"History of Bedford & Somerset Counties" PA With Genealogical & Personal History; Bedford Co. by E. Howard Blackburn, Somerset Co. by William H. Wolfley; Volume I.; The Lewis Publishing Co., NY & Chicago; 1906.  Pages 3-11.

Chapter I.
Organization, Act of March 9, 1771.

The charter for the province of Pennsylvania was obtained by William Penn, under date of March 4, 1861, and was confirmed by royal proclamation in April following.  Very soon after this time the province was divided by its illustrious proprietor into three counties, namely:  Bucks, Chester and Philadelphia.
The rapid increase of settlements on the frontier of the province soon gave rise to the necessity for the erection of a new county out of the westward part of the county of Chester; accordingly, by act of the Provincial Assembly of May 10, 1729, Lancaster county was made the fourth county of the province.  From Lancaster, Cumberland county was cut off by act of June, 1750, and out of the western portion of Cumberland, Bedford county was created by act of March 9, 1771.
An act of assembly, by which a new county is created, is necessarily very comprehensive in its general character and definite as to its various details.  The conditions which render the formation of a new county necessary, the establishment of definite boundaries thereof, the putting into motion the new machinery of its government and defining its future relations with the county from which it is taken, are among the many important features of such movement.  That all such matters were duly considered in framing the act for the formation of Bedford county, is clearly shown by the act itself, a copy of which is here given in full:

WHEREAS, a great number of the inhabitants of the western parts of the county of Cumberland have represented to the assembly of this province the great hardships they lie under from being so remote from the present seat of judicature and the public offices:
For the remedying whereof:
(Section I.)  Be it enacted by the Honorable John Penn, Esquire, Lieutenant Governor under the Honorable Thomas Penn and Richard Penn, Esquires, true and absolute proprietaries of the Province of Pennsylvania and counties of New Castle, Kent and Sussex on the Delaware, by and with the advice and consent of the representatives of the freemen of the said Province in General Assembly met, and by authority of the same, That all and singular the lands lying and being within the boundaries following, that is to say, beginning where the province line crosses the Tuscarora Mountain, and running along the summit of that mountain to the Gap near the head of Path Valley; thence with a north line to the Juniata; thence with the Juniata to the mouth of Shavers Creek; thence north-east to the line of Berks county; then along the Berks county line north-westward to the western bounds of the province; thence southward, according to the several courses of the western boundary of the province, to the southwest corner of the province; and from thence eastward with the southern line of the province to the place of beginning; shall be, and the same is hereby erected into the county, henceforward to be called Bedford.
(Section II.)  And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the inhabitants of the said county of Bedford shall, at all times hereafter, have and enjoy all and singular the jurisdictions, powers, rights, liberties and privileges whatsoever, which the inhabitants of any other county, within the said province, do, may or ought to enjoy by any charter of privileges or the laws of this province, or by any other ways or means whatever, excepting only in the number of Representatives to serve in General Assembly of this province; in which case:
(Section III.)  It is provided, and further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That the freeholders and inhabitants of each township, within the said county, qualified by the laws of this province to elect, shall meet at some convenient place within their respective townships, at the same time the freeholders and inhabitants of the several townships of the other counties shall meet for like purposes, and proceed to choose inspectors; and that the freemen and inhabitants of the said county, qualified as aforesaid, shall meet at or near the place where the Court-house is intended to be built, at the same time the inhabitants of the other counties shall meet for the like purpose and proceed to elect one Representative or Delegate, to serve them in Assembly, in the same manner and under the same same, regulations and penalties, as by the charter and laws of this province are directed in respect to other counties; which said Representative when so chosen, shall be a member of the General Assembly of the province of Pennsylvania and shall sit and act as such as fully and freely as any of the Representatives for the other counties, within this province, do, may, can or ought to do.
(Section IV.)  And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all taxes already laid within the bounds of the said county of Bedford by virtue of any act of general assembly of this province which are not already pad shall be collected by the respective collectors within the bounds aforesaid and paid into the hands of the treasurer of Cumberland county; and that all persons concerned in the levying, receiving and paying the said taxes shall have the same power and authority and be under the same penalties and restrictions for collecting and paying the same as by the said acts by which the said taxes were assessed are expressed and directed, until the whole be collected and paid as aforesaid.
(Section V.)  And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the Justices of the Supreme Court of this province shall have like powers, jurisdictions and authorities, within the said county of Bedford, as by law they are vested with, and entitled to, in the other counties within the province aforesaid; and are hereby authorized and empowered, from time to time, to deliver the gaols of said county of capital or other offenders, in like manner as they are authorized to do in other the counties aforesaid.
(Section VI.)  And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That there shall be a competent number of Justices nominated and authorized by the Governor for the time being, by commissions under the broad seal of the province, which said Justices or any three of them, shall and may hold Courts of General Quarter Sessions for the Peace and Gaol Delivery and County Courts for holding of Pleas, and shall have all and singular the powers, rights, jurisdictions and authorities, to all intents and purposes, as other the Justices of Courts of General Quarter Sessions, and Justices of the County Courts for the holding of Pleas, in the other counties aforesaid, may, can or ought to have in their respective counties, which said Courts shall, from and after the publication of this act, sit and be held, for the said County of Bedford, on the Tuesday next preceding the Cumberland County Courts in every of the months of January, April, July and October, in every year, at the town of Bedford, until a court-house shall be built, and when the same is built and erected in the county aforesaid, the said several Courts shall then be holden and kept at the said Courthouse, on the days before mentioned.  And the election of a Representative to serve in General Assembly, assessors and all other offices of the said county who are or shall be appointed to be annually elected, shall be made and elected at or near the said Court-house, at the same time, and in the same manner, as by the charter of privileges, and the laws of the province aforesaid, are directed to be done in the other counties within this province; and it shall be lawful for the freemen of the said county, for the first year, to choose three commissioners for raising county taxes and levies, for the said County.
(Section VII.)  And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall and may be lawful to and for Arthur St. Clair, Bernard Daughterty, Esquires; Thomas Coulter, William Prockter and George Woods, gentlemen, or any three of them, to purchase and take assurance to them and their heirs of a piece of land situated in some convenient place in the said town in trust and for the use of the inhabitants of the said county, and thereon erect and build a Court-House and prison sufficient to accommodate the public service of the said county and for the ease and convenience of the inhabitants.
(Section VIII)  And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That for defraying the charges of purchasing the land, building and erecting the Court-house and prison aforesaid, it shall and may be lawful to and for the commissioners and assessors of said county, or a majority of them, to assess and levy and they are hereby required to assess and levy, in the manner directed by the act for raising the county rates and levies, so much money as the said trustees, or any three of them, shall judge necessary for purchasing the land and finishing the said Court-house and prison.  Provided always, the sum of money so to be raised does not exceed one thousand pounds, current money of this province.
(Section IX.)  Provided also and be if further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no action or suit now commenced or depending in the county of Cumberland against any person living within the bounds of the county of Bedford or elsewhere shall be stayed or discontinued by this act or by anything herein contained, but that the same actions already commenced or depending may be prosecuted and judgment thereupon rendered as if this act had not been made; and that it shall and may be lawful for the justices of Cumberland county to issue any judicial process to be directed to the sheriff of Cumberland county for carrying on and obtaining the effect of their suits, which sheriff shall be and is hereby obliged to yield obedience in executing the said writs and make due return thereof before the justices of the said court of the said county of Cumberland as if the parties lived and resided within the same.
(Section X.)  And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That Thomas Urie, of the said county of Cumberland, be and is hereby appointed collector of the excise of the said county of Bedford, who is hereby authorized and empowered by himself or his sufficient deputy, duly constituted and for whom he shall be accountable, to demand, collect, receive and recover the excise appointed to be paid by any act or acts of assembly of this province and also the arrearages thereof, and of and from all and every person or persons within the said county retailing or vending any of the liquors by the said acts liable to pay the same, and to recover and receive all and every the duties, fines and forfeitures laid or imposed or that shall happen to arise or become due for any thing done contrary to the intent of said acts.
(Section XI.)  And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the said collector of excise for the county of Bedford aforesaid, the better to enable himself to recover the arrearages of excise now due or which shall become due before the publication of this act, shall apply to the collector of excise for the county of Cumberland for a list which the said collector of the county of Cumberland is hereby enjoined and required to deliver, containing the names of each and every person in arrear for excise within the said county of Bedford, and how much from each of them.
(Section XII.)  And be if further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the collector of the county of Bedford aforesaid, before he enters on the execution of his said office, is hereby required to give bond with two sufficient sureties to the treasurer of this province for the time being in the sum of two hundred pounds lawful money of the province aforesaid for the faithful discharge of his duty and paying all such sums of money as he shall from time to time receive by virtue of this act; and further the collector of the said county of Bedford shall in all things govern himself and be subject to the same regulations, restrictions, fines and forfeitures, and shall observe like rules, orders and directions as collector of others the counties aforesaid by the laws of this province are liable to.  And the said collector for the discharge of the duty of the said office within the said county of Bedford shall have and receive like fees, perquisites and rewards for his services enjoined by this act as other the collectors aforesaid (the collectors of Philadelphia county excepted) by the acts aforesaid are entitled unto for the services enjoined them by the acts aforesaid.
(Section XIII.)  And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That until a Sheriff and Coroner shall be chosen in the county of Bedford in pursuance of this act, it shall and may be lawful for the Sheriff and Coroner of Cumberland county to officiate and act in discharge of their respective duties as fully and amply as they might and ought to have done if this act had not been made, one of whom or his deputy shall attend and discharge the duties of his office according to the laws of this province at the next election for Cumberland county aforesaid and the other of them or his deputy shall attend and discharge the duties of his office in like manner at the first election next to be held in the county of Bedford aforesaid in pursuance of the directions of this act.
(Section XIV.)  And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That before any Sheriff hereafter to be appointed or commissioned for the said county of Bedford shall enter upon the duties of his office he shall become bound in an obligation with two or more sufficient securities, to be approved of by the Governor of this province for the time being, in the sum of one thousand pounds, and with like condition as the Sheriffs of the other counties within this province are enjoined and required to become bound;  which said obligation shall be taken in the King's name and entered upon record in the office for recording deeds in the said county of Bedford, and shall be only in trust to and for the use and benefit of the person or persons who shall be injured by any breach, neglect or omission of duty in such Sheriff, and shall be proceeded (on) in the same manner as is directed in respect to sheriff's bonds in and by the act of general assembly, entitled "An act for the regulating elections for Sheriffs and Coroners"; and that the treasurer hereafter to be appointed for said county for receiving the provincial taxes before he shall enter on the duties of his office shall give security in like manner as other county treasurers for that purpose are by law required to give security in the sum of fifteen hundred pounds; and that the treasurer for said county for receiving the county levies shall in like manner give security in the sum of six hundred pounds.
And to the end the boundaries of said county of Bedford may be better ascertained and known:
(Section XV.)  Be if further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall and may be lawful to and for Robert McCrea, William Miller and Robert Moore or a majority of them and they are hereby required and firmly enjoined within the space of six months next after the publication of this act to assemble themselves together and run, mark out and distinguish the boundary lines between the said counties of Cumberland and Bedford, and the charges to arise for the doing thereof shall be defrayed by the said county of Bedford, and to that end levied and raised by the inhabitants thereof in such manner as other public money for the use of the said county by law ought to be raised and levied.
Passed March 9th, 1771.  Referred ford consideration by the King in Council, Oct. 9th, 1771, and allowed to become a law by lapse of time in accordance with the proprietary charter.
Owing to the imperfect description of the boundary lines in the foregoing act, a subsequent act of March 21, 1772, more specifically defining the limits of the county, was passed and George Woods, William Elliott, Robert Moore and Robert McCrea were appointed to run, mark and distinguish the said new boundary lines.  At the time of its establishment, Bedford county embraced the entire southwestern part of the province or an area of about nine thousand square miles.
By the erection of Northumberland county in 1772, Westmoreland in 1773, Huntingdon in 1787, Somerset in 1795, Blair in 1846 and Fulton in 1850, Bedford county was reduced to its present boundaries.  The aforementioned counties, when erected, were generally much larger than at present, having in turn given part of their respective territories to the formation of new counties now named among them.

Chapter II.
Location and Natural Features.

Bedford county is located west of the middle of southern Pennsylvania and is bounded on the north by Blair and Huntingdon, on the east by Fulton, on the south by Mason and Dixon's Line, and on the west by Somerset and Cambria counties; its area is one thousand and three square miles or six hundred forty one thousand nine hundred twenty acres, its average length north and south being about forty miles and width about twenty miles.  The surface of the county is very much broken by numerous parallel ranges of mountains, forming part of the great Appalachian system.  Beginning on the eastern boarder and going westward, we cross successively, Ray's Hill, Tussey's, Evitt's , Dunning's, Will's, Buffalo, Allegheny and Little Allegheny ranges, besides numerous smaller elevations intervening.  The trend of all these is from northeast to southwest.  Between them lie narrow but beautiful and fertile valleys and coves, many of which, though at one time wild and rugged, is now for the most part in a high state of cultivation, and constitutes the rich agricultural part of the county.  These valleys are, namely:  Ray's Cove, Black Valley, Bean's Cove, Snake Spring Valley, Friend's Cove, Morrison's Cove, Cumberland Valley, Milliken's Cove, Qualker Valley, Shaffer's Valley and Harmon's Bottom.
The principal stream of the county is the Raystown brach of the Juniata, which rises near New Baltimore, Somerset county and flows eastward, breaking through Will's, Evitt's, and Tussey's mountains; near the eastern boarder it turns northward and flows parallel with the mountain ranges until it leaves the county at the northeastern corner.  Its principal branches are Dunning's creek, which flows into it near the center of the county; Cove creek, Brush creek and Yellow creek, which in turn pay their tribute farther eastward; it is also fed by numerous smaller tributaries throughout its course.  The southern portion of the county is drained by Will's, Evitt's, Town and Piney creeks southward into the Potomac river.
While the county cannot be said to be specially rich in minerals, yet its resources along that line are very considerable.  Limestone abounds in many localities, as already stated.  From ore of good quality is well distributed over the county and has been worked at various places.  The Broad Top coal fields extend into the county on the northeast and are the only source of bituminous coal east of the main range of the Alleghenies.  This subject is, however, regarded as of sufficient importance to merit a separate sketch, and will be dealt with accordingly.  The numerous mineral springs throughout the central part of the county are remarkable alike for their great variety and the health giving properties of their waters.  So celebrated have they become in this respect, and so famous have become the Bedford Mineral Springs as a summer resort, that this subject shall be treated at length in a separate chapter in the county's history.
For picturesque grandeur of natural scenery Bedford county is probably not surpassed by any county in the state of Pennsylvania.  The numerous highways crossing the county from east to west afford many points of view from which the rugged mountain fertile valley, meandering stream an thrifty village blend their beauty in expansive and charming panoramic view.

Chapter III.
Early Settlements

It is a fact fairly well established by fragmentary history and tradition that this region was explored by French and English Indian traders at least twenty years before any permanent settlement was made.  These were necessarily daring, adventuruous men, who were ever ready and willing to brave the perils of the wilderness and risk their lives among the savages for the purpose of gain; but who were in no sense settlers---simply wanderers from place to place as their vocation induced or circumstances impelled them.
The first peranent settlement made within the present county limits was in 1750, by a Scotchman named Ray (a corruption of MacRay), an Indian trader who built three cabins on or near the present site of the town of Bedford.  For a few years following he had a namesake in the town which he established, by its being called Raystown, as also in the stream nearby which still perpetuates his name.  He remained here but a short time, and all history is silent as to what became of him.  He had evidently left or died prior to 1755, as some old documents and records of that date refer to the place as "Pendergrass," or "Pendergrass Place," which would probably not so appear if Ray were still here.  The second settlement was in 1752, by Garret Pendergrass, who was also an Indian trader, and for whom also the town was temporarily named.  On October 10, 1766, he presented a petition to Governor Penn which fully explains his settlement.  The petition is dated at Philadelphia, but sets forth his residence as Bedford, and reads as follows:

Your petitioner, in 1752, settled on the very tract of land on which the aforesaid town of Bedford is now, by virtue of your Honor's warrant, laid out.  That your petitioner, at his own proper cost and expense, did erect and build on the premises a good and substantial round log house of 24 feet square, well shingled, and had cleared forty or fifty acres of land, when in 1755, he was obliged to fly before the Indian enemy, who laid waste all that country, burnt your petitioners house and destroyed all his improvements.  That the King's general made the Fort Bedford on petitioner's improvements and an enclosure for pasturing horses and cattle. And since the King's troops evacuated that Fort and the avenues thereof, the improvements of your petitioner have been surveyed, under your Honor's warrant aforesaid, for the use of the Honorable Proprietaries.  

He then asks for recompense for his property, etc.  It also appears, by a deed of the Chiefs of the Six Nations, dated February 1770, that they authorized him to settle on  a tract of land opposite Fort Pitt, instead of the tract on Raystown (see copy of said deed under "Early Courts and Old County Records")  . . . 


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