Andrews, Hugh B.

Submitted by mercercounty on Fri, 07/23/2010 - 10:28

The following history of the Moreland family was compiled for the Moreland family centennial, 1796-1896, the first family centennial celebration ever held in Greene Township, Mercer County, eight hundred and fifty people meeting in the picturesque grove on the farm of William and J. S. Moreland in honor of the occasion.

“In the North of Ireland, near the town of Coleraine, County Londonderry, lived John and Letitial Moreland. Their cottage and weaver’s sop stood on the bank of the Ban River. This honored couple were blessed with six sons, Isaac, William, Alexander, John, James and Robert, and two daughters, Margaret and Elizabeth. They were the direct descendants of the study Scotch Presbyterians, their forefathers having fled from Scotland to Ireland during King James’ persecution, and nearly all their descendants have been adherents of some branch of the same church.

“As their family grew to manhood and womanhood it became plain to all of them that their environment would seriously interfere with their desire to become independent men and women. ‘America, the land of the free and the home of the brave,’ caught and held their attention. Money to pay passage, however, was not easily obtained. Isaac, the eldest son, was apprenticed to a weaver in Scotland, with whom he served two years. He worked three years more before he could save enough money to pay passage for himself and his brother William to Philadelphia. In 1793 they took passage on the ship ‘Little Mary.’ Their captain loved strong drink and sacrificed the lives of many of his passengers by sailing is ship in the wrong direction. They voyage should have been made in about twelve weeks, but to the sore distress of all on board, it occupied twenty-one weeks. They were reduced to a half pint of flour and a pint of water each per day.

“After working for a time in Philadelphia, they came to Westmoreland County, where they were employed until 1796, when they came to that part of Mercer County where the centennial was held to honor our ancestors. They cleared a piece of land near the stone house during the first summer. In the fall of 1797 Isaac went to Philadelphia and made arrangements for the rest of the family to come to the new home. He started to return, but owing to heavy rainfalls the rivers were so swollen that he was compelled to remain until spring. All this long winter William lived alone, near this very place, with no companions save bears, wolves and Indians, the latter being the most unwelcome of all. In 1798 the whole family removed from Ireland, and after stopping for a short time in Westmoreland County, at the home of their uncle, Isaac McKissick, they came to this place. While in Westmoreland County a long dreaded sorrow befell them in the death of James.

“Had not these pioneers heeded the Scriptural injunction, ‘It is not good for a man to be alone,’ we would not be here to-day enjoying the fruits of their labors. They were married as follows: Isaac to Lillias Mossman; William to Jane Minto; Alexander to Nancy Wilson; John to Martha McGill; Robert to Martha Mahan; Margaret to Thomas Smith, and Elizabeth to William Hanna. In this particular their descendants have not closely followed their good example.

“In 1797 Isaac and William Moreland each took up a tract of land containing eight hundred fifty acres, for which they paid two thousand dollars. Their father settled one hundred acres, and John and Alexander each the same amount. Robert bought one hundred and fifty acres east of Jamestown. A large portion of the land settled by our honored ancestors is still owned by their descendants. And so we think it fitting that we meet on this, the centennial of their advent, to do honor to their memory.”

Venango County Pennsylvania, Her Pioneers and People, Vol II, Chicago, J.H. Beers & Co.,1919, pps. 1028 - 1030.

Submitted by Penny Kulbacki

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