Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 109 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 109 of 193)
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of Pnus,jh-r,n!n.
" PHiLADEi.pni.4, 24"' Febiuaiy, 1792."

Dr. Pennel was married to Miss Hannah Grubb, of
Winchester, Va., at which place the two resided for
one year, when they moved to Bridgeport in 1795,
where he practiced his profession the remainder of
his life. On the .5th of February, 1819, Dr. Pennel
died of typhus fever, which at the time was epidemic
in the county. He was a consistent member of the
Society of Friends up to the time of his death, as
was also his wife. Miss Susan Pennel, his daughter,
and Mrs. John A. Murphy, a granddaughter, both
residents of Pittsburgh, Pa., are his only surviving

Dr. Henry William Stoy was born in Lebanon,
Pa., Sept. 7, 1784. He was the son of Dr. Henry
Wilhelm Stoy, a native of Germany, who emigrated
thence to Lebanon County, Pa., some years previous
to the birth of his son. There he practiced medicine
and officiated as minister of the gospel for a consid-
erable time. Dr. Stoy was educated in Lancaster,
Pa., and studied medicine with Prof Baker, of Lan-
caster. He came to Bridgeport in 1817, where he
engaged in the practice of his profession, remaining
until 1822, at which time he went to GreensbUrg,
Westmoreland Co., but in 1832 returned to Bridge-
port, where he continued to follow his profession
until 1852, when he removed to Shinston, Harrison
Co., Va., and died there Feb. 2, 1858. He continued
in itctive practice up to within three months of his
death. Dr. Stoy was twice married, — in 1814 to
Katharine E. Cook, who died in 1824, leaving five
children ; in 182G he was married to Eleanor M. Watt,
who died in 1852, leaving also five children. While
in Bridgeport he enjoyed the esteem and confidence
of the community, and maintained an extensive prac-

1 By W S. Duncan, M.D.

tice. In politics he was an ardent and enthusiastic
Democrat; he was also an active member of the
order of Freemasons for fifty years preceding his
death. His surviving descendants are Capt. William
H. Stoy, the well-known professor of music ; Mrs.
Dorothy A. Kimber, of Oil City, Pa., and Mrs. Char-
lotte Reese, of Pittsburgh, Pa.

Dr. Thomas G. Lamb was born in Connellsville,
Fayette Co., Pa., in 1796 ; studied medicine with Dr.
Moore, of Connellsville, and in the Medical Depart-
ment of the University of Pennsylvania, at Philadel-
phia. He came to Bridgeport and engaged in the
practice of his profession in 1820, continuing in active
business until 1836, in which year his death occurred.
He was married Jan. 27, 1822, to Sarah W., daughter
of Dr. Jesse Pennel. He was a man of active habits
I and dignified presence. In religion he was a Quaker,
, having a birthright in the Society of Friends.

Dr. Caleb Bracken was born in 1804 in Wa.shington
County, Pa., about three miles up the Monongahela
River from Bridgeport. In 1826 he came to Bridge-
port and engaged in the practice of medicine, remain-
ing until 1836, when he removed to Belmont County,
j Ohio, where he engaged in agricultural pursuits and
died in 1877. Dr. Bracken was a consistent member
' of the Society of Friends, being a preacher in that
i religious denomination. While practicing medicine
j in Bridgeport he was also the proprietor of a drug-
, store, and at the same time followed the business of
! brewing beer on the premises now owned by James
I Miller, Esq. The doctor was evidently a gentleman
' of considerable versatility of character.

Dr. Abraham Stanley was born in the neighbor-
hood called Cedar Creek, Hanover Co., Va., Aug. 30,
1804. In early life he taught school in Ohio, then
the far Northwest. He studied medicine in the office
of Dr. Pettit, of Columbiana County, Ohio, and spent
one winter at the Cincinnati Sledical College. He
; came to Bridgeport in 1836, purchased the drug-store
of Dr. Bracken, and at the same time began the
practice of his profession. The drug business proving
unremunerative was soon abandoned, and the re-
mainder of his business life was devoted steadily to
his professional duties. Soon after his arrival in
Bridgeport he was married to Lydia, daughter of Eli
Haines. He was a prominent member of the Society
of Friends, occupying an important position in the
councils of that body ; he was also, like most of the
Quakers of the North, a strong Abolitionist, taking
an active and hearfelt interest in all that pertained to
the abolition of negro slavery in the United States.
He was a number of times importuned by his friends
and influential persons in the community to permit
[ his name to be used as a candidate for Congress on
the Anti-Slavery ticket, but always peremptorily de-
clined. He was appointed by the State authorities a
manager of the House of Refuge for Western Penn-
sylvania, which position he held with credit for sev-
eral years. In private life he was kind and urbane,



charitable to the extent of his means, ami universally-
respected wherever known. While returning from
Harrisburg, where he had been on business connected
with the House of Refuge, he met with a railroad
accident, from the effects of which he died in the
summer of 1856, leaving no children. He was a
member of the Fayette County Medical Society.

Mathew Oliver Jones, M.D., was born of Quaker
parents in Southampton County, Va., on the 1st day
of May, 1822. In early childhood he emigrated with
his parents to the State of Ohio, and studied medi-
cine in the office of Dr. Planner, in Mount Pleasant,
Jefferson Co., Ohio, attending one term of medical
lectures in the Medical Department of the University
of Pennsylvania during the winter of 1841-42. In
December, 1843, he came to Bridgeport, forming a
partnership with Dr. A. Stanley in the practice of
medicine. In the autumn of 1849 he returned to the
University of Pennsylvania, where the degree of M.D.
was conferred upon him in March, 1850. He remained
in Bridgeport, devoting his entire attention to the
study and practice of his profession, until the spring
of 1861, when he removed to the city of Pittsburgh,
where he now resides, enjoying a large practice and
an honorable position in his profession. On the 29th
of April, 1851, he was married to Margaret C, daughter
of Capt. Elisha Bennett, of Bridgeport, by whom he
had two children, a son and a daughter. The son.
Dr. W. W. Jones, is now engaged in the practice of
medicine in Allegheny City, Pa. The daughter re-
mains with her father. In 1844, Dr. Jones assisted
in organizing the first medical society in Fayette
County, which, however, was short-lived. He is the
author of a paper on the causes and treatment of
vomiting during pregnancy, which not only attracted
much attention among the profession in this country,
but was extensively published in the medical journals
of England and other European countries. He is a
member of the Allegheny County Medical Society,
also of the Medical Society of the State of Pennsyl-
vania, and of the American Medical Association. In
politics he was an old-time Abolitionist, and is now a
Republican. His religion is that of the Society of

Dr. James B. Grooms was born July 22, 1827, at
Carmichael's, Greene Co., Pa. He was educated at
Greene Academy, in Carmichael's; studied medicine
in the office of Dr. John Whitsett, at Washington,
Pa., attending the lectures in Cleveland Medical
College in the winter of 1852-53. He began the
practice of medicine in his native town in 1853, con-
tinuing there until the latter part of 1862, when he i
entered the army as a member of the Ringgold Bat- I
talion, which was afterward a part of the Twenty-
second Pennsylvania Cavalry. He served in the
army three years, part of the time as assistant sur-
geon, and located in Bridgeport in' 1866, where he
has since remained, engaged in the practice of his
profession. Dr. Grooms is the inventor of the first

repeating rifle that was ever successfully operated in
the United States, and for which he obtained a pat-
ent in 1855. The rifle was tested satisfactorily, in
the presence of officers of the army and navy, the
same year, in Washington City. Owing to unex-
pected business arrangements the invention was for
some time neglected, the manufacture of the rifle
being postponed until others, profiting by the doctor's
invention, brought the improvements they had made
thereon before the public and the government, after
which no further attention was given to the original
invention. In 1858 he also took out letters patent
for a rotary steam-engine. The principle involved
in this invention has since come into extensive use iu
the manufacture of steam fire-engines and steam-
pumps. The doctor, although the first to apply suc-
cessfully the valuable principles involved, has, like
many other inventors, failed to reap any pecuniary
benefit from his labors. He is a member of the
Fayette County Medical Society ; also of the Metho-
dist Episcopal Church.

William Stevens Duncan, M.D., son of Thomas
Duncan, and grandson of Dr. Benjamin Stevens, one
of the earliest medical practitioners of the county,
was born in Bridgeport, May 24, 1834, and educated at
Mount Union College, Stark Co., Ohio. He began
his medical studies in 1856, in the office of Dr. M. O.
Jones, then of Bridgeport; matriculated in the Uni-
versity of Pennsylvania, and received the degree of
M.D. from that institution in JIarch, 1858. The
same year he formed with his preceptor a partnership
in the practice of medicine, which was terminated iu
about two years and a half by the removal of Dr.
Jones to the city of Pittsburgh. He has been ac-
tively engaged in professional pursuits up to the
I present time, still occupying the same office in which
his first prescription was written. He served as a
volunteer surgeon at Gettysburg, and was captured by
the Confederates, but managed to escape. In 1869
he was instrumental in securing the reorganization of
the County Medical Society, which had not held a
meeting for twenty-five years, being elected its presi-
dent. In 1871 he went to San Francisco, Cal., to
attend a meeting of the American Medical Associa-
tion. Besides various articles on miscellaneous sub-
jects, published in newspapers and magazines, he is
the author of the following scientific papers, viz. :
" Malformations of the Genito-Urinary Organs,"
" Belladonna as an Antidote for Opium-Poisoning,"
"Medical Delusions," "Reports of Cases to State
Medical Society," 1870-72, " Iliac Aneurism Cured Ijy
Electrolysis," 1875, "The Physiology of Death," and
various reports published in the "Transactions of the
State Medical Society." He is a member of the Fay-
ette County Medical Society, the Medical Society of
the State of Pennsylvania, the American Medical
Association, the Rocky Mountain Medical Associa-
tion, and an honorary member of the California State
Medical Society.


James E. Nelan, M.D., was born in Luzerne town-
ship, Fayette Co., on the 10th of Septemher, 1851;
educated at Waynesburg College, Greene Co., Pa;
studied medicine under the tutorage of Dr. Duncan,
of Bridgeport, and received the degree of M.D. in the
Medical Department of the University of Pennsyl-
vania in the spring of 1877, the .subject of bis grad-
uating thesis being " Nervous Influence." In the
same year he began the practice of his profession in
Bridgeport. He is a member of the Fayette County
Medical Society and the Medical Society of the State
of Pennsylvania ; has served several years faithfully
as a director of tlie public schools, and is an active
Democratic politician.

Dr. Charles Hubbs was born in New .Tersey in 17G7,
pursued his medical studies under the direction of
Dr. Benjamin Rush, of Philadelphia, and practiced
his profession in Germantown, Pa., and Baltimore,
Md., until 181(3, when he removed to Mount Pleasant,
Westmoreland Co., Pa. ; came to Bridgeport in 1820,
remained one year, returned to Mount Pleasant, and
died there in 1847.

Dr. William G. Hubbs (of the so-called Physio-
Medical School), son of Dr. Charles Hubbs, was born
in Baltimore, Md., Feb. 21, 1811; studied medicine
under the direction of his father and brother. Dr. N.
G. Hulibs. He began the practice of medicine in
Cookstown (now Fayette City), Pa., in 1880, remain-
ing there until 1861, when he removed to Greenfield,
Pa., and from there in June, 1867, to Bridgeport,
where he continued to practice his profession until
within a few weeks of his death from typhoid fever,
April 6, 1881.

John Allen Hubbs, M.D., son of Dr. W. G. Hubbs,
was born in Fayette City, Pa., Feb. 13, 1840. He
studied medicine under his father and Dr. J. R.
Nickel; attended lectures in the Physio-Medical Col-
lege at Cincinnati, Ohio, in 18.5.5-.56, and the winter
of 1856-57; practiced in partnership with his fether
at Fayette City until he attended anotlier course of
lectures in the Physio-Medical Institute at Cincinnati,
Ohio, from which institution he received the degree
of M.D. in February. 1860, when only twenty years
of age. He practiced his profession in Fairview,
Greene Co., Pa., until 1867, when he came to Bridge-
port, where he has since been engaged in practice, also
in the drug business. He takes an active interest in
the affairs of the town, and has served several years
as a member of the Borough Council.

The earliest tavern stand in Bridgeport was the old
red house that stood on the corner of Water and
Bridge Streets. In that house Isaac Kimber opened
a tavern in the year 1814. After Kimber, its land-
lords were Robert Patterson and others. Another
early tavern was opened by John Nelan .about 1818,
at the place where now is the residence of Burnet
Mason. lyittle beyond these facts has been learned

in regard to these old taverns. Bridgeport has never
had many public-houses, the greater part of the
1 business of the vicinity in that line in the palmy days
of the National road and of Western emigration being
done on the other side of the creek in Brownsville.
1 The principal hotel of Bridgeport at the present time
j is the " Bar House," kept by Matthew Story on the
site where Kimber opened the first tavern of the place
in 1814.

\ On the 29th of November, 1842, the Council of
Bridgeport, in accordance " with the will of the people,
expressed at a town-meeting called for the purpose,"
subscribed one hundred dollars for the purchase of a
fire-engine for the use of the borough. Afterwards
the sum of two hundred and fifty dollars was sub-
■ scribed by citizens, when, as one hundred dollars
j more was necessary, that additional amount was sub-
scribed by the Council. An engine was then built for
the borough by Faull & Herbertson, and a company
was raised and organized to take charge of and work
I it. The subsequent history of Bridgeport with regard
I to the extinguishment of fires has been the same as
' that of Brownsville. Fire companies have been raised
from time to time, and have as often gone down and
disbanded, and at the present time Bridgeport, like
Brownsville, is without a fire department or any effec-
tive means of preventing serious disaster to the
borough from the ravages of fire.

This institution (located in Bridgeport notwith-
standing its name and style) was organized in 1872 as
a State bank, named the Deposit and Discount Bank
of Brownsville, with Dr. W. Cotton as president, and
O. K. Taylor, cashier. The bank commenced busi-
ness in the building at present occupied by it on the
1st of April in the year named. In 1873 it sustained

1 severe losses, from which it recovered only after sev-
eral years of successful business. In April, 1880, it
was reorganized under the national banking system,
with its present name and a capital of $50,000. It is
now in a prosperous condition and has the confidence
of the community. The present (1881) ofiicers of the
institution are: Directors, Dr. W. Cotton (president),
Joseph S. Elliott (vice-president), William H. Miller,
Samuel Thompson, Joseph Farquar, O. K. Taylor

' (cashier), E. H. Bar, Dr. S. S. Rogers, Jeremiah

I Baird.


I For some years after small schools had begun to be
taught at irregular intervals in Brownsville, Bridge-
port had none, and consequently during that period
such of the scholars of the last-named place as at-
tended school at all were compelled to cross Dunlap's
I Creek to do so. The first schools of Bridgeport were
! opened under the auspices of the Friends who lived
there, and the earliest teacher of whom any knowl-
edge can be gained at the present day was Joseph



Oxley, a Quaker, and a man of no little fame as a
mathematician, who taught in a building that stood
near the site of the grist-mill of Mason Rogers & Co.
Another very early teacher was Eli Haynes.

Joshua Gibbons, now living in Bridgeport, but re-
tired from active life, has been a resident of the
county for seventy years, of which fully sixty years
have been spent by him in educational employment,
teaching every year except when serving as county
superintendent of schools, which office he filled for
four terms of three years each, commencing as the first
superintendent of the county, under the school law of
1850. Two of his sons, James W. and Henry, are
also successful teachers. Another son, Rev. H. 0.
Gibbons, is pastor of a Presbyterian Church in Phila-
delphia, and a daughter married the Rev. Robert
Fulton, of Baltimore, Md. This digression is thought
to be excusable in making honorable mention of a
man who has labored as long and faithfully in the
cause of education as has the veteran teacher and
school officer, Joshua Gibbons, of Bridgeport.

Not only were the Quakers of Bridgeport the first
to open a school in the town, but the fact is also to be
recorded that the first building erected here especially
as a school-house was built by members of the So-
ciety of Friends, on their grounds on Prospect Street.
One of the teachers in this old stone house was Eli
Haynes, above mentioned.

The earliest reference to a school-house found in
the borough records of Bridgeport is under date of
Jan. 1, 1815, being a mention of the amount to be
paid " to Israel Gregg for the expense of purchasing
a lot and building a school-house on Second Street,
and to procure a Deed and have it executed on behalf
of the Corporation." The school-house here referred
to was on the 29th of May, 1823, rented by the Council
to John Stump for the term of three months, to be used
for teaching a "subscription school," and on the 8th
of September in the same year the borough school-
house (without doubt the same building referred to
above) was rented to Charles Van Hook for the term
of six months.

March 25, 1824, the school-room was rented to James
Reynolds for three months ; but on the 21st of April
following he declined using it, and resigned the privi-
lege which had been granted to him. Three days
later, Joel Oxley " requested the privilege of the use
of the School-House as a school-room for two years
from the first day of May next," and on this applica-
tion " the Burgess was directed to lease the same to
Joel Oxley for the above term, reserving the cus-
tomary privileges of the Council, and to the Metho-
dists as a Meeting-House."

Oct. 8, 1828, " Major King and James Reynolds
applied for the use of School-House," and the privi-
lege was granted to Reynolds.

Under the public school law of 1834, the courts of
the several counties in the State appointed school di-
rectors for each township district. At the January

term of Fayette County Court, in 1835, Caleb Bracken
and Joshua Wood were appointed as such ofiicers for
Bridgeport. On the 15th of June following the Bor-
ough Council took action, ordering a tax of twenty-
five cents on the $100, to be levied for the use of
common i^chools, in addition to the tax levied by the
county commissioners for that purpose. Aug. 13,
1835, the township of Bridgeport complied with the
requirements of the law, and so notified the county
treasurer. The amount of money received from the
State in that year for school purposes in Bridgeport
was $39.78 ; received from the county of Fayette,

On the 6th of May, 1837, the Council took into con-
sideration the question " of erecting a building on
the west end of the Market-House, to answer the
double purpose of a Town Hall and School-House for
the Borough," and a committee was appointed to act
with the school directors in the matter, the Council
agreeing to pay $200 towards the erection of the
building. The committee contracted (June 6, 1837)
with Joel Armstrong to build the hall and school-
house, and on the 23d of April, 1838, the Council
transferred the school-house and lot to the school di-

In this old building the schools of the borough were
taught until they were transferred to the present
Union school-house, which was built in 1852-53,
on a lot which was purchased for $400, located on
Prospect Street, and being part of the grounds occu-
pied by the old Friends' meeting-house. The cost
of the Union school-house was $2948.90, and of the
furniture and fixtures, $11.50.85 ; making, with the
cost of the lot, a total of $4499.75. From November,
1854, the old stone school-house was used for the
schooling of colored pupils until 1875, when it was
demolished aud a new brick school-house erected on
its site.

The schools of the borough are now under charge
of Thomas S. Wood, principal, who is assisted by
seven teachers. The whole number of scholars is two
hundred and seventy-six. Total receipts for the year
for school purposes, $2965.67 ; expenditures, $2631.77.
Valuation of school property, $10,000.

The present (1881) board of school directors is com-
posed as follows : W. S. Duncan, president; William
H. Miller, William Cock, Daniel Delaney, James
Reynolds, and Jesse H. Bulger.

Following is a list of persons whose names appear
on the records as having been elected to the office of
school director in Bridgeport since the commence-
ment of the operation of the school law of 1834, viz. :
1835, Caleb Bracken, Joshua Wood, " reported Aug.
13, 1835;" 1836, Tilson Fuller, Thomas Duncan;
1856, R. W. Jones, S. B. Page ; 1857, Benjamin Leon-
ard, John W. Porter, Dr. M. O. Jones, Thomas Dun-
can ; 1867, O. C. Cromlow, Thomas Duncan; 1870,
Edward L. Moorehouse, Daniel Delaney; 1S74, Wil-
liam H. Miller, C. W. Wanee ; 1875, Daniel Delaney,



O.K. Knight, G. W. Springer; 187(5, Jesse H. Bulger,
John S. Wilgus; 1877, William Patterson, William j
J. Porter; 1878, James Reynolds, William S. Dun- |
can; 1879, Daniel Delaney, James Blair, William 1
Cock; 1880, J. H. Bulger, W. H. Miller; 1881, James
Eeynolds, W. S. Duncan. |


In the early period, before 1820, the members of
the Society of Friends in Bridgeport outmimbered
those of all other denominations, and their meetings
for divine worship were held here many years before
any other churches were organized in the place, be-
ginning as early as about the year 1790. For a few-
years they met in private dwellings. On the 28th of
February, 1799, a lot of three acres of land was pur-
chased from Rees Cadwallader, and soon afterwards
a meeting-house was built upon it. It was a stone
building, low, but nearly or quite one hundred feet
in length. Smne years afterwards, when the Hicksites
seceded fmni the regular congregation, this old meet-
ing-house was partitioned across in thi< middle so as
to accommodate nieelings. This was continued
for some years, l.iii -i;elii:illy, by reason of removals
and the death of lueiiilH-rs, the congregation became
reduced in numbers, and finally religious worship
after the manner of the Quakers ceased to be held in

Besides the old stone meetjng-house built by the
Friends on the lot purchased from Rees Cadwal-
lader, they also built on it a stone school-house (the
first school-liousc in Bridgeport . and -el apart a por-
tion of the ground for a burial-phiee. Upon the lot
purchased by the Friends Ironi Cadwallader there
now stand the residences of William Miller, Eli Cock,
and Richard Swan, and the Union school-house of
the borough.


This church, although located in Bridgeport, re-
ceived and has retained its designation as " of Browns- |
ville" from tlie fact that it was an oftshoot from the j
church of Browjisville, its original members being
from the membership of that church. The date of

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 109 of 193)