Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 84 of 193)
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I place at about the time of its incorporation as a bor-

On Water Street, fronting the river, was the dwell-
ing of Zachariah Connell. It was a log house that
stood on the lot (171) adjoining the Public Ground
on the north. In this house Mr. Connell lived many
years, until he built the stone house at Hill Alley
and Grave Street, where he resided during the re-
mainder of his tile. The property is now owned by

' James Gray.

I North of Mr. Connell's dwelling, on lot No. 170,
was a log house (which appeared to be an old build-
ing even at that early time) owned by John Gibson,
who was the first of that name in this vicinity. The
Gibsons were Quakers, and Friends' meetings were
frequently held in this old log house. Next below
Gibson's was a log house that stood on the corner of
Water and A]iple Streets. The name of its occupant
at that time is fur-Dttin, but it was afterwards owned
by Joseph Rdduiis. Xixt to the northward of the
liouse last nannd was ihr log dwelling of Benjamin

j Wells, the ex-collector of excise, and the first store-
keeper of Connellsvilie. The stone house (south of
his log dwelling) in which he and his son Charles
opened a store was built some time later. It is now

I the property of Mrs. Kelly, and kept as a hotel.

North of Wells', on lot No. 166, was the one and
a half story log residence of Jonathan Moody, who
was engaged in boat-building on the open space
between his house and the river. On the next lot
(165) lived David Stewart, on the site now occupied
by the Central Hotel. Next north was a swamp lot,
the same on which the Baltimore House now stands.
To the northward of this was the log house of Peter
Stillwagon, on the lot now to be described as the
corner of Water and Peach Streets.

On Water Street next south of the Public Ground,
at the time referred to, were two vacant lots, 172 and
173 (the Dean house not being built until about
tliree years later). Next south, on lot 174, was the
house of Thomas Page, a miller, whose mill (the old
Rogers mill, built some fifteen years earlier, and

I mentioned by Mr. Connell in his charter of the town)

i was on the river-bank where the present grist-mill

I .stands. Page's residence was the last one (going
southward) on Water Street at that time. It was
purchased in 1812 by Dr. Robert D. Moore, who
occupied it during the remainder of his life.

On Meadow Alley, at or near McCoy's Run (out-
side the then borough limits), was the tannery of

, Anthony Banning. Farther up South Alley, on a
part of the present public-school grounds, stood the
old log school-house, built by subscription. On
Meadow Alley (lot 135) was a small stone house,
occupied by Jonathan Page, a shoemaker. He after-
vv'ards had a shop near where Joshua Gibson now

There were then no other inhabitants on the blocks
between Grave Street -.tnd Church Alley, except a



family living in a log house on lot 95 (Church Street,
south of market-house), later occupied hy Hiram
Herbert. Between Church Alley and Spring (Main)
Street, on lot 150 (adjoining the Yough House prop-
erty), was the log house and justice's office of Squire
George Mathiot, and adjoining it, on No. 142, lived
William Davis, who carried on the tailoring business.
Above, on the same block I lot 134), was a stone
house, occupied by Otho L. Williams, a hatter.

On the present site of Goldsmith's brick block (lot
12(1) was an old log house, occupied by Elijah Cross-
land, a butcher, and maker of wooden plows. It was
afterwards owned by Joseph Herbert. Farther up,
where Huston's drugstore stands, was a small frame
house. On the same lot, at a later time, Samuel
McCormick had a potter's kiln. In another small
frame house, that stood just above the site of the old
market-house, lived Adam Snider, who worked at
boat-building. The house here mentioned was his
residence until his death.

At the corner of Spring Street and Mountain Alley,
where Odd-Fellows' Hall now stands, was the log
dwelling and shop of Charles Williams, who was a
blacksmith and bell-maker. On lot 46 lived James
Nixon, who kept a small store. It is now owned by
Joshua Vance. On the lot east of where Dr. Lindley
now lives, was a log house and blacksmith-shop,
occupied by John Hinebaugh.

The Cornelius Woodruft"' tavern stood on the lot
(No. 6) now known as the Asher Smith lot, it having
been sold, Sept. 17, 1817, by the Trevors (whose tenant
Woodruff was), to Smith. This lot was on the eastern
boundary of the original plat, but still farther east
there were three dwellings, one of which (a log
building) was occupied by an old lady, Mrs. Dens-
more, and another (a frame house that stood where
the Rev. Mr. Morgan now lives) by Jonas Coalstock.
The name of the occupant of the third house is not

On the north side of Spring Street, commencing at


On the fly-leaf of one of Cornelius WooiirufT's books is found tlie fol-
lowing in hid own handwriting:

*' For those who'will come after us we find vast iind undeveloped
mines of material for men to work upon. tre:isuies of untold wealth
tliat are now hid from us. All must have observvd that the progress of
tlie arts and sciences and the gospel, like the sun, is from the east to rhe
west. As the celestial light of the gospel was directed here I'.v the finger
of God, it will doubtless drive the heathenish darkness fmm our land,
and marching thiough the vast deserts now ue^tManl will tlevelop the
hidden gems and stores of goliland Bdv^i. II ii-.> in. unciin- ami iniiirs

of these ores will be discovered. It will -iv | ...\ ir.. ni ' Mi i,^,

not only for wai*, lint peaceful occupation- m I tii- \< .n.i ■ I ll Mm-'-

vast quarries will give work for the mi-i liani. ii. hull. I himih i,r~ ti.r

the renowned of America. — those heroes who gave tlic-ir warm bliM.d to
flave this land for the coming millions. Some great invention will be
made to carry on con.merce and communication in this to be great

Thus, in that little tavern in i;onnellsviIle, three-fourths of a century
ago, Cornelius Woodruff loretold, with an accuracy that sef-nis almost
marvelous, the development of the rich gold-mines of the Pacific Slat* s,
the richer coal-mines of Western Pennsylvania, and the railroads that

the Public Ground and going east, the first lot (where
the Trevors soon afterwards built their brick build-
I ing) was vacant. On the ne.xt lot (No. 149) was a
I log house, which at that time was occupied by Samuel
I and Caleb Trevor. Above the Trevors, on lot 141,
J was John Barnhart's tavern, the stable of which ob-
tained a wide notoriety as being haunted by ghosts.
On the corner of Meadow Alley and Spring Street,
1 now occupied by J. D. Frisbie, David Barnes had a
j log tavern, which he kept for a number of years.
The entire space from Meadow Alley to Church
Street (on the north side of Spring) was at that time
vacant, as were also several of the lots east of Church
Street. On the lot at the corner of Mountain Alley
I and Spring Street was a log house, occupied by Jesse
Taylor. He was a stone-mason, and did the stone-
work for the Banning house. On lot No. 53 (between
Mountain Alley and Pros]iect Street) was the resi-
dence of Dr. James Francis (where John Newcomer
now lives), and also a log house occupied by "Honey"
Clayton, a trader. On the next lot (No. 45) was the
residence of Cornelius W<»i(lniir, .Ir., who was a shoe-
maker, and had his sli<i|. and dwelling under the
same roof. On lot 13, Ijetwccii Prospect Street and
East Alley, was a wcather-lHiarded log house, the oc-
cupant of which at that time, is not remembered. It
was later occupied by Philo Hall, and after that by
Moses McCormick, who died there. On lot No. 5,
on the eastern boundary of the original plat, and
directly opposite Cornelius Woodruff's, was a tavern
kept by Thomas Keepers; and at the turn in the
road above, and outside the plat, was another tavern
kept by Nancy White.

In the foregoing mention are included nearly all
the dwellings and business-places of Connellsville at
about the time of its incorporation. In the northeast
quarter of the town, which was then almost entirely
vacant, there were, however, the residences of Wil-
liam Meftbrd, John K. Helm, and a few others (all
log houses), scattered through that jiart of the town
at various points. It is not improbable that Mr. Mc-
Cormick, in the preceding recollections of what he
saw in Connellsville three-fourths of a century ago,
wdien he was a boy of but seven years of age, has
omitted some of the inhabitants, dwellings, and other
features of the town at that time; indeed, it would be
strange if such were not the case ; but it is believed
that such omissions are very few, and that the ac-
count which he gives is accurate and very nearly

Jonas Coalstock, who is mentioned above as living
outside and east of the town limits at that time, was
a blacksmith and gunsmith. He had his shop on the
corner of Church Street and Church Alley,— the lot
now owned by Christian Balsley. When Abraham
Baldwin was engaged in the manufacture of carding-
machines the iron-work for them was furnished by
Coalstock. His son-in-law, William T. McCormick,
was a potter, and had his kiln on what is known as



the " Pinnacle." His brother Samuel afterwards had
a pottery, which he carried on for several years, di-
rectly opposite where the Smith House now stands.

William Davidson, a native of Carlisle, Pa., .ind a
clerk in the prothonotary's office at that place, left
there about 1807, in company with John B. Gibson
(afterwards of Beaver), to seek his fortune in what
was then known as the West. While on his way, at
Bedford, he fell in with Jlr. Wurtz, of the firm of
Mochabee & Wurtz, proprietors of the Laurel Fur-
nace. Davidson, being then a young man about
twenty-five years of age, and of prepossessing ap-
peanincr, liuidc u favorable impression on Mr. Wurtz,
who till r(_'H|H.ii at oiirc |iriiiioscil tn him to take charge
of the atlairs of liis furnace, which proposition Mr.
Davidson accepted. He, however, did not remain very
long in that business, and in 1808 removed to Con-
nellsville, where (having married not long after his
arrival) he made his home during the remainder of
his long life, following the vocations of merchant,
filmier, and iron-master. He was connected with
the army in some capacitv in the war of 1812, and
was made prisoner in Hull's surrender of Detroit.
He served several years in the Legislature of Penn-
sylvania, both in the House of Eepresentatives (of
which he was chosen S])eaker in 181S) and in the
Senate. He died in 18G7, in the eighty-fifth year of
his age. Mr. Davidson had three sons, — Thninas 1!.,
Daniel R., and John,— the last named ilyiiiLi in early
youth. Thomas R. Davidson became one of the
leading lawyers of Fayette County, and is more fully
mentioned elsewhere, in connection with the mem-
bers of the Fayette bar. Daniel R. Davidson be-
came a farmer, but also took very great interest in
the promotion of railroad enterprises in this section.
He used his influence and gave a great portion of his
time to the building of the Pittsburgh and Connells-
ville Railroad; and it is doubted by many whether
that road would have lieen completed to Connells-
ville (crrtainly not at the time when it was com-
pleted) but lor tlie eiK-rgy which he displayed and the
influence wliich lie l.roi|.jl,t to bear in its aid. Altor- he was vrry iiilluciitial in si-ruriii,- tin- nnhi of
way for the Soutliwrst rriinsylvaiiia Kaihoad. thus
aiding to complete another liiu- of railway loiiiuunii-
cation for Connellsville. He now n-idi- at I'leaver,
Pa. (where he removed in ISG'^;, and i> largely in-
terested in the manufacture of coke, and in other
industries, and is president of the Bank of Com-
merce in Pittsburgh.

John Fuller, the fiither of Dr. Smith Fuller, of
Uniontown, came to Connellsville, and built a house
on lot Xo. 153 of Connell's plat, where he also started
a small tannery. Later he purchased lots 75 and S3,
on Apple Street (now owned by the Youghiogheny
Bank), where he started another tannery. This was
on a spot opposite the present freight depot of the
Soutliwest Railroad. From him this tannery passed
successively to tlie ownership of William Goe, Strawn,

Cooper, and others, and was discontinued about

Alexander Johnston, a native of IreUind, came to
America when about nineteen years of age, and not
long after his arrival emigrated to We.stern Pennsyl-
vania. He located for a time on Chartiers Creek, in
Washington County, and engaged in the business of
peddling goods through the farming districts. In
this he continued till 1808, when he came to Connells-
ville, purchased the property on Spring Street still
known as the Johnston homestead (now occupied by
J. D. Frisbie and Capt. J. M. Morrow), and com-
menced the business of merchandising. In 1812 he
married Margaret Clark, of Dunbar township. He
remained in the mercantile business there till 1846,
when he was succeeded by his son Joseph, who was
there until 1849, when he built the house now occu-
pied by J. D. Frisbie, and lived there and kept a store
until 1858, when he weut out of business. The other
children of Alexander Johnston were William C.
Johnston, John R. Johnston (deceased), and three
daughters, who became respectively Mrs. Dr. Joseph
Rogers, Mrs. James Blackstone, and Mrs. Col. Daniel
R. Davidson, of Beaver, Pa.

James and ('aniplull .lohnston, brothers of Alex-
ander Johnston, laun- to Western Penn.sylvania at his
solicitation, about the year 1816, and for a time car-
ried on the JIaria Forge. Then they came to Con-
nellsville and started two nail-shops, one at Meadow-
Alley and Spring Street, and the other on a private
alley below the former. They continued business
here till 1825, and then removed to Cincinnati,

Herman Gebhart and Asa Smith had a nail-factory
where the ticket office of the Pittsburgh and Connells-
ville Railroad now stands. It was discontinued when
John and Jacob Anderson purchased the property
(about 1830) and converted it into a foundry. Id
1823, Herman Gebhart erected on Spring Street a
brick residence, which has since been transformed
into a hotel, and is now known as the Smith House.

Lester L. Norton, who was of New England origin,
came to Connellsville with his mother and brother,
Daniel S. Norton. At some time prior to the year
1823 he had built and put in operation a small full-
ing-mill on the south side of Baldwin's Run. He
w-as also a farmer. He became prominent in church
and school matters and in the affiiirs of the borough.
Near Norton's fulling-mill, in 1823, was the tan-yard
of Isaac Taylor. Five years later he was operating a
tannery on the north side of the town, about one
square from the present site of the Pittsburgh and
Connellsville depot. This old tannery was discon-
tinued many years ago.

John Adams came to Connellsville from New Jersey,
and took up his residence where John Shaw now lives.
Later he lived in the house of John Hinebaugh, who
carried on the business of wheelwrighting. Adams
became constable and deputy sheriff while residing



here. Afterwnrd.s he returned to New Jersey, and
died there.

John Herbert was another Jerseyman wlio came to
Fayette County, but the date of his coming is not
known. Tlie name of Alice Herbert is found on the
records of the Baptist Church in 1801, but whetlier
she was of the family of John Herbert is not known.
He, on the 24th of July, 1818, bought eleven acres of
land of John Strickler, in Duubar township. He had
two sous, Joseph and Hiram. Joseph was a shoe-
maker. On the 5th of April, 1825, he bought of Mary
Long, of Tyrone, lot No. 126, in Connellsville, — the
same on which Goldsmith's new block has been erected
the present summer. This was one of the lots pur-
chased Nov. 6, 1802, of Mr. Connell by the Trevors,
who sold it in 1814 to Joseph Barnett, who in turn
sold it (July 19, 1817) to Mary Long, by whom it was
sold, as above .stated, to Joseph Herbert, who lived on
it until his death, in November, 1880. He was post-
master of Connellsville under President Jackson, and
held until the administration of Gen. Taylor. His
brother, Hiram Herbert, lived in the house still stand-
ing south of the market-house. His son, George W.
Herbert, is now a resident of Connellsville.

George Marietta was (in the years succeeding the
close of the last war with England) the leading car-
penter of the town, and an excellent mechanic he
was. "He could," says Mr. David Barnes, ''go to
the woods and take from the stump every timber
needed for a house, hew it out, mortise and tenon
every piece, and when hauled to the ground where it
was to be erected put it up without a failure in one
piece. He erected most of the buildings here in his

Thomas Kilpatrick was one of the prominent men of
his day in Connellsville. He was a shoemaker, and
also a justice of the peace. He was highly and de-
servedly respected as a magistrate, causing a majority
of the cases brought before him to be settled ami-
cably and without the unnecessary and foolish ex-
pense of continued litigation.

John Francis, a native of Ireland, was manager of
the Jacob's Creek Furnace about the years 1792-93.
Thence he went to Meason's Furnace in the same ca-
pacity, and remained there until 1800, when he re-
moved to Virginia, and died there in 1805. His sons
were John, James, Robert W., Isaac, and Thomas.
He had one daughter, Margaret. In 1829, Robert
W. Francis, in partnership with J. J. Anderson,
started a foundry in Connellsville, at the place where
the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad depot stands. An-
derson's interest was purchased in 1834 by James and
Isaac Francis, brothers of Robert W., and the busi-
ness was continued until the sale of the property to
the railroad company, about 18G9. Robert W. Fran-
cis died June 8, 1878. Walter E. Francis, of Con-
nellsville, is his son.

Through a period of more than half a century, be-

ginning many years before 1800, the building of boats
to be floated down the precarious water-way of the
Youghiogheny was a very noticeable industry of the
little town of Connellsville. It was commenced by
westward bound emigrants and traders, who coming
across the Alleghenies and over the State road,
striking the river at this point, took this means to
avail themselves of the cheaper and easier means
which it otfered for the transportation of their house-
hold goods or merchandise, and in thesucceeding years
it was prosecuted as a regular business by enterjiris-
ing residents of the town. Of those who prosecuted
this industry, and of the way in which they did it,
Mr. David Barnes says, " Here were the Millers, the
Richeys, and the Whites building flat-bottom boats
to carry the pig iron that is stacked on the banks wait-
ing a rise in the Yough. What bustle and hurry there
is from the time the axe-nien go to the woods to cut
the large poplar-tree, split it, hew it, and with six
oxen, or Billy Russell's six-horse team, haul one of
them to the boat-yard. The other was brought, placed
upon the block, the saw, axe, chisel, and auger were
put to work, and a dozen men with shaving-horses
and drawing-knives went to shaving pins that another
half-dozen men were riving out from blocks sawed
the proper length. Soon the frame was made, the
bottom put on and caulked, and then came the tug
to turn it, which was done with long levers, and
three sampsons were generally enough. The samp-
sons were made of heavy pieces about twenty feet
long, bored full of holes about four inches apart
alternately from side to side, and placed along the
boat at each end and in the middle. At each samp-
son a man was placed, and as the levers raised the
boat each would stick in a pin to sustain the weight
until the men would take another hold with the
levers. Thus, inch by inch, it went up, till coming
nearly perpendicular all would stop, and several men
would take pike-poles, distribute them equally along
the boat (for now came the critical time in turning),
and at a signal given by one man, all listening, — ' He,
ho, he !' — away she would go, and as she struck, a cloud
of dust would rush out in front; then she was boarded
by all hands to see if there were any cracks or breaks.
None being discovered, augers and chisels were soon
at work again, the studding and siding put on, and
she was launched and ready with long oars, one at
each end, to start on her voyage ' away down to
Pittsburgh.' "


"At a meeting of the Council of the Borough of

Connellsville, convened by mutual agreement on the

,.„,), „.ith minutPS

of the Com


\' as found among the effects of

i:m lieen lost fur

iiany years.


l.v piirctiase.-it apn

ilic sale, and


e .MFly history of t

le hurough,

have been oWaineJ.


Ibth li


\.\ 1 ISOG J)lmB Tre\ 01 was chosen
t nn 1 1 II C uncil then proceeded to bu iiie •?
ml] le Itti rlniiKL^one t « hich iinp ) 1 1

X h t 1 11 1 1 irn le n \1 ill ]

hoi e \ tl II tU 1 1 t 1 tl I I 1 11 1

in>,t II t 1 t 1 tl o 1 n 1 r i 1 i M

" IS 1 '-11 uel J 1 11 t 1 I bl 1 b \ \ 1 M
fi le 1 b it tl L hue w i re i ttc J Kej eile ' t 1 »

Ihe tollowin^ appointments «eie made at tl
meeting John Page issSbsor Caleb Tre\or i 1
Be ij imin Eianb asbistint isscss ra Geoije Mathi t
ind Junes Blickstone street tommissioners Joseph
Kogers treasurer and Divid Barnes iispeetjr of

The next mt ting of the Council was held on tl

1 if June when a time {June I'th) was appoint 1
f r 1 C lurt of \| I eal le pe ting the \ ilu tion of 1 1\
il le 1 1 ieit\

\t I II eetin^ ot the aiiie 1 o 1> on tl 4tli t Tu e


u 1 i C rre 01



1 Kirk



nv I n ng



n t B rre



el I 1 Rubers


I 1





Caleb £
Jo«h n


bre It s,

4 ft len^tl on CI
ng s eet yb cl a* tl

oh St 1 1 fou te
ikfully ccepted

1 les km

gist ISH 1

tht 1 le i
ot a rk t

on I a ed the C uncil
1 tru til p the tleik t
r ui d itcn k 1 1 i

1 U 1 I h 1

tl tl f
1 1

1 M

per Etl 1

he "e M t he >.


L7el elClaMon


H gl C other


J In H ne


C nel U's Cla ton


Jul n Robb n


ge 1 1 X 1 L 11 1

fjie I On the Jth ot s
the C uncil luthon/c 1 th.

In tl

I ext following the Coun
Jcience to schools This
sub e juent ] age of this

« 11 1 t U 1 II t

h t I

\ 1 hn 1 J Vpil 1 1S)( [1 % 1 1

Tnt a o 1 f t I tl I 1 1 link

stone n t 1 than I t 1 tl I

feet 1 ill 1 e built ^1 ^t I [

ea t c incr ot the "\Ii 1 el 1 i It 1 1

f ot p ith on \\ Iter btieet

^pilll 180/ the Council in tiu te 1 V Binning

to \r\\\ apian foi amirket house in 1 pescnt it it

tl e n \t meeting f r consideiation The | Im so pre

I r d w is 1 re ented b) Banning on the '0th of April

1 1 iftti debite reiecte 1

\t i meeting held Feb ' ISQs the Council exam
me 1 u d aj pi 3\ ed the f 11 w lo L t of Tixe f r
tht 1 I u I f C nntll \ lit f 1 tl \eirei 1 „ tl e
fii t M 1 \ m \ii 1 is s M7

Til wi th tonl ti\ k\> mik U the 1 or ugh

an 1 tl It t 11 tl e nvmes of man\ \\1 o e dp

n 1 I t 11 c ti/tns of ConnellsMlle

Vt I th Birou h Council held \pril 4

IS 1 d by thit body th it Andrew

I I) 1 1 ^ers and Jimes Blackstone be x

t li lit I I Ian for a miiket house and

1 It 1 i re the ne\t meeting On the 24th of I

\ 1 1 i1 the Council pissed an ordinance re |

ite for 1 nmket house but no further

tl it mitter is found recorded until October

I ne \eir when \ piper was prt ented

t t ( I 11 iiumbei of the inhibitant

tl I t them to la> a tax for the

I t t I I IX the expenses of the

boi u,h ui 1 I lo^h cmnot be i used by

the c mm ii i It i to build a miiket house,

then the\ tl It 1 1 1 r authorize the Council

t ri 1 iiiutli b) 1 1 cvti 1 late as will t impleat it

\f medebat as to the t\x tj be laid on the

lilt 1 f tixable 1 lopeitv within the boi ugh it

X til I ltd that It should be three fourths of a cent

tht loll 11 Divid Baine who was present was

I |ue te 1 to di iw a ilm f r a nmket house to be

II t I t tl t (_ u 1 I t tl I n \t me tin \t



the next meeting, on the 5th of October, 1809,'

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 84 of 193)