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Genealogical and personal history of Fayette county, Pennsylvania (Volume 2) online

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in other enterprises of importance. He is a
Democrat in politics and has served Con-
nellsville as city auditor. He is a member
of the Church of the Immaculate Concep-
tion, the Catholic Mutual Benefit Asso-
ciation, the Knights of Columbus and the
Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
He married, June 19, 1909, Mary E. Reyn-
olds, born in West Virginia, January 15,
1878, daughter of John F. Reynolds, a re-
tired foreman of the Baltimore & Ohio rail-
road shops at Connellsville. Children :
Mary Caroline, born April 19, 1901 ; Vin-
cent Joseph, October 2, 1903 ; Margaret,
August 20, 1906; Elizabeth, December 4,
1908; John R., May 2"], 191 1. The family
home since 1908 has been at No. 214 East
Fairview avenue, Connellsville.



(II) Peter Soisson, son of
SOISSON Joseph Soisson (q. v.), was
born in Alsace-Lorraine,
France, (now Germany) in the town of
Walscheid, August 20, 1830, died May 30,
1896, at Connellsville, Pennsylvania. He
grew to manhood in his native province,
where he was educated and became profi-
cient in both the French and German lan-
guages. In 185 1 he came to the United
States, settling near Hollidaysburg, Blair
county, Pennsylvania, where his brother
Joseph had preceded him and was engaged
in brick manufacturing. He entered the
employ of Hughes & Roderick, later Hughes
& Soisson. He continued with the latter
firm until 1862, then moved to Gibson, Fay-
ette county, Pennsylvania (now South Con-
nellsville), where he began business for
himself as a brick manufacturer; his brother
Joseph having located at Miltenberg near-
by, in the same business. In a few years
Peter Soisson gave up brick manufacturing
and engaged in the butcher business for
John Hetzel, of Connellsville. Soon after-



FAYETTE COUNTY



513



ward he secured a controlling interest in the
old Snyder Brewery, then located where the
Connellsville Distillery now stands. He
operated the brewery until it wag destroyed
by fire, then leased and for five years op-
erated the old Calhoun Flouring Mills at
New Haven (Connellsville, West Side.) He
then formed a partnership with William
Cope, of Uniontown, and for several years
they successfully conducted a general live
stock, wholesale and retail meat business.
Mr. Soisson devoted his energies to the buy-
ing of stock and the wholesale department,
Mr. Cope to the retailing. After a few years
the firm dissolved, Mr. Soisson forming a
partnership with Rockwell Marietta and J.
D. Madigan and operated the Connellsville
Brewery (now owned by the Pittsburgh
Brewing Company), continuing until his
final retirement. He was a member of the
Church of the Immaculate Conception
(Roman Catholic), a public-spirited citi-
zen, active and helpful in advancing the
business interests of Connellsville. He was
a Democrat in politics, but never accepted
public office.

He married Louisa Houck, born at Gal-
litzin, Cambria county, Pennsylvania, Oc-
tober 23, 1840, daughter of Joseph Houck,
born in Lebanon, Lebanon county, Pennsyl-
vania, in 1813, a shoemaker by trade. He
married, in 1840, Katherine Buser or Basier,
born in 1822, in the Kingdom of Bavaria,
Germany, daughter of Peter and Barbara
Buser or Basier, who came to the United
States in 1832, settling at Johnstown, Penn-
sylvania. Peter Buser or Basier, born on
the banks of the Rhine, was for twenty
years a soldier of France, serving under
the great Napoleon and was with him
at Moscow, sufifering all the horrors of
the famous "retreat," reaching France in
safety. Later he served in Spain, was
made prisoner, but escaped, and on foot
traversed the long distance to his home,
swimming the rivers, arriving footsore
and tattered. Joseph and Catherine Houck,
after their marriage, moved from Johns-
town to an unsettled portion of Cam-
bria, and lived on a farm near Nicktown.
Later they moved to Gallitzin, Pennsyl-
vania, then returned to the farm at Nick-
town, and in 1888 located in Connellsville,



Pennsylvania, where Joseph Houck died in
1899, aged eighty-six years. The Houcks
were all German Lutherans, in the early
family, but Joseph after his marriage be-
came a Roman Catholic, which is the family
religion in his branch. His wife died in
Connellsville, June 28, 1901. His only
brother, David Houck, went west, and never
was again heard from. He had no sisters.
He was a son of George Houck, born in
Lebanon, Pennsylvania, also a shoemaker.
He married Elizabeth Patterson, born in
England, June 8, 1784, coming to the United
States when a child. He died January 30,
1856, aged seventy-two years, two months
and six days. His wife Elizabeth died Au-
gust 28, 1863. They were very strict mem-
bers of the German Lutheran church.
George Houck was a son of David Houck,
who emigrated to this country from Ger-
many in early days and was one of the early
settlers of Lebanon county, Pennsylvania.
Joseph and Katherine (Buser or Basier)
Houck had issue : Louisa, of previous men-
tion, wife of Peter Soisson ; Barbara, died
aged twenty years ; Helena, married James
McConnell, of Tififin, Ohio ; Isadore, died in
infancy; John, a farmer of Moyer, Pennsyl-
vania, married (first) Mary Crook, (second)
Mrs. Julia Hogg; George, married Rachel
Wills and resides on his farm near Nick-
town, Cambria county, Pennsylvania; Mar-
garet, married Sylvester Burse, a farmer of
Nicktown ; Mary, married Osborne Mc-
Keen, of Grundy Centre, Iowa ; Jane, mar-
ried Henry Arble, of Du Bois, Pennsyl-
vania ; Peter, a carpenter of Braddock, Penn-
sylvania, married Mary Marshall ; Joseph,
married Catherine Giesler, of Hastings,
Pennsylvania. Children of Peter and
Louisa (Houck) Soisson: i. Catherine Syl-
vester, born April 26, i860; married Michael
W^eidinger, of Connellsville, Pennsylvania.
2. Mary Martin, born May 24, 1864; married
George Werner, of Derry, Pennsylvania. 3.
William Henry, of whom further. 4. Ida,
born August 25, 1870 ; married Daniel Mil-
helm and resides at Fairbanks, Pennsyl-
vania. 5. Augustin D., of whom further.
6. Gertrude, born May 10, 1874; resides at
home in Connellsville. 7. Theresa, bom
May 9, 1877; married James Gibson and
resides in Los Angeles, California.



514



PENNSYLVANIA



(III) Augustin D., son of Peter Soisson,
was born in Connellsville, Pennsylvania,
December 15, 1872. He was graduated
from the Connellsville high school, class of
1890, and at once began his business .x:are£r
as his father's assistant at the brewery, con-
tinuing until the death of the latter in 1896.
He then became superintendent of the
branch brewery at Uniontown, Pennsyl-
vania, remaining there two years, then re-
turning to Connellsville. In 1909 he be-
came proprietor of the Royal Hotel at Con-
nellsville and so continues in successful op-
eration. His hotel is well patronized and
bears a high reputation for excellence. He
is a director of the Title and Trust Com-
pany of Connellsville, director of the Con-
nellsville Manufacturing Mine and Supply
Company and a stockholder of the Colonial
National Bank. He is a Democrat in poli-
tics, served as a member of the city council
and was chief burgess 1905-06-07, being the
first Democrat to be elected to that office
in the eighteen years preceding 1905 ; also
the first burgess of the consolidated bor-
oughs of Connellsville and New Haven, and
signed the act of consolidation making Con-
nellsville a city of the third class. He is a
member of the Benevolent and Protective
Order of Elks, the Heptasophs, Eagles ad
Royal Arcanum.

He married, February 10, 1902, Mary C,
born in Connellsville, daughter of Rock-
well Marietta. Children : Marietta Demet-
rius, born April 2t„ 1904 ; Emma Louise,
August 2y, 1906.



(Ill) William Henry Sois-
SOISSON son, son of Peter (q. v.) and

Louisa (Houck) Soisson,
was born in Blair county, Pennsylvania, at
Plane No. 6, March 23, 1866. When he was
two years of age his parents moved to Fay-
ette county, settling at White Rocks, now
South Connellsville. He first attended the
public school at Gibson Station, then for a
few years the parochial schools, completing
his studies at Connellsville high school,
whence he was graduated class of 1883.
That same year he began business life in
the John D. Frisbee department store as
bookkeeper and cashier. He remained in
that responsible position for fifteen years,



until 1898. He then acquired an interest in
the brewing business established by his
father, and became secretary and treasurer
of the Uniontown branch of the business.
In 1899 the entire brewing plants of the
Soissons in both Uniontown and Connells-
ville were sold to the Pittsburgh Brewing
Company, William H. Soisson remaining
with that company for two years in charge
of their ofifices at Connellsville. In 1901 he
joined in the organization and incorpora-
tion of the Connellsville Manufacturing &
Mine Supply Company. He was elected a
director of that company, and at the first
Toard meeting was chosen secretary and
treasurer, a position he most efficiently
filled.

The company manufacture all kinds of
mine machinery, hoisting and pumping de-
vices. Their plant and offices are situated
between South First and Fourth streets,
Connellsvlle, West Side, and have doubled
in size since organization. Their products
are sold throughout the United States, Mex-
ico and Canada. This is one of Connells-
ville's most prosperous and successful busi-
ness enterprises and shows wonderful prog-
ress in the first decade of existence. Mr.
Soisson is a stockholder and director of the
Title & Trust Company of Fayette County,
and financially interested in many other en-
terprises. He is a man of strong e.xecutive
ability, well fitted by disposition and train-
ing for the important positions he occupies.
He is a steadfast Democrat, and actively in-
terested in party success. He is a member
of the Church of the Immaculate Concep-
tion. His fraternal orders are : Knights of
Columbus, Benevolent and Protective Or-
der of Elks and the Catholic Mutual Benefit
Association.

Mr. Soisson married, August 15, 1910,
Geula Flynn, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
born in Clearfield county, Pennsylvania,
daughter of the late Anthony and Mary
(Sturtevant) Flynn. Child: William Hen-
ry, Jr., born in Connellsville, Pennsylvania,
May 18, 1911.

(The Flynn Line).

(I) Geula (Flynn) Soisson is a grand-
daughter of John Flynn, born in Rosscom-
mon county, Ireland, who came from a well
known and influential county family. He



FAYETTE COUNTY



515



came to America settling at New Bruns-
wick, Nova Scotia, where he owned con-
siderable land. He married Avesia King-
ston, daughter of an English army officer,
her mother having been a relative of Lord
Stanley, of the Isle of Wight.

(II) Anthony, son of John and Avesia
(Kingston) Flynn, was born in New Bruns-
wick, Nova Scotia, later becoming a promi-
nent business man of Clearfield county,
Pennsylvania. He married Mary Sturte-
vant, born at ;Crown Point, New York,
daughter of Allen Stewart Sturtevant, a
descendant of an old colonial family. Allen
S. Sturtevant married Hannah Jackson, who
was a descendant of the old colonial Lewis
family. The Sturtevants, under the varied
spellings of their name, were prominent in
the revolution, one being an aide to Gen-
eral Allen Stewart, a name that has ever
since been perpetuated in the Sturtevant
family.



In a list of taxpayers of
NICOLAY Lower Turkey Foot town-
ship, Somerset county,
Pennsylvania, in 1796, are the names of
John Nicola and Henry Nicola. They were
probably in that county at an earlier date,
as there were white settlers in Turkey Foot
as early as 1768. The Nicolas, now Nico-
lays, came originally from France, driven by
religious persecution under Louis XIV to
Holland, and coming thence to this coun-
try. The first records found of the family
are those of John and Henry Nicola above-
mentioned. They are supposed to have
come to Somerset from Juniata county,
Pennsylvania. They were known as
"Dutch," and were hard-working prosper-
ous farmers. John Nicola married and had
male issue, including a son: John (2), of
whom further.

(II) John (2) Nicolay, son of John
(i) Nicola, was born in Juniata, Penn-
sylvania, about 1794. He was but a
babe when his parents came to Som-
erset county, where his after life was
spent. He became a farmer and a land
owner. He married Mary Ansel, who
died aged eighty-seven years ; he died aged
sixty-five years. Children: i. David, mar-
ried Sarah Johnson, and settled in Upper



Tyrone township, Fayette county. 2. Hen-
ry, of whom further. 3. John, married Mary
Tresler, and lived on the home farm in
Somerset county, where he was killed by a
falling tree. 4. Simon, enlisted in the One
Hundred and Forty-second Regiment Penn-
sylvania Volunteer Infantry, during the
civil war, was captured and confined in
Libby prison, where he died after seven
months' imprisonment. 5. Margaret, mar-
ried John May, and lived in Springhill
township, Fayette county. 6. Tillie, mar-
ried John Mease, a farmer of Milford town-
ship, Somerset county. 7. Sarah, married
Moses Romesburg, a farmer of Lower Tur-
key Foot township, Somerset county. 8.
Catherine, married John Himebaugh, a
farmer of Somerset county; she is the only
living one of these eight children. (1912).

(HI) Henry, son of John (2) Nicolay, was
born in Lower Turkey Foot township, Som-
erset county, December 9, 1824, died in
Springfield township, Fayette county, Penn-
sylvania, October 8, 1904. He attended the
district school, and remained on the home
farm until he was twenty-two years of age.
He then came to Fayette county and located
in Springfield township, working as a farm-
hand for two of the old families there, the
Imels and the Longs. He saved his money,
purchased land in the township, married and
became a prosperous farmer, owning at the
time of his death three hundred and twenty-
five acres of improved land. He was a quiet
industrious man, very domestic in his tastes
and loved his home. He was a Democrat,
although the others in his family were Re-
publicans. He was a member of the Meth-
odist Episcopal church, and a man held in
high esteem for his many manly traits. He
married Catherine May, born in Springfield
township, July 23, 1825, died March 20, 191 1,
surviving her husband seven years. She
was a daughter of Michael and Christina
(Parker) May, and granddaughter of Jacob
May, born in Juniata county, Pennsylvania,
settling in Lower Turkey Foot township,
Somerset county, when Michael was a boy.
At that time the country was a forest,
abounding in every form of wild game, and
Michael became famous as a hunter. After
he grew to manhood he married and moved
to Springfield township, Fayette county.



5i6



PENNSYLVANIA



where he became the owner of a farm of
four hundred acres. He died aged eighty-
seven years. His wife Christina Parker,
was born in Belfast, Ireland. Their child-
ren were: i. John, married Margaret Nico-
lay, and lived in Springfield township. 2.
Jacob, died a young man, unmarried. 3.
Leonard, married Eizabeth Imel, and lived
in Springfield township ; served through the
entire period of the civil war in the One
Hundred and Forty-second Regiment Penn-
sylvania Volunteer Infantry. 4. Margaret,
married (first) Henry Davis, (second) Wil-
liam Johnson ; moved to Illinois, where she
died. 5. Elizabeth, married Henry Imel, and
lived in Illinois and Nebraska. 6. Catherine,
of previous mention, married. Henry Nicolay.
7. Helen, married Nathan Long, and moved
to Illinois. Children of Henry and Cath-
erine Nicolay: i. Margaret, born July 12,
1851, deceased, married John Welsh, a
farmer of Springfield township, Fayette
county. 2. Oliver Franklin M., of whom
further. 3. An infant, died unnamed. 4. Anna
born July 14, i860; married John Saylor, and
now resides on their large farm near Mill
Run, Springfield township, Fayette county.
(IV) Oliver Franklin M., only son of
Henry and Catherine (May) Nicolay, was
born in Springfield township, Fayelte coun-
ty, Pennsylvania. He attended the Youn-
kin public school, then held in an old log
cabin, which burned and was replaced by
a more rnodern building. He still further
pursued his studies at the local normal
schools and Waynesburg College, and began
teaching at nineteen years of age. He
taught three years in Springfield township,
ten years in Stewart township, three years
in the borough of Ohiopyle, and three
years in Lower Tyrone township. During
these years he worked at farming during the
summer months. After his marriage he
moved to Stewart township, Fayette coun-
ty, where he purchased a farm of three hun-
dred acres, but continued his teaching dur-
ing the winters. In 1885 he succeeded in
having a post office estabished at Nicolay,
named in his honor. In 1893 he sold his
farm and moved to Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania,
remaining two years. In 1895 he moved to
the village of Stickel, in Lower Tyrone
township, where he established a small gro-



cery store, but still continued teaching.
After enlarging his store, adding full gen-
eral lines and agricultural implements, he
devoted himself to mercantile pursuits. Mr.
Nicolay's farm, adjoining the village of
Stickel, is underlaid with coal, and he oper-
ates a coal bank for local supply. From
1895 to 1901 he was postmaster at Stickel,
He is a Democrat in politics, and served
as school director in both Stewart and
Lower Tyrone townships. In 1897 he was
elected justice of the peace, and has since
served continuously through several re-elec-
tions. He and family are members of the
Methodist Episcopal church. He is a mem-
ber of the Independent Order of Odd
Fellows, Lodge No. 499, of which he is a
charter member, and of the local grange,
Patrons of Husbandry.

Mr. Nicolay married, January 2, 1876,
Martha Williams, born at Kingwood, Som-
erset county, Pennsylvania, January 28,
1857, daughter of Daniel and Elizabeth Wil-
liams, both deceased. Her father was a
■farmer of Somerset, later of Stewart town-
ship, Fayette county. Children of O. F.
M. Nicolay: i. Minnie, born August 10,
1877; married William D. Hixon, a farmer
of Lower Tyrone township. 2. Homer, born
February 17, 1879, died June 7, 1882. 3.
Roxana, born September 30, 1880; married
Charles Moon, a farmer of Lower Tyrone
township. 4. Roy Vincent, born June 14,
1883; married Lizzie Hixon, and lives in
Uniontown, Pennsylvania ; is a commercial
traveler. 5. Awilda, born May 3, 1889; is
now preparing for the profession of grad-
uate nurse at Battle Creek, Michigan.



This family was founded in Fay-
GANS ette county, Pennsylvania, by

George and Joseph Gans, born
in Germany, from which country they fled
to escape persecution. They settled at or
near Antietam, Maryland, where they re-
mained about ten years. In 1784 they came
to Fayette county, settling in Springhill
township, where each took up about four
hundred acres of land that was surveyed to
them by the government. Both married
and founded families.

(I) The founder of the branch herein
recorded was George Gans, who died in



FAYETTE COUNTY



517



1807. He was a member of the German
Baptist church (Dunkard), although most
of his children and their descendants be-
came members of the Christian church
(Disciples of Christ). He married and left
issue: Jacob, Joseph, Daniel, George, Marg-
aret, married A. Getzendaner ; Anna, mar-
ried A. Greenley, and lived in Greene coun-
ty, Pennsylvania; Elizabeth, and William.
These sons later in life all settled in the
west, except William.

(H) William, youngest child of George
Gans, was born in Springhill township, Fay-
ette county. Pennsylvania, 1789, died there
in 1867. He grew up on the farm near
Morris Cross Roads, which is still owned
in the family. He later became its owner
and spent his entire active life engaged in
its care and cultivation. He married Mag-
dalene, daughter of George Custer, born in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, December 3,
1744, died on his farm in Georges township,
Fayette county, Pennsylvania, December 5,
1829. He was a laree healthy man and the
father of fifteen children. He was the
fourth son of Paul Custer, who married
Sarah Ball, daughter of Colonel William
Ball, of Lancaster county, Virginia, and a
sister of Mary Ball, the second wife of
Augustine Washington, and the mother of
George Washington, the "Father of his
Country." Mary Ball married Augustine
Washington, March 6, 173T, and died
August 25, 1789. Her*son, George Wash-
ington, was born February 22, 1732. He
was a first cousin of George Custer, father
of Magdalene, wife of William Gans.
Children of William Gans: i. Dr. George,
many years a practicing physician of
Mnundsville, W^est Virginia. 2. Dr. Dan-
iel, settled near Canton, Ohio, where he
practiced medicine: married Margaret
Hanna : children: Henry C, of Youngs-
town, Ohio: Emmet and Mrs. Olive Muck-
ley, both of Cleveland. Ohio : Elizabeth, mar-
ried Judge Krichbaum, of Canton, Ohio. 3.
Jonathan, a farmer moved to Missouri, but
later returned to Fayette county, where he
died: married Sarah Eberhardt, her father
was a farmer of Nicholson township. Fay-
ette county, and a veteran of the civil war.
4. Altha. owned the farm in south Favette
county, where Gans Station is now stand-



ing and named in his honor. 5. Lebbeus
Biglow, of whom further. 6. Mary Ann,
married William P. Griffin, who lived on
his own farm in Nicholson township for
over sixty years. 7. Lydia, married James
C. Ramsey, a farmer of Springhill town-
ship.

(HI) Lebbeus Biglow, fifth son of Wil-
liam and Magdalene (Custer) Gans, was
born in Springhill township, Fayette coun-
ty, Pennsylvania, March 31, 1825. He was
educated in the common school, grew to
manhood on the home farm, and later pur-
chased the homestead property. He was a
prosperous farmer and added an adjoining
one hundred and thirty-four acres, which
gave him three hundred acres of the best
farm land in southern Fayette county. He
later in life devoted his attention more to
the raising of fine live stock than to agri-
culture, but he was all his life a farmer. A
feature of his farm was a sugar maple grove
containing two thousand trees which yielded
a good profit annually. He was a member
of the Presbyterian church, and held in high
esteem by his neighbors. He married
(first) January 6, 1848, Elizabeth J., daugh-
ter of James C. Ramsey; children: i. Dor-
cas Ann, married T. F. Protzman, many
years a merchant at Morris Cross Roads.
2. Elizabeth J. married W. Morgan Smith,
of Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania. 3. A son,
died in infancy. He married (second),
October 10, 1868, Emily S., daughter of
Henry B. Goe, of Allegheny City, Pennsyl-
vania, born in Fayette county, on the farm
now owned by H. B. Goe, December 28,
1803, died November i, 1889. He was a
farmer in JefTerson township in early life,
but about 1865 moved to Pittsburgh, Penn-
sylvania, where he died. He left the farm
to engage in oil production, having oil in-
terests in McKean county. He married
Catherine Shotwell, born at the Shotwell
farm in Franklin township, December 28,
1806, died August 11, 1889. They were
married in 1824, and spent sixty-five years
of married life together. They were both
members of the Christian church.

The Goe family came originally from
Scotland the emigrant settling in JefTerson
township on land yet held in the family
name. Children of Henry B. Goe. i. Henry



5i8



PENNSYLVANIA



B. (2), moved from Pittsburgh to Bradford,
Pennsylvania, about 1880, engaged in oil
production, and soon afterward died ;
married Lydia White, of Connellsville ;
children: Henry B. (3), Gertrude, Eliza-
beth, Catherine. 2. John S., lived and died
in Jefiferson township, a fancy stock and
cattle dealer; married and left children:
Dorcas, wife of John H. Gans ; Emma V.,
widow of John Moore, of Georges township ;
Eva Catherine and Irene of Uniontown ;
also John S. Jr., who died in the west. 3.
Robert S., a farmer on the old home farm
in Jefiferson township ; married Heater
Higginbotham ; children: James H., Henry
B., of Jefferson township ; Ada, wife of At-
torney Robert M. Curry, of Pittsburgh ;
Cora, wife of Dr. Lloyd Trowbridge, of
Piqua, Ohio. 4. Joel S., died in Pittsburgh.
5. Susan, married John Newcomer; she sur-
vives him and has lived for over fifty years
on Main street, Connellsville, Pennsylvania ;
children: Mrs. L. F. Ruth and Mrs. W.
Foley. 6. Sarah, married Robert Elliot,
a farmer of Jeft'erson township ; both de-
ceased ; children : Henry and James, living
in Iowa ; Lawrence and George, of Jeft'erson
township, Fayette county; Charles S., of



Online LibraryJohn Woolf JordanGenealogical and personal history of Fayette county, Pennsylvania (Volume 2) → online text (page 39 of 57)