Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 80 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 80 of 193)
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1851, and graduated from that institution with hon-
ors in 1854. In the fall of the same year he went
South, and took charge of Waterproof Academy,
Tensas Parish, La., for one year, on conclusion of
which he returned home, and entered the office of
Judge Nathaniel Ewing, of Uniontown, under whose
direction he studied law until September, 1857, when
he was admitted to the bar, and began the practice of
the law. In 1859 he was elected by the Democratic
party district attorney of Fayette County for the
terra of three years, wherein he distinguished him-
self. Including the war years 1861-62, as it did, the
term was an unusually laborious one.

Since 1862 he- has been connected with nearly every
important criminal case in the county. His first im-
portant case after 1862 was the widely noted one of
Henry B. Mallaby, charged with murdering Joseph
Epply at a political meeting in Smithfield, Fayette
Co., in 18(33, important on account of the political
partisanship evinced in the trial. Mr. Playford aided
the Commonwealth.

A remarkable case in which Mr. Playford was en-
gaged for the defense was that of Mary Houseman,
charged with the murder of her husband in 1866, Mr.
Playford securing her acquittal after a confession in



open court by one of her accomplices, Richard Thair- '
•well, who was convicted and hung.

Mr. Phiytbrd has taken an active part in politics,
and was elected in 1807 a representative to tlie Gen-
eral Assembly of Pennsylvania for Fayette County,
and re-elected in 1S(1S. In 1872 he was elected to
the State Senate for the district composed of Fayette
and Greene Counties, and served the period of tbree
years, being [)laced on the General Judiciary Com-
mittee and tlie Committee on Finance. In 1874 he
was commissioned by the Governor of Pennsylvania, i
in connection with Chief Justice Agnew, Hon. W. A.
AVallace, now ex-United States senator, lienjamin
Harris Brewster, now Attorney-General of the United
States, and others, to consider and propose amend-
ments to the present, then new, constitution of the I
State. The commission reported to the Legislature a '
number of amendments which ought, it is generally
admitted, to have been, but have not yet been, sub-
mitted to the people, it being then considered that
the constitution as it stands should be further tested.
He was a delegate in the National Democratic Con-
vention at Baltimore in 1872, at which Horace Gree-
ley was nominated for President, and opposed his
nomination throughout the session as bad policy for
ihe party. He has frequently been elected delegate
to State Conventions, and was chairman of the Demo-
cratic State Convention which met at Lancaster in
1876, and was a candidate for Presidential elector-at-
large for the State of Pennsylvania on the Demo-
cratic ticket in 1880.

He was married in October, 18()1, to Ellen C.
Krepps, daughter of Hon. Solomon G. Krepps, of
Brownsville, a leading citizen of that place.

One of the most active public men of Fayette
County, and at present and for some years past a
successful leading politician, and now having per-
haps more promise than any other man of his party
in his district, State, senatorial, or congressional, of
a sure and ilistinguished career in the future is Sen-
ator Thomas B. Schnatterly. Mr. Schnatterly as a
jmlitician has the good sense to follow through oppo-
sition and over obloquy the dictates of his better man-
hood, and boldly and bravely place himself upon the
platform of the old-time genuine Democratic prin-
ciples, and wage war for the laboring classes, and
consequently for the best interests of all classes at
last, against the great corporations, with their unlim-
ited exchequers at ready command for any scheme of
remunerative corruption, and with their autocratic
aspirations, instead of following the course of too
many leading Democrats, as well as Republicans,
who either covertly, or openly and shaniekssly, sell
their talents and consciences to cajiital in its c.aiisc
rcrxus righteousness among men. His jMililiral fucs
denounce his course as demagogism. That was to

be expected, but the more of that kind of "dema-
gogism" Fayette County and Pennsylvania enjoy the
better; the sooner, therefore, will the hideous wages-
slavery, as base in many respects as was ever the
chattel slavery of the neighboring State of Virginia,
and which has made the system practiced bj' many of
the great Pennsylvania corporations objectionable to
all right-minded thinkers, be abolished, and true re-
publican customs be substituted therefor.

Thomas B. Schnatterly comes of Dutch lineage on
his paternal side. His great-grandfather with a num-
ber of brothers came from Holland prior to the Revo-
lutionary war. A part of them settled in Eastern
Pennsylvania, in Lebanon County. Two pushed
westward, with the purpose of making homes near
the head-waters of the Ohio, but were lost sight of
and were perhaps slain by the Indians. Another,
the great-grandfather of Senator Schnatterly, eventu-
ally settled in Fayette County, in what is now Nich-
olson township, and there married and became the
father of a son named John, who was the grandfather
of Thomas B. Schnatterly. John had by his first
wife some eight children ; by a second wife one
child, a son. Of the first family of children was
John Schnattiily, tin- fatlirr (,f Th.imas B. He was
born near New (icncva iu the xi-av ]8(I5, and at about
the age of twcnty-twn married .Mi-s Malinda Kendall,
daughter of Thomas Kendall, then living near Union-
town. Jlr. and Mrs, John Schnatterly, both enjoying
the peace of ripe old age, are the parents of nine chil-
dren, seven of whom — four sons and three daughters
— are living, and of whom Senator Schnatterly is the
sixth in number, and was born July 13, 1841. He
was brought up on the homestead farm, and was
educated at the common schools and Georges Creek
Academy (teaching school himself somewhat during
this period of his life), and at Madison Institute and
Waynesburg College.

After leaving college, at about the age of twenty-
two, he entered the oflice of Col. T. B. Searight, at
Uniontown, as a student at law, and was admitted to
the bar in December, 1864. In October, 1865, he was
elected district attorney for Fayette County for the
term of three years, and entered upon official duty iu
December of the same year, and went out of office in
December, 1868. The term was an arduous one, oc-
curring just after the war, and comprising a reign of
crime. Special sessions of criminal courts were in
those days held to try offenses of high degree. After
the term was over he continued the practice of law
in Uniontown, and at the October election of 1869
was elected by the Democratic party a member of
the General Assembly of Pennsylvania for Fayette
County, and served in the session of 1870, and was
elected in that year to the General Assembly of 1871,
and served therein ; and thereafter, while conducting
the practice of law, engaged (in October, 1871) as a
contractor in the construction of the Greensburg and
Connellsville Division of the Southwest Pennsylvania

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Railroad, which division was completed in 1872, the
charter for which he had caused to be granted in the
session of 1871. In 1872 he was defeated as a candi-
date for the Senate at the Democratic primary elec-
tions by Hon. Win. H. Play ford.

He continued the practice of the law, and in 1876
was again elected to the General Assembly for the
session of 1877-78, and at the November election of
1878 was elected State senator for the Fortieth Dis-
trict, composed of the counties of Fayette and Greene,
for the period of four years.

In the House he served on general and local judi-
ciary committees ; in the Senate, on local, judiciary,
railroad, and corporation committees. In both House
and Senate, in all legislative controversies between
capital and labor, he was always on the side of the
oppressed, constantly looking out for the interests of
the laboring classes, and was not tenderly loved by
the grasping monopolists of Pennsylvania.

He originated the bill abolishing, under severe
penalties, the odious female-waiter system then in
vogue, with all its iniquities, in the cities of the State.
He was also the projector of the Senate bill entitled
"An act to secure to operatives and laborers engaged
in and about coal-mines, manufactories of iron and
steel, and all other manufactories the payment of
their wages at regular intervals, and in lawful money
of the United States." In the session of 1880 this
bill was passed, but was vetoed by Governor Hoyt;
but it was introduced by Senator Schnatterly in the
succeeding session of 1881, and again passed, and
then received the Governor's approval, and became
the law.

The struggle over this bill was a test fight between
capital and the interests of labor in the State. The
senator did brave work in pushing the bill on to
recognition in law, and by a powerful array of facts
convinced a Senate at first in active opposition to
the bill of the justice of his propositions and the
necessity for the act.

Another important fact in Senator Schnatterly's
career as a legislator should not fail of record here,
and it is this, that he has uniformly voted for the
largest appropriations for the public schools and the
public charities (a species of " demagogism" almost
as discreditable as his legislative warfare in favor of
the rights and interests of the laboring classes). He
can well afford to be criticised for voting decent ap-
propriations for the blind and the maimed. The foes
who censure him for so doing are the men who also
look upon the working classes of the State as un-
worthy a better fate than that they suffer under.

The act above referred to, looking to the emancipa-
tion of labor, is now generally evaded by those whose
injustices it was intended to decrease and prevent,
but in time will compel itself to be respected, when
the senator, it is to be hoped, will be sustained by
popular approval in all parts of the State in his
efforts in the cause of humanity.

Senator Schnatterly has of late returned to rail-
roading as a contractor in the construction of the
Pittsburgh, Virginia and Charleston road, and in that
of the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad, and has just
completed (March, 1882) several sections of the Red-
stone Division of the Pittsburgh, Virginia and
Charleston Road.

In 1867 he married iVIiss Mary Morrison, daughter
of George and Anna West Morrison, of Uniontown.

The late war of the Rebellion opened a field for the
active exercise of talents and virtues that might other-
wise have ever remained hidden in great part from the
knowledge of the public under the innate modesty
of men of the true heroic type. Of this type is Silas
Milton Baily, now (1882) treasurer of the State of
Pennsylvania, and who was born in Brownsville,
Fayette Co., in 1836, and is the son of William Baily,
Esq., who migrated in childhood with his parents
to Fayette County from Maryland. The father of
Gen. Baily, growing up, at first entered upon and for
some years pursued the trade of jeweler, but turned
his attention to the study of the law, and was admit-
ted to practice in 1845, and follows his profession in
Uniontown. Gen. Baily's mother's maiden name was
Dorcas Nixon. She was a farmer's daughter of Georges

Gen. Baily was mainly reared in Uniontown ; at-
tended the common schools till about seventeen years
of age, and entered Madison College (now extinct),
and pursued his studies there for a while. Leaving
the college he entered as apprentice ujwn the jewel-
er's trade, which he practiced for about three years in
Uniontown, and finally opened business for himself
in Waynesburg, Greene Co., in 1858, and conducted
the same with success for some three years or more,
when, on the breaking out of the war of the Rebellion,
he " took fire," and, though without military experi-
ence, raised a company which was the first one organ-
ized in the county ; but it failed to be mustered in under
the first call for three months' troops. But its organ-
ization was preserved, and it became the com-
pany which was duly mustered into the three years'
service from the county of Greene. Of this company,
called " the Greene County Rangers," Baily was made
captain. This was Company I of the Eighth Regi-
ment Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, and participated
in all the battles of the war, from Dranesville to
Spottsylvania Court-House, inclusive, the period of
three years.

In May, 1862, Baily was elected to the post of
major of the Eighth Regiment, though not commis-
sioned till June 4th. He took part in the fight at
Mechanicsville, the first of the Seven Days' battles,
and was on the second day, in the battle of Gaines'
Mill, seriously wounded in the head, — his wound at



first being thought mortal, — and carried off the field.
Eventually he rcturiiril hmiie to recruit, and recover-
ing after lour iiiuiilli~' iiiir - iiig, resought his regiment,
which he met in .Mnn laiul on the 1.3th of Septem-
ber, 1862, and took loiiinianil, the colonel having
resigned, and the liiiitriiaiit-enlonel having lost his
hearing during a battle. The next day was fought
the celebrated battle of South Mountain, into which
the major led his regiment with a gallantry and in-
spiring courage which the vrtc raiis love to "tell o'er"
in their days of peaei. The I'.i-lilh held the extreme
left of the division. I hi W. .Iiu sday. the 17th of Sep-
tember, 1S()2, occurred the Ijattleof Antietam, in which
Maj. Daily's horse was killed under him in the famous
'• corn-field fight." The battle of Fredericksburg fol-
lowed on the 13th of December. In this battle Maj.
Baily displayed his usual gallantry, fighting at the
head of his regiment, the division being almost torn to
pieces. He was carried wounded Inuu the field. Im-
mediately after Fredcricksliurg, Maj. r.aily was pro-
moted to the colonelcy, his coiiiinissioii dating back to
South Mountain, the IGth of September, 18(32. The
shattered division was relieved from active duty at
the front and sent to Alexandria, Va., to recruit and
perform provost duty. There it remained for nearly
a year. Col. Baily being almost continually employed
in court-martial.

With his division, Col. Baily was next called to
active duty with (ien. Grant in the Wilderness, and
had direct eoniniaiid of his regiment throughout, ex-
cept for a day or two when called to command the
brigade. The term of service expiring at Spottsyl-
vania Court-ilouse, C^ol. Baily was ordered to take his
regiment home to be mustered out at Pittsburgh on
the 24th of May, 18(34. On the 13th of ilay, ISGo,
Col. Baily was breveted by President Johnson to be
a brigadier-general of volunteers for gallant and meri-
torious conduct during the war.

After the war Gen. Baily settled in Uniontown,
opened a store for the sale of jewelry, and resumed
his business as silversmith, — a military hero taking
on his duties as private citizen as quietly as if he had
never heard the (larimi ol battle or even the name of
war, winning universal esteem for the exceptional
modesty (■!' his eveiy-day deiiieniior. Gen. Baily has
never siilieiieil i»ilitieal prelennent. He arrived at
his majority about tli<' time the liepubliean jiarty was
crystallizing into eil'eetive ovganizatioii and entered it
upon principle, haviiii: always 2i\' n it hi- ujnvaver-
iug allegiance. In 1n7n, without soliritatini, l,y him-
self, of eniiise, or even l,y his speeial IViends, tlie Re-
publican ( 'onveiitiun of tlieTwenty-rivst ( 'oiigre-siunal
District, l',-ini-ylvania, selected him to .
lead them against the ever-prevailing l\<v. the Diino- j
cratic jiaily of the 'f weiity-llrst. Knowing that the j
contest was hojieless, he bent to his duty, made a
vigorous campaign, and led the Republican State I
ticket by a considerable vote. In 1880, Gen. Baily j
was elected to represent Fayette County in the Har- '

risburg Convention which chose delegates to repre-
sent Pennsylvania at Chicago. At Harrisburg he was
elected one of the delegates to Chicago, representing
the Grant wing of the party. But Garfield, instead
of Grant, was nominated at Chicago ; and in the can-
vass which followed Gen. Baily gave the best of his
time, talents, and means to the support of the nominee.
Sept. 8, 1881, he was nominated by the Republican
Convention at Harrisburg for State treasurer for the
term of two years, and after a spirited campaign, in
which Charles S. Wolfe, an " Independent" Repub-
lican candidate, was run by the Blaine wing of the
party, diverting a portion of the Republican votes,
Gen. Baily was elected treasurer in November of that
year by a " plurality" vote, but a majority vote over
his chief competitor, the Democratic candidate, of six
thousand nine hundred and six.

Gen. Joshua B. Howell, who was from the year
1828 to the time of his death on the field, during the
war of the Rebellion, identified as a lawyer and a
citizen, adorning the bar and distinguishedly exem-
plifying the amenities of social life, with the history
of Fayette County, and whose final consecration as
an adopted citizen of hers to service in the cause of
his country, sacrificing his life therefor, reflects honor
upon the county, was born at " Fancy Hill," the site
of the family mansion of the Howells, near Wood-
bury, N. J., Sept. 11, 180(5. He was educated in the
academy of that place and in Philadelphia, where he
studied law under the direction of Richard C. Wood,
Esq., an able lawyer of that day, and after admission
to the bar, removed in the fall of 1828 to Uniontown,
where he commenced the practice of his profession,
and where he easily won eminence. But due ref-
erence having been made to his career as a lawyer in
the clia|iler of this work devoted to the history of
the bar, tlii- brief liiographical sketch will be mainly
confined to (ien. 11 owcll's career as a soldier. Trained
in the Northern school, and having studied the na-
tional constitution with a lawyer's understanding,
patriotic in instinct and education, and having some
years prior occupied the rank of brigadier-general in
the State militia, and withal having a more than
ordinary love of martial exercises and skill therein,
and knowledge of military tactics, as well as the his-
tory and ]ilans of many of the great battles of the
world, ( Ien. Howell, though nearly fifty-five years of
age at the breaking out of the war of Rebellion, and
therefore unlikely to be called upon by his fellow-
citizens to lead them, as a duty devolving upon him,
to the field of battle in the cause of the country, nev-
ertheless promptly offered his services to the national
government, and was authorized to raise a regiment,
and soon presented himself at Washington at the
head of the Eighty-fifth Regiment Pennsylvania Vol-
unteers, of which he was commissioned colonel.



From November, 1861, until the spring of 1862 he
was stationed at Wasliington, and meanwhile dili-
gently trained his men for the field. As a part of
Gen. Casey's division, his command was trans-
ferred to the Peninsula of Virginia, and participated
in the marches, hardships, and battles of the first
campaign against Richmond. His first battle was
fought at Williamsburg, during the early part of
which, in consequence of Gen. Keim's illness. Col.
Howell commanded the brigade. On this occasion
his services merited and received the distinction of
special notice in the report of Gen. Peck, who com-
manded the division. At Fair Oaks the gallant
Eighty-fifth, under his command, sustained the con-
flict with an overwhelming force of the enemy. In
the subsequent retreat from {he White Oak Swamp to
Harrison's Landing its post was for a considerable
part of the time in the rear of the retiring army
and facing tlie exultant and advancing foe.

Upon the close of the Peninsular campaign, Col.
Howell's health being seriously impaired, he was
urged by his medical advisers to obtain leave of ab-
sence, which was granted for twenty days, whicli time
he spent among the friends of his youth in New Jer-
sey. Improved, but still unfit for duty, he hastened
back to his command, then in the vicinity of Fortress
Monroe, forming part of Gen. Peck's division. His
regiment occupied Suffolk, occasionally engaging the
enemy in that region, until the beginning of 1863,
when, under command of Gen. Foster, he was placed,
January 5th of that year, at the head of a brigade, a
position which he retained until the end of his ca-
reer. He was attached to the expedition organized
under Gen. Hunter against Charleston, S. C. Here
Howell with his brigade was the first to seize upon
Folly Island, a foothold by means of which Gen. Gill-
more, when placed in command, was enabled to cap-
ture Morris Island, the gateway to the harbor of
Charl&ston. Shortly before the fall of Fort Wagner
he suffered a concussion of the brain from the explo-
sion of a ten-inch shell in a signal-station whence he
■was watching the effect of the firing therefrom, and
whicli created an impediment in his speech with
other .symptoms of illness, constraining him to seek
rest and recovery, which he did under a short fur-
lough in New Jersey and at Unionto"wn.

He returned to his post greatly improved in health,
although there is cause for suspecting that the con-
cussion referred to bore a potential relation to the
final catastrophe of his life. He was ordered with
his brigade to Hilton Head to relieve Gen. Seymour,
in command of that district, including Fort Pulaski
and Tybee and St. Helena Islands, the approaches to
Savannah. This command constituted in fact that of
a major-general. Gen. Seymour had been ordered to
Florida in command of that unfortunate expedition
which resulted in the disaster of Olustee, upon the
occasion of which he publicly remarked, "This
would not have occurred if I had had Howell and his

gallant boys with me." Gen. Howell remained iu
command at Hilton Head until ordered to Fortress
Monroe to join the forces of Gen. Butler in the cam-
paign against Richmond. There his name soon be-
came a synonym for gallantry in our own army ; and
his noble form and whitening head were familiarly
known and distinguished above all others by the foe,
by whom he was alike admired and feared. Some
time in August, 1864, he spent a short furlough in
New Jersey, during which he caused to be repaired
and adorned the graves of his kindred there. An-
ticipating that the war would soon end he returned
to the field, and found a part of the Tenth Corps,
including his brigade, with Hancock on the north
side of the James River, accomplishing that diver-
sion which enabled Grant to seize the Weldon
Road. The very day after Gen. Howell's return the
rebels assailed his position with terrific fury, but
were driven back upon their own works in utter dis-
order. Upon the return of the expedition to the
south side of the James, Gen. Wm. Birney, the
division commander, having obtained a temporary
leave of absence. Gen. Howell was assigned to the
command of the division,— the Third Division of the
Tenth Corps, a major-general's command, — which he
held at the time of his death.

Having occasion to visit the headquarters of the
corps during the night of Monday, the 12th of Sep-
tember, 1864, he mounted his horse between the hours
of twelve at midnight and one in the morning to
return to his own quarters. At starting the horse
turned into a divergent path, and being suddenly
checked reared and fell back upon his rider. The
general was immediately borne to the tent of the
medical director, by whom he was carefully examined
in search of external injuries, but none appeared.
At that time he was perfectly sensible, answering the
questions of the surgeon, declaring that he felt no
sense of pain, and freely moving his limbs as requested.
But in about fifteen minutes after his accident vomit-
ing supervened, the blood thrown from his stomach
bearing testimony to interna! injury. A state of
stupor immediately ensued, from which the general
was never amused, and at .seven o'clock in the even-
ing of llie 14tli of September he breathed his last.

In closing this brief recital of Gen. Howell's mili-
tary life, it is but fitting to append the following lit-

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 80 of 193)