Whiskey Rebellion Facts & Interesting
The following are some research notes, compiled by Richard R. Gideon
Alexander Addison: Born in Scotland, 1759; graduated from Aberdeen University; came to Washington Co. in 1785; took up law under David Redick; eloquent speaker; State’s rights man turned Federalist; 1791 became a judge; strictly enforced the laws; after Whiskey Rebellion got into trouble for rebuking a fellow judge during a trial; was impeached and removed from office; went into private practice in Pittsburgh; opposed excise law but felt obligated to prosecute offenders.
Benjamin Franklin Bache, Grandson of Ben Franklin; editor of the "Philadelphia Aurora" newspaper; one of the minority Easterners that opposed the Whiskey Excise tax; Anti-Federalist; took great delight in pointing out the inconsistencies of the newly established Federal government: "All governments are more or less combinations against the people..and as rulers have no more virtue than the ruled…the power of the government can only be kept within its constituted limits by the display of a power equal to itself, the collected sentiment of the people."
Hugh Henry Brackenridge: Born 1748 in Scotland; emigrated with family when 5 year old; educated at Princeton; prolific writer and satirist, the author of "Modern Chivalry"; supported Federal Constitution; opposed the Whiskey Excise tax; was a moderating influence during the rebellion; believed in the "Law of Solon" – that all must choose sides and none may remain neutral, if only to be moderating influences; perhaps one of the most important, but least appreciated, characters of the infant United States, and arguably the person most responsible for preventing a Civil War in 1794; became Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice.
David Bradford: "Leader" of the Whiskey Rebels; most popular lawyer in Washington, PA; born in Maryland in 1760; owned best house in Washington; deputy attorney general for Washington County; elected to state legislature in 1792; had the good will of both the professional class and the people; was said to be lacking in stability and common sense.
Isaac Craig: Married John Neville’s daughter; Born in Ireland; carpenter; First Lieutenant of Marines; served with Commodore Hopkins aboard the commerce raider "Andrew Dorea" (famous for the yellow "Don’t Tread On Me" flag) when it captured the Governor and Vice- Governor of the Bahamas; was quarter-master for Ft. Pitt; formed a mercantile partnership and engaged in salt manufacturing, saw milling and Whiskey production.
William Findley: Born in Ireland; Captain in the Revolutionary war; weaver by trade; without formal education, but read omnivorously; opposed the Whiskey Excise tax; served in the state assembly or US congress most of his life; was a moderating influence during the Whiskey Rebellion; was the basis for "Traddle the Weaver" in Brackenridge’s "Modern Chilvary."
Albert Gallatin: Born Geneva Switzerland of aristocratic parents and received an aristocrat’s education; was influenced by contact with Jean-Jacque Rousseau; became a liberal; came to America in 1780 and joined the Revolution; bought land in W. Pa; set up a glass factory in New Geneva in Fayette Co.; called home Friendship Hill; supported Jefferson; opposed federalist constitution; was elected US Senator but removed on a technicality; was a whiz at finance; became secretary of treasury under Jefferson; considered his moderating role in the Whiskey Rebellion to be his "only political sin"; described as courageous, industrious and honest.
Abraham Kirkpatrick: Husband of John Neville’s sister-in-law; speculator and money lender; rich; Revolutionary war Major; loved to argue; would change sides if the argument was favoring him.
Dr. John McMillan: Presbyterian minister; born 1752; Princeton graduate; established a log college in 1780, superseded by Cannonsburg Academy in 1794; fearless; leader of Presbyterians; federalist; publicly censured General Morgan and wife for coming to church in a carriage; would not give communion to rebels; Famous quote: "you must watch as well as pray."
John Nevill(e): Born 1731 in Virginia, friend of George Washington; soldier with Braddock’s expedition to Pittsburgh; moved to Chartiers Valley in 1775; occupied Ft. Pitt in 1775; with Washington at Yorktown; held 10,000 acres of land; despite being a Federalist was generally popular (prior to 1794) and generous to the poor, although somewhat of a snob; best house in the county, called "Bower Hill."
Presley Nevill(e): Born 1756, graduate of University of Pennsylvania; Called country home Woodville; Revolutionary War veteran; wife daughter of Gen. Daniel Morgan; good natured; generous; easy going; submissive to family interests; lazy
David Redick: Irishman, surveyed and planned Washington, PA; Revolutionary War veteran; read law and was admitted to the bar in 1782; member of constitutional convention of 1790; Washington Co. Prothonotary and clerk of courts during the Whiskey rebellion
James Ross: Lawyer; born in 1762 in York county, PA; Princeton; brilliant intellect; George Washington’s business agent; federalist; U.S. Senator; married into the Woods family of Pittsburgh
John Woods: Neville attorney; hated Brackenridge