Franklin Ellis.

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

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practice of his profession in Brownsville a few months
after graduating, remaining in business here until
1875, when he removed to Santa Barbara, Cal.,
where he now resides. In 1869 he took an effective
part in the reorganization of the Fayette County
Medical Society, and was an active member of the
society during the remainder of the time he resided
here. Before leaving Ibis State he became a member
of the State Medical Society and of the American
Medical Association. He is a member of the Prot-
estant Episcopal Church.

Dr. N. W. Truxall was born in Greensburg, West-
moreland Co., Pa., in 1822. He received an academic
education at the Westmoreland Academy, learned the
printing business in the office of the Westmoreland
RcpiihUcan, and during his apprenticeship studied the
classics under the tuition of the professors in the
academy. He commenced the study of law, but
abandoned it and began the study of medicine in
1845. He commenced practice in Pittsburgh in 1848,
and since that time has practiced his profession in
Masonlown, Millsboro', and California, Pa., and since
1870 in Brownsville. He went into the army in 1861,
and served three years as an officer of the line. He
has acquired some reputation as a literary writer, and
is now preparing an extensive work, entitled " An
Epic on the Battles of America."

C. C. Reichard, M.D., was born Nov. 6, 1S44, in
Marvland. He studied medicine and received the



degree of M.D. from Chicago Medical College in the
spring of 1870. He practiced medicine in Mitchell-
ville, Iowa, and Monongahela City, Pa., and came to
Brownsville in 1875, where he has since been engaged
in the practice of his profession. He is a Freemason
and a Republican.

Dr. Oliver P. Brashear was born in Redstone
township, Fayette Co., educated at Dunlaji's Creek
Academy, attended medical lectures in the University
of Pennsylvania, and began practice at East Liberty,
Pa., in 1864. He served one year, part of 1874-7.5,
as physician to Pittsburgh City Almshouse, and came
to Brownsville in 1876, where he has since been en-
gaged in practice.

U. L. Clemmer, 5LD., was born in Allegheny
County, Md., Nov. 16, 1816. He commenced the
study of medici.'ie witli Dr. John J. Steele, at New
Geneva, Fayette Co., in 183:2, and graduated at
the Reformed Medical College, at New York, in 1846,
having jiracticed medicine in Monongalia County,
W. Va., for four years previously. He removed to
Smithfield, Fayette Co., where he remained eigh-
teen years, and then removed to Brownsville in
1859, where he has since remained. During the late
war lie was ein|iloyeiI ns assistant surgeon in the hos-
pital at I'arkersburg, W. Va.

The establishment of a medical school at Browns-
ville in 1831 was announced in the Washingfon Ex-
aminer and other newspapers in August of that year
by the following advertisement:

"i;eformed medic.\l college.

"Eftablislic.l in Brownsvillt-. Fnytttc Co.. Pn.. an J will go
into full ,i|..-n,tinn on the 1,-t „f X..vr.i„l,or n.xt. This .Me.I-
ical .Socitty is lu be un.ler the c:iio i.f tin- IklV.nncMl P,„-irty of
the UnitiMl ,<t:ites, :md to be cnn.liicted liy i In \-|,, I' ,- M,i,t

iinil Secretary uf that body. The plan otM .,,:,n

will be tlie siiiie as adojited in the Botai, .: . \. a

York and Woithington, embracing all the l.i..h. I,.. (,iu-l,l m
the .Medical Schools, ns well as the Reformed or Botanical
System. Nine students have already entered and commenced

sary, InHrmary, Botanical Oarden, Library, and Medical iMu-

Terms, SI60, in advance, ami SKI as a graduation fee.
" .1. J. .Stkki.e,
" Presidnu «/ \\:,r,h!„^lon ColUy.:, Ohio."

Nothing beyond this concerning the operations of
the " Reformed Jledical College of Brownsville" has
been ascertained.


On the spot which is now occupied by the rectory
of Christ Church there stood, three-fourths of a cen-
tury ago, asmall frame biiildiiiL', erected by siibserip-
tion as early as ISO'' 'and perliap-s a year or two
earlier), which was the lirst hi>u-e Imill espeeially for
school purposes in Brownsville, thoii-h xlinnjs of a
few pupils had previously been taiiiilit in private
dwellings. The earliest teacher now recollected by
he oldest citizens of Brownsville was Mr. De Wolf,

whose successor was the Rev. Mr. Wheeler, a Baptist
minister. A Mr. Scott was also an early teacher.

In 1808-9, Robert Ayres taught a private school in
a house that stood where Joseph Sanforth now lives,
at the upper end of Church Street. As late as 1819
Ayres' name appears on the assessment roll as a

A flourishing school was taught by James Johnston
for some years prior to 1819. Pupils from a distance
came to attend his school, and boarded in his family.
His school-room was in a house where Hayden W.
Robinson's drug-store now is. He was succeeded in
1819 by a Mr. McConnell, who continued the school
but a short time.

From about 1817 to 1820, Edward Byrne, an Irish-
man, taught a subscription school of a few scholars at
! the upper end of Market Street, in the house now oc-
cupied by Henry J. Rigden. Many small private
schools and subscription schools were taught in the
borough from that time until the passage of the
public school act of 1834. Under the operation of
that law the court, at the January term of 1835, ap-
pointed James L. Bowman and Israel Miller school
directors of Brownsville. They made report to the
county treasurer August 13th in the same year. The
apportionment of State money to the borough for that
year was S83.07 ; amount from county tax, $166.14,'
total, S249.21 for 1835.

The first school-house erected for the use of the
public schools established under the law of 1834 was
built in 1836. Its location was on Church Street,
near the present Union school building. Another
was built in 1838, on the Public Ground on Front
Street, opposite the residence of N. B. Bowman.
These were the only public school-houses of the
iHiiniiLili ■ though other rooms were rented from time
I., time lo accommodate the overflow of scholars) until
the erection of the present Union school building.
Among the teachers who had charge of the schools
in these old houses were Dr. Samuel Chalfant, Joshua
Gibbons, William Y. Roberts, and many others who
are yet well remembered.

On the 20th of May, 1842 (as appears in the bor-
ough records), the school directors made application
to the Council for the use of the Town Hall for a
school-room, which was granted at two dollars per
month. Dec. 28, 1843, Miss Crawford applied for the
use of the hall for the same purpose, and it was granted
on the same terms for the time of the vacation of the
public school.

April 26, 1850, the Council rented the Town Hall
to the school directors for the use of the High School
at four dollars per month. In the records covering
the succeeding ten years various entries are found,
showing that the hall was rented from time to time
for the use of the schools until the building of the
present school-house rendered it unnecessary.

The question of the erection of a new school-house
of sufficient capacity to accommodate all the schools



having been for some time informally discussed, the
following flfBoial action in the matter was taken by
the school directors at a meeting held on the 7th of
May, 1859, viz. :

" Whereas, We believe the time has now come in the history
of the common schools of nrownsville that an effort should bo
made by the directors to build a Union school-house, therefore

" 7ff«o/red, That we, the said directors, proceed as soon as
time for proper deliberation and consultation will admit of to
adojit a proper plan of said house, and make a contract for
making the brick, and make such other arrangement for the
erection of said school-house as may be necessary, so as at least
to have the stone-work completed, ready to commence layin;;
the brick, early in the spring of ISfiO, so as to have the same
completed in time to hold the session of 1S60-61 in the said
house. On motion, it was resolved that Mr. Joseph C. Graff be
requested to make an estimate of the cost of erecting said house,
say sixty by seventy feet, three stories, four rooms on a floor,
a ten-feet entry to run through the centre, so as to make the
school-room square."

Lots Nos. 115 and 180, on Redstone and Church
Streets, were purchased of J. B. McKennan & Brother.
This purchase embraced the present school grounds of
the borough, on which the Union school-house stands.
On the 6th of July, 1859, a contract was made with
Roger Chew for the manufacture of 350,000 bricks
for the new building, at $4.25 per thousand. Feb.
4, 1860, James Grist contracted to lay the brick in
the building at $3.00 per thousand. The carpenter-
work was let to John Lilly (May 9, 1860), for $3285,
not to include the portico.

Joseph C. Graff was appointed by the directors (in
1859, and reappointed Jan. 14, 1860) to superintend
the stone-, brick-, and carpenter-work in the erection
of the new building. The brick-work was completed
Oct. 11, 1860. On the 8th of December following the
plaster-work was let by contract to Alvah Allen.

On the 23d of April, 1862, the school directors re-
solved that the new school-house should be occupied
by the schools on the first Monday in June following,
The work on the building had been delayed by the
breaking out of the war of the Rebellion, so that it was
not completed ready for occupancy until the spring of
tliat year. On the 20th of May the .secretary was di-
rected to advertise for sale the Church Street lot and
old school-houses.

The cost of the new building (the ])resent L'nion
school-house) was about $10,000, and it was occupied
by the schools under G. L. Osborne, principal, at the
time designated in the above-mentioned resolution of
the directors.

The teachers appointed by the board in M.iy, 1859
(while the schools were still taught in the old houses),
were William B. McCormick, principal ; Julia Bra-
shear, for school No. 1; Kate Allison, No. 2; Belle
Graham, No. 3; Sally Druit, No. 4; Mary Campbell,
No. 5 ; Mrs. Ellen E. Wishart, No. 6 ; the principal to
be in immediate charge of No. 7. On the 27th of April,
1861, Hamilton C. Homer was appointed principal.
He Was succeeded by G. L. Osborne, appointed May

17, 1862 ; A. C. Nutt, Aug. 25, 1862 ; J. V. Gibbons,
May 23, 1863; O. R. Griffith, May 31, 1864; G. L.
Osborne, June 17, 1865; R. H. Fulton, Sept. 28,
1868 ; J. S. Hughes, Sept. 30, 1869 ; J. V. Gibbons,
March 3, 1870; H. S. Phillips, Aug. 25, 1870; Van
B. Baker, June 13, 1871; H. S. Phillips, June 26,
1872; Thomas S. Axtell, Aug. 5, 1873; T. B. John-
ston, July 1, 1876; George W. May, June, 1879; E.
W. Dolby, June 28, 1881.

In July, 1871, the board of directors took action to
the etfect that " Whereas the colored school has for
some years past been held in the Town Hall, but that
the board has been notified that it would not again be
granted for that purpose, and whereas the Town
Council have voted to lease the School Board a site
on what is called the ' Old Common' for a School-
House for the colored school, it was therefore unani-
mously Resolved, that the School Board proceed
forthwith to erect a suitable school-house for the
colored school on said ground, and that the Board
meet to-morrow morning at eight o'clock to lay off
the building." The site selected was that on which
the old school-house stood on the Public Ground, and
on that site a brick house was erected which is yet
standing, and has been used for the colored school
until 1880.

The number of pupils reported enrolled in Browns-
ville in July, 1860, was three hundred and ninety-
one. In July, 1870, the number reported enrolled
was four hundred and forty-seven. By the report for
the school year of 1880-81 the schools of Brownsville
were under charge of eight teachers, and attended by
two hundred and eighty-two scholars. Total receipts,
$3564.56 ; total expenditures, $2632.57 ; valuation
of school buildings, $15,000. The present (1881)
board of school directors is composed of Dr. Benjamin
Shoemaker (president), James Hutchinson, Jason
Baker, Samuel Steele, William B. McCormick, and J.
K. Shupe.

Following is a list (approximately correct and com-
plete) of the school directors elected iu the borough
since the reorganization in 1850, viz. :

185U. William T. CopLin.

Wesley Frost.
18il. William Cuplan.

1852. Ja


Henry Barkman.
1853. John AVallace.

William L. Wilkinson

1855. John Johnston.
Eli Abrams.
Tliomas C. Furman.

1856. D. Knox.

William L Wilkinson

1857. William M. Ledwith.
John B. K repps.

1858. Joseph C. Price.

1859. Wesley Frost.
William L. Lafferty.

1860. William L. Wilkinson,
J. W. Jellries.

1861. J. N. Snondon.
William Parkbill.

1862. Wesley Frost.
W. L. Lafferty.

186.3. Isaac Jackson.

William M. Ledwith.
1864. William Parkhill.

John R. Button.

John Johnston.
1866. AVilliam M. Ledwith.

Samuel H. Smith.

Isaac Jackson.
1870. James 11. Smith.

James A. Swearer.
1873. Samuel Stulz.

J. B. McKinnon.


1S75. A.F. Gabler.

James A. Swearer.
William II. Johnston.
A. J. Smith.

1876. E. D. Abrams.

H. B. Mc:Covmiok.

1877. James H. Blair.

1878. Jacob Sawyer.

79. Dr. Benjamin Shoe-
Jason Baker.
James Hutchinson.

50. James Hutchinson.
Samuel Steele.

51. William B. McCorm
J. K. Sbupe.

A young ladies' seminary or boarding-school was
commenced in 1866 by Mrs. Charlotte Smyth. It
was taught in the old stone house formerly occupied
by George Boyd. The period of its continuance was
about five years.

Within the limits of the township of Brownsville,
outside the borough, there is one school and school-
house, located on the National road. The list which
is given below is of persons who have been elected to
the office of school director for the borough and town-
ship of Brownsville from 1840 to 1849, inclusive, and
for the township of Brownsville since the last-named
year. It is not claimed for it, however, that it is
either complete or entirely correct, but it is as nearly
so as it is possible to make it from the obscure and
badly-kept records which are the only data of infor-
mation. The list is as follows :

1874. Solomon Burd.

1875. Jacob Graser.
Thomas Cline.

1876. Ewing Todd.
Charles Boucher.

1877. S. Steele.

0. K. Taylor.
George Campbell.

1878. William Stitzel.

1878. William Gaskell.

1879. Ewing Todd.
Charles Boucher.
Solomon Burd.

1880. Jacob Graser.
Solomon Burd.

1881. B. P. Durbin.

S. W. Clavbaugh.


Israel Jliller.


H. J. Rittenhour.

G. W. Bowman.


Martin Claybaugh.

Jesse H. Duncan.

Christopher Stitzel.

John Johnson.


Samuel Smouse.


Isaac .Miller.

Solomon Burd.


Jonathan Binns.


Daniel Brubaker.

J. L. Bowman (tie vote).

John Daniels.


Samuel J. Krepps.


Martin Claybaugh.

Edward Hughes.

W. S. J. Hatfield.

1 844

Joseph C. Gr.aff.

Ewing Todd.


Ja.ncs L. Bowman.

Solomon Burd.

Edward L. Lines.

N. A. Williams.

Edward Jloorhouse.


Ewing Todd.

William Sloan.

W. A. Williams.


C. P. Gummert.


Solomon Burd.

James S. Miller.

Martin Claybaugh.


Joseph C. Price.


W. S. J. Hatfield.

James X. Coulter.

Ewing Todd.


William L. Lafferty.


Martin Massey.

Jesse 11. Daucan.

Frederick Stitzel.


William 11. Johnston.


Charles Boucher.

William Sloan.

Solomon Burd.


William F. Coplan.

Martin Claybaugh.

H. J. Rigden.


Charles Boucher.

R. T. Christy.

Jacob Graser.


52. William B. Coats.


Martin Massey.


William Sloan.

Ewing Tudd.

Martin Claybaugh.


Martin Claybaugh.


Madison Daniels.

Solomon Burd.

Martin Clayb.augh.


Jacob Graser.

Solomon Bird.

Charles Boucher.

Edward Todd.


Martin Claybaugh.

Christopher Stitzel.

Solomon Burd.

Jacob Kedler.


Ewing Todd.


Isaac Lynn.

-Martin Massey.

James Dunn.


Martin Cl.ij baugh.


No person at the present day knows the date of
the formation of the first Methodist class at Browns-
ville. A small society was in existence there (being
within the Redstone Circuit) at about the commence-
ment of the present century, and a meeting-house
for its use was built in 1804, on land of Chads Chal
I fant, a local exhorter and citizen of Brownsville.
! Afterwards (March 24, 1806) he conveyed the land
j (one-half acre, comprising lots Nos. 7 and 8, on the
I north side of Church Street) to Alexander McCracken,
Abraham Miley, Stephen Randolph, Richard Ran-
dolph, and Pratt Collins, " in trust for the use of the
Methodist Episcopal Church," the consideration
I named being one hundred dollars.

The church erected on this land in 1804 was a
stone edifice, thirty-six by thirty feet in dimensions.
I In 1821 the building was enlarged to double its
I original size, making it thirty -six by sixty feet. This
remained as the society's house of worship for nearly
forty years, but finally, having become much dilap-
idated, and wholly inadequate to the wants of the
congregation, the erection of a new church building
I was decided on, and the demolition of the old one
was commenced on Thursday, April 26, 1859. The
I present brick church, which was then erected at a
I cost of about seven thousand dollars, is
I eighty feet in size, has an audience-room twenty-two
feet high, with a basement containing a Sabbath-
school room and two class-rooms. It was dedicated
June 16, 1861.

Among the preachers who have served this church
since 1826 have been the following: James G. San-
som, Thomas Jamison, Robert Boyd, John Water-
man, Edward B. Bascom, Andrew B. Coleman,' Sam-
uel Babcock, John J. Swazey, J. N. Mochabee, Ham-
ilton Creigh, Thomas Baker, Christopher Hodgson,
Josiah Adams, A. J. Ensley, Moses P. Jamison, Jo-
seph Homer, Sheridan Baker, Hiram Miller, Ezra B.
Hingsley, J. Minor, L. R. Beacon, James Deems, S.
Lauk, William Stewart, Josiah Mansell, R. B. Man-
sell, and S. T. Mitchell, the present pastor.

The present membership of the church is one hun-
dred and fifty. In connection with it is a Sabbath-
school of one hundred and fifty scholars, under James
R. Swearer, superintendent.

1 Wliile Mr. Colcmau was iu charge (in 183^.) Browusvjlle t.etaine a




In the minutes of the Redstone Presbytery, under
date Oct. 15, 1811, is tlje earliest mention which has
been found of Presbyterian worship at Brownsville.
At tliat time the Rev. Boyd Mercer, of the Presbytery
of Ohio, applied for permission to preach to the peo-
ple at Uniontown and Brownsville. On the next day,
October 16th, the Presbytery declined to sanction the
existing engagements between the Rev. Boyd Mercer
and the people of Uniontown and Brownsville, be-
cause not made agreeably to the regulations of the

On the 20th of April, 181.3, the Rev. William John-
ston, a licentiate under the care of the Presbytery of
Ohio, applied to the Redstone Presbytery for admis-
sion. He was admitted on the 21st, and on the same
day received a call from the congregation of Browns-
ville and Dunlap's Creek. On the 20th of October
in the same year he was installed as pastor over the
united congregations. In reference to his assumption
of the charge, the Rev. Samuel Wilson says,'" The
next pastor was the Rev. William Johnston, whose
charge embraced also (besides Dunlap's Creek Church)
the Presbyterian Church of Brownsville. He was of
portly presence, an able preacher and defender of the
faith ; as a friend and companion, highly esteemed for
intelligence and urbanity. His pastorate continued
(at Dunlap's Creek) till Dec. 3, 1839,- and at Browns-
ville and Little Redstone till his death, Dec. 31, 1841."
His successor was the Rev. Thomas Mather, whose
pastorate continued till 1848. He was succeeded by
the Rev. Robert M. Wallace, who remained until
18G0, and was followed in 1864 by the Rev. Joseph
H. Stevenson as pastor of the churches at Browns-
ville and Little Redstone. On the 24th of April,
1866, Mr. Stevenson presented to the Presbytery a re-
quest from those two churches to be recognized as
separate and distinct organizations. The Presbytery
acceded to the request, and constituted the elders re-
siding in the bounds of Brownsville, together with
the pastor, as the session of the Brownsville Church.
The Rev. J. H. Stevenson resigned in April, 1868,
after a four years' pastorate. The Brownsville Church
was then served for two or three years by the Rev. E.
P. Lewis as a stated supply. In April, 1874, the Rev.
W. W. McLane was called to this charge, and was
installed on the 13th of May following. He continued
as pastor until June, 1878, when he resigned. He was
succeeded by the Rev. A. S. Milholland, who came to
the pastorate Sept. 18, 1878. He remained till the
spring of 1880, since which time the church has been
without a regular pastor. The Rev. A. B. Fields is
now (1881) acting as stated supply for one year, com-
mencing March 9, 1881.

Until after 1815 the Presbyterians of Brownsville
had no regular house of worship. On the 14th of
June in that year Joseph Thornton, John Steel, and
John Johnston, trustees of the Presbyterian congrega-
tion of Brownsville, purchased for two hundred dollars,
and five shillings' annual ground-rent, lot No. 3, on
Second Street, being sixty feet front on that street,
and one hundred and eighty feet deep to Market
Street. It was conveyed to them "in trust for the
use of the Presbyterian congregation of Brownsville,
for the purpose of erecting a meeting-house thereon,
I for the benefit of the congregation aforesaid." Soon
afterwards there was built on the Second Street front
a brick edifice, which was used as a- house of worship
until the present church was completed on the same
lot but fronting on Market Street.

On the 4th of May, 1822, William Steele, William
Forsyth, and Jesse H. Duncan, trustees of the Pres-
byterian congregation, purchased a lot northeast of
I and adjoining the Episcopal Church lot for burial

Of the elders, William Parkhill was the only one
living within the bounds of Brownsville Church at
the time of its separation from Little Redstone
Church, in April, 1866. A. J. Isler and Josiah Reed
were the next elders elected, Aug. 27, 1873. On the
13th of September, 1876, J. R. Patterson was elected

The church now (July, 1881) numbers one hundred
and twenty-one members. A Sabbath-school con-
nected with the church has an attendance of about
one hundred, including teachers, and is under the
superintendeucy of William Parkhill.


The district and country about Brownsville was
settled originally by emigrants principally from
Maryland and Virginia, many of whom had been
reared in the principles and forms of the Episcopal
Church, and hence brought with them their predilec-
tions for the same. This is evident from the fact that
several log churches were built by the early settlers in
this section for the purpose of retaining the services
of the church among them, and transmitting the same
to their descendants. As these buildings, however,
were never occupied except by itinerating clergymen,
and rarely at that, the intere.sts of the people gradu-
ally declined, the buildings decayed, and the families
whose preference had once been given to the Prot-
estant Episcopal Church sought elsewhere for the
word of life.

One of these early churches was situated .about
five miles east of Brownsville, on the land formerly of
a man by the name of Clark. The grounds around this
building contained about an acre, and they still belong
to the church. The building is, however, in a dilapi-

In .1 centennml, delivered Sept. 17, 1874.
Bruwnsville and L:tlle Redstoue teing at that tiir
■ Duiilaps Creek ChuuL.

' separated from Rev.

>wn to 1852 is from a sketcli 1)
part is furuished by tlie Rev.



dated condition, and tlie families wlio once worshiped
tliere eitlier removed or are scattered, so that scarcely

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 100 of 193)