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    The one constant that runs through our region's history is the Youghiogheny River.  This magnificent natural resource was what first attracted animals and then native Americans like the Delaware and the Kanhawhas into this region long before the Europeans arrived in North America.
    Our area was important for hunting and travel.  Several Indian trails, such as the Nemacolin and the Catawba, crossed through the area that is now Connellsville.  The heavily forested area was home to numerous species of fur bearing animals.  Once Europeans began moving into this region in the early 18th century, they found the potential for great wealth in fur trade.  Furs could be shipped back to Europe and sold for great profit.  The French, who first settled in Canada, had always been attracted by the furs and the network of rivers that made up the Ohio River system which included our Youghiogheny River.  Furs had to be transported to market, and rivers have always been nature's highways.  By the 1740s, French trappers had penetrated into our region.
    English long hunters and trappers and the Virginia based Ohio Company began to push across the Appalachian Mountains to explore, trap and to settle the Ohio Valley at approximately the same time.  One of the earliest pioneers in the Connellsville area was Christopher Gist, a surveyor for the Ohio Company.  He surveyed great areas around Connellsville and settled himself at what he called Mount Braddock, close to what is now the Joseph A. Hardy/Connellsville Airport along Route 119.
    Also the Stewart brothers from Virginia settled for a short period along the Youghiogheny and saw a chance to make some income by transporting travelers by flatboat across the Youghiogheny River.  Evidently, enough travelers headed to where this service was available that early maps of our region listed this river crossing as Stewart's Crossing (now Connellsville).  This crossing area is in the vicinity of today's Crawford's Cabin on the banks of the Youghiogheny River.



    England and France, being the two main European super powers in the 18th century, became rivals for control of North America, particularly the Ohio River Valley due to its valuable fur trade and natural network of river transportation.
    The rivalry became the basis of the War for Empire known as the Seven Years War in Europe and the French and Indian War in America.  This war lasted from 1754 to 1763 in America.  This early world war began in our area at Jumonville where young Colonel George Washington, commanding Virginia troops along with Half King and his Indians, attacked a French scouting party in late May, 1754.  These were the opening shots of the French and Indian War.
    Other outstanding natural resources in the Connellsville area were the oak trees, iron ore and later coal that lay the foundation for an early iron and steel industry.  Early settlers went into the boat and barge construction business in the late 1700s as more people moved west.  People headed toward the Youghiogheny River at Stewart's Crossing, after crossing the Allegheny Mountains, to continue their westward travel by water.  Products such as skillets, tea kettles and spoons manufactured in the Connellsville area were shipped down the Youghiogheny to the Monongahela and then to the Ohio.  Some of these Connellsville goods eventually made the trip all the way to the Mississippi reaching New Orleans.  The Youghiogheny was our early artery that connected Connellsville industrialists with the outside world where we had the opportunity to share our area's wealth with the rest of the United States.
    This excellent location along the Youghiogheny River attracted Zachariah Connell, one of the earliest settlers to this region.  He was born in Virginia in 1741, and came to Fayette County after 1770.  Connell was employed as a surveyor and land agent for several people including Governor Robert Dinwiddie of Virginia.  He was known as an able and highly respected judge of land.  Seeing this area as a natural stopping place for travelers who wanted to build rafts and float them down the river, Connell surveyed a tract od land on the east bank of the Youghiogheny for himself containing 147 acres which he called "Mud Island."  He also surveyed a new town composed of 180 quarteracre lots, and secured a charter for the borough of Connellsville on March 21, 1793.  The new town was named in honor of Zachariah Connell.  The Bill for the Incorporation of Connellsville became law by The Act of Assembly passed March 1, 1806.  The founder of Connellsville died in 1813, and is buried on a hill overlooking East Francis Avenue.
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217 West Patterson Avenue
Connellsville, PA 15425

Phone: (724) 628-5344 (K. Hechler)

Phone: ‭(724) 603-3691‬ (S. Lewis)


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THE History Of Connellsville Streetcars

Historical Society Member Ed Demuth will host a history of Connellsville street cars. 
at the Connellsville Canteen Monday April 29th from 5:30pm-7pm
Reservations are $10 per person
RSVP 724-603-2093
Only 50 Spots Available!

The Unexpected Life of Sareh B. Cochran      SOLD OUT

Friday June 28th @5:30pm-9:00pm

Our Most recent addition to the Crossing weekend is a Dinner-Lecture calling attention to a local historical event or person held Friday evening before the week-end event at Crawford’s Cabin site.

This event will require a reservation.
Amount is $35/ per person
DINNER is Included

This year, 2024, will be the third Dinner-Lecture bringing an acknowledged historian to Connellsville as the kick-off event of the annual Braddock’s Crossing week-end.
This year the speaker will be Kimberly Hess, author of A LESSER MORTAL:
Ms. Hess (Author) will share stories of this amazing woman, Sarah B. Cochran, and her great influence on local history


June 29th-30th, 2024


●The actual Crossing of the Yough will be held each day @ 1pm (Depending on the condition of the Youghiogheny.)

●(If the river is too high, swift and muddy, we will not attempt to cross.)

●We Will Have A Crossing (Weather Permitting) (More Details To Come)

Saturday June 29th:

Sunday June 30th

●Our Guests This Year:
-Tri Town Historical Society
-Redstone Rangers
-Valerie Skinner

-Shawn Baird (Rifleman)
-Julie Rossington
-The Homestead Bath House
-Stone Forge & Tissage
-Dunbar Historical Society

●Refreshments are available on site both days. The Historical Society has historical items for sale. Come to the River Crossing and support the Connellsville Area Historical Society.

Sign the Guest Book

Name: Ken & Linda Parkany
Date: 04/05/2011
Message: Thank you for preserving your city's history. Will have to visit personally as we're doing genealogy on Linda's family. 1900 census found her grandmother living there, age 3, one of ten kids and father employed as a 'day laborer'. We have many questions needing answered.

Name: colette secrest
Date: 10/16/2010
Message: hello. my name is colette secrest and i would like to join your mailing list because i love history and such. thank you.

Name: Lcpl Sherwood J.R
Date: 09/13/2009
Message: I grew up in connnellsville. Spent 20 years of my life there. While i was there i must admit i thought i hated it. But once i got out and have had a chance to see the world i realize we have a very special little city. There is nothing like it i've been too. I do miss it dearly but im sure im partial do to the fact that i grew up there. It's nice to get a little more history of our city. It would be nice if they would go more indepth in CAHS on the history of Connellsville. Can't wait to move back and maybe see some more history made.... Semper Fi

Name: Victoria Riste-Dillon
Date: 08/21/2009
Message: Iam the gggranddaughter of Catherine Freed Garver on one side and John and Sarah Sherrick Rist on the other. I would love to hear from anyone that knows the lines. I would like to find John Rist's dad who we think was John Rist married to Christina Strickler. Could have been married before. Thanks, Vikki

Name: Diana Mansberry
Date: 07/14/2009
Message: Just looking around to see Family History

Name: rhonda laughlin
Date: 07/02/2009
Message: looking for registration form for 5k

Name: Michael Quinn
Date: 03/06/2009
Message: Very impressive site. I grew up in Connellsville (West Side) but have lived here in Northern Virginia for 30+ years. Enjoyed the site.

Name: George John Prinkey
Date: 02/21/2009
Message: I am looking for information on the Prinkey family who are from Connellsville. Particularly George W. Prinkey who was living there in 1910 with his wife Loretta. In 1910 he was living under the name of Means.

Date: 10/17/2008
Message: I am a descendant of swain family. old cyrus swain farm, etc. will share info with anyone searching that name there or Mt. Pleasant

Name: Nancy Soisson-Glista
Date: 10/07/2008
Message: Looking for any history of the Wm. R. Soisson family line. I'd love to hear from lost cousins that knew my grandfather. He died in 1974 and I only remember meeting him one time.