Peter F. McCann

PETER F. McCANN. Among the sturdy and energetic men of Westmoreland county who hewed their way to usefulness and distinction, Peter Francis McCann stands prominent. He aspired more to usefulness than to greatness and will leave his imprint on our rugged hills rather than to leave his name in the halls of dubious fame. He was born at Wellersburg, Somerset county, Pennsylvania. August 12, 1857. His father was killed at the Boarding Shaft Mines at Frostburg. Maryland, when Peter was but a child. At the age of thirteen years, with only two years schooling, he began the battle of life, and his inborn energy enabled him to earn a man's wages. His mother, with her family, moved to Scottdale, Westmoreland county, in 1874. He found employment in the mills of the Charlotte Furnace Company. In 1876 a sad misfortune befell him, resulting in the loss of his right arm. He was appointed to a position in the revenue service in 1886 which he held for four years. In 1892 he was nominated on the Democratic ticket for the office of sheriff, and in one of the most exciting contests in the history of the county he was elected, being the only Democrat to escape defeat. He was the last of a long continuous line of Democratic sheriffs. He took charge of his office January 2, 1893. He found sufficient to test his courage, to challenge his judgment and employ his wits. Fortunately for him and his eight score thousand constituents that he possessed in the highest degree the qualities that conquered without bloodshed, and paved the way for general armistry when the troubled waters sought their wonted rest. His jurisdiction lay within the storm centre of the great labor troubles that darkened the pages of our social and industrial history. He was confronted by one of the most serious and violent outbreaks ever witnessed in the great Connellsville coke regions. Ten thousand men participated in the unhappy conflict. Violence was threatened on every hand. Men were frenzied in their efforts for victory. He waved aside every appeal for military force, and depended on the deputies he had carefully selected. Without the sacrifice of a single life he conquered, and received the heartfelt thanks of an intelligent and peace-loving constituency. This is the enduring monument he had builded - it is even better than he knew.

Peter F. McCann is descended from Thomas and Maria McCann, both of whom were reared in county Longford. Ireland, but, emigrating to America, were married at the church, attached to Saint Vincent's Arch-Abbey, near Latrobe. August 5, 1852. Their children were: (1) Katherine, married James A. Kittl, now deceased, brother of Reverands Ferdinand and William Kittl, of the diocese of Pittsburg. (2) James T., unmarried, served as a director of the poor of Westmoreland county. (3) Peter F. (4) Mary Ellen, married P. C. Coyle.

Peter F. McCann was married to Rosalie L. Lambing, August 4, 1884, in the church at Kittanning. Christopher Lambing, the founder of the Lambing family in this country, was a son of an officer in the French army, and came from near Strasburg about 1740, and settled in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, where his tenth child, Matthew, married Magdalene Kohn, in Adams county, to which he had previously moved in 1798. His fifth child, Michael Anthony, Mrs. McCann's father, was born there October 10, 1806. The family moved to Long Run, Armstrong county, Pennsylvania in the fall of 1828, and to Manorville, same county, two years later. December 1, 1837, Michael Anthony Lambing married Anne Shields, and lived in Manorville the remainder of his life, except from 1844 to 1856, dying December 8, 1886.

Thomas Shields came to America from County Donegal, Ireland, about 1745, and purchased a large farm in the northern part of Franklin county, Pennsylvania, in 1767 and made it his home. His son John, great-grandfather of Mrs. McCann, was born on the voyage to America, and about 1771 married Mary Easby. Their oldest child, William Casper, Mrs. McCann's grandfather, was born in 1772. He came to near Greensburg, Westmoreland county, when a young man. Later he bought a farm in South Buffalo township, Armstrong county, and May 24, 1805, married Mary Ruffner. They spent the remainder of their lives on the farm. Anne, the sixth child, Mrs. McCann's mother, was born July 4, 1814, married December 1, 1837, and died July, 1880. Rosalie Lambing (Mrs. McCann) is the youngest of five boys and four girls, and was born in Butler county, Pennsylvania, near Sugar Creek Church. The family returned to Manorville. June 3, 1856, where Rosalie remained until her marriage. The following children survive Mr. and Mrs. P. F. McCann: Mary A., Rosalie L., Idlefonsa, Josephine L., Peter F. Jr., and Thomas.
Reverends A. A. Lambing, of Williamsburg, Pennsylvania, and M. A. Lambing of Scottdale, Pennsylvania, are brothers of Mrs. McCann, and both are prominent in the Pittsburgh diocese. The former is one of Pennsylvania's most distinguished historians, and the latter is equally prominent as a leader in the work of the Total Abstinence Society.

Peter F. McCann engaged in 1897 in industrial pursuits. In that year he assisted in building the Old Meadow Rolling Mill at Scottdale, Pennsylvania, for the manufacturing of sheet iron. He was manager for one year, when the mill was sold. In 1899 he went into the business of contracting. He has built railroads, trolley lines, coke plants, reservoirs, etc. He has built the new state road running north from Greensburg, which is the first of its kind in the county, one of the first in the state under the existing law. The extent of his operations may be best measured by the fact that he employs constantly over one thousand men. With pardonable pride he can leave to history his part in the battle of life.

Source: Page(s) 179-181, History of Westmoreland County, Volume II, Pennsylvania by John N Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906.
Transcribed May 2007 by Nathan Zipfel for the Westmoreland County History Project
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (

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