By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist
Rev. Luther Axtell [1820-1886] was a Cumberland Presbyterian minister in southwestern Pennsylvania. His rural circuit meant that he preached and performed the sacred ceremonies of the church across county lines, touching the lives of families living in Allegheny, Fayette, Greene, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties, Pennsylvania, as well as across state lines into Ohio and West Virginia. Among his many duties as a traveling clergyman, Luther performed roughly 200 marriages, which he recorded in a ledger. In 2016, Matt W. Cumberledge, now the Executive Director of the Greene County Historical Society, discovered and obtained this ledger when it was sold at auction. Matt digitized and shared the ledger pages with the Greene Connections: Greene County, Pennsylvania Archives Project. In 2020-2021, volunteers transcribed the ledger’s entries dating from the 1840s-1880s through the Greene Connections Archives crowdsourcing project. Today, both the digital images of the original ledger pages and the typed transcript are available to view and download in the Greene Connections Archives. Our team will now index and annotate the transcript as research continues.
It just so happens that this early recordkeeper and genealogist was my fourth-great-granduncle – what an inspiration! My personal thanks to Matt for finding and sharing this amazing record for local family history and to all the volunteers who helped us to make this typed transcript available.
Previews of the transcript and original images are below. Visit and bookmark the ledger in the Greene Connections Archives to monitor updates as the research moves forward!
Let us know if you find your family in Luther’s ledger!