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 • Chartiers Hill Cemetery
 • Canonsburg
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Rev John McMillan
You are taking a random walk through our online cemetery.
Birth: Nov. 11, 1752
Faggs Manor
Chester County
Pennsylvania, USA
Death: Nov. 16, 1833
Washington County
Pennsylvania, USA

This is my 5th Great-Grandfather. Everyone in my mother's family has little commemorative plates of a log cabin hanging on their wall, but I never knew the whole story until now...

The Reverend John McMillan is hailed as "The Apostle of the West" because of his efforts to bring Presbyterianism to the western frontier before and after the Revolutionary War. He was known for his endurance, booming voice and dominating will.

The Rev. John McMillan DD was born in Fang's Manor, Chester County, Pennsylvania, 11 November, 1752; died in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, 16 November, 1833.

After graduation at Princeton in 1772 he studied theology, was licensed to preach in 1774, and performed missionary service in Maryland, western Virginia, and western Pennsylvania.

On the fourth Sabbath of August 1775, the Rev. John McMillan, later to be known as "The Apostle of Presbyterianism in the West," preached to a gathering of neighbors at the home of John McDowell, not far from the site of the present Chartiers Hill church building. On that day the roots of the "Hill" Church began to grow.

In 1775 he organized the churches of Pigeon Creek and Chartiers, Pennsylvania, over which he was ordained in 1776.
Dr. McMillan was called as pastor by the congregations of Chartiers and Pigeon Creek in 1776. He served these two churches for 19 years.

Sixteen ministers have served as pastors at the church up to modern times (the church is still an active church!). Aside from Rev. McMillan, one other pastor is of historical note. Rev. Joseph R. Wilson, father of President Woodrow Wilson, ministered from 1849 until 1851.

He married Catherine Brown on May 6, 1776. Together they had 7 children;
Jane McMillan Harper, William McMillan,Margaret McMillan,
Mary McMillan Weaver, Catherine McMillan,
John McMillan Jr.,
and Samuel McMillan.

Many of whom went on to marry preachers or be preachers themselves.

He endured many hardships, owing to troubles with the Indians on the frontier during the Revolutionary war, and lived in a log-house in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, which he partly built.

He founded there in the log cabin a classical school in 1785, it developed into Canonsburg academy in 1790 the forerunner of Jefferson College. From this institution he received the degree of S. T. D. in 1805.

McMillan's school is the Log Cabin preserved by the Fraternity in Canonsburg. Revered as a symbol of the town and the College, the cabin is found on the Canonsburg city seal. It is also used to back up Washington and Jefferson College's disputed claim to "first institution of higher learning west of the Allegheny Mountains."

From the old log cabin may be traced the foundation, not only of Jefferson College (subsequently merged with Washington College and moved to Washington, Pennsylvania), but of the Western Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh and Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.

For eleven years the structure was a classical and a theological school, according to Historian William F. Chamberlin (Denison 1893) in Tomos Alpha of The History of Phi Gamma Delta. Within the walls of log and mortar, with greased paper for the panes of its two small windows, and with rough boards for benches, more than 200 students were educated for the Christian ministry.

The cabin stood on the McMillan farm until 1895, when the late William F. Brown, D.D., obtained possession of it and moved it to the campus of Jefferson.

McMillan also founded several congregations in Washington County, Pennsylvania, including Chartiers Church. McMillan died in 1833 at eighty-two years of age, having preached here for over fifty years. Find his grave by the back corner of the church next to his wife.

The current church building was built in 1841, and remodeled in 1908 with additions in 1912.

The site of his homestead, the original location of the Log Cabin, is about three miles away. Inside the church you will find a door from the homestead, a portrait of McMillan, and a photograph of his former house.

Grave Location: Chartiers Hill United Presbyterian Church
2230 Washington Road,
at the 539 Cloverleaf on Route 19

the log cabin & church may be viewed in the picture area on this memorial.

 (bio by: Blue Rose Of Cairo) 
Family links: 
  Catherine Brown McMillan (1749 - 1819)*
  Jane McMillan Harper (1777 - 1857)*
  William McMillan (1779 - 1850)*
  Margaret McMillan Watson Neill (1781 - 1853)*
  Mary McMillan Weaver (1783 - 1839)*
  Catharine McMillan Allen (1785 - 1857)*
  John McMillan (1787 - 1854)*
  Samuel McMillan (1789 - 1826)*
*Calculated relationship



An able Divine,

A Preacher of the first order.

His distinguished talents,

His active benevolence,

His private virtues,

His exalted piety,

The skill & ability which he displayed

In instructing & training young men

For the gospel ministry;

His indefatigable Zeal

In promoting his masters cause

And the best interests of his fellow man

Have raised a monument to his fame

Far more imperishable

Than the stone

Which bears this inscription.

He was the leading Founder

Of Jefferson College.

The Chartiers Presbyn Congregation

In which he laboured

For more than half a century

Owes its origin

To the blessing of God

On his instrumentality.

He died Nov. 16th A.D. 1833

Enjoying the unclouded hope

Of blissful eternity,

In the 82nd year of his Age

And the 60th year of his Ministry

Chartiers Hill Cemetery
Washington County
Pennsylvania, USA
Created by: Blue Rose Of Cairo
Record added: May 01, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 10902669
Rev John McMillan
Added by: Flinsbach
Rev John McMillan
Added by: Blue Rose Of Cairo
Rev John McMillan
Added by: Blue Rose Of Cairo
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God bless you throughout the Summer, the season of life at its fullest. Rest in Peace.
- Rick
 Added: Jul. 10, 2017

 Added: Jun. 8, 2017
"And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they went in, and found not the body of Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And they were afraid, and bow...(Read more)
- Rick
 Added: Apr. 16, 2017
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