Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 83 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 83 of 193)
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there not long afterwards. Dr. Francis will be found
mentioned more i'ully in the account of the early
physieiansof Connellsville.

Anthony I'.anning, an itinerant Jlethodist preacher,
came to Connellsville as early as 1789, but did not lo-
cate here until about two years later. He is mentioned
in the narrative of the Methodist Church, written in
1848 by the Rev. P. McGowan, as follows : " There is
reason to believe that there was a society at Connells-
ville at this time |1789]. Anthony Banning, who
resided at Connellsville, was received on trial in the
traveling eonneetion this year, but located in 1791,
and afterwards resided in the same place." Here the
Rev. Mr. McGowan merely infers that there must
have been a society at Connellsville at the time men-
tioned. But it is not at all strange that he should be
mistaken in his inlerenee, writing as he did at atime
fifty years later. It is ill no way probable that there
was a Metlmdi-t ."-Society at Connellsville at the time
named, ibr there were im inhabitants there at that
time except the families of Connell, MeCormick, and
Gibson (if the latter had a family then), and Anthony
Banning (the last named being only temporarily lo-
cated there) ; but it is not unlikely that people from
Bullskin township and from, the west side of the
Ynugliiiigheny often met at Connell's, or in its vicinity
as a central jjoint, to listen to Banning's exhortations.
■ Besides preaching, Banning appears to have had
other occupations, and to have been rather an enter-
prising man. Some years after his settlement he
started a tannery on the run, to the southward of Mr.
Connell's stone house, and later built the stone house
on the hill, afterwards known as the Page House, and
opened it as a tavern. He remained till 1810, when
he sold the tavern stand to David Barnes and re-
moved to Mount Vernon, Ohio.

In 179.3 the town of Connellsville was laid out and
chartered by Mr. Connell, who perceived that though
there were but very few inhabitants in the place, it
was destined to become a point of importance, because
it was here that emigrants and travelers to the West


(of whom tliLTf woiv iili-ciuly priMt muuhers in transit,
coming over the road Iroiii Bedford byway of Turkey
Foot) reached a boatable point on the Youghiogheny
River. Here, for several years, boats had been built
by emigrants and others to take their merchandise
and other movables down by water carriage, and here
he thought was a place where a thriving village would j
naturally spring up. Succeeding years bore witness
to the soundness of his calculations, though for more
than a decade after the laying out of the town its I
growth was but slow.

The charter, executed by Mr. Connell, March 21,
1793, find recorded with the town plot' in Book C,
page 329, of the Fayette County records, is as fol-'
lows :

" Zach.ariah Connell, proprietor of the tract of land situate on
the East side of Youghiogheni Kiver, where the State Road from
the north fork of Turkey foot, intersects said river, To all to
whom these presents shall come sendeth (ireeting, Whereas it
is necessary that some provision be made at the place aforesaid
for the reception and entertainment of Travelers, and as well
to accommodate such Tradesmen and others inclining to settle
at or near said place, for their encouragement and better regu-
lation. Has laid out a small Town at the aforesaid place by the
name of Connellsville, agreeably to the plan hereunto annexed.
And the said Zachariah Connell, for himself, his heirs, and as- i
signs, doth grant that the streets and alleys of the said town
shall forever continue as they are now laid out and regulated by
the plan aforesaid, viz. : Spring Street or State Road, sixty feet j
wide, and all the other streets forty feet wide, and Alleys twenty j
feet wide, and that the space left opposite the ferry and front-
ing on said River, as reprcsenled in the plan, and distinguished
by Public Ground, and Water Street, shall be and continue free
for the use of the Inhabitants of said Town, and for Travelers I
who may erect thereon temporary boat-yards, or may from time
to time occupy the same or any part thereof for making any
vessels or other Conveniences for the purpose of conveying
their property to or from said Town. And the said Zachariah
Connell doth further promise and Covenant with the Inhabit-
ants of s.^id Town and others who choose to frequent the same,
that all landings, harbours, or other conveniences and advan-
tages of siiid River opposite said town or adjoining Water Street
aforesaid shall be free to them at all times for the purpose of
landing Timber, Stone, or other materials for building, or fur
the use of lading Vessels for removal of their persons or prop-
erty to any place whatever. But the said Zachariah Connell
reserves to himself, his heirs, and Assigns all that piece of Land
situate between Water Street and the River, and extending
from Roger's Mill down to Spring Street or State Road, Pro-
vided always that none of said Town or others shall at any time
erect a ferryboat for public use, or keep and maintain a Canoe
or other Vessel for the purpose of conveying any person or
persons, thing or things, across said River other than their own
families or their own property. And providing also as the

1 Coughenour's addition to the town of Connellsville was made about
1836, by Valentine Cougbenour, embracing about six acres, bounded
Bouth by North Alley, east by lots of John Fuller and Alexander John-
ston, north by property of Alexander Johnston, and west by Church

In February, 1871, a plot of fifty-one acres was added by the Connells-
ville Building and Loan Association. In October, lS73,*James Johnston
platti-d an addition of twenty-seven acres, lying west of Church Street,
and in 1875 he platted forty-five acres lying east of Church Street as

privilege 13 joint, that no person or persons. Company or Com-
panies, shall at any time or times hereafter occupy more of the-
margin of said River for the purpose aforesaid than is abso-
lutely necessary, according to the various changes and circum-
stances of the case, to the end that all foreigners as well as
Citizens may be equally or proportionately advantaged thercliy
,as their necessity require. And, whereas, there is near said
Town, on the verge of said river, ah excellent Stone Coal Bank
from which Coal may be conveniently conveyed by water along
all the front of said Town, and also a Stone-Quarry, where
stone may be got for building, and the said Zachariah Connell
being desirous of giving all the encourngcment and advantages 1
that the nature of the case will admit of, consistent with his
own interest and safety, doth hereby grant unto the inhabitants
of said Town, their heirs, and assigns for ever, the free and lull
jirivilcge of digging and removing from said Stone Coal Bank
and Stone-Quarry to their habitation or place of abode within
said town only any quantity of Coal and Stone necessary for
their own particular use. And the said Zachariah Connell doth
hereby grant to be surveyed and laid out for the use of the In-
habitants of said Town the timber and stone on one hundred
acres of land adjacent thereto for building, &a. . . . And
whereas there are sundry springs within the limits aforesaid,
and the said Zttehariah Connell being desirous that as many of
the Inhabitants of said Town as possible may receive mutual
advantage therefrom, doth give and grant unto the inhabitants
of said town, and others traveling through said town, the com-
mon use and benefit of said springs, to be by them conveved
or conducted through all and every part of said town at their
pleasure for their mutual convenience and advantage, reserving,
nevertheless, to the owner of Lots out of which the fountain
issues the full privilege of erecting any house or other conven-
imce at the head of said spring, so as not to prevent the other
inhabitants from free access thereto at all times. And provided
the said bouse or other convenience willand shall not have a
tendency to disturb or afl'ect the water flowing from said spring
so as to render it disagreeable to the other inbahitiints. And
)irovided also that by said building or other convenience the

Inhabitants shall not be

ed from having access to the

fountain for sinking Pipes or conduits for the conveying of the
water aforesaid and screening or securing the same from filth
or other injury, and Whereas it is the desire of the said Zach-
ariah Connell that tin- nili:iliil:i nis (if ,-;,id li.un .-liuukl be ac-

or houses fur public; \\<M.-lil]i .tml M liMi.j <,i .-.(hnji.-, !]!■ I'm- that
]iurpose alone appropriates tlie Lots .\os. ^t( and '.16 on said
)ilan for said purpose, free and clear of purchase money or
ground-rent, for ever to the inhabitants of said town, their

heirs, and successo
aforesaid, or joititly
sutBcient qnantily '
not included in said
not exceeding an ac

as the inhabitants ma
r suitable ground con^
r^.wn or in the one bun
e. fo, the purpose of a

ion fo

• Cboo

Ired a

the purpose

thereto, and
lis aforesaid,
-Yard. And

to prevent a misund
and stone on the 1
Connell hereby decl
be removed or prepa

•rstandiii;.' ,A tin
undre.l aci.s :,U

ires that ll,r sa
red for rr ,:,l



the s.

of the timber
id Zachariah
i St. iue shall
' '1 the land

whereon it may be. Providid aluav- ilial ihc -airl Zachariah
Connell hereby reserves to hiiuself. his heirs, or assigns, the
purchase money for each and every Lot so laid off for rale, .nnd
an annual ground-rent of half a dollar for each Lot, The ground-
rent to be paid to the said Zachariah Connell, his heirs, and as-
signs, at the town aforesaid, on the first day of May in each and
every year forever, and the said Zachariah d"th hereby cove-


space of four years from the date hereof to be applied to rais-
ing a meeting-house or meeting-houses, and School or School-
Houses on the aforesaid lots appropriated to that use. And
whereas in length of time it may be convenient for some of the
inhabitants of said town to have outlots for pasture, and the
said Zachariah Connell doth hereby grant to be surveyed and
laid out for the use of the inhabitants of said town the one
hundred acres of Land above mentioned ndjacent to said town,
in Lots of not less than one acre nor exceeding lour acres each,
subject to such purchase money as the parties may agree upon.
•■ In witness whereof the said Zachariah Connell has hereunto
set his hand and affixed his Seal, the twenty first day of March,
in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and
ninety-three. "Zachauiah Conxell. [seal.]

jled and de

AX Rowland,
MDER McClean

The 6ti> da\

of Januar,

ne of the J

nty. personal

y came Zac

Anno Domino ISOO, Before me '
ices of the Peace iu and for said ,
iriah Connell and acknowledged
the foregoing Instrument of writing to be his Act & deed.

" Jonathan Rowland. i
" Recorded and Compared in Register Office, Jany. 6* 1800."

Among the earliest settlers in Connellsville after
the town was laid out and chartered bj- Mr. Connell
were Samuel and Caleb Trevor, lirothers, who came
from the East to this place in 17'J4 or ''J'l. In 17!M_; ,
they were chiefly instrumental in forinins the Baptist
Church ofConnellsvilie. Whether th.y pun-hased lots
immediately alter their arrival ^r iid is nut knnwn,
but no record of deeds to them ha.> Keen lound of ear-
lier date than ISOl',' when there is shown a purchase
by theui of nine lots from Mr. Connell for a consid-
eration of £84. The Ints in rmcstion contained oue-
fourth of an acre each, and were nuiiili, IS C... -.',1,100, 108, I
109, 116, 117, 126, and i:.7. On the north of lot j
No. 100 the Baptist Church was built, the Trevors j
donating the land for that purpose. On lot No. 1.57
(corner of Hill Alley and Spring Street) they Iniilt a
ioghou-r, that stnnd on the site of the house now
owned l^v Ifi.ry W.lkie. Al.nut ISHS they Imilt the
brick Imiu-.- on the corner, now owned by .lames Wil-
kie. In this building they kept a store- during the

•■ The eaili^st sale of lots by Connell in his new town of which any
record is found dates May 8, ISOl, of two lots to Joshua Lobdell. There
must have been a considerable number of lots sold before that time, but
what was the cause of the delay in the •

2 That the Trevor 1
nellsville at least as e
was found among the

I engaged in ni.

"3d July. SJj Iti of nails

remainder of their lives, which terminated within
eight months of each other. Samuel died July 26,
1820, aged seventy-three years, and Caleb (who was a
bachelor) died March 22, 1821, at the age of seventy-
two years. Sarah, wife of Samuel Trevor, died in

The children of Samuel Trevor were seven in num-
ber, four of whom were sons, — John B., Joseph, Ca-
leb, and Samuel. The daughters were Sarah, Mary,
and Susan. John B. Trevor was, in 1816, elected
cashier of the Connellsville Navigation Company.
He remained in that position till November, 1818,
and was succeeded by his brother Caleb. He was
postmaster of Connellsville from 1808 to 1820, when
he was elected State treasurer. In 1822 he was elected
prothonotary of Fayette County, and served one term,
at the expiration of which he removed to Philadel-
phia, where he became president of a bank. His son,
John B., is of the firm of Trevor & Colgate, of New
York. Joseph, the second son of Samuel Trevor,
studied medicine with Dr. Robert D. Moore, of Con-
nellsville. He is now living at Lockport, N. Y., well
advanced in years. Caleb and Samuel Trevor were
both merchants in Connellsville for many years, after
which they remnved in ( 'inrinnati, Ohio. For nearly
a century the Trevor family have been earnest Bap-
tists, and' have contributed liberally to the support
and objects of that denomination. Large donations
have been made by the Trevors of New York to the
Rochester (N. Y.) University.

Benjamin Wells came to Connellsville in 1794, and
opened the first store in the town. He had held the
office of c(dlector of excise for Fayette and Westmore-
land Counties during the Whiskey Insurrection, and
at that time lived at Stewart's Crossings, in what is
now the borough of New Haven ; but his house at
that place having been burned by a mob of the insur-
gents in the year named, he abandoned his original
location and mcived across the river to Connellsville,
where he Imill a l<i^ licii-e (in Water Street, near the
eastern end of the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad
bridge. Some fourteen or fifteen years later he built
the stone building on Water Street, to the southward
of his log house. In this he and liis son Charles
carried on merchandising for some years. Besides
Charles, Mr. Wells had also a son, John, who iield
the office of sub-collector under his father in 1793
anil 1794. Both these sons emigrated to the western
eonntry. The last appearance of Charles Wells in
Connellsville was when he left the town with a large
number of teakettles, which he took from the Francis
foundry, to be sold in the West. It appears that
Benjamin Wells was an unpopular man (at least
during a few years following 1794), not only here
but throughout the county,— a fact which was proba-
bly, in a great degree, the result of his having held,
and attempted to execute the duties of. the govern-
ment office above named. The date of his death is
not known, but that it was Inter than 1S27 is shown


by an entry in the borough records to the effect that
in tliat year " Benjamin Wells presented to the
conncil a fine piece of parchment, and it was ordered
that the clerk have a Plan of the Borough made upon
it, with the present owners' names."

In the year 1800, Zachariah Connell and Isaac
Meason were authorized by an act passed by the
Legislature to build a toll-bridge across the Youghio-
gheny. This was the first bridge across the river at
Connellsville, and it is more fully mentioned in suc-
ceeding pages of this history.

David Barnes came fronj Strawbridge, in the spring
of 1803, to Bullskin township (which then comprised
all that is now Connellsville townsliip), and located in
what was known at th'at time as '' Irishtown," near
Breakneck Furnace. In 1802 he purchased land from
Zachariah Connell in the town of Connellsville, and
in 1803 moved there and opened a tavern. After-
wards he became prominent as a contractor in build-
ing mills, furnaces, forges, bridges, and buildings.
He built for Mr. Connell the first "go-back" saw-mill
in all this region, and received in payment for the
work several acres of land in the borough of Con-
nellsville, upon which he carried on brick-making for
a number of years. He was also engaged in the iron
business, and was in many ways an active man in
promoting the interests of the town. He had six
sons. David, the eldest, still living in Connellsville,
has been, like his father, prominent in the advance-
ment of the place. He spent a number of years at
Harrisburg in the various governmental depart-
ments, has been engaged in the employ of several
railroads, and is now the agent of the Southwest
Pennsylvania line at Connellsville. William, the
second son, became a preacher of the Baptist denom-
ination. He visited Jerusalem, and after several
years' residence in Palestine returned to his native
country. Hamilton Barnes became prominent in pol-
itics, and represented Somerset, Bedford, and Fulton
Counties in the Senate of Pennsylvania in 1852-54.
Afterwards he became a teacher in the Disciples' or
Campbellite Church. Joseph Barnes removed to the
West, and was employed in a responsible position on
the Union Pacific Railroad during the time of its
construction. Z. E. Barnes, another son of David
B;irnes, Sr., served in the Mexican war, and as quar-
termaster in the war of the Rebellion. He now re-
sides at the homestead in Connellsville.

George Mathiot, William Page, and Timothy Han-
kins were purchasers of lots from Mr. Connell in
1802, and settled in the town about that time, prob-
ably in that year. Mr. Mathiot bought lot No. 150,
adjoining the Yough House property. Pie was a
scrivener, and a justice of the peace for many years.
He was a prominent man in the Methodist Church.
His family was large. His son' Jacob became a prom-
inent business man in Westmoreland County and a
member of the Legislature. His son Joshua emi-
grated to one of the Western States, and was there

elected a member of Congress. Of his other sons,
John was largely engaged in the iron interests of this
section ; George was a druggist in Connellsville ; and
Henry is now a physician in Smithfield, Georges
township, Fayette County.

Abraham Baldwin was a native of New England,
and came to Connellsville about 1806. He was prom-
inent in politics, church matters, and business. He
manufactured the first carding-machines ever made
in this section of country. His shop was on Bald-
win's Run, immediately south of the old burial-
ground. The pond raised by his dam was the fishing
and skating place of the boys of Connellsville in
those days. On the same stream, farther up, he, with
his son-in-law, Daniel S. Norton, built a four-story
stone building, which they used as a cotton-factory.
It was put in operation about 1812,' and discontinued
about four years later, when Norton removed to Ohio.
John Stewart, Isaac Mears, and William Balsley were
employes of Baldwin & Norton. The cotton-factory
building passed into other hands, fell into disuse, and
is now a ruin.

Connellsville was made aborough in the yearl806.
The following account (in the original manuscript)
of a preliminary meeting of the inhabitants of the
proposed borough, in reference to the establishment
of its boundaries, was found among a number of old
papers and documents that were brought to light in
the demolition of the old house, the property of Jo-
seph Herbert, that stood where Henry Goldsmith's
brick block has been erected the past (1881) season.
This paper, the original of which is in possession of
George W. Herbert, is as follows :

•' At a meeting of the Inhabitants of Connellsville pursuant
to notice, held at the House of John Barnhart on the 1st day
of January, 1806, It was agreed that the Lines to include the
contemplated corporation shall begin at the mouth of the Run,
where it empties into Joseph Page's Sen" Mill Race and the
further Bounds of the Corporation, to be run under the direc-
tion of the Seven following Persons : Anthony Banning, Samuel
Trevor, John Barnhart, (Jeorge ilalhiut, David Barnes, James
Bhickstone. & Daniel Rogers.

" It is further agreed that the five following Persons shall be
a Committee to draft a petition to the Assembly, and the Bill
for the Incorporation of the Borough to be submitted to the
Inhabitants at a meeting to be held at this House on Tuesday
evening next, viz., Samuel Trevor, Daniel Rogers. Doct. James
Francis, Isaac Meason, Jun', Esqr., and Isaac Meares.
"AVitness our Hands.
"Jesse Tayi.or, Joseph Page, Sen'r,

"Michael Bryax, David Barnes,

"Charles Williams, Charles Wells,

"Benjamin Wells, William Tipton."

By the act of incorporation (passed March 1, 1806)
it was provided and declared " that the town of Con-
nellsville and its vicinity, in the county of Fayette,
shall be, and the same is hereby, erected into a bor-

1 April 14, 1812, Abraham Baldwin and Daniel S. Norton made au
agreement with John Feikll, of Allesheny County, Md., "to build a



ough, which shall be called ' The borough of Con-
nelisville,' bounded and limited as follows, that is to
say : Beginning at a place known by the appellation
of ' Gregg's Butment,' on the west side of the You-
gliiogheny River; thence in a direct line across said
river to a sycamore near the mouth of Connell's saw-
mill run; thence, by a number of described courses
and distances, to the river; thence, following the last
said course, across the river to low-water mark ; thence
up said river, following its dift'erent meanders, to the
place of beginning."

The second section of the act provided for the elec-
tion of borougli officers, as follows : " One reputable
citizen residing therein, who shall be styled the bur-
gess of the said borough, and seven reputable citizens
residing therein, who shall be a town Council, and
shall also elect as aforesaid one reputable citizen as
high constable. . . ."

There exists no record of the election held in
the borough of Connellsvile, but a document which
was evidently the ])oll-list of the borough for ISOii
was found among other papers in the old Herbert
House. It was originally a sheet of foolscap, and
having been folded lengthwise, it had been torn apart
in the Ibid, and only one-half of it was found. On
this half remains the original heading, as follows :

of -

Xnme, „f ,he i-oters


he I

ui-owjh of Cuunelkville, 7lh

pril, ISOfi."

wed by tliirty-twu


es, viz. :

-AVilliam Tipton.

17.— George Mathiut.

-D;iniel Matliias.

18.— Jonas Colstocli.

-David Barnes.

19.— Jolin Barnhart.

-.Josei,li P.-.,ge.

20.— Andrew Ellison.

-.lames Lofrarly.

21. — Cornelius AVoodruff.

Thyniuthy Hanltin


22.— Daniel Rogers.

-.^ntl,.,ny Banning

23.— William Morroiv.

-Cliarlcs Williams.

24.— Joseph Mahaffy.

Samuel Trevor.

2.5.— John Keepers.

-I.^aac Mears.

2fi.— Jonathan Moody.

-lames Francis.

27.— Cornelius Woodruff. J

-Ilinnn Connell.

28.— David Stuard.

-AVilliaiii Davis.

29.— James Blaekistone.

-Abraliam Snider.

30.— Benjamin Evans.

-Josluni Hunt.

31.— John Page.

-AVilliaiu Millord.

32.-CaIeb Trevor.

lutilated paper the following

On the back of th
words are legible:

" Wee, Isaac Meare, do swear a . . .
tliat wee will true and g . . .
Names of each voter that . . .
. . . by the Inspector."

This sliiiws the names of the voters of the borough
at that time, and renders it probable that the first
election was held on the 7th of April, 1806.

Provance McCormick, Esq., now one of the oldest
citizens of Connellsvilie, who was born within its
present limits, and has a personal knowledge of its
history farther hack than any other person now living,
gives the Iblldwing among his recollections of the

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 83 of 193)