Collected and transcribed by Great-great-great grandsons
Gary Grubbs and Larry Pearce
( with “Commentary”)
In the year of 1801, Alexander Leslie and his brother George decided to accept an offer from the U.S. Government of 100 acres of Pennsylvania land west of the Allegheny Mountains at $1.00 an acre and 100 acres as an incentive to settle in Pennsylvania, which they did in what later became West Deer Township. Consequently, in the early spring they made the trip from Eastern Pennsylvania with two pack mules and all they could carry. Having arrived, they began clearing some land and cutting timber, of which there was plenty to build a log house and barn, and to plant a crop of whatever could be grown, probably corn, oats, and potatoes.
Late in 1801 George left his brother Alexander to harvest the crop, which they had on the few cleared acres, and went back east to marry his sweetheart, which he did.
On January 29, 1802, George Leslie and Jane Guilliford were married. One might think they would make the trip back a real wedding trip and take the stagecoach, but not so. In 1802 there was not a road over the mountains that cart wheels could travel. All roads across Pennsylvania went by pack mules, so Jane took what she could of her pretty things along and stored the rest at her mother’s until some later date. However, we know little about that trip. No doubt it had its joys and perhaps its sorrows too.
And what about Alexander? He must have spent a lonely winter. However, things must have gone well for them [George and Jane] for a few years. Eight children came to bless the home of George and Jane, and then in 1821 a great tragedy struck their home in the form of the dread disease that we know as Typhoid Fever. Two girls and two boys and George, Sr., himself passed away, victims of the dread disease, in one week, leaving only Nancy, Margaret, Elizabeth, and William, who was about one year old. What shock to Jane—her family all gone but three and a 200-acre farm to operate. Alexander, I am sure, helped her to operate the farm, and by that time there were neighbors, and we know the homestead remained in the Leslie name.
But Jane was due for another shock. On July 29,1826, Margaret died of Tuberculosis. Where are they buried? Probably in the Bull Creek [Presbyterian Church] Cemetery, of which the oldest date on any tombstone is 1804.
Only one log house is known to have been built. About 1861 William, of the second generation, and his son George Guilliford Leslie hauled brick from the nearest kiln by team and wagon and built a brick house of four rooms downstairs and two up, and later on a kitchen was added. When the kitchen was added, the sandstone step was kept in place, and if the indentation on the middle of that step could talk it would tell of the many steps in and out of that door.
The bricks have been [re] pointed and some changes in the windows in recent years have been made. Complimentary to Jane Guilliford Leslie of the first generation, her name was used as a middle name in the fifth generation, George Guilliford Leslie of the fourth generation gave his life for his country, and George Guilliford Leslie of the fifth lost his life in an accident.
NOTE: See “Commentary” by Larry Pearce to follow.