John R Long


JOHN R. LONG, vice president of the First National Bank of Leechburg, is one of the foremost business men of that borough, though at present leading a life of comparative retirement. He was born Jan. 20, 1843, near Worthington, in Franklin township, Armstrong county, son of John S. Long.

Mr. Long�s grandfather was a farmer in Westmoreland county, Pa., where he died. Little is known of his history, his death having occurred many years ago. His children were Jacob, John S. and Abigail (the latter never married). Of these, Jacob had four sons who served in the Civil war, one of them, John, being a member of the 139th Pennsylvania Regiment; he lost one of his legs in battle, and received a medal from General Grant for conspicuous bravery in placing the Union flag on some works that had been captured.

John S. Long, was born in Westmoreland county, Pa., but after his marriage moved to Armstrong county, Pa., being one of the early settlers in Franklin township. He was a farmer, and followed that occupation until his death, which occurred in the year of 1897. He was a very active member of the Methodist Church. His wife, Mary A. (Swank), daughter of Daniel Swank, was like himself a native of Westmoreland county, and they are buried in the Middlesex cemetery in this county. They had the following children: John R.; Jacob, who lives near Butler, Pa.; Elizabeth, widow of Robert Wason, residing in Kittanning; Nancy, who married Jacob Coler; Margaret, who married Harvey Fair; and Etta, Mrs. Russel.

John R. Long attended district school in his native township during the winter months in his boyhood, his advantages being somewhat limited. But he had plenty of practical training. He was employed among farmers until his enlistment, in 1862, in Company H, 78th Pennsylvania Regiment, and later he veteranized in Company B, 78th Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, remaining in the service until the close of the war. He was in many of the important engagements in which Sherman�s army took part and after the capture of Atlanta saw continuous service. Mr. Long was discharged at Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 11, 1865, and was mustered out at Harrisburg, Pa., Sept. 18, 1865. Returning home he became an engineer at the Jones & Laughlin Mills, then in South Pittsburgh, Pa., and in 1872 located at Leechburgh, with which place he has since been identified. His first employment here was running an engine for Roger & Burchfield at the steel mills, and during his service there he was the first man to suggest to the management that natural gas could be piped from across the river for use as fuel. He was laughed at at first, but before long gas was introduced into the plant, and Mr. Long made the first burner, which was placed in the furnace and boilers and proved a success. So far as known, this is the first time natural gas was ever used for this purpose, and its use is continued to this day. Mr. Long was employed at this mill for fourteen months, after which, on a capital of three hundred dollars, he engaged in the grocery business. Later he branched out, becoming a general merchant, and was thus engaged until 1907, when he retired. Mr. Long by strict attention to business and to the wants of his patrons, established a large trade, which never diminished during his long business career, and he was one of the most reliable merchants of the borough, his methods and standards being above question. Though he has given up his store he is not without employment. It was through his efforts that the First National Bank of Leechburg, was organized, and he was elected vice president, which office he continues to hold. This bank is on the "roll of honor," a fact which stands to the credit of all its officers.

Mr. Long was one of the organizers and is a charter member of John A. Hunter Post, No. 123, G.A.R., of Leechburg, and he is past commander of that post. He has no party connections, voting independently.

In 1868 Mr. Long married Esther A. Johnson, daughter of Wilson Johnson, and they have had five children: William (deceased), Edward C., Calvin A., Daisy (who died young) and John W. (at home).

Source: Pages 950-951, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed November 1998 by Kathy Zagorac for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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