Franklin Ellis.

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

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This church was organized in Connellsville about
the year 1830, under the leadership of Lester L.
Xortoii, Abraiji Slirll,,nl.ei-er, Joseph Herbert, and
others, its niiilni- li.iiii; liirmed by a few persons
]irevi(jusly Baptists, l>ul who had become dissenters
from the doctrines of that church and adopted the
views and teachings of Alexander Campbell, who
often preached in Connellsville. Services were first
lield in private houses, with preaching by James Dor-

sey, J. B. Pratt, Young, and others. A stone

church building was erected about 1840, on a lot on
South Alley donated by Joseph Herbert. It was sold
to the Lutherans in 1874, and the present church edi-
fice of the Disciples was built on Pittsburgh (or
Church) Street, at a cost of S10,000. The dedication
sermon was preached by Prof. Charles L. Luce, of
P)ethany College. The church was for several years
under the care of Elders Norton, Shellenberger, and

Among the preachers who have ministered for
the church have been Alexander Campbell, G. D.
Benedict, and others. The present minister is the
Rev. Mr. Hvatt. The ehureli now has fiftv members.

and connected with it is a Sabbath-school of sixty-five
scholars, under the superintendency of JI. L. Baer.


The organization of this church was effected in
1874, by John Hertzel, John Wilhelm, Jacob Siller,
Jacob Wenzler, and Christian Snyder. For a time
their services were held in Odd-Fellows' Hall, after
which the society purchased the building of the
Church of the Disciples, on South Alley, which has
since been its place of worship. This church, being
under the same charge as the church in West New-
ton, was first served by the Rev. H. J. H. Lempeke,
who remained its minister until the summer of 1876,
and was then succeeded by the Rev. P. Doerr, the
present pastor. The church is composed of Germans
unci English. Preaching in the German language is
had in the morning services of alternate Sabbaths.
Tlie membership is now one hundred and fifty. A
Sabbath-school of fifty scholars is under charge of
Jacob Wenzler, superintendent.


On the 30th of October, 1876, the Rev. T. P. Pat-
terson, of Laurel Hill, Rev. A. E. Linn, of Freeport,
and Elders \Vyiiur, ,<( AVest Newton, and Walter T.
Brown, of Scottdale, organized the L^nited Presbyte-
rian Church in Connellsville, with eight constituent
members. Services were first held in Armory Hall,
( )dd-Fellows' Building. In the fall of 1876 two lots
of ground on Pittsburgh Street were purchased of
Mrs. Dr. Joseph Rogers and Mrs. Henry Blackstone
for one thousand dollars, and on these a church
edifice of brick has been erected at a cost of about five
thousand dollars.

In the spring of 1877 the Rev. A. R. Rankin be-
came ]iastipr, and remained until April, 1878, since
wliieh time the church has been without a pastor. It
i,. now ministereil to by the Rev. J. A. Brandon as
stated supply. The present number of members is
thirty-five.' "


The Catholic Church in Connellsville numbered in
1871 one hundred coiumunicants, under the Rev.
Robert Waters, who is still the pastor. In that year
the Catholics purchased the old Methodist meeting-
house I which had been for some years used as a
foundry I, demolished it, and built on its foundation
a new ihtireh. which was consecrated by Bishop
Dominick in July, 1873. The church has now about
eight hundred communicants.

The first written mention of a cemetery ground in
Connellsville (except that embodied in the charter
when Zachariah Connell donated one acre of land for
a public graveyard) is found in the minutes of the
Town Council, where it is recorded that on the 17th
(.f April, 1812, it was by that body "Resolved, That



the Grave-Yard be run out, and sufficiently niark'd
out ;" and on the 10th of July following, the Council
I made settlement with James Shaw, and issued an
order on the treasurer in his favor for $72 " for
fencing the Grave- Yard," which shows that the work
had been done before that time. Interments had
been made there, however, several years before ; and
it is recollected by Provance McCormick, Esq., that
as early as 1806 the old ground contained quite
:i number of graves, some having headstones, and
others unmarked save by the mounds.

May 29, 1817, the Council " Resolved to appoint a
sexton (there having been none previously appointed)
for this borough, whose duty it shall be to take charge
of the graveyard, keep it in good order, and keep the
gate locked, and in case of deceases to dig graves and
inter all dead bodies, except those who have been
hanged or have committed suicide; such are not to
be buried in the graveyard." . . . And Peter Still-
wagon, Sr., was appointed sexton.

The location of the old graveyard is between
Church Street and Mountain Alley, and adjoining the
south side of the public school grounds. Within it
are interred the remains of members of most of the
old Connellsville families, but it is now neglected and
overgrown with brushwood, and seldom used for

The Old Quaker graveyard, embracing about one-
fourth of an acre of ground, substantially inclosed by
a stone wall, is located on the high bank of the river,
in the northwest corner of the borough. It was do-
nated by the Gibson family, Quakers, for the use of
that sect. Burials were commenced in it before the
year 1800, and nearly as early as those in the ground
donated by Mr. Connell. Members of the Gibson,
i;"i;ers, and other early Quaker families have been
interred within its inclosure. The last burial in this
ground was Joseph Paull, son of Col. James Paull.

The Connellsville Hill Grove Cemetery was char-
tered Deo. 8, 1868, the charter members being John
K. Brown, John Johnston, William Cooley, William
C. Johnston, Stephen Robbins, John Taylor, Thomas
R. Davidson, James C. Cummings, Joseph Johnston,
and Thomas W. Watt. The following were elected
<ifficers of the association : John K. Brown, president ;
John Taylor, treasurer ; John Johnston, secretary.
The cemetery grounds, comprising seventeen acres,
were purchased of John Taylor, at $150 per acre.
The location is outside the borough limits, on the
north side of the Springfield road leading from Con-
nellsville. The ground was inclosed and laid out in
the summer of 1869. It has since been beautified and
embellished, and many handsome monuments have
been erected in it.

The present (1881) managers of the cemetery are
Stephen Robbins, president ; John K. Brown, treas-
urer; Joseph Johnston, secretary ; William C. John-
ston, P. S. Newmyer, Thomas W. Watt.

The Chestnut Hill Cemetery Association was formed
in 1868. On the 9th of October in that year a number
of persons, subscribers to the project, met at Odd-Fel-
lows' Hall, when the sum of $1225 was reported as
having been subscribed, and a committee was ap-
pointed to examine lands for the cemetery. Two
weeks later this committee reported, recommending a
lot of fourteen acres lying beyond Rogers' Run, be-
longing to Mr. S. Freeman, which could be had at
$100 per acre. This they were directed to purchase.
Organization was effected Oct. 30, 1868, by the elec-
tion of Alfred Witter, president; J. T. McCormick,
secretary ; Aaron Bishop, treasurer ; and a board of
directora con.sisting of A. Witter, L. Lindley, J. Wil-
helm, H. L. Shepherd, Thomas M. Fee, J. D. Still-
wagon, and Peter Demult. At the same time the
name of " The Connellsville Cemetery Company" was
adopted, but a few weeks later it was changed to " The
Chestnut Hill Cemetery." The association was char-
tered by the court March 1, 1869. From the land pur-
chased by the association a lot of two and a half acres
has since been sold to the Catholics for a cemetery, and
, alargerlottoMr. John T.Hogg. The grounds devoted
to the purposes of the cemetery have been handsomely
laid out and beautified in the modern style, and con-
tain many beautiful and costly memorial stones. The
present officers (1881) of the Chestnut Hill Cemetery
are J. D. Stillwagon, president; Aaron Bishop, treas-
j urer; J.T.Greenland, secretary; J. D. Stillwagon,
I J. T. McCormick, Aaron Bishop, J. T. Greenland,
Henry Shaw, J. R. Balsley, A. B. Moiton, directors.


The Pittsburgh and Connellsville Railroad was

chartered in 1837, but so many delays and obstacles

were encountered by the company in its construction

I that it was not until the year 1855 that the line was
opened for travel from West Newton to Connellsville.

I The Fayette County Railroad, connecting with the

' Pittsburgh and Connellsville, and extending from
this borough to Uniontown, was opened for travel be-
tween these two points Jan. 1, 1860. The latter road
was afterwards leased to the Pittsburgh and Connells-
ville Company, and by them to the Baltimore and
Ohio, as is more fully mentioned in the general his-
tory of the county.

The borough of Connellsville voted the sum of
$100,000 in aid of the Pittsburgh and Connellsville
Road, and bonds to that amount were accordingly
issued and delivered. Afterwards tlie railroail com-
pany made a proposition that the lioron-h should
pay $15,000 in lieu of the bonds (whhdi had been hy-
pothecated for that amount), and receive back the eu-

I tire issue for cancellation. Upon this proposition a
number of the wealthy citizens of Connellsville fur-
nished the money, which was paid to the corporation,
and the bonds were thereupon returned and cancelled,
the citizens who had furnished the money being in
due time reimbursed by the borough.



On the 14th of July, 1857, permission was granted
b_v the borough to the railroad company to occupy
twelve and one-half feet in width of Water Street
next the river, and " to occupy so much of the Pub-
lic Ground between said Water Street and the river
as may be necessary for the laying of additional
tracks, and for their convenience in the general con-
duct of their business as a railroad company." The
railroad southeast of Connellsville was opened through
to Cumberland in 1871. The Pittsburgh and Con-
nellsville and Fayette County Eailroads were leased
in December, 187o, to the Baltimore and Ohio Com-
pany, by whom they are now run and operated. The
Connellsville dejiot of the Baltimore and Ohio line is
on the river front, nearly opposite the toot of North

Connellsville is the headquarters of repairs for the
Pittsburgh Division of the Baltimore and Ohio Rail-
road, and all supplies for that division are kept at this
point. The repair- and car-shops (located just north
of the passenger depot) were built and put in opera-
tion by the Pittsburgh and Connellsville Company
before the lease of that road to the Baltimore and
Ohio, and these have been continued by the latter
company since the leasing. Passenger- and freight-
cars are built here, and locomotives are repaired and
rebuilt. Engine No. 1 of the Pittsburgh and Con-
nellsville Road is still in service on the Pittsburgh
Division, being now numbered 702 of the Baltimore
aud Ohio. The passenger-car shop is 75 by 120 feet
in dimensions, admitting the building of two cars at
the same time. The round-house has a capacity for
twenty-four bjcomotives.

About onc-fiiurth of a mile lower down the river
and track is the treight-car shop, located on ground
donated for the purpose by the Connellsville Mutual
Building and Loan Association. The main sliop is
about 50 by 250 feet in size, with a wing 50 by 125 feet.
In this establishment there is in operatii.n a machine
for boring joint-blocks, wliicli was invented here, and
is the only one of the kind in use in any i.f the rail-
road shops of the country. In the yard at this |.lace
the company has appliances for nianufaeturing all the
coke required in its operations on the Pittsburgh Di-
vision of the road. The number of men employed
here is something more than three hundred.

The general office of the division superintendent
is at McC(jy's Run, on Water Street. The offices of
the nnichinery department and shops are located
west of the depot. The officers in charge are Thomas
M. King, general superintendent of the division ; J.
E. Sampsel, master of machinery; G. M. Serpell,
master of roads.

The general freight agent at Connellsville is T.
D. Turner. The amount of freight on shipments of
all kinds over this road, and billed at Connellsville in

each business day in the month of May, 1881, is as
follows: S3815.83, $4676.23, $4572.71, $4811.02,
$2715.51, $4330.51, $4897.87, $2648.46, $3329.95,
$4462.43, $2609.94, $2869.03, $2842.09, $2329.03,
$3372.10, $2402.85, $1935.48, $4529.42, $3699.56,
$3773.70, .$4774.54, $2673.12, $4430.79, $4824.00,
$4162.7:^, S27GG.S2; total for the month, $94,566.72.

This amount includes freight on coke shipped on
the Fayette County branch between Uniontown and
Connellsville, and shipments of coal from the gas-coal
region. The freights in the month of June, 1881, were
less than one-half those of the preceding month, ag-
gregating $42,963.09. The express business of that
month at the Counellsville office amounted to $1000.

The passenger agent at Connellsville is John A.
Armstrong. The monthly receipts from passenger
traffic at this station, from August, 1880, to June,
1881, inclusive, were as follows :

Aug., 18S0 . . . $2505.17 j Feb., 1881 . . . $1771.65
Sept., " ... 3237.24 March, " ... 2648.33
Oct., "... 2854.33 April, " ... 2426.93
Nov., "... 2187.61 May, " ... 2901.35
Dec, "... 2880.92 June, " ... 2727.21
Jan., 1881 . . . 1953.15


This road was opened for travel through Connells-
ville and as far south as Mount Braddock in 1875, and
wascompleted to Uniontown late in the fall of the next
year. It is operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad
Company, and is more profitable than any other
division of equal length of that company's lines.
The following amounts were received at Connells-
ville from passenger traffic on this road during the
first half of the year 1881, viz. :

January $10.53.15 | April $1393.52

February .... 1125.81 May 1317.45

March 1251.66 June 1849.17

Total for six months, $7990.76.

In the same month the freights at this station were
in amount as follows :

.January i?9.30.07 I April .$2417.81

February 1108.30 May 1791.68

March 2166.18 June 2831.89

Total for six months, $11,245.99.

Below is given the number of pounds of coke
shipped on this road and manifested at Connellsville
(being the coke from Pennsville and Davidson's, the
last including Moyer's) during the two months ending
July 2, 1881:
From May 2d to 7th : 6,1.")3,200 lbs.

Pennsville .534,200 "

Total .

May 9th to IGtli

Davidson .


6,687,400 lbs

6,577,100 lbs.
869,200 "




May 16th to 21st :

Davidson 5,568,000 lbs.

Pennsville 1,130,400 "

Total 6,69.S;4()0 lbs.

May 21st to 28th :

Davidson 5,991,500 lbs.

Pennsville 924,900 "

Total 6,926,400 lbs.

May 28th to June 4th :

Davidson 6,045,300 lbs.

Pennsville 854,500 "

Total 6,899,800 lbs.

June 4th to June 11th:

Davidson 4,761,800 lbs.

Pennsville 299,000 "

Total 5,060,800 lbs.

June 11th to LSth :

Davidson 5,183,400 lbs.

Pennsville 245,500 "

Total 5,428,900 lbs.

June 18th to 25th :

Davidson 5,799,100 lbs.

PennsviUe 26,600 "

Total 6,825,700 lbs.

June 25th to July 2d:

Davidson 6,130,600 llis.

Pennsville 212,400 "

Total 6,343,000 lbs.

Showing an aggregate of fifty-seven million three
hundred and sixteen thousand seven hundred pounds
of coke manifested at Connellsville in two months
for shipment over one of its two railroads, and rep-
resenting the shipments of that product from only
two out of the thirty -six stations from which coke is
shipped on the Southwest line between Fairchance
and Greensburg. From these figures and facts some
idea may be had of the magnitude of the coke pro-
duction and trafiic in the region of which Connells-
ville is the most important centre.


On the 9th of September, 1865, James MoGrath,
then foreman of the smith-shops of the Pittsburgh
and Connellsville Eailroad at Connellsville, leased
from Robert W. Francis for the term of ten years a
piece of ground fifty-five by ninety feet, located on
North Alley, near Water Street, for the purpose of
erecting thereon a machine- and smith-shop. On
the 16th of the same month he entered into partner-
ship with Bernard Winslow, and they erected a wooden
building thirty by fifty feet, and with three smith-
fires and one old lathe, commenced business under
the name of McGrath & Winslow. Their manufac-

tures consisted mainly of railroad frogs and switches
and oil tools. On the 27th of February, 1866, Wins-
low sold out to George B. and J. T. McCormick, and
the firm-name changed to McGrath, McCormick &
Co. On September 1st same year William B. Stout
and James B. Caven were taken into the partnership,
the firm-name remaining unchanged.

The company now added some new machinery,
and began to extend their business. Machine-shops
of this kind were until then unknown in this region,
and people were slow to believe that machine-work
and heavy and diflicult forgings could be done at
Connellsville, but the senior partner, Mr. McGrath,
having served his apprenticeship at the extensive
works of Charles C. Delaney, of Buffalo, N. Y., and
worked in some of the principal work-shops of the
country, soon gave evidence that intricate as well as
heavy work could be done here as well as in the cities,
and soon the company had more orders than their
little shop could accommodate. About this time the
coke trade began to assume large proportions, and on
account of the scarcity of railroad cars several opera-
tors began to provide their own. As these cars, owing
to the bad condition of the new road, were being con-
tinually wrecked and broken, it became necessary for
somebody to repair them, and the firm of McGrath,
I McCormick & Co. undertook the business. Having
no suitable place to erect shops, they obtained privi-
lege from the railroad company to lay a track along
the bank of the river, immediately south of the present
depot, and there, in the open air, for two years they
did all the car repairing for the local coal companies,
their carpenter-shop consisting of one end of the
body of an old passenger-car, the other end being oc-
cupied by tlie railroad company as a car inspector's
office and pattern-shop.

On the 13tli of March, 1S69, the company succeeded
in leasing from P. McCormick the lot adjoining their
smith-shop, and immediately erected thereon a small
! car-shop twenty-five by eighty feet, and began the
erection of coke-cars, mine-wagons, and all the vari-
ous tools used in the making of coke.

On the 1st of May following the remaining part-
ners purchased the interest of George B. McCormick,
and changed the name of the company to "The Con-
nellsville Machine and Car Company." Business now
] increased rapidly, and it soon became necessary to
] seek a better location and to erect works of much
j larger capacity. Accordingly, on the 26th of March,
1872, the company purchased from the "Connellsville
Mutual Building and Loan Association" a tract of
land lying on the Pittsburgh and Connellsville Kail-
road at the mouth of Mounts' Creek, about one-quarter
of a mile north of their former location. Here, in
the year 1872, they erected a car-shop thirty by one
hundred and twenty feet, and on May 21, 1873, they
purchased additional ground adjoining, and erected a
machine- and forging-shop and foundry of the same
dimensions as the car-shop. Later other bind was


purchased, and the works extended and enlarged to
their present dimensions.

On the 1st of October, 187:?, the old shops were
abandoned, and the machinery removed to the new.
At the expiration of the ground lease in 1875 the old
car-shop was removed to the adjoining lot, which had
then come into the possession of the company, and
remodeled into a hardware-store and office.

The larger shops required many new tools, and
lathes, planes, boring-mills, punches, drill-presses,
steam-hammers, etc., were gradually added, until the
works are now as well equipped as any in the country,
and give employment to from forty to fifty hands,
the products consisting of cars and railroad supplies,
and all the various wants of coal, coke, and fire-brick
works, mills, furnace-, etc. The [lartuers are all, in
some capacity, directly interested in the running of
the works, and by careful attention to business have
secured the confidence and patronage of the coal and
iron operators of the entire Connellsville coke region.


This, the first foundry establishment in Connells-
ville, was commenced in 1829 by Robert W. Francis
and J. J. Anderson, the former of whom continued
in the business for almost half a century. Francis &
Anderson continued as a firm until 1834, when James
and Isaac Francis bought Anderson's interest, and
the business was carried on without material change
until 1860, when a three- fnuit lis interest was sold to
Staufter & Co. In ImIs, I'mt, r I'.io-. [imvlKi^r.l a,,
interest, and the firm luiiiiiie StaultV'r. I'ortiT .V Co.,
and so continued till 1876, when Mr. Stautier died,
and his interest was purchased by B. F. Boyts, and
the business was conducted under the firm-name of
Tennant, Porter, I'.oyts ,V t'o. until .Iiiii.' s, isys, when
E. W. Fi-anris. thr original owner, .lied, and l.i> in-
terest was purclui.sed by ,J. il. Du-sliane, and Tennant
also sold his interest to J. M. Reid, and the firm
became, as at present, Boyts, Porter & Co.

On the 28th of January, 1877, the works were
destroyed by fire. A temporary ImildinLi was at oiue
erected, and by the l:2tli of February following the
firm was prepared to fill all orders for castings and
machine and forge-work. New permanent buildings
were commenced in May of the same year.

It is believed that Boyts, Porter & Co. make a
greater variety of castings than any other firm in the
State, and the machine-shop and forge department
are completely equipped to do machine, forge, and
sheet-inm work of every de.scription. In the present
year (1881 ) the manufacture of steam-pumps has been
added, and the firm has also given special attention
to the manufacture of ore-crushers for silver-mines
in Montana, for which large orders have been filled.


These works were put in operation about lS(i6 Ijy
J. M. Bailey, Meskimmens, and others, of Pittsburgh.

The company purchased land of D. R. Davidson, ad-
joining the Pittsburgh and Connellsville Gas-Coal and
Coke Company, and erected thereon a frame building
about two hundred by seventy-five feet on the ground,
and one story (about thirty feet) high. The opera-
tions of the company were not successftil, and the
business had continued less than a year when it was
abandoned. The place and the ruins of the building
are still known as the " steel-works," but these and
the name are all that remain of an enterprise which
was commenced with high hopes of success and the
promise of permanent advantage to the growth and
prosperity of the borough of Connellsville.


The Connellsville and New Haven Gas and Water
Company was incorporated March 7, 1871. The cor-
jnirators were Joseph Johnston, Christopher S. Sher-
rick, Edward Dean, David Welsh, and Dr. Ellis
Phillips. On the 23d of September, 1871, the stock-
holders met and elected the following-named direc-
tors : Joseph Johnston, Edward Dean, Ellis Phillips,
David Welsh, John D. Frisbee, J. T. McCorniick.
The board elected Joseph Johnston, president; John
D. Frisbee, treasurer; J. T. McCormick, secretary.
On the 31st of July, 1872, a committee appointed for
that purpose reported that they had secured a lot of
land from the Connellsville Mutual Building and Loan
Association on which to erect gas-works. The loca-
tion chosen for the works is near Mounts' Creek and
the Youghiogheny River. A contract was made with
Connolly & Taylor to build the works complete and
lay all gas-mains ready for use on or before the 1st of
November following for $22,000, which was done, and
J. T. McCormick was appointed superintendent of
the works. At present (June, 1881) J. D. Frisbee is

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 89 of 193)