When Heartland Homes develops the former , it may have to consider the fate of the land’s permanent resident.
His name is Casper Reel, and he died in 1824. He, and members of his family, are believed buried near the 18th hole of the old golf course.
Who is Casper Reel?
“Reel, a prominent early European settler of northern Allegheny County, was born in Frankfurt, Germany and immigrated to the colonies as a young child,” according to the Papers of Casper Reel which are part of the collection of the University of Pittsburgh Historical website, and the Historical society of western Pennsylvania.
Reel was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1742. By 1774, he had settled at Fort Pitt, on Fifth Street near Wood, where he conducted business as a fur trader and storekeeper.
“After serving in the Continental Army during the American Revolution, Reel married Elizabeth Wise in 1784 and the couple acquired land in Pine Township (present-day Ross Township and West View Borough), where he built a cabin in 1792. Reel continued hunting, tanning, and trapping and also became a prosperous farmer, fruit culturist, constable, and the first tax collector north of the Allegheny River,” according to the Reel papers.
Reel prospered as his family grew. He and his wife had 10 children. Reel owned over 800 acres in what eventually became Ross Township. He was also instrumental in the founding of Hiland Presbyterian Church in Perrysville.
The family cemetery is still marked with a plaque near the 18th green of the former golf course, according to O’Hara historian Norman Meinert, who researched the Reel family.
“Although it's not widely known that Casper Reel is interred there, I'm sure there is some legal contractual language ‘out there’ that commands any new property owner(s) to maintain perpetual care and public access to his burial site,” said Meinert.
This article originally appeared on the North Hills Patch.