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South Huntingdon Township

Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania

South Huntingdon Town Hall is located at 1380 Mount Pleasant Road, West Newton PA 15089.
Phone: 724‑872‑8474.

Beginnings [1]

South Huntingdon Township was one of the original townships organized April 6, 1773. Its boundaries began at the mouth of Brush Run, where it empties into Brush Creek; thence along Byerly's path to Braddock's Road and along said road to the line of Mt. Pleasant Township; and thence by the line of Tyrone and Pittown Township; thence to the beginning. The officers at the first election were George Shilling, constable; James Baird and William Marshall, overseers of the poor; David Vance, road supervisor. South Huntingdon Township remained as originally laid out until January, 1790, when the court divided it into North and South Huntingdon townships. The original township was then again divided into East and South Huntingdon townships. This was in 1798. The present boundaries of the township are: North by Sewickley; northeast by Hempfield; east by East Huntingdon Township: south by Fayette County, and on the west by the Youghiogheny River. The surface of the South Huntingdon Township is diversified, part of it being hilly and part quite level. It contains vast deposits of bituminous coal, which is now in process of development. The Pittsburgh and Connellsville railroad runs along the Youghiogheny River the entire length of South Huntingdon Township, and it affords a splendid outlet for the transportation of coal.

The first settlers in South Huntingdon Township were the Millers, Shulls, Finleys, Plumers, Blackburns, Markles, Rodarnels, etc. One of the first settlers was George Plumer, who was born December 5, 1752, and died January 8, 1843. He is said to be the first child born west of the Alleghany Mountains. He was once a prisoner for four or five days in Fort Duquesne, having been captured by an Indian chief, Killbuck. Plumer afterward became a member of the state and national legislatures, and served with credit and ability in both positions. He was a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church, and exercised a great influence in the community in which he lived.

One of the oldest Presbyterian Churches in the southwestern part of Pennsylvania was located in South Huntingdon Township, and is known as the Sewickley Church. It was one of the original churches of the old Red Stone Presbytery. It is supposed that it was organized as early as 1776, by Rev. Dr. Power, of Mt. Pleasant, who was its first pastor, and remained so until 1787. It then remained vacant for some time, when it was united with Long Run and came under the pastoral charge of Rev. William Swan, in October, 1793. In 1821 this congregation was united with Mt. Pleasant, and Rev. A.O. Patterson was installed and served them until 1834. In April, 1836, Sewickley, having been separated from Mt. Pleasant, secured the services of William Anan as their pastor. He was succeeded by Rev. J.B. McKee in 1842, who in turn gave way to Rev. Richard Graham, who continued to minister to them until 1850. In 1852 Rev. Cyrus Riggs was installed, and was succeeded later by Rev. J.H. Stevenson. The original congregation of Sewickley was greatly weakened by a separate organization which was formed in the town of West Newton. The present building is the second one built, and is of stone, the original structure having been of logs. It is situated in South Huntingdon Township across the Sewickley Creek, and had its name long before the township was formed or named. In a burying ground nearby, sleep the remains of four generations of the citizens of this community. Taken all in all it is one of the chief objects of historic interest in the township, and around it gather many local associations fraught with great interest to the student. The first building was of logs, which grew around the space where the church stood. For many years it had no stove, and the people of the congregation sat shivering from the cold winds that blew through the open cracks of the church. When they introduced the first stove it was regarded by some of the old-timers with great suspicion. It scarcely was a stove, it,was merely the lower part of a stove, the bowl part in which they burned wood, and the smoke was supposed to escape through a hole in the roof. In the history of old Red Stone Church is a subscription paper signed by the members of this congregation, and all money subscribed for the salary of Rev. Mr. Swan. This was when money was scarce and when grain had scarcely a market value. For the consideration of raising one-half of Rev. Swan's services as pastor "They agreed to pay the amount set opposite their names, one-half in cash and the other half in produce, at the following rates, viz.: wheat, four shillings per bushel; rye, three shillings per bushel; corn, two shillings and six pence per bushel, to be delivered at such place or places within the bounds of the congregation as the said minister, or a treasurer chosen by the people, should appoint. Witness our hands this 17th day of August, 1792."

  1. Boucher, John N., History of Westmoreland County Pennsylvania, Volume I, The Lewis Publishing Company, New York, 1906.