Benzinger Township - Borough of St. Mary's
BENZINGER TOWNSHIP - GENERAL DESCRIPTION - EARLY LAND PURCHASES - RESIDENT TAX-PAYERS IN 1844 - ELECTIONS - VOTERS IN 1846 - POPULATION - BUSINESS.
BOROUGH OF ST. MARY'S - LOCATION, ETC. - BEGINNINGS OF THE TOWN - REMINISCENCES OF CHARLES LUHR - MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS - FIRES - INDUSTRIES - BANK - HOTELS - CHURCHES - CONVENTS AND CONVENT SCHOOLS - ACADEMIES - PUBLIC SCHOOLS - SOCIETIES - MISCELLANEOUS.
BENZINGER TOWNSHIP is divided into the Mississippi and Atlantic basins by the Appalachian chain. In the eastern half are found the head-waters of West creek (which runs to Emporium to unite with the Sinnemahoming. This creek is fed by the north fork coming down from Jarrett' s Summit), and Trout run or north branch of Bennett's branch. Elk creek, which heads near the Cascade mines, east of St. Mary's, flows in a general westerly course to Ridgway. Powell's run parallels Elk creek a few miles north, and Crooked creek drains the extreme northern part of the west half of this township. The greatest elevation is on the divide between the head of Crooked creek and the north, fork of West creek. This is said to be as high as Jarrett's Summit, 2,245 feet, as determined by Col. Jarrett, September 15, 1855. At Rathbun depot, the elevation is 1,316 feet, and at the point where West creek crosses the east line, 1,280 feet or twenty-eight feet higher than Beechwood depot.
Round St. Mary's the lands have been cultivated for forty years, and as the hills are low, this section of the county tells at once of its agricultural wealth. The coal deposits in the neighborhood of St. Mary's are extensive, and have been a source of wealth to the county for over a quarter of a century. About two and three-fourth miles north of St. Mary's, at the old school-house (1,830 feet), a coal vein was discovered at an elevation of 1,780 feet. A general measurement of the strata shows 67 feet of gray sandstone, shale and slate, 3 of K. U. coal, 33 of sandy slate and shale, 18 inches of K. M. coal, 55 feet of sandstone and shale, 3 of Dagus coal, 3 of fireclay, 17 of shale, 16 inches of coal, 10 feet of sandstone and shale, 10 of limestone and shale, 13 of shale, a layer of coal, 16 of shale and 2 feet of coal, showing the lower productive measures to be 235.3 feet thick at St. Mary's. Ten miles south the Freeport limestone is only 40 feet above K. U. coal. From the center of warrant 4401 southwest to northeast corner of warrant 4395 the boldest exposure of sandstone in this township is found.
In 1842 the idea of establishing a colony on Elk creek was conceived, as related in the history of St. Mary's. Lands were purchased from the Fox Land Company of Massachusetts, September 20 of that year, for $24,668.62, or 75 cents per acre, the last payment being due in 1849.
The agreement between the trustees of the United States Land Company and Mathias Benzinger, of Baltimore, dated April 18, 1844, provided for the sale of 35,090 acres of land to the latter, on warrants numbered from 4112 to 4408, out of which 100 acres for a church lot and 1,980 acres for roads were to be deducted. The price paid was 75 cents per acre, or $24,757.72.
The resident taxpayers of Shippen township (Benzinger township in 1845) in 1844 were Martin* and Charles Herbstritt, Bartle Guire, John Addelberger, Nicholas Hill, Adolph Stockman, Paulus Dimel, Mathias Wellendorf (blacksmith), Sebastian Krauss, John Karker (cordwainer), Frank Kellar (tailor), Charles Kellar, John Rittman, Anton Avers, Dill Baltason, Charles Schrieber (matchmaker), Herman Koch and Nicholas Roth (cordwainers), Lawrence Stockman*, Benedict Heubel, Julius Forenbaum (cordwainer), John Sosenheimer (tinner), George Hasselman, George Weis and Joseph Stockman. Each of the above named owned one or more town lots, except Joseph Stockman, who was a single freeman. Rev. Alexandre, a Hungarian count, was the trustee of a saw-mill - an eleemosynary institution. In 1845 the names of Anthony Antonaves, John Walker, Matthias Glans, Francis Smith, Anthony Fochtman and Andreas Fleisman appear on the roll.
The first election was held in February, 1846: George Weis* and Ignatius Garner were chosen justices; N. Hill*, constable; Adam Vollmer*, Louis Youmel.*, F. J. Kellar, F. Schmidt~, Valentine Muller* and B. Weidenboerner*, directors; L. Stockman*, Ignatius Garner and Michael Langenfeldt* auditors; L. Stoekman*, clerk; George Wonders and F. X. Biberger, in the west, inspectors; Adam Vollmer*, judge of election, and Adam Vollmer. assessor. Anton Hanhauser was chosen justice in 1849; J. Graham* and E. C. Schultz in 1850.
The Benzinger election of February, 1890, resulted in the choice of John Glesner and Charles Sneider, supervisors; J. B. Heindi, N. J. Tierney and Ignatius Schaut, school directors; John B. Gerber and W. A. McCoy, auditors; J. J. Voilmer, collector and constable; George Nissel, overseer of poor; J. M. Meyer, clerk, and Paul Busch, treasurer.
The first voters in February, 1846, were the officers named and Joseph Gernzer*, John Wonder (at Baltimore, now in Fort Wayne, Ind.), John Sosenheimer, Casper Buchhage*, Matthias Wellendorf*, Michael Derlet*, Anton Fochtman*, Carl Schrieber*, F. Eisenhauer*, Augustus Osterman*, Anton Kuntz*, Bertol Guyer*, Francis Schmidt*, F. J. Kellar, Fred Miller*, Francis Bonnert*, Peter Burget*, Joseph Korbe, Michael Frey*, Joseph Kern, and Bernard Weidenboerner. All the voters and officers of 1846 are dead, with the exception of Ignatius Garner, John Sosenheimer and John Wonder.
The population in 1880 was 1,976, exclusive of St. Mary's, which then was credited with 1,501 inhabitants. In 1888 there were 56 Republican and 367 Democratic votes recorded in the township, pointing out a population of 2,115, while in the borough there were 43 Republican, one Prohibitionist, and 308 Democratic votes given, showing 1,760 inhabitants - a number under the present population. The election on the prohibition and suffrage amendments of June 18, 1889, is noticed as follows by one of the local journals: "Six hundred and forty-one votes were cast in St. Mary's borough and Benzinger township, out of which the amendment received 32. In the borough 295 votes were cast, 280 against and 15 for the amendment; two votes were lost, probably by two persons getting two prohibition tickets instead of one prohibition and one suffrage. Majority in the borough against the amendment, 263. In the township 346 men voted: 329 against, 17 for; majority, 312. Total majority in the precincts, 575." In St. Mary's borough were George Weis, Lee & Born. Charles Fisher and G. Schoening, dealers; Joseph Luzr, A. Fochtman, James Graham and John Haus, hotel keepers, in 1950. In Benzinger township were 263 dwellings, 270 families, 1,270 persons, 114 farms and two manufacturing concerns. In 1852 - 53, M. Hans and Joseph Windfelder had breweries here and Philip Stephen a distillery.
The mines of the St. Mary's Coal Company were opened in September, 1863, and mining operations commenced in July following. In 1883 the Dagus coal was still taken out by this company, each side of the tracks of the Philadelphia & Erie Railroad where the bed ranges from thirty-four to forty inches in thickness. Mr. Patton was then superintendent and he resided near the summit of the hill, 160 feet above the working coal bed, and seventy feet above a three-foot vein he discovered in drilling a well.
The Keystone mines, formerly owned by the Benzinger Company, of which Dr. O. S. Sanders was president, and W. H. Finney, secretary, are one and one-half miles east of the depot at St. Mary's. They were worked up to the period when D. Eldridge abandoned it. The extreme western opening was 1,825 feet above tide, and the coal bench was thirty-six inches in depth. Just east, at an elevation of 1,835 feet, was another opening into this Dagus bed. The mines were purchased by J. K. P. Hall, in 1889. The Cascade mines were opened east of the Keystone tract in 1878, by Kaul & Hall, with James Black, superintendent. The elevation is 1,815 feet and the depth of seam forty inches. Since 1880 Martin Dippold is superintendent, and W. A. McCoy has been weighman since the beginning. This mine employs 130 hands, and produces 80,000 tons annually. Their railroad system is one and one-half miles of standard track. The Silver Creek mine on the Monastery lands, just northwest of St. Mary's. was opened late in the "seventies," and explored to a depth of 253 feet. The mine was worked by Eldridge until the deposit was exhausted.
The Scahonda coal tract, north of the depot, comprises the "Four Fingers" - prongs of the plateau - underlined by Alton coal, at a depth of fifty feet. The vein is thirty-six inches in depth. At a depth of seventy-eight feet a twenty-four-inch vein of Alton coal was discovered. William C. Young's mine on the east side of the creek, is 1,880 feet above tide. Weidenboerner' s opening on warrant 4405 is 1,817 feet above tide, and shows thirty-six inches of cannel coal. The deposits are said to be of little commercial value. .. . The Hazel Dell mine, just east of St. Mary's. was opened in 1879 by the Cascade Coal Company, and was under the management of Daniel Geary, for some years, until P. J. Fleming succeeded him. Mr. Cook is the present mining boss. There are forty-five men employed and the product is 100 tons per day.
The Tannerdale Coal Company was incorporated in June, 1866, to develop the coal deposits in Benzinger township. The members were Isaac and I. T. Lulam, W. H. Hewitt, A. Stoutenburgh, P. S. Henderson, J. Kirkpatrick, F. A. Leash, Pamelia, Kate M., Lizzie C., M. and W. M. Singerly.
The only bed mined up to 1884. was the Dagus, three miles northeast of St. Mary's, within a half mile of the Philadelphia & Erie Railroad. The elevation of the opening was 1,750 feet.. One mile east, on the Shabler farm, at an elevation of 1,675 feet, another mine was opened in the Clermont coal, and on the same farm at 1,660 feet a bed of the Alton upper coal. The Kaul mine, adjoining the borough limits, was opened years ago and purchased by Mr. Kaul from Windfelder & Hill, in 1872. This mine may be said to be the supply mine of the borough. The Elk creek mines were developed by Kaul & Hall, in 1877, with Superintendent Eldridge in charge. In June, 1876, the Young mines were opened at Scahonda. In September, 1879 the St. Mary's test oil well was down 2,011 feet, and No. 2 was located on the Leonard Wittman farm, five miles north of No. 1, on Powell's run, 2,500 feet.
BOROUGH OF ST. MARY'S.
St. Mary's is located in north latitude 41° 25' and longitude 1° 25', west of Washington, according to observations made by Stokes in 1849. It is located in the midst of a rich agricultural district on an elevated plateau, where the steep hills, common to all other sections of this part of Pennsylvania, are merged into a heavy-rolling table land about 1,900 feet above ocean level. The history of the town dates back to 1842. Its beginnings are told by documents in possession of Charles Luhr, from which the following story is taken:
Some time in the early part of 1842, a committee from Baltimore and Philadelphia was chosen to go westward in search of uncultivated lands for the establishment of a colony. It has always been a great mystery to me how this committee ever found their way into the wilds of Elk, and under whose guidance, but such it was, nevertheless. On their return they reported favorably for this location. The lands were bought, and articles of agreement signed. The first meeting in Baltimore was held October 25, 1842, and reads as follows; "Minutes of the German Catholic Brotherhood of Philadelphia and Baltimore to found a colony in Jefferson and McKean counties, signed by John Kernhaas, secretary." Then follows a copy of the contract or agreement, made September 20, 1842 between the Fox Land Company, of Massachusetts of the first part, and Nicklas Reimel, John Albert, Michael Derleth. Adolph Stockman, John Schad, Peter Brechtenwald and Mathias Schweitzer, members of the Brotherhood from Philadelphia and Baltimore for the purchase of twenty-nine warrants of land in the counties of Clearfield, Jefferson and McKean (Elk not being formed at that time) for the sum of $24,668.62, or about 75 cents per acre, payable in rates. The last payment to be made in 1849. Sundry meetings were held during October, organizing the members; dividing them into several classes or installments, fixing payments, etc. On October 28, a committee consisting of John Sosenheimer, John Winter, John Want and F. N. Bieberger, were chosen to start November 1 with the first installment for the colony, to meet a similar party from Philadelphia. Two families were included in the first installment, viz.: Benedict Ziebel, wife and four children; Barthel Geyer, wife and three children - fifteen persons in all, including the committee. Their route was laid out to Columbia Penn., by railroad; thence by canal to Freeport; thence by the overland route to the place of destination. The bill of expenses for the party may be interesting to the readers and is recorded as follows: Transport and over-weight. $88.69; utensils, $13.46; groceries $18.024; books, $2.75; cash, $80; miscellaneous, $14.201. Arriving at, Kersey, the party took up quarters with John Green; the house being too small for all, they had to take to the barn. As no road left to the promised spot from this point, and only a few blazed trees being their guide, the sturdy pioneers did not shrink from their undertaking, but with a pack on their shoulders, leaving their families in Kersey in comfortable quarters, and following those few indications of a hunter's path, they arrived on the banks of Elk creek December 8, 1842. The site chosen for the first log hut was on the hill where now stands the home of Mr. Matthias Wellendorf. This gentleman and Mr. John Walker were of the first from the Philadelphia branch, and are the only two of the brave and enduring pioneers still residing here. December 8 being the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, and the name of the first white woman who trod the soil being also Mary, the colony was named St. Mary's. The men toiled all week in clearing lands, building log huts covered with hemlock bark, cutting and opening roads, and returning Saturday's to their families in Kersey, providing they did not miss the trail. As soon as a road was opened and sufficient huts were erected, the entire party moved to their future home.
Other names are given in connection with this settlement of December. 1842: Matthias Wellendorf. J. Walker. Herman Koch. F. J. Kellar, S. Vonbaum, A. Ewars, N. Hill, C. and M. Herbstritt, S. Dill, N. Reimel, J. and M. Albert. P. Reitenwald and Messrs. Kraus, Fingering, Krauter and Girard _____all from Philadelphia. A few days later the colonists from Baltimore arrived - I. Lehaut. B. Henebel, B. Geyer, Caspar Wolfrom, G Hassellman. Bartel O. and Alderberger - who joined the first party at Kersey. As stated, the first cabin was raised on the Wellendorf home lot. J. Dill built a second, which is still standing. Late in December of the same year, as they had built enough shanties, they took their families in and began to cut down trees along St. Mary's road. The shanties and all other work done was made in common, so also had they a common store where they drew their rations. The clearing and the work in general progressed slowly. The community plan of working would not go - some were always sick, and others had some other ailings.or excuses - so that during the first year only a few town lots were cleared. although in the spring of 1843 the number of colonists was increased by the second installment from Philadelphia and Baltimore. About 1844 John Kaul, Andrew Dessler and John Raum arrived. While they were building their shanties the men used to come in on Mondays, take their rations along, camp out and return on Saturday to their families in Kersey. In one of their journeys to the settlement, Girard and his son, with their rations for the week, were a little behind the rest of the party, and went out of their path somewhere near Laurel run and lost themselves. They wandered about all day; when night came they built a fire, and as they had their rations along for the whole week, they made a hearty supper. The next day they began wandering again and walked continually all day long. Toward evening they came to a place where a fire was smouldering, when the old man said: "Thank God! we must now be near some settlement, as there must have been some one here who has built this fire." While they were occupied in replenishing the fire and making arrangements for supper, the young man said: "Why, father, this is the place where we camped last night, and we built this fire!" Next morning they resumed their journey; this time they struck a creek, which they followed, and toward evening they came out at Ridgway.
* In the fall of the year 1842, Father Alexander, from Baltimore, came to the colony by invitation. This gentleman, a man of great learning and experience, and a lover of rural life, became so convinced that the community plan would not work, that the settlement was bound to break up, and the labor and money already spent in the undertaking lost. He conceived another plan to save it, but this could only be carried out by some person of influence and means. He, therefore, after consultation with the colonists, went back to Baltimore, and laid his plans before Col. Matthias Benzinger, a man known for his kindness, enterprise and experience. He prevailed on Col. Benzinger to come and look at the settlement. Late in the fall of 1843, Col. Benzinger came to the colony, and after examination concluded to buy the lands. The community society then had their contract annulled with Mr. Kinsbury, and Col. Benzinger then bought the colony lands, with some other adjoining, making about 66,600 acres. The following year as soon as the season was favorable, part of the lands was laid out in farms of 25, 50 and 100 acres, and also part of the village of St. Mary's, and he gave each of the colonists of the community, who remained, 25 acres and one town lot free. Now each one was for himself, and the work and improvements went on well from that time. In 1844 John Kaul came from Bavaria and located for a time at St. Mary' s, but subsequently settled on his farm. In the fall of the year 1844, George Weis came to the colony and put up a store at the house of J. Walker, then the largest and best in the place, and in the following spring built his store-house and store on the north side of Elk creek. About the same time Col. Benzinger engaged Ignatius Garner as agent and general director of the colony, and early in the year 1845 Mr. Garner went to Europe with Rev. Cartuyvels, and came back in July with a good number of substantial settlers. About this time Baron Von Schroeder, of Munich, joined Benzinger in partnership. From that time the colony made rapid progress, settlers coming from Europe and all parts of the United States. A large three-story log house was built on the south side of Elk creek, with twenty-four rooms, where the colonists found shelter until they could build houses for themselves. At the same time a neat church was built, and also the large saw-mill on Elk and Silver creeks, by Father Alexander, who made his residence here, and by his good example, cheerfulness and liberality, contributed largely to the success of the colony. At the same time Col. Benzinger took into partnership John Eschbach, another wealthy and influential citizen of Baltimore. These two gentlemen did not spare any time or money to make the colony a success. Roads were now laid out and opened at the expense of the company. These road openings gave work to those in need, and from one to two hundred dollars were paid out weekly by their agent for these purposes. In the fall of the year application was made for a post-office, as the nearest post-office was then nine miles from St. Mary's, at Daniel Hyatt's, and a special office was granted on the 19th of November, 1845, and Ignatius Garner appointed as postmaster. In the first quarter 222 letters were sent, and the amount of money received was $16.83. During the September term the court of Elk county granted the formation of Benzinger township, and the legislature early in their session appointed an election house.
During the summer of 1846 Joseph Luhr came to St. Mary's and opened his hotel, which many a traveler will remember on account of the kindness of the landlord and the good fare received. The colony increased steadily. In January, 1847, the number of souls amounted already to 980. The colonists were laborious, frugal and always cheerful. The prospects were often gloomy, yet perseverance overcame all. The festivals of the church and the national holidays were always regularly kept. Many an inhabitant of Elk, and even adjoining counties will remember the 4th of July which they celebrated in common with the inhabitants. In the spring of the year 1848 Benzinger and Eschbach took into partnership William A. Stokes, a renowned lawyer from Philadelphia, who came to St. Mary's with his family on the 4th of July, in the same year, with the intention of making his residence in the colony. He commenced to clear the Roselay farm, about four miles east of St. Mary's, and to build a mansion on it. His wife, being in delicate health when he came here, died about a year after their arrival, so he sold out in the fall of 1849 and returned to Philadelphia. Rev. J. L. Y. Cartuyvels became his successor in partnership, and finished the clearing and building of the Roselay farm. The church and parsonage, which was built, in 1845, was situate in the triangle formed by Centre, Markus and Cross streets, and was destroyed by fire, with all its contents, on the 10th of May, 1859, in the day time, the origin of the fire being unknown. This was a sorrowful day for the inhabitants of St. Mary's, but they did not despair. Preparations were soon made to build another and more substantial church nearer the center of the town. The place was selected in a dense forest, but willing hands had it soon cleared; materials were prepared and collected, and on the 27th of June, 1852, it was so far advanced as to have the corner-stone laid. The work went on gradually so that on the 8th of December, 1853, the church was opened.
Municipal Affairs. - The town of St. Mary's was incorporated by special act of the legislature, March 3, 1848. Ignatius Garner was elected first burgess, followed in 1849 by Anthony Hanhauser; 1850, George F. Schaffer 1851, F. X. Biberger; 1855, Edward Babel, and 1856, E. C. Schultz. It is said that George Garner filled this office. The clerks were Matthias Wollendorf, 1849; Ignatius Garner, 1850 - 51; Louis Voilmer, 1851; Bernard Eckle. 1853; Casper Wehner, 1854; John Butsch, 1855; Joseph Wilhelm, 1856; Michael Brunner, 1857... B. Weidenboerner was president of the council until succeeded by Charles Luhr in 1855. In 1856 Charles Luhr was commissioned justice, serving until 1863.
On April 25, 1857, Louis Voilmer was elected burgess; Bernard Eckle. John Butsch, G. F. Schaffer, Gerhard Schoening and Michael Brunner, counoilmen; Messrs. Eckle, Butsch, Schaffer, Voilmer, Francis Weis and Michael Fry, school directors; Wendel Lion, town constable; C. Chisbe, assessor: Henry Severing, high constable; George Weis and Philip Stephen, overseers of poor; Jacob Shoat, auditor; John C. Weideuboerner, judge, with Michael Schenebeck and Lorenzo Westnetzer, inspectors of elections. The office of burgess has been filled since that time by the following named citizens: Louis Volimer, 1858; G. Edward Weis, 1859 - 60--68---69 - 70; Anthony Kuntz, 1861: James Blakeley, 1862 - 63; Joseph Windfelder, 1864; Matthias Wellendorf. 1865 - 73 - 77; F. X. Biberger, 1866; Bernard Eckle, 1867; Charles Luhr, 1872: Charles Weis, 1874 - 76 - 79 - 80; George Weidenboerner, 1875; Michael McNally, 1878; Josiah Berden, 1881; Michael Gerg, 1882; Charles Weis, 1883 - 84; H. A. Hall, 1885 - 89. Joseph Hanhauser is present clerk, succeeding Charles Luhr, who was secretary in 1859 - 64, when Joseph Wilhelm was appointed. In 1865 John Butsch was secretary, and in 1866 C. Luhr was appointed; in 1869, M. Brunner; in 1871, E. Spellenberg; in 1875, C. Luhr who served to 1887.
The following officers were elected in February, 1890: Justice of the peace, Charles Weis; chief burgess, Adam Pistner; town council, John Volimer. George Schlimm; school directors, Frank Goetz, Thomas Ernst; high constable, Thomas Valentine; tax collector, George Hoehn; overseer of poor, Joseph Schauer; judge of election, John G. Volk; inspectors of election, A. Kuntz, William Beecher; auditor, A. C. Schaut.
Water Company - The St. Mary's Water Company was incorporated July 6, 1889, with J. K. P. Hall, president; George Weidenboerner, secretary, and Charles Luhr, treasurer. The directors are J. K. P. Hall, George Krellner. John Schauer, Andrew Kaul, John Hogan and George Schlimm. The water rights were granted to the borough by the Benedictine Father, and right of way between the dam and borough obtained variously: The water is brought from Silver creek, which is dammed one and a half miles above the large stone church, and the waters are led 4,000 feet east of this dam to the reservoir. where the engine-house stands. This reservoir is 160 feet above the depot at St. Mary's. Mr. Thomas, of Clarion, is superintendent of construction.
Gas Companies. - St. Mary's Gas Company was organized under the law May 9, 1889, with A. Kaul, J. K. P. Hall, Eben J. Russ, Charles Luhr and George Krellner, stockholders. The object was to mine for gas in Ridgway township, and convey it to St. Mary's by pipe line for use of consumers. Charles Luhr was elected president, and Harry A. Hall, secretary. In July ninety-four acres were purchased west of Johnsonburg, where two wells are being drilled by Irving Schultz for the company. In August a Mr. Conroy contracted to lay seven and one-quarter miles of pipe from the wells to the limits, and also seven miles within the borough - the contract calling for completion in October. Work on the main line and in the borough was at once entered upon. The new gas company of St. Mary's was organized January 1, 1890, with Joseph Schlimm, president; E. W. Kuntz, secretary; Louis Gies, treasurer, and they, with George Reusher, Sebastian Craft, Frank G-oetz, Theodore Miller and F. A. Ehrich, formed the board of directors. The Silver Creek Gas & Oil Company of St. Mary's was incorporated in November, 1889, and in February, 1890, work was begun on their well below the monastery.
Fire Companies - St. Mary's Fire Company, No. 1, was incorporated in May, 1875, with George Schmidt, Philip Meyer, Frank Gerg, Charles Kuffin and John W. Fox, subscribers and directors. In 1877 Elk Fire Company was in charge of Marshal G. E. Weis, with John Krug and A. Weis, assistants; J. M. Mecum, engineer; A. Auman and Charles Weis, captains; W. W. Ames, president; P. B. Wachtel, secretary, and John Krug, treasurer.. . . The Star Hose Company, No. 2, was organized in January, 1890, and the following officers elected: President, Mat Schieler; first vice-president, George A. Valentine; second vice-president, Ralph Lawrence; secretary, W. A. Klausman; financial secretary, Joseph Imhoff; treasurer, John Swartzfisher; foreman, George Foster; first assistant foreman, A. Benninger; second assistant foreman, George Loeffler. The Citizen's Hose Company was organized Feb nary 21, 1890, with following named officers: Dr. A. Mullhaupt, president; W. L. Price, vice-president; C. S. Wilmarth, secretary, and N. J. Tierney, treasurer. In the fall of 1889 the borough council received 1,000 feet of hose, and new hose-cart and engine.
Fires. - The fire of May, 1850, which destroyed the old church building was the first .. . . The new grist-mill at St. Mary's was burned November 22, 1852. The fire of June 14, 1871, destroyed three buildings on Mary street, in the vicinity of Walker's hardware store. On May 2, 1872, the Alpine House and other buildings were destroyed. The Ellis mills at Blue Rock were destroyed by fire, July 24, 1873; no less than 650,000 feet of lumber, 400,000 lath and 15,000 pickets were destroyed.
The fire of July 25, 1880, destroyed the following named buildings: Coryell & Russ, store, warehouse; Meecum's residence; W. W. Ames' office; John Smith's tobacco factory, store-room and residence; Joseph Rosenhoffer's two dwelling houses and barn; A. Auman's and John Seal's residences; John Smith's business house; J. Wilhelm's hotel and two store-houses; Ed. McBride's three store buildings and barn; A. Geeck's barber shop and dwelling; A. Meissal's bakery, store and dwelling; A. Schauer's store, saloon and dwelling; P. B. Wachtel's store and dwelling; Riley Bros.' hotel and barns;. Charles Luhr's dwelling house; railroad depot; Vogel's hotel and brewery; J. F. Windfelder's hotel; J. E. Weiclenboerner's store-house; L. Wittman's store; J. W. Wilhelm's store, and George Schaut' s large building, containing two stores, photograph gallery and two flats. The total loss was placed at $104,000.
The fire of February 16, 1889, threatened the Rettger house on Maurus street. To the firemen and waterworks system its escape from total destruction is due.
Industries - The Penn Lumber Company was chartered in March, 1887, with Andrew Kaul of St. Mary's, president; J. K. P. Hall, secretary and treasurer; A. Kaul, J. S. Schultz, W. H. Hyde, J. G. Hall and B. F. Hall, directors. This company is composed of individual owners of lands and mills, banded together for the purpose of manufacturing and selling lumber. Each mill sends to the head office at St. Mary's regular reports, and from this office advices are furnished the offices at Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, whence information is returned relating to the stock required. The products of the mills is about 80,000,000 feet annually. The present president and secretary are the same as in 1887. J. B. Given, of Philadelphia, was general manager up to the date of his death, in February, 1890. William H. Hyde, J. G. Hall, A. Kaul, John Ernhout and J. B. Given are directors. Fred. Wilmarth is sales agent at Pittsburgh. The Penn Lumber Company markets the cut of the following named mills: The Eagle Valley & Gallagher Run; Saw-mill Run and the Farm mill of the Hyde estate; Beechwood, of the Beechwood Lumber Company; Rathbun, of Andrew Kaul & Co.; Summit mill, of A. Kaul; Daguscahonda and Wilcox mills, of Jackson; S. Schultz; Carman & Vineyard Run mills of the Portland Lumber Company, and Truman mills of Arthur's Coal & Lumber Company. The old Benezette mill is also in this category, but not included, as the work there is about closed.
The Hall & Kaul lands in Benzinger, Jay, Fox and Jones townships, together with two tracts in Cameron county, aggregate 40,000 acres, exclusive of their lands as members of the Portland company. This huge tract is operated by the owners, giving direct employment to about 700 hands, and, being among the largest shippers known to the Pennsylvania company, contribute largely to swell the ranks of employes of that railroad corporation.
In the fall of 1889 Andrew Kaul and J. K. P. Hall purchased warrants 2425, 2377, parts of 2361 and 2363, 103 acres in 2319, and 65 acres in 2323, or a total of 3,900 for $108,000, embracing 7,000,000 feet of cherry together with hemlock and other woods. Some short time before this the Portland Lumber Company purchased the Mill Creek property for $100,000. The Sample Lumber Company, of Alabama, comprises in the membership Andrew Kaul and John L. Kaul, of St. Mary's, and Alfred Truman. John L. Kaul is secretary.
The St. Mary's Tannery was established in April, 1884, and work commenced September 5, that year. The proprietors are J. K. P. Hall and A. Kaul, and Kestler, Lesh & Co., of Boston. The capacity is 2,200 sides per week, and the number of men employed is eighty. A. Moser has been manager since the beginning, and the specialty is Union sole leather.
The Spring Tannery, inside the borough limits, was established years ago by Judge Schultz and conducted for years by Joseph Wilhelm. In 1885, the works became the property of Hall & Kaul, who manufacture rough leather, J. F. Myer is manager.
In July, 1873, the Walker & Hoffman brick-yards were established. The Lewis & Bauer grist-mill was opened in August, 1889. John Dornish and J. Fritz have rented the Benedictine Priory mill of Father Prior. They are now making extensive repairs on the mill, and it will soon be in running order.
The first brewery was established by Michael Hantz in 1845, a small concern, which continued about ten years. Joseph Windfelder built a brewery in 1851. In September, 1876, the building and machinery became the property of Charles and Henry Luhr, the present owners. The annual sales range from 1,000 to 1,500 barrels. The third brewery was started by Charles Voik in 1855 - 56, opposite the old Washington House, later built where is now the City Hotel, and later built the brewery now owned by Straub, in Benzinger township. The Babylon Brewery was founded by Edward Babel - hence the name. This burned down a few years ago. The second brewery in the borough was established by William Geiss, who sold to the present owner, Charles Walker.
Bank. - The St. Mary's Bank was established in 1867 with Sampson Short, W. M. Singerly, Louis Voilmer, John G. Hall, and J. K. P. Hall, stock-holders. The capital stock was $50,000 - After the retirement of Messrs. Short and Singerly, J. S. Hyde became a member of this firm. Mr. Voilmer retired later, so that J. K. P. Hall, Jehn G. Hall and the Hyde estate are the present proprietors. The capital stock is continued at $50,000. The office is in the Hall building erected by Mr. Hall in 1874.
Hotels. - The first hotel was kept, where the Silver Creek Tannery now is, by Buchhaga. This was subsequently conducted by Graham, and in 1851 was closed, and near by E. C. Schultz established his tannery. The next hotel was established by Anthony Fochtman in 1845. This house stood on the hill opposite J. Walker's old home and was named the Lion Hotel. On his death the business was discontinued.
The Washington House was established by Joseph Luhr in 1847 and conducted by him until 1872, when it was rented to various parties, the last renter being Peter Shoup, who carried it on until 1887.
The Franklin House was erected by Anthony Hanhauser in 1849. After conducting the house for about twelve years he leased the house. The house was next sold to William Geis, who conducted it until its sale to Anthony Koch, who sold to Mr. Boyer in 1886.
St. Mary's Hotel was established about 1855 by M. Wellendorf, who conducted the house for a number of years, after which his children carried on business there up to 1877 - 78.
The Alpine, where is now the Commercial, was built by Joseph Windlelder after the war. Herman Kretz was tenant in 1806 - 67. Afterward Mr. Scull conducted the house until its destruction in May, 1872. It was rebuilt by John Wacbtel, who carried it on until Riley Brothers purchased it and became owners in 1878. In 1884 they sold to Mrs. Jackson, who sold to Will-jam Geis, the present proprietor. During Riley Brothers' administration the name was changed to Commercial.
The City Hotel was built by Lawrence Vogel in 1886. On his death in 1887 the widow rented the house to N. McCarty, who is the present proprietor.
Churches. - The Catholic Church of St. Mary's is contemporary with the first settlement of Benzinger township. Father Alexander was the first priest,** followed by Rev. Borgess, who attended the church at Irishtown in 1843, and visited this, then new, settlement. A church building was erected in 1845, on the triangular piece of ground between Centre, Markus and Cross streets. This house was burned in 1850, giving place to the present stone church, completed in 1852. In 1850 the Benedictine Fathers took possession of this old Redemptorist mission, and for forty years have labored among the people. One at least of the many illustrious men of this religious order deserves mention here, as by work and family he was connected with St. Mary's- - Arch-Abbot Boniface Wimmer, born January 14, 1809, near Ratisbon, Bavaria, died at St. Vincent's Abbey, near Latrobe, Penn., December 8, 1887. His original Christian name was Sebastian, which of course was lost in the new religious name, Boniface. He completed a classical course of eight years, at Ratisbon, and entered the Munich University in 1827, with the object of graduating from the law school, but changing his intention entered the Ratisbon Seminary, and on July 31, 1831, was ordained priest. In 1832 he entered the Benedictine Monastery, at Metten. From 1833 to 1846 he was priest and professor at Edenstetten, and in 1840 was promoted to a chair in Louis Gymnasium, Munich. Meantime emigration to the United States was large and some calls for priests came from beyond the Atlantic. The young Benedictine concluded to be among the pioneers and conceived the plan of establishing an abbey in the United States. The plan met with some obstacles, but the missionary spirit conquered, and ultimately King Louis I. favored the proposition and came to bid farewell to the priest, the four students and the fifteen young men who set out in August, 1846. They arrived at New York September 16, and soon reported to Bishop O'Connor, who transferred to them the church property, where St .Vincent' s Abbey now stands. In 1850 he founded the priory of St. Mary. In 1854 he visited Rome, and the title of abbot was conferred on him, and the same year the monks at St. Vincent were incorporated under the title "The Benedictine Society of Westmoreland County." Afterward he turned his attention to the West, establishing houses in Kansas, Minnesota and Chicago, and later to the South, in 1876 - 77, establishing an abbey in Louisiana, one in North Carolina, one in Virginia, one in Alabama, one in Georgia, and also one at Newark, N. J. In 1881 he established a monastery in Illinois. On Skidaway Island, near Savannah, he established a school for colored children, and the Church of the Sacred Heart, at Savannah, for colored citizens. December 29, 1883, he was raised to the dignity of Arch-Abbot. The attending ceremonies were the most interesting known in the history of the Benedictines on this continent. In July, 1877, Father Paulinus was succeeded by Father Celestino as prior and Rev. F. Edwards took the place of Father Dennis as priest of the English Catholic Church. In February, 1890, Father Innocent was pastor and Rev. Placitus Piltz, O.S.B., pastor of St. Mary's.
The Shiloh Presbyterian Church was organized May 26. 1867, but on July 8, 1866, the first Protestant sermon was preached by Rev. D. Hull, of Northumberland Presbytery, at St. Mary's. This sermon was given in Joseph Patton's small office, where occasional services were held by Mr. Hull until the meeting of his presbytery on the third Tuesday in April, 1867, when, on the petitions of certain parties, a committee, Revs. Hull and Sturgess and Elder Quiggle, was appointed to organize a church. This committee met with the people in the dining-room of the Alpine House (then operated by H. Kretz), May 26, when an organization was effected with the following members: Joseph and Jennet Patton, James, Mary, Edward and Eliza Mitchell, Christian Folkrod, Elizabeth, Louisa E., George P. and John W. Folkrod and Eugene and Ann Tormey. Joseph Patton was chosen elder and E. Mitchell deacon. Rev. Mr. Hull was authorized to continue reception of members and perform the services of ordination and installation two weeks hence. On that date James and Jennie Snadden and Robert Martin were admitted to membership. and the first-named admitted additional elder. The above-named individuals. were duly set apart to the offices to which they were elected with appropriate services, when the present title was given to this church, which was incorporated January 16, 1869, on petition of James Snadden, Samuel Reynolds, Evan J. Russ, John Wylie, Charles Finney, Charles Ames and Joseph R. Patton. The latter, in 1863, came to St. Mary's as superintendent of the St. Mary's Coal Company, and was the main supporter of the Shiloh Presbyterian Church. He died January 27, 1884, having served as clerk up to December, 1882, when W. W. Ames succeeded him in this office. On his departure for Brookville on September 1, 1888, the pastor became the acting session clerk. Rev. Mr. Hull supplied the pulpit until May 15, 1872, when Rev. Robert White succeeded, and was installed pastor and served until 1877. Rev. S. T. Thompson was called and presided here in March, 1880. He remained here until August 19, 1884. In May, 1885, Dr. Kennedy came, and was installed in the fall of that year. A church house was built some time after incorporation on lots donated by Dr. Shirley, of Reading, Penn. The value of building and lots is about $3,000. The number of members recorded is seventy, and the Sunday-school 120.
Convent and Convent Schools. - In 1848 a few Sisters of Notre Dame came here to teach the female schools. They left the field shortly, or'on November 20, 1849. Mother M. Walburg Deitrich, daughter of J. Deitrich, was born in Wurtemhurg, Germany, May 20, 1802, and made her religious profession as a Benedictine nun in 1834, at the ancient convent of St. Walburg. In June, 1852, she came to the United States with other sisters - Mother Benedict Reip and Sister Maura - of the order, and on July 22, of that year, Mother Reip established the first Benedictine convent in this country, at St. Mary's, in a small frame building where is now the monastery. Prior to her death, on April 27, 1876, she saw no less than thirty-two convents of Benedictine nuns established in the United States. Her sister nuns were not so fortunate. Mother Reip died in Minnesota and Sister Maura at Erie.
The first reception of nuns took place in October 1853, Sisters Scholastica, Alexia and Lidwina, of St. Walburg's, being received. At this time also twelve novices were received, of whom Sister Bernardo (formerly Miss Mary Weidenboerner), Sister Edwarda (Miss Pauline Redant), Sister Luitgard (Miss Mary Butsch and Sister Hildegard (Miss Theresa Renner) were residents of St. Mary's. Of the others, Sister Placida is the only one now in the convent. The present Sister Bernardo is a sister of the first named. There were two receptions in 1854, when seven sisters entered this convent. In February, 1855, Sister Nepomecene entered and is now here. In December, three nuns from St. Walburg arrived, who afterward went forth to aid in establishing other convents.
In 1856 Sisters Frances, Ruperta and Anselma, with Sister Scholastica as Superior, went to Erie and established the present convent there. Miss Riedderer accompanied them as a postulant. There are now sixty-seven sisters there. In March, 1857, Mother Emerana, accompanied by Sisters Benedicta, Alfonsa, Philomena and Mienrad, went to Indiana, Penn., but finding the location unsuitable, moved to Newark, where they established the present convent. In June, 1857, Mother Benedicta Reip moved to St. Cloud, Minn., with the greater number of the sisters of this house and established a convent there. After the departure of the pioneer prioress, Sister Theresa was appointed. She presided over the convent until 1875, when Mother Isadore (Miss Magdalene Piltz), who entered here in 1861, succeeded, having hitherto filled the position for one year. In July, 1857, Sister Wendelin (Miss Margaret Rieder) and others were received. In 1858, there were four postulants received, among them Miss Sarah Ann Blakely (Sister Beatrice), the first directress of the new academy, which position she filled until 1863, when she and other sisters moved to Nebraska City, Neb., to establish the convent there. In 1859 the work of building a house was commenced, and in 1860 the large stone convent was completed under the supervision of Father Giles, then prior of the monastery. This building was opened in December, 1860. At this time there were over thirty sisters forming the community, exclusive of all formerly sent forth to found new convents. In 1859 - 60 a few receptions are recorded, among whom were Sister Ida, now in the convent, and Sisters Martha, Floriana and Justiniae, and in October, 1861, Sisters Mary (Miss Mary Glenn), Cunnigunda (Miss Christina Thomas'), Frances (Miss Magdalena Fox) and Agnes (Miss Tillie Ackerman). The latter is deceased, but the other Sisters are now in the convent. In 1862 Miss Weidenboerner (Sister Bernardo), Miss Piltz (Sister Isadore), Miss Paulus (Sister Elizabeth), Miss Binder (Sister Mechtild) and Miss Anna Bush (Sister Scholastica) entered the convent, and are now here. In 1862 three sisters from the convent went to Shakopee, Minn., to found a new convent there - Sisters Adelaide (Elder), Clara (Vogel) and Mechtild (Richter). The Johnstown convent was founded in 1870 by nuns from St. Mary's, Sister Mary being one of the founders. In 1863 there were ten receptions, and during the last twenty-six years there were about 130 sisters made profession here. Twenty-five sisters died here and are buried in the convent cemetery. In August, 1887, Mother Isadore retired at the expiration of term, and Mother Pia was elected. She entered the convent in May, 1871, being formerly Miss Anna Tegler, of St. Mary's. The total number of the community in August, 1889, was sixty-four. In May, 1868, the convent at Richmond, Va., was founded by nuns from the mother house, among whom were Sisters Edith (Vogel), Philomena (Magill) and Clara (Mary Vogel).
The mission schools of this convent were established at Tidioute. Lucinda and Fryburg, 1876; Kane, 1878; Warren, 1883, and Centreville, 1884. These are, in fact, branch houses of the house at St. Mary's. Sister Wendelin, Edwarda, Luitgard, Bernarda, Aloysia (Miss Theresa Nissell), Adelbertha (Miss Glath) and Adelbertha second (Miss Mary Withman) are numbered among the dead of all the sisters who entered from St. Mary's.
The convent chapel was built by Andrew Miller, of Philadelphia. He also donated the three beautiful altars, valued at over $2,000, together with $4,000 expended on the building. Any one who has ever been within a convent chapel may understand what beauty in church decoration means, and apply the painting of the imagination to this beautiful house of worship. The only daughter of the donor - Sister Stanislaus - is a member of this community.
Acaclemy. - In 1853 St. Benedict's Academy was established, with Mother Walburg Deitrich, directress; Sister Boniface, teacher of English, and Benedicta, of German. School was continued in the pioneer house until 1860, when the new convent building was erected. In 1859 Mother Beatrice took the place of Madame Walburg, and presided over the academy until Sister Mary was appointed, in 1863. She served until 1870, when Sister Boniface (Cassidy) was appointed, filling the position for three years, but not continuously. Sister Genevieve (Doran), one year; DeSales (Burgoon), one year; Pauline (McDermott), nine years; Mary (Glenn), three years; Boniface (Cassidy), one year; Agnes (O'Connor), the present directress. Sister Beatrice (Wimmer) presides over the music class; Sister Edith, over the primary class; Sister Benedicta, over the senior classes; Sister Mary over the drawing classes; Sister Walburg, over the fancy work. The academy is attended variously, the boarders num. bering from eighteen to fifty, and day pupils about thirty-five. The present academy building is 80x45 feet, four floors in height, with basement; supplied with hot and cold water throughout, and heated by steam. There are fifteen large rooms, together with the great dormitory on the third floor and the study-hail. Such rooms extend almost the whole length of the building.
Public Schools - Prior to 1848 the schools of this section were conducted by the Redemptorist Fathers, but in February of that year a school district was organized, with Gerhard Schoening. president; I. Garner, secretary and L. Vollmer, treasurer. George Weis, Adam Voilmer and Philip Stephen were members of the first board. In March, same year, a tax of ten mills was authorized. and in April, Louis Germanhausen's house was rented for the use of the teacher. The old school-house stood west of the priory, and is now a carpenter shop. T. F. Klariuaar was the first lay teacher, he coming in 1847, and serving in that capacity here at $25 per month. It appears that a school hoard had been previously organized, for in January, 1849, F. X. Bieberger is referred to as having been collector in 1847, and exonerated from paying the sum of $28. 28. In 1850 Charles Roth took Klarinaar's place as teacher. Lawrence Wesnetzer was also employed with E. C. Schultz; Michael Frey was secretary, followed by Sosenheimer, who, with M. Wellendorf as president, served in 1851. Charles Luhr succeeded Schultz as teacher of English in 1852, with a Mr. Tresh. B. Weidenboerner was then a member of the school board. In September, 1852, Anthony Baecker was employed as teacher, at $25 per month. Ignatius Garner presided, with George Weigel as secretary, and the sisters presided over the female school. The tax duplicate at the time was $387.89, and a school-house was erected. In 1853 Joseph Windfelder was secretary, but gave place to M. Wellendorf, who was president in 1854, with Bernard Eckle, secretary. A. Schmidt, E. Schultz and Charles Luhr were teachers then. B. Weidenboerner succeeded as president in 1856, and in May of that year, Francis Weis*** was appointed president, John Butsch being secretary. Charles Kahier, a musician of some merit, was then a teacher in the school. In 1857 John Bntsch was succeeded by Louis Volimer, and Francis Weis, by George F. Shaefer; among the teachers was John Butsch, who taught outside the borough. In 1859 Louis Voilmer and Bernard Eckle filled the offices of president and secretary respectively, and continued in same until 1864, when Edward Babel succeeded Voilmer as president. F. X. Haberbusch was elected president in 1866; Joseph Windfelder. in 1867; Louis Volimer, in 1868; Joseph Wilhelm, in 1871, and, in 1875, Bernard Eckle was succeeded by Michael Brunner as secretary. John Sosenheimer was elected president in 1875; George Krellner, in 1876; Leonard Wittmann, in 1878; George Imhoff, in 1884; Charles Luhr, in 1885; J. E. Weidenboerner, in 1886 - 87; Charles A. Lion, in 1888, and John Haas, in 1889. F. X. Haberbusch was chosen secretary. in 1876; John Foster, in 1877; J. B. Foster, in 1878; Charles Luhr, in 1880; Andrew Geeck, in 1884; Albert Weis, in 1888, and Charles Luhr, in 1889.
During 1870 - 72, J. A. Blater took charge of the male school, succeeding Mr. Brockbank. Frederick Barnhart came in 1873, and remained until early in 1888, when W. H. Devereaux came to preside over the senior boys' school.
Under date of February 23, 1857, an agreement was entered into by the board with Prior Rupert Seidenbusch, by which the latter bound himself to pay to the school board of Benzinger township the amount expended in refitting the house on Boniface street, whenever circumstances would require such house for monastery schools.
In early years the sisters taught the public school near the monastery for $25 per month. A frame building was erected in 1854, below the church, where the rear part of the present large brick structure, put up in 1869, stands. There, Sisters Luitgard, Hildegard, Boniface and Nepomecene presided over the several classes. The last named is still engaged in the new brick school-house, enlarged in 1885, where also the present Reverend Mother taught. There are six teachers employed: Sisters Nepomecene, Cecelia, Gabriela, Stanislaus, Aloysia and Antonia. The number of pupils is 600.... In December, 1889, the plan of providing books, free of charge for the pupils of Benzinger township, was adopted.
Societies. - St. John's Fraternal Society of St. Mary's was incorporated June 3. 1857, with the following-named members: B. Eckle, Edward Babel, Casper Wehuer, J. Wegener, John Meyer, John Kries, Francis Kellar, D. Redant, Joe Kroft, Sebastian Hahn, B. Neilmuller, Joseph, Thomas and George Kerner, Charles Luhr, F. Scratzenstaller, M. Schineebeck, Paul Eberl, A. Fochtman, L. Deitz, Mathias Becker, Michael Hogerel, Joe Eckert. L. Wesnetzer, Joe Windfelder, Thomas Scheidler, G. Weigel, John Wendl, Peter and J. Gluxner, Xavier Biberger, B. Weidenboerner, Joe Gerber, Joe Kreig, George Dehl, C. Ritter, Val. Hoffman, Joe Paullus, Fred Miller, J. Sosenheimer, A. Semmier, Joe Wiliberle, Daniel Kries, J. Schmidstbauer. L. Gohr, M. Aumann, C. L. Kackler, F. Schneider, Michael and Adam Zimmott. Anthony Seidler, Casper Emmert, Andrew Grass, George Wegemer and Bart Geyer. The organization was simply a benevolent one, to relieve the unfortunate or helpless families of the district. It has at the present time 254 members, and $2,800 reserve fund. Charles Luhr is president, having served fifteen years, and Michael Brunner contemporary secretary. Joseph Sporner is one of the present officials.
Lieut. M.W. Lucore Post, No. 216, G.A.R., was mustered in January 12, 1882, with W.W. Ames, C.; L.W.Gifford, S.V.; Lafayette Coop, J.V.; Dr. W.B. Hartman, surgeon; Jacob Dice, chaplain; F.M. Hanes, Q.M.; L.H. Garner, adjutant; P.C. Shaffer, O.D.; J.D. Stover, O.G.; William Gillelan, S.M., and George Krellner, Q.M.S. A week later the roster contained forty-four names. The charter was granted August 23, 1881, to W.W. Ames, L.W. Gifford, W.B. Hartman, J.A. Dice, W.A. Hartranft, W.E. Gillen, J.A. Muttersbough, H.S. Williams, William Irwin, Robert Warner, J.H. Richards, Philip Shaffer, L.H. Garner, Samuel Madara, Elias Moyer, M.A. Lowry, John Koch and Frank Hanes. Since that time the position of commander has been filled by W.W. Ames, L.W. Gifford, W.W. Ames, William McCoy, G.C. Brandon, George W. Boyer and L.H. Garner, and that of adjutant by L.H. Garner, William McCoy, G.C. Brandon, W.W. Ames, L.W. Gifford, G.W. Boyer, L.H. Garner, W.A. Hartranft. The present number of members is thirty-seven. The officers of the post for 1890 are Rev. Dr. Kennedy, Com.; Rufus Lucore, S.V.; T. Thompson, J.V.; L.H. Garner, acting adjutant; W.E. Hewitt, chaplain; Dr. Hartman, surgeon; G.W. Boyer, Q.M.; C. Schnyder, O. of D., and J. Sullivan, O. of G. Xerxes Hut, O.O. of H., was instituted November 4, 1882, with thirty-one members. The officers were G.C. Brandon, L.W. Gifford, W.B. Hartman, George Spowart, Sam. Madara, Thomas Low, Harry Weis, William Koch and Thomas Valentine.
The I.C.B.U., Branch, No. 469, was organized in July, 1883, and chartered January 13, 1884, with the following-named members: N.J. Tierney, Patrick Rogan, James Fleming, Jr., A. Gibbons, P. Sweeney, James Rogan, Sr., Mathew Kangley, M. Sullivan, R. Cloak, John J. Kreig, Edward Gorman, Frank Leary, George Laber. In May, 1883, a temporary organization was effected, with N.J. Tierney, president, who has served in that position since, except in 1887, when W.E. Meagher was elected. The first secretary was James Fleming, succeeded by Anthony Gibbons, W.J. McClure, Edward E. Timm, M.C. Butsch and John Fehely. The latter has served two years, the others one year each. The branch comprises 128 members, with place of meeting at Rogan's Opera House.
St. Johannes Wittwen Verein was incorporated January 2, 1887, with J.A. Hanhauser, G. Krellner, M.C. Butsch, J. Heindl, Joseph Schauer, Joseph Diehl, Joseph Kraft and Alois Stopf, all of St. Mary's, stockholders.
St. Mary's has not been without a band organization since 1845, when I. Garner, F. X. Kohler, Michael Frey and John Moyer held the brass instruments. This was the pioneer band of the four counties treated in this volume.
In 1847 Charles Luhr joined the society, holding the piccolo. In 1851 - 52 a second band was formed, with I. Garner, George E. Weis, C. Luhr, C. Weis, William Weis, John Butsch, M. Brunner, L. Wesnetzer, John Sosenbeimer, F. X. Kohier, Frederick Schoening, members. This organization continued twenty-one years. In the "seventies" another band came into existence, and in 1882 the Silver Cornet band. In 1887 the Benzinger band was organized. The Citizens' band was organized February 5, 1889, with John G. Yolk, president: Joseph J. Luhr, secretary; G. F. Schant, treasurer, and Max Miller, teacher. The other members were Charles B. Garner, Edward Wittmann, Jacob Meisel, Joseph Meisel, Frederick Luhr, M. J. Heocherl, Joseph Freindel. Louis Hauber, Frank Dornish, Stephen Geotchling and Frank Wilhelm.
Mountain Queen Lodge, No. 459, K. of P., claims the following officers for 1890: David Heath, P. C.; David Puncheon, C. C., and Daniel Seward, K. of R. and S.
Keystone Assembly 10547, K. of L., organized some time ago, is a prosperous association.
The Elk County Agricultural Society and Trotting Park Association was incorporated September 17, 1883, on petition of James Logan, J. K. P. Hall, Andrew Kaul, B. F. Hall, G. C. Brandon, G. E. Weis and Henry Luhr. The place of meeting was fixed at St. Mary's, round which are found the agricultural wealth and leading farmers of all this section.
Miscellaneous - In the convent may be found some valuable paintings, among which a few, by Sister Mary, are prized very highly. The "Christ on the Cross," by Von beck (born at Antwerp in 1598, and a student of Rubens), brought from Belgium in 1849 by Baron Charles Van Ersal, is now in possession of Ignatius Garner. In 1882 he shipped it to Munich, to be restored. A certificate by Dr. Carl Foerster, art expert and president of antiquarian society of Bavaria, dated December 10, 1882, shows the painting to be one of Von Hoeck's. He also bears testimony to the work of restoration, and terms it a fine, well-preserved and undoubted original, which bears the truthful characteristics of the Rubens school.
The Bible of the Old and New Testaments, translated into German by Rev. Dr. Johan Eden, with permission of church and king, in 1537, is in possession of Ignatius Garner; also a copy of Dr. Johan Deitenberger's translation of 1587, published at Cologne by Kerwinum Calenium. Each large volume is perfect in paging and printing, while the illustrations are almost as clear as they were over 300 years ago. The last mentioned volume is in the original hog-skin binding, with embossed cathedral figures. He has also a smaller Bible in Latin vulgate, printed in 1679, at Cologne, by Herman Demen. and approved by Pope Clement VIII. This last-named relic was presented to Mr. Garner in 1874, by Father Burns. He also has a bell, cast about the fourteenth century, bearing the names of the evangelists. Dr. Earley has one of the old Bibles of the twelfth or thirteenth century, written on vellum in the monastic style of that period, and also one of the early printed volumes.
In 1877 a flint stone dresser was found in the crevice of a rock west of St. Mary's by A. Aumann. About this time an old lady found a steel sword, with brass handle and guard, under an old log near the Barrens.
In 1845 Ignatius Garner was commissioned postmaster. In 1855 George Weis was appointed and served until 1860, when Fred Schoening was appointed. James Blakely was appointed after the war, followed by Charles McVean, who gave place to I. Garner in February, 1887. H. A. Parsons was appointed in 1889. . . . The first railroad agent was W. E. Armstrong. He was followed by John Collins. In - 1877 - 1878 Samuel Mutherbach was appointed, and in 1882 L. H. Wilson. P. Fisher is assistant agent.
* Early in the summer of 1843 Rev. Father Borgess of Trinity Church, Philadelphia visited the settlement after holding services in the old church at Irishtown. He advised the Pioneers to disband - to leave the wilderness; but they persevered and converted the wilderness into a garden spot, their earnestness winning additions in 1843. In 1844 during the Know-nothing riots in Philadelphia, a number of Philadelphians sought refuge from political and religious troubles here: George Weis. Philip Stephan, Louis and Adam Vollmer, Gerhard Schoening, B. Weidenboeruer, A. Kuntz and others not so well known. Baron Charles Van Ersel died at St. Mary's, August 3. 1851. He came from Belgium in 1849, and was preparing a home for his wife and children when death called him away. He died in the house of Charles Luhr of apoplexy. Ignatius Garner administered the estate. Francis J. Ketlar, who arrived with the first colonists Decemher 5. 1842, died in October, 1881, leaving Messrs. Wellendorf, Walker, and Avis, the only contemporary pioneers. surviving. Gerhard Schoening died in October, 1883. He came to the United States from Prussia in 1837, and early in the "forties" was one of the three agents sent to select lands in Elk county for the German colony. Old Mrs. Erig. who died at St. Mary's in January 1873, is said to have been born in 1767. Louis Vollmer, born in Bavaria .July 25, 1818, came to the United States in September 1841, and to St. Mary's in 1845, he died January 5, 1889. Mrs. Heindl, a settler of 1846 died late in the fail.
** it is related by Andrew Reilly of Smethport, that in 1849 he set out for Bellefonte to seek a priest to attend his dying brother. On arriving at Ridgway he learned that a priest had arrived at the Germau settlement (St. Mary's), and on arriving there told Father Alexander his mission. The weather was very co1d, but the priest set out on the long weary journey and reached Nunandah Creek in time to administer the last sacrament.
*** Joseph Gerber presided over the old Benzinger district, then separate from St. Mary's.
Source: Page(s) 634-657, History of Counties of McKean, Elk and Forest, Pennsylvania. Chicago, J.H. Beers & Co., 1890.
Transcribed December 2006 by Nathan Zipfel for the Elk County Genealogy Project
Published 2006 by the Elk County Pennsylvania Genealogy Project
Return to the Elk County Home Page
(c) Elk County Genealogy Project