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Thomas Liggett - Biography

Born 1779
Extracted, Transcribed & Submitted by Susan Thomas

THOMAS LIGGETT was born in County Tyrone, Ireland, Jan. 17, 1779, one of a family of two boys and four girls. The family immigrated to America in 1791, and settled in Carlisle, Pa., where the father died one year later. Thomas was then apprenticed to learn the carpenter's trade, which he mastered, and in 1802 moved to Pittsburgh, where he began building operations. Aug. 31, 1809 he married Elizabeth McPherson[person by same name mentioned in bio for Rachel Jones], and to them were born eight children: James, Thomas, William G., Sarah, John and Joseph (twins), James and Joseph. The first James and both Josephs died in childhood; Thomas practiced law at the Allegheny county bar, and died Nov. 8, 1851, aged thirty-nine years; William G. died at Pensacola, Fla., Jan. 4, 1837, aged twenty-one; James the second died June 4, 1848, aged twenty-five years, leaving as survivors John and Sarah, who are still residents of Pittsburgh.

Thomas Liggett continued actively in the contracting business for many years. In the meantime, having faith in the future of Pittsburgh, he invested his savings in realty most of which yet remains in the family, notably the block on Smithfield street from Fifth avenue to Diamond alley, partly occupied by the Kaufmann building. This Thomas Liggett bought in 1827, from Alexander Miller and John Thaw for $3,800, being about $15 per foot front, and afterward used as a lumber-yard. In 1836 he bought of Joseph McFarland twenty acres in Wilkins township (now Twentieth ward of Pittsburgh). He called the place "Springwood," built a country residence and moved there in 1839. The old homestead is still occupied by John Liggett, having been his home for fifty years. Thomas Liggett served as prothonotary of this county, and died at Springwood, Dec. 15, 1854, aged seventy five years. His wife survived him (living with John at the old homestead) until Nov. 10, 1861. The only then surviving members of the family were Sarah and John. The former is the wife of L. P. Hitchcock, and she is now living on Fayette street, Allegheny.

John Liggett married, June 7, 1853, Frances B., daughter of John Kelly, for many years the most prominent mathematician and schoolteacher of the county. (See sketch of R. H. Kelly.) Mr. and Mrs. Liggett took up their residence at Springwood, where they still live. Owing to an infirmity in his hearing, he has never engaged in active business. To them were born six sons and two daughters, two of whom—one son and one daughter—died in infancy, and all the rest, save one, reside with their parents. Their names are Elizabeth, Thomas (who has been prominently identified with the real-estate business of Pittsburgh for the last ten years, married to Anna G. Say, of Oil City, Pa., and with their three children, Thomas, Lawrence S. and Dorothy F., are living within a short distance of the old homestead), John Jr., and Frank R. (associated with Thomas in the real-estate business), Augustus G. (fitting himself to become an architect) and William G. (attending Shadyside Academy in preparation for a collegiate course).


Cushing, Thomas, Dr. (1975) 'Thomas Liggett'. A Genealogical and Biographical History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. p. 272.