Subject: [ALL] Why no Lairds in Laird Cemetery?
Date: Mon, 25 Sep 2000 13:47:33 EDT
A while back I had posted concerns that there are no Lairds in Laird
Cemetery. It seemed to me that they should be there, he pastored the
Church for thirty years and it, as well as the cemetery, are named for
Francis Laird. I have found out why. After leaving Plum Creek, Francis
Laird moved to Murrysville where he pastored another Presbyterian
congregation for 19 years.
Here is the story for all that are interested, it is taken from "Historic
Pittsburgh" site; Sept., 2000
Author: Walkinshaw, Lewis Clark.
Title: Annals of southwestern Pennsylvania, by Lewis Clark Walkinshaw ...
Imprint: New York : Lewis historical publishing company, inc., [c1939].
Physical Extent: 4 v., fronts. : ill., ports. 28 cm.
JUDGE RICHARD DRUM LAIRD-In his forty years of activity at the
Westmoreland County bar, Judge Richard Drum Laird has risen to prominence
both In his profession and in public life. He is now serving his first
elective term on the bench of the Tenth Judicial District of Pennsylvania.
Judge Laird was born in Greensburg on June 30, 1872,a son of Francis Van
Buren Laird and Hetty Drum (Welty) Laird, both members of old Westworeland
County families. In the direct paternal line his first American ancestor
was John Laird, an Ulsterite from County Donegal, Ireland. He lived at Marsh
Creek, in York County (afterward Adams County), Pennsylvania, where he had
a farm After his death in 1766. his son William Laird, took charge of the
farm with his wife residing an the old homestead from 1768 onward. Their son,
Francis Laird. became a prominent Presbyterian divine In Western
Pennsylvania and the founder of Laird Institute at Murraysville. He was
born in 1768, was graduated from Dickinson College in 1794, and after a
three-year course in theology was licensed to preach by the Donagal
Presbytery. At that time he came west to serve the Poke Run and Plum
Creek churches as pastor, taking up his ministery on October 22, 1800 and
continuing for thirty-one years.
Later, he was for nineteen years minister of the Presbyterian Church in
Murraysville, and was buried in tht old churchyard there following his
death on April 6, 1854. The Rev. Francis Laird was the great-grandfather of
Judge Richard Drum Laird. He married Mary Moore and through this connection
Judge Laird enjoys the distinction of descent from one of the early president
judges of the courts of Wesmoreland County. Mary Moore was the daughter
of John Moore, who first held court in the old log structure at Hannastown,
and later in the first court house in Greensburg erected during the year 1786
and first used at the January term, 1787. He built a stone house on a small
branch off Crabtree Run and was a prominent member of the old Congruity
Presbyterian congregation. Judge Moore was a son of William Moore, was
born in 1738 and died in 1811. He was buried in Congruity Cemetery.
During the Revolutionary War, he was a Frontier Ranger in the company of
Captain Jeremiah Lochry. He married a daughter of Isaac Parr, a pioneer
neighbor of the Dennistans at New Alexandria, Of Judge Moore's own daughters,
one married John M. Snowden, a Pittsburgh editor; another, Major John
Kirkpatrick, who was Greenburg's second postmaster in 1793; and a third,
the Rev. Francis Laird.
Francis and Mary (Moore) Laird were the parents of nine children, eight of
whom lived to reach maturity John Moore, of whom further; William. Robert,
Francis, Harrison P., Jane, Eliza, and Mary.
John Moore Laird, grandfather of Judge Laird was born near Sardis in 1802
and died on January 25,1887. As a youth he served an apprenticeship in
the newspaper field under his uncle, John M. Snowden, and subsequently became
editor of a paper at Steubenville, Ohio. Afterward he settled at
Congruity, where he operated a general store on the Northern Turnpike, and
some years later moved to Murrysville, where he was engaged In a similar
business. In Murrysville he also purchased the celebrated "Pennsylvania
Argus," a weekly newspaper widely circulated in Westmorland County, which
he edited with his two sons, Major James M. Laird and Francis Van Buren
Laird. A Jeffersonian Democrat, he exercised vigorous and wholesome influence
in the public life of Westmoreland County through the columns of his paper,
adopting a strong policy which was continued after his death by his sons,
John Moore Laird married (first) at Steubenville, Ohio, Ellen May Mortan,
who died not long afterward, leaving one child, a daughter, who was raised
by Rev. Francis Laird and who later married George W. Hankey. John Moore
Laird married (second) at Congruity, Rebecca Moore daughter of James Moore,
but no relation to Judge Moore.
Francis Van Buren Laird, father of Judge Laird, was born at Murraysville,
Westmoreland County, on December 30, 1840. As a young man he entered his
father's printing office and while he was still in his twenties, took
charge of "The Huntingdon Monitor:" published at Huntington. Pennsylvania.
When his eye sight began to fail, however, he was obliged to relinquish his
connection and for some time was employed as a member of the engineering
corps on the old Panhandle West Penn and Baltimore and Ohio railroad.
Later he returned to his father's newspaper and served as business manager
until his death. In his earlier years he was for a time deputy United States
Martial and in later life served as a member and president of the
Greensburg Borough Council.
He was always influential in the civic affairs of his community and
frequently his support was a decisive factor in the success of those measures
designed to advance the cause of civic progress. Francis Van Buren Laird
married, on April 18, 1871, Hetty Drum Welty. daughter of Daniel and Mary
Ann Drum Welty.
Her father merchant, and from 1866 to 1869 served as postmaster of
Greensburg. Her mother was a granddaughter os Simon Drum Greensburg's
first innkeeper, whose hotel was located at the southwest corner of West
Pittsburgh and Main streets. A grandson of Simon Drum, General Richard C.
Drum, served in the Mexican War and later became adjuntant-general of The
United States Army.
Judge Richard Drum Laird named for his great uncle, General Drum, spent his
entire boyhood in Greensburg, attending the local public schools, and after
his graduation fron high school in 1891, he entered Grove City College.
From this institution he was graduated in the class of 1894. Judge Laird
studied law in the office of his uncle, Senator Harrison Perry Laird, who was
associated in the fim of Laird and Keenan with Captain John B. Keenan. Both
were eminent practitioners in their day. Under their expert guidance, Judge
Laird qualified for the bar and was duly admitted to practice in 1898.
Meanwhile, through a natural interest arising from the military tradition
of the family, he enlisted as a private in Company 1, 10th Regiment National
Guard, of Pennsylvania, an organization with a very distinguished military
history, and later to become 10th Regiment Pennsylvania Volenteer Infantry
in the Spanish American War. His uncle Major James Moore Laird, was its head
for more than twenty years, He was not permitted to take the company to the
Philippines during the Spanish American War but Judge Laird, then first
lieutmant of company 1, accompanied his regiment across the Pacific and
upon his return to the United States with his command, planned to enter the
regular army as first lieutenant. This commission had tendred him, but at
the request of his parents he declined the honor and began the practice of
Judge Laird quickly established his reputation at the bar and saw his
practice grow steadily with passing years. He became an authority on
banking and corporation law which, together with municipal law, constituted
his prinapal field of practice. In these branches of law he was very
Judge Laird served for twenty years as solicitor for Greensburg and other
boroughs in the county. He was also for a considerable period a member of
the Greensburg School Board In 1933 he entered the sphere of public
service more actively, standing for election as district attorney.
Successful at the polls, he took office for a four-year term and met his
responsibilities with such distinction that he was marked for advancement.
Upon the death of Hon. Charles D. Copeland, late president judge of the
Tenth Judicial District of Pennsylvania, Governor George H. Earle designated
Judge Laird to fill the vacancy untill the next regular election. A few
months later in 1937, he was elected for the full term. He was accorded
the unusual tribute of nomination by both Democratic and Republian parties
and recieved the largest vote ever cast for a judicial candidate in
Westmoreland County. This evidence of high esteem and personal regard in
which he was held by the people of the county was a natural consequence of
his standing at the bar, his exemplary citizenship and the value placed
upon his intellectual attainments and public spirit. It has been
abundantly justified by his faithful administration of his judicial duties.
An administration marked by impartial fairness a full
consideration of the public interest and broad legal scholarship. Judge
Laird continues on the bench, subordinating all other connections to the
responsibilities of his office.
On November 15, 1904, Judge Richard Drum Laird married (first) Clara
Dalbey, of Greensburg, who died on May 18, 1922. They were the parents of
four children; 1. Rachel Dalbey, 2. Richard Drum, Jr. 3. Emily Drum, who
married Nevin A Court Jr. 4. John Keenan. On June 6, 1936, Judge Laird
married (second) Martha Elizabeth Ericson, of Greensburg.
John L. Snowden
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