George B. Sloan

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His grandfather lived and died in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania. His family consisted of four sons -- Samuel, James, William and David. Two of the children of Samuel -- John, afterward Col. John Sloan, and his sister, afterward Mrs. Gibson -- were carried away by the Indians and held for some time in captivity by them. James Sloan, Esq., lived near Kittanning on the west bank of the Allegheny river. He was the first prothonotary of Armstrong county, and in his house the first court was held. David Sloan, father of the subject of this notice, when quite a young man purchased a farm in Buffalo township, about two miles from Freeport, but being dispossessed by some defect in his title, he located in Franklin township about a mile from Worthington, on the farm recently owned by James Claypoole. He was a tall, portly man and very agile. One of his feats was to jump over a covered wagon by means of a pole -- feats of skill and strength being held in higher esteem in that day than in this. About 1812 he was killed while felling timber, a portion of a falling tree rebounding and striking him with violence. He was twice married. By the first marriage there were five children -- James, David, William, Nancy and Jane. James and David removed to the State of Indiana, the latter returning to this county and locating near Worthington, where he died in 1877. Nancy married a Mr. McAdoo and settled in Indiana. Jane became the wife of James Claypoole, already mentioned, and died about 1850. William died near Worthington eight or ten years later.

The second wife of David Sloan was Nancy Jack. To them four children were born -- John who died in infancy, Samuel and George Byers, twins, of whom the former died at five years of age, and Margaret, afterward Mrs. John Maxwell, now a widow and residing in Chicago. Mrs. Nancy Sloan, after the death of her husband, was united in marriage to Samuel Robinson. Both died near Slate Lick where they are buried. They had four children -- John, Samuel, David and Isabella, now Mrs. Lewis.

George B. Sloan was born at the family home in Franklin township, February 20, 1809. The death of his father occurring when he was but three years of age, he was left in the care of his mother, an amiable, industrious and pious woman. But their fortune was slender, and while yet a mere boy, George found himself mainly thrown upon his own resources. He had good health and a will to work, and accepting such employment as in that day was to be had (grubbing, chopping, reaping etc.), he gained a livelihood and formed those habits of industry and energy that characterized his whole after-life. When about twenty years of age he spent a winter thrashing grain by hand, as the custom then was, in the barn of William Morrison, of Slate Lick; a circumstance materially affecting his whole after life, as will presently be seen. His formal education extended only to the common elements of an English course, and for the privilege of this he had to walk a distance of two or three miles, and pay his own way in a subscription school. At the age of twenty-one, December 9, 1830, he was united in marriage to Mary, daughter of William Morrison, already named, a union fraught with happiness to both. Mrs. Sloan's mother was Martha Barnes. Her grandparents were Robert Morrison and Elizabeth Culbertson, who resided in Greene county, Pennsylvania, near Carmichael's of the present day. Her great-grandparents were William Morrison and Elizabeth Hamilton, of Ayr, Scotland. In the wife of his choice, Mr. Sloan found a true helpmeet; when he wooed he had but himself to offer. But from the first she fully and cheerfully accepted his lot, and, blessed with good health, prudent in counsel, and untiring in energy, she contributed her full share to whatever of success he attained in life.

Upon his marriage he purchased and settled on the farm with which his whole after-life was identified, at Slate Lick, then in unbroken forest, with the exception of a few acres. Beginning without capital other than he had in his own faculties and endowments, he yet managed to meet his payments. Often he prosecuted the work of clearing his land late into the night, lighted by the blazing fires, cheered by the presence of his young wife, sitting, with knitting in hand, conveniently by. Their first house was a rude cabin of logs, so open that the twinkle of the stars could be seen through the chinks at night. But the material comforts of his home steadily increased. Prudent, he was yet progressive, and was ever among the first to avail himself of improvements and conveniences. He was one of the first to take a newspaper in his neighborhood. He owned almost the first machine for thrashing grain introduced into the neighborhood.

Aside from the ordinary pursuits of the farm he engaged to some extent in a variety of other business enterprises. In the general outcome he was fairly successful, not amassing great wealth, but having as the fruit of his honest industry an easy competence.

To a very large extent he enjoyed the confidence and respect of those who knew him. Often he was called to make peace and adjust differences between other people. In 1854 he was chosen to fill the office of county commissioner. In 1859 he was elected to the office of sheriff. He also served as one of the first jury commissioners under the new system. Each of these offices he filled with fidelity and to the satisfaction of all concerned. Especially as sheriff, while true to the duties of his office, by his kindly manner and the allowance of all proper indulgence, he won from many the praise of being the friend of the poor and the unfortunate. He loved to encourage and help those whom he saw struggling, as he had done, to gain homes for themselves, not infrequently, as it turned out, obliging others to his own hurt. Early in life he united with Slate Lick Presbyterian church, an active and consistent member of which he remained to the time of his death, with the exception of the three years spent in Kittanning while he held the office of sheriff, during which he was identified with the church in that place.

When quite a young man he adopted the principle of total abstinence from intoxicating liquors, at a time when few were found to take a position generally regarded as radical. For more than fifty years he was a zealous advocate of the cause of temperance, and ever refused in any way to barter or compromise his principles.

In his own neighborhood he was the friend and promoter of the cause of education. A school of higher grade having been organized, and known as the �Slate Lick Classical Institute," in 1870, he erected at his own expense a building and for several years gave to this school the free use of it.

He was the father of six children, two sons and four daughters. John Boyd, his second son and youngest child, died in Kittanning December 3, 1861, in the fourteenth year of his age. Mary Elizabeth, his third daughter, died at Slate Lick October 7, 1865, at the age of twenty-two years. His other children survive: Rev. D. H. Sloan, pastor of Presbyterian church, Leechburg, Pennsylvania; Mrs. Rev. J. H. Blackford, of Glasgow, Ohio, and Mrs. J. F. Boyd and Mrs. B. S. Robinson, of Slate Lick, Pennsylvania.

In April, 1877, he was stricken by paralysis while yet seemingly in his usual vigorous health. He never was able to resume any of the activities of life. A portion of the time he was able to attend church, and to make visits to near-by places. He bore his protracted affliction with Christian patience and resignation. His golden wedding anniversary occurred December 9, 1880, and was duly observed, all his children and many friends gathering to extend their congratulations. He delighted in the grace of hospitality. His friends were always welcomed, and many a wayfarer sought the shelter of his cheerful home.

In October, 1882, his illness took an unfavorable turn, and on the 2d day of November he peacefully passed away. His remains repose in the cemetery at Slate Lick; but he still lives in the influence of his earnest, upright life, and in the affections of those who knew him.

Source: Page(s) 609-610, History of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania by Robert Walker Smith, Esq. Chicago: Waterman, Watkins & Co., 1883.
December 2000 by Jeffrey Bish for the Armstrong County Smith Project.
Contributed by Jeffrey Bish for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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