My
Biddle Ancestor
Land Search
in
Pennsylvania


by Owen Picton

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On my Biddle search in about 1980 my family visited near where our Biddle ancestors had lived in Pennsylvania.  I have a book: "Notes on the Genealogy of the Biddle Family" together with "Abstracts of Some Early Deeds" by Henry D. Biddle and privately printed in Philadelphia in 1895 by W.S.Forthescue & Co.  You can view a copy by someone else of the Biddle book online that states on page 27 that  my ancestor Jonathan Biddle with his brother Arney moved from NJ and settled on a farm on the Mahoning River, in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. I tried to locate this Biddle land by first going to that county and looked for a Biddle in the phone directory. There was a Richard Biddle at New Castle, Pa. So I called him. He turned out to be a descended from Arney Biddle.

He then started apologizing about the condition of the cemetery where the Biddle's are buried in that county. He told how to find the old cemetery but said maybe 10 or 20 years before that the Indians had wanted their land back. The Indians had camped in the cemetery for several years and damaged the tomb stones. The land that the Biddle's had settled on in the early 1800's had belonged to the Indians. There had been an Indian uprising so the Federal Government had taken all the land away from the Indians and gave it only to Revolutionary War veterans. Now the Indians want it back.

I think Richard Biddle said he had owned a grocery store in Pittsburgh but had retired at New Castle, Pa. He said two Biddle brothers from New Jersey came to Mercer county (now Lawrence county) Pa. in about 1812 and settled along the Mahoning River about four miles from Newcastle, Pa) in Lawrence county, Pa. One settled on one side of the river and the other settled on the other side of the river. After some discussion we found that he was descended from one brother (Arney Biddle) and I was descended from the other brother (Jonathan Biddle born May 1765). At one time (1812) our ancestors were deeded some land by the Federal Government. Richard Biddle still owned the land given to his side of the family and he had a deed on sheep skin signed by one of the presidents of the United States deeding the land to his ancestor. The deed was hanging over his fire place.

I drove out and saw the cemetery and it was a mess. The Indain's had broken off most of the Biddle tomb stones. Tall grass and weeds were growing around the broken tomb stones. You can still make out the name Biddle on many of the broken stones and even some of the first names. Time does not stand still. I do not know the current condition of the cemetery.




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