Hempfield Township. - Jeannette, "The Glass City" - Mt. Pleasant Township.
Hempfield is one of the old original townships, and was organized at Hannastown on the first day of our Westmoreland courts, namely, April 6, 17 3. Its boundaries were then much larger than now, for it reached from Crabtree run to the Conemaugh river, and included all the territory lying along the Kiskiminetas river and then down to the Youghiogheny and Jacob's creek. At present it is bounded on the north by Salem; northeast by Unity; southeast by Mt. Pleasant; south by East Huntingdon; southwest by South Huntingdon; west by Sewickley, and northwest by North Huntingdon and Penn townships.
A part of its original territory was taken off by Act of Assembly of March 4, 1845. The part then taken off was ceded to East Huntingdon township. Again in 1872 the division line was changed between Penn township and Hempfield township. It contains a great deal of fertile land, and is abundantly underlaid with bituminous coal. It is well supplied with churches, schools, and other evidences of a high order of civilization and culture.
The first officers of the township, chosen in 1773. were John Brown, constable; Samuel Miller and Alexander Thompson, poor directors; Wendell Ourry, of Revolutionary fame, road supervisor.
A The first settlers in the township of Hempfield were nearly all Germans, and came largely from the southeastern counties of Pennsylvania. Some of them, however, came directly from Germany. Among the original settlers were the Harrolds, Froelichs, Henrys, Rughs, Drums, Ottermans, Marchands (who came from Switzerland), Benders (now called Painters), Kunkles, Longs, Gongweres, Detars, Millers, Snyders, Turneys, Fritchmans, Klingensmiths, Thomases, Barnharts, Mechlings, Trubys, Rohrers, Huffnagles, Hubers, Kemps, Reamers, Kepples, Alwines, Kifers, Whiteheads, Shrums. Byerlys, Eisamans, Clines, Walthours, Baughmans, Grosses, Seanors and others. These pioneer settlers were scattered over a much wider territory than is now included in the limits of Hempfield township. They were, moreover, a substantial and hardy race, and gave character to a large part of the present Westmoreland county. Many of our best people are descended from them. They very early showed their interest in religion by establishing churches. Harrold's Church, or St. John's Reformed Church, as it is sometimes called, has been treated of heretofore under Church History. It is situated about four miles southwest of Greensburg. Brush Creek Reformed Church has also been spoken of in the same part of this work.
In 1783, when Rev. John Weber was pastor, Dr. David Marchand took up for church and school purposes near Brush creek one hundred and eighty-two acres of land, part of a large tract which Dr. Marchand had himself taken up. This property was deeded to the German Lutheran and German Reformed churches on July 20, 1797, the consideration being 28 pounds, 12 shillings and 6 pence. Upon this land they erected a log school house, which they used also for a place of worship. It was burned by the Indians while the neighbors were temporarily driven from their homes. It was rebuilt, the second structure being also of hewn logs. It had one door and one window. Its floors were puncheons, and its seats were hewn logs. There was no pulpit, no gallery, and a common board table served for the altar.
In 1816 the corner stone was laid for the present brick church edifice, and it was completed about 1820, at which time it was dedicated by the Lutheran and Reformed pastors, assisted by Rev. Henry Gerhart of Bedford. A debt hung over it for some time, and John Shrum and Adam Baughman, trustees, were authorized by the legislature to sell eighty-two acres for the church debt. In 1864 the legislature authorized the sale of forty-one acres of coal underlying the church lands. In 1870 a pipe organ costing about one thousand dollars was put into this church.
In Rev. Weber's notes lie says, "That during the early part of the time he served the congregation," namely, from 1783 to 1816, "it was necessary for those who worshipped there to bring their rifles to church with them in order to protect themselves and their friends from the attacks of the Indians." A rifle company in connection with the church kept itself in readiness at all times to march in relief for the people of that community. Young people came from long distances, even from as far as the Kiskiminetas river, and some even from Butler county, to attend worship here. There were at that time no fireplaces in the church, and he says that he "frequently directed the boys to go out and build a wood fire of brush on the outside of the church, so that during intermission the communicants might warm themselves by it." Bonnets were not worn by the young women who attended these classes, or at church. A handkerchief around the head was the only headgear the young women wore.
St. Paul's (or Seanor's) Church was founded about 1783, and was another of Mr. Weber's appointments. The original church was a log building, rudely built and rudely furnished, and was on the present site of Seanor's Church. It was not finished until about 1816, when Rev. William Weinel became pastor. He had been the traveling schoolmaster from Northampton county, and served them as pastor until 1829, when he resigned and moved away. He was followed by Rev. Nicholas P. Hacke, who in turn, in 1832, was succeeded by Rev. H. E. F. Voight, who came directly from the Fatherland. He preached there until 1862.
The village of New Stanton is about seven miles southwest of Greensburg. It was laid out by Benjamin Snyder on a road which formerly led from Somerset to Pittsburgh. The Reformed Church established a church there in 1872 under the ministry of Rev. Join W. Love, who was then pastor at Seanor's Church and at Greensburg. In 1875 they built the present edifice, the corner stone being laid on June 12th, by Rev. Dr. VT. AV. Moorhead, of the First Presbyterian Church of Greensburg.
On March 11, 1876, the citizens of a small village named Madison petitioned our courts for incorporation as a borough. It was incorporated October 3, 1876.
Adamsburg, another borough, was incorporated by Act of Assembly on the 5th of March. 1841. For the first election, which was held on the third Friday of April, Jacob Gosser, Jacob Steiner and John 11Iellville were to give notice.
Other villages within its limits are Painterville, named after Colonel Israel Painter; Middletown, in the southeastern portion of the township, a rural village in a rich and fertile section; Grapeville, along the railroad between Greensburg and Jeannette; and Arona.
Hempfield township had fifty-six schools with 2.314 pupils enrolled, in 1904.
Jeannette, "the glass city," bears the proud distinction of being the first large manufacturing town within Westmoreland county, the sixth county in population in the state in 1900. It has the largest window glass plant in the world, and the largest pressed glass concern in America. According to government statistics it produces more glass in various forms than any place in the United States.
This borough derived its name from the wife of one of the founders, Jeannette being the name of Mrs. McKee, whose husband, H. Sellers McKee, in company with the Western Land and Improvement Company of Philadelphia, together with Messrs. Chambers and Brickell, of Pittsburgh, purchased in the spring of 1888 the farms of J. F. Thompson, Solomon Loughner and J. F. Gilchrist. The discovery of natural gas at Grapeville brought ready capital to this point. The land company named established an office in an old brick farm house, which then stood in an orchard near where the Presbyterian church now stands. The building of the Chambers & McKee Glass Works was the first move toward town building in Jeannette. In June, t888, the company commenced to erect a long row of brick dwelling houses, and all wondered who were to occupy such fine houses. Lots sold at first at $400, but before a year rolled by they sold at $1,200. The phenomenal growth of Jeannette was only equaled by the building of Vandergrift and Monessen at a little later period. The question of fuel, always a factor to be counted in any factory town, was solved by generous nature long years ago, for within two miles of Jeannette are situated vast coal beds of the best gas-producer in Pennsylvania. As to coke, another essential, the borough is near the famous Connellsville coke district, making freight merely a nominal sum, while the natural gas lines entering the place afford cheap fuel in that class. The place was plotted in April, 1888, and by the same month in 1889 fully four thousand people called the place their home. It now numbers between seven and eight thousand, and, including its suburbs, fully ten thousand. Its banks are: The First National, established in 1889, on $50,000 capital. Today (1905) it has $73,000 undivided profits and $375,000 in deposits. The Jeannette National Bank commenced business about 1900. It has $50,000 capital. The Jeannette Savings and Trust Company opened for business July 10, 1903. The capital is now $135.000.
There are seven great glass factories. It may be stated that these, with the Rubber plant, are what the business life of the borough depends on. The largest tableware glass factory in the world is that of the McKee-Jeannette Glass Works. This was the pioneer plant of the place, and was then known as the 1IcKee Brothers' Works. The first glass produced was in September, 1888. It covers six acres .of ground, has six furnaces of 105 pot capacity, and employs from five to six hundred men. Its monthly pay roll is $25,000. Eighty per cent, of its product is sold in America, and twenty per cent. exported to its salesrooms in all the large European cities. They make what is known as the press-cut glass goods, a real rival, as they claim, to the genuine cut glass.
The American Window Glass Company has the largest single window glass plant in the world. The immense building is of brick and stone. Blowing machines are used here in the production of fine window glass. Five years ago the plant came into its present management, it formerly being the Chambers-McKee Glass Company. They employ about one thousand men.
The Pittsburg Lamp, Brass and Glass Company, formerly Dithridge & Company, moved from Pittsburgh. They make many grades of lamps, shades, stands, chimneys, etc., in both crystal and opal glass. Hundreds of men, girls and boys find steady employment here.
The Westmoreland Specialty Company, at Grapeville (near by), is another large plant working in glass goods. They make tableware, and novelties in plain and decorated goods.
The Jeannette Glass Company make fine prescription ware, liquor ovals, "beers," "brandies," "milks," flasks, etc. While competition in the bottle business is sharp in the United States, this firm steadily advances to the front ranks.
The Empire Glass Company, composed of Jeannette people, was formed in 1904. They make chimneys and shades, and so far have been unable to fill their orders as rapidly as they come in.
The Clifford-Cappalle Fan Company manufactures on a large scale the celebrated Cappelle fan, used in so many coal mines in North and South America. Recently another twenty-six acre tract of land has been added to accommodate their works.
One of the most important plants, engaged the year around, is the Pennsylvania Rubber Works, which cover a large area of ground. It was formerly located at Erie, Pennsylvania, moving to Jeannette a few years since. Hundreds of men and women find employment at these extensive works.
The Fort Pitt Glass Company have a fine plant in North Jeannette. Their works were recently burned, but are being rebuilt.
Jeannette has thirteen churches, all the leading denominations being represented here. The Evangelical Lutheran Church was formed in 1888, the first year in the borough's history. The first meeting was held in the packing room of the Window Glass Company's works. June 23, 1894, their handsome church was dedicated. It cost $12,000. The Methodist Episcopal Church service was held here in the autumn of 1888, when Rev. B. T. Thomas, of Manor, preached in the unfinished cutting room of the glass works. A church was formed in 1889. January 12, 1900, the present magnificent edifice was dedicated. Its cost was $17,000. It is a buff pressed brick building. Grace Reformed Church was organized April 7, 1889, and a neat church dedicated May 25, 1890. The United Presbyterian Church was formed September 21, 1889, with ten members. A good edifice was first occupied September 14, 1890. The Baptist Church was organized in 1890, and now numbers two hundred. They have a good building. The German Evangelical Protestant Church is a frame structure, and the society, though small, is made up of good workers. The Free Methodist Church is in West Jeannette. It is a neat frame building. The German Lutheran Church is an old society here, and they own a good frame building. In the western portion of the borough is the German Baptist Church, a frame house, though well appointed for the needs of this congregation. The cornerstone of a fine red brick church belonging to the Episcopal people of Jeannette was laid July 26, 1904. The public schools have kept pace with the enterprises of the borough and now have three houses. One, the high school, is an exceptionally fine structure.
The newspapers of the borough are the Dispatch and the Westmoreland Journal. Both are live, weekly papers, an honor to their town and their editors.
Jeannette has seven miles of paved streets, also good walks of stone or brick, and her sewerage system is excellent. The borough of Jeannette is one of six places within the county having special mail delivery. In the early years of this borough's history it suffered great loss from fires, but now with four well drilled companies, aided by up-to-date appliances and good supply of }eater but little trouble arises from this source.
The name Mt. Pleasant is a very old one in Western 'Pennsylvania history. It was used to designate a section in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, while all this country was included within the limits of Bedford county. When the county was erected in 1773, Mt. Pleasant township was at once laid out with the following boundaries: Beginning where the Loyalhanna breaks through the Chestnut Ridge, and running down the Loyalhanna to the mouth of Crabtree Run, and by the same to the Forbes Road; thence to the Braddock Road; and thence with the south side of that road to where it crosses Jacob's Creek, and to the line of Fairfield township. When Unity township was erected in 5789 its limits were changed, and at various times afterwards. It is now bounded on the north by Unity; on the east by Chestnut Ridge, which separates it from Donegal township; on the south by Fayette county; on the southeast by East Huntingdon township; and on the northwest by Hempfield township. Among its early settlers were the following, whose names were taken from the township tax list of £783 as made out by John Giffen, assessor, with William Lochry and James Gutery as assistants: William Anderson, Christopher Amalong, Samuel Bradley, John Baird, James Brownfield, Conrad Byers, Martin Bush, Jacob Carver, George Crawford, Samuel Coulter, Robert Cochran, Alex Craig, Thomas Elliott, John Fiscus, James Guthrie, Nathaniel Hurst, John Hunter, John Jamison, John Jack, William Kirkpatrick, Christopher Lobingier, Moses Latta, Hugh Martin, Alex McKinney, George McDonal. John Moore. Robert Newell, Robert Nichols, Rev. James Power, Thomas Patton, James Pershing, John Proctor, David Rankin, George Salder, Gen. St. Clair, N. R., David White, Gasper Weaver. David Kilgore, James Pollock, James Steel, Samuel Todd, Joseph Thompson, Matthew Simpson, John Murphy, James McBride.
Hugh Martin was one of the early settlers, coming to this township in 1769. As we have seen, he was very early commissioned a justice of the peace, and was elected by the people to the same office, and under the state constitution of 1790 he was commissioned by Governor Mifflin. He was born in 1735 and died July i8, 1823, and was considered a man of high character.
Another early settler was John Giffen, who came there about 1770. Still' another was Captain David Kilgore, who came from Cumberland county, and who served in the Revolutionary war. He had been married to Sarah Mickey before coming to this section.
James Galloway came from York county, and took up lands close to the village of Overton. He was a blacksmith, and the only one in the community, combining that with agriculture. During the Revolutionary war he was drafted, and his neighbors, rather than spare their only blacksmith, united in their efforts and secured a substitute, who for entering the war as a substitute was paid twelve dollars in money, a rifle gun and a butcher-knife.
Conrad Byers came from Germany, and on June 3, 1773, purchased three hundred and thirty-nine acres of land. On this he built a log house, and it was frequently used during Indian incursions as a place of safety. His wife was Mary Riel, who had been a "redemptioner," who had to pay her passage money by her services after she arrived in America. Byers purchased her indenture, brought her to Westmoreland county, and afterwards married her, and their sons were Peter, Andrew and John. The land taken up by Conrad is yet in the name of his descendants.
Nathaniel Hurst was the founder of the Hurst family in this section, and came to Mt. Pleasant township in 1i90. His patents called for one thousand acres of land. His descendants have been connected by intermarriage with the best people of our county. John Lemon came from Ireland to America in 1762, and to Mt. Pleasant in 1794. He took up a tract of land containing three hundred and fifty acres, all covered with timber, and lived there until his death in 1812. Robert Newell came from New Jersey in 1715. His tract of land contained two hundred and eighty-two acres, which was patented to him 1789. He was the progenitor of the Newell family which has been noted in Westmoreland county for almost a century. Charles Lewis Bush came from Germany in 1792, and to Mt. Pleasant township in 1814.
Christian Lobengier was born in Lancaster county in 1i40, and moved to Mt. Pleasant township in 1772. He was the progenitor of his family in Mt. Pleasant township. He was a delegate to the constitutional convention of Pennsylvania in 1776; a member of the legislature from 1791 to 1793, and died July 4, 1798. His wife was Elizabeth Muller, born in Switzerland in 1744, and came to Pennsylvania in 1749. She died September 5, 1815.
After the Revolutionary war Mt. Pleasant township received many settlers from the eastern part of the state, most of whom belonged to a richer class of people. They had more force, and cultivated their lands more rapidly than had formerly been the custom. They built saw-mills, and grist-mills, and gave much employment to the poor. They brought with them a better class of domestic animals than our county had previously seen. They built better houses, had better farms, and paid more attention to education than our average settlers. Yet there were only two school houses built in the township prior to 1834. As near as can be ascertained, nevertheless, they had used deserted dwellings, shops, barn floors, etc., for school houses. When the free school law was passed and submitted to the people for acceptance, the entire vote of Mt. Pleasant township was against it save one vote, and at the second election a few of the advanced citizens of the township took the matter in hand, and by hard work secured a small majority in its favor. Among the first directors were Jacob Lobengier, Daniel Norman, S. Miller, Samuel Jack and J. Fausold. Mt.. Pleasant township has advanced very rapidly in schools since that early day. Nearly every school house now in the township is built of brick, and provided with all modern improvements.
St. John's Reformed Church, formerly known as Kintig's Church. was founded in Mt. Pleasant township at a very early day by the German Reformed and Lutheran adherents. The date of its founding is not exactly known, but Rev. John William Weber arrived in Westmoreland county in 1782 and took charge of four congregations. "One," says he, "was in Pittsburgh, one at Brush Creek, one at Harrold's and one in Mt.. Pleasant township." It was called Kintig's Church, because the services for some time were held in Daniel Kintig's barn. Rev. Weber was succeeded by Rev. Hacke, and, as has been before stated, this place of worship was two miles north of Mt. Pleasant, on the road leading to Pleasant Unity. The land upon which the church stands was donated by Daniel Kintig, Henry Fisher, Peter Rumbaugh and Andrew Small. The land belonged to these four men, and cornered at the place where the church now stands, and this part was given for church purposes. The first church edifice was a small log building, and was used for a meeting house and school house both. A brick church was erected here in 1827, and this was removed and a new one erected in 1871.
St. Peter's Reformed Church was also used by the Lutherans, who were ministered to in a very early day by Rev. Weber, and afterwards by Rev. Hacke, the latter being practically its only pastor from 1819 until 1863. This church is situated a mile and a half south of Pleasant Unity. The original structure was of hewn logs, and for a long time was without gallery, pulpit, altar or pews. The outside of the house was plastered. A brick church was constructed there in 1846 by the two congregations, under the pastorate of Rev. Hacke and Rev. Jonas Mechling. At that time they also founded a Sunday school, and held it in a room over a distillery on the William Fisher farm, about two miles from the church. This was in 1837. The two churches worshipped there unitedly until 1875 and 1876.
The Presbyterian Church in Mt. Pleasant township is one of the oldest church organizations west of the Allegheny mountains. It is situated about two miles northeast of Mt. Pleasant, and was formerly known as the Middle Church. There was a graveyard nearby as early as 5773, which was the only regular burial place in the community. In 1782 it was there that Peggy Shaw, the heroine of Hannastown, who was shot in her kindly efforts to save a child's life, was taken at her death for interment. In old "Redstone" it is said, "that this congregation was organized in 1776 by Dr. James Power, who has been previously spoken of. He served the congregation until 1817, when he resigned because of failing years. Rev. A. O. Patterson came next, and remained with them until 1834. Then came Rev. S. Montgemery, who served from 1836 to 1840, and he was followed by Rev. James Brownson, who remained with them from 1840 to 1849. Afterwards came Rev. William D. Moore, from i1850 to 1852, then Rev. William McLain; Rev. John M. Barnett from 1861 to 1869; Rev. John McMillan from 1869 to 1873, and Rev. W. F. Ewing in 1817. The first church was a log house which was replaced by a brick structure that is still standing and in use. Rev. James Power resided near the church in 1782, and it was to his home at this place that he rode rapidly from Unity Church, near Latrobe. when he heard of the Indian raid on Hannastown, July 13.
The township has thirty-nine schools and 1,964 pupils enrolled.
There was probably a small village of three or four houses upon the present site of the borough of Mt. Pleasant at the time of the Revolutionary War. One house we know was erected be Michael Smith, as our court records indicate, and was licensed as a public inn in 1793. This house stood for nearly a century. The old town of Mt. Pleasant was laid out by Andrew McCready, who purchased the land from Nathaniel Marshall on August 28, 179. In i8io there were about thirty-four houses in the village of Mt. Pleasant, all of which were built of logs. The names of the citizens then living there were: Michael Smith, Alexander McCready, Charles Fullwood, William Hunter, Conrad Keister, William Cherry, Clement Burleigh. William Anderson. James Lippencot, James Estep, John Connell, William Flinn and David Hunter. The first brick house in Mt. Pleasant was built in 1812. The town very early became the home of an excellent class of people. It was on one of the main thoroughfares between the east and the west; the old road known as the Glade road had been built by the state, and was the principal highway leading from Somerset to West Newton, and thence to Pittsburgh. Later the Somerset and Mt. Pleasant turnpike was organized. Upon this road the town depended for communication with other parts of the world. This road was generally known as the Plank road, because it was actually planked in the late fifties. The planking was a failure, but parts of it are now very greatly improved, and from Jonesville to Mount Pleasant it is one of the finest roads in the county.
A lady who wrote of the town in the early days of last century, spoke of the business being done mainly on one street, which was long and narrow, with the houses built close to the street, but few of them having front yards. The same writer noticed the flimsy material of which the houses were constructed, but thought some of them bore evidences of taste and refinement. She also remarked about the high moral and social standard of its residents, and the thrifty appearance of the surrounding country.
The town was incorporated by Act of Assembly of February 7, 1828. The inhabitants were empowered to hold their first election in the house of Robert Hitchman. Their chief officers were to be one burgess, an assistant burgess, six councilmen and a borough constable. By an Act of Assembly passed in 1845, the borough was allowed to choose its own overseers of the poor, who were to be kept separate and apart from those of the surrounding townships. The Act appointed Samuel Shupe and Abraham Shallenberger overseers of the borough until their successors cc4iid be elected. The first election of the borough was held in May, 1828. Abraham Shallenberger was elected chief burgess, and Jesse Lippencot, assistant burgess. The councilmen elected were Jacob Rubert. Rev. Samuel Wakefield, Robert Hitchman, Jacob Kern and John Hosler. David Fullwood was elected secretary, and John Hitchman, treasurer.
The United Presbyterian Church, the oldest in the borough, then called the Associate Reformed church, was organized in Mt. Pleasant in 1802. but (lid not secure a regular pastor until i8o6, when Rev. Mungo Dick assumed the pastorate and filled the position eighteen years. He was followed by a vacancy of fifteen years, during which time they were supplied with various pastors, and in 1839 Rev. Richard Gailey became their pastor, and served them until 1850. He was succeeded by Rev. D. H. Pollock, who remained but two years, and in 1853 was succeeded by Rev. James Fife, who was installed in 1856 and continued until his death in 1861. Then came Rev. A. D. Fields, from 1862 to 1867. Then after a vacancy of four years came Rev. J. A. Nelson, who served from 1871 to 1875. They have built three or four houses of worship, the first being a leg house built about 1813, which was owned jointly by the United Brethren and the Associate Reformed congregations. The second house was built in 1830, which was owned by the same congregations, and was of brick. In 1854 the United Brethren sold their interest to the Associate Reformed and built a new church. In 1871 the brick church was taken down and the present building was erected and dedicated on the 29th of February, 1872. The land upon which this church was built was owned by Clarence Burleigh, a public-spirited Irishman whose body rests in the centre of that plot of ground which he designated for religious purposes. Above his grave stands a tomb stone cut by a man named Wall, in 1822. It contrasts strangely with all the ruin about it. It is unaffected by the ruins of time, and is one of the best preserved in the community.
The first church building was a log structure thirty by forty feet, erected jointly by this and the United Brethren congregations. This building served until 1830; it was then torn down, and the two societies then erected a thirty by fifty feet brick building facing Rain street. The logs of the old building were sold to the Presbyterian people, who used them in the construction of their first building on the present site of the Church of God. Their present church was built in 1871, and first used in February, 1872, making the third church home used by these people the past century.
The United Brethren congregation was first established there in 1803. For many years they preached in barns, private heroes, schoolhouses, notably Bonnett's schoolhouse. After selling their interest in the Associate Reformed Church, they built a house of their own in 1854 on Main street, and enlarged and improved it a great deal in 1874. It was here, in 1815, that the first General Conference of this church convened and formed the Confession of Faith and Discipline. Many conferences have been held at Mt. Pleasant. As we have said, this congregation used the log building above referred to, in connection with United Presbyterian congregation. It had an aisle in the center, and was heated by stoves. The benches were without backs, and were made of slabs, commonly called peg seats. The pulpit was made of rough boards. The brick building which followed this in 1830 was used till 1853, when it was sold at auction to the Reformed Church for seven hundred dollars. In 1854 the United Brethren congregation erected a house of their own. It was a brick structure, and with the addition of a tower built in 1874 is yet standing. In 1890 a clock costing one thousand dollars was placed in the tower. They erected a parsonage in 1878.
In 1870 the Church of God purchased the Old Presbyterian Church, which they soon after removed and built in its stead a frame house costing $3,700, known as Mission Chapel. It was dedicated in March, 1872. The pastors of this church have been Revs. W. B. Long. in 1873; Peter Loucks, from 1873 to 1878; J. S. Marple, from 1879 to 1882. J. W. Davis, John Hickernel, J. S. Marple, C. H. Grove, Thomas Woods, C. H. Grove, S. G. Yahn, R. L. Byrnes, S. G. Yahn, have served the congregation since then.
On March 27, 1891, the frame church was destroyed by fire, supposed to have originated from an overpressure of natural gas. Their present church was dedicated May 1, 1892, and was built at a cost of nine thousand dollars.
In addition to the churches above named there are three Roman Catholic organizations, Irish, Slavish and Polish. The Free Methodists and the African Methodist Episcopalians have also organizations at this place.
Mt. Pleasant has twenty-four schools and 956 pupils enrolled.
The first Methodist society in Mt. Pleasant was organized in 18x6 by Rev. Jacob Dowell, who then had charge of the Connellsville circuit. For about sixteen years the Methodists worshipped in private houses, mostly in an old log house that stood on Church street, and in a brick house which succeeded it. The first building owned by the Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1832 on a lot on East Main street. They occupied this for twenty-four years, and built a more substantial house in 1856, which was remodeled in 1892 and a pipe organ added. The congregation of Mt. Pleasant was attached to other congregations in the neighborhood, after the custom of early Methodism, for fifty-seven years, but in 1893 became a separate charge, with Rev. Dr. Samuel Wakefield as its pastor. The custom adopted by the church as to its pastors makes it impc'ssible in the limited space allotted us to give them.
The Presbyterian congregation is the oldest one in Mt. Pleasant, dating back to 1774, at which time, as we have said, their place of worship was at Middle Church, two miles northwest of the present town. The first preaching place of the Presbyterians in the village was established by Rev. Patterson, while he was pastor of the Middle Church in 1825. Both he and his successors served both the Middle Church and the congregation in Mt. Pleasant, the latter receiving one evening sermon every alternate Sunday. In 1870, however, the corner stone of the Presbyterian Church in Mt. Pleasant was laid, and on September 1st, 1872, the present church building, costing about $21,000, was dedicated. It is known now as the Reunion Presbyterian Church, and has a membership of two hundred and twenty-five. The list of pastors since it was separated from the Middle Church is: Revs. McMillen, Finney, Jenkins, Elliott, and D. M. Lyle, the present pastor. In 1904 a large pipe organ was placed in the church.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church was established in 1869, with Rev. Enoch Smith, twenty members, and with Rev. Dr. Estep as pastor. Immediately succeeding Rev. Estep came William Shadrack. The successive pastors after Rev. Shadrack were James Estep, Rev. Rockefeller, Isaac Wynn, Simon Sigfried, Milton Sutton, John Parker, W. A. Caldwell, T. R. Taylor, WI. W. Hickman, B. F. Woodburn, G. A. Ames, Leroy Stephens. They built their first house of worship in i83o, and a new one on Main street in 1868, which is still in use by them.
The first congregation of the German Reformed Church was organized in College Chapel, in March of 1864, with Rev. J. A. Peters as pastor. He was succeeded in 1869 by Rev. J. H. Heller, who in 1872 gave place to Rev. D. B. Lady. From 1864 until 1871 the congregation worshipped in College Chapel; from 1871 to 1872 in the Bunker Hill schoolhouse; and in 1872 they built a church building on East -lain street, which served until a few years ago, when a better structure was erected. In 1884 they built a substantial church on Main street.
The Western Pennsylvania Classical and Scientific Institute was founded in 1849 by the United Brethren, under the corporate name of Westmoreland College, who erected a brick building suitable to their purposes. The school prospered reasonably well for some years, when it passed into the hands of the Reformed Church, by whom it was conducted under its original charter. It then became a Presbyterian school. In 1871 the Baptist denomination secured an act incorporating a school at Mt. Pleasant under the name given above. They then purchased the buildings and grounds of the Westmoreland College for $10,000. They erected a new building and opened it for students in 1893. its first president was Rev. A. K. Bell, D. D., who was succeeded in 1879 by Rev. Leroy Stephens. The buildings have a very beautiful surrounding of forest trees overlooking the town and country, and in full view of Chestnut Ridge.
The First National Bank of Mt. Pleasant was organized in 1864, the first in Westmoreland county to take advantage of the benefits of the act creating national banks. The other banks doing business at Mt. Pleasant are the Farmers' and Merchants' National Bank; the Citizens' National Bank, and the Exchange Bank. The last named is a private concern organized in 1901, with Julius Richman at its head.
Brice Bros. Co., manufacturers of glass at Mt. Pleasant, established their business in 1896 with but one furnace, and in 1898 added another. They make light blown tumblers, and a variety of tableware, and barroom goods. They occupy a large brick building, and employ six hundred persons. The plant now covers three and one-half acres, and is easily the leading industry of the place. It was incorporated in 1896, with A. H. Brice as president. The It. Pleasant Tool Company was incorporated in 1904. They are extensive manufacturers of all kinds of steel shovels. The Pittsburg Brewing Company operate a brewer; at this point, which was originally started by Alvah Cochran and others. There is also a small distillery in operation. There are two flouring mills of a good capacity. The only newspaper in Mt. Pleasant is the Journal, a weekly paper. Natural gas is almost universally in use in Mt. Pleasant. It is supplied by the Fayette Fuel and Gas Company.
Mount Pleasant Memorial Hospital was opened to the public on January 1, 1904. It is a fine modern equipped institution, under the present management of Jessie M. Durston. At the death of an old resident of the place, Jacob Justice, it was found that his will provided for a fund to maintain a free dispensary in Mt. Pleasant, and from this grew up the hospital idea. Home donations and an appropriation from the state of Pennsylvania made it possible to buy their fine building. Those without means to pay for treatment are served before others are admitted, this being the condition on the part of the state in making the appropriation.
Source: Page(s) 502-514, History of Westmoreland County, Volume I, Pennsylvania by John N Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906.
Transcribed August 2008 for the Westmoreland County History Project
Contributed by Nathan Zipfel for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/westmoreland/)
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