Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 87 of 193)
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practice until the present time. He is the leading
physician in Connellsville, and the senior medical
practitioner in the county of Fayette.'

Dr. Gibson Rogers studied medicine with his
brother-in-law, Dr. Aaron Torrance, at Mount Pleas-
ant. He came to Connellsville in 1839, and prac-
ticed for about ten years, then removed to California.
After several years' absence he returned to Connells-
ville and resumed practice ; afterwards he removed to
Dunbar, and finally to Florida, where he died.

Dr. James Rogers, son of Dr. Joseph Rogers, stu-
died medicine with his father, and commenced prac-
tice in this borough in 1855. He was askillful surgeon,
and served in the army in that capacity in the war of
the Rebellion. He died March 26, 1870.

Dr. James Johnston, son of Alexander Johnston,
studied medicine with Dr. James Cummings, and
graduated in Jefierson Medical College. He then
went to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he practiced a year
or two, and in 1858 came to Connellsville (his native
place), where he practiced till his death, June 14,

Dr. John R. Nickel, a native of Connellsville town-
ship, was an eclectic pliysirian, :iii(l highly thought
of by the adherents of thai scIk.hI oI' medicine.
The present physicians of Connellsville are:
Dr. Lutellus Lindley. Dr. J. C. McClenathan.

" Smith Buttermore. " A. C, Connelly.

" J. J. Singer. " Rogers Torrance.

" G. W. Newcomer. " T. R. Graham.

" S. Bosley. " P. J. Staufler.


The pioneer newspaper of Connellsville was the
Connellsville Herald, published in the borough between
1815 and 1820. Neither the date of its first publica-
tion, the period of its continuance, nor the name of its
publisher liiis been ascertained, nor has any informa-
tiiiM of any kind been found concerning this old pa-
per, cxceptiiiL'- what is contained in the columns of
The Iir/,i,r/rr, ,,f Washington, Pa., in its issue of Feb.
9, 1818, viz., an extract from the Connellsville Herald,
noticing '' the death of Isaac Meason, Esq., of Mount
Braddock," on the 23d of January, in that year.

The Connellsville Enterprise was first issued about
August 1st, in the year 1855, by Lafayette Markle,
from whom it afterwards passed into the hands of S.
S. White. In its issue of May 6, 1859, is an adver-
tisement, offering the paper, press, and material for
sale. On Friday, June 17th, in the same year, the



Fayciie Patriot was first issued by E. Lyle White. The
time of its suspension has not been ascertained.

The Fmjette Monitor and Youghioghcnian was first
issued April 12, 1870, with D. P. Stentz as editor and
liroprietor. It was a seven-column paper, nineteen
liy twenty-five inches, Democratic in politics. In 1873
it was enlarged to eight columns. During the first
year of the paper's existence the office was in the lower
story of the building in which it is at present. It was
then removed to Odd-Fellows' Hall, and remained
there about one year. From there it was removed to
the present office on Spring Street. The circulation
of the paper is now eight hundred. Mr. Stentz has
been sole editor from tlie time of .starting until the
present, except that C. L. Miller was associated with
him for a short time in the fall of 1874.

Tlie Biipti.if Messenger, a three-column quarto, ten by
fourteen inclies. issued its first number at Connellsville
in, 1879. The editors were Kev. W. H. Cooper
and Rev. E. C. Morgan. Mr. Cooper retired alter
al)out a year. The paper is now edited by Rev. Mr.
Morgan, and published at the office of the Monitor.

The ConneUxrille Tribune was commenced in the
early part of December, 1874, by R. M. Sibbett, under
whose editorship the paper was Republican. Its
changes have been numerous. In 1878, S. J. Hayes
was editor, ami the paper became "Greenback" in
politics. It was soon attei- snld t.i Tilghman Hawes,
who had edited a paper at .Meyersdale, called the
Meyersdale Independent, v;lnch he sold, and thin ]iub-
lished a paper there, called the Connelhrilh riimn'irie.
which he moved to Connellsville ami merged with
the Trilitine, retaining the latter name. About the 1st
of May. 1879, the office was closed, and the press and
part of the material was purchased by the Keystone
Publishing Company. The paper was made i;.]>ub-
lican again under :\Ir. llawo. When lii-t jmblwlied

building now thr ■• r.altini.ire H.iu>l-." Lat. a it was
removed to ( inrnland',- bnilding on Ai.j.le .^treet.

The h'e,/.sf„„, r,>,iri.r was lirst is.sued July 19, 1879,
by the Key-tone I'nhli.-liing Company, H. P. Snyder,
editor; E. V. (Jooilehild, manager. Democratic in
polities. The ottice was at first in tlir Ecasinger build- I
ing, on Main Street. On the l^t of April, fs.SO, it was |
moved to its present location on Wall r Street. The (
circulation of the paper is fifteen hundred.


In the eharti-rof thr town of Conm^ll-villr. granted
byMr.Connell in 179:!, it wa- piovidod tliat " Wjirre-
as it is the desire of the .-^ai.l /aeliariab Connell lluit
the inhabitants of said town should be accommodated
with a commodious seat whereon to erect a house or
houses for public worship, and school or schools, lie |
for that purpose alone appropriates the lots Nos. 88 j
and 96 on said plan for that purpose, free and clear
of purchase money or ground-rent forever to the in- I
habitants of said town, their heirs and succe.ssors to

be held in common for the purpose aforesaid, or
jointly, as the inhabitants may choose." On the
ground so set apart for that purpose the first school-
house of Connellsville was erected by subscriptions
of the citizens. It was a log building, and stood on
the site of the present Union school-house. The
date of its erection is not known, but is probably
1806. That it was built prior to October of that year
is evident from the tenorof the following extract from
the minutes of the Town Council, viz. :

"At a meetiag of the Council of the Borough of Connells-
ville, convened on the [illegible] day of Ociober, 1806, agreea-
bly to notice given by the Town Clerk, a paper was presented
to the Council, signed by a majority of the freeholders in the
Borough, requesting them to vest the School-house in the Bur-
gess and Town Council and their successors in office forever.
The Council agreed accordingly. On motion, it was then re-
solved that the school-house should be rented to a Teacher for
the sum of eighteen dollars per year, and that the mone}' so
obtained should be applied to the discharge of the debt which
is owing to Messrs. S. & C. Trevor, and to repairs when they
must necessarily be made.

" On motion. Resolved that James Francis and Charles Wil-
liams be appointed as a Committee to repair the house and to
make an offer of the same to George Roules, provided he will
engage to pay the annual rent, but in case of his refusal they
are to make the same proposal to William Powell, and then
make report to the Council.

"On motion. Resolved that George Mathiot, Caleb Trevor,
and James Blackstone be a Committee to collect the subscrip-
tions made to the School-House which have not been already
paid, and that the Clerk notify them accordingly."

On the 2d of April, 1807, the Council passed an
ordinance " vesting the right, jurisdiction, etc., of the
school-house and lots thereto belonging in the burgess
and Town Council, and tilso for regulating the school."
This ordinance purported to empower the Council to
employ such teachers as they thought fit, and they
were required to attend at the school on the first Wed-
nesday of the last month in each quarter, to examine
the school and note the improvement made by the
scholars. At the same meeting the Council passed
the following :

" llexolved, That the hours of tuition to be observed by the
present teacher, Mr. Dunogh, shall be Irom eight o'clock till
twelve, and from one o'clock till half after five in summer, and
in winter from nine o'clock till twelve, and fi-om one o'clock
till four.

" lie'iolred. That e,ich scholar shall pay twelve cents and a.
half per quarter, or fifty cents per year, for the rent of the school-
house, and that Mr. Andrew Donogh, the present teacher, .shall
collect the same when he receives his payment for his tuition."'

In April, 1809, "The Council ordered the clerk to
notify Andrew Donogh that unless he proceeds :
mediately to collect the arrearages of rent due for
the school-house and pay the same over to the Council,
to be applied to repairs, they will hold him responsi-
ble for the same and act accordingly."

April 17, 1809, it was by the Council resolved
"that every Preceptor who shall be employed by the
Council shall be enjoined and required, as soon as he


shall have his subscription compleated, to lodge an
accurate copy of the same with the Town Clerk."
After which Benjamin Evans offered himself as a
preceptor, and after some debate was accepted of on
condition that he should commence a school on or
before the first day of the next June, and continue
the same for three months without an intermission,
" at the end of which term he is to be allowed twenty
days, after which he is to continue six months longer
if agreeable to the Council."

At the next meeting of the Council (April 24, 1809)
Caleb Trevor was appointed " to superintend and
cause to be done what repairs are necessary to the
school-house for the recption of the teacher and his
scholars, and that he be paid for the same out of the
borough treasury." On the 1.5th day of May, 1809,
it was resolved "that it shall be theduty of theTown
Clerk to inform Benjamin Evans that he must give
his Bond for the payment of twelve and one-half cents
per quarter for every scholar which may be sent to
school, and that unless he agrees to comply therewith
and make out a new article binding the subscriber to
make such payment they will discontinue him at the
end of the First Quarter." Two days later (May 17th )
a long discussion was held upon this subject, and " it
was concluded that B. Evans should go on to teach
school as was first contemplated, without endeavoring
to obtain a new subscription."

In September, 1809, the school-house again needed
repairs, and Caleb Trevor and Joshua Gibson were
appointed to see that necessary repairs were made.

The following extracts from the borough records
have reference to teachers and other school matters.

" Oliver Sproul, schoolmaster, ended his first quar-
ter July 1, 1811 ; had 37J scholars."

"April 8, 1812, Settled with Oliver Sproul at a
meeting of the Council this day, and took his note to
Treasurer for §22 in full of Arrearages until this day."
Settlement was again made August 10th.

On the 17th of April, 1812, Council " resolved to
accept the two lots on the east of the former school
lots, it being the present from Alexander Addison for
the use of an English school or schools." The deed
for these lots was executed by Zachariah Connell (a
present from Alexander Addison), May 30, 1812.

March 12, 1814, a meeting was held by the Council
" for the purpose of considering whether they will
continue to employ the present teacher of the school;
they agree to employ him for another half-year at
the same rates as heretofore."

July 13, 1814, " Council directed the clerk to call
on William Beaty, schoolmaster, for a copy of his
School Articles, and to give a Bond for Rent of 12]
cents each scholar per quarter." Clerk reported at
next meeting that Mr. Beaty refused to give copy or
bond, and on the next meeting, July 30th of the same
year, the Council " took the matter into consideration,
and agreed to continue Mr. Beaty in the School for
three Months longer, without conditions."

In November, 1814, " the Council considered whether
they will employ Seth Elias as schoolmaster. After
consideration, they agree to confer with him on Wed-
nesday, the 9th inst." No further action in reference
to this man is found recorded.

Oct. 7, 1815, the Council ordered two writing-tables
made in the school-house, fifteen feet long and seven-
teen inches wide on each side ; " also to have the

I chinking made tight with sufficient mortar, and the

' windows glazed and puttied."

Aug. 15, 1816, Council resolved that Oliver Sproul be
"continued as School-Master at the Borough School-
House another quarter." There is nothing found to
show whether or not Sproul had been teaching in the
borough school continuously from the date of the
previous reference to him.

Sept. 22, 1817, "Mr. A. Baldwin, Chairman of

j the Council, suggested that the Sunday-school was

I an infringement on the ordinance and supplements
thereto for the regulation of the Borough School. A
motion was made by Esq. George Mathiot, and sec-
onded, to take the sense of the Council on the above
subject, which was done, and determined in the nega-
tive. Mr. Abraham Baldwin only in the afiirmative."
In 1818 the name of Oliver Sproul again appears as
teacher of the borough school.

March 6, 1819, George Bell, schoolmaster, made
application to the Council "for the privilege of the
Borough School-House, to teach a school therein,
which was granted." Oliver Sproul's account was

; approved, which was apparently the closing up of his
service as teacher in the Connellsville school. March
16th, repairs on the school-house were ordered, with
new benches, etc.

July 12, 1819, it was by the Council resolved " that
Mr. G. Bell be, and he is hereby, requested to continue
his school three months longer, under and subject to
tlie same rules which he has heretofore established."
And at the same time an ordinance was unanimously
passed " That the 3d sect, of the 23d ordinance, in-
flicting a fine of .$20 on the Burgess or any member
of the Council who may directly or indirectly en-
courage any other teacher except the one who is em-
ployed by a majority of the Council, be, and it is
hereby, repealed."

On the 1st of October, 1819, "The Council being
informed that Mr. Bell, the present teacher in the
borough school-house, declines teaching after the ex-
piration of the present quarter, and having an oppor-
tunity of supplying his place immediately by Mr.
James Killin, a young man of seventeen years of age,
have agreed to receive him on trial, they to be at
liberty to discharge him at the end of one month if
they do not approve of him as a teacher." It appears,
however, that James Killin did not then enter upon
duty as teacher, neither did Bell retire, for on the
19th of April, 1820, "George Bell's time as teacher
being expired, proposals were laid before the Council
by William Jessup. The question whether lie be em-


ployed being put, was decided in the uegative." On
the 29th of April in the same year Dennis O'Keefe pro-
posed to the Council to engage as teacher of the bor-
ough school, and the Council accepted his proposition.

Among the papers brought to light in the de-
molition of the old Herbert house was an article of
agreement between the borough of Connellsviile and
Dennis O'Keefe, teacher, dated Nov. 11, 1820, which
sets forth that the said O'Keefe " doth agree to teach
an Englisih School in the Borough School-House;
that he .-hall teach Reailinir, Writing, Arithmetic, and
English (.Trammar; that when his School shall con-
sist of over forty scholars he shall employ one of his
best scholars as an Assistant Teacher."

The school return of the teacher O'Keefe for the
quarter ending in February, 1821, embodies the sub-
scription paper, by which certain subscribers agreed
to pay him "The sum of 82.50 each, together with
12i cents each, which is for the rent of the school-
house, and an equal portion of coal towards each
scholar we respectively subscribe or send for each
quarter." To this was appended the following names
and certification, viz. :

Scholars.l ' Scliolars.



James Ino-lis 1

H. Gebbiirt

S G Wurtz '

Adam Snider

Samuel Sharpies 1

Sarah Keepers

Naney White . ..

Clement Sniiih

John Talluit

James Johnston

Kn-:il ei.op.i, I

.Alexander Johnston


\\' , 1 1 , . , , 1 , . 1 ■ \

George iMariefta


K-tl,.. • . , 1

John Salyaid.s

J:un.'. \1. |: 1 h 1

Daniel Uaishman

Mini Mm ..M,:i.-k 1

Hirnm Hei-beit



Scholars, 30.

"Lester L. Nortos,

" Treasi

rcr of the Bo,-ou,jh of ConnelhviUe.

•■The above is a correct Return of the Borough School for

the third quarter, ending in February, 1S21.

"Yours with respect.

"D. O'Keefe."

In the minutes ot

Sept. 18, 1822, "Schoolmaster

Clemens" is nientio

led. Under date of March 28,

1823, appear, as loll

jws; "William Clemens Dr. "to

theBon.uuli lurSclH

ol-House rents for the first quar-

ter.^l.-,.!.,.- hap

irars thul Mr. Clemens neglected

thebusii,,-,- of his s,

ho.)l so nnieh that the Council

ordered hiiu to arro,

Tit to that liodv at its next meet-

ing. This order br.

ii-hi Iron, .Mr. Clemens a state-

nient, and action of tlio i '• u|ion it as follows:

7 scholars and 45 days, at 12* pe

r schola

r per quarter.

Released one "f of J. Cushman.


"Amount due for rent up to 2Sth inst., S:4.32, due for school-
house rent. Mr. Clemens presented his account against the
borough, which was examined and adjusle ' "

t of S2.57J. Bal.

nd api
) the Borough, S11.74J.

Ending the 2Sth May

] ntlend school half the

Clemens was succeeded. by a Mr. Fleming, who
taught the borough school in 1826. A school was
opened by D. S. Knox, on Peach Street, — the lot now
owned by Isaac Taylor, where Mrs. Russell lives.
After a time an arrangement was made to combine
the two schools, and some of the citizens of Connells-
viile still recollect the day when the pupils of the
Knox school were marched in a body from Peach
Street to the borough school-house.

July 16, 1827.— It was by the Council " Resolved
that Mr. Lewis be permitted to teach in the Borough
School-House for one year from date, without rent,
he to make all repairs, and the Borough to have the
use of the house for elections and other meetings."

July 31, 1828.— Mr. McGlaughlin was "permitted
to teach in the Borough School- House for one quar-
ter, free of rent, except repairs."

On the 27th of October, 1829, the Council resolved
"That the wreck of the school-house be exposed to
public Sale on Thursday, the 8th instant." On the
Sth of February following the Council

" Resolved, That Whereas a subscription has been got up by
the Citizens of the Borough for building a School-house on one
of the Lots owned by the Borough for such use. Reaolx-ed,
That the building committee who may be appointed by the
citizens be and they are hereby authorized to cause said school-
bouse to be erected on such part of said lot or lots as they may
think proper or the Citizens direct. Resolved, That the pro-
ceeds of the sale of the wreck of the old school-house be and
are hereby appropriated towards erecting said school-house,
and that the Burgess draw his order in favor of the Building
Committee for the amount of said proceeds. Resolved, That
the said Building Committee, or any person they may contract
with, have liljcrty In make brick for said school-house on said
lot or lots, nr I be stieet ieljuining the same, and to use the clay
thereon fur llie ]nirposi'. [.rovided they fill up any holes they
may dig in the street in a reasonable time."

June 30, 1830, a special meeting of the Council was
held to receive a memorial of the citizens of the
borough and acting on it. It was presented, and after
deliberation the Council " Resolved that if a Majority
of the Taxable inhabitants sign a paper and present
the same to the Council in the following words, to
wit: 'We, the undersigned. Taxable inhabitants of
the Borough of Connellsviile, do object to the build-
ing of a borough School-House, or any other im-
provements within the Borough, by the collection of
a tax or otherwise the present year,' then the pres-

= The settlements of teachers with the borough authorities during the
continuance of that system almost invariably showed the teacher to be
in tlel't to the borough at the close of liis term.



ent Council do hereby Resolve to repeal the ord
regulating the Borough tax, passed June 3d instant."

With occasional resolutions by the Council to build
a new school-house, and remonstrances against the
same by the inhabitants of the borough, nothing
accomplished, and Connellsville remained without a
borough school-house from the sale of the " wreck" of
the old building until several years after the passage
of the free public school law in 1834. By the pro-
visions of that law, authority over the schools was
transferred from the borough to the board of school
directors. Such a board was constituted for Connells-
ville by the appointment of William Davidson and
Henry W. Lewis by the court at its January term
in 1835. They were succeeded by Valentine Cough-
enour and James G. Turner, who were elected in
March of the same year.

In 1838, John Fuller and Dr. L. Lindley were
elected school directors. At that time Connellsville
was still without a school-house, all schools having
been taught in rented rooms after the abandonment
of the old school-house in 1829. Prominent among
the schools so taught during the period referred to'
was the school taught by Robert Torrance, at his
house on Church (Pittsburgh) Street, where he had
an attendance of about eighty scholars. But when
Messrs. Fuller and Lindley became the school direc-
tors they determined to erect school-houses, even if
on that account it should become necessary to close
the schools for the year for lack of money. It may
be questionable whether they kept entirely within the
requirements of the law in this regard ; but however
this may have been, they succeeded in erecting three
buihiings. One of these, located on Mount Puff
(present school-house grounds), was the brick build-
ing which is still standing there ; another was the
Quaker graveyard school-house, built on a lot pur-
chased of Henry Blackstone, and the third was the
school-house on the "Pinnacle." The first teacher
(or certainly one of the earliest) in the brick house
on Mount Pufl' was James Mcllvaine, who had charge
of that school in the year 1840.

The school-houses erected by the efforts of Messrs.
Fuller and Lindley were continued in use for the
schools until the completion of the present fine and
commodious school-building. The " Pinnacle" lot
and school-house was then sold to .fdhn K. Brown.
The "Mount Puff" sch.iol-li..iwi' i-< imu the janitor's
house on the public uiniimi. 'I'ln- (Quaker
graveyard school lot, whicli was purchustd of Henry
Blackstone, is still owned by the borough school dis-

The borough of Connellsville was erected into a
separate and independent school district by the Court
of Quarter Sessions of Fayette County at the March
term in 1852. Six directors were to be elected, and
on the 5th of April of the same year the following-
named persons were so elected to form the first school
board of the district under the new organization, viz. :

Stephen Robbins, for one year.
Josiah Kurtz, for one year.
Abram Shellenberger, for two years.
John Taylor, for two years.
I John Collins, for three years.
George White, for three years.
On the 14th of October following, the borough was
divided into five sub-districts.

The project to build a new and commodious .school-
house of sufficient capacity to accommodate the
schools of the borough began to be agitated in 1865,
and on the 11th of March, 1866, it was resolved "to
build a three-story School-House, sixty by sixty-six
feet," and to borrow money on borough school bonds
for that purpose. No further action of importance
was taken in the premises during that year.

On the 6th of May, 1867, a plan for a school-house
was submitted by Barr & Mosier, architects, of Pitts-
burgh. The plan was adopted, and on the 14th of
the same month a contract for the building was
awarded to Christian Snider at $14,000.

May 21, 1867, a petition was presented signed by
thirty-eight citizens of the borough protesting against
the erection of the school-house, also a petition from
others praying that the contract be carried out.

On the 5th of August following the I)oard of school
directors received a communicatidu from tlic Town
Council of Connellsville as follows: "To tlie Board
of School Directors of Connellsville Borough : Gen-

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 87 of 193)