Hurst Family

HURST FAMILY. Between Buckingham mountain and the Wrightstown line lay two tracts of land of one thousand acres each which were patented to John Reynolds and Edward West, respectively, neither of whom ever settled on the land or made any claim to it. On these tracts in the first part of the eighteenth century settled sons of the earlier settlers of the community and a number of Scotch-Irish emigrants, who improved the land, and later they or the representatives of those that died thereon, sold the "Improvement," and in most cases the title was acquired by "adverse possession," though some of the tracts were later confirmed by patent. Among those early settlers was John Hirst, as the name was then spelled, who was supposed to have been a native of England, and was of English or possibly Scotch-Irish origin. He died in Buckingham about 1754, and his widow, Ann Hirst, administered on his estate and sold the "Improvement" and his personal estate. On December 1, 1754, she petitioned the Orphans' court of Bucks county, setting forth these facts, and asked that auditors be appointed to pass upon and settle her accounts of administration. She also states that the decedent left "divers children who are under the age of twenty-one years," and asked that guardians be appointed for them so that the distribution of the estate might be made. She then gave the names and ages of the children, as follows:
"Nancy Hirst was 21 on ye 28th day of July, 1754."
"Betty Hirst was 20 on ye 4th day of October, 1754."
"John Hirst was i8 on ye 31st day of August, 1754."
"William Hirst was 14 on ye 5th day of October, 1754."
"Sarah Hirst was 12 on ye 5th day of February, 1754."
"Richard Hirst was 10 on ye 10th day of March, 1754."
"Judah Hirst was 7 on ye 17th day of May, 1754."

The Improvement was sold for one hundred and fifty-four pounds and ten schillings, and must therefore have been of considerable acreage. The balance shown by the account was two hundred and forty-eight pounds, eleven shillings and two pence, but no distribution appears of record, therefore there is nothing to show who the children were who were already of age in 1754. Of the above named family John and William Hirst settled in Solebury; in 1760 John Hirst married Mary Heston, daughter of Zebulon Heston, of Wrightstown, having applied for membership at Buckingham Friends Meeting in 1759. Their children were: John, Rebeckah, Sarah, Jesse, David and Ann. They left Bucks county about 1774. William, the other brother, married Ann Thomas, April 25, 1761, he was a blacksmith by trade.

Nathaniel Hurst, who is supposed to have been one of the older children in the family of John and Ann Hirst, left his home in Bucks county and obtained a warrant of survey for three hundred acres of land in Westmoreland county, April 3, 1774, for three hundred acres additional, July 1, 1784, and for two hundred and eighty-five acres and twenty-three perches, February 10, 1796. He and his wife crossed the mountains on pack horses, and settled about five miles from what is now the borough of Mount Pleasant, where he took up nine hundred acres of wild land, above mentioned, which is now known as the Hurst Settlement. Here they erected a log cabin and began life under the most adverse circumstances, as the Indians were on all sides of them, and many nights when the husband and father was out watching for an attack by the Indians, the mother with her little family would seek shelter in the underbrush, feeling safer there than in the cabin. By degrees they cleared and cultivated the land, which soon became productive and yielded them a goodly return for their labor. They lived to be well advanced in years, were respected by their neighbors, and the supposition is that they were members of the Presbyterian church. Their children were as follows: Nathaniel, a farmer, who spent his life in Mount Pleasant township; Thomas, a farmer of Mount Pleasant township; James, mentioned hereafter; and John, who located and reared a large family on a farm purchased for him by his father.

James Hurst, son of Nathaniel Hurst, the founder of the family in Westmoreland county, was born, reared and spent his life in Mount Pleasant township. He followed the occupation of farming, owning a portion of the original homestead, possibly upwards of two hundred acres, and was one of the prosperous and thrifty men of the community. He married Sarah Blackston, daughter of James B. Blackston, of Fayette county, Pennsylvania. Their family consisted of the following children: James B., mentioned hereafter; Joseph, who was a farmer of Mount Pleasant township; John, who resided for some years in Fayette county, where his death occurred; Nathaniel, who was a farmer of Fayette county; Nancy, who became the wife of Ebenezer Moore, a farmer of Fayette county; and Priscilla, who became the wife of Samuel Miller, a farmer who resided in the vicinity of Latrobe.

James B. Hurst, son of James and Sarah (Blackston) Hurst, was born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, in 1799. He was reared on the old homestead in Mount Pleasant township, and prior to his marriage settled on a farm in Tyrone township, Fayette county, where he resided at the time of his death from apoplexy in 1845. About the year 1829 he married Mary Long, daughter of Alexander Long, and her birth occurred in Tyrone township, Fayette county, about 1812 or 1813. Their children were: Alexander, deceased; Prissly, deceased; Sarah, deceased, who was the wife of a Mr. Shallenberger; William, deceased; John, mentioned hereafter; and Frances, deceased, who was the wife of J. W. Shawman. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Hurst was married to James Cunningham, by whom she had two children: Elias L., proprietor of a hotel at North East, Pennsylvania; and Mary J., deceased.

John Hurst, son of James B. and Mary (Long) Hurst, was born July 6, 1839, in Fayette county, Pennsylvania. He was reared on his father's farm, educated in the common schools, and followed farming until his removal to Scottdale, Westmoreland county, in 1882. Here he established a mercantile business, which was later taken charge of by his sons. William and Harry R., who conducted the same for a time and then disposed of it to outside parties. During this time, however, he was employed at the trade of carpenter, which he followed for several years. In 1903 he erected a fine pressed straw colored brick block, one of the finest in the borough of Scottdale, at the corner of Pittston and Hickory streets, in which his son Harry R. has established a dry goods store on the first floor and rear of the second floor, and the front part of the second floor is occupied by Mr. Hurst and family as a residence, and the third floor is divided into apartments for residential purposes. He is a man who has always had the best interests of the community at heart, and is ready to assist in any way toward the betterment and uplifting of mankind. He was a member of the school board of the borough for six years, rendering valuable service during that period. He is a member of the Presbyterian church. In April, 1860, he married Euphemia Parker, daughter of John Parker, who bore him the following children: Mary J., died in April, 1904, aged forty years, she was the wife of William Owen, also deceased; William, mentioned hereafter; Harry R. mentioned hereafter; Candace, wife of G. F. Kelly, who is engaged in the real estate and insurance business at Scottdale; Gertrude, unmarried; James B., who is engaged in the clothing and furnishing business at Scottdale; and Edward, who is a student in the Pennsylvania State College.

William P. Hurst, eldest son of John and Euphemia (Parker) Hurst, was born January 26, 1863. He was educated in the public schools and remained on the farm until 1880, when he came to Scottdale and in company with his brother Harry R. conducted a mercantile establishment for several years. In 1889 he engaged in the coal business, prospecting and locating coal properties in Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio for other parties, and in 1891 began operating on his own account at Smock, Fayette county, where he opened mines which he operated until 1894, when he disposed of the same. In 1895 he opened mines at Pine Hill, Somerset county, which he operated until 1898, and then disposed of them. He then entered West Virginia, locating in Barbour and Preston counties, where they will operate on an extensive scale, and having in view the establishing of a large coking plant, operating under the firm name of the Midland Coal and Coke Company. He was also the promoter of the Clements Coal and Coke Company, Barbour county, West Virginia, the Candace Coal and Coke Company. Barbour county, West Virginia, and the Kingwood Coal and Coke Company, Preston county, West Virginia. Mr. Hurst is manager of the above named plants and virtually takes the same roll for the Midland Coal and Coke Company. The whole scheme covers a territory of about nine thousand acres, and all of the properties produce a good grade of coking coal. He is one of the live, energetic men of the county, and stands in the front rank of the best people in the community.

Harry R. Hurst, second son of John and Euphemia (Parker) Hurst, was born August 9. 1865. He attended the common schools until sixteen years of age, and then engaged at clerking for Keister & Co., at Owensdale, Fayette county, a company store, where he remained two years. He then came to Scottdale with J. S. Parker & Co., whom he served for five or six years, and was then employed with F. Dunn at Connellsville, proprietor of a dry goods store, for five years. He had, however, during this time had charge of the dry goods establishment of Hurst & Co., which position he held until engaging in his present business, in 1899, succeeding W. J. Murphy, a dry goods merchant. He located on Pittston street and there remained until 1903, when he moved into his present handsome quarters in the block erected by his father. He has a space of forty by one hundred feet, and the first floor is devoted to dry goods, notions, and ladies suits, while the second floor is well stocked with a full line of carpets, oil cloths, linoleums, lace curtains, window shades, etc. His stock is clean and of the very finest quality, up-to-date in every respect, and is one of the best selected and most attractive in that section of the county. He is a thorough business man, prompt and reliable in all his transactions, and his name is a synonym for integrity. Mr. Hurst married, January 1. 1896, Harriet Anderson, daughter of George W. and Amanda (Smith) Anderson, a native of Westmoreland county. Two children are the issue of this union John R., and William W. The family are members of the Presbyterian church.

Source: Page(s) 161-163, History of Westmoreland County, Volume II, Pennsylvania by John N Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906.
Transcribed May 2007 by Nathan Zipfel for the Westmoreland County History Project
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (

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