Saturday, June 24, 2017

William and Rebecca (Bradford) Miller in Western Pennsylvania

As you probably know, William and Rebecca left Cecil County, Maryland around 1782 or 1783, and moved to Fayette County, Pennsylvania, where they lived for the remainder of their lives.  Some of you have may have visited there, but for those of us who haven't, let's examine a little about this region.

Fayette County is in the southwest corner of Pennsylvania, (it's blue on this map), its borders currently wrapped by West Virginia (then Virginia). The county was created on September 26, 1783 from part of Westmoreland County and its county seat is Uniontown.

In those days, the areas known as "Hundreds" were more common than today.  It was used as an administrative division, and in some places was literally 10 square geographic miles. Here is a map of the Hundreds of Fayette County.  

The 1810, 1820 and 1830 Fayette County censuses list William and his family living in Dunbar Township (near the center on this map).

An old land grant map shows a William Miller as owning property a near there, bordering the Monongahela River, the county's northern border.  If that is our William, and if William and his sons really were in the boatbuilding business, it would make sense that they needed some property along the river (though I have no absolute proof that the land owner was our William, or that our Miller's were the Miller's involved in boatbuilding in Fayette County), I suspect those things are true).

This document from a History of Fayette County indicates some "Miller's were involved in boatbuilding in this area.  I hope that someday we can find more documents that prove this was our Millers.

William and Rebecca did for sure live in this area for the rest of their lives.  William died in 1814.  At some point in time, probably after her husband's death, Rebecca moved to Connellsville, or at least records show that she died in there in March of 1835.  She was buried near her husband in the Hill Grove Cemetery in Connellsville.

As more documents come to light, hopefully we will learn more about our Miller-Bradford ancestors.

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