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


COMMERCIALLY, Washington Township is perhaps more favorably located than any other in the county. A highway of an easy grade leads down the valley of Ruff's Run, through the central portion, and connects at Jefferson with good roads leading to Rice's Landing, on the Monongahela River. It was also easily accessible to Waynesburg, so that it had the Pittsburg and home markets at its command from an early day. But latterly it has become especially favored by the opening of the Washington & Waynesburg Railroad, which by the several stations along its course gives easy outlet to Waynesburg and Pittsburg for the immense produce of all this fertile region.

The railroad, though but narrow gnage, is of great importance, not only to this township, but to the entire county. The project had been for a long time agitated; but seeing no prospect of having one built by foreign capital, the citizens of the county put their own money into the enterprise, and soon saw their wishes gratified.

In the fall of 1874 the matter took definite form, and during the winter and spring succeding, preliminary surveys were made, and experimental lines run. Stock books were opened, and about eight hundred citizens, principally in Greene County, subscribed. An aggregate subscription of $130,000 having been obtained, the company was organized in May, 1875, with the choice of the following officers: J. G. Ritchie, of Waynesburg, President; Chief Engineer O. Barrett, Jr., of Allegheny, and the following named eleven gentlemen directors : Simon Rinehart, Henry Sayers, J. T. Hook, A. A. Burman, W. C. Condit, Henry Swart, Jacob Swart, Ephraim Conger, James Dunn, Thomas lames, John Manna The length of the road is twenty nine miles The guage is three feet, and with two engines and cars complete, ready to operate, cost $6,500 per mile. By the first of September, 1877, fourteen miles from Washington were completed, and the cars began to run. By the 17th the track layers had crossed the county line, and the locomotive, "General Greene," entered the limits of Greene, and for the first time in all its borders, screamed out its note of triumph. Early in October the road was completed, and trains commenced running regularly over its entire length. Hon. Justus Fordyce Temple, formerly Auditor General of the State, was for several years at the head of the company, and his annual reports show that the passenger traffic, and tonnage of the road, had steadily increased under his faithful management. Recently the road has passed under the control of the Pennsylvania Company, and is operated as a part of its great network of Shemin de fear.

Washington, like all the townships on the northern border of the county, is very rugged, though under a good state of cultivation. The roads, generally following the courses of the streams, run from north to south. It is well watered by a series of runs, Craig's, Crayne's, Boyd's, Ruff's, Overflowing and Hopkins'. It is bounded on the north by Washington County, on the east by Morgan Township, on the south by Franklin and on the west by Morris. There is no village of any importance in the township, though at the almost exact center of its territory, on Ruff's Run, is a mill, store, schoolhouse and dwellings, which will probably in time become a place of some importance. This township was not organized till 1838, and was taken from Morris, Morgan and Franklin.

A number of English and Scotch emigrants, who had come over and settled in New England, subsequently removed to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. Still not satisfied they crossed the mountains, and some found their way to this and the neighboring township of Amwell, in Washington County, and brought with them a love of religions liberty, first promulgated and acted upon by Roger Williams. Among those who thus early settled here was Demas Lindley, who acquired property just across the county line, on whose land a fort, known as Lindley's Fort, was erected, which was a rallying point and a place of refuge for the inhabitants for a wide circuit in the two counties. He also built a mill, known as Lindley's Mill, which stood upon the site of the present structure which still bears his name. He was accompanied by some fifteen or twenty families, most of whom emigrated with the Pilgrims, who spread abroad in this section, and whose descendants still dwell along this stretch of highlands. Following the example of their New England associates they early established churches, the Baptists in 1772, and the Presbyterians in 1781, known as the upper and lower Ten Mile. A tract of land was donated by Demas Lindley, which was to be held in perpetuity "for the occupancy and use of a Presbyterian Church and for no other purpose whatsoever." The entry in the church book for Wednesday, April 30, 1783, was "Present, Thaddens Dodd, V. D. M.; Demas Lindley, Joseph Coe, Jacob Cooke, Daniel Axtell, elders. At this session twenty two persons joined." The sacrament was first administered on the third Sabbath in May, 1783, by Rev. Thaddeus Dodd, assisted by Rev. John McMillan. The meeting was held in Daniel Axtell's barn.

The earliest report of the schools of this township, made in 1854, credits it with seven, and an attendance of 436 pupils, which is a remarkable number for a rural population. In the report of 1887, while the number of schools remains the same, the number of scholars in attendance is only 237, which would seem to indicate that the families are less numerous now than in that earlier day. The directors for the current year are, T. M. Ross, President; J. B. Cox, Secretary; Benjamin Shirk, Silas Johnson, G. W. Huffman and George Durbin.

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