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

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ried .Mary Jack, of Scotch-Irish and Huguenot
descent, daughter of John Jack, who was
prominent in drafting the "Hannastown Dec-
laration" in 1775. which preceded both the
^lecklenberg Declaration and the Declaration
of Independence given to the world at Phila-
delphia, Pennsylvania, July 4, 1776. Mr.
Thompson removed to Kentucky after the close
of the revolutionary war, became a comrade in
arms of Daniel Boone, and died in Mason
county of the state he helped to create and
settle. There are many Thompson families of
different branches and nationalities, the name
being found in England, Ireland and Scotland.
In Fayette county, Pennsylvania, it is well
known and none is more honored.

(11) Andrew Finley, son of William
Thompson, was born in Kentucky in 1789. died
in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, in
1825. He served as a soldier in the war of
i8t2 with three of his brothers. He was taken
prisoner when Hull surrenderd at Detroit, and
after his release tramped on foot to Westmore-
land county, where relatives were living. There



he married Leah, the twenty-second and
youngest child of Caspard Markle, of West-
moreland county, a native of Berks county,
Pennsylvania (see Markle), and with his bride
soon after returned to Kentucky, with her on
horseback over the wilderness trail ; she died
in that state in 1824. He then returned to
Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, accom-
panied by his two younger children, and there
his death occurred. Children of Mr. and Mrs.
Thompson: William L., died aged twenty years
in Missouri ; Mary, married J- P- Crothers, of
Fayette county, Pennsylvania ; Jasper Markle,
of whom further.

(Ill) Jasper Markle, son of Andrew Fin-
ley Thompson, was born near Washington,
Mason county, Kentucky, August 30, 1822,
died March 15, 1889, at his residence in Menal-
len township, Fayette county, Pennsylvania,
two and a half miles west of Uniontown. When
he was three years of age, his parents being de-
ceased, he was taken to Westmoreland county,
Pennsylvania, where he resided with his grand-
mother, Mary Markle, until her death in 1832,
when he went to reside with a cousin. General
Cyrus P. Markle. He was educated in the old
subscription school and spent his early life in
farming, clerking and bookkeeping, on the
farm and in the store and paper mills of his
■cousin. In April, 1850, he located in Redstone
township, Fayette county, Pennsylvania, where
he purchased a farm, but soon sold it and later
in the same year moved to Menallen township,
where he purchased a farm two and a half miles
from LTniontown. Here he resided, farmed and
dealt in live stock until 1862. In that year he
was appointed by President Lincoln collector
of internal revenue for the twenty-first Penn-
sylvania district, in which office he served most
efifectually for four years, then resigned and re-
turned to his home and farm. He collected and
paid over to the government during his four
years' service over $2,000,000, having in one
day collected $100,000 on whiskey alone. He
held two commissions under President Lincoln,
covering his four years as collector and re-
ceiver of commutation money.

In 1863 he became one of the organizers and
original directors of the First National Bank,
which is now the leading financial institution of
Uniontown. He was elected president of the
bank, June 11, 1870, and continued at its head
until 1889. the year of his death. This bank
was established in 1854 by John T. Hogg as

one of his chain of private banks ; later it was
owned by Isaac Skiles, Jr., until 1864, when it
was organized as a national bank, its number
on the list of national banks being 270. Under
President Thompson the bank prospered and
entered upon its most successful career. He
was a wise financier and laid deep the founda-
tions upon which a great financial edifice has
risen. He was also president of the LTniontown
Building & Loan .Association, director of the
Fayette County Railroad, president of the Fay-
ette County Agricultural Society, trustee of
Washington and Jefiferson College, and a di-
rector of the Western Theological Seminary in
Allegheny City, Pennsylvania.

He was a Whig in politics until the forma-
tion of the Republican party, then cast his lot in
the new party. In 1868 he was a presidential
elector and cast his vote for General \J. S.
Grant for president. In 1873 he was elected
to the state legislature from Fayette county, re-
versing a normal Democratic majority of one
thousand votes by a majority of 1,031 for him-
self. For nearly thirty years he was ruling elder
in the Presbyterian church of LTniontown, of
which he was an active and honored member
for almost forty years. He continued in active
work until March, 1889, when he died of pneu-
monia on his hurried return from a business
trip from Florida and .\labama, having caught
a severe cold in Kentucky which developed so
rapidly that he died the evening following his
return home. His was a strong character, and
if a reason can be given for his success in life
it was due to his strict attention to business
and his devotion to duty. He was consistent in
his religious obligations, and was most gener-
ous and unostentatious in his charities.

He married, in February, 1846. Eliza, young-
est daughter of Samuel and Ruth (Elliott)
Caruthers. of Sewickley township, Westmore-
land county, Pennsylvania, a ruling elder in the
Sewickley Presbyterian church. The mother
of Samuel Caruthers was a daughter of Lieu-
tenant John Potter, first .sheriff of Cumber-
land county, Pennsylvania, in 1750 to 1756, and
her brother. General James Potter, was a trust-
ed officer and friend of General Wa.shington
during the revolution. Children of Mr. and
Mrs. Thompson : i. Ruth A., educated at Wash-
ington. Pennsylvania, Female Seminary ; mar-
ried, in 1875, Dr. J. T. Shepler, of Dunbar,
Pennsvlvania. 2. Lenora M., educated at the
same institution as her sister; married, in 1873,

C^li^a^ J^o'yy^':>




John A. Niccolls, of Brownsville, Penns\lvania.
3. William M., whose sketch follows. 4. Josiah
v., of whom further.

(R) Josiah Vankirk, son of Jasper Markle
Thompson, was born in MenaUen township,
near Uniontown, Pennsylvania, February 15,
1854. He attended the public schools and lived
on the home farm until he entered Washington
and Jeiiferson College, Washington, Pennsyl-
vania, whence he was graduated in June, 1871.
On November 1 1 of that year he entered the
employ of the First National Bank of Union-
town as clerk, his father being then president of
the bank. On April 3, 1872, he was promoted
teller, and on June 5, 1877, following the death
of James T. Redburn, was made cashier. March
15, 1889, his father died, and on April 2, i88q,
he succeeded him in the presidency and still
remains (1912) the honored head of that most
wonderful financial institution, which according
to the government reports, has more surplus
and profits in proportion to capital than anv
other national bank in the United States, and
the bank examiner says that it pays the largest
salaries to the minor employees of anv bank in
the country. The capital stock is $100,000. In
1907 its surplus was $1,100,000, which means
that every one hundred dollars of stock has a
real book value of eleven hundred dollars. The
surplus now C-Xugust 28, 1912) is $1,512,000.
In addition the bank pays a semi-annual divi-
dend of eleven per cent, or twentv-two per cent,
annually. There is just one reason for this and
that is Josiah V. Thompson. To lead from a
country town over six thousand national banks,
many of them with greater capital, much larger
deposits, and located in the very center of the
business of the nation, needs a reason and you
have it in Mr. Thompson himself.

First let us explain what Mr. Thompson and
the First National Bank does not do : No loans
are made for more than the legal six per cent,
rate, nor is a bonus ever asked or taken from
borrowers. If you get the money at all you
get it regular and no bonus inducement can
tempt a dollar from their vaults ; again, no de-
posits are received except subject to check, no
interest being paid on deposits no matter how
large. Employees are never put under bond.
Mr. Thompson hires no one until satisfied that
he is thoroughly trustworthy and of the right
mettle, then he is placed on his own sense of
duty and honor. No one has ever gone wrong
in the entire history of the First Naticmal Bank,

but all are required to abstain from drink
and tobacco in every form, this on the ground
that such habits are not conducive to success
in business or growth in morality.

The things that President Thompson and
the First National Bank do are many, and
from them can be gleaned why the bank
leads the Roll of Honor issued by the United
States government. The high salaries paid
insure the best service. Old employees are
rewarded for faithful service uy being made
participants in the profits of his large, lucra-
tive individual coal operations. This policy
has been extended to depositors, particularly
women with limted incomes, whom he has
allowed to share in the same manner until
they have become financially strong through
their small investments. There are at least
four hundred depositors to whom he has af-
forded opportunity for profitable investment.
This generous policy has enriched many and
built up a loyal host of depositors and work-
ers for the advancement of the bank. This
policy of generous advice to investors has
ever been carried to those of another class.
There are many men in his community to
whom unsecured advances of money have
been privately made in times of financial dis-
tress which have placed them again on a safe
footing. This, of course, is the personal aflfair
of Mr. Thompson, but Mr. Thompson and
the First National Bank in Uniontown are
synonymous terms, but the greatest factor is
his wonderful capacity for work and his
power of inspiring his subordinates with en-
thusiasm and zeal.

It is not uncommon for Mr. Thompson to
work continuously in his private office at the
bank for a week without as much sleep as
would amount in that period to one good
night's rest. He personally attends to all his
own correspondence and writes his own let-
ters. Frequently on his return home from
an absence of a day or two he will drive to
the bank after a lunch at his home. Oak Hill,
to see what letters demand his attention.
There may be one hundred and fifty of them,
but every one will be answered before the
light above his desk is turned out, daybreak
often finding him at his desk. When this hap-
pens he usually makes the best of the situa-
tion and again goes to work with the bank
force for another day's business without hav-
ing either rest or sleep. It is not uncommon.



when work is very pressing, to even follow
this by another night's work at his desk, then
going home for a couple of hours" sleep to
be back again at 9 A. M. to begin again. The
spirit of emulation aroused by the knowledge
all the employees have of the strain and se-
verity of Mr. Thompson's work has much to
do with the success of the bank, naturally all
wishing to keep pace with the president, but
none can do it, try as they may. He can go
sound asleep in a second anywhere, and when
he awakens it is with every faculty and instinct
alert with life. He will fall asleep standing in
the public bank room writing a letter, nap,
perhaps, for fifteen minutes, and on awaken-
ing resume instantly the writing of his letter
just where he dropped it, without having to
read it over to pick up the thread of his

In his enormous coal and land operations
he personally attends to all the detail,
whether he is in them alone or with others.
All his associates do is to put in their share
of the purchase money. When the deal is
closed each partner gets a statement of the
essential details and a memorandum that
such an amount of money has been placed
to his credit in the First National. This is
usually his original investment plus a hand-
some profit, often many times the sum in-
vested. His operations are startling. He has
bought and sold most of the coking coal de-
posit of Fayette county and still owns many
acres. In Greene county his coal acreage is
immense. He is also a very large owner of
Washington and Allegheny counties, Penn-
sylvania, and of West Virginia coal lands. He
is undoubtedly the largest individual owner
of the valuable thick vein coking coal lands in
the United States, and has an enormous for-
tune, which he is credited with having accu-
mulated by fair means, without having
wronged a single person or having enjoyed
any exclusive legislation or social or com-
mercial advantages.

Another marked feature of his personality
is his remarkable memory. Of the two thou-
sand notes held by the First National Bank
he can name from memory every maker and
endorser and give their address. On one oc-
casion he entertained at his residence at Oak
Hill a party of Cleveland capitalists to whom
he had sold a $3,000,000 tract of coal. On be-
ing asked concerning his trip around the

world, beginning in 1903 and continuing fif-
teen months, he took his questioners to near-
ly every quarter of the globe, naming not
only the places visited, but the date and de-
tails associated with each place. He stated
that he had not kept a diary further than that
each day he noted the number of miles trav-
eled. His ability to read nature is wonderful,
and seldom is he wrong. Many loans are
made by the First National Bank with no se-
curity beyond Mr. Thompson's knowledge
and belief in the man. In 1901 he conceived
the idea of an eleven-story building as a suit-
able home for the First National Bank. The
population was then seven thousand, four
hundred and thirty-three, and only the Car-
negie building in Pittsburgh was the superior
of this proposed building as recently as 1890.
But he reasoned that the First National Bank
had made its money in Uniontown and that
it was meet and proper that this able and
progressive bank should foster home invest-
ment and give Uniontown what it greatly
needed — a modern office and apartment
building. The plans were drawn by the
World's Fair architects, D. H. Burnham &
Compan}', and the building when completed
was unsurpassed in the United States or in
the world for utility and convenience. It
houses a thousand persons, and from morn-
ing until night is a scene of continuous ac-
tivity. In no city in the world of its size can
such a commercial building be found. A fit-
ting home for the greatest bank and a fitting
monument for the man who inspired it. The
bank building has a frontage of 150 feet on
Main street, and runs back 150 feet to Peter

The public service of Mr. Thompson has
been weighty and valuable. He served on the
commission that freed the Monongahela
river from the heavy burden of toll; was a
member and president of the city council
from 1892 to 1000, a period of great improve-
ment in the city; was president of the News
Publishing Company, president of the Union
Cemetery Company, and has aided and
abetted every legitimate enterprise in his city
which has been offered to him for support.

Mr. Thompson married, December il,
1879, Mary, daughter of John and Sarah.
(Redburn) Anderson. She died August 8,
1896. Children: Andrew A., born October
25, 1880; John R., born October 6, 1882.



(The Markle Line.)

The progenitor of the Markle family in
Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, was
Christian Markle, born in Alsace, Germany,
1678. To avoid religious persecution follow-
ing the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes he
fled to Amsterdam, Holland, where he mar-
ried Jemima Weurtz, a sister of an admiral
in the Dutch navy. In 1703 he came to
America, settling at Moselem Springs, Berks
county, Pennsylvania, where he purchased
fifteen hundred acres of land. He was a
coach maker and established on his farm a
wagon-making shop, a blacksmith shop and
a grist mill.

Caspard, youngest son of Christian Mar-
kle, was born in Berks county, Pennsyl-
vania, 1732, died at Mill Grove, Westmore-
land county, Pennsylvania, in 1819. He
owned, with Judge Painter, large tracts of
land on Sewickley creek, extending for sev-
eral miles.

He erected a grist mill on the creek,
•which traversed his homestead, and
made some of the first flour manufactured
west of the mountains; this he transported in
flatboats to New Orleans. In 1819 the citi-
zens erected a monument to him to commem-
orate his early connection with flour making
west of the Alleghenies. He married (first)
Elizabeth Grim, and moved to Westmoreland
county. His wife died there, and in 1776 he
returned to Berks county, where he married
(second) Mary Rothermel and again re-
turned to Westmoreland county. He had by
both wives twenty-two children, the youngest
being Leah, wife of Andrew Finley Thomp-
son (see Thompson).

Several of the Markles were soldiers.
George Markle was a soldier of the Indian
war and fought at the defense of Wheeling.
Another George Markle was a revolutionary
soldier and fought at Brandywine. Jacob
Markle was in the naval service under Com-
modore Barney. Another member of the
family, Abraham Markle, came from Ger-
many and settled in Canada and was a dele-
gate to the provincial parliament. In the war
of 1812 he came to the United States and be-
came a colonel in the American army. The
British government confiscated his property
in Canada, but the United States gave him
four sections of land near Fort Harrison, in

(IV) William M., son of
THOMPSON Jasper Markle (q. v.) and

Eliza (Caruthers) Thomp-
son, was born November 13, 185 1,( in Menal-
len township, Fayette county, Pennsylvania.
Being the eldest son, responsibilities came to
him at an early age, but he was eager to be
useful, and in addition to his school work be-
came a most useful assistant, even while yet
a growing boy. He attended the public
schools of Menallen township and later Madi-
son Academy in Uniontown. After finishing
his preparatory course he entered Washing-
ton and Jefiferson College, from whence he
was graduated, class of 1871. After gradua-
tion he returned to the home farm and took
full charge of its operation. His father at that
time was deeply engrossed with his affairs
of the bank and gladly surrendered the man-
agement of his agricultural interests to his
son. So good a manager was he that the
farm of one hundred and sixty acres, when
he took it as a young man, had been in-
creased to an estate of seven hundred acres
at his father's death. This land all lay in
fertile portions of Menallen and South Union
townships. By his father's will William M.
interited four hundred and fifty acres, includ-
ing the homestead, which has ever since been
his home. He has devoted his entire life to
agriculture ?nd its kindred pursuits. Besides
caring for his own estate he also has the
management of several hundred acres belong-
ing to the brother, Josiah V. Thompson. He
has taken a deep interest in high grade stock
and has a herd of short-horned cattle on his
farm that experts pronounce the finest among
the many fine herds of short-horns in the
state of Pennsylvania. He carries this same
idea of excellence through all his stock breed-
ing and farming operations, and is a perfect
type of the prosperous modern American
farmer. In most comfortable circumstances
financially, he is in position to follow modern
progress in all lines pertaining to his business
and to prove by actual experiment the value
of the different methods in fine stock breed-
ing, rotation of crops, selection of peed, etc.
These experiments he is constantly carrying
on. his being almost an experimental farm
for that section. He has raised the standard
of the agricultural methods of his township
and freely gives of his experiences for the
benefit of his neighbors.



Fie is a Republican in politics, and al-
though deeply interested in public affairs,
never desired or sought public office. He
stands for what is pure and honest in local
government and wields an influence exerted
only for good. He is a member and an elder
of the Presbyterian Church of Union-
town and interested in all god works. While
not deeply interested in business other than
agriculture, he yet holds a position in the
directorate of the First National Bank of
Uniontown, and the same position in the
Richhill Coke Company.

He married, January 12, 1887, Catherine
Mays Ruple, born in Washington county,
Pennsylvania, daughter of General James B.
and Sarah .\. (Mays) Ruple. Children, all
born in Menallen township, Fayette county,
Permsylvania, and living at home: i. Helen
Ruple, born November 9, 1887, graduate of
Washington Seminary. 2. Jasper Markle,
born January 5, 1889, a student at Washing-
ton and Jefferson College. 3. Catherine M.,
born January 26, 1895, student at Washing-
ton Seminary.

(The Ruple Line.)

The Rnples, originally from Germany, set-
tied in Philadelphia, where Baltus Ruple, the
founder of the family, was born about the year
1740. Shortly after the revolution he moved
to Morris county. New Jersey, where he lived
until 1794, when he came to western Pennsvl-
v inia, locating in Washington county near the
line of Morris and Finley townships, two miles
north of Prosperity Village. He died there
the following year. Fie was twice married,
his second wife being Anna McCallum, the
mother of his five children: Colonel James,
David, Elizabeth. Mary and Margaret. By his
first wife he had: John, Ruth and Samuel.
His widow married (second) Major Charles
Cracraft, a pioneer and Indian fighter, who
on several occasions was captured by his red
foes, but always escaped.

(II) Colonel James Ruple, eldest son of
Baltus Ruple, was born in Morris county.
New Jersey, February 18, 1788. He was six
years of age when his father came to western
Pennsylvania, where he received a fair educa-
tion and grew to manhood on the homestead
farm. Before attaining his majority he went
to the town of Washington, where he learned
the carpenter's trade with Samuel Hughes.
He became a leading contractor and builder

of Washington county, continuing until a few
years prior to his death, when he became a
brick manufacturer on a large scale. Shortly
after the war was declared against Great Brit-
ain in 1812 he enlisted as a volunteer and was
chosen first lieutenant of Captain Sample's
'^ompany, and upon the formation of the regi-
ment was promoted adjutant. He was in
service at Bhick Rock (Buffalo) on the Niag-
ara frontier and served until the troops were
discharged from duty there. In 1814, when
the city of Washington was reported threat-
ened, he quit his business, uniformed his ap-
prentices and started with them to the seat
of war. They were, however, ordered to re-
turn before reaching the state line. Shortly
afterward a volunteer regiment was formed
and Mr. Ruple was elected its colonel. In
1S17 he was elected coroner of Washington
county, holding the office three years. In
1828 he was appointed clerk of the county
courts by Governor Shultz, and in 1830 was
reappointed by Governor Wolf, serving six
years. In January, 1839, he was appointed
to the same office by Governor Porter, and
in October of the same year was elected un-
der the provisions of the amended state con-
stitution, serving three years. He died Jan-
uary 8. 1855. He married, in 1809, Diana
Goodrich, born in New York state near the
Connecticut line, a descendant of William
Goodrich, who came from England to New
England in 1643 with his brother John. Wil-
liam Goodrich married Sarah Marvin and be-
came a man of consequence in Connecticut.
His son John married Rebecca Allen and
lived in Weathersficld, Connecticut. Their
son Jaocb, born November 2y, 1694, married
Benedict, daughter of Nathaniel and Mehit-
able (Porter) Goodwin, and lived in Wethers-
field and Windsor, Connecticut. Their son
Elijah, born July 3 ,1724. married, August 20,
1752, Margaret Gillett, resided at Windsor,
Connecticut, and Hancock, Massachusetts.
Their son Jesse, born October 28. 1759, died
September 21, 1852, married, January 16,
1782, Dinah or Di na Bishop. Their daugh-
ter Duiah or Diana, born January 16, 1789,
died December 14, 1885, aged ninety-six
years, married Colonel James Ruple. She
came to Washington county, Pennsylvania,
with her parents shortly after the year 1800.
('hi'dren of Colonel James Ruple: i. Eliza-

Online LibraryJohn Woolf JordanGenealogical and personal history of Fayette county, Pennsylvania (Volume 2) → online text (page 6 of 57)