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Leet Township

Leet Township, incorporated in 1869, occupies 1.6 square miles and had a population of 1,620 in 2020. It borders Bell Acres, Edgeworth, Leetsdale, and Ambridge and Harmony Township in Beaver County.

The original township was created from the part of Sewickley Township (excluding the Borough of Sewickley) that comprises today’s Leet Township, Leetsdale, Edgeworth and part of Sewickley Heights. When Leetsdale (1904), Edgeworth (1904) and Sewickley Heights (1935) became boroughs, what remained became today’s Leet Township. The township is named for the Leet family, which was among the first to settle in the Valley once it was safe. In 1786, Jonathan Leet obtained Lot Number 1, Loretto, in District 2, comprising most of today’s Sewickley west of Division Street, which he sold in 1798 to Henry Ulery, who built a log house where the Sewickley Bridge is today. Jonathan Leet also developed land in Sewickley Bottom for his brother, Daniel Leet. Daniel had surveyed part of the Depreciation Lands and had obtained seven desirable tracts – Newbury, Norwich, Newington, Lincoln, Locust Bottom, Sugar Bottom and Leetsburg – all of which were part of Leet township when it was incorporated. Daniel Leet and Wilhelmina Carson’s only child, Eliza, married David Shields and built the mansion Newington in Sewickley Bottom, today’s Edgeworth, on the land that the Leet family had developed.

The Fair Oaks area of Leet Township is associated with Alexander Hays, Sewickley’s Civil War General who participated in Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg and was killed at the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864. His widow was given a residence and five acres of ground adjoining the property of the Harmony Society on Big Sewickley Creek, which Mrs. Hays named Fair Oaks in honor of the General’s promotion following that 1862 battle.

Among the men living in Leet Township at the turn of the twentieth century was D. T. Watson, whose summer home, Sunny Hill, became the D. T. Watson Home for Crippled Children. It was there in the 1950s that Dr. Jonas Salk tested his polio vaccine using local children as volunteers. The Watson Institute remains today on Camp Meeting Road. Henry Buhl, another summer resident of the township, was co-owner of the Boggs and Buhl Department Store in Pittsburgh and founder of the Buhl Planetarium. In 1870, 16 acres in Leet Township was purchased to build the Methodist Church’s Mt. Sewickley Camp Meeting Ground. The first meeting was held in 1871. The property became a golf course in 1963 and today is occupied by residences.

Leet Township Centennial: 1869-1969 (available for reference in the SVHS Collection)

Pictures: Daniel Leet

Sunny Hill

Camp Meeting grounds

D. T. Watson Home for Crippled Kids

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