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A Place of Great Historic Interest
Pittsburgh's First Burying-ground
CHARLES W. DAHLINGER
REPRINTED FROM THE
WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA HISTORICAL MAGAZINE
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A Place of Great Historic Interest
Pittsburgh's First Burying-ground
CHARLES W. X \)AHLINGER, Ife«5&-
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I. The Indians and the French 1
II. The Pioneers of Pittsburgh 8
III. In which there are also Women 18
IV. Yesterday and Today 27
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2010 with funding from
University of Pittsburgh Library System
Trinltj Court Studio, R. W. Johnston.
Trinity Church and First Presbyterian Church Today.
McCrccry Building on the right.
A PLACE OF GREAT HISTORIC INTEREST
PITTSBURGH'S FIRST BURYING-GROUND
CHARLES W. DAHLINGER
THE INDIANS AND THE FRENCH.
The burying-ground of the dead, among savages and
civilized people alike, has always been regarded as being as
holy as the temple or the church. It is this sentiment that in-
spired the savages to offer to the dead gifts of food and
drink, and the civilized races with their more esthetic natures
and less material tastes to deck the tombs with flowers. The
early Christians animated by their new found knowledge of
the resurrection regarded the cemetery as the sleeping place
of the dead. It was the wish born of the innate hope for a
reunion with the dead. The desire is illustrated by the story
of the old Goth, who having been converted to Christianity
and being about to receive Christian baptism, paused as he
was stepping down into the font, and asked the priests, if in
the heaven to which their rites would admit him, he would
meet his pagan ancestors. On being answered in the nega-
tive he stepped out again and declined this method of salva-
The earliest to die in any community, whatever their
station in life, have an interest for those who follow after
them, and if the dead are ancestors or kindred of the living
the interest is doubly strong. Pittsburgh is comparatively
The Indians and the French
young as cities of the world go. Less than two hundred
years ago the land where the city now stands had been hard-
ly seen, much less occupied, by white men. It was only
when the controversy for its possession between the French
and English became acute that the place began to be known.
Being quicker witted than the English, the French were the
first to plant themselves between the two rivers, building
Fort Duquesne as a barrier against the aggressions of the
English. There was a considerable force of the French, and
life was rude and there being war, there were deaths among
them, and a regular burying-place was established, almost,
if not at the beginning.
The French stronghold stood at the point of land
formed by the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela
rivers, two or three hundred feet north of Penn Avenue and
about two hundred feet west of the Block House, the sole re-
minder of Fort Pitt. Fort Duquesne was built of squared
logs and had stockades with bastions at each corner and was
fifty yards wide ; there were intrenchments around the fort
which were about four rods distant. (1) It was surrounded
by a ditch on the two sides which did not front on the rivers.
The full name was "Fort Duquesne under the title of the
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin at the Beautiful River."
The Rt. Rev. Mgr. A. A. Lambing, who in 1885 published a
translation of the "Register of Fort Duquense" containing
a list of the interments, marriages and baptisms which took
place in the French fortress, stated that the precise location
of the cemetery could not be determined (2) , but intimated
that it might have been in the neighborhood of the fort. In
this conclusion he was mistaken. The ground about the fort
was low. Since that time it has been filled twelve feetormore.
The condition of the ground was further changed when the
two bridges located at the Point were built, the approaches
being raised from fifteen to eighteen feet above the present
level of the surrounding land. John McKinney, a soldier
in Braddock's army who was taken prisoner when the Eng-
lish were defeated, and was carried to Fort Duquesne (3) has
left a description of the fort and its surroundings in which
he said, "the waters sometimes rise so high that the whole
fort is surrounded by it, so that canoes may go around." He
added that he thought he once saw them when they had risen
nearly thirty feet. It is not at all probable that under these
circumstances the burying-ground would be in the imme-
diate vicinity of the fort.
On Colonel George Woods' plan of Pittsburgh, laid out
in 1784, there appeared a narrow street twenty feet wide
called Virgin Alley, being the street directly north of and
The Indians and the French
parallel with Fifth Street, now Fifth Avenue. In the block
bounded by this alley and Sixth Street, now Sixth Avenue,
by Wood Street and Smithfield Street, was a tier of lots
numbered from 433 to 440. The entire block is now covered
by the McCreery store, the First Presbyterian Church,
Trinity Church and burying-ground and the Oliver Building.
After the Revolution, John Penn,Jr., and John Penn, who
owned all the land within the town of Pittsburgh,
whether settled or vacant, by their two deeds both
dated December 24, 1787, conveyed for a nominal
consideration, that portion of the block beginning
sixty feet east of Wood Street and extending east-
wardly to within one hundred and twenty feet of Smith-
field Street, being lots numbered from 435 to 439. The
westerly half of this tier of lots was conveyed to the trust-
ees of the Presbyterian Congregation of Pittsburgh, now
the First Presbyterian Church, and the easterly half to the
"trustees of the congregation of the Episcopal Protestant
Church, commonly called the Church of England, in trust
forever for a site for a house of worship, and a burial place
for the use of said religious society."
On these five lots according to the most reliable author-
ities, the earliest burying-ground in the present city of
Pittsburgh was located. William M. Darlington, the emi-
nent local historian, whose family connections were among
the earliest settlers, stated that in the rear of the present
Trinity Church, adjoining Virgin Alley, and on the line of
division between the Episcopal churchyard and that of the
First Presbyterian Church stood an ancient Indian tumulus ;
that in the sepulchral mound and in the ground adjacent
were interred the dead of the older Indians, of the Indians of
later times, of the French of Fort Duquesne, and of the Brit-
ish and Americans (4) . That the French buried their dead
in this ground is also asserted by Isaac Craig, an historical
student of note, and the son of Neville B. Craig, to whom
Pittsburgh is indebted for the preservation of many of the
documents relating to the early history of the city.
In 1877 the First Presbyterian Church decided to aban-
don that portion of its burying-ground surrounding the
church and including the land fronting on Virgin Alley, for
the purpose of erecting a new Sunday-school building and
lecture room. Isaac Craig and John B. Guthrie united in a
suit to prevent the church from carrying out its design. In
this proceeding Isaac Craig presented a written statement
which was admitted in evidence by agreement of all parties,
in which he told of the use of the burying-ground by the
French while they held Fort Duquesne (5). That it was
The Indians and the French
the current belief seventy or seventy-five years ago that the
first burying-ground in Pittsburgh was on this location, ap-
pears from a letter written in 1846 by the Rev. George Up-
f old, rector of Trinity Church from 1831 to 1849 (6) . Be-
sides the location was such as the Indians would have se-
lected, it being well known that Indian burials were made
in pleasant locations and on high dry land out of the reach
of floods or standing water. It was, therefore, natural for
the French to choose this site in which to bury their dead ;
and in addition the land was considerably higher than Fort
Duquesne, and could be readily seen from that point.
Virgin Alley began at Liberty Street, now Liberty
Avenue, and extended to Smithfield Street. Prior to the
adoption of Colonel Woods' plan, this alley had existed in
front of the French burying-ground, and connected
with the old winding road, a part of which was approximate-
ly on the location of Liberty Street, and led to the original
Fort Pitt, and before the erection of that temporary struc-
ture had extended to Fort Duquesne. According to tradi-
tion, and this tradition is probably based on facts, it was
called by the French, the "Path to the Cemetery under the
title of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin at the Beauti-
ful River," because it led from the fort to the burying-
ground, which like the fort, was "under the title of the As-
sumption of the Blessed Virgin." This poetic, no less than
religious appellation, so it is further alleged was shortened
by the English upon their taking possession of the territory,
into the prosaic Virgin Alley, and that Colonel Woods adopt-
ed the name. In 1903 Virgin Alley was widened to forty-four
feet, the added width being taken from the land on the
northerly side of the thoroughfare. The name has since
been changed to Oliver Avenue, after the well-known Pitts-
Before the occupation by the French cf "*he land be-
tween the two rivers it was covered with forest trees. Af-
ter the erection of Fort Duquesne these were cut down to
the distance of a little more than a musket shot from
the ramparts (7). The first interment was Toussant
Boyer, a young Canadian, who was buried on June
20, 1754. But the one to attract the most attention
and the one referred to by Isaac Craig in his statement, was
the burial of the officer who commanded the French and
Indians at Braddock's defeat, Captain Daniel Hyacinth
Marie Lienard deBeaujeau. The battle of the Monongahela
was fought on July 9, 1755, and the losses of the British
were appalling. Out of twelve hundred men engaged, the
loss in killed alone was more than seven hundred, while
The Indians and the French
of the French, Canadians and Indians combined, so far
as known, only twenty-eight men were killed. Among
them, however, was the captain of infantry who had planned
and encompassed the overwhelming defeat of the British.
For three days the great triumph had been celebrated
at Fort Duquesne, for three days the fruits of victory had
been coming from the battlefield. The dead were brought
in to receive military funerals. Ensign de la Perde who
had died of wounds had been buried on July 10th, and
Lieutenant de Carqueville who was killed in the battle was
buried on the same day. The baptized Indians who were
killed were likewise probably buried in the consecrated
ground, while the heathen Indians were interred according
to the rites of their respective tribes in land adjoining the
cemetery. But on the third day the paens of victory were
silenced and a deep sorrow overwhelmed the victors. The
brave officer who had commanded in the battle was to be
laid to rest. It was the most impressive scene that the
Western wilderness had ever witnessed.
It is easy to conjure up a picture of that stirring day.
The white flag with the golden lillies flying over Fort Du-
quesne was at halfmast. The six or seven hundred Indians
mustered from the Ohio Country, from Canada, from the
Great Lakes were moving about or squatting in front of
their wigwams and camp-sheds which were scattered over
the cleared ground almost to the edge of the woods. Near
the fort in indiscriminate confusion was the plunder gather-
ed on the battlefield. A hundred head of cattle were there,
and among them and about them were tethered several hun-
dred horses. In utter disorder lay brass cannon, motars
and howitzers, broken gun carriages, barrels of powder,
flour and military stores of every description.
The cannon of Fort Duquesne began to boom slowly,
one after another; then the great wooden gate opening on
the drawbridge swung outward and a procession emerged,
crossed the drawbridge, and moved in the direction of
the burying-ground. A few French officers in white uni-
forms with blue facings were in advance, Contreoeur, the
commandant of the fort walking alone; next came a com-
pany of French regulars. Canadians picturesquely clad in
fringed hunting shirts and fur caps followed. Now the bier
came in view. Six French soldiers, three walking on either
side carried a rude coffin made of bark. A Recollet friar in
coarse gray habit walked behind. The Indians began join-
ing the procession, the black and red war paint still on their
faces. Many were wearing the uniforms, and grenadier
caps that (8) had been taken from the British soldiers who
The Indians and the French
had fallen in the battle. A few wore the dress of British
officers, including the sash, half moon and laced hat. Near-
ly all carried poles on which were fastened scalps on which
the blood had scarcely dried. Their great chiefs, famous
warriors of many tribes, led them, Athanase, chief of the
Hurons, and Pontiac, chief of the Ottawas, who was later
to become the greatest chief of them all. In the shadow of
giant trees beside the Indian mound, the procession halted.
The burying-ground was thinly dotted with graves. A
few were newly made with rude wooden crosses stuck in the
earth. Tall poles on which were painted figures telling
the deeds of the deceased, projected from the Indian
graves. The pictures on the poles, faced toward the East,
or rising sun, in order that the warriors sleeping beneath
might look toward the happy land to which they would
presently go. Many Indians were assembled awaiting the
procession from the fort. Their faces betrayed sorrow.
They recalled the bravery of the fallen Frenchman; it was
on the day before the battle that Contrecoeur had sent De
Beaujeu to them to ask that they join in attacking the Brit-
ish; and they had declined saying to him, "No, father you
want to die and sacrifice yourself." They remembered, too,
that they had promised to consult together, and that the next
morning the Frenchman had sallied forth from the fort with
his few troops, and again asked for their assistance and on
their second refusal had declared that he would nevertheless
go to meet the enemy, when they determined to follow him
(9). How happy it had made them that they had been par-
ticipants in the overwhelming victory, and now their hero
The friar repeated the office of the dead. The coffin
was lowered into the grave; the soldier's requiem was the
continued booming of the cannon at the fort, and a volley
fired over the grave; but the burying-ground remained
filled with soldiers until nightfall.
For three years longer the French continued to bury
their dead in this land. The majority of the interments
were soldiers, but there were also civilians, carpenters who
had worked in the fort, servants, and others who were on
some mission or business at the fort and had died there.
Then there were children, mostly English, whom the French
had rescued from their Indian allies ; also adult Indians and
Indian children were buried there. History fails to tell
what became of the grave of DeBeaujeu, nor is there any
tradition. The gallant Frenchman deserves an enduring
monument, and it should be erected by the citizens of Pitts-
burgh in the grounds where he was buried-
The Indians and the French
1. John McKinney. "Description of Fort Duquesne." The Olden
Time, Pittsburgh, 1846, Vol. I, pp. 39-40.
2. Rev. A. A. Lambing, A. M. The Baptismal Register of Fort Du-
quesne, Pittsburgh, Pa., 1885, p. 92.
3. John McKinney. "Description of Fort Duquesne," Supra p. 40.
4. William M. Darlington. Centenary Memorial of the Planting
and Growth of Presbyterianism in Western Pennsylvania and
Parts Adjacent. Pittsburgh, 1876, p. 254.
5. Craig v. First Presbyterian Church, 88 Pa. 42
6. George Upfold. The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and
Biography, Philadelphia, 1880, Vol. IV, p. 123.
7. John McKinney. "Description of Fort Duquesne," Supra p. 40.
8. Col. James Smith. An Account of the Remarkable Occurrences,
Cincinnati, 1870, pp. 12-13.
9. George Dallas Albert. The Frontier Forts of Western Pennsyl-
vania, 1896, Vol. II, p. 62.
The Pioneers of Pittsburgh
THE PIONEERS OF PITTSBURGH.
On November 24, 1758, the French after setting fire to
the fort, burning the outbuildings and blowing up one of the
powder magazines, abandoned the place; and the British
under General John Forbes took possession. Where the
religion had been Roman Catholic, it now became Protestant.
The British built a temporary fort and then one of a perma-
nent character, both being named Fort Pitt, after the great
minister whose genius had planned the campaign which
resulted in wresting the country from the French. The
consecrated burying-ground of the French began to be
used by the heretical British army. The French crosses
and the Indian poles decayed, the Indian mound was cut
away, and if the British graves were marked at all it was
by placing at the head a slab or boulder, or a piece of stone
broken from some neighboring ledge, roughly shaped by the
blacksmith or other mechanic with the army, and on which
he had chiseled a rude inscription.
The burying-ground was used successively for the in-
terment of British, Colonial and Revolutionary soldiers, as
well as by the townspeople generally. The records of the
early burials are scanty, few antedating the Revolution.
Even the registers of the two churches are only fragment-
ary. In Trinity churchyard, while many tombstones have
been removed, there are still a large number in place, on
some of which the epitaphs are legible while on others the
inscriptions can only be deciphered in part or not at all.
The burying-ground of the First Presbyterian Church
has been wholly abandoned and is covered with build-
ings; and the available information in regard to burials
there, as well as those in Trinity churchyard, is widely
scattered, being contained in local histories, in memoirs,
in biographical sketches, in works on genealogy, in old
newspapers and in the testimony produced at the hear-
ings in the suit of Craig and Guthrie against the First
Presbyterian Church. The reminiscences of persons
whose ancestors or other relatives were buried in these
graveyards, while perhaps not always reliable, is
yet of some value. An article published in The Pittsburgh
Daily Dispatch of February 23, 1877, gives perhaps the full-
est account extant of the graves of at least the best known
personages who were buried in the Presbyterian burying-
Presbyterian Meeting House, Virgin Alley, now Oliver Avenue
First Presbyterian Church, Wood Street, 1805-1852.
The Pioneers of Pittsburgh
ground, including also many of the interments in Trinity-
In anticipation of the conveyance to them by the Penns
of a portion of the old public burying-ground, the Presby-
terians had in 1786 erected a building of squared timbers,
facing on Virgin Alley. In 1802 the Presbyterian con-
gregation purchased lot numbered 440 adjoining their
property and fronting on Wood Street, and built a new
brick church which fronted on that street. The land
conveyed to the Episcopalians remained clear of build-
ings for many years and was known as the Episcopal bury-
ing-ground; and by act of the general assembly of Penn-
sylvania of March 21, 1806, the title was confirmed to the re-
cently incorporated Trinity Church. At different times,
beginning in 1827, Trinity Church purchased various pieces
of land adjoining their own on the east, and extending fifty
feet to Carpenters Alley, until in 1863 they had acquired the
entire strip between Sixth Street and Virgin Alley. Most
of the burials in the two cemeteries were of course of local
people, but included were also persons of national and even
A man of international reputation was Captain Thomas
Hutchins, the Geographer General of the United States, who
died in Pittsburgh on April 28, 1789, and was interred in the
Presbyterian burying-ground. He was a soldier, a surveyor
and an author. Among other books which he wrote was
A Topographical Description of Virginia, Pennsylv ania f
Maryland and North Carolina, which was published in Lon-
don in 1778. The work was based on a survey made by Hutch-
ins and attracted wide attention in London where the
author then resided; but it did not save him from
persecution and imprisonment for being loyal to his
native land, in whose service he was finally able to
enter in 1781. The funeral services were conducted
by the Rev. John Heckewelder, the Moravian missionary
and an old friend of Hutchins', who happened to be
in Pittsburgh at the time. In the account of Hutchins'
death which appeared in The Pittsburgh Gazette of May 2,
1789, it was said:
"His map early laid the foundation of American geog-
raphy, and his services since his appointment under the
United States have been universally acknowledged.
"He has measured much earth but a small space now
An interment in the Episcopal burying-ground of more
than ordinary interest was that of the Indian, Red Pole, a
chief of the Shawanese tribe who died in Pittsburgh on Jan-
10 The Pioneers of Pittsburgh
uary 28, 1797. The first Trinity Church, commonly called
the "Round Church," an octagonal brick building stood
on the triangular lot bounded by Wood Street, Liberty Street
and Sixth Street. The second Trinity Church was built in
the burying-ground in 1824-1827. In Dr. Upfold's day the
Indian chief's remains lay buried in this church immediately
beneath the chancel containing the communion table or
altar, the most honored place in the church (1). The
tombstone was erected by order of the Secretary of War, in
consideration of services rendered by the deceased to the
United States government in effecting the pacification of
certain Indian tribes, and so far as known has always re-
mained outside of the old and the present church, being now
located along side of the west wall of the latter edifice. The
epitaph records that the deceased was "Lamented by the
Another distinguished stranger who died while on a
visit to Pittsburgh was Commodore Joshua Barney, the
United States naval officer who, during the Revolution, was
the first man to unfurl the American flag in Maryland, his
native state. In the Revolutionary war, while in command of
the "Hyder Ali" he captured a number of British ships, in-
cluding the "General Monk." Ballads were written about his
achievements, and "The Roaring Hyder Ali," was as famil-
iar as the nursery tales of lisping infancy. He was a
captain in the French navy from 1795 to 1800. When the
war of 1812 opened he again entered his country's service
and in 1814 commanded in Chesapeake Bay. His death oc-
curred on December 1, 1818, and the interment was in the
The early history of Pittsburgh can almost be read in
the lives of the men and women who were interred in the
old burying-grounds. In their records may be found the
story of the political development of the place, of the begin-
ning and rise of its social, commercial and industrial life.
The early dead were adventurers in the old and best mean-
ing of the word. Many no doubt had birth and position in
the East or in the foreign lands whence they came, but they
lacked fortune, and to gain this they had come to the front-
ier, or to the new Western town. There were among them
men who had begun life as Indian traders, and on the break-
ing out of Revolution had joined the patriot armies, and at
the close of the war returned and laid aside their uniforms
and become merchants and manufacturers, or perhaps pub-
lic officials. Other Revolutionary soldiers had come to Pitts-
burgh for the first time after their military careers were
over. Lawyers, physicians and clergymen, as well as states-
'Round Church," Liberty Street now Liberty Avenue.
First House of Worship of Trinity Congregation.
Trinity Church, Sixth Street, now Sixth Avenue, as designed by the
Rector, the Rev. John H. Hopkins, 1824-1870.
From Pittsburgh in the year 1826
The Pioneers of Pittsburgh 11
men, politicians and demagogues came and flourished or
failed, and died. Nearly all were speculators in lands or
town lots. Men of the humble classes, men whose names
never appeared in the newspapers, or in men's mouths ex-
cept in their own little circle, the mechanics and laborers
were buried there. There were hundreds, perhaps thou-
sands whose suggestive epitaths would read something like
the inscription on a few lone tombstones still standing in
Trinity churchyard. One of these records the fact that
James Fowler died in 1780 in the 34th year of his age, and
"to the qualities of a good mason and an ingenious mechanic,
united in him those of a sincere friend and an honest man,"
the other states that it was erected "In memory of Thomas
Fox, Stone Cutter, who died on April 8, 1839, aged thirty-
one years." The lowly negroes, slave and free, whose only
designation in life was "John, a black man," or "Mary, a
black woman," were buried there.
In this little tract of land the dust of the great and
the insignificant, the learned and ignorant, the rich and
poor, men and women, parents and children, the mar-
ried and the unmarried, commingled.
The first interment made in either of the burying-
grounds while in possession of the British was that of Cap-
tain Richard Mather of the Royal American regiment, who
died at Fort Pitt on March 16, 1762, and was buried in that
part of the burying-ground now controlled by Trinity Church.
Another soldier of that day to be buried in the old grave-
yard was Colonel William Clapham. Colonel Clapham was
a prominent man. He had commanded a regiment of in-
fantry raised by the province of Pennsylvania, and in 1756
by order of Governor Morris had built Fort Augusta and
later Fort Halifax on the Susquehanna River near Shamo-
kin, and becoming dissatisfied resigned from the service in
March, 1757 (2). He became a resident of Pittsburgh, and
on April 14, 1761, under the direction of Colonel Bouquet
took a census of the village. Shortly afterward his applica-
tion for the right to settle on land on the Youghiogheny
River eighteen miles from Pittsburgh, acquired by him from
the Indians, was approved by Colonel Bouquet and General
Monckton, Colonel Bouquet's superior in New York, and with
his family he settled there. In the early spring of 1763,
Pontiac's savage hordes began overrunning the West and
among their first victims were Colonel Clapham and his
family, who were murdered on May 28, 1763, three of his
men who were at work escaping through the woods and
carrying the news of the massacre to the commander of
Fort Pitt (3). Colonel Clapham's remains were afterward
12 The Pioneers of Pittsburgh
laid to rest in the Presbyterian burying-ground.
Captain Samuel Dawson, formerly of the British army,
but who later saw service in the Continental army in the
Eighth Pennsylvania Regiment, was buried in the Episcopal
burying-ground. He died on September 6, 1779. The stone
slab covering his grave is still to be seen and is the oldest
tombstone in the Trinity churchyard.
John Ormsby died on December 19, 1805, at the age of
eighty-five years. He was a soldier in the French and In-
dian War, coming with General Forbes' command, in which
he was an officer. He was successively Indian trader, fer-
ryman, innkeeper and merchant. His tombstone in Trinity
churchyard has been well taken care of by his descendants.
At the time of publication of the article in The Pitts-
burgh Daily Dispatch many of the tombstones which have
since been removed were in place in the First Presbyterian
Church burying-ground. One of the most prominent was
that of General John Neville, who died on July 29, 1803. In
war and in peace he had a notable career. He was the
colonel of a Virginia regiment in the Revolution. In civil
life he was still more conspicuous, being a member of the
Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, a delegate to
the convention which ratified the Federal Constitution and
Inspector of the Revenue during the Whisky Insurrection.
His country home was destroyed in 1794 by the Insurgents
during that dark period of Pennsylvania's history. He was
noted for his charming hospitality, and when in 1797 the
French princes, the Duke of Orleans, afterwards Louis Phil-
ippe, king of France, and his two brothers, the Duke of
Montpelier and the Count of Beaujolais, visited Pittsburgh,
it was at the home of General Neville that they were most
lavishly entertained. After the Duke of Orleans had be-
come king of France, many years subsequent to General
Neville's death, he recalled the pleasant days that he and his
brothers had passed with the old American soldier. (4)
Near this grave was that of Major Isaac Craig, General
Neville's son-in-law. In the Revolution he was captain of
marines, and captain of artillery, and in later years United
States deputy quartermaster and military storekeeper.
In conjunction with Colonel Stephen Bayard, with whom he
had formed a partnership in the mercantile business, and
also to deal in lands and lots, he purchased on January 23,
1784, the first land in Pittsburgh sold by the Penns ; and he
was the partner of Colonel James O'Hara in glass manufac-
turing. He was the grandfather of Isaac Craig and died
on May 11, 1826.
Colonel Presley Neville, the son of General John Neville,
First Presbyterian Church, Wood Street, Erected in 1853.
From a view taken in 1857.
The Pioneers of Pittsburgh 13
died on December 1, 1818, near Neville, Ohio. He was a
graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, a cultured, well-
bred gentleman, elegant in person and with polished man-
ners. Like his father, he was warm-hearted and hospitable,
and his home, after his father's death, was the social center
of Pittsburgh. In the Revolution he was the aid-de-camp
of LaFayette and his personal friend ; and the distinguished
Frenchman, on his visit to Pittsburgh in 1825, was much
affected when he viewed the former home of his old com-
panion-in-arms. Washington had also been attached to
him, and when on Washington's death a memorial service
was held in Pittsburgh, it was Colonel Neville who deliv-
ered the oration. He held many offices of trust, both na-
tional and state, but the lapse of time brought political
changes, and in his old age fortune forsook him. In 1816
Governor Snyder removed him from the lucrative office of
Prothonotary of the county to which, although a Federalist,
he had been appointed by Governor McKean in 1806 on the
death of Tarlton Bates- Heart-broken, he left Pitts-
burgh and went to Ohio, where he settled on the land which
the government had given him in consideration of services
in the Revolution, and there he died in indigence. In the
springtime when the early flowers were in bloom and the
birds had again begun to sing, he was brought home. The
remains arrived on the keelboat "Triton," and on Wednes-
day evening, May 26, 1819, an imposing funeral was held.
His former political enemies united with his friends to do
him honor. In the long procession in which he was borne
to the Episcopal burying-ground, marched the military, the
mayor, the recorder, and the select and common councils of
the city, followed by a large concourse of citizens (5) .
Colonel Aeneas Mackey was a native of Scotland and
had been an officer in the British army. In 1754 he was in
command of the Royal Independent Company from South
Carolina, and accompanied Colonel George Washington on
his first expedition from Virginia into the Ohio Country.
He signed the articles of capitulation with Washington when
the force surrendered to the French (6). As early as 1767
he was an Indian trader in Pittsburgh, and when the con-
troversy arose between Pennsylvania and Virginia, in re-
gard to the line dividing the two provinces, he favored
Pennsylvania. In 1774 he was one of the Pennsylvania
justices and was arrested at Hannastown, the county seat
of Westmoreland County, by Doctor John Connelly who
represented Virginia, and was detained for four weeks. In
the Revolution he commanded the regiment largely raised in
Westmoreland County, which afterward became the Eighth
14 The Pioneers of Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania. In the terrible winter of 1777, the regiment
was ordered to proceed to New Jersey and join the army of
General Washington. Next to Benedict Arnold's advance
into Canada, this movement across the state in the dead of
winter was perhaps the most severe march undertaken by
any body of troops during the war. The men were without
tents; they lacked food and clothing, the roads were ex-
ecrable and in the mountain passes were deep snows. Colonel
Mackay brought the regiment safely to its destination, but
the awful strain was too much for even the sturdy soldier
and frontiersman, and on February 14, 1777, he died, and
was buried with military honors in Philadelphia, the re-
mains being subsequently removed to the Presbyterian
burying-ground in Pittsburgh.
In the army sent into Western Pennsylvania to put
down the Whisky Insurrection was the First Troop Phila-
delphia City Cavalry. Among the private soldiers was
Meredith Clymer, the son of George Clymer, one of the
signers of the Declaration of Independence, and at this time
Inspector General of the Revenue under the excise law which
had caused the rebellion. At Parkinson's Ferry, now Mo-
nongahela City, on November 18, 1794, Meredith Clymer
died, and like Colonel Mackay, was interred in the Presby-
Another of the earlier graves in this burying-ground
was that of Joseph Nicholson, an Indian interpreter and
scout, who died on October 1, 1796, at the age of 57 years.
When quite young he had been a captive among the Indians,
spoke several Indian dialects and was well acquainted with
their customs, being an adopted member of the Six Nations.
He was for many years interpreter for the garrison at Fort
Pitt, both while in the occupancy of the British and later.
He was the best known of all the interpreters and scouts
on the western frontier, and had led a most adventurous life.
He accompanied Washington on his journey from Pitts-
burgh to the Kanawha River Country in October, 1770. In
1774 he was one of Governor Dunmore's scouts in his war
against the Indians. The story of his participation in the
Indian dance which he and his brother, Thomas, and Simen
Girty and his half-brother, John Turner, gave before Lord
Dunmore, in which their Indian songs and yells are said to
have "made the welkin ring," illustrates the intimate char-
acter of his knowledge of Indian life as well as his versa-
tility (7). He was guide and interpreter for Colonel
Broadhead in the summer of 1779, in that officer's cam-
paign against the Indians of the Allegheny River Val-
The Present Trinity Church in 1898
The Pioneers of Pittsburgh 15
ley, where he was wounded (8). In 1782, with his
brother Thomas, he guided the disastrous expedition
against the Sandusky towns, which was led by Colonel
Crawford (9) . In 1790 he conducted Cornplanter, the prin-
cipal chief of the Six Nations and several other Indian
chiefs to Philadelphia to see President Washington, and was
himself kindly received by his old employer of twenty years
before. The Indians loved him and were grateful for
his work in their behalf, and took advantage of this
occasion by calling on Governor Mifflin and the Supreme
Executive Council, and petitioning them to grant Nicholson
six square miles of land "lying in the forks of the Allegheny
and Broken Straw Creek," which included the land where
the battle between Broadhead's men and the Indians had
been fought, and which the Six Nations had already re-
nounced to him (10).
There were many notable graves in the Presbyterian
churchyard. Mrs. Sarah Sample died in November, 1801,
aged 58 years. She was the widow of Captain Samuel Sam-
ple who conducted the tavern at the northeast corner of
Water and Ferry streets where Washington lodged in 1770,
while on his way to the Kanawha Country, and who, as
Washington related in his journal, kept "a very good house
of public entertainment." In the Revolution Captain
Sample was deputy quartermaster general in General Mcin-
tosh's campaign against the Indians, in 1778-1779.
In the war for the liberation of the Colonies, John Wilk-
ins had at his own expense equipped a company which he
commanded. After leaving the army he kept a tavern and
store at Carlisle. Having failed in business he removed to
Pittsburgh in 1783 to retrieve his fortunes. Here he be-
came a merchant, was an associate judge, the second chief
burgess of Pittsburgh, treasurer of the county, and an elder
and the mainstay of the Presbyterian Church. In 1789
there was some dissension in the church and the Rev. Sam-
uel Barr, the pastor, asked for his dismissal at the hands of
the Redstone Presbytery, alleging among other reasons,
that John Wilkins and another elder were not supporting a
character becoming the office of elder, in that they drank
and played cards. Mr. Wilkins' answer before the Pres-
bytery was characteristic. He frankly admitted that he
both drank and played cards. He declared that with others
he met in the evening and took a game at whist or loo ; that
Mr. Barr was frequently present and was far from discount-
enancing them, that upon a certain occasion being invited
to take a game at loo, he had said it would not suit, as there
16 The Pioneers of Pittsburgh
were a number of bigoted, narrow-minded McMillanites on
the other side of the river who, if they heard of it, might
call him to account. Mr. Wilkins related that Mr. Barr
had originally asked him to become an elder, and that he had
declined, as he was fond of taking a game at loo, and would
not wish to be restricted in that amusement when he met
with friends. Mr. Barr had replied that he might be in-
dulged in that with his friends, provided he did not go into
riots, and kept it from the knowledge of the people (11).
Mr. Wilkins died on December 11, 1809.
General John Wilkins was the son of Captain John
Wilkins and like his father, served in the Revolution, being
surgeon's mate. After the Revolution he was quartermas-
ter general, and during the Whisky Insurrection briga-
dier general of the militia. He was the first president of
the Branch Bank of the United States in Pittsburgh, and
died on April 30, 1816.
Colonel Stephen Bayard, Major Isaac Craig's associate
in the land purchased from the Penns, had also served in the
Revolution, and was the son-in-law of Colonel Aeneas
Mackay. He was a native of Maryland but was reared by
his uncle in Philadelphia (12). At the outbreak of the war
he became captain of a Philadelphia company known from
its aristocratic origin as the "silk stocking company," which
was attached to the Second Pennsylvania Battalion, sub-
sequently the Third Pennsylvania Regiment. He was ad-
vanced to the rank of lieutenant-colonel and served in the
Eighth, Sixth and Third regiments. He was on the fron-
tier with the Eighth Regiment, several times acting as
commader at Fort Pitt, during the absence of Broad-
head, Gibson or Irvine. After the war he settled in
Pittsburgh, and besides being Major Craig's partner in
various enterprises, established a sawmill, a saltworks and
a distillery, and planned the first market house. In later
years he removed to a place on the Monongahela River,
twelve miles above Pittsburgh, where he laid out the town
of Elizabeth, named for his wife, where he engaged in boat-
building. He died in Pittsburgh on December 15, 1815.
The Pioneers of Pittsburgh 17
1. Rev. George Upfold. The Pennsylvania Magazine of History
and Biography, Philadelphia, 1880, Vol. IV, p. 123.
2. Letters and Papers Relating Chiefly to the Provincial History
of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1855, p. 72, p. 75.
3. Fort Pitt and Letters From the Frontier, Pittsburgh, 1892,
4. Morgan Neville. Watson's Annals of Philadelphia and Pennsyl-
vania, Philadelphia, 1857, Vol. II, pp. 131-135.
Rev. G. N. Wright, M. A. Life and Times of Louis Phillippe,
Ex-King of France, London, pp. 304-305.
5. Pittsburgh Gazette, June 1, 1819.
6. Pennsylvania Archives, Second Series, Harrisburg, 1880, Vol. XI,
7. Consul Willshire Butterfield. History of the Girtys, Cincinnati,
1890, p. 30.
8. Louise Phelps Kellogg. Frontier Retreat on the Upper Ohio,
Madison, 1917, pp. 58-60.
9. Reuben Gold Thwaites, LL.D., and Louise Phelps Kellogg, Ph.D.
Documentary History of -Dunmore's War, Madison, 1905 pp.
10. Colonial Records, Harrisburg, 1853, Vol. XVI, pp. 501-506.
11. Minutes of the Presbytery of Redstone, Cincinnati, 1878, pp.
12. Pennsylvania Archives, Second Series, Harrisburg, 1880, Vol.
X, pp. 646-647.
18 In Which There Are Also Women
IN WHICH THERE ARE ALSO WOMEN.
A number of other soldiers of the Revolution were
buried in the Presbyterian churchyard.
Colonel James O'Hara had been an officer in this war,
was chief burgess of Pittsburgh in 1803, and was
perhaps the most extensive landowner in the borough and
the vicinity; he was the originator of the glass manufac-
tory which he and Major Craig operated, and also owned a
brewery and other enterprises. He died on December 21,
General Adamson Tannehill, who died on December 23,
1820, was born in Maryland where he enlisted in the Revo-
lutionary army, becoming second lieutenant; he was made
captain in 1779, and with his corps was transferred to the
Pittsburgh frontier. In November, 1780, he was tempo-
rarily in command of Fort Mcintosh (1). At the close of
the Revolution he conducted a tavern in Pittsburgh, and
was a popular man and an astute politician. Later he became
a justice of the peace and while holding that office was con-
victed of extortion. The conviction was thought to dis-
qualify him from exercising the office, but being a leading
Democrat, Governor McKean remitted the fine which had
been imposed and reappointed him to the office of justice
of the peace. The prestige which he had regained as the
result of the action of Governor McKean was again lost
during the War of 1812. He had become an officer in the
state militia, and during the war was elected to command
the brigade that was organized in Western Pennsylvania,
and which was sent to northern New York where troops
were being collected. In November an attempt was to
be made to invade Canada by way of the upper Niagara.
In the morning when the troops were to embark for this
undertaking and cross the river, General Tannehill's
brigade failed to appear, the men having deserted almost in
a body and gone home in squads.
Major Ebenezer Denny, a Revolutionary officer, and
aid-de-camp of General Arthur St. Clair in 1791, was county
commissioner of Allegheny County and the first mayor of
Pittsburgh when it became a city in 1816. He was also a
successful merchant, dying on January 21, 1822.
Major Abraham Kirkpatrick who died on November 17,
1817, was the brother-in-law of General John Neville, and
First Presbyterian Church, Wood Street, in 1903,
when taken down to make way for the McCreery Building.
In Which There Are Also Women 19
had fought gallantly in the Revolution. He was a justice of
the peace for Allegheny County in 1788, and was commissary
general of the Western army at the time of the Whisky In-
surrection. The feeling against him during this time was
more bitter than even against General Neville, as he was
accused of being responsible for the death of Captain James
McFarlane, the leader of the Insurgents who attacked Gen-
eral Neville's house. His barn on Coal Hill, now Mount
Washington, was burned by the Insurgents, who also in-
tended to burn his dwelling in Pittsburgh, but were dis-
suaded from doing so. Major Kirkpatrick and Hugh Henry
Brackenridge, subsequently a judge of the Supreme Court
of Pennsylvania, had had a personal encounter arising out
of a law suit in which Brackenridge appears to have been
severely dealt with, and for which a prosecution was then
pending (2). This caused Brackenridge to be extremely
bitter in his reflections on Major Kirkpatrick during this
time. He was buried in the Episcopal burying-ground.
Dr. Felix Brunot, a Frenchman, was another of the
Revolutionary soldiers whose remains were interred in this
burying-ground. He was the friend of LaFayette and came
to America with him in 1777, settling in Pittsburgh twenty
years later, where he practiced medicine for many years.
His mansion on Brunot's Island was the scene of much
gaiety. Here Doctor Brunot entertained LaFayette in
1825. He died on May 23, 1838.
The famous Butler family had several members buried
here. Mrs. Maria Smith Butler who died on January 18,
1824, was the widow of General Richard Butler, that cele-
brated resident of Pittsburgh, who had been an Indian
trader and Indian agent, and in the Revolution was the
second in command to General Daniel Morgan at Saratoga,
and the second in command to General Anthony Wayne at
Stony Point. After the Revolution he held various offices in
Pittsburgh and fell fighting on the Miami River on Novem-
ber 4, 1791, during St. Clair's unfortunate expedition against
the Indians. It was related of Mrs. Butler that when her
son James R. Butler, the captain of the Pittsburgh Blues in
the War of 1812, was on September 23rd of that year, about
to start with his command for the boats which were to take
them down the Ohio River to the Wabash Country to join
the army of General William Henry Harrison, he marched
his company in front of his mothers' home, when she met
him at the door. Upon bidding her son farewell she said to
him so that the whole company might hear: "My son, re-
member that you are a Butler. Keep that name ever in
20 In Which There Are Also Women
honor. Farewell! God bless you!"
Not far from the grave of his mother is also the burial
place of Captain James R. Butler, who died on April 30, 1832.
With his command he took part in the battle of Mississinewa
and the battle of Fort Meigs, the command distinguishing
itself in both battles, their gallant conduct being specially-
noticed in General Harrison's reports.
Colonel William Butler was another of the celebrated
Butler family and was a brother of General Richard Butler,
dying in Pittsburgh in 1789. He was an old resident of the
village, being in the Indian trade with his brother prior to
the Revolution. He was lieutenant-colonel of the Fourth
Pennsylvania Regiment. Revolutionary soldiers pointed
to him as the bravest man in battle they had ever known.
On September 25, 1783, the legislature granted him the
right to establish a ferry from Pittsburgh to the north side
of the Allegheny River; he was also forest ranger for the
reserve tract opposite Pittsburgh to "prevent the commis-
sion of waste upon the timbers of the reserve tract." Here
he operated a farm.
A unique tombstone in the Episcopal burying-ground
was that of Patrick Murphy. It was "unique" because there
was inscribed on it the curious statement that he was "a
respectable citizen of Pittsburgh." He died in January,
1797, and had been the proprietor of the inn on Market
Street known by the "Sign of General Butler," named for
General Richard Butler, which in its day was the leading tav-
ern in the town. That Patrick Murphy was respected as
well as "respectable," is amply shown by the names of the
men who owed him money as appears from the inventory of
his estate filed in the Register's office of Allegheny County
after his death. The amounts owing to Patrick Murphy
varied. The Rev. Samuel Barr owed him one pound, nine-
teen shillings and six pence, Pennsylvania currency, since
1789, the year that he severed his connection with the Pres-
byterian Church. From this small sum, which may have
been a tavern score, the amounts increased, in one case being
685 pounds. These larger sums were owed by such well
known citizens as General John Gibson, John Wilkins, Sr.,
Colonel Presley Neville, United States Senator James Ross,
Colonel James O'Hara, General John Wilkins and Major
Mary Murphy, commonly called "Molly" Murphy, was
the widow of Patrick Murphy. She died in January, 1826,
and succeeded her husband in the conduct of the tavern.
In her day she was one of the best known characters in
In Which There Are Also Women 21
Pittsburgh. She could neither read nor write, but was
withal a capable business woman. Judge Henry M. Brack-
enridge, the son of Judge Hugh Henry Brackenridge, said
of her that she was as rough a Christian as he ever knew,
but that no more generous or benevolent person ever lived.
In the pamphlet circulated against James Ross when he
was a candidate for governor in 1808, and which Jane Marie
is credited with having written, Mrs. Marie pays a high
tribute to the generosity of Mary Murphy, stating that she
and her child "would have perished had it not been for the
kindness of Mrs. Murphy" (3).
On January 8, 1806, the community was shocked by the
death of Tarlton Bates, the brilliant editor of the Tree of
Liberty and the Prothonotary of the county, in a duel, the
result of a political quarrel. He was one of several dis-
tinguished brothers. The eldest was the second governor
of the state of Missouri, another was a member of Congress
from Arkansas, while a third was a candidate for President
in 1860, and became a member of President Lincoln's cabi-
net. The interment of Tarlton Bates in the Episcopal
burying-ground was attended by the largest number of
people that had ever collected at a funeral in the borough.
A number of clergymen were buried in one or the other
of the graveyards. The Rev. Robert Steele was the second
pastor of the Presbyterian church and served the church
from 1802 until his death on March 22, 1810. He was an
educator of note, (4) and was liberal in his views and tol-
erant of worldly fashions ; he was a good performer on the
violin. His limited resources obliged him to live econom-
ically, and with his own hands he worked at building his
dwelling. He was of a sociable disposition and a delightful
companion ; and was a freemason and always helpful to his
fellowman. When a row of houses on Wood Street was on
fire in the early hours of the morning of the winter in which
he died, he was among the first to rush to the scene of the
conflagration and assist in extinguishing it and caught the
cold which caused his death (5).
Rev. John Wrenshall was the father of Methodism in
Pittsburgh, and was a writer of some ability and a merchant
of prominence. He died on September 25, 1821, and was
buried between his two wives, both of whom had preceded
him to the grave (6) .
The Rev. Sanson K. Brunot, the son of Dr. Felix Brunot,
died on June 11, 1835, in the 27th year of his age. In the
short number of years since his ordination he founded the
parishes of Blairsville and Greensburg, as well as Christ
22 In Which There Are Also Women
Church in Pittsburgh, for the latter of which his father
erected the first church building (7).
Allegheny County's first judge learned in the law was
Alexander Addison. He had been a minister of the gospel
in the Presbyterian Church, and studying law was admitted
to the bar. Upon the adoption of the Pennsylvania consti-
tution of 1790, which provided for a president judge learned
in the law for each of the judicial circuits, Addison was ap-
pointed by Governor Mifflin, president judge of the Fifth
Judicial Circuit, which included Allegheny County. Judge
Addison was a staunch Federalist in politics and by 1799 the
country had turned from Federalism to Democracy. Addi-
son had with him on the bench a lay judge named John B. C.
Lucas, a Frenchman and a rabid Democrat, with whom he
quarreled. Impeachment proceedings were begun, and the
Democratic party being in power in the legislature, Addison
was tried, impeached and removed from the bench, the vic-
tim of political rancor. He died on November 27, 1807, in the
forty-ninth year of his age. On his tombstone in the Pres-
byterian churchyard there was inscribed a panegyric on
the dead, which closed with observation that "he left a wid-
ow and eight children to mourn over his premature grave."
Across the line in Trinity churchyard his successor,
Judge Samuel Roberts, who died on December 13, 1820,
sleeps the long sleep, and the low shaft which marks the
place of his burial gives no indication that he was the second
president judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit of Pennsyl-
James Mountain was a lawyer who died in 1813, when
only forty years of age (8). He was a polished gentleman,
and one of the most eloquent men who ever graced the Pitts-
burgh bar. His reputation in this respect was spoken of by
lawyers long after his decease.
Colonel Stephen Lowrey of Queen Anne County, Mary-
land, died on December 29, 1821, aged 75 years, and was
buried in the Episcopal burying-ground. He was an Irish-
man by birth, and a commissary in the Revolutionary army,
and was well known in Western Pennsylvania, being a large
landowner, particularly in Butler County. His daughter
was the second wife of Thomas Collins, an eminent Pitts-
George Adams was the second postmaster of Pitts-
burgh, holding the office from 1794 until his death on April
1, 1801 (9).
George Robinson was the first chief burgess of the bor-
ough of Pittsburgh, was afterwards a member of the legis-
In Which There Are Also Women 23
lature and engaged in the manufacture of white flint glass,
and was associate judge of Allegheny County at the time of
his death on February 6, 1818 (10).
The oldest man to be buried in the Presbyterian church-
yard was John Cameron, a Scotch gardener, who died on
March 23, 1822, at the age of 107 years. Many stories have
been told of the old Scotchman. In early life he had
served in the British army in the Highlanders; and his
grandfather had fought at Culloden. He was an honest,
stubborn Presbyterian who would have sacrificed his life
for the doctrines of his church as he understood them.
General Jackson on his way to the White House stopped
in Pittsburgh over Sunday. The landlord sent to Cameron's
Garden for vegetables on Sunday morning. Cameron re-
fused the request emphatically. The host went himself,
plead necessity, threatened to withdraw his custom, etc., all
with no result. "Well, let me go into the garden myself,
and I will pay you tomorrow !" the landlord pleaded. "No !
No!" declared the Scotchman with emphasis: "It is far
better to let General Jackson do without vegetables than to
break the Sabbath."
The hero of the battle of New Orleans highly compli-
mented the gardener when he heard of the incident from the
Cameron was asked how he managed his hot-beds on
Sunday. "I judge on Saturday night, and raise the sash a
little with a corn cob for air," he answered.
"But were you never mistaken," he was pressed. "Yes,
one Sabbath morning," he replied. "I knew that frost was
coming; but I had no right to move the cobs on the Lord's
day. The next morning about five hundred dollars worth
of plants were frozen."
"How did that loss affect the year's gain?" his inter-
locutor continued. He responded : "I never spoke of it be-
fore ; perhaps some would not believe me ; I cannot account
for it, but that year I made more money off my garden than
in any year of my life." ,
William Peter Eichbaum died on February 9, 1827. He
was a native of Germany, was an expert glassworker and
superintended the construction of the glass works which
Colonel James O'Hara and Major Isaac Craig established.
Subsequently he founded a glass cutting establishment,
the first of its kind in the United States. In a publication of
the day it was said he was "an ingenious German who
had been formerly glass cutter to Louis XVI, king of
24 In Which There Are Also Women
John Johnston was postmaster of Pittsburgh from
1804 to 1822; and was also a watchmaker and silversmith.
He died on May 4, 1827 (12).
John Darragh died on May 14, 1828, aged 56 years. He
was a merchant in Pittsburgh, a justice of the peace in the
borough for many years, burgess, and mayor of the city
from 1817 to 1825. He was also president of the Bank of
Pittsburgh from 1819 until the time of his death (13).
Alexander Johnston, Jr., was cashier of the Bank of
Pittsburgh from 1814 until his death on May 9, 1832 (14).
The grave of Mrs. Susanna Taylor, the wife of the Rev.
John Taylor the first rector of Trinity Church, who died on
January 16, 1829, is in Trinity churchyard to the right of
the entrance and near the Sixth Avenue wall which incloses
George Evans died on September 24, 1830. He was
the son of Oliver Evans of Philadelphia, the inventor of the
high-pressure steam engine. He was a man of several in-
terests; he conducted the largest steam grist mill in the
city, a plow factory, an air foundry, and was besides inter-
ested in the Columbian Steam Engine Company, the most
important steam engine building concern in the West (15).
Dr. Peter Mowry was a leading physician and one of
the earliest to practice medicine in Pittsburgh. He died
on May 5, 1833, and was buried in Trinity churchyard.
He began his medical studies with Dr. Nathaniel Bedford,
the first physician to locate in Pittsburgh, and subsequently
attended lectures at the University of Pennsylvania (16).
Christopher Cowan, who died on March 12, 1835, built
the first rolling mill in Pittsburgh in 1811-1812 (17).
Thomas and Samuel Magee were hatters, the former
dying on November 24, 1823, and the latter on June 6, 1836.
They manufactured and supplied the town with beaver,
castor and roram hats (18).
Miss Louisa Amelia Shaler, the second daughter of
Judge Charles Shaler, the president judge of the Fifth Ju-
dicial Circuit composed of the counties of Allegheny, Beaver
and Butler, died on July 16, 1839, in the twenty-first year
of her age. On the tablet erected over her grave was the
statement that it was consecrated by her father "to the
memory of a beloved child, who at a moment of hilarity
and pleasure in the bloom of youth and loveliness was sud-
denly bereft of life by a fall from a horse (19).
James Johnston, the father of Alexander Johnston, Jr.,
who died on September 19, 1842, was a soldier of the Revo-
In Which There Are Also Women 25
Charles F. W. vonBonnhorst was born in Prussia, the
scion of a noble house. He left Germany for the United
States after the battle of Jena, in which he commanded an
• artillery corps. In 1821 he located in Pittsburgh, became a
member of the board of aldermen, studied law and was ad-
mitted to the bar, dying on February 23, 1844, and being
buried in Trinity churchyard.
As Judge Hugh Henry Brackenridge had been very
prominent in the little communty, his wife must necessarily
also have attracted some attention. Mrs. Sabina Wolf
Brackenridge survived her husband for many years, dying
on February 18, 1845. It is related that she was the daugh-
ter of a German farmer in Washington County. Her future
husband, while riding the circuit, stopped at her father's
house to escape the rain. When ready to depart, the old
farmer directed his daughter to bring the lawyer's horse
to the door. Her appearance made a deep impression on
Brackenridge and after he had gone some distance he turned
back and asked Mr. Wolf for his daughter's hand in mar-
riage. Receiving the consent of both the father and
daughter, he married her, sent her to a school in Philadel-
phia, whose business it was according to the chronicler to
"wipe off the rusticities which Mrs. Brackenridge had ac-
quired whilst a Wolf." (21)
James S. Stevenson had been a member of Congress
and a candidate for governor of the state against George
Wolf. He was engaged in white lead manufacturing and
died on October 16, 1851 (22).
Literature had a representative in the burying-ground,
although long after the days of the pioneers. The young
journalist, author and playwright, Charles P. Shiras, died
on July 26, 1854, in the thirtieth year of his age. He was
the author of Redemption of Labor, a volume of poetry
which gives strong indications of genius, and of a drama
called "The Invisible Prince, or the War of the Amazons,"
which was played at the Old Drury Theatre early in the dec-
ade beginning in 1850. (23) This and the burial of James
S. Stevenson were two of the latest interments to be made
in either of the churchyards.
REFERENCES AND NOTES.
1. Louise Phelps Kellogg. Frontier Retreat on the Upper Ohio,
Madison, 1917, p. 174, p. 454, p. 289.
2. H. M. Brackenridge. History of the Western Insurrection, Pitts-
burgh, 1859, p. 179.
26 In Which There Are Also Women
3. H. M. Brackenridge. Recollections of Persons and Places in The
West, Philadelphia, 1868, p. 66.
The Case of Jane Marie, Exhibiting the Cruelty and Barbar-
ous Conduct of James Ross to a Defenceless Woman, 1809,
4. Note — Rev. Robert Steele was buried in the Presbyterian church-
5. Centennial Volume of the First Presbyterian Church of Pitts-
burgh, Pa., Pittsburgh, 1884, p. 153.
6. Note — Rev. John Wrenshall was buried in the Presbyterian
7. Note — Rev. Sanson K. Brunot was buried in the Episcopal
8. Note — James Mountain was buried in the Presbyterian church-
9. Note — George Adams was buried in the Presbyterian churchyard.
10. Note — George Robinson was buried in the Episcopal church-
11. Zadok Cramer. The Pittsburgh Magazine Almanac for 1810,
Note — William Peter Eichbaum was buried in the Episcopal
12. Note — John Johnston was buried in the Presbyterian church-
13. Note — John Darragh was buried in the Presbyterian church-
14. Note — Alexander Johnston, Jr., was buried in the Presbyterian
15. Note — George Evans was buried in the Episcopal churchyard.
16. Note — Dr. Peter Mowry was buried in the Episcopal church-
17. Note — Christopher Cowan was buried in the Episcopal church-
18. Note — Thomas and Samuel Magee were buried in the Episcopal
19. Note — Miss Louisa Amelia Shaler was buried in the Episcopal
20. Note — James Johnston was buried in the Presbyterian church-
21. John Pope. A Tour through the Southern and Western Terri-
tories of the United States, Richmond, 1888, pp. 15-16.
Note — Mrs. Sabina Wolf Brackenridge was buried in the Pres-
22. Note — James S. Stevenson was buried in the Presbyterian church-
23. Note — Charles P. Shiras was buried in the Episcopal church-
Yesterday and Today 27
YESTERDAY AND TODAY.
At funerals in the early days the coffin was carried
from the house to the burying-ground, the distance being
generally short, sometimes on the shoulders of the bearers,
at other times by supports placed crosswise under the bier,
and which projected on both sides. The minister, mourning
relatives and friends walked behind. Sometimes the bell
on the Court House tolled while a prominent citizen was
being borne to his last resting place. It was the custom for
the attending physician to take part in the procession to the
grave, following immediately after the clergyman. This
was the order followed at the funeral of Colonel Presley
William Price, commonly known as "Billy" Price, whom
Anne Royal, who visited Pittsburgh in 1828, describes as
"an eccentric little gentleman well known for his odd humor
and the universality of his mechanical genius," (2) had a
pipe manufactory in Kensington, which adjoined the city on
the southeast, and which from the fact of the pipe manufac-
tory being located there, was generally called Pipetown. The
practice of the physicians attending funerals led "Billy"
Price to one day mar the solemnity of a funeral by calling
out to the physician who was in the funeral procession and
whom he knew well, "Ah, doctor, I see you are delivering
your work, the same as I do."
The funerals of the women were always impressive,
and when the person to be buried was young and of promi-
nence, the funeral became doubly so. Oliver Ormsby Page
tells interestingly of the funeral of Mrs. Emily Morgan
Simms, a daughter of Colonel Presley Neville (3).
"Mrs. Simms died in Pittsburgh on February 5, 1821,
while on a visit to her native city, her husband, Colonel W.
D. Simms, being a resident of Washington City. . . . The bier
which held the remains was carried on the shoulders of the
bearers. Walking four on each side of the bier as honorary
pall-bearers, were eight ladies dressed in white muslin, white
stockings and slippers, their heads covered with long white
lace veils reaching to their feet."
Mrs. Simms was thirty-five years of age when she died.
She is said to have been fascinating. Judge Henry M.
28 Yesterday and Today
Brackenridge said all of Colonel Neville's children were
as beautiful as the children of Niobe (4). The glowing
language of the poem on her name, which Tarlton Bates
wrote, indicated that the young Virginian was in love with
her when she was a girl. The burial place of Mrs. Simms is
still to be seen, marked as it is by a stone slab covering the
entire grace (5) but the grave of the elegant Tarlton Bates,
who admired her so, disappeared many years ago.
In 1821 Thomas Cannon, together with his family, re-
moved from Wilkinsburg to Pittsburgh, into a house situ-
ated on Sixth Street, opposite the Episcopal burying-ground.
He had a daughter named Jane, then about six years of age.
Here the family resided for six or seven years. Jane mar-
ried and became Jane Grey Swisshelm, and a famous woman
in many spheres. In her autobiography, published in 1880,
she gives her recollections of the Episcopal and Presbyterian
graveyards. The Episcopal burying-ground was "a thickly
peopled graveyard," she wrote. It and the Presbyterian
churchyard were above the level of the street, and "were
protected by a worm fence that ran along the top of a
green bank," where the children of the neighborhood
played and gathered flowers. Sixth Street was unpaved
and there were no gaslights, and when Jane's grandmother
or bachelor uncle, in the solemnity of the night took the
little girl to walk in the burying-grounds, she believed that
they were people with the ghosts of the dead who were
buried there ; and she relates that when in 1824 the Trinity
congregation began to excavate for the foundation of the
church, which they proposed to erect in their graveyard,
"there was a great desecration of graves" (6).
W. G. Lyf ord in a letter from Pittsburgh dated Decem-
ber 15, 1836, described the two burying-grounds. In lan-
guage intended to be facetious but which is merely flippant,
he said: "On entering the churchyard, in Sixth Street, I
was forcibly struck with the singular order in which the se-
pultures for the dead were arranged — some at 'heads and
points,' if I may be allowed the privilege of making light
comparisons with grave subjects — and others, as a seaman
would say, 'athwart-hawse.' The slabs appeared older than
their inscriptions seemed to indicate, and, from the delapida-
tion of many of the tombs, I suppose the deposits to have
been the first in the city. I could decipher the epitaph,
however, of only one octogenarian — George McGunnegle,
who died in 1821, aged 85. There reposed, however, the
remains of Capt. Nathaniel Irish, a Revolutionary officer,
born in 1737, died in 1816" (7).
1 1 mi
Trinity Church, Sixth Avenue, as it appeared in 1870, when taken
down to make way for the present structure.
Yesterday and Today 29
But the sleeping place of the dead in the early days
must have been an attractive spot. "How pleasant the
spreading trees! How green the sods which covered the
graves! An oasis amidst the dust and bustle of a growing
city," was the description of the Rev. Richard Lea, who
knew the burying-grounds since 1813 (8).
As other churches came into existence, they generally
also established burying-grounds, either about their
churches, or in some other part of the city, or in one
of the neighboring townships, and many burials were
made in them. The Trinity churchyard and the Pres-
byterian churchyard combined, after deducting the
area occupied by the buildings, contained less than one
acre. They constituted indeed a veritable "God's acre."
And notwithstanding the establishment of the other
burying-grounds, the old churchyards had become so
crowded with graves that when Isaac Craig was a boy
(he was born on July 12, 1822), "they never due: a
grave without encroaching upon other graves" (9). Wil-
liam G. Johnston, who was born in Pittsburgh on August
22, 1828, in the reminiscenses of his boyhood, gives similar
testimony when telling of the sexton of the Presbyterian
church preparing graves. "And I fancy too that I can again
see him as with other boys, I have sometimes watched him
digging graves in the old churchyard, now and then tossing
up bones, a matter of special interest to us on such occa-
In 1869, when Trinity Church was preparing to build
the present edifice, it procured the passage of a law^ by the
Pennsylvania legislature authorizing the congregation, "in
case of all unmarked or unknown graves to remove and place
the remains underneath the church or chapel which is pro-
posed to be erected." In 1877, the Rev. S. F. Scovel, the
pastor of the First Presbyterian church, made a similar sug-
gestion in regard to certain graves in the burying-ground of
his church. In the classic language for which he was noted,
he said "that about half a dozen graves, it was _ expected
might remain in situ covered by the buildings which it was
proposed to erect." (11).
The conduct of the burying-grounds seemed to have be-
come chaotic. The first great despoilment of graves in the
Presbyterian burying-ground took place when the Sunday
school building was erected in 1826 (12), and the next when
the third church was built in 1853, which was large and ex-
tended a considerable distance over the lot used for burials.
When Trinity Chapel was built in the early seventies of the
30 Yesterday and Today
last century in addition to the graves marked by tombstones,
about four hundred graves were uncovered. In the Presby-
terian burying-ground the graves were even more numerous.
Many of the graves were deprived of their headstones.
Other tombstones were removed from their proper places,
the ground was leveled, and there was nothing to indicate
that anyone was buried there. Isaac Craig said the grave-
stones were used as curbstones (13). Probably after the
year 1844, when steps were taken to establish Allegheny
Cemetery, very few interments took place in either bury-
ing-ground although they were not permanently closed until
1848 or 1849, and even after that period there was an
occasional interment, notably that of James S. Stevenson
and Charles P. Shiras. After that time many of the bodies
were disinterred and removed to Allegheny Cemetery.
Thousands have been laid to rest in that single acre.
It must be borne in mind that in the old days of these bury-
ing-grounds, the birth rate, and the mortality among the
children were both larger than at present. Life, even with
the more wealthy, was a constant struggle, food was coarse
and illy prepared, clothing deficient, and the habitations
were far from being the comfortable dwellings of today.
Then, too, medical science was as crude as the homes where
the physicians practiced. People did not live as long as they
do today. It was rare for men or women to attain the age of
eighty years. When anyone reached that age it was re-
marked upon, as was done by W. G. Lyford when he came
across the grave of the octogenarian, George McGunnegle,
in Trinity churchyard. It is not exaggeration to say that
during the ninety-five years that the old burying-ground is
known to have been used as such, there were at least four
Judge Daniel Agnew, who was chief justice of the Su-
preme Court of Pennsylvania when the case of Craig and
Guthrie against the First Presbyterian Church was argued,
in an address delivered before the Allegheny County Bar
Association on December 1, 1888, gave utterance to senti-
ments strongly antagonistic to the removal of the dead from
the Presbyterian churchyard. He declared that the "up-
rooting" of the old burying-ground was an "act of vandal-
ism," and called attention to the fact that he had dissented to
the opinion of the Supreme Court in that case. (14)
In this dissenting opinion the venerable jurist used lan-
guage that was still more indignant. "I deny the right of
removal for individual or private interest, whether it be for
building a lecture room for a church congregation, or a Sab-
Trinity Court Studio, R. W. Johnston.
First Presbyterian Church and Trinity Church Today.
Oliver Building on the left.
Yesterday and Today 31
bath school room," he proclaimed. "Its purpose is to save
money by taking ground appropriated for the dead. Thus
to coin money out of the bones of the dead, is to violate a
purchaser's right to sepulture, contrary to the instincts of
race and the keenest sensibilities of the heart." (15)
He did not live to see the remainder of the burying-
ground "uprooted," when in 1902 the congregation leased
for a period that is almost perpetual, at an enormous rental,
all that it owned of the lot on Wood street and two-thirds of
the lot adjoining which had always been used as a grave-
yard. The other part of the burying-ground was reserved
for the purpose of erecting the new church which the con-
gregation now occupies. In the property of the First Pres-
byterian Church there are now apparently no graves, all but
the cement walk along the easterly side of the church be-
ing covered by buildings. Trinity Church still maintains a
graveyard of respectable dimensions, there being in it about
two hundred graves which are marked by tombstones of var-
ious descriptions, although even here a portion of the land
has been disposed of for commercial uses. In Trinity Church
descendants or relatives of those interred have been largely
in control of the church organization, and have seen to it
that the graves of their kinsmen were protected.
There are philosophers who teach that reverence for
the dead is really the influence which the dead exercise over
the living. The belief in the power of the dead over the liv-
ing has been given new force in a recent remarkable novel
by a Spanish writer (16). In this brilliant work of the im-
agination the author beholds the dead occupying the high-
ways of the living; they stride out to meet them; in his
opinion morality, customs, prejudices, honor, all are their
The old burying-grounds lie in the heart of a city of
perhaps seven hundred thousand people. The dust of thou-
sands of dead lies buried in these churchyards, under the
churches, and beneath the tall buildings which cover a por-
tion of the grounds. If it is true that the dead command
the living, then the influence of this army of the dead, im-
bued as it is with the wisdom of the ages, must be tremen-
dous with the almost three quarters of a million people dwell-
ing in Pittsburgh. Cleansed of their worldly failures, defi-
ciencies, errors, delinquencies and transgressions, they would
possess a transcendant power for good in every sphere of
human life, religion, government, society, morals, educa-
tion, science, art, literature, commerce, and industry.
• • •
» •* «
32 Yesterday and Today
REFERENCES AND NOTES.
1. Pittsburgh Gazette, June 1, 1819.
2. Mrs. Ann Royall. Pennsylvania, Washington, 1829. Vol. II,
3. Oliver Ormsby Page. "Sketch of the 'Old Round Church'",
1805-1825. The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biogra-
phy, Philadelphia, 1895, Vol. XIX, pp. 351-358.
4. H. M. Brackenridge. Recollections of Persons and Places in the
West, Philadelphia, 1868, p. 66.
5. Note — Mrs. Emily Morgan Simms was buried in the Episcopal
6. Jane Grey Swisshelm. Half a Century, Chicago, 1880, pp. 10-16.
7. W. G. Lyford. The Western Address Directory, Baltimore,
1837, pp. 89-90.
;., , 8. Centennial Volume of the First Presbyterian Church of Pitts-
• ' burgh, Pa., Pittsburgh, 1884, p. 191.
9. Craig v. First Presbyterian Church, 88, Pa. 42.
••* # 10. William G. Johnston. Life and Reminiscences, Pittsburgh, 1901,
••;•■ p. 178.
,11. Craig v. First Presbyterian Church, 88 Pa., p. 42.
II ".12. Rev. William M. Paxton, D. D. Two Discourses upon the Life
*..*•« and Character of the Rev. Francis Heron, D. D., Pittsburgh,
.-.. 1861, p. 55.
. ,„. 13. Craig v. First Presbyterian Church, 88 Pa. p. 42.
"*""*14. The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Phila-
• ••• : delphia, 1889, Vol. XIII, pp. 1-60.
• ••••15. Craig v. First Presbyterian Church, 88 Pa. p. 42.
• • • • «
**«•« 16. V. Blasco Ibanez. The Dead Command, New York, 1919, pp.