History of Lawrence County Pennsylvania, 1770 - 1877, by S.W. and P.A. Durant.
[p. 28] The following "Directory of New Castle," which was published in 1841 is believed to have been the first directory of New Castle that was ever published, and, as it is comparatively short, we reproduce it entire:
"New Castle is located at the junction of the Shenango and Neshannock branches of the Big Beaver, 24 miles from its confluence with the Ohio, and contains four houses of public worship, three Sunday-schools, one rolling-mill, one nail-factory, one flour-mill, one lumber-mill, and one about being built, one woolen manufactory, one air foundry, one cupola-foundry driven by steam power, eight dry-goods stores, two groceries, one hardware store, two drug stores, four hotels, one female seminary, three day schools, one writing school, and mechanical shops of all descriptions.
"The situation of the country around is well adapted for the growth of wool and wheat; it is very healthy, and the beauty of the surrounding scenery has met with the highest praise from all who have visited there.
"The Pennsylvania canal, connecting Lake Erie with the Ohio river, passes through the town, and opens another channel for the rich productions of the neighborhood.
"Iron ore is found in considerable abundance for many miles around, on the Big Run, only l¼ miles from town. The veins are of considerable thickness. Bituminous coal, for coke or fuel, is procured with but little labor, some veins being from four to six feet thick. Fire-clay is also found in abundance.
"A considerable quantity of good quartz is found near at hand, and, taken in connection with the abundance of coal, it would fully justify the investinent of capital for the manufacture of glass.
"The water-power is sufficient, if put into use, to make this a large manufacturing town. There are permanent dams across the Neshannock and Shenango, twenty feet high, built by the State, connecting them by canal and guard-lock. Since our last, there have been two churches erected, which show that the inhabitants are working for their spiritual as well as their worldly good--fully aware that without the former the blessings of the latter would be unenjoyed.
"Amount of surplus produce shipped from New Castle, Pa., from September, 1840, up to the 15th of June, 1841, as follows: Wheat, 71,900 bushels; flour, 9,231 barrels; bacon, 143,000 pounds; wool, 23,600 pounds; whisky, 360 barrels.
"There has also been shipped, in small quantities, by the farmers, 2,000 barrels of flour. The estimate above has been obtained from the most authentic source, and falls short, if any way, of the full amount shipped.
"DIRECTORY OF NEW CASTLE, MERCER COUNTY, PA.
Alexander Samuel, carpenter.
Baker J., cooper.
Bell E., cooper.
Barlow G., physician and druggist.
Barber W. L., baker.
Bennett S., copper, tin and sheet-iron worker.
Bushnell Rev. W., Presbyterian clergyman.
Boyd J. T., merchant.
Brown Joseph, iron roller.
Bottle W. H., nail cutter.
Carpenter Wm., Justice of the Peace.
Carpenter Mrs. R. J., milliner.
Christy S., Indian King hotel.
Clark Wm., tanner.
Clancy Lewis, blacksmith.
Crawford & Ritter, saw and flouring mill and woolen factory.
Crawford J. M. & Co., manufacturers of iron and nails.
Cunningham R. W., merchant and foundry owner.
Crips L. V;, boot and shoe maker.
Craven R., bricklayer.
Cochran R., merchant.
Cowden A. M., physician.
Cypher Philip, stone mason.
Cost John, Wagoner.
Dinsmore J., wagon maker.
Dinsmore Wm., carpenter.
Dickson Wm., saddler.
Dickson J., tanner.
Dickson Samuel, fireman.
Edwards John, refiner.
Emery John B., smith.
Emery J., canal contractor.
Emery E., canal contractor.
Evans Wm., boot and shoe maker.
Euwer S. C. & Co., merchants.
Farley & White, steam foundry.
Falls Thomas, tanner and farmer.
Fulkerson J. C., cabinet maker.
Flinn Walter, machine smith.
Falls Henry, constable.
Frazier John, carpenter.
Gibson Joseph, stone cutter.
Graham John, nail cutter.
Galbreth E., gentleman.
Hadson G. E., tailor.
Higgs Jos. R., puddler.
Heffner S., clerk.
Hadson W. G., tailor.
Hewitt Rev. J. J., Episcopal clergyman.
Higgs Joseph, bloom heater.
Hogg Wm., puddler.
Higgs Thomas, puddler.
Justice T., hatter.
Keck A., clerk.
Keefer John, painter.
Kelly Silas, blacksmith.
Kissick J., merchant.
Kerr Samuel, canal supervisor.
Latimer James, miller.
Lewis A., gentleman.
Lint J., carpenter.
Love J. B., Hatter.
M'Connell J. E., blacksmith.
M'Cleary Thomas, cooper.
M'Cleary S., painter.
M'Guffin R., cabinet maker.
M'Millan Wm., canal-boat captain.
Miller Wm. B., boot and shoe maker.
M'Millen White, merchant and hatter.
M'Connell D., blacksmith.
M'Guffin L. L., attorney-at-law.
M'Conahy J., blacksmith.
Morehead John, hatter.
Mitchell S. W., cabinet maker.
Morgan G. C., tailor.
Moore Wm., merchant.
Moore H. S., carpenter.
Morehead H. H., plasterer.
Mitchell James, chair maker.
Maxim Marcus, nail cutter.
M'Laughlin J., carpenter.
McMillen James, hatter.
McKee James, carpenter.
Newton Chester, sawyer.
O'Brien Edward, moulder.
Pearson J. B., merchant.
Perry Elias, drum maker.
Pollock J., physician.
Pollock S., gunsmith.
Pearson Samuel, cooper.
Poak Samuel, Wagoner.
Painter Thomas, cabinet maker.
Pollock John, captain of the canal-boat "Citizen."
Quest J. S., clerk.
Reynolds J., justice of the peace.
Read J., blacksmith.
Rhodes J. H., carpenter.
Rigby E., wagon maker.
Robison A., Union hotel.
Rubicon J., cooper.
Rigby Thomas, silversmith.
Reynolds William, clerk.
Ridel S., canal contractor.
Riter George R., smith.
Reynolds Robert, tanner.
Reynolds W. H., tinner.
Sankey E., gentleman.
Seek R. A., saddler.
Shaw W. H., clerk.
Swift Hiram, clerk.
Steen John, brick moulder.
Swift Samuel, chair maker.
Shaw W., physician.
Shoaff J., carpenter.
Shaffer D., butcher.
Semple A. C., carpenter.
Speise, Messimer & Co., merchants.
Speise S., carpenter.
Stewart R. W., farmer.
Stone D. S., Eagle house.
Swift S. W. grocer and confectioner.
Swift N. P., carpenter.
Stambaugh J., cabinet maker.
Scroggs, cabinet maker.
Sempel John, carpenter.
Tidball D. Jr., postmaster and tailor.
Tidball J. Sr., street commissioner.
Tidball J. Jr., carpenter.
Vogan John, blacksmith.
Varce Rev. D. W., Methodist Episcopal clergyman.
Wallace Robert, Red Lion hotel.
Watson Wm., grocery and druggist.
Whippo C. T., physician.
Willson J., merchant.
Wilson John, gentleman.
Williams Henry, shovel maker.
Wilder Shubael, master nailer.
Watson Jas., mason and bricklayer.
White Crawford, farmer.
Wilson J., chair maker.
White Josiah C., merchant.
Wallace James, carpenter.
Young O., school teacher.
Young Robert, saddler.
"There are in New Castle three meeting-houses--one Seceder, one Episcopal Methodist, one Presbyterian. There is also an organized Protestant Methodist Church and three Sabbath-schools.
"There is in New Castle one rolling mill, one nail factory that can manufacture ten tons of iron and three tons of nails per day; one flour mill with four pairs of burrs; one lumber mill with two saws; also one lumber mill, building, to go by steam; one woolen manufactory; one air foundry; one cupola foundry, driven by steam power; eight dry good stores; two groceries; one hardware store; two drug shops; four taverns; three tanneries; five cooper shops; five cabinet shops; six smith shops; one gun shop; one tin and copper shop; two wagon shops; four tailor shops; four forwarding warehouses; three hatter shops; four shoemaker shops; two saddler shops; one female seminary; three day schools; one writing school; one shovel factory; one refinery; six coal banks; an abundance of iron ore; one water power on Neshannock, in New Castle, with twenty-four feet head and fall.
The hotels, four in number, were located as follows: The "Globe Hotel," kept by Daniel S. Stone, was located where Knox's grocery store now stands. At a later date it was called the "Eagle Hotel." Still later it was occupied by a Mrs. Shannon, who came from Mercer, and who changed its name to the "Washington House." The "Red Lion Hotel" occupied the site of the "Central Hotel" of the present day, and was substantially the same building. The "Union Hotel," kept by Andrew Robinson, is still standing on the east side north of Mercer street, the first frame building north from Washington street. In 1843, Robinson was succeeded by Samuel Christy, who put up in front of the house the sign of the "Indian Chief," and called the house the "Indian Chief Hotel."
For some time prior to 1843, the hotel which stood on the site of the present "Leslie House," was kept by Samuel Christy, and was also called the "Indian Chief Hotel." When Mr. Christy moved into the "Union Hotel" [p. 29] he took his Indian sign and the name of his hotel with him. The sign was a large one, with a life-size figure of an Indian chief painted on each side, and swinging in a frame. In the Spring of 1843 Mr. Leslie took charge of the original "Indian Chief Hotel," and changed its name to the "Mansion House."
The first Lyceum of which there is any record, was organized in New Castle in the Autumn of 1841.
In 1843, only two attorneys advertised in the papers. At that time John Cox kept the "Red Lion" Hotel, and J. Leslie, the Mansion House.
A new physician, a Dr. Gemmil, was running the drug store, formerly owned by Dr. G. Barlow. Dr. Barlow is said to have had the first piano in New Castle. R. B. McComb had a cabinet wareroom on the northwest corner of the "Diamond." In 1844 he removed his business to the east end of Washington street, near the bridge.
In 1843, Wilson Mitchell was Burgess, and Thomas Falls President of the Town Council.
The first barber who succeeded in making a living in New Castle is said to have been Thomas D. Berry, a colored man, who opened a "Tensorial Bazaar" a few doors west of the Mansion House, in 1844. The attorneys in New Castle, at that date, appear to have been L. L. McGuffin, J. K. Boyd and A. M. Burns.
The first Democratic newspaper published in New Castle was issued by Geo. F. Humes and J. N. Hallowell, July 13th, 1844. It was a four-page paper, with five wide columns to the page. It was called the New Castle Democrat, and was published for about one year.
The Fourth of July, 1844, was celebrated by the people of New Castle with a grand Temperance Convention and soldiers' parade, which was largely attended by people from all parts of the country.
According to the local papers, the Erie Extension Canal was completed from New Castle to Erie, in February, 1845, and boats commenced running through its entire length the following Spring.
In the New Castle Gazette for 1845, several new names appear among the business men. Among them were Dr. E. Murray, the "Reformed Botanico Medical Physician," and Dr. L. Northup. T. A. Rinehart also kept a drug store.
The first account of a musical organization in New Castle, appeared in March, of this year. On the 20th of that month a concert was given at the M. E. Church by the Amateur Musical Society. About this date, the Baltimore & Ohio Railway Company were endeavoring to get the right of way for their road through Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, as a matter of course, opposed it, and the people of the southern and western portions of the State were more or less interested for or against it. A great mass meeting was held in New Castle on the 28th of March, 1846, attended by people from Mercer and Beaver counties, and the feeling was very strongly in favor of giving the company the right of way. The attorneys in New Castle, in 1846, were L. L. McGuffin, J. K. Boyd, A. M. Burns, G. A. Scroggs, and David C. Cossitt.
James Dickson was, Justice of the Peace in 1846, and had his office in the southeast corner of the "Diamond," in Wm. Dickson's saddle shop.
John and Joseph Douthett, brothers, were teaching a select school in the "new brick school-house."
They called it the "New Castle Institute." The new school building was probably the one now occupied by Max Cosel as a residence. The New Castle Seminary was taught by Mr. and Mrs. Mason Bartlett.
The first market in New Castle was held in May, 1846. The first market house was built in the Summer of 1846. It was of brick, 70 by 30 feet in dimensions, and stood near the center of the "Diamond," with its west end on a line with the east side of Jefferson street. Mr. D. Tidball, Jr., was the contractor. The market days were Wednesdays and Saturdays. On the 25th of July, 1846, a public meeting was held to consider the subject of building a new bridge over the Neshannock, at the east end of Washington street.
The first bridge was erected at that point in 1814, but whether the structure was standing in 1846 we have not learned. A new bridge was finally built and completed in August, 1847. The architect was Joseph Emery.
Many improvements were made during the season of 1846. R. W. Cunningham erected a large cupola foundry, with steam engine attached, which was put in operation about the 20th of July. Crawford & Co. built a new nail factory, which also went into operation in July. Brown & Higgs erected a rolling mill, which went into operation about the same date.
During the first three days of September, of this year, the annual encampment of the Mercer county soldiers was held in New Castle.
Among the organizations present were the New Castle Battalion, the Mt. Jackson and Marion Blues, both of Mt. Jackson, the Mahoning Rangers, and the Tamarack Invincibles. Music was, in part, furnished by the New Castle Brass Band.
During the boating season of 1846, the New Castle and Beaver packet, "General Mercer," McMillen, master, ran regularly between the points named, arriving at New Castle every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday morning, at six o'clock, and departed at 8 P.M. on the same days.
R. W. Cunningham was the agent at New Castle. The "Orizaba Iron Works," located on the present site of the Shenango Iron Works, were erected by Joseph H. Brown, Joseph Higgs and Edward Thomas, and put in operation in 1846.*
*See Article, "Shenango Iron Works."
In 1847, the linseed oil business was very promising, and Grisnold's mill was so successful that others entered into the business.*
*See "Oil Mills."
During the year 1847 there was a famine in Ireland, and sympathy and aid in various forms was generously extended to the distressed inhabitants from many parts of the United States. The ladies of New Castle assembled together at the M. E. Church, on the evening of April 14th, 1847, and manufactured between seven and eight hundred two-bushel sacks.
These were filled with corn by the people of New Castle and vicinity, and, altogether, about fifteen hundred sacks, containing three thousand bushels of corn, were forwarded to the starving people of Ireland.
A terrible accident occurred at the "Cosalo Iron Works," on the 23d of May, of this year. Joseph B. Williams, a son of Henry Williams, about thirteen years of age, was caught by a shaft which was rapidly revolving in the nail factory, and instantly killed.
The first notice of an application for a charter for a bank in New Castle, was published in the Democrat, in September, 1839, but nothing further was done about the matter, until July, 1847, when a similar notice was published. The proposed bank was to have a capital of $200,000, but the first actual banking business was transacted about 1855.*
*See sketch of the various Banks, elsewhere.
It would appear from old files of newspapers published at New Castle in 1847, that the first daguerreian gallery was established in that year, as the firm of Richmond & Pomeroy were taking pictures in August.
A new military organization, called the New Castle Light Artillery made its first appearance on Saturday, August 21st. Captain G. A. Scroggs was commander.
It is said that the first regular book-store in New Castle, was opened by McDowell & Co., in August of this year. It was on Washington street, opposite the Globe Hotel.
The work of bringing Washington, Jefferson, and Mercer streets to a regular grade, was commenced in September, and continued until some time in November.
On Monday, the 6th day of December, 1847, Captain Jonathan Smith, a Revolutionary soldier, died at the residence of his son-in-law, Joseph T. Du Shane, Esq., who lived at that time in what was Shenango township, but now a part of the city of New Castle.
Captain Smith was a native of Virginia, and served through the entire Revolutionary war. He was in the battles of Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, and Yorktown. At his death he was 92 years and three months old, and was buried with military honors by the New Castle Light Artillery. A large. concourse of people attended his funeral.
In the month of January, 1848, Dr. Warner, of Pittsburgh, removed to New Castle, and commenced the practice of medicine.
The movement for the organization of a new county, began to assume something like tangible shape at this time, and a meeting was held on the 5th of February, for the purpose of discussing the question, and taking the necessary steps to accomplish the desired object. The project had been advocated for some thirty years, and never abandoned.
During the Winter of 1847-8, there was a society called the "New Castle Liberty Association," of which A. M. Burns, Esq., and John McConahy were active members.
About the lst of May, 1848, the New Castle Light Artillery paraded the streets, headed by a martial band composed of "fourteen boys richly dressed." The boys had been thoroughly drilled by Major William W. Taylor, and made a fine appearance. The company was commanded by Captain W. C. Richards.
On the afternoon of the 6th of May, a violent hail storm passed over New Castle, doing a large amount of damage to glass and the roofs of building killing one horse within the city limits, or near by. Hail fell measuring from eleven to twelve inches in circumference, and weighing from eight to sixteen ounces, and one piece was reported to have been eighteen inches around, and to have weighed one pound and a quarter!
A great fire occurred in New Castle on Sunday morning, July 23, 1848, by which the main building of McCormick, Peebles, Brown & Co.'s iron works was destroyed, involving a loss of some $30,000, and throwing a large number of men out of employment. The buildings destroyed included the rolling mill and nail factory, and a large amount of iron, nails, &c. The works were immediately rebuilt.
In August of this year, the New Castle Female Seminary appears to have been under the direction of Prof. Warren H. Marsh.
On the 31st of August, Richard Evans, an employee at one of the rolling mills, died of excessive drinking. He was buried by the borough authorities, in a plain pine box. Some parties made quite a stir over the matter, and his remains were finally disinterred, and an inquest held over them, and again interred in a more pretentious coffin. A few nights afterwards, some mischievious persons removed the pine box, in which Evans had been at first interred, to the eastern end of the market house, where they arranged it in a conspicuous position, and put an inscription thereon, stating that it was a patent invention, and designating one of the overseers as the patentee. The Burgess, Thomas Sloan, by authority of the Council, offered a reward of twenty dollars for the arrest and conviction of the parties who had committed the outrage. William Dickson was President of the Town Council, James Dickson, Justice of the Peace, and John Dickson, Constable. The record does not show whether the guilty parties were apprehended and punished or not, but evidently there was considerable excitement for the time being.
The Croton Glass Works were put in operation in September of this year, by Messrs. Morris and Henderson.* In October, a new physician, Dr. F. Taylor, located in New Castle. The canal closed this year, on the 10th of December.
*See Croton Glass Works.
March 20th, 1849, was a joyful day to the people of New Castle, for on that day the new county of Lawrence, for which they had so long been working, was erected, and New Castle became the county seat of one of the most compact and thriving counties in the commonwealth. What Pittsburgh and Allegheny are to Allegheny county, New Castle is to Lawrence county. Here are all the newspapers of the county, all the banking houses and the great bulk of the manufactures, and the city is the nucleus of a system of railways, which give it connection with all parts of the country. But, at the time the new county was erected, New Castle was a town of less than one thousand people, and had but a moiety of its present manufactures and commercial business. No railroads were then in this part of the country. Its only means of communication, besides the common country roads of those days, was the slow, plodding canal.
When the county was organized, the practising attorneys at New Castle appear, from the files of the local papers, to have been L. L. McGuffin, D. B. Kurtz, David C. Cossitt, Jacob K. Boyd, A. W. Rodgers, Craig & Buchanan, and McNeil & Burns. Joseph Emery was, at that time, President of the Town Council, and John Kerr, clerk. It appears that Wm. Talbot and Robert M. Walker were engaged in running a carding mill, in the Summer of 1849, making rolls at four cents per pound.
A new dentist, Dr. R. M. Kennedy, settled in New Castle, in April, and Mrs. Mary Fulkerson opened one of the first millinery shops in the place, on the corner of North and Beaver streets, about the same time.
The 22d of August, 1849, was a great day in New Castle. President Zachary Taylor and Governor Johnston, of Pennsylvania, visited the town, on their way from Beaver to Mercer.
About 5:30 o'clock, in the evening of that day, a signal gun on Shaw's Hill announced their arrival at Lock No. 1. They came up in an Erie express packet. The programme for the occasion appears to have been all arranged previous to their arrival. Colonel Wm. Book was chief marshal, with the following gentlemen as assistants: Wm. P. Reynolds, George W. Crawford, Lot Watson, Jr., D. B. Kurtz, John Moorhead, and Robert Wallace. The procession formed at the lock, in the following order: Committee of reception, on horseback; brass band; martial band; President and Governor, in open carriage, with military escort; President and Governor's suite, in carriages; New Castle and Beaver committee, in carriages; citizens. The procession moved by the following route: From Lock No. 1 to the Neshannock bridge, thence up East street to North street, by North to Jefferson street, by Jefferson to Washington, and east along Washington to the Washington House, situated where Knox's grocery store now stands, then kept by A. T. McKee. On arriving at the Washington House, a reception speech was made and the President welcomed to New Castle by David Craig, Esq., to which the President replied in a brief and appropriate manner.
During the movement of the procession, the artillery fired the regular salute, from Shaw's Hill. The distinguished guests and a large number of prominent citizens partook of supper at half-past seven o'clock.
The next morning the President and Governor visited the rolling mill; blast furnaces, &c. The Sophia furnace was the first the President had ever seen. At nine o'clock A. M., the President gave a reception to the ladies of New Castle, at the Presbyterian Church. At twelve o'clock, noon, the party departed for Mercer, accompanied by a committee of escort from New Castle.
A new paper made its appearance in New Castle in 1849. It was called the Lawrence Journal, and the first issue was on the 26th of May. James M. Kuester was editor and proprietor.* This same year, the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church was built, on Jefferson street. It is still standing, and is now known as the United Presbyterian Church. R. Craven and N. P. McGown were the builders. The building committee were J. Kissick, J. Leslie, and W. R. Dunlap. The first party convention for the nomination of county officers ever held in New Castle, was the convention held by the Whigs, on the 14th of August, 1849. Thomas Pomeroy was president.
*See article on "Newspapers."
Saturday, the lst of September, 1849, the day on which the Act erecting the county of Lawrence went into effect, was celebrated in New Castle by the military and the various bands, who made a grand parade.
The first telegraph office in New Castle was opened in the Summer of 1849. Among those most instrumental in procuring it were the Crawfords and Shubael Wilder. Some time during the season of 1849, A. W. Rodgers, a new attorney, opened an office in New Castle.
This season was remarkable for being cold and excessively dry. It is said that there was frost during every month in the year in some part of Lawrence county. Notwithstanding the unfavorable season, business seems to have, been unusually lively if we may judge by the number of new buildings which were erected in New Castle, there being no less than eighty-eight, and mostly of brick. The first snow of the season fell on the 30th of October.
On Sunday, the 4th of November, a new bell on the Presbyterian Church sent forth its welcome peals over the valley. Whether this was the first church bell in New Castle we do not know.
A lyceum was in existence in December of this year, with Rev. R. A. Browne, D. D., R. B. McComb, D. M. Courtney and John Reynolds, Esqs., among its members.
In 1850 the census gave New Castle borough a population of 1,563 inhabitants, fifty-one of whom were colored.
The first Court of Common Pleas held in New Castle, convened in the M. E. Church on Monday, the 7th of January, 1850. Hon. John Bredin being President Judge, and Jacob Bear, Associate.
The resident attornies of New Castle who were sworn in on that day were: Jonathan Ayres, L. L. McGuffin, J. K. Boyd, D. Craig, D. B. Kurtz, J. J. Hoffman, D. C. Cossitt, John M. Crawford, George W. Watson, J. N. McGuffin, James Pollock.
The attendance at this first court was unusually large and the hotels were crowded.
A new telegraph line from Fredonia, N. Y., was put in operation to New Castle in January, 1850.
Clow's block was finished in March, 1850.
The physicians in New Castle at that date were: J. H. M. Peebles, E. S. Warner, T. L. Hopper, D. D. C. Porter, N. White, Cossitt, Murray and possibly a few others.
A meeting of the veterans of the war of 1812 was held on Saturday, March 16th, at the Associate Reformed Church.
The first daily mail was established on the lst of April of this year, between New Castle and Poland, Ohio, by way of Edenburg, Hillsville and Lowellville. The contractor was James Bannon.
The first county Bible Society mentioned was organized on the 9th of April at the M. E. Church. Among the members were Rev. R. A. Browne, [p. 31] John N. Euwer, Cyrus Clarke, David Sankey, Samuel Van Horn, Joseph Kissick and Joseph Justice.
A new attorney, J. W. Johnston, opened an office in New Castle in May.
The title to the lot now occupied by the Court House, 300 by 140 feet in dimensions, was made over to the County Commissioners on the 18th of June, 1850. The contract for building a court house and jail was let to Craig & Hamilton. The work was commenced in the Fall of 1850, and completed in 1852. The stone were quarried near by, and when the entire job was finished the total cost, including improvements upon the grounds, amounted to the surprisingly low sum of thirty-two thousand dollars ($32,000).
But in those days everything was cheap. Flour was three dollars per barrel; brick three dollars and forty cents per thousand; common labor from fifty to seventy-five cents a day, and good mechanics' wages from eighty-seven and a-half cents to one dollar and twenty-five cents per day. The cost of the work at the present time would be probably from $50,000 to $75,000.
An academy seems to have been in operation at this time, for we find notices of it in 1849, under the charge of Wm. Pearson, and in 1850, of Rev. R. A. Browne.
The 22d of June appears to have been the day set apart for military drill. In July of this year the Lawrence Guards were organized, and W. W. Taylor was elected Captain; S. M. Wise, first lieutenant; S. Briggs, second lieutenant; T. Wait, third lieutenant; H. Squiers, ensign; C. T. Williams, A. Wait, J. A. Ray and Jacob Moore, sergeants; R. Andrews and John Ray, corporals; James McKean, armorer, and S. Briggs, treasurer.
Towards the last of July, 1850, a meeting of the citizens of New Castle was held at Clow's Hall, for the purpose of making arrangements to pay respect to the memory of the President of the United States, lately deceased--ZACHARY TAYLOR. The meeting was presided over by John Reynolds, Esq. The Vice Presidents were D. M. Courtney and S. Bentley, and William H. Shaw was Secretary. The 10th of September following was appointed as the day on which such public demonstration as was deemed advisable should take place. On the day set there was a great gathering of the people, and all the military of the vicinity held an encampment continuing until the 13th. On Wednesday, the 11th, according to the proper change in the programme, about 5,000 people assembled in Peeble's Grove to hear an address from John Allison, Esq., who also pronounced a suitable eulogy on President Taylor. The encampment was participated in by all the military for many miles around.
The first Democratic convention in Lawrence county was held in New Castle, on the 20th of July of this year. The Whig convention was held on the 5th of August.
During the Summer of 1850, Robert Wallace erected a three-story brick block, adjoining Clow's block on the west. The three-story brick building on the north side of the "Diamond," known as the Gazette building, was also erected the same year.
In the latter part of the year 1850, two new bells were hung in New Castle, one on the market house, and one (weighing 600 pounds) on the Baptist Church.
According to the Lawrence Journal, New Castle contained two foundries, two rolling-mills, two oil-mills, three flouring and grist-mills, three sawmills, one window-glass factory, one steam edge tool factory, one brewery, three tanneries (one run by steam), four hotels, and another large one in course of erection. There were six churches, one lodge, and one encampment of I.O.O.F.; one Masonic lodge, two divisions of the Sons of Temperance, and one Mechanics' Mutual Protection Society. There were also two newspapers; the Gazette, by Shaw & Craig, and the Journal, by Kuester & Telford. One hundred new buildings were erected during this year.
In January, 1851, a new line of daily coaches was established between Beaver and New Castle, by Frederick Haly. They were advertized to make the trip in five hours.
In 1851 two new names appeared in the list of attorneys in New Castle, B. B. Pickett and R. D. Hartshorn.
On the night of January 9th, a large kiln containing 30,000 feet of lumber belonging to Hamilton & Craig, contractors for the public buildings, was totally destroyed by fire.
The subject of paving the streets began to be agitated at this time, and at a meeting of the Council, on the 28th of February, it was resolved that during the coming Summer, Washington, Jefferson, and Mercer streets should be planked.
About this time the subject of a public cemetery, controlled by a corporation, began to be agitated, and a meeting was held at the office of the county commissioners, at which Colonel Wm. Book was made President, and James D.Clarke, Secretary.
Prominent among those who took an active interest in the matter, were Hon. L. L. McGuffin, James Henderson, Jonathan Ayres, Joseph Emery, John Reynolds, Frederick Seifert, R. W. Clendennin, Joseph Kissick, Jos. T. Du Shane, George Robinson, D. B. Kurtz, and R. B. McComb.
The existence of two fine military companies in New Castle had the effect to arouse the military ardor of the younger members of the community, and the result was that three juvenile military companies were organized; one in New Castle proper, another in East New Castle, and a third in West New Castle. A fierce rivalry sprang up among them, and it was found easier to arouse the military spirit than to allay the hot passions engendered by the rivalry. Like the guards of Louis XIV. and Cardinal Richelieu, whenever they met there was a miniature battle, and sore heads and black eyes were staple commodities among the brave warriors of the Shenango valley.
The Waterloo of the campaign occurred on Saturday, the lst of March, at the celebrated "passage of the bridge" on Washington street. The records are silent as to whether Blucher, Wellington or Napoleon gained the victory, but the number of combatants put hors de combat, is said to have been appalling. It was a terrible combination of Sir William Wallace's battle of Cambus Kenneth, Napoleon's terrific passage of the bridge of Lodi, and the celebrated retreat of the ten thousand Greeks under Xenophon, of classic memory, and ought to go down to posterity along with the "Battle of Dorking."
"Is the spot marked by no colossal bust,
Or column, trophied for triumphal show?
None! But the moral's truth tells simpler so!"
Considerable excitement was occasioned about this time by the subject of enlarging the limits of the borough. A public meetin was held some time in March, at which Warren Carpenter was President, and William Watson, Secretary. A committee on resolutions was appointed, consisting of Joseph Justice, Joseph Emery, S. W. Mitchell, Samuel Spiece, Joseph Kissick, and Wm. Moore. After ample discussion a series of resolutions was adopted, opposed to any extension of the limits beyond the Shenango river and Neshannock creek.
The first railway meeting held in New Castle, was on the lst of April, 1851. It was called for the purpose of testing the public sentiment upon the then proposed Erie and Pittsburgh railway.
The officers of the meeting were: President, Henry Pearson; Vice Presidents, R. W. Cunningham, William Dickson, Joseph Emery and Thomas Falls; Secretaries, Alexander Newell and D. C. Cossitt. The speakers were R. B. McComb, Esq., R. W. Cunningham and Joseph Emery.
The flouring-mill, owned by Joseph Kissick, was destroyed by fire on the night of April 1st, 1851. It was a three-story building, of brick, and stood on the present site of Raney & Gordon's mill. The total loss was about thirteen thousand dollars ($13,000). The fire was occasioned by some boys fishing with torches under the mill. The mill was rebuilt by Mr. Kissick, the same season.
During the Summer of 1851, quite a number of improvements were made in New Castle. A new bridge was built over the canal, on Mercer street. R. W. Cunningham erected a new foundry building. The Union school-house, now the First Ward school building, was erected at a cost of seven thousand dollars. The Directors at that time were William Watson, J. W. Johnson A. L. Crawford, William Book, J. N. Euwer and J. S. Quest. The architect was J. U. Bonn. The builders were R. Craven and S. T. Sippy.
The first banking institution* in New Castle, also went into operation in this year. It was a private bank, and was started by Dickson & McClymonds, in May. A railway convention was held on the 25th of June, at which one hundred and fifty delegates were present.
Sometime during the Summer of 1851, a colored man, named Frank Jackson, who had resided for some years in New Castle, was induced to accompany a drover, by the name of Charles May, to Richmond, Virginia. Rumors soon after began to be circulated that May had sold Jackson as a slave. Another rumor said he had been arrested as a slave, and possibly sold. (More of this matter hereafter.)
An attempt was made during the Summer of this year, to erect a new borough on the east side of the Neshannock, to be called East New Castle, but the project failed.
The first "Free Soil " convention was held on the 23d of Angust, of this year.
Two elopements occurred during the year from New Castle, which caused considerable excitement for a time. The parties were William Somers and [p. 32] Miss Josephine Pollock, in September, and Charles Sealey, of Allegheny, and Miss Samantha Moore, in November.
A new bridge, known as the "black bridge," was constructed over the Shenango, a few rods above the mouth of the Neshannock, during this season. It has since been replaced by a fine and substantial covered bridge.
In wonderful contrast to the days when King Pack-an-ke was a great ruler over many people, with his capital on the spot where New Castle now stands, it is recorded that, on the 4th of October, 1851, a solitary Indian, with his squaw and two children, passed through New Castle, on his way West!
An Agricultural Society was organized on the 29th of October, with the following officers: President, Thomas Sample; Vice Presidents, Thomas Wilson, Isaac P. Cowden; Secretary, R. B. McComb; Treasurer, William Blanchard; Directors, John K. Swisher, William Porter, Thomas Carnes, Thomas Pearson, Webster Justice and John Simpson.
In October, a new bell, weighing 1,200 pounds, was hung in the Court House. On the 27th of October, the first Teachers' Institute convened in New Castle, continuing several days, and was largely attended.
The latter part of the Winter of 1851-2 was very cold, and bore heavily upon the destitute in New Castle. Labor was scarce, and little money, as a consequence, was in circulation. Matters became so serious that a relief society, consisting of the prominent ladies of the place, was organized, on the 5th of January, 1852, at the Associate Reformed Church. It was called "The New Castle Relief Society." The officers were: President, Mrs. Mary Browne; Secretaries, Mrs. McElevy and Mrs. Ten Broeck; Treasurer, Mrs. Joseph Kissick.
On the 16th of January, a meeting of the Protestant pastors of New Castle was held at the Presbyterian Church, for the purpose of taking steps toward petitioning Congress to prohibit carrying the mails on Sunday.
The subject of railroads seems to have been a very prominent one at this time. On the 4th of February, a meeting was held at the Cochran House in the interests of the Erie and Pittsburgh railroad. Wm. Dickson was President, and John Reynolds, Secretary.
A strike occurred among the nail-cutters in the employ of the Orizaba Iron Works, on the 16th of February, on account of a reduction of wages. This is the first instance of the kind recorded as having occurred in New Castle. It is claimed that New Castle experienced the shock of an earthquake, which was felt on Thursday, April 29th, at about one o'clock in the afternoon. The shock was quite severe, and continued for about ten seconds.
It is recorded that the first organ-grinder ever seen in New Castle made his appearance on the 20th of May, 1852. Whether the inevitable monkey accompanied him to make sport for the youngsters--what province of "sunny Italy" was honored by being his birth-place, and whether his "southern" skin had ever felt the effects of a direct application of the aqueous element, are questions which must forever remain unanswered.
The New Court House was completed on the 28th of June, of this year, at which date the first term of court ever held therein commenced.
The following notice of the new county buildings, appeared about that time in the New Castle Gazette:
"It will stand for ages as a monument of youthful vigor and taste. For a century to come our citizens will be contented with their public buildings, nor desire to tear them down to erect more splendid ones." The probabilities now (1877), are, after a lapse of twenty-five years, that long before the century, spoken of by the Gazette, shall have expired, these buildings will need to be replaced by something more substantial and more commodious.
The 4th of July, 1852, fell on Sunday. The only demonstration of respect for the day was made by the New Castle Band, who proceeded early in the morning, while most of the drowsy citizens were taking their "forty morning winks," to the summit of Shaw's Hill, and discoursed sweet music from the lofty height. The following day was celebrated a la Americaine. A Whig Convention was held in Clow's Hall, and a Sunday-school picnic was held in a grove near town, while a large party, including the band, made an excursion on board a canal-packet, several miles up the Shenango, where they spent the day in pic-nicing and dancing. On the night of July 13th, four prisoners, confined in the county jail, unmindful of their obligations to the laws of the land, were unprincipled enough to break jail and run for liberty. Three of them were recaptured, and the fourth, making a virtue of necessity, came back to his quarters "like a good little man."
A grand firemen's parade took place on Saturday, the 4th of September, followed by a dance at "Kossuth Hall," and a supper at the Cochran House.
The New Castle Female Seminary seems to have finished its course about this time, for we find the property was sold at public sale, on the 7th of September. The completion of the Union School building, now in the First Ward, may have had something to do with the retirement of the seminary from the field. The new school building was completed and occupied on the 4th of October, at which time the Fall term commenced. The teachers were Messrs. Travis and Gantz, and the Misses Townsend and Porter.
The Lawrence County Teachers' Institute was held for two weeks, commencing on the 11th of October. This was, probably, the first county institute ever held in New Castle. The first county Fair was also opened on Tuesday, the 19th of October, and continued two days. The first snow of the season fell on the 9th of November, this year.
On the 25th of November, a sad accident occurred in New Castle. Wm. Locke the court crier, while walking along the canal tow-path, just above Jefferson street bridge, by some means lost his footing, and fell into the canal. Assistance was on hand as soon as possible, and he was taken out in a very short time, but life was extinct.
New Castle is entitled to an original item, so far as we know, nothing of the kind having ever been projected elsewhere. On the 13th of December, a drove of turkeys, numbering five hundred, was started on foot from New Castle, and driven to Erie, where they, like other high-toned travelers, took the cars for New York, in order to be in season for the Christmas festivities of the metropolis.
On the 15th of December, the dead body of a man was found in the canal, some fifty rods south of the borough limits of New Castle. He was not identified, and whether his death was accidental or otherwise, was not ascertained.
The "Mechanics' Institute" was organized on the 23d of December. Among the prominent gentlemen interested in its organization may be mentioned John Dickson, Dr. Leasure, Colonel Wm. Book, S. Briggs, David Tidball, J. R. Richardson, R. Craven, and John Edwards. A very brilliant cotillion party, consisting of one hundred ladies and gentlemen, assembled at Kossuth Hall, on Christmas Eve, and had a most enjoyable time.
A meeting of the "Mechanics' Institute" was held on the 4th of January, 1853, at which the following-named gentlemen were elected to fill the offices: President, Stillman Briggs; Vice President, Joseph S. White; Secretary, J. Webster Reynolds; Treasurer, Colonel Wm. Book.
In January of this year the Lawrence County Agricultural Society leased from Joseph S. White, for a term of years, four and a half acres of land, lying on the plateau north of the borough, for the purposes of a Fair ground. It was inclosed, and provided with suitable and necessary buildings, and Fairs were held there for several years. The 22d of February was celebrated by the firemen, with a dance at Kossuth Hall, and a grand supper at the Cochran House.
The borough election, held on the 18th of March, resulted in the choice of the following officers: Burgess, Joseph Kissick; Councilmen, James S. Tidball, James McGown, Benjamin Emery, E. S. Clow, G. P. Robinson; Constable, J. B. McKee; School Directors, D. Leasure, R. W. Clendenin, J. N. Euwer; Judge of Election, John MeElevy; Assessor, A. Riddle; Auditors, Captain A. Tyler, D. B. Kurtz, Warren Carpenter; Overseers of Poor, J. W. Cunningham and Wilson Falls.
"Greenwood Cemetery" was greatly improved during this year by a new fence around the grounds, and the planting of a large number of shade and ornamental trees, all under the direction of William McClymonds. The contract for planking Washington street from the Neshannock to the Shenango, with two tracks, each nine feet wide, was awarded to Joseph and David Emery, at one thousand six hundred dollars, ($1,600.) The contract for planking a portion of Jefferson street with a single track was also awarded to the same parties.
A Musical Institute was held in March, under the direction of Professor Blakely, and on the evening of the 29th of the same month a concert was given at the Presbyterian Church by four hundred pupils of Mr. Durston. D. Tidball, Jr. was appointed postmaster some time in April. A plank road was constructed during this season between New Castle and New Wilmington. Another earthquake shock is recorded for the 2d day of May, lasting for some thirty seconds, and so severe as to shake the cases in the Gazette printing-office quite perceptibly.
In 1853 the annual exports comprised the following articles shipped from New Castle: From the Orizaba Iron Works, 7,500 tons iron and nails; from the Cosalo Iron Works, 5,000 tons iron and nails; of glass, 700 tons; oil and oil-cake, 500 tons; 32,000 barrels of flour; 100,000 bushels of grain; 6,000 tons of fire-brick; 1,000,000 feet of timber.
Two boys were drowned in May and June at New Castle, to-wit: a son of Theodore Normandie, on the 20th of May, near the "guard-lock," and a son of Joseph McElevy on the 7th of June, in the Shenango pool.
The 4th of July this year was celebrated by a pic-nic on the Fair grounds north of the borough, and another pic-nic excursion to the Wertz farm, on board the packet "Ohio," Captain Hoffman.
The Leslie House was erected during the season of 1853. In July of this year a society known as the "Ladies' Lawrence County Association" was formed, with the following officers: President, Mrs. Alexander Crawford; Vice Presidents, Mrs. J. N. Euwer, Mrs. Joseph S. White, Mrs. W. H. Shaw, Mrs. Wm. McClymonds, Mrs. H. Williams, Mrs. James Mitchell and Mrs. J. M. Kuester; Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. R. W. Clendenin; Recording Secretaries, Mrs. J. Ayres and Mrs. Wm. H. Reynolds; Treasurer, Mrs. Robert Reynolds.
During this season "circuses" and "shows" were very plenty, no less than four exhibiting between the 12th of July and the 20th of August.
The Lawrence County Teachers' Institute was held during the week commencing August 14th. The public schools opened on the lst of September, under the superintendence of Wm. Travis.
The first noticeable event which occurred in New Castle in 1854, was the burning of a cooper shop belonging to P. McCormick, on the morning of January 7th. The loss was about five hundred dollars ($500).
At a meeting of the New Castle Library Company held on the evening of the 16th of January, the following officers were elected for the ensuing year: Directors, Joseph Emery, Joseph Justice, John Reynolds, John Reed and Henry Pearson; Librarian, Wm. H. Shaw; Treasurer, Joseph Justice.
At the borough election on the 17th of March of this year, the following officers were elected: Burgess, Wm. Moore; Councilmen, David Emery, Wilson Falls, John S. Pomeroy, Webster Justice, Wm. Book; School Directors, Joseph Justice, Cyrus Clarke; Constable, J. B. McKee; Judge of Election, James R. Wallace; Inspectors, Thomas D. Horner, Alva H. Leslie; Assessor, Daniel McConnell; Auditors, Robert Gilliland, Robert Crawford, John Hoffman; Overseers of Poor, Cyrus Clarke, J. W. Johnston.
The Leslie House was finished and furnished ready for occupation on the 1st of April, 1854. It contained ninety roonis.
On Sunday, the 16th of April, a heavy snowstorm visited this region, continuing for about twenty-four hours. When the storm was over there were seven and a-half inches of snow on the ground, and, had it come in mid-winter, it was the general opinion there would have been eighteen inches.
Several mechanical feats worthy of record were performed in New Castle during this year.
In February, it is said that John L. Emery made two hundred well-finished horse shoes in six hours and eleven minutes; and a few weeks before he set one hundred and twenty shoes in a day, and pointed and clinched the nails.
A wrought-iron spike machine manufactured by Westerman, Richardson, Maxim and Wilder, was finished and shipped to a manufacturing company in Bath, Maine, in the fore-part of March.
In April, a lathe-shear, weighing two and a-half tons, was cast at Quest, Westerman & Co.'s foundry; said to have been the heaviest casting ever made in New Castle up to that time.
Mention has been made in the record for 1851, of a colored man, named Frank Jackson, who accompanied one Charles May to Richmond, Virginia, and was alleged to have been sold into slavery by the latter. From subsequent information it appears that on their arrival at Richmond, May represented Frank as his slave, and before leaving the city sold him to a planter named Scott, from Campbell county, Virginia. Frank ran away from Scott, but was re-captured and sold to a Mr. Deshhazen. Rumors of these transactions had reached New Castle, and in the meantime Judge Reynolds of the latter place and Hon. Wm. Stewart of Mercer, were making every exertion to rescue Jackson from slavery. In June they received intelligence that he was in custody of Campbell Court House, and would be delivered up upon his identity as a freeman being established. To this end George C. Morgan was sent to Virginia to identify Frank, but on his arrival at Campbell Court House, Frank was not there. All that could be learned was that he had been sold and taken farther south. Mr. Morgan returned to New Castle with little hope of ever finding Jackson; but a few months afterwards a lawyer in North Carolina, who had seen and talked with Jackson, wrote a letter to some gentleman in New Castle, inquiring about him. As soon as Jackson's friends heard of this they renewed their efforts to rescue him. The man who owned him stated that if he could prove he was a freeman when he came to Virginia, he would relinquish all claim to him.
Accordingly Mr. Morgan went south a second time for the purpose of identifying him. On his way down Morgan noticed that nearly everybody of respectability had titles, mostly military, scarcely any one ranking below "captain." He took the hint, and on his arrival at the planter's where Jackson was, he introduced himself as Colonel Morgan from Pennsylvania, at the same time stating his business. The planter received the "colonel" very cordially and invited him to stay over night. The hands, with Jackson among them, were all in the field. When they came up in the evening, Morgan pointed out Jackson by a peculiar manner of walking which he had, and when be came up his master pointed him to Mr. Morgan, and asked Frank if he recognized him. Frank looked at him in the dim twilight for a moment and said be did not; whereupon Mr. Morgan called him by name and asked him if he did not remember him. As soon as Frank heard his voice, he ran forward and cried out, "It's George Morgan, the tailor, from New Castle!"
The master was satisfied, and willingly relinquished his claims; but his estimate of "Colonel" Morgan was considerably lessened when he saw the deception which he had practiced, and advised him to take Jackson and leave as soon as possible.
They returned to New Castle, and Jackson remained in or about the place until the rebellion broke out, when he enlisted in the army, from which he was honorably discharged. At last accounts he was living, and had quite a respectable family.
The weather during July of 1854, was exceedingly warm, the thermometer ranging from the 15th to the 20th between 102º and 106º in the shade.
New Castle was favored with the average number of "shows" during this season, including Barnum's colossal museum, menagerie, &c., and Witbeck's and James M. June's circuses.
The Summer of 1854 is remembered for the long drouth which prevailed from the 16th of May to the latter part of August, in consequence of which all the crops were scanty, and farmers were obliged to fatten their hogs on acorns, of which there happened to be plenty. The drouth affected the streams seriously, and the fish in the Shenango river died in great numbers during the latter part of August.
The first Methodist Episcopal Society erected a new church edifice during the Summer and Fall of 1854. It was finished sometime in the Winter of 1855. The contractors and builders were Messrs. Hamilton & Craig.
A grand fair was held in New Castle, commencing on the 5th, and continuing through the 6th and 7th of October.
On the 5th an election for officers of the Lawrence County Agricultural and Horticultural Society was held, and the following gentlemen were chosen for the ensuing year: President, Thomas Pearson; Vice Presidents, Wm. Hamilton and Thomas Cunningham; Treasurer, William McClymonds; Secretary, J. Webster Reynolds; Managers, William Williams and Philip Crowl.
On Friday, the 6th, a team of twelve yoke of oxen attached to a car decorated with evergreens, and occupied by the New Castle Cornet Band, was driven through the principal streets to the fair ground. The car was from Taylor township, and was the handiwork of John Shearer.
A case of cholera is said to have occurred in Croton, on the 7th of October. The victim was George Alberts.
A fire occurred on the 20th of October, destroying a stable belonging to James D. Clarke.
Two cases of wilful or malicious shooting occurred, one on the evening of October 31st, when some boys were wounded in the legs with shot, on the corner of East street, and another on the 22d of November, when Mr. Jacob Wilber was fired at while eating supper.
On the 12th of November a party of fifty-two colored people passed through New Castle, on their way from Virginia to Mercer, where they had concluded to settle. They had formerly been slaves, and had been liberated by the will of their masters. Quite a number of them are still living at and near Mercer, where some of them at one time owned considerable property.
A young man named Frank Luce was instantly killed by the caving in of an ore-bank in which he was working, near Croton, on the 27th of November.
During the months of January and February of 1855, labor was scarce and times very hard, bearing heavily upon the laboring class in New Castle. The necessities and destitution at length became so apparent that steps were taken for their temporary relief. The wealthy ladies of the town organized the "Ladies' Benevolent Association," under whose auspices free soup dinners were furnished the destitute every day for several weeks, at the house of Richard Craven.
The coldest day of the Winter was the 6th of February, the mercury indicating 10º below zero.
The new First Methodist Episcopal Church was dedicated on Thursday, March lst. The weather was very cold.
At the borough election, held on the 16th of March, the following offices were chosen: Burgess, Thomas Pearson; Justices, James Dickson, George C. Morgan; Constable, Uriah Cubbison; Councilmen, David Emery, Wilson Falls, E. C. Cowden, J. W. Squier, William C. Hoffman; Assessor, John Horner; Assistant Assessors, William Shaw, B. C. Emery; Auditors, B. B. Pickett and S. F. Rigby; Overseers of the Poor, J. B. Reynolds, D. Stewart; School Directors, Shubael Wilder, Isaac Dickson; Judge of Elections, John R. Moore; Inspectors, John Shumaker, James Moorhead.
New Castle seems to have been financially in a very healthy condition in 1855, for the bonded debt of the borough is stated at $2,500, and the total indebtedness at $4,206.82.
Navigation opened this Spring on the canal, April 2.
There was a battalion review held in New Castle, on the 14th of May. The organizations which participated were the Ringgold Guards, of Princeton, Captain Hall; the Harlansburg Infantry, Captain Emery; the New Castle Light Artillery, Captain Shaw, and the Lawrence Guards, Captain King.
During the season of 1855, New Castle began to attract attention as a place for Summer resort. The wild and picturesque scenery in many directions around the town is scarcely surpassed in the State, and is well worthy the attention of tourists and pleasure-seekers.
A firemens' parade took place in New Castle on the 16th of June. A grand dinner was given the firemen at the Leslie House by the citizens.
The month of June of this year was remarkable for the quantity of rain which fell. The streams were so swollen that navigation on the canal was interrupted for several weeks, and as a consequence, flour and provisions became very scarce.
The anniversary of the Nation's independence was celebrated in grand style. At a very early hour, the New Castle Light Artillery fired a national salute from Shaw's Hill, and all the bells in town responded merrily. At ten o'clock A. M., the procession formed in the following order: The New Castle Band; the Eagle Fire Company; teachers and scholars of the Union schools; the Lawrence Guards; the Ringgold Guards, of Princeton, Captain Hall; and the Harlansburg Infantry, General McCune. The exercises were in a grove, where addresses were delivered by Dr. John W. Wallace and Rev. R. A. Browne. The school children had a pic-nic and dinner, and there were patriotic toasts, music, and the firing of salutes. After the exercises were over, the soldiers formed and marched to the Cochran House, where about two hundred of them, including several veterans of the war of 1812, partook of a sumptuous dinner, provided by the citizens. The festivities closed with a ball at Kossuth Hall, and another at the Leslie House, the latter given by the Eagle Fire Company. The Lawrence Guards celebrated their fifth anniversary, on the 20th of July, by a parade and drill, and a dance in the evening. A grand military encampment was held at New Castle, commencing on the llth of September, of this year. The following organizations took part in the exercises: Jackson Independent Blues, of Pittsburgh, Captain Alexander Hays; Darlington Artillery, Major W. H. Power; Ringgold Guards, of Princeton, Captain W. G. Hall; Big Beaver Riflemen, Lieutenant Miller; and the New Castle Light Artillery, Captain Wm. H. Shaw. It is very probable that the Lawrence Guards were also present, though they are not mentioned in the newspaper accounts. A serious accident occurred during the festivities. Sergeant Edward Smith, of the artillery, while assisting in firing a salute, had his right arm so badly injured by a premature discharge as to necessitate its amputation. The operation was performed by Dr. Leasure, assisted by Drs. Peebles, Wallace, and Hamilton.
A band of about fifty gipsies honored New Castle with a visit in the Fall of 1855, remaining several weeks encamped in the vicinity. On the 31st of October, they broke camp, and "folding their tents like the Arabs"--did not steal away as silently by any means, for wherever they are they manage to make a full share of noise.
The Winter of 1855-56 was very cold, and the deepest snow known for many years fell in January (12th), about twenty inches. During this month the mercury sunk as low as 25º below zero. On the 3d of February it indicated 32º below, according to accounts, and again, on the 10th of March, 20º below. Notwithstanding the severe cold, Rev. A. G. Kirk, pastor of the Baptist Church, immersed seven converts on the 2d of March.
On the 3d of March, Robert Patterson's soap and candle factory, in West New Castle, was destroyed by fire, involving a loss of about $1,200.
At the borough election, held on the 21st of March, the following officers were elected: Burgess, Stillman Briggs; Councilmen, R. W. Clendenin, H. J. Lewis, John McElevy, John R. Richardson, Robert Crawford; Constable, Uriah Cubbison; School Directors, Rev. G. R. McMillen, Dr. D. Leasure; Overseers of the Poor, L. V. Crips, Dr. A. T. Davis; Auditor, I. N. Dickson; Assessor, J. B. McKee; Judge of Elections, Thomas Rigby; Inspectors, Samuel Spiese and Webster Justice.
It is said of Stillman Briggs, that during his term of office, he only had one criminal case before him, and that he paid the fine and costs and dismissed the prisoner, who was a young man and in the employ of Mr. Briggs at the time.
In April of this year a party of twenty-one persons left New Castle for Kansas. Prominent among them was Dr. Wm. Shaw. The season was very backward in the Spring of 1856. On the 30th of May there was ice and snow, with northwest winds. The "4th" was celebrated this year with a military parade, pic-nics, dances, &c.
On the 16th of July, ex-Governor John Bigler, of California, made a short visit to New Castle, while on his way to visit his mother and sisters in Mercer County.
An immense mass convention was held in New Castle on the 9th of October, by the Republicans; said to have been the largest ever held in the place. It appears that there were by actual count in the procession, 3,154 people, 938 horses, 68 cattle, 93 horsemen, 1,834 flags, banners, &c., 454 vehicles and 7 bands.
The rolling-mills of the "Orizaba Iron Works," were destroyed by fire on the night of the 18th of October, involving a loss of from $5,000 to $7,000, partially covered by insurance. The mills were soon after rebuilt.
The New Castle Gaslight Company was incorporated February 11th, 1856. The original incorporators were Dr. Charles T. Whippo, Stephen J. Noble, Theodore F. Hay, Newell White and Ezekiel Sankey. The charter gave the right to supply the borough of New Castle with gas for illuminating purposes for the space of twenty years.
The business houses on Washington street and the "Diamond" were first lighted on the evening of December 8, 1856.
The printers of New Castle celebrated the birthday of Benjamin Franklin, January 17, 1857, on which occasion a grand oyster supper was served.
In February of this year Cassius M. Clay delivered two lectures at the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.
The borough election occurred on the 25th of March, when the following officers were elected: Burgess, Alexander Ross; Councilmen, John W. Wallace, James R. Shaw, James McElevy, R. W. Clendenin, Shubael Wilder; Constable, James J. Cook; School Directors, Joseph Justice, John Reynolds; Assessor, Joseph T. Boyd; Overseers of the Poor, L. V. Crips, J. E. McConnell; Judge of Elections, Wm. C. Hoffman; Inspectors, Benjamin F. Emery, Wm. Devlin; Auditor, Thomas Pearson.
On the 26th of March, J. N. Wagonseller, Cashier of the Bank of New Castle, who had absconded with a large sum of money, was brought back to New Castle, having been arrested in Philadelphia. He had a hearing before George C. Morgan, Esq., and was committed for trial in default of bail. At the time of his arrest, $21,500 of New Castle paper was found in his carpetbag. In the course of a few weeks he was liberated on bail, and soon after left the country. At a meeting of the stockholders, held on the lst of May, the Board was reorganized by the election of David Sankey, President, and Cyrus Clarke, Cashier. R. W. Cunningham was elected a director in the place of Wagonseller, and E. W. Stewart in place of Dr. Whippo, who had resigned.
The "glorious Fourth" was duly celebrated in New Castle. Salutes were fired, and all the bells rung before daylight. The Lawrence Guards, under command of Captain J. I. King, had a drill and parade, and there was a pic-nic on Fulkerson's Hill, accompanied with speaking, music and dancing, &c., &c. J. H. Peebles was the orator of the day, and read the Declaration of Independence. The Sabbath-schools had a pic-nic celebration on the bank of the Shenango, above New Castle, at which addresses were delivered by Rev. R. A. Rrowne, Rev. McMillen, John Reynolds, Colonel R. B. McComb and Dr. Leasure. A large share of the excursionists went up and returned on the packet "Indiana," Captain Laughlin.
Considerable improvements were made in New Castle during the Summer of 1857, among which were the building of the Free, now the Second Presbyterian Church, the People's Savings Bank, and a third story on the American House, now the Central Hotel.
In the month of October, of this, year, Dr. William Shaw, formerly a citizen of New Castle, died in Kansas.
The Lawrence county jail seems to have been singularly unfortunate in holding the prisoners confined within its walls. Every few weeks a batch would escape, sometimes by means of wooden keys, ingeniously constructed, [p. 35] and sometimes by other means. In February 1858, four prisoners escaped and on the 6th of March, two more left for parts unknown.
On the llth of February, 1858, an ordinance was passed enlarging the borough limits, by extending the lines on the north some twenty-five or thirty perches.
The first entertainment ever given at "White Hall" was on the 9th of February, when a lecture on "Shakespeare" was delivered by Rev. A. B. Bradford.
This entertainment was followed by a series of vocal and instrumental concerts, continued at intervals of two or three weeks, for several months.
At the borough election, held on the 19th of March, the following officers were elected: Burgess, Alexander Ross; Council, Dickson Watson and Wm. Griffith, for three years; James R. Shaw, and John Vogan, for two years; John S. Pomeroy, and Shubael Wilder, one year. School Directors, Wm. H. Reynolds, Wilson Falls. Constable, James J. Cook. Judge of Elections, James S. Tidball. Inspectors, Oliver G. Hazen, Japaes D. Shoaff. Overseers of the Poor, Thomas Rigby, J. Wesley Squier. Assessor, Joseph T. Boyd. Assistant Assessors, Dr. A. M. Cowden and Joseph S. White. Auditor, R. C. Leslie.
The following description of New Castle, written by Hon. John W. Forney, was published in the Philadelphia Press, of June 5th, 1858:
"New Castle, the county seat of Lawrence county, is situated at the junction of the Shenango and Neshannock rivers, three miles above the junction of the Shenango and Mahoning rivers, constituting the Big Beaver, which makes its confluence with the Ohio river, at Beaver, twenty-eight miles below Pittsburgh. The Erie Canal, from the Ohio river, at Beaver, to the city of Erie, passes up the valley of the Big Beaver and Shenango rivers, through the town of New Castle, and the Cross-cut Canal, from New Castle to Akron, on the Ohio Canal, passes up the valley of the Mahoning, giving a connection by canal with the city of Cleveland. The population of New Castle is about seven thousand.* The manufacture of iron is the principal business, though there are numerous other interests, involving much capital, and the employment of many operatives. There are two new companies, the 'Cosalo' and the 'Orizaba,' engaged in the manufacture of iron. They have all the necessary furnaces, rolling-mills, and nail factories, to contain within their own operations the taking of the ore, coal, and limestone from the neighboring hills, and turning the raw material into every grade of the manufactured article, from railroad iron down to three-penny nails. They give employment to over 500 operatives, upon the product of whose labor subsist directly at least three thousand souls, and indirectly, as many more in the town and surrounding neighborhood. The Orizaba company have not entirely suspended operations, at any time during the past year, and are, at present, in full blast. The Cosalo company is about making a lease to parties that will soon put the works into operation upon an enlarged scale, with a view to rivaling the best mills in the United States. It is here that the 'Croton glass,' an article of window-glass, largely supplied to the West, is manufactured. It is made from the solid rock, and is said to be equal to any manufactured in the State.
*In this estimate, Mr. Forney undoubtedly included all the outlying suburbs; but the estimate was much too high. The U.S. Census, in 1860, gave the borough 1,882, which was about one-half of the whole population of the borough and suburbs.
"There are several large flouring-mills in full successful operation. two large foundries, machine and engine shops, besides many smaller manufactories.
The public schools of the borough accommodate about six hundred pupils in one large three-story brick building, which also contains a high school department. Another school building is in process of erection in East New Castle, lying along side the old borough, that will accommodate about one thousand pupils, that being still less than the number to be provided for, and rendering the erection of ward schoolhouses necessary in the more distant suburbs.
"The whole community is self-sustaining, the agricultural productions of the neighborhood being far more than sufficient to feed all the operatives who turn the minerals into the manufactured article, as well as the whole population besides, and a large surplus of grain is shipped East. The Pittsburgh and New Castle railroad will be completed probably by the 4th of July--positively in August--and then communication by rail will be easy in every direction. The Cleveland and Mahoning Valley railroad, completed from Cleveland to Youngstown, within eighteen miles of New Castle, will rapidly be pushed on to intersect at New Castle, and it is here that the Northwestern railroad, if it should ever be finished, intersects with the Cleveland road. Strong efforts, with every prospect of success, are being made to extend the Pittsburgh and New Castle railroad from New Castle north to the city of Erie; and when all these roads are finished--as they will be--four important railroads will centre at New Castle.
"We were not prepared to see a thriving inland city of seven thousand inhabitants on our visit some months since to the county of Lawrence--a city of broad streets, large brick dwellings, noble school-houses, comfortable residences and immense manufactories. It is beautifully located, reminding one of Pittsburgh, in its abundance of coal and iron, and in its swarthy complexion. Yet it is fresher far than its dusky neighbor. There is an air of health in all natural surroundings. In its romantic streams and the lovely valley in which it lies embosomed, it possesses advantages of which Pittsburgh cannot boast.
"In 1806 New Castle contained but twenty houses, and in 1840 its population was 611. Now it boasts a population of 7,000, and the extraordinary facilities shortly to be extended to its enterprising and thriving people will lead to such a development of its resources as will make it one of the most important towns in the State. It is eighteen miles from the town of Mercer, and is closely connected in domestic commerce and in other respects, with Beaver, Butler, Meadville, Franklin, Erie and other Western Pennsylvania towns. Lawrence, as we have said, was cut out of Mercer and Beaver counties, and both were taken from Allegheny; so indeed were Crawford, parts of Armstrong, Venango, and all of Butler and Erie.
"It may, therefore, be readily imagined that the characteristics of the people of this great tier of counties are nearly the same. They were together in the early struggles of the Revolution; together they struggled into prominence; together they rejoiced over the great men that made Western Pennsylvania, at an early day the seat of intelligence and enterprise. Pittsburgh was their capital, and for many years they were controlled by its example. But the new era established a new order of things. Canals and railroads gave to each county an independent existence, though making all more dependent upon each other. Competition gave to every locality a character of its own, and promoted the general prosperity; and New Castle is a proof that the change was for the better, however considered. It is now one of the most flourishing and beautiful towns in the Union, and when its railroad connections are completed, it will take a fresh start in the race for superiority."
Important improvements were made in New Castle during the Summer of 1858. Among them were the erection of a double-track bridge over the Neshannock creek, on Washington street, at a cost of one thousand nine hundred dollars ($1,900); a new building for the Eagle engine on the northwest corner of Mill street and Market alley, and a new Union school building in East New Castle. The contractor for this building was Richard Craven, and James McGoun had charge of the carpenter work. The cornerstone was laid with appropriate ceremonies, on the 24th of July. Dr. Leasure delivered an address.
The 4th of July fell on Sunday of this year, in consequence both Saturday and Monday were celebrated by the patriotic citizens of New Castle. On Saturday, the scholars of the Sabbath-school connected with the Free Presbyterian Church, had a pic-nic in Pearson's grove. About two hundred children partook of the repast, and the Coal City Cornet Band enlivened the occasion with fine music. Addresses were delivered by Hon. L. L. McGuffin, Dr. D. Leasure and D. Craig, Esq.
On Monday, the 5th, the Sabbath-school of the Union Church, of which Dr. R. A. Browne was pastor, celebrated the day by a pic-nic excursion to Big Run Falls. The Coal City Cornet Band also attended this party, and discoursed excellent music. Mr. M. Gantz read the Declaration of Independence, and addresses were made by Hon. L. L. McGuffin, Dr. Leasure, R. B. McComb and J. P. Blair.
On the same day the M. E. Sunday-schools had a pic-nic in a grove three- fourths of a mile east of New Castle. Ira D. Sankey read the Declaration of Independence, and addresses were delivered by Rev. Thomas Guy, S. Bentley and others.
Early in August, a musical association, called the "Festival Glee Club," was organized, with the following officers: President, Jacob Lower; Vice President, Ferris McMillen; Treasurer, J. T. McMillen; Secretary, G. C. Bowden; Leader, Henry Couch; Piano Player, F. Brevillier; Librarian, John N. Emery. On the 17th of August, a concert was given at White Hall, by the Festival Glee Club and the Coal City Cornet Band.
Pittsburgh street, in East New Castle, was illuminated on the evening of Wednesday, the 25th of August, in celebration of the great event of laying the Atlantic cable. The band furnished music on the joyful occasion.
On the morning of the 19th of October, a destructive fire occurred in New Castle, the total loss being estimated at five thousand dollars ($5,000). Among the sufferers were Andrew Reed, William G. Warnock, R. M. Allen, [p. 36] William H. Reynolds, William Dickson, William Moore, A. H. Leslie, Pardee & Fowler and Girard & Wickman.
Immediately succeeding this fire, there was a lively appreciation of the value of a fire organization, and steps were taken to prepare for future contingencies. The Eagle Engine Company was re-organized, and a new one formed, called the Relief Fire Company. During this season (1858), both the rolling-mills were idle.
In January, 1859, arrangements were made for a course of lectures in White Hall, for the benefit of the Apprentice's Free Library and Reading Rooms. The lecturers and subjects, as announced, were: Dr. Leasure, "Heroes of the American Wilderness;" Rev. R. A. Brown, "Voltaire and his Associates;" Rev. E. E. Swift;" Phrenology;" Samuel S. Elder, Esq., "Florida and the Seminoles;" Rev. A. B. Bradford, "Sir Francis Bacon, his Inductive System of Philosophy, and the World's obligations for it;" Rev. A. G. Kirk, "Washington;" Rev. W. F. Wilson, "America and its Future Contests;" Rev. G. R. McMillen, "Cromwell and his Times;" E. S. Durban, "History' of the Art of Printing." The first lecture, by Dr. Leasure, was delivered on the evening of the llth of January. The celebrated traveler, Bayard Taylor, delivered a lecture, upon the 26th of January, on "Life in the North of Europe."
A serious accident occurred at the Orizaba iron works on the 6th of March, by which three workmen, William Vogan, Archibald Bay and Frederick Bussinger were severely injured. They were at work on the roof, when it gave way, precipitating them to the ground, a distance of thirty feet.
At the borough election, which took place on the 18th of March, the following officers were elected: Burgess, Andrew Lewis; School Directors, Dr. Newell White and Jacob Wilber; Council, Isaac N. Phillips and James Moorhead; Constable, James J. Cook; Overseers of the Poor, Thomas Rigby and S. W. Mitchell; Assessor, Alexander Riddle; Judge of Elections, Samuel Alexander; Inspectors, Joseph B. Reynolds, J. Wesley Squier; Auditor, David Craig.
The last snowstorm of the season occurred on the 22d and 23d of April.
The first wreck on the canal which we find recorded, occurred on the 6th of May. The canal-boat "J. M. Permar," Captain McMillen, struck a snag and sunk near Wampum. Her cargo consisted chiefly of merchandise, for New Castle dealers. Among the losers were Watson & Co., thirteen hogshead of sugar, valued at one thousand dollars; the Croton Glass Company, soda ash to the value of three hundred dollars; Joseph Kissick, flour valued at one hundred and fifty dollars; McCleary & Phillips, groceries, one hundred and fifty dollars; and Tidball & Blevins, groceries of the value of one hundred dollars. Watson & Co.'s sugar was saved. A severe frost occurred on the night of the 4th of June, destroying all garden vegetables, and injuring the crops seriously.
The 4th of July was duly celebrated by firing salutes and ringing bells, by horse-racing, pic-nics, &c.
An accident, which terminated fatally, occurred on the 7th of July. John Steen, Esq., of Bridgewater, Beaver county, accidentally fell down the stairway of Messrs. Johnston & Dana's office, injuring himself so severely as to, cause his death on the 10th. He was about eighty-three years of age. The Lawrence County Agricultural and Horticultural Society seems to have been in a flourishing condition at this date. Their Fairs were generally well attended and profitable. At its annual meeting, in the Fall of 1859, the following officers were elected: President, Dr. D. Leasure; Vice Presidents, Isaac N. Gibson, of Wilmington, and Joseph Cunningham, of Wayne; Managers, E. M. McConnell, of Pollock, and W. C. Harbison, of Shenango; Treasurer, Wm. McClymonds, of Union; Secretary, David Craig of New Castle.
Notwithstanding the great frost of June 4th of this year, it is reported that the crops of garden vegetables were exceedingly fine and abundant.
John G. Saxe, the well-known poet and humorist, lectured in New Castle.
At the borough election on the 16th of March, the following gentlemen were elected to the respective offices named: Burgess, Wm. Moore; Council, Thomas Pearson, J. R. Moore; Justices, David Tidball, J. M. Craig; Constable, James J. Cook; School Directors, David Craig, Edward Thomas; Overseer of the Poor, A. H., Leslie; Assessor, John L. Warnock; Auditor, Robert Boyd; Judge of Elections, B. C. Emery; Inspectors, James R. Shaw, John Dickson.
A thrilling incident occurred on the 10th of May, in New Castle. About 10 o'clock in the forenoon of that day, a span of the tow-path bridge over the Neshannock creek, about seventy feet long, and forming about one-half the total length, fell with a crash into the stream, carrying with it three persons and three horses. The creek was very high at the time. Two of the persons, Mr. Charles McFarland and a boy named Isaac Jones, fell near the shore, and McFarland came out safely, bringing the boy with him.
The other person was a lad about seven years of age, named John, a son of Michael Reynolds. When the bridge gave way, he was riding one of the horses, but in the fall was thrown headlong from the animal, and disappeared below the whirling waters. He quickly arose, however, and though so young, happened to be a good swimmer, and struck out manfully for a piece of the floating timber of the wreck. Seizing it, be floated toward the dam, and plunged over a distance of some twelve feet, while the lookers-on, were horror-struck, and thought the lad was surely drowned. But he appeared again below, and grasping the timber, from which he had been separated in the plunge, floated downstream until the timber struck against the pier of the foot bridge, where it lodged, and he was soon rescued from his perilous position.
The horses were all rescued from the terrible adventure, and the only loss was the value of the timbers washed away.
In the month of June, of this year, Captain Leslie removed to New Brighton, where he took charge of the Huron House.
The Leslie House was closed for repairs, and, when thoroughly renovated and refurnished, was opened to the public in August.
"Wide Awake" clubs were formed in New Castle early in the Presidential campaign of this year, and the streets were frequently enlivened with torch-light processions and music.
A serious accident occurred in the fore part of September. A young lad about ten years old, son of Hugh Mullen, of East New Castle, fell from a wild-cherry tree, a distance of some twenty feet, fracturing both arms, one of them very badly. Erysipelas attacked the right arm, and it became necessary to amputate it. A few weeks later, a second operation became necessary. The boy, however, recovered, after undergoing as severe a trial as can be imagined.
It was during the season of 1860 that the people of the now thriving State of Kansas suffered terribly from famine, caused by excessive drouth, and in common with other portions of the country, New Castle and vicinity responded nobly to the wants of the suffering people. A meeting was held on the evening of the 10th of December, for the purpose of organizing, in order to raise supplies. John Elder was chosen president, and W. H. Shaw and E. S. Durban secretaries; and a committee of five, consisting of the following persons, was appointed to collect subscriptions: J. N. Euwer, Wm. McClymonds, E. S. Durban, O. P. Shiras and G. C. Morgan. R. W. Clendenin was elected treasurer.
The year 1861 opened gloomily to the people of the United States. The dark and threatening clouds of civil war hung heavily in the horizon, the hurried tramp of armed hosts was heard in the Southern portion of the Union, while anxious solicitude shadowed all the hearts of the North people.
New Castle partook of the general feeling, and patriotic meetings were held and expression given to the Union sentiments of the people. On the 22d of February a meeting of citizens who were "friendly to the Union as it is," was called at the Court House. Hon. Thomas Pomeroy was called to the chair, and G. C. Morgan, Joseph Kissick, Jacob VanGorder and William Stunkard were chosen as Vice Presidents, and E. S. Durban, Jacob Haus and J. M. Kuester, Secretaries. A series of resolutions, expressive of great devotion to the Union, was passed unanimously, and the meeting was addressed by R. B. McComb, Rev. R. A. Browne, Hon. D. Agnew, D. Craig and Hon. L. L. McGuffin.
At the borough election, held on the 15th of March, the followig were the names of the officers elected: Burgess, William Moore; Constable, Thomas F. Sankey; Council, Thomas Campbell, Burkhardt Raub; School Directors, Manassa Henlein, Wm. H. Reynolds; Judge of Election, James R. Wallace; Inspectors, Joseph B. Reynolds, John W. Cunningham; Auditor, D. H. Wallace; Assessor, James Henderson; Assistant Assessors, Thomas Falls, Joseph Kissick; Overseer of the Poor, Alexander Ross.
A strong effort was made about this time to secure the location of the New Wilmington College buildings, which had lately been destroyed by fire, at New Castle. A public meeting was held at White Hall, and a committee of five was appointed to solicit subscriptions, which eventually aggregated $7,265. The amount pledged failed, however, to secure the change in the location, and new buildings were erected at New Wilmington.
On the 25th of March, a curious and somewhat ludicrous accident occur. red in New Castle. The store of David Winternitz, near the west end of the Neshannock bridge, on Washington street, was nearly destroyed by the explosion of a can of blasting-powder, which, by some carelessness, was [p. 37] thrown into the stove along with some coal. Three persons were in the store at the time, but strange to say no one was seriously injured. The parties were Mr. D. Winternitz, owner of the establishment; Mr. E. Lepper, a printer from the Courant office, and a little son of Joseph Mcmillan. A lady standing near the door and the little boy both ran away instantly and escaped injury. Dr. Leasure, whose office was nearly opposite, saw the roof of the store lifted into the air, and beheld the windows blown into fragments. He ran across to see what was the cause, and entering the building, found Winternitz staggering about in the dense powder-smoke, completely bewildered, but not much injured. Lepper ran out of the ruins with part of a cabbage-head under his arm, and as he met the doctor, exclaimed: "What the devil does it mean?" When satisfied as to the cause, he remarked that he was bound to have the balance of his cabbage-head, and disappeared in the smoke, The stock was badly damaged, and the building, which was a one-story frame structure, was nearly a complete wreck.
On the morning of the 22d of April, the ladies of East New Castle unfurled the National flag over the Court House, with their own hands. The occasion was enlivened by vocal and instrumental music, and speeches were made by Lewis Taylor and Hon. L. L. McGuffin.
On the same day the national colors were thrown to the breeze from St. Mary's Catholic Church, in West New Castle, amid the cheers and hurrahs of two thousand people. Addresses were made by Lewis Taylor, D. B. Kurtz, R. B. McComb, L. L. McGuffin, D. Craig and Rev. J. B. Williams.
On the 24th of April an immense Union meeting was held on the "Diamond." Hon. Thomas Pomeroy was President, and twenty-eight old soldiers of the war of 1812 were elected Vice Presidents. The Secretaries were E. S. Durban and James M. Kuester. A series of strong resolutions were adopted, and a patriotic song, composed by J. W. Fulkerson, was sung to the famous war-hymn of France, the Marsellaise. Addresses were made by Revs. D. C. Osborne, R. A. Browne, Samuel Bentley, Hon. L. L. McGuffin, a Mr. Weyman, of Pittsburgh, E. S. Durban, Wm. M. Francis and Rev. J. B. Williams.
About this time the Lawrence Guards volunteered for three months. They numbered 167 men, and were officered as follows: Captain, Dr. Daniel Leasure; First Lieutenant, Edward O'Brien; Second Lieutenant, J. J. Cook; Third Lieutenant, John S. King. They were subsequently divided into two companies.
A number of additional companies were soon after raised in and around New Castle. Among these were the German Guards, composed of Germans; St. Mary's, composed of Catholic citizens; the Rifle Guards, commanded by Captain E. B. McComb, and the Silver Grays, consisting of middle-aged men and soldiers of the war of 1812.
In June of this year, the Rev. A. B. Bradford, a citizen of New Castle, was appointed consul to the port of Amoy, China.
The 4th of July, 1861, was celebrated with great eclat in New Castle. The bells were rung early in the morning, and a national salute was fired by the Weyman Grays. The principal feature of the day was a grand military parade, in which the following organizations participated: Washington Guards, Captain James McCune; Slippery Rock Guards, Captain J. H. Cline; Washington Grays, Captain J. H. Rhodes; Union Riflemen, Captain P. S. Morton; Weyman Grays, Captain John Young; Eastbrook Guards, Captain A. Buchanan; Mahoning Guards, Captain Wm. Burns; Pulaski Rifles, Captain W. C. Oliver; Lawrence Grays, Captain J. Davidson; Fayette Union Grays, Captain James Blair; Liberty Guards, Captain O. L. Jackson; Union Cadets, Captain D. M. Cubbison; Zouaves, Captain D. H. Wallace.
These organizations were formed into a regiment, under the command of Colonel Samuel Bentley, with Wm. H. Shaw as lieutenant-colonel, and W.P. Randolph as adjutant.
A neat flag was presented to the Union Cadets by the ladies of New Castle, Dr. R. A. Browne making the presentation speech, which was gallantly responded to by Captain Cubbison,
The Weyman Grays were also presented with a stand of colors by Miss Harriet K. Weyman, daughter of Mr. George Weyman, of Pittsburgh, for whom the company was named. Rev. Mr. Hill, of Pittsburgh, made the presentation speech, and Rev. Osborne, of New Castle, responded. On the 8th of August, the Lawrence Guards, who had been out in the three months' service, returned to New Castle. They had been divided into two companies-- Company H, commanded by Captain Leasure, and Company D, by Captain O'Brien.
Several companies of "Home Guards" met them at the canal landing, and escorted them to the "Diamond," where they were addressed by Rev. D. C. Osborne, after which they were dismissed, and departed for their several homes.
On Saturday evening, the 10th of August, George Painter, a member of the Weyman Greys, while on his way home from Pittsburgh, was thrown from the train and instantly killed.
On the 12th of August, a great storm passed over New Castle, doing considerable damage, particularly along the valley of Big Run. The waters of this stream rose to an unprecedented height, and swept away a part of the old canal aqueduct, the dwelling and stable of Henry Oliphant, a stable belonging to Casper Ott, John Hill's soap factory, the dam on the Run, and part of the saw-mill belonging to Messrs. J. and J. C. White. The ground where Mr. Oliphant's dwelling stood was completely swept away, so that the creek-bed occupied the place. The loss on Mr. Hill's soap factory was estimated at from $1,000 to $1,500.
On the 14th of October, Frederick Seifert, of New Castle, was accidentally shot and killed in camp, at the city of Washington, D. C., being the first man killed from this section.
New Castle furnished her full share of men for the army during the rebellion, and her citizens were ever prompt at their country's call for men and means. Among those who took a prominent part in the ranks of her military men, were Colonel Daniel Leasure, Colonel Edward O'Brien, a hero of the Mexican war, Colonel D. H. Wallace, Colonel O. L. Jackson, Colonel R. B. McComb, and many others. A full roster of the soldiers who went out from New Castle and Lawrence county, will be found in another part of this work. Soldiers' aid societies were organized by the ladies, concerts were given for the benefit of soldiers' wives and orphans, and in many ways those who remained at home contributed generously to the comfort of those "upon the tented field" and in the crowded hospitals at the rear.
At the borough election which took place on the 21st of March, 1862, the following officers were elected : Burgess, Wm. Moore; Council, John W. Cunningham, Ben. C. Emery; Constable, Thomas F. Sanke ; Assessor John Watson; Auditor, S. W. Dana; Overseer of the Poor, S. W. Mitchell; School Directors, Dr. A. H. M. Peebles, for three years; David Tidball, three years; James R. Shaw, one year; Cyrus Clarke, one year; Judge of Elections, J. S. Agnew; Inspectors, Thomas Marshall, Thomas F. Jackson.
In the month of August, two companies of troops, while on their way from New Castle to Harrisburg, were met at the Pittsburgh depot by the mayor of Allegheny, who presented Captain Edward O'Brien, commander of one of the companies, a handsome sword. A few days later, at Harrisburg, Walter Clark, first lieutenant of Captain O'Brien's company, was presented with an elegant sword by his mother. Wm. M. Francis made the presentation speech.
A draft was ordered for this section during this year, and Dr. J. H. M. Peebles was appointed examining surgeon, and Jacob Haus, Esq., draft commissioner.
On the 5th of February, 1863, an interesting party of old people met at the house of Joseph T. Boyd, one of the pioneer merchants of New Castle, who came here and opened a store in a log building, belonging to Jesse Du Shane, in 1806. Mr. Boyd was eighty-two years old at the time of the party, and among his gray-headed compeers were Jesse Du Shane, aged 89 years; George Pearson, 86; Robert McGuffin, 85; and Robert Wallace, 84. Among other guests were E. S. Durban, Esq., Major Shaw and Colonel Leasure.
On the 23d of March, a preliminary meeting for the purpose of forming a "Union League" was called at White Hall. John Ferguson, Esq., was made chairman, and Joseph Kissick, George W. Miller, Robert Cochran, Joseph Justice, Cyrus Clarke, John Moorhead and Samuel Hamilton were chosen vice presidents. E. S. Durban and J. W. Blanchard were secretaries. Hon. David Sankey stated the object of the meeting, and addresses were made by Rev. D. C. Wright and Dr. John W. Wallace. A series of resolutions was unanimously adopted. On Saturday evening, the 28th of March, the League was formally organized with the following officers: President, M. Gantz; Vice Presidents, Wm. Book, George B. Woodworth, Samuel Hamilton, O. G. Hazen, James Ray, John Moorbead; Recording Secretary, Wm. McClymonds; Corresponding Secretary, E. S. Durban; Treasurer, Joseph Kissick; Executive Committee, D. Craig, John McCartney, R. B. McComb, G. W. Miller, Hon. David Sankey and John Ferguson.
This year marks an epoch in the history of New Castle. On the 15th of June the last tie was laid on the Beaver Valley railway, and a connection formed with the Erie and Pittburgh road, giving New Castle the advantage of the greatest of modern inventions--the railway. The Erie and Pittsburgh road was in full running order about the 15th of July following. The Ashtabula, Youngstown and Pittsburgh railway, extending from [p. 38] Youngstown, Ohio, to Mahoningtown in Lawrence county, was put in operation in 1864-65, and the New Castle and Franklin road about 1874. These roads give New Castle direct connections with the Western reserve, in the great State of Ohio, and with the famous oil-regions of Pennsylvania.
The increase of the borough of New Castle from 1850 to 1860, as indicated by the United States census reports, was comparatively slight, being only 262; but the census does not probably show the actual increase, it being largely outside the borough limits, which comprised only a small part of the actual population, to which the old borough is only the nucleus.
New Castle was erected into a borough on the 25th of March, 1825. The first burgess was Robert McConahy; the second, John Frazier, and the third, Joseph Justice. The old records, from 1825 down to 1852, have been lost or destroyed, and we are unable to give the names of most of the burgesses during those years. We give what we have been able to identify:
1836, Joshua Logan. 1859, A. Lewis. 1843, William Mitchell. 1860, William Moore. 1848, Thomas Sloan. 1861, Nathan Morrill. 1852, J. R. Emery. 1862, William Moore. 1853, Joseph Kissick. 1863, Nathan Morrill. 1854, William Moore. 1864, Nathan Morrill. 1855, Thomas Pearson. 1865, David Craig. 1856, Stillman Briggs. 1866, Nathan Morrill. 1857, Alexander Ross. 1867, J. W. Reynolds. 1858, Alexander Ross. 1868, J. W. Reynolds.
This brings it down to the date of its erection into a city.
The borough was raised to the dignity of a city February 25th, 1869, and divided into two wards, the first ward including all of the former Pollock township, and the second the whole of what had heretofore been the borough, and considerable territory from Neshannock township.
This enlargement of the limits added greatly to the population, the census of 1870 giving the new city 6,164 inhabitants. What the actual increase for the decade was could not be known without comparing the census of the townships at different periods, but it was probably considerable, as the decade between 1860 and 1870 included a period of great prosperity in all branches of business transacted in New Castle.
The first city election was held on the third Friday of March, 1869. The first Mayor was T. B. Morgan; President of Select Council, R. W. Cunningham; President of Common Council, David Craig; Secretary, John McMichael.
1870.--Mayor, M. B. Welch; City Clerk and Engineer, A. Vandivort. 1871.--Mayor, M. B. Welch; City Clerk and Engineer, A. Vandivort. 1872.--Mayor, William S. Black; City Clerk and Engineer, A. Vandivort. 1873.--Mayor, Thomas McBride; City Clerk and Engineer, H. R. Clark. 1874.--Mayor, Thomas McBride; Clerk and Engineer, H. R. Clark. 1875.--Mayor, Thomas McBride; Clerk and Engineer, Ellis Morrison.
By an Act of Assembly approved May 23, 1874, New Castle was made a city of the third class, (which includes cities having from ten thousand to one hundred thousand inhabitants), and by order of the Court of Quarter Sessions made December 6, 1876, it was divided into four wards.
The following shows the present city government, 1877:
Mayor--John R. Richardson. Treasurer--James A. Addis. Comptroller--D. Osborne. Solicitor--A. L. Hazen. City Clerk and Engineer--Ellis Morrison. Assistant Engineer--Will. J. Elder. Chief of Police--James J. Cook. Chief Engineer of Fire Department--Geo. C. Hazen. Poor House Auditor--James, Lutton. Poor House Directors--John Taylor, W. H. Reynolds, Joseph S. Taylor. First Ward.--Alderman, J. P. Leslie; Constable, H. H. Shaefer; Assessor, Jacob Wilbur. Select Council--D. S. Morris, A. Treser. Common Council--J. A. Hainer, D. H. Wallace, D. Dickey, Thomas Allen. School Comptroller--Wm. A. Stritmater, J. J. Wallace. Judge of Elections--T. F. Stryker. Inspectors of Elections--Hugh G. Gibson, Charles N. Tyler. Second Ward.--Alderman, Samuel Bowman; Constable, Henry Ross, Assessor, J. W. Reynolds. Select Council--James M. Mayne, C. C. Sankey. Common Council--Hugh Flinn, Samuel Dunn, Geo. B. Berger. School Comptrollers--John S. Taggart, Samuel Bowman. Judge of Elections--Walter D. Clark. Inspectors--William Bennett, A. W. Harbison. Third Ward.--Alderman, Jacob Haus. Select Council--A. T. McCready, O. H. P. Green. Common Council--Wm. F. Butz, R. C. McChesney, Joseph Kissick. School Comptrollers--E. T. Kurtz, Charles Moffatt. Judge of Elections--George Crow. Inspectors--Wm. Lonacre, G. W. McCracken. Assessor--E. M. McConnell. Constable--Stephen B. Marshall. Fourth Ward.--Select Council--Cowden Raney, D. C. Irish. Alderman--J. B. Reynolds. Common Council--S. M. Young, Elias Long, J. W. Taylor, R. C. Dunlap. School Comptrollers--F. B. Newlan, Dr. G. W. Veach. Judge of Elections--Wm. Ashton. Inspectors--Wm. S. Emery, J. S. Lanning. Assessor--A. M. Vogan. Constable--John Marshall.New Castle continued in next section.
From the 1770 - 1877 History of Lawrence County by S. W. and P. A. DURANT.
Explanation and Caution | Abbreviations | Lawrence Co. Maps | 1877 Portraits
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Updated: 28 Dec 2000, 17:40