Jefferson Hills sites remain resting places for Revolutionary War soldiers
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.