Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 106 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 106 of 193)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

river its northwestern boundary. On its other sides
it is bounded by the township of Luzerne, from Dun-
lap's Creek to the river.

For a period of more than half a century prior to
the time whfen travel and traffic became diverted by
the opening of the railway lines in Western Pennsyl-
vania this town was a point of great comparative im-
portance as a place of manufacturing industries, of
flat-boat, keel-boat, and steamboat building, and as
(practically) the head of steamboat navigation on the
river. By reason of the lack of railway facilities,
for many years Bridgeport lost much of its relative
importance, but it is still one of the principal busi-
ness-points on the Monongahela, and the recent open-
ing (in the spring of 1881) of the Pittsburgh, Virginia
and Charleston Railroad line from Pittsburgh to West
Brownsville cannot fail to add materially to its pros-
perity. Its population by the United States census
of 1880 was 1134.

Within the territory now embraced in the limits of
the borough and township of Bridgeport the earliest
landholder of whom any account is found was Capt.
Lemuel Barrett, a native of Maryland, who, in 1763,
obtained "a military permit from the commandant
at Fort Pitt, for the purpose of cultivating lands
within the custom limits of the garrison then called
Fort Burd," the military work which had been built
four years earlier on the other side of Dunlap's
Creek. Jhe land embraced in this "military per-
mit" was the site of the town of Bridgeport, but no
patent covering it ever issued to Barrett, nor did
he ever hold any title to it under Pennsylvania war-
rant or Virginia certificate, his being merely a

"claim" which the later owner of the land thought it
expedient to purchase in order to secure an unques-
tioned title. In fact, there were other claims, result-
ing from the same class of military permits, which
adjoined and to some extent overlapped and con-
flicted with that of Barrett. These were chiefly
above and south of the present territory of Bridge-
port borough,' yet there was one, Angus McDonald,

ijU3taI)0Ve Bridireport, (

' says Judge Veecli, '

1763, iHMl ,, -..IIP ni. 1,1 ..,, ,1. In
LukeC.jihNS, .i.-wiilinig llii- liiii.l
cllnle the field cleared t-y im' \v
constructed by Cul. Bnrd'ti iiumi \
mouth of Delap'8 [Dunlap's] C
Michael Cresap, on the l:ith of ,

Martin'3 land," recently
K repps. Cresap's execui
Schooley, an old Brown.'i
lader. The adverse cla
County, Md.] and Williai

andl'h.i - .-1... ii .Mil

title seems |..l,,n.. 1 n.

They sold out to Kuherl
d the oldest permit (in 17f
I otiicial

"One Rohert Thurn seems also to have been a claimant of part .if the
land, hut Collins bought hiiu nut. This protracted controversy involved
many curious (juestiuiis, and called up many ancient recollecli.-us. No
doubt the visit to this localily of Mr. Deputy Sheriff Woods, of Bedfonl,
in 1771, was parcel of this controversy. Jlany of these early claims were
lost or foi-feited by neglect to settle tiie land according to law, and thus

low mark, aud often sold for trifling sums.

"These settlements by virtue of military permits began about this
period— from 1700 to 1765— to be somewhat uunierons in the vicinity of
Forts I'itt aud Burd, and along the army roads leading thereto. Th.y

had bought out the Indian title. This »as a .l..|.;,rtiu.,- IV.. ni tlLir n;,.



who asserted his ownership, under such chiini, of
lands embracing a considerable part of the laud now
embraced in Bridgeport.

In 178.3, Rces Cadwallader acquired by purchase
the claims of both Angus McDonald (which in the
mean time had passed through several intermediate
hands) and of Capt. Lemuel Barrett to the lands
now embraced in the borough of Bridgeport. He
had already taken steps to obtain a title under the
State of Pennsylvania, and received a warrant of
survey which secured it, but the patent did not issue
to him until Oct. 1, 1787. The name of the tract, as
mentioned in tlie warrant and patent, was " Peace,"
a very ap[iriipriate designation to give it in token
of the final settlement of the conflict of claims to it
and contiguous territory.

Rees Cadwalhxder was then the first permanent
settler in what is now the borough of Bridgeport.
His residence was on the bank of Dunlap's Creek,
and farther up that stream he built a mill, where the
"Prospect Mills" of William H. Miller now stand.
The race started from the creek, at a log dam (lo-
cated where the present dam is), and ran round the
foot of the hill to the mill. Amitlier mill was built
soon afterwards by Jonaii Cadwallader at the point
where Harvey Leonard's saw-mill now stands, on the
creek at the borough line.

Isaac Rogers came from Chester County, Pa., to
Bridgeport about 1795, and erected a dwelling where
Jolin Springer's warehouse now stands. He was a
merchant, and opened a store in a frame building
that stood on the lot now occupied by Joseph Rogers.
About 1804 he went into business with Rees Cadwal-
lader, in a store that stood on a lot now vacant, oppo-
site Dr. Hubbs' drug-store. He was also a justice of
the jieace for years. He had five children. His only
son, Thomas, studied law in Llniontown with John
Lyon, was admitted to the bar in 1822, and practiced

in that town I
" Jackson Ar
while on the
troops at Pitt
ond daughter
Page (a son n
came to Brid
death of his \

years. He was captain of the
' and was accidentally killed
ku part in an encampment of

I i- -i-^ter. Affinity Rogers (see-
In ,ame the wife of Samuel B.

II I'ngc, of C(inncllsville),who
lS2i;. S'lnic years after the

irricd .^larv, another daushter

of Isaac Rogers. He (Page) was by trade a shoe-
maker, and started a shoemaker's shop in Bridgeport
in 1827. For a few years after his coming to Bridge-
port he worked at his trade and also kept a shoe-
store. In 1832 he went as a clerk on one of the river
steamboats. He afterwards became a builder and
owner of steamboats, which ran on the Monongahcla
and Ohio, and by his activity and entcrjirise accumu-
lated considerable property. In 1843 he purchased

The Mo

)iigahe]a River

David Binns' place on the hill, and lived there until
18151, when he sold to Levi Colvin. In 18.56 he was
elected member of Assembly. He died in July, 1878.
His widow now resides in Brownsville.

The town of Bridgeport was laid out by Rees Cad-
wallader in 1794. The first sales of lots in the town
were made by him, late in the year 1795, and after
that they were sold with considerable rapidity. On
the 3d of November, in the year mentioned, he con-
veyed "to the Citizens of Bridgeport a plat of land
for a public ground, commencing at the North West
e.xtremity of Bank Street, and running along said
street one hundred and sixty-five feet to Water Street,

and up Water Street to Street, along said street

one hundred and forty-eight feet to the Monongahela

In June, 1796, Rees Cadwallader, Jonas Cattle
[Cattell?], and Obed Garwood, of Fayette County,
and Amos Hough, of Washington County, sold to
Samuel Jackson, John Dixon, and William Dixon,
of Fayette County, and Ebenezer Walker, of West-
moreland County, " Trustees in behalf of the People
called Quakers," eight acres of land, which had been
patented to Andrew Gudgel, June 10, 1788, and by
him sold on the 18th of October following to Rees
Cadwallader and the other grantors above named.

Feb. 29, 1799, Rees Cadwallader sold to the Friends'
society three acres of land in Bridgeport, comprising
the Quaker grounds on the hill, on a part of which
the present union school-house stands. On this plat
was set apart the earliest burial-ground of Bridgeport.

Rees Cadwallader died a few years after the com-
mencement of the present century, and a large num-
ber of town lots then remaining unsold passed to the
possession of his heirs. His sons emigrated to Zanes-
ville, Ohio, some years afterwards, and none of his
descendants are now living in Bridgeport or vicinity.

Robert Rogers, who was for a period of almost sixty
years a well-known and enterprising citizen of Bridge-
port and ]'.r(iwn>ville, was a nephew of Isaac Rogers,
whose settlement in Bridgeport about 1795 is noticed
above. Robert was born in Queen Anne County,
Md., Jan. 15, 1794, and after the death of his father,
in 1806, lived with an uncle until the fall of 1807.
At that time another uncle (Lambert Boyer), who
had settled in Washington County, Pa., visited Mary-
land, and it was decided that Robert Rogers should
return with him to the West. They accordingly set
out on their long journey across the mountains, hav-
ing only one horse for the two travelers. This " ride-
and-tie" method of journeying (in which doubtless
the boy Robert performed most of the pedestrian part)
was a slow process, but they finally reached that im-
portant i)ointin the western bound travel of that day,
—the mouth of Dunlap's Creek. This for Robert was
the end of the journey, for here he found his uncle,
Isaac Rogers, with whom it was decided he should



remain, — his uncle Boyer proceeding on to his home
west of the Monongaliela.

On liis arrival at Bridgeport young Robert Rogers
was placed in the store of his uncle Isaac, and also
attended school during the small portion of the time
in which schools were then taught at this place. In
the fall of 1809 he was apprenticed in Bridgeport to
Cephas Gregg' (who had himself just completed his
apprenticeship with Jacob Webb) to learn the trade
of potter. "I continued work" [says Mr. Rogers''] "at
my trade as apprentice till the middle of January,
1815, when I was twenty-one. Then I left Bridgeport
on a flat-boat, and went to Pittsburgh for work." The
night before he started on this trip from Bridgeport
there was a deep fall of snow. The river was so low
that on arriving, in the middle of the night, at Bald-
win's mill-dam, near Cookstown (Fayette City), and
attempting to run the chute, the boat struck on the
rocks, "and, being iron-loaded, sunk immediately
and we had to climb on the roof, which was still out
of water." Some of Baldwin's people came with a
boat and took them off, and they stayed at the house
until morning, but nearly perished of cold. This was
on the Fayette County side of the river. In the morn-
ing Rogers and others started on down the river on
foot, and after a most fatiguing day's travel reached
Elizabethtown in the evening. The next day he
walked to Pittsburgh, and there " obtained employ-
ment in a queensware factory at the head of ' Hog
Pond' [between Grant and Smithfield Streets], lately
established by a Scotchman from Edinboro' named
Trotter [a man ' who ' was seven feet tall in his boots,
and being rather slim looked even taller']. Queens-
ware was scarce, and ours sold readily and high, com-
mon yellow cups and saucers at one dollar per set,
and heavy, clumsy ones they were." The diary
continues: "This spring [1815], while working in
Pittsburgh, news came of the treaty of Ghent and the
battle of New Orleans, in consequence the town was
illuminated. Soon after peace foreign ware began to
come in, and we could not compete. ... I returned
to Bridgeport and Trotter to Scotland. ... On my
arrival at Bridgeport I went to work with John Riley
(who was carrying on another shop from the one I
learned my trade in), and continued with him till late
in the fall of 1815. . . ." Then he was employed on
a steamboat on the river ; visited New Orleans in the
spring of 1816; in the following fall returned to
Bridgeport, where he was married in October of that
year, and " undertook to carry on the shop for Cephas
Gregg on shares." In the spring of 1818 he again
went on the river, but soon returned to Bridgeport,

1 Cephas Gregg's pottery-works were located where the new brick
house of Sealiuru Crawfonl now staiuis. They were afterwards carried
on hy Robert Itogers, witli his otlier business, for about tliirty years.

From about 1814 Johu Riley liad a pottery where Herbertsou'a nia-
cliine-shops now are. Riley's pottery was in operation as late as the
year 1820, and probably after that time.

2 In a diary of tiis which is still in existence, and from which these
extracts in reference to him are made.

and during the almost half-century of his subsequent
life was prominent in matters of business enterprise,
both in Bridgeport and Brownsville, to which last-
named place he removed his residence in April, 1834.
He died of paralysis on the 27th of January, 1866,
aged seventy- two years.

The journal of Robert Rogers, from which extracts
have been given above, contains the following re-
marks, having reference to the business of Bridge-
port from the time of his arrival there in 1807, viz. :

"It was some time after this that the National
road was built from Cumberland west, and there was
great einigratiom from the Eastern States and from
Europe. They crossed the mountains and came to
Redstone Old Fort, and the road was so long and
rough that the emigrants would be so tired when they
got here that they seldom went beyond this by land,
but mostly in flat-boats called arks, floating only with
the current. These were mostly twenty to fifty feet
long, and twelve to sixteen feet wide, put together
with wooden pins (no spikes in use), generally poplar
gunwales, roof of thin boards, doubled and bent, and
fastened with wooden pins. ... It was big business
here to supply emigrants with these boats, provisions,
farming implements, and housekeeping articles to
take with them. When the National road was com-
pleted to the Monongahela River, the arrivals of emi-
grants [meaning those who stopped here to construct
or purch.ise boats] was very great for several years ;
but after the road was extended then emigration was
divided, some taking that route. In the early days
tliere were considerable quantities of flour and apples
shipped hence to New Orleans in large flats. It took
a long time to make this trip, as the river was not then
well known, and they could not run at night. Country
produce was then very low here, and merchants and
mechanics had a good time, as living was very cheap.

" About 1811, Daniel French arrived here from
Philadelphia with big schemes of manufacturing,
steamboat building, and navigating Western waters.
He told people great advantages would accrue, and in-
duced many prominent citizens to subscribe to stock
for a cotton manufactory and two steamboats, all
new to people here ; but they were wise enough to se-
cure charters for each company, viz., one for the fac-
tory and one for steamboats, and, as they felt a deep
interest and believed French, the people subscribed
liberally to both. Work commenced, but the enter-
prise was new to all, and it was a long time before it
was completed. And when they were ready there was
no one experienced in running factories or steamboats,
and neither enterprise made money, but run in debt,
and the factory was sold by the sheriff, and the boats
were sold by the company after they had run thera
as long as there seemed any hope of profit." The
building and operation of the old factory and the
company's two steamboats will be more fully men-
tioned in another place in this history.




The incorporation of Bridgeport as a borough was
effected by an act of Assembly approved March 9,
1814, by whicli it was provided and dechired " That the
town of Bridgeport, in the county of Fayette, shall be
and the same is hereby erected into a linrouuli, which
shall be called the borough of Bridgeport, which
borough shall be comprised within the following
boundaries, to wit: Beginning at the iiinuth of Dun-
lap's Creek; thence up the Mnnoiigulicla River with
the several meanders thereof one hundred and forty-
eight perches ; thence leaving tlie river . . . [and
proceeding by a number of described courses and dis-
tances] ... to the noith abutment of Jonah Cad-
wallailer's inill-daiii : tin nee down the meanders of
Dunlaj/s Cn i k to tlir phtee of beginning."

The second Tuesday in May next following was
designated in the act as the day for holding the first
borough election. The meeting was held accordingly,
and resulted in the election of the following-named
persons as the first officers of the borough of Bridge-
port : Burgess, Samuel Jones; Councilmen, John
Cock, Joseph Truman, Enos Grave, Morris Truman,
John Bentley, William Cock. The reason why the
full number of (nine) councilmen was not elected
does not appear.

At the April sessions of the Fayette County court
in l>;io a petition of citizens of Bridgeport borough
was |ircsentiMl, pray iiiL; tliat tlie said borough be erected
into a townsliij). Upon this petition the court ap-
pointed Charles Porter, Israel Gregg, and William
Ewing commissioners to imjuire into and report on
the piropriety of granting the prayer of the peti-
tioners. At the August sessii,ns next I'oUowing the
committee submitted a favorable ri]i(irt, whicli was
approved, and at the Xovrnilier term in the same
year the eoiii't contiriiicd the jiroceedings and issued
an order erecting the "townsliip of tlie borough of
Bridgeport;" its boundaries being the same as those
of Bridgeport borough.


Following is a list of the officers of the borough
and township of Bridgeport from their organization
to the present time. It is not, however, claimed that
it is entirely accurate or complete, but this is wholly
due to the loose and careless manner in which the
clerks have kept the records, from which source alone
such information can properly be obtained.


1816.— Burgess, Henry Troth; Council, jMorris Trumnn, .Joseph
Truman, John Morgan, John Bouvier, William Troth,'
Enos flrave, As.i Richards, Robert Patterson, George Car-
ruthers; Clerk, John Bouvier.

1817. — Burgess, George Carruthers ; Council, James Meek,
■William Cock, Evan Chalfont, James Hutchinson, John
Nelan. Jesse Ong, Cephas Gregg, Andrew Porter, Israul
Gic.-g: Clerk, James Meek.

isls.— I!ur-c-s. Cephas Gregg; Council. Henry Troth, John
.M..r-nn, J„scph Truman, Andrew Porter. Amos Townsemi,
M'illiam Cuek, Evan Chalfant, Levi Burden, Abraham
Kimber: Ck-rk. John Morgan.

1819. -Burgess, William Cock; Council, James Meek. Levi
Burden, Amos Townsend, Abraham Kimber, Evan Chal-
fant, Henry Willis, John Morgan, Joseph Truman, Henry
Troth ; Clerk, John Morgan.

1820. — Burgess, Solomon G. Krepps; Council, Amos Townsend,
Henry "Willis, Joseph Truman, John Morgan, Robert
Rogers, Robert Bathe, Morris Truman, AVashington Hough,
and Levi Burden ; Clerk, John Morgan.

1821.— Burgess, Solomon G. Krepps; Council, Robert Rogers,
John Banning, Robert Patterson, James Toinlinson, James
Meek, Moses Dennall, John Nelan, Adolph Miuehart,
Robert Baldwin : Clerk, Robert Rogers.

1822.— Burgess, Solomon G. Krepps; Couueil, James Reynolds,
Adolph Minehart, Nicholas Swearer, Jr., Amos Townsend.
Thomas Bang. Moses Di.rnal. John Smedley,^ John Nelan,
Daniel Worley : Clerk. Daniel Worley.

182:i.— Burgess, James Jleek : Council, James Reynolds, Nich-
olas Swearer, Jr., Moses Durnal, John Banning. Amos
Townsend, John Nelan, John Arnold, Solomon G. Krejips,
John Gatcnby ; Clerk, James Truman.

1823, Septeuiber.— Burgess, Joseph Truman; Council, Joel
0.\lcy, James Truman.

1824.— Burgess, Joseph Truman; Council, James Townsend,
John Nelan, Amos Townsend, Thomas L. Rogers, John
Gatenby, Robert Rogers, Washington Hough, Moses Dur-
nal, John Banning; Clerk, James Truman.

1825. — Burgess, Joseph Truman; Council, Benedict Kimber,
John Troth. Thomas Burke, Berry, John Ban-
ning. Caleb Hunt. Solum.m G. Krepps, James Truman,
Washingt.>n Hough: Clerk, James Truman.

182fi.— Burgess. Tlicimas G. Lamb; Council, John Troth, Bene-
dict Kimber, Hoi ert B""!!!, James Reynolds, Amos Town-
send. Joel Painter, S uion G. Krepps, Caleb Hunt, John

Nelan; Clerk, James Truman.

1827. — Burgess, Joshua AVood: Council, Benedict Kimber,
James Truman, Robert Kimber, Rees C. Jones, Robert
Booth, David H., Peter Swearer, John Troth,
John A^anhook ; Clerk, James Truman.

1828.— Burgess, Benedict Kimber; Council, Robert Booth,
Samuel B. Page, Thomas AcUlin, Joshua Vernon, Joseph
Reynolds, Joseph Manner, Peter Sweaier, James Reynolds,
Jr., Robert Kimber; Clerk, James Reynolds, Jr.

1829.— Burgess, James Reynolds, Sr. ; Council, David H
fanl, Amos Townsend, Robert Kimber, James Reynolds,
Jr., Samuel B. Page, Joshua Vernon, Joshua AVood, Robeit
Booth, James Moffat; Clerk, James Reynolds.

1830.— Burgess, Joseph Truman ;= Council, Adolph Minehart,
Joel Oxiey, David Binns, Amos Townsend, Ebenezer Shion,


, Samuel Jones; Council, John Cock, Joseph
nr,. Crave, Morris Trumau, John Bentley, Wil-

rirk. Knos Grave.

Miri. Truman; Council, James Meek, Enos
lliam Trnth, Joseph Truman, John Bouvier,
gg: Clerk, Enos Grave.

Trniiian. 1

liiiiii r,,.k

Elishu Gre

1 AVilliani Troth died

filUlio vacancy.
- George SliieJley elec
' Francis Worcester e


n July, ISIG ; Amos Towusend was elected to

ed, i-iec John Smedlev, resigTied.

eeted burges. IJlh of May, 1S20, rice Joseph


Samuel Jones, Tilson Fuller, James Reynolds, Benedict
Kiuiber; Clerk, Joel Oxley.

1831.— Burgess, John Banning; Council, Joel Oxiey, James
Reynolds, Adolpb Minehart, Moses Durnell, Samuel B.
Johnson, Peter Swearer, Tilson Fuller, Isaac Banks; Clerk,
Joel Oxlcy.

1S32.— Burgess, John Gatcnliy; Council, Washington Hough,
Dnvid Binns, Michael Miller, Andrew Hopkins, Joseph
Reynolds, Isaac Bennett, James Moffitt, Abel Coffin, Charles
McFall; Clerk, Washington Hough.

1833.— Burgess, Andrew Hopkins ; Council, Tilson Fuller, James
Reynolds, Jr., Joshua Armstrong. John Buffington, John
Riley, Thomas Acklin, Joseph Manner, David U. Chalfant,
Andrew Porter; Clerk, James Reynolds, Jr.

183-1.- Burgess, Thomas Duncan; Council, David H. Chalfant,
Joshua Armstrong, John Buffington, Joseph Manner,
James W. Moffitt, James Reynolds, Joel Oxley, Andrew
Porter; Clerk, Joel Oxley.

1835— Burgess, Benedict Kimber: Council, Thomas Duncan,
D. 11. Chalfant, Moses Durnall, Joel Oxley, Joseph Man-
ner, Nicholas Swearer, John Buffington, Andrew Porter;
Clerk, Joel Oxley.

1836.— Burgess, James Truman ; Council, Joshua Wood, John
Pringle, Joel Oxley, Joseph Reynolds, Charles McFall,
Caleb Woodward, Benedict Kimlier, Joseph T. Rogers,
I Jen V. Ball ; Clerk, John Morgan.

1837— Burgess, James Truman; Council, Joel Oxlcy, Iden V.
Ball, Charles McFall, Joshua Armstrong, Joseph Reynolds,
John Pringle, Benedict Kimber, Jonathan Binns, John
Gntenby ; Clerk, John Morgan.

1838.— Burges?, James Truman; Council. John S. Pringle, Al-
bert U. Bathe, Robert Kimber, William Hoover, Thomas
Duncan, Joshua Armstrong, Jon^ithi.n Binns, Thomas
Craven, Daniel Councihmui : Clerk. J^.hn .Morgan.

1839.— Burgess, John Herbertson ; Counril. I'ettr Sivearcr,
John Riley, Adolph Minehart, Charles McFall, Albert G.
Bathe, Benedict Kimber, Henry Bulger, James Berry;
Clerk, John Morgan.

1840.— Burgess, James ; Council, Noah Worcester, John
Troth, Aaron Bronson, James Berry, John W. Porter,
Moses Durnal, Joseph T. Rogers, William Hoover, Thomas
Craven ; Clerk, John Morgan.

1841.— Burgess, James Truman; Council, Jonathan Binns, Gregg, Thomas Faull, Milton Woodward, Thomas
Craven, Noah Worcester, William Hoover, William C.
Fishburn, Joseph T. Rogers; Clerk, H. Casson.

1812— Burgess, Thomas Faull; Council, William C, Fishburn,
Thomas Duncan, James Berry, James McDonwold, Leon-
ard Lainhart, Robert Mitchell, Joseph Reynolds, Adolph
Minehart, James Goe; Clerk, H. Casson.

1843.- Burgess, John Herbertson; Council, C. C. Sherwood,
Aaron Branson, Noah Worcester, James C. Auld, N. G.
Mason, William Hoover, Calvin Richey, James Berry,
Thomas Gregg; Clerk, H. Casson.

4.— Burges.s, James C. Auld; Council, John Herbertson,
Henry Bulger, Benedict Kimber, James Truman, Milton
AVoodward, James Goe, Samuel Worcester, Henry Troth,
Robert Mitchell; Clerk, Henry Casson.

1845. — Burgess, Moses Durnell; Council, James Goe, John
Herbertson, Zeph. Carter, James C. Auld, Thomas Craven,
Aaron Branson, John W. Porter, William Wharf, Thomas
Gregg ; Clerk, Henry Casson.

;.— Burgess, Moses Durnidl ; Council, Thomas Duncan, John

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 106 of 193)