Boyd Crumrine.

History of Washington County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men online

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formerly run to the river trade ; but since 1879 the
mines have only been operated to supply a local de-
maud. They are located in Monongahela City, and
were originally owned and operated by Biddle &
Tower, since then by Joseph Haigh, and at present
by the Holmes Brothers, of Pittsburgh.



Catsburg Mines. The old mine was owned by Kev.
John Kerr and William McClure. It was opened up
by H. H. Finley in 1857, under lease from the owners,
and operated by him until it was sold to Anderson &
Dravo, in 1864, the present owners. The new work-
ings are owned by Louis Staib, and were opened in
1879. Both mines are operated by Louis Staib, and
the coal is shipped to the Southern and Western mar-
kets by water. The coal from both mines is run over
one and the same tipple. A furnace supplies ventila-
tion to the mines. Adam Keil is the general super-
intendent. They have a running capacity of ten
thousand bushels per day. Situated in Monongahela

Warne Mines, owned and operated by James Jones,
are situated in Monongahela City, and were opened
in 1862 by Crowthers, Coulter & Warne. This coal
is run to the river by means of a stationary engine
and wire rope. They are also arranging to ship by
rail. Ventilation is produced by furnace. They were
formerly owned by Joseph Warne, and have a present
running capacity of ten thousand bushels per day.

The Barr Mines were opened in 1863 by J. D.
Johnson & Co., and are now owned by the Allegheny
Savings-Bank. They have not been in operation
since 1871.

Black Diamond Mines are located a short distance
below Grant's Run. The coal belonging to these
mines was bought by the Black Diamond Coal and
Mining Company. This company was organized and
chartered under the general mining laws of the State
with a capital stock of $300,000, divided into 30,000
shares of SIO per share ; 5000 shares were to be used
for working capital, and 2500 shares were to be used
for a contingent fund. The officers of the company
were Nicholas Schneider, president; Charles Seibert,
treasurer ; Christian Seibert, secretary ; Pittsburgh.
Lorenzo Hoffman, superintendent of mines; T. Bos-
well Phillips, general business superintendent ; Phil-
adelphia, Pa. Directors, Charles Seibert, Lorenzo
Hoffman, Joseph Reymann, Christian Seibert, T.
Boswell Phillips, Philip Eichenlaub, Joseph Seibert,
and Jacob Dressel, with their principal office at No.
89 Water Street, Pittsburgh.

The operations of this company continued until
18G9, when with the deatli of Christian Seibert they
ceased to work the mines and sold them to William
H. Brown, who made large improvements both in and
outside of the workings. And since the death of
William H. Brown, in 1875, they have been held by
his heirs and operated under lease by Louis Staib.
This coal is run by water. Ventilation is produced
by furnace-power. They are able to run about eight
thousand bushels of coal per day.

Abe Hayes Mine is owned and operated by Abra-
ham Hayes as a river mine. This mine was opened
up and put in running order in 1863 by Robert Robi-
son (since deceased), who owned the property, since
which time it was sold by Robison's heirs to the pres-

ent owner. It is a drift mine, ventilated by furnace,
and runs about eight thousand bushels of coal per
day. Thomas Hutchison is the superintendent.

The Victory Mines were owned and opened up by
Rodgers, Rea & Co. about 1860, and were continued
to be worked until 1874, since which time they have
been suspended. They are drift mines, and the coal
was run to the river, and thence to Southern and
Western markets.

The Harlem Coal-Mines were owned and opened
up for the late Judge Thomas H. Baird by H. H. Fin-
ley in 1844. They have been operated successively
by Judge Baird, Harrison Nelson, and Greenarch,
Thomas H. Baird, Jr., and until the present year by
the Harlem Coal Company. The coal is all mined
out and the mines are now abandoned. This was a
drift mine, and the coal run by river.

Stockdale Mines were put in operation by John
Stoaf and Charles Cokain under lease from Richard
Stockdale, the owner, about 1875. They are now
owned and operated by Jacob Toomer and Michael
McKinley. The coal is run to the river by an inclined
tramway. The mine is ventilated by furnace-power,
and produces seven thousand bushels daily.

The Gilmore Mines were owned and opened up by
Mr. Bissell, who was succeeded by the present owner,
Capt. John Gilmore. These mines were exhausted
two years ago. The coal was run by river.

Clipper Mines, owned and operated by the Clipper
Coal Company, are situated near Allenport. They
are drift mines, and produce about four thousand
bushels daily.

American Works are owned and operated by F. H.
Corson. They are drift mines, and the coal is run to
the river. They run about four thousand bushels
daily. Ventilation is produced by furnace-power.

Wood's Run Mine was formerly operated by Lead-
beater & Co., but at present by W. H. Gregg & Co.
They produce four thousand bushels daily, which is
transported to market by the river. The mine is
ventilated by furnace-power. It is owned by William

Champion Mines are owned by William Thompson,
and operated under lease by Morgan, Dixon & Co.
They produce three thousand bushels of coal daily,
which is shipped by river. Furnace ventilation.

Eclipse Mine is operated by Jordan S. Neel. It is
a drift mine, and runs ten thousand bushels per day.
The coal is shipped by river. Furnace ventilation.
i Caledonia Mines are owned by William Thompson,
and operated under lease by Thomas J. Wood & Co.
They ship by water. About three thousand five hun-
dred bushels is produced here daily.

Globe Mines are owned and operated by Crowthers,

Musgrove & Co. This also includes the Dexter mines

i at this time. The coal is transported by river, except

I what is supplied to the locomotives on the railroad.

They produce eight thousand bushels' of coal daily.

I The mines are ventilated by furnace-power.



Neel's Mine is owned and operated by Jordan S.
Neel. Tlie coal is shipped by river, and about ten
thousand bushels is produced daily. This is a drift
mine ; furnace ventilation ; located at Greenfield.

Knob Mines are located one mile above West
Brownsville. The coal here lies below water-level,
and is reached by a slope. It is operated by the
Knob Coal Company. They have a furnace and ven-
tilating shaft sixty feet deep. About five thousand
bushels of coal is produced daily, and sent to market
by water.

Sand-Works. — Although the sand of the Monon-
gahela Valley had been used as a material for the
manufacture of glass for at least half a century, its
general introduction was chiefly brought about by the
Speers family in and about Bellevernon. The sand
deposit of this region extends on the same plane from
the Youghiogheny Eiver, near Perryopolis, to its out-
cropping on both sides of the Monon'gahela at Belle-
vernon. The sand deposit at the works of Capt. S.
C. Speers is the most extensive on the river, and of a
very superior quality, as the following analysis, made
by Otto Wuth, chemist, of Pittsburgh, will show :

Silicic iicid
Peroxide of i
Lime ")
Magnesia J

= 99.104 per cent.
1 — .332
= .104 "

= .417

99.967 "

It has been many years since L. M. Speers, in his
primitive mode, washed and otherwise prepared this
sand for market. The process consisted in a screen
and box about eight by three feet. The box was
filled with water, and passing through the screen the
sand was divested of all pebbles. It was then well
stirred, and finally settled in the bottom of the box
by a system of mauling the box on its sides. The
water was then drawn off, and the sand laid away in
the sand-pen ready for market.

This primitive works was erected at a small stream
of water near the Baptist Church in the year of 1858.
A short time after this he erected, at the ravine above
where is the glass warerooni of R. C. Schmertz & Co.,
another works run by horse-power, in which he pre-
pared sand for market. The demand for sand being
on the increase, he invented and put in operation at
the river a steam screen-washing machine, by which
from forty to fifty tons of sand could be washed per
day. By a patent dated June 4, 1867, issued to James
French, a new and superior washer came into use.
The necessary machinery for its operation was erected,
at the river below the ferry by the Clipper Sand
Company, consisting of J. W. Clark, S. C. Speers,
and James Frenoh. This company opened and oper-
ated a sand-bank on the farm of S. C. Speer, and
found the quality of this sand to be superior to that
washed by L. M. Speer in the upper part of the sand

In 1872 this comjjany purchased all the right and
interest of L. M. Speer in the former works.

In 1880, S. C. Speers bought out the interest of J.
W. Clark and James French, and has since then been
the sole proprietor of sand operations in this region.
From five thousand to thirteen thousand tons of sand
has been run per annum from these works. The sur-
face soil is first removed from the sand-bank, and the
sand is conveyed to the washer at the river by a nar-
row-gauge railroad, where it is washed and run into
boats on the river or cars at the railroad.




The first step in the direction of public internal
improvements in all new and undeveloped sections of
country, except such as are located on navigable
waters, is the opening of highways or practicable
routes of travel to and from the cabins and clearings
of the newly-arrived settlers. These, in the pioneer-
ing days of Western Pennsylvania, were ^ften mere
bridle-paths or cartways through the woods, which
afterwards were either abandoned or improved to
passable roads when the country became more thickly
populated ; but through some sections roads had been
opened and built at the public expense long before
the coming of white settlers. This was not, strictly
speaking, the case within the limits of Washington
County, yet her eastern boundary had been reached
by a good practicable road (for those days) from the
Potomac River, east of the mountains, nearly ten
years before it became the highway of the first set-
tlers who came to make their homes on the west shore
of the Monongahela. This was the military road
built in 1755 by Gen. Braddock for the passage of his
army from Fort Cumberland over the Allegheny
Mountains and Laurel Hill, and its extension, built
four years later by Col. Burd, from a point near the
foot of the latter range westward to the Monongahela
where the town of Brownsville now stands.

Five years before the march of Braddock, Col.
Thomas Cresap, of Oldtown, Md., was employed by
the Ohio Company to select and mark a route for their
proposed traffic between their base of operations at
Wills' Creek (Cumberland), Md., and their objective-
point at the site of the present city of Pittsburgh ;
and so, in execution of this mission, he set out from
Wills' Creek in the year mentioned, with the old
Delaware chief Nemacolin as a principal guide, and
assisted by several other Indians, and proceeded north-
westwardly over a route not materially different from
that afterwards traversed by Washington and Brad-
dock in their respective campaigns, until he reached




the west base of the Laurel Hill, in what is now
Fayette County, from which point, instead of turning
northeast as the later military road did, he proceeded
down the valley of Redstone Creek to its mouth,
where his work ended, for it was proposed at that
point to abandon land carriage and take transporta-
tion down the Monongahela to its confluence with the

Col. Cresap, however, neither built nor opened any
part of the proposed road, but merely selected its
route, and indicated the same by blazing and mark-
ing trees, and occasionally rearing piles of stones as
landmarks at prominent points. But in 1753 the Ohio
Company sent out a party of pioneers, who " opened
the road,'" though they made it little more than a
bridle-path for the passage of pack-horses. A few
months later (in January, 1754) Capt. William Trent,
with a small company of men, in the employ of the
Ohio Company, marched over the road, and further
improved it as they passed. At its western terminus,
the mouth of Redstone Creek, they built the " Han-
gard" for the company, and then pa.ssed
on down the river to commence building a fort at the
Forks of the Ohio.

In 1754, Washington with his little army, on the
campaign which ended in the surrender of Fort Ne-
cessity on the 4th of July in that year, passed over
the same road, and improved it so that it was passable
for wagons and light pieces of artillery to the west
side of Laurel Hill. "In 1754," he says, "the troops
whom I had the honor to command greatly repaired
it as far as Gist's plantation, and in 1755 it was
widened and completed by Gen. Braddock to within
six miles of Fort Du Quesne."

In the latter part of the summer of 1759, Col.
Henry Bouquet, military commandant at Carlisle,
Pa., ordfred Col. James Burd to inspect the defenses
and stores at Fort Cumberland; thence' to march to
the Monongahela, there to erect a fort and to con-
struct a road from it to the most practicable point on
Braddook's road f the proposed fort being intended

1 Washington, in advocating this route in preference to tlie more north-
erly one tlirougli Bedford for the passjige of Forbes' troops in 1758, said,
" Tlie Ohio Company in 1753, ai a coiuiderabte expeme, opened tlie road,"

- The substance of Col. Burd'a orders, and his procedure under them,
are explained in a journal kept by him at the time, which is found in
the Pennsylvania Archives, and from which the following entries are
extracted, viz.:

" Ordered in August, 1759, to march with two hundred men of my bat-
talion to the mouth of Kedstone Creek, where it empties itself into the
river Monongahela, to cut a road somewhere from Gen, Braddock's road
to that place, as I shall judge best, and on my arrival there to erect a
fort in order to open a communication by the river Monongahela to
Pittsburg, for the more easy transportation uf provisions, etc., from the
provinces of Yiiginia and Maryland. Sent forward the detachment
under the command of Lieut.-Col. Shippen, leaving one officer and
thirty men to bring our live wagons. . . . When I have cut the road
and finished the furt I am to leave one officer and twenty-five men as
a garrison, and march with the remainder of my battalion to Pitts-
burgh. . . .

"10th Sept.— Saw Col. Washingtot^'s fort, which was called Fort Ne-
cessity. . . .

as a base of supply for Fort Pitt, while the road to
be built from it to Braddock's road would afford the
means of continuous communication from Fort Cum-
berland to a convenient point of embarkation on the
Monongahela River. After concluding his inspection
at Fort Cumberland, and having previously sent for-
ward a small detachment under his chief engineer
officer, Lieut.-Col. Shippen, Col. Burd set out with
the remainder of his force (leaving his little wagon-
train to follow), and passed over the same route taken
by Braddock years before to Gist's, now Mount Brad-
dock. This was the end of his travel over the route
pursued by the ill-fated expedition of 1755. At Gist's
he ordered his men to commence work in opening a
road thence northwestwardly towards the Mononga-
hela, following the route which Capts. Poison and
Lewis had partially cut through for about eight miles
from Gist's, at the time when Washington was ,in-
trenching at that place in June, 1754.

Having thus set his men at work on the road from
Gist's to the Redstone, Col. Burd, with Col. Thomas
Cresap (who was with him as a guide, having previ-
ously explored this region to some extent). Col. Ship-
pen, and probably Lieut. Grayson, of his command,
rode forward through the woods to the Monongahela,
striking the valley of Redstone Creek, and following
it down to where it enters the river. It seems to have
been in contemplation to build the fort at the mouth
of this stream, where Capt. Trent's men had con-
structed the old " Hangard" store-house four year
before, but the orders of Col. Burd left it in his dis-
cretion to select the site which he might regard as the eligible. So, after viewing the ground at the
mouth of the Redstone, and not finding it to suit his
ideas as the site of a fortification, he proceeded up the
river until he came to the mouth of Nemacolin's or

" 11th Sept.— Marched this morning; two miles from hence we found
Gen. Braddock's grave, about twenty yards from a little hollow, in which
there was a small stream of water, and over it a bridge. We soon got
to Laurel Hill ; it had an easy ascent on this side, but on the other very
steep. . . . We continued our march, and got to Guest's [Gist's] place;
here we found a fine country.

"13th Sept. — Determined, if the hunters should not return before
noon, to begin to open the road along some old blazes, which we take to
be Col. Washington's. At noon began to cut the road to Redstone ; be-
gan a quarter of a mile from camp; the course N. K. W. The course of
Gen, Braddock's road X. N. E., and turns much to y eastward. Opened
this afternoon about half a mile. Marked two trees at the place of
beginning thus:

" ■ T),e road io Bedstone, Col. J. Burd, 1759,

"'The road to PiUshur,], 1759.'

"22d Oct. — This morning I went to the river Monongahela, recon-
noitred Kedstone, etc., and concluded upon the place for the post, being
a hill in the fork of the river Monongahela and Neniocalling's Creek [af .
forwards called Dunlap's CreekJ, the best situation I could find, and re-
turned in the evening to camp. The camp moved two miles, to Coal
Run. This run is entirely paved in the bottom with fine stone-coal, and
the hill on the south of it is a rock of the finest coal I ever saw. I
burned about a bushel of it on my fire.

" 23d Oct. — Contimied working on the road. Had sermon to^lay at
10 .\.M. At noon moved the camp two and a half miles to the river
Monongahela, No bateaux arrived.

"28th Oct.— Sunday, Continued on the works; "had sermon in the



Dunlap's Creek, about one and one-fourth miles
farther up, and determined to erect his fort just below
the mouth of that stream, on the high ground (now
Brownsville) commanding the Monongahela, the val-
ley of the creek, and the country for some distance to
the rear; this being, as he said in the journal, " the
best situation I could find." There, during the months
of October and November, he built the fort, and to it
from Braddock's road he constructed a new road, six-
teen and a quarter miles in length, which was called
" Burd's road." Five or six years later it began to
be used by a few emigrants from the East bound to
the valley of the Monongahela, and it was traveled
by nine-tenths of all those who came to settle within
the present limits of Washington County prior to the

The first road petition to any court west of the
Allegheny Mountains was a petition of inhabitants
of Springhill township, presented at the April term
of the Court of Quarter Sessions of Westmoreland
County in 1773, on which John Moore, Thomas Scott,
Henry Beeson, Thomas Brownfield, James McLean,
and Philip Shute were appointed viewers upon a road
" to begin at or near the mouth of a run known by
the name of Fish-Pot Run, about two miles below the
mouth of Ten-Mile Creek, on the west side of Monon-
gahela River (it being a convenient place for a ferry
as also a good direction for a leading road to the most
western part of the settlements), thence the nearest
and best way to the forks of Dunlap's path and Gen.
Braddock's road on the top of Laurel Hill." The
viewers appointed on this road were John Moore,
Thomas Scott (the first prothonotary of Washington
County), Henry Beeson, Thomas Brownfield, James
McClean, and Philip Shute. At the October sessions,
in the same year, viewers were appointed to view a
road " from the southwest side of the Monongahela
River, opposite to the town of Pittsburgh, by Dr. Ed-
ward Hand's -land on Chartiers Creekj to the settle-
ments up said creek, supposed to be at or near the
western boundary of the province of Pennsylvania."

At January sessions, 1774, Andrew Pierce, Moses
Brady, Morgan Morgan, David Allen, Henry Taylor,
and John Kennon (doubtless John Canon) were ap-
pointed viewers, on the petition of divers inhabitants
of Springhill and Pitt townships, " to view a road to
begin at Thomas Guess's (Gist's), from thence to Paul
Froman's mill near the river Monongahela, and from
thence to another mill of the said Paul Froman on
Chartiers Creek." This last mill was in North Stra-
bane township, now Beck's Mills.

At April sessions, 1774, "upon the petition of a
number of the inhabitants of Tyrone and Menallen
townships, setting forth that they are under difficult
circumstances for want of a public road leading into
Braddock's road "on any part of the mountain ; and
further we would observe to your worships that from
the natural situation of the country we, at present,
who live on the west side of the Monongahela River

are obliged frequently to carry our corn the distance
of twenty mile-, to the mill of Henry Beeson, near
Laurel Hill, and in all probability at some seasons of
the year will ever have to do so ; and praying your
worships would be pleased to grant us a public road
to begin on the east side of the Monongahela River,
near the old fort (Brownsville), thence to Henry Bee-
son's mill, and thence to intersect Braddock's road
near the forks of Dunlap's road and said road on the
top of Laurel Hill." Richard Waller, Andrew Linn,
Jr., William Calvin, Thomas Crooks, Henry Hart,
and Joseph Grayble were appointed viewers, and the
road was afterwards ordered laid out.

At the first session of Lord Dunmore's (Augusta
County, Va.) court, held at Pittsburgh, Feb. 22,
1775, a number of viewers were appointed, among
whom were Capt. William Crawford and Van Swear-
ingen (first sheriff of Washington County), to view
a road petitioned for, " to run from Providence
Mounce's [Mount's] Mill, by Ausberger's Ferry, to
Catfish Camp." And a road was ordered to be viewed
from Gist's settlement to Paul Froman's, on Chartiers
Creek ; also another from Fort Dunmore (Pittsburgh)
to Paul Froman's, on the east branch of Chartiers.
A road from the foot of Laurel Hill, by William
Teagarden's ferry (on the Monongahela, in Washing-
ton County), to the mouth of Wheeling Creek (Vir-
ginia), was ordered by the same Virginia court, on
the 17th of May, 1775.

The first petition for a road after the organization
of the Washington County Court was made by inhab-
itants of Strabane township at the October term of
1781-, when Alexander Early, Thomas Hambleton,
James Patterson, William Huston, Abraham Van
Middleswarth, and Nathaniel Brown were appointed
viewers, with 'instructions from the court, "if neces-
sary, to lay out a road the nearest and best way from
Catfish Camp [Washington] to the Presbyterian meet-
ing-house in the forks of Chartiers Creek." At the
same session Hugh Montgomery Brackenridge, Esq.,
represented to the court "that a road is much wanted
from Catfish Camp to Pittsburgh," and the same with
regard to "a road from John Canon, Esq., his mill,
to Pittsburgh ; whereupon Henry Hulse, Andrew
Hood, Moses Coe, Joseph Beelor, James Bradford,
Jr., and John White, Jr., were appointed viewers of
the first-named proposed route, and Robert Ballstone,
William Long, Thomas Bracken, John Springer, John
Henry, and Nathaniel Stokes of the latter."

At the January term in 1782 a petition was pre-
sented praying for a road from Bassett Town (Wash-
ington) to Redstone Ferry. Viewers were appointed,
who reported favorably, with survey of route, at the
succeeding April term, and the road was afterwards
ordered laid out.

Also, at the January term in 1782, petitions were
presented and viewers appointed for roads as follows :
"a road from Rodgers' Mill to Fort Pitt;" "a road
from John Canon, Esquire's, mill to Samuel John-



son's mill ;" a road " from Bassett Town to Fort
Decker, on the Ohio ;" and a road " from Bassett
Town to the mouth of a gut about forty perches

Online LibraryBoyd CrumrineHistory of Washington County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 100 of 255)