Lesson on County's Early Settlers Heard at Cornerstone 

Washington PA Observer Reporter
15 March 2012

WAYNESBURG - Greene County Senior Judge Terry Grimes told members of Cornerstone Genealogical Society that Greene County was settled by many folks in a very short time and Grimes did not realize what a daunting number this was.

The French were thought to be the first white people through Greene County in the 1600s and were interested in hunting, trapping, selling furs and trading with the Native Americans. Following soon were the English, Scotch, Irish and Germans.

In the early 1700s, farming was the main occupation, and large acreage was needed for the very large families, so people began pushing west, Grimes said.

The earliest known settlers of Greene County were Dr. Thomas Eckerlin and his two brothers, who came west because of difficulties with their home church, German Baptist. They settled at the mouth of Dunkard Creek in 1745, and that is how Dunkard got its name. Grimes said the German Baptists baptized by immersion, thus the name dunkers. Eckerlin and his brothers only stayed for about two years, Grimes said, before they were killed by Indians along the Cheat River.

The reason, Grimes explained, it was so difficult to trace these early settlers is that some would come and tomahawk a claim by making a notch in a tree that marked their claim and land. When that person would move, the tomahawked land would be sold and the deed would list the original settler's name, but no one knew who this was because the settler had tomahawked it.

Streams were a very important part of settling the county, Grimes said. Ten Mile Creek got its name from the fact that it was 10 miles up river from Fort Redstone. Pumpkin Run, also known as Enoch's Run, Swan's Run, Muddy Creek, Little Whiteley Creek, Big Whiteley Creek and Wheeling Creek, which has several branches, including Dunkard and Enlow Fork, were all important for the early settler because the streams were used for traveling and fishing.

In 1755, Henry Enoch settled on what is now called Pumpkin Run, but was then called Enoch's Run, a full 10 years after the Eckerlins left Dunkard Creek.

Other stream settlers included the Provins family, who settled at the mouth of the Whiteley Creek, and in 1757, the Cox family moved onto Ten Mile at Castile Run.

Augustine Dillinger came to settle on the south of the mouth of Dunkard Creek, what is now Dilliner. Supposedly one of the tutors had a hard time pronouncing Dillinger, so he shortened it to Dilliner. James and John Flenniken moved onto the mouth of Muddy Creek, and in 1763, George Morris settled on Whiteley Creek, left and came back 10 years later and raised a large family there.

John Armstrong settled on Muddy Creek and claimed to have the first white child born west of the Monongahela River.

Others, Grimes noted, included John Minor, known as the father of Greene County, who came to Whiteley Creek in 1765. Also, there were Justus Garard, Jeremiah Glassglow, Leonard Garrison, Enoch Enix, Brice Worley, Levi Morris and Blaine Robinson, all who settled along Dunkard Creek.

From 1764 to 1774, it was a peaceful time with the Indians. It was the atrocities of the white men that caused the Indians to go on the "war path," Grime said.

At the business meeting, it was announced Terry Cole had brought in a picture of a Stewart reunion in 1929 at Layton Stewart's house in Kughntown. Not all of the people in the picture were identified. Anyone who can help with these names is asked to stop at Cornerstone at the Log courthouse.

The next meeting of Cornerstone Genealogical Society will be at 7 p.m. April 10. Mary Beth Pastorius will present a slide show on "Waynesburg's Early Buildings."