John and Eleanor Ewing Gilfillan purchased 135 acres of farmland and a spring house in 1849. The land was part of a 1788 land patent called “Trouble without Profit”. They built the brick farmhouse in 1855 and continued to add buildings to the property with lumber cut from the property and with bricks fired on site. As they added structures to the property, they also added 5 children: Margaret, Loretta, Jane Lyle, Alexander and Eleanor.
Margaret and Eleanor never married and lived their entire lives in the farmhouse. After Alexander’s wife passed away in 1903, he moved back to the farmhouse of his childhood and brought his 3 children with him: John, Margaret and Alexander. The children never married and lived out their lives in the farmhouse. In 2001, Margaret donated the last 15 acres and the buildings to the Historical Society of Upper St. Clair.
Margaret wanted Gilfillan Farm to “serve to educate the public as to life on a traditional farm in Pennsylvania” and that the property would be utilized “as an appropriate historical, cultural or educations center and landmark, reflecting in whole or in part the past usage of the property by the Gilfillan Family”. The Historical Society of Upper St. Clair is working to preserve the property and to fulfill Margaret’s wish.
For more information on the history of Gilfillan Farm and for ways to help the Historical Society of Upper St. Clair in its preservation efforts please go to www.hsusc.org.