Henry and Mary Beeson Arrive in Fayette Co

Henry and Mary Beeson Arrive in Fayette Co., PA

The following text was excerpted from "Beeson Mansion, An Historical Story" published in the Fall issue of The Official Fayette County Tourism Guide, Fall 1996 on the occasion of the bicentennial celebration of the founding of Uniontown, PA, the county seat of Fayette Co., PA. The original author is not noted in the article.

"Soon after the successful expedition of General Forbes against Fort Duquesne in 1758, and the expulsion of the French from the Ohio Valley, followed by the subjugation of savage tribes by Colonel Boquet six years later, the tide of immigration began to pour over the passes of the Allegheny mountains, and a hearty race of homeseekers took up lands in the valley of the Monogahela. Christopher Gist, the agent of the Ohio Land Company, had already made a settlement of eleven families in what is now the center of Fayette County before the disastrous defeat of General Braddock.

In the Spring of 1768, a small family might have been seen silently wending their way along the old Braddock road with a few packhorses ladened with such articles as were necessary for house keeping in a frontier settlement. The leader of this little company was just twenty-five years of age and his elastic step, as he led the way, indicated the vigor of early manhood. He could be readily distinguished by his garb as one whose Christian faith was that of the Quaker belief. In the rear rode his faithful companion in whose bosom slept a babe of but a few months old.

Every step of this historic route bore traces of the terrible disaster that had befallen the army which had traversed it but a few years before. The bridges that had been hastily thrown across the mountain streams were yet in place. The embankments of Fort Necessity, where the French had been victorious over the little force under command of Washington, were still undisturbed, and the tracks of the heavy wheels of Braddock's retreating army were yet plainly visible. The dark sediment still remained in the stream where Colonel Dunbar had emptied his powder and the charred remains of the wagons he had destroyed by fire, lest they fall into the hands of the French whom he believed to be in hasty pursuit, still marked the place of his encampment, and the whole way was strewn with military trappings which had been lost or cast away by the retreating forces. The echo of the terrible war whoop of the savage and the crack of the deadly rifle had scarcely died away where now reigns the stillness of death. The sights must have had an appaling (sic) effect on the minds of this young peace loving Quaker and his timid wife.

After days of tedious travel, this little family arrived at the crest of Laurel Hill, from whose summit the beautiful valley of the Monongahela is viewed as a vast panorama of surpassing beauty. With joyful hearts they knew that their journey would soon be at an end and they enjoyed the hospitality of former friends.

A hasty glance over the grand view spread before them is all that time will admit. A short distance to the north is seen the little column of blue smoke floating above the Gist settlement. Away in the distance lies the settlement of Colonel William Crawford, a former friend and neighbor, while still more to the west, shut out by the descending sky, floats the flag of protection over Fort Burd or Redstone Old Fort. More to the south lies the settlement of the Browns while here and there the curling smoke locates the humble cabin of the few frontier settlers.

The eyes of the weary wife fill with tears of joy as she contemplates spending the night under the sheltering roof of the hospitable Gists, where before the sparkling backlog they expect to relate the incidents of their wearisome journey.

If ever anyone received a hearty welcome, Henry Beeson and his family were the recipients of such the day they arrived at the Gist settlement, and doubtless here they made their lodging until a location should be made at which to establish their home..."

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