Benjamin Whitman.

Nelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the county also portraits and biographies of the governor's since 1790, and of numerous r online

. (page 56 of 192)
Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the county also portraits and biographies of the governor's since 1790, and of numerous r → online text (page 56 of 192)
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factory in the " gulf " of Twenty-Mile creek ;
a paper-mill (not now running) on Si.xteen-
Mile creek; a furniture-factory, a grist-mill,
a cider-mill and vinegar-factory, a door, blind
and sash factory, a tannery, a saw-mill, a
basket-factory and a brickj'ard, all near the
borough. The South Shore Wine Company
have an extensive winery north of the bor-
ough, and Mr. Mottier has another near by.
A number of mills and factories which were
in operation ten years or so ago, have been
burned or allowed to run down.

The paper-mill, once one of the best known
institutions in Erie county, was established by
Steele, Judd & Easton in 1833, and, after
passing into the hands of William L. Hall,
was burned in LSSS. It was immediately re-
built by John Scouller and Chauncy Easton,
the former of whom soon purchased his part-
ner's interest. Mr. Scouller sold the mill in
1853 to James S. Johnson, who was the
victim of another fire on the 16th of August,
1881, which almost destroyed the property.
By July 2, 1872, Mr. Johnson had the mill
running again on a more extensive scale than
ever, but in re-building he became involved,
and was obliged to succumb to the financial
pressure. The mill was sold to Cochran &
Young, of Erie, who ran it until January 1,




1883, when it passed into the hands of West,
Swaney & Jackson, of Pittsburg. These
gentlemen failed, and the mill, after passing
through several manageinents, finally became
the property of the Keystone Bank of Erie.
Operations ceased some ten years ago.


The cultivation of grapes was commenced
on a small scale, in North East township,
about 1850, by Messrs. Hammond & Griffith,
who planted their first vineyard near the
establishment of the South Shore Wine Com-
pany. It was soon discovered that the soil
and climate were peculiarly favorable to the
growth of this luscious fruit, and the small
beginningof forty-fiveyears ago has developed
until there are thousands of acres under culti-
vation in the township. The South Shore
Wine Company was formed in 1869. They
built a large cellar on the road between the
borough and lake, and have done an extensive
business in shipping grapes and making wine.

For a while it was thought the lake shore
lands north of the borough were the only ones
suitable for the purpose, but of late years the
vineyards have spread all over the township,
even to the hillsides extending into Greenfield.
The grapes are sent to all parts of the coun-
try, and some shipments have been made to
Europe. It is claimed that there were 3,500
acres of grape lands in North East township
alone in 1895, and that 450 carloads of grapes
were shipped from that station, at North East
during the same year. [See Miscellaneous
chapter in General History of Erie county].

Besides the grape culture, the township
has become an important berry, fruit, melon
and vegetable growing region. A good deal
of trucking is done for the Erie and oil coun-
try markets.


The village of Freeport, at the mouth of
Sixteen-Mile creek, a mile and a half north of
the borough, though now nothing more than
a straggling collection of houses, was once ex-
pected to become a lake port of considerable
magnitude. When the Population Companj'
established their headquarters at Colt's Sta-
tion, their supplies were received mainly by
boat from Buffalo and landed at Freeport.
To transport these goods the first road in the
county — with the exception of the old French
road — was opened from Freeport to Greenfield

in 1797, which a year afterward was extended
to Wattsburg. The road followed generally
the same route as the one which now runs
from the depot at North East to French creek.
Quite a trade was done at Freeport till 1802,
when the removal of the company's headquar-
ters to Erie suspended the lake traffic. After-
ward it did a good business as a lumber port,
but this did not last long. The village is
something of a fishing place and several fami-
lies are supported by the fisheries. The first
foundry in Erie county was established at
Freeport in 1824, by Philetus Glass and others
for the manufacture of cast iron plows.

Northville is mainly in New York, but
the postoffice is in Pennsylvania. The place
embraces two stores, a hotel, church and
twenty or thirty dwellings. The Buffalo road
passes through, and the town is a station on
the Lake Shore and Nickel Plate R. R.'s
The Methodist Episcopal congregation is at
least seventy years old, and built the first
church in 1841. The second one was erected
in 1880, and was replaced by a third one in

The little settlement of Grahamville, at the
cross roads, about three and a half miles south-
east of the borough, was founded by Samuel
Graham, who came from Centre county in
1800, his brothers James and Ebenezer loca-
ting at the same time in Summit township. A
tannery was established there in 1835 by
Robert Graham, a sawmill by James Graham
in the same year, an ashery by E. N. Fuller in
1842, and a distillery, wagon shop and black-
smith shop some time between 1830 and the
latter year. The place was at the height of
its prosperity from 1842 to 1846, when, for
some reason, it began to run down, the store
being closed in 1847, and the ashery and dis-
tillery soon after. It consists at present of a
schoolhouse (in which religious services are
sometimes held), a blacksmith shop, wagon
shop, about fifteen houses and fifty or sixty

North of the borough, and near the bank of
the lake, is the Dill Park House, a pleasant
summer resort. The enterprise was started by
H. S. Southard in 1875. Robert Dill has
owned the property a number of years.


In addition to the church at Northville,
there is one belonging to the German Luther-


ans on the north side of the Greenfield line, on
the Town Line road, about half a mile east of
the North East and Wattsburg road. It was
built in 1884 or '85.

The township contains three regularly
incorporated cemeteries, besides the grave-
yard at Northville and one near the woolen-
mill. The one known as the North East
cemetery, which is used by the borough and
township in common, occupies high ground
on the west bank of Sixteen-Mile creek, along
the Buffalo road, a short distance west of the
borough limits. The cemetery company was
incorporated April 15, 1882. Twelve and
one-half acres were purchased from the heirs
of P. S. V. Hamot, to which five acres were
added that had been used as a burial ground
for fifty years.

The cemetery of the Phillips Burial Ground
Association is on the Henry Wolf farm, about
two and a half miles east of the borough,
along the Buffalo road. Although there had
been a graveyard on the site for many years,
the management was never regularly incor-
porated until 1863. Mrs. Buel Phillips, wife
of the donor, was the first person buried there.
Her death took place in 1822.

The Graham vi lie Burying Ground Asso-
ciation was incorporated in the spring of 1879.
The society's grounds are on the road from
North East to Grahamville. The site has
been used as a graveyard for nearly sixty


In the western part of the township, about
a half-mile north of the track of the Lake
Shore R. R., was what was known as the
Hildebrand house, in which school was taught
about the year 1811. Not long after a log
schoolhouse was built eighty or 100 rods south
of the same site, in which the first school was
taught about 1814. In the early history of
the township, the children residing east of
the " gulf," in the northeastern portion, at-
tended school in New York State. An early
school was taught not far from the State line
in a vacant building. A schoolhouse was
built probably one mile from the line in New
York as soon as 1816. About one mile south-
west of the church at Northville, in the Orton
district, a schoolhouse was erected, in which
school was opened in the winter of 1832-88.
School was taught, in the Belknap district.

about one and one-half miles south of the
Orton school in the winter of 1883-34. When
the common school system went into force,
the township was prompt to avail itself of its
benefits. [The list above does not include
the first schoolhouse mentioned in the "early

[see north east township.]

The borough of North East lies nearly in
the center of the township, between its east-
ern and western lines, about a mile and a half
south from the lake, upon the highest ground
of the lake shore plain. It is an important
station on the Lake Shore and the Nickel
Plate R. R.'s, fifteen miles east of Erie
and seventy-three west of Buffalo. The
Buffalo road constitutes its main street. A
branch of Sixteen-Mile creek runs through
the place, and the main stream waters its
southwestern section. North East is justly
regarded as one of the most pleasant and en-
terprising towns in the county.

The land covered by the borough was pur-
chased from the State by a settler named
Brown, who sold it in 1804 to an Eastern
man by the name of Gibson. The earliest
dwelling within the borough limits was a log
cabin, built by William Dundas, a little to
the east of the Presbyterian parsonage. In
this modest abode the sacrament of the Lord's
Supper was administered for the first time in
Erie county, according to the Protestant
form, on Sunday, the 27th of September,
1801. The Dundas property was sold in
1806 to Henry Burgett, who converted it into
a tavern, and occupied it as such for years. A
more pretentious tavern was erected in 1808,
by Lemuel Brown, on the site of the present
Haynts House. Previous to the ventures of
Burgett and Brown, a tavern had been kept
by George Lowry, near the park. The first
store was opened in 1816, by Alexander Mc-
Closkey, in a building on Main street, at the
foot ol Vine. By degrees a village sprung
up around the taverns, which received the
title of Burgettstown, after Henry Burgett,
the landlord. In 1819 the name was changed
to Gibsonville, in honor of the man who
owned most of the property, and donated the
park to the use of the public. It was known



by that title until the 27th of February, 1834,
when the village was incorporated as the bor-
ough of North East. The original limits were
extended in 1852, and again at a quite recent
date. The postoffice was established in May,
1812. The population has been as follows :
In 1840, 399 ; in 1850, 387 ; in 1860, 952 ; in
1870, 902; in 1880, 1,396; in 1890, 1,538. The
borough is separated into the East and West


The Presbyterian society, the oldest relig-
ious organization in Erie county, was founded
in 1801, as "the Church of Lower Green-
field," under circumstances which are narrated
in the early chapters of this book. Thomas
Robinson and John McCord were ordained as
the first elders. Services were held in the
woods and in the barn or tan bark house of
Joseph McCord till 1804, when a log church
building was erected upon a tract of five acres,
given for the purpose by Henry Hurst, which
is now occupied as a part of the North East
cemetery. A Sabbath-school was established,
and a day school was also maintained in con-
nection with the church. In 1818, the con-
gregation commenced the erection of a new
frame building nearly in the center of the
present park, and finished it in 1822. In 1832,
fifty-eight members, separated from the con-
gregation and were constituted a church at
Harbor Creek. A second building was
erected in 1860, and the old one in the park
was torn down in 1862. The big fire of Au-
gust, 1884, destroyed the second church, and a
new one. better than either of the others, was
put up immediately after. [For fuller particu-
lars in regard to this charge, see the General

The Methodist Episcopal congregation was
organized in 1812, by Rev. Thomas Branch,
a missionary from Connecticut. The orig-
inal members were Tristam Brown, George
Culver, John Russell, and two others, with
their wives. For ten years the congregation
were without a house of worship. In 1822, a
brick building was erected on the eastern side
of the park, facing the south. The present
edifice was built in 1852, and the old one was
torn down the same year.

The first Baptist society occupied a small
log structure in the eastern part of the town-
ship. In 1832 a new congregation was or-

ganized, and erected a building on the Bufi"alo
road, about two miles east of the borough in
1833. This society ceased to exist about 1850.
A third congregation was established in
1858. The present church building was put
up in 1859, and a Sabbath schoolroom was
added in 1870. A split in the congregation
during the spring of 1895 resulted in a consid-
erable loss of members. In April of that year
forty -seven persons withdrew at one time.

St. Paul's German Evangelical Lutheran
congregation was organized in 1864, and be-
came a separate charge in 1868. The first
church was built in 1867, and was replaced
by a new one about 1888. The original build-
ing is used as a parochial school, which is
quite flourishing.

The Episcopal Mission of the Holy Cross
was organized in 1872. The society placed a
building under roof during the season of 1879,
which was completed in due time.

St. Gregory's Catholic Church was erected
about the year 1866. For years prior to this,
the Catholic families had been visited by
priests from Dunkirk and occasionally from
Erie. In July, 1870, Father Briody entered
upon his duties as pastor in connection with
the one at Girard. The church as first erected
was a mere shell of a building, but has been
remodeled and improved. A parsonage adjoins
the church.

The German Church of the Evangelical
Association of North America was organized
in 1870. Preaching had been held occasion-
ally for several years prior to that time. The
corner-stone of the present building was laid
October 2, 1870, and the church was dedi-
cated January 15, 1871.

ST. Mary's college.

St. Mary's College, a Catholic educational
institution, is situated just north of the bor-
ough, on a gently rising knoll, which com-
mands a view of Lake Erie and the surround-
ing country. This college was built at great
expense by the Methodist denomination in
1869, and was called the Lake Shore Semi-
nary. Owing to financial difficulties, it was
obliged after a few years to close its doors to
students. The building stood unoccupied for
several years, when it was purchased by the
Redemptorist Fathers of the State of Pennsyl-
vania, a congregation of missionary priests.

When the necessary alterations in the in-



terior of the building had been made, it was
dedicated by the Rt. Rev. Tobias Mullen,
Bishop of Erie, on the 2d of August, 1881,
amid a great concourse of priests and people.
A pontifical high-mass was celebrated in the
great hall by the Rt. Rev. Bishop, assisted by
a number of visiting clergy, after which the
Very Rev. Wm. Way rich, of New York,
preached a sermon on Education, explaining
to the assembled crowds the aim and scope of
the college that was thenceforward to be
known as St. Mary's.

The college is a brick structure, three
stories high, with a fine basement, the latter
containing the refectories of the professors
and of the students, kitchen, store-rooms,
bakery, boiler-room and closets. The first
room is taken up by the oratory, recitation
halls, class-rooms, infirmary and pharma-
copoeia. The second floor embraces the chapel,
study hall, sacristy and professors' rooms.
Two large dormitories occupy the whole of
the third floor. Above the third floor is a
half-story, which has been utilized for lava-
tory and bath-rooms.

In 1894 an east wing was added to the
main building at an expense of $40,000. This
structure had been contemplated for a num-
ber of years. It was constructed of brick and
conforms in general outline with the main
building. The new building embraces study
halls, private oratory for the faculty, dining-
room, kitchen and library (containing 6,000
volumes) ; also handsomely decorated read-
ing-rooms. The faculty now have in con-
templation a chapel, which will be erected to
the west of the main building. This, it is
expected, will be added to the college build-
ings within the next few years.

When the college passed into the hands of
the Redemptorist Fathers the grounds were
not sufficiently large ; they therefore bought
two pieces of land, the one lying on the
east of the building, the other on the west.
A large sum of money has been expended by
the college authorities in beautifying the
grounds, with the result that the college and
its surroundings form one of the finest orna-
ments in the borough.

As the aim of the institution is to fit
young men for the priesthood in the mission-
ary congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer,
only such students as are desirous of joining
the congregation are admitted. After a six-

years' course has been completed, the gradu-
ates proceed to Annapolis, Md., where, dur-
ing the space of one year, they receive a spir-
itual training and are tried in various ways to
test their religious vocation. At the expira-
tion of the year they make their religious pro-
fession, thus consecrating themselves to God.
They then begin at Ilchester, Md., a six-
years course of higher studies. Philosophy,
Theology, Sacred Scripture, Canon Law,
Church History and Sacred Liturgy. Toward
the end of the course they are ordained priests,
and, after an additional training of six
months, for the special work of the missions,
they are sent forth into the world to labor in
behalf of the church.

At the present time (vSeptember 1, 1895)
the faculty consists of the president. Very
Rev. Aug. Dooper, and nine professors : Rev.
Fathers Auth, Saftig, Bausch, Schautz, De-
Laad, Tarr, Cook, Coughlan and Prof. Aug.
Messier. The average number of students is
100. The course of studies is the same as
that pursued in the ordinary ecclesiastical
college, viz. : a course inGreek, Latin, English,
German and French languages, rhetoric, his-
tory (ancient, mediaeval and modern), mathe-
matics (algebra, geometry and trigonometry),
Christian doctrine and plain chant.


A day school was taught in the old log
meeting house, above referred to, soon after
the year 1804, which was maintained until
about 1817, when a log schoolhouse was built
not far from the center of the park. This was
the regular school for the vicinity. In 1824
the present grounds were purchased and a
small brick building erected, in which school
was taught as early as 1826. In 1818 a sum-
mer school was taught in the office of Dr.
Dunlap, the site being just in front of the
house of E. Scouller.

The next village schoolhouse was a large
frame building, erected in 1844, on the site of
the brick house, at a cost of $3,000, raised by
subscription. This was replaced by the pres-
ent school building, erected in 1878 at a cost
of $10,000, and enlarged and much improved
in 1893. All the public schools of the bor-
ough are held in this structure. The schools
were first graded in 1878, and the first com-
mencement exercises were held in 1881,




The first banking institution of the bor-
ough was established by A. W. Blaine about
the year 1860, at the corner of Lake and
Main streets. This was merged into the First
National Bank when it was organized in
1865. The latter, which is still in operation,
opened with Wm. Griffith as president and
A. W. Blaine as cashier.

The People's Savings Institution was in-
corporated in April, 1870, and commenced
business May 1 of that year. The firm of
Blaine, Gould & Short, which subsequently
became Short, Blaine & Co., opened in 1871.
This institution stopped business May 14,
1883, and the People's Savings Bank became
its successor. The latter suspended on the
23d of January, 1895. Five days after, Jan-
uary 28, Sampson Short started a private
bank under the name of the Short Banking

W. A. Ensign & Co. also have a private

The hotels of North East are the Brawley
House, built in 1833 ; the Haynes House
(originally) in 1852-3; the Palace Hotel, by
Sampson Short, in 1877, and the Earl Hotel,
started in 1894. The first hotel — or more
properly, tavern — was opened by George
Lowry, the second by Henry Burgett, the
third bj^ Lemuel Brown, and the fourth by
the latter's son, Hiram L., who erected the
house once owned by Miss Davison for that
purpose. In of time, the two Browns
almost monopolized the tavern business of the
town. Hiram L., eventually purchased the
Eagle Hotel property at the corner of State
street and the northeast side of the Park in
Erie. It burned down and he erected another
house on its site, which was known as Brown's
Hotel until its purchase by Col. Ellsworth,
when the name was changed to the Ellsworth
House. The Haynes House was burned in
the fire of 1894 and promptly re-built.


The manufacturing institutions of the bor-
ough are : The Short Manufacturing Co., the
Eureka Tempered Copper Co., the Scouller
Milling Co., a large fertilizer and chemical
works, the Columbia Novelty Co., an iron
foundry and specialty works, a carriage and

trimming factory, a tub and firkin factory, a
wire goods works, a number of grape basket,
fruit and cigar bo.x factories, a cod liver and
emulsion factor}', an unfermented wine estab-
lishment, and various smaller concerns. It
will be seen that, for a place of the size, the
manufacturing interests are unusually exten-
sive. The town is also the headquarters of
the Lake Erie Grape Growers' Association,
which controls most of the Erie county grape

North East has a fine system of public
water supply. The works were commenced
in the spring of 1885 and practically comple-
ted in the fall of that year, at a cost of about
twenty thousand dollars. The water is col-
lected into a reservoir from springs on the
hills southeast of the borough and led through
pipes into the streets, furnishing a pressure
which avoids the necessity of fire engines.


The first attempt to establish a paper was
by J. J. Barker, who commenced the North
East Guard in 1855, but only printed it a few
months. In August, 1867, the North East
Herald was started by S. O. Hay ward, who
abandoned its publication at the end of a year.
The North East Star was commenced Sep-
tember 26, 1868, by Brainerd & Cushman,
both of whom are now practicing lawyers.
Mr. Brainerd sold his interest in 1869 to L.
B. Cushman. The name of the paper was
changed to the Sun in March, 1873, and, since
that date, it has been edited by the Cushman
Brothers. May 2, 1883, it was consolidated
with the Advertiser, started by W. E. Bel-
knap & Co., in March, 1877-

The North East Advertiser (a different
paper from the one above referred to) was
founded by George W. Moore, as an inde-
pendent journal, December 20, 1884. In 1890
it espoused the cause of the Farmers' Alliance,
and continued in that interest until the death
of Mr. Moore in November 1892. The paper
was then purchased by Messrs. M. C. Moore
and Thomas O. Marshall, who made it inde-
pendent again, and remain in charge, under
the firm name of the Advertiser Printing and
Publishing Company.

The North East Breeze was started May
8, 1893, with W. H. Sandborn as editor and
proprietor, who has continued ever since.




The United States, State and county officials
furnished by North East borough and town-
ship are as follows : Presidential Elector,
John Greer, 1860. Congress, S. M. Brainerd,
1883-85 (resident of Erie when elected).
State Senator, Henry Hurst, 181(5—21 (resident
of Meadville when elected) ; James D. Dunlap,
1845 (resident of Erie when elected) ; Emory

A. Walling, elected in 1884 (resident of Erie
at the time). Assembly, James D. Dunlap,
1840—41 (resident of Erie when elected) ;
Mark Baldwin, 1844 ; A. W. Blaine, 1850-51 ;
Charles A. Hitchcock, 1876-77 ; Alfred Short,
1878-79; E. K. Nason, elected in 1884 and
'86. Prothonotary, Jos. W. Loomis, elected
in 1887 and '90; E. K. Nason, elected in 1893.
District Attorney, S. M. Brainerd, 1872-75 ; A.

B. Force, 1875-81 ; E. A. Walling, 1881-84.

Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the county also portraits and biographies of the governor's since 1790, and of numerous r → online text (page 56 of 192)