Beallsville, PA_Life in Washington County PA Genealogy and Family History

Life in Washington Co., PA "Little Washington" 
1700s to Present


Town-Talk about Towns in Washington County PA

Genealogy and family history research in the area of
Little Washington, Washington County, Pennsylvania
from 1700 to present.


Beallsville is 15 miles southeast of Washington, 9 miles northwest of Brownsville, and lies between West Pike Run Township and Deemston Borough. The borough is close to Monongahela River.

Nearest cities: Ellsworth, PA (2.9 miles ), Deemston, PA (3.4 miles ), Cokeburg, PA (3.6 miles ), Bentleyville, PA (4.0 miles ), Centerville, PA (5.1 miles ), Fredericktown-Millsboro, PA (5.1 miles ), Clarksville, PA (6.4 miles ), Marianna, PA (6.8 miles). Latitude: 40.06 N, Longitude: 80.02 W

Clear Drinking once upon a time in Beallsville, PA

by Judith Florian

About 15 miles southeast of downtown Washington is a place that could have just as well ended up being called Thornton or maybe Thorntonville, after Robert Thornton who settled on this site in 1774. Or "Clear Drinking," the name assigned to the surveyed tract, might have gained popularity. Instead, the site was named after the man who owned "Clear Drinking," Mr. Zephaniah Beall, who obtained more tracts later, along with two other men, Zephaniah H. Beall, son of the former, and George Jackson. Thornton, Jackson and the two Bealls men had the town laid out by the then-well known Jonathan Knight. Once this was completed in 1819, they held a sale on lots for their new town. But it was not until 1852 that Beallsville was incorporated as a borough. [Note: Both of these events would have been recorded in the pages of the "Observer-Reporter" newspaper at Washington, PA.]

The town of Beallsville, with homes and businesses lining both sides of Route 40, abruptly comes into view, sitting in a small valley. A one stop-light town, it is one of those that locals refer to as a "if you blink, you'll miss it" town. Butwith the French traders being in the area from probably 1720, Beallsville has been witness to a huge amount of history. The land recorded the footsteps of Indian and settler, of those who traveled the "Old Trail" that was originally blazed by 1749, of those present during the Revolutionary War, of fur trappers, and of tradesman and farmers who made their way down the then new National Pike (built about 1823) to Brownsville and the shipyards of the Monongahela River at Brownsville. Footprints and horse's hoof-prints merged in the original muddy-dirt track with the thousands of other hooves/feet of livestock such as cattle, sheep and pigs as they were driven through Beallsville to market or shipment from Brownsville. The town was also as prominent as Scenery Hill during the Stage Coach days, and one of the toll gates was located at Beallsville. It was operated by Captain John Hough, and his widow, Julia Hough, after the Capt's death. Businesses to accommodate travelers, and their means of travel, flourished. Work was plentiful, from tavern-inns to feed and allow the weary traveler to rest, to saddlers, tanners and the blacksmith business. It is easy to imagine the sounds of horses and people coming into town.

Tavern-inns were owned by Christian Kreider in 1819; Thomas Stewart in a log house and Thomas G. Norfolk kept the "Beallsville Sun", both in 1821. The Beallsville Sun was located in the first brick building in this village, built by Joseph Mills. Charles Miller opened his tavern in 1830 opposite Greenfield's; this place was later operated by Mrs. Chambers, Benjamin Demon, Moses Bennnington, Mr. Mitchell and lastly, Charles Guttery. Mr. William Greenfield had the Greenfield Hotel already across the road from Miller's. The Greenfield also housed the Beallsville Savings Bank. This hotel was the most well-known during its time as a fine establishment due to the friendly and caring manner of its proprietor. Reprints of the Greenfield Hotel have been sold online over the last two years, showing the hotel's marquee on a low two-story frame building with a wide, inviting porch. In addition, Andrew Keys had a tavern before 1840 (east end of town and later owned by Thomas Keys, followed by Robert Cluggage, James Dennison, Moses Bennington and Charles Guttery.) It seems like too many tavern-inns for such a small town, unless one remembers the large numbers of travelers and townspeople that each tavern served. Over the next 50 years, from 1823 to 1870, the town marked its growth with a steady increase in businesses.


Beallsville PA National Hotel

Beallsville PA National Hotel

Source: Guidebook Western Pennsylvania, pp. 308-09

Note: A "stand" was a common reference to a stopping point for the Stage.

Beallsville made its place in the history of the Civil War through The Ringgold Cavalry, organized and commanded by Dr. John Keys, a prominent doctor and surgeon who lived in the borough. Twice Dr. Keys was turned down when he offered the Cavalry's service, including after a major Union setback at Harper's Ferry. President Lincoln was requesting infantry volunteers, and Keys and the people of Beallsville almost put their energies to creating an infantry to comply with Lincoln's need. But, Dr. Keys wrote to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, who accepted the Beallsville Cavalry. It is written that 7,000 people crammed Beallsville to hear Dr. Keys' speech and send off the original 70 members of this now famous unit. That day marked the first cavalry unit to enter the War for the North. An additional 100 men joined these soldiers later. The last surviving member of Ringgold Cavalry was Mr. Hopkins Moffitt of Centerville. In addition, the Tenth Regiment, commanded by Colonel Alexander Hawkins, was mostly from the Beallsville area.

The town has undergone the usual changes as it grew in the early 1800s, and the founding of the usual landmarks of any community followed this growth. Of course, early settlers needed contact from outside, and thus, a post office was established about 1846 or before (Joseph Buffington was supposedly the post master there). The usual saddlers, tanners, livery stable and tavern-inns were joined by the general store, grocery store, banks, doctor/s and dentist/s. One can still see one of the historic inns on the corner at the traffic light, and diagonally across the intersection is an old home which was built diagonally on the lot (following the direction of the Pike). Both sides of the Pike bear many very old homes.

Settlers founded several churches to meet their spiritual needs. One of the earliest church presences was the Beallsville Methodist Society, in 1799, which included the counties of Greene, Fayette and Washington as part of the Greenfield Circuit of the Baltimore Conference. The organization of Beallsville Cumberland Presbyterian Church with 35 members resulted from a series of day and night meetings from Sunday, Feb. 16, to Thursday, March 6th, 1890 which were headed by Rev. D.A. Cooper.

In 1907, the National Pike at Beallsville was given a facelift of stone. By 1952, the stone road was redone in concrete, including the berm on both sides and curbs. By the beginning of the 1900s, the automobile had found a place in the hearts of Washington County folks and the National Pike saw the changes in this means of travel as well. Although other areas were serviced by trolley, and the railroad had stops and stations in other nearby towns, Beallsville never had these forms of travel come inside the borough. Indeed, an old pack-horse trail passed near the home of Isaac Van Voorhis (formerly owned by Harry W. Stathers, part of my family, of Maiden Street) still was in use through the late 1890s-early 1900s; by 1952 this trail was extinct.

The original Scots-Irish settlers were joined by more immigrants of various nationalities who came to work in the large Zollarsville gas field between Beallsville, Zollarsville and Deemston, and to mine coal in the huge Pittsburgh Coal Seam that runs under Beallsville and most communities of Washington County. Coal in the area of Beallsville was mined primarily by the Vesta Coal Company (and other small, privately owned companies were across Washington County throughout the years).

Like all communities, the undertaking business was typically run by furniture and cabinet makers, whose carpentry skills served the needs of the living or the dead. A man by the name of Mr. Robinson was hired by the Union Supply Company to take over a funeral home, which was later run by well-known mortician J. V. McDonough. A picture of McDonough standing in front of his establishment "J.V. McDonough, Funeral Director, Embalmer & Furniture Dealer," was printed in the Beallsville Bicentennial 1852-1952. John B. Greenlee entered the business in 1925 and by 1930 had entered a partnership with Mr. McDonough. Greenlee took ownership in 1949. The Greenlee Funeral Home is still in operation today. The business has adapted to many changes since its founding days, including now having a website on the internet where they have publish obituaries for the deceased they serve. (See

The Beallsville Cemetery

The Beallsville Cemetery is a small but well-cared-for peaceful resting place, under the incorporation of the Beallsville Cemetery Association (phone 724--632--9535), and is currently managed by Susie Geller. In 2004-2005, Debbie Hill Day made an excellent copy of the interment books and then photographed each of the tombstones. The tombstone pictures along with a reading of these were placed on CDs by Ms. Day. It is an excellent and one-of-a kind record of burials in this cemetery. Many of my family are buried in the "old section" of Beallsville Cemetery, including my grandparents, Ruth Elizabeth Lane McGary and Howard Wilbert McGary. Their son, Howard Jr. and their daughter, Betty Ruth McGary Lanik Peyton, are also buried here, along with Ruth's brother Roy F. Lane. Also, many of my Waller side of the family rest in this cemetery.

Go to Beallsville PA page 2

Go to Beallsville PA page 3

History of Beallsville PA - Bentleyville PA

Regional area of Washington County (east section)

Map of Beallsville, PA (greater area map at Beallsville, PA)

Close up Map at Beallsville, PA

North to Bentleyville, PA



( - and put Beallsville in the subject line)

My Lane Family

My LANE family settled in Amwell Twp., (part became West Bethlehem Twp.,) John Lane Sr.'s son, Rev. Daniel Lane, lived in South Strabane Twp.. Daniel's son, James Polk Lane, lived in Somerset Twp. James' son, Francis Edward "Frank" Lane, first lived in Wylandville then moved his family to Bentleyville. Frank and Flora Wynona Waller Lane raised three (3) children: Vesta Marcella Lane Theakston, Roy Franklin Lane I, and , Ruth Elizabeth Lane McGary, my grandmother.

My grandmother spoke often to me about her memories of Bentleyville and Beallsville. She told me how back then that people would visit cemeteries on Decoration Day, and how parents and children would walk from their homes to Beallsville Cemetery starting out early in the morning. Ruth and her siblings walked to Beallsville Cemetery with their mother, Flora Wynona Waller Lane. After hand-cutting the grass and weeds, the children would help the adults plant the flowers they had carried with them to the cemetery, from gardens they tended at their homes. Families packed "picnic" lunches and took along a blanket, which they spread on the ground between the rows of tombstones, where they would sit and eat their lunch. After lunch, children of one or several families would play games of Tag or Hide 'n Go Seek, while the parents stayed on the blanket to chat with relatives and other families who had also come to the cemetery with flowers and lunches. How different things are today! If children were seen running through a cemetery, apparently "unattended", while their parents ate their lunches among the tombstones, most certainly someone from the cemetery would be notified.

Lane Family of Washington County PA

The ancestry of the LANE family were German Baptists,
who adopted the official name of The Church of the Brethren in the early 1900s.

My LANE FAMILY in MD and Washington Co., PA.

Lane Family History: Descendants of John Lane, Sr.
by Ruth Lane McGary and Judith Ann Florian, (Includes 1794-1990.)
View the All-Name Index of this book.
Contact webmaster about this book.

My branch of the LANE family:

Daniel and Anna England Lane, and family (photo)

Elderly Anna England Lane (photo)

(Use browser's "back" button to return here after viewing the photos.)


This is the family of James Polk Lane, fifth child of Daniel Lane.

  • Name: 5. James Polk Lane
  • Birth: Mar. 9, 1845
  • Death: Jan. 18, 1929
  • Spouse: Jane Catherine Denman(*)
  • Birth: June 10, 1856
  • Death: Dec. 25, 1940
  • married: Mar. 7, 1871
  • Children:
  • 1. Floretta "Flora" Lane
  • Birth: Feb. 22, 1872
  • Death: Mar. 27, 1898
  • 2. Annie A. Lane
  • Birth: Apr. 18, 1874
  • Death: Oct. 11, 1945

    3. Ida M. Lane
  • Birth: Jan. 31, 1877
  • Death: Nov. 4, 1962
  • 4. Francis Edward Lane
  • Birth: Aug. 25, 1879
  • Death: June 8, 1936
  • 5. Alvie Z. Lane
  • Birth: Mar. 12, 1882
  • Death: Nov. 15, 1973
  • 6. Martin V. B Lane
  • Birth: Jan. 22, 1885
  • Death: May 8, 1977
  • 7. Mary Bell Lane
  • Birth: Mar. 7, 1888
  • Death: Mar. 24, 1960
  • 8. James Walter Lane
  • Birth: Aug. 27, 1890
  • Death: Aug. 19, 1964
  • 9. William H. Lane
  • Birth: Nov. 4, 1896
  • Death: Jan. 8, 1964

    This is the family of Thomas McClelland Waller, third child of Andrew Waller.

    3. Thomas McClelland Waller Apr. 10, 1849
  • Birth: Nov. 9, 1915
    Mary Ann Stathers
  • Birth: Feb. 5, 1859
  • Death: Jan. 6, 1929
    [Obit has name as Anna Mary Waller.]

    married Feb. 1880 [see below]

  • 1. Olive May Waller Carks
  • Birth: July 31, 1880
  • Death: July 3, 1952
  • 2. Flora Wynona Waller Lane
  • Birth: Oct. 19, 1881
  • Death: Jan. 2, 1965
  • 3. Lida I. Waller Glatfelter
  • Birth: Dec. 25, 1883
  • Death: Aug. 1928
  • 4. Julia Waller Ball
  • Birth: May 31, 1885
  • Death: May 20, 1933
  • 5. Myrtle Waller
  • Birth: Mar. 22, 1887
  • Death: d. Infancy
  • 6. John Henry Waller
  • Birth: Apr. 2, 1889
  • Death: Dec. 6, 1964
  • 7. Charlotte E. Waller Lutes
  • Birth: Jan. 8, 1894
  • Death: Oct. 30, 1920
  • 8. Bess Waller Wyse Mesler Thomas
  • Birth: Aug. 10, 1896
  • Death: Sept. 8, 1925

  • NOTE: Teagarden's work says only 7 children; no names are given.

    Flora Wynona "Nona" or "Nown" Waller Lane is in a black and white group photo entitled "Beallsville School Almost 65 Years Ago" (front row, 5th from left; photo is on last page of the book), in the book Beallsville Centennial 1852-1952 (Editors or Authors not given in book and the book has no page numbers]. Nona looks to be maybe 8 years old in the photo.


    This is the family of Francis Edward Lane, fourth child of James P. Lane.

    4. Francis Edward Lane
  • Birth: Aug. 25, 1879
  • Death: June 8, 1936
    Flora Wynona Waller 
    Birth: Oct. 19, 1881
  • Death: Jan. 2, 1965
    married Mar. 29, 1905

  • 1. James Thomas Lane
  • Birth: Nov. 7, 1907
  • Death: Nov. 7, 1907

    2. Roy Franklin Lane
  • Birth: Feb. 21, 1909
  • Death: Mar. 22, 1972

    3. Ruth Elizabeth Lane
  • Birth: May 16, 1912
  • Death: Oct. 14, 2000

    4. Vesta Marcella Lane
  • Birth: Feb. 7, 1914
  • Death: Feb. 4, 2001

View the All-Name Index of the book, Lane Family History: Descendants of John Lane, Sr. by Ruth Lane McGary and Judith Ann Florian. Contact webmaster about availability of this book.

Index to My Family's Pages

Special acknowledgement to my co-researcher and co-author of our 2nd book,
and co-trouble-maker, my sister Cathy Caldwell (deceased).

Tribute to Ruth Lane McGary.

Keystone Town Markers

List of Historical Societies in Washington County PA

Return to Index of Washington County PA Towns


This page was last updated on Saturday, December 05, 2015 02:16

Judith Ann Florian
Girard, Ohio 44420

Copyright Notice - Data / info. for individuals and surnames may be reproduced for personal family histories only, but not for any commercial use or sale. Please give credit to Judith Florian and Catherine L. Caldwell for newspaper items and original documents. You may use J. Florian's research conclusions if credit is given. No other data or images may be reproduced without permission. © 2005 to present, Judith Florian, Copyright All rights reserved.

Backgrounds by Marie. The background was chosen specifically to emphasize the matriarchal role of women in "the life" of children and families, and the resilience of all the women of southwestern Pennsylvania.