The Beltzhoover and McGiffin Family

Residence of Eliza (Long) Beltzhoover on Locust Avenue in Castle Shannon

Dr. Samuel P. Beltzhoover (1823-1890) is said to have been the first child born in the Overbrook area on the Mansfield-Elizabeth Road (now Library Road). The log house where he was born-called the “Old Provost Home”-was razed in 1929. Samuel’s father, Henry was born in 1776 to German emigrants Melchoir and Elizabeth (Schunk) Beltzhoover. The family originally settled in the Hagarstown, Maryland area. In the late 1700s, Henry and his seven brothers came to Western Pennsylvania. But when Indians proved too hostile, they left the area. Several years later, they returned, buying land in what is now the Dormont, Brookline, Mt. Lebanon, Castle Shannon and Baldwin Township area. In his son Alexander’s obituary, it says Samuel was the founder of Beltzhoover Borough; “The History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Vol. II” says Beltzhoover Borough is the name of “a prominent family in the vicinity.” Henry and his wife, Elizabeth Bell, had 11 children. Their daughter Nancy married Samuel Kennedy (brother of David on whose land the first MLEPC services were held). After Sam died, Nancy married Samuel Cooley. Henry and Elizabeth’s son Melchoir married Mary Hughey, granddaughter of Ephraim Hughey, p. 30; and son George W. married Elizabeth and had three children including May Emilia, who died at age 17; and Ida J., who married John F. McGiffin (1839-1904) on November 26, 1890. Ida and John’s son Ralph (1893-1960) married Ruth Chilson (1895-1932) about 1911.

Samuel married Eliza J. Long (1826-1902), a granddaughter of early settlers Alexander and Elizabeth Long, and the couple settled on Locust Avenue in Castle Shannon (just over the hill from Eliza’s cousin Martha Jane Martin, p. 13). Samuel and Eliza had several children including four who died young-Samuel Blackmore, 5; Matilda Long, 10; Ruben Harry, 21 (Matilda and Ruben died within three months of each other); and Mary Ellen, 19. Daughter Catherine Wilson lived to age 72. Samuel and Eliza’s son Alexander Long Beltzhoover (1848-1909), a Democrat, held office under Gov. Pattison and was connected with the Auditor General’s staff in Harrisburg. Upon Alexander’s death, The Hilltop Record reported he had been “extensively engaged as a dealer in stock and horses, dividing his time between the southern states and South America.” He died at his mother’s home in Castle Shannon at age 51.

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