Friday, May 18, 2012

Westmoreland Co. Pa Information Shared

 One of the big things when researching in the early developing states is the boundary changes that take place.  Many are large big counties and then some of them are shrunk down to so small they almost disappear. Like Philadelphia Co., PA was huge and now basically covers the City and small out lying areas.

So if your researching Westmoreland in 1778 or pre States Establishment you have lots of places to look.
And after establishment of the country you have even more places to look.

Remember early Colonial Records were kept in court houses and England.

 The state for this county says look first for early 1729 or so, Lancaster County.

 But back up wait a minute.  Mr. Penn came to Pennsylvania under a King's Rule.

 Western Pennsylvania was developed under the Ohio Company pact under the previous Queen.

  Taxes after Penn came and tried to claim western PA was higher, the entire government was handled different.  People who migrated into western Pa in the mid 1700's were promised they would not have to do the Church tax of PA and the land taxes of PA etc. The Virginian's signed papers stating they were in Virginia country and Pa was not a ruler there.   HA, ha, ha  said Penn or his people.

So for western Pennsylvania coming from the east you look at these counties for data.
 Lancaster was developed in 1729,  it was taken from Chester County, then Cumberland County was developed in 1750, so records could be now found there, then Bedford County is formed in 1771, remembering this is a warring time. Westmoreland County was founded in 1773.  Coming from the east and Penn's rule.

 Now remember the earlier statement. Virginia already claimed the western portion of Pennsylvania and so people paid tithe and taxes and bought and sold land and goods under Virginia rule. Very different from PA rule.

After much arguing Pennsylvania took over the southwest portion of Pennsylvania by 1783.  It was not recognized by Virginian's until almost 1800.  I found a deed of land bought in 1760's in VA by a resident that moved to today Greene Co. PA, that sold it under Virginia rule in 1805.

There was a big exodus from sw Pa to Ohio, Kentucky  etc when Pennsylvania won the final round for claiming the land and making the state a rectangle. Many signed papers affirming they were Virginian's and wanted no part of Penn's state.

This exodus started by 1800 and was in full swing by 1812. Many of my family made the change between 1810 and 1826.

Going back to remind you Virginia had claim to all the land to the Mississippi with the grant from the Queen, which covered this territory until a state was created and declared valid.

 I have kin that had land in both Ohio and PA and were in the process of moving when he died.
He had a Will in both sw PA court and Ohio. The Pennsylvania Line by Iscrupe has good maps and USGENWEB.ORG has moving maps to show the changes of boundaries.  There are many good books to read about this part of Pennsylvania.

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