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SMITH TOWNSHIP
P. O. Box 94
Slovan, PA 15078 (Mailing Address)
Municipal Building: 415 Joffre-Cherry Valley Road
Burgettstown, PA 15021
Phone: 724-947-2715

SMITH TOWNSHIP

This was the thirteenth, or last township, organized July 15, 1781, at the organization of Washington County.

The original boundaries were the Ohio River on the north; Robinson and Cecil townships on the east; Hopewell on the south, and Virginia on the west.

On the 5th day of January, 1786, an application was made to the court for a division, which being sanctioned, a certificate was sent to the Supreme Executive Council who, on the 11th of March,1786, confirmed the decree of the court, and Hanover township was thereby erected. October 7, 1830, part of the division line between Hanover and Smith townships was confirmed by the court.

At the May session of the court, held in 1856, the boundary lines between Cross Creek and Smith were changed and confirmed.

Its present boundaries are Hanover and Robinson townships on the north; Robinson and Mount Pleasant on the east; Cross Creek and Mount Pleasant on the south; Jefferson; Hanover, and Cross Creek on the west. Its greatest length eight miles; breadth six miles. It is centrally situated northwest from Washington borough sixteen miles.

It is drained northwest by Racoon Creek and its branches. Population in 1860, 1417, of whom twenty-four were colored.

It contains fourteen stores, ten schools, with five male and five female teachers, the former receiving $43.33 per month and the latter $33; having 394 scholars, of whom 203 are males and 191 females; tuition costing per month, $1.33. Amount of tax levied for school purposes, $2730; received from the State appropriation $131.04.

The Pittsburg and SteubenviIIe Railroad passes through the township.

The towns are Burgettstown, Bulger, Bavington, and Whitetown coal works.

On February 28, 1795, George Burgett laid out Burgettstown on the south fork of Racoon Creek, one mile north of the centre of the township. Then it was called West Boston, but the neighbors desiring to honor the founder of their village called it Burgettstown.

It is seventeen miles northwest of Washington, and on account of its locality, being on the Pittsburg and Steubenville Railroad, has become one of the most important towns of our county. The Rev. J. T. Fredericks laid out an addition to the town in 1865, whereon is the railroad station. The lots are selling rapidly and the town increasing by the erection of good and substantial buildings, and an energetic and thriving community.

Bulger is a smaIl village near Bulger station, about three miles east of Burgettstown.

Bavington is in the northeast corner of the township, and Whitetown coal works is on the railroad, and laid out on Mr. Simpson's farm.

On the 10th of June, 1810, Captain John Bavington of this township attempted to cross the Ohio River at Kelley's Ferry on a flatboat (the mouth of Harman's Creek) with a wagon loaded with whiskey and flour and four horses. When half way across, by the stamping of the horses, one of the boards became loosened, the boat filled with water, the load sank, and Capt. Bavington and the ferryman were drowned. When the bodies were found Capt. B had his whip firmly grasped in his hand. The depth of the Ohio River did not cover the bows of his wagon. He was buried at the cross roads near Florence.

PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

In the year 1845, a petition was sent to the Presbytery of Washington, for the organization of a church at Burgettstown, which prayer was denied, and an appeal taken to the Synod of Wheeling, who granted the request and directed the Presbytery to organize the church. This was effected October 18, 1849, and Reverend Joel Stoneroad was elected the pastor. In October, 1850, he was succeeded by the Rev. James P. Fulton, and remained its pastor until 1857; and in the spring of 1858 the Rev. James T. Frederick, the present pastor, was called, and ordained in October following.

In 1860 the church was enlarged and refitted.

There are two United Presbyterian churches in this township, the former in Burgettstown. It was organized about 1809, the Rev. W. C. Brownlee, D. D., was pastor from May 3, 1809, to September 1, 1812; Rev. Alexander Donnan, from July 6, 1819, to May 12, 1840; Rev. R. J. Hammond from 1845 to April 15, 1856; Reverend S. H. Graham is the present pastor.

It has a membership of 160.

Centre U. P. Church was organized in 1859. Rev. D. S. Kennedy has been its pastor from September 4, 1862, until the present time, with a membership of 150.

There was, many years since, on the farm of James Leech, Esq., on the road leading from Hickory to Burgettstown, about half way, a United Presbyterian church called Mount Vernon, but the organization does not now exist.

POETS

Smith township has the honor of contributing more poetry to the intellectual world than any township or borough in the county.

Mr. David Bruce, a native of Scotland, emigrated to America in 1784, and in the year 1794 he settled in Burgettstown as a merchant. In his leisure moments he devoted his time to composing poems, written in the Scottish dialect, under the signature of the Scots Irishman, which were first published in the Western Telegraph, published in Washington by John Colerick, who afterwards embodied them into a valuable work on account of their merit. In these poems, Mr. Bruce displays a vivid imagination, and both wit and satire are at his command, while patriotism flows in gentle and harmonious strains.

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Source: HISTORY of WASHINGTON COUNTY, From Its First Settlements to the Present Time, second edition, revised and corrected by Alfred Creigh, LL.D., Harrisburgh, Pa., B. Singerly, Printer, 1871. Reprinted 1987 Closson Press, Publishers.

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