Joseph Alexander McCurdy

JOSEPH ALEXANDER McCURDY, a leading member of the Westmoreland county bar, residing at Greensburg, Pennsylvania, comes of Scotch, Scotch-Irish and English ancestry. He was born in Derry township, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, Friday, December 11, 1857, the second son of Alexander J. and Sarah (Pounds) McCurdy. 

In an open boat, during the days of religious persecution in Scotland, were five brothers escaping by a dangerous voyage from Galloway to the coast of Down, Ireland. These true hearted men were named McCurdy, and from one of them Joseph A. McCurdy is descended. The Mayflower, which crossed the Atlantic in 1620, contained one of his paternal ancestors and two of his maternal ancestors. His grandmother, Mary Doty, descended from Edward Doty, who was one of the forty-one men who signed his name to the first constitution of government ever subscribed by a whole people in the history of the world. Mr. McCurdy's mother, Sarah Pounds, descended from Thomas Pounds, who in 1635 cam from London to New England, and his wife was one of the children who came in the Mayflower. William Drummond, who came from Scotland to New Jersey, had among his grandchildren Mary Drummond, the maternal grandmother of Mr. McCurdy. The maternal great-grandmother was Sarah Collier, descendant of William Collier, a London merchant, who came to America in 1633 and was assistant governor of Plymouth colony for thirty years. The great-great-grandmothers on the paternal side were Hannah Cannon, wife of Stephen A. Pounds, an Ella Cannon, wife of William Drummond. Three of his great-grandfathers, Alexander McCurdy, Joseph Pounds and Nathaniel Doty, were in the War for Independence, and two of his great-great-grandfathers, Stephen A. Pounds and William Drummond, wee killed in that struggle. For more that a century, Mr. McCurdy's ancestors have resided in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania. 

Alexander McCurdy, the great-grandfather, was born in Ulster, Ireland, 1744; came to America in 1756, settling on the banks of "Crooked Creek," in Westmoreland county, (now included within Indiana county). Subsequently he lived near the Salt works, on the Conemaugh river. He died near Livermore, aged ninety-four years. He was a revolutionary soldier in Captain Matthew Scott's Company, Thirteenth Pennsylvania Regiment, and was wounded in both arms in Yorktown and became a pensioner. For a short time he accompanied his son Samuel in the War of 1812, and was employed in training soldiers in military exercises. He possessed considerable wealth, was a noted musician, a strict seceder and well known for his knowledge of the scriptures. He was married about 1785 to Jane Heridenon, by whom were born: William, Alexander H., Andrew, Samuel, Keziah, Ann and Jane. 

Alexander Henderson McCurdy, the grandfather of J. A. McCurdy, was born at Crooked Creek, 1794. He was a farmer and carpenter. He was a pump manufacturer for many years. He owned the "Piper Farm," near Latrobe, where he resided many years previous to his death in 1851. About 1820 he married Mary Doty, by whom was born : Samuel Henderson, Nathaniel, Alexander Jackson, Mary, Phoebe and Jane. The mother of these children, Mary (Doty) McCurdy, was born in 1795 and died 1887. She was a lineal descendant of Edward Doty, who came in the Mayflower. Rev. Francis Doty (son of Edward) was a minister in the first settlement of Taunton, Massachusetts. For utterances contrary to some to the Pilgrim Fathers' practices, he was driven to Long Island in 1641. The Dutch settlement issued a patent to him, "for a Colonie, Messpath Kill, twenty-eight of March, 1642." Some of his descendants settled in New Jersey. Three of these, Nathaniel, Jonathan and Zebulon Doty, sons of Nathaniel Doty, Sr., (great-great-grandfather) settled in Derry township, Westmoreland county, about 1785. 

Nathaniel Doty, Jr., (great-grandfather), born 1757, died in 1844 ; he had served in the Revolutionary war. He married Jane Bethoven, and one of their children, Mary, was married to Alexander H. McCurdy, whose third son, Alexander Jackson McCurdy, father of J. A. McCurdy, was born in Derry Township, June 4, 1829. He was a farmer and was for some time in the employ of the Pennsylvania canal and later engaged in the construction of the Pennsylvania railroad. Politically he was an active Republican. He died September 2, 1884. He married Rachel Lightcap, who died in 1852, leaving a daughter, Mary Susan, born February 22, 1852, who was married to William Fishell, and died in August 1880. Mr. McCurdy married (second), in 1854, Sarah Pounds, born May 12, 1833, eldest daughter of Joseph and Mary (Drumond) Pounds. By the union of Alexander Jackson McCurdy and Sarah pounds, seven children were born : Rev. Irwin Pounds, D. D. ; Joseph A., see forward ; Hannah may, deceased ; John Drummond ; Ella S., William W. and Minnie May. 

Joseph A. McCurdy was reared midst the rural scenes of his father's home in Derry township, and attended the common schools. During 1869-70 he received valuable instructions from Rev. W. H. McFarland. After attending the State Normal school at Edinboro, Pennsylvania, one term, he commenced teaching when but sixteen years of age. He obtained his education by teaching winters and attending school summers. He graduated from the State Normal school at Indiana, Pennsylvania, in 1878. He was a student in the classical courses, first in the University of Wooster, Ohio, then in Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania, in 1879-80. He was principal of the schools at Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, in 1880-81, and became one of the owners and the editor of the Mount Pleasant Dawn, which he changed to the Journal. He relinquished the editorial chair for his life-work in the legal profession. Mr. McCurdy became a law student in the office of Moorhead & Head, at Greensburg, Pennsylvania, April, 1883. While thus studying he was principal of the Greensburg High School one term. He was admitted to the Westmoreland county bar August 31, 1885, and soon gained a lucrative practice. He has been solicitor for his county and attorney of Westmoreland county from 1892 to 1895, being the first Republican elected to that office. He is the senior member of the law firm of McCurdy and Cunningham. He was chairman of the Republican county committee in 1886, when Hon. Welty McCullough was elected to congress. In his church connections he is a member of the First Presbyterian church of Greensburg. He has been a director of the Westmoreland Hospital Association of Greensburg since its organization. Mr. McCurdy was married, September 10, 1885, to Jane Brady Armstrong, daughter of Col. James and Rachel (Welty) Armstrong, of Greensburg. She died February 28, 1888, leaving an infant, Rachel Welty, who survived her by five months. Mr. McCurdy was married, June 29, 1897, to Florence Ludwick, daughter of Humphrey Fullerton and Josephine Cort (Zimmerman) Ludwick, of Manor, Pennsylvania. 

Source: Pages 6 & 7 History of Westmoreland County, Volume 2, Pennsylvania by John Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906. 
Transcribed April 14, 1999 by Marilynn Wienke for the Westmoreland County History Project. 
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (

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