Franklin Ellis.

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

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Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 105 of 193)
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so deliberately defrauds his patients by failing to fur-
nish what they have a right to expect ; the latter as
a subject of pity, of too weak parts to know his duty
to himself and the public, and so willing to trifle with





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human life and subject it to risks rather than under-
take to borrow what he cannot do without, and be
what he pretends to be, a " doctor," or learned man
in medicine. It is no more than honorably due to Dr.
Duncan to say that he has done loyal and royal honor
to the profession by honoring himseW' in an unstinted
manner with the proper appointments and equipments
for practice, and the universal credit which is accorded
him as a strong man in his profession implies the
fact ; for such a man as he is ever ready to acknowl-
edge that much of whatever he is he owes to his
silent, richly-endowed friends, able books.

For what follows we are indebted to two books in
which professional notice of Dr. Duncan is made,
one of which is entitled " Physicians and Surgeons
of the United States," edited by William B. Atkin-
son, M.D., 1878; the other a record of the "Trans-
actions of the Rocky Mountain Medical Association,"
with biographies of the members, by J. M. Toner,
M.D., a leading physician of Washington, D. C.

Dr. Duncan was liberally educated at Mount Union
College, Stark Co., Ohio. His medical studies were
commenced in 1855 with Dr. M. 0. Jones, then of
Bridgeport. Matriculating in the University of
Pennsylvania, he took full courses of lectures, and
received his degree of M.D. therefrom in March,
1858. During the last year of his medical course
he was a member of the private class of Dr. J. J.
Woodward (one of the medical attendants of Presi-
dent Garfield in his last illness), in the special study
of pathology, anatomy, and microscopy. In June,
1858, he formed a partnership with his preceptor
in Bridgeport and commenced practice. The part-
nership continued for about two and a half years,
when the doctor entered upon business alone, and he
has since remained by himself. He still occupies the
office in which he wrote his first prescription. Dr.
Duncan served as a volunteer surgeon at Gettysburg,
was captured by the Confederate troops, but suc-
ceeded in escaping. Latterly his labors have been
occasionally interrupted by excursions, the winter
months being spent in Florida or other parts of the
South, and part of the summers in New England and
Canada. Like most country practitioners, he engages
in general practice, including surgery, and has per-
formed a number of important operations, — for hernia
nine times, and tracheotomy seven times, and has suc-
cessfully performed the operation of excision of the
head of the humerus, and of the lower part of the
radius. Dr. Duncan is a member of the Fayette
County Medical Society, and has held in turn all its
offices ; also a member of the Pennsylvania State
Medical Society, and is at present one of its censors.
He is a member of the American Medical Associa-
tion, and of the Rocky Mountain Medical Associa-
tion, and is an honorary member of the California
State Medical Society.

Dr. Duncan is a close student, and has contributed

quite extensively to medical literature. Among his
numerous and able papers those entitled as follows
merit special mention : " Malformation of the Genito-
urinary Organs" (American Journal of Medical
Science, 1859); "Belladonna as an Antidote for Opi-
um-Poisoning" (JbicL, 1862) ; " Medical Delusions"
(a pamphlet published at Pittsburgh, 1869); "Re-
ports of Cases to Pennsylvania Medical Society"
(1870-72); " Iliac Aneurism Cured by Electrolysis"
(Transactions of the same society, 1875) ; a paper on
"The Physiology of Death" (1876).

Dr. Duncan was married March 21, 1861, to Miss
Anuinda Leonard, daughter of Benjamin and Mary
Berry Leonard, of Brownsville. They have one
child, a daughter.


Mr. Samuel Steele, of Brownsville, is of Scotch-
Irish extraction. His great-grandparents came to
America from the north of Ireland about 1740, and
settled, it is believed, in Eastern Pennsylvania. On
the passage over the Atlantic Mrs. Steele presented
her husband with a son, who was given the name
William, and who was the grandfather of Mr. Sam-
uel Steele. William grew up to manhood and found
his way into Maryland, where he married and resided
for a period of time, the precise record of which is
lost; but there several children were born to him,
one of whom, and the oldest son, was John, the
father of Samuel Steele. About 1783 or 1784, Wil-
liam Steele removed from Maryland with his family
to Fayette County, to a point on the "Old Pack-
horse road" about six miles east of Brownsville, where
he purchased a tract of land, which is now divided into
several excellent farms, occupied by Thomas Murphy,
who resides upon the old Steele homestead site, and
others. William Steele eventually removed to Ros-
traver township, Westmoreland Co., where he died in

Some years prior to his death Mr. William Steele
purchased for his sons John and William a tract of
land in what is now Jefferson township, and em-
braced the farms now owned and occupied by John
Steele and Joseph S. Elliott. John Steele (the father
of Mr. Samuel S.) eventually married Miss Agnes
(often called "Nancy") Happer, by whom he had
eight children, of whom Samuel was the fourth in
number, and was born June 15, 1814. Mr. John
Steele died June 6, 1856, at about the age of eighty-

Mr. Samuel Steele was brought up on the farm,
and in his childhood attended the subscrijition
schools. In his eighteenth year he left home and
entered as an apprentice to the tanning and currying
trade the establishment of Jesse Cunningham, his
brother-in-law, a noted tanner of Brownsville, where
he served three years in learning the business. After
the expiration of his apprenticeship he entered upon



tlie pursuit of various businesses, among whicli was
flat-boating agricultural products, apples, etc., cider,
and provisions of various kinds down the Mononga-
helato the Oliio, and on to Cincinnati and Loui.sville,
where he usu.iUy sold his merchandise, but sometimes
made trips to New (Orleans. He followed the busi-
ness in spring-time for some seven years, ending about
February, 1843, when occurred the death of Mr. Jesse
Cunningham. Mr. Steele then entered into partner-
ship with his sister, Mrs. Cunningham, under the
firm-name Samuel Steele & Co., and carried on the
business at the old place till 18G0, when the partner-
ship was amicably dissolved, and Mr. Steele sank a
new yard, a few blocks higher up the hill, wherein he
has since that time conducted business. In 1880 he
took into partiier>lii|i with himself his son William,
under the firiii-n:iine "f " Saiiincl t^ti'ele & Son."

Feb. 11, 18r)2, Mr. .'^tecle married Miss Eliz.ibeth
A. Conwell, of Brownsville, by whom he has had four
sons and four daughters, all of whom are living.

In politics he was formerly an old-line Whig, and
is now an ardent Republican. In religion he pre-
serves the faith of his fathers, being a Presbyterian.
His wile and daughters are members of the Episco-
pal Cliurch.

John Herbertson, of Bridgeport, who has been for
over fifty years one of the most active business men
and substantial citizens of the l)orough in which he
resides, was b.iiu in ( ihisgow, Scotland, Sept. 16, 1805.
In his childhood he attended the common schools,
and had the good fortune to listen to many of the
scientific lectures of the renowned Ure. At seven-
teen years of age be left home for America. Having
spent some time iu learning the joiners' and cabinet-
makers' trades, and the law at that time forbidding
mechanics to leave the realm, young Herbertson got
his tools siiiiiggleil on board the " Commerce," the
ship on which he took passage, and which, after a
voyage of five weeks and two days, landed him in
New York, in July, 182.3. He soon proceeded to
Marietta, Ohio, to enter upon farming under the mis-
representations of one Nahum Ward, a great scamp,
who by misreiiresentations induced many people of
Glasgow and elsewhere to leave their homes and
settle upon liis lands. At Marietta, Mr. Herbertson
"acquired" little else than fever and ague, and
moved, after a few months, to Pittsburgh, Pa., where
he arrived in April, 1824. He lived iu Pittsburgh
about five years, meanwhile learning the trade of
steam-engine building. In 1829 he engaged with
John Snowdon, of Brownsville, as foreman in his
engine-shop. He remained with Mr. Snowdon about
seven years. During this time Mr. Snowdon took the

any country. For this bridge Mr. Herbertson did all
the head-work, and, in fact, all the mechanical work.
He designed the bridge, making the first drawing,
which was sent on to West Point, and there accepted
by the government construction engineers. He made
the patterns, supervised the moulding, and also the
erection of the bridge.

After the expiration of his engagement with Mr.
Snowdon he went into the business of engine-build-
ing with Thomas Faull, the firm-name being Faull
& Herbertson. This was in 1837 or 1838. He con-
tinued business with Mr. Faull till 1842, when the
latter withdrew, and Mr. Herbertson has ever since
then carried on the business on the same site. He has
built a large number of steamboat- and mill-engines.
His work has been ordered from distant parts of the
United States and from Mexico. As a skilled me-
chanic and designer of mechanical work, but few
men, if any, in his line have excelled him. At the
age of seventy-six he takes active interest in his busi-
ness, and with the aid of his sons, all thoroughly in-
structed in the business and competent to take their
father's place and let him wholly retire, if he would,
he still carries on an extensive work, which, however,
has, since September, 1880, been conducted by him
in partnership with his sons, George S. and William
H. Herbertson, and his son-in-law, William H. Am-
nion, and Mr. A. C. Cock, under the firm-name of
John Herbertson & Co.

In politics Mr. Herbertson is a Republican, but has
never taken active part as a politician ; in fact, he has
had no time to waste as such. No man's reputation
for integrity and the other virtues which go to make
a noble and honorable man stands higher in his com-
munity than that of Mr. Herbertson.

In 1830, Mr. Herbertson married Miss Eliza Ninion,
daughter of Peter and Sarah Potts Nimon, of Pitts-
burgh, Pa. Mrs. Herbertson is living, and at the age
of seventy is active and thoroughly superintends her
domestic affairs.

They have been the parents of twelve children, five
of whom are living, — Surah, first married to J. W.
Kidney (deceased), and now the wife of A. J. Davis,
of Pittsburgh ; John P., who married Frances Mar-
cus, of Bridgeport ; Mary, the wife of William H.
Ammon ; George S., married to Sarah Bar, of Bridge-
port ; and William H. Herbertson.

contract for putting up the :


-r Dun

Creek, believed to be the first iron bridge ever built
in America, as it is the first of its kind ever built in


Mr. William Chatland, of Brownsville, was born
at Stratford-ou-Avon, Warwickshire, England, June
9, 1811. He is the son of William Chatland, of
Meriden, a borough six miles north of the city of
Coventry, in the same shire, and of Priscilla Green
Chatland, of Brier Hill, StafPjrdshire.

Mr. William Chatland, Sr., died in London about
1819, at the age of forty years, and some five years








subsequent to the death of his wife, which occurred
in 1814. Mr. Chatland, who was but three years of
age at the death of his motlier, was placed in the
charge of his grandmother, Mrs. Ann Chatland, by
whom he was reared until about his tenth year, when
his grandmother died. He was then taken by his
uncle, Joseph Chatland, a prosperous baker of Cov-
entry, with whom he resided until about his thir-
teenth year, and was then apprenticed to Daniel
Claridge, a famous baker of Coventry at that time,
to learn the art of baking in all its branches. He
remained with Mr. Claridge for seven years. After the
expiration of his apprenticeship he went to London,
and there, during a period of three years and a half,
occupied positions in two first-class houses of that
city. After finishing his stay in London he returned
to Coventry, established himself in the baker's busi-
ness, and married Miss Elizabeth JIanton, the
daughter of William Manton, a farmer of Berkswell,
Warwickshire. He conducted business in Coventry
for some six years, after which, and selling out, he
migrated with his family — wife and three daughters —
to the United States, arriving in New York April 20,
1844. In a few days thereafter he took the old
" Bingham Line" for Pittsburgh, Pa. Tarrying there
awhile prospecting, he eventually moved to the county-
seat of Washington County, where he resided, carry-
ing on both the baking and confectionery business,
for about eight years, and in 1852 organized a com-
pany of fifteen persons to go with him by the over-
land route to California, where, at Sacramento, he
bought out a baking business, which he conducted
with great success until he was seized by fever and
ague, and was compelled to leave the country. He
returned to his family, who had remained meanwhile
at Washington. Failing to find a suitable location
for business in that town, he betook himself to
Brownsville in 1854, where he has since resided,
carrying on business by himself for about eighteen
years, when he took into partnership his son-in-law,
George W. Lenhart, the husband of his daughter
Sarah. Under the firm-name of Chatland & Len-
hart they do an extensive business, and enjoy the
reputation of making the best water-cracker now in
use. They manufacture products of every depart-
ment of their trade.

Mrs. Elizabeth Chatland died at Brownsville, Jan.
28, 1874, in the sixty-first year of her age, leaving
three daughters, all now living. Elizabeth, the eldest
daughter, married Theodore A. Bosler, a son of Dr.
Bosler, of Mechanicsburg, Pa., and now residing in
Dayton, Ohio. Miss Mary Ann, the second daughter,
resides with her father. Sarah Ann Kate, the youngest
daughter, is the wife of Geo. W. Lenhart, before men-

Mr. Chatland and his family are members of the
Protestant Episcopal Church, he being now and for a
long time having been a vestryman therein. Since
1848, Mr. Chatland has been a prominent member

of the Masonic fraternity. He was District Deputy
Grand Master for Pennsylvania for the space of fifteen
years. District Deputy High Priest for sixteen years ;
also Eminent Commander of St. Omer's Commandery,
No. 7, held at Brownsville, for the period of about
eighteen years. Mr. Chatland is justly proud of his
record as a Mason.

William H. Miller, of Bridgeport, is of English
Quaker descent on his paternal side. His great-
grandfather, Solomon Miller, who was a miller by
trade, was born in England, married there, and emi-
grated with his family to America prior to 1750, and
settled in York County, Pa. Of his children was
Robert Miller, who was born in York County, Pa.,
and in early manhood removed to Frederick County,
near Frederick City, Md., and purchased a farm, and
soon after married Miss Cassandra Wood, a Virginia
lady, who lived near Winchester, Va. They resided
upon the farm near Frederick City till 1796, when
they removed to Berkeley County, Yn., where they
remained about three years, and then, in 1799, came
into Fayette County and settled in Luzerne township,
on a farm purchased of one Joseph Briggs, and now
owned by Capt. Isaac Woodward. Residing there
for several years, his wife meanwhile dying, Robert
Miller eventually moved into Brownsville, and took
up his residence on Front Street, upon property now
belonging to the heirs of Thomas Morehouse, and
there died about 1832. He was the father of four
sons and four daughters, all of whom grew to ma-
turity. Of these was William Miller, who was born
Sept. 9, 1782, in Frederick County, Md. At the age
of sixteen he became a clerk in a dry-goods store
belonging to his uncle, William Wood, in New Mar-
ket, Va., and in 1799 came with his father into
Fayette County. He soon after took up the avoca-
tion of school-teaching, and pursued it near Perry-
opolis, in the old Friends' Church, known as "Red-
stone Church," in Bridgeport, on what was formerly
called "Peace Hill," and elsewhere. He followed
teaching until 1810, when he married Miss Rebecca
Johnson, daughter of Squire Daniel Johnson, of
Menallen, and at once settled on a farm in that town-
ship, near New Salem, and lived there till March,
18.37. He then removed to Brownsville and pur-
chased a woolen-factory (no longer standing) and a
flouring-mill; then standing on the site whereon is
located the present flouring-mill of his son, W. H.
Miller. He pursued milling till 1855, when he retired
from business and led a private life until his death,
which occurred June 7, 1866. Mrs. Rebecca Miller
died Nov. 14, 1833, and in 1834 Mr. Miller married
Ann Johnson, his first wife's half-sister, who, child-
less herself, made a good mother for her sister's chil-
dren. She is still living, nearly eighty years of age,
cheerful and buoyant in spirits.



Mr. William and Mrs. Rebecca Johnson Miller were
the parents of nine children, all of whom grew to
maturity, eight still living, — Warwick, born Dec. 11,
1811 ; Hiram, born Dec. 31, 1813 ; Sarah, born Sept. 7,
1816; Mary, born Feb. 5, 1819; Cassandra dleceascd),
born March 3, 1821 ; Lydia, born Jan. 14, 1823 ; Jane,
born June 30, 1825 ; William H., born March 6, 1829 ;
and Oliver, born Dec. 13, 1831.

William H. Miller, the eighth in the above list,
was educated in the cumiiinn. ami the Friends' school,
and learned the milling lnHinc-;';, upnn which he en-
tered in partnership with his hrother Oliver in 1855
in the mill before named, and which he and his
brother inherited from their father. The partnership
continued for five years, when Mr. Miller bought out
the interest of his brother, who removed to a farm in
Luzerne township. In January, 186G, a fire destroyed
both the flouring-niill and the old woolen-factory be-
fore referred to. The buildings being uninsured the
loss was total. Mr. Miller immediately put up a new
and better building on the old site, and to this time
conducts business therein. As is noted above, Mr.
Miller's great-grandfather, Solomon, was a miller
by trade, and from his day down to the present the
trade li!i-i been practically and continuously repre-

Mr. Miller has held several town and borough
offices, and was for eiglit years director in the Deposit
and Discount Bank of Brownsville, which two years
ago gave up its charter, a portion of its stockliolders
uniting in the organization of the National Deposit
Bank of Brownsville, of which bank Mr. Wiliam
H. Miller is the president, the National Bank doing
Inisiness in the same house formerly occupied by the
bank the place of which it took.

May 16, 1855, Mr. Miller married Miss Margaret J.
Gibson, daughter of Alexander and Mary Hibljs Gib-
son, of Luzerne township. They have two children,
—A. Gibson Miller, born Feb. 7, 1861, and Sarah
Helen Miller.

Mr. Miller was brought up an Orthodox Friend,
observing the faitli of his fathers, but is now a member,
as is also his wife, of the Cumberland Presbyterian
Church. In politics he is a Republican.

John L. Dawson was born in Uniontown on the
7th of February, 1818. When quite young he re-
moved with his latlicr's finiily to Brownsville, where
he grew up and spent the greater partof his life. He
was educated at Washington College, read law in
Uniontown under the direction of his uncle, the Hon.
John Dawson, and in due course was admitted to the
bar and commenced the practice of his iirofession.
Entering into politics at an early age, he soon took
a leading part on the Democratic side in all current
questious and controversies. In 1838 he was ap-

pointed by Governor Porter deputy attorney-general
I for Fayette County, and discharged the duties of the
office with fidelity and ability. In 1845, President
Polk appointed him United States district attorney
for the Western District of Pennsylvania, which office
he held during the whole of Polk's administration,
and discharged its duties with signal ability. He
was a delegate to the Democratic National Conven-
tions of 1844, 1848, 1856, and 1860. During the
Kansas troubles President Pierce tendered him the
Governorship of that Territory, but he declined to
accept it.

In 1848, Mr. Dawson was the candidate of the
Democratic party for member of Congress in the dis-
trict then composed of Fayette, Greene, and Somer-
set Counties, but was defeated by his competitor, the
Hon. A. J. Ogle, of Somerset. He was renominated
in 1850, and triumidiantly elected, the first and only
time that district was carried by the Democrats. In
1852 he was again nominated for member of Con-
gress, and was elected, the district then being com-
posed of Fayette, Washington, and Greene Counties.
At the end of this term he declined to re-enter the
congressional arena, and remained in private life
until 1862, when he was again elected to Congress,
and re-elected in 1864, both these elections being
for the district composed of the counties of Fay-
ette, Westmoreland, and Indiana. Soon after his
entrance into Congress he introduced the Home-
ste;\il bill, which had previously been defeated, and
with the addition of a number of important provis-
ions, originated liy himself, he advocated the measure
I with great earnestness, eloquence, and ability, and
j continued to advocate it until he had the gratifica-
! tion of seeing it become a law. In the Thirty-eighth
Congress he was a member of the Committee on For-
eign Affairs. At the close of his term in the Thirty-
ninth Congress, Mr. Dawson's public career ended.
! He had previously purchased the property formerly
owned and occupied by the Hon.* Albert Gallatin, in
Springhill township, Fayette Co., and there he re-
sided with his family during the remainder of his
life. He died at his residence, "Friendship Hill,"
on the 18th of Sejitember, 1870, in the fifty-eighth
year of his age. At his death the Cincinnati En-
quirer gave the following deserved tribute to his
memory :

" He belonged to a school of great, good, and useful
men, but a few of whom linger now to adorn and serve
a country whose name their genius contributed so
much to make glorious, and whose prosperity and
happiness their wisdom and integrity ever sought to
promote. Among political philosophers and practical
statesmen, he was one of our profoundest thinkers.
As an orator, whether on the mission of persuasion or
conviction, he had but few rivals ; and as a private
citizen, his exalted character was without a blemish.
His career in Congress was in every respect brilliant.
The private friendships he there contracted, even in



the face of the bitterest prejudices, the hipse of years
served only to strengthen and brigliten, and the pub-
lic record that he made is a proud heritage for his
family, and a shining example for future statesmen,
and must grow brighter and brighter as time reveals
— as reveal more and more each revolving year it
surely will — the soundness of liis judgment, the
breadth of his comprehension, the clearness of his
foresight, and the truth of his predictions. Always

dignified, debonair, and dispassionate in debate, no
eruptions of temper ever ruffled the calm surface of
his vigorous intellect. Endowed with an impressive
and imposing presence, and those rare and peculiar
gifts so prominently adapted to ad captandum discus-
sion, he was not more honored by his own party as a
leader than he was dreaded by the opposition as an
adversary. The loss of such a man as John L. Daw-
son amounts to a national calamity."


BKiDGEroRT— borough and township, both cover-
ing the same area and lying within the same limits —
is situated on the right bank of the Monongahela,
extending up the river from the mouth of Dunlnp's
Creek. The latter stream forms its eastern and the

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 105 of 193)