Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 134 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 134 of 193)
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with which his " Bonnie Jane" chained his heart
and hand "in days o' auld lang syne."

I Vuhm


often oeeniav.l with liini
" Little Fulls" an<l Fail
" sleep quite refreshingly
old Marmion."

About the vear 1820-

led their tears and sobbed aloud
benjamin" of eleven children.
hioL; Inr him to mount his horse
I, alimi>t as well known through
eri in the evening after a hard
^'e, ride to Pittsburgh, thirty-five
be on foot all day long,
>t next morning; and this
his business between the
ance. He said he could



ipany with other
id and organized
e was elected cap-
ntil he moved to

tain; comnianded the e.i)n]iaiiy
Pittsburgh, and after two years' alisenee, returning
to Fayette, he was again elected ea|itain, and contin-
ued in command until IS.'JtJ. Xur had his military
proclivities entirely forsaken him when the war broke
out in the spring of 18G1. He raised and organized
a company of mounted men for any service that
might fall to it at home or in the field, in which
some of his old comrades of the Fayette cavalry
joined him.

Hearing that the "Black Horse Cavalry" was
plundering Northwestern Virginia and threatening
Morgantown, he loaded wagons with provisions, mus-
tered his troop, and started for them. "By the time
they reached the Cheat River the command had
swelled to two hundred. This advent into West Vir-
ginia was greeted with the greatest enthusiasm. The
women rushed into the roads, throwing up their
hands, and shouting, 'The Pennsylvanians have
come! the Pennsylvanians have come!' When he
reached Grafton the accession to his force liad aug-
mented it to five hundred. There was but little

,1^ JdOjla/tf'a^^



military discipline among the men, but they were all ! son yourself when you have the power, and Juliet you
well armed and good marksmen, and to a body of are entirely too much of a politician for a woman."
irregulars, like themselves, would have proved no Growing warm in a discussion during the war,
insignificant foe. The rebels abandoned Grafton as he declared a wish " that old Jackson was back to
they entered it, and there seeming no further use 1 shoot down rebels and hang up traitors to the Union."
for them they returned liome."' It is believed this i "What!" said some one present, "would you bring
unauthorized raid saved West Virginia to the Union. ' old Jackson back?" " Yes, to save the Union," was

the answer. " Forgive him his war on the tariff and
the Bank?" " Yes ; and the salt-pans too ; anything
to punish Rebellion and save the Union," was his

Within a year after the sale of the "Oliphant Fur-
nace" property he began to fail in physical health,
and the decline continued until his lamp of life went
out on the morning of the 10th of November, 1879,
at the residence of his oldest son, J(ilHi, on the Sunnie
Brae farm, within two miles of I';iiilirM. w la-re he
was born, within two miles of I''aiiil];iiir., where he
toiled, and witliin the si-lit of his last linii.ring look
upon earth he e.,ul.l see over the intervening woods
and vales the "old Tent Cliureh" in whi.h he and his
wife together, in 1825, professed the faith in which
they lived and died, and in which he became a ruling
elder in 1838.

On the r.'lh orXi.veniher, IS?!!,
the Presl.vtei-ian Chui-eh in I'm

This troop maintained its organization throughout
the war.

There were four things he disliked with a cordial
hatred, — whisky, tobacco, a lawsuit, and Gen. Jack-
son. Once, and only once, a candidate before the
people for office, he ran as the Whig candidate for
Congress in 1838 against Enos Hook, Esq., a lawyer
of Waynesburg, Greene Co., and, as he expected, was
badly beaten, but his candidature well illustrates one
of these three traits of his character. Being accosted
one day by a man who was drunk, he said, " Go 'way.
Jack, you are drunk ; I won't shake liands with you."
A friend suggested " that was no way to be a candi-
date." He answered, "I can't help it; I won't be
seen shaking hands with a drunken man, and if I
can't be elected except at the expense of my self-
respect I shall stay at home.'"

He banished whisky from the furnace and works,
so far as he could control it, from the start. Tobacco

was a necessary of life with furnace men, almost as ! funeral serviei s were i-omlucte
urgent as bread itself, and he had to endure it. His | Bergen and Isaac -Wynn, by six
dislike of lawsuits resulted in part from the fact that buried in Oak Grove Cemetery,
they would not always go his way, and then the law,

the court, the jury, and the lawyers would be all "" —

wrong, and he never could get it throiigh his head,
although he had a brother and a son at the bar, that
lawyers half earned their fees.

^. His dislike of Gen. Jackson commenced with the \
high hand with which he carried things in Florida, '
— hanging Arbuthnot and Anibruster, and imprison-
ing the Spanish commissioner, Callava, in Monroe's
administration, and for some irregularity or failure
of memory on the general's part in regard to an
order for a number <ir lar^e iron salt-pans, evapora-
tors, which he ordered while stopping over night in
Uniontown, on liis way to \Va-~hipLilon, as a member
of Congress, to be made at Fairelianee, to be boated
down the river to the nioiith of the Tennessee, on the
Ohio. He also disliked him later on account of liis
war on the tariff and the I'.ank, which he firmly be-
lieved would ruin tl:e business prosperity of the

When Jackson was a candidate for President
there were frequent animated tilts between him and
his sister Juliet, who, in sympathy with her hus-
band, Capt. James A. McClelland, was a stalwart
Jackson man, and on one occasion, when words were
running higher between them than she liked, their
mother laid her command upon them to stop, and

i borne from
, where the
Revs. S. 8.

mdsoiis, and

said, " Hughes, you are a good deal of a Gen. Jack


Dr. Mathiot, of Smithfield, was born at Connclls-
ville, Fayette Co., Pa., Aug. 31, 1815. He is of
French ancestry, having descended from a French
officer who, at the time of the massacre of St. Bar-
tholomew, obeyed the voice of conscience rather than
that of the king and charged on the priests with liis
regiments, for which he was compelled to fly from
France. But the king, winking at his ofiicial miscon-
duct, furnished him a letter intended to serve as a
warrant of immunity from civil arrests, and he re-
turned to France seeking to regain his estates. The
family still found France dangerous ground on ac-
count of the priests, and Jean Mathiot, grandfather of
the doctor, emigrated to America in 1754, settling iji
Lancaster, Pa. He had the previous year married
Catharine Margaret Bernard, daughter of Hon. Jean
James Bernard, mayor of Dampicrre, France. They
had three sons, — Christian, who located in Baltimore,
John, who remained in Lancaster, and George, who
was the father of the subject of this sketch.

George Mathiot was born Oct. 13, 1750, and raised
in Lancaster, Pa., where he enlisted in the i)atriot
army Nov. 18, 1776, and served until the close of
the war, when he was honorably discharged. He
then located at Elk Ridge Landing, near Ellicott's
Mills, Md., where he was married Oct. 31, 1787, to



Ruth Davies, daughter of Joshua Davies, of Aune
Arundel County, Md. This hidy was a Quakeress, j
a perfect type of the gentle but strong character we
are accustomed to associate with the sect to which i
she belonged. In 1790 they moved west of the moun-
tains and located in Connullsville, Fayette Co., Pa.,
where they rosi.kd until liis (k-ath, which occurred ,
ApriU, ls4n,at the advanrcl age of eighty-cne. He
was a man prominent in iiis day in affairs of church '
and State. He was commissioned in ISOO justice of i
the peace for Bullskin township by Governor Thomas
McKean, to serve " so long as you behave yourself i
well," and served until the infirmities of age com-
lielU il liiiii to relinquish the office. He was a promi-
nent niciiibi r of the Methodist Ef)iscopal Church.
HishiMi^i' was till' liume for itinerant ministers, whom
his (.iiiakci- Kil'r cnnlially and kindly entertained.
George Matliioi was tlie fatlier of eleven children, viz. :
Jacob 1>., Kli/a,('atliarine, Mary, Joshua D., Cassan-
dra, Jol.ii, Sn-an, Ann >[.,( k'nrge F., and Henry B. Of
these but two are now living, luimely, Ann M. Dorsey,
widow of Cicorge W. Dorsey, who now resides with
her daughter, Mrs. Stephcnscm, of Parkersburg, W.
Va., and Henry B., tlic > .miigest of the family. Some

of them were prominent
affairs, and all lived tn r:

Dr. Jlatliint'soMr-tbn
was w.-ll known anion- t
Pennsylvania, r\ti
ufacture of iron at Ross

in business life and public

tli.r, Col. Jacob D. Mathiot,
ir business men of Western
isively engaged in the man-
Iron-Works, Westmoreland
County. He represented this county in the State
Legislature in the session of 1833-.34.

Anolbrr brother, Joshua D. Mathiot, l.ieated while
a boy in Newark, Ohio. He became a lawyer, and
represented his di^trict, then the Thirteenth, in the
United States Congress in 1841-42, refusing a re-
election. A daughter of this gentleman married the
di>tinguished Dr. Cuyler, of Brooklyn, N. Y. The
doctor's eldest sister, Eliza Mathiot, married Col.
1 )avidson, an officer of the war of 1812. Col. David-
son was in Hull's command at the time of the sur-
render of Detroit, and nK>rrlied out the forces im-
mediately under his coniinaiul and escaped.

Dr. Mathiot had only the advantages of a common-
school education, and began life on his own account
wlien, as a boy, he left home with his wardrobe in a
cotton handkerchief and fifty cents in his pocket,
walking forty miles in a deep snow to accept a posi-
tion as clerk in the office of his brother at Ross Iron-
Works. The courage and self-reliance lien^ .lisplayed
in the youth foiv-liadowrd the iiidomilalile nirrgy
that has unablcd the man to achieve >u.,rr>s against
every obstacle. In 1837 lie went to New:
and entered the office of Dr. Anderton P.
medical student. He returned to his nati

1 as a

the class of 1852. Nature as well as education made
him a physician, and his success was assured from
the beginning. For more than forty years he has
ranked at the head of his profession in his commu-
nity. With cool judgment and quick perception he
unites large sympathy and an exceeding cheerful dis-
position. In the sick-room he at once commands the
respect and secures the confidence of his patients.
Perhaps he has obtained reputation and practice as
much from his cheerful, sympathetic manner with
patients as his superior skill in administering reme-
dies. His ])hysical endurance has been wonderful.
For twenty-five years his professional field embraced
an extent of territory that made his average day's
riding about thirty miles, and his visiting-list im-
mense. This was done in the saddle, and the older
inhabitants well remember his celebrated horses
"Bill" and "Charley," which were never seen with
their rider, going up-hill or down, in any gait but a
full gallop. He is one of the very kw old-fashioned
doctors who answer all calls, night or day, regardless
of weather or roads, attending rich and poor alike.

He married Rebecca Ruth Brownfield, daughter of
Col. Thomas Brownfield, of Georges township, Fayette
Co., j\Iarcli 19, 1844. His domestic life has been most
fortunate and happy. His wife has been a lielpmeet
in the grande>t M-nse. Her husband's comfort and
her cliililriii'^ iiappincss have been her greatest care,
and to her wikly devotion he is largely indebted for
the comforts of his home, the hospitable doors of
which are ever open. It is proverbial that no house
in the community entertains so many persons, friends
and strangers, a^Dr. Mathiot's. In ]iolitics the doc-
t.>r ha- been a .lecided and positive Whig and Repub-
lican, an earnest advocate of the princijiles and meas-
ures ol' his party. He has twice been the candidate
of his party for the State Legislature, but as the
opposition had an overwhelming majority in the dis-
trict, he was on both occasions defeated. He is an
earnest and persinisive pulilic speaker, and for a quar-
ter of a century his voice has been heard in advocacy
of every moral, temperance, and religious movement
that has agitated the conmiunity in which he lives.
Since ISol he has been an active and consistent
memlicr of the :\Irthodist Episcopal Church, and has
held nio-t of iis olli.ial jio-itions. He was ordained
a deacon by I'.i-liop Monis in ls.".:i, and was ordained
an eldci- by !;i^llop Sinip<(in in 1^72, and consequently
occupies the respoii-ililr po.-ition of a minister in his
rburcli. Hi- si ivies aic much sought, especially by
till' piH.i , to . llirlalc at funerals, as he regards it one
of till' Clowning -loiii s of the Christian dispensation
tliat tlic gospel -hall be jireached to the poor.

He i- pos-csscd of a comfortable home, most desir-
ably located, and sufficient means to render his old
age secure from want. His family has consisted of
ten children, five of whom are now living: Caroline,
( ■barbs II., Ida F., Edward B., and Pcrie A. Several
of these evince excellent mechanical and artistic tal-

■^^^^^^yU^ey^^V ^^L.^^-t-t^^<^






ent, in which the doctor takes a father's pride. The
daughters are young ladies of careful mental disci-
pline; Charles is engaged in the drug business in his
native town ; Edward is just graduated (March 30,
1882) from Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia,
with every promise of success in his profession. Dr.
Mathiot, like many of our self-made men, has been an
assiduous reader and thoughtful student of the vari-
ous subjects touching public interest and general cul-
ture, thus largely supplying the lack of a collegiate
education. But few vocations in life furnish so many
opportunities for usefulness and wide-spread personal
influence as that open to an intelligent. Christian
physician, imbued with public spirit and possessing
a mind richly stored with the fruits of years of care^
All research. With unremitting energy and consci-
entious zeal the doctor has endeavored to discharge
the manifold duties thus open to him, and is still, at
the age of sixty-seven, an active man, earnestly en-
gaged in the various occupations of his busy life.

Eeuben Hague, of Smithfield, is of English stock,
and was born April 16, 1809. Of his ancestors we
have no special account save that they were Quakers ;
but his maternal grandfather was a farmer of some
note, of whose history the legend has been preserved
that he plowed in the forenoon the field of Brandy-
wine whereon the famous battle took place in the
afternoon. Mr. Hague has resided in Fayette County
sixty-five years. He was educated in the common
schools, and is a bricklayer by trade, and has worked
in all parts of Western Pennsylvania. When he
started out in life for himself at eighteen years of
age he had only a " quarter" and a " fippenny-bit"
in his pocket, in all thirty-one cents. He helped lay
up the first brick dwelling in Allegheny City. He
was once a cavalry oflicer in the Virginia militia, and
has served as a school director of his township for
nearly twenty years. For over fifty years he has
been a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian
Church, and has for a long time been an elder
therein. He is a rigid temperance man, and has
been a constant worker in the cause of temperance
since he became twenty years of age. He never spent
but three cents for whisky for his own use. He can-
not be turned from his course by the taunts and jeers
of wine-bibbers. Mr. Hague is the possessor of one
of the best fruit-orchards in Fayette County. His
property consists mainly of real estate. Whatever
criticisms the liquor-loving portion of the community
may indulge in over his extreme but consistent ob-
servance of abstinence from intoxicating beverages,
his neighbors say no harmful words of him.

Feb. 14, 1836, Mr. Hague married Mary Swan, who
died July 1st of the same year. Feb. 14, 1839, he
married again, being united to Mary Lemley. Of

this marriage there are six living children, — Samuel ;
Rebecca Ellen, who married William Booth ; Emily ;
Frances; Jeffries; and Snyder. Tiie second Mrs.
Hague having died, Mr. Hague married a third time,
Nov. 27, 1862, his wife's maiden name having been
Jane Abraham. A son, James A., is the issue of this


William H. Trader, of Georges township, is a man
of mark, distinctively of that honorable class called
" self-made," having fought the battle of life to finan-
cial success by his own energy and skill. He was
born in Maryland, near the line of Virginia, Jan. 15,
1818. When he was two years of age his father left
Virginia and sett lid in < Ji.n-ji^ in\vn<hip. Mr. Trader
never enjoyed ii].|M,rtiiiiili. > ..f -.linnliiig. What he
learned he pickrd u[> ;is lie nmlil. His summers were
employed rultiviitiiiir tlic lioine farm, his winters in
threshiiiL'- with a flail, until lie became eighteen years
of age, when he lelt his rallicr, or "turned out," with-
out money or education, lu make lii- nu n way in life,
first working for a farniur n\' lii^ lui^lilMirliiiiHl.

In 1841 he married Charlotte !■' ranks, of Nicholson
township. By her he has ten children, all living,—
three sons and seven daughters, — all of whom but one
are married. Mr. Trader has held the office of school
director and other important township offices. Both
himself and his wife are members of the Baptist
Church. He is a modest, unassuming man, and en-
joys an excellent business and general reputation.
He has lived upon Ids present farm thirty-five years,
and has steadily worked on to fortune, accomplishing
the purpose of his early life, and is now regarded
wealthy, his estate being estimated by his neighbors
at from sixty thousand dollars to seventy-five thou-
sand dollars. About two hundred and fifty-seven
acres of Mr. Trader's homestead farm are underlaid
with the five-feet vein and the nine-feet vein, also, of
Connellsville coking coal.


Robert Britt, of Smithfield, is of Irish descent, and
was born in Chester County, Pa., June 4, ISOo,
and removed from there with his father to Springhill
Furnace, Fayette Co., in August, 1811. He re-
ceived his education in the common schools. Mr.
Britt is by occupation a carpenter. He spent two
years working at his trade in Kentucky, and, follow-
ing his vocation, passed eight years of his life in
Virginia ; the rest has been spent in Fayette County.
He has resided in his present home for thirty-two

Dec. 11, 1831, he married Asenath Greenlee, a lady
of Irish stock, whose mother was three years old
■only when brought to America. Of this union are
three children,— -Mary Emily, married to Benjamin



Franklin Goodwin ; Frances Elizabeth, wife of Al-
bert S. Miller ; and Frank P., who was educated in
the common schools at Washington and Jefferson
College, and the Allegheny Theological Seminary,
and is now pastor of the Pisgah Presbyterian Church
at Corsica, Jefferson Co., Pa. Mr. Britt and his wife
have been members of the Presbyterian Church for
more than a quarter of a century. In December,
1881, they celebrated their golden wedding. Mr.
Britt has held the office of school director, and other
responsible township offices. He has always been a
Jefferson Democrat, and never swerved from his party.


Justus Dunn, of Georges to^ynship, is a prosperous
farmer and stock-dealer, and was born in Erie City,
June 8, 1817. He is the son of Simeon Dunn, of
Irish stock, and who served in the war of 1812 as a
"dispatcher," carrying orders or dispatches from Erie
to Buffalo, N. Y. He bore the first news of Perry's
victory to Bufialo.

Mr. Dunn began business life at the bottom of the
financial scale, chopping wood at twenty cents per
cord when he first came to Fayette County ; but he is
now in good circumstances, and owns a valuable tract
of land, which is well improved. He settled in his
present location in 1844. He has been treasurer of
Fayette County for two years and eight months. On
May 26, 1852, he married Mary A. Zearly, of Nichol-
son township, by whom he has had eleven children,
four of whom are married and have left the homestead,
seven remaining at home. The Dunn family is hardy
and long-lived. Mr. Dunn has an uncle wlio is ninety-
eight years of age, and was married for the second
time when he was ninety- four. An aunt of his died
a few years ago aged over one hundred years.

Mr. Dunn is a good business man, and commands
the respect of his neighbors and all others with whom
he deals.

Col. James Robinson, of Oliphant Furnace, repre-
sents the Scotch-Irish Presbyterian stock. His grand-
father settled in 1780, in what was then Georges town-
ship, now Nicholson, upon a farm which remained in
the Robinson name for ninety-nine years. James Rob-
inson was born Nov. 27, 1806. He was educated in the
common schools, and spent over twenty years of his
early manhood in the iron business with F. Hughes
Oliphant, at Springhill and Fairchance Furnaces. The
greater part of this time he was superintendent, as
which he was not only successful, but by his unassum-
ing yet potent influence obtained and held the respect
and good will of all in his employ. In all business
transactions he is a man of the most strict integrity.
He obtained his military title by election to the posi-
tion of colonel in the State militia, receiving his com-
mission from Governor Wolf during the latter's first
term in the gubernatorial chair. Jan. 27, 1857, he
niuiricd Mrs. Catharine Saams, of Allegheny County,
who died Sept. 9, 1863, leaving three children, — Mar-
garet Ann, John Taylor, and Emma Caroline. The
colonel was again married Feb. 13, 1866, to Miss La-
vinia P. Caldwell, of St. Joseph, Mo., and has no
living children by his second wife. He was elected
director of the first railroad built from Connellsville
to Uniontown,now owned by the Baltimore and Ohio
Railroad Company (and in which he is yet a stock-
holder). He was also elected a director of the
National Bank of Fayette County at its organization,
and held position as such for a number of years, and
was elected director of the People's Bank of Fayette
County, which position he still holds. Coal lands,
railroad and bank stock, and United States bonds
constitute his chief possessions.

Col. Robinson is an energetic man, of few words,
pleasant and unobtrusive in manner, of a kind, be-
nevolent spirit, especially to the worthy poor, greatly
attached to homo and fireside, and walks blameless
before, and is popular with, his neighbors. Withal,
a true gentleman of the old school.


The township of German occupies a position .wuth it. The township is well watered, but has no large
of a line drawn east and west through the centre of streams except the Monongahela, its western bound-

the county. It is bounded north by Luzerne and
Menallen, east by South Union and Georges, south
by Nicholson, west by the Monongahela River. There
are no mountains nor any considerable elevations in

' By .liinies Ro

ary. Its principal creeks are Brown's, Middle, and
Deep, all flowing west and falling into the river. The
controlling topographical feature is a series of hills
or ridges crossing it from east to west. When viewed
from a higher elevation, they resemble a plain covered
with a multitude of cones, some large, some small.


2^/7^Z^^^ ^/ ^/^ Z^/ /a/ ^^2^

t: :

7 ^^

^ C'7



In the northwest of the township a considerable
number of those mounds exist which have so long
engaged the attention of travelers and philosophers,
and of which Mr. Jefferson speaks in his " Notes on
Virginia." Their shape has been so often described
that a repetition seems altogether superfluous. Many
bits of pottery, stone implements of various kinds,
pipes, and remains can be found after plowing or
hard rains. Along the Monongahela are rocks, upon
which are cut strange hieroglyphics. Others are in-
dented with footprints of birds and animals, said to
have been done when these rocks were in the plastic
state. Just south of Middle Run several rocks may

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 134 of 193)