Family Histories

Historic Collections

Family Histories

A community is nothing without the people who belong to it. The Upper St. Clair community dates back hundreds of years and several families have played an important role in the foundation of Upper St. Clair. Ancestors of these families are still residing in Upper St. Clair today and are sharing their histories.


Lesnett Family Gravestone photo courtesy of Historic Pittsburgh

In Scott Lesnett's book Nine Generations: The Family History of Thomas Dell Lesnett III 1752-2008, he tells the story starting with his father's ancestors arrival to the United States and their journey through various wars, the evolution of the United States, and tales of the struggles and acheivements that the Lesnett's experienced throughout nine generations. Click the link below to read the full description of the book and/or to purchase the book on Amazon. More information about the Lesnett family can be found here.

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Nathaniel Fife Farmhouse photo courtesy of Historic Pittsburgh

The Fife family's history dates back to 1721 with the birth of John Fife, often referred to as The Pioneer. According to historical records, John and his wife, Margaret, were the earliest settlers (ca. 1766) to the land that has evolved into Upper St. Clair Township today. Eventually joined by his brother, William, the Fife legacy became what it is today. To learn more about the Fife's, please visit the link below to Bob Fife's website to learn about his lineage which includes John Fife, The Pioneer and William T. Fife. Also, more information about William Fife and the landmark William T. Fife house can be found here. Additional information about the Fife family can be found here and here.

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Boyce/Boice Family Reunion (1990) photo courtesy of Historic Pittsburgh

There were several Boyces in the area including Richard Boyce, for whom Boyce Road was named after in 1871; Harry Boyce, Fred Boyce, and John Boyce, who was a school director in Upper St. Clair.  The Boyces owned a tract of land where the Frosty Valley Golf Club on Boyce Road is located today. Boyce Station, once a train station for railroad operations as well as a post office and general store, was restored in 1980 and placed on the national was placed on the National Register for Historic Places in 1982. It was named after the Boyce family because of it's location near Boyce Road. Some information about the Boyce family can be found here.

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Stockdale House on Orr Road photo courtesy of Historic Pittsburgh

William Orr came to America from Ireland in 1819. After a short time in Westmoreland County, William Orr settled in Upper St. Clair Township where he married and had several children. His son, also William Orr, was a well-known farmer and school director in Upper St. Clair. Follow the link below to learn more about both William Orrs.

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John Gilfillan (1826-1885) photo courtesy of Historic Pittsburgh

The Gilfillan Family has played a major role in the foundation of Upper St. Clair Township. Alexander Gilfillan was the first Gilfillan generation to settle in Upper St. Clair in 1787. His son, John Gilfillan, was a farmer but also served in both the State House of Representatives and State Senate. In total, the Gilfillan family owned and farmed over 550 acres. Over time, the farm was divided into smaller tracts of land and sold. The last 15 acres of farm land including the Gilfillan farmhouse, barns, and buildings were gifted to the Historical Society of Upper St. Clair for the purpose of educating future generations about farming and farm life in Pennsylvania. In addition to the link below, more information about the Gilfillans can be found here.

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Maude McMillen Caldwell photo courtesy of Historic Pittsburgh

Andrew McMillen, a native of Ireland, immigrated to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1790 with his family. Andrew owned a farm near what is known today as Lawrenceville. In addition to working his farm, Andrew was also a drover. Unfortunately he was killed after receiving a large sum of money for a herd of cattle that he sold at a nearby market. Andrew's children continued the McMillen legacy and became a staple in the Upper St. Clair community. To learn more, follow the link below.

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Group of People Posing on a Horse Drawn Carriage photo courtesy of Historic Pittsburgh

J. Henry Poellot was born in Germany and immigrated to Pittsburgh, PA in 1848. Just as he was in Germany, J. Henry was a wagonmaker, a skill he learned from his father. After several years, he moved to Upper St. Clair where he continued his trade before eventually establishing H. Poellot & Sons, a hardware company. He was highly respected and known to be a fair businessman in all his dealings. Learn more by clicking the link below.

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Bethel Cemetery

Bethel Cemetery (Upper Part) photo courtesy of Historic Pittsburgh

Bethel Cemetery is a historic site in Upper St. Clair, serving as a final resting place for USC community members dating back to 1780. The Bethel Cemetery was an important historic site for the Whiskey Rebellion, one of the first public protests against the American Government's enforcement of the "Whiskey Tax." Thanks to Ryan Booth, Eagle Scout for Boy Scout Troop 215 in Bethel Park, the link below provides an alphabatized list of most of the individuals who were laid to rest in the Bethel Cemetery. 

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PO Box 12681
Upper St. Clair, PA 15241
(412) 835-2050