John Hargnett

JOHN HARGNETT was descended from a family that had settled in the United States before the Revolution. He was of the third generation in descent from the pioneer ancestor who came from Germany. 

(I) Jacob Hargnett, the grandfather of John Hargnett, and the founder of the Hargnett family, was born in Germany, December 23, 1736. He was still a young man when he came to America and settled near Hagerstown, Maryland. He remained there a few years and then removed with his family to Westmoreland county, where he took up land in the Ligonier valley about 1770. The hostility of the Indians, however, compelled him, as it had many other pioneers, to abandon this home in a very short time. He accordingly returned to Maryland, where he lived for the next eight years. When peace had in some degree been established on the western border, he returned to the Ligonier valley and again settled on lands he had previously occupied. This was situated about two miles southwest of Fort Ligonier, and is yet in the possession of some of his descendants. At that time the fort was garrisoned and served as a place of refuge for all pioneers within reach of it in times of Indian invasions. Mr. Hargnett lived on this farm until his death, which occurred at the advanced age of ninety years, in 1826. His widow, Barbara, survived him but one year, and they are both buried in the Brant cemetery near their former home. Their children were: Frederick, Ester and Sarah. 

(II) Frederick Hargnett, son of Jacob (I) and Barbara Hargnett, was born in Hagerstown, Maryland, in 1774, and was brought to Ligonier when his parents removed to that section. He was a farmer by occupation, and succeeded to the land taken up by his father. In 1803 he married Catharine Tosh, and they had eight children: Jacob, born in 1805; Henry, born July 10, 1807; Christina, born March 20, 1809, intermarried with Jacob Miller; John, born April 13, 1811; Ann, born August 7, 1813, intermarried with Samuel King; David, born August 17, 1818; Elizabeth, born September 21, 1821, intermarried with Peter Myers; Sarah, born January, 1824, intermarried with J. M. Breniser. All of the above family of Frederick Hargnett are dead. In politics Frederick Hargnett was a Democrat, and in religious faith a member of the German Reformed church. He died May 3, 1845, and his widow survived him until February 15, 1871. 

(III) John Hargnett, the third son of Frederick (II) and Catharine Tosh Hargnett, was born April 13, 1811. His constitution being a delicate one, he left the farm in 1830 and became a clerk in a store in Ligonier. Two years later he established himself in the mercantile business there, which he conducted personally until old age compelled him to retire from its active duties. He was for forty years associated in business with John T. McGowan. It was his custom to make two trips each year to Philadelphia or Baltimore, one in the spring and the other in the fall, to replenish their stock of goods for the coming season. These journeys as a rule were made in stage coaches, but at times they were made on horseback. In either case he was obliged to carry with him the money to be paid for the goods purchased, and this was no light weight since it was useless with the paper money of that day to attempt to pay in anything but gold or silver. He made these trips regularly in this manner for twenty years until the completion of the Pennsylvania railroad rendered such long turnpike journeys unnecessary. Nothing delighted him more, in his declining years than to talk of these old-time customs, and his conversation was always fraught with interest and instruction. In politics he was a Democrat, casting his first presidential vote for Andrew Jackson in 1832. In 1834 he was appointed postmaster of Ligonier under President Jackson’s administration, and held this office, tough not consecutively, for a period of twenty-seven years. In 1863 he was elected by his party as a member of the legislature. He united with the Methodist church in Ligonier, 1830, and was one of its most active members until his death. For more than a quarter of a century ending in June. 1870, he was superintendent of the Ligonier Methodist Episcopal Sunday school, which he helped to found when a young man. 

In 1836 he married Susan, a daughter of David Armor. She died in 1848. They had two children: Pamelia, born in 1837, and a son Armor, born 1843, who lived but fourteen months, dying in 1844. Pamelia was educated at the Blairsville Seminar, now known as Blairsville College, and was an honor member of its first graduating class. She married, June 28, 1858, Dr. L. T. Beam, of Ligonier and died July 31, 1859. Dr. Beam afterwards removed to Johnstown and perished in the flood of 1889. In 1850 John Hargnett married Laura Platt, daughter of William Platt, of Berlin. Pennsylvania. She lived but on year. In 1854 he married Euphemia Bernetta, daughter of James and Catherine Carnahan McDonald, of Indiana county. The McDonalds, as their name indicates, came from Scotland. John, the first American ancestor, was a son of John and Isabella McCartney McDonald, who lived near Edinburgh, and a grandson of John McDonald, a captain in the Scottish army. In 1772 John McDonald, the grandson, when a young man, visited his relatives in Rich Hills, county of Armagh, Ireland. While there a company was formed consisting of himself and sixteen other young men, three of whom were his cousins, and they all came to America, landing at Baltimore. When the Revolutionary war broke out John enlisted in Captain Casper Weitsell's company, First Battalion Rifle Regiment from Pennsylvania. He rose to the rank of captain of the Flying Camp and served through the war. Before entering the army he was married to Jane Wilson, and at its close settled on the lands which he had taken up in York county, where they resided until his death more than twenty years afterward. They had nine children, one of whom, James, born in 1779, married Catharine Carnahan, and settled in Indiana county. He was a farmer by occupation, and a Presbyterian in religion, though late in life he united with the Methodist Episcopal church of which his family were already members. He died April 20, 1852. They had a family of ten children: John, James, Samuel, Alexander, Elizabeth, Mary, Jane, Nancy, Susan and Euphemia Bernetta, the last of whom became the wife of John Hargnett, as above indicated. To them were born two daughters, Wilhelmina Platt and May Idona, both of whom were sent to the Pittsburgh Female College, May being graduated in one of its latter classes before it was destroyed by fire and merged with Beaver College. Wilhelmina P. married, August, 1880, Dr. John S. Garman, of Berlin, Pennsylvania. They have four children living, namely, John Hargnett, May Idona, Ralph and Lorena. For some years before his death Mr. Hargnett was not engaged in active business. In April 1896, he had an unfortunate accident, falling and fracturing his hip joint, the effects of which finally caused his death on June 13, 1896. He was buried in the Valley cemetery. His widow resides in Ligonier. 

Source: Page(s) 121 - 123, History of Westmoreland County, Volume 2, Pennsylvania by John N Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906. 
Transcribed June 2001 by Nathan Zipfel for the Westmoreland County History Project 
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (

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