California Borough (pp. 628)The pleasant and growing borough of California is located on the west bank of the Monongahela River, just above the mouth of the small stream known as Pike Run, which separates it from the old borough of Greenfield, and is distant five miles below Brownsville, fifty miles by rail and fifty-five miles by river from Pittsburgh, and twenty-three miles from Washington, the county-seat. Its site is one of great natural beauty, and not surpassed within the confines of the Monongahela Valley.
History of Washington County, Pennsylvania*
It contains about sixteen hundred inhabitants,1 the State Normal School of the Tenth Normal School District, which district is composed of Somerset, Fayette, Greene, and Washington Counties, the church edifices of Methodist Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Christian denominations, various secret benevolent associations, an ample supply of physicians and merchants, and is the centre of vast coal interests, 13,654,700 bushels of coal having been shipped from it and its immediate vicinity during the year 1860. It is also an important shipping point for wool, grain, fruits, and live-stock.
1The borough contained 1566 inhabitants in 1880, 476 in 1860, and 659 in 1870, according to the United States census reports.
The site of the town is celebrated in the annals of Pennsylvania as having been the place where the Indians met in council, in 1767 to express their grievances, which resulted in the mission of the Rev. Capt. Steele, of Carlisle, and others, who were sent out in the following spring to meet them, and to persuade white settlers to retire and not invade the lands yet belonging to the Indians. The Indian title, however, was extinguished by the treaty of Nov. 5, 1768, and the following year thousands of acres bordering upon the Monongahela were surveyed by Gen. James Hendricks and other surveyors, and many patents covering these lands were granted to individuals by warrants from the proprietary land-office.
Prior to 1784 a man named Samuel Young resided upon or near the town site, having some right or title to it. During the year last mentioned, however, Robert Jackman2 (having purchased Young's interest) obtained a patent for a large tract of land, which covered the sites of the present boroughs of California and Greenfield, besides hundreds of acres lying back and around these towns. He had six sons, viz., James, William,3 Dixon, John, Robert,4 and Henry, besides two or three daughters, and at his death, which occurred Aug. 26, 1813, at the age of seventy-four years and four months, the land was divided among those sons, James and William inheriting the grounds now partly included within the corporate limits of the borough. Subsequently this land was sold at sheriff's sale to Seth Buffington, who soon after transferred the same to John Ringland.5
2 Robert Jackman was a native of Ireland, and a descendant of a family which originated in Germany, thence migrated to Wales, and finally settled in Ireland.
3 William, the father of the present William W. Jackman, lost his life by drowning in the Monongahela.
4 Robert Jackman, the oldest son of Robert Jackman, Sr., was the proprietor of the town of Greenfield.
5 Ringland was one of the original members of the Brownsville or Monongahela Bridge Company, which company was chartered March 6, 1830.
The Jackmans were famous mill men, and only seemed contented when engaged in building or operating grist- and saw-mills. Robert Jackman, the elder, built a very early grist-mill at Brownsville, and he built a dwelling-house on the site of his grandson's residence (William W. Jackman) nearly one hundred years ago. A majority of the family of this name, however, finally emigrated westward, settling in Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa.
John Ringland died about the year 1845, and in 1848 a company, composed of William W. Jackman, Job Johnson, Abraham Fry, George W. Hornbake, John Wood, and Samuel Ashmead, purchased of his heirs three hundred and four acres of land, upon which, May 1, 1849, they laid out a town, calling the same California, a term then very familiar to nearly every man, woman, and child in the land in connection with the then recently discovered gold region.
The plot was surveyed by Job Johnson, Esq., one of the proprietors, who was an attorney-at-law as well as a surveyor. It comprised nearly one hundred acres, or four hundred lots, fifty by one hundred and fifty feet each. Originally these lots were sold at from fifteen to seventy-five dollars. The streets, as seen to-day, cross at right angles, and are sixty feet wide, while the alleys are twenty feet in width.
Not a building stood upon the town site when first laid out, and when, during the summer of 1849, Thomas W. Moore completed the first dwelling,6 and soon after had a son (Job Johnson Moore) born therein, the proprietors donated him a town lot. Among others who built houses in the town a year or two later were Nelson Crow, James Hank (who built a brick house), Samuel S. Rothwell (large frame structure), James P. Ailes (a commodious brick), Job Johnson (the brick hotel and store known yet as the "Johnson House"), John Woodfill (brick), William Jobes (frame), Augustin Wells (brick), A. Wallace (frame), and Josiah Critchfield (a brick house).
6 This house is now—or was at least when we obtained the information—owned by Joseph Paxton.
Job Johnson was a man of indomitable energy and push, and to him should be ascribed the credit of having done more to advance the town's material interests than any other. Besides practicing law, he built and opened the first hotel, established in the same building a store for the sale of general merchandise as early as 1851, and rested not until a post-office was established. Meanwhile he encouraged settlements, assisted his neighbors to establish various individual enterprises, and, with S.S. Rothwell and a very few others on this side of the country, always stood ready to lend a helping hand to those of sable hue who, traveling via the "Underground Railway," sought freedom in Canada. White Johnson, a nephew, and Gibson Wood studied law with him. He died some ten or twelve years ago. (See history of Greenfield Methodist Episcopal Church.)
Solomon Sibbitt and Lewis W. Morgan, as partners, were contemporary merchants with Mr. Johnson, and, it is claimed, opened the first store in the town in 1850. Mr. Sibbitt served as the first burgess of the town, and was an active and prominent citizen generally. He removed from this vicinity prior to the war. Mr. Morgan, however, has to this day continued as one of the leading merchants of California and Greenfield. As a member of the firm of Morgan & Dixon, merchants and coal operators, he is now doing business in Greenfield.
William McFall, Jr., St. Clair Chrisinger, and James Imley established the boat-yard in 1851, and two or three years later the citizens of the town rejoiced in having a post-office. Among other early residents, not already mentioned, were William Eberman, William Carroll, Rev. Abner Jackson, Hiram Miller, William A. Stone, Solomon Meredith, Jacob H. Jones, Joshua Norcross, Robert Ventress, John G. Dowler, J. S. Vanhorn, Thomas Wells, James O. Lewellen, Joseph Paxton, A. J. Harris, James Underwood, Amos Powell, William McFall, Sr., T. H. Dowler, Henry Phillips, T. F. Thomas, A.A. Devore, David Thomas, and Edward Riggs. Probably the entire population did not number three hundred at the time the town was incorporated in 1853.
Incorporation, First Charter Election, Etc.—On the 25th of November, 1853, in accordance with the petitions of many citizens, the Washington County Court of Quarter Sessions issued an order declaring the town of California a borough. The inhabitants of the town, therefore, in the spring of 1854, held a meeting at the school-house, when the following officers were elected for one year, viz.: Solomon Sibbitt, burgess; James P. Ailes, St. Clair Chrisinger, Lewis W. Morgan, and William Carroll, councilmen; Samuel S. Rothwell, clerk; Henry Phillips, high constable; William Eberman, treasurer; Henry Phillips, collector; and Joshua Norcross, street commissioner. Strangely enough the date of holding this election and the date the first officials were inducted into office is not shown in the records. The first meeting of the Town Council, however, was held in the school-house, April 24, 1854, when it was ordained "that on and after the first day of August next the several streets and alleys of the borough of California be, and the same are hereby, declared public highways, and subject to such orders as the burgess and Council may direct.
Jan. 26, 1865, an agreement was entered into by the borough authorities and Abraham Fry, Job Johnson, Thomas L. Wood, George W. Hornbake, William W. Jackman, and Samuel Ashmead, executors, and Emily Wood, executrix, of the estate of John Wood, deceased, conveying "unto the borough of California the land that lies down the river from the Coursin & Latta mill lot below First Street, and between it and the river for the distance of four hundred feet, for the purpose of a wharf. Said borough to have said privilege for the purpose of a wharf forever, and said borough on their part bind themselves to make a good wharf within two years from this date, and pave the same with stone, and keep the same in good repair. If said borough shall neglect to keep said wharf in repair this conveyance to be void, otherwise to remain in full force and virtue."
Among those mentioned in a public print as doing business, etc., in the village in 1861 were Job Johnson, attorney-at-law; J. C. Gilchrist, principal of the seminary; G. M. Eberman & Co., boat-builders; Samuel Sickman, merchant; Lewis W. Morgan, merchant; A. A. Devore, clothier and merchant tailor; Dr. J. J. Fulmer, eclectic physician and surgeon; Edward Riggs, cultivator and dealer in fruits, shrubbery, and ornamental trees; and J. S. Vanhorn, ship-carpenter.
At a special election held July 28, 1864, to determine whether a tax be levied to fill the borough's quota in accordance with a call of the President for five hundred thousand men, seventy-six votes were polled, of which forty-six were for the tax and thirty against. Thereupon the borough authorities resolved to issue bonds to the amount of two thousand one hundred dollars, and to pay three hundred dollars bounty to each of the seven men required to fill the quota.
The borough's first newspaper, the Valley Spirit, was started by John Gibson about the year 1866. It was continued, however, but one year.
In 1876, Weddell & Patton began the publication of an independent local newspaper called the Valley Leader, which, however, continued for a period of only about six months.
List of Principal Borough Officers.1854, -- Solomon Sibbitt, burgess; William Carroll, St. Clair Chrisinger, William Eberman, Lewis W. Morgan, James P. Ailes, councilmen. 1855, -- Job Johnson, burgess; Lewis W. Morgan, James P. Ailes, Abner Jackson, Hiram Miller, Samuel S. Rothwell, councilmen. 1856, -- William Eberman, burgess; J. S. Van Horn, Thomas Wells, James O. Lewellen, Joseph Paxton, Solomon Sibbitt, councilmen. 1857, -- A. J. Harris, burgess; Joseph Paxton, Thomas Wells, James Underwood, Amos Powell, William Eberman, councilmen. 1858, -- A. J. Harris, burgess; George W. Harris, Joseph Woodfill, James Underwood, David Thomas, St. Clair Chrisinger, councilmen. 1859, -- Lewis Baker, burgess; Jonathan Dehaven, William McFall, Jr., John Reedm Samuel Davis, Joshua Norcross, councilmen. 1860, -- A. J. Harris, burgess; George W. Harris, Edward Riggs, A. A. Devore, Jonathan Dehaven, George W. Underwood, councilmen. 1861, -- A. J. Harris, burgess; Stephen Smith, J. H. Ball, J. W. Phillips, A. A. Devore, A. J. Crow, councilmen. 1862, -- A. J. Harris, burgess, E. W. Barris, Joseph Lambert, William McFall, Jr., Jonathan Dehaven, J. G. Dowler, councilmen. 1863, -- Edward M. Melch, burgess; Lewis W. Morgan, Joseph A. Lambert, Job Johnson, Steele Sample, E. W. Barris, William McFall, councilmen. 1864, -- David Shallenberger, burgess; William McFall, Edward Riggs, Stephen Smith, James Underwood, Job Johnson, councilmen. 1865, -- Samuel Sickman, burgess; David Shallenberger, J. C. Momyer, G. M. Eberman, William McFall, Jr., George W. Harris, councilmen. 1866, -- Josiah W. Phillips, burgess; Solomon Fry, Samuel W. Craft, J. S. Wilkins, D. H. Jacobs, J. G. Huggins, Joseph Pyle, councilmen. 1867, -- Job Johnson, burgess; William W. Everson, Samuel Sickman, Joseph N. Powell, James Long, John H. Veatch, councilmen. 1868, -- Edward M. Melchi, burgess; G. G. Hertzog, J. R. Dunlap, S. B. Paxton, Jonathan Dehaven, Luke P. Beazell, councilmen. 1869, -- S. B. Paxton, burgess; Luke P. Beazell, J. S. Wilkins, Jonathan Dehaven, J. R. Dunlap, G. G. Hertzog, councilmen. 1870,1 -- Solomon Fry, burgess; Moses Billingsby, John Lopp, Jr., Joseph Paxton, Jehu Dehaven, James Herron, councilmen. 1871,2 -- Edward M. Melchi, burgess; John Veatch, S. R. Alter, A. P. Smith, George W. Harris, Joseph Wadsworth, councilmen. 1872, -- Edward M. Melchi, burgess; Isaiah Hornflake, A. B. Duvall, James Long, Edward Riggs, Joseph Wadsworth, and Dr. James McDonough, councilmen. 1873, -- Jonathan Dehaven, burgess; J. N. Powell, David Veatch, Luke P. Beazell, Edward Riggs, S. W. Craft, J. C. Hanck, councilmen. 1874, -- A. J. Harris, burgess; J. R. Powell, Thomas Johnson, A. J. Hertzog, William McFall, A. B. Duvall, Edward Riggs, councilmen. 1875, -- Edward M. Melchi, burgess; Joseph A. Wadsworth, J. B. Shallenberger, S. B. Paxton, John H. Veatch, J. K. Ward, I. T. Dawson, councilmen. 1876, -- Edward M. Melchi, burgess; J. K. Ward, Joseph A. Wadsworth, J. b. Shallenberger, S. M. Geho, J. O. Lewellen, W. H. Beazell, councilmen. 1877, -- E. O. Phillips, burgess; Joseph A. Wadsworth, S. M. Geho, J. K. Ward, J. O. Lewellen, John Harrison, S. J. Howe, councilmen. 1878, -- J. B. Montgomery, burgess; J. O. Lewellen, William Mehaffey, Joseph Wadsworth, S. M. Geho, John Harrison, S. J. Howe, councilmen. 1879, -- W. G. Gardner, burgess; John Harrison, J. O. Lewellen, S. M. Geho, W. M. Baker, Joseph Wadsworth, and William Mehaffey, councilmen. 1880, -- J. B. Vandyke, burgess; Isaac Jackman, E. O. Phillips, William Howe, A. P. Smith, John Harrison, and Joseph Wadsworth, councilmen. 1881, -- J. W. Paxton, burgess; G. G. Hertzog, Luke P. Beazell, Joseph Wadsworth, I. J. Hornbake, J. A. Letherman, and J. B. Montgomery, councilmen. 1882, -- J. W. Beazell, burgess; J. A. Letherman, G. G. Hertzog, L. P. Beazell, W. D. Veatch, S. W. Craft, and J. B. Smith, councilmen; William M. Hart, treasurer and wharf-master; O. O. Hornbake, clerk; John Harrison, street commissioner.
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE
William Carroll, April 11, 1854; May 17, 1859 A.J. Harris, April 15, 1873 Job Johnson, June 25, 1860; June 3, 1865 E. M. Melchi, Jan. 21, 1874 E. M. Melchi, April 9, 1867; April 12, 1872 A.J. Harris, May 18, 1874 L. P. Fry, March 21, 1877 A. J. Harris, March 25, 1878 I.T. Dawson, May 10, 1881
1 On the 1st of December, 1870, the management of the Pittsburgh, Virginia and Charleston Railroad was granted the right of way through Third Street, with the privilege of laying a double track. This road, however, was not laid through Third Street, and was not completed through California until 1881; the first regular trains between West Brownsville and Pittsburgh being started May 15th of that year.
2 In 1871 the coal works of Morgan & Lambert were opened. Morgan & Dixon now control them. They also own the well-known steamer "L.W. Morgan."
Present Professional and Business Men.—Physicians, W. H. Phillips and N. F. Veatch, both of whom have been here some twelve or fourteen years; J. A. Letherman, who is a graduate of Bellevue Hospital Medical College, and has resided here seven years; J. P. Fry, T. C. McClure, and G. H. Smith. Of those who in years past have made this their place of residence and practice, we have heard mentioned the names of Drs. Fulmer, Hunter, James McDonough, Conklin, Hubbs, Jackson, Truxal, and Clark.
Merchants, Mechanics, etc.—S. M. Binns, dealer in general merchandise; Luke P. Beazell, butcher; John Carr, butcher; L. T. Claybaugh, carpenter; S. W. Craft, furniture dealer and livery-man; J. B. Darling, shoemaker; W. A. Davis, dealer in drugs and music; I. T. Dawson, telegraph operator and justice of the peace; A. S. Fry, railroad and express agent; J. M. Garrow, merchant and coal dealer; Gleason & Co., merchants and coal dealers; Everman, McFall & Co, owners of saw-mill and boat-yard; A. J. Harris, justice of the peace; Hart & Co., grocers; James Herron, merchant; Jacobs & Shallenberger, blacksmith; J. W. King, foundryman; Thomas Lilly, grain and live-stock dealer; Robert McDonald, shoemaker; John Mailey, baker; E. T. Marshall, carpenter; G. W. Martin, dealer in general merchandise; Joseph Moffitt, wagon-maker; Lewis W. Morgan, merchant and coal dealer; William Powell, carpenter; J. W. L. Rabe, dentist; Davis Sheplar, dealer in boots and shoes; J. W. Smith, postmaster and dealer in drugs, books, stationery, etc.; J. B. Vandyke, merchant; Solomon Zook, grocer; and Prof. G. P. Beard, principal of the Southwestern State Normal School.
Boat-building.—Soon after the founding of the town its proprietors placed in operation a saw-mill. In 1851 this mill was leased by a firm composed of William McFall, Jr., St. Clair Chrisinger, and James Imley, who, during the summer of that year, engaged in boat-building. They continued the business but two or three years, however, being succeeded by Capt. Mark Sterling and Benjamin Coursin.
In 1857, under the firm-name of G. M. Eberman & Co., G. M. Eberman and William McFall, Jr., purchased the property, made many improvements, and began an extensive business as boat-builders. In 1865 the firm of Craft & Lambert leased the premises for one year, and during that time built nine boats. The proprietors of the yard resumed work in 1866, though, and in 1870, by S. W. Craft becoming a member of the firm, the title changed to that of Eberman, McFall & Co. In the fall of 1879 the road-bed of the Pittsburgh, Virginia and Charleston Railroad was carried through the grounds of this firm, and as a result their boat-yard, to that time one of the most complete and convenient on the river, was destroyed, and the work of boat-building abruptly brought to an end. The question of damages, etc., is still a matter of contest in the courts.
From 1859 to 1879, inclusive, fifty men were usually employed, except during the years 1863 and 1864, when about seventy-five men were furnished employment. During the twenty years above mentioned the firm of G. M. Eberman & Co. and Eberman, McFall & Co, constructed one hundred and sixty-eight steamboats and model barges, at a cost of $754,753.54, besides having sold from their yards timber and lumber of the value of $40,000. In 1878 they built the steamers "Montana" and "Dacota" for the Missouri River trade. These boats were two hundred and fifty feet in length, forty-eight feet wide, and five feet six inches depth of hold. The famous barges owned by W. H. Brown and Richard Gray also represent the handiwork of the California boat-builders.
The Christian Church.1--In the early days of Christianity, when the disciples were scattered abroad, they went everywhere preaching the word. So when Edward Riggs moved his family to California, Pa., in 1858, he began to declare the gospel to his neighbors, and became a centre of religious influence in the community. Five members of his household were disciples of Christ, and they found two others, David Thomas and his wife, who were of "like precious faith."
1 By the Rev. W. L. Hayden.
Judson D. Benedict, of Tonawanda, N. Y., a man of great intellectual power, and an exceptionally forcible and convincing speaker, was invited to hold a series of meetings in this new and growing village. He came in March, 1859, and preached in the old school-house to deeply interested audiences. Much inquiry was awakened, and many people, like the noble Bereans, "received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily whether these things were so; therefore many of them believed."
On March 24, 1859, several persons having been immersed upon a public confession of their faith in Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Christian Church in California, Pa., was organized in the house of Edward Riggs, on Second Street, the second church of the living God that was planted in his private dwelling. Twenty-two persons on that day associated themselves together in church order on the principles of the gospel of Christ as set forth by the apostles in the New Testament Scriptures. Their names are as follows, viz.: Edward Riggs, Hester Riggs, Jesse E. Riggs, Hattie N. Riggs, Amanda Riggs, Sarah J. Riggs, David Thomas, Harriet Thomas, Joseph Pyle, Albena Pyle, Emeline Pyle, Phebe Margarette Pyle, A. A. Devore, James Marshall, Josiah W. Phillips, Susan Phillips, Sarah Smith, Laura E. Smith, Mary Miller, Rebecca Miller, Henry Hornbake, and Sidney J. Rothwell. Of these Edward Riggs, David Thomas, and A. A. Devore were appointed elders. Owing to the peculiar views of J. D. Benedict with regard to the church organization, no deacons were chosen at that time.
Soon after the organization Mr. Riggs moved to his present residence on Fifth Street, where the church assembled regularly for worship and edification for nearly seven years. On occasion, when favored with the labors of an evangelist in meetings of days, they met in the old school building. By their fidelity and silent influence, and the occasional assistance of able proclaimers of the gospel with the blessing of God, the word of God increased, the number of disciples multiplied, and "the Lord added to them those that were being saved."
On Jan. 7, 1866, the church began to meet in the old school-house, according to previous arrangement, for the usual Lord's day worship, and continued so to meet until the completion of the present plain but comfortable and sufficiently commodious house of worship.
The first step toward a meeting-house was taken about the beginning of the year 1863, when a meeting was called to consider the propriety of building a house for public worship. It was then resolved that a board of trustees be chosen to take charge of all the church property, to receive any and all money or moneys or other valuables, and select a site for a building, if deemed advisable to build. Joseph Pyle, David Shallenberger, and Albert Wilson were chosen said board of trustees.
Prudently considering the financial ability of the membership, and desiring to avoid the embarrassment of a depressing debt, they moved slowly in obtaining subscriptions and collecting the necessary funds. On Jan. 4, 1866, it was resolved that the trustees, who were appointed at a previous meeting, be instructed to purchase a lot known as the Wilkins lot for one hundred and seventy-five dollars, on which to build a meeting-house. This resolution was carried into effect the same month, Jan. 18, 1866, when the lot was purchased according to instructions, and a deed was given by William Phillips and Mary, his wife, to Albert Wilson, Joseph Pyle, and David Shallenberger, trustees for the use of the Disciple Church meeting in California, Pa.
On May 26th, of the same year, a building committee was appointed consisting of Josiah W. Phillips, Edward Riggs, Joseph Pyle, and David Shallenberger. They proceeded to procure funds and materials, but did not build until 1870, when the present frame house was erected and completed early in 1871. The formal opening of the house for public worship was on Feb. 15, 1871. On that day John F. Rowe preached and began a series of meetings, continuing over three Lord' days, and resulting in several accessions to the church. The elders of this church have been selected with special reference to the scriptural qualification of aptness to teach. The general policy has been to rely upon local talent, chiefly the eldership, for the public instruction of the congregation and guidance into all good works, and to call in preachers to aid in special efforts to reach the world with the offers of salvation.
The present eldership consists of Edward Riggs, G. G. Hertzog, and Robert Wilson; the first of whom has been an office-bearer in the church of God almost continuously for more than forty-five years. With him Josiah W. Phillips and David Shallenberger were also associated a part of the time. The deaconate is composed of Joseph Wilkins, James Luellyn, D. H. Jacobs, and James Stevenson.
The preachers who have labored with this church in meetings of days and sometimes weeks, some of whom have been called two, three, or four times for such labors, are the following, viz.: J. D. Benedict, J. F. Rowe, L. Southmayd, Benjamin Franklin, L. P. Streator, J. C. Goodrick, Samuel Matthews, L. W. Scott, S. F. Fowler, Campbell Jobes, W. B. Young, J. W. Kemp, L. F. Bittle, R. H. Singer, O. G. Hertzog, Joseph King, William Baxter, D. L. Kincaid, William Pinkerton, T. D. Garvin, and George Musson.
Others have preached occasionally to the edification of the body, among whom are J. B. Pyatt, James Darsie, William Martin, A. C. McKeever, Thomas Strathern, M. L. Streator, S. B. Teagarden, and W. L. Hayden.
This church is in a hopeful condition, and is quietly holding on its way and pursuing its work. It has received into its fellowship more than three hundred members. But, with a floating element in the population, it has suffered loss by removals, while some have departed from the faith and others have "fallen asleep in Christ." The present active membership is about one hundred and fifty. It maintains a flourishing Sunday-school of near one hundred pupils under the efficient superintendency of Prof. G. G. Hertzog, assisted by an excellent corps of twelve teachers. Thus its working members are striving to "shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life."
The First Presbyterian Church.—On the evening of June 24, 1877, Rev. William Willson preached a sermon from Matt.xix.20, in the chapel of the State Normal School, in California, and on the 8th of July following he preached another sermon from 1 Kings vi. 7, in the Presbyterian Church at Greenfield. On the ensuing day (June 9th) a number of persons signed a petition requesting the Presbytery of Pittsburgh to organize a Presbyterian Church in the town of California. Subsequently the committee on presbyterial missions authorized Mr. Willson to labor in this region. At his solicitation Rev. R. Lee, D.D., preached in California July 15, 1877, and Rev. David McKinney, D.D., preached in Greenfield and California on the 23rd of the same month. Rev. John Kerr also preached in California September 30th.
The Presbytery of Pittsburgh, on the 3d of October, 1877, appointed Rev. R. Lee, D.D., Rev. William Willson, and Elder William Caldwell a committee to organize a church in California "as soon as the way should appear open." Accordingly, two members of this committee (viz.: Rev. R. Lee, D.D., and Rev. William Willson) and others, agreeably to previous announcement, met in Room A of the normal school building Nov. 2, 1877, when, after singing and prayers, and a sermon by the Rev. Dr. Lee, the meeting adjourned. On the succeeding day, all of the members of the committee being present, the following persons united in organizing a Presbyterian Church,1 viz.: Miss Hannah Montgomery, Mrs. Tillie Crawford, Mr. William Mehaffey, Mrs. Ruth Mehaffey, Mr. William M. Hart, Mrs. Bessie Hart, Prof. James B. Smith, Mr. Isaac K. Jackman, Mrs. H. Jackman, Mrs. Caroline Hazelbaker, Mr. Charles Howe, Mrs. Mary E. Howe, Mrs. Luna C. Beard, Mr. Theo. F. Montgomery, Mrs. Rebecca Montgomery, Mrs. Annie J. Smith, and Mrs. Jennietta Hill.
1 Prof. George P. Beard, an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church, and the present principal of the Southwestern Normal College, also bore an active part in organizing this church.
During the evening of the same day Rev. William Willson preached from Luke xviii. 1, and Psalm cxviii. 25, and Prof. James B. Smith was ordained and installed ruling elder. Thereupon the committee of the Presbytery of Pittsburgh declared the First Presbyterian Church of California duly organized, and the meeting adjourned. Another meeting was immediately held, Rev. Dr. Lee presiding, when the Rev. William Willson was unanimously elected as a supply for the new church for one year, to commence Oct. 1, 1877. He continued until September, 1880. The next regular supply was Rev. Levi Risher, who came in December, 1880, and remained until July, 1881. In December, 1881, Rev. E. P. Crane was installed as the first regular pastor of this church, and still continues as such.
The church edifice was built during the summer of 1878. It is a frame structure. It cost about $1600, and has sittings for two hundred persons. The elders at the present time are James B. Smith and Noah W. Patton, the latter having been elected in December 1879. James W. Clark, a former elder, removed from the town in the spring of 1881, as did also Josiah Reed, who was elected a ruling elder in January, 1879. The first board of trustees was composed of William Mehaffey, William M. Hart, and James B. Smith. The present trustees are Isaac Reed, Isaac Jackman, and J. B. Vandyke, who were elected in December, 1879. Present membership of the church, forty-eight. Pupils in Sabbath-school, one hundred. Prof. J. B. Smith, Sunday-school superintendent.
Methodist Episcopal Sabbath-School.—The Methodist Episcopal Church edifice was dedicated October 7, 1860, and immediately thereafter the first1 Sabbath-school was organized under the superintendence of Rev. Abner Jackson. Among the original members of this school were Rev. Abner Jackson, Samuel S. Rothwell, William McFall, Sr., Thomas Craver, Samuel M. Davis, G. M. Eberman, Ann Sickman, Ann C. Ailes, Misses Maggie Dehaven, Mary E. Wells, Mattie Powell, Orpha H. Carroll, Bell Carroll, and Angeline Baker.
1 A Union Sabbath-school existed prior to the date here given, which met in the old school-house, but it was not under the control of any religious denomination.
On the 3d of March, 1861, the school was reorganized by the adoption of a constitution and by-laws. L. W. Morgan was then elected superintendent, and has been re-elected annually for twenty-one years in succession. James S. Harris was the first secretary chosen, and served one year, except three months passed in the United States army of volunteers, in company with other members of the school.
Says the Rev. Mr. Pierce, "When the Sunday-school was organized we had no Sunday-school music. We sang church hymns and tunes. Solomon Meredith set the tunes. It was the very large scholars who did the singing then; but the very small ones can sing better now than the large ones did then."
During the pastorates of Revs. Baketell and Pierce, Sunday-school institutes were held, which were very pleasant. A normal class was organized during the latter's term, and most of the course completed. Mission Sunday-school were formed at Granville, Wood's Run, and Troytown, and libraries worth twenty-six dollars placed in each. The local preachers and Sunday-school officers of California and Greenfield rendered most efficient service in planting and fostering these schools.
Since March, 1861, twelve pastors have been located here, and during that time the congregation has contributed for missions eight hundred and thirty dollars, the Sabbath-school two hundred and thirty-two dollars. In 1870 there were twelve hundred volumes in the Sunday-school library, the greatest number since organization. Of these, five hundred and fifty were lost in one year. Starting with about seventy-five scholars, in 1861, the number has been gradually increased until the present time, when two hundred and fifty are found enrolled, with an average attendance of two hundred; the primary classes numbering more than the whole school did twenty-one years ago.2
2 From a historical report rendered lately by G. M. Eberman, S. W. Craft, S. A. Pierce, and others of a committee.
Of deceased members of the California Methodist Episcopal Church Sunday-school we find mentioned the names of James P. Ailes, Mr. McMillen, Myula McCain, Josephine McCain, Mary Wells, D. H. Lancaster, Abner Wilkins, Charles Davis, Joana Osborn, Leander Truxel, William McFall, Sr., Orpha M. Carroll, and William Carroll, Sr.
Cemeteries.—On the hill near the residence of William W. Jackman is an ancient burial-place which was probably used by the early settlers long before the beginning of this century. The burialgrounds within the limits of the village proper, containing about one acre, were opened in 1812 or 1813, Robert Jackman, the pioneer, having been one of the first buried there.
East Pike Run Cemetery, containing seventeen acres and seventy-four perches, adjoins the Monongahela River, and was laid out August 14, 1876.
Pike Run Lodge, No. 491, I. O. O. F., was chartered May 20, 1853. The early records of the lodge have been destroyed by fire, but among those mentioned as charter members were Harrison Hornbake, Joseph Moody, J. S. Vanhorn, James T. Imley, Jacob Baker, J. O. Lewellen, and Solomon Sibbitt.
To May 1, 1882, two hundred and eighty-eight members have joined the organization, and during the same period the Past Grands have been as follows: Harrison Hornbake, Joseph Moody, John S. Vanhorn, J. T. Imlay, James O. Lewellen, Solomon Sibbitt, Jacob G. Huggins, J. G. Dowler, St. Clair Chrislinger, J. L. Wensley, Jacob Hornbake, Francis M. Osborn, T. D. Moffitt, L. J. Baker, Isaac Leadbeater, Samuel Lewis, John Clendoniel, R. A. McDonald, J. S. Wilkins, J. W. Paxton, D. H. Jacobs, A. G. Powell, J. L. Long, G. G. Hertzog, J. M. Birkensha, L. C. Powell, L. P. Fry, S. B. Paxton, J. W. Sterge, Jehu Dehaven, D. H. Lewis, W. H. Beazell, J. C. Hank, E. T. Marshall, L. P. Beazell, W. C. Layton, W. G. Gardner, David Phillips, George Morgan, J. G. Thompson, W. B. Alter, W. B. Harris, A. B. Ghrist, G. H. Lewis, J. A. Letherman, E. Lopp, and E. F. Reed.
The lodge is in a flourishing condition. Its present members number seventy-nine, and R. M. Wood, N. G.; John Spear, V. G.; A. B. Ghrist, Sec.; L. C. Powell, Asst. Sec.; E. Eaglers, C.; G. H. Lewis, W.; and D. H. Lewis, Treas., are its present officers.
Regular meetings are held every Tuesday evening at their lodge-rooms on the corner of Second and Union Streets.
Knights of Pythias.—A lodge of Knights of Pythias was organized in the village about the year 1873. It ceased work, however, in 1880 or 1881, when some of its members joined the Greenfield Lodge.
Normal Council, No. 545, Royal Arcanum, was organized Dec. 6, 1880, Joseph E. Abell, Leonidas H. Reeves, P. J. Forsythe, Francis M. Corron, James Stevenson, Joseph Garrow, George Garrow, Thomas Coatsworth, Prof. G. P. Beard, Prof. D. C. Murphy, Prof. T. R. Wakefield, John T. Hoomell, George Morgan, Dr. J. A. Letherman, Dr. N. S. Veatch, and James P. McCain being the charter members.
The first officers, viz. : Prof. George P. Beard, R.; James Stevenson, V. R.; George Morgan, P. R. ; Prof. T. R. Wakefield, O. ; Prof. D. C. Murphy, Sec. ; Dr. J. A. Letherman, Col. ; L. H. Reeves, Treas ; F. M. Corron, Chapl. ; George Garrow, G. ; James P. McCain, W.; Dr. N. S. Veatch, S. ; J. E. Abell, Joseph Garrow, and Thomas Coatsworth, Trustees, were installed Jan. 24, 1881.
Twenty-seven have joined the organization (to May 1, 1882), and that number represents its present membership.
Present officers are Prof. G.G. Hertzog, R. ; George Morgan, V. R. ; Prog. D. C. Murphy, Sec. ; Prof. T. R. Wakefield, O. ; Dr. J. A. Letherman, Col. ; Dr. N. S. Veatch, Treas, ; James P. McCain, W. ; James Stevenson, Sec. ; John L. Vaughan, Chapl. ; Thomas Coatsworth, G.
Meetings are held in Odd-Fellows' Hall, on the second and fourth Monday evenings of each month.
Harry Billingsby1 Post, No. 168, G. A. R., was organized at a meeting held in the borough of California May 5, 1869. It appears that at that meeting Commander I. M. Regester and other comrades of the Brownsville Post were present, that the regular order of business was dispensed with, and that James K. Billingsby, James S. Long, L. P. Fry, and Thomas Young were thereupon mustered as recruits. Comrade I. M. Regester then resigned as Commander, when S. B. Paxton was elected to fill the unexpired term. We will add in this connection that prior to the date here mentioned a post of the Grand Army had been organized at Brownsville, Fayette Co. Its members seem to have lost interest in it at an early day. The place of meeting (as here shown) was then changed to California, and finally, as intended, their charter was left in the hands of the Californians.
1 Harry Billinsgby was a brother of Capt. J. K. Billingsby, and served as a private in the Second Regiment of West Virginia Infantry. At the battle of Rocky Gap, W. Va., he was wounded and taken prisoner, and finally died of his wounds while in the hands of the enemy.
The first regular meeting of the post was held May 12, 1869, when the following officers were mentioned as being present: S. B. Paxton, C. ; A. G. Powell, S. V. C. ; I. T. Dawson, Adjt. ; J. Dehaven, Q.-M. ; N. W. Truxal, Surg. ; and W. N. Baker, O. D.
Subsequent Commanders have been James K. Billingsby, elected in June, 1869; Luke P. Beazell, elected in December, 1869; John Piper, June, 1870; W. B. Harris, December, 1870 ; no record of June, 1871 ; James K. Billingsby, December, 1871 ; no record for June, 1872 ; J. B. Shallenberger, December, 1872, who continued until March, 1880, when a reorganization took place. The officers then elected to serve for the remainder of the year were J. B. Shallenberger, C. ; Luke P. Beazell, S. V. C. ; and I. T. Dawson, J. V. C. In December, 1880, I. T. Dawson was elected Commander, and in December, 1881, the following (present) officers were elected: William M. Hart, C. ; T. F. Montgomery, S. V. C. ; A. J. Hertzog, J. V. C. ; Samuel M. Jobes, Surg. ; J. W. L. Rabe, Chap. ; J. B. Shallenberger, O. D. ; and J. B. Montgomery, O. G. Delegate to attend general encampment at Williamsport, Pa., J. M. Swan ; alternate, A. J. Hertzog.
The post has a present membership of twenty-six. Of those, however, who have at various times been admitted as members we furnish the following data. This list indicates the rank of members at time of muster out of the United States service, and the organizations in which they served during the war of the Rebellion :
J. K. Billingsby, captain, 2d W. Va. Inf. ; 5th W. Va. Cav.
L. P. Beazell, second lieutenant, Co. D, 79th Pa. Inf.
J. B. Montgomery, second lieutenant, 2d W. Va. Inf. ; 5th W. Va. Cav.
I.T. Dawson, second major-sergeant, Ringgold Cav. ; 22d Pa. Cav.
N. W. Truxal, captain, 2d W. Va. Inf. ; 5th W. Va. Cav.
S. B. Paxton, captain, Co. I, 1st W. Va. Cav.
Erastus S. Marshall, private, Co. E, 155th Pa. Inf.
W. J. Harris, private, Co. I, 5th W. Va. Cav.
Harry Mann, sergeant, Co. H, 1st Pa. R. C.
L. P. Fry, private, Co. D, 22d Pa. Cav.
W. N. Baker, sergeant, 8th Pa. R. C. ; U.S.S.C.
John Veatch, sergeant, 2d W. Va. Inf. ; 1st W. Va. Art.
A. N. Jobes, private, 2d W. Va. Inf. ; 5th W. Va. Cav.
John W. Piper, private, Co. B, 57th Pa. Inf.
J. S. Dales, private, Co. E, 155th Pa. Inf.
M. A. Sample, bugler, 1st W. Va. Cav.
John R. Williams, private, 2d W. Va. Inf. ; 5th W. Va. Cav.
Jonah Harris, artificer, Co. D, 22d Pa. Cav.
W. A. Peaden, private, Co. D, 22d Pa. Cav.
J. B. Shallenberger, private, Co. D, 22d Pa. Cav.
D. H. Lancaster, second lieutenant, Co. C, 85th Pa. Inf.
McCall Smith, sergeant, Co. G, 3d Prov. Pa. Cav.
James G. Young, private, Co. E, 155th Pa. Inf.
W. H. Harrison, corporal, Co. G, 22d Pa. Cav.
Louis Schreiner, private, Co. B, 9th Pa. R. C.
Thomas J. Walker, private, Co. I, 2d W. Va. Inf.
Allen Moore, private, Co. I, 2d W. Va. Inf.
Thomas Young, private, Co. I, 2d W. Va. Inf.
W. H. White, private, Co. D, 22d Pa. Cav.
Nathaniel Young, private, Co. E, 110th Pa. Inf.
George Clendenen, private, Co. I, 2d W. Va. Inf.
W. H. Mahony, private, Co. C, 85th Pa. Inf.
S. J. Howe, private, Co. I, 2d W. Va. Inf. ; 5th W. Va. Cav.
Robert A. McDonald, private, Co. I, 5th W. Va. Cav.
John G. Thompson, private, Co. F, 140th Pa. Inf.
D. H. Lewis, private, Co. C, 105th Pa. Inf.
James McDonough, surgeon, 46th Pa. Inf.
William McMurray, private, Co. F, 78th Pa. Inf.
A. J. Hertzog, bugler, Co. B, 14th Pa. Cav.
Joseph Garrow, private, Co. B, 77th Pa. Inf.
James A. S. White, private, 12th Pa. Inf. ; 22d Pa. Cav.
Thomas Williams, private, Co. F, 32d U.S.C.T.
George W. Sherman, private, Co. C, 85th Pa. Inf.
David Phillips, bugler, Co. G, 1st W. Va. Inf.
William Lundy, private, Co. D, 15th Pa. Cav.
Samuel M. Jobes, private, Co. I, 5th W. Va. Inf. ; 2d W. Va. Cav.
Joseph W. Waters, private, Co. G, 22d Pa. Cav.
J. W. L. Rabe, private, Co. G, 157th Ohio Inf.
William Willson, chaplain, 6th Kansas Cav.
J. M. Swan, first sergeant, Co. F, 30th Ohio Inf.
William M. Hart,2 hospital steward, 1st W. Va. Inf. ; 2d W. Va. Vet. Inf.
T. F. Montgomery, private, Co. B, 22d Pa. Cav.
2Within thirty minutes of hearing of the bombardment of Fort Sumter, William M. Hart caused to be made and displayed the first United States flag hoisted in the Panhandle of Virginia after the event mentioned. He was also the first United States volunteer in the town of Hamilton, Hancock Co., Va., now West Virginia.
MAJ. S. B. HOWE.Maj. S. B. Howe was the son of Daniel and Charlotte Howe, and was born in Bentleysville, Washington Co., May 2, 1835. The greater part of his life, prior to his enlistment as a soldier, was spent in the town of California, in his native county, whither his father had moved when he was quite young. There he was educated, and there he learned the trade of brick-moulding, which he followed for several years. In the war of Rebellion he offered his services to the national government, as did also his father and brothers, William, Samuel, and Lemuel. He was a gallant and devoted soldier, and left a record without spot or blemish. We give it as detailed by one intimately associated with him :
"Maj. S. B. Howe enlisted as a soldier in the First West Virginia Veteran Cavalry at its organization, and was soon appointed to the rank of second lieutenant, then to captain, and placed in command of Company M. In this rank he distinguished himself in many of the hard-fought battles of 1863 and 1864. In the campaign of the latter year he was selected and detailed by Gen. Averill to command the company of scouts, and received his orders direct from the general. In this capacity he performed some of the most daring exploits of the war, and received the highest encomiums from the commanding general, and established a reputation for gallantry in the estimation of every officer who knew him. In February, 1865, he was commissioned major, and immediately, in command of the First Regiment West Virginia Veteran Cavalry, started on the great raid of Gen. Phil. H. Sheridan up the Shenandoah Valley and to the James River. He was particularly conspicuous at Mount Crawford, March 1, 1865. He swam his regiment across the river, and in company with the First New York Cavalry charged the enemy in gallant style, driving him from the burning bridge with great loss ; and again at Waynesboro' he bore an active part in the rout and capture of Gen. Early's army, and from Petersburg to Appomattox Court-House he was conspicuous at every engagement. At Dinwiddie Court-House he made a splendid charge with his regiment dismounted, completely checking the advancing columns of the enemy ; in the running cavalry fight from Nanozine to Deep Creek, driving the enemy with great haste a distance of twelve miles with great loss. He performed an important part at Little Sailor's Creek, where his brigade made the best and most successful charge of the war, capturing Gen. Ewell and his entire corps, cannon, battle-flags, etc. Maj. Howe was second to no regimental commander. At Appomattox Court-House, April 8, 1865, he fell at the close of that obstinate engagement, at the hour of midnight, whilst gallantly leading his regiment in his final charge, in command of the First West Virginia Veteran Cavalry. In all his official relations he was courteous, prompt, and cheerful, and no officer in the brigade shared more fully the confidence of his commanding officer than Maj. S. B. Howe, and none who have fallen will be cherished more fondly in the memory of his companions in arms than he. With deepest regret for the loss of our fallen hero and 'brother,' and with sincere regard and condolence for his afflicted wife and aged mother, I have inscribed the foregoing.Harper's Weekly of Nov. 4, 1865, gives a view of his grave at the church near Appomattox Court-House, and thus speaks of him : " A squadron of the First West Virginia Cavalry, under Maj. Howe, of that regiment, was pressed forward to the station just before dark, and in the charge the gallant Howe fell, shot through the body, and was carried by some of his faithful men to the church, where he shortly afterwards expired. Next morning he was buried, rolled up in his cloak, without formality in the rear of the church, as represented in the sketch. In the death of Maj. Howe his regiment lost a most valuable officer, and a man loved and respected by all who knew him. Maj. Howe was the last of a noble family of five robust men, all the others having previously died in the war." [The last statement is an error ; one of the five, Samuel, had a leg broken while in the service, but returned home. The other four all died in the service.]
"Colonel of the First West Virginia Veteran Cavalry."
Maj. Howe's remains were removed from the grave on the battle-field and interred in the Monongahela City Cemetery, May 12, 1865.
Maj. Howe was married Jan. 28, 1864, to Emeline, daughter of Ira and Mary Butler, of Carroll township, Washington Co., Pa. She resides with her parents.
*Boyd Crumrine, "History of Washington County, Pennsylvania with Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men" (Philadelphia: L. H. Leverts & Co., 1882).
Transcribed by Julie Jolly of Knob Noster, MO in October 1998. Published in October 1998 on http://www.chartiers.com. and associated sites.
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