Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 125 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 125 of 193)
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dising, and at about the age of twenty-five years left
Oliio and came to Fayette County, settling at New
Haven as a farmer, and lias since followed farming as
liis lirincijial vocation, but has been much engaged
in the railroad business and in various other pursuits.
In the buying, combining, and sale of Connellsville
coking coal lands. Col. Banning has been one of the
largest operators. In all his pursuits he has been sig-
nally successful. Comprehensive in understanding,
cautious and careful, his course has been a steady and
sure one. Col. Banning is noted for his probity and
business honesty, and has frequently been intrusted
by his acquaintiuK e~ wiih large sums of money for
investment, no seeiwity luing asked. In fact, during
his whole extensive ojierations for others he has
never even once been asked to give other security
than that embraced in his " word," as good as any
man's bond.

His po.ssessions are chiefly in coal lands and town
property. Among several farms owned by him is one
upon which Banning Station, on the Baltimore and
Ohio Railroad, named after him, is built. This is per-
haps the best site for the upbuilding of a manufactur-
ing village between Pittsburgh and Connellsvile.

Dec. 2, 1856, Col. Banning married Catharine M.,
only daughter.of the late Daniel and Mary Rogers, of
New Haven.

It is not often in these days of jealous and zealous
competition in all deiiartnieiits of life, while moneyed
("i|>itiil holds almost supreme sway, that a man making
his way liy his own unaided energy and native intellect-
uality achieves notable business success, and erects a
monument to his own memory in the aflisctions of
his fellow-citizens, and goes dow?i to death, widely
, before reaching forty years of age. But a
■Neeptiori to tlie general rule existed in the
lie late All.ert .T. C'rosshind, of New Haven,
Co., who was born Oct. 24, 1841, and died

Mr. Crossland was remotely of Quaker stock, and
was the son of Mr. Samuel Crossland, who lived at
Connellsville at the time of his son's birth. Mr.
Crossland in boyhood attended the common school of
his native village, and wdien about fifteen years of age
went with his father to a then recently purchased farm
in Broad Ford, where he learned of his father, then
a carriage-maker as well as farmer, the trade of car-
riage-making. Possessing a strong desire for learning,
Albert pursued private studies, and at length entered

case of
Aug. 1,

'CB^r-n^f //c-r/i






Allegheny College, where he p.assed a year, and there-
after taught school for a while at the old Eagle school-
house. Remaining mainly on the farm working with
his father till about 18G3, he then went into the em-
ploy of Morgan & Co., of Pittsburgh, in charge of
a coke siding at McKeesport, where, on July 1 1, 1866,
lie married Miss Lottie Long, after which time he
was transferred to the company's office in Pittsburgh
for a while, and was then put in charge of the com-
pany's Union Works at Broad Ford, where he oper-
ated for a year or so, and became a member of the
firm of Morgan & Co., continuing with them, super-
intending the Morgan Mines, constructing col:e-ovens
at the slope in West Latrobe, etc. ; in short, being tlie
trusted superintendent and business man, doing the
heavy work of construction, etc., wherever needed,
and exercising practical guidance in a vast business
until near his death. His moneyed interest iu the
firm of Morgan & Co. was one-si.\teenth.

Mr Crossland was a man of heroic mould, being
over si.x feet in height and well proportioned. To
his energy there were no bounds. He was noted for
strong common sense, for fine humor and wit, for
general geniality and affability in the social and do-
mestic circle. His family never heard a cross or irri-
table word from his lips. He seems to have possessed
all the virtues which go to make up a really noble
character. He was especially generous to the poor
in a very quiet way, and celebrated his Thanksgivings
not by luxurious dinners at home, but by privately
sending provisions of food and fuel to worthy poor
of his acquaintance.

He was an earnest Freemason, a member of King
Solomon Lodge, No. 346, of Connellsville, and other
lodges at Greensburg and elsewhere, and had passed
the degree in Gourgas Grand Lodge of Perfection, it
being the thirty-second degree in Freemasonry. He
was also a member of General Worth Lodge, No. 386,
I. O. of 0. F. Distinguished members of both fra-
ternities from different parts of the State, united with
the great concourse of his neighbors and fellow-citizens
of Fayette County in doing honor to his memory at
his funeral obsequies. Mr. Crossland w'as the father
of two children (sons), both of whom, with their
mother, survive him.

An excellent representative of the best class of
Fayette County agriculturists, combining the in-
stincts and culture of the gentleman with the steady
industry and the muscle of the prosperous farmer, is
Mr. Samuel Work, of Dunbar, who was born Dec. 5,
1817. Mr. Work's paternal ancestors came to Amer-
ica from the north of Ireland. His grandfather,
Samuel, whose name he bears, and who was born
July 17, 1749, and died in 1833, moved from Lancas-
ter County into Fayette County, and settled in Dun-

bar township about 1766, where Jolin, the father of
Mr. Work, was born in 1787, and marrieil, in 1814,
Nancy Rogers, daughter of John Rogers, of Fayette

Mr. Work, the second issue of this union, attended
in childhood the so-called subscription school at the
old " Cross Keys" school-house in Dunbar until about
seventeen years of age, and after that the academy at
Uniontown, conducted by Rev. Dr. Wilson, till well
advanced in his twentieth year, and then commenced
the life of a farmer on the old homestead farm, and
subsequently inherited an adjoining farm, which he
cultivated with skill and prolit, raising cattle, among
other things, tn-rilKi- wiih carrying on the business
of a dealer in raiil.'. wlm h hf often sent in droves
to the Eastern iiiaikels until 1876, when he retired
from business, having previously sold the Connells-
ville coking coal which underlies a large portion of
the farm he occupied, the surface of which he has
since disposed nl, ]ic nmv rcsi.liiiL:- ill Dunbar village.

Mr. Work is a -eiiilriiiaii ni' gi-iiial, active tem-
perament, and in early life greatly enjoyed all kinds
of athletic, manly sports, particularly that of fox-
hunting with horse and hounds, and was noted as a
finished horseman and bold rider; but being ever
temperate and attentive to business, he never allowed
his love of the chase to infringe upon important
affairs. He belonged to tlie Fayette County Cavalry,
at one time a fiimous organization, and took great
pride in military matters. In politics he is a Repub-
lican, and was formerly an old-line Whig. He took
great interest in the late war on the side of the Union,
and contributed liberally, particularly in aid of the
work of the Sanitary Commission. He is a member
of the Presbyterian Church, of which his wife is also
a member, and to which he has belonged for about
fifteen years, and enjoys an unsullied reputation for
general integrity and honest dealing wherever he is

On the 23d of September, 1858, he was united in
marriage to Miss Jane W. Watts (born in 1837), a
native of County Donegal, Ireland, and daughter of
George and Jane Wilson Watts, both of Scotch de-
scent. When about fifteen years of age, Mrs. Work,
then well instructed for her years, came to America,
and here continued her studies until the time of her
marriage. They have no children.

Davis Woodward, of Dunbar township, was born in
Menallen township, Fayette Co., June 11, 1S06, and
was of English descent. He received his education
in the common schools, and was married Nov. 2, 1828,
to Mary Boyd, of Menallen township. They had
thirteen children. Twelve grew to manhood and
womanhood, and were all married. There are seven
sons and four daughters living. The sons are all far-
mers, and the daughters all married farmers. Eight of



the children reside in Fayette County ; the other three
in the West. Mr. Woodward had sixty-five grand-
children and thirteen great-grandchildren. He was
engaged in farming and stock-dealing all his life.
Mr. Wondward never held any office. He said
he always liad e!ioiiii;li to do to attend to his o\vn
business, llf and liis wife were members of the Laurel
Hill Proslivirriaii ( 'liurch. He was a successful busi-
ness man, a r ww ion-, skillful dealer.

His fatlu'i-, C'alrli Woodward, came to Fayette
(?iiunty from Chester County, Pa., early in the present
crntury. His wife was Phebe McCarty. They had
six children, five of them girls. Davis is the only
son. Caleb, the father, was a blacksmith by trade.
He bought a farm soon after coming to Jlenallen
townsliip, and continued blacksmithing and farming
h, the end of his life. He died Oct. IS, ISod, a-rd
si'vriity-seven years eight months and nineteen days.
His wife Phebe <lied Dec. 4, 1850, aged seventy-six
years nine mouths and twenty-four days.

:\Ir. Woodward died April 6, 1882. He was an ex-
lallont citizen, rnj'iying the esteem of his acquaint-
am-'s, ami had al'Undance of this world's goods. He
was able to say, as he did say, that he made his
money by telling the truth.


James Wilkey, of Dunbar township, born Jan. 17,
1803, is of L-ish extraction in both lines. His pater-
nal grandfi^ther, John Wilkey, and maternal one,
James Wilkey, both came to America from the north
of Ireland about the same time, and settled in the
same neighb'.rhood, near Laurel Hill Church, Dun-
bar township, buth bringing families with them. John
liad two daughtci-s, it is thought, and one son, James
Wilkey, born in Ireland about 1771, the father of our
.lame-;, and who was an educated gentleman, and
taught subscription schools in his neighborhood until
he became an old man, dying about 1835. Mr.
AVilkey's mother's maiden name was Elizabeth Wil-
key (daughter of James, above named). She died in
old age, outliving her Imshand by a score of years.
They had six children, of whom James was the only
son. The daughters arc all dead.

James attended in childhood the schools kept by
his father, often going five miles each way daily to

and from s,1 1, siinnncrs and winters. AtVour years

of age he wa. taULilit t.. rra.l the Seriptures. At'thir-
teenhewent to barn .saddle-making of James Francis,
at Connellsville, but remained with him only six
mouths, when Francis moved to Rising Sun, Ind.
He then hired out to an ironmaster, S. G. Wurts, to
do general work, at ten dollars a month, and " stayial
with him three years, eleven months, and twenty-.~ix
days," .as he distinctly recollects, 'Mr. Wilkey kept
n.. written memoranda of aeeounts, Wurts diil, ami
tlea-e wa- a host o|' iiemi/.ations in that long time;
but Wilkey thongbt, when about to leave, that Wurts

owed him about forty dollars, and Wurts' accounts
showed that he was in debt to Wilkey about forty-one
dollars, — a decided " head for accounts," Mr. Wil-
key's memory is remarkable. He recalls with mi-
nuteness many incidents which occurred when he was
only two years of age. Leaving Wurts he went to
learn the tanner's trade of Reason Beeson, at Plum-
sock, as an apprentice, and remained with him till
twenty-one years of age. He had to have, according
to contract, a common cloth coat when his time should
be out, but did not get it; but two years afterwards
got its value in store goods. When through with
Beeson he had a dollar and a half of money only.
But his sister kindly gave him a "levy" (eleven
pence), worth twelve and a half cents, saying, " James,
take that; it may help you." A\[ith his one dollar
and sixty-two and a half cents in pocket he started
out in search of work, and traveled one hundred and
fifty miles before he found it, at a point eleven miles
below Zanesville, Ohio, and yet had a part of the
money left ! The young men of these days may not
comprehend such economy, but the secret lay in Mr.
Wilkey's industry. Leaving home on April 1st, he
went on board a flat-boat at Connellsville, and worked
his passage down the river into the Ohio and on.
Wherever the boat stopped he went on shore and
hunted for work, at last finding it. Through the
influence of an uncle living near the place before
mentioned he got a job of boiling water at a salt-
works, and stayed at the work till fall, when he be-
came sick with fever and ague and resolved to return
home. He and a fellow-laborer agreed to divide the
results of their toil, and Wilkey's share was a quantity
of salt, which he sold to a stranger living a few miles
from the works for twenty-two dollars and fifty cents,
wdiich he got two years afterwards. Men were honest
in that time, and he had no fear to trust any stranger, —
felt safe, was safe. Mr. Wilkey prays for the return
of those honest days. After being gone about a year
he returned to Connellsville. An old acquaintance
seeing him on the street went, without Wilkey's knowl-
edge, to John Fuller, tanner (father of Dr. Smith
Fuller), and advised him to hire Wilkey. Fuller sent
for him and gave him a trial of two weeks, at the rate
of six dollais per motith; and when the two weeks
were pa<~eil oH'ciim] to eniiiliiy him for nine months at
live dollars ]ier month. Wilkey stood out, and de-
manded more wages, to wit, two pairs of coarse shoes
into the bargain.

Fidler yielded, with the cautious condition that he
should get the shoes only in the last month of the
period. Wilkey consented to this, and, in brief, earned
the money and shoes, and Fuller's perfect confidence
besides. Near the time the nine months were up,
AN'ilkey .dianecd to call at the house of Dr, Bela
Smith, Fuller's father-in-law. Wilkey being about
to lea\c, Mrs, Smith, wdio knew his reputation as a
workman, saiil, "James, I wish I had a bill of sale of
you." •• What lor?" asked Wilkey. " Why, then






I'd have a tan-yard sunk at Bela's (her son's), and
juit yon in it." This led to Willcey's going with
Bc'la B. Smith (Jr.) as a partner into the tanning
business near Perryopolis. He continued in the busi-
ness there for about four years, near the end of which
his grandfather, an old man of ninety-six years, died,
and left a farm of two hundred and twenty-two
acres in Dunbar, and all Wilkey's relations said,
" James, you ought to buy the farm." It was much
encumbered, but he bought it and moved upon it,
soon selling a part of it to Henry Leighty. He occu-
pied the farm for seven years, and selling out, had
$1700, a horse, and nine cows left. He next bought
a tan-yard of John Fuller, in Connellsville, for $2500,
$1000 down, the rest in $250 notes, running a course
of years without interest. Fuller agreeing to take
half-pay for the notes in leather. Wilkey conducted
the business for about ten years, when he sold it and
bought the farm whereon he has ever since resided,
leading the life of a farmer. He added to the farm
till it contained two hundred and seven acres, a part
of which (coal lands), he has disposed of. He has
always been a hard worker, but has enjoyed the best
of health, and has been very prosperous.

Mr. Wilkey has been a member of the Methodist
Episcopal Church for over forty years, most of the
time a class-leader, steward, etc. Since he first joined
the church he has always liberally contributed to its
support, and has also done much work in collecting
money from others. Lately the church in Connells-
ville has taken steps (March 1, 1882) toward pulling
down its old edifice and the erection of a two-story
church on its site. Mr. Wilkey refuses to contribute
towards the new edifice, on the ground that its audi-
ence-room will be " up-stairs," so high that lame old
people like himself and his wife and many others
cannot get into it, and will thus be practically pre-
vented attendance upon preaching. He would give,
he says, as much as any other man towards a now
" one-story church." It seems there is a difference of
opinion among the members of the church, some de-
siring to have the proposed edifice a " one-story," and
others wishing what Mr. Banning calls a "two-story"
church. The latter he says shall have no aid from him.

March 24, 1831, Wr. Wilkey married Catharine
Rodocker, daughter of Pliilip Rodocker, of Wash-
ington township, by whom he has had six childreu,
three of whom are now living.


Franklin, one of the original townships of Fay-
ette, is purely agricultural iu its interests, and the
census of June, 1880, credited it with a population of
1373. It is bounded on the north by the Youghio-
gheny River, which separates it from Tyrone ; on
the south by Menallen and North Union ; on the east
by Dunbar, and west by Menallen, Redstone, and
Jefferson. The township valuation subject to county
tax was iu 1881 fixed at $639,870, or a gain over 1880
of $35.37.

The township is well watered by numerous small
streams, while upon the Redstone Creek (which sepa-
rates it from Menallen and Redstone townships) and
the Youghiogheny River there is abundant mill-
power. Franklin contains rich and extensive de-
posits of coal, that to the present time have remained
undeveloped because of the lack of railway transpor-
tation near at hand. Although there are yet no rail-
road facilities, assurances are made that before 1883
two railway lines will be constructed in the township,
— one between Brownsville and Uniontown, and the
line between New Haven aud Brownsville. The
former will follow the course of the Redstone, and the
latter that of Bute's Run, iu the town hip. The road-

beds are already graded, and by the autumn of 1882
both railroads are likely to be in readiness for traffic.
The first named will doubtless be opened early in
the jiresent summer (1882). Franklin has no village,
but possesses two post-offices,— Flatwood, established
in 1842, and Laurel Hill, in 1870.

Amongthe earliest settlers in Franklin may be reck-
oned William Rittenhouse, a Jcrseyman, \yho came
in as early certainly as 1777, with his wife and child,
and located upon a tract of land lying upon the west-
ern side of the township. As to the record of his ex-
perience for a few years after he came, not much can
be learned. It may be stated, however, that in 1795
he was living on the place now owned by Matthew
Arisen, and in the house now Mr. Arison's residence.
He kept tavern in that house, which was in its day a
favorite halting-place for travelers, to whom landlord
Rittenhouse would, when in the mood, relate his brief
but adventurous experience during the Revolution, in
which he served as a fifer for the space of a year from
1776 to 1777. Upon the site of his farm there was, at
an earlier date, an Indian village and graveyard, and,
tradition adds, in the village resided a chief of some



note, who more than once held important councils
there with other dignitaries of his race. The plow-
share of the husbandman has in recent times un-
earthed many an Indian relic, such as arrow-heads,
stone hatchets, and the like. After a while Ritten-
house bought land adjoining his tract and skirting
what is called the Lazy Hollow road. Of that land
Isaac Quick was an owner before Rittenhouse, and
report has it that it was from the circumstance of Isaac
Quick's extranrdinary indolence that the hollow men-
tioned was given the name of Lazy. A little east of
Aaron Lynn's present residence Rittenhouse built a
tavern, and leased it to John Freeman, who eame^
from New Jersey and settled first in Franklin, on
what is now the Ra.lliiiirlKifer place. The thorough-
fare wa^ tin- iiiuiiily trav.'luil road between Browns-
ville and (■onn.-lNv'illc, and Freeman's was probably
a busy cciitrc at tinu - . How lua- he ki]it the place
is not knouii, hut the nhl tav.-ni -t.iii 1, n-iw in ruins,
still marks the spot, a reniiudri- of tli./ days when
Boniface welcomed with hearty hospitality the weary
wayfarer, cheering as well as sustaining him with
whatever fat that part of the land produced. Amos
Em mens also is said to have kept tavern on the Lazy
Hollow road, but just where is not known. Mr. Rit-
tenhouse was much devoted to the encouragement of
religious as well as secular education, and at an early
day built a school-house on his farm, wherein Samuel
Blaney, a famous teacher in his day, taught the chil-
dren of these pioneers their early stejjs in the paths
of learning. William Rittenhouse died on the Arison
form in ISlo. Of his large family of thirteen cliil-
den, the only one now living is the widow of Ayers
Lynn, an old lady of eighty-two years.

Robert Smith came from Westmoreland County
before 1790, and settled on the farm now occupied by
his son Robert. 3Ir. Smith had served as a private
in the Revolutionary war, and of his record in that
struggle has left the following:

"An account of the military services rendered by
me during the Revolutionary war in the Pennsylva-
nia militia of Berks County. I was drafted, and
served two months in 1776, during September, Octo-
ber, and N'ovember, in Col. Burns' reginnnt. <ta!i(ined
at Bergen and Paulus Hook, in New Jn-i y. 1 n 1777
I served two months as volunteer in the I'.erks ( 'i unity
militia, during September, October, and November,
tuir officers' names I do not recollect. Our general's
name was Irven, of Philadelphia. Our encampment
was along with Gen. Washington's main army at
sundry places. When we were discharged the army
was encamped at White Marsh, about fourteen or fif-
teen miles from Philadelphia. When I returned home
I was drafted, and .served two months in the same fall
and winter with Col. Heister's regiment of Berks
County militia. We were stationed at PlymouthMeet-
ing-house, near Barren Hill Church. From thence
we went to the banks of the Shammine, near the
Crooked Billet tavern. Robert Smith."

Mr. Smith set up a blacksmith's shop on the Lazy
Hollow road in front of his dwelling, and for years
plied his trade in the service of the people who came
from near and far. He died in 1837, at the age of
eighty. Of his ten children only one is left, Robert
Smith, aged eighty-two, and living still on the Smith
homestead, where he was born. Long before Robert
Smith the elder came to Franklin, the farm he bought
there had been occupied by David Allen, of whose
sons, Josiah and George M., Smith purchased it.

The farm now occupied by Jesse Piersol was owned
at a very early date by Hugh Shotwell, who settled
thereon about the year 1780. His four sons — John,
Joseph, William, and Arison — settled in Franklin,
but the last three ultimately moved to Ohio. John
died in Franklin in 1869, aged eighty-five. One of
his daughters is now the wife of Robert Smith, above

The fine farm in Franklin township known as the
Modisette place was occupied in 1790 by Samuel
Stevens. But little is known about him, as he died a
few years after his settlement. His widow died in
Uniontown, aged ninety-three. His only child, Pris-



Austin, of Uni.


and i

in her

Jos.'|ili Ogluvee, a young !Marylander, found a
sjiarsely-settk-d iiei^hbi.rliood when he came to
Franklin in Kss. llu warranted three hundred and
thiriy-tliK I- ar.- imw (.wned in part by his son
Farriiiji la , pa' ii;i a .a'iiii, and began to clear his
laud. (_Miira 1 I'.aj i ickh .'.v, an old soldier, who had
served honorably through the Revolutionary war,
moved to Franklin in 1790. Conrad found liimself
at the end of his campaigns the possessor of a great
lot of Continental money, and with it he proposed to
buy a farm somewhere. Unfortunately, he found his
Continental money worth so little that buying a farm
was out of the question. So with his family he lived
a while in a cabin on Joseph Oglevee's place, and
eventually he bought a small farm of his own. In
1790 Oglevee married one of Barricklow's daughters.
His sons were three, — Jesse, John, and Farrington.
Of these only Farrington is now living, and he re-
mains on the old homestead. Jesse, who settled on
the Dunbar and Franklin line so literally that his
family ate in Dunbar and slept in Franklin, had eight
children. Three of his sons, Joseph, John, and Philip,
are now residents of Dunbar township. Conrad Bar-

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 125 of 193)