John W. (John Woolf) Jordan.

Genealogical and personal history of western Pennsylvania; (Volume 3) online

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15, 1814, married September 10, 1835, James L. Range; children: Sarah
B.; John P.; James B. ; Wilber P.; Joseph W. ; Robert M. ; Andrew L.;
Lucinda P. ; Emma J. ; George W. ; Nancy A. 5. James Wilson, born Sep-
tember 26, 1816, died September 24, 1891, married October 22, 1862, Maria
Wood, born March 15, 1834; children: Paul W. and Mary V. McKay.
6. John N., born February 25, 18 14, died August 4, 1820. 7. Alexander
B., born June 16, 1821, died June 10, 1823. 8. Mary M., born May 5, 1824,
died June 9, 1910, married Hiram Oliver, deceased. They lived to celebrate
their sixty-seventh wedding anniversary ; children : James ; Albert ; Robert ;
Frank and Mark, twins; Ray and Lena. 9. Joseph Long, born February 15,
1827, of further mention. 10. John McKay, born February 29, 1833, died
September 18, 1846.

(Ill) Joseph Long, son of John and Sarah (Blair) McKay, was born
in the log house on the old homestead, one mile south of Fort Le Boeuf,
(Waterford), February 15, 1827, and there spent his boyhood days. His
education was obtained by first attending the little "red school house,"
better known to the pupils as "Frog College," presided over by Samuel Mc-
Gill, perhaps better remembered as "Paddy McGill." He completed his
studies in the public school of Waterford, as taught in one room of the
Waterford Academy. In early life he had thought much of following the
trade of saddler and harnessmaker and at the age of eighteen years he
left the parental home and went to Buffalo, New York, for the purpose of
finding a place to learn that trade, but being unsuccessful he went to Cleve-
land, Ohio, meeting with the same fate there. His funds running low, he
found a temporary job loading staves on a boat at the Cleveland docks and
as soon as he saved sufficient funds returned home. This adventure ratJier
dampened his ardor, and acting upon the advice of his mother, to remain
near home, he made a bargain with the firm of Marvin Judson, gen-
eral merchants, to enter their employ, learn the business, and for the first
year's services to receive as wages his board and clothes. After a term
of seven and a half years in the employ of the above firm, the young man
decided to go into business for himself, and after tendering his resignation.



I508 WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA

he went to New York City, and on the I2th day of December, 1853, he
purchased his first invoice of dry goods of Hastings & Forby. The
original bill for this invoice Mr. McKay yet preserves as a souvenir of
his early business life. He first opened a store on the corner of High
street and West Park, Waterford, where the furniture store of Charles
Phelps now stands, later he moved to the present site of the Frank Phelps
store and subsequently to the building now occupied as the post office. He
admitted James Wilson McKay, as partner, this association continuing four
years. He afterwards associated in business with James Lytle for about
six years, then sold out to Lytle Brothers. He then was associated with
E. B. Sleeper, in the manufacturing of "Sleeper's Compound Liniment,"
for a short time, when he purchased Mr. Sleeper's interest, but later closed
out his business to Mr. McNeal. He next returned to his old business,
opened a dry goods store in the Phelps Block, and in 1888 admitted his
son, William, as partner, trading as J. L. McKay & Son. In 1872, Mr.
McKay purchased the Amos Judson brick block, corner of First and High
streets, remodeled it, put in the first plate glass front in Waterford, and
added a third story, which is known as "McKay Hall." The brick block
on High street, in which the firm conducts their general dry goods busi-
ness, was built by the firm in 1895. The residence of Mr. McKay, senior,
located on Walnut street, southwest corner of Park, built in 1855, has ever
since been the family home. All through his business career he has dealt
occasionally in real estate, has bought and sold several farms, and in addi-
tion to store and residence, owns considerable property in Waterford. He
is now eighty-eight years of age, regularly attends to his business and yet
enjoys a day's fishing on the lake. He is young in spirit and is familiarly
known to every man, woman and child in Waterford as "Uncle Joe." After
a business life of sixty years in the town, he is not only the "veteran mer-
chant" and the best known there, but is first in public esteem, his dealings
having always been characterized by fairness, his life honorable and iiis
daily walk above reproach. He has not been so absorbed in business that
he has not attended to his obligations as a citizen, but has joined heartily
in all movements for the public good and has borne his full share of official
responsibility. He has served many times as a member of the borough
council ; two terms as chief burgess ; twenty-five years was trustee of Water-
ford Academy; was one of the incorporators of the Waterford Cemetery
Association; was a member of the board of directors at the time the re-
ceiving vault was built and superintended its erection ; was one of the charter
members of Clemment Lodge, No. loi. Independent Order of Odd Fel-
lows, and officer of the Ancient Order of United Workmen and a vestry-
man of Saint Peter's Protestant Episcopal Church. He was a Whig in
politics, later a Republican and so far back does his useful life extend that
his first presidential vote was cast for General Zachary Taylor, in 1848.
This record of a busy, useful life, not yet ended, shows that work does
not wear out a man's vitality if strength is properly conserved. A worker
from youth and often in circumstance of deepest concern, his light heart.



WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA 1509

quick, active brain and stout heart have carried him through, and to-day
he is the physical superior of men twenty years his junior. Surrounded
by the comforts of life, with a prosperous business and a wealth of friends,
"Uncle Joe," thankful for the blessings of the past, looks forward to the
future confidently and without fear.

Mr. McKay married (first) August 29, 1854, Cornelia E. Parmalee,
born at Hotchkissville, Connecticut, December 10, 1829, died in Waterford,
Pennsylvania, April 6, 1895, daughter of Timothy Judson and Mahala
(Stone) Parmalee; children: i. Charles, died young. 2. William, born
December 29, 1864, of further mention. 3. A child, died in infancy. He
married (second) in 1896, Mary McLean.

(IV) William McKay, son of Joseph Long and Cornelia (Parmalee)
McKay, was born in Waterford, Erie county, Pennsylvania, December 29,
1864, the only child of his parents to survive childhood. He was educated
in Waterford public school, and completed his studies in Waterford
Academy, whence he was graduated class of 1883, afterwards taking a
course in Clark's Business College at Erie, Pennsylvania. In 1884 he went
to Wichita, Kansas, where for one and a half years he was in the employ
of the Oliver Brothers Lumber Company. In the fall of 1885 he returned
to Waterford, and April i, 1886, began mercantile life as a clerk in his
father's dry goods store. In 1888 he was admitted a partner, under the
firm name of J. L. McKay & Son. The firm is the largest of any kind
in Waterford, and the senior partner, J. L. McKay, is the only man living
among the merchants who were in business when ihe opened his store in
1853. The house is modern and progressive, well stocked and prosperous.
W'illiam McKay, in addition to being a part owner of the brick store in
which the business is conducted, has purchased the old John Phillips prop-
erty on the site of the old French Fort, and remodeled the residence in
accordance with modern requirements. The old spring on the property,
which furnished cooling refreshment for the soldiers, both French and
American, is yet a source of supply and carefully preserved. The property
known as the "Garrison Lot" is the original site of the old French Fort
built in 1753. Mr. McKay, one of Waterford's most esteemed citizens, was
elected burgess in 1890, served one term, was again elected in 1909, his term
expiring in 191 3. He has also served on the board of education and as
borough treasurer. Politically he is a Republican, a member of the Pres-
byterian church of Waterford ; Lodge No. 974, Independent Order of Odd
Fellows. He married, October 4, 1888, at Waterford, Pennsylvania, Lena
May, daughter of Timothy M. and Mary E. (Middleton) Judson; chil-
dren: I. Joseph Harold, born in Waterford, June 26, 1891. 2. Charles
Judson, born in Waterford, June 13, 1895.

Lyman Parmalee, grandfather of Cornelia E. (Parmalee) McKay, was
born in Killingworth, Connecticut, in 1780, died in Waterford, Pennsyl-
vania, March 17, 1854. He married, March i, 1800, Sarah, she born in
Woodbury. Connecticut, 1780, died at Waterford, October 4, 1864: chil-
dren: I. Timothy Judson, born March 7, 1801. 2. Erza A., March 2, 1803.



I5IO WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA

3. Revillo W., July 20, 1805. 4. William R., July 20, 1805 ; twins. 5.
Charles R., January 2, 1807. 6. Elizabeth L., July 28, 1813. 7. Mary A.,
September 16, 1816. 8. Mary A., June 29, 1819. 9. Sarah M., September
20, 1825.

Timothy Judson, eldest son of Lyman and Sarah (Judson) Parmalee,
was born in Bethlehem, Connecticut, March 7, 1801, died there August 5,
1845, married Mahala Stone; children: i. and 2. Cornelius C, born De-
cember 10, 1829; Cornelia E. (twin of Cornelius C). 3. Fidelia M., born
August 29, 183 1.

Cornelia E., daughter of Timothy J. and Mahala (Stone) Parmalee,
was born December 10, 1829, died in Waterford, Pennsylvania, April 16,
1895, she married, August 29, 1854, Joseph Long McKay, of previous
mention.



Dating from the early days of English settlement in Massachu-
SKIFF setts, this branch of the family left Martha's Vineyard, the
family seat for several generations, settling in Chautauqua
county. New York, during the lifetime of James Skifif of the sixth American
generation. From Chautauqua county came Ira, son of James Skiff, settling
in Erie county, Pennsylvania, residing at Edinboro and Waterford and gain-
ing fame by his skill in forging metal. The business he founded has been
perpetuated and is still carried on by his son, George B. Skiff, in Waterford.
The American ancestor, James Skiff, a Welshman, is found in the
records of Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1630, nothing being known of him prior
to that date. The record of the general court, 1630, has this entry concerning
James Skiff: "Resolved that a summons be sent James Skiff to answer
to things as shall be objected against him in regard to traducing the law about
refusing to take the oath of fidelity." He moved to Sandwich, Massachu-
setts, in 1637, and is entered among the first eleven members of the Sand-
wich Church. In 1659 James Skiff, town deputy, elected from Sandwich.
was rejected by the general court, on account of his "toleration of Quakers."
He was often called upon to perform responsible public duty and was one
of the strong men of his town. He married Mary Reeve (family record),
who died September 26, 1673. James Skiff died in Sandwich after 1688;
children : James, Stephen, Nathaniel, Samuel, Bathsheba, Mary, Miriam,
Patience, Benjamin. Nathan, of whom further; Elizabeth.

(II) Natlian, youngest son of James and Mary Skiff, was born in
Sandwich, Massachusetts, May 16, 1658, died February 9, 1726. He mar-
ried (first) July I. 1680, Hepsibah, daughter of Robert Codman, of Edgar-
town, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. He married (second) December
13, 1699, Mercy, daughter of John Chipman, of Barnstable, Massachusetts,
a granddaughter of Governor Carver, "the Pilgrim :" children of first mar-
riage: Hepsibah, Patience, James, Elizabetli, Benjamin, Stephen, Mary,
Sarah. Children of second marriage: Mercy, Samuel, John and Joseph.

(III) James (2), son of Nathan Skiff and his first wife, Hepsibah Cod-
man, was bom March 10, 1689, died June 6, 1724. He married Lydia Smith,
who died November 8, 1748: children: Stephen and James.



WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA 1511

(IV) James (3), son of James (2) and Lydia (Smith) Skiff, was born
at Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, July 5, 1722, died about 1815. He
married Ann Stewart, who bore him several daughters and sons: James
(2), Prince, of whom further; Obadiah and Valentine. These four sons
all enlisted in the Revolutionary army and all are recorded as having ren-
dered valuable service.

(V) Prince, son of James (3) and Ann (Stewart) Skiff, was born at
Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, according to records on file at Wash-
ington, D. C, January 7, 1746, died at Madison, New York, July 5, 1834.
His military service began with his enlistment in 1776 at Martha's Vine-
yard in Captain Benjamin Smith's company. In 1777 he moved to Williams-
burg, Massachusetts, where in June of the same year he enlisted in Captain
Samuel Fairfield's company, holding the rank of corporal. He served in the
two decisive battles, Bennington and Saratoga, and in various campaigns
with the Northern army. After the war he moved to Cambridge, New York,
later to Madison, New York, where he died. He married and had sons :
William, Charles, James (4).

(VI) James (4}, son of Prince Skiff, the Revolutionary soldier, was
born (according to the record preserved in the family Bible), at Martha's
Vineyard, March 31, 1792. He was a farmer of Arkwright, Chautauqua
county, New York. His wife, Lovina, born February 3, 1791, bore him
eight children: William, born September 14, 1812; Lovina, January 4, 1816,
married Lathrop Woods and had issue : Jutson, Watson, Edson, Jason and
Lawson; Louisa, born February 2, 1818; Rachel Ann, January 22, 1821 ;
James P., March 6, 1823; Charles, April 5, 1826; Electa, June i, 1827; Ira.

(VII) Ira, youngest child of James (4) and Lovina Skiff, was born
in Arkwright, Chautauqua county, New York, May 17, 1831, died at Water-
ford, Pennsylvania, May 14, 1892. With Ira Skiff begins the Pennsyl-
vania history of this branch of the family. He was educated in the district
public school and in early life worked with his father on the Chautauqua
county farm. Later he learned the blacksmith's trade and became famed
locally as a smith. There was no trick of forge and anvil he could not
perform ; his skill in working metal w-as marvelous, the work turned out with
hammer and anvil equaling in finish the best forging and surpassing them
in quality. He did a great deal of carriage iron work, forging his own parts
and turning out beautifully finished work. He opened a shop first in Edin-
boro, Pennsylvania, went to Waterford, returning to Edinboro. again
locating in Waterford where his after life was passed, his shop being located
on Second street. He was well known to all, his skill at forge and anvil
attracting a large trade while his kindly heart and genial disposition won
him even a larger circle of friends. Politically he was a Republican and
was identified, with his family, with the Presbyterian church. He was a
good man, and gave his children all tlie advantages of a good education.
He was buried in the family plot in Waterford Cemetery the Sunday fol-
lowing his death. Rev. Marcus Wishart preaching the funeral discourse.

He married at Edinboro, Pennsylvania, in 1859, Salome \'an Dyke,



I5I2 WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA

born 1832, on a farm two miles west of Edinboro, died August 14, 1899,
daughter of David Van Dyke. She was a woman of superior inteUigence
and was highly esteemed for her many womanly virtues. She is buried be-
side her husband; children: i. Emma L., born February 8, 1861, died
August 29, 1865. 2. Getta A., born June 16, 1863, died September 6, 1865.
3. Henry Elmer, born in Waterford, February 4, 1866, and educated in the
public school. He learned the printer's trade on the Waterford paper and
has since been employed on many of the newspapers of Western Pennsyl-
vania, now living in Washington, Pennsylvania ; he married Maud Matthews,
and has a daughter, Mildred, born June 3, 1895. 4. George Bertie, of whom
further. 5. Eva, born in Waterford, October 22, 1876, died March 13, 1909,
she married F. Free Moore, of an old Erie county family, and left a son,
Forrest, born in Waterford, in 1889.

(Vni) George Bertie, youngest son of Ira and Salome (Van Dyke)
Skifif, was born in Waterford, Erie county, Pennsylvania, September 7,
1872. He was educated in the public schools and early in life began work-
ing with his father at blacksmithing. He completed his years of apprentice-
ship, profiting by the skill of his preceptor and from him learning many valu-
able formulas and secrets connected with the forging and working of metals.
He also spent two and a half years in the employ of Scott Alden and in
1895 purchased the shop of the latter, located on Second street, where he is
yet in business, enjoying a good patronage and ranking among the influential
men of his town. He is a devotee of out-door sports, particularly with gun
and rod, and exhibits at his home many pictured trophies of his prowess,
including a giant muscallonge weighing, when removed from the hook,
forty- four pounds, two ounces. He is a member of Park Presbyterian
Church; Waterford Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and in
political faith is a Republican. Both he and his wife are active workers in
the Sunday school connected with their church.

Mr. Skifif married at Waterford, December 22, 1904, Rev. Marcus
Wishart officiating, Grace, born in Waterford, August 23, 1889, daughter
of James and Nancy (Williams) Sutley; cliild : Albert Alton, born in
Waterford, October 7, 1905.



Erie county, Pennsylvania, is the locality that contains all
COOVER the past history of the Coover family in Pennsylvania, the

records of this line beginning with George W., born in Green
township, Erie county, March 17, 1823, died there February 22, 1913, in the
ninetieth year of his life. He married and was the father of several chil-
dren, among whom was Jesse, of whom further.

(II) Jesse, son of George W. Coover, was born in Green township,
Erie county, Pennsylvania, March 4, 1847. When he was two years of
age his parents moved from Green to Waterford township, and in the
schools of the latter he obtained his education, from the time of the com-
pletion of his school course until he was eighteen years of age assisting his
father on the home farm. As soon as he attained an age that made him



WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA 1513

eligible for service he hastened to enlist in the Union army then engaged
in the War of the Rebellion, which had been raging for four long and tragic
years, the darkest that had ever fallen upon the fair union of the states.
The nearest recruiting point was Ridgway, and thidier he hastened when
the burden of his eighteenth year had been but laid upon his shoulders, being
enrolled on April 5, 1864, in Company A, One Hundred and Second Regi-
ment Pennsylvania Volunteers, which was ordered to Danville, Kentucky;
Washington, District of Columbia, and subsequently to Pittsburgh, Penn-
sylvania, never being actively engaged. His term of enlistment had been
for one year, but the close of the war brought him his honorable discharge
in July, 1864. He then returned to his home and for two years worked
on the home farm, then going to Wattsburg, Pennsylvania, where for about
three years he received instruction in the harnessmaker's trade from R. O.
Cushan. Becoming master of this occupation, he moved to Waterford, and
for about four years was employed in the shoe factory of A. D. Johnson,
in 1873 establishing in the harnessmaking business in that town. For thirty-
seven years his was the chief harnessmaking shop in that locality, the work
of that nature from the whole neighborhood finding its way to his bench.
In 1910, after such a long and honorable record of active and continuous
service, he retired in favor of his son, George W., and has since lived re-
tired. He is widely known throughout the region and universally liked,
those who have had business dealings with him being impressed by the
straightforward frankness and honesty that have marked his entire career,
and his social friends attracted by his genial wit and cordial manner.
He is a member of the Waterford Post, Grand Army of the Republic. He
married, April 20, 1876, Amanda Underwood, born, in Little Wash-
ington, Pennsylvania, February 12, 1850, daughter of George W. Under-
wood. Children of Jesse and Amanda Coover: i. Blanche May,
born June 16, 1879, married George C. Young, and lives in Waterford
township, Erie, Pennsylvania, on the old Young homestead. They are the
parents of Howard Jesse and Orville. 2. George W., of whom further.

(HI) George W., only son of Jesse and Amanda (Underwood) Coover,
was born in Waterford, Erie county, Pennsylvania, December 20, 1880.
He attended the public schools of his birthplace, completing his education
in the Waterford Academy. His first occupation was in the cheese factory
of George Wells, where he served a three years' apprenticeship, then enter-
ing the employ of Noah Jewett, who conducted a factory on the Plank
road, known locally as "The Forest Home." This he operated on a com-
mission basis for a time, then establishing as a contractor in cement work in
Waterford, remaining in that business for about two years, in the course of
that time laying many pavements in the town and performing other jobs
where cement work could be used to advantage, as for curbs and cellar
floors. On October i, T910, he purchased his father's harness store in
Waterford, having been previously instructed by his parent in that trade,
and has since conducted the business. That he was the son of Jesse Coover
was first sufficient to retain all of his father's old customers, and as he has



ISI4 WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA

demonstrated that the quality of work leaving the store is of the same
high grade as that done for the past four decades, new business has been
attracted and his undertaking has been branded with the mark of success.
Mr. Coover is a Democrat in politics, gladly assisting in the promotion of all
projects for civil improvement with public-spirited vigor. He is a member
of the Waterford Lodges of tlie Knights of the Maccabees and the Inde-
pendent Order of Odd Fellows, being a past officer of both bodies.

He married, in Waterford, Pennsylvania, Maysie McLean, born in Le
Boeuf township, Erie county, Pennsylvania, November 22, 1882, daughter
of Ansel P., deceased, and Mary (Stafford) McLean, the latter the second
wife of Joseph L. McKay (q. v.) Children of George W. and Maysie (Mc-
Lean) Coover: i. Thelma, born October 15, 1903. 2. Josephine, born May
30, 1908. 3. Melvin, born November 30, 1912.



James Moore was born at Ballyavelin, county Londonderry,
MOORE Ireland, in the year 1767. Few records of vital statistics were
kept at that time in Ireland, and what few are extant are but
fragmentary, so it is utterly impossible to ascertain with any degree of cer-
tainty the names of his father and mother, or those of any of his more
remote ancestors. It is reasonably certain, however, that the male line was
of Scottish descent and were among the troops of Cromwell, who took pos-
session of Ireland in the seventeenth century, and, after reducing the island
to subjection, were rewarded by grants of Irish land and, instead of re-
turning to their homes in Scotland, looked with favor upon the fertile
valleys and green slopes of Ireland and colonized the northern portion, which
has ever since held to the tenets of the Protestant (Presbyterian) faith.

He was the youngest of four sons and it fell to his lot to take care
of and provide for his parents, which duty he performed faithfully and
well. His brothers had emigrated to America while he was quite young,
leaving the responsibility of caring for his aged parents resting entirely
upon him. They are buried in the old cemetery of Drumachose parish,
about a mile from the town of Limavady, formerly Newton-Limavady. Their
graves cannot now be identified owing to the fact that in those days it was
only the grand families who could afford monuments and headstones suit-
ably inscribed. The graves of those of humbler origin being'entirely un-
marked, or at best marked by a plain stone or a rough piece of rock.

James Moore married, in the latter part of 1801, Elizabeth Canning,
born in 1778, died November 12, 1843. She was the second of three sisters
вАФ Martha, the eldest, having married James Steele, and Nancy, the youngest,
married James Smith, and emigrated to America, where they settled in
Wayne township, Erie county, Pennsylvania.

James Moore, as his father had been for many years, continued a
tenant of Lord Waterford, whose estates comprised nearly the entire coun-
tryside of Ballyavelin. The farm consisted of forty-two acres, for which



Online LibraryJohn W. (John Woolf) JordanGenealogical and personal history of western Pennsylvania; (Volume 3) → online text (page 55 of 92)