Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 188 of 193)
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pacity of sixteen pots. He appeared to be driving a
flourishing business, and did doubtless for some
years, but while pu.shing matters at wliat seemed a
remarkably brisk rate, in 185;!, he suddenly failed, tn
the great consternation of the community, and the
loss of many who had looked upon the glass-works
as upon a secure foundation. The failure was most
disastrous, and from its effects the town was slow to
recover. The property was not, however, snllered to
remain idle very long. George A. Berry ^ Co. soon
became the owners and speedily revived the old-timi'
activity. In 1860 Berry bought out his partner, and

I having an immense stock of glass on hand at the out-
break of the rebellion, made his fortune.

In 1865, Berry disposed of his interests to the
present owners, R. C. Schmertz & Co., who remodeled

I the works and added a ten-pot furnace. Their factory
covers now about two acres, and has in connection
with it a fine store and thirty-six tenements. Lime
and sand were formerly obtained at Belle Vernon,

' but these materials are now brought from Layton
and Mapleton. Coke is burned near the works. Two
hundred and thirty hands are ordinarily employed,
and upwards of $15,000 paid out monthly as wages.
They have an aggregate of twenty-six pots, consume
annually 300,000 bushels of coal, 80,000 bushels of
coke, 2200 tons of sand, 650 tons of lime, 850 tons of
soda, and 500 tons of other materials. One million
feet of lumber are used yearly for the manufacture

: of boxes. Their freight tonnage each year is 1200

I tons. The annual production of glass reaches about
80,000 boxes. Mr. Schmertz, the senior member of
the firm, resides at Pittsburgh, but exercises a general

I supervision over the works at Belle Vernon, as well
as over the firm's works at Columbus, Ohio. The
managing and resident partner at Belle Vernon is
Mr. R. J. Linton, who entered Mr. Scbmertz's em-
ploy in 1855, and in a few years was admitted as a

' partner.


Just over the borough line in Westmoreland County
this company represents a valuable industry. The
oflicers are Amon Bronson, president; William Jones,
vice-president; A. A. Taggart, manager ; S. F. Jones,
treasurer ; J. S. Jones, secretary. The main building
is one hundred by forty feet. It contains a 66-inch
circular saw, capable of sawing 30,000 feet of lumber
in ten hours. Adjoining the mill is the boat-yard of
William McFall, who turns out yearly a good many
river craft of various kinds.


Belle Vernon Lodge, No. 656, 1. 0. O. F. This lodge
was organized March 26, 1869, with seventeen mem-
bers. The charter officers were John Wilkinson,
N. G. ; Noah Speer, V. G. ; S. McKean, See. ; John
H. Weaver, Asst. Sec; A. P. Lewis, Treas. Other
charter members were R. C. Byers, J. 8. Van Voor-
his, J. M. Springer, J. B. Thompson, Michael Alters,
G. V. Abel, John Caull, T. F. Lewis, and J. H.
Lewis. In May, 1881, the membership was one
hundred and three. The officers were William
Vaughn, N. G. ; L. R. Boyle, V. G. ; S. McKean,
Sec. ; James Frost, Asst. Sec. ; John Hackett, Treas.

Maple Grove Encampment, No. 243, I. O. O. F.,
was chartered Feb. 13, 1875. The first officers were
John Wilkinson, C. P. ; Samuel McKean, H. P. ;
John B. Thompson, S. W. ; George Treasure, J. W. ;
A. P. Lewis, Sec. ; J. H. Weaver, Treas. ; John S.



Clegg, I. S. ; J. C. Hixenbaugh, 0. S. The members
numbered thirty-five in May, 1881. The officers were
W. A. McKean, C. P. ; Ephraim Lewis, H. P. ; G.
Amalong, S. W. ; W. H. Neil, J. W. ; Samuel Mc-
Kean, S. ; John Hackett, Treas.

Accomac Tribe, No. 142. 1. O. R.. M., was organized
on the 17th Cold Moon, 380. The charter members
were J. F. Hixenbaugh, John Hutchinson, Dennis
Riley, W. PI. Hailor, Charles Dean, Abel Fewster,
John Stewart, Thomas Hardwick, J. H. Robbins, H.
M. Clegg, W. G. Kittle, Samuel Hilton, John Friser,
Matthew Clegg, and W. H. Jones. The membership
in May, 1881, was 100. The officers were John
Evans, S. ; William Fleming, S. 8. ; P. Rider, J. S. ;
William Wise, Sec. ; A. Rupert, K. of W. ; J. Still-
wagon, P.

Bayard Post, No. 178, G. A. R., was organized
June 24, 1880, with twenty-six members. The mem-
bership is now thirty-one. Meetings are held twice
each month in Odd-Fellows' Hall. The officers are
W. S. Harvey, P. C. ; L. R. Boyle, S. V. P. C. ; Wil-
liam Booth, J. V. P. C. ; William Noble, Q. M. ; J.
W. Morgan, Adjt. ; Rev. A. B. Lowes, C. ; John
Thompson, O. of D. ; Joseph Bell, O. of G. ; John
Reeves, S.

Belle Vernon Council, No. 531, Royal Arcauum,
was organized in October, 1880. The officers in May,
1880, were John Haskett, R. ; W. P. Mackey, V. R. ;
T. L. Daly, P. R. ; J. E. Nutt, Sec. ; J. S. Jones, Col. ;
J. L. Courtney, Treas. ; James McAlpin, C. ; W. B.
McAlpin, G. ; James Huttenover, W. ; E. F. Springer,
S. The members number nineteen.


Fayette City, a thriving borough of about nine hun-
dred inhabitants, located upon the Monongahela,
twelve miles below Brownsville, ranks among the old
towns of Fayette County. Founded about 1800 by
Col. Edward Cook as Frgeport, it was known as
Cobkstown from 1825 to 1854, when its name was
changed by legislative act to Fayette City. It is a
point of considerable shipment, via the Mononga-
hela River, of apples, wool, grain, etc., and derives a
brisk mercantile trade from the surrounding agricul-
tural community and adjoining coal-mini ml;- districts.
Manufacturers are confined to the product ..f wimlow-
glass and woolen goods. There is cujuiiuuiication
with all points via river packets that touch at the
wharf four times daily, and by railway on the Wash-
ington side of the river.

The bottom lands upon which the chief portion of
Fayette City lies were once the site of an Indian vil-
lage. Col. Edward Cook, who in 1768 came to the
neighborhood and bought a large tract of about three
thousand acres, lying now in Washington, Westmore-
land, and Fayette Counties, then became the owner
of the site of Fayette City and the country about it
for some distance. The first improvement of conse-
quence upon the present site of Fayette City was

made by Joseph Downer, shortly after 1800. Mr.
Downer, who had from 1794 been living near Col.
Cook's, in Washington township, moved first to the
present Cooper mill-aite, and later to where James
Hamer's woolen-factory now stands. At the latter
point he built a flouring-mill, and lower down on the
run a saw-mill, of which the ruins may still be seen.
At the saw-mill he built a framed dwelling-house, on
the site of the Thirkield mansion. The grist-mill
Mr. Downer himself managed, while the saw-mill
interest was in charge of his father-in-law, Stephen

At the time of Mr. Downer's location upon the vil-
lage site, about 1806, there was upon the tract but one
house, which stood on the river-bank, the log cabin
of one Pankus, a boat-builder, who soon afterwards
went to New Orleans, and was never heard of Pre-
vious to 1807, Col. Cook had laid out a town where
Fayette City now is and named it Freeport. Tradi-
tion has it that he and Mr. Downer surveyed the
streets and marked off the lots with a clothes-line.
The original plat of the town shows that fifty-one
lots were set oft", that the streets were named Fording,
Market, Cook, Union, Front, Second, Third, and
Fourth, and that the triangular piece of land upon
which the school-house now stands was donated for
public use. Upon the plat is written the following:

j " Plan of the town of Freeport,' on the Mononga-
hela River, in Washington township, Fayette County,
State of Pennsylvania. Laid out by Edward Cook,

i Esq." The lots were made sixty feet by one hundred
and twenty, but in order to prevent disputes in the

I measurement six inches were allowed by Mr. Cook in
each line on the ground, so that the lots were actually

• sixty-six feet six inches by one hundred and twenty
feet six inches. Market Street is forty-five feet wide ;
tic- other streets thirty feet wide. The first trader at
Freeport was Andrew Hunter, who, not far from
1805, came to the place with his daughters, Jane and
Margaret, and erected at the corner of Market and
Front Streets a framed building, in which he opened
a small store and made his residence. His daughter
Jane was a woman of great force of character and
good business talent. She soon became the owner of
the store, and, with her sister Margaret, carried it on
for many years. Before the advent of the Hunters,
William D. MuUin (who in 1786, at the age of four
years, had come with his adopted father, William
Patterson, to Washington township) located in Free-
port upon his marriage, in 1806, and set up a hatter's
shop (his trade he had learned with Jones, of Bridge-
port) on a lot he had bought of Morris Dunlevy.
The deed for the property, now in the possession of
R. G. MuUin, recites that for the consideration of
twenty dollars Edward and Martha Cook conveyed to
Morris Dunlevy lot No. 4 in Freeport, situated in the
tract known as Whisky Mount, patented to Edward

1 Name of tlie town .lianged to Uool<stowi] aLuiit ls25.



Cook by the State in 1796. The deed bears date Nov.
12, 1802. William D. Mullin carried on the hat-
making business until 1857. He died in Fayette City
in 1876, aged ninety-one years. The house he lived
in is now the residence of John Kennedy. The hat-
shop that stood close to it long since disappeared.

In 1806, Alexander Crane kept on Water Street the
principal store in Freeport. Aaron Bugher, who went
to the Legislature afterwards, was a boat-builder,
and in his yard built quite a lot of flat- and keel-boats.
The first steamboat built at Freeport was launched
about 1820 by James Woods. After an extended
business career at Freeport, Bugher removed to Cin-
cinnati, where he died. William Larimer, who suc-
ceeded him as a boat-builder at Cookstown, remained
until about 1860. Since his departure but little in
the way of boat-building has been done at this place.

Thomas Beard (an Irish refugee), one of the pio-
neer traders, kept a dry-goods store on Second Street
near Union (where J. C. King's furniture-shop is),
and Daniel Ferry kept a general store on Second
Street. At the corner of Market and Second, James
P. Stewart was an early trader, as was Job Kitts at
the corner of Union and Water. U. C. Ford had a
tannery at the corner of Market and Main Streets, on
the site of McEwan's drug-store. About 1820, John
Baldwin, a miller on the opposite side of the river,
put on a ferry, much to the convenience of the people,
for fording had previous to that been the common
means of crossing. One Romans was Freeport's pio-
neer blacksmith. His shop was on Main near Mar-
ket Street. James McCrory was one of the village
blacksmiths about that time, and since then a Mc-
Crory has always been one of the blacksmiths of the
place. Adam Weamer (with whom Samuel Lari-
mer was an apprentice) was a cabinet-maker in a
shop on the present Baldwin House lot. James
Enos, living on the hill, was the first wheelwright as
well as the first postmaster. William McBain was
a shoemaker on Second Street, between LTnion and
Market. James Hezlip kept the first tavern near the
corner of Market and Second Streets.^ The second
tavern was 0])ened by Henry Calver on Second
Street. He was succeeded in that establishment by
a Mr. McNab, Beriel Taylor, and Thomas McCrory.
McCrory was its last landlord, and kept it for some
years as McCrory's Inn, by which name it was widely
and favorably known. In 1845, William Evans built
the tavern now known as the Baldwin House. Justus
Blaney had a pottery in the upper portion of the vil-
lage now called Sisleytown. He made common
ware and shipped it down the river to market. John
Britson, another ancient worker in clay, made clay
pipes in Cookstown as early as 1821.

In 1827, William E. Frazer (chosen to the State
Senate in 1855 and canal commissioner in 1859) came
to Cookstown from Luzerne township for the purpose

of following his trade as turner and wheelwright.
Mr. Frazer .says Cookstown had in 1827 three stores,
of which the principal one was kept by Thomas
Beard, near the corner of Second and Union Streets.
Alexander Crane had a store on Water (or Front)
Street, and the Hunters had one at the corner of
Market and Water Streets. Daniel Ferry was a
wagon- and plow-maker, and William Baldwin was
the village tailor. Mr. Frazer opened a wheelwright's
shop near to where he now lives, and remained seven
years. He retired for a while to a farm, but soon
returned, and still resides in Fayette City, a highly
honored and worthy citizen.

R. G. Mullin, now the oldest of Fayette City's
merchants, embarked in trade in 1837 upon the lot
where he was born and where he has continued to
live to this day. Next in rank as to date of estab-
lishment in the village comes William Troth, who
came to Cookstown in June, 1847, and opened a sad-
dler's shop. In 1849 he purchased William E. Fra-
zer's hardware business, and in that trade has contin-
ued uninterruptedly ever since. The third oldest
merchant, John Mullin, has sold goods in this town
continuously since 1852.

Cookstown's first resident physician was Dr.
David Porter, who lived when a lad with the family
of Capt. Woolsey, of Westmoreland County. Dr.
Porter practiced for a year or two in Freeport about
1815, and then retiring to the country, did not return
until about 1836, when he opened an office on Water
Street. After a stay of a few years he retired once
more to a farm, and removing subsequently to Union-
town, remained there until his death in 1875. Dr.
Joseph Thoburn, who succeeded Dr. Porter at Free-
port, moved eventually to Wheeling. Dr. Nathan
Hubbs was a practitioner in Freeport in 1822, and
after a service of twenty-six years, died in the village
in 1848. During Dr. Hubbs' time Dr. Thornton
Fleming was one of the village doctors. He is espec-
ially remembered because of his sudden departure
from the place. He is supposed to be living now at
Galesburg, 111. Dr. James Eagan came to the town
in 1830, and in 1847 appeared Drs. Charles Conley
and 0. D. Todd. Dr. Todd, who lived opposite
Cookstown, in Washington County, had an office in
the village from 1847 until his death in 1880. Dr. J.
M. H. Gordon, who located in Cookstown in 1849,
has been in village practice continuously ever since.
Dr. H. F. Roberts came as early as 1847, and prac-
ticed at irregular periods as a local physician until
1876. He lives now in Uniontown. Dr. F. M. Yost
was in the field from 1852 to 1854. Drs. Reisinger
and Penny were but briefly village practitioners. Dr.
Conkling came in 1870, and died here in 1873. Be-
sides Dr. J. M. H. Gordon, the borough physicians
are John W. Gordon (here since 1S77) and J. V.
Porter (since 1880).

A post-office appears to liave been established at
Freeport as early as 1812. The first postmaster was


James Enos, the wheelwright, who lived on the hill.
In 1820 he was succeeded by William D. Mullin, and
Mullin by Samuel Larimer in 1829. Larimer served
until 1840, when Job Kitts was appointed, and in 1840
gave place to Edward Martin. Following Martin, to I
1860, the incumbents were K. G. Mullin, William R. |
Campbell, and John Stofft. Hugh Connelly had the [
office from 1800 to 1870, and Lewis K. Hamilton from I
1870 to 1880. S.B.Hamilton, the present incumbent, 1
was commissioned in 1880, although he has been the '
acting postmaster since 1 870. Fayette City post-office i
was made a money-order office in July, 1875. Four
mails are received and four forwarded daily. '

Joseph Downer, already noticed as Freeport's first
inhabitant, was a man of great business enterprise
and much respected. Reference to his early settle-
ment in Fayette County, and to some of his manu-
facturing enterprises on Downer's Run, will be found
elsewhere in the history of Washington township, as
also a notice of the somewhat famous Downer organ.
After his removal to Freeport he lived on the lot now
occupied by the residence of Mrs. Roscoe Thirkield,
his granddaughter. There he lived until his death,
Feb. 14, 1838. His children numbered thirteen, of
whom six were sons. The last of the sons was James
C. Downer, who died in Louisiana. Three of the
daughters are yet living. They are Louisa Roberts,
in Michigan ; Mrs. Thompson and Mrs. Thirkield,
in Fayette City. Samuel Lariniore, known promi-
nently in connection with Cookstown's history, was an
apprentice to Adam Weamer, the cabinet-maker, and
all his life afterwards a carpenter in the town. He
died in 1878, aged eighty year.s. His father, James,
was one of Freeport's early boat-builders, and accord-
ing to an old record still in the possession of Samuel
Larimer's widow, was, on the 25th of July, 1798, " a
member of the eighth class of the fifth company of
Col. Thomas Johnson's battalion."

The manufacture of glass has been an important
feature of Fayette City's industries since 1831. There
were at one period no less than three glass-works
within the limits of the town, but for many years the
manufacture of glass at this point has been confined
to one establishment. The business was founded here
in 1831 by John Martin and John Baker, who in that
year erected what were long known as the " upper
works," containing an eight-pot furnace. Moderate
success attended the enterprise from the first, but a
change in proprietorship brought a change in fortune,
and through various proprietary changes there were
several failures until 1846, when the works were
abandoned permanently. The buildings lay idle for
years, until they were demolished to make room for
the erection of dwelling-houses upon the site. In
1833 George Whiting built an eight-pot furnace on
the " Point," and with William Eberhart, Sr., con-
ducted the business for a short time. They were,

however, compelled by financial reverses to abandon
the works to others. In 1850, Whiting again obtained
control, and, in company with John Emery, carried
on the business until 1850, when they failed. Wil-
liam Eberhard, Jr., succeeded them and continued
until 1857, when he too failed. After that no one
ventured to take hold of the enterprise, and its his-
tory ended with the close of the year last named.

The glass-works now owned and operated by George
Wanhoff' & Co., of Pittsburgh, were built by John
Bezill and Samuel Kyle in 1844, the building contractor
being Edward Mansfield. The furnace wa.s supplied
with eight pots, and, all told, about fifty hands were
employed. Bezill sold his interest to Kyle, who in
turn disposed of the works to William Eberhard, Jr.
William Eberhard, Sr., succeeded in 1852, and con-
tinued until 1857. Adam Blair, previously an em-
ploye at the works, became proprietor, and after a
three years' experience failed in 1860. After lying
idle a time the factory was bought and revived by D.
Harmany & Co., of Brownsville. In 1866 they were
succeeded by Zimmerman & Co., who in 1872 sold out
to Joseph Torrance & Co. In 1872, Torrance & Co.
suspended work. ,John King & Co. were their suc-
cessors, but stopped work in 1873. The Iron City
Company were the next in possession, and in 1877
the present proprietors took the property. In 1879
they revived the works, and since that time have
operated them with profitable success. Their em-
ployes number about sixty. Their weekly product
of manufactured glass aggregates three hundred and
fifty boxes, or nearly twenty thousand boxes annually.
Their sand is obtained from Belle Vernon, and their

I lime from Tyrone. The annual consumption of ma-
terials in the manufacture is about one hundred thou-
sand bushels of coal, twenty-five thousand bushels of
coke, seven hundred tons of sand, two hundred tons

' of lime, two hundred and sixty tons of soda.


j A petition for the erection of Cookstown into a
borough was presented Dec. 5, 1839, and laid over
until the March session of court. The report was
then made by the grand jury favorable to the erec-
tion of the borough, and at the term lield in March,
1840, the court confirmed the report of the grand jury
and decreed that Cookstown should be erected into a
borough or body corporate by the name and style of
the borough of Cookstown, agreeably to the boundaries
and draft annexed to the petition. September, 1847,
a petition was presented to the court for an extension

' of the line of the said borough agreeably to certain
designated courses and distances, and to change the
day for the election of borough officers to the day pre-

; scribed by law for choosing township officers. A

j favorable report being made upon the petition the
court confirmed the report, December, 1847.

Although the borough was organized in 1840, no

I mention can be found in either county or borough


records of the names of borough officials elected prior
to 1847. From that period to 1854, when an act of
Legislature changed the name of the borough from
Cookstown to Fayette City, the following named have
been chosen among the borough officials, the incom- ,
plete records giving, however, no mention of either
burgess or councilmen except in 1848 :

ag; Judge

IS47.— Justice of the Peace, William D. Mullin :
Williiun Valentine ; Constable, Alexander Fleml
of Election, Aaron Bugher.

ISiS,— Burgess, Milton G. Ebert : Council, Alexander Flem-
ing, Philip .S, Kuhns, Bazil Brightwell, John S. Wilgus,
Ziba Whiting ; Justice of the Peace, Justus L. Blaney ; Au-
ditor, Samuel Larimer : .School Directors, William Krepps,
Isaac Banks, Michael Slotterbeck ; Assessor, J. V. Layton.

lS49._School Directors, John Cunnard, Philip .S. Kuhns, Wil-
liam McFee; Assessor, Samuel Larimer : Constable, -Alex-
ander Fleming ; Judge, John Tiernan.

IS50.— Justice of the Peace, Isaac Banks, William T. Bealle ;
School Directors, John Tiernan, Francis McKee; Assessor,

John (i. Tho


Judge, Willi!

E. Fri

s, John V. Layton, Noah Jewell, John
Long ; Assessor, John V. Layton ; Constable, Henry Hard-
esty ; Judge, John Thirkiel.

1S52.— School Directors, John Cunnard, Philip S, Kuhns; As-
sessor, John G, Thompson; Constable, John Wright;
Judge, David P. Lutz.

1853.— Justices of the Peace, William R. Campbell, Fr.ancis
McKee; School Directors, Samuel Larimer, Michael Slot-
terbeck; Auditor, Harvey Barker, Seneca McCrory ; As-
sessor, George Whiting ; Judge, John V. Layton.

ISJf.— School Directors, John Long, John V. Layton; Assessor,
John Cunnard; Judge, John Tiernan ; Constable. Samuel
B. Hamilton.

-\n act approved April 11, 1854, and entitled " An
Act to change the name of the borough of Cookstown,
in Fayette County, etc.," provides that " the borough
of Cookstown, in the county of Fayette, shall be
hereafter known by the name of Fayette City, and
under that name shall have all the rights and privi-
leges to which said borough is now entitled by law, and
shall be subject to all the restrictions and liabilities
to which said borough is now by law subjected to."

The civil list for Fayette City from 1855 to 1881 is
given below :

l^iS.— llurgiss, William R. Campbell , ^^^^.,.^^„, „„„ ^...-,

Ziba Whiting, Samuel Mansfield, William Krepps, Robert

G. .Mullin: School Dire

Larimer ; A - s,->ni, i;,.,,igo \\\
ISoT.-IJui-c-. K. (j. :\lullii,: C, llultoM, James .lacol.s. Mu-\i:,rl Alter, Samuel Ma

Held; .■^cho.d Directors, Jiiinc- Dougherty, Michael Slot

terbcck : Ass.-ssur, (Icon;.- Wliilim;.
185S.— Burgess, (Jriffilh Wells: Council, Williiim Haney, Wil

liam Athey, W. E. Frascr, Jr.. P. McPhclin, Wesley Lari

mer: Justice of the Peace, George AVhiting; School Di

en, Job Ki
krepps. Rot
Ediv;ird Mansfield, Samuel

Krepps, Sr

ird ; Assessors, Sam-

rectors, Wesley Larimer, -Jo

uel B. Hamilton, James Daugherty.

IS.i!). — Burgess. James Johnson ; Council, Wesley Larimer, Ziba
Whiting, W. E. Fraser, Jr., David McBain, George P.Ful-
ton ; Justice of the Peace, Robert G. Mullin ; School Direc-
tors, John Long, Harvey Barker ; Assessor, John V. Layton.

I860.— Burgess, John Cunnard; Council, William Krepps, Ed-
ward Mansfield, William Troth, G. B. Cook, George P.
Fulton ; School Directors, William Krepps, James H. Gor-
don, R. G. Mullin ; Justice of the Peace, John Branthaffer ;
Assessor, William Evans.

ISSl.— Burgess, John P. Tiernan ; Council, William Krepps,

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 188 of 193)