Boyd H Putney


BOYD H. PUTNEY, leading merchant of Putneyville, is a member of a representative family of that section, members of which have been conspicuous citizens of the locality, having been the means of building up that town and aiding in bringing it to its present flourishing condition.

David Putney, grandfather of Boyd H. Putney, was the first of the name to settle here. He was born in Connecticut Oct. 18, 1794, and before he reached his majority located at Pittsburgh, Pa. Here on Sept. 29, 1818, he married Lavina Stevenson, who was born Jan. 7, 1796. Shortly after his marriage he removed with his wife to Freeport, Armstrong county, and in 1833 purchased a thousand acres of land from the Holland Land Company at a dollar and a half an acre. This land surrounded and included the present village of Putneyville, which was named in Mr. Putney´┐Żs honor. Soon after this his sons James T. and George S. settled on this spot, where the village of Putneyville now stands. Mr. Putney worked here a year on a headrace and dam, and taking out timber for a grist and saw mill, employing from ten to twelve men. In the meantime he had established a store stocked with a limited assortment of staple merchandise brought from Freeport and Pittsburgh, and later he erected a frame dwelling of a story and a half, the first of the kind in the neighborhood. In 1836 he had completed his gristmill which he successfully conducted until 1840, during which period he had also cleared considerable land and built several tenement houses. About this time he contracted to furnish a large amount of timber for the completion of dam No. 1 on the Monongahela river at Pittsburgh, which he expected to fill with the aid of his son George S. Through unforeseen circumstances there was a loss of timber which hindered them from carrying his contract to completion, and Mr. Putney became involved financially. In 1842, he was obliged to effect a sale of the greater part of his property to meet his indebtedness, and he then turned his grist and saw mill over with about 190 acres of land surrounding it to his sons James T. and George S. by the request of his creditors for the sum of $4,000. However, David Putney lived to see the county in which he settled developed and become well settled, and to enjoy the sight of a well ordered village, which he and his family had done much to accomplish, this village being on land he took up in 1833 in its virgin state.

David Putney was honored by election to the Legislature in 1854, and was prominently identified with every movement tending toward the welfare of the community in which he lived. He and his wife were the parents of these children: James T.; George S.; David T.; Eleanor, who married Absalom Smullin; William N.; Samuel B.; Nelson W., and Ezra J. He died Aug. 31, 1879, and Mrs. Putney passed away April 20, 1872.

Samuel B. Putney, born in Freeport in 1828, came to Mahoning township with his parents in 1833. Here he grew to manhood assisting his father in conducting the business, and he was identified with Putney business interests until his death, principally in the boating department. His death occurred in 1862, at the early age of thirty-four, from illness contracted while running boats to Pittsburgh. His wife, who was Harriet A. Williamson, was a daughter of Robert C. Williamson, who was a pioneer foundryman of Freeport, where he operated a foundry for several years. He was an early settler of Mahoning township, settling near Oakland and engaging in farming. He finally moved to New Bethlehem, where he died in 1878 at the age of seventy-eight. Mr. and Mrs. Putney were the parents of three children: David W., who died in 1881; Boyd H.; and Harry E. J., of Kittanning.

Boyd H. Putney was born in Putneyville Oct. 7, 1858, and was there reared to manhood, and educated in the public schools. At the age of eighteen he began life for himself as a bark peeler in the lumber woods of Elk county, remaining there one winter, and in 1877 went to Perrysville, in what is known as the Park Oil Fields, where he embarked in the coal business and general teaming. This he continued for four years, in 1881 returning to Putneyville where he was engaged in various lines of business as contracting painter, and leasing oil and gas property, until the year 1902. At this time he purchased the Putney Store property and has since conducted it with marked success, having the largest stock of general merchandise to be found in this section of his county. He is up-to-date and progressive and his courtesy and enterprise have won him most complimentary results in his business.

Mr. Putney married Sept. 24, 1884, Cornelia M., daughter of John F. and Eliza (Burd) Gearhart, of Mahoning township, and their children are: Lena G., wife of T. J. Orr; Verda V.; Edna B; Nellie H.; Dee A.; Paul Edwin; Walter Samuel and Owen Eugene. Mr. Putney and his family are members of the M. E. Church. In fraternal connection he is a member of the K. of P. and A. O. U. M. He has followed the attitude of his fathers before him in his duty toward his locality and has served as school director, treasurer of the school board, and treasurer of the township. He has given his best efforts to aid in the betterment of conditions in his township, and is much esteemed by all his fellow citizens. In politics he is a Republican.

Source: Pages 423-424, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed July 1998 by Caral Mechling Bennett for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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