A history of our Township, written several years ago . . .
In tracing the history of the Township, we must go back to the time that marks its division into Upper and Lower Tyrone. One of the first survey of the land, in the limits of the Township, was made by Alexander Vance, who “took up” three hundred acres in 1769, but the survey was not actually made until 1788. John Vance, the father of Alexander Vance, settled in the Township in 1766. He was a native of Virginia, but his ancestors came from a sturdy race. He came with Col. William Crawford, who had married his sister. He died in 1772. His wife was Margaret White, also a Virginian. There were six children, and numerous grandchildren, many of whom remained in the Township. Among the early settlers were: Abraham Kent; Benjamin Whalley; Moses Smith; Barnett Cunningham; James Torrance; John Stephenson; Valentine Crawford, brother of the Colonel, and a business correspondent of George Washington’s; Joseph Huston, his son, William, who came across the mountains with his father when he was a boy in his teens; William Chain; James Blackstone; the Stewart family, whose ancestors came originally from the famous Gramplan Hills, and from who, descended the notable Andrew Stewart, of tariff fame; Philip Mendon, John Smiley; Abraham Strickler; Valentine Secrist; Matthew Gant; the Stauffer family; James Sterrett; Abraham Newcomer Christian and John, the family being of German ancestry; Philip Galley; Alexander Long; Samuel Cochran; Mordecai Cochran; and Joseph Martin. Some of these early settlers reared large families, and their descendants gradually populated the Township with a vigorous, industrious, and progressive people.
Tyrone was erected into a township at the March, 1748 term of the Court of Quarter Sessions. In 1839, a part of its area was taken off and incorporated into Perry Township.
Upper Tyrone History
The two townships, Upper and Lower, constituted one political organization until 1877. Previous to the division, the Township was bounded on the north by Jacob’s Creek, which separated it from Westmoreland County; Bullskin and Connellsville Townships lay to the east; on the south was the Youghiogheny River; on the west this same stream and Perry Township formed its boundary. The eastern portion of the original township now constitutes Upper Tyrone, the western part, since the division, is Lower Tyrone. The Youghiogheny River and Jacob’s Creek, Broadford, and Hickman’s Run are the principal water courses.
Upper Tyrone is entirely underlaid with coal, liberally provided with railways, and thickly dotted with coke ovens. Farming and distilling were the principal pursuits in the early days of the Township, and farming occupied a prominent place as late as 1868. Then coking developed, the present leading industry of the Township.
The opening of the Pittsburgh and Connellsville Railroad through the southern part of the Township and the building of the Mt. Pleasant Branch Road from Broadford north through the center to Mt. Pleasant, gave the opportunity for coke development which has produced results that may be justly described as wonderful. The stations along the Mt. Pleasant branch are Broadford, Morgan, Tintsman, Fountain, Overton, and Everson. An almost unbroken line of coke works extends along the line of this road, from Broadford to Everson, and from the east to the boundary of the county.
The assessed valuation of the Township in 1899 was $938,692.
Every one of the coke works has a block or more of houses, the duration of which is largely dependent uon the permanency of the mine. The Township has, however, three mining villages which posses the elements of stability.
There are a significant number of places of interest and importance in Upper Tyrone Township. Everson, whose population is 1890 was 905, is a place of importance, and has over one thousand people today. It has a post office, stores and shops, and two hotels, but the most of its people are engaged in work and business at Scottdale, on the opposite side of Jacob’s Creek, in Westmoreland County.
Summit Mines was founded in 1872 by Jackson Shallenberger, by the name of Owensdale, which was changed June 10, 1892, to that of Summit Mines. It has a United Brethren Church, post office, two school rooms, and three stores, operated respectively by the Union Supply Company, Keister & Co., and W. H. Shallenberger. The post office was first named Owensdale and established February 24, 1881, with W. H. Shallenberger as postmaster, and then changed to Summit Mines. Allen Shallenberger is the present postmaster.