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Juniata People


Port Royal Times
Thursday, March 15, 1888

LETTER FROM REV. D. J. BEALE, D.D.
Johnstown, Cambria County, Pa.
March 7, 1888


Friend Speddy: With interest especially to the older citizens would gather around a collection of sketches of Juniata people who, years ago emigrated from our section! Would that some one, with knowledge, leisure and money at command, might be induced to undertake such a labor of love! We all owe much in this direction to the late Rev. A. L. Guss, but the particular thing that I have in mind did not enter into the plan of his history. I would like, for instance to see a full statement of the early removal of the McConnells to Kentucky, the Millikens to Green county, Pa., the Bankses to what is now Lawrence county; the McFeaters to Indiana county, and the Beales to the "back woods" along the Allegheny river, and so on. If their attention has not been specially called to it, I presume few of the younger people in Tuscarora and Lost Creek valleys are aware of the hundreds and hundreds of persons, now living west and elsewhere, who refer with pride to the present Juniata county as the early home of their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents. With the help of some relatives, who took an interest in such matters, I was lately able to count up six hundred and eighty- seven persons who have proceeded from three brothers and their wives, who emigrated from near Academia in the year 1801, locating in what is now Allegheny county, near where the present town of Freeport stands. These brothers, names were Washington, Alban and John Beale, brothers of Colonel William Beale, and sons of Judge Thomas Beale, who erected the first mill on Tuscarora creek, near the spot where Pomeroy's mill now stands.

At the funeral of his son, Prov. J. C. McFeaters, of this city, I, a few weeks ago, met Mr. Mark McFeaters, who told me that his father, Mr. William McFeaters, emigrated from Upper Tuscarora to what is now Indiana county in 1808, and that John and James, his uncles, afterwards followed to Western Pennsylvania. The descendants of these brothers are very numerous throughout Indiana and Westmoreland counties.

I have been requested by several of your subscribers to give some account of the large family of whom Mrs. Margaret Endslow, recently deceased was a member:--

James Milliken, Sr., was born in what is now Spruce Hill township, Oct. 31, 1761, Jane Boggs was born in Lack township on Jan. 11, 1772. These two persons were married March 4, 1795. The wife died Feb. 16, 1827, and the husband died Jan. 1, 1858.

Their eldest child, Hon. Thomas I. Milliken, was born Dec. 4, 1795; was married to Rachel Beale April 11, 1822; died September 17, 1876.

The second child was Mary Milliken, who was born Jan. 7, 1797, and died, unmarried, Dec. 24, 1843.

Col. John Milliken was their third child. He was born March 20, 1799; married Bell Barcklay Feb. 17, 1825; died April 16, 1864.

Fourth child, Milly Milliken, born July 14, 1801; Married Joshua Beale June 10, 1865; still living in the full possession of her mental faculties at the old homestead in Bealetown.

Fifth child, James B. Milliken, born Aug. 16, 1803; married Mary McDonald Nov. 12, 1839; died Oct. 29, 1883.

Sixth child, Martha Milliken, born Feb. 27, 1805; married John Endslow May 29, 1831; died at Lewistown, Jan. 13, 1888.

Seventh child, Jane Milliken, born April 27, 1807; married George Beale May 19, 1830; still living with unimpaired mind, at Earlville, LaSalle county, Illinois.

Eighth child, Joseph Milliken, Esq., born Feb. 14, 1809; married Elizabeth Laird Sept. 24, 1834; died in Clinton county June 28, 1880.

Ninth child, Margaret Milliken, born Dec. 4, 1810; married John McDonald June 6, 1833; died in Carroll county, Ind., June 2, 1867.

Tenth child, Francis McConnell Milliken, born Dec. 20, 1813; married Sarah Bryner Jan. 30, 1840; died in Mifflin county Oct. 23, 1884.

If, by such records and statements, any lover of genealogy among your readers can be moved to give facts and dates about other old families, it will furnish important material to the future historian. I will gladly hand over to any competent party who will write a history of Tuscarora valley much valuable matter which I have collected, but which I fear will be impossible for me to arrange. Such data, together with the partially written account by Squire McAlister, would form the basis of a most interesting and instructive history of the early settlement of what is now Juniata county. If the fragments be not gathered up by this generation they will most likely be lost forever. If the people on both sides of the river would talk it up for awhile, why might they not arrange to have a celebration of the centennial of the founder of the county seat, for instance? A few years yet remain in which to get ready. It will be a pity if, in these days of centennial, bi-centennial and sesqui-centennial celebrations, "Little Juniata" does not call to mind her early settlement and her points of interest. Can no light be thrown upon the Indian mound on the Milliken farm? Which was settled first, the Cedar Spring locality, or the region about East Waterford? What about the unseating of the Judge at Lewistown, in 1799? How much is known about the charcoal iron that was manufactured by Judge Thomas Beale and William Sterrett, Esq., in their forge built on Licking creek in 1791? These, and scores of other very important questions, might be asked and partially answered in a grand reunion of the clans at Mifflin, or other designated point. Why should not THE PORT ROYAL TIMES agitate this matter?

In thus writing about old times, old places and old people, I acknowledge an indignation, which I believe to be righteous, over the disposition, noticeable in some quarters, to obliterate the memories, and forget the men of by-gone days. As there is no more natural or effective method of honoring our ancestors or perpetuating their memories than by giving their names to streams they have discovered or towns they have founded, so also is there no more shameful vandalism than the attempt to destroy ancient landmarks, by depriving first settlers of their fairly, but hard earned, marks of esteem and grateful recognition. It is a burning shame that estimable families, whose names have been given to villages reared on their lands reclaimed from the savages, should be snubbed by some newcomer "who don't know Joseph," and insists upon some new name which has no propriety or meaning. I know several towns, which are historical, the names of which have been changed by interested parties, whose people have not been long from Europe, whereas the former owners felled the forests, fought for our National independence and founded the villages. One town in Central Pennsylvania bears its fourth name within a generation, so that it is scarcely recognizable by those who were born there a few decades ago. Four other places of considerable size and importance (Lewisburg, Middleburg, New Berlin and Mifflinburg) were first named after the early settlers, or those who erected the first mills, shops and swellings; but parties, regardless of the history and traditions of the places and the claim of those who honestly earned the names they originally bore, took the responsibility of giving to the little cities names which they considered more euphonious or appropriate. After awhile some other upstart may prefer a different name for an equally cogent reason! There should, at least, be some law or rule or order about the change of the names of towns and villages and streams. Nor does the change of the name of a post office carry with it a change of the name of the town in which the post office is located. For instance, the fact that the name of a certain post office in Tuscarora valley is called HONEY GROVE, does not destroy the other fact that my estimable cousin, Wm. Van Sweringen, lives in BEALETOWN, in which small village this HONEY GROVE post office is located. The post office is HONEY GROVE, the village is BEALETOWN. In 1769 my grandfather, Judge David Beale, cleared the spot on which it stands, and he, or some of his posterity, have lived on it ever since.

Mr. McConnell Neely delighted us with a visit when on his return last week from his old Juniata home to his new residence in Iowa.

Most Truly Yours, David J. Beale.







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