Charles Read

line.gif (2154 bytes)

Among the first settlers of Armstrong county we find the name Read. Michael Read, grandfather of Charles Read, emigrated from County Derry, Ireland, in 1794. He died in Armstrong county, April 15, 1817, in his fifty-ninth year. For three years he resided at Laurel Furnace, east of the Allegheny mountains, from whence he came and settled where the immediate subject of this biography now resides. Five years subsequent to his settlement his family came, which consisted of three sons and three daughters � Daniel, James, Bridget, Alice, Patrick and Catherine � all of whom were born in Ireland. Michael, the youngest, was born in Armstrong county. Daniel, James and Patrick engaged extensively in the cattle trade, and were the first who drove a herd of cattle across the Allegheny river near Kittanning, in 1810, on their way �east of the mountains,� to find a market for them.

Patrick Read married Miss Mary Bradley, of Cambria county, 1821. She was daughter of Charles Bradley, one of six who built the first church in Cambria county for Rev. Demetrius Galitzin. He was a blacksmith by trade. His last work in Ireland was to shoe a general's horse of the English army that was bound for colonial service during the revolutionary war. The following anecdote is given to the writer regarding him:

As he had finished the shoeing of the general's horse he remarked to those present in the shop, �That is the last work I will do in Ireland until I oppose that general in the cause of freedom in the colonies.� Several of his companions accepted his cause, and at once sailed for the States. During their voyage they were pursued by an English ship, which would eventually have captured them were not the impending dangers overcome by the skill and tactics of their valiant captain. When they landed, they joined the revolutionary soldiers, and opposed and successfully captured the very general whose horse he shod in Ireland.

Patrick Read succeeded his father in the homestead, and in those early days of inconvenience, trials and hardships, not only contributed to secure the church farm attached to St. Patrick's church (Sugar creek), but helped to build the old log church in 1806. He also helped the Rich Hill congregation to build their first church, now the United Presbyterian church of Middlesex, notwithstanding he was always a practical and devoted Catholic. He had two children � Mary, who is married to Cornelius Kelly, of Butler county, and Charles, who is the subject of this memoir. He died April 25, 1854, aged sixty-four years.

Mr. Charles Read was born November 8, 1822. In 1859 he was married to Mrs. Mary Gallagher, of Freeport. Previous to this marriage Mrs. Gallagher had several children with her former husband, and only three survive � James and William, who live in Minnesota, and Miss Annie Gallagher, who has always lived in the family. Mr. and Mrs. Read were blessed with four children, two of whom survive � Catherine, born in 1860, died in 1879; Mary Jane, born in 1862, and Charles, born 1864, still live with their parents, and Margaret Elizabeth, who was born in 1866, died in 1879. Mr. and Mrs. Read and family are practical, devoted and highly honored members of St. Patrick's church, of Sugar Creek township.

Although now exclusively engaged in farming, Mr. Read carried on the stilling business nearly all of his life until 1864. This business was first established in 1804, on the homestead, by his grandfather, and the famous �Charley Read� brand of whisky became extensively known because of its well-merited qualities. It was not only used by business and professional men generally, but found a ready welcome in legislative halls and was selected for the army for medical use.

Mr. C. Read affiliates with the democratic party, and has always taken an active part in the politics of his county. In 1867 he was candidate for the sheriffalty, and came within one hundred and ten ballots of being successful, notwithstanding the fact he had an adverse majority of eight hundred to overcome, and the large number of adherents he drew from the opposing political party (republican) attest the esteem and popularity of the man. In 1871 he was a candidate on the democratic ticket for associate county judge.

Mr. Read is numbered among the large, progressive and prosperous farmers of Armstrong county, and is a man whose identification with any enterprise is productive of good.

Source: Page(s) 524, History of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania by Robert Walker Smith, Esq. Chicago: Waterman, Watkins & Co., 1883.
December 2000 by Jeffrey Bish for the Armstrong County Smith Project.
Contributed by Jeffrey Bish for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

Armstrong County Genealogy Project Notice:
These electronic pages cannot be reproduced in any format, for any presentation, without prior written permission.

Return to the Biographical Index

Return to the Smith Project



Return to the Armstrong County Genealogy Project

(c) Armstrong County Genealogy Project


Return to the Armstrong County Genealogy Project

(c) Armstrong County Genealogy Project