Monongahela City (pp. 656)[Note: What follows is a transcription of pages 566 through 581 of the chapter in the Crumrine History covering Monongahela. The remainder of chapter will be published in the near future.]
History of Washington County, Pennsylvania*
This picturesque and thriving town, second in point of numbers, yet the most important manufacturing centre in the county of Washington, is situated on the left bank of the Monongahela River, at the mouth of the small stream known as Pigeon Creek, thirty-one miles by railway above the city of Pittsburgh.
It contains about one thousand taxable inhabitants, two newspaper offices, two banking-houses, various important manufacturing interests, eight church edifices, a new and elegant public school building, numerous handsome residences, streets illuminated with gas, and its citizens are afforded ample means of communication with Brownsville, Pittsburgh, and other points throughout the valley both by river and railway. However, as matters pertaining to the present will be treated at considerable length in the succeeding pages, we will now turn back to a time of more than one hundred years ago, and delve and probe, so to speak, concerning its early history.
Since the first settlement of this portion of the Monongahela Valley by the English-speaking whites, the name of Parkison has ever been prominent, for, by reason of a member of a family of this name having been the first permanent resident here, the founder of the town and of other business interests, the term has become inseparably connected with the history of this vicinity, whether known as "Parkison Ferry," "Williamsport," or Monongahela City. It is of Joseph Parkison, then, the founder of this town, that we would first speak; but here, as elsewhere, difficulties are met with at the outset, for though the pioneers of this region lived at a time when much history was being made, when events of sufficient importance to startle the civilized world were of daily occurrence, and when, while witnessing the birth of a great nation, a grapple to the death with the treacherous savages of the Northwest was to be expected at any moment, they left but few written records behind them, and those, in many changes brought about during the lapse of years, disappeared long ago. True, representatives of pioneer families and ambiguous traditions remain, yet to arrive at the least degree of accuracy the searcher for historical facts must rely chiefly upon such meager fragments as can be gathered from the county and State archives and incomplete early newspapers.
It happens that immediately after the treaty of Nov. 5, 1768, when the Indian title to lands comprising the southwestern counties of Pennsylvania was extinguished, the proprietaries or heirs of William Penn began the sale of tracts located in the new purchase to individuals at the rate of £5 for one hundred acres; and among those who then or very soon thereafter obtained patents for lands in this vicinity, situated on either side of the Monongahela, were Abraham Decker, Tobias Decker, John Decker, Adam Whickerham, Paul Froman1, Jacob Froman, and probably James and Jacobus Devore. The warrant though which covered the original plot of Williamsport was issued Aug. 26, 1769, and the land was surveyed for Abraham Decker October 26th of the same year. This tract, mentioned in the surveyor's field-notes as "Southwark or "Southwork," and in the proprietary records as Patent No. 3788, contained seventy acres, described as "adjoining the Monongahela River, and Jacob Froman and down the river, and Tobias Decker on the north." The description further said, "A stream enters the river on the upper side of the tract, which is shaped like a keystone, with the top butting on the river."
[1 On the 30th day of June, 1772, Paul Froman, of Bedford County (this region was then included in Bedford), in consideration of the sum of one hundred pounds, current money of Pennsylvania, sold to Adam Wickerham "one tract of land, situate on the northeast side of the Monongahela River, joining the land of John Decker on one side, and Tobias Decker on the other side, being the land in possession of I, Paul Froman, living on."
The same was acknowledged before Dorsey Pentecost at the court held for Yohogania County, Va., Aug. 24, 1778.
Another tract patented to Paul Froman, May 24, 1785, was by him sold to Adam Wickerham, March 13, 1792. upon this tract Wickerham laid out the town of "George Town," adjoining Willimasport, as early as 1807. Concerning Paul Froman, we will say, further, that as early as 1775 he owned a grist-mill, which was situated on Mingo Creek.]
During the year 1770, however, Joseph Parkison came from some point east of the Allegheny range, and settled on the tract before mentioned as "Southwark," and ultimately laid claim to it and other lands adjoining to the amount over three hundred acres. It has been stated that the Parkisons came from Bedford County, but Bedford County did not then exist. This region formed part of Cumberland County until March 9, 1771, of Bedford from the latter date until the formation of Westmoreland, Feb. 26, 1778, and of the latter county from the date last mentioned until the erection of Washington County, March 28, 1781 and from the fact that the Parkisons seem to have espoused the cause of Virginia as against Pennsylvania in the claim for territory situated hereabouts, it is probable that they came here from Virginia or Maryland.1
[1 Since the foregoing was written we have learned from the venerable Capt. Ira R. Butler (who obtained his information from Joseph Parkison himself) that the Parkisons before removing to this county had been members of the Conococheague settlement. As our readers will learn by scanning maps and historical works, the "Conococheague settlement" was a very early one, and the English, Scotch, and German emigrants who first located there supported that their settlement lay wholly within the domains of Lord Baltimore. However, by a subsequent arrangement between the proprietors of the two provinces (an arrangement not at all satisfactory to a majority of those who were thus transferred from the rule of Lord Baltimore's officers to those of the Penns'), the present line between the states of Pennsylvania and Maryland was finally established considerably to the southward of the line called for in Lord Baltimore's grant, and thus the original Conococheague settlement is embraced by what is now known as Washington County, Md., formed from Frederick in 1776, and Franklin County, Pa., formed from Cumberland in 1784.
The Parkisons were of English or Scotch descent. Joseph Parkison's wife was a true representative of the stock known as the "Pennsylvania Dutch," and her reputation as a most excellent landlady was widely extended.]
Of the Parkisons there were five brothers, viz.: Joseph, Benjamin, Thomas,2 James,3 and William; but of them Joseph alone was prominently connected with the early history of the town proper. It should be understood, too, that the Benjamin Parkison here mentioned and the Benjamin Parkison who at an early day was so extensively engaged in business at Mingo are not one and the same. The latter was a nephew of Benjamin, Sr.,4 and a son of either James or William.
[2 Thomas Parkison settled in what is now known as Dunbar township, Fayette County, where he erected a grist-mill. In 1801 but one other individual in the township was assessed for more property. A year or two later he removed to Somerset township, in this (Washington) county, where he built a mill known afterwards as the McFarland mill. He finally removed to Brooke County, Va., in 1807, and died there the same year.]
[3 James Parkison, by virtue of a warrant dated Jan. 22, 1797, became the owner of a tract of four hundred and one acres, known as "Parkison's Green," situated on the waters of Pigeon Creek and Dry Run. Subsequently this tract was purchased of James Parkison by Joseph Parkison, and by him transferred to Benjamin Parkison, Sept. 27, 1791, the latter also purchased of the Commonwealth a tract of one hundred and eighty acres, known as Mount Pleasant, on Pigeon Creek. The warrant was issued May 2, 1792, and the land was surveyed Sept. 24, 1797. It adjoined the Monongahela River and lands owned by Adam Wickerham and Andrew McFarland.]
[4 Benjamin Parkison, Sr., the brother of Joseph, settled and lived for many years in Nottingham township, on the premises since owned by David Hootman. He was one of the first justices of the peace of Washington County (having been commissioned in 1781), and during the Whiskey Insurrection of 1791-94 was an active and prominent leader of the insurrection. Subsequently he was pardoned by Geo. Washington.]
At the first session of Lord Dunmore's court, held at Fort Dunmore in February 1775, authority was granted James Devore to keep a ferry "from his house on the Monongahela River to the mouth of Pigeon Creek." It also appears that at about that time Nicholas Depue owned lands and lived at the mouth of the same creek.
In 1780 a Virginia certificate was granted to Joseph Parkison, and thus, according to the claims of Virginia, he became vested with the ownership of a tract entitled "Wood Park,"5 which included Southwark, the words used by the Virginia commissioners being as follows:
"We, the commissioners for adjusting the claims to unpatented lands in the counties of Monongahela, Yohogania, and Ohio, do hereby certify that Joseph Parkison, assignee of Brady & Brooks, is entitled to three hundred and eighteen acres of land in the county of Yohogania, situate on the Monongahela Riber, to include his settlement made in the year 1770.
"Given under our hands at Coxe's Fort, this 11th day of February, 1780, and in the fourth year of the Commonwealth.
(Signed) "Francis Peyton, "Philip Pendleton, "Joseph Holmes."
[5 The boundaries of "Wood Park," briefly described, were the Monongahela River, Pigeon Creek, and a straight line, which, commencing near the foot of Third Street, ran parallel with the street and beyond until the waters of Pigeon Creek were reached at " a sugar-tree."]
On the first day of January, 1781, viewers were appointed by the Court of Quarter Sessions of Washington county to lay out a roud "from Bassett Town [no Washington] to the mouth of Pigeon Creek." This immediate locality, therefore, seems to have been known as "the mouth of Pigeon Creek" and "Devore's Ferry" until 1782, when, bu an act approved April 13th of that year, the landing of a ferry of Parkison and Devore---meaning Joseph Parkison and Jacobus Devore---was established, "30 perches below the mouth of Pigeon Creek."
After the close of the Revolutionary war, notwithstanding the anomalous condition of affairs existing in a region where (until August, 1780) the jurisdiction of two different States, under dissimilar laws, enforced by diverse sets of magistrates, had been exercised over the same people, the beautiful and fertile Monongahela valley invited settlements, and the neighborhood of which "Parkison's Ferry" was the central point increased in numbers quite rapidly. But after the passing of so many years, and in consequence of the lack of authentic data, it is now impossible to ascertain the names of but very few of these early residents. Among them, however, was James Rodgers and family. With his wife an dseven children---three sons and four daughters---Mr. Rodgers emigrated from the north of Ireland and settled at Parkison's Ferry during the year 1786. Another daughter, who was married in Ireland to a gentleman named Hamilton, came to this country at a subsequent time.
The old people lived but a short time after their settlement here. They were of the "fist Irish stock," were freeholders in the old country, and the change from the comforts and the enjoyments of their former lives to the privations of the wilderness was more than they could bear, and they died within a short time of each other. The daughters it appears brought some of their former ways of living with them. They were said to have been very beautiful and fond of dress, and wore their hair crimped and powdered, and long plumes in their hats, which must have been something unusual among the settlers, for the Rev. Mr. McMillan, pastor of the old Pigeon Creek Church, where they attended, once reproved them for their striking appearance, saying they "took the attention of the congregation from him." One of them, Olivia Rodgers, was married to Benjamin Parkison1 in 1796, and their descendants are well known. William, a son resulting from this marriage, married Matilda Rodgers, a daughter of Hon. James Rodgers, of Ohio, thus a second time uniting the Parkison and Rodgers families.
[1 The Benjamin Parkison who owned the mills at the mouth of Mingo Creek.]
The sons of James Rodgers who emigrated from Ireland were Moses, Andrew, and Ebenezer. Moses married a Miss Turner, and lived for some years near Mingo Creek, where he owned or operated a grist-mill.2 He became the father of fourteen children, and long before Horace Greeley but re-echoed the sentiment, concluded that it were better to "go West" and grow up with the country. Many of his descendants may now be found at or near Madison, Indiana. Andrew married a Miss Duncan. A son of theirs, James Rodgers, removed to Ohio and engaged in the iron business. He built the first iron furnace in that State, was twice elected to Congress, and was president of the Iron Bank of Ironton at the time of his death. He was one of the founders of ironton, and left a large estate. Ebenezer, the third son of James Rodgers, Sr., never married.
[2 Probably the old Froman mill before mentioned.]
Besides the Parkison and Rodgers families there were living at the ferry or in its immediate vicinity in 1790 the Dickeys, Deckers, Fromans, Devores, Daniel Depue, a justice of the peace, Joseph Depue, Nicholas Depue, Samuel Cole (a son-in-law of Danile Depue), who lived on the premises now owned by Joseph warne, Adam Wickerham, Daniel McComas, Andrew McFarland,3 Hugh McGuire, and doubtless a considerable number of others. This was a point where many in their journeyings to the westward crossed the rivers. A post-office had been established. Samuel4 was the trader. Joseph Parkison was the ferry-master and innkeeper; Adam Wickerham also kept an inn, and it is very probably that the hamlet could at that time boast of a blacksmith, shoemaker, etc., as well.
[3 In early years Andrew McFarland held the office of justice of the peace of Westmoreland County by virtue of a commission received from John Penn, and because of the exercise of his authority as justice he was arrested by the Virginia authorities April 9, 1774, and carried as a prisoner to Staunton, Va. However, he was soon after released and allowed to return home.]
[4 Samuel Black was the principal Indian trader in this region, and by the purchase of furs from the Indians and the sale of them to the French at New Orleans---thus managing to have his boats freighted both in going down the rivers and returning---he amassed a considerable fortune. His trading-post was situated at the "ford," or a point about thirty rods above the present grist-mill, which has since been washed away by the river.
Joseph Parkison also kept a small stock of goods, which he sold to the early travelers, pioneers, and Indians.]
The fact that Joseph Parkison attempted to found a town on his lands as early as 1792 is ascertained from the following advertisement, found in the Pittsburgh Gazette of October in that year, viz.:
"The Subscriber has laid out a part of his farm on the Monongahela River in the County of Washington, State of Pennsylvania, at the mouth of Pigeon Creek, opposite Devore's ferry into Lots for a Town, the sale of which will begin on the premises, on the 15th day of November next. It is needless to say much of a place of such public notoriety, yet it may not be amiss to mention that its situation is equal, if not superior, to any in the county, being on the main road leading from the town of Washington &c to Philadelphia, and a place at present of the most public resort and advantageously situated for trade down the river; in the adjacent settlements are several merchant mills on good streams of water; the neighborhood well settled with opulent farmers, and contiguous to several Meeting Houses, and the spot itself healthy and pleasant. A small ground rent will be reserved, but will be made amends for by the cheapness of purchase. Other particulars will be made known on the day of sale.
"Washington County, Oct. 20, 1792.
The result of this advertised sale of lots is not known, but it is evident that no great success attended the attempt made at the time to create a town at Parkison's Ferry, though the place was one of some local importance, as claimed in the proprietor's advertisement.
During the Whiskey Insurrection of 1791-94, Parkison's Ferry, became celebrated as one of the chief points of rendevous of the Whiskey Boys. Here on the 14th day of August, 1794, a mass-meeting5 of the insurrectionists was held, at which the four western counties of Pennsylvania were represented by two hundred delegates, also others from Bedford and Ohio Counties. Col. Edward Cook, founder of Cookstown (now Fayette City), served as chairman of this meeting, and Albert Gallatin, afterwards Secretary of the Treasury under Jefferson, officiated as secretary.
[5 This meeting was held on the hill in the rear of the present Episcolap Church, and for many years thereafter the locality was known as "Council Hill."]
In 1796 it was decided by those having the matter under advisement6 (regarding the difficulties caused by the issuance of Pennsylvania patents and Virginia certificates for the same tracts of land), that Joseph Parkison was the rightful owner of the tract heretofore mentioned as "Southwark," and his title to the same was declared valid. Thereupon Patent No. 3783, issued Aug. 26, 1769, was returned to Mr. Parkison may 11, 1796. He soon after laid out the town of Williamsport7 at Parkison's Ferry, and caused the following to be published in the Washington Telegraphe:
[6 The "Board of Property."]
[7 The town derived its name from William Parkison, son of Joseph Parkison, the proprietor. We will also add, in this connection, that although the name of Williamsport was retained until April 1, 1837, when it was changed to Monongahela City, its post-office name, until the date mentioned, was "Parkison's Ferry." Williamsport, the county seat of Lycoming County, was during all those years an important town, and to have two post-offices of the same name in the same State at the same time was not practicable.]
"A New Town Called Williamsport
Is laid out by the subscriber, on the banks of the Monongahela River, below the mouth of Pigeon Creek, in Washington County, well known by the name of Parkison's Ferry. The situation is pleasant and agreeable, being in the heart of one of the richest settlements west of the Alleghany Mountains, with the advantage of several grist- and saw-mills within one and two miles of the spot, and places of Public Worship very convenient, with plenty of Timber, and Mines of stone coal in abundance.
"It is situated on the Main Road leading from Philadelphia to Washington, West Liberty, Wheeling, and Charles Town on the Ohio River. It is twenty miles from the town of Washington, about fifteen miles from the town of Greensburgh (the county Town of Westmoreland County), and about fifteen miles from Redstone Old Fort. The lots will be sold at Public Vendue, on the premises, on Friday, the 26th day of August, next; one-half of the purchase money of each Lot to be paid at the time of the sale, and the other half at the time of executing the deed, which will be in a short time after the sale, as the Proprietor has an indisputable title for the premises. A plan of the town may be seen with the Proprietor, and further particulars made know by application to him.
"July 25, 1796.
This announcement was followed by the following paper, which explains itself:
"Whereas the Subscriber has layed out lotts for a Town on his Plantation near the mouth of Pigeon Creek on the 26th of August Instant, Notice is hereby given to all those who incline to become purchaser or purchasers of said lott or lotts of this Special Condition, that every of said purchaser or purchasers of said lott or lotts are to be prevented from erecting or causing to be erected any Craft, Boat or Canoe for the Conveying of Passengers across the Monongahela River, but the same be and is hereby reserved to the Subscriber of his heirs, assigns, so fare as the claim of the subscriber extends. The heist bidder for each lott or lotts to be they buyer; any person or persons purchasing any lott or lotts are to pay one-third of the purchase money by the 3d day of September next, one-thirdpart by the 26h of November next, and the remaining third part to be paid on or before the 26th of February next, when the purchasers will receive a sufficient title for each lott or lotts, Subject to the payment of one dollar per annum on each lott, to be payable the 1st of October each year, first year due October, 1797. Any person or persons inclining to have their deeds or deed before the above described time, may, on payment of the purchase money, immediately receive them. Notes and security will be required for the first payment, and failer of making the second payment the first will be forfeited to the Proprietor, and on failer of the third payment the first and second to be forfeited, and the lotts to revert to the owner. Each lott is 60 feet in front, and 200 feet deep. The streets, 60 feet wide, and the alleys extending from the river to the hill 15 feet wide, the cross alleys from 15 to 25 feet wide, according the situation of the ground. Aug. 26, 1796.
"A lott of ground is reserved for a Market-house in the centre of the Town, and a lott for a Meeting-house and Choll-house.
"WASHINGTON COUNTY, ss. To whom it may concern; these are to certify that the within Town is laid out and a considerable number of lotts sold, and some built upon.
"As witness myhand and Seal, jan. 11, 1797.
"Recorded in Recorder's Office, Jan. 12, 1797.
"SAM'L CLARKE, Recorder."
The town1 of Williamsport as originally laid out by Mr. Parkison contained one hundred and four lots and at the first sale of them, which took place on Friday, Aug. 26, 1796, twenty-four were sold at prices ranging from$239 down to $22, the aggregate proceeds being $1385. On the 24th of September, 1798, Andrew McFarland purchased of Joseph Parkison lot No. 41, west side of Washington Street. The former sold the same to George Trout Jan. 6, 1802. Hugh McGuire became the owner of lot known in the original plot as No. 41. John Shouse, James Wilson, Henry Teeters, and Michael Miller also became owners of lots in the village at about the time last mentioned, the two latter purchasing from Adam Wickerham.
[1 Among the additions to the original plot have been the following, the dates indicating the time of survey:
James Mitchell, "Eas end of Williamsport," including twenty-two lots, December 1812.
Joseph Parkison, one hundred and six lots, Feb. 3, 1815.
Although Adam Wickerham's plot, called "Georgetown," was laid out as early as 1807, it appears that he did not have it made a matter of record until some eight or ten years thereafter, nor do the records show just when that event transpired, i.e., the time of survey. However, researches have shown usthat on the 3d of April, 1807, in consideration of sixty dollars, Adam Wickerham sold to John Shouse "All that lot or parcel of land, with the appurtenances, lying and being in the town of George Town, adjoining the town of Williamsport, on the Monongahela River,…being situated on Cole Hill Street, No. 15." This lot was fifty feet front, one hundred feet deep, and part of a tract granted to Paul Froman, may 24, 1785, and conveyed by him to Adam Wickerham, March 13, 1792. the quit-rents upon this lot were one-dollar yearly. On the 24th of February, 1810, Shouse purchased of Wickerham lot No. 13, also situated upon Cole Hill Street.
Henry Teeters purchased of Wickerham lot No. 48, on Water Street, March 26, 1808.
Samuel Hughes, of Washington, Pa., on the 24th of February 1809, bought of Wickerham lot No. 1, twenty-four by two hundred feet, which adjoined lots owned by John Wright and Joseph Parkison.
On the 13th of October, 1810, Andrew Pierce bought of Wickerham lot No. 140, on Ferry Street, which was sold by the heirs of Andrew Pierce to Elizabeth Pierce, May 5, 1811.
Thomas Gordon, on the 2d of July, 1813, purchased of Wickerham lot No. 143, which adjoined Margaret Patterson, and March 7, 1815, Wickerham sold to Matthew McClenahan lot No. 14, on Ferry and Race Streets. These are all the sales that were made a matter of record prior to the recording of plot in February, 1816.
On the 6th of February, 1814, Adam Wickerham certified that part of his property adjoining the town of Williamsport "has been surveyed and laid out into Town lotts, and has formerly went by the name of George Town, under which title all former deeds and conveyances have been made, but as the Plot of said Town has never been recorded, and as the Plot of said town is in conjunction with the Town of Williamsport, it is my will and request that you, the Register of said County, will record the Plot that is presented to you under the title of Williamsport, and that from this time forward all deeds, conveyances, &c., shall be made under the title of Williamsport, formerly called George Town. We the holders of property in George Town, adjoining to Williamsport, do jointly and severally agree and require Adam Wickerham, Proprietor of said Town, to have it recorded in Williamsport, as witness our hands this sixth day of February, 1814. William Fenton, John Cooper, George Schwartz, Patrick Burk, Henry Smith, John R. Shugart, Joseph Butler, Margaret Biles, Robert Dunlap, William P. Biles, D. Hickman, Jonathan Hickman, Samuel S. Cramer, John Shouse, Peter Shouse, Michael Miller, James Manow, Joseph Hamilton, Thomas Gordon.
In February, 1816, Mr. Wickerham attached his signature to the following certificate, when the plot formerly called George Town seems to have been regularly recorded:
"I, Adam Wickerham, do certify that this Plot is made agreeable to my directions and that I do acknowledge it as a part of Williamsport, formerly cawled George Town. As witness my hand and seal this 23d day of February, 1816.
This plot contained one hundred and forty nine lots. From the river back inland were Water Street, Mulberry Alley (now Union Street), Market Street (now Main), Spring Alley, and Coal Hill Street.
Joseph Parkison, one hundred and forty one lots, March 3, 1825.
Andrew B. Chess (a son-in-law of Adam Wickerham), one hundred and forty-nine lots, Aug. 15, 1832.
Sheshbazzar Bentley, lots bounded by Coal, Union, and Ferry Streets and West Alley, Dec. 10, 1834.
Morton Black, "Belle Wood," ninety-one lots on the west side of the Pittsburgh, Virginia and Charleston Railroad, and a tier of out-lots lying between the railroad and Monongahela Riber, containing from two to four acres each; surveyed in August and September, 1873.
I Shelby Crall, sixty-six lots, bounded by First Avenue, Pike and Decker Streets, Nov. 17, 1873.
T. J. Allen, nine lots, bounded by Monongahela River, Railroad Street, and Third and Fourth Streets, Oct. 15, 1879.
James H. Hopkins, plot known as "West Monongahela City," September, 1881.]
Prior to the beginning of the century, however, Maj. James Warne1, a native of Allegheny County, settled in Williamsport, and with William Parkison (son of Joseph) engaged in the sale of merchandise. Subsequently he married a daughter of Joseph Parkison, and after the war of 1812 became extensively engaged in the manufacture of glass, and boat-building. Meanwhile other enterprising tradesmen, mechanics, and professional men had located here, and that these early citizens of the town were the possessors of a large amount of push and ambition is indicated by the following article, which was published (in 1806) in the sixth edition of a book entitled "The Navigator:"
"Situated on the left bank of the river, just below Pigeon Creek, is a growing village, in Washington County, Pa., 20 miles east of Washington, and about 23 above Pittsburgh. The inhabitants have been petitioning the Legistlature for the privilage of forming it into a new2 county, by taking off a part of Washington, Westmoreland, Fayette, and Allegheny Counties, all of which corner near the place. It is said that 4000 dollars have already been subscribed to meet part of the expenses of the county buildings," etc.
[1 About the year 1800, Maj. Warned married Mary, a daughter of Joseph Parkison. To them were born ten children, and of those who reached years of maturity were Amuzet, Ives, Margaret, Joseph P., James, Hiram, and Eliza Jane. The first named married Mary Jacobs in 1831, and died in 1879; Margaret became the wife of Samuel Devore, and now resides in West Virginia; Joseph P., born in the year 1810, married Eliza J. Irwin, and is now living in Monongahela City; James resides in Fallowfield township; Hiram, near Washington, Pa.; and Eliza J., who married John Watkins, is a present resident of Ray County, Mo.
Before the beginning of the war of 1812-1815, James Warne, as captain, was in command of a body of militia known as the "Williamsport Rangers." On the breaking out of hostilities the "Rangers" volunteered for service, and under the command of Capt. Warne marched forward to the Canadian frontier. At Meadville, while en route, Capt. Warne became major of the regiment to which his company was attached, and was ever after known as Maj. Warne.
Soon after the close of the war, he, in partnership with his brother-in-law, William Parkison, and the Butler brothers, built and operated an extensive window-glass manufactory, which was situated on the west side of Chess Street, on lots now owned by James Brown, J. P. S Sheplar, and Elijah Harrison. These works were among the first of the kind erected west of the Alleghenies, and certainly the first in the town of Williamsport. The enterprise did not prove to be a successful one, however, and transferring his interests to other parties, Maj. Warne engaged in boat-building, etc. he died at the age of seventy-six years. Benjamin Parkison, Samuel Black, William Ihmsen, Alexander Williams, and others at various times controlled the glass-works here mentioned. Subsequently William Ihmsen established a vial-factory on the island.]
[2 The question referred to, whether a new county should be formed from parts of Allegheny, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland, with Williamsport as its county-seat, first took shape during the year 1799. Thus, on the 14th day of September of that year, a considerable number of people, representing the counties mentioned, assembled at Williamsport, with the view of taking the necessary steps towards the formation of a new county. Thereupon, after Joseph Beckett, Esq., had been chosen chairman, and John Hoge secretary, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:
"1. That it is the opinion of this meeting that a new county ought to be established by the following lines, viz.: Beginning on the Monongahela River, at the mouth of Peters Creek; thence up the said creek to that branch thereof which runs from the Rev. David Phillips farm; thence by a direct line to include the place on which George Myers, Sr., now lives; thence to Bentley's upper mill on Pigeon Creek; thence to the Monongahela River opposite to the mouth of the Little Redstone Creek; thence by a diret line to the mouth of Washington's run, on the Youghiogheny River; thence down the same to F. Moses' place; and thence by a direct line to the place of beginning.
"2. That in the opinion of this meeting the seat of justice for the new country should be established at Parkison's Ferry, on the Monongahela River.
"3. That John Hoge, Major Devore, and Captain Royall be appointed a committee to draft a position to the next Legislature praying for the establishment of a new county"
This measure was defeated through the efforts of those opposed to it. The same question was successively renewed in 1820, 1822, 1835, 1837, and in 1838, when it was proposed to make the new county twenty miles square, but all endeavors have thus far proved futile.]
On the evening of Oct. 7, 1805, the Butler family,3 of whom Capt. Ira R. Butler, born Nov. 15, 1792, was the youngest, and is now the only survivor, crossed the river at Parkison's Ferry (on their way westward to the mouth of the Big Miami), and received entertainment at the inn of George Trout. Sickness among all the members of the family, however, and the death of the father and two sons, caused the survivor to remain here during the following winter.
[3 Nobel Butler, a Quaker, a native of England, came to America as one of Penn's colonists in the year 1716, and settled in Uwchland, Chester Co., Pa., where he purchased one thousand acres of land. He was the father of twelve children, of whom Benjamin (the father of Ira R.) was the youngest. Benjamin married in Chester County, and in due course of time he too became the father of twelve children, of whom nine---viz., Johnathan, Abner, Noble, Eunice, Isaac, Benjamin, Joel, Joseph, and Ira---had in 1805 arrived at years of discretion. The family was well to do. Eunice had become the wife of David Woodward, and the sons, except the youngest, were mechanics, thus Jonathan was a wagon- and plow-maker, Abner was a cabinet-maker, while Noble, Isaac, Joel, and Joseph were carpenters.
It was determined, however, that a removal to the western country should be made, and Jonathan, after traveling over various portions of Ohio, had selected and purchased lands situated about ten miles above the mouth of the Big Miami. Early in the autumn of 1805, therefore, Benjamin Butler, accompanied by his wife and the nine children before mentioned, one son-in-law (David Woodward), one daughter-in-law (Abner's wife), and three grandchildren (Abner's), started forth on the journey, a small wagon-train, consisting of two six-horse teams and Conestoga wagons, household furniture, etc., the females and younger members of the party.
After encountering the various vicissitudes usually met with in traveling in those days, the party arrived at Parkison's Ferry on the evening of Oct. 7, 1805. The following morning the father, as was his usual custom, arose at an early hour, to see that everything was in readiness for another day's journey. He had aroused other members of the family, and while conversing with some of them was suddenly stricken with apoplexy, and expired the same evening, aged sixty-two-years. His dying intestate made it necessary for the members of his family to remain here some time. So an unuoccupied house (Samuel Black's old red trading-post) was rented and occupied. Yet not may days elapsed ere all those comprising the family were ill from the effects of malaria, exposure, etc. incident to their journey.
The nearest regular physicians were at Greensburg or Brownsville. A kind of quack practicioner, however (Michal Miller), resided back in the country at no great distance away, and as drowning men clutch at straws he was called. He came. The Bulter family, every one of them, looked sallow and pale enough. The wise man soon learned that they came from a section but twenty-five miles distant from Philadelphia. He had heard, also, that some eight or ten years previously the yellow fever had raged in that city. Thereupon "Dr." Miller announced to the afflicted members of the family that they were suffering the yellow fever. Gogin out into the streets of the hamlet, he also, in the most profound manner, told the fightened denizens that Yellow Jack was in their midst. A panic ensued. Mr. Black was denounced for having allowed the Butler family to occupy his building, and was soon waited upon by a self-appointed deputation, who informed him that the Butlers must remove therefrom at once, etc. Mr. Black requested that his premises be vacated.
At this juncture Nathan Chalfant, a boat-builder, came forward and offered the Bulters the shelter of a dwelling he owned by him(which now forms part of Alexander Wilson's ancient warehouse), where Mt. Chalfant vowed the should remain unmolested. To this building, then, the family moved and passed the winter. It was a very sad one to them though, for two more of their number died, viz., Nobel and Isaac. Meanwile, Dr. Merchant, of Greensburg, had been summoned to attend the family, and it was only when he announced that they were merely suffering from an aggravated form of malarial or intermittent fever, brought on by exposure, water, etc., to which they were unaccustomed, and had most bitterly denounced "Dr." miller (who meantime had enjoyed a lucrative business by preparing and selling an antidote for the yellow fever, composed, as Dr. Merchant demonstrated, of brick dust and some other ingredients equally efficacious), and the fear of the villagers was allayed.
In spring of 1806 Jonathan, and Benjamin Bulter engaged in the mercantile business. Subsequently Jonathan followed farming, owning three hundred acres where the Black Diamond Coal-Works are situated, but finally removed to Indiana, where some members of his family have become prominent. Benjamin removed to Pittsburgh about 1822, but was soon after killed by the overturning of a stage near Washington, Pa. Joel Butler was also engaged for a while in merchandising with his brother Benjamin. T he former died at the residence of Ira Butler in 1845. Joseph Butler was a member of Capt. Warne's company during the war of 1812-14. He continued as a resident of Williamsport until his death. So also did Abner Butler, the cabinet-maker. Their mother died here at the age of eighty-two years, and their sister, Mrs. Woodward, attained the age of ninety-four years.
Capt. Ira R. Butler, the only survivor of the family of sixteen persons which left the limits of Chester County and journeyed to the left bank of the Monongahela nearly seventy years ago, still resides on his farm, which being distant about five miles from Monongahela City, overlooks a beautiful scope of country and the town which was the scene of his early labors. For two years after his arrival at Willimasport, Mr. Butler availed himself of such educational advantages as the place afforded. He then learned the saddlery business, and continued at it until the spring of 1814, when in consequence of lung troubles his physician advised him to seek some other occupation at once. The position of a supercargo of a vessel of cartel plying the waters of the great lakes while engaged in exchange of prisoners of war, etc., was then offered him and accepted. He at once recovered his health, and continued on the lakes some two or three years.
Returning to Williamsport he became an employee of the veteran boar-builder, Robert Beebe, whose boat-yard occupied the site of Yohe, Corrin & Co.'s planning-mill, etc. Mr. Butler was a close observer, however, his later experience was of considerable benefit too, and he soon became proficient in the business of boat-building, and a partner of Mr. Beebe. No large steamboats though were built at this yard. The first large boat, the "Hercules," as built by this firm (Capt. Peter Shouse being a member) on the site of the present grist-mill. Afterwards several quite large boats were built by the same firm in the hollow or old bed of the creek, some thirty rods above the grist-mill. Messers. Beebe and Bulter also built boats at Elizabeth, and later, towards the year 1840, returned to Williamsport and built several boats for William Ibmsen in the hollow before mentioned.
Capt. Butler was married to Miss Mary Boyd, of Chester Co., Pa., June 14, 1822, and of ten children born to him, five daughters and three sons survive. Maj. Howe, killed in action near Appomattox, Va., April 8, 1865, was a son-in-law. Capt. Butler gave up boat-building in 1840, and removed to his present residence in 1841.]
With the coming of the spring season of 1806 further journeying toward the mouth of the Big Miami was indefinitely postponed. The Butlers settled down at Williamsport, and have since been identified with its history. (See note.)
According to the recollections of Capt. Bulter, there were then not more than fifteen dwellings in the town, and the residents and business men were about as follows: Joseph Parkison, innkeeper and ferry-master, Warne (James) & Parkison (William), merchants; William Irwin1, merchant; Peter Boss, merchant; Adam and Simon Hailman, the forming being postmaster; George Trout, innkeeper; Nathan Chalfant, boat-builder; Joseph McClure, cabinet-maker; John Smith, cabinet-maker; McFerren, tailor; Abner Beadle, blacksmith; Samuel Black, merchant; Adam Wickerham; Andrew B. Chess was his son-in-law, and the wife of United States Senator miller, of California, is a granddaughter; and there was, besides, a vacant house owned by Robert Williams.
[1 Irwin had formerly been a clerk for Samuel Black.]
Of course the population was considerably augmented by the settlement of the Butler family, and its business interests, too, for in the spring of 1806 Jonathan and Benjamin Butler became merchants, while the other brothers began work at their individual trades. Of other early settlers, Dr. Joseph Rose,2 a practicing physician, and Frederick Layman, a German tailor, came during the year 1807. Aeneas Graham, a tailor, settled about 1809, and Charles Bollman, merchant in 1810.
[2 Dr. Rose, although not a graduate of any medical school, was quite successful as a practitioner of medicine, and the first physician to locate here. He married a Miss Nicholson. Subsequently he removed to Perryopolis.]
As indicating further the energy and force possessed by the few inhabitants then gathered at Williamsport, we five place to the following copy of a "notice":
"WILLIAMSPORT, May 22, 1810.
"Notice is given for those gentlemen interested in promoting the business of the community to attend at the house of John Berrie, Innkeeper, in the Town of Williamsport, June 23d, at 1 o'clock, to consult and adopt a plan for the purpose of building a Steam Mill in the Town of Williamsport by an association or company."
It has been stated that in 1810 the town contained "about five hundred inhabitants." This statement hardly seems probable though, when we consider that its limits were comparatively insignificant, that it contained no manufactories of any moment, no steamboats were yet plying upon the river, and that thirty years later, during the days of "Tippecanoe and Tyler too,"3 when two glass manufactories as well as a considerable number of minor industries were in active operation, and when "Moxahal" and other steamers were making daily trips between Pittsburgh and Monongahela City, the town contained but seven hundred and fifty-two inhabitants.
[3 During the exciting days of 1840 the Whig "log cabin" stood on the corner now occupied by the bank building of the Messers. Alexander & Co.]
Among those, however, who were owners of lots and residents at that time, or in years very soon thereafter, and have not already been mentioned, were Thomas Officer, a merchant, George White (who succeeded Adam Hailman was postmaster on the death of the latter in 1813), John Berrie, innkeeper; John Hazelbaker, teacher; Joshua Pennel, teacher; William Prime, boat-builder; Dr. Samuel M. King, Dr. Jeremiah Brooks, and Dr. James Pollock, all of whom were prominent and widely-known physicians; James Mitchell, preoprietor of the "East End of Williamsport;" James Gordon, Esq.1, an early merchant; James McGrew, James Freeman, William Chalfant, Johnson Chalfant, Jesse Robb, John Watkins, Washington Palmer, William Crookham, William P. Biles, Henry Pinkney, John Bridge, Francis Scott, Samuel Barnett, Alexander Jones, William Dalrymple, James Dougherty, Andrew Nicholson, Crawford Dally, Israel Pancoast, William Wallace, Samuel Speaker, William Doyle, John Lefler, James P. Stewart, merchant; Capt. John Shouse, Peter Shouse,2 and Robert Beebe, boat-builders, and William Ihmsen, glass-manufacturer, who probably did more to make business prosperous in the town than any other in his day.
[1 At the age of eighty-five years, Hon. James Gordon died at the residence of his son in Cookstown, Pa., March 6, 1866. He became a resident of Williamsport (now Monongahela City) in June, 1810. Soon after he established the first Sunday-school ever organized in the place, under a great deal of opposition from people who said "the children should have at least one day in the week to themselves." For more than forty years he was an efficient and acceptable ruling elder in the church. During a long life of usefulness in the church and State he maintained a character as a man and Christian singularly blameless and elevated, wielding an influence for good in every sphere to which he moved.
With credit to himself and great acceptance to his constituency he filled various public offices. Appointed a justice of the peace by Governor Snyder, he served in that capacity for thirty-five years. Governor Shunk appointed him associate judge for Washington County, which position he occupied for five years, and with so much satisfaction that the members of the Washington County, bar presented him with an elegant cane at the expiration of his term. He was a member of the electoral college which placed Andrew Jackson in the Presidential chair for the first time. Governor Porter appointed him appraiser of damages on the public works, and he also filled the office of county register by appointment from the same source. He was a county commissioner as early as 1813, and some years afterward was elected county auditor. As a member of the board of revenue commissioners he represented his district at Harrisburg in 1857.
From 1825 to 1863 he was a trustee of Jefferson College. In February, 1810, he was married in Washington, Pa., by Reb. Dr. Brown to Miss Mary Ann, daughter of Sheriff Officer, by whom he had nine children. Under his father-in-law he served as deputy sheriff, and during the time conveyed to the penitentiary at Philadelphia thirty-three convicts, going over the mountains on horseback with his prisoners, excorted by a mounted guard.
His son, Rev. Thomas P. Gordon, was a Presbyterian minister. He also had two sons-in-law who were Presbyterian ministers, viz., Rev. James Sloan (father of Dr. James G. Sloan, of Monongaehela City) and Rev. W. P. Harshe. Another son, Dr. James Gordon, is a resident of Fayette City (formerly Cookstown), Pa.]
[2 Peter Shouse and Robert Beebe were married to sisters by the name of Vanever. Shouse built one of the first steamboats that plied on the waters of the Monongahela. Subsequently he founded the town of Shousetown, on the Ohio River.]
During the years which immediately succeeded the close of the war of the Revolution, American commerce on the high seas had continually been crippled by the studied acts of those in command of British war-vessels. Our merchant ships were boarded in mid-ocean, native American seamen were forcibly taken therefrom and compelled to do menial service under the detested flag of Britain, while at the principal foreign seaports American naval officers were the frequent recipients of British insult. An intense feeling of indignation had been aroused throughout the republic, and it only needed the perpetration of the outrage of July 18, 1807, when a British man-of-war fired into the United States frigate "Chesapeakee: to make the American yeomanry assemble at every village and cross-roads, to organize as soldiers, and clamor for war against the tyrants of the ocean.
The citizens of the ambitious little town of Williamsport, on the Monongahela, were not a whit behind others in the American Union at this juncture, and a s aresult of the martial spirit prevailing Capt. James Warne's company of infantry, known as the "Williamsport Rangers," and Capt. John Shouse's troop of hourse were speedily organized, and as well equipped as it was then possible to do. This speck of war passed away, however, or rather the dogs of war were held in abeyance for few years, but the companies commanded by Capts. Warne and Shouse maintained their organizations until called upon to perform actual service in the field. Meanwhile they held regular meetings for muster and drill, had their days of festivity and social enjoyment, and invariably celebrated the national holiday in July of each year. Hence in an early Washington County newspaper we find the following:
"Parkison's Ferry, July 4, 1811. The Williamsport Rangers, commanded by Capt. James Warne, assembled at 10 o'clock A.M. After performing various military tactics were dismissed until 3 o'clock P.M., when all met at the house of Mr. Joseph parkison and partook of an elegant dinner. Gen. John Hamilton and Joseph Becket snr Esq., occupied seats at the head of the table, and thirteen toasts were given."
The attitude assumed by Great Britain at last became unbearable, and on the 18th day of June, 1812, war was declared by the United States against the former power. Hostile movements began, and in the latter part of the summer Capt. Shouse's troop of horse joined a Washington County expeditionary force, and proceeded as far as New Lisbon, Ohio, where, being satisfied that no advantage could be gained by going farther, this command returned home as elsewhere narrated. In the mean time the "Williamsport Rangers" had held themselves in readiness to march at an hour's notice.
In August, 1812, the citizens of the northeastern part of Washington County held a mass-meeting at Ginger Hill, for the purpose of obtaining a sufficient number of volunteers to fill the quota called for by the general government, who had determined to place a larger body of six-months volunteers on the Canadian frontier. Capt. Warne's company of Rangers was present at this meeting, and when the call for volunteers was made more than enough of its members stepped to the front to fill the quota required. Preparations were at once made for the march towards buffalo, N. Y. At Meadville, Pa., troops from Bedford County joined the column, and in the consolidation which resulted [in] Capt. James Warne became major of the battalion. Lieut. William Hunter was promoted to captain of the Rangers, and all subordinate officers in the company were promoted one grade higher.
In due course of time these troops reached "head-quarters," Which was on the right bank of the Niagra River, opposite Fort Erie. Through the inefficiency of the general officers in immediate command, however, the campaign on the frontier was an utter failure, and the "Rangers," with other troops there assembled, passed the greater portion of their time in the field in dismal, unhealthful encampments. On two or three occasions they took their seats in the boats, expecting to be landed on the Canadian shore, and from thence led to an assault of the enemy's position; but the orders to advance were as often countermanded, when partly executed, and no portion of the command crossed the river. It has been related that but one member of Capt. Hunter's company objected to crossing the river. He was a Teuton by birth, and in words far exceeding in style and volubility Emmett's "Fritz," vigorously denounced the contemplated invasion, saying that when he enlisted he was told that he would not be called upon to leave the limits of the United States. It is very probably though that if the "Rangers" had crossed the river the Dutchman would have been a Ranger too, and that his range would not have extended to any great distance from his file-leader.
The First Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers, to which Capt. Hunter's company was attached, remained on the Northern frontier until the beginning of the winter of 1812-13, when, no preparations having been made for winter-quarters, and being but poorly supplied with camp and garrison equipage, supplies, etc., its members were allowed to return to their homes, which were reached in January, 1813. Further mention and a roll of this company will be found in that part of the general history of the county referring to the war of 1812-15.
Capt. Hunter's company arrived home weary and worn, several of them sick, and, as is seems, all had gained an experience sufficient to dampen their military ardor forever, for the Rangers were never seen on parade afterwards. "Independence Day" and the ear-splitting music of Biles' fife and Pinkney's drum even were not enough to rouse them. Their successors, however, were the "Williamsport Blues," Capt. James Pollock, a company which was formed soon after the close of the war.
Returning to a take a more immediate view of matters in Williamsport, we find that in December, 1812, James Mitchell, Esq., laid out the addition known as the "East End of Williamsport," and that soon after the following-named persons became purchasers of lots in that addition: John Dobbs, lot No. 1; Peter Koel, No. 2; B. McMasters, No. 3; R. Berger, No. 4; --- Weaver, No. 5; B. Van Horn, No. 6; e. Jacobs, No. 7; E. Graham, No. 8; J. Dickey,1 Nos. 9 and 10; William Bushfield, No. 11; T. Jacobs, No. 14; B. Nealey, No. 15; P. Cramer, No. 16; E. Webb, No. 17; --- Tanner, No. 21; and David Mitzler, lot No. 22.
[1 A Mrs. Dickey was a sister of Joseph Parkison.]
In 1813 Adam Hailman, postmaster, gave notice through the medium of the press that Williamsport, in the list of post-office towns, "is Parkison's Ferry." Hailman died February 24th of that year, and was succeeded by George White, father of Hon. J. W. F. White, of Allegheny County. On the 29th day of December, 1813, Adam Wickerham sold to James Manown, of Elizabeth township, Allegheny County, lots 148 and 149 in "Georgetown," being part of a tract of one hundred and forty-nine acres patented to Paul Froman, May 24, 1785, and transferred by Paul Froman to Adam Wickerham, March 13, 1792.
On the 17th day of January, 1814, the Monongahela and Williamsport Manufacturing Company was chartered. It seems that the "manufacturing company" was to be a banking institution as well, having a capital stock of one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars, divided into shares of fifty dollars each. Its charter was to continue until April 1, 1884. Samuel Black was named as the president of the company, and James Gordon, Esq., Joseph Rose, M.D., James McGrew, Jaes P. Steward, James Mitchell, Esq., William Irwin, Esq., Joseph Caldwell, David Hamilton, Manassa Reeves, John Finley, and James Warne directors. On the 8th of April, 1814, the mercantile firm of Gordon & Oficer---i.e., James Gordon and Thomas Officer---was dissolved, and Mr. Gordon continued the business.
The initiative steps towards building the first house of worship in the village were taken the same year. Thus on the 7th day of July, 1814, Joseph Parkison, in consideration of the sum of forty-five dollars, transferred to James Gordon, James Hair, James Mitchell, William Irwin, David Hamilton, Robert McFarlane, John Anderson, Samuel Black, and John Cooper, "trustees for the building a Presbyterian meeting-house in Williamsport," lot No. 72, containing twelve thousand square feet. On the same day, to the same trustees, in consideration of the payment of fifty dollars, Adam Wickerham transferred a tract containing six thousand six hundred square feet for the purpose of building a Presbyterian meeting-house thereon.
In 1818 a substantial bridge was erected over Pigeon Creek, "near Williamsport," and in December, 1819, Hiram Lodge, No. 170, F. and A. M., was instituted. This was the third Masonic lodge organized in the county, and the first in Williamsport. In 1820, James Logan, James P. Stewart, George Miles, and Charles Bollman were the prominent merchants of the town, while Joseph Parkison, John Anderson, Chambers, and Joseph Caldwell were the innkeepers.
During the years from 1815 to 1820 various manufacturing enterprises had been projected, completed and placed in active operation. Thus an extensive glass-manufactory, in which Maj. James Warne, William Parkison, Benjamin and Joel Butler, were interested as owners, had been erected at a cost of twenty-seven thousand dollars. None of the proprietors though were practical glass manufacturers, and to them the venture proved a disastrous one. Boat-building, too, had become an important industry, and the workmen in the boat-yards of Messrs. Beebe, Shouse, Butler, and others were all actively engaged.
On the 7th of May, 1821, The Phoenix was issued by B. Brown. This was followed, June 17, 1822, by a prospectus of a weekly newspaper entitled The Journal of the Interior, to be published every Tuesday by Brown & Scott, at two dollars per anum. We are not informed whether this paper was ever actually published or not.
On the 25th of June, 1828, John Bausman's newpspaer, the Pennsylvanian, was issued. In 1830, the town contained 593 inhabitants.
In 1882 (June 5th), Andrew B. Chess, Samuel Black, and William Mills (for James Mills) released "the president and managers of the 'Williamsport Bridge Company' (whenever the same shall have legal existence under the law creating said company) from all claims for damages for and on account of any land or soil occupied by and in the erection of said bridge, or for any landing or ferry right which we may, and do now, possess, provided said bridge shall be erected on our or either of our premises." On the 25th of June, same year, James Manown relinquished certain privileges to the above-named company, "provided the site for the bridge shall be fixed above Asher Van Kirk's white house on the Island near the mouth of Pigeon Creek." He also agreed to relinquish the privilege of continuing the ferry, except in case the bridge be destroyed.
With a population of perhaps six hundred inhabitants, the town of Williamsport was, by an act of the General Assembly, incorporated as a borough April 8, 1833. The records, however, covering the first nineteen years of the town's corporate existence have either been maliciously destroyed or most carelessly lost,1 and it is now impossible to tell who were the officers elevated during those years, or what were their proceedings. One year later, or April 28, 1834, Joseph Parkison, the founder of the town, died at the age of nearly ninety-five years.
[1 See report of committee, September, 1852.]
At an election held at the house of Joseph Hamilton,2 June 22, 1836, James Manown, John Storer, Robert F. Biddle, Asher Van Kirk, William Johnson, John McFarlane, and William Mills were chosen managers of the Williamsport Brdige Company. At the same time Samuel Devore was elected treasurer, and Robert F. Biddle secretary. Public notice was also giben to bridge-builders that sealed proposals for erecting a bridge over the Monongahela Riber at Williamsport would be received until July 18, 1836. The bridge was completed in 1838.
[2 Hamilton then owned and kept the inn now known as the City Hotel.]
On the 2st day of April, 1837, the name of Monongahela City was adopted, and the terms "town of Williamsport" and "Parkison's Ferry post-office" became things of the past. In 1840, according to the United States census,3 Monongahela City contained seven hundred and fifty-two inhabitants. In February of the following year a large majority of them assembled on the banks of the river to welcome the hero of Tippecanoe, Gen. William Henry Harrison, who in journeying towards Washington, D. C., to be inaugurated as the ninth President of the united States, passed up the Monongahela on the steamer "Loyal Hanna." Prominent Monongahelians on board the "Moxahala," Capt. James Parkison commander, had met the general at a point still farther down the river and escorted him to the warf.
[3 Subsequent census reports have shown that the town contained 877 inhabitants in 1850; 999 in 1860; 1078 in 1870; and 2904 in 1880.]
Although the town was incorporated as a borough in 1833 (when until September, 1884,4 it comprised portions of Fallowfield and Nottingham townships), it seems that it did not have or maintain an existence separate from the townships for some eight or nine years thereafter. Thus in February, 1841, numerous citizens of Carroll township sent in a petition to the Court of Quarter Sessions, asking that a division of the borough of Monongahela City and the township of Carroll be made. The viewers appointed by the court February 22nd of that year submitted a report on the 16th of June following, which was set aside Aug. 20, 1841. At the November term following a second petition from the inhabitants of Carroll township was presented, asking "to be struck off from Monongahela City." The court appointed another board of commissioners to investigate the matter Jan. 26, 1842, and February 28th following these commissioners reported "that the separation prayed for ought to be granted." This report was approved February 28th, and confirmed May 26, 1842. To the date last mentioned, therefore, all assessment returns, etc., of town and township had been made as though there were but one corporate body.
[4 Carroll township was formed from Fallowfield and Nottingham townships Sept. 30, 1834.]
The present grist-mill was built about 1844, and in 1848 (July 7th), Solomon Alter, Esq., issued the first number of the Monongahela Valley Republican.
Until the spring of 1852 the corporate affairs of the borough seemt o have been conducted in a loose kind of way, and records were kept or not kept, just as the clerks chose. On the 20th day of May, 1852, however, in accordance with the petitions of divers inhabitants, the Washington county Court of Quarter Sessions ordered that the provisions of the formere charters (i.e., those of April 8, 1833, and April 8, 1837) be annulled, "so far as they are in conflict with the provisions of an act of the Assembly approved April 3, 1851." This order of court was obeyed, and the following borough officers were elected: Henry Wilson, burgess; John S. Markell, John Storer, Jospeh Kiddoo, Alexander Wilson, William J. Alexander, and R. M. Clark, councilmen; Abram Fulton, clerk; Joseph Alexander, treasurer; and Benjamin Foster, street commissioner and wharf-master. At a meeting of this board of councilmen, held Aug. 12, 1852, it was resolved that the corporate officers of the borough "shall hold their regular meetings at the house of Abram Fulton, on the first Monday of each month at early candle-lighting." On the 9th of September, 1852, R. M. Clark and John Storer were appointed a committee "to hunt up old borough records and ordinances." The burgess was also empowered and instructed to give notice that he would at once receive proposals for the building of a market-house, lock-up, and town hall. On the 27th of September following the committee appointed to search for records, etc., reported "that they have not been able to find any of the missing records."
The borough officers elected since 1852, and other matters relating to the corporate history of the town, area alluded to as follows:
1852.1.---John Gilfillan, burgess; Alexander Wilson, William J. Alexander, John S. Markell, Joseph Kiddoo, John Stover, and R. M. Clark, councilmen; David Ramaley, clerk; Joseph Alexander, treasurer; and B. Foster, wharf-master.
[1 On the 18th of May, 1853, the board of councilmen resolved to subscribe to the stock of the Hempfield Railroad Company "any sum not exceeding fifty thousand dollars, provided the said railroad be located through the borough." The right of way through Union Street was also granted this company.
The woolen- and saw-mills of Robert Walker were destroyed by fire on the night of June 29, 1853, and on the 18th day of July following the burgess was instructed to offer a reward of two hundred dollars for the arrest and conviction of the incendiary or incendiaries who set fire to those mills. At the same meeting it was resolved "to collect all the portions of the old fire-engine, and make inquiry in reference to the cost of repairs, etc." Subsequently the burgess reported that he had "gathered the pieces of the engine together, and after examination found it impossible to repair it so as to make it serviceable." He also reported that Messrs. Downer & Hart proposed to take the old engine and construct a new one for three hundred and fifty dollars, equal to a first-class engine, without, however, any extra finish."]
1854.2---Moses Scott, burgess; James P. Moore, Shesh Bentley, Jr., Robert Walker, Zachariah Carmack, Robert Phillips, and Richard Stockdale, councilmen; William J. Alexander, treasurer; T. R. Hazzard, clerk; H. d. Cooper, assessor; James Kerr, street commissioner; and Benjamin Foster, wharf-master.
[2 The total receipts from all sources in 1854 were eight hundred and ninety-eight dollars and twenty-six cents. The outstanding accounts then due the borough aggregated nine hundred and thirty-eight dollars and seven cents, while the expenditures amounted to six hundred and five dollars and thirty-six cents. On the 24th of April, 1854, the engine-house was declared a nuisance, and ordered to be removed, and it was removed soon after by James Kerr. The street commissioner was instructed to sell the materials of the old market Oct. 15, 1854.
At a town-meeting held in the borough dec. 31, 1854, the corporate authorities were authorized to subscribe for stock of the Pittsburgh and Connellsville Railroad to the amount of twenty-five thousand dollars, "on condition that the road be located through the borough."]
1855.---Alexander Scott, burgess; John Storer, Isaac Yoho, Jr., John F. Norfolk, William Coulter, Richard Stockdale, and William J. Alexander, councilmen; John Powers, clerk; and William J. Alexander, treasurer.
1856.---H. D. Cooper, burgess; Andrew J. Stewart, Samuel B. Bentley, Abraham Carmack, J. W. Smith, and B. F. Bentley, councilmen; Shesh Bentley, Jr., clerk; William J. Alexander, treasurer; Isaac Yohe, wharf-master; and Abraham Teeters, Jr., street commissioner.
1857.3---William Brown, burgess; John F. Norfolk, Joseph Tuman, James P. Sheplar, O. C. House, and Abraham Carmack, councilmen;4 T. R. Hazzard, clerk; William J. Alexander, treasurer; Dantel Teeters, wharf-master; and James Kerr, street commissioner.
[3 By a decree of the Washington County Court of Quarter Sessions at February term, 1858, the election for borough officers in the spring of 1857 was declared void on account of the illegality of the board which held the election. Thereupon the functions of the council then in office, and of all the elected and appointed officers of the borough under the charter, ceased from the date of decree. The court further ordered that an election for borough officers be held on the second Tuesday of April 1858, "between the hours of one and seven P.M."]
[4 This board of councilmen authorized the sale of the "old borough lot," and the purchase of a new one, upon which to build a market-house and "lock-up." The committee appointed to attend to the matter soon after purchased a lot of a Mr. Hickman, adjoining property owned by R. M. Clark and Moses Scott, on Main Street, for which the sum of four hundred and ninety dollars was paid. Subsequently, in March, 1859, this lot was sold to Dr. King for five hundred dollars.]
1858.---James P. Sheplar, burgess; James P. Stewart, John Storer, James Dickey, Samuel M. King, and Charles e. Beach, coucilmen; Dr. J. S. Van Voorhis,5 clerk; William J. Alexander, treasurer; A. Teeters, Jr., street commissioner; and R. D. Teeters, wharf-master.
[5 J. W. Smith was appointed clerk in September, 1858, vice Van Voorhis, resigned.]
1859.--Shesh Bentley, Jr., burgess; Joseph Kiddoo, R. F. Cooper, Joseph Wilson, R. D. Teeters, and John F. Norfolk, councilmen; W. H. Smith, clerk; R. D. Teeters, wharf-master; H. D. Cooper, street commissioner; and William J. Alexander, treasurer.
1860.---T. R. Hazzard, burgess; Joseph Alexander, James Dickey, R. F. Cooper, George A. Keller, and R. M. Gee, councilmen; Chill W. Hazzard, clerk; Col. R. D. Teeters, wharf-master; Wm. J. Alexander, treasurer.
1861.6---E. W. Tower, burgess; R. M. Gee, James Dickey, S. P. Keller, L. A. Valentine, and S. C. Wilson, councilmen; R. D. Teeters, wharf-master; A. W. Scott, street commissioner; and Moses Scott, treasuer.
[6 In May, 1861, the borough authorities appropriated the sum of $100 for the support of the families of volunteer soldiers, and $25 for ammunition "to be used in home defense." But $10 though of the $100 mentioned was used for the purpose specified, when the vote appropriating the same was rescinded. However, during the month mentioned the sum of $49.19 was expended from the borough funds for the payment of bills incurred in furnishing the "Monongahela Artillery" with be-ticks and cap-covers.
This company volunteered as soon as President Lincoln's proclamation calling for 75,000 men to serve for three months was received, and under the command of Capt. Robert F. Cooper proceeded to Pittsburgh, where it was mustered into the United States service for three months as Company G of the Twelfth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. A history of this organization, and a roll of Capt. Cooper's company, is given in the military chapters of the general history referring to the war of the Rebellion.
On the 17th day of July, 1861, the Council appropriated twenty-five dollars to assist in defraying the expenses of the "Tower Zouaves," then about to enter the United States services in Virginia, "on the condition that they march from this place forty strong." Soon after the "Zouaves" did proceed to Wheeling, Va., but not numbering "forty strong" the twenty-five dollars was withheld.
The "Zouaves," about thirty-five in number, were recruited by First Lieut. Alvin S. King (then known as Capt. King), of Monongahela City. After sojourning at Wheeling for a few days, they were ordered to report at Pittsburgh, Pa., where they were merged into Co. S. W. Black's Sixty-second Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers, forming part of Company K of that regiment, and their original commander became first lieutenant of the consolidated company. He lost a foot at the battle of Gaines' Mill, Va., and in 1863 was elected county recorder. The men led into the field by him did valiant service; many of them were killed or desperately wounded, and but few returned to the place from whence they started.
The "Mellinger Guards" was another Monongahela City organization which took the field in 1861, and in September, 1862, Capt. William J. Alexander's company (G of the Eighteenth Regiment of Pennsylvania Militia) proceeded to the front; but as matters relating to the military history of the county are referred to at length in other pages of this work, no further allusions o the topic in question are necessary here.]
1862.---Shesh Bentley, hr., burgess; R. M. Gee, S. Clark Wilson, William Coulter, B. F. Bentley, and James Dickey, councilmen; Benjamin Foster, street commissioner; T. R. Hazzard, clerk; R. D. Teeters, wharf-master; Moses Scott, treasurer.
1863.---R. F. Cooper, burgess; William Coulter, William H. King, Mark Borland, Michael Yoho, and George A. Keller, councilmen; W. T. Campbell, clerk; Moses Scott, treasurer; R. D. Teeters, wharf-master; Alexander Scott, street commissioner.
1864.---Johnson Elrod, burgess; Mark Borland, George A. Keller, Jesse C. Taylor, L. R. Valentine, and Richard C. King, councilmen;1 W. T. Campbell, clerk; M. Borland, treasurer; C. E. Beach, wharf-master; W. T. Campbell, street commissioner.
[1 This board in February, 1865, authorized the issue of borough bonds to the amount of about five thousand dollars, with which to pay bounties, and thus fill the boroughs quota under a call for volunteers.]
1865.---T. R. Hazzard, burgess; James S. Alexander, M. Bowman, Michael Yohe, R. M. Gee, B. F. Bentley, councilmen; J.S. Alexander, clerk; H. D. Cooper, street commissioner; William H. Smith, wharf-master; J. Alexander, treasurer.
1866.---John Clemens, burgess; B. F. Bentley, G. G. Kern, Richard C. King, and William Coulter, councilmen; J. S. Alexander, clerk; H. D. Cooper, street commissioner; William S. Alexander, treasurer; and Johnson Elrod, wharf-master.
1867.---John Clemens, burgess; R. M. Gee and George A. Keller, councilmen; J. S. Alexander, treasurer; John Jenkins, street commissioner. The latter soon after resigned, when B. Foster was appointed to fill vacancy.
1868.---Joseph Taylor, burgess; O. C. House and John Patterson, councilmen; J. S. Alexander, clerk; William J. Alexander, treasurer; R. J. Williams, wharf-master; Abraham Teeters, street commissioner.
1869.2---John Holland, burgess; E. T. Cooper and H. H. Finley, councilmen; J. S. Alexander, clerk; H. D. Cooper, street commissioner; John Holland, wharf-master; and William J. Alexander, treasurer.
[2 In paril, 1869, Councilman O. C. House was appointed a committee to ascertain "the probable cost of six lamp-posts for lighting the streets." He soon after reported that iron posts would cost fifteen dollars each, and recommended the use of wooden ones. On the 11th of June same year, Dr. E. T. Cooper and O. C. House were empowered to procure street lamps and have them placed on Washington and Main Streets, and Andrew Neil was appointed lamp-lighter, etc. Oil was used in the street lamps until the completion of the gas-works in 1873, since which time gas has been burned.]
1870.3---John Holland, burgess; M. Bowman and H. C. Underwood, councilmen; George Barringer, street commissioner; J. B. Finley, clerk; William J. Alexander, treasurer; John Holland wharf-master.
[3 On the 8th day of November, 1870 (through its president, B. F. Jones), the "Pittsburgh, Virginia and Charleston Railway Company" was granted the right of way through the borough. Work was commenced on this road in December, 1870, but the first locomotive did not enter the borough limits until Sept. 29, 1873. on the 3d of October following trains began running regularly between Monongahela City and Pittsburgh.]
1871.4---T. R. Hazzard, burgess; Richard Stockdale and A. C. Sampson, councilmen; J. B. Finley, clerk; John Holland, wharf-master; A. C. Sampson, treasurer; J. R. Long, street commissioner.
[4 Lewis Bollman was elected councilman in july 1871, vice Underwood, resigned.]
1872.---John Holland, burgess; William H. king, assistant burgess; B. F. Bentley, William Hanna, James P. Sheplar, Richard Stockdale, Silas Haley, and E. Downer, councilmen; Joseph Truman, street commissioner; J. B. Finley, clerk; A. C. Sampson,5 treasurer.
[5 William J. Alexander was elected treasurer June 3, 1872, to fill vacancy caused by the death of A. C. Sampson.
During the same session of the Council, Dr. J. H. Connelly, of Pittsburgh, being present, requested that an ordinance be passed allowing him the privilege of building gas- and coke-works in the borough. This right was granted him June 10, 1872, by the passage of an ordinance wherein certain grants, conditions, and restrictions concerning the manufacture of gas and coke in the "borough of Monongahela City, Pa.," were duly set forth.]
City Officers, etc.---By an act of the State Legislature, approved March 24, 1872, a city charter was granted the town of "Monongahela City;" and in accordance with the provisions of said act an election6 for municipal officers took place on the third Friday of April, 1873, which resulted as follows: For Mayor, John Holland. For Select Council, A. T. Gregg, Thomas Wilson, First Ward; William Corrin, William P. Ketchum, Second Ward; P. A. Foster and M. Saunders, Third Ward. For Common Council, Isaac Hodge, William H. Barr, First Ward; W. J. Markwell, John Teeters, Second Ward; John A. Ford and William Coulter, Third Ward.
[6 The candidates for the mayoralty in April, 1873, received the number of votes here shown: First Ward. Second Ward. Third Ward. John Holland 45 85 73 W. L. S. Wilson 37 66 95]
These officers entered upon the discharge of their duties may 5th following, and soon after elected additional officers as follows: --- Shanton, treasurer; T. H. Baird, clerk and city solicitor; George Barringer, John Leyden, and Abram Teeters, street commissioners; John S. Wall, city engineer; and D. C. Shaw, wharf-master. Subsequent city officers---those elected by the people, as well as those elected by Councils---have been as follows:
1874.7---John Holland, mayor; Isaac Hodge, I. S. Crall, J. L. George, member of Select Council; John L. Gee, Janice Loutlit, First Ward; William J. Markell, John Teeters, Second Ward; William M. Devore, William Hanna, Third Ward, members of Common Council; Thomas H. Baird, clerk and city solicitor; John Shanton, treasurer; R. M. Gee, street commissioner; John S. Wall, city engineer; John Holland, wharf-master; and H. H. Hall, J. C. Taylor, and James Moore, school directors.
[7 On the 16th of march, 1874, the "Keystone Guards" requested the corporate authorities to furnish them with an armory. They were informed, however, that money with which to pay rent of armory, etc., should be obtained from the State military fund.]
1875.---John Holland, mayor; Adam Augendibler, William Corrin, and Aaron Brawdy, members of Select Council; J. A. Bryan, I. W. Jones, R. H. Young, I. S. Keeney, B. F. Bentley, and J. L. George, members of the Common Council; H. C. underwood, clerk; Joseph Truman, street commissioner; W. L. S. Wilson, wharf-master; Thomas H. Baird, city solicitor; John S. Wall,8 city engineer; and Charles A. Adams, treasurer.
[8 Mr. Wall resigned in July, 1875, when R. S. D. Hartrick was elected to fill the vacancy.]
1876.---John M. Davis, mayor; Charles A. Adams, treasurer; William M. Boggs and Thomas H. Baird, school directors; Isaac Hodge, John C. Davis, John Blythe, and John Bowman, members of Select Council; G. A. Gregg, R. M. Gee, J. W. Hank, John Clemens,9 William J. Alexander, and James P. Sheplar, members of Common Council; George A. Hoffman, Jr., clerk; Dr. W. L. S. Wilson, wharf-master; Philander Carroll, street commissioner; and R. S. D. Hartrick, city engineer.
[9 John Clemens died in the summer of 1876; Dr. W. H. King was then elected to fill the vacancy.]
1877.---T. H. Williams, mayor; Messrs. Swickland, Loutlit, and Long, members of Select Council; Alexander, Atkins, Bentley, Holland, Nelson, and Sullivan, members of Common Council. (the recording clerk having failed to mention anywhere in his minutes the first name of members of Councils.) George A. Hoffman, clerk; Joseph Truman, street commissioner; John J. Hazzard, treasurer; R. S. D. Hartrick, city engineer.
1878.1---John Holland, mayor; William Dewalt, William H. Arison, and John P. M. Coulter, First Ward; John M. Sutman, John G. Beaver, and William Atkins, Second Ward; P. A. Foster, William Coulter, and B. F. Bentley, Third Ward, members of Select and Common Councils; B. F. Bentley, president; W. L. S. Wilson, wharf-master; John S. Wall, city engineer.
[1 During the month of may, 1878, some fire-buckets and ladders were purchased, and in August following a wagon on which to haul them. In August, 1879, Dr. Connelly appeared before the Councils in joint session, and explained the workings and merits of his fire-extinguisher. Thereupon a committee (composed of John G. Beaver, William J. Alexander, and James Loutlit) was appointed to examine in relation thereto and report at a subsequent meeting. On the 1st day of December, 1879, this committee reported that they had visited West Newton, where on of Dr. Connelly's chemical fire-extinguishers was in use, and found that it gave excellent satisfaction, having been tested in two or three conflagrations. The committee was then continued and instructed to inquire concerning "other kinds of fire protections."
On the 5th of January, 1880, this committee submitted another report, having visited various localities meanwhile, and recommended the purchase of one "Champion Fire-Extinguisher" with appliances, "being the same as used by the borough of West Newton and Latrobe, with the addition of hooks and ladders." Acting upon the recommendations of the committee, before mentioned, an ordinance authorizing the purchase of an extinguisher and apparatus necessary for its successful operation was adopted Feb. 2, 1880. This action on the part of the Councils, however, did not seem to meet with the concurrence of a majority of the people, and by an ordinance adopted march 1, 1880, that of February 2s was repealed. No fire apparatus has since been purchased, and the city of to-day boasts of neither fire company nor fire apparatus other than the primitive buckets, ladders, and wagon before alluded to, all in charge of the street commissioners, while its water supply is obtained from wells, cisterns, and the turbid Monongahela, which flows in its front.]
1879.---John Holland, mayor; James H. Smith, treasurer; James Loutlit, John G. Beaver, and John Bowman, members of Select Council; Joseph Louderback, J. H. Carmack,2 William Atkins, John C,. Davis, William J. Alexander, and Silas Haley, members of Common Council; George A. Hoffman
[2 A. T. Gregg was elected councilman in December, 1879, vice Carmack.]
1880.---John M. Davis,3 mayor; George A. Hoffman, Jr., clerk; Dr. W. L. S. Wilson, wharf-master; James H. Smith, treasurer; and John S. Wall, city engineer. The clerk in his minutes again neglected to mention the names of the councilmen-elect, but we find that the members of the standing committees during the year were as follows: finance, Messrs. Alexander, Young, and Loutlit; streets, Messrs. Bentley, Sutman, and Warne; police, Messrs. Bowman, Loutlit, and Crall; ordinance, Messrs. Alexander, Gregg, and keeney; printing, Messrs. Keeney, Loutlit, and Warne; claims, Messrs. Young, Bentley, and Gregg; president, John G, Beaver.
[3 Mauor Davis resigned Oct. 4, 1880, when Ralston Williams was elected to fill vacancy.]
1881.4---John M. Holland, mayor; Vol. A. Farquhar, teasurer; William J. Alexander, Robert R. Abrams, I. Shelby Crall, Eliphalet Downer, George A. Keller, Joshua Meredith, John Nelson, Richard Pratt, and R. H. Young, members of Councils; A. M. Walker,5 clerk; C. E. Radcliffe, street commissioner; Thomas H. Baird, solicitor; J. S. Wall, engineer; and W. L. S., wharf-master.
[4 In 1881, the Pittsburgh, Virginia, and Charleston Railroad was completed to West Brownsville, and on the 15 day of May of that year trains began making regular trips between the point last named and Pittsburgh.. We will also add in this connection that since the fall of 1873 Dr. W. L. S. Wilson has filled the position of station-agent at Monongahela City, being now the only original station-agent on the line.]
[5 Ralston Williams, Esq., was elected clerk to fill vacancy May 2, 1861.]
1882.6---Benjamin F. Bentley, mayor; Morton Black, treasurer; Capt. T. H. Williams and Dr. W. L. S. Wilson, school directors; T. J. Weddell, auditor; Thomas Gregg, John S. Markell, and George A. Hoffmann, members of Select Council; Henry McCain, Isaac Hodge, I. Shelby Crall, Jerry Amberson, Benj. C. Camp, and Samuel Robinson, members of Common Council.
[6 To date, March 10, 1882, the city has a balance in the treasury of $1262.68, and its available assets amount to $2110.02.]
Other Borough and City Officers.---The following additional lists of officers have been obtained from the borough, city, and county records. Yet as concerns borough and city officers all records are defective, and it is an impossible matter at this time to prepare complete lists:
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE
John Clemens, April 14, 1839 James McAllister, April 10, 1855 Samuel Devore, April 14, 1839 Robert F. Cooper, April 10, 1860 John Clemens, April 14, 1840 William H. Smith, Oct. 22, 1860. Samuel Devore, April 14, 1840. Sheshbazzar Bentley, Jr., April 10, 1860. T. R. Hazzard, April 15, 1845. John Clemens, April 15, 1845. John Clemens, Sept. 11, 1865. John Clemens, April 9, 1850. Johnson Elrod, April 17, 1866. James Gordon, April 9, 1850. John Holland, March 29, 1870. John Clemens, April 10, 1855. T. R. Hazzard, Nov. 30, 1870.
A. T. Gregg, May 23, 1873. T. R. Hazzard, April 3, 1877. John Holland, Jan. 28, 1874. Ralston Williams, April 3, 1877. T. R. Hazzard, Jan. 28, 1874. Ralston Williams, Oct. 6, 1877. A. T. Gregg, Jan. 28, 1874. Moses Scott, March 27, 1879. W. M. Boggs, April 13, 1875. John Holland, March 30, 1880.
Business and Professional Men of 1882.---The city of to-day contains considerably more than three thousand inhabitants, and among its prominent professional and business men we mention (though not with the intention of being invidious) the following: Messrs. Alexander & Co., bankers; Neel Blythe & Co., proprietors of Valley Saw- and Planing-Mills; Maj. Chill W. Hazzard, editor and publisher of the Monongahela Valley Republican (daily and weekly) and postmaster; Yohe, Corrin & Co., proprietors of extensive saw- and planning-mills; Culbertson & Hartrick, proprietors of the Union Paper-Mills; Morrison, Abrams & Co., founders, machinists, and engine-builders; S. P. Keller & Co., dry-good merchants; McGrew & Parkison, proprietors City Flouring-Mills; Michael Bowman, merchant tailor; H. Landefeld, merchant tailor; R. H. Young, dealer in dry goods, etc.; George A. Hoffman & Son, hardware merchants; Vol. Farquhar, dealer in groceries and produce; T. B. Wilgus, grocer, etc.; J. F. Nicholson, jeweler, watchmaker, and dealer in organs, pianos, etc.; J. I. Strouse, jeweler; M. Borland & Sons, dealers in dry-gods, etc.; S. C. Hill, dealer in boots and shoes; Silas Haley, merchant tailor; James B. Boyer, dry-goods merchant; R. C. Byers & Son, druggists; Lewis S. Dunn, druggist; D. H. Williams, grocer; Frank M. Myers, furniture dealer, etc.; William T. Markell, dealer in cigars and tobacco; Anton Bros., merchant tailors; Samuel L. Kennedy, dealer in grain, agricultural implements, etc.; R. M. Gee & Sons, proprietors steam marble-works; George A. Keller, dealer in general merchandise; W. A. Patterson, grocer; E. Downer, hardware merchant; T. J. Wallace, grocer; Wilber S. Shelpar, druggist; J. C. Scott & Co., druggists, William H. Scott & Bro., editors and proprietors of the Valley Record; O;Leary Bros. & Co., glass manufacturers; W. L. S. Wilson, express and railroad station agent; Cypher Bros., books, stationery, etc.; People's Bank (J. B. Finley, president; J. L. George, cashier); E. T. Graham, founder; J. E. Richards & Bro., wagon-makers; Samuel T. Robinson, meat-market; James P. Sheplar, proprietor Sheplar house; Ralston Williams, alderman and general insurance agent; Theodore M. Byers, dealer in dry-goods and notions.
Of the merchants here mentioned, the house of S. P. Keller & Co. was established by S. P. Keller in 1860. his brother, E. W. Keller, entered the firm in 1871, since which the name of S. P. Keller & Co. has been used. E. W. Keller established a grocery-store in 1852. Dry-goods were added three years later, and in 1860 he dropped the sale of groceries entirely, continuing dealing in dry-goods, however, until combining with is brother in 1871 in the sale of dry-goods, carpets, oil-cloths, notions, trimmings, boots and shoes, and general merchandise.
Michael Bowman is the oldest merchant, in a business point of view, in town. He is a native of Bavaria. He came to America in 1842 (when nineteen years of age), and first located in Pittsburgh. From the latter place he removed to Monongahela City in 1850.
William McGregor engaged in the sale of boots and shoes in 1873. His present business of merchant tailoring and the sale of ready-made clothing was established in 1875.
R. H. Young has been identified with the business interests of the town since 1857. His present dry-goods house was established April 1, 1881.
George A. Hoffman & Son take rank as the second oldest business firm in Monongahela City. Their hardware- and cutlery-store was established by the former in June, 1852.
T. B. Wilgus established his present large grocery business in March, 1880.
J. F. Nicholson has been engaged in the sale of pianos and organs since 1872. The jewelry business which is also carried on by him was established by his father, W. M. Nicholson, in 1874.
James B. Boyer succeeded the firm of Summerville & Yohe in April, 1879, the latter having the business in April, 1876.
J. I. Strouse is a native of Germany, but came to America when but eighteen months old. His well-known jewelry-store was established in the spring of 1873.
The drug-store of R. Eugene Byers was established by R. C. Byers & Son in 1869. The grocery-store was added in March, 1872, and Sept. 1, 1881, the firm-name was changed to that first mentioned in this paragraph.
L. S. Dunn druggist, established this present store July 1, 1879.
H. Landefeld, the genial merchant tailor near the post-office, established his business in Monongahela City August, 1878.
D. H. Williams' grocery-store was first controlled by himself in April, 1880.
Under the firm-name of Myers & McMahan, Frank M. Myers and Alexander McMahon established furniture salesrooms, etc., in 1880. In the fall of 1881 they divided the business. Mr. Myers attends to the undertaking, while Mr. McMahon deals in furniture exclusively. Mr. Myers' grandfather, Mattias Myers, was a native of Germany, and an early settler near Bentleyville.
W. T. Markell established his present business, i.e., dealer in cigars, tobacco, etc., in the spring of 1871. His father, W. J. Markell, engaged in the same business in 1856, and continued it for several years. He now controls a distillery on Pigeon Creek.
The firm of Anton Brothers, merchant tailors, was established in the fall of 1881. Prior to that time, P. B. Anton had been a dealer in boots and shoes.
The grain and agricultural implement warerooms of S. K. Kennedy, on Main Street, were established in August, 1880.
George A. Keller, whose present grocery-store was started in March, 1881, has been an attractive business man of the town for a period of more than thirty-eight years. As early as 1852 he was in the grocery business with his brother, E. W. Keller, and has operated a foundry for the past nineteen years.
William A. Patterson's grocery-store, etc., was established by his father, Joseph Patterson, April 1, 1878. The former assumed control in December, 1880.
E. Downer established his business in 1862. He was a resident of the town, however, during 1851.
T. J. Wallaace engaged in the sale of groceries, etc., in 1878, and removed to his present place of business the following year.
W. S. Sheplar, druggist, began business in April, 1881. He is a son of James P. Sheplar, proprietor of the "Shelpar House."
The drug-store of J. C. Scott & Co. was established by J. C. Scott in 1869. The present firtm-name was adopted in April 1881.
Theodore M. Byers, dealer in dry-goods and notions, established his business April1, 1880.
Physicians.---George A. Linn, George E. Lyth, Franklin P. Scott, James G. Sloan,1 Charles B. Wood, R. S. H. Keys, M. P. Morrison, G. P. Mitchell, and H. J. Gambell.
[1 Dr. James G. Sloan graduated at Jefferson College, Canonsburg, Pa., in the summer of 1862. he then joined the 140th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers and served three years. After the close of the war he began the study of medicine, and graduated with honors from the University of Georgetown, D. C., in March 1869. He practiced his profession at Fayette City, pa., for four years, and has been established at this present place of residence, Monongahela City, for more than eight years.]
Surgeon Dentists.---J. D. Hammond and W. H. King.
Attorneys.---The present attorneys-at-law are Thomas H. Baird, admitted to practice at February term, 1846, and George A. Hoffman, Jr., admitted in December, 1875. of other attorneys who at various periods have lived in the town or its vicinity were Judge Thomas H. Baird,1 admitted in March, 1808; T. R. Hazzard, November, 1840; Robert F. Cooper, may 1842; O.B. McFadden, February, 1843; Solomon Alter, may, 1843; J. W. F. White, may, 1844; Ianthus Bentley, February, 1866; J. M. Milligan, February, 1866; and John M. Davis, January, 1877.
[1Judge Baird was the father of the present Thos. H. baird, Esq., and resided at the point now known as Baird's Station, on the Pittsburgh, Virginia, and Charleston Railroad. He was a gentleman distinguished for his great legal ability, and Oct. 19, 1818, was selected president judge of the district composed of Washington, Fayette, Greene, and Somerset Counties.]
Hon. George V. Lawrence, of Monongahela City, although not a lawyer, has for many years been a law-maker and one of the most prominent men in Western Pennsylvania. He represented the people of Washington county in the State house of Representatives in 1844, 1847, 1859, and 1860; Washington County in the State Senate for a term commencing in October, 1848; Washington and Greene Counties for term commencing October, 1860; and in October, 1864, was elected to represent the counties of Washington, Greene, Beaver, and Lawrence in the national House of Representatives.
Alexander & Co., Bankers.---Although we have mentioned the fact that the Monongahela and Williamsport Manufacturing and Banking Company was chartered in January, 1814, it seems that this company was never organized, and that the people of the town could not boast of any banking facilities until the spring season of 1861, when the Messrs. Alexander & Co. (composed of Joseph Alexander2 and his sons, William J. and James S.) established a banking-house in connection with their business as merchants.
[2 Joseph Alexander was born at Rostraver, Westmoreland Co., Pa., in the year 1795. Accompanied by his wife and three children, viz., William J., Rose Ann, and Eliza, he settled in Williamsport during the year 1828. He immediately engaged in business as a dealer in general merchandise, occupying a log structure on Main Street which stood opposite the McGregor building. Soon after, however, he removed across the street to a frame store-house which stood on the site of the present McGregor building, and which was occupied by himself and sons for many years thereafter. His children born after his settlement in Williamsport were James S., Emeline, Amanda, and Theresa. His wife died in 1856, and full of years he departed from this stage of action in the year 1870. he was an honorable and successful merchant, a devoted husband and father, a public-spirited Christian gentleman, a stanch Whig and Republican (though it was his pride to boast that he once cast his vote for "Old Hickory"), and was universally esteemed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.]
In 1870 the present elegant bank building was erected at a cost, exclusive of the grounds, of $20,000. It is constructed of brick and stone, ornamented with Mansard slate-roof, towers, and cresting, and its vaults, fire and burglar-proof, are among the very best. Though the senior members of the house died in 1870, the business is still continued under the title of Alexander & Co., and most probably will be for many years to come, for its members, by their gentlemanly manners, obliging dispositions, and sterling, well-tried integrity, have secured the confidence and respect of all who meet them in a business way and the every-day walks of life. A capital of $100,000 is usually employed.
People's Bank.---This thriving institution was established under the title fo the "People's Savings-Bank," Sept. 1, 1870, by a stock company, which began business with a paid-up capital of $100,000. The first officers were A. C. Sampson, president; J. B. Finley3, cashier; A. C. Sampson, James Sampson, James K. Logan, W. M. Devore, and J. B. Finley, directors.
[3 Mr. Finley is a representative of the well-known family of Finleys, of Finleyville, though born in the city of Philadelphia. He has been a resident of Monongahela City since 1861, and from that time until the founding of the People's bank was in the employ of Messrs. Alexander & Co. he was a member of Capt. William J. Alexander's company of State militia, and with that command proceeded to the front in Maryland, immediately after the battle of Antietam.]
Manufacturing.---The Valley Saw- and Planing-Mills, Messrs. Neel, Blythe & Co. proprietors, contractors and builders, is a pioneer establishment of its kind in this section of the country, and stands today where it has always stood, at the head, and in the front rank of all its competitors, both in extent of business done and the quality of the work produced.
It appears that the first mill standing upon this site was built in the year 1850, by William and Joseph Brown, father and son respectively. It was a two-story structure, fifty-five by seventy feet, and was fitted for planing and the manufacture of sash, doors, shutters, mouldings, etc.
After on year Joseph sold out his interests to his father, and same three years later the latter sold to Messrs. Kiddoo & Pollock. Mr. Pollock continued but three or four years, when David Moore purchased his interests. The first building was burned in 1858, and the following year the partners, Joseph Kiddoo and David Moore, erected the second one, which was three stories in height, and its ground dimensions forty by eighty feet.
The firm of Kiddoo & Moore continued until 1867, when the latter sold out tot Blythe (John) & Beach (Charles E.), and the formed to James Neel and E. A. Foster, the new firm assuming the title of Foster, Blythe & Co. On the 13th of July, 1875, during the conflagration which destroyed the saw- and planing-mill of Culbertson & Hartrick, the building erected in 1859 and occupied by Foster, Blythe & Co. was also burned. The work of reconstruction began at once, and ninety days later, on Oct.. 13, 1875, the present building was completed. It is two stories in height, and sixty-five by one hundred and five feet, not including the engine-house.
On the 13th of April, 1876, Mr. Beach's interests were purchased by Mr. Neel, and the firm-name was changed to that of Foster, Blythe & Neel. This firm was continued until Jan. 17, 1880, when Mr. Foster sold out to Messrs. Neel and Blythe, other members were admitted, and the present firm of Neel, Blythe & Co. was established, the individual members of the firm being James Neel, John Blythe, James Blythe, John W. Teeters, J. P. Taylor, and Philip Zenn.
The building occupied is a strong and substantial one, and well adapted for the business of sawing lumber, and the production of flooring, siding, weather=boarding, sash, blinds, doors, lath, railing, wood-turning, scroll-work, etc. The machinery is of the very best in use, and it would be a difficult matter, indeed, to find anywhere a more perfectly arranged and better conducted establishment.
From sixty to seventy-five men are steadily employed. Besides the elegant new school building in Monongahela City, this firm have during the past two years erected a large number of buildings at Braddock's, McConnellville, Belle Vernon, and other places. They purchased during the year 1882 at least 4,000,000 feet of lumber. They have also an extensive boat- and barge-yard connected with their works.
The Union Paper-Mills, of Monongahela City, Messrs. Culbertson & Hartrick proprietors, were established in 1850 by Dr. Samuel D. Culbertson, of Chambersburg, Pa., being the first manufactory of its kind in which air alone was depended upon for during erected west of the Allegheny Mountains. In 1862 steam was adopted for during purposes, and on the 4th day of march, 1864, the buildings were destroyed by fire. However, Mr. Albert Culbertson, son of Dr. Culbertson, immediately began the work of rebuilding, and in March, 1865, the works were again put in motion with an increased capacity.
In 1876 the present proprietors, Messrs. S. D. Culbertson1 and R. S. D. Hartrick, assumed control, and have since conducted the business under the firm-name of Culbertson & Hartrick.
[1 Mr. S. D. Culbertson is a son of Alfred, and grandson of the original owner of the mill.]
Originally, by dint of much hard labor and the most expert manipulations, but two and two and one-half tons of "straw-board" could be produced in twenty-four hours. Now, however, the average daily product is seven tons. Fifty men are here given employment. Straw-board, manufactured from wheat, rye, oat, and barley straw (obtained from the surrounding country), is the only article produced, and the cities of New York and Philadelphia are chiefly depended upon for marketing the same, yet considerable quantities of the products of this mill have been sent direct to England, Cuba, and San Francisco, Cal.
The Foundry and Machine-Shops of Messrs. Morrison, Abrams & Co. were established by J. W. Downer in 1872. After a brief period the firm-name was changed to that of Hindman, Downer & Lecky, which firm continued until 1877, when Mr. Downer having retired, the name of Hindman, Morrison & Co. was adopted. Another change took place soon after though, and under the name of Morrison & Co. the business was conducted by Messrs. W. H. Morrison and T. H. Pollock2 from 1877 until Jan. 1, 1881, when Capt. R. R. Abrams became a member of the firm and the present title, i.e., Morrison, Abrams & Co., was assumed.
[2 Mr. Pollock, who represented the "Co." in the firms entitled Hindman, Morrison & Co. and Morrison & Co., is also the "Co." in the present firm of Morrison, Abrams & Co. he is a gentleman of acknowledged ability as a designer and practical machinist, having learned his trade at the Pittsburgh Locomotive-Works, and now acts a s foreman and general manager of the works.]
Many improvements have been made during the few years last passed, and the premises, situated midway between the railroad and river, are equipped with the most perfect machinery and tools, including a steam-engine of sixteen horse-power. Fifteen skilled workman are constantly employed by the firm, and the manufactures consist chiefly of complete outfits for the mining of coal, such as coal tipples, bolts, pit-cars, pit-car wheels, castings, etc. They also make a specialty of "Morrison & Co.'s Reversible Engine," which, while running easily and noiselessly, is unequaled in beauty and finish. This engine was exhibited at the Exposition (1876), and has given entire satisfaction wherever introduced. The business of the firm of Morrison, Abrams & Co. is continually increasing, and quite recently they have performed much work for the Monongahela Navigation Company at locks Nos. 1 and 2.
The City Flouring-Mill of Monongahela City, Mssrs. McGrew & Parkison3 present proprietors, was erected about the year 1845, by Henry Shearer and John Sheplar. Afterwards the mill was controlled at various times by Beach & Co., George & Shaw, and John L. George until the year 1877, when the present firm, viz., James McGrew and A. R. Parkison, became its owners.
[3 Mr. A. R. Parkison is a great-grandson of one of five brothers, the original settlers of this immediate locality, and his family have for many years been identified with the milling business, more particularly at Mingo and Elkhorn. Thus we find that about the beginning of the present century Benjamin Parkison (grandfather of A. R.) threw a dam across the river at Mingo and erected two flouring-mills (on either side), and a fulling-mill, and a saw-mill. William, the father of A. R. Parkison, after inheriting the estate, built a paper-mill on the right bank of the river, and named that locality Elkhorn.
Mr. McGrew also is a representative of one of the first families to settle in Washington County.]
The building is a five-story wooden structure, forty-two by ninety feet, and has a capacity of eighty barrels of flour per day. The machinery used is of the best and latest improved kind, including a new purifier and middling stone and an engine of fifty horse-power. This firm, as well as all others doing business in Monongahela City, have excellent facilities ofr receiving and shipping goods either by wagon, river, or railroad. Mr. McGrew has had an experience in the business of twenty-two years; Mr. Parkison of four years. In conclusion, we will add that both are residents of the city, are energetic and enterprising men, and well worthy of their large and remunerative trade.
On the site where the first boats were built in Monongahela City now stands the planing-mills and lumber-yard of Yohe,1 Corrin & Co., the individual members of the firm being Isaac Yohe, James L. Yohe, Lewis N. Yohe, and Edward Corrin. However, the business was established in November, 1880, under the firm-name of Yohe, Carson & Co. In June, 1881, Mr. Carson having retired, Mr. Corrin came in as a member of the firm. All are practical men of many years' experience and natives of the city.
[1 Isaac Yohe, the grandfather of the Yohe brothers (them embers of this firm), came from Easton, Pa., and settled near Valley Inn, or on the farm now occupied by Marvin Sheplar, in Carroll township, about the year 1810, having been induced to remove westward in consequence of the flattering description of this country given by a brother who had visited Washington County during the Whiskey Rebellion. Michael, son of Isaac, and father of Isaac, James, and Lewis before mentioned, was one of the first to vote the Free-Soil or Abolition ticket in the county.]
They are largely engaged in contracting and building, and during the past year have erected many fine buildings at Greenfield, Webster, Tomer & MCKinney's works, Homestead, Columbia, and in other localities. Their lumber-yard is two hundred feet square. The planing-mill is two stories in height, thirty-four by sixty-four feet, and is fitted up with the latest improved machinery. Power is derived from steam, and thirty-five men are employed.
The Monongahela Glass-Works, although situated just without the municipal limits, are among the most important of the many manufacturing interests found within the city or its immediate vicinity. Under the firm-name of Ihmsen, Fox & Co. (H. L. Ihmsen, Gregor Fox, John J. O'Leary, and James Beck, all of Pittsburgh, being the individual members), the work of construction was commenced in June, 1880, completed September 13th following. On the 21st of February, 1881, by the retirement of Mr. Fox and the purchase of his interests by T. O'Leary, Jr., of Pittsburgh, the title assumed by the firm was that of O'Leary, Beck & Co. Mr. T. O'Leary, Jr., purchased the interests of Mr. Ihmsen in the fall of 1881, and Mr. Beck's in February, 1882, and thus the firm-name of the present is that of O'Leary Bros. & Co.
Sixty men and two boys are regularly employed and the products of these works (window-glass exclusively) amount to nine hundred boxes per week. This firm also manufacture their own melting pots, an essential and most important feature in the fabrication of glass.
The Monongahela City Steam Granite- and Marble-Works were established by R. M. Gee in 1852. He conducted the business alone until the year 1865, when his sons, J. L.,2 J. R., William M., and Charles W. Gee, having become partners, the firm-name was changed to that of R. M. Gee & Sons. In 1873, Mr. J. H. Weygandt entered the firm, and the business has since been carried on under the title of R. M. Gee, Sons & Co.
[2 J. L. Gee died in 1877.]
This enterprising firm manufactured marble and granite monuments and headstones, cemetery fences, etc., beautiful in designed and most artistically finished. Motive power is derived from an engine of twenty-five horse-power, and from seven to fifteen skilled workmen are employed. They also own and operate a valuable sandstone quarry, situated about one mile from the town, where, during the summer season, about twenty-five men are employed. The stone here obtained is of most excellent quality, and in the construction of buildings, stoops, canal-and river-locks, etc. it meets every requirement. This firm stand ready to contract for and execute work in stone of whatever kind or nature, and doubtless all those in need of their skill and great experience will find, after trial, that their work has been performed with promptness and the greatest of care.
The Monongahela City Steam Docks, owned by William H. Barr, were established by the Monongahela City Dock Company (composed of Joseph Tuman, Shadrick Heyser, George Grove, Cyrus Linn, and others) in 1865. After several changes in proprietorship, Mr. Barr leased the property in 1871, and some two or three years later purchased the same. From sixteen to twenty men are here employed during the busy seasons. Barges, flats, and boats are build, and all kinds of river craft repaired.
In 1878 the steamer "Hunter No. 2" was placed upon the docks, her upper works detached from and raised above her hull, and while thus supported a new hull was built.
Graham's Foundry,. situated in the upper part of the town near Pigeon Creek, was established by its present proprietor, E. T. Graham, in 1879. Stoves, farm-bells, and coal-mining cars are manufactured, besides which a large amount of jobbing and repairing is done. The works furnish employment to eight men.
Coal-Mining.---The mining of a superior quality of bituminous coal is and has been for many years an important feature as regards the business interests of the town. A six-foot vein underlies all the surface in the vicinity, and thus the people area afforded ample and cheap fuel, while hundreds of miners are furnished steady and remunerative employment.
The mines now operated within the city limits are those of the Harlem coal Company and James Jones', the latter operating the mine opened by Hiram A. Warne, Robert Coulter, and Jonas Carothers in 1859. About four hundred men are employed by the operators here mentioned.
Gas Company.---The "Monongahela City Gas Company" was incorporated by an act of the State Legislature, approved Feb. 20, 1872, William Smith, Samuel Bridge, Jr., S. H. Goldthrop, B. W. Flack, M. Naylor, and J. H. Connelly being named in the act as commissioners to organize the company. The act further specified that the capital stock should consist of $20,000, "to be increased to any amount not exceeding $100,000 by a vote of the stockholders of said company," and that the stock be divided into shares of $50 each.
In accordance with the provisions of the before-mentioned act, and of a notice published in the Monongahela Republican of date June 27, 1872, M. Naylor and J. H. Connelly attended at the office of Thomas H. Baird, Esq., in Monongahela City, at 2 o'clock P. M., July 8, 1872, and hen and there proceeded to open books and receive subscriptions to the capital stock of the company. Twenty per cent. Of the capital stock having been subscribed Aug. 11, 1873, on the 22d of September following a meeting was held to organize the company. W. L. S. Wilson acted as chairman, and D. C. Shaw acted as secretary of this meeting, and the officers then elected were William J. Alexander, president; J. H. Connelly, vice-president and teasurer were made ex-officio members of the board. On the following day (Sept. 23, 1873) a contract was made with Messrs. Connelly, Naylor & Co., of Pittsburgh, for the construction of the works.
Under the superintendency of Mr. Fulmer the work of construction began at once, and during the holiday week of 1873 a supply of gas was awaiting the use of consumers. Originally the works cost $32,000. At the beginning Connelly, Naylor & Co. took stock to the amount of $23,000, but soon after completing the works they sold out their shares to Messrs. William J. Alexander, John L. George, George V. Lawrence, and J. B. Finley, and thus the stock is all held by residents of Monongahela City.
The present officers are William J. Alexander president; J. B. Finley, secretary and treasurer; James Stockdale, George V. Lawrence, John L. George, B. F. Bentley, and J. B. Finley directors.
Company A, Tenth Regiment, N. G.---With the close of the late civil strife the American people generally deemed themselves as having had an ample sufficiency of the pomp and circumstances of real war, and for four or five years thereafter such a feeling prevailed everywhere. But the Americans area military people naturally, and no sooner had a brief period of quietness been passed, and the silent mounds become green over the graves of our heroes who fell on Southern fields, than this latent military spirit again asserted itself. Independent military companies were organized here and there, and veterans of the war stepped forward as commanders and drill-masters. Therefore, when in July, 1869, the Hazzard Zouaves, and independent company under the command of Capt. J. De V. Hazzard, First Lieut. Chirstopher Galloway, and Second Lieut. William Oliver, was organized, it was but in consonance with a movement quite general throughout the victorious, prosperous North.
[Note: The above is a transcription of pages 566 through 581 of the chapter in the Crumrine History covering Monongahela. The remainder of chapter will be published in the near future.]
*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 Jean Suplick of Plano, TX in October 1999. Published in February 2000 onhttp://www.chartiers.com.
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