Moses Stewart (c1722 – 28 July 1790)

Moses Stewart appeared in the 1751 tax list of Hopewell township, Cumberland County, and qualified in 1754 as executor of his father’s will.1 He did not appear on the 1758 tax list for Hopewell township, apparently hav ing left the area.

Married to a daughter of Patrick Hanna

He may have lived in adjacent Monaghan township of York County, where his father-in-law Patrick Hanna made his will, undated but proved in Cumberland County on 27 November 1758.2 Among the legacies, the will left one crown (five shillings) each to two sons-in-law, calling them “my son William Eger” and “my son Moses Stuart.” (Patrick Hanna had been a witness to Andrew Stewart’s 1747 will and had been listed on the 1751 Hopewell township tax list separated by just one name from Moses Stewart.)

Remarries to the widow Isabella Lower

Moses Stewart’s first wife’s given name is unknown.  She must have died soon after her father’s will, perhaps in giving birth to Andrew Stewart, as Moses Stewart married a widow named Isabella Lower in York County on 25 April 1670.3 She was the widow of Andrew Lower, with three small children of her own named Andrew, Robert, and Mary (who later married Thomas Wilkins).

On 29 April 1767 “Moses Stewart, who married to the widow and relict of Andrew Lewers (sic) dece’d” entered a caveat to a survey by one Alexander Wilson in Peters township of Cumberland County.4  A few months later on 19 October he obtained a land warrant for 50 acres in Peters township “in trust”.5 On 3 December 1767 a survey was made of 110 acres “for Moses Stuart in trust for the heirs of Andrew Lewers (sic).”6  However, no grant was subsequently recorded but a survey made more than 50 years later for an unrelated person noted that the land “was formerly surveyed in pursuance of a warrant granted to Moses Stewert (sic) in trust for the heirs of Andrew Lewers (sic).”7

Moses Stewart was taxed on 50 acres that year in Cumberland County.8

Moves west to the “New Purchase”

In November 1768 the sons of William Penn negotiated the “New Purchase” of a vast area roughly one-third the size of present-day Pennsylvania from the Iroquois Six Nations.  The new land was a diagonal swath covering all or part of 24 present-day counties, including all of southwestern Pennsylvania, that doubled the size of the colony.  In February 1769 the Land Office announced that it would open on 3 April 1769 to “receive Applications from all Persons inclinable to take up Lands in the New Purchase…” for up to 300 acres each.  By that date nearly three thousand applications were received. Among them were applications for adjoining land by Moses Stewart, Andrew Lowers, and Thomas Wilkins.

Moses Stewart claimed land in what is today southern Indiana County.  His 3 April 1769 application was for 300 acres “Betwixt Conemaugh and Blacklick Rivers & adjoining south by the claim of Rich’d Shannon & No. by the claim of Nathan Young.”9. His stepson Andrew Lowers claimed 300 acres on the south side of Blacklick River “adjoining Moses Stuart” and Mary Lower’s husband Thomas Wilkins claimed 300 acres on the west side of the Conemaugh “joining north on the claim of Moses Stewart”. ((Ibid., Applications #1189 and 32024, respectively. I might note that the applications, which were handwritten on pieces of paper, were put into a hat and drawn out one at a time, thus producing the official application numbers.)).

Moses Stewart must have traveled into the new country months earlier, as he had staked out his claim and obtained a warrant for it weeks before submitting his application.10.  The survey on 5 June 1769 showed Andrew Lower’s land on the south bank of Blacklick Creek with Moses Stewart’s land bordering it to the south.11  The “Indian path leading from Ligonier to Kittanning” ran through the east side of both parcels — this is roughly the path of Route 422 on modern maps.   Although the land was effectively his, the grant was not actually issued until twenty years later, on 20 March 1788.

A brief stint as Tax Collector

This land was initially located in Bedford County.  Among its early records is a 1772/3 tax list showing Moses Stewart, Andrew Lowers, and Thomas Wilkins listed consecutively in Armstrong township.  Moses Stewart was taxed on 100 acres, 10 of them cleared, one horse and one cow.12

One of the documents included in the tax file is a 7 January 1773 letter of instructions addressed to “Mr. Moses Stewart, [Tax] Collector of Armstrong Township”.13

A month later, on 26 February 1773, Westmoreland County was established, billing itself as the first county west of the Appalachians. At that time it covered all or parts of ten president-day counties and was home to several geographically scattered Stewart families, apparently unrelated to one another.  Moses Stewart and his stepchildren were settled in Derry Township.

Revolutionary service

Both Moses Stewart and his son Andrew Stewart served in the Westmoreland County militia.  Payroll records show that Moses Stewart and Andrew Stewart both served as a privates sometime between 1778 and 1783.14. Apparently drawing on the same source records, payrolls show that they both were among Westmoreland County “Soldiers Who Served as Rangers on the Frontiers 1778-1783”15.

The Pennsylvania Act of 17 March 1777 that established county militias required all able-bodied males aged 18 to 53 to serve rotating two month terms.  Moses Stewart, according to his gravestone, was at least 54 by then so must have been a volunteer.  He may have served only one term, as only a single index card exists for him in the Pennsylvania Archives collection of postwar militia pay certificates showing that he was issued a certificate for merely £1:3:5 on 10 December 1785.16

It is possible that Moses Stewart was injured or disabled in some way, perhaps in the war, for he appears in no further records and his wife apparently needed support by her children.

Moses’ son-in-law Andrew Lowers, who was childless, made his will on 8 August 1781, leaving “unto my mother Isebel (sic) Stewart the full benefit, privilege and possession of my plantation situated in Derry Township, Westmoreland County during her life & then to become the property of Andrew Lowers, my brother Robert’s son…” The will also left her “my bay mare and one heifer and wheat and rye in stacks at Samuel Davis’s and what household planeshen is now in her possession and thirty pounds in cash…”.17 That he left essentially his entire estate to his mother suggests that she was either separated from her husband or that he was unable to support her.

That suggestion is reinforced by Moses Stewart’s absence from the 1783, 1786, and 1788 Westmoreland County tax lists, which list only Andrew Stewart  in Derry Township.

When Robert Lowers made his will on 20 April 1788 he did not mention his mother, who was apparently deceased by then. Indeed, he distributed half the land “that I live on” to his son Moses Lowers and referred to the other half as “my brother Andrew Lowers half of tract whereon I now live which he willed to my son Andrew.”18

Gravestone in Old Salem Cemetery

Moses Stewart’s gravestone exists in the Old Salem Presbyterian Cemetery in Derry township, Westmoreland County.  According to a 1920 article (subsequently confirmed by a modern photograph) the stone reads: “Moses Stuart, Born 1722, Died July 28, 1790.” 19  Neither the article nor local records mention the graves of any other Stuarts or Stewarts contemporary to Moses Stuart.  However, Thomas Wilkins, husband of Mary Lowers, is buried in the same place.

No administration records appear in Westmoreland County probate books.20

Stewart Clan Magazine

The box below contains a brief genealogy as published in the Stewart Clan Magazine.   The brief paragraph on Moses Stewart that was published in 1937 as part of the item on Andrew Stewart has already been mentioned in this page.

A few years after that article, in 1942 the Stewart Clan Magazine published a more detailed article as part of an issue devoted to “Stewarts in Old Westmoreland County, Pa.”:21

Note that the article does not explicitly name the children of Moses Stewart, nor does it identify how any of the named persons might be related.  [I have broken the text into paragraphs to improve readability.]

Moses Stewart of Peters Township, Cumberland County

Moses Stewart (Andrew2) married (1) a daughter of Patrick Hanna of Monaghan township, York county, Pa., [ref: prior issues]  He married (2) Apr. 26, 1760 in Christ Lutheran church of York, York county, Isabella Lowers, widow of Andrew Lowers.  He was on the tax-list of Hopewell township, Cumberland county in 1751, and with his mother, he acted as executor of his father’s will in 1754. (As we have seen on page 179, his brother Hugh died in Kent county, Del., in 1770.)  Moses removed to Peters township, locating in what later became Montgomery township, Franklin county, near Two-Top mountain.

To protect his wife’s interest in her former husband’s claim he entered a caveat Apr. 23, 1767, in the Pennsylvania land office against the acceptance of a survey for Andrew Wilson on 100 acres of land in Peters township, Cumberland county, alleging that the improvement right of the said land was vested in Andrew Lower’s heirs.  Moses subsequently, Oct. 19, 1767, took out a warrant for 50 acres of this land in trust, and was on the 1768 tax- list of Peters township for 50 acres, while a James Stewart had 50 acres. (A patent, issued Mar. 13, 1825, to the administratrix of the estate of Peter Behrer for 132 acres in Montgomery township, close to Two-Top mountain, included land warranted Oct. 19, 1767 to Moses Stewart in trust and other land warranted Feb. 25, 1788, to Thomas Sellers. — Land office, H18: 587.)

Moses Stuart made an application Apr. 3, 1769, for 321 acres called “Walnut Ridge” in the forks of Conemaugh and Blacklick creek in Westmoreland [now Indiana] county, adjoining lands of Richard Shannon, William Brown, Andrew Lowers and Thomas Wilkins, and a patent was issued to him May 12, 1788 [P13: 156].  The will of Andrew Lowers of Montgomery township, Cumberland county, dated Aug. 8, 1781, and proved Mar. 8, 1788, mentioned  his mother Isabel Stewart and referred to a plantation which he owned in Derry township, Westmoreland county.  A nephew of this Andrew Lower, of the same name and of Derry township, deeded Dec. 11, 1801 to Andrew Stuart of the same township for $200 156 acres “joining Blacklick creek, surveyed upon a location for Andrew Lowers, deceased, uncle to said Andrew Lowers.”  Moses name did not appear in the census of 1790 for Pennsylvania, and if living at that time he was making his home with one of his children or had left the state.

Andrew5 Stewart obtained a warrant on Mar. 11, 1786.  Andrew Stuard of Derry township, Westmoreland county, bought Dec. 11, 1786, of William McKelvey of Mount Pleasant township for £75 100 acres in Ligonier valley, bounded south by James McCurdy, east by the widow Brown and Charles Griffith and west by James Porter and Joseph Porter.  James Wallace of Harrison county, Ky., gave power-of- attorney May 9, 1796, to his trusty friend Andrew Stewart of Westmoreland county, Pa., to recover from Thomas Wilkins a certain tract of land in the forks of Blacklick and Conemaugh which Wilkins was in possession of but which belonged to the estate of Richard Wallace. We seem to find no Andrew Stewart as head of a family in Westmoreland county in 1790: perhaps he lived with a brother or sister. Andrew Stuart of Derry township bought Dec. 11, 1801, of Andrew Lowers 156 acres on Blacklick creek, in Indiana county but before that year in Westmoreland county.

[Page 253]
James5 Stewart obtained a warrant Oct. 13, 1786, for 90% acres in Derry township, Westmoreland county, and he and his wife Mary of Armstrong township, Indiana county, sold this land Nov. 13, 1811, to William Wilson of Derry township.  James and Richard Stuart of Armstrong township bought Nov. 1, 1803, of James Gammel 135½ acres on Aultman’s run in Armstrong township. The 1790 census for Derry township showed three Stewart households — James 1-2-3, William 2-2-4, and William 1-3-3.

Moses6 Stewart, born in Indiana county, Pa., in 1792, enlisted at Old Town (Xenia), Ohio, Aug. 12, 1812, in Capt. Jacob Shindledecker’s company of Ohio militia and fought as a rifleman under Gen. William Henry Harrison at Fort Meigs on the Maumee river.  After his discharge he met and later married Feb. 12, 1818, Theresa Canham at her father’s farm in Indiana county, Pa. They moved from Indiana county to Cincinnati, O., in the spring and stayed until fall, when they moved to a farm 10 miles east of Dayton. They lived there five years and then moved to a farm 15 miles north of Dayton, where they resided seven years, and then moved to Lawrence county, Ill. Moses applied Sep. 10, 1873, for a pension as a soldier of the war of 1812, aged 81 years, a resident of Bond township, Lawrence county. He died Nov. 29, 1874, in Lawrence county. His widow Theresa applied for a pension Jan. 2, 1875, aged 74, resident of Bond township. She died Oct. 9, 1886.

Andrew6 Stewart was a soldier in Capt. Jacob Shindledecker’s company of Ohio militia
in the war of 1812. He married in Montgomery county, Ind., Oct. 25, 1817, Lavina Canham. (Lavina Stewart testified on Mar. 15, 1879, in Montgomery county, Ohio, that she knew that Moses Stewart and Teracy Canham were married Feb. 12, 1815, as she herself was married on the same day at the same place by the same justice of the peace to Andrew Stewart, yet she had declared on Feb. 24, 1879, that she married Andrew on Oct. 25, 1817.)  Andrew died at Little Beaver, Greene county, O., in November [year omitted but before 1879].

The article continues with a paragraph devoted to Alexander Archibald Stewart, apparently unrelated to the others, based on research conducted by a great-granddaughter.

  1. Cumberland County, PA, Will Book A, pages 27-28. []
  2. Cumberland County Will Book A, page 58-59. []
  3. Stewart Clan Magazine, Vol. XIX, No. 9 (March 1942), pages 252-253. []
  4. (Caveat Book 4, in Pennsylvania Archives, Series 3, Vol. II, page 393. Handwritten version online at []
  5. Warrant Book H-18, page 587. []
  6. Pennsylvania Land Office Survey Book D-21, page 230. []
  7. Pennsylvania Land Office Survey Book C-213, page 130. []
  8. Indiana Magazine of History, Vol. 32 No.4 (December 1936), page 431 in an article about an unrelated Stewart family. The tax list is for 1768 but reflects an assessment for 1767. []
  9. Pennsylvania Land Office New Purchase Register, unpaginated, Application #2222. []
  10. Warrant #284 dated 20 March 1769. []
  11. Pennsylvania Land Office Survey Book D-56, page 87 and page 88. []
  12. Original Document, University of Pittsburg Digital Collections, Item No. 735066265509. []
  13. Original Document, University of Pittsburg Digital Collections, Item No. 735066265509, 1773 Bedford County Tax Book, page 13. []
  14. Pennsylvania Archives, Fifth Series, Vol. IV, page 757. Also page 457. []
  15. Pennsylvania Archives, Third Series, Vol. XXIII, page 283 lists Moses Stewart.  Andrew Stewart is listed on pages 223, 224, 287, 318, 322, 324, and 329. []
  16. The certificate lists the Pay record as Vol. A, page 245. []
  17. Cumberland County Will Book D, page 9. Repeated on page 121 in another copy of the Will Book. []
  18. Westmoreland County Will Book 1, page 191. []
  19. Elizabeth Machesney, “Tombstone Inscriptions, Old Salem Cemetery, Derry Township, Westmoreland Co., Pa.”,  <em>National Genealogical Society Quarterly,</em> Vol. IX, No. 2 (July 1920), page 32. []
  20. Westmoreland County WIll Book 1 lists letters of administration 1774-1839, but none was recorded for the estate of Moses Stuart. []
  21. Stewart Clan Magazine, Vol. XIX, No. 9 (March 1942), pages 252-253. []