Washington County And Township History

WASHINGTON COUNTY, PA. Opened for settlement in 1768. The evolution of Washington County is as follows: From 1750 to 1770 – Cumberland County; from 1771 to 1773 – Bedford County; from 1773 to 1781 – Westmoreland County; March 28, 1781 – Washington County. Prior to 1781, Virginia also claimed Southwestern Pennsylvania. Virginia created the District of West Augusta and divided what is known as Washington County in to three counties. Yohogania, Monongalia and Ohio. Researchers looking for history prior to 1781 should consider Augusta County, Virginia records. Yohogania County, Virginia, records are in Washington Co., Pennsylvania, intermingled with Pennsylvania records in the earliest dockets; Monongalia County, Virginia, records (pre-1796 were lost in fire) are in Morgantown, West Virginia; Ohio County, Virginia, are in Wheeling, Ohio County, West Virginia.

Originally, 13 townships were formed July 1, 1781 (p. 228 Crumrine; p. 459 Forrest, vol. 1). Amwell, Bethelhem, Cecil, Cumberland (to Greene County in 1796), Donegal, Fallowfield, Hopewell, Morgan (to Greene County in 1796), Nottingham, Peters, Robinson, Smith, Strabane.

 

TOWNSHIP FORMATION FROM ORIGINAL 13 WASHINGTON COUNTY TOWNSHIPS


Allen                      August 1852 from Fallowfield and E. Pike Run

Blaine                    November 4, 1894, from Buffalo

Buffalo                   May 8, 1799, from Donegal

Canton                  June 10, 1791, from Chartiers, Hopewell, Morris, Strabane

Carroll                   September 30, 1834, from Fallowfield, Nottingham

Chartiers              March 23, 1790, from Cecil

Cross Creek        December 10, 17889 from Hopewell

East Bethlehem  January 8, 1790, from Bethlehem

East Finley            December 24, 1828, from Finley

East Pike Run      March 9, 1839-1843(?) from Pike Run

Finley                     May 6, 1788, from Donegal

Franklin                 August 13, 1855, from Canton, Morris

Hanover                March 11, 1786 from Smith

Independence     February 1856 from Hopewell

Jefferson               June 16, 1853 from Cross Creek

Morris                    March 13, 1788, from Amwell

Mount Pleasant   May 12, 1806 from Smith, Cecil, Hopewell, Canton

North Bethlehem 1921 from West Bethlehem

North Franklin      February 8, 1892, from Franklin

North Strabane    May 2, 1831, from Strabane

Pike Run               April 1792

Somerset              1782 from Fallowfield

South Franklin      February 8, 1892, from Franklin

South Strabane    May 2, 1831, from Strabane

Union                      March 31, 1835, from Peters, Nottingham

West Bethlehem  January 8, 1790, from Bethlehem

West Finley           December 24, 1828 from Finley

West Pike             Run March 9, 1839, from Pike Run

Compiled from McFarland 1910 and Crumrine 1882. The Genealogical Society of Southwestern Pennsylvania grants permission to photocopy this material only if photocopied in its entirety. ©1999 GSSWPA All Rights Reserved.

IMPORTANT EVENTS IN WASHINGTON COUNTY BEFORE 1800

by Raymond Martin Bell

1769

Land office opened for applications

1771

Bedford County formed
David Hoge bought town of Washington land

1773

Westmoreland County formed from Bedford
First Baptist ministers

1774

Dunmore's War against the Indians

1775

West Augusta District of Virginia formed, including present Washington County

1776

Yohogania, Monongalia and Ohio Counties formed from West Augusta
Pennsylvania land office closed.

1777

Council of War at Catfish Camp (Washington)
Militia organized - Oath of Allegiance required
Indian attacks begin

1778

First Presbyterian ministers

1779

Virginia issues land certificates

1780

Virginia makes land surveys

1781

Washington County formed from Westmoreland, includes present Washington, Greene and southern Allegheny
Virginia jurisdiction ends
Town of Washington laid out

1782

Last Indian attack at Rice's Fort
Registration of slaves required
Petition for new state circulated
First tax list: 2,914 taxables

1783

3,315 taxables; 2,217 houses; 16,399 inhabitants (402) black)

1784

Land office reopened
First Methodist ministers
Boundary of southwestern Pennsylvania made permanent

1785

First Society of Friends in county

1787

Washington Academy chartered
First courthouse built

1788

Allegheny County formed from Washington
First Lutheran-Reformed Church in county
Registration of slave children required

1789

First Episcopal Church in county

1790

Federal Census (including Greene) - 23,866 persons; 3,965 heads of families

1791

Second courthouse built

1793

3,917 taxables

1794

Canonsburg Academy chartered
Whiskey Insurrection

1795

Markethouse in Washington
First newspaper, Western Telegraph

1796

Greene County formed from Washington
First postmaster

1798

Federal window tax - 3,258 houses - 709 over $100

For more information, see Boyd Crumrine, History of Washington County, 1882

The Genealogical Society of Southwestern Pennsylvania thanks Raymond Martin Bell for permission to use his writing.
(c) 1999 GSSWPA All Rights Reserved.