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

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tian fortitude. He was a member of the Bap-
tist church and a faithful, consistent follower
of the Master. He married Martha Ann
Artis, born near Connellsville, February 28,
1849, daughter of Isaac and Christiana (Mur-
phy) Artis, both born in Springfield town-
ship, Fayette county. Isaac Artis was a steel
mill worker; Christina Murphy was daughter
of John Murphy, of Springfield township; she
died in i88r, her husband, Isaac Artis, pre-
ceding her to the grave many years. She
married (second) John Basenger. Martha
Ann Artis made her home from early child-



hood with Joseph and Mary Kimmel, who
reared her as their own. Children of James
S. and Martha- Ann (Artis) ColHns: Alvin E.
and Clarence N., of whom see forward; Fred
and Frank, died in infancy ; Mos^s Lawrence,
assistant foreman in Kelly and Jones brass
manufacturing works at Greensburg, Penn-
sylvania; Elizabeth, married Fred Yeskey, of
Greensburg; ]\Iary, died in infancy; Charles
C, of whom further. The mother of these
children survives her husband, and resides
with her son, Clarence N. Collins, in South

(IV) Alvin E., eldest son of James S. and
Martha Ann (Artis) Collins, was born in
Connellsville, Pennsylvania, February lo,
1868. He was educated in the public schools
of New Haven (Connellsville, West Side),
where the family then resided, but at the age
of twelve left school and began working in
the grocery store of Woodfield Brothers; at
the age of thirteen he began working in the
planing mill of Calhoun & Company, run-
ning mostly a molding machine. At the age
of sixteen years he was promoted foreman
and manager of the main floor of the mill;
at the age of eighteen he began learning the
general carpenter's trade, continuing four
years more wath Calhoun & Company; at the
age of twenty-one years he married, and the
next year worked for eight months in the
Baltimore & Ohio carpenter shops, following
with six months with the Connellsville Plan-
ing Mill Company, two years with the H. C.
Frick Coke Company as carpenter at their
Davidson Works, three years with the City
Electric Light Plant as assistant engineer,
two years at the Everson Car Shops for the
H. C. Frick Coke Company, one and a half
years at their Davidson shops, and two years
for the Home Building Society, Campbell and
Wilson, proprietors. In 1902 he entered the
employ of the Connellsville Construction
Company, with which he still continues. He
is independent in politics, voting for the best
candidates, regardless of party. In i88r he
became a communicant of the Baptist church,
his wife joining in 1878.

He married, March 21, i88g, Margaret Bell
Hill, born in Connellsville, August 23, 1869,
daughter of George W. and Rosanna (Martin)
Hill. Her father is a locomotive engineer, liv-
ing in Scottdale, Pennsylvania; he was born
in Ohio, August 12, 1840, came to Connells-

ville, Pennsylvania, in 1869; \vas pit boss at
the Davidson coal mine north of the city,
linally becoming a locomotive engineer on the
iialtimore & Oliio railroad. Ros:^nna Miller
v\as born in Ohio, May, 1846, and married
tiitrc. Chiidren of George W. Hill: Mary
Ellen, deceased; Mary Ellen, married James
A. Raynier; Alice Jane, resides in Connells-
ville; Margaret Bell (of previous mention);
Charles Henry, a traveling salesman residing
at Point Pleasant, West \'irginia, married
Harriet Reynolds: William Ellis, died in in-
fancy; Anna Malinda, m?.rried J. E. Yenncy,
and lives in Salt Lake City, Utah; Olive
Myrtle, married Harry Osterwise, a black-
smith of Scottdale, Pennsylvania; Ida Mav,
now living in Connellsville; Edna Pearl, mar-
ried Lloyd S. Hoyle, a railroad man of Union-
town, Pennsylvania; Robert Roy, married
Leona Province, and lives in Scottdale. Chil-
dren of Alvin E. and Margaret B. (Hill) Col-
lins: Wilbur E., born December 20, 1889;
Charles E., February 10, 1892; George Mor-
gan. August 21, 1894, died November, 1903;
Annabel, born December 19, 1896; Agnes,
January 29, 1899; Laurence, July 7, 1901, died
November, 1903; Francis Valentine, born
February 14, 1905; Harold, May 31, 1908;
William, September 13, 1910.

(IV) Clarence N., second son of James S.
and Martha Ann (Artis) Collins, was born in
New Haven, Pennsylvania (Connellsville,
West Side), August 16, 1869. He attended
the public schools of New Haven and Con-
nellsville, working at all kinds of boy's work
outside of school hours, and at the age of
fifteen vears becoming clerk in a grocery
store. He continued clerking for two years,
then began learning the carpenter's trade. He
has continued without interruption working
at his trade until the present time (1912),
sometimes as journeyman, and again taking
building contracts himself. In December,
1900. he moved to South Connellsville, where
he erected his present home in 1901. He is
a Republican.

He married, November 19, 1891, Amelia
Guard, born at Parkcrsburg, West Virginia,
daughter of Thomas and Margaret (Hicks)
Guard. Thomas Guard was born in West \'ir-
ginia, of German descent, died November 16,
1889, aged fifty-six years: he w^as tailor by
trade, and during the civil war served in the
Confederate armv. Margaret Hicks was



reared in Charlestown, West Virginia ; she
was burned to death in 1901. Children of
Clarence N. Colhns : Mary Elsie, born Sep-
tember 5, 1892, died October 5, 1898; Mar-
garet, born March 29, 1895; Ina, January
28, 1898; Clarence (2), March 22, 1900; Al-
bert, February 3, 1902.

(IV) Charles C, youngest son of James
S. and Martha Ann (Artis) Collins, was born
in New Haven, Pennsylvania (now Connells-
ville. West Side), September 7, 1875. He was
educated in the public school, and all during
his school years worked after and before
school hours in a grocery store, delivered
papers and took care of Dr. S. S. Stahl's
horses. He was such an earnest, energetic
worker that he always was in demand. After
leaving school he became clerk in Edward
Turner's hardware store on Brimstone Cor-
ner; then, until December 4, 1898, was em-
ployed in the tinplate mill. He then spent a
year in Greensburg, learning iron molding,
later returning to Connellsville, where he
was employed for a time in the J. R. Balsley
lumber yard. He was again employed in the
tinplate mills (doubling) until the mills shut
down, then resumed work at the carpenter
trade, begun with Mr. Balsley. In 191 1 he
became a stockholder in the South Connells-
ville Lumber Company, and is now employed
at carpentering in that company. He is a
Republican in politics, and has served as
school director.

He married, March 14, 1904, Julia Adams,
born in BuUskin township, Fayette county,
daughter of William Adams, born in Bullskin,
May 4, 1827, son of William Adams, an immi-
grant from Ireland. William Adams was a
farmer and a veteran of the civil war, serving
four years in Company D, Eighty-fifth Regi-
ment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, being
twice wounded in battle. He married Sarah
Easter, born in Fayette county. May 25, 1827.
Children of William and Sarah (Easter)
Adams: Mary Jane, deceased, married Samuel
Hughy; Harriet, married Simon Hughy and
lives at Breakneck (Connellsville suburb) ;
Sarah Elizabeth, married Weldon Baker;
John, lives in Bullskin township; William Cal-
vin, died in infancy; Julia (of previous men-
tion); Laura Bell: nicirried Henry Richter, of
Bullskin township; Maria, married George
Stillwagon, of Connellsville.

Mrs. Charles C. Collins was Julia Adams,

and married (first) Samuel Hawk and had
children: i. William L. Hawk, born August
27 1880, died December 15, 1906; he was
kiiled at the Southampton Mills by a Balti-
more & OhiQ railroad train; he was a brake-
man; he married Elizabeth Hyde; children:
Viola, born January 18, 1903; Edith Chris-
tiana, born October 14, 1905. 2. Lida. 3.
Daisy. 4. Christiana. 5. Georgia. 6. Emma
Pearl. 7. Sarah. 8. Harry W.

The paternal grandfather of
KEARNS Thomas Kearns, of Trotter,
Fayette county, Pennsylvania,
was William Kearns, born in Ireland, married
Ellen Welsh, and about 1828 came to the
United States, leaving- his wife and six chil-
dren in Ireland. He remained in this country
twelve years, prospered and returned to Ire-
land with the intention of bringing his family
back with him to the United States. His in-
teniions were defeated by death, he falling a
victim, to the plague then raging in Ireland.
His wife also died in Ireland. Children: Rich-
ard, came to the United States and settled in
the south; William, died in New York City;
Thomas, of whom further; Kate, never mar-
ried, died in the United States; Ellen, died in
Ireland; Mary, now living in St. Louis, Mis-

(II) Thomas, son of William and Ellen
(Welsh) Kearns, was born in Ireland about
1814, died' October 9, 1889. He was a miller,
and followed that occupation in Ireland until
his coming to the LTnited States in 1885, then
an old man. He married Mary O'Bryan and
1 eared a family of eleven children. After they
had grown, up they all drifted away from the
old home in Ireland and came to the United
States. In 1884 the mother followed them,
anc! in 1885 Thomas, the father, the last to
leave the old sod, closed up his business af-
fairs and joined the family in this country,
leaving onlv a son. Matthew, in Ireland. He
lived a quiet retired life until his death four
years later. Flis wife, Mary, born about 1814,
still survives him, "now very near the century
mark in years. Her mother, Joanna (Powers)
O'Bryan, died in Ireland in her ninety-seventh
year. Her father. Pierce O'Bryan, was a
farmer, lived and died in Ireland. Children of
Thomas and Marv (O'Bryan) Kearns: i. Wil-
liam, died in Westmoreland county, Pennsyl-
vania. 2. Richard, now living at Mammoth,



Pennsylvania. 3. Thomas (2), of whom fur-
ther. 4. Martin, now Hving at Mammoth,
Pennsylvania. 5. Ellen, married Patrick
Rowan. 6. Mary, married Patrick Powers.
7. Michael, now employed at Jamison Coke
Works. 8. Morris, deceased. 9. Matthew, re-
mains in Ireland at the old homestead. 10.
Kate, married Michael O'Toole. 11. Died un-

(ill) Thomas (2), third son of Thomas (i)
Kearns, was born in County Waterford, Ire-
land, July 8, 1858. He was educated in the
schools of his native parish, grew to manhood,
and married in England. In 1884, in com-
pany with two of his brothers, he came to
tne United States, landing in New York City
April 26. He came to Connellsville soon after
ana entered the employ of the H. C. Frick
Coke Company, continuing with that concern
twenty-two years. In May, 1905, he bought
a small farm of thirty-two acres, remodeled
the house standing thereon, and has since re-
sided there. His intention is to spend his
remaining years in gardening and poultry
raising. He is a Democrat in politics, and
has served as road supervisor. In religious
faith he is a Roman Catholic, the family faith
for many generations. He is a member also
of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

He married, January 6, 1883, in England,
Katherine Hennessy, born at Marley Hall,
County Dulane, England, of Irish pa-
rents, Thomas and Mary (Morrison) Hen-
nessy, and granddaughter of William and
Katherine Hennessy, the iatter both dying in
Ireland. Of their eight children, Thomas
Hennessy was the only one to come to the
United States; he settled in Fayette county,
dying at Leisenring No. i. Mary Morrison,
his wife, was a daughter of John and Kath-
erine (Powers) Morrison, who also lived .ind
died in Ireland. After the death of his first
wife, Mary Morrison, Thomas Hennessy mar-
ried (second) Elizabeth Edgar, and came to
the United States, where both died. No issue
by this marriage. Children by his first mar-
riage: William, now living in Leisenring,
Pennsylvania; John, deceased; Katherine, wife
of Thomas (2) Kearns; Ann, married Philip

Children of Thomas (2) and Katherine
Kearns: i. William, born November 21, 1883;
married Lena Moore; one child, Catherine;
they reside in Washington county. 2. Martin,

born October 11, 1885. 3. Thomas, born July
27, 1887; married Dora Skyles; resides at Con-
nellsville, Pennsylvania. 4. Matthew, born
September 19, 1889. 5. Richard, twin of Mat-
thew, both died in infancv. 6. Mary, born
September 27, 1890, died aged thirteen
months. 7. Michael, twin of Marv, died in in-
fancy. 8. Mary, born October 27, 1891, died
in infancy. 9. Patrick, born August i, 1893,
died in infancy. 10. Michael Richard, twin of
Patrick, died in infancy. 11. John, born Au-
gust 24, 1894. 12. Helen, born February 4,
1897. 13. Matthew, born August 3, 1900,
died aged two years four months. 14. Kath-
erine, born October 9, 1903, burned to death
in fire from open grate. 15. Michael, born
November 12, 1904. 16. Mary, born Mav i,

The names Cornwell, Corn-
i:ONWELL wall and Conwell are of fre-
quent occurrence in the
early records of Sussex county, Delaware, as
variant forms of the same family name. Fran-
cis Conwell was sheriff of the county from
1686, and was made justice of the peace April
9, HI ihat year he died before November 12,
1691. The name is not confined to one of
the hundreds of Sussex county, but there were
many of this name in Broadkiln hundred in
1785, and the name is found there to or near
the present day.

There are probably at lenst four or five fam-
ilies of the name in America. A variety of
spelling is found in England also; the name is
probably of local origin, from Cornwall, Eng-
land. However, one of these American fam-
ilies is of Dutch origin, the name in this case
having been originally Cornelise. :'nd the
.American center of this family being at Flat-
bush, Kings county. Long Island. If Francis
Conwell was not himself an immigrant from
England, or at least from Great Britain and
Ireland, it seems probable tlr't the present
familv is an ofifshoot of this Dutch stock.

(I) Jehu Conwell, the first member of this
family about whom we have definite informa-
tion, was born in Sussex county, Delaware,
in 1749, and died in January, 1834. With his
brother William he settled in Luzerne town-
ship, Fayette county, Pennsylvania, in June,
1767. They found James Bredin living in a
log cabin on a tomahawk claim, he having
come in the preceding April. For a small




consideration they purchased of him his claim,
seven liiuidred acres in extent, with the im-
provements which he had made. At first the
Indians were friendly, but the revolution was
drawing near, and there were after a time
signs of hostilities, leading to the temporary
withdrawal of the Conwells from the country.
In August, 1772, Jehu Conwell returned to
his old home in Delaware; in October he mar-
ried, and in November he and his bride set
forth on horseback for his Luzerne clearing.
They lived in comparative quiet until 1774,
when Indian aggressions on the colonial fron-
tiers began in earnest. It was largely due to
the Conwell brothers that in 1774 a block
house was hastily constructed on the Coleman
plantation on the west side of Dunlap's creek,
abjut half a mile below Merrittstown. As-
sisted and directed by them, the pioneers com-
pleted this fort in quick time, and it was oc-
cupied in jMay. It was used by them for
safet}, but there is no evidence that it was
e\er attacked nor that the people of this re-
gion were ever seriously injured by the In-
dians. Probably the great battle of Point
Pleasant, in northwestern Virginia, insured the
safety of the settlements in Fayette county
and "elsewhere along the frontiers of white
civilization. For a time, however, the Fayette
countv settlers were in great terror of Indian
attacks. In 1776 the brothers Conwell en-
tered the continental army, and they fought
through the revolutionary war. Jehu_ Con-
well, on account of the distance to which he
had had to go in order to have his grain
ground, erected a mill of his own, the first in
Luzerne township, perhaps the first in the
countv. It was used simply for pounding
corn;'a flutter wheel was the motive power
for a great sweep, to which the pounder was
attached: the mortar wasi a rock in which an
excavation was rudely made. He is said to
have constructed this' primitive mill the year
after his coming into the township. He was a
generous man, liberal in his views, conscien-
tious, respected by his neighbors pnd those
who had his acquaintance. His home was
headquarters for immigrants westward bound
from Delaware. He married, in Delaware, in
October, 1772, Elizabeth, daughter of Yates
Stokely. Children: Sheppard; Yates Stokely,
of whom furthcx-; John; George; , mar-
ried William Ewing; : married Andrew

Porter; , married John Arnold.

(II) Yates Stokely, son of Jehu and Eliza-
beth (Stokely) Conwell, w'as born in Luzerne
township; he died December 25, 1865. He
was a farmer, and the founder of the settle-
ment known as Heistersburg, in Fayette
county. August i, 1814, he was commissioned
ensign in the Eighth Regiment, Pennsyl-
vania militia. The most of his life he was a
vVhig, but the latter years a Republican. He
married Anna, daughter of David and Anna
(Vankirk) Craft; her father Hved in Redstone
township; she survived her husband by sev-
eral years. Children: John Stokely, of whom
further; Fjiavid C, born September 8, 1824,
married, 1880, Elizabeth (Kelly) Christopher;
Jehu B., born June 25, 1820, married Eliza-
beth Fulton; George; Eliza A., married Wil-
liam Elliott; Margaret, married James E. Da-
vidson; one other son.

(III) John Stokely, son of Yates Stokely
and Anna (Craft) Conwell, was born in Lu-
zerne township, June 30, 181 5, and died about
1896. He attended the local school. For a
while he farmed with his father. He was for
several years engaged in mercantile business
at Heistersburg, and in 1850 was appointed
the first postmaster at that place. In 1861 he
left Heistersburg and removed to his farm of
two hundred and fifty acres. On this farm he
lived tor the rest of his hfe, doing general
farming and raising cattle; he gave special
attention to sheep raising. He was a Re-
publican, and held several township offices.
Among these was the ofifice of township clerk,
which he lield for many years. He and his
wife were members of the Presbyterian
church. He married Anna, daughter of John
and Orpha (Davidson) McDougal, who was
born at Merrittstown, Fayette county, Penn-
sylvania, about 1816, and died December 15,
1888. Children: James William, of whom
farther; Albert D., deceased; Mary Eliza,
married John W. Foster, they live at Union-
town, Fayette county, Pennsylvania; John,
deceased: Walter B., lives in the west; Maria
Louisa, died voung.

(IV) James William, son of John Stokely
and Anna (AIcDougal) Conwell, was born in
Luzerne township, July i. 1839. He attended
the district school near his home, and worked
with his father on the farm. He afterward
took this farm over on his own account. Un-
til i8q9 he lived on this farm, near Heisters-
burg, and did general farming, also raising



live stock. In the spring of 1S99 he sold this
farm and removed to Alerrittstown, where he
nas one of the tinest stone buildings in the
township. At the present time he has a few
acres of land under cultivation, But is leading
a retired life. He is a genial man and enjoys
the confidence of his fellow citizens. He is
a Republican. Several times he has served on
the school board and he has acted in the ca-
pacities of president and of treasurer of this
board. For a term of three years he was town
assessor. His church is the Presbyterian.

He married, November 14, 1867, Mary
Alari?, daughter of John and' Emily (Johnson)
Wood, who was born in Luzerne tow-nship.
July 4. 1847: her father was a prominent
farmer. (Children: i. George Jay, born Octo-
ber 35, 1868; lives at Merrittstown. 2. Anna
Alberta, born November 13, 1874; married
Richard Swan; reside in Bucks county, Penn-
sylvania; children; ^^'ilIiam, Richard and
Susan. 3. Emma Matilda, born December 18,
1876, died November 10, 1897; married Rich-
ard Swan. 4. William Stokely, born Decem-
ber 10, 1879; resides at Brownsville. 5. Mary
Idella, born December 16, 1882; married Mar-
tin Hess; live at Brownsville. 6. Susan Re-
becca, born December 3, 1887; married Edwin
Moyer; live at Merrittstown. 7. John Walter,
born July 18, 1891, unmarried, living at home.

This family c.-'me to Fay-
D.WIDSON ette county from West-
moreland county, Pennsyl-
vania, the founder in th^ latter county being
Jacob Davidson, born in England. He came
to the United States when young with his
father, vvdio \vas a minister of the gospel. They
settled in Philadelphia, where Jacob was edu-
cated. He married Mary Young, of Franklin
county, Penns}lvania, and settled in West-
moreland county. In 1837 he moved to Fay-
ette county, settling on the Basil Brown tract
near Brownsville. He was a miller by trade
and became quite wealthy, owning a large
amount of l-'nd. He was also connected with
the iMonongahela Bank of Brownsville for
many years "as a director. He died April 15,
1856, aged seventv-four years.

(11) Jacob (2). 'son of Jacob (i) and Mary
Cxoung) Davidson, was born in Westmore-
land countv, Pennsylvania, in 1806, died in
1858 in Fayette county. He came with the
familv to Favette county in 1837 and also set-

tled near Brownsville. He was a miller by
trade and also a farmer. He was a leading
member of the United Brethren church and a
local preacher, noted for his deep pietv and the
purity of his life. He was a Whig in politics,
but took httlc part in publio afifairs, his fam-
ily and the church being the greatest concerns
of his life. He owned a good farm and was in
comfortable circumstances. He married Han-
nah Kelley, who died in 1880, daughter of
Jacob Kelley, who was born in England, came
to the United States when a young man and
settled in Westmoreland county, where Han-
nah was born. Children; i. Mary, married,
November 2. 1855, John Rice. 2.' Elizabeth,
deceased, married, March 12, 1862, Otto
Brashear. 3. Dr. John H., born November
15, 1845, a practicing physician of Perry-
opolis, Fayette county, and a leading business
man; ho married (first) December 26, 1871,
Cillnissae Torr.-'nce Chalfant, (second) Mary
E. Chalfant. a sister of his first wife, daughter
of Dr. S. B. and Elizabeth Chalfant. 4. Kate,
married, January 23, 1867, Benton Bennett.
5. Lou. married. January 3, 1871. James F.
Grahle. 6. Haddie. married. July 24, 1873,
Jesse Coldren. 7. Anna, married, November
12, 1874, Luther Noble. 8. Amos W., of
whom further. 9. Ada, married A. J. Nixon.
10. Child, died in infancy.

(IIH Amos W.. son of Jacob (2) and Han-
n"h (Kelley) Davidson, was born near
Browmsville, Pennsylvania, in 1855. He was
educated in the public schools of Redstone,
and learned the carpenter's trade. He also
was a farmer of Redstone township, and for
.several years was engaged in mercantile busi-
ness in Brownsville. He is now living in Red-
stone township. In politics he is a Repub-
licn and has served as both school director
and road supervisor. Both he and wife are
members of the Presbyterian church. He
married. May 29, 1878, Huldah \'ernon. born
in Luzerne' township. February 22. 1858.
daughter of Reese Vernon, a farmer of Lu-
cerne township, who died at his farm (now
the Allison Works) at the age of eighty years.
His wife, Clara (Porter) ^'emon, wns also born
in Luzerne townshiix Children of Mr. and
Mrs. Vernon: i. Margaret, married Benton
Covert, now deceased. 2. William D.. mar-
ried Florence Stevens. 3. John, died aged
twentv-one vears. 4. Frazier, died aged sixty-
five vears. 5. Miftlin, died aged fifty-one years.



6. Armstrong, died aged twenty years. 7.
Nancy, died aged fourteen years. 8. Huldah,
married Amos W. Davidson. Children of Mr!
and Mrs. IJavidson: i. Carlton H., of whom
mrther. 2. Grace C, born December 28,
1880; married Jesse VVonsettler, a contractor
and builder of Scenery Hill, Washington
county, Pennsylvania. 3. Charles L., of whom
further. 4. Chester A., born February 8,
1887; married Carrie Randolph; he is now
postmaster at New Salem, Pennsylvania. 5.
Margaret, born 1893; resides at 'home. 6.
Johnfl., a student. 7. \-'ernon, a student.

(IV) Carlton H., eldest son of Amos W.
and Huldah (Vernon) Davidson, was born
near Brownsville, Pennsylvania, March 25,
1879. He attended the public schools and
Dunlap Creek Academy, and spent his minor-
ity nt the home farm. He decided upon the
profession of medicine, and in 1903 entered

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