Franklin Ellis.

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

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Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 179 of 193)
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tofore comparatively worthless. The raw material is
brought to the works in cord-wood size, freed from
bark, the heart, and black knots, and is then reduced
to two-foot lengths. It is next sawed into blocks
half an inch in thickness, when it is ready for the
crusher. Alter crushing, the material is by succes-
sive processes reduced to a smooth pulp, so finely
worked as to be almost impalpable. , From the last
of these processes it comes out in even sheets like
thick paper and of a whitish color. These sheets are
put up in sixty-pound bales and shipped to market.
The pulp is used in the manufacture of paper, by
mixing with other materials, as straw and rag pulp,
producing a good quality of printing-paper at a
smaller cost than paper made wholly of rags or straw.
The superintendent of the works is William V. G.

The Falls City Shock-Factory is owned and carried
ou by M. Weakland, of Confluence. At the latter
place the manufacture of shocks for the West India
trade was begun about ten years ago, and has since
been carried on at other points at Falls City since
1875. That year Matthias Smith opened a shop in
which five men were employed, and which, after a
few years' operation, became the property of M. Weak-
laud. Shocks have also been made on Jonathan's
Eun by Matthias Smith and Beniah Guptell, and the
yearly product in the towuship has been about 2000
shocks, made chiefly out of the best oak. It may here
be explained that the term "shook" is applied to an
unfinished or skeleton barrel or hogshead. The staves,
after being riven from the log, about thirty-six inches
long, and duly seasoned, are shaved into the desired
size, then bent into shape and regularly set up, as for
a barrel ; but instead of being lieaded up they are
knocked down, the staves, being numbered, are baled
together, the bundle forming a " shook," which, with
the addition of heads and hoops, are quickly trans-
formed into barrels or hogsheads in a country where
stave materials do not abound. In other words, the
skeleton barrel is shipped to the West Indies from
the United States, and is returned filled with rum or

The Falls City Spoke- and Hub-Works, Brison
Rush and John Meeks proprietors, occupy a build-
ing thirty by thirty-six feet and two stories high.
The factory was erected in the summer of 1875, work
being commenced August 8th of that year. Sixteen
days lat.T llir rstalilisluuent was bunifil't,, ll„. upiund,
but was rrlHiilt sn that w.irk was ,v<m,i,.l iii ( >ri„]„-v.
1875, and the lactory has siii.-r Imti, siKT,->,|ully .ar-
ried on. The building is supplied with a sixteen
horse-power engine, which operates a spoke-lathe,
hub-machine, mortising-machines, etc., which eiialile
the production of 225 sets of spokes and 200 sets of
hubs per month. The firm also manufactures in-
cline rollers for coal reads, and gives employment to
five men.

The Fayette Tannery, at Falls City, was built in
1853 by the firm of Fuller, Breading & Meason, the
latter being the only resident partner. The buildings

I were put up by Samuel Potter, and the tannery placed

I in charge of Aaron Walter, as foreman of the twelve
or fifteen hands employed. In time Alfred Meason
bought Breading's interest, and the business was car-

[ ried on by him, with Charles Stcne as foreman. Next

j came the firm of Meason, Wade & Co., who carried
on the tannery until 1873, Harlan Hickland being the

I foreman. For a period the tannery was idle, but in
April, 1877, the firm of James Callary & Co. suc-
ceeded to the business, but were followed, in June,
1879, by the present manufacturer, Owen Sheekley,
as lessee from the Wade estate. Originally the tan-
nery was operated by the waters of Meadow Run, but
its diminishing volume caused the substitution of
steam in 1869, and the motive-power is at present fur-
nished by a sixteen horse-power engine. The build-
ing remains much the same as when erected, the
tannery proper being one hundred feet square and
three stories high. The bark-house is fifty by one
hundred feet. In all there are seventy vats for tan-
ning belting-, hose-, and sole-leather with oak bark

i one hundred heavy hides per week being tanned. In
connection with the tannery is a convenient ofiice

i half a dozen dwellings, and a business house, in which
the proprietors of the tannery had stores years ago
when this place was the centre of business at the Falls,
Potter's coal-mine, opened in 1877, and operated
by Thomas Potter, is about one mile southwest from
Falls City, and on the mountain-side, four hundred
feet above the level of the Youghiogheny. The vein

! is about five feet in thickness, and the main entry has
been driven to the length of five hundred feet. The
mine has ten sideways, each about one hundred feet
long, and the yearly product is about thirty thousand
bushels of good mountain coal, fi-ee from sulphur and
burning freely. The mine is underlaid with a stratum
of fine limestone, which is rarely found in the town-
ship, and the presence of fire-clay and iron is also
noted. Although the Potter mine is the only one in
Stewart which has been developed to any extent, coal
is found in many localities, and small hanks have
been opened on the south and the west of the Y'oug-
hiogheny by Martin Mitchell, Reuben Thorpe, Hugh
Corriston, Summers McCrumb, John Potter, George
B. Potter, and others. On the north side of the riv«r,
Harrison Weaver, Emanuel Bisel, and others have
coal-banks, but in most instances the demand for their
l)ri>ducts is very limited.

Within the past few years considerable attention
lias lieen directed to fruit culture, and orcharding
premises to become an important industry. The or-
ehaid of Francis M. Cunningham, two miles south-
west from Falls City, is the largest in the township.
He began fruit culture in 1874 with an orchard of
twenty apple-trees, to which he has added from year
to year until his orchard at present embraces 1200



apple-, 650 quince-, 350 pear-, and 200 ])each-trees, all
thrifty and vigorous. These orchards will be enlarged
to double the present size, and will then be one of the
largest interests of this nature in the county. The
cultivation of the small fruits is also here carried on,
and a vineyard containing .3000 vines of the Concord
variety has been planted.

The manufacture of salt was an industry which
once held an important place in the township more
than half a century ago. On the north side of the
Youghiogheny, three miles above the falls, were sev-
eral acres of low ground, called by the pioneers " the
meadows," where were salt licks, which were much
frequented by wild animals. When the water was
low the incrustations of salt on the flat stones along
the river's edge were so marked that the place pre-
sented a whitish appearance. Before 1800 some of
the settlers gathered up the waters which oozed forth
and made small quantities of salt, and later a man
by the name of Rhodes dug a well some twenty feet
deep, which gave him a greater supply of water, and
enabled him to make salt in a small way. When he
suspended work he allowed his kettles to remain, and
some of the pioneers would occasionally go there to
make a little salt for their own use. As the place was
rather inaccessible from the east, on account of the
steep hills, the river was usually forded by the people
living on the south and the west at a point near the
springs. This was always attended by danger, as the
current is swift and strong, and when increased by
heavy rains is especially treacherous. On one occa-
sion, while a man named James Downard attempted
to cross to make some salt, he was swept away and
his lifeless body carried below the falls to the " Briner
fishing-hole," four miles from where he met his sudden
death.' Thence but little was done at the salt springs
until about 1812, when Thomas Meason conceived the
idea of here making salt on a large scale. He secured
a tax title for the land, which had been forfeited by
Wilcox and Chew, of Philadelphia, and began opera-
tions on his works. The news coming to the ears of
Mr. Wilcox, he came on from Philadelphia to redeem
the land ; but instead of doing so entered into a co-
partnership with Meason to carry on the salt-works.
Later he sold his interests to William Pennock, of
Uniontown, and by him and Meason the works were
operated until their discontinuance, about 1819.
They caused a well to be sunk several hundred feet
deep, by means of a spring-pole operated by several
men, which aftbrded them an abundant supply of
water, yielding ten pounds of salt to the barrel.
This was pumped to the surface by means of horse-
power, and carried to the works, half a mile below,

1 At " Briuer's fishinR-hole" Abraham Stewart, of Wharton, and James
Biinner were drowned in Angust, 1841, while here engaged with a large
party in fishing. Their bodies were found at the bottom of the hole by
Samuel Hough Botli were well-knowu citizeus, and the event cast a
gloom over the entire country.

through wooden pipes, where it was evaporated in
sixty-two kettles, arranged in pairs. These kettles
were of heavy iron and w^ere cast at the Dunbar Fur-
nace, each holding about fifty gallons. Their trans-
portation to the works, owing to the roughness of the
country, was regarded as a hazardous undertaking,
and was accomplished with great difficulty. Some
three thousand bushels of salt were made, which
sold readily at three dollars per bushel. When the
price was reduced it was not found profitable to carry
on the works, and they were abandoned at the time
named. The kettles were sold to the farmers around
the " works," and some of them are yet in use for
boiling maple-sugar. The Baltimore and Ohio Rail-
road built its track over the furnace of the works, ob-
literating what few traces of it remained. But few
people can be found who have even a recollection of
the enterprise. James Thorpe and J. H. Mitchell,
both among the oldest men of the township, were en-
gaged at the works, and from them the writer gleaned
the above account.


The first regular religious organization effected in
Stewart township was that of the Baptists, the pre-
liminary meetings which led to the formation of the
society being held chiefly by the Rev. John Thomas,
at the houses of some of the early members or in the
rude school-houses, mainly in the Kentucky Dis-
trict. From this circumstance the .society took its
name. It was organized May 22, 1834, by the Revs.
Benoni Allen, William Hall, and John Rockafeller,
with the following members : James J. Mitchell^
Abner Mitchell, Elijah Mitchell, Abel Hillborn,
Jesse Mitchell, Hannah Mitchell, Maria Hillborn,
Hannah Stull, Cynthia Mitchell, Reuben Thorpe,
James Dean, Sarah Briner, Emeline Price, Nancy
Mitchell, Charlotte Mitchell, Andrew Briner, Wil-
liam Thorpe, Sarah Mitchell, John Harbaugh,
Huldah Thorpe, Fanny Bailey, James Thorpe,
James K. Bailey, Jacob H. Rush, Benjamin Listor,
Franklin Mitchell, Mary Briner, Margaret Birch,
Mary Pearce, Sabina Mitchell, John Hyatt, Mary
Hyatt, David Mitchell, and Reuben Rush. James
J. Mitchell and James Thorpe were ordained as
the first deacons, and Abner Mitchell was the first
clerk. In 1881 the clerk of the church was Patton
Rush, and the deacons were Jesse Rush and Jacob H.
Rush. Other ordained deacons of the church were
James R. Mitchell, Salathiel Mitchell, Benjamin
Mitchell, and Joshua Briner.

The Rev. John Thomas became the first j)astor of
the church, his connection dating from May 16, 1835.
About a year afterwards he was succeeded by the Rev.
James J. Mitchell, one of the first deacons of the
church, wlio served until July 18, 1840, when the
Rev. Isaac Wynn became the pastor. The Rev. John
Williams succeeded Mr. Wynn, his appointment


dating March 31, 1860. Next in the pastoral oflSce
was the Rev. William P. Fortney, who assumed that
relation March 19, 1876, and was succeeded, April 8,
1877, by the Rev. John Williams, who was the pastor
for upwards of tliree years. The present pastor, the
Rev. James K. Brown, has served since July 17, 1880.
The church has a membership of nearly one hun-
dred, and notwithstanding the many removals is in a
fairly flourishing condition. It has contributed some
useful members to the ministry, and has within its
bounds the Revs. Francis M. Cunningham and Juliii
Williams, pastors of neighboring churches. The
house of worship is at Falls City, and was built in ;
1837, through the efforts of Abner Mitchell, David i
Briner, and David Mitchell as a committee. It is a
plain frame, and having recently been repaired, well ,
serves the purpose for which it was erected.


Upwards of thirty years ago meetings of this re-
ligious sect were held at the stone school-house in the
Kentucky District by the Rev. A. G. Osborne and
others, and from a series of services held there by
the former sprang the congregation which now bears
the name of Mount Hope. The early membership
embraced the names of Joseph Price, Cuthbert Wig-
gins, Greenbury Bosley, Harvey Morris, and most of
the members of their families. Later the number
was augmented bynhe addition of William Stull and j
wife, William D. Williams, his wife and several I
children, J. H. Wiggins and family, the total mem-
bership being about twenty. For a number of years
meetings were held inschool-houses, under the minis-
terial direction of the Revs. A. J. Swayne, J. S. Gib-
son, J. P. Beard, and other clergymen, sent hither by
the Presbytery, who served this field in connection
with other appointments, and for the past four years
the pulpit has been supplied by the Revs. Coulter,
Gibson, Bailey, Howard, Melville, and at present by
Rev. James P. Beard. The growth of the village of
Falls City caused the congregation to look to that
place as the point where should be erected their house
of worship. Accordingly, about 1873, meetings were
held in the Baptist Church of that pluct-. and sdoii
thereafter a board of trustees was selected, coniiKwcd
of C. W. Saylor, Morris Morris, and I). W. Williams,
who purchased a fine lot near the centre of the vil-
lage, on which the building was to be erected. In
about a year more the house was completed, and was
formally dedicated by the Rev. J. H. Coulter, of
Brownsville. It is a frame building of respectable
proportions, and has an inviting appearance. The
congregation has not lai-u(dy increased in member-
ship, but has generally inaintainiMl regular services.
The ruling elders of the cliiin-li have been Harvey
Morris, Jonathan Bisel, and C. W. Saylor. In the
summer a Sabbath-school, supported by the commu-
nity at large, is maintained in this house, and had
for its last siijicrintendent George W. Moon.


Soon after 1800 the Methodist itinerants sought to
establish a church in the township, holding meetings
at the house of Moses Mercer, and at other hospita-
ble mountain homes, and these efforts were rewarded
by the accession of a few members to the faith, al-
though not of sufiScient number to form a class.
Hence but occasional services were held until about
1830, when Mr. Elizabeth Potter, a member of the
Methodist Church, moved to the Belle Grove neigh-
borhood, and at her house preaching was again es-
tablished. The class formed about this time had
among its members Mrs. Potter and daughters, Wes-
tell Holland, and a few others, who soon Joined as
the fruits of a revival, among them being Reuben
Leonard and wife. After 1840 the meetings were
held at school-houses about once every three weeks,
and generally on week-days. Among the preachers
of this period were the Revs. McGowan, Sharp, Swa-
zie, Tipton, White, and many others whose names
have passed out of the recollection of the present gen-
eration, and DO church records are accessible.

In 1860, while the Rev. Joseph Hill was the
preacher in charge, the Meadow Run meeting-house
was erected, largely through the efforts of Joseph
Williams, at that time a resident of this locality, three
miles south from Falls City, and in 1880 it was under
the trusteeship of George Potter. The members of
the church are about twenty in number. The church
at present belongs to the Springfield Circuit, of which
the Rev. J. J. Davis is the preacher in charge, and
which embraces also the churches at Springfield,
Mill Run, Sansom Chapel, Sandy Creek, and Tinker's
Ridge. It previously belonged to Smithfield, Addi-
son, Uniontown, and other circuits. The Rev. A. P.
Leonard, of the Pittsburgh Conference of the Meth-
odist Episcopal Church, originated from this society,
which, though weak in numbers, has some active,
faithful workers. Benjamin Leonard was for many
years the superintendent of a Sunday-school which is
at present in charge of Arthur Potter, and which is
usually attended by about sixty scholars.


In the early part of the present century this de-
nomination (New Lights) held meetings in the town-
ship at the house of Thomas Mitchell, who was one
of their chief members ; but after his removal to the
West the feeble interest manifested in maintaining
these meetings was allowed wholly to decline, and
years elapsed before meetings were again held. Some
time about 1850 this faith was again proclaimed in
the southeastern part of the township with so much
success that a promising congregation was formed
under the preaching of the Rev. Mr. Four. It em-
braced members from the Gilmore, Morrison, Jones,
Lytle, and Hall families, with others, to the number
of tliirty or more. A house of worship being now
needed, the citizens of that part of Stewart united to


build one, which was completed in the fall of 1855.
Although occupied by this and other denominations
for religious purposes it has never been fully finished,
and at present is somewhat out of repair. The
preachers of this church who followed the Rev. Four
were the Revs. Barney, Jennings, Kibler, Swaynse,
and several others, but lately the denomination has
not maintained regular services, and consequently
the work has much declined. Noting this condition,
the Church of God (Winebrennarians) began preach-
ing here, and have succeeded in gathering a con-
siderable membership. Among their ministers were
the Revs. Long, Craft, and Bardlebaugh. The mem-
bers at present adhering number fourteen.

Lately the Rev. C. E. Simmons, of the Methodist
Church South, began preaching at this place and or-
ganized a small class, while ministers of other de-
nominations also occasionally hold services here, but
without gaining a numerous following.

The recent formation of the township precludes the
giving of any early statistics pertaining to the public
schools, and the mountainous condition of the coun-
try has somewhat retarded the cause of education.
Since the organization of Stewart the following-named
persons have been elected school directors of the
township :

1857.— David Fulton, A. E. Mason.
1858.— Samuel Potter, James M. Dixon.

1859.— Edward Liston, James H. Mitchell, Stephen K. Brown.
I860.— David Woodmansee, Robert Cunningham.
1861.- Reuben Thorpe, David Fultun.
1862.— S. C. Skinner, Eli Tannchill.
1863.— H. M. Corriston, Cyrus Edmuudson, David Woodman-

1864. — James Morrison, Elijah Harbaugh, John Wiggins.

1865. — Samuel C. Price, Joseph Leonard, A. R. Boyd.

1866.- Oliver Sprowl, David F. Piokard, William D. Williams.

1867.— David Morrison, Cyrus Edmundson, W. H. Carroltou.

1868.— William S. Griffith, Ross Morrison, Leonard Shipley.

1869.- George P. Potter, Paul Stull, Thomas Dalzell, Charles
Miner, Leonard Shipley.

1870.— Milton Shaw, Elisha Taylor, Emanuel Bisel.

1872.— Robert Hagan, Porter Craig, Basil Brownlield, Christo-
pher Riffle.

187.'j.— F. M. Morrison, F. M. Cunningham.

187i.— D. K. Wade, Fatten Rush.

1875.— Joseph Williams, George Smith, Henry Collins.

1876.- Isaiah Collins, Harrison H. Hall.

1877.- Reuben H. Leonard, G. N. Anderson, F. T. Browning.

1878.— Paul Stull, E. D. Shipley.

1879.— Jehu Bowen, D. Morrison, T. L. Butler.

1880.— J. H. Shaefer, C. W. Saylor, «. D. Livingston.

1881.— D. B. Brady, Francis Morrison, David Woodmansee.

In 1881 the township embraced the districts
locally named Whig Corner, Mountain, Egypt, Sugar-
Loaf, Belle Grove, Briner's, Kentucky, Green Brier,
and Falls City. Some of them were provided with
comfortable school-houses years ago, while others will
doubtless soon be supplied in this respect. One of
the oldest and best schools was taught in the Belle
Grove District soon after the passage of the common
school law. The first house was near the present
building, and was of logs, rather rudely finished.
Amos Potter was an early teacher in a cabin below
Potter's mill. In the regular school building, Oliver
Sprowl was one of the first teachers. The school has
produced a number of teachers, among whom are re-
membered Oliver Gunnells, Browne Hayden, Thomas
Hart, and Samuel Price. The next good school was
opened in the Kentucky District, which had one of
the best school buildings of that period.


As Upper and Lower Tyrone have existed as sepa-
rate townships for less than five years, while the ter-
ritory composing both had previously remained undi-
vided in old Tyrone for considerably more than a
century,' it is evidently the most proper, as well as
the most convenient, way to write the history of the
two as that of Tyrone township — with reference to
early settlements and some other matters— down to
the time of their separate organization. This course
will therefore be pursued in the following pages.

1 Before the erection of Fayette County, Tyrone was one of the I
ships of Westmoreland, and prior to the erection of that county :
isted under the same name as one of the townships of Bedford.

Tyrone township at the time of its division (in 1877)
was bounded on the north by Jacob's Creek, sepa-
rating it from Westmoreland County ; on the east by
Bullskin and Connellsville townships ; on the south
by the Youghiogheny River, and on the west by that
river and the township of Perry. The eastern part
of the old township is now Upper Tyrone, and the
western part Lower Tyrone. The division line be-
tween the two new townships starts from the Youg-
hiogheny River, a short distance below Broad Ford,
and runs in a northwardly direction, with one angle,
to Jacob's Creek. This line will be found more fully
described in the order of court (hereafter quoted)
erecting the two towriship.s.



The principal streams are the Youghiogheny River
and Jacob's Creek, forming respectively the southern
and northern boundaries of the townships ; Broad
Ford Run, which flows in a southerly direction through
Upper Tyrone, and enters the Youghiogheny at Broad
Ford ; and Hickman's Run, which ilows nearly in the
same direction through Lower Tyrone, and enters the
river a short distance above Dawson village. Several
smaller streams enter the river at points below in
Lower Tyrone. Along the margins of the river and
Jacob's Creek are narrow bottoms, from which the
land rises in both directions to a high ridge which
extends in an eastward and westward direction
through the central portions of both townships.

LTpper Tyrone is entirely underlaid with coal, which
is mined in immense quantities, and largely used in
the manufacture of coke, as will be noticed hereafter.
The same is the case in the eastern part of Lower
Tyrone, but the greater portion of that township lies
upon the "barren measures," the outcrop ceasing at
the mouth of Hickman's Run, and only reappearing
several miles farther down the river, and beyond the
limits of the township. Both townships have excel-
lent railway facilities, as will be noticed elsewhere.
By the census of 1880 the population of Upper Ty-
rone was 3306 (largely made up of miners), and of
Lower Tyrone 1976, including Jimtown.


In the surveys of land located in 1769 in the terri-
tory now known a-s Tyrone township there are but
four entries. One of the first was made by x\lexander
Vance, who took up three hundred acres, upon which
a warrant was issued April 3, 1769, but which was
not surveyed until April 11, 1788, nearly twenty years

John Vance, the father of Moses Vance, settled

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 179 of 193)