Boylan, Aaron II
Born 17 May 1749 in Bernardsville, Somerset County, New Jersey; died 20 Sep 1824 in Sandy Creek Township, Mercer County, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Aaron and Catherine Parkinson Shilton Boylan of Somerset County, New Jersey. He married Sarah McDade 06 Oct 1772 in Basking Ridge, Somerset County, New Jersey. Sarah was born 06 Dec 1755 in Somerset County, New Jersey; died in 1861 in Sandy Lake, Mercer County, Pennsylvania. She was the daughter of Patrick McDade of Bernards, Somerset County, New Jersey.
He was known as a master weaver. He moved to Fayette County, PA during the early part of the Revolutionary War where he left his family while he served his country. He served under Captain Carters Company 1st Battalion, Somerset and also in the Continental Army. He also served under Captain Daniel Piatt, New Jersey. He was in the battle of Princeton, January 3, 1777. Their family home was burned by the British Army when Elizabethtown was captured and burned. His length of service was nine months as shown in the records of officers and men of NJ in the Revolutionary War.
Following the war, he moved to Mercer County, PA in 1800. He came with his family to a place called Sandy Creek Township, near Deer Creek, in the year 1800. In that wilderness country, he planted some fruit trees and carried on his trade as a weaver. Was elected or appointed sheriff but it was never a source of profit for him; the pay was poor and took him away from the farm.
Described as a very handsome man, tall and straight, had very curly black hair and an athlete and did not know what fear meant, was of a social kindly disposition, always had a lot of friends where ever he lived, always drank as most people did in those days, but was never intoxicated. He had such a saintly disposition that he won friends without an effort and his worst fault was his over friendliness for women.
Aaron and Sarah had eleven children. Upon his death, the family farm was divided between two sons. Andrew got the improved part with 100 acres (Sarah and Betsy lived with Andrew for some years); Aaron got 200 acres of wild land worth from three to five dollars per acre; 100 acres lapsed back to the U.S.
A grandson, William T. Boylan, later relates the following narrative about his grandfather’s early pioneering in Mercer County:
“In 1799, my grandfather, Aaron Boylan, and David Caldwell, of Redstone, Fayette County, fitted up a canoe with a supply of provisions and started up the Allegheny, poling their canoe to the mouth of French Creek and then up that stream to the mouth of Conneaut Creek. There they found James Herrington, a surveyor, mention above. He, being somewhat acquainted with the country, put them on a line running west from his place, directing them to follow that until they came to a certain numbered corner (the lots all being numbered). Then turn south and continue on until they came to another certain numbered corner, and there they would find on both sides of the line vacant claims. That corner was on what now is the line between Mercer and Crawford Counties. After following the line a hundred rods or more, Boylan espied a spring of water on the east side of the line. He went to it and sticking his staff into the ground, said to his friend, "Dave, I'll take this lot." They then went over the tract west of the line and came to another spring, and Caldwell took that tract. They then went to work and put up cabins on each of their lots of such logs or poles as they could handle, and ‘bushwacked’ around until their provisions were exhausted, and went back to get a new supply.
“When Boylan came back to his cabin he found a man named Davis in possession of it, who claimed a squatter sovereign's right. Boylan asked what he meant, and Davis said he had peaceable possession of the cabin and land, and was going to hold them. Boylan asked him if he might come in and warm, it being late in the fall. Davis said he might if he would have no trouble. He went in, and there being a good supply of dry wood, Boylan began to put it on the fire, until it blazed up to the roof. He said to Davis, "Your cabin will burn down." Davis took a pail and went to the spring for water. When he came back Boylan had the fire under control and the door barred, and told Davis he had built the cabin, and now had peaceable possession of it, and he might go about his business. He went, and troubled him no more.”3
Aaron and Sarah were buried in Fairfield Cemetery, Mercer County, Pennsylvania.
1. Boylan, B. L., and James D. Boylan (Co-Historians). The Boylan
Family: The Descendants of Aaron Boylan and Catherine Parkinson Shilton. Ann Arbor, MI: Unpublished, 1942.
2. Boylan, John A. (Project Director). History of the Boylan Family 1710-1976. Cambridge Springs, PA: Caldwell Printing, 1976.
3. Boylan, William T. “Extracts From Pioneer Days In Deer Creek, Pennsylvania.” Published in Cochranton Times, 1817-1898.
4. Genealogical and memorial history of the state of New Jersey : a book of the achievements of her people in the making of a commonwealth and the founding of a nation. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1910, p. 1462.
5. Stryker, Will S., Ed. Official Register of Officers and Men of NJ in the Revolutionary War. Trenton, NJ. 1872. (878p.): pp. 153, 515.