William A. Schrecengost


WILLIAM A. SCHRECENGOST, a prominent farmer citizen of Cowanshannock township, Armstrong county, was born there Sept. 3, 1843, son of William T. and Mary Ellen (Baum) Schrecengost, both also natives of Armstrong county. The family is of German origin, the first of his ancestors to come to America, Jacob (known as Yock) Schrecengost, having been a native of Germany. According to family accounts he was a mighty hunter, and being caught trespassing on the hunting grounds of a great lord was warned against repeating the offense. But he was caught a second time, and to make matters worse shot one of the lord�s dogs. He was sent for at once, but managed to escape and came to America, settling in eastern Pennsylvania. Report says he hired his son George out to a ship captain for nine years to pay the passage of the family to this country, being obliged to abandon all his possessions when he fled, and there is a tradition in the family that there is a large fortune in the old country never claimed by the Schrecengost heirs.

Conrad (or Coonrod) Schrecengost, Sr., son of Jacob, also a native of Germany, was the great-grandfather of William A. Schrecengost. He came early to America, with his father, and lived for some time in Berks county, Pa., removing west to what is now Armstrong county in the latter part of the eighteenth century. He purchased land in Kittanning (what is now Valley) township, and not only followed agricultural pursuits, but also mechanical work, being a gunsmith by trade. He could use a gun as well as make one and was a noted hunter in his day. His death occurred at this homestead. He was a Federalist in politics and in religious belief a Lutheran, being a member of the church. His wife, formerly a Miss Zortman, was like himself a native of Germany. Of their ten children, seven sons and three daughters, the sons being John, Daniel, Peter, Conrad, Jr. (who married Susanna Oury), Martin, Benjamin and Christopher. There is no account of the daughters.

John Schrecengost, son of Conrad, Sr., was known as �Gentleman John� because he always wore good clothing. He was born in Kittanning township Sept. 27, 1792, and followed farming all his life, clearing and improving the farm now occupied by his grandson William A., in Cowanshannock township. He was also a blacksmith and gunsmith, and has the record of making the first plow manufactured in Armstrong county. He died on the farm mentioned Feb. 27, 1859. His wife, Sarah (Turney), daughter of Peter Turney, a pioneer settler of the county, died March 14, 1870, aged eighty-one years, two months, fourteen days. Their children were: Catherine, who married John T. Patterson; William T.; Michael T.; Sarah, who married John Bittinger; John, Jr., and Lavina, who married John Hetrick.

William T. Schrecengost was born May 14, 1818, on the homestead, where he was reared, helping to clear the land. He lived and died there, passing away Oct. 11, 1908, at the home of his son William, in his ninety-first year. All his life he followed farming, and he was at one time a large landowner in Cowanshannock township. He was married three times, his first wife being Mary Ellen Baum, who was born April 9, 1825, in Westmoreland county, and died Jan. 20, 1863. Children as follows were born to them: Sarah (wife of Philip Howk), Reuben, Hannah, Delia, William A. and James J., twins, Frederick, Albert, Levina, Mary and Daniel. His second marriage was to the widow of his brother Michael, and by this union there were two children, Ulysses and Anna. For his third wife he married Mrs. Adeline (Sisson) Brown, who was born May 13, 1830, and died June 3, 1906. They had three children, Della, Sheridan and Kate. Two of Mr. Schrecengost�s sons, Reuben and Frederick, met sudden death together, being killed by lightning on the old homestead place while engaged in shocking wheat. Reuben married Eva Cogley, and his surviving children are Jacob, Ida and William.

William A. Schrecengost has owned the old homestead of 200 acres in Cowanshannock township since 1892. Farming has always been his occupation, and he is one of the most substantial residents of his section, where his reliability and worth are recognized by the whole community.

In 1878 Mr. Schrecengost married Mary Brown, daughter of William and Adeline (Sisson) Brown, of Cowanshannock township, and they have three children, Albert J., William B. and Nancy Ellen. Albert J. married Ida Donahue, and they have two children, Harold and Alice.

Source: Pages 677-678, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed September 2001 by Lisa Strobel for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)

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