This town was laid out in 1796 by Robert Humphreys, a Revolutionary soldier, and in the next year Duncan Morrison
started the American Eagle Tavern. In 1817 Charles DeHaas, who has already been mentioned in connection with the
history of old Columbia, purchased many of the lots in the town, and he succeeded in establishing a town, probably
due to the fact that it was known that the National Pike would pass that way. The greatest event in the history
of the town was when General Lafayette passed through there on May 24, 1825, and dined at what is now the Lafayette
Hotel, as already related. West Alexander borough was incorporated May 21, 1873.
At the present time there is a high school principal, Lucille F. Lormier, and an assistant, and three grade teachers.
The assessed valuation is $223,400. There are 135 pupils.
In the days before the passage of the present marriage license law in Pennsylvania, West Alexander was known as
the “Gretna Green” for all states west. Squire Mayes, long known as the “marrying justice of the peace” at West
Alexander, probably performed more marriage ceremonies than any other man of his time. Up to October 1, 1885, when
the license law went into effect, he had performed 2,621 marriage ceremonies, and in the last ten days of September,
1885, he married more couples than in any other month in his long career. His father, Squire Isaac Mayes, had married
It is interesting to note in this connection that the first marriage license in Washington County was issued October
1, 1885, to William E. Wolfe, of West Pike Run Township, and Miss Jessie Odbert, of Somerset Township. Mr. Wolfe
is still living in Washington, but his first wife died several years ago. Twenty-nine years later Mr. Wolfe secured
another license, October 22, 1914, and married Miss Lucy E. Crumrine. There have been a total of 34,216 licenses
issued in this county up to January 1, 1926.
The Presbyterian congregation was organized October 19, 1785, under an oak tree at the right of the present church.
It was first called “Three Ridges Presbyterian Church,” from three ridges that meet there. The first church was
erected in 1787-88 near the present structure. The second was a log house, and in 1830 the third church was built.
This was replaced in 1840 by the present edifice. The first regular pastor was Rev. John Brice, from 1790 to 1808.
Rev. William H. Lester, who was pastor from 1854 to 1900. is still well remembered by the present generation, and
was one of its most beloved pastors. Rev. Glenn M Crawford has had charge since 1921. The membership is 430.
The United Presbyterian Church was organized in 1793, with Rev. Alexander McCoy as the first pastor. It did not
prosper and disbanded about 1801, but was reorganized in 1838. The present building was erected in 1872.
The Methodist Episcopal congregation was organized about 1825. The present church was erected in 1901. The pastor
is Rev. H. W. Belt.