Franklin Ellis.

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

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purpose of receiving plans and proposals for the
construction and erection of a new Court-House and
county offices on the site where the old ones now
stand, public notice having been given four times or
more in the Genius of Liberty, Brownsville Free Press,
and Washington Examiner." On the 12th of August
the commissioners agreed to contract with Samuel
Bryan, Jr., of Harrisburg, for the erection of a new
court-house, to be eighty-five by fifty-eight feet in di-
mensions, two stories high, with county offices in the
first story, and court- and jury-rooms on the second



floor, agreeably to plans and specifications. Contract
price, §16,000. The articles of agreement and speci-
fications were signed and filed on the 2d of September
following, and the site fixed for the new court-house,
which, by the terms of the contract, was to be com-
pleted on or before the 1st of December, 1847. The
old court-house and offices were purchased by the
contractor, Bryan, at S-100.

The court-house (the same which is still occupied
by the courts of Fayette County) was not completed
at the time specified in the contract, but was finished
during the succeeding winter, and the court occupied
the new building at the March term of 1847. The
bell and fixtures were purchased on the 12th of July
following, for the sum of $373.60. On the 14th of
October in the same year the commissioners con-
tracted with Samuel Bryan, Jr., for casing four fire-
proof vaults in the uew court-house, for building a
wall on the south and west sides of the grounds, grad-
ing, paving, and erecting outbuildings, at $2700 for
the entire work.


The erection of the first prison f,,r tlic usu of Fay-
ette County was referred to in a Ictti r <>l' Eiibraini
Douglass to President Dickin<-.ii, date.l Feb. 2, 1784.
" Necessity," be says, " lias suiiiicsted to us the expe-
dient of building a teiiii>iirary (iaol by subscription,
which is now on foot." The temporary prison (a log
biiildiu;.') was erected soon afterwards, on the lot now
occupied by ihe residence of the Hon. Daniel Kaine,
at Uniontown. This continued in use until 1787, when
a stone jail was built on the court-house ground. The
following reference to it is found in the minutes of
the Court of Quarter Sessions:

"June 2(1, 1787. — The Grand Inquest for the body
of the County of Fayette upon their oaths respec-
tively present that the new Stone Gaol by them this
day examined at tin- iiM|Uest of the Court is sufficient.

" June 21), 17"^7. — < )n representation of the prison-
ers in the new (_!aiil eijn/i>laining that their health is
injured by the ilamimess of it, t'.ie Court, upon con-
sideration tlienvil', order that they be removed back

On the 2i;ili of .lune, 17!i".i, the county commission-
ers rc'iu.'stril thr o;iini<jii of the court "with respects
to the buil.liii- an addition to tlie Gaol." Upon
which the r.,ur( rfconiiiiended ].osti.oiionient of the

The i)roposal to build an addition to the jail was
again brouj;ht u\i in the fall of f^ol, and early in the
following January the plan was prepared and the ne-
cessar}' estimates made. On the 6tli of February the
contract for building the addition was awarded to
John Fally, of Union township, at 81149.

Ill April, 1X12, the eoiiiinis^ioiiia-s decided to collect
and pre|iaie material- ihiiiiiu tii.' succeeding summer
for the erection of a new jail. ( )n the 2d of Jlay the
board " re^-eived proposals for furnishing stone for

building a new jail on the public ground near the old
I jail," but nothing was done until June 18th, when the
I board contracted with James Campbell for stone,
j at S4.50 per perch, "delivered on the public ground
! near the old jail." A contract for lime was made with
I William Jeffries, of Union town.ship, and on the 26th
of October, 1813, the board "contracted with Morris
[ Morris, late commissioner, to superintend the building
of the new Jail this fall."

Jan. 7, 1814, "a bill of work done at the new jail
to the amount of §2400. 75i being settled for with
Thomas Hadden, late treasurer, but not entered in
minutes, no order has been issued until the settle-
ment." It appears evident that up to this time the
work bad been done by the day, but on the 22d of
March following the board received proposals " for
completing the new jail, etc."

On the 30tli of July, 1814, the commissioners held
a meeting, "occasioned by the burning of the jail,
I and to provide for materials to repair the same-," and
an order was issued to Robert McLean for $2.2.5
" for whiskey furnished the men while extinguishing
the fire in the jail."

In 1820 (September 21) " the Commissioners agreed
with Edward Jones to raise the jail wall for $3 per
perch, as follows, to wit : On the South side to be
raised up even with the caves of the roof of the Jail,
to be dressed inside and outside in the same manner
that the front of the Jail is, and to extend about six
feet beyond the southwest corner; the East Side to
be raised as above, in the same manner that the un-
derpart of the same has been built."
I At the March term in 1827 the grand jury recom-
mended "that the Western and Northern walls of the

■ Jail be raised on a level with the southern and East-
] ern walls, and that they be covered with shingles,

the roof to project about three feet over the yard,
supported by braces, and that the whole inner sur-
face be plastered." The work was accordingly done
as recommended.

March 10, 1845, Absalom White and William
Dorau, of Union township, contracted with the com-
missioners "to repair the upper floor and put on a
uew roof on the County Jail, which was damaged by
fire on the 4th inst., for the sum of $135." The fire
referred to as having damaged the jail was the same
that broke out in the court-house, and so nearly de-
stroyed it that the present court-house was built iu
j its place. Loss than a mouth after that fire (viz.,
' April 1st) " the stable on the public ground, occupied
by the Sheriff", was destroyed by fire about one o'clock
A.M., supposed to be the work of an incendiary,
with the intention of destroying the county buildings
by fire."

The building and construction of the present jail

j was awarded by contract on the 10th of April, 1854,

to John P. Huskius for $15,973, " for building county

jail as per plans and specifications." The building,

■ comprising jail and sherifl''s residence, was completed



in 1855. On the 13tli of July, 1870, the construction
of the iron cells in the jail was let by contract to
K. C. Chapman for $6900.26, and other work to be
done on the building was awarded by contract to D.
S. Walker.


In March, 1796, the Court of Quarter Sessions of
Fayette County approved a plan .submitted by the
commissioners for the building of offices for the use
of county officers and the safe-keeping of the county
records. The work was advertised to be let by con-
tract to the lowest bidder at Uniontown'on the 16tli
of May following, but at that time the best bid re-
ceived was from Dennis Springer, at 4^2475, which
the commissioners regarded as too high, and the
"sale" was postponed to the following day, when no
bids were offered, and another postponement was
made to the 24th. Again there was an absence of
bids and an adjournment to the 25th, when the com-
missioners were compelled to accept the first bid of
Dennis Springer, to whom the contract was accord-
ingly awarded. In the following March the com-
missioners " enlarged the plan of offices, the former
one not allowed large enough ;" and on the 21st of
June, 1797, the commissioners "met at the Court-
house to agree on the place for building the offices
and lay oft" the ground for the foundation, which was
done agreeably to the enlarged plan."

The records do not show when the offices were
completed, but it appears that on the 16th of Novem-
ber, 1798, the commissioners " proceeded to business,
removed the chest of papers from Jonathan Miller's
io the new public offices, and filed the papers that
lay promiscuously in it in the respective boxes, agree-
able to their dates." And Dec. 26, 1798, the board
"issued an order in favor of Dennis Springer for
S362.50, being the last payment in full for building
the public offices." On the 27th, by recommendation
of the court, the board issued another order in favor
of Springer for $267.67, in addition to the original

In 1834 the offices were repaired and enlarged.
They were located at the east and west ends of the
court-house, and were badly damaged, though not
destroyed, in the lire of Feb. 4, 184o. In the erection
of the new court-house after that event, the offices
(which had been kept at various places' after the
fire) were provided for in the lower story of the main
building. They were removed to the court-house in
February, 1848, and have since remained there to the
present time.

In connection with the history of the public build-
ings at Uniontown, it would be hardly proper to omit
a mention of William Stamford, fiimiliarly known as
"Crazy Billy," who is now between eighty -five and

1 The registers and recorder's oRices were temporarily removed to
John KefTer's building, and afterwards to ** Dr. Hngh Campbell's shop."
The Blieriff's and prothonotary's offices were kept in the Lndington
house, and the cominissionera' office in John Dawson's bnilding.

ninety years of age, and has passed full half a century
of his life in and about the jail and court-house of
Fayette County. He is a native of Warwickshire,
England, and in 1826 or 1827 sailed from London for
America in the ship " Superior," Capt. Nesbit, land-
ing in New York. He says he drove coach in that
city, in Philadelphia, and in Baltimore. " Afterwards
lie went to Cumberland, Md., and worked on the
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. From there he made'
his way to Wheeling, Va., and, as he says, "took to
the hills." The next known of him is that in 1831
he broke into the house of Alexander Crow, in Spring
Hill township, Fayette County, while the family were
at church. On their return he held the house against
their entrance, but aid was obtained, and he was cap-
tured and lodged in the jail at Uniontown. He was
taken before Judge Baird, who adjudged him insane
and remanded him to jail. While he was there John
Updegraff was brought to the prison in a state of in-
toxication. Stamford was chained to the floor, but
his irons allowed him considerable liberty to move,
and in a fit of unaccountable and uncontrollable
frenzy seized a billet of wood, rushed upon Updegrafl",
and gave him repeated blows over the head which
caused his death. After that time for eighteen years
he was kept in confinement, but during Sheriff Sny-
der's term he was allowed his liberty and put to work
in the stable and about the court-house and jail.
Since that time he has suffi^red no confinement, and
is allowed to move about Uniontown at will, but
passes nearly all his time in and about the court-house
grounds, having become greatly attached to the public
buildings which have sheltered him for so many years.
He says he was thirty-two years of age when he came
to this country, and now in his lucid moments he re-
lates many things which show a clear recollection of
the land of his birth, the rites and ceremonies of the
Episcopal Church, and the olden time poetry which
was popular in the days of his youth.



-liniise found
liv the com-
th,. r..llowinn:

The earliest ref( riiico tn a
in the records of I'ayitlr i<
missioners, dated ( let. 14, is;
is a copy, viz. :

"To Daniel Lynch, Esq^, High Sheriff of the
County of Fayette : Sir, — Agreeably to the provisions
of an Act of Asscnilily U> yruxUlv Uir tlie erection of
a house for the eiiiplnyiiK'Ht and sii|i|iort of the Poor
in the County of Fayette, we hereby notify you that
the returns of the Judges of the Election held in the
several districts of the County of Fayette, on the S'"
inst. [it being the second Tuesday in October, A.n.
1822] have certified to us that at ilio said eK'rtiMii
there was given lor a roor-IIouse one thousand and
twenty-five votes, whereby it appears that there is a
majority in favour of the establishment of a poor-
house of four hundred and eleven votes. You will
therefore take such order therein as is provided by




the law aforesaid." Nothing is found showing the
action talcen Ijy the sheriff in pursuance of the noti-

On the 12th of December, 1823, "The Poor-House
Directors met to estimate the expense of erecting the
Poor-House, and of lieeping the Poor for one year," 1
and on the 7th of January next following, the directors
purchased from Peter McCann a tract of land for a
poor-farm. The tract contained one hundred and
thirteen acres and ninety-nine perches, situated on ,
the National road, northwest of Uniontowu, in Union
township, near its western boundary. On the 2Cth of
April following, an order for one thousand dollars was
issued in favor of William Livingston, Frederick
Shearer, and Isaac Core, directors of the poor, to be
by them applied to the erection of a house upon the
poor-farm. August 14th in the same year another
order of the same amount was issued by the commis-
sioners to the directors of the poor, " to be appropriated
in paying for the poor-house tract and building the
poor-house thereon." A further sum of six hundred
dollars was appropriated for the same purpose in
1825, and tliree thousand five hundred dollars was
appropriated in 1S2G "' for repairs and additions."

On the 2d of June, 1834, the poor-farm was en-
larged by tlie ].>urchase from Alexander Turner for |
eight hundred and eighteen dollars of sixteen acres ;
and sixty perches of land adjoining the original tract. :

The following exhibit of the expenses of the poor- i
bouse and farm for the first two years is from the
auditor's book of minutes, viz. :


To cash 1

accounts of the p^
jntil Dec. 31, 1825,

ity treasury in the ye

To c-.ish i-eoeivcd out of county treasury in the year

1S25 4inP,.45J

" Cr.
By cash paid Jno. C. Marsh for building poor-house. $1(142.90

1)34. oa

llrr. 1,1. ls_',, 357.71)*

'• " provisions 165.19

" stock on farm °....! '.'.'.'.'.'.".'.'.'.' 162!l2i

'• furniluie liy..S4t

" h,li..i(in n.i 111. bank, etc 77.0(14

" tnasuicis salary in 1S24 56.25

" " •■ " " 1S25 40.1)0

'• " taxes 21.43

" dh'ecto.""acr'viMS in l's25.'.'.".".'.'.' !.'.'.';.'.'.'.' 3s!o4i

" E. Dorr.LAS, Jr.,
'• Samuel Cleavixger, Auditors."

The total expenditure for the poor of the county
for the year 1872 was !?7597.14; for 1873, $1.5,739.25 ;
for 1874, $1'J,2GU.10; for 1876, $21,338.11; for 1877,

$19,487.69; for 1878, $29,854.35; for 1879, $25,164.74;
and for 1880, $16,484 ; viz. : for almshouse, $13,722.90,
and for poor outside the almshouse, $2761.10. The
productions of the poor-farm and garden for the same ,
year were 624 bushels wheat, 85 bushels onions, '
2500 bushels corn (ears), 4500 heads of cabbage, 1400
bushels potatoes, 25 busliels beets, 100 bushels turnips,
20 bushels beans and peas, 300 bushels apples, 8 bar-
rels sauer-kraut, 10 barrels apple butter, 21 barrels
cider, 10,000 pounds pork, 5000 pounds beef, 16 tons



The first business done by the Court of Quarter
Sessions of Fayette County at its first term (Decem-
ber, 1783) was the admission of attorneys, of which
the following is the record: "Thomas Scott, Hugh!
M. Brackenridge, David Bradford, Michael Huffnagle,
George Thompson, Robert Galbrailh, Samuel Irwin,
and David Redick, Esquires, were admitted attor-
neys in the Courts of Quarter Sessions and Common
Pleas in this County, and took the oath according!
The attorney's roll shows the subsequent admissions
to have been as follows, viz. :

Thomas Smith, March.
John Woods, March.
David Semple, March.
James Ross, December.

James Carson, June.

Alex. Addison, March 20.

David St. Clair, Sept.
John Young, December.

H. Purviance, Sept. 22.

Hugh Ross, December.

Jos. Pentecost, Dec. IS.

Arthur St. Clair, June.
George Armstrong, June.

Parker Campbell, March.
Geo. Henry Keppel, Sept-
James ilorrisou, Sept.
Thomas Hadden, Sept.
Paul ilorrow, Sept.

Abram Morrison, March.
John Simonson, March.
James Allison, June.
Samuel Selley, Sept.

David McKeeban, March.
Thomas Collins, March.
Thomas Bailey, June 20.
J. Montgomery, June 20.
John Lyon, June 20.
Thomas Nesbitt, Sept.
Samuel Meghan, Sept.

Joseph Wrigley, June.
John Kennedy, Sept.
Thomas Meason, Sept.
.James Ashbrook, Sept.
William Ayres, Sept.



George Hoyl, June.

Robert Callender, June.

1801.'l S. Harrison, June.
Kizen Davidge, Sept.
Daniel Duncan, Dec.

James Mountain, Sept.

Isaac Meason, Jr., Sept.
: 1804.

M. Sexton, June.
Win. A. Thompson, Sept.

Elias E. Ell maker, June.
William Ward, Dec.

Geo. P. Torrence, April.

John B. Alexander, Aug.
John B. Torr, November.

John Marshall, Sept.

John M. Austin, Aug. 10.
Thos. H. Baird, Aug. 21.
John H. Chapin, Aug. 21.
Richard Coulter.
Thomas McGibben, Nov.

Frederick Beers, Aug.
Thomas Irwin, April.

Joseph Becket, April.
John Dawson, Aug. 17.


T. M. T. McKennan, Nov.


Andrew Stewart, Jan. 9.
Charles Wilkins, April.

Richard Becson, Nov.
James B. Bowman.
Nath'l Ewing, Nov. 19.


W. M. Denny, April 17.


John Bouvier, Dec. 11.
John H. Ewing, Aug. 21.
James Hall, April 1.3.
Wm. S. Harvey, April 13.
Jacob Fisher, Aug. 17.^

Wm. Kennedy, March 5.
James Piper.

J.ames Herron, March.
Hiram Heaton, March 7.

Samuel Evans, Sept.
John H. Hopkins, Oct. 1(3.
W. G. Hawkins, March 6.
Jacob B. Miller, Nov. 5.
Thomas G. Morgan, Sept.
Joshua Seney, June 5.

J. D. Creigh, June 6.

Thos. L. Rogers, Jan. 11.
James Todd, Cct. 30.

A. Brackenridge, June 1/
Rich. W. Lane, April 1.
J. C. Simonson, Oct. 28.

Richard Bard, Nov. 1.
Sam'l Cleavinger, Jan. 4.

Alex. Wilson, June 13.

E. P. Oliphant, March.

JoshuaB. Howell, Jan. 5.
Moses Hampton, March 3.

Rice G. Hopwood.
Daniel C. Morris, Oct. 29.
John H. Wells, Oct. 29.

Alex. W. Acheson, Oct.
Robert P. Flenniken, Oct.

C. Forward.

Alfred Patterson, Oct.
William P. Wells.
James Veecli, October.

John H. Deford, Sept. 9.
John L. Dawson, Sept. 9.

D. S. Todd, June.
James Wilson.

Wm. E. Austin, Jan. 4.
Samuel B. Austin, June 7.
Thos. R. Davidson, Jan. 4.


Hiram Blackledge, June.
James A. Morris, Sept. 5.
James J. Moore.

Robert D. Clark, March 4.
R. T. Galloway, March 4.

N. B. Hogg, Sept. 18.

M. W. Irwin, Dec. 15.

3 ordered by the

to bo struck from tbc roll of attorneys

Geo. W. Bowie, March 18.
Daniel Kaine, March 18.
Ainzi McClean, June 10.

Edward Byerly, Sept. 5.
Ellis B. Dawson, June (3.
J. C. Flenniken, Sept. 5.
Michael B. King, Sept. 5.

Wm. Bayley, March 4.
R. D. Burd,"March5.
John Bierer, Sept. 2.
Daniel Downer, Sept. 2.
A. S. Hayden, Sept. 2.
S. Addison Irwin, June.
Job .Tohnston, Sept. 7.
A. M. Lynn, March 4.
J. A. Stevenson, March 4. H. W. Patterson, Mar. 2.

Frederick Bierer, March.
Charles H. Beeson, Dec.
William Beeson, Dec.
Edgar Cowan, Sept.
John K. Ewing, March.
Amzi Fuller, March.
John Sturgeon, March 6.

A. W. Barclay, Sept. 7.
G. T. Greenland, Mar. 9.
Samuel Gaither, June 8.
Alfred Howell, March 9.
A. D. McDougall, Mar. 9.
Wm. Parshall, Sept. 7.
S. D. Oliphant, Sept. 7.


Everard Bricrer, March 8.
Jolin Fuller, March 8.
John B. K:repp.s,Dec. 12.
A. 0. Patterson, March 8.


Thos. W. Porter, Mar. 5.


John McNeal, June.
J. N. H. Patrick, Dec. 2.
Thos. B. Searight, June.
Alpheus E. Willson.
AVilliam McDonald.

Wm. L. Bowman, Dec. 7.
A. H. Coflroth, Sept. 6.
W. W. Patrick, June 7.
John D. Roddy, Sept. 0.

Seth T. Hurd, Oct. 24.

J. Walker Flennikin, Mar.
Eugene Ferrero, March.
Jetsan Jett, June 6.

Rich'd H. Austin, Jan. 8.
Cyrus Myers, Jan. 15.

A. J. Colbourn, Sept. 7.
Henry C. Dawson, June 2.
Peter A. Johns, Dec. 7.
G. W. K. Minor, Dec. 18.


Wm. H. Playford, Sept.
J. H. Sewell, March 4.

John Collins, June 7.

Albert D. Boyd, March 1.
James K. Kerr, March 2.

G. R. Cochran, June 30.
John Lyon, June 30.
Wm. B. Pusey, Dec. 10.

Edward Campbell, Sept.

Geo. F. Dawson, Sept. ')

John Gallagher, Dec. 5,

Jos. C. Thornton, Dec. 17. N- Ewing, Jr., Sept. 4.

David H. Veech, Mar. 7. Wm. Snyder, June 6.



John W. Delbrd, Sept. 8.
Jas. G. Johnston, Mar. 5.
Geo. S. Ramsey, Mar. 5.


Isaac Bailey, Dec. 3.
Charles E. Boyd, Dec. 2.
J. Mundey Clark, Dec. 3.
Sam'l A. Gilmore, Dec. 2.
Peter T. Hunt, June 5.
Julius Shipley, Dec. 9.
T. B. Selinatterly, Dec. 9.

Herman S. Baer, Sept. 18.
H. Clay Dean, Sept. 11.
James Darby.
T. B. Graham, Sept. 11.
Jos. M. Ogilvee, Dee. 7.
Henry T.Schell, Sept. 17.

'W. H. Hope, Dec. 5.

Harry Black, Sept. 4.
Jas. b. Ranisev, March 6.

William Baer, June 6.
A. M. Gibson, Dee. 2.
A. C. Nutt, Dec. 2.

C. P. Dunnoway, Mar.
W. G. Guiler, SeiH. 7.
Geo. W. Miller, :\Iar. 1
E. C. r.rhin, lirr. in.
M. Ham p. Todd, Sept.

J. J. Hazlitt, June 5.
S. L. Mestrezat, Dec. 7.

Eli Hewitt, Dec. 1.



H. Coldrei

, Sept. 9

Lucius H. Rubj
J. Rogers Pauli,
N. Lyman Duke
And. B. Gonder

July 2.

Sept. 9.
s, Seiit. 9
Sept. 0.


W. A
I. Lo

S. E

. Davidson
e Johnson,
aus Ewing

Sept. 4.
June 7.
Sept. 4.

Alonzo C. Hagan, Mar. 5.
M. M. Cochran, June 5.
AV. E. Dunaway, Mar. 12.
H. F. Detwiler, Mar. 8.
James P. Grove, Mar. 24.

Paoli S. Jlorrow, Sept. 2.
David M. Hertzog, hiept. 2.
G. B. Hutchinson, Sept. 4.

F. M. Fuller, June 2.
R. P. Kennedy, Aug. 26.

L. IT. Tl, rasher, March 1.

A. II. Wy, ; Aug. 31.

A>h. T. D.iwiis, Aug. 31.
(leo. B. Kaine, Dec. 6.
William McGeorge, Jr.,
Feb. 19. '

Among the earliest lawyers practicing at the Fay-
ette bar and resident within the county were Thomas
Meason and John Lyon, whose names have come

down to the present generation in traditions of kindest
recollection. Both of them seemed to have military
tastes, and the ardor of Gen. Meason to serve his
country in the field led to his death at the compara-
tively early age of forty years. In the winter of
1812-13 he left his extensive practice to offer his ser-
vices to the government in the war against Great
Britain, and traveling from Uniontown to Washing-
ton City on horseback, the exposure of the journey
brought on an attack of fever which resulted fatally
soon after he reached the capital.

Thomas Meason was born on the extensive estate
of his father, Col. Isaac Meason, at Mount Braddock.
He read law in the office of James Ross, Esq., at
Pittsburgh ; was admitted to thebarof Fayette County,
Sept. 25, 1798, and very soon acquired a practice
equal to that of any lawyer in the county. In 1802
he was married to Nancy Kennedy, a sister of the
Hon. John Kennedy. Personally he was a man of
fine presence, and his popularity was such that it very
nearly secured him an election as member of Con-
gress, though he ran on the Federalist ticket against
Isaac Griffin, in adistrict (embracing Fayette County)
which was strongly Democratic.

John Lyon was born in Carlisle, Cumberland Co.,
Pa., Oct. 13, 1771, and graduated at Dickinson Col-
lege. He came to Fayette County for the first time,
with a mu.sket on his shoulder, as a private soldier in
the army that was sent to suppress the "Whiskey
Insurrection" in 1794, and returned east with the
troops when the " war" was over. But he was
strongly .attracted by the beauty and prospects of the
country which he had seen west of the mountains,
and it was not long before he came back to Fayette
County and located in Uniontown, where he was ad-
mitted to the bar, June 26, 1797. He married Pris-
cilla Coulter, of Greensburg (sister of the Hon. Rich-

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 31 of 193)