Distinguished Citizens of
Excerpts from History of Allegany County
by Williams and Thomas (1923)
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JOSEPH B. FINAN is president of the Times and Alleganian Company and editor of the Evening Times and Weekly Alleganian. The Times is the leading Democratic newspaper in Maryland, and the Alleganian an influential weekly newspaper, both papers enjoying a circulation larger than that of any other newspapers in the State outside of Baltimore, splendidly edited, clean and reliable. Mr. Finan is a native of Allegany county and was born June 10, 1869, on what was for many years known as the Finan farm, a short distance north of Cumberland, on the Valley Road. His parents, the late James and Anne McDonough Finan, came to Cumberland in the early fifties from their native home in County Sligo, Ireland. Mr. Finan attended school at Carroll Hall, Cumberland, until eighteen years old, and afterward followed farming for three years. He began newspaper work in 1890 and in 1891 acquired an interest in the Independent, a weekly newspaper, and entered the publishing business as editor of that -paper.
The publication of the Independent as a daily paper began in 1898 and continued until July 31, 1900, when the publication suspended. After this suspension Mr. Finan engaged in other occupations for a number of years, but always devoted a part of his time to newspaper work and kindred employment. December 15, 1914, he became editor of the Evening Times, which had been purchased a few months prior to that date by a corporation known as the Times & Alleganian, Incorporated, which had been organized by Harry E. Weber, president of the then Third National Bank of Cumberland, who owned the greater portion of the company's shares of stock. In January 1921, Mr. Weber and his associate stockholders sold their interests to J. J. Devine, a newspaper publisher of New York and Clarksburg, West Virginia. Immediately afterward a new corporation, known as the Times & Alleganian Company, was organized, and this company, of which Mr. Finan became a shareholder, purchased the newspaper property from Mr. Devine. Mr. Finan was made First Vice President of the company upon its organization in 1921, and in 1922 became its president. He is also the editor and a fearless and entertaining writer. Mr. Finan is a member of the Associated Press, the American Newspaper Publishers' Association, State Editorial Association of Maryland and a director of the Publishers' Buying Corporation of New York.
On June 12, 1895, Mr. Finan married Miss Clara Helen Doerner, daughter of the late Weyand and Anne Doerner, of Cumberland. They are members of St. Patrick's Catholic Church, and have three children: Gerald James Finan, Anna Irene Finan and Mary Josephine Finan.
THOMAS B. FINAN, of Cumberland, has a noteworthy record for progress, not only because of the position he has attained, but more because he has reached it through his own efforts. Any affirmation regarding Mr. Finan's ability would be best substantiated by reference to some of the things he has accomplished. No one in the recent progress of Cumberland has been so identified with the achievements of the city as has Mr. Finan. When he came to Cumberland, a boy of sixteen, he started as a clerk in the dry goods business, but in the meantime he broadened out as opportunity offered, until his interests are now so varied as to include some of the most important connections in the county and the State. In all of his endeavors he has the unqualified respect and confidence of his associates. The constantly widening scope of his operations has kept him busy and interested, taking care of his present duties with cheerful zeal, and looking into the future with practical optimism.
Mr. Finan has spent his life in Allegany county, having been born in Flintstone district, June 27th, 1878, one of eight children of Patrick and Catherine Finan. Two of this family died in childhood, the others being-John, James, Margaret, Bartholomew, Hannah and Thomas B. The parents were both natives of Ireland, who came to America in their youth; the father an honest, hard-working man, who led a thrifty, honorable life, dying in January 1901; Hannah died in October 1901 and the mother in January 1916.
Reared in Flintstone district, Thomas B. Finan followed agricultural work in his youth. He had the ordinary educational privileges, going to public school until he reached the age of fourteen years, after which he took a business course in a commercial college at Bedford, Pennsylvania. He was sixteen when he came to Cumberland and began clerking for the Cumberland Dry Goods Company-, one of the leading houses' of the kind in Western Maryland, in which employ he continued for five years. During that time he acquired experience which made him a valuable employee. In 1900, a few months after attaining his majority, Mr. Finan became associated with the firm known as The J. C. Orrick & Son Company, of Cumberland, in the capacity of cashier, and in that connection for many years found his principal business activities. After two years service as cashier, he was promoted to the position of secretary and treasurer of the concern, and in time was made vice-president, and in 1913 became executive head of this large company, one of the oldest and most substantial houses in its line in the State. In addition to his responsibilities as president of this company, increasing activities in other lines led him to resign in 1920. Were this prosperity of the house his only achievement, it would be enough to stamp Mr. Finan as a capable business man, but like busy people generally, he is always on the lookout for more to do.
In association with some of the younger business men of the city, Mr. Finan was one of the prime movers in the organization of the Dime Saving Bank. This was later one of the banks in the merger that resulted in the formation of The Liberty Trust Company, the great new financial institution which stands as the largest and strongest bank in Tri-States territory.
For years there had been talk, without result, of the need of a new hotel in Cumberland-one adequate to the needs or a rapidly growing city. Announcements of the building of a modern hotel came to be regarded with the proverbial "grain of salt." When, however, in 1916 the newspapers printed a story that Thomas B. Finan had taken up the construction of a modern hotel, the public felt that the new hostelry would materialize, such was the confidence of the community in it's founder. The Cumberland Hotel Company was organized, with Mr. Finan as president, and the magnificent Fort Cumberland Hotel stands today, a monument to the energy and business acumen of Thomas B. Finan.
Not long after this, Mr. Finan with others incorporated and re-financed Footer's Dye Works, the largest cleaning and dyeing establishment in the United States, and he is now president of this nationally known concern.
From these activities, Mr. Finan branched into other lines. He helped organize the Strand Theatre, and is a director in the company which controls the most beautiful playhouse in Maryland.
It was in the organization of The Liberty Trust Company, however, that Mr. Finan's versatility and business genius came into full play. All the difficult adjustments; the delicate interrelations, and the many demands for good judgment, were met by the organizer in a masterly way. Four banks-the Dime Saving, The Third National, The Citizens' Savings and the Citizens' National-were merged into a new institution-The Liberty Trust Company. This bank, capitalized at one million dollars, and with a subscribed surplus of a half million dollars, occupies the entire lower floor, Baltimore street entrance, of the six story Liberty Trust Building at Baltimore and Centre streets. The deposits alone run well over four million dollars, and the resources are but little under seven million dollars. Mr. Finan is secretary of the institution and a member of the executive committee. He is also a director in the First National Bank.
Mr. Finan's most recent accomplishment is the merger of the Edison Electric Illuminating Company and the Cumberland Electric Railway Company into a single corporation, to be known as the Cumberland Edison Power Company, of which he was it's first president. This victory for Cumberland was won by Mr. Finan after one of the hardest fought legal battles in local history.
In addition to these outstanding achievements, he has reorganized, refinanced and incorporated, and is officially connected with numerous smaller enterprises, and he was associated with those who organized the Atlantic Trust Company in 1921 in Baltimore.
Mr. Finan's benevolent tendencies have led him into active associations with enterprises of such character, and he is a member of the Board of directors of the Associated Charities of Cumberland, Fraternally he belongs to the Elks and Knights of Columbus, being a Catholic and a member of Saint Patrick's church. In politics he is a Republican.
On April 16th, 1902, Mr. Finan was married to Miss Mary M. Dolan, daughter of Timothy Dolan, of Cumberland. Of their three children, Kathleen is deceased, the survivors being, Louise and Thomas B. Jr.
After the disastrous failure of the Braddock Campaign, when firearms became so plentiful as the result of the state of consternation into which his panic-striken army was thrown, the Indians made their appearance in the vicinity of Fort Cumberland in large numbers and displayed the utmost audacity. In a letter written by Col. Dagworthy, Commander of the Fort, at that time, he said: "It is supposed that near a hundred persons have been murdered or carried away prisoners by these barbarians who have burnt the houses and ravished all the plantations in that part of the country." Houses were frequently surrounded and the people taken by surprise. The men were shot or tomahawked and scalped, and the women and children taken off perhaps to a worse fate. Nothing more was ever heard of them.
On Patterson's Creek near Fort Cumberland, the whole settlement was broken up, they being murdered and their houses burned. The men were killed, but the women were usually taken away, never to return.
There is, however, one case on record in which a female prisoner succeeded after a long time in getting back. She was taken by the Miamis to their settlement on the Miami River in the State of Ohio, where she was kept for eighteen months, when after making her escape and weeks of tramping, through an almost unbroken wilderness, with all the physical and mental suffering it entailed, by what seems almost a miracle, she found her way back and reached her home. This woman was Jane Frazier, the wife of John Frazier, who lived near the mouth of Ivitts Creek, a few miles only southeast of Fort Cumberland. The Maryland Gazette, published at Annapolis, Maryland, in its issue of October 9, 1755, contained the following notice of this capture: "By a. person who arrived in town last Monday from Col. Cresap's (Oldtown about ten miles from Ivitts Creek) we are told that last Wednesday the Indians had taken a man prisoner who was going to Fort Cumberland from Frazier s and bad also carried off a woman from Frazier's Plantation which is four miles this side of Fort Cumberland."
After the return of Mrs. Frazier, she wrote a narrative of her wonderful experience, which has been preserved by the successive generations of her family and which has hitherto never been published. It is given below in full. This is a remarkable document, not only by reason of its historic value, but as demonstrating that an upright, dignified and well-directed demeanor is always a protecting shield of woman, even at the hands of the untutored savage.
"My name is Jane Frazier, I was born in the year 1735 and raised near Winchester, Va. When nineteen years of age I was married to John Frazier, a young highland Scotchman. Soon after our marriage we removed to the State of Maryland and settled on a tributary of the Potomac called Tribbitts (Evitts) Creek, a few miles from the town of Cumberland. Soon after we settled my husband, a gunsmith by trade, determined to build a shop and set up his business. As a consequence he invited our neighbors (who at that time were few and far between) to come and assist in the building of his shop. Accordingly a few came and the erection of the building was commenced.
"After I had prepared the dinner and they had eaten, I requested my husband to let our hired man, Bradley by name, take our horses and go with me to Cumberland to procure some necessities at the store.
"He got the horses, saddled them, we mounted and started. Our road passed down the ridge from the house, crossed the creek and ascended the hill on the other side. As we passed the creek Bradley related to me a dream which he had had the night before which related to Indians. To this I replied that I did not like his dream and suggested that we turn back, but he laughed and said he had no faith in dreams and we went on. While conversing in this manner we ascended the hill and while yet in sight of our own home we were fired upon by the Indians. My horse fell and I fainted. When I recovered I was surrounded by Indians and the chief said to me "You no die; you pretty squaw; we no hurt you." Bradley was shot dead. My horse had only been creased-a ball through a little below the top of the mane, immediately in front of the withers-an animal shot in that way may fall prostrate but will soon recover. The chief inquired what so many men were doing at the house and I told him they were building another house. He inquired if they were well armed and I told him that they were armed (meaning arms of flesh) for they were poorly supplied with arms, and had the Indians known this they would have massacred the whole company. My captors immediately placed me on my horse, the chief walking by my side supporting me on my saddle while one of his warriors led my horse. Their course was westwardly to their homes in the wilderness.
"No mortal can describe my feelings at this time. Thus in a moment, without warning, to be torn from husband and home, from all I had held near and dear on earth, and held as a prisoner by the savages-subject to all their savage notions, then it came to my mind that I was to be carried into a western wilderness, uncertain as to when, if ever, I should return. Added to this, I was not in a condition to endure such hardship and fatigue, and you may in a measure appreciate the awfulness of my situation.
"The chief who had me in charge was very kind and assisted me all he could. He would not suffer the other Indians to offer me any harm. In this manner we traveled on till night when we camped on a low ravine near a stream. We lay without a fire as the Indians were fearful of pursuit. My captors spread a blanket on the ground and compelled me to lie down, then they spread another blanket over me and an Indian lay down at either end so as to prevent my raising without awakening them. In the morning our breakfast was made from provisions stolen from the settlers, after which we resumed our journey in a northerly direction.
"My captors belonged to the Miami tribe and their big town was situated on the great Miami River.
"We had a long journey before us and a tedious troublesome time passing many dangerous places and crossing streams of water. Wild animals and birds were numerous. During the entire journey I was allowed to ride my own horse, and each night was guarded as before. I suffered many privations and finally our provisions ran out and we had to endure hunger. Sometimes it was 25 or 30 hours at a time that I went without eating.
"We passed through several tribes of Indians, but none of them were allowed to harm me. After traveling in this manner for three weeks, being worn out with exhaustion and discouraged, we arrived at a town on the Miami. When we came a sensation was created and the entire town was in motion. Warriors, squaws and children were all running to see the white squaw and welcome back their chief and his band, but my captors would not permit them to interfere with me. A council was soon called and the chief related the principal incident of his expedition, showing how they had waylaid us on the road, killed my companion and took me prisoner. The scalp of my man Bradley he had brought with him as a trophy and hung it up in his wigwam. I was adopted into one of the principal families of the tribe, and informed that I must consider myself an Indian squaw, for they intended I should live with them. It was with many misgivings and forebodings that I took up my abode with them, but there was no way for me to avoid it. Our family consisted of six people, an old grayhaired warrior, a middle-aged warrior and his wife, who was a robust squaw, and two children and myself. With this family I lived about one month, when my first child was born. The Indians were very kind to me, and took all the care of me they possibly could, in their wild way. They did all in their power to make me happy and contented. Some of them went to the nearest settlement and stole some clothing for my child, and said they wanted me to take good care of it until it grew to be a warrior, and a great chief, but the poor little thing died when it was three months old. Then my cup was full to overflowing.
"Thus to be torn away from home and friends and all that was dear to me, and consigned to live like a brute among savages, and then to lose my only comfort, my first born, and have it buried in this wilderness, was more than my frail nature could bear, and I was nearly crazy for a time. Still the Indians were kind to me, and when they saw my child was dead, they cut a hickory tree, peeled off the bark and made a coffin, and wrapping it in some of the clothes they had stolen, they placed it in the coffin they had made and buried it near our town in their own burying ground. I remained with these Indians 13 months, in the summer time helping the squaws in their corn and vegetable patches and in the winter time assisting them in their cooking operations. While I was with this tribe they determined on another raid into Pennsylvania, consequently they performed their powwows and war dances, in order to give them good luck in their expedition, then left for their long trip. They took all their best warriors, leaving a few old men and some boys to hunt game and food for the squaws and papooses. The chief and warriors were gone about seven weeks. They returned bringing with them two Dutchmen from Pennsylvania, whom they adopted into the tribe. One of them was a tanner by trade, and they employed them to tan their skins for them. He worked a little ways from the town where there was a large spring and the other man was allowed to help him. These men were very restless in their confinement. A little later the Indians determined on another raid, and in a few days departed. The Dutchmen now determined to leave, and let me into their secret, so we procured an old rifle which they repaired, and we hid all the provisions we could find, and a week after the warriors were gone the game became very scarce, so the hunters had to be out nearly all the time for provisions for the squaws and children. We now concluded this would be the best time to gain our liberty, so obtaining a small amount of ammunition we gathered up our old gun and some provisions and left
our new connections without stopping to say goodbye, and taking advantage of the warriors and hunters we left for home.
"We started as near as we could tell in a southeasterly direction. We traveled constantly as long as possible, knowing that we would be followed as soon as the hunters returned home. When we were tired out we concealed ourselves and rested for a short time and then resumed our journey. On the second night we stopped on a high ridge near a stream of water, and in a few moments heard a dog bark and saw the Indians make a fire on the opposite side of the stream. We immediately started and entered the stream a short distance above and waded in the water for several hours in order to prevent the dogs from tracking us, but we saw no more of the Indians. On the fourth day our provisions gave out, and we were compelled to travel without food, as we dared not shoot for fear of being discovered.
"On the sixth day one of the men ventured to shoot a rabbit which they discovered and they were so near famished that after dressing the rabbit and giving me my share they ate theirs raw and one of them took the entrails and forcing the contents out with his fingers, downed them. In this way we traveled on. Some times for days without provisions, and sometimes on small allowances, until we were convinced that the Indians had given up the pursuit. The men then shot a turkey and being so very hungry they foundered themselves, and next morning neither one of them were able to travel. Fearing that we might still be overtaken I would not consent to stay with them, choosing rather the chances of the wilderness than the danger of captivity again, I started on alone. Again I experienced untold privations, having to live on vegetables and the bark of trees and climbing up a tree or down in a hollow to be secure from wild beasts at night.
"In this way I traveled for nine days, when I came upon a trail that led right across the trail I had chosen. Here I was in a dilemma, not knowing which way to take. While I stood undecided which way I should go a most beautiful bird such as I had never seen before came flying along passing close by me flew down the road as far as I could see. In a moment it came along passing in the same way. Taking this as an omen I followed, and I have always considered this as providential, as the other road would have led me back into the wilderness. Traveling on this road for two days I came to a settlement (Old Town) and soon found my way home again. When I got near home I was told by my neighbors that my husband having waited until near night the day I was captured, went in search of me and discovered Bradley dead and scalped, and saw the Indian trail and knew they had taken me prisoner, but as I had been gone for four or five hours and night coming on he could do nothing more that evening but, get some of his neighbors and bury Bradley, and next morning a half a dozen of them took the trail of the Indians and followed them for a week. My husband had afterwards concluded that I was dead and married again. My neighbors told me that if I would remain with them that day they would get me some decent clothes, put me on a horse and take me home in great triumph, for they knew my husband would most gladly take me back, so being completely worn out and almost unable to move I consented to 'their arrangement, and sure enough the next morning they had about fifty men, women and children and a couple of flags and some horns and a good horse and saddle, and having dressed me in good style, placed me on the horse and away we went as a surprise party, blowing horns, men and women singing and dogs barking, the weary wandered in triumph returning home. We had about eight miles to travel. When we got about half way the neighbors who had not. been notified were taken by surprise, and come from every side to ask what it all meant, were pleased with the movements, joined in, and helped rejoice. We came in sight of the place and I was so glad I felt like I wanted to fly, nearing the house my husband and his wife came out very much frightened at the parade, then seeing some of his neighbors in the procession he came out and coming near the horse saw me and grabbed me off the horse, shouting with all his power, `The lost is found, the dead is alive,' and so would not let me go for some time, fearing it was all an apparition. Finally we all went into the house and I met his second wife. She seemed a very nice woman, but he told her that he could not give me up again, that as I was living their marriage had been illegal, but he would still support her as he had, promised, but she would have to go back to her father and consider herself the same as before they were married, and she being a woman of good sense took it all in good part, wished me much joy and said she would come some time and hear me tell all about my captivity. So our friends got up a big dinner and after rejoicing with us for hours, returned to their homes. Now here we both were again at the old home in the woods, financially not quite as well fixed as when I was captured, both our horses gone, and my husband feeling so bad over my captivity and Bradley's death that he could not work and did not finish his shop. After mourning for a year, thinking me dead, he recovered himself and concluded to take a new start, got married and was only fairly well settled when I returned. We both went to work with a will prospering right along,. dug us a farm out of the wilderness and built us a good house."
The escape from her captivity and the safe return of Mrs. Frazier to her home on Evitt's Creek near Fort Cumberland is referred to in a letter written from Fort Cumberland, November 14th, 1756, by Colonel Adam Stephens to Colonel John Armstrong, published in the "Wilderness Trail," in which he says; "That after being a prisoner for thirteen months she escaped and made her way back home. She discloses important information as to the location and movements of the French and Indians in the Ohio Valley," and which he thought Colonel Armstrong, then seeking that information, should know.
John Frazier, her husband, when he first came to this country located at the Indian Village of Venango, about seventy-five miles north-west of the present site of Pittsburgh, where he established a gun factory and built a substantial house. This town was captured by the French, and when Colonel Washington made his perilous trip there as the diplomatic representative of Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia, to ascertain the significance of the activities of the French in the. Mississippi Valley, he found the French officer in command at that point occupying Frazier's house. In Washington's report to Governor Dinwiddie conveying the reply of General St. Pierre, the chief officer in command, as reported by Governor Dinwiddie to the Virginia Assembly, he asked the French Commander the reason for the confiscation of Frazier's property, and received as a reply that his orders were not to allow any English settlements in that part of the country, as France intended to exercise complete sovereignty over the whole valley, and that if Frazier had not escaped he would have been sent a prisoner to Canada. Frazier was then located on Turtle Creek, close to where it empties into the Monongahela River, and very near the ill-fated battlefield of General Braddock. Washington spent the night with him on his way to Venango, and on his return trip stayed with him for two days. He was made a Lieutenant, and subsequently suggested by Washington for the office of Adjutant of the Militia to garrison the storehouse of the Ohio Company at the juncture of the Allegany and Monongahela, which the French captured in 1754, and on the site of which they erected Fort Duquesne. He evidently then had to abandon his home at Turtle Creek and came as far East as Winchester, Virginia, where the next year he married and moved to what is now Allegany County, Maryland, and located on Evitt's Creek a little East of Fort Cumberland, from whence his wife was captured. In the second expedition on Fort Duquesne in 1758, Frazier apparently joined Washington at Fort Cumberland, as he served as a guide to the English and American army when nearing the scene of the expected engagement; of which the topography and surroundings were so familiar to him.
After the return of Mrs. Frazier to the home of her husband on Evitt's Creek, she had three children, Amelia, James and Mary, all of whom lived to maturity, but only one of them married. Her youngest daughter Mary, married William Beatty of Maryland, and from that marriage a long line of descendants resulted, estimated to be over two hundred, now living chiefly on the Wabash in the State of Indiana. Among them is Mrs. Cora H. Frey, of Logansport, Indiana, through whose efforts to get the narrative of her ancestress verified, it was sent to The Cumberland Historical Society. There being no such society, it was delivered to James W . Thomas, one of the authors of this work, and who was fortunately able to authenticate it and to develop its interesting sidelights as to her husband, Lieutenant John Frazier.
ELIJAH FULLER was born in Salisbury, Somerset County, Pa., in 1821. He was the son of Henry Fuller and his wife Drusilla Shockuy, the daughter of Christian Shockuy of Lancaster, Pa., of revolutionary fame, he having served with distinction in the first, sixth and eleventh Pennsylvania Regiments from April 1777 to the close of the American Revolution. He was in the battles of. Trenton and Princeton, served in the Wyoming Valley Campaign in 1779, and throughout the campaign in the South, where at the battle of Cowpens he was severely wounded, through the efforts of a British soldier to sever his head from his body with his sword, but was himself killed by the bayonet of Shockuy. Mr. Fuller received a good practical education, having been taught first by Joshua F. Cog, later a distinguished lawyer of Western Pennsylvania, and later by the noted teacher, J. J. Statzman.
The Fuller family moved to Grantsville, Maryland, then in Allegany county, Maryland, in 1837, where the father died in 1880 when eighty years of age. The subject of this sketch, together with his brother, Harrison Fuller, was engaged in the mercantile business in Grantsville, where for a number of years he was also a justice of the peace.
He moved to Cumberland during the Civil War and became the
proprietor of the Barman Hotel. He was elected Register of Wills for Allegany
County in 1867, for the term of six years--the first Register of Wills elected
under the present constitution for Allegany County. This office he filled with
great efficiency, finishing up a large amount of accumulated work which he found
on taking the office. He was always a staunch Democrat, and became a powerful
factor in the political life of Allegany county. He was a man of generous
impulses and had a bright and perceptive mind, and a strong unfailing memory,
carrying a record of the many occurrences of his long and eventful life, with
the power to narrate them intelligently and with profound interest.
He was a rapid and beautiful penman, which art he never lost. Even to the last he was able to record in a day as many as twenty-eight pages in the large court record.
Mr. Fuller married Catherine A. Kemp, daughter of Reuben Kemp and Lydia Brown Kemp, the latter being a lineal descendant of William Brown, who settled in Chester county, Pennsylvania, as early as 1692.
Mr. Fuller had many friends among the most prominent men of the state, one of the closest and of life long duration being the late Governor William Pinckney White.
Mr. Fuller died at his home in Cumberland in August, 1899, his wife having died in 1886. They left four children James Kemp Fuller, Alice Fuller, Cora Fuller and Howard Mason Fuller, a popular resident of Cumberland, Maryland, where he has filled many offices of trust and confidence, and has filled them most efficiently.