Warren Centennial


In entering upon the publication for the direct benefit it might be to the City of Warren, giving as we promised an Illustrated Souvenir of its industries, public buildings, churches and schools of to-day, with a partial history of its early trials for existence and ultimate success, we were not unmindful of the necessities of co-operation of the powers that be as well as all industrial, commercial, financial and professional interests. All these were sought and promised and upon this our zeal was founded, the work commenced and finished. We now present to you to the best of our ability those things anticipated in illustration, but recorded only in words, "In men whom men condemn as ill we find so much of goodness still," so to the hustling, busy manufacturer, with the assistance of some of the commercial interests do we appear in full illustration, and to these does Warren owe its present flourishing condition in this its century birth year. It is with pleasure we herein print the names whom Warren should feel proud to honor as representative business men and to whom we are indebted for the success of our Souvenir: P.J. Bayer, of the Seneca Oil Refining Co.; Wm. Muir, of the Muir Oil Refining Co.; C. A. Todd, C. D. Crandall, E. E. Allen, of the Cornplanter Refining Co.; R. H. VanDorn and A. h. McKelvey, of Struthers, Wells & Co.; E. C. Inderlied, owner of the Chemical Works; E. T. Hazeltine, of the Piso Consumption Cure, Postmaster Siegreid, John Sill, N. K. Wendelboe, J. P. Johnson, L. D. Wetmore and many others whose pulse beat fast and warm for the best interest of Warren.

Now as this Souvenir appears before the public may its influence be fruitful in bringing to Warren many manufacturing interests with legions of good people, that when the Souvenir of 1995 shall appear Warren may be among the first rank of populous cities of this Commonwealth; we dedicate this little volume to the people of Warren, wishing all prosperity.


1795 - Warren, PA. - 1895

On the banks of the beautiful Allegheny where the shimmering waters of the Conewango kiss its rippling surface was born, April 18, 1795, the subject of our Centennial Souvenir. For three days, ending on the glorious Fourth of July, 1895, the City of Warren was celebrating in magnificent style her centennial birthday, which reached proportions far beyond the wildest dreams of her people. The decorations were on a grand scale, and presented a beautiful sight. The citizens were a unit in their labors to please the more than 23,000 people from far and near who took part in the festivities of the occasion. Among the visitors were representatives of the original owners of the land, Chief O'Bail of the Senecas and Deerfoot of the Cornplanters and other members of those once numerous and powerful tribes of Indians. Some 200 or more of these dusky braves, with their families, joined in the merrymaking, forgetting for the time being the white man's ungratefullness and duplicity.

The reunion of old settlers who came to Warren prior to 1840 was an interesting event. There was a fight at the block house, a la crosse game in which the Cornplanter Indians beat the Spring braves, a bicycle race against a horse. In the evening an old-fashioned singing school and the Centennial Association spread an elegant banquet at which the guests of honor were Chief O'Bail and Deerfoot. About fifty were entertained, and the aged chief made a speech in which he said, "it gives me great pleasure that the omnipotent God has allowed us to assemble here, in verification of the words previously spoken. In the days of my grandfather, my father and my uncle, it was always their saying that the white man would act fairly with the children of the forest, and the assemblage here to-day and the treatment of my people since arriving here, are sufficient evidence of the truth of this saying."

There was a memorial parade, with Col. D. Gardner, as grand marshal, the procession including bicyclers, borough officers, Indians, firemen, men and women in Colonial costume, old citizens, secret societies, etc. Speeches were delivered by Mayor W. H. Forbes of Franklin, the Hon. William D. Brown, Charles Dinsmore, the Rev. Dr. Humason and the Rev. J. W. Smith of Warren, and the Indian orator Logan. The ceremonies were concluded by the presentation of Chief O'Bail, Deerfoot and the members of the Seneca Council.

The zeal and patriotism so ardently imbedded in the hearts and minds of the young Americans through their long and bloody battle for independence, demanded that their heroes should be immortalized. Warren, the hero of Bunker Hill, who fought with a musket, though a major general by rank; what more fitting memorial than christen this beautiful spot where, as time rolled on, was to appear a fine city upon the walls of whose edifices and habitations one would continually read the name of Warren.

"Arise! Ye monuments of sculptural pride

That tell who for their country lived or died;

For hero, statesman, bard, historian, sage.

Hand down their honors to the latest age,

The Bunker Hills that mark the mighty dead,

When Putnam led them and when Warren bled."

Since the christening his patriotism has been ours, and the name so revered that when our country has called a hearty response has been made and to-day we stand second to none in pride, patriotism and prosperity.

"Who would be free themselves should work and strive,

Let July bonfires keep the flames alive,

The patriot's fervors, and the poet's dream,

From the high cloud let the bold eagle scream."

Here in 1795 the surroundings were little to attract other than the sturdy pioneer desirous of hewing his way to a home where his declining years could be spent in happiness. The territory had been ceded to the State in 1784 at Fort Stanwix in the Mohawk Valley by the chiefs of the Six Nations, of which Cornplanter of the Senecas was one. The forests harbored many bear, deer, elk, wolves and smaller animals. The streams abounded in fish of the finest kinds. The Indian had not entirely ceased his ravages, still in a measure disputing the freedom of his white brother. Roads were not known, the trail of the red man or the route of the surveyor and his escort, the Allegheny and Conewango, were the only highways to approach this embryo city which Governor Mifflin had ordered to be surveyed for a town site.

The first building was erected by the Holland Land Company in 1795 and was used as a store house. It was a block house without floor or chimney except a hole in the roof. It stood on the south side of Water street below Market and was afterward occupied by Daniel McQuay, an employe of the Holland Land Company. David Brown and wife, father and mother of Hon. W. D. Brown, our esteemed townsman, coming to Warren at an early period also occupied this house, in which their daughter, Mary Brown, afterward Mrs. Jagger, of Sugar Grove, Pa., was born in 1807, the first female born in the town.

In 1795 or about that time several Irishmen came here from Philadelphia. They came up the Susquehanna and Sinnemahoning rivers. Reaching Olean they passed down the river and made the first settlement in the county. Their names were Robert Miles, John Russell, John Frew, John and Hugh Marsh, and Isaiah Jones.

The town of Warren as originally laid out consisted of 525 lots. An order for the sale of lots was issued by Governor Mifflin on the 7th day of May 1796. The commission was issued to General William Irvine, Andrew Ellicott and George Wilson.

In 1800 James and Jeremiah Morrison settled in Warren. John Gilson and others followed in 1803 from New York state and floated down the river on a raft. John Gilson built the first house made of square timber and stood near the corner of Water and Hazel streets. Stephen Gilson was the first male child born here. In 1800 Daniel Jackson built the first frame house on Water and Hickory streets, where the Citizens Bank now stands. He was the first man licensed to keep a tavern and is said to have built the first saw mill and run the first raft down the river. He was also the first commissioned justice of the peace. Following soon after came John King, Lothrop T. Parmlee, Archibald Tanner, Robert Falconer, Abraham Ditmars, Colonel Joseph Hackner, and a little later on Nathaniel Sill, Abner Hazeltine, Lansing Wetmore and other heroic figures. A journey after goods in those days meant a six-weeks' trip, and their leaving for New York would call together the whole village to see them off. They usually went to Buffalo on horseback, then took the stage for New York City. The women of those pioneer families were both brave and courageous; Indians and wild animals meant no more to them than a mouse does to the present generation. In 1829 the town contained about fifty dwellings, mostly frame, five stores and three taverns. There were also at this time two saw mills, one being operated by James Stewart for ten years, and in 1828 a saw mill and grist mill was built. A small tannery was built. In 1833 Hawley & Parker's wool carding and fulling mills began operations. In 1851 Stewart's mills were remodeled by W. F. Kingsbury and used as a foundry and machine shop, manufacturing stoves. In 1856 the Kingsbury & Brown Company completed a $6,000 foundry in the lower part of town, and in 1865 the firm employed sixty men, building steam engines, circular saws, plows and general mill machinery, etc. In 1868 Brown, Arnett & Co. succeeded the Kingsbury & Brown Co., and completed a brick building known as the Allegheny Iron Works, and in 1875 the works passed over to Struthers, Wells & Co., now Struthers Iron Works. The first saw mill was built about 1795; the first grist mill was built at Ceres in 1801; the first raft to float down the river from Warren was in 1801; the lumber was fist sent down the river in 1807; the first merchant was Lothrop T. Parmlee, 1808; the first member of the Legislature was Colonel Joseph Hackney; the first newspaper was in 1824, called The Emigrant, edited by Richard Hill; Jackson was the first white man who took up a residence in Warren county; agricultural pursuits began about 1820-1825; the first steamboat to steam up the river from Warren was in 1830, when it ran to Olean and return and then went out of commission; the first engine house was built in 1855; he first fire company was Rescue No. 1, Charles Hessel, president, organized June 21, 1859; the first stroke of fire bell was on April 21, 1862; the first regular uniformed militia company was organized the spring of 1843, General J. Y James, captain; the first Associate Judges were Joseph Hackney and Isaac Connelly; the first Treasurer was Archibald Tanner; the first wheat raised in the county was by McQuay in Pittsfield.


Warren, as has been noticed, as a most attractive and interesting place, delightfully situated and containing a population of about 10,000. That great waterway, the Allegheny, provides Warren with a natural sewerage unsurpassed and leaves no doubt that the healthy condition of Warren's inhabitants is largely due to the complete system of sewerage. The growth and improvements which have taken place since the publication of the history in 1887 up to the present time - the Centennial Celebration of her first hundred years of life - will be best appreciated and understood by comparing her present with that period. During this period we have seen the population increase over 33 per cent., factory after factory built, immense refining interests with their hundreds of employes and their millions of invested capital have been the creation of those years. Perhaps the most important and far reaching triumph, from a public stand point during this time was the annexation of Glade, or East Warren, to the City of Warren, which important event was consummated during the present centennial year. The greater Warren is now a fixed fact and gives the city a population approximating 10,000. The memory of an Irvine, Ellicott, Tanner, Jackson, Hackney, Parmlee, Brown, Morrison, Falconer, Eddy, Hall and Miles and many others will always be held dear by this and coming generations.


The three railroads running throughout the city, the Philadelphia & Erie, the Western New York & Pennsylvania, and the Dunkirk, Allegheny Valley & Pittsburgh, are all provided with numerous side tracks, freight yards and freight and passenger stations; the P.&E. and W.N.Y.&P. occupying the union depot. These roads connect with all the leading trunk lines east and west, and reach all the large business centres, and give to Warren unexcelled shipping facilities.

At present the city is divided into six wards, the newly annexed district of East Warren being the fifth and sixth wards. The streets are laid out nearly east and west, north and south and cross each other at right angles, except Water street, which runs parallel with the river, which is crescent in shape and extends from the Conewango to the limits of the corporation in West End. Water, Market and High streets are 100 feet wide, the other streets are sixty feet. Six streets running east and west and ten running north and south comprised the highways of the original plot, but others have since been opened up. The lots were originally 58 1/4 feet in width frontage by 233 1/4 feet in depth. A beautiful suspension bridge spand the Allegheny and connects the lands of Pleasant township with the city, and two iron bridges erected at a cost of many thousands of dollars span the Conewango on the east connecting Warren and Conewango townships with the city proper.

The buildings of every description, more especially those of a public character, are fine specimens of architecture and would reflect credit upon cities of much greater pretensions. Some of them appear in our illustrations. Our churches, court house and school buildings are greatly to be admired, while our residences are handsome and substantial. Those evidences of progress are seen springing up in every direction. The postoffice, library and opera house building is a magnificent structure, erected by the Hon. Thomas Struthers (now deceased) and by him presented to the city. It stands on the corner of Third and Liberty streets and is a monument in which the citizens of Warren take pride. The City Hall is a fine structure, located on the corner of Third and Hickory streets. It is large and roomy and provides handsome quarters for the Town Council, engine house and other public purposes.

The fire department is composed of the Ed. Witmore Hose Co., Struthers Hose Co., Watson Hose Co., Centennial Hose Co., (East Warren), and Citizens Hook and Ladder Co., one Fire Engine and a well equipped Fire Police. These companies are composed of Warren's best manhood and are up to date in all points of equipment, drill and efficiency. They are all volunteer companies.

Our Water Works is the gravity system for supplying the water for home purposes, but for fire service the water is pumped into a reservoir on a hill overlooking the town, and has a very heavy pressure. The water for domestic use is brought several miles from what is known as Morrison Run and is pure and wholesome, while the water for the reservoir is forced up from the Allegheny River. Its capacity is about 1,500,000 gallons per day. The present distribution amounts to about 750,000 gallons daily. The stock of the Water Company is held principally in Kittanning, Pa., Hon. W. B. Meredith of that city being its general superintendent.

Our police department is not large but is efficient and our officers experienced. The orderly character of the community and absence of what may be termed a tough element makes unnecessary any large force of police.

In educational matters Warren stands at the front. Ignorance can have no abiding place in a community like ours. Schools of the best order and in the hands of the ablest talent to be found are in daily operation. Every child as soon as it arrives at proper age is expected in school - and you find them there. No expense is spared in perfecting and developing a complete system which will fit and prepare children for all the ranks of life. Three large commodious buildings have been erected in different parts of the city to accommodate the scholars and we point with pardonable pride to the completeness of our school buildings and the appointments for teaching the higher branches as well as the lower, of a common school education. As has already been noticed our Public Library is, in addition to having its home in one of the finest buildings in the county, one of the most complete and extensive to be found outside of the great cities. Its shelves are well filled with rare and useful books of knowledge and wisdom and at all times open to the public. It is almost perfect in arrangement and admirably managed. It is certainly a glittering star on Warren's escutcheon.

Warren has a mature and well organized Health department which looks closely after the sanitary affairs of the city.

In commercial lines our merchants have reason to be well satisfied. While the volume of business has not been on a gigantic scale, yet it has been profitable and has kept pace with the growth of other business. Our citizens have no good reason for going outside to make their purchases as their wants in almost everything can be supplied by the merchants at home, at as reasonable prices as elsewhere.

The Churches of Warren are numerous and are mostly on a sound financial footing, and all of the societies seem to have had their full share of prosperity. Most of the edifices are substantial. The membership is very large. The number of church societies holding regular services in Warren at present are nine, of which one is Methodist, one Presbyterian, one Episcopal, one Baptist, one Catholic, on Lutheran, two Sweedish and one Evangelist. In connection with the churches we have the Young Men's Christian Association with an enrolled membership of about 200 which is made up of Warren's best citizens. Their temporary home is on Water street near the end of the Suspension Bridge, and capital has been subscribed with which to erect a suitable building in the near future.

The banking business of our city is in a sound, healthy condition. All are noted for the liberality with which they manage their affairs for the accommodation of our business men. At present we have four bands, the First National, the Citizens National, the Warren National and the Warren Savings Bank.

The old stage coach lived and thrived, as also did the horse and ox teams, in the drudgery of our commercial life until 1859 when the shrill whistle of a locomotive startled the slumbers of the forest and 'round the bend of nature's highway steamed the iron horse with its train of cars loaded with exultant lovers of progress and civilization who alighted and were greeted by our citizens. Among the number were Judge Galbraith of Erie, a son of our Judge Galbraith or years ago. A banquet was held at which he, with others, made happy speeches. General J. C. Casement of Painsville, O, who had the contract for laying the rails, was called upon for a speech and made an unsuccessful attempt to escape from the room, which was filled with banqueters. He said that he had intended to make a speech but the gentleman who preceded him had stolen his manuscript. The Judge was quick to defend himself, saying that he knew he had a speech written as he was told that the gentleman had disturbed the guests of Brown's tavern in Erie all the night before practicing his speech in an adjoining barn. The banquet proved a success as did the new road which was christened the Sunbury & Erie, retaining its name until 1862 when it went into the Pennsylvania system and is now our Philadelphia & Erie railroad, occupying the union depot, has a full complement of yard room and trackage and capable of reaching almost every State in the Union upon its own rails, the grand old Pennsylvania system. Major J. W. Reynolds is superintendent of the Western Division.

The next to reach us was the Dunkirk, Allegheny Valley & Pittsburgh, which came in 1871, causing considerable trouble to our quiet village, being desirous of entering upon one of our finest streets, making a semicircle around from the valley of the Conewango into the Allegheny valley. After much litigation and an occasional fight between employes and irate citizens they finally established themselves and are now a part of us, locating their freight house and passenger depot centrally and having plenty of everything to make up a first-class thoroughfare for our products to market, being leased and run by the Vanderbilt system, thus giving Warren the benefit of great trunk lines.

In 1882 the Western New York & Pennsylvania entered, making a third competitive line for out products into the outside world. They occupy the union depot with the Philadelphia & Erie and have abundant yard room on both sides of the Allegheny. They make direct connections both for freight and passengers either via Buffalo to the New York Central and all eastern and western trunk lines or south to Pittsburgh and the trunk lines in that direction. Thus in a nut shell, so to speak, we are provided with facilities for shipping and passenger traffic as good as the best, and feel proud to be able to say from a business standpoint we "are in it."

The Warren Street Railroad now runs the entire length of Water street through East Warren to Glade Run, also through Laurel street to the D. A. V. and P. & E. railroad stations. The service is good and the management all that could be desired. Already plans are being laid to extend the system through other prominent sections of our city and possibly to our suburb, North Warren.

The municipal government of Warren is vested in a Burgess as executive, with the co-operation of eight Councilmen. At the present time James W. Wiggins is Burgess and Isaac Alden, Captain L. T. Barchers, Henry Messenger, James Brann, A. B. Kerr, John Masterson, Joseph Hill and John Humphrey are members of council, of which body Isaac Alden is president and D. U. Ariel is clerk. All the business of the city government is intrusted in their hands and is usually carefully and conscientiously looked after, and the city government is based on the strictest ideas of economy consistent with safe and sure progress. Our city is untrammeled by debt and with comparatively small taxation. Municipal expenses are very light and we are assured of enhanced values of real estate, with a continuance of past judicious management. The inducements to manufacturers to locate in Warren are many. We have here direct from nature's store house an almost inexhaustible supply of natural gas as fuel. We have plenty of advantageous locations which can be obtained at fair prices and on liberal terms. Our shipping facilities are not excelled, there being three competing railroad lines entering the city and reaching all points north, south, east and west. We are in close proximity to coal and iron fields with competing railroad lines thereto. It is one of the healthiest cities in the Union. Its public school system is one of the best in the State. The cost of living is much cheaper than in larger cities. It is a city of beautiful homes. Its social advantages are numerous, and the tone of society healthy and elevating and the morals of the city and community equaled perhaps, but not surpassed.

Our city for its age and number of inhabitants has probably given birth to as many newspapers as any of her sisters, for in the little cemetery of memory, buried in the ruins of hope those who at one time had a household welcome are now engraved in a corner obsolete the names Emigrant, Standard, Advocate, Gazette, Bulletin, Effort, Arrow and the Nation. In this our birth year we are happy in recording in our Centennial Souvenir the names of the living ones whom we congratulate and hope they may live long and prosper. The Warren Mail (weekly), the oldest of the living to day, the Ledger (semi-weekly), the Democrat, Mirror, and News, dailies, all able edited, expounding their gospel on their respective sides in politics or religion, not forgetting the Student issued and so ably edited by the students of the high school. To the Democrat and Mirror we are indebted for kind words and assistance in our arduous work of gathering substance for the Souvenir.

The ladies of Warren in the early part of this Centennial year issued from the Evening News office a Woman's paper, the proceeds to be used for a worthy purpose. Included in its make up was much historical matter and many good suggestions for the future management of the city and its people. The editorial part was managed by Isabella M. Hazeltine as chief, with many of Warren's leading ladies as assistants. The work was unique and met with a hearty welcome. We congratulate them upon their efforts and believe when another Centennial rolls around their hopes and wishes will be found fulfilled. "So mote it be."

Photography of to-day presents to mind the impossible of one hundred years ago. The mechanical part as we now find it is easily mastered, but the art of posing either animate or inanimate subjects must be born of genius to succeed to-day. Such an one we find in the genial C. M. Savage, of the east side gallery, to whom we are indebted for the most excellent view from Irvine hill and the valley of the Conewango, duplicates of which, with many others in and about Warren, can be secured by addressing him. He is also the inventor of the best rapid electrical retouching pencil extant.


The first stage to make its appearance greeting us in our lonely home in the woods was in 1826, when Edison & Eaton started a line running from Dunkirk to Warren, making the trip over the rough roads of these times, giving much pleasure to the people along the route, and especially here in Warren; all were satisfied thinking we had all that was wanted - a new public way to reach the outside world - but soon after this, the famous landlord of the Mansion House, Richard Orr, with others started a four horse thoroughbrace coach line, which plied between the then villages of Pittsburgh and Buffalo, as terminal points with relays at points which made it possible to reach either terminal in three days; there to see Cy. Horton sitting upon the box, bugle and rein in hand, give a blast which reverberated across the Allegheny, greeting the return notes from the hillsides of the Conewango, passing out into he valleys to mingle its sweet sounds with the woodman's axe, whose ringing voice was echoing the death knell of the primeval forest. This line always stopped at the Mansion House, where the thirsty wayfarer could liquor up, for in those times it was nothing disgraceful to imbibe a little toddy or black strap, and people who did not set out the black bottle when friends came, were not considered up to date in hospitality. We must not forget our oldest friend of to-day, and the oldest living friend of the town, Gen. Joseph Y. James, who has resided here for more than sixty years, having been born in New Hampshire in 1803; was made a Master Mason in 1824, which entitles him to the medal for the oldest Free Mason in this section. Apropos of those early days, almost every measure of improvement in the village was talked up at the setting places of the different leaders, who met in congregation at some of the stores, where the situation from a gossiping or business standpoint was talked over, debated and when unable to conclude otherwise, a call would be made for a meeting at certain places, and all interested would attend. Archibald Tanner had for a long time been trying to have the burying ground changed, and for that purpose called a meeting at judge Scofield's office. In his remarks he pointed out the unpleasant location as being low, and proposed that they purchase and locate a new one on the hill west of the village. All seemed to be in accord with him except one Irvine, a brother of Guy's, who, rising said: "Mr. President, it is proposed to have anew burying ground, and locate it on top of the hill spoken of by Mr. Tanner. Now, I would say right here, that if they locate a burying ground up there, I would a d--n sight rather be the corpse than pall bearer." The burying ground was not located on the hill, but Mr. Tanner made a request that he be buried there, and was, but later was removed to the present cemetery.

In completing the local points of the year, we must not forget to mention the names of some of the leading ones whose untiring efforts brought about a celebration of which all were proud. The inception early in the spring, set the brain of Burgess Wiggins at work, gathering around him such men as Hon. C. A. Stone, Hon. C. H. Noyes, H. J. Meuse, Esq., E. D. Parshall, W. W. Wilbur, Capt. James Parmlee, C. D. Crandall, Will H. Allen, Will Talbot, and many others of equal merit as well; as for the ladies' part, Mrs. C. W. Stone, Mrs. George Noyes, Mrs. James Parmlee, Mrs. Myron Waters, Mrs. Geo. Yates, Mrs. W. W. Wilbur, with others which limited space forbids mention, worked hard to show the world what appreciation they had for the birth year of their beautiful homestead, on the banks of the blue watered noble Allegheny.

"The land of genius, the home of worth,

The fairest, brightest, dearest spot on earth."

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