On the Middleburg road, about two miles from Greencastle, stands an old stone house in which Mrs. Ebbert now resides (1936), which was the former home of James Allison, the last member of a distinguished family intimately connected with the history of Greencastle.
William Allison, the ancestor of this family in this country, came from the north of Ireland to Lancaster County in the early part of the 18th century. He bought a large tract of land in what is now Antrim Township from John Smith in 1763, and conveyed by deed three hundred acres of this land to his eldest son, Colonel John Allison. Col. Allison served with distinction in the Revolutionary war and at its close returned to Antrim Township and laid out the town of Greencastle in 1782, naming it after Greencastle, a large fishing station in the County of Donegal, Province of Ulster, Ireland, near where his father had lived.
Colonel Allison divided his town plot into two hundred and fifty six lots of equal size and numbered them from one to two hundred and fifty six, putting the price of each at three pounds, a little less than $15. He then made a lottery and every person who purchased a ticket was entitled to a lot. There being no blanks, the only chance being in whether the lot should be on the public square or on a back street. The deed of these lots was given by Col. Allison but subject to an annual quit rent of ten shillings.
A second brother, Patrick Allison, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1760 and studied for the ministry of the Presbyterian church. Dr. Samuel Stanhope Smith, then resident of Princeton College, described him "as the ablest statesman in the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church."
A third son, Willliam Allison, lived and died on the maternal farm and took great pride in the old home.
William Allison, Sr., was among those who met at Edward Shippen's house in Shippensburg to confer with regard to the erection of five forts in the county as a protection against the Indians, and Fort Allison was soon afterwards erected west of the present town of Greencastle.
The Ebbert home is of stone and was the first house in the locality to have "fire" or double walls. These walls were almost three feet thick and built for all time, in contrast with the flimsy walls of modern construction one brick thick with a coating of plaster board.
The entrance hall is at least fifteen feet wide, with lofty double parlors opening out on it. The rooms upstairs and down are of fine proportions, with the usual carved wooden mantels, cupboards and chairboards. One of the charms of the old place is the beautiful spring with a stream of water flowing from it. In the early days a stockade was built over portion of this spring where the family could retreat in case of a sudden attack by the indians. There were provisions and ammunition stored here and water was available in case of a siege.
Allison-Antrim Museum, Inc
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Greencastle, PA 17225