Washington Township, Fayette County, Pennsylvania

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Washington Township is a township in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 4,461 at the 2000 census.

Arnold City, Fairhope, Lynnwood, Pricedale, Gillepsie, Naomi, and Brownstown are area villages.



A significant part of the prehistory of Washington Township is the Locus 7 Site, located north of Fayette City, where it is believed that members of the Monongahela tribe may have lived as far back as AD 600.[1]

Washington Township's most prominent historical figure is Colonel Edward Cook. Settling in what was then Westmoreland County, he was granted 3,000 acres (12 kmĀ²) and first built a small log cabin and a small store. In 1772, he began building his home (still standing today), the first stone building west of the Allegheny Mountains, including Pittsburgh. Built entirely out of limestone from his property, it was finished in 1776.

Colonel Cook was among General Washington's personal friends and on two occasions at least entertained Washington in the old stone mansion. On one of the occasions named, Washington was journeying that way to visit his lands in Washington County and stopped at Col. Cook's for a brief rest. Cook was at that time engaged in reviewing a body of militia nearby and knew nothing of the arrival of his distinguished guest. Word of the arrival was whispered to the men before it reached the colonel, and when he observing the commotion learned what ws in the wind, he relaxed all discipline and set off unceremoniously for the house. The militiamen followed at the double-quick and hurrahing enthusiastically for General Washington brought him to the porch and evoked from him in reply a good natured and fatherly speech which the soldiers cheered to the echo.

He was a member of the Provincial Congress convened in Carpenter's Hall, Philadelphia, June 18, 1776, that drafted the first declaration of independence presented to Congress, June 25, 1776, (see "Journal of Congress, vol. ii, p 230); was a member of the State Constitutional Convention that convened September 28, 1776; was the first commissioner of exchange and appointed sub-lieutenant of Westmoreland County, March 21, 1777.

January 5, 1782, he was appointed lieutenant of Westmoreland County to succeed Col. Archibald Lochry, who had been captured and killed while on an Indian expedition. This office gave him command of the militia of the County and the management of its military fiscal affairs. It was from this appointment that Col. Cook received his military title.

He aided in fixing the boundaries of Fayette County and was a member of the commission that located the county seat. November 21, 1786, he was appointed justice of the peace with a jurisdiction that reached into Washington County. April 8, 1789, he was appointed president of the Court of Common Pleas and Quarter Session; was associate judge of Fayette County in 1791; and from 1796 to 1798 treasurer of Westmoreland County.

He was conspicuous in the Whiskey Insurrection and having been prominent in some of the meetings of the insurgents, his arrest was ordered but in the meantime before any action could be taken he appeared November 6, 1794, before Thomas McKean, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and in the presence of William Bradford, Attorney General of the United States, voluntarily entered into recognizance to the United States for his appearance before the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States at the next special session of the Circuit Court held for the district of Pennsylvania "then and there to answer such charges of treasonable and seditious practices and such other matters of misdemeanor as shall be alleged against him in behalf of the United States and that he will not depart that court without license." Having taken this bold and honorable course, he quietly awaited the result which was simply that nothing was found against him and he was not molested in person but some cavalrymen belonging to the army that came out to quell the insurrection visited his home and did considerable damage, nearly demolishing his distillery, knocking in the heads of liquor casks and spilling a vast amount of whiskey.[2]

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