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Thursday, July 6, 2017

John McMillan

John McMillan (1752–1833) was a prominent Presbyterian minister and missionary in Western Pennsylvania when that area was part of the American Frontier. He founded the first school west of the Allegheny Mountains, which is now known as John McMillan's Log School. He is one of the founders of Washington & Jefferson College

McMillan was born on November 11, 1752 in Fagg's Manor, Chester County, Pennsylvania. 

McMillan was described as large man, with a height of 6 foot and weighing 200 pounds in his middle age. His voice was described as strong and "swarthy". He was a Federalist and opposed the Whiskey Rebellion.  McMillan served in the militia in Captain James Scott's Company of the Third Battalion of the Washington County Military. He was ordered to duty on May 8, 1782 and received "donation farm" in Mercer County from the government for his service. He was related to Captain William Fife who was a captain during the Revolutionary War from western Pennsylvania.

McMillan collected money to build the Canonsburg Academy in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania and transferred his log cabin students there. He is also considered a founder of the Pittsburgh Academy (later University of Pittsburgh as well as the Pittsburgh Xenia Theological Seminary and the Western Theological Seminary. All told, he educated over 100 ministers and preached 6,000 sermons. James Carnahan, President of Princeton University, said that he had aided church and education "more than any other man of his generation."

"oldest educational building west of the Alleghenys." 
John McMillan's Log School is a landmark log building in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania that was a frontier latin school during the 1780s. 
The school grew into Canonsburg Academy, which eventually developed into Washington & Jefferson College. In 1930, 
The Pittsburgh Press said that the building was "viewed by the pioneers with even more reverence than Pittsburgh now view the towering Cathedral of Learning in Oakland."

In 1949, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission installed a historical marker on U.S. Route 19, near Pennsylvania Route 519, south of Canonsburg noting McMillan's historic importance. In 1949, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission placed a marker adjacent to Hill Church and in 1951, adjacent to Bethel Presbyterian Church, both churches founded by McMillan. His last remaining kin are the Smiths of Avella Pennsylvania.