Allen Twp. (pp. 643-651)

History of Washington County, Pennsylvania*

            This is one of the most eastern townships of Washington County, lying in a sweeping bend of the Monongahela River, which stream forms its entire eastern and southern boundaries.  On the north it is bounded by Fallowfield, and on the west by the townships of Fallowfield and East Pike Run, in which two townships the entire territory of Allen was embraced until the year 1852.  At the February term of the court of Quarter Sessions in 1851 there was presented “a petition of sundry inhabitants of the northeast end of East Pike Run township, and the southeast end of Fallowfield township for a view to erect portions of said townships into a new and independent township district, line to commence on the Monongahela River at the mouth of Stony Run, near the house of Joseph Woods, thence along said river to the mouth of Maple Creek, thence along the south branch of said creek, or across the country, to the place of beginning.”  Matthew Linn, Josh Freeman, and Jonathan Knight were appointed viewers, who on the 28th of August following reported in favor of the erection of the new township; but a remonstrance was filed in November, and the matter continued until February, 1852, when David Riddle, Marcus Black, and James Moffatt were appointed viewers.  They reported favorably in May, and again in August of that year, and at the latter term the township of Allen was ordered erected, “as per draft made by the viewers.”


            The township, as laid out by the draft of the viewers and erected by them, embraced more of the territory of Fallowfield and East Pike Run than is mentioned in the petition, and is the present territory of Allen.  A petition was made to the court in 1859 for a small portion of it to be attached to East Pike Run.  The report was approved, and the line so changed as to throw the Huggins and Chalfant farms into East Pike Run township.


            The first settlements within the territory now embraced in the township of Allen were made in the lustrum next following the year 1780, and among the names of the pioneers in this section at the time that of Speers seems to have been among the earliest, if not the first.  Dr. J. S. Van Voorhis, in his published papers (1875-76) entitled “Scraps of Local History,” gives an account of the first of the family of Speers who came to Western Pennsylvania, which is of interest in this connection, as many of them settled very early in this county.  He says, “For more than a century the Speers family has been identified with the valley of the Monongahela.  Henry Speers, the older, and Regina Froman, his wife, were born in Germany, came to Western Pennsylvania in 1772, and settled on the farm where the Gibsonton Distillery now stand, below Belle Vernon, Fayette Co.  The farm was at that time within the limits of Bedford County, out of which Westmoreland was made, Feb. 26, 1773.  Richard Penn was Governor at the time this settlement was made.  He (Henry Speers) lived in a log house, which until a few years ago stood near the residence of T. L. Daly, Esq., superintendent of the distillery.  The log house, though small at first, was enlarged until it was sixty feet long.  Henry Speers died in 1773, having lived only about one year after his arrival in Western Pennsylvania.  By his will, dated May 14, 1773, he conveyed this farm to his son, Noah Speers, who, by his will, dated June 2, 1832, conveyed it to his son, Noah W. Speers.  Henry Speers, the older had four sons, - Jacob, Solomon, Henry, and Noah.”


            Henry Speers, the third son, who settled in what is now Allen township, was born in Germany, July 8, 1756, and was sixteen years old when his parents located in what is now Fayette County.  On the 24th of September, 1777, he married Rebecca, a daughter of Abraham Frye, Sr., who lived on the west side of the river, in what five years later became Fallowfield township of Washington County.  It was not until the year 1784 that Henry Speers, became a purchaser of lands in this section.  The first tract of which any record is obtained was purchased by him of John Reef.  The tract was warranted to Reef under application No. 3255, and was taken up in 1769, in the latter part of April.  It was not surveyed until the 8th of September, 1784, and was named “Speer’s Intent,” containing three hundred and nineteen acres.  The arrangement was made prior even to this time.  The deed of sale bears date September 14th of that year.  This tract was triangular in form, with it’s longest base on the river.  It commenced north of Maple Creek a short distance, and thence along the Monongahela south four hundred and forty-one perches.  At the time of this survey the lands on the south and west were not taken up.  On the river adjoining and north the land was in possession of Jacob Froman, an uncle of Henry Speers, and brother of Paul Froman and Regina Froman (Speers), the latter being his mother.


            Mr. Speers obtained a patent for “Speers’ Intent” Jan. 12, 1789.


            On the 18th November, 1785, a warrant was issued to Henry Speers for a tract of land “lying on Maple Creek, adjoining Edward Jackman, Frederick Cooper, and other lands of Henry Speers.”  This tract was surveyed to him on the 13th December as “Spice-Wood Hill,” and found to contain one hundred and ninety-eight acres.


            A tract of land called “Fair View,” lying on the Monongahela River, adjoining Peter Casner on the south, was warranted to Jeremiah Proctor June 13, 1785, and surveyed Nov. 26, 1785, as “Fair View,” containing three hundred and thirty-seven acres.  In Survey Book No.1 it is stated, in reference to the above warrant, that “Henry Speers produced an application and order of survey in the name of Nathan Harman for 300 acres, dated Aug. 26, 1769, No. 3768, and requested it should have preference of seniority.”  The surveys of the two tracts are identical, but it is not stated to whom the warrant was returned.


            Henry Speers resided all his married life on the tract  “Speers Intent.”  He was one of the original members of the Baptist Church “Enon,” which was organized near his place, and to which he ministered many years as pastor.  He was licensed to preach May 5, 1793, and ordained as their pastor in March, 1797.  His name appears as delegate to the Redstone Association in 1796 from Enon Church, at which time that church was admitted.  He remained the pastor of the church until his death in 1840.  The farm on which he resided came into possession of his son Apollos, and is now owned by Noah and Solomon Speers, sons of Apollos.  The brick dwelling in which Noah Speers now resides was built by his grandfather, Henry in 1806.  Of his thirteen children, Dr. J. S. Van Voorhis says, “His son Henry was a soldier in the war of 1812; was in the battle of New Orleans with Gen. Jackson; lived for many years in the log house where Jacob Norris now resided, but died many years ago in the old log house on Maple Creek in which Joseph Beazel now lives.  Samuel was also a soldier in the war of 1812.  Exposure in the army caused him to be a cripple in his last days, which were passed in the brick house at the ferry.  John passed most of his life at Dunbar, Fayette Co., Pa., where he followed milling and farming.  He had quite a large family, some of whom have passed away.  His heirs still own the farm above the ferry.  One of the daughters of Henry Speers married George Hill, of Ten-Mile.  Another was the wife of William Ward, deceased.  Katy married John McCrory, brother of the late Thomas, Seneca, James, and William McCrory, of Fayette City, Pa.  Apollos, the remaining son, was born Sept. 8, 1801.  After his marriage he lived for a time at Fist Pot in Ten-Mile; with this exception he lived at the ferry until his death, which occurred in 1857.  His wife was Elizabeth Cooper, daughter of the late Valentine Cooper.”


            The Riggs family came from the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 1773, and settled near the Monongahela River.  William Riggs, who had married Mary Downdson, was at one time a vestryman in the Episcopal Church, in 1794 and earlier.  One June 25, 1797, he made application to the Methodist Conference to be licensed as a minister, which was accordingly done at Greenfield Quarterly Meeting, April 26, 1799, by Daniel Hill.  His ordination was signed by Francis Asbury in 1807.  William Riggs died in 1833, aged eighty-four years.  He had thirteen children, all dead except Mahlon Riggs, the youngest who is now in his eighty-fourth year.  The William Riggs tract is in his possession.  His sons are William M. and John L., residing in Allen township.  Jeremiah E. Riggs sold to William Riggs, June 27, 1796, one hundred and twenty-five acres, being a part of a tract sold by Bazil Stoker to Jeremiah Riggs, March 25, 1780, containing three hundred and sixty-one acres, adjoining Joseph Allen, Joseph Chester, and Nathan Ellis.  Patented to Jeremiah E. Riggs April 13, 1795.  The names of the old family were William, Jeremiah, Jonas, Thomas, Zachariah, Noah, Mahlon, Eleanor, Alvilar, Mary, Lucy, Betsey, and Annie.


            Lawrence and John Crow were settlers who came to this county in the year 1784.  Lawrence made application for a tract of land, which was warranted to him August 31st in that year, and surveyed on the 16th of December following.  It was named “Crow’s Egg,” and contained two hundred and ninety-five acres.  His brother John located land adjoining, for which he obtained a warrant July 10, 1786.  It was surveyed June 9, 1787 as “Dear Purchase,” and contained three hundred and eighty-two acres.  This tract joined William Jackman, Joseph Allen, William Howe, and Joshua Dixon.  The two brothers lived here on these farms and died before 1796, as in that year the lands of William Howe are mentioned as “adjoining the lands of the heirs of Lawrence and John Crow and others.”  Margaret, the wife of John Crow, lived many years later, and died at the advanced age of one hundred and nine years.  The children of these two men grew up and intermarried with families of that section, and left numerous descendants.  Clark Crow lives on one hundred and thirty-five acres of the John Crow tract.  Dr. Henry C. Chalfant and William Huggins are descendants.  The lands taken up by them are still mostly in the possession of different branches of the family.


Peter Hazelbaker came to the United States[1] from Anspach, Germany, as an English soldier during the Revolution; was taken prisoner by the American forces; was never exchanged, and never returned to his native land.  Peter shortly after the war married Miss Elizabeth Shively, daughter of Daniel Shively, of Berkeley County, Va.  Soon after their marriage Peter and wife emigrated to Washington County, Pa. and settled in an old log house on the farm now owned by S. A. Chester, in Allen township.  This was in the beginning of the present century, but in what year we are not informed.  He died in 1800, and his remains were buried in the field just above the present residence of Maj. Henry Sphar.  Peter had six sons.  Their names were Peter, Daniel, John, Jacob, Abraham, and George.  John was one of the old-time school-teaches, and was the first man who ever taught school in Belle Vernon.  His school-house was the present residence of Mrs. Mary Corwin, on Main Street in that town.  He died years ago in Iowa.  Daniel died in Indiana.  Peter died six weeks after the death of his father, and was buried with his father in the Sphar graveyard.  Abraham died near Brush Creek, in Ohio.  Jacob lived for many years in the stone house a short distance above Belle Vernon, now owned by R. C. Schmertz & Co.  He removed to a farm near Perryopolis about thirty years ago.  George lived beyond all his brothers.  He married Matilda Dunlevy, sister of the late Andrew Dunlevy, who died in 1853.


George Hazelbaker first lived in Belle Vernon, where he built the house on Main Street now occupied by Rebecca Laneheart.  He afterwards resided on the farm where John R. Gould, now lives; then on the Johnson, the Rutan, The Cooper farms, and finally in 1841 he purchased the farm in Allen township (on which he died) from Abia Allen and Robert Stockdale.  His sons Andrew and Joseph died many years since.  Anthony lives in Illinois; Jacob now resides near Foxburg, in the oil regions; George, Jr., resides near the home farm; and John, Jr., since his marriage has taken care of his father on the homestead; Matilda married Joseph Wolf, and resides in the West; Mary married John Cooper, now deceased, and lives in the West; Sarah Ann is the wife of Addison Cummings, and lives in Allen township; Margaret was the wife of R. C. Guffey, of North Belle Vernon.  He belongs to the Guffey family which has been so long identified with politics in Westmoreland County.  The late Shively Hazelbaker, who many years ago occupied the Shepler Hotel in town, was a nephew of the deceased.  George Hazelbaker died June 23, 1880, aged ninety-two years.  In his seventy-fifth year he united with Rehoboth Church, and remained in that membership until his death.  He was a good citizen, a genial neighbor, and above all a Christian.


From the assessment-roll of 1788 for Fallowfield are taken the following names of persons taxable in that township, and resident in that part of it which is now included in Allen, viz: Joseph Allen, Eli Allen, John Allen, Joseph Chester, Lawrence Crow, Samuel Dixon, Joshua Dixon, Henry Dixon, Edward Earl, Nathan Ellis, James Ellis, Jesse Ellis, Hezekiah Ellis, David England, John Nixon, John Sprowls, John Finney, William Jackman, John Justice, Jeremiah Riggs, William Riggs, Edmund Riggs, Clement Riggs, Henry Speers.  Mr. Mahlon Riggs, now (November, 1881) living in Allen at the age of eighty-four years, recollects that many of those above named were still living here at the commencement of the war of 1812 against Great Britain.


Thomas Stockdale, who was of English parentage, emigrated to this county and settled in Montgomery County, Pa., and from there came to this county late in the year 1799.  His people were Quakers.  On the 12th of April, 1800, he purchased one hundred acres, of land of Joseph Allen, part of the tract patented by him under the name of “Allen’s Delight.”  On the 5th of June the next year he purchased one hundred acres adjoining, and of the same tract.  On this farm Mr. Stockdale lived and died, leaving one son, Robert, who inherited the homestead, where he also lived until his death, Dec. 15, 1878, in his seventy-eighth year.  He was twice married; the first time to Deborah Allen, the second to Dorcas Price, who survives him.  His sons Joseph, Cyrus, and Martin occupy the old residence and homestead farm.


Joshua Dixon about 1784 or 1785 became the owner of several large tracts of land along the river, one of which, “Balimoab,” contained one hundred and eighty aces.  He patented Oct. 2, 1784, another tract of two hundred acres called “Joshua’s Hall,” for which he received a patent Sept. 10, 1790.  These two tracts were adjoining Joseph Allen’s land.  Another tract called  “American Bottoms” was also patented to him.  Title to this tract was contested by other claimants.  On the 10th of September, 1805, he sold to Samuel Hecklin, of New Castle, Del. And Emmanuel Dixon two hundred acres of land, parts of the two first mentioned tracts; and on the 9th of January, 1806, he sold to Samuel Hecklin a part of both tracts.  One the 13th of December, 1813, Mr. Hecklin sold to John Finney and Thomas Young each a parcel of the above land.  These parcels are described as being on Williams’ Run, the deeds “reserving and excepting one-half the profits of a supposed copper and gold mine on the east fork of Williams’ Run.”  The name of Dixon is now extinct in the township.


William Huggins was a native of Ireland who emigrated to the United States in 1775, and lived for a time in the eastern part of Pennsylvania, and later removed to Washington County.  He settled in Fallowfield township, now Allen.  Soon after his arrival he married Jane Crow, by whom he had twelve children.  Of this number two are still living, -Mrs. Lucy Gregg, of Brownsville, Fayette County, and Thomas C. Huggins, of Washington County.  Of the descendants of the family are William R. Huggins, of Allenport; Mrs. Mary A. Rideout, Sandusky County, Ohio; and Jacob Huggins, of the borough of California.


David England, as early as 1784, obtained a warrant for a tract of land of one hundred and seventy-two acres, which was surveyed to him as “River Farm.”  On the 15th of August, 1804, he conveyed this tract to his sons, John, Israel, Isaac, and David. Jr.  John, the eldest brother, bought out all the heirs, and in 1828 sold the tract to Joseph Allen.  David England has four daughters, -Elizabeth (Mrs. Kimberly), Susannah (Mrs. Hollingshead), Mary (Mrs. Icehour), and Sarah (Mrs. Allen).  But little else is known of the family. The property fell into other hands, and there are now none of the name in the township.  It was on the England lands that the town of Independence was laid out.


William Howe was an Englishman.  He came to the West with the United States troops at the time of the Whiskey Insurrection, and here remained.  He married Margaret Jackman.  On the 30th of March, 1796, he took out a warrant for a tract, which surveyed to him the 5th of September following as “Malabar,” containing three hundred and twenty acres.  It was situated on the bank of the river, adjoining lands of Robert and Henry Jackman, and the heirs of Laurence and John Crow.  Mr. Howe lived here until his death, and was buried in what is known as the Howe Cemetery.  The Howe Church was erected on his farm.  He and his wife were prominent in the early history of Methodism in this section, and were foremost in the establishment of this church.  The date of his death has not been found.  His widow, Elizabeth Howe, died March 16, 1834, at the age of sixty-two years.  They had fourteen children, who are now all dead.  Two went to Virginia; two daughters married and went to Canada; two sons emigrated to Illinois; Alexander and Samuel remained in this county.  The former married Elizabeth Rush.  William Howe, Esq., of California, Pa., is their son.  Samuel married Lydia Morrell.  Johnson Howe, a son, emigrated to Illinois.  Lydia Riggs, now living in the township, and eighty years of age, is a granddaughter of William Howe.


Joseph Allen, an English Quaker, emigrated to this country about 1770, and about 1772 came to Washington County with his wife, Deborah (Hill), and took out a warrant for a tract of land lying on the Monongahela River, for which he received a patent from Thomas and John Penn dated Dec. 22, 1774.  This tract was named “Allenton.”  Ten years later he took a warrant dated Aug. 31, 1784, for a tract which was surveyed December 15th of that year as “Allen’s Delight,” and contained three hundred and fifty-four acres.  It was situated on the Monongahela River, and was two hundred and twenty-six perches along the river, “adjoining his other land and lands of David England.”  On the 28th of March, 1799, he divided his real estate, consisting of over eight hundred acres, into eight parts, reserving one for himself and giving one to each of his children (except Benjamin), viz: Eli, John, Samuel, William, Joshua, Ema (Mrs. Thomas Stockdale), and Deborah (Mrs. James Winders).  The son Benjamin, not included in the above division, was made chargeable for his support on the others.  A deed was given to John Allen, April 8, 1800, for one hundred acres, a part of the tract “Allen’s Delight,” and to Samuel, April 12th, the same year, for one hundred acres, a part of both tracts, “Allenton” and “Allen’s Delight.”  To William, on the 8th of April, 1800, for one hundred acres, also parts of both the above-mentioned tracts; and on the 12th of April the same year to Ema (Mrs. Thomas Stockdale), for one hundred and one acres, a part of “Allen’s Delight.”


Joseph Allen died in 1839, in the township, at an advanced age.  Eli, the eldest son, emigrated to Indiana.  Mrs. Sarah Wolf and Joanna McKey are granddaughters of Joseph Allen.


William Jackman patented a tract of three hundred and forty-seven acres, called “Hobson’s Choice,” April 9, 1788, adjoining Joseph Chester.  This tract was divided by the provisions of his will made on the 3rd of April, 1818.  Within a few years the land was in possession of John Jackman, Seth Buffington, John Ringland, and Jehu Jackman.  The last named was elected sheriff of the county in 1843, and member of the Legislature in 1853.


An order of survey, No. 1939 (recently in possession of Nathan Lynn), was taken out in 1769 in favor of Robert Jackman.  It was surveyed on the 16th of December in that year by the name of “Ararat,” and contained two hundred and twenty-two acres.  It was located on the Monongahela River, adjoining lands of Samuel Dixon.


Joseph Chester took up a tract of land adjoining the William Jackman tract.  His descendants are still in the township, and part of the original tract is in the hands of the family.


Independence, or Allenport.- The land on which this village is laid out is part of a tract of land located on the Monongahela that was granted to Henry Dixon, Aug. 13, 1784, and surveyed December 15th of the same year under the name of “Dixon’s Intent,” containing one hundred and forty-two acres.  It was patented by him on the 28th of June, 1786.  On the 29th of April, 1816, a deed was made by Henry Dixon to John Baldwin of one hundred and eighty-two acres of land, part of the above patent.  Arrangements for laying out a village upon it had been made previously, as is evident from the following advertisement which appeared in the Washington Reporter of March 18, 1816:


“New Town – Town Lots for Sale.


“The subscriber has laid off a new town on the western bank of the Monongahela River, in Washington County and State of Pennsylvania, called “West Freeport,” immediately opposite to Freeport, 1 which is on the eastern bank of said river, in Fayette County, and offers for sale therein forty-five lots of ground, which will be sold at public venue on the 15th day of April next, on the premises, sale to commeuce at 10 o’clock in the forenoon.

“West Freeport is situate in the midst of a very wealthy settlement, and presents as many natural advantages to men of enterprise and industry as any other site in the western county.  Glass-works, as well as other manufacturies might be established and carried on at this place to great advantage, as materials for such purposes are found in great abundance within its vicinity.  There is an excellent grist-and saw-mill at the place and places of public worship within a very short distance.  A turnpike road is expected to be made from Bedford, in Bedford County, to Washington, in Washington County, Pa., which, if carried on or near to a straight line from the one place to the other, will pass through West Freeport.                                                                       John Baldwin

“West Freeport, March 7, 1816”


No lots seem to have been sold by Mr. Baldwin in this new town, and on the 1st of May, 1817, he conveyed seventy-nine acres to Joseph Allen, who, on the 29th of May, 1828, purchased on hundred and seventy-two acres of land of David England (a part of the tract patented by England), adjoining the above.  On the 30th of January, 1839, one hundred and twenty-one acres of it was sold by the administrators of Joseph Allen to Francis McKee, who about 1850 laid out the town of Independence.  Lots 55 and 56, on the former of Broadway and Liberty Streets, were sold to Davenport Phillips, Aug. 17, 1852.  On the 27th of July, 1853, lot No. 9 was sold to Henry Stimel.  The next sale which is recorded is five years later, the deed bearing date Dec. 4, 1858.  It was made to Robert Fields, “for and in consideration of the some of twenty cents, (the price of taking me and old Charley across the river and back).”  It was designated as lot No. 2, on Water Street.  He says in the deed, “The consideration and principal reason for my giving the above described plot of ground is because I thought him a poor, good boy, and hope he may make a rich, good man, never steal, get drunk, swear, or play cards, but be honest and industrious, and it is my desire and design that if Robert should die before he comes to years of twenty-one the lot should go to his sister Liza.”  From this time other lots were sold, and in 1865 the name was changed from Independence to Allenport, and a plat filed in the recorder’s office at the county-seat.


The mill property north of the town now owned by George Maxwell was a part of the one hundred and eighty-two acres purchased by Baldwin of Henry Dixon in 1816.  He sold seventy-nine acres to Allen, and kept the remainder many years.  He built the mill which still retains the name.  On the 10th of April, 1832, he sold forty-five acres (the mill property) to Joseph Allen, who conveyed it to Abia Allen on the 29th of June the same year.  After keeping it about two years he sold it, Oct. 10, 1834, to William Brightwell, who two years later (Nov. 3, 1836) sold it to Isaiah Frost, by whom it was kept twelve years, and on Jan. 15, 1848, by an article of agreement, it was sold to Francis McKee, and later his administrator gave therefore a deed.  McKee retained it till March 29, 1853, when he sold to James R. Angell.  Soon after the purchase by McKee the present mill was erected and called Etma.  From this time steam was used, the old mill having used water-power.


            The ferry a short distance north of the town was started after the property came into possession of Mr. McKee.  On the 13th of September, 1861, he conveyed to Thornton S. Chalfant the land know as the “Ferry Property,” and Chalfant was “to have the entire ferry privilege from the lands of Joseph Krepps down the river shore to the lands of Isaiah Frost’s heirs;” possession was obtained April 1, 1862.  the ferry passed through several hands, and in December, 1872, it was sold by Alexander S. Latta to William C. Huggins, who still owns it.


            The present village of Allenport contains twenty-three dwellings, four stores, the depot of the Pittsburgh, Virginia and Charleston Railroad, a blacksmith-shop, post-office, school-house, and one physician, Dr. Mitchell.  An early resident physician here was Dr. Ostrauder Todd, who practiced  many years and until his death not long since.


            The post-office was established at this place under the name of Belle Zane.  The first and only postmaster is John Fields.  “Clark’s Coalery,” one of the most noted coal banks along the Monongahela, is at this place, but is not now in operation.  A number of other collieries located along the river in the upper part of this township have been in successful operation for several years, shipping their coal by the Monongahela slack-water of Pittsburgh and the ports on the lower Ohio.  The names of the principal coal-works (and settlements clustered around them) on the river in this township are the “Champion,” “Lime-town,” “Courtney’s,” “Lucyville” (the last named a mining hamlet of twenty houses), and the “American Bottom,” or “Woods Run,” which is a place of fifty dwellings, of which many are good and even fine structures, and four stores.  The collieries of this township are more fully mentioned in the general history of the county.


Schools in Allen Township. – About the year 1800, Benjamin Huff taught in a school in what is now the township of Allen.  He was succeeded by William Jackman, - Bedford, Robert Wilson, and Solomon Allen.  The school-house stood near the “Fallowfield” Quaker Church (now known as “Mount Tabor”).  John Jackman and Newton Williams taught in the Quaker Church in 1827-28.  Upon the organization of the township into school districts in 1835, the territory of Allen township was embraced in East Pike Run and Fallowfield school districts, and so remained until the organization of the township in 1853, when the school  directors elected that year organized the township into three school districts.  The following was the condition of the schools in 1863, 1873, 1880, taken from the reports of public instruction:


1863. - Whole number of schools, 3; teachers, 3; scholars enrolled, 200.  Total amount of receipts for school purposed, $368.25; expenditures, $360.79.

1873. – Whole umber of schools, 3; teachers, 3; scholars enrolled, 188.  Total amount of receipts for school purposed, $1303.61; expenditures, $992.87.

1880. - Whole number of schools, 5; teachers, 5; scholars enrolled 312.  Total amount of receipts for school purposes, $1046.99; expenditures $989.04.


The following-named persons were and have been elected school directors in Allen during its separate existence as a township:


1853. - Azariah Crow, Joseph Krepps, Jehu Jackman, Andrew Dunleavy,

Thomas C. Huggins, Jackman Crow, William C. Wolf, Ellias Howe, William      Fields.

1854. - Joseph Krepps, John Frye.

1855. - Hiram Jackman, Hugh McKee.

1856. - Azariah Crow, John G. Martin, Samuel Clark.

1857. - Simeon Jackman, Henry Sphar.

1858. - O. D. Todd, H. I. Furnier.

1859. - John G. Martin, Robert Stockdale.

1860. - Azariah Crow, John P. Nixon.

1861. - John Donaldson, Samuel A. Chester.

1862. - William Johnson, John G. Martin.

1863. - John J. Nixon, Azariah Crow.

1864. - R. J. Latta, T. F. Chalfant.

1865. - John G. Martin, William S. Krepps.

1866. - A. Crow, John Sphar.

1867. - Edward Furling, John Fields.

1868. - A. A. Stockdale, John Danberry.

1869. - Clark Crow, John Berin.

1869. - J. F. Jackman, F. C. Furling, Thomas Wood.

1870. - John Nixon, John Barnum, John W. Berryman.

1872. - J. R. Jackman, J. Nixon.

1873. - E. C. Furlong, John II. Crow.

1874. - James L. Krepps, J. F. Phillips.

1875. - John Nixon, John Dunlevy.

1876. - Clark Crow, Richard Ward, Hugh McKee.

1877. - James Krepps, John L. Riggs.

1878. - A. L. Latta, Samuel McKune.

1879. - John Dunlevy, Mark Stockdale.

1880. - Allen Kennedy, John Mitchell, Harry Mann, W. D. Martin, John L. Riggs.

1881. - John Conoway, John Dunlevy, Clark Crow.


            Justices of the Peace. – Following is given a list of persons elected as justices of the peace in Allen township from its erection to the year 1880, viz.:


Thomas R. Reed, Oct. 14, 1852.                   A. A. Stockdale, Nov. 30, 1870.

Azariah Crow, April 10, 1855.                         Azariah Crow, Jan 17, 1874. 

Thomas R. Reed, April 13, 1858.                   James D. Barnum, May 19, 1874.     

Azariah Crow, April 10, 1860.                         Azariah Crow, March 17, 1875.         

Thomas R. Reed, April 14, 1863                    J. Donaldson, Jr., March 27, 1879.

Azariah Crow, June 3, 1865.                          W. W. Jobes, March 30, 1880.          

Azariah Crow, March 29, 1870.


            Religious Societies. – Many of the early settlers of this section of country were Friends or Quakers, and as early as 1799 trustees of a society purchased a lot on which to build a meeting-house.  At what time the society was organized and where they worshiped prior to this date is not know.  The deed dated April 17, 1799, is a conveyance by Joseph Allen “to Joshua Dixon, John Allmon, John Heald, and Jacob Griffith, trustees on behalf of the society of people called Quakers of Westland Monthly Meeting,” four and one-quarter acres and seventeen perches, in consideration of ten dollars and sixty-seven cents, “for the proper use of the society of the people called Quakers forever for the purpose of a meeting-house called Fallowfield meeting-house.”  After many years, dissensions occurred in the Quaker Churches all over the country, which resulted in divisions, and the Hicksites became a distinct sect.  The trouble reached this church, and the society was finally disbanded.  A portion of the lot was sold to the Methodist, who built thereon a church that has long been known as the Mount Tabor Church.  On the 15th of September, 1849, Amos Griffith, Nathan Rogers, and William Hancock, trustees of the Quakers, sold to Cornelius McKenna the remaining portion of the lot on which the Quaker Church, known as “Fallowfield,” had stood, it containing three and one-half acres and thirty perches.  A part of the lot had been used as a cemetery.  The Friends were opposed to the erection of tombstones, and the resting-places of the early Friends who are buried are unmarked and unknown.

            Mount Tabor Methodist Episcopal Church. – The Methodist people in this section of country were organized before the year 1800, and worshiped at what was then known as the Howe Church.  The cemetery is still kept up. But the church has long since gone down.  A mention of this church, as well as others in this section, will be found in the history of the Methodist Church of Greenfield, written by Mr. Rockwell.  In the old church eighty-four years ago the Rev. John Meeks and the Rev. Thomas Harman were preachers.  After the abandonment of the old “Fallowfield” Quaker Church a portion of their church lot was purchased by the Methodists, who soon after erected upon it a frame building forty by forty feet, which was formally dedicated May 10, 1851.  The Rev. Thomas Hudson preached the dedicatory sermon from the text, “God is a spirit.”  The name “Mount Tabor” was given to the church by Mrs. Mahlon Riggs.  The Rev. John West and the Rev. Asbury Pool preached in this section to this people before 1815.  After the erection of the present Mount Tabor Church the following ministers occupied the pulpit: Revs. Joseph Lee, Joshua and William Monroe, - Lop, Daniel Hilt, J. Connelly.  Among the early worshipers, as given by Mrs. Mahlon Riggs, were Eli Several, John and Henry Spohr, William, Jeremiah, and Lydia Riggs, Margaret Howe, William, Joseph, Matilda, and Melinda Wolf, Jacob, Mary, and Annie Crow, and Sarah Merrel.  A further reference to the article by Mr. Rockwell will show who had change of these churches, the districts they were in, and the changes made in the districts.

            Howe and Mount Tabor Cemeteries. – Where the old Howe Methodist Church stood many years ago is still the cemetery that was connected with it.  Among the early settlers who are buried there is Elizabeth Howe, born in 1772, died March 16, 1834, aged sixty-two years; William Huggins, died April 27, 1844, in the seventy-fifth year of his age; William Gregg, died Feb. 25, 1851, in the eightieth year of his age; Elizabeth Frye, died June 24, 1836, aged forty-one years; Mary Baker, died July 16, 1874, in the eighty-fourth year of her age.

            The cemetery now known as Mount Tabor Cemetery was in use very many years by the Friends, and was part of the grounds owned by the Friends, known as Fallowfield Meeting-House of the Westland Quarterly Meeting.  After the abandonment by the Friends it came into use by the present society, and is used by them as a burial-place.  Among those buried there are the following: John Jackman, died Dec. 17, 1876, in the eighty-six year of his age; Samuel Allen, died March 11, 1833, aged seventy-two years; Sylvester Smith, died Oct. 12, 1846, aged seventy years; Aves Smith, died Jan. 11, 1862, ages eighty-two years.

            It was not the practice of the Friends to erect a monument or tablet over the graves of their dead, and as a consequence many of the resting-places of the early settlers are unmarked and unknown.  The little mounds with which the burial-place is filled only signifies that some one is buried there.




Solomon C. Speers.



            Henry Speers, the older, and Regina Froman, his wife, were born in Germany, came to Western Pennsylvania in 1772, and settled on what is now known as the Gibsonton Distillery farm, below Belle Vernon, in Rostraver township, Westmoreland County, Pa.  Henry Speers died in 1773, having lived only about one year after his arrival in Western Pennsylvania.  By his will, dated May 14, 1773, he conveyed this farm to his son, Noah Speers, who by his will, dated June 2, 1832, gave it to his son, Noah W. Speers.  He also owed the tract where the ferry is now located, and for which a patent in connection with the farm above mentioned was granted to Benjamin Frey and Regina Speers, in trust for the heirs of Henry Speers, deceased, bearing date June 21, 1784.  Henry Speers had four sons, - Jacob, Solomon, Henry, and Noah.


            Jacob immigrated in early days to Kentucky, where he was a successful business man for many years, and from whom the Kentucky Speers had their origin.  Solomon was killed by the Indians on Salt River in Kentucky, where he had gone to engage in trading and trapping.  Noah died on the old homestead, now known as the Gibsonton farm.  He laid out the town of Belle Vernon.  The first sale of lots took place April 18, 1814.  He died from a kick of a horse June 9, 1832.  His wife was a daughter of Samuel Frye, Sr., who was a son of the older Abram Frye, who came to Western Pennsylvania contemporary with Henry Speers the older.  The remains of Noah Speers and his wife rest  on the old homestead farm.  Henry Speers the younger was born July 8, 1756, being sixteen years old when his parents settled near the present town of Belle Vernon.  He married Rebekah Frye, daughter of Henry Frye, Sept. 24, 1777.  She was born March 17, 1761, and died July 16, 1835.  Henry the younger has thirteen children:

            Samuel, Born Jan. 29, 1779.

            Sarah, born Dec. 28, 1780.

            Rebekah, born Dec. 4, 1782.

            Katherine, born Feb. 4, 1785.

            Henry, born Feb. 7, 1787.

            Rachel, born March 1, 1789.

            Elizabeth, born April 8, 1791.

            Fanny, born July 1, 1793.

            Polly, born Sept. 16, 1794.

            Pleasant, born Nov. 24, 1796.

            John, born Jan. 17, 1798.

            Apollos, born Sept. 8, 1801

            Nancy, born Sept. 13, 1803.


            Henry Speers the younger, resided all his married life on the farm called Speers’ Intent, opposite Belle Vernon, in the present Allen township, Washington County, Pa., being the same on which his son Apollos lived so long after the death of his father, and which is now owned by Noah and Solomon C., sons of Apollos.


            The patent to this farm was granted to Henry Speers, Jan. 12, 1789, on a survey made and entered by John Reef, May 23, 1769, and conveyed to Henry Speers by deed dated Sept. 14, 1784.  Henry was not only a farmer, but also engaged extensively in trapping and running the ferry in the most primitive mode of the Indian canoe.  He was a long member of the Baptist Church, and his earnestness as a worker and his consistency as a Christian gave him a power and prestige among the early settlers that few men possessed.  He was licensed to preach by the church of Enon May 5, 1793, a copy of which license read as follows:


            “The Baptist Church of Jesus Christ at Enon, in Washington County, Fallowfield township, State Pennsylvania, Holding Believers Baptism by Immersion Justification by an Imputed Righteousness Perticular Election and Regeneration, Final Preserverance to Grace, &c.  To all whom it may concern we send our Christian Salutation, Greeting:

            “We do hereby Certify that our Beloved Brother, Henry Speers, is a member of our church in full union and communion with us, and as we believe that the Lord has called him to the ministry of his Blessed word which gifts he has improved amongst us to our satisfaction.  We do hereby License and permit him to Exercise his gift in preaching the word and in Exortation  wherever it may please the Lord to cast his lot, hoping the brethren of our sister churches may receive him in love, and praying that he may grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth, and that our Lord Jesus Christ may by his Holy Spirit Bless his Labors and make him useful to the Comforts of Saints and convictions of Sinners.

            “Signed in our church part for the whole.  Passed by order of the Fifth of May, A.D., 1792.


            “Stephen Barclay, Cor. Sec’y.                        “William Albix.

            “John Bailey.                                                   “Charles Whitlatch.

            “Samuel Vail.                                                   “Jesse Vandolah.

            “Nathan Ellis.                                                   “Peter Vandolah.

            “John Steward.                                                “William Jackman, Jr.

            “Thomas Cloud.                                              “Peter Yatman, 1796.”


            He was ordained by Rev. John Corbly on the last Saturday of March, 1797, and continued pastor of that church until the day of his death, which occurred Jan, 2, 1840.  He was chiefly instrumental in building up the congregation of Enon, the members of which worshiped first in the old log church, but more recently in the brick house still standing on the hill near the ferry, opposite Belle Vernon, and now owned by Solomon C. Speers.  A few years since the congregation abandoned the building, and now worship in the new frame church near the residence of John S. Carson, on Maple Creek.  The brick dwelling-house now owned and occupied by Noah Speers, near the ferry, was erected in 1806 by said Henry Speers.


            Henry, son of Henry Speers the younger, was a soldier in the war of 1812, and was in the battle of New Orleans with Gen. Jackson.  He died many years ago in the old log house on Maple Creek in which the late Joseph Beazell resided.  Samuel was also a soldier in the war of 1812; exposure in the army caused him to be a cripple in his last days, which were passed in the family of his brother Apollos.  John passed most of his life at Dunbar, Fayette Co., Pa., where he followed milling and farming.  One of the daughters (Nancy) – the only one now living – of Henry Speers married George Hill, of Ten-Mile; he was the father of George L. Hill, the present Washington County treasurer.  Another daughter (Pleasant) married William Ward.  Katy married John McCrory.  Apollos, another son after his marriage to Elizabeth Cooper, daughter of the late Valentine Cooper, resided for a short time at “Fish Pot,” on Ten-Mile; with this exception he lived in the brick house at the ferry until his death, which occurred Feb. 23, 1857.  His wife died in Marshalltown, Iowa, Sept. 13, 1874; she was born March 22, 1803.  Her remains were interred with her husband in the Enon graveyard.  Apollos and Elizabeth had five sons – Solomon C., Noah Henry V., Jacob B., and Jasper – and five daughters, - Margaret, Nancy, Mary L., Sarah R., and Clara E.


            Noah lives at the ferry, of which he is the sole owner.


            When the Rebellion broke out, Henry V. enlisted in Capt. J.J. Young’s battery, and Jacob B. in the Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers.  Both served until the close, and went to Marshalltown, Iowa, where they have been engaged in business ever since.  Jasper died when sixteen years of age.


            Solomon C. was born May 12, 1832, and married May 6, 1857, Anne Eliza Walker, who was born April 5, 1836.  She is a daughter of the late Nathaniel R. and Martha Walker.  He was a native of Boston, Mass., and she a daughter of Thomas and Rebecca Brownfield, of Smithfield, Fayette Co., Pa.  They have two sons – Charles P., born Dec. 11, 1862 and Albert C., born Oct. 16, 1865 – and two daughters, - Mary Bessie, born Sept. 13, 1870, and Jessie L., born Dec. 2, 1873.


            Solomon C. and his wife began housekeeping in the house in which they now reside, on the farm a part of the “Speers’ Intent.”  The dwelling was erected in 1860 by the late firm of Kiddoo & Moore, of Monongahela City.  Solomon, whose portrait appears in this history, is proprietor of the Clipper Sand-Works, near the ferry, from which have been sent to market as high as thirteen thousand tons of sand in one year, used in the manufacture of glass and as building material, etc.  He was engaged in steamboating from 1853 to 1868.  His early education was obtained in the common schools, but prepared himself for business in graduating from Duff’s Mercantile College of Pittsburgh, Pa.  By strict attention to business, in connection with unbending integrity, he as acquired quite a competence of this world’s goods and a reputation as an honorable and successful man.  He now lives at ease in his beautiful residence on the banks of the Monongahela, where, with his family around, he enjoys the largest measure of the good will of all those with whom he holds an acquaintance.







“Virginia, ss:

            “At a General Court held at the Capital in the City of Williamsburg, the 21st of April, 1767, Mattern Sparr, a Native of Switzerland, who hath resided in this Colony upwards of Seven Years, and hath not been out of the same the space of two Months at any one time, came into Court between the Hours of nine and twelve in the forenoon, and produced a Certificate of his having Received the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper according to the Act of Parliament in that case made and provided, and took and subscribed the Oath appointed to be taken instead of the Oath of Allegiance and Supremacy.  The Oath appointed by an Act of Parliament made in the Sixth Year of the Reign of his present Majesty King George the third, entitled An Act for Altering the Oath of Abjuration, and the Assurance and for amending so much of an Act of the Seventh Year of her late Majesty Queen Anne, entitled an Act for the Improvement of the Union of the two Kingdoms.  After the time therein limited requires the Delivery of certain Lists and Copies therein mentioned to persons indicted of high Treason or Misprison of Treason, and made and subscribed the declaration thereby also appointed in order to his being naturalized.

                                                                                                            “Ben. Walley”


            Mattern Sparr, mentioned in the above, removed to Washington County about the year 1780, and purchased from Col. Edward Cook, a pioneer of civilization in northwestern Fayette County, the farm now owned by his grandson Henry, where he spent the remainder of his life.  Two brothers and one sister came to Washington County with him.  Two other brothers were killed on the way to their new home.  Mattern married in Virginia and had three children, - John, Mattern, and Henry.  His son John was born in Berkeley County, Va., in 1777, and died in Allen township, Washington County, in 1856.  His wife was Susan Redd, by whom he had eleven children, - Mary, who is dead, married John Shively; her home was in Guernsey County, Ohio.  Jacob, who is dead, married for his first wife Susan Wood, and for his second Charlotte Wilson.  Elizabeth married Joseph Dunlevy, and resides in Indiana.  Daniel, who is dead, married Mary Speer; his home was in Kentucky.  Ann, who is dead, married William Spah; her home was in Indiana.  Barbara married William Hollingshead; they are both dead.  Mattern, who is dead, married Margaret Coyle; his home was in Ohio.  Sarah married Joseph Beazell, and lives in Allen township, Washington County.  Rachel, who is dead, married Robert Gaily; her home was in Clarion County, Pa.  John married Lucy Ann Scott; he is a farmer, and resided in Allen township.  Henry, the youngest, whose portrait here represents the family, was born Feb. 25, 1820, upon the farm where his home has always been.  His entire business life has been given to farming.  His father gave him a farm of one hundred acres, to which his labor and good judgment have added other lands.  When a young man he united with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and his moral worth, genial manner, and neighborly kindnesses command the respect of those who know him.  He was married Nov. 5, 1843, to Margaret, daughter of William and Ruth Gregg, of East Pike Run township.  Margaret died May 28, 1845, leaving one child, William G. Sphar, who is a farmer, and resides in Allen township.  He married Ruth A. Gregg, and has three children, - Annie Bertha, George Henry, and Maggie Pearl.  Henry was married to his second wife, Mary Jackman, of East Pike Run township, June 15, 1847.







            In the latter part of the last century Thomas Stockdale a native of Eastern Pennsylvania, where his wife had shortly before died, came, with this three sons, William, Thomas, and John, to Washington County, and made a permanent settlement in what is now Allen township, upon a farm which is now descended to and occupied by his grandchildren.  Soon after his settlement in Allen township he married his second wife, Amy Allen, by whom he had five children, - Joseph, Robert, Deborah, Allen, and Hannah.  He was a worthy man, possessing the qualities necessary to overcome the difficulties with which the early settler was beset, and the country was better for his having lived in it.


His son, Robert Stockdale, was born April 19, 1801, and died Dec. 15, 1878.  His knowledge of the rudiments of learning was gained in the district school, and the business of farming, which employed his maturer years, he learned at home.  He was a careful student of every-day events, an intelligent man.  He was a consistent member of the Christian Church, a pious man.  Attentive to his own business, he was prosperous and respected.


            He was twice married; first, Nov. 6, 1825 to Deborah Allen, who died March 13, 1850, leaving eight children, - William, who is a farmer residing in Kansas, married Rebecca Ailes; Elizabeth married William Sprowls, of East Finley township, Washington County; Amy died when six years of age; Allen married Henrietta Ritenour; he was a merchant, and died in 1874, in his thirty-seventh year; Robert M. died in 1864, aged twenty-three years; Deborah E. married Jesse Snyder, who died soon after their marriage; she resides in California, Washington Co.; Sarah Mary married William Martin, now of Alliance, Ohio; she died in 1864; Hannah Amy married Isaac K. Jackman, and resides in California, Washington Co., Pa.


            The second wife of Mr. Stockdale was Dorcas Price, of Allen township, who survives him, and by whom he had three children, - Joseph Snyder, Cyrus Field, and Martin J., - all of whom are farmers, residing upon the old homestead, where they were born and reared, the scene of their father’s birth, long years of toil, and death, and of their grandfather’s trials and successes. 

[1] This account of Hazelbaker, like those of many other early settlers in this section, is from the papers of Dr. J.S. Van Voorhis.

1 What is now Fayette City was originally laid out by Edward Cook as Freeport, and known as such till about 1820, from which time it gradually assumed the name of Cookstown, which it held till the change to the present name by act of Legislature in 1854.

1 The family name is now spelled Sphar.

**Boyd Crumrine, "History of Washington County, Pennsylvania with Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men" (Philadelphia: L. H. Leverts & Co., 1882). 

Transcribed by Patricia Wilson, Coal Center, PA in August 2002 for inclusion on the Washington County, PA Genealogy  pages at and associated sites.


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