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


THIS township undoubtedly takes its name from the characteristics of its surface, for it is one stretch of hills throughout its broad domain, and the soil is everywhere deep and rich. This section early assumed importance from its being on the direct trail from Wheeling to the Muskingum country, down Ten Mile Creek to

Braddock's road, and was frequented from the earliest times by the savages, and later by droves of cattle, sheep and swine on their way eastward. Graysville is quite a thriving little village situated on the Waynesburg and Wheeling road thirteen miles from Waynesburg and three and a half miles from Jacksonville. James McLellan built a brick store here, which was occupied by Garret Garrison, subsequently by James W. Bays, and at present by Smith Brothers. Jacobs and Hardy are just opening a placed of business here, April, 1888. The United Presbyterians have a fine church edifice, where the Rev. Samuel Graham ministers, and has a school of high grade. The postoffice is known as Harvey's. Jacksonville, near the center of the township, is located on a pleasant elevation known as Elk Ridge, the postoffice having the suggestive name of Windridge. The tract was originally acquired by Thomas Leeper, his patent bearing date of February 15, 1798, issued by the State of Pennsylvania. Robert Brister bought the land where the village is now located and surveyed and laid out the plot of the town. William Super had a hotel here forty four years ago, and Bryan and Tupper have succeeded in business. Daniel Walton, Garret Garrison and Charles Pettit have carried on trade at successive periods. Sowers and Drake and A. J. Goodman now do a prosperous business. The Cumberland Presbyterian and Methodist Episcopal churches have commodious places of worship. Masonic Hall and Odd Fellows Hall are pretentious structures, the former bearing the name of George Connell, once a leader in the Pennsylvania Senate, conspicuously displayed upon its front. Merchandise is largely brought to this town from a station on the Baltimore Ohio Railroad.

Ryerson Station, once the site of an important rallying point in times of danger known as Ryerson's Fort, is situated on the great Indian war path leading across from the Ohio River to the Monongahela, at the confluence of the north and south forks of Dunkard branch of Wheeling Creek, a fine stretch of valley with lines of interminable hills sweeping up on all sides in graceful curves, and covered with luxuriant foliage. So suitable did it appear for a town that the original owner, Thomas Ryerson, bethought him to make the drawing of such a place as he pictured in his imagination would be a suitable concomitant to such a location, and taking it to Philadelphia, sold out his would be city for a reality, to an old sea captain by the name of Connell, father of the late George Connell. Great was the astonishment of the purchaser of this city on paper to find only a few hunts at the forks of two wild streams, the ground not even cleared of the trees and bushes, and the dense, primeval forest resting on all the hills.

It was recognized from the very first as an important strategic point of defence for the settlers against the incursion of hostile Indians from their villages across the Ohio. Here the authorities of Virginia had a fort built, to the defence of which Captain James Seals was sent, having in his company the grandfather, father and uncles of Isaac Teagarden, and Thomas Lazear, father of Hon. Isaac Lazear.

"About the year 1790," says Evans, "a family by name of Davis resided on the north branch of Dunkard Wheeling Creek, about three miles above Ryerson Station, and a short distance below Stall's or Kinkaid's mill. The family, with the exception of one fortunate lad who had been sent to drive up the horses, were seated around the breakfast table, partaking of an humble but substantial repast. Suddenly a party of warrior savages appeared at the cabin door. The old man and his two sons sprang up as by instinct to reach for their guns which hung on convenient pegs by the cabin wall; but the design was detected by the Indians, who instantly shot the three dead on the spot. After scalping the victims, despatching the breakfast and pillaging the premises, they made captive the mother and only daughter, and departed on their way up the creek. The boy managed to elude them, and escaped unharmed. It appears that they captured a horse. One of the Indians mounted it, and taking the girl before him, and the woman behind him, was traveling gayly along. However, they had not proceeded far when a shot from the rifle of John Henderson, who lay concealed in an adjoining thicket, knocked the jolly savage off. But whether the wound was fatal or not, Henderson did not remain to find out. He had to provide himself safety from the infuriated savages." Some time after the decaying body of the daughter was found, but no trace of the mother was ever discovered. The mutilated bodies of the slain were buried near the cabin, and their graves are still marked. The skeleton remains of an Indian were afterwards found, supposed to have been the savage shot by Henderson.

David Gray settled on the Ephraim McClelland farm, a short distance east of what is now known as the Brick Tavern at Graysville. Upon one occasion the dreaded savage having made his appearance in that vicinity, Mr. Gray with his wife, each with a child to carry, abandoned their home in the night and fled, the wife and two children on horseback, himself on foot, all the way to Jackson's fort, a distance of about fifteen miles. He was one of the commissioners to locate and plat the town of Waynesburg for a county seat, and was appointed one of the first associate judges. He was appointed a justice of the peace for Itichhill in April, 1792, while yet a. part of Washington County.

Anna Gray, one of the daughters of Judge David Gray, married Frank Braddock and had a family of five sons - Harvey, David, Frank, Joseph and Green, the three last becoming quite eminent Presbyterian ministers. Abner Braddock, a brother of Francis, was an Indian scout, and settled on Crabapple Run, where David Braddock now lives. He went on an expedition against the Indians beyond the Ohio River. On returning his comrades arrived at the right bank of the river, and began the construction of a raft on which to cross. Being an expert swimmer and not desiring to wait for its completion, he placed his clothes and gun on a slight support, and plunged in, pushing it before him. Near the middle of the stream he was seen to leave his raft and pass on down the current; soon he disappeared beneath the surface and was seen no more. Among the scouts who witnessed his death were Shadrach Mitchel, James Brownlee and William Gaston. John Gray was a brother of Judge David Gray, and Matthew was one of the scouts with Abner Braddock, and one of Capt. James Seals' soldiers. He had two sons, William and John. The latter is still living in Richhill Township.

William Teagarden sold his possessions on the Monongahela, but receiving his price in Continental scrip (the inflation currency of that day), it fell as flat on his hands as Confederate legal tenders after Sherman's march to the sea. Financially he was ruined. His home was gone, his money of no value, but his spirit was undaunted, and he began life anew by again braving the untried forest. Exploring the country inland, he made another tomahawk improvement on Wheeling waters, near Ryerson Station, to which he removed. Here he remained the remnant of his many days, and reared his large and thrifty family. Here he experienced many a hardship, witnessed many a sad scene in murdered friends, and made many a hair breadth escape. Here he and two of his boys, Abraham and Isaac, enlisted in Capt. James Seals' company, and served honorably under Gen. Anthony Wayne in his eventful but successful campaigns against the hostile tribes. Capt. Seals and his brave company rendezvoused for some time at Ryerson Station, and afforded security to the much harrassed settlements in that vicinity.

The entire life of that generation of Teagardens was a continual warfare. They were soldiers from the cradle to the grave. Constantly on the frontier, which was either in a state of defence or engaged in actual vigorous warfare in repelling a most blood thirsty invader, they lived at a time that tried men's souls, and endured hardships and braved dangers almost beyond belief. Isaac Teagardens inherited the spirit of his forefathers, and though superannuated long ere the war of the Rebellion broke out, he enlisted in the Eighty fifth regiment and served honorably throughout the long and terrible years of that civil war.

In 1769 Jacob Crow, a German, settled near where subsequently Crow's Mill was built, some five miles below Ryerson Station. Michael, his youngest son, was but three weeks old when he came, but Martin, Fred and John, older boys, were also of the family. He was a thrifty farmer, and gradually added tract after tract until he owned a beautiful and valuable domain. While the Crow family was thus living in the seclusion of this delectable valley, two men, whose names have not been preserved, came in and established a hunting camp two and a half miles below Crow's cabin, on lands now owned by the Harshes. Here the two were surprised by the Indians and one of them killed. The other made his escape and roused the settlers. On returning to the camp, they were horrified to find that the head of the murdered man had been cut off; and the most diligent search failed to disclose the place of its concealment. On the following winter while Jacob Crow was drawing wood in this vicinity, what was his astonishment and horror to find, when arrived at his destination, that a man's head was caught fast in the hook of his log chain; The chain left dragging through the leaves had caught firmly in the under jaw, a ghastly spectacle. In this visit to the camp for the burial of the dead, and pursuit of the Indians, two of the sons of Jacob Crow, Fred and Martin, joined, leading their little brother Michael. Thinking the tramp too long for him they left him at a vacant cabin intending soon to return. But for three days he was left alone, a faithful dog keeping him company.

On the first day of May, 1791, four daughters of Jacob Crow, Elizabeth, Susanna, Katharine and Christina, from ten to sixteen years of age, started out on a pleasure excursion to visit the family of Thomas Lazear, then living on lands now owned by Thomas Gray. Proceeding leisurely along the creek, they discovered a shad bellied snake, which, having disabled, they were teasing. While thus engaged their brother Michael came riding down the creek, and called to the youngest to mount behind him and ride home; but this she declined to do, and he rode away. Scarcely had he gone, when two hideous savages, and a heartless renegade white man, by the name of Spicer, darted out from their covert, and motioned the girls to silence. Hurrying them away up the rugged hillside to a dark ravine they were made to be seated upon a fallen tree. After making inquiries about their home and its means of defense, a powerful savage seized a hand of each of the younger girls in one of his, and with uplifted tomahawk prepared to deal the blow of death. Christina, by a sudden movement, released herself and dashed away. The Indian pursued, and gave her such a thrust with his gun as sent her headlong down the declivity. Thinking that she was dispatched, he returned to have a hand in the slaughter of the other three. But Christina still lived, and recovering herself, she saw one of the Indians deal repeated blows upon Elizabeth, felling her to the earth. Crazed by the appalling sight, she darted away to seek for help. Taking the alarm, the families of the settlers were hurried off to Lindley's fort, and Isaac Teagarden, a lad of ten years, was mounted upon a fleet horse and sent to Inlow's block house for help.

"Next morning," says Evans, "a company was organized, and repairing to the place of death, beheld a spectacle, the like of which only frenzied demons could have produced. There lay Betsy and Susan literally butchered, mangled; dead, scalped. But Katharine was not there. Soon, however, traced by stains of blood, she was discovered near the water's edge, whither she had crept to slake her feverish thirst. She, too, had been hewn down by the fierce and infuriated savages, her scalp torn off, and left for dead. Weltering in her gore she lay all that dreary, terrible night, unconscious of her wretched state. Next morning, awakened to consciousness by the gobbling of the wild turkeys, she found herself writhing beneath the scorching rays of a cloudless sum and almost perishing of thirst. She was tenderly removed to the shadow of a large rock, which, but little changed, yet remains in a patch in a bottom land a few rods down the creek. Here she revived somewhat, and faintly related what little she remembered of the terrible affair, and gently chided her brother Michael, saying, 'I thought you would have come to me sooner.'" Her scalp was hitched on a haw bush but a few steps from the rock, supposed to have been drawn from the Indian's belt as he dashed through in pursuit of Christina. The scalp was fitted into the place from whence it had been torn, but the wound had become so irritated that it would not again adhere. Katharine survived in torment for three days, when she was relieved by death, and the three sisters were buried side by side. John, a favorite son, afterwards shared a like fate at the hands of the savages, and Jacob's hearthstone became desolate indeed. Christina lived and became the wife of John McBride. She preserved her scalp, and carried the print of the muzzle of the Indian's gun between her shoulders to her dying day.

Years after at a log rolling at Jacob Crow's, two strangers, one an Indian, called at the house, and asked for food. Christina recognized the Indian as one of the murderers of her sisters. Scarcely had they left when her brother Michael and a trusty friend pursued. They were tracked to the neighborhood of Jackson's fort, where the trail was lost. The young men encamped for the night, and in the morning started to return. They had not gone far before they discovered the trail of their game, leading up a dark ravine. Following it up, their forsaken camp was soon found. Finding that The culprits had escaped and were far out of the way, Crow and his companion returned to their homes. This was after a treaty of peace had been concluded with the Indians. Michael Crow was afterwards apprehended, on suspicion of having murdered these travelers. But on proof that the men had subsequently been seen, he was released, though his neighbors were wont to darkly hint that the hunt of Michael was not gameless.

Martin and Frederick Crow were noted hunters, and fearless Indian scouts. Michael married Nancy Johnson, and was the father of ten children - William, John, Jacob, Michael, Nancy, Mary, Elizabeth, Margaret, Susan and Charlotte. About the year 1845, he and his son Michael built the popular mills known as "Crow's" mills. He died in 1852, at the age of eighty three. Hips sons, Michael and Jacob, now old men, still inherit portions of the original Crow lands. Michael owns the home farm, upon which the mill now stands. Michael married Sarah Jane Lucas, and has nine children, among whom is John M. Crow, professor of languages of Waynesburg College, who has given much of the information detailed above.

The soil of all this section is well watered and very fertile. The farm houses are commodious and comfortable, and the barns are among the largest and best planned of any in the county. The township is bounded on the north by Washington County, on the east by Morris, Jackson and Center, on the south by Aleppo, and west by West Virginia. The principal streams are the several tributaries of the Dunkard fork of Wheeling Creek. By the report of 1855 Richhill is credited with eighteen schools and 900 pupils. In the report of 1859 the superintendent says, "The directors of this district manifest an interest in the general cause of education, highly commendable. They have also taken considerable care in selecting competent teachers." The directors for the current year are: Stephen Knight, President; N. H. Braddock, Secretary; Elias Gribbin, George McCullough, Abner Phillips and William Carpenter.

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