Samuel J McMains


SAMUEL J. McMAINS, D. D. S., who is engaged in the practice of dentistry in the borough of Leechburg, is one of the substantial and popular citizens of that community in both his professional capacity and his connection with its general welfare. He has served in several local offices, is associated with various enterprises which mark the progress of the borough, and has a high personal standing in all circles.

The Doctor's paternal great-great-grandfather came to this part of Pennsylvania from Kentucky, settling in what is now known as Baldwin township, in Allegheny county, at a period when that section was a wilderness and occupied by Indians. He was of Scotch descent. Either he or his son John took up from the government 400 acres of land near White Hall, Allegheny county, which was afterward taken from them in a fraudulent manner. An attorney once offered to reclaim the land for the heirs, but it had then passed into innocent hands, and William McMains, son of John, refused to consent to such an attempt. John McMains, the Doctor's great-grandfather, was from Allegheny county. He was a ranger in the early days, and told how, in a charge he made with others, he ran after an Indian whom he wanted to capture. The Indian dodged his bayonet and escaped in a thicket. He could have killed the Indian, but desired to take him alive. Mr. McMains married Margaret Kinkaid, daughter of John Kinkaid, and they had the following children: William is mentioned below; John Kinkaid married Elizabeth Barns; Enoch married Sarah Shaw; Benjamin married Mary Ann Weller; James married Nancy Thompson; Andrew married Sarah Thompson, cousin of Nancy, his brother's wife; Sarah married Fulton Eckels; Hannah married James Irwin; one daughter (name not known) died young.

William McMains, son of John and Margaret (Kinkaid) McMains, was a carpenter and builder, and was particularly skilled as a manufacturer of grain cradles. About 1843 he moved with his family to the Monongahela river, between that time and 1863 living along and near the river at several locations, between Glassport and Peters Creek. He died at the age of fifty-six years, near Elizabeth, Armstrong county. His wife, Mary Ann (Moore), was a daughter of William and Nancy (Wallace) Moore, the former of whom came from Ireland with his parents at the age of four years, and lived on a farm in Baldwin township, Allegheny Co. Pa. Mr. and Mrs. William Moore had children as follows: James, who married Ann Hamilton; Hannah, Mrs. Thomas Large; Mary Ann, Mrs. McMains; Jane, Mrs. John Willock; Samuel, who married Elizabeth Stewart; William, who was twice married, first to Margaret Cowen (there were no children by the second union); Eliza, wife of Robert Curry; and Sarah, Mrs. Joseph McGibbony.

To William McMains and his wife were born six children: John K., Jesse Moore, William Wallace, Samantha (married W. C. Pollock), Mary E. and Sarah (who never married).

Jesse Moore McMains, son of William, was born June 12, 1839, near White Hall, Baldwin township, Allegheny county. As previously stated, his parents moved to the Monongahela river about 1843, living along and near the river at several places between Glassport and Peters Creek during the time he remained at home, until 1863. Meantime, after beginning work, he engaged in coal digging during the winter season, and in the summer time followed the carpenter's trade and building. On May 11, 1863, he entered the employ of Thomas Fergus, at Elizabeth, becoming a salesman, and he was with Mr. Fergus in that capacity for eleven years, during which time he kept his books for about ten years. He had attended Duff's business college, at Pittsburgh, from which he was graduated in 1862, and he has for many years given instruction in penmanship, being one of the best teachers in that art in this district. He continued his connection with the mercantile business until his retirement in 1910. Mr. McMains has always been an active man, and he has had numerous interests. Like his father he was a well-known singer, and they were popular choir leaders in the United Presbyterian Church for many years. On Aug. 29, 1863, Jesse M. McMains and his sister Samantha (Mrs. Pollock) united with the Bethesda congregation, at Elizabeth, their parents joining by letter from McKeesport congregation at the same time. This was under the pastorate of Rev. Samuel Jamison. On Feb. 8, 1871, Mr. McMains was elected to the office of ruling elder in Bethesda congregation, was ordained May 22, 1871, and has served continuously since--a period of over forty-two years. He was elected treasurer of the congregation Jan. 22, 1881, and with the exception of three years continued in that office until Sept. 1, 1901. He has been in the public service in the borough of Elizabeth, having been elected councilman Oct. 13, 1869, and served one term; for six and a half years he was a school director, and during that time acted as secretary of the board. He was clerk of the council for five and two thirds years, resigning Dec. 1, 1910.

On July 4, 1865, Mr. McMains was married, by Rev. Samuel Jamison, to Joanna Reid, who was born Nov. 16, 1841, daughter of Thomas H. and Elizabeth Patterson Reid, and died Jan. 16, 1910. Mr. and Mrs. McMains had the following children: Samuel Jamison; Eleanora Patterson, born Dec. 15, 1868, who is married to L. B. Worley, Esq., of Pittsburgh, Pa., William, born Sept. 19, 1870, who died Sept. 23, 1886; Jesse Moore, Jr., born Nov. 14, 1875, a United Presbyterian minister now located at Springdale, Pa.; Van McKinstry, born Jan 6, 1885, who was well educated, taught school for several years, and is now traveling in the South.

Thomas H. Reid, father of Mrs. Jesse M. McMains, was a native of Southampton county, Va., born Feb. 22, 1795, and died Jan 1, 1861. His wife, Elizabeth Patterson, born April 27, 1800, died Feb. 4, 1894. They had two children: Joanna, wife of Jesse M. McMains; and Sarah Elizabeth, born March 2, 18l45, who died May 15, 1855.

William and Sarah Patterson, parents of Mrs. Elizabeth (Patterson) Reid, were born in 1760 and 1769, respectively, and died in 1830 and 1814, respectively. Their children were born as follows: David, 1791 (died 1837); Mary, 1793 (died 1872); Martha, 1795 (died 1884); Sarah, 1798 (died 1884); Elizabeth, 1800 (died 1894); Nancy, 1802 (died 1882); Eleanor, 1804 (died 1894); William, 1806; James, 1808 (died 1888); Jeremiah, 1810; Joanna, 1812 (died 1851). This family lived in Fayette county, Pa., and when General LaFayette made his last tour through this country they entertained him, at or near Tippecanoe, that county. These eleven children were nephews and nieces of Gov. Jeremiah Morrow of Ohio, the first United States senator from Ohio, who served twenty-one years in that office. He went to Washington on horseback. On his return he was informed of his election as governor of Ohio, and served from 1822 to 1826. His only picture hangs in the Statehouse at Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Morrow was a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church during all the period of his public service. He was a farmer by occupation.

Samuel Jamison McMains was born March 29, 1867, at Elizabeth, Allegheny Co., Pa., and there he began his education in the public school. He graduated from high school at the age of fifteen. Until he was twenty years of age he clerked in the Fergus department store at Elizabeth. Then he went to Pittsburgh and engaged as clerk with Biber & Easton for one year. He then began the study of dentistry with Shaw & McBurney, on Penn avenue, in Pittsburgh, and on Sept. 12, 1889, he entered the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery, at Philadelphia. Graduating in 1891, he located at Leechburg, Armstrong county, on April 8th of that year opening an office and commencing the practice he has since built up to large proportions. He is now situated on Market street.

Dr. McMains has been quite active in a number of local enterprises and has proved himself a man of good business judgement. He has been a director of the Leechburg Board of Trade; is president of the National Producer Company, manufacturers of mechanical artificial gas producers; was the organizer of the Acme Natural Gas company of Leechburg (of which he is still secretary and treasurer); was one of the organizers and is serving as a director of the Kiskiminetas Agricultural and Driving Association; organizer of the Eureka Natural Gas Company, operating near Saltsburg, of which he is secretary and treasurer; and is interested in the real estate business, owing a five-acre tract in Gilpin township, adjoining the borough of Leechburg, where he builds houses to order, for sale or rent. It is known as McMains' addition to Leechburg. The Doctor has served two terms as member of the borough school board, acted as president of that body, was secretary of the borough council for several years, was a member of the poor board, and in fact has been one of the all-around active citizens of Leechburg. He is now state Registrar for Leechburg, Gilpin and Park townships. He is a Republican on political questions, and in religion a member of the United Presbyterian Church. Fraternally he is an Elk, holding membership in the local lodge, and is secretary of the Elks' Building Association.

Dr. McMains' numerous associations, professional, business, political, social, have widened his interests and made his name well known all over the State, and in some connections, indeed, he has acquired a national reputation. As a glee club and campaign singer he has been a popular figure at many public gatherings, and his ability as a speaker has also created a demand for his services at political and other assemblages. His sincere manner and frank address attract friends wherever he goes.

On Nov. 28, 1894, Dr. McMains married Margaret Thompson Moorhead, who was born at Indiana, Pa., daughter of John Calvin Moorhead, of that place, and graduated from the Indiana State normal school in1891. She taught public school at Leechburg several years before her marriage. Dr. and Mrs. McMains have two children, Charles Van and Eleanor, both of whom are attending school.

The Moorhead family, ancestors of Mrs. McMains, is of Scotch origin, the name (Scotch or possibly Norman) signifying "head of the moor." It is traced back to the sixteenth century in Scotland. Donald Moorhead and his wife Esther (Parkson) had William Moorhead, whose son Alexander Moorhead went to the North of Ireland. There he married Jennie Clyde, who was of Norman English extraction. They had one son, Alexander Moorhead, who was but fifteen years of age when his father died. He and his mother emigrated to America in 1764, landing at Philadelphia and thence proceeding to Waynesboro, Franklin Co., Pa. On the same vessel in which they made the voyage came a family named Morrow, and in 1769 young Alexander Moorhead married the daughter Mary Morrow. They had children James, Margaret and Esther. In 1780 Alexander Moorhead brought his mother, wife and three children to Indiana county, Pa., and the name became one of the most distinguished in the pioneer annals of this region. The Moorheads have intermarried with other prominent families, and the name to this day is one of the most honored in Indiana county.

James Moorhead, evidently son of Alexander and Mary (Morrow) Moorhead, married Nancy Thompson.

Alexander Thomspon Moorhead, first child of James and Nancy (Thompson) Moorhead, was one of the well-known men of this section in his time. He used to haul merchandise from Philadelphia, at that early day a difficult and perilous undertaking; usually several men would go together, and "double team" over the mountains. On June 12, 1821, he married Mary Morrow McKee, daughter of James McKee a distinguished early settler of Indiana county, who built what was known as McKee's Mills. Four children were born to this union: James McKee; Joseph McCloud; Nancy Ann, who married Robert Lowry; and Alexander Thompson, Jr., for many years editor of the Indiana Progress, postmaster at that place and also in other connections one of the borough's most important citizens. The mother dying May 31, 1836, Mr. Moorhead married (second) April 24, 1837, Jane H. Hart, who died Jan 27, 1858. By this union there were five children, two of whom died in infancy, the others being: Mary Jane, who married Joseph B. Adair; Margaret, who married J. Stuart Thompson, a merchant; and John Calvin.

JOHN CALVIN MOORHEAD, son of Alexander Thompson and Jane H. (Hart) Moorhead, was born Nov. 22, 1845, and is a resident of Indiana borough, where he is engaged in business as a dealer in lumber, farm implements, coal, etc. He is also interested in farming. On Feb. 18, 1868, he married Matilda J. Lintner, who was like himself of prominent pioneer stock of this section, and they are the parents of ten children, namely: David Lintner, former county surveyor, in which office he served for twenty years, now a member of the firm of Moorhead Brothers, leading clothing merchants of Indiana; Thompson Hart, who died in infancy; Margaret Thompson, wife of Dr. McMains; Clara J., wife of Herbert B. Smith, of Johnstown; William Owens, member of the firm of Moorhead Brothers; John Porter, who died in infancy; James Egar, of West Newton, a civil engineer engaged with the Sanborn Map Company, of New York City; Calvin Henry, a merchant of Sunbury, Pa.; Charles Augustus, of Kittanning, Pa., representing the Sanborn Map Company; and Mary Elizabeth who is engaged in teaching school. The parents are members of the United Presbyterian Church.

Source: Pages 688-691, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed September 1998 by James R Hindman for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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