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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania published in 1905 by The Genealogical Publishing Company.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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ARCHIBALD LOUDON. In 1754 James Loudon and his wife Christiana, came from Scotland to America. On the 24th of August of that year, while the ship in which they came was in the Gulf stream, their first child, a son, was born. They named him Archibald, and we shall aim to make him the leading character of this genealogical sketch.

The family landed in Baltimore, but did not long sojourn there. James Loudon was a printer and probably worked at that trade while in Baltimore, but soon found it advantageous to change his occupation and his location. He moved inland toward the frontier and his family became the Loudon family which for many years figured prominently in the affairs of southern Pennsylvania.

The region to the north of the Kittatinny range of mountains having been purchased from the Indians in 1734, that desirable section was thrown open to settlers. James Loudon accepted the invitation and early in 1755 located in that part of the Shearman’s Valley which afterward came to be designated as the Raccoon Valley. Here he pre-empted land, built a cabin and prepared to make a home for himself and his family. But he was not permitted to long remain in his new abiding place. Braddock’s defeat on July 9, 1755, let loose the Indians of the western Pennsylvania woods, and with torch and scalping knife they descended upon every settlement along the entire frontier. The Loudons, with such goods as they could carry on the backs of their horses, fled into the Cumberland Valley, where they remained for five years. Peace having become fairly well established by that time, they ventured back to their frontier possessions, and busied themselves at rebuilding their homes and improving their lands. But they came only to be again driven away. In the summer of 1763, two years after their return, the fires of Indian hostility again swept along the entire western border and the Tuscarora and Shearman Valleys again suddenly emptied their population into the Cumberland Valley. The Loudons were again compelled to flee for their lives, this time to remain away for two years. They then returned for the third time and nearly all of them remained in the Raccoon Valley in peace and comfort to the end of their days. James Loudon died on Sept. 22, 1783, and is buried in Bull’s graveyard, three miles east of where the town of Ickesburg now stands.

James Loudon left surviving him his wife, Christiana, and the following children Archibald, John, Margaret, Matthew, Elizabeth and Christiana. The widow and the oldest son, Archibald, were administrators of the estate, but the records show that Archibald alone acted. Mrs. Loudon, widow of James Loudon, died June 21, 1807, and was buried by the side of her husband.

Of this family of six children Archibald became the most prominent. He is chiefly known as printer and publisher and the character of his occupation and business would indicate that he did not get much of his education and early training in the Raccoon Valley. He probably, while quite young, was placed with friends in Carlisle to be taught the useful trade by which in after life he earned a livelihood and won a proud distinction. His frontier home, however, afforded him an experience that influenced and shaped his subsequent life, for he there met the Indian in his primitive state, studied his habits and character, and heard many of the stories of Indian atrocity which he afterward related in his book on “Indian Narratives.” Upon one occasion the famous chief John Logan, whose memory is perpetuated in a specimen of remarkable Indian eloquence, spent about two hours in the Loudon home in Raccoon Valley. One Sunday forenoon in the year 1765 the children, among them Archibald, were playing outdoors when they unexpectedly espied three Indians with guns coming across the meadow only a short distance away. Having on the evening before heard that the Indians were again murdering white people, the sight startled the little folks and they hastily ran into the house and informed their parents. The Indians, however, set their guns down outside of the house, which was proof of peaceful intentions, and allayed much of the fear their first appearance had caused. On entering, they were invited to take seats, which they did. Later on they had dinner with the family, and remained for some time after the meal. One of the Indians was a remarkably tall man, straight as an arrow, strong and well proportioned, and in appearance not afraid of any living being. This one spoke tolerably good English, but during their entire stay the other two said nothing that any of the family understood. They took a special interest in the large wooden chimney, looking up into it and laughing and making remarks about it. This the family interpreted as comment upon the case of a man on the Juniata, not far away, who made his escape through the chimney of his house when it was attacked by the Indians. One of the little girls, a child of three or four years, had very white curly hair. With this the two toyed, taking locks of it between their fingers and thumb and stretching it up and laughing, probably observing that it would make a nice scalp. After the family were convinced that they had no hostile intentions, the boy Archibald took down a Bible and read two chapters from the book of Judges, relating to Samson and the Philistines. The tall Indian paid close attention and, seeing this, the elder Loudon seriously remarked that it would be a great benefit to the Indians to be able to read. To this the Indian replied: “A great many people” — meaning Indians — “on the Mohawk river can read the book that speaks of God.” The dusky visitors finally took their departure, crossing the Tuscarora Mountain to Capt. Patterson’s, two miles below where Mifflintown now stands, and a few days afterward the Loudons were informed that the big fine-looking Indian was Capt. John Logan.

Exactly when Archibald Loudon came to Carlisle is not determinable by any light of the present. Soon after he reached his majority he figures in the affairs of Carlisle and the Cumberland Valley, and at no time, except in the settlement of his father’s estate, is his name associated with the affairs of the Shearman’s Valley. He is recorded among the “Rangers on the Frontier” from 1778 to 1783; and was enrolled as a member of Capt. William Kerr’s Company of Cumberland county militia in 1781 and 1782, James Blaine first lieutenant. He was ensign in Capt. James Powers’s Company, Col. John Dayis’s regiment of the militia, called out in July, 1777, in the war of the Revolution. A grandson, Alfred Loudon, remembers playing with a saber which he carried while in this line of the service and which for a long time was a sacred keepsake in the family. On Nov. 16, 1784, he took out a warrant for 150 acres of land in Cumberland county, and in 1794 he was a member of Capt. George Stevenson’s Company, which marched from Carlisle to western Pennsylvania to subdue the Whiskey Rebellion. Thomas Duncan, David Watts, Andrew Holmes, Nathaniel Weakley, Archibald McAllister and Francis Gibson were among his comrades on the march.

On page 267 of volume XXIII, Pennsylvania Archives, Archibald Loudon is enrolled as a pensioner, thus: “Loudon, ArchibMd, pr. serg. ens. P. M. Sep. 1832: 80.” The first of these abbreviations, pr., indicates that he was a printer: the second and third indicate his ranks, sergeant and ensign; the fourth that he had been postmaster; and the last that he was eighty years old in 1832. This record corresponds with the information concerning him which his descendants still return and regard as correct. He was postmaster of Carlisle under President Thomas Jefferson, and one of his grandsons remembers seeing his commission. It was dated in 1802 and bore the signature of Gideon Granger, Postmaster General. The statement that he was eighty years old in 1832 makes him two years younger than the family record does, but this variation is so slight as not to raise a serious doubt.

Archibald Loudon was the first and most extensive publisher of books that Carlisle ever had, and he is usually distinguished from other persons of the same name as Archibald Loudon, the publisher. Among the many publications that bear his imprint are Loudon’s Indian Narratives; Thompson’s Travels; Wonderful Magazine; Loudon’s Museum; Riley’s Narrative; and many religious works. He also for some years published a weekly newspaper named the Cumberland Register. Copies of some of these publications are still in existence and very highly prized. At a public book sale in Philadelphia in May, 1903, an original set of Loudon’s Indian Narratives was sold for $125.

While it is quite certain that Archibald Loudon resided in Carlisle at an earlier date than 1795, he does not appear upon the tax list of the town until then. In that year he stands taxed with a house and lot and one cow. His residence and place of business were where W. F. Horn for many years has had his drug store. Here he had his printing office and published his books and issued his Cumberland Register. Along with his other business enterprises he manufactured cigars and kept a book store and drug store, and a drug store has clung tenaciously to the locality ever since. He prospered and became an important factor in the social and business activity of the town. In 1815 he and John McClure and William Barber began the manufacture of paper where now is the town of Mt. Holly Springs, expending a large amount of money on the enterprise. They built a mill and imported papermaking machinery from England, but none of their company understood the art and the experiment financially was a failure. The company at the same time laid out a town, adjacent to their mill, and gave it the name of South Middleton. Lots were advertised for sale and inducements offered that were accepted by many. The town grew, but the name South Middleton soon gave way for that of Papertown, and Papertown for that of Mt. Holly Springs.

Archibald Loudon was twice married. His first wife was Mary Carson, of whom not much is known except that she was born in 1761 and died Dec. 26, 1795. He afterward married Mrs. Hannah Holcomb. By his first marriage he had the following children: Margaret, Christina, Mary, Catharine and Sarah. By his second marriage he had one son, James. Of these, Margaret Loudon married David Woods, of Dickinson township; Christina married John English; Catharine married Thomas H. Criswell; and Sarah married Charles Ford. Mary died in 1862, unmarried, aged seventy-two years. James. Archibald Loudon’s only son, was born March 9, 1799, in the house on West Main street, Carlisle, which his father so long occupied as a residence and business place, and which he, in turn, occupied till near the end of his days.

Archibald Loudon’s second wife died on Nov. 16, 1822, when he was in the sixty-eighth year of his age. He then made his home with his only son, and lived in his family to the end of his days. On Jan. 3, 1832, there was held in Carlisle a meeting of the surviving soldiers of the Revolution living within the bounds of Cumberland county which was organized with Archibald Loudon as chairman. He was then seventy-eight years old, while the other veterans of the notable gathering ranged from seventy-one to eighty-five years. He died Aug. 12, 1840, and he and his two wives and a number of their descendants lie buried in the same lot in the Old Graveyard at Carlisle.

In announcing his death the Carlisle Herald and Expositor made the following comment: “The deceased was a soldier of the Indian and Revolutionary wars, in all of which he served with distinguished credit. Previously to and during the late war he conducted the Cumberland Register, the organ of the Democratic party of this county, with considerable vigor. He was always, throughout his long life, highly esteemed by those who knew him, as an honest man, a useful citizen and a pure patriot.” The American Volunteer contained the following: “Died on the 12th ultimo, in this borough, Archibald Loudon, Esq., in the eighty-sixth year of his age. He was one of the oldest and most respectable citizens of the place and had been a soldier of the Revolution.”

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania published in 1905 by The Genealogical Publishing Company. 

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