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Major Abraham Kirkpatrick 


Compiled By 

One of the Descendants 


B 1.4' ^ 

J. P. DURBiN, Printer 



TO the younger members of the family this com- 
pilation is respectfully dedicated in the hope 
that it may prove of service for future reference 
and aid in perpetuating the memory of their distinguished 
ancestors, cementing the ties of consanguinity and sup- 
porting that honest and honorable pride in their lineage 
to which they are justly entitled. 

I may say in explanation of this brochure that hav- 
ing been applied to by some of the younger cousins for 
data to qualify them for membership in the Societies of 
the Revolution. I found that verifying tradition by au- 
thentic reference was a matter of so much greater diffi- 
cult}' than at first appeared that it seemed well to put 
in permanent form what was obtained, realizing the 
more as the inquiry proceeded how much easier it would 
have been for a member of the last generation to have 
done this work and how much more difficult it would be 
for a member of the next generation, as the family 
traditions are becoming so indistinct with age and the 
vagaries of memory as to be of constantly diminishing 

I wish also to express appreciation of the aid ren- 
dered by different members of the connection without 
whose assistance the genealogy could not have been 
brought down to the living present. 

Kirk Q, Bigham. 
Pittsburgh, May, 1911. 


His military record during the war of the American 
Revolution is concisely given in the "Historical Register 
of Officers of the Continental Army from April, 1775, to 
December, 1783, compiled by F. B. Heitman," of the 
Adjutant General's office, AYashington, 1893, commonly 
referred to as Heitman 's Register, in the Congressional 
Library, as follows (See Page 252) : 

Abraham Kirkpatrick, Va. 
First Lieut. 8th Va., March 22. 1776. 
Regimental Adjutant April 2, 1777. 
Captain Aug. 10, 1777. 
Transferred to 4th Va. Sept. 14. 1778. 
• Served to close of war. 

In Saffel's Records (Congressional Library) page 
399, Abraham Kilpatrick, Captain, appears in list of 
officers having claims against the state of Virginia for 
moneys advanced for clothing and sustenance for the 
troops. Page 424 Abram Kirkpatrick, Captain Va., ap- 
pears in list of officers entitled to half pay, commutation 
and bounty. Page 504 Abraham Kirkpatrick is listed 
among officers receiving land warrants. 

The Act of Congress of Sept. 20, 1783, provided that 
all officers in commission at the close of the war who had 
served for three years should be advanced one degree in 
rank. This made Capt. Kirkpatrick a major. 

Major Kirkpatrick is always described as tall, rugged 
and of severe expression, wearing a cocked hat pulled 
dowTi over his left eye, which was blind. The loss of this 
eye is explained by the note in Lieut. Feltman's Journal 
in the collection of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 
written at Savage's farm near Bottom Bridge, New Kent 
County, Va.. under date of Aug. 12, 1781: "This day a 


soldier of t]ie , Virginia, 18 months' men, was executed 
for entering the tent of Capt. Kirkpatrick of Third Regi- 
ment and shooting him in the left eye." 

The following sketch, written by James M. Christy 
in 1892, is based,: as to some details, upon data furnished 
by Isaac Craig: 

The family of Major Kirkpatrick were Scotch, and 
warm adherents of Prince Charles Edward, the Pretender 
to the throne of England, whose fortunes they followed 
up to the fatal defeat of their leader on the bloody field 
of Culloden in 1746. The family then fled to America 
and settled down at or near Elkton, Cecil Coiuity, Mary- 
land, and are supposed to have brought with them to 
America sufficient means to enable them to live in a com- 
fortable rural condition. Of how many members the 
family consisted is not now known by any of the descend- 
ants of Abraham Kirkpatrick, except of one sister, a Mrs. 
Glasgow, who lived in the State of Ohio ; of her and of 
her descendants nothing is now known. 

Abraham Kirkpatrick was born in Cecil County, 
Maryland, in the year 1749, and died in Pittsburgh Nov. 
17, 1817. When a lad, 18 years old, he was attacked at 
the races, in Cecil County, by a drunken bully and gav.e 
him a good thrashing, whereupon the friends of the 
bully, claiming that it was not a fair fight on account 
of the bad condition of their champion, arranged that a 
fight should be had between the parties on the next day, 
at which time the fight took place with the result that the 
bully was again badly beaten, carried off the field and 
died the next day. On this happening, Kirkpatrick fled 
the settlement and made his way through the wilder- 
ness to Fort Pitt, then the ragged edge of civilization. 
That he then had some means is evident from the fact 
that in the same year — 1767 — he took out a patent for 
land now in Allegheny City, which he afterwards sold 


to Hugh McGonnigle, in 1811, stating this fact in the 
recital of title in the deed. 

Of his career at Fort Pitt for some years nothing 
definite is now known, but early in the Revolutionary 
conflict with the British, he was well known as an ardent 
patriot and was with the army as an officer at the battles 
of Stony Point and Princeton and the sieges of York- 
ton and Charleston ; he was an intimate friend of Gen. 
eral Anthony "Wayne, who died in his arras at Presque 
Isle, Erie, to which place Kirkpatrick had ridden from 
Pittsburgh on horseback to nurse his beloved friend in 
his last illness. 

]\Iajor Kirkpatrick married Miss Mary Ann Oldham. 
She was a sister of Winifred Oldham, the wife of Gen. 
John Neville. The Oldhams were a Virginia family, 
tracing back their ancestry to the Scotch Earl of Sin- 
clair ; the Nevilles traced theirs back to Richard Neville, 
the great Earl of Warwick, the "King Maker" of the 
time of Edward IV. of England. 

The children of Major Kirkpatrick were one son, 
John Conway Kirkpatrick, who died March 6, 1811, in 
the 21st year of his age; and three daughters, one of 
whom married Christopher Cowan, one married Dr. Joel 
Lewis, and the other married Hon. Charles Shaler. All 
of these, with their husbands, are dead. The husbands 
were noted and influential men in Pittsburgh. 

Major Kirkpatrick at the time of his death had 
accumulated a large amount of real estate and was quite 
wealthy for that time, the then appraised value of his 
real and personal estate amounting to over one hundred 
thousand dollars. At his death he left a large amount of 
papers, correspondence, etc., but these were unfortunately 
burned up, and so what might have been vastly inter- 
esting to the public and his descendants was forever 
wiped out of existence. 

Neville B. Craig, Esq., who was a grand-nephew of 
the Major's and knew him intimately, says of him in his 


"History of Pittsburgh": Kirkpatrick was a Marylandnr 
by birth, a soldier of the Revolution, as .brave a man as 
ever drew his sword in the struggle for independence, 
of good English education, of strong native intellect, 
shrewd in argument and so fond of it that he would 
rather change sides than let discussion cease." 

In the Whisky Insurrection of 3794 the Major, with 
his friends, the Nevilles, was loyal to the Government, 
and became obnoxious to the insurgents. With nine 
soldiers from Fort Fayette he defended the home of Gen. 
Neville, who was the Government Agent for Distillers' 
Licenses, at Woodville, from an attack of several hundred 
insurgents, one of whom, named McFarland, was killed, 
and the insurgents set fire to the buildings, compelling 
the Major and his squad to surrender as prisoners, and 
the house, with the outbuildings, burned to the ground. 
The Major, a prisoner on a horse behind his guard, slipped 
off the horse when they were crossing Chartiers Creek, 
and by a circuitous route made good his escape to the 

, Referring to this incident, John Banniston Gibson, of 
the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, in some observations 
on the trials resulting from the Whisky Insurrection, 
written shortly before his death and in the collection of 
the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, says: "If there 
ever was a man who would not turn on his heel to save 
his life it was Major Kirkpatrick. Though he was not a 
lineal descendant of Archy Bell, the cat, his progenitors 
evidently belonged to the same clan. The writer has 
known many of the same name and the same stamp. The 
actual fact was related to him by Captain Coulter of the 
Washington County militia, a spectator of the scene and 
actor in it. 

"When Kirkpatrick, with his dozen of regular 
soldiers from the garrison at Pittsburgh, surrendered the 
upper story of the house was in flames. They had literally 
been burned out. He was doomed to instant death but 


was told to go with the insurgents to Mingo Creek Meet- 
ing House and be hanged. 'Well,' said he, 'where is the 
horse? I can't walk there.' Observing a man drawing 
a sharp sight on him, he remarked: 'What a fool you 
are to shoot me. Don't you know I am going to be 
hanged.' The man lowered his rifle. He was then put 
in charge of Capt. Coulter and a guard but suffered to 
escape by the way, at the penalty of Coulter's life. 


Gen. John Neville and Major Abraham Kirkpatrick 
were bosom friends, comrades in arms, married sisters, 
and were closely allied throughout their lives. Prior to 
the Revolution John Neville was an officer of the Virginia 
troops on duty at Fort Pitt, and Major Kirkpatrick, then 
little more than a boy, is supposed to have served with 
or under him and that the intimacy between them dated 
from that time. 

On the 7th of August, 1775, the Virginia Provincial 
Convention resolved that "Captain John Neville be di- 
rected to march with his company of one hundred men 
and take possession of Fort Pitt," and it appears that 
during 1776 Major Neville was still in command of Fort 
Pitt with his company of one hundred men. This was 
during the contest between Virginia and Pennsylvania 
for the possession of this section." (Rev. A. Lambing's 
Centennial History of Allegheny County.) 

Their Revolutionary services were closely connected, 
as appears from the record as given in Heitman's Reg- 
ister, page 308 : 

John Neville, Virginia. 

Lieut. Col. 12th Va., Nov. 12, 1776, to Dec. 11, 1777. 

Colonel 8th Va., Dec. 11, 1777, to Sept. 14, 1778. 

Colonel 4th Va., Sept. 14, 1778, to close of war. 

Brevet Brigadier General Sept. 30, 1783. 

Died July 29, 1803. 


The prominent part played by Major Kirkpatrick in 
behalf of the Government during the AVhisky Insurrec- 
tion is shown by the papers printed in Pennsylvania 
Archives, Vol. IV., pages 11, 69, 73, 80, 101, 173. 

The Major was commissioned as Judge of the Court 
of Common Pleas and Justice of the Peace Nov. 21, 1788, 
and served several terms.— (Pennsylvania Archives, 2nd 
series, Vol. Ill, pages 291-2.) At the first election of 
officers of the Borough of Pittsburgh in May, 1794, he 
was elected assessor; was one of the incorporators of the 
Bank of Pittsburgh in 1810 and a member of the first 
board of directors (Erasmus Wilson's History of Pitts- 
burgh, pages 72-318), and his name frequently appears in 
the accounts of public affairs. 

The following notices of his death are copied from 
the Pittsburgh Gazette : 

PITTSBURGH GAZETTE, Friday, Nov. 21, 1817. 

Died— On Tuesday morning last, in the 69th year of 
his age. Major Abraham Kirkpatrick. 

PITTSBURGH GAZETTE, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 1817. 

In our last we briefly mentioned the death of Major 
Abraham Kirkpatrick. We have since been furnished 
with the following obituary notice: 

The deceased was among the small number of our 
Revolutionary worthies who have thus far weathered 
the storms of time. At an early period of his life, when 
the idea of opposing the oppression of Great Britain was 
first suggested, he stepped forward in the cause of inde- 
pendence with all the enthusiasm of. youth, with all the 
ardour of the most undaunted courage. From the mo- 
ment he joined the standard of his country until the com- 
plete sucess of her arms was acknowledged by the 
mother country, he never was absent from his duty. After 
the peace of '83, when the American army was disbanded, 


he was among the first who emigrated to the West, and 
at the time of his death had been a resident of Pittsburgh 
for more than 33 j^ears. 

The difficulties and dangers which so eminently dis- 
tinguished the American Revolution, on the part of the 
Colonists, probably tended to strengthen those traits which 
so strongly marked his character in after life and gave 
him the reputation of great eccentricity — but the eccen- 
tricity of Major Kirkpatrick was of no common stamp; 
it was not of that description that consists in mere ex- 
terior singularity, and which is only calculated for the 
joke of the moment ; his was an eccentricity that dis- 
played the most honest qualities of the heart, in a dress 
plain and unostentatious to be sure, but none the less 
sterling on that account. He was distinguished by an 
integrity the most undeviating, and by a perseverance the 
most unremitting; he was never deterred from the pur- 
suit of an object by any difficulties, and opposition only 
served to strengthen the energies of his mind ; his favors 
were extended without show, but they were none the less 
liberal on that account ; his notions of honor were exalted 
and his feelings of friendship were most disinterested. 
As a soldier his character was that of the most undaunted 
bravery, and as a citizen it was that of an orthodox 
disciple of Washington. His acquaintance was numerous, 
and friends most sincere. And it may with great truth 
be said of him that his life "was without fear" and his 
memory "without reproach." 

Inscription on the tombstone of Major Abraham 
Kirkpatrick, first erected in Trinity Church Graveyard, 
on Wood street, Pittsburgh ; afterwards with the body re- 
moved to the Allegheny Cemetery. 

"This monument is erected to the memory of Major 
Abraham Kirkpatrick, who departed this life Nov. 17th, 
1817, in the 68th year of his age; 

"He was a patriot of the Revolution, a gallant 
soldier and an honest man. When retired to the vale 


of private life, he carried with him that republican 
simplicity of manner and that unbending decision of 
character which had distinguished his military career; 
sincere in his friendships and inflexible in principles, his 
death was a source of regret, not to those alone to whom 
he was connected by the ties of consanguinity, but to 
such as had felt the beneficience of a hand open as the 
day to melting charity. 

"Stranger, tread lightly on the ashes of the soldier." 

The Shaler family Bible contains this entry in the 
handwriting of Judge Shaler: 

Major Abraham Kirkpatrick, the father of Amelia 
L. Shaler, was a Revolutionary soldier of great personal 
strength and undaunted courage. He was a native of 
Maryland, but for thirty-five years before his death, which 
happened in the fall of 1817, he resided in Pittsburgh. 
He left three children : Amelia Louisa, intermarried with 
Charles Shaler, a lawyer; Eliza M., intermarried with 
C. Cowan; Mary Ann, intermarried with Dr. Joel Lewis. 

The maternal ancestor of these sisters was of the 
name of Oldham, a family respectable for its enterprise 
and exertions in the early settlement of the country. 

The Oldhams were a distinguished family in Virginia 
and Kentucky. John Oldham emigrated from England 
in March, 1635. His son, Thomas Oldham, was the 
father of Col. Samuel Oldham, of Westmoreland County, 
Virginia; born 1680; died 1762. Married Elizabeth New- 
ton ; born 1687 ; died 1759. Their son, John Oldham, 
born 1705, married Anne Conway and had issue Winifred, 
who married Gen. John Neville; Mary Ann, who married 
Major Abraham Kirkpatrick ; and Col. William Oldham, 
who married Penelope Pope. (American Ancestry, Penn- 
sylvania Genealogies, page 478. Pennsylvania Historical 


Col. William Oldham was first lieutenant of Nelson's 
Independent Rifle Company, Jan. 30, 1776; lieutenant 
colonel in the Kentucky militia, and was killed at St. 
Clair's defeat near Fort Recovery, Ohio, Nov. 4, 1791. 
(Heitman's Register.) 

The maternal line was equally illustrious, as appears 
from the histories of the Virginia families in the Con- 
fTi'ocainnnl Tiihrarv r Marv Ann Oldham was a second 

(Paste this on Page 15. Kirkpatrick Genejilogy.) 

Major Kirkpatrick and ]\Iary Ann Oldham were mar- 
ried Nov. 23. 1786. The first marriage notice in the 
Pittsburgh Gazette appeared Dee. 2. 1786. as follows: 


]\Iarried, on Tuesday, the 23rd ult., at Woodville, 
the seat of General John Neville in Washington County, 
Major Abraham Kirkpatrick to the amiable ^liss Mary 
Ann Oldham. 

The Pittsburgh Gazette of Jan. 15, 1813, contains 
this notice of her death : Died, on Saturday last (Jan. 
9, 1813) Mary Ann Kirkpatrick, consort of Major Abra- 
ham Kirkpatrick. This lady was greatly esteemed by all 
her acquaintances and her loss is irreparable to her 


of private life, he carried with him that republican 
simplicity of manner and that unbending decision of 
character which had distinguished his military career; 
sincere in his friendships and inflexible in principles, his 
death was a source of regret, not to those alone to whom 
he was connected by the ties of consanguinity, but to 
such as had felt the beneficience of a hand open as the 
day to melting charity. 


Col. William Oldham was first lieutenant of Nelson's 
Independent Rifle Company, Jan. 30, 1776; lieutenant 
colonel in the Kentucky militia, and was killed at St. 
Clair's defeat near Fort Recovery, Ohio, Nov. 4, 1791. 
(Heitman's Register.) 

The maternal line was equally illustrious, as appears 
from the histories of the Virginia families in the Con- 
gressional Library: Mary Ann Oldham was a second 
cousin to George Washington, being the daughter of 
Anne Conway, who was a daughter of Ann Ball, who 
was a sister of the half blood to Mary Ball, the mother 
of George Washington. 

Mary Ann Kirkpatrick died in the summer of 1813. 
The date of her birth and marriage to the major have not 
been ascertained. 

Major Abraham Kirkpatrick had one son, John Con- 
way Kirkpatrick, on whose tombstone, now in the Alle- 
gheny Cemetery, is the following inscription : 

"Here lies the mortal part of John Conway Kirk- 
patrick, the only son of Major Abraham Kirkpatrick and 
Mary Ann, his wife, who departed this life March 6, 
1811, in the 21st year of his age." 

"The tears of his relatives and the poignant regret 
of an extensive acquaintance are a faint but genuine 
tribute to his virtues and a grateful though melancholy 
testimony of the loss society has sustained." 

He had three daughters: Amelia Louisa, wife of 
Judge Charles Shaler; Elizabeth Maria, wife of Christo- 
pher Cowan; and Mary Ann, wife of Dr. Joel Lewis. (See 
deed of partition recorded in Allegheny County, Pa., in 
Deed Book 27, page 284, and records in Register's office.) 


Since writing the foregoing some correspondence has 
been had with R. C. Ballard Thruston, a member of the 
Society of Colonial Wars of Louisville, Ky., and a gentle- 
man of antiquarian tastes, a portion of which is as 
follows : 

710 Columbia Building 
Louisville, Ky. 

Mr. Kirk Q. Bigham, January 22, 1911. 

Pittsburgh, Pa. 
Dear Sir : — 

A letter which I just received from the Rev. J. S. B. 
Hodges informed me that you are probably a descendant 
of Major Abraham Kirkpatrick of the Revolution, and 
of his wife, Amelia Oldham. I am myself a descendant of 
Lieutenant Colonel William Oldham, born June 17, 1753, 
killed at St. Claire's defeat, November 4, 1791, and I am 
trying to learn all I can regarding him, his brothers and 
sisters, ancestors, etc. 

The information as I have it is to the effect that his 
father had six, possibly eight, children, three of whom 
were sons:— 

Samuel, who came to Kentucky in 1784, and died 
there in 1823. It is told that he married twice, first Jane 
Cunningham, and second Ann Lipscomb. 

The second son, Lieutenant-Colonel "William Oldham, 
my ancestor. According to one account, he is said to 
have been born in 1745, but his family Bible, which says 
June 17, 1753, I think probably correct. 

The third son was Conway Oldham, killed at the 
battle of Eutaw Springs, S. C, September 8, 1781, then 
a captain in the Revolution and unmarried. The land 
warrant for his services being made out to his eldest 
brother and heir-at-law, Samuel Oldham. 


Of the daughters one of them named 

Amelia, one account says her name was Mary Ann, 
married Major Abraham Kirkpatrick of the Revolution, 
and was, I understand, your ancestor. 

Another daughter, Winifred Oldham, born November 
]9, 1736, died April 3, 1797, married August 24, 1754, 
General John Neville, both of whom are buried in the 
graveyard of the First Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, 
Pa., as is also their son-in-law, Major Isaac Craig. 

Another daughter, Susanna, married Lawrence Ross, 
a Scotchman who in youth was captured by the Indians, 
was liberated at the age of 23, and died here in 1818. One 
account says he was at that time 85, another 98 years of 
age, which would place his birth somewhere from 1720 
to 1733. If, however, I could obtain the date of his libera- 
tion at the age of 23. I think that we probably would 
have something more definite. They had quite a number 
of children, the eldest of whom was a son named Shapley, 
and the youngest named Presley Neville. 

I am told there were two other daughters, one of 
whom — Abigail — married a Mr. Lisle or Lyle, and the 
other a ]\Ir. Rector, but I am inclined to think the latter 
especially has been confounded with Susan, who married 
Mr. Ross. 

In Hayden's Virginia Genealogies, page 527, is the 
statement that the wife of Lawrence Ross was the daugh- 
ter of Colonel AYilliam Oldham, which would indicate 
that that was the name of the father of Mrs. Neville, 
Mrs. Kirkpatrick, Lieutenant Colonel William Oldham, 

From some letters from Judge John Oldham to Dr. 
Lyman C. Draper, in the Wisconsin Historical Society, 
he says that his grandfather was a farmer in middle cir- 
cumstances in Berkeley County, W. Va. Judge Oldham 
was a son of Lieutenant Colonel William Oldham and a 
nephew of Mrs. Kirkpatrick. 


I find in the Draper MSS., Vol. 37-J 114, filed in the 
collection of the Wisconsin Historical Society at Madison, 
Wis., a letter from Judge John P. Oldham to Lyman C. 
Draper, Esq., dated March 9, 1845, from which I quote : — 

"My father, as I have always understood from per- 
sons who knew him well, omitted no opportunity of serv- 
ing his country as a military man from 1775, when he 
joined Daniel Morgan's Regiment, until he fell on the 
4th of November, 1791. I was then but six years old, but 
afterwards learned much of his history from my mother, 
who was a sensible woman with an excellent memory." 

His father was Lieutenant Colonel William Oldham, 
his mother Penelope, daughter of Colonel William Pope. 

Another letter (Vol. 37-J 115), dated May 26, 1845, 
from Judge John P. Oldham to Lyman C. Draper, Esq., 
from which I quote as follows : — 

"William Oldham was born in 1752 in Berkeley 
County, W. Va. His parents were farmers in middle 

"Besides AVilliam, they raised two sons and four 
daughters. Samuel, the eldest, removed to Kentucky in 
1784; settled near Louisville; acquired a good estate; 
raised nine or ten children and died at an advanced age. 

"Conway, the youngest, entered the Revolutionary 
army in 1776 ; continued in it until the battle at Eutaw 
Springs, where he fell (having then, I believe, the rank of 

"The two eldest daughters removed early to Pitts- 
burgh, one as the wife of General John Neville, and the 
other as the wife of Major Kirkpatrick. 

"Another married Laurence Ross (who for many years 
of his youth had been a captive with the Indians), re- 
moved to the neighborhood of Louisville at an early day, 
raised a large family, and died in affluence at an advanced 
age. The other married a Mr. Lisle and remained in 


Virginia until her death. They were respectable and in 
independent circumstances. 

"William joined Daniel Morgan's regiment as an 
ensign in 1776. Marched to Boston, some years after- 
wards to Canada. Suffered much from intense cold 
weather on this expedition. • 

"Was in the battles of Brandy wine and Monmouth; 
was actively engaged in both battles, and near being 
taken prisoner in the former. 

"He resigned his commission in the army in the 
spring of 1779 (having then rank of captain), and came 
directly to Louisville, Ky. ; joined and marched with 
Colonel Bowman the ensuing summer against the Indians 
at Chillicothe, and was often afterwards heard to say that 
the failure to capture the Indians at Chillicothe was not 
justly chargeable on Bowman, as some historian has al- 
leged, but to the negligence or timidity of another officer 
to whom an important duty was committed by Bowman. 

"It was while proceeding up the river on this expedi- 
tion he first saw my mother, then not quite 11 years old, 
the daughter of Colonel William Pope, who was descend- 
ing the river with some other families to settle at the 
falls. The parties meeting delayed a short time, and my 
father, being struck with the beauty and intelligence of 
little Penelope, said to her father that he should claim her 
for a wife when she attained to womanhood, to which 
her father assented, and four years afterwards he mar- 
ried her. My father was with George Rogers Clark in 
all his campaigns against the Indians which took place 
after his removal to Kentucky, generally commanding a 
company, and, as I have understood, a favorite of his 

In another letter, dated July 26, 1846 (36-J 115), he 
says : — 

"In a former letter to you I said 'that my father 
went with Daniel Morgan to Boston in 1776 and thence 


to Canada.' I should have said thence to Quebec, as he 
was in Arnold's command and assisted in the attack made 
on that town in the winter of 1776. He was also with 
Wayne when he was surprised at Paoli.'-' 

From another letter (Vol. 37-J 115), dated September 
13, 1847, I quote :— 

"In an account I gave you of my father's services 
in the Revolutionary War I stated that he was attached 
to Daniel Morgan's command. In this I was led into 
an error by a deposition of a Mr. Williams, taken to 
establish his claim to land for revolutionary services, as 
I have recently discovered. My father was attached to 
an independent company commanded by Captain Nelson, 
raised at the same time and in the same neighborhood 
with the troops of Morgan, and marched in company with 
Morgan to Boston. This makes it probable he was not 
at the siege of Quebec, bnt it is certain he spent the winter 
of '76-7 in Canada and was on the Canadian frontier for 
some time after." 

March 6, 1911, he writes: 

I have just returned from a recent trip on which I 
visited Washington, D. C, Martinsburg, W. Va., and 
Winchester, Va. The results from the trip are to be 
found on the enclosed pages, which I take pleasure in 
enclosing to you, as I think they establish beyond any 
reasonable peradventure of doubt the fact that Mrs. Ne- 
ville. Mrs. Kirkpatrick, Mrs. Ross, Mrs. Lyle and Samuel, 
William and Conway Oldham were all children of John 
Oldham, of Prince William County. Whether or not the 
wife of that John Oldham was Ann Conway I am not 
prepared to state. His father may have been Samuel, but 
his mother certainly was not Elizabeth Newton, whom by 
some she is supposed to have been. 



Lieutenant-Colonel William Oldham's family Bible 
states that he was born June 17, 1753, and was killed at 
St. Clair's defeat November 4, 1791. He married July 
24, 1783, Penelope, daughter of Colonel William Pope of 
Jeft'erson County, Virginia, now Kentucky, and had four 
children : — 

Judge John Pope Oldham, born February 28, 1785. 
Major Richard Oldham, born March 13, 1787. 
Abigail Oldham, born May 1, 1789. 
William Oldham, born 1791, died in infancy. 

After his death his widow and daughter married two 
brothers, Harry and Samuel Churchill, both long since 

As one of his descendants, I have long been trying 
to locate his antecedents. My first authority (Miss Idelle 
Keys) gave his parents as John Oldham and Ann Conway, 
and his paternal grandparents as Samuel Oldham and 
Elizabeth Newton of Westmoreland County, Virginia. In- 
vestigation proved that this Elizabeth was the daughter 
of Nehemiah Storke, and widow of Thomas Newton (who 
died in 1727) before she married Samuel Oldham, and 
that she had no Oldham children. A correspondent says 
the above was taken' from Dr. Eagle's Notes and Queries, 
which I have not consulted. 

My second authority (Mr. Samuel Oldham of Zanes- 
ville, Ohio) makes Lieutenant-Colonel William Oldham a 
son of Isaac Oldham by a first marriage. 

My third authority (Mrs. Danske Dandridge, in her 
"Historic Shepherdstown") makes him a son of Samuel 
Oldham of Berkeley County, Virginia, now West Virginia. 

He is claimed by too many lines to suit me and so I 
started a systematic search to ascertain, if possible, the 
truth, with the following results: — 


In the Draper manuscripts in the State Historical 
Society at Madison, Wis., (Vol. 37- J, page 114, etc.) are 
four letters from Judge John Pope Oldham, dated 1845 
to 1847, in which he states that his father, Lieutenant- 
Colonel AA'illiam Oldham, "was born in 1752 in Berkeley 
County, Va. His parents were farmers in middle circum- 
stances. " 

"Besides William, they raised two sons and four 
daughters. Samuel, the eldest, removed to Kentucky in 
1784, settled near Louisville, and died at an advanced 
age" (died in 1823). "Conway, the youngest, entered the 
Revolutionary Army in 1776, continued m it until the 
battle of Eutaw Springs, where he fell, having then, I 
believe, the rank of major." (Note : He attained the rank 
of captain not major, his military record being as fol- 
lows: Conway Oldham, Va., 2nd Lieut., 12th Va., Dec, 
1776; 1st Lieut., April 2, 1777; regiment designated 8th 
Va., September 14, 1778; Capt., 1780; killed at Eutaw 
Springs, September 8, 1781. (See Heitraan's Register, 312.) 

"The two eldest daughters removed early to Pitts- 
burgh, one as the wife of General John Neville, and the 
other as the wife of Major Kirkpatrick." 

"Another married Lawrence Ross (who for many 
years of his youth had been a captive with the Indians), 
removed to the neighborhood of Louisville at an early 
day, raised a large family, and died in affluence at an ad- 
vanced age. The other married a Mr. Lisle and remained 
in Virginia until her death." 

"William joined Daniel Morgan's regiment as an en- 
sign in 1776, marched to Boston," etc., etc., was in the 
battles of Brandywine and Monmouth, was actively en- 
gaged in both battles and near being taken prisoner in 
the former. "He resigned his commission in the army in 
the spring of 1779, having then the rank of captain, and 
came directly to Louisville, Ky.," etc., etc. 


"In 1791 was appointed to command the Kentucky 

"My knowledge of the facts, I have stated, was de- 
rived from my mother and others intimately acquainted 
with my father. I think there can be no question as to 
their accuracy." 

That one of his sisters, who married Colonel John 
Neville, was Winifred (also Winny in deeds) Oldham, 
born 17.36, married August 24, 1754, died 1797, and buried 
in the old Presbyterian churchyard in Pittsburgh, Pa. 

His sister, Mary Ann Oldham, was the one who mar- 
ried Major Abraham Kirkpatrick (born in Cecil County, 
Md., 1749. was in the Revolutionary War, and died in 
Pittsburgh, Pa., 1817). 

Another sister. Susan Oldham, born January 1, 1746, 
married about 1762 (their eldest son, Shapley Ross, was 
born February 12, 1763). Lawrence Ross (born 1722, 
died 1818) moved to Kentucky where they lived near 
Louisville. She died between 1818 and 1822. Hayden, 
on page 527 in his Genealogies, says that Mrs. Lawrence 
Ross was a daughter of Colonel William Oldham of Jef- 
ferson County, Ky.. whereas she was his sister. 

From other sources I learn that General Daniel 
Morgan married into the family, one saying that he and 
General John Neville were brothers-in-law. General 
Morgan's wife was named Abigail. (See History of Fred- 
erick County, Va., by Cartmell, page 271.) She was 
probably the Abigail Oldham who with William Oldham, 
Conway Oldham and others witnessed deeds from John 
Neville and wife to the Rev. Charles Mynn Thruston, 
April, 1775 (See Deed Book 3, pages 406 to 408, Martins- 
burg, Berkeley County, W. Va.), and doubtless was an- 
other sister of Colonel William Oldham unknown to or 
overlooked by Judge John P. Oldham in his letter to 
Dr. Draper. 


In the Pension Office at Washington (Bounty Land 
Claim No. 503) I learn that Samuel Oldham was "the heir- 
at-law of Conway Oldham," who was killed at the battle 
of P]utaw Springs, S. C, 1781, and that said Samuel Old- 
ham was living in Jefferson County, Ky., in March, 1807. 

From the deed records at Martinsburg, Berkeley 
County, W. Va., I learn that the Samuel Oldham who 
was deputy sheriff, tax collector, etc., there bought three 
tracts of land in 1773, 1775 and 1777. These he sold in 
1779, 1780 and 1784. He does not appear on these records 
after that date, that being the year when he removed to 

Berkeley County was formed in 1772 out of Frederick 
County, Va. In the Frederick County Court deed records 
at Winchester, Va., Vol. XV., pages 77 and 78, under date 
of August 5th and 6th, 1770, there is a deed from "Samuel 
Oldham of the County of Frederick and Colony of Vir- 
ginia, son and heir-at-law of John Oldham, late of the 
County of Prince William, deceased," to Christian Grove 
of the same county, conveying a certain tract of land in 
Frederick County (formerly Augusta), containing 400 
acres, "the same being granted to the said John Oldham, 
deceased, by deed from under the hand and seal of the 
Right Honorable Thomas Lord Fairfax, proprietor," etc., 
etc., "bearing date the 24th day of November, 1752." 


Judge John Pope Oldham was from 33 to 38 years old 
when his aunt, Susan Ross, and his uncfe, Samuel Oldham, 
died. They had been near neighbors of his from about 


the date of his birth and he knew them well. I think, 
therefore, it was reasonably certain that his father, Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel William Oldham, was brother to Samuel 
Oldham and Conway Oldham, Mrs. Neville, Mrs. Kirk- 
patrick and Mrs. Ross, and probably Mrs. Lyle also. 

Samuel and William Oldham and their sister, Mrs. 
Ross, came to Kentucky from Berkeley County, Va., (now 
West Virginia), and whilst I have no absolute identifica- 
tion of the Samuel Oldham of Frederick County, Va., 
in 1770, with the Samuel Oldham of Berkeley County, in 
1773 to 1784, he could very readily have been the same 
without even changing his residence, since Berkeley 
County was formed from Frederick in 1772, and I feel 
that it is not an unwarranted assumption to class them 
as one and the same individual, in which assumption local 
historians agree with me. 

Louisville, Ky., March 3, 1911. 

March 27, 1911, he writes: 

Referring to the data which I sent you on the Old- 
hams recently, my attention has been called to the state- 
ment which Mr. T. K. Cartmell makes in his "History of 
Frederick County," on page 270, in which he says that 
in 1773 Daniel Morgan gave a mortgage on a certain tract 
of land to pay for certain debts and "to improve and 
establish a home for his family. He had then married 
his only wife. This was Abigail Bailey." 

This led to a further investigation, and through a 
correspondence with Mr. Roger Earl Watson, an attorney- 
at-law, of Martinsburg, W. Va., I learned that Abigail 


Oldham married one John Lyle, and that they were mar- 
ried prior to the year 1795, which is the date when their 
marriage records first begin. 

Furthermore on June 11, 1791, John Lyle and wife 
Abigail made a mortgage on a tract containing 1001/4 
acres of land to one Hugh Lyle, recorded in Deed Book 
11, page 434; atid later on, December 15, 1795, they gave 
another mortgage on a tract contaning 58 acres and 19 
poles to one Joseph Plummer, recorded in Berkeley 
County, Deed Book 12, page 375. 

With regards, I am, 

Yours very truly, 




Charles Shaler was born in New York City February 
28, 1789, and educated at Union College, Schenectady. 
His father was one of the commissioners to lay off the 
Western Reserve in Ohio and Charles went to Ravenna 
in 1809. He was admitted to the bar there and removiid 
to Pittsburgh and was admitted to practice here in 1813. 

He was Recorder of the Mayor's Court of Pitts- 
burgh from 1818 to 1821, President Judge of the Courts 
of Allegheny County from June 5, 1824, to March 4, 1835, 
when he resigned ; was associate law judge of the District 
Court of Allegheny County from May 6, 1841, to May 20, 
1844, when he resigned, and in 1853 was appointed United 
States District Attorney for the Western District of 
Pennsylvania under the administration of President 
Pierce. He died in Newark, N. J., March 5, 1869, at the 
home of his son"in-law, the Rev. J. S. B. Hodges, D.D., 
and was buried in the Allegheny Cemetery. His death 
was announced to the Courts March 8, 1869, by Thomas 
McConnell and P. C. Shannon, esquires, and Court ad- 
journed for the funeral. ' 

In early life he was a Federalist, afterward an ardent 
admirer of Henry Clay, then a Polk and Dallas Democrat. 
He had a quick, impulsive temper but a kind heart and 
a high sense of honor. His reputation as a lawyer and 
a judge was high and he clearly deserved it. In his 
arguments to the Court he was clear, brief and charac- 
teristically deferential. Before a jury he was eloquent 
and forcible, respectful to opposing counsel, with an 
occasional stroke of wit or sarcasm which fell with crush- 
ing force upon the victim. As a political orator on tin; 
stump he was a wonderful power. (Bench and Bar of 
Pennsylvania, Vol. 2, page 815.) 

We find in the Shaler Bible tlie following entry in 
Judge Shaler 's handwriting: 
"Entered May 21st, 1820. 


My father, Nathaniel Shaler, was a native of Mid- 
dletown, in Connecticut, and the son of Captain Reuben 
Shaler, a brave and experienced seaman, who perished 
in the Gulf of Mexico in the year 1751 in a tremendous 

"My father died in the summer of 1817, leaving eight 
children; three sons, Charles, Egbert, and William Den- 
ning, and five daughters, Lucy Ann, the wife of Com. 
Thomas McDonough, the victor of Champlain on the 
memorable 11th of September, 1814; Augusta, intermar- 
ried with Mr. Rutledge, a clergyman belonging to Charles- 
ton, S. C, and Charlotte, Louisa, and Amelia, still un- 

"William Denning, my maternal grandfather, a na- 
tive and highly reputed citizen of New York, died sud- 
denly in the fall of 1819 at a very advanced age. Egbert 
Shaler died June 3, 1823. He was married to a girl by 
the name of Hutchinson, left her a widow but had no 
children. William D. Shaler was married in the latter 
part of 1821 to a Miss Smith of Warren, Ohio." 

Amelia L. Kirkpatrick was married to Charles Shaler 
Nov. 28, 1813. They had the following children: Ann, 
wife of Frederick R. Smith ; John Conway Shaler, Louisa 
Shaler, Clarence Shaler and Augusta R. Shaler. See 
partition of the Estate of Amelia L. Shaler, dec'd, at No. 
35 Mch. T, 1839, in the Orphans' Court of Allegheny 
County : 

1. Mary Ann Shaler, born September 6, 1814; died 
May 23, 1852. Was married to Frederick R. Smith and 
had two sons, Charles Shaler Smith of St. Louis, and 
Frederick R. Smith of Baltimore, both civil engineers of 

2. John Conway Shaler, born July 20, 1816; was 
married to Sena Reninger and had a son and a daughter : 
John Conway Shaler. Jr., born October 13, 1843; died 


January 22, 1897; was married November 4, 1869, to 
Nellie R. Bratt, born February 17, 1846. 

Augusta L. Shaler, born January 29, 1846; died 
November 19, 1908, unmarried. 

John C. Shaler, Jr., left the following children: 

Edward Conway Shaler, born June -9, 1871 ; was mar- 
ried November 22, 1905, to Ruth Campbell. 

Henry Gibson Shaler, born February 12, 1873; died 
July 17, 1908; was married May 20, 1903, to Theodosia 

William Denning Shaler, born November 29, 1876. 

3. Louisa Amelia Shaler, born February 5, 1819; 
was killed July 16, 1839. by being thrown from a run- 
away horse while out riding with Samuel W. Black. 

4. Clarence Shaler, born in August, 1820; died Oc- 
tober 3, 1901 ; was married in 1863 to Margaret Vickers, 
born August 12, 1846. They had two sons and two daugh- 

Charles Shaler, born June 27, 1864. 

Edith Amelia Shaler, born December 24, 1866; was 
married in February, 1898, to Charles Howard Durham, 
born in August, 1865. 

Augusta Margaret Shaler, born August 19, 1868; 
was married March 15, 1906, to George Sheldon Orth, 
born July 31, 1851. 

James McGonigle Shaler, born July 19, 1875; was 
married in 1902 to Sarah Edgar, born in 1878. 

5. Augusta Rutledge Shaler, born July 31, 1824; 
died at Panama of yellow fever April 24, 1903. 

Judge Shaler was married twice. His second wife 
was jNIary Ann Riddle, a daughter of James Riddle, Asso- 
ciate Judge of the Court of Common Pleas from 1818 to 
1838, by whom he had Col. James R. Shaler, Superin- 


tendent of the Panama Railroad ("King of Panama"). 
Lucy, wife of the Rev. J. Sebastian B. Hodges, D.D., of 
Baltimore, Elizabeth Shaler and Eleanor Shaler, who, 
with their sister, Augusta R. Shaler, while on a visit to 
their brother at Panama, in April, 1903, died of yellow 
fever. General Charles Shaler of the United States Army, 
and Louisa, wife of John Allen, Esq., of the New York 



Christopher Cowan was born in the Townland of 
Shaloney, County of Termanagh, Ireland, in 1780, and 
died March 12, 1835. See tombstone in Trinity Church- 
yard, Pittsburgh. 

Christopher Cowan seems to have had a brilliant, 
even meteoric career. He was a dealer in dry goods, 
hardware, tobacco, bacon and general supplies and a 
pioneer in the iron business. Coming as an Irish 
lad, presumably without means or friends, he worked 
his way in business with such success that in 
1810, when but 30 years of age, he was the sec- 
ond largest dealer in iron at Pittsburgh and handled 
during that year the enormous quantity of 350 tons. 
(Navigator 1811.) The first rolling mill in Pittsbugh 
was erected by him in 1812 at a cost of nearly $100,000. 
(Louisiana and Mississippi Almanac, 1813.) From this 
date until his death he appears to have been prominent 
in the business life of the community and his name fre- 
quently appears as a captain of industry and a prominent 
participant in current events. He required large quanti- 
ties of Juniatta and Centre County iron for his rolling 
mill and in 1814 advertised in the Pittsburgh Mercury 
for from 20 to 50 wagons to haul iron from the furnaces 
and forges near Belief onte and stated that 20 or 30 of 
them would be employed to haul iron by the year. (Eras- 
mus "Wilson's History of Pittsburgh, 151-258-259.) 

John Newton Boucher, in "A Century and a Half of 
Pittsburgh and Her People," says. Vol. 2, page 16: "The 
first rolling mill of Pittsburgh was built by a Scotch 
Irishman in 1811 and 1812. It was called the Pittsburgh 
Rolling Mill," and quotes from Cramer's Almanac: 
"C. Cowan is erecting a most powerful steam engine to 
reduce iron to various purposes. It is calculated for a 
70 horse-power, which will put into complete operation 
a rolling mill, a slitting mill and a tilt hammer, all under 


the same roof. With these Mr. Cowan will be enabled 
to furnish sheet iron, nails and spike rods, shovels and 
tongs, spades, sythes, sickles, hoes, axes, frying pans, 
cutting knives, etc. In addition to Mr. Cowan's exten- 
sive nail business, he makes a great supply of chains, 
plough irons, shingling hatchets, claw hammers, chisels, 
screw augers, spinning wheel irons and smith's vices of 
superior quality." This extensive mill stood on the 
corner of Penn street and Cecil alley and was later known 
as the Stackpole and Whiting mill. 

The Bank of Pittsburgh, N. A., at its centennial re- 
ception threw open its old books and pointed with pride 
to the account of Christopher Cowan who, in 1813, was 
carrying a cash balance of $40,000, and was then a mem- 
ber of the board of directors. 

Having amassed wealth, for those days, he practi- 
cally withdrew from business without waiting for old 
age to overtake him, and established his home on a beauti- 
ful tract of some 1,000 acres at Woodville where he con- 
ducted farming operations on a large scale, lived in 
greater comfort than the neighboring farmers, enter- 
tained his friends in good style, was usually spoken of as 
Lord Cowan by his acquaintances and the countryside 
generally and treated with great deference. He died at 
the age of 55 years. By his will, dated April 6, 1833, (See 
Will Book 4, page 204) he provided for the comfort and 
maintenance of his old servants and leaves his estate to be 
disposed of according to law. 

Filiza Maria Kirkpatrick. born in 1789, died July 19, 
1822; was married September 29, 1810, to Christopher 
Cowan, born in 1780; died March 12, 1835. 

They had seven children : 

Mary, wife of John F. AVrenshall; James Cowan, 
John Cowan ; Elizabeth, wife of William Ebbs ; Margaret 
Cowan, Amelia L. Cowan, Richard Cowan. (See partition 


of the Estate of Eliza M. Cowan, dec'd, at No. 43, Decem- 
ber T, 1836, in the Orphans' Court. 

1. Mary Ann Cowan, born March 25, 1812; died 
January- 20, 1896; was married September 19, 1832, to 
John F. Wrenshall, born February 13, 1802 ; died January 
19, 1862. 

They had seven children : 

John C. Wrenshall, civil engineer, of Baltimore ; born 
July 1, 1833; was married in 1867 to Letitia Young. 

Charles C. Wrenshall, civil engineer, of Lincolnton, 
N. C, born December 6, 1836; died August 17, 1910; was 
married in 1865 to Jane Noble. 

Edward Wrenshall, born December 9, 1838; died 
March 15, 1904; was married in 1875 to Elizabeth Ryan, 
born in 1858. 

Mary B. Wrenshall, born December 11, 1840. 

Elizabeth M. (Bessie) Wrenshall, born May 22, 1843 ; 
died June 18, 1904; was married October 24, 1878, to 
Abraham G. Barnett, born October 22, 1844. 

Richard C. Wrenshall, born November 6, 1845; was 
married April 2, 1885, to Myra McCleery. 

William E. Wrenshall, born September 12, 1848; 
was married May 31, 1892, to Sarah Steel, born June 24, 

2. James Cowan, born November 14, 1813; died in 
February, 1873. 

3. John Conway Cowan, born August 28, 1815; died 
February 28, 1838, at Havana, Cuba. 

4. Elizabeth M. Cowan, born August 8, 1817, died 
August 14, 1878; was married July 18, 1836, to William 
Ebbs, who died July 18, 1861. 

They had the following children: 
Alice Ebbs, born May 24, 1837; was married Febru- 
ary 5, 1863, to Joseph B. Dillingham and had issue: 


Elizabeth Cowan Dillingham, born December 24, 1863. 
William Henry Dillingham, Born February 1, 1865. 
Charles Chauncey Dillingham, born August 15, 1866. 
Alice Ebbs Dillingham, born October 4, 1867. 
John Conway Cowan Dillingham, born June 24, 1869. 
Florence Dillingham, born December 30, 1870. 

Arthur Ebbs, born June 25, 1842, was married No- 
vember 12, 1868, to Mary Y. Hickman, and died November 
7, 1872, without issue. 

Florence Ebbs, born July 1, 1845, was married Oc- 
tober 18, 1866, to Major D. C. Phillips, and died Febru- 
ary 4, 1870. 

Walter Ebbs, born July 18, 1846, was married to Flor- 
ence Alderdice, but died without issue. 

Bessie Ebbs, born November 24, 1849, was married 
June 18, 1879, to H. P. Norris, who died February 16, 
1892, and had issue H. P. Norris, born July 10, 1881. 

5. Margaret Cowan, born September 17, 1819, died 
in January, 1899 ; was married in December, 1846, to 
Judge John Thompson Mason of Hagerstown, Maryland, 
born May, 1814, died March, 1873. 

They had one son, John Thompson Mason, R., who 
was born in January 1853, and died in December, 1899; 
unmarried and two daughters, to wit : 

Louisa Mason, born February, 1848; was married in 
October, 1873, to Admiral Silas W. Terry, born in 1842, 
died February 9, 1911, and had one son, J. T. Mason Terry, 
born in December, 1875, and one daughter, Eleanor Terry, 
born in January, 1879. 

Elizabeth Mason, born in JMarch, 1851, died in July, 
1899 ; was married in January, 1875, to Commodore Theo- 
dric Porter, born in December, 1848, and had the follow- 
ing children : 

Georganna Porter, born November, 1875, died June, 


Marguerite Porter, born in May, 1879. 

Rosalie Porter, born in December, 1880. 

Bessie Porter, born February, 1884, died October, 

6. Richard Cowan, born August 25, 1821, died June 
11, 1878, unmarried. He and Amelia were twins. 

7. Amelia L. Cowan, born August 25, 1821, died 
March 27, 1904; was married to Marshall Swartzwelder, 
born March 14, 1819, died September 30, 1884, and had 
issue as follows : 

Libbie Swartzwelder, born August 5, 1850, died No- 
vember 14, 1888 ; was married May 19, 1875, to George N. 
Beckwith, born June 30, 1842, and had issue : 

Amelia L. Beckwith, born November 18, 1876, died 
January 6, 1906. 

James Scott Beckwith, born January 5, 1879. 
Marshall Stewart Beckwith, born May 20, 1880. 
Anna Mary Beckwith, born Mftrch 28, 1883. 

Mary G. Swartzwelder, born (t>cE# /T. 185 X^ 

Richard C. Swartzwelder, born July 14, 1857. 

Amelia L. Swartzwelder, born March 14, 1859, died 
January 31, 1900; was married to Charles Gilpin. 



Dr. Joel Lewis was of Quaker family, a native of 
Christiana, Delaware, and son of Joel Lewis, formerly 
Marshal of the District of Delaware, who was born May 
7, 1750, died February 3, 1820; married in Philadelphia 
by Friend's Ceremony at Market and Second street 
Meeting House, 10th month, 6th day, 1772, to Amy 
Hughes, born January 7, 1754, died October 5, 1826. 

They had the following children : 

1. John Lewis, born March 19, 1774, died May 7, 
1841 ; was married to Eliza Clewlough, daughter of Capt. 
Clewlough of the English Navy. He went to Russia while 
a young man and established the first American dry 
goods commission house in St. Petersburg, made a large 
fortune, took up his residence in England, and was the 
father of John Delaware Lewis, who became a member 
of the British Parliament. 

2. Abigail or Abbie Lewis, born January 17, 1776, 
died December 24, 1834; married Benjamin Patterson, 
and was the mother of Susan Patterson, who married 
David Kirkpatrick, M.D., of Westmoreland County, Pa., 
and was the mother of John Frank Kirkpatrick, born 
1826, died April 26, 1878. 

3. Eliza Lewis, born September 28, 1778, died Jan- 
uary 10, 1861 ; was married to Dr. John Vaughan, who 
died July 7, 1834, in his 32nd year. 

4. Thomas Lewis, born October 2, 1786, died No- 
vember 6, 1824. 

5. Joel Lewis, born March 29, 1790, died March 28, 
1824; was married July 8, 1814. to Mary Ann Kirk- 

6. William D. Lewis, born September 22, 1792, died 
April 18, 1881 ; was married June 8, 1825. to Sarah Clay- 
pole, who died January 31, 1870. He went to England 


in 1814 as private secretary to Henry Clay, with the Com- 
missioners, who went to enter into a treaty of peace, the 
war of 1812 then being still on ; went to St. Petersburg 
and entered into partnership with his brother John and 
in 1825 returned to Philadelphia, established himself in 
business, was a leading member of the Union League and 
prominent in the financial, political and business affairs 
of the city and an ardent patriot and supporter of the 
Government during the Civil War. 

During the Revolutionary War Joel Lewis, the elder, 
although a good Quaker, equipped and put into the field 
at his own expense a company of soldiers, for which act 
he was read out of meeting and his sons never became 
real Quakers. 

Dr. Joel Lewis was a pupil of the famous Dr. Chap- 
man, was a university graduate, and it has frequently 
been said by old residents that Dr. Joel Lewis was the first 
college M. D. or regular medical graduate in practice 
west of the mountains. This is probably a mistake as 
Dr. Bedford had been a surgeon in the English army and 
several of the earlier physicians are believed to have 
held diplomas. 

Erasmus Wilson, in his History of Pittsburgh, page 
6G7, says of him: A brilliant, though unfortunately 
brief, career was that of Dr. Joel Lewis, who was born 
at Christiana, Delaware, March 29, 1790, graduated at 
the University of Pennsylvania in 1811, and settled in 
Pittsburgh the same year. He was a skillful surgeon 
and his worth and ability were accorded prompt recog- 
nition. He was an ardent patriot and was in 1822 made 
Brigadier General of the First Brigade, Fifteenth Di- 
vision, Pennsylvania Militia. In the same year he was 
elected president of the Pittsburgh Medical Society. He 


died March 28, 1824, at the early age of 34 years. In the 
Directory of 1815 his name appears on the staff of The 
Pittsburgh Chemical and Physiological Society as lecturer 
upon Anatomy. 

Dr. Joel Lewis was married July 8, 1814, to Mary 
Ann Kirkpatrick, born October 19, 1798, died February 
11, 1826. They had the following children: 

A. Kirkpatrick Lewis and Maria L. Lewis, who sur- 
vive Eliza Lewis deed, see partition of the Estate of 
Mary Ann Lewis, deed 0. C. No. 25, December T, 1842. 

Eliza Lewis was born May 28, 1822, and died Oc- 
tober 17, 1841, unmarried. 

Abraham Kirkpatrick Lewis was born August 24, 
1815; graduated from Kenyon College, Ohio, in 1835; 
studied medicine but finding that not to his taste turned 
to the law, registered as a student with Judge Shaler 
August 7, 1840, and was admitted to the bar December 
23, 1843. About this time, partly on account of his 
health demanding a more active life, his studious habits 
having seriously affected his eyes, and partly by reason 
of having become interested in the mining of coal then 
in its infancy, he abandoned a professional career and, 
devoting his whole energy to the coal business, in a short 
time was recognized as the leading coal operator here 
and, in conjunction with William Philpot and John M. 
Snowden, Jr., was the first to establish a market and 
furnish a regular supply of Pittsburgh coal to New 
Orleans and the intervening cities, sending out a fleet 
on each rise in the river. In those days the coal was 
floated down with the current in boats of rude con- 
struction, steered by long oar blades at each end like 
a raft which, when unloaded, were sold for lumber, not 
being considered worth towing back up stream, and, so 
great were the risks of navigation, that if one-half of the 
boats arrived at their destination it was considered a 
good average. 


Kirk Lewis, as he was always called, was a man of 
scientific attainments and a lifelong student. He was 
original, ingenious and bold in his conceptions and, in 
addition to his medical, chemical and legal knowledge, 
was possessed of considerable native ability as an engi- 
neer, strong common sence and great executive force. 
Thoroughness and efficiency were his leading character- 
istics. Whatever he did he always did well. He was the 
first operator here to handle coal by inclined planes, box 
shutes being then in use for getting the coal down the 
hill. He built a cheek house, inclined plane to the river, 
and tipple a little west of where the Duquesne Inclined 
Plane now is, of substantially the same design as is still 
in use today. He drove an entry from the head of this 
plane through to the Saw Mill Run Valley, a distance of 
nearly a mile, so straight that daylight could be seen 
from one end to the other, laid a tramway and 
hauled the coal out in cars with ponies to the check house, 
where the cars were run down the plane to the river and 
dumped into the boats. 

His residence, where Holliday Park now is, was sup- 
plied by a hydraulic ram with water from a spring half 
a mile distant, and with ice from his own ice house. His 
greenhouse and nursery were operated on a commercial 
basis in connection with a stand in the market. The 
farm was a model for clean fields, well-kept fences, fer- 
tility of soil and productiveness. He used fertilizers and 
practiced what is now called intensive farming, kept a 
daily record of the temperature, barometric pressure and 
rainfall, a diary of current events, had a deer park back 
of the house with a small herd of deer and some fawns 
in it, was noted for the quiet elegance of his turnouts 
and his fine horses and cattle, and last but in the writer's 
memory not least, kept a donkey and donkey cart for 
the children. 

Kirk Lewis was a member of the vestry of Trinity, 
a devout churchman, a careful and conscientious busi- 


ness man, punctilious to a fault in all the relations of 
life, a disciplinarian, rather severe with the children and 
exacting with his subordinates but with a due apprecia- 
tion of faithful service and the faculty of attaching to 
himself trusty and useful men, who made his interests 
their own and under his skillful guidance conducted his 
business with great success. 

He built a tramway from the river up to the Little 
Saw Mill Run Valley, a distance of some two miles, which 
was known as the Horse Railroad, being operated by 
horses, over which he hauled the coal from his mines and 
loaded it on barges at the mouth of Saw Mill Run until 
the building of the Little Saw Mill Run Railroad in the 
early fifties, after which time the coal was carried over 
that road by steam power. Having bought tract after 
tract of coal land, at the time of his death he owned 
nearly all the coal abutting on the Little Saw Mill Run 
Valley, was operating half a dozen mines, had fleet after 
fleet of coal boats all the way from here to New Orleans, 
and had he lived ten years longer would have been a 
very rich man, but unfortunately the magnitude of his 
operations involved the carrying of considerable floating 
debt and business paper and his death at forty-five years 
of age and the consequent enforced settlement of his 
business while yet in the formative or growing stage in- 
volved such sacrifices that about all that was left for 
the children when everything was closed up was the 
home farm, which at that time was not of great value. 
Undoubtedly Kirk Lewis planned for a longer life. His 
success was marvelous, he was an organizer, con- 
structor and a man of achievement. Starting without 
capital other than the coal itself under the home farm, 
he had in fifteen years built up a business of such pro- 
portions as would be notable even in these days of larger 
afi'airs, and doubtless expected in fifteen years more to 
work out his coal, close his mines and retire, a millionaire. 
Such is life. 


Abraham Kirkpatriek Lewis, born August 24, 1815, 
died November 10, I860; was married April 16, 1846, to 
Mary Orth, born June 26, 1822, died December 18, 1853. 
They had four children: 

1. William D. Lewis, born July 14, 1847; was mar- 
ried in 1874 to Ida Baker and died in 1895. 

2. Lucretia 0. Lewis, born June 20, 1849 ; was mar- 
ried October 5, 1869, to Dr. Frank LeMoyne, born April 
4, 1839. 

3. Mary A. Lewis, born August 26, 1851; was mar- 
ried December 30, 1880, to Robert Nelson Clark, born 
March 5, 1848, died March 17, 1894. 

4. Orth Lewis, born December 9, 1853, died April 
13, 1861. 

(Paste this on Page 41, Kirkpatriek Genealogy.) 

Maria Louisa Lewis, l)orn June 8, 1819, at 8 :30 A. 
M., weighing 61^ pounds; was married Dec. 30, 1846, in 
Trinity Church, by the Rev. G. TTpfold, D.D.. to the Hon. 
Tliomas J. Righam, nnd died Oct. 14, 1888. 




A notable character in the public life of Pittsburg, who 
with voice and pen was always active in the promotion 
and encouragement of any and every movement tending to 
develope the higher life or advance the material interests 
of the community, was the Hon. Thomas James Bigham, 
born near historic Hannastown, Westmoreland County, Pa., 
at the residence of his grandfather, James Christy, Feb- 
ruary 12th, 1810. His parents. Thomas Bigham. born April 
18th, 1784, died October 31st, 1809, and Sarah Christy, 
born October 27th, 1785, died August 6th, 1811, who were 
married April 4th, 1809, were farming people of Scotch- 
Irish ancestry and Revolutionary stock on both sides. 

The name Bigham is a corruption or changed form 
of Bingham, and as far as known the Binghams and 
Bighams in this country are derived from the same north 
of Ireland family and supposed to be descendants of Sir 
John de Bingham, who came over with William the Con- 
queror, was knighted for his valiant services and alloted 
estates near Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. One of these 
Binghams (Thomas) according to traditions, about 1480 
emigrated from Sheffield to the north of Ireland and 
there founded that branch of the family which seems so 
fully represented in this country. Be that as it may, the 
subject of this sketch, upon comparison of family history, 
considered himself akin to the Binghams of Philadelphia 
and Ohio, the Bighams of Adams and Mercer Counties, 
Pennsylvania, and many other Bighams and Binghams 
throughout the country. 

His father having died before his birth, and his 
mother so soon thereafter, Thomas J. Bigham was brought 
up by his maternal grandparents and went through the 
experiences common to farmers' boys at that period, 
without any educational advantages save the short term 
country district school in the winter, and the long, all- 


day Sunday preaching which the Covenanters of that 
day so thoroughly appreciated. Naturally bright, am- 
bitious and possessed of an unusually retentive memory, 
he read everything that came within his reach and what 
he read and heard rarely passed from his memory so that 
he soon became locally noted for his fund of information 
and his ability in recital. His one great desire was a col- 
lege education, and feeling himself qualified, he endeav- 
ored before reaching his majority to induce his grand- 
father to use for this purpose a small sum of money left 
by his father, but without results, as the grandfather, a 
good sensible man, considered the money much better ex- 
pended in setting him up at farming, and absolutely re- 
fused to squander it upon education. Upon coming of age 
however, he took his little patrimony, which, added to what 
he was able to earn by working during vacation, tutoring, 
etc., proved sufficient to carry him through a full course 
at Jefferson College, Canonsburg, where he graduated 
with honors in the class of 1834. During his course at 
college he distinguished himself by a readiness of speech, 
quickness of wit, power of repartee, earnestness of pur- 
pose, and fund of general information, which led to his 
frequently being called upon to uphold the honors of his 
college in debate, and in the course of events being 
dubbed "Thomas Jefferson Bigham," a sobriquet which 
stuck to him during life, and is supposed by a majority 
of his associates to have been his proper name. After 
graduation he taught school at Harrisburg for a year, dur- 
ing the winter delivering a course of lectures upon scientific 
subjects. The following year he came to Pittsburg, where 
he continued to teach and lecture and at the same time 
took up the study of law, was admitted to the Allegheny 
County bar, September 4th, 1837, and became associated 
in practice with Judges Veach and Baird, old-time law- 
yers of distinction, later with AV. O. Leslie as Bigham and 
Leslie, and about 1870 with his oldest son, Joel L. Big- 
ham, as T. J. Bigham and Son. In the disastrous fire of 
April 10, 1845, both office and lodgings were destroyed. 


and he lost his entire office furnishings, library of law, 
scientific and general works, notes, papers and memo- 

December 30, 1846, he married Maria Louisa Lewis, 
daughter of Dr. Joel Lewis, a member of one of the old- 
est and most prominent families of this State, and in 1849 
built a substantial residence upon a wooded knoll on 
his wife's property on Mt. Washington, south of the city, 
where the family have resided ever since. Mrs. Bigham 
was a granddaughter of Major Abraham Kirkpatrick, a 
Virginia officer in the Revolutionary army, who was pay- 
master at Fort Pitt, located here permanently at the close 
of the war and with Gen. John Neville, his brother-in- 
law, was a conspicuous figure in upholding federal au- 
thority during the so-called "Wliiskey Insurrection" of 
1794. Major Kirkpatrick purchased, in March, 1794, 
from John Penn, Jr., and John Penn, heirs of William 
Penn, farms 10 and 11 in the Manor of Pittsburgh, south 
of the Monongahela River, containing 714 acres, and com- 
prising the territory known locally as Mt. Washington 
and Duquesne Heights. After his death this property was 
divided among his three children, Eliza M., wife of 
Christopher Cowan, taking the easterly portion ; Amelia 
L., wife of Judge Charles Shaler, the westerly portion, 
and Mary Ann, wife of Dr. Joel Lewis, the middle part, 
which subsequently was divided between her 'children, 
Abraham Kirkpatrick Lewis, who died November 10, 
1860, and Maria L. Lewis, later Mrs. Bigham. 

Mrs. Bigham was distinguished for her charm of 
manner, warm impulses, strong religious convictions and 
life-long efforts to uplift and improve the moral, intel- 
lectual and spiritual tone of all within the sphere of her 
influence. Her work among the young, in the various la- 
dies' societies, the Sanitary commission during the war, 
Grace church and Sunday school, and in the establish- 
ment and management of the Mt. Washington Free Li- 
brary and Reading Room Association, which resulted 


finally in its place being taken by a branch Carnegie Li- 
brary, will not soon be forgotten by the community in 
which and for which she lived and labored. 

Mr. Bigham was prominent in the political affairs 
of the State, even more than he was as a lawyer, and 
soon became one of the most widely known citizens of 
Pittsburgh. He had too much taste and aptitude for pub- 
lic affairs to be content in the narrower walk of profes- 
sional life. His strong voice and clear ennunciation made 
him easily heard, and his well stored mind, genius for 
statistics, power of repartee, ready wit, unfailing good 
humor and sunshiny disposition added much to his pop- 
ularity as an off-hand speaker, and brought him into con- 
stant demand at all public gatherings, where his pres- 
ence, his voice, and his utterances combined to render 
him prominent among the men of his day and made him 
a leader of political affairs. His wonderfully retentive 
memory enabled him to carry and recall the history of 
political, financial and industrial affairs so readily that 
he earned the sobriquets "Old Statistics" and the "Sage 
of ]Mt. Washington." Frequently he was compared to 
famous "Bill" Allen of Ohio, on account of his vocal 
powers. For so many years was he called upon to read 
the returns election nights to the crowds at Republican 
headquarters that he came to be regarded as one of the 
features of an election, and it was difficult for any one 
else to hold the stage. His announcements of returns 
were always accompanied by a running fire of comments 
and comparisons from memory with former figures which 
gave a very fair idea of the trend of results. So earnest 
and emotional did he become that his very appearance, 
as he came, forward with each report would indicate its 
nature before it was read, and the crowd would take the 
cue accordingly. In politics he was a Whig, Abolitionist, 
original Fremonter, and steadfast Republican. He be- 
came widely known as an Abolitionist at a time when that 
cause was not popular, and not only aided with his tongue 


and pen, but for years maintained at his home on Mt. 
Washington a place of refuge for the footsore fugitive 
slaves escaping from their masters, called in the vernacu- 
lar of those days a "Station of the Underground Rail- 
way." The nurse for his two oldest children, born in 
1847 and 1851, was a black girl, Lucinda by name, who 
never went outside the house by daylight and always fled 
to the attic whenever a stranger was reported in sight. 

In 1844 Mr. Bigham was elected to the House of 
Representatives and served from 1845 to 1848, 1851 to 
1854, 1862 to 1864, and in the senate from 1865 to 1869, 
serving upon the ways and means, railroads and canals, 
judiciary, and other important committees. He was al- 
ways recognized as a sound, capable and judicious legis- 
lator, and was the author of some of our most important 
laws. Among them may be named the married woman's 
act of 1848, the general railroad law of 1867, and the 
acts extending the municipal powers of the city of Pitts- 
burg, known as the consolidation acts of 1867 and 1869. 
His attention was early directed to the financial and rev- 
enue system of the commonwealth, and he drafted and 
promoted the passage of many of the laws imposing tax- 
ation upon corporations to raise the needed revenue for 
the maintenance of the state government and the removal 
of the tax for state purposes upon land. He was a mem- 
ber of many commissions appointed under state authority 
at different times to investigate and report upon matters 
affecting the public interest and welfare. The appoint- 
ment of commissioner of statistics of the state of Penn- 
sylvania, which office he filled from 1873 to 1875, was 
tendered him by Governor Hartranft, not as a political re- 
ward, but as a recognition of his great ability and attain- 
ments especially directed toward the industrial, manu- 
facturing, agricultural, mining and mercantile interests of 
this great state, and the reports made by him have always 
been considered of special value. Few citizens of the state 
have shown more devotion to its interests than has he. In 


1851 he was elected to the board of managers of the Penn- 
sylvania Eeform School, to which for many years he had 
been a contributor, and continued to act in that capacity 
until disabled by the infirmities of age. He was the found- 
er and chief supporter of Grace Episcopal Church, Mt. 
Wasliington, which grew out of a mission Sunday School 
started by him and his wife in 1849, and was carried on 
almost wholly at their expense for many years, until it be- 
came a flourishing congregation. He was the proprietor 
for years of the Commercial Journal, and one of the found- 
ers of the Pittsburg Commercial, both now merged with 
the Pittshurg Gazette, and was identified with all the pub- 
lic enterprises of his day. From 1878 to 1882 he was a 
member of the councils of the city of Pittsburg, where his 
industry and energy in looking after every measure intro- 
duced, that it might be strictly for the public good, made 
him a notable figure, and rendered many meetings of that 
body lively and interesting. I\Ir. Bigham devoted much 
time to scientific and historical studies throughout his en- 
tire life. His favorite historical researches were connected 
with the annals of the state of Pennsylvania, and especially 
of the western settlements. Many valuable contributions 
from his pen have been published and are familiar to those 
who have given attention to the subjects treated. His work 
is characterized by large natural ability, patient industry 
in research in the field to which his tastes attracted him, 
and sound and discriminating judgment in all matters, 
particularly those of public concern. Socially he was frank 
and entertaining, and very instructive in conversation, but 
decided in his views, into the expression of which he car- 
ried the enthusiasm which attends thorough conviction and 
an earnest nature. Brusque in manner, with little regard 
for outward appearances, but of a generous nature and 
kindly disposition, with his v;\i and bright conversation, 
he was very companionable and always formed the center 
of an interested group. 

His death occurred November 9, 1884, and he was laid 
to rest in the Allegheny Cemetery, of which he was in 1844 


one of the charter members, and the first secretary of the 
corporation. He was survived by his wife, Maria L. Big- 
ham, who died October 14, 1888, and the following children : 
Joel L. Bigham, born November 6, 1847; married Sarah 
Davis, November 14, 1872, and died January 20, 1892 ; was 
a lawyer of recognized ability. He is represented by his 
two sons, Thomas J., in the Episcopal ministry, born March 
23, 1875, and Joel Lewis, of the U. S. Navy, born February 
28, 1877. 

Kirk Q. Bigham, born March 17, 1851, unmar- 
ried, is a member of the Allegheny County Bar and for 
many years represented the Thirty-second ward in city 

Mary A., born March 29, 1854 ; was married April 
7, 1885, to Melville L. Stout, born June 2, 1849. 

Eliza A., born January 31, 1857, died June 23, 1902 ; 
unmarried ; was noted for her warm-heartedness and love 
for children. 

Kirk Q. Bigham and Mr. and Mrs. Stout, with their 
children, are still living in the picturesque old homestead 
among the forest trees, surrounded by the lands inherited 
through three descents from their great-grandfather, the 
greater part of which they still own. 


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