First Land Grants

Regardless of whether the Indians had a permanent settlement in Johnstown, it was still considered “Indian Country” in 1769 when Charles Campbell of Westmoreland County became the first owner of the land on which the town was founded.

The Campbell tract generally included that land which now makes up the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Wards. Its boundaries described an irregular triangle, with its apex just downstream from the point where the Stonycreek and Little Conemaugh Rivers meet. All the downtown area below the Haynes Street Bridge was included.

On April 7, 1769--four days after the Campbell application-- a second warrant was taken out. This made James Dougherty owner of the Cambria City section.

Original warrants for other tracts that now make up the city went to Thomas Afflick in 1788 (Minersville), Benedict Dorsey in 1776 (Woodvale) James Flack in 1797 (old Conemaugh Borough), Jacob Stutzman and Robert Adams in 1795 (Kernville), Martin Riley in 1787 (Osborne Section) and Peter Snyder in 1776 (Hornerstown).

These men were not necessarily settlers or developers, but they were the first landowners. Most tracts changed hands several times before actual development was begun.


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