(Continued From Yesterday)
Surrounded by tall pines, on the north side of the pike in Glyde, is a little frame
church of that rural type familiar in the days of our grandfathers a hundred years
ago. This is Davidson Chapel of the Methodist Church, which has not been changed since it
was built in 1867. It has a well-kept appearance, and does not show its age.
A short distance west of Glyde an old log cabin still stands on the south side
of the road, an example of the homes of the pioneers once seen scattered along the line
of the pike.
A mile west of the log cabin is the old post office of Strabane. This building
once housed a general store and the post office; but the store and the post office have
long been abandoned. Searight says that during the pike era this office was known as
Buchanan. The reason for the change of name is not known, unless it reminded some
Republican administration of a Democratic President.
Another bad curve at the foot of the hill at Strabane has been eliminated by the
new route which passes on the south side of the old hamlet.
HASTINGS' TAVERN AT DOAKSVILLE.
At the top of the hill a short distance west of Strabane is a large frame house
on the south side of the pike in which Thomas Hastings kept a wagon stand and stage
coach stop. He was the only proprietor during all the years of travel on the pike; and
he had a reputation of always catering to the wants of his guests. Searight says
that it was one of the leading taverns on the road. I was unable to learn just when Thomas
Hastings settled this spot; but he was there as early as 1816, for on April 5 he
purchased 60 acres across the road in Strabane, now South Strabane Township, from
David Winter for $500.
Searight relates an interesting incident in which a man rode 42 miles from there
to vote for Polk and Dallas. John W. McDowell, of Fayette County, was working on
this section of the road in 1844 when William Searight was superintendent, and he
boarded at Hastings. He was determined to vote and arose before daybreak of election day,
and went to the dining room where the waitresses, in spite of the early hour, served
his breakfast and cheered him on his way. The polling place for Wharton Township, Fayette,
where he lived was at Mt. Washington Tavern, not the Fort Necessity Museum. Mounting
his horse immediately after breakfast he made the 42 miles in time to cast his ballot—not
a bad horseback ride in one day for any man.
Rollo V. Doak, the present owner was born in this house 77 years ago. He showed
me about and gave an interesting description of the old tavern. His grandfather, Robert
Doak, bought the property from the estate of Thomas Hastings in 1863, and when he died
he left it to his son, William Doak, who willed the property to his son Rollo.
Like many old houses converted into taverns with the coming of the pike, this
is a log building throughout, although you would not know it today. The front section,
which was probably built first, was constructed of round logs with brick between, and
in the rear is a hewn log addition. Mr. Doak informed me that the addition was not
covered with drop siding, as now seen, until 74 years ago.
The Hastings’ establishment was quite extensive with a paved wagon yard, a
large log barn, and a blacksmith shop for repairing stages and Conestogas. The old
stable across the side road from the house was torn down many years ago, and the
present barn was erected on the site.
The wagon yard was in the rear of the tavern, and in many places you can still
find the old stone paving. The side road from the pike to the barn and wagon year was
paved so that no vehicle would stick in the mud in bad weather.
Mr. Doak pointed out the spot where the blacksmith shop once stood in the rear of
the house and at one side of the wagon yard. It disappeared long ago. Hastings’ was a relay
station for stage horses; and Mr. Doak still preserves the old tavern horn, five feet
long, as a relic of the long ago. It was always blown as a signal to the stable man
that a stage was coming and to have the change of horses ready. After my first visit he
presented this relic to the Washington County Historical Society, where it may be
Thomas Hastings died early in 1857 as shown by his will probated March 10, 1857.
On March 16, 1863, his heirs sold 90 acres in Amwell and South Strabane Townships (the
pike is the line here, to Robert Doak for $2,565; and on September 3, 1863, Robert
Doak purchased 14 acres more in Amwell Township from the Hastings’ estate for
$2,050.44. This was probably the tavern property.
After the Doaks acquired this farm it was know as Doaksville. It was here
that the reception committee from Washington met Hon. James G. Blaine on October 23,
1866 during his drive from West Brownsville to Washington, which has already been
On the north side of the pike, several yards west of Hastings, Samuel Hughes
kept the Upland House in a large frame building, probably built of logs covered with lap
siding. Searight says that the surroundings were attractive and it enjoyed an
“aristocratic patronage,” and while the Pike Boys crowded the Hastings’ House, travelers
in states, chaises and fine carriages stopped at the Upland.
Mr. Doak told me that Elza Doak purchased this tavern from Hughes and operated
it until travel ceased. John H. Little, an old Pike Boy and a rich farmer, wanted this
farm, and Mr. Doak said that he foreclosed a mortgage against Elza Doak. After he
acquired the property he razed the old Upland Tavern and erected the present brick house,
which has long been a landmark at this point. When John Little died on August 16, 1910,
he left the farm, cattle, and all equipment by will to John A. Burr, Joseph Thomas, the
present owner purchased it in 1942,from the Burr estate.
Mr. Thomas removed the front porch and built a beautiful colonial doorway. He
improved the house in many other ways and landscaped the yard.
HARRY LAND "MURDER."
It is a little hard today to picture the intense excitement that swept
Western Pennsylvania with the disappearance of Harry E. Lane, aged 30, on June 10,
1893. The long hunt for his body was the greatest event of the kind that ever took
place in all this section. Harry Lane, a huckster, was a son of Robert J. Lane, who
lived on a farm just north of John Little’s. The old Lane farm is about a mile down
a side road that turns north from the pike a mile west of Little’s, and goes
to Eighty Four.
Harry Lane was in Washington on Saturday, June 10. He did not draw any money
from the bank, but when he stopped at James Chambers’ store in Pancake to make a
purchase, he displayed a large roll of bills. James H. Ferguson, a neighbor and the
last man who ever saw him in this section, met Lane near the Robert M. Carrons home
about 9 o’clock. From that moment he disappeared as completely as if the earth had
About 11 o’clock that night his horse was found grazing along the road near
his father’s, which was the next farm from Harry’s home. The animal had been ridden
hard, and Mr. Lane believed that his son had hurriedly caught a train for Pittsburgh
at Eighty Four, put the animal in his barn. When Mrs. Lane found her husband absent
the next morning she also believed that he had gone to the city; but when he failed to
return on this morning train she became alarmed and communicated with his father.
An inquiry was started, and Daniel Lane, a brother, and Stewart Early started
for Pancake, but on the way they made a startling discovery. Laying at the side of
the road, near a watering trough a few feet north of the National Pike, they
found his hat, covered on the inside with clotted blood, and with a big dint as
though the wearer had been struck a blow.
This discovery led to the theory that he had been murdered for his
money. The news spread through the grapevine like wildfire, and in a short time hundreds
of people had gathered at the scene of the supposed murder. Stimulated by a reward
of $100 for his body and $1,000 for the apprehension of his murderer, offered by
his father, searching parties were organized, and for days they combed the hills, foot
by foot, looking in every conceivable hiding place. The search went on for weeks; the
river at Brownsville was dragged and an oil tank, in which it was believed the body
might be concealed, was drained. But Harry Lane had disappeared completely. Later it
was reported that he had been heard from in Canada, and it was definitely learned
that he was alive, either in Canada or the West. A story was told that he had left
on account of some impending trouble; and this seems to be the most plausible
Years afterwards a story was told that a friend, who was a practical joker,
knew of Lane’e plans to leave, and decided to have a little fun on his own account
without Harry’s knowledge. After Lane left that Saturday night, this friend, who
had secured a hat belonging to the missing man, made a dent in the crown, placed
blood on the inside of and left it at the watering trough. When this man realized
the serious manner in which his joke was taken, he was afraid to relate his part in
the disappearance, and so the affair remained a mystery. This may be the true
explanation, but it is not vouched for. It is one of the stories told in the
MOSES LITTLE'S WAGON STAND Picture
A little more than a mile west of the Upland House is an old brick building
on the south side of the pike, where Moses Little kept a wagon stand. Searight does
not mention this place, but I frequently heard Uncle Jack Munce, who knew Moses Little
well in the old pike days, say that he was a wagoner for several years and then retired
to his farm where he kept a wagon stand until the Pike Boys and their Conestogas
The construction shows that this house was built at a very early period.
The east half appears to be the oldest, Holes in the brick wall for roof joist show
that a porch was across the front, but it disappeared more than 60 years ago. The
front door is of the old type with glass panels on each side. I was shown through
the house and found that it contains eight rooms and two halls. Early period mantels
are in each room. The property is now owned by Marcus McKahan, and is kept in good
WHERE PRESIDENT HARDINH HELD A RECEPTION
At the top of the hill just west of the Moses Little house and 3.8 miles
east of Washington, is the spot where a President of the United States held an
impromptu reception. On the morning of July 3, 1922, word reached Washington
that President and Mrs. Harding were on their way over the National Pike to
spend the Fourth at his home in Marion, Ohio. A group of Courthouse officials
and local politicians was quickly organized by the late C. E. Carothers to extend
the President a welcome to Washington. Gaylord Lewis and I went along to cover the
story of a President traveling over the old National Pike for the first time since
President-elect Zachary Taylor had passed that way 73 years before.
Mr. Carothers picked this hill as a good place to stop the Harding party. We
did not have long to wait, for in a short time the Presidential cavalcade of 42 persons
in 12 automobiles, arrived, with the Harding car immediately behind the Pennsylvania
State Police on motorcycles. That was before the F.B.I, and right at the President’s
side were Secret Service men, whose job it was in those days to guard the Chief
When they stopped Mr. Carothers introduced himself and suggested that the
members of the Washington committee would like to shake hands with the President. Mr.
Harding was agreeable to this suggestion, and at his request other prominent persons
got out and lined up on the north side of the road, opposite the barn on the south side.
In addition to President and Mrs. Harding there were: General John J. Pershing,
Chief of Staff; Brigadier General Charles G. Dawes and Mrs. Dawes, of Evanston,
Illinois; Brigadier General C. A. Sawyer; personal physician to the President and Mrs.
General Dawes had served on the administrative staff of the Commander-in-Chief
during World War I, and had received many decorations from the United States and our
foreign allies for his work. Less than three years after this visit he was to become
Among the Pennsylvania officials were Governor William C. Sproul and Adjutant
Two members of the reception committee – Burgess J. Boyd Crumrine and Colonel
Edward Martin – were invited to ride in the Presidential car. Colonel Martin, a veteran
of the Spanish American War and World War I, later became Major General Martin of the
28th Division, in which rank he was serving at the outbreak of World War II, and then
became Pennsylvania’s war Governor. He is now in his second term as United States Senator.
A year and a half later Burgess Crumrine became President Judge of the Orphan’s Court.
The Washington committee accompanied the cavalcade through town and out the
pike west to Sugar Hill.
This was President Harding’s second visit to Washington. A few years before, when
Senator from Ohio, he attended the reunion of the Vankirk family with which he is related;
and on that occasion he stopped at the home of Attorney R. W. Parkinson.
The next point of interest is the old Carrons homestead on the south side of
the pike seven-tenths of a mile west of Moses Little’s and about a mile east of Pancake.
For the last 142 years this farm has been owned by the Carrons family, and great-
grandfather of the present Carrons sisters who still live there, came from Ireland
to Washington County in 1803. He first lived near Chambers’ Dam, although there was
no dam at that early date. Later he moved to Amity and occupied the house in which
Solomon Spaulding had lived. Spaulding gained historical fame as the author of the
Mormon Bible, which many of later years claimed was taken from his manuscript
entitled “Manuscript Found,” although present day historians give this little
credence. Carrons occupied this house as early as 1811, as shown by his old account
book, and there in 1872, his son Robert, father of Robert M. Carrons, was born.
Some time in 1812 Spaulding moved to Amity and Leslie Carrons went to the present
There was a log house on the property, but it was evidently just a cabin,
probably of one room, and family tradition says that while a larger house was being
built they lived in an old blockhouse nearby. Although there is nothing to show the date
of erection of the stone section of the present dwelling, this must have been the house
built at that time. The log cabin was connected with the new home and used for many
years as a kitchen until the house was enlarged later, in 1821 the stone barn was built.
It first came to my attention that this was once a tavern from an advertisement
in The Examinerm of March 10, 1822, in which Hugh Wilson, of Washington, advertised a
tavern stand for rent, “that well known house and farm, at, present occupied by Mr.
Leslie Carrons, about four miles from Washington, on the Brownsville road.
Possession will be given at the first of April, next.” The place was evidently not rented,
for Carrons continued to occupy it.
Miss Katherine J. Carrons and her sister, Mrs. John H. Hunter, daughters of
Robert M. Carrons, told me that they had heard their parents say that travelers were
entertained during the days of the old road before the pike was built and later during
the early days of that great thoroughfare.
The old account book of Leslie Carrons, dating back to 1811, and still
preserved by the family, contains some interesting items. While in Amity, Carrons
conducted a tavern. An item dated April 20, 1811, shows that the prices charged Richard
Coleman, who paid 14 cents for a pint of whiskey, hay, and lodging; and on May
10, 1811, Joseph Headly paid, 37 ½ cents for “nights” pasture, breakfast and lodging.”
Some other prices of 1811 and 1812 are interesting today. Board was $1.50
a week; whisky sold for 25 cents a quart and 50 cents a gallon. Other items were: Pork
120 pounds, $3.60; 5 ¾ pounds of candies, 80 cents; 4 pounds of hops, $1; 2 bushels of
potatoes, 70 cents; 12 gallons of cordial, $9.60; 1 gallon of gin, 50 cents; 1 check
of victuals, 12 ½ cents; 4 quarts of siderroyal, supper, bed and 1 gill of whisky,
27 ½ cents.
On December 7, 1812, Dr. William Blatchy was charged 80 cents for “His dog
eating a calf skin 9 pounds.”
George Pancake and Jonathan Martin were customers of Leslie Carrons at his
tavern stand on the National Pike. On December 18, 1820, Pancake paid 25 cents for two
quarts of beer; and between February 1 and March 11, 1821, he paid $8.72 for numerous
items, principally whisky, probably for use at his tavern.
On December 18, 1822, Martin bought 3 ½ gallons of whisky; on January 1,
1823, four gallons of whisky, all for $2.53, and on February 24, 1823, three gallons
of whisky at 37 ½ cents a gallon. He paid for this with three bushels of rye. Carrons
evidently used this grain in his entry in his distillery, which was located near the
house. Martin evidently bought the whisky for his tavern.
Some of his other customers during the 1820s were: John Hallam, Charles Hallam,
Dan Denver, Matthew Denver, the Widow Doak, Clem Reed, Moses Little and James
Items paid for labor in the old account book show that the interior of the
stone house was changed in 1829. This building contained four rooms, two on the
first floor, and two on the second. Miss Carrons explained that a large stone chimney
was in the center. In 1829, this was removed and the first floor rooms were thrown into
one by large folding doors. Woodwork throughout the house was changed, and the
stairway in the front was removed. It must have been at this time that the brick
addition was erected, and a hall and stairway built in the brick section just back of
the stone. The present frame addition was erected in later years.
Miss Carrons and Mrs. Hunter have many relics of the olden times, among
which is an old tea or sugar caddy brought across the mountains from Baltimore in 1812;
and there is a large tray once used in the tavern. They have preserved an ancient
flintlock musket that was carried by their great grandfather in the Irish rebellion
around the turn of the 18th century.
Another curious relic of long ago is a “fly swatter”. This is a metal stand
with a rod projecting from the top. Balanced on the rod is an arm at each end of
which are suspended strips of paper. This “Swatter” is operated by a spring that
winds a key like a clock, and when released the arm revolves to scare the flys. It
is still in good working order after all these years. That was long before the
days of fly screens.
Robert M. Carrons in his day was one of Washington County’s prominent
farmers and sheep raisers. His specialty was Spanish merinos, noted for their long
find wool. He brought the first herd of Ayshire cattle into this section, and his
farm was noted as the home of this breed. He died in this old home of his grandfather
on May 23, 1948, at the age of 93 years.
(To Be Continued)
For part 13 of The National Pike Story For part 15 of The National Pike Story