Chapter 13, Section 2

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The most northeastern portion of the division of this township south of the purchase line is covered by the less part of the Alexander Dallas tract, the warrant being dated July 1, 1784, the greater part being in Indiana county. Its locality, as well as the localities of the other tracts, will be manifest to those familiar with the topography of this region, from the names of some of its owners subsequent to the warrantee. This part of that tract became vested in James Oliver and Alexander McCreary, who conveyed 119 acres of it to John Oliver, July 15, 1839, for $500, who conveyed the same, June 13, 1840, to Hugh Elgin for $600, who in consideration of love and natural affection and the sum of $300, conveyed it May 22, 1849, to Joseph M. Elgin, the present owner and occupant.

The original tract adjoining that one on the west was the one covered by the warrant to John D. Mercer, dated about the same time as the Dallas warrant. By virtue of the act of Congress of January 9, 1815, and its supplements for raising the United States direct tax for 1816, it was sold by Theophilus T. Ware, collector of that tax for the then tenth collection district of Pennsylvania, to Robert Orr, Jr., for $3.67, on March 10,1819, who conveyed it June 14, 1830, to David McCausland, for $10. It was first mentioned on the assessment list as seated by him in 1824.

Following the original tracts westwardly along the purchase line, the next one is the Joseph Fisher tract, on which George McCausland settled in 1817-1818, of which he conveyed 107 acres, and which was sold by Samuel Matthews, county treasurer, for taxes, September 21, 1820, and was bid in by the county commissioners, who, viz: their successors, John Patton, Samuel Matthews and James Green, sold it to McCausland June 10, 1828, of which he conveyed 107 � acres to John Fisher, May 7, 1836, for $100.

Next is the Thomas Bradford tract, which will be noticed elsewhere in connection with several other tracts. Next the larger of the Elizabeth Henderson tracts, called "Pleasant," patent to James Carnahan, May 12, 1812, for �75 , 10s., which became vested in John Hutchison, who, September 19, 1836, conveyed it to James Ashkittle, who November 10, 1854, conveyed 53 acres of it to Finney Templeton, for $696. Schoolhouse No. 12 is on it. Adjoining the northwestern portion of it, on both sides of the purchase line, was a vacant tract, for which Robert Simpson took out a warrant, January 22, 1847, 32 � acres of which James McGranahan conveyed to Finney Templeton, December 3, 1859, for $390.30. Next, bordering on the purchase line, the Benjamin Davis, a long, narrow tract, widening considerably toward its western limit. The warrant for it is dated January 20, 1774. It is the same tract of which Jacob Beer, John Boyer and Peter Rearich conveyed, January 19, 1855, 90 acres and 132 perches to Susannah Wampler, for $550, and the next day, the first two and David Wampler, 89 acres and 125 perches to Elizabeth Rearigh, for $673.50. Returning to the above-mentioned Elizabeth Henderson tract, next west of it and south of the Davis, was the William Wistar tract, from the west end of which Mrs. Ellen M. Douglass, an heir and devisee of Judge Young, conveyed, May 5, 1847, about 83 acres to John G. Kline, for $427, July 16, to George B. McFarland, 141 � acres for $380, and May 1, 1851, 80 � acres to Alexander Dixon, for $413.75. Next west was the George Snyder tract, included in the Young purchase. Next the Richard Wells tract, which became vested in Jacob Beer, Sr., blacksmith, who erected thereon, about 270 rods above the mouth of Huskin�s run, in 1819-20, a gristmill and sawmill, with which he was assessed first in 1820, which, with 200 acres of that tract, he conveyed May 13, 1826, to Henry McBride, for $1,100, whose executors conveyed the same June 19, 1849, to John Hughes, for $2,000, who conveyed, December 26, 1862, 132 square perches thereof, with the gristmill and other buildings thereon, to John C. Wilt, for $800, who conveyed the same, April 5, 1864, to John A. Boyer, for $1,200, who conveyed the one-half part thereof January 3, 1866, to Peter and henry Louster, for $600, and which is now owned by Louster, Sowers & Co. This mill has been successively known, since its erection in 1819, as Beer�s, McBride�s, Hughes�, Wilt�s, Boyer�s and now as the North Star gristmill. John Boyer purchased 103 2/3 acres of this Wells tract, January 19, 1855, for $918.50, and was assessed as a coverlid-weaver in 1857.

Next and also west of the Benjamin Davis tract is a portion of the James Dubb�s tract.

South and west of the Wells is the major part of the Jonathan D. Sargeant tract, which having become vested in Charles S. Coxe, he conveyed it, April 25, 1837, to Samuel Patterson for $800, who conveyed 123 acres of it, March 1, 1840, to Moses Beer, for $493.

Next south of the Sargeant is that protion fo the Larken Dorsey tract which is in this township, for which tract a patent, dated June 30, 1801, was granted to James Abercrombie, who conveyed the entire tract to Samuel Patterson, October 13, 1836, for $546, of which Patterson conveyed 150 acres and 13 perches to Samuel McCurdy, November 6, 1847, for $530.

East of the two last above-mentioned tracts was the John Gill tract, a patent for which was granted to John Vanderen, October 12, 1776, which having become vested in Judge White, Archibald Stewart, and James McKennan, the two former and the latter�s executors conveyed 304 acres of it to Jacob Beer, May 8 and June 7, 1847, for $2,079, and 32 acres the next year to William McIntosh, for $160.50. The latter was first assessed with 235 acres of it in 1835.

The next to the east was the John Lart tract, the warrant for which is dated January 20,1774, who, two days afterwards, conveyed it to Richard Wells, the consideration expressed in the deed being 5 shillings. Wells conveyed it, August 17, 1795, to John Vanderen. It "fell by lot" to Susannah V. Johnston, to whom Vanderen�s executors conveyed it , December 14, 1819. It was seated and first occupied by Daniel Wampler, in 1826-7. Samuel F. Peters and Susannah V., his wife, nee Johnston, conveyed 239 acres of it , February 14, 1870, for $5,975, to James S. Peters. The public schoolhouse No. 10 is situated on it.

Next east was the John Dealing tract, being one of the tracts purchased by Richard Wells for the nominal sum of 5 shillings. In the deed from Dealing to Wells are these words: "To include a spring that rises among some little ridges and leads into a branch of Crooked creek about one mile southeast from an encampment of Benjamin Jacobs, and to extend toward said camp." Mrs. Ellen M. Douglas conveyed 145 acres of it to George Mitchell, December 30, 1846, for $500.

Next east is the William Craig tract, included in the Young purchase. It was seated by Samuel Brown, "in the spring of 1837", and on which he must have resided until 1846, for that is the last year in which his name appears on the assessment list of Plum Creek township, in which this tract then was. Judging from the maps and records to which the writer has access, it has since been sparsely, if at all, inhabited.

Next east is the William Finney tract, the warrant for which is dated July 1, 1784, and the survey, November 10, 1786. It must have been seated by John Black in 1827, as he was first assessed with it in 1828. It was conveyed by William Finney to Mrs. Ann Black, July 18, 1833, as containing 427 acres, for $100. A sawmill was erected on it in 1840, which was assessed to Samuel Black, and which is probably the one now owned by Finney Templeton, situated fifty rods slightly north of west from the public school house No. 11.

Next east is the smaller one of the Elizabeth Henderson tracts, the warrant for which is dated July 1, 1784. The patent for it was granted to James Carnahan May 17, 1790, and by him conveyed to Absalom Woodward, who March 18, 1823, conveyed it to his daughter Mary, wife of David Reynolds, the consideration expressed in the deed being "good-will and affection," 111 acres and 24 perches of which Alexander Reynolds, a lineal heir- a son of David and Mary Reynolds- conveyed January 11, 1858, to Martin John, for $1,111.50, and April 30 to George Elwood, 55 acres and 16 perches, for $551; to J.T. Sloan, April 19, 1856, 109 acres and 76 perches, for $1,175; to Samuel Sloan, July 6, 1857, 108 acres and 85 perches for $1,175.

Next east was the Joseph Norris tract, which, being included in the Bradford pruchase, will be elsewhere noticed.

Next east was the Joseph Nourse tract, in which are the vestiges of the circumvallation heretofore-mentioned. This tract was seated by David McCausland. He was first assessed in 1809, in Kittannning township, in which this tract was then included, with 368 acres, his title thereto being by an "improvement," but on the first assessment list of Plum Creek township, in 1811, by a "warrant." The first mention of his having seated this tract is on the assessment list of the last-mentioned township, in 1814.

Next east is the James Dundas tract, the warrant for which is dated July 1, 1784. It became vested in John Montgomery, of Indiana county, Pennsylvania, who, May 4, 1833, in consideration " of natural love and affection and the comfortable maintenance of Elizabeth Montgomery, on paying her $30 a year during her natural life," conveyed as containing 452 acres to James Montgomery and Daniel Devinney, the former, "to inherit the lower end where McGahey had improved," who settled on it in 1807, both being equal sharers as to quantity and quality. The former conveyed to the latter, two years afterward, 128 acres and 4 perches for $50.

A few years later a dispute arose between Devinney and David McCausland, who had, as above mentioned, become the owner of the Mercer tract, respecting the division line between these two contiguous tracts, which, after the preliminary steps had been taken for a prosecution in the court of quarter sessions, and a suit had been instituted in the court of common pleas of this county, was settled by a domestic tribunal selected by the parties litigant. On October 22, 1840, they agreed to submit their controversy to the arbitrament of Thomas Armstrong and John McEwen, who, as they were authorized by the agreement of the parties, chose David Peelor as the third member of the tribunal, whose decision was to settle all matters contraverted in that suit and prosecution. Armstrong and McEwen met at McCausland�s house,, November 25, 1840, and examined the papers presented by both parties and then adjourned to meet on the disputed ground, December 11th, when the three referees met at Devinney�s. On examining the ground about a mile below his house they found old marks of a division line for that block of surveys corresponding to the Mercer and Dundas surveys, which they traced up and found marks near to McCausland�s land and Devinney�s west line, and by continuing run them within about two feet of where McCausland claimed "the warrant corner," as he called it. Then after finding, by an actual survey made on the ground, what bearing would take them to "the Bishop White�s maple corner," in Indiana county, and found it to bear at that date, by Peelor�s compass, south 80� 42� east. Then they commenced at that "warrantee corner," and without any regard to lines made before, as there were none older than thirty-nine or forty years, they run a division line between McCausland and Devinney and marked it on the ground. Thus ended a controversy which might otherwise have occupied much of the time of the civil and criminal courts, have embittered the parties and their families toward each other, and entailed upon one or the other of the litigants a large amount of taxable costs, and upon each a considerable loss of time, expenditure of money, and racking anxiety, whichever of them would have been victorious in that action and prosecution. It may be remarked in passing, that 100 acres and 97 perches of this Dundas tract was sold in July, 1835, for $200, to Thomas J. Brandon; who exchanged it with David Ralston for another tract, who conveyed it to Jesse Henderson in January, 1857, for $1,000.

Next east was the William Ramsey tract, most, if not all, of which is in Indiana county, but which was returned as an unseated tract by the assessors of both Kittanning and Plum Creek townships, by those of the latter until 1819, but it is not on the more recent list on parchment of warrantees and of the persons who seated the original tracts, which was made by James E. Brown in 1827.

Next south of the Dundas was the Parsons Leaming tract, which was sold for taxes September 20, 1822, by Samuel Matthews, county treasurer, for the use of the county, and sold by John Patton, Samuel Matthews and James Green, county commissioners, March 17, 1828, to David Johnston, of Kittanning borough, for $34, who conveyed it to Thomas Bradford March 10, 1829, for $100. The Jacob Amos tract adjoins it on the south. Twenty years later the southern part of the Leaming tract was occupied by Daniel Fyock, and the northern part of the Amos tract by Thomas Price, between whom a controversy arose respecting the division line between the two tracts. For the purpose of settling it without further legal proceedings, Thomas Bradford�s executor agreed with Price, December 31, 1849, to submit the question in dispute to Jonathan E. Meredith, and that he should permanently establish the division line, which it was agreed should be final and conclusive, and, furthermore, if Price was not in the occupancy of any part of the Leaming tract, Bradford was to pay him all the costs of the prosecution for forcible entry and detainer which had been instituted against him, and if Fyock had occupied any part of the Amos tract, the referee was to determine the amount of the rent and damage which Bradford ought to have. The referee found that Price was occupying 8 acres and 100 perches of the Leaming tract. Thus ended a prosecution before it had reached the court of quarter sessions. The locality of the Leaming tract may be otherwise recognized by that part of it, 70 acres and 102 perches, conveyed March 14, 1864, by Benjamin Rush Bradford to Ephraim Buffington and J.A. and Richard Coulter4 , and by them, May 30, 1866, to John W. McLain for $700, or nearly $10 an acre.

The Amos tract was returned by assessors as being in Kittanning township until 1810. It was returned the next year on the first assessment list of Plum Creek township as being in Indiana county. The returns made of this and various other tracts indicate that, for several years after the organization of this county, the division line between this part of it and Indiana county was not clearly known, at least to the assessors. It was afterward ascertained to be partly in each county. The portion of it in this county is in the southeastern part of this and the northeastern part of Plum Creek township.

Next west was about one-third of "Norway," as the Mary Semple tract was called.

Next west of the Leaming and northwest of the Amos tract was the Patrick Farrell, west of which was the Samuel Fisher tract. North of the last was the Joseph Norris, which appears on some of the assessment lists and in some of the Bradford conveyances as the "John Nourse" tract; on the ancient map of original tracts, and on Brown�s list above-mentioned it is written "Joseph Norris;" and north of that was the Thomas Bradford tract.

The last-mentioned five tracts, the John Ewing and Thomas Hutchinson- called "Hutchins" in some conveyances - tracts in Kittanning, and the James Burnsides one in Plum Creek township, became vested in Thomas Bradford, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, printer. The warrants for them are dated July 1, 1784. His trustees conveyed them July 1, 1857, to Benjamin Rush Bradford for $9,000. The latter, May 1, 1858, conveyed the Farrell and Fisher tracts, and parts of the Bradford and Norris tracts, containing 1,183 acres, to Dr. Thomas H. Allison, for $7,000, and 170 acres and 34 perches of the Bradford and Norris tracts, July 19, 1864, for $960. Bradford wished to convey to Allison 1,700 acres; but James, Alexander and John Guthrie were in occupancy of and claimed the title to 150 acres of the Norris tract, and William and James McCausland, William Kennedy and Andrew Mitchell were in the occupancy of and claimed title to 154 acres of the Thomas Bradford tract. It was necessary for them to be ousted before Bradford could make a satisfactory conveyance of these 304 acres. The disputed points or questions in these cases were in regard to the boundary lines of the original surveys of these two tracts and the uninterrupted hostile and adverse possession of the above-mentioned portions of them by the occupants for twenty-one years. Bradford instituted ejectments against these occupants, at Nos. 97 and 98 of September term, 1858, in the court of common pleas of this county. Struck juries were drawn, who went on the ground and examined the original lines so far as they were apparent. The cases were continued several times. The former was tried September 19, 1863, and resulted in a verdict for the defendants. A motion for a new trial having been granted on the filing of an adequate bond by the plaintiff, the venue in each case was subsequently changed to Allegheny county by a special act of assembly, to the district court of which the records and papers were certified June 23, 1864. The trials there also resulted in verdicts for the defendants. Writs of error having been taken to the supreme court, the judgments in the court below were affirmed.

James Guthrie, Sr., must have settled on that Norris tract as early as, perhaps earlier than 1804, for he was assessed with 250 acres of it in 1805, it being then in Allegheny township. William McCausland- sometimes spelled McCaslin- was first assessed in Plum Creek township with personal property in 1812, and with 200 acres of land in 1813, so that he must have settled on the Bradford tract in 1811-12.

Source: Page(s) 286-309, History of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania by Robert Walker Smith, Esq. Chicago: Waterman, Watkins & Co., 1883.
Transcribed December 1999 by Pamela Clark for the Armstrong County Smith Project.
Contributed by Pamela Clark for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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