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A Place of Great Historic Interest 
Pittsburgh's First Burying-ground 









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A Place of Great Historic Interest 
Pittsburgh's First Burying-ground 



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Chapter Page 
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. 





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- 
burgh family. 

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 
was dead! 

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 


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 
international reputation. 

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 
contains him." 

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 
United States." 

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 
Presbyterian churchyard. 

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- 
terian churchyard. 

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, 

p. 125. 

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, 

p. 646. 

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 


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 
Ebenezer Denny. 

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- 
burgh lawyer. 

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 
vexed landlord. 

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 
France." (11) 

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 
the burying-ground. 

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- 
lution (20). 

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. 


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, 
p. 24. 

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, 

p. 54. 

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- 
byterian churchyard. 

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 


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 
Neville (1). 

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- 
sions" (10). 

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 
thousand interments. 

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. 

• • • 

* « 

ft. * 

» •* « 



32 Yesterday and Today 


1. Pittsburgh Gazette, June 1, 1819. 

2. Mrs. Ann Royall. Pennsylvania, Washington, 1829. Vol. II, 

p. 53. 

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. 

:*; 134-135.