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In Private Life

built, residence and ligonier


When St. Clair returned from Ohio he again settled in Ligonier Valley and near his residence, built Hermitage Furnace, hoping thus to recuperate his well nigh exhausted fortune. For a time he manufactured and castings, the former for Pittsburg market, when the iron industry of the city was in its infancy. A flouring mill which he had built on his estate before the Revolution and which he gave to his neighbors for their use during the war, was now in ruins and he rebuilt it. His residence, "Hermitage," was about a mile and a half north of Fort Ligonier, now Ligonier, and was probably built before 1799, for there is a well handed down tradition that Washington sent two expert carpenters, who came out on horseback from Mt. Vernon to do the finer work. The carpenter work was the admiration of the com mon people and is equal to the best on the old colonial houses. It was certainly done by skillful workmen who could scarcely have found employment on the frontier in that age.

In building it he looked forward to the time when he should put aside public duties and pass his remaining years in the ease and comfort earned by a busy life. The residence is all gone now save the parlor, torn down perhaps by the ruthless hand of an ignorant iconoclast who cared nothing for its hallowed memories. The quaintly devised woodwork, the mantle piece and wainscoating of the room remaining, doubt less saved it from destruction. It is now preserved because of its historic associations. Vying in stately simplicity of design and in rich interior with the woodwork of our best homes in modern times, it bids fair to hear down to corning generations one of the few splendid specimens of colonial architecture in Western Pennsylvania. Near by are the crumbling ruins of Hermitage Furnace.