Obediah Barnhart

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The Barnhart family have been prominently identified with the early settlement of Western Pennsylvania, especially the county of Butler. The Barnharts, as their name would indicate, are of German extraction. John William Barnhart, the progenitor of the American branch of the family, came from Germany in 1764 and settled in Westmoreland county. He died in January, 1822. Three of his sons, Philip, Rudolph and Daniel, emigrated to Butler county in 1796, and were among the very earliest settlers in the region around Millerstown, and did much to redeem the country from a wild, uncultivated region to one fitted for the habitation of man.

In January, 1836, Mr. Barnhart purchased the primitive gristmill which erected by Abraham Lasher in 1805, and also a tract of 150 acres, which includes the land on which Millerstown is now located. Mr. Barnhart soon tore down the ancient log mill and erected a more modern building.

Soon after coming into possession of the property in 1836, Mr. P. Barnhart laid out Millerstown, which took its name from the location of the mill, although the post office is known to this day as Barnhart's Mills. Mr. Barnhart thus became the founder of what was destined to become a prosperous village. Philip Barnhart died in 1860, after a long and useful life, respected by all. Mr. Barnhart raised quite a family of children, one of whom, also named Phillip Barnhart, Jr., married Susanna Kemerer, and they became the parents of four children -- Henry (deceased), Margaret, Jeremiah (deceased), and Obediah. After the death of his first wife in 1851, aged fifty-one years, he married her sister Catharine, by whom he had three children -- Susannah (deceased), Mary, Catharine (deceased).

Mr. Barnhart, who died October 7, 1861,aged forty-seven years, was for the major portion of his life engaged in farming, although he for a time was engaged in milling at the old mill site. Obediah Barnhart was born in Millerstown, May 10, 1848, and in 1869 was married to Miss Rosanna Aldinger (born June 19 1848), daughter of David Aldinger, of Millerstown. Their children are Walter H., born November 9, 1870; Laura A., born November 2, 1872; Harmon D., born January 22, 1875. When, in 1875, Mr. Barnhart moved to his present farm of 110 acres in East. Franklin township, it presented anything but an inviting appearance, being encumbered with old buildings, but a fine view of his residence, which appears on another page, will show it to be now numbered among the best farms in the township. Mr. Barnhart still retains the home farm in the vicinity of Millerstown. Mr. and Mrs. Barnhart are members of the Reformed Church of Kittanning.

Source: Page(s) 612, History of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania by Robert Walker Smith, Esq. Chicago: Waterman, Watkins & Co., 1883.
Transcribed December 2000 by Jeffrey Bish for the Armstrong County Smith Project.
Contributed by Jeffrey Bish for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)

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