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How Ginger Hill Got Its Name

     Ginger Hill, a small village on the Washington and Williamsport pike* in southwestern Nottingham Twp on the Carol Line, has enjoyed a local habitation and name ever since the Whiskey Insurrection.  On the night of November 14, 1794, Robert Johnson, excise collector for Washington and Allegheny Counties, seized the still of Squire David Hamilton, who lived in site of the Ginger Hill Chapel.

            The squire was a shrewd Scotchman and pretended to be in no way excited over the action of the Government Officials. It was a dark and disagreeable night and the roads to Parkinson's Ferry (now Monongahela) being none the smoothest the officers were prevailed upon to remain under the hospitable roof of Hamilton.  Around the glowing logs of the backwoods fire, Hamilton and his guests discussed the excise law, the conversation being enlivened by the off-repeated draughts from "Black Betty" which had previously been "doctored" by Hamilton with a quantity of Jamaica ginger.  One by one, the officers dropped from their chairs in the deep sleep of intoxication.  Hamilton speedily gathered his neighbors and taking the still and whiskey carried them many miles across the country to a place of safety.  This action which now would be a serious matter was then regarded as a joke, and the place became known as "Ginger Hill."

            *The Washington & Williamsport Pike, also called The Old Glades Road, is now Route 136.  The story of the Hamiltons of Ginger Hill is depicted in Jean Fritz's children's book "The Cabin Faced West."

Edited: 08-05-2022 10:16:03