Sketches of Indiana County Revolutionary Soldiers – Part II

John Leasure

John Leasure, son of John, was born in 1762, Sewickly settlement, Westmoreland County.  His father was an early settler in that area.

John Leasure, Jr., served as a private in the Westmoreland County Rangers, in Capt. John McClelland’s Company, and was one of the scouts sent to guard the homes of settlers along Crooked Creek in what is now western Indiana and eastern Armstrong counties.

This soldier married Jane Culbertson in the late 1790s, and lived for a time on the farm which later became the property of Benjamin Walker, Armstrong Township, Indiana County.  In 1809, they moved to the farm later occupied by their son-in-law, Samuel T. Brady, in East Mahoning Township.  The warrent, issued to Leasure and patented January 17, 1802, called for a tract of 398 acres.  John Leasure was a mighty hunter and it is said he paid for his land with the proceeds from wolf scalps.

Caldwell’s History of Indiana County gives the births and the marriage date of the couple, but the births do not check with their tombstone in Gilgal Presbyterian cemetery.  Descendants know that children were born before the marriage date in the county history, so it is assumed the printed record is incorrect and we use the dates from the tombstone.

John Leasure died December 20, 1844, in East Mahoning Township, and his wife, Jane, departed this life in 1829.

Cornelius Hutchison

Cornelius Hutchison, according to his application for pension, on August 20, 1819, was sixty-two years old.  He enlisted in the month of May 1778, at Shippensburg, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, in a company commanded by Captain Samuel Talbert, Colonel Walter Stewart’s Regiment, Pennsylvania Line; and was discharged January 15, 1781, at Trenton, NJ.  The soldier stated he participated in the battles of Monmouth, Springfield, and the blockhouse battle where General Anthony Wayne commanded.  He was also in Captain Matthew Scott’s company.

From records provided by descendants, Cornelius Hutchison was born in England in 1757; in 1786 he married Eleanor McGuire (also called Nellie), 1766-1841.  They are believed to have come to what is now Indiana County about 1796.  Cornelius Hutchison died March 10, 1832, and is buried in Hice’s graveyard, near New Florence, in Indiana County, but the location of the grave is unknown.

John Montgomery

John Montgomery for whom Montgomery Township, Indiana County, was named once owned a large tract of land within the township limits.  This Revolutionary veteran was born in 1759, in County Antrim, Ireland, and came to America in 1774.

His application for pension states he enlisted for one year in Captain Abraham Smith’s Company, Col. Irwin’s Regiment, Pennsylvania Line, in 1776; and in Captain Hout’s Company, Col. Holby’s Regiment, 1777.  He was discharged at Newburgh, NY, 1783, having participated in the battles of Three Rivers, Germantown, Brandywine, and Monmouth, and was present at the taking of Cornwallis.

Among the notes concerning John Montgomery’s service was the statement that at the end of the war he was one of General George Washington’s life guards.  On November 11, 1829, John Willson was sworn before Stewart Davis, a Blacklick Township justice of peace, that Montgomery was in Captain Smith’s Company.  Michael Mullen, also of Blacklick Township, gave an affidavit that Montgomery was a veteran of the Revolutionary War.

John Montgomery died November 11, 1840, aged 81 years.  His grave in Ebenezer Presbyterian cemetery, at Lewisville, Conemaugh Township, is easily located by the large square monument.

Captain Gawin Adams

Gawin Adams and wife, Nancy Irvin Adams, natives of Ireland, first came to this locality before the Revolution, and their abode was within the present limits of Indiana borough.  However, they were forced to go back to their old home in what is now Franklin County because of Indians.

During the period they were “down east” Adams served as captain in the 2nd Company, First Battalion, Bucks County Militia, in 1780; in the fall of 1781 he was listed as captain under the command of Colonel John Keller.

After their return to what is now Indiana County, all went well until 1792, when Indians again became troublesome.  One night, while Nancy was ill and confined to her bed, the redskins arrived at the Adams cabin.  Andrew and Sally Allison with their little daughter had been warned, and were already in the Adams home.  The unwelcome visitors kept the small party in terror during the night, one whistling on his rifle charger on one side of the cabin, and another answering him in a like manner on the other side.  Young Adams and Allison held their rifles all night ready to repel the attack.  Dreading a warm reception from these hardy frontiersmen, the Indians withdrew before daybreak. In the morning the men yoked the oxen, placed Nancy Adams and her new-born daughter on a sled and hurried to Moorhead’s fort, a distance of about five miles.

Gawin Adams erected the first grist and saw mill at “Porter field” – the settlement located near Twolick Creek, where the cement bridge is under water, and the old highway started its ascent of the “Devil’s Elbow” hill.  Tradition credits the Adams family with having brought the first negroes to Indiana County.

The last home of Gawin and Nancy Adams was located near the 422 Drive-In Theatre, on the left side of the road, going east on East Pike.  He died between April 19, when his will was written, and December 12, 1818, when the will was proved, and was buried in the old Presbyterian graveyard in Indiana.  Nancy’s will was dated February 5, 1836, when she gave her age as 86 years thus establishing the year 1750 as her birth date.  The will was proved September 2, 1839.

William Neal (Niel)

William Niel was born in 1736, in Ireland, and came to America about 1760.  He first settled at Philadelphia, but soon went to Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and finally to what is now Indiana County before 1800.  He bought his first land from the estate of Daniel Cahill, and the transaction is recorded in Deed Book C, page 317, Westmoreland County.  At that time the location was given as Armstrong Township, Westmoreland County.  The date recorded was June 7, 1788.  The site of this first home on our frontier was within the present limits of Young Township.

On March 13, 1799, William Niel, of Westmoreland County, sold his tracts of land in Antrim Township, Franklin County, to George Clark of the same county.

He served as a private under Captain William Findley, First Battalion, Cumberland County Militia, in 1778, and in 1780-81, was under command of Captain William Berryhill, 8th Battalion, Cumberland County Associators and Militia.

William Niel was a surveyor and well known in this section.  His wife was Mary Reynolds of whom we have no further record.  He died in Young Township, September 8, 1813, and is buried in Bethel Presbyterian Church cemetery, in Center Township. 

John Shields

John Shields was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, August 18, 1759, but by the time of the Revolutionary War the family had migrated westward to Toboyne Township, Cumberland County (now Perry County).  He enlisted in the Cumberland County Militia at the age of 17 years, and was a corporal in the company of Captain James McClure which served in Colonel Montgomery’s Regiment of Flying Camp.  Stewart’s History of Indiana County states he served a tour as a substitute for his father, and on another occasion for a neighbor.

On August 30, 1782, John Shields and Margaret Elizabeth Marshall were married.  Their son William was born in July 1784, and the following year the little family left their home on the banks of Yellow Breeches Creek, in Cumberland County, and started for a new home west of the Alleghenies.

Their few possessions were loaded on pack horses for the journey.  Little William was placed in a creel on a horse, and on the other end the young couple placed their favorite cat and eight pounds of flax to balance him.  Once when the baby became restless, and John carried him in his arms some distance ahead of the party, the group heard him call to “hurry up, come quick!”  A half-starved panther was crouching beside the path.  Margaret relieved the father of their child, and he and another man stoned the panther to death.  They first stopped at a place near Campbell’s mill, on the bank of Blacklick creek.  There other children were born, and the mother died in 1816.  Two years later the marriage of John Shields and Elizabeth Carson took place.

Their home site was later known as Shields’ Fort.  The veteran was seven feet in height, and it is said that settlers living between block houses depended upon him to warn them of Indian movements, and that a number of them would always hurry to Shields’ cabin for protection.  Later he served in the State Militia in quelling Indian outbreaks.

His declining years were spent in the northern part of Indiana County where he died October 16, 1840.  His grave is marked in the cemetery at Washington United Presbyterian Church, in Rayne Township.

He was applying for a pension in 1833, and stated his birth date had been recorded in his father’s Bible.  His father gave the Bible to the deponent’s brother who died in the state of Ohio where he supposed the Bible remained.  The given names of father and brother were not mentioned.  His widow in her application for pension stated they were married in Center Township, October 8, 1818.  She was allowed a pension June 14, 1853, aged 73 years, and a resident of Madison Township, Armstrong County.

Hugh McIntire

Hugh McIntire was born 1754, served in the Cumberland County Associators and Militia, 8th Baattalion, 6th class, and is listed on the rolls in January 1778; and at another time was enrolled with the company of Captain William Berryhill, 3rd Company, 1st Battalion.  In 1780, he was in Lt. Daniel Smith’s Company.  Later Hugh McIntire appeared on the tax lists of Franklin County, Pennsylvania.  Franklin was once part of Cumberland County.

In 1795, the veteran bought the Indiana County homestead from Neal Murry, and the deed is recorded in Westmoreland County, Deed Book 3, page 491.  The family was forced to take refuge from Indians in a nearby blockhouse.  The original McIntire tract is now within the bounds of Blacklick township.  The soldier died in 1836, and is buried in Bethel United Presbyterian Cemetery, in Center Township.

William Work

William Work, born February 14, 1760, in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, a son of Samuel Work, served in the Cumberland County Militia, during the Revolution.  His name appears on militia roles in 1777-78-80-81-82.

In 1799, with his brother John, also a Revolutionary veteran, William Work migrated to Westmoreland County, and spent some time at the fort at the foot of Squirrel Hill, near the present location of the town of New Florence.  In 1804, the Work brothers and their families settled in Mahoning Township, in the part now known as East Mahoning.

For several years William Work taught school in the community, and is believed to have been the first school teacher in Mahoning township.  Before coming to Indiana County he was a singing master in Cumberland County.  He was influential in the organization of the Gilgal Presbyterian Church, and was enrolled with its first members.  Cancer ended his serve to the county and community on April 1, 1828, and he is buried in the Gilgal cemetery.