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History of Butler County Pennsylvania - 1883

Chapter 17 -- The Borough of Butler

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Transcribed by Susan Elko. For an explanation and caution about this transcription, please read this page.



Illustrations And Biographies In Chapter XVII

p.152a-- William Campbell
p.152a-- William Campbell Bio.
p.160a-- Peter Duffy
p.160a-- Peter Duffy Bio
p.167 -- Soldiers' Orphan School
p.168a-- Samuel G. Purvis
p.168a-- Samuel G. Purvis Bio
p.168b-- Residence John Negley
p.169 -- David Dougal Bio
p.171 -- Robert Graham Bio
p.171 -- John Negley Bio
p.172 -- Abraham Brinker Bio
p.172 -- Joseph Turner Bio
p.172 -- Walter Lowrie Bio
p.173 -- John McPherrin Bio
p.174 -- Campbell Purviance Bio
p.174 -- James Dunlap Bio
p.174 -- G.W. Reed Bio
p.174a-- Jacob Zeigler
p.174a-- Jacob Zeigler Bio
p.176 -- John Duffy Bio
p.176 -- William Beatty Bio
p.177 -- Isiah Niblock Bio
p.178 -- Loyal Young Bio


The Borough of Butler

[p. 146]

Butler doubtless owes its origin to the foresight and shrewdness of the CUNNINGHAMs -- John, Samuel and James -- a family which has passed away, leaving no descendants in the town or county, but leaving its name and the marks of its energy indelibly fixed upon both.

Robert MORRIS, the Revolutionary patriot, was the original owner of the ground upon which the borough has been built, and of at least 70,000 acres more within the limits of the county. He held 311 warrants, made out in the name of Lancaster County citizens, but assigned by them to him, and these warrants, each good for 250 acres of land or more, he caused to be located by his agent, James CUNNINGHAM, who was also the surveyor of what is known as CUNNINGHAM’s District of the Depreciation Lands.* These warrants were located several years before Butler County was organized. The warrants for the tracts of land on which it was destined that a thriving village should arise, passed into the possession of John and Samuel J. CUNNINGHAM,** and land adjoining upon the north became by settler’s right the property of Robert Graham, who located in 1797 where the residence of Mr. DAUGHERTY now stands.

*See Chapter III on Land Title and Survey.
**The warrants for these tracts had been taken out in the names of John TRESSLER and Andrew REICHERT, and by them assigned to Morris. The patent to the TRESSLER tract was not received by Samuel J. CUNNINGHAM until May 13, 1805. It sets forth that it was granted on consideration of moneys paid by John TRESSLER into the Receiver General’s office, at the granting of the warrant, and the sum of $158 paid by Samuel J. CUNNINGHAM, and also, in said Samuel J. CUNNINGHAM having made it appear that he made or caused to be made, an actual settlement, and continued residence agreeable to Section 9, of the law of 1792, on a tract of land called “Butler”.

When Butler County was erected by act of March 12, 1800, it was provided that the place for holding courts should be fixed at any place distant not more than four miles from the center of the county. The CUNNINGHAMs doubtless were aware a considerable time previous to March 12, 1800, where the boundaries of the county would be established, and anticipated as a matter of course that the seat of justice would be located approximately in the center of the county. They owned the most available site for a town within the prescribed radius of four miles from the geographical center, and profited by their shrewdness or good fortune in having secured it.

Other locations were proposed, and their owners urged their real or imagined advantages upon the com- [p.147]missioners appointed to examine them. One of the Commissioners, under date of June 7, 1802, writes of the lands proposed by the CUNNINGHAMs for a county seat as follows: “The situation is beautiful, being on an eminence, which descend in all directions; the land scarce of timber, but sufficiently dry, and large bodies of meadow ground near the seat. This site will have the advantages of the creek, with sundry good springs of water and coal banks near, limestone and freestone quarries partly adjoining the site. The ridges all pointing into the little valley, will be convenient for roads from every direction.”

One commissioner at least was favorably impressed. The impression which was made by the day’s observation was doubtless strengthened by an evening’s conversation. The commissioner from whose diary we have quoted, writes further: “We parted that evening, Messrs. WEAVER, HAMILTON and LANE lodging at the mill house, Mr. Morton and myself returning with Mr. Robert CUNNINGHAM to the Salt Lick place, where that young man keeps bachelor’s hall in a nice cabin building.” All of the commissioners were that night the guests of the CUNNINGHAMs, the mill house where three of them lodged being the home of some of the members of the family, probably of John and Samuel, by whom the mill itself had been built about two years previous. The CUNNINGHAMs and Robert GRAHAM proposed to lay out in town lots 300 acres of land, five acres of which should be devoted to the use of the county of Butler should their location be made the seat of justice. That they gained the object of their desire was first made known to the general public when the Legislature, upon the 8th of March, 1803, passed an act, of which the following are the important sections:

Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in General Assembly met and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, that John MCBRIDE, Esq., William ELLIOTT, Esq., and John DAVID, be and hereby are appointed Trustees for the county of Butler, and the said Trustees, or a majority of them, are hereby authorized and required to survey, or cause to be surveyed, 300 acres of land situate on the north side of Connoquenessing Creek, near Samuel CUNNINGHAM’s mill, agreeably to a description given of the situation and boundary thereof expressed in the grant and obligation of Samuel CUNNINGHAM, John CUNNINGHAM and Robert GRAHAM, made by them to the Governor for the use of the county of Butler, and the said Trustees are hereby authorized and required to lay out a convenient lot or lots of land within the said 300 acres not exceeding five acres, whereon the public buildings shall be erected for the use of the county of Butler, and the surplus or residue of said 300 acres of land, which shall remain after the sites for the public buildings are set apart and determined, shall be laid out for a town, with suitable town lots, at the discretion of the Trustees, with necessary reservations for a quarry, streets, lanes, alleys and roads or highways; provided, however, that no outlots shall exceed five acres, and the town hereby directed to be laid out shall be called Butler.

Section 2. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that it shall be the duty of the said Trustees, or a majority of them, to sell by public auction the said town lots and outlots at such times as they may judge most advantageous to the county, which sale shall be held at the said CUNNINGHAM Mill, in the said county, previous to which the said Trustees shall advertise the same three times at least in one or more newspapers published in Pittsburgh, Greensburg, and Washington one month before the day appointed for such sale; provided, that before the said commissioners proceed to the discharge of the duties herein enjoined and required, they shall demand and receive from the aforesaid Samuel CUNNINGHAM, John CUNNINGHAM and Robert GRAHAM sufficient deeds in fee simple of the above described 300 acres of land in trust for the use of the said county of Butler, agreeably to the grant thereof heretofore made to the Governor for the use of the county of Butler by the said Samuel CUNNINGHAM, John CUNNINGHAM and Robert GRAHAM, and shall procure the same to be recorded in the office for recording of deeds in Allegheny County, and when the said Trustees shall have so done they shall have authority, and it shall be their duty, to make out and grant sufficient deeds in fee-simple for the town and outlots by them sold in pursuance of this act.

In August, 1803, the village was duly laid out, the plat containing seventy-six acres and seventy-nine perches. This was deeded to William ELLIOTT, John DAVID and John MCBRIDE, as Trustees for the county, and the sales of the lots were made through them at a public auction. David DOUGAL purchased Lot No. 1, on the northwest corner of Main street and the Diamond, paying for it the sum of $100, which was the highest price paid for any lot in the village. Others sold for prices ranging from $90 down to $10.

As the town was to be the seat of justice, people were sanguine in their expectations of business. The lots were readily sold, and the pioneer villagers entered upon the humble beginnings of what were to be as a rule successful careers. There was promise of prosperity for almost every one, except John CUNNINGHAM, one of the founders of the town. His financial affairs became involved,* and he was doubtless hurried to the grave by the disappointments he met with. He died in 1805, and was buried in the little plat of ground which he and his brother had set apart for a cemetery. Now no man knows his grave.

*John CUNNINGHAM was in all probability extensively engaged in business elsewhere than in the embryo village of Butler. His share in the 300 acres set apart for the town was 70 acres. When he became financially embarrassed, soon after the town was laid out, judgments were laid upon his property by creditors living in Philadelphia, and it became necessary, in order to give perfect title, to have a deed of release for the property included in the town site. Such a deed was made. It recites that the release was granted in consideration of the fact that John CUNNINGHAM had other lands adjoining the town, which were bounded by judgments, which his creditors had obtained, and that those lands were so materially increased in value by the location of the county seat, as to make them ample security.

This deed of release was executed in favor of John CUNNINGHAM by his creditors, Simon GRATZ and Heyman GRATZ, trading under the firm name of SIMON & Heyman GRATZ; William WISTAR, John PRICE and John WISTAR, trading under the name of WISTAR, Price & WISTAR; John WISTAR, in his private right; Joseph KARRICK and Joshua PERCIVAL, trading under the name of KARRICK & PERCIVAL, and Thomas RYERSON, all of [p. 148]Philadelphia, and is the first recorded instrument in the Recorder’s office in Butler. The deed was executed in Philadelphia on the 5th of October, 1803, and recorded on the 23rd of January, 1804.

A number of the men who bought lots immediately begun erecting log cabins upon them. To James THOMPSON, a sturdy blacksmith, belongs the credit of building the first, located near the Diamond; William YOUNG built the second, William NEYMAN the third, Abraham BRINKER the fourth and Jacob FUNK the fifth, on the lot now occupied by Jacob ZEIGLER. Other houses, all of very primitive character, were built soon after by John EMFREY, George POWERS, Stephen CRAWFORD and John POTTS. The latter built originally where Dr. LINN’s’ drug store now is, but two or three years later erected a substantial hewed log house upon the opposite side of the street, which is still doing service as a dwelling, although the logs are hidden by a facing of boards. This house, the oldest in town, adjoins the store of H. C. HEINEMAN, and is owned by him.

The men named in the foregoing lines were the first settlers within the original limits of Butler. John NEGLEY had settled in 1800 south of the creek, opposite the CUNNINGHAM mill (now the WALTER Mill), the CUNNINGHAMs had lived in the vicinity since 1797 and so also had Robert GRAHAM and family. His was probably the first family which had a residence within the present borough limits, but his house was outside of the original plat. Robert GRAHAM’s son William, who made his advent in November or December, 1803, was the first child born. The first female child was Sarah, daughter of John and Jane POTTS, who was born in March, 1805. She is still living in Butler, the widow of Squire Robert CARNAHAN.

The winter of 1803-4 was a dreary one. The only means of communication with the outer world was by means of a bridle path leading straight over the hills to Pittsburgh. Henry M. BRACKENRIDGE, son of Judge H. H. BRACKENRIDGE, of Pittsburgh, was appointed clerk to William Ayres, Esq., the first Prothonotary of Butler County, and passed the winter in the new outpost of civilization. In his “Recollections of the West” he says: “On my arrival at Butler there were a few log houses just raised, but not sufficiently completed to be occupied. It was not long before there were two taverns, a store and a blacksmith shop; it was then a town. The country around was a howling wilderness, with the exception of a few scattered settlements, as far removed from each other as the kraals in the neighborhood of the Cape of Good Hope.”

In the spring of 1804, the population was increased, improvements were made, public business commenced and some of the institutions of civilized life were established. The first session of the court was held in February,* and soon afterward a school was organized and a series of religious meetings inaugurated. At the February term, licenses were issued to William AYRES and James THOMPSON permitting them to keep taverns, and in May four others - John MOSER, Robert GRAHAM, George BOWERS and William BROWN were added to the list of backwoods bonifaces. The first merchant was, in all probability, John POTTS, who continued in business until his death in 1838, except when representing his constituents in the General Assembly; closely following POTTS in opening stores in the new village were David DOUGAL, William PURVIANCE, Samuel HILL and Walter LOWRIE.

*See Chapter VII. Civil History.

In the summer of 1804, occurred the first social and festive assemblage of the people. The occasion was the celebration of the 4th of July. It was held at the Federal spring, near the Connoquenessing. “A long table, say 100 feet, well supplied with the best the country afforded, accommodated the eating and drinking part of the occasion. After dinner, William AYRES was appointed President and John MCCANDLESS (then Sheriff) Vice President. Patriotic toasts, general and volunteer, suited to the occasion, were read by the President, at the head of the table, and repeated by the Vice President, at the foot. Then followed the drink, the huzzas and firing of musketry, and music of drum and fife playing, playing the old Revolutionary tunes of ‘Yankee Doodle’ and ‘Hail Columbia.’”*

*Centennial address by Gen. John M. PURVIANCE.

It is related that on this occasion one of the toasts caused much amusement. Mr. AYRES proposed a “health” to Thomas MCKEAN, coupling with his name the sentiment “energy and wisdom.” MCCANDLESS, who was a little deaf, and possibly of the opposite political party, rose at the foot of the table and in a sonorous voice announced “Thomas MCKEAN-injured by whisky,” and so the toast was drunk.

Passing down the years, we find that in 1828, just a quarter century from the time Butler was settled, many material improvements had been made. The population had largely increased, and numbered between four and five hundred. The borough had been incorporated. About five years prior to the time of which we write, the citizens had begun to build brick dwellings, and there were now twenty-one in the town. The whole number of dwellings was about seventy. There were two newspapers printed here at that time; two physicians attended to the needs of the sick; seven resident lawyers practiced in the court; seven taverns were open for the entertainment of the way-farer and the stranger, and fourteen stores displayed varieties of merchandise to the people, which they [p. 149] could obtain in exchange for bear skins, deer skins, cranberries, honey, beeswax or cash. The principal merchants at this period were John GILCHRIST, John DUFFY, Samuel JOHNSON, William HAGGERTY, Adam FUNK, Maurice and John BREDIN, Clark MCPHERRIN, A. and J. BRINKER, John SULLIVAN and Walter LOWRIE.

At the end of the first quarter century the number of taxable inhabitants was ninety-seven, and their names as follows: William AYRES, David ALBRIGHT, Maurice BREDIN, John BREDIN, Jacob BRINKER, William BEATTY, Abraham BRINKER, William BRION, Joseph BRAND, Joseph BEATMENT, Robert Elliott BROWN, Daniel CATNEY, O. G. CROY, William CRISWELL, William CAMPBELL, Robert CARNAHAN, Daniel CALL, Milton CARNAHAN, Timothy CANNON, Thomas DICKEY, Henry C. De Wolf, David DOUGAL, John DUFFY, Michael DENNEY, Francis DOBBS, Norbert FOLTZ, Adam FUNK, David FUNK, John GILMORE, John GILCHRIST, James GILMORE, Samuel GILMORE, Benjamin GREGG, William GIBSON, James GLENN, Solomon GREGG, Robert GILCHRIST, William HAGGERTY, Daniel HYDRON, Samuel HARRIS, Matthew HARBISON, Samuel JOHNSON, Patrick KELLEY, Isaac KINSON, Jacob KELKER, John HARPER, Walter LOWRIE, George LINN, Jacob LACKEY, Jacob LEAZURE, John MCCULLOUGH, Joseph MCQUISTION, Christopher MYERS, Mark MCCANDLESS, Jacob MECHLING, Samuel MCPHERIN, John MCQUISTION, George MILLER, Hugh MCKEE, John MCLAUGHLIN, Clark MCPHERIN, Andrew MARSHAL, Francis MCBRIDE, John MARTIN, Henry MCGINNIS, John MARSHALL, Hugh MCLAUGHLIN, John MCLELAND, Daniel MOSER, John NEGLEY, Isaiah NIBLOCK, William NEYMAN, Eleanor NEYMAN, John POTTS, Campbell PURVIANCE, George POTTS, George REED, Malachi RICHARDSON, John REED, James SPENCER, Andrew SPROUL, Robert STRAIN, Alexander SCOTT, John SULLIVAN, Eli SKERR, Robert SCOTT, William STEWART, Joshua J. LEDWICK, Mathias LEDWICK, David STRAWICK, G. Washington SMITH, Joseph STERRAT, Lewis TUCKER, James THOMPSON, John THOMPSON, John WELSH, George WOLFE.

Prior to the close of the first twenty-five years of Butler’s existence, two notable events had occurred-- the visit of Gen. LAFAYETTE in 1824, and the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of American independence, in 1826.


An account of the memorable incident in the history of Butler we copy from the columns of the Sentinel of June 4, 1825: “On Wednesday last June 1, Gen. LAFAYETTE, on his way from Pittsburgh to Erie, passed through this borough. On the evening preceding, a meeting of the citizens was held at the court house, and preparations made for receiving and accommodating him in a suitable and respectable manner. A committee of six was appointed, of whom two were to go out and meet him and escort him into town; two to prepare the necessary accommodations for his entertainment while here, and two to accompany him as far as Mercer. On Wednesday morning, two triumphal arches were erected, one at each end of the town, decorated with laurel and other evergreens, and on the summits of which were hoisted the American flags. From the center of each arch was suspended a tablet with “Welcome LAFAYETTE” in large and legible letters, and encircled with wreaths of flowers and roses. When it was ascertained that the General was near, the citizens of the borough, with a numerous concourse of people from the surrounding vicinity, who had been assembled to get a sight of the Nation’s guest, formed in regular order and marched to the southern extremity of the town; there arranging themselves in single file on each side of the road, they awaited his approach, and saluted him as he passed, after which they turned in and marched in regular procession after the carriage up the main street to the public square, where the General alighted at Mr. MECHLING’s inn, where a sumptuous entertainment was prepared for his accommodation. After dinner, he walked out among the people, and was introduced to all indiscriminately, who requested that honor.

“The General appeared highly pleased during the short time he remained, and being introduced to some old Revolutionary soldiers who had shared the toils and perils of the Brandywine battle with him, it is said that he distinctly recollected their features, and conversed familiarly upon subjects that transpired at that battle. On taking his leave, he bid them an affectionate adieu, and exclaimed, ‘Farewell, my friends; this is the last time you will see me.’ He stayed but a short time, but it is presumed that during his stay he shook hands with not less than 400 people. About four o’clock he departed, carrying with him the good wishes of the multitude, and was escorted by the committee of arrangements. He arrived at Mercer about 1 o’clock next morning.


The fiftieth anniversary of American independence(1826) was celebrated with unusual splendor and enthusiasm in Butler and several other boroughs in the county.

The principal orator of the day at the Butler celebration were John BREDIN, Esq., and S. A. GILMORE.

The Butler Light Infantry, commanded by Capt. R. LEMMON, after giving an exhibition parade, together with a number of citizens, partook of a dinner at Daniel COLL’s. Moses SULLIVAN, Esq., was appointed President of the Day and John GILMORE Vice President.

[p. 150]

The cloth being removed, the Declaration of Independence was read by Dr. H. C. DE WOLF, following which John BREDIN, Esq., delivered an oration. After the regular programme of toasts had been drunk (including WASHINGTON, FRANKLIN and GREENE, the grand Pennsylvania Canal, the President of the United States, the Governor of Pennsylvania, the Greeks, the South American and Mexican Republics and Gen. BOLIVAR), volunteer toasts were offered by Mr. John WELSH, Mr. James LAPPIN, of Pittsburgh, Mr. Robert CRISWELL, John GILCHRIST, Esq., Mr. Henry MCGEE, by Mr. P. MCKENNA, of Pittsburgh, Mr. John GILLILAND, Maurice BREDIN, Esq., A. S. T. MOUNTAIN, Esq., Dr. DE WOLF, Mr. William STEWART, Mr. Joseph STERRETT, Mr. John REED and others.

The rifle company commanded by Capt. William BEATTY had a similar dinner and celebration, after parade, at Mr. NEYMAN’s tavern, Capt. BEATTY acting as President and Dr. George LINN as Vice President. The Declaration of Independence was read by Mr. S. C. GILMORE, who also delivered an oration. Among those present were Maj. William GIBSON, Eli SKERR, John DUFFY, Matthew HANNAH, John ALEXANDER, Robert W. STEWART, George MECHLING, Campbell E. PURVIANCE, David SCOTT, Samuel MCCULLOUGH, Hugh L. WEST, Charles MCGINNIS, James POTTS, Alexander W. GALBRAITH, Christian MECHLING, Samuel WILLIAMS.*

*Fifty years later, July 4 1876, the Centennial Anniversary of Independence was very differently celebrated in Butler. So recent an event, it is not necessary to dwell upon at length; but, for the benefit of posterity, we will say that the day was fittingly observed, as it was in almost every town and hamlet in the land, in conformity with a wise suggestion of President Grant, urging that upon that day the history of all localities should be reviewed by essayists or orators fitted for that duty. In Butler, Gen. John N. P PURVIANCE was the orator of the day, and he delivered an address which was a brief, accurate and eloquent resume of the history of the county. The meeting was held in the court house in the afternoon, and was presided over by J.G. CAMPBELL. Rev. William WHITE opened the exercises with prayer; Jacob ZEIGLER read the Declaration of Independence, and Gen. PURVIANCE then delivered his address. A poem was read by Leander WISE, and the benediction pronounced by Rev. MCILYAR. An outside greeted by the firing of cannon, and the evening closed with fireworks, and an illumination of the town.


Before passing to the corporate history of the borough and the detailed accounts of its religious and educational institutions, its business and manufacturing interests, it may not be amiss to make a brief statement of its growth. In 1830, the borough had but 580 population. This was increased to 861 in 1840; to 1,148, in 1850; to 1,399, in 1860; to 1,935, in 1870, and to 3,163 in 1880. It will be noted that the growth was quite slow and even until 1870, when it became known that the Butler Branch Railroad was to be built, the population increased more rapidly, and business interests were materially enhanced. The completion of that road, in 1871, was the most important event in the recent history of Butler, and as such --as the habringer of increased prosperity--was enthusiastically celebrated.* The oil development in the northeastern part of the county, which, in 1872 and 1873, was pushed toward Butler as far as Greece City, and Millerstown also had a tendency to enliven the town and swell the number of its people. Many substantial buildings were erected, both business blocks and dwellings, and as the town developed new needs, they were met by men of enterprise. Thus the gas works were established, chiefly through Mr. John A. GOETZ, and the water works through a company, of which J. L. PURVIS, Charles DUFFY and H. C. HEINEMAN were the principal officers.

*See Chapter VI on Internal Improvements.


Butler was incorporated as a borough* by an act entitled, “An act to erect the town of Milton, in the county of Northumberland and the town of Butler, in the county of Butler, into boroughs,” which was read February 6, 1817, and passed February 26. The charter was issued May 2, 1817, by Gov. Simon SNYDER, and signed by Nathaniel B. BOILEAU, Secretary.

*The borough was re-incorporated under act of April 3, 1851, by order of the Court of Quarter Sessions issued January 15, 1853.

The sections of the act relating to Butler are as follows:

Section 16. An be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the town of Butler, in the County of Butler, shall be and the same is hereby erected into a borough, which shall be called the “Borough of Butler,” and contained within th· following metes and bounds: The original plat or draft of the town of Butler, beginning at a black oak on the bank of the mill dam; thence north 78 degrees west 7 perches; thence south 52 degrees west 8 perches; thence south 11 degrees west 7 perches south, 3 degrees east 10 perches south, 36 degrees east 8 perches south 73 degrees west 11 perches north 10 degrees west 14 perches north, 10 degrees east 14 perches north 40 degrees west 12 perches west 16 perches south 59 degrees, west 23 perches; thence south 11 degrees west 13 perches south 25 degrees east 5 perches south 20 degrees west 14 perches; thence south 18 perches; thence south 52 degrees west 26 perches south 41 degrees west 6 perches south 61 degrees west 13 1/2 perches south 57 degrees west 7 1/2 perches to a hickory; thence leaving the dam north 77 degrees west 9 perches; thence 57 degrees west 59 perches to two hickories on the bank of the creek; thence north 15 degrees west 40 perches north 3 degrees west 152 perches and five-tenths; thence north 87 degrees east 173 perches, and thence south 3 degrees east 133 perches and two-tenths to the place of beginning.

Section 17 of the act provided that the inhabitant of the borough entitled to vote for members of the General Assembly having resided in the borough at least six months preceding the election, should, “on the Friday immediately preceding the third Saturday of March next," have power to cast their votes between the hours of 1 and 5 in the afternoon, for one Chief Burgess, one assistant Burgess and seven citizens to be a Town Council; also one High Constable.

The first election of borough officers was held May 30, 1817, at the house of Adam Funk, but most of the subsequent elections for a long term of years were held in Jacob MECHLING’s.

[p. 151]

We subjoin a list of the Burgesses and members of the Council from 1817 to 1882 inclusive, and a list of Justices of the Peace from 1840 to the present:

1817 - Chief Burgess, William AYRES; Assistant Burgess, John GILMORE; Council, William CAMPBELL, Joshua POTTS, George MILLER, Hugh MCKEE, David DOUGAL, James STEPHENSON, Jacob MECHLING.

1818 - Chief Burgess, William AYRES; Assistant Burgess, John GILMORE; Council, Peter PETERSON, John GILCHRIST, James STEVENSON, John EMPICH, William CAMPBELL, George MILLER.

1819 - Chief Burgess, William AYRES; Assistant Burgess, John GILMORE; Council, Jacob MECHLING. William CAMPBELL, John GILCHRIST, James STEVENSON, John EMPICH, Patrick HAGGERTY, Maurice BREDIN.

1820 - Chief Burgess, John BREDIN; Assistant Burgess, John GALBRAITH; Council, Hugh MCKEE, Thomas MCLEARY, Joseph MCQUISTON, William BEATTY, John POTTS, Robert SCOTT, Eli SKEER.

1821 - Chief Burgess, John BREDIN; Assistant Burgess, Walter LOWRIE; Council, Jacob MECHLING, Maruice BREDIN, David DOUGAL, Patrick HAGGERTY, Thomas M. SEDWICK, John SULLIVAN, Norbert FOLTZ.

1823 - Chief Burgess, John BREDIN; Assistant Burgess, Robert SCOTT; Council, Hugh MCKEE, James THOMPSON, John POTTS, John SULLIVAN, John SHERIDAN, John GILCHRIST, William HAGGERTY, Eli SKEER.

1824 - Chief Burgess, John SULLIVAN; Assistant Burgess, Hugh MCKEE: Council, William AYRES, William CAMPBELL, William BEATTY, Patrick HAGGERTY, David SCOTT, Norbet FOLTZ, John BREDIN.

1825 - Chief Burgess, John POTTS; Assistant Burgess, Jacob MECHLING; Council, Walter LOWRIE, John SULLIVAN, John BREDIN, William HAGGERTY, Joseph MCQUISTON, Robert CARNAHAN, Robert SCOTT.

1826 - Chief Burgess, John BREDIN; Assistant Burgess, William CAMPBELL; Council, John GILMORE, David DOUGAL, Jacob BRINKER, Joseph MCQUISTON, John GILCHRIST, Alexander SCOTT, Robert CARNAHAN, Norbet FOLTZ.

1827 - Chief Burgess, ----------; Assistant Burgess, -----------; Council, William AYRES, John GILMORE, Joseph BRINKER, William CAMPBELL, Norbet FOLTZ, Andrew SPROUL, William HAGGERTY.

1828 - Chief Burgess, William CAMPBELL; Assistant Burgess, Adam FUNK; Council, John DUFFY, Hugh MCKEE, William AYRES, Francis DOBBS, Daniel COLE, Joshua SEDWICK, John GILMORE.

1829 - Chief Burgess, Robert SCOTT; Assistant Burgess, John BREDIN; Council, William AYRES, John POTTS, Jacob MECHLING, Hugh MCKEE, William HAGGERTY, William BEATTY, John GILCHRIST.

1830 - Chief Burgess, Jacob MECHLING; Assistant Burgess, John BREDIN; Council, William AYRES, William BEATTY, H. C . DE WOLF, John DUFFY, Francis MCBRIDE, Hugh MCKEE, S. A. GILMORE.

1831 - Chief Burgess, John MECHLING; Assistant Burgess, John BREDIN; Council, William AYRES, William BEATTY, John SULLIVAN, Samuel A. GILMORE, Hugh MCKEE, Jsoeph[sic] MCQUISTON, Francis MCBRIDE.

1832 - Chief Burgess, Jacob MECHLING; Assistant Burgess William CAMPBELL; Council William BEATTY, S. A. GILMORE, Hugh MCKEE, M. RICHARDSON, George LINN, S. A. PURVIANCE, William STEWART.

1833 - Chief Burgess, John BREDIN; Assistant Burgess, John POTTS; Council, William AYRES, William BEATTY, Jacob MECHLING, William CAMPBELL, Hugh MCKEE Jonathan PLUMMER, Patrick KELLY.

1834 - Chief Burgess, John RREDIN; Assistant Burgess, David COLE; Council, John GILMORE, William AYRES, William CAMPBELL, William BEATTY, Hugh MCKEE, Jonathan PLUMMER, Jacob MECHLING;

1835 - Chief Burgess, John BREDIN; Assistant Burgess, David COLE; Council, William AYRES, William BEATTY, John GILMORE, William CAMPBELL, Jacob MECHLING, David DOUGAL, Hugh MCKEE (William STEWART was elected to fill vacancy caused by the death of Mr. MCKEE).

1836 - Chief Burgess, John BREDIN; Assistant Burgess, ---------; Council, William AYRES, William CAMPBELL, William STEWART, John GILMORE, Jacob MECHLING, David COLE.

1837 - Chief Burgess, John DUFFY; Assistant Burgess, Patrick KELLY, Sr.; Council, William AYRES, John GILMORE, Jacob MECHLING, Daniel COLE, William CAMPBELL, Sr., Robert CARNAHAN, George POTTS.

1838 - Chief Burgess, Jacob ZIEGLER; Assistant Burgess, ---------; Council, Joseph MCQUISTION, Jacob MECHLING, John GILMORE, George POTTS, Robert CARNAHAN, G. W. SMITH, George MILLER.

1839 - Chief Burgess, Jacob ZIEGLER; Assistant Burgess, Patrick KELLY, Jr.; Council, John GILMORE, Jacob MECHLING, Robert CARNAHAN, Andrew CARNES, John MCCARNES, Jacob BRINKER, John N. PURVIANCE.

1840 - Chief Burgess, S. S. BEATTY; Assistant Burgess, Patrick Kelly; Council John GILMORE, Jacob MECHLING, Jacob BRINKER, John MCCARNES, John SWEENEY, Daniel COLL, Samuel A. GILMORE.

1841 - Chief Burgess, George W. SMITH; Assistant Burgess, Jon N. PURVIANCE; Council, S. S. BEATTY, Jacob MECHLING, Thomas MCNAIR, William BALPH, George W. REED, Samuel A. PURVIANCE, Patrick KELLY.

1842 - Chief Burgess, George W. SMITH; Assistant Burgess, Daniel COLL; Council, William BEATTY, William CAMPBELL, George W. REED, J. GILCHRIST, J. MCQUISTION, S. A. PURVIANCE, P. KELLY.

1843 - Chief Burgess, George W. SMITH; Assistant Burgess, Daniel COLL; Council, Jacob MECHLING, [p.152]G. W. REED, Samuel A. PURVIANCE, Jacob ZEIGLER, Samuel M. LANE, A. S. MCBRIDE, Patrick KELLY, Jr.

1844 - Chief Burgess, George W. SMITH; Assistant Burgess, Daniel COLL; Council, William BEATTY, John MCCARNES, Andrew CARNES, I. AYRES, Patrick KELLY, Michael ZIMMERMAN, Alexander HENRY.

1845 - Chief Burgess, John GILMORE; Assistant Burgess, William Campbell, Jr.; Council, William BEATTY, David DOUGAL, John POLLOCK, Andrew CARNES, George W. SMITH, Jacob WALTER, Samuel M. LANE.

1846 - Chief Burgess, Mitchell HARPER; Assistant Burgess, William BALPH; Council, William BEATTY, David DOUGAL, George W. SMITH, Andrew CARNES, Jacob WALTER, William BALPH, Samuel M. LANE.

1847 - Chief Burgess, George W. SMITH; Assistant Burgess, Daniel COLL; Council, Jacob MECHLING, David DOUGAL, S. A. GILMORE, C, C. SULLIVAN, Samuel M. LANE. William BALPH, Jacob WALTER.

1848 - Chief Burgess, H. C. DE WOLF; Assistant Burgess, William CRISWELL; Council, Jacob MECHLING, William CAMPBELL, David DOUGAL, William BEATTY, George W. SMITH, Samuel M. LANE, Samuel G. PURVIS.

1849 - Chief Burgess, Jacob MECHLING, Jr.; Assistant Burgess, Patrick KELLY, Jr.; Council, Jacob MECHLING, Sr., William BEATTY, William BALPH, George W. CROZIER, Jr., David WALKER, Jacob WALTER.

1850 - Chief Burgess, Lewis Z. MITCHELL; Assistant Burgess, Ebenezer MCJUNKIN; Council, Jacob MECHLING, Samuel G. PURVIS, Jacob WALTER, Samuel M. LANE, Charles C. SULLIVAN, James GLENN, Michael EMRICK.

1851 - Chief Burgess, Lewis Z. MITCHELL; Assistant Burgess, J. L. BREDIN; Council, Louis STEIN, William BALPH, S. C. STEWART, Philip MECHLING, Jacob WALTER, Patrick KELLY, Jr., Michael ZIMMERMAN.

1852 - Chief Burgess, W. B. LEMON; Assistant Burgess, William ZIEGLER; Council, John H. NEGLEY, Jacob MECHLING, Michael ZIMMERMAN, Michael EMRICK, David DOUGAL, Samuel PURVIS, John MARTIN.

1853 - Chief Burgess, John B. MCQUISTION; Assistant Burgess, Henry DICKEY; Council, George W. SMITH, Jacob MECHLING, Samuel PURVIS, S. C. STEWART, F. MCJUNKIN, P. BICKEL, Jacob WALTER.

1854 - Chief Burgess, John MILLER; Assistant Burgess, James F. MCJUNKIN; Council, George W. SMITH, Samuel PURVIS, E. MCJUNKIN, P. BICKEL, Jacob MECHLING, S. C. STEWART, Jacob WALTER.

1855 - Chief Burgess, John GRAHAM; Assistant Burgess, Valentine FEIGEL; Council, J. G. CAMPBELL, Peter DUFFY, George W. SMITH, P. BICKEL, E. MCJUNKIN, Charles C. STEWART, Jacob WALTER.

1856 - Chief Burgess, John B. MCQUISTION; Assistant Burgess, William BALPH; Council J. G. CAMPBELL, Peter DUFFY, J. G. MUNTZ, Patton KEAMES, S. C. STEWART, Samuel PURVIS, Michael ZIMMERMAN.

1857 - Chief Burgess, Lewis Z. MITCHELL; Assistant Burgess, John B. MCQUISTION; Council, William CAMPBELL, A. C. MARTIN, S. G. PURVIS, Frederick MILLER, Peter DUFFY, Patrick KELLY, Michael ZIMMERMAN.

1858 - Chief Burgess, John B. MCQUISTION, Assistant Burgess, Francis EYTH; Council, William CAMPBELL, Patrick KELLY, Peter DUFFY, George REIBER, William BALPH, A. C. MARTIN.

1859 - Chief Burgess, Henry EITENMULLER; Assistant Burgess, George W. SCHAFFER; Council, Lewis Z. MITCHELL, Michael ZIMMERMAN, William CAMPBELL, Patrick KELLY, Peter DUFFY, George REIBER.

1860 - Chief Burgess, Stephen BREDIN; Assistant Burgess, Adam TROUTMAN; Council, Lewis Z. MITCHELL, John Graham, William Campbell, Patrick Kelly, George REIBER, Michael ZIMMERMAN.

1861 - Chief Burgess, William S. ZIEGLER; Assistant Burgess, John B. MCQUISTION; Council, John BERG, Lewis Z. MITCHELL, William CAMPBELL, Patrick KELLY, George REIBER, Michael ZIMMERMAN.

1862 - Chief Burgess, R. M. MCLURE; Assistant Burgess, Jacob REIBER; Council, Conrad SMITH, George REIBER, William CAMPBELL, Lewis Z. MITCHELL, John BERG, Patrick KELLY.

1863 - Chief Burgess, Joseph J. ELLIOTT; Assistant Burgess, Jacob KECK; Council same as in 1862.

1864 - Chief Burgess, A. M. MCCANDLESS; Assistant Burgess, Charles WISEMAN; Council, J. J. CUMMING, John LAWALL, John BERG, George REIBER, Conrad SMITH, Lewis Z. MITCHELL.

1865 - Chief Burgess, Joseph J. ELLIOTT; Assistant Burgess, Jacob KECK; Council, same as in 1864, with the exception of John FRAZIER in place of Conrad SMITH.

1866 - Chief Burgess, George REIBER; Assistant Burgess, Louis BISHOP; Council, James BREDIN, John FRAZIER, Lewis Z. MITCHELL, George REIBER, John LAWALL, J. J. CUMMINGS.

1867 - Chief Burgess, William A. LOWRY; Assistant Burgess, John LAWALL; Council, Jacob KECK, Charles DUFFY, John LAWALL, James BREDIN, George REIBER, John FRAZIER.

1868 - Chief Burgess, D. H. MCQUISTION; Assistant Burgess, Martin REIBER; Council, William M. RHEINLANDER, Gabriel ETZEL, James BREDIN, Jacob KECK, John LAWALL, George REIBER.

1869 - Chief Burgess, John B. MCQUITION; Assistant Burgess, George L. ROSE; Council, John FRAZIER, James BREDIN, John LAWALL, Jacob KECK, Gabriel ETZEL, William M. RHEINLANDER. [Ed. Note: William Campbell bio sketch facing page 152 is at the end of this chapter]

1870 - Chief Burgess, O. C. MCQUISTION; Assistant Burgess, Fred K. GAUTER; Council, W. A. LOWRY, [p.153]T. S. MCNAIR, James BREDIN, John FRAZIER, William M. RHEINLANDER, Gabriel ETZEL.

1871 - Chief Burgess, Alex BAXTER; Assistant Burgess, W. W. MCQUISTION; Council, same as in 1870, with the exception of George WALTER in place of William M. RHEINLANDER.

1872 - Chief Burgess, A. N. MCCANDLESS; Assistant Burgess, Archibald FRAZIER; Council, Walter L. GRAHAM, William ZIEGLER, A. W. LOWRY, T. S. MCNAIR, Gabriel ETZEL, George WALTER.

1873 - Chief Burgess, Jacob KECK; Assistant Burgess, C. ROCKINSTEIN; Council, John H. THOMPSON, Joseph ELLIOTT, Gabriel ETZEL, William ZIEGLER, Walter L. GRAHAM, George WALTER.

1874 - Chief Burgess, S. H. PEIRSAL; Assistant Burgess, Casper ROCKENSTEIN; Council, Martin REIBER, George BAUER, Walter L. GRAHAM, John H. THOMPSON, Joseph ELLIOTT, William ZIEGLER.

1875 - Chief Burgess, Jacob KECK; Assistant Burgess, Andrew FITZSIMMONS, Council, John LOWELL, Frank FISHER, Martin J. REIBER, George BOER, Joseph ELLIOTT, John H. THOMPSON

1876 - Chief Burgess, J. B. BUTLER; Assistant Burgess, George W. SHAVER; Council, Joseph L. PURVIS, F. M. EASTMAN, Joseph L. ELLIOT, Martin J. REIBER, Frank FISHER, John LAWALL.

1877 - Chief Burgess, Jacob KECK; Assistant Burgess, James CONVERY; Council, Philip BAUER, M. J. REIBER, F. M. EASTMAN, John LAWALL, Frank FISHER, Joseph L. PURVIS.

1878 - Chief Burgess, Jacob ZIEGLER; Assistant Burgess, A. L. REIBER; Council, Philip WIESNER, L. M. COCHRAN, F. M. EASTMAN, Martin J. REIBER, Joseph L. PURVIS, Philip BAUER.

1879 - Chief Burgess, G. C. ROESSING; Assistant Burgess, Grower BAUER Council, George SCHOFFNER, J. N. PATTERSON, Philip WEISNER, L. M. COCHRAN, Martin J. REIBER, Philip BAUER.

1880 - Chief Burgess, A. L. REIBER; Assistant Burgess, A. BAXTER; Council, G. C. ROESSING, Martin J. REIBER, J. N. PATTERSON, L. M. COCHRAN, Philip WEISNER, George SCHOFFNER.

1881 - Chief Burgess, A. BAXTER; Assistant Burgess, Philip CROUSE; Council, Casper ROCKENSTEIN, John FRAZIER, John M. MUNTZ, J. N. PATTERSON, G. C. ROESSING, George SCHOFFNER.

1882 - Chief Burgess, George W. ZIEGLER; Assistant Burgess, Harvy KEARNS; Council, George WALTERS, George SCHOFFNER, Jacob ZIEGLER, John M. MUNTZ, John FRAZIER,Casper ROEKENSTEIN.


1840-1845, Patrick KELLY; 1840, Robert CARNAHAN; 1841, Samuel C. STEWART; 1845, Robert CARNAHAN; 1845, S. G. PURVIS; 1846, James GLENN; 1850, Samuel G. PURVIS; 1850, Robert CARNAHAN; 1851, James GLENN; 1855, Samuel G. PURVIS, Robert CARNAHAN; 1856, George C. ROESSING; 1860, James MCNAIR; 1860, S. G.. PURVIS; 1861 George C. ROESSING; 1865, James MCNAIR, S. G. PURVIS; 1866, William S. ZIEGLER; 1969, Jacob KECK, Robert MCLURE; 1871, J. G. MUNTZ; 1874, Jacob KECK; 1875, John B. BUTLER; 1876, I. G. MUNTZ; 1878, Henry PILLOW; 1879, Henry PILLOW, Jacob KECK; 1880, Lewis P. WALKER, Jacob KECK; 1881, Jacob KECK, John BLACK; 1882 Samuel P. IRVINE.

Not long after the incorporation of the borough, measures were taken to guard against fire. We find that the Council considered plans for fire protection February 19,1825, and appointed John POTTS, Jacob MECHLING, Maurice BREDIN, William BEATTY, Abraham MAXWELL and William HAGGERTY to obtain subscriptions for buying fire apparatus. At the same meeting, John GILMORE, John BREDIN and Robert SCOTT were appointed as a committee to draft a constitution for a fire company.

A fire engine was bought by the Council from the Allegheny Fire Company in 1827, for $400. An engine house was built the following year.


The oldest manufacturing site in the borough limits is that of the WALTER Mill. Allusion has been made in this chapter to the grist-mill built by the CUNNINGHAMs in 1802. It stood where the WALTER Mill now does. The CUNNINGHAMs sold it in 1806 to John NEGLEY. Mr. NEGLEY carried on business here until 1833, building a new mill to take the place of the original primitive log structure, swept away by a flood and adding a woolen mill. Robert MCNAIR & Bros. were his successors. While they owned the mill, in 1842, it was destroyed by fire. They rebuilt the flouring mill, and it afterward became the property of William BEATTY, who leased or sold it to John MCCARNES. MCCARNES in turn sold it to Jacob WALTER, who sold to John C. GROHMAN, and he in turn transferred the property to Jacob BOOS, from whom the present owner, George WALTER, obtained it.

John NEGLEY, mentioned as having bought the CUNNINGHAM Mill, in 1806, started a cabinet shop about the same time, which was the first cabinet ship in Butler.

Another early mechanical industry was the carding machine brought to the vicinity of the borough, in 1812, by John GILMORE.

Julius KLINGLER began the milling business in 1867, establishing a small custom mill. this was carried on uninterruptedly and without material enlargement until 1880. In that year, Mr. KLINGLER expended about $15,000 in improvements, the result of [p.154]which is well known to his fellow citizens. He has now one of the finest flouring mills in the county, and produces by the gradual reduction, or roller-crushing process, known as the Hungarian patent, about 200 barrels of flour per day, for which a ready sale is found at the best prices, in various markets in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The mill now owned by George REIBER was built by a Mr. MCCALL in 1842, transferred to the possession of CLYMER & MEYLERT soon after, and by them to Mr. REIBER in 1857. It is run by both steam and water power, and contains five “runs of stones,” or sets of buhrs. The mill is occupied most of the time with custom work.

The largest mechanical industry is Butler is the PURVIS Planing Mill. This was started in 1864 by S. G. PURVIS, who carried it on until his death, in 1879, since which time the business has been conducted by his sons, J. L. and L. O. PURVIS, under the firm name of S. G. PURVIS & Co. Until 1879, the patronage of the mill was principally from the surrounding country, but since then the proprietors have been engaged extensively in the manufacture of sash, doors and blinds, which find a market in Pittsburgh and vicinity. The PURVIS Planing Mill employs about fifty men, and annually uses up about three million feet of lumber.

The oldest manufacturing enterprise carried on continuously by one man is the tannery owned by C. ROESSING, and established by him in 1832. The largest part of the leather which he turns out is used for the manufacture of harness and is disposed of in the home market as well as others.

The Union Woolen Mills, owned by H. FULLERTON, have been in operation since 1842. The building was erected by William John AYRES, who entertained the project of manufacturing broadcloth. The manufactory was successively owned by William P. MACKEY, John H. THOMPSON and Mrs. William P. MACKEY, and bought by Mr. FULLERTON in 1861. He has since carried it on and produced flannels, blankets and yarns. Formerly, he manufactured cassimeres, but of late years has given little attention to that branch of the business. The mill is in good condition, contains valuable machinery, and is run by steam power.

The foundry owned by J. G. & W. CAMPBELL was started by John MCCARNES about 1840, and bought by them in 1847. At this establishment stoves are manufactured and a line of miscellaneous castings produced. Another foundry was started soon after that of the Messrs. CAMPBELL by A. CARNES and James T. MCJUNKIN. In 1859, it was bought by M. REIBER, Sr., and Julius KLINGLER. In 1862, the firm became REIBER & WECKBECKER. Mr. RENO took an interest in 1866, and in the following year Mr. RETZERT became the fourth partner. In 1868, the firm became EYTH, WECKBECKER & RETZERT, and in 1870, EYTH, FULLER & RODGERS. Soon after the year last mentioned, business was suspended.

G. C. ROESSING began cabinet-making in 1847, and in 1860 bought out the carriage shop of THOMPSON Bros., established by them in 1857. He has since carried on the business of carriage-making very successfully.

John LAWALL began carriage-making in 1848, and carried on the business until his death, in 1877. Since that time the manufacture has been in the hands of his sons, who conduct it under the firm name of J. LAWALL & Bro. They have enlarged their facilities from time to time, and now do a large business.

The production of whisky was for a number of years quite an important industry. In 1857, a distillery was started on SULLIVAN’s Run, which was, in 1867, removed to George REIBER’s flouring mill. This was the property of George, Jacob and Martin REIBER, and they conducted business under the firm name of Jacob REIBER & Co. The distillery was run about five years after the removal to REIBER’s Mill. Another distillery was carried on from 1869 to 1878, near the depot. This was started by Jacob ZIMMERMAN and subsequently carried on by HARVEY & Co.

The establishment of the lass works of D. THOMSON & Son, in the autumn of 1882, has been an important addition to the manufacturing interests of Butler. The cost of the works was about $10,000, a portion of which amount was subscribed by a number of liberal and enterprising citizens.


The early merchants and some of their successors have been mentioned in the beginning of this chapter. The oldest merchants now in business are J. G. and W. CAMPBELL, the successors of their father, William Campbell; Charles DUFFY, the successor of his father, Peter DUFFY, and Louis STEIN, who has been in business since 1840.

The following is a directory of the present business houses of Butler:


Groceries-M. REIBER & Son, B. ROESSING, Mrs. C. KOCH, G. W. MILLER & Bro., Jacob BOOS.


Hardware - J. G.. & W. CAMPBELL, J. NIGGEL and Bro., BERG & CYPHER.

Books, stationery, etc.-H. C. HEINMAN, Jacob KECK.

Boots and shoes-B. C. HUSELTON, Al. RUFF, J. BICKELL.

[p. 155]


Merchant tailors-Jacob KECK, W. ALLAND.

Hats, caps, furnishing goods, etc.-C. GRIEB, I. COLBERT.

Wholesale liquor dealers-Jacob REIBER & Bro.

Variety stores-J. F. T. STEHLE, Josie M. PAPE.

Undertakers-C. ROESSING, Jacob KECK.

Jewelers-D. L. CLEELAND, E. GRIEB, C. F. T. PAPE.

Gunsmith-Thomas STEHLE, Sr.

Tinners-M. C. ROCKENSTEIN, Chris STOCK, H. BIEHLE & Co., Leonard WISE.


Livery stable-J. LAWALL & Bro., Samuel FRY, George A. MCBRIDE, A. WICK, BICKEL & MITCHELL, SELLERS & Co., A. FLICK, ----- CHRISTY.

Tobacconist-George VOGELEY.

Photographer-Nick CRILEY.

Music stores-William HARVEY.

Furniture-George KETTERER, William F. MILLER, MILLER Bros.

Meat markets-George KRUGH & Bro., S. SCHAMBURG, A. KOMER.

Bakeries-Louis BISHOP, John STEIN, James VOGELEY.


The beginning of banking in Butler was a private bank started in 1854, CAMPBELL, BREDIN & Co. (James CAMPBELL, Judge James BREDIN, S. M. LANE, Dr. Isaiah MCJUNKIN and A. N. MEYLART). Judge BREDIN was the managing banker, and Isaac J. CUMMINGS was the Clerk, or Cashier. In 1855, the business of the bank was turned over to Mr. CUMMINGS, and he carried it on from that time until the organization of the First National Bank, in 1864.

The articles of association of the First National Bank of Butler were formed January 27, 1864, under and in accordance with the act of February 25, 1863, :to provide a national currency secured by a pledge of the United States stocks, and to provide for the circulation and redemption thereof.” The capital stock was fixed at $50,000. The original stockholders were James CAMPBELL, John BERG, H. J. KLINGLER, John M. THOMPSON, James BREDIN, John N. PURVIANCE, Lewis STEIN, Charles MCCANDLESS, Isaac J. CUMMINGS Thomas STEHLE, Jacob ZIEGLER, John PURVIANCE, Mary A. REED, Charles DUFFY, William CAMPBELL, Michael ZIMMERMAN, Ebenezer MCJUNKIN, R. C. MCABOY, John A. GRAHAM, Jacob WALTER and Christian SEIBERT. At a meeting of stockholders, held at the office of John N. PURVIANCE, Esq., February 2, 1864, the following Directors were elected, viz., James CAMPBELL, John BERG, John N. PURVIANCE, Lewis STEIN, Ebenezer MCJUNKIN, H. Julius KLINGLER, James BREDIN, John M. THOMPSON and Robert C. MCABOY. The first President was James CAMPBELL, and the first Cashier Isaac J. CUMMINGS. Mr. CAMPBELL was succeeded as President by Charles MCCANDLESS, he by Charles DUFFY, and he in turn by W. H. H. RIDDLE. Mr. CUMMINGS, the Cashier, was succeeded by Edwin LYON, who in turn gave place to John BERG, Jr., who was followed by Alexander MITCHELL. The bank was opened in the building now owned by Thomas STEHLE, and, in 1875, was removed to the handsome three-story building on the southwest corner of Main and Jefferson streets, built by the stockholders the year previous. The First National Bank failed July 18, 1879. Henry C. CULLOM was appointed Receiver, and served in that capacity about six months, being succeeded by John N., PURVIANCE, who received his appointment January 15, 1880.

The Butler Savings Bank came into existence in 1868, the articles of association being signed January 29, and the first election of officers taking place on February 3. Following is s list of the first stockholders: William CAMPBELL, Theodore HUSELTON, J. C. REDICK, W. O. BRECKINRIDGE, Milton HENRY, George REIBER, James A. NEGLEY, Eugene FERRERO, William DICK, J. B. CLARK, E. A. HELMBOLD, Allen WILSON, Samuel MARSHALL, Harvey OSBORN, Ben JACK, Hugh MORRISON, Susan C. SULLIVAN, Charles A. SULLIVAN, James B. STORY, George WEBER, H. L. WESTERMAN, James BREDIN, John M. THOMPSON, L. Z. MITCHELL, Edwin LYON, H. Julius KLINGER, Nancy BREDIN, Joseph BREDIN, R. A.. MIFFLIN, D. KELLY, H. E. WICK, William G. STOUGHTON, H. C. HEINNEMAN, William VOGELEY, G. ETZEL, George VOGELEY, Adam TROUTMAN, Martin REIBER, Josiah MCCANDLESS, John CARSON, H. J. BERG. At a meeting held at Jack’s Hotel February 3, the following officers were elected, viz., Trustees, Samuel MARSHALL, David KELLEY, R. A. MIFFLIN, Gabriel ETZEL, J. C. REDICK, Eugene FERRERO, William DICK, E. A. HELMBOLD and Adam TROUTMAN; President, James BREDIN; Cashier, Edwin LYON. At a subsequent meeting, the following gentlemen were chosen as Directors: James BREDIN, William CAMPBELL, H. Julius KLINGER, William VOGELEY and John M. THOMPSON,. In July, 1871, a charter was obtained from the State, and the manner of conducting the bank under went some slight changes. Upon October 30, 1871, Judge BREDIN was succeeded as President by John M. THOMPSON. The resignation of the latter was a accepted, and William CAMPBELL, Sr., elected President, February 21, 1877. Mr. CAMPBELL was succeeded by J. W. IRWIN in January, 1880. The first Cashier, Mr. LYON, was succeeded by William CAMP- [p.156]BELL, Jr., February 6, 1871. The present officers are: President, J. W. IRWIN; Cashier, William CAMPBELL, Jr., and E. W. VOGELEY, Teller, the latter having occupied his position since 1875. Under these officers the Butler Savings Bank is popularly and prosperously conducted, doing a large general banking business.

John BERG & Co. established their private banking business in 1870.

Private banks were opened in Butler and Greece City in April, 1873, by a company of which J. W. IRWIN, Jacob STAMBAUGH and S. A. WOOD were the principal stockholders. Capt. J. E. RAY was Cashier of the Butler bank. The Greece City bank was soon merged with the Butler institution, and this in turn was closed, in 1875, by Mr. IRWIN, who bought into the Butler Savings Bank.


Following is the succession of Butler Postmasters: William YOUNG, John POTTS, William GIBSON, Jacob MECHLING, Jr., John GILCHRIST, David A. AGNEW, Peter DUFFY, James POTTS, Patrick KELLEY, Daniel COLL, William B. LEMMON, Joshua J. SEDGWICK, Frank M. EASTMAN, Thomas WHITE, Miss Sallie A. ROBINSON.


Presbyterian Church,-- The Presbyterian Church is the oldest organized religious society in Butler. It came into organic being in the year 1813, and comprised the congregations at THORN’s Tent, Harmony, Salt Spring and portions of Muddy Creek. THORN’s Tent was the first preaching place in this immediate neighborhood. The pioneer of Presbyterianism in Butler County was the Rev. John MCPHERRIN,* who settled here in 1805, having accepted calls from the congregations of Concord and Muddy Creek. The records are not clear in regard to this period of his pastoral labors. In 1806, he is reported as pastor of Concord, Muddy Creek and Harmony, and, in 1809, as pastor of Concord and Harmony. He was installed as pastor of the Butler Church by the Presbytery of Erie, April 7, 1813. This church was then connected with the church of Concord. Mr. MCPHERRIN remained as pastor of the united charge until the relation was severed by his death, which occurred on the 10th of February, 1822. His successor was Rev. John COULTER, who was ordained and installed September 10, 1823, and continued as pastor for nine or ten years. Rev. Loyal YOUNG** began his labors on the first Sunday of July, 1833, and was ordained and installed pastor by the Presbytery of Allegheny December 4 of the same year. His pastorate closed in April, 1868, and he was succeeded by Rev. (Prof.) W. I. BRUGH, who was installed November 2, 1869. He resigned his charge in April, 1871. Rev. C. H. MCCLELLAN was installed in January and resigned in June, 1878. Rev. W. T. WILEY was called in January, 1879, entered upon his labors the first Sunday in March, was installed on the 24th of June, 1879, and resigned on the 31st of December, 1881. His successor, the present pastor, Rev. W. E. OLLER, was called in the summer of 1882.

*A biographical sketch of the Rev. John MCPHERRIN, the first Presbyterian preacher of Butler, appears elsewhere in this work. See index of names.

**A biography of the Rev. Loyal YOUNG appears in this volume. The history of the church as here given is largely taken from the “Quarter-Century Sermon” delivered by Mr. YOUNG, January 2, 1859.

The first Ruling Elders, elected in 1813, were John NEYMAN, Alexander HAMILTON and Robert GRAHAM. Those subsequently elected have been James MCCURDY and Malachi RICHARDSON, in 1833; Robert THORN, William MCJUNKIN and Jonathan PLUMMER, in 1834; Hon. Walter LOWRIE, in 1836; David MCILVAIN and Thomas WALSH, in 1839; Henry M. BOYD and William CAMPBELL, Sr., in 1841; William MAXWELL, James MITCHELL and John CAMPBELL, in 1849; Dr. R. L. MCCURDY, Samuel MARTIN and Thomas H. BRACKEN in 1858; George A. BLACK, in 1875; W. D. BRANDON, J. C. REDICK, James D. ANDERSON and James STEVENSON, in 1877. The present Ruling Elders are William CAMPBELL, Sr., James MITCHELL, William S. BOYD, W. D. BRANDON, J. C. REDICK and James STEVENSON.

The first church edifice erected in Butler was that in which the Presbyterian congregation worshipped. It was a small stone building standing on the ground occupied by the present large and commodious brick structure, and was built in 1815. The first movement toward erecting the old stone church was made in 1814. A subscription paper was circulated and subscriptions received varying from $1 to $50. To insure the success of the enterprise, the Rev. John MCPHERRIN and twelve others entered into an obligation, December 12, 1814, agreeing “to pay an equal share of whatever might be lacking, to the Trustees of Butler congregation for building a meeting-house.: The names subscribed in addition to Rev. MCPHERRIN’s, were those of William NEYMAN, James MCCURDY, John NEYMAN, John GILMORE, Alexander HAMILTON, David MCJUNKIN, Robert THORN, William BEATTY, Robert SCOTT, Andrew SPEER, John MCQUISTION and James MARTIN. The first Trustees were John NEYMAN, John POTTS and William CAMPBELL. They selected the site for the building, and purchased just one-half of the present church lot from Alexander SCOTT for the small sum of $20. The stone church cost $1,500. John NEYMAN was the contractor.

The church was chartered in 1823. At that time the Trustees were Walter LOWRIE, John Leslie MAXWELL, John GILMORE, Robert SCOTT, William CAMPBELL and John SHERIDAN.

A second house of worship was built in 1833 at a [p.157]cost of about $3,200, and a third in 1862, at a cost of about $7,000. In 1875, what may be called the fourth house of worship of this church was built at a cost of over $16,000. The greater part of the old building was left standing and formed a part of the new.

The growth of the society has been fully as rapid and large as the frequent rebuilding would indicate. Not quite half of a century since (in 1834), the church had 105 members. During the period from that year until 1859 there were received, on examination, 317 members, or an average of nearly thirteen per year. During the same time there were received, on certificate, 182 members, making in all 499. The years 1836,1843, 1851, 1853, 1858, and 1865. In the first year mentioned, twenty-six, members were received; in 1843, twenty-four; in 1851, twenty-six; in 1853, twenty-two; in 1858, fifty-six, and in 1865, thirty-nine. The present number of members is about two hundred and seventy-five.

The Presbyterian Church of Butler has sent out many men eminent and useful in the cause of religion. Hon. Walter LOWRIE for many years Secretary of the American Board of Foreign Missions and the leading spirit in the work of building it up, went out from this church in 1835, relinquishing, to accept the position, the office of Secretary of the United States Senate. While the Rev. John COULTER was pastor, Dr. SCOTT, who afterward became President of Washington College, was received into the church on examination. Seven ministers have gone forth from the church who were born and baptized here--six of them Presbyterian and one a Methodist. They were Alexander S. THORN, Alexander B. MAXWELL, Loyal Y. GRAHAM, William O. CAMPBELL, Alonzo LINN and Josiah MCPHERRIN (of the Presbyterian ministry) and Robert CUNNINGHAM (of the Methodist.). Three other young men who became ministers--J. Fulton BOYD, Samuel M. ANDERSON and Matthew L. ANDERSON---while students, were converted here and received into the church. Rev. John C. LOWRIE. D. D., Rev. Walter M. LOWRIE, the martyred missionary, and Rev. Reuben P. LOWRIE, who went to China, had their birth and baptism here.

United Presbyterian Church, -- The date of the organization of the Associate Reformed Church in Butler is not known. It must have been organized several years before the arrival of its first pastor, the Rev. Isaiah NIBLOCK, in 1819. As far back as 1808, the Rev. Matthew HENDERSON was appointed to preach a day in Butler. In 1810, application was made for supply of sermon and an ordained minister to baptize the children. In February, 1811, application was made for the moderation of a call from the united congregations of Butler and Deer Creek. A call was made out for Rev. James MCCONNELL, but it was not prosecuted by the Butler Branch, and, in March, the society presented a petition praying “the dissolution of their connection with Deer Creek and the establishment of a connection with Slippery Rock, and for a member to moderate in a call.” The petition was granted and a call was moderated for Mr. George BUCHANAN, at Butler, in the following month, but was declined by him. A call was extended in 1815, to Rev. Robert REED, then settled at Erie, but the people were again disappointed and continued dependent upon supplies--among whom were Revs. Matthew HENDERSON, John RIDDLE, David PROUDFIT, Mungo DICK, Joseph KERR, Moses KERR, MCELROY and others. At length, however, they had a settled pastor. In the minutes of the Presbytery, the following note occurs: “Mr. Isaiah NIBLOCK,* a licentiate from the Presbytery of Managhan (late Burgher), Ireland, presented credentials on the credit of which he was received as a probationer under the direction of the Presbytery.” The original is in the possession of his son, the Rev. John NIBLOCK, and is dated April 23, 1819.

*A biographical sketch of the Rev. Isaiah NIBLOCK for more than forty-five years pastor of the United Presbyterian Church, appears elsewhere in the volume.

Mr. NIBLOCK was ordained and installed November 17, 1819, there being present on that occasion, Matthew HENDERSON, John RIDDELL, Mungo DICK, James MCCONNELL, Joseph KERR, Moses KERR, George BUCHANAN, Mr. CRAIG and Allen D. CAMPBELL. The Rev. NIBLOCK’S pastorate continued from 1819 until a short time prior to his death, which occurred June 29, 1864, a period of forty-six years. After his death, the church had supplies. The Rev. John GAILEY, was called, accepted and ordained April 24, 1866. He served six years. Rev. George M. MCCORMICK was installed as pastor October 22, 1872, and served about one year. The present pastor, Rev. R. G. FURGUSON, was called in April, 1874, commenced his labors the 1st of July and was installed January 18, 1875. The first Elders of whose installation there is any record, were Thomas DODDS and Hugh MCKEE. The date was 1812. Next in order of time came John POTTS, Robert LEMMON, Benjamin Wallace and James CRISWELL, but the dates of their installation are not known. In 1834, William JAMISON, Robert MCNAIR, William BORLAND and George MILLER were elected, and, in 1842, Thomas G. BERRY, Samuel G. PURVIS, John L. BARTLY, David LOGAN and Isaac BREWSTER.

The society had no church building for five or six years after Mr. NIBLOCK began his ministry, services being held in the old court house and in the ravine below the North Cemetery, near a spring. Hugh MCKEE obtained permission, and members of the congregation hauled logs to the spot, and, placing them [p.158]upon blocks, made rude seats or pews. In 1824, a deed was given by Robert CAMPBELL and wife to John POTTS in trust for the Associate Reformed Church of Butler, for Lot 138, of which the church now stands. The sum paid for it was $50. In 1825, John POTTS, Benjamin WALLACE, James ALLISON, John DODDS, Robert LEMMON and Hugh MCKEE, Trustees of the church made a contract with the BRYSON Brothers for the erection of a house of worship. the brick work was commenced in June. The building was duly completed and remained without alteration or improvement until 1867, when a vestibule of fourteen feet was added on MCKEAN street, and the gallery was taken down. In 1871, an extension of tweet feet was made at he east end of the church. In the first improvement, about $4,000 was expended and in the second, $3,000. Various lesser improvements have been made from time to time.

The Sabbath school in connection with this church has existed since 1823. It was originally a union school, Episcopalians and Presbyterians joining with the Associate Reformed people. The officers, elected in the spring of 1824, were: President, William AYRES; Secretary, Jacob MECHLING; Superintendents, Hugh MCKEE, John GILMORE, Joseph MCQUISTION, Maurice BREDIN, John POTTS and Robert LEMMON. The school was re-organized in 1829, with John POTTS as President, and, in 1831, became a denominational school, with Hugh MCKEE as President.

Butler Methodist Episcopal Church.-- The first society or class of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Butler was organized as nearly as can be ascertained about the year 1825. Among her first members were Andrew SPROUT and wife, Mr. DOBBS and wife, Bennett DOBBS and wife, David ALBRIGHT and wife, Mrs. PATTERSON, Mrs. John NEGLEY, Elijah BURKHART, and Caleb BROWN, the first class leader.

In 1826, Rev. John CHANDLER was appointed as preacher in charge of Butler Circuit, at which time Rev. William SWARZIE appears to have been Presiding Elder. In 1827, Caleb BROWN, the class leader of Butler society, and son of Robert BROWN, Esq., of old Middlesex Township, by the vote and recommendation of the Butler society, was licensed as an exhorter; and in the fall of the same year was placed in charge of Meadville Circuit as a supply in place of Rev. J. LEACH, whose health had failed.

The records for the Butler Circuit for the year 1828-29-30 cannot be found. From 1831 to and including 1882, the following statement, as nearly as can be ascertained, gives the names of the preachers in charge of Butler Circuit and of Butler appointment and station. The conference years do not date from the beginning of the years, but takes in of includes parts of two years:

1831-32, James GILMORE; 1832-33-34, William CARROL and Harvey BRADSHAW; 1834-35, Abner JACKSON and Lewis JANNEY; 1835-36, Abner JACKSON, E. J. RENNEY and D. K. HAWKINS; 1836-37, William C.. HENDERSON and L. WHIPPLE; 1837-38, J. MCCLEAN; 1839-40, Peter M. MCGOWAN, 1840-41, P. M. MCGOWAN and William COOPER, 1841, Joseph RAY and James PATTERSON: 1842, Joseph RAY and Jacob S. PATTERSON; 1842-43, P. M. MCGOWAN and Jer. PHILIPS; 1843-44, C. C. BEST and G. M. MAURICE; no records of the society can be found from year 1844; 1848, J. K. MILLER and R. HAMILTON; 1850-51, Alfred G. WILLIAMS and Samuel BAIRD; 1851-52, A. G. WILLIAMS and John GILLILAND; 1852, A. G. WILLIAMS, station preacher; 1852-53, A. HUSTON and W.A. LOCKE; 1853-54, A. HUSTON and J. D. KNOX; 1854, James BORBRIDGE and R. MORROW; 1855-56, James BORBRIDGE; 1856-57, J. ANSLEY and Henry NEFF; 1857, J. ANSLEY and D. BAKER; 1858, J. ANSLEY and D. BAKER; 1858-59, Samuel CROUSE and Levi H. REAGLE; 1859, H. MANSELL; 1860, Thomas STARER and H. MANSELL, R. G. HEATON, supply; 1861, Thomas STARER and E. H. BAIRD; 1862, A. J. RICH and A. BAKER; 1863, A. B. LEONARD; 1864-65, W. H. TIBBLES; 1865-66, J. D. LEGGETT; 1867, J. D. LEGGERR; 1868-69, W. D. STEVENS; 1870, J. F. CORE; 1871, A. P. LEONARD; 1872-73, D. M. HOLISTER; 1874, James M. SWAN; 1875, J. J. MCILYAR; 1876-77, J. J. MCILYAR; 1878-79, M. J. MONTGOMERY; 1879-80-81, William P. TURNER; 1882, Homer J. SMITH.

The first church edifice of the society in Butler, a plain substantial brick building of one story, was erected, as nearly as can be as ascertained, about the year 1827, in the southwest part of the town, on Lot No. 57, purchased of John NEGLEY, Sr.; consideration $125; deed executed July 12, 1837, to William STEWART, Esq., Andrew SPROUT, Henry CARSNER, James MCNAIR, John WAGLEY, Joshua J. SEDWICK, Andrew CARNS, John HOWE and James MILLER, Trustees.

January 26, 1833, James MCNAIR and William STEWART were class leaders.

April 24, 1841, the membership was reported as seventy-nine. Butler Sunday school in 1842 consisted of seven teachers, fifty scholars and had 306 volumes in the library. In 1843, the Butler Circuit was composed of eighteen appointments, with a total membership of 522.

From the organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Butler in 1825 or 1826, it was one of the regular appointments of Butler Circuit up to August 9, 1851, when by a vote of the Quarterly Conference it was set off as a station, having sixty-two members, with Rev. Alfred G. WILLIAMS as preacher in charge, George C. BOESSING, John MILLINGER, Daniel MOSER and William DERRIMORE were elected Stewards. It [p.159]remained a station for only one year, when it was again united with Butler Circuit.

During the prevalence of a terrible storm on the 19th day of April, 1856, a considerable portion of the brick wall of the church were blown down, the repairing of which cost about $1,000.

December 15,1860, articles of incorporation were duly granted the Butler society by the Court of Common Pleas of Butler County. In 1865, Butler Circuit was composed of four appointments, viz., Butler, Brownsdale, Petersville and the Temple. W. H. TIBBLES was preacher in charge.

In the spring of 1867, Butler appointment was set off as a circuit, with Rev. J. D. LEGGER as preacher in charge; James MCNAIR, local Deacon; Thomas HUSELTON, S. R. DIEFFINBACHER, C. E. ANDERSON, S. E. W. THOMPSON and Jesse M. JONES, as stewards, and S. R. DIEFFINBACHER and C. E. ANDERSON, as Class Leaders.

November 5, 1868, the church decided to erect a new house of worship, and Theodore HUSELTON, Rev. J. D. LEGGET and C. E. ANDERSON were appointed a committee to select a suitable site. April 1, 1873, a deed to the present ground occupied by the church was procured at an expense of $3,500. April 4, 1873, the old church property was disposed of for $2,500.

The new church building (brick) was completed in the spring of 1874, costing in round numbers $16,000--furnishings, $2,000. Total value of church property, $20,000. A this writing (1882), the church has a membership of 250 and a flourishing Sunday school of 300 scholars. Pastor’s salary, $1,200.

St. Peter’s Church.-- The Protestant Episcopal Church of Butler called St. Peter’s Church, was organized in the year A.D. 1824.

The first minister was the Rev. Robert AYRES, and the membership at that time consisted of but few families. When the first meeting was held to organize and take steps toward the erection of a church building, the members present in the court house were Hon. John GILMORE, Hon. John BREDIN, Maurice BREDIN, Esq., John B. MCGLAUGHIN, James BREDIN, Benjamin WALLACE, Moses HANLIN, Samuel R. WILLIAMS, Campbell E. PURVIANCE, Samuel A. PURVIANCE, William DIXON, Samuel A. GILMORE, John N. PURVIANCE, Mrs. John GILMORE, Mrs. Ann ANDERSON, Mrs. John PURVIANCE, Mrs. James BREDIN, Miss Susan BREDIN, Mrs. Hugh MCGLAUGHIN, Mrs. Thomas COLLINS and others. The Right Rev. John M. HOPKINS, then Rector of Trinity Church, Pittsburgh, Penn., and afterward Bishop of the diocese of Vermont, presided. The first matter of consideration after divine services was the procuring of a suitable lot of ground. Judge BREDIN, then a practicing attorney, generously proposed to and did donate a lot suitable in size and location on Jefferson street, it being the lot upon which the church building was erected, and is now at this writing (1882) the building in which the congregation has worshipped ever since. Subscriptions were next in order, and Bishop HOPKINS headed the list by a very liberal donation, in that day, of $100, and all others present followed by contributions as they felt able, the amount then subscribed being about $1,000. this sum and a free lot of ground was deemed sufficient to justify commencement of a church building. Accordingly, the same was soon after put under contract to Robert BROWN, of Kittanning, and is the same church building now in use, though considerably enlarged and beautified. Prior to the erection of the building of the church, divine services were held in the court house, the Rev. Robert AYRES officiating as rector. The first pastor of the new church was the Rev. M. P. BONNELL. He commenced to officiate in 1824, holding services for a time in the court house, and continued about three years. He was succeeded by the Rev. William G. HILTON, who continued to officiate as rector about six years, when he resigned. the Rev. Thomas CRUMPTON took charge and continued for six months; then the Rev. William WHITE, D. D., began his duties in the year A. D. 1837, and continued to officiate for a period of forty years, up to 1877, when upon his resignation, or soon to succeed him on the 8th of January, 1878; he resigned on the 13th of April, 1880, to take effect on the 1st of June the next, when, after an interregnum of a few months, a call was extended to the Rev. Edmund BURKE, of Carthage, N. Y., who accepted and commenced his duties as rector on the 1st of December, 1880, and is now, 1882, the minister of St. Peter’s Church.

The church services are well attended, and the communicants number, according to the last report of the rector on the 10th of May, 1882, to the Annual Diocesan Convention, 118 communicant members. Present rector and officers: Rector, Rev. Edmund BURKE; Vestrymen, E. MCJUNKIN, Jacob ZIEGLER, William MECHLING, John N. PURVIANCE, Thomas LINDSAY, James BREDIN and Dr. S.R. DIEFFENBACHER; Senior Warden, John N. PURVIANCE; Junior Warden, Jacob ZIEGLER; Secretary, John N. PURVIANCE; Treasurer, E. MCJUNKIN: Superintendent of Sunday school, P. S. BANCROFT; Collector, William MECHLING; Sexton, W. E. HENRY.

It may be noted that prior to the organization of the church, the Rev. Jackson KEMPER, afterward Bishop, visited Butler in the year 1818, as agent for the society for the advancement of Christianity in Pennsylvania, and held divine services in that year in the parlor of the late Hon. John GILMORE; a number of children were then baptized by him.


It may also be noted that the church was greatly aided in its early struggles by the help of the Rev. John M. HOPKINS, afterward Bishop of Vermont, then rector of Trinity Church, Pittsburgh, whose efforts contributed largely to the establishment of the church in Western Pennsylvania.

St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.*-- Official records of ministerial acts among German Lutherans of this place date from A. D. 1813. The first entry in the “church book” is the baptism of Samuel BERNHARD, son of Philip and Mary Margaret BERNHARD, August 29, 1813, by Rev. Jacob SCHNEE. This reverend gentleman continued his missionary visits, preaching occasionally in a carpenter’s shop, to the end of 1817, baptizing in the meanwhile the following persons: Elizabeth, Solomon and Samuel PFLUEGER, MAGDALENA, Henry, Abraham and Margaret BRINKER, Anna and Jacob BRAUM, Joshua H. CARRE, Michael ANDRE, Samuel and Thomas MECHLING, Susan, Robert, Abraham and Sarah OSSENBACHER, William and Anna M. HENRY, Frank and Elizabeth WORMKESSEL, Abraham and Martin MCCANDLESS, Sarah STEP, Franklin BASH, Daniel SHANER, George KOENIG, Margaret BUECHLE, Anna M. SLATER and Mary BARKSTRASSER.


In November, 1821, Bishop J. C. G. SCHWEIZERBARTH, a scholarly divine, somewhat eccentric, hailing from Stuttgart, Germany, then licensed, took charge of the interests of Lutheranism in this vicinity, attending for a series of years from his headquarters at Zelienople, to eleven stations in Butler and adjoining counties. It is said that he invariably wore a clerical robe in all his ministerial perambulations. He preached every four weeks in the old court house, whilst for communion services, he availed himself of the courtesy of the U. P. Church. He records that when he came he found but six members. On June 3, he first administered communion to the congregation, having the day previous confirmed his first class of catechumens and effected a preliminary organization. The officials chosen were Jacob MECHLING, John MCCULLOUGH and John HANDSCHUH. In addition to these, those first communicants were: Joseph MOSER, Henry YOUNG, Isaac YEDDER, Jacob BAHT, Henry STEINMANN, A. BUECHLE, Mrs. Elizabeth SHANER, M. MCCULLOUGH, Magdalen HANDSCHUH, Catharine MOSER, Louise BRINKER, Anna YOUNG, Mary YEDDER, Elizabeth TRAUSU, Elizabeth BESCHT, and Miss Helen HANDSCHUH. Together with the catechumens: “Jacob SHANER, Philip GRUB, Peter PFLUEGER, David and Abraham HANDSCHUH, Catharine GRUB, Elizabeth BRAUN, Sarah BAHT, Mary BUECHLE, Elizabeth HANDSCHUH, Elizabeth MCCULLOUGH and MAGDALENA YOUNG.

Ten years later, steps were taken to draft a permanent constitution, to secure a charter and build a church. The application to the Legislature of Pennsylvania for an act of incorporation, was signed, November 25, 1837, by the following council: G. SCHWEIZERBARTH, pastor; Jacob MECHLING, Jacob SHANER, Jacob WALTER, Isaac YEDDER, Peter NICKLAS, John SORBER, David HANDSCHUH,, Dr. Carl EICHHOLTZ, John DULL, John OESTERLING, Michael ZIMMERMANN.

The charter was officially endorsed by David R. PORTER, on April 13, 1841. According to this document, the foregoing council, or their successors in office, are constituted a corporate and body politic in law and in fact, to have continuance forever by the name, style and title, “The Ministers, Trustees, Elders and Deacons of the German Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of St. Marcus Church in Butler.” Meanwhile, the corner-stone to a brick church structure, 40x60x22, with a basement of eight feet for school purposes, the whole surmounted by a belfry, was laid on the corner of Wayne and McKean streets, Butler, July 8, 1840. It was dedicated September 26, 1841, by the Revs. J. C. G. SCHWEIZERBARTH, D. ROTHACKER and H. MELSHEIMER, respectively the President, Secretary and Treasurer of the “Eastern District of the Evangelical Lutheran Joint Synod of Ohio and other States,” at its sixth convention, then being held in Butler. The legend on the inscription stone of that building runs thus:

E v L U T H E R A N U M

In the cost of the building, some $4,0000, the members, then numbering 200 communicants, had overestimated their financial strength, and the church council got themselves individually into sore straits. To redeem their personal property from attachment, as well as to save the church from the hammer, they severally, after exhausting their own resources, made pilgrimages elsewhere for aid. The aggregate result tided the congregation over the sorest need, and the church was saved. In 1847, a small organ was bought, and subsequently a congregational burial-ground secured. [Ed. Note: Peter Duffy bio sketch facing page 160 is at the end of this chapter.]

Originally the congregation had among its membership a sprinkling of American born. Some of these, together with others, were, through Rev. G. BASSLER, of Zelienople, January 16, 1843, organized into an English Lutheran congregation, and for a few years held services in the German church. This drew off the English element, and in consequence St. Mark’s congregation remained purely German. bishop J. C. G. SCHWEIZERBARTH’S pastoral relation with the congregation continued till April, 1849, a period [p.161]of nearly twenty-eight years. During the latter part of this time, Rev. Frederick ILLIGER was called, who, however, after a brief activity of but several months, departed this life in Butler, March 23, 1848. He rests on the burial-ground of the congregation.

Rev. William A. FETTER then became the first permanent resident pastor, April 8, 1849, remaining in office till the summer of 1863, when he removed to another part of his charge, Millerstown, this county. He died July 10, 1865, aged fifty-nine years, eight months and twenty-two days, and was buried in the North Cemetery of this place.

During an interval of several months, the congregation was temporarily supplied by Rev. J. M. WOLF and others, till in January, 1864, it secured the services of Rev. G. F. H. MEISER, of Galion, Ohio. During his pastorate a comfortable parsonage on Wayne street, and a large pipe organ were procured. Through his instrumentality, the congregation, in accordance with the confessional position of the “ Evangelical Lutheran Joint Synod of Ohio,” placed itself on record on the subject of “Secret societies,” taking special exception to the doctrinal bearings of their semi-religious phrases.

In January, 1869, Rev. C. H. W. LUEBKERT, of Loudonville, Ohio, succeeded Rev. G. T. H. MEISER, who resigned at a call from Youngstown, Ohio. During his pastorate, the question as to the legal right of the congregation to excommunicate members, because of affiliation with secret orders, was carried into court. The court below found the expulsion of the plaintiffs void, and protected them from further discipline for the same cause. The Supreme Court rescinded the second clause, but sustained the first, on the ground of want of jurisdiction. In keeping with the general polity of the Lutheran Church, the congregation had acted in the matter as collective body, whilst the charter required action by the church council, as such. this had been overlooked. Action by this legal judicatory of the congregation would have been final.

On the removal of Rev. C. H. W. LUCLEKERT, November, 1876, to Washington, D.C., St. Mark’s congregation extended a call to Rev. E. CRONENWETT, then at Delawre, Ohio, which was accepted in January, 1877. In the matter of congregational school, the congregation had suffered disheartening experience. The congregation engaged the services of Mr. J. H. WULLER, teacher of music in Butler, for choir and organ, and the pastors themselves often personally attended to a summer term of instruction. Mr. WULLER finally, in 1876, resigned his post at the organ. In February, 1877, Prof. J. M. HELFRICH, formerly of Carthage College, Illinois, was called to fill the vacancy, and entered into hearty co-operation with the pastor, both in church and school. The prosperity of the congregation as to its future development, called for a timely introduction of the English language in the public services, and this was accordingly done on Sunday evenings, with gratifying results. A new era dawned upon the congregation. A no inconsiderable debt had gradually been accumulating, and in addition to its removal, the time-worn church needed extensive renovation. The debt was speedily canceled, and then the members made bold to utter preference for a new church in a more desirable locality. Accordingly, in the spring of 1878, a spacious lot was secured for this purpose, on the corner of Washington and Jefferson streets, for the sum of $3,000.

In the midst of general hopefulness and preparation for building, the congregation was called upon to morn the death of Prof. J. M. HELFRICH. He was called away, after brief but fatal illness, on June 26, 1878, at the age of twenty-six years ten months and twenty-two days. His remains were interred at Carrollton, Ohio. His sister, Miss Mary E. HELFRICH, afterward succeeded him as organist of St. Mark’s.

The corner-stone to the new church edifice was laid August 15, 1878. The speakers on the occasion were: Revs. G. CRONENWETT, of Woodville, Ohio; G. F. H. MEISER, and Prof. M. LOY, of Columbus, Ohio, the latter in English. According to Lutheran custom, various documents were deposited in the corner-stone.

The dedication of the church took place on September 7, 1879. Rev. G. F. H,. MEISER delivered the farewell address at the old church, and Revs. G. CRONENWETT, H. A. FELDMANN, of Canton, Ohio, and J. L. TRANGER, of Petersburg, Ohio, spoke in the new, the latter in English. The pastor led the dedicatory formula. In style of architecture, the building is somewhat mediaeval Gothic, with corner tower and strong buttresses. The material is brick, and with stone trimmings. Exterior dimensions: Fifty-eight feet across the front; across the body of the church, fifty feet; extreme length, one hundred feet. The basement story, for lecture and schoolrooms, is twelve feet high; the auditorium above has a height of eighteen feet at the sides and thirty-four feet in the middle angle, exposing to view the ceiling timbers. Its interior dimensions, including the gallery, and arched altar recess, are 47x88 feet. The architect was D. I. KUHN, of Hulton Station, Allegheny County, Penn. The contractors and builders, H. BAUER & Bro., members of the congregation. The inscription stone of the old church has been preserved as a relic, and is inserted in the inner front of the new. the cost of the entire property, site, structure, sheds, fencing, pavements, etc., amounting to some $18,000, has all bee successfully met.

[p. 162]

During the past half century, St. Mark’s congregation, in addition to the usual loss of members by death, removal, etc., suffered several more extensive drains through branch organization of its membership. Out of it grew, in some measure, the English Lutheran Church of Butler; then, largely, the so-called “White” Church, some four miles west of this place; next, an effort at an “Evangelical” Church in town, which turned out German Reformed, and then became extinct; and lastly, at the close of 1876, the German Lutheran Church of Summit Township, some four miles east. The territory of the congregation still extends in its extreme limits from five to seven miles in all directions from Butler. It number 450 communicants or differently stated, 100 subscribing members. Its German Sabbath school attendance in the morning averages eighty-five children, and its German-English summer school, sixty.

During these threescore and nine years, the pastors of St. Mark’s, as such, baptized 1,626 persons, mostly infants and children; confirmed 897 members; married 273 couples, and buried 371 persons.

The present council of the congregation consists of E. CRONENWETT, pastor; Gottlieb HEROLD, Capt. J. G. RIPPUS, Peter OESTERLING, Frederick BAUER, Elders; William SIEBERT, Treasurer; Frederick HENNINGER, Secretary; John KREDEL, Matthias KECK, Deacons; H. Julius KLINGER, Jacob KECK, Esq., J. C. GROHMANN, Trustees.

English Evangelical Lutheran Church.-- The first meeting in Butler of those favorable to the organization of an English Lutheran Church was held in the German Church of the same denomination, upon January16, 1843, Jacob MECHLING being Secretary, and the Rev. Gobtlieb BASSLER, Treasurer. A church constitution was adopted for the guidance of the organization, and at a subsequent meeting the first church council was elected, consisting of Jacob WALTER, Sr., and John NEGLEY, Sr., Elders, and John DULL, Jr., and Daniel KREIDLER, Deacons. John NEGLEY subsequently resigned, and John MCCULLOUGH was chosen in his place. The officers were installed February 11, 1843. The Rev. Mr. BASSLER served as pastor, and upon June 18, conducted the first sacramental services. About thirty persons had signed the constitution, thus identifying themselves with the new organization, and the number was increased at the first communion service by the reception of fourteen new members. The labors of Rev. BASSLER covered a period of about eleven years, from 1843-1854, with a brief interregnum. The society spent some time negotiating with the German Lutherans for the joint use of their church, but no arrangement was effected and the question of building was then agitated. A house was erected in 1849-50, upon a lot donated by Michael EMRICK, which for twenty-seven years served the congregation as a place of worship. During the period of the Rev. BASSLER’S ministry, the ordinance of baptism was administered to fifty children and upward of seventy adults. Among the adult baptisms there was that of an Indian, who had bee convicted of a most brutal murder, a mother and several children being the victims. The Indian was none other than Samuel MOHAWK, who was confined in jail in Butler waiting the execution of the capital sentence, and who had been converted by Mr. BASSLER. The baptism was solemnized at the prison on February 28, 1844. It was while Rev. BASSLER was pastor of the church, about a year after its organization, that the Pittsburgh Synod was organized, and it was in Butler that the preliminary conference was held for the purpose of making arrangements for the organization of the Synod. The place of meeting was in a little building on Washington street, which had originally been the jail, but which was at that time a private dwelling. Those who followed the Rev. BASSLER as pastors of the church were: Rev. A. H. WATERS, from June, 1855, to April, 1861; Rev. J. H. Fritz, from April, 1861, to October, 1869; Rev. L. H. GESHWIND, from August, 1870, to May, 1874, and the present minister, Rev. J. Q. WATERS, since July, 1875. Early in the spring of 1876, negotiations were entered into for the purchase of the property of the WITHERSPOON University, now owned and occupied by the church. The changes and improvements made cost about $1,700, and the total cost of remodeling and purchase was about $7,700.

German Catholic Church.-- The first Roman Catholic house of worship was a stone chapel, which stood upon a hill in the eastern part of the borough, where is now the Catholic burying ground. It was built in 1822, the ground being donated for the purpose. The building committee consisted of John DUFFY, Norbet FOLTZ and William HAGGERTY, the last named being also the contractor. The church was known by the name of St. Peter’s. Prior to the construction of the house of worship, in the year 1821, Rev. Charles FERRY came to the village and organized the congregation, which consisted originally of English (or Irish) Catholics. His pastorate continued until 1826, when he was succeeded by Rev. P. P. O’NEIL. In 1835, Rev P. RAFFERTY assumed the charge. Since this time the succession of priests has been as follows: Revs. Joseph CODY, John MITCHELL, Joseph CREEDEN. The present church, known as the German Catholic, was built in 1849.

St. Paul’s English Catholic Church.-- This neat, though unpretentious church edifice, stands fronting on MCKEAN street, in one of the prettiest locations in the borough. Its erection was begun in April, 1866, [p.163] and in the month of February, in the following year, it was dedicated by Bishop Domence, of Pittsburgh, assisted by a large number of the diocesan clergy. A great number of the citizens of the borough were also present at the ceremonies.

The original members of this church were among the first Catholic settlers of the county and before the present church was built, worshipped in St. Peter’s, or, as it is now called, the German Catholic Church, which they in no small degree helped by their contributions to erect. A strong tide of German Catholic immigration to this place set in, and in a few years after the original members of St. Peter’s found themselves largely outnumbered by the German element. It was not long before a priest of their own (the latter’s) nationality was placed in charge of the church, and ultimately it came about that nearly all the services were conducted in the German language. English services were held only at long intervals. Urged by this condition of things, the English-speaking members determined to build a church for themselves, in which they could have the Gospel preached in the vernacular. The initiative in this good work was taken by Mr. Peter DUFFY. He not only contributed largely to the erection of the church, but gave the building of it his personal supervision. The other members likewise contributed according to their means. The membership of St. Paul’s, although at first small, has been annually increasing. The first priest who assumed the pastoral charge of the parish, was the Rev. Stephen M. A. BARRETT, a native of Pittsburgh and graduate of the Propaganda College in Rome. He came here in February, 1867, when the church was dedicated, and remained about one year. He was succeeded by Rev. Daniel DEVLIN, also a native of Pittsburgh, whose pastorate was also of short duration, as within thirteen months, by illness to resign, and died soon after. The next priest whom we find in charge was the Rev. Joseph COFFEY, who came here in October, 1868, and left in the month of December in the same year. The next pastor was the Rev. James NOLAN, who began his labors in January, 1869, and was transferred in June of the same year to McKeesport. He was succeeded by Rev. Francis J. O’SHEA, who took charge of the parish in June, 1869, and continued pastor until March, 1872. He had for successor Rev. Francis MCCARTHY, whose appointment seems to have been but temporary, as he remained only three months. The next in succession was Rev. Columba MCSWEENEY. He became pastor in July, 1872, and remained in that relation till November, 1876, when he was compelled to resign all active duties, owing to great physical infirmities. He was immediately succeeded as missionary rector by the present incumbent, Rev. William Ambrose NOLAN, who assumed the pastoral charge on the 10th of November, 1876, and has continued in that office until the present time. During his administration, many and costly improvements have been made and the membership largely increased. He continues to discharge the duties of his exalted office with zeal and acceptance.

The first baptism administered in St. Paul’s Church was that of William John VINROE, on the 17th of February, 1867. The first marriage solemnized in the same church was that of Augustine JACKMAN and Frances Sophia VINROE, on the 26th of February, 1867. In looking over the registry of deaths, the first death in the parish is recorded to have occurred on the 10th of August, 1867. On account of its quaintness, we give a literal translation in English of the original Latin entry:

“On this day, 10th August, 1867, John MILLER, infant son of Hugh MILLER and of his wife, Hannah MORGAN, being but one day old, departed this life for a better one, and was buried in the German-American Catholic Cemetery of Butler.” Stephen M. A. BARRETT, pastor.

This church is the first in the county, so far as we have been able to learn, in which stained-glass windows were introduced. They were quite a novelty at that time and attracted great attention. Other denominations were not slow to imitate the example thus given them, so that at the present time every church in the borough has elegant or costly stained-glass windows.


This church was organized April 29, 1876, at BOYD’S Hall, in Springdale, with about six members. Quite a number of persons who afterward joined the church participated in the exercises of organization, but as they did not have their letters could not unite at that time. Meetings were held every Sunday, and led by Mr. B. H. OSBORN until a council was called to recognize the church. This council was held November 8, 1876, and by its act the church was recognized as a regular Baptist Church. From that time the Rev. T. H. JONES preached for the society about half the time, and Mr. OSBORN conducted the alternate meetings. On the 16th of June, 1877, the society purchased the German Reformed meeting-house for $1,500, which they immediately, occupied, having preaching every Sunday. After thorough renovation and very material improvement the church was dedicated November 4, the Rev. J. P. JONES officiating. Mr. JONES’ pastoral charge continued until the following April or May, since which time the church was without a Pastor until April, 1882, when Rev. W. H. MCKINNEY took charge. The present membership of the church is about thirty.

[p. 164]


In the year 1877, Rev. T. F. STAUFFER commenced preaching to a few members of the Reformed Church in the United States residing in the town of Butler. Meeting with success, the old Evangelical Lutheran Church was purchased, refitted and dedicated to the service of God. August 25, 1878, the dedicatory sermon was preached by Rev. Thomas J. BARKLEY, of Grace Reformed Church, Pittsburgh, Penn. The pastor, Rev. T. F. STAUFFER, performed the dedicatory service and was assisted in the other attending services by Rev. W. F. LICHLITER, of Woodstock, Va., Rev. J. W. ALSPACH, of Armstrong County, Penn., Rev. Joseph HANNABERY and W. B. LANDOE, of Butler County, Penn.

The congregation was organized August 22, 1878, at 7 o’clock P. M. in the study of Rev. T. F. STAUFFER, at the St. Paul’s Orphan Home, Butler, Penn., the following male members being present, vix., Rev. T. F. STAUFFER, Abraham MOYER, Henry NICHOLAS, Henry BIEHL, Conrod BIEHL, Oscar L. SCHULTZ, G. L. DUFFORT, C. W. RODGERS, Melvil RODGERS and Henry BLOUGH.

An election for officers resulted as follows: Elders, Abraham MOYER, and Henry NICHOLAS; Deacons, Henry BIEHL and G. L. DUFFORT. The congregation under the pastorate of Rev. T. F. STAUFFER as stated supply until September 1, 1882, and from this date as regular pastor, has made commendable progress, numbering ninety-nine members, with a Sunday school of 140.

The church is located on West North street, Butler, Penn., and is convenient of access. The organization was effected in connection with and by the permission of Allegheny Classes or the Pittsburgh Synod of the Reformed Church in the United States.

The doctrines held and expressed by the congregation are set forth plainly in the Heidleberg Catechism, as prepared and published in 1563 by the Elector Frederick III, of the Palatinate, Germany, having been prepared at his request by Prof. Zachairias URSINUS and the celebrated preacher Casper OLEVIANUS. The constitution governing the congregation is the same as adopted by all Reformed Churches in the United States.


The Butler Academy (old stone academy), the first building erected in Butler solely for school purposes, was built in 1811 by John PURVIANCE, and stood where the high school building now is upon land donated by the CUNNINGHAMs. Application having been made to the State for assistance, an appropriation of $2,000 was made, one half of which was used to defray building expenses and the other $1,000 placed at interest for the benefit of the school. Until 1834, when the free school system was introduced, the only school worthy of note was that held in this building. The teachers in the old academy were Messrs. WILLIAMSON, GLASS, James CAMPBELL, Olney DAVIDSON, Joseph STERRITT, J. W. SCOTT, SHARON, CANDERS, Rev. William WHITE, PERKINS, De Parke TAYLOR, John CHAMBERS, Rev. William WHITE (for a second period of eleven years), Asa WATERS and Rev. J. Q. WATERS.

About 1860, the school was suspended, and by authority of a special act of the General Assembly its funds were divided between the Witherspoon Institute, the Sunbury Academy and the academy at Zelienople, while the property in the borough of Butler was transferred to the corporation for school purposes.

Witherspoon Institute originated at a meeting of the Presbytery of Allegheny (now Butler) at Concord Church October 17, 1848. The subject of founding as academy to be under the care of the Presbytery was first presented, and with the concurrence of the Presbytery a convention was called, and held in Butler February 6, 1849, to determine the question, and if thought best to establish such an institution. Those convened entered into the work with enthusiasm, and $1,240 were subscribed at once, as the commencement of a sum for putting up the necessary building.

The next spring the Presbytery appointed Rev. Loyal YOUNG to prepare a charter to be submitted at the fall meeting, and also to lay the claims of the proposed institution before the churches.

At a meeting of Presbytery, held at Slate Lick September 5, 1849, a form for charter was reported and adopted. By this charter, which was granted by the court December 14, 1849, twenty-one members of the Presbytery of Allegheny were constituted a corporate body, under the style and title of “the Trustees of the Witherspoon Institute.” By the provisions of the said charter, the same Presbytery was given power to appoint the successors of these Trustees, and “to instruct the said corporation as to the management and disposal of all moneys” and property that should come into its possession. The charter members of the Board of Trustees were John REDDICK, Lemuel F. LEAK, John COULTER, Joseph GLENN, William MORRISON, Benjamin MILLER, James M. SMITH, Robert WALKER, Louis L. CONRAD, Ebenezer HENRY, Loyal YOUNG, Ephraim OGDEN, Newton BRACKEN, William F. LANE, John MOORE, James CRAWFORD, Thomas MIFFLIN, Samuel JACK, Robert THORN, John CRAIG, John MARTIN. Under this charter the Presbytery elected Rev., Loyal YOUNG as Principal and Mr. David HALL as assistant at their meeting in Butler April 10, 1850. And the school under these teachers went into operation May 13, of the same year in the basement of [p.165] the Presbyterian Church. Rev. Loyal YOUNG visited nearly all the churches of the Presbytery, raising funds for the school, and accepting the office of Principal only for a season, being Pastor of the Butler Presbyterian Church.

Mr. YOUNG continued Principal for nearly two years, when Rev. Martin RYERSON was elected to the office, and commenced his labors January 19, 1851. He also held the office nearly two years, resigning on account of ill health October 5, 1852, but teaching to the close of the term. Mr. YOUNG as Principal was again called to the school, with Mr. J. R. COULTER as assistant. After one year, Mr. COULTER being elected as Principal, took the charge, which he held for two years.

In the fall of 1855, Rev. John SMALLEY became Principal, and continued three years. Mr. YOUNG again acted as Principal for a few months, when Rev. James S. BOYD was appointed in the spring of 1859, and continued Principal for six years. In October, 1865, Rev. William I. BRUGH became the Principal. Mr. BRUGH retained the Principalship until 1877, with the exception of a brief period, during which the office was filled by Rev. HAMILTON.

In 1851, a site on Main street was purchased and a building erected for the institute. To this building wings were added in 1864, toward the expense of which an appropriation of $2,500 was received from the State. This building, now occupied by the English Lutheran Church of Butler, was sold by the Trustees of the institute in 1877, and a lot of four acres was procured upon an eminence in the eastern part of the town, upon which the present commodious building was erected.

Mr. BRUGH having retired from the Principalship, the school was re-opened in the summer of 1877 under Mr. CREIGHTON, and in the following year was conducted by Rev. H. Q. WATERS, assisted and succeeded by H. K. SHANOR. In the construction of this new building a considerable debt had been contracted, for the liquidation of which the Presbytery allowed the property to go to sale, and the institution thus passed from the control of the Presbyterian Church.

The results achieved during this period of nearly thirty years had fully vindicated the wisdom of the founders of the institute. Under the care of its able and devoted instructors, a very large number of youth were education and are now filling various stations of usefulness in the professional and business life.

In April, 1879, Witherspoon Institute was re-opened as an independent, unsectarian academy, with P. S. BANCROFT as Principal. With Mr. BANCROFT, J. C. TINSTMAN was associated in the following September, as Professor of Mathematics and German. The school has continued under the same management to the present time. Its course of study includes all the branches of an English education, the classic languages and literature, the sciences and higher mathematics, German and French. It practically demonstrates the advantages of the co-education of the sexes, its rolls comprising the names of ladies and gentlemen in nearly equal number. A summer normal term of six weeks is held every year, in which large numbers of teachers are specially prepared for their work. The catalogue for 1881-82 shows seven instructors and 172 students.


Prior to the building of the present union school building, there were two small structures in the borough which served as schoolhouses. The first or upper schoolhouse, as it was called, is still standing near the new school building. The second or lower schoolhouse stood where is now the Methodist Church. The first-mentioned of those buildings was erected some time in the thirties--nobody seems to know exactly when.

The union school building was begin in 1871 and finished in 1874. Its cost was about $33,000. the expenditure for the additional ground necessary, for furniture, ran the total expenses up to $40,000. This was reduced, however, by the sale of the old brick schoolhouse and lots, the academy building, the old schoolhouse near Mrs. MACKEY’s, the greater part of the Quarry Reserve, a small amount from liquor fines, a tax levied for building purposes, and State appropriations, to $15,000. The architects of the building were Levi PURVIS, of Butler, and BARR & MOSER, of Pittsburgh; the contractors, Valentine FEIGEL & Son; and the Superintendent, Jacob KECK. The work was creditable to all connected with it, and the building is an ornament to the town.

The principal teachers from the time of Thomas BERRY, who wielded the birch in the old schoolhouse in the thirties, down to the present, have included the following gentlemen: Eugene FERRERO, A. REBSTOCK, James BALPH, R. P. SCOTT, George R. WHITE, John H. CRATLY, A. J. MCCAFFERTY, J. B. MATTHEWS, J. J. SHARP, J. B. MECHLING and E. MACKEY.

The schools were organized upon their present basis in 1854.


Following is a list of the members of the School Board from the organization of the schools upon their present basis to 1882:

1854--S. C. STEWART, William HENRY, William BALPH, S. G. PURVIS, Charles COCHRAN, Andrew CARNS.

1855--D. W. CROZIER, William HENRY, William BALPH, J. G. MUNTZ, Charles COCHRAN, Andrew CARNS.

1856--Isaiah NIBLOCK, G. W. CROZIER, William BALPH, Jacob WALTER, J. G. MUNTZ, Andrew CARNS.

[p. 166]



1859--John GRAHAM, G. W. CROZIER, Isaiah NIBLOCK, Wm. A. FETLER, Charles PROSSER, Jacob WALTER.

1860--William BALPH, John GRAHAM, G. W. CROZIER, I. J. CUMMINGS, William A. FETLER, Charles PROSSER.

1861--James BREDIN, G. W. CROZIER, William A. FETLER, Louis STEIN, William BALPH, I. J. CUMMINGS.

1862--William A. FETLER, G. W. CROZIER, William BALPH, Louis STEIN, James BREDIN, I. J. CUMMINGS.

1863--Lewis Z. MITCHELL, William A. FETLER, G. W. CROZIER, I. J. CUMMINGS, Louis STEIN, James BREDIN.





1868--Charles DUFFY, Alex LOWRY, Lewis Z. MITCHELL, Jacob ZEIGLER, H. J. KLINGLER.

1869--James BREDIN, Charles DUFFY, Alex LOWRY, John Q. A. SULLIVAN, Jacob ZEIGLER, H. J. KLINGLER.

1870--Alex LOWRY, James BREDIN, Jacob ZEIGLER, George WALTER, John Q. A. SULLIVAN* Charles DUFFY.

*Mr. LOWRY resigned June 19, 1871, and James A.. NEGLEY was appointed to fill the vacancy. Mr. NEGLEY resigned August 9, 1871, and on the 26th Harvey COLBERT was appointed in his place.

1871--Jacob KECK, Alex LOWRY,* Ferd REIBER, James DUNLAP, George WALTER, S. BREDIN.

*Mr. REDICK resigned August 7, 1873, and George WALTER was appointed to his place upon the Board.

1872--Lewis Z. MITCHELL, Jacob KECK, George WALTER, H. C. HEINEMAN, James DUNLAP, S. BREDIN.


*John Q. A. SULLIVAN resigned January 6, 1871, and Ferd REIBER Was appointed to fill the vacancy.





1878--J. G. MUNTZ, S. P. IRVINE, Eugene FERRERO, George WEBER, Lewis Z. MITCHELL, Adam TROUTMAN.

1879--Joseph PURVIS, J. G. MUNTZ, Adam TROUTMAN, S. BREDIN, George WEBER, Lewis Z. MITCHELL.

1880--Frank M. EASTMAN, Joseph PURVIS, George WEBER,* S. GRAHAM, S. BREDIN, Adam TROUTMAN.

*Mr. WEBER resigned November 1, 1880, and Lewis Z. MITCHELL was appointed to fill the vacancy.




*by Rev. T. F. STAUFFER

This home is situated on a beautiful hill on the east side of Butler, and within the borough limits. the main building is of brick, very substantially built about forty-five years ago by Mr. MCCALL, father of the well-known Gen. MCCALL, a wealthy merchant of Philadelphia, for a summer residence for himself and family. Philadelphia, at that day, was far distant, and mountains and forest intervened between that city and the rude little log-built town; and it is not surprising that the people looked upon the gray-haired old man, building a mansion of such great dimensions, with feelings akin to the antideluvans who ridiculed Noah and his ark. The aged gentleman, however, having in view his own comfort and that of his family, and also the improvement of his extensive landed property in the county, completed his work. He lived but a few summers to enjoy his home. The property passed through several hands until purchased by Christian CEIBERT, now of the city of Pittsburgh, Penn.

Mr. CEIBERT, being a member of the Reformed Church in the United States, and desiring to sell his beautiful home, listened to the wise counsel of his pastor, Rev. C.. A. LEIMBERG, and offered the property, with a donation of $1,000 of the purchase price to the St. Paul’s Classis of the Reformed Church, to be erected into an Orphan Home.

The proposition met with much favor, and the property was purchased by said Classis, and dedicated as an orphan home, December 10, 1867. Rev. George B. RUSSELL, D. D., presided at and performed the act of dedication. Addresses were delivered on the occasion by Revs, T. J. BARKLEY, F. K. LEVAN and William M. LANDIS.

Rev. C. A. LEIMBERG was elected its first Superintendent, holding the position until 1871, when he resigned. During his term of office, the entire purchase indebtedness was paid, and the institution brought to a good degree of usefulness and prosperity.

[p. 167]

A liberal charter was obtained from the Legislature at the session of 1868, which grants the privilege to receive orphan children of all denominations, or Christians, and also the children of deceased soldiers and sailors who were citizens of the State of Pennsylvania and served in the late rebellion.

At the resignation of Rev. C. A. LEIMBERG, Rev J. B. THOMPSON was elected Superintendent, and entered upon the duties of the office June 1, 1871, continuing therein until the year 1876, when he resigned, his resignation to take effect April 1, 1877.

At a meeting of the Board of Directors, held in Grace Reformed Church, Pittsburgh, Penn., November 21,1876, Rev. T. F. STAUFFER was elected to the office of Superintendent, urged to accept the same, and entered upon its duties April 5, 1877. he continued his management until the annual meeting of the board in June, 1882, when he resigned, his resignation taking effect September 5, 1882. During his term of office, many improvements were made to the buildings. A new school building and a new north wing were erected, so that the buildings are sufficient for the accommodation of a large number of children. Rev. P. C. PRUGH was elected Superintendent, and succeeded Rev. STAUFFER in the official duties September 5, 1882.

The object of the founders of this institution was to provide for the maintenance and Christian training of orphan children--principally of the Reformed Church; and also to care for destitute orphans of every class. Applications for admittance are made to the Board of Directors, and children are received by indenture. This enables the authorities of the home to again indenture them, when suitable places can be found, and to retain the guardianship over them till of age.

The orphans of soldiers and sailors are provided for until sixteen years of age at the expense of the State, at which age they are returned to the guardianship of relatives and friends.

The government of the home is mild, yet firm. The importance of self-government is earnestly impressed upon the minds of the children, and with encouraging success. The Christian and intellectual training of the children is held by the management to be of primary importance, yet, at the same times, not neglecting the physical.

The management consists of Superintendent, Matron and a Board of Directors, consisting of sixteen Directors. The board meets annually, on the second Wednesday of June of each year.

The purchased title of the home has been transferred from St. Paul’s Classis to the Pittsburgh Synod of the Reformed Church in the United States, from which body the members of the board are elected.

The institution is in a prosperous condition, and will bring comfort to many fatherless and motherless children.

[p. 168]

The support of the home is derived from he liberal free-will offerings of the Reformed Church and the friends of the fatherless of every name. No more worthy object of Christian charity can present itself to the people of God.


The first burial place in Butler, the old graveyard back of the public school building, was set apart and donated to the town by the CUNNINGHAMs, one of whom lies in an unmarked and unknown grave within its limits. The first person known to have been buried in this place was Charles MCGINNIS, who died in 1806, at the age of eighty-six years.

St. Peter’s Catholic Cemetery was platted in 1830, on ground deeded for the purpose by Sarah COLLINS. An addition was made in 1834, of ground deeded to the Catholic society by Valeria EVANS and her husband, E. R. EVANS.

The ground constituting the North Cemetery was purchased from Ebenezer GRAHAM in 1850, by John N. PURVIANCE, George SMITH and Samuel G. PURVIS, who were appointed as a committee for that purpose at a citizens’ meeting. the deed was not made until December 9, 1856. Squire Robert CARNAHAN was the first Superintendent, and was succeeded. by Squire George ROESSING, who now holds the position. The remains of Boyd HILL were the first interred in this cemetery.

The South Cemetery is owned in common by the German and English Lutheran and the United Presbyterian societies. John NEGLEY deeded land to the German Lutherans in 1850, and subsequently to the English Lutherans, and, still later, the MCQUISTION heirs made a deed of a small tract of land adjoining upon the south, to the United Presbyterian Church.


Butler Lodge, No. 272, F. & A. M. was granted a charter March 7, 1853. The charter members and first officers were: James BREDIN, W. M.; David A. AGNEW, S. W.; Felix C. NEGLEY, J. W.; William CRISWELL, Treasurer; George W. CROZIER, Secretary. The first meeting of the lodge was held August 3, 1853, and officers were installed by S. MCKINLEY, D. D. G. M.: William F. LOGAN, D. G. M.; A. ANDERSON, G. S. W.; H. A. WILLIAMS, G. J. W.; John ANDERSON, G. T.; William WILSON, G. S., C. SHUNK, G. S. D.; Alex TINDALL, G. J. D.; F. FOLTZ, G. M.; J. M. ORR, C.; Andrew FITZSIMMONS, T.

From this lodge were organized Harmony Lodge, at Harmony, Butler Co., Penn.; and Argyle Lodge, at Petrolia, Butler Co., Penn. Present membership, about seventy.

The present officers are: Lewis Z. MITCHELL, W. M.; John S. CAMPBELL, S. W.; Walter L. GRAHAM, J. W.; Harvey COLBERT, Treasurer; Thomas S. MCNAIR, Secretary; Joseph CRISWELL, S. D.; C. REBHUN, J. D.; S. G. HUGHES, T. Regular communications the first Wednesday of each month.

I. O. O. F.

Connoquenessing Lodge, No 278, I. O. O. F., was instituted December 11, 1847, the charter having been granted upon the 8th of November. The charter members were Alfred GILMORE, Jacob ZEIGLER, John GRAHAM and Dunlap MCLAUGHLIN. The first candidates, proposed and elected at the same meeting, were William BALPH, Cornelius CALL, J. H. NEGLEY and Thomas W. WALLACE. The first elective officers were N. G., Alfred GILMORE; V. G., Jacob ZEIGLER; Secretary, John GRAHAM; Treasurer, Dunlap MCLAUGHLIN.

The second meeting was held on the evening of December 23, in the south wing of the old court house, up stairs. The present elective officers are: N. G., Loyal Y. MCJUNKIN; V. G., J. W. BARTINUS; Treasurer, G. C. ROESSING; Secretary, C. E. ANDERSON; Assistant Secretary, Alex MITCHELL. Eleven lodges of Odd Fellows have been organized in Butler County, as follows, viz.: Saxonia, at Saxonburg; Negler, at Centerville; Kinnear, at Harmony; West Sunbury, at Coultersville; Rustic, at Prospect; Portersville, at Portersville; North Washington, at North Washington; Martinsburg, at Martinsburg; Petrolia, at Petrolia; Karns City, at Karns City; and Millerstown, at Millerstown.


This, the oldest of the beneficial orders in Butler County, has nine lodges within its limits, located at Butler, Petrolia, Prospect, Karns City, Fairview, Centerville, Martinsburg, Byron Center and Evansburg.

Butler Lodge, No. 94, was instituted January 18, 1876, with the following charter members, viz.: L. P. WALKER, S. R. DIFFENBACHER, T. A. TEMPLETON, A. L. REIBER, T. B. WHITE, D. CUPPS, A. MITCHELL, H. GEMPER, E. ROBB, T. S. GREEN, D. A. HECK, C. REBHUN, Samuel WALKER, John F. LOWRY. The whole number of Master Workmen received since the organization is ninety-one, and the present membership is seventy-five. The lodge embraces in its membership some of the best citizens of the borough. An excellent library is provided for the use of members and their families. It now contains six hundred volumes, mostly of standard works on history, poetry and fiction. [Ed. Note: Samuel G. Purvis bio sketch facing page 168 is at the end of this chapter.]


The Knights of Honor have seven lodges in the county. A. L REIBER Lodge, No. 679, of this bor- [p.169]ough, was instituted June 22, 1877, with the following charter members: A. L. REIBER, W. P. ROESSING, D. A. HECK, C. H. ROESSING, C. P. SLENTZ, J. R. SPANG, J. C. SMITH, G. A. MCBRIDE, S. F. MCBRIDE, J. B. CRAIG, John F. LOWRY, T. C. BARR, W. L. MARSHALL, P. M. LOWRY, C. A. SULLIVAN, H. BIEHL, A. B. HUGHES, A. T. BLACK, T. B. WHITE, G. A. BLACK, W. E. REED, C. REDHUN, D. CUPPS, S. C. CAMPBELL, George M. ZIMMERMAN, J. L. CAMPBELL, F. M. EASTMAN, S. M. COCHRAN, Clarence WALKER. The present number of members is about forty.


Butler Council, No. 219, was instituted May 3, 1880, sixteen charter members, as follows: W. A. WRIGHT, Eli CONN, G. W. SHAFFER, Jeff BURTNER, G. W. SHIRON, Newton BLACK, A. L REIBER, J. M. THOMPSON, C. A. SULLIVAN, M. SULLIVAN, R. M. CRAWFORD, J. L. CAMPBELL, D. L. BYRES, A. O. EBERHART, L. B. ROESSING, B. F. KLEE. The present membership of the Council is thirty-eight.


The Butler Council of this order was instituted September 30, 1881, with twenty-five charter members, viz.: B. H. JACKS, S. SCHAMBERG, Leonidas HUFF, A. L. REIBER, J. Q. WATERS, H. BIEHL, D. A. HECK, Bernard ROESSING, James T. BRITTAIN, Joseph BRITTAIN, W. A. STEIN, Thomas F. STAUFFER, Conrad BIEHL, L. B. ROESSING, W. C. SMITH, J. L. CAMPBELL, John MITCHELL, H. O. STEHLE, George KETTERER, LINN MCABOY, J. N. PATTERSON, R. H. PILLOW, W. C. THOMPSON, H. DE WOLF, Jeff BURTNER. To these seventeen members have since been added, making a total of forty-two.


This association was organized March 4, and incorporated March 31, 1876. The capital stock was fixed at $500,000, the number of shares at 2,500, and their value at $200 each. The total number of shares taken is about fourteen hundred. The original officers of the association were: President, G. C. ROESSING; Vice President, G. ETZEL; Secretary, J. L. CAMPBELL; Treasurer, Louis ROESSING; Directors, H. C. HEINEMAN, John M. MILLER, Jacob ZEIGLER, Jacob BOOZ, Stephen BREDIN, C. ROCKENSTINE, J. L. PURVIS, William ENSMINGER, John M. MILLER. The present officers are: President, G.. C. ROESSING; Vice President, L. P. WALKER; Secretary, J. L. CAMPBELL; Treasurer, H. BIEHLE; Directors, J. S. GRAY, F. M. RENO, H. GREIB, J. H. TROUTMAN, J. ROCKENSTEIN, H. MILLER; Solicitor, C. G. CHRISTIE.


The attractive little villa known as Springdale, and situated in the southeast part of Butler Borough, was laid out in 1872-73, by William S. BOYD, who came to Butler in 1834, and moved to the property on which he now resides in 1841. He purchased a farm of 150 acres, including a greater part of the site of Springdale, from Sheriff MCBRIDE, in 1839. Originally, the land was a portion of a large tract built at an early day where Mr. BOYD’s fine residence now stands.

Several years prior to the laying out of Springdale, Mr. BOYD bought of Mrs. MACKEY thirty-seven and a half acres, lying between his first purchase and the town, and leaving her a piece of land on the Freeport road, between his purchase and the Connoquenessing. It was his intention to lay out a separate village, but, the land being included in the borough boundaries in 1871, the allotment became an addition to Butler. Mr. BOYD erected about fifty comfortable dwellings, and, in the years 1872,1873,and 1874, one-half of them were sold. In 1873, he built the large structure opposite his home, for a temperance hotel, and, in 1874, built Springdale Hall. When the oil excitement subsided, the hotel could no longer be profitably carried on, and the building was used for other purposes, serving in1880 as a ladies’ seminary. The building is three stories in height, tastefully constructed and spacious (its dimensions, 40x65 feet), and the time will doubtless soon arrive when it will be utilized. The hall has been used for various useful purposes, and for nine years has been the meeting place of a large and well-conducted mission Sunday school. A day school has also been successfully carried on in the building.

Springdale presents a neat and thrifty appearance, and contains some of the pleasantest homes in Butler. Its aspect and character are creditable both to the projector and the residents of the little village.



The life of the strange man whose name heads this sketch was the latest severed of the links which bound the present generation to the pioneers. He came to Butler about the year 1800, and was an almost universally known character in town and country until his death, which occurred November 8, 1881, at the remarkable age of one hundred and three years.

There is probably no means of determining the exact date of David DOUGAL’S birth, but there can be no reasonable doubt that it was in the year 1778, and it was probably upon either the 21st or 23rd day of September.

[p. 170]

He was born near the "Burnt Cabins," in the vicinity of what is now known as Fannetsburg, in Franklin County, Penn. His father was a Presbyterian preacher, and was instrumental in planting the first churches of his denomination in that vicinity. He was of Scotch descent.

David DOUGAL left home when a very young man(possibly before arriving at his majority), and was engaged for some time as a clerk in the Prothonotary’s office of Huntingdon County, and while there obtained a knowledge of surveying. From Huntington he went to Pittsburgh, and soon made his way into “the dark and bloody ground” of Kentucky, where he acquired a taste for adventure, and , in some respects, for the customs and habits of the Indians. From Kentucky the young man went to Detroit, where he acted for a time as a clerk in a trading post, and met many Indians. He also spent some time among them in what in now the State of Ohio. He returned to Huntington, and, as we have said came here about 1800. That was the year the county was formed. Three years later, when Butler was laid out as the county seat, and the sale of lots occurred, Mr. DOUGAL bought two--the ones which extend from the Diamond on both sides of Main street to what are now known as the VOGLEY and ETZEL alleys--which he held until the day of his death. He engaged in merchandising, but did not long continue in the business, as it was distasteful to him. “He took delight,” says an obituary notice, “in surveying, for this gave him the opportunity of roaming through the woods and associating with the settlers, whose rough ways of living suited him better.” He did nearly all of the early surveying in Butler county, and had a wonderful knowledge of the lines of districts, tracts and farms. He became the agent of the great land-owner, Stephen LOWREY, and continued in the capacity of Mrs. COLLINS’ agent when LOWREY’S lands came into her possession, and also was the agent of her heirs until he became so feeble that he was compelled to give up active business. At one time he was a large land-owner himself. He was the first County Commissioners’ Clerk, and afterward one of the Commissioners. He was always a very useful man to his fellow-citizens, although very peculiar in his habits. His business ability was never questioned. his stock of general information was remarkable, and he was a man of unusual mental power. He was especially well versed in science, and there was scarcely a branch of this department of knowledge of which he was ignorant, but he possessed withal a strong speculative fancy, and was much given to philosophizing. His conversational abilities were quite remarkable., and he was much esteemed by the leading men of Butler and of the surrounding county who became acquainted. In his last years, he was noted for his encyclopedial knowledge of local historical matters, and conversations with him upon these topics were eagerly sought by the older citizens, to whom they were peculiarly interesting. He possessed a ready wit, and was very apt in repartee, as many can remember--some, perhaps, to their sorrow. In religious doctrine, he might perhaps be called a Presbyterian, but he was too eccentric to be orthodox. Mr. Jacob ZIEGLER, who, perhaps, knew him as well as any of his fellow-citizens, says of him, in an obituary in the Democratic Herald, that, “while he never attended church, he had an utter contempt for the man who treated the forms of religion, as practiced in any church, with levity. *   *   * He never sought to interfere with the religious convictions of any man.”

We have said that he was peculiar. Doubtless his eccentricities and his general manner of life tended as much or more to make him a marked figure in the town as his learning, and the fact that he was a pioneer.

Notwithstanding the fact that he owned a large property, and could have surrounded himself with all the comforts of life, he persisted in living in one of the smallest of the hut-like housed in “DOUGAL’S Row,” “surrounded by rubbish of all kinds, with a few broken chairs, and a bed that defied all civilization; and in the midst of an odor that had not its like outside of the rude tent of the untutored savage. In other words, he despised all modern fashion, whether it pertained to eating, sleeping, clothing or comfort.” Mr. ZIEGLER, from whom the above is quoted, says: “This was not the result of acquired habit. We always believed, and believe yet, it was the result of an inward delight for the free and unrestrained life of the Indian.” He never would improve any of the small, unsightly houses which he built in Butler. He considered them amply sufficient for any one to live in who was not, as he used to say, “beset with sin and stinking with pride.” He was born and reared in a log cabin, and he maintained the manner of log cabin life until his death. His way of living was in no degree dictated by anything like miserly feeling. He was generous to his tenants. If they had the means to pay, well and good; if they had not, he permitted them to remain or move away, as they thought best. Notwithstanding the fact that, for a very long term of years, he rented his town and county property, he never issued a landlord’s warrant. He was scrupulously fair in all his dealing, and conscientious to the extreme in the discharge of business.

As we have said this eccentric character passed away November 8, 1881. He was an honest man, and the last of the Butler County pioneers.

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Robert GRAHAM was a pioneer of 1797, and his family was doubtless the first which settled within the present limits of the borough of Butler. They resided in a log cabin where Mr. DAUGHERTY’s fine house now stands, near the North Cemetery, and the location was near but not inside of the original town plat. Robert GRAHAM was born on the banks of the Susquehanna, near Harrisburg, in the year 1768, and emigrated from there to Washington County with his father’s family when a young man. He was the youngest of several brothers; was of Scotch-Irish descent, and in his religious views was a Presbyterian, and, for a period of forty years before his death, which occurred in 1849, he was an Elder in the Butler Church. Mr. GRAHAM married, about the year 1800, Miss Sarah BROWN, a sister of Robert BROWN, of Middlesex Township. Their children were William, the first child born in Butler, who died near Pittsburgh, leaving a family; Robert, who died in Penn Township, also leaving a family; James, who is a resident of Williamsport; John B., who is still living in Butler; Rachel, deceased; Mary (HEINER), of Kattanning; WILLIAMSON, who lives in Oakland, Cal.; Samuel, who died when a young man; Sarah (REED), of McKeesport; Lydia (CRAWFORD), of Allegheny County; and Ebenezer, who is a resident of Butler.

Walter GRAHAM, son of John B., is a resident of Butler, and an attorney at law. He was a member of the convention which nominated Lincoln in 1860.

Lloyd GRAHAM, son of James, is a successful Presbyterian clergyman in Philadelphia.

William GRAHAM, so of WILLIAMSON, is an attorney of Oakland, Cal.


The man whose name stands at the head of this sketch was one of the first settlers in the vicinity of Butler, and, for a period of seventy years, he was prominently identified with the history of the town and county., He was born in Fort Ligonier, Westmoreland Co., Penn., April 6, 1778. His parents were moving West from Bucks County, and , owing to the hostility of the Indians, were obliged to take shelter, with others in the fort. Shortly after his birth, they moved on, and settled at East Liberty, Allegheny County. The subject of our sketch first came into what is now Butler County (then a part of Allegheny) in 1799, when he was twenty-one years of age. Before making his final settlement, he made two trips through Northwestern Pennsylvania, or at least that part of it now included in the counties of Venango, Mercer, Crawford and Erie, in search of a favorable location. It seems that he was best pleased with the site of Butler Borough, for, in the year 1800, almost immediately after Butler was erected as a separate county, and three years before the town was founded, he settled here. He was at first employed by John and Samuel CUNNINGHAM in their mill--the first flouring mill erected on the Connoquenessing Creek at Butler--which stood where the WALTER & BOOS mill now stands. Shortly afterward, about 1806, he purchased the mill and a considerable body of land around it. He established a woolen mill in connection with the flouring mill, and also a cabinet ship near by (as has been already more fully related in the history of the borough). He carried on various lines of business, and entered largely into real estate investments. He was a man of much force of character, large executive ability and correct principles. His worth was quickly recognized by the people of the town, which grew up after he made his settlement on the banks of the Connoquenessing, and by the citizens of the county. We find that he was elected to the General Assembly as early as 1809, and again in 1821 adn1822. He was Prothonotary of the county, and held various other offices of trust and honor within the gift of the citizens of county and borough, as their lists of officials show. during his early life and middle age, he was a Democrat, but he voted for Fremont for President. He was a man of strong religious tendency, and a member of the German Lutheran Church. He contributed liberally toward the erection of the old house of worship of this denomination, as well as to all of the other church edifices built in Butler during his long residence here. His benevolence found expression, too, in various other ways beneficial to individuals and the community. When he died, August 11, 1870, aged ninety-two years four months and five days, he was buried in the South Cemetery, in ground given by him for the dead. A massive marble monument marks the resting place of this departed pioneer, one of the latest lingering of all that band of sturdy men who formed the vanguard of the army of civilization in this region.

In 1816, John NEGLEY was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth Ann PATTERSON, who died in August, 1835. they were the parents of ten children, viz.: Mary B. (MUNTZ), living in Butler; Elizabeth H., deceased August 1835; Susan A. (PATTERSON), in Butler; John Henry, of whom a biography appears elsewhere, also in Butler; Felix CASPER, living in Pittsburgh; Minerva (HASELTINE). deceased 1859; Ann MCLEAN, also deceased; James ALEXANDER, living in Allegheny City, Penn.; William CLARK, deceased 1850; Albert GALLATIN, living in Pittsburgh.

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Abraham BRINKER came for Northampton County to Westmoreland County, and thence to Butler, in 1804. He built a log house south of the site of the court house, in which he kept tavern a number of years. He afterward moved to a farm on Bonny Brook, where he built a mill, a carding mill, distillery, etc. He was one of the most prominent and enterprising men of his time He served as a Captain in the war of 1812, and held several local offices. He died at his home, in Summit Township, in 1850. His widow, Eliza (MOSER) BRINKER, lived some years after him, and died in Butler. Her children were Jacob, John, Henry, Catharine (MCCANDLESS), Susan (HENRY), Polly (HENRY), Elisa (PROSSER), Louisa (MCLAUGHLIN), Sarah (ZIEGLER), Amy M. (RITCHIE). Mrs. PROSSER, wife of Charles PROSSER, Esq., of Centerville, is the only survivor.


In 1832, Joseph TURNER and family emigrated from Ireland to this county, and settled at Butler. A step-daughter of TURNER’s, Ellen FRAZIER, married Samuel S. WILSON, who came from Clarion County. He lived at Butler and worked at wool-carding until his death, in 1853. Mrs. WILSON died in 1881. Two children survive--Samuel, Detroit, Mich.; and James S., hardware merchant, Centerville.


No citizen of Butler County has ever attained greater eminence of labored in a broader field of exalted usefulness that Hon. Walter LOWRIE, the earthly chapter of whose life closed in 1868, after a long life filled with earnest action and noble achievement.

The limits of such a sketch as we are necessarily confined to in this work are not sufficient for the presentation of the life history of such a character as was Hon. Walter LOWRIE, but we can least briefly out-line his remarkable career.

Walter LOWRIE was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, December 10, 1784, and came to America with his parents, John and Catharine (CAMERON) LOWRIE, in 1792. The family first located in Huntingdon County, but, after a sojourn of only a few years, removed to Allegheny Township, Butler County, being among the earliest settlers. Here the father and mother lived the remainder of their days, dying respectively in 1840 and 1837. John LOWRIE owned a farm and a grist and saw mill, and was a prosperous pioneer. He was a man of sturdy character, and of large native ability. Excellent moral traits, combined with high mental qualities, made him an honored man in the community in which he lived.

The subject of our sketch grew up on his father’s farm, enjoying nothing more in the way of education than the home instruction of winter nights, and an occasional quarter’s schooling. His parents were devout Presbyterians, and the young man had careful religious training. At an early age, he entered upon a course of study, with the ministry in view, and pursued the Latin, Greek and Hebrew languages with Butler. He came to Butler originally as a teacher, in 1807. A number of years later, his older brother, Matthew, and himself, opened a sore in the village, which was conducted most of the time by clerks, Matthew never being actively engaged in the business, and the duties of public life soon absorbing all of Walter LOWIE’s attention. In 1811, he was elected to the Senate of the State of Pennsylvania, a position to which he was repeatedly re-elected. In 1818, he was elected to the Senate of the United States, and served in that body with ability and distinction for six years. This period was one of great interest in the history of our country, owing to the importance of the measures then agitated, and the prominence of the men who were then guiding the affairs of the nation. WEBSTER, CLAY, CALHOUN, RANDOLPH, BENTON, and may others scarcely less illustrious as statesmen and thinkers, were members of the Senate, and their powers were exerted in the discussion of the Missouri compromise and other great national themes. Among these eminent Senators, Walter LOWRIE “occupied a position of honorable prominence. His great integrity won their confidence, whilst his peculiar sagacity and practical judgment led them to seek his advice and rely upon his opinions. * * * He was regarded by the Senators who knew him best as an authority upon all questions of political history and constitutional law. During the discussion of the Missouri compromise, he made a speech, which is described as one of great power and force of argument, in which he took strong grounds against the extension of slavery, and uttered his strong protest against the establishment of slave labor upon a single foot of free territory.” The writer from whom we have quoted the foregoing continues: “ His influence in the Senate was not only that of a statesman, but also of a Christian.” He was one of the founders of the Congressional prayer-meeting, which has ever since mingled the influences of prayer and faith with the councils of the nation.” He was also one of the founders of the Congressional Temperance Society, and was for a long time a member of the Executive Committee of the American Colonization Society, and member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. At the expiration of his term of service as Senator, he was elected in 1824, Secretary of the Senate, an [p. 173] office which he held for twelve years. This honorable and lucrative position he relinquished in 1836, to become Secretary of the then small, obscure and almost powerless Board of foreign Missions, which he afterward was the chief instrument in building to its present condition of stupendous importance. It is seldom that such an example of obedience to the dictates of duty is afforded as was set before the people in this action of Senator LOWRIE’s. He relinquished a happy home, a position of ease and large emolument, the society of a large circle of eminent men, with whom he was on terms of the utmost intimacy, for a life of humble quarters, among strangers, in a city with which he was unfamiliar, and to assume an arduous position, the remuneration of which was scarcely sufficient to sustain him. He brought the strength of great earnestness of purpose to his new field of action, and became the efficient head of a great missionary work. His labors only terminated with his death, which occurred on the 14th of December, 1868. His eldest son, Rev. John C. LOWRIE; his third son, Rev. Walter M. LOWRIE; and his fourth son, Rev. Reuben LOWRIE, as became zealous laborers in the missionary field. The two last named fell as martyrs in the cause, Walter M. being murdered by Chinese pirates in 1847, and Reuben falling a vicim to overwork and the enervating climate of India.

The subject of this brief biography was twice married. His first wife, Amelia MCPHERRIN, to whom he was united in 1808, died in 1832. He afterward married Mary K. CHILDS.


The pioneer of Presbyterianism in Butler County and the first pastor of the church in Butler Borough was the Rev. John MCPHERRIN, a man of much ability and large usefulness. He was born in Adams County Penn., November 17, 1757. His father’s family subsequently removed to Westmoreland County. His studies preparatory to entering college were pursued with Rev. Robert SMITH, D. D., of Piqua. He graduated at Dickinson College in 1788. His theological education was pursed under the direction of Rev. John CLARK, of Allegheny County. He was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Redstone, on the 20th of August, 1789. On the 22nd of September in the following year, he was ordained by the same Presbytery, and installed as pastor of the congregations of Salem and Unity, in Westmoreland County, where he remained until 1803.

In 1805, he became a member of the Presbytery of Erie, having removed to Butler County and accepted calls from the congregations of Concord and Muddy Creek. the records are not clear in regard to this period of his pastoral labors. In 1809, he is reported as pastor of Concord and Harmony.

On the 7th of April, 1813, he was installed as pastor of the church of Butler by the Presbytery of Erie. This was in connection with the church of Concord. Of this united charge he remained pastor until his death, a period of about nine years. His death took place at Butler on the 10th of February, 1822, in the sixty-fifth year of his age and the thirty-third of his ministry.

He was a warm and zealous preacher but “appears to have been of a nervous, sensitive temperament, illy fitted for the rough contact with life. Dr. Loyal YOUNG, his successor, relates the following of him: “for a few years, he labored under great mental depression. A sense of his unworthiness sometimes led him to the conclusion that it was wrong for him to engage in ministerial work. Sometimes on Sabbath morning he would tell his wife that he could not preach that day, and would seem inclined not to fill his appointment. She would persuade him to go and conduct prayers-meeting, if he could not preach. On such occasions he would generally preach sermons of unusual power.”

A glimpse of the character of the pioneer preacher is afforded by the Hon. Walter LOWRIE: “Mr. MCPHERRIN did not write his sermons. He used very brief but comprehensive notes. * * * He was tall in person, his hair when I first saw him quite gray, and his whole appearance the most venerable of any man I have ever seen. Decision and energy were the leading traits of his character. He knew not the fear of man, though sometimes his firmness degenerated into obstinacy. His natural temper was warm; hypocrisy formed no part of his character, and his heart was the seat of friendship and good will to man. He possessed a strong mind and strong natural abilities. *   *   * As a minister of the Gospel, his zeal in his Master’s cause never flagged, and his sincere desire to do good was his ruling passion through life. His eloquence was classically chaste, yet strong and nervous. His hearers were, in general, rather awed than charmed, more instructed than delighted, yet often did the tears of his audience flow before they were themselves aware of it.”*

*From the “History of the Presbytery of Erie.”

Mr. MCPHERRIN was in early life united in marriage with Mary, daughter of John STEVENSON, of Washington County. Several of his descendants have served the church in the ministry. Rev. J. C. LOWRIE, D. D., formerly a missionary to India, and the late Rev. Walter M. LOWIE and Rev. Reuben P. LOWRIE, missionaries to China, and Rev. Josiah MCPHERRIN, of the Presbytery of Allegheny, are his grandsons.

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Campbell E. PURVIANCE, son of John PURVIANCE, Esq., was born in Butler on the 6th of May, 1806. At an early age, he learned the printing business in the office of Maurice and John BREDIN. After working some years at his trade, he commenced the mercantile business, and continued in that business until he began the manufacture of gunpowder, in which he was engaged about fourteen years, and up to the time he was elected Prothonotary of the county, in 1848.

About the time of the gold excitement in California, he, with a number of others, went there, but the enterprise did not prove successful. When the late civil war commenced, he volunteered, and was appointed and commissioned Commissary of Subsistence of volunteers, with the rank of Captain, on the 7th day of July, 1864, and was honorably discharged on the 10th of August, 1865, and for faithful service was brevetted Major.

Mr. PURVIANCE was married, by the Rev.. B. B. KILLIKELLY, of the Episcopal Church, on the 1st of January, 1835, to Miss Catharine BREDIN, daughter of Hon. John BREDIN; had ten children, seven of whom are now living; his wife died in the spring of 1854, and he did not again marry.

Mr. PURVIANCE is now a resident of Butler, sharing largely the respect and confidence of the citizens of the town and county.


The subject of this sketch, born in Butler April 18,1807, was the son of James DUNLAP, Esq., a lawyer who practiced here a short time, and the grandson of the Rev. James DUNLAP, who was a clergyman for many years in Washington County and the first President of Cannonsburg College. His father removed to Natchez, Miss., where he died, after serving for a long term of years as United States District Judge. The subject of our sketch got his early education in Butler and at a school near STEVENSON’s Mill, taught by a very able teacher, Prof. John WAIT. He also attended the Butler Academy, and afterward studied surveying under the pioneer, David DOUGAL. He has followed surveying from 1836 to the present time, and has a more minute and accurate knowledge of the lands in Butler County than any man living, being also well versed in the history of the curious and complicated system of land title in Western Pennsylvania. He was appointed County Surveyor by Gov. David R. PORTER, in 1839, and served in that capacity for six years.

In his early life, Mr. DUNLAP served seven years in the military of the county, being First Lieutenant of the Bonniebrook Company of infantry, and afterward holding the same position in a Butler cavalry company. In his latter years, he has written much for the local papers upon political and other subjects. He has been a life-long Democrat.

Mr. DUNLAP is now seventy-five years of age. He is now living and most of the time has lived in Butler, and is the oldest man residing here who was born in the town. He obtained his early education and made his way in life by his own endeavors. His large reading and experience of life have brought him a fund of information, and he has been an intelligent and useful citizen who has held the respect of all who have known him. He has served as School Director in the county and in Butler for eleven years, and has taken a prominent part in erecting school houses in Clearfield and Jefferson Townships and the present beautiful high school building in Butler Borough. He surveyed and sold the property from which portion of the building fund was raised, and dreafted a part of the act which was passed by the Legislature authorizing the sale. He also planned the sinking fund and took an active part in the financial management of school affairs during the whole period of building , which was about four years, being a director all of that time.

Mr. DUNLAP married, in 1838, Miss Margaret MURDOCH, a native of Washington County. four children were the offspring of this union, three of whom are living, viz., Samuel M., located in Allegheny City; Mary L. (HENRY) in Butler, and Lydia R. (MCKEE) in Martinsburg.


Maj. G. W. REED came to Butler in 1824, from Bedford County, Penn., where he was born in 1803. He is one of the oldest residents of the borough. During his early years he was prominently identified with the militia of the county and district and took an active part in public affairs. He was a commissioned officer from the time of his coming to the county until 1855, serving at first as Captain and Major. He was elected Brigade Inspector of the Butler and Beaver County Militia in 1835, and again in 1842 was chosen Inspector for the Butler County Soldiery. In 1848, he was elected Brigadier General, and afterward was Adjutant for his battalion and commanded it. He was nominated for Sheriff on the Whig ticket, in 1839, but declined running for the office. In 1845, however, he was elected to it, and served the people of the county very satisfactorily. He was chosen County Treasurer in 1852, and subsequently was Revenue Storekeeper at Butler. His name will be found frequent mentioned in the chapter on Internal Improvements and in the history of Butler Borough.

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[Ed. Note: Jacob ZEIGLER or Jacob ZIEGLER; it is spelled both ways throughout this chapter.]


The first part of the following sketch of “Uncle” Jacob ZIEGLER, is, as the reader will see, autobiographical:

“I was born in the town of Gettysburg, Adams County, Penn., on the 19th day of September, A. D. 1813. To my parents, George and Elizabeth ZIEGLER, were born nine children, seven sons and two daughters. I was the second in birth. After receiving such an education as the schools of that day afforded, in the place of my birth, my father removed to a farm about three miles from Gettysburg, and I assisted all I was able in the necessary work. However, I did not believe I was adapted to a farm life, and so I bundled up what few clothes I had in a bandanna handkerchief, or, as I often termed it, a “calico knapsack that locked with a knot,” and took to the road, determined to find something to do in the “far West,” which at that day was considered to be Pittsburgh and its vicinity. My parents knew nothing of my determination and I did not let them know it. I threw my little bundle of clothes out of the garret window, in order to avoid detection, went down stairs, out into the yard outside of the house, and after hunting about for awhile, for it was after night, obtained it. With it in my arms I stood at the gate in front of the house, and for some time watched my mother cooking in the kitchen. It was a warm night in August. No one can fully appreciate my feelings. If ever there was a son who loved his mother it was I. With tears in my eyes, I simply said to myself, “Good-by, dear mother,” and turned into the darkness to find my way the best I could to Gettysburg. My father was not at home at the time, and so I did not fear pursuit. At Gettysburg I slept with a young boy who was learning the hatting trade with an uncle. In the morning, I started off, taking a circuitous route, coming out on the Baltimore & Pittsburgh Turnpike, twenty-four miles west of Gettysburg. I then traveled on, eating but one meal each day, for I had but $1.12 in my pocket when I started from home, and it required me to use economy. When I came to Pittsburgh, I had 37 1/2 cents left. Of this I gave the landlord 12 cents for a “cold check” and 6 cents for a bed. They did not charge as much then for a meal of victuals and the use of a bed as they do now, and it was fortunate for me that they did not, for my exchequer would have been exhausted long before I arrived at Pittsburgh. From the hotel, I came down Liberty street to its junction with St. Clair street. I stood there for some minutes, undecided which way to go. At last I went to the Allegheny bridge, crossed over without being seen by the toll gatherer, and so saved 2 cents. When I came to the Allegheny [p. 175] City side, I went up Federal street to what is now the Diamond. Here I came again to a stand, not knowing which way to go. At last, I said to myself, “Keep to the right as the law directs,” and so I went along Ohio street, but it was not much better then than a common road. Following this road, I came to Stuartstown, now called Etna. Here I bought a loaf of bread for 6 cents, and at the foot of a little hill north of the town and on the old Pittsburgh, Butler & Erie Turnpike, sat down and ate the loaf of bread, washing it down with water that flowed from a little spring. although I did not know where I was going, and cared less, I was as happy as boy could be. I always believed “where there is a will there is a way,” and, as the world was wide, the good Lord would find something for me to do. I came to Butler in the evening of the 21st day of August, 1831, having first washed myself with water from the small rivulet that is to the right of the old road, south of town. Coming down Main street, I observed some seven or eight young girls having a good time on the pavement in front of the ETZEL property, then owned by Dr. H. C. DEWOLF. One of these girls afterward became my wife. I stopped at Mr. BEATTY’s hotel, told him my condition, and that while I would like to have some place to lodge, yet I had no money to pay for it. William BEATTY was man rough in speech, but of as kind a heart as any person I ever met in all my life. He gave me supper and told me I could stay. After I had eaten, he demanded of me who I was, where I came from and what I intended to do. I was frank with him and answered his questions truthfully. He gave me good advice, and told me that as I was a young man starting out in the world I should be truthful and sincere in all I did. While we were talking, Mr. David AGNEW, his son-in-law, came into the hotel. I was a surprised to see him as he was me. We had gone to school together, although he was several years my senior. I remained in the hotel that night, and in the morning, at Mr. AGNEW’s request, went and stayed at his house.

About four weeks afterward, a young man named Neil MCBRIDE, who was learning his trade in the Repository office, died and one of the editors, James MCGLAUGHLIN, asked me if I would take MCBRIDE’s place. I agreed to do so, on condition that I was to eat at the same table with the family. He said, certainly, but I would find the victuals d--n poor. I had but one pair of stockings, for all the money I had, which was 12 cents, I gave to James GRAHAM, store-keeper, for tobacco, because I concluded I could chew longer on it than anything else. Every two or three days I went to what is known as SULLIVAN’s Run, and there washed my stockings, and while they were drying, sat on the bank allowing my thoughts to wander to my native home and exercising wonder what my parents were doing and how they felt in regard to their runaway boy. I engaged with MCGLAUGHLIN & MCCLELLAND to learn the printing business, they being then the proprietors of the Repository. The agreement was written with chalk on the inside of the front door of the office, and was about in these words:


Jacob ZIEGLER came to learn the printing business with MCGLAUGHLIN & MCCLELLAND. He agrees to stay two years and six months, when he will be free. During that time, we agree to furnish him with victuals, clothing and lodging.


“I remained the full time, and my father, finding out where I was, he, with my mother, visited me. as he found me diligent and faithful, he purchased for me an interest in the office.

“Being satisfied with my new home, and becoming acquainted with the people, I concluded to marry, and so on the 30th day of June, 1835, was married to Miss Sarah BRINKER, daughter of Abraham BRINKER, Esq., an old resident of the county, by the Rev. KILLIKELLY, of the Episcopal Church. Our marriage was blessed with seven children; three are now dead, and four, two sons and two daughters, are still living. the names of my children are Amelia, George W., Julia E., Annie L., Mary A., Alfred G. and Henry.

“In May, 1842, the Herald, which I am publishing now, in connection with my son, A. G. ZIEGLER, was first issued by James MCGLAUGHLIN and myself. We published it for a number of years, when it fell into other hands. It is not necessary to mention the various changes or the persons who had charge of the office from time to time. In 1867, it fell into my hands, and since then has been issued by J ZIEGLER & Son.”

Concerning Mr. ZIEGLER’s official career, there remains considerable to be said. He was elected Clerk to the County Commissioners in 1835, and served in that capacity until appointed Prothonotary by Gov. PORTER in 1838. Then the State constitution was changed and county offices made elective. In October, 1838, Mr. ZIEGLER was elected Protonotary, and served three years. In 1843, he was elected Transcribing Clerk in the Pennsylvania Senate, and as such served during two sessions, and then being elected Assistant Clerk, served in that capacity one year, when, the Senate changing politically, he returned home. In 1847, he was elected a member of the Legislature, and took his seat in January, 1848. He would not consent to again be a candidate. Mr. Ziegler was appointed Clerk of the Pension Department, at Washington, and served in that capacity for one year, when, the election of Gen. TAYLOR to the Presidency resulted in a general turning out of [p.176] Democrats. In 1849, he went to California and remained in the mines about fourteen months. Returning, he was appointed Chief Clerk in the Secretary’s office, at Harrisburg and served in that position during the administration of Gov. William BIGLER. In 1857, he was elected Assistant Clerk of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and he was Chief Clerk from 1858 to 1860. In 1871, he was elected Chief Clerk of the Senate and served during one session. During the term he was Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives, he wrote a work on parliamentary law, which embraced the rules of Senate and House of Representatives, the decisions had on points of order and various other matters of interest. Small’s Hand-Book is simply a copy of this work, with such statistics as were compiled from year to year. This manual of Mr. ZIEGLER’s is still used as a standard authority in the Legislature.

The subject of our sketch took an active interest in the war for the preservation of the Union; and did all in his power to assist in the work of crushing the rebellion, believing that this Government was made to exist for all time. Hence, he was called a “War Democrat.” After the war closed and peace was restored, he, as heretofore stated, took charge of the Democratic Herald, in 1867, and has continued to edit it ever since.

Mr. ZIEGLER is possessed of fine conversational and social qualities, and these, with his solid attainments, intellectual and moral worth, have ever made him the object of the respect, esteem and friendship of all with whom he has come in contact, either as editor, official, or simply private citizen. He is probably know personally by more people in Butler County than is any other of its 52,000 citizens and almost universally by the semi-affectionate and familiar titles of “Uncle” Jacob ZIEGLER or simply “Uncle Jake.” The term is appropriate, for he stands very much in the attitude of uncle to the whole of Butler County. The origin of this not undignified knick-name here for the first time finds its way into print. Many years ago, when Mr. ZIEGLER was a comparatively young man, it was given him by a lady in Harrisburg, who is still living there at this writing. It happened that the lady who was herself very vivacious and fond of society, gay parties, balls, the theater and similar entertainments, was courted and eventually won by a very shy, society-shunning and somewhat austere gentleman who could seldom be induced to attend the gatherings of the merry class to which his affianced belonged. Not desiring to accompany her himself to the dance or theater, he was still unwilling that she should be wholly deprived of the pleasures so dear to her. In this dilemma, Mr. ZIEGLER became the Platonic friend of the young lady, and frequently, with the cordial permission of her lover, acted as her escort to parties and places of public amusement. Knowing that she was the promised bride of another, her friends began to question the propriety of her association with Mr. ZIEGLER. It was suggested by somebody that he might be a relative, and when the young lady was questioned on that subject, she allowed the impression already formed to go forth strengthened by tacit assent that he was her uncle. she called him “Uncle Jacob,” and the term so applied in fun by the Harrisburg lady has ever clung to him and become familiar to all.


Judge John DUFFY, the elder brother of Peter DUFFY, was born in Ireland In 1784, and emigrated with his father’s family to America and Westmoreland county, Penn., in 1793, where they resided until the treaty was made by which the Indians were forever withdrawn from the region surrounding Butler County, when they removed to Donegal township. This was in the spring of 1796. They settled upon the farm known as the DUFFY farm, and still owned by the family. The subject of our sketch remained one of the first Justices of the Peace in the township. He held the office until 1823, when he took up his residence at the county seat. On coming to Butler, he opened a store and following the mercantile business very successfully until 1842, when he was appointed one of the Associate Judges of the county. This office he held for ten years, at the expiration of which period he retied from all active pursuits. He was a man of the strictest integrity and was governed by the highest sense of honor and justice in all his transactions, and possessed in an eminent degree those sterling qualities for which the first settlers were noted. He was one of those men in whom was illustrated the truth of the old line of the poet: “An honest man is the noblest work of God.” Judge Duffy never married. He died in June, 1864, at the ripe age of eighty years, honored and respected by all who knew him.


William BEATTY was for many years one of the prominent characters of Butler Borough and County. He was born near Stewartstown, County Tyrone, Ireland, in the year 1787, and emigrated to this county in 1807. In 1812, he was an officer in one of the Butler companies, which marched out to aid in defending the frontier. He became very popular and both won and was worthy of popular esteem. He was frequently honored with election to public office of high station. Three times he was sent to the [p.177]Legislature, while the counties of Alleghey and Butler formed a representative district, and be[sic] faithfully discharged the duties interested to him by the people. Previous to this, he was elected Sheriff and subsequently represented the Congressional District of which Butler is a part, for four years in the Congress of the United States. It is said that in every public place he filled he commanded the unwavering and hearty support of the people whose suffrages he received, and discharged every duty with unswerving faithfulness. He was a man of uncommon ability, as well as of exalted moral character and as noted for his energy and his integrity. For many years his business was tavern or hotel keeping, which he followed in Butler Borough, but his latter years were spent upon the farm in the old township of North Butler. He died there April 2, 1851, aged sixty-four years.

The writer of an obituary notice pays this high tribute to William BEATTY: “His probity, uprightness of conduct and high, noble and dignified character as a man had endeared him to all, while his unceasing efforts to advance the prosperity of the county--his untiring industry and business capacity, induced at all times a firm reliance upon his sound, discriminating judgment. He had no enemies.



The Rev. Isaiah NIBLOCK, D. D., was for over forty-five years the pastor of the United Presbyterian Church of Butler (or originally known as the Reformed Church). He was born in Monaghan County, Ireland, in 1794. He studied divinity under the care of John DICK, D. D., Professor of Theology in the United Secession Church, in Glasgow, Scotland, and was licensed to preach in 1817. He sailed for the United States and landed in New York in 1818. In the months of October and November of that year, he preached in Philadelphia. In December, he visited a near relative, Rev. Dr. GRAY. in Baltimore, Md., and was urged by him to go to the West. Having crossed the Allegheny Mountains upon Horseback, he arrived in Pittsburgh December 20, 1818. Receiving appointments to supply vacancies northwest of the Allegheny River, for three months, he arrived in Butler two days before Christmas, and preached in the court house on the last Sunday in the year. On April 23, 1819, a call was made out for him by the united congregations of Butler and White Oak Springs, which he accepted, and after filling his own engagements he took charge of these congregations, being ordained and installed by Monogahela Associate Reformed Presbytery as their pastor, and preached the first sermons of his pastorate on the third Sunday of May, 1819. The persons then composing the church in Butler were one Elder and nine communicants. During his ministry, there were added to the church at Butler, White Oak Springs and Union (the field of his labors) about eleven hundred members. He baptized about 2,000 children and adults and joined over 200 couples in marriage. For nearly five months previous to his death, he was unable to preach, owing to disease of the throat. He died at his residence in Butler June 29, 1864, of the gradual decay of his vital powers.

One who knew him has written: “Dr. NIBLOCK was a minister of modest disposition and retiring habits--not much known to the world, but believed by all his fellow ministers who knew him, and much esteemed among his pastoral charge. Of him it might be said: ‘He was a good minister of Jesus Christ’--an able and faithful expositor of the Word of God. Among the first of our ministers who settled northwest of the Allegheny River, he lived to see the church and the county grow numerous and prosperous around him, and as the fruit of his own labors many added to ‘the church of such as should be saved.’ He loved the church of which he was minister, arduously and faithfully labored to maintain her principles and her purity, and the work of the Lord prospered in his hands. His life was one of self-denial, labor and usefulness, esteemed in the community and beloved in the church.”


Rev. William WHITE, of the Episcopal Church for over a half-century a resident of Western Pennsylvania, and for most of that period of Butler, is another long serving pastor. The subject of this sketch was born in Stewartstown, County Tyrone, Ireland, March 18,1811. He came to Pittsburgh in 1832, and entered the Western University, from which he graduated in 1834. He graduated from the General Theological Seminary of New York in 1837, and was ordained Deacon by Bishop Underdonk, in Christ Church, Philadelphia, the same year, and was sent to Butler and Freeport. He was ordained as a priest the next year., by the same Bishop, and continued in pastoral charge of both congregations until 1842, when he gave up that of Freeport and subsequently confined his labors to Butler and its vicinity. For a number of years he combined with his pastoral duties those of a teacher in the Butler Academy. He remained pastor of the Episcopal Church until 1877, when he resigned his charge. He still continues the office of his ministry, however, in the neighboring county of Armstrong and Clarion. Mr. WHITE’s forty years of service for the Butler Episcopal church was remarkable, not alone for its length, but for its activity and rare usefulness.

[p. 178]


Rev. Loyal YOUNG, D. D., the third pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Butler, Penn., was born in the town of Charlemont, Franklin County, Mass., July 1, 1806. His parents were Robert YOUNG, Esq., and Mrs. Lydia YOUNG (whose maiden name was GOULD). the family removed from Charlemont, Mass., to French Creek, Harrison Co. (now Upshur), Va., in the year 1811, LOYAL being five years old.

After receiving a good English education, he entered Jefferson College, when about twenty years of age, or in 1826. He graduated at Jefferson College in the fall of 1828. After teaching a year a private family school in Virginia, he entered the Western Theological Seminary (at Allegheny) and was licensed to preach the Gospel, by the Presbytery of Ohio, on June 21, 1832. John C. LOWRIE, of Butler (now Dr. LOWRIE, of New York City), was licensed at the same time.

On the 25th of October, 1832, he was married to Miss Margaret P. JOHNSTON, daughter of Rev. Robert JOHNSTON, who spent the first years of his ministry in Scrubgrass, Butler Co., Penn., and who was the first pastor of that church.

LOYAL and Margaret YOUNG had seven sons and one duaghter, all of whom, with the parents, are still living , and October 25, 1882, was the golden wedding.

Mr. YOUNG’s first sermon in Butler was August 29, 1832. In the summer of 1833, he preached as a candidate, and was ordained and installed as pastor of the Presbyterian Chuch od Butler on the 4th day of December, 1832, by the Presbytery of Allegheny.

He continued pastor of the church of Butler nearly thirty-five years, and during that time, as we see in his farewell sermon, delivered May 10, 1868, preached in the bounds of the congregation 2,920 times, besides delivering addresses at prayer meetings, funerals and upon other occasions. Elsewhere he delivered during the same period 1,151 sermons, making a total of 4,071. He married 203 couples and baptized nearly 700 infants and about seventy adults. During his ministry, nearly 450 persons united with the church and several revivals of marked interest occurred.

Witherspoon Institute owes its existence more largely to Dr. YOUNG than to any other man. The work of calling the convention which brought the school into existence, of preparing the charter, of raising money and of starting the school, devolved principally upon him. He was its Principal for a considerable period.

In May, 1868 Dr. YOUNG took charge of the churches of French Creek in Buckhannon, in West Virginia. Here, at French Creek, he remained eight years, when he was called to the pastorate of the first Presbyterian Church for Parkersburg, W. Va. Here he remained five years. He now has charge of the Prebyterian Churches of Winfield, Point Pleasant and Pleasant Flats, in Putnam and Mason Counties, W. Va. The degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon him by the college of Washington in 1858. Twice he moderated the Synod of Pittsburgh, and once the Synod of Erie. His Presbytery sent him to the General Assembly seven times. His health is still excellent and he preaches every Sabbath Day. He wrote a commentary on the Book of Ecclesiastes, which was publishied by the Presbyterian Board of Publication in the winter of 1865-66. Four of his sons were soldiers in the Union Army, viz., Robert J., Watson J., Torrence F. and James W.


William CAMPBELL, the progenitor of the family which we here sketch was of Scotch descent, and came to Butler in 1803, the year the village was laid out, from Franklin County, where he was born on the 27th of April, 1772. He lived upon the lot in the south part of Butler, immediately opposite the present residence of his son William. He was a carpenter by trade and followed that occupation for a few years, building some of the early houses in the embryo village. Being a man of sterling character and good executive ability, he was soon called upon to serve the public, first as Sheriff of the county, to which office he was elected about 1812. Afterward, he was appointed Prothonotary. both of these offices he filled creditably to himself and acceptably to the people. It was as a business man, however, that he was best known. With his sons as partners, he opened a dry goods and general store in 1835, which was carried on successfully for about ten years under the firm name of William CAMPBELL and Sons. About 1845, he transferred his inters in the business entirely to his sons, and from that time onward to his death, which occurred in 1849, was not actively engaged in any enterprise.

Mr. CAMPBELL’s wife was Jane GILMORE, of Washington County, a sister of John GILMORE, Esq., afterward a settler in Butler and a well-known practitioner at the bar. They were the parents of four children, all of whom are still living. The sons to whom allusion has been made in this sketch, were the oldest. James GILMORE, was born in April, 1811, and William, January 8, 1813. The daughters were Eleanor (the widow of Robert CUNNINGHAM), a resident of Butler Borough, and Margaret (Mrs. B. R. Bradford), of New Brighton, Beaver County.

The dry goods business founded by William CAMPBELL & Sons in 1835 was carried on by the latter under the firm name of J. G. & W. CAMPBELL, after their father’s retirement, until 1852, when it was suspended. Five years prior to this date, they had established the foundry south of the Conoquenessing, and they now opened a store for the sale of the articles which they manufactured, and also for agricultural implements. In 1877, they added a stock of general hardware, and since that time have carried on a heavy business in all that pertained to their line. Their place of business is just on door south of the old store in which they began their mercantile life in 1835.

James Gilmore CAMPBELL has been somewhat prominent in politics, and had held several important offices of trust. He was elected Sheriff in 1842, and in 1856 was appointed by President BUCHANAN United States Marshal for the District of which Pittsburgh was the center. He held this position until the opening of the war of the rebellion. He was Captain of Company G, Fourteenth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia, which with other troops responded to Gov. CURTIN’s call to resist threatened invasion of the State, in September, 1862.

William Campbell has been know as one of the most careful, conservative, substantial men of Butler Borough and county. He has been a successful business man and a useful man in the community as merchant and manufacturer, as President of the Butler Savings Bank, Director of the Butler and Allegheny Plank Road Company, and in every other business in which he has engaged, he has enjoyed in the highest degree the confidence of the people, for promptness, energy, fidelity and integrity. Every trust confided to him has been well and faithfully discharged. His interest in politics has never been more nor less that of the citizen desirous of the best welfare of society and the State. He has ever borne his share of the work of advancing the best interest of the town in which he has resided, religiously, morally and materially,. He has been an almost lifelong member of the Presbyterian Church of Butler, and since 1841 one of its Elders, and for many years Superintendent of the Sabbath School.

Mr. CAMPBELL has been twice married. In 1835, he was united with Clarissa, daughter of John Leslie MAXWELL, one of the pioneers of Butler Township. She died about three years later. In March, 1841, Mr. CAMPBELL married his present wife, Eliza Jane SHAW, of Allegheny County. Four children were the offspring of this union, of whom three survive, viz., William and John S., of Butler, and Mary (Mrs. Joseph HERRON), of Monongahela City.


The events prior to and during the early settlement of Butler County having been reviewed in this history, it becomes also necessary to give short biographies of some of the actors in that drama. Among the very few survivors of that venerated band who came into the county when it was yet a wilderness, hard upon the track of the retreating savage, and helped to break the first paths, build the first churches and schoolhouses, and assist in laying the foundations for the manifold blessings we enjoy today, is the man whose name stands at the head of this sketch. Nearly all of his co-laborers have found a resting place in the peaceful grave, but the virtues which adorned their characters--their simplicity and strength, their patience in days of hardship and suffering--will be ever held in remembrance.

Peter DUFFY was born in Donegal Township, Butler County, March 30, 1798. His father, Charles DUFFY, a native of Ireland, having moved to that locality in April, 1796. Peter DUFFY was baptized in Donegal Township in 1801, and distinctly remembers the event. The rite was performed by the Rev. Father LANAGAN, the first priest who is known to have crossed the Allegheny River in this direction. The subject of our sketch remained upon the farm until 1816, when he came to Butler and took charge of a carding machine, located near the spot where the REIBER Mill now stands. In 1823, his brother, John DUFFY, started a store in Butler, and afterward took him in as a partner. In 1827, they became a contractor on the Pennsylvania Canal, remaining upon the work until it was finished. He became Postmaster at Butler in 1830, and afterward was Prothonotary for the county. When the great gold excitement broke out in 1849, he went to California, where he remained until 1853. Returning then to Butler, he commenced merchandising, in which business he continued until 1863, when he retired after a successful business career. In 1874, when operations on the Petrolia, Karns City and Millerstown Belt reached Donegal Township, he was forced from his retirement to deal with the most irrepressible of all business men, the oil producer, for his farm was found to be within the limits of the belt. Here under his feet, so to speak, was the wealth which he had sought in the far away Pacific Slope. He leased his farm for a one-eighth royalty. forty wells were drilled upon it at a cost of about $5,000 each. Ten of them were dry, but the remaining thirty produced $480,000 worth of oil, of which his one-eighth was $60,000.

Mr. DUFFY’s prosperity has been of value not alone to himself, but the people among whom his long life has been passed. He has assisted in the building of the three Catholic Churches in Butler, the old stone chapel, and the present German and English Churches, and has generously aided other good work. He has ever been regarded as a most useful citizen, a man of the most kindly feeling and deep piety, of large information, great native ability and force of character. At his present great age, his mental faculties remain almost entirely undimmed.

In 1833, Mr. DUFFY married Deborah DOUGHERTY, by whom he had three children. Mary, the oldest, became a Sister of Mercy, and dedicated her life to acts of charity and mercy in taking care of the sick and orphans. In 1861, when the Government established the Soldiers’ Hospital at Pittsburgh, at which there were, during the greater part of the war period a thousand sick and wounded soldiers, she was place in charge of the institution as Sister Superior, and the that position until the end of the rebellion. She died in February, 1870. The following lines composed by her father at the time showed the feeling and the resignation of the author when standing at the grave and giving up to God his only Daughter:

Oh ! wherefore hast thou hither wandered,
     Lovely, Innocent and fair?
Now, cold in death, thy days are numbered,
     Object of my love and care.

The sunshine of the early morning,
     Promise of a cloudless day;
With joy and hope my path adorning.
     Where didst thou hither stray?

No more I hear thy voice of gladness,
     Never more thy social glee,
To while away the hours of sadness,
     mingled in life’s destiny.

A gloom thy absence left forever,
     In our little social band;
Oh ! why the ties of nature sever?
     Never could I understand.

But hark! an angel’s seeming whisper
     Softly says, or seems to say--
“This earth is but the transient memory
     Of an everlasting day.

“The Sisters’ lives are all devoted
     to works of Mercy to their race;
The orphans’ prayers proclaim their labors,
     Even to the Throne of Grace.”

Then fare thee well, devoted daughter,
     Thy vocation was divine;
Thy prayers for me, dearest child, continue,
     Your name is whispered oft in mine.

The eldest son of Peter and Deborah DUFFY, Charles DUFFY, succeeded his father in business in 1863, and has carried it on at the same place ever since. the second and youngest son, James E. DUFFY, is pastor of St. John’s Church, East Albany.


Samuel G. PURVIS was born near Shippensville, Cumberland Co., Penn., on the 28th of May, 1808. In 1817, he removed with his parents to Westmoreland County, and from thence in 1821 to Middlesex Township, Butler County. He remained on the farm with his parents until 1829, when he went to Pittsburgh, and learned the carpenter’s trade. In 1832, he came to Butler Borough, where he carried on a large and successful business as a contractor and builder, and was the founder of an industry which is to-day the most important in Butler. In1869, Mr. PURVIS and two of his sons engaged in the lumber business, and started a planing mill. His large experience and wise judgment brought success, and the business soon grew to important dimensions. He continued actively engaged in this enterprise until his death, which occurred May 28, 1879, on the seventy-second anniversary of his birthday. As a business man, he was enterprising, judicious and prudent. His integrity and fair-dealing caused him to be widely honored by all who were brought into business relations with him.

Mr. PURVIS was married, in 1834, to Miss Elizabeth LOGAN, who is still living. Five sons and two daughters blessed this union---George, Joseph L., Isabel D., Samuel D., William Isaiah, Levi O. and Sarah Jane. George died in childhood; Isabel D. resides with her mother, in Butler; Sarah Jane is the widow of the late W. H. BLACK, Esq.; William J. PURVIS is now a practicing physician of Etna, Penn.; Samuel D. resides in Butler, and is engaged in carpentry. J. L. and L. O. PURVIS succeeded their father in the management of the planing mill and lumber business, which they are conducting very successfully and on a large scale.

Samuel G. PURVIS was elected to the office of Justice of the Peace five times, and served seventeen years in that capacity. He resigned in order to give his whole attention to his business interests. He also held from time to time many local offices. As a citizen, he was public spirited and active in promoting educational and religious work. He was prominent member of the United Presbyterian Church, and greatly devoted to its interests. He helped to organize the Butler County Mutual Fire Insurance Company; was chosen its first President, and held the office until his death. He also assisted in organizing the Butler Water Company, and was its president for several years. He led a busy and useful life, and his death was a great loss to the community.

[End of Chapter 17--The Borough of Butler: History of Butler County, Pennsylvania. With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Waterman, Watkins, & Co., Chicago, 1883.]

Chapter 16--Statistics
Chapter 18--Butler Township
1883 Butler County History Contents
Butler County Pennsylvania USGenWeb Homepage

Edited 11 Feb 2000, 22:22