John F Rabbitt


JOHN F. RABBITT, a general farmer of Sugar Creek township, was born at Kellersburg, Armstrong Co., Pa., April 20, 1851, a son of William Rabbitt.

William Rabbitt was born in Ireland, where he was reared, educated and taught the trade of shoemaker. He married in Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland, Margaret Daley, a daughter of John Daley, also a native of Ireland. In 1848 William Rabbitt left his family and came to the United States to prepare a home for them. He located at Rimersburg, in Clarion county, Pa., where he worked at brickmaking until the spring of 1849, when he began mining at the old Red Bank furnace. By the following summer he was able to send for his family and they resided at Kellersburg, Pa. Later he moved to Colwell, working at the Mahoning furnace for twenty years. He and his wife had a family of ten children: James, who was born in Ireland; John F., who was born at Kellersburg; the following, all born at Mahoning Furnace: William, Patrick, Edward, Rose and Julia; and Josephine, Charles and Joseph, born on the property now owned by the son John F., to which the family came in 1861. Mr. Rabbitt had become mine foreman meantime, holding that position at Mahoning Furnace, Brady's Bend and Mosgrove. The farm was purchased of Patrick Redd and contained some indifferent buildings on the end opposite to the position now occupied by those standing. William Rabbitt built the present substantial buildings, including a brick residence, and put the 165 acres in excellent condition, his sons doing the farm work while he continued at his old occupation, giving it up in 1875. His death occurred on this property in 1880, when he was sixty-three years old, and he is buried in the Catholic cemetery in Sugar Creek township, having been a consistent member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church. Politically he was a Republican, and held the offices of school director and supervisor. His widow survived until 1882, when she passed away, and lies by the side of her husband, having been a member of the same church as he.

John F. Rabbitt was educated in the schools at Old Mahoning Furnace and in Sugar Creek township, and then left the parental roof to work in coal and iron mines, which he continued for three years. Then he was in Lawrence county for Brown & Company, of Pittsburgh, Pa., after which he went into the oil fields of Chicora or Millerstown, Butler Co., Pa., whence he went to the Bullion oil fields. Following this Mr. Rabbitt engaged with the Kittanning Iron & Steel Company as mine foreman at Sligo, Clarion Co., Pa., continuing as such for ten years. Mr. Rabbitt then returned to the old homestead and purchased the interest of the other heirs, since which time he has taken a pride in improving his property, among other things putting slate on the roof of his residence instead of shingles. With the exception of thirty-five acres in woodland, the property, which comprises 165 acres in the southwestern part of Sugar Creek township, is under cultivation, and there are two gas wells on it, as well as a four-foot vein of coal which has been opened so that this place is very valuable.

In September, 1873, Mr. Rabbitt married Annie Smith, who was born in Lawrence county, Pa., daughter of James and Ann Smith, now deceased, natives of the same county. Mr. and Mrs. Rabbitt are the parents of the following children: Rose, who prior to her marriage was a teacher in Armstrong and Butler counties, is the wife of Charles Rimp, and resides in Summit township, Butler county, Pa., where Mr. Rimp is a farmer; they have three children, Charles, Gertrude and John. William, who died at the age of eight years, is buried in the Sugar Creek Catholic cemetery. Nellie is unmarried. Edward died at the age of thirty-two years at the old homestead, having been brought here after having been taken sick in California, and he is buried in the Sugar Creek Catholic cemetery. Josephine is unmarried. Charles died when four years old, and he is interred in the Sugar Creek Catholic cemetery. Maggie died in infancy. Mary died when two years old. Ruth died in infancy. Paul died when twenty-three years old.

The Rabbitt schoolhouse stands on a portion of the farm, and is the third building erected on this site, each one being an improvement over the other. Politically Mr. Rabbitt is a Republican, and has served as a school director. He has brought up the standard of his farm until it is far above the average, and is a recognized authority on agricultural matters in his township.

Source: Pages 457-458 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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