Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 117 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 117 of 193)
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said, for wliisky once flowed like water there. No
less than three taverns thrived in the village simulta-
neously, and turmoils were so frequent that, for lack
of a more expressive designation, peacefully inclined
citizens gave to East Liberty the name of Flint Mill.
Matters got to such a bad state that the better-disposed



members of the community arose in their might and
dcchired tlie traffic in strong drink must ce;uie. So
when Kobert Huey opened a tavern, a company of
men demolished his doors and windows and warned
liim to leave. Without waiting for further notice he
did leave, and with his departure ended whisky-selling
in the village.

Evidence of East Liberty enterprise was seen in
the erection in the summer of 1881 of a concert hall,
mainly for the use of the East Liberty Band. The
corner-stone is a relic of the past. It was the corner-
stone of a building erected in East Liberty in 1795,
and bears this inscription: "a.d. 1795, rebuilt a.d.


Dunbar village, a station on the Southwestern
Pennsylvania as well as on the Fayette County Rail-
road, lies about six miles south of New Haven. The
village proper contains a population of about one
thousand, while an outlying district, reaching to the
Dunbar Furnace and neighboring coke-burning dis-
tricts, contains more than the same number. The
chief interests are those of iron-making, coal-mining,
and coke-burning, in which industries nearly a thou-
sand persons are employed. Railway traffic at this
point is especially active. About fifty trains pass the
station daily. Of these twenty-one are passenger-trains,
and the residue freight and coke trains. Dunbar
Creek, a rapid mill-stream, passes through the village,
and drives a grist-mill and woolen-mill, which with
a planing-mill are the only manufacturing industries
at the village aside from iron and coke manufacture.
To about the latter part of 1859 there was no settle-
ment worthy of notice at the place now called Dunbar
village, though there had been a settlement at the
Furnace for seventy years. In 1850 the only house on
the village site was the residence of Alexander Martin,
a carpenter, now carrying on a planing-mill at the
village. Mr. Martin's house of 1850 is now the resi-
dence of Mrs. Cameron. Mr. Martin sold his house
to Hugh Cameron in 1853, at which time Cameron
opened a shoemaking shop in it. John Speers had
been carrying on since 1841 the stone grist-mill now
•the property of his son William, and built by Jacob
Lowry and John Strickler in 1815. Farther up the
stream James Hankins operated the woolen-mill now
owned by Daniel Harper. Where John Bunker now
lives he and his father had a wagon-shop. There
was a store at the Furnace, but at the village there
was none until after the completion through Dunbar
of the Fayette County Railroad, in the winter of
1859-60. The first village store was built by John
Hardy, and stood opposite where the Southwestern
passenger depot stands. The building is still there.

Although the opening of the railway was thought
likely to create a new town there in a short time,
the anticipation was slow of fulfillment. To 1866
Dunbar was but a flag-station, with a shanty depot

at Speers' saw-mill. A post-office was established in
1860, and the postmastership given to Daniel Hardy.
Previous to that there was a post-office in Woodvale
School District, called Woodvale Post-Office. Of
that office William Walker was postmaster. In 1865
Daniel Harper resigned the Dunbar postmastership,
which was then given to Sophia Devan, the present
incumbent. In 1866, when the Dunbar Iron Com-
pany took hold of the furnace, there was a consider-
able brightening at the village, and matters looked
up with a promise of vigorous growth. At that time
two stores were kept there, — one by Mrs. Mary A.
Bird, and one by Slocum & Walters. In 1868 John
Speers opened a store at his grist-mill. The first
general store, and the first one with claims to impor-
tance, was that of Watt, Reid & Co (opened in 1871),
now owned by .1. M. Reid.

The first public-house at the village was built by
John II:irdy, and o|iened by James Patterson in 1868.
The hdii^i' is now closed. Patrick McFarlane, its last
landlor.l, vacated it in February, 1881. The first
drug-store was opened near the mill by George W.
Speers, and the first undertaker's shop by J. R. Beers.
As already observed, the first carpenter was Alexan-
der Martin, and the first wagon-maker Jesse Bunker.
The village progressed steadily in strength, and when
the coke-making interests developed the village grew
rapidly. The first survey of village lots was made in
1867, by John Speers, and the second in 1870, by
David Turner, both surveys being made upon Thomas
W. Watt's property, now the village site. In 1876
the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad was completed,
and by that time Dunbar had taken on a healthy
growth, which since that period has continued to
keep pace with the profitable progress of adjacent
coal, coke, and iron interests.

LTp to 1871 there was no resident physician at Dun-
bar, although from about 1842, Dr. J. G. Rogers, liv-
ing at Joseph Paull's, near the village, practiced here,
and was to all intents a village physician. Dr. Rogers
practiced in that neighborhood nearly all the time
from 1842 to 1876, when he removed to Florida and
there died. The physician who first made his home
in Dunbar was Dr. J. T. Shepler, who came in No-
vember, 1871, remained until 1873, was absent until
1876, and then returning has been in practice at the
village to the present time in association with Dr. R.
W. Clark, who came to Dunbar in August, 1873. In
the spring of that year Dr. W. J. Hamilton opened
an office, and still remains one of the village physi-
cians. Dr. Thomas P. Walker has been one of Dun-
bar's physicians since 1879, and Dr. A. C. Conley since
Jan. 1, 1880.

The Fayette County Railroad station, alluded to as
having been first located at Speers' mill, was changed
to its present location in 1865. William H. Speers was
the first agent, and served until 1865, when Thomas
W. Watt was appointed. His successor was Martin
B. Pope, and then followed John Herron. Cyrus S.

51 t


Yard, who succeeded Mr. Herron, is still the agent of
the Southwest Railroad. W. N. Rodkev has been the
Dunbar agent since 1<S76.

AV'hen there began to be signs of a village in ISoS,
Albert Cheney and John Speers told old Jesse Bunker
that the new town should be called Dunbar City,
but to this Mr. Bunker made objection, saying that if
there was to be a new village it must be called Frog-
town, after the little settlement that once clustered
about Bunker's house. Cheney and Speers insisted,
however, for Dunbar City, and despite the old man's
warm feeling upon the subject and his disgust at the
eventual change in name, Dunbar City was recog-
nized as the designation of the village for about two
years, when the " City" was dropped as rather far-
fetched. The jilace called Frogtown w^as originally
known as Unionville as early as the year 1810. At [
that time there was a store there (kept by John Mc-
Clelland), and beyond it a tavern, opened by William
Hoople in 180.5, and of which the landlord in 1810 was
Isaac Bryson. Near by were Jacob Lowry's mill, Isaac
Bryson's still-house, and Phineas Porter's tan-yard.
Both store and tavern were abandoned by 1813. The
log cabin now occupied by Mr. Wilson as a residence
was tlirn Porter's tannery. In 1818, Jesse Bunker,
who in l>;n,s was apprenticed to Joseph Bell, a wagon-
mnkerat East Lil.erty, and in 1813 worked as wagon-
maker for Col. l.-aac Meason at Union Furnace, opened
a whcelwriglit-shop at Unionville, where he had
bought of Isaac Meason a small patch of land. His
house, which stood ne.^t to McClelland's store, is now
the residence of his son, John Bunker, who owns also
the building used by McClelland as a store-bouse.
Unionville lay on the road from Union Furnace to
the Plunisock rolling-mill, and was at one time
thought to promise something of consequence in the
matter of growth. Frogtown was a name bestowed
upon it in derision by some person, and as it hap-
pened that people generally about there thought
Frogtown was more appropriate than Unionville the
former prevailed. Frogtown did not, however, lul-
fill the destiny predictetl for it by its enthusiastic
citizens, but faded out within a few years of its birth.
Jesse Bunker stuck to it despite its ill fortune, and
stuck to his wagon-shop until his death in 1872, at the
age of eighty-four years.

In 1871 there was a strong promise of a railway
line across Dunbar, to touch a point just above East
Liberty, and Alexander J. Hill concluded that as
the proposed line would cross his farm he would lay
out a town there. He therefore surveyed a field into
village lots, named the site Alexandria, and readil}'
sold the lots, for the prospect of a railroad seemed
wellnigh certain. Although the railway project mis-
c irried at that time, much to the grievous disappoint-
ment of all concerned with the progress of Alexan-
dria, the outlook at this present time is exceedingly

favorable for a speedy fulfillment of the long-deferred
scheme. The first two houses built in Alexandria
were put up by William Clark and a Mrs. Hazen.
A store was soon erected by William Parkhill, and
thenceforward improvements progressed steadily if
not rapidly. The store, having passed through the
hands of several proprietors, is now kept by Ewing
Oglevee, who is also the postmaster. In 1874, Alex-
andria succeeded in obtaining the East Liberty post-
office, which it still retains.

Dr. J. D. Haslett became the village physician at
Alexandria in 1874, and still remains. The only
other physician known to local history was Dr. O. D.
Porter, who after a few months' trial abandoned the
field. The village contains two church buildings,
Presbyterian and Disciple, a school, a score or more
of dwellings, and various minor industries.


This, one of the oldest Presbyterian Churches in Fay-
ette County, wa- organized by Rev. James Power, prob-
ably ill 1771'. although the loss of the early records of
the chui-eh I'reveiUs a positive declaration of the pre-
cise date. It is known that Jlr. Power was licensed to
preach in the spring of 1773, and in that year preached
for the congregations of Laurel Hill and Dunlap's
Creek. Mr. Power, whose home had been in Chester
County, remained a while in the missionary field, and
then concluding to make his permanent home in tlie
Dunlap's Creek valley, returned to Chester County, and
brought out his family in 1776. Directly upon his
return he is supposed to have organized Laurel Hill
Church. Unfortunately, the names of the organizing
member's have not been preserved. Mr. Power en-
joyed the distinction of being the first ordained min-
ister who .settled with his family in Western Pennsyl-
vania. It may also be observed that his daughter
Rebecca, who was first the wife of Rev. D. Smith and
afterwards of Rev. T. Hunt, was the first child born
in the family of a Presbyterian minister west of the
Allegheny Mountains. She was born December
12, 1776, within the bounds of the Dunlap's Creek
congregation. From the time of his arrival, in the
fall of 1776, until 1779, Mr. Power devoted his time
to the work of supplying destitute churches generally,
although he lived at Dunlap's Creek, and regarded
that as the principal point of his labors. In the
spring of 1779 he became the regular pastor of the
Mount Pleasant and Sewickly congregations. To that
time his labors were given aijiong the congregations
of Mount Pleasant, Sewickly, Dunlap's Creek, Laurel
Hill, Tyrone, and Unity. Early in 1782 the Laurel
Hill Church engaged Rev. James Dunlap as its first
pastor, and Oct. 15, 1782, he was in.stalled in charge
of the churches at Laurel Hill and Dunlap's Creek.
He dissolved his relation with Dunlai)'s Creek in
1789, but remained with Laurel Hill until 1803, when
he joined the Presbytery of Ohio, and in that year



was chosen president of Jefferson College, at Canons-
burg. At the time of Mr. Dunlap's settlement at
Laurel Hill the ruling elders were John Travis and
Samuel Finley. The first persons ordained ruling
elders after his settlement were James McCIean,
Samuel McClean, Daniel McClean, John Allen,
James Wilkie, and John Maxwell. The next or-
dained elders during the same pastorate were James
Parker and James Morrison.

During Mr. Dunlap's pastorate there arose a divis-
ion in the congregation because of the introduction
into the church of the gospel psalmody. As a con-
sequence about one-third of the members withdrew
and organized the Laurel Hill United Presbyterian
(or Seceders) Church. April 18, 1804, Rev. James
Guthrie was called to be the pastor of Laurel Hill,
and April 17, 1805, was installed. The ruling elders
at that time were Samuel Finley, Samuel McClean,
James Halliday, James McCormick, and Joseph
Morison. The first ruling elders ordained after Mr.
Guthrie's coming were Joseph Torrence, James Allen,
and Enoch French. The second addition of elders
included Patrick Watson, Andrew Wiley, and John
Clark. In 1826, D. A. C. Sherrard and John Larimer
were chosen elders, and in 1833 Thomas Greer, John
Morison, S. A. Kussel, A. E. Byers, Robert Davis, and
Mathew Byers. Mr. Sherrard served as ruling elder
from 1826 to his death in 1880, a period of fitty-four
years. Mr. Guthrie labored with the church uninter-
ruptedly for the space of fovty-five years or until his
death, which took place Aug. 24, 1850. A marble shaft
in Laurel Hill Cemetery marks his last resting-place,
and testifies to the love in which his people held him.
About six months before his death Jlr. Guthrie sug-
gested that as the infirmities of age were telling sorely
upon him, it would be well to secure some minister to
be co-pastor with him. Tn accordance with that sug-
gestion Rev. Joel Stoneroad was called and installed
June 6, 1850. Within less than three months there-
after, Mr. Guthrie's death left Laurel Hill to the
charge of Mr. Stoneroad. The latter preached at
Laurel and Tyrone until 1861, when he gave his entire
time to Laurel Hill. In 1851 the membership of the
latter was one hundred and thirty-six, and soon rose
to one hundred and fifty. The first elders chosen
under Mr. Stoneroad's pastorate (in 1851) were James
Stewart, John Clark, W. H. Haslett, and James Allen.
The next additions (in 1866) were William Bryson,
R. H. Smith, James Curry, James Henshaw, Thomas
G. Sherrard, and Samuel Watson. The last two de-
clined to serve. After a pastorate of twenty-eight
years, Mr. Stoneroad was compelled in 1878 to resign
his charge by reason of ill health and bodily infir-
mities. He lives now in quiet seclusion not far from
the church. After depending upon supplies about a
year the church called Rev. R. R. Gailer, now in
charge, to be the pastor, and Sept. 12, 1879, he was
installed. In March, 1881, the membership of Laurel
Hill was one hundred and sixty. Besides the house

of worship at Laurel Hill, there is also Bethel Chapel
in North Union township, built in 1877. The elders
in March, 1881, were James Curry, John Wright, E.
H. Smith, Hervey Smith, George Yeagley, and William
Bryson. The trustees were Thomas Phillips, Ashbel
Junk, and Caleb Woodward. The Sunday-school,
which is in charge of the pastor, has an average attend-
ance of eighty teachers and pupils.

The following account of the church edifices of old
Laurel Hill Church is given by Robert A. Sherrard,
whose father was one of the earliest settlers in Dun-
bar, and a prominent member of this congregation:

''The first meeting-house built for the use of old
Laurel Hill congregation was put up in the fall of
the year 1778. It was of hewed logs and shingled
roof. I had the inforinatinn iioui William Carson,
whose brother, Alexandrr ( 'msoii, hewed the logs, and
after the house was raised lie shiiiL'led it. This meet-
ing-house did not stand many years, as it was a mile
from the centre of the congregation, and as the great
majority of the congregation [were] farther north and
west by three or four miles. In the course of a few
years (1782) a new site was selected, a vote taken, and
by a very large majority of the congregation it was
agreed to build upon the new site. Accordingly a
new house of hewed logs was built, and occupied as
a meeting-house for said Laurel Hill congregation
until the year 1850, at which time they erected au
elegant, large, and spacious brick meeting-house."

William Carson also related the following incident
to Mr. Sherrard :

" It was a dense forest of beautiful white-oak timber
for the distance of a mile from home to the site of the
meeting-house, and as a guide his brother blazed trees
all the way from home to the site ; this was done to
mark a pathway for his own and afterwards for the
use of the family to travel along on Sabbath days
when the public service was held at the meeting-

Mr. Sherrard says, " A graveyard had been formed
for some three or four years before the first meeting-
house was built. And there old Col. PauU's father,
George Paull, was buried in the fall of 1778. And
there my grandfather was buried in 1780. And there
his daughter, my mother, was buried in 1833."

As already mentioned, the first churchyard was
laid out in 1772, at the old church, upon the present
Joseph Work farm. When the church location was
changed to where it now is a burial-place was set apart
there. Among the oldest headstone inscriptions to
be found there are the following: Given Scott, 1793;
Andre Scott, 1790 ; John Gilchrist, 1795 ; Mary Allen,
1795; Daniel McClean, 1797; James Junk, 1799;
Jane Scott, 1797; Mary Work, 1800; Joseph Work,
1800 ; Johannah Beatty, 1801 ; Thomas Preston, 1801 ;
John Allen, 1802 ; Elizabeth Gilchrist, 1804 ; Agnes
Work, 1810 ; Martha Guthrie, 1807 ; Jaities Paull, Sr.,
1811 (aged eighty-one) ; John A. Scott, 1790 ; Thomas
Scott, 1811 ; Sarah Luckey, 1811 ; Agnes McDowell,



1801; Wm. Rogers, 1813; Elizabeth Peairs, 1814;
Elisha Peairs, 181G; Jane Rogers, 1815; Susannah
Hamilton, 1815 ; George Stewart, 1819 ; Mary Luckey,
1821 ; Thomas Junk, 1821 ; Margaret Gilchrist, 1823
(aged ninety-three) ; Joseph Luckey, 1823.


The first member of the Cumberland Presbyterian
denomination residing in Dunbar township was
Henry Leighty, who came from Harmony, West-
moreland Co., and settled at East Liberty. Not only
was he the first, but he was also the only member of
that denomination in the vicinity of his place of set-
tlement for some years; but notwithstanding this fact,
it was at his invitation and solicitation that, in the
year 1832, the Rev. Isaac Hague, a Cumberland Pres-
byterian preacher, came to this neighborhood and be-
gan holding religious services. His preaching was so
effective that in a short time he had gathered a con-
gregation of earnest members. When compelled to
transfer his labors to some other portion of the coun-
try he arranged to have the Rev. A. M. Blackford as-
signed to the care of the East Liberty congregation.
The result of Jlr. Blackford's ministrations led to his
organization of the East Liberty Cumberland Pres-
byterian Church, July 2, 1838. The organizing mem-
bers were Henry Leighty, Catharine Ash, Susanna
D.mgan, Amy Work, Susan Leighty, Jane Cooley,
Nancy Leighty, Eliza Leighty, Mary Little, Char-
lotte Leighty. Henry Leighty chosen ruling
elder in the spring of 1839, Rev. Mr. Blackford
retired from the charge and Elder Leighty removed
from the bounds of the congregation. At this junc-
ture several of the members concluded to make their
homes in other parts, and thus a material check was

set upon tl hmi-h's progress. During the summer

of l>;:;'.i anil 1 >i |o, Ki'v. A. Shearer supplied occasional
preacliiii;;, and :i- the few remaining members of the
church i\irii<(d thiiii-clvi's with most earnest dili-
gence t" sustain the oriranization, it remained intact,
althouLrli it recpiircil a sharp struggle to keep it so.
From April, 1841, to April, 1842, there was scarcely
any preaching, but in the spring of 1842, Elder
Leighty returning, he reawakened the slumbering
interest, and in response to his request to the Union
Presbytery for the services at East Liberty of some
minister, Jesse Adams, a licentiate, was a.ssigned to
preach there a portion of his time. His labors were
attended with gratiiying success, and during the year
brought fourteen members into the church. These
were Joseph Evans, Joseph Martin, Mary Martin,
David Leighty, John Ash, Ann Oglevee, George
Boyer, Catluirine Bover, Francis Lei-litv, Ann Se-
crist, Mary Work, Francis Yarns, ('oinn'l Slii.kler,
and Elizabeth Strickler. During lM-> a,. of
worship was erected, and there was a substantial
promise of much permanent prosperity. June 17,
1843, Jesse Oglevee was ordained ruling elder by
Kev. S. E. Hudson. Dec. 20, 1847, John Leighty,

Abraham Galley, and Joseph Harper were chosen
trustees. The succession of ministers, beginning
with Rev. Jesse Adams' time, is given as follows:
Jesse Adams, April, 1842, to October, 1842; A. B.
Brice, October, 1842, to April, 1843; William Camp-
bell, April, 1843, to April, 1846 ; A. G. Osborn, April,
184(5, to April, 1848 ; Messrs. Osborn and Swain,
April, 1848, to April, 1849: A. G. Osborn, April,
1849, to April, 1856; J. S. Gibson, April, 1856, to

April, 1858; J. P. Beard, 1858 to fall of 1859;

Anderson, from that time to 1861 ; J. N. Edmeston,
1861 to 1864; A. J. Swain, 1864 to 1871 ; H. S. Dan-
ley, 1871 to 1874 ; E. P. Pharr, 1874 to 1877. The
pastor now in charge is Rev. K. C. Hayes.

To June I, 1860, the number of persons received
into membership aggregated three hundred and ten.
To 1881 the members received numbered six hundred
and twenty-seven.

The membership in March, 1881, was about three
hundred. The greater portion thereof worship at the
East Liberty (or Alexandria) Church, and the residue
at Summit Chapel, south of East Liberty, a meeting-
house provided for the convenience of such members
of the congregation as live in that vicinity. Rev. K.
C. Hayes, called in 1879 to be the pastor, preaches at
both places. In 1867 the present substantial brick
edifice replaced the building (likewise brick) setup
in 1845. Known as the East Liberty Church, it is
actually located at Alexandria. The elders in March,
1881, were Joseph Cropp, David Snyder, E. B. Porter,
Farrington Oglevee, Joseph Oglevee. The trustees
were J. L. Momyer, L. L. Collins, Watson Dunn, M.
L. Stoner, Philip Oglevee.


There is at Alexandria a chapel, in which mem-
bers of the Bethel Disciples' Churcli of Tyrone meet
for worship once a fortnight. The chapel was built
in 1875, and is commodious and but tasteful in
design. The attendance averages fully fifty persons.


About the year 1835 a Methodist Protestant Church
was organized in Woodvale School District, and a
stone church building erected upon land donated by
Joseph Paull. At the same time Mr. Paull made a
donation of land for a burying-ground. About 1866
the Woodvale Church was abandoned, and in 1871
was demolished. F>om 1866 to 1875 the congrega-
tion worshiped in the village school-house at Dun-
bar. In 1875 the present house of worship was
erected. The present enrollment of members is one
hundred and fifty, hut the membership includes
about a hundred. The pastor is Rev. John Hodgin-
son, the preacher on the Dunbar charge, which in-
cludes three appointments. Services are held at
Dunbar once in two weeks. The cla-ss-leader at Dun-
bar is Daniel Cameron. The Sunday-school super-
intendent is Lewis McDowell.




Pievious to 1873 the Catholics residing at Dunbar
village attended church at Connellsville. In that
year Rev. P. Brady, of Myersdale, in Somerset County,
visited Dunbar, and held services in Maurice Healy's
house, on which occasion the congregation numbered
about a hundred persons. In 1873 and 1874 he
preached at Mr. Healy's house once a month. In
1875 a fine house of worship was completed at Dun-
bar and dedicated that year. It was built of brick,
and cost eleven thousand dollars. In 1875 Mr. Brady
became the resident priest at Dunbar, and still con-

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 117 of 193)