Hon. James Mosgrove

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John Mosgrove, father of the subject of this sketch, was a native of Ireland, and one of the first settlers of Kittanning, coming to the locality as a young man about the time the town was laid out. He was a carpenter by trade, and followed that occupation during the greater part of his residence in Kittanning, which only terminated with his death. His wife, Mary Gillespie, was the daughter of John Gillespie, one of the pioneers of Armstrong county. They were the parents of five children. Andrew W. Mosgrove, the only brother of our subject, was by profession an attorney. He entered the service of the United States as a volunteer solider and met his death in the Mexican war. Of the three sisters, Margaret, the eldest, is the wife of Thomas B. Storey; Phebe Isabella is the widow of the late Judge Jackson Boggs, and Anna Jane is the wife of Simon Truby.

James Mosgrove was born in Kittanning, June 14, 1822. At a very early age he engaged in the iron business, accepting the position of clerk at the Buffalo Furnace in this county. Combining a well regulated and fine business capacity with the qualities of integrity and perseverance, he at once commanded the respect and confidence of his employers, and the management of the furnace was soon placed in his hands.

In 1845 he married Miss Rebecca Jane, daughter of Robert Brown. About the same time he entered into a partnership with his brother-in-law, the late James E. Brown, of Kittanning, and became part owner and active manager of Pine Creek Furnace, which position he held from 1845 to 1880, passing through all the different phases and vicissitudes of the iron business during that long period of thirty-five years. He has also been engaged quite extensively in oil production. Mr. Mosgrove's superior ability as a practical, strong and enterprising business man is universally admitted.

Few men can be found in Armstrong county, or for that matter in Western Pennsylvania, who equal him in the possession of the combination of characteristics which command success.

He is now largely interested in the business affairs of the county, being president of the Kittanning Ironworks and president of the National Bank of Kittanning. He was the principal organizer of this financial institution, and from the death of James E. Brown until July, 1882, when its charter expired, was president of the old First National Bank.

In politics Mr. Mosgrove has always been a democrat. He accepted the nomination of the greenback party for congress in 1878, when it was tendered to him, not because he had abandoned any of his democratic principles, but because he had for years advocated the financial doctrines of the greenback party. In that campaign he ran far ahead of his ticket, but was defeated on account of the failure of the democrats to indorse his nomination, which he had a right to expect they would do. He never sought a political office in his life, and he furnishes a notable example of the office seeking the man instead of the man seeking the office.

In 1880 he was nominated for congress by both the democratic and greenback parties without any solicitation on his part, and was elected by a majority of 756 votes over his competitor, and that, too, in a republican district. He served his constituency intelligently and efficiently -- creditably to himself and acceptably to the people of the twenty-fifth congressional district of Pennsylvania.

In 1882 he was renominated but declined to serve as a candidate.

Source: Page(s) 593-594, History of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania by Robert Walker Smith, Esq. Chicago: Waterman, Watkins & Co., 1883.
June 2000 by Carol Barnard and James R. Hindman for the Armstrong County Smith Project.
Contributed by Carol Barnard and James R. Hindman for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)

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