Fayette County Genealogy Project

BEESON, p. 67-70
Contributed by Keely Deuschle

The name of Beeson must ever be linked with that of the city of Uniontown, although not the first to occupy the land on which that thriving borough stands, he was the first to purchase the land and make settlement. He purchased the land from Thomas Douthet who "squatted" in 1767, having at first but a "tomahawk" right. The land was surveyed to him in 1769, but he never became a permanent settler. Prior to 1774 he sold it to Henry Beeson, who laid out and surveyed a village site first known as Beesontown, later as Uniontown. The site of Henry Beeson 's first log cabin was just south of the present courthouse.

(I) The Beesons are first found in this country at Wilmington, Delaware, where Richard and Edward Beeson settled in 1682. The Beesons of Uniontown descend from Edward Beeson.

(II) Richard, son of Edward Beeson, married, in 1706, Charity Grubb, and settled in the state of Virginia.

(II) Richard (2), son of Richard (1) and Charity (Grubb) Beeson, married Ann Brown and had sons; Jacob, of whom further; Henry, of whom further. The Beesons were members of the Society of Friends and gave to Western Pennsylvania these two hardy settlers, both of whom were concerned in the early settlement of Fayette county and the founding of Uniontown.

(IV) Jacob, son of Richard (2) and Ann (Brown) Beeson, was born in Virginia, June 1, 1741. He settled in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, and was one of the founders of Uniontown, purchasing from his brother, March 12, 1784, a large portion of the "Stone Coal Run" tract, which was surveyed to Henry Beeson in 1769. The part that was purchased by Jacob Beeson was named by him "Mount Vernon" and on part of it he platted and laid out two additions to Uniontown, which are referred to and found in a deed in the register's office. The first was called "Jacob's Addition," the next "Jacob's Second Addition." These additions were laid out west of Morgantown street. All lots were sold under the same conditions as in the old town and in the case of all lots through which Beeson's raceway ran, the privilege was reserved to "maintain a repair when necessary" and to enter upon the lots for that purpose. Jacob Beeson was a farmer and became wealthy, lived in comfortable style and was closely associated with his brother Henry in his undertakings. He was a member of the Society of Friends and lived a godly life. His home in Uniontown is known as the Gilmore mansion. He married Elizabeth Hedges, Sons: Jonas, Jacob, Henry H., of whom further.

(V) Henry Hedges, son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Hedges) Beeson, was born at Uniontown in what is now known as the "Gilmore mansion," March 9, 1788, died July 8, 1869. He was a farmer, owning part of the old Beeson farm which is now a part of the city of Uniontown. He served in the war of 1812 as a private in Captain Thomas Cottoms company. His parents were members of the Society of Friends and as such were opposed to war, but on bidding her son good-bye, his mother said: "Henry, if thee is shot, don't let it be in the back." His father gave him a black slave as a body-servant, named Tom Allen, saying: "Henry, if thee can lose Tom, do it." But Tom was not to be lost, he stuck to his master, who was the only private in the army having a body servant, and both came off safely. The following is his order of discharge: "By command of Major General Lewis, Henry H. Beeson, at the age of twenty-five, being a merchant one year, August 27, 1812, to August 26, 1813; the period for which he enlisted." "Oswego, August 26, 1813, John Kerkemer, Major, United States Volunteer, commanding." He married -.

(VI) Jacob Skiles, son of Henry Hedges Beeson, was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, May 5, 1820, died July 31, 1888, in North Union township. He was educated in the public schools of Uniontown. and lived in that town on the home farm until arriving at manhood. He then purchased a farm in North Union township and followed agriculture until his death. His farm was underlaid with the rich nine-foot Pittsburgh vein of coal, but during his lifetime it was only mined for domestic use and practically untouched. After his death it was sold and division made between the heirs. He was a Republican and adhered to the family religious faith.

He married Mary Ann McGregor, born in Oakdale, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, March 6, 1860, daughter of Matthew McGregor, a farmer of Allegheny county and Washington Springs, Pennsylvania, who married Margaret Wallace. Children of Mr. and Mrs. McGregor: 1. Robert, deceased; married Mary Richmond. 2. James, died unmarried. 3. Walker, died unmarried. 4. Elizabeth, married Bailey Dawson and lives in Uniontown. 5. Joseph, married Sarah Welsh and lives at Cool Springs. 6. Mary Ann, of previous mention, married Jacob Skiles Beeson, whom she survives. 7. William, deceased; married Mary Jacobs. Children of Mr. and Mrs. Beeson. 1. Annabel, died in infancy. 2. William H., of whom further. 3. Ida Elizabeth, died in infancy. After the death of her husband Mrs. Mary A. Beeson married (second) William Davis, who died in 1905; child, Elizabeth Jane, born January 10, 1895.

(VII) William Harford, only son of Jacob Skiles and Mary Ann (McGregor) Beeson, was born on the Beeson farm in North Union township, Fayette county, Pennsylvania, October 28, 1879. He was educated in the public schools and attended Professor Griffith's Redstone Academy in Uniontown for two terms. He was reared on the farm he owns and has devoted his life to agriculture. He is a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles of Uniontown, Lodge No. 828. He is a member of the Presbyterian church, and a Republican in politics.

(IV) Henry, son of Richard (2) and Ann (Brown) Beeson, was born in Virginia, May 19, 1743. He was in Fayette county as early as 1767 and selected land in that year, but did not make improvement in it until 1768. The improvement herein mentioned included the log cabin, which he first occupied, now within the borough limits as stated. The tract on which it was located was named by him "Stone Coal Run," which was surveyed to him by Alexander McClean, September 27, 1769, warrant No. 3455. It contained three hundred and fifty acres lying west of the present Morgantown street, the line of which formed its eastern boundary. Within the three years succeeding 1770 he purchased Douthett's "Mill Seat" tract, and erected a mill on Redstone creek. He constructed a canal three-fourths of a mile long to obtain the necessary power to operate this mill, which led northward across what are now Fayette and Church streets through the present school house grounds. This mill continued in operation about fifteen years, then was abandoned and the past century has obliterated all trace of the old raceway. It was known far and near as "Beeson's Mill" and there was built in 1774 a strong blockhouse as a place of refuge for the few inhabitants nearby. The original plot of the village was laid out in 1776 in land he had bought of Douchett and was at first known as Beeson's Town. The first fifty-four lots were disposed of by lottery. The name Uniontown began to be used about 1780 and came into general use about 1800. In 1784 Henry sold to his brother, Jacob Beeson, for a consideration of one hundred pounds (Pennsylvania money), all his title and interest to, and in the "Stone Coal Run" tract, but it would seem from other records that this sale embraced but a part of the tract. The part purchased by Jacob was named by him "Mount Vernon" and became a part of Uniontown.

Henry Beeson erected a mansion for himself and family near a beautiful spring. The bricks were burned on the farm and the house built with kitchen separate from the main building but connected by a covered porch. A few rods to the eastward stood the famous old hickory known as the "Indian tree," seventy-four feet high and forty-four feet to the first limb. It was trimmed so by the Indians, and nearly every boy in town has tried his skill at gathering nuts from its bushy top. This grand old landmark was destroyed by a wind storm at 11 o'clock, Thursday, January 23, 1896. The mansion was surrounded by seventy acres and there Mr. Beeson spent many happy hours, noting the growing prosperity of the new town, and in entertaining the many distinguished guests who made his home their stopping place when passing through. The old mansion is still standing, having never been unoccupied, nor has it been improved or added to since first leaving the builder's hands.

Mr. Beeson was a tall slender man. He was well built, stood six feet in height, with keen piercing black eyes. He was very generous, his keen delight being in helping others. He deeded to the town the "Central Public Grounds, upon which the court house, jail and sheriff's residence now stands, on October 13, 1797, for five shillings and other good causes thereunto moving him." He also donated a burying ground on the hillside cast of the court house and there many of the donor's descendants are buried. In 1804 he moved to Ohio, where he owned two grist mills, also several thousand acres of land in Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina. He died of paralysis at Mount Pleasant, Jefferson county, Ohio, February 13, 1819.

He married Maria Martin, who died at the same place in the early part of the year 1821. Sons: Jesse, Jacob, of whom further; William, Richard, Henry, John, Edward.

(V) Jacob, son of Henry Beeson, "the founder," was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, April 3, 1769, died February 13, 1820. He was a merchant of Uniontown many years, and was always known as Jacob Beeson, "the merchant," to distinguish him from other Jacob Beesons, the family being a large one. He spent his entire life in Uniontown and was a man of influence and high standing. He was a Democrat in politics, and a member of the Society of Friends. He married (first) Lydia White. He married (second) Julia Ann Brought on, born September 17, 1784, died March 26, 1869. Children of second marriage; Jacob, William Brought on, Lydia Ann, Job John, Strother M., of whom further; Phoebe S.

(VI) Strother McNese, son of Jacob Beeson, "the merchant," was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, December 4, 1816, died December 30, 1872. He was educated in the public schools, and grew to manhood in Uniontown which was his home until after his marriage, when he moved to Niles, Michigan, where he died. He studied law, was admitted to the bar and was a lawyer of high standing at the Michigan bar. He was also a real estate dealer, handling a great deal of Michigan and Indiana property. He was a Democrat in politics. He married (first) Mary M. Witherow, (second) Mary Margaret Miller, born in Northern Fayette county, Pennsylvania, near Brownsville, died at Hopwood, Pennsylvania, August 8, 1883, daughter of Hiram and Cynthia Miller, who kept a tavern on the old National road at Hopwood for the entertainment of travelers and teamsters using the historic old thoroughfare. Hiram Miller died in Hopwood in 1867, aged seventy-seven. Children of Mr. and Mrs. Miller: 1. Mary Margaret, of previous mention; after the death of her husband in 1872, she returned to Hopwood with her son and lived there until her death, August 8, 1883, at the age of sixty-six years; she was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. 2. Thomas D., married Adeline Clark. 3. Elizabeth Stokely, deceased, married J. Wesley Church.

(VII) Jacob Miller, only child of Strother M. and Mary M. (Miller) Beeson, was born in South Bend, Indiana, April 2, 1847. He has lived in Hopwood, Fayette county, ever since he was four years of age. He was educated in the public school and always followed the occupation of a farmer until 1901, when he was appointed by the governor of Pennsylvania superintendent of the old National, now a state road, which position he yet holds. He is a Republican in politics and has always been active in local affairs. At one time he could count every vote in the township before election day but says: "It is different now." He filled the offices of school director and assessor. He was reared in the faith of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, but is not a member.

He married, December 16, 1874, Jennie Barton, born in South Union township, Fayette county, in 1850, died January 25, 1880, daughter of William Barton, born near New Salem, German township, Fayette county, Pennsylvania, close to the border line at the Old Barton Mill, where he also died. He married Sarah Ann Swan, born in North Union township, Fayette county. Children of Mr. and Mrs. Barton: 1. Susan, married Minor Gray, whom she survives, a resident of Uniontown. 2. Rhea, died unmarried. 3. Jennie, of previous mention, wife of Jacob Miller Beeson. 4. Richard Swan, married Ella Cottom, both deceased. 5. William R., an ice manufacturer of Uniontown, married Frances Campbell. 6. Emma, twin of William R., with whom she makes her home. Children of Mr. and Mrs. Beeson: 1. Anna Mary, died in infancy. 2. William Barton, born June 29, 1877; graduated at Washington Jefferson College, Pennsylvania; now teller in the First National Bank of Uniontown; married Henrietta, daughter of Colonel Henry Robinson; children: Sarah Gaddis, born August 24, 1907; William Barton (2), August 23, 1909.

Source: Genealogical and Personal History of Fayette County by John W. Jordan, Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1912.

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