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Spring 1997
Spring 1997

by Al Powell (Perryopolis Historical Society)

As early as 1769 George Washington owned over 1600 acres of land which the town of Perryopolis lies. Colonel Crawford, who then resided in a cabin in Connellsville (now preserved), took part in the purchase of these lands as recorded in Washington's Diary dated October 15, 1770. The diary also describes a later trip to the vicinity. (Ed note: One of the officers accompanying Washington also kept a diary in which he mentions that the local indians often used coal lying on the ground in profusion for heating -this according to Connellsville Historical Society member - William Balsly).

In 1774, the construction of Washington's Grist Mill was begun under the direction of one Gilbert Simpson, but owing to trouble with the Indians and the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, the Mill was not completed until the fall of 1776.

In the fall of 1779, Washington leased the mill along with 150 acres of land to Israel Shreve, a hero of the war, for a term of five years. Washington died in 1799, never having conveyed the tracts under the articles of agreement of Colonel Shreve, who also died in the same year. In 1803, the property was finally conveyed to Shreve's heirs, and later from them to Isaac Meason and then to John Rice.

The Mill itself went to Powell Hough, then John Strickler, and later Jacob Strawn. Strawn's heirs sold it to George Anderson, who repaired it in 1859. Today the Mill belongs to the Town's Parks and Recreational Authority.

Other Historical Sites

  • Gue Log House: circa 1820
  • The Providence Meeting House: 1795 (rebuilt 1892)
  • Abandoned Cemetary: Early 1800's
  • Searight Fulling Mill: 1815.
  • First Bank west of Alleghenies: 1816
  • Distillery: 1790
  • Mary Fuller Frazier Birthplace: 1815
  • Outdoor Bakery: 1850
  • The Telephone Exhance: 1860
  • Oldest Frame Blacksmith Shop still standing.
  • The Christian and Methodist Churches: 1885

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