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Early History of Everson

Authored by: LaVonne R. Hanlon on May 20, 2003

Wide Angle View of Everson -
Wide Angle View of Everson

When Christopher Gist led the first white settlers over the Allegheny Mountains and into what is now Fayette County, Pennsylvania, they found the land that later became Everson/South Everson occupied by an Indian tribe under the leadership of an Indian who the settlers dubbed Chief Jacob. A stream of water ran through his reservation and that stream became Jacob's Creek. Those first settlers came in 1755. In 1783 Jacob's Creek became the dividing line between Fayette and Westmoreland Counties.

Back in 1755 that portion of Southwestern Pennsylvania was in Augusta County, Virginia, and so if you are researching your ancestors and find they are listed as born in Virginia, this is the explanation. In June of 1780, Pennsylvania and Virginia reached an agreement and a state line was established between the two states that put present-day Fayette County into what was then Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Then in 1783, Fayette became a separate county from Westmoreland County. In 1862 the portion of Virginia bordering Fayette County, Pennsylvania, became West Virginia.

When my father, Raymond M. Suchoki, was growing up in South Everson, in the 1920's and 1930's, Indian arrow heads could be found laying along Jacob's Creek in South Everson and over on Tank Hill which is in the vicinity known as Everson Valley or the Valley Works. In 1955, a huge excavation took place where the PAK baseball diamond has been located. This was the building of the Allied Mills facility. During this excavation, numerous Indian artifacts were discovered. All this only adds proof of the existence of Chief Jacob and his Indian tribe in the Everson area.

Among early settlers were the Mennonites who came into the area in 1790 and established what was known as Jacob's Creek Settlement. There is an old Mennonite cemetery located on a hill in Everson Valley known as the McNeese Cemetery, but its proper name appears to be Alte Menst. However, the older local folks refer to it as Sherrick's Cemetery. In reading the tombstones, I found that a Joseph Sherrick, born December 25, 1757 and died December 21, 1811 appears to be the first one buried there suggesting the property was owned by a Sherrick Family, thus the name, Sherrick's Cemetery.

About 1912 another cemetery was established in Everson Valley. This was St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery located on old Route 119. Although St. Joseph's Church was established in 1887, the cemetery did not exist until years later. As the earlier church members passed away, they were buried in the old section of St. John's Cemetery in East Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland County, just beyond the Scottdale Cemetery on South Broadway. My personal Research uncovered the following: My great aunt Anna Rogalinski died at the of 16 of a paralyzing disease according to the burial record found at St. John's rectory. She died in 1908 while there was no cemetery for St. Joseph's parishioners; therefore she was buried at St. John's Cemetery. Her mother, Appolinia Gregoriewicz Rogalinski, died the following year and was also buried at St. John's. When the father, Michael Rogalinski, died in 1914, he was also buried with his wife and daughter, however I was told by that time St. Joseph's did have its own cemetery.

Non-Catholic residents of Everson chose to be buried in the nearby Scottdale Cemetery or the nearby White Cemetery that is just above the Pennsville Independent Cemetery and later Green Ridge Memorial Park also in Pennsville. Many people mistakenly refer to the White Cemetery and the Pennsville Independent Cemeteries as the Pennsville Baptist Cemetery. My research has disclosed the fact that both of these cemeteries were there before the Baptist Church was built. In fact, an old Mennonite meeting house once stood in the area now occupied by the Baptist Church and some Mennonites are buried in the White Cemetery which is close to the Baptist Church.

Getting back to Everson, which isn't hard to do since there is now an exit just North of Pennsville on the new Route 119. Tyrone Township was established in Westmoreland County in 1773 before the erection of Fayette County in 1783. In 1877, Tyrone was divided into Upper Tyrone (eastern section) and Lower Tyrone Townships. Everson is located in the section that became Upper Tyrone Township. In late 1903 a group of citizens decided to form a borough and apprised the township supervisors and other officials. Under the leadership of Dr. M. A. Noon, the present borough was established. Mr. B.M. Everson, a local industrialist, operated a small mill on the Fayette County side of Jacobs Creek and granted permission to give the new borough his name. The area below the borough from the B & O Railroad tracks to Jacobs Creek remained in Upper Tyrone Township and became known as South Everson.

During the 1880's when the coal and coke industry was a booming business in the area, there was a large immigration of families from Poland. Those who settled in the area of Everson established the first Polish Catholic Church in the Pittsburgh Diocese which attracted many other Polish Families to the area. The proximity of working in the salt mines of Poland made the transition of working in the coal mines of Pennsylvania easy for these immigrants. More friends and families then came to this area from Poland.

Another organization founded by these Polish immigrants was the Polish American Club, (known as the PAK Club) which was formed from the Citizen's Political Circle. This first club was organized on January 16, 1904 at a meeting held in the St. Joseph's Congregation Hall in Everson. The first club had 38 members who paid dues of 10 cents a year. Their officers were: Rev. Frank Miskiewics, President; Kazmier Zwolinski, Vice President; John Zgorecki, Recording Secretary and John Suchocki, Treasurer. After four years, this club was reorganized into the Polish American Club and was chartered on December 1, 1908. The first officers for the new club: George Pisula, President; Anthony Szymanski, Vice President; Joseph Gronkowski, Recording Secretary and Andrew Komenda, Treasurer. The Directors were: Michael Komenda, Andrew Luczak, Michael Szwed, Stanley Szwed, and Ignatius Szymczak.

As the community grew the need for other organizations arose. In 1904 the Everson public school replaced one established in the late 1870's by Upper Tyrone Township. St. Joseph's Parochial School and the Holy Rosary Society of that church each began in 1888. Ministry of the Everson Evangelical Church in North America, formerly the United Brethren, began in 1899. Police protection began in 1904; the Everson Volunteer Fire Department was formed in 1909; the Ladies Auxiliary of the Fire Department was formed in 1970; Post 595 Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1921 and their Ladies Auxiliary in 1922; Boy Scout Troop 4 in 1928; the Polish-American Circle also began in 1922; a third class Post Office with general delivery was opened; baseball and football teams were formed in the 1920's; Everson Women's Democrat Club began in 1933; Everson Civic Organization in 1960; and the Senior Citizen's Club in 1977.

Many businesses have come and gone while some remain. All of their stories combined are the history of the Everson Borough.

Posted: May 20, 2003

 
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