History of Brady, Pa.
From: A History of Butler County, Pennsylvania
Published By R. C. Brown & Co., Publishers 1895



THIS township derives its name from Captain Brady, a hero of the Indian wars, who did not make the celebrated leap over the Slippery Rock creek attributed to him, but rather at the site of Kent, Ohio, where a monument marks the scene of his narrow escape from the Indians. The captain, however, must have often crossed the Slippery Rock, and the men who suggested the title for the new township of 1854, did right in remembering the old Indian fighter and perpetuating his name.

The greatest measured elevation in the township is 1,470 feet above ocean level, and is found about two and a quarter miles south of West Liberty, the next being 1,375 feet, east of the pike road, where the road from WIest Liberty joins it, or about the center of the township. In the northeastern section the summits seldom exceed 125 feet above the waters of Slippery Rock, being from 225 to 250 feet lower than those on the divide between the north and south boundary creeks. Potter's clay is found in the Hallston neighborhood and iron ore is not wanting. The Mahoning sandstone caps the high lands, while great boulders lying around like sentinels offer easy work to the quarrymen. Kittanning coals and ferriferous limestone show developed deposits in the northern and eastern sections. In the coal banks the Kittanning middle coal is found in excellent form, while the Upper Kittanning rules in the vicinity of Stone House, on the Turk, Wigton, Graham, Weber, Grossman, Glenn and other farms. The development of coal deposits at Coaltown, begun some years ago under the superintendence of George G. Stage, has shown very clearly what capital, directed intelligently, may do here. The coal banks on the Hines, Boyd and Douglass, William Badger, William Stoughton and Louis Martsolf lands, and the old Cornelius, D. K. Graham and James Martin banks, now abandoned, are well known as fuel suppliers of the past and present.

The well on the John Smith farm, in this township, one mile and a quarter northeast of Muddy creek, on the Prospect road, was drilled in 1877, for the Phillips Brothers, to a depth of 1,458½ feet, but proved a "duster." The strata found here explains the structure of a large section of the township.


When the pioneers looked in upon the two valleys of Slippery Rock - the Piscataqua of the Indians-and Muddy Creek, they hesitated not in settling here. The advance was led by Luke Covert in 1796. A native of Holland, he varied from ancestral tastes for lowlands and made his home west of where the Stone House was built in 1822. His son, John, the last of his family, died in 1873. Old Luke, it is thought, was a Hessian who became attached to the American Cause, and by sonic means found his way into the New Jersey Line, during the Revolution, by being made prisoner or otherwise. Afterward settling in Northumberland county, he resided there until 1706, when he brought his family into the wilderness of Covert's run. James Campbell, Alexander Irvine and Bartol Latter entered the township later in 1700, and, with the Covert's, formed the vanguard of the pioneers.

The McDeavitts, Daniel, born in Ireland in 1750, Elizabeth, his wife and three children, - Catherine, Henry and James - arrived in the township in April, 1797. Eight members of the Montooth family accompanied them, but the Montooths selected lands in what is now Franklin township, preferring the Muddy Creek country. McDeavitt built a little cabin at once, made a clearing and planted corn and potatoes. He left his family later that year, to earn money in Maryland. On returning, his brave pioneer wife related stories of adventures with wild animals and also told of kind Indians who camped near her cabin. lie died in 1805. His widow died in 1835.

In 1798 Edward, James and Andrew Douglass, natives of Pennsylvania, cleared the land on which the Stone House was erected in 1822; but in 1799 they moved to a point south of the present Croll mill. Edwrard brought with him a complete hunting outfit and a grindstone for sharpening scalping knives ; for he was a bitter enemy of the aborigines. He died here in 1853, almost a half century after his brother James moved away. John McClymonds, with his wife and eight children, settled above the forks of McDeavitt's run in 1708, where is now the brick residence erected by Thomas McClymonds, above the old saw mill.

The pioneers of 1709 included John Thompson, born in Ireland in 1752, who moved into this township from Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, in the spring of 1790, and located a mile or so south of the Douglass cabin. He married Martha Humes, who died in 1861, surviving her husband fifteen years. James, William and John McJunkin, also natives of Ireland, arrived in 1790. Daniel Carter came the same year. John Wigton, though coming here in 1709, waited until 1803 to purchase John Morrow's squatter claim. As early as 1830 this pioneer taught a writing school where West Liberty now is. He was born to write a " good band," though in all other branches of education very deficient.

In 1800 the arrival of Conrad Snyder, Sr., a native of Switzerland, his son, Conrad, and Andrew Ellsworth, a soldier of the Revolution, and their settlement northeast of the Douglass cabin, was an occasion of gladness. John Morrow came in 1801 , and located near the Wigton settlement of 1799, but sold to Wigton a few years later. Conrad Snyder became a tavern keeper on the Franklin road. John Hockenberry arrived with his family in 1803, but after some years removed to Cherry township. About this time John Ralston erected a log-mill where is now the Croll mill, and the pioneer circle of what is now Brady town. ship was completed. In 1810 Robert Hockenberry settled near West Liberty and then moved to the site of Coaltown. Others came in within the succeeding decade to share in the work of the first settlers.

The population in 1860 was 701 ; in 1870, 600; in 1880, 772, and in 1891, 729. The assessed valuation on January 1, 1894, was $210,704, the tax levy for county purposes $842.82, and the State tax $127.77.


The Snow Flake mill, operated for years by the Crolls, stands on the site of the Ralston log mill built in 1808 or 1809. It stands on the north hank of Slip. pery Rock creek, north of West Liberty, and is considered to be an institution of that village.

The Iddings grist mill, built in 1808 or 1809, south of the Douglass cabin, was subsequently operated by Henry Evans and John Wick. Caleb Jones was the owner in the forties, when Jonathan Clutton visited the mill, and succeeding him was Samuel Turk. The miller's house was burned many years ago, and the mill was destroyed by old Father Time.

The Smith Neil grist mill on McDeavitt's run was erected about 1810. Nicholas Klingensmith purchased or leased the property from Neil, and the Hoge Brothers ultimately became owners. It ceased operations many years ago, so that only the oldest residents remember it.


A school taught by Henry Evans in 1808, is said to have been the first in the township. Later, Mr. Fletcher presided over a school, near where the Franklin road crosses Muddy creek; then a subscription school was organized in time StoneHouse neighborhood, and next a writing school was taught by John Wigton at his home, and at West Liberty and other places, where he could gather a few pupils. Thomas Gorley, an Irishman, who became the autocrat of the log school-house at West Liberty, and ultimately of the settlement, is well remembered. There are, now, six schools in the township. In June, 1803, there were ninety-eight male and eight-five female pupils of school age registered. The total receipts for school purposes (the State appropriation being $849.93) amounted $1,079.81 for the year ending June 5, 1893.

The justices of the peace of this township, elected from its erection to 1804, are as follows:- Benjamin Grossman, 1854, 1859, 1804 and 1870; Ambrose Alex. ander, 1854; Daniel Graham, 1860; John G. McClymonds, 1865; Robert Dickson, 1808; Josiah M, Thompson, 1868; Matthias Mayer, 1873 and 1878; J. C. Snyder, 1876; John Allen, 1881; Thomas Badger, 1882; Matthias Mayer and Josiah M. Thompson, 1882; N. H. Thompson, 1887; Matthias Mayer, 1888; N. H. Thompson, 1892; W. E. Taylor 1893.


The Cumberland Presbyterian Church of West Liberty, was organized over half a century ago, and a house of worship built in 18-15. That house was erected by the people of various Protestant denominations, as a Union church but the progress of the Cumberland Presbyterians warranted them in becoming sole owners. John and Jacob Covert, Jesse Cornelius and John Wick, with their wives, were the first members, and met in a barn on John Wick's farm to listen to Rev. A. M. Bryan or Mr. Gallagher preach the gospel. Later, a loghouse. now the property of Nicholas \Veitzel, was built in the village, and there services were held on stormy Sabbaths, it being devoted to school purposes on week days. Among the old members now living are, Mrs. Mary Grossman, Mrs. Fisher, Mrs. Ruth Covert and James McNees. The organization is practically dead: but may at any time be revivilied by some evangelist of the denomination.

The United Presbyterian Church of West Liberty, w-as organized June 15, 1875, with the following named members :-William and Jane Badger, David and Martha McJunkin, T. B. and Mary McClymonds, Sarah, Ann and Mary Perry, Mary Covert, Martha Moore, Ambrose and Jane Alexander, Sophia McConnell, Jane McDeavitt and Joseph and Nary McClymonds. Rev. W. P. Show preached here from 1870 to 1889, when the late Rav. James A. Clark succeeded him. In 1875-76 this society and the Methodists built a frame house for worship, thirty-two by forty-six feet in size. The church embraces ninety-six members

The Covenanter and the Seceder Churches, established at Ryefield in 1857 and 1859, respectively, are noticed in the history of Slippery Rock township.

St. John's Methodist Episcopal Church, better known as "Hall's Church," was organized about the time the Civil war closed, to succeed the disbanded society of Hickory Mills. Jesse Hall was one of the leading spirits in its establishment, and to him much credit is given for his aid in building a meeting house in 1808. The church is in the Centreville charge. In 1882 it claimed a membership of 134, but during the last decade that number has been very groathreduced.

The Methodist Episcopal Church of West Liberty, was established in 1873. Two years later the members joined the United Presbyterians in erecting a church building, which was completed in 1876. Among the members now residing in the village and vicinity are Solomon Fisher, Daniel Keffer, Perry Hines, and their wives, with Milton and James Myers. Solomon Fisher was class leader for some years and was instrumental in bringing the membership up to thirty in number. John Fisher is superintendent of the Sunday school.

St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized May 14, 1878, but before this began erecting their present church. The members were John J. Croll, Nicholas Weitzel, Martin L. Croll, William Renick, William Staaf, Jacob Koch, Henry Donaldson, W. C. Hawn, John Staaf, William Kranz, J. B. Smith and Rev. H. W. Roth, pastor and clerk. M. C. Croll was secretary from 1883 to 1884, when J. D. Weitzel was elected. In 1888 M. C. Croll was chosen; next P. N. Weitzel, who served until 1892, when Nicholas Weitzel was elected. Succeeding Mr. Roth came Rev. George W. Critchlow, Rev. R. R. Durst, and Rev. N. Shaffer, of Prospect. There are now sixty members.


West Liberty was surveyed February 13, 1829, by James J. Hoge, surveyor. The location, at the intersection of the Butler and Mercer, and the Mt. Etna and Bassingheim roads, was then considered a safe place to establish a town. In 1845, John and Jacob Covert resurrected the village. When the plat was recorded, in 1847, the lot owners were James Vogan, James J. Hoge, Charles Coulter, Robert Campbell. Conrad Snyder, John Stephenson, John Fagan, John Craig, John Covert, William McCanon, William McClymonds, David McJunkin, John Boyle, Thomas B. Evans, and Isaac Cornelius. The log house opposite the Eicholtz building, was one of the first structures in the village, and John J. Croll's store, the first mercantile institution, if we except Hoevler's store, a mile away. Henry E. Wrick, who sold to Jonathan Clutton, in 1864, built the present Clutton store in .1854. John Allen followed Clutton and remained about one year, John Kocker came next and remained until Miss Clutton became owner. W. W. Robinson established himself in business about fifteen years ago, and in 1882, G. W. Eicholtz erected a store building on the northwest corner of the cross roads. The place was at one time known as Bulger, that being the name of the postoflice.

Stone House, the hotel at the crossing of the Butler and Mercer and the Pittsburg and Franklin stage routes, was built in 1822, on the site of the Douglass log house, afterward the John Elliott tavern. John Brown was landlord in the old log building until 1822, when he erected the "Stone House,'' bitt being unable to pay Mrs. McLure,- one of the heirs of Mrs. Collins,- for the property, it reverted to the estate and was rented to various tavern keepers,-Richard Doncaster being the best known, and one Sutlifi' the most detested. Ultimately. a rival house was established by Robert Thompson, in 1833, and, twenty years later, certain guests of the Stone House destroyed its popularity. Julius C. Holliday, a young Ohioan, took up his residence near the old hotel, away back in the "Forties.'' A number of strangers, it is said that sometimes twenty would be here, followed him. Well dressed fellows they were, fond of a good time generally, who held workers at a discount. They boarded at the Stone House, where only their military titles or abbreviated christian names wei-e known. One was "Colonel," another ''Major," another "Doc" and so on to the end. They were finally credited with being engaged in making spurious silver coins; but escaped punishment until alter Holliday and his six children were carried off by diphtheria. The gang, without a leader, then became a prey of law and order, and one or more found a resting place in the penitentiary.

William Turk, the old stage driver, who disappeared during the celebration of July 4, 1853, was said to have been killed by the counterfeiters. He, however, reappeared in August, 1885, having been absent thirty-two years. Meantime his wife married and went westward with her husband, while his three children were also scattered.

Forest House - In 1833 Robert Thompson built the Forest House and carried it on as a hotel until 1854, when the reports relating to the Stone House hotel caused him to retire, lest his hotel would also fall under the law. Forest House was also known for a time as Forest postoffice, the site of the Eyth store in 1857 or 1858. Twenty-one years after J. C. Murtland opened a store there, being the successor of a long line of merchants, who appeared and disappeared after the Eyths retired from mercantile life.

Elora - The postoflice named Memphis, south of Stone House, may be called the successor of the Forest House postofice established in 1873. It, in turn, was superceded by Elora postoflice, which was presided over in 1894 by Josiah M. Thompson. On January 9. that year, the Thompson store was destroyed by fire, and with it the undelivered mail and postoffice equipments. The loss to Mr. Thompson was placed at $3,600, against which an insurance of $2,500 must be credited.

Hallston is the name given to a railroad station in the northeast corner of the township. In the vicinity was the old pottery of Constantine Weidel, who made earthen crocks, jars, etc., long years before the echoes of the locomotive whistle resounded through the forests. The McNces pottery, at Hallston Station, is comparatively modern, being scarcely a dlecade old.

Browington postoffice is almost contemporary with the Stone House. It was discontinued in the "forties,'' but restablishied in May, 1858, with R. Doncaster, postmaster. In 1870 it was again dliscontinued and has not since been restored.

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