Westmoreland County Historical Society

Today in History

JANUARY

01/06/1774      Border dispute between Pennsylvania & Virginia escalates.

01/06/1777      Pennsylvania's 8th Regiment leaves to join Washington in New Jersey

01/07/1787      Court held in Greensburg for the first time.

01/10/1887      Latrobe Electric Light Company incorporated. One of its founders was A.W. Mellon.

01/22/1895      Westmoreland Hospital Association founded.

01/28/1963      Devastating fire at St. Vincent College in Latrobe

01/30/1897      Building of the current Courthouse (Westmoreland's fifth) authorized by the Court.

01/31/1908      Current Courthouse dedicated.

FEBRUARY

02/02/1787      Arthur St. Clair elected President of Continental Congress.

02/07/1821      William Jack died. He was sheriff when Hanna's Town was attacked and one of three donors

                       of the courthouse property in Greensburg.

02/09/1799      Greensburg incorporated.

02/14/1789      Court House and Jail authorized

02/17/1941      110th Infantry Regiment called up for service in WW II.

02/20/1802      Christopher Truby, one of the founders of Greensburg, died.

02/26/1773      Westmoreland County created out of Bedford.  Hanna's Town named to act as the first county seat.

02/26/1826      Pennsylvania Canal Act was sponsored by James Clark of Westmoreland County.

MARCH

03/9/1910        Westmoreland County Coal Strike of 1910-1911 began.

03/10/1908      Congressman John H. Dent was born in Johnetta, PA. He held many government offices beginning with Jeannette City Council (1932-34); Pa. House of Representatives (1934-36); Pa. Senate 1939-58); and the U.S. Congress from Pa.’s 21st District (1958 through 1978)

03/10/1951      Diocese of Greensburg is erected

03/17/1936      The Great St. Patrick's Day Flood submerges the town of Livermore under 18 feet of water.

03/18/1845      Johnny Appleseed (born John Chapman in 1774) died. Westmoreland County cider mills were the source of many of his seedlings.

03/23/1737 Arthur St. Clair was born in Scotland.  He came to America and fought in the French & Indian War.  He became the Penn family representative in western Pennsylvania and was instrumental in the creation of Westmoreland County in 1773.  St. Clair was a major general in the Revolutionary War, the president of Continental Congress in 1787, and first governor of the Northwest Territory.  At one time the largest landowner in western Pennsylvania, he died impoverished on August 31, 1818 and is buried in St. Clair Park in Greensburg with his wife Phoebe Bayard. 

03/28/1781      Washington County created from part of Westmoreland County.

03/30/1803      Indiana County was formed from part of Westmoreland County and Lycoming County.

APRIL

04/02/1891      Morewood Massacre (of striking workers).  After 1,200 striking workers marched on Morewood Coke Works, one of the H.C. Frick Coke Company sites, Governor Robert E. Pattison ordered the local National Guard unit into Morewood.  When, on April 2, another group of approximately 1,000 strikers marched into Morewood, the guardsmen opened fire and killed seven workers.  The defeated strikers returned to work by the end of May.

04/06/1773      First English Court west of the Allegheny Mountains was convened at Hanna's Town.

04/13/1915      The famous Rattlesnake flag was transferred from Greensburg to the State Library, at Harrisburg.

04/14/1912      Young Greensburg Woman Survives Titanic Disaster.

04/20/1852      Justice Richard Coulter dies in Greensburg.

MAY

05/8/1970        Westmoreland County Community College founded.

05/16/1775      Hanna's Town Resolves were adopted.  After hearing the news of the British firing on its citizens in Lexington and Concord, the people of Westmoreland  County gathered at Hanna's Town to discuss what their reaction should be.  They adopted the Hanna's Town Resolves declaring their willingness to take up arms to defend their rights from British oppression.  Although they stopped short of declaring independence, it was a bold precursor to the Declaration of Independence, which followed more than a year later.

05/21/1937      Eleanor Roosevelt visited Norvelt.  Norvelt was created during the New Deal as a Subsistence Homestead for unemployed coal workers.  It was originally named Westmoreland Homesteads but was renamed Norvelt in 1937 to honor Eleanor Roosevelt, a strong advocate for the program.  The new name was created from the last syllables of her first and second name.

05/30/1925      G.A.R. dedicated veterans monument in Greensburg.  Although efforts began in 1865 to raise funds for a monument to the veterans of the Civil War, the project wasn't completed until 1925.  During the intervening 60 years, two other conflicts – the Spanish American War and WW I – produced their own veterans, so it was designated the Westmoreland County’s Soldiers and Sailors Monument.  It is now known as the Westmoreland Veterans Monument – still paying tribute to ALL the defenders of the United States of America. It was originally located along North Main Street, but was restored and relocated to Courthouse square in 2015.

JUNE

06/3/1918        Seton HIll authorized to confer degrees.

06/06/1812      Greensburg Riflemen volunteered for service in War of 1812

06/15/1797      Laughlintown laid out by Robert Laughlin as “East Liberty.”

06/26/1972      "Old Hanna’s Town" listed as a National Historic Site.  Today it is known as Historic Hanna's Town.

06/28/1902      Monessen Daily Independent first published.

06/29/1940      Pennsylvania Turnpike completed.

JULY

07/2-8/1755     Braddock’s Army passed through present-day Westmoreland County on its way to Fort Duquesne.

07/03/1754      George Washington capitulated at Fort Necessity.

07/5/1912        Collision on the Ligonier Valley Railroad near Ligonier, PA

07/13/1782      Hanna's Town attacked and burned by Indians & their British allies

07/15/1917      10th Infantry Regiment called up for World War I

07/15/1994      President Clinton speaks on Main Street in Greensburg.

07/26/1794      Pittsburgh-Philadelphia mail post rider was robbed near Greensburg by Whiskey Insurgents

07/29/1786      First newspaper west of the Alleghenies, the Pittsburgh Gazette, was printed.

AUGUST

08/02/1772      Earliest Church Records in County - Harrold's Zion Lutheran Church

08/03/1773      First lawyer, Francis Dade, is admitted to Westmoreland County Bar.

08/05/1763      Battle of Bushy Run - a clash during Pontiac's War.  Col. Henry Bouquet led British forces to lift the siege of Fort Pitt.  Several allied Native American nations ambushed Bouquet's troops east of the Fort in hopes of repelling British and colonial advances into the frontier.  Day one of the battle went well for the Indians, and by the end of the day, the British resorted to building a flour sack fort to protect their wounded.

08/06/1763      Second day of the Battle of Bushy Run - Using the terrain to his tactical advantage, Bouquet turned the tide for a decisive British victory.

08/07/1742      Nathanael Greene born.  Greensburg was named for this Revolutionary War general.

08/07/1882      Seton Hill College founded

08/10/1786      Second Westmoreland County Courthouse completed

08/24/1781      Lochry's Defeat.  Col. Archibald Lochry and his force of just over 100 men from Westmoreland County were defeated along the Ohio River by Native Americans. They were on their way to meet Gen. George Rogers Clark’s force to attack Fort Detroit in an effort to stop British-supported Indian raids. All Lochry’s men were either killed or captured.

08/31/1818      Arthur St. Clair died.  For additional information about Arthur St. Clair, see his birthday, 03/23.

08/31/1952      Last run of the Ligonier Valley Rail Road

SEPTEMBER

09/1/1932        First Sears store in Westmoreland County opens in downtown Greensburg.

09/02/1791      Thomas Hamilton named first postmaster of Greensburg

09/2/1958        Penn State opens the New Kensington Campus.

09/03/1794      Whiskey insurrectionists besiege Drum House in Greensburg.

09/03/1895      First professional football game in the world played at Latrobe.

09/11/1794      Eighty whiskey insurgents from Greensburg and Hempfield Township are granted amnesty.

09/18/1969      180 acres of Hanna's Town site is acquired by Westmoreland County.

09/19/1786      "Newton" renamed "Greensburg," in honor of General Nathanael Greene.

09/23/1789      Unity Township formed out of Mount Pleasant Township.

09/23/1812      Greensburg Rifle Company left to join William H. Harrison.

09/26/1783      Fayette County formed out of part of Westmoreland County.

09/24/1788      Allegheny County formed out of part of Westmoreland County.

09/26/1958      President Eisenhower seals the "Century Chain" at Fort Ligonier.

09/26/1968      Plans announced for new Chrysler plant near New Stanton.

OCTOBER

10/01/1773      Westmoreland County's first election

10/3/1955        First combined issue of Tribune-Review

10/05/1932      President Hoover makes a campaign stop in Greensburg.

10/7/1918        Greensburg suffers its first death from the great flu epidemic.

10/09/1813      County-wide celebration and light-up night held for Perry's victory on Lake Erie.

10/9/1934        First running of Rolling Rock Steeplechase Races

10/12/1758      Fort Ligonier is successfully defended against an attack by a force of French & Indians from Fort 

                       Duquesne

10/14/1891      Greensburg awards contract for first street lights.

10/24/1644      William Penn, founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, is born.

10/24/1846      St Vincent’s Archabbey and College began.

10/24/1854      Cornerstone for Westmoreland County's fourth courthouse was laid.

10/28/1934      WHJB is the first radio station to broadcast in Westmoreland County.

NOVEMBER

11/05/1768      Treaty of Fort Stanwix signed.  Iroquois sell land west of the Allegheny Mountains to the Penn Proprietors.  This “New Purchase” made settlement in future Westmoreland County legal for the first time.

11/12/1758      George Washington is nearly killed by friendly fire incident in future Westmoreland County.

11/20/1922      Boiler Firemen strike leaving the county courthouse and jail with no light or heat.

11/24/1950      Record-breaking snow fall occurs with 31 inches falling over Thanksgiving weekend.

11/29/1980      Walworth plant closed.

DECEMBER

12/7/1949        Greensburg Coliseum destroyed by fire.

12/10/1785      Newtown, now Greensburg, was selected as the permanent county seat for Westmoreland County.

12/23/1823      "A Visit from St. Nicholas" published

12/23/1908      The Westmoreland County Historical Society was founded.