History of Bedford and Somerset
Those parts of what is now Somerset county adjacent to the junction of the Youghiogheny river, the Castleman’s river, and the Laurel Hill creek have from the earliest times been known as the Turkeyfoot region.
But a much larger part of the county, west of the
Among the earlier settlers, and possibly they were
the earliest, were a number of Germans and persons of German extraction who were
members of the Dunkard or German Baptist church, and among themselves called
“The Brethren,” or “Brueders Lide.” Among themselves they gave their new home
the name of Brueders Thal (
For the purposes of this history we hall consider
the Stony Creek Glades and Brothers Valley settlements as being the same, and as
being for the most part in the Stony Creek and Brothers Valley townships of the
present day. To us it looks very much as though the German-speaking population
mostly knew the country by the name of
There is not a little doubt both as to when and by whom the first settlement was made: In Brumbaugh’s “History of the Brethren Church” we find these statements, which are given principally on the authority of Morgan Edwards’ “Materials for a History of the Baptist Churches,” etc., the first volume of which appears to have been published about 1770: “George Adam Martin, who had been a minister of the church, but who afterwards joined the Ephrata movement and in 1762 removed to Stony Creek in what was then Bedford County” (error, Bedford county was not then formed). Again it is stated that the first movement of the Brethren across the Allegheny mountain was to Brueders Thal (Brothers Valley), and that the congregation began under George Adam Martin, he and the congregation holding to the doctrine of the Seventh Day Baptists, but that they soon returned to the practice and faith of the German Baptist or Dunkard church, Martin’s wife was a member of the Knepper family. Martin in many ways seems to have been a somewhat remarkable man, and the church has a considerable and quite a circumstantial account of his movements before coming into Stony Creek Glades or Brueders Thal.
If the date given in the church history be correct, it would indicate that the settlement of the Stoney Creek Glades began at that time. Then the question naturally arises, as they must have lived within ten or twelve miles of the Forbes road, could they have remained here during the time of the Forbes road, could they have remained here during the time of the Indian outbreak of 1763? If we may judge from what the best authorities say about the condition of things along the Forbes road in those days, we would think not. They would almost certainly have had to flee from the country until the storm had blown over.
While there can hardly be any doubt but that this
man did come into the Stony Creek Glades, there may after all be an error of a
year or two as to the time of his coming.
This same church history gives it that his congregation in 1770 numbered
seventeen persons. It also gives their names, among them Henry Roth and wife,
Henry Roth, Jr., and wife, and Abraham Gebel. These names would stand for
Rhoades and Cable, as the modern way of spelling would run. The name of George
Adam Martin cannot be found on any of the early assessment lists, but those of
Cable or Keble) and Rhoades do appear on the first one. But here again there is
room for supposing that a possible error may have crept into the account. Aside from the inferences that may be
drawn from the foregoing, we have no means of knowing what the church
affiliations of the Rhoades and Cables (or Kebles) were. But during the period
of the Revolutionary war Henry Roades Jr., was captain of the
There is still to be considered something in Rev. Captain Steel’s report of 1769 that has at least some bearing as to the time of first settlement in this part of the county. In this report, after alluding to the settlers at the place called Turkeyfoot, and stating “that we sent some proclamations thither by the said Speer,” he follows that up with “we did to a few families nigh crossings of the Little Yough judging it unnecessary to amongst them.” No names of any of these settlers are given, and the exact place of their location may rest on what we are to understand from the word “nigh” in this report of Captain Steele’s. The Little Yough is the Castleman’s river: “the Little Crossings” is where the Braddock road and the later National road cross the river, and it is also in Garrett county, Maryland, about two and a half miles south of Mason and Dixon’s line.
If we are to understand this word “nigh” as
meaning a distance of only five or six miles, then it could only mean that these
setters, whoever they may have been, were in Elk Lick township and in the
When Harmon Husband came into what is now
Husband in his own account says that on the
5th of June, 1771, he (Husband) was coming down from the summit of
the Allegheny mountain, through or along the valley of a small stream that
flowed in a westerly direction, when his attention was arrested by a cloud of
smoke that was ascending from behind a hill that ran down into the valley. This
at once told him that he was approaching the clearing of a settler, and that the
smoke arose from the burning of brush.
The day was already well spent. Shaping his course in the direction of
this welcome beacon of civilization, he pressed forward as fast as the speed of
his jaded horse would permit, anxious, after days spent in traversing the
solitudes of the wilderness, to meet a fellow man and hear the sound of a human
voice. It was almost sunset when he
reached the edge of the clearing, and realized that his conjectures were true,
and that he was now on the outer verge of a settlement. As he entered the clearing he saw a man
engaged in plowing with a team of oxen.
A number of children, boys and girls of various ages, were engaged in
chopping, picking and burning brush. When he came from the timber a dog with
the children gave the alarm by barking.
With the exception of a sixteen-year-old by, the frightened children
broke into a run toward the cabin, which was some forty rods away. The man stopped his work and looked
first with alarm and then with surprise, when he recognized in the intruder a
white man, and not an Indian. As
the traveler drew near, the man waved a salute, approaching him with the hand of
friendship extended, which was eagerly grasped by the stranger, while there came
a profusion of words of welcome, but in a language of which the stranger
understood but little, which seeing, the settler dropped his German and in
broken English said “Welcome, broder, where you come?” To this the answer was, “From
In the morning there was a substantial meal of
venison, boiled rye and boiled potatoes.
There was no excuse about having nothing to cook or nothing to eat. Husband was seeking the camp of a hunter
named Isaac Cox, which he knew was somewhere in this part of the country, but at
the earnest request of the settler he remained with him for a day before
resuming his journey. From
Wagerline he learned that his nearest neighbor that he knew of was five or six
miles away, and that there were others further off that had their families with
them, and had begun to clear land, and that there were also others who were only
hunters, having no families with them, but spending their time in hunting and
trapping. He further told him that
in the direction in which he wished to travel, which was to the northwest, there
was nothing but woods, although he had heard tell that there were large glades
some twelve or fifteen miles away.
He also informed him that he had raised a couple of acres of grain the
first year that he had been here, that he had about four acres then growing, and
that the land that was now being cleared was for the fall crop. Potatoes he had raised in abundance, but
meat was their staple food. Of
flour they had only a small quantity once a year, when a trip was made to the
settlements east for a supple of salt, powder, lead, and other necessary
articles. Wagerline is the only
settler that Husband makes any mention of as having seen in passing through what
In August 1771, Husband made a trip to
Henry Rhoades, Senior, must have been one of the
very earliest settlers in this region.
Independent of what has been said in the Church History before referred
to, re reach this conclusion from the fact that on the first assessment of
Brothers Valley township (which then comprised all of the region between the
Allegheny mountain and the Laurel Hill), that of 1773, there are three other
persons that had a larger amount of cleared land, he having twenty-one
acres. If five, ten or twelve acres
of cleared land were as much as such settlers had who were supposed to have been
say two or three years, he certainly could have been here five or six years to
have had such an amount of cleared land.
This Henry Rhoads died in 1774. At this time there were also Henry
Roades, Jr., Jacob, Gabriel and John Rhoades. How many of these were sons of the
pioneer we do not know. John Roads, however, must have lived in the
In that part of the region now under
consideration, which is
Philip Wagerline is the first that we know anything of, he being the first to be mentioned to any account that has come down to us. Of such others, and there must have been some few who may have been here at the same time, we have no names. It has already been noted that Wagerline told Husband that his nearest neighbor that he knew of was five or six miles away, and that when Husband proposed setting his face toward the northwest he said, “You will find no one in that direction but hunters.” It looks as though the earliest pioneer settlers in this particular settlement did not appear to have had at its beginning so much inclination to locate in as close proximity to each other as they did in the other settlements. Apparently each one sought out and sat down on such spot as took his fancy, thus scattering over the country miles apart.
These pioneers appear to have come in singly or in pairs. A good part of them were from the Conococheague settlements of the east. They were probably induced to come out by reason of the representations made by hunters when they went eastward to dispose of their stock of peltries and lay in supplies. Some of these hunters have been here for several years, and had never been molested by the Indians. This, along with their favorable reports of the country in other respects, encouraged adventurers of limited means to push forward and locate themselves on the choicest of these virgin lands in advance of them who were pecuniarily better off. Their thus coming here into what was then a wilderness may now be looked on as a piece of reckless daring. But such was the aggressive spirit that characterized our pioneer ancestors that they readily assumed all risks, so that they might better their conditions in life by having homes of their own. Animated by such purposes as these, they came into the wilderness, selected such lands as pleased their fancy, and marked their boundaries by blazing trees and building their rude cabins, usually near some flowing spring. The drafts of their lands as shown in our survey books very plainly tell the story that these first comers were quite particular in the choice of their lands, for their lines run toward every point of compass and at every conceivable angle, many tracts having a dozen or more of corners. This was because the settler, in making his selection, would encounter spots that did not please him. These he contrived to avoid by changing his courses, so as to carry him away from rough or swampy lands to better ones. His lines had to be continuous, and had also to come back to the place of beginning, but it was not requited that his draft or plat should have any particular degree of symmetry.
While it cannot be told who were the very first
persons to come into the Brothers Valley settlement, it maybe said with some
degree of certainly that among the earliest were Walter Hoyle, Jacob Fisher,
John Sweitzer, Valentine Lout, John Glessner, Philip Wagerline, Frederick
Ambrose, Bastian (or Sebastian) Shaullis, Peter and Jacob Wingard, Ludowick
Greenwalt, Adam Palm, Matthias Judy, Abraham Cable, Frederick Shoaff, and
Francis Hay, a single freeman. The
names of all these persons may be found on the first known assessment for
Christian Ankeny, George Countryman, Frederick
Walker, Frederick Allfather, Sr., John Eideneger, Jacob, Peter and Henry
Glessner, all came a year or two later, and, as early as 1778, if not
earlier. The ridge west of where
Abraham Keble (or Cable, as the name is now
spelled) lived on an improvement on Blue Lick run. This, we think, is now in
These settlers, of course, passed through all the ordinary privations and makeshifts of pioneer life. All their flour for the first four or five years was packed from Bedford and Cumberland, and some of it from mills still further away, the grain, of course, being packed from the settlement to the mill, where the settler had to wait his turn to have his grist ground into flour, and as these early mills were of but small capacity it might oftentimes be several days that he would have to wait. Under these circumstances much of the time the settlers and their families lived on boiled grain, potatoes and meat.
It is related of George Countryman, one of these pioneer settlers, and the ancestor of a family still well known in these parts, that he emigrated with his family from the Conococheague valley and came into this settlement about 1772, although some accounts would make the time several years earlier. As was the custom in those days, he came over the mountain with all of his personal belongings on a couple of horses. He found land that pleased him quite well, but some hunter had established his camp on it, and thus had some claim to it, so Countryman bought his rights, such as they were, for nine pounds. This claim he afterwards, enlarged by blazing trees for boundary marks so as to include about nine hundred acres of land, but this had to be patented under more than one survey, as settlers were not permitted to take up so much land under a single survey. As to whether he could have been here as early as 1768 or ’69, as is claimed by some, we are not able to say. His name does not appear on the first assessment list, but as the names of some others were omitted from these early lists, but of whose presence here there is documentary evidence, his name may also have been omitted. In addition to the well known Countryman farm of our time, his claim also embraced the John G. Hay, Philip Hay, Daniel Boger, and Benjamin Hay farms, of a later day, although the latter is only partly made up from this claim.
George Countryman had the hospitalities of the wilderness, camping in the forest until he could erect a rude cabin for the sheltering of his wife and children. After he had his cabin built he set about clearing some ground, a part of which he planted in potatoes. When these were lifted in the fall the ground was sown in grain. For several years he deemed it prudent, or perhaps he found it necessary, to return to his former home at the beginning of each winter to obtain a supply of flour, leaving his family alone for five or six weeks at a time. He usually started after the fall work was done, taking with him his horses. Onreaching his old home he usually managed to secure a job in threshing out the grain on one or two farms for the tenth bushel, which for many years was the standard allowance for threshing grain. Having completed his work he would have his share of the grain ground into flour and, taking as much of it as he could pack, he returned over the mountain to his anxiously waiting family. Here we might pause and ponder on the danger and hazard attending this prolonged absence from home on the part of the head of the family.
It may appear foolhardiness, or perhaps downright brutality, for a man to leave his wife and children exposed to all the dangers of the wilderness for so lonf a time, and especially so when it is considered that Indian inroads were at all times possible. Yet, on the other hand, it was an imperative necessity requiring that adequate provision should be made in the fall to meet the exigencies of the winter in these mountains forests, winters the severity and duration of which were not yet fully developed. We may also imagine the thoughts and anxieties of the husband and father when thus separated from his family for weeks, nearing the spot on his return where all his hopes were centered, eager to catch the first sound or get the first glimpse to reassure him that all was well. Such were some of the hardships that the pioneer settlers everywhere had to endure to those days. Theirs were the toils and trials; ours is the better lot to possess and enjoy the fruits of their labors.
On one of these trips Countryman was somewhat later than usual in reaching the settlement where he expected to obtain this work. Thinking that he would come that season, the farmers who usually held their threshing for him gave the work to others. Not getting this expected work disheartened him, and he did not know what to do. One of the farmers finally suggested that they go to the barn where the man was at work, and perhaps some arrangements might be made by which he could have at least a part of the work; with the result that some kind of a partnership was agreed on for the time being. The man was young and a German, he expressed an earnest wish that he might become a land owner himself. To become land owners seemed to be the burning ambition of nearly all of the German immigrants of that day. Countryman told him of this country where much land might be had at little cost, but he also held up to him the dangers and privations that would have to be endured and overcome by everyone who sought to create a home in the wilderness. By the time they had finished their work, the young German had made up his mind to go with his friend to his home in the mountains. Countryman, after getting his grain ground into flour, packed it on his horses, and, accompanied by his partner, started on his homeward journey. As they neared the top of the Allegheny mountain, in the dusk of the evening, something frightened one of the horses, causing it to start suddenly, bringing one of the sacks in contact with a tree, ‘tearing it, and thus causing much of the flour to be strewn over the ground. But on reaching home he was consoled for the loss of the flour by finding his family safe and well.
Having reached home, Mr. Countryman showed the
young German over his lands, and presently negotiated with him for a sale of
about one-half of his nine hundred acres, and also for the trifling sum of nine
pounds. Of course the land office
charges must needs still be paid, but it the present value of this land, made up
as it is of farms among the finest in the country, is considered, it was indeed
but a trifling sum. A division of
the lands having been made, the young German, who evidently was a man of thrift
and enterprise, having thus early realized his hopes and aspirations of becoming
a land owner in the land of his adoption, at once set himself to work to clear
and improve what to him certainly was a great landed estate. Of course he had
taken unto himself a wife, but whether here in the settlement, of whether in one
of the settlements further east, we are not aable to say, although we know that
she was a member of the Shaver family, well known in these parts to this
day. Thus he became permanently
located and identified with the interests of the settlement in its early
days. It is also said that just
prior to the rupture between the Colonies and the
Coal for blacksmithing purposes was hauled to Somerset from this Countryman farm as late as 1810, and this must have been done for years before that time, but as to its having been so hauled at the time named we have positive evidence. It is therefore extremely probable that it was on this farm that the first discovery of good coal anywhere in these parts was made.
After the arrival of the earlier settlers, they in their travel and intercourse with the more or less distant eastern settlements, in their going to mill and in the bringing in of supplies, soon opened up trails, and tin time, as necessity required, widened them into roads for wagons to pass along. Yet we have no evidence or knowledge as to when these earlier trails did become passable for wagons.
TRADES AND OCCIPATIONS-ATTEMPT TO LAY OUT A TOWN.
The settling of the country presently created more or less of a demand for the labor and services of men skilled in the mechanical trades. It is true that probably nearly all of the first comers into any of these mountain settlements were men who were more or less masters of trades of some sort: that among them were carpenters, stone masons, weavers, blacksmith, shoemakers, and similar trades, and each one in his way could be quite helpful to his neighbors. But these men had not come out into the wilderness to ply trades. They had come to acquire lands and become tillers of the soil, and in this pursuit nearly all of their time would naturally be occupied. The need was for a class of immigrants or settlers who would devote their entire time to the trades or occupations of which they were masters. This is a kind of labor that usually concentrates itself for convenience. A blacksmith shop, a store and a tavern, formed a nucleus which almost every village in the county was built up.
In time the general needs of the community led to
the advisability of the laying out of a town in this settlement being
considered. Finally it was
determined to do so, and a part of the farm now owned by Elias Cober, in the
neighborhood of what is now known as Pine Hill, was selected as being suitable
for a town site. Near this place
had already been built a house for school purposes and religious worship. This must have been the first house in
the country that was built especially for these purposes; certainly it was the
first in the
A day was fixed on which lots were to be staked
off and sold. The date or time at
which this first attempt at starting a town was made is not now known, but it
must have antedated the founding of the town of
PLACES OF DEFENSE AGAINST THE INDIANS
While the settlement west of the Negro mountain and the ridge into which it drops in its northern end, to some extent served as a foil against possible Indian attacks on this settlement, it nevertheless appears that the settlers gave some attention toward the protection of themselves and families against such attacks. But at this late day little is known concerning such defenses.
There is, however, pretty good authority that a
stockade or blockhouse had been erected on the Seth Wegley farm, at that time a
past of the Philip Wagerline farm, as a place of refuge against the
Indians. The late Henry J. Young,
It may be readily be seen and believed that a place for defense might have been constructed in the manner here described. Timber in some form or other entered into the construction of all these forts or blockhouses. One built of timber, and protected by an embankment of earth on the sides, and the roof also covered by earth, would certainly have been protected from attack by fire, an element of weakness in all simple wooden defenses.
“Another of these defenses was on a farm owned in 1870 by Nelson Walker, and several miles south of the one last mentioned. It was built under a bluff or projecting rock near the river, and was constructed of logs on three sides, the rock forming the back against which timbers were butted and shortened as the rock shelved until it closed at the top against the cliff. It could not be reached, and was entirely covered and dry, this preserving it from decay. Many persons are yet living (1870) who have seen it in pretty good condition. The connection between this relic and its builders has been broken or lost and all must be left to conjecture.
“There is, however, a tradition connected with the ancestor of the Shoaff family* that would in a manner meet this case. It runs thus: In the alarms which caused the more western and northwestern settlers to leave on several occasions, the settlers about the Middle Creek valley had nearly all removed. But Shoaff is said to have hid or concealed himself, living somewhere among the rocks along the river. This, taken in connection with the sale he made to the Saylors of the limestone hill across the river from the present town of Meyersdale, which was his first improvement, and after him for a time was called the ‘Shoaff Kup,” together with his then moving down the river, would very naturally connect him with this defense under the bluff.”
refers to Frederick Shoaff and not to John Shoaf, the ancestor of the Shoaff
Mention has already been made that among the many hardships that these pioneer settlers had to endure in their struggle here in the wilderness that they were under the necessity of going as far as Fort Bedford and Fort Cumberland, and even to places still much further east, in order to procure flour, which, when obtained by such long and tedious trips once or twice a year, had to be saved and used sparingly, being looked on as one of the great luxuries of life, to be baked into bread only on special occasions, such as the coming of visitors, or when some member of the family was sick.
In one family the tradition comes down to us that they had been without flour for a long while, their homely fare being meat, potatoes and boiled wheat, or rye. At last the children begged so long and hard for bread that a trip was made to an eastern mill for a supply of flour, this requiring, perhaps, four or five days of time. On the day of expected return a small child three or four years old would eat nothing all day, but would frequently ask, “Will father soon come with the flour?” Under such conditions, and they prevailed in all of these early settlements, the building of the first gristmill in any of them was a matter of the greatest importance to such community.
When Philip Wagerline was on one of his eastern trips after flour, the miller asked him if there were no mill sites in their new settlement. Now Wagerline was a man somewhat given to jokes on a practical nature, so he replied, “Yes, I have one on my own land.” The miller asked what fall might he obtained. “Any fall you please,” replied Wagerline. “Well,” says the miller, “I am bound to come and see you, and if you can show me such a situation I will build you a mill at home.” So Philip returned home with the assurance of a visit from the miller as soon as he could get off. In due time the miller redeemed his promise, and was cordially welcomed to this backwoods home. All it afforded was most cheerfully prepared for his comfort. In the morning, expressing a wish to see the millsite, Philip took him to a nice level spot at the foot of a considerable hill, and asked him, “Would you want a nicer place for a mill!” “Yes,” replied the miller, “but where is the water?” “Water! Why, you said nothing about water. You only spoke of a situation and a fall, and here you can have all the fall you want or need.” The miller, seeing he had been the victim of a joke, heartily joined in the laugh, which was at his expense. But, after all, there could have been but little difficulty in finding a mill site that had plenty both of water and fall. Whether Philip Wagerline’s visitor did find a site to please him, and whether he really did build the first gristmill in Brothers Valley settlement, are questions that can not now be answered, because the name of this man has not come down to us.
So far as can be determined at this time, a small
tub mill was built a short distance west from where the town of
The mill built by William Jones, near the foot of
Laurel Hill, in what is now
The original mill, as we believe, and as already stated, was the kind known as a tub mill, a type of mill that has long since gone out of existence in these parts. The name was taken from the form and construction of the wheel, which consisted of an upright shaft with wings, or floats, attached. This was encircled by a tub, or chest, into which the water rushed from a chute, striking these wings or floats, and putting the wheel in motion, the water being discharged through an opening in the side of the tub. In the upper end of the shaft the spindle was set that passed through the bed stone. The balance and driver were attached as in later and better forms. In setting the mill, the bedstone was raised or depressed by a lighter staff, instead of a runner. Bolting cloths were not used in these early mills, the flour made in them being used without bolting. When something better was desired, the flour, as it came from the mill, was passed through a sifter-sieve, this separating most of the bran from the flour. The modern sieve, or sifter, is made from woven wire, the meshes being of various degrees of fineness, as desired. But these early sifters, was used in the days of the pioneers, were made by stretching the dressed skin of some animal over a broad hoop while it was still wet, something in the manner of a drum head. After it had become dry perforations were made in it with a fine awl, and as closely as possible. This made a durable and fairly good sifter. Bolting cloths were in use in all our mills long before the beginning of the writer’s own time, but it is within his recollection that all cornmeal was taken away from all of our mills unbolted as it passed though the stones. The bran was separated from the meal by the good housewife at home with a sifter, which was a part of every well equipped kitchen.
The region adjacent to the present town of
It is also a part of this tradition that he had a negro servant. This servant was almost as expert a woodsman as was his master. On one occasion, with a neighboring hunter, he was sent on an errand to the Turkeyfoot settlement. The hunter returned and reported that while on their return home they fell in with a small band of Indians, who pursued them; that to baffle the pursuit they had separated the negro taking up the mountain and the white man toward the river. The negro was never heard of-whether he was killed, captured or ran away, and that it was this circumstance from which Negro mountain takes its name. That it does take it name from some adventure on it in which a negro had a part would seem certain, but there are four or five traditions relating to the origin of this name, all of which assign a different owner to this negro. We give this account here because this tradition is connect with this locality. But the reader is referred to the account of the Turkeyfoot settlement for an entirely different account.
W can give no dates as to the time when Jacob
Castleman was located here, other than that it was before settlers had come
in. It from this hunter that the
Castleman’s river takes its present name; we say present name, because in the
early days it was also known as the Little Youghiogheny. Aside from giving his name to this
beautiful stream, we do not know that this man left any other impress on the
history of this time. He must have
disappeared from these parts as soon as the settlers began to come. We do not know where Jacob Castleman
originally came from. There is a
trace of the family name in early
Another hunter, whose name was Flaherty, or Flaugherty, gave his name to the classic stream that divides Meyersdale into a north and south side. His camp is said to have been near the mouth of the stream. There are, however, some accounts of him which say that he operated a still somewhere on the banks of the stream.
This region had at least some settlers at a very
early date. Tradition has it that
very soon after the Indian title was extinguished, in 1768, a colony of some
fifteen or twenty families was formed to emigrate and settle in this section,
and that most of them were Mennonites.
The date assigned we think too early by several years, because not a
single one of the names that may be considered as being of this colony is to be
found on the first assessment list, although their absence from the list would
not be entirely conclusive as to the time of their coming. It is also more than likely that the
Amish and not the Mennonite element predominated, and there may also have been
some Brethren, or Dunkards, among them.
Indeed, if we are to judge from the church affiliations of their
descendants, there must have been some of the Dunkard faith. Some of these traditions even go so far
as to say that it was this colony as a whole from which the name “Brueders
Of these early settlers we have these names. Jacob Saylor, John Saylor (father and
son), Christian Knaigey, Christian Berkey (or Perkey), Peter Fahrney (Forney),
Michael Buechley, John Olinger, John Burger, John Miller. Also the Burntragers, and possibly some
of the Houpts. Of these the
Saylors, Fahrneys, Buechleys, Knaigeys and Berkeys may be looked on as being
among the first to come, and except the Berkeys, all of these are still well
known names in the county. The
Berkey family in the northern past of
Jacob Saylor settled on the farm on which the late Christian P. Livengood lived for so many years, and which is now owned by Cyrus Hochstetter. He was a Mennonite preacher. This is set forth in his will, but one on his descendants, the late Rev. Henry Blough, himself a Mennonite, once informed the writer that Jacob Saylor was of the Amish church when he came here, had become dissatisfied for some reason or other, and that a Mennonite bishop had come from Lancaster county and set him apart for the Mennonite ministry.
John Saylor, his son, settled on a farm adjoining
his father’s place. In it is
included the well know Saylor Hill. It is said this hill was first known as the
“Shoaff Kupp,” from the
circumstance that a hunter named Shoaff had some sort of an improvement right to
it which Saylor bought from him.
There is a story that when Peter Livengood, who located near
Jacob Saylor died in 1796. His is one of the early wills to be found on our county records. Among other things he bequeathed to his only son, John, the family Bible and a volume of the writings of Menno Simon, the same being John’s sole share of the estate. This old “Menno Simon Book,” as it is called in the will, was printed in the 1575, and is still in possession of some one of the Blough family. It contains a record of a Saylor family of children born between 1708 and 1720.
Andrew Burntrager’s location was within the
present town of
When Elk Lick township was cut off from
As with every other of these pioneer settlements,
the settlers here were greatly inconvenienced for want of a mill. In the Husband papers we find an account
that somewhere between 1778 and 1780 a stranger came into the settlement and
offered that if he were given a piece of land he would put up a mill on
Flaugherty run. The land was given
him. Taking out a race some
distance up the stream and on the south side, he obtained sufficient fall and
put up a tub mill. If this story is
correct all through, it could not have been on or near the site of the later
Meyers mill, because that is on the north side. If the time was as early as 1778, it
would probably antedate the other early mills, and we would know more about
it. We look on the early mills, and
we would know more of it. We look
on the William Jones mill, near the foot of Laurel Hill, as being the earliest
mill in the county, and that does not seem to date back any earlier than the
early part of 1779. No man’s name
is connected with this mill on the Flaugherty as its builder. There is, however, another tradition to
the effect that one Adam Cook built a mill long before the year 1800; that it
also got its power from the Flaugherty; and as this story runs, it may have been
the predecessor of the later Meyers mill, and he may be the same man that the
Husband account has reference to.
One thing is certain-such a man as Adam Cook was in
What the effect of the continued Indian alarms of
the Revolutionary period was on the
At the time of the close of the Revolutionary war,
That section of the county known as Elk Lick takes
its name from a stream that, rising near the top of the Negro mountain, and
flowing is a northeasterly direction, finally empties into the Castleman’s
river, a short distance below the town of
An early tradition connected with this lick is that Henry Miller, who was an early settler in these parts, and also something of a hunter, had gone one night to watch this lick in the hope of killing a deer, secreting himself among the bushes that grew around the place. After a due season of waiting and watching by the dim light of a clouded moon, he at last saw several deer approach the lick. Bringing his gun to bear on them as well as he could in the dim light, he fired it. His shot was both remarkable and lucky, for the ball broke the backbone of one deer, the leg of another, and passing on, lodged in the heart of the third one standing in the same range. Henry Miller was the grandfather of Gabriel, Manasseh D., Jacob D. and Ephraim Miller, all in their time well known citizens of this region. The latter, we think, is still living.
This region may be considered as being the valley
of the Castleman’s river, lying between the Allegheny and Negro mountains, and
extending from the
Others settlers whose names are found on the first
assessment list, supposed to have been made in 1772, were Benjamin Biggs,
William Tissue, William Dwire, Andrew Hendricks, High Robinson, William St.
Clair, John St. Clair and James Claypool. Abraham Cable’s name is identified
with the Cox farm, and be may have lived on it, but this is by no means
certain. How long they had been
here at the time that this first written record was made, is not
known. But some of them may have
been of the trespassing settlers who were in the country prior to the time that
it was legally open for settlement.
Without mentioning any names, as he did when speaking of the Turkeyfoot
region, Steele, in his report of April, 1768, does make much reference to a few
settlers as “living nigh the crossing of the Little Yough,” to whom some
proclamations were sent. The
“Little Yough” is the Castleman’s river.
The crossings are in Garret county,
About three-eights of a mile from the upper bridge
Benjamin Biggs we locate as having had his
improvement up on Meadow run, about one and a half miles southeast of
William Tissue (whose name is also spelled Tyshu,
Tyshoe, Tyse, and Tice in old papers that we have seen) was located on a large
tract of land that for the last hundred years has been known as the “Sullivan”
farm. Tissue’s warrant called for
four hundred acres of land, while a second warrant for one hundred acres
adjoining stood in the name of Huldah Tissue, his wife. The buildings on this farm, as they have
been within the writer’s own recollection of the place, which goes back to 1847,
are a little over two miles from the present town of Salisbury, and may be seen
from some parts of the town. At the
time when the first assessment of
William Dwire, another of these early pioneers,
must have held his lands under an improvement right. On the first assessment he is returned
as having ten acres of cleared land.
This is one of the famous Wilhelm farms of our own day. The
The Andrew Hendricks, or Hendrickson (the name is
spelled both ways), improvement was the John J. Keim form, which is in full view
James Claypoles’s improvement, as township lines
now run, is in
Hugh Robinson, Sr., and Hugh Robinson, Jr., were
both among the earliest settlers in this region. The elder Robinson’s place was next to
Jacob Saylor’s place, but he was much the earlier settler. Like the Saylor farm, it ran down to the
river, somewhere near the little
The Saylors, who really resided in the ancient Elk Lick, have been mentioned elsewhere.
We have now named all of the very first settlers who can be identified with Elk Lick settlement, nearly all of whom may already have been here at the time that the country became legally open for settlement.
There remains something to be said of Peter
Livengood. We consider the evidence
good that he came here as early as 1772, although his name does not appear on
the assessment lists until several years later. He came here from Berks county, although
he was really born in
Of the very early happenings in this vicinity very little is known.
Tub Mill run passes through the Abraham P. Beachey farm. Here, somewhere along the stream, pair of common millstones were found many years ago. Mr. Beachey moved one of them to his house, and it still may be there. These stones are supposed to have belonged to a small tub mill that is said to have been built somewhere along the stream by William Tissue. While his own home farm or place did not come down to the run, this account may still be true, and it would bee the first mill built in this part of the county. There must be some such reason for the stream having the name it has. The date must have been as far back as the time of the Revolutionary war. Both Christian C. and Samuel C. Livengood, who were born about 1803 and 1805, and reared near by, have confirmed to the writer the existence of such a mill somewhere along the run, and to which these millstones must have belonged.
An atrocious murder was perpetrated on the Tissue farm by a German indentured servant, the victims being the first wife and an infant daughter of William Tissue. This murder, which seems to have taken place during the period of the Revolutionary was, will be referred to elsewhere.
William Tissue was commissioned a justice of the peace in 1778, the first one for this settlement that we know of.
We have no account of the people of this Elk Lick settlement ever having been in any way harassed on account of Indian alarms at any time during the Revolutionary period.
Some twenty-five years ago we made particular inquiry on this subject from several of the oldest persons then living in this neighborhood, and who were born and reared in Elk Lick township, being also descendants of early pioneers, and who still remembered some of those people. By them we were informed that they had never heard any traditions, either in their own families or from those of others, that indicated that the people had ever been compelled to fly from their domes, or that they had ever heard anything in any way that would lead one to suppose that these settlers ever had any such troubles.
[Source: The History of Bedford and Somerset Counties by Blackburn and Welfley, published in 1906. Transcribed and donated by Batha Karr <email@example.com>. ]
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Last Revised: April 13, 2013