Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 124 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 124 of 193)
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pletely wrecked that no one else could be induced to
attenijit to revive it or even con-ider it, and not only
rc|iairing it but making it better than ever bel'ore.
]le ]jut into it a new engine, ne\v boilers, new
nuiehinery, and a new first-chiss miller, and it was
not long before custom poured in so fast that he bad
to enlarge the mill, which lie did by an addition ,
thereto as large as the old mill itself, and he is now
doing there an extensive business, grinding more
wlieat in a single month tlian had been ground for
many years belbre.

Oct. 25, 1850, Mr. Oglevee married Eebecca Stoner,
of Dunbar township. They have had seven children^ I
— Leroy Woods, born Oct. 9, 1851, died Feb. 16, 1874 ; j
Kiiieline, born Sept. 18, 1853; Anna E., born Feb. 5,
is.'ii;; Jesse A., born Feb. 25, 18G0 ; Wm. G., born
Xov. 19, ISlio; Christophers., born March 24, 1868;
Stark D., born Dec. 15, 1873, died March 30, 1875.


A short biography of Maurice Healy, the bold and

sliocking murder of whom, on the evening of June

26, ISSl, was a tragic episode in the usually peaceful

life of Fayette County, merits a place here, not only
because he was the victim of murderous hate, but be-
cause he ably filled posts of duty in his sphere of life.
The brief tale of his murder, with the alleged animus
thereof, is that, on the evening above noted, he was
first suddenly struck down by a "billy" in the hands
of one of a band of conspirators, and then by some
one fatally shot, the murder taking ])lace near the west
end of the side-cut of the Furnace Branch of the Bal-
timore and Ohio Railroad, at Dunbar. The motive of
the murder is sn|)posed to be found in the fact that
Healy had with great earnestness opposed the grant-
ing by the authorities of a license to sell intoxicating
liquors, asked tor by I'atriek McFarlane, of Dunbar.
Charged witli the crime. Patrick Dolan, James Mc-
Farlane, John Kaine, John Collins, James Rogan,
Michael Dolan, aiid Bernard Flood were arrested in
September, ISSl, and indicted as Healy's murderers.
Patrick Dolan was siilisei|uently put on trial, and liy
thi' jury louiiil -iiilty of iiiin-der in the second degree.
McFarlane was tried before another jury, and under
evidence almost identical with that by which Dolan
was convicted was acquitted. Of the remainder, Johu
Kaine is in jail, and the rest are released under $4')00
bonds eaeh (now, February, lss2i, their trial being
set down lor the April terin of eourt.'

Mr. Healy was born in Ireland, and came to .\ni(
ica wlien quite young. Before first coming to Dti
bar he worked at Jones & Langhlin's furnace, Pitts-
burgh, for some time, after wdiich he was engaged as
furnace-keeper by the Dunbar Furnace Company, in
1868, wdien he was about twenty-seven years of age,
it is thought. After a short time he left the company,
and returned in 1871, and was engaged as furnace-
manager, or foundry-man, having charge of the fur-
nace, in wdiich capacity he continued till some time
in 1875, wdien he left Dunbar and went to Riverside
Iron-Works, West Virginia, being occupied there
about a year as furnace-man. Leaving West Vir-
ginia he was next engaged in like capacity at Lemont
Furnace, remaining there till Feb. 22, 1877, when he
was again engaged by tlie Dunbar Furnace Company,
and continued with it till the time of his murder.

In ]N7'.t he, witli others, purchased a sand-mill near
Dunbar Furnace, he taking charge of the same. The
same jiartics also bought, about the same time, wdiat
is now called "The Percy Mine," at Percy Station.
Both purchases proved good investments. Just prior
to his death, Mr. Healy took considerable .stock in the
Fayette Furnace Company, at Oliphant's Station.
By industry and economy he had accumulated a com-
petence. He left a wife, who is in comfortable cir-
cumstances, but had no children.

Healy is described by those who knew him well as,
though making no claim to education in baoks, very

At tlie .\iir

e cases, wliich ^



Jll^y r(['7(yuL{



intelligent, genial, and straigbtfonvard, a warm and
faithful friend, a man of great force of character, true I
to the important business trusts which were confided
to bis care, and a good citizen.


Alexander J. Hill, of Dunbar, a portrait of whom
appears in these pages, would have preferred that a
picture representing his late father. Col. Alexander
M. Hill, be presented in its stead. But, as in the case
of not a few people of character and note, no good
likeness of the latter could be procured ; but with
appreciative filial affection, Mr. A. J. Hill desires
biographical space herein to be accorded to the mem-
ory of his father rather than comment upon himself.
We therefore currently remark only that Alexander
J. Hill is a robust, active man, who was reared a
farmer; that be is at present principally occupied
with the superintendency of the wvjrks of the Rainey
Bank Coal and Coke Company, at Fort Hill, East
Liberty, Fayette Co. ; and is jiopularly known as
" Col." A. J. Hill, but says that the title is not his by
right of any military commission. Hut he has been
so long "baptized" under the sobri(|uet or title of
"colonel" by the popular will that to overlook the
title would be little else than overlooking him.

Col. Alexander McClelland Hill was the son of
Eev. George Hill, who was pastor of the I're.-byierian
Church in Ligonier Valley, Westmoreland Co. He
was of Scotch-Irish descent. In the ai>pendix of
Ellicott's " Life of Ma ■iir 1> " it i- >:ated that George
Hill was burn in V:.!-!; r,;,:i ., I'.i., March 13,
1764. When about niiu-tc. n vlmi- .., :;ge l:e removed
with his father and family to i'":iyitie C'l.uuty, and
settled within the of tlir roriuiv-ntion of
Georges Creek. Kuv. George Hills uile uas Eliza-
beth McClelland, a daughter of Alexander McClel-
land, of I'ayette County, after wlium Col. A. M. was

Col. A. M. Hill, who died in 18G3, at the age of
about sixty years, was a very remarkable man, re-
garding whom it is to be regretted that but few de-
tails of his life and deeds can at this time be readily
gathered. He was in early life a tanner, and became
an extensive farmer. His father left him a small
farm near Laurel Hill Church, but by his energy and
tact Col. Hill acquired a very considerable domain,
and at the time of his death was possessed of a farm
lying in Dunbar township of about three hundred and
fifty acres, of which probably six-sevenths part is
underlaid with coking coal ; and of another farm of
a hundred and eighty-nine acres, all coal land ; and
of another (now owned by the Dunbar Furnace Com-
pany) of a hundred and thirty acres.

Col. A. M. Hill is represented as having been a man
of high integrity, of great generosity, an obliging
and liberal friend, a man who clung to his friends,

and would always do for them what he said he would.
Of course he had warm friends, and, as is not .sur-
prising in the case of a po.sitive, earnest man who
fought his friends' battles, he had, it is said, bitter
enemies. He was a man of strong common sense,
great energy, extreme tact, cautious in business, but
free-handed in the use of money when necessary. He
was one of the earliest advocates of the extension of the
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad through Fayette County,
and labored hard to effect it,— a recognized leader
of the railroad party. He was among the pioneers of
coke manufacture in the county, making it in pits in
the ground and shipping it to Pittsburgh before coke-
ovens were erected in Fayette County. He was a
man of fine personal appearance, of good address,
and popular manners. As a politician he was a force.
He was twice a member of the State Legislature,
representing the district of Fayette and Westmoreland
Counties (18.51-52); and in 1854 was the regular
Democratic candidate for the State Senate from his
district, but was beaten under a conspiracy of cir-
cumstances u'lt affecting his popularity by William
E. Frazer (Native American). In 1860 he was again
a candidate for the Senate, but ran against Dr. Smith
Fuller, and was again defeated. .As a legislator. Col.
Hill is said to have been excellent.

Dr. Ellis Phillips, of New Ilii


of Welsh

Quaker ancestry. Plis grandfather, Solomon Phillips,
was born in the State of Dt'laware, where he married
Martha Nichols, of Wilmington. .-Vbout the year
1786 he removed to Washington Cuuoty, Pa., locat-
ing on a farm on the banks of tlie Monongahela
River, opposite the mouth of Redstone Creek. Here
Ellis Phillips, the father of Dr. E. Phillips, born
Nov. 12, 17'J8. In 1824 he married Phebe, daughter
of Thomas Lilley, of Washington County, and re-
moved to a farm in North Union township, Fayette
Co., where Dr. Phillips was born Aug. 31, 1843, being
the youngest son of his parents, who had eight chil-
dren, five sons and three daughters.

Dr. Phillips remained on the farm, occasionally at-
tending the public schools, till about sixteen years of
age, when he commeaced a course of preparatory
studies at the academy at Uniontown, where he con-
tinued for two years, and then entered Wa.shington
(now Washington and Jefferson) College,!-
vania, from which institution he graduated in 1865.
He then entered the otBce of Dr. Smith Fuller, of
Uniontown, as a student of medicine. Having at-
tended the regular courses of lectures at Jefferson
Medical College, Philadelphia, he received his degree
in 1867. The same year he located in New Haven in
partnership with Dr. James K. Rogers, a surgeon of
more than ordinary ability. They remained partners
for about three years until Dr. Rogers' death. Prior
to the death of Dr. Rogers, Dr. Phillips returned lo



Pliiliidelphia, where lie remained several months,
taking special private courses of study in his profes-
sion. He tlien returned to his old location and to the

firm's business, where he ever since enjoyed an
extensive and hicrative jiraetice. On May 16, 1872,
he married .\da A. Mcllvuine, daughter of Robert A.
Mcllvaine, of New Haven. They immediately sailed
for Euruije, visiting England, Ireland, Scotland, and
parts cif tlie continent. While aljroad he took advan-
tage of his <)|.|H,iiuiiity to iin|a-i>vr liimself profes-
sionally liy vi-itiii- llir lin-pitals uf London and
Dublin, taking a s;ir.'ial (.oiii'-e in s,-vrral of them as
a student. Dr. Phillips has two children living, a
daughter and a son.


Maj. Arthur B. De Saulles, of Dunbar, the vice-
president of the Dunbar Iron Company, and superin-
tendent of its works, is the son of an Englisli gentle-
man, Louis De Saulles, who is of French descent, and
Arniide Longer De Saulles, a Louisianian by birth,
and, like her husband, of French lineage. Maj. De
Saulles was born in New Orleans, Jan. 8, 1840, and
was instructed at home by a jirivate tutor until ten
years of age, when he was placed in a German school
at West Newton, JIass., and carefully trained in the
German language, as well as other studies, for two
years. This period of educational discipline was fol-
lowed immediately by two years at l!(]lmar's French-
English Institute at Wot ( 'h.stcr, Pa., and the latter
period by a course of at Caudiridge, Mass., in
preparation for an advanced course of scientific
studies, which he made at the Rensselaer Polytechnic
School at Troy, N. Y., from which institution he
graduated in !lnnc, IS.V.I. During his connection
with the Polyt. - liiii.' S,.|,u.,l l,e wa- engaged lor five
m.mths as as-i-tant in the geoh.gical survey of Ar-

Alter his graduation JIaj. De Saulles' fother sent
him on a tour of inspection through the State of
Pennsylvania to examine mining and metallurgical
operations therein, and make report thereof to him,
after which experience and report he sent him to
Europe in December, 1859, and in January, 1860, De
Saulles entered the Ecole des Mines, Paris, where he
remained till September, 1861, when he returned to
New Orleans, and three days after his arrival there
entered the Confederate service, and was placed on
the staff" of Maj. Lovell in the engineer corps and was
]>nt in charge of the construction of lnr;ili(aiioii~ on
Lake Pontchartraiu and on Plaine ClialuM tl.-. ,-outli
of New Orleans. With the Confederate forces he
remained on active duty (with the exception of a
short time when furloughed on account of a wound
received in a skirmish) until the surrender of the
Army of the Tennessee in North Carolina, at wliieh
time he was its chief engineer. During this ]icriod

tion of fortifications at various points, and in the
building of pontoon trains for the Army of the Ten-
nessee, to which he was most of the time attached,
and wherein he acted as major from the fall of 1864
till the time of its surrender.

I Soon after the war he went to Europe, where he re-
mained till April, 1866, when he returned to America

I and took the position of engineer of the New York
and Schuylkill Coal Company's works, after a year
being placed in charge, and remaining with the com-
pany till it sold out to the Philadelphia and Reading
Coal and Iron Company, in October, 1871, whereupon
he moved to New York City, and engaged in profes-
sional pursuits till March, 1876, when he became con-
nected with the Dunbar Furnace Works. Aside from

' his connection with these works he is manager of the
Percy Mining Company, and one of the executive
committee of the Fayette Coke and Furnace Company
at Oliphant, which works in all employ about a thou-
sand hands.

j He was one of the seven organizers (1868) of the
American Institute of Mining, which now embraces

I about one thousand members and associates, and also

j one of the original me;nbers of the American Society
of Mechanical Engineers, and is a member of the
American Meteorological Society.

I In politics he is "a good old-fashioned Democrat,"

I and in religion not a "communicant," but takes in-

; terest in the little Episcopal Church .wdiich his wife
built and presented to the parish at Dunbar Furnace
in 1880.

' Aug. 19, 1869, he married Miss Catharine Heck-
scher, daughter of Charles A. Heckseher, of New
York City, by whom he had three sons and two


In Fayette County, as in most other old divisions of
States throughout the Union, there are enterprising and
talented young men, who have already taken the first
steps to distinction and are fast " making history,"
and destined to add important pages to that already
made by the honored dead and the remarkable aged
living. Of these is notably Dr. Joseph T. Shepler, of
Dunbar, who is on his paternal side of German, and
on his maternal of Scotch, descent. His ancestors
were among the earliest settlere of Rostraver town-
ship, Westmoreland Co., coming there some time be-
fore Braddock's defeat. His great-grandfather's Chris-
ti in name was Mathias, that of his grandfather, Isaac.
Dr. Shepler's father's maternal grandfather, Joseph
Hill, was a colonial soldier in the French and Indian
war, and also a soldier in the Revolutionary war;
and his son, Joseph Hill, Jr., served as a soldier in
the war of 1812. Dr. Shepler's great-grandlather's
brother, Joseph Shepler, was a soldier in the Revolu-
tionary war.

Dr. Shepler is the fciurth child of Samuel and Eve-

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lina Steele Shepler, both Presbyterians, and was born
near Rehoboth Church, in Rostraver township, March
20, 1847, and was brought up on a farm, attending
common and select schools in winter seasons, and a
commercial college at Syracuse, N. Y., meanwhile
gratifying as well as he was able a strong desire for
general reading, until he became about nineteen years
of age, when he entered as clerk a store for general
merchandising in Belle Vernon, Fayette Co., where he
remained somewhat over two years ; but being uneasy
in his pursuit, and ambitious to excel in something
beside merchandising, he went as a student into the
offlce of Dr. S. A. Conklin, of that place, with whom
he remained prosecuting his studies with closest at-
tention for two years, and then attended a course of
lectures at the Medical Department of the University
of Michigan. In the autumn of 1871 he located for
the practice of his profession in Dunbar, being the
first physician who settled at that place. There he
continued, securing a good practice, till September,
1873, when he went to New York City, and attended
a course of lectures at Bellevue Hospital Medical Col-
lege, wherefrom he graduated in March, 1874, and
after a period of practice of about two and a half
years at Canton, Ohio, returned to Dunbar, where lie
has since followed his profession, enjoying a large and
lucrative practice.

In connection with his practice. Dr. Shepler, in
partnership with Dr. R. W. Clark (his professional
partner also), carrieson the drug business. He has also
engaged somewhat in the purchase and sale of real
estate with profitable results, and from 1878 to 1880,
both inclusive, he was coroner of Fayette County, and
discharged the duties thereof honorably and credit-
ably. He is the surgeon of the Pennsylvania Rail-
road Company for its Southwest Branch, extending
from Greensburg to Fairchance.

On the 18th of November, 1875, Dr. Shepler mar-
ried a daughter of Jasper M. Thompson, Esq., president
of the First National Bank of Uniontown, Miss Ruth
A. Thompson, by whom he has one child, a daughter,
Eva Thompson. Dr. and Mrs. Shepler are members
of the Presbyterian Church.

The venerable Mr. James Blackstone, of Dunbar
township, near the line of New Haven, is of English
descent. His grandfather, James Blackstone, came
hither from the Eastern Shore of Maryland shortly
after Col. William Crawford and his comrades found
their way into Yohogania County, Va., as the region
of which Fayette County is a part was then called.
Mr. Blackstone was married before he left ^Maryland,
and brought his family and some negroes with him,
and settled in what is now Tyrone township, on the
i^rm recently owned by Ebenezer Moore. He had
four daughters and one son, James, Jr. (the father of

the present James), who was born June 4, 1780. On
the 13th of October, 1803, James (Jr.) married UUa
Sarah Rogers, of Dunbar township, and going to
Connellsville there engaged in nierchandising, and
built the house now occupied as a hotel by E. Daan,
on Water Street, into which he moved. He died July
16, 1809, leaving three children, the youngest of whom
(born July 10, 1808) is the chief subject of these

Mr. Blackstone grew up under the care of his
mother, a most estimable woman, and spent his youth
in the village, except two years thereof pa.ssed at col-
lege in New Athens, Ohio. After returning from col-
lege, he spent some time as clerk in the store of David-
son & Bhickstime (the latter of whom was his brother,
Henry), at Connellsville, and some time as clerk at
Breakneck Furnace, then owned by Mr. William
Davidson ; but fanning was always more to his taste
than merchandising.

On the 10th of June, 1834, he married Nancy C.
Johnston, of Connellsville, and lived there till 1836,
in the spring of which year he bought of Col. William
L. Miller Roscommon Farm, moved to it June 23d,
and has there lived ever since. Mr. and Mrs. Black-
stone have nine children — -four sons and five daughters
— living.

Mr. Blackstone was an old-line Whig, and is now a
Republican, but never was an active politician, never
holding a public office and never desiring one. He
has ever led a quiet life, and enjoyed an enviable
reputation for integrity.

Col. A. R. Banning, of New Haven, is the grandson
of Rev. Anthony Mansfield Banning, one of the sc-
called " pioneer preachers" of the Methodist Church
west of the Allegheny Mountains, and who was born
on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 1768, and ran
away from home at the age of sixteen years, just after
having experienced religion at a Methodist camp-
meeting, and at once commenced a career of evan-
gelical exhortation. He betook himself to Fayette
County about 1785-86, and before he reached the age
of twenty married Sarah Murphy, a daughter of Jacob
Murphy, a native of Maryland. Mr. Banning settled
on lands which are now a part of the Mount Brad-
dock farm, and became the father of eight children,
among whom was James S. Banning, born Jan. 11,
1800, and who in March, 1825, married Miss Eliza
A. Blackstone, only daughter of James Blackstone,
of Connellsville, a lady of rare accomplishments,
and with her removed at once to Mount Vernon,
Ohio, they making the journey through the wil-
derness on the backs of two ponies. The trip
occupied eight days. There Mr. Banning, being a
tanner by trade, established a tan-yard and conducted
the business of tanning, together with merchandising,
for several years, but eventually removed to Banning's



^lUh. a locality upon a large farm which he owned,
and where most of his children were born, and all of
them mainly reared. He had nine children, — Sarah
D., who died in 1881 , at about fifty-three years of age ;
Capt. .James B. Banning, one of the bravest soldiers
whom the war of the Reliellion developed. He was
attached to the One Hundred and Thirty-second
Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Anthony R. BanniiiL',
born in August, 1831; Priscilla, wife of Hon. .Tohii
D. Thompson, of Mount Vernon, Ohio; Lieut. Wil-
liam Davidson Banning, like his brothers, a brave
soldier of tlie late war; Maj.-Gen. Henry Blackstone
Banning, born in 183G; Eliza, wife of Gen. William
B. Brown, of :\Iount Vernon, Ohio; Thomas D. Ban-
ning, adjutant of tlic One Hundred and Twenty-fifth
Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the late
war; Mary, wife of Jlr. Frank Walkins, of Mount

Of tliis family of children, all worthy, filling their
places well in the world, and sprung, as it were, from
the loins of Fayette County, since their parents were
both natives of the county, perhaps the one whose life
and deeds Iiave reflected more honor than any of others j
upon the old "home of his fathers" was Gen. H. B. '
Banning, wliosc liiography is a part of the history of
the country, and is s,, widely known and so written |
down for immortality in various extended histories of
the late war as to need no considerable mention here.
Educated at Kenyon College, he studied law and had
become a successful practitioner at the time of the
breaking out of the war. He at once enlisted (in
April, 1801), and was made a captain of Company B
of the Fourth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry,
which regim.ent took part in the battles of Rich
Mountain, Romney, Blue Gap, etc. But we have not
space to reliearse here in detail the history of Gen.
Banning's distinguished military career. Sufhee it
that lie rose through various grades to the rank of
major-general, being breveted as such after the battle
of Nashville for eminent and daring service therein.
Durinir a jiortion of tlie war he was colonel of the
One Hun.lrr.l and Twenty-first Ohio Volunteer In-
fantry, lieloiiLiiiej tci (;iii. Steedman's division of the
Army of the Cuiiiherland, which regiment, under his
command, at the famous battle of Chickamauga, en-
gaged the Twenty-second Alabama, drove them and
captured their colors, the only rebel colors taken in
that fearful fight. After the war he resumed the prac-
tice of the law at Mount Vernon, and was several
times elected from his district a member of the Ohio
Legislature. He removed to Cincinnati in 1868. In I
1872 the Liberal Republicans nominated him for Con- !
gress against Rutherford B. Hayes, whom he defeated '
by an overwdielming majority in a strongly Repub- ,
lican district. In 1874 he was re-elected to Congress. '
In 1876 he was again a candidate, and on that occa-
sion ran against Judge Stanley JIatthews, whom he •
defeated. He died on the 10th of December, 1881, at
the age of forty-five years. The Cincinnati Enquirer •

of Dec. 11, 1881, in a lengthy obituary notice of Gen.
Banning, said of him, "As a political organizer and
manipulator, Gen. Banning never had his ecjual in
this State."

Col. A. R. Banning was educated in the common
schools near Banning's Mills, Ohio, and under private
tutors. He learned farming, milling, and merchan-

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 124 of 193)