ARMSTRONG'S EXPEDITION - THE DESTRUCTION OF THE INDIAN PORT - CASUALTIES - OLD KITTANING - EARLY SETTLERS - THE ARMSTRONG PURCHASE - NEW KITTANING - "THE WHITE ELEPHANT" - KITTANNING IN 1820 - EARLY INDUSTRIES - FERRIS AND BRIDGES - FLOODS AND CASUALTIES - OFFICIALS - PUBLIC BUILDINGS - LIGHT AND WATER - FIRE PROTECTION - NEWSPAPERS - LIBRARIES - ACADEMIES AND SCHOOLS - BANKS - CHURCHES - IRON INDUSTIRES - OTHER INDUSTRIES - POPULATION - GEOLOGY - GREATER KITTANING - WICKBORO - GLASS WORKS - WICK POTTERIES
An explosion heavy enough to be heard distinctly some forty miles away was a thing to marvel at ion Western Pennsylvania in the middle of the eighteenth century. That explosion, sounding down the quiet valley of the Allegheny on the ninth September morning of the year 1756, occasion a great stir at the French Fort Duquesne. The whole garrison probably crowded onto the parade ground to listen for a repetition of this startling sound. But never again did such a portentous note disturb the serenity of the valley. It sounded the knell of the French occupation of Pennsylvania and crushed at one blow the ruinous rule of the Latins and their Indian allies.
The Commandant of the for at once sent a detachment to inquire the cause of this explosion--for he knew that nothing but gunpowder could have caused so great a sound. When these troops reached the site of Kittanning they realized all that their fears had foretold to them. The great stronghold of the Delaware was a smoking ruin, the tepees and cabins a pile of embers, the cornfields laid waste and the savage inhabitants lying in the ruins. Among the dead was their famous ally, Captain Jacobs, the leader of the marauders who had for years terrorized the English settlers of this section of Pennsylvania.
This event marks the beginning of recorded history of the now thriving city which is the seat of Armstrong County and was the culmination of the plan of retaliation made by the English for innumerable atrocities perpetrated by the French and Indians among the settlements west of the Susquehanna. These raids had culminated in the capture of Fort Granville in 1756, the prisoners from that place having been marched to the then great Indian village of Kittanning. Immediately after the news of the fall of that fort reached the English commander at Fort Shirley he notified the governor and council at Carlisle, who at once sent Co. John Armstrong, with Captains Hamilton, Mercer, Ward, and Potter and eight hundred men, to destroy the Indian village. They left Fort Shirley on September 3, 1756, marched up the Juniata, over the mountains and westward over the well defined Indian trail that led to Kittanning.
THE DESTRUCTION OF THE INDIAN FORT
The troops reached the town before daybreak, being guided to the spot by the whopping of the braves and the sound of their war drums. Creeping down the cliff just behind the present courthouse they hid in a field of corn until the dawn appeared. At one time they feared that they had been discovered by hearing a strange low whistle form one of the savages, but it proved to be only a brave calling to his son.
As the sun rose over the steep hillside and rendered all objects distinct the attack was suddenly begun. At the first firing, Captain Jacobs, like the great leader he was, sent the women to the woods and marshaled his braves and fortified themselves in the log dwellings near the center of the village. When he heard the cries of the English he said: "The whites are come at last. Now we shall have scalps enough."
For a time, in the shelter of their cabins, the Indians held the besiegers at bay, but finally certain bold spirits among the attacking force ran forward and fired the roofs of the houses that sheltered the savages, and soon the defender's, though fighting bravely, were compelled to surrender. John Ferguson was the hero of the day. Braving the constant fire of the natives who were sheltered in the largest of the houses, he stood beneath the walls and held a piece of burning bark against the side until it was in flames. This was the storehouse of a quantity of gunpowder which the Indians were saving to use in a general campaign to destroy the whites. In a few moments it blew up, sending the fragments of the defenders into the air and causing the tremendous sound whose echoes resounded even to Fort Duquesne.
Captain Jacobs refused to surrender and probably perished in this explosion. Hi scalp was afterward shown to Colonel Armstrong. The power of the Delawares was broken, the French alliance severed and the future of the colonists secured. Burdened with their wounded, the surviving members of the expedition returned to For Littleton in triumph.
Sad to say, several of the soldiers had deserted when the action was at its height and these were met the afternoon of the fight by Armstrong near where he had the night before he left Lieutenant Hogg to protect his rear with twelve men. They reported that the few Indians that had been discovered near a campfire had developed into a large war party, and after attacking them Lieutenant Hogg was morally wounded and his force deserted him. From the number of the blankets afterwards found here the spot was since been called Blanket Hill.
In addition to the loss of the lieutenant, Armstrong suffered the curtailing of his horses, which were frightened away, thus greatly delaying him in the retreat.
Colonel Armstrong reported to Governor Denny the results of his expedition in a document that is interesting and graphic but as it has been printed in several histories in the past and is quite lengthy, we will only mention it and depend on the facts here stated to enlighten our readers.
Colonel Armstrong, in his report, said that he had reason to believe that Captain Mercer, being wounded, was induced by Ensign John Scott and others to leave the main body and try a nearer way, and thereby became separated for them and lost. Thinking thus, he had sent a detachment back to seek him, but they returned reporting that he was seen with a small party to take a different road. In this they were wrong, for Mercer had fallen in with the Indians who had attacked Lieutenant Hogg. Seeing the approaching he seized a horse and, notwithstanding a broken arm, escaped. For many days, during which he lost the house, he subsisted on roots and berries, and finally, after a long series of hardships, succeeded in reach Fort Littleton.
The list furnished by Armstrong of the killed, wounded and missing is as follows: In Lieut. Co. John Armstrong's company--Thomas Power and John McCormick, killed, James Strickland and Thomas Foster, wounded. Capt. Hamilton's company--John Kelly, killed. Captain Mercer's company--John Baker, John McCartney, Patrick Mullen, Cornelius McGinnes, Theophilus Thompson, Dennis Kilpatrick, and Bryan Carrigan, killed; Capt. Hugh Mercer and Richard Fitzgibbons, wounded; Ensign John Scott, Emanuel Minshey, John Taylor, John ____, Francis Phillips, Robert Morrow, Thomas Burk, and Philip Pendergrass, missing. Captain Armstrong's company--Lieut. James Hogg, James Anderson, Holdcraft Stinger, Edward O'Brians. James Higgins, John Lasson, killed; William Lindley, Robert Robinson, John Ferrall, Thomas Camplin, Charles O'Neal, wounded; John Lewis, William Hunter, William Baker, George Appleby, Anthony Grissy, Thomas Swan, missing. Capt. Ward's company---William Welsh, killed; Ephraim Bratton, wounded; Patrick Myers, Lawrence Donnahow, Samuel Chambers, missing. Captain Potter's company--Ensign James Potter and Andrew Douglas, wounded. Rev. Capt. Steele's company--Terrence Cannaberry, missing.
The English prisoners recaptured from the Indians at Kittanning were Ann McCord, wife of John McCord, and Martha Thorn, about seven years old, captured at Fort McCord; Barbara Hicks, captured at Conolloway's; Catherine Smith, a German child, captured near Shamokin; Margaret Hood, captured near the mouth of Conogocheague, MD; Thomas Girty, captured at Fort Granville; Sarah Kelly, captured near Winchester, VA; and one woman, a boy, and two little girls, who were with Capt. Mercer and Ensign Scott when they were separated from the main body, and who had not reached Fort Littleton when Colonel Armstrong made his report.
The original of the following voucher and signatures is in the family of the late Judge Buffington, who obtained it from a kinsman of Captain Potter:
"We, the Subscribers, Acknowledge that we have Received our full pay from the time Capt. James Potter came into Colonel John Armstrong's Company to the first day of August, 1759.
John Brady, Serg'tHugh Hunter, Serg't
Wm. Brady, Corp.Andrew X (His Mark) Halleday
Joshh X LennyJohn X Neal
George X ClarkJohn X Cunningham
John X CahanerJaremia X Daytny
Wm. X CraylorRobert X Huston
George GouldJohn Mason
John X DoughertyWm. Kyle
Wm. BennetJos. McFerren
William LayserAlexander X Booth
Thos X ChristyJohn X Devine
William X MullanDennis X Miller
James X LamonJames Semple
Thos X CanlayMichael X Colman
Robert X ColmanRob. X Huston
John BurdGeorge Ross
Thos. D. X HenlayPotter X Lappan
Robert McCulloughJames X McElroy
James MarcesWilliam Waugh
Wm. LittleArchibald Marshall
For the successful results of his raid the corporation of the City of Philadelphia voted Colonel Armstrong the thanks of the city and a medal, besides donating gifts to the amount of 150 pounds to the surviving members of the expedition.
Kittanning, the Indian town that was thus so tragically destroyed, was for many years a great center among the Indians west of the Alleghenies.
It is known that the Delawares had a village there before 1730, and it is not unlikely that there was a town there long before that. A mysterious earthwork located not far from the present site of Kittanning, and attributed to the so-called "mound-builders," would seem to indicate that Kittanning was an important point perhaps many centuries ago.
Fort Armstrong was built near the site of the old Indian town about the close of the Revolutionary War. Some time early in 1779 Washington wrote to Colonel Brodhead:
"I have directed Colonel Rawlings' corps, consisting of three companies, to march from Fort Frederick, Md., to Fort Pitt as soon as he is relieved by militia. Upon his arrival you are to detach him with his own corps and as may more will make up 100, should his company be short of that number, to take post at Kittanning and immediately throw up a stockade fort for the security of the convoys."
On July 3rd of the same year Colonel Brodhead wrote to Washington:
"A complete stockade fort is erected at Kittanning and is now called
This fort, which stood about two miles below Kittanning, was not built by Colonel Rawlings after all, but by Lieutenant Colonel Bayard. It played little or not part in pioneer history. The garrison was withdrawn in November, 1779, and it was never occupied thereafter.
Settlement within the limits of what is now Armstrong county began soon after the establishment of this futile fort. James Claypoole was perhaps the first settler within the present limits of Kittanning. He settled at the mouth of Tribe's run in the spring of 1791, building his cabin near what is now the northwest corner of Arch and Water Streets.
Claypoole stayed there just a year. His horses came running past the cabin in terror one day in spring following his settlement, and upon asking a friendly Indian what their action meant, he was advised to get away. He took the advice at once. He made a raft, put his wife and younger children thereon, and started down the river for Pittsburgh. His two boys started down the river by land at the same time, driving their horses and cattle. The Claypooles reached Pittsburgh in safety.
Another Armstrong county pioneer, who started for Pittsburgh in the same fashion and met a less happy fate, was Capt. Andrew Sharp, who settle in the Plum Creek district about 1784. His story has been related in a previous chapter.
Robert Brown, who came into Armstrong County with some hunters in 1798, was one of the first permanent settlers. Patrick Daughtery and Andrew Hunter came in about the same time.
The western and southwestern portions of what is now Westmoreland, and the southeastern part of what is now Armstrong, were settled about the year 1769, the next year after the proprietary of Pennsylvania had purchased the country from the Indians as far west as the Allegheny and Ohio rivers. In 1769 the land office, for the sale or location of the lately purchased land, was opened. Several thousands of locations were applied for on the first day. The settlement on the east side of the Monongahela and Allegheny was very rapidly extended from the Monongahela forty miles northward, as far as Crooked Creek, and the first settlers were generally a more sober, orderly people than commonly happens in the first settlement of new countries.
At that time all Pennsylvania west of the western boundary of Lancaster was in Cumberland county. Whatever people had then settle in what is now Armstrong county must have been few. Among the petitions sent to the governor, in 1774, from inhabitants near Hanna's Town, imploring protection and relief in one, it was, among other things, set forth that the petitioners were rendered very uneasy by the order of removal of the troops, that had been raised for their general assistance and protection, "to Kittanning, a place at least twenty-five or thirty miles distant from any of the settlements."
THE ARMSTRONG PURCHASE
General Armstrong purchased from the proprietors of the then Province of Pennsylvania 556 1/2 acres with the usual allowances. The tract was surveyed to him by virtue of a proprietary letter to the secretary, dated May 29, 1771, on November 5, 1794. The patent for that tract bears date March 23, 1775. This tract of land was fittingly called by him "Victory" and included all of the present limits of Kittanning north of the rolling mill and south of Cowanshannock creek.
The present town of Kittanning dates from 1800. In that year the Legislature passed an act establishing the seat of the county on the river "at a distance not greater than five miles from Old Kittanning Town."
Armstrong's heirs deeded 150 acres for the site of the town, stipulating that they should receive one-half of the money realized by the sale of lots. The town was laid out in 1803. There 248 in-lots and 27 out-lots. The former sold at an average of $11.45 per lot.
Armstrong county was organized judicially in 1805 and the first court was held in a log house located on lot 121. The "bench" was a bench in every sense of the word--a carpenter's bench--and the judge's chair was a slit-bottom hickory. The opening of court was heralded by the blowing of a dinner horn in the hands of the town crier, James Hannegan.
The first courthouse, a high-roofed building with a cupola for a bell, was begun in 1809, and not completed till 1819. This building served till 1850, when the second courthouse was built. This was a two-story brick building that seems to have fallen short of the expectations of the people of the county, for we read that when it burned in 1856 nobody was sorry. The third courthouse, the present building, was built in 1858-60 at a cost of $32,000. It is a handsome and dignified building with a fine Corinthian portico and a graceful dome. It is, however, entirely too small for the transaction of the business of the county in these days, is cold and cheerless in winter and constricted and hot in summer. Although it was a fine building in its day, that day is done, and the present generation should erect a modern and artistic structure, similar to those of other less favored localities, which their children could view with the admiration due the monuments of their ancestors' architectural skill and foresight.
"THE WHITE ELEPHANT" KITTANNING
The first jail was built in 1805 and the second in 1850 when the second courthouse was built. The third, built in 1870-73, was one of the best prison buildings in the United States in its early days. It is still a building worthy of note among county jails. And, indeed, it ought to be a good jail, so the folks of Armstrong county think, for it cost them $252,000. They used to call it "The White Elephant". It could be duplicated now for one-third the original cost.
Kittanning was incorporated as a borough in 1821. Its population was then 325. A little later the era of steamboat navigation on the Allegheny began and thenceforth the town gained an importance rapidly.
The first steamboat came to Kittanning in April 1827. Then the "Albion" came up from Pittsburgh, with the river five feet above low water. Her arrival was the occasion of a great rejoicing, and forthwith an excursion was arranged. The captain of the "Albion" started up the river with a party of 120, including forty ladies, but he was presently forced to return to port because of the exuberance of certain gentlemen who let their enthusiasm get the better of their discretion.
In 1830 the "Allegheny" was built especially for the Allegheny river trade. This boat, designed for running in anything deeper than a heavy dew, once ran up the river as far as Olean, N.Y. Thenceforward till the Allegheny Valley railroad came through to Kittanning in 1856 river traffic flourished.
Notable among the relics of the early days of Kittanning that lingered on into the days of the generation now passing was the old Bower Tavern, which stood on the west side of the river, near where the steel bridge now comes to the west bank. A picture of this old hostelry, taken from an old photographic plate, is printed herewith.
To give a list of all those who settled in Kittanning in the days of its beginning would occupy needless space. From the assessment list of 1804 are gleaned the following facts: William Hannegan, tailor; James Hannegan, hatter (also first court crier); Joseph Miller, storekeeper; Bernard Mahan, shoemaker; James McIlhenny, wheelwright; Abraham Parkinson, mason; William Reynolds, tanner; John Shaeffer, joiner.
David Crawford was the first blacksmith coming here in 1805. The first hotelkeeper was Michael Mechling. David Reynolds also came at the same time as Mechling and established his tavern, the "Kittanning Inn," on the corner of Market and Jefferson, from which corner his descendants are still dispensing hospitality to the traveler. The "Reynolds House" is now kept buy the popular landlord, Harry Reynolds, who succeeded his father, the late Absalom Reynolds.
The first resident lawyer was Samuel Massey. For a list of those subsequent to him the reader is referred to the chapter on the bench and bar of the county.
The early settlers were dependent on Dr. George Hays, who came here in 1810, for medical attention. In the chapter on the medical profession of the county will be found a complete list of the later arrivals in Kittanning.
KITTANNING IN 1820
To afford a contrast tot he present vigorous city and list in a few words the industries of Old Kittanning, we will review the appearance of the town to the eyes of James McCullough, Sr., who lived here at that date and was alive in 1880.
There were then on Water Street nineteen dwellings and business houses, two of which were brick. Jacob Truby's gun shop Henry Rouse's cooper shop, the leather store of William Reynolds, Samuel McKee's saddlery, Joseph Irwin's inn kept in the stone house built by David Lawson, Robert Robinson's store and post office, and an inn kept by Walter Sloan.
There were twenty-three houses on Jefferson Street, two of which, including the courthouse, were of brick. John Gillespie's shoe shop was on the corner of Arch, the Columbian printing office on the old courthouse square, William Small's tailor shop and Hugh Roger's hat shop on the corner of Jacob, James Reichert's chair and wheel shop on the site of the Presbyterian Church, and David Crawford's blacksmith shop on the corner of the alley.
There were seven dwellings and business houses, besides the jail, on McKean street; Robert Speer's nail factory at the corner of the alley, Isaac Scott's pottery at the opposite corner.
There were no dwellings or business houses on Grant Avenue, High, Vine, Arch or Mulberry Streets.
There were eight dwelling and business houses on Market Street, including the "Eagle House" block, then almost completed. Samuel Houston's store, Michael Mechling's inn, David Reynolds' inn, Hamilton & McConnell's store, Joseph Shields' hat shop, James Monteith's store in the "Eagle House" block, William Hannegan's tailor shop, Henry Jack's store, and his saddlery further down the same block.
There were on Jacob and Walnut Streets a tannery and a dwelling. In 1830 the number of dwellings were ninety and of stores ten.
Gristmills, operated by hand and power, were established in the town by several of the pioneers, but the first practical one was that of Andrew Arnold, who built a steam grist mill on Jacob and Water Streets in 1834. Charles Cumpsley, a manufacturer of wagons, mowing machines, and wheelbarrows, was the next miller, in 1860.
Henry Worts, was the first tanner. Many other tanneries were operated in the interval between 1804 and 1874, when the last on, that of John S. Alexander, was closed. The business is abandoned now, the large Eastern tanneries taking care of the trade.
Hugh Fullerton was the first to manufacture yarn and cloth in this borough in 1822. The next and only industry of this kind to attain importance here was the fulling mill of J. Kennerdell & Co., in 1860. This plant developed from a small foundation to a factory of $70,000 capital. About five hundred yards of jeans, flannels, cassimeres and blankets were produced daily and about fifty men employed. IT was owned by Goodell & Company, in 1874, when destroyed by fire.
The first planning mill was started in 1866 by Heiner Bros., who developed an extensive trade by 1874.
One of the most interesting of the old time workers was John Clugston, who, in 1828, made eight-day and thirty-hour clocks, several of which are now in use and greatly treasured by their owners.
FERRIES AND BRIDGES
In the earlier years after the first settlement of Kittanning by the whites, the facilities for crossing the river were by skiffs and flatboats, when the water was too high for fording, which were rowed or poled for one side to the other. The first ferry was some distance below the rolling mill, known as Sloan's ferry. Brown's ferry was established at a later period, higher up the river, at the mouth of Jacob Street. Cunningham's ferry was established by William Cunningham, at the mouth of Market Street, which was, in 1834, a chain ferry much lie the pont volant, or flying bridge, long known to French military engineers. The ferryboat was borne across the river in about five minutes by the force of the current, by means of a strong wire, fastened to a tree about four hundred yards above the landing on the west side, the other end of the wire being fastened to the boat by stay-ropes, by which it could be brought to any desired angle with the current, the wire being kept out of the water by several buoys resembling small boats which crossed the river simultaneously with the large boat. The foremost end of the latter, being slightly turned up stream, was impelled across the river by the oblique action of the water against its side. These buoys looked like so many goslings swimming with their mother.
That ferry was subsequently owned by Philip Mechling, who kept it up until the bridge was erected. The above-mentioned mode was changed to that of the chain ferry by fastening the wire to trees or posts on both sides of the stream, dispensing with the buoys, connecting the boat to a pulley running along the wire by means of chains or smaller wires, turning the foremost end of the boat upstream, and thus causing it to be impelled across by the oblique action of the current of water on its side.
By the act of April 2, 1838, the Kittanning Bridge Company was incorporated. The charter thus granted lay dormant until about 1855, when, the requisite number of shares of stock having been taken, the work of building the bridge was begun, and was competed in March 1856. The foundation consisted of two stone abutments and four stone piers, substantially built. The first superstructure was chiefly wooden. In a few weeks after its completion, April 12, 1856, it was struck by a violent tornado and blown into the river.
The bridge company having been authorized by the act of April 19, 1856, to issue preferred stock, replaced the lost superstructure by a wooden on a different plan, that was firmly bound to the abutments and piers. It was covered. It lasted until 1874, when it was removed and the present graceful, durable, iron structure, with five channel arches, was substituted. The length of this bridge is nine hundred and sixteen feet. The total cost of the abutments, piers, superstructure and repairs was $60,000.
FLOODS AND OTHER CASUALTIES
Several times in the history of Kittanning and the county has the Allegheny menaced their lives and property. Floods occurred in 1832, 1835, 1837, 1865, 1875, and 1913. The latter was the highest on record, most of the cellars and the store basements on the lower end of the town being flooded.
Ice gorges occurred in 1837 and 1875. In the former year some of the streets were rendered impassable by the cakes of ice, which did not melt for three months. In the first ice gorge the people were compelled to abandon the main part of the town and the ice floes covered Water Street for a depth of fifteen feet. No lives were lost in either instance.
Another terrific ice gorge occurred in the second week of Mary, 1875. For several days the ice accumulated above and below Kittanning for miles each day. It was called the "ten-mile gorge". The severely code weather which had prevailed through the winter made the ice very thick and hard. Though it was not piled up as high as it was in 1837, the gorge was considerably longer, and, for a few days, there was apprehension that immense damage would be done by sweeping away the bridge and parts of the town, which would probably have been the case if the water had risen suddenly and rapidly.
On March 17, 1865, the water reached five and a quarter feet above the pavement at the corner of Arch and Water Streets; two feet, nine and on-half inches, corner of Water and Jacob Streets, and six and one-half feet, corner of Water and Mulberry Streets. The water reached to within three inches of the doorsill on Market, a few feet above McKean Street, and filled every cellar between the latter street and the river, except General Orr's.
The flood December 13, 1873, raised the water at the corner of Arch and Water Streets three feet above the pavement; corner of Water and Jacob Streets, one foot, nine and one-half inches; and at the corner of Water and Mulberry Streets, four feet.
During the flood of 1913 most of the business houses were inundated and several compelled to close. Only one restaurant, George's Cafe, was able to open, but not only did Mr. George continue to serve the public, but with commendable public spirit he refused to raise his prices and kept his bakery in operation day and night to supply bread to both Kittanning and Ford City.
At the residence of Dr. S. A. S. Jessop, corner of Walnut and South Jefferson Streets, are the marks of the two great floods, line off on the walls of his house, with the dates inscribed below. The mark of the flood of March 17, 1865, is two feet above the level of the pavement, while that of 1913 is eighteen inches higher. Both of the great floods occurred in the month of March, the one of 1913 being on the 26th.
An earthquake of moderate effect and short duration was felt on March 9, 1828.
About 1811 a tornado crossed the Allegheny near Kittanning, prostrating trees, unroofing houses and doing other damage. Another tornado in 1860 started near Middlesex, passed northeasterly through Armstrong, left the county about a mile north of South Bethlehem and created much damage in Clarion county. It destroyed many houses, leveled forests and killed two women and one man. Many had narrow escapes from death.
No records whatever were kept in the early days of the town's history, so nothing can be said regarding the officials of those days. The only data at hand are the minutes of the town council of 1823, by which it is seen that David Reynolds was burgess, David Crawford, Frederick Rohrer, Joseph Shields, Isaac Scott and Michael Truby were councilmen. James E. Brown was clerk.
Too much space would be occupied to recite the names of the later officials, so those of the year 1913 are given. They are:
Burgess, Harry P. Boarts; town council, P. J. Hoey, R. E. Kennerdell, H. N. Sankey, E. F. McGivern, Frank Neubert, W. C. Heidersdorf; borough treasurer, Harry E. Ellermeyer, borough solicitor, R. A. McCullough; borough clerk, J. D. Curren; chief of police, W. E. Gallagher; policemen, Matt Dosch, Joseph Glenn; street commissioner, John Tarr; overseers of the poor, James Baker, William Geidel; clerk to the overseers, Roy W. Pollock; assessors, L. B. Cross, H. J. Hays; tax collector, James King; auditors,
W. E. Miller, Fred Lindeman, A. W. Dosch.
PUBLIC BUILDINGS OF KITTANNING
The first town hall was built in 1859 by Charles Schotte for $1,000 and was located on Market Street, on the old public square. The lower story was used as a council chamber and for a post office, the rear housing the hose cart and ladders. The upper story was first used as a schoolhouse and for public meetings and later as the office of the Armstrong Republican. IT was destroyed by fire in 1895,but soon after rebuilt. The present building is larger and more commodious than the old one, and is occupied by the Armstrong Trust Company, and the city lockup on the first floor, Fire Company No. 2 and the borough offices being on the second and third floors. A large tower at the corner houses the fire bell.
An opera house was built by a joint stock company on Market Street in 1874. It was a frame structure, 49X60 feet, and cost $6,000. The interior was not very commodious and the acoustics were poor.
Wick's theatre, constructed in 1913, is the first substantial building for strictly amusement purposes ever erected in Kittanning, and will stand for years to come as a substantial and artistic monument to the enterprise of John Wick, Jr. It is of concrete and steel and is strictly fire-roof, in addition, having eighteen exits, by which it can be emptied of an audience in a few minutes. Steam heat, electric lights, sanitary walls, soft carpets, comfortable seats and harmonious decorations make it the ideal of what a theatre should be. In addition the audience can see every part of the stage and the acoustics are perfect.
One of the remarkable features with the erection of this mammoth building was the knowledge displayed by Mr. Wick, who started to build this modern playhouse on May 22nd, without any plans or contractor. He gave it his own supervision, looked after every minor detail and completed it in record building time. For the last month he had from forty-five to fifty people working night and day. The wages were the highest ever paid on any building constructed in Armstrong County. The laborers received $2.25 per day of nine hours; the carpenters, $3.50 to $3.75; the plasterers, $4.00 to $4.50; electricians $4.00 to $4.50.
During the progress of the work, Mr. Wick had many volunteer advisers as to the details of construction and he often adopted their suggestions, where practicable, taking the comments with perfect good nature. When the last touches were made to the outside he had his name and date of erection affixed across the front of the top. BY a carelessness on the part of the concrete workman, the figures and the name were formed in a ludicrous way. Wick permitted arrangement to remain for several days in order to give his volunteer assistants something to talk about, and then had the arrangement of the letters made more artistic.
Plans for the enlargement of the courthouse are being worked out by the county commissioners, and will be put into effect as soon as the newly elected judge, J. W. King, takes his seat in January, 1914.
The earliest records of the post office here are missing, but it is known that the first postmaster was Joseph Miller, appointed in 1807. He kept a store on the corner of Arch and Water Streets. His immediate successor was David Lawson, in 1810.
At that date there was a weekly mail, carried by horseback from Greensburg, via Freeport. Still later the famous Josiah Copley, while learning the printing trade, carried the mail from Indiana, by way of Woodward's Mill to Kittanning. When he arrived at the hill on the edge of town he sounded his horn, thus informing the residents of his coming, so that by the time of his arrival at the post office quite a crowd was gathered to witness the opening of the mail.
In the years that have intervened between that time and the present, many improvements have been introduced into the mail service, among them being the rural and the parcel post. A wonderful advance in the handling of the mails has been made and a large force of clerks is needed to receive and distribute it now. In these modern times the work of the Kittanning post office is conducted by the following gentlemen, who are universally popular with their towns people and the traveling public for their courtesy and efficient work: S. F. Booher, postmaster; J. M. Baker, assistant; Gordon B. Baum, James H. Stivanson, W. H. Reichert, G. R. Crawford and Andrew Shawl, clerks; C. Dargue, H. Walters, A. Cook, F. S. Geiger, William Leeger, carriers, A. Say, parcel post carrier.
The Kittanning Telephone Company is a local company, connecting with the many independent lines throughout the country. The service is excellent, the instruments are modern and the plant is well kept up. The officials of the company are: C. J. Jellop, president; E. S. Hutchison, vice president; K. B. Schotte, secretary, treasurer and manager; F. C. Monks, R. M Trollinger, Charles Truby, Charles E. Meals, Charles Neubert, directors.
The Pittsburgh & Allegheny Telephone Company, one of the competitors of the Bell system, has an exchange here, connecting with its long distance lines in the various cities and towns of the state.
LIGHTING AND WATER SUPPLY
The Kittanning Gas Company was incorporated in 1858, with a capital stock of $20,000, but did not carry out the requirements of its charter. By the act of 1859 the Armstrong Gas Company started in to erect a plant with a capital of $50,000, but was prevented form completing the works and sold out by the sheriff in 1862. The Kittanning Gas Company was reincorporated in 1868 and began business in 1872, supplying the citizens and the borough. The plant cost $31,000 and was located on McKean Street, between Jacob and Mulberry.
The introduction of natural gas in 1878 caused the company to close their works, as they could not compete with the new fuel, and their plant was old and the mains were simply logs, hollowed out for the purpose and useless for the installation of the new system. Another item to reckon with was the rapid introduction of electricity for lighting purposes, and the old company did not have enterprise enough to enter the field of electricity themselves.
J. G. Henry, George H. Fox, and A. H. Stitt were the pioneers in the natural gas industry in that section having drilled the first well at Cowanshannock in 1875.
There are seven companies in this county at present, one of which, the American Natural Gas Company, supplies Kittanning with light and heat to some extent, having most of the mains in operation into private homes and factories..
The Armstrong Electric Company came into being soon after the development of natural gas in the county. Until the consolidation of the Kittanning Electric Light Company and the West Penn Electric Company this company operated its own plant, supplying light and power to the town and surrounding territory. All of the companies are now consolidated, the power coming from Connellsville. In the latter part of 1913, the Public Service Commission of the State has compelled an adjustment of rates in this section, thus increasing the prices in many instances to consumers.
A charter was granted the Kittanning Water Company in 1866, and in 1872 it commenced to supply the town with water from the Allegheny. In 1886 the company was reorganized under the name of Armstrong Water Company, to whom a charter was granted giving exclusive rights in the town. But in the following year this charter was revoked by the State and a new one granted, which did not contain the objectionable monopolistic clause. The plant of the company has been gradually increased in size since the time of commencing operations and is at present ample to supply the borough. Two reservoirs, an old and a new one, are located near the town of Wickboro, just above the line of Kittanning. The only trouble the company has to contend with is the difficulty of obtaining a pure supply of water in the dry seasons when the Allegheny is low. Great expense would be incurred in damming the Cowanshannock, and there is always danger of contamination by the mines and mills of this vicinity. The problem will, however, be worked out in the coming years.
Kittanning's first fire company was formed at a meeting held in the courthouse in 1826, and the following year the borough purchased a hand fire engine for $76.65, also erected a frame house for it at a cost of $60, on the east side of Jefferson, below Market Street. Buckets were supplied by the citizens and the borough. Tow hooks and two ladders were also procured. Such were the means provided for the extinguishing of fires until the burning of L. C. Pinney's carriage factory in 1854.
After that event the citizens petitioned for better protection and a special tax was levied and a hand fire engine purchased for $2,500. It was better than the old one, but hardly good enough for the rapidly growing borough.
This was the only means of extinguishing fires until 1871, when the borough entered into a contract with the Kittanning Water Company to put in twenty-three fire plugs for $2,783. The company also contracted to supply the town with water for fire extinguishing for the annual sum of $500.
After that date the town depended upon volunteers to extinguish all fires, as the company had disbanded. In 1875, when Fire Company No. 1 was organized, the borough bought the old First Presbyterian Church for headquarters. The fire company completely renovated the interior and fitted it up for social purposes. The interior is handsomely decorated, and contains dance hall, parlors, engine house and pool tables on the ground floor. The borough has only borne the cost of outside repairs, pays the company $5 for each fire that requires the use of the hose, rebates the tax on members for occupations and defrays a part of the lighting bills. The company has recently bought a $4,000 Lange auto-truck form a Pittsburgh firm, for which the borough donated $1,000. The truck is a very large one, is fitted with ladders and hose and two chemical tanks of 70 gallon capacity. Its speed is such that but a few minutes are required to arrive at fires in the remotest part of the town.
The members of No. 1 are as follows: P. J. Hoey, president; Burt Milson, vice president; Fred Lindeman, treasurer, E. H. McIlwain, recording secretary; William F George, financial secretary; M. B. Oswald, Lon. O'Donnell, David McMasters, trustees; Madison Dosch, chief; Ray Dosch and M. C. Linnon, assistants; L. L. Thompson, foreman hook and ladder truck; members, Fred E. Blaney, William Blaney, William Bowser, J. E. Bush, Walter Bush, A W. Dosch, William Leeger, Wiley Thompson, Joseph Rush, Clarence Davis, Harry Blaney, John Schlosser, Thomas Gough, Jr., Miles Mobley.
Fire Company No. 2 is located in the City Hall building, where there are rooms for games and recreation. It has the old style hand hose reel cart, but expects to purchase a better equipment soon.
Fire Company No. 3 is located in a home of its own on North Jefferson Street, where all the conveniences of a first-class club provided for members. They have an auto truck and hose reel, somewhat smaller than that of No. 1, but of the latest pattern. The cost was $3,000, most of which was defrayed by the members. This company also gives entertainment's and dances in its hall, but the dances are sometimes more exclusive than those of No. 1; although at one time they were well advertised in the papers of the whole country through the stag dinner and dance that was held in their hall at that time. The presents members of No. 3 are: John Borger, president; C. K. Stivanson and A. F. Cook, chiefs; Gordon Baum, J. H. Stivanson, Hoyt Truitt, Herman Heidersdorf, H. T. Crissman, Ray Smith, M. Todd, John Stivanson, D. E. Stivanson, H. H. Walter, Charles Witmer, L. B. Mohoney, Harry Streiber, Fred Weaver.
The Gamewell system is used for sounding alarms. The borough is divided into districts, each telephone bearing the number of the district in which it is located. When a fire occurs the nearest telephone is used to notify the operator of the district and the exact house. The operator plugs in the number on the switchboard and the alarm bell is automatically rung until the plug is removed. Scarcely three minutes elapse ere the trucks are at the spot, and by the time of their arrival the water pressure on that line has been increased to the emergency load. The pressure is ample to send a stream to the top of any of the buildings in town. All the townspeople work in harmony with the fire companies and so far no difficulty has been experienced in coping with the most threatening conflagration.
All of the three companies have a joint relief fund for sickness and accident, and the State relief fund averages $500 per year, being used as a nucleus by them.
NEWSPAPERS OF KITTANNING
The first newspaper in Kittanning was the Western Eagle, established by Capt. James Alexander in 1810. It was discontinued while the proprietor was in the War of 1812, but revived for a short time after his return in 1814. The office in which it was published was located in a log building on the north side of Market Street near the public alley, which was afterward destroyed by fire while occupied by the late Nathaniel Henry.
The Columiban and Farmers' and Mechanics' Advertiser was started in 1819 by the Rohrer Brothers, Frederick and George. It was merged with the Gazette in 1831.
The Kittanning Gazette was established in 1825 by Josiah Copley and John Croll and published under the name of Copley, Croll & Co. until 1829, when Copley withdrew. After merging with the Columiban in 1831 it was issued as the Gazette and Columbian by Simon Torney and John Croll, until 1832, when Croll withdrew and Copley resumed the editorship, publishing it for the estate of Torney, who had died the year previous. He dropped the Columbian part of the name, and in 1838 the paper passed into the hands of Benjamin Oswald, who change the name to Democratic Press in 1841 and later into Kittanning Free Press, which name it remained until 1864. The plant was then purchased from Oswald's widow by a company, who changed the name to Union Free Press. Marshall B. Oswald succeeded the association as publisher, in 1877 selling an interest to James B. Neale, who after his election to the bench transferred his half to G. S. Crosby, in 1881. After Crosby's death A. D. Glenn purchased his interest. Mr. Glenn was at the time superintendent of the county schools and was later appointed to a position in the Department of Public Instruction at Harrisburg. He sold his interest to Judge Buffington, Orr Buffington, and R. T. Knox of Pittsburgh, who conducted the paper under the firm name of Oswald, Knox & Buffington. The Buffingtons and Knox later withdrew and M. B. Oswald bought all their shares, changed the name of the paper to Kittanning Free Press and published it until his death in 1900. His son, M. B. Oswald, then assumed control, and after his mother's death became part owner. His nephew, W. W. Oswald, now has an interest in the plant. This is the oldest paper in the county and the building is constructed especially for printing purposes. It is a typical old time printing office, with the homelike air of those famous schools of printing and journalism. One of the oldest printing presses in the United States is still in a good state of repair in the office and is occasionally used for small work. It was the second of the makes of press used after the old wooden Franklin press, and is a relic of historical value. Joseph G. Stivanson is another member of the working force.
The late Judge Joseph Buffington, in 1830, began the publication of this Armstrong Advertiser, which was afterward continued by William Badger until 1833, when the type and machinery were removed to Freeport to print the Olive Branch.
The Armstrong Democrat was established in 1834 by Frederick Rohrer and John Croll. It continued to be a Democratic paper under their management, and that of Andrew J. Faulk and William McWilliams, until 1864, when it politics was changed and the name became Armstrong Republican. It was owned and conducted for several years by A. G. Henry and his son, W. M. Henry, the latter becoming editor in 1880. The widow of A. G. Henry retained the ownership until 1903, the last editor being Squire Isaac Miller, after which date the plant was sold to the Advance Printing Co., who removed it to their plant in Leechburg.
The Mentor was established in 1862 by J. A. Fulton, who sold it in 1863 to an association, they changing the name to Democratic Sentinel. It was edited and published by John W. Rohrer and his son, Frederick, for a number of years. After the son's death his father sold the paper to John T. and Roland B. Simpson in 1909, who began issuing of the Armstrong Democrat and Sentinel (weekly), with Roland Simpson as editor. They have gained a fine circulation and are firmly fixed as part of the growing borough of Kittanning.
John T. Simpson after he had sold his interest in the Daily Times, which he had edited for eleven years, started the publication of a daily the title of which was Simpson's Daily Leader. This was in 1909, an so great was his prestige as a newspaper man that now, in December, 1913, he has a sworn circulation averaging from 2,850 to 3,100 daily, the largest in the county. His paper is independent in politics and fearless in publication as to questions of the hour.
The Centennial was an amateur juvenile weekly, first issued in 1874, by William and Adam Reichert. They soon enlarged it to "man's size" and changed the name to County Standard. It passed out of existence in 1903.
The Valley Times was transferred from Freeport to Kittanning in 1876, being published by Oswald & Simpson as a weekly. Their office was in the Reynolds Building. The name was altered to Kittanning Times in 1880. After Oswald's retirement in 1884 the paper was conducted by John T. Simpson until the year 1890, when F. T. Fries bought a half interest in it. In 1898 a daily was started, called The Daily Times. Simpson sold old to Fries in 1909 and started another daily. Mr. Fries has continued the two papers, daily and weekly Times, sine the dissolution of partnership, and has been very successful. He is remarkable as one of the few blind men in the United States now living, to be editor and proprietor of a daily paper. The Times is housed in a specially constructed building, with all conveniences for the production of the two papers and the large commercial job printing which is a side line of the establishment. The paper was the first successful daily in the county and the first to install a modern typesetting machine. Mr. Fries has been blind for the last seven years, but this fact has not prevented his successful management of the multifarious details of a daily paper.
The Daily Advertiser was issued in 1884 from the Office of the Armstrong Republican by Robert O. Moore. Later he took into partnership W. W. Tizell, changed the paper to a weekly and renamed it the Kittanning Globe. In two years it was sold to W. G. Reynolds and R. A. McCullough, who made it Democratic in political complexion. It as returned to the Republican fold in 1893, and the name made Kittanning Tribune, which name it bears now. It is owned by a stock company.
The County Light was the name of a paper which was established in 1893 by a stock company, with D. L. Nulton as editor, and ran for about three years, after which the outfit was sold to local printers.
The Armstrong County Record came on a visit of less than two years from Leechburg to Kittanning. Holmes & Marshall were the publishers. For one and a half years they ran it as a daily, but finally Holmes sold to O. S. Marshall and the latter removed it to Rural Valley, where it suffered other vicissitudes, which can be found in the sketch of that town.
The Electric Printery is an up-to-date establishment owned and operated by Neal Heilman, on North McKean Street. He has a large trade of the better class of users of printing material. He is seriously contemplating a material enlargement of his plant. He has an assistant in the composing room Edward T. McElwain.
Edgar A. Brodhead, a descendant of the famous Capt. Daniel Brodhead, is the proprietor of a well equipped job printing office on South Jefferson Street, near Jacob. He has a fine and growing trade.
About 1820 the nucleus of a public library was created by contributions from Thomas Hamilton and Thomas R. Peters and others. Several hundred volumes, mostly historical, were accumulated and housed for a few years in the courthouse. After accumulating much dust through neglect they were finally distributed among various citizens, who probably took better care of them.
This institution was authorized by an act of Assembly and approved April 2, 1821. The trustees first named were Thomas Hamilton, James Monteith, Robert Robinson, Samuel Matthews, David Reynolds and Samuel S. Harrison. The first meeting of the trustees was held Sept. 4, 1821. In the fall of 1824 a building was contracted for at a cost of $1,130. This building was located on Jefferson street near the corner of the then-existing public square.
In February, 1827, Charles G. Snowden was engaged to open the school. He received a salary of $16 per quarter out of the public funds in addition to private subscriptions as a compensation. Other teachers, the exact dates of whose service cannot be ascertained, were Alexander Shirran, Rev J. N. Stark, Rev. Joseph Painter, D. D., and Rev. E. D. Barrett.
The second story of the building was not finished until the summer of 1834. A fence was erected and a cupola placed over the bell in 1842. For several years the upper story of the Academy was used for school purposes and the lower for family residences. In 1864 the Academy was closed and the building and grounds reverted to the county, largely on account of the Civil war. In 1886 all that remained of the institute was a fund of $5,000, which was loaned to the county and to the school board. During the early history of the Academy, the only facilities in this county for acquiring an education in the higher branches were afforded by this institution.
After the funds had accumulated for several years, the trustees decided to revive the charter. Meanwhile a Mr. Ritchie came to Kittanning and opened a school, which he called the Kittanning Academy. His success induced the trustees to finance the enterprise, and the Academy was reopened under the old charter, with Professor Ritchie as principal. The project was so successful that a brick building was erected on North Jefferson street in 1899. After the departure of Professor Ritchie, Rev. Robert A. Barner was placed in charge of the institution. In the fall of 1902 Professor J. C. Tinstman was elected principal, and was succeeded by Professor C. V. Smith in 1906. The Academy was again closed in 1908, and the building occupied by the high school, while the new high school building was in process of construction. In 1911 the building was offered to the State National Guard for $10,000, which offer was accepted conditionally. The building is occupied at present by the local militia company as an armory.
A charter was granted to the Episcopalian diocese in 1868 for the establishment of an educational institution at Kittanning and the same year Lambeth College was opened by them. The incorporators included members of the churches of Kittanning, Brady's Bend, Allegheny, Pittsburgh, Erie, Clearfield, Rochester and Sewickley. For ten years under competent instructors it held sway, but finally support ceased, and lack of necessary buildings and financial encouragement caused its final suspension.
UNIVERSITY OF KITTANNING
The name of this institution was about as long as its existence. The charter was granted in 1858 with very extensive powers and for a time the outlook was favorable, but after a deal of discussion and amendment as to the charter the first session opened in 1868 with 114 pupils, ran five months and closed forever.
In accordance with the custom of pioneer times a log school house was built on a lot between Water and Jefferson streets, on an alley, the site being then the most convenient. This lot was later owned by Mrs. Mary A. Craig. The first school teacher was Adam Elliott. Several of his pupils were living in 1880. They stated that the school was probably opened in 1805. It continued to be used until the completion of the first jail, when the school was opened in one of the upper rooms of that edifice. Finally it was transferred to a private house on the corner of Jacob and Jefferson streets.
After the transfer of the log schoolhouse various subscription schools were started, carried on for a time and with varying success until the establishment of the public school system. One of these subscription schools was kept by a Mr. Jones and was located at the corner of an alley running parallel to Market street. Another was kept by David Simpson in a frame building on Jacob street. Still another was the one taught by Dr. Meeker, on Water street. The Houston schoolhouse was on the west side of Jefferson, near Jacob street, and was built for school purposes by Samuel Houston. It was carried on at various irregular periods by Thomas Cunningham, Jonathan E. Meredith and George Fidler, from 1830 to 1836.
The inauguration of the free school system in 1834 was a welcome innovation to the parents who had to exercise such care in the selection of a proper school for their children from the many good, bad and indifferent private ones that so far had failed to supply the necessary educational facilities.
The first school board election for the borough of Kittanning resulted in the election of Frank Rohrer, Samuel McKee, Findley Patterson, John R. Johnston, Joseph M. Jordan and Richard Graham.
The first schoolhouse erected under the new law was on the south side of Jacob street, and was one story, frame, contained two rooms and was heated by a stove. Notwithstanding repeated enlargements it finally was abandoned from lack of capacity for the growing throng of knowledge-seeking youngsters. In 1842 Judge Boggs taught there, being engaged in all for fifteen months. Although the increase of capacity was long desired there was difficulty for several years in finding a suitable lot on which to build a larger structure. Finally, through the generosity of General Orr, the acre on which the present school houses are located was purchased for $3,500 in 1871.
The second building was erected in 1868, at a cost of 29,700. For a time it proved adequate for the purpose, but necessity compelled its replacement in 1886 by the present large schoolhouse.
The schoolhouse last mentioned is a fine example of the architecture of nearly thirty years ago, and is commodious and conveniently arranged. It does not present a great contrast to the modern and business-like high school adjoining it.
The high school was built in 1910 and is ample in size, convenient in arrangement and handsome in appearance. The lower floor is used for classrooms and the manual training department. The second floor has the principal's office, classrooms and the finest auditorium in the county, where graduation exercises, lectures and meetings of the educational associations are held. The heating of the building is of the most improved design, and all modern methods of lighting and ventilation combine to make it a model schoolhouse. The total cost was $75,000.
The high school, in addition to the usual classical courses and the manual training departments, has a commercial and typewriting course.
Professor T. C. Cheeseman is the principal of the high school and Professor F. W. Goodwin has supervision over both the grade and high schools.
In 1913 the number of grades were 24; average months taught, 9; male teachers, 7; female teachers, 19; average salaries, male, $112.93; female, $62.83; male scholars, 502; female scholars, 465; average attendance, 735; cost per month, $2.51; tax levied, $21,283.56; received from State, $4,127.82; other sources, $31,531.51; value of schoolhouses, $166,500; teachers' wages, $18,316.86; fuel, fees, etc., $16,755.63.
The school directors are: George C. Titzell, president; Hon. John H. Painter, secretary; James E. Bush, treasurer; John A. Fox, L. E. Biehl.
BANKS OF KITTANNING
At a meeting held in the grand jury room of the courthouse at Kittanning on Feb. 17, 1836, the first banking association was formed. Its title was the Mechanics' Savings Fund Company, and the officers were: William F. Johnston, president; William Matthews, secretary; Joseph M. Jordan, treasurer; Frederick Rohrer, Nathaniel Henry, Francis Debbs, Hugh Campbell, and Archibald Dickey, directors. The stockholders were almost exclusively mechanics, and it operated almost entirely among the workingmen. After a brief existence it was dissolved.
The Kittanning Bank was incorporated in 1857 with a capital of $200,000. It weathered the specie payment suspension of 1858 and continued in business until 1866, when it was changed to a national bank. In the following year it ceased existence.
Soon after the passage of the national bank act in 1863 the First National Bank of Kittanning was organized (1863), beginning business in 1867. The Kittanning Bank having closed, most of the business reverted to the new bank and the cashier also transferred his position to it. The capital stock of the First National was $200,000. At the expiration of the charter in 1883 this bank was closed.
The Allegheny Valley Bank was established in 1872, with a capital of $100,000 and continued in business for several years. The officers were : Dr. T. M. Allison, president; Simon Truby, vice president; James S. Moore, cashier.
The Farmer's National Bank was established in 1884. The capital is $100,000. It's present officers are: J. A. Gault, president; George G. Titzell, cashier; George B. Fleming, assistant cashier; Charles R. Moesta, bookkeeper; J. A. Gault, Harry A. Arnold, Harry R. Gault, H. A. Colwell, Floy C. Jones, W. Pollock and George C. Titzell, directors.
The Safe Deposit and Title Guaranty Company was established in 1890, with a capital of $135,000. The officers are: W. B. Meredith, president; James McCullough, Jr., vice president; John A. Fox, secretary and treasurer; Frank J. Atkins, assistant treasurer; Freda Gerheim, teller; Fred Ashe, teller; James McCullough, H. A. Heilman, Irwin T. Campbell, W. B. Meredith, Frank Neubert and John A. Fox, directors.
The Merchants' National Bank was organized in 1897, with a capital of $100,000. The present officials are: G. W. McNees, president; J. R. Einstein, vice president; James M. Painter, cashier; Paul L. McKenrick, assistant cashier; George W. McNees, J. Frank Graff, John H. Painter, C. T. N. Painter, J. R. Einstein, James E. Brown, Paul L. McKenrick and James M. Painter, directors.
The Armstrong County Trust Company was incorporated in 1902, with a capital stock of $125,000. The present officials are: Harry R. Gault, president; Oliver W. Gilpin, vice president; H. G. Gates, secretary and treasurer; A. L. Sheridan, assistant secretary and treasurer; Frederick McGregor, teller; Ned Lee, bookkeeper; Harry R. Gault, Dwight C. Morgan, George W. Reese, S. H. McCain, D. B. Heiner, Floy C. Jones, James H. Corbett, W. A. Louden, Oliver W. Gilpin, Jr. R. Einstein and H. G. Gates, directors.
The National Kittanning Bank was chartered in 1902, with a capital of $200,000. The present officers are: H. A. Colwell, president; W. Pollock, cashier; F. S. Noble, assistant cashier; J. Douglass White, bookkeeper; H. A. Colwell, James McCullough, Jr., H. G. Luker, John D. Galbraith, W. Pollock, F. S. Noble and Harvey Claypool, directors. Mr. William Pollock, the cashier of this bank, was also the cashier of the old Kittanning Bank., and has been continuously in the banking business for over fifty years. His keeness of judgment is still unimpaired.
The Kittanning Insurance Company was incorporated in 1853 and for some years did a fine business all over the Union, but bad management caused it to suspend in 1890.
Miss Freda Gerheim has the honor of being the only lady bank official in Armstrong county, holding the position of teller in the Safe Deposit and Title Guaranty Company, where her admirable tact and constant cheerfulness have won her the esteem and confidence of a large clientele.
The resident physicians of Kittanning are: Thomas M. Allsion, L. Dent Allison, William J. Bierer, John M. Cooley, Frank W. Hileman, John T. Deemar, Roscoe Deemar, Charles J. Jessop, Samual A. S. Jessop, Charles H. Furnee, Thomas N. McKee, John K. Kiser, Elenor J. Lawson, Charles S. McGiven, Robert P. Marshall, Frederick C. Monks, Charles J. Steim, Joseph J. Steim, Robert F. Tarr, Jay B. F. Wyatt.
The Kittanning General Hospital is under the charge of Boyd S. Henry, with a competent corps of nurses and assistants.
A number of the leading citizens of the county have organized for the purpose of building and equipping an institution for the use of the public, under the title of Armstong County General Hospital. Subscriptions are being obtained and the requisite building are soon to be built in Kittanning, on their lots adjoining the court house, at a cost of $100.000.
The dental profession is represented by Drs. E. H. Wright, J. D. Sedgwick, Charles E. Manon, J. K. Eyler, H. W. Schall. The optical profession of Kittanning is composed of Profs. J. M. Logue and J. A. McMillen. Dr. D. A. Gorman is resident veterinarian.
As Kittanning is the county seat and the courthouse is located here the majority of the legal profession are residents of the borough, so a list of them would only be a repetition of the sketch of the bench and bar of the county. We will refer the reader to that sketch for a complete list of the members of the legal profession who have in the past made their home here, as well as those now resident in Kittanning.
Daguerreotyping was introduced in 1860 and the old wet plate process took its place in 1863. C. C. Shadle was one of the first operators in Kittanning, coming here from Apollo in 1869. Walter S. Otto began business here in 1887 and is still located on Market street. A. S. Schreckengost started in for himself in 1890 and is located on Market, near the city hall. The leading artist in this line is John R. Leister, who lately purchased the studio of Mr. Shadle, and has the best equipped establishment in the county. Mr. Leister is also a prominent member of the musical circle of the town and especially popular with the younger set.
DAUGHERTY VISIBLE TYPEWRITER
If Kittanning is to be known in history in the future it will be at least famous among the mechanics of the world as the home of James Denny Daugherty, the inventor of the first visible typewriter in the world, the class of machine that was gradually forced itself to the front of the writing machine trade. For a time none of the standard machine manufactures would accept the innovation, but at the present time the typewriter that is "blind" has little sale.
Mr. Daugherty, who is the court stenographer of Armstrong county and one of the leading lawyers of the county, as well as a facile and famous speaker, is also a natural mechanic. When he left college in 1879 he decided to study stenography, then in its infancy, and with commendable enterprise he brought one of the old Sholes-Glidden typewriters, afterward the Remington. Even with this slow and crude machine he became able to take testimony without the use of stenographic notes. The annoyance of raising the carriage of the machine caused him to work out the idea of a visible writer and in 1881 he made the first working model of a typewriter with writing in sight. A successful working model made of iron was developed by him in 1883.
For a time his other duties prevented a continuance of the typewriter development, but in 1889 he had his idea patented. In 1891 Mr. Daugherty, together with Joseph Buffington, Charles J. Moesta and William Rumbaugh, formed the Daugherty Typewriter Company, and contracted with the Crandall Typewriter Company, of Groton, N. Y. to manufacture two thousand of the machines according to the Daugherty model. Mr. Daugherty went to Groton and personally supervised the work.
In 1894 the business had grown so extensive that the present brick factory was built at Kittanning and the work entered into with a complete new equipment, under the management of Mr. Daugherty. From that date until the present time the works have run full time, with the exception of seven and one-half months, caused by the temporary embarrassment of the firm.
In 1897, through the incompetency of a manager of the factory, a lot of 2,500 machines were cast into the scrap heap. This was a severe blow to the little company, as they had never caught up with their orders and the hundreds of agents around the country demanded deliveries at once or cancellation of contracts would be made. As they could not get out the orders, the firm was compelled to suspend, and in 1897 the plant was sold to a company, who renamed the machine the Pittsburgh Visible Typewriter.
This company later sold the Daugherty patents to the Union Typewriter Company, who control all of the factories in the "trust," and thus the other machines were soon fitted with the necessary visible feature. For a time Mr. Daugherty was a member of the experimental staff of the Union Company, but in 1913 severed his connection, and has now associated himself with the Underwood Typewriter Company, being consulting mechanical expert for the president, John Underwood. The Underwood has taken most of the speed prizes, but is now having Mr. Daugherty design an adding, subtracting and multiplying attachment, to be built into the Underwood as an integral part of the machine. So far Mr. Daugherty has progressed toward the completion of this addition to his other original improvements to writing machines with encouraging speed, and is to be believed that in the coming year he will have again introduced a radical change in the construction of the typewriter. This invention, however, will not be rejected and ridiculed as his first one was by the short-sighted public, but will have the hearty cooperation of one of the largest factories of typewriters in the world.
KITTANNING IRON AND STEEL COMPANY
Nails were made by John Miller, Alexander Colwell and Robert Speer at different periods from 1811 to 1825. The iron from which the nails were made was packed over the Alleghenies from the East.
The first foundry was started by Adams & Thompson in 1843, and was first operated by horsepower. They made plows and other agricultural implements of those days. The next foundry was that of Anderson & Buffington, in 1853. It produced stove and other castings. Hulings & Robinson�s foundry began in 1857, and was also a stove foundry. A severe explosion, which injured no one but damaged the home of Judge Boggs, occurred in 1870 at this foundry, which was then called Robinson & Crawford�s. McCullough�s National Foundry started in 1873.
The rolling mill was built in 1847, and was put in operation in January, 1848. The cost was chiefly furnished by the solid men of Kittanning. The original firm name was the Kittanning Iron Works. Then in the mutations of ownership the firm names were Brown, Phillips & Co., Brown, Floyd & Co., R. L. Brown & Co., Martin, Brickel & Co., and Meredith, Neale & Titzell. Connected with it were a foundry and nail factory. The products were common bar, rod, sheet and hoop iron, nails, and castings. It gave employment, while in full operation, to about 150 men.
The buildings and machinery were so much injured by fire Wednesday night, Dec. 18, 1867, that the then proprietors, Martin, Brickel & Co., did not repair them, but subsequently sold their interest therein to Meredith, Neale & Titzell, who rebuilt the plant and operated it until 1873, when the panic caused a suspension of the business. The works consisted of sixteen puddling furnaces, three trains of rolls, twenty-two nail machines and one squeezer. The annual capacity was 7,000 tons of iron.
The Kittanning Iron Company, Limited, was organized in October, 1879, with a capital of $150,000. The firm was composed of James E. Brown, James Mosgrove, J. A. Colwell and C. T. Neale, of Kittanning, together with the firm of Graff, Bennett & Co., of Pittsburgh, the members of which were John Graff, James J. Bennett and Robert Marshall. Henry King was also associated with the firm. The property of Meredith, Neale & Titzell was bought, greatly enlarged and improved, and in 1880 they began to operate again. New puddling furnaces were constructed and the capacity of the blast furnace was increased to 50,000 tons per annum. Fully $100,000 was expended at different periods by the company in the way of improvements.
The company that owned several thousand acres of iron land and leased several thousand more in the Allegheny valley, in Armstrong and Clarion counties, the ore from which was used without admixture in their blast furnace. When the pig-iron went to the puddling furnaces it was mingled with about one-fourth of its own bulk or weight of Lake Superior ore. The coke used was also manufactured at works from coal mined in the immediate vicinity.
About a year after the company began business they purchased a gas well about three miles west of the works, which had been struck by parties boring for oil three years before. The gas from this well was conveyed to the works in 3 3/4-inch pipes, and this has since been the only fuel used in the puddling process.
The company gave employment in its furnace, mill and coal bank to about 400 men and to about 300 more elsewhere, chiefly in its iron mines.
In 1907 a new furnace stack, 19 feet across the bosh and 80 feet high, was erected and went into blast in 1909. The production is 250 tons per day, or 75,000 tons a year. The train of three high much rolls turns out 20,000 tons of much bar in a year.
The company ceased to operate its mines in 1903, and now purchases the coke and ore used in the furnace. The old gas well is still producing moderately, the company also having bored others, and buys additional gas from outside wells.
The number of employees in the plant averages 300 during the working periods. The capitalization of the plant is impossible of estimation, owing to the many frequent additions and improvements that have been made in the past.
The officers of the present Kittanning Iron & Steel Company are: F. C. Neale, president; H. A. Colwell, vice president and superintendent; John D. Galbraith, treasurer, and Lamont Bixler, secretary.
BRICK AND CLAY MANUFACTURES
The pottery manufacture had its inception in the shop of John Black in 1814. He was also a schoolmaster whenever the trade slackened. Isaac Scott, George Gabel, John M. Dosch and John Volk were his successors at different times in later years. Earthenware was the product.
Brickmaking was started in 1805 by Paul Morrow, in the northern limits of the town. He supplied the brick for the first courthouse. John Hunt, James Daugherty and William Sirwell were his successors. This plant was the predecessor of the one of Daugherty Bros. Brick Co., on Grant Avenue, now in operation. They have 4 Kilns, employ 10 men and produce 10,000 brick per day.
The largest works is that of the Kittanning Brick & Fire Clay Company, at the end of the borough limits, in the hollow below the cemetery. They have 20 kilns, using gas from their own wells, and their capacity is 100,000 brick per day. Employees, 100. The officers of the company are: S. C. Marshall, president; R. G. Yingling, secretary and treasurer; S. E. Martin, superintendent.
The Kittanning Clay Manufacturing Company are on Oak avenue, and operate 13 kilns, employing 65 men. Their output is 35,000 brick per day. The officers are: John H. Painter, president; George W. McNees, secretary, treasurer and general manager.
What was called "strong beer" was brewed on a small scale between 1820 and 1830, on Water street. After that there was an interval of cessation of the industry until 1849, when the brewing of lager beer was introduced. At the present time there are two breweries of lager beer in Kittanning, the Elk Brewing Company and the Kittanning Brewing Company. Their output is marketed all over the county and those adjoining.
The principal confectionery and ice cream parlor in town is that of Paul Libarakis, who is a native of Sparta. He is very popular with his townsmen and has become identified with the progressive business men of Kittanning.
Kittanning is well supplied with hotels. The Reynolds House, kept by Harry Reynolds, is the oldest and is still a popular resort for the traveling public. The Citizens Hotel is a quiet hostelry next to the Hotel Steim, and is noted for its home-cooked meals. The Hotel Steim is the most modern and largest establishment, on the corner of Market and Grant avenue. The old Eagle House is the original rivermen�s resort in early days, and from its doors and old-time stages used to depart to various points in this and adjoining counties. The Elderton stage is the last remnant of those pioneer vehicles still in service. Other hotels are the Central, Alexander, Vernon, Linnon and Nulton. The Dugan Hotel, kept by the late Nish Dugan, was a famous old-time Hostelry but now out of commission.
The jewelers of Kittanning are: E. S. Hutchison, H. H. Weylman, William B. Hutchison and John A. Rupp.
Cigar factories are operated by William F. Kirst and Neurohr Bros.
The Automobile industry is well provided for in Kittanning by the following firms, most of whom operate garages: Moorhead Motor Car Company, Walker & Crim Motor Company, Kittanning Motor & Traffic Company, Kittanning Auto Company, and Fisher & Lambing.
James McMasters operates the only carriage works in town, and the high Street Flouring Mills are operated by L. Pollock.
The Crown Bottling Works, under the management of George Gould, are producers of many varieties of bottled soft drinks.
The Peerless Laundry Company occupies the old Armstrong Electric Company building and has an up-to-date establishment, fitted out with the latest machinery for clothes cleansing.
The local undertakers are George E. Kline, H. E. Montgomery, C. E. Walker and John W. Rhodes.
Hoey & Gallagher, Louden & Smith and the Kittanning Foundry Company are the local steel and iron founders.
Architect--Robert H. Megraw.
Bakers--A. L. George, C. Huth, W. J. Mason.
Books and stationery--Furnee & Kennerdell.
Builders� supplies--American Planing Mill Company, Heilman Bros., J. S. Claypool Lumber Company.
Church pew manufacturers--Kittanning Seating Company.
Clothing--Joseph & Kennerdell, I. R. Gruskin, M. Silberblatt.
Coal Dealers--Snyder Bros. Coal Company.
Contractors--James M. Heilman, O. C., Rairigh, B. L. Willard, Daugherty Bros.
Department stores--J. A. Gault & Company, Kinter Dry Goods Company, The Arcade, B. Nevins, People�s Store, Pittsburgh Store.
Florists--J. W. Glenn, Brodhead Bros.
Gas and oil--T. W. Phillips Gas & Oil Company.
Gas and oil well contractors--Louden & Smith Company.
Grocers--McClister, Wray & Company, C. E. Ritchey, Banks Bros., Bowser Bros., G. W. Fennell, Charles A. Gerheim, Joseph W. Glenn, W. C. Heidersdorf, Lesser & Baker, Harry Lurie, Moore & Bruner, McClurg Bros., Thomas Norr, William Stewart & Son.
Hardware--James McCullough, H. G. Luker & Company, McConnell & Watterson, Kittanning Supply Company.
Harness--George P. Kron.
House furnishings--Kittanning Supply Company.
Insurance--H. E. J. Putney.
Liverymen--H. E. Montgomery, H. T. Frailey, G. G. Dodge, Louis Haverstroh.
Loans and mortgages--A. L. Ivory & Sons.
Lumber--J. S. Claypool Lumber Co., American Planing Mill Company, Henry Schaffer Lumber Company.
Meat markets--Frank Blaney, Ellermeyer Bros.
Monuments and stone work--Philip M. Enterline, Joseph A. Schaffer & Son.
Oils--Atlantic Refining Company.
Pianos--W. F. Frederick Piano Company.
Produce, wholesale--Daniel Schaffer.
Real estate and insurance agents--H. E. J. Putney, Roy W. Pollock, A. L. Ivory & Sons, George H. Burns, Fox I. Stone, H. A. Arnold.
Restaurants--A. L. George, James Baker.
Shoes--M. L. Bowser, O. N. Wilson.
Tailors--F. Moesta & Son, P. H. Bush, P. M. Feilbach, Charles Gura.
The dead of this town were at first interred in a plat on McKean street, near Arch, donated by Dr. John Armstrong. This plat was later sold and the bodies removed. A few of the ancestors of the present citizens were buried in the little cemetery on Pine Run, on East Franklin township. A part of a field on Market street, near the river, was once used as a burying ground, Robert Duncan, one of the proprietors of the Manor, being interred there.
The old burying ground on Jefferson street was donated to the county commissioners in 1818 by Paul Morrow and his wife, in trust for the use of the citizens of Kittanning. The company having control of this cemetery was incorporated in 1844. Many of the pioneers and their children were laid here to rest, but the place is disturbed now by the incursions of predatory animals and fowls, while trash and old rubbish are sometimes dumped there. Some of the descendants of the occupants of this ground removed the bodies of their progenitors, but many of the graves are in a sad state of neglect and decay. Some of the early tombstones bear odd and interesting epitaphs. One of them is as follows: "Margaret, consort of Michael Mechling and formerly widow of Daniel Torney, Sr., near Greensburg, Westmoreland county, Pa., who died Sept. 14, 1829, in the 70th year of her age. She left eleven children, 55 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren of the Torney family. Peace be with her ashes."
The first Catholic cemetery was situated in the rear of the church. Another was laid out in 1870 in the upper part of what is now Wickboro. The German Catholics are buried in the cemetery on Troy Hill.
The Kittanning Cemetery Company was incorporated in 1853. The site, in the northeastern part of the borough, is an ideal one, the slope of the hill allowing much opportunity for beautifying the grounds. Considerable money has been expended upon it by the trustees and the lot owners, so that year by year this city of the dead is becoming more beautiful and attractive alike to residents and visitors. Here lie the remains of those of this section who fell in the Civil war and also their comrades who have in the years since followed them to their final resting place.
SECRET AND BENEVOLENT SOCIETIES
Kittanning Lodge, No. 244, F. & A. M., was instituted March 12, 1850. Its place of meeting was in the third story, fronting on Market street, in the brick building on the southwest corner of Market and Jefferson streets, on lot No. 126, until it was transferred to the third story of the brick building on the southeast corner of Market and Jefferson streets, on the old courthouse square.
The orient Chapter, No. 247, Royal Arch Masons, was instituted in June, 1874.
Lodge No. 340, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was instituted March 31, 1849. Its charter was surrendered Dec. 5, 1853. This lodge was resuscitated and reorganized Aug. 10, 1857.
Ariel Lodge, No. 688, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was instituted in November, 1869.
Echo Encampment, a branch of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was instituted Nov. 19, 1873.
Knights of Pythais Lodge, No. 321, was organized May 10, 1871.
Other societies are, Modern Woodmen of America, Loyal Order of Moose, Benevolent and protective Order of Elks, Fraternal Order of Eagles, Improved Order of Red Men, Royal Arcanum, Order of Foresters, Knights of Malta, Knights of Columbus, Knights of the Maccabees, Tribe of Ben Hur, Improved Order of Heptasophs, German Beneficial Union, Catholic Mutual Benefit Association.
The Armstrong Guards were organized in 1830 and reorganized in 1844. The next organization was the Independent Blues, in 1836. Other military societies were the Washington Blues, Armstrong Rifles, German Yagers and Brady Alpines.
The Sons of Veterans are an organization of the sons of those who fought in the Civil war. There is also a society of the veterans of the Spanish-American war.
Company K, 16th Regt., N. G. Pa., meets twice a month in the old Kittanning Academy building.
Joseph F. Croll Post, Grand Army of the Republic, is the local society of the Grand Army of Civil war veterans. S. W. Furnee is post commander and D. W. Shaeffer, adjutant.
One of the first societies for amusement and recreation was the Thespians, in 1840, who gave frequent dramatic and social exhibitions until 1845. These affairs were held in the old Briney gristmill.
The Literary and Scientific Institute was organized in 1854 with fair prospects, its members being business and professional men and ladies. At first frequent meetings were held and debates carried on with great ardor, but interest languished and it went the way of its predecessors. Finally the library was sold and the society disbanded. The only incident of note in its brief history was the lecture of the late Bishop Potter on the "Life of Washington." given under the auspices of the Institute in the court house.
A Young Men�s Christian Association was organized in 1867 and carried on with irregularity until 1875. The meetings were held in the different churches until 1868 and then in McCulloch�s Hall, on the old court house square. The burning of the rolling mill in 1867 enabled them to exercise their charity in caring for the destitution of those thus thrown out of employment. A small library and reading room was for a time sustained, and lectures arranged for during the winter. Many famous speakers were brought to Kittanning by this organization, and the people for a time patronized the meetings with eagerness. But like all of such societies, even at the present time, interest gradually languished and finding the venture becoming a financial burden the members withdrew their subscriptions and the Association passed away. There is no Y. M. C. A. here now, although such a society is more needed in these days of irreligion and dissipation that ever before.
The German Benefit Union is an organization of citizens of Kittanning born in the Fatherland, and their descendants. The organization is large in numbers and its benevolent purposes are well conducted by the following officers: Edward Reinsel, president; Fred Dubrock, vice president; William F. Kirst, secretary; Joseph Volk, treasurer; William Sirwell, marshal; Charles Gura, trustee; John Schwetz, guide.
Although numerous temperance societies were organized at various times between 1830 and 1876, they had only evanescent life, and perhaps did some good, although the effect was not then manifest. We hear so many old inhabitants railing against the present times and decrying the immorality of the twentieth century, yet on the cold pages of history the old days do not show very clean records. When this county was in the first days of its prosperity there were distilleries at every convenient location and the product was sold direct to the people. Drunkenness was not considered a fault--merely an indiscretion. Most public men drank whisky. Fighting was common and the man with the biggest muscle far overshadowed the student.
In the present day we have our faults, but drunkenness is not so prevalent. The man who drinks publicly is censured and often loses caste with the best people. In most of the townships and some of the boroughs liquor is not now sold openly or legally. The largest rye whisky distillery is located in one of our boroughs where prohibition rules, and not one pint of the firms product can be bought in the town. We have only occasional fights, but it is not the accepted way to settle disputes, and man of literary inclinations may travel far upon the road to advancement, with every opportunity given him to smooth his way.
FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
The First Presbyterian Church of Kittanning was organized Aug. 31, 1822, with twenty-two members, by Rev. Thomas Davis of the Presbytery of Redstone. Services had been conducted from time to time in the courthouse for over sixteen years by supplies appointed by the Presbytery. The First of these services was conducted by Rev. Joseph Henderson, on June 8, 1806, probably the first sermon preached in the town. From that date until the organization the people depended upon supplies, among them being Revs. Robert Lee, David Porter, James Galbraith, Thomas Hunt, James Stockton, James Graham, James Coe, John Reed, David Barclay and Thomas Davis.
The original members of the church were; David Johnston, Thomas Hamilton, John Patrick, Mrs. Phoebe B. Brown, Mary Patrick, Barbara Patrick, Ann Pinks, Mary Matthews, Lydia Robinson, David Maxwell, James Monteith, Samuel Matthews, Mrs. Patton, Sarah Harrison, Mary Robinson, David Coulter, Maria McKee, Susannah Johnston, Samuel McMasters, Susannah McMasters and Mary Johnston. John Patrick, David Johnston and Thomas Hamilton were elected ruling elders.
The following were the pew holders from 1832 to 1840: James M. Brown, Robert Daugherty, B. Oswald, Joseph D. Bowser, James Cowan, Richard Graham, Foster and Totten, S. S. Harrison, James McCullough, Alexander Colwell, James Thompson, John Brown, John A. Colwell, Philip Templeton, Chambers Orr, John Ritchart, G. W. Smith, Hugh Rogers, Samuel Houston, R. Robinson, W. W. Hastings, W. Irvine, Douglass and Donaldson, Frederich Rohrer, J. S. Torney, David Johnston, William Cunningham, Elijah Horner, Samuel McKee, Mrs. John Cunningham, William Colwell, Isabella Cogley, James Louther, James E. Brown, J. M. Jordan, A. Arnold, Robert Orr, Richard Bailey, J. R. Johnston, J. S. Quigley, Bonner and Hutchinson, George Ross, Josiah Copley, David Crawford, John Hood, John Taylor, Thomas T. Taylor, A. L. Robinson, H. N. Lee, Philip Mechling, Nancy Monteith, Robert Brown, Jr., Rev. Joseph Painter, Dr. John Gilpin, Joseph McCartney, Joseph Buffington, James Galbraith, Phelps and Meredith, Charles Montgomery, Samuel Bryson.
For a time after its organization the congregation depended upon supplies until 1825, when Rev. Nathaniel Snowden was engaged as stated supply for two years. After his departure in 1827 there were supplies until 1830, when the first pastor of the church was installed, Rev. James Campbell. He preached here three fourths of his time, until his resignation in 1831. Again supplies were depended upon until the arrival of Rev. Joseph Painter in 1834, who remained until 1873. During Rev. Mr. Painter�s incumbency he assisted in the organization of several churches in the county and preached at different points whenever his labors at Kittanning permitted. During his pastorate the church increased in prosperity and numbers, the membership in 1864 being 146. In that year Rev. T. D. Ewing was called to assist Dr. Painter, and on May 10th was installed as assistant pastor. While Rev. Mr. Ewing was in the church the work continued to prosper, during the next ten years 267 persons being received into fellowship. In 1858, John G. Parr, James E. Brown and W. H. Jack were elected ruling elders. In 1877 James Martin, G. W. Doverspike and Robert S. Slaymaker were elders. In 1873 Dr. Painter died in Kittanning.
The election of Mr. Ewing to the presidency of Parsons College, Fairfield, Iowa, in 1880, left the pulpit vacant, and Rev. H. L. Mayers was called. He served faithfully until his death in 1909. During his term Andrew Thompson, Robert W. Cowan and Findley P. Wolff were elected ruling elders.
Rev. William J. Hutchison, the present pastor, was called, and installed on Nov. 3, 1909. During his pastorate the present splendid house of worship was planned and erected. Mr. Hutchinson is an extremely popular pastor and an enterprising citizen, the management and success of the series of Chautauquas held in present years being largely due to his untiring enthusiasm and labors.
The first church building was erected in 1830 at the corner of Jefferson and Jacob streets, was of trick and cost $1,510.57. It finally became so dilapidated by 1855 that Dr. Painter took steps to have it replaced, and in the following year a brick edifice was built at a cost of $3,900. This building was used until 1890, when the third church, a handsome and artistic structure, was built on the corner of Arch and Jefferson streets at a cost of $70,000. Dr. Mayers� death left the congregation without a pastor and five weeks later (in 1909) they were without a church, fire having completely gutted the splendid building. The burden of replacing the ruins with a home rested upon Dr. Hutchison, and it is worthy of note that the work of demolition began one year after the fire, the work of rebuilding one year before the dedication, and the laying of the cornerstone took place almost twenty years after the dedication of the previous structure.
The present building is a fine example of the Romanesque style of architecture, in brownstone, and is greatly similar to its predecessor, the tower having remained intact. The auditorium is of cruciform plan, with a vaulted ceiling and exposed oak trusses. Beautiful memorial windows surround it. The Sabbath school seats 800, and there are other rooms for various purposes adjoining. The heating, ventilating and furnishings are perfect. This is one of the largest and most beautiful of the church buildings of Kittanning.
The present officers of the church are: Elders--Findley P. Wolff, John D. Galbraith, Paul L. McKenrick, E. Taylor Hutchison, A. L. Ivory, O. N. Wilson, James G. McCullough, Andrew Brymer, William H. Leard, R. A. McCullough, Dr. Russell Rudolph, M. L. Bowser, Frank M. Shubert; trustees--E. E. Kinter, J. P. Culbertson, Harry R. Gault, John S. Porter, E. S. Hutchinson, H. G. Gates, H. A. Arnold, Boyd S. Henry, Samuel H. McCain; deacons--Harry McClure, Boyd S. Henry, Roland B. Simpson, James M. Stone, Lamont Bixler, Charles Dargue; treasurer-- Chris K. Leard; Sunday school--Lamont Bixler, superintendent; J. P. Culbertson, Assistant superintendent; Wylie Thompson, secretary; Miss Ilma Fox , organist.
SECOND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
On the last day of the year 1884 a committee composed of Rev. George W. Mechlin, Rev. Henry L. Mayers, Rev. Samuel J. glass, Rev. J. Horner Kerr, and Elders Robert S. Slaymaker and Samuel S. Caldwell, met in the town hall and organized the Second Presbyterian Church in Kittanning. Certificates from forty-two members of the United Presbyterian Church were presented and two others were received upon confession of faith. William Gates, Charles S. Bovard, William Nesbit and James H. McCain were elected ruling elders. At this meeting a call was issued to Rev. Samuel J. Glass, who came as the first pastor.
Plans for a home were submitted at a meeting held in April of the next year, and a building committee, D. A. Ralston, James H. McCain and William Gates, and a finance committee, J. P. Colter, J. Muckle and C. S. Bovard, appointed. Under their efficient control the present handsome church building was constructed at a cost of $3,500, the lot costing $1,800.
The successor of Rev. S. J. Glass in 1887 was Rev. DeWitt M. Benham, who remained until 1889. Rev. Mr. Glass was a United Presbyterian minister, who had a disagreement with his superiors and, with the forty-two members mentioned above separated to form this congregation. They bought the lot on which the present Baptist church stands and erected the brick building which, with many alterations, is the present home of the latter denomination. The Second Presbyterian Church, however, did not seem to find a footing in Kittanning and was soon after 1889 disbanded and the church property sold.
Before the organization of the Associate Reformed Church in 1845, Rev. John Dickey and other clergymen of the "Seceder" or "Union" Church sometimes preached to gatherings in Kittanning courthouse. At that time the late David Reynolds drew up a subscription paper and collected $76 for the support of Rev. Mr. Dickey. Application had previously been made by persons in this vicinity to the Presbytery of the Lakes for the organization of a congregation, and by order of that body in 1846, Rev. Isaiah Niblock, S. G. Purvis and A. P. Ormond met and received forty persons into the fellowship of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. John Cunningham, Moses Patterson, Hugh Rodger and Alexander Henry were ordained ruling elders. Rev. J. K. Riddle became stated supply. He was followed in 1848 by Rev. Joseph Buchanan, who remained until 1849.
A call was made in the next spring for Rev. John N. Dick, D. D., who served as pastor until 1876. At this date there were thirty-two members. From this time until 1886 the church depended upon supplies. In that year Rev. David McCall accepted the pulpit and served faithfully until his resignation in 1894. Again there were supplies until the arrival of Rev. William J. Reed in 1896. Mr. Reed remained until 1900 and was succeeded by Rev. F. S. McBride in 1901. After Mr. McBride came the present pastor, Rev. A. E. Curry, in November 1910.
The Associate Reformed Church was incorporated in 1850 and the Associate Presbyterians united with them in 1858, forming the present organization. The trustees of the Associate Reformed were James Colwell, Robert Speer and Samuel C. King. The council of deacons in 1859 were George Bovard, John M. Daily, William McCleland, Samuel M. Sloan and John Barnett. The two congregations were incorporated June 15, 1859, as the United Presbyterian Church of Kittanning.
The first and present church building was begun in 1860 and finished in 1864. It is a large and substantial brick structure, and was at the time of its construction the finest church in Kittanning.
The ruling elders in 1913 are J. J. Dunmire, William Nesbitt, Dr. J. G. Allison and William Marshall. The membership is 250 and the Sabbath school numbers over 300.
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
The Methodist congregation is the result of a class meeting and preaching held one day over eighty years ago in a private house that used to stand on Market street, and was the culmination of many years� intermittent preaching by traveling ministers of that denomination. Between 1816 and 1821 three circuit preachers, Revs. Bair, Baker and Hudson, on their rounds, sometimes held services in Kittanning in private homes and the courthouse. After 1861 this point became a station, the pastors who served the congregation being: M. W. Dallas, one year; W. P. Turner, three years; N. G. Miller, three years; J. B. Uber, one year; M. J. Sleppy, three years; J. F. Jones, three years; Homer J. Smith, two years; J. B. Risk, one year; John W. Rightor, three years; J. W. McIntyre, three years; H. H. Pershing, three years; L. R. Jones, three years; John F. Jones, one year; W. C. Davis, six months; L. R. Braun. one year; S. E. Rookey, three years; J. B. Taylor, five years. R. M. Mansell is the present pastor.
Their first religious home was a one-story brick, on the south side of Market street, and was probably built in 1839. After the congregation grew too large for this little edifice another brick, two stories high, was built on the old jail lot on McKean street, in 1862. the congregation was incorporated in 1871, with the following trustees: James Piper, Daniel B. Heiner, Samuel C. Davis, W. D. Mullen and W. R. Millium
In 1909 the present elegant and commodious building was erected on the corner of Vine and Jefferson streets.
ST. LUKE�S REFORMED CHURCH
With a membership of twenty-five in 1869, this congregation was organized, Frederick Smith was elected elder and David Knoble and Diedrich Stoelzing, deacons.
Prior to this organization Rev. C. A. Limberg, of Butler, preached to the people in German, as supply, from 1858 to 1859, when the Clarion Classis ordered the services held in English, the Rev. J. F. Wiant came as stated supply. He was relieved in 1872 and Rev. L. B. Leasure of Irwin, Pa,. was stationed here until the coming in 1873 of Rev. D. S. Dieffenbacher as regular pastor. The membership at that date was 156; Sabbath school, eighty-five.
Rev. Mr. Dieffenbacher continued his work, with missionary aid and the support of a congregation at Mr. Union, in Valley township, until May, 1885, during which time the charges became self-sustaining.
Rev. R. C. Bowling, of Emlenton, Pa,. succeeded Rev. Mr. Dieffenbacher in 1885, and is the present pastor. During his term the present church was built and the congregation has grown greatly in numbers.
During the pastorate of Rev. Mr. Wiant, a committee, consisting of himself, Dr. Knoble, Fred Moesta, D. Stoelzing and Fred Smith, was appointed to secure a proper building for services, and their efforts resulted in the purchase of the first church for $2,500, from the Baptist congregation. During the following year the edifice was overhauled and completely furnished, being dedicated in October, practically free from debt.
Services were continued in the old church on Jacob street until 1898, when the need of a more commodious building in a different locality became very apparent, so the present commodious and modern church, on the corner of McKean and High streets, was erected. The original cost of the building was over $25,000, and since the date of erection the property in that territory has greatly improved in value. The building is well arranged, comfortable, and has a seating capacity of 500, and a Sabbath school room and other necessary conveniences in the basement. A fine pipe organ of melodious tone is an adornment of the auditorium.
The parsonage adjoining is a remodeled structure of sufficient size to accommodate the pastor and family. It is interesting to note that the old church on Jacob street was sold to the Methodist Protestant denomination for the same price which the Reformed congregation had paid for it, $2,500.
The growth of the church was so gratifying that in 1892 the country congregation was detached, leaving St. Luke�s self-sustaining. At the present time the membership is 330, with a Sunday school enrollment of over 200. The present officers are: R. C. Bowling, D. D., pastor; Henry Bauer, F. S. Knoble, C. R. Moesta, D. W. Smith, elders; Charles Barnhart, H. C. Adams, Chris. Bauer, H. N. Sankey, Robert Kinnard and H. C. Holley, deacons.
METHODIST PROTESTANT CHURCH
This is an offshoot of the Methodist Episcopal Church organized in 1880 by Rev. S. F. Crothers, who remained as the first pastor until 1883. The membership at first was forty-one, but in one year had grown to sixty-six, and at the present time is 185, with 151 Sunday school scholars. The subsequent pastors after Rev. Mr. Crothers were Revs. E. A. Brindley, 1883-85, J. H. Lucas, 1885-86; F. N. Aunks, 1886-87; John Gregory, 1887-89; J. J. Wagoner, 1889-90; William Phillips, supply, 1890-91; J. B. Shively, 1891-93; B. F. Sadler, 1893-94;
J. B. Shively, 1894-95; J. F. Dyer, 1895-97; s. F. Crothers, 1897-99; J. F. Dyer, 1899-1900; W. B. Reed, 1900-01; J. H. Lamberson, 1902-06; J. H. Shimp, 1906-07; O. H. Boughton, 1907-10; J. F. Dyer, four months; W. S. Martin, 1910-13; O. C. Carlile, 1913-14.
The congregation first purchased a lot on South Jefferson Street and built a frame church, which they later sold to the local G. A. R. Post, who used it for a meeting hall, Next they bought the old First Presbyterian church building, used it until badly damaged by fire, and then sold it to Fire Company No. 1, who now occupy it as an engine house and hall. The last real estate investment of the congregation was the purchase of the building formerly used by the St. Luke�s Reformed congregation, on Jacob street. This they have altered and improved and now occupy. The church and parsonage are valued at $12,000.
TRINITY LUTHERAN CONGREGATION
We must rely entirely upon tradition to supply us with the early history of this congregation, as there are few records extant of its origin and organization. It is believed that the first actual corporate body was formed in 1820 and from that date until 1840 most of the services were held in the German language by Rev. Adam Mohler, G. A. Reichert, Burnheimer and Stackfeld. From 1840 to 1858 the pastors who occasionally preached here were Revs. George F. Ehrefeldt, W. A. Passavant, Asa Waters, Michael Sweigart and Michael Steck, the sermons being in both German and English.
The Germans and the English members separated in 1858, the English taking the title of St. John�s and the Germans that of Trinity.
At the time of the division Rev. Gabriel A. Reichert was recalled as pastor, serving until his death in 1877. Rev. Michael Sweigert next served as pastor from 1878 till 1884, when he resigned because of advancing age. Following came Revs. Munsch, Gaudian, Coleman and Robert Barner, the last pastor, after whose time the congregation was merged into the English Church.
In 1830 the Lutherans united with the Episcopalians in the erection of a brick building, with a tower, on Water street, near Arch, where the residence of Mr. George Reese is now located. This was occupied by them until 1845, when the violent storm of that year almost destroyed the structure. After this the congregation worshiped in the old Methodist church, in the schoolhouse, and in the church now occupied by the Methodist Protestant congregation. They then purchased the frame building on Jacob street from the United Presbyterians and used it until their dissolution in 1905.
ST. JOHN�S EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
The history of this congregation dates from its separation from the German branch in 1858, the first pastor being Rev. J. A. Ernest, who remained until 1867, being succeeded by Rev. J. A. Kribbs in that year. Rev. Mr. Kribbs remained until and was followed by Rev. J. C. Kuntzmann D. D., in 1879. The succeeding pastors were Revs. J. H. A. Kitzmiller, 1882-91; H. W. Elson, Ph. G., 1891-95; G. W. Spiggle, 1895-1903.
The pastor at present is Rev. George U. Preuss, who came in 1903 and to whom most of the improvements and advancement of the church are due. The present name of the church was adopted in September, 1866.
After the separation of the congregations the present church was built on the east side of North Jefferson street, between Arch and Vine, at a cost of $10,000. In 1904 additions were made to the building at a cost of $8,000, a large pipe organ having previously been installed in the auditorium, valued at $1,500.
On Jan. 23, 1911, a commodious and artistic parish house was dedicated on the same lot as the church and parsonage, which cost $11,000. Here are a gymnasium, library, pastor�s study and rooms for various society meetings and physical culture classes. The sewing school for little girls was only in existence three weeks when the membership amounted to sixty-nine ambitious little future housewives. These social and industrial features are the only ones in town connection with a church, and are of great value in moulding the minds and bodies of prospective citizens and fitting them for a better and more Christian life.
The parsonage adjoining the church is comfortable and substantial and in harmony with the church�s dignified and home-like appearance. The value of the parsonage is $3,000.
ST. PAUL�S LUTHERAN CHURCH
A number of persons belonging to St. John�s Lutheran Church separated from their follow members in 1899 and formed an organization under the name of St. Paul�s Lutheran Church. Their pastor has been Rev. Charles H. Tilp from the first, and meetings are held in the Odd Fellows Hall.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
With a membership of one hundred, the Baptists first organized in Kittanning, Oct. 13, 1896, the first deacons being J. H. Bowser and J. M. Hook, who have served in those positions ever since. The trustees were J. S. Claypool, J. C. Lamb, C. A. Shaffer, and George Rooney.
The first permanent pastor was Rev. Mr. Tomlinson, who remained with the congregation for two years. Rev. S. Shank came next for one year, being succeeded by Revs. J. H. Higby, four years; P. S. Calvin, four years; T. F. Taylor, three years. Rev. George M. Hulme is the present pastor.
The present trustees are C. A. Shaffer, E. E. Shaffer, Thomas Shaner, J. S. Claypool, John Snyder, W. A. Nicholson and John Henry. The membership is now 463, and the Sunday school (J. H. Bowser, superintendent) has a membership of 350.
The congregation upon organization purchased the building formerly occupied by the United Presbyterians and made extensive improvements in its exterior and interior. In 1913 they made the third addition to their home, which is now valued at $25,000. Such has been the transformation of the edifice that the originals owners would scarcely recognize it were they to see it. The auditorium has a seating capacity of 400 and there are six separate classrooms. The interior is artistic in decoration, comfortable in seating arrangement, and acoustics are perfect. A spirit of enthusiasm and kindness prevails in the congregation and a welcoming hand is extended to the stranger at all times.
ST. MARY�S ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
The first member of this church to take up residence in Kittanning was Maurice Coleman, who settled here in 1834. His death occurred in 1863 and he lies in the cemetery near the present church. The next known member was Mrs. John Golden, who settled here in 1842, and at her death in 1886 as interred in the same burial plot. After these two of the old membership arrived the Catholics slowly gained in numbers, the offering of the Mass being made in the home of Col. William Sirwell for the first time in 1847, by father Cody, who had as a parish the entire district between Pittsburgh and Erie. Until 1851 Mass was celebrated in the old academy, the courthouse, and in the homes of Henry Rush and Colonel Sirwell, by the missionary Fathers Gray, Mitchell, Lopez, Morgan and Chilian.
In 1852 Rev. Eugene Gray bought lot No. 1 of the Armstrong tract, where the present church was founded by him and partially completed. The first members were: Maurice Coleman, Michael Henry, John Lambing, Patrick McGary, Thomas Casserly, George Kron, Patrick Hoey, John Steinmetz, Henry Rush, William Sirwell, John Shields, Hugh McGiven, Thomas McGiven, Patrick McManus, Edward McBride, George Schuey, Casper Easley, John Beck, frank Byers, frank Fritz and Thomas Nugent.
Once in two months visits were make to the congregation by Fathers Phelan and Hickey, until 1863, when Rev. J. O�G. Scanlon came as resident pastor. He carried the work of the church to completion and in 1864 it was dedicated by Bishop Domenic.
Father J. A. O�Rourke took up the work of the parish in 1865 and during his service the tower of the church was rebuilt, it having been blown off in a storm in 1856. John Gilpin, who was not a member of the church, generously donated a bell for the tower and paid most of the expense of reconstruction. At his death he left a fund of $100 to provide for the ringing of the bell n the 8th of October of every year, in memory of his birthday, a request that is always followed by the church.
Rev. A. A. Lambing, who became pastor in 1871, completed the work on the church and the congregation grew to such an extent as to necessitate the installation of Father R. C. Christy as assistant pastor. Father Christy had been chaplain of the 78th Regiment, Pa. Vols. Father Rittich was also at one time assistant in the work.
The succeeding pastors were Fathers Thomas Howley, 1878 until his death here in 1883; P. Brady, 1883-88; John Coney, 1888-89; F. P. Kettle, 1889-91; J. Nash, 1891-92; F. J. McCabe, 1892-93; L. P. McEvoy, 1893 until his death in 1895; R. J. Maloney, 1895-99; Patrick O�Neil, 1899-1903; L. A. Carroll, 1903-13. The present pastor, Rev. Father Charles F. Sullivan, came to this parish in the year 1913.
The church committee is composed of Messrs. John C. Carmody, B. P. Dunnigan, Walter Ellermeyer, Theodore Lehner, Charles Rhodes, A. L. Sheridan, Charles Welsh and Harry Cornman.
The building used by the congregation is the same first erected, but has been improved and repaired from time to time. The parochial school near the church was built and opened in 1906, while under the charge of Father Carroll. It has a similar curriculum as the public schools, as well as private classes for drawing, painting, music and other arts for which the Sisters of St. Joseph are famous. The present number of scholars is 165.
The following children of the Church have taken up religious lives since the foundation: Kate Lambing (Sister Ildefonse), formerly at a mission in New Mexico; Sadie Kahler (Sister Petronella), missionary in Peru; Hannah Glenn (Sister Mary Claire)� Kate Sheridan (Sister Salome), Allegheny Pa.; Margaret Coyle (Sister Clare), Abingdon, Ky.; Mary Hirtenberger, in the foreign mission field; Ella Diamond, Pittsburgh; Katherine Kurst, Baden, Pa.; and Kate Kennedy, Pittsburgh.
The old cemetery which was beside the church was abandoned during the pastorate of Father Kettle, and the remains removed to the cemetery above Wickboro. The site of the old cemetery was used for the erection of a commodious parsonage.
The first priest ordained form this parish was Rev. A. A. Lambing, the historian at Wilkinsburg, Pa., who was a native of Manor township. Others following were Father M. A. Lambing, the temperance advocate; Rev. John Hirtenberger, a missionary to Brazil, who recently visited Kittanning after an absence of many years, and Father William D. Fries, now stationed at Charleroi, PA. The last priest to be ordained here was Rev. Charles H. Fries, now located at Cullman, Alabama.
ST. PAUL�S PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH
As early as 1822 efforts were made by the Episcopalians of Kittanning to secure aid in founding a church here. A letter was about that time written by Dr. Samuel Neale to the Society for the Advancement of Christianity at Philadelphia, asking that a missionary be employed to serve the members of that denomination in Kittanning. Assisted by Robert Brown, Dr. Neale was successful in 1824 in establishing the first congregation of Protestant Episcopalians in the county.
Occasional preaching was bad before 1824 by Rev. Mr. Thompson, who used the ever-ready courthouse. After 1830 the congregation occupied the joint edifice erected in partnership with the Lutherans, on Water street. When this building was destroyed by a storm in 1845 they prepared to build a home of their own, completing and dedicating it in 1846, Bishop Potter delivering the dedicatory sermon. This building was a small brick structure and stood on Water street, where the present church stands.
This church was incorporated in 1846, the wardens being David Patterson and Joseph Boney, and the vestrymen Robert Brown, Joseph Buffington, John Portsmouth, Ephraim Buffington and George W. Smith.
The first rector was Rev. Moses P. Bennett, from 1824 to 1827; followed by Rev. William Hilton, 1829 to 1832 and 1839 to 1871; Rev. B. B. Killikelly, D. D., 1834-39; Rev. O. S. Taylor, 1871-74; Rev. R. W. Micou, 1874-81. The following rectors were Revs. R. W. Gough, Edward Biddinger, W. W. Wilson, Charles Larosch, Charles Pardee, Francis C. Hartshorn and W. E. H. Neiler.
The present church, probably the largest and most artistic of the Protestant edifices in the county, was founded in 1911, but a fire in the stone cutting department of the firm engaged in the contract delayed the completion until 1913. The building is of two kinds of limestone, from Ohio and Indiana, and cost for the structure alone over $42,000. The beautiful English memorial window in the rear of the pulpit cost $6,000, being contributed by a member of the congregation, Mr. George W. Rohrer. The altar, choir stalls, pulpit and lectern were given by different members. The seating cost $1,500 and the chancel furnishings $4,000. Two choir robing rooms are on one side of the altar and a neat chapel on the other side. The total cost of the church and furnishings is estimated at over $60,000. The manse adjoining the church was built in 1874 at a cost of $6,000. The architecture of the new church is modified Gothic, and the heating, lighting and ventilation are all that science could design for the comfort of the worshipers.
FIRST CHRISTIAN (CAMPBELLITE) CHURCH
This congregation, organized in 1853, has a short life. During the five or six years of their existence they succeeded in erecting a two-story building and holding occasional services there, but the membership was small and no inducements were offered that could attract additional ones, so they finally disbanded and sold their holdings to J. E. Meredith.
Knesseth Israel Congregation was organized in 1912 with Rev. A. H. Dolgoff as the rabbi in charge. The services were held in various rented buildings.
In the person of C. B. Schotte this borough was favored with a man of remarkable musical talents. Had he not been so retiring and devoted to agricultural and horticultural pursuits, Kittanning might have become a musical center. In 1858 he organized and drilled a band of twelve pieces, which was used by the recruiting officers in the organization of the 8th Reserves. For many years this band was present at all the different meetings and parades of the county. Disagreements occurring in the membership caused Mr. Schotte to withdraw, to the great loss of the organization, which soon thereafter disbanded.
A cornet band was organized in 1872 but did not have an extensive history. It was composed of fifteen pieces.
After 1872 several bands were organized, but were short lived, until the Kittanning Band came into being in 1895, under the direction of Charles H. Golden. They purchased a complete set of instruments in 1877 and became the leading organization of the county, making many trips to other parts of the State, being at their best under the direction of A. J. Bowser, in 1903-04. After Mr. Bowser left the band did not keep up its standard, and finally disbanded.
At present there are several bands of various degrees of proficiency in the county, the best of these being the Ford City Band, under the leadership of George W. Neurohr. This band includes many of the old Kittanning Band members.
The Kittanning Musical Club was organized in 1909 and included most of the leading musicians of the vicinity, but disbanded in 1913. At present there are several small orchestras, playing principally for dances.
The growth of Kittanning has been steady and no a year has passed without a slight gain in numbers. The first national census of 1850 gave the population as 1,561. In 1860 it was 1,686; in 1870, 1,889; in 1880, 2,624; in 1890, 3,095; in 1900, 3,902; in 1910, 4,311.
First Ward--The assessment returns for 1913 show; Number mills, 5; value $99,360; houses and lots, 257, valued at $425,705, average, $1.656.544; horses, 75, valued at $2,690, average, $35.86; cows, 6, value, $120, average $20; taxable occupations, 530, amount, $25,160; total valuation, $553,065. Money at interest, $62,395.16.
Second Ward--The assessments returns for 1913 show: Number of mills, 3, value $13,500; houses and lots, 550, value, $1,066,189, average, $1,938.52; horses, 98, value, $3,475, average, $35.45; cows, 9, value $180, average, $20; taxable occupations, 947, amount, $54,605; total valuation, $1,137,949. Money at interest, $119,195.
As usual in this section, Kittanning is underlaid by the ferriferous limestone, 16 feet thick, filled with many minute fossils. Coal was mined by the Reynolds in earlier times in the upper part of the borough and brick is made from the shales and clays in the eastern part. Lime was burned on their farm by the Reynolds in the seventies. The elevation of Kittanning above the sea is 809.94 feet at the corner of Market street and Grant avenue.
On Dec. 29, 1913, the voters of Kittanning and Wickboro decided by a majority of 469 to consolidate the two towns, thus making a city of 7,086, with every prospect of reaching ten thousand in the next ten years.
The consolidation of the towns will enable Greater Kittanning to issue bonds for a municipal water and lighting plant, a much needed department of the city�s organization. It will also automatically reduce the fares of the trolley line between Ford City and Wickboro, as the electric railway charter provides for one fare between Kittanning and Ford City. Great opposition was experienced before the election from the electric lighting, waterworks and railway companies, who expected to lose revenue from the consolidation.
The vote was: Kittanning, first ward, for, 162, against, 22; Second ward, for 313, against, 53. Total, 475 for, 75 against. Wickboro, 283 for, 14 against. Total in both boroughs, 758 for, 89 against.
The council of the consolidated boroughs will consist of thirteen members and the justices of the peace will be reduced to three, after the terms of two of the five at present expire.
Almost all of the land upon which the thriving new town of Wickboro is located was formerly owned by Capt. John Armstrong. In 1872 George H. Fox and Valentine Neubert laid out the town of "Germantown" and sold forty-eight lots. By 1876 twenty-one dwellings houses were built here. The place did not gain much in population, however, as there were no manufactories here, except the Quigley sawmill and the brick works of Ross Reynolds, both of which were built some years previously.
Here, also, in 1866 were started the limekilns of Franklin and Ross Reynolds, who operated them until 1890.
The famous "Donaldson Nurseries" were located in the center of the plat on which Wickboro is now standing. John Donaldson here built three hothouses in 1843, and by 1878 was shipping 20,000 trees a year to all parts of the Union. He had 300,000 trees of many kinds on his farm, and operated a truck garden as well, employing twenty or more men in the season. But the march of progress overwhelmed his nursery, and it was leveled to make room for this industrial city.
The borough of Wick, or Wickboro, as it is called, was laid out in the year 1894 by John Wick, Jr., on a plat of 300 acres which he had acquired. Mr. Wick with characteristic energy put the project through to completion in a very short time and the sales of lots proceeded with encouraging speed. He donated the ground for a fine schoolhouse and not content with this contribution, in a short time added the sum of $3,000 to the fund of the builders. He had in 1889 started the large pottery here as a foundation of the town�s prosperity, and later, in order to increase the population and give it work, gave land for the Kittanning Plate Glass Company and the Kittanning Brick & fire Clay Company, both of whom have extensive plants here.
The china works were first organized as the Wick Chinaware Company in 1889. The plant, until closed down at a recent date, was operated by the Pennsylvania China Company. The plant employed several hundred workmen of the highest skill, producing the finest grades of tableware, plain and decorated jardinieres and ornamental vases. Seven different materials were used, two of the clays being imported from England and one coming from Florida. Another clay, as well as the feldspar and flint, are procured in Pennsylvania.
In the latter part of 1913 the pottery closed down indefinitely, all of the workmen being laid off without warning. This was a heavy blow to the men, as most of them had bought homes and made investments in Wickboro, and were compelled to sacrifice their property in order to leave for other cities where employment could be had. At this date the works were on the market for sale, with several buyers in sight. The W. H. George Pottery Company, of East Palestine, Ohio, was one of the bidders.
The Kittanning Plate Glass company give employment to a large number of men, both in their plant in Wickboro and in the sand and coal works across the Allegheny in east Franklin township. The sand is conveyed across that stream by the wire conveyor system. The officers of the company are: George W. Reese, president; Henry Moesta, secretary; H. J. Lindeman, treasurer; J. C. Gipe, superintendent; John Brymer, general sales agent.
The Kittanning Brick & Fire Clay Company produced several varieties of building and paving brick, employing over one hundred workman and operating their own mines of coal and fire clay.
An interesting industry is the Wickboro Mirror Company, which was established here in 1901. The officers of the company, who are also the workmen, are: Christ. Bauer, President; John Bauer, vice president; William F. Bauer, secretary; Henry Bauer, Treasurer. The glass is obtained from the Kittanning Plate Glass Company and silvered, beveled and polished by the firm. The plant employs about twelve men, and is capitalized at $15,000.
Most of the residents of Wickboro are supplied with water by the Armstrong Water Company, of Kittanning, but a number of them, headed by Dr. Jay B. F. Wyant, decided to secure a more healthful and economical supply, so they formed an association of seventy-five shareholders and proceeded to install their own plant. Two wells, 55 feet deep, were drilled and fine water struck. An automatic pressure system was put in with a motor pump, at an individual cost of only $81.00 to the stockholders. By this system they not only get the most healthful water supply, but at a large saving over the past charges of the Kittanning firm. Formerly they paid an average of $3.00 per month each. Now the per capita cost is 75 cents, 50 cents of which pays the expense of operation and 25 cents goes into a sinking fund to pay for replacement and repairs. In installing the plant they encountered the opposition of the Kittanning company, who went so far as to try to obtain an injunction against them, but the application was refused. Others of the citizens of Wickboro are preparing to install similar plants. The State Water Commission has asked for a description of this plant, as an illustration of a model semi-public water installation in the exhibits made at Harrisburg.
Two volunteer fire companies aid in extinguishing any incipient blaze, with the aid of the mains of the Armstrong Water Company, of Kittanning. The reservoir of that company is located on the hill just above Wickboro. Near it is the cemetery of St. Mary�s Catholic Church of Kittanning, established herein by that church in 1873, owing to the crowded condition of the old cemetery in the heart of that town.
Near the site of Wickboro, in the year 1837, was located the "Doanville Seminary." under the auspices of the Protestant Episcopal Church, of which Rev. B. B. Killikelly was principal, who was succeeded in 1839 by Mrs. Eliza Warren. Up to that time it had received State aid under the act of 1838. In 1849 Rev. Mr. Killikelly returned, and opening the school called it "Minnesota Point Seminary." Several annexes were made to the dwelling house in which the institution was housed and the number of pupils reached 160. Revs. Hall and Carter served as principals for varying terms from 1855 to 1863, when Rev. Mr. Killikelly again assumed the chair, and changing the name to "Glen Mary Hall" conducted the school till 1865. After that date Miss Bechton, Miss Lena Hughes and Rev. B. B. Killikelly, Jr., were principals, until finally in 1868 the school was consolidated with Lambeth College.
The first trustees in 1838 were: B. B. Killikelly, Joseph Buffington, Alexander Caldwell (Colwell), Robert E. Brown, George W. Smith, William, William P. Rupp and William F. Johnston of this, Charles C. Gaskill of Jefferson, and Daniel Stanard of Indiana county.
In 1913 the number of schools was 12; months taught, 9; male teachers, 3; female teachers, 11; average salaries, male, $76.66; female, $59.99; male scholars, 290; female scholars, 297; average attendance, 587; cost of each scholar per month, $1.63; tax levied, $11,752.75; received from State, $2,851.61; from other sources, $13,643.91; value of schoolhouses, $29,000; teachers� wages $7,535.75; other expenditures, $5,337.30.
The school commissioners were: P. M. Enterline, president; Charles A. Wolfe, secretary; Armstrong County Trust Company, treasurer; W. A. Cook, E. H. Shaffer, David Foster.
Wickboro was incorporated in 1900. The first burgess was Robert L. Brown and his successors were: Thomas Bowen, E. T. Hutchinson, E. E. Ritchey and Edward Starr. The present officials are: E. E. Seyler, burgess; George W. King, assessor; E. T. Crissman, tax collector; E. T. Hutchison, auditor.
The first census report made after the incorporation of the town is that of 1910, which gives the population as 2,775. In this year (1913) it is probably over 4,000.
Thus through the efforts and energy of John Wick, Jr., employment has been given to over 3,000 persons and a city brought into being in ten years that so far overshadowed Kittanning that the latter borough has made overtures for their consolidation, the proposition being put before the voters of both boroughs, with a unanimous vote of acceptance.
Mrs. John Wick, Jr., formerly Miss Ursilla B. Kinsey, was the first lady telephone operator in the United States, being located at the time at East Liverpool, Ohio.
The assessment returns for 1913 show: Number of acres, 39 1/2, valued at $75,500; houses and lots, 799, value, $418,885, average, $524.13; horses, 50, value, $2,030, average, $40.60; cows, 6, value, $140, average, $23.33; taxable occupations, 921, amount, $34,780; total valuation, $620,085. Money at interest, $84,027.14.
Wickboro has one drug store, one hotel and several stores. The population depend mainly upon the Kittanning stores for service.
Trinity Lutheran Church, organized in 1899, is served by Rev. W. Roy Goff. The Wickboro Free Methodist congregation is served in 1913 by Rev. W. G. Long. The Brethren in Christ Church is served by Rev. William Tantlinger.
Source: Page(s) 102-113, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J. H. Beers & Co., 19114.
Transcribed July, November, February by Dorris, Rizza, Cynthia G. Hartman, and Alice Gayle for the Armstrong County Smith Project.
Contributed by Dorris, Rizza, Cynthia G. Hartman, and Alice Gaylefor use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)
Armstrong County Genealogy Project Notice:
These electronic pages cannot be reproduced in any format, for any presentation, without prior written permission.
Return to the Beers Project
Return to the Armstrong County Genealogy Project
(c) Armstrong County Genealogy Project
Return to the Armstrong County Genealogy Project
(c) Armstrong County Genealogy Project