History Cook Township Westmoreland County, Pa.
From: History of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania
By: John N. Boucher
Published By: The Lewis Publishing Company
New York, Chicago, 1906


Cook township was formed by a division of Donegal township, and its early history is therefore included in Donegal township. The difficulties which brought about this division are unknown to the writer. Before the township was divided the elections of the entire township were held at Stahistown. This was a matter of great complaint to those who resided beyond Donegal or in the southern portion of Ligonier valley. David Cook was at that time an associate judge of Westmoreland county, and the new township was named after him. He was the father of William A. Cock, for many years a member of the Westmoreland bar, and still later a lawyer of great renown in Washington City.

The early settlers were the Campbells, Pipers, Thompsons, Binkeys, Bests, Phillippis, Beistals, Matthews, Groves, Parks, Haugers, Heinzs, Hoods, Felgars, Stahls, Brants, Cavens, Vithrows, McDowells, Wellers, Weavers, etc. One of the most renowned early settlers was "Elder" Robert Campbell, the progenitor of the large Campbell family which resides in Ligonier valley, and who have since settled in many other parts of the county. His father was murdered by the Indians, and his life and character has been considered elsewhere in this volume. The blockhouse called Fort Williams. on the Four Mile run, was built by Richard Williams, and on his land. Among the first justices of the peace in the township were Seymour Campbell, and still later came Lewis Thompson, James McClain, James McDowell, John Campbell, J. G. Weaver and others. The township lies high, much of it being mountainous. In the central part there are many productive farms, and that region is well situated for agricultural purposes. The timber business has always been a leading one in certain parts of the township.

The Harman family is an old one in the township, the progenitor of which was captured by the Indians, and his life and character has been given elsewhere. Through this country it will be remembered went the great Catawba war trail, running north and south, and passing directly through Ligonier valley. This brought about a great many Indian depredations from which other parts of Westmoreland county were exempt. It also suffered a great deal from the Indians during the Revolutionary period.

Stahlstown is the leading village, and has never been incorporated, though it is one of the oldest towns in the Ligonier valley. It is built in nearly the center of the township, and on ground originally owned by Leonard Stahl, from whom it took its name.

One of the leading churches in Cook township is the Pleasant Grove Presbyterian Church. It is about midway and a short distance east on the road leading from Donegal to Ligonier. James Power preached there as early as April 25, 1785. This was when Fairfield, Ligonier and Wheatfield were all in one charge. The ministers of a later period have been named in connection with other churches in Ligonier valley. They were James Hughes, George Hill, Rev. Swan, etc. The first edifice of this congregation was built of logs, but in 1832 a substantial stone building was constructed, which is yet standing and is in splendid condition. Its old style of architecture makes it one of the handsomest churches in Ligonier valley. It was built by a stonemason named John Lane, who lived and died in Donegal township. For many years the Methodist Church has perhaps been the leading denomination in Cook township. They have now a beautiful edifice in the village of Stahlstown. The United Presbyterian Church, about two miles northwest of Stahlstown, was founded in the early years of last century, and has been spoken of heretofore in connection with its renowned pastor, Rev. Joseph Scroggs.

A prominent family in Cook township is the Weaver family, descendants of William Weaver, who was born in Somerset county, September 18, 1809. His grandfather, William Weaver, had been a minister in the German Reformed Church, and a native of Germany. He settled in Sewickley township, and his son by the same name became a millwright and follow his trade in Somerset county. In 1812 he removed to Weaver's Mill district, in Cook township, and spent the remainder of his life there. Still later he built a flouring mill, and this in connection with saw milling and farming gave him employment for the rest of his days. He left a large number of children who are yet prominent people in Cook township, and elsewhere in the county. The Weaver family are still farther back descended from Rev. John M. Weber who was one of our early ministers.

The township has nine school, with 256 pupils enrolled.

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