George James 

James George came from Ireland, in the year 1796, and located east of Pittsburgh, on Turtle Creek, where he worked in a saw-mill, and sawed the timbers for the first court at Pittsburgh.  He was offered a farm where Allegheny County now stands, for eight dollars and acre; but, instead of purchasing there, came on to Mercer County, in 1804 or '05, and settled on the farm now owned by his son, Hugh M. George, north of the present village of North Liberty.  The neighborhood was afterward called Georgetown, after the proprietor.

Mr. George was always exceedingly liberal in helping along all public improvements, and had over fifty share of stock in the old Pittsburgh and Erie turnpike.  He was also very benevolent toward his neighbors, and lived up to the Golden Rule, as far as it is in the power of man to do so.

The warrant for the survey of the George farm, was dated April 8th, 1805, and the deed to it, July 15th, 1807.  The land was originally settled by a man named Studebaker.  His farm adjoined those owned by James McKee and Mr. [Hugh] Foster.  A place called Georgetown was at one time started in the township, but as it was laid out in close proximity to a large swamp, it was finally abandoned, on account of being an out-of-the-way place, and in an unhealthy condition.

Mr. George was one of the early commissioners of Mercer County.  The orchard on his place was set out soon after he came.  He built a cabin of round logs when he first came, which afterward gave place to a hewed log structure, and that, in turn, to the brick house, still standing, which was built about 1828, the brick being made in 1827, by Alexander Blair, and 70,000 of them were used in its construction.  The brick cost seventy-five cents per hundred, which was cheap, considering the times and facilities for making them, which were rude, indeed.

The stone spring-house on the place was built about 1812-15, by a man named Pollock.  A Mr. Morrison also did considerable work for Mr. George, and it is related that a maiden lady, named Mary Kelly, followed him (Morrison) from Ireland, thinking he would marry her, but her hopes were disappointed.

Mr. George was out as a volunteer in the War of 1812.  His wife was Mary McKee, whose father  settled in the neighborhood  before Mr. George came.  Their oldest child, William George, was born December 12th, 1807.

A coal bank was opened at the farm a few years ago [from 1877], although coal had been taken out, in small quantities, as early as 1820-22.

 Mr. George was one of a company who put up a carding-machine and woolen-factory, on the edge of Butler County, about 1824.  He afterward bought out the shares of other members, and operated it himself for awhile.  He finally sold out to another man, who failed before he had fully paid Mr. George for the establishment, thus being the means of his losing a considerable amount.

In the year 1838, Mr. George was one of a party of three who put down a well--prospecting for salt--also in the edge of Butler County, in Slippery Rock township.  In this well they struck gas and oil, and theirs was the first gas or oil-well ever put down in that part of the county.  This was also the first evidence people had of there being gas or oil in the earth anywhere in the country.  The well was only about fifty rods from the Mercer County line.

Source: (History of Mercer County, 1877, page 55)

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