East Huntingdon Township
East Huntingdon Township, PO Box 9, Alverton PA 15612; phone: 724-887-6141.
East Huntingdon Township was formed by a division of the original Huntingdon Township, and was taken from South Huntingdon Township in 1798. Efforts had been made to have this township formed in 1794. It is bounded on the north by Hempfield Township; on the east by Mt. Pleasant Township; on the south by Fayette County, and on the west by South Huntingdon Township. The township is almost entirely underlaid with a rich and productive seam of bituminous coal.
The first settlers in the township were Scotch-Irish who came from the eastern part of Pennsylvania. Among them were John Vance, a magistrate for many years; William and Franklin Vance, and the Fosters, Barrs, Cochrans, McClains and McCormicks. After these first settlers, that is about 1800, came many Germans belonging to the Mennonite church, who also came from the eastern part of the state. They were thrifty farmers and brought with them good supplies of live stock and farming implements. They purchased much of the land that had formerly been owned by the Scotch-Irish pioneers, and opened up many new tracts which had not yet been purchased from the state. These settled largely between Stonerville and the Fayette County line. It is estimated that the members of this one denomination owned twenty-five thousand acres of land near and surrounding Stonerville. Among their leading men were such names as Overholt, Funk, Stauffer, Welty, Dillinger, Strohm, Ruth, Shupe, Sherrick Loucks, Mumaw, Stoner, Fretts, Fox, etc., many of whose descendants are yet residents of this community. The Lutheran and Reformed settlers were located mostly in the northwestern part of East Huntingdon Township. Among them were Mark Leighty, Henry Lowe, Henry Null, Joseph Suter, Nicholas Swope, and also the Altmans, Klines, Harbaughs, Ruffs, Snyders, Hunkers, etc.
One of the oldest families in the township is the Stauffer family, and it has given its name to Stauffer's Run, a stream which flows from near Stonerville and empties into Jacob's Creek near Scottdale. Abraham Stauffer came from Bucks County, and settled near Scottdale. He died July 9, 1851.
Another early family were the Sterretts, who resided near Scottdale. They were related to Daniel Boone, the first settler of Kentucky. Boone once came to this region and passed several days visiting his relatives, the Sterretts in their cabin home in the southwestern part of the county.
The early schools of East Huntingdon Township were similar to those of all other localities in the county. One of the first schoolhouses was built in 1802 on the Gaut farm, and the school was taught by a German named Leighty.. Other early teachers were John Selby and Peter Showalter. The East Huntingdon Township took early action with regard to the free school system. They held an election at the house of Peter Pool, on September 19, 1834, at which they elected Jacob Tinsman, Jacob Overholt, Solomon Luter, Peter Pool, Gasper Tarr and Henry Fretts as directors. These directors met at the house of Christian Fox, on October 6, 1834. After they had, they appointed Jacob Tinsman as a delegate to meet other delegates in Greensburg on the first Tuesday of November in order that a general system of education might be established in the county. A vote of the citizens was taken at the house of Peter Pool, on May, 21, 1836, to decide whether school tax should be levied or not, seventy-four of them voting against tax, and two voting for tax. Nevertheless, the schools were kept open from 1834 until 1837, and directors were elected each year. Another election was then ordered to determine whether the schools should be continued or not. This election was also held at the house of Peter Pool, on the first Tuesday of May, 1837, at which fifty-six voted for no schools and thirtyfour voted for schools, but the law required that in order to defeat the system a majority of the citizens in the district must vote against it, and fifty-six not being by any means a majority of all in the district, the system was adoptod by a minority vote. Shortly after this the school directors divided the township into districts and began to erect school houses, and the East Huntingdon Township has since advanced to one of the leading townships in the county in educational matters.
The Lutheran and Zion's Reformed Church is located about four miles southwest of Mt. Pleasant, and was organized in 1789, but it kept no records that are accessible prior to 1822. The first structure was a log house, and a brick house on the opposite side of the road was built on land of Jacob Leighty in 1862. It has since been improved, and is even yet a comfortable building. This church was organized by Rev. John William Weber. They were afterwards ministered to by Revs. Weinel, Voight, Keafauver, S.K. Levan, C.C. Russell, J.A. Peters, A.J. Heller. D.P. Lady and others. Rev. Weinel took charge in 1817 and continued pastor until 1825. They were often preached to also by Rev. N.P. Hacke, of Greensburg.
The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1817, in a log structure erected the same year, and it was the only meeting house of this denomination in all that section of the country. The present brick structure was built during the Civil War, on the site of the old church, and is near Scottdale.
The Presbyterian Church at Scottdale was organized in 1874 by Rev. John McMillan. The Trinity Reformed Church was organized July 20, 1873, by Rev. J.B. Leasure. The United Brethren Church was organized in 1874, when they built a neat frame structure, which has since been razed to the ground and supplanted by a very beautiful edifice with a parsonage under the same roof. The Baptist Church of Scottdale was organized April 17, 1875, with Rev. T. Hugus as pastor. The United Presbyterian Church was the first church organized in the new town of Scottdale.
In the town of Stonerville the Mennonites and the Church of God have each old places of worship, and although they have not held their own with other churches in members they are, nevertheless, a most respectable and religious element in the community.