ORGANIZATION, ETC., OF BEDFORD COUNTY.
Bedford organized as the Ninth County of the Province, and the First West of the Tuscarora Mountain—-Its Original Boundaries—-Dedimus Potestatem issued by Gov. John Penn—-Form of Oaths, etc., administered under ye King—-List of First County Officials—-The First Session of Court—-Erroneous Opinions Regarding the Boundaries of the County in 1771—-Description of the First Townships—-A Turbulent Class of Inhabitants West of Laurel Hill—-Letters and Deposition Relating Thereto—-They Refuse to Recognize the Authority of Bedford County Officers—-James Piper’s Difficulties as County Commissioner—-Bedford County well rid of Troubles to follow, by the Erection of Westmoreland—-Brief Remarks concerning Early and Prominent Bedford County Officials.
BY an act of the general assembly of the province, passed on Saturday, March 9, 1771, and entitled "An act for electing a part of the county of Cumberland into a separate county," was created Bedford, as the ninth county of the province, and the first west of the Tuscarora mountain. "The great hardships the inhabitants of time western parts of time county of Cumberland lie under, from being so remote from the present seat of judicature and the public offices," was one of the reasons assigned by the people, in their petition asking for the formation of a new county. Robert McCrea, William Miller and Robert Moore were the commissioners appointed to "run, mark out and distinguish time boundary lines between the said counties of Cumberland and Bedford," and, as a result of their labors, the boundaries of the county of Bedford were declared to be as follows:* "Beginning where the province line crosses the Tuscarora mountain, and running along the summit of that mountain to the gap near the head of Path valley, thence with a north line to the Juniata, thence with the Juniata to the mouth of Shaver’s creek, thence northeast to the line of Berks county, thence along the Berks county line northwestward to the west boundary of the province, thence southward according to the several courses of the boundary of the province, to the southwest corner of the province, and from thence eastward with the southern line of the province to the place of beginning." In general terms, then, as time reader will perceive, the county of Bedford embraced originally the entire southwest quarter of time state, or, as their termed, the province.
Three days after the passage of time act first referred to, Gov. John Penn affixed, his signature to a document of which the following is a copy, and thereby caused the wheels of government to commence revolving in, the recently created county:
(L.S.) The Honourable John Penn, Esquire, Lieutenant Governor and Commander in Chief of the Province of Pennsylvania and Counties of New Castle, Kent, and Sussex on Delaware. To John Fraser,* Barnard Dougherty,* and Arthur St. Clair,* of the County of Bedford, Esquires, Greeting:
REPOSING special Trust and Confidence in your Loyalty and Integrity I have authorized and impowered and by these presents do authorize and impower you the said John Fraser, Barnard Dougherty and Arthur St. Clair, or either of you, to administer to all Judges, Justices, Sheriffs, Coroners and all other officers Civil and Military and all other Person and Persons whatsoever within the said county of Bedford, as well the oath of office, as also the oath of Allegiance and Supremacy, and other the usual Declarations, Tests, and Qualifications required by Law to be taken by the said several officers, Civil and Military, to qualify them, every or any of them for the entering upon and executing their several--and respective offices to which they are or shall be commissionated, or as any other Occasion may make it requisite and proper to tender or administer the said
*The original description not being deemed sufficiently clear, an act was passed March 21, 1772, in which the boundaries were explained in less ambiguous terms; George Woods, William Elliott, Robert Moore and Robert McCrea, being the persons designated to execute the provisions of the act.
*Fraser, Dougherty, and St. Clair were at that time justices of the peace in Cumberland county.
Oaths, Tests and, Qualifications, or any of them to such officers and other Persons until my Pleasure shall be further known therein.
GIVEN under my hand and Seal at Arms at Philadelphia the twelfth day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand Seven hundred and Seventy-one.
The form of the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, declarations, etc., alluded to by Gov. Penn in the foregoing Dedimus Potestatem continued in use until the declaration of American independence. Today these forms furnish strange and novel reading. Hence, in showing, in part, the manner of conducting official business "in ye good old colony times," a momentary digression is here indulged in to reproduce them:
I, A.B., do sincerely promise and swear that I will be faithful and bear true Allegiance to his Majesty King George the Third. So help me God.
I, A.B., do swear that I do from my heart abhor, detest and objure as impious and heretical that damnable Doctrine and Position that Princes excommunicated and deprived by the Pope or any authority of the See of Rome may be deposed or murdered by their subjects or any other whomsoever, and I do declare that no foreign Prince, Person, Prelate, State or Potentate hath or ought to have Jurisdiction, Power, Superiority, Preeminence or Authority, Ecclesiastical or Spiritual, within this Realm. So help me God,
I, A.B., do declare that I believe that there is not any transubstantiation in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, or in the Elements of Bread and Wine at or after the consecration thereof by any Person or Persons whatsoever. So help me God.
I, A.B., do truly amid sincerely acknowledge, profess, testify and declare in my Conscience before God and the World, that our Sovereign Lord King George the Third is lawful and rightful King of this Realm and other His Majesty’s Dominions thereunto belonging, and I do solemnly and sincerely declare that I do believe in my Conscience that not any of the descendants of the Person pretending to be the Prince of Wales, during the life of the late King James the Second, and since his decease Pretending to be and took upon himself the stile and title of King of England by the name of James the Third, and of Scotland by the name of James the Eighth, or the stile and title of King of Great Britain, hath any Right or Title whatsoever to the Crown of this Realm or any other the Dominions thereunto belonging, and I do renounce and abjure Allegiance or obedience to them, and I do swear that I will bear faithful and true allegiance to His Majesty King George the Third and him will defend to the utmost of my power against all traitorous Conspiracies and attempts whatsoever which shall be made against his person, Crown and Dignity, and I will do my endeavor to disclose and make known to His Majesty and his successor all treason and traitorous Conspiracies which I shall know to be against him or any of them, and I do faithfully promise to the utmost of my power to support, maintain and defend the succession of the Crown against the Descendants of the said James, and against all other Persons whatsoever, which succession (by an act entitled an act for the further Limitation of the Crown and better securing the Rights and Liberties of the Subject) is, and stands limited to the Princess Sophia, late Electress and Dutchess Dowager of Hanover and the heirs of her Body, being Protestants, and all these things I do plainly and sincerely acknowledge and swear according to the express words by me spoken and according to the plain and Common Sense view and understanding of the same words without any Equivocation, mental reservation or secret evasion whatsoever, and I do make this Recognition, Acknowledgement, Abjuration, Renunciation and Promise heartily, willingly and truly, upon the true faith of a Christian. So help me God."
On Monday, March 11, 1711, John Fraser, Barnard Dougherty, Arthur St. Clair, William Proctor, Jr., Robert Cluggage, Robert Hanna, George Wilson, George Woods, William Lochry, William Crawford, Dorsey Pentecost, William McConnell, Thomas Gist, James Milligan and Alexander McKee "were agreed on to be justices of the court of general quarter sessions of the peace and of the county court of common pleas for the said county of Bedford." Their commissions were issued on the following day, and on the same day, also, three separate commissions were made out appointing Arthur St. Clair, "prothonotary, or principal clerk of the county court of common pleas, clerk or register of the orphans’ court, and recorder of deeds." Subsequently, William Proctor was appointed sheriff, Robert Hanna, Dorsey Pentecost and John Stephenson county commissioners (who "afterward appointed Samuel Davidson county treasurer), James Pollock, Samuel Miller, Solomon Sheppard, Joseph Bealor, James Cavet and Richard Wells, Jr., county assessors. The above- named officers received their commissions about the 1st of April, whereupon they were sworn into office, and at once entered upon the performance of their respective duties.
Before William Proctor, Jr., Robert Cluggage, Robert Hanna, George, Wilson, William Lochrey and William McConnell, Esqs., "Justices of our Lord the King to hear and determine divers felonies and misdemeanors in the said county committed," the first term of the court of general quarter sessions of the peace began at Bedford on Tuesday, April 16,
1771. As grand jurors there were also present James Anderson (foreman), Charles Cessna, James McCashlin, Thomas Kenton, Allen Rose, George Milligan, John Moore, Robert Culbertson, George Funk, John Huff, Rinard Wolfe, Valentine Shadacre, Frederick Nawgel, Thomas Hay, Samuel Drenning, Edward Rose, Samuel Skinner, William Parker, Christopher Miller, Thomas Croyle. Adam Saam, Jacob Fisher and David Rinehart.
It appears that the first business to occupy the attention of the members composing this court was to divide the vast region originally embraced by the county into sixteen townships, and here we are led into another digression, for notwithstanding the fact that in Pennsylvania townships and counties were never laid out upon lands still owned and occupied by the Indians, yet many people considered fairly intelligent have asserted that the western boundary line of the original county of Bedford was almost limitless, that for aught they knew to the contrary it extended to the Mississippi river, or, possibly, to the Pacific ocean. Even the able compilers of a late work, entitled "The Geology of Bedford and Fulton Counties" have erroneously asserted that the territory occupied by the present counties of Butler, Lawrence, Mercer, Crawford, Erie, Warren, Venango, Forest and Clarion once formed a part of Bedford county. While the facts are, that until October 23, 1784, or more than thirteen years after the formation of the county of Bedford, all that part of the state lying north of a line beginning on the northern border of Bradford county and thence passing in a general southwest course through that county, Lycoming, Clinton, Center, Clearfield, Indiana and Armstrong counties to Kittanning, thence down the Allegheny and Ohio rivers to the western boundary of the state, belonged to the Indians, and consequently neither township nor county lines embraced any portion of it. As further proof of what is here asserted, and as a means of determining the exact extent of the original county, especially that part lying west of the Alleghenies, we append the following, copied verbatim from the minutes of the first day’s proceedings of the first term of court held in the county of Bedford:
The Court proceeded to divide the said County into the following Townships by the Limits and Descriptions hereafter following.
Air, as fixed by Cumberland Court.
Bedford and Cumberland, as fixed by Cumberland Court, only the line at the foot of the Allegany Mountain to be extended to the top of the Mountain.
Barree, To be cut off by Little Juniata and Tussey Mountain.
Dublin and Colerain as fixed by Cumberland Court.
Brother’s Valley, Beginning where the Southern Line of the Province crosses the Allegany Mountain and running along the Summit of it to the heads of Conemach, then down the Conemach to the west side of Laurel Hill, then along the foot of that hill to where the Youghiogeny breaks through it, then up that river to the province line, and thence to the place of beginning.
Fairfield, Beginning where the Youghiogeny comes thro’ the Laurel Hill on the west side and running down the hill with the line of Brother’s Valley to the Connemach Rirer, then down Connemach river to the top of the Chestnut Ridge, then along the Chestnut Ridge to the Youghiogeny if it extends so far, if not, with the Laurel Hill to the Youghiogeny and with that River to the beginning.
Mount Pleasant, Beginning where the Loyal Hannan breaks thro’ the Chestnut Ridge and running down the Loyal Hannan to the mouth of Crab- Tree Run, and up the same to the main Road, thence with a due course to Braddock’s Road, thence with the south side of that road to where it crosses Jacob’s Creek, then up Jacob’s Creek to the line of Fairfield.
Hempfield, Beginning at the mouth of Crab-tree Run and running down the Loyal Hannan to the Junction of Connemach, then down the Kisheminetas to the mouth, thence with a straight line to the head of Brush Run, then down Brush Run to Brush Creek, then with a straight line to the mouth of the Youghiogeny, then up Youghiogeny to the mouth of Jacob’s Creek, then up Jacob’s Creek to the line of Mount Pleasant.
Pitt, Beginning at the mouth of Kisheminetas and running down the Allegany River to its junction with the Monongehela, then down the Ohio to the Western Limits of the Province, thence by the Western Boundary to the line of Spring Hill, thence with that line to the mouth of Red Stone Creek, thence down the Monongehela to the mouth of the Youghiogeny, thence with the line of Hempfield to the mouth of Brush Run, thence with the line of said township to the Beginning.
Tyrone, Beginning at the mouth of Jacob’s Creek and running up that creek to the line of Fairfield, then with that line to the Youghiogeny, thence along the foot of the Laurel Hill to Gist’s, thence to Burd’s Road to where it crosses Red Stone Creek, thence down that creek to the mouth, thence with a straight line to the beginning.
Spring Hill, Beginning at the mouth of Red Stone Creek and running thence a Due west course to the Western Boundary of the Province, thence south with the Province line to the Southern Boundary of
the Province, then East with that line to where it crosses the Youghiogeny, then with the Youghiogeny to Laurel Hill, then with the line of Tyrone to Gist’s and thence with that line to the beginning.
Ross Straver, Beginning at the mouth of Jacob’s Creek and running down the Youghiogeny to where it joins the Monongehela, then up the Monongehela to the mouth of Red Stone Creek and thence with a straight line to the beginning.
Armstrong, Beginning where the Connemach rises in the Allegany Mountain and running with that River to the line of Fairfield, then along that line to the Loyal Hannan, then down the Loyal Hannan and the Kisheminetas to the Allegany, then up the Allegany to the Kittanning, then with a straight line to the headwaters of Two Licks or Black Lick Creek, and thence with a straight line to the beginning.
Tullileague, Beginning on the top of Tussey’s Mountain where the Little Juniata breaks thro’ it, and running along that mountain to the line of Berks County, then with that line westward to the extent of the purchase,* then with the temporary line to the line of Armstrong, then with the line of that township to the Allegany Mountain, then with a straight line to the head of Little Juniata and then down Little Juniata to the beginning.
The great extent of the county, originally, the sparse and widely scattered settlements contained within it, together with the lack of highways other than those constructed by the armies of Braddock and Forbes, made it an extremely difficult matter to transact the public business, to assess and collect taxes, etc. Besides, as Virginia claimed all that part of the Province lying west of the Laurel Hill, and northward to and including Fort Pitt, and as the authorities of that province were issuing certificates for land in the disputed region at the rate of only ten shillings per one hundred acres, it was but natural that those who had obtained their homesteads cheaply should espouse the cause of Virginia as against Pennsylvania, and as a consequence refuse to recognize the authority of the Bedford county officials, or to pay the taxes levied upon them.
Regarding the latter difficulty the following letters, written by two of the first justices of Bedford county, will afford a partial explanation.
STEWART’S CROSSINGS, Augt. 9th, 1771.
SIR: I understand by Capt. John Haden, the Bearer of this, that there is an Agreement inter’d into be a Number of the inhabitants of Monongahalia and Readstone, ho has Entered into a bond or Articles of an Agreement that Each man will Joyn and Keep off
*Meaning the purchase from the Six Nations, of date November 5, 1768.
all Officers belonging to the Law, and under the Penalty of fifty for to be forfited by the party refusing to Joyn against all Officers whatsoever.
I understand this was set on foot by a set of People who has maid a breach of the Law by Driving out a men from his home, for which there was a King’s warrent Ishued against them, together with a notion Propegated by Col. Croghan, that them posts would not fall into Pensilvania, he told me it was the Opinion of some of the best Judges that the Province Line would not Extend, by Considerable, so far, as it would be settled at 48 Miles to a Degree of Longetude which was the distance of a degree of Longitude allow at the time the Charter was granted to Mr. Pen, and has since told those People that they had no right to Obay any presept Ishued from Pensylvania.
He has run a Line from the mouth of Rackoon up the Ohio to Fort Pitt, and from thence up Monongahalia Above Pigeon Creek, and from thence a Cross till it striks Rackoon Creek, ten Miles up it, and he says he has one more grant of 100,000 acres more to lay of in a parelele with that. Many sirways he had cut to peaces and sold to sundry People that has bin returnd in to your Office, some of mine which is not above 3 or 4 Mile from Fort Pitt; one of mine he has and many others; it is a great Pity there is not a stop put to such Proceedings, as it will be attended with very bad Consequence.
I am informd there is a Large Number of Signers all redy to the paper, when I see it I will give you more distinkt Account.
Sir, I am with great respect,
Your most Hum’ Servant,
TO JAMES TILGHMAN, ESQR. at Philadelphia.
Per CAPT. JOHN HARDING.
MY DEAR CAPT. I am Sorey that the first Letter lever undertook to Write you should Contain a Detail of a Greivance so Disagrreeable to me; Wars of any Cind are not agreable to aney Person Posese’d of the proper feelings of Humanity, But more Especially intestin Broyls. I no sooner Returned Home from Court than I Found papers containing the Resolves, as they Called them, of ye inhabitants to ye Westward of ye Laurall hills, ware handing fast abowt amongst ye people, in which amongst ye rest Was one that they Were Resolved to appose everey of Pens Laws as they Called them, Except Felonious actions at ye Risque of Life, & under the penelty of fiftey pounds, to be Recovoured, or Leveyed By themselves, off ye Estates of ye failure. The first of them I found Hardey anugh to offer it in publick, I Emeditly ordered into Custodey, on which a large number Ware assembled as Was Seposed to Resque The Prisonar. I indavoured, By all ye Reason I was Capable of, to Convince them of the ill Consequences that would of Consequence attend such a Rebellion, & Hapely Gained on the People to Consent to Relinquish their Resolves, & to Burn the Peper they had Signed. When their forman saw that the Arms of His Contrie, that as hee said Hee han thrown himself into would not Resque him
By force, bee Catched up his Rifle, Which Was Well Loded, Jumped out of Dora, & swore if aney man Cam nigh him hee Would put What Was in his throo them; the Person that Had him in Custody Called for asistance in ye King’s name, & in pirtickelaur Commanded myself. I told him I Was a Subject & Was not fit to Command if not Willing to obay, on which I watched his Eye untill I Saw a Chance, Sprang in on him & sezed ye Rifle by ye Muzle and held him, So as he Could not Shoot mee, untill more help Got in to my assistance, on which I Disarmed him & Broke his Rifle to peeses. I Resd a Sore Bruze on one of my arms By a punch of ye Gun in ye Strugle. Then put him under a Strong Guard, Told them ye Laws of their Contrie was stronger then the Hardiest Ruffin amongst them.
I found it necesery on their Complyance & altering their Resolves, & his promising to Give him self no more trouble in the affair, as hee found that the people Ware not as hardey as hee Expected them to be, to Relece him on his promise of Good Behavour.
I am affraid Sum Who Have Been two much Countenanced By their King & ye province of Pensalivania are Grate accesoreys to those factions, & God Knows where they May Find. I have, in very Little time in Life, taken the oath of Alegence to His Majestie seven times, & allways Did it with ye Consent of my whole Heart, & am Determined in my proper place to Seport the Contents thereof to ye outmost of my power, as I look on it as my Duty to Let those things be Known to Government & my acquaintance at Philladeiphia is none. I Expect you will Communicat those things to them, that the Wisdom of Government may provide Remedies in time, as there are numbers in the Lowr parts of ower Settlement still increasing ye faction.
It Givs mee Grate Pleasure that my nighbors are Determined not to Joyn in the faction, & I Hope the Difirant Majestrits in this side ye Mountains will use their influence to Discorage it. I understand Grate thrates are made against mee in partikolaur if possible to intimidate mee With fear, & also against the Sherifs & Constables, and all Ministers of Justice But I Hope the Laws, ye Bullworks of ower nation will be Seported in Spight of those Low Lifed trifling Raskells.
Give my Complements to Mr. George Wood, Mr Doherty & Mr. Frazor, and Except of myn to your Self,
Who am, with Respect,
Your most obt Hble Sert.
Springhill Township, Augt. 14th, 1771. To Arthor St. Clair, Esq.
Early in September, 1771, Thomas Woods, deputy sheriff of Bedford county, proceeded to one of the settlements on the Monongahela
*Died at Quibbletown, New Jersey, in February, 1777, while on duty as lieutenant-colonel of the 8th regiment of the Pennsylvania Line.
for the purpose of serving ejectment papers on one John Martin. He was accompanied by a son of Maj. Collins, who lived in the same neighborhood. When, they arrived at the house occupied by Martin, the latter was not at home, "but his wife," said Woods, in a deposition sworn and subscribed before Arthur St. Clair, Esq., September 19, 1771, "desired him to wait a while, her husband would soon be home, and wanted much to speak to him; that this deponent told her he would lodge that night at Mr. Collins’, and if he had any business with him he might come there. Next morning three men, neither of whom this deponent knew, armed with guns and tomahawks, came to Mr. Collins and desired him, this deponent, to stay there ‘til the aforesaid John Martin and a number more of the neighbors came, for that they all wanted to see him; that he was not willing to stay, but that the said three men told him he must stay, for if he did not, it would probably be worse for him; that toward noon there was a party assembled about the number of twenty-five, all armed but five or six, who had clubs; that after consulting among themselves for some time, they told this deponent that as he appeared to be a civil man, if he would depart out of that settlement quietly and not attempt to execute his office, they would allow him, but that if he would execute any part of his office, he might depend upon the heighth of ill usage; that they told him they held their lands under one Russell, and his claim or grant begun at the Laurel Hill, near where one McKay lives, and run from thence to the head of Youghiogeny, down Youghiogeny to the mouth and across Monongahela; that it was proposed amongst them to send him, this deponent, back over the Laurel Hill, but he represented to them his business led him to Fort Pitt, and desired he might be allowed to proceed down Monongahela, to which they consented and sent a party of twelve men or thereabouts with him, some of whom escorted him to within four miles of Dorsey Pentecost, Esq., telling him at parting that they hoped he would remember what had been told him, and not attempt to execute any process or any authority under Pennsylvania, on the other side of Youghiogeny, or he might depend on suffering for it, but that when the back-line was run (meaning the boundary between Virginia and Pennsylvania) if they fell into that Province, they would quietly submit."
Having shown by the foregoing letters and deposition the factious and turbulent nature of many of the early settlers "west of the mountains," a feeling which displayed itself yearly until crushed out by the presence of a large military force during the whisky insurrection, we now turn to another event which excited no little interest during the second year succeeding the organization of Bedford county. It appears that of the first county commissioners appointed or elected, namely, Robert Hanna, Dorsey Pentecost and John Stephenson, the latter declined to act. Hence, in the fall of 1772, James Piper was elected to fill the vacancy. Duly qualified, he attempted to execute his trust as a commissioner, but met with difficulties best related by himself in a communication addressed to the justices composing the court of general quarter sessions, in January, 1773, as follows:
Your petitioner humbly represents to your Worships that on the first day of October last past he was elected a Commissioner for the county of Bedford agreeable to an act of Assembly of the Province in such case made and appointed. That in pursuance of the laws of this Province, he, together with Joseph Bealor, as he was informed by Mr. St. Clair, was appointed a commissioner before the said first day of October, in the room of John Stevenson (who had declined acting), by a majority of the Board for the year past, met at the house of George Woods, Esq., in the town of Bedford on the 13th day of October last, and issued their precepts to the township assessors to bring in a list of the Taxables in this side of the Laurel Hill, and appointed the 1st day of December to meet at the house of George Woods, Esq., to assess the Taxables on this side the Laurel Hill, and the 29th day of December to take in the Returns beyond the Laurel Hill, at the house of Robert Hanna, Esq.
That he, together with James Pollock, Richard Wells, James Smith* and William Parker, county assessors, met at the house of George Woods, Esq., aforesaid, on the day aforesaid, but the said Joseph Bealor and Dorsey Pentecost did not attend. That he, with the assessors aforesaid, waited until the Returns were brought in by the township assessors. The aforesaid Joseph Bealor and Dorsey Pentecost not yet attending. That he, together with the county assessors aforesaid, appointed another meeting, when Charles Cessna was unanimously appointed a commissioner, and John Fraser, Esq., county treasurer, and laid the assessments for the present year on the inhabitants on this side the Laurel Hill aforesaid. That he, together with William Parker and Charles Cessna, met at the house of Robert Hanna, Esq., according to the appointment aforesaid, in order to take the Returns of the township assessors and lay
*Formerly the chief of the "Black Boys."
the assessment agreeable to Law. That at the meeting Joseph Bealor told James Piper that he, the said Bealor, was not a Commissioner and the reason of his nonattendance was owing to his being indisposed, and refused acting as a commissioner, and swore in as a county assessor. That John Stevenson insisted upon acting as a commissioner, but was opposed by him, the said James Piper, upon which Dorsey Pentecost, Esq., Robert Hanna, Esq., James Pollock and James Cavet elected or appointed the said John Stevenson a commissioner and insisted upon his acting. By reason of which he, the said James Piper, together, with Charles Cessna and William Parker, declined acting, as they imagined what they would do in consequence of Mr. Stevenson’s appointment being irregular, and accordingly returned home without being able to do anything for the good of the county, and would now request the Direction of this Worshipful Court in what manner to act.
Jan. 14, 1773.
As a result of these unlawful proceedings on the part of Pentecost and Stevenson, they were ordered, at the January term (of 1773) of the Bedford county court of quarter sessions, to pay a fine of £50 each into the provincial treasury, and a fine of £10 each into the county treasury; but at April sessions of the same year, the fines, by order of court, were remitted. Indeed, the above-mentioned transgressors of law and order were then without the limits of Bedford county, for, by an act of the general assembly, passed February 26, 1773, all that part of the county lying west of the Laurel Hill was erected into a new county under the name of Westmoreland. Thus did the inhabitants living west of the Laurel Hill avoid the payment of any taxes into the treasury of Bedford county (consequently rendering no assistance in the building of a court-house and prison, projects which they bitterly opposed), and thus did the old county become free from a turbulent, contentious class of citizens, "Dunmore’s War," and the troubles with Virginia respecting boundary lines.
Of the men mentioned as the first officers of Bedford county, we add, in concluding this chapter, that some of them were then among the most prominent residents of the province, and afterward of the state and nation.
Arthur St. Clair was a native of Edinburgh, Scotland, and served as a captain under Gen. Wolfe at the taking of Quebec. Ten years later,
*In 1776 James Piper was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of the Pennsylvania rifle regiment commanded by Col. Samuel Miles. He was captured in the battle of Long Island, fought August 27, 1776, and died while held as a prisoner of war. See chapter relating to the "Revolutionary Period."
or in November, 1769, he purchased of Henry Slaughter a small tract of land situated at Fort Ligonier. Subsequently he made additional purchases of land of Michael Kauffman, Frederick Boren and Garrett Pendergrass, Jr., all located in the vicinity of his first purchase, Fort Ligonier. Besides being a justice of the peace, he held the office of prothonotary, clerk of courts, etc., from the organization of Bedford county until the formation of Westmoreland in 1773. He then became the first prothonotary of the latter county. When the revolutionary war broke out, he espoused the cause of the land of his adoption. He served throughout the war with great credit and rose to the rank of major-general. In 1785 he was elected to congress and in 1787 was chosen president of that body. In 1791 he led the expedition against the Miami Indians, which terminated so disastrously. It is but justice to his memory, however, to state that at the time of the attack he was worn down by a fever, and was obliged to issue his orders from a litter. After serving until 1807 as governor of the Northwest Territory, he finally retired to private life and settled on Chestnut ridge, in the present county of Westmoreland, where he died in 1818, in his eighty-fourth year.
William Crawford was a Virginian by birth. His home was at Stewart’s Crossing on the Youghiogheny, and he had served with distinction in the wars against the French and Indians. He joined the Virginia Line on the breaking out of the revolutionary war, and won the command of a regiment and an enviable military record. When the unfortunate "Sandusky Expedition" was fitted out in the spring of 1782, he was assigned to its command. The force consisted of about five hundred men, chiefly from the counties of Westmoreland and Washington, though there were a few from that part of Bedford county now known as Somerset. The troops under Col. Crawford started forth from Mingo Bottom, on the 25th of May, and reached the Sandusky Plains on the 3d of June. In the battle which took place on the 4th and 5th of that month at a point about three miles north of Upper Sandusky, between Crawford’s command and an overwhelming force of Delaware, Shawnee and Wyandot Indians, assisted by an detachment of British troops from Detroit, the Pennsylvanians suffered a most disastrous defeat. Many who had escaped from death on the field of battle, were captured on the retreat only to suffer untold agonies and horrors— torture, and death at the stake. And this was the fate which befell the brave Col. Crawford on the banks of the Tymochtee, near the present village of Crawfordsville, Wyandot county, Ohio, on the 11th day of June, 1782.
John Fraser, Barnard Dougherty, William Proctor, George Woods, Thomas Woods and Samuel Davidson were all very prominent residents of Bedford and will be referred to in the history of that borough.
Robert Cluggage was a resident of that part of the old county now known as the county of Huntingdon. He gained renown as an officer in the continental service during the revolutionary struggle. See following chapter entitled the "Revolutionary Period."
Robert Hanna, the founder of Hannastown (which was destroyed by the Indians during the latter part of the revolutionary war), John Proctor, the first sheriff of Bedford county, and William Lochrey, resided in the region now termed Westmoreland county.
William McConnell was the founder of McConnellsburg, the present seat of justice of Fulton county.
Dorsey Pentecost lived in the territory now termed Washington county, and until his death was one of its most active and prominent citizens.
George Wilson, the author of a letter shown on a preceding page, and Thomas Gist (the son of Christopher Gist, who was a famous frontiersman and the guide and companion of Washington in 1753, when, as Gov. Dinwiddie’s envoy, he visited the French commandant at "Fort Le Boeuf"), were residents of the old townships of Springhill, of the territory now known as Fayette county.
James Milligan, a successful Indian fighter, and Alexander McKee, from whom, we believe, originated the name of the gap known as McKee’s, were residents of a region now embraced by Blair county, while Richard Wells, Richard Wells, Jr., and James Wells resided in the division now termed Somerset county.
SOURCE: History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, pp. 74-80.
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