Fayette County Cultural Trust - Explore Fayette County Pennsylvania
Historic Fayette County
Pennsylvania
 
Fayette County was created on September 26, 1783, from part of Westmoreland County and named after the Marquis de Lafayette. Its county seat  is Uniontown
 
History :    The first European settlers to Fayette County were western explorers, who used an ancient American Indian trail that bisected Fayette County, as part of their journey across the Appalachian Mountains. When the control of the area was still undecided, 22-year-old George Washington fought his first battles against the French at Jumonville Glen and Fort Necessity in 1754. British forces under Washington and General Edward Braddock improved roads throughout the region, making the future Fayette County an important supply through route. 
                                                           
During the American Revolution, Fayette County was hit hard by attacks from British-allied Indian groups and remained an isolated frontier hinterland. Also retarding settlement was a border dispute with Virginia, which led to competing jurisdictions: Virginia's District of West Augusta and Pennsylvania's Westmoreland County. The dispute was settled in favor of Pennsylvania in 1780, and Fayette County was formed from Westmoreland County in 1783. Fayette County settlers provided the first real test for the authority of the more centralized incarnation of the American government after the signing of the Constitution.
 
During the 1793 Whiskey Rebellion, rural farmers took up arms against tax collectors in protest of a new excise on liquor. However, the new President George Washington called out federal soldiers to quell the uprising. In the early portions of the 19th century, Fayette County continued to bean important travel point. The National Road provided access through the mountains for settlers heading west. The shipyards in Brownsville on the Monongahela River created vessels that were used for shipping for domestic and international trade.As Pittsburgh developed as an industrial powerhouse in the mid-19th century, Fayette County transitioned to become a center of coal mining and coke production. From the 1880s to the first decade of the 20th century, an explosion in steel production led to area industry becoming extremely profitable and nationally important. Because cheap labor was needed, thousands of the new immigrants in the United States were attracted to Fayette County en masse for industrial  jobs. The traditional Scottish and German farming communities were overshadowed by new populations of Southern and Eastern Europeans. The region's wealth remained concentrated in old ethnic Englishand Scots families with connections to Pittsburgh.By the mid-20th century, Fayette County industry had created a new unionized working class that enjoyed increased prosperity. In the 1950s, the coal industry fell into decline; and in the 1970s, the collapse of American steel brought hard times to Fayette County. Industrial restructuring meant the loss of union jobs which had provided for a rise to the middle class. Only a few mines remain, but natural resources remain crucial to the local economy. The region continues to struggle but is slowly transitioning toward the service sector, with jobs added in fields such as telemarketing.