East Huntingdon township was formed by a division of the original Huntingdon township, and was taken from South Huntingdon township in 1798. Efforts had been made to have this township formed in 1794. It is bounded on the north by Hempfield township: on the east by Mt. Pleasant township on the south by Fayette county, and on the west by South Huntingdon township. The township is almost entirely underlaid with a rich and productive seam of bituminous coal.
The first settlers in the township were Scotch-Irish who Caine from the eastern part of Pennsylvania. Among them were John Vance, a magistrate for many years: William and Franklin Vance, and the Fosters, Barbs, Cochrans, McClains and McCormicks. After these first settlers, that is about 1800, came many Germans belonging to the Mennonite church, who also came from the eastern part of the state., They were thrifty farmers and brought with them good supplies Of live stock and farming implements. They purchased much of the land that had formerly been owned by the Scotch-Irish pioneers, and opened up many new tracts which had not yet been purchased from the state. These settled largely between Stonerville and the Fayette county line. It is estimated that the members of this one denomination owned twenty five thousand acres of land near and surrounding Stonerville. Among their leading men were such names as Overholt, Funk, Stauffer, Welty, Dillinger, Strohm, Ruth, Shupe, Sherrick Loucks, Mumaw, Stoner, Fretts, Fox, etc., many of whose descendants are vet residents of this community. The Lutheran and Reformed settlers were located mostly in the northwestern part of the township. Among them were Mark Leighty, Henry Lowe, Henry Null, Joseph Suter, Nicholas Swope. and also the Altmans, fines, Harhaughs, Ruffs, Snyders, Hunkers, etc.
One of the oldest families in the township is the Stauffer family, and it has given its name to Stauffer's run, a stream which flows from near Stcnerville and empties into Jacob's creek near Scottdale. Abraham Stauffer came from Bucks county, and settled near Scottdale. He died July 9, 151.
Another early family were the Sterretts, who resided near Scottdale. They were related to Daniel Boone, the first settler of Kentucky. Boone once came to this region and passed several days visiting his relatives, the Sterretts, in their cabin home in the southwestern part of the county.
The early schools of this township were similar to those of all other localities in the county. One of the first schoolhouses was built in 1802, on the Gaut farm, and the school was taught by a German named Leightv. Other early teachers were John Selby and Peter Showalter. The township took early action with regard to the free school system. They held an election at the house of Peter Pool, on September 19. 1834, at which they elected Jacob Tinsman, Jacob Overholt, Solomon Litter, Peter Pool, Gasper Tarr and Henry Fretts as directors. These directors met at the house of Christian Fox, on October 6, 1834. After they had organized they appointed Jacob Tinsman as a delegate to meet other delegates in Greensburg on the first Tuesday of November in order that a general system of education might be established in the county. A vote of the citizens wads taken at the house of Peter Pool, on May. 21, 1836, to decide whether school tax should he levied or not. seventy four of them voting against tax, and two voting for tax. Nevertheless, the schools were kept open from 1834 until 1837, and directors were elected each year. Another election was then ordered to determine whether the schools should be continued or not. This election was also held at the house of Peter Pool, on the first Tuesday of May, 1837, at which fifty six voted for no schools and thirty four voted for schools, but the law required that in order to defeat the system a majority of the citizens in the district must vote against it, and fifty six not being by any means a majority of all in the district, the system was adopted by a minority vote. Shortly after this the school directors divided the township into districts and began to erect school houses, and the township has since advanced to one of the leading townships in the county in educational matters.
Photos courtesy of Chasing Eden Photography
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