John Gilfillan (1826-1885) was the son of John and the grandson of Alexander who settled the 400 acres in Upper St. Clair in the 1770’s.
John married Eleanor Ewing in 1849 and purchased Adam Paterson’s land grant property of 135 acres of land. They lived in the log house of the Patterson’s located at the corner of Ft. Couch and Washington Road until the house was built in 1855-1857. The lumber was cut from this property and the bricks were hand-molded and fired on site. The window glass was hand-rolled locally. An addition was added when indoor plumbing became available in 1900. It appears that gas was available on the property.
The spring house is the only structure remaining from the Patterson Farm.
John and Eleanor Gilfillan had 5 children: Margaret, Loretta, Jane Lyle (who dies at 3 years), Alexander and Eleanor. Margaret and Eleanor never married and lived their entire lives in the farmhouse. Loretta married Robert Fraser, an attorney. Alexander married Annie Martha Boyd in 1897 and they built a house at 123 Orr Road.
Alexander and Annie had 3 children, John, Margaret and Alexander. When Annie died of pneumonia in 1903, Alexander moved with his 3 children to the farmhouse with the 2 maiden aunts who cared for the children.
John and Alexander followed in the footsteps of their father and grandfather, becoming attorneys. Margaret graduate from Chatham (then Pennsylvania College for Women) and remained at home to care for her brothers after the deaths of their aunts. None of them married.
Margaret, the last survivor, passed away in May 2001 at 100 years of age. She left 15 acres, the house and the farm building to the Historical Society of Upper St. Clair.
In 2015 HSUSC completed the Gilfillan Farm Master Plan with local experts to understand and plan for the long-term needs to preserve and restore the Gilfillan Farm. Updates are planned for 2020.
For more information about the Master Plan, click here.