Rugh Jr., the son of a German immigrant, came from old Northampton
County in eastern Pennsylvania across the Allegheny Mountains into the
western wilderness about 1772. He built his own cabin and grist mill on
wilderness within present-day Franklin Township near Murraysville.
His early land warrant of 302 acres was eventually recorded on 23 Aug 1784.
On 13 July 1782 he was with his wife Phoebe, their 2 children, and his
mother attending a celebration the day after a wedding. It was at a
location then known as "Miller's Blockhouse", the home of the Samuel Miller
The entire party was suddenly attacked by Indians, supposedly incited by
the British. Several were killed, including Michael's mother, Francina
Mrs. Miller was scalped and managed to survive only to wear a skull cap for
the rest of her life to hide her lack of hair.
On that same day another element of the same group of raiders attacked and
totally burned and destroyed the county capital town of Hannastown.
Fifteen persons at "Millers" were taken prisoner. Michael and his family
were among those captives.
All the prisoners were taken to the Indian camp near what is now "Oil City"
Pennsylvania where the survivors spent the winter. Michael's infant son
Michael and Phoebe were taken the following spring to Canada where they
were held as POWs by the British. Their daughter, Mary, remained behind
with the indians.
At war's end Michael & Phoebe were released, sent to New York City, and
thus were then able to make their way home.
According to a story related in 1881 by Mrs Hannah Rugh Rowe (aged 88 in
1881), the daughter, Mary, was eventually discovered with some Indians who
had come in to town to trade.
Her face and arms were stained to hide her real color, but she was
recognized. For the sum of ten dollars she was released.
Soon after his return from captivity Michael built and moved into a new
house on his property in Franklin Township.
When the new government was formed after the Revolution, he was elected to
the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in Philadelphia to represent
Upon the expiration of his term he returned to the farm in Franklin
Township, where he built a fine new home and where he continued to reside
until his death. This house became known as "Philadelphia Mansion" and
eventually "The Haymaker House" (having been inherited by Michael's
son-in-law, Jacob Haymaker). It still exists today on Bull Town Road midway
between Newlinsburg and Poke Run. The nearby Bull Town Golf course is
located on what was once Michael's land.