BOROUGH OF APOLLO
Apollo is a borough. It was formerly the town of Warren, so called after either an Indian chief or an English trader who bore that name. The town as originally laid out, it is said, was partly on the upper part of a tract containing 500 1/4 acres, called "Warren's Sleeping Place," and partly on the lower part of another tract containing 70 1/4 acres, according to the original surveys. The former was surveyed to John Montgomery and Alexander Stewart on an application dated February 9, 1769. Thomas and John Penn, the then proprietaries of the province of Pennsylvania, conveyed it by their patent dated March 5, 1773, to John Montgomery. The warrant for the letter is dated December 27, 1774, and it was surveyed to John Montgomery, as mentioned in old deeds January 17, 1775.
William Smith became the purchaser of both those tracts, at sheriff's sale, December 20, 1805. The sheriff's deed therefor is dated June 28, 1806. They were sold by the sheriff of Westmoreland county. That purchaser, by deed dated February 1, 1814, conveyed them to William Johnston and Thomas Hoge for the sum of $3,708. The executors of William Smith, by their deed dated October 14, 1814, and John Montgomery (son of that patentee) and his wife, by their deed dated September 28, 1815, contributed to assure the title of those purchasers (namely, John Montgomery and wife) to both tracts, and the executors to the smaller tract.
John B. Alexander, of Greensburgh, Pennsylvania, by advertisment in the Western Eagle dated December 17, 1810, offered for sale "Warren's Sleeping-Place" as containing about 570 acres, and the tract on the opposite side of the river, called the "Three Bottoms," as containing about 360 acres, and represented both tracts to be of the best quality and to contain a great proportion of excellent bottom, and, being seperated by the Kiskiminetas river, to afford a good seat for waterworks.
Thomas Hoge and wife, by their deed dated November 3, 1815, conveyed the undivided half part of both those tracts to Rev. William Speer for the sum of $1,856.56.
By article of agreement dated October 10, 1822, William Johnston's executor's agreed to sell John Andree (or Andrews) the undivided half part of the tract called "Warren's Sleeping-Place," that is , the residue after Speer and Johnston sold 206 1/4 acres off the lower end to Isaac McKisseck in 1818. The quantity of land thus agreed to be conveyed to Andree was supposed to be 400 acres, for which the later agreed to pay $8.75 for each acre of that moiety, after deducting the number of acres sold to McKisseck, and in town lots, streets and alleys, which had been previously laid out. Those executors did not execute their deed to Andree for that moiety, but he had bought it at sheriff's sale September 29, 1827. The sheriff's deed is dated March 20, 1828.
By deed of partition between Speer and Andree, dated March 8, 1829, the former took 208 acres and 41 perches of the northeastern part of the theretofore undivided and unsold portion of the tract, and latter took the rest.
The town of Warren was surveyed off into lots, streets and alleys by William Watson, in November, 1816. These lots are fifty in number and are repectively 66 X 165 feet, each containing a quarter of an acre. Water (now Canal) and Back (now Church) streets are parallel to the Kiskiminetas river---the former being from 90 to 100 and the latter 60 feet wide, and are intersected at right angles by North, Main, Indiana and Coal Bank streets, each 60 feet wide. An alley 30 feet wide intersects Water street between lots Nos. 20 and 21 and Back street between lots Nos. 11 and 30. Four other alleys parallel to Water and Back streets are respectively 12 feet wide. Two acres adjoining Back street and opposite the eastern end of Main street and lots Nos. 10 and 11 were laid out agreeably to the terms of sale of the town lots, as a public lot for a meeting-house, schoolhouse, etc., which have been used for cemetery purposes. Rev. William Speer, who survived William Johnston, duly acknowledged, July 26, 1827, before William Watson, a justice of the peace, the plan of the town of Warren, as above described, to be the same as laid out by him and William Johnston in the lifetime of the latter. That plan was recorded in the office for the recording of deeds of this county, November 8, 1828.
Andree, soon after his purchase, conveyed to John McElwain an interest in 11 acres of that half of the tract which he bought at the sheriff's sale, which 11 acres were called the "new addition to Warren," surveyed, probably, by Robert McKissen. Andree and McElwain jointly conveyed a number of lots in that "addition" to divers persons.
John Cochran and Abraham Ludwick cleared the principal part of the land within the limits of the town exclusive of the Guthrie and Chambers plots.
The first settlers before the Pennsylvania canal was made were Joseph Alford, John Cochran, Abraham Ludwick, Isaac McLaughlin, Michael Risher, Robert Stewart and John Wort.
Before the establishment of the postoffice here, August 15, 1827, the points nearest to Warren for receiving mail matter were Freeport and Kittanning. Milton Dally was first postmaster. The department gave this office a name different from that of the town, because there was another office in this state by the name of Warren.
Whether Postmaster-General McLean or one of his subordinates conceived, when he bestowed on this office its classical name, some citizen or citizens of Warren to be endowed with some or all of the attributes ascribed by the poets and mythologists to be the illustrious Apollo, the writer is not informed.
The first seperate assessment list of the town of Warren, then in Allegheny township, was made in 1830 thus: John Alford, lot No. 22, 1 horse, 1 head of cattle, total valuation $58; James II Bell, lot No. 16, 1 house, 1 other lot not known, $156; Catherine Cochran, lot No. 34, 1 house, 1 head of cattle, $31; Robert Cochran, single man, lot No. 9, $25; Andrew Cunningham, lot No. 48, 1 head of cattle, $31; William Davis, lot No. 17, 1 house, blacksmith, $91; Philip Dally, lot not known, one house, $225; Samuel Gardiner, lot No. 255; William Graham, lot No. 48, 1 house, 1 head of cattle $31; John Lewellyn, lot No. 4, 1 house, 1 horse, $255; Robert McKisson, lot No. 15, 1 house, 1 head of cattle, $106; Alexander McKinstry, lot No. 1, 1 house, $252; William McKinstry, 1 lot and house, $225.25; John McElwain, lot No. 3, 1 house, 2 horses, 1 head of cattle, $601; Isaac McLaughlin, lot No. 38, 1 house, transferred to John Mcelwain, ----; William Mehaffey, half-lot No. 24,-----; Peter Risher, lot No. 18, 1 house, 1 horse, $225; John wort, lots Nos. 5,6,1 house, 1 tanyard, 1 horse, 2 cattle, loy No. 12 unseated, $247.
The valuation of unseated lots varied from five to ten , twenty, thirty, and forty dollars each.
Eight years before, the county treasurer advertised twenty-five of Warren inlots for sale for taxes, county and road, each of which varied from five to seven, ten, twelve, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five and thirty-five cents assessed upon each lot. The heaviest burden of those taxes was borne by lots Nos. 1 and 28, and the lightest by lots Nos. 9, 10, 42, 43, 46, and 47.
The first assessment list for the "new addition" was made in 1832, thus: Smith Agnew, 2 lots and houses, 1 head of cattle,$808; James Barr, carpenter, lot No. 41, 1 house, $150; Andrew Brown, lots Nos. 4, 5, 1 house, $50; James Chambers, lots Nos. 22, 23, 1 house, 1 head of cattle, $158; Nicholas Day, 1 head of cattle, $8; Abraham Findley, lot No. 16, 1 house, 1 head of cattle, $258; Jacob Ford, 2 houses and lots, 1 head of cattle. $366; Francis Graham, lot No. 17, 1 house, $100; William McKinstry, carpenter, lot No. 40, $100; Alexander Sharp, lot No. 21, 1 house, $100; Francis M. Thompson, lot No. 39, 1 house, $150.
The first of the line of packets from Warren to Pittsburgh was called the Apollo, of which John B. Chambers was the captain.
By act of assembly March 15, 1848, the town of Warren, then in the township of Kiskiminetas, was incorporated into the borough of Apollo, with all and singular the powers and franchises in said act specified. One reason for changing the name from Warren to Apollo was, because goods shipped to that point from the East were often carried past it to Warren, in Warren county, Pennsylvania.
By act of March 31, 1859, the boundaries of the borough were extended as follows: Beginning at the northwest corner of the borough at a post, thence down the Kiskiminetas river, making that river a line for the distance of 155 perches, to a water-ash a few rods above the mouth of a run; thence from said river south 63 degrees east 74 perches to a locust; thence south 15 1/2 degrees west 98 perches to the northeast corner of the borough; thence to the northern line of the borough south 81 degrees west 98 perches to the place of beginning.
The first borough election was held May 8, 1848, when Robert McKissen was elected burgess, and William Nichols, William Miller, George C. Bovard, John T. Smith, John Elwood and David Risher town councilmen.
The first board of school directors was elected at spring election in 1850, and consisted of Wm. C. Bovard, John B. Chambers, John T. Smith, Thomas Cochran, Samuel Owens and H.M.G. Skiles.
By act of March 26, 1868, forty-three feet square of North street, immediately in front of the Presbyterian church edifice, was vacated and declared to be no longer a street or highway, and the title thereto was vested in John B. Chambers, D.C. Blair, William A. Fulton, and Alexander McCulloch, trustees of the Presbyterian church, and their successors, for the use of the church.
By the act of March 8, 1869, the lines of the borough were so extended as to include the lands of Michael Cochran, which thereby became subject to the laws and regulations of the borough.
A considerable portion of the territory annexed to the borough by the act of March 31, 1859, became vested in John B. Chambers, who caused forty-five building, or in-lots, and twenty-one out-lots, to be surveyed and laid out, December 4, 1865. The portion of Canal street in this plot is thirty-three feet wide, and those portions of Church, Locust, Wood, State, and Union streets within it are, respectively, forty feet wide. Adjoining and above this plot, extending to the alley between and parallel to Mill and Maple streets, and between Church and Canal streets, is a smaller plot, laid out about the the same time by James Guthrie, and below and adjoining it i.e. the Chambers plot, is another plot more recently laid out by Simon Truby, through which extend, nearly east and west, First and Second streets. The land between the canal and the Kiskiminetas river from North street, down to or near the rolling-mill, was formerly owned by David McLane, for several years editor of the Pittsburgh Gazette, who long ago laid out lots thereon, called the McLane plot, but very few of them were sold. The J. Morgan lot is one of them.
By the act of March 12, 1870, the burgess and town council were authorized to levy a street tax not exceeding ten instead of five mills, as provided by the act of March 15, 1848, as a street tax, and required property-owners to pave their sidewalks fronting on all streets with brick or stone; and in case they neglect or refuse to do so, the burgess and town council are authorized and directed to have such paving done, accepting, if they see fit, a plank or board walk in such instances as the owners are unable to pave with brick or stone. That act also provides that liens may be entered on the mechanics' lien docket, to secure the costs incurred for any pavements made by the town council, and that the same collected by due process of law, and furthermore that all improvements then made or to be thereafter made, should be kept in good repair by the owners and their successors.
FERRIES AND BRIDGES
The first ferry was kept by Owen Jones where the bridge across the Kiskiminetas now is. Increased facilities for crossing that river were afforded by the bridge across it, which was erected by a company incorporated by the act of March 15, 1844, called the Warren Bridge Company, and its supplement of April 3, 1846. In the course of six or seven years the bridge was erected., indebtedness had so accumulated against the company that additional legislation was resorted to to enable it to discharge its liabiities, in the act of May 1, 1852, which authorized the trustees to sell the bridge and appropriate the proceeds of the sale to the payment of the costs thereof and the claims of the creditors in full, if a sufficient amount were realized, or pro rata, if not, provided, if the company could liquidate and satisfy the claims of the creditors, before the first of July of that year, the bridge should not be sold. It was not sold by virtue of that last-mentioned act. By act of April 20, 1858, any judgment creditor was authorized to sue out execution against the company, and cause their bridge and tollhouse to be levied on and sold in the same way provided for the collection of debts on judgments which are liens on real estate upon which executions are issued. The act required the sheriff of either Armstrong or Westmoreland county, as the case might be, to execute and deliver to the purchaser such a deed as would vest in him all interest, rights, and privileges of the company; and the act provided that all the corporate powers, authorties and privileges of the company should also be vested in the purchasing; and further, that the proceeds of the sale, except the costs, should be paid into court, and distributed so as to satisfy all claims, if sufficient, but if not pro rata. All bonds of the company, whether judgment had been obtained on them or not, were entitled alike in the distribution, under which act a sale was made to the present company. The bridge consists of two stone abutments and three stone piers, and a covered wooden arch superstructure, the original cost of which was about ten thousand dollars.
The presbyterian church, if ever formally organized, was probably organized by the old Redstone Presbytery, in or about 1825. The first pastor was Rev. Mr. Lee; the second , Rev. Watson Hughes, whom Rev. Alexander Donaldson, D.D., assisted in his farewell communion service, in May, 1838. Dr. Donaldson preached here occasionally in July and September, and supplied statedly during the following winter one-third of the time; the third pastor was Rev. Levi M. Graves, half time, until 1843: the fourth, from 1846 until 1856, was Rev. Cyrus C. Bristol; the fifth, Rev. Robert McMillen, grandson of the first president of Jefferson College, Cannonsburgh, Pennsylvania, and apostle of Presbyterianism in Western Pennsylvania, from 1858 until he became to enfeebled to continue his pastorate, in 1865; the sixth, Rev. John Orr, from the last-name year, until compelled by neuralgic affection of his eyes, he was compelled to resign his charge in 1871; the seventh and present pastor is Rev. H. McGill. Members, 285; Sabbath-school scholars, 200. Before the first church edifice, one-story stone, was erected in 1825-26, services were held in the shade of trees. The pulpit consisted of a platform of logs, which were raised about five feet above the ground, over which was a board roof. There were no services in the winter until the meeting-house was erecred; communion services were held sometimes in barns in the country. The present edifice was erected on the site of the first one, opposite the head of North street, in 1872-73, with a lecture-room in the basement.
The first Methodist Espiscopal church edifice, frame, 20X25 feet, was erected in 1838; the present one, brick, about 40X60 feet, with a lecture-room in the basement, situate on the southerly side of Mill street, on the second lot below Church street, was erected in 1851. Members, 232; Sabbath-school scholars, 150.
By act of April 4, 1844, the trustees of this church were authorized to sell the lot of ground in the "new addition," No. 15, and the house of worship thereon erected and convey the interest of the church therein to the purchaser, provided that before the sale the trustees should excute a bond to the commonwealthwith such penalty as should be approved by the judges of the court of common pleas of this county, and that the proceeds of the sale should, so far as necessary, be applied to the payments of the debtsof the church, and the balance in such manner as should be directed by the quarterly conference with which the church was connected.
This church was incorporated by the court of common pleas of this county June 2, 1856. D.G. Kinnard was named in the charter as presiding elder, Samuel Jones, preacher in charge, and Jacob Treetly, Daniel Risher, D.L. Byres, Hugh Jones, and Samuel Jack, trustees.
The Union Evangelical Lutheran church edifice, frame, 38X50 feet, situate on the second lot below Church street, on the southerly side of North street, was erected in 1861.Members, 105; Sabbath-school scholars, 80. Pastors: Revs. John A. Delo, James Wefley, and M. Colver, the present one.
This church was incorporated by the court of common pleas of this county. The charter is dated June 2, 1862, and its charter officers were John A. Delo, pastor; Philip Long and Isaac Townsend, Jr., elders and trustees; James Fair and C. Kepple, deacons and trustees; and its charter members were John H. Townsend, S. Truby, George Gumbert, J.F. Cline and Isaac Townsend, Jr.
The United Presbyterian church edifice, frame, 25X30 feet, is situated on a lot on the southerly side of Mill street and the westerly side of an alley, between it and the lot on which the public school-house is located. Members, 70; Sabbath-school scholars, 45. This church has not, as yet, had a regular pastor, but has been statedly supplied.
The First Baptist church edifice, brick, one-story, about 30X40 feet, situate near the left bank of the old canal, nearly opposite the mouth of Maple street, was erected in 1873.
This church was incorporated by the proper court, December 21, 1874, and William reese, Sr., Thomas Reese, Hugh Evans, A.M. Hill, W.B. Ansley and John morgan were trustees named in the charter.
Prior to the incorporation of the borough, schools were taught, first in two different log schoolhouses a short distance east of town, and then in another schoolhouse in the hollow, the former in Allegheny township until 1832, and both therafter in Kiskiminetas township. Soon after the organization of the borough, a frame schoolhouse, one story, about 25X30 feet, was erected on the northerly part of lot No. 30, cornering on Church street and an alley thirty feet wide. The first teacher was Samuel Owens. In 1863 a new two-story house 48X45 feet, painted white, with rooms adapted to a graded school of two departments, the ceiling of one ten and that of the other twelve feet, and furnished with neat and comfortable pine desks and seats, was erected on an acre lot now on the southerly side of the upper end of Mill street, near the intersection of Wood street, which has since been so enlarged as to contain six schoolrooms, which are furnished with convenient patent seats and desks capable of accommodating, respectively, from forty to fifty pupils. The directors have generally been careful in selecting competent and skillful teachers. Subscription schools have generally been maintained during the intervals between the closing and opening of the public schools.
In 1860 the numbers of schools was 2; months taught, 4; male teacher, 1, female teacher, 1; average salary of male teacher per month, $25; average salary of female teacher per month, $14; male scholars, 61; female scholars, 58; average number attending school, 76; cost of teching each per month, 47 cents; amount levied for school purposes, $254.61; cost of instruction, $200; fuel and contingencies, $28.60; repairing schoolhouse, etc., $39.91
In 1876 the number of schools was 5; average number months taught, 4 7/8; male teacher, 1; female teachers, 4; average salary of male teacher per month, $60; average salary of female teachers per month, $42.50; male scholars, 129; female scholars, 134; average number attending school, 211; cost per month for each scholar, 86 cents; total amount tax levied for school and building purposes, $3,299.40; received from state appropriation, $292.95; from taxes and other sources, $2,526.18; cost of schoolhouse, $649.19; paid for teachers' wages, $820; paid for fuel, collector's fees, contingencies, and other expenses, $1,335.42.
Milton Dally is said to have been the captain of the first boat that made a trip on the Pennsylvania canal west of the Allegheny mountains. John B. Chambers was captain of the first packet-boat that plied between Apollo and Pittsburgh.
James H. McElwain is the oldest native of and now living in Apollo.
The Independent Blues of Apollo were organized as a volunteer company in 1848. Its first captain was Thomas C. McCulloch, now a practicing physician at Kittanning. After his removal from Apollo he was succeeded by Samuel Owens in 1855, A.J. Marshall in 1856, J.C. Crawford in 1858 and Samuel M. Jackson immediately after the firing on Sumter in April, 1861. Its services were promptly tendeered on President Lincoln's first call for 75,000 troops, but not in time to be then accepted. It was directed by Gov. Curtin to be held in readiness for future service, and June 5, 1961, it left Apollo for Camp Wright, and was assigned as Company G to the 11th regt. of Pennsylvania Reserves, in which it served valiantly during the war. Captain Jackson having been promoted to the rank of colonel December 13,1863, First-Lieut James P.Spear succeeded him as captain, who on his subsequent promotion to rank of major, was succeeded by First-Sergt. James H. Mills, who continued to be its captain until that regiment was honorably mustered out of service after the close of the war. The ranks of that company were filled by gallant and patriotic men, not only from Apollo but from the surrounding country. Among its heroic deeds was its participation in the notable charge upon the rebel breatworks at Spottsylvania. When the writer mentions the names of the officers of that or any other company he does so as though they represent or personify the rank and file of the heroic "boys in blue" who served under them. All of their names and those of their compatriots in the military service from Armstrong county would, the writer is informed by one of them, fill at least one hundred pages.
There appears to have been an earlier military company bearing the name of Charlestown Guards, which was probably organized in or prior to 1840, the particulars of whose history the writer has not had the pleasure of ascertaining.
SOLDIERS' AID SOCIETY
An organizationof the ladies of Apollo and vincinity was effected at an early stage of the war of rebellion, which, like those in other places in this county, was effective in collecting such material and making up such articles as were needed for contributing to the health and comfort of the sick and wounded soldiers.
A post of the Grand Army of the Republic was in existence for a number of years.
Nothing has come to the writer's knowledge respecting temperance organizations, except that a lodge of Good Templars was organized in 1868.
The petition of the people of this borough was effective in causing the sale of intoxicating liquors within its limits to be prohibited by the actof March 27, 1866, which is still in force. The vote February 28, 1873 was--- against license, 109; for it, 4.
THE APOLLO CEMETERY
Was incorporated by the proper court September 7, 1868, The charter members were Thomas A. Cochran, Samuel M. Jackson and John B. Chambers.
Masonic. No. 437 was constituted March 4, 1869. Its hall is in the second story of the new bank building, in the second square above the canal, on parts of lots Nos. 3 and 4, on the southerly side of North street. Its membership is 42.
Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Mineral Point Lodge, No. 615, was instituted December 14, 1867; members 75. The Kiskiminetas Encampment, No. 192, was instituted December 13, 1869; members, 30.
The Improved Order of Red Men. Caughnewago Tribe, No. 228, was instituted in December, 1875; members, 20.
Order of United American Mechanic. Kiskiminetas Valley Council, No. 325, was instituted in the spring of 1875; members, 53.
The hall, or place of meeting, of the last named four lodges is in the Odd Fellow's building, on lot No. 2, as numbered in the original plat of the town of Warren.
TRADES AND OCCUPATIONS
The number of merchants and such mechanics as are usual in every town has, from the first settlement of this place, been adequate to its wants. The first resident physician was Robert McKissen, whose successors at different periods have been William Brown; William P. McCalloch, who was surgeon, or assistant surgeon, in the 78th regt. Pa. Vols.; Thos. C. McCulloch, Thos. H. Allison, William McBrair, O.P. Bolinger, J.S. McNutt, W.B. Ansley, J.W. Bell and Robert E. McCauley. A dentist was first assessed in 1851. The first resident lawyer, since 1855, is Jacob Treetley, and later, John B. Guthrie and Horace N. McIntyre.
The first tannery appears to have been established in 1823-4 by John Wort, on lot No. 41, old plot, whence he removed it to lots No. 3, 5, and 6 on the southerly side of North street in 1817, for each of the first two of which he paid $45, and for the other $38.50. The deeds from Johnston & Speer for Nos. 3 and 6 are each dated January 8, 1817, and for Nos. 5 June 8, 1824. In 1839-40 James Guthrie established his tannery on an acre lot on the southwest corner of the present Maple and Canal streets. In 1850-1 Simon S. Whitlinger started his tannery on the northwest part of the square, which corners on Mill and Church streets, which he sold to John F. Whilinger, who removed it, several years since, to the lower part of the borough on Risher's run, near the present northern borough line. All of those tanneries were operated in the old slow mode until the removal of the Whitlinger one to its present location, since it has been operated by steam, that is, its process of tanning is by the use of steam, and is of course more rapid than was that of of its old predecessors. The various kinds of shoe and harness leather were manufactured at all of them, and they still are large quantities at the last-named one.
The first hotel, or tavern, was opened in 1824.
The manufacture of pottery was introduced in 1832-3; of saddles and harnesses in 1837; if cabinet-ware in 1836; of wagons in 1840; coverlet weaving in 1841; stonecutting in 1842; chairmaking in 1843; coopering in 1844; making tinware in 1848; carding in 1848; dentistry, cigar-making, making mill-wheels, etc., making copperware, in 1851; grocery business, as a seperate branch, in 1855; teaching music, confectionery as a seperate business, and butchering in 1858; coal merchant and druggist in 1860; coal hauler and miller in 1861; coal digger in 1863; brickmaking in 1865; auctioneer in 1867; planing-mill, foundry and salt merchant in 1868; stove and tin merchant, book agent and painter in 1870; barber, oil merchant, and broommaker in 1871; Apollo Savungs Bank---assessed with one-fourth part of lot No. 3 (old plot) at $500--- livery and speculator in 1872; undertaker and silversmith in 1873; oil dealer and photographer in 1874; lumberman, furniture dealer and brickpresser in 1875. Some of those branches of business may have been introduced or commenced a year or two earlier than their first assessments indicate. The capital stock of the Savings Bank is $50,000.
The Apollo gristmill was erected by John H. and Eden Townsend in 1849. For the last ten years it has been owned by George Brenner. It is 62X44 feet, three stories, frame with three runs of burrstones, smutmill, corn-cracker and sheller, and other modern improvements. It is situated on the southerly side and at the lower end of Mill street.
A barrel factory was established by Samuel Lack, at the foot of Indiana street, in 1854-5, and was continued in operation until 1864-5. The annual product was about 10,000 barrels, and the number of employes varied from eight to twelve.
With the erection and starting of the iron works came a considerable number of persons following the various avocations incident thereto, such as manager, eningeers, rollers, heaters, shinglers, sheares, etc.
Kiskiminetas Iron Company--- The certificate of organization of this company is dated September 20, 1855, accompanied with the declaration of the stockholders or partners that they wished to become a body politic, under the act of assembly "to encourage manufacturing operations," approved April 7, 1849. The original number of shares of capital stock was 500. The rolling-mill was erected in 1856. The prime object at the first was manufacture of nails. That company conveys its property to George W. Cass and Washington McClintock for $40,000 by deed dated December 8, 1859. Its interests and that of Washington McClintock in the property of the company were sold by the sheriff, May 1 and 5, 1860, to Cass and McClintock for $4,100, to whom James P. Speer conveyed his interest therein, by deed, dated December 29, 1866. for $5,564.58.
The mill was operated by Geo. W. Cass & Co. for eighteen months. In 1863, Washington McClintock, William Rogers, Sr., and W.E. Foale leased these works, and abandoned the manufacture of nails and commenced that of sheet iron. Until the destruction of dam No. 2, in February, 1866, these ironworks were operated by water-power, the supply of water having been obtained from the Pennsylvania canal. In August of that year, McClintock and Foale retired from, and Thomas J. Burchfield came into, the firm as active partners, and Thomas J. Hoskinson as special partner, and the name of the firm was changed to that of Rogers & Burchfield. A large engine was procured and an additional waid of rolls laid. Then was commenced the manufacture of the cold rolled iron for which these works became noted. Their capacity was fifty tons per week. The number of employes, including the coal diggers, was 140. The different kinds of manufacture were common, Juniata, Nos. 1, 2, 3 cold rolled, and showcard sheet iron. These were operated almost continuously from 1866 until 1875, when the firm went into bankruptcy. It is claimed that William Rogers, Sr., acquired, in 1872, while in Russia, knowledge of the mode of making Russian sheet iron, and, while thus acquiring that knowledge, was for that cause obliged to make a sudden exit from the czar's dominions. The property belonging to these works consists of two sheet-mills, seven puddling furnaces, one heating furnace, two sheet furnaces, two annealing furnaces, one new steam hammer, two gas-wells, sunk for the purpose of obtaining a sufficient supply of gas for fuel, one of which produces a moderate quantity, one large, seven-feet-stroke engine, two small ones, twenty tenant houses, one other dwelling and store-house, a bakery, other necessary buildings, and a wire suspension bridge across the Kiskiminetas to the railroad siding and coalbank.
The number of merchants assessed by the mercantile appraiser this year is twenty-one in the fourteenth and one in the twelfth class, in which are included the druggists, grocers and confectioners.
In 1850 the number of white inhabitants was 329; colored inhabitants, 2. In 1860, white,449. In 1870, white, 762; colored, 2. The number of taxables in 1876 is 315. At 4 3/5 persons for each taxable, the population is, in this centennial year, 1,449.
The last assessment list, that is, for 1876, indicates the numbers engaged in various avocations to be: Clergymen, 4; lawyer, 1; physicians, 3; teachers, 2; dentist, 1; laborers, 90; carpenters, 10; blacksmiths, 6; shoemakers, 3; saddlers, 2; painters, 3; tailors, 2; clerks, 12; cashier, 1; wagonmakers, 2; tanners, 2; weaver, 1; watchmaker, 1; cigarmakers, 3; miller, 1; plasterer, 1; barber, 1; tollkeeper, 1; printer, 1; roll-turner, 1; rollers, 2; puddler, 1; miners, 6; engineers, 3; heaters, 4; manager, 1; agent, 1; haulers, 2; stonemasons, 3; butchers, 3; bookkeeper, 1; farmer, 1; planing-mill, 1; planer, 1; foundry, 1; foundryman, 1; old gentlemen, 4.
Considering the age and size of this municipality, its inhabitants have been rather fortunate in regard to fires. For a period of sixty years after laying out the town, only three buildings had been burned. An extensive conflagration occurred Wednesday night, January 19, 1876, which, it is supposed, originated from overturning a kerosene oil lamp in H. A. Rudolph's shoe-store. Twenty-nine buildings in all were destroyed, causing a loss of $32,000 on which there was insurance to the amount of only $12,000. The high wind at the time caused the flames to extend rapidly along the southerly side of North street, from its lower end to the third public alley above the canal, beyond which were vacant lots of John B. Chambers, where they were stayed. About twenty-four buildings on the three squares or blocks above the canal, on the southerly side of North street, and about five on the northerly side of Main street, were destroyed, among which were several business houses, the postoffice and savings bank buildings on the former streeet. The people had no means of extinguishing the fire, except their own vigorous efforts in the use of common household buckets. It was very fortunate, under the circumstances, a high wind raging at least a part of the time, that the destruction was not more extensive than it was. Since then there has been but one building---Samuel Stull's--- destroyed by fire. The burned buildings are being replaced, as is generally the case after fires, by more tasteful and substantial structures. The need of a fire department and more effective means of promptly extinguishing fires than common buckets, is very apparent.
Source: Page(s) 232-246, History of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania by Robert Walker Smith, Esq. Chicago: Waterman, Watkins & Co., 1883.
Transcribed December 1998 by Rodney G. Rosborough for the Armstrong County Smith Project.
Contributed by Rodney G. Rosborough for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)
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