banner search whats new site index home

Beallsville Borough

Beallsville Borough Hall is located at 82 South Street, #A, Beallsville PA 15313; phone: 724-632-5420.

Beginnings

As early as 1774 pioneer Robert Thornton had settled land on Fishpot and Plum Runs in southwestern Pennsylvania near the place which would come to be known as Beallsville. It is uncertain under what right he held the land since there is no record of a Pennsylvania warrant being issued to Thornton for the acreage he claimed. He may very well have simply held the land under a "tomahawk improvement right," which meant he claimed the land to be his simply by his presence on it. On May 14, 1785 Thornton sold his land to Zephaniah Beall who registered the sale with the Land Office of Pennsylvania. Beall had a 349 1/2 acre tract surveyed on May 30 under the title of "Clear Drinking," a name recognizing the plentiful freshwater springs found in the area. Beall held the land for over ten years until October 24, 1796, when he conveyed 184 acres of the tract to his son, also named Zephaniah. Sometime afterward, Christian Kreider and George Jackson bought interests in the land.

In 1818, travel began between Cumberland, Maryland and Wheeling, Virginia along 130 miles of the National Road, the country's first federally-funded highway. Up until the opening of the pike, the wooded mountains and hills of southwestern Pennsylvania had remained a somewhat remote area where such events as the French and Indian War (1754-1763) and the Whiskey Rebellion (1794) were played out against a backdrop of undeveloped frontier. Ninety miles of the National Road passed through Pennsylvania, bringing with it thousands of new settlers and decades of prosperity to the entire region.

The newly-opened pike ran straight through the land owned by the Bealls, Kreider and Jackson who recognized the opportunity for development. On August 30, 1819 the four land owners chartered a town on their land and gave it the name of Beallsville in honor of Zephaniah senior. At the same time, they hired Jonathan Knight to lay out a plan for their new town along the National Road. Knight had already made a name for himself as an engineer working on the construction of the National Road, and he would later be responsible for several of the plans for southwestern Pennsylvania's pike towns. The survey Knight created was a linear plan with 128 lots, most of which measured 180 feet deep with 60 feet of frontage on the National Road, now serving as Main Street. Two major crossroads of Gay and Maiden Streets, also commonly known as the Pittsburgh and Morgantown Pikes or Bentleyville Road, were also included. A grid of narrow alleys named for trees and local natural features completed the survey and plat of the town which Knight dated September 13, 1819.

A week before the town was chartered, the four land owners had already distributed the following advertisement to potential buyers in the region:

Beallsville

The public are informed that a town is laid off to be called Beallsville, on the National Road, including the tavern stand now occupied by Christian Kreider, at the Cross-roads about nine miles from Brownsville and fifteen from Washington. The lots will be sold on the premises on Monday, the 13th of September next at public auction. Sale to commence at 10 o'clock a.m. Any further comments on the advantages of the site is considered unnecessary, as those wishing to purchase will view the premises.

The conditions will be made easy to purchasers.

Zeph'a Beall George Jackson Christian Kreider Zeph'a W. Beall Proprietors.

Aug. 23, 1819. The Tavern House will be sold on said day.

The advertisement rings with an air of confidence shared by many land developers along the National Road in its early years of existence. Three miles to the west a similar view had been taken by the nearby town of Hillsborough (now Scenery Hill) which had been platted a month earlier in July by Knight. The proprietors of Hillsborough had promised prospective buyers:

"There is no town or village within ten or twelve miles distant which can rival it. Nor is it presumed that any can be established short of that distance which can have effect."

  1. VanRy, Kimber, National Road Heritage Park, Beallsville Historical Society, Beallsville Historic District, nomination document, 1995, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
**Information is curated from a variety of sources and, while deemed reliable, is not guaranteed.
Copyright © 1997-2016 • The Gombach Group • www.gombach.com • 11736 • Privacy