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Spring 1997
Spring 1997

One of Connellsville's First Veterans
by Joan Kriek, President, Connellsville Historical Society

Fay-West On-Line: Visit Fay-West On-Line for informative rich local content. Including Historic Connellsville, PA.

The first white man to settle in Connellsville was William Crawford. He was a farmer/surveyor/soldier who was a friend of George Washington and had served with him in the Virginia militia. In the fall of 1765, he came over the mountains on horseback with his half-brother Hugh Stephenson. When they saw the beautiful meadow lands in the bend of the Youghiogheny River, Crawford decided to build his home there. Two men surveyed a tract of a little over 376 acres and put up a log cabin. The next year, he moved his family into the cabin after a very hazerdous trip over the mountains. Hannah, his wife, and their four children, had to follow what was little better than a path that was exceedingly rough and dangerous in places. As they had just pack-horses to carry their possessions, only the essentials could be brought along.

The Connellsville Area Historical Society and the Fayette County Commissioners reconstructed the log home of William Crawfords in 1976. The cabin is 14 X 16 feet and contains one room. Even though the cabin was small for a family of six, their hospitality was legendary. George Washington, Lord Dunmor (the governor of Virginia), and many other passing travelers found a hospitable welcome there. Over the years, William Crawford played an important role in the life of the area. During an indian scare, he helped plan the defense of the area by having the settlers build several small forts to protect themselves. He recruited and led a battalion of southwestern Pennsylvanians fight in the Revolution and served as a Justice of the Peace for many years. While leading an expedition against the Delaware Indians in Ohio, he was captured and burned at the stake in 1782.

The reconstructed home of Colonel William Crawford sits on the west bank of the Youghiogheny River in Connellsville. The peaceful setting allows visitors to view the river and absorb up the history of the area. An audio presentation is available that tells a small portion of William's and Hannah's story.

Points of Interest in Connellsville

Carnegie Free Library, 275 South Pittsburgh St. An Historical Site built in 1903.

Yough River Park, along the river between North 6th and North 7th Streets, West Side.

Yough Station, (Former Western Maryland/P&LE station) West Crawford & North 7th Street.

Olympic Oak Tree, (Connellsville Stadium), South Arch Street.

Coal and Coke Era Homes, 500 Block of South Pittsburgh Street.

Restored Newmyer House (now B&B) 507 S. Pittsburgh Street, call 724-626-0141 for times.

Historical Marker for the Connellsville Canteen Ladies, N. Arch Street by B&O station.

Historical Marker for S.E. Porter, for movie making fame, corner of South Pittsburgh Street & Fairview Ave.

Guided Rafting, on the placid Yough River, call 628-6609 for information.

Historic Walking tour of the East side (brochures available at Library and Chamber office).

Youghiogheny River Hike/Bike Trail, North part of trail starts by Crawford's Cabin. South part starts at the end of Yough River Park and goes via 3rd street.

Connellsville History Complex, North Seventh St., by the river. Crawford's Cabin, picnic pavilion available for group rentals, stone spring house, and future home of the Historical Society Memorabilia Depository.

Leisenring Company Store, the interior of which is representative of Coal and Coke Era Company Stores. West Crawford Avenue to Leisenring, turn right at DeVito Park.

Patchwork Voices Coal and Coke Project, Penn State Fayette Campus Library, Route 119 South open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9 AM - 2 PM.

 
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