Land Settlements and Divisions
Of the six tracts that are a part of South Connellsville Borough today, the Confidence tract was probably the most valuable at that time because it was more accessible, more level than the other tracts, and was next to the river. It incorporated three hundred two acres when warranted to John Musser, but was later to be sold in small sections to Joseph Mather, Zachariah Connell, Joseph Page and finally to Thomas and Joseph Gibson in 1817. The Gibsons, prominent figures in the early settlement of the area, built homes on the northern-most portion of the tract. A son of Joseph Gibson was to lay out the small village of Gibsonville in 1870. It was situated on the north side of Gibson Avenue, in the approximate area of Gibson Terrace and extended to the river. Situated nearby was the Gibson Station where train passengers would disembark for Gibsonville or White Rock, located farther south. A portion of the area beyond Gibsonville was called White Rock because of the white stone quarried in the area.
The Pittsburgh - Connellsville Railroad was the first to establish service in the Connellsville area in 1855. Railroad companies also established service to Uniontown and over the mountains to Cumberland about this time. In 1875 the Baltimore and Ohio Line leased many of the railroads that serviced this area and later purchased them.
In the mid 1800's, a land speculator named Israel Painter, from Westmoreland County, was to acquire huge amounts of land south of Connellsville, and the area was to become known as the Painter District. At one time he owned over seventeen hundred acres of land in this area, more than the borough of South Connellsville encompasses today. Painter died about 1880 and some of his estate was broken up into lots and sold to individuals.
In 1870, South Connellsville, as we know it today, was still largely undeveloped, although the small village of Gibsonville was acquiring a growing population. As more people came to the area in search of land they could claim as their own, they pushed past Gibsonville and settled in White Rock, part of the Painter District.
The era shortly before and during the 1870's brought more families to the district, among them the Pierce family, the Durbins, McElhaney's, and the May family. All of these families except one still have descendants living in the Borough of South Connellsville.