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History of Bedford and Somerset Counties

History of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania with Genealogical and Personal History Bedford County by E. Howard Blackburn
Somerset County by William H. Welfley
Under the Editorial Supervision of Hon. William. H. Koontz
Volume II
The Lewis Publishing Company
New York   Chicago 1906

To the "Frosty Sons of Thunder, be they still dwellers among their native hills, or whether they have roamed far from their mountain homes, or beyond the Rocky Mountains' snowy range; on land, on sea, on farm, or in town; in every calling known, whether in factory, mill, or mine; in cabinet, or on the bench----doing whatever work comes to their hand, this volume is inscribed by its  Author.


It was with great reluctance that the task of writing these pages was undertaken.  It is true that for a number of years the writer had been gathering and preserving such data and facts relating to the early history of his native county as happened to come in his way.  This he had been doing long before the 17th of April, 1895, on which date Somerset County passed the one hundredth milestone of its existence as a separate county of the grand commonwealth of which it forms an integral part.      This epoch in the history of the county was duly celebrated on the 4th of July following, and the two succeeding days by the greatest crowd of people who had ever been assembled together at the county seat at one time. It is estimated the people present numbered from twelve to fifteen thousand persons.  Among them were many hundreds, natives of the county, whose lives had been cast in other parts of the country, and to whom it was a veritable home-coming.      But this event was also the occasion of many of the early happenings in the history of the county being brought to light.  It cannot be said to have been an epoch of history making, but it was one of history writing.  This came in the shape of contributions to the county press, and they were from many persons, but no one individual made so many of these contributions or of a greater historical value than did Dr. William F. Mitchell, of Addison. The address delivered on that occasion by Hon. William H. Koontz is also a mine rich in historical data.      It is sufficient to say that everything of this kind that fell under the writer's notice was religiously preserved by him, not with any view of using himself in this way, nor was it arranged as it should have been for such a purpose.  If any thought at all was given in this direction, it was that it would perhaps prove a field in which one else might glean in the future.      Distrusting his own abilities, and believing that there ere others who could use the material in hand to better advantage than he could, it was only after repeated urging on the part of personal friends that the writer at last consented to take u[ this work.  It was soon found, however, that there were many things about which further information must be sought.  This made the writing of many letters of inquiry necessary. Many of these met with a ready response, but of others no notice was taken, even when it was well known that the persons addressed could have given the desired information.  This was notably the case with many of the ministers who were asked for data concerning their respective churches.  Much information might have been obtained from the records and papers on file at the court house, and many other things might have been verified from them, had it not been for their inaccessibility caused by their removal to the temporary court house.      Under such conditions as these, it is to be expected that some errors and inaccuracies may have crept into the work.  But, if there be any of these, they are more apt to be in the dates than anything else, and in such cases the dates given are at least approximately correct.  Conscientious and scrupulous care has been exercised to exclude whatever did not have a good foundation on which to rest.  It is also proper to say that "Annals of Somerset County" written out by the late David Husband, have been a very helpful source of information which has been freely drawn on.      From Hon. William H. Koontz, whose name appears on the title page along with his own, the writer has received much assistance and encouragement in his work, which he here wishes to acknowledge.  To all others who have in any way aided him de desires to return his sincere thanks.      One of the author's purposes in writing this volume has been to preserve in a permanent form as much of the history of his native county as possible, and, so far as this has been accomplished, he does not regret the many months of labor spent in it preparation. Wm. H. Welfley
Somerset, Pennsylvania,
November 19, 1906.

[Source: The History of Bedford and Somerset Counties by Blackburn and Welfley, published in 1906. Transcribed and donated by Batha Karr.]

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Last Revised: March 18, 2008

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