Newton H Slonaker


NEWTON H. SLONAKER, one of the proprietors of the Hyde Park Foundry & Machine Company, at Leechburg, Armstrong Co., Pa., belongs to an old Pennsylvania family of this section, and was himself born in Westmoreland county Nov. 6, 1870, son of John Slonaker. The family is of German origin.

Michael Slonaker, the pioneer of this family in Westmoreland county, resided near Salem, now Delmont. His family consisted of seven children: George; Daniel; Sallie; Esther, who married Conrad Hawk, a great-uncle of Mrs. Newton H. Slonaker; Katy, Mrs. Houser; Mrs. Fennel, and Mrs. Borts (originally Boartz).

Daniel Slonaker, son of Michael, was the grandfather of Newton H. Slonaker. He was born in eastern Pennsylvania, and came with the family from east of the mountains to Westmoreland county. About 1829 he came to near Markle, Westmoreland county, where he bought a tract of 200 acres and followed farming the rest of his life, dying on that property. He was married at what was then Salem, now Delmont, to Mary E. Kepple, of near Salem; she had a sister, Mrs. Fink. To Daniel and Mary E. (Kepple) Slonaker were born six children, namely: George; Michael, who married Nancy Younkins; Abraham, who married Mary Spiker; Mary, who married Peter Klingensmith; Sallie, who married Israel Potts; and John. The mother of this family died in 1886, aged about eighty years. Both the parents were Lutheran in religious faith. As a rule the Slonakers were noted for strength, and George and Abraham Slonaker, uncles of Newton H. Slonaker, had the reputation of being the most powerful men in their neighborhood.

John Slonaker, father of Newton H. Slonaker, was born in Allegheny township, Westmoreland county. He learned the trade of wagonmaker and followed it, though for about ten years before his death he gave the greater part of his attention to farming. He was a man of considerable prominence in his locality, serving as a school director and in other offices, and for twenty years he was justice of the peace in Allegheny township. He was an active member and liberal supporter of the Lutheran Church. His death occurred May 16, 1905, when he was aged sixty-six years, three months, nineteen days, and he was buried in Upper Burrell township, Westmoreland county. His wife, Elizabeth Bole, who is a native of Armstrong county, still survives, residing in Allegheny township, Westmoreland county. They had the following family: Delia L., Anna M., Newton H., D. Homer, C. F. Burton, Catherine J., Charlotte E., and a child that died when three days old.

Newton H. Slonaker attended public school in Allegheny township and also at Leechburg, and up to the age of nineteen years worked mainly at farming. About that time he entered the employ of the Leechburg Foundry & Machine Company, to learn the machinist's trade, proved an apt pupil, and remained about five years. He then entered the business for himself, becoming an active member of the Hyde Park Foundry & Machine Company, organized in 1895, his associates being James Fox, Thomas McCausland, James Lees and George Shaner, all but the last named experienced foundry and machine men. Starting in a small way, they soon acquired a valuable equipment, being prepared to make large castings and machinery. At present the output comprises rolling mill machinery and chilled rolls, and a general class of foundry machine work is done, employment being given to 150 men. Besides the pattern shop and power house there are two buildings, the foundry, 80 by 280 feet in dimensions, and a machine shop of the same size. The firm is prepared to do any kind of work in this line, and its high standing and extensive operations have a recognized value in the prosperity of the town. Thomas McCausland is president of the firm, James Lees vice president, N. H. Slonaker secretary and treasurer. In January, 1911, Mr. Slonaker was elected a director of the First National Bank of Leechburg, succeeding the late George W. Thompson.

Mr. Slonaker was married Sept. 7, 1893, to Cora I. Trout, daughter of William R. and Jerusha (Maggie) (Lang) Trout, and they have had the following children: Charles T. (now a student at the Pennsylvania State College, a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity), Paul N., Margaret E., Lee J., Joseph C., Mary L. and Walter D., all surviving except Lee J. and Joseph C., who died young. Paul and Margaret have unusual artistic ability, painting in oil. Mr. Slonaker is a member of the Hebron Lutheran Church and is serving on the church council, and is also librarian of the Sunday school. In politics he is a Republican, and in November, 1913, was elected councilman. He is a past master of the Leechburg Lodge, No. 577, F. & A. M., and also belongs to Orient Chapter, No. 247, R. A. M., of Kittanning; Tancred Commandery, No. 48, K. T. of Pittsburgh; and Coudersport Consistory. He holds membership also in both branches of the Odd Fellows.

Mrs. Slonaker's paternal great-great grandfather came to this country from Germany, in company with one of his brothers, and first settled at Germantown, near Philadelphia. They separated, and the family never afterward succeeded in locating the brother mentioned. The great-great-grandfather married in Philadelphia, and after living there for some years went to the Colony of Virginia, where he died. His son, Baltzer Trout, great-grandfather of Mrs. Slonaker, was born at Germantown and went with his father to Virginia, near Winchester. He was a stonemason by trade. During the Revolution he served as a soldier in the Colonial forces, was with Washington at Yorktown and in his later years received a pension for his services. He was married in Virginia, his wife being Elizabeth Ridenour (Ritinour), sister of William, and in 1806 removed to Westmoreland county, Pa., among the pioneers of that region, settling in the woods three miles from Delmont. There he cleared a tract of land and continued to make his home for eighteen years; his place is now known as the Branthouver farm. His family consisted of five sons and two daughters, all born in Virginia: Henry, who died in Illinois; John, who died in Westmoreland county, Pa.; Jacob, who died in Westmoreland county; Baltzer, who died in Greenfield, Pa.; Daniel, who died in Westmoreland county; Catherine, wife of Philip Walters; and Elizabeth, wife of John Johnston. The father of this family died July 5, 1837, in Allegheny township, Westmoreland Co., Pa., and the mother died in December of the same year; they are buried in the Poke Run Churchyard. Mr. and Mrs. Trout were members of the Methodist Church.

Jacob Trout, son of Baltzer Trout, was born Jan. 28, 1789, in Virginia, and when a child came with his father to Westmoreland county, where he followed farming in Allegheny township from 1832 until he retired because of his advancing years. He owned 137 acres, and had a well improved farm, which he cultivated intelligently, the place showing the result of his good management. Outside of his farm work he was not particularly active in the community except in his connection with the Lutheran church, of which he was a prominent member, taking a leading part in its work. He died June 5, 1868. Mr. Trout married Mary A. Hawk, daughter of Daniel and Magdalena (Bricker) Hawk. A large family was born to this union: William R.; Baltzer, who is deceased; Jacob, deceased; Daniel, living in California; Henry, living in Iowa; David P., a dentist, of Leechburg; Mary A., who married George H. Goodsel; Harriet, deceased; Jennie, unmarried; Melvina R., who married Cochran Valentine; Jemima, unmarried; and Caroline E., who died young. Some of the sons served during the Civil war, Henry, who enlisted from Westmoreland county, being captured and confined in Libby prison.

William R. Trout, eldest son of Jacob, was born Sept. 26, 1829, in Washington township, Westmoreland Co., Pa., and was reared upon the farm, where he remained until twenty-four years old. He was educated in the common schools and at Leechburg Academy, and taught school for fourteen years, for six terms of the time being engaged in Armstrong county, the balance in Westmoreland county. For several years he followed farming on part of the old homestead in Westmoreland county, Allegheny township, and since he retired from agricultural pursuits, in 1904, he has made his home at Vandergrift, Pa. He is a member of the Presbyterian church at Leechburg, and teaches in the Sunday school. He was made a mason at Freeport, Pa., in 1866. Mr. Trout has made a special study of Indian days and history in this section, on which subject he has become an authority. He married Maggie Lang, daughter of John Lang, and they had five children: Judson L., who is a resident of Leechburg; Mary, unmarried; Cora I., who married N. H. Slonaker; Anna, who married H. E. Walthout; and Malvina R., unmarried. Mrs. Trout died in 1891, and is buried in Pleasant Hill cemetery, in Allegheny township, Westmoreland county.

Catherine Trout, daughter of Baltzer, married Philip Walters (or Walter), the third, and they had children: John; Margaret, who married Michael Dewalt; Jacob; Philip; Anthony and George. Philip Walter, grandfather of Philip, was one of the emigrants from Germany to Pennsylvania about the middle of the eighteenth century. After a few years he sent to Germany for his future wife, whom he had not seen since she was a child of ten years. After his death she married a Mr. Hawk, one of the early settlers near Greensburg, Westmoreland Co., Pa. By Mr. Walter she had a son Philip, who married Catherine Spahr, and their son Philip married Catherine Trout, as before related.

John Lang, Mrs. Slonaker's maternal grandfather, came from Juniata county, Pa., and became engaged as a woolen manufacturer, having a mill at Langville, Jefferson county, which his son John still operates. The town was named in his honor. Mr. Lang was born in MacElravey's fort during the war of the Revolution, in which his father was a soldier. John Lang, Sr., married a Miss Moore, and their sons James and Aaron, Mrs. Slonaker's uncles, served in the Civil war; Aaron was imprisoned at Andersonville.

Source: Pages 588 - 590 , Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed January 1999 by Connie Mateer for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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