Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 91 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 91 of 193)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Alexander Keepers.

William Kirk.

Wm. Kiskader.

Gustavus Kells.
Thomas Kilpatrick.
Cunningham Kithcart.
Michael Lore.
John Lamb.

Joshua Lamb.

Mary Long.
William Lytle.
Adam Laws.


401 Liirrimer.

Jaeob Smith.

Robert Long.

Henry Smith.

J(.hn Lemon.

Henry Smith, Jr.

Provance MoCormick.

Chri^tian Shallenberger.

George Martin.

Isaac Shallenberger.

Andrew McCloy.

John and Martin Stauffer.

Samuel McMicbael.

Peter StilUvagon, Jr.

Kobcrt D. Moore.

John Shallenberger.

(jcorge Mathiot.

Peter Stilhvagon.

Henry Marshall.

Josinh D. Stillwagon.

Wm. T. McCormick.

John Stilhvagnn.

Charles McClane.

Andrew Stillwagon.

Isaac Mears.

Asa Smith.

George Marietta.

George Sloan.

Wosea McCormick.

Jacob Stewart, administrator

Robert McGuire.

of Wm. McCormick.

Jan.cs MuBride.

Jacob Stewart.

Alexander McDonald.

John Stewart.

IMu.nd McCormick.

John Slonaker.

William Mifford.

Conrad Seheges.

Jamts Moody.

John SalyarJs.

David .Mitso.

Stephen Smith.

Jacob Mitso.

Stephen Smith, ex. of C.Wood.

Archibald McIIenry.


Mel McHenry.

Jaeob Sipe.

Isaac Meason.

Thomas Shields.

AV.Iliam Noland.

Henry Strickler.

.Tames Noble.

James Shaw.

Uriah Newcomer.

Clement Sawyer.

Lester L. Norton.

• John M. Sims.

Ann Norton.

James Shaw, Jr.

Peter Newmyer.

Samuel Snowden.

C. A. Norton.

William Stillwagon.

Daniel T. Norton.

William Salyards.

John Orbin.

Christojjher Sleesman.

■\VilIiam O'Neil.

Jacob Sumers.

Samuel Parker.

Michael Trump.

Clayton Passmore.

William R. Turner.

Samuel Page.

William G. Turner.

John Page.

Samuel <t Sarah Trevor.

George Piper.

Samuel Trevor.

Jonathan Page.

Joseph Trevor.

Henry Peters.

Trevor &. Clayton.

Amos Pritchard.

Isaac Taylor.

John Reist.

Joseph Torrenee.

Conrad Reist.

Thomas Taylor.

Jacob Reist.

Jesse Taylor.

John Reist, Jr.

Caleb Trevor.

John Reist.

Sarah Tillard.

Susan Rotruck.

Blanche Tillard.

Daniel Rogers.

Roberts Tillard.

Daniel & Joseph Rogers.

John Trump.

D. & J. Rogers A Walker.

Jacob and John Wiland.

David Reedy.

Peter White.

Joseph Rogers.

Henry White.

John Robins.

Stewart H. Whitehill.

James Robins.

Henry Welty.

Aaron Robins.

David Weymer.

James Richie.

John Williams.

Asher Smith.

Benjamin Wells.

David Smith.

Otho L. Williams.

Thcophilus Shepherd.

AVilliam William.

James Stafford.

Samuel (i. Wurts. Stafford.

Adam Wilson.

Adam Snider.


At the March term of the Court of Quarter Sessions
of Fayette County in 1822, Isaac Meason, Moses Vance,
and Thomas Boyd were appointed commissioners " to
enquire into the expediency of dividing Bullsliin
township, and forming a new township out of part
thereof, to be called Connellsville township." At the
October sessions in the same year this committee re-
ported to the court " that in pursuance of said order
(made by the court at the March sessions), and ap-
proving of the propriety of dividing said township,
they have divided the same agreeably to the annexed
diagram of the courses and distances and natural
boundaries, viz. : Beginning on the bank of the Yough
River, below the Broad Ford, at the mouth of Heist's
Run ; thence up Reist's Run to the mouth of New-
comer's Run ; thence up Newcomer's Run to a per-
pendicular fall iu said run at the mouth of Abraham
Newcomer's lane, which said runs are the present di-
vision line between BuUskin and Tyrone townships;
thence south 44', east 366 perches to the middle of
Mounts' Creek in Whitehill's meadow; thence up
Mounts Creek to the mouth of White's mill-run, alias
Laurel Lick Run ; thence up the last-named run tQ
the mouth of Yellow Spring Run at the Connellsville
and Berlin new State road ; thence along the middle
of said road to Salt Lick township line; thence south-
wardly along the Salt Lick township line to the
Yough River; thence down said river to the place of
beginning ; which said courses and distances and nat-
ural bouudaries as abave set forth will comprise
Connellsville township." This report of the commis-
sioners was approved and confirmed by the court,
which thereupon ordered the erection of Connellsville
I township, to comprise the territory embraced within
the boundaries established by the commissioners and
described as above in their report.


The following is an incomplete list (but the best
that can be obtained) of the justices of the peace, as-
sessors, and auditors of Connellsville township from
its erection to the present time.


• Until. 1840 this township with Bullskin and Tyrone
formed a district for tlie election of justices, and the
names here given down to and including 1837 are
those of residents of Connellsville township who were
elected to that office in the district above mentioned,


Hugh Tur-

1829, April 20. Herman Gcb-

1831, Aug. 16. Henry W.

1835, Feb. 23.

1835, Dec. 9. Thomas S. Kil-

1837, May 4. Matthew Wray.
1S40. Henry Dctwilcr.

Thomas S. Kilpatrick.
1845. Hiram Herbert.

Isaac W. Francis.
1850. Joshua Gibson.

David Shcrboudy.
1855. George Swank.



1S55. Robert Wilson.
ISofi. Isano W. Fninois.
ISi'J. John iMills.

Geijrse Sivftnk.


18B:i-R4. George Swank.
1867. Noble C. McCormick.
1872. S. C. LeigUlircr.
1S7:<. John Freeman.
1876. J.icobS. lleltcibran.
1879. HLTUian P. Gray.
ISSn. Richard Campbtll.
1881. John Freeman.

1869-60. Philo No

J. Conrad.

1S6I. Jesse .■^mith.

J. AndersoD.

1862-63. Hiram Herbert.

William Neiil.

1864. Jesse Smith.

Josiah Kurlz.

1865. Iliram Herbert.

James G. Turner.

1866. George Nicholson.

AVilliam S. Cannon.

1867. John Kurtz.

John Boyd.

1868-69. (ieorge R. Shaffer.

John L. iMcan.=.

1870. Je:s.. Smith.

43. William B,.feley.

James Stiuimel.

in. Samuel Parker.

1874. S. C. Leichlitcr.

Isaac Francis.

1S75. Strickler Stacy.

50. John Greenland.

1S:6. >in.-Iai, St;, - y.

52. Henry Gibson.

1^::^ Tl, ;,. M. ., viand.

Isaae W. Francis.

IS7- J„..,i. P,.M,.,.

Philo Norton.

ISril. Jacob Fierce.

Thomas Ruttermore.

ISSO. George Wash.ibnugh.

Philo Norton.

1881. George W. Nicholson.



George Ruttermore.

1854. John Royd.

SI. A. Ross.

1S56. Michael Rramon.

J. Ci.nrad.

1857. Clayton Herbert.

J. Anderson.

1858. Hiram Herbert.

WUIiara Ne.aL

1859-6(1. George S. Butte

Josiah Kurtz.


James (i. Turner.

1861. Hiram Herl>ert.

AVilliam S. Cannon.

1862-63. Jes.9e Smith.

Samuel Marshall.

1864. Samuel Long.

Joseph Trump.

1865. John R. Murphy.

(Jeorge White.

1866. Hiram Herbert.

John Johnston.

1867. George S. Buttermore.

Noble C. McConnick.

1868. Jesse Smith.

Robert Torrence.

1869. Stephen Robbins.

Isaac MunscD.

1870. Samuel Leighliler.

John Greenland.

1873. Jesse Smith,

.\oblo C. .McCormick.

1874. William Boyd.

Thomas S.KiIi«trick.

1875. Thomas Buttermore.

Noble C. .McCormick.

1876. James Campbell.

William .McCrary.

1877. John Freeman.

Josiah Stillwagon.

Samuel N. Long.

Daniel R. D.vidson.

1879. Thomas Gregg.

Hiram Herbert.

1880. Michael D. Kerr.

William L. Collins.

1881. Strickler Staey.



Until the year 1852 the township and borough of
Connellsville were districted in eoniiiioii, and prior to
1834 the schools at which the children of the town- i
ship received the rudiments of education were j
chiefly taught in the borough. In that year the law
was pas.sed establishing the system of free common
schools, and by the o|)eration of that law, granting
public money for purposes of education, adrlitional

schools were opened in Connellsville as elsewhere in
other-townships. In conformity to the requirements
of the law the Fayette County Court, at the January
term of 1835, appointed William Davidson and
Henry W. Lewis school directors of the township.
In March of the same year a township election was
held, resulting in the choice of Valentine Coughenour
and James G. Turner as school directors. On the
14th of September following these directors reported
to the treasurer of the county that they had complied
with the requirements of the law. The amount of
money then apportioned to the township from the
State funds was 188. 17J, and the amount from the
county for school purposes, S176.35; total, $264.52.].

From the records of the school directors of the
township of Connellsville, commencing in 1848 (none
earlier having been found), are given the following
e.xtracts having reference to the schools of that time:

Oct. 2, 1848, the directors " Resohed to rent an
extra house for the use of the schools." March 30,
1849, a committee was appointed to make an estimate
of the cost of a brick school-house sixty feet long,
twenty-two feet wide, and eight feet high, for the use
of two schools. The question of building the house
was submitted to the voters at a meeting held on the
12th of May following, and was decided in the nega-
tive, thirty-seven to thirteen.

Notwithstanding this negative vote the directors,
on the 30th of May, directed the secretary to give no-
tice that a contract would be let June 30th for build-
ing a school-house. The contract was so let to John
Shellenberger for S55G. On the 7th of July, 1849, a
protest by a large number of the inhabitants of the
township against building the school-house on the
public grounds adjoining the graveyard (in the
borough) ; " and," proceeds the record, " as the situa-
tion had been recommended by persons living in the
vacant districts, and as the people were for several
months fully aware of the designs of the board
to build upon the said ground, and no opposition
having been shown until after the sale for building
the said house, and as no suitable situation for build-
ing can be had in the vacant districts, Therefore be
it Bego/ved, That the present board have nothing to
do with the matter. John Taylor, Secretary."

On the 30th of October, 1849, David Barnes, J. D.
Stillwagon, and James Mitchell were e.xainined and
passed as teachers. At that time, besides the three
schools in the borough, two other schools were taught
in the township, viz., at the school-house near Brad-
ford's and at the Narrows. Eight teachers were then
employed in the five schools of the township (includ-
ing those of the borough).

In September, 1850, David Barnes in charge of
School No. 2, and Joseph Shoemaker of the Bradford
School. On the 5th of October following J. D. Still-
wagon was appointed to School No. 1, Joseph T. 3Ic-
Cormick to the North Bend School, and Mrs. Margaret
Collins to the Clayton School. The wages then paid


to male teachers were twenty dollars per month, and
to females twelve dollars and fifty cents.

In October, 1851, Jane Cramer was appointed teacher
in the Narrows school-house, and Margaret Collins was
given charge of the small school in the RatclifF house.
In this year School No. 2 and the North Bend School
were graded. From the 5th of April following, the
schools of the township and those of the borough were
under separate directions, the borough being formed
into a separate and independent district.

After the separation of the borough from the town-
ship in school matters, the township contained four
school-houses and supported the same number of
schools. In 1854, David Barnes taught in the North
Bend school-house, Joseph Hale in the Snyder house,

George Gregg in the Gibson house, and Halpin

in the school-house at the Narrows. In November,
1855, James Wbaley was placed in charge of the
Gibson School, J. D. Stillwagon of the North Bend
School, and Joseph Cramer of the school at the Nar-
rows. No school was taught in the Bradford school-
house during the succeeding winter season.

The Gibson school-house lot was sold in July, 1857.
In that year only two schools were taught in the town-
ship, viz., at the Narrows and at North Bend, Jesse
Smith teaching at the former place andW. McDowell
at the latter.

The township now comprises three school districts,
viz.: White Rock, the Narrows, and Rock Ridge.
Number of school-houses, schools, and teachers of
each, three ; number of pupils, three hundred ; value
of school property in township, three thousand dollars.

Following is a list, as nearly ,as can be ascertained,
of school directors elected in Connellsville township
since 1853, no names of school directors being found
in election returns of the township prior to that date :


Henry Gibson.


Stephen Robbins.

Daniel R. Daviason.

Jesse Smith.


Hiram Snyder.

Samuel Long.

William Dennison.

George B. MeCormick.

John Bultermore.


Jesse Smith.


A. Huntly.

Robert Beatty.

Juhn Buttermore.


John Taylor.


Thomas Bultermore.

Samuel Long.

John Grass.


Stephen Rol.bin?.

George B. MeCormick.

George B. MeCormick


Peter Stillwagon.

Peter De Muth.

Si.muel Lon-.


Jesse Smith.

George Swank, Jr.

John Covert.


John Taylor.


Stephen Robbins.

George B. McCormiok.

John Buttermore.


Asa Huntley.

Boston Bowers.

William Eccles.


David BLackburn.


Philo Norton.

Joseph Sisson.

Peter Stillwagon.


Isaac French.


Stephen Robbins.

George B. MeCormick

Isaac Gilmore.

Jesse Smith.


Philo Norton.

James S. Dravoo.

George W. Stillwagon.


Jacb S. Hilterbran.


John Taylor.

Jacob May.

George B. MeCormick.

James Means.

1876. Samuel C. Leighter.
George W. Nicholson.

1877. Stricklor Stac.v.
George B. Shaffer.

1878. Jacob May.
George Swank.

1879. Albert Nicholson.
Stewart Durbin.
Jacob Wildey.

1880. Jeremiah Loomis.
Thomas Louden.
Nathan McPhcrson

1881. Henry Blackstone.

The old " Rogers Papcr-Mill," the earliest manu-
facturing establishment within the territory now com-
prised in the township of Connellsville, was erected
in 1810 by Daniel and Joseph Rogers, of Connells-
ville, and Zadoc Walker, of Uniontown. Its location
was on the right bank of the Youghiogheny River, a
short distance above the present village and railroad
station of Gibsonville. The " Pittsburgh Almanac"
for 1812 says, " D. and J. Rogers erected lately a Paper-
Mill on the Youghiogheny River above Connellsville."
The Messrs. Rogers and Walker were succeeded in the
proprietorship of the mill by D. S. Knox, M. Lore,
and John Scott, who, as a firm, continued the manu-
facture of paper until March 21, 1836, when the busi-
ness was closed and the firm dissolved, its affairs
being wound up by D. S. Knox.

The paper manufactured at this mill was of very
superior quality, caused, as it was said, by the clear-
ness and purity of the water which was used, that
of the Youghiogheny River. The product of the
mill was shipped by the boat-load to New Orleans
and other points on the lower river. The business
done here, both by the original proprietors and by
Mr. Knox and his partners (but particularly by the
latter firm), was very large, and quite a little village
grew up in the vicinity of the mill. Only an old
stone house and a mass of ruins now remain to show
the location of the once prosperous manufactory and
the neighboring dwellings.

The Pittsburgh and Connellsville Gas-Coal and
Coke Company's Works are located on the railroad
at Davidson's Station, north of the borough limits, on
a tract of about four hundred acres of land purchased
of Daniel R. Davidson and Faber & Miskimmens, of

About 1856, Norton, Faber & Miskimmens com-
menced operations at this place, and had sunk a shaft
about eighty feet in depth when circumstances com-
pelled a suspension of the work. Norton sold out his
share to the two other partners, whose interest was
afterwards purchased by the company as above men-

The company was organized about 1800, with a
capital of $300,000. Having purchased the David-
son lands and the Faber & Miskimmens interest, they
commenced work at once, sunk a shaft, and built and
put in operation forty coke-ovens, which number was
increased by John H. Dravo, who took charge in 18G8.
The business has been successful from the beginning.
I The shaft is 150 feet in depth, with drifts (one a mile



in length) tending towards tlie surface. Tenant-houses
and a store are connected with the works. The com-
pany has now 295 ovens, and the extent of its opera-
tions may be judged from tlie amount of coke shipped,
as shown in the railroad statistics embraced in the his-
tory of Connellsville borough. The works are under
charge of Charles Davidson, manager. The directors
of the company are James M. Bailey, president ; John
F. Dravo, secretary and treasurer ; Alexander Brad-
ley, William Van Kirk, Richard Grey, and Daniel R.
Davidson, of Beaver, Pa.

The Overholt Distillery, located on the bank of
the Youghiogheny at Broad Ford, and widely known
and tUnied for the high grade of its product, was
erected and put in operation by Abraham Overholt in
the year 1853. At that time it had a capacity to distil
one hundred bushels of grain per day. Soon after the
starting of the establishment Mr. Overholt took in as
partners his two sons, Henry and Jacob. The latter
died while a member of the firm, and in 18G5, Henry
Overholt sold out his interest, and A. O. Tinstman be-
came a partner with Abraham Overholt. In 1867 the
present distillery building was erected. It is four fu 1
stories high, with attics, and sixty-six by one hundred
and twelve feet on the ground, with two wings twenty-
five by twenty-five feet each, and three stories high.
Business was commenced in this building in 1868.

After the death of Abraham Overholt, in 1869, the
business was continued by the executor of his estate
and A. O. Tinstman till 1872, when Tinstman pur-
chased the Overholt interest, and carried on the busi-
ness alone till the latter part of 1874, when C. S. O.
Tinstman became associated with him. In 1876, C.
S. O. Tinstman and C. Fritchman became proprie-
tors of the distillery. In 1878, James G. Pontefract
was added to the firm, and soon after 'linstman &
Fritchman sold their interest to Henry C. Frick.
The establishment is now under the management of
J. G. Pontefract. The buildings contain an aggregate
of about one and a half acres of flooring, and the
works have a capacity for distilling four hundred
bushels of grain every twelve hours.


The land on which Gibsonville is located was taken
up by John Mugger, Dec. 20, 1773, in the tract of 802
acres called " Confidence." On the 12th of January,
1774, it was conveyed to John Vanderen, and in the
same year it came into possession of Zachariah Con-
nell. He, on the 26th of October, 1801, sold it to
Joseph Page, who conveyed it to Samuel Page, July
5, 1814. May 1, 1817, it was purchased by Thomas
and Joseph Gibson.

In jriiicli, ^^:'.r>. thr pr.iporty of Thomas and Jo-
seph Cil.-Mii was ilivi.Ird iiiider an order of the court,
and tlir -it.' nf (iiliMiiiviil,. tVIl to the heirs of Joseph
Gibson. On the 1st of Aiu-il, 1844, Joshua Gibson

(son of Joseph) purchased the interest of the other
heirs in the land.

In the spring of 1860 the only inhabitants of the
place which is now Gibsonville were Isaac Carr, Isaac
Hale, and Sarah and Elizabeth Hale. In the fall and
winter of 1863 the brick-works were constructed there
by Jackson Spriggs, of Washington County. In the
winter of 1867-68 the Lumber and Stave Company
erected here a steam saw-mill, dwelling-house, office,
and stables, under the management of Hugh Holmes.

In the spring of 1870 the first store in the place was
opened by Edward Collins. A second one was opened
soon after by A. B. Hosick, and two years later a
third was started by Joshua Gibson. In November,
1870, John Hilkey opened a shoe-shop in a building
near the railroad bridge.

Gibsonville was platted and laid out by Joshua
Gibson, on the 5th of December, 1870. The jwpula-
tion of the place on the 13th of January, 1871, was
ninety-six persons. In March of the same year the
auger-works were built by Thomas St. John.

In May, 1879, Joshua Gibson donated a lot (No. 15)
in the town plat to the Presbyterian Church of Con-
nellsville, on condition that they should erect a chapel
on it within two years. On the 1st of the same month
the name of the railroad station at this place was
changed back from " White Rock" to " Gibson's."
On the 20th of January, 1880, Gibsonville contained
a population of 205. It now contains about three
hundred inhabitants.


Mr. Joshua G. Gibson is one of the most esteemed
citizens of Fayette County. He resides within the
limits of "Gibson's Station," on the line of the Bal-
timore and Ohio Railroad, near Connellsville, where
he was born, March 15, 1811, in what has been since
the downfall of the celebrated Crawford's cabin the
oldest house ever built in the region by a white
man. The house is made of logs, and was erected
about 1776 by William McCormick, and was weather-
boarded for the first time about 1840, and now has
the appearance of a modern wooden structure. In
this house Mr. Gibson spent the years of his early

He is of English Quaker stock on the paternal
side; on the maternal of New England extraction.
His great-grandfather, Thomas Gibson (whose father
I was a Quaker preacher), came from England in 1728
and settled on Brandywine Creek, Chester Co., Pa.,
where Mr. Gibson's grandfather, John Gibson, was
born, and where he owned grist- and saw-mills on the
banks of the creek a mile below the celebrated
Brandywine battle-field. He was wont to relate

~^L/' z ^CJ^^-L^,



seeing the blood-stained water course by liis mills on
the day of the battle, which he with his neighbors
climbed the hills and witnessed.

In October, 1795, John Gibson removed with his
family from Chester County to Fayette County, and
settled near what is now the " Union Furnace," and
there assisted Isaac Meason and Moses Dillon to erect
the second blast-furnace put up west of the Allegheny
Mountains. He had five sons and one daughter, of
whom Joseph Gibson, the father of Joshua G. Gib-
son, was the second child, and was born in Chester
County. He was reared mainly in Fayette County,
and became an iron-master, though considerably en-
gaged in agriculture, owning with his brother a large
tract of land. In 1815 he erected the old ^Etna Fur-
nace in Connellsville, which was in active operation
for aliout thirty years. About it he put up many log
and frame houses, which years ago tumbled down in
decay. Joseph Gibson died in 1819, when only
thirty-nine years of age, but worn out by hard work
and exposure to the inclemencies of the climate.

About 1810 he married Anna Gibbs, a native of
Connecticut, who had come from that State into
Fayette County some years before with a relative.
She died about three years after the death of her hus-
band, leaving four children, of whom Joshua was the

Mr. Gibson received his education from an old
Englishman, a Revolutionary soldier, who fought on
the side of the rebels, and after the war pursued
teaching and clerking at the iron-works in Connells-
ville. At about sixteen years of age Mr. Gibson
went into both the timber business and fiirming,
which he conducted as his chief business for about
lifty years. In January, 1824, he moved upon the
farm and into the stone house which he still occupies
on the bank of the Youghiogheny Eiver. In 1870
he laid out a portion of this farm into village lots,
and has erected thereon about eighteen houses him-
self, and sold several lots upon which others have

Mr. Gibson has always been an industrious man,
domestic in his tastes, temperate, and social in dis-
position, but never mingles intimately with his im-
mediate social surroundings outside of his family,

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 91 of 193)