JOHN M. PETTIGREW, M.D., late of Rural Valley, was one of the foremost citizens and medical practitioners of that part of Armstrong county for many years. Born in Indiana county, Pa., Feb. 28, 1835, he was a son of Matthew and Jane (Windrem) Pettigrew, and grandson of John Pettigrew, a farmer of Ireland.

Matthew Pettigrew was born in 1801. When a young man he settled in Plum Creek township, Armstrong county, where he followed farming until his death. He died in 1887, in his eighty-sixth year. He was a Democrat in politics, and in religious connection a member of the Presbyterian Church. He married Jane Windrem, daughter of James Windrern, of Plum Creek township, the latter a native of Ireland; Mr. Windrem was a Democrat and Presbyterian. To Mr. and Mrs. Pettigrew were born seven children, and we have record of John M.; Sarah, who married James Sturgeon and lived in Elderton; James W., who settled on the homestead farm in Plum Creek township; Martha, who married Josiah Shoemaker, a farmer of Kiskiminetas township and Samuel H., who graduated from Jefferson Medical College and became a practicing physician at DuBois, Pennsylvania.

John M. Pettigrew grew to manhood on his father's farm, meantime obtaining his early education in the common schools of the locality and Glade Run Academy. He read medicine with Dr. T. H. Allison, of Elderton, and then entered the National Medical College, Washington, D. C., from which he was graduated in 1860. Returning to Pennsylvania he practiced at Elderton, Armstrong county, for some time, thence moving to Rural Valley, where he passed the remainder of his days. He had an extensive practice, covering the eastern part of Armstrong county and reaching out into Indiana county. Dr. Pettigrew, outside of his professional work, was particularly interested in the raising of blooded stock, horses, cattle and Merino sheep, making a specialty of Jersey cattle and Dolphin and Hambletonian horses. He ac- quired large land holdings, owning some seven hundred acres in Cowanshannock and adjoining townships, and had an interest in a lumber company. Dr. Pettigrew died at his home in Rural Valley Dec.21, 1897.

Dr. Pettigrew was a Mason, belonging to Kittanning Lodge, No. 244, F. & A. M., at Kittanning, and he was also an Odd Fellow, holding membership in Rural Valley Lodge, No.766. In political sentiment he was a Democrat, but he took no part in party affairs, declining a nomination for representative. However, he served as school director of the borough.

On Feb.20, 1863, Dr. Pettigrew married Cordelia R. McCurdy, daughter of John McCurdy, of Wayne township, and nine children were born to them, three sons and six daughters: Delia J., who married B. F. Ambrose, a teacher and telegraph operator of Iowa; Matthew M., deceased; Charlotte M., who graduated from the Edinboro normal school and was a teacher at Rural Valley before her marriage to Dr. Samuel E. Ambrose, of Rural Valley; John M., deceased; Minnie M.; Mary, deceased; Blanche M.; Martha M., and Bernard Clare. Mrs. Pettigrew still resides at the old home in Rural Valley.

Source: Pages 604-605, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed September 2001 by Laural Black Morris for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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