Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 121 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 121 of 193)
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though at no time especially fortunate in their prose-
cution. Gregg's prevailing weakness was an ambition
to invent, and it is said he did invent a good many
useful and valuable things, but somehow others than
himself ultimately reaped the benefits of his inven-
tions. Among other things it is claimed that he was
the first to fashion a model upon which Ericsson con-
ceived the monitors used in the United States navy
during the war of 1861-65, and that he actually pat-
ented his invention. If so, however, he made no at-
tempt to enforce the claim thus obtained. It is said
also that he invented the hot-blast stove now in com-
mon use by iron furnaces, but this, like his monitor
invention, never accrued to his benefit.



In 1823. Col. William Miller built the present dam
and operated a grist-mill on the river. Shortly after
that date Thomas Foster put up a woolen factory near
Miller's mill, and employed as many as thirty people
ill tlie manufacture of cassinettes, jeans, :inil clolhs.
In 1835 the woolen-factory and i^rist-mill wre burned.
Just below Foster's woolen-mill, Col. Miller built a
paper-mill. He made writing-paper by the exceed-
ingly slow of moulding one sheet at a time.
He had sometimes as many as twenty-five persons in
his employ making paper. Fire destroyed the paper-
mill as also the grist-mill. The ruins of the former
may yet be seen. A steam grist-mill was built by
Joseph Strickler in 1840, but that is now abandoned.
There is now at the village a grist-mill driven by
water-power; Kaine iV- Long are the owners.

Ill 183(1, Thomas Foster rei>laccd his burned woolen-
factory with a much larger one, equipped it with
valuable machinery, gathered a. force of nearly one
hundred work-people, and started what was then con-
sidered an exceedingly important business enterprise.
He made blankets, woolen clciths, etc., and for a time
did a large and apparently successful business. The
success, however, was but temporary, and the end was
disaster for Foster. A Mr. Blucher, who succeeded
him, likewise failed, as did a Mr. Hill, who continued
the enterprise after Blucher's failure. During the i
war of 18(31-65, Orth Brothers controlled the prop- j
erty, and with a force of fully one hundred and fifty
hands they pushed their business brisl:ly night and
day in the manufacture of army cloths. They en-
larged the factory; and while their business lasted '
made of New Haven a liright and bustling village, j
Like their preJeccsscu's, however, they were doomed
to disaster. The close of the war found them with an
enormous stock of.maiuif'aclured cloths on hand, and
under the depression in prices they went down. The |
pro|)erty lay idle until April, 1871, when J. Y.Smith :
& Co. fitted it with machinery lor the manufiicture of
light locomotives, and called it the National Locomo-
tive-Works. For a time they were full of business
ami worked upwards of a hunilred men. They sold
to r.ailey & Dawson, and they to William H. Bailey.
The latter I'ailed to make the venture pay, and gave it
up in 1878. It was a most disastrous ending of his en-
terprise. For some time previous to his failure he
apjieared to be thriving to a most extraordinary de-
gree. Two hundred employes were constantly at
work night and day, and the prosperity visited upon
the business interests of the village by tliis activity
was such as seemed to gratify and iMn-omagi' every
one. Confidence was almost unliinilcil. WIumi the
crash came, and disclose. 1 a lailmc to thr amount of
about .■s-ioo.ooii, the vilhiLiv wn^ -tag-rivd, and for a '
little wliile well-nigh panily/rd, lor thousands of dol- ,
lars were due to einploycs, store-keepers, mechanics,
and others. In short, the village had leaned U|>on
Bailey, and when he tidl it brought a general ca-
lamitv. Since then the works have been idle. Thev '

are quite extensive, having a frontage of fifty feet, and
a depth of two hundred and forty. The property is
now owned by the National Bank of Commerce of

New Haven as it appeared sixty years ago is thus
described by Mr. Mcllvaine, its oldest inhabitant.
He says. Commencing at the north side of Bridge
and east of Front Street, all was an open common on
the river-bank except the lot north side and adjoining
Trader's Alley, which was inclosed by a high tight
fence, and was occupied by the residence of Adam
Wilson. Mr. Wilson was very fond of shrubbery,
fruit, and flowers, and paid great attention to the
cultivation of his garden. To the minds of the
young of that time a peep through the fence into his
inclosure was like getting a glimpse of the Garden of
Eden, but very few ever entered its gate. South of
the bridge and east of Front Street, on the river-
bank, came first tjie residence of Isaac Meason. ' The
frame part of this building was used as a store-room.
I will here relate a little circumstance showing the
kindness of the Meason family. A cart-load of ripe
peaches was hauled down from Mount Braddock and
emptied out on a spare floor, and the villagers invited
to come and take what they wanted, which they gladly
did. The next building south of this was a frame
building, being the residence of Jacob Weaver, who
was married to a sister of Daniel Rogers. The cor-
ner room north was used by Mr, Weaver for mer-
chandising. This house was subsequently torn down,
and the present building erected by G. J. Ashmun in
its place. Above this and near the bank of tlie river
was an air furnace, which was in operation when my
father came to town, and possibly a few years later.
The ruins of the rolling-mill and the shore part of
the grist-mill dam built by Thomas Gregg were a
short distance above and near the place wdiere the
present mill stands. The mill stood until about 1815- '
1(5. The large iron rollers, wheels, and frame of the
rolling-mill were there till removed by Col. Miller
when about to rebuild in 1823 or 1824. Mr. Gregg
was a man of considerable enterprise as well as of
mechanical ingenuity, being doubtless the original
conceiver of the idea of clothing war vessels with
iron ; a model of this kind was placed in the Patent
Oflice at an early day. He also had the idea of the hot
blast for furnaces, and experimented on its efficiency
in a small way. He had a stack erected west of town
to test its power, as a copper-plate engraving of
the ]ilan and course of draft. He was one of the par-
lics engaged in the Connellsville Bank enterprise.

On the east side of Front Street, above this, was a
rowof frame buihlings ; in the first were manufactured
by hand small headed tacks by the White family,
who also lived in this row ; also Samuel Sly, a saddler,
and Thomas Gregg. The last house was occu])ied by
Col. W. L. Miller, who was married to a daughter of
Col. Torrance, who lived about three miles west of



town. Col. Miller was a man of great business enter-
prise. He built the present dam about the year 1824,
also <a grist-mill, saw-mill, and a small e.stablishment
for carding and preparing wool for country looms.
These were all burned down in the year 1836. Mr.
Miller was also variously engaged in the iron busi-

He was elected from Fayette County as one of the
delegates to amend the Constitution in 1837-38. In
connection with this, the story is told that he went to
the negro voters and asked for their support, and
stating that it would be the last time he would solicit
their patronage ; being elected, he favored the amend-
ment that deprived them of a vote. This wa-; vouched by Enos Mitchel, who afterwards complained of
the joke. This same Mitchel was probably the last
slave who obtained his freedom in New Haven ; he
belonged to Isaac Meason, and was freed in 1824 on
attaining the twenty-eighth year of his age; he died
in 1866; he was the father of Baily Mitchel, the well-
known and enterprising knight of the razor.

Crossing to the west side of Front Street, and
nearly opposite to the present mill of Kaine & Long,
was the first dwelling-house on the southern limits of
the town, on the west side of Front Street ; this was
known as the Salter House. The next house north
was the residence of Andrew Dempy, a long one-story
structure; the upper end was used as a store-room,
and had a projecting window of a circular form. He
at several different periods engaged in general mer-
chandising ; at one time he occupied in this way the
south corner (the frame part) of Mr. Meason's build-
ing; his house was at the point where Second Street
runs into Front by a sharp angle, and facing Second
Street on its western side, near the late residence of
George Nickel. From that house there was no build-
ing on the west side until the corner of Ferry and
Second Streets. On this corner was a two-story log
house, by whom occupied at that time I do not know.
It was subsequently used as a blacksmith- and cooper-
shop, and was at last burnt down. Continuing north
and across Ferry Street, on Ferry near the eastern
corner of Second Street, west side, was a story and a
half house, lived in by Henry Beason, a wagon-maker,
and Matthew McCoy, a cooper, severally about this
time. Below this, on the eastern corner, west of Second
Street and Trader's Alley, on the south side, was the
residence of Stephen Fairchild, already spoken of;
across from this, on the eastern side of Second Street,
and corner of Trader's Alley, north, was a two-story
frame house, lived in severally by James Collins, the
father of Col. John Collins, a well-known and respec-
ted citizen of Uniontown. It was also lived in about
this time by Capt. David Cummings, a soldier of the
war of 1812, and who also represented Fayette County
in the Legislature at Harrisburg; and, strange as it
may appear at this period of time, and the popular
estimation of our common school law, he was defeated
at a second election on account of his advocacy of a

public school system. It was related of him that
up to the time of his death in 1846 he carried a
bullet in his shoulder received in the service of his
country. He was the father of a large family. His
son, Dr. James Cummings, was a successful prac-
titioner in Connellsville for years up to the time of
his death; his son David was one of the victims of
the Mexican massacre at the Alamo ; his two sons,
.Jonathan and John Andrew, served in the Texan
war of independence. John Andrew also served in
the war between the United States and Mexico. Gen.
Galoway, of Connellsville, married one of his daugh-

Below this house, on Second Street, there was but
one more house. It faced Second Street east, and was
occupied by John Wining, a boat-builder aijd miller,
and also, near this period, by Daniel Butler. The
trestle-work of the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad
now crosses where the house stood, which was re-
moved to give room for it. All below this, to the
river and Third Street, was an ojjen common. I
should have mentioned in the- |)ro|K_'r |ilaco that west
of Second Street, on Trader'-, Alley, iKulh >ide, there
was a frame house, livcil in liy ralrirk Fox, The
house is now owned by Blrs, Eva Johnston.

Returning to Front Street, on a line running east
with the last the home of my father, a
frame house. From this to Trader's Alley was open
ground, save a small building between Front and
Second Streets, on the north side of the alley, where
Oliver Sprowl taught school a few years later. On
the northwest corner of Front Street and Trader's
Alley, facing east, lived Henry Nash. On the ad-
joining lot south lived Dr. R. D. Moore, and the next
lot was the property of Caleb Squibb, the corner
building being used as a hotel by Andrew Byers.
Crossing Ferry Street, on the corner of Ferry and
Front Streets, was also a hotel and silversmith-shop.
The shop was occupied by Matthew Kilpatrick, and
the hotel by John Campbell. Above this was the
store-room of Phineas Rogers. Another small house
on the triangle completed the town. Below, and now
outside the borough limits, was a tannery, but not in
operation. The tannery was operated by John Fell,
a local Methodist preacher. His wife was the sister
of Isaac and George Meason. This open common
north of the town served in a large measure to pas-
ture the town cows, and was frequently made the
.place for the annual training of the organized military
companies of the county, as well as the militia of one-
half of the county. These annual trainings were great
gala days at that time, the country people for miles
all around attending, men, women, and children, who
were not slow to feast on the gingerbread and small
beer that was .amply supplied at the various stalls.

I will conclude by some observations on the general
business relations of the town. At this period the
building of ilat-boats, as they were called, was an im-
portant item in the business of the place. The men



most generally engaged in this enterprise were Col.
William L. Miller, Joseph Miller, his brother, John
Wining, who was married to Sallie Morrison, a step-
sister of the Miller-, Uriah Sprinn:er, Jr., and his
brother, Crawford, Christo|dier Taylor, and some other
casual assistants. The mode of ]ireiiariiio- the "gun-
nels" was rather primitive as well as lahoiicjus. After
the fallen tree was squared by hewing with a Ijmad-
axe, it was hauled to the bank of the river and placed,
near one end. over a ]iit clnrr some ei.Ldit or nine feet
deep, then with a \vliip-i:nv, one man standing; above
on the gunnel, and ai/otlier below in this pit, this
gunnel was sawed the entire len^nh in equal halves,
moving tlie he- as the sawing progressed. After
framing and jnitting on the bottom two long skids or
logs of Mjood extended from the bank to the water's
edge, and on these the boat was launched into the
river, where it was sided up. I should have previ-
ously stated that the boat was turned by means of
upright timbers, with holes and iron pins to secure
the raising advantage by moans of levers.

These boat- were used for freighting down the river
large |)ile^ ot' iii^'-nielal that was accumulated on the
bank during the low sta-e "f the river ; whisky. Hour,
and hoilow iron-ware w. le >..metiiiies sent off in this
way. Sometimes a keel-Kuut was pushed, by means of
))ike-poles, from Pittsburgh up, laden with merchan-

Among the early merchants may be mentioned
Phineas Eogers, Isaac ^leason, Andrew Denipsey,
Jacob Weaver, and Samuel G. Wnrts. At a period suc-
ceeding these we find Robert Wilkinson, Robert
Alexander, and John P. .It.m. Smeeeding the.-e were
Thomas Ro.^iers. ', ;e ,rge .1. Aslniimi, Tle.n. i- Foster.
Anthony 11.11 .^ Co., I',luclier .y Co., It. M-iiuesten,
Overboil ,v ( 'o.. Me( 'alkim & Co., 0. A. &, T. R. Tor-
rance. ( '. Siiiiu/, C. A. Torrance, Mrs. Whitely. These
all dealt niiire or less in general merehandisi'. ^lore
especially in grains we have had John Wri- ev. \o:di
Walker, John Somers, Silas White, and S. C.' Si, nil/,.
In the drug line no eft'ort of much consequence was
made until 1833, when I entered the business, and
continued for nearly twenty-five years; at one time I
associated groceries with the drugs. I sold out to
Daniel Chisholm, who was succeeded by G. H. Ma-
thiott, the present proprietor at the post-office corner.

The |iaper-niill, built about the year 1S29, at one
time did a considerable l.usiiu— in the old slow pro-
cess of moulding a single sheet of paper by hand at a'
time. The building was subsequently Used as a I'ar-
penter-sliop, and was in use as a cooi>er - hop at tl.e
time it was burnt down, in 1874. The presisit grist-
mill was built in 1848, the steani-niill on Second
Street about ten years previously, and which was
abandoned on completing the river mill. The mill,
woolen-factory, etc., built by Col. Miller was burnt
down in May, 1836. The wooleii-inill, subsequently
converted into the locomotive-works, was built by
Thomas Foster in 1836.

In 181.5, Dr. Robert Wright was living in the town,
but it does not ai)pear that he engaged in regular
practice, and he was found mentioned as a school-
master before 1820. He was married to Elizabeth
Byers, a daughter of Andrew Byers, one of the early
' landlords. Dr. Wright was here as late as 1833,
when he left. Contemporaneous with him from 1815
to about 1828 was Stephen Fairchild, who claimed to
j be an Indian doctor. He made the cure of cancers a
' specialty. He was sometimes absent for several days,
I being called away for the treatiuent of cancer. He
I carried on the business of shoemaking at the same
j time. He lived in the now remodeled and oc-
j cu]iicd by Hugh Cameron on Second Street.
! About 1818, Dr. Robert D. Moore lived on Front
Street, across from the machine-shop. He remained
\ probably not more than one year, when he moved to
j Connellsville, on Water Street, and lived in a house
on the lot now occupied by the Byerly family. He
was considered a good physician, and was social in
1 his habits. His wife belonged to the Gibson family.
j She was an enthusiastic Methodist in religion, and
sometimes gave vent to her feelings in shouts of Di-
j vine praise. Dr. Moore died in 1829.

The next resident physician in New Haven was Dr.
Joseph Rogers, in the year 1825. He was the son of
I James Rogers, a brother of Daniel Rogers, well known
j to many. He continued here for about three years,
when he married Betsey Johnson, a daughter of
; Alexander Johnson, of Connellsville, and engaged in
the iron business for some time. He finally settled
on a farm in Springfield township, -where he engaged
in other enterprises and practiced at his profession
until near his death. He was very and mild in
his address, and much esteemed as a physician. His
I office in New Haven was a small building at the
' north end of the larger buildings on what was known
a- the !;ii - oll property, now owned by D. Kaine, Esq.
lir. .loM-ph Trevor started in practice in 1829. He
I'llon-i d to an English family who were old residents
of C.Miiii lls\ ille. He lived in the stone part of what
i- now the < ules House. About this time he also en-
gaged in the manufacture of woolen goods in part-
nership with Thoinas Foster. He married a Miss
Breading, of Brownsville. As a practitioner he was
respectable in his profession. He moved to Pitts-
burgh, where he resided for some years, and then
migrated to New York City.

In 18.35, Dr. Rufus Davenport came to New Haven
and commenced practice. He continued here some
two years, bought the lot of ground now lived on by
Baily Mitchel, dug a cellar on Front Street, walled it
up, and then suspended further work. He was con-
I sidered a good and reliable jdiysician. Dr. Joshua
Gibson Rogers commenced practice about 1839. He
wa.s the son of Joseph Eogers, a brother of Daniel and

iByK. .i.M.Ilvuiiie.



James, already referred to. He continued here at
intervals up to 1864. He was considered a well-
read, intelligent, and successful physician. He went
from here to Dunbar, and lived in the family of Jo-
seph Paull, who was married to his sister. A few
years after this he went to Florida to engage in the
raising of oranges, where he soon died. He was social
in his habits and lived a bachelor.

In 1847, Dr. Henry Goucher located here. He lived
in a frame building on Ferry Street. He had a small
room, in which he sold a few articles in the drug line.
He did not stay more than one or two years. After
him, in 1850, Dr. William Stephenson commenced
practice. He was a brother of the Rev. Ross Stephen-
son, who for several years supplied the Presbyterian
pulpit of Connellsville. The doctor while here was
married to Miss Rachel Wilson, the daughter of .John
Wilson, long known here as one among the oldest
and most upright citizens of New Haven. The doctor
was a native of Ireland. Dr. Stephenson went from
here to West Virginia, where he died.

In 1855, Dr. James K. Rogers came to New Haven,
and soon after became associated with J. G. Rogers
in the practice of medicine. In 1856 he practiced
alone. In 1861 he obtained a government appoint-
ment in the medical department of the army, and
served in diiferent places South and West, cliieHy as
inspector of hospitals. At the close of the Rebellion
he returned to New Haven. He was the son of Dr.
Joseph Rogers, who practiced in 1825. As a pliysician
lie was considered skillful and intelligent. He was a
bachelor, and died in 1870.

In 1861, Dr. Benjamin F. Connell commenced prac-
tice, and was here for several years at intervals. He
belonged to the school of hom(T?opatliy. This was

the first break in the lineof alloi.atliic physicians that
preceded him. His system did uot attiiin tin' pujHi-
larity here that attended it in other plarcs. In Isc-J
John R. Nickel commenced jjractice. He also made
a new departure from the old line. He was of the
school that professedly reject all mineral remedies in
practice, claiming that the vegetable kingdom con-
tains all proper remedies. He was the son of George
Nickel, an old resident of the place. With some he
was very popular here, and acquired considerable prac-
tice. He removed to Connellsville, where he died.

In 1867, Dr. Ellis Phillips came to New Haven and
entered into a partnership with Dr. J. K. Rogers,
' which ended in 1869. He subsequently lived and
practiced in New Haven and Connellsville till Jan-
uary, 1874, when he moved into his new residence,
where he has lived ever since. He married Ada,
daughter of R. A. Mcllvaine, in 1872, and made a tour
through Europe, spending several weeks in the medi-
cal hospitals of Ireland and England. His practice
is large, extended, and remunerative. He is of Quaker
parentage, and was born in Fayette County.

Dr. R. T. Graham came to New Haven in 1873. He
is an English Canadian anl a successful practitioner;

he spent over a year in the town, and then removed
to Connellsville, where he now lives. The last on the
list of New Haven phj'sicians is Daniel Rogers Tor-
rance, the son of George A. Torrance. He has been
in practice since 1879. He is a young man of promise
in his profession.

The following sketches of New Haven's justices
of the peace from the year 1815 is contributed by
R. A. Mcllvaine, Esq. : So far as I can learn,
Adam Wilson, the same ingenious Scotchman who
cut stone, planned bridges, and made furniture (a
piece of which, in the form of a round stand-table,
made in L^21, i- still in the possession of my family),
found time in the nllirial capacity of '"squire" to sit
in judgment in the civil, as well as in the more
violent, cases of litigation that were settled before
him. While yet but a small boy, I, with others, had
a wholcoome fear and awe of his autliority. After
his death, in 1825, William S. Cannon and Andrew
Dempsey were the next law ili^niilarics. The former
subsequently engaged in nierchamlising in Connells-
ville ; the latter, both previously and subsequently,
was engaged in the same way. Neither was in office
later than 1830. After them the line was continued
in John Bolton, a millwright, and Robert Norris, a
cooper. Mr. Bolton was engaged in the erection of
the steam-mill on Third Street. Their period of office
ended about 1840. The next to fill the office was
Adam Byerly, of no particular avocation, afterwards
"bridge-keeper," or collector of tolls. After him for
a short time was George Meason, " gent.," brother of
Isaac Meason. Of him it may be said that he de-
serves more than a passing notice. He held a lieu-
tenant's commission in the regular army of 1812. A
difficulty arose with a fellow-officer, and in settling
the affair an appeal was made to the code of honor.
Lieut. Meason was seriously wounded by the shot of
liis antagonist and permanently lamed. He was a
gentleman remarkably courteous in his intercourse
with others, though sometimes overcome by the too
frequent weakness of convivial enjoyment. Yet he
never forgot the obligations of a gentleman, or the
natural urbanity of his manners. I remember being
called up at a late hour of the night to get some drugs
for a gentleman. The moon was shining brightly.
On our way to the store we saw Mr. Meason standing
by a fence. He bade us good-evening very pleas-
antly, and remarked, " I thought the old bachelors
had all the trouble, but I see that married men have
theirs too." I heard him relate an anecdote illustrat-
ing the code of army morals at the time of his military

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 121 of 193)