Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 62 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 62 of 193)
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Geiiim of^, April l:),

connect with the Pittsburgh and Connellsville Rail-
road at or near the borough of Connellsville." The
persons invested by the act with autliority to open
books for subscriptions to the stock of the company
were Samuel A. Gilmore, Nathaniel Ewing, John
Huston, Andrew Stewart, Joshua B. Howell, Alfred
Patterson, Daniel Kaine, Henry Yeagley, John Daw-
son, H. W. Beeson, Isaac Beeson, Smith Fuller, Ew-
ing Brownsfield, James Veech, William Thorndell,
Eleazer Robinson, Alpheus E. Willson, William Bee-
son, Jacob Murphy, William Bryson, John K. Ewing,
Samuel W. Boyd, William C. McKean, John Chaney,
John Freeman, George Paull, Samuel Ni,xon, Thoma.s
B. Searight, Samuel D. Oliphant, Edmund Beeson,
John Bierer, Ellis B. Dawson, Armstrong Hadden,
George McClean, Isaac Winn, Robert Patterson,
Thomas Sturgis, Jesse B. Gardner, and Alfred Mc-

The authorized capital of the company was $750,000
in shares of SlOO each. The first president of the
company was Hon. Nathaniel Ewing, to whom more
than to any other person was due the credit of com-
pleting the road and putting it in operation. It was
finished in its entire length in the last part of the
year 1859, and was formally opened for travel and
traffic between Uniontown and Connellsville on the
1st of January, 1860.

After the completion and opening of the line, the
company met with financial embarrassments, which
resulted in the sale of the road and equipment by the
sherift' on the 2d of September, 1862, it being then
purchased by the stockholders, and the company re-
organized. On the 1st of November, 1864, the road
was leased by the company to the Pittsburgh and
Connellsville Company for ninety-nine years. In
December, 1875, it was leased by the latter company
(together with the main line from Pittsburgh to Cum-
lierland) to the Baltimore and Ohio Company, by
which corporation it is at present operated.

The Southwest Pennsylvania Railway Company
was incorporated March 16, 1871. The corporators
named were Israel Painter, Alpheus E. Willson,
James E. Logan, Samuel Dellinger, and Christopher
Sherrick. The company were authorized to construct
a railroad, with one or more tracks, from the Pennsyl-
vania Railroad at or near Greensburg, Westmoreland
Co., Pa., by way of Connellsville, to Uniontown, Fay-
ette Co., and thence to the boundary line of West
Virginia. The capital stock was S500,000. An or-
ganization of the company was effected at Greens-
burg, and Thomas A. Scott elected president. The
route was located, and work on the line commenced
without unnecessary delay. In 1875 the completed
road extended from Connellsville as far .south as
Mount Braddock, and in the fall of 1S76 was opened
to Uniontown.

In August, 1877, the company ])Urchased the rights
and franchises of the Uniontown and West Virginia



Railroad Company, and the road was continued about
seven miles southward from Uniontown to Fairchance.
The line is now operated by the Pennsylvania Rail-
road Company.

The Pittsburgh, Virginia and Charleston Railway
was first projected by a company which was incorpo-
rated by an act of Assembly approved April 8, 1867,
as the Monongahela Valley Railroad Company. By
a supplemental act, approved March .31, 1868, the
company was " authorized to construct its railroad
with single or double tracks from a point at or near
the city of Pittsburgh, by such route as the board of
directors may determine, to a point at or near Monon-
gahela City, in Washington County, and thence up
either bank of the Monongahela River to a point at
or near Rice's Landing, with power to construct such
branches as the directors may deem necessary." Feb-
ruary 4, 1870, an act was passed changing the corpor-
ate name of the company to that of Pittsburgh, Vir-
ginia and Charleston Railway Company.

The delays which are usual in the building of rail-
ways, except such as are undertaken by old and pow-
erful companies, were encountered in the construction
of this, and it was not until the spring of 1881 that
the line was completed and opened from Pittsburgh
to West Brownsville, thus giving to the boroughs of
Bridgeport and Brownsville the first railroad com-
munication they ever enjoyed, though no part of the
road in operation is within the county of Fayette.

A railroad to run from Brownsville to Uniontown
was projected by the '' Brownsville Railway Com-
pany." Work on the line was commenced by this
company, and some grading was done between the
two termini ; but financial difliculties intervened, and
the road was sold at sheriff's sale, Feb. .5, 1878, to
Charles E. Spear, and was afterwards merged with the
Pittsburgh, Virginia and Charleston Railroad. The
last-named road and its franchises passed in May,
1879, to the control and management of the Pennsyl-
vania Railroad Company, by which it is now oper-
ated as the "Monongahela Division" of its lines.

The Redstone extension or branch of the Pitts-
burgh, Virginia and Charleston Railroad is now in
process of construction, having been commenced by
the Pennsylvania Railroad Company in January,
1881. Starting from the completed road west of the
Monongahela, it crosses that river by a bridge at the
mouth of Redstone Creek, below Brownsville, and
runs from that point to Hogsett's Cut, about one mile
north of Uniontown, where it joins the Southwest
Pennsylvania Railroad. It is now being pushed
rapidly to completion, and is expected to be opened
about the 1st of June, 1882, thus giving a third line
of railway communication between Uniontown and
Pittsburgh, and from both these places to Browns-
ville by a short branch extending to that borough
from the main line near Redstone Creek. As this
Redstone branch road has an ea?v and unbroken

descending grade in its entire length, it is expected
that it will take all the immense amount of coke and
other freight' which now finds an outlet over the
Southwest Pennsylvania road from stations south and
west of Mount Braddock. It will also open in the
Redstone Valley an immense area of coal lands which
are now inaccessible.

The Mount Pleasant and Broad Ford Railroad
Company was incorporated April 6, 1870, with a
capital stock of $200,000, the corporators named
being Daniel Shupe, C. S. Overholt, J. B. Jordan,
William J. Hitchman, Joseph R. Stoufl'er, A. O.
Tinstman, Israel Painter, C. P. Markle, and James
Neel. The road was commenced immediately after
the organization of the company, and was pushed
with so much energy that the line was completed
and opened on Saturday, Feb. 18, 1871. On the 2d
of January next preceding the opening of the road
it was leased to the Pittsburgh and Connellsville
Railroad Company, and afterwards by that lessee to
the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, by which
latter corporation it is now operated in conjunction
with the main line of road from Pittsburgh to Cum-

The Uniontown and West Virginia Railroad Com-
pany was incorporated April 2, 1868, with an author-
ized capital of .1250,000, and with power to construct
a railroad from Uniontown to West Virginia State
line. The persons designated to open books, re-
ceive subscriptions to the capital stock, and organize
the company were John K. Ewing, Armstrong Had-
den, Andrew Stewart, A. E. Willson, Smith Fuller,
E. B. Dawson, Robert Hogsett, Daniel Kaine, Samuel
A. Gilmore, Charles E. Boyle, F. H. Oliphant, Wil-
liam James, Ayres Nixon, James Hughes, John
Brownfield, Robert Britt, Jacob Kyle, William A.
Custer, James Robinson, Thomas Seman, Samuel
Shipley, Tobias Sutton, Samuel Hatfield, William
H. Bailey, William S. Morgan, A. B. Hall, Jacob
Crow, Dr. James Thompson, J. G. Williams, John L.
Dawson, John Schnatterly, Martin Dickson, Michael
W. Franks, .John Morgan, Lewis Plunter, John Oli-
phant, and William Sweeny.

Surveys for the location of the route of the road were
made by N. Bailie, engineer. A c'lmsiilcraMe amount
of work was done in the construct inn ot rul\ cits, build-
ing of bridges, and completion of most of the grad-
ing between Uniontown and Fairchance. But the
financial difficulties and embarrassments usually en-
countered in the construction of new lines of railway
were experienced by this company, and finally, in
March, 1874, the road was sold by the sheriff on three
judgments, which had been obtained against the com-
pany by John Snider, the contractor. Snider became
the purchaser, and on the 28th of August, 1877, he
sold the property to the Southwest Penu\vlvania Rail-
road Company, who comjdeted the road from Union-



town to Fiiirchance. This part of the line, as well
as the Southwest Company's road from Uniontown to
Greensburg, is now operated bv the Pennsylvania
Railroad Comnanv.

Com I

(I Mairl

,'reok Railroad

in;:-, Cluules S. Scatoii, Thoiiius li. Sea-
:iiii .lames, Daniel Kaine, Alpheus E.
:irl('s E. Boyle, Isaac P. Kendall, John
William jri-Clenry. Ewing Browtificld,
■, William rar.-liall, and Mi.-lia,l W.
Fayrit,- C.Minty.and .lohii V. Williams,
•lie, and Freeman Lucas, of Greene
ic road has not been built, and the early
if the line between the termini is not yet


The Brownsville and New Haven Railroad Com-
pany was chartered Feb. 23, 1876. under tliu i^cneral
law. This company had authority to cniistnnt a
road from a point at or near New Haven to a point
at or near Vance's Mill, on Redstone Creek; also to
connect with any other railroad. The company or-
ganized and prosecuted the work of construction
until the grading was nearly completed over the en-
tire length. The usual loiiU fdlowed,— financial
ditficulties and the sale ol' the road by the sheriff
(Aug. 30, 1877). Aliial.aiii ( ). Tinstnian and A. L.
McFarland became the puriliasers, and it was after-
wards sold by them to the I'ittsbLirgh and Connells-
ville Railroad Company. Tlie road will undoubtedly
be completed in the near future.

Several other railrc
through this county
" Vanderbilt Road,"
remarkable rajiidity.
gheny, along the leit

ds are in con

emplation to n

one of whic

1, kiKiwn as tl

s now being

constructed wi

Its route is

up the Yi.iiulii


er, to the vi.-iiii

Vew Haven, i

nd thence sout


the central pa

of Counellsville and X
ward through the
of F'ayetteCounty tolln
its mute soiilh of the Si
SOUtliern lerminus h^ive
western cuiincctinii is I
Lake Erie Railroad.

In the year 1768 the Rev. John Steele, who had
been sent out with two other commissioners to visit
the settlements along the Monongahela and Youghi.i-
gheny Rivers, said, in his repori t<i the (iuveniur,
"I am of opinion, from the appeanuiee the people
nuide. and the best intelligence we could obtain,
that there are about one hundred and liftv families

in the dilferent settlements of Redstone, Youghio-
gheny, and Cheat." A few of those included in
this estimate were located at Turkey Foot, in what is
now Somerset County, a few on the Cheat south of
the State line, and two or three families on the west
side of the Monongahela. The wdiole one hundred
and fifty families must have aggregated more thajj
seven hundred persons, of whom less than fift)' were
living at Turkey Foot, and if there were an equal
number of Steele's estimate settled in what is now
Washington County and West Virginia (which is not
jn-oViable), then there must have been at that time
within till' territory that is now Fayette County a
population of I'ully si.x hundred, though statements
have been made giving it a much less population than
that in 1770, two years later. In 1790 Fayette County
had 1.3,325 inhabitants, and in 1800, 20,159. The
poimlation of the county at the end of each decade
from 1810 to ISsii, inclusive, is given below, by town-
ships and boroughs, as shown by the reports of the
several United States censuses taken within the period
indicated :

1810 1 1820 1S30

1840 1 1850 1 1860 , 1870 ISsti

llli-l^rl„,,i ■

"I'.Ui's 'iViVi; "I'^IKl
24,714127,285' 29,248

7-^ 1 .''J 1, T., 1,1 ,t:;4

1,., . ij ■ ; ' 1 • ; j.7.;2

LI :.. 1.. . ■- 1 ■■ ...IS
1-1 1 : ■ . . 1 1()6

I - 'o'!.tl''rilyi ■


m'.'im'i'i,'.'"". '/

N.-« ir,v„i,i „

j' 7 1 _, r , , ; II -'i-i


i',:!;.!! ■i',^7'- Mil Ml' 1J76
l,rv,i l,js7 1,1 ■. 1 i-j I.He,6

"Vn^V. 1,,V. ],.,_ , Ijis

- . 1 . • : ' -■' 1-11 1..7,7S
-.1 ..... 1,-1..)8

I'.'r ■■.■■r.5


.1 ■ 1,.,., 1 ... i . . l,'_.,-,7

33,574 39,112 39,909 43,284 58,852

i f.jr Connellsville Borough

V,.st Wiir.l, l:i:i4; total, 2503.
.Vest Ward, 1683; total, 32G5.



The history of Unioiitown projierly begins with
the year 1767, when Thomas Douthet and Henry
Beeson (the latter a Quaker) came from Virginia to
this section of country and selected lands within the
limits of the present borough. It is evident that
Douthet settled or "squatted" on his land immedi-
ately after selecting it,' for his name is mentioned in
the report of the Eev. John Steele, among those of
the settlers whom he and the other Pennsylvania com-
missioners found living on Redstone Creek and in its
vicinity in March, 1768. This makes it reasonably
certain that he had located here in the previous
autumn, as it is very improbable that he would have
moved to his new home so early in the spring. He
did not become a permanent settler here. His land
was purchased by Henry Beeson prior to 1774 (as will
be seen hereafter), but the precise date of the sale
has not been ascertained. The log cabin in which he
lived was located on what is now the rear of E. Bai-
ley Dawson's land, south of the court-house. It was
occupied by him when William Campbell first visited
the vicinity in 1770, but no later account of his resi-
dence in the place or his removal from it has been

Henry Beeson, although he selected his land at
about the same time as Douthet, did not settle or
make improvement on it until 1768. The fact that
his name does not appear in Commissioner Steele's list
of settlers here in March of that year is not positive
proof that he did not locate in 1767, as has been stated

1 Proljiibly he had at first but a " tomiihawk riglit." Tlie order issued
to Thomas Douthet for a warrant of survey was dated June 14, 1769, and
the land was surveyed to him by Alexatidor McCleati on tlie 27th of
SeiUendier in the same year. A plat of tliis tract, called "Mill Seat,"
containing tliree hundred and fourteen and one-quarter of acres, situated
on Ufdstoiie Creek, is found on page 71, "Book of Surveys of Fayette
Comity." This tract embraced the part of Unionlown lying east of
what is now Morgantown Street. The patent for the " Mill Seat" tract
was i-siied Aug. 11, 1786, to Henry Beeson, who had purchased it more
than twelve years previously, from Douthet. In a later deed from Mr.
Beeson to Jacob Johnston, of a lot in the Douthet tract, is found the
following preanilde: "Whereas the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,
by patent dated the 11th day of August, in the year 1766, did grant unto
Henry Beeson a certain tract of land situate on Bedstone Creek in the
county of Fayette, on which the town of Union had been previously

I by some; but evidence which appears conclusive is

' found in a deed dated Feb. 13, 1788, from Henry Bee-
son to Jacob Beeson, of certain land, "including my

j improvement made in 1768, near Thomas Douthet.
..." The improvement here mentioned included the

j log house which he first occupied here, situated west
of Campbell's Run, and near the site of the present

, residence of Clark Breading, in the western part of
the borough. The tract on which it was located was
named by Beeson "Stone Coal Run," which was sur-

I veyed to him by Alexander McClean on the 27th of
September, 1769, on warrant No. 3455. It contained
three hundred and fifty-five acres, lying west of the
present Morgantown Street, the line of which formed
its eastern boundary.

It is evident that Henry Beeson was a man of very
considerable enterprise, and it is not improbable that
from the time of his selection of these lands he en-
tertained the idea of laying out a village upon them.
It is said that Alexander McClean (who came into
this region as deputy surveyor in 1769) advised him
to do so, in view of the natural advantages of his lo-
cation and of the probability that his settlement might
very likely in the not-distant future become the seat
of justice of a new county. It is difiicult to under-
stand why McClean, far-seeing as he was, should at
that early time see a reason for his prediction, but it
is certain that the suggestion of laying out a village
was favorably received and acted on by Beeson.
Within the three years next succeeding 1770, he had
purchased Douthet's "Mill Seat" tract and erected a
mill,' which was generally in rural districts, and be-

the 1


year, will ever have to do so ; and we therefore pray for a road
near Hedntnne Old Fort to Henry Beeenn's Mill, and thence to in-
t Hr;i'MM,)(V road, ne;ir th - forks '>f Iniiilap's road and said road,

■ t..,,..f l.anivl 11,11- Tlii. i. .l,,-„- ,„-,,. ,1 that in the beginning
yr.L, 1 77 I I'.,,, ■-Ill', null, nii i;,',i-i. ur ( i i,<l., Iiad been long enough

;>liiii to ho known afi'l il.prn,!,-! on l,y the l»eople beyond the
igali.'ia twenty miles away. There is little rcison to doubt that

■ Beeson had Iiis mill in operation at least as early us 1772.



fore the days of steam-travel and transportation, con-
sidered the first step towards the successful laying out
of a village.

The site of Beeson's mill was between Douthet's
log house and the creek, a short distance northwest
of the former and near the foot of the hill. The race-
way which supplied the mill was long, and a work of
no small magnitude for that early day and for the
means which Mr. Beeson had at his command for
constructing it.' It was an artificial canal about
three-fifths (if a mile in length, which took the water
from Redstone Creek at a place known ns the Bonver
Dam, (in land now belonging to heirs ol l-a;ii- ]'.(■( -nn,
near the southern boundary of the iirc-cnl iKiiniigl].
The first dam which turned the water from the creek
into the canal soon afterwards gave place to a more
substantial one thrown across the creek at a point a
little distance east of the present track of the South-
west Railroad. From the dam the raceway led north-
wardly across what are now Fayette and Church
Streets, through the present school-house grounds
and the lots of Mr. Dicus, on Main, and Samuel
Stearns, on Peter Street, to the mill, from which the
tail-race led into the creek above the Gallatin Avenue
bridge, at a point about one mile, by the course of
the stream, below the dam, where the water was
taken into the raceway.

The mill remained in operation at this place be-
tween twelve and fifteen years, and after that time
was abandoned, when of course the old raceway was
discontinued. During the century which has passed
since then it has become entirely filled up, and all
traces (if it (ibliti-ratcil except a slight depression
whicli is .till visihle .m tlic east side of CJallatin
Avenue. But while tlie old mill remained, and par-
ticularly during the earlier years of its existence, it
was a place of no small iiote and im|i(irtance to the
settlers between the Youghiogheny and the Moiion-
gahela. The locality was known far and wide as
"Beeson's :\Iill," and here in 1774 was built a strung
block-hdusc (if Id-.. a> a ].la<-e of relugc ior the few'ihe.inrdun.liii-cHintry. luring the uni-
versal panic which, ill tlie spring and .uiiimer of that
year, attended the opening of the hostilities known
as DuniiKire's war. When this primitive defensive
work was built, there were few, if any, inhahitants
other than Henry Beeson's family within the limits
of the present borough to avail themselves df its
protection ; but there were many other settler- Ideated
within a few miles of it, and its site was prcliably
chosen because of its proximity to the mill, which
was the most imblic place in all the region,— the

cursions Wduld naturally cdUie, and where, iiKiredver,
there was usually to be Ibund a considerable supply
of grain and meal for the subsistence of families who

were suddenly driven from their homes and obliged
to seek its shelter against tlie savages. The site of
this old block-house was on thebrow of the bluft', and
very nearly identical with the spot where the sheriff's
residence now stands.

Henry Beeson's original plat of the village was sur-
veyed and laid out in the year 1776, on the land which
he had purchased of Thomas Douthet. It had one

; iirincipal street, running in an eastward and west-

; ward direction, named by him Elbow Street (on ac-
count of an angle in it which was rendered necessary
by the natural conformation of the ground), being the
same which is now the Main Street of Uniontown.

I The map here given of the village of Beeson's Mill,

i as laid out in 1776 by Henry Beeson, with numbers
of lots and the names of persons to whom they were
sold or allotted, is copied from one purporting to be
a correct copy of the original plat. The copy in
question was made by Jacob Miller in 1846. The
whole number of lots laid out was fifty-four, em-
bracing one tier on each side of Elbow Street, and
one tier (of seven lots) on the north side of a short

. thoroughfare which was laid out north of and paral-
lel to Elbow, and which he named Peter Street. The
south side of this street, of course, bordered the rear
of the Elbow Street lots, which lay opposite to it.
The nundiering of the lots commenced at the east end
of Elbow Street, on its south side, and continued up
to Meadow Alley (the lane between the Fulton House
and the residence of the late Judge Ewing), there
reaching No. 10. The next number (11) was on the
north side of Elbow Street, at its east end, opposite
No. 1. Thence they numbered again westward to
No. 20 (where the Clinton House now stands), which
was joined on the west by the "Central Public
(Ir.iund," or " Public Alley." Lot No. 21 was that
(Ml which the old Ewing mansion now stands, and
the lots numbered thence west on the south side of
i;iliow (Main) Street to No. 34, which was on the
line of the present Morgantown Street, then the
western limit of the village plat. Then the numbers
recommenced on the north side of Elbow Street, at

' the angle, No. 35 being a part of what is now the
court-house ground. Thence the lots continued to
number westward on the north side of Elbow Street
to No. 47, at the western bound of the plat. Recom-
mencing, No. 48 was on the north side of Peter Street,
jtist west of the old mill (where now is Gallatin Ave-

j nue), and extending westward from this, on the same
side of the street, were six other lots, ending in No.

U, the last one. and marking the north


1 bliwlismitli li.v t

Tradition says that the fifty-four lot.s laid out in
the i>lat of the village of Beeson's Mill (for it had
not then received the name of Beeson's Town, which
antedated that of Uniontown by several years) were
disposed of by lottery, the drawing of which is said
to have taken place in the old mill on the day when

I g S' i' § I I ^ |S g - I I ? B
i I ■ I ' I I ? |1 P P i I ' ?■ I p

S ■ E

I li ■ ' I ' ? 1 1 ? I f if U

3-. "S- 5> £ o I " s gi ■ g -o ■ I J g- I































the Declaration of Independence was signed, July 4,
1776. This is not improbable as to the drawing, and
it may be true as to the date. The names set against
the members of the several lots on the map are those
of persons who were settlers in the surrounding coun-
try (but not in the village of Beeson's Mill) in that
year, and there is no especial reason to doubt that
they had taken chances in such a lottery scheme as
that mentioned. No deeds were given by Henry Bee-
son to those names appearing on the plat as the owners
of the lots, and none were given (at least no record of
any is found) to any person for lots prior to March 7,

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 62 of 193)