Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 60 of 193)
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work were completed it would only require tlie crcr- ■['■''""JJ";. ''ll'"!"! " V'|"'"''' ■,'''','^"!' -!"''"! '''■'''!'|''-ill*

tion of lock and dam No. 7 by this company ti>liii^ mu.!, ' ' , , ■ .no

nish a slack-water navigation between Pittsburgh ami .m,,j .. ';, . . . 1 , ' t ; . , i^ 1 ,i»io

Morgantown, in West Virginia, a total distance ol !hliy., .!!!!;!!;!.;;. .. ^^l.v'.i.n i ; ' '■: - 1 , '- . ]''hiu

one hundred and two miles. Se'^emiitr ""' ' . 'lino

" This company has accordingly entered into a con- ii.tobcr y.y _ ■; ., .. _ ,1 i:,:.ocp

tract with Messrs. Harrold & McDonald for the ini- i)eceniber..!!!!!!!!! ijHicoo o!44;^cioo 2i5'.iu;:;(io ■■iaiV.scKj i3ijssl4oo

mediateerectioDof lock and dam No. 7, which, unless j^,„, 8,713,200 47,944,500 i4,U8,soo i5.i48,ioo S6,2o4,6co

the season should prove so unfavorable as to prevent ^, , ,. , , , , , , . ,„„,

... , 1 i J 1 • »u t n- The coke shipments by the slack-water in 1881

It, will be completed during the present vear. \\ c , , . ,,' •'

, , ^, ,; . -. 1 J. t" 1 1 1 1 liave been as follows :
are able, therefore, to congratulate our stockholdeis

, , , ,. ,1 , !■ ,, , Bushels— from Pool No. 1 134.500

and the public on the near prospect ot the coinple- ■' " ■■ ■• .2 3,:i3oiooo

tion of this important work, which will prove of great " " " '.[ ^. 2*9000

value to the inhabitants of the Monongahela Valley, t i • ~

and will, we doubt not, open a market for the iron

ores, coal, and lumber of that region of country, and This gives a total of ninety million thirty-five
aflbrd an avenue of trade and commerce of incalcu- thousand three hundred and sixty bushels of coal,
hible importance. It will, moreover, remove the ob- coke, and slack shipped from the several pools of the
struction to the navigation of the upper Monongahela Monongahela Navigation Company in the year 1881,
which has existed ever since the erection of lock and which is a total increase of a little more than six hun-
daiu No. 9 by the government. dred and fifty thousand bushels over the business of

".The erection of lock and dam No. 7, which, as ' 1880. The passenger business of 1881 was but little
before stated, is expected to be completed during the more than one-third that of the preceding year, this
present year, by connecting: with the government work being due to the opening of the railroad from
now iiartly in pr.H-es< nf ,nn-tiiKti<iii an. I purtly rcni- Brownsville to Pittsburgh in the spring of 1881. The

decrea,se will of course continue, and grow more marked
as the railroads now in process of construction pen-
etrate southward to West Virginia. But the passen-
ger trade is an item of small and ever-lessening com-
parative importance to the navigation of the river.
The natural resources of the country furnish its main, and this will be the case in the future even
more than it is at present.

The works of the Navigation Company, when com-
pleted to the State line, will extend upon less than
half of the improvable length of the Monongahela
River. It rises in the western slopes of that high
cluster of mountains which now form the border
lands of Virginia and West Virginia, and in which
the James, the Kanawha, the Shenandoah, and the
Cheat have their sources. Its longest branch is the
Tygart's Valley River, which rises in Randolph

County, on which are Beverly, Philippi, and Graf-

115,450.20 ton, and an important affluent of.which is the Buck-
hannon River, whicli rises in Upshur Countv, and on

its charter, and furnish a complete slack water navi-
gation not only iiii to but beyond the limit of the
Virginia State line. This work, when eompleteil, will
furnish on the Monongahela River the longest reach
of slack-water steamboat navigation in the United
States, if not in the world. ..."

work, loek and dan, No. 7, to-etlier with the new locks
at dams Nos. W and 4. will require an expenditure of
over four hundred thousand dollars, which must be
provided for, either by an increase of the bonded debt
or of the capital stock of the company. . . .

" The amount heretofore charged on the books of
the company to the account of con-
struction is $1,120,100.20

While tlie total caiiital stock is onlv . 1,004,650.00

Leaving the sum of .
Inch is not represented by stock.


which is the thriving town ot Unckliimonu, which as-
pired to be the capital of the new State. Its other
chief branch, and that which is considered the Mo-
nongahela proper, is the West Fork, which rises also
in Upshur County, and on which are Weston, in
Lewis County, and Clarksburg, in Harrison County.
These two great branches unite near Fairmount, in
Marion Count)', some thirty miles above Morgantowu.
At present the effort in West Virginia is to carry the
1 improvements to that place, where it will intersect
the Wheeling branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Rail-
I road. Ultimately it may be extended to Clarksburg,
i some ninety miles from the State line, and even to
I Weston, some forty or fifty miles farther. All of
I these branches drain a fertile but hilly country, and
I are without any great falls to break the continuity
, of their navigation. Their borders are rich in ores
1 and minerals, and in forests of some of the finest tim-
'. ber in the nation.

j The mineral treasures lying hidden beneath the
I everlasting hills of the Monongahela, and as yet
j hardly beginning to be developed, will sustain and
I swell the navigation of the river, and bring surpass-
[ ing prosperity to its valley. The Monongahela im-
provement, which, as its opponents forty years ago
prophesied, was to render the coal lands of the upper
river worthless, has, instead, been largely, if not prin-
cipally, instrumental in making them accessible, en-
hancing their value far beyond the wildest dreams of
that day, and making their owners wealthy. While
accomplishing this, after years of disaster and dis-
couragement, the Navigation Company has also
achieved success for itself, and its present prosperity
is certainly well merited.

This gratifying result is due in a very great degree
to the energy, vigilance, and wise management of the
president of the company, the Hon. James K. Moor-
liead. " It is no detraction," says Judge Veech, " from
the fortitude and faith of his departed predecessors,
who led it through the perils of its early history, to
say that he had much to do in the inauguration of the
plan which extricated it from those perils. Inti-
mately and practically acquainted with the construc-
tion, preservation, and management of its works from
the beginning, it is not enough to say of him that his
large interests in it have been the motive of his care,
for he has ever shown a generous regard for the inter-
ests of all who have rights in its uses and revenues.
Is a defect in its laws to be remedied, or a wrong to be
redressed requiring legislation '? He procures it to be
done. Is a repair needed? He goes right to it, lead-
ing his efficient corps of subordinates, into whom he
transfuses his spirit. Are tolls to be modified and in-
creased facilities for the safe and steady use of the
navigation to be made ? He invokes the counsel and
co-operation of the managers, and they are made ac-
cordingly. Indeed, so completely has he become
identified with the 'slack-water' that it has given to
him his must famfliur sobriquet." His predecessors

in the presidency of the company were James Clarke,
elected at the organization, in February, 1837, and
held till October, 1840 ; Thomas Bakewell, pro tem-
pore, from October, 1840, to January, 1841, then elec-
ted and held till the following October; William Eich-

1 baum, pro tempore, from October, 1841, to January,

[ 1842, then elected and held till January, 1844; Sam-
uel R. Johnston, January, 1844, to January, 1845;
John B. Butler, January, 1845, to July, 1846, when
he entered the army as paymaster in the Mexican
war. Mr. Moorhead succeeded him as president pro
tempore, holding till January, 1847, when he was elec-
ted, and has held the office of president of the com-
pany from that time continuously for more than
thirty-five years. The present officers of the Monon-
gahela Navigation Company are :
President, J. K. Moorhead.
Secretary and Treasurer, Wm. Bakewell.

[ Managers, John Harper, Felix R. Brunot, M. K.

I Moorhead, N. B. Hogg, Wm. Morrison, J. B. Mur-
doch, Alexander Bradley, J. B. Sweitzer, Joseph Al-
bree, A. C. Bakewell.

Steamboat navigation on the Monongahela was
j commenced in the year 1814, when the "Enterprise,"
I which had been built at Bridgeport by Daniel French
and others, left that place under command of Henry
M. Shreve, and passed down the Monongahela, Ohio,
and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans, being the first
boat that ever made the trip from Pittsburgh to that
j city and return. The " Dispatch" was also built at
Bridgeport by the same parties, and went down the
Monongahela and Ohio not long after the " Enter-
I prise." During the thirty years that succeeded the
building of these two boats, before the opening of the
slack-water from Pittsburgh to Brownsville, the Mo-
nongahela was navigated in the times of high water
by a multitude of steamboats, of which it is imprac-
ticable to give the names, or any connected account.
The first regular line boat that ran upon the Mo-
nongahela slack-water alter its completion between
Brownsville and Pittsburgh, was the side-wheeler
" Louis McLane," so named for the first president of
the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. With her, on al-
ternate days, ran the " Consul," also a side-wheeler.
Both these boats were regardeil as fast, the " McLane"
being the more so of the two. After about four years'
service she was dismantled at Brownsville, and parts
of her used in the building of the Pittsburgh and
Wheeling packet " Diurnal."

The two line boats above mentioned were succeeded
by the "Atlantic" aud "Baltic," which were both
very fast boats. They came out in 1849. After three
i or four years' service the " Baltic" was dismantled at
Bridgeport, and the other was put in use as a tow-
boat. After a time she too was demolished, and her ma-
terial used in building the stern-wheeler " Hercules."
The " Baltic" and " Atlantic" were succeeded in the
line bv the " Luzerne" and "Jefferson." While the



former was buiidiiij;. in ]S')2, the flood carried the
hull off the ways and over the dams. It was caught
at McKeesport, and towed into the Youghiogheny,
where it was comiileted. The " .Teflerson" was built
at McKeesport, and after her tour of duty on the
slack-water was dismantled at lirowusville. The
"Luzerne" was taken to the Mi, - is-i|.]M, where she
ran between Eock Island and Oaliiia, 111., and was
finally snagged near the Iowa slioie, above Lyons.
About 1854 the "Redstone" was built by John S.
Pringle, now of West Brownsville. She was put on
the line, but ran only a few months, when she was
sold to go in the lower Ohio River trade ; but her
career was ended soon afterwards, by the explosion of
her boilers near Carrollton, Ky.

The "Telegraph," built at California by McFall,
ran on the line for about twelve years, and was ac-
counted a " lucky" boat. After her long career on
the slack-water she was dismantled at Brownsville.
Some of her machinery was put in the "Scotia," re-
cently built for the Ohio. The "Geneva," stirn-
wheeler, ran on the line for a short time .ibout b^oo.
The "Dunbar" built by John S. I'ringlr aliout
1S.-,'.I for the Monongahela trade, but being a little
too huQC to jiass the locks conveniently, was sold to
run on the lower < )hio and Tennessee Rivers. At
the commencement of the war of 1801-65 she fell
into the hands of the Confederates. After the fall
of Fort Henry she with several other boats was
chased up the Tennessee by the United Static gun-
boats "Lexington," '■ Conestoga," and " Tyb r." .-^hr
passed Pittsburg Landing and Eastport, and a short
distance above the lattiT. rs,-;iped h.-r pursuers l>y run-
ning up a rrerk which was too shoal (or the Federal
gunboats to folb.w. I'.ul sh.' left her bones there, for
the water fallin-sbr was unable to uvt ba.'k to the
river, an.l was dismantled bv tb,- Conlrd,. rales, who

took her maehinery overla

id to the Clialtaliooehie

River, where it was used in

in..ther boat.

Among the later boats ru

ningon the line between

Pittsburgh and New Gene

va there have been the

"Franklin," the " Gallati

1," the "Fayette," the

" Elisha Bennett," " Chieftain," " Elector," and the
present boats of the Geneva line, — the " John Snow-
don," "Geneva," and "Germania." The "Franklin"
and " Gallatin" ran together on the line for a few
vrars, after which s.'rviee the " Gallatin" was sold to
run as a ferry-boat brtwi m .Ar<'niphis, Tenn., and the
.\rkausas shore of tlir Mi-MsMppi. and the "Frank-
being phi'-.d in Iho '•(;,. iirva," whirh is >lill on Ihr
line. The 'M-ayrlte,'- whi.-h was built al I'.rowns-
ville, was one of the finest boats ever running on the
Monongahela, as well as one of the most smecssful.
She was sold to go in the lower Ohio Itiver trade,
between Cairo, 111., and Evansville, Ind. The career
of the "Elisha Bennett" was disastrous, ending in
her total loss in 1878. She was carried away from
her wharf at Brownsville, in the night, by flood and

I ice, and crushed at dam No. 4. The " Chieftain"
met the same fate at the same time. This last-named
boat and the " Elector" were not put on the river to
run in the regular Geneva line, but in the " People's
Line," an opposition which was put on about 1867.
This line was discontinued by their boats being pur-
chased by the other company and run as boats of the
regular line.

I The " Pittsburgh, Brownsville and Geneva Packet

j Company" was incorporated under an act of Assem-
bly passed Feb. 21, 1868, with a capital of $150,000,
and authority to increase to 8300,000. The corpora-
tors named in the act were " Benjamin Coursin, John
J. House, Mark Boreland, William Britten, Clark
Breading, Samuel H. Smith, Joseph G. Ritchie, and
their associates," the object for which the company
was incorporated being to run steamers for the carry-
ing of passengers and freight on the Monongahela

! River, which, however, they had been doing for years
before the incorporation, tliis being the legalization,
l.iut not the commencement, of the enterprise. The
first president of the Company was J. K. Moorhead,
who was succeeded by George W. Cass, and he by
Adam .Taeobs. Nearly all the steamers already men-
tioned as having run on the .Monongahela were of this
line. Thcpresenl lioats of the company making daily
trips each way between Pittsburgh and New Geneva
are the "Jidin Snowdon," "Geneva," and "Ger-

! mania." The "Snowdon," an old boat, is soon to be
■ lisplaird by file new and si)lendid steamer "James
(1. J'.hiiiH." rrcently built by Capt. Adam Jacobs,
who.~r lioat-vard and residence is on his estate of " East
Riverside," in Luzerne township, Fayette County.

The present (1881) officers of the packet company
are: Jlanagers, Adam Jacobs, president; Isaac C.

W Iward. Charles E. S].e:ir, Benjamin F. Coursin,

H. i;. Co.k, William I'arkhill, George E. Hogg; Sec-
retary and Treasurer, IL W. Robinson.

For the Youghiogheny River during the p.ast half-

l century, various projects of improvement have been

[ conceived, and some attempts made to put them in

I execution, with partial though temporary success as

to the lower end of the river, but with no results of

actual improvement within the county of Fayette.

The schemes of Youghiogheny improvement were

started in the times when ]ieople knew little or noth-

iiiL!- of the advantages of railroad communication, and

bilii \,.(1. or nied to believe, that every mill-stream in

the cunntry rould be made a navigable water-way to

l.rin- \M:illh to the iidiabitants, and importance to

That the idea of making tlie Youghiogheny a navi-
gable stream was entertained at least as early as 1816
is shown by the fact that in thatyearan act of Assembly
was passed incorporating " The Youghiogheny Navi-
gation Company." It afterwards appeared that the
promoters of thiscompany had no intention of making
improvements on the river, but

used the name



to secure a charter (which could not otherwise have
been obtained) in which was skillfully incorporated a
section giving them power and authority to carry on a
banking business in Connellsville. The fact that the
name of " Navigation Company" was used for the pur-
pose shows the idea of river improvement was popu-
lar among the people at that time. In 1821 " an act
for the improvement of the State"»was passed (ap-
proved March 2Gth), by a section of which the sum
of i^oOOO was appropriated, to be expended, under
the direction of William L. Miller, Samuel Rankin,
and Alexander Plummer, for the improvement of the
Youghiogheny. This sum was expended by the
commissioners for the purposes indicated, and work
was done as far up the river as Connellsville, but with
little benefit to the navigation of the stream.

In 1841 the Connellsville and West Newton Navi-
gation Company was incorporated under an act ap-
proved April 30th of that year, which provided and
declared. that " the said company shall have power to
make and complete a lock navigation from the town
of West Newton, in the county of Westmoreland, to
the west end of Main or Spring Street, in the borough
of Connellsville, in the county of Fayette, and on the
Youghiogheny River." The capital stock was placed
at six hundred shares of fifty dollars each, with power
to increase to four thousand shares. The commis-
sioners appointed to receive subscriptions to the stock
were Thomas R. Davidson, George J. Ashman, John
McBurney, William R. Turner, John Smilie, Robert
Bleakley, Daniel Kaine, Noble C. McCormick, and
James Francis, of Fayette County ; John C. Plum-
mer, J. B. Oliver, Joseph* Budd, Bela Smith, Elias
Porter, Daniel Hoge, John Boyd, John Frick, and

Shellenberger, of Westmoreland, and William

L. Miller, of Allegheny County. The company was
required to commence the work within two years and
complete it within five years from the passage of the

The Youghiogheny Navigation Company was in-
corporated in 1843, under an act passed for that pur-
pose, approved April 18th in that year. The com-
missioners appointed by the act to receive subscrip-
tions to the stock of the company were James Bell,
Alexander Plummer, Adam Coon, Moses Robins,
Joseph Markle, John Klingeiismitb, Jr., Joseph Lip-
pincott, Joseph Gurty, Henry Null, John D. Davis,
and James May. The capital stock of the company
was thirty thousand dollars in six hundred shares of
fifty dollars each ; the power and authority granted
being the construction of a lock navigation from the
mouth of the river to the borough of West Newton.

Nothing of importance or permanent value to the
navigation of the Youghiogheny was done by either
of the above-mentioned companies, though the last-
named company did complete their improvement from
the mouth to West Newton, eighteen miles. Two
dams were built, under supervision of their engineer,
James E. Dav, and the slack-water iiavi'Mtitin was

formally opened to West Newton by a celebration on
the 7th of November, 1850. The result, however,
showed that the engineer had miscalculated the
mighty power of the floods and ice in that river, or
that the dams were too high or defectively con.structed.
They lasted only a little over fourteen years, with
long intervals of uselessness for lack of repair, and
the great ice flood of January, 1865, put an end to
them. They are now in ruin, and the charter of the
company extinct.

In recent years (1874 and 1875) surveys of the river
were made by parties under charge of Maj. W. E.
Merrill, who, in his report, January, 1881, said, "The
whole of this distance has already been covered by
surveys made under my direction in past years. The
survey from McKeesport to West Newton, nineteen
miles, was made by Lieut. F. A. Maham's corps of
engineers in 1874. The survey from West Newton to
Connellsville, a distance of twenty-five and a half
miles, was made in 1875 by my assistant, Capt. T. S.
Sedgwick, as a part of the survey for the extension of
the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal from Cumberland to
Pittsburgh." The report gives the total fall of the
river from Connellsville to McKeesport (ibrty-four
and one-third miles) as one hundred and forty-eight
feet, requiring fifteen dams of ten feet lift each.

The proposition to extend the Chesapeake and
Ohio Canal from Cumberland to Pittsburgh, as no-
ticed in the extract given above from Maj. Merrill's
report, has been under consideration from the time
when the first surveys were made for that work. In-
deed, it appears that the idea was first entertained by
Gen. Washington, who, immediately after the close
of the Revolutionary war, made extended journeys
on horseback, examining the routes which were after-
wards taken by the Erie Canal of New York, by the
Pennsylvania canals along the Conemaugh and Ju-
niata, and by the James River Canal in Virginia, also
examining the country from the Potomac near Cum-
berland, across the summit, by way of Castleman's
River, to the Youghiogheny at Turkey Foot, and
pronouncing the last-named route to be the best of all.
Forty-five years later (about 1830) the same route was
surveyed for the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal by Gen.
Bernard, assisted by Lieut.-Col. Totten, of the United
States Topographical Engineers, and John L. Sulli-
van, a distinguished civil engineer of Massachusetts.
Gen. Bernard had been an aide-de-camp to the Em-
jM'ior Xapdloon, and afterwards Minister of War to
Loui, l'l,,l,,.,,o, King of the French. He had sur-
veyed the nmtc of the canal from Georgetown, D. C,
to Cumberland, and estimated the cost at $8,177,081.
The actual cost was .§11,071,176. His survey of the
proposed extension from Cumberland to the Ohio at
Pittsburgh showed in the seventy miles from Cum-
berland over the summit, and by Castleman's River
to the Youghiogheny, an ascent and descent of 1961
feet, to be overcome by two hundred and fortv-six


locks, the eutire cost of this section of the work being
estimated at $10,028,122. From the mouth of Castle-
man's River, by way of the Youghiogheny and Mo-
nongahela Rivers, to Pittsburgh, the fall was found to
be six hundred and nineteen feet, necessitating the
construction of seventy-eight locks. The estimated
cost of this division of the work was $4,170,223.
Total estimated cost of canal and slack-water be-
tween Cumberland and Pittsburgh, $14,198,345. To-
tal length of way, about one hundred and fifty-five
miles, and whole number of locks, three hundred
and twenty-four. Gen. Bernard estimated that the
opening of this canal lietween Cumberland and
Pittsburgh would, within six years from the time of
its completion, enhance the value of lands along its
route to the amount of eighty-two millions of dollars.
But the estimated cost of the work was too appalling,
and the enterprise w^as abandoned, thouL'h some other
surveys were made after that time, iiuludiiiLr tli'i>e
made under direction of Maj. Merrill, as uhvady no-
ticed. The old canal and slack-water project lias even
yet some adherents; but this is an age of railways,
and the opening of the well-equipped and substantial
line between Pittsburgh and Cumberland in 1871 ex-
tinguished forever all hope for the construction of a
canal to connect the waters of tlie Potomac and



The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company was the
first corporation which made any actual movcnu-nt
towards the construction of a railway line tliroiigh
the valleys of the Youghioglu^ny and .Monongalicla
Rivers. That company having been incorporated by
the Legislature of Maryland at their December ses-
sion in the year 182(5, applied to the General Assem-
bly of Pennsylvania for authority to construct their
road through this State to or towards a terminus on
the Ohio. To this petition the Assembly resjionded
by the passage of "An Act to authori/A' the Baltimore
and Oliio Railroad Company to const nict a railroad
through Pennsylvania, in a diri'Ction Iroin Baltimore
to- the Ohio River." The act recited in its pre-
amble, that "it is in accordance with that liberal
course of policy which has ever been pursued by tliis
Commonwealth to promote the facility of trade and

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 60 of 193)