Article taken from the Sesquicentennial Souvenir Program published in 1956.
As Time Marches On
By Willard L. Lewis
From the time Columbus discovered America in 1492 until the Revolutionary War, this section of Pennsylvania was inhabited by Indians. The majority were members of the tribe known as Delawares. Two of the famous Indian trails, the Catawba, running from north to south, and the Nemacolin, from east to west, crossed here.
By the time of the Revolutionary War only about one thousand Indians remained in Pennsylvania, the remainder having moved westward to avoid, if possible, the advancing civilization.
The first time this section of the country came into national prominence was in connection with the French and Indian War. Both the French and English claimed this land; the French through explorations of LaSalle and the English through explorations of the Cabots and Raleigh and through treaties made with the Indians.
The English governor of Virginia, Dinwiddie, sent young George Washington with a message to the French headquarters at Fort LeBoeuf (near Erie) warning them to stop building forts on the Allegheny River. On this trip, Washington, accompanied by Christopher Gist, an agent for the Ohio Land Company who lived near the site of present day Connellsville Airport, crossed the river here and again the following year when he was with General Braddock enroute to defeat as they attempted to capture Fort Duquesne from the French.
Connellsville and this area again came into national prominence as a result of the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794. A tax on whiskey, levied by Congress, was a severe blow to the farmers. Bad transportation facilities made it impossible to get their grain to market as such, but by making it into whiskey it could be transported east. One of the tax collectors had his home on the banks of the Youghiogheny, nearly opposite today's Baltimore & Ohio Railroad station. That revenue officer was driven out, returned, driven out again. His home was burned and his papers destroyed.
From 1806 to 1956, 150 years full of thrills, adventure, good times, bad times, peace and war. In all that century and a half Connellsville and its environs have taken a prominent part in the advancement of the nation. Dividing that 150 years into three 50-year periods, and associating it with national history, some of the following facts come to light: