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
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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© 2006 by Michael Milliken