What motivated my fourth great-grandparents John and Margaret (McFarland) Stewart to settle in the wilderness of western Pennsylvania near the end of the Revolutionary War? There may be a very simple explanation: They saw a newspaper ad.
The Stewarts settled in what was then Wheatfield township, Westmoreland County. Today it is Buffington Township in Indiana County, Pennsylvania. Their land was located at the headwaters of Bracken’s Run, about 4 miles north of Bracken’s Mill. (I give the details of its location in an earlier post.)
The advertisement above appeared in Philadelphia and describes land very near the Stewart homestead in western Pennsylvania. John Stewart acquired his land via a patent from the Commonwealth. It is unclear how this relates to land sold by public auction in Philadelphia.
The lure of large tracts of land in the wilderness was enticing to early settlers. Perhaps it was a similar advertisement that brought my ancestors westward.