Share This Page

Jefferson Hills sites remain resting places for Revolutionary War soldiers

| Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
Randy Jarosz | For the South Hills Record
Pleasant Hills American Legion Post 720, commander Carl Anderson of Jefferson Hills, looks over grave stones that line the back of a residence in Jefferson Hills.
Randy Jarosz | For the South Hills Record
Pleasant Hills American Legion Post 720, commander Carl Anderson of Jefferson Hills, straightens out an american flag in front of a gravestone from a Revolutionary War soldier Wednesday, July 2 behind a residence in Jefferson Hills.
Randy Jarosz | For the South Hills Record
Close-up of James Hinman's gravestone.
Randy Jarosz | For the South Hills Record
Revolutionary War soldier gravestones line the back of a residence in Jefferson Hills.
Randy Jarosz | For the South Hills Record
A Revolutionary War soldier's gravestone, that has been eroded by acid rain, sits behind a residence along Gill Hall Road in Jefferson Hills.

Gravestones of men who fought in the Revolutionary War can be found in many out-of-the-way places in Jefferson Hills.

Near the woods off Gill Hall Road are the markers for members of the family of James Hindman, one of the first settlers in what today is Jefferson Hills. Hindman in 1789 was granted 201 acres for his military service, from 1777 to 1781.

Carl Anderson, commander of American Legion Post 712 — Pleasant Hills, visits the site, which is on private property, and others every year before Memorial Day. He brings a weed trimmer and helps maintain the area.

As a member of the American Legion for 21 years, Anderson, 80, tends the land with other post members. They always bring flags.

“Somebody's got to do it,” he said. “They've been in the ground longer than I've been alive. It's a tribute to them.”

A Korean War veteran, Anderson has a special feeling when he's pulling the long grass from the stones belonging to the elder Hindman and the eight others, whose names and dates have been lost to the weather. Revolutionary War veterans' headstones are marked with special medallions.

A neighbor of the family cemetery remembers being able to read the full inscriptions when he was a boy. Acid rain and weather have nearly worn them away, he said.

In the Floreffe section of the borough is Lobb's Cemetery, once the site of the first courthouse in what became Allegheny County. From 1775 to 1780, the land was known as Yohogania County, Va.

There are more than 900 identified graves, including those of Revolutionary War and Civil War veterans, as well as civilians, said Joyce Schmidt, president of West Jefferson Hills Historical Society and one of its founders 12 years ago.

Capt. Gabriel Peterson, George Washington's provisions officer, died in 1832 at the age of 84, and is buried there. In 1780, when the Mason-Dixon Line was drawn, Yohogania was transferred to Washington County and later to Mifflin Township, one of the first area townships in 1788.

When Schmidt learned of the original sheepskin deed that a Pleasant Hills resident found in an attic, she was eager to have it. Today, the certificate, bearing both state seals, hangs in council chambers.

Schmidt is the fifth generation of her family to live in the area.

“This was first farmland, and then came the interest in coal, ‘black gold,'” and steel,” she said.

“The trees were once so thick squirrels could travel from New York through Pennsylvania and West Virginia and never touch the ground,” she said. “This was Penn's Woods.”

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or ddreeland@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.