Franklin Ellis.

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

. (page 94 of 193)
Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 94 of 193)
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Christian S. 0. Tinstman, who is now conducting
business in partnership with A. O. Tinstman, under
the firm-name of A. O. Tinstman & Co. Abraham O.
Tinstman was born Sept. 13, 1834, in East Hunting-
don township, Westmoreland Co., Pa., on the farm
upon which are now located the Emma Mine Coke-
Works. He received his education in the common
schools, attending them during the winter season
until about twenty years of age. and continued labor-
ing on the farm with his father until he became
twenty-five years old, when he went to Broad Ford,
Fayette Co., Pa., to take charge of his grandfather
Overholt's property at that place, the business con-
sisting of the manufacture of the celebrated Overholt
whisky, the cutting of timber by steam saw-mill into
car and other lumber, and the farming of the lands
connected with the Broad Ford property. He thus
continued to manage and do business for his grand-
father until 1804, when the two formed a partnership,
named A. Overholt & Co. He, however, continued to
conduct the business until the death of his grandfather,
A. Overholt, who died in 1870, in the eighty-sixth
year of his age.

During Mr. Tinstman's residence in the county and
his partnership with his grandfather he caused the
erection of the most important buildings in Broad
Ford, some of which are the large mill and distillery
now there, as well as many houses for the use of em-

In 1865 he and Joseph Rist bought about six hun-
dred acres of coking coal land adjoining the village
of Broad Ford. Mr. Tinstman thereafter (in 1868)
sold one-half of his interest in the same to Col. A. S.
M. Morgan, of Pittsburgh, Pa., and with him estab-
lished the firm of Morgan & Co., who put up one
hundred and eleven coke-ovens at the point now
known as Morgan Mines, on the line of the Mount
Pleasant and Broad Ford Railroad, and built one mile
of railway from Broad Ford to said mines, at which
place the first coke was manufactured along what is
now the Mount Pleasant and Broad Ford Railroad.
Morgan & Co. at this time held almost entire control
of the coke business of the Connellsville region.

In 1870, A. 0. Tinstman with others organized a
company, of which he was elected president, and built
the Mount Pleasant and Broad Ford Railroad, he



holding the office of president until the sale of said
road to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company in

About 1871, Mr. Tinstman purchased a portion of
Mr. Rist's interest in the six hundred acres of coal
land previously mentioned. Mr. Tintsman was at
this time very desirous of starting in business. Mr.
H. C. Frick was at this time keeping books for A.
Overholt & Co., and aspired for something more
than book-keeping, he having shown through his
indomitable energy, skill, and judgment that he was
not only capable of keeping "an accurate and beauti-
ful set of books, but that he was able to conduct
business, manage employes, etc. So Mr. Tinstman
and Rist associated Mr. Frick with them, under the
firm-name of Frick & Co., and Mr. Frick was made
manager of the association, both financially and
otherwise, and for his services was allowed a salary
by the company out of the profits arising fitjm the
manufacture and sale of coke in addition to his pro-
portion of the dividends as partner in the company.

This comp.any built at Broad Ford two hundred
coke-ovens. The first one hundred were built along
or facing the Mount Pleasant and Broad Ford Rail-
road, and were known as the Frick AVorks, or " Nov-
elty Works." The other hundred were built in blocks
along the Pittsburgh Division of the Baltimore and
Ohio Railroad, and facing the road and Youghiogheny
River, and were known as the Henry Clay Works.

In 1872, Col. Morgan and Mr. Tinstman (as Mor-
gan &Co.) bought about four hundred acres of coking
coal at Latrobe, Westmoreland Co., Pa., and there
built fifty ovens. About this period and on continu-
ously to 1876 (during the panic period) Mr. Tinstman
bouglit large tracts of coal lands on the line of the
Mount Pleasant and Broad Ford Railroad, comprising
nearly all the best coal lands in that region ; but the
pressure of the panic proved excessive for him, the coke
business, like everything else, becoming depressed,
and he failed, losing everything. But having great
confidence that the coke business would revive, and
foreseeing that it would be one of the earliest as well
as surest of manufiicturing interests to recuperate, he
bought in 1878 and 1880 on option a large extent of
coal land in the Connellsville region, and then sold
in 1880 about 3500 acres to E. K. Hyndman, who
about that period organized the Connellsville Coal
and Iron Company, at a good advance over cost price.

This sale enabled him again to take a new start in
the world as a business man. He then, in 1880,
established the firm of A. O. Tinstman & Co., and
opened an office on the corner of Seventh Avenue
and Smithfield Street, Pittsburgh, Pa., and soon after
bought a half-interest in the Rising Sun Coke- Works,
on the June Bug Branch of the Southwest Pennsyl-
vania Railroad. In 1881 he bought the Mount Brad-
dock Coke-Works, located on the Fayette County
Branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and
Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad; and in the same

year he bought the Pennsville Coke- Works, on the
Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad, embracing in all
about three hundred ovens, all of which lie still owns
and operates.

Thus we see again verified in Mr. Tinstman's life
that great truth, that those who " try again" earnestly
and energetically will succeed. He is to be congratu-
lated in his again being established in business, and
being so pleasantly situated and surrounded by home
and family relations, as it is well known that while
in the county he labored diligently for its welfare ;
and though he has not received the deserved abun-
dant recompense in a pecuniary manner, yet the
people of the county appreciate his labors, especially
those who have been benefited directly by the devel-
opment of the coal interests of the county, and of
whom there are not a few.

On July 1, 1875, Mr. Tinstman married Miss Har-
riet Cornelia Markle, younge-st daughter of Gen.
Cyrus P. Markle and Sarah Ann Markle (whose
maiden name was Sarah Ann Lippincott), of Mill
Grove, Westmoreland Co., Pa. He has one son, named
Cyrus Painter Markle Tinstman.


Mr. Frick, of the celebrated firm of H. C. Frick &
Co., manufacturers and dealers in coke, and a third
owner of the business of said company, which is con-
stituted of himself and Messrs. Edmund and Walton
Ferguson, of Pittsburgh, was born in West Overton,
Westmoreland Co., Pa., Dec. 19, 1849.

Mr. Frick first engaged in active business life on
any considerable scale in 1871, when he entered upon
the coke business at Broad Ford, in Fayette Co., Pa.,
and has continued to prosecute the same there and iu
that neighborhood to this time.

The business at Broad Ford was started with fifty
ovens, and has gradually increased till it comprises in
tliat district over one thousand ovens.

The firm also owns coke interests in other parts of
Fayette County and in Westmoreland County.


Edmund M. Ferguson, a gentleman who, though
now a resident of Shady Side, Pittsburgh, Pa., is
identified with the leading business interest of Fay-
ette County, was born in New York City in 1838,
and located in Fayette County in 1871, wherein, at
F'ergusoii Station, on the Fayette County Railroad,
near Dunbar, lie was engaged for three years in the
manufacture of coke. In the fall of 1874 he left the
county as a place of residence, but continued his
business therein, and settled in Pittsburgh.

In March, 1878, Mr. Ferguson entered into partner-

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ship with Henry Clay Frick, under the style of H. C.
Frick & Co., for the manufacture and sale of Con-
nellsville coke, their works being almost wholly situ-
ated in Fayette County. In this firm he continues in
active business.

In 1872 he married Miss Josephine E., daughter of
W. S. Mackintosh, of Pittsburgh, by whom he has
three children,— John M., William S., and Martha E.


■Walton Ferguson, of Shady Side, Pittsburgh, now
and for several years past largely interested in con-
nection with his brother, Edmund M., and Mr. H. C.
Frick in the coke business of Fayette County, was
born at Stamford, Conn., in 1842, and there resided
till the fall of 1879, when he moved to Pittsburgh and
entered as a partner the firm of H. C. Frick & Co.

In the year 1865 he became a member of the firm
of J. & S. Ferguson, of New York, in which he is
still interested.


Capt. John F. Dravo, the present custom-house
surveyor of the port of Pittsburgh, is largely identi-
fied with the business of Fayette County, particularly
in the coal and coke interests thereof, and began his
operations in the coke trade at Connellsville in 1868.

Mr. Dravo is of French extraction. His grand-
fiiither, Anthony Dravo, a native of France, settled in
Pittsburgh at an early day in the history of that city,
and resided there the remainder of his life. Mr.
Dravo was born in West Newton, Westmoreland Co.,
Pa., Oct. 29, 1819, but .spent most of his youthful
days about six miles from Elizabeth, Allegheny Co.
He was educated in the common schools, and at
Allegheny College, Meadville, where he remained
three years, and withdrew from the college on account
of ill health. From 1840 to 1880 he was engaged
continuously in the coal business, though meanwhile
connected with the coke trade, to which he now de-
votes his time almost exclusively. Mr. Dravo took
up his residence in Pittsburgh about 1836, and in
1840 removed to McKeesport, Allegheny Co., and
there entered into the coal business, and subsequently
built up Dravosburg, opposite that place. In 1868
he sold out his coal business, and, as noted above,
went into the coke trade in Connellsville. Mr. Dravo
has held many positions of trust in business and
official circles, having been director of the Allegheny
House eight years ; director and vice-president of the
Pennsylvania Reform School four years ; first vice-
president for several years of the Chamber of Com-
merce, of which he was one of the first members ;
director of the Tradesmen's National Bank and Peo-
ple's Insurance Company ; vice-president of the
Beaver Female College ; and general manager of the
Pittsburgh and Connellsville Gas-Coal and Coke

Company. He was appointed to his present position
as surveyor of the port of Pittsburgh May 23, 1881.
His long identification with coal interests in and
about Pittsburgh has made him a general favorite
among the river-men, while in the business commu-
nity no one stands higher than he in reputation for
integrity or for urbanity of manner.

Mr. Dravo is in politics an ardent Republican, of
anti-slavery or " abolition" antecedents, and has taken
active part in the campaigns of his party, having
been much upon the ''stump." He is a voluble and
forcible public speaker, and one of the most eff'ective
political debaters in the State. He was a delegate to
the Chicago Convention which nominated Abraham
Lincoln for President. Among party factions he is a
"peacemaker," a character which in Pennsylvania
politics is occasionally in very urgent demand.

Every town or borough has its distinctive " charac-
ters," among whom are men who seem to have been
born to be publicly useful, and who could not well
have gone into strictly private life if they had tried.
Aside I'rom their regular business they fill numerous
oflices, are known by everybody, consulted more or les-s
by everybody about everything, are alert, smart, found
apt at any business upon which they may be called
to enter, wide awake, — in short, univer.sally useful, ever
willing and competent. Of this class of men is David
Barnes, of Connellsville. His family has been iden-
tified with Fayette County for over eighty years. Mr.
Barnes is the grandson of Zephaniah Ellis Barnes,
who came to America from England and settled in
Woodstown, N. J., several generations ago. There,
in 1765, was born David Barnes (Sr.), father of our
David, and who came to Connellsville in 1801 and
built there (the first of its kind ever seen west of the
mountains), what was then known as a "go-back saw-
mill." He took great interest in the organization of
the borough, and was a member of its first Council.
He built the market-house which now stands on the
corner of Spring and Church Streets, and, under Gov-
ernor Simon Snyder, was appointed flour inspector for
the county of Fayette. During the war of 1812 he,
in company with Joseph McClurg, of Pittsburgh, ran
Mount Pleasant Furnace, where were made cannon,
cannon-balls, and grape-shot for the government.
After the war he was engaged in the iron business in
company with Isaac Meason and James Paull. He
was a man of excellent ability to plan and execute.
He died in 1832, and was buried in the Quaker grave-
yard in Connellsville. His wife was Sarah Proctor,
a native of Old Town, Md., and born in 1785. She
was a relative of the Ogles, Camerons, and Clintons
of that State, and came with her parents to Perry-
opolis, Fayette Co., in 1812. In 1818 she and David
Barnes were married. At his death she was left with


six children, one having previously died. Her whole
time and energy were devoted to rearing and edu-
cating her children, particularly in morals and re-
ligion. She never, when in health, let an evening
pass without assembling her young family and read-
ing to them a chapter from the Scriptures. Of course
she was particular to avoid such chapters as are not !
considered delicate and proper to be read by youthful I
and unformed minds. Her selections were always ju-
dicious. After the reading she always uttered a prayer
for the protection of her children, mingled with earn-
est hopes for their future usefulness. Her family con-
sisted of David, William, Hamilton, Joseph, Z. Ellis,
Emily, and Mary Bell. William was educated at Lew-
isburg University, and was ordained as a Baptist min-
ister at the First IJapti^t Church of Pittsburgh. He
visited the Holy Lnnd with the view of thereby the bet-
ter enabling hiiii-cll' to t'lillill the responsible duties of
his calling. He wished to see the places where Christ
preached, feeling that he might gather inspiration
therefrom. .Vt the breaking out of the late war he
was commissioned as chaplain of the Fifth New York
Volunteer Artillery, and served until the close of the
war. Hamilton has served a terra in the State Senate
from Somerset County. He is a fluent and impressive
speaker, and a leader in the Republican party. Joseph
became a carpenter, and, as a foreman of his depart-
ment, helped build the Union Pacific Railroad. Ellis
being a great lover of horses, has dealt extensively ir
them, and during the late war was quartermaster un-
der Gen. Samuel B. Hohibird. He resides at Connells-
ville, and carries on the livery and sale business
Emily died quite young. Mary Bell married Thomas
Evans, and is the mother of a large family, all indus-
trious and good citizens.

David Barnes was born in Perryopolis, Feb. 5,
1810, and attended the common schools, but regards
his mother as his only real teacher and only friend in
youth. At sixteen years of age he commenced teach-
ing school, and followed the business until (he hav-
ing meanwhile incurred the responsibilities of mar-
riage) his wages would not support him, when he
turned his attention to politics. In 1853 he was ap-
pointed a clerk in the State Department at Harris-
burg, where he remained some sixteen years. About
1869 he resigned his office at the capital and accepted
the position of paymaster of the Pittsburgh and Con-
nellsville Railroad, and thereafter resigned that to
accept position as book-keeper of the National Loco-
motive-Works at New Haven ; and on the completion j
of the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad, from Greens- i
burg to Connellsville, was appointed station agent at
the latter place, which position he still holds.

Mr. Barnes is a stanch Republican, and exerted
considerable influence during the late war. He was I
the true friend of the soldiers, helping and aiding
them wherever he could, visiting them in hospitals
and administering to their wants. Great numbers of |
tlicm made him their banker, and he judiciously in-

vested their funds for them, often profitably, refusing
all fees for his services ; and he still helps them in
their celebrations, especially to "fight their battles
o'er," he being a fluent and stirring speaker. Mr.
Barnes is charitable to a fault, but of great determi-
nation of character, and not lacking in fiery spirit
makes enemies ; but feeling that he is right he cares
not for foes, declaring that he would "rather have
one influential friend than the whole rabble of the
town" at his back.

Mr. Barnes was a popular officer at the State capi-
tal, was respected by all with whom he did business,
and in war times was the confidential and tru.sted
friend of Governor Curtin, rendering him special ser-
vices, at one time carrying messages from him to all
the Governors of the New England States. Mr. Barnes
has been somewhat of a traveler, having climbed to
the top of Mount Washington, in the White Moun-
tains, and visited the battle-fields around Richmond,
Va., and seen "considerable of the country besides."

In 1848, Mr. Barnes married Mary Jane Sherman,
a daughter of Samuel Sherman, of Connellsville, a
native of Connecticut, and related to the family of
Roger Sherman. Mr. and Mrs. Barnes have had nine
children, — four sons and five daughters. Two of the
daughters are dead. His eldest son, Andrew Stewart
Barnes, served during the late war as a soldier in the
Fifth Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery. After the war
he learned the machinist trade in the Baltimore and
Ohio Railroad shops. Thereafter he was appointed
postmaster at Connellsville, and afterwards route agent
between Washington City and Pittsburgh, which po-
sition he still holds. Mr. Barnes thinks that boys
should learn trades, and his son Samuel is a machinist,
and William a carpenter. Irwin, another son, quite
young, is devoted to music. Mary Elizabeth is mar-
ried, and lives in Cuba, N. Y. Jennie and Hally,
his other children, are very intelligent, and likely to
grow up to be excellent citizens.

Mr. Barnes lost the use of one of his legs when he
was but ten years old, and says that his misfortune was
"a godsend," as with his vitality and energy and
two good legs he "might have become a brigand !"
What is worse, he might have, and likely would have,
gone into the late war, and would probably have been
killed on the field. With the aid of his crutch he
moves about as lively as most men on two good legs,
and at the age of sixty-three is as active as ever, and
looks younger than most men at fifty. His " nerve"
will probably carry him on into extreme old age, and
keep him useful all the while.

John D. Frisbee, Esq., president of the First Na-
tional Bank of Connellsville, and the leading mer-
chant of that borough, is of New England stock on
his paternal side; in his maternal line Scotch-Irish.
His father, Samuel Frisbee, was born in Connecticut, J





and became a ship-builder, and in 1813 moved to
Pittsburgh, Pa., on the solicitation of Robert Fulton,
of steamboat fame, and was for a time in his employ.
He afterwards built a large number of boats, mostly
steam-packets, which ran on the Ohio and Mississippi
Rivers. About 1816 he married Miss Jane Davis,
then of Allegheny County, but a native of the north
of Ireland, and who came to America when about
thirteen years of age. They had nine children, of
whom Mr. Frisbee was the seventh, born Oct. 14,

Samuel Frisbee moved from Pittsburgh about 1838
to that part of the then Beaver County which is now
included in Lawrence County, near the town of New
Castle, and settled upon a farm, and remained there,
leading the life of a farmer, though diverting himself
meanwhile with more or less boat-building, until 1852,
when he removed to Davisville (a village named in
honor of the maternal grandfather of Mr. J. D. Fris-
bee) in Allegheny County, and then in his old age
rested from his labors, and died in 1854, at about
eighty-four years of age, his wife surviving him. She
remained at Davisville till about 1866, and moved to
Mahoningtown, Lawrence Co., where she resided until
her death in December, 1881, reaching upwards of
ninety years of age.

Mr. John D. Frisbee attended in youth the common
schools of Beaver and Lawrence Counties, and lived
at home assisting his fiither on the farm till about
1853, when, having caught the "California fever,"
he left home for the new Ophir, and sailing from
New York by the Nicarauga route duly arrived in San
Francisco, at a time when it was only a small though
intensely bustling city. Mr. Frisbee soon took up his
residence in Placer County, where he embarked in
merchandising, and uninterruptedly continued the
business with satisfactory results until 1856, and then,
leaving his business in the hands of others, returned lo
Davisville, Pa., his old home ; remained there till the
spring of 1857, and went back to California, and there
prosecuted his business till 1860. He then gave up his
residence in California and came back to Pennsylva-
nia, and in 1861 took up his abode in Connellsville,
where he has since resided, and where he at once en-
tered into partnership with \Vm. Cooper & Co., then
late of Pittsburgh, upon general merchandising, under
the firm-name of John D. Frisbee & Co., in the store
which he still occupies. This partnership continued
under the same firm-name till 1865, when Joseph John-
ston became a member of the firm, and the name was
changed to Frisbee, Johnston & Co., and so continued
till 1870, Mr. Johnston then retiring, and the firm-
name becoming Frisbee, Cooper & Co. This firm car-
ried on the business until 1880, when Messrs. Cooper
and the other members withdrew, leaving Mr. Frisbee
in exclusive ownership. The business of the house
under the several firm-names above noted has been
for several years larger than that of any other store
in Fayette County. Mr. Frisbee's business is con-

stantly increasing in importance. He aims to keep
in stock everything in the mercantile line that i«
demanded by the county.

Mr. Frisbee took active part in the organization of
the First National Bank of Connellsville, which was
opened for business April 17, 1876, and was elected
its first president, and has since been re-elected as
such at each of the successive annual meetings of
the bank's directors. The capital stock of the bank is

Aside from his special business, Mr. Frisbee has
interested himself more or less in forming, and par-
ticularly in the breeding of imported Jersey cattle,
which he raises upon his Cedar Grove farm, a mile
east of Connellsville, which form was in part formerly
the property of the late Mr. Hiram Herbert, the
grandfather of Mrs. Frisbee, and upon which he
erected a house, in which he resided for a long period.
In politics Mr. Frisbee is an old-time Democrat.
He enjoys a high reputation for business integrity,
and contributes liberally to the support of all such
public measures and such works of charity, etc., as
he regards with favor.

Dec. 22, 1863, Mr. Frisbee married Miss Catherine
L. Herbert, daughter of George W. Herbert, of Con-
nellsville, by whom he has five children,— Emma H.,
Jennie D., Herbert, Katie, and an infant son, at this
writing unnamed.

The medical profession, like every other profession
or vocation in life, comprises men of various mental
calibres, various degrees of natural adaptability and
acquired equipment for its pursuit. While every
practicing physician may justly, perhaps, be accorded
some special merit, however slight, some valuable
peculiarity which determined him in the choice of
his profession, the history of medical practitioners
as a craft goes to show that only now and then one
is possessed of that enthusiastic love of medical sci-
ence and that certain intellectual capacity to wisely
apply in practice what he has learned by study

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 94 of 193)