There was in each of the original counties of Beaver and Mercer, a township called Slippery Rock. These two townships adjoined each other, and as long as they were in separate counties they were known by the county in which each was located. On the division of Mercer and Beaver counties, and the creation therefrom of Lawrence County, these two townships were brought together in the same county. To distinguish them apart one was called Slippery Rock and the other North Slippery Rock. But, finally, North Slippery Rock was divided east and west through the center, on the 13th day of April, 1854, and two new townships formed from it, North Slippery Rock no longer being retained as the name of the township or any part of it. The new organizations were called Washington and Scott, the former being the northern half of the old township and the latter the southern. This order was maintained until February 14, 1855, when the eastern portions of Washington and Scott were erected into a new township called Plain Grove, or, as it is now generally written, Plaingrove. On the 15th of February, 1859, Washington Township was enlarged by the addition of a strip three-fourths of a mile in width taken from Scott, leaving the three townships in the shape they now are. This was from territory originally in the county of Mercer. Old Slippery Rock (or North Slippery Rock) township was erected some time between the third Monday of November, 1805, and the third Monday of February, 1806.
The surface of Plaingrove is less broken than most of those in Lawrence County. The soil is generally fertile and productive. The area of the township is about 11,800 acres. The improvements in many parts are excellent, and as an agricultural township Plaingrove is not behind any in the county in most respects. It is well watered and possesses a considerable amount of timber.
Two streams of some size head near the northern boundary of the township and flow in a southerly course, discharging their waters into Slippery Rock Creek. These streams are Taylor's and Jamison's runs. The power on each has been utilized, and since a very early date mills have been operated on their banks. Each has a number of small tributaries.
Originally there extended through nearly the center of the township, east and west, a strip of pine timber, reaching across into both Mercer and Butler Counties. This strip was about a quarter of a mile wide, and at one time contained some valuable timber, but it has been largely culled out. The strip is not continuous, as in places narrow belts of land, covered with other varieties of timber, cross it. There were in Plaingrove Township several hundred acres of this timber. originally.
The coal resources of Plaingrove are extensive, and in numerous places, mines are, or have been, worked. The first banks in the township were opened in the neighborhood of the year 1840. The oldest banks were those opened by John and Isaac Lowry and Joseph Totten. The thickness of the veins in the township will average about three feet, the coal being of a good quality.
In 1860 a number of test-wells were bored for oil in the township, owing to the strong excitement raised by the discovery of oil in great quantities in the newly opened oil regions of Butler and Venango Counties. On the farm of W. H. H. Miles a well was put down about 125 feet, passing through fine beds of coal at the depths of thirty, sixty and ninety feet. The excitement in the main oil regions tended largely toward stopping the work in this part of Lawrence County, and it was finally abandoned altogether. Another well was bored on the farm of Joseph Moore, just in the edge of Butler County. Mr. Moore's residence was in Lawrence County. This was also abandoned. In both the Miles and Moore wells a fine stream of water was tapped.
Iron ore is also found in the township, and generally of a fair quality. Along Slippery Rock Creek the "blue ore" abounds, but it is much harder to work than the "red ore," and does not pay as well; consequently, it is not much used.
About 1853-55 the "Myra Furnace " was built by Emery & Culbertson, and operated by those parties until 1870. Mr. Culbertson died just before the institution broke up. Of itself it was a paying establishment, but the proprietors became interested in numerous other furnaces, and, owing to the heavy strain, were obliged to close up their business. The ore they used was taken out in the immediate vicinity, together with the other necessary articles for their use, limestone and coal. The ore was of the red quality, generally easily worked. Most of it could be shoveled up readily, while with some of it the use of the pick and blast became necessary.
Of the land in Plaingrove, as well as in other parts of the county, much was not patented for several years after it was settled, and other tracts were never patented, and were finally sold for taxes. In many cases the original surveys were productive of considerable litigation on account of inaccuracies in description.
Among the early patents are the following:
The farm now, or formerly, owned by J. M. Lawrence, Esq., was patented by Benjamin Pearson, January 31, 1806, in pursuance of a warrant issued in 1805. The original tract was called "Hope," and consisted of 400 acres. It was probably settled by Mr. Pearson.
On the 18th of December, 1818, a patent was issued to William George for 258 acres, including the place more recently occupied by David George.
John Gealey's patent was granted October 6, 1810; warrant issued May 31 1806. The amount of land was 394 acres and sixty-four perches, and was patented as "Gay Lodge," and described as lying in "Slippery Rock Township, Mercer County," which it then was, the township having been erected about the beginning of that year.
Michael Brown's patent was dated March 23, 1807. The land described is located partly in Plaingrove Township and partly in Washington.
A patent for 392 acres was granted to Joshua Miles, April 29, 1812.
James, Thomas, John and Robert McCommon were granted a patent April 18, 1815, to 407 acres and 131 perches. The survey was made November 15, 1815.
A patent was issued to Marmaduke Jamison on the 13th of April, 1814. The land has since passed through various hands.
Samuel Allen and James Blair received a patent dated October 2, 1818.
James George and Martha Newell-patent dated July 16, 1807; warrant issued April 8, 1805.
John Offutt bought 165 acres of Benjamin Pearson, the deed being dated May 31,1806.
Hugh McKee received a patent for 397 acres on the 21st of March, 1809.
These are but a portion of earlier issues of patents, as far as we have been able to obtain them, and in almost every case the settlement was made a number of years before the patent was given.
Some time in the summer of 1798 Adam McCracken, who was originally from Ireland, settled on the farm more recently owned by Alexander McCracken. He settled 400 acres, getting half for settling.
Henry Hagan came the same fall, and made a small clearing, and built a cabin on the adjoining 400-acre tract. The following year (1799) he brought his family, having gone back after them when he had completed his improvements. Mr. Hagan had seven children. His son, John, was the oldest; of his daughters, Rachel was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, in April, 1787, and Margaret in Allegheny, in June, 1799. Her father had moved from Chester County, and lived a year there before coming to Lawrence. He was originally from Ireland. In 1818 Rachel Hagan was married to James McCracken, and lived to be over ninety years of age. A son of Mr. Hagan died in 1805 or 1806. His name was Henry. Mr. Hagen himself died in 1840, and his wife in 1843. For a year or two after these families came, they had all their provisions to "pack" from Pittsburg. A mill was not long after put up by Jonathan Harlan, where the village of Harlansburg now stands, and after this the settlers were not obliged to go as far. A few other families were living in the neighborhood, who had come out in 1798, the year previous to the Hagan settlement, consequently, neighbors were comparatively plenty.
Among those who settled in the immediate neighborhood was James McCommon (sometimes spelled McCalmot). He was born in Scotland, and when young went to Ireland. From Ireland he emigrated to Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, thence to Westmoreland County, and finally, in 1798, came to what is now Plaingrove Township, Lawrence County, and settled on a 400-acre tract. The family, when he settled, consisted of himself, wife and seven children. Mr. McCommon died about 1804-6. He planted an orchard about 1800, and the orchards of the Hagan, McCracken, Wallace and other farms in the neighborhood were planted about the same time.
Another neighbor was George Rogers, who came from County Armagh, Ireland, about 1790, and settled first in Washington County, Pennsylvania. About 1798 he came to Plaingrove Township, and located on a farm now owned by David Blair and others, Mr. Blair occupying the old homestead. Mr. Rogers' son, William, married a girl named Hathaway (?), living near Harlansburg, and in 1800 George W. Rogers was born on the old place. Betsey Rogers, a sister to William, was married to Alexander McCracken, and her husband afterwards-about 1800 or 1801-went to Alabama, and died on his way back. His wife died soon after she learned of his death, and hers was one of the first deaths in the neighborhood, the first being that of a child of James Denniston, and the second that of Henry Hagan, Jr., before mentioned. At that time there was no graveyard, and the bodies were interred in a field belonging to Mr. Denniston, now in the limits of Mercer County. This land has ever since been used for burial purposes. It is but a short distance across in Mercer County, near the property owned by John Stephenson.
Andrew Denniston located in the northwest part of what is now Plaingrove Township, about the time the other families came to the neighborhood, in 1798-9. Some of the same name were among the first settlers in what is now Springfield Township, Mercer County.
After the Rogers family came, they "packed" flour from Westmoreland County for some time, probably ceasing to do so after Harlan's mill was built. When this family settled, the children were generally grown, and some of them were married.
Charles Blair and Samuel Allen settled in the same neighborhood with those already mentioned, the two coming together in 1799.
Michael Brown, William and Andrew Wallace and John Green also came early. None of them are now in the township.
The Wallaces settled a tract adjoining the Hagan farm, and Brown and Green were a mile to the south of them, adjoining each other.
Andrew Wallace died and left his property to his brother, William, who sold the whole tract in 1811 to James Burns.
James Burns was born near Florence Court, County Fermanagh, Ireland, June 5, 1778, and about June, 1794-95, he emigrated to America, and settled in Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. He stayed there a few years, and in 1803 came to Brownsville, Fayette County, where he lived three years and a half, and afterwards removed to a farm on "Ginger Hill," near Bentleysville, Washington County. In 1810 he was married to Mary Morrow, of Washington County, and in April, 1812, he came with his wife and one child, Thomas H. Burns, to the Wallace farm, which he had purchased the year previous. He brought his family and goods on the backs of three horses. Mrs. Burns rode one horse, carrying her child on her knee. Eight children were born in the family, four boys and four girls, seven of whom lived to a ripe old age. Mr. Burns lived on the old place until 1864, when he died, in his eighty-seventh year.
The orchard on the hill east of Alexander McCracken's house was planted in the neighborhood of 1800, and bears evidence of having withstood the blasts of more than a century.
The farm of 100 acres, now or lately owned by Alexander McCracken, was owned by his father, Thomas McCracken, a son of Adam McCracken, and a soldier of the War of 1812. Its location is in a fine portion of the township, as are indeed all that were settled in the neighborhood, the settlers evincing good judgment in selecting this locality wherein to build their homes.
Jonathan Williams came about 1798. He was from Chester County, Pennsylvania, and came about the same time with the Glenns and Cunninghams, who settled in the same neighborhood, partially in the present county of Mercer. The Cunninghams located where the present town of Grove City, Mercer County stands, and built a grist and sawmill on Wolf Creek, at that place, some of the family afterwards laying out the town of Grove City. The farm Mr. Williams settled consisted of 200 acres.
William Elliott, a surveyor and civil engineer, came from the neighborhood of East Liberty, of the "Bullock Pens," near Pittsburg, about 1793-94, and surveyed land which he was interested in as a "land jobber." He had control of several thousand acres in different localities, lying largely in what are now Lawrence and Butler Counties. In 1799, soon after he was married, he made a settlement on land lying partly in each of these counties. In this immediate vicinity he had eight or nine hundred acres. He kept "bachelor's hall" for a while, and finally went back after his wife. About 1803-4 he built a log grist mill on the site of the frame mill later owned by his son, the late J. P. Elliott. In the old mill Mr. Elliott had a bolting chest, and did considerable work for that time. The present mill was built by J. P. Elliott in 1844, and stands on the site of the old one on Jamison's Run, very near its junction with Slippery Rock Creek.
Jamison's Run was so named from a man who settled early on its banks. James P. Elliott was born February 4, 1800, and his was the first birth in the southern part of the township, and possibly throughout its entire extent. William Elliott died in 1813, aged thirty-eight years.
Robert Jamison came originally from Ireland, and on his arrival in Pennsylvania located on Kiskeminetas Creek, where he stayed for some time, and finally came on and procured land of William Elliott, settling on a 400-acre tract, of which he received half for so doing. Jamison sold the property to Archibald Armstrong, who came in 1825, but did not locate on the place before 1831.
About the year 1800, William George came to the township. He was originally from Ireland, and, when he first arrived, lived with his brother, James George, near North Liberty, Mercer County. Soon afterwards he went to work on the farm now or lately owned by J. P. Elliott, and also stayed part of the time about Harrisville, Butler County. About 1805 or 1806 he was married to Phoebe Sawyer, who arrived before him, and was living at William Elliott's. Soon after his marriage he settled the farm now owned by his children, David, Mary and Eleanor, the place being called Georgetown. In 1833-34 he built a log house on that place, and in 1835 erected a log grist mill, containing a pair of burrs and a pair of "country stone" (two run of stone). The wheel, gearing, and nearly everything about the mill were made of wood.
About the year 1798, James Ramsey came from the Chartier's Valley, in Washington County, Pennsylvania, and settled on the farm now owned by John Lowry. The tract originally contained something over 300 acres. He built a log cabin on the place and made other improvements. The cabin was burned soon after his marriage, which occurred in 18O1, to Sarah Taylor. Mr. Ramsey's father settled in Beaver County, and never located in Lawrence. He may possibly have been a soldier during the Revolution, but the fact it not known positively. James Ramsey's first child, a daughter named Ayls, was born in 1802.
About 1795-96, Thomas Taylor came from the Ligonier Valley, in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, and settled on the farm now owned by Joseph Totten, his cabin standing on the hill just across from the present location of Mr. Totten's residence. Mr. Taylor's daughter, Sarah, who came with him, is said to have been the first white woman who ever crossed Slippery Rock Creek.
In the month of November, 1798, John Gealey came with his family from Washington County, Pennsylvania, where they lived on the bank of Peter's Creek. At the time Mr. Gealey settled, his family consisted of his wife and eight children, but only part of them came with him. He had been out in 1797, and made improvements, bringing with him his daughter Margaret, who did the cooking for him while he was busy getting the place in shape to receive his family. After finishing their work for that fall, they went back, and in 1798 Mr. Gealey again came out, bringing with him this time his oldest daughter and his son, William, the latter about six years old at the time. Mr. Gealey left his children alone in the wilderness for a while, and went back after his wife and the rest of his family. The two children had not seen their mother for about a year, and when she came, in 1799, the meeting between her and her children can better be imagined than described. The children who came with their mother in 1799 were Renwick and Sarah. Mr. Gealey and his son, Harry, each settled a 400-acre tract. In 1800 the oldest son, James Gealey, was married to Mary M. Smith, who was living with Charles Blair, in the northern part of the township. As before stated, Blair settled in 1799, in company with Samuel Allen.
When Mr. Gealey, first came, in 1797, he raised a log cabin, made a small clearing, and raised some corn. He brought his goods with him in a wagon, which was probably the first one in the township. A road bed to be cut ahead in order to get the wagon through, and they advanced but slowly. The old homestead subsequently came into possession of the youngest son, Renwick Gealey. William Gealey lived to be over eighty-five years old. His wife, Joanna, was a daughter of James Stewart, who settled in 1798 in what is now Perry Township, coming from what was then Adams County, Pennsylvania. His father, Matthew Stewart, had served in the Revolution. The Gealey family descended from James Gealey, who came from Ireland when a young man, probably about 1745. The land which John Gealey settled was settled under Elliott & Denniston, "land jobbers," Mr. Gealey, although having served in the Revolution, not choosing to settle on "donation" land.
John Gealey's wife was Mary Renwick, a descendant of James Renwick, of Scotland. Her brother, William Renwick, died at Black Rock, N. Y., while serving as a soldier in the War of 1812. The Gealeys occupy excellent farms, and the family has become numerous in the neighborhood where John Gealey first settled.
James McCune came about 1800 to 1802, from what was then Huntingdon, now Blair County, and partially improved a farm now owned by James C. Shaw. About 1810 he removed to the farm later owned by his son, David McCune, Esq., purchasing it from Hugh Hamilton, the original settler. The first farm upon which he located he purchased at $2 per acre, from Robert Cochran, a "land jobber," who owned considerable land in the neighborhood, and had settled about 1795-96, just east of Plaingrove.
James McCune was captain of the militia in old Slippery Rock Township, when it was in Mercer County, and was out twice at Erie during the War of 1812-15.
The country south of Plaingrove Church was originally a plain, with no timber upon it larger than scrubby brush, and when Mr. McCune first came he drove his wagon through it without paying any attention to the best way, as the path was equally good anywhere.
Hugh McKee came from Ireland in the year 1788, and afterwards, about 1796-98, came to what is now Plaingrove Township, and settled. His patent, bearing date of March 21, 1809, calls for 397 acres. Most of the lands in the township are warrant lands," and were extensively operated in by "land jobbers."
On Taylor's Run, above where William Gealey now lives, there was formerly a beaver dam, and both beaver and otter were quite plentiful. The Indians came all the way from their villages in Mercer County to trap them, and the noted Indian Harth-e-gig, with his squaw and three or four dogs, wintered occasionally in a sugar camp near by.
Nathan Offutt had a sawmill early, and Robert Ramsey another one still earlier.
The orchard of Esquire David McCune's place was planted by his father, James McCune, about the time he came to the farm (1810), and the trees, or a few of them, are yet standing.
A store house was built near Plaingrove Church about 1832-33, by H. Bovard. It was a two-story frame building, containing a general stock, such as is usually found in country stores. Mr. Bovard continued the business until the spring of 1868, when A. McKinney assumed control.
A postoffice was established at Plaingrove some time during the stay of Mr. Bovard, who was the first postmaster. During Buchanan's administration it was removed to the crossroads, one mile north, and kept by Alexander McBride, who came from Harlansburg, and had a store for about a year at the corners. The office was afterwards transferred to Mr. Bovard, and, with the exception of McBride's short occupation of it, Mr. Bovard held it from the first until Mr. McKinney took it, in 1868. The office is named Plaingrove.
Revolutionary War.-John Gealey, who came to the township first in 1797, had served with his brother, William, during the Revolution.
The father of James Ramsey located in Beaver County, and had possibly been a soldier of the Revolution, but those of his descendants now living in the township are not certain of the fact.
War of 1812-15.-Those who served in this war from Plaingrove were quite numerous. They generally went to Erie.
Among the names we find James, John and Thomas McCommon, who came to the township with their father, James McCommon, in 1798. Thomas and James McCracken came with their father, Adam McCracken, the same year with the McCommons, and also served in the war.
James Burns, who came in 1811, was out in Captain Denniston's company of the One Hundred and Thirty-fourth Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Hosack a part of the time. James Ramsey was out as second lieutenant and went to Erie.
James, Henry, John, William and Renwick Gealey were out, all but Renwick in Captain James Denniston's company of the One Hundred and Thirty-fourth. Renwick was in Captain James Robinson's company of the same regiment. They all went to Erie, but never saw any hard fighting. Mr. Gealey says the British ship "Queen Charlotte" came up within range and fired on the batteries which the United States troops were supporting, but without doing much damage. The batteries returned the fire, and four men were seen to fall on the British vessel, which quickly stood out of range. This was while the troops were working the American vessels over the bar.
William Renwick, a brother of John Gealey's wife, died at Black Rock during the service.
James McCune was out twice to Erie, and after the war served as militia captain.
Militia organizations and volunteer rifle companies were kept up for many years after the war.
War of the Rebellion.-Plaingrove, as well as her sister townships, arose to meet the call for troops after Fort Sumter was fired upon, and sons of the veterans of 1812, and grandsons of Revolutionary heroes, came, in their turn, to do battle for freedom's cause and, like Arnold Winkelried, "made way for liberty," many giving up their lives in the conflict. The One Hundredth ("Roundhead") Regiment was the one in which the township was principally represented.
A schoolhouse was built about 1803 in a field belonging to Henry Hagan, in the southwestern part of the township. It was built of round logs, and was the first one in the neighborhood. Andrew Denniston was the first teacher.
About 1805-6 a schoolhouse was built on Robert Jamison's land, the first teacher being a man named Robb. Many a trick was played on him, but he held his own against them all. Finally, a plan was arranged to turn him out, but he in some way heard of it, and shut himself in the building and barred the door, and held it for nine days against them, provisions being brought him in the night. The pupils saw their game blocked, and, in their desperation, racked their brains for some expedient to get the "master" out of the schoolhouse. Finally, some person with an overplus of ingenuity bethought him of a plan; he procured a package of "brimstone," or sulphur, and climbing to the roof, with a number of others, poured the contents of the paper down the chimney upon the fire, and he and one or two others spread their hunting shirts over the top of the chimney, and in a minute or two more Robb had torn away from the door and emerged, coughing and sputtering, completely beaten after the long siege he had withstood. Some of the witnesses to the affair remarked that "they guessed he smelt hell fast!"
Another schoolhouse was built in the George and Taylor neighborhood about 1803-04, and a man named Mitchell was probably the first teacher.
Another was erected on the Martin farm, near the later residence of Robert McCune, and in this building a man named Gurley, or Gourley, was an early teacher.
About 1822-24 an old-fashioned log schoolhouse was built on Nathan Offutt's farm, the first teacher being William Coulton.
After the law establishing free schools was passed (1834) a building was put up on a piece of land taken partly from the George farm and partly from the place then owned by John Bentley. David McCune taught the first winter in it, and David Clark was the next male teacher. Elizabeth Burns taught also. The building was erected in 1838.
The number of schools in the township in 1908 is seven, with seven teachers and an enrollment of 156 school children. Total expenditure for school purposes, $3,008.59; estimated value of school property, $7,000.
Some time between 1796 and 1800 a gathering was held to take action in regard to organizing a Presbyterian society and building a church. The two oldest men at the gathering, Thomas Taylor and David Armstrong, were appointed a committee to find a name for the church. After the location was fixed, the name was given to it, "Plain Grove." The country to the south was a bushy plane, and to the west was a glade, while on the eminence fixed as the site for the building of the church there stood a small grove, so that the name was suggested by the surroundings of the location, and "Plain Grove" fixed upon.
The first elders of the congregation were William McNees and Joseph Campbell. The first pastor was Rev. William Wood, who was ordained and installed pastor of Plaingrove and Center November 3, 1802, by the Presbytery of Erie. Dr. McMillen was present, and by invitation delivered the charges to pastor and people. Mr. Wood was released from the pastoral charge of Plaingrove October 7, 1816. During his pastorate there were numerous cases of the "falling exercise." The next pastor was Rev. John Munson, who was ordained and installed February 28, 1818. He was released February 5, 1839, after a pastorate of twenty-one years. Rev. Robert B. Walker, D.D., was ordained and installed April 2, 1839. The church had at that time a membership of 176. It is now under the care of the Presbytery of Butler.
Rev. William Wood was born in York County, Pennsylvania, March 27, 1776. Samuel Wood, his father, was born in London, England, in 1749, came to America in 1768, and married Mrs. Isabella Sankey, in York County, Pennsylvania. He died in Butler County in 1817, leaving four children-William, Samuel, Benjamin and Isabella. William was the oldest. He attended the Cannonsburg Academy, and afterwards studied theology in Dr. McMillan's log cabin. On the 26th day of December, 1800, he was received by the Presbytery of Ohio as a candidate for the ministry, and was licensed to preach October 29, 1801. During the winter following he spent his time among vacant churches and missionary points, and was then dismissed in order to put himself under the care of the Presbytery of Erie, which received him April 20, 1802. Having accepted calls from Plaingrove and Center, he was ordained and installed over those congregations at a meeting of the Presbytery held at Plaingrove November 3, 1802. Rev. Robert Lee preached on the occasion, and, as stated before, Dr. McMillan delivered the charges. Mr. Wood was dismissed from Center August 24, 1808, and from Plaingrove October 7, 1816. April 1, 1817, he was dismissed to the Presbytery of Hartford (Beaver), being prepared to accept calls from the congregations of Hopewell and Neshannock. Over these churches he was installed pastor October 22, 1817. At Hopewell he labored for eleven years, being dismissed June 25, 1828.
Mr. Wood died in Utica, Licking County, Ohio, on the 31st day of July, 1839, in the sixty-fourth year of his age, and the thirty-ninth of his ministry. May 17, 1798, he had been united in marriage to Miss Margaret Donald, of Washington County, Pennsylvania. They had twelve children, two of whom were physicians. The elder, John D., settled in Franklin, Venango County, and the younger in Pulaski, Lawrence County. William Wood's wife died at Utica, Ohio, April 20, 1843.
In the old cemetery at Plaingrove Church are some ancient headstones many of them so moss-grown and worn by time that the names are nearly obliterated. Slabs of native sandstone were largely used, and they have not proved as lasting as the marble slabs afterwards introduced. Following is appended a list of some of the earlier deaths, with names and ages:
David Armstrong died March 20, 1811, aged sixty-four years.
Sarah Armstrong died February 3, 1816, aged fifty-six years.
William Elliott, Jr., died March 25, 1811, aged nine years.
John Emery died May 13, 1814, aged seventy-two years.
Hugh Wallace died January 11, 1820, aged seventy-eight years.
Archibald McCune died August 4, 1825, aged fifty-one years.
Mary Jack died January 18, 1816, aged forty-four years.
Charles Martin died November 19, 1828, aged seventy-seven years.
Thomas Taylor died February 7, 1829, aged eighty-five years.
Ayls aylor died March, 1834, aged eighty-eight years.
William Ewing died June 4, 1819, aged thirty-six years.
Alexander Ewing died ___ ___, aged eighty-two years.
Mary Ewing died ___, 1810, aged forty-four years.
Samuel Campbell died May 8, 1826, aged ninety-eight years.
Anne Davison died February 8, 1823, aged eighty-five years.
Betsy Whitaker died December ___, 1812, aged forty-seven years.
William Whitaker died ___ ___, (stone much moss-grown).
Mary Whitaker died March 9, 1813, aged eighty-six years (illegible).
Sera Dilley died July 4, 1817, aged fifty-nine years.
Price Dilley, Sr., died May 22, 1826, aged seventy-two years.
John Means died ___, 1824, aged 7__ years.
James Glenn died February 20, 1817, aged seventy-four years.
Elizabeth Glenn died November 23, 1815, aged seventy years.
Elizabeth Henderson died March 31, 1811, aged forty-one years.
On an old headstone is inscribed on the face the following inscription:
Departed this life,
On Monday, the 21
of May, A. D., 1832,
Consort of John Boyd).
Aged 34 years, 6 months,
and five days.
On the back of the stone is the following quaint rhyme:
Reader, reflect, as you pass by,
As you are now, so once was I;
As I am now, so must you bee?
O bare in minde eternite.
The cemetery is situated on the brow of the hill immediately west of the church. The church is a large brick building. Their first church was a small log structure, which stood on the same spot. This is one of the oldest church organizations in Lawrence County, and has witnessed many changes in the country since the pioneer members first thought of "rearing a temple in the wilderness."
The next church in age in the township is the Methodist Episcopal. The pioneer Methodist in the township was James Burns, who settled on the old Wallace farm in 1812. For some time there was no Methodist preaching in the neighborhood, and Mr. Burns supported the Presbyterian Church. But he was soon found by itinerant Methodist preachers, and his house was opened to them both as a home and a preaching place. This house, which was a very good one for that day, is still standing. It was built of hewed logs, and has a shingle roof and stone chimney. The first Methodist preachers who came through this territory were Shadrach Rourke and John McMahan. James Watt was another. Meetings were held until 1840, in Mr. Burns' house, which was known as the "Burns appointment." The house was 18 by 24 feet in dimensions. The preacher stood, while speaking, with his back to a window of four lights of 8 by 10 glass.
The Nazareth Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1840, and superseded the "Burns appointment." It is two miles north of the first preaching place within the limits of Mercer County (Springfield Township). The first church was built of logs, on land given to the church by Washington Sedwick and deeded to James Burns, Thomas Nelson and others, trustees in trust for the society. This house was used until 1860, when the membership and congregation had increased to such an extent that it became necessary to erect a new building to accommodate them. Accordingly, a neat frame structure was built.
In the year 1860 the Nazareth congregation divided, and a portion of them built what is known as "Mount Pleasant" Church, in Plaingrove Township, Lawrence County. It stands one and one-half miles southeast from the old Burns appointment, and was first opened for service December 11, 1860. The dedicatory services on that day were conducted by Rev. G. W. Clarke, D.D. The first pastor was Rev. S. A. Milroy. The ground on which the house is built, and that on which the burying ground is located, was given by Noah Rodgers, and deeded to J. M. Burns, Charles Blair, T. McCommon and others, trustees in trust for the Methodist Episcopal Church. The house is a large frame structure and is enclosed with a board fence.
James Burns, who saw the bud of Methodism in Plaingrove open its petals in his old log-house, in 1814, lived to see the flower thus developed grow to a large and flourishing degree. The three houses of worship were built in his time, and when he died, in 1864, he had witnessed wonderful changes since the first itinerant found him a lone Methodist, worshiping with the Presbyterians.
Rev. J. M. Crouch was pastor of this church in 1877, and was succeeded by the following, in the order named: J. M. Foster, Nathaniel Morris, W. S. Shepard, John Eckles, R. M. Bair, H. G. Dodds, J. C. Gillett, F. R. Peters, W. S. Shepard, D. W. Thompson, W. F. Flick, O. H. Sibley, G. F. Robinson, A. B. Smith, S. M. Clark. The last named has been pastor since 1906. The present officials are: Mrs. E. J. Holliday and David Blair, class leaders; John McComb, Sabbath-school superintendent; John Montgomery, J. O. Allen, John Holliday, Thomas Rollinson, G. C. Denniston and J. C. Winder, stewards; A. A. Foster, John E. Sankey, William Schneider, James Johnston, Clyde McCommon and Cassius McNulty, trustees. There are now ninety members of the church and eighty-three members of the Sabbath-school.
Plaingrove United Presbyterian Church was organized about 1859. Their first regular pastor was Rev. James B. Whitten, who stayed until about 1874, when Rev. J. C. Bingham came and took charge for six months. After him came Rev. J. L. Robertson and others. The church has at different times been supplied. A Sabbath-school has been held in connection with the church from the start. The first elders were William and Renwick Gealey, H. Bovard, Robert Peebles, James Nelson and G. B. Hamilton. The elders were the same in 1877, with the addition of Daniel Minick. A fine brick church was built in 1860, situated half a mile north of Plaingrove Presbyterian Church. The location of the church, in the edge of a fine grove, is pleasant and beautiful.
Source: 20th Century History of New Castle and Lawrence County, Pennsylvania and Representative Citizens - Pages 293-304
Back to Lawrence County Places