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Nelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 86 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Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 86 of 192)
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In 1837 provision was made by Councils
for the building of a new market house, to
have " brick walls and be 100 feet long, with
an attic story." The contract for the brick
work was let to Thomas Mehaffey at two dol-
lars per day, and one dollar per day for any
hands he might employ ; and for the joiner
work to A. J. Mead on the same terms. This
building stood in the center of the west park,
fronting State street, and was rather impo-
sing for the time. It had six columns in
front, was without partitions and was well
lighted. The first sale of the meat stalls, on
March 23, 1839, realized $375, as follows:
Stalls numbered one, two and three, to Peter
E. Burton for .$100, ninety dollars and sixty-
one dollars respectively; number four, to
Henry Heethman for forty -five dollars; num-
ber five, to Jones and Salsbury for thirty-
eight dollars; number six, to Henry Heeth-
-man for forty-one dollars. During the same
month the hay scales became town property,
in consideration of the payment by Councils
of!i!250. G. J. Ball, City Clerk, was ap-
pointed Market Master, at a salary of $100
per year. This position was afterward filled
by Edward B. Lytle and Samuel L. Foster,
and it is evident that there must have been a
struggle for the place, as the yearly pay was
cut down to fifty dollars. Sherburn Smith

filledjhe post of Weigh -master for a number
of years.

The market house was torn down in 1866,
as a part of the general plan for the improve-
ment of the parks, and from that year on all
of the public markets in the city proper were
held in the open air along the east side of
State street. At the beginning they were
mainly limited to the shady part of the street,
fronting on the east park, but they frequently
lapped over so as to reach to Fifth and Sev-
enth streets. In due time Councils voted to
move them further up town, designating Sev-
enth street as the starting point. From there
they reached at first up to Tenth and Eleventh
streets, and finally, as the population in-
creased, it was not an unusual sight to see a
string of teams and benches stretching from
Seventh street to the Lake Shore railway

When South Erie became a borough a
a market house was built on Peach street
between Seventeenth and Eighteenth streets,
which is still standing. Although well plan-
ned, it never "took" with the market people,
who preferred, for some reason, to go to the
outdoor market on State street.

The hay and wood market, which was
long held around the park, was removed to
Twelfth street about twenty years ago, and
from there was again changed to Parade
street. About three years ago. Councils es-
tablished a general market on the west side of
the latter thoroughfare, which continued till
the abolishment of the street market system.


In 1893 a party of gentlemen living south
of the Lake Shore R. R., conceived the plan
of building an extensive market house in that
part of the city. A company' for the purpose
was incorporated May 28 of that year, with
an authorized capital of $100,000. The cor-
porators were William, Fred'k and Park Dens-
more, John Depinet and Jacob VVarfel, the
three gentlemen first named taking more than
nine-tenths of the stock. The plot of ground
on the west side of State street, between Fif-
teenth and Sixteenth, was selected as the site
of the building, and, by January, 1894, it was
ready for occupancy The Elks Charity Fair
was held in it during the latter month, and
the building was regularly opened as a market


place in February, 1894. It was given the
name of the Central Market House.

Contrary to the expectations of the pro-
jectors, the market did not meet with favor
by the country people, who were in the habit
of attending the street market. The Messrs.
Densmore were naturally anxious that their
enterprise should not be a failure, and as nat-
urally concluded that the surest way to secure
patrons for the building was to get rid of the
street market. Their first step was to obtain
the street market privilege from the city, by
outbidding all competitors. They then entered
upon an ingenious campaign to have the
street market abolished, which did credit to
their shrewdness and energy, whatever may
be thought of their methods or the result they
effected. In consequence chiefly of their ef-
forts. Councils voted, against the protest of a
large number of citizens, to abolish the street
market upon State and Parade streets on and
after April 1, 1895. When this action was
taken the city was receiving a net profit of
$4,500 per year from the market privileges,
with a prospect of a still larger revenue.
Those who opposed the abolishment of the
market argued that, as .State street had for
years been in a most disgraceful condition, and
as the city treasury was short of funds for its
improvement, sound business policy required
that the money realized from the market
privileges should be retained for a few years
and applied toward laying down a decent
pavement on the main business avenue of the


The people of Parade street, and the east
side generally, were very indignant over the
action of Councils, and decided at once that
they would have a market upon that street in
spite of the city authorities. Measures were
promptly taken to organize a market company
and a lot was secured at the corner of Tenth
nnd Parade streets. About the same time
another company was formed to build a mar-
ket house at Parade and Twelfth streets.
Both organizations were quite determined in
favor of their respective localities, and, as a
consequence. Parade street has two handsome
market houses in close proximity to each other.

The Second Ward Market, as the building
at Twelfth and Parade is known, was first

opened to the public on Wednesday, May 29,
1895. It was planned by A. F. Myers, a
Cleveland architect, and cost about $7,500,
exclusive of the ground, which is valued at
$9,500. The main stockholders are Charles
Huster, M. Detzel, Stephen Grabowski, Max
Bosch, C. M. Conrad, F. Koehler, Jackson
Koehler, Eugene Loesch, Frank Link, F. J.
Detzel and John Knoechel.

The Parade Street Market House, at Tenth
and Parade streets, was not formall}^ opened
until July 27, 1895, but an out-door market
was held on the premises and upon the side-
walk adjoining, in defiance of the city officials,
all of the time from April. The company was
incorporated on April 8, 1805, with a capital
of $15,000. Its oflicers are : President, John
Scarlett ; Secretary, Geo. B. Conrath ; Treas-
urer, J. G. Krug ; Directors, Alois Nagosky,
C. M. Conrad, Jacob Weiss, J. G. Krug, John
Scarlett ; and its principal stockholders, aside
from these parties, are Dr. Reaveley, Edward
Heuer, Edward Krauss, William C. Smith, A.
Flath. Jackson Koehler, Fred'k Koehler, Wm.
F. Momeyer, Felix Graf, P. Dutlinger, Wm.
Schneider, F. Wm. Webber, William Lang,
Kirschner Brothers, A. Kneib, George Hein,
John S. Ruland and P. J. Rastatter. The
architect was Charles P. Cody, of Erie. The
building stands on leased ground with the
privilege of purchase. It cost between $12,-
000 and $15,000.

It soon became evident to the down-town
merchants and property owners that, in order
to hold the trade which bade fair to be divert-
ed by the movements above described, a mar-
ket in the north part of the city was a neces-
sity. Chiefly through the efforts of C. Kessler
and W. J. Sands, a large piece of land fronting
on State, Fourth and French streets was se-
cured, and an association incorporated under
the name of the People's Market House Com-
pany, with a capital of .$50,000. This amount
was promptly subscribed by the following gen-
tlemen : George W. Starr, Charles M. Reed,
Charles C. Kolb, W. J. Sands, C. Kessler, J.
F. Downing, Baker & Ostheimer, ^^^. A. Gal-
braith, CM. Conrad, Jackson Koehler, Mar-
tin Higgins,W. F.Weiblein, P. Harlan, Fred'k
Koehler, F. A. Mizener, Benjamin Whitman,
Henry Beckman, Erie Dime Bank, Joseph
Johnston, P. Minnig, Frank Neubauer, C. A.
Curtze, Henry Herbst, George D. Williams,
Dr. John Bryce, Walker & Roberts, Robert



Hunter, Wm. B. Trask, C. B. Wuenschell, E,
C. Schmidt, F. F. Curtze, Mrs. W. F. Rin-
dernecht, Edward Heuer, Henry Mayo, John
Gensheimer, Joseph P. O'Brien, W. W. Lyle,
C. Englehart, James T. Noonan, Philip Kuch,
C. Rabe, sr., D. F. Matthews, P. A. Becker's
Sons, E. S. Rockafeller. H. R. Dunning is
the architect of the building, which was com-
menced about July 1, 1895, and regularly
opened on Thursday, Oct. 81 of the same
year. The excellent plan and convenient lo-
cation of this market house assure it a liberal


An account of the military organizations
in the city and count)' previous to the war for
the Union is given in the General Chapters of
this book, to which those are referred who de-
sire information on the subject. After the
war the military spirit was dormant until
1871, when the Erie Guard, Co. B, Seven-
teenth Regiment, was organized, with C. W.
Lytle as Captain. His successors in command
were Adam Kurtis, J. W. Burns, J. J. Bax-
ter and O. S. Riblet. Two of its Captains,
Lytle and Kurtis, became Colonels of the Sev-
enteenth Regiment. '1 he company went out
of service in the summer of 1887 or 1888.

Captain J. S. Riddle organized the Mc-
Lane Light Guard, Co. C, Seventeenth Regi-
ment, in March, 1875. He was succeeded by
Captain John Dodge after the misfortune
which caused Captain Riddle to lose his leg.
The company was mustered out at the expira-
tion of its term of service. Both of these
companies responded to the call of the State
during the riots of 1877.

The Sheridan Guard, Co. G, Seventeenth
Regiment, was organized in 1873. Its Cap-
tains, in succession, were Charles D. Sweeney,
John Craine and John H. Wilson. The com-
pany disbanded in 1880, at the same time the
regiment was mustered out of service.

The Noble Light Guard, an independent
company, was recruited in 1880 by Captain
Elzie, and had an e.xistence of several years.

The Governor's Guard, Co. E, Seventeenth
Regiment, was organized in 1880, with C. C.
Hearn as Captain, who soon retired. His suc-
cessors have been F. M. Lamb, elected in
1880; D. S. Crawford, elected in 1882 and
1887; Charles N. Dinkey, elected in 1891;
and Harry C. Mabie, elected in 1898. Messrs.

Lamb and Crawford were promoted to be Ma-
jors, and Mr. Dinkey resigned for business
reasons. When the Seventeenth Regiment
was mustered out in 1880, this organization
became Co. C, of the Fifteenth Regiment.
The present Lieutenants are : First, J. Wil-
son Hall ; second, Philip Hockenbury. The
armory of the company is in the Becker block,
which they have occupied since 1882.

Company A, Fifteenth Regiment, is the
outgrowth of a political marching club organ-
ized during the campaign of 1888, and known
as the Culbertson Zouaves. The "boys"
rather enjoyed the military drill in which
they had Iseen exercised, and, after the elec-
tion, learning that there was a vacancy of one
company in the Fifteenth Regiment, offered
to fill it, and were mustered into the State
service May 10, 1889. Their armory was in
the Noble block (now Penn building) until
May 1, 1894, when they changed to the
Wayne block. The principal officers have
been as follows : Captains, John B. Boyd
and James H. Hoskinson ; First Lieutenants,
W. W. Reed, C. C. Middleton and Ralph B.
Sterrett ; Second Lieutenants, Frank W.
Bailey, John D. Sullivan, James H. Hoskin-
son, Ralph B. Sterrett and Charles E.

Companies A and C were called upon, in
connection with the entire Fifteenth Regi-
ment, to do very hard and unpleasant service
during the Homestead riots, in 1892. They
left Erie at 4 o'clock in the afternoon of July
11, and did not return until the 19th of Sep-
tember. On their arrival home they were en-
thusiastically received by the citizens and a
banquet was provided for them.

The Fifteenth Regiment, to which the
Erie companies are attached, is a part of the
National Guard system of Pennsylvania. Its
chief officers are : Colonel, W. A. Kreps, of
Mercer county; Lieutenant-Colonel, W. A.
Mechling, Butler county ; Majors, D. S. Craw-
ford, of Erie county, and W. W. Hanna, of
Mercer county. Other officers of the regi-
ment from Erie are : Dr. Wallace R. Hunter,
Lieutenant-Surgeon on Col. Krep's staff, and
Louis G. Brown, Adjutant on the staff of
Maj. Crawford.


The National Guard of Pennsylvania con-
sists of one division, under the command of




Maj. Gen. George R. Snowden, of Philadel-
phia, actincr under the orders of the Governor,
who is Commander-in-chief. The division is
composed of three brigades, commanded as
follows :

First Brigade, Brig. Gen. John \V. Scholl,
of Norristown.

Second Brigade, Brig. Gen. John A.
Wiley, of Franklin.

Third Biigade, Brig. Gen. J. P. S. Gobin,
of Lebanon.

The Second Brigade embraces the Fifth,
Tenth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth and
Eighteenth regiments, division A of the naval
reserves, the Sheridan Troop of Tj'rone and
Battery B of Pittsburg— in all about 3,000

Each regiment is divided into two battal-
ions. The First Battalion of the Fifteenth
Regiment is commanded by Maj. Crawford,
of Erie, and the second by Maj. Hanna, of
Mercer county.


Miscellaneous — Information on a Variety of Subjects — Centennial Celebration

OF 1895.

THE most interesting and impressive
event in the recent history of Erie was
the celebration, on the 9th, 10th and
11th of September, 1895, of the one
hundredth year of the city's existence.
At no time since Erie was founded has the
city been so generally and handsomely deco-
rated, nor the interest and enthusiasm of the
people so universal and hearty. On State,
Peach, Parade and other business streets
nearly every building was elaborately trimmed
with flags, streamers and appropriate designs,
while there was scarcely a business house or
private residence in any part of the city that
did not exhibit some beautiful emblem. Four
very fine arches were erected in prominent
locations, viz. : One at Peach and Twenty-
sixth streets, in memory of Washington and
Lafayette ; one on Peach street, near the
Union depot, extending a generous welcome
to all ; one, as a testimonial to Anthony
Wayne, across State street, between Tenth
and Eleventh ; and one on State street, oppo-
site the Soldiers' and Sailors' monument, in
remembrance of the services of Perrj' and
Dobbins. Central Park was brilliantly illu-
minated each night of the festivities, and even
the street cars, hacks, drays, many private

carriages and the boats in the harbor were
gaily fitted up in honor of the occasion. Erie
never saw such vast crowds, nor such a bounti-
ful display of home pride and genuine good
will among its citizens as was witnessed dur-
ing the three days of the Centennial celebra-

On Monday evening, the 9th, there was a
splendid bicycle parade, in which some five
hundred riders took part, each machine being
more or less decorated for the purpose Many
novel and effective features were shown that
called forth continual applause from the tens
of thousands who lined the route.

Tuesday, the 10th, was ushered in with a
salute of one hundred guns, and the ringing
of bells throughout the city. At 10 :80 in the
morning there was a parade of seven thousand
Sunday-school children, including all classes,
creeds and colors. Each child carried a small
American flag, and each of the five divisions
in the procession was led by a brass band or a
drum and fife corps. The children were ac-
companied by their pastors and teachers, all
being under the niarshalship of Major Craw-
ford, of the State National Guard. The
parade halted before the City Hall, where the
children joined in singing ' The Star Spangled



Banner" and "My Countrj-, "Tis of Thee."
An inspiring incident of tlie morning was
" The Living Flag," formed of two hundred
and fifty little girls, suitably dressed and ar-
ranged upon an inclined stage built up against
the front of Park Presbyterian Church. Com-
mencing at 1 p. M., the Pennsylvania League
of American Wheelmen, which held its an-
nual session in the city, gave a number of ex-
citing bicycle races upon the Reed track, on
the Lake road. At 2 o'clock the literary ex-
ercises of the day were begun on a platform
upon the north front of the City Hall. His-
torical addresses were delivered by J. F.
Downing, James Sill and H. C. Missimer,
and a Centennial poem was read by Henry
Catlin. Judge Vincent presided, and the
proceedings were opened with pra)-er by Rev.
J. C. Wilson, of the United Presbyterian
Church, and closed with a Pontifical benedic-
tion by Bishop Mullen, head of the Roman
Catholic diocese of Erie. Later in the after-
noon the corner-stone of a proposed free pub-
lic library was laid by the Masonic fraternity
on a lot upon Seventh street, just east of
Fre ich, donated by Mrs. M. Sanford and Miss
Laura G. Sanford. The official program of
the day ended with a grand jubilee concert in
the Opera House, which was participated in
by all of the musical societies in the city. One
of the incidents of the evening was the sing-
ing of a Centennial ode, composed by Rev.
A. H. Caughey, and set to music by H. N.

On Wednesday, at sunrise, one hundred
more guns were fired, and the bells were rung
as before. From 9 a. m. until late in the af-
ternoon a spirited series of boat races took
place on the bay. At 10 o'clock the historical
and industrial parade, the largest and finest
ever seen in Erie, began its course through the
principal streets, marshalled by E. J. Riblet
and a number of aids. It was five miles long,
and took about two hours to pass a given
point. In the afternoon the civic societies,
military and naval organizations marched in
procession, under the same leadership, forming
a line two or three miles in length, and only
exceeded in interest by the parade of the fore-
noon. Among the participants were the Fif-
teenth Regiment, National Guard of Pennsyl-
vania, witii a full force of officers and about
five lumdred men. The celebration ended
with a magnificent display of fireworks on the

bay, which was witnessed from the front of
the city by the largest audience ever brought
together in Erie.

During the three days' festivities there was
a daily Lafayette reception in the historic
Dobbins house, and the ladies also conducted
a museum, art gallery, old folks' concert and
old-time kitchen in the People's Market House,
at State and Fourth streets, all of which were
well attended.

A tribe of Indians, numbering over a hun-
dred, from the Cattaraugus Reservation in
New York, gave exhibitions daily of aborigi-
nal customs, amusements, modes of life, etc.,
on the base ball grounds.

The daily press of the city did their whole
share in aiding the celebration, by. printing
very creditable special editions, and the occa-
sion was not only widely noted by the papers
of other cities, but, in several instances, ele-
gantly illustrated.

The Executive Committee of the Centen-
nial, which had the appointment of the sub-
committees and general charge of the arrange-
ments, was composed of the following gentle-
men : F. F. Adams, Chairman ; Walter Scott
(Mayor) , E. Camphausen, W. J. Sell, F. P.Ma-
graw, S. W. Bolles, E. J. Howard, J. P. Han-
ley, F. Brevillier, W. J. Sands, M. Liebel,
Joseph H. Williams, John Fleeharty, J. F.
Downing, Harry Vincent and A. B. Felge-


The pioneer tannery of Erie was built by
Ezekiel Dunning, on Holland street, between
Fifth and Sixth. It fell into the hands of J.
M. Sterrett and was kept up until 1852. Sam-
uel and Robert Hays started a tannery in
1805, near the corner of Eleventh and French
streets, which finally became the sole prop-
erty of Samuel. It was conducted until 1876
or '77 by his sons, W. B. and J. W. Hays.
The next tanneries were started by William
Arbuckle in 1820, on Eighteenth street, west
of Myrtle, and by Luther P. Searles, some
years later, on the bank of Mill creek, where
the stream crosses Ninth street. The first
mentioned was given up in 1830, and the sec-
ond became the property of J. J. Fuezler, who
took John Sanner into partnership. C. E.
Gunnison & Co. started their tannery on
Eighteenth street, between Sassafras and
Myrtle, in the winter of 1857. A tannery was



established in 1862 or '63 by Joseph Richt-
scheit, on Eleventh street, between German
and Parade, and discontinued in 1880. About
1840, Abraham Johnson and John H. Walker
built a large tannery at the southeast corner of
Eighth and Holland streets. 'Ihey discon-
tinued the business after a few years. For a
year or so the building was leased by Mr.
Fuezler. It was consumed by fire in 1859 or
1860. The Streuber tannery, on State street,
near the New York, Chicago and St, Louis
R. R., was started in 1867, by John Streuber.
F. R. Simmons bought the Fuezler tannery
in 1880, put up new buildings in 1881, and
has added largely to the property since. Most
of the leather manufactured in Erie in the
early days was sold to home dealers ; now it
is mainly disposed of to the large factories in
other cities. [See Chapter XIV, General


Indications of natural gas in the vicinity
of the city were observed long before it began
to be bored for as a source of heating. The
most remarkable flow was on the Knox farm,
just outside of the southern city limits, on the
line of State street, where gas emanated at
times in sufficient quantity, when lighted, to
create a brilliant illumination. From some
cause, the supply' has almost or entirely
ceased. Emissions of natural gas are quite
observable at certain periods along the south
side of the bay, between the Pittsburg docks
and Tracy Point. It has been lighted on the
surface of the water, and the flame would last
at times for several seconds. Impelled by the
belief that where there is gas there must be
oil, Clark McSparren, in 1864, put down the
first well at Erie in search of the latter fluid,
which he failed to find in paying quantities
A similar experience attended later experi-
ments, but gas was almost invariably found to
an extent that would have proved fairly
profitable had its value been known at the
time. The boring of wells to secure gas for
fuel did not commence until a later date. It
is estimated by some that enough gas has
been allowed to run to waste in the various
efforts to find oil in and about Erie to have
supplied the entire city for a long period.

John ]. Roemer claims to have been
the first person in Erie to apply natural gas
to practical use. Fully thirty years ago he

piped gas from a well along Mill creek to his
office, and used it for lighting and warming
the same.

It is almost forgotten by most of our citi-
zens that the deepest and perhaps the costliest
well in the country was put down at Erie for
the purpose of testing whether gas could be
found to a permanent and profitable extent.
An organization for the purpose, under the
name of the Presque Isle Natural Gas Co.,
was formed at the Board of Trade rooms in
June, 1887. During the boring of the well
two sets of tools were lost, and the subscribers
finally became discouraged early in 1889. The
well, which was on the Reed tract, near the
intersection of Filth and German streets,
reached a depth of 4,585 feet, and, in all, the
large sum of $14,790 was expended upon the
enterprise. This amount was furnished by 135
stockholders, who are deserving of great credit
for their willingness to aid in the experiment.
At the depth of 4,880 feet the temperature at
the bottom of the well was ascertained to be
100 degrees Fahrenheit, and the tools when
brought up were too hot to be safely handled.
It is claimed by the managers of the company
that at no time was sufficient gas found to in
dicate a valuable supply — in fact, that no gas
was met with that was worth talking about.
This was so diflerent from most of the other
wells put down in the city that it indicates
either an unfortunate site for the experiment,
or that the gas-producing rock lies deeper at
that point than elsewhere in Erie county. Some
of the stockholders still believe that the com-

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 86 of 192)