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Pioneers of Mifflin County Pennsylvania

County History

Mifflin County was formed in 1789 but as early as 1731 traders had left written records of the Shawnee Indian village of Ohesson, ruled over by Chief Kishacoquillas, firm friend of the English. Its site, since 1790, occupied by Lewistown, the county seat, remained an Indian centre until the coming of Arthur Buchanan, trader and first settler, in 1754.

The fertile soil of the Juniata and Kishacoquillas valleys soon attracted the venturesome Scotch-Trish, and when Fort Granville was built a mile west of Ohesson late in 1755 a dozen families were in the two valleys. August 1, 1756, Fort Granville was a pile of smoldering ruins and a force of French and Indians, under Chevalier de Villiers, on their way back to Kittanning and Fort Duquesne carried as captives the soldiers and settlers who had not been killed in the siege of the fort.

Soon the hardy Scotch-Irish came again and during the Revolution were a bulwark on the frontier against the inroads of the British-inspired Indians. "Mother Cumnberland" gave of her territory for the new county on September 19, 1789, the preamble of the act of erection, passed that day by the General Assembly, reciting that the "inhabitants . .. labour under great hardship by reason of their great distance from the present seat of justice and the public offices."

The new county was named for Thomas Mifflin, soldier of the Revolution and statesman of the constitution period, who was to become the first Governor of Pennsylvania as a State of the Union.

William Lewis, builder of Hope Furnace and on the early tax lists as an "Iron Merchant," was honored when the county seat was named Lewistown. It soon became the centre of trade, industry and population and has fittingly maintained leadership in manufacturing, particularly in the steel industry, having large plants for the making of locomotive parts, axes and edged goods. Today it is the largest Rayon manufacturing centre in Pennsylvania and has other textile plants.

Mifflin County ranks high in agriculture, particularly its famed Kishacoquillas Valley, home of the Amish and Mennonite farmers, picturesque in their plain garb, but thrifty, contented and God-fearing. The Kishacoquillas Valley vies with Lancaster County as "Pennsylvania's Garden Spot."

Scenically "Pennsylvania Has Everything," "Rocks and rills, woods andtempled hills"-and they'll be found in all their glory in Mifflin County. Bounded on the South-east by Shade and Blue mountains and on the North-west by Stone and the Seven Mountains and bisected by Jacks Mountain, Mifflin County has some of the most beautiful scenery to be found in the Alleghenies. Alexander Caverns, largest of Pennsylvania's caves, and Seawra Cave, a cavern of unusual beauty, are in Mifflin County. Her streams are an angler's paradise and her woods the "Happy Hunting Ground" of the nimrod.

Two hundred years ago, as now, Lewistown was a highway centre. Indian paths converged here from four directions. The "Juniata Path" led to the "Tuscarora Path" at Port Royal and in the other direction up the river to join the "Kittanning Trail" at Mount Union, while the "Warriors' Path" to Fort Augusta (Sunbury) and a trail into the Kishacoquillas Valley led East and West. Today U. S. Route 22 (William Penn Highway) and U. S. Routes 522 and 322 closely follow these wilderness trails as they pass through Lewistown.

A century ago Lewistown was a centre of trade as a shipping point of the Juniata Branch of the Pennsylvania Canal. But on the coming of the railroad in 1849 it came into its own as a transportation mart.

Today it is on the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad, midway between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Its altitude is 500 feet, its pbpulatioh 13,017, and that of the county 42,993. Today the historically minded are interested in the location of Logan's cabin near Reedsaille, home of the famed Mingo chief from 1766 to 1771; the site of Fort Granville, a model of which is to be seen in the Mifflin County Historical Society's museum; the 125-year old Jacks Creek Arch Bridge, which has just recently been restored and is located in sight of Route 22 as it enters Lewistown from the South; ruins of the Penna. Canal to be seen along the highway in scenic Lewistown Narrows; home of Dr. J. T. Rothrock at McVeytown, where the "Father of Pennsylvania Forestry" spent his boyhood days; and scores of old homesteads, some dating back to the, 1700's.

Mifflin County has a military history of note from the day Captain George Croghan began the construction of Fort Granville back in 1755 down to that Fall day of 1940 when its young manhood loyally stepped forward to register for the first peace time conscription in the Nation's history, and a year later, when on December 7, 1941. among the defenders of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, during Japan's surprise attack were several Mifflin County boys.

The sound of the tools of Captain Croghan's workmen had hardly died away before Fort Granville became the focal point for marauding bands of Indians, until finally late in July of 1756 Chevalier de Villiers led his force of French and Indians to the farthest eastern point attained by a French force and here laid siege to the fort. Gallant Lieutenant Edward Armstrong and his brave force of frontiersmen refused all demands to surrender until the commander was killed and the fort on fire. It was but a few days before Colonel John Armstrong, brother of the Lieutenant, was on his way with a large force to Kittanning, Indian village on the Allegheny, where he avenged the death of his brother and the destruction of Fort Granville by laying in waste the Indian town and killing Captain Jacobs, Indian leader in the Granville expedition.

Scarce had the settlers time to build their homes anew after the Indian wars of 1755 to 1763 before the Revolution was upon them. Although 150 miles from the nearest British regular, the Scotch-Irish on the frontier sent company after company to New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania during the early years of the War for Independence. But the time came when Col. Arthur Buchanan, in charge of Militia here, had to refuse a call, for the men were needed to defend their homes. The Indians seeking scalps for British bounties were making forays from the West and North against the frontier settlements.

It was in 1778 that Col. Buchanan wrote to the Colonial authorities: "The Indians continue to murder men, women and children on our frontiers . . . We are in a very distressed situation at present . . . I have taken the sentiment of our battalion and they are these, if the lieutenants of the county will send us the assistance of a few men with arms and ammunition we will march immediately into the Indian country and attack their towns, which will be the most effective method of calling them from our frontiers . . . I sent six men as spies to the Kittanning only one of whom returned, who says they were fired upon by 100 Indians and only he escaped … Sir please send . . . a supply of ammunition and arms."

But finally peace came-with victory-as it would to a people with such a spirit-and a new county was founded and named Mifflin, for a soldier with an enviable record during the Revolution.

Then came the War of 1812 and Captain Milliken's Troop of Horse went to Buffalo among the first, for had it not been a native of Mifflin County, Captain Daniel Dobbins, then of Erie, who had journeyed to Washington to persuade President Madison and his Cabinet to defend the Great Lakes against the British, then returned to Lake Erie where he built the "Niagara," Commodore Perry's flagship.

Three decades of peace saw many important developments along the Juniata, but when war was declared by Congress against Mexico, again Mifflin County men were ready. Captain William H. Irvin with his First Lieutenant, Thomas F. McCoy, led their "Juniata Guards" aboard a canal boat March 25, 1847, for the trip to Mexico, via Pittsburgh. From the arrival in Mexico until the close of the war they were in every important engagement. . The "Wayne Guards," another Mifflin County company, had followed the "Juniata Guards" to. Mexico and they too participated in many important battles.

When in 1861 President Lincoln called for troops the first company to reach the National Capital was the "Logan Guards" under Captain J. B. Selheimer. Company after company was raised in Mifflin County and saw service in almost every engagement from Bull Run to Appomattox. Among those who rose to high rank in the War of the Rebellion were General Thomas F. McCoy and General John P. Taylor.

In 1898 the men of Company G "Remembered the Maine" and in 1917 Company M. was followed to "Somewhere in France" by hundreds of Mifflin County lads. Among those serving in that conflict was a native son who was following the tradition of his illustrious father. Major General Frank R. McCoy has just recently retired from a brilliant career which started with Col. Roosevelt and his "Rough Riders" in Cuba and carried him into every section of the globe on missions of peace and war. No greater tribute could be paid this community and its people than that he should wish to retire to his old home in the Juniata Valley. Such is the County of Mifflin and the Borough of Lewistown in the heart of the Juniata Valley of which it was once written:

THE BLUE JUNIATA

Wild roved an Indian girl,

Bright Alfarata,

Where sweep the waters

Of the blue Juniata.

Swift as an antelope

Through the forest going,

Loose were her raven locks

In waving tresses flowing.

Gay was the mountain song

Of bright Alfarata,

Where sweep the waters

Of the blue Juniata:

"Strong and true my arrows are

In my painted quiver,

Swift goes my light canoe

Adown the rapid river

"Bold is my warrior good,

The love of Alfarata;

Proud waves his snowy plume

Along the Juniata.

Soft and low he speaks to me

And then his war-cry sounding,

Rings his voice in thunder loud

From height to height resounding."

So sang the Indian girl

Bright Alfarata,

Where sweep the waters

Of the blue Juniata;

Fleeting years have borne away

The voice of Alfarata;

Still sweeps the river on-

Blue Juniata

By: Mrs. Marion Dix Sullivan

From: The Pioneers of Mifflin County, Pennsylvania Who's who in the Early Records with an Account of the Growth of the county before 1790, by John Martin Stroup and Raymond Martin Bell, Lewistown, Penna. 1942

Contributed by Tammy Clark

Juniata Settlement


The first settlement along the Juniata River in Mifflin County was called the "Juniata Settlement." It was not until 1765 that a permanent settlement could be started. Those who had located earlier had been driven out by the Indian Wars. The Bratton, Buchanan, Carmichael, Galloway, Holliday, Holt, Jones and Means families were among the earliest settlers. The Carmichaels and Galloways lived in Wayne; the Hollidays in Oliver; the Brattons in Bratton; the Joneses in Granville; the Buchanans and Holts around Lewistown; the Meanses in Derry Township.Township; the Bells and Siglers in Decatur Township.

The Brattons

The Brattons were early settlers in Bratton and Wayne Townships. In 1790 there were eleven families, all probably related. The first Bratton to settle in Mifflin County was Andrew Bratton. In 1754 he went from Hamilton Township (now Franklin County) to what is now Bratton Township. Before that he had probably lived in Chester County, where the Brattons seem to have originated. Rev. Charles Beatty stopped at Andrew Bratton's when on his missionary tour in 1766; the first church in that section was erected on his land about 1776. Andrew Bratton married Nancy Holliday of Peters Township (now Franklin County). He died about 1780 leaving sons William (1745-1825) and John. William was Captain in the Revolution, later a squire. He married about 1776 Christiana Hamilton. John was never married. James Bratton, Sr., may havebeen a brother of Andrew. He migrated from Bethel Township (now Delaware County) to Mifflin County about 1772. He died in 1799, leaving wife, Rachel, and children, William, James, Jr., (1757-1844), went to Center Township, Guernsey County, Ohio; Samuel (1762-1799), Sarah, Elizabeth. Another Bratton was George, Sr., who settled in Mifflin County about 1771. He died in 1797 leaving children, Elizabeth (James), Isabella (Stalford), Sarah (Barr), Jane (Weyburn), Edward, George (1757-1827), Rachel, Leah. James (little) Bratton settled about 1773. He died in 1786 leaving wife, Isabella, and children, Jane, William, Robert, George. Phoebe, Elizabeth. James (big) Bratton settled about 1779. He died in 1811 leaving wife. Elizabeth, and children John, William, Wallace, Sallie (Wallace), Lydia (Ewing), Elizabeth (Barron), Jane, Margaret. A William Bratton, Sr., assessed as early as 1776 had a son, William. A John Bratton was assessed 1769 to 1772, improved land in 1760. One of the noted descendants of the Mifflin County Brattons is Mrs. Henry Wallace, wife of the Vice-President of the United States.

Arthur Buchanan

The first settler at Lewistown was Arthur Buchanan who put up a cabin about 1754. He had come from Carlisle, where he was assessed in 1753, although the Buchanans originally came from Little Britain Township, Lancaster County. The French and Indian War forced Arthur Buchanan to return to Carlisle, where he died September 23. 1760. Arthur and Dorcas Holt Buchanan had four children. His widow returned to Lewistown in 1765 and was one of the pioneer women of Mifflin County. She died in Lewistown, January 20, 1804, aged 93 years and is buried in the old cemetery on South Brown Street. The children: 1. Arthur Buchanan Jr. born about 1740; married about 1773 Margery ; died 1811 at Lewistown, no issue. Arthur Jr. was colonel in the Revolution and one of the leading citizens in the early days of Miffin County. 2. William Buchanan, born 1742; married 1763 Margaret ; died December 22, 1767, at Lewistown. Children: a. Arthur Buchanan, born 1764, married Isabella ; died 1792. b. John Buchanan, born 1766; married Rebecca 3. Jane Buchanan, born about 1745; married Charles Magill. 4. Robert Buchanan, born June 21, 1749, died July 10, 1819, at Lewistown; married 1774 Lucinda Landrum, born July 24, 1755. a. Andrew Landrum Buchanan, born August 16, 1775, died February 28, 1841, East Bradford, Pa.; married February 26, 1801, Rebecca Jones. b. Jane Buchanan, born September 2, 1777. c. Arthur Buchanan, born September 23, 1779. d. William Buchanan, born January 11, 1782. e. Mary Buchanan, born October 12, 1785, died March 15, 1822; married - Skinner. f. Dorcas Buchanan, born December 24, 1787. g. Robert Buchanan, born on March 17, 1791, died March 1, 1826; married Mary Tannehill. h. James Buchanan, born on September 16, 1792. i. Thomas Buchanan, born on February 2, 1796.

There were three Carmichael brothers from Hamilton Township (now Franklin County) who settled in Wayne Township about 1760, John,. Daniel and James. John served in the Revolution. Daniel died while in the militia. James about 1777 moved to Dublin Township, Bedford County. John held a number of township offices. He married Isabella _____. In 1792 or 1793 he moved to Washington County, Tennessee, where he died in March, 1799. His children were: James, Mary (Moore), Margaret, Jane, George, Archibald, John, David, Daniel, William' and Elizabeth. Daniel Carmichael, married about 1765 Mary Eaton, daughter of James Eaton of Hamilton Township. November 10, 1777, he went to camp and while in the militia died for his country. He had six children: James, Duncan, Margaret, Abigail, Isabel and Mary.

George Galloway

George Galloway, a weaver, settled in Wayne Township about 1765. In 1750 the Pennsylvania authorities had driven him out of Juniata County for settling on land belonging to the Indians. He then settled at Conococheague, near Chambersburg, later moving to Wayne Township. He was a son of Samuel and Elizabeth Galloway. Elizabeth was killed by Indians near Chambersburg in 1755. According to James Galloway, son of George, the family moved from Lancaster County to Franklin County 1754, to York County 1755, to Loudon County, Virginia, 1757, to Franklin County 1760, to Mifflin County 1765. George Galloway married Rebecca Junkin. All of their sons served in the Revolution. The people forted at George Galloway's in 1781. He died in 1783. His children were: 1. Margaret Galloway, born June 12, 1742; married George Pomeroy. 2. William Galloway, born June 8, 1743, died September 28, 1795, in Kentucky; married 1771 Catherine Thompson; married 1777 Rebecca Mitchell. 3. Jane Galloway. born January 8, 1745; married William Junkin. 4. John Galloway, born October 17, 1746. 5. Samuel Galloway; married Elizabeth Galloway. 6. James Galloway, born May 1, 1750, died August 6, 1838, Green County, Ohio; married November 23, 1778, Rebecca Junkin. 7. Joseph Galloway, born January 8, 1757, died August 12, 1838. 8. Martha Galloway, married Lancelot Junkin. 9. Sarah Gailoway, married Joseph Wilson.

Samuel Holliday

Samuel Holliday settled in Oliver Township (MeVeytown) in 1763.He came from Peters Township (now Franklin County). His father was John Holliday, who died in Peters Township in 1770. The children of John, Sr., were William, Samuel, John, Adam, Joseph, Mary, Frances, Nancy (Bratton). The Hollidays had lived in Lancaster County before going to the Conococheague Settlement (Peters Township). Samuel Holliday operated the first grist mill in Mifflin County; he had a saw-mill in operation as early as 1766. In August 1766 Rev. Charles Beatty preached at Holliday's Mill. Holliday was a captain in the Revolution; the people forted at his house in 1781. When Samuel Holliday died in December 1807 he left widow, Sarah, and children John, James, Adam, Michael, Samuel, Rebecca (Bratton), Jane (Provines).

Thomas Holt

Thomas Holt settled west of Lewistown about 1760. His farm included the Fort Granville site. On February 3, 1756, in St. James Church, Lancaster, he was married to Elizabeth Mitchell, daughter of John and Jane (Ross) Mitchell. They settled in Carlisle, where Holt was a brassfounder. He died near Lewistown in 1777; his widow died in 1798. They had nine children: 1. John Holt, born February 1, 1758, died at Snowshoe 1831; married August 8, 1779, Sarah Milliken. Ensign in the Revolution. 2. William Holt, may have gone to Kentucky; lieutenant in Revolution. 3. Elizabeth Holt, married John Magee. 4. Thomas Holt, born 1761, served in Revolution, went to Ohio. 5. Mary Holt, married Jacob Yost. 6. Jane Holt, married John McClintock.7. Dorcas Holt, born March 23, 1772, died August 20, 1853; married 1790 James Stackpole. 8. Eleanor Holt, married Francis Windle. 9. James Holt, married Mary___.

Daniel Jones

A pioneer in Granville Township south of the Juniata River was Daniel Jones who bought land from Robert Jones in 1755. Daniel lived on this land the rest of his life, except the two times he was driven off by Indian wars. Daniel was born in 1726 and held a number of township offices in Derry Township. He died January 14, 1801, and was buried at Lewistown. About 1752 he married Jane . After her death he remarried, about 1765 Susannah____. His children: 1. Charles Jones, born 1753, died February 4, 1775. 2. William Jones, born 1755, died October 28, 1831; married Jane McCord. 3. Jane Jones, born about 1758, died young. 4. Edward Jones, born January 18, 1766. 5. Isaiah Jones, born October 27, 1768. 6. Daniel Jones Jr., born May 25, 1771, died 1846. 7. Ann Jones, born March 25, 1774, died January 27, 1775. 8. Ann Jones, born December 26, 1776; married McAlister. 9. Rebecca Jones, born June 20, 1779, died 1861; married Andrew Landrum Buchanan. 10. Sarah Jones, born August 26, 1782; married Lewis.

Robert Means

Robert Means Sr. settled in Derry Township about 1770. He was a son of John Means, who died in Buckingham Township, Buck s County, in 1739. John had six children: William (went to S. C.), Robert (see below), Alexander, Sara, Ann, Elizabeth. Ann Means married first William Sloan, second John Wasson. May 26, 1756, Ann was captured by the Indians and her second husband killed. She was released December 1, 1759. Robert Means Sr. married about 1743, Nancy Kelley of Bucks County. Her brother, Matthew Kelley settled about 1772 in Dry Valley. Robert Sr. died in Derry Township in the Spring of 1779. He had 10 children: 1. John Means, born 1744, lieutenant in Revolution. 2. Margaret Means, born 1748. 3. Robert Means Jr., born November 2. 1750, captain Revolution, died in Derry Township July 15, 1837; married May 13, 1791, Hannah McKee. Issue: George, Margaret (Corbet), William, Andrew, Robert Anderson, Nancy (McClure), Mary Ann, Eliza (Rothrock), Hannah (McFarlane). 4. James Means, born May 2, 1753, died July 3, 1828, at Seneca, New York, ensign in Revolution. 5. Jean Means, born 1755. 6. Joseph Means, born 1760, died young. 7. Mary Means, born 1763. 8. George Means, born 1764, private in Revolution. 9. Nancy Means, born 1766. 10. William Means, born 1769, died young.

From: The Pioneers of Mifflin County, Pennsylvania Who's who in the Early Records with an Account of the Growth of the county before 1790, by John Martin Stroup and Raymond Martin Bell, Lewistown, Penna. 1942 page 23-26

Contributed by Tammy Clark

Jacks Valley


In the early days Decatur Township was called "Jacks Valley." Among the early settlers in Decatur were the Bell and Sigler families. In May, 1773, George Bell settled on what is now Bell's Run at the foot of Jacks Mountain. His settlement is now known as Belltown. In 1775 George Sigler settled at the head of Long Meadow Run on a farm now owned by C. B. Dorman. The marriage of George Bell's grandson, John Henderson Bell, in 1810 to Mary Sigler, George Sigler's granddaughter brought these two families together.

George Bell

George Bell was a son of William Bell of Paxton, Dauphin County. The Bells were Scotch-Irish in origin. William Bell settled at Paxton about 1738. He was a farmer and an elder in the Presbyterian Church. In 1778 he supplied the army at Valley Forge with two bushels of wheat and 24 bushels of forage. His six sons and two of his grandsons served in the Revolution. William Bell died October 29, 1783, and his sons all migrated west. John went first to Cumberland County and then to Washington County, Pennsylvania, where he died in 1810. George settled in Mifflin County (see below). William went to Erie where he became a judge. He died in 1813. Thomas died in Huntingdon County in 1814. Arthur settled first in Mifflin County, then Huntingdon County and finally Westfield, N. Y., where he died in 1834. Andrew died in Washington County in 1822. It was about 1765 that George B-l settled in Dry Valley, Derry Township. He held township offices in 1768 and 1769. In 1773 he moved to Jacks Valley and on May 6 improved the land on which he died 43 years later. This land is at Belltown, Decatur Township. In 1773 it was a part of Penn Township, Northumberland County. When Indian attacks in 1777 threatened Mifflin County, George Bell was one of eight captains chosen in the Fifth Battalion of Cumberland County militia. George Bell's company was in active service at Bald Eagle (Milesburg) April and May, 1778. About 1756 George Bell married Mary Bell of Paxton. They had five sons and five daughters.

John settled in Barree Township, Huntingdon County, where he died in 1833. There is no record of Jane except in her father's will. Mary and Sarah were never married. Arthur died in Dayton, Ohio, about 1850. The other sons and daughters lived in Mifflin County.

William Bell, born at Paxton about 1762, farmer in Decatur Township, married about 1790 Margaret McCartney of Juniata County, died September, 1827, leaving children: John Henderson, George, James, Sibella (Barr), William, Johnston, Margaret (Glass), Arthur. George Bell, born at Paxton about 1764, farmer in Decatur Township, married about 1789 Eleanor McClenahen, died about 1840, children: John, Mary (Carson), George, Eleanor (Scott), Elizabeth, James Johnston, William, Sarah (Ramsey), Charles McClenahen. James Bell, born about 1773, tailor in Decatur Township, married about 1795 Elizabeth Carson, died September 23, 1815, children: Catherine (Burdge), Mary (Hough), Margaret (Dorman), George Thompson, Jane (Stayner), John Davis. Elizabeth Bell, born about 1769, married February 1, 1791, Charles McClenahen (1760-1836), died in Decatur Township October 25, 1845. The McClenahen children were: Eleanor (Dorman), Sarah (Matthews), Elizabeth (Dorman), Mary (Glass), John. George Bell, Jane (Mitchell), William, Matilda (Bell). Margaret Bell, born about 1777, married about 1794 John McClenahen (1772-1830), died in Decatur Township February, 1850. The McClenahen children were: George Bell (died young), Elizabeth, John, William, James, Robert, Charles, George, Mary (McClenahen) Maxwell, Jane (Dorman), Andrew Clark, Harvey.

George Sigler

George Sigler Sr. was of German origin. He landed in Philadelphia September 25, 1751, and first settled in Manor Township, Lancaster County, where his oldest son, John, was born in 1753. Tradition says that George and Elizabeth Terrault were married on shipboard. Sometime before 1762 George Sigler moved to Alexandria Township, Hunterdon County, N. J., for here on February 17,1762, his son George Jr. was born. The Siglers attended German Reformed Church at Mount Pleasant, N. J., and the baptismal records of sons Jacob and Adam are given. In 1775 George Sigler Sr. settled in Decatur Township on land bought from a New Jersey land speculator who lived in Hunterdon County: In Pennsylvania the Siglers became Presbyterians. It was in May, 1782, that George Sigler Jr. was captured by Indians near his home and taken to Canada, where he was released a year later. The date is verified by the pension applications of James Glasgow, Robert Means and Frederick Baum. These men were among those who pursued the Indians which captured Sigler. After the capture of George Jr., troops were stationed at the home of George Sigler Sr. for several months. George Sigler Sr. died in March, 1790, leaving sons John, George, Henry, Jacob, Adam, Samuel and one daughter, Mary Elizabeth. The daughter married Henry Bunn and lived in Hunterdon County, N. J. There is no record of Jacob. The other sons all lived in Decatur Township. John Sigler, born February 17, 1753, in Lancaster County, served in the Revolution, married in 1785 Jane Osburn, died in Decatur Town- Elizabeth, Mary (Stumpff), Sarah (Riden), Nancy (Krepps), Samuel, Eleanor (Townsend), Catherine (Myers), Jacob went to Liberty Township, Putnam County, Ohio. George Sigler, born February 17, 1762, in New Jersey, served in the Revolution, captured by Indians May 1782, married 1791 Elizabeth Bunn of Hunterdon County, N. J., died in Decatur Township August 3, 1821, children: Mary (Bell), Jacob went to Oceola, Ohio, Elizabeth, George, Sarah (Rothrock). Henry Sigler born March 21, 1764, in New Jersey, married 1799 Ann Van Horn, died in Decatur Township May 25, 1838, children: Daniel went to Loudonville, Ohio, Elizabeth, George H., John, Henry, Jane, (Coder), Mary, Sarah (Kelley), Nancy (Foltz). Adam Sigler born June 3, 1768, in New Jersey, baptized October 16, 1768, married 1797 Jemina Van Horn, died in Decatur Township June 30, 1846, children: Ann, Elizabeth, Margaret (Stoneroad), George, Mary, John, Jacob V., Sarah (Young), Jemima (Muthersbaugh), Adam V. went to Lake City, Minn., Johnston, Isabella (Doak), Belinda (Aitkins). Samuel Sigler, born August 15, 1774, in New Jersey, married 1804 Mary Carson, died in Decatur Township July 15, 1850, children: William went to Nevada, Ohio, George W., John Carson, Elizabeth (Hopper), Caroline Ruth (Cubbison).

From: The Pioneers of Mifflin County, Pennsylvania Who's who in the Early Records with an Account of the Growth of the county before 1790, by John Martin Stroup and Raymond Martin Bell, Lewistown, Penna. 1942 page 26-28

Contributed by Tammy Clark

Kishacoquillas Settlement


The first settlement in Kishacoquillas Valley was called the "Kishacoquillas Settlement." It was in the summer of 1766 that a permanent settlement was started. The Alexander, Brown, McDowell, McNitt, Reed and Taylor families were among the earliest settlers. A study of the records in Cumberland and Chester Counties shows that some of these early settlers were acquainted before they went to "Kishacoquillas." The Alexanders settled in Union Township; the Browns, Reeds and Taylors in Brown; the McDowells in Menno, and the McNitts in Armagh.

James Alexander

James Alexander settled in the valley in 1754, but was driven out twice by Indian wars. He was born in County Armagh, Ireland, in 1726 and came to America in 1736 with his parents, John and Margaret (Glasson) Alexander. They first settled in Nottingham Township, Chester County. James Alexander had brothers, Hugh of Perry County and John of Franklin County. A son of Hugh, John, settled in Little Valley in 1787. James Alexander served in the militia 1777-1779. He was a Presbyterian elder and served as constable 1771 and 1775. He was acquainted with Brown and Reed in Chester County and was a brother-in-law of John McDowell.

James Alexander married in 1762 Rosanna Reed, daughter of Robert Reed, who died in Middleton Township in 1772. She died in 1792. James Alexander died in Union Township in 1786 or 1787. He had 11 children: 1. Jane Alexander, born 1763, died October 17, 1841; married first Alexander Brown, married second David Semple. 2. Robert Alexander, born October, 1766, died August, 1843; married Elizabeth McClure. 3. Elizabeth Alexander, born 1768, died 1842; married John Wakefield. 4. John Alexander, born 1769, died September 16, 1820; married Ann Taylor. 5. James Alexander, born February 16, 1772, died April 17, 1847; married Jane Adams. 6. Hugh Alexander, born November, 1773, died May 22, 1843: married Christiana Baum. 7. Joseph Alexander, born 1775, died unmarried. 8. Rachel Alexander, born May 8, 1780, died November 12, 1833; married David Sample. 9. William Brown Alexander, born March 27, 1782, died March 30, 1862; married Nancy Davis. April 15, 1784; married John Taylor. 11. Reed Alexander, born 1786, died 1806 unmarried. There were some other Alexanders in Kishacoquillas Valley. James of Paxton, Dauphin County, settled at Alexander Caverns in 1754. He died in 1778, leaving wife, Elizabeth, and children John, James, Jonathan, Mary, Elizabeth, Martha. Other Alexanders were William, Captain Thomas and Francis.

William Brown and James Reed

William Brown and James Reed settled near James Alexander in 1755. They later moved to Reedsville. Tradition says they were half-brothers, but considerable research has failed to reveal anything except that William's mother, Mary Brown, was living in 1789. William had a brother, Alexander Brown, who married Jane Alexander. William was an early justice of the peace in Kishacoquillas Valley. He was assessed for a gristmill as early as 1775. He was prominent in the Revolution, serving as commissary. He was a leader in the community and became one of the first judges when Mifflin County was formed in 1789. He held various township offices. He probably came from New Castle County, Delaware, or Chester County, for about 1767 he married Mary Scott of Nottingham Township, Chester County. William Brown died Dec. 14. 1825, in his 88th year according to his tombstone at Reedsville. William and Mary (Scott) Brown had seven children. Mary Brown died May 19, 1815, in her 68th year. Their children were as follows: 1. Elizabeth Brown, born May 16, 1768, died November 18, 1815; married Rev. James Johnston. 2. Mary Brown, born June 17, 1770; married James Potter. 3. John Brown, born August 17, 1772, died October 12, 1845. at Limestone. N. C. 4. Martha Brown, born December 3, 1774; no record. 5. Nancy Brown, born September 19, 1777, died June 26, 1853; married John Norris. 6. William Brown, born September 19, 1780, died May 31, 1834; married Rachel _____ 7. Sarah Brown, born February16, 1783, died 1810; married William P. Maclay.

John McDowell

John McDowell settled in Menno Township about 1761. He was a son of John and Jean McDowell of Antrim Township (now Franklin County). John Sr. died in 1770 leaving sons, John, Thomas, Joseph and daughter Sarah (Hannah). John McDowell Jr. was born in 1734, served in the Revolution, held a number of township offices, married about 1769 Elizabeth Reed of Middleton Township (sister-in-law of James Alexander), died 1809. Elizabeth McDowell was born in 1747, died 1812. They had 13 children: 1. Polly McDowell, died young. 2. Robert McDowell, born January 18, 1771, died March 20, 1829; married Sarah McConkey. 3. William McDowell, born May 20, 1775, died 1851; married Ann Alexander. 4. James McDowell; married Polly Allison. 5. John McDowell; never married. 6. Elizabeth McDowell; married Samuel McGlathery. 7. Jean McDowell, born 1789; married Henry Taylor.x8. Joseph McDowell; married _____Swartzell. 9. Samuel McDowell; married _____Moore. 10. Jonathan McDowell; married Kezia Merriman. 11. Nancy McDowell; never married. 12. Sally McDowell, died young. 13. Polly McDowell, died young.

The McNitts

The first McNitts to be assessed in Kishacoquillas Valley were Alexander and William in 1770, followed by John and Robert in 1772 and James in 1775. These five MeNitts were sons of Robert McNitt (also written McNut and McKnitt), who died in Lurgan Township (now Franklin County) about 1765. James went west or south about 1776. The other four McNitts served in the Revolution and lived in Armagh Township. Robert Sr. took up land in Armagh in 1755. Alexander McNitt, died 1793, married about 1771 Ann ____; their children were: Robert, born 1772, died 1797, married Jane Taylor; Samuel, died 1844, married Elizabeth Brown; Mary; Catharine; William, married Mary Brown. William McNitt, died 1812, married about 1770, probably no issue. John McNitt, born 1739, died January 20, 1822, married before 1772 Mary Brown; their children were: Alexander Brown, died in 1843, married Nancy Sterrett; Catharine, died 1859, never married; John, no issue; Robert, died in 1840, married Sarah Glasgow; daughter married Alexander Wilson; daughter married James Glasgow. Robert McNitt, born 1746, died in 1810, married before 1772 Sarah Scott; their children were: James, born 1774, died 1850; William; Elizabeth; Mary; Ann.

James Reed and William Brown have always had their names connected. They both made settlements at the same time. James Reed served in the Revolution and held a number of township offices. James Reed about 1762 married Jane Ogleby of Nottingham Township, Chester County. He died July 12, 1803; his wife died March 15, 1809. They' had 12 children as follows: 1. James Reed, born 1763, died on May 11, 1828; married Nancy Milroy. 2. William Reed; married Abigail Kerr. 3. Sarah Reed; married Henry Steely. 4. Polly Reed; married John Thompson. 5. Thomas Reed; married Margaret Van Houten. 6. Andrew Reed; married Hannah Conklin. 7. John Reed, died young. S. Joseph Reed, born 1778, died 1805, unmarried. 9. Alexander Reed, died 1815; married Jane____ 10. John Reed, died 1824, unmarried. 11. Jean Reed, born 1784, died 1816, unmarried. 12. Abner Reed, born June 1, 1787, died October 19, 1855; married first, Rebecca Henry; married, second, Rhoda McKinney Brown.

The Taylors

The first Taylors to be assessed in Kishacoquillas Valley were Henry and William in 1770, followed by Matthew in 1771 and John in 1775. A fifth brother Robert lived in Juniata County and later Erie. The father, Robert Taylor, died in 1760 on Swatara Creek, Derry Township, Dauphin County. His wife was Mary_____. His children were Henry, born 1733; Catherine, born in 1735; William, born 1737; Robert, born 1740; Matthew, born 1742; John, born 1746 (went to Augusta County, Virginia); Jane, born 1744; Elizabeth, born 1748; Ann, born 1750. Robert Sr. had improved land in the valley in 1754. Henry Taylor was the oldest of the three Taylor brothers who lived in Kishacoquillas Valley. He was born 1733, married. about 1769 Rhoda Williamson (daughter of Samuel Williamson, died Newton Township 1771), died November 22, 1813. His wife was born 1744, died August 3, 1826. Henry Taylor was a captain in the Revolution; road supervisor of Armagh Township 1772. He had 10 children: Robert, married Margaret McCandless; Samuel Williamson, born November 6, 1778, died 1862, married Elizabeth Davis; Matthew, married Ellen McCulley; Henry B., married Jane McDowell; Joseph Alexander, born October, 1790, died October 8, 1860, married Hannah Beatty; David, never married; Mary, married John McKinney; Ann, born April 18, 1774, died August 25, 1853, married John Alexander; Jane, married first Robert McNitt; second Crawford Kyle; Rhoda, married - Cooper. William Taylor was born 1737, married about 1771 Esther___ , died 1781. He served in the Revolution and was overseer of the poor in Armagh Township in 1778. He had four children: Robert; John, born February 18, 1778, died November 29, 1843, married Rosanna Alexander; Jane; Mary. Matthew Taylor was born 1742, married about 1770 Sarah Sample Mayes (born 1740, died January 31, 1819), died November 12, 1823. There were four children: Robert married Nancy Arnold; John, born March 6, 1775, died 1843, married Elizabeth McManigal; Henry, born 1778, died August 17, 1862, married first Ann McNitt, second Rosanna McFarlane, third Priscilla Turbett; Sample.

From: The Pioneers of Mifflin County, Pennsylvania Who's who in the Early Records with an Account of the Growth of the county before 1790, by John Martin Stroup and Raymond Martin Bell, Lewistown, Penna. 1942 page 28-31

Contributed by Tammy Clark


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