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For the last nine years, the author of this volume has been engaged in collecting and arranging materials for the history of Washington County, B county whose existence (not, however, in its present organized chartered form) is coeval with the chartered rights both of Pennsylvania and Virginia. These States claimed control over its territory, until the disputed question was finally settled and adjusted by extending the celebrated Mason and Dixon's line, in 1785, although the chartered history of Washington County dates back to 1781.
There has been a growing desire, for the last few years, among the people of this and other counties to investigate and become acquainted with their local history. It is eminently proper and praiseworthy in any people to rescue from oblivion memorials of unpublished facts, reminiscences, and traditions; to call to memory the primitive days of our forefathers, their frontier life and hardships, their struggles with the red men of the forest, and to collect and preserve valuable and interesting statistical information and reliable facts which will tend to perpetuate their history.
Under such influences, and at the request of a committee of my fellow-citizens, I entered the hitherto untrodden field to collect all these memorials, and now present them for your consideration and approval. I do not intend to convey the meaning that it is entirely perfect; it will take time and more diligent research to procure the memorials which have not yet been published; but this volume is intended to be the starting-point from which the future historian can gain reliable facts. I have been particularly careful not to give any traditionary facts, without being corroborated by authentic documents or strong circumstantial evidence.
To natives and their descendants, of Washington County, settled in distant places, this volume will prove of great interest, recalling ( 4 )
to memory old associations, friends of former years, and the recollection of events and incidents passed from memory.
The causes which led to the preparation of this history of Washington County may be gathered from the perusal of the following correspondence:—
Washington, January 9, 1861. Mt. 'alfred Creioh,
Deab Sib: Our "old men" are fast passing away, and with them, unless soon rescued, will be lost many facts connected with the early settlement and history of our borough and county. Many accounts are doubtless in existence which are also liable to be lost when the present possessors cease to own them.
We believe it to be the duty of some one to gather unpublished facts, reminiscences, memorials, and traditions of the early settlement of the county, and present them to the publio in an historic form. A history of Washington Borough and County would prove deeply interesting to the present inhabitants and to their children scattered all over the land. As a work of future reference, it would be invaluable. Knowing your zeal and perseverance in matters of this kind, we would respectfully suggest that you undertake this work. We will cheerfully aid you in obtaining facts and gaining access to documents.
We believe that sufficient numbers of the book could be sold to repay you for your labor. Hoping you will comply with the request,
We remain yours, &C.,
C. M. REED, G. W. MILLER,
J. L. JUDSON, DAVID AIKEN,
JOHN R. DONEHOO, WM. VANKIRK,
WM. HOPKINS, FREEMAN BRADY, Jb.,
JAMES B. RUPLE, W. S. MOORE,
H. A. PURVIANCE, JAMES W. KUNTZ,
WM. HUGHES, R. H. KOONTZ,
A. H. ECKER, GEO. S. HART,
WILLIAM SWAN, W. A. MICKEY,
W. H. HORN, H. J. VANKIRK.
Washington, January 21,1861. Gestlemen: Your letter of January 9th is now before me, and after mature deliberation upon its contents, I shall avail myself of preparing, and at the earliest opportunity of presenting to the public a full history of Washington Borough and County. The reminiscences, memorials, and traditions which exist in this country will make an interesting work, more especially as this was thejirst county whioh was organized in Pennsylvania after the Declaration of Independence.
It is true that the history which I am about to write will require untiring diligence, unwearied perseverance, and industrious research, yet with the promised aid of yourselves and the co-operation of ray fellow -citizens who may be in possession of any facts or traditions tending to elucidate our history, I have no fear of the result. As Washington County was the first organized, let her likewise be the first in the State to inaugurate a system by which, every oounty, following her example, will present their separate histories to the American people, whereby incalculable good will result not only to'the State of Pennsylvania, but to the rising generation.
With sentiments of respect and esteem, I remain yours truly,
ALFRED CREIOII. To Alexander Wilson, Esq., and others.
The materials for the work have been derived chiefly from the Colonial Records and Archives of the State, the records of the county and borough, files of newspapers, pastors of churches, and kind friends who felt a deep interest in procuring for my use these memorials. To the committee who addressed me on the subject, to my friend Hon. James Veech, of the city of Pittsburg, am I particularly indebted for the use of his notes on Washington County, and the Mason and Dixon question; to David S. Wilson, Esq., who aided me by his counsel and research, and to Rev. Dr. James I. Brownson who, from the moment of its undertaking, felt a deep and abiding interest in its publication, with many others, I return my sincere thanks, fondly trusting that the work may meet the approval of all my fellow-citizens; fully convinced that any imperfections will be overlooked by the reader, in the contemplation of the variety of subjects presented for his consideration.
Where any error is discovered, I shall be thankful to the reader to inform me by letter of the inaccuracy, and I shall have it corrected in a subsequent edition, my desire being to give a faithful, truthful, and reliable history of Washington County.