Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 178 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 178 of 193)
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were Josiah, who lost his life at the old Laurel Fur-
nace while attempting to rescue a furnace-man who
was overcome by the fire in the stack; Thomas, who
removi'd to Illinois; John, who lived in Greene
County, l':i., :inil who was one of the greatest ath-
letes ill that part cjf the State; Lewis, who removed
to IlliiKiis; .lames II., horn in 1798, and yet a citizen
of till- town^liip; Klijali and Elisha, removed to Illi-
nois. Some of these were great hunters, and had
many stirring adventures with wild animals. The
three daughters of Thomas Mitchell married James
Spencer, William Thorpe, and Isaac Haney. The
latter removed to the West; he was an early settler.

Xot long after the Revolution, in which he served,
John Potter, a native of New Jersey, moved to Henry
Clay township, where he lived until his death in the
fall of 182(3. Eleven of his children grew to mature
years, but all of his sons except Amos and Samuel
removed to the West. The former resides in Wharton,
and the latter is a well-known citizen of Stewart, and
is the father of John B., George B., Charles, Amos,
and Thomas T. Potter, all but Amos residing in the
township. Samuel Potter was born in 1805, and as a
young man was active in building mills and making
other improvements, some of which are yet owned by
the family.

Benjamin Leonard was reared in the family of
Reuben Thorpe, and after attaining manhood made
an improvement on the bottoms below the mill owned
by Potter. He afterwards cleared up the farm which
is now owned by his youngest son, Robert. Other
sons were Eli, Amos P. (a minister of the Methodist
Episcopal Church), Reuben, Christmas, and Robert.
Nearly all of these continue to reside in the town-

On what is well known as the Joseph Price place,
Peter Briner, a (4ernian, settled about 1800, and
reared a tamily, but removed to the West more than
fifty years ago. Among his sons was Andrew, who
also cleared a farm on Cucumber Run, and lived there
until his death in 18131. One of his sons, Samuel,
yet resides near Falls City. Joshua Briner, the old-
est of Andrew's sons, resided at L^niontowu at the
age of eighty years. John Briner, another -on, it-
sides in Dunbar. The deep place in the V-ou-hio-
gheny River near Cucumber Run, noted as aljoumling
with fisli, took its name from this family.

William Williams came from Bedford County to
Connellsville in 1803, but in 1830 settled in Stewart,
locating on Meadow Run, where he died in 1848. He
reared sons named John, Isaac, James, Samuel, Wil-
liam D., and Joseph, the latter two being the only
ones living in the township, Joseph for the past
twenty-four years being a merchant in Stewart. Wil-
liam Williams was one of the parties who had a con-
tract to open tlie clay pike in 181 0.

In the Sugar-Loaf District among the early settlers
were the Shipley family, Henry McClatchey, and
Henry Gilmore, all of whom removed early. Guyson
Morrison came at a later day and settled on the Hall
farm on the Turkey Foot road, and a mile south Wil-
liam Morrison made some improvements about 1830.
David Woodmansee has lived in that locality since
IS.'iO, and is now one of the oldest settlers there.
Garrett Hall was a settler earlier on the place yet
occupied by his family. Abram Tumbly lived on the
Thomas Mitchell place as early as 1790. He removed
to Confluence.

North of the Yough, David Thorpe improved the
James Thorpe farm as early as 1805. Tlie Peter
Tissue farm was commenced by Jacob Streight, and
farther east were James Fulton, the Marietta, Zarley,
and Minor families as pioneers.


At the October term of Court of Quarter Sessions
in 1854 a petition for a new township was presented,
to be composed of parts of Wharton, Henry Clay,
and Youghiogheny townships, with bounds as set
forth in the petition. The court appointed Thomas
R. Davidson, Alexander McClean, and Daniel Dow-
ner viewei-s, the order for their appointment bearing
date Nov. 10, 1854. The order was renewed at the
June session in 1855, and continued in August of the
same year. At the September court in 1855 the
commissioners reported :

" having gone upon the premi.=es and made an e.Kaini-
nation of the same, according to law, we are of the opinion that
a new township should be made within the following described
boundaries, viz. : Beginning at a point where the Somerset
County line strikes the Youghiogheny River, thence to Garrett
Hall's, at the Cold Glade Ridge ; thence to Z. Luddington's tan-
yard, by Henry Morris' to Joseph Bodkin's; thence to the Dun-
bar line, near Centre Furnace; thence by the said Dunbar line
to the Youghiogheny River ; thence to the Sjiringfield lino, near
the stone meeting-house, and thence by the Springfield line to
the Somerset line, and thence by the said line to the Youghio-
gheny River, the place of beginning. And that the lower end
of Youghiogheny struck off be added to Springfield township."

Nov. 17, 1855, the view and report were confirmed,
and the new township ordered to be called Stewart,
the name being given it in compliment to the Hon.
Andrew Stewart. The first election after the organi-
z.ation of Stewart as a separate township was held at
the house of Theophilus Keller, March 21, 1856, and
the following officers elected: Justice of the Pe;ice,
Thomas Burgess ; Constable, James Leonard ; Asses-
sor, James Morrison ; Auditor, John B. Potter. The
ofiicers elected in succeeding years are named below,
viz. :

Essor, Th..

as Thorpe; Auditor, .John Holland.
Peace, Elijah S, Harbaugh; Assessor,
Sylvester C. Skinner; Auditor, Harvey Morris.
1859.— Assessor, Samuel C. Price; Auditor, Eli.iah Harbaugh.
I860.— Assessor, David Ogg ; Auditor, Samuel Potter.
ISOl —Justice of the Peace, James M. Dixon; Assessor, John
\V. Holland.



1862. — Assessor, George llarbaugh ; Auditor, Elijali llaibaugh.
ISfiS.— Justice of the Peace, Elijah S. Harhaugh ; Assessor,

Henry C. Price : Auditor, James H. Mitchell.
18fi4.— Assessor, David Fulton: Auditor, James M. Di.\on.
1 St>5. — Justice of the Peace, Joseph Williams ; Assessor, Thomas

Thorpe ; Auditor, Samuel Potter.
ISfiB.— Assessor, Sylvester C. Skinner ; Auditor, Emanuel Bis-

ISH7.— Justice of the Peace. Sylvester C. Skinner : Assessor,

Joseph Williams: Auditor, R. J. Sprowl.
ISfiS.— Justice of the Peace, Sylvester C. Skinner; Assessor,

Robert Turney ; Auditor, Samuel Potter.
1869.— Assessor, Jesse Shaw; Auditor, Robert Turney.
1869.— Auditor, Sylvester Skinner.
1870.— Justice of the Peace, John Ferrin ; Assessor, Francis

Morrison ; Auditor, Henry Morris.
IS72. March.— Justice of the Peace, George W. Folke : Asses-
sor, Isaac Hutchinson.
1873.— Assessor, William Griffith; Auditor, R. J. Sprowl.
1874. — Assessor, George Harbaugh ; Auditor, Joseph Leonard.
1875.— Justice of the Peace, Thomas Thorpe; Assessor, Joseph

Kinnear; Auditor, S. C. Price.
1876.— Assessor, Thomas L. Butler; .\uditor, Hugh Nicolay.
1S77.— Justice of the Peace, Francis D. Morrison: Auditor,

John B. Potter.
1.'<7S.— Assessor, F. M. Cunningham ; Auditor, R. V. Ritenour.
1879.- Assessor, J. V. Rush ; Auditor, Samuel Potter.
1880.— Justice of the Peace, Thomas Thorpe; Assessor, F. M.

Cunningham ; Auditor, J. T. Lamba.
18S1.— Justice of the Peace, Robert S. McCrum ; Assessor, F.

M. Cunningham; Auditor, G. W. Moon; Supervisors of

Roads, Thomas Thorpe, George Harbaugh, David Wood-

mansee. and S. D, Hall.

The Turkey Foot road, the oldest thoroughfare in
the township, was opened about 1803 as a highway
between Uniontown and Somerset. All the other
roads have a recent origin. The Stewarton post-office
was established in August, 1871, with John W. Moon
as postmaster. He was succeeded in the fall of 1873
by Andrew Stewart, Jr., and the office was kept in a
store which Moon had opened, and which was de-
stroyed by fire in 1874. It was removed about this
time to a station farther down the road in Springfield
township, known before that time as Yough, retain-
ing the name it bore when established. Peter B.
Half hill was appointed postmaster, and his successors
have been E. A. Harbaugh and tlie present, Joseph
Herwick. The office has daily mails, and is the ter-
minus of the Springfield mail-route. The former
station of Stewarton received the name of Yough,
but since the removal of the saw-mill and the de-
struction of the store the place has been forsaken,
and the station has passed into disuse.

This is the only village in Stewart, and is situated
near the centre of the township, on both sides of the
Youghiogheny, and at the noted Ohio Pile Falls. It
is a station on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, mid-
way between Pittsburgh and Cumberland, being about
seventy-five miles from either city. There are several

hundred inhabitants, four liotels, stores, etc., as de-
tailed in the following pages.

Although Falls City has a pleasant location, and
the romantic surroundings have given it a favorable
reputation among pleasure-seekers as a summer re-
sort, its chief claim to distinction lies in its possession
of the Ohio Pile Falls, a water-power of the first
rank. Concerning these falls a commission of mili-
tary engineers, consisting of Col. W. McKee, Col.
Roswell Lee, and Maj. George Talcott, who were ap-
pointed in 1825 to select a " site for a national armory
on the Western waters," reported :

"The Youghiogheny River at this place makes a circuit of
nejirly two miles around a neck or tongue of land about three-
fourths of a mile in length that projects from the foot of a
mountain in its rear. At the upper side of this tongue, and
near the extreme point of the mountain, is the commencement
of the Ohio Pile rapids and falls, which terminate at the lower
side opposite the point at which they begin, and six hundred
yards distant from it in a straight line. The whole descent is
eighty-seven and a half feet. The ground on the lower side,
ne.xt the foot of the rapids, is advantageously disposed in steps
or benches of sufficient width and at convenient distances below
each other for the erection of buildings, and the successive ap-
plication of the water to machinery in any manner that may
be desired. Forty feet of the whole fall may thus be employed
at a trifling expense. The bank then becomes steep and per-
pendicular, and the remaining part of the fall could not be
conveniently used without extensive rock excavation. To con-
vey the water to this site from above the falls will require a
canal of seven hundred feet in length. The first four hundred
feet will pass through a strip of river bottom. The deepest cut-
ting along the whole route is thirty feet, and occurs in passing
a narrow ridge near the middle of the neck, consisting prin-
cipally, as is supposed, of rock. A dam four feet high across
the river will be necessary to procure a depth of water at the
hcud of the canal sufficient to prevent it from being choked
with ice, or obstructed by drift of any kind. The quantity of
water which the river furnishes at this place during an extreme
dry season perhaps exceeded one hundred cubic feet per second
during the uncommon drought of 1823.

" If we regard the site of these falls, in reference to the secu-
rity of the works that might he erected upon it, from freshets,
the perfect command of its water-power, and the cheapness
with which it may be employed, it surpasses any that has ever
come under our observation. An additional excavation of ten
thousand five hundred cubic feet of earth and nine hundred feet
of rook would enlarge the canal sufficiently to convey the whole
volume of the river to the works at low water, which would fur-
nish three times the power requisite for the armory, and still
leave unemployed a fall of more than forty feet. This estiuiate
is for three breast and two overshot wheels.

" To these advantages is opposed its want of convenient com-
munication, surrounded on all sides by mountains, the adjacent
country but sparsely settled, and, with the exception of fuel,
including stone-coal, few or no resources for an armory; it is
without the means of water conveyance, and, as yet, without
roads. How far the wciglit of this objection ought to be les-
sened by the probability of any future canal across the moun-
tains, passing down the valley of the Y'oughiogheny River, is
a consideration that does not properly come within the province
assigned us."

The objection to the inaccessibility to the falls has
been removed by the opening of the Pittsburgh,


Washington and Baltimore Railroad, which has here
established an important station, with extensive
sidings ; while the idea of water communication lias
not been wholly abandoned, an appropriation for the
survey of a canal route having recently been made.
The power of the Ohio Pile Falls has been utilized to
a limited extent. A further improvement for manu-
facturing purposes will probably be made at an early
day. The falls and nearly all the adjacent lands are
the property of the heirs of the Hon. Andrev.' Stew-
art, and Falls City was laid out for the Stewart es-
tate in 1868 by Albert Stewart. The plat embraces
about two hundred acres of land, a considerable por-
tion of which is on the south side of the Youghio-
gheny, connection being made with the northern part
by means of a substantial wooden bridge. In the
latter part much of the village survey is included
within the peninsula formed by the river, which is
about three-fourths of a mile in length and elevated
a hundred feet above the level of the stream. It is
bordered by cliffs, on which grow ferns in the greatest
profusion, and this beautiful tract of land has not
been inappropriately named Fern Cliff Park. Occu-
pying a commanding position in the park is the fine
hotel which was erected by the Stewart estate in the
summer of 1879, and which was opened for the ac-
commodation of summer visitors in May, 1880, under
the management of M. W. Lambert. Fern Cliff Park
Hotel is a stately-looking frame, thirty-three by one
hundred and one feet, four stories high, and sur-
mounted by a mansard roof. There are fifty rooms for
guests, supplied with gas, water, and electric annun-
ciators, and the hotel throughout contains the most
approved modern appliances. In the grounds are
shady rambles, pleasant walks, and several fountains,
which are fed by a reservoir on a hill eighty feet
above the hotel. This is filled from the Y'oughio-
gheny by means of a large water-power force-pump.
The encouraging patronage given the hotel has in-
duced the proprietors to entertain a proposition to
enlarge the house to thrice its present capacity,
making it one of the foremost summer resorts in the
western part of the State.

The first i>ublic-house in the place was kept op-
posite the jrri>t-iiiill, in the south part of the vil-
lage, by Elij;i!i ^litchell, about 1858. Subsequent
landlords were Theophilus Keller, J. H. Mitchell,
Moses Ferrin, Nathan Jolifte, Jesse Hardin, and
Redmond Bunton, during whose occupancy the house
was destroyed by fire.

The completion of the railroad in 1871, and the
urgent demand for hotel accommodations, caused
Andrew Stewart to transform a large farm building
into a public-house. It received the name of the
" Ohio Pile House," and was opened by W. Brown
and John Shepard. It is at present kept by Kimmel
Hardin. Daniel Coughenour has been the keeper of
a public-house for the past four years, and others

have entertained tlie i>ul

ter pt


The first goods at Falls City were sold by Thomas
Jackson, for Andrew Stewart, in the old hotel build-
ing some time about 1856. A. E. Meason & Co. next
liad a store at the tannery, where they were succeeded
by Samuel Price, Moses Freeman, Potter & Browning.
In 1871, F. T. Browning built his present store-house,
which he has since occupied for mercantile purposes.
Tlie same year Joseph Williams began trading at the ■
Falls, moving here from Meadow Run, where he had
kept a store for fifteen years, being the first in the
township. Since 1878 he has occupied his present
building. George D. Livingston has also been in
trade since 1872, and George W. Anderson since 1875,
each having a respectable trade.

The railroad station at Falls City, called Ohio Pile,
was opened in March, 1871, by Samuel Potter, Jr., as
agent, with Thomas Armstrong as telegrapher. The
hitter was appointed to both offices in 1872, and was
relieved in 1873 by Lewis Johnson. In April, 1875,
B. R. Field became the agent, but was relieved July,
1877, by E. A. Jordan. He served until June 22,
1879, when the present agent, C. L. Harrington, was
appointed. Soon after the railroad was opened the
Adams Express Company established an office at
Ohio Pile, with Thomas Thorpe as agent. Since 1875
the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad has carried on the
express business in connection with its railroad in-
terests. The shipments at Ohio Pile are chiefly lum-
ber and other wood exports. The entire business
aggregates fifteen hundred dollars per month.

For many years the settlers of Stewart received
their mail matter from Bryant's, on the National
road, and later from Farmington, on the same road.
The post-office at Falls City was established about
1856, with the name of Pile Falls, and Samuel Price
as postmaster, who kept it at the store of Meason &
Co. He was succeeded by Samuel Potter, Jr., who in
1871 removed the office to the railroad station. About
this time the name of the office was changed to Falls
City. Potter was succeeded, in May, 1878, by the
present postmaster, Thomas Thorpe. The mail ser-
vice is by railroad twice per day. Previously the
mails were carried on horseback from Parmington to
Donegal several times per week.

The first physician regularly located in Stewart was
Dr. H. Y. Brady, who came to Falls City in the fall
of 1869, and has since been a practitioner there. He
graduated at the Jefl'erson Medical College in 1865,
and practiced, previous to locating here, at Young.s-
town and Latrobe. For two years from 1874, Dr.
Hugh Nicolay was in practice at the Falls, and for a
few months in 1879, Dr. D. O. Bassett. For the past
year Dr. S. D. Woods has practiced dentistry at Falls


Agriculture and lumbering are the chief pursuits

of the people of Stewart, many of the citizens being

engaged in carrying on both. The mountain streams



afford many water-powers, wliich were early sought out
and improved to meet the wants of the pioneers.
Nearly every neighborhood had its saw- and grist-, or
rather corn-mills, which have gone to decay so long
since that in many instances no authentic account o(
them can be given. The latter were generally " tub"
mills, a simple arrangement whereby the stone was
caused to revolve as often as the wheel, ?ind the grind-
ing capacity was consequently small. To this class
belonged the mills of Aman Shipley, on Laurel Run ;
David Askins, on Meadow Run ; and the McGrew
mill, on Jonathan's Run, all built some time about
1790. With the increase of population came better
facilities, and soon good mills were built on the sites
of the old ones, or on other seats on the same streams.
On Laurel Run were the mills of Henry Gilmore and
Isaac Hutchinson, both of small capacity. In 1832
Samuel Potter built a grist-mill on Meadow Run,
which was supplied with two sets of stones, and was
in every respect an improvement on the mills pre-
viously in the township. A saw-mill was also built
by Potter, and both were operated by him until 1852,
when they became the property of John B. Potter,
his son, who yet carries them on, although both mills
have been much improved, the former having now
three runs of stones, and being reputed a first-class

On the same stream the manufacture of splint
chairs is carried on by George P. Potter. The fiic-
tory has been in successful operation since 1860, and
several hundred fine chairs are made annually. Be-
low that point, also on Meadow Run, Reuben and
Christmas Leonard carry on a splint-chair factory ;
and more than sixty years ago their father, Benjamin
Leonard, carried on this industry in the township,
some of the chairs he then made being yet in use.

On Beaver Run, a branch of Meadow, James Dean
had a saw-mill at an early day, to which Samuel Pot-
ter ingeniously added a grist-mill about 1828, the
stones being taken from a neighboring hillside.

On Cucumber Run, Andrew Briner had saw- and
grist-mills of small capacity forty years ago, which
have not been operated for the past twenty-five years.
At the forks of the same stream Joseph Price had a
mill, which has not been used for a score of years ;
and above the Andrew Briner mill Joshua Briner
had a saw-mill, which was discontinued about 1865.

On Jonathan's Run, among the mills of a later
period, were those of B. Rush, built about 1868, and
which are now operated by Patton Rush. On the
upper waters of that stream are the mills of Matthew

A number of portable steam saw-mills have been
erected at various points in Stewart, and have been
very useful in working up the heavy timber in the
localities where they were located. Several of these
were at the " low place" on Meadow Run. In 1874,
for a few years, Samuel Halderbrant had a good mill
in operation there, when he removed it to Bear Run,

where it was operated a few years longer. The
Browning mill was at the " low place" next, and was
removed from there to Falls City. Its cutting ca-
pacity was five thousand feet per day. A year later
John Wesley Moon erected the third mill at the
" low place" and engaged largely in the manufacture
of all kinds of lumber, staves, and headings. He
constructed a tramway to the " long hollow," two and
a half miles distant, for the purpose of conveying
logs to his mill, and cut up an immense amount of
timber. The tramway yet remains, but the mill has
been removed to Somerset County. At Stewarton,
four miles below Falls City, Andrew Stewart, Jr.,
had a large and well appointed saw-mill in operation
several years after 1871, the logs being conveyed
thither by a long tramway; but the mill has been
removed and the interest there abandoned.

Henry Fry attempted the first improvement of the
water-power at the Ohio Pile Falls on the Youghio-
gheny, now the site of Falls City. Forty years ago
he built a hewed-log dam nearly across the stream a
short distance above the falls and put up the frame of
a saw-mill, but before he got it in operation a freshet
swept away his dam, causing him to abandon his
project. Hon. Andrew Stewart made the next improve-
ment, putting up saw- and grist-mills. A dam was
built four hundred feet above the falls, and a wooden
trunk laid to convey the water to the mills, which
were destroyed by fire before being set in motion.
The buildings were immediately restored, and the
grist-mill yet remains, the saw-mill above it having
been removed. The former had first an overshot and
the latter a flutter wheel, but in 1865 Albert Stewart
supplied their places with three Rainey turbine-
wheels, increasing the power to one hundred and
thirty horses. The grist-mill was also supplied with
more machinery, and is now adapted to the new
process of grinding. It is operated by Albert Stew-
art, and the planing-mill, which he built in 1865, has
also since been kept in operation by him. The latter
is supplied with good machinery, but has a limited
capacity. Both mills are well patronized.

The Falls City Pulp-Mill was put in operation in
Sejjtember, 1879, by the present proprietor of the
works, Wilson W. Hartzell. Having secured a lease of
a large water-power from the Stewart estate, on the
site of an old saw-mill above the falls, he increased the
already large power by building a dam across the
I river four hundred feet in length. A building thirty
by eighty feet was erected and supplied with two
American turbine-wheels of three hundred horse-
power to operate machinery to reduce spruce and
poplar wood to pulp for paper-making by the Otter-
son & Taylor process. From three to four cords of
I wood are consumed each day, and the capacity of
I the works enable the production of three car-loads of
j pulp per week, aggregating about ninety thousand
j pounds. Employment is given to twelve men when
the works are run day and night, and a good market


is afforded for an abundance of wood which was here-

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 178 of 193)