From: “A Genealogy of the Descendants of James Steele and his Wife Mary” by Donley M. Steele, 1919.
JAMES STEELE. SR.
Head of Family No. 1.
Our earliest paternal ancestor of whom we have any record, was one James Steel. He was born in Ireland of Scotch-Irish parents.
Family tradition says that James came to America when he was about 18 years of age. He came as a stowaway and encountered great hardships on account of the ship being disabled by storms and drifting far out of her course, the voyage consuming about three months.
There are traditions and some indications that James was accompanied to America by two brothers, named respectively, John and Thomas, but we have been unable to find the necessary data to prove such fact.
Soon after landing in America, James was bound out to a hat maker in Philadelphia, Pa., where he learned the hatter’s trade and later opened up a hat shop of his own in Pittsburgh, Pa.
His next move was up the Monongahela River to the town of Brownsville and it was there that he met and married a widow named Mary Peterson.
It seems that Mary (Peterson) Steele owned a farm about two miles out of Brownsville, where she and James lived with her parents. James conducting a hat shop in Brownsville while living on the farm.
We find no data of the facts but it is supposed that James Steel’s three sons were born on that farm near Brownsville, Pa.
About the year 1788, the family moved up the Monongahela River and settled in what is now known as Clinton Dist., Monongalia Co., W. Va.
They built their pioneer cabin beside a good spring, near Booths Creek, about seven miles above Morgantown. The old log cabin has been gone for many years but title to the land has not passed from Steele descendants.
The tax lists of Monongalia Co. show that James Steel acquired by patent and purchase, 185 acres of land in Clinton Dist. and paid taxes on that amount in 1790. He continued to pay the same taxes until 1805 when he began to take up more land in the same locality and in the year 1806 he was taxed on 493 acres.
Records show that Mary (Peterson) Steel was born in 1737 and died Nov. 13th, 1829, at the age of 92 years. James was born in 1732 and died Nov. 2nd, 1840, at the advanced age of 108 years. Upon reaching the age of 81 years he quit having birthdays and claimed 81 as his age during the remainder of his life, and the “Age 81 Years” engraved on his monument humors his desire in that respect.
James Steel was a pioneer of good and sturdy stock; generous hearted, resourceful, indomitably courageous and optimistic.
The mortal remains of James and his good wife Mary are buried in Pisgah Churchyard, Clinton Dist., Monongalia Co., W. Va.
FAMILY NO. 1.
Children of James and Mary (Peterson) Steel.
John. Born Feb. 19th, 1766, near Brownsville, Pa.
Married Margaret Robinson, July 7th, 1796, in Monongalia Co., (W.) Va.
Died July 10th, 1821. Buried at Pisgah Church, Monongalia Co.
See Family No. 2.
James, Born Jan. 3rd, 1769, near Brownsville, Pa.
Married Elizabeth Stevens, June 12th, 1807, in Monongalia Co.
Died Sept. 7th, 1829. Buried at Pisgah Church, Monongalia Co.
See Family No. 3.
Thomas, Born June 11th, 1771, near Brownsville, Pa.
Married Eleanor Thorn, March 21st, 1801, in Monongalia Co. (W.) Va.
Died Sept. 20th, 1848. Buried at Pisgah Church, Monongalia Co.
See Family No. 4.