The Ormsby Family
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15203
A Series of South Side History
By Ed Vidunas and
June 20, 2020

This is a mini-genealogy of the Ormsby family gives a frame of reference to their place in history. John Ormsby was the person who acquired the land along the Monongahela River and well up the hillside, or the Slopes as they referred to today. Not only was he given land, he purchased land as well as selling it. He fought with the British during the French and Indian War and the Colonial army during the American Revolution. It was his service to the Crown that granted him land that we now call the South Side. But it was his children who developed the communities that we live in today.

Oliver and Deborah (Barry) Ormsby

Oliver Ormsby
Deborah Barry Ormsby
Barry Street on Pittsburgh’s South Side is named after her.

John Ormsby & Jane (McAllister) Ormsby

John Ormsby
Born: 1720 Ireland
Died: 1805 Pittsburgh, Pa. at his son’s home in Downton, corner of Water Street and Chancery Lane.
His parents were Oliver and Deborah (Barry) Ormsby.
Married: 1764 Jane McAllister at Fort Pitt, Pennsylvania. She, 17; He, 44.
Jane McAllister Born 1747 Died June 13, 1799 Pittsburgh
They had three sons and two daughters: Sarah, Sidney, Oliver and John.
Soon after the marriage they moved to Cumberland County but returning to Pittsburgh in 1770.

John Ormsby Timeline
In Ireland: Birth 1720 until arriving in American in 1752
Teacher in Philadelphia, Pa. in 1753
Teacher in Lancaster and York, Pa. in 1753
Teacher in Alexandra, Va. In 1753
Commissioned as Captain in British Army under Braddock in 1753
(Malaria Fever prevented him from marching on Fort Duquesne)
With Forbes’ march on Fort Duquesne 1758
In Pittsburgh: 1758 until after 1764
Received a land grant grom King George III in 1763
Married at Fort Pitt in 1764
In Bedford: after 1764 until 1770
In Pittsburgh: from 1770 until his death in 1805

John, John J. and Oliver were improving land in Turtle Creek prior to 1762.
But John was born in 1765 and Oliver in 1767. Birth dates do not support this.
Rupp, Israel Daniel, Early History of Western Pennsylvania: And of the West, and of Western Expeditions and Campaigns, from MDCCLIV to MDCCCXXXIII., D. W. Kaufman, 1846
Albert, George Dallas,
History of the county of Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, L. H. Everts & Co., Philadelphia, 1882.
John left Virginia for Pittsburgh with Forbes. He was 38. Arrived in 1758.

Reference and Comments
McAllister, Mary Catharine,
Descendants of Archibald McAllister, of West Pennsboro Township, Cumberland County, Pa: 1730-1898, Scheffer's Print. & Bookbinding House, Harrisburg, Pa. 1898; 178 pages.
McAllister, on page 36, identifies five children of John and Jane: John Jr, Oliver, Jane, Sidney and John Blakeney.

Children of John and Jane McAllister Ormsby

John Ormsby Jr.
Born: 1765 Fredrigal, Bedford, Pa.
Died: August 1795
May have been unmarried.
Samuel (b. September 13, 1793 – d. January 4, 1850), New London, Ct.
Son of John Ormsby Jr.
Married: Racheal (Lewis) Ormsby (b. Aug 18,1792 – d. March 22, 1834)
Son: Bradford Ormsby (b. March 22, 1818 – d. January 6, 1899)

Oliver Ormsby
Born: February 25, 1767 Fredrigal, Bedford, Pa.
Died: July 26, 1832 Homestead Farm, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Married: Sarah Mahon of Shippensburg, Pa. September 3, 1801. This is good
They had eight daughters and two sons.
Sarah (Mahon), Sidney (Page), Mary (Phillips), Josephine (Yard), Oliverette (Wharton), Caroline (um), Oliver Harrison (Hoffa) and John (um).
Note: this is being attributed to Oliver.
Perry Street may have been named after Perry, who were friends.
Mt. Oliver was named after Oliver Ormsby, who was born in 1767 in Bedford County.

Jane Ormsby
Born: 1769 Fredrigal, Bedford, Pa.
Died: July 8, 1790 Pittsburgh, Pa. – d in childbirth. 1793 Pittsburgh)
Married: Nathaniel Bedford in Pittsburgh
It does not appear the Jane had children as after her death her estate went to her husband.

Nathaniel Bedford
Dr. Nathaniel Bedford
Born: Birmingham, England
Died: March 21, 1818 Pittsburgh
Surgeon in British Army
Arrived in Pittsburgh about 1765
He and Jane Ormsby were living in his house in Downtown Pittsburgh at 7
th. And Liberty. After Jane died, he moved to the South Side in 1796 and laid out lots in 1811.

Disputed History:
It is taken as truth that Bedford named four street in Birmingham after Jane, Mary, Sarah and Sidney. These streets never existed in Birmingham but in East Birmingham.

Sidney Ormsby
Born: April 18, 1774 Pittsburgh, Pa,
Died: March 18, 1844 Pittsburgh, Pa.
Married: Isaac Gregg in Pittsburgh
The Historical Register has Sidney being the daughter of John Sr.
Children: O. Ormsby Gregg, Isaac Gregg, Sarah E, Gregg and Sarah J. Gregg, who married John G. B. Robinson.

The Gregg’s owned East Birmingham as this estate went to Sarah after John Ormsby’s death. After Isaacs’ death the land was seized. The land was unimproved and unproductive. The State Legislature, as a part of Acct 67 authorized Neville, the Gregg children as well as Joh G. B. Robinson to sell the lots. This was approved on April 1, 1837. The act recognized that the land was adjacent to Birmingham.

Isaac Gregg, son of Isaac and Sidney, was known in 1849, married to Mary E. of Lower St. Clair Township.

Joseph Blakeney Ormsby
Born: 1779 Pittsburgh
Died: drowned on December 20, 1803 off the coast of Virginia on a trading voyage. He must have known the perils of the venture as he made a will in New Orleans on May 30, 1803.
In his will he indicated that he had a “Sister & Broth”, which would have been “Oliver & Sidney”. The will also notes John Ormsby Gregg being the benefactor of his land along the Monongahela River. This may be the O. Gregg, above.

Family of Oliver and Sarah (McMahon) Ormsby

1 Jane Ormsby (b. 1803 Pittsburgh d. 1820 Louisville, Ky.)
Robert Graham Ormsby of Kentucky.
They had children but I have not listed them her at this time.

2 Sarah Mahon married Major
Asher Phillips of the United States Army.

3 Sidney Ormsby married John
Harding Page (Page Street)
(Sarah Street on the South Side was not named after Sarah Ormsby Page)

4 Mary Mahon Ormsby married Lieutenant
Elias Phillips, younger brother of Asher.

6 Josephine Blakeney Ormsby married Commandant
Edward Madison Yard of the United States Navy.

7 Oliveretta, married Lt Col Clifton Wharton of the US Army on August 21, 1838.
They had five children: Clifton Ormsby, Oliver Franklin, John Brown, Josephine, and Mary Etna.

8 Caroline, died young.
Allegheny Land Record Books 86 to 263 notes Caroline as the daughter of Oliver Ormsby.

1 Dr. Oliver Harrison, married Jane Eliza Hoffa.
They had a daughter, Kate, who married Dr. Joseph Augustus Phillips of Louisville, Ky.

2 John, died young.