NEW WILMINGTON'S LOCAL HISTORY
New Wilmington, as we all know, is a beautiful village situated almost equal distant from Mercer and New Castle, on the direct road between those places, and for the benefit of any who may wish to walk to [p. 46] the latter place for exercise or amusement, we will say it is by actual measurement 10 1/2 miles distant therefrom.
New Wilmington lies on a high knot of ground, or rather, in Western parlance, on the second bottom of Little Neshannock Creek, with a fine view of that very fertile and lovely valley north, south and east. Little did the first settlers of the place think of what a beautiful little town they were laying the foundation of when, away back in the year 1798, they pushed forward into the wilds of forests of (then) Mercer county; they little dreamed of the changes that 80 years would bring to their cabin home in the woods. Could they see it now, with its 700 inhabitants and many substantial, if not palatial, residences, they no doubt would be astonished.
Of course, may a town has grown larger and become more wealthy in the same space of time; but they were surrounded by things of greater importance for building up a city, such as ore, coal, & c., for the manufacture of iron and iron products, although New Wilmington had at one time a furnace for the manufacture of pig iron or metal; but when it was discovered that iron could be made with coal far cheaper than with charcoal, this industry had to five way, and we are sorry to state no other has yet taken its place; but as all manufacturers now seek for railroad facilities they could hardly expect to engage remuneratively in anything of the kind in New Wilmington, where, until recently, no railroad facilities existed, and in fact very little exist even at the present time, as witness: A person wishing to travel to Mercer, on the morning train, would leave New Wilmington about 10 o'clock and arrive in Mercer at, or near, 1 p.m., three hours to travel by rail a distance that would only be an ordinary walk for some men in the same time; and we will say right here that many improvements could be made in regard to traveling accommodations to and from New Wilmington. But as we cannot have all things as we would wish to have them, we suppose we had best put up with the inconveniences we have and be thankful they are no worse.
But now as to the history of New Wilmington proper: The one who first penetrated the forests of this section and to whom, we are informed, the original patent of the Government was given for all the land in this section was James WAUGH, who settled near here in the year 1798, and built a house either the same year or the year following; said house was built on ground now owned by Miss Mary HAMMOND, the house standing almost on the same spot as the present structure now occupied by her. It seems to have been Mr. WAUGH's intention from the first to start a village here, as one of his first acts was to lay out a town in the section surrounding the lower Diamond, which of course has been added to from time to time as the increasing population and business demanded, until we now have the beautiful village.
The next settler who had the hardihood and nerve to face the hardships of a home in the woods was James HAZLEP, who came in the year 1800, and to him belongs the honor of building the second house in this place, the exact location of which we could not learn. The next house built and the oldest now standing is the house on the south-west corner of the Diamond, now occupied by Mr. H.W. BROOKS. It was the first house [p. 47] within the plot of the newly laid out town. This house was built by Dr. HINDMAN, in the year 1824.
The first business venture of any kind was a tannery, started by John GALLOWAY in the year 1825. From this small beginning has this town steadily grown; street after street has been opened until we now have a town at present is called Market street; the next in importance is called Water street, running due east and west; then we have Mercer street, running parallel with Market, on which is built the M.E. church; then High street and New Castle street, also running parallel with Market; then beginning at the lower side of town and running diagonal with these streets we first have Donehoo street, named after Dr. DONEHOO, who formerly owned most of the land in that section; next Professor street, then College avenue, College street and Vine street; then on the north of Water street we have quite a number of streets, but none of them as yet given any permanent name.
The first church organization was an Associated Reformed church, the one now known as the First U.P. church. This was organized about 1810 or 1812. The M.E. church was organized in 1839. These two represent the different denominations in the village, with Neshannock Presbyterian church about one mile from town.
The greatest and most appreciated event in the history of New Wilmington was the starting of Westminster Collegiate Institute (now Westminster College). The college was opened April 26, 1852, by Mr. Vincent, of the Associate Reformed church, with about twenty pupils present. In September of the same year two more teachers were added, and in 1854 the first regular faculty was elected, the Rev. Dr. PATTERSON, president, and from this on it has grown to its present proportions. The first college building was erected in 1852, the next in 1854, which building was burned February 5, 1861, and the present structure erected.
One of the greatest conveniences of this town, and one of which it can boast and the peopled feel proud of, if its superior side-walks, as no town of its size, and very few larger towns have anything to equal it. There are at a rough estimate almost five miles of No. 1 flag stone moonlight promenades inside the borough limits.
The town had many other things to feel proud of; but it also has many thing it needs improvement in. One of these is home enterprise and more interest in home institutions, &c. It also has great need of some kind of protection against the destroying hand of fire, as, should a fire break out in a closely-built portion of the town, nothing would save it from destruction. It could also be improved in its police protection. The law should be more rigidly enforced and there should be less rowdyism on its streets.
The borough officers at the present time are as follows: Burgess, J.A. LINENGER; Councilmen, Andrew MARQUIS, S. PRICE, Geo. M. ROBINSON, W.H. BLACK, Wm. MCLAUGHRY, Frank DAWSON; Constable, Geo. THOMPSON; High Constable, S. PRICE.
There are four churches here as follows: The First U.P., with Rev. MCVEY pastor, the Second U.P., Rev. KENNEDY pastor; the Presbyterian, [p. 48] Rev. J.M. MEALEY pastor, and the M.E. church, with Rev. E.O. STONE pastor.
The following is a sketch of the principal business men of New Wilmington, which will be read with interest by all:
Is one of the pioneer store-keepers of Lawrence county and is still in business here. In 1847 he came from Pittsuburgh to Fayetteville, a mile or so north of this place, and opened a general merchandise store, where he continued in business until some time in the year 1852, when he moved to New Wilmington and opened a general merchandise store. He has thus served the people of New Wilmington borough for over thirty-four years in the capacity of merchant and still retains a number of the customers he had when he first commenced business here, an evidence that he has given satisfaction. Mr. ELLIOTT has a good general merchandise store and sells goods at a reasonable profit. He is now 59 years of age, and THE NEWS unites with his friends in the wish that he may live to be twice that old.
The postmaster of New Wilmington, was born in Washington county, in 1822, and after he reached the proper age learned the tailoring trade at Cross Creekville, where he worked until about 1844, when he came to New Wilmington. Since then he has worked at his trade here carrying on a shop for some years. On the 19th of October, 1885, he was appointed postmaster under the Democratic administration. He is the only Democrat who has held the position in twenty-five years and is a careful and consistent officer. His son, Charley, is his assistant in the office. Mr. WILSON was married May 10, 1844, to Mary BROWN, in this place. By the marriage seven children were born, and with the exception of one, which died in infancy, all are living, as follows: Doctors, H.R. and William, of Portersville; George, of Bradford; Charles, of this place; Zippa DAVIDSON, of Lima, O. Mr. and Mrs. WILSON are enjoying the best of health.
Was born in Mercer county, March 22, 1857, and came to this place from Union township, last March. Mr. ZUVER has been a sufferer from the results of a typhoid fever sickness and has not been able to work at anything since he came to New Wilmington. Sometime ago he opened up a five and ten cent store on the upper Diamond and is doing a fair business. He has everything found in a five and ten cent store as well as novelties, cigar, tobacco, and a small line of groceries. Mr. ZUVER is a young man just starting in business and deserves your patronage. You will find him straight-forward in all his dealings and will get your money's worth in goods from him.
The butcher, came to this place about seven years ago. He was born in Mercer county in 1849, and started up in business for himself in Bullion during the oil excitement, but through the influence of Dr. PETITT, a former physician here, he came here, as stated above, and at this writing he is not sorry that he made the change, for his business has steadily in- [p. 49] creased in the summer time averaging five and six heard of cattle a week. He is largely experienced in his business and buys nothing but the very best of stock. In connection with the meat market he sells flour, feed, etc., and does a good business in that line. He has built a handsome house near the depot. He is prosperous and doing well; always pleases his customers, and is one of our most popular citizens.
Is now 28 years of age, and has been in the carriage and wagon making business here about two years. He learned his trade with J.H. HENDERSON, of New Castle, and after completing the trade went to North Liberty, Mercer county, and opened up a shop and remained there five years. He was born in Slipperyrock township, this county. Mr. VANHORN has been doing a good business here since he came to town and opened the shop, and is meeting with the success a first-class workman deserves. His wagons and buggies are gaining a reputation for being durable and made of first-class material. His shop is located in the rear of the St. Charles Hotel, and he will accommodate all who call on him. He makes a specialty of repairing, with a guarantee that he will give satisfaction.
Was born within a mile of New Wilmington in 1817 and has been here most of the time since. He went to school in the old WAUGH school house when there were only three houses in town. Mr. SCOTT has seen the town grow from two or three houses to a handsome town of 700 or 800 inhabitants. He has seen his old playmates pass over the river and can tell of many strange events which transpired in the growth of the place. He was an old time stock drover for a number of years, and made trips when there were not any railroads around here. For the past twenty years he has been engaged in the butchering business, and his shop is located on the lower Diamond. He does a good business and will treat you well if you call and see him.
Who runs the grocery store is also the proprietor of a livery business as well as being a veterinary surgeon of ability. The grocery store is managed by Mr. John SINCLAIR, a good business man, and the store is doing a good business. He is the only exclusive grocer in town. Everything in the grocery and provision line is kept there and sold for a very small profit. All the goods are purchased for a low price for cash and a large discount is thus received. Mr. SMITH is thus able to sell groceries and his goods at a very small profit. His manager Mr. SINCLAIR understands the buying of goods and knows just what the people of New Wilmington want. It is always safe to purchase your groceries of J.H. SMITH.
Who came here from Mercer about two years ago is minehost of the only hotel in New Wilmington, viz., "The St. Charles." Mr. Stewart and his estimable wife are hotel people who understand their business. The table is at all times well spread with all that the country affords, and [p. 50]
seasonable eatables can always be had at their house. They make it pleasant for all who call and see them, while the rates are at all times reasonable. In addition to the hotel business a bakery is run in connection with the house, and everything usually found at a first-class bakery establishment can be had there. For a good square meal and a good bed as well as a first-class lunch, there isn't a house in the country will do any better by you than the New Wilmington St. Charles Hotel.
Was born near Fayetteville, this county, February 28, 1818, on a farm. He has followed the occupation of farmer for a great number of years, and only retired from the farm some eight years ago, when he moved into New Wilmington. He was married November 11, 1839, and has been the father of eleven children, seven daughters and four sons. Four daughters and one son are now living. Mr. SAMPSON has served twenty-five years as a Justice of Peace, has been auditor, and has served in almost every township and borough office. He is now president of the Fair Oaks Cemetery Association. His son, John Calvin SAMPSON, of the 100th Regiment P.V., was a prisoner of the war during the Rebellion, and died in Columbia, South Carolina rebel prison. Mr. SAMPSON, having been within a mile or so of New Wilmington, has seen the town grow from a few homes into a handsome village. He has been and is one of Lawrence county's best citizens, and has done much for the improvement of New Wilmington.
GEORGE M. ROBINSON
Was born in Belleville, Mifflin county, in 1843, and learned the blacksmith trade with his father. His father came here in 1854 and after that run a shop in the oil country for thirteen years. Mr. ROBINSON has been in business here since 1869 and has done a great deal for the place. He does a general blacksmithing business as well as general repairing. He is a good workman, thoroughly understands his business, and give satisfaction both as to the quality of the work done and as to the prices he charges. Mr. ROBINSON is a member of the town council, and a useful member. He always has the welfare of the town at heart and is one of the pillars of the city father. Anyone wanting anything in his line couldn't do better than call on him.
Was born in Mifflin county, and is now 58 years of age. He opened a harness shop in this place in the year 1865 just at the close of the war, and has continued in business up to the present time. The firm name is yet S. PRICE although his son William is connected in the business with him. Mr. Price is at present high constable of the borough, and has served nine years as councilman. He is a good business man. That he makes good harness is evident from the fact that parties from all parts of Mercer and Lawrence counties call on him when wanting an unusually fine job done. By hard work he has succeeded in building up an excellent business, and he never fails to please those who call on him. Call and see him when wanting anything in his line. [p. 51]
DR. A. EDGAR TUSSEY
Is a native of Alexandria, Huntington county, this state. His boyhood days were spent near the place of his birth. He attended literary school at the Alexandria select school and then went to Indiana State Normal School. Much of his time since he began the study of medicine was spent in private study. He commenced the study of medicine in 1879 and graduated from the University of Maryland with the class of '82-'83. Since then he has been in active practice at Grafton, near the place of his birth, but owing to the fact that he was so far away from the church of his choice and also to the fact that the country was so hilly and very hard to travel the doctor decided to make a change, and accordingly came to New Wilmington Nov. 5, 1886, and intends to make the place his future home. During his study of medicine he has been much interested in the study of diseases of the nervous system as well as the diseases of the mind. The doctor is a pleasant gentleman and has made hosts of friends in New Wilmington since his arrival here. His practice is increasing rapidly.
JOHN E. RAMSEY
Is a native of New Wilmington and was born Feb. 2, 1850. He went to school until he was 16 years of age and then assisted his father in his shop. He also worked some at painting until the death of his father, which occurred March 21, 1885. His father, Robert RAMSEY, was born in Huntington county, and learned the cabinet making trade there. He came here about 45 years ago, opened a shop and carried on the business of cabinet making, furniture dealer and undertaker until his death. The old gentleman made his furniture by hand until about four years before his death. he also constructed his own hearse, which is a model and is now in use by his son. Robert RAMSEY was an earnest Christian man, a member of the M.E. church, and had the esteem and respect of all who knew him. He was one of the pioneers of the place and watched the growth of the town with keen interest. His wife, who survives him, is a pleasant old lady of 77 years and enjoys good health. John E. RAMSEY, who continues the furniture and undertaking business, is enterprising and can furnish his customers with anything in the furniture or undertaking line and at less than city prices. You can buy anything you can find in a city store at his place and at just as low a price. Call and see him.
Was born in Allegheny county in 1846. In his early youth he taught school for two years, and then went into the live stock business, in which he continued about five years. He came here fifteen years ago and opened a general merchandise store, and went into the stock business, as well as farming, and also has a fine lumber trade. Mr. MARSHALL is also a building contractor and has erected a number of fine dwellings in and around this place. He has assisted materially in improving the place. Mr. MARSHALL has thus conducted his business without any change in the firm for over fifteen years, probably longer than any other general store [p. 52] in town. Mr. MARSHALL is a first-class business man, and carries a large stock of goods which he sells at unusually low prices.
MCKINLEY & HALEY
The druggists, have been in business in this place the past five years, Mr. John B. HALEY, the junior member of the firm, having the control and management. The store is located on Market street, in a pleasant room and is well filled with goods common to a first-class drug store. Mr. HALEY is a druggist of large experience and manages the business. All prescriptions are filled by Mr. Haley, and thus no mistakes can possibly occur. They keep a large and handsome stock of goods at the store and will sell them at low prices. In the book line the firm has large and elegant variety, and being the only store in town which sells books, does a good business. They handle the Reymor Bros.' fine candles and confections.
Hardware, tinware and house furnishing goods is what is sold by the gentleman named above. This store was established in 1869 by W.S. LOCKE, father of the present proprietor, who conducted the business until the year 1880 when he sold out to Geo. E. PRATHER & W.H. LOCKE. This firm continued in business one year when Mr. PRATHER withdrew. W.H. LOCKE took the store and business and has run the same ever since. Mr. LOCKE also makes a business of roofing and painting and all the business usually attended to by one of his trade. He is a good workman, makes reasonable charges for his work and gets plenty to do. He invites the public to call him when wanting anything in his line and guarantees to please in very particular. Call and see him.
Is connected with more enterprises in town than any other man in the place. He came to New Wilmington in 1876; has built a handsome brick block, besides improving the town in various ways. He is burgess of the place, as well as president of the town council. He is connected with the firm of Lininger Bros. & Co. in the clothing business, the members of which are J.A. LININGER, S.S. LININGER AND S.S. BROCKWAY. The firm carries a large line of ready-made clothing, hats, caps, gents' furnishing goods, etc. Lininger & Johnston is another firm in which he is connected with D.H. JOHNSTON in the hardware business. This firm also does well and sells a large amount of goods. J.A. Lininger has demonstrated that a newspaper can live in New Wilmington by publishing THE GLOBE, a good family country newspaper, whose editor is Will ORR, Jr., a fluent writer. The paper is on a paying basis and is doing well. Mr. LININGER is an enterprising citizen and would be a credit to any city or country.
The five and ten cent store man, was born in Mifflin county, this State, Dec. 7, 1840. He was raised on the farm of his father, I.R. BARR, who died in 1855. In September, 1862, he enlisted in the Sixteenth P.V. Cavalry, and was mustered out of the service in June, 1865, at Lynchburg, [p. 53] Va. He then came to Shenango township, this county, where he went on a farm. In March, 1885, he opened a five and ten cent store in New Wilmington, and since then has been doing a good business. On the 25th of September, 1885, I.R. BARR and Jennie PRATHER were united in marriage. Mr. BARR's father was the parent of eleven children, eight of whom are now living. His five and ten cent stock of goods is complete and a person would be surprised at the number of articles one can get at his place for a small sum of money. Call and see him.
The village barber, has been in town the past four years. By the way, New Wilmington has had many barbers in her time, but Mr. BROOKS has earned the reputation of staying here years longer than any other of his trade. Barber and barber has come and gone, but Mr. BROOKS still hangs on, and what is better, is doing well. He opened up in Wilson's corner Jan. 1, 1883, and moved from there onto the Scott property, and from there to his present location. Mr. BROOKS is a good workman and has been in business many years. He is a pleasant, intelligent conversationalist, steady as clockwork, and is slowly but surely making money. He is well thought of by the people and has gained a reputation of being a superior workman. Call and see him when you want a clean shave.
Is a native of this place and was born here in 1852. His father was engaged in the butchering business before him carrying on a business in town when there were only six houses. He inherited the business, and he has four brothers all of whom are engaged in the same trade. J.W. MEANS opened a shop here in his own account about fifteen years ago, and has continued in business almost ever since. His shop is now located on the Diamond, in the room formerly occupied by RAMSEY, the furniture and undertaking man. He is a good business man and is doing well. He understands the wants of New Wilmington's citizens from having been connected with them so long, and will be found at his place of business to attend to the wants of the people.
WILLIAM S. LOCKE
Was born in New Castle, June 15, 1828, and resided there until about 1869. He learned the tinsmith trade in New Lisbon, O., in 1841, and came back to New Castle where he worked in E. BENNET's tin store until January, 1847, when he went to Pittsburgh and worked under instruction for a year when he came back to New Castle and took charge of Silas BENNET's shop as foreman, in which capacity he worked for ten years. In 1861 he opened a shop of his own in New Castle and operated the same until about 1869, when he came to New Wilmington and opened a shop and was succeeded by his son some years ago. Mr. LOCKE can remember when there were not 100 people, no canal, iron works or other industries, and is surprised at the way the town grew. He was married September 30, 1852, to Catherine FLOOR, who died five years ago. He has two children living-Mrs. Mary Emma HUNTER, of Franklin, Pa., and his son W.H., who now owns the store. Mr. LOCKE is a kind-hearted man and has a [p. 54] pleasant word and smile for all. He is well thought of by his neighbors and has a large acquaintance in New Castle.
Was born in Hubbard, O., March 27th, 1808. His father died when he was only seven years of age. He remained on the farm in Hubbard until he was 16 years of age, when he went to Brookfield, O., on a farm. While there he served an apprenticeship to a chair manufacturer as well as learning the cabinet making business. From Brookfield he went to Hartford, Ohio, where he worked in a clock factory. After remaining there a short time he went to Pulaksi where he purchased a lot and erected the third house in the village, which is now the property of J.F. SCOTT, or that place. From there he went to Mercer county where he remained on a farm which he bought, until about twelve years ago, when he came to New Wilmington and remained. He has worked some at painting during the past twelve years. He was married to Margaret P. WALKER, of near New Bedford, by Rev. William WOOD, October 31, 1833. Mrs. BEST was born in 1810 and is still enjoying good health. The old couple wee married fifty years before there was a break in the family. There were nine children born to the couple, three of whom are dead. Those living are Mary, who is at home; James W., traveling for the Texas Siftings; Maggie HENRY, wife of Rev. Henry, of California; Albert, at home; Rev. John W., of Columbiana county, O., and Marcus BEST, of Chicago, who has been lately married to Mrs. Mary YOCUM, of Carbondale, Ill. Mr. and Mrs. BEST, although quite aged, are in the very best of health and are enjoying life.
Is comparatively a new-comer to us. About a year ago J.L. MCKEE, of near Plaingrove, opened a drug store on Market street, and run the store a short time, when he sold out to the present proprietor, H.E. CAMPBELL, who was engaged in the drug business at Grove City, Mercer county. Mr. CAMPBELL has one of the neatest drug stores in Lawrence county, well stocked with the best and freshest drugs and patent medicines, as well as toilet articles, cigars, tobaccos, etc. The prescription department is presided over by Mr. CAMPBELL, who fills all prescriptions, and as he is a careful and experienced pharmacist it is always safe to call on him for your medicines. Mr. CAMPBELL is doing a nice business.
THOMAS ASHMORE, JR.
Was born near Manchester, England, February 28th, 1837, and came to this country in 1863. His parents came across the sea with him but they returned a short time afterward. He has been across the Atlantic Ocean four different times, the last was to England, being made in 1876. When he came to this country he opened a boot and shoe shop and has been engaged in making and repairing boots and shoes here for the past 23 years. He also sells tobacco, cigars, confectionery. He does all his work well and has a good paying business. He has built several fine residences and has done much towards improving the place and is well thought of by his neighbors.
Stands in the center of the village of New Wilmington and is surrounded by a beautiful campus. The appearance is greatly improved since the unsightly fence was removed last year. The building, though not imposing is quite well adapted to the purposes for which it was erected, containing a sufficient number of recitation rooms, chapel, society halls, museum, &c. On the corner of the campus a building stands, part of which is used as a janitor's house and the remainder has been well fitted up for a laboratory. On a hill south of town stands the Ladies' Hall and Musical Conservatory. The hall is under the efficient care of Mrs. WALLACE and Mrs. Alice B. FINLEY has charge of the Conservatory. She temporarily takes the place of Prof. AUSTIN, who is spending the year at the New England Conservatory in Boston. Miss STROCH, of Beaver, is the instructor in the Art Department, and the quality of the work done is very credible to all concerned. There are advantages in this school, which is near at hand, of which our citizens should avail themselves. The Classics, German, Anglo-Saxon, the mathematics, the sciences, the accomplishments are all taught in accordance with approved modern methods. Persons may enter the regular classes for graduation or take a partial course if it is preferred. During the next spring term, for accommodation of teachers, special classes will be arranged for in arithmetic, physiology and grammar. The Faculty is full with the exception that Prof. R.O. GRAHAM is absent spending a year at Johns Hopkins University.
FRANK H. DAWSON
Mine host of the hotel Dawson and the proprietor of the Dawson livery stable is an enterprising young man, whom it is a pleasure to meet. Mr. DAWSON was lately in partnerships with S.S. LININGER in the livery business, but early in 1881 he purchased Mr. LININGER'S interest and took charge of the business himself. He leased the Central Hotel which has lately been repaired and placed in the best of condition. He has fitted the house up with new furniture and is keeping a first-class place of entertainment for the public. The hotel is pleasantly situated and Mr. Dawson is meeting with good success in his endeavors to please. His livery stable is stocked with first-class animals, while buggies and all the vehicles are in the best of condition. You will be well entertained when you go to Wilmington by Mr. DAWSON.
J.A. MERCER & CO.
The grocery firm which purchased the grocery store of J.M. CRAWFORD in the spring of 1887, is composed of J.A. MERCER, who was formerly in the milling business near here, and George MCFERRON a wholesale and retail groceryman of Allegheny City. Mr. MERCER has the sole charge of the store and since he took possession for the firm the increase in the business has been phenomenal. The store is well stocked with a large and elegant assortment of choice family groceries, flour, provisions, etc. Mr. MERCER is well and favorably known all over this section and we are glad to be able to state he s making a success of the business. You can be satisfied on getting just what you call for at this store. We take pleasure in recommending this firm to the public. [p. 56]
The firm of McNabb Brothers is composed of R.L., J.W., and F.S. MCNABB. The firm was organized in 1877 and a purchase was made of the hardware store of Lininger & Johnston. The company carries a full line of everything usually found in a first-class hardware store. A full line of household furnishing goods, such as stoves, tinware, etc. The company handle agricultural implements of all kinds, and are the sole agents for the Youngstown buggies. The McNabb Brothers were in business some years ago in Pulaski, this county, and are well and favorably known all over this part of the country. You can depend on being dealt with fairly and honestly at McNabb Brothers' store in New Wilmington. In addition to the stock mentioned above the firm handles lime, cement, phosphate and lime dust. When wanting anything in their line call on McNabb Brothers.
Wampum is a pleasant town of Lawrence county situated on the Beaver river about nine miles from New Castle and about forty miles from Pittsburgh, on the direct lines of the P.&L.E., P., Ft. W. & C. and P. & W. railroads. The hills in the surrounding country are rich in ore, limestone and coal. A large amount of ore is shipped from this point to the larger places in this part of the State. The first actual settlers within what is now the borough of Wampum came to the place in 1796, from Ireland. They were Robert and John DAVIDSON, brothers. They took up the site on which is now located the borough The DAVIDSON boys' mother came here from Ireland about 1798. They settled on a 200 acre tract, of which they received half for settling, and shortly afterwards purchased the balance for $100. There were seven sons in the DAVIDSON family and they all came to this vicinity. Robert DAVIDSON built the first grist mill in this part of the country in 1830, near where the Witherspoon mill is now located. Mr. DAVIDSON operated the mill until his death, which occurred in 1846. It was repaired and run by his heirs for about four years, when it was sold to Capt. A. REED in 1850. Edward KAY bought the mill in 1870 and run it for quite a long time, when it was burned down and never rebuilt. A new company was formed who built a fine mill just across the road from the site of the old one. The first furnace was built here by P.R. FREED & Co., of Pittsburg, in 1856. This firm operated the same for a number of years, but the business did not pay and the property was sold at assignee's sale. Samuel KIMBERLY in 1865 bought the establishment for a Cleveland, Ohio, iron company. The name of the works was then changed to the "Wampum Furnace Company." In 1868 [p. 57] Edward KAY bought an interest in the property. The capacity of the works was about 20 tons of metal a day. The company owned as well as the furnace property, valuable coal, limestone and iron ore lands which they operated extensively. The amount of coal taken from these mines reached 50,000 tons. The capital invested at that time reached $250,000. When times were good the firm employed over 200 men. The company also had 18 coke ovens in operation. The men found out after the improvements began to be placed in furnaces away from here, that the expense of a charcoal furnace was so great they could not successfully compete with other furnaces and so the business was shut down a few years ago, and the valuable property has about gone to rack. The coal business at this point was quite extensive. The firm of Davidson, Green & Co., of which Capt. O.H.P. GREEN, of New Castle, was a member, claimed to have shipped the first Beaver Valley coal to Erie. John K. SHINN & Co. built the cement works here, and this outside of the ore banks is the principal business now in operation. Wampum was erected into a borough by the Court of Quarter Sessions in February, 1875. Edward KAY was the first burgess of the place. The first postoffice was established at Wampum in 1832 and the name of the office was called Irish Ripple, from the rapids in the beaver river. It was moved back and forth between Wampum and Newport until the people of the former place had it changed to Wampum, since which time (1868) it has remained here. There are two secret society lodges here, the Odd Fellows and the A.O.U.W., both having a large membership. The M.E. church of Wampum was organized in May, 1871, with six members. Rev. J.E. JOHNSTON was the first pastor of the congregation. Rev. N. MORRIS succeeded Mr. JOHNSTON, and succeeded him. Rev. C.F. EDMUNDS followed, who was succeeded by Rev. G.H. BROWN, and he by Rev. John PERRY. A church was erected in 1871 at a cost of about $4,000. The present membership numbers about 200. The United Presbyterian church was organized in August, 1875. A building was erected of brick, substantial and neat in appearance. On the first of July, 1876, a call was extended to the Rev. Mr. J.J. IMBRIE to become pastor of the congregation. The call was accepted by Mr. IMBRIE took charge of the congregation. The Wampum Wire Works were erected a few years since but did no good, and the fine plant was sold at sheriff's sale to a company which is doing its best to put the works in operation. Wampum is one of the best points in the country for public works of manufacturing kind. The very best railroad accommodations, coal, iron ore, limestone, and in fact everything to make a good town. There has been some talk lately of a company being organized to drill for gas near here. Should a strike be made it will be the means of giving the town quite a boom.
The Weitz Brothers consist of John G., L.H. and Frank. John came here about nine years ago and opened a meat market. The rest of the firm came in with John within the past tow or three years. The boys are sons of Andrew WEITZ, who run the meat market at Clinton so long. The father died about four years ago, when the mother with the family came [p. 58] here. The boys are enterprising and pushing and are doing a good business. They make excellent citizens and are well thought of by all who know them. They have you might say, been raised in the butchering business, and are thoroughly experienced. They have been catering so long to the wants of Wampum citizens and the surrounding country that they know just what to buy. You can always get just what you want from the Weitz boys.
Was born in North Beaver township, September 25th, 1848, on the farm of his father, Fredrick STAPF, now residing at Mahoningtown, at the age of 65 years. Charles STAPF attended school at Mahoningtown and at New Castle, and received a good common school education. H learned the coopering trade with his father in 1868, and followed that business for about sixteen years. In 1884 he went into the cement business at Wampum and was a member of the Wampum Cement Company, acting as superintendent of the works until the first of January, 1887, when the firm was dissolved. Mr. STAPF on the first day of February, 1887, purchased the Wampum Hotel property, and immediately took charge of the house and conducted business. Although the business was new to Mr. STAPF, he succeeded in adapting himself to the position of landlord, and he makes a good entertainer of travelers and strangers. He was married to Miss Maggie BUCHANNON, of Washington, April 19, 1877, and is the father of one child, a little boy who is attending school at Wampum. Mr. STAPF has hosts of friends in the county who are pleased to see him successful in business.
W.H. WITHERSPOON & CO.
The firm who run the Wampum Roller Mill, consists of W.H WITHERPSOON, J.J. MILLER, R.W. MEHARD, J.S. STEWART AND M.J. MEHARD. This company was founded in June, 1884, and the mill was built immediately. Rolls were place din the building and from the first under the management of W.H. WITHERSPOON the mill has been on a paying basis. The flour made by this company is the best, and sold all over this part of the country. It is in demand wherever it has been introduced. Mr. J.C. PITTS is the miller and gives satisfaction. The building is a handsome large frame structure three stories high, and is situated in the northern part of the town just across the road from where the old mill stood which was burned down. The gentlemen having charge of the mill are enterprising and deserve the success they have received.
The livery man is doing a nice business. He was born in Big Beaver township, Lawrence county, in 1850, and remained on his father's farm until he was 15 years of age, when he went with a threshing machine, remaining in that business for eight years. He then went into the butchering business in which he continued for two or three years. He came here in 1877 when he went into the livery business with T.B. MCKINNEY. He bought out MCKINNNEY and was in time bought out by the same. He went west and remained there a short time when he returned home about bought MCKINNEY out of the livery business in which [p. 59] he has remained ever since. He was elected borough constable last spring and has made a good officer. Mr. MCCULLOUGH will sell out his livery business as he desires to go into other business. This is a chance for some one.
Was born in Beaver county the fifteenth of April, 1843 and lived on a farm until 1861, when he went to Pittsburgh to learn the boot and shoe making trade. He learned the trade and came her fifteen years ago. He owns a neat little store building, has a handsome house and has prospered since he came here. He is a good workman and gets plenty to do. From the first of January Mr. KETTERER will do business strictly on a cash basis. He believes that by doing so he can do better work for less money, please his customers better and do a bigger business. He thanks a generous public for past favors and hopes to retain their patronage in the future. Call and see him when wanting anything in his line.
KIRKLAND, FISHER & MARSHALL
Is an extensive firm. A general merchandise store at Chewton is run by this company and they do a good business there. The store is well filled with a choice stock of general merchandise which is sold at a remarkably low rate of percentage. In addition to the general merchandise business the company, which consists of William KIRKLAND, Phillip FISHER and W.H. MARSHALL, also are engaged in the lime business at Duck Run, where they have a large lime kiln, and they also operate and own a stone quarry near the same place. KIRKLAND & FISHER started a store in Wampum in 1875, and a short time afterwards started one in Chewton. In 1876 W.H. MARSHALL was taken into the firm, and the Wampum store was closed and the stock moved to the present location. The store has been in constant operation since 1876 and is doing well.
Was born in Mahoning county, Ohio, on the 12th day of June, 1854, but while yet an infant his parents moved to North Beaver township, this county. From there they moved to Little Beaver township in 1861, where both of his parents died. He continued to reside there until he moved with his family to Wampum 1881. Mr. GRUBB, although quite young, has seen a great deal of the rougher side of life. His parents were quite poor, and when only fourteen years of age he became permanently crippled in both legs, and knowing his straightened circumstances and his inability to support himself by physical labor, he applied himself diligently to study and in a few years had qualified himself for the position of common school teacher, and by teaching in the winter and attending college in the summer, he soon rose to head of the profession and received the highest grade of certificate that is issued by our county superintendent. After coming to Wampum he went into the grocery business, which he successfully followed until a few months ago. He has twice suffered severe loss by fire, and on the last occasion, of which many of our readers are familiar, he came very nearly losing his own life and his wife and family. He has always taken an active part in public affairs, especially the cause of education. At present he occupies the position of secretary [p. 60] of the Wampum School Board, secretary of the Borough Council, Justice of the Peace, and is a member of the Republican County Committee, to all of which positions he has been re-elected, except the latter.
GRANDY, STEWART & CO.
The lumber firm and planing mill men, are J.C. GRANDY, William STEWART and G.W. FOSSELMAN. The establishment was first started by Gere & Grandy in 1879 and continued that way for two years, when it was sold to Stewart & Grandy. Four years ago Grandy, Stewart & Co. bought the plant and it has been run in that manner ever since. The company handle everything in the line of dressed and undressed lumber. The company is a responsible one. This company has furnished almost all the building stuff used in this place the past four years, and that, too, at city prices. It is always safe to buy from your home people. Call and see this firm when wanting anything in their line.
WHIT A. ECKLES
Is one of the youngest business men in the place. He was born in this county October 4, 1859. He attended school at Wampum and has clerked in various dry goods stores in this vicinity for quite a number of years. About four years ago he bought the drug store of George MURDOCK and has run the establishment with credit to himself ever since. By hard work he has built up a nice business. Mr. ECKLES has one of the neatest drugs and patent medicines, as well as toilet articles, cigars, tobaccos, etc. The prescription department is presided over by Mr. ECKLES, who fills all prescriptions, and he is a careful and experienced pharmacist, it is always safe to call on him for your medicines. Mr. ECKLES is doing a nice business.
CONSOLIDATED LIMESTONE, SANDSTONE & IRON ORE CO.
Is controlled and managed by G.B. INGHAM and John INGHAM, although G.B. is the real manager of the concern. The quarries and mines are principally located on the Spangler farm, two miles south of Wampum. The stone is principally shipped to Pittsburgh. The company is a prosperous one. The sandstone shipped by this company is of the very best quality and is used for all building purposes. The company employ in the neighborhood of fifty hands and have a capacity of taking out ten cars of sandstone a day. The Ingham Brothers are good business men, enterprising and have done much to help Wampum along. A trip to the quarries would be a pleasant one to take.
Has the only place of amusement in town. He was born in Oxford county, Canada, in November 1850, and came to this country eight years ago. He run and managed the cheese factory near New Castle, for four years. He came to Wampum about two years ago and opened a pool and billiard room. The room is handsomely fitted up and contains an excellent pool table and also a billiard table. It is the only place of amusement in the place, and as may be expected has a good patronage. In connection with the billiard business Mr. BRABY has also opened a lunch room which [p. 61] pays him very well. James is a brother of W.H. BRABY the merchant. His room is a pleasant place and you can depend on being treated well.
This firm consists of J.R. and A. BUTLER, who are engaged in the general merchandise business. The two brothers were born in Allegheny county, on a farm. J.R. BUTLER served with credit to himself, three years in the Union army. After which he went to the oil regions where he remained two years. He came here some years ago and was engaged by the old Wampum furnace. He also worked for the Cement Company. He bought T.D. KETLER's interest in the general merchandise business, and went into partnership with Jno. MILLER. In 1850 A. BUTLER came here and farmed until 1857, when he moved near New Castle. He remained there for a couple of years. Five years ago he came here and took charge of the public schools. He purchased an interest in the store with his brother two years ago. Mr. MILLER retiring, since then the store has been run under the firm name of Butler Brothers, and a good business is being done.
The general merchandise man, has demonstrated the fact that a poor boy can by close attention to business succeed in life. He was born in Kingston, Canada, July 23, 1848. When he was 16 years of age he came to Clinton this county, and secured employment as a coal miner. His business ways attracted the attention of his employer and he was given a position in the company's store with a salary of $20 a month and board himself. He rapidly grew in favor and when he left the store fifteen years after entering it he was getting a salary of $125 a month and house rent, etc. He came to this place in 1876 and started a hardware and tin store, buying the business of furniture and undertaking from S.N. PARKS. Mr. BRABY has been a successful merchant and has added to his business from time to time. He erected Braby's Hall and store building, and has a store room 120 feet deep by 24 wide and is now completing an addition to the store of a warehouse 30 by 50 feet. He has a large stock of general merchandise which he sells away down low.
Updated 22 Feb 2000, 10:18