First Settlers in the County
Somerset's first permanent settler was a German, Philip WAGERLINE, who lived near present day Berlin, in Brothers Valley Township. Wagerline arrived in Somerset (then Bedford County) sometime before 1771 when Herman HUSBAND visited his cabin during the summer of 1771. Wagerline was a farmer and was plowing the rich farm lands when Husband first arrived.
Husand, most notable of the early settlers to Somerset County, was heading for a friend's hunting cabin in the nearby mountains. Issac Cox, a former neighbor of Husband's kept a small hunting cabin in Western Pennsylvania and was living there at the time of Husband's visit.
Harmon Husband, a native of Maryland, was living in Orange County, North Carolina at this time. Shortly after the repeal of the Stamp Act, Husband and others from patriotic Orange County formed a small group called the "Regulators". The Regulators banded together to propose opposition to the growing injustice of the courts in Hillsborough, Orange County, North Carolina. Husband was a devout Quaker and was against violence of any kind. However, the Regulators were more prone to violent acts against the governing justice system and rioted in the city streets.
Husband, was a well known legislator in Orange County, and tried without success to change the law by peaceable means. However, Husband, was arrested for protesting unjust collection of taxes and later was declared by "ex post facto" an instigator in the Hillborough riots.
The Governor, wanting to try Husband for treason, in the hopes of squelching more riots, jerry-rig a jury and pronouced Husband guilty. The growing tensions between the Governor's forces and the militant Regulators erupted in the Battle of Almance. The Regulator's were severaly defeated and the leaders of the rebellion were executed. Husband was forced to flee pending immediate execution. He left North Carolina and returned to his homeland of Maryland. However, word had been spread about him and the Governor of Maryland gave stern warning to anyone in Maryland and Virginia who had thoughts of harboring any of the fugitives of the Battle of Almance.
Harmon Husband, stayed in Somerset County (then Bedford) and built a cabin six miles from Wagerlines. Husband, fearing the use of his real name, went by the pseudonym of "Tuscape Death" (To Escape Death). Wagerline and Cox, however, preferred to call him the "Old Quaker".
Issac Cox later sold his land to Harmon Husband (known later as BARRON Farm) and moved west. Husband acquired several thousand acres of land, most of present day Somerset. Husband, later became one of the first Assemblymen to the Pennsylvania Legislature from Bedford County following it's organization after the Declaration of Independance.
In 1776 he plotted most of the town of Somerset. In 1790, he presented the petition to the legislature requesting the formation of Somerset County. He died in 1795, following an unjust imprisonment in Philadelphia, only a few months short of seeing Somerset chosen as county seat.
(excerpted from Somerset Past, Vol V, No. 2, pp. 20-21)
For more information on the descendants of Harmon Husband, read Mary Elinor Lazenby's biography of Harmon Husband.
This county is part of the USGenWeb Project, a non-profit genealogical resource web system, and is maintained by April Phillips and Connie Burkett with help and information provided by other volunteers.
Last Revised: December 7, 2006