Burton L Barnhart


BURTON L. BARNHART, whose beautiful home at Kaylor, "Maple Hill," is one of the finest in all that portion of Armstrong county, is extensively interested in oil and gas operations in that region, supplying gas to Kaylor and to the surrounding territory for a radius of five miles. He belongs to a family of German extraction which has long been established in this part of Pennsylvania.

Jacob Barnhart, the progenitor of this branch of the family, came to America from the Rhine country, in Germany, in 1742. His brother John William also emigrated to this country in 1742 and they first settled in Westmoreland county,Pa., later moving to Butler county, where the Barnharts have been well known ever since, the post office of Barnhart's Mills, which was in existence many years, having been named in their honor, and the town at that location was known as Millerstown from the fact that the Barnhart Mills were located there; it is now called Chicora. Philip Barnhart, son of John William Barnhart, was the founder of the town, which he laid out.

Jacob Barnhart, great-grandfather of Burton L. Barnhart, was born in Westmoreland county, Pa., son of the Jacob who came from Germany in 1742. Thence he moved in an early day to Butler county, where he took up a large tract of land, owning about 250 acres. He improved his property, developing a beautiful farm, and was known as one of the progressive men of his day, both for the enterprise he displayed in his business affairs and his usefulness as a citizen. Besides farming he followed shoemaking, receiving forty cents a day for work at his trade. When he and his wife died Simon Barnhart, a cousin of Isaac Barnhart (father of Burton L. Barnhart), bought out all the heirs. On his fine farm Jacob Barnhart passed the remainder of his life, dying when fifty-six years old, and he is buried in an old cemetery in Fairview township, that county. His wife, whose maiden name was Spangler, was a native of Butler county and died in 1860; she was interred in the same cemetery. They were members of the German Reformed Church. They became the parents of seven children, namely: John, the grandfather of Burton L. Barnhart, is mentioned below; David died in Chicora, Butler county; William was killed in 1844 while chopping a leaning tree, a splinter flying off and striking him in the neck; Elizabeth married Solomon Rumbaugh, and died in Sugar Creek township; Susan became the wife of Jacob Hauk, of Fairview township, Butler county, and died in that township; Mary Maria married John McKisson, deceased, of Buena Vista, Butler county; Hannah married John Hammond, of Chicora, Pa., a stone cutter and mason, and both are deceased.

Andrew Barnhart, brother of Jacob, above, also lived in Butler county, making his home in Fairview township. He served in the Black Hawk war as a fifer, and having to blow the fife one extremely cold day had his fingers frozen; upon his return home he made an oath that he would never again blow a fife, which he kept faithfully. He died at the age of eighty years.

John Barnhart, grandfather of Burton L. Barnhart, was born Feb.6, 1800, in Chicora, Butler Co., Pa., and lived to the age of eighty-six years, six months, twenty days. All his school education was received in the German language, nevertheless he learned to speak English as fluently as any, and he always maintained high standing among the intelligent citizens of his community. After his marriage he settled where the Kaylor coal mine is now operated, and his upright and industrious life gained and held the esteem of all who knew him. He took no part in politics, but was a Republican in sentiment, and he held membership in the German Reformed Church.

Mr. Barnhart married Susanna Hepler, who was born Sept. 10, 1810, at Cherry Run, Clarion Co., Pa., daughter of Jacob Hepler, a pioneer of that county, and she preceded him to the grave, dying Jan. 4, 1875. Mr. and Mrs. Barnhart are buried in the dilapidated cemetery previously mentioned. They were the parents of eleven children, viz.: (1)Jacob C., born Feb. 25, 1830, died January, 1913. He was a devout member of the Nevin Memorial Reformed Church, and a regular attendant, missing only one communion service from 1849 until his death; he served as deacon from 1856 to 1880. Mr. Barnhart served as school director of Limestone township, Clarion county, for four terms. His first marriage was to Barbara Smith, by whom he had two children, Scott and Mary, the latter deceased. Scott settled on the old home farm, a fine property of 153 acres, in Limestone township, Clarion county. (2) Elizabeth married Charles McKinney, who died April 25, 1862, near Rimersburg, Clarion county, and she subsequently became the wife of Thomas Downs, of Clarion county, by w3hom she had one son, Isaac Scott. By her first marriage she had four children, David, William, Alkana and John. She died Sept. 12, 1912, and is buried at Richmond, Kans. She was a member of the German Reformed Church. (3) Hannah married Joseph Foringer, a manufacturer of woolens, later engaged as a merchant at Kaylor. Both died when seventy-three years old. They had a family of twelve children: One that died in infancy, Scott, twins, Jane, Henry, Isaac (deceased), Harvey, Joseph, Winnie (Mrs. John Wiles), Sarah and Charles. (4) Lewis married Mary Brown, of Butler county, Pa., who died Sept. 7, 1911, and is buried at Lahobeth Presbyterian Church in Clarion county, when sixty-five years of age. They were the parents of three children, Lemuel, Charles Ellis and a daughter that died in infancy. (5) Katherine married John Shook, and they lived at Kaylor and Buena Vista. At the time of her death, March 12, 1914, when she was seventy-seven years old, she was living at Perry, Ohio. They had children as follows: Alvin, Thomas (who was killed on the railroad), Curtis (deceased), Isaac (of Ohio), Mollie (who married William Harrington, also of Ohio), and Edward (who is in the regular army). (6) Adam, now living at Iola, Kans., aged seventy-four years, was married in 1860 to Kate Shook, who died in 1911 in her eighty-third year. They settled in Kansas. They had children: Isabelle, Loman, Walter, Ida M., Linus, John. Emma and Edward. (7) Isaac is mentioned fully below. (8) Sarah, who died in August, 1904, was the wife of W.H. Eynon and had four children, Ethel, Myrtle, William (deceased)and Harry (deceased). (9) Rachel married Harvey Peck and lives in Vermont. She has one child, Grace. (10) Susanna, twin of Rachel, is the widow of Thomas Shook, of Pittsburgh, Pa., where she resides now sixty-eight years old. She has had six children, Satara, Olive, Ruth, Anna, Charles, and a son that died in infancy. (11) Joseph married Nancy McElroy, and they have had children, William, Mollie, Kate, James, Eva, Ella, Hannah, Pearl, Lulu and Hugh.

Isaac Barnhart was born Aug. 16, 1841, on the farm where he still resides in Brady's Bend township, a half mile south of the Kaylor post office. He obtained his education there, attending the local schools until he was about fourteen years old, after which he worked steadily on the home farm up to the time he was twenty, at the outbreak of the Civil war. He then enlisted in the Union army, joining Company B, 103d Pennsylvania Volunteers, organized at Kittanning, in which he became corporal; he was mustered out July 8, 1865. He saw much active service and was wounded once. Returning to his home in Brady's Bend township in August, 1865, to Hattie E. Shaffer, daughter of Adam Shaffer, of Shaverstown, Delaware Co., N.Y., of old Revolutionary stock, and in 1866 returned to Brady's Bend township and settled on the home place. Mr. Barnhart followed farming there very successfully, owning a fine property of five acres near Kaylor (within the limits of the Kaylor voting precinct) and worked at his trade, harnessmaking. For the last fifteen years he has lived retired, enjoying a well earned rest. In former years Mr. Barnhart took a direct part in township affairs, in which he has always maintained public-spirited interest. He served twelve years as school director, and was constable for one term. Politically he has been a lifelong Republican.

Seven children were born to Isaac and Hattie E. (Shaffer) Barnhart, namely: Burton L., is mentioned below; Herman W. married Jennie McClintock, of Butler, Pa.; Minnie is the wife of James Wagle, of Kaylor; Orman C., of Cassville, W. Va., married Catherine Wills, of Mars, Pa.; Newton H., who lives at Kaylor, married Ada Snyder; Charles, who served in the Spanish-American war, remaining in the army three years altogether, married Frankie Hires, and lives at Columbus, Ohio (he has been a railroad man for thirteen years); Charles Arthur died in 1875, when twenty months old. The mother of his family died April 4, 1886, in her forty-fifth year, and was buried at the Baptist Church at Kaylor.

On July 18, 1888, Mr. Barnhart married (second)Mary E. Meyers, who was born June 12, 1858, in Brady's Bend township, daughter of the late Isaac and Elizabeth Meyers, pioneer residents of that section. Mr. and Mrs. Barnhart have had no children. They have both been active in Grange work, having been charter members of the Kaylor Grange, No. 1396, which Mr. Barnhart has served as chaplain and Mrs. Barnhart as Ceres. They are members and earnest workers in the offices of trustee and district steward.

Burton L. Barnhart was born April 16, 1867, in an old log house on the farm at Kaylor, and was reared there, obtaining his education in the neighborhood schools, which he attended until thirteen years old. After he started to work for himself he was employed at the Barnhart coal mine, opposite his present home, which supplied all the coal for local well drilling at that time, and from there he changed to the oil business, beginning as a pumper. After two years he went into business on his own account, and in spite of the fact that he had helped to drill probably more dry holes than any other man in Armstrong county he has made a notable success of his work. It is a fact worthy of record that on Sept. 5, 1899, Mr. Barnhart drilled the first "Speechly sand" gas well in this country, located about two hundred feet from his present residence. He proceeded with the drilling in spite of all opposition and discouragements, one prominent gas man going so far as to say he was in need of a guardian. However, he was rewarded with one of the largest gas wells in this part of the country, the production reaching 1,200,000 feet of gas per day. The well is 2,480 feet deep, and the rock pressure at first was 980 pounds, and great difficulty was experienced in getting the output under control, the well "blowing out" three times; a special "packer" had to be made to control it. The rock pressure now is 300 pounds, and the production is still large. Mr. Barnhart at present has twenty-two producing gas wells and fifteen producing oil wells (all having telephone connections with his office), besides twenty-five miles of gas pipe line. He himself continues to take an active part in the operations, with which he keeps closely in touch, personally superintending the fields, and reading all the gas meters. The production is heavy at present and Mr. Barnhart's efficient and profitable management of his affairs has won him high standing among the progressive and enterprising operators of the day. In this connection he employs five men regularly. The Barnhart Coal Mine pumping station is supplied with gas from his property, as well as the town of Kaylor and the surrounding county. Mr. Barnhart also has other business interests, being president of the Butler County Auto Company. He handles a full line of gas fittings and supplies (in which he does a thriving business), and is now installing a gasoline plant to make gasoline for all commercial purposes. He keeps seven fine horses to do the large amount of hauling required in the various operations of production and trade, and some of these are standard bred.

Mr. Barnhart is a thirty-second-degree Mason, belonging to Chicora Blue Lodge, No. 540, Butler Chapter, No. 273, Tancred Commandery, No. 48, of Pittsburgh, and the Consistory and Shrine at Pittsburgh. He is also a member of Lodge No. 203,B.P.O. Elks, of Kittanning. He attends the Baptist Church. Mr. Barnhart has been a lifelong Republican, and he is now serving his party as committeeman for No. 2 district, Kaylor. He has always endeavored to exert his influence for the improvement of local conditions, and his usefullness is appreciated by his fellow citizens.

On Dec. 6, 1887, Mr. Barnhart married Ella L. Doutt, daughter of John Tarlton and Mary Ann (Campbell) Doutt, of Brady's Bend, the former an old settler of that place, where he was a well-known blacksmith for years. John Tarlton Doutt was the son of John R. Doutt and Lydia (Frantz), daughter of Isaac Frantz, of near Bellefonte, Pa. Mrs. Mary Ann (Campbell) Doutt was the daughter of Samuel Campbell, a farmer near Fairview, Butler Co., Pa., who married Miss Sidney Gibson. Mr. and Mrs. Barnhart have no children. Ever since their marriage they have lived at their present location, on the south side of Kaylor, and in 1904 he built the beautiful modern residence there which they have since occupied. The property, known as Maple Hill, consists of thirty-five acres, beautifully improved, and particularly noted as a fine residence property. The fine lawn is tastefully inclosed with cement blocks, and Mr. Barnhart has built a large buff brick barn with all modern improvements on the place, probably the finest in the county. It is 36 by 46 feet, three stories high, with cement floors and of fireproof construction throughout. Mr. Barnhart has also planted an orchard, of three hundred trees, of various fruits.

Source: pages 656-659, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co.,1914
Transcribed September 1998 by P. Godesky for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)

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