THE act of 1771, providing for the erection of Bedford county, also contained the clause:  "That it shall and may be lawful to and for Arthur St. Clair, Barnard Dougherty, esquires; Thomas Coulter, William Proctor and George Woods, gentlemen; or any of them, to purchase and take assurance to them and their heirs of a piece of land, situate in some convenient place in said town (Bedford), in trust and for the use of the inhabitants of the said county, and thereon to erect and build a court-house and prison, sufficient to accommodate the public service of said county, and for the use and conveniency of the inhabitants."
    On November 13, 1771, in accordance with the provisions of the act quoted above, "Arthur St. Clair, Barnard Dougherty, George Woods and William Proctor, esquires, and Thomas Coulter, gentleman, trustees appointed by the general assembly of the said province to erect a gaol and court-house in the county of Bedford aforesaid," purchased of James McCashlin, of the town and county of Bedford, "all that messuage and tenement and lot or piece of ground, situate on the main cross street in the town of Bedford aforesaid, known by (No.6) in the general plan of the said town.  Bounded on the west by the said street, on the south partly by the public square and partly by lot No. 7, on the east by a twenty-foot alley, and on the north by lot No. 5.  Containing in breadth on the said street sixty feet, and in depth two hundred and forty feet."
    For the land, "tenement," etc., McCashlin was paid 100 (pounds).  But why the public buildings were not erected on lot No. 6, and were built on the northwest corner of Juliana and Penn streets, it is now impossible to determine.  Early residents have stated, however, that the first court-house--- a rude log structure-- was erected on the corner of lot No. 6, and near by it a low, one-story log jail, and that these primitive buildings served as the public edifices of the county while the stone court-house and jail-building, combined, was undergoing the slow process of construction.
    It appears that the old provincial court-house and prison, which for so many years occupied the corner north and directly opposite the present court-house, was chiefly built during the years 1774-5.  As proof of this assertion we find that at a meeting of the board of county commissioners held May 31, 1783:
    George Woods, Esquire, drew an order for the sum of 48:10:0, it being for 116 days of service attending at the Building of the Court House & prison at 7 shillings 6 pence per Day as Trustee in the years 1774 & 1775.  
    It is not shown how much the building referred to cost, but it was an extensive and substantial building for that period; it walls being constructed of massive blocks of blue limestone obtained in the vicinity.  John Mower, Esq., the oldest living member of the Bedford county bar, has drawn, from memory, a pencil sketch of this historic structure, which is pronounced, by those who saw the building years before its demolition, as perfect.  The jail with its dark dungeon for convicts, its cell for ordinary criminals, and its debtors' prison with the grated window, occupied the lower story to the left of the center door.  The balance of the first floor, on the right, was the jailer's residence, in the wings of which, in early days, the election were held.  The courtroom comprised the entire second story and was entered by the staircase from without.  In one corner of the courtroom a flight of steps led to the third story, or attic, under the high roof, in which were the grand jury and other jury rooms.  We will add that within the jail yard, which was enclosed by a high wall, also constructed of limestone, stood the dreaded whipping-post and pillory alluded to in other pages of this work.
    Meanwhile, and until about the year 1795, the offices of the county officials were located in various places about the town.  Thus, Capt. (afterward Maj.-Gen) Arthur St. Clair, the first prothonotary, register, recorder, etc., of the county, occupied, during the years 1771 and 1772, the basement of the rear building known as the "Espy house," a building which still survives the ravages of time, and around which additional interest clusters by reason of the fact that within its walls in October, 1794, President George Washington sought rest and retirement for two or three days at the time of his visit to Bedford during the whisky insurrection; where Gen. St. Clair's  immediate successors in office, namely,  Col. Thomas Smith, Col. Robert Balbraith and Col. David Espy, held forth officially.
    As for the county commissioners their business meetings were held in rooms provided by the enterprising innkeepers of that day, notably Frederick Nawgel, George Funk, Henry Wertz and Anthony Nawgel.  About 1795, however, a building which is mentioned in the records as the "Public Building" was erected for the purpose of supplying the county officers with permanent official quarters.  It was constructed of brick and fronting on Penn street, stood between the old provincial court-house and the site of the present Lutheran church.
    Although the structures heretofore described were neither convenient nor commodious, and notwithstanding the fact that grand juries had frequently declared the jail "insufficient for the confinement of criminals," they sufficed until the expiration of the first quarter of the present century.  It was then considered that for public purposes they had outlived their usefulness, and during the year 1826 county commissioners Richard Silver, Abraham Folck and John Bowser contracted with Solomon Filler for the erection of a new (the present) court-house.  Filler agreed to complete the building for seven thousand five hundred dollars and his sureties for double that amount were J. S. Morrison and John Keeffe.  The structure was finished and occupied in 1829.  In August, 1832, commissioners John Bennett, William Clark, Jr., and George Fore ordered that the court-house "shall not be used in any way but for the purpose of the business of the courts, the public offices of the sheriff, prothonotary and commissioners, the remainder only to be used for business relating to courts and county purposes, and for the meeting of the council of the borough of Bedford, and holding the several elections for the borough and county."
    In August, 1833, the grand jury again condemned the old jail and advised the erection of a new one.  On the 8th of April, 1834, Henry Leader agreed to deliver at the court-house two hundred thousand feet of lumber at the rate of four dollars and twenty-five cents per thousand feet, "to be used in the construction of a new jail."  The commissioners were authorized to build a new jail at the April sessions of the court of quarter sessions in 1835, and on the 8th day of March, 1836, commissioners Gibson, Sipe and James concluded a contract with Abraham Kerns, the latter agreeing to construct a new jail for the sum of seven thousand nine hundred and forty dollars.  Mr. Kerns completed the work of construction promptly, and the structure, although extensive  repairs have since been made, is still used as the county prison.
    On April 21, 1842, the old provincial "court-house and jail, standing on the center square of Bedford," also the "public building" were sold by the county commissioners to Alexander Henry and William Fletcher, for the sum of ninety-three dollars.  The court-house and jail building erected in 1774-5 was demolished in 1842, but the building which had formerly been occupied by the county officers remained a few years longer and ultimately afforded material for a warmly contested suit in the court of quarter sessions.
    The building was used for the occupancy of the various county officers from the time of its erection until the year 1829, when a new building was erected in which the respective public offices above mentioned have been kept since that time.  A part of the said building mentioned in the indictment was used at the time of the suit as an office by one of the defendants, who was the county treasurer, and the other part was occupied by the other defendant as a printing-office, the commissioners having leased it to him, receiving a certain yearly rent to be paid into the county treasury.
    "The house is built on the great square of the town of Bedford, as laid out on the plan remaining in the surveyor-general's office, pro ut certified copy thereof.  The town was laid out by the proprietary in 1766.  The building aforesaid is built at the place on the Great Square marked with red ink on the copy of the plain referred to.  The square is three hundred and twenty feet long by three hundred feet wide.  The court-house, with offices, etc., which is now used as such, is built on the same great square at the place marked on the plan in dotted lines in red ink.  The building used by the county as court-house and jail previous to 1829 were also built on the great square at the place marked on the plan in dotted lines of black ink."
    In March, 1857, the county commissioners appropriated two hundred and fifty dollars for the town clock, which from the tower of the edifice now marks the passing hours.  On the 3d of March, 1876, the court issued an order authorizing enlargement and repair of the court-house.  The contract to perform the work for the sum of twelve thousand dollars was let to William L. Horn, April 5 of that year, and before the beginning of the following October the work (besides various repairs to the jail building) was completed in a very satisfactory manner.  Although the exterior of the Bedford county court-house of today does not present a very pleasing appearance, yet its interior arrangements are ample and convenient.  The courtroom and the public offices are well lighted and ventilated.  Spacious fireproof vaults afford protection for records of great value, which have accumulated during a period of more than one hundred and twelve years.


    Since the organization of Bedford county, by the passage of the act of March 9, 1871, the following townships and boroughs have formed part of it:
    Air township (now written Ayr) was created by the Cumberland County court prior to 1761.  At the October sessions, 1767, Dublin, Colerain, Cumberland, Bedford and Barree townships were created-- Dublin "bounded by Air and Fannet townships on the one side and Colraine and Barre townships on the top of Sidling Hill on the other side."  "Coleraine, bounded by Dublin township as above, by the provincial line and top of Dunning's mountain (so as to join Cumberland and Bedford townships) to the gap of Morrison's cove; from thence to the mouth of Yellow Creek (joining Barre township) to strike Sidling Hill."
    BEDFORD, still forming part of Bedford county, was organized as a township in Cumberland county.  It is mentioned for the first time in the records of that county, in 1769, but the court minutes fail to show any proceedings giving metes and bounds.
    CUMBERLAND (now termed Cumberland Valley) was formed as a township in Cumberland county, at the same time, probably, as Bedford township.
    BARREE, organized as township in Cumberland county prior to 1771, now forms parts of Huntingdon county.
    DUBLIN, same as Barree.
    COLERAIN (originally written Colerane) same as Bedford and Cumberland Valley townships.
    BROTHER'S VALLEY, which originally comprised all the territory lying between the crest of the Allegheny mountain, the Youghiogheny river and the western foot of Laurel Hill, and from the Maryland line northward to the Conemaugh river, was formed as a township in Bedford county during the first session of the Bedford county court, April 16, 1771.  It was the first township organized west of the Alleghenies in the province of Pennsylvania.
    FAIRFIELD, organized during the April sessions in 1771, is now within the limits of Westmoreland county.
    MOUNT PLEASANT, same as Fairfield.
    HEMPFIELD, same as Fairfield and Mount Pleasant.
    PITT, which originally embraced the large portions of the present counties of Allegheny, Beaver and Washington, was organized during April sessions, 1771.  The term has become obsolete in the counties mentioned.
    TYRONE was formed at April sessions, 1771, and then included portions of the present counties of Westmoreland and Fayette.  The name is still perpetuated in the latter county.
    SPRING HILL was organized during April sessions, 1771.  Originally it included the whole of the present county of Greene, part of Washington and nearly the whole of Fayette.  The name still exists in Greene and Fayette counties.
    ROSS STRAYER, organized at April sessions, 1771, then embraced parts of the present counties of Allegheny and Westmoreland.  The name is still maintained in the latter county, though now written Rostrauer.
    ARMSTRONG was also organized at April sessions, 1771.  Within its original limits were embraced portions of the present counties of Cambria, Westmoreland, Armstrong, Indiana and Clearfield.  The name has been perpetuated in Indiana county.
    TULLILEAGUE, the last township organized at April sessions, in 1771, embraced parts of the divisions now known as Blair, Centre, Clearfield and Cambria counties.  The name, though unusual and rather musical, has not been preserved in these counties or in any other part of the state.

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