the Fatigues of so long a Journey, nor the subsequent labour of running and marking the Boundary line. Mr. Madison continued with the Western Astronomers till the arrival of Messrs Rittenhouse and Andrews, when the affairs of his Family and publick Station obliged him to relinquish the Business at this Stage, and return Home, after concurring with the other Commissioners as to the principles on which the matter was finally determined.
" Upon Comparison of the Observations made at both Extremities of our Southern Boundary, your Commissioners have the pleasure of as-miring you, that no Discouragements arising from the unfavourable State of the Weather, or the unavoidable Fatigues of Constant application by Day and frequent Watchings by Night, have prevented them from embracing every opportunity, and making a sufficient Number of Astronomical Observations, to determine the Length of five Degrees of Longitude with greater precision than could be attained by terrestrial Measures of a Degree of Latitude in different places of the Earth: and further, that they have competed their Observations with so much accuracy and certainty as to remove from their Minds every degree of doubt concerning their final determination of the South Western Corner of the State.
"In the Result of the Calculations, they found that their observatories were distant from each other twenty minutes and one second and an eighth part of a Second of Time. But as the Observatory at Wilmington was fixed at 114 Chains, 13 Links West of the Intersection of the Boundary Line of this State with the River Delaware; and as 20 Minutes of Time are equivalent to five Degrees of Longitude, they made the necessary Correction for the said 114 Chains, 13 Links, and also for the said one Second and one eighth part of a second, which is equal to 19 Chains and 96 Links; and accordingly fixed and marked the South Western Corner of the State in the manner mentioned in the joint agreement and Report of the Commissioners of both States under their Hands and Seals, which we have the Honour of laying before the Council.
"After these calculations were made, the Commissioners proceeded
202 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
with all convenient Dispatch to the place where Mason and Dixon formerly were Interrupted by the Indian Nation in running the southern Boundary of this State, in order to extend the said Boundary Westward to the length of five Degrees from the River Delaware. Being prevented by rainy weather for near a week from making any astronomical observations in order to ascertain the Direction of the Parallel of Latitude, which we were to extend we concluded, to save Time and Expense, that it would be eligible to take the last Direction of Mason and Dixon's Line, and to correct it, if necessary, when we should have an opportunity of a serene Sky. Upon extending the Line in this Manner 195 Chains from the place where they ended their work, we found by astronomical observations that we were 32 feet and five inches North of the true parallel, and we accordingly made the necessary Correction here and marked a Tree with the Letters P. on the North side and V. on the South. From thence we assumed a new direction, which we again corrected in like manner at the distance of 575 Chains where we found our line to be 73 feet and 8 inches North of the Parallel of Latitude. We made the offset accordingly and planted a large post in the true parallel marked as above. From thence we found another direction by calculation, which beginning at the said post should at the Distance of eight Miles from it, intersect the said Parallel, making offsets at convenient distances, and planting Posts in the true Parallel. This direction being continued 33 Chains farther than the eight miles above mentioned, fell 23 inches South, of the Parallel, where we also planted a post in the true Boundary marked as before ; and from thence to the South West Corner of the State we assumed a new direction which being continued, fell two feet and eight inches South of the said Corner. This correction therefore being made, we planted a Squared White Oak Post in the said Point, and marked its bearings from Different Objects, as mentioned in our joint report. Besides the Marking of the Boundary Line by the Posts and Stones above mentioned; your Commissioners took care to have a Vista of 20 or 30 feet wide cut over all the most remarkable Ridges which were in the direction of the Parallel.
"For a more particular description of this part of our work, we beg leave to refer to the annexed plan and sketch of the Country through which the Line Passed. The season being now far advanced, we were obliged to desist from any farther Prosecution of the work, and agreed with the Virginia Commissioners to meet them at the South Western Corner of our State on the 16th of May next, to proceed in running and marking the Western Boundary of this State.
"Agreeable to our Commission to report the Situation of the Country and the best means of preserving the Communication and Connection between the Eastern and Western Parts of the State, we beg Leave to observe that the natural obstructions to so desirable a purpose may be in a great measure removed by a few easy instances of attention paid by the Legislature of this State to the Situation and exhausted condition of the Western Citizens. Their Publick Roads are numerous, extensive, and in bad order, while the Citizens being few in number, scattered at a distance from each other, and being harassed and exhausted by an Indian war, are unable to repair their Roads, or to open them through more easy and convenient Passes over the Hills and Mountains. A few hundred pounds, not exceeding one thousand, judiciously and frugally applied, would, in our opinion, make a tolerable good Waggon Road from York County to the Monongahela, and thereby facilitate the Exportation of Goods from this City to that Western Country, and secure their Trade with us, especially if the Ferry over the Susquehanna was made free to all the Citizens of the State. It appears probable to us that otherwise the Exertions of Maryland and Virginia to repair their Roads to that country will frustrate the Expectations, which we are entitled to entertain of enjoying the advantages of the Trade with the Western Parts of our own State. We beg Leave farther to observe that the natural attachment of the Western Citizens to this State might be increased and fixed by an indulgence to their distressed Situation in the price of their Lands, and the Terms of Payment, and particularly in the remission of the Interest due on the purchase Money, during the Time they have been obliged to evacuate their Possessions by the Savages, and fly to Forts for the security of their Lives and Families.
"PHILA., 23d Dec., 1784."
JOINT REPORT Or THE PENNSYLVANIA AND VIRGINIA COMMISSIONERS ¹
"Agreeably to the Commission given by the State of Virginia to James Madison, Robert Andrews, John Page, and Andrew Ellicott, & by
¹. Penn. Archives, 374.
the State of Pennsylvania to John Ewing, David Rittenhouse, John Lukens & Thomas Hutchins, to determine by astronomical observations the Extent of five Degrees of Longitude west from the River Delaware in the Latitude of Mason's and Dixon's Line, & to run & mark the Boundaries which are common to both States, according to an agreement entered into by Commissioners from the said two States at Baltimore in 1779, & afterwards ratified by their respective assemblies: We, the underwritten Commissioners, together with the Gentlemen with whom we are joined in commission, have by corresponding astronomical observations, made near the Delaware & in the western Country, ascertained the extent of the said five Degrees of Longitude: and the underwritten Commissioners have continued Mason's and Dixon's Line to the termination of the said five Degrees of Longitude, by which work the southern Boundary of Pennsylvania is completed.
"The continuation we have marked by opening vistas over the most remarkable Heights which lie in its course, & by planting on many of these Heights in the Parallel of Latitude, the true Boundary, Posts marked with the Letters P. & V., each letter facing the State of which it is the Initial. At the Extremity of this Line, which Is the South West corner of the State of Pennsylvania, we have planted a squared unlettered white oak Post, around whose base we have raised a Pile of Stones. The Corner is in the last vista we cut, on the east side of an Hill, one hundred and thirty-four chains & nine Links East of the meridian of the western observatory, & two Chains & fifty-four Links west of a deep narrow valley through which the said last vista is cut. At the distance of fifty-one Links & hearing from it North twenty-three degrees east stands a white oak marked on the south side with three notches; & bearing South twelve degrees west & at the Distance of twenty-nine Links stands a black oak marked on the North side with four Notches. The advanced season of the year & the Inclemency of the weather have obliged us to suspend our operations; but we have agreed to meet again at the South West Corner of Pennsylvania on the sixteenth Day of next May, to complete the Object of our Commission. Given under our Hands & Seals, in the County of Washington in Pennsylvania, this 18th Day of November, 1784.
(1785). Thus was the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania at last found and marked; but the meridian line thence northward for our western boundary was as yet untouched. The commissioners who had extended Mason and Dixon's line had adjourned to meet again to run this meridian line on the 16th day of the next May; some obstacles must have intervened, however, for on April 11, 1785,² Rev. Dr. John Ewing and Thomas Hutchins were appointed to determine and mark that boundary, to whom instructions were at once issued.³ But Dr. Ewing resigned and Thomas Hutchins was absent, whereupon the Supreme Executive Council on May 5, 1785,4
"Resolved, That David Rittenhouse and Andrew Porter, Esquires, be appointed Commissioners to run and mark the boundary of this Commonwealth, from the south-western corner thereof to the northwestern corner of the same; and that Andrew Ellicott, Esquire, be appointed a Commissioner, in conjunction with David Rittenhouse and Andrew Porter, Esquires, or either of them, or such other Commissioner or Commissioners as may be appointed by Council, to run and mark the boundary of this Commonwealth, from the river Ohio, where It crosses the same, to the northwest corner of the State."
Andrew Ellicott was of Maryland, and on May 4,
² XIV. Col. Records, 402.
³ X. Penn. Archives, 438. For these commissioners a liberal provision
of sixty gallons spirits, twenty gallons brandy, forty gallons Madeira
wine, etc., was supplied.
4 XIV. Col. Records, 454.
CIVIL AND LEGAL—THE RUNNING OF THE PERMANENT BOUNDARY - 203
1785, wrote to President Dickinson¹: "I understand that the Executive Council (at the Head of which you preside) have appointed me one of your Commissioners to run the western boundary of your State, over the Ohio. As I have been, employed in favor of Virginia on this business to that River, I find that I can attend with conveniency afterward in favor of Pennsylvania." The other commissioner on the part of Virginia was Joseph Neville, and the commissioners on both sides met at the appointed place on May 16, 1785,² and on Aug. 23, 1785, made their report, as follows:³
"We, the subscribers, Commissioners appointed by the States of Pennsylvania and Virginia, to ascertain the boundary between the said States:
"Do certify that we have carried on a Meridian Line from the South-West Corner of Pennsylvania Northward to the River Ohio, and marked it by cutting a wide Vista over all the principal Hills intersected by the said Line, and by felling or deadening a Line of Trees, generally thro' all the lower grounds ; and we have likewise placed Stones marked on the East side P., and on the west side V., on most of the principal Hills and where the Line strikes the Ohio; which Stones are accurately placed in the true Meridian bounding the States aforesaid.
"Witness our Hands and Seals this 23d day of August, 1785.
The western boundary was yet to be continued to the northwestern corner of the State, and, although none of that part north of the Ohio was touched by Washington County, yet it is proper that our record be completed by giving the further and final extension.
(1786) It will be remembered that the commission to Rittenhouse, Porter, and Ellicott authorized those gentlemen to continue the line to completion; indeed, Mr. Ellicott was specially appointed to act for Pennsylvania north of the Ohio. In the early spring of 1786, however, the
commissioners were changed. Rittenhouse. and Ellicott were put upon the northern boundary between Pennsylvania and New York, which had been postponed the preceding year, while Alexander McClean, of Fayette County, was commissioned to assist Andrew Porter.4
On May 10, 1786, Col. Andrew Porter addressed to the Supreme Executive Council the following letter : 5
" PHILA., May 10, 1786.
"I beg leave to Inform Council that I propose to proceed to the Westward without loss of time, in order to complete the Line of the Western Boundary of the State; and being informed that Mr. Alexander McClean le to assist me in the business, should be glad his appointment might be sent him as soon as convenient. . . ."
The two commissioners made a report of progress on June 25, 1786, as follows : 6
" SHENANGO CREEK, 25th June, 1786.
" GENTLEMEN :
" We beg leave to inform Council, That on the 19th Inst. we began to extend the Line of the Western boundary of the State, and have pro-
¹ X. Penn. Archives, 452.
² Ibid., 440.
³ Ibid., 506.
4 XIV. Col. Records, 655; XV. Ibid., 38.
5 X. Penn. Archives, 760.
6 XI. Ibid., 26.
needed upwards of three miles. We have fallen in with several Hunting parties of Indians since our arrival in the woods; they all appear friendly and peaceable.
" We are, with Respect, &c.,
The final report was made Oct. 4, 1786:7
" We the commissioners appointed to ascertain and Complete the Line of the Western boundary of the State of Pennsylvania, beg leave to report: That we have ascertained and completed said Line by astronomical observations as far as Lake Erie; having opened a Vista, and planted Stones in the proper direction, marked on the East side P., and that said line extends some distance in the Lake.
"October 4th, 1786.
"ALEXANDER MCCLEAN." 8
The reader has been long kept about the southwestern corner of Washington County, as originally erected, awaiting the ascertainment and marking of two imaginary lines coming together at that point, which, run and marked a century ago, then terminated a fierce but bloodless contest, and have since served to separate the jurisdiction of two sovereign and independent States. He has seen how near, at one time, almost the whole of what is now Washington County was of being left to form a part of the State of Virginia. He will linger yet a while to read the language of Mr. J. H. B. Latrobe,9 at the close of his description of the manner in which the Indian escort stayed the London surveyors at the crossing of Dunkard Creek, in 1767:
"Subsequently, and by other hands, the line was run out to its termination, and a cairn of stones some five feet high in the dense forest now marks the termination of Mason and Dixon's line, calling by that name the southern boundary of Pennsylvania, and, standing on the cairn and looking to the east and north, a fresher growth of trees in these directions indicates the ranges of the vistas so often mentioned. But mount the highest tree adjacent to the cairn that you may note the highest mountain within the range of vision, and then, ascending its summit, take in the whole horizon at a glance, and seek for a single home of a single descendant of the sylvan monarchs whose war-path limited the surveys, and you will seek in vain. But go back to the cairn, and listen there in the quiet of the woods, and a roll, as if of distant thunder, will come unto the ear, and a shrill shriek will pierce it, as the monster and the miracle of modern ingenuity—excluded from Pennsylvania as effectually by the line we have described as the surveyors of old were stayed by the Indian war-path—rushes around the southwestern angle of the State on its way from the city which perpetuates the title of the Lord Proprietary of Maryland, to find a breathing-place on the Ohio in the `Panhandle' of Virginia."
7 Ibid., 69.
8 At this date, May, 1882, there is a joint commission, constituted by Pennsylvania and Ohio, at work restoring the boundary between these two States, and between Pennsylvania and New York. See the Reports of the Secretary of Internal Affairs, 1880, 1881, 1882.
9 Page 37 of his Lecture on the History of Mason and Dixon's Line before the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Nov. 8, 1854, published 1855, now rare.
204 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
THE CIVIL AND LEGAL HISTORY.—(Continued)
The West Augusta Court.¹
BEFORE proceeding with the extracts made from the interesting records of this court, there should be a notice of the judicial system then in force in Virginia.
The Virginia Judicial System.—In every county were appointed magistrates, called justices of the peace, usually from eight to thirty or forty in number, in proportion to the size of the county, of the most discreet and honest of the inhabitants. They were nominated by their fellows, but commissioned by the Governor, and served without pay. If the question before them were a question of law only, they decided it themselves; but if it were of fact, or of fact and law combined, it was referred to a jury. In the latter case, of a combination of law and fact, it was usual for the jurors to decide the fact, and to refer the law arising thereon to the decision of the justices. But this division of the subject lay in their discretion only. If the question related to any point of public liberty, or if it were one of those in which the justices might be suspected of bias, the jury undertook to decide both law and fact.
The justices executed their process by the sheriff or coroner of the county, commissioned from among themselves, or by constables of their own appointment. When any free person committed an offense against the Commonwealth, if it were below the degree of felony, he was bound by a justice to appear before the court, to be tried on an indictment or information. If the charge were a felony, the accused was committed to jail and a court of these justices was called; if, on examination, they thought him guilty, he was sent to the jail of the General Court, before which court he was tried first by a grand jury of twenty-four, of whom thirteen must have concurred to find a true bill, which being found he was tried by a jury of twelve men of the county where the offense was committed, and by their unanimous verdict he was acquitted or condemned without appeal. But if the criminal were a slave, the trial by the county court was final. In every case, however, except that of high treason, the Governor had the power to pardon.
¹ From the original records of the Virginia courts, held first at Fort Pitt (called by the Virginians Fort Dunmore), afterward for a few monthly terms near the borough of Washington, and subsequently, after the division into the three counties in 1778, on the Monongahela River, near the Allegheny and Washington County line, such extracts will be made as will serve not only to preserve from oblivion this interesting period of our legal history, but also to illustrate the character of the jurisdictional contest then pending, the nature of the legal business of that day, and, still further, the social condition of that early time. It will be remembered that the spelling of proper names is retained as in the original records.
In high treason the pardon could only be granted by the General Assembly.
In civil matters these justices had jurisdiction in all cases of whatever value not appertaining to the department of the admiralty. This jurisdiction was twofold. If the matter in dispute were of less value than four dollars and one-sixth a single justice might try it at any time and place within his county, and might award execution upon the goods of the defendant. If it were of that or greater value it was determinable before the county court, which consisted of four at least of these justices, assembled at the court-house of the county on a certain day in every month. From the determination of the county court, if the matter in controversy were of the value of ten pounds sterling, or concerned the title to or the bounds of lands, an appeal lay to one of the superior courts.
There were three superior courts, to wit, the High Court of Chancery, the General Court, and the Court of Admiralty. These courts were held at the capital of the State, at first Williamsburg, afterwards Richmond².
Without further introduction, or further comment than an occasional note, the reader will now be introduced to the records of an extinct judicial jurisdiction ; those records made up on the day of the transactions recorded, and signed by the presiding judge at the end of each day's proceedings.
RECORDS OF WEST AUGUSTA COURT.
" His Majesties Writ adjourning the County Court of Augusta from the Town of Staunton to Fort Dunmore and with anew Commission of the Peace and Dedimus and a Commission of Oyer and Terminer and Declining from under the hands of John Earl of Dunmore, his Majesties Lieutenant and Governor in Chief, bearing date the sixth day of December, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-four, directed to Silas Hart, James Lockart, John Dickinson, John Christian, Daniel Smith, Archibald Alexander, John Poage, Felix Gilbert, Abraham Smith, Samuel McDowell, George Moffet, Sampson Matthews, Alexander McClenachan, William Bowyer, Matthew Harrison, George Matthews, Michael Bowyer, Alexander Robertson, John Grafton, John Hays, Thomas Hugert, James Craig, Elijah McClenachan, John Frogg, Jonah Davidson, William Tees, John Skidmore, George Croghan³, John Campbell, John Connolly, Edward Ward, Thomas Smallman, Dawsey Pentecost, John Gibson, William Crawford, John Stephenson, John McCullough, John Cannon, George Vallandigam, Silas Hedge, David Shepherd, and William Goe, Gentlemen, being read and thereupon Pursuant to the said Dedimus the said George Croghan, John Campbell, John Conuolly, John Gibson, George Vallandigam & William Goe, Gentlemen, took the Usual oaths to his Majesties Person and Government, subscribed the Abjuration Oath and test, and also took the Oaths of justices of the Peace and of justices of the County Court in Chancery, and of justices of Oyer and Terminer, all which Oaths were administered to them by Thomas Smallman and Dawsey Pentecost, and then John Campbell and John Connolly administered all the aforesaid Oaths to the aforesaid Thomas Smallman and Dewey Pentecost, who took the same and Subscribed the Abjuration Oath and Test, on which the court being Constituted the following members were present:
² This account of the organization of the Virginia courts and their judicial system at the period covered by the records about to be Introduced is taken from Thomas Jefferson's " Notes on the State of Virginia," written in 1781-82.
³ George Croghan and the persons whose names follow all lived welt of the mountains.
CIVIL AND LEGAL-RECORDS OF WEST AUGUSTA COURT - 205
"February 21st, 1775.
(1775) Geo. Crogan, John Campbell, John Connolly, Thos. Smallman, Dawsey Pentecost, John Gibson, George Vallandigham, and William Goe, Gentlemen, Justices."¹
"George Brent and George Rooter; took the usual oaths to his Majesties Person and Government, sub. the Abjuration Oath and Test, then took the Oaths of Attorneys."
"Ord. that John Campbell, George Redman, Thomas Redman, and Benjamin Renoe, or any 3 of them being first sworn View a Road from Fort Dunmore to Frederick Dunfields, and make a report of the Conveniences and Inconveniences to the next court."
"Joseph Hill is appointed a Constable in the room of Jacob Vanmetre, and that he be summoned to be sworn in the office."
"On the petition of James Johnston and others it is ord. Edward Cook, Joseph Hill, Senr., Levi Stevens, Gilbert Simpson, Richard McMahon, John Decker, Paul Froman, and James Innes, they being first sworn Views Road from the Road from Thomas Gists to Fort Dunmore, to Paul Fremans on Shirtees Creek by James Devores ferry, and make report of the Conveniences and Inconveniences to the next Court."
"William Elliott² being bound over to this Court by Thomas Smallman, Gent., for disturbing the minds of his Majestic's Good people of this County by demanding in an Arbitrary & Illegal Manner of Sundry persons what personal Estate they are possessed of, that the same may be tax'd according to the Laws of Pennsylvania, being called, appeared, on hearing the argument of the attorneys, the Court are of Opinion that he be Committed to the Goal of this County, & there to remain until he enter into a recog in the sum of £100 with 2 secys in the sum of £50 each for his good Behavior for the space of one Month, and thereupon the sd Wm. Elliot with John Harvie and Chas. Sims ackd themselves Indebted to our Souvereign Lord the King, the ad Elliot in the sum of £100, and the sd Harvie and Sims in the sum of £50 each to be levied of their respective goods and Chattels, Lands, & Tenements, in case the said Wm. Elliot is not of good Behavior for the space of one month.
“"Ordered that the court be adjourned until to-morrow morning 10 o'clock.
"At a court con'd & held for Augusta County at Fort Dunmore Feb. 22d 1775.
"Pres't John Connelly, Thomas Smallman, Dorsey Pentecost, Wm. Goe, Gentlemen, Justices.
"John Canon,³ one of the Gent in the Commission of the Peace &c. took the Usual Oaths to his Majesties Person and Government, subscribed the Abjuration Oath & Test, and then took the Oath of a justice of the Peace and of justice of the County Court in Chancery & of justice of Oyer & Terminer.
* * * * * * * * *
"Pres't John Canon.
"On the petition of Alexr Douglass & others, It is Ord that Wm Crawford, Providence Mounce, Ezekiel Hickman, Joseph Beelor, John Vanmetre, Morgan Morgan, Vincen Colvin, Henry Taylor, Van Swearingen, they being first sworn view a mad from Providence Mounces Millny Ausbergers Ferry & from thence to Catfish Camp, and make a report of the conveniences & inconveniences to the next court.
"Ordered that Robert Henderson, Benjamin Kuykendall, John Robinson & James Sulivan, they being first sworn view a road from Fort Dunmore to Beckert's fort and make a report of the conveniences and inconveniences to the next court.
"Pres't John Gibson.
"David Sample, Gent, is recommended to the Gentn appointed to examine alto's, that he is a person of Probaty, Honesty & Good Demeanor.
"On the motion of Henry Heath it is Ord that Silas Dexter, Gabriel Cox, Richd McMahon, Benj. Sweet, Robt. Henderson view the most convenient way from Fort Dunmore to Henry Heaths, they being first
¹.Of these "learned Thebans," Croghan, Campbell, Connolly, Smallman. and Gibson resided at Pittsburgh ; Pentecost, then on the Youghiogheny, soon afterward in the present North Strabane township ; Vallandigham, at the present Noblestown, and William Goa just below Gibson was the uncle of the afterward Chief Justice Gibson, of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
² A Westmoreland county official, living about where Wilkinsburg now is. The reader of the preceding " Boundary Controversy" will see that the contest comes into this Virginia court the first day of its existence.
³ The proprietor of Canonsburg.
- 14 -
sworn, & make a report of conveniences & inconveniences to the next court.
" Admin of the estate of Wm. Craig decd is Granted to Andrew Vaughan, a creditor, he having complied with the law.
"Ordered that Gabriel Cox, Richard McMahon, James Bruce & Henry Heath or any 3, app. the Est.
"Patrick McElroy took the Usual Oaths to his Majesties Person & Government, sub. the Abjur. Oath & test & then was sworn as a Deputy Sheriff.
" William Christy took the usual oaths to his Majes's person & Government sub. the abjur. oath & test which is ordered to be certified on his Commission of a Lieutenant of the militia of Pittsburgh & its Dependencies.
"Simon Girty 4 took the usual Oaths to his Majesties Person & Government sub the abjuration Oath & test which is ord to be certified on his commission of a Lieutenant of the militia of Pittsburgh and its Dependencies.
"Jacob Bausman took the usual oaths to his Majesties Person & Government sub the Abjur Oath and test which is ord to be certified on his commission of Ensign of the militia of Pittsburgh and its Dependencies.
" Ord that Paul Froman, Thomas Cook, Josiah Crawford, Jacob Long, Richard Cooks, they being first sworn, view a road from Fort Dunmore to Paul Fromans and make a report &c.
* * * * * * * * *
" Pres't John Campbell.
" Ab. John Connolly.
"John Connolly took the usual oaths to his Majesties Person & Government, sub the ab oath & Test, which is ord to be Certified on his Commission of Maj. of the Militia.
Pres't John Connolly.
" Wendle Ourey being bound over to this Court for acting as an assessor 5 under the laws of Pennsylvania appeared and having made confessions to the Court it is ordered that he be discharged from his recog.
* * * * * * * * *
"Ord that the sheriff make use of the Room in the Fort now need as a Guard Room as a Goal for this part of the County, and also that John Campbell & Dorsey Pentecost Gent, with the survey of Prison Bound include the ally of the fort & two rode wide to the town.
"Robert Hannah 6 being bound over to this Court for openly disturbing the peace by interrupting the Execution of Legal Process by the Officers of this Government, & did actually imprison a certain Philip Reily in the discharge of his duty as a Constable against the Peace of our Sovereign Lord the King, being called, appeared & offered a Plea to the jurisdiction of the court, which Plea was Overruled, & It is Ordered that he be Committed to the Goal of this County & there to remain until he Enter into recog in the sum of £1000 with 2 secys in the sum of £500 each to be levied &c, in case Robt. Hannah is not of Good Behaviour for a Year & a day & also desist from acting as a magistrate within the colony of Virginia by any authority from the Province of Pennsylvania & that he keep the Peace to all his Majesties Liege subjects in the mean time: [thereupon the said Robt. Hannah with Wm. Elliot & Devereux Smith his secys ackd themselves Indebted to our Sovereign Lord the King, the said Hannah in the sum of £1000 and the ad Smith & Elliot in the sun, of £500 to be levied &c, in case Robt. Hannah Is not of Good Behaviour for a year and a day, & also desist from acting as a Magistrate from Pennsylvania under any authority derived from that province, and that he keep the Peace to all his Majesties leige subjects in the mean time].7
"James Caveat, Gent,8 being bound over to this court for sundry times malevolently opposed the authority of His Majestic's Officers of the Government of Virginia & has rioutsly opposed the legal Establishment of his Majestic's Laws in this country contrary to the Peace of our Sovereign Lord the King, being called appeared and offered a Plea to the jurisdiction of the court which was Overruled & it is Ordered that he be committed to the Goal of this county & there to remain until he enter into recog in the sum of £1000 with two secys in the sum of £600 each to be levied &c in case James Caveat is not of good Behavior for a year & a day and also desist from acting as a magistrate within the colony of Virginia by any authority derived from the Province of
4 The renegade.
5 For Westmoreland County.
6 See Chapter XII., et seq.
7 The part in brackets erased in original.
8 Also a Westmoreland County justice.
206 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
Pennsylvania, & that he keep the Peace to all his Majesties Loyal subjects in the mean time.
"Francis Brown took the usual oaths to his Majesties person & Government, sub. the abjur. Oath & test & was sworn as a deputy Sheriff, with the consent of John Christian, by a note from under his hand. "James Smith being bound over to this court for acting as a Commissioner ¹ under an authority derived from under the Province of Pennsylvania, being called, appeared & on being heard, It is Ordered that he be committed to the Goal of this County, & there to remain until he enter into recog. in the sum of £1000 with 2 secys in the sum of £50 each, to be levied, &c., in case he is not of Good Behavior for a Year & a day, & also desist from Acting as a Commissioner from under any authority derived from under the Province of Pennsylvania within this colony.
"Ord. that David Steel, John Wals [Wallace], Oliver Miller, & Nathan Couch, they being first sworn, view a Road from Devores' Ferry² to the road that loads from Fort Dunmore to Dunfield's to join Dunfield's road on 'Shirtees Creek, near Ben Renoe's, & make report of the conv. & inconv, to the next court.
" Ord. that the Sheriff Imploy a Workman to build a Ducking Stool³, at the Confluence of the Ohio with the Monongohale, & that the Person Imployed bring in his Charge at the Laying of the Levy.
* * * * * * * * *
"David Steel took the usual oaths to his Majestie's Person & Govern., sub. the ab. oath & test which is ord. to be certified on his commission of ensign, of Pittsburgh & its Dependencies.
"Ord. that Thos. Brown, Bazil Brown, Wm. Colvin, Reuben Camp, & Conrad Walter, they being first sworn, view a road from Old Redstone fort to Conrad Walters, & make a report of the conven. & inconven. to the next court,
"Ord. that the Court be adjourned until to-morrow morning at 10 o'clock.
"At a court con'd & held for Augusta County, Feb. 23d, 1775. Pres't, Jno. Campbell, John Gibson. Thos. Smallman, Wm. Goe, Jno. Cannon. "James Berwick, Gent, is recommended to the Gentlemen to examine att'ys, as a person of Probaty, Honesty, & good Demeanor.
"Andrew Ross, Gent, is recommended to the Gentlemen to Examine atty's as a person of Probaty, Honesty, & Good Demeanor.
"On the Motion of Henry Heath, leave is granted him to keep a ferry on the Monongahela River from his House over the River to the land of Fres Hello, & that be provide Boats.
"On the Motion of Michael Cresap leave is granted him to keep a ferry on the Monongohale River at Redstone fort to the land of Indian Peter, & that he provide a Boat.
"On the motion of James Devore leave is granted him to keep a ferry on the Monongohale River from his House over the river to the Mouth of Pidgeon Creek, and that he provide boats.
" Luke Joliff, being Committed & brought before the Court for deserting from the Militia & for taking with him a stand of arms & for preventing the Indiana or not delivering up mind. Prisoners then in their Custody, & on hearing Sund. Witnesses & the said Luke, the Court are of Opinion that he receive for the said offence of deserting 500 lashes with a cat & nine tails on his bare back well laid on, & It Is said to the Sheriff that Execution thereof be done at such time and in such numbers as not to endanger life or member.
* * * * * * * * *
¹ For Westmoreland County.
² Monongahela City.
³ An arrangement by way of seat suspended at the end of a strong pole, over an upright, like the old-fashioned well-sweep, elegantly adapted to cool the temper of irascible females over the bank of a convenient stream or spring. 0 tempora, 0 mores!
"Ord. that Edward Cook, Joseph Hill, senr, Levi Stevens, Gilbert Sampson, Richard McMahon, John Decker, Paul Frooman & James Innis, they being first sworn view a road from Thomas Gist's to Paul Frooman's Mill on Shirtees Creek & make report of the Conven & Inconven to the next court.
"Ord that Thomas Crooks, Wm. Bushes's, ;Robert Thornton, Thee Egenton and Philip Whiten, they being first sworn, view a road from Redstone old fort to Shirtees creek to Paul Froomans & make report &c. "On the motion of Jacob Housman leave is granted him to keep a ferry across the Monongohale River from his house to the town opposite thereto, & that he provide & keep a suff. number of Boats for that purpose.4
* * * * * * * * *
"Ord that David Steel, Thos Bond, John McKee & Silas Dexter, they being first sworn view a road from the mouth of the Tough. River at McKee's ferry 5 to the road from Devores ferry to Renoe's, near Sampson Beavers and so on to Froomans Mill & make a report &c.
" On tile motion of Dorsey Pentecost it is ord that his mark be recorded a Crop in the left Ear & his brand D. P.
" Christopher Turby, John Carpenter, Joshua Wright, Joseph Hill Sr. John Hawthorn, Einson Brumfield, John Harden, Junr. John Pettyjohn, John Warick, James Booth, Reason Virgin, Ezekiel Rose, Wm. Hawkins, James Taylor, Nathl. Blackmore, James Murdough, Jas Young, Abraham Slover, Jno Bell, John Dousman, Andrew Robinson, Nicholas Higarthy, Barney Wrother, Jno Castleman, Elias Myers, Wm. Teagard, Jour, Joseph Irwin, Jno Nicholas, James Baird, Sand. Hinley, Moses Smith, Levi Moore, Michael Martin, Richard Wells & Garshom Hull are appointed Constables & it is Ord that they be summoned to be sworn before a Magistrate or attend at the next court to be sworn.
"John Campbell & Dorsey Pentecost, the persons appointed to lay off the Prison bounds made a report & Ordered to be recorded.
"Ord that Sheriff summon a Grand jury for the Inquest of the body of this county to appear here in May next.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
" Ordered that Alexander McKee, James Innis, Thomas Galbraith, Wm. Harrison, Thomas Gaddis, Jno Swearingen, Thomas Freeman, [Freeman] Benjamin Davis, Edward Cook, John Whitacre, Philip Roes, David Rogers, James Chew, David Scott, Chas Wheeler, Thos. Crooks, John Robertson, John Nevill, Michael Rough, Isaac Mason, Eli Coulter, Wm. Elliot, Henry Vanmetre, Geo. Rodger Clark, Richd Yates, John Irwine, Christopher House, & Joseph Beeler, are humbly recommended to his Excellency the Governor as proper persons to be added to the Commission of the Peace of this county.
"Edward Armstrong & James Ryon were brought before the Court for fighting in the Court Yard & disturbing the Court; It is Ord that they be Committed to the Goal of this County & there to remain until they Each Enter into recog in the sum of £10 with 2 secys on the sum of £5 Each to be levied etc for their appearance at the Grand jury in May next & that his Majesties deputy atty. prosecute them for the same; sum Geo Ashton, John Collins, and Samuel McKenzie.
" On the motion of John Canon, It is Ord that his mark be recorded a Crop in the right Ear & half crop in the left.
* * * * * * * *
"Geo Ashton took the Usual Oaths to his Majesties Person and Government sub the ab Oath & test & Ord to be certified on his Commission of Captain of the Militia.
"License to keep an Ordinary is Granted to John Ormsby he having comp with the law.
"License to keep an Ordinary is Granted to Samuel Ewalt he having compel with the law.
"The last Will & Test of Shedrick Muchmoor deed was proved by Valentine Thos D'alton & Wm. Plumer two of the wits, & O. R. & on the Motion of Mary Muchmoor the widow, admire with the will annexed, is granted her she having compd with the law.
"Ord that Benj. Tomlinson, Joshua Baker, Jacob Cochrane, Jos Cochrane, or any 3 app the est of Shedrick Muchmoor decd and return the app to the next court.
"Jonathan Muchmoor of the age of 19 years orph of Shedrick Muchmoor decd choose Thos Smallman his Gdn who compd with the law.
" Ord that the Court be adjourned until tomorrow morning 10 O'clock.
" At a court con'd & held for Augusta county, at Fort Dunmore, Feb. 24,1775.
" Pres't, John Campbell, Jno Connolly, Thos. Smallman, John Gibson, Dorsey Pentecost.
4 This last order is canceled on the records.
CIVIL AND LEGAL-RECORDS OF WEST AUGUSTA COURT - 207
"Pres't John Cannon.
"License to keep an Ordinary is granted to Frederick Ferro, be haying compd with the law.
"The same to Jacob Bousrdan on the south side of the Monongohale River opposite the Town.
"On the motion of Samuel Sinclair who lives in the forks of the River Monongohale & Youghagania, leave is granted him to keep a ferry over Each of the Rivers Be that he keep boats.
"License to keep an Ordinary is granted to Saml Sample,¹ he having complied with the law.
" Wm. Hawkins² Andrew Robertson, Nicholas Hagerty took the usual oaths to his Majesties Person & Government, sub the ab oath & test & then took the oaths of Constable.
* * * * * * * * * *
Ord that Chas Bruce, Geo. Aston, Abraham Slover & Josiah Osburn, or any 3 of them being first sworn, View the nearest and best way from Fort Dunmore to Chas. Bruce's on Raccoon Creek & make report &c.
"His Majesties writ for adjourning this Court from Fort Dunmore to the Town of Staunton being read it is ordered that the Court be adjourned accordingly.
"His Majesties writ for adjourning the Court of Augusta from Staunton to Fort Dunmore being read this 16th May, 1775.
"Present, Geo. Croghan, John Campbell, John Connolly, Thos. Smallman, John Gibson, John Cannon.
"Edward Ward³ and John McCullock took the Usual Oaths to his Majesties Person & Government sub the ab Oath Be Test & then took the oath of Justice of the Peace and of the County Court of Chancery and of Justices of Oyer & Terminer.
"Henry Peyton took the oath of an atto & is admitted to Practice as such in this court.
* * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * *
"At a Cald Court held for the Examination of Thos Glenn who stands Committed to the Goal of this County charged with the Murder of his servt Man, Peter Eglington.
"Pres't Geo. Croghan, John Campbell, John Connolly, Edward Ward, Thos Smallman, Jno. Gibson, Geo. Vallandigham.
"The above named Thos Glenn was brought to the barr & upon Examination denied the fact wherewith he stands Charged, whereupon several Witnesses were sworn and Examined & upon Consideration of which the Court are of Opinion that he is Guilty of the fact wherewith he stands Charged & that lie ought to be tried for the sd supposed fact at the General Court in October next at the 6th day thereof & in order thereto he is remanded to the Goal of this county & thence to be removed to the Pub. Goal in the city of Wmsburgh.
"Be it remembered, John McCullock, Moses Williamson, James Johnson, James Howland, of this County, ackd themselves Indebted to our Sovereign Lord the King in the sum of £100 Each to be levied of their respective Goods & Chattels Lands & Tenements in Case they do not appear at the Capital in the City of Wmsburg on the 6th day of the next General Court & then & there give Evidence aget ,Thos Glenn for the Murder of his servt Peter Eglington & not depart without leave of the court.
"Then the Court did rise.
"Joe Blackford for the Prisoner.
" GEORGE CEOGHAN."
* * * * * * * * * *
"Pres't Geo. Croghan, John Connolly, Edward Ward, John Cannon, John McCullock, John Gibson.
* * * * * * * * * *
"Benja Ronne, Geo. Redman & Thos Redman, 3 of the persons appointed to view a road from Fort Dunmore to Frederick Dunfields & make a report, made their report. It is ordered that the Road be Established & that Geo. Redman and Benj Renoe be surveyors thereof & that the Tithables within 3 miles on Each side work thereon.
¹ Washington's landlord in 1770.
² Of Peters Creek.
³ The Edward Ward who as ensign of Capt. William Trent's company surrendered the fort then being erected at the confluence of the Monongahela and Ohio to M. Contrecoeur and his forces, on April 17, 1754. He remained at Pittsburgh, and on March 6, 1787, was a voter for the election of justices in Dickinson township, residing on lands on the lower Chartiers. See the record concerning him at the first session of the Yohogania court, post.
" Wm. Crawford 4 one of the Gent. in the Com of the Peace took the Usual Oath to his Majesties Person & Govern sub the ab Oath & test & then took the Oath of a Justice of the Peace & a justice of the County Court in Chancery & of a justice of Oyer & Terminer.
"Pres't Wm. Crawford.
"On the Petition of Maby (?) Hayes & others, It is Ord that Peter Elrod, John Whitacre, Andrew McMeans, Benj. Davis, Silas Dexter, Gabl. Cox, Richd McMahon, Benj. Sweet, & Robt. Henderson, or any six of them being first sworn view a road from Dorsey Pentecost's by Peter Barrachman's Ferry to Fort Dunmore and make a report of the Cony & Inconv to the next Court.
"On the motion of Capt. Paul Fromm it is Ordered that John Dacker, John Munn, James Innis, & Thomas Eddington or any 3 of them being first sworn View the most cony. way from Froman's Mill on Shirtees creek to Froman's Mill on the East Side of the Monongahela & make a report &c.
"A grand jury for the Inquest of the body of this County, to wit, Geo. McCullock, foreman, Oliver Miller, Abraham Teagarden, John Swan, Jesse Pigman, Bazil Brown, Richd Waller, Jacob Vanmetre, Wm. Colvin, Josiah Wallace, Moses Williamson, John Dacker, Richd McMahon, Richd McGlaughlin, & Daniel Cannon, having received their charge retired.
"On the complaint of James O'Neal against his Master Patrick Fleming for beating & abusing him, It is Ord that his Master be Sumd to appear here the next Court to ansr the Complaint & that he in the mean time treat well & give security for the same, himself in the sum of £30 & 1 secy in the sum of 15£ & thereupon he with James Chambers his secy also in the sum of 15£ to be levied &c in case he doth not use his servt James O'Neal well till the next Court.
"On the complaint of John Connolly, Gent., agnst Geo. Wilson,5 Gent, as a disturber of the Peace, on hearing the parties the Court are of Opinion that the Complt be dismissed.
"Ord that Richd Huls, David Steel, Thos Cook, Richd Crooks & Paul Froman or any 3 of them being first sworn view a road from Fort Dunmore to Paul Froman's Mill on Shirtees Creek & make a report &c.. "Ord that the court be adjourned until tomorrow morning 10 O'clock,
"JOHN CAMPBELL." "At a Court cons & held for Augusta County May 17th 1776.
"Pres't Geo Croghan, Edward Ward, Thos Smallman, John Gibson, John McCullough, Wm. Crawford.
* * * * * * * * * * *
"On the petition of Resin Virgin & others, It is Ord that Philip Shute, Richd Waller, Abraham Teagarden, Wm. Teagarden, George Teabolt, & Rezin Virgin or any 3 of them being first sworn view a road from the foot of Laurel Hill by Wm. Teagarden's ferry to the mouth of Wheeling & make a report &c.
"On the motion of David McKee for leave to keep a ferry over the Monongohale & Youghogana which motion being Opposed, on hearing the parties It is considered that the sd ferry is Unnecessary; It is therefore Ord that the said motion be rejected.
* * * * * * * * * *
Pres't John Cannon.
* * * * * * * * * *
"T— M— being bound over to this court on the complt of Archibald Hamilton for burning his House in the neighborhood of Sandy Creek, whereby he has lost some of his Effects, being called, appeared & on hearing the parties by their atto & sund wits, the Court are of Opinion that he as Guilty of a High Misdemeanor & It is Ord that he be Committed to the Goal of this County for the ed offence, there to remain until he enter into recog in the sum of £100 with 2 limeys in the sum of £50 each for his good behavior for a year and a day, & thereupon he with Jacob Housman & Hugh O'Hara his secys ackd himself Indebted to our Sovereign Lord the King in the sum of £100 & the sd Jacob Housman & Hugh O'Hara acknowledged themselves indebted to our Sovereign Lord the King in £50 each to be levied &c in case the said T— N—is not of good behavior for a year & a day.
"The Grand-jury for the Inquest of the body, of this County, re-
4 Col. William Crawford, it will be remembered, bad been superseded in his office of justice for Westmoreland County on Jan. 25, 1775, and though named in Dunmore's new commission of the peace of Dec. 6, 1774, had not yet been sworn; after this date he continues a Virginia adherent.
5 This was Col. George Wilson, of Georges Creek, a native of Virginia, but a stout Pennsylvanian. His name has been of frequent occurrence in the "Boundary Controversy."
208 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
turned and having read several Indictments, true bills, It is Ord. that the King's alto do prosecute them, and that the clk. do Issue process on them accordingly, and also several bills of Indict. being prefered and found Ignoramus, it is Ord. that the same be dis'd.
"Ord. that the Court be adjourned until to-morrow morning, 10 o'clock.
"At a court cond. and held for Augusta County, May 18, 1775.
"Pres't, Geo. Croghan, John Connolly, John Gibson, Geo. Vallandigham.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"Pres't, Edward Ward, John Cannon, Wm. Crawford, John McCullock.¹
" Thomas Scott being bound over to this Court for his acting and doing business as a Justice of the Peace under Pennsylvania in Contempt of the Earl of Dunmore's late Proclamation,² as also to such other Misdemeanors as shall be then and there objected against him, appeared and on hearing him and the wits, the Court are of Opinion that he is guilty, and It is Ord. that he be Committed to the Goal of this county, and there to remain until he enter into recog. in the sum of £500 with 2 secy's, in the sum of £250 each, to be levied of their respective Goods and Chattels, Lands and Tenements, in case Thomas Scott is not of good Behavior for a year and a day, and also desist from Acting as a Magistrate within the Colony of Virginia by any authority derived from the Province of Pennsylvania, and that he keep the Peace to all his Majestie's Liege Subjects in the mean time.³
* * * * * * * * * * * *
" On the complt of John McNally against hie Master, Caspar Real, for beating and abusing him, being sumd, appeared, & on hearing the parties and the wits, the Court are of Opinion that the Complt is Groundless and be dismissed, & It is Ord that the Sheriff take the said servt an give him 25 lashes, well laid on, & It is said to the Sheriff that Execution be done immediately.
"Caspar Real prod & made oath to his account of £218 0, his expenses in taking up his servt, John McNally, . . . when run away and for 4 days absent time, when run away. It is Ord that he serve the same according to law.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
" The persons appointed to view a Road from Shirtees Creek to Devores
¹ The reader will now observe that an 'additional batch of justices take their seats upon the bench. An important commis about to be heard.
² Of Sept. 17, 1774.
³ A notice of this Thomas Scott, at the date of the above record a justice of Westmoreland County, has been given in the sketch of the boundary controversy. He became afterwards a member of the Supreme Executive Council, the first prothonotary and clerk of Washington County, a justice of that county, her first member of Congress under the constitution of 1787, and held many posts of honor. He had been arrested on Nov. 12, 1774, at his home on Dunlap's Creek, and carried before Lord Dunmore (on the latter's return from "Dunmore's War"), where he was held to bail for his appearance at the Augusta County Court, soon to be established at Pittsburgh. He chose to give bail on account of his health.
The record shows his hearing before Dunmore's Court on May 18, 1775, but it will be observed that on the termination he does not enter into the recognizance directed, and therefore must have been imprisoned. There is nothing to show us how long he remained incarcerated, but "he was not released until accumulated resentment and the beginning of the war for liberty had burst his prison bonds and set many of Connolly's captives free."—Veech. Contrast the policy adopted by the Virginia authorities with that always pursued by the magistrates of Westmoreland County, as outlined by Governor John Penn in his letter of April 22,1774, " to William Crawford, Esq., and his Associates, justices of Westmoreland county." In this letter it is said, " . . As the Government of Virginia bath the power of raising a Militia, and there is not any such in this province, it will be in vain to contend with them in the way of Force ; the Magistrates, therefore, at the same Time that they continue with steadiness to Exercise the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania with respect to the distributions of justice and punishment of Vice, must be cautious of entering into any such Contests with the Officers of my Lord Dunmore as may tend to widen the unhappy Breach, and therefore, as Things are at present circumstanced, I would not advise the Magistracy of Westmoreland County to proceed by way of criminal prosecutions against them for exercising the Government of Virginia." (K. Col. Records, 171.)
ferry,4 made their report. It is Ord that the Road be established, & that David Steel & Jedd Ashcroft be overseers, and that the tithe within 3 miles on each aide work thereon.
* * * * * * * * * * *
"Ord that the Court be adjourned until to-morrow morning [sic], 3 o'clock in the afternoon.
" At a Court Continued & held for Augusta County, May 19, 1775. Pres't John Gibson, Wm. Crawford, John McCullough, Edward Ward, John Cannon.
"On the Motion of Benj Wells, It is ordered that his Mark, a Crop & a Slit in the left Ear, be Recorded.
* * * * * * * * * * *
" Ord that the Court be adjourned until to-morrow morning, 8 O'clock.
"At a Court cond & held for Augusta County, May 20th, 1775. Preget, Geo. Croghan, Edward Ward, Thos. Smallman, John Gibson.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
" On the Complt of James Rose against his Master, Moses Holliday, for detaining him as a servant, Contrary to Law, it was objected to by the Master and by his atto, that the Matter should not come on this Court, as the sd Master had never been Summoned, & had not had any previous Notice thereof till he came to Court; but the Court Overruled the Objection, it appearing to the Court that he was fully prepared,* on hearing the Wits, the Court are of Opinion that the servt be set at Liberty.
" Ord that Thomas Silk be by the Church wardens of Augusta Pariah bound to Jacob Bousman accr to law.
" On the motion of Thomas Glenn by his atts. setting forth that he had been Committed to the Goal of this County on supposition of being guilty of the Murder of his servant & that the proceedings of the Called Court were Irregular & by which he was Illegally confined, and praying that the Court will take the same into Consideration & the Court being of Opinion that the Allegations are true It is ordered that he be discharged from his imprisonment."
" Pres't John Campbell & William Crawford."
* * * * * * * * * *
"On the motion of Jacob Bousman leave is granted him to keep a ferry across the Monongohale River from his house to the Town opposite thereto, & that he provided, and keep a sufficient number of Boats for that purpose in ferrying over the Militia on Muster days.
" On the Motion of John Ormsby for leave to keep a ferry across the Monongohale River from this Town to his land opposite thereto, being opposed by Jacob Housman, Motion Overruled."
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
"His Majesties writ for adjourning this Court to the Town of Staunton on the 3d Tuesday in June next was produced and read & it is Ord that the Court be adjourned accordingly.
" At a Cald Court held at Fort Dunmore May the 27th, 1776 for the Examination of Thomas Glenn who stands Committed to the Goal of this County for the Murder of his Servant Man, Peter Eglington.
" Pres't Geo. Croghan, John Campbell, Edward Ward, Thomas Small-man.
"The above-named Thomas Glenn was led to the barr and upon Examination denied the fact wherewith he stands Charged; whereupon several Witnesses were Sworn and Examined; upon Consideration of which the Court are of the Opinion that he is not guilty of the Murder wherewith he stands Charged, but that he is guilty of treating his Servant Ill, and that he ought to be tried for the same at the next Grand jury Court to be held at this Place I that he be Committed to the Goal of this County & there to remain until he enter into Recog in the sum of £1000 with 2 secys in the aunt £500 each for hie good behavior in the meantime & that his Majesties deputy atto prosecute him for the same.
"Then the Court did rice.
" GEO. GROGRAM."
"At a Cald Court held at Fort Dunmore for Augusta County, September 12, 1775, for the Examination of William Evans for the breaking open the Kitchen of James McCashlin.
"Pres't John Campbell, Dorsey Pentecost, William Crawford, John McCollock.
4 Now Monongahela City.
CIVIL AND LEGAL-RECORDS OF WEST AUGUSTA COURT - 209
"The above-named William Evans was led to the Bar & upon Examination denied the fact wherewith he stands Charged ; whereupon several Witnesses were sworn & Examined; on Consideration of which the Court are of the Opinion that he is not guilty of the Burglary, but that he is guilty of a Trespass.
"It is Ord that he be Committed to the Goal of this County & there to remain until he enter into recog in the sum of £50 with 2 secys in the sum of £25 each for his app at the Grand jury & fur the Good behavior the at Wm. Evans with Geo. Anton & Cornelius Conner his Secys ackd the ed Evans in the sum of £50 & Aston & Conner in the sum of £25 each to be levied &c., in Case he do not Appear & for his good behavior Is the meantime & that his Majesties Deputy Atto prosecute him for the same.
"Then the Court did rise. "JOHN CAMPBELL."
'"His Majesties writ for adjourning the Court from Staunton to Fort Dunmore being read this 19th day of September, 1775.
"Pres't Geo. Croghan, John Campbell, Dorsey Pentecost, Thomas Smallman.
"David Shepherd ¹ took the Usual Oaths to his Majesties person & Gov sub the ab Oath & test & then took the Oath of a justice of the Peace & of a Justice of the County Court in Chancery & of a Justice of Oyer & Terminer.
"Pres't David Shepherd & absent John Campbell.
"Ord that the Sheriff Contract with a workman to Repair his house eget tomorrow with a Barr & Seat for the Clk & Justices.
"Pres't Wm. Crawford.
"Ord that the Court be adjourned until tomorrow morning 10 o'clock.
" GEO. CROGHAN."
"At a Court cond & held for Augusta County, at Fort Dunmore, Sept. 20, 1775.
"Pres't Geo. Croghan, Thos. Smallman, Dorsey Pentecost, David Shepherd, Gentlemen, Justices.
"David Steel took the Usual Oaths to his Majesties Person And Gov. sub. the ab. Oath & test & then took the Oath of a Deputy Sheriff.
"An Indenture from John McMillen to Wm. Parkinson was proved by John Gabl. Jones & Benj Davis, 2 of the Witte & O. R.
"Geo. Wilson,² Gent, being bound over to this Court for Confederate with, Aiding, Advising and abeting certain disorderly persons who on the Morning of the 22d of June last Violently Seized & carried away Maj. John Connolly from this place and also advising others not to aid the Officers of Justice when called upon to apprehend the aforesaid disturbers of the Peace, being called & not appearing, It is Ord that he be prosecuted on his recog.
"Christian Perkey being bound over to this Court on the Compt of Edward Rice for breaking down his Saw Mill dam, being called appd and several wits were sworn & Examined; on Consideration of which the Court are of Opinion that he be committed to the Goal of this County & there to remain until he enter into recog in the sum of £50 with 2 secys is the of £25 each & thereupon he with Wm. Crawford & Haden Wells hie secys ackd themselves the sd Perkey in the sum of £50 the ad Crawford & Wells in the sum of £25 each to be levied &c in case the sd Perkey is not of Good behavior for a year & a day.
"The Persons appd to view a road from the Confluence of Wheeling to the foot of Laurel Hill at Conrad Walter's made a rep that they had
¹ Of near the present Wheeling.
² This was the Col. Geo. Wilson, of Georges Creek, who, it will be remembered, with John Carnahan, the sheriff of Westmoreland, and others, raided Fort Dunmore, liberated Justice Hanna and others, captured Doctor Connolly, and carried him on the way to Philadelphia as far as Ligonier. At Ligonier, St. Clair wined the doctor well, but was much mistaken when lie supposed he had thawed out state secrets. In retaliation for Connolly's capture, "a mob or set of Connolly's friends, who live on Cheaters Creek," seized Col. Wilson, Joseph Spear, and Devereux Smith, and sent them in an old leaky boat down to Fort Fincastle (Wheeling) under guard. This retaliation, as well as the efforts of the Pittsburgh Committee, procured Connolly's release, and perhaps Wilson, Spear, and Smith were also soon set at liberty.
viewed the same & find that there may be had a good road from the ed Confluence of Wheeling to the Confluence of Ten-Mile on the Monongahela & from thence to the ad Walters. It is Ord the ed Road be Established & and that James McCoy be overs. from the foot of the Laurel Hill to Chas. Hickman & John Craig from Hickman & to Wm. Teagarden's ferry on the Monongahela & Ezekiel Rose from there to John Dickersons Junr., Reason Virgin front there to the Mouth of Wheeling & that the Tiths in 5 miles on each side work thereon.
"Persons appd to view a Road front Fort Pitt to Beckett's fort made a report; It is Ord that the sd Road be Established & Andrew Pearce be Over from Beckets fort to Jas. Wilsons; Cornelius Thompson from Wilsons to the River Monongahela; James Sullivan from there to the head of the Saw Mill run and Boston (?) Frederick from there to Fort Pitt & the Tiths within 5 miles on each side from Fort Pitt to the Monongahela, and the Tithe within 3 Miles on each side from the River to Beckets fort work thereon.
"Ord that the Court be adjourned until tomorrow morning 10 o'clock.
" GEO. CROGHAN."
" At a Court Cond & held for Augusta County September 21, 1775, Pres't Geo. Croghan, Jno. Gibson, John Cannon, John McCullock.
"A deed of Barg & Sale from James Brenton to Michael Cresap Senr. was provd by John Jeremiah Jacobs one of the Wits & O. R.
"A Deed of Barg & Sale front Robt. Denbow to Michael Cresap was provd by Geo. Brent one of the wits & O. R.
" A Deed of Barg & Sale from John Corey to Michael Cresap Senr. was provd by John Jeremiah Jacob the wits & O. R.³
"Ord that the Court be adjourned until tomorrow morning 10 O'clock.
" Gro. CROOHAN."
"At a Court Coed & held for Augusta County at Fort Dunmore Sept. 22, 1775.
"Pres't Geo Croghan, Jno Cannon, Thos Smallman, John McCullock. " Ord that the Court be adjourned until tomorrow morning 10 O'clock.
" GEO. CHOOHAN."
" At a Court Cond and held for Augusta County Sept. 23, 1775.
" Pres't Geo. Croghan, Jno Cannon, Jno McCullock, Dorsey Pentecost,
"It appearing to the Court that George Brent & John Gabl. Jones, practicing attornies at this Court, have this day insulted this Court in a very gross manner, by directing the under sheriff not to Open the Court when Commanded by the Justices met upon the adjournment of yesterday, from which directions the sheriff hesitated some time in doing his duty, & did Commit other Insults highly derogatory from the dignity & Authority of the Court; It is the Opinion of this Court that the ad George Brent & John Gabl. Jones be suspended from practicing as attos in this Court until the Pleasure of the General Court is known to this Behalf. It is therefore Ordered that the Clerk do certify those proceedings to the Honble, the General Court, & that the Atto Gent do sum John Walker Gent of Albemarle, Edmund Winston of Bedford, George Rootes of Frederick, & Chas. Sims of West Augusta, to attend there and prove the facts alledged agst the ad Brent & Jones & It is Ord that They be Committed to the Goal of this County& there to enter into recog In the sum of £200 each with two secys in the sum of £100 Each." 4
"Pres't John Campbell, Thos. Smallman, & absent Geo. Croghan. "Pres't Wm. Crawford & absent John Gibson.
" The Persons app'd to View a Road from Providence Mounce's Mill 5 by Asburger's ferry & from thence to Catfish Camp made a report:
"It is Ord that the Road be Established & that Ezekiel Hickman be Overseer from Mounces Mill to Christo. Bealors ferry on Yough., & Morgan Morgan front there to Asburgers ferry, and Benj. Fry from there to Pigeon Creek, & Evan Williams from Pigeon Cr. to the East
³ These deeds to Cresap were for lands where Brownsville now is. Cresap was the Cob Cresap of the celebrated Logan speech.
4 The record of this proceeding for contempt is all erased in the original, indicating a reconciliation of the court towards the offending lawyers.
5 On the Youghiogheny, doubtless.
210 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
Fork of Churtees Cr. & Garret Vanemon from there to Catfish Camp, & the Tithe within 3 miles on East side work thereon.
"A Resolution of the Convention¹, directing a mode of the Proceedings of the Court of West Augusta was prod. & read & the same being approved of, Ord. that the Court for the future be regulated thereby & that the same be Recorded.
"Pres't Jno. Campbell, Wm. Crawford, John Cannon, John McCullock, Dorsey Pentecost.
"Ord. that Thos. Smallman, John Cannon, John Gibson, or any two of them, provide a House at the Pub. Expense for the Use of Holding the Court & that the Sheriff Contract with the workmen to put the same in repair agst the 3d Tuesday in Jan'y next.
"Ord. that the Sheriff with the consent of Thomas Smallman, John Cannon & John Gibson, or any two of them, Contract for a house for safe keeping of his Prisoners, & make a return of the whole to the next Court at the County's Expense².
“Wm. Hawkins,³ took the Usual Oaths to his Majesties Person & Government sub. the ab. Oath & test & then took the Oath of a Deputy Sheriff.
"His Majesties Writ for adjourning this Court to the Town of Staunton on the third Tuesday in Novr. next being read. The Court was accordingly adjourned.
" JOHN CAMPBELL."
The court for Augusta County was held at Pittsburgh, Oct. 17, 1775, according to an ordinance of the convention held at Richmond ; Present, George Croghan, Thomas Smallman, John Gibson, and John McCullock ; and also on Nov. 21, 1775 ; present, George Croghan, Edward Ward, Thomas Smallman, John Canon, and George Vallandigham. At the latter court :
"The persons appd to View a road from Capn Froman's to the Mouth of Tough made their report: It is Ord that the sd road be Established & that John Malony & Thos Lapsley & Edward Sharp be surveyors & that the Tithables within 3 miles on each side work thereon."
On Nov. 21, 1775, "a Court was held—Present, Geo. Croghan, Thos. Smallman, John Canon, and Geo. Vallandigham,—for the Examination of Mr. Devereux Smith at His House, by His Petition to the Justices," for the murder of Capt. George Aston, one of Connolly's militia officers. The court was of the opinion that Mr. Smith should be held for trial at the next General Court in April, and ordered his commitment to prison.
The prisoner by his counsel moved to be admitted to bail, whereupon "the Court are of the Opinion that from the situation Mr. Smith is in, the circumstances attending the fact wherewith he is charged, that he ought to be admitted to Bail," and he was held in £3000, with Robert Hanna, 2Eneas Mackay, and William Butler as his sureties, "upon Condition that Devereux Smith doth personally appear On the 6th day of the next General Court, (if he be able at the time to attend the sd General Court from the situation of his wound & state of health,) if not, at the ensuing Court for the Tryall of Criminals, and shall not de-
¹ This refers to the proceedings of the "Convention of Delegates for the Counties and. Corporations in Virginia, held at Richmond Town, July 17, 1775," in furtherance of the American Revolution.
² A new place fur holding court and keeping prisoners was necessary, as Capt. John Neville with his company of soldiers had occupied Fort Dunmore. The name Fort Dunmore, however, is now about to be abandoned.
³ Peters Creek.
part, &c." What became of this case is not known, but it is evident that it had its origin in the personal troubles of the jurisdictional controversy.
The next term was held at Pittsburgh, Jan. 16, 1776; present, Edward Ward, Thomas Smallman, John McCullock, George Vallandigham, and William Goe. Administration of the 1776. estate of Alexander Miller, deceased, was granted to John Calhoun; George Wilson, John Swearingen, John Hardin, and Jos. Caldwell appointed appraisers.
License to keep an ordinary was granted to David Duncan and to James McCaslin. Thomas Girty, the brother of Simon, was bound to keep the peace, having been charged with threats and assault upon the wife of Samuel Semple, the Pittsburgh landlord.
Hugh Scott and Ezekiel Dewit were appointed constables.
On Jan. 17, 1776,—present, Edward Ward, Dorsey Pentecost, John McCullock, George Vallandigham, and Thomas Smallman,—Richard Wells, James Wright, Daniel Harris, Thomas Glenn, Thomas Crooks, Thomas Atkinson, Francis Morrison, and Peter Hilderbrand had their several ear-marks allowed and recorded. Samuel McBride was appointed a constable in place of Rezin Virgin. The court was then adjourned until the court in course.
The next term at Pittsburgh, being upon a writ adjourning the county court of Augusta from Staunton to Fort Dunmore, was held April 16, 1776; present, John Campbell, Dorsey Pentecost, Thomas Smallman, and John Canon. Administration of the estate of Jeremiah Woods, deceased, was "granted to John Stevenson (who is married to the widow,) he having complied with the law, and Benjamin Kuykendall, James Sullivan, Richard McMahon and Peter Barrakman were appointed appraisers, whereupon court was adjourned until tomorrow morning at 9 O'clock."
"At a Court Cond & held for Augusta County April 17th, 1776.
"Pres't John Campbell, Edward Ward, Dorsey Pentecost, John McCullock, John Cannon.
"Daniel Leet prod a Commission from the College of William & Mary, to be Deputy Surveyor of this County, under Thos. Lewis, Gent., he haying taken the Oaths according to Law & Entd in Bond with Geo. Rice & Geo. McCormick his secys.
"John Harry is app surveyor in the room of Edward Sharp.
"On the Motion of Christopher Carpenter leave is granted him to keep a ferry near his house on the Monongahela for the purpose of setting over the Militia on Muster days.
"Solomon Furman is app a Consta in the room of Nathl Blackmore, & that he be summoned before Mr. John Cannon to be sworn into the said office.
"Admin of the Estate of John Edwards, decd, is granted to Benj. Kuykendall (Jersey Ben) a Cr. he havg compd with the Law.
"Ord that Zadock Wright, Gabl Cox, Benj. Sweet & Isaac Custard or any 3 of them app the Est.
"James Innis, John Munn, & Thomas Edginton, 3 of the persons appointed to View a road from Fromans Mill, on Shirtees to Fromans Mill on the East side of the Monongahela, made report; It is Ord that
CIVIL AND LEGAL-RECORDS OF WEST AUGUSTA COURT - 211
the ed Road be Est & that John Munn be Rory from Fromans Mill on Shirtee to the Fork of the Road that goes to Henry Spears, & that Tobias Decker, from thence to the Mill on the Monongahela, & that the tithe within 3 Miles on Each aide work thereon.
"William Andreas is appd Consta in the room of Joseph Hill, senr., & that he be sumd to be sworn before Dorsey Pentecost.
" License to keep an Ord is Granted to Thos. Brown at his House at Redstone Fort, Bezel Brown havg on his behalf Entd into Bond aced to Law.
"Ord that the Court be adjourned until to-morrow morning 10 O'clock.
" At a Court Cond & held for, Augusta County April 18th, 1776. "Pres't John Campbell, Edward Ward, Dorsey Pentecost, John Canon.
"On the Petition of James Mitchell & .others setting forth that a road is Established from Conrad Walters by Wm. Teagarden's ferry to the Mouth of Wheeling which is very Inconvenient to your Petrs & praying that a Review of the ad Road be made, it is Ord that Ebenezer Zane, James McMahon, David Owens, Henry Vanmetre, Day. Evans, George Cox, James McCoy, & John McClellen, or any 6 of them, being fret sworn view if the old Road Established is Convenient, if not make a report of the nearest & most Cony. way & the Incon. & Con. thereof to the next Court & that the surveyors desist from working on the road until report is returned.
"Ord that the Court be adjourned until the Court in Course.
"At a Court held at Pittsburgh, for the District of West Augusta, the Twentieth day of August, 1776.
"Pres't Edward Ward, Dorsey Pentecost, John Gibson, David Shepherd, John Cannon, William Goe, Gentlemen.
"Dorsey Pentecost and John Gibson, Gent., administered the Oath prescribed by an ordinance, entitled an ordinance to enable the present Magistrates & Officers to Continue the administration of Justice & for selling the General mode of proceedings in Criminal & other cases, till the same can be more amply provided for,² to Edward Ward, Gent., and then the sd Edward Ward administered the aforesaid Oath to John Gibson, Dorsey Pentecost, John Cannon, David Shepherd, & William Goe, Gentm.
"David Shepherd and John Cannon, Gent., are appointed to Contract with some person or persons to build a house 24 by 14 with a petition in the Midle to be used for a Goal at Catfish-Camp, Augusta Town².
"John Madison, Jr., deputy clerk, took the Oath appointed by an Ordinance of the Convention.³
"Patrick McElroy, Deputy Sheriff, took the aforee'd Oath.
" Court Proclaimed.
¹ This was the ordinance of the Virginia Convention of June, 1776, Chapter V., Section IV., 9 Hening, 127 : " Be it therefore ordained that the justices residing in the said district, on taking the same oath aforesaid, shall have the power and authority to bold a court within the said district on the third Tuesday of every month, at such place as they may appoint, and shall exercise their office, both in court and without, in the same manner as the justices of the several counties are empowered to do."
² Here we have record evidence of the existence of a place for holding a Virginia court near where Washington stands.
The Augusta County court, while in session at Pittsburgh, Aug. 20, 1776, ordered the erection of a house, twenty-four by fourteen feet, for a jail. The "petition" was doubtless intended to set apart a small room for a temple of justice. The place where the building was erected was called "Catfish Camp ;" on second thought that name was erased, and "Augusta Town" substituted. The name was changed after adjournment, however ; see erasure at the end of the next day's proceedings; see also order made by the Yohogania court on Dec. 23, 1777.
That this jail and courthouse, and, therefore, Augusta Town, must have been on the William Gabby farm, immediately west of Washington, is sustained not only by tradition, but by the recollection of the removal of such an old building by Mr. Gabby's father.
³ Brother of Rev. James Madison, of William and Mary College, who helped run the Boundary Lines; their father was Gabriel Madison, a relative of President Madison.
"David Steel, a Deputy Sheriff, took the Oath appointed by an Ordinance of Convention.
"Ord. that all the Constables be summoned to be sworn agreeable to the ordinance of Convention before the Most Convenient Magistrates to them.
"Edward Ward, Dorsey Pentecost, & John Gibson, Gent, are recommended as proper persons for his Excellency to choose one of them to Act as sheriff for the Ensuing year.
"Moses Williamson, Junr. is appd a Consta. & It is Ord. that he be sumd to be sworn into the office before Mr. David Shepherd. "Ord. that the Court be adjourned until the third Tuesday in September next to Catfish Camp, Augusta Town.
"At a Court held at Augusta Town, for the district of West Augusta, the 17th September, 1776.
"Pres't, Edward Ward, Dorsey Pentecost, John Cannon, David Shepherd.
"Pat. McElroy, deputy Sheriff, protested against the Insuff. of the Goal, & on his Motion Ord. to be Certified.4
"Ord. that the sheriff summon 24 Freeholders to serve as a Grand jury at this Court in November next.
"Ord. that the Court be adjourned until to-morrow morning 6 o'clock.
"At a Court continued & held at Augusta Town for the district of West Augusta, September the 18th, 1776.
"Pres’t Edward Ward, Dorsey Pentecost, John Cannon, David Shepherd, Gentlemen, Justices.
"John McCullock, Gent. took the Oath appointed by Order of Convention as a Justice.
" Pres’t John McCullock.
" William Hawkins, a deputy sheriff, took the Oath appointed by Order of Convention as a deputy sheriff.
"David Rodgers, Isaac Cox, John McDowell, Richard Yeates, Wm. Scott, Dan’l McFarlane, John McDaniel [McDonald], George Morgan, Philip Rosa, James McMahon, Benj. Kuykendall, Wm. Louther, John Evans, David Scott, John Hardin, sen’r., John Swearingen, Thos. Gaddie, Wm. Harrison, Sam'l Newell, Thos. Brown, Thos. Freeman, Joshua Wright, Emsmias Bochias, Henry Enochs, Henry Vanmetre, James Caldwell, John Williamson, Sen'r, Thos. Polka, Oliver Miller, Zechariah Spriggs, Benj. Wilson, Wm. Hanna, Ephraim Richardson, James Walker, James Anderson, Alex`r Maxwell, Amaziah Davidson, Jacob Cook, Matthew Ritchey, Jacob Haymaker, Thomas Crooks, Thomas Waller, James Wherry, Ab'm Inloe, Domes Linley, And'w Swearingen, Wm. Rankin, are recommended as Proper persona to be added to the Commission.
"Patrick McElroy is appointed to goe Express from this Place to W'msburgh for the Commission of the Peace & the Sheriff's Commission & the acts of the Assembly & the Ordinances of Convention for the district of West Augusta.
"Richard Yeates, John Campbell, & James McMahon are recommended as proper persons for Coroners.
" The Court on Considering the Ordinances of Convention for holding a Court in the district of West Augusta without write of adjournment from East Augusta, on the third Tuesday in Every Month at such place as they shall appoint, are of Opinion that by such Ordinances they are a separate and distinct County & Court from that of East Augusta, & they do appoint Dorsey Pentecost, Esqr., their Clerk for this Court; to which John Madison, Junr., deputy Clerk, on behalf of John Madison, Clerk of the County, Objected to the Appointment, alledging that they had no right to do so till the division of the County, looking upon him as Clerk of East Augusta & the district of West Augusta, till a division is made by an Ordinance of Convention.
"Ord. that John Madison, Junr., deputy Clerk, in whose Custody the records of the adjourned Court for this district are, is Ordered to deliver them to this Court on the 25th of October next.
"Ord. that the Court be adjourned until the Court in Course.
"At a Court held for the district of West Augusta at Augusta Town, Nov. 19, 1776,
4 This protest was to avoid responsibility for escapes.
212 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
"Pres't Edward Ward, John McCollock, John Cannon, William Gee, David Shepherd.
"Thomas Glenn, who was bound by recog. to appear at the Grand-jury Court, appeared & was Ord. to be prosecuted for beating his serv't. No prosecutor or witnesses appearing, It is Ord. that he be discharged.
"Ord. that the Court be adjourned until tomorrow morning 6 O'clock.
"At a Court Cond. & held for the district of West Augusta County, November the 20th, 1776,
"Pres't Edward Ward, John McCollock, John Canon, David Shepherd.
" Capt. Wm. Christy prod. a Comm. of a Comp'y of Militia, took the Oath required by Ordinance of Convention & O. cd.
" Lieut. Jacob Bousman, the same as Ensigh, Hugh Smith, the same."
Here closes the Order Book of the old Augusta County Court.
Very many matters, showing a large and varied business done in this court, have been omitted. The parts of that old book passed over show the names of very many of our pioneers. The reader will please look at the map of the old Virginia counties, and observe the extensive territorial jurisdiction of the district of West Augusta, whose last court was held within sight of Washington were it not for the intervening hill.
CHAPTER X V I.
THE CIVIL AND LEGAL HISTORY.—(Continued.)
The Yohogania County Court.
The Court of Yohogania County.—In the session of the General Assembly of Virginia for October, 1776, as shown in a preceding chapter, an act was passed defining the District of West Augusta, and dividing the said district into three new counties, Ohio, Yohogania, and Monongalia,¹ and defining their boundaries severally, except as to Yohogania County upon the northeast, north, and northwest. The same act provided, as will be remembered, that the electors in each of the new counties should meet on the 8th of December next (those of Yohogania County at the house of Andrew Heath, on the Monongahela River), " then and there to choose the most convenient place for holding courts for their respective counties." We have no returns of this election for Yohogania County, and the records now to be presented are obscure as to the place where the first courts of that county were held, whether in the lately erected twenty-four by fourteen feet building at Augusta Town, at Pittsburgh, or at the house of Andrew Heath ; suffice it to say that those first courts were held at all events at a place afterwards falling within the limits of Washington County, and from Dec. 23, 1776, to Aug. 24, 1780, exercised an undisputed jurisdiction over all the lands west of the Monongahela within the limits of that county. The war of the Revolution, as well as the constant press-
¹ Chapter XLV.; 9 Hering, p. 262; see ante, p. 183.
use of a contest with bloodthirsty savages instigated and directed by British management, united our pioneers for common protection, and during the time referred to there is but little if any trace of internal dissension. Even persons holding lands under Pennsylvania rights held office, civil and military, under the appointment of this Virginia court. The presence of a name, therefore, upon these pages will permit of no odious inference, but indicate only the part performed by the owner in those early days, and perhaps many will now first learn of positions, honorable and full of danger and responsibility, filled by their ancestors in times that tried men's souls.
"YODOGANIA. COUNTY, Dec. 23, 1776.
"In consequence of an act of the general assembly of Virginia putting off all that part 'the District of West Augusta, Northward of the following bounds or lines (viz) Beginning at the mouth of Cross creek running up the several courses thereof to the head; Thence south-Easterly to the nearest part of the dividing ridge Between the Ohio and the Monongahela Rivers; Thence along the said Dividing Ridge to the head of Ten Mile creek ; Thence East to the road leading from Catfish Camp to Redstone old Fort; Thence across the said River to the said Fort; Thence along Dunlap's old road to Braddocks Road, and with said road to the meridian of Potomac River ;—and a Commission of the Peace and a commission of Oyer and Terminer, Directed to John Campbell, Edward Ward, Thomas Smallman, Dorsey Pentecost, John Gibson. William Crawford, John Stephenson, John Cannon, George Vallandigham, William Goe, John Neville, Isaac Cox, John McDowell, Richard Yeates, John McDaniel. [McDonald ?] George McCormick, Philip Ross, Benjamin Kirkindall, William Harrison, Samuel Newell, Thomas Brown, Thomas Freeman, John DeCompt, Joshua Wright, Oliver Miller, Benjamin Harrison and Zechariah Connell; Also a Dedimus Potestatum, directed to William Goe, John Neville and Isaac Cox, or any two of them, to administer the oath prescribed by law, to John Campbell, Edward Ward, Thomas Smallman, Dorsey Pentecost, John Gibson, John Cannon, and Geo. Vallandigham, or any two of them, and they to administer the aforesaid oath to the aforesaid justices.
"Whereupon the aforesaid William Goe and Isaac Cox administered the aforesaid oath to the aforesaid Dorsey Pentecost, who thereupon did administer the aforesaid oath to the aforesaid Richard Yeates, George McCormick, Benjamin Kirkindall, Samuel Newell, William Goe, Wee Cox, Thomas Freeman, Joshua Wright, Oliver Miller, Benjamin Frye, Matthew Richie, Andrew Swearingin, and John Canon, as Justices of the Peace.²
"The court then proceeded to the election of their clerk, whereupon the said Dorsey Pentecost, Esquire, was unanimously chosen and appointed their Clerk, and ordered to take charge of their rolls.
"Dorsey Pentecost took the oath Prescribed by Law as Clerk of this court.
"The court demanded the Records and Papers from John Madison, Junior, Deputy Clerk of East Augusta, in whose custody they are; Which he Peremptorily refused, Notwithstanding he confessed he had seen an Act of assembly directing him so to do.
"Edward Ward, gentleman, came into court and prayed that the court would receive his reasons for refusing to act as Sheriff of this county, which was granted and were as follows:
"That he cannot think of acting as Sheriff, or appointing any under sheriffs, until the line Between the states of Virginia and Pennsylvania are fixed or limited; for on the North Eastern Bounds of this County There is still a Door open for dispute and Contintion, which has been heretofore the cause of Disturbing the Peace of the People settled and Claiming alternately the Jurisdiction of Each Government, and before he can think of acting or any Person under him, he proposes praying the general Assembly to have a, Temporary line fixed between them, or the limits of Pennsylvania run or the Government of Virginia Peremptorily running the same, until which is done he cannot think of
² Subsequently others of the persons named in this commission of the peace came in and were duly qualified, to wit: John McDowel, George Vallandigham, Zechariah Connell, William Goe, William Crawford, John McDonald, John Campbell, and John Stephenson. A new commission was again issued, as will be seen, on May 26, 1778.
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acting in any state or Government to Infringe on the reserved rights of his fellow subjects; he farther assures that when Government has this done, he is ready to act with Cheerfulness, and if this Cannot be done he begs that the Court will Recommend some other gentlemen to his Excellency to serve as Sheriff,—and hopes the Court will acquiesce in Promoting the having the above bounds ascertained ; and further offers to qualify into the Commission of the Peace.
"The Court is of opinion that the said Edward Ward, gentleman, may be Permitted to Qualify into the commission of the Peace, they being of opinion that he is no sheriff until he enters into Bond before this Court, and comply with the Tinner of hie commission as Sheriff; Whereupon the said Edward Ward came into court and took the oath of a justice of the Peace.
"The Court is of opinion that Joshua Wright, Gentleman, is a proper person to be recommended to his Excellency the Governor to serve as sheriff, the whole of the above gentlemen named in the Commission of the Peace who are qualified refusing to act in said office on account of the great difficulty they apprehend will attend the Execution of said office until such time as a line is fixed Between this Common Wealth and the state of Pennsylvania." ¹
Then followed the appointment of constables,—Brice Virgin, Richard Elson, William Lankford, John Alexander, Samuel Clark, Samuel Griffith, Isaac Sparks, John Brown, James Bokias, Matthew Hays, William Gaston, William Hays, John Johnson, Josiah Orsborn, Philip Philips, Andrew Dye, Peter Austurges, and John Beans.
"Ord that Dorsey Penticost, Esquire, be recommended as a proper person to have the Command of the Militia of this County; and that John Cannon be a proper person to be recommended as Colonel of the said Militia; Isaac Cox be recommended as Lieutenant Colonel of said Militia, and Henry Taylor, Maj. of said Militia.
"Ordered that the Clerk forward a letter to hie Excellency & Council notifying the general dissatisfaction of the people of this county against the late Election being held on the Sabbath day, the short notice of the said election, and of the Inconveniency of the Bounds circumscribing the mid County.
"Whereas by an act of the General Assembly the suits &c brought and instituted in the Court of the District of West Augusta are directed to be determined in this Court and the Papers and Records relative thereto are now in the hands of John Madison, Junior, Deputy Clerk of East Augusta, who hath this day been called upon to deliver the said Papers and records to this court, which he, the said John Madison, in contempt of the said Act and the demands of this Court refuses to deliver, to the Manifest Injury of Individuals and evident hurt of the publick :
“Ordered, therefore, that a Process be Issued to apprehend the said John Madison and forthwith bring before this Court to answer the above misdemeanor.
"Court adjourned until in Course.
"Court met on Monday the 28th of April, 1777, according to adjournment to Court in Course.
(1777). "Present, Edward Ward, John Cannon, John McDowell, Richard Yeates, Benjamin Kirkindall, Joshua Wright, Oliver Miller and Andrew Swearingen, Gentlemen, Justices. "On the Courts meeting and the Sheriffs Commission not coming to Mr. Joshua Wright, agreeable to recommendation of the Court, and notwithstanding Col. Pentecost's letter to Colonel Cannon, Insuring him he had a Sheriff's Commission for Mr. Wright, he refused to act Protempory. Therefore the Court was reduced to the Necessity of appointing another, as there was an Election to be held for a Senitor and Delegates, and a Criminal to be tried and other Breeches of the Peace.
"The question first being put to Mr. Joshua Wright, to be appointed protempory, and he refused, notwithstanding his hearing of the Commission as aforesaid; but said if his commission had come to this Court he would have sworn into said Office:—The question then being put to
¹ Joshua Wright was the great-grandfather of Joshua Wright, banker, of Washington. He had been safely through Crawford's expedition in 1782, but the next spring, while going down the river with produce, was killed by the Indians. It seems to have been the custom that the sheriff should be appointed from those in the commission of the peace, as was Joshua Wright.
the rest of the Court, who would serve as Sheriff, and all refused to expect Mr. William Harrison. who agreed to be appointed, and the Court unanimously agreed that the said Mr. Harrison be recommended as a proper Person for Sheriff, and Mr. Joshua Wright concurred with the Court.
" The Court is of opinion that William Harrison, Samuel Newell and Thomas Freeman are proper persons to be recommended for Sheriffs the Insuing year.
" William Harrison came into Court took the Oath as Sheriff. "Court adjourned Tuesday, 7 O'clock."
" Court met according to adjournment.
" Pres't Edward Ward, John Cannon, John McDowell, Richard Yeatee, Benjamin Kirkindall, Joshua Wright, Oliver Miller, Andrew Swearingen, Gentlemen, Justices."
"The Court still laboring under great difficulty for the want of a Clerk, as Colonel Dorsey Pentecost, our former Clerk lying in Baltimore in the Small Pox : The Court then applied to Mr. James Innis who the said Colonel Penticost had appointed to serve as Clerk in his Absence, and when application was made to said Mr. Innis he refused to attend the Court; his answer was that he only agreed to attend the March Court, upon which the Court choose Mr. Isaac Cox for their Clerk, who Came into Court and swore into said Office."
Zachariah Connell (the proprietor of Connellsville), William Lee, and Andrew Heath were sworn as captains of the militia, John Canon as colonel, and Henry Taylor as major.
At the next term, held May 26, 1777, "present, William Crawford, Benjamin Kirkendall, John McDaniel, and Oliver Miller, Gentlemen, Justices,"
"Colo. Dorsey Pentecost came into Court and beged that the Court would consider the Cause of his not attending their Court at their last meeting—he, the said Pentecost, Convinced this Court that it was out of his power to attend, he being at that Time confined in the Small Pox;—and prayed the Court to reestablish him in his office of Clerk of this Court, Colonel Isaac Cox who was appointed Clerk of this Court to succeed him, acquiescing, in said Petition, on the Proviso, that his Bonds given the Court for the due performance of his Office, be given up or Confiscated; the Court is therefore of opinion that the Reasons offered by the said Pentecost for his non-attendance at Last Court is satisfactory and the Court acquiesce with his and Colonel Cox's request, and it is accordingly ordered that Colonel Cox's Bond be delivered him and he is hereby released therefrom and that the said Pentecost enter into Bond with this Court for the due performance of his Office, and to Take the charge of the Rolls of this Court as Clerk to this Court.
"Colonel Isaac Cox took his seat in Court."
Thomas Cook was sworn as captain of the militia, John Muckelhany and Benjamin Kirkendall ² (otherwise called Jersey Ben) were appointed constables. On May 27th, Michael Thorn and Joshua Meeks were sworn as captains of the militia. To Zachariah Connell, Edward Ward, William Goe, Thomas Freeman, Benjamin Frye, Benjamin Kirkendall, Oliver Miller, Richard Yeates, Andrew Swearingen, John McDaniel (McDonald), Samuel Newell, Matthew Richie, and Isaac Cox was assigned a portion of territory in which he was to " Take in the list of Tithables."
" June 26th, 1777, Court met according to adjournment.
"Pres't, John Campbell, Isaac Cox, Richard Yeates, Thomas Freeman, Oliver Miller, and Zachariah' Connell, Gentlemen, Justices.
"Ordered, That the sheriff cause to be erected a pair of Stocks and a whiping post in the Court-House Yard by next Court.
"Upon the information of Zechariah Connell, Gentleman, That James Johnson did this day swear two profane oaths and two profane Cusses: Ordered, That the said James Johnston be fined Twenty Shillings, Currant money for the same.
² Not the justice; there were two B. K's.
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" Upon the Information of Isaac Cox, Gentleman, that James Johnson did this day swear three profane Oaths and one profane Curse; Ordered, That the said James Johnston be fined Twenty Shillings Currant money for the same.
"Upon the Information of John Campbell, Gentleman, that James Johnson did this day swear four profane oaths: ordered, That the said James Johnston be fined one pound Currant money for the same.
"Ordered, That Richard Yeates and Isaac Leet be appointed to meet two Gentlemen, to be appointed by the Court of Monaungahela County, at the House of Captain Reason Virgins, on the forth day of August next, to run the line agreeable to act of Assembly between this County and the said County of Monaungahela.
"Ordered, That Richard Yeates and Isaac Leet be appointed to meet two gentlemen, to be appointed by the Court of Ohio County, at the house of William Shearers, on the head of Cross Creek, on the first day of August next, to run the line between this County and the said County of Ohio, agreeable to Act of Assembly.
"Ordered, That the Court of Monaungahela be requested to appoint two Gentlemen of their County, to meet two Gentlemen already appointed by this Court, at the House of Captain Reason Virgins, on the forth day of August next, to run the line between this County and the said County of Monaungahela, agreeable to Act of Assembly.
" Ordered, That the Court of Ohio County be requested to appoint two Gentlemen of their County, to meet two Gentlemen already appointed by this County, at the House of William Shearers, on the head of Cross Creek, on the first day of August next, to run the Line between this County and the said County of Ohio, agreeable to the act of Assembly.
"Ordered, That Court be adjourned until Court in Course.
"At a Court Continued and held for Yohogania County, August 25, 1777.
"Present, Isaac Cox, Richard Testes, Thomas Freeman, John McDowell, and Zechariah Connell, Gentlemen, Justices.
"Ordered—That for Conveniency of Setting and Expediting Business, That the Court be adjourned to the House now occupied by Andrew Heath.
" At the House of Andrew Heath Court met according to adjournment.
"Present John Campbell, Isaac Cox, Richard Yeates, Thomas Freeman, John Cannon, John McDowell, John McDaniel and William Goe, Gentlemen, Justices."
Jacob Bousman was sworn as a captain of militia, George Vallandigham as one of the justices, Isaac Leet as a deputy sheriff, and John James Wood as a constable.
On Aug. 26, 1777, Joseph Wills was sworn as a constable, and on this day,
" Upon the Petition of Paul Froman, setting forth that he is desirous of Building a Water Mill on Mingo Creek at the mouth thereof; and praying an order to view and Condemn one acre of Land on the opposite side from said Froman's Land for that Purpose :
"Ordered, That the sheriff be Commanded to summon twelve Freeholders of his Vissinage to meet on the aforesaid land and they being first sworn shall diligently View and Examine the said Land which shall be Effected or Laid under Water by the Building said Mill, with the Timber and other conveniences thereon, and that they report the same to next Court. with the true Value of said acre of Land Petitioned for, and of the Damages done the party holding the same."
On the same day was the following action taken by the court :
"Ordered, That the following Gentlemen be appointed to make a Tour of the Different Districts hereafter mentioned, and Tender the Oath of Allegiance and Fidelity to this Common Wealth to all free Male Inhabitants, agreeable to an Act of Assembly Intitled an act to oblige all the free male Inhabitants above a Certain age to give assurance of allegiance to this state and for other purposes Therein mentioned.¹
¹ This act by the Virginia Legislature has been previously quoted in the chapter on the " Boundary Controversy." For the act itself see 9 Hening, 281.
“Ordered, That Matthew Richie, Gentleman, be appointed for the above purpose within the following Bounds, Vizt: Beginning at the mouth of Cross Creek and up the same to the Dividing ridge Between said Creek, Raccoon and Chaurtiers Creeks; thence along said Ridge to Croghans Line; thence up the same to Thomas Rogers's ; Thence on Strait Line to the head of Indian Creek; Thence down the same to the Ohio; Thence down the said River Ohio to the Beginning.
"Ordered, That Samuel Newell, Gentleman, be appointed for the above purpose within the following Bounds, Vizt: Beginning at the mouth of Chertiers Creek, extending up the same to the mouth of Robertsons run ; Thence up the said Run to Croghans Line ; thence with said Line to Raccoon Creek; Thence down said Creek to the Ohio; Thence up the same to the Beginning.
"Ordered, That John McDaniel, [McDonald] Gentleman, be appointed for the above purpose within the following Bounds, Vizt: Beginning at the mouth of the West fork of Churtiers Creek, Extending up the said fork to the top of the dividing ridge, Between Churteers Creek, Cross and Raccoon Creeks; thence along said ridge to the head of Roberteons run; thence down said Run to the Churteers Creek; thence up the said Creek to the Beginning.
"Ordered, That Andrew Swearingen, Gentleman, be appointed for the above purpose within the following Bounds, Vizt.: Beginning at the mouth of the West fork of the Churteers Creek and Extending up the same to the Top of the dividing ridge Between Churteers Creek and Cross Creek ; Thence along said ridge to the south Bounds of the County; Thence with said Bounds to the Main Fork of Churteers Creek; Thence down the same to the Beginning.
" Ordered, That Isaac Cox, Gentleman, be appointed for the above purpose within the following Bounds, Vizt.: all that part of the County Lying west of Sweekly Creek, East of the Allegheny River and North of the Monaungahela River.²
"Ordered, That Oliver Miller, Gentleman, be appointed for the above purpose within the following Bounds, Vizt.: Beginning at the mouth of Peters Creek and extending up the same to the head; thence a Strait Line to Ezekiel Johnstone on Churteers Creek ; Thence down the same to the mouth ; Thence up the Ohio and the Monaungahela to the Beginning.
" Ordered, That Benjamin Kirkindall, Gentleman, be appointed for the above purpose within the following bounds, Vizt.: Beginning at the mouth of Pigeon Creek, Extending up the same to the head; Thence a south line to the South Bounds of the County; thence with the said Bounds to the Top of the dividing ridge between the waters of the Monaungahela River and Churteers Creek; thence along said ridge to the head of Peters Creek; thence down the same to the Monaungahela River; thence up the same to the Beginning.
"Ordered, That William Goe and Thomas Freeman, Gentlemen, be appointed for the above purpose within the following bounds, Vizt.: Beginning at the mouth of Little Redstone Creek, and Extending up the same to the House of William Castlemans ; Thence on a Strait line to the mouth of Washington's Mill run; thence up said Run to Froman's Road ; Thence along said road to Thomas Gists, Esquire; Thence along Laurel Hill to Dunlap's old road; Thence with said road to the Monaungahela River ; Thence with said River to the Beginning.
"Ordered, That Zechariah Connell, Gentleman, be appointed for the above purpose within the following Bounds, Vizt.: Beginning at the head of Maryland and extending along Braddock's Road to Thomas Gists, Esquires; Thence with Froman's Road to head of Byers Bun; Thence down said Run to Yough River; Thence down the same to the mouth of Sweekly Creek; Thence with said Creek and North Bounds of the County to the Beginning.
" Ordered. That Benjamin Frye. Gentleman, be appointed for the above purpose within the following Bounds, Vizt.: Beginning at the mouth of Little Redstone Creek, extending up the same to the House of William Castleman ; Thence on a strait Line to the mouth of Washington's Mill run ; Thence down the river Tough to the Monaungahela; Thence up the same to the Beginning.
" Ordered, That Richard Yeates, Gentleman, be appointed for the above purpose within the following Bounds, Viet.: Beginning at the mouth of Pigeon Creek and Extending up the same to its fountain; Thence south to the South Bounds of the County; thence with said bounds to the Monaungahela River; Thence down geld River to the Beginning.
" Ordered, That the sheriff call on Mr. John Anderson, of Pittsburgh,
² This indicates that the jurisdiction claimed extended well up northeast of Pittsburgh.
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or any other person, for the papers and records belonging to the District of West Augusta, and that the said Sheriff give the said Mr. John Anderson, or any other person who may deliver the said Records, a Receipt for the same; and that he deliver the said Papers and Records to the Clerk of this Court, who is also ordered to give the said Sheriff a Receipt for the said delivery.
"Robert Hamilton, a prisoner in the sheriff's custody, came into court and in the grocest and moat imperlite manner insulted the court and Richard Yeates, gentleman, in particular; Ordered, that the sheriff confine the feet of the said Robert Hamilton in the lower rails of the fence for the space of five minutes.
"Ordered, That any prisoner or prisoners the sheriff have, shall be confined in the guard or some other room in Fort Pitt, with the acquiescence of General Hand, until such time as a proper goal can be provided for the county.
"Ordered, That Isaac Cox, Oliver Miller and Benjamin Kirkindall be .appointed, or any two of them, to contract with a proper person or persons to build a goal and court-house in the following manner and at the following place, vizt.: The goal and court-house are to be included in one whole and intire building, of round sound oak, to go twenty-four feet long and sixteen feet wide, two story high; the lower story to be eight feet high, petitioned in the middle, with squared hewed logs with locks and bars to the doors and windows according to law, which shall be the goal. The upper story to be five feet high in the sides, with a good rabbits roof, with convenient seats for the court and bar, and a clerk's table, to remain in one room, with a pair of stairs on the outside to amend up to said room, which shall be the place for holding court; with two floors to be laid with strong hewed logs; the whole to be COM-pleat and finished in one month from the date hereof. The said building to be erected on the plantation of Andrew Heath at such convenient place as the said Isaac Cox, Oliver Miller, and Benjamin Kirkindall, gentlemen, or any two of them shall think proper.
"Ordered, That John McDowell, gentleman, be appointed to take a tour within the following bounds and tender the oath of Allegiance and fidelity to the State, to all free male inhabitants within the same, above sixteen years of age, agreeable to act of assembly; Beginning at the mouth of the east fork of Churteers Creek and extending up the same to Ezekiel Johnstone; thence on a strait line to the head of Peters Creek; thence on the top of the dividing ridge between the Monongahela River and Churteers Creek to the south bounds of the county; thence with said bounds to the main fork of Churteers Creek; thence with said creek to the beginning.
"Ordered, That the court be adjourned to six o'clock¹ tomorrow morning.
On the next day, Aug. 27, 1777, there seems to have been quite a deal of civil business done. It may be interesting to name the parties to causes wherein orders were made: Alexander Bowling v. William Poston; Same v. Francis Morrison; Thomas Rankin v. Jeremiah Standsbury ; David Day v. Jacob Hendricks; John Lyda v. Joseph Cox ; Matthew Dale v. Richard Elson ; Benjamin Jones v. Patrick McDaniel; William McMahon v. John Greathouse; Daniel Swigert v. Benjamin Newgent ; Peter Reasoner v. Davis Ruth; Balser Shillings v. Spencer Collins; Dorsey Pentecost v. Christopher McDaniel; Burr Harrison v. William Williams; Joseph Lindsey v. George Long; Zachariah Connell v. Providence Mounce ; Same v. John Lindsey; Ignaw Labat v. John Bradley; Hugh Sterling v. Mordecai Richards; Ignaw Labat v. Thomas Girty ; Davis Wilson v. Henry Bowling; Alexander Sumrall and Thomas Jack v. Walter Summerville ; John Worthington v. James Poor; John Snively v. Samuel Beelor ; Richard Yeates v. Brice Virgin; Richard Waller v. John Earskin ;
¹ So the record reads,-6 o'clock.
Dorsey Pentecost v. James Poor. The spelling of the original is preserved in this list. Isaac Leet, Sr., Joseph Beeler, Sr. (the late Westmoreland County commissioner), John Carmichael, James Rogers, Isaac Reason, James McLane, Jerez Blackstone, Joseph Becket, and Joseph Vance are recommended to the Governor to be added to the commission of the peace.
" Ordered, That the magistrates appointed to Make the Tour of the County and Tender the oath of allegiance and Fidelity, Shall also Take in the Numbers in Each Family within their Respective districts, In order to enable the justices to make an equal distribution of the salt, and make return to October Court."
Isaac Cox was recommended to the Governor to be commissioned as lieutenant-colonel of the militia in the place of Thomas Brown, who had declined the office, when the court rose.
The next term was held Sept. 22, 1777. On the first day of the court
" William Taylor produced a Licence appointing him to preach the Gospel after the manner of his sect; which being read, the said William Taylor came into Court and took the Oath of fidelity and allegiance to this Commonwealth."
To illustrate, by two of several eases tried, the method of administering the criminal law, the following records appear :
"David England, being charged with a breach of an act of Assembly of this commonwealth, Entitled an Act for the punishment of Certain Offences, came into Court and confessed the Charge ; Then came a jury, to wit: James Swolevan, James Wall, Charles Bruce, James Campbell, William Marshall, Joseph Becket, John. Crow, Zadock Wright, Edward Cook, Joseph Healer, Andrew Heath, & John Douglass, and being sworn say that they find forty shillings.
"Thomas Estill, being Charged with a Breach of the Act of Assembly of this Commonwealth entitled ‘an act for the punishment of Certain Offences,' who being called upon come into Court and pleads Not Guilty; Whereupon, a Jury being sworn, to wit: James Swolevan, James Wall, Charles Bruce, James Campbell, William Marshall, Andrew Heath, John Crow, Joseph Becket, Zadock Wright, Joseph Beeler, Edward Cook, and John Douglass, do say, they find for the Commonwealth Twenty Pounds Current Money.
" Philip Tabor, charged with being guilty of a Breach of an act of Assembly of this Commonwealth, intitled ' an act for the punishment of certain Offences,' being Called comes into Court and Pleads Not Guilty; Whereupon come a Jury, to wit: James Swolevan, James Wall, Charles Bruce, James Campbell, William Marshall, Andrew Heath, John Crow, Joseph Becket, Zadock Wright, Joseph Beeler, Edward Cook, & John Douglass, who upon their Oaths do say the said Philip Tabor is Not Guilty.
"Upon the Petition of Adam Wickerman, setting forth that he is desirous of Building a Water Mill on Mingo Creek about three quarters of a Mile from the mouth, and that he owns all the Lands that will be overflowed by the building of the said Mill : It is therefore considered by the Court that the said Adam Wickerham have leave to build and completed a Mill at the place aforesaid.
"Ordered, that John Campbell, Gent., be requested to furnish the wife of Lemuel Davis, a poor soldier now in the Continental service from this State, for the Support of herself and three Children, the sum of four pounds per month to commence from the said Lemuel Davis's March from this County.
"Ordered, that the provision made for the Children of Edward McCawley by a former Order of this Court, shall commence from the time of his March from this Country, and that the funeral Charges of one of the said Children since dead be paid by the said Mr. Campbell, and that
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this Court do draw on the Treasurer of this Commonwealth for the payment of the same.¹
"A letter from General Hand addressed to Col. Campbell requesting that Capt. Alexander McKee's Parole given to the Committee of West Augusta be given up to him the said General Hand, in order to enable him to put Capt. McKee on a New Parole, as he finds it necessary to remove said Alexander McKee. Ordered that the said Parole be given up to General Hand and that he deposit a Copy of the New Parole to be taken from the said Captain McKee in Lieu thereof, certified by the said General Hand."
The records of the next regular term begin as follows :
"The Court met according to Court in Course at the house of Mr. Andrew Heath Octbr 27th, 1777.
" Present John Campbell, Isaac Cox, Joshua Wright, Richard Yeates, Gentlemen, Justices.
"Ordered that the Court be adjourned to the new Court-House.
"The Court met at the Court House pursuant to adjournment.
"Present John Campbell, Isaac Cox, Richard Yeates, Joshua Wright, Benj. Kirkindall, Andrew Swearingen, Samuel Newell, Gentlemen, Justices."
On the next day it was
"Ordered, that the Inhabitants of this County have leave to Inoculate for the Small Pox, at their own houses or such other convenient places as they may think proper."
On Oct. 30, 1777, the following order was made :
"Ordered, that Isaac Cox, Oliver Miller and Benjamin Keykendal, Gent., or any two of them, be appointed to contract with a proper person or persons to build a sufficient Stone Chimney in the Court house and Goal, to be carried up in the middle of the building, with three fire places, one in each room of the Goal, and one in the part where the Court is held; and to have the Court Room chunked and plastered ; also a Good loft of Clapboards, with a window in each Glebe (gable), and four pains of Glass of ten Inches by eight, and the Goal rooms to be plastered."
The next regular term was held Dec. 22, 1777, when Maybury Evans was sworn as lieutenant of the militia of the county (county lieutenant), John Crow as captain, and Patrick Lafferty as ensign. Earmarks were allowed and ordered to be recorded for John Crow, Jacob Shillings, Richard Yeates, Oliver Miller, Maybury Evans, Richard Evans, William Anderson, and Michael Taggert.
"On the Petition of Andrew Heath &c, Ordered, that Robert Henderson, Zadock Wright, John Robertson, John Crow, Thomas Applegate and Andrew Dye, view a road the nearest and best way from Pittsburgh to Andrew Heaths ferry on the Monongahela River, and from thence to Rackets Fort.
"Upon the Motion of Andrew Heath, ordered that he have leave to keep a ferry at his house across the Monongahela River.
"Ordered, that the Sheriff collect from every Tythable person within this County, the sum of three Shillings as County Levies, and that he account with the Treasurer of the Commonwealth for the same.
" Ordered, that the Sheriff pay out of the County Collection to Richard
¹ Beside the foregoing, orders were subsequently made for the relief of the families of other Revolutionary soldiers from Yohogania, some of them as follows: Richard James, — Knox, Thomas Douthard, Abraham Ritchie, William Richie, Robert Crawford, — Stewart, William Lindsey, Ezekiel Lindsey, Thomas Dunn, Peter McCorkey, John Depugh, Jeremiah McCarty, William Nau, James Behan, Richard Wade, David Smith, Richard Jones, George Fredmick Kiper, John Evans, James Shirley, Charles Churchill, Matthew Burns, John Overlin, Providence Blackstone, William Shaw, Daniel McKay, Greenberry Shone, Matthew Hindman, Jonathan Davis, Nicholas Hagerty, Thomas Green.
Yeates, the sum of six pounds for laying two floors in a Goal formerly built for this districts.²
"The Ordinary keepers within this County are allowed to sell at the following rates :
"Ordered, that the above rates commence the fifteenth day of January next, and not before.
"Ordered, that this court be adjourned tomorrow morning at 7 o'clock.
On the 24th of December, 1777, the following orders were made:
" Ordered, that the recommendation for Militia Officers of the 6th & 6th November last, by the justices of this County, be confirmed as the Opinion of this Court, and they do hereby confirm the proceedings of the said Justices respecting the same, as the distressed situation of this County demanded the particular attention of the said Justices at that time.
"Ordered, that Gabriel Cox be recommended to his Excellency the Governor as a proper person to serve as Major of this County, in the stead of Henry Taylor who has resigned his Commission.
"Upon the Motion of William Harrison, Gent., Ordered that the Clerk issues a summons to call John Stephenson, Thomas Gist, Joseph Beeler and Edmund Rice before the Court, to testify and the truth say, what they know respecting the marriage of Catherine Harrison with Isaac Mason, on the part of the said Catherine."³
(1778) No term of court seems now to have been held until March 23, 1778, probably on account of the insufficiency of the building used to protect the court and suitors from the inclemency of the weather. Even at that date, only the justices residing within convenient distance (Isaac Cox, Joshua Wright, Thomas Freeman, and Benjamin Frye) were present when court opened, although Oliver Miller, William Crawford, and John Stephenson afterward appeared.
There was quite an amount of ordinary business (granting letters testamentary and of administration, orders in civil causes) transacted, and Thomas Prather, Levingston Thomas, and Nicholas Christ were sworn as lieutenants of the militia, Luke Decker and John Johnston as ensigns.
On the next day, March 24th, twelve justices occupied the bench,—John Campbell, Isaac Cox, Richard Yeates, Joshua Wright, William Crawford, Oliver Miller, Zachariah Connell, John De Camp, Benjamin Frye, Thomas Freeman, George Vallandigham, and William Goe.
² Doubtless this "Goal formerly built for this district" was the Jail on the Wm. Gabby farm, west of Washington, and about a mile from that place.
³ See the record of this matter made April 28, 1778, post., p. 217.
CIVIL AND LEGAL—THE COURT OF YOHOGANIA COUNTY - 217
"James McGoldrick, being charged with pulling down and demolishing a Block-house erected by Orders of General Hand for the preservation of the Inhabitants of Pittsburgh, and the said James being brought into Court confesses the charge. Ordered that the said James be held in One hundred pounds, with two securities of fifty pounds each for the appearance of the said James before the next Grand Jury Court, otherwise to remain in Custody of the Sheriff.
"View of a road from the Court-house to Pittsburgh, returned by Zadock Wright and Robert Henderson, viewers; passing by Zadock Wright's fields on Peters Creek, thence along the dividing Ridge passing Widow Lapsley's, thence along the Old Road to Stewart's, thence along the old road to Jacob Bousman's. Ordered to be Confirmed.
"Ordered, that Zadock Wright be appointed Overseer of the Road from the Court-House to Martha Lapsley's; Robert Henderson, Overseer of the Road from Martha Lapsley's to Jacob Judy's; and Sebastian Frederick, Overseer of the Road from Jacob Bousman's ; and that the Tytbable Inhabitants within three miles on each side of said Road work on and keep it in repair, together with the Inhabitants of the town of Pittsburgh.
"John Whitaker, a Minister of the Gospel, came into Court and took the Oath of Allegiance and fidelity as directed by an act of General Assembly, entitled an Act to Oblige the free male Inhabitants of this State, above a certain Age, to give Assurance of Allegiance to the same and for other purposes."
On March 25, 1778, the record shows a large business in the militia line. John Stevens and Isaac Cox were recommended as proper persons to serve as colonels of militia. Joseph Beelor, the old Westmoreland County commissioner doubtless, and George Vallandigham, of the first board of Washington County commissioners, were recommended as majors.
"William Christy came into Court, being summoned as Garnishee in behalf of John Campbell and Joseph Simon against George Croghan ; being sworn, saith that he hath two pair of Goers, one old ox, one old spade, one pitch fork, one small box of iron and an old Lanthorn, and no more, of the Estate of said George in his hands."
Then John Stephenson and Isaac Cox produced their commissions from the Governor and were sworn as colonels of the militia; Gabriel Cox, as a major; George Vallandigham, as a lieutenant-colonel; Charles Reed, as lieutenant; David Lefergee, as ensign; Edmund Baxter, as captain.
" Upon the Petition of Samuel Cook, setting forth that he is desirous of building a Water Mill on Brushy Run, a Branch of Chirtees Creek,¹ and praying for an Order for the Condemnation of one acre of Land on the opposite side of said Run to said Cook's Land: Ordered, that the Sheriff summon a Jury of Twelve Freeholders of the Vicinage, to meet on the said Land petitioned for and they being first sworn shall diligently view the said Land and Lands adjacent thereto on both sides of the Run, together with the Timber and other conveniences thereon, with the true value of the Acre, and of the damages done to the party holding the same, and report the same to the next court under their hands and seals."
The following record would indicate that there was at least one individual within the jurisdiction who may have been favorable to Pennsylvania :
"The Commonwealth v. Jacob Shilling (a criminal)
being charged with a disaffection to the
"Then came the Defendant, who pleads Not Guilty: where upon came a Jury, to wit: Patrick McElroy, Bazil Brown, Benjamin Venatre, John Custard, James Ellison, Pierce Noland, William Marshall, Senr., William Marshall, June., John Munn, John Greathouse, Robert Henderson & John Morrison, who say that the Prisoner is Not Guilty."
¹ This is the Brushy Run emptying into Chadian immediately below Canonsburg.
Charles Bilderback produced a commission as ensign of the militia, and was sworn ; Isaac Pearce, as captain ; George Redman, as lieutenant; Elijah Pearce, as lieutenant; and Richard Waller, as lieutenant.
A license to keep an ordinary was granted to Thomas Cook, " at his dwelling-house ;" to Jacob Bausman, "at his dwelling-house opposite the town of Pittsburgh ;" to John Munn,² at his dwelling-house; to William Christy, "at his dwelling-house in the town of Pittsburgh." The court adjourned to meet the next morning at seven o'clock.
" March 26, 1778, the court met according to adjournment.
" Upon the Petition of John Johnston: Ordered that Gabriel Cox, James Wright, Nathaniel Blackmore. and Paul Froman, or any three of them, they being first sworn, view a road the nearest and best way from the Court house to Penticost Mills³ on Chirtees Creek and make Return to next Court."
April 27, 1778.
" View of the road from the Court House to Pentecosts Mills on Churtees Creek, returned by the Viewers and ordered to be confirmed, running from said Court House to Spencers point; Thence near Richardsons School House; Thence through Gabriel Cox's Land; Thence crossing Peters Creek near John Cox's to Benjamin Collings; Thence to Joshua Weights; Thence to William Stephenson; Thence to Thomas Cook's; Thence to said Mills; Ordered, That Gabriel Cox be appointed Overseer of the road from the Court House to Peters Creek, near John Coxes; James Wright, Overseer of the road from Peters Creek near John Coxes to opposite Henry Johnstone; and Nathaniel Blackmore Overseer of the road from Henry Johnstone to Pentecosts Mills on Chartiers Creek, and that the Tithables within three miles of said Road (except on the East side of the Monongahela River) work on, cut open and keep said road in repair."
April 28, 1778. Andrew Swearingen and David Andrews were sworn as captains, Nathaniel Black-more as lieutenant, of the militia.
"Thomas Gist came into Court, and being sworn on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God, sayeth that in the year of our Lord one Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-two, in the month of April to the best of his recollection, in the presence of Joseph Beeler, John Stephenson & Edward Rice, he solemnized the weights of Matrimony between Isaac Meason and Catharine Harrison, according to the rights and ceremonies of the Church of England; he the ad Deponent then being a Magistrate in the State of Pennsylvania and that he was under an oath not to Divulge said Marriage Except legally called for that purpose.
"John Stephenson and Joseph Beeler came into Court, and being sworn on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God, sayeth, that they were present at the Marriage of Isaac Monson with Catharine Harrison in the year one Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-two in the Month of April to the best of their recollection, and was undor a promise not to divulge the said Marriage, unless legally called, or Death of either of the parties; and the said Joseph farther sayeth that there was a pre-engagement between the said Isaac and Catharine That upon divulging the said mar. liege contrary to the will of the ad Isaac the said parties should be absolved from any obligation to each other as man and wife.
" Ordered that George McCormick, John Canon & John Stephenson, Gent., be recommended to his Excellency the Governor as proper persons to serve aa Sheriff for this County, the ensuing year.
April 29, 1778.
² Of Munntown.
³ Now or late Beck's Mills, or Linden, North Strabane.
218 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
"George McCormick is appointed Sheriff Protempore to serve one month, he complying with the law ; whereupon the said George with Samuel Beeler and Dorsey Pentecost, his securities, come into Court entered into Bond and oath accordingly.
"Ordered that Isaac Cox, Gentleman, contract with some Proper Person or Persons, to build a pair of Stocks, Whipping Post and pillory, in the Court house yard and also a Complete Bar; and other work in the Inside of the Court House as he may think proper for the Conveniency of the Court and Bar; the whole to be Compleat by next Court."
May 25, 1778.
"View a Road from the House Of Edward Cook, crossing the Monaungahela River at the House of John Rattans ; Thence to or Near the Plantation of John Hop, deceased: Thence to Luther Colvins on Pigeon Creek ; Thence the nearest and best way to the Road leading from Perkesons to Zebulon Collings; Ordered to be confirmed and that the Tithables within three miles on each aide work on and keep said road in Repair.
"John Decker, John Hull, Samuel Johnston, Jacob Johnston, Samuel Frye, and Henry Newkirk, came into Court and took the oath of Fidelity.
" Peter Reasoner is appointed surveyor of the road, from Edward Cooks to John Rattans ferry.
"Nicholas Christ is appointed Surveyor of the Road from John Rattan's ferry to Pigeon Creek, near the House of Luther Colvins.
"John Decker is appointed surveyor of the road, from Pigeon Creek near the House of Luther Colvin's, to the road leading from Perkesons to Zebulon Collings.
"Then came a Grand Jury or Inquest of the body of this County, Vizt :
"John Decker, Gabriel Cox, John White, Henry Newkirk, Jacob Bousman, Jacob Johnston, John Springer, Nicholas Christ, James Wright, Samuel Johnston, John Hull, Samuel Frye, David Andrew, Joseph Brown, James Patterson who being sworn received their charge and Retired to their Chamber."
May 26, 1778.
"A New Commission of the peace, and commission of Oyer and Terminer, directed to John Campbell, Edward Ward, Thomas Smallman, Dorsey Pentecost, John Gibson, William Crawford, John Stephenson, John Canon, George Vallandigham, William Goe, John Neavill, Isaac Cox, John McDonald, George McCormick, Philip Ross, Benjamin Kirkindall, William Harrison, Samuel Newell, Thomas Brown, Thomas Freeman, John Decamp, Joshua Wright, Oliver Miller, Benjamin Frye, Matthew Ritchie, Jacob Haymaker, Andrew Swearingen, Benjamin Harrison, Zechariah Connell, Isaac Leet, Senr. Joseph Beeler, Senr. John Carmichael, James Rogers, Isaac Meason, James McLane, James Blackmore, Joseph Beckett, and Joseph Vance, Gentlemen, which being read as usual, the said William Goe, Thomas Freeman, Andrew Swearingen, John McDonald, Benjamin Frye and George Vallandigham, took the usual oaths of Justices of the Peace and Justices of Oyer and Terminer.¹
"The Court being Constituted took their seats and proceeded to Business.
" Tacitus Gillard, Esquire, came into Court and Produced a passport from the Board of War, and Desired that the same may be Entered on the minutes of this Court as a Testimonial of his Allegiance and Fidelity to the United States of America, which is granted and is as follows:
" WAR OFFICE, YORK TOWN,
"October 18, 1777.
" Tacitus Gillard, Esq., late an Inhabitant of the State of South Carolina, being on his way to Florida or some of the Countries or places on this side Thereof, or adjacent Thereto, where he proposes to form a set-
¹ The following gentlemen named in the commission were subsequently sworn into office: Isaac Cox, Benjamin Kuykendall, Samuel Newell, Joshua Wright, Oliver Miller, Joseph Beeler, Joseph Beckett, Richard Yeates, Thomas Smallman, John Gibson, William Crawford, John Stephenson, William Harrison, James Rogers, John Canon, Matthew Ritchie, Edward Ward.
tlement, and having applied for a passport to enable him to go and travel through the parts of the Country, in allegiance to and in Amity with the United States of America, and having produced Testimonials of his having Taken the oaths of allegiance and Fidelity, to the said States; These are to permit the said Tacitue Gillard Esq., freely to palm with his family, Servants, Attendance, and Effects, Down the River Ohio, and all persons, are Desired not to molest the said Tacitus Gillard Esq., hie family, servants and Effects, on any account or pretence whatsoever.
"To all Continental Officers and others, whom it may Concern}
"By Order of the Board of War ;
"RICHARD PETERS, Secretary."
" Upon the petition of David Philips and others: Ordered, That John Jones, Robert Henderson, and John Wall, they being first sworn do view a road from McKee's ferry, on the Manaungahela River, to Pentecost's Mill on Churteere, and make report of the Conveniency and Inconveniency thereof to the next Court.
"Upon the petition of David Philips: Ordered, That William Frye, Jacob Barrachman, and Jacob Shilty, make a review of the Road from Peter's Creek to Robt. Henderson's, and make report of the Conveniences and Inconveniences of the nearest and best way to next Court.
"James Fasithe was brought into Court and Stands charged with Disaffection to the State, who pleads not Guilty, whereupon came the same Jury as before, who say that the ad James Fasithe shall pay a fine of Twenty dollars, and suffer forty-eight hours confinement in the Common Jail, and, before he he Discharged therefrom, give such security as the Court shall then see fit."
May 27, 1778.
"Ordered, That Isaac Cox, Thomas Freeman, and Andrew Swearingen, Gentlemen, distribute the Cards Consigned for this County upon proper and suitable certificates to them produced, and that two thirds be delivered to Isaac Cox and Andrew Swearingen, and one third to Thomas Freeman, Gentleman."
June 22, 1778.
"Upon the petition of Paul Froman : Ordered, That Nicholas Depugh, John Lovejoy, Robert McGee, and James Colvin, or any three of them, View a Road, the nearest and best way, from Devores Ferry to Penticost's Mill on Chartiers, passing by Froman's Mill, on Mingo Creek, and report the Conveniences and Inconveniences to Next Court.
" Whereas, George McCormick, Gentleman, was at a former Court appointed Sheriff for this County for one Month, and at the same time recomended the said George McCormick to his Excellency the Governor as a proper person to serve as Sheriff for this County the Ensuing year, and no commission as yet arrived for the said Sheriff: Ordered, That the said George McCormick, Gentleman, be appointed Sheriff for this County for and during the Term of one Month next Ensuing, he complying with the Law.
"A Request from the Court of Ohio to call on the Commissioner (or adjusting the Boundary Line between this County and the sd County of Ohio; This Court are of Opinion that the sd Request is highly reasonable. It is therefore Ordered, That the Commissioners on the part of this County doth proceed to finish the business to which they have been appointed and make a report to next Court."
June 23, 1778.
"Upon the petition of Richard Yeates; Ordered, that Henry Taylor James Allison, James Patterson & William Brashers, or any three of them, being first sworn, View a Road from Catfish camp to Penticost’s Mills and make a report of the Conveniency and Inconvenience to this next Court.
"George McCormick, Gentleman, came into Court and took the oath of high Sheriff for this County for the Term of one month.
"Andrew Dodge obtained License to keep an Ordinary at his Dwelling
CIVIL AND LEGAL—THE COURT OF YOHOGANIA COUNTY - 219
house on the Road from Devoirs ferry to Shirtees Creek, he having complied wills the Law &c. "Ordered that William Crawford, Gent., be appointed a Commissioner with Richard Yeates & Isaac Leet for adjusting and settling the Boundary line between this County and the County of Ohio.
"Thomas Lapsley, a Lieut in the Militia, came into Court and informs them he is in dayly fears on acct of being apprehended by the Military Law and desires the protection of this Court, on a matter which from the testimony of the Evidence now adduced appears an affair of Slander: —the said Mr. Lapsey now surrenders himself to this Court; whereupon Proclamation being made that if any person could ought say against the said Thos. Lapsley they might then be heard, but none appearing the Court are of opinion the said Mr, Lapsley be and he is hereby discharged, and the Sheriff of this County is hereby commanded to protect the said Mr. Lapsley, from Injury or Insult for that Cause."
June 24, 1778.
"Ordered that Colo. John Stephenson and Colo. Isaac Cox do call on Thomas Brown and receive from him the Cotton and Wool Cards sent up to this County; one-half of which are to be distributed in the Battalion of Colo. Stephenson and the other in that of Colo. Cox. These Gentlemen to whom this charge is intrusted are to conduct themselves agreeable to the Governor's Letter to the Justices of this County on the 26 Now. last; provided that if there ore more women in either Battalion, Col. Stephenson & Col. Cox are to supply each other accordingly to the number of persons who may have a right to obtain the same.
"On the Petition of Col. John Campbell setting forth that he is desirous of building a Mill on Chartiers Creek; that the Land on both sides of the Creek where he intends to build his dam is hie own property, but he is apprehensive that some lauds the property of some persons to bins unknown, at the mouth of Robinsons Run, may be flowed by the Back Water of his Dam; Ordered, that the Sheriff summon 12 freeholders of the Vicinage to meet on the Lands said to be affected by the back water from his said Dam and such Jury are to value the Damages and report the same to next Court, under their hands & seals."
Aug. 26, 1778.
"George McCormick, Gentleman, produced a Commission from the Governor appointing him Sheriff for this County, which was read; the Court demanded the ad George McCormick, Gent., to enter into Bond according to Law, and Qualify into said Commission which he refused, alledging that he was a captain in the 13th Virginia Redgment in Continental Service, and Contrary to his Expectations the General refused to permit him to resign his said Military Commission, and that his serving as Sheriff was Incompatible with Isis duty in the Military department; it is the Opinion of the Court that the reasons are satisfactory.
" Ordered, That Matthew Ritchie, Joseph Beckett & James Rogers, Gentlemen, be recommended to his Excellency, the Governor, as proper Persons for his Excellency to Commission one as Sheriff to serve the ensuing year.
"Matthew Ritchie, Gent. came into Court and took the Oath of High Sheriff for the term of one month."
Sept. 29, 1778.
"Andrew Poe produced a Commission from his Excellency the Governor, appointing him Lieut. of the Militia, which was read and sworn to accordingly.
"Ordered that the Clerk prefer a Petition to the assembly setting forth, that the Court Conceives the Laying a County levy to defray the Necessary Expence of the County in the administration of Justice will from the Particular situation of the County be attended with difficulty, and praying that it shay be Enacted to enable the Court to receive and apply the fines, accruing in the County towards teeing the County Levy."
Nov. 23, 1778.
"Ordered that Samuel Johnston, Richard Boyce, James Campbell, Alexander McKendless, Peter Rowister, William Christie, John Ormsby, Nathaniel Tumbleson, Edmond Polke, Richard Willis, Joseph Noble, James Allison, Lawrence Crow, Nicholas Little & Susbazly Bentley be fined agreeable to Law, for Non Attendance as Grand jury Men."
Nov. 24, 1778.
"Ordered that a request be made to the Court of Monaungahela, to appoint Two Gentlemen to meet Richard Yeates and Isaac Leet, Junr., appointed by this Court as Commissioners to ascertain Dunlap's old road from Redstone old Fort to Braddocks road, as the Boundary Line between this County and the ad County of Monaungahela, agreeable to Act of Assembly.
"Ordered that Colo. Isaac Cox be Impowered to acct with all persons that hath Negotiated any business relative to this County's salt, lodged with Israel Thompson of Louden County, and that he receive the remainder of said salt, and Transport it to this County and Issue the same to the Inhabitants to whom it is due, at six pounds Ten Shillings per Bushel, and that the profits thereon shall be his full satisfaction for his said services, and that the said Col. Cox shall also pay all demands on said salt, Esther for the Original purchase or otherwise.
The Court then proceeded to lay the County Levy.
"Ordered, that the sheriff Collect from every Tithable person within this County the sum of Twelve shillings each, as a County Levy, and that he pay the above charges to the different persons to whom they are due, and that he account tor the above Collection.
"Ordered, that Benjamin Kuykindall and Samuel Newell, Gentlemen, Contract with a proper person or persons to Junk and Daub the Court House, and provide Locke and Bars for the Doors of the Goal, and to build an addition to the End of the Court House and Goal, sixteen feet square, one story High, with good sufficient logs and a good Cabben Roof, with a good outside wooden chimney, with convenient seats for the Court and Bar, with a Sheriff's Box, & with an Iron pipe stove for the Goal room, and that they have a pair of stocks, whipping post, and Pillory Erected
In the Court-yard, and that the whole be completed as soon as Possible.
"Ordered, that Henry Taylor, James Allison, James Patterson, and William Brashers, be attached for Neglecting to make report of the conveniences and Inconveniences of a Road from Catfish Camp to Pentecosts Mills, agreeable to a former order of Court."
Nov. 25, 1778.
"Commission from his Ex. the Gov. appointing Matthew Richie Sheriff of this County was read, whereupon the said Matthew Ritchie Informed the Court that he bad taken every Method in his Power to Procure deputys to assist him in the Exercise of his Office ; but from the present State of the fees and the email Emoluments arising to the sheriff of this County, although he has offered the whole to any person who would act as a Deputy, he has not been able to procure one, Together with the Contested Boundary of the County, and Therefore refused to Act or Qualify into hie Commission. Whereupon Geo. McCormick, Gent., is recommended to his Excellency as a proper Person to serve as Sheriff for this County ; Ordered, that the Clerk Transmit a Copy of this Recommendation to his Excellency as soon as Possible, with an apology for the frequent application the Court are under the Disagreeable Necessity of making for Sheriff's commissions; and also informed his Excellency that a commission appointing the said Geo. McCormick, Sheriff, was Issued some time ago, but the said McCormick was then an Officer in the
¹ Perhaps the tithables (taxables) were confined to freeholders, i.e., landholders in fee or for life.
220 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
Continental Service, and, contrary to his Expectation, the Genl. would not at that Time suffer him to resign, and Consequently could not serve; but since has been permitted to resign, and is now clear of the army, and now assures the court that be will Except of the Office and have the duty Done.
"Geo. McCormack, Gent., is appointed sheriff for one month, Entered into Bond, Sworn accordingly.
"Ordered, that the Sheriff pay out of the Depositum in his hands in the statement of the county levy.
"Ordered, that the clerk send the recommendation of the sheriff to the Governor, by express, for the said Sheriff's Commission, for which he shall be allowed Eighteen pounds."
Jan. 25, 1779.
"Ordered that this Court be adjourned till Court in course.
" BENJ. KOTKENDALL."
March 22, 1779.
March 23, 1779.
March 24, 1779.
"Admn of the Est. of the late Colo. White Eyes¹ is granted to Thos. Smallman, he having complied with the law.
1779. "Joe Skellon, David Duncan, Wm. Christie & Sand. Ewalt appointed appraisers to said Est."
"Oliver Miller returns the following fines: Robt. McGee for Drunkenness 5s.; John Hall 5s.; Wm. Brashers 15s.; George Sickman 20s.; James Bruce 20s.; for profane Swearing. Clerk Recd. the money."
March 25, 1779.
"Ordered that Benj. Vanatar be allowed £200 for his Expence & services in going to Wmsburgh for the Shfs. commission and other necessaries for the use of the County, to be paid out of the depositum in the Shfs. hands, if so much remain, and if not the balance to be Levied at the
next County Levy."
April 26, 1779.
"Ordered that Isaac Cox, Gent., pay to the Clerk his proportion of the money arising from the sale of the Cards sent to this County for the use
¹ White Eyes, whose Indian name was Koquaitahghaitah (i.e., the man who keeps open the correspondence between his own and other nations), was chief of the Turtle tribe of the Delawares, and a great friend to the Americans, and especially to Col. Geo. Morgan (called Taimenend by the Indians), during the Revolution. When the British bad prevailed upon almost all the Western Indians to become their allies, White Eyes, with a band of adherents, remained faithful, and joining Col. McIntosh's expedition in 1778, with a colonel's commission, he died that year. Accounts commonly received state that lie died then at Ft. Laurens of smallpox; but a manuscript letter from Col. Morgan to a member of Congress, dated May 12, 1784, would indicate that he had been killed by treachery. A son, George White Eyes, thirteen years of age, was then in the care of Col. Morgan, at Princeton, of which son the letter states: "Having now entered Virgil and begun Greek, and being the beet scholar in his class, he will be prepared to enter College next Fall." His father was treacherously put to death at the moment of hie greatest exertions to save the United States, in whose service he held the commission of a Colonel." " I have carefully concealed and shall continue to conceal from young White Eyes the Manner of his Father's death, which I have never mentioned to any one but Mr. Thompson [the Secretary] & two or three Members of Congress." Col. White Eyes was a man of much property, as the letter referred to shows.
of the Soldiers wives, and that he transmit it by the first opportunity to the Treasury."
April 27, 1779.
" Henry Taylor, James Scott on Miller's Run, John Reed of Millers Run, Jas. Edgar, Wm. McCombs, John Douglass, William Bruce, James Marshel, Wm. Parker and Ezekiel Magradin, are recommended to his Excellency the Governor as Proper Persons to be added to, the Commission of the Peace.”²
May 24, 1779.
" Vincent Colvin took the Oath of allegiance & fidelity as prescribed by Law.
" William Rankin took the Oath of allegiance and fidelity according to Law.
"Then came a Grand Jury (to wit) Charles Morgan, Joseph Brown, John White, Nicholas Dawson, Richd. Boyce, James Patterson, David Ritchie, Sampson Beaver, Isaac Vance, Nathaniel Brown, John Embly, Wm. Rankine, Vincent Colvin, Sheshbazzer Bentley, Michael Tigurt, Samuel Dunn, Josiah Crawford, Andrew Vaughan & Robt. Ramsey.
"On the motion of Nicholas Pease setting forth that he is desirous of erecting a Grist mill On Shirtees Creek in which he has lands on both sides but that he cannot do it without condemning an acre the property of Joseph Edington & Isaac Kinny Ordered that the Sheriff do summon a jury to attend on the premises to lay of and value the ed acre of Land and make their report to next Court." ³
May 25, 1779.
" Ordered that Jno. Decker, Vincent Colvin, Joseph Perkeson and Joseph Beckett, or any three of them, being first sworn, do lay of and assign unto Elizabeth Devoir, widow & Relict of James Devoir, deed. her dower in the Lands, Slaves & Personal Est. whereof James Devoir decd. died seized and make report to Next Court."
May 27, 1779.
"Ordered that Thomas Gist, Thomas Warren, Jno. Irwin, of Pittsburgh, Matthew Richie, & Dorsey Pentecost be appointed commissioners agreeable to Act of Assembly, as Judges of Counterfeit money."
June 28, 1779.
" John Reed being served with a scire face, at the suit of Martha Lapsley for a Judgment obtained against him by the said Martha on a declaration of ejectment in May, 1775, came into Court, produced Benj. Kuykendall as Evidence that be had feed an atto., and that he neglecting his dutys, the first Court Judgt was obtained against him, unrepresented; the Court are of opinion that the matter in dispute be deferred till the next September Court, and that the parties attend with their wits at the time to have a decisive hearing."
The regular terms were held July and August, 1779, but no business of importance transacted.
Sept. 28, 1779.
"Au Order of Monongahela Court for appointing a Committee of three to draw up a remonstrance to the Genl. Assembly of Virginia praying a repeal of the Law for opening a Land office, & appointing commrs. to take in Entries of Land, on the west of the Laurel Hill, was laid before the Court at the request of the Court of Monongahela; upon
² Before, however, a new commission of the peace was issued the county had ceased to exist.
³ This mill is still in the hands of the same family, a few miles east Washington, on East Branch of Chartiers.
CIVIL AND LEGAL—THE COURT OF YOHOGANIA COUNTY - 221
seriously considering the same and the consequence of repealing those Laws, Ordered, that the ad Ct. of Monongahela be informed that this Court cannot by any means concur with the ed. Ct. in wishing those Laws to be repealed, as they cannot but consider them as exceedingly well adapted to the Local circumstances & Situation of the People of this County; so far from wishing a repeal of those Laws this Court are determined to take every Method in their power to prevent it.
"Ordered that Thomas Ashbrook be appointed surveyor of the road from Catfish Camp half-way to Pentecost's Mills, and John McDowell the other half, and that the tithables within three miles do work on and keep the said Road in repair."
"Col. Wm. Crawford came before the Court, made Oath that Hugh Stephenson, now decd. obtained a Warrant from Lord Dunmore, while Governor of Virginia, fur three thousand acres of Land, & that the ad. Hugh Stephenson was an Inhabitant of Virginia, & that he was a Captain of a Company actually raised in Virgil. & in the service of Virginia in the year of Boquet's Campaign;1764 ; & the said Crawford further made Oath that he was a witness to the ad. Hugh Stephenson assigning to a certain Richd. Yeates one thousand acres of the said Warrant.
"William Crawford came before the Court & made Oath that Burton Lucas was a Subaltern Officer in the service of Virga in Col. Wm. Byrd's Regt., in the year 1758 and '59, in consequence of which he obtained a warrant from Lord Dunmore, while Gov. of Virginia, fur two thousand Acres of Land, which was assigned by the ad. Lucas to Matthew Ritchie A Was. Bruce."
Sept. 29, 1779.
"Ordered that Col. John Cannon have the publick salt which now lies at Alexandria, brought up to the County and Distribute it to persons Intitled to receive it, and that he be authorized to contract for the Carriage on such Terms as he can, Taking Care in the distribution to Fix the price so as to raise the money due on sd. salt for the Original Coat, Carriage, and other Contingencies.
"Ord. that Benj. Kuykendall, Esq., be authorized to have the Publick salt now lying at Israel Thompson's in Louden County brought up on the same principals."
Oct. 25, 1779.
"Col. Isaac Cox having applied to us for a passport to remove himself and family and attendance from this County to the County of Kentucky on the Ohio, It is Ordered that the sd. Isaac Cox have leave to remove himself and attendance as aforesaid, he Deporting himself as a good Citizen, and in amity with the United States, having been long a Magistrate in this County and demeaned himself well therein. It is expected that all good Offices be done him by the Inhabitants of this Commonwealth."
Oct. 26, 1779.
"Edward Ward Genl. came into Court, and being sworn on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God, sayeth, that Thomas Smallman,¹ Gent., was a Lieutenant and Quartermaster in the first Battalion in the Pennsylvania Regiment in Actual service In the year 1758."
"Benjamin Kuykindall, Gent., came into Court, and being sworn, sayeth, That in the spring of the year 1754 he saw Maj. Edward Ward ² on his March to Virginia from what is now Fort Pitt, that the ad. Maj. Ward had the Command of the party with him, and that lie understood that he was the Commanding officer of the Post at the aforesaid place as an Officer in the Virginia line and surrendered to the French." ³
Oct. 27, 1779.
"Certificate Adam Stevens to Isaac Cox, on motion Ordered to be recorded.
¹ A intake of this and of the Augusta County court.
² Also a justice of this and of Augusta County court.
³ To M. Contrecoeur, and his French and Indians, April 17,1754. The post surrendered was the fort then being erected where Pittsburgh now is. Edward Ward resided in Dickinson township, Washington County, in 1787.
- 15 -
"Col. Crawford being sworn smelt that the ed. Isaac Cox was a Subaltern Officer in the Virginia service in the year 1764."
No court appears to have been held in November. Dec. 27, 1779.
"Majr. Edward Ward having applied to this Court to Certify his Gent. Character; It is Ordered therefore to be Certified, That the said Heir. Edward Ward has been a Justice of the peace In this County since its Institution, and Demeaned himself well therein, as also in the Offices of Sheriff for sd. County, and that he has always deported himself as a good citizen of the Cons. Wealth & an honest mail and a good Neighbor."
Dec. 28, 1779.
"Whereas John Campbell, Esq., Lieut. for this County, is now a Prisoner with the Indians, and it is uncertain when he nosy return to take the Command of the Militia of this (Aunty; upon Considering the some and the present situation of the Militia of this County, it is the opinion of this Court that it is Necessary that some person should be appointed in the stead of the sd Col. Campbell; it is therefore ordered that Dorsey Penticost be recommended to his Excellency the Governor as a proper person to be appointed in the stead of the rid Col. Campbell."
Feb. 28, 1780.
(1780). "George McCormick proved to the satisfaction of the Court that he served as an Ensign in the Company of rangers in the Virginia service in 1764, and that he has never reed. any premium for ad service under the Proc. of 1763."
"John Gibson, Gent., one of the Justices of the Peace for thin County, provd to the satisfaction of the Court that he served as is Deputy commissioner in the service of Great Britain at Fort Pitt in the year 1760, and that he has never recd. any benefit, under the Kings proc-of 1763."
March 27, 1780.
"Ordered that it be certified that Edward Ward, Gentleman. acted as a Captain in the 1st Pen list Battalion in the year 57 &58; as a Lieut. in 56 & 57, & as an Indian Agent in service of the Crown in the years 60,61, 62, & that he has reed too satisfaction for the same from the King of G. B.'s proclamation of 63."
May 23, 1780.
"On the petition of Dorsey Pentecost setting forth that he is desirous of Building and completing a water Mill on the Eastern branch of Churtees creek, and that he owns the Lands on both sides of the creek, so that no person will be effected by the overflowing from Dam; Ordered that the sd Pentecost have leave to build and compleat a water mill at the place aforesd according to Law."
June 26, 1780.
"Ordered, that Pail Mathews be allowed two Thousand Dollars for Erecting a Whipping Post, Stocks and Pillory.
" Gentlemen deposited.
William Goe, One hundred and fifty Dollars
Oliver Miller, “ ”
Joseph Beckett, One Hundred.
Dorsey Pentecost, One Hundred.
Samuel Newil, One Hundred. to be Deducted our the Money when Levied by the Sheriff.4
4 This allowance for the building of the whipping-post, stocks, and pillory was not as extravagant, neither were the advancements made to pay for it so extremely liberal, for at this date the currency was so depreciated that eighty dollars of paper were worth but one dollars of specie, so that the allowance for the service was but twenty-five dollars, and Dorsey Pentecost's large advancement was but one dollar and a
222 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
July 24, 1780.
" Abram Steel appeared in Consequence of a Summons, & Confest the Crime of swearing four profane oaths. 20s. Lodged in the hands of Samuel Newell, Esq."
Aug. 28, 1780.
"Present, Edward Ward, Joseph Beelor, Richard Yeates, George Vallandigham, Oliver Miller."
"At a cald Court held for the tryal of J*** J****** for passing Counterfeit Continental Money,
"Com' wealth v. J******; by evidence of Daniel Applegate and Joseph McCune, the said J****** is acquitted.
"23 forty-Dollar Bills.
"7 thirty-Dollar Bills, Counterfeit, lodged in the hands of Andrew Heth."
"Ordered that Court adjourn till Court in Course.
There was no "Court in Course." This was the last time a court of justice was held under the Virginia jurisdiction within the limits of old Washington County. At this term, as well as at other preceding terms, much more business was done than the extracts made would indicate, for in the last day's proceedings the following names appear:
Richard McMahon, James Bruce, Arnold Evins, Abington George Colvin, deceased, John Miller, J*** J******, Hugh Brady, Sampson Beaver, David Steel, James McMullin, Garsham Hull, John Breckenridge, William May, Mordecai Richards and Stephen Richards (sons of Stephen Richards, deceased), Agnes Stilk, Joseph Parkison, Elizabeth Deckert, Sarah Jacobs, Mary Boyd, Catharine Develin, Ann Walker, David Richie, John Wall, George Brown, Jacob Knight, Tobias Wood, Moses Holladay, Michael Burk, John Brotoman, William Long, Morris Hake, James Dornin. Thomas Timons, Joseph McKinnen, John Seamon, Jeremiah Morgan, and Robert Peat.
It was indeed a court of "large and varied" busi-
quarter, though Justice Coe and Miller were able to contribute one dollar, eighty-seven and one-half cents. For a history of the depreciation of the Continental; currency, see III. Adams' Writings of Albert Gallatin, 261.
ness. Beside the criminal and civil trials by jury, common in our day, it granted letters testamentary and of administration, appointed guardians, qualified militia officers, established roads and ferries, authorized and recorded ear-marks and brands, authorized sale of slaves and servants, granted licenses for ordinaries (or taverns), bound out infant orphans, punished drunkenness and "profane curses," etc., and all this was done after a primitive method of simplified justice.
On Sept. 23, 1780,¹ the General Assembly of Pennsylvania had ratified the Baltimore agreement of July 31, 1779, with the disagreeable condition attached by the Virginia Legislature of June 23, 1780, the result of which was that nothing remained of Yohogania County, Virginia, but a .narrow strip on the Ohio River between the mouth of Cross Creek and Mill Creek, which was merged into Ohio County, afterwards forming a part of Brooke County when organized in 1797. Yohogania County, Virginia, then became a lost county, but soon afterwards a new county was born to take its place, Washington County, Pennsylvania.
CIVIL AND LEGAL HISTORY.—(Continued.)
The Erection of Washington County—Appointment of Officers—Early Political Troubles—Division into Townships—Election of Justices—The New State Project.
(1780). The Erection of Washington County.—Within sixty days after the Pennsylvania Assembly had finally ratified the Baltimore agreement of Aug. 31, 1779, relating to the boundary line, with the somewhat unpalatable condition attached thereto by Virginia, President Reed, on Nov. 6, 1780, in his message to the new Assembly, then lately convened, wrote as follows : ²
"The final settlement of the contested boundaries of this State and Virginia induces us to lay before you the propriety and policy of setting off one or more counties so as to introduce law, order, and good government, where they have been long and much wanted. We think It would also conduce much to the defence of the frontiers and safety of the Interior country, as the strength of those parts might thou be organized & systematically drawn forth in case of necessity."
This necessity for the erection of "one or more counties" out of old Westmoreland must have been apparent to any one looking at the large extent of the latter county, bounded on the east by the Laurel Hills and Chestnut Ridge up from the western terminus of the Maryland line, Oh the north by the Kiskeminitas, Allegheny, and Ohio Rivers, and on the west and south by the western and southern boundaries of the State. Moreover, the Ohio River to the west of us had become the frontier line, and
¹ VIII. Penn. Archives, 670.
² XII. Col. Records. 530.
CIVIL AND LEGAL—THE ERECTION OF WASHINGTON COUNTY - 223
the narrow strip of Virginia forming the Panhandle still left the Pennsylvania settlers west of the Monongahela to form in reality the barrier against Indian encroachment upon the interior parts of the State. The interest of out' pioneers, therefore, in the proposed establishment of the civil and military power more conveniently at hand can easily be inferred.
(1781). Thomas Scott, Esq., the same who had been arrested and brought before Lord Dunmore at Redstone on Nov. 12, 1774, and had been imprisoned by Dunmore's court at Pittsburgh on May 18, 1775, had written upon the subject of the new county or counties to President Reed on Oct. 8, 1780, though his letter has not been found. 'It was doubtless this communication which had called forth the passage quoted from the message to the Assembly the following month, for on March 20, 1781, President Reed replied to Mr. Scott, as follows :¹
"I received your favor of the 8th October last but a few days ago. You will see by our public Message to the House that we have not forgotten the important Point you dwell so much upon. I have also in private Conversation endeavored to impress it on the Minds of the Members, but the Truth is that the People of your own Country are not agreed on it,² which with the greet Load of Business arising. in our great Continental Concerns has I believe kept the House from going into it. Some of the members of the House think there is more probability of gaining military Assistance from the People while laying in one County than after a Division of the County. . . . Since I began this letter I find a Bill has been brought into the House for setting off the County; but I confess I was apprehensive it would not pass this session, until within this Day or two, But I now hope it will. . . ."
Only eight days after the date of this letter, to wit, March 28, 1781, the act erecting a new county was passed. Its provisions were as follows : ³
"SECTION I. Whereas the inhabitants of that part of Westmoreland County, which lies west of the Monongshela river, have represented to the Assembly of this State, the great hardships they lie under, from being so remote from the present seat of Judicature and the public offices; for remedy whereof,
" SECT. 2. Be it enacted . . . That all that part of the State of Pennsylvania west of the Monongahela river,4 sod south of the Ohio, beginning at the junction of the said rivers; thence up the Monongahela river aforesaid, to the line run by Mason and Dixon ; thence by the said line due west to the end thereof; and from thence the same course to the end of five degrees of west longitude, to be computed from the river Delaware ; thence by a meridian line extended north, until the
¹ IX. Penn. Archives, 20. How slow was the travel of information in those days!
² Referring no doubt to opposition east of the Monongahela, where Mr. Scott still resided. In 1782, when Fayette County was proposed to be erected, there was serious opposition expressed ; see letter of Christopher Hays to President Moore, IX. Penn. Archives, 637.
³ See P. L. 1781, 400 ; I. Dallas' L., 874; II. Carey & Bioren, 282; I. Smith's L., 517.
4 In 1791, Gen. Ephraim Douglass, the prothonotary of Fayette County, wrote to Governor Mifflin: " . . . The Act for erecting the county of Washington limits that county by the west side of the Monongahela river; and this county is limited—beginning at Monongahela river where Mason and Dixon's line crosses the same; thence down the river the mouth of Speer's run, &c. Now, by these two acts, it would appear that the river still belonged to Westmoreland county, and
that neither of the other counties have any Jurisdiction on it.” - Monongahela
of Old, 165. The difficulty suggested here as to the jurisdiction of the courts of either Washington or Fayette Counties over the Monongahela River does not seem of much moment, but, so far as now known, it has not yet arisen.
same shall intersect the Ohio river; and thence by the same to the place of beginning; (tile said lines from the end of Mason and Dixon's line to the Ohio river, to be understood, as to be hereafter ascertained by Commissioners now appointed or to be appointed for that purpose,) shall be and the same is hereby declared to be, erected into a county, henceforth to be called Washington."
Thus it is seen that Washington County, as originally erected, embraced all the lands lying west of the Monongahela and in the State, thus including the present Greene County and all of Allegheny and Beaver Counties south of the Monongahela and the Ohio.
At this date George Washington had firmly fixed himself in the hearts of the American people, soon to give them the avails of victory ; Cornwallis was marching and countermarching through the central portion of North Carolina, to surrender in the fall afterwards to Washington and La Fayette at Yorktown. What name then the more proper for the new county than it received ?
It was provided by Section 3 of the act that the inhabitants of the said county of Washington
should thereafter have and enjoy all the jurisdictions, powers, rights, liberties, and privileges whatsoever which the inhabitants of any other county enjoyed, " by any charter of privileges, or the laws of the State, or by any other ways and means whatsoever ;" and Section 4 provided "that the trustees, or any three of them, hereafter appointed by this act to take assurance of a piece of land, whereon to erect a courthouse and prison, shall, on or before the first day of July next ensuing, divide the said county into Townships or Districts."
Provision was made in Section 5 for the election of inspectors by the electors in the several townships, and that the inhabitants' of the county, qualified as electors, "shall (until otherwise ordered by the House of Assembly) meet at the house of David Hoge, at the place called Catfishes Camp, in the aforesaid county, at the same time that the inhabitants of the other Counties shall meet for a like purpose, and then and there elect two representatives to serve them in Assembly, one councilor, two fit persons for sheriffs, two fit persons for coroners, and three commissioners. . . ." Section 6 extended the jurisdiction of the justices of the Supreme Court to the said county, with power from time to time " to deliver the goal of the said county of capital and other offenders, in like manner as they are authorized °to do in the other counties of this State."
"SECT. 7. And be it further enacted &c., That the freeholders of each Township or District, in the County aforesaid, are hereby authorized and required, to meet on the fifteenth day of July next, at some proper and convenient place, and elect two fit persona for Justices of the Peace for each Township."
The oaths for the inspectors and judges were prescribed in Section 8, and it was further enacted by
"SECT. 9.. . . That when the persons elected for justices of the Peace, as aforesaid, or shall be appointed by the President and Council, have taken the oaths or affirmations required by the Laws of this Commonwealth, and received their commissions as directed in the Constitution of
224 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
this State, the said Justices or any three of them, shall and may bold Courts of General Quarter Sessions of the Peace and Goal Delivery, and County Courts for holding of Pleas; . . . which said Courts shall sit and be held for the said County of Washington, on the Tuesdays next preceding the Westmoreland County Courts, in every of the months of January, April, July, and October, at the house of David Hoge aforesaid, in the said County of Washington, until a Court-house shall be built; and when the same is built and erected in the county aforesaid, the said several courts shall then be holden and kept at the said Court-house on the days before mentioned.
"SECT. 10. . . . That it shall and may be lawful to and for James Edgar, Hugh Scott, Van Swearingen, Daniel Leet and John Armstrong, or any three of them, to take up or purchase, and to take assurance to them and their heirs, of a piece of land situated in some convenient place in the said County, in trust and for the use of the inhabitants of the said County, and thereupon to erect and build a Court-house and Prison, sufficient to accommodate the public service of the said County."
Section 11 made provision for the raising by county rates and levies the money necessary in the opinion of the trustees for the purchase of the land and the erection of the public buildings, the amount being limited by Section 12 to the sum of one thou-Bind pounds.
Actions pending in Westmoreland County against persons living in the bounds of Washington County were authorized by Section 13 to be proceeded in to final judgment, to be enforced by process from the courts of the old county.
Sections 14, 15, and 16 appointed Henry Taylor collector of excise in Washington County, and made provisions for his duties, powers, fees, and perquisites as such collector.
Until a sheriff and a coroner should be chosen in Washington County, it was provided by Section 17 that the sheriff and coroner of Westmoreland County should officiate, while the 18th and last section of this organic act made adequate provision for the official bonds of the sheriff and the county treasurer.
Appointments of Officers. — This act, which brought into existence the civil municipality within whose limits we live, was passed, as stated, on March 28, 1781, which was Wednesday. On Monday, April 2, 1781, there is the following record of the proceedings of the Supreme Executive Council:¹
" The Council taking into consideration the act of Assembly passed the twenty-eighth instant, entitled 'An Act for erecting part of the county of Westmoreland into a special county,' called by the name of Washington.
"Resolved, That Thomas Scott, Esquire, be appointed and commissioned to be Prothonotary of the said county of Washington.²
¹ XII. Col. Records, 681.
² Maj.-Cen. Arthur St. Clair, in a letter to the Supreme Executive Council, dated Philadelphia, March 26, 1781 (in IX. Penn. Archives, 36), strongly recommended Michael Huffnagle, "a young gentleman now in the practice of the law in Westmoreland," for the appointment of prothonotary for the proposed new county, the bill for which "will probably pass Into a law." The special qualifications of his candidate were fully exhibited by the influential general, but Thomas Scott received the appointment unsought for, so far as known.
Mr. Scott is already well known to us. Of all the early men of our county he was at least the peer of the best of them. He continued prothonotary till March 28, 1789, when, having been elected to the First Congress under the Constitution of 1787, be was succeeded by his son, Alexander Scott. (See XL Penn. Archives, 668; XVI. Col. Records,
" Resolved, That James Marshall³ Esquire, be appointed and commissioned to be Lieutenant of the county of Washington; and that John Cannon 4 and Daniel Leet be appointed and commissioned fa be sub. lieutenants of the said county." 5
40). On Nov. 21, 1786 (XV. Col. Itecords,120), he was commissioned a justice (though still prothonotary), and the writer has his notes of a charge to a grand jury. The following lean obituary notice taken from the Western Telegraphe of March 6, 1796:
"In the night of Wednesday last, March 2,1798, a few days after he had completed his fifty seventh year, died Thomas Scott. He was born in Chester County, but from a child lived in Lancaster County till the year 1770, when be removed with his family and settled on Dunlap's Creek, near the Monongahela. When Westmoreland County sea erected in 1773, he was appointed a justice of the peace front that county. In this capacity he was a warm and able supporter of the Pennsylvania jurisdiction, and drew on himself the particular resentment of the partisans of Virginia. When this contest sunk in the great cause of the Revolution, be was elected a member of the first Pennsylvania Assembly under the republican government, and in the year following he was elected a member of the Supreme Council. After his period of appointment in the Council expired, and this county of Washington was erected in 1781, the office of clerk of the courts here was given to him. This occasioned the removal of his residence to this town in 1787 he was chosen a member of the State Convention for ratifying the Constitution of the United States, and in 1788 a member of the First Congress ruder this Constitution. As the change of the Constitution of Pennsylvania occasioned a new appointment of State officers in 1701, he declined being considered as a candidate for a seat in the Second Congress, with a view to retain his office of clerk of the courts of this county. But the Governor thought proper to supersede him. The chagrin arising from this appointment preyed upon his mind. At the election a few weeks after he was chosen a member of Assembly from this county, and in 1792 a member of the Third Congress.
"With but such opportunities for the study of the law as his residence in Philadelphia afforded hint, and unaided by a liberal or professional education, he was early admitted to the bar in the western comities, and woe a successful advocate. His arguments were natural and judicious, his language nervous, and his elocution remarkably emphatic.
"His person was manly and respectable, his mental faculties strong and decisive, his manners kind and sociable, and with an extent of knowledge, and with that correctness of mind, which hardly anything but education can give, lie would have been every way a great man.
" He was liberal and did not study economy. Before he was appointed clerk of the courts here his estate and his practice at the bar afforded him a competency. The appointment to that office offered him a permanent prospect of competence for life. From his early residence In this country, and front his advantages of mind and station, he might have accumulated great wealth, but he did not, and he died but in moderate circumstances. He has left behind him a widow and eleven children, of whom three are sons and eight are daughters. One of his sons and three of his daughters are married. The rest are in their mother's family."
These sons were Arthur, Alexander, and Thomas. Of their descendants nothing has been learned. Of the eight daughters, Agnes find mar-tied Samuel McKinley and became the grandmother of Alex. McKinley the jeweler, of Washington, and her second husband was Henry Wools; Elizabeth married Alex. Cunningham (from Derry, Ireland), and became the mother of John Cunningham, M.D., of Wooster, Ohio. and of the late Samuel Cunningham. deceased, of East Maiden Street, Washington; Margaret mulled David Cook; Mary married Joseph Pentecost, the Meyer, of Washington; Jean married David Hoge (brother of John and William), appointed by President Adams register of the United States Land-Office, Steubenville, Ohio, removed by President Jackson ; Sarah married Thomas Thomson ; Mabel married Sampson S. King, lawyer, capt. 22d Inf., U.S.A., wounded at Chippewa, promised major, died at Gettysburg; and Rebecca married Shepherd Conwell. Thomas Scott's will, in his own hand, is filed In the register's Office and is recorded in Book I., p. 283.
³ Almost always so printed, but incorrectly. He never wrote his name other than Marshel. For sketches of these officers see subsequent pages.
4 Who always wrote his name Canon.
5 The military system then in force was created by act of March 17, 1777. In each county, as the representative of this executive, there was a lieutenant and sub-lieutenants, not exceeding five in number. The
CIVIL AND LEGAL—EARLY POLITICAL TROUBLES - 225
It appears that Col. Marshel was in Philadelphia when the act creating the county was passed,¹ for on April 4, 1781, the records of the Council say : ²
"James Marshall, Esquire, appointed by the Honorable House of Assembly to be Register for the Probate of Wills and granting letters of administration, and Recorder of Deeds for the County of Washington, and by this Board, to be Lieutenant of the said county, attended in Council, and took the several oaths necessary to qualify him for the said offices respectively."
Early Political Troubles.—The nursing of the new county, thus given a corporate existence, and supplied with the officers necessary for the keeping of its records, and for the organization of its military power, now proceeded slowly under many and somewhat serious difficulties. That these embarrassments may be realized the better by the reader, a chronological order will still be followed, as the organization of the municipality is proceeded in to a legal entity, with a complete establishment of its courts and justices for the administration of the law, and at the same time, with the notice of the township divisions, elections, organizations of the courts, etc., will be given original writings illustrating every-day events of great public importance, the character of the prominent actors therein, themselves the chroniclers, as well as the troubled condition of the times. The constant terror from Indian incursions, actual and threatened; the continued existence of the Virginia usurpation, and the jealousy between the Pennsylvanians and the Virginians; the inability of the Pennsylvania government to wield power which alone can give protection ; the resurrection and re-agitation of "The New State Project," thought in such circumstances to afford a prospect for better security and permanence ; and, as might be expected, the rivalry for the possession of offices, the evidence of power and position and the opportunities for wealth and advancement, even at that day strong and controlling,—all these will be unfolded as well as it is now possible. But let the reader be cautioned again not to judge of any man's real character, in this period of angry strife, from what is said of him by an opponent. The names of no unworthy men will here be found, though some of them are
power given was exercised by the lieutenant, or in his absence by two or more of the sub-lieutenants. By warrants to the constables lists were obtained of all male inhabitants between eighteen and fifty-three, excepting delegates in Congress, members of the Council, judges of Supreme Court, masters and faculties of colleges, and the clergy; and within Ave days the lieutenants or sub-lieutenants divided the county Into districts, each district to contain not less than 440 nor more than 680 privates, divided into eight classes, which were numbered. Each district had its field-officers, elected, being a colonel, a lieutenant-colonel, and a major, and each class or company its captain, two lieutenants, and ensign. .The men were called (or drafted) into service by classes to serve a tour: of two months, one class at a time, to be relieved by the next. Absentees paid flues, which reimbursed the State for bounties paid to substitutes. A complete system of rules and regulations was provided.
¹ See letter, Dorsey Pentecost to Prest. Reed. IX. Penn. Archives, 316, hereafter quoted.
² XII Col. Records, 683.
now and then denominated " Raskels," " Banditti," " Mobs," etc.
And let it be remembered (it is now written once for all) that, starting from the spring of 1774, when Cresap stopped with his party, one of them wounded, at " Catfish Camp," at the beginning of Dunmore's war, until 1795, when Wayne's treaty gave final peace to the borders,—in all a period of twenty-one years, —there was not a day when fear did not find a place at the fireside of the settler.
On April 20,1781, the Supreme Executive Council³
"Ordered, That Col. James Marshal1,4 Lieutenant of the county of Washington, be authorized and directed to call out forty men of the militia of that county; or if the minis shall not be organized sufficient for that purpose, to raise the said number of men, for the purpose of oncoming and guarding the Commissioners appointed to run the Line between tide state and Virginia, during the time they shall be on that service; and that he be authorized to call on the commanding officer at Fort Pitt for ammunition for that purpose."
The running of the boundary line was delayed, however, as has appeared in a former chapter, and on June 5, 1781, Col. Marshel wrote to President Reed as follows :5
"Since my arrival in this County, I have been making what progress I Can in organizing the Militia, altho as yet, Deprived of the Assistance of the Sub-Lieutenants by the Indefatigable Opposition of a Certain Mr. Penticost [Dorsey Pentecost] and a few of his adherents, the old enemies of this government, who Immediately on my arrival got together at their Court-house, in what they call Yohogania County, which is wholly involved in this and Westmoreland Counties, and to which the Government of Virginia has Sent no Orders for some Considerable time past. Notwithstanding, they have resolved to go on with the jurisdiction of Virginia, both Civil and Military until the line is Actually run. Whereupon the said Penticost swore into an Old Commission of County Lieutenant that he pretended to have by him for a longtime, and thereupon assumed the Command of the Militia. Mr. Cannon [John Canon] (a Civil Officer under the government of Virginia,) one of our Sub-Lieutenants, publickly declares that government have Infringed upon the Rights of the people in appointing officers for them before they were represented, and instead of assisting me in Organizing the Militia, is using all his Influence to prevent it. Mr. Lite [Leet] the other Sub-Lieutenant refuses doing anything until the artists arrive on the spot, which leaves me without assistance, and must Consequently delay the formation of the Militia. However, I expect in a short time to have the business Competed, and that the artists will not fail in being on the line as soon as possible, which might prove fatal to the Interests of the State in this Quarter; for altho the people at large are well affected to this government, the junto aforesaid are Indefatigable, and a failure on the part of the artists would afford them great Opportunity of doeing mischief; in a word Mr. Penticost and Mr. Cannon are ringleaders of Sedition, and are dosing every thing in their power to revive the jurisdiction of Virginia, in order to keep this Country in Confusion, and there not being a Court of Justice in this County, these disturbers of the peace go unpunished; two or three words of an Order from your Excellency would put the affairs of this Country into a better situation, and at the same time Oblige a whole County.
"The Indiana have not done any damage on the frontiers of this County for some time past, altho they never had a better Opportunity, and were it not for Col. Broadhead's late Expedition and the Expectation of General Clark being in their Country this Bummer, I am persuaded they would have laid a Considerable part of our Country waste by this time; let me hope then, that as soon as there may be a Necessity, you will Enable us to Call out a number of our Militia for the de-
³ Ibid., 699.
4 Erroneous spelling of Marshel’s name preserved.
5 IX. Penn. Archives, 193.
226 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
fence of the Frontiers, and that we may be supplied with ammunition as soon as possible.
"I have the Honour to be with Very great Respect and Esteem your Excellency's Most Obedient and very Humble servant. ¹
¹ In this letter are found four of the old worthies: James Marshel, born Feb. 20, 1753, in north of Ireland, obtained rights to about fifteen hundred acres in what is now Cross Creek township, between 1776 and 1778. From the fact that two cousins, John and Robert, came west near to him from that part of Lancaster now Dauphin, it is thought he too bad come thence. On the erection of Washington County, John became an influential justice; Robert is said to have been in Williamson's expedition, for which he expressed his regret all his life. In 1779, when Rev. Joseph Smith was called by the Presbyterian congregations of Buffalo and Cross Creek (Adam and Andrew Poe signing), Col. Marshel, to have Rev. Smith brought out, gave two hundred acres of his land to Capt. Joseph Reed, the great-grandfather of J. M. K. Reed, Esq., and his brother,.John C. Reed, who now occupy it. Marshel became an elder in the Buffalo Church, but it is said that in his later days be was nut distinguished for his piety. On Nov. 3,1784, he resigned his offices of county lieutenant, register, and recorder, and succeeded Van Swearingen as sheriff, and on Jan. 17, 1789, was himself succeeded by Col. David Williamson. He was again recorder and register from 1791 to 1795. With David Bradford and Rev. David Phillips, he represented Westmoreland County at the Pittsburgh meeting in September, 1791," to take into consideration" the excise law, and afterwards took a prominent part in the Whiskey Insurrection. In July, 1794, he was present with Bradford when the captured mail was opened at Canonsburg, and two days afterward, with Bradford and others, signed the call fir the militia to rendezvous at Braddock's Fields. In the Whiskey Insurrection he seemed to be wholly in the control of Bradford, following, though unwillingly, when the latter led. In 1795 or '96 he sold his lands in Westmoreland County and removed to Wellsburg, W. Va., where he resided till his death, March 17, 1829. He left surviving a son, John, born about 1783; studied law with Parker Campbell, admitted in 1807, went into mercantile business; commissioned sheriff in 1835, and in 1836 was made cashier of the Franklin Bank of Washington, so remained till a year or so before his death in 1863. Col. Marshal also left a son Robert, who settled in Ohio, a daughter who married William McCluney, and two other daughters, who died unmarried. John Marshal, cashier, left a daughter Rachel, wife of Dr. Lafferty, Brownsville ; another daughter, wife of Dr. Cowen ; Rebecca, widow of the late Dr. M. H. Clark, Washington; and Jane, wife of S. A. Clarke, bookseller, Pittsburgh.
Dorsey Pentecost: see note to later page.
John Canon.-Though Findley," Whiskey Insurrection," 95, says, writing in 1794, that Canon was from Chester County, doubted; for there is some evidence that he came to this county from Virginia. Hale first found in what afterward became Washington County in February, 1774, when be and Henry Taylor were appointed by the Westmoreland County Court as road-viewers. Already well known to us as a justice of the Augusta County and Yohogania County Courts, it must be inferred that he was quite a partisan of the Virginia jurisdiction. The office of sub-lieutenant of the militia, from which he derived his title, was abolished in 1783, but on Oct. 6, 1784, he was commissioned a justice of the peace and of the courts, and recommissioned Aug. 24, 1790, holding that office till his death. He had acquired Virginia rights to the several tracts afterwards surveyed by Pennsylvania as Abington, Mount Airy, and Canon Hill, containing nearly twelve hundred acres; on parts of the two former lie laid out Canonsburg ; the first lot sold March 15, 1787, about which time he with others brought about the establishment of a High School in Canonsburg, which in 1791 was organized as an academy, incorporated in 1794, with himself as one of the trustees. He died in 1789, just before the academy lie had aided to found became Jefferson College. To but a slight extent involved in the Whiskey Insurrection, on July 26, 1794, he was present, with Bradford, Hershel, and others, at the opening of the captured mail at Canonsburg, and also signed the call for the Braddock's Field rendezvous. Col. Canon left a widow, Jeannette; sons, John, Samuel, William, Joshua; daughters, Jean, Anne, Margaret. Of these survivors little is known. Joshua settled at Burgetstown ; his children, Abigail, wife of John Dougherty, one of whose daughters is wife of M. R. Allen ; Ellen, wife of a Mr. McCue ; Jane, wife of Josiah Scott, Florence; Margaret, wife of John Fulton, Burgerstown ; Martha never married ; Julia, wife of M. M. Brockman, Burgetstown ; John, married Asenath Boyd, of West Middletown, removed to California, where he lives. Jean. daughter of Col. Cannon, married Rev. Robert Patterson, son of Rev. Joseph Patterson, in August,
On June 27, 1781, Col. Marshel again addressed a communication to President Reed,' informing him of new developments since his letter of the 5th :
"Since I had the honour of Addressing your Excellency last, the Old Enemies of thin government and their adherents have exerted themselves to the Utmost to prevent this County being organized. On the 5th Inst. a Council of the Militia Officers of Youghagena County was held at their Court-house and in Consequence of sd Council, the Mb part of the Militia of ad County was drafted for General Clark's Expedition, but the people did not Conceive they were Under the Jurisdiction of Virginia, therefore they denied their Authority, and almost Universally Refused doing duty under any government whatever until the line between the States is actually run.
"Upon finding the Commissioners did not arrive by the time appointed to run the line, I did not know well what part to act, fearing the Consequence of Involving the good Subjects of this State in a Civil War with Col. Penticost's Banditti, and a new Government party that Exists here, and of Exposing our frontier Settlements to the greatest danger from the Indians, (who no doubt well know our unhappy Situation). I thought it most Advisable to postpone Organizing the Militia until the Commissioners arrive on the spot. Let me hope then that your Excellency will forward the Commissioners with all possible Dispatch, as it is Clearly Impossible to do anything to purpose in this County until their arrival. The Expiration of the several periods Given us to expect them, discourages our best friends, and gives the aforementioned party great Opportunity of keeping up the Confusion, which they hope will issue in driving the whole people into their favorite scheme of New Government. Some of those Gentlemen formerly Elected members of Virginia Assembly, on this side the Mountains, are lately gone down on no other business than
1801. A son of this union is Mr. Robert Patterson, of the Presbyterian Banner, of Pittsburgh, whose wife is Eliza Acheson Baird, a daughter of Hon. Thomas H. Baird. A writer in the Presbyterian Magazine, February, 1857, says, "Col. Canon, the founder of Canonsburg, was so active, intelligent, and gentlemanly man. He died when but little past the meridian of life, leaving a widow and several children. Mrs. Canon was regarded as the lady of the place, and deservedly ; for she was eminently pious, friendly, and generous. Her house was the seat of hospitality, the favorite resort of Christian ministers and serious students."
Daniel Leet.-Isaac Lest, the father of Daniel, died in Washington County in 1802, and is buried, as is als6 his widow, in the burial-place on the farm of S. K. Weirich. Daniel was born in New Jersey, Nov. 8, 1748; was by profession a surveyor, and, as the reader will recollect, produced his commission as such from the College of William and Mary, Va., to the Augusta County Court on April 17,1776, and was sworn into office as a deputy under Col. William Crawford. As such deputy he made many of the Virginia surveys in Washington County in 1780. He probably first came to this country in 1773, for on September 23d of that year Washington writes to Crawford, "By Mr. Lest I informed yon of the unhappy cause which prevented my going out this fall."-Washington-Crawford Letters , 28. He had been previously employed by Washington to survey lands for him In Virginia. In 1778 he was with the militia as adjutant, under Gen. McIntosh, at Fort Laurens. During the Revolution he also served with the Virginia line as quartermaster and paymaster. In 1782 he was brigade-major in the unfortunate expedition, under Col. Crawford's commend, against the Sandusky Indians, in which his brave superior was tortured to death at the stake. On this occasion, after Maj. Minton was wounded, Maj. Lest commanded a division, and exhibited much bravery and vigilance. (See Butterfield's Crawford's Expedition, 77, 124, 207, 219, 296.) He is appointed in the act erecting the county one of the trustees to divide the county into townships, and to purchase ground for the public buildings; and besides his office as sublieutenant, he was one of the first justices commissioned for the courts of the county. His homestead was what is now known as the Shields' tract a few miles south of Washington, where his only child, Eliza, was born. She married David Shields, who resided in Washington from 1804 to 1823, when he removed to the Sewickly Bottoms, Allegheny County. Of this union there were nine children, of whom but three married. Two of these three are dead, leaving descendants; the other, the widow of John K. Wilson, Esq., and mother of D. S. Wilson, Esq., of the Washington bar, still lives. In 1829, Daniel Lest removed from Washington• County to the home of hie daughter, Mrs. Shields, and there died June 18, 1830
² IX. Pennsylvania Archives, 233.
CIVIL AND LEGAL—EARLY POLITICAL TROUBLES - 227
to Endeavor delaying the line, in order to forward their business of new Government, and a Committee has been formed in this County for sometime who go well nigh assuming the government of the County, which appears preparatory to something more Compulsive.
" Let me again urge the Necessity of the Commissioners being on the Ins as soon as possible from this one Consideration, that a failure on heir part will Expose the friends of this government to the Contempt ad Malice of their enemies. There is at this time upwards of two thousand five hundred Effective men in this County, but if we remain much longer in our present Situation, we must unavoidably be reduced, tither by Internal or External Enemies, and perhaps by both. On the 17th Inst., a party of about twenty Indians attacked the frontier Inhabtants, wounded one man, and took off a whole family prisoners, which has occasioned great part of the frontiers to be evacuated."
The references in the foregoing letter to Gen. George Rogers Clarke's expedition of 1781, against the British and Indians at Detroit, to obtain men for which the Virginia militia officers for Yohogania County instituted a draft and enforced it with great severity in Monongahela valley, as well as to the "New State Project" now revived, and which caused no little concern at the State capital, will hereafter be more fully explained. .
On July 23, 1781, President Reed replied to the two letters from Col. Marshel, as follows :¹
"I have received two Letters from you, one of the 5th & the other of 27th June, which I have laid before the Council. We are sorry to hear of the Obstructions which have been thrown in your Way by ill designing People, who keep up unhappy Contests for sinister Purposes. We hope the time will soon come when these Machinations will be at an End, as we are resolved as soon as the Line is run, to exert the Power of legal & coercive Authority over all who shall presume to disturb the publick Tranquility & distress the County by their map Practices." [The president then proceeded to explain the delay in running the boundary line, and the necessity of its early completion; the agreement with Virginia to mark a temporary boundary, and the appointment of Alexander McClean on the part of Pennsylvania fur that purpose; announcing the intention of the Council, as soon as that line was run and reported, to issue a proclamation calling upon the people within this State to conform to its laws and government, as quoted from this letter in our Boundary controversy, and concluding:] "You and the other Friends of this State may depend upon a firm and vigorous Support in your Attachment to it, & that we shall most heartily concur in every Measure to Establish Peace, Good Order, & Government as soon as possible."
Dorsey Pentecost seems to have received information of the subject matter of Col. Marshel's two letters to President Reed, of the 5th and 27th of June, or on July 27, 1781, he addressed to the latter the allowing letter :²
"I am now in General Clarke's Camp, about three miles below Fort 10, and about to leave this Country on the Expedition under that gentleman's Command, & from some recent Transactions that have happened here, & being apprised of some unwarrantable Representations hat have, and are about to be made to your Excellency in Council, respecting the Common Welfare of this country, & in which my Life, Property, & Consequently my Character is Concerned, & not being able owing to my immediate service in the Public) to attend so soon as I could wish at Philadelphia, have taken the Liberty to trouble your Ex-enemy with the following plain State of Facts.
"This country (I mean West of the Monongahela River) has ever teen considered by a majority of its Inhabitants to be within the State if Virginia; it hoe been under that Jurisdiction without Controversy dace the year 1774, but on the Publication of the Agreement made between the Commissioners for the two States, Virginia and Pennsylvania, it Baltimore, 1779, and a Report immediately following that the Line
¹ XI. Penn. Archives, 304.
² Ibid., 315.
should be run without Procrastination in Consequence thereof; this produced a Relaxation amongst the Officers (particularly in the Military Line), knowing that such an Agreement would include the Whole, or nearly so, of Yohogania County, and by that means the whole Country was thrown into perfect Anarchy & Confusion. The Indians through the Coarse of the last Summer were exceedingly troublesome, & butchered up many of the defenceless Frontiers; myself and some others apprehending early Visits from them this Spring, and knowing the confused Situation of the People, from the Reasons above mentioned, went personally to the Frontier Settlements, & found them in the greatest Dejection of Spirits; they expected nothing but Desolation & all the Cruelty to be feared from an extensive Combination of Savaged (this was the latter Part of the Winter). At our Return We advertised meeting of the Principal People to endeavor to tall on some Plan fur the Defence of those helpless Persons (the Frontiers); accordingly a number of Gentlemen met, and We then recommended that every District as they then stood, should choose two men out of each to form a General Committee for that Purpose; that was also accordingly done. We then proceeded to direct (with the acquiescence of the People) to raise by hire 100 men, to be stationed and employed as aforesaid; this alarmed the Pockets of sonic Gentlemen (notwithstanding We advised as out Opinion that Government would countenance the sues ore whenever it should be established, & the mein allowed Militia pay); they therefore opposed the measures, published Pieces (or at least a Piece) setting forth the Enormity of the Expence, the Impropriety of the attempt, with many other unwarrantable assertions,—in short, Sir, the. Piece was in, flammatory, alarming, & decorated with Falsehood.
"This impeded the good Intent of the Committee, but did not quite frustrate their honest endeavors, for the Commanding officers at For Pitt not only countenanced but gave every Spur to facilitate so Laudable a measure. We hired thin); men, sent them to the Frontiers, and they are there yet.
"About this Time the Spring Session met, and a certain James Marshall (a Person of Yesterday amongst us,) a Frontier Inhabitant, & member of Committee, went home from one of the outings, prepared a Petition to the Assembly, went to a few of the Frontier Companies who were in the greatest Distress; he flattered them that he would pro cure from the Assembly immediate Succor for them ; they agreed to the Proposal, and gave him money of Convoy & sent him to Philadelphia At his return he brought the Act of Assembly creating that part ex Westmoreland lying west of Monongalia, into a Separate County by the name of Washington & for himself three Commission, Lieutenant Recorder & Register, for said County; and in that Act of Assembly, on his (Mr. Marshall's) or some of his Friends Representation, a Sett of men were appointed, who all (except Capt. Swearingen & Mr. D. Leet] are strangers to the Country, being Gentlemen that have but recently come among us.
“While Mr. Marshall was at Philadelphia, Genl. Clark came here with an Intent to carry an Expedition against the Savages, which was principally intended to have been aided by Volunteers from this County. He consulted myself with many others on the most probable plan for Success. Every Effort was tried, but to no effect; the Frontiers wan murdered every Day, & the Militia could not be gut out. The Field officers of Yohogania County called on me, & requested that I would take the Command of the same, & I endeavored to save it front titter Destruction. I accordingly swore into a Commission for that Purpose, which had been in the County upwards of a year, & which I had neglected to qualify to on account of the apparent Probability there was for a Change of Government
"Soon alter this, Genl. Clark had a meeting of the Principal People to consult on the most Plausible Plan to raise the Militia for his expedition. They after long deliberation, Resolved, that nothing could effect so desirable a Plan, save my Exertions as County Lieut. of Yohogania, and in the most pointed Terms (in an address to me) requested that would put my Command in Force, and use every Exertion to facilitate the Expedition. The Day following I was furnished with a Demand from Genl. Clark for the Quota of the County. I went into the Business with Resolution, conducted myself with a steady Firmness, and with a great Deal of Fatigue. Trouble, & Perplexity, I have accomplished that Business and the Militia are now encampt.
"This has been the Part that I have acted from the Principle only of saving this unhappy Country from the inevitable ruin with which it le threatened, though my Conduct has been misconstrued by Mr. Marshall and hie adherents, as intended to oppose the authority of the State of Pennsylvania, on account of my bearing aunts Considerable Commissons, in the other State. And here I beg Leave to inform you, Sir (whatever you may have heard to the Contrary) that Commissions &
228 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
Command were never Objects that gave me one moments Uneasiness, and it’s a matter of total Indifference to me who doth the Public Business, so it is well done, and a man In office acquainted with the Bonum Publicum. And I would further inform you that every Office that I have filled, I undertook from a Principle of serving the Public with my utmost abilities and industry.
" I am conscious of the Rectitude of my Intentions, and I scorn the Censures of discontented Partisans; I have always been vigilant to effect the Business I have engaged in, and have generally succeeded to their mortification with advantage to the Public.
"It may not he amiss to let your Excellency in Council know that I waited on Mr. Marshall as soon as I heard of his Return from Philadelphia, & the Office lie was to fill whenever the County should lie established, & offered that if he could or would undertake to regulate the Militia, protect the Frontiers, & afford Genl. Clark Assistance, I was ready to retire, but that, I apprehended, it was totally out of his Power until the Line of Division between the States was run, & that the People could be assured that they were on a permanent Footing, and whether the Errors and Impositions heretofore practiced on us, on account of the Territorial Dispute, would not rather be augmented than abated;—upon the whole, whether it would not be the best to desist from the Exercise of his Office as County Lieutenant until the Line was run, or the authority of Pennsylvania regularly extended ; to these Propositions he gave the following categorical answer: 'that he was determined to sup sort the Honour and Dignity of an officer, & he meant immediately to organize the Militia.¹
"And he accordingly did all he could to perplex the People, and advise them to pay no obedience to Draughts that I had ordered for Genl. Clark's assistance, & has actually offered Protection to some of 'em, though he before on a request of Genl. Clark's, declared he could do nothing as en officer, wished well to the Expedition, & as a Private Person would give every assistance to promote it.
"There Is one Circumstance more I would wish to mention, & that is —The Act of Assembly directs that the Elections to be made for Justices should be held on the 15th inst. (this was the Sabbath); the Day following, I am told, was the Day advertised, however, so obscurely that few, very few, knew of the Day or Place as will appear by the Number of Votes—not one Third of the People knew or attended the Election; by this militia all obscure sett of men, perfectly unacquainted with Business will be Returned for Justices. I tremble at the Consequence; I shudder at the Event, I lament the Situation of the poor People of this Country. I wish most sincerely that your Excellency knew the true State of Affairs here, & had It in your Power to rectify the abuse offered the honest People of this Country.
"I am come now, Sir, to apologize for this Letter, & have nothing to offer in any Defence, although I confess Die Liberty I have taken greatly needs an apology, save that I am about to leave this Country on the Expedition & shall not have it in my Power ,to confront in Behalf of the People the insulting abuses here offered them. I am bursting with anxiety for the welfare of this infant Country, and could nut consistent with what I conceive to be my Duty suffer such a Career of Iniquity to go on with the Rapidity it now doth without letting the Supreme Executive Council of this State know something of it, and fur which Presumption I beg Excuse for, Sir,
" Your Excellency's Devoted
" & most obedient H'ble Servt.
¹ Dorsey Pentecost, one of the most prominent of the men of our early days, it is thought was from Virginia, and settled in what is now Rostraver township, Westmoreland County. In a deed conveying his " mansion tract," made when about to remove west of the Monongahela River, the tract is described as having been surveyed to D. P. on a warrant out of the Surveyor's Office of the Province of Pennsylvania in the year 1769, and afterward an entry made in the "Surveyor's Office of Virginia." The reader will remember that he was a Justice of Cumberland Comity in 1770, of Bedford County in 1771, though not fur Westmoreland County when erected in 1773. When the boundary contest began, he was from the first to the last, as has been observed, a partisan of Virginia. In 1777 he removed from the Youghiogeny region to the eastern branch of Chat tiers Creek, purchasing from Paul Fromm a tract of about 1900 acres at the present Linden, in North Strabane township, near which, probably adjoining, be soon purchased other lands, of which those now owned by John Gamble, Esq., formed a part. In this locality he lived till his death. At the first general election for
Space has been taken to quote these letters from the leading parties on both sides, in order that the peculiar conditions of public affairs in which our county was organized might be fully realized. The close of the letter of Mr. Pentecost contains a reference which will now receive attention.
Division into Townships.—The fourth section of the organic act required that the trustees, James Edgar, Hugh Scott, Van Swearingen, Daniel Leet, and John Armstrong, or any three of them, should, on or before the 1st day of July ensuing, divide the county into townships or districts; and the seventh section provided that the freeholders of each township or district should meet on the 15th day of July, "at some proper and convenient place, and elect two fit persons for justices of the peace for each township."
Just when the division into the original townships was made is not known, nor can any report of the trustees be found to show where the lines were. But enough appears to indicate that the original township boundaries followed the courses of the larger streams or the dividing ridges between the smaller ones. This is all that can now be said with certainty.
The division was made in due time, on or before July 1, 1781, and the townships as then named were as follows: Amwell, Bethlehem, Cecil, Cumberland, Donegal, Fallowfield, Hopewell, Morgan, Nottingham, Peters, Robinson, Smith, and Strabane, thirteen in number.
Mr. Veach says :²
"Among the most interesting minor studies of our early history is to trace the origin of first settlers in the names of localities. . . . Washington County affords the most instructive derivations. . . . By the act of 1781 erecting it, its trustees ... were required to divide it into townships. They took the Continental number, thirteen. Of these were Amwell, the name of a township in Hunterdon County, adjoining Morris County, N.J., and of a Presbyterian church in the same vicinity, from which came the Lindleys, Cooks, Rev. J. Dod, and others. Cecil, from Cecil County, Md. Fallowfield, a township in Chester County.... Nottingham, a township in Chester County, and a district in Cecil County, Md. . . . Hopewell, a township in Yolk, Cumberland, and Bedford counties. . . . Donegal and Strabane are Irish all over, and common in all our Scotch-Irish counties. Bethlehem, perhaps because
Washington County he was elected a member of the Supreme Executive Council, and took his seat Nov. 19, 1781; and on Oct. 31, 1783, he was appointed president judge of the courts, being the first judge specially commissioned fir that office. Henry Taylor, his predecessor, being presiding judge by reason of having been first named in the general commission. In 1785, without doubt because of extensive land speculations and a miserable currency, he had become seriously involved, and having made arrangements for the disposal of all his lands he went into Frederick County, Va., and while there, Nov. 25, 1786, he was suspended from his office as president judge. In 1787 he returned to Washington County. He died in 1802, and left surviving him his widow Catharine (nee Rector); three sons,—Joseph, the lawyer of Washington, father of George Pentecost, of West Middletown; Dorsey, grandfather of A. J. Pentecost, auctioneer, Allegheny City ; and' George W., who served in the war of 1812, and died unmarried: five daughters,—Margaret, married Ashby, Virginia; Catharine, married, first, Rabb, Uniontown, second, Vance, Uniontown; Sarah, married Ezekiel Graham, merchant, Cincinnati; Lucy, married James Ashbrook, lawyer, Washing. ton; Rebecca, married Mordecai Hoge, Steubenville. Of the family of Col. Dovey Pentecost, the only representative in Washington County at present is Mr. George Pentecost, of Middletown.
² Centenary Memorial, 405.
CIVIL AND LEGAL—ELECTION OF JUSTICES - 229
settled largely by Quakers. Running out of names, Mr. Edgar procured one to be named Smith, in which he and his pastor, Rev. Joseph Smith, resided."
The subsequent, modification of the original townships, and the erection of new ones, into those at present existing will not be followed out here, but in their several histories, hereafter given, the time and method of their organization as well as their early residents will be fully shown.
Election of Justices.—It is seen from Col. Pentecost's letter that the 15th of July, the day on which the organic act required the elections for justices to be held, fell on the Sabbath; and that, as he states, the elections provided for came off on the next day, being Monday, the 16th. It is not probable that, even in those days of rudeness, a people who so frequently imposed fines for " profane curses," as shown by the records of the old Virginia courts, would tolerate an election held on the Sabbath day, even when so required by an act of the General Assembly. The returns of the votes polled at that election are not to be found, but there is a letter from Thomas Scott, the clerk of the Quarter Sessions, to President Reed, dated July 31, 1781,¹ from which the following extracts are made :
"I expect this will be handed you by a messenger from this county with the returns of Our elections for Justices of the peace, which affords me an opportunity of acknowledging with Gratitude the receipt of the commission ² with which Council is pleased to honour me in the county: and also of requesting that in order to make my business perfectly convenient and more capable of Imploying my whole attention, Council be further pleased to Grant me a Commission of Justice in the Common Pleas, Clark of the Orphans Court, and of the Quarter Sessions, which last hath sometimes been Granted to one on the Court's recommendation of several; but as this mode would leave the Semitone for some time without a Clark, and appears unknown in our present constitution, I have thought this application not Irregular, and really necessary.
"Whatever may be the end of Gent. Clark's expedition, his preparations for it have been greatly Injurious to the Interests of Pennsylvania in this country and hyghly oppressive and abusive to many Individuate well affected to this Government. He hath made use of a paper (whereof the Inclosed is said to be a Copy) as authority for exercising a strange, very extraordinary and most arbitrary Jurisdiction over those who have formerly been subject to Virginia, no Matter where they live or whether they were subject by force or free will, which paper and others of the same kind, end his and his parties' proceedings in Consequence thereof bath contributed not a little to the prevention of the proper organization of Washington County and regulation of the militia
" A sense of duty constrains me just to mention this matter, the particulars are numerous and horid, some of which its like will be given you by Col. Marshall ; but I am convinced the Instances of high Treason against the state are not less than forty."
The letter of Col. Marshall referred to was dated Aug. 8, 1781,³ and recited the difficulties he had encountered in organizing the militia into battalions. originating out of the fact that the jurisdiction of Virginia had not yet been withdrawn, and that he had found it most prudent to postpone the elections for militia officers until the boundary line was run,
¹ IX. Penn. Archives, 324.
² Prothonotary, dated April 2, 1781; see XII. Col. Records, 681.
³ IX. Penn. Archives, 343.
concerning which he had lately received intelligence, "or until the armed Banditti under the general [Geo. Rogers Clark], that then awed the good people of this County, and were Chasing such of the Inhabitants as Pentecost, Shepherd & Evans, the Lieuts. of Youghagania, Monongalia, & Ohio, were pleased to point out by way of drafting as fit persons to go with the general, and on Missing their persons were Violating and totally destroying their property." Then, after recounting outrages committed by Lieut.-Col. Gabriel Cox and his command, under orders from Col. Pentecost, upon a number of citizens of Westmoreland County who had been drafted for service in Clark's expedition, he proceeds:
"They being in Quest of John Douglass (Gent. Elected one of our Justices fur this County), and not finding hint the first attempt, broke open his house in the night-time, Fed away and Destroyed such a part of Rye and Corn (his property) as they thought proper. Drew their swords upon his wife and children in order to make them Discover where he was; that ad Cox and his party have taken and Confined a Considerable number of the Inhabitants of this County, amongst which were Hugh Scott (one of the acting trustees of the County), altho' he was not drafted ; in a word, the Instances of high treason against the state are too many to be enumerated."
From the record about to be produced, it will be seen that John Douglass lived in Peters township. Gabriel Cox, who was afterwards tried at the second term of the Quarter Sessions when established, lived below Finleyville, in what is now Union township.
In the record of the proceedings of the Supreme Executive Council for August 24, 1781,4 is the following:
"Returns of Justices for the following townships in the county of Washington were received and read, by which it appears that the following gentlemen were elected: 5
" Peters township—John Douglass and Robert Thompson.
"Township of Nuttingame—Benjamin Parkinson and Joseph Parkinson.
"Strabane township—(In which is the place called Catfish Camp, ordered by law to be the seat of justice)—Daniel Leet, Henry Taylor, John White, Nicholas Little, Alexander Eddy, and David Clark.
" Aimwell township—Abner Howell and John Craig.
" Dennegal township—Samuel Mason and Samuel Williamson.
"Hopewell township—William Scott and John Marshall.
"Fallowfield township—John Parker, John Hall, east end; and John Stevenson and Patrick McCullough, west end of said township.
"Smith's township—Samuel Johnston and James Edgar.
"Cecil township—Matthew McConnell and John Read
4 X III. Col. Records, 38.
5 Pity it is we have not the tally-sheets and lists of voters at these the first elections ever held in Washington County; but it will be understood that having no offices yet in which to file them, they would not be preserved in our files, and they are not printed in the State archives.
6 It will be observed that there were as yet no returns of elections held for the townships of Bethlehem, Cumberland, Morgan, and Robinson, the others of the original townships; but on Nov. 21, 1781 (XIII. Col. Records, 121), there is this record: "A return of an election said to have been held at the house of Ezekiel Roe [Roes], in Bethlehem township, in Washington County, for electing Justices of the Peace for said township, was presented and read, and en enquiry, it appeared that the said election was not appointed by a Justice of the Peace for said county, where a vacancy had happened,' the case provided for by law, but in consequence of a neglect to clines according to the directions of the law; wherefore the election is void." The council then proceeded to appoint a justice, agreeably to an act cited, and appointed and commissioned Thomas Crooks, Esq., as a justice for Bethlehem township.
230 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
"Resolved, That Henry Taylor, William Scott, John Craig, John White, Daniel Leet, John Marshall, John Douches, Benjamin Parkinson, John Reed, Abner Howell, Matthew McConnell, Samuel Johnston, and Samuel Mason be appointed and commissioned to be Justices of the Peace, of the Court of Common Pleas and of the Orphans' Court, of the county of Washington, and that a general commission be issued accordingly."
Before, however, the foregoing record was made, and the commission recited issued, the following letter was written and sent (though not then received), which is copied as a further and final illustration of the difficulties existing at the time of the organization of the new county¹.
"August 15th, 1781.
"Farr from Prejudice and Party Faction disengaged, at Present, in the following Narrative, willing to see Justice, without favour or affection Distributed, give us Leave to trouble your Honr. with a detail of measures at present adopted for Magistrates in this Quarter (Washington County).
" At a Time when many People in this County look'd on Themselves bound by their oath of Fidelity to the State of Virginia, until the line between the states should be actually run, or some other Lawful Judicial Proceeding,' should be taken to relieve them from such Fidelity, At a Time when Gent. Clark lied an Expedition Carrying on fur the salvation of this Country, and when the Lieut. Col. had advertised Battalion Elections should be postpon'd until the Line between the States should be actually run, Notwithstanding all these constructions, an Election for Justices was held on the day Genl. Clark ordered bin Rendezvous & that by a very few, Electing men fair Inadequate to the Task, men who have ever Lived in obscurity. These being undeniable facts, We beg your Honr. will postpone the Commissioning all such men until a fair and Candid Representation can be made, and that to prevent such Fraudulent mal Practices, Fair and Impartial Elections nifty be held, Whereof Publick Notice shall be given, being well convinced many people in this County never heard of the Election until the day after it was Past. We further assure your Honr, Thus Privately have men of Ability, Fortune, & Character been deprived of an opportunity to serve there Country, and men elected who had no reason to Expect such office. We therefore, in order to give grace to Proceedings that may come from this Court & Harmonize the People, beg no Commission may issue until our Council & Representatives can be heard on the Occasion. We further beg leave to Pray yr Hour. In case you find it absolutely necessary for the administration of Justice to Commission some few of those already Elected, of those Give us Leave to give our opinion of the most able to serve,' to wit,' James Edgar Judge, Danl. Leet, John Reid, Joe. Parkerson, John Armstrong, Abner Howell, and James Brice.
"Pardon us for intruding on your Honour's Patience, being moved .with Indignation at Party factions gives us the greatest reason to Expect your Honour will grant the Indulgence, With Leave to say we remain
" your Honors,
"Most Obdt. Hble. Servts,
" B. JOHNSTON,
"GEO. W. McCORMICK,
The foregoing protest, signed by many names already well known to us, came to hand too late, and was probably not received at Philadelphia until after the letter was written by President Reed to Thomas Scott, on Aug. 27, 1781,² from which the following extracts were made :
¹ IX. Penn. Archives, 355.
² Ibid., 374.
"Your Favour of the [31 ?] Ult. has been duly received, & by this Opp'y you will receive the several Commissions requested in addition to that already sent you. We also send the Commission of the Peace for the County, & are extremely sorry that we could not consistent with the Act of Assembly insert Mr. Stevenson's & Mr. Parker's name, but by referring to both the Acts of Assembly which direct the Appointment of Justices, you will see filet we are limited to two for each Township, saving the District of the County Town. We are also of opinion that the Return for Fallowfield is too incorrect to admit of any Appointment & have therefore returned It; we cannot distinguish between the Ends of that Township, as it is an entire Thing; if too large it ought to be divided, or the Number of Magistrates increased by pursuing a Mode directed by a late Act of Assembly. A new Election will give the People an Opp'y of appointing Mr. Stevenson, if they think proper, & the Powers of the Council are sufficiently ample to place him at the Head of the Bench agreeable to the general Desire & Opinion.
"With Respect to Genl. Clark's Proceedings we can only say that he bait no Authority from us to draught Militia, mach less to exercise these Acts [of?] Distress which you have hinted at & which other letters more particularly enumerate. His Expedition appears to us favorable fur the Frontiers, as carrying Hostilities into the Indian Country rather than resting totally on the defensive.
" At the same Time we cannot help expressing our Fears that too many excuse themselves under Pretence of unsettled Boundary, some deny any Duty & seek to transfer it entirely to those who are willing & active. After the general Concurrence of the Lieutenants of Westmoreland in the Expedition & agreeing to raise 300 Men, we should have been glad to have heard that the County of Washington had assisted in a measure which seems to us to have been calculated for their own safety in particular as well as the Publick in general."
The foregoing communication inclosed the commissions of Thomas Scott himself as clerk of the Quarter Sessions and of the Orphans' Court, dated Aug. 24, 1781; as justice of the Common Pleas, dated Aug. 27, 1781; and also the General Commission of the Peace, dated Aug. 24, 1781. This document, as it reached Mr. Scott, is now before the writer, and as it sets forth the constitution of our first courts of justice it is here copied in full :
" Pennsylvania, se.
In the name and by the authority of the Freemen of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
"To Henry Taylor, William Scott, John Craig, John White, Daniel Leet, John Marshall, John Douglass, Benjamin Parkinson, John Reed, Abner Howell, Matthew McConnell, Samuel Johnston, and Samuel Meson, Esquires, of the County of Washington, Greeting:
"Reposing especial trust and confidence in your patriotism, prudence, integrity, and abilities, Know that we have assigned you jointly and severally, and every of you, Justices of the peace in the County aforesaid to keep, and all Laws and Ordinances made fur the good of the peace and for the Conservation of the same, to keep and cause to be kept and to chastize and punish all persons offending against those laws and Ordinances within the said County as the Law doth or shall direct.
"We have also assigned you, or any three or more of you, Justices, to inquire by the oaths or affirmations of good and lawful men of the said County by whom the truth of the matter may be better known of all and all manner of felonies and other misdeeds and offences whatsoever of which Justices of assize, Justices of Oyer and terminer or of goal delivery, or Justices 9f the peace according to the Laws of this Government may or ought to inquire. And to inspect all indictments before you, or any of you taken, or to be taken, or taken before others, late Justices of the Peace of the said County, and not yet determined or discharged, and to make and continue the process thereupon, and to hear and determine according to law all crimes and offences whatsoever properly determinable before you according to the laws, usages, and customs of this Commonwealth ; and to chastize and punish all persons offending in the premises by Sue, forfeiture, or otherwise, as the Law doth or shall direct, and therefore you are hereby strictly commanded
CIVIL AND LEGAL—THE NEW STATE PROJECT - 231
that you attend the keeping the peace, laws, and ordinances, and all and singular the premises, by the Constitution and laws of the Commonwealth are appointed, you make inquiry upon the premises, and hear, determine, perform, and fulfill the same, doing therein that which to Justice according to Law shall appertain.
"And we have also assigned you, the said Henry Taylor, William Scott, John Craig, John White, Daniel Leet, John Marshall, John Douglass, Benjamin Parkinson, John Reed, Abner Howell, Matthew McConnell, Samuel Johnston, and Samuel Mason, Justices of the Court of Common pleas for the said County of Washington, requiring and commanding you or any three or more of you to hold pleas of assize, Scire facies, replevins, and to hear and determine all and all manner of pleas, actions, suits and causes, civil, personal, real, and mixt, now depending or which shall hereafter be commenced or brought in the said Court according to law, and to hold specie' courts for the more speedy determination of all causes of such defendants as are about to depart this Commonwealth, pursuant to the said Laws.
"And we have also assigned you the Bred Henry Taylor, William Scott, John Craig, John White, Daniel Leet, John Marshall, John Douglass, things now depending or which shall hereafter be commenced or brought in the said Court, make orders and do and perform all matters and
Benjamin Parkinson, John Reed, Abner Howell, Matthew McConnell, Samuel Johnston and Samuel Mason, Justices of the Orphans' Court for the said County of Washington, requiring you or any three or more of you to hold Orphans' Courts, to hear and determine all matters and
things to the said Court appertaining and by law directed.
"Given by order of the Council under the hand of His Excellency
Joseph Reed, Esquire, President, and the seal of the State at Philadelphia this twenty fourth day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-one.
"T. MATLACK, SECY."
The New State Project.—The justices having been commissioned, courts are now ready to be opened, that protection to the rights of person and of property may be provided by the due and regular administration of the law. But, omitting more than a mere reference to the difficulties arising out of land titles, occasioned by the fact that settlers were claiming under rights acquired from two different sovereignties exercising the right of eminent domain, difficulties which have already been noticed in a previous chapter, when treating of the surveys made tinder Virginia warrants during this period, resulting almost in a declaration of war by Pennsylvania against her sister State, there must now be treated another matter of serious contention which had its origin and existence chiefly within the limits of Washington County, and which has received the name of the " New State Project."
The reader will recollect the pompous petition to the Continental Congress for the erection of a new government, copied in our " Boundary Controversy," the date of which is now well fixed as in the summer of 1776.¹ The proposed government was to be called Westsylvania, and its boundaries were: "Beginning at the Eastern Bank of the Ohio, opposite the mouth of the Scioto, & running thence in a direct Line to the Owasito Pass, thence to the top of the Allegheny Mountains, thence with the Top of the said Mountains to the Northern Limits of the Purchase made from the Indians in 1768, at the Treaty of Fort Stanwix, thence with said Limits to the Allegheney or Ohio River, and thence down the said River as purchase
¹ See ante, p. 187
from the said Indians at the said Treaty of Fort Stanwix to the Beginning." He will also remember how that soon afterwards a disloyal combination was discovered, trials for treasonable offenses were had, and the ringleader of the conspiracy, whoever be was, was put out of the way. This in 1777-78. The same condition of disaffection was developed again in 1780, and the scheme for the establishment of a new State resuscitated.
The writer can see no possible connection between the new State project, as developed either in 1776 or in 1780, with the "proposed new government" talked of in Dunmore's time, called the Walpole Grant, or " Vandalia ;" ² nor has lie seen any evidence whatever, that the desire to set up an independent State establishment was in any way induced by the Pennsylvania enactment to abolish slavery ;³ an industrious reading has brought up no documentary proof of such fact nor contemporaneous complaints on that score; indeed, the time when the new State was first petitioned for, to wit, 1776, four years before the Abolition act was passed, would seem to relieve the subject from any doubt in that respect.
The Indiana Company, or grant, might have had some connection with the origin of the new State project.4 That company was pressing for a recognition of its claims before the Virginia Assembly in
² See Mr. Veech, Centenary Memorial, 347. "Mason and Dixon's Line," 56.
³ Mr. Veech, Centenary Memorial, 340.
4 As there seems to be great misunderstanding relative to the Indiana Company, and where its grant lay, a brief notice of it is proper, though its lands lay beyond the Pennsylvania boundary. If, however, the boundary line between Pennsylvania and Virginia had been established near Pittsburgh, east or west, that grant would have included the lauds now in Washington County.
In 1763, during the French and Indian war, William Treitt, with about twenty other Indian traders, among whom was George Morgan, then of the firm of Wharton, Baynton & Morgan, sustained losses by the depredations of the Shawanese, Delaware, and Huron tribes, aggro• gating a very large amount. At the treaty of Fort Stanwix, on Nov. 3, 1768, the Six Nations, as the head of the tribes, were held responsible for these losses, the aggregate amount ascertained at £85,916 10s. 84, New York currency, and through the influence of Sir William Johnson, the Indian agent, the Six Nations, as a compensation for them, executed and delivered to "His Majesty," etc., for the use of William Trent, in trust for himself and the other sufferers, a deed for " all that tract or parcel of laud beginning at the southerly side of the little Kanhaway Creek, where it empties itself into the river Ohio, and running thence southeast to the Laurel Hill; thence along the Laurel Hill until it strikes the river Monongahela; thence down the stream of the said river according to the several courses thereof to the southern boundary line of the province of Pennsylvania; thence westwardly along the course of the said province boundary line as far as the same shall extend; thence by the same course to the river Ohio; and thence down the river to the place of beginning, inclusively." It is seen that this grant does not, as many have written, embrace the present State of Indiana. The Indiana Company, for so the traders organized, failed during colonial times to acquire the royal confirmation of their claim under their deed, and in 1776 endeavored to obtain a recognition of their grant by the Virginia government, but again failed; in 1782, however, a committee of Congress reported favorably, but Congress itself declined the power to recognize. As late as 1791 the company was vainly attempting to obtain a rehearing before the General Court of Virginia, and an effort was also fruitlessly made by a bill in equity in the Supreme Court of the United States. Thus this immense grant, containing millions of acres, amounted to nothing.
232 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
October, 1776, and in 1781-82 was making a like fruitless endeavor before the Continental Congress. And as the lands claimed all lay within the boundaries of the new State, it may have been that among the promoters of the project under consideration were, some of them, members of the Indiana Company.
Believing, then, that neither the old " new government" scheme mentioned nor the abolition of slavery in Pennsylvania had much if anything at all to do with the new State project of 1780, which created so much alarm east of the mountains, it is thought that a sufficient cause for the agitation is found in the peculiar condition of affairs in Southwestern Pennsylvania at that time.
There was, first, the unrest natural to the pioneers of any new country, leading them, after having endured the dangers and hardships of the wilderness, to seek like trials and excitements farther away in the backwoods. This, perhaps, carried off the early emigration from these parts into Kentucky and Tennessee. Then again, with those who remained, the long-extended range of mountains to the eastward formed a barrier which not only shut them out from the seaboard markets but also weakened the protective power of the State government (for of national power there was none), and the people felt that, unaided and unprotected in the past, in the future their common weal was dependent upon their own autonomy. What one of them ever imagined that the future would provide the force which would break down that mountain barrier ?¹ But looking westward and
¹ "The two great emigrant and pack-horse routes up to 1800," says Mr. Veech, Monongahela of Old," 37, " were the Pennsylvania [Pittsburgh, via Hanna's Town, Ligonier, Bedford] and the Virginia [Braddock's] roads heretofore noticed. ' The writer has seen as many as thirty packhorses in a caravan, pass through Uniontown in a day,—an occurrence so frequent as nut to attract unusual notice. . . . They were freighted with salt, sugar-kettles, bar iron. nail rods, glass, kegs of rum, powder, lead, &c. &c. A good horse carried from two hundred to three hundred pounds besides provisions and feed. These they would take up along the way at places they had dropped them in going down; having no other heavy down loading, merely peltry, ginseng, feathers, &c. The provisions consisted generally, of pone, cheese and dried venison. A bear skin to each horse was an indispensable accompaniment for a bed to the drivers and to protect the cargo from rain. Each horse had his bell, silent by day, but let loose at night when browsing. Two men generally managed ten or twelve horses, one before and one behind each train, to guide them among the trees, and protect the loading from side contact. Strength was also needful to load and unload daily. Emigrants would have their little all slung across one, two, or more horses, according to their abundance, surmounted by their wives and children, or the folk, with the little bag, or stocking of guineas, joes, or pistareeus, snugly ensconced in the salt or clothes bag, after the manner of Joseph's brethren on their trip to Egypt for corn. In 1784 the freight on goods from Philadelphia to Uniontown, was Five Dollars per one hundred pounds. In 1789, thirty shillings, (Four DoIllars,) from Carlisle,—the beginning of the pack-horse transportation. . . . This state of things made goods, even the necessaries of life, very high. The best of alum salt rated here at from $4 to $5 per bushel, of ninety sir pounds; ground alum salt, at from $3 to $3.50; coffee 33 cents per pound ; sugar, 25 cents ; Jamaica spirits, $2.33 per gallon. In 1784, wheat sold for 67 cents per bushel; corn, 22 cents ; rye, 50 cents. But flour at Natches, if you could get it there, was worth $25 per barrel! A good two horse wagon and gears could be bought for two pack-horse loads of salt, or a good tract of land of four hundred acres fur a rifle gun and a horn of powder."
southward they saw the broad waters of a magnificent natural outway, inexpensive and with an unlimited capacity, and at the farther terminus twenty-five dollars per barrel for their flour. And across the Ohio lay a boundless acreage, much of it ready for the plow; and down the southern bank of the beautiful river a garden-spot, an El Dorado. And remember, too, that the people were already taught the principles of liberty and self-government, and, further, that the then union of the States, being but a confederacy, wielded no power and could command no allegiance. Beside all, there was the unsettled state of affairs arising out of the " unrun" boundary, the source of many woes for so many years. Anarchy and confusion was indeed the rule, order and stability the exception.
(1780) What wonder then that Col. Daniel Brodhead, in command of Fort Pitt, should write, Sept. 23, 1780, as quoted by Mr. Veech :² " The emigrations from this new country to Kentucky are incredible, and this has given opportunity to disaffected people from the interior to purchase and settle their lands," and that he should write also, on Dec. 7, 1780, to Richard Peters,³ " I learn more and more of the disaffection of many of the inhabitants on this side the mountains. The King of Great Britain's health is often drunk in companies, and I believe those wish to see the regular troops removed from this department, and a favorable opportunity to submit to British government I" But of this state of public sentiment it has been wisely said,4 "This opinion was based not solely upon the disaffection of the people, but also upon the weakness of the governments, State and national. There was a deeply seated, sulky disappointment at having been abandoned by Virginia and Pennsylvania, which readily soured into aversion to both and to the United States, who they thought had failed to afford them due protection against the savage foes in their rear."
The new State project broke out afresh early in 1780, and, as will be inferred as the history of its resuscitation is unfolded, was supported chiefly by the Virginia adherents, discontented probably by the late adjustment of the boundary by the Baltimore agreement then before the Virginia Assembly for ratification. On May 31, 1780, Alexander McClean wrote from Redstone to Thomas Scott,5 then the member of the Supreme Executive Council for Westmoreland County :
" Mr. Adams was with me the other day, who seems greatly concerned about the progress of the new state; he informs me that a number of the persons over the River [i.e., in the present Washington county] who had signed the Petitions in your hands have been prevailed upon to vote for a new State, and he informs me that there Is to be a meeting at Colo. Cooks 6 the 25th if I mistake not of June in order to take the Sense of the people largely. Woe unto the Virginia lawyers, for they have (I
² Centenary Memorial, 340.
³ II. Olden Time, 378.
4 Mr. Veech, Centenary Memorial, 340.
5 VIII. Penna. Archives, 280.
6 Edward Cook's, east of the Monongahela.
CIVIL AND LEGAL—THE NEW STATE PROJECT - 233
believe) taken away the key of knowledge and are never likely to return again themselves. They have so blinded the Western world that they will not see, they have become so obstinate that nothing less than a new State can come under Consideration. I hope they will at last consider it properly. Mr. Adrims was to have wrote largely, but this opportunity could not be made to suit us both. . . . We have had a very dry sateen so far; the worms have been very destructive to flax &c., but
I think this morning will find them other employ, Viz, swimming."
What was done at the proposed meeting, and what further transactions there were relating to the new State during the subsequent part of 1780, there is no definite information; but it was during this period that the letters of Col. Brodhead, referring to the emigration to " Kentucke" and the disaffection of the inhabitants, heretofore quoted, were written. And it was at this time that the Continental Congress was endeavoring to have the seaboard States,—Virginia, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut,—all having claims westward towards the " South Sea," to cede their claims to the United States, and that on Oct. 10, 1780, Congress made an earnest appeal to that end, accompanied with an assurance that out of the Territories so ceded should be formed new States, not less than one hundred nor more than one hundred and fifty miles square.¹ It was at this time, too, that a pamphlet was written by the celebrated Thomas Paine, having the following title : " Public Good, being an Examination into the Claim of Virginia, to the Vacant Western Territory, and of the Right of the United States to the same; to which are added Proposals for Laying off a New State, to be applied as a Fund for Carrying on the War, or Redeeming the National Debt; written in the year 1780." It was not, therefore, an altogether unauspicious time to discuss the propriety, on the part of the Monongahela and Ohio valleys, of (1781). remaining in Pennsylvania or of joining in the new project. Even Thomas Scott was not astounded at the idea of the new State, for on Jan. 24, 1781, he wrote to President Reed, referring to the measures pending in Congress of the nature stated, and propounding certain interrogatories:
"1st. Does Congress expect any land off Pennsylvania? 2d. Do they mean by the promised reimbursements to pay a just proportion of the stun due the proprietary family as well as other expence ? 3d. Will the State come Into the measure? 4th. Will Pennsylvania let all the settlements on the Western waters [i.e., on Monongahela and Ohio] go with or be part of what they will relinquish? if the two first are in the affirmative, and the whole Plan calculated, as it appears to be, to bring the States into a firmer bond of union than they at present are, I can Intertain but Littell doubt of the third. And if the fourth is in the affirmative also, I believe it will meet but very few objections on this side the mountains; but should the unsettled part of Pennsylvania's claim be relinquished,³ and the settlements Retained, the people would certainly think themselves Intolerably aggrieved, Weed. Give up all and let us take our chance, or keep all and let us grow to be a considerable part of you, is the cry of many. Others say let us by mere dint of opposition force those Stores [Pennsylvania end Virginia] to relinquish us to Congress (on the present recommendation). whose procrastinated quarrel about our Country bath hung us, our wives, Children and Living, up an easy pray to the wages these so molly years, the settlement whereof bath in so many in-
¹ For greeter detail see Mr. Veech, Centenary Memorial, 347-49.
² VIII. Penn. Archives, 713.
³ That is, the parts north and west of the Allegheny River.
stances been totally neglected, and at best considered as a mere by business; which will at one stroke reconcile all our Territorial differences, and Inable us to exert our united strength against our common enemy. . . This is the present situation of this country, all in confusion and distraction, helpless for want of Government, and exposed to the Dayly Inrodes of the savage tribes."4
The whole of this letter is worthy of being read by him who would have full knowledge of the " destractions" of the times. The letter of Col. James Marshel to President Reed, of June 27, 1781,5 has already been quoted, wherein the colonel expressed his fear of "Involving the good Subjects of this State in Civil War with Col. Penticost's Banditti and a new government party that Exists here, and of Exposing our frontier Settlements to the greatest danger from the Indians." In November, 1781, Brig.-Gen. William Irvine became the commandant at Fort Pitt. He seemed to understand the people and to know how to deal with them much better than did his predecessor, Col. Brodhead. On Dec. 3, 1781, he wrote to William Moore, then president of the Supreme Executive Council : 6
. . . This misfortune [the fate of Colonel Lochry's command], added to the failure of General Clarke's expedition, has filled the people with great dismay. Many talk of retiring to the east side of the mountains early in the spring. Indeed, there is great reason to apprehend that the savages and perhaps the British from Detroit will push us hard in the spring; and I believe there never were posts, nor a country, in a worse state of defense; notwithstanding, I am well informed there have been sundry meetings of people at different places, for the purpose of concerting plans to emigrate into the Indian country, there to establish a government for themselves. . . . From what observations I have been able to make, I am of opinion there are many obvious reasons that no time should be lost in running the line between Virginia and Pennsylvania. Civil government will never be fairly established till thee, nor even the militia drawn out with regularity for their own defense. I have no reason as yet to complain of the people for the refractory, ungovernable, loose manners generally ascribed to them. I assure you, sir, my pity for their situation is rather excited than wrath or indignation kindled...."
President Moore recommended a method of diverting the people from their new State emigration by employing them in an invasion of the Indian country.7 On April 20, 1782, Gen. Irvine again writes from Fort Pitt,8 this time to Gen. Washington :
(1782)." ... Civil authority is by no means properly established in this country, which I doubt not proceeds in some degree from inattention in the executives of Virginia and Pennsylvania. Not running the boundary line is, I think, a proof of this, which is at present an excuse for neglects of duty of all kinds for at least twenty miles on each side of tire line. More evils will arise from this
neglect than people are aware of. Emigrations and new States are much talked of. Advertisements are set up announcing a day to assemble at Wheeling fur all who wish to become members of a new State on the Muskingum. A certain Mr. Johnson is at the head of this party ; he is ambitious, and some say disaffected. . . . Should these people actually emigrate they must be either entirely cut off or immediately take protection from the British, which I fear is the real design of some of the
4 The foregoing letter, only part of which is quoted, is one of the beat summaries of the causes for the encouragement given to the new Slate project, and there is not a word about the abolition of slavery as one of them.
5 IX. Penn. Archives, 233.
6 Washington-Irvine Correspondence, 229.
7 Ibid., 233. Which, by the way, was done, leading to Williamson's
and Crawford's unfortunate expeditions.
8 Ibid., 109.
234 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
party, though I think a great majority have no other views than to acquire lands."¹
There is now given an affidavit relating to the part taken by an old acquaintance, Dorsey Pentecost,² in the new State project, he at that time being a member of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania for Washington County :
"WASHINGTON COUNTY, ss.
" Personally appeared before me, the subscriber, one of the Commonwealth's Justices of the Peace for said County, Hugh M. Brackenridge, Esqr., being summoned to give evidence with regard to the conduct of Dorsey Pantecost, Esqr., in exciting and fomenting the present disturbances in the County of Washington ; saith that he heard Mr. Pentecost on his return from Council declare that the line, meaning that with Virginia and this Commonwealth, would never be run, and that this Country never would be Pennsylvania or Virginia, but a new State. At the time that meetings were frequently held in the County where matters of a seditious nature were proposed, anonymous notes in writing were circulated thro' the County, advertising a meeting under the pretence for consulting measures for the preservation of the County, which notes were in Mr. Pentecost's handwriting.
" On oath before me this 4th day of July, 1782.
To show that the new State advocates were not confined to Washington County, or to the vicinity of Pittsburgh, to which that county then extended, there is a letter from Christopher Hayes, of
Westmoreland County, to President Moore, dated " September ye 20th, 1782 :³
"After my best Compliments to you I enform your Excellency that the Commission for the Courts of Oyer and Terminer is Come to hand, and also Mr. McClean's Instructions for the Running of the Pennsylvania line, which is now sevarlly Threatened by those who Opposed it before, and our Lives Much Threatened by those who formerly held to the Government of Virginia and now to a New State. . . . As our Assessors was taking their Returns According to Law, the Opposers Assembled under arms, Drove them off From their Beauty, Fired Guns at them, and say they will not pay any Taxes nor be Obedient to our Laws, being they never took the oath of Fidelity to this State, But means to support a New State."
In a letter dated Washington County, Nov. 6,1782,4 directed to President Moore, Col. Pentecost, in his own peculiar way, and with a " Degree of warmth in Some Expressions," replies to the charges made against him in the affidavit before quoted, professing, however, a want of information as to their real nature, but dealing in truly vigorous language. A portion of his letter is as follows :
“.. The gentleman tells me that if he understood Mr. Brackenridge right, some depositions has reached the State House the Subject of which He could not perfectly collect as Mr. Brackenridge dealt in that amiable Doctrine of Enuendoes, and his Invictives was rather in the Generals; However they ware (or ware made) so Consequential as to be referred to a Committee, who called on Mr. Brackenridge for Information on the subject. That truly wise and good man (no doubt with the Sanctity of a Divine) told them that the Charges were true, but the Committee with some members of your Board Concluded that I was a Character too Insignificant fur their notice. . . ."
¹ See letter from same to President Moore, May 9, 1782, Wash. and Irv. Cor., 244.
² IX. Penn. Archives, 672.
³ Ibid., 637. A special commission had been sent July 24th to Christopher Hayes, Dorsey Pentecost, and Edward Cook to hold a Court of Oyer and Terminer.
4 IX. Penn. Archives, 661.
The result of which was, as intimated, that the government, pursuing as heretofore a policy of conciliation, instituted no proceedings against individuals.
But soon afterwards, to wit, on Dec. 3, 1782, the General Assembly passed an act 5 upon the subject, a portion of which is here given :
" AN ACT to prevent the erecting any new and independent State within die Limits of this Commonwealth.
"SECT. 1. Whereas, by the Separation of the Thirteen United States from Great Britain, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania bath become sovereign and independent State, and, in Consequence of such Separation a Government, established solely on the authority of the People, bath been formed; and it being evident that every County bath by the Constitution, or by Laws enacted for that Purpose, an incontestible Right to send Deputies to represent them in the General Assembly, and that they have exercised that Right, they being now actually represented in. this House; therefore all the Inhabitants of this Commonwealth, as they are under the protection of its Laws, are bound by and do owe Allegiance thereto;
"SECT. II. And Whereas great Exertions have been made for the Defence of the Frontiers, and large Sums expended therein, notwithstanding the Embarrassments and Difficulties under which the Commonwealth bath and still doth labour in its Finances;
"SECT. III. And Whereas this Commonwealth is indebted to the late Proprietaries of Pennsylvania in a large Sum of money, payable to the End of the War, and each and every County ought to contribute its just Part or Proportion for that End, and the unlocated Lands within this State are and always have been considered a valuable Fund towards paying and discharging the said Debt;
"SECT. IV. And, Whereas, notwithstanding the Premises, this house bath received Information that divers ill disposed Persons, setting at naught every Principle of public Virtue, end pursuing their ambitious and interested Views, have caused great Uneasiness among the good people of this State, by manifesting the most criminal Design of setting up a distinct State or Government within this Commonwealth;
"SECT. V. Be it therefore enacted, . . . That if any Person or Persons shall erect or form, or shall endeavor to erect or form, any new and independent Government, within the Boundaries of this Commonwealth, as described in the Charter, and settled between this State and the State of Virginia, each Person or Persons, being thereof legally convicted in any Court of Oyer and Terminer, shall be adjudged guilty of High Treason."
In subsequent sections, of which there were six in number, it was also made high treason, and punishable with death, to set up notices calling meetings for the purpose of forming a new and independent government, or to advocate the same at any public meeting; trials were authorized in any county of the Commonwealth, and authority given the Supreme Executive Council to call out the militia to suppress any attempts " to set up a new and independent government in any county or counties within the boundaries of this Commonwealth, as above mentioned."
(1783). Then the Supreme Executive Council, through John McDowell,6 the member from Chester County, commissioned Rev. James Finley to observe the condition of sentiment among the people, and to dissuade them from the new treasonable project. Mr. McDowell said, "He has frequently Preached among them, & is expected there this spring ; he will therefore have it in his power to execute his Commission, without incurring the least suspicion of being employed by Council." The person employed,
5 2 Dall. L., 82.
6 IX. Penn. Archives, 729.
CIVIL AND LEGAL—ORGANIZATION OF THE COURTS - 235
the terms of Mr. McDowell's letter, as well as of the instructions' supplied to Rev. Mr. Finley, indicate the wisdom and prudence of the course adopted in dealing with this delicate subject, especially difficult to deal with among a people distracted in so many respects.
The report of Rev. Mr. Finley was as follows,' omitting, however, the interesting circular letter he had used among the inhabitants:
"CECIL COUNTY, MD., April 28, 1783. "1783,
"As ye Hon'ble Council over which your Excellency presides was pleased to appoint me to fulfil ye Intentions of ye Legislature by endeavoring to bring those deluded Citizens in p western Counties to a proper Sense of their duty, who seemed disposed to separate from ye Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, & erect a new & Independent state & left it with me to act as prudence might direct, &. And, as I undertook this business, they doubtless had a right to demand, & therefore may justly expect me to give an account of my conduct herein; which, may it please your Excellency, was as follows:
"Immediately upon ye receipt of ye appointment, A your Excellency's Instructions, which were of singular use to me, I sett off; and endeavored to gain all ye knowledge I could of ye sentiments and conduct of ye people in ye different parts of those settlements. And, as I found yt ye Inhabitants on p east side of ye. River Youghioganni were mostly opposite to a New State, I passed them by. A considerable number of those between an River and p Monaungehela, as well as it great part of Washington County, I found to be fond of it; being misled by a few aspiring, & I suspect ill-designing men, or by men, who bad not thorowly considered ye whole matter which later was ye case of some of ye Clergy. I also found yt ye Act to prevent ye erecting any New and Independent States, Ac.; and likewise ye Act for p sale of certain lands therein mentioned, Ac.; of ye 3d of December last, quite intimidated & discouraged p populace, who had been buoyed up with ye hopes of easily obtaining, A prospects of great advantage by a New State; and yt even ye Ringleaders were for eating in their words & putting a new face upon their conduct; so yt ye design of ye Legislature was partly effected, yet ye people seemed rather bushed than convinced:
Therefore I called upon a number of ye Ministers Jr other Gentlemen, conversed with some & wrote to others, as well as cautioned ye people after Sermon against having any hand in such Schemes.
"The Substance of my conversation, Cautions, A letters is to be found In ye copy of a letter I herewith send your excellency ; & which is nearly ye same with many I wrote on ye occasion; A which, in a leaser° hour your Excellency may give a glance to if it may be thought worth while.
"I carefully concealed my appointment from every one; nor did any appear to suspect it. But while some approved of my conduct, others, viz., ye New Statesmen alledged I was too officious: yet I suspect appearing in a public Character in yt affair would not have answered any better end. I concluded however that having ye letters in their hands & reading them one to another, as I found wits the case, they would be obliged to attend to ye arguments. I hope some good is done; A cannot but believe yt ye New State affair is over at present. I was six weeks in y' country; A would have tarried longer had it appeared requisite for ye goal of p State. But I must tell your Excellency yt I fear notch opposition will be made, especially by those disappointed in their expectations about a new State, A artifice need to evade a tax. I was greatly opposed in this; and cannot answer ye objections against a tax in cash, otherwise than by alledging yt p Assembly would surely adopt some easy measure which ye people could comply with; and I hope this will be done, as those Settlements are early destitute of cash.
"If a Campaign should be carried en to your westward this summer or fall in order to check ye insolence of ye savages, who have already killed A captivated many ; ye people, I doubt not, will readily contribute in grain or wheat, each man his share of ye tax; A by this means will be brought into ye custom without either force or disputation. And if it should seem good to ye legislature, until money shall circulate more extensively, to appoint active & hottest men to receive ye publick dues in flour & convey it to New Orleans to market, ye people would this way not only pay ye public tax, but also take out patents for their lands, So that in a short tints many thousands would come into ye treasury, which otherwise need not be expected. With an ardent wish for ye peace A prosperity of your Government this comes from your Excellency's
"most obedient & humble servant.
The reverend commissioner was much too modest in his expectations as to the results of his mission. The new State project troubled the government no more, and the history of this contention is now closed by quoting from the address of Mr. Veech.³
“Now it is presumed that Sir. Finley's conferences with the clergy west of the Monongahela were chiefly. if not wholly, with Presbyterians, ____ McMillen, Smith, Dud, and Clark. Does he mean that some of them had been misleading the people? His language looks that way. And if they did so because they had not thoroughly considered the whole matter,' who can blame them? It was a captivating scheme, and until recently not forbidden. And if they had not been as wise as serpents' to discern its seditious origin and the mischiefs it would work, it was perhaps because they were as harmless as doves' Be this as it may, the project quickly died out, and disaffection receded. . . . And yet, in looking back upon the new State project, one may be pardoned fur the half drawn sigh at its decapitation. With Pittsburgh for its capital, so natural as to seem to have been made for it, how easily would it have sat in the sisterhood of States."
THE CIVIL AND LEGAL HISTORY.—( Continued.)
Organization of the Courts—Returns of the First General Election—Early Judicial Proceedings—Reorganization of the Courts—Reduction of Limits. New Counties—The Constitution of 1790—Judicial Districts —Hon. Alexander Addison—Hon. Samuel Roberts—Hon. Thomas H. Baird—Hon. Nathaniel Ewing—Constitution of 1838—Hon. Samuel A. Gilmore—Amendment of 1860—Hon. James Lindsey—Hon. J. Kennedy Ewing—Hon. B. B. Chamberlin—Hon. A. W. Acheson—Hon. George S. Hart.
(1781). Organization of the Courts.—On the 17th day of September, 1781, to which date the reader is asked to return, Henry Taylor, being the first-named justice in the general commission heretofore copied, and therefore by long usage the president of the courts about to be organized, issued the venire for a grand jury, still on the files in its proper place, which is here copied because it is quite different from such venires of the present day:
" WASHINGTON COUNTY,
" The Common Wealth of Pennsylvania, To the sheriff of Washington County, Greeting:
" We command you, that you omit not, by reason of any Liberty within your county, but that you enter therein, and that you cause to come before our Justices assigned to keep the peace In the said County, and also to hear and determine divers felonies, trespasses, and other misdemeanors In the said county committed, on the Second day of October now next Deming, at the House of David Hoge, at Catfish Camp, in the said county, Twenty-four good and Lawful men of the body of the county affore said, then and there to inquire, present, do and perform, all and singular such !hinge, which on behalf of the said Commonwealth shall be Wonted them ; And have you then there as well the names of the Jurors aforesaid, as also this writ: Witness Henry Taylor, Esquire, at Catfish. the Seventeenth day of September, in the year of our Lord, one thousand Seven hundred and Eighty one, and in the Sixth year of the said Commonwealth.
[Indorsed] “HENRY TAYLOR."
³ Centenary Memorial, 355
236 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
"I have Sumoned the men whose names are mentioned in the Pannal hereto annexed as within I am commanded,
Twenty-six in number.
On the same day (Sept. 17, 1781) another venire was directed to the sheriff,¹ commanding him
" To cause to come before our Justices at Catfish Camp, at our County Court of Common Pleas there bi be held for the County of Washington, on the Second day of October next, Twenty-four free and lawful men of the body of your County, each of Whome has forty Shillings of Lands, Tenements or Rents by the year at Least, by whom the truth of the matter may be better known, and who are in no ways of kin to the parties, to make a Certain Jury of the County between the parties aforesaid in the pleas there depending, Because the said parties, between a home the Matters in variance are, have put themselves upon that Jury: and have there the names of the Jurors and this writ: Witness Henry Taylor, Esquire, at Washington² the seventeenth day of September, Annoq. Domini, 1781."
The panel returned with this venire for the first petit jury contains the following names :
By this writ and panel of jurors provision was made for the first Court of Common Pleas of Washington County.
But, as heretofore written, the Court of Quarter Sessions of the Peace, etc., was the principal court during the existence of the Constitution of 1776, and the venire first quoted is that which brought together at " Catfish Camp" the several justices commissioned, and who held the first term, the record of which in the original minutes will now be laid before the reader:
" At a Court of General Sessions of the Peace held at the house of David Hoge,³ at Catfish Camp, for the County of Washington on the
¹ There was no sheriff yet in commission for Washington County, but it will be remembered that in the organic act it wax provided that until a sheriff and coroner should be chosen for Washington County, the sheriff and coroner of Westmoreland Count) should "officiate and act."
² This shows the struggle of this place for name,—Catfish Camp, Washington, Baysett Town. David Hoge wished tomtit his town after his kinsman, Richard Bassett, of Delaware, as to whom see Johnston's" Hist. of Cecil Co., Md.," 106, 177, l84-83.
³ It is thought that Dash] Hoge never paved at Catfish Camp, though be doubtless had a cabin here. He was the brother of Jonathan Huge,
Second day of October, in the year of our Lord one Thousand Seven hundred and Eighty-one, before Usury Taylor, Esquire, and his associates, Justices of the said Court.
"Hugh Montgomery Brackenridge,4 Samuel Irwin, and David Sample, Esquires, admitted Attorneys, and sworn in open court.
"The said David Sample;5 Esquire, appointed To prosecute for the State.
Alexander Eady, Foreman.
"Alexander Eady, Thomas Hambleton, James Patterson, Abraham Vanmidleswarth, and Nathaniel Brown, appointed to View, and if necessary Lay out a Road the Nearest and best way from Catfish Camp to the Presbyterian Meeting-house in the forks of Chartiers creek, petitioned fur by a number of the Inhabitants of Strabane Township, and to Report to Next Term.
“Hugh Montgomery Brackenridge, Esquire, Complains that a Road is much wanted from Catfish Camp to Pittsburgh; Whereupon Henry Hulce, Andrew Hood, Moses Coe, Joseph Beelor, James Bradford, Jr., and John White, Junr., are appointed to View, and if necessary Lay out the Said Road, the nearest and best way from point to point, and report to next Term.
" Hugh Montgomery Brackenridge Complains that a Road is much Wanted from John Cannon, Esq., his Mill to Pittsburgh; Whereupon Robert Raletone, William Long, Thome Brakes, John Springer, John Henry, and Nathaniel Stokes are appointed to View, and if necessary to Lay out the said Road, by Course and distance the nearest and best way from point to point, and report to next Term.
"The recommendation of the Court is granted to James Wilson for keeping a Public house of Entertainment at Catfish Camp."
The only other item of business transaction the Quarter Sessions at this its first term is the binding in a recognizance of John Fisher to appear at the next term, and in the mean time to keep the peace "towards all the liege subjects of the Commonwealth, and particularly towards William Bowan, Elizabeth
of Cumberland County, who was a member from that county of the Constitutional Convention of 1776, and also of that of 1790, and a member of the Supreme Executive Council in 1786. But it is pretty well settled that the first terms of the courts for Washington County were held upon the lot occupied by John Dodd ; for in the minutes of the first board of county commissioners tor the year 1783, in which year is the first recorded tax levy, moo item of the levy watt, "Laid on to pay the Court-House real to Charles or John Dodd, £40." The record of disbursements shows that there was paid to Charles Dodd that same year, for "Courthouse Rent, 1 year, £15." This being for the third year, the inference is permissible that £15 was paid for the second year, and £10 for the first year. John Dodd occupied, as is well established, the lot whereon it present stand.. Mr. R. F. Strean's building, on the northwest corner of Main Street and Strawberry Alley, and upon that lot doubtless was held the first sessions of the courts. There is evidence that terms were held at oilier houses also, until were erected the Public Buildings, an account of which will appear elsewhere.
4 This was the Hugh Henry Brackenridge of a few years later. Just when or why or how his name was changed, as it undoubtedly was, is not known. He was born at Campbleton, Scotland, In 1748; came with his father to Pennsylvania at the age of five; graduated at Princeton College. 1771, and was master of an academy in Maryland when the Revolution broke out; removed to Philadelphia, studied divinity, became a chaplain in the army; settled at Pittsburgh in 1781; In 1786 was sent to the Legislature to have Allegheny County erected; was made a judge In 1789, and from 1799 until his death at Carlisle, June 25,1816, was a justice of the Supreme Court of the State. He took a prominent part in the Whiskey Insurrection (quad vide), and was the author of several works, satirical, historical, and literary.
5 David Sample was admitted to the bar of Bedford County at the first court in 1771.
CIVIL AND LEGAL—ORGANIZATION OF THE COURTS - 237
Bowan, and Elce Fisher, wife of the said John Fisher."
There was but little business transacted at the first term of the Court of Common Pleas. The venire, as heretofore copied, was dated Sept. 17, 1781. On that day a suit was brought by Philip Gililan against Mary Peters, widow. This defendant was the wife of Indian Peter, living on "Indian Hill" tract, where West Brownsville now is .¹ The case was never brought to trial, being nonprossed after a first and second rule to declare. No paper in the suit remains on file, except the writ, which was a summons in trespass on the case. The second suit on the docket was Sarah Taylor vs. David Williamson. At the term time there was a special imparlance, and special bail was entered. January term, 1782, rule to declare, and continuance. This defendant was Col. David Williamson, who the next month, February, 1782, led the militia of the county against the Moravian Indians at Gnadenhutten.
To this first term of the Common Pleas there were fifteen causes, ten of which were ejectments. In the first year of this court's existence there were two hundred and eighty-five causes, of which fifty-seven were contentions about land titles. The great source of these contentions, it will readily be surmised, was the condition attached by Virginia, on June 23, 1780, to her ratification of the Baltimore agreement of Aug. 31, 1779, determining the boundary controversy, in which it was provided "that the private property and rights of all persons acquired under, founded on, or recognized by the laws of either country previous to the date thereof be saved and confirmed to them, although they should be found to fall within the other; and that in the decision of disputes thereon preference shall be given to the elder or prior right, whichever of the said States the same shall have been acquired under," which humiliating condition Pennsylvania, in the interest of peace, on Sept. 23, 1780, had accepted.² Hence it followed that to determine which was the prior right, acquired under one State or the other, a suit at law was necessarily unavoidable, and the Virginia jurisdiction having been terminated the land-title contentions were left to be decided in the Pennsylvania courts, the greater part of them in Washington County.
At the first term of the Orphans' Court Elizabeth Green, minor, of the age of fourteen years, was " put an apprentice" to Patrick Allison, " till she arrives
¹ See Centennial Celebration of Washington County, 45.
² Of course the terms of this condition referred entirely to land titles. But a curious application of it was attempted. During the Virginia usurpation, Dorsey Pentecost had held the office of clerk of the Court of Yohogania County, and Benjamin Johnston had been the county surveyor for that county, exercising that office even after Washington County was erected. These worthies, when they failed to get the corresponding offices for Washington County, complained in vigorous English that their respective rights under the terms of the compromise condition bad been violated! See their letters: Dorsey Pentecost, Oct. 6, 1783, X. Penn. Archives, 181 ; Benjamin Johnston, Nov. 1,1784; Ibid., 611.
- 16 -
at the age of eighteen years, to learn to read and also the art of housewifery." George Green, a minor of the age of two years, was " put an apprentice" to Patrick Allison, " till he arrives at the age of twenty-one years, to learn reading, writing, the five rules of arithmetic, also the art of farming." Abraham Teagarden was appointed to be the guardian of the "affairs" of Jesse Bumgardner, a minor, "as far as his concerns lie in Washington County."
In order to show the style in which our fathers attended this term of court, it is said by Judge Wilkeson, in his" Early Recollections of the West,"³ writing of this period: "So great was the destitution of comfortable clothing, that when the first court of Common Pleas was held in Catfish, now Washington, a highly respectable citizen, whose presence was required as a magistrate, could not attend court without first borrowing a pair of leather breeches from an equally respectable neighbor, who was summoned on the grand jury. The latter lent them, and having no others had to stay at home."
But at this term of court who of the justices commissioned on the 24th of August, 1781, to hold the courts came together and what their surroundings ? To this inquiry the only answer to be found is in the letter of the truly honorable Thomas Scott to President Reed,4 portions of which are copied:
"WASHINGTON, October 19, 1781.
"I am honored with your favor dated In Council, Philada., 27 August, 1781, and the several Commissions Inclosed. Immediately on rect. whereof I called a number of the Gent'n named in the general commission [i.e., to the justices], and administered to them the necessary oaths. Also acquainting as many as I had the opportunity of, with the paragraff in your Letters which mentions the oaths of Citizenship to be taken by our Electors. I am exceedingly sorry that I have to mention the great disgust this [last] requisition gives many, which Increased from day to day until the court, when it came to be more publicly spoken of, and it was with considerable difficulty we could prevail upon such of the Grated jury as had not, to take the oath of fidelity. However they did, and business was done in a tolerable manner, but the great question was about the election.5
"Our County, its true, is unhapily divided into two grand parties, namely the Pennsylvania rt Virginia, each claiming some special Indulgence ; the one for their steady attachment to the state, the other on account of their Transfer, as it is called, from the other state. For my part I think what is right Is right in either party, and am well satisfied all things prior to the agreement of the two states should be forgotten, and every man stand or fall on the demerit of his deeds in futur. My earnest desire to reconcile these parties, and steady adherence to nuterality between them In hopes of accomplishing this end, however unreconciled they yet remain, hath had the effect in some measure of softening their resentment to each other on this ocation, and bringing the resentment of both on myself; one party alledging that of Course I was of the other, and therefore had wrote to Council that the oath might be urged in order to prevent the voats of those who still felt a little sore through old prejudices. The other avering I ought of right, to be of their party and was not, but had wrote for the said Instructions thereby to prevent the voats of those who were religiously scrupulous of multiplying oaths, especially as the line is not yet run, and thought themselves entitled to voat on their known attachment to the state, and, in a word, both declared for voating without oath, and that I was the only cause of its being required. So jealous and so unjust is the spirit
² American Pioneer, 159.
4 IX. Penn. Archives, 438.
6 To be referred to hereafter.
238 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
of party, Council will see no mistery in all this, and if good grow to the County out of the mistake, I have no objection to the small sacrifice.
" Being under an indispensable necessity of being at Westmoreland Court the very day of the election I was not present, and know not how it was conducted. But I conceive there is the greatest necessity of the Legislature immediately ascertaining by publick action on what Terms The Inhabitants of this disputed Territory shall become Lawful Jurors, voaters, etc., which I hope the Council will think of, and if necessary Lay it before the house of assembly. I have not the least doubt but the people will Generally be good and faithful subjects if properly managed and supported.
" We still groan under the difficulty of an unrun boundary line. . . .
"I presume the Gentn who remonstrated against the commission of the peace for the County being Issued, are on cool reflection convinced that it was not nor could it be a private election as to time, that being settled by act of Assembly, and as to the privity of place I believe great part was ocationed by some persons Pulling down and secreting the advertisements which the trustees published for that purpose. However, I think all are nearly satisfied on learning that there is a mode provided whereby those Townships that have not elected at all may be supplied, and also a way to displace such ashy their conduct show themselves unworthy the honour and trust of a magistrate, some of which rank (I am sorry I have it to tell you) I expect will shortly be told out to the assembly, and that one of those recommended by these very Gentn will be in the list. So liable to mistakes is human nature, the best proof of mankind is Tryal ; but I confess when this proof is obtained at the expense of disgracing an hon'ble commission or betraying the trust of a people its too dear; but when a good man and good officer is found I can't think the discontent of a frowning, freting party too high a price. This county is just like other parts of the world, Let a petition be formed to burn the church and some Signers may be got to it."
The General Election.—It will be observed that although the first terms of the courts have passed, the county is yet without representatives in Council and in the Assembly, a sheriff, a coroner, and county commissioners of her own ; persons for these offices had not yet been chosen.
The Constitution of 1776¹ provided that the day for holding the general elections throughout the State should" be the "Second Tuesday of. October forever," ² which in 1781 was the 9th day of that month, and on that day were chosen persons to fill the positions referred to. It was to this election Mr. Scott made reference in the early part of his letter, and it would seem that the oath of allegiance and fidelity required by the instructions of the Supreme Executive Council to be taken by each elector was dispensed with by consent of both parties into which our people were divided, and the result of this violation will presently appear.³
¹ See Sections IX. and XVII., Chapter IL
² Unchanged until the Constitution of 1874, ninety-eight years.
³ This general election by the people of the whole county was held at what was regarded as the court-house. Such elections were held at the county-seat until 1787 ; see act of 1785, III. Carey & Bioren, 91. By the act of Sept 27,1787 (III. Ibid., 212), the county for the first time was divided into election districts six in number, and their boundaries described. The places for holding the elections in each district as numbered were as follows:
1. House of Jacob Cline, on Muddy Creek.
2. Ronne of Sheshbezer Benny, on Pigeon Creek.
3. House of Daniel Shaughan, on Chartiers Creek (?).
4. Court-house, Washington.
5. House of Joshua Meek, Raccoon Creek (?).
6. House of George Blazer, Kings Creek.
It would be unprofitable to follow the subsequent changes innumerable made in the election districts.
The returns of this general election traveled slowly on their way to Philadelphia, at least it was not until Nov. 30, 1781, that there was thp following record of the proceedings of the Supreme Executive Council:4
"A return of the general election of the county of Washington was read, by which it appears that the following gentlemen were duly elected, vizt.:
" Councellor, Dorsey Pentecost.
"Representatives, James Edgar. John Cannon.
"Sheriffs, Van Swearingen, Andrew Swearingen.
"Coroners, Wm. McFarlane, Win. McComb.
"Commissioners, George Vallandigham, Thomas Crooks, John McDowell.
" Resolved, That Van Swearingen, Esquire, be appointed Sheriff of the county of Washington, and that Wm. McFarlin be appointed Coroner of the said county, and that they be commissioned accordingly."6
4 XIII. Col. Records, 134.
5 So far as the elections for sheriffs and coroners were concerned, under the Constitution of 1770 the election was but a recommendation, as will be remembered, and the Council could commission either of the two chosen as " fit persons."
6 Dorsey Pentecost and John Canon are well known to us. James Edgar, celebrated in our early annals for his upright and influential character, was born in York County, Pa., Nov. 15,1744, was a member from that county of the Provincial Conference which met at Carpenter's Hall, Philadelphia, June 18, 1776, to make provision for a " new government in this province on the authority of the people only;" on July 8, 1776, elected (and served) as a delegate from that county to the convention which framed the Constitution of 1776; a member from that county of the Council of Safety, 1777 ; member of Sup. Ex. Council from that county in 1777; removed to and settled in Smith, now Cross Creek township, Washington County, in the fall of 1779; with John Mc. Dowell, member of the Board of Censors for Washington County in 1783; commissioned, with William McFarland, an associate justice, Sept. 30, 1788, and held that office till his death. In 1794 he was prominent in the Whiskey Insurrection on the side of law and order. He died in Smith township, on June 8, 1814.
Van Swearingen was son of John Swearingen, of Springhill township, Fayette County, who had come from Berkeley County, Va. He was a justice of Westmoreland County, and resided opposite the present Greenfield until Washington County was erected, that is, when at home, as lie was a noted frontiersman, known as " Indian Van," and was a captain from Aug. 9, 1776, in Col. Mackay's regiment, the Eighth Pennsylvania line, in the Revolution. Samuel Brady, his son-in-law then, or afterward, and the famous Indian scout, was also a captain in same regiment. In 1784 he was succeeded by Col. James Marshel as sheriff of Washington County, and in 1785 removed to a tract purchased from Capt. Isaac Cox, embracing Cox's fort, just above Wellsburg, upon which he resided till his death Dec. 2,1793, in the fifty-first year of his age. His will is recorded in our register's office, in Book I., p.220. The writer has a letter from Van Swearingen, dated March 17, 1791, to Capt. Josiah Swearingen, in which he says, "I am going to give you the Late nuse in this neiborhood. The Indens lately killed & took seven people 2 miles from my fort & fore others in the woods in this neiborhood. Brady .& others 25 folowed or scouted after savedges returned with 4 skilps & a grate quantity of plunder. They wounded Indins that escapt & killed a squaw By axidant which thay did not scalpt."
William McFarland, son of Col. Daniel McFarland (who settled at the locality of Ten-Mile village, coming from New Jersey, probably as early as 1776 or 1777, and who died in 1817, aged eighty-seven), was born in New Jersey about 1756, and came with his lather to the West; Sept. 30, 1788, commissioned as a justice of the courts; his son James was the father of Hon. N. C. McFarland, of the United States Land Office; his daughter Sarah was the mother of Abel M. Evans, of Ten-Mile village; his daughter Mary, the mother of Hon. John A. Dille, Morgantown, W. Va.; his daughter Phoebe, the mother of Miss Phoebe Clark and her sister, the wife of William H. Underwood, late register of wills; and his son Samuel was well known as Maj. McFarland, a citizen of Washington at his death in 1868.
George Vallandigham has been known as a justice of the extinct Virginia courts, lived at the present Noblestown, on the P. C. & St. L. Railway, and is said to have been the grandfather of Hon. C. L. Vallandig-
CIVIL AND LEGAL—EARLY JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS - 239
Early Judicial Proceedings.—The result of holding this general election without the oath of allegiance and fidelity was that Pentecost, Canon, and Vallandigham, hitherto ardent Virginia partisans, and Crooks and McDowell, a little identified with that side, were elected to most important offices. The Virginians were in the majority.
The organization of Washington County as a civil municipality, adapted for the protection and preservation of the rights of person and property, is now completed, though her troubles are not quite at an end. It has already been seen that for several years the old contest still survived, and there is a trace of the old trouble in the records of the second term of the Court of Quarter Sessions, held on the 1st day of January, 1782.
(1782). The second, third, fourth, and fifth causes entered to that term in the said court are each entitled, Respublica vs. Gabriel Cox. Number 2 was an indictment for assault, on information of Isaac Gibson ; Number 3, an indictment for assault, on information of Richard Parkinson; Number 4, an indictment for assault and battery, on information of Hugh Sterling; and Number 5, an indictment for assault and battery, on information of Hugh Scott. The first two causes were continued, but coming up at the next term, held April 2, 1782, were tried and Col. Cox was acquitted. The jury in Number 2 was composed of David Steel, Jeremiah Riggs, Nathan Ellis, William Howe, Thomas Bond, Edward Miles, Brice Virgin, James Curry, James Kykendall, Rezin Virgin, John Wall, and George Myers. The jurymen in Number 3 were the same, except Peter Hanks in place of Rezin Virgin. To the bills found in Numbers 4 and 5 special pleas of misnomer were filed, but after the verdicts of not guilty in Numbers 2 and 3 were rendered, each of the other causes was ended with a " Noli Prosequi." There were other indictments against John Vanata and Michael Tygart, which evidently had their origin in the same matter as those against Gabriel Cox.
These causes will now be explained. The arrest of the persons named, and their trials for assault and battery, brought about complaints to the Virginia authorities, who in turn complained to the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania; whereupon that body called—upon Thomas Scott, the clerk of the court, for a report of the facts and circumstances.¹ Thus called upon, Mr. Scott wrote a letter to President Dickinson, dated Aug. 15, 1783,² in extracts from which a full explanation of the prosecutions referred to is given :
" ... The case of Col. Cox is shortly thus : prosecutions were Instituted against him for assaults and Batteries in useing compulsory meas-
ham, the noted Ohio Democrat during the Rebellion. Thomas Crooks settled near Hillsboro', on the National road; John McDowell lived not or from the Chartiers Presbyterian Church, near Canonsburg.
¹ See for correspondence, X. Penn. Archives, 50; XI. Ibid., 499; X. Ibid., 65, 72, 78.
² X. Ibid., 81.
ures to draw forth the militia of Washington County, By virtue of orders issued by Col. Penticost in Character of Lieutenant of Yohogania county, for the Service of Genl. Clark's expedition down the Ohio in 1781. Which orders, as well the people who were thus compelled to service, as the Generality of the people of the county could not conceive to have proceeded from the authority of Virginia; not only because of the previous agreement of the Several Legislatures, but from the orders Given by that State on that occasion, to the Lieutenant of Monongalia, county, viz.: that he should confine his authority to the South side of Dixon's and Mason's Line Extened, although the Greater part of that county lay north of that line; on this Ground as well as on full conviction of the Legal extension of the Jurisdiction of this State, the people very Generally disobeyed these orders, and these prosecutions were commenced.
"This being the true State of this Gentn's Case, and although his conduct on the occasion was exceedingly disrespectful to the court, He coming at the head of a party in a Tumultuous contemptuous Manner, continuing about the Streets in that Manner until evening, and the same night an attempt was made upon the house in which the court was held, and part of it Thrown down; yet so far was personal resentment and party Spirit from mingling with the proceedings of the Court, that a disposition to soften the prosecution was observable in most of the officers, and Col. Cox was actually acquitted. How this Can be termed a Judgment against him for a Considerable sum, &c.,I cannot understand. It is true that on account of his behaviour already mentioned. I charged him Clarke [clerk'sl fees. There was Indictments against one other Gent, who was also acquitted and discharged without fees; and there is a Suit depending against two others for things of the same nature, done at the same time ; But there never was a decision of Court against any Virginia officer, as such, for any cause whatever."
Mr. Scott does not tell us, what may have been the case, that the jurymen who sat in Col. Cox's cases, having been the most of them former Virginia adherents, may have been out with him the night that a part of the house in which the court was held via "Thrown down."
At this the second term of court, held as stated Jan. 1, 1782, Thomas Smith and David Espy, resident members of the Bedford bars were admitted as attorneys. Mr. Smith afterward became a justice of the Supreme Court. Quite a number of proceedings were instituted for the laying out of roads, and it seems to have been considered that the roads previously established under authority from the Virginia courts had no legal existence, and that it was necessary that they be again laid out by order of the Quarter Sessions of Washington County. So viewers were appointed to view a road from "Basset Town³ to near Fort Pitt ;" on another from " Basset Town to Redstone Ferry on Monongahela River ;" on another from "Basset Town to the mouth of a gut about forty pearches below the mouth of Pigeon Creek;" on another from " Basset Town to Fort Decker on the Ohio ;" on another from "John Canon Esquire's Mill to Samuel Johnson Esquire's Mill ;" on another from "Body's (or Boly's) Mill to Fort Pitt." There were at this term twenty-eight criminal prosecutions,—one felony, ten assaults, seven tippling-houles, and there were seven prosecutions against females for fornication and bastardy.4
³ The writer has been and is quoting from the original minutes; when the record came to be fully made up afterward the name "Washington" is substituted for" Basset Town" in this and other places.
4 There were many such causes in our early courts, but it was the custom universally observed that on application to the Supreme Executive Council the fines imposed were mercifully remitted.
240 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
1783. At December sessions, 1783, is found the following curious and interesting record:
"The court fix the following Rates upon Tavern Keepers:
Which Rates were published by the cryer of the court and Set up to public view according to Law."¹
By an act of Assembly passed Jan. 22, 1777,² in force in 1783, the Spanish milled silver dollar was made equivalent to 7s. 6d. ; the Pennsylvania shilling was therefore 13½ cents, and the cost of a good meal and sufficient drink can easily be ascertained.
It is not intended to follow up the records of the courts any further or to detail the facts of the causes celebres, civil or criminal, which have had their place in our judicial history. Search is made only for those matters which will illustrate the development of the people into. a better life. And the next inquiry is, were the whippping-post, the stocks, the pillory and the ducking-stool ever among the civilizing institutions of Washington County ? As to the ducking-stool, the only instance of its erection in any part of the State west of the Alleghanies is the one ordered to be erected "at the confluence of the Ohio with the Monongohale," by the Augusta County Court on Feb. 22, 1775. No traces of the pillory have been found. But as to the stocks, upon the minutes of the board of county commissioners for 1784 is found the entry of an item for the tax levy as follows: " Laid on for making stocks by order of Henry Taylor, Esq., £4." And the existence of the whipping-post in the county must be admitted when the following record is read :
vs C— S__
Indictment, Larcener A true Bill. Deft. being arrd. pleads non cul. & de hoc. &c. . . And now to wit. Dec. Sessions, 1784, A jury of the County being called came. . . who being duly Impannelled, Tried & sworn, Upon their respective Oaths soy that the Prisoner C— S— is guilty in manner & form as he stands Indicated. The judgment of the Court is that he restore the Goods stolen to the owner, if net already done, pay the like sum to the State &c., & be publicly Whipped with 25 Lashes on his bare Posteriors well laid on, pay the Costs of Prosecution & stand Committed till the whole be complied with.
"By the Court."³
1 This and other like orders subsequently made were by virtue of an act of Assembly passed May 31, 1718.
² Doll. L., App., 48.
³ Copied front the original minutes. The full record to No. 3 December Sessions, 1784, is in slightly different language.
Henry Taylor continued to act as the presiding justice by virtue of being the first named in the general commission. But on Oct. 6, 1783, Dorsey Pentecost resigned his seat as a member of the Supreme Executive Council,4 and applied to be appointed prothonotary and clerk for Washington County, and to have Mr. Scott transferred to the like offices for the new county of Fayette, then lately erected.5 The Council, however, appointed Gen. Ephraim Douglass prothonotary and clerk for Fayette, and declined to remove Mr. Scott, but soon provided a place for Col. Pentecost, still pursuing the policy of conciliation toward the old Virginia partisans. The Council had the power to commission specially an appointee as president justice for any eounty,6 although such power was not always exercised, and on Oct. 31, 1783,7 that body "Resolved, That Dorsey Pentecost, Esquire, be appointed a Judge in and President of the Court of Common Pleas for the county of Washington," thus displacing Henry Taylor as president of that court, although he continued to act as the judge of the Quarter Sessions. Dorsey Pentecost held the office conferred upon him until Nov. 29, 1786,8 when the Supreme Executive Council issued an (1786). order of which the following is a copy, taken from the original before the writer:
The Supreme Executive Council for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
"To all to whom these presents shall come, GREETING:
"Know ye that—Whereas we have heretofore appointed Dorsey Pentecost, Esquire, of the County of Washington, to be President of the Court of Common Pleas, and a justice of the said Court of Common Pleas for the aforesaid County, and commissionated him accordingly;—And whereas the said Dorsey Pentecost has removed from the County aforesaid and is now settled in a Neighboring State,—We have therefore thought proper to Supersede the said appointment and Commissions, and do hereby supersede, revoke and make unit and void the same, say-thing in the said Commissions contained to the contrary hereof in any wise notwithstanding.
"Given in Council under the hand of the Honorable Charles Biddle, Esquire, Vice President and the seal of the State at Philadelphia this twenty ninth day of November, Anno Domini one thousand Seven hundred and eighty six.
" for J. ARMSTRONG. "Secy"
Reorganization of Courts.—This last proceeding left the courts constituted as they had been
prior to the appointment of Dorsey Pentecost 1788. as president, and they so remained until there
was a reorganization on Sept. 30, 1788, as evidenced by the proceedings of Council of that date:'
"Henry Taylor, Esquire, was appointed and Commissionated a Justice of the Peace for the district of the township of Strabane: James Edgar, a Justice of the Peace for the District of the township of Smith, and William McFarland, a Justice of the Peace for the district of the township of Amwell, in the county of Washington, upon returns made according to law, for the said several districts.
4 XIII. Col. Records, 702.
5 X. Penn. Archives, 181.
6 See XII. Col. Records, 546.
7 XIII. Ibid., 732.
8 See XV. Ibid., 124.
9 Ibid., 552.
CIVIL AND LEGAL—REDUCTION OF LIMITS—NEW COUNTIES - 241
"Henry Taylor, James Edgar, and William McFarland, Esquires, were also appointed and commissionated Justices of the Court of Common Pleas in and for the county of Washington.
" Ordered, that said Henry Taylor Esquire, be appointed and commissionated President of the Court of Common Pleas, of the Court of General Quarter Sessions of the Peace and of Jail delivery, and of the Orphans' Court of the county of Washington.
"Two returns of Justices from the districts of the townships of Cecil and Dickinson,¹ in the county of Washington, were read and not allowed, as the whole of Dickinson and part of Cecil district has beau struck off to the county of Allegheny."
Thus Henry Taylor ² is now specially commissioned as the president judge of the courts of this county, which offices he held until Alexander Addison succeeded him, commissioned under the constitution of 1790.
Reduction of Limits—New Counties.—But, as is observed, before the adoption of that Constitution, Washington County began to be reduced materially in her limits, two portions of her best territory being taken to help form two new counties on the north, while an entire new county is carved out of her possessions on the south. These reductions will now be made clear from the acts of Assembly authorizing them.
The first portion taken from Washington County was by the act of Sept. 24, 1788,³ the preamble of which recites the inconveniences of the inhabitants of parts of the counties of Washington and Westmoreland from being situated so far from the "seat of judicature in their respective counties," etc. ; and, that they should be relieved in the premises,
"SECT. II Be it enacted, Ac., That all those parts of Westmoreland and Washington counties lying within the limits and bounds hereinafter described shall be, and hereby are, erected into a separate county, that is to say, beginning at the mouth of Flaherty's run, on the south aide of the Ohio river; front thence, by a straight line, to the plantation on which Joseph Scott, Esquire, now lives, on Montour's run, to include the same ; from thence by a straight line to the month of Miller's run, on Chartiers creek; thence by a straight line to the mouth of Perry's mill run,4 on the east side of Monongahela river; thence up said river, to the mouth of Becket's run; thence, by a straight line, to the mouth of Sewickley creek, on Youghiogheny river; thence down the said river to the mouth of
¹ Dickinson township, Washington County, had been erected from that part of Peters lying along the right bank of the Chartiers, down to the river, in the winter of 1784-85. The return of the first constables elected therefor was to March term, 1785, of the Quarter Sessions.
² Henry Taylor, as we have seen, had come to the "Rich Hills," where his grandson, Matthew, now resides, in the fall of 1770, from Cecil County, Maryland. Late in life he built the brick house on the property lately owned by William McClane, now by George Munce, where he lived until his death, Oct. 8, 1801, sixty-three years of age. He was the father of nine children,—Matthew, Henry, George, John, James, Joseph, Jane (married a Daggs), Mary (married a Patton), and Eliza (married Dr. Layton). By his son Matthew he was the grandfather of Matthew, now on part of the old homestead, and William H. Taylor, of Washington. J. F. Taylor, Esq., a member of the Washington bar, is a great-grandson, as Is also the present excellent prothonotary, John W. Seaman. On the 19th April, 1793, which was during Wayne's expedition against the Indians, he was commissioned by Governor Mifflin "Brigadier General of the Brigade composed of the Militia of the County of Washington, other than the Townships of Greene, Cumberland, Morgan, Franklin and East Bethlehem, in the said County." These townships, except the last named, were in what is now Greene County.
³ III. Carey & Bioren, 277; II. Smith L., 448.
4 The Italics represent the line through Washington County.
Crawfords run ; thence, by a straight line, to the mouth of Brush creek, on Turtle creek; thence up Turtle creek, to the main fork thereof; thence, by a northerly line, until it strikes Puckety's creek; thence down the said creek to the Allegheny river; thence up the Allegheny River to the northern boundary of the State ; thence along the same to the western line of the State; thence along the same to the river Ohio; and thence up the same to the place of beginning; to be henceforth known and called by the name of Allegheny county."
(1789). On Sept. 17,1789,5 another act was passed, agreeably to the petition of the inhabitants of that part of the county of Washington included in the boundaries hereinafter mentioned, praying to
be annexed to Allegheny County :
"SECT. II Be it enacted, &c., That all that part of Washington County Included by the following lines, viz., Beginning at the river Ohio, where the boundary line of the state crosses the said river, from thence in a straight line to White's mill,6 on Raccoon creek, from thence by a straight line to Armstrong's mill, on Miller's run, and from thence by a straight line to the Monongahela river, opposite the mouth of Perry's run, where it strikes the present line of the county of Allegheny, be . . . annexed to the said county of Allegheny."
(1798). Having lost a large portion of our possessions on the north, an effort to erect a new county out of our southern territory, thus shutting us off from the celebrated Mason and Dixon's line, is finally successful by means of an act passed Feb. 9,1796,7 of which there is copied :
“SECT. I. Be it enacted, Ac., That all that part of Washington county lying within the limits and bounds hereinafter described shall be, and is hereby, erected into a separate county, that is to say, beginning at the mouth of Ten-Mile creek, on the Monongahela river; thence up Ten-Mile creek to the junction of the north and south forks of said creek; thence up said north fork to Colonel William Wallace's Mills ;8 thence up a southwesterly direction to the nearest part of the dividing ridge between the north and south forks of Ten-Mile creek; thence along the top of the said ridge to the ridge which divides the waters of Ten-Mile and Wheeling creeks; thence a straight line to the head of Enlow's branch of the Wheeling; thence down said branch to the western boundary line of the state; thence south along said line to the southern boundary line of the state; thence east along said line to the river Monongahela; and thence down the said river to the place o beginning; to be henceforth known and called by the name of Greene county."
On Jan. 22, 1802,9 an act of Assembly was passed modifying the Greene County line somewhat, and returning to us a small portion of the 1802. territory taken in 1796:
"SECT. 1. Be it enacted, &c., That from and after the passage of this act, the following alteration shall take place in the line between the counties of Washington and Greene, viz.: beginning at the present line, on the ridge that divides the waters of Ten-Mile and Wheeling creeks, near Jacob Bobbet's; thence a straight line to the head-waters of Hunter's fork of Wheeling creek; and thence down the same to the mouth thereof, where it meets the present county line."
(1800). But, a little prior to the act last quoted, another new county was erected to the north of us, to which a contribution was made by Washington County, by virtue of an act of Assembly
dated March 26, 1800:10
5 III. Carey & Bioren, 362; II. Smith L., 492.
6 Now Murdochsville.
7 V. Carey & Bioren, 140; III. Smith L., 262.
8 Near J. B. Wise, Esq., West Bethlehem.
9 VI. Carey & Bioren, 215; III. Smith L., 480.
10 VI. Carey & Bioren, 115; III. Smith L., 421.
242 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
"SECT. 1. Be it enacted, &c., That those parts of the counties of Allegheny and Washington, included within the following boundaries, viz.: Beginning at the mouth of Big Sewickly creek on the Ohio river; thence up the said creek to the west line of Alexander's district of depreciation lands; thence northerly along the said line and continuing the same course to the north line of the first donation district; thence westerly along the said line to the western boundary of the State; thence southerly along the said boundary across the Ohio river to a point in the said boundary, from which aline to be run at a right angle easterly will strike White's mill,¹ on Raccoon creek, and from such point along the said easterly line to the said mill, leaving the said mill in the county of Beaver; thence on a straight line to the mouth of Big Sewickly creek, the place of beginning, be, and the same is hereby, erected into a separate county, to be henceforth called Beaver County; and the place of holding the courts of Justice shall be at Beavertown, in the said county."
Since the erection of Greene County, and the modification of its line in 1802, there has been no change of the limits of Washington County. With all her losses she is still of magnificent proportions.² And now, at the time of which we write, a new generation of men are about to take hold of public affairs, and our judicial system to be materially changed.
Under the Constitution of 1790 .—The Constitution of 1776, Section 30, provided that out of the two or more persons chosen for each ward, township, or district, the president in Council should commission one for each ward, township, or district, to serve for seven years, removable for misconduct by the General Assembly. All of these justices could sit in the Quarter Sessions, though only such as were specially selected and commissioned therefor could hear causes in the Common Pleas and Orphans' Courts. Hence, in 1788, there began to be a new set of justices of the County Courts, who were as follows:
¹ Now Murdochsville. The Italics indicate the line through Washington County.
² According to the Report of tie Secretary of Internal Affairs for 1881, p. 60 A., the county contains: square miles, 889; acres, 568,960; population in 1880, 55,417. To illustrate the county's growth in population, as compared with the surrounding counties, the following table is copied from Mr. Veech, Centenary Memorial, 342:
In considering this table, remember that in 1800 Allegheny and Westmoreland contained parts of Armstrong, and Westmoreland the greater part of Indiana.
John Canon, Associate, commissioned Aug. 24, 1790.
Henry Graham, " Aug. 24, 1790.³
But the new Constitution, adopted in convention on Sept. 2, 1790,4 made quite a radical change in the judicial system, the nature of which was as follows: By Section II. the judges of the Supreme Court and of the several courts of Common Pleas were to hold their offices during good behavior; 1790. removal by the Governor on the address of two-thirds of each branch of the Legislature.5
For the Court of Common Pleas, which now became the principal court, by Section IV. the Governor was to appoint in each county "not fewer than three, nor more than four, judges," who during their continuance in office should reside in such county. The State was to be divided by law into circuits, none of which to include "more than six nor fewer than three" counties, and there was to be appointed a president of the courts in each circuit, who during his continuance in office should reside therein. "The president and judges, any two of whom shall be a quorum, shall compose the respective Courts of Common Pleas."
By Section VII. the judges of the Court of Common Pleas of each county, any two of whom should be a quorum, should compose the Court of Quarter Sessions of the Peace and Orphans' Court thereof, and the register of wills, together with the said judges, or any two of them, should compose the Register's Court of each county.
Of justices of the peace, now no longer members of the County Court, by Section X. the Governor was to appoint a competent number, "in such convenient districts in each county as 'are or shall be directed by law." These were to be commissioned during good behavior, but were removable on conviction of misbehavior ill office, or of any infamous crime, or on the address of both houses of the Legislature.
In the selection of sheriff's and coroners there was no substantial change. Two persons for each office were chosen by the electors; one (and either) was commissioned to serve for three years. The sheriff could not be twice chosen in six years. The prothonotary and clerk (one person might hold these offices) was appointed and commissioned as heretofore by the Governor.
By Sections III. and IV. of the schedule to this Constitution all officers except judges of the Supreme Court in the appointment of the executive-department were to continue in the exercise of their duties until Sept. 1, 1791 (unless their commissions should sooner expire by limitation, or the offices become vacant by death or resignation), and no longer; and until that date justice was to be administered in the
3 This list from III. Penn. Archives, Sec. S., 778, with a few dates corrected from the original commissions.
4 IV. Carey & Bioren, XIX.; III. Smith L., xxxv.; III. Dail. L., XXII.
5 By this Constitution consisting of a Senate and House of Representatives; the Supreme Executive Council being abolished.
CIVIL AND LEGAL—HON. ALEXANDER ADDISON - 243
several counties " by the same justices, in the same courts, and in the same manner as heretofore."
(1791). Preparatory for the reorganization of the judiciary system under the foregoing Constitution, the General Assembly on April 13, 1791, passed an act,¹ in which was provided :
" SECT. II And be it further enacted, etc., That, in order to render effectual the provisions made in the said constitution for establishing the courts of Common Pleas, this Commonwealth shall be, and hereby is, divided into five districts, or circuits, to be limited as follows, that is to say: [1st, Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, and Delaware; 2d, Chester, Lancaster, York, and Dauphin; 3d, Berke, Northampton, Luzern, and Northumberland; 4th, Cumberland, Franklin, Bedford, Hunting. don, and Mifflin]; and the fifth circuit, or district, to consist of the counties of Westmoreland, Fayette, Washington, and Allegheny."
The Section III. of this act provided that in and for each of the said districts, or circuits, a " person of knowledge and integrity, skilled in the laws, shall be appointed and commissioned by the Governor to be President and Judge of the Courts of Common Pleas within such district," and for the appointment and commissioning of a number of " other proper persons, not fewer than three nor more than four," as judges, whose term of office should begin on Sept. 1, 1791.
Hon. Alexander Addison.—The first president appointed for the Fifth District under this act was Alexander Addison, whose commission bears date Aug. 22, 1791, and who served until succeeded by Samuel Roberts, in 1803. His associate judges during his term were Hons. Henry Taylor, James Edgar, James Allison, and Matthew Ritchie, commissioned Aug. 17, 1791; Hon. William Hoge, commissioned April 6, 1798 ; and Hon. John McDowell, commissioned April 7, 1802.
Hon. Alexander Addison was a native of Ireland, born in 1759, educated at Edinburgh, Scotland, and licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Aberlowe. While still young he emigrated to Pennsylvania, and coming to the West, on the 21st day of December, 1785, was taken under the charge of the Redstone Presbytery, and permission given him to preach within its bounds.2 For a short time he preached at Washington, then turned his attention to the law, and, studying with David Reddick, Esq., was admitted to the bar of Washington County in March, 1787. It has been said that he settled at Pittsburgh, but advertisements and correspondence in the Western Telegraphe in the winter of 1795 and 1796 show that he then resided in Washington.
"He was a man of culture, erudition, correct principles and thoroughly Imbued with love for the good of society. These characteristics are seen in his letters, essays, charges to Grand-juries and the reports of his judicial decisions. They embrace a scope of thought and strength of logic, marking a flue intellect and extensive knowledge; and they exhibit a patriotism of the purest lustre, set in a bright constellation of virtues.
"Judge Addison lived and executed his functions among a sturdy people, amid the troubles, excitements, dangers and factions, which followed the adoption of the Federal Constitution of 1787, and attended the enforcement of the Excise law of the United States, which culminated in the Whiskey Insurrection of 1794. His patriotic instincts and love
¹ III. Dail. L., 92 ; IV. Carey & Bioren, 59; III. Smith L., 28.
² Minutes of Redstone Presbytery, 20, 22.
of the public welfare led him by means of charges to the grand-juries, to discuss frequently the underlying principles of government, the supremacy of the laws, and the necessity of due subordination to rightful authority, a duty which he felt urgently incumbent upon him in the disturbed condition of affairs. Though at the time controverted by partisanship and hatred of authority, owing to the peculiar hardships of the early settlers, these efforts are at this day among the best expositions of the principles of free government, the necessity of order and obedience to law. No one can read his charge to the Grand-jury of Allegheny county, September 1, 1794, without feeling himself in the presence of and listening with uncovered head to a great man, whose virtues of heart equaled his qualities of head." ³
(1794). During the time of the Whiskey Insurrection and for some years after there was a strong party rancor existing, the political parties of the day being the Federal and Anti-Federal or " Republican." Judge Addison, being identified with the former, fell a victim to the partisan hostility of the latter. An associate on the Allegheny County bench was Hon. John B. Lucas, by whom and whose friends was brought about Judge Addison's impeachment before the Senate of Pennsylvania. The bitterness of the day magnified a mole-hill, if *(1802). anything, into a mountain. In its full effect the matter complained of was that Judge Addison bad interfered with Judge Lucas in the latter's attempt to instruct juries in opposition to what the former believed to be the law. As formulated the charges were :
"1st. That Judge Addison, after Judge Lucas had in his official char. abler and capacity of judge as aforesaid, and as he of right might do, addressed a petit jury then and there duly impanneled and sworn or affirmed respectively as jurors in a cause then pending, then and there openly did declare and say to the said jury, that the address delivered to them by the said John Lucas, had nothing to do with the question before them and they ought not to pay any attention to it.'
" This ' question' will be better understood by lawyers when informed that a justification was pleaded as a defense in an action of slander, and was unsupported by the testimony, and Judge Lucas' charge was intended to reduce the damages of the Plaintiff to a small, if not a nominal sum.
" 2nd. That the said Alexander Addison 4 did under pretense aa aforesaid of discharging and performing his official duties then and there in time of open court, unjustly, illegally, and unconstitutionally stop, threaten, and prevent the said John Lucas, from addressing as of right he might do, a Grand-jury of the said county of Allegheny then and there assembled,' &c.”
" A very marked omission in these articles is the intent. No malice is averred, and no intent to act injuriously and oppressively. The first charge is followed only by a legal inference, viz: 'thereby degrading or endeavoring to degrade and villify the said John B. Lucas; the second, 'thereby abusing and attempting to degrade the high office of President judge as aforesaid.’”4
The sentence of the Senate, delivered on 1803. Jan. 27, 1803, was:
"That Alexander Addison, President of the several courts of Common Pleas. in the fifth district of this State, shall be, and he hereby is removed from his office of President aforesaid, and also is disqualified to hold and exercise the office of Judge, in any court of law, within the commonwealth of Pennsylvania."
He who reads the report of this trial of Judge Addison will be filled with admiration for the true greatness manifested by the illustrious defendant, but none
³ Address of Ex-Chief Justice Agnew, Centennial Celebration of Washington County, 50.
4 Ibid., 154.
244 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
the less with contempt for the indignities put upon him, and will wonder that partisan zeal could so blind the men who sat as his judges. He did not long survive the shameful injustice of this impeachment, dying at Pittsburgh, where he then resided, on Nov. 24, 1807.¹
Hon. Samuel Roberts.—On June 2, 1803, Samuel Roberts was commissioned president judge of the Fifth District, which office he held until (1803). succeeded in 1818 by Judge Baird. His associates during his term were the old associates, still surviving, and Rev. Boyd Mercer, commissioned Jan. 1, 1806. But soon after' Judge Roberts' term began, by Section XII. of the act of Feb. 24, 1806.² (1806), another county was added to the Fifth District, which was then composed of Beaver, Allegheny, Washington, Fayette, and Greene. By the same act it was also provided,—
"SECT. XV. And be it further enacted, etc., That if a vacancy should hereafter happen in any county at present organized by the death, resignation, or removal of any associate judge, or otherwise, the Governor shall not supply the same, unless the number of associates shall be thereby reduced to less than two; in which case, or In case of any county hereafter organized, he shall commission so many as will complete that number in each county, and no more."
It was by the section quoted that the associate judges of the county were reduced to two in number, which continued until that office was abolished by the Constitution of 1874.
Hon. Samuel Roberts was born in Philadelphia, Sept. 10, 1761. His ancestors came to Pennsylvania with the first emigrants, and his grandfather, Owen Roberts, was sheriff of Philadelphia County, 171621. He was educated in Philadelphia, studied law with Hon. William Lewis, of that city, and was there admitted to the bar in 1793. The same year, at York, Pa., he married Miss Maria Heath. Subsequently, to practice his profession, he removed to Lancaster, thence to Sunbury; and while at the latter place was commissioned by Governor McKean to succeed Judge Addison, after the latter's removal by his unrighteous impeachment, and the same year removed to Pittsburgh. Upon the change made in the districts by the act of 1818, directly to be noticed, he ceased to sit as judge in Washington County, but
¹ Judge Addison left to survive him his widow, who removed to Washington after his death; three sons,—John, who died without issue; Alexander, a brilliant young man, who pulled law at Washington, and was admitted to the bar December, 1820, and in 1822 was accidentally killed by the falling of the chimney of a burning building in Washington; William, first studied law with Hon. T. M. T. McKennan, then medicine at Paris, and became an eminent physician, settled at Pittsburgh, married a Miss Inglee, and left among other children two sons, one of whom died abroad the other, William, is at present a member of the Pittsburgh bar, four daughters,—Eliza, married Dr. Peter Mowry, and was the mother of four sons, none of whom survived her; Mary, married Samuel Hughes Fitzbugh, and left one son, who settled at Rochester, N. Y.; Jane, married first Alexander Johnston; second, Benjamin Darlington, by whom she left two children,—Benjamin, late postmaster at Pittsburgh, and a daughter who never married. Ann died about 1854, unmarried.
² VIII Bioren 9; IV. Smith L., 270.
continued as the president judge of the old Fifth District, by that act composed of Beaver, Butler, and Allegheny Counties, until his death at Pittsburgh in 1820. While upon the bench he wrote and published "Roberts' Digest of British Statutes in force in Pennsylvania," a work well known to the profession, a new edition of which was edited by Hon. Robert E. Wright and published in 1847.³
As already intimated, Washington County is no longer embraced in the old Fifth District. By
the act of March 23, 1818,4 after the creation (1818). of a new Fifth District, composed of Beaver, Butler, and Allegheny Counties, it was provided by
" SECT. 3. And be it further enacted, etc., That from and after the third Monday of October next the counties of Washington, Fayette, and Greene and Somerset shall be, and the same are hereby, erected into a separate judicial district, to be called a Fourteenth District, and a person of legal knowledge and integrity shall be appointed and commissioned by the Governor to be President and Judge, etc."
Hon. Thomas H. Baird.—Thereupon, on Oct. 19, 1818, Hon. Thomas H. Baird was commissioned as president judge, holding that office till he was succeeded by Judge Ewing in 1838. His associates during his term were Rev. Boyd Mercer, John Hamilton, and Thomas McKeever, Esqs.
The Fourteenth District was of long duration. It was modified by the act of March 29, 1824,5 in
this, that Somerset was taken to form with 1824. Franklin and Bedford the new Sixteenth District, leaving Washington, Fayette, and Greene to constitute the Fourteenth District, unchanged until by the act of Jan. 23, 1866, the Twenty-seventh District was created.6
Hon. Thomas H. Baird was the third son of Dr. Absalom Baird, one of the early and leaching physicians, as well as a prominent civilian, of Washington County. Dr. Baird's father was John Baird, a Scotch-man, who came to America with Braddock's army, and shared in " Braddock's Defeat," on July 9, 1755. He is said to have been killed on Grant's Hill (in Pittsburgh), in the defeat of Major Grant and his Highlanders, Sept. 14, 1758. Absalom Baird, educated by the widowed mother, studied medicine in Chester County, became a surgeon of the Pennsylvania line in the Revolutionary war, and in 1786 removed with his family to Washington, Pa. He was
² Judge Roberts left eight children, five sons and three daughters. One of the daughters was married to the late Oldham Craig, deceased, for many years teller in the old Bank of Pittsburgh, and brother of the well-known historian, Neville B. Craig, deceased. Another daughter died many years ago, and the third resides in Michigan. Of the five sons,—Samuel, Edward J., Henry, Horatio, and Morgan,—all have died except Henry, who practiced medicine at Brownsville, Pa., and now resides in Fayette County. Edward J. was a paymaster in the United States army during the war of 1812, then clerk of the U. S. District Court for Western Pennsylvania till his death, leaving three sons,—Gen. Richard Biddle Roberts, practicing law at Chicago, Edward J. Roberts, city engineer for Allegheny City, Pa., and John H. Roberts, profession unknown.
4 7 Smith L., 108.
5 P. L. 194.
6 The general act of 1834 made no change in the Fourteenth District.
CIVIL AND LEGAL—UNDER THE CONSTITUTION OF 1838 - 245
commissioned a justice of the Common Pleas in 1789, was county lieutenant in 1792, sheriff in 1799, and died on Oct. 27, 1805.¹
Judge Baird was born in Washington, Pa., Nov. 15, 1787 ; was educated at a classical school, under charge of David Johnston, in Brooke County, Va. ; studied the law with Joseph Pentecost, and was admitted to the bar of Washington County in July, 1808, before he was quite twenty-one. His contemporaries at the bar were men of such ability that he must have been of high standing himself when he was commissioned president judge, on Oct. 19, 1818. His activity of mind led him much into business outside of the law, having been interested with Thomas McGiffin and Parker Campbell in the construction of the National road through Washington County, as well as in a number of manufacturing enterprises. The first survey for the Chartiers Valley Railroad, about 1830 or 1831, one of the first railroads prospected, was made largely, if not wholly, at his expense, so much was he interested in the internal improvements of his (1837). county. In December, 1837, he resigned his commission as judge, and removing to Pittsburgh, was engaged in the active practice of his profession therefor about twelve years. He then retired to his farm near Monongahela City, where he resided until his death. In 1854 he was the candidate of the Native American party for judge of the Supreme Court, Hon. J. S. Black, the Democratic candidate, being the successful competitor. While at his leisure on his farm he was the author of many newspaper and pamphlet publications upon different subjects of social and political importance. Although denied a collegiate education, yet his classical attainments were great, and philological studies were to him a constant recreation. He was somewhat impulsive and irascible upon the bench, but always commanded respect for his sincerity, and confidence in his integrity. He died at the residence of his son-in-law, Charles McKnight, in Allegheny City, Nov. 22, 1866, and is buried in the cemetery at Washington.²
Hon. Nathaniel Ewing.—There being now a vacancy, and the office of president judge being still
filled by appointment, on the (1838) 15th day of February, 1838, Hon. Nathaniel Ewing was commissioned by Governor Ritner to succeed Mr. Baird, and held the office until succeeded by Judge Gilmore, in 1848. During his term his associates were, as one set succeeded another, Rev. Boyd Mercer,
¹ His children were-John, George, Thomas H., William, the lawyer, Sarah, wife of William Hodge, Maysville, Ky., and Susan, wife of Pr. - Hugh Campbell, Uniontown.
² The wife of Mr. Baird was Nancy-McCullough, who survived him, but has since died. His children, Ellen, widow of Hon. R. It Reed ; Susannah and Jane, who died young; Sarah, widow of Mr. George Morgan ; Mary, widow of Joseph Patterson, mother of T. H. B. Patterson, of Pittsburgh bar; Absalom, died young; Harriet; Eliot Acheson, wife of Mr. Robert Patterson, of the Pennsylvania Banner; Thomas H., of the present Washington County bar ; Susan C., died a young lady ; Margaret; Emma, died a young lady; and Jane, widow of Charles McKnight, of Allegheny City.
Thomas McKeever, Samuel Hill, John Grayson, and James Gordon, Esquires.
Under the Constitution of 1838. —But the people of Pennsylvania by their delegates in convention, on Feb. 22, 1838,³ amended the Constitution of 1790, in many particulars changing the judicial system. The constitution as amended, however, was not to be effective until Jan. 1, 1839.
By Article V., Section II. :
" . . . The president judges of the several courts of Common Pleas, and of such other courts of Record as are or shall be established by law, and all other judges required to be learned in the law, shall hold their offices for the term of ten years if they shall so long behave themselves well. The Associate judges of the courts of Common Pleas shall hold their offices for the term of five years if they shall so long behave themselves well. But for any reasonable cause which shall not be sufficient ground of impeachment the Governor may remove any of them on the address of two-thirds of each branch of the Legislature. . . ."
No substantial change was made in the organization or jurisdiction of the courts; but by Article VI., Sections I. and III., sheriffs, coroners, prothonotaries, and clerks were also made elective by the people, one for each office in the case of the sheriff and coroner, though as to the others the Legislature might provide whether they be held by one person or separately by two.
By Section VII. of the schedule the commissions of the law judges who should not have held their offices for ten years at the adoption of the amendments were to expire on the 27th of February next after the end of ten yew-8 from the date of their commissions, which provision enabled Judge Ewing, though appointed before the amended Constitution went into effect, to continue in office until Feb. 27, 1848.
Hon. Nathaniel Ewing was the son of William Ewing, Esq., and grandson of George Ewing, of Peach Bottom, York Co., who, it is said, was a cousin of the celebrated Rev. Dr. John Ewing, provost of the University of Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia, and one of the commissioners in the boundary line controversy. William Ewing, his father, came into Fayette County as a surveyor about 1790, and married Mary, daughter of Jehu Conwell, and settled in the Dunlap's Creek neighborhood, near Heistersburg. Nathaniel was born July 18, 1794, educated at Washington College, under the presidency of Dr. Matthew Brown, graduating with the honors of his class; taught a year in Delaware; returning to Washington studied law with Hon. Thomas McGiffin, and was admitted to the bar of Washington County in June, 1816. The next year he removed to Uniontown, Pa., where he began his professional business, and where he resided until his death. Appointed in 1838 to fill the vacancy in the office of president judge, caused by Judge Baird's resignation, his appointment would have been for life had not the amendment to the Constitution limited it to one for ten years. While he was upon the bench it was said
³ P. L., 1840, iii.
246 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
of him by one of the judges of the Supreme Court himself a great lawyer, that he was the best Common Pleas judge in the State. The younger generation of the members of our bar often hear his name as a judge and lawyer mentioned by our elders, who practiced under him, in terms of very high respect. On his return to the bar he engaged in trials in court but occasionally, turning his attention to a great extent more to outside business enterprises, in which he was successful in accumulating much wealth. He never sought or accepted official preferment of any kind outside of his profession, though an ardent Whig in all political contests of his day. He died in 1874, in the eightieth year of his age.¹
(1848). Hon. Samuel A. Gilmore.—The ten years' term of Judge Ewing having expired by virtue of the limitation referred to, Hon. Samuel A. Gilmore, on Feb. 28, 1848, was appointed and
commissioned by Governor Shunk to succeed him as president judge. His associates during the time he presided in the courts of our county were Isaac Hodgens, William Vankirk, Abraham Wotring, John Freeman, James G. Hart, and Jacob Slagle, Esqs., as one set succeeded another.
Amendment of 1850.—But the Constitution as amended in 1838 was afterwards the subject of several additional amendments, one of which affecting the judiciary was that adopted by the General Assemblies of 1849 and 1850,² and ratified by the people in the October election of 1850, and (1850) which, wisely or unwisely, brought the selection of all the judges of the State directly within the power of the people. All the judges then became elective :
There was no change made in the terms of the president judge and of his associates, and it was provided that the first election should take place at the next general election after the adoption of that amendment, and the commissions of all the judges then in office should expire on the first Monday of December following, wheel the terms of the new judges then elected should commence.
¹ In 1822, Mr. Ewing married Jane, the second daughter of Judge John Kennedy, of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania; she was the mother of one child, Hon. John K. Ewing (in late years also our president judge), and died in 1827. His second wife, who survives him as his widow, is the daughter of the late Rev. David Denny, of Chambersburg, Pa. By this marriage there are two children, a son Alexander, and a daughter Mary, lately married to Prof. J. J. Stephenson, who was connected with the geological survey of Pennsylvania in 1876. Hon. John Hoge Ewing, of Washington, still survives his brother, Judge Ewing, and of him there will be a sketch given in another part of this work.
² P. L. 1851, 758.
At the first general election held after this amendment was adopted, the second Tuesday of October, 1851, Hon. Samuel A. Gilmore was chosen by the people, commissioned by Governor 1851. Bigler on Nov. 6, 1851, and served from the first Monday of December of that year until succeeded by Judge Lindsey in 1861.
Judge Gilmore was the grandson of James Gilmore, Esq., who many years ago occupied the farm now owned by James G. Strean, Esq., a short distance southwest of Washington. His father, John Gilmore, studied the law at Washington, was admitted in August, 1801, and removing to Butler, Pa., married a Miss Purviance at that place, and there practiced his profession. The son, Samuel A. Gilmore, was born at Butler, studied the law, and was practicing there and in adjoining counties when first appointed president judge to succeed Judge Ewing in 1848. His first wife was a daughter of Judge Todd, at one time of the Supreme Court, and his second wife was a daughter of Arnold Plumer, Esq., of Venango County, who still survives him as his widow. Upon his appointment as president judge of the Fourteenth District he removed to. Uniontown, Pa., where he resided till his death in May, 1873.
Hon. James Lindsey.—At the general election in 1861, in a contest with Hon. James Veech, of Uniontown, James Lindsey, Esq., of the Waynesburg bar, was the successful candidate, and 1861. having been duly commissioned, began his term of service as the president judge of the Fourteenth District on the first Monday of December, 1861. His associates during his service, too soon ended by his death, were James G. Hart and Thomas McCarrell, Esqs.
Hon. James Lindsey had the blood of the first settlers in his veins. Thomas Hughes, John Swan, and Henry Vanmetre were among the first pioneers on the waters of Muddy Creek, coming thither from the Shenandoah Valley in 1767-68. Charles Swan, son of John, married Sarah, daughter of Henry Vanmetre, and their daughter Mary, marrying William Collins, became the mother of Anne Collins, who married John Lindsey, and became the mother of James, the young judge. John Lindsey's father was James Lindsey, a Scotchman, who, coming from Lancaster County very early, settled at Jefferson, Greene County, and married Mary, a daughter of Thomas Hughes, Jr., who had married a daughter of John Swan, before mentioned. Hughes was Irish, Swan was Scotch, Vanmetre German, Lindsey Scotch,—three nationalities well blended into one. John Lindsey, the judge's father, was educated at Jefferson College, at Canonsburg, was a leading politician, once sheriff, and twice prothonotary of Greene County.
Hon. James Lindsey was the oldest of eleven children, six of whom survive him. He was born Nov. 21, 1827, received his education at Greene Academy, Carmichael's, Greene Co., was admitted to
. .. The Judges of the Supreme Court by the qualified electors of the Commonwealth at large; the president judges of the several Courts of Common Pleas, and of such other courts of record as are or shall be established by law, and all other judges required to be learned in the law, by the qualified electors of the respective districts over which they are to preside or act as judges; and the Associate Judges of the courts of Common Pleas by the qualified electors of the county respectively."
CIVIL AND LEGAL—HON. J. KENNEDY EWING—HON. A. W. ACHESON - 247
the bar of Waynesburg May 15, 1849, and elected judge in October, 1861, when not quite thirty-four years of age. At the August term, 1864, he was upon the bench at Washington, but had been ill with what was thought a slight attack of bilious fever before coming hither. On his way home after the end of the term he became too ill at Prosperity to proceed, and there remained overnight, but recovered so as to reach his residence, about six miles beyond Waynesburg, the next day. He was not considered seriously ill till on Thursday, Sept. 1, 1864, and died late that night. At once bar-meetings were held at Washington, Waynesburg, and Uniontown, at each of which minutes were prepared to be filed with the records, testifying the appreciation in which he was held by the bar of his entire district. In the minutes made by the Fayette County bar it was said,—
"He came to the bench at . . . an age at which few members of the profession have more than mastered its rudiments, and scarcely any acquired distinction. By those unacquainted with hint misgivings were naturally felt when the judicial ermine fell upon one so young. . . . But whatever fears Judge Lindsey's youth occasioned were quickly dissipated by the masterly hand with which he laid bold of his official duties, and by the apparent ease with which he carried his great burdens. How he has borne himself in his high office,—faithfully, impartially, without fear and without favor,—with what transcendent ability he has so discharged his grave and Important duties, that upon not one act of his can the fault-finder lay his finger, to not one act of his can those who have the largest interest in his memory and cherish it moat fervently revert with other than honest pride, and with the conviction that he did all and no more than became hint, and that no man could have done better."
These sentiments were common to the profession of the district upon the sudden death of Hon. James Lindsey.¹
After the death of Judge Lindsey, Governor Curtin, the war Governor of Pennsylvania, on Nov. 9, 1864, issued a commission to James Watson, Esq., of the Washington County bar, to hold the office of president judge of the district until the next general election in 1865. This commission was a surprise to Mr. Watson, as neither he nor his friends had asked for it, and it was declined, although with gratitude for the unsought honor.²
¹ Judge Lindsey married Sarah, daughter of Dr. Arthur lnghram, a leading physician of Greene County in his day. His widow, three sons, and one daughter survive him. His brother, W. C. Lindsey, was captain of Company A, Eighteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, and was killed in the streets of Hagerstown, Md., while leading a charge against Lee's retreating army three days after the battle of Gettysburg. A younger brother, R. H. Lindsey, is a successful young member of the Fayette County bar.
² Mr. Watson was born at Canonsburg about 1809, graduated at Jefferson College in 1828, and at once began the study of the law at Washing. ton under the direction of the distinguished Hon. T. M. T. McKennan. He was admitted to the bar in October,1831, and was at once taken into partnership with his preceptor, who then represented this district in Congress. This partnership continued until William McKennan, the son of his preceptor (now circuit judge of the United States for the Third Circuit), came to the bar, to wit, in June, 1837. He then continued the practice without a subsequent partnership until his death at his residence in Washington on April 15,1875. The minutes of the bar meeting held the next day after his death very correctly state:
"As a lawyer lie was clearheaded, painstaking, laborious, full of zeal for his clients, courteous to his opponents, pleasant and affable in his
Hon. J. Kennedy Ewing.—There was then a vacancy in the office of president judge, whereupon, on Nov. 19, 1864, J. Kennedy Ewing, the only son of Hon. Nathaniel Ewing by his first wife, (1864). the daughter of Justice Kennedy, was appointed and commissioned by Governor Curtin to fill the office until the next general election in no. His associates for his short term of service were James Cr. Hart and Thomas McCarroll, Esqs and the manner in which his duties were discharged was satisfactory to the bar and suitors.³
At the general election Oct. 10, 1865, Hon. J. K. Ewing and Hon. S. A. Gilmore were the candidates for the office, the latter being successful, his next term, the third for which he was (1866). commissioned, to begin on the first Monday of December, 1865. But after that date the first term of the courts for Washington County was in February, 1866, before which latter date, however, to wit, on Jan. 25, 1866, an act of Assembly4 was passed, by which Washington County was taken out of the old Fourteenth District, created in 1818, and with Beaver County made into a new district, called the Twenty-seventh. By the provisions of the act the Governor was to "appoint and commission a gentleman of integrity, learned in the law, to be president judge of said district, who shall hold his office until the first Monday of December next;" and at the next general election a president judge was to be elected under the then Constitution and laws of the State.
Hon. B. B. Chamberlin.—For the new Twenty-seventh Judicial District, composed of the counties of Washington and Beaver, on Feb. 3, 1866, Hon. B. B. Chamberlin, of the Beaver County bar, (1866). was appointed and commissioned by Governor Curtin as president judge, to hold until the first Monday of the following December, by which time an elected officer would be chosen. He presided at the May and August terms, 1866.
Hon. A. W. Acheson.—At the general election of October, 1866, the competing candidates were Hon. Alexander W. Acheson, of the Washington bar, as the nominee of the Republican party, and Hon. B. B.
deportment to his brethren of the bar, while at all times and under all circumstances he was strictly honorable and upright. He was fond of his profession, few more so, but he had no ambition to make it a stepping-stone to office or preferment of any kind ; and although he possessed In a high degree the elements of personal popularity, he uniformly declined political honors, and would never consent to be an applicant or candidate for any office whatever. He would not even allow honors to be thrust upon him, preferring always to be and remain in the ranks of his untitled brethren."
His wife, a sister of D. T. Morgan, Esq., survived him, and he is represented in the profession now by three sons,—David T., of Pittsburgh, James, New York City, and Wm. M., Pittsburgh.
³ Judge J. K. Ewing is still living at Uniontown, but his attention being given to business pursuits he is not in active practice. He is represented, however, at the bar of his native county by two promising sons, Nathaniel Ewing, Jr., and Samuel E. Ewing.
4 P. L. 1866, 1.
248 - HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
Chamberlin, who, though previously a Republican, had been placed on the Democratic ticket. Mr. Acheson was elected, and on Nov. 15, 1866, was commissioned by Governor Curtin, and held his full term of ten years until succeeded by Judge Hart. His associates during his term were, first, James C.. Chambers and John Farrer, Esqs. ; second, Dr. Thomas W. Bradley and John Scott, Esqs.
During the time of Judge Acheson another somewhat important change was made in the judicial system. On Nov. 3, 1873, a new State Constitution was adopted in convention, which by the terms of (1874). the schedule went into effect Jan. 1, 1874. Article V. of this Constitution related to the judiciary, and it was provided by
"SECT. 5. Whenever a county shall contain forty thousand inhabitants it shall constitute a separate judicial district, and shall elect one judge learned in the law, and the General Assembly shall provide for additional judges as the business of the said districts may require. Counties containing a population less than is sufficient to constitute separate districts shall be formed into convenient single districts, or, if necessary, may be attached to contiguous districts as the General Assembly may provide. The office of associate judge, not learned in the law, is abolished in counties forming separate districts, but the several associate judges in office when this Constitution shall be adopted shall serve for their unexpired terms."
There was no other material change made in the organization of the courts; the judges remained, and will probably long remain, to be elected by the people.
The census of 1870 having shown that Washington County had a population of forty-five thousand six hundred and ninety, by the foregoing section she was entitled to be made a separate judicial district. Section XIII. of the schedule required the General Assembly at next session after the adoption of the Constitution to designate the several judicial districts as required by this Constitution. Whereupon by the act of April 9, 1874,¹ the Legislature created forty-three judicial districts, the twenty-seventh of which was to be composed of the county of Washington. And such is the number and composition of that district at this day. The time of the beginning of the judicial term has, however, been changed. Instead of the first Monday of December, as of old, by the act of April 30, 1874,² the term of all judges learned in the law is to begin on the first Monday of January next succeeding their election.
The terms of the associate judges, Dr. T. W. Bradley and John Scott, Esqs., expired the last day of November, 1876, and that office having been abolished by the Constitution of 1874, these gentlemen were the last to hold those positions in Washington County. The president judge continued upon the bench, but alone.
Hon. A. W. Acheson is the son of David Acheson, who emigrated from the County Armagh, Ireland, in 1788, and came directly to Washington, Pa., to join his brothers, John and Thomas, who had preceded
¹ P. L. 1874, 54.
him. John was a merchant and trader in the West as early as 1784 ; Thomas came hither in 1786, and having a turn for military affairs became a commissary-general in the war of 1812. The brothers were of Scotch lineage, sons of George Acheson, an elder of the seceding congregation of Market Hill, County Armagh. David Acheson in his early life was much interested in politics, connected with the "Republican" party of that day, representing Washington County in the Legislature in 1795, 1796, 1797, and 1804. Alexander W. Acheson was the second child of David by his second wife, Mary, daughter of John Wilson, Esq., who settled at Washington in 1789. He was born on July 14, 1809, at Philadelphia, where his parents resided for a time after their marriage; was educated at Washington College, graduated in 1827, studied the law with William Baird, brother of Judge Baird, and was admitted to the bar in June, 1832. After a short time passed in the West he began the practice of his profession in his native town, and with the exception of several terms of service as deputy attorney-general for Washington County, before by the act of May 3, 1850,³ the election of district attorneys by the people was required, and his term as president judge, lie has never held any public office. At the end of his term he returned to the bar, and associated with his son, Markus C., and nephew, James I. Brownson, Jr. He is still in active practice as the senior member of the Washington bar, having been, either as lawyer or judge, for fifty years employed in the courts of justice of Washington County.
Hon. George S. Hart.—At the general election in October, 1876, the competitors for the office of president judge were Hon. A. W. Acheson, on the Republican side, and George S. Hart, Esq., on 1876. the Democratic ticket. The latter gentleman was chosen and took his seat as president judge on the first Monday of January, 1877, which office he occupies at the present time. The paternal grandfather of Hon. George Scott Hart was from Eastern Maryland, settling in Westmoreland County at an early day. His father was John Hart, born in Westmoreland County, settled in Pittsburgh, and married a Miss Barr at that place, where, on July 29, 1824, the judge was born. On both sides he was of Scotch-Irish descent. The family removed to Washington in the spring or 1833, which afforded an opportunity to Judge (hart-to be educated at Washington College, graduating in September, 1842, with, as some of his classmates. Caleb Baldwin, afterwards chief justice of Iowa, now deceased; J. Kennedy Ewing, son of Hon. N. Ewing, and at one time the president judge of the Fourteenth District, and Rev. Franklin Moore, afterwards a distinguished minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1867 the latter gentleman, delivering
³ Ibid., 1850, 654.
CIVIL AND LEGAL—PRESIDENT JUDGES—ASSOCIATE JUDGES - 249
the class history at the reunion after twenty-five years, described Judge Hart, then at the bar, as having been the Sir Philip Sidney of his class. After graduation he taught a short time in Virginia, then studied law with Hon. John L Gow, now deceased, and was admitted to the bar in August, 1846. At the same term of his admission he was appointed deputy attorney-general, succeeding Hon. A. W. Acheson in that office. After the office became elective he served a term of three years, beginning in 1850. In May, 1853, he acquired an interest in the Washington Examiner, of which paper he was the principal editor till the close of 1856, from which time he was devoted exclusively to his profession. For ten years and two months he was continuously a member of the school board of Washington, acting as their secretary all that time, a fact always mentioned in his history in connection with another fact, that, being a bachelor, he has been much interested in the education of the children of other people.
There has thus been given in this chapter a sketch of the judicial history of Washington County from 1781, when, under the Constitution of 1776, her courts opened with a large number of justices upon the bench; again, under the Constitution of 1790, with a president judge learned in the law, his associates soon reduced to two in number ; so continuing, the county with other counties in the Fifth, then the Fourteenth, then the Twenty-seventh Judicial District, under the Constitution of 1838; and finally as a separate judicial district, as in the beginning, but with a single judge to administer the law, under the Constitution of 1874.
TI1E CIVIL AND LEGAL HISTORY.—(Continued.)
The Court List—President Judges—Associate Judges—Deputy Attorneys-
General and District Attorneys—Roll of Attorneys.
To close the history of the courts of Washington County, there is now subjoined a list of all the early justices, president judges, associate judges, deputy attorneys-general and district attorneys who have been connected with our courts from the beginning. This list has been carefully compiled from original sources,—the Pennsylvania Archives and Colonial Records, the records of the several courts, and, in many cases, from the original commissions themselves. Following there will be the roll of attorneys. In these lists the officers at present serving and the attorneys at present practicing will be designated by a *.
Appointed under the Constitution of 1776.
Hon. Henry Taylor, commissioned Aug. 24, 1781.
Hon. Dorsey Pentecost, commissioned Oct. 31, 1783.
Hon. Henry Taylor, commissioned Sept. 30, 1788.
Appointed under the Constitution of 1790.
Hon. Alexander Addison, commissioned Aug. 22, 1791.
Hon. Samuel Roberts, commissioned June 2, 1803.
Hon. Thomas H. Baird, commissioned Oct. 19, 1818.
Hon. Nathaniel Ewing, commissioned Feb. 15, 1838.
Appointed under the Constitution of 1838.
Hon. Samuel A. Gilmore, commissioned Feb. 28, 1848.
Elected under the Amendment of 1850.
Hon. Samuel A. Gilmore, commissioned Nov. 6, 1851.
Hon. James Lindsey, commissioned Nov. 20, 1861.
Hon. James Watson, commissioned (declined) Nov. 9, 1864.
Hon. J. Kennedy Ewing, commissioned Nov. 18, 1864.
Hon. B. B. Chamberlin, commissioned Feb. 3, 1866.
Hon. Alexander W. Acheson, commissioned Nov. 15, 1866.
Elected under the Constitution of 1874.
Hon. George S. Hart,* commissioned Dec. 11, 1876.
Appointed under the Constitution of 1776.
Hon. William Scott, commissioned Aug. 24, 1781.
Hon. John Craig, commissioned Aug. 24, 1781.
Hon. John White, commissioned Aug. 24, 1781.
Hon. Daniel Leer, commissioned Aug. 24, 1781.
Hon. John Marshall, commissioned Aug. 24, 1781.
Hon. John Douglass, commissioned Aug. 24, 1781.
Hon. Benjamin Parkinson, commissioned Aug. 24, 1781.
Hon. John Reed, commissioned Aug. 24, 1781.
Hon. Abner Howell, commissioned Aug. 24, 1781.
Hon. Matthew McConnell, commissioned Aug. 24, 1781.
Hon. Samuel Johnston, commissioned Aug. 24, 1781.
Hon. Samuel Mason, commissioned Aug. 24, 1781.
Hon. Matthew Ritchie, commissioned Oct. 6, 1784.
Hon. John Canon, commissioned Oct. 6, 1784.
Hon. Henry Vanmetre, commissioned Feb. 11, 1785.
Hon. William Johnston, commissioned Feb. 9, 1786.
Hon. John Hoge, commissioned Nov. 21, 1786.
Hon. Thomas Scott, commissioned Nov. 21, 1786.
Hon. John Worth, commissioned Nov. 21, 1786.
Hon. Joseph Scott, commissioned Sept. 25, 1787.
Hon. Samuel Glasgow, commissioned May 7, 1783.
Hon. William Wallace, commissioned June 30, 1788.
Hon. James Edgar, commissioned Sept. 30, 1788.
Hon. William McFarland, commissioned Sept. 30, 1788.
Hon. John Reed, commissioned Nov. 3, 1788.
Hon. Hugh Scott, commissioned Nov. 8, 1788.
Hon. William Smiley, commissioned Nov. 11, 1788.
Hon. Eleazer Jenkins, commissioned March 3, 1789.
Hon. Absalom Baird, commissioned March 3, 1789.
Hon. John Douglass, commissioned March 3, 1789.
Hon. Thomas Ryerson, commissioned April 8, 1789.
Hon. John Minor, commissioned Nov. 30, 1789.
Hon. William Smith, commissioned Dec. 21, 1789.
Hon. James Bell, commissioned Jan. 11, 1790.
Hon. James Archer, commissioned April 16, 1790.
Hon. Zephaniah Beall, commissioned July 28, 1790.
Hon. Jounce Mitchell, commissioned Aug. 24, 1790.
Hon. John Canon, commissioned Aug. 24, 1790.
Hon. Henry Graham, commissioned Aug. 24, 1790.¹
Appointed under the Constitution of 1790.
Hon. Henry Taylor, commissioned Aug. 17, 1791.
Hon. James Edgar, commissioned Aug. 17, 1791.
¹ The writer had most of the original commissions before him, and corrected erroneous dates given in III. Penn. Archives, Sec. S., 778.