History of Murrysville

Jeremiah Murry 1759-1835      Portrait circa 1784


           Jeremiah Murry came to America in the summer of 1783 when he was twenty three. In 1784, he married Ann Montgomery of Chester Co., PA.  In May of 1785, Jeremiah, Mary and infant daughter, Nancy, set out along Forbes Road across the Allegheny Mountains and entered the Turtle Creek Valley in what is now Murrysville.  Here Jeremiah built a cabin, grist mill, saw mill and store along the banks of the Turtle Creek. From 1787 through 1812 Jeremiah was awarded thirteen different patents in Franklin Township totaling over 3,800 acres of land which he bought and sold continually.  In the 1838 final disposition of Jeremiah's estate, second wife Satia's share of one third of the appraised value of the land holdings of her husband would be in excess of $6 million by today's standards.

          Jeremiah had many accomplishments during his lifetime.  He was a Captain in the 3rd Company, 4th Battalion, of the Westmoreland County Militia from 1788-1793. By 1800, he was a Justice of the Peace and a Westmoreland County Commissioner. Reportedly, Jeremiah laid out the town of Murrysville because the Northern Pike (a.k.a. Pittsburg New Alexandria Turnpike) was chartered by Governor William Findlay to be constructed.  Jeremiah and his family were large stockholders. He and his family controlled and operated the turnpike. The town of Murrysville was laid out into lots for sale and was officially founded in 1820 with a population of 1,757.  In a sketch of Murrysville 1840-1850, a map of Murrysville shows businesses including a gunsmith, potterer, shoemaker, barn builder, school house, Presbyterian Church, bricklayer, dry good stores, Methodist Church, tavern, blacksmith, tannery, private dwellings including the brick home of Jeremiah, tinner, wagon maker, tanner, wood chopper and physician.  By referendum in 1976, a Home Rule Charter was approved establishing the Municipality of Murrysville that contains all the land that was once Franklin County with the exception of the Borough of Export. The current population of Murrysville is approximately 20,000.

The information here is taken from MORE ON THE HISTORY OF MURRYSVILLE by Charles Hall in November 2008 and revised in February 2009. Publications are sold at Ferri Pharmacy.


The History of Murrysville

            Franklin Township was the first development in the area of Murrysville. However, it wasn't listed on the Westmoreland County records until 1788.

            Before that, William Meanor bought a claim of land from an Indian in exchange for a keg of tobacco and a rifle. And in 1769, Robert Hays applied to the government for land and purchased 339 acres for 45 pounds, 2 shillings and 6 pence.

            The Old Stone House located on Sardis Road just before Bulltown Road was once home to early Franklin Township settler Michael Rugh and Family. In 1778, Michael, wife Phoebe and children Mary and Michael Jr. were captured by Native Americans and taken to Canada. Michael Jr. died in captivity. Several years later, Michael and Phoebe were released and returned to the area. Michael built the stone house, C. 1793, to ward off future Indian attacks. Michael was a member of state government and rode horseback to Philadelphia. Mary was separated from her parents during captivity.  After eight years Michael Rugh found his daughter  living with an Indian squaw along the Susquehanna River,  Several years after her return, Mary Rugh married Jacob Haymaker.  In 1878, grandsons Michael and Obediah Haymaker drilled the famed Murrysville Gas Well. A stone marker is located at the Haymaker Well site on Norbatrol Court in South Murrysville along the banks of the Turtle Creek.

             Murrysville itself was founded by Ireland native Jeremiah Murry who traveled to Pennsylvania in 1781 and then on to Franklin Township. He acquired land near the Turtle Creek and built a cabin and gristmill.  Jeremiah also kept a store near the current location of the Presbyterian Church on North Hills Road.

             Murry established the town of Murrysville in 1820, no more than a year after the PA Northern Turnpike was constructed. Over the years,  Jeremiah  continually bought and sold over 4,000 acres of land to other settlers.  

               The school system in Murrysville holds a lot of history as well. Murrysville was the first school established in the area in 1800. Then in 1861, Francis Laird Stewart organized the Turtle Creek Academy. Classes were first held in Murry's father's house and then moved to the basement of the Presbyterian Church. Miss Bessie Staymates', a well known Franklin Township teacher, Girl Scout Leader and philanthropist lived her entire life in the log cabin on Round Top Road. The original Staymates' cabin was built between 1785 and 1790. The grounds are now a part of the Municipal Park System and was the site of many of Miss Bessie's school picnics.

                The Murrysville Grade School was built in 1905 and is now being used to house several businesses. Newlonsburg Elementary, which was the original high school, was built in 1929.

Read so much more on the meaningful History of Murrysville in member Chuck Hall's books on sale at Ferri's Pharmacy, Village Town Square.