Cover Story


Memorials to Our Past

By Sandra Bardoner Rodenbaugh

On the last Monday in May 30, people all across America will pause to commemorate the sacrifice of millions of Americans who served their country in time of war. The practice reaches all the way back to America’s Civil War in the mid-nineteenth century. Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the Grand Army of the Republic (an organization composed of Union veterans) established “Decoration Day” as a time for the nation to commemorate the sacrifice made by those who died during the war by placing flowers upon their graves. It’s believed that May 30 was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country at that time. 

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The first large observance of Decoration Day was held that same year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. But before that official national observance was decreed there were already numerous local ceremonies conducted throughout the north and south to commemorate war dead. 

We often forget that the human cost of America’s Civil War was almost beyond imagination. An estimated 2% of the US population in 1865 – more than 620,000 men and women – lost their lives in the line of duty. If that percentage of Americans fell in a war today the death toll would exceed 6 million! It’s no wonder that Americans felt so strongly about commemorating the sacrifice of so many brave sons and daughters. It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was also designated that Memorial Day should be celebrated on the last Monday in May.

Most residents are probably quite familiar with the Veterans Memorial located adjacent to the Community Center, which honors the contributions of those Hampton residents who proudly served their country over the years. But many residents may be surprised to learn that the Township also owns two historic cemeteries that serve as both a link to Hampton’s pioneer history as well as a commemoration of the many Hampton residents that served in the military during the Township’s early years. 

Fortunately for our readers, Hampton native Sandra (Bardoner) Rodenbaugh is a historian who has been compiling an extensive history of Hampton, to be published in the near future. The following excerpts from her research detail the rich experience to be found in wandering through Hampton’s memorials, located at the Depreciation Lands Museum on Pioneer Avenue near Route 8 and the Pine Creek Cemetery located directly behind the Quality Inn on Route 8. Both cemeteries are, in fact, the legacy of a split within the congregation of one of Hampton’s early Presbyterian churches. – Editor

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Hampton’s pioneer cemeteries offer a unique glimpse into the beginnings of Hampton Township and the people who settled here. Their lives are commemorated on the stones and monuments that their loved ones erected following their passing. In a sense, it allows us to reach out and touch the people that came before us decades and even centuries ago.

The Rev. Dr. Thomas Gutherie served as the third pastor of the Pine Creek Reformed Covenanter Church. In 1833, during his pastorate, there was a denominational split that resulted in two groups of believers. The Reformed Presbyterian Covenanters, pastored by Rev. Gutherie, became known as “New Light Covenanters” and remained at the Pine Creek Cemetery location along Route 8 (near the present day Eat’n Park restaurant). 

The Reformed Presbyterian Covenanters, who became known as the “Old Light Covenanters,” relocated to the Pioneer Road location just off Route 8 (opposite the present-day Post Office). Between 1837 and 1839, they built a brick church on land donated by the Charles Anderson family. 

The “Old Light Covenanters” occupied that building until 1925, when the congregation disbanded. In 1973, Hampton Township purchased the church building to house the Depreciation Lands Museum. Records for the Pine Creek and Depreciation Lands and Herr Chapel Cemeteries are maintained at the Depreciation Lands Museum.

The Depreciation Lands Cemetery 

When visitors to Hampton’s Depreciation Lands Museum wander among the displays, exhibits and buildings they gain a glimpse into the early lives of the families that settled the Township. Members of one of the prominent early settlers, the Anderson family of the “Old Light Covenanter Church,” are buried within the church graveyard.

Charles Anderson, born in 1803, and his wife Sarah “Thompson” Anderson, born 1809,  emigrated to America from Ireland in 1825. They settled in Baltimore for a few years before coming to Pittsburgh. In 1837, Charles Anderson moved his family to Talley Cavey to settle on land known as “Green Grove Tract,” located along the Butler Plank Road. Charles worked the land, operated a brickyard on his property and built his house in 1837. Charles Anderson donated part of his land, supplied the bricks and helped build the Reformed Presbyterian Church building on Pioneer Road. Charles was an active member of the “Old Light Covenanter” Church and was buried in the graveyard when he died Feb. 14, 1878. Sarah Anderson died April 2, 1891.

Two of Charles Anderson’s sons, Samuel and Hugh, grew up in the church, served their country during the Civil War and returned home to live in the Talley Cavey area and raise their families. Samuel Anderson and his wife, Charlotte Hutchman, remained members of the Reformed Church of Talley Cavey and were buried in Hampton Cemetery. Hugh Anderson and his wife, Matilda Plummer, remained on the family farm and were active members of the church. They are buried in the Depreciation Lands Cemetery along with many other members of the Anderson family.

Hercules McIntyre, also interred in the Depreciation Lands Cemetery, was born in County Down, Ireland, in 1842, the son of Hercules and Mary Ann Matthews McIntyre. In 1849, after his parents died in the “old country,” Hercules came to America with six of his older brothers. Two of the McIntyre brothers went west to California to seek their fortune, and died there. Hercules’s brother, John McIntyre, a private in the 123rd Infantry Regiment, was killed on December 13, 1862, in the Battle of Fredricksburg, during the Civil War. His brother, David McIntrye, enlisted in 63rd Regiment and served a three-year enlistment, but returned home a physical wreck. 

Three of the McIntyre brothers – James, David and William – became farmers in the county. In 1867, Hercules McIntyre married Christina Sterling of West Deer, purchased property along Butler Plank Road near Wildwood Road Ext. and made his living as a blacksmith in the Talley Cavey area. 

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Hercules and Christina had six children: Mary, John, Robert, Belle, George and William and were members of the U.P. Church at Talley Cavey. Hercules McIntyre died in 1908 and Christina died in 1911.  They were buried in Pine Creek Depreciation Lands Cemetery. In 1907, the Kramer Blacksmith Shop replaced Hercules McIntyre’s business. But Hercules McIntyre, blacksmith of Talley Cavey, would no doubt feel right at home in the blacksmith shop that operates as part of the Depreciation Lands Museum today.

Many of the early families of the township were interrelated by marriage to those of like religious affiliation, as evidenced by the names in the graveyard: Alexander Lambie married Nancy McCully. The earliest recorded burial in the cemetery was Margaret B. Lambie, daughter of John Lambie Sr. and M. Lambie, who passed away on April 13, 1836, aged 16 months and 7 days. Early childhood deaths were quite common in the days before advanced medicine and improved living conditions became prominent. We can also see from a comparison of graves between the Depreciation Lands cemetery and the Pine Creek Cemetery that the church split affected many early families. Common family surnames appear in both church graveyards, such as Campbell, Glasgow, Holmes, McCully, and Miller.

The Last Full Measure

Hampton’s cemeteries also serve to reflect the sentiments expressed in Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which said, “From these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.” The Depreciation Lands Cemetery in particular provides ample evidence of how meaningful the Civil War was to Hampton families. 

Robert C. Glasgow (1841-1864), a private in the Independent Light Artillery “Hampton’s” Battery F, mustered into service on February 18, 1864 and died in a Baltimore Hospital on Aug. 15, 1864. He was 23 years, 4 months and 12 days of age. Captain Andrew Watson Jr. (1841-1895) and his wife are also buried in the Depreciation Lands Cemetery. Captain Watson served in the 139th Infantry Regiment with Lt. James Harbison and Richard Morrow, who are also buried in Pine Creek Cemetery. 

Field promotions during the Civil War were often necessary to replace higher-ranking officers who were killed in battle. For example, Andrew Watson was promoted to First Lt. on November 1, 1863, and commissioned a Captain on June 6, 1864, after he was wounded at the Battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia. Capt. Andrew Watson Jr. was discharged from military service on Surgeon’s Certificate Dec. 12, 1864.

Captain Andrew Watson Jr. and his wife made their final home in the Talley Cavey area of Hampton Township and resided there until his death in 1895. In honor of his service, the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic (The G.A.R. which was established in 1913 in Allison Park) named their group the “Captain Andrew Watson Jr. Circle # 180.” In 1847, Circle #180 erected a monument recognizing Captain Andrew Watson Jr. and all who served during the Civil War. 

The Civil War Monument and other War Memorials are at Hampton Veterans Memorial located on McCully Road at the Hampton Community Center. A Civil War Plaque on the Memorial Wall recognizes soldiers from Hampton and the surrounding areas who served their country during the Civil War.

Pine Creek Reformed Church Cemetery

The history of the area where Hampton United Presbyterian Church (known as Pine Creek Reformed Covenanter Church, and later as Pine Creek Church) dates back to the Post-Revolutionary War era. At that time, Western Pennsylvania was sparsely settled wilderness. Following the formation of Allegheny County in 1788, settlement throughout the area increased and various township boundaries were established north of Fort Pitt.

The area first designated as Pitt (1788-1796), then Pine and Deer Twps. (1796) was further subdivided into the following townships: Indiana (1805), West Deer (1836), Shaler (1847), McCandless (1851) Hampton and Richland (both 1861). 

As the early settlers arrived in the sparsely settled areas, houses of worship were established to provide for the spiritual as well as social needs of the early immigrants. The early churches reflected the spiritual roots and traditions of the Scotch, Irish, English and German arrivals who made up their congregations.

The early records of Pine Creek Reformed Covenanter Church, which are few, listed 57 members and 95 Sunday School Scholars who worshipped as one of the 8 Branches or Societies of the Covenanter Presbyterians in the early 1800s. Their house of worship was a primitive construction, likely a log cabin, which was located on Butler Plank Road (Rt. 8) north of the turnpike exit at the site of the present day Quality Inn. 

In 1808, a brick church building was constructed. The Pine Creek Cemetery, the oldest in Hampton Township, recorded its first burial as William Hutchman in 1801. The cemetery also contains the remains of many of the Founding Families of Hampton: Arbuthnot, Armstrong, Black, Campbell, Cunningham, Hardy, Herron, Holmes, Hutchman, McCaslin, McCully, McCurdy, McDonald, Poff, Scott and Williams.

Hampton’s Early Pioneers

The first minister of the Pine Creek Covenanter Church, Rev. Dr. John Black, was born in Ahoghil, Antrim County, Ireland. He was educated in Glasgow, Scotland in 1790, emigrated to America in 1797, was ordained in New York in 1799, and was the first Covenanter Minister and pioneer missionary to settle west of the Allegheny Mountains. Rev. John Black settled north of Pittsburgh in the “Depreciation Lands” and gathered 8 Societies of Covenanter Presbyterians into one congregation. He was ordained and installed the pastor Dec. 18, 1800, by the Reformed Presbytery of Pittsburgh. On Sept. 22, 1801, Rev. John Black married Elizabeth Watson of Pittsburgh. 

In 1806, the congregation was divided into three parts, with Rev. Black remaining the pastor of the area nearest to Pittsburgh. Around 1820, Rev. Black became a well-known religious scholar and professor of languages at the University of Western Pennsylvania (today the University of Pittsburgh). After nearly 50 years of service, Dr. Rev. John Black died on Oct. 25, 1849. ,Rev. Black and his wife Elizabeth had 10 children before she passed away in 1824.

The Reverend Matthew Williams served as the second pastor of the Pine Creek Covenanter Church between 1807 and 1825. He was born in Antrim County, Ireland on July 17, 1768. He was educated in Scotland before immigrating to America with his parents in 1794 and settling in Ligonier Valley, Pennsylvania. 

Rev. Williams studied theology under John Black and was licensed by the Reformed Presbytery in 1804. The following year, Reverend Williams settled near Zelienople, Butler County, an area that included all the Societies north of Pittsburgh. The country at the time was mostly unbroken forest and wild animals were often Rev. William’s only companions as he rode horseback to serve his parishioners. Matthew Williams died at his home at 60 years of age. 

Inscribed on his grave marker, a large obelisk, is the following: “Sacred to the Memory of Matthew Williams Who Departed This Life Sept. 11th 1828 Aged About 60 Yrs. He Was a Humble Christian and a Faithful Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Lived and Died in the Faith of that Gospel Which He Had Long Preached.”

 Elizabeth Williams died July 24, 1850, at 68 years of age and was buried beside her husband. The ministry of Rev. Matthew Williams was remarkably successful in the gathering of a large congregation of committed Christians from surrounding areas, who are also buried in the Pine Creek Cemetery. Their family names include Glasgow, Dickey, Harbison, Heaslet, McKelvey, McMarlin and Morrow.

John McCaslin and his wife Frances McCaslin, early pioneers of Hampton Township, are two of the many significant gravesites found in Pine Creek Cemetery. Robert McCaslin (McCausland), father of John McCaslin, was born in Scotland sometime in the 1700s. Robert, his wife and their sons Andrew, John, and James  were all born in Scotland and emigrated to Philadelphia in 1772, prior to the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. 

Also arriving in Philadelphia on the same ship as the McCaslins were William Brown, his wife Christina, their 5 children, Neil Murray and the John McComish family. John McComish died upon landing. After a brief stay in Philadelphia, the hardy group of Scotsmen and their families: McCaslins, Browns, Harbisons, Murrays and the widow of John McComish headed westward over the Forbes Road. The group settled for some years in the Scottish settlement at Fort Redstone near Brownsville, Washington County, before proceeding westward.

Records indicate that John McCaslin served in the militia during and after the Revolutionary War. He was a private in Capt. Samuel Fintan’s Company from Cumberland County, PA. 

John McCaslin is generally thought to have been one of the earliest settlers in a part of the “Depreciation Lands” located in Hampton Township. In 1794, John McCaslin secured title to the land referred to as “Castle Town” on the Depreciation Lands Maps. The land known today as “Oak Hill Farms” is located along Mt. Royal Blvd.

On March 25, 1813, John McCaslin applied for a land warrant, surveyed the land on Nov. 3, 1813 and was issued a land patent in March, 1814. In 1794, John McCaslin’s brothers, Andrew and James, claimed land in Middlesex Township, Butler County, which they farmed with their families.

John McCaslin preferred the life of a fur trapper to that of a farmer. Although John and his wife Frances settled and raised their family in the Talley Cavey area, John’s fondness for the chase did not cease. As the county became more densely settled, he would often make long excursions to the wilds of what would later be referred to as the “oil regions.” John McCaslin died in 1832 at 64 years of age. Frances McCaslin died in 1846 at 76. The inscription on their grave marker reads, “Pioneers of Hampton Township.”

Two McCaslin descendants, Robert and John, would settle and build houses on McCaslin property. Around 1830, Robert McCaslin built a house at 4429 Mt. Royal Blvd. Early maps indicate the house also served as a tavern and stop for stagecoaches on the way to Butler. It was alleged the house served as a stop on the “Underground Railroad” to Canada (via Bakerstown). The second McCaslin house, located at 4455 Mt. Royal Blvd., was owned by John J. McCaslin. The last recorded burial in Pine Creek Cemetery was William McCaslin in 1964. 

Two graves in Pine Creek Cemetery reflect the harsh realities of “Death and Dying in the Civil War.” The extreme death toll caused by the War (1 out of every soldier was 3 killed or wounded in battle) created a need for the embalming industry. Bodies were often buried hastily on the battlefield where they fell, but if time allowed and families could afford to pay, the deceased soldier could be returned home for a proper burial by the family.

Both Private Richard Morrow Jr. and Lt. James T. Harbison served in the 139th Regiment, an infantry unit conscripted from Hampton Township and the surrounding areas. Lt. James T. Harbison served with his brother, Sgt. Matthew Harbison. Lt. James T. Harbison was killed in the Battle of Salem Heights, Virginia, May 3, 1863. The battle resulted in 123 killed, wounded and missing in action. 

Sgt. Matthew Harbison witnessed his brother fall, mortally wounded from a bullet to the forehead. The task of gathering his brother’s belongings and notifying his family in Bakerstown fell to a grieving Sgt. Matthew Harbison and his Commanding Officer Capt. Robert Munroe. Lt. James T. Harbison was buried in Pine Creek Cemetery in the family plot. Lt. Harbison’s belongings, including the hat with the fatal bullet hole, were donated to Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland, and are on display.

The inscription on the gravestone marker erected in honor of Private Richard Morrow Jr. reflects the grief of a family unable to bring their son home for a proper burial: Richard Morrow Junior (1846-1864), “A member of Co. D. 139th Rgt. PV. died May 6th, 1864, aged 18 yrs. 7 mos., 8 days, son of Richard and Mary Morrow, Who in Nobly Defending His Country’s Cause was Wounded in the Battle of the Wilderness, Virginia on the 5th and died in the Field Hospital on the 6th of May 1864, Being buried by strangers, the precise place of his grave is unknown.”

The losses incurred during the Civil War profoundly affected not only the families of the deceased, but also the close-knit communities. Due to a national outcry from those back home, the Federal Government began the task of exhumation and identification of those who fell on the battlefield. They provided re-internment with a proper burial for those killed in action and designated the battlefields as National Cemeteries. 

The most famous such designation was Gettysburg National Cemetery, and Lincoln’s Famous “Gettysburg Address,” which President Lincoln delivered at the Dedication in November 19, 1863, is revered as a “classic speech for the ages.” Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. was one of the first and most famous cemeteries for Union Soldiers who died during the Civil War. 

To commemorate all who had lost their lives in the Civil War, Decoration Day was established on May 5, 1868, by the Proclamation of General John Logan, National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. Logan proposed the laying of flowers on the graves of the Civil War dead in Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868. This event laid the foundation for Decoration Day to become known as Memorial Day after World War I. 

Memorial Day, as we know it today, is a day of reflection and remembrance to recognize all who died by placing flowers on their graves. American flags and bronze flag holders denoting the conflict in which they served are placed on the graves of all military personnel who served their country with dedication and courage.

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Afterthought . . .

Cemeteries are not usually the most visited locales in any community. People these days seem to spend little time wandering among tombstones unless they have close relatives interred there. But cemeteries are more than just memorials to lost relatives. They are memorials to a lost civilization, to a time nearly forgotten. And they remind us of our ancestors, those “flesh and blood” people who came before us and helped make our world what it is today.

But thanks to the efforts of Historians such as Sandy Bardoner Rodenbaugh those alive today are privileged to enjoy a glimpse into Hampton’s past and thus gain a sense of our own heritage. Take a brief opportunity to spend a little time wandering among Hampton’s memorials and you will gain a sense of our present as seen through the lens of the past.  -  Editor

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