A friendly resource of information
encompassing parts of Westmoreland,
Fayette, and Somerset Counties in
Southwestern Pennsylvania

Chestnut Ridge Historical Society Inc. 1698 State Route 711, P.O. Box 242
Stahlstown, PA 15687
- Office: 724-593-3102

Join us at Our Monthly Meeting on the third Tuesday of each month, at 7pm!
Meeting Details
Past Events

Join Us on Facebook and see lots
of Excellent Photos of the Past!

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

CRHS News!
...to keep you up to date!

*See our Sponsors

July 17, 2018 Meeting Details!
Our speaker for the evening will be one of our dedicated members,
James Maestrole, who will be sharing some of his hobbies.

Our monthly meeting will be held at Aleo Lake near Stahlstown on Rte 130 at 6:00 PM.
We will be having a covered dish picnic before our program.
Cold drinks, plates, and utensils will be provided.
Our program will feature one of our dedicated members, James Maestrole,
who will be sharing some of his hobbies.
  Also, spe
cial thanks to our member, Vonnie Zebelsky, who invited us to her home.
Please come and share your covered dish.
Directions and more information is available by calling 724-423-3802

As always, attendance is free and
the public is invited!

Please Note: The Historical Society Center is
open on Wednesdays from 11am to
and Saturdays from 10am to 2pm.

TWO Bus Trips are scheduled to See "Jesus"
at Sight and Sound Theatre
in Lancaster, PA

The First Lancaster Bus Trip is July 10th and

Because we have had such a large demand, WE ADDED a Second Trip!
The Second Lancaster Bus Trip is August 7th! See information below!

Chestnut Ridge Historical Society
Trips to Sight and Sound Theater

Our Bus Trip for July 10th

If you can't make it for this Trip,
We have a Second Bus Trip to
Lancaster on August 7th!


Mail to: 
Tom Dix
3913 Route 31
Jones Mills, PA 15646

More information or questions, call
724-593-2497 or 724-423-3802

TWO Great Bus Trips!
to see "Jesus"
at Sight and Sound Theatre
in Lancaster, PA

The Second Bus Trip to
is on August 7th!
$125.00 Per Person

Second Trip is Same as
First Trip: Same Price,
Location and Show

More Details to follow...

We ALL had Fun on our Trip to Branson!


...Anyone, Anyone...?
Does anyone have a FIRST EDITION
Chestnut Ridge Historical Society THROW
from many years ago?
The First Edition THROW portrayed
Brown's Store, Plank Road School,
County Line Church, Sparks Supply, etc.
Seeking Original Throw issued for sale by CRHS

CRHS is requesting that anyone who has
to please contact us. If those Original Version
CRHS Throws (now second-hand) would be
available to CRHS, it would be appreciated.
CRHS has had several requests
for second-hand throws.
Seeking Original Throw issued for sale by CRHS

James G. Kunkle, Local Historian

James' Story Corner

...sharing Extraordinary Bits of History
of Local Families!

4th Company, 1st Battalion
Westmoreland County Militia

A Short Story for CRHS by J. G. Kunkle

Captain Richard Williams was born in Chester County, PA. The family name may originally have been "Wilhelm". Richard moved to the Western Pennsylvania frontier sometime prior to 1770. He married Rose Ann Hartzell around 1770 and they had 10 children.
 During the Revolutionary War, Richard Williams served as a Captain in the 1st Battalion 4th Company, Westmoreland County Militia. Early in the Revolution, he built the "Williams Blockhouse" between Stahlstown and Donegal, on the hill overlooking Four Mile Run, near the old Warrior Trail (we know today as route 711) to protect the local settlers from attacks by the Indian allies of the British. The Warrior trail was used by the Iroquois and Cherokee tribes in the many wars they had and stretched from New York to the Carolinas.

In 1773, Donegal Township was formed in the region known as Westmoreland County. This township included most of present day Ligonier Township (including Fort Ligonier), all of Cook and Donegal and parts of Saltlick and Bullskin Townships  It was during the Revolutionary War that the majority of the Indian attacks occurred in Donegal Township. Folks around Donegal and Stahlstown are familiar with the story about the Harman, Campbell, Ulery and Nicely families being attacked, killed and captured during the war along the Warrior Trail and the Four Mile Run area that stretched from Donegal to Darlington. Four Mile Run got it’s name from the French and Indian War when the Forbes Expedition was building the road to capture Fort Duquesne from the French. The British/Colonial Army crossed the stream four miles from Fort Ligonier and headed over the ridge at present day Darlington to present day Youngstown.

In 1775, the colonist in Westmoreland County which included all the land west of Bedford, declared their Independence from Britain in a proclamation known as the Hannastown Pact. This Pact was the result of English failure to protect Western Pennsylvania from attack during Queen Anne’s War. Westmoreland County had been the site of engagements during the French and Indian War and the local settlers knew the dangers of living on the frontier and being the buffer expendables. When the British burned Hannastown at the end of the Revolutionary War, the Frontier Rangers chased them back into Ohio. The end result of this campaign led to the expansion of the North West Territory and 100 years of continuous warfare with the Native Americans.

Once the 13 Colonies Declared Independence in 1776, the British sent their Army to America to get their colonies back. They used Canada as a base of operations and also employed the Senaca, a fierce Iroquois war like tribe, in their efforts. The Continental Army was very small and relied on the militias of the 13 colonies to reinforce them in the war. Not all the colonist fought with the Continental line because the English used terror tactics on the frontier to scalp, burn and kill colonists in an effort to prevent the Militia from joining the battles taking place in the East. Pennsylvania Militia was organized and 2 Battalions of Frontier Rangers were formed in Westmoreland County. There were small companies of about 25 young men who were responsible for the defense of the towns and villages that dotted the region. The 4th Company, 1st Battalion Pa. Militia Frontier Rangers were known locally as the “Four Mile Run Rangers”. Their outpost or blockhouse was Fort William and the men came from the families who lived along the banks of the stream from Donegal to Darlington. There deeds and exploits are recorded in the History of Westmoreland County along with the description of the horrific acts committed by the Senaca and the revenge rendered the Rangers. The Rangers graves are in local cemeteries like Porch, Fairmont, Keltz and Pleasant Grove. There was also a company of Rangers at Fort Ligonier, Hannastown and Fort Palmer.   

We know from local history that the Harman family took shelter at Fort William following the attack on their family. We also know from history that the rangers pursued the Indians who captured Jacob Nicely and Robert Campbell. The local Rangers were also included in the failed Lochry Expedition to capture Fort Detroit and of the 100 men from the area who went into Ohio, less that 1/3 ever returned. Interested readers can find a full description of the Rangers and the Lochry Expedition by searching on line or visit the local library.  Finding the location of Fort William can be traced back to land acquisition and it was located on what became known as the Issac Kalp Farm.  The Rangers were young men who were skilled woodsmen and fought in the manner of the Indians. They were excellent scouts and trackers. They were expert shots and well versed in the ways of frontier tomahawk and knife hand to hand combat and guerrilla warfare. The dressed in home spun and buck skin and resembled Hawkeye from Last of the Mohicans. Their mission was to locate marauding Indians and warn the settlers of eminent attack. They spent long days on the trail especially when someone had been attacked. They had an alarm system that was like a bell that could be rung and heard all along the valley so people could reach shelter of the block house. There are stories of other blockhouses erected around Donegal and Stahlstown but if they existed, their location has not been proven.

We know that the British paid the Senaca for white scalps and this led to a bounty on Indian scalps taken by the Rangers and paid for by the Pennsylvania colony. There were atrocities on both sides. WE know the officers of 4th Co. 1st Btn Frontier Rangers were Captain Richard Williams, 1st Lt. Peter Dumbauld, 2nd Lt William Cairns and Ensign Henry Marshall. The soldiers of this company can be found searching the archives for the roster. Every pioneer family in the valley would have had a relative serving in the militia. Sometimes the spelling of names is not the same as we know today. Example Kelsey/Keltz; Kerns/Cairns; Knisle/Nicley; Timbold/Dumbauld etc.

Initial Four Mile Run Ranger Company 1776:
Richard Williams
Henry Marshall
William Kearn
Adam Nicely
George Eager
Peter Dumbauld
George Keltz
Peter Kearn
Joseph Huffman
George Kern
Frederick Dumbauld
John Scott
Fergus Moorhead
Alexander Maxwell
James Wilson
Jonathan Hartshorn
Ledwich Bamsey
Abraham Dumbauld
Michael Hays
George Keltz jr.
Frederick Reeser
Benjamin Sutton
Mathias Kire
William Curry
Thomas Sutton
Robert McDowell
James Filch
David Thompson
James Flick
George McDowell
James McDowell
Charles Keyle
James Wilkins

 (Reference roster published Pennsylvania Archives,
Third Series, Volume 23)

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of Excellent Photos of the Past!

New Members are always welcome! 
Sign up today so you don’t miss out on what is happening next at CRHS.

Click Here for a Membership Application to print, fill out, and send in with your membership dues.
Our Application is an "All-in-One Form" with instructions for Individuals, Couples or Businesses



Open Saturday: 10am to 2pm
Wednesday: 11:00am to 3:00pm

CRHS Cook Book
Only $10.00!

Our CRHS Cook Book
is now available
for only $10.00!

It is plum full of great recipes
from our members.
Pick up your copy at the center
on Wednesdays or Saturdays
at a cost of only $10.

These CookBooks make great gifts too.
Great Gift!
Give this Great Cookbook!

Thank all of you for your great response
regarding this great CRHS project!

CRHS Throw with
Historical Throw Companion Booklet

(Reg. $27.50) NOW Only $25.00
(Limited choice of colors)

Click to see enlarged image!

CRHS Throw with Historical Throw Companion Booklet: Softcover 31 page booklet containing
a brief history of the illustrations depicted
on the throw.

This beautiful heirloom throw was designed and commissioned by the Chestnut Ridge Historical Society. Woven with pride in the United States by Mill Creek Design from We Love Country Inc., the two-layered, 100 percent cotton Jacquard is color-fast and preshrunk. Measuring approximately 50 inches by 70 inches, the throw is fringed on all four sides and is machine washable.

The 14 illustrations provide but a brief glimpse of the historical richness of the area that we of the Chestnut Ridge Historical Society are dedicated to preserve.

Many Thanks to Our CRHS Business Members
who support our Chestnut Ridge Historical Society!

We appreciate your memberships and your offered resources.

Brady's Restaurant

Champion Lumber Company Inc.

Charles Z. Keslar Agency Inc.

Connie Dennison, Tax Preparer

David W. Sadler  Erie Insurance Agency

Donegal Auto Body

Donegal Dairy Queen

Fay-West Copier Service

Foggy Mountain Lodge & Restaurant

Gearhart Electrical Contractors

Harbor Inn Restaurant

Highlands Heating Inc.

Hoffer's Ligonier Valley Packing

Laurel Highland Total Communciation Inc.

Laurel Valley Hardware Inc.

Loyalhanna Veterinary Clinic Inc.

Main Street Wine Bar

Old General Store

S&S Communications Service Inc.

Sarnelli's Corner Market

Shari Bukovac Bookeeping

Somerset Trust Bank

Springer's Cove  (Tall Cedars) 

The Country Pie Shoppe

Whispering Pines Antiques


Of the 67 Counties of the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,
we maintain historical data for
part of the Southwestern Region

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Our CRHS Newsletter,
"Down Memory Lane", is now available!
Newsletters are available at the Office, or if you
become a Member, then a Newsletter is mailed!

Our Mission
The Chestnut Ridge Historical Society is dedicated to
collecting and preserving the oral and written history and
artifacts of a portion of the Laurel Mountains that is
known as the Chestnut Ridge!

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