New Horizons Genealogy

"Specializing in New England and New York Colonial American Ancestry"

Mercer County Pennsylvania in the Revolutionary War

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The Revolutionary War

When the Declaration of American Independence was made, and even as late as the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown in October, 1781, not a single family of white men resided in what is now Mercer County. Through out its territory, and, in fact, throughout the greater portion of what is now Western Pennsylvania, “the rank thistle nodded in the wind and the wild fox dug his hole unscared.” Through the vast forests which covered its lands the dusky Indian chased his panting game, and in its rippling waters the savage hunter looked for the delicious food which the finny tribe furnished in great abundance. Beneath the branches of the giant oak, mighty robed senator of the forest, the Indian youth wooed and won the heart and hand of the maiden whose untrained sylvan voice was a source of life to his developing soul. All was wild and uncultivated.

After the Bevolutionary struggle in the East and South had ended, and the independence of the colonies was recognized, the course of empire began to take its way westward. Lands set apart for donation purposes, as described elsewhere, began to be occupied — in many cases by those who had been stanch friends of American institutions, and had fought for them during the war just closed. Such, then, were the representatives of the Revolutionary W ar in Mercer County. Their martial conflicts were elsewhere, but their trials with the wilds of nature were here; and in many a resting place within the confines of Mercer County may be seen, today, some evidence of the gratitude with which their descendants hold their memory in loving remembrance. Side by side wdth those who fought in subsequent wars they rest, while the twinkling stars above and unseen angels keep the watch of unsleeping vigils over their consecrated ashes. May their hallowed and patriotic memories ever be cherished by their descendants, and all others who have entered into the fruition of their unselfish sacrifices.

We regret that we are unable to give the names of all such heroes. In the biographical sketches of this volume will be found references to many of these ancient worthies, and tributes to their memories. We append the names of some as they have been collected:

Godfrey Carnes, who came to Pymatuning Township as early as 1801, was one of these patriots. Many of his descendants are residents of the county.

Capt. James Duncan, whose diary of the Revolutionary War is now in the possession of A. L. Duncan, of Greenville, was a settler four miles northwest of Clarksville. His ashes rest on the old homestead.

William Simonton, a participant in the battles of Brandywine and Long Island, in the former of which he was badly wounded, settled about two miles southeast of Clarksville. His remains rest in Moorfield Cemetery. His descendants are still found in and around Clarksville.

David Hayes, one of the pioneer pedagogues of the county, was a neighbor of Mr. Simonton, and now rests in the same "city of the dead," Moorfield Cemetery.

Abraham De Forest was a captain in the Revolutionary War, taking part in the campaigns in New Jersey. He died near Sharon in 1847, aged ninety- eight years, nine months and fifteen days. His children, grandchildren and great grandchilch’en are still living in and around Sharon.

Benjamin Kaster, whose remains are in the Moorfield Cemetery, came to Hickory Township in 1802.

Capt. William Findley and Joseph Junkin were both residents of Findley Township, the first settling about 1799 and the latter about 1806.

Benjamin Stokely, whose history is given in extenso elsewhere, aided in the suppression of the whisky insurrection in 1794.

John Carmichael, a Scotchman, who, drafted into the British army, served under Wolfe at Quebec in 1759, lived in Worth Township, whither as an old man he accompanied his sons in 1802.

Peter Wilson settled in Jackson Township in 1797, and built one of the first mills of the county the same year. He was of Irish extraction.

William Gill was a resident of Liberty Township, James Williamson was an early settler of Otter Creek and Martin Carringer of Perry Township. All fought for independence.

Daniel Harper located in Lake Township in 1797, and was a pioneer horticulturist.

William Egbert, a settler of Sandy Lake as early as 1800, was a pioneer blacksmith.

Among the Revolutionaries in Wilmington Township were Joshua Cook, James Young. Mr. Dumars and Christopher Irwin.

Samuel Waldron was a pioneer in Worth, John Perry and William Dougherty likewise of Pine.

Cyrus Beckwith, a resident of Cool Spring, was a captain from 1776 to the end of the war.

Archibald Titus is buried in Oakwood Cemetery.

Garrett Cronk and William Nickle are buried in the Pearson graveyard in Jefferson Township.

Capt. John Elliott located on the Shenango, in Hickory Township, late in the eighteenth century.

Capt. Samuel Quinby settled at Sharon in 1808-09. For a number of years preceding his death he was blind. He died September 9, 1842, and was buried the following day, the anniversary of Perry’s great victory on Lake Erie, with military honors.

John Morford, a pioneer of Hickory Township, was a Revolutionary patriot as was also William McClimans, of West Salem.