Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 93 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 93 of 193)
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part of the New Jersey Central Railroad system),
in the superintendency of which he continued till
1872, when he resigned his post to take the superin-
tendency of the Pittsburgh and Connellsville Rail-
road (now the Pittsburgh Division of the Baltimore
and Ohio Railroad), in charge of which he remained,
residing at Connellsville, for the period of eight

In his official position, while living there in charge
of the railroad, Mr. Hyndman enjoyed peculiar
opportunities for studying the Connellsville coke
business and the extent and position of the coking
coal field, and was so impressed with the vast pres-
ent and future importance of the business that he
took measures to secure some eight thousand acres of
the best of coal lands in one body, and organized a
company under the name of the Connellsville Coke
and Iron Company, with Hon. John Leisenring as
president, and other of his old Eastern anthracite coal
friends as members, with a capital stock of one million
two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, for the pur-
pose of developing the coal property. He then re-
signed the superintendency of the railroad, and ac-
cepted the position of general manager of the above-
named company. Mr. Hyndman remained in that
position until the company was thoroughly estab-
lished and in working order, he finding meanwhile
that his early experience in the antliracite district
availed him much in the new field. He then re-
signed the management of the company, though still
its consulting engineer, and removing to Pittsburgh,
accepted (in June, 1881) the office of general man-
ager of the Pittsburgh and Western Railroad, which
office he now holds, together with that of president
of the Pittsburgh Junction Railroad.

Mr. Hyndman is also largely interested in various
enterprises in and out of the State. Among these
may be mentioned that of the "Virginia Coal and Iron
Company and the Holston Steel and Iron Company,
having their centre of operations in Southwestern
Virginia, and in which Mr. Leisenring and others of
the Connellsville Coke and Iron Company are also
interested. The above-named Virginia Coal and
Iron Company possesses over 70,000 acres of coal and
iron lands, upon the development of which they have
already entered, having commenced the construction
of a railroad seventy miles in length in order to reach
their new fields from Bristol, Tenn. The coke to be
manufactured in this field will readily supply mar-
kets not accessible from the Connellsville coke region.

Feb. 25, 1873, Mr. Hyndman married at Phila-
delphia, Miss Gulielma A. Brown, daughter of the
late William Brown, Esq., of Bethlehem, Pa., and
Mrs. Susan I. Brown, his widow, who now resides
in Philadelphia. Mr. and Mrs. Hyndman have two




Among the many eminent business men and capi-
talists wliom the treasures of the Connellsville coal
basin have attracted from other regions, to make large ]
investments in mineral lands, mining, and the manu- j
facture of coke in Faj'ette County, one of the most
widely known and prominent is the president of
the Connellsville Coke and Iron Company, Hon. i
John Leiseu'ring, whose home is at Muuch Chunk,
Pa., but who is a native of Philadelphia. He was born
ill 1819, his paternal ancestors being of Saxon descent,
and his maternal ancestors Scotch. His great-grand-
father came to America and settled in Whitehall
township, Lehigh County, on the Lehigh River, in
A.D. 17G5, on a farm bought from the original proprie-
tors, while Indians still occupied that portion of the
State. This form still remains in the possession of his
descendants. At the time of John Leisenring's birth
his father was a morocco-dresser in Philadelphia,
which business he left to engage in the war of 1812.
lu 1828 he removed to Mauch Chunk, where the
family have since resided. John's education was di-
rected with especial reference to the profession of
civil engineer, which he entered at an early age, under
the direction of E. A. Douglas, principal engineer of
the L. C. & N. Co., then controlled by Josiah White
and Erskine Hazard, who were engaged in construct-
ing a slack-water navigation of the Lehigh River from
ilauch Chunk to White Haven, and also building a
railroad from White Haven to Wilkesbarre.

Jlr. Lcisenring, at the age of seventeen years, had
full charge of a division of the canal and railroad,
while George Law and Asa Packer were contractors
on the same division, and remained in charge until
its completion. After completing this work, the Mor-
ris Canal Company, who were then enlarging their
canal from Easton to Jersey City, through their chief
engineer, IMr. E. A. Douglas, secured his services as
ass'istant, and he was placed in charge of the division
between Dover, N. J., and Jersey City. He was also
red in locating and surveying the railroad now


known as tl
work he wa
II. M. N.-?l



idcre Delaware Railro;
ated with E. A. Dougl
-) now lives in Calilor,
this time 111' ciiL'aged in the coal business, then in its
iiif'aiirv, whiili he saw was to be the controlling busi-
ness of the region. He also built the Sharp Mountain
planes, on the property of the Lehigh Coal and Navi-
■ration Company, for conveying the coal which he and
others mined. From Ashton, Carbon Co., where he
had lived nine years, he removed in 1854 to Eckley,
Luzerne Co., where he opened the Council Ridge
niiiK's, whiidi are now operated by him, as well as
many otlur^ in the same locality, he being esjiecially
ideiitilii'd with the coal from Buck Mountain vein,
producing together in 1881 about one million tons.
He organized and is still president of the Upper Le-
hii'h Coal Company, known as one of the most suc-
cessful anthracite mining companies in the country.

On the death of E. A. Douglas he was chosen as his
successor in charge of the works of the Lehigh Coal
and Navigation Company, during which the naviga-
tion from White Haven down was almost totally de-
stroyed by the great freshet of June, 1862. The
works from Mauch Chunk to Easton were repaired
with wonderful rapidity, and Mr. Leisenring's energy
and eiBciency in their reconstruction were on all
hands commended. The navigation from Mauch
Chunk to White Haven was not restored, because in
the judgment of the subject of this article the de-
struction to life and property had been so great as to
be sufiicient ground for declining to incur the risk of
a repetition, and in order to retain the business he
suggested and recommended the building of a rail-
road between the same points.

After completing this work, which gave the com-
pany a line of railroad from Wilkesbarre to Mauch
Chunk, Mr. Leiseuring saw that to .secure the full
benefit of this road it would be necessary to have a
railroad from Mauch Chunk to Easton, to connect
with roads in New Jersey, so that the operations of
the company need not be suspended during the winter
months, but that business could go on continuously.
In carrying out this plan, which was promptly adopted,
the road was laid out and completed with steel rails,
which were the first importation of any consequence,
and the whole fifty miles are still in use and doing
good service, showing the forecast and sound judgment
of its promoter. The iron bridges crossing the two
rivers, Lehigh and Delaware, at Easton have been
considered a masterly piece of engineering, both in
their location and construction. In view of the large
business which he expected from the Wyoming region,
he designed and built the three inclined planes which
were used to raise the coal from the Wyoming Valley,
a height of about 1000 feet, divided in planes of about
a mile in length each. These planes are constructed
with a capacity to raise 2000 cars, or 10,000 to 12,000
tons, daily, at a cost of but little more than the mini-
mum cost per mile of transportation on a railroad of
ordinary grade, thus saving to the company over four-
filths of the cost of hauling the same coal in cars by
locomotives, as it would have required over thirteen
miles of railroad to overcome the same elevation.
These are thought to be the most effective planes in
the world.

Having brought to a successful issue all these plans
for the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company's canals
and roads, the increasing cares of his various enter-
! prises made it necessary for him to resign the active
charge of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company's
extended business ; and the company being loath to
lose his services, urged upon his acceptance the posi-
I tion of consulting engineer and member of the board
of managers, which latter position he still holds.
About this time there came a struggle among trans-
porting companies to secure control of coal lands, in
1 which, owing to his well-known familiarity with the


geological formations in the coal regions, Mr. Leisen-
ring was invited to join the Central Railroad Company
of New Jersey, of which he was elected a director,
and whose large terminal facilities were such as to
enable them to compete successfully for a large busi-
ness. A lease was secured by the Central Railroad
Company of New Jersey of the canal and roads of
the Leliigh Coal and Navigation Company, securing
thereby the tonnage of the mines owned by that com-
pany and others, including those of the Wilkesbarre
Coal and Iron Company. The mines of the latter
coni^any, together with other purchases, were merged
into the property of the company now known as the
Lehigh and Wilkesbarre Coal and Iron Company.
In gathering these properties the advice and counsel
of Mr. Leisenring was sought, and he, together with
Charles Parrish, .selected the lands, which are now
conceded to be as valuable as any, and to be the finest
body of connected coal land owned by any of the
corporations in the same neighborhood, and having
all of the best veins of coal in perfection.

Tiie near approach of the time when the anthra
cite coal-fields would be unable to supply the increas-
ing demands upon them, and the necessity of pro-
viding new avenues for business operations, led him
to the consideration of coke as a fuel for iron and
other manufactures. With this end in view an ex-
amination was made of several tracts, from which he
and his associates selected, the property which now
belongs to the Connellsville Coke and Iron Company.

The following extracts, taken from the first annual
report of the directors to the stockholders, dated Feb.
10, 18SI, will show the operations of the company to
that date. Their property covers about 8500 acres of
land, every foot of which contains the celebrated
Connellsville seam of coking coal :

•'The coiiipnny was duly orgiinized on the .3Ist of Jiimi.ary,
]8Sl). At a subsequent meeting of the stockholders, held March
IS, ISSO, the charter granted by the authorities of the State of
Pennsylvania, dated March 5, ISSII, was adopted and accepted
by the stockholders, together with a code of by-laws fur the
management and government of the company.

" Operations for the development of the property, by sicking
a shaft, building ovens, and erecting tenement-houses, were
CNinmenccd March 27, ISSO, and have been continued with but
slight interruption to the present time.

"The shaft has been sunk to the celebrated Connellsville
seam of coking coal, a distance of 375 feet from the surface.

"The vein was struck about the centre of the basin .and
found to be 9i feet thick and of an e.vcellent quality, surpnss-
ing in point of comparative frecncss from sulphur, in density,
in richness in carbon and smaller quantity of ash the [iroduets
of the surrounding propeities located upon the outcrops of the

" The fact of the shaft having been driven to the eoal in the
centre of the basin and to the greatest depth yet attained in
that coal-field, with the results aforesaid, has very much en-
hanced the value of the company's and surrounding property,
by the demonstrated fact that the deeper the coal is buried with
superincumbent strata the purer and better it is found.

•'A pair of hoisting-engines working direct (without inler-

mediate gearing), and capable of hoisting 1 jOO to 20OU tons of
coal per day, have been e:ected, put in operation, and work
admirably. They were furnished by the Dickson Manufacturing
Company, of Sernnton, Pa., a corporation well known for the
excellence of its work.

"The second opening, for ventilating purposes and for the
escape of the miners in case of accident to the main shaft, has
been corameneed. This opening is required by law, as well as
for the safe and economical working of the mines, and will be
prosecuted to an early completion.

"Additional houses for the accommodation of the workmen,
also coke-ovens, tracks, etc., necessary for the prosecution of
the business will be commenced early the coming spring.

"The present selling prices of coke at the ovens afford a
handsome profit to the producer, and the marketing of which
is limited only by the means of transportation, which it is re-
ported are entirely inadequate to do the business that oB'ers.
We arc informed, however, that the carrying companies are
arranging to greatly augment their rolling-stock.

" Within the last three or four months an entirely new mar-
ket has been found for coke by the introduction of machinery
for breaking, screening, and sizing it, to be used for domestic
purposes in competition with anthracite coal. It is believed it
will hereafter become a very important factor in the net profit
account of coke producers; doubtless the company will find it
to be to its interest, in- the near future, to combine with its
regular coke business this new industry.

"The branch railroad being constructed by the Pennsylvania
Railroad Company to conucjt our works with their main line
is progressing rapidly towards completion, and we are assured
that it will be connected with our tr.acks at the ovens by iho
1st of May, and by the 1st of June the company will probably
be able to ship coke from their mines in a muderale way.

"The board desire to congratulate the stoekholders on the
possession of so fine a projierty in Fayelte t'ounty ; doubtless


probably in the world. Its vali
nearly or quite double its origii
the prices at which coke lands 1
vicinity, and when the limitei
is considered, and the rapid
coke is taken into .account, y(
one of the best future payiii;;
"The Connellsville cokio-
long by an average of two an


amount olth.s kind of r

).any =
of thi,



sheet of
rolls over the anticlinals into the
side, losing at the same lime its
into a gas and steam coal, costing
to mine from seventy-five to eighty-five cents per ton, whilst
the Connellsville eoal is readily produced at a co^tfor mining of
only twenty-five to thirty cents per ton. Furthermore, the coal
produced outside of the Cnnnellsvillo basin requires (owing to
the large percentage of sulpliu- with which it is charged) to be

ing qu

crushed i

ibjccting it to the coking proces

aed in


taken di cctly I'roni the mine and dumped into the ovens, wiih-
out any desulphurizing process whatever. The cost of producing
Connellsville coke is therefore at least fifry cents per ton less
than that of the neighboring regions located as before stated.
These facts, together with the advantages before mentioned,
demonstrate the great value of the company's estate."


Shaft No. 1, located at " Leisenring," near the east-
ern end of tbe property, is now in operation, furnish-
ing coal 'for about 200 ovens. The construction of 200
additional ovens is now under way, and will be com-
pleted by June next, and 300 more will be added by
the close of this year.

Shaft No. 2, near the western line of the property,
has been sunk to the coal a distance of about 150 feet,
and houses and ovens are being built with the view of
a business of 1000 tons of coke daily. Locations have
been made for three additional plants, with a capacity
each of 1000 tons per day, making in all five plants,
with a total capacity of producing 5000 tons of coke
daily, 1700 acres of laud having been assigned to each

The following officers and board of directors are as
follows: John Leisenring, F. A. Potts, Samuel Dick-
son, John S. Wentz, E. B. Leisenring, M. S. Kem-
merer, Henry McCormick, Daniel Bertsch, John

Officers elected by the board of directors : Presi-
dent, Hon. John Leisenring ; Vice-President, E. B.
Leisenring; Superintendent and Engineer, J. K. Tag-
gart; Consulting Engineer, E. K. Hyndnian ; Sec-
retary and Treasurer, W. B. Whitney ; Chief Clerk,
John A. Esser.


Col. James M. Schoonmaker, though a native .ind
resident of Pittsburgh, has large business interests in
Fayette County, in the development of coal-mines
and the manufacture of coke, and is therefore more
practically identified with the welfare of the county
than are many of her own children.

Col. Schoonmaker is of New York " Knickerbocker"
stock, his paternal ancestors subsequent to 1660 having
been born in Ulster and Orange Counties, N. Y.
Hendrick Jochem, one of his paternal ancestors, came
to America from Holland in 1660 and settled in Ulster

James Schoonmaker, the father of Col. Schoon-
maker, removed from Ulster County to Pittsburgh in
1836, at the age of twenty-three years, and embarked
in the drug business. In 1841 he married Mary Stock-
ton, a daughter of Rev. Joseph Stockton, of Pittsburgh,
by whom he has had nine children, — five sons and four
daughters, — of whom James M. is the oldest. Both
parents, as well as all the children, are living.

James JL was born June 30, 1842, and was educated
in private .schools and in the public schools of Pitts-
burgh, and attended the Western University of that
city, which institution he left at the age of nineteen
years, and entered the volunteer army in the war of
the Rebellion, being attached as a private at first to
the Union Cavalry of Pittsburgli, which joined the
Army of the Potomac. With this force he served a

year, being meanwhile made a lieutenant of Company
A of the First Maryland Cavalry Regiment, to which
the Union Cavalry was attached. In August, 1862,
he was ordered from the front to return home and
take command of the Fourteenth Pennsylvania Cav-
alry, which was then recruiting in Pittsburgh, being
partly made up of three companies from Fayette
County, — Company B, under Capt. Zadoc Walker;
Company E, under Capt. Ashbel F. Duncan ; and
Company F, led by Capt. Calvin Springer (late
sheriff of Fayette County). M.any of the surviving
members of these companies are now living in Fay-
ette County.

In November, 1862, Col. Schoonmaker received his
commission as colonel, and took his regiment into
the field. At that time Col. Schoonmaker, being a
little less than twenty years atid five months of age,
was, it is believed, the youngest officer of his rank in
the Federal army. He commanded the regiment till
Jan. 1, 1864, when he was assigned to the command
of the First Brigade, First Cavalry Division of the
Army of the Shenandoah, and remained in that com-
mand till the end of the war, after which, with his
brigade, still in service, he was sent by the War De-
partment to guard the overland stage-route from the
Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains, serving in
that campaign till August, 1865, when the brigade
was mustered out of service at Fort Leavenworth,

During his military career Col. Schoonmaker was
constantly in the field, and participated in all the
battles of the Army of the Shenandoah, under Gen.
Sheridan, the campaigns of which were especially
severe. At one time his brigade was for forty-two
consecutive days and nights in the saddle, engaging
the enemy daily, and took part in the three decisive
battles of the Shenandoah Valley, which practically
ended the war by destroying the enemy's forces.

After the mustering out of his brigade at Fort
Leavenworth, Col. Schoonmaker returned home and
entered into business with his father, remaining with
him until some time in 1872, when he went into busi-
ness with his father-in-law, William H. Brown, in the
mining of coal and manufacture of coke.

In 1879, Mr. Brown having meanwhile died, and
his business being divided or assigned among the
members of his family. Col. Schoonmaker came into
possession of the Connellsville coke branch as his
interest in the partnership business, and has ever
since been exclusively engaged in prosecuting that.
A good portion of his works are located in Fayette
County, 463 coke-ovens being situated at Dawson's
Station, he being also chairman of the Redstone Coke
Company (Limited), which has 300 ovens near Union-
town, Col. Schoonmaker owning one-third of this
property. He also owns the Alice Mines, in West-
moreland County, comprising 200 ovens, and is chair-
man of the Morewood Coke Company (Limited), of the
same county, and running 470 ovens, of whicli prop-

-^-^1^ \7^,






rty lie is one-fourth owner. Col. Schoonmaker's
principal office is at 120 Water Street, Pittsburgh.

Feb. 22, 1872, Col. Schoonmaker married Miss
Alice W. Brown, daughter of William H. and Mary
Smith Brown, of Pittsburgh, and who died Oct. 7,
1881, leaving a son.


Abraliam O. Tiustman, now a resident of Turtle

Creek, Allegheny Co., Pa., resided in Fayette County

from 1859 to 1876, and there conducted enterprises

and aided in laying the foundations of important

I works which are in active operation, developing the

I wealth and forming an important part of the business

, of the county to-day.

I Mr. Tinstman is of German descent in both lines.
i His paternal great-grandfather was born in one of the
1 German States, and came to the United States, lo-
, eating in Bucks County, Pa., and from thence re-
\ moved to Westmoreland County, Pa., residing near
I Mount Pleasant, where he had his home until his

death ; he was a farmer by occupation. A. 0. Tinst- i
1 man's paternal grandfather was Jacob Tinstman, who
I was born in Bucks County, Pa., Jan. 13, 1773, and on
I Dec. 11, 1798, was married to Miss Anna Fox, of
! Westmoreland County, Pa., her birthplace having
I been Chester County, Pa., Aug. 8, 1779.
} Jacob Tinstman and Anna Tinstman had ten chil-
I dren, whose names were Mary, Henry, Adam, John,
' Jacob, Anna, Christian, David, Sarah, and Catharine.
I Jacob Tinstman was a farmer and a man of fine edu-
j cation.

i John, the father of A. O. Tinstman, was the fourth
child and third son, and was born Jan. 29, 1807, in
East Huntingdon township, Westmoreland Co., Pa.
He was brought up on the ftirm, and attended sub-
scription schools. He held important township of-
fices, was an excellent citizen, an energetic and pru-
dent man, and made a competence for himself and
family. He died at the age of seventy years.

A. 0. Tinstman's maternal grandfather was Abra-
ham Overholt, also of German descent, and who was
born in Bucks County, Pa., in 1774, and came to
I East Huntingdon township, Westmoreland Co., Pa.,
j about the year 1800, and settled on a farm on which
I the village of West Overton now stands. He married
I Miss Maria StaufFer, of Fayette County, Pa., and both
I being of frugal, industrious, and economical disposi-
I tions, accumulated property rapidly, lived together
! harmoniously, and left as monuments of skill and
; judgment in building and improvements some of
. the most substantial buildings of East Huntingdon
I township, having built the entire village of West
I Overton, including mill, distillery, etc.
I A. 0. Tinstman's mother's maiden name Anna
I Overholt, who was a daughter of the aforesaid Abra-

ham and Maria Overholt. She was a lady highly es-
teemed for her kindness and gentleness, traits of char-
acter for which her mother, Mrs. Abraham Over-
holt, was particularly distinguished. She was born
July 4, 1812, and was married to John Tiustman
about 1830, and died in the year 1860. The fruits of
their marriage were ten children, viz.: Maria, who
died at fifteen years of age ; Jacob O. ; Abraham 0. ;
Henry 0. ; Anna, widow of Rev. L. B. Leasure ; John
O., who died when a soldier in the army during the
Rebellion ; Elizabeth, who died at three years of age ;
Abigail, who died at nineteen years of age ; Emma,
wife of Dr. W. J. K. Kline, of Greensburg, Pa.; and

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 93 of 193)