Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 102 of 193)
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Pittsburgh, visiting Brownsville occasionally until
his retirement in 1810. His successor, the Rev.
Charles B. Maguire, either by himself or his assist-
ants, attended to the necessities of the few Catholics
here until his demise in 1834. One of his assistants,
the Rev. P. Rafferty, the present pastor of St. Francis
XavierV, Philadelphia, built old St. Peter's, a neat
brick edifire, said at that time to be ojie of the best
churches in An)erica. From 1S.33 until 1S37 they
were visited only four times a year from Blairsville
by the Rev. J. A. Stillinger, the present pastor of that
place. In the baptismal registry (the first kept here)
we find that in July, 1837, the Rev. Michael Gal-
lagher had charge of the district then comprising
the counties of Fayette, Greene, and Washington,
and part of Somerset and Allegheny Counties.

01(1 St. Peter's was destroyed by fire on the 2.5th of
March, 1842. when the Rev. Mr. Gallagher com-
menced Ijuikling the present church, which was dedi-
cated to the service of Almighty God on the 6th of
April, 1845.

In 1848, Mr. Gallagher retired from the mission,
and associated himself with the hermits of St. Au-
gustine, at Philadelphia. From 1848 until May,
18.51, there seems to have been no permanent pastor.
The names of Rev. Messrs. Reynolds, Kearney,
Kenny, and McGowen appear on the registry.

In 1851, Rev. Wm. Lambert was again appointed
to the charge of the eastern portion of the district,
viz. : Fayette County, eastern part of Greene and
Washington ; tlic remainder of Greene and Washing-
ton l)cing formed into a sejiarate mission. Rev. John
Larkin succeeded ]Mr. Lambert until Aug. 14, A.D.
1855, when Rev. Peter Mal.acliy Garvey entered upon
the duties of this charge.

In January, 1856, Father Garvey drew up the fol-
lowing, which shows the state of the Catholics scat-
tered over the mission :

" There are at present in the Brownsville districi
190 souls which can be called a permanent popula-
tion, and about 80 of a floating population. In thj
Uniontown or mountain district the permanent popu-
lation is eighty, with a floating or unsettled popula-
tion of twenty-five.

"Number of families in the Brownsville district
38 ; Uniontown district, 16 ; total, 54.

" Number of Easter communions in Brownsville,
108; in Uniontown, 42; total, 150."

The Right Rev. Dr. O'Connor, bishop of the dio-
cese, made his visitation of this mission as follows al
Brownsville, Sept. 4, A.D. 1856, when twenty-seven
received the sacrament of confirmation, as will aj)-
pear by the registry, and at Uniontown on the 5th,
when fifteen were confirmed. Total communions in
1856: permanent, 345; floating, 60; total, 405.

The following is found in the church records: "]
find at present date, 1859, in the county of Fayette
and that part of Washington and Greene attached tc
the Brownsville mission, viz. : from Monongahela City
to Rice's Landing, a population of 480, of which 280,
I believe, are permanent or will remain at least a few
years, and 150 who are not likely to remain over a
few months. The latter may be found scattered along
to Youghiogheny from West Newton to Connellsville,
and at Belle Vernon and other places along the Mo-

The following pastors have been in charge from
1859 to the present time : Revs. F. Morgan, 1859 ;
Henry Haney, 1869; Henry McCue, 1870; P. Her-
man, 1874; Martin Ryan, 1877; Arthur Devlin, in
the same year ; H. Connery, 1879 ; C. A. McDermott,
May, 1880 ; H. Connery, June, 1881.

Uniontown and its adjacent stations were formed
into a separate and independent district the 1st of
June, 1881. The present number of communicants
in the Brownsville mission is sixty.


A small Baptist society existed in Brownsville for
many years prior to 1842, but the precise date of its
formation cannot be given. At that time the Rev.
Mr. Wood was their pastor, and their meetings for
worship were held in the basement of the Masonic
Hall building. On the 15th of April, in the year
named, George Hogg sold to Evan Evans, Morgan
Mason, and Tilson Fuller, trustees of the Baptist
Church, a lot of land on Church Street below the
Methodist Church lot, and on this land they shortly
afterwards built a brick building, 40 by 60 feet in size,
which became the society's house of worship.

The successors of the Rev. Jlr. Wood in the pas-
toral oflice have been the Revs. William Barnes, Rich-
ard Austin, Hughes, and William Barnes (sec-
ond pastorate), who ceased his connection with this


church in 1880. The congregation is now without a
pastor and feeble in numbers. The present member-
ship is chiefly outside the borough of Brownsville.

On the hill adjoining the " public square" on Front
Street is Brownsville's oldest burial-place, but now,
and for some years past, inclosed with the grounds of
J. W. Jeffries. Within the inclosure may be seen the
bead-stone which once marked the grave of Thomas
Brown, the founder of the town. Upon it is the fol-
lowing inscription, still legible: "Here lies the body
of Thomas Brown, who once was owner of this town.
Departed this life March, 1797, aged 59 years." There
is also a stone sacred to the memory of Basil King,
who died in 1805, and three others, which were re-
spectively erected over the graves of John H. and
Archibald Wiishington and Edward B. Machen, all
of whom died in 1818. These three men (of whom
the latter was a native of South Carolina, and the
other two of Southampton, Va.) were members of a
party who came through from Baltimore, Md., having
with them a gang of negro slaves, manacled and
chained together, and bound for Kentucky, which
they expected to reach by flat-boat from Brownsville,
down the Monongahela and Ohio. Arriving at
Brownsville they were compelled to wait there for
some time for the means of transportation down the
river, and during the period of this delay the "jail
fever" broke out among the negroes, several of whom
died and were buried in the south part of the public
ground. The disease was communicated to the white
men ; the two Washingtons took it, and both died on
the 10th of April in the year named. Machen was
also a victim, and died three davs later, April 13th.
All thrfee were interred in the old burial-ground, and
stones erected over their graves, as before mentioned.
These stones, as well as all others in this old ground,
have been removed from their places at the graves
which they once marked, and none are now left stand-
ing, though these and a number of others still remain
within the inclosure. Many years have passed since
any interments were made here, and, save the k)ose
stones which still remain, there is nothing seen upon
the spot to indicate that it was ever used as a burial-

Connected with the churchyards of the Episcopal
and Methodist Churches are grounds set apart many
years ago for burial purposes, and containing a great
number of graves. These were in general use as
places of interment until the opening of the ceme-
tery outside the borough limits, about twenty years
ago. The Catholics have a cemetery connected with
the grounds of their church.

The " Redstone Cemetery," situated on the high
land on the south side of the National road, about
three-fourths of a mile southeastwardly from Browns-

ville, was laid out and established as a burial-ground
by an association formed in 1860, and composed of
William L. Lafferty, Rev. B. Wallace, William H.
Clarke, James Slocum, William M. Ledwith, William
Parkhill, Thomas C. Tiernan, John R. Button, David
Kno.K, and Capt. Adam Jacobs. They purchased the
cemetery tract (about nine acres) of Daniel Bruba-
ker for $1600. The soil is underlaid, at a depth of
about two feet, with a bed of soft sandstone, and this,
in the case of each interment, is cut through to the
required size of the grave, thus forming a sort of
vault, which in making the burial is covered by a
flag-stone, of which a large supply is constantly kept
on hand by the association.

The cemetery is located on a spot which was made
attractive by nature, and its beauty has been greatly
enhanced by the laying out, which was done in the
modern style of cemeteries, with winding paths and
graded carriage-ways, and all embellished by the
planting of ornamental trees, with an abundance of
evergreens. There have been many handsome and
expensive monuments and memorial stones erected
in this ground, and in regard to these and other par-
ticulars, few cemeteries can be found more beautiful
than this.

The cemetery association, formed in 1860, was not
chartered until Feb. 24, 1877. The first president
was Dr. AVilliam L. Lafferty ; secretary and treas-
urer, William M. Ledwith. In 1865, Dr. Lafferty
was succeeded by John R. Dutton, the present presi-


The Brownsville post-office was established Jan. 1,
1795. Following is the list of postmasters from its
establishment to the present time :

Jacob Bowman, Jan. 1, 1795.

Martin Tiernan, April 29, 1S29.

Margaret Tiernan, Dec. 6, 18.34.

William G. Roberts, Dec. 12, 1838.

William Sloan, July 10, 1841.

Henry J. Rigden, June 4, 1845.

William Sloan, May 11, 1849.

Isaac Bailey, May 18, 1853.

Samuel S. Snowdon, March 13, 1861.

Oliver P. Baldwin, March 7, 1865.

Henry Bulger, April 9, 1869.

John S. Wilgus, April 9, 1873.

J. Nelson Snowdon, Jan. 23, 1878.

Brownsville has never had a fire department, nor
has there ever been in the borough any efficient or-
ganization furnished with adequate apparatus and
appliances for the extinguishment of fires, though at
least three of the old style h.and fire engines have
been purchased. The date of the purchase of the
first of these has not been ascertained, for the reason
that no borough records cdn be found covering the



period fronj March, 1821, to August, 1840,' as before
mentioned. That the borough was in possession of
an engine-house, and therefore, presumably, an en-
gine, prior to the latter date, is shown by the fact
that at that time a bill was presented and allowed by
the board " for painting the Engine-House."

On the 12th of October, 1842, the petition of about
fifty citizens was presented " praying the Council to
jirovide suitably to guard against the accident of fire,
and to take a loan for the purpose of defraying the
necessary expenses thereof" At the same time a
committee was appointed to examine the three
springs' at the head of the town with a view to the
construction and supply of a reservoir, and to report
on the same. On the 17th of the same month the
committee reported that to " construct a reservoir at
the spring above Workman's, thirty feet square and
twelve feet deep, and to cover the same, and to bring
the water through iron pipes to Brashear's Alley, will
cost about one thousand dollars ; and for each addi-
tional foot of pipe, and laying the same, one dollar
thirty-seven and a half cents." Also that fire-plugs
should be put in at each square, costing, by estima-
tion, forty dollars. George Dawson was instructed
by the Council to confer with the heirs of Neal Gil-
lespie to ascertain what they would charge for land
for the reservoir. On the 24th of October, Mr. Daw-
son reported that permission to build the reservoir
could not be obtained.

Oct. 17, 1842, the Council resolved " that Robert
Rogers and Edward Hughes be and they are hereby
appointed a committee to contract for a Fire Engine."

1 In the records of

some years


wing this period are found several


leil iniitlera

of some lut


.which are here given, viz.:

Oft. 20


an ore



to ring t

le to

vu bell for the space

of five minutes every night at ten



,1, l.S

11, the

l.ell on the


n hall was purchased of the vestry

of !!■« i:


il ihi






s passed regulating wharfage and
for emh sti-aniboat ni.aking the

ilvf-iM li.Hii,, l,iin;;at the dock or

Jmi si


l'. .',''::''' '

, ,1,, 1., |...,. r.iiiihart, Jauei



: . 1 iimI refused to


. : lint: accepted

the Mill,
c.ilk-cl. 1





of slu imposed upon each of those

Jiilv :■■


.iKniur. 1


tcriiig trough" was ordered to he
to be supplied from a never-failing

III 1-:


■''',",. bnilt

of I

rick near the market-house, and is

Iii 1'. 1

' 'i'-' ,'

','' TZ'n


1 .>,'-•", i,|,i,,i,.,-t was agitated

F.irt. \

■ "

i, : l: VI, -M , ,,, Keiistone Old
■i: . , 1 1 i.'i - \.,., li, Esq., and



11. .1, 1.. Ill

1 , _

litire. u;i- Mil .,1 ilir latter time

before tl

„, ii, 1

111 iliil not


nnch favor with that body, and the


—a ri

snlt which


doubtless pleasing to most of the

people of Br.



:iii A

, i.tis.

l.y a resolu


of the Council, all springs and wells



of liro

vnsviUo we


Glared to be public properly.

October 20th, Robert Rogers was appointed to con-
tract for four ladders — two of twenty feet and two of
si-xteen feet in length — and for si.x fire-hooks.

Jan. 12, 1843, " the President, Mr. Robert Rogers,

was appointed to contract with some one to build an

Engine-House at the west end of the Market- House."

On the 17th of the same month, " Robert Rogers,

I President, reported that he had articled wTth FauU &

j Herbertson for a Fire-Engine for three hundred and

I fifty dollars," and two days later he reported that he

i " had contracted with John Johnston to build the

j Engine-House."

The Mechanics' Fire Company, of Brownsville, pe-
titioned the Council, Nov. 7, 1843, to furnish them
with one hundred feet of rope and two axes, which
was done.

June 27, 1851, "the large fire-engine" was placed
under control and in charge of a company who had
recently organized and petitioned the Council for that

Subsequently, at different times, when, by the occur-
rence of fires, the attention of the citizens had been
called to the necessity of taking measures to prevent
wide-spread disaster from that cause, new fire com-
panies have often been formed and organized, but as
often have become disorganized and disbanded alter
a brief period of activity and enthusiasm. The old
fire-engines are still in existence and in possession of
the borough ; but at the present time the people of
Brownsville have no adequate means of preventing
an accidental fire from becoming a general conflagra-
tion if it should occur at a time when all the con-
ditions are favorable to cause such a catastrophe.


This institution was identical with the old Monon-
gahela Bank of Brownsville, which went into opera-
tion (though then unchartered) in 1812 under the

n/thc Moiwn^ahdn

„k of Br


" To all per?ons to whom these presents tnay come or in any
way concern : Be it known that we, the subscribers, believing
that the establishment of nn assoeiaiion in the town of Browns-
ville for the purpose of raising a funj in order to assist the
Farmer, Manufacturer, Mechanic, Trader, and E.vporler in the
purchase of such articles as they respectively raise, nianufac-
turo, deal in, or e.\port will more effectually tend to bring into
active operation the resources of the western country, will lua-
teiially assist the spirit of enterprise and improveuunts in
coniLuerco, manufactures, and the mechanic arts by affording
to all facility in the prosecution of their business, have asso-
ciated and do hereby associate and form ourselves into a com-
pany to be called the Monongahela Bank of Brownsville.
s »»*«««»« *

"The following persons are hereby constituted and appointed
Directors of the said Bank, and shall continue to hold their re-
spective offices until the first Monday of April, 1313 :



" William Hogg. Joseph Thornton.

Clnirk'S ShatTncr. Jonuthiin Miller.

Kolierl Clarke. Tluimns McKibben.

Israel Gregg. William Ewing.

Jcmuh CadwalaJer. Samuel Jaelison.

Elisha Hunt. Jaeob Bowman.
Zephaniah Beall, Esq., of Washington County." articles were adopted May 12, 1812, and
signed by one hundred and fifty-six stockholders,
including the directors above named. The capital
stock was $500,000, in 10,000 shares of $50 each, "of
wliich 4000 shares were immediately oflferetl, and the
remaining 6000 shares were reserved for future dis-
position, whereof 2500 shares were apportioned for
the use of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania."

Under these articles a limited business was done
until 1814, when a charter was obtained. The follow-
ing notice appeared in the Genius of Liberty of Sep-
tember 14th of that year :


" The subscribers, heing authorized by Letters Patent from
the (Jovernuient of this Commonwealth incorporating said
Bank, do hereby give notice to all persons who have sub>cribcd
for stock therein to attend at the Baaking-House in Browns-
ville on Thursday, the si.\th day of October nc.-ct, at ten o'clock
A.M., for the purpose of electing thirteen directors and fi.xing
upon the Scilo of said Bank.

" Nathaniel Breading, William Lynn,

" Michael Sowers, IsnAHL Miller,

•' William Troth, George Dawson,

" Lewis Sweitzer."

The first election under the charter was held on the
6th of October, 1814. Jacob Bowman was elected
president, William Troth cashier, and William Blair
clerk. On the 8th of December, in the same year,
the directors of the old association voted to discon-
tinue operations and transfer its effects and business
to the chartered institution.

On the next day (December 9th) the bank com-
menced business under the charter.' The ofiice was
on Front Street, in the building now occupied by Dr.
C. C. Richard. In that building the business of the
bank was transacted for nearly sixty years, until the
removal to the present banking-house in 1873.

Jacob Bowman continued as president of the bank
from its incorporation until Sept. 26, 1843, when, on
account of his advanced age and infirmities, he re-
signed, and was succeeded by his son, James L. Bow-
man, who held the position until his death, March 21,
1857. Goodloe H. Bowman was then elected presi-
dent, and remained in that office until February,
1874, when he died. He was succeeded (February
24th) by George E. Hogg, who is the present presi-

William Troth, the first cashier, died in July, 1816,

and on the 23d of that month John T. McKennan
was elected. He held the position until his death,
Sept. 18, 1830, and ou the 28th of the same month
Goodloe H. Bowman was elected cashier. He re-
signed March 29, 1842, and David S. Knox (who had
for some years acted as teller) was elected cashier.
Upon his death, in November, 1872, William Parkhill
was elected cashier, and filled the position till Febru-
ary, 1880, when he resigned, and on the 2d of March
following William M. Ledwith (who had been teller
since 1854) was elected cashier, and still holds the

In January, 1864, the institution, having conformed
to the requirements of the National Banking law, was
reorganized as the Monongahela National Bank of
Brownsville, with an authorized capital of $500,000,
and a paid in capital of $200,000. The bank, from
the time of its chartering in 1814 until the present
(with the exception of about three months in the
year 1837) has redeemed its notes in coin.

The present bank building, located on the corner of
Market Street and Bowman's Alley, was built and
occupied in the fall of 1873. It is an exceedingly
fine brick structure, about forty-four by sixty feet in
size, and two stories high. Tlie banking-room is
twenty feet in height, finely decorated and furnished.
The cost of the building was $30,000, including the

The present officers of the bank are the following:
George E. Hogg, president; William M. Ledwith,
cashier; Samuel P. Knox, teller ; Directors, George
E. Hogg, John R. Dutton, Jacob Sawyer, John John-
ston, N. B. Bowman, W. P. Searight, W. K. Gallaher,
Isaac C. Woodward, Eli J. Bailey, James L. Bowman,
H. B. Cook, W. S. Craft, William M. Ledwith.


This bank was organized Aug. 18, 1803, under the
National Banking law, which was passed for the pur-
pose of establishing a uniform currency throughout
the whole country, and to aid the government in its
great struggle against the Rebellion. It was among
the earliest of the banks which went into operation
under that law, as is shown by its charter-number,
135. The gentleman to whom the bank owes its ex-
istence more than to any other is its present presi-
dent, Mr. J. T. Rogers.

The Monongahela Bank, from a very early period
in the history of banking in Western Pennsylvania
down to the present time, enjoyed the patronage of
all this end of Fayette County and that part of Wash-
ington County adjoining Brownsville on the west and
north, so that when Mr. Rogers projected his plan of
forming a new bank under the national law it en-
countered obstacles and opposition. But Mr. Rogers,
who is a gentleman of resolute purpose, was unde-
terred by obstacles, and the First National Bank be-
came a fixed fact. After getting enlisted in his pro-
ject all the men of means he could, all the stock he


could raise after a thorough canvass of the moneyed
men of the place was about forty thousand dollars,
ten thousand less than was necessary to organize
under the law. But Mr. Rogers was not to be foiled
in his undertaking, and he, with two others, Robert '
Rogers and William H. Clarke, promptly subscribed I
what was lacking, and the bank was organized as
above stated. j

The first board of directors was composed of Robert i
Rogers, better known as Squire Rogers, J. T. Rogers, j
William H. Clarke, Capt. I. C. Woodward, Samuel j
Thompson, Elijah Craft, Capt. Adam Jacobs, Albert 1
G. Mason, and William Elliott. The board was or-
ganized by electing Robert Rogers president, and J.
T. Rogers vice-president. William Parkhill was !
elected cashier, and discharged the duties of that office
down to 1872, when he resigned to accept the position
of cashier in the Monongahela National Bank. At
the election for directors in January, 1864:, the old
board was re-elected with the exception of Elijah
Craft, who was not elected, probably because living so
far in the country it was not convenient for him to at-
tend regularly the meetings of the board. Thomas
Duncan, the present vice-president, was chosen in his
place. The board was organized the same as before. At
this time, to facilitate the business of the bank and to
accommodate the public, an exchange committee was
appointed. The duty of this committee was to pass
on paper when the board was not in session (it only
meeting weekly), and at the next meeting of the board
the business done by this committee is passed upon.
This important business was intrusted to J. T. Rogers,
W. H. Clarke, and Thomas Duncan.

During the year 1865, Robert Rogers, president,
died, and J. T. Rogers was chosen president, a posi-
tion in which he has done honor both to himself and
the bank. Thomas Duncan was elected vice-presi-
dent, to fill the place made vacant by the promotion
of Mr. Rogers to the presidency. On the resignation
of William Parkhill as cashier, Mr. Eli Crumrine was
chosen to fill his place.

The present officers of the bank are J. T. Rogers,
president; Thomas Duncan, vice-president; E.
Crumrine, cashier. The directors are J. T. Rogers,
Thomas Duncan, J. W. JefTeries, James Slocum, John
Springer, L. H. Abrams, and S. S. Graham.

The bank first ccirnmenccd doing business in a small
room at the lower md of Front Street, but the busi-
ness increased -o r;i|iiilly lliat more commodious quar-
ters became necessary. Accordingly a lot was pur-
chased and a new building was put up for its especial
accommodation. The bank building is on Market
Street near the Neck. It is a two-story brick building,
containing a banking-room, directors' room, and a
dwelling for the cashier. The erection of the build-

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 102 of 193)