Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 164 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 164 of 193)
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and being .accompanied all the time by a number of intelli-
gent, respectable citizens interested in the new township, and
finding great unanimity of sentiment so far as heard ex-
pressed by all included therein, they unhesitatingly recommend
to the court the formation of a new township out of parts of the
townships of Washington, Franklin, and Tyrone, with the fol-
lowing boundaries, viz.: Beginning at Robinson's Mill on
Jacob's Creek, on the line between Fayette and VTestmoreland
Counties, in Tyrone township ; thence a straight line to Robert
Hutchinson's barn, in Tyrone township aforesaid,* thence a
straight line to the foot of Grassy Island, in the Youghiogheny
River, at the head of the round bottom; thence np the said
river to the mouth of Virgin Run; thence up the said run to
McDonald's Mill ; thence by a new road recently located from
said mill to the old road leading from Union Town to Pitts-
burgh near Robert Patterson's; thence with the said Pittsburgh
road to the top of the hill near Martin Lutz' house; thence by
a straight line to the Perryopolis and Cookstown road, near
where a ravine crosses said road on Thomas Patton's land;
thence by a straight line to a white-oak tree on the Westmore-
land County line, on the land of J.acob Snyder; thence by the
county line aforesaid to the place of beginning."

June 7, 1839, the report was confirmed by the



court and a township erected " according to the lines
of the plot returned, to be called Perry township." '
The following is a list of township officers of Perry
from the time of its erection to the present:




I Sill.

James Fuller.


George W. Ander

Ellis Simpkins.

J. A. Murphy.


Jub Eossell.


John R. McDonal

Reuben Sutton.

Josiah King.


Pierson Cope.


Robert Bleakley.

Robert Bleakley.

James Blair.


Thomas Shepherd.


T. L. Newell.

Robert Bleakley.


.TiUin-= l>. I'ope.


.James Bl.air, Jr.


T. .1. -Ilttlr,

Robert Bleakley.


1,- \V.,t5on.


Robert Bleakley.
John K. McDonald.


Thom^is C. .-^traw



1 8411

Amos Hewitt.


Pierson Cope.

•Samuel Hubbs.


Martin Hewitt.

James Patterson.


Charles Lutz.


John A. Murphy.


George W. Marti


James Fuller.


Eli McClelland.


John L. Morton.


David Fuller.

Samuel Porter.


Robe.t Bleakley.

Robert Bleakley.


John Yard.


William Campbell.


Pierson Cope.


Pierson Cope.


Emlin Pierce.


W. T. McCormick.


Daniel Fuller.


Andrew Stone.


David P. Hagertj


Thomas Shepherd.


Joseph Piersol.


John K. McDonald.


David Luee.


William Martin.


A. llr.xenbaugh.


John Hewitt.


Joseph Pier.s.d.


John K. McDontild.


David l.UL-c.


Samuel Watson.


Samuel Luee.


L. R. King.


Willuun Snyder.


David Luce.


Leslie Harris.


James E. Strickler.

William W. Patte


Henry Mherling.


Elliot Porter.


1840. James Blair. 1843. Robert B. Patters

1841. Martin EUvell. I 1844. John Blaney.

1842. Alexander Armstrong. I 1845. John M. March.

1846. Ross M. Murphy.

1847. James Patterson, Jr

1848. James Pearsoll.

1849. William. Martin.

1850. Joseph Luce.

1851. Martin Ellwell.

1852. Lynch R. King.

1853. Aaron Townsend.

1854. Milton Hewitt.

1855. Job Strawn.

1856. John Hewitt.

1857. Gottlieb Zizing.

1858. Henry Stuokstager.

1859. John A. Murphy.

1860. Patrick Watson.

1861. Jacob Strickler.

1862. George M. Jackson.

1863. James P. Cope.

1864. Noah Armstrong.
1S65. Samuel Strickler.

1866. Benjamin F. Harris

1867. James Bell.

1868. Asa Chambers.

1869. Martin Thompson.

1870. Thomas C. Strawn.

1873. C. B. Campbell.
Elliot Porter.

1874. Samuel Luce.
1S75. John Townsend.
1876. William Blaney.

1878. Henry Stone.

1879. George W. Jackson

1880. Philip Luce.

1881. Job Strawn.
E. K. Chalfant.


I At the Sejjteniber term of court, 1842, a petition was presented "of
sundry inhabitants of Perry township for an alteration of the line be-
twei-u said tuwuship and the township of Tyrone, as per draft annexed
tu petition.'' Order was issued and Tiewera appointed. On .the 2d of
Decendier, 1844, the order was renewed to March sessions, 1845, at which
time the report was approved (March 14th), and confirmed by the court
Juue Gtli in the same year. .\t the same time a change was made in the
line between Perry and Jeffei-son (see JeiTerson and Tyrone township

At the Decemlier term of court, 1851, a petition wjis presented for'' .i
view to change the line between Franklin and Perry townships, so as tu
embrace Aaron Townsend, Jr., Laban Blaney, John U. Blaney, and Joel
Cooper (now of Franklin township) in the township of Perry, by start-
ing at the township line at or near said Townsend's new house; thence
along tlie Greeufield and Counellsville m.ul to Joel Cooper's farm or
bridge that crosses the head-watei-s of \ 1 ' _ l;i,[;. m I th.ricedown the

same to Malcolm McDonald's Mill.^.' i. . mi^ appointed

were Josiah King, Daniel Essingtoii, :iii I i <,[;:'.tli Order was

issued Jan. 24, 1852. Eeport approv, 1 n r. >l ,; I, - -i..ns of court,
1852, and confirmed at the Juue term foUou ii,...

Before the year 1814, Dr. Thomas Hersey, Nathan
Hersey, and Samuel Shreve had bought of George
Meason a part of the Washington tract, with the in-
tention of laying out a village or town upon their
purchase. Thomas E. Burns owned land on the
northetist of them, and became interested with them
in the platting of the town. On the 18th of March,
in the year named above, these four proprietors exe-
cuted the " charter" of the town of Perryopolis, as
follows :

'• Tu all to whom these prenenls shall come, Greethuj : Whereas
we, the undersigned, Nathan Hersey, Thomas Hersey, Thomas
i E. Burns, and Samuel Shreve, of Fayette County, .t State of
Pennsylvania, for divers good causes and considerations there-
unto moving, have caused to be laid off on the contiguous parts
I of our lands in Washington Township, County, .t State afore-
[ said a number of lots interspersed with Streets and Alleys, in
j order to promote the erection of a Town, to be known by the
I name of Perryopolis. Now know ye that in order to promote
■ tlic prosperity and encourage the improvement of said Town,
I and secure to the purchasers of lots therein the privileges and
, immunities necessary for the common interest, we, the under-
I signed Proprietors of Perryopolis aforesaid, feel it our pleas-
urable duty to give forth this our Charter, to wit: 'Washing-
ton's Diamond,' in the centre of s.aid Town, is laid off one
hundred and sixty feet square. The two principal Streets,
* Liberty' and ' Independence,* crossing each other at right
angles in said Diamond, are laid off eighty feet wide. The
alleys proceeding from each of the four corners of said Dia-
mond are laid off twenty feet wide. All the other streets are
laid out and intended to be sixty feet wide, and all other alleys
are laid off and intended to be fifteen feet wide, as by the gen-
eral plan hereunto annexed will appear. All which said Dia-
mond, Streets, and Alleys shall be and remain of the aboye
.ri|Hii:itod width and dimensions severally, any excess or defi-
< o iiry ii] the measure of any lot or lots notwithstanding, and
they are hereby declared to be public highways, and appropri-
ated solely to that purpose. To have and to hold the free and
undisturbed use of the ground of the above-described Diamond,
Streets, and Alleys for the above purposes to the Purchasers,
Inhabitants, and Citizens of the aforesaid Town of Perryopolis,
its vicinity, and all other persons whatsoever demeaning them-
selves peaceably and as liege citizens of the United States, in
common with ourselves, our heirs, and assigns forever, reserv-



nder our hands and seals a
1 the year of our Lord 1S14.

Perryopolip, the ISth of March,

"Thomas Heiisev.
"Thomas E. Birns.
"Samuel Shiieve.
"Nathan Hersey."

In the laying out of the alleys eight triangles were
formed, which were set apart for public uses as fol-
lows : No. 66, religious ; 67, female school ; 68, acad-
emy ; 69, male school ; 70, religious ; 71, Masonic,
medical, mechanic ; 72, library ; 73, " paupery." The
charter and plat were filed May 3, 1837.

At the time of the laying out of Perryopolis there
were but two or three straggling dwellings on its site.
One of these was the house or cabin of John Wilgus,
who as early as 1806 came from his native State,
New Jersey, and settled on the Washington Bottoms,
then in the township of Washington. He became a
justice of the peace, and filled that office for many
years. He is still remembered by the older citizens
of Perry township. His son Joseph was born in
1807, where Perryopolis now is, and he is now living
at Layton's Station. Edward Wilgus, a brother of
John, came here at about the same time. He was a
shoemaker, worked at his trade here, and ended his
days here. Some of his family are still residents of

The platting of the new town had the effect to at-
tract considerable attention to the place, and the dis-
covery of sand suitable for the manufacture of glass
induced the organization of a company for that pur-
pose. The project being pushed with energy, and
recommended to the people in glowing terms, the far-
mers and other well-to-do inhabitants of this section
of country subscribed liberally to this enterprise, as
also to the stock of a banking concern which was
.started about the same time. A flint-glass factory
was erected where the Methodist Church and ceme-
tery now are. From bad management or other causes
none of these projects proved profitable to the original
stockholders or of permanent advantage to the town.
Their failure brought disaster to many public-spirited
people who aided them by subscriptions, and Perry-
opolis never realized the prosperity and importance
which at one time seemed assured by the establish-
ment of these enterprises.

The Perryopolis Glass- Works is a name well known
in this region, but very little definite information can
now be obtained concerning their starting and subse-
quent operation. They were carried on by Thomas
Bleakley, whose management resulted in disastrous
failure and the sale by the sheriff of about twenty of
the best farms in this section, their owners having
sunk their property in subscriptions to the stock of
the glass company. After 1830 the glass-works prop-
erty came into the possession of John F. Martin and
Jonathan Baker, and under their management be-
came more successful. Later it came into tlie hands

of Henry B. Goucher, under whom the business lan-
guished, and was finally discontinued. The property
now belongs to the heirs of the late Andrew Stewart.
The Youghiogheny Banking Company was organ-
ized in 1814 by Eastern men, who succeeded in in-
ducing the farmers through this section to subscribe
largely to its stock. The only definite knowledge ob-
tained of any of the affairs of this bank is the follow-
ing advertisement, found in the columns of the Genius
of Liberty of the year indicated, viz. :


" Stockholders to attend at the house of Caleb B.
Potter, in Perryopolis, on Monday, Nov. 18, 1816, in
order to elect a Cashier, and for other purposes.
" Joseph Bennett,
" Cashier pro fem.

" Pf.revopolis, Oct. 19, 1816."

The affairs of the bank were wound up gradually,
and the management finally came into the hands of
Robert Lynch and Jesse Arnold, and every dollar of
its notes (presented for payment) was redeemed.
So that the public lost nothing, though the original
stockholders lost all. The old stone banking-house,
on Liberty Street, was purchased by John F. Martin,
who afterwards kept a store in it. It is now occupied
by the Perryopolis post-office.

David Barnes and Joseph Barnet came here from
Connellsville soon after the opening of the glass-
works, and sunk a well near Washington's Run to the
depth of nearly three hundred feet in the hope of
finding salt water. Their expectations were realized
to the extent that they struck a vein of strong salt
water, from which they were enabled to produce about
two hundred bushels of salt, and they began to en-
tertain high hopes of brilliant success, when, at the
end of about a week, the flow suddenly and entirely
ceased, and the manufacture of salt in Perryopolis
was terminated, probably forever.

A newspaper was started in Perryopolis (soon after
the laying out of the town) by William Campbell, a
brother of Dr. Hugh Campbell, of Uniontown. He
(William) had been the editor of the Fai/ette and
Greene Spectator, in Uniontown, for one year from its
first publication in 1811. The name of the paper he
published in Perryopolis has not been ascertained.
The office where it was published was on a lot oppo-
site the residence of John Fuller. Campbell, the
editor and publisher, had moved from Uniontown in
1812 to Washington township, where, in January,
1813, he married Priscilla, daughter of John Porter.
The paper which he started in Perryopolis was short-
lived, and after its discontinuance he removed to New
Lisbon, Ohio, where he soon after commenced the
publication of another journal.

The first tavern in Perryopolis was opened in 1815,
by Caleb Porter, on the corner where Davidson's
Hall now stands. In this house all the public meet-


ings of that time were held. Gen. Lafayette dined
there in 1825, when on his way from Uniontown to
Cookstown (Fayette City) and Pittsburgh. Among
the landlords of the place from time to time were
John Waldron, George Hazen, and Moses Jeffries,
the latter of whom lived at the lower end of the town,
where James Shepard now lives.

Among the early blacksmiths of Perryopolis were
Daniel Fields, whose shop was on the school-house
lot; Thomas Van Hook, on the McDonald lot; and -
William Kyle, where Adam Hixenbaugh now has a
shop. In 1830, Mr. Hixenbaugh took the shop, and
has been in the business continuously till the present

Samuel Porter came from Greene County, Pa., to
Perryopolis in 1819. He was connected with the
glass-works till about 1851, when he bought a part
of the Turnbull tract, north of the Youghiogheuy
Eiver, where his son James now lives,— a part of the
old Secrist tract. On this land he, with his son John,
quarried stone for furnace use until 18G0. About that
time stone of the same quality was discovered in the
mountains above Connellsville, where John and
James Porter are now engaged in the quarrying of it.

The first resident physician in Perryopolis was Dr.
Thomas Hersey, one of the original proprietors of
the town. He afterwards removed to the West.
Among those who succeeded him in practice here
were the following-named physicians : Dr. William
Morris practiced and died here. Dr. McSherry came
from Brownsville, practiced here for a time, and after-
wards removed to Mineral Point, Wis. These were
followed in practice by Dr. Mitchell ; Dr. James E.
Estep (died here in 1836); Drs. Patterson, Way,
Crawford,Gordon, Johnson, F.Shugart, James Storer,
Robinson, Abrams, H. B. Arnold, Grader, and McKos-
key. The present physicians of the town are Drs. O.
P.McKay and J. 11. Davidson.

Dr. McKay studied medicine at Washington, Pa.,
with Dr. J. W. Blatchley ; attended lectures at the
Ohio Medical College, Cincinnati; came to Perryop-
olis Feb. 12, 1866, and has since been in practice in
the town to the present time.

Dr. Davidson is a native of Redstone township.
He studied medicine with Dr. S. W. Chalfant, at
Upper Middletown ; attended lectures at the Western
Reservi- Medical Cnllege, Cleveland, Ohio; has been
■tirv in rcnyoimlis since Dec. 12, 1872. He is
ber of the Fayette County Medical Society.

in pr
a me

The postmasters of Perryville from the establish-
ment of the office to the present time have been (as
nearly as can be ascertained) as follows: Caleb Trevor,
Moses Jeffries, William McCray, Adam Hixenbaugh,
John Ebbert, Allen Murphy, John Voorhees, James
Murphy, William Grist, John McCullough, Mary
Campbell, and Lucy Martin, the present incumbent.

In 1838 a pottery

in operation where

Aaron Higbee now lives in Perryopolis. It continued
to be worked by him for about fifteen years, then it
was sold to John Ebbert, who ran it for one year. He
sold to Thomas Suttle, who carried it on for about
twenty years, after which it was discontinued. The
kiln is still standing.

David Anderson, of Pittsburgh, built a pottery below
the glass-works and near Washington Run in 1859.
Three years later it was sold to John A. Murphy. It
was kept in operation till 1868.

John Porter & Brothers started a pottery in 1859
in the rear of the Methodist Church. It was in oper-
ation only about three years, and then discontinued.

The sand and clay of Perryopolis and vicinity were
found to be admirably adapted to the manufacture of
glass and pottery-ware. Large quantities of sand
were shipped about 1825 ironi this place to Pitts-
burgh, Monongahela City, Brownsville, Cookstown^
and Elizabethtown. A vein of clay sixteen feet in
thickness was used largely, both for the pottery-works
here and for shipment to other markets.

In the year 1853, when stone blocks were being
contributed from all the States of the Union for the
erection of the Washington Monument, at Washing-
ton, D. C, a block for that purpose was quarried by
Pierson Cope, owner of a part of the Washington
Bottoms, from which it was taken. Its removal from
the quarry to the " Diamond" in Perryopolis was
made the occasion of a Fourth of .July (1853) cele-
bration, of which Gen. Joseph Markle was the presi-
dent; William Campbell (who lived on the site of the
old Washington house). Dr. David Porter, and others,
vice-presidents ; and Col. William Y. Roberts, orator
of the day. The procession which escorted the block
from the quarry to the" Diamond" was large, and ac-
companied by a band of music. The stone (five feet
in length and eighteen inches square) was loaded oi»
a wagon drawn by four fine horses, trimmed and dec-
orated with flowers and evergreens. Sitting on the
block, and dressed in " regimentals," was an old negro
called "Funty Munty," or Simon Washington, who
had been a slave, and owned by Gen. Washington.
This old man, with a stone hammer in his hand, occa-
sionally pecked the stone, so that it might truthfully
be said not only that the block was taken from land
once owned Ijy Gen. Washington, but that it was
worked by one of his former slaves. The celebration
was attended by nearly three hundred people, and
great enthusiasm was manifested on the occasion.

Schools were taught at different times in an early
day in several of the dwelling-houses of Perryopolis.
Mrs. John F. Martin remembers attending school
about 1820 in the bank building, where she now lives.
The school was taught by a man named Tower, and

afterwards by Isaac C. Murphy and Ayres. In

1828 a school-house was erected on lot No. 69, which
had been designated and set apart in the original plat



and cliarter for the innpo-ie of a male school. Under
the school law of the State, this school-house came
under charge of the school directors. It was used for
schools for some years, and then abandoned. The
present school-house was built in 1852, on lot No.
79, which was donated by the proprietors in the char-
ter of the town for " Paupery." The schools of Perry-
opolis are at present under charge of Noah Patton as

A lodge of the Independent Order of Good Tem-
plars was chartered in Perryopolis in May, 1879, with
John A. Ebbert as W. C. Templar, and Miss Lucy A.
Martin as Vice-Templar. It now contains about
thirty-five members. The present (1881) officers are:
Noah Patton, W. C. T. ; Mollie Strawn, V. T. ; Walter
Hixenbaugh, Sec. ; Lewis Berwick, Treas. Meetings
are held in Davidson's Hall.

Fayette Lodge, No. 172, Ancient Order of United
Workmen, was chartered March 23, 1880, with six-
teen members. It now (June, 1881) contains twenty-
seven. The present officers of the lodge are as named
below: P. M. W., E. K. Chalfant; M. W., William
C. Drumm ; Foreman, Joseph Newcomer ; Overseer,
T. G. Herwick; Recorder, N. O. Stinger; Financier,
J. H. Davidson ; Receiver, J. Baker, Jr.

The population of Perryopolis by the census of
1880 was three hundred and twenty-one.


This railway station, which has given its name to
the small village clustered about it, is located on the
right bank of the Youghiogheny River, in the east
part of Perry township, on the line of the Pittsburgh
and Connellsville Railroad, and was established at
the time of the opening of that line. The first store
was opened there by Henry H. BroUier, who was also
a telegraph operator. He became successful in trade,
and afterwards left the place and removed West.
His successor in the store was James Stickle, who
kept it two or three years, and sold to Baugh &
Drumm, who are the present proprietors. Another
store was opened by P. M. Hunt in 1876, and one has
recently been built for Carson & Carr. The first
postmaster at Layton Station was Henry H. Brollier,
who was succeeded by James Carson, the present

About 1868 the rock on the farm of Joseph Wilgus,
at Layton, was found to contain a large percentage
of pure silex, rendering it valuable in the manufac-
ture of glass. Samples were sent to Pittsburgh,
where its quality was pronounced excellent, and from
that time to the present large quantities of it have
been shipped to that city for use in the glass-works.
Mr. Wilgus has sold a part of his land (about four
acres) containing the rock to Noah Spear, who is con-
stantly employed in supplying it for the glass-works
in Pittsburgh. The amount now shipped daily to
that place averages forty tons.

A bed of fire-clay, lying above the sand-rock, ia
found admirably adapted for union with German clay
for fire-pots, and also unites well with the Missouri
clay. This fire-clay is taken out and shipped by Mr.
Wilgus at eight dollars per ton. In the past twelve
years he has sold it to the amount of thirty thousand
dollars, mostly for shipment to Pittsburgh. There is
also found on his tract a Bond clay, which is used for
the manufacture of fire-brick. In the year 1871 " The
Diamond Fire-Brick Company" commenced work at
this place, and in 1879 sold out to Davidson & Drumm,
who have manufactured about two million bricks the
past year. About an equal number are manufactured
by the Keystone Fire-Brick Company, who com-
menced operations in the spring of 1880. These
bricks are chiefly used in the construction of furnaces
and coke-ovens.

Land on the bottoms along the Youghiogheny
River was, in the early years, considered as of little
value, and the locality was known as " Poverty Neck,"
but it has since proved amine of wealth to its posses-
sors by reason of the development of its sand-rock and
fire-clay resources.

" Big Falls" in the Youghiogheny, near Layton
Station, is a place noted for the many drownings and
other accidents which have occurred in its swift cur-
rent. In 1805 a man named Moorhead was drowned
there by the swamping of a flat-boat. In 1807 an-
other accident of the same kind occurred at this place,
resulting in the death of one man. In 1810 a Mr.
Dougherty, when in liquor (as was said), attempted to
ford the river here and was drowned. In 1814 a flat-
boat, loaded with pig-metal, was sunk here and one
man drowned. In the same year George Ebbert and
Martin Kennedy, both of Perryopolis, were drowned
here from a raft of logs. In 1822 a man, while at-
tempting to land an iron-loaded flat-boat, after pass-
ing through the dangers of the falls, jumped for the
shore, but fell into the river and was drowned. In
1834 a coal-boat coming down the river at a high
stage of water was wrecked at this place, drowning
four men, — Andrew Burtt, John Franklin, Andrew
Knight, and Wesley Johns. In 1836, Andrew Bobb
was killed while assisting in turning a flat-boat. In

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 164 of 193)