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“Morning Star Inn – Haven For Weary Travelers”

  Built on 'Pike' in 1826, It Still Stands

By Lurayn Kean

Indian paths into Western Pennsylvania became the paths treaders followed on their way to barter with the savages for furs on land; the, the armies followed the paths and turned them into primitive roads, which in turn were traversed by the hardy souls who were making their way West to build homes a better life for themselves and their families. One of these early trails was followed by part of Forbes’ army under Colonel Bouquet and their route, following Turtle Creek to a point 12 miles from Pittsburgh and then swinging up around the hill, was followed by many pioneers and later became the Pittsburgh-Greenburg Turnpike.

 

BUSY PIKE

            Incorporated in 1806, the Turnpike was hardly passable until 1830, but the Westward movement kept the road crowded with _____ freight trains, six or eight horses drawing each wagon. Going downhill the wheels were locked with chains to keep the loaded vehicle from running down the horses. Uphill was a different matter and it has been recorded in early travel journals that it took two six-horse teams a whole day to get a loaded wagon to the top of Turtle Creek Hill. When passenger coaches made the climb, passengers often had to get out and walk.

            Small wonder, then, that the top of Turtle Creek Hill became a popular place to rest after the wearying journey and that Peter Perchment Jr, son of a Revolutionary War officer who had settled in the Forest Hills-Chalfant-Wilkins area, found it profitable to offer hospitality to the wagoners and coach passengers.

 

INN STILL STANDS

            In 1826 the younger Perchment built a large frame house which still stands along the Greensburg Pike near the Westinghouse Recreation Center and is known as the Morning Star Inn. For 50 years the Inn was operated by the Perchments. Later it became the home of Amanda Perchment Delaney and in 1937 her son, James DeLaney, reopened the home as a tavern. Although it is still owned by the DeLaneys it is now operated by Mrs. Lila Wagner Seese.

            The DeLaneys still prize the old ledgers and records which belonged to the Perchment Inn and the early guest books record some famous names. Many regiments of the Civil War marched along the Pike and rested at the Inn .

            Among interesting items listed are: Robert Graham, horse feed, 25˘; William Baldrege, Self, Wife and Horse, overnight $1; William McKinley, bed and breakfast,

37 ˝˘; Abraham Overholt, lemonade, 12 ˝˘; making a shirt, 37 ˝˘; frock 75˘. The records show that John Clark came to work at $60 per year in 1842 and Benjamin Smith worked for $72 per year.

 

SOLD WESTINGHOUSE SITE

            The faded brittle ledgers reveal that a William Black came to board at the tavern in June 1839 and that John Black became a boarder there on November 3, 1847. This same John Black, in about 1850, bought approximately 136 acres of ground from the Perchments for some $8,700 and later sold the acreage to the Westinghouse for $200,000.

 The farm lay in the East Pittsburgh-Brinton Station area and part of it is traversed by the Westinghouse Bridge . Later John Black’s son, George, settled with his family on the old Graham farm in the present Blackridge area, and his (George’s) daughter Miss Martha Graham Black still lives in the home her father built there in about 1880.

            On part of the Perchment farm located in what is now Forest Hills there was a picnic grove Fall Hollow, where school picnics and outings from all the nearby areas were held. One of its attractions was a beautiful waterfall, which was destroyed when Ardmore Boulevard was put through.

 IN MANY BATTLES

            Captain Peter Perchment, whose son built the Inn in 1826, was born in Bedford in 1749. He enlisted in the 13th Virginia Regiment of the Continental Army on January 1, 1777, for a term of three years and took part in the battles of Brandywine and Germantown . He was wounded in a battle with the Indians at what is now Coshocton , Ohio , on February 8, 1777(?) and was the first wounded man carried into Fort Pitt . Later he helped to survey Frankstown Road , for which he was paid in pounds and shillings, and his name appears on a petition to erect Allegheny County from Westmoreland, which was approved by an act of legislature on September 24, 1788.

            He became the father of two sons and 10 daughters and when he died in 1844 at the age of 95 he was buried in Beulah Cemetery . Peter Perchment Jr., who built the present Morning Star Inn, is also buried there with four members of his family who died in a black diphtheria epidemic in 1861.

   From the Pittsburgh Gazette, October 16, 1957