History of Jefferson Township, Greene County, Pa.
From: History of Greene County, Pennsylvania
By: Samuel P. Bates.
Nelson, Ruchforth & Co., Chicago. 1888.


THOMAS HUGHES, JR., son of the original settler Thomas, married a daughter of John Swan in 1771 and settled in the Carmichaels Valley on the site of the present brick residence of John Hathaway, and was a neighbor of Colonel Charles Swan. He was a man of undaunted courage, and when all his neighbors would flee to the forts for safety lie would stand by his cabin and defend his family there. On one occasion his wife dreamed of Indian massacres, and so vivid was her dream that she prevailed on her husband to escape into the ryefleld, where they laid down and slept beneath the shelter of the tall grain. In the morning she crept steathily from her hiding place to the summit of the field, and was horrified to behold their cabin in flames and the Indians dancing around a feather bed which they had ripped open, and amusing themselves by tossing the feathers into the air, tickled beyond measure to see them carried upwards by the currents engendered by the ascending flames.

In 1776 he moved to where the town of Jefferson now stands and built a home near the old stone house of the widow Stephens. All this stretch of country was then a dense pine forest, the lurking place of bears and wolves and deer. In December of this year his third child, Mary, was born, who became the mother progenitor of the Lindsey family of this county.

A little to the west of Hughes came Colonel Heaton and built a cabin on the site of the present village of Jefferson. He built a mill, soon after coming, near the site of that now known as Horn's Mill, Hughes is said to have been implicated as being one of the blackened party which attacked the house of Captain Faulkner; in consequence of which he was required to give bail in the sum of $3,000 for his appearance to answer. Faulkner was an officer of the government, and the opposition to him was his disposition to collect the excise tax on distilled spirits. The county at this early day was so universally devoted to distilling that the county records for 1788 show seventy registered distilleries. So enormous was the cost of transporting the grain, the products of their fields to a market, that the income from produce was all eaten up. Hence the husbandmen resorted to distillation, as a horse could barely carry six bushels of rye to market; whereas after it had been converted into whisky the same beast could transport twenty four bushels.

Up to the year 1795 the village was known as Jefferson, though there were but two or three cabins on its whole domain. At about this time a violent contention arose about the name which the new town should bear; for already 'streets had been opened and town lots sold. The point of demarkation on either side was Colonel Joseph Parkinson's store, Hughes owning all to the east, and Heaton all to the west. Heaton being a bold Federalist insisted that the town should be called Hamilton. But the Hughes party claimed just as pertenaciously that it should be called Jefferson. For some time the controversy waxed hot. It was finally agreed about the year 1800 that the eastern half should be called Hamilton and the western half Jefferson: In 1827 the town was incorporated as a borough by an act of the Legislature under the name of Jefferson. It has a population of some 700, and is a place of considerable activity. The buildings of Monongahela College stand on a well selected site just outside the borough limits. It has four churches - Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist and Cumberland Presbyterian. Few towns in the county are more pleasantly located than this. Rice's Landing, a village of some 350 inhabitants, is situated at Lock No. 6 of the Monongahela slackwater. Previous to the construction of the Washington & Waynesburg Railroad this was of considerable importance, being the shipping point for a large portion of the county. It still distributes many goods to villages in the immediate neighborhood. The part of the town below the run was laid out by Abijah McLean, and was called Newport, and the part above the run was originally owned by John Rice, from whom the place takes its name. Rice's patent bears date of 1786.

Jefferson is the most irregular in form of any of the townships of the county, being a long narrow strip of land, hemmed in between South Ten Mile Creek and Pumpkin Run, scarcely more than two miles in width and fifteen in length. It is bounded on the north by Morgan, on the east by Cumberland, on the south by Cumberland, Greene and Whiteley, and on the west by Franklin and Morgan. By the report of 1855 Jefferson is given eight sehools with 391 pupils. The report of 1859 says of this district:

The houses are neat, comfortable, well arranged and admirably fitted to be the training places of youth. The requirements of the law are well enforced by the directors. The schools are visited, but not as frequently as would be advantageous by parents and directors." The present board of directors of the township is constituted as follows: J. C. Burson, President; H. Waychoff, Secretary; John Dulaney, A. W. Greenlee, Jacob Crayne and J. Randolph Bayard. That of the borough as follows: R. II. Jordon, President; S. R. Hill, Secretary; T. H. Sharpneck, John Cottorell, John Sloneker and Frank Bradley.

Abraham Teagarden, who had settled at Redstone, had a considerable family, which he had transferred to this new land. Indeed Abraham, father of Isaac, was born in Redstone Fort. His sons, as they had come to marriageable age, had taken themselves wives. David married Miss Treble, by whom he reared a family of ten children; William married Miss Craig, by whom he had twelve children. About the year 1770 these two, David and William, anxious to secure a homestead while it could be got for the taking, crossed over into what is now Greene County.

The manner in which George Teagarden, who had married a young and blooming maiden, and was ambitious of securing a comfortable habitation for her, maintained his claim to the tract of land he had chosen, is romantic, and illustrates the customs which prevailed among the early settlers. Along the valley of Ten Mile Creek were many excellent and valuable tracts. One of these George had appropriated by making the usual tomahawk improvement. He had selected the site for his house and had called in his neighbors to assist in rearing it. When the work was about to begin, a raw boned denizen of the forest made his appearance and claimed the ground which Teagarden had selected as his own, and no further progress could be made in building until the question of ownership was settled. As no legal tribunal had yet been established over this territory, the only method of deciding was by personal combat, and it was accordingly agreed that who ever proved himself the better man should be entitled to his claim. The contest was long and bloody, but the youthful vigor of Teagarden was in the end triumphant, and he was acknowledged the rightful claimant. His antagonist, after having washed and dressed his wounds, in which the young wife of Teagarden is said to have assisted, remained and helped build the cabin, subsequently acquired a tract adjoining, and ever afters the families were on friendly terms. Such were the ideas of justice and government which prevailed among our hardy ancestors.

Many of the early settlers brought with them from Virginia and Maryland their house servants. In the records of the Recorder's office 'are several manumission papers. Belo* is one executed by a citizen of Jefferson:


Jefferson, May 20, 1823. - Know all men by these presents: That I, William Fletcher, of the town of Jefferson, Greene County, Penn., from motives of humanity and benevolence, have this day manumitted, and do hereby manumit and set free from slavery during his natural life my negro boy, Jarrot Rhoads, lie being now of the age of twenty one years and over, and I do hereby relinquish forever all my right, claim, title and interest in the aforesaid Jarrot Rhoads, and any claim that I ever had or could have had to his labor or services in any wise whatever. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal, the day and year first above written.



Greene County, ss. Personally came William Fletcher before me, a justice of the peace in and for said county, and acknowledged the above manumission to Jarrot Rhoads to be his act, deed, and desired the same might everywhere be received as such, and that the said Jarrott may pass and repass as a free man of color should he demean himself well. Acknowledged by me the 26th day of June, 1823. Witness my hand and seal.


Deed Book E, page 371.

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