St. Clair Cemetery
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The Alexander Carnahan and James Watt Families


Alexander Carnahan (1789-1879) was the third son born to David and Agnes (McGahey) (born 1757) Carnahan. David, who was born in 1747 in County Antrim, Ireland, emigrated to America around 1770 and served as a private in the Revolutionary War, including the battle of Brandywine. In 1789, David and Agnes moved to Allegheny County from Carlisle, Pa., and purchased 400 acres from Isaac Seller-one of the first settlers in the area. Called "The Experiment," the farm was located three and a half miles from Pittsburgh in what is now Banksville/Green Tree. When David died, his three sons-William (a ruling elder at MLUPC and husband of Mary Brown), Joseph and Alexander-inherited 250 acres (the rest had been previously sold). The family's log cabin probably stood where Winchester Drive in Banksville is now located. There is no tombstone for David and Agnes, but David is listed as a MLUPC original trustee, so there is a good chance he and Agnes are buried here as well.

Alexander farmed his land, served in the War of 1812 under Captain Jeremiah Ferre, (he was later promoted to colonel), was a justice of the peace, a county commissioner for Lower St. Clair Township and served in the Pennsylvania Legislature. Alexander was a member of the MLUP Church for 70 years and chairman of the Session. In 1812, he married Nancy Smith (1793-1849) of Westmoreland County and they had several children, at least three of whom are buried in St. Clair Cemetery-Sarah A. (who died at age 21), William (1822-1896) and Agnes (see below). William's wife, Margaret McClure Bigham, whom he married Sept. 26, 1849, is also buried here.

After Nancy died in 1849, Alexander, at age 56, married Eliza Banks. Alexander laid out the Banksville area after the Civil War and local lore says he named the area "Banksville" in honor of his second wife's family; Carnahan Road memorializes Alexander's family.

In 1842, Alexander and Nancy's daughter Agnes (1815-1873) married James Watt (1814-1890). Agnes and James had several children, including Alex C. (who died at age 9), George C. (1853-1889) and "twin brothers" who died March 4 and 6, 1844. Buried near the Alexander Carnahan obelisk are more Watt children. One stone reads: "Infant sons of James and Agnes Watt, born March 4, 1845." Nearby is another Watt child, who died at age 3. While the name and death date are illegible, the inscription reads: "Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not for such is the Kingdom of Heaven."
Last modified: Wed, 31 August 2011 (01:13:45 PM)