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History of Butler County Pennsylvania, 1895

Butler Borough (Cont'd), Chapter 23

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Transcribed by: Pat Collins. For an explanation and caution about this transcription, please read this page.
Link to a sketch of Butler Borough from the Atlas of Butler County, G.M. Hopkins & Co., 1874.

Surnames in this chapter are:




[p.  353]


The beginnings of education in Butler go back to the first decade of its history. The Butler Academy was founded under the act of February 6, 1811, which provided for the election of six trustees and appropriated $2,000 toward sustaining such an institution, $1,000 of the amount to be expended on the building and apparatus, and $1,000 to be invested, the interest on which was to be applied toward the payment of teachers and the education of five poor children.

The organization of the trustees of the Academy was effected May 27, 1811, when lots were cast for terms of service. Jacob MECHLING and Walter LOWRIE were to serve one year, Samuel WILLIAMSON and John GILMORE for two years, and [p. 354] John McQUISTION and Robert GRAHAM for three years. John GILMORE was chosen secretary and signed an order on the State treasurer for $1,000 in favor of William PURVIANCE, for the purpose of erecting a building and purchasing books for the use of the Academy. Two days later, the board loaned to John NEGLEY, $1,000, from the "productive fund,' secured by his house and lot in Butler and his mill near the town. Mr. NEGLEY paid a heavy interest and also donated $150 to the Academy fund. On July 5, 1811, John PURVIANCE was awarded the contract for building the Academy, the price being $798. Jacob MECHLING was chosen treasurer and Walter LOWRIE, librarian. In August, 1812, the building was completed, Mr. PURVIANCE being paid, in addition to his contract, fifty dollars for extras, and WILLIAMSON fifty-six dollars and fifty-nine cents for carpenter work. William CAMPBELL was then a member of the board. In May, 1813, donation lot Number 13, consisting of 500 acres, patented to the Academy, March 25, 1813, was sold to Arthur and George FRAZIER for $750, to be paid in three installments.

In the meantime the Academy had been opened and Samuel GLASS employed as teacher, in 1812, at a salary of sixty dollars per annum, besides which he charged each pupil an extra fee for tuition. Mr. WILLIAMSON taught about the same period, and later came Adam KUHN who conducted an English and Latin school. Hamon SMITH and and [sic] Olney DAVIDSON taught in the Academy in 1821-22, and in 1823 Joseph STERRETT was the teacher. In 1824 Alexander S. SHERRAN was employed at a salary of $100 per annum, and the trustees reserved the right to have him instruct five poor children free, in harmony with that provision in the charter. Rev. Moses P. BENNETT taught for a short period in 1827, and was succeeded by I. W. SCOTT, of Jefferson College, who was paid $100 a year, together with whatever amounts he might collect from his patrons. In 1828 Andrew D. LIVINGSTONE taught here, and then came Samuel DOUTHETT, then David O. WALKER, in 1830, and later Alexander S. SHERRAN, who resigned in October, 1831.

Rev. Isaiah NIBLOCK and Dr. James GRAHAM were next appointed teachers for the first and second floors of the Academy, respectively, the latter appointment being urged by the people of the borough. The board discussed the qualifications of a classical teacher in October, 1832, and resolved that, "no one should be received as such, who cannot teach, at least, the Latin and Greek languages, and algebra and surveying." Thomas MEHARD, who appeared to possess such knowledge, was appointed teacher. In 1834 Rev. Loyal YOUNG was chosen to teach in the Academy, and filled the position several years in a very satisfactory manner and to the lasting benefit of the community. Calvin C. SACKETT was an assistant in 1836-37.

In August, 1838, W. G. CANDOR was engaged at a salary of $400 a year, for teaching twenty-five scholars, and twelve dollars for each additional pupil. Later the annual tuition fee was reduced to eight dollars for the classical department and two dollars for the English department. In 1840 Mr. HAYS taught here, and later came John B. PERKINS, Ross STEVENSON and a Mr. LEWIS. In September, 1843, DeParke TAYLOR was hired as principal, and a year later his annual salary was placed at $1,000. In 1847 L. F. LEAKE and John CHAMBERS were employed as teachers, and the price of tuition fixed at four dollars for the course in classics and mathematics, and three dollars for the common English course. Rev. Will- [p. 355] iam WHITE and A. M. NEYMAN were employed to teach in 1848, and the former served as principal down to April 23, 1860, when he resigned and Rev. A. H. WATERS was appointed teacher and librarian. In February, 1862, Dr. HAMILTON was in charge, and next came Asa WATERS and Rev. J. Q. WATERS, which closes the list of teachers who presided in the "Old Stone Academy."

During the existence of the Academy the board of trustees embraced many of the leading pioneers of Butler. As already told, the first trustees were Walter LOWRIE, Jacob MECHLING, John GILMORE, Samuel WILLIAMSON, John McQUISTION and Robert GRAHAM, all well remembered names of pioneer days. William CAMPBELL, Sr., Hugh McKEE, Dr. George MILLER and John BREDIN were on the board during the War of 1812, and later William AYRES and John GALBRAITH. In 1817 Mr. GALBRAITH was librarian, the library then containing seventy-nine volumes. From this time down to 1866 the names of the trustees chosen are as follows: John POTTS, 1818; Robert SCOTT and Moses SULLIVAN, 1820; Dr. Henry C. De WOLF, 1821; John NEYMAN and William GIBSON, 1824; John COULTER and Joseph BUFFINGTON, 1825; Alexander HAGERTY, 1827; John SULLIVAN and Dr. George LINN, 1828. In 1833 the board was composed of Rev. Isaiah NIBLOCK, Jacob BRINKER, M. S. LOWRIE, George W. SMITH, S. A. GILMORE and Dr. Henry C. DeWOLF. Then came DeWOLF, AYRES and BRINKER, again; R. CUNNINGHAM, David DOUGAL, Joseph NEYGANT, Jacob ZIEGLER and Dr. HASELTINE, all prior to 1840; Dr. James GRAHAM, 1843; Dr. AGNEW, Rev. T. W. KERR, David WALKER, and Jacob MECHLING, 1845-46. Samuel G. PURVIS and William BALPH were serving on the board in 1850, and took an active part in renovating the building that year. Dr. Josiah McCANDLESS, E. McJUNKIN, W. S. BOYD, and the Revs. NIBLOCK, SINGER, FRITZ and HUTCHISON were the most prominent and active members of the board from 1860 to 1866.

The question of consolidating the Butler Academy and the Witherspoon Institute was suggested to the board, March 8, 1865, and a committee was appointed to consult with the Presbytery of Allegheny. Among the members were W. S. BOYD and E. McJUNKIN, who signed the articles of consolidation in June, 1865, and in November the conditions presented by the Allegheny Presbytery were accepted; and on August 20, 1866, the last act of the Academy trustees was recorded, viz.: The conveyance of the real-estate, buildings and funds of the Academy to the common school directors of the borough of Butler, subject to the restrictions given in the act of April 11, 1862.

From reminiscences of the "Old Stone Academy," contained in a letter, dated July 15, 1887, addressed to Rev. William WHITE, D. D., by J. D. McJUNKIN, upon the fiftieth anniversary of his pastorate, references are made to his fellow students of 1856, and the following names given: Isaac ASH, of Oil City; John BERG, ELLIOTT, STEWART, VANHORN and O'NEIL; Foster McBRIDE, George M. BREDIN, deceased; Rev. Robert EDWARDS, of Philadelphia; Dr. George PURVIANCE, of Cincinnati, Ohio; Rev. James DUFFY, of Albany, New York, and Hon. John H. MITCHELL, of Portland, Oregon. Many of the leading men of Butler to-day were educated at this old school, and many who honor the professions and trades outside this county received liberal instruction within its walls.

The Academy stood on the site of the High School building, and faced Jef- [p. 356] ferson street. It was built of dressed stone, was two stories high, and had one room on each floor. The door to the lower room was in the center of the building, and the two windows on each side of the door lighted the interior. The upper floor was reached from the north side by a wide, massive stone stairway on the outside of the building, leading to a broad landing at the entrance to the school room. This room was well lighted by five windows on the south and four on the north. The broad, substantial steps and landing were favorite resorts for teachers and pupils during the warmer months of the school period. This old, historic pile was removed to make way for a more commodious and modern building, but the memories of many of the older inhabitants of Butler still linger around it, as its history takes them back to childhood's happy days.


A convention of Presbyterians assembled at Butler February 6, 1849, to consider the project of establishing an academy within the bounds of the congregation of Butler. Rev. J. M. SMITH presided, with Rev. Newton BRACKEN, secretary. A resolution in favor of the project was adopted, and the following named appointed a central committee to raise a fund of $5,000; Charles C. SULLIVAN, William CAMPBELL, Jr., Thomas CAMPBELL, James CAMPBELL and Samuel M. LANE. Township, borough and church committees were also appointed at the same time. The project was successful, and December 14, 1849, a literary and religious institution was incorporated by the following named persons: John COULTER, Loyal YOUNG, James M. SMITH, L. F. LEAKE, Robert B. WALKER, Newton BRACKEN, Ebenezer HENRY, Ephraim OGDEN, John REDICK, William F. KEAN, Lewis L. CONRAD, William MORRISON, Joseph GLENN, Thomas MIFFLIN, Samuel JACK, Robert THORN and John MARTIN.

Other meetings were held at intervals until April 10, 1850, when the Presbytery of Allegheny established the school at Butler, and gave it the name of "Witherspoon Institute." Rev. Loyal YOUNG was appointed principal, and David HALL assistant. The school was opened May 13, 1850, in the basement of the Presbyterian church. The terms for tuition were one dollar per month for the common English branches and two dollars for the classical branches.

In July, 1851, Rev. Martin RYERSON succeeded Mr. YOUNG as Principal; but in the fall of 1852 Mr. RYERSON resigned because of failing health, and Mr. YOUNG was again elected principal, with J. R. COULTER assistant. The latter succeeded to the principalship in 1853, and filled the position until the autumn of 1855, when Rev. John SMALLEY became his successor and served until the following year. From 1856 to 1858 Rev. Loyal YOUNG was principal, with Rev. J. S. BOYD and Thomas BALPH assistants. Mr. BOYD became principal in April, 1859, with Mrs. Lida S. BOYD assistant; while Mr. BALPH presided over the normal department. Mr. BOYD filled the principalship six years. In the fall of 1865 Rev. William I. BRUGH was appointed principal, and served as such until 1877, except for the short period Rev. J. W. HAMILTON filled the position. Professor CREIGHTON followed Mr. BRUGH, and he was succeeded in 1878 by Rev. H. Q. WATERS, with Prof. H. K. SHANOR assistant. The previous year the old [p. 357] Institute property was sold, and the new building on Institute Hill was erected and dedicated to the cause of education.

In April, 1879, Witherspoon Institute was opened as a non-sectarian school, by Prof. P. S. BANCROFT, and the following September, J. C. TINSTMAN became associated with him. Under Prof. BANCROFT's direction the school flourished, until in 1882 it boasted of 172 students and a corps of seven teachers. Prof. BANCROFT conducted the Institute until the fall of 1887, when a lack of patronage induced him to close it and open a private school. During the time he had charge the winter terms were held in a leased building nearer the center of the borough, because of the difficulty experienced in properly heating the Institute, and complaints of students of its distance from their homes in town. Its loss of patronage, however, was principally due to the higher prices charged students for board in Butler than in other towns where academies were conducted.

The first Institute building was erected in 1851, on Main street, to which north and south wings were added in 1864, the Commonwealth granting $2,500 toward the expense of the improvement. This property was sold, in 1877, by the trustees of the Institute to the English Lutheran church for $6,000. Rev. Mr. BRUGH was the leading spirit in the project to found a college on Institute Hill. Four acres were purchased on that commanding site, and a building erected and occupied. The Presbytery, however, finally withdrew its support from the enterprise, the property was sold to W. H. H. RIDDLE, and passed from the ownership of the Presbyterian church. In March, 1889, it was purchased by Charles DUFFY, who still owns it.


During the first quarter century the Butler Academy supplied the principal school facilities for the youth of the town, though an occasional spasmodic effort was made to carry on a common school on the subscription plan. Nearly all of the pioneer schools were supported in this way; but little is remembered about them, as no records were kept from which to obtain information. In the winter of 1834 Joseph STERRETT taught such a school in a room of the old Academy building, which was liberally patronized. A reference to the transactions of the borough council will show a special levy of $250, in addition to the ordinary school tax of 1836, to have been authorized in aid of this school district.

In 1838 John GILMORE and John BREDIN, a committee of the school directors of Butler borough, applied for a lease of part of the Academy grounds, for the purpose of erecting a school-house thereon. The application was granted and a lot fronting sixty feet on Jefferson street, and 180 feet in depth, running to the alley near the old Academy, was leased for ninety-nine years. In 1841 the girls department of the common schools was located in the Academy building; for we find the board of trustees of that institution urging its removal that year. The public schools, however, continued to occupy a part of the Academy until 1850.

Thomas BERRY was employed as teacher, in 1838, for school Number 1. Eugene FERRERO came later, and took charge of the common schools. Extraordinary efforts were taken in 1854 to build up the system, but for twenty years not much progress was made, though the teachers employed were generally compe- [p. 358] tent. A. J. REBSTOCK was one of the early educators, and was re-appointed in September, 1859, while James A. BALPH, also an old teacher, was re-appointed to take charge of the medium school and Mrs. H. N. BUTLER of the Primary department. The latter had conducted a private school on South Main street as early as 1850. Mr. BALPH resigned the office of county superintendent in 1859, and Mr. FERRERO succeeded him. R. P. SCOTT, George R. WHITE, John H. CRATTY, A. J. McCAFFERTY, James B. MATTHEWS, J. J. SHARP, J. B. MECHLING and E. MACKEY may be placed among early teachers of the public schools.

The first school buildings were primitive affairs, and prior to the completion of the Jefferson street building, there were only two small school houses in the borough - one where the Methodist church stands, and the other the small brick building immediately east of the High School on Jefferson street. In 1866 the trustees conveyed the real estate, buildings, funds, etc., belonging to the Academy, to the directors of the public schools.

The large and imposing school building on Jefferson street was completed in 1874, at a cost of $33,000. It was the index to modern Butler, telling the resident and visitor that times had changed and that ideas had expanded. The plan pursued for raising the sum named and the additional sum of $11,000, necessary in purchasing more land and in furnishing the new building, was well laid and well carried out. The act, approved May 6, 1871, authorizing the survey of the "Quarry Reserve" (that part of the commons between Washington and McKean streets, south of the laid out lots to the old southern limits of the borough) into lots, the sale of lots and the appropriation of part of the proceeds toward school building purposes, was only one point. The sale of one of the old school-houses and lots, was another; while a special tax levy and the State appropriation of $15,000 formed a third. The building was designed by Levi O. PURVIS, of Butler, and BARR & MOSER, of Pittsburg, and erected by Valentine FEIGEL & Son, under the superintendence of Jacob KECK, on the original lot, leased from the Academy trustees, in 1838, for ninety-nine years. There are two annexes to this building, one a two-story frame of two rooms, on McKean street, and the little old brick school-house immediately east of the main building. One principal and four teachers are employed in the High School department, and one principal and eleven grammar school teachers in the main building and annexes.

The substantial brick school building on McKean street, begun in June, 1855, was completed early in November of the same year. It was constructed by William FEIGEL at a total cost of $10,088, and contains eight school rooms, and a large recitation room on the second floor, with two additional rooms in the mansard attic. Eight teachers and a principal are employed in this building.

The well located Springdale school is another evidence of modern progress. It was erected in 1889 by the SCHENCK Brothers, and the rooms on the first floor finished that year. In 1890 the upper floor was completed. It contains eight school rooms, with two large recitation rooms and a room for the principal, in all eleven rooms. It is heated and ventilated by the Smead system, and the total cost of building, grounds and heating apparatus was about $22,400. One principal and eight teachers are employed in this school.

The Mifflin street school is a frame building of four rooms. It is contemp- [p. 359] lated to erect a new brick building in the near future to better accommodate the children in that part of the town. Four teachers have charge of this school.

The High School had its inception in 1885, when the first class was graduated; but it was not until 1888 that it was formally organized, by Prof. E. MACKEY, under whose efficient management the school has attained gratifying success. The people of butler exhibit a justifiable pride in its growth and development. In his report for 1892 Prof. MACKEY says:

Sixty pupils completed the grammar school course, and sixteen the high school, the largest classes yet graduated from each department. Our programme for commencement week was the most varied and attractive we have ever had, and helped to make our schools prominent in the thought and interest of the community for at least one week in the year.

In the same report he refers to the Alumni Association in the following words:

Our Alumni Association is somewhat unique in its aims. Its object is not merely to revive happy school day associations, but to promote the educational interests of the community. It is the nucleus of a rapidly growing, thoroughly organized body of men and women who love our schools, and will make zealous efforts to promote their welfare and increase their efficiency. It is a loyal effort on the part of graduates to stimulate undergraduates to more and better work, to welcome each class of graduates to the after-school world, to bring the public schools and higher institutions of learning into a union as close in sentiment as it is in theory. Even in the brief period of the first year of its existence it has accomplished much good. More pupils complete the course of study. The value of the diploma is enhanced. The pupils are more anxious to make a record, they are more loyal and appreciative. These are occasions and incentives for our graduates for literary work.

The new school book law came into effect in August, 1893, and on the 9th of that month the board of directors accepted the report of their committee on text books and appropriated $4,200 for books and supplies. Between five and six thousand text books were purchased for use in the schools. Labels were printed and one pasted in each book by the teachers and scholars on the first day of school. The expense incident to the innovation cost Butler about $4,000. Probably quite as large a sum would have been expended for books by parents and guardians during the term had not the law been passed; besides it popularizes education by making it absolutely free.

The total value of the school property of Butler is estimated at $75,000, and the number of pupils enrolled is about 1,800. Thirty-nine teachers are employed in imparting instruction to this youthful army and training them for the duties of life. Superintendent MACKEY, a zealous, progressive and able educator, took charge of the schools in 1881, and under his guidance and direction they have had a prosperous career.

The school directors of the borough from 1854 to 1894, are as follows: William BALPH, 1854-56; Charles COCHRAN, 1854-55; Andrew CARNS, 1854-56; William HENRY, 1854-55; S. C. STEWART, 1854; Samuel G. PURVIS, 1854; G. W. CROZIER, 1855-64; J. G. MUNTZ, 1855-56; Isaiah NIBLOCK, 1856-59; John GRAHAM, 1857-1860; Jacob WALTER, 1856-59; A. C. MARTIN, 1857; Charles PROSSER, 1858-60; G. C. ROESSING, 1858 and 1864-67; William A. FETTER, 1859-1863; William [p. 360] BALPH, 1860-62; I. J. CUMMINGS, 1860-67; James BREDIN, 1861 to 1870; Louis STEIN, 1861-67; Lewis Z. MITCHELL, 1863 to 1880; W. S. ZIEGLER, 1865-66; H. J. KLINGLER, 1867-69; Alexander LOWRY, 1867, resigned 1871; Charles DUFFY, 1868-70; Jacob ZIEGLER, 1868-70; Harvey COLBERT, 1871; James A. NEGLEY, 1871, resigned 1873; J. Q. A. SULLIVAN, 1869, resigned 1871; George WALTER, 1871-75; Jacob KECK, 1871-73; Ferd REIBER, 1871; James DUNLAP, 1871-77; S. BREDIN, 1871-1881; H. C. HEINEMAN, 1872-75; J. C. REDICK, 1873 (resigned); Adam TROUTMAN, 1873-1884; William CAMPBELL, 1874-76; S. P. IRVINE, 1875-78; Eugene FERRERO, 1876-78; George WEBBER, 1878, resigned 1880; J. G. MUNTZ, 1878-79; Joseph L. PURVIS, 1879-81; Frank M. EASTMAN, 1880-86; S. GRAHAM, 1880-1892; Livingston McQUISTION, 1881-84; Joseph L. PURVIS, 1882-88; Philip WEISNER, 1882-85; J. Q. WATERS, 1883; G. M. ZIMMERMAN, 1887; J. M. GALBREATH, 1887-90; R. H. PILLOW, 1888-1891; John W. BROWN, 1888-92; J. S. MILLER, 1888; John FINDLEY, 1888; J. E. CAMPBELL, 1889; George KETTERER, 1889-90; C. M. HEINEMAN, 1889-92; John H. NEGLEY, 1889; W. E. REED, 1889; L. O. PURVIS, 1889-92; E. N. LEAKE, 1889; George W. SHIEVER, 1889-91; S. F. BOWSER, 1889-92;Thomas ROBINSON, 1890; H. J. KLINGLER, 1890; Alexander MITCHELL, 1890; Ira McJUNKIN, 1890-93; John FINDLEY, 1891; J. F. McCANDLESS, 1891; H. H. GOUCHER, 1891; James H. PRINGLE, 1893; Joseph H. HARVEY, 1893; Thomas F. NIGGEL, 1893; J. A. BONNER, 1893, and Edward M. BREDIN, 1893. The directors elected in February, 1894, were C. M. HEINEMAN, S. D. PURVIS, John FINDLEY, R. H. PILLOW and George W. SHIEVER.


St. Peter's Parochial school was opened in 1858, in the present convent residence north of the church. During the late war a one-story brick building was erected south of the church, to which the school was removed. It was taught by lay teachers for several years, and was then placed in charge of the Sisters of St. Francis, who have since been succeeded by the Sisters of Mercy. The present school building, east of the church, was erected in 1889, at a total expense of about $7,000. It is a substantial two story brick structure, with basement, contains four school rooms, and was opened in the fall of 1889. The attendance is about 125.

St. Paul's Parochial school owes its origin to the munificent bequest of Mrs. Margaret DOUGHERTY, of Butler, who donated the sum of $15,000 towards its establishment. Father NOLAN then took the project in hand, purchased from Herman J. BERG a site of four acres on the corner of Monroe and Locust streets, and on May 27, 1888, laid the corner stone of the building. It was completed the same year, and is one of the finest school properties in the county. The building is a handsome brick structure, two stories high, with basement, contains eight rooms, and is finished and furnished in the most approved style of modern school architecture. The convent was erected close by, the same year, and is the home of the several Sisters of Mercy who have charge of the school. The total cost of ground, buildings, etc., was about $30,000. The average attendance is about 200. The curriculum of the parochial schools is the same as in the public [p. 361] schools, besides which the children are daily taught the fundamental principles of religion and Christian doctrine.


This county was without a banking institution until 1854. Prior to that year the merchants gave extensive credits, and several men were engaged in loaning moneys on judgment notes or mortgages. The scrip of Pittsburg banks would be purchased at a large discount and turned in to the bank of issue as cash, in the shortest possible time. A good deal of uncertainty surrounded dealings with outside banking concerns; so that, in 1854, James CAMPBELL, James BREDIN, Samuel M. LANE, Dr. Isaiah McJUNKIN and A. N. MEYLERT determined to found a bank here. James BREDIN was selected as president or manager, and Isaac J. CUMMINGS as cashier. A year later, Mr. CUMMINGS became sole owner, and continued so down to 1864, when the First National Bank was organized. Together with attending to his duties, he was financial editor of the Butler newspapers and corrected the bank-note list weekly.

The First National Bank of Butler was chartered January 27, and organized February 2, 1864, with James CAMPBELL president; I. J. CUMMINGS, cashier; John BERG, Jr., Louis STEIN, John N. PURVIANCE, H. Julius KLINGLER, James BREDIN, E. McJUNKIN, John M. THOMPSON, R. C. McABOY and James CAMPBELL, directors. Charles McCANDLESS, Thomas STEHLE, Charles DUFFY, Jacob ZIEGLER, Mary A. REED, John Michael ZIMMERMAN, John A. GRAHAM, Christian SEIBERT, Jacob WALTER, and William CAMPBELL were unofficial stockholders. The directors named carried on the institution with marked ability, in the old building, later the property of Thomas STEHLE, until 1875, when the bank was removed to their new building, which they had erected on the corner of Main and Jefferson streets. Some years prior to this event Charles McCANDLESS succeeded James CAMPBELL as president, and filled that position until 1878, when he was appointed chief justice of New Mexico, and Charles DUFFY was elected president. He was succeeded by W. H. H. RIDDLE, who filled the office when the bank closed its doors. Several years before the new bank building was occupied, Edwin LYON succeeded I. J. CUMMINGS as cashier, and he in turn gave place to John BERG, Jr. In 1870 Alexander MITCHELL, who had been teller of the bank for six months previous, was elected cashier, and served in that capacity when the bank was closed by Examiner Hugh YOUNG, July 18, 1879. Henry C. CULLOM was appointed receiver, and served until January, 1880, when John N. PURVIANCE succeeded him. Notwithstanding depreciation of securities, Mr. PURVIANCE won for the depositors a large percentage of their money.

The Producers' Bank of Butler County was established here in May, 1873, and a branch opened at Greece City about the same time. J. W. IRWIN was president; J. E. RAY, cashier, at Butler; H. HOWE, assistant cashier; J. STAMBAUGH, James ADAMS, William MILLER, Samuel A. WOODS, H. McWALTERS, Lewis P. WALKER and the president and cashiers were the directors. In 1875, J. W. IRWIN appears to have purchased the stock and to have entered the Butler Savings Bank as a stockholder.

John Berg & Company's Banking House was established in 1870, by John [p. 362] BERG, Sr., and John BERG, Jr., and was carried on by them until 1884, when the senior partner died. By the terms of the will the title and system of business were to be observed for five years, or until 1889. In that year the company was reorganized, with John BERG, Henry A. BERG, and Louis BERG partners, under the style and title of John BERG & Company. Their first banking office was at the corner of Main and Cunningham streets. In 1883 the firm purchased the First National Bank building, on the corner of Main and Jefferson streets, where, for the past eleven years, they have transacted a large and always increasing business. The personnel of this firm of bankers adhere closely to the business principles of the founder of the bank, observing all the laws of conservatism which render banking safe and profitable.

The Butler Savings Bank was formed January 29, 1868, and organized February 3, that year, with James BREDIN, president; Edwin LYON, cashier; Adam TROUTMAN, J. C. REDICK, Eugene FERRERO, William DICK, E. A. HELMBOLD, Gabriel ETZEL, R. A. MIFFLIN, David KELLEY and Samuel MARSHALL, trustees. The stockholders embraced the officers named, with William CAMPBELL, Herman J. BERG, W. O. BRECKENRIDGE, Theodore HUSELTON, Milton HENRY, George REIBER, James A. NEGLEY, J. B. CLARK, Allen WILSON, Harvey OSBORN, Benjamin JACK, Hugh MORRISON, Charles A. SULLIVAN, Susan C. SULLIVAN, James B. STORY, George WEBER, H. L. WESTERMANN, John M. THOMPSON, L. Z. MITCHELL, H. J. KLINGLER, Nancy BREDIN, Joseph BREDIN, H. E. WICK, W. G. STOUGHTON, H. C. HEINEMAN, William VOGELEY, George VOGELEY, Martin REIBER, John CARSON, and Josiah McCANDLESS. This banking company received a State charter by special act, May 20, 1871, and, under that charter, John M. THOMPSON was elected president, October 30, 1871, to serve until the election of his successor, which took place, February 21, 1877, when William CAMPBELL, Sr., was chosen president. He served until February, 1880, when J. W. IRWIN was elected.

William CAMPBELL, Sr., was again chosen president January 12, 1886, but resigned December 27, 1887, when Joseph L. PURVIS was elected to fill the vacancy. Since that time Mr. PURVIS has filled the position. Edwin LYON resigned the office of cashier February 6, 1871, and William CAMPBELL, Jr., was chosen cashier. The fact that he has held that responsible office for almost a quarter of a century, is the highest testimony to his ability as a financier. The bank was rechartered, January 19, 1891, for twenty years, to date from May 20, 1891. The officers in 1894, were Joseph L. PURVIS, president; J. H. TROUTMAN, vice-president; William CAMPBELL, Jr., cashier; Joseph L. PURVIS, W. D. BRANDON, W. A. STEIN, J. H. TROUTMAN and John S. CAMPBELL, directors. Louis B. STEIN has been teller of the bank since February, 1885.

The bank statement published November 30, 1894, gives the following statistics:


Cash                $ 64,353.15

Due from banks       163,297.82

Loans and discounts  588,098.45

Real estate           16,458.76




Capital              $ 60,000.00

Surplus and profits    77,496.90

Deposits              694,711.28



[p. 363]
For several years past semi-annual dividends of six per cent have been paid to the stockholders, and the business has been conducted on a safe, conservative basis. The bank building is neat and attractive, and the interior architecture reflects credit on the builder's and decorator's art.

The Butler County National Bank. — Believing that the banking facilities were not adequate for the rapidly increasing business of Butler, several bankers and capitalists proposed from time to time the organization of a national bank. No definite action was taken, however, until early in 1890, when J. V. RITTS, a banker well known in western Pennsylvania, representing a number of prominent business men, joined R. B. TAYLOR, E. E. ABRAMS, C. D. GREENLEE, I. G. SMITH and O. M. RUSSELL, who promoted the enterprise and held a formal meeting in the office of Mr. ABRAMS, on April 1, 1890. The title selected was "The Butler County National Bank," and upon application to the comptroller of the currency, a charter was granted July 19, 1890. The substantial three-story brick building on the southwest corner of the Diamond and Main street, having been purchased by the bank, was improved and tastefully fitted up for banking and office purposes.

On August 18, 1890, the bank was opened for business under the following organization: R. B. TAYLOR, president; J. V. RITTS, vice-president; David OSBORNE, cashier, and Charles A. BAILEY, assistant cashier. Including the president and vice-president, the directory was composed of W. S. WALDRON, Leslie P. HAZLETT, E. E. ABRAMS, O. M. RUSSELL, C. D. GREENLEE, I. G. SMITH, C. P. COLLINS and Henry McSWEENEY. Mr. TAYLOR having resigned the presidency on September 3, 1890, Mr. RITTS assumed that position until the election of Hon. Joseph HARTMAN on September 30 following. Since that time there have been few changes in the officers, the most important being the promotion of Mr. BAILEY to the cashiership and John G. McMARLIN to the position of assistant cashier. The present board of directors is: Joseph HARTMAN, J. V. RITTS, W. S. WALDRON, E. E. ABRAMS, I. G. SMITH, Leslie P. HAZLETT, John HUMPHREY, Dr. N. M. HOOVER, Henry McSWEENEY, C. P. COLLINS, M. FINEGAN and W. Henry WILSON.

With a paid-up capital stock of $100,000 and a list of stockholders comprising capitalists having wide business influence, and men prominent in public affairs, the success of the institution was soon established; while the steady growth of the business shows the continued confidence of the people. In addition to the several dividends paid to the stockholders, the sum of over $50,000 has been accumulated as surplus and profits. The report made to the comptroller of the currency on July 18, 1894, is as follows:


Loans                  $428,507.27

U.S. bonds and premiums  28,000.00

Banking House, F. & F.   16,795.94

U.S. Treasurer            1,125.00

Cash and due from banks 132,547.03




Capital            $100,000.00

Surplus              40,000.00

Profits              12,117.79

Circulation          22,500.00

Deposits            432,357.45



[p. 364]
State of Pennsylvania, County of Butler, ss.:
I, C. A. BAILEY, Cashier of the above-names bank, do solemnly swear that the above statement is true to the best of my knowledge and belief.
           C. A. BAILEY, CASHIER
                      Subscribed and sworn to before me this eighteenth day of July, 1894.
                                 Alex. Mitchell, Notary
Correct — Attest:

The following complete list of the stockholders, embraces well-known business men, farmers, oil producers, bankers, merchants and professional men: Hon. George A. JENKS, Capt. J. J. VANDERGRIFT, Hon. Joseph HARTMAN, Hon. Thomas W. PHILLIPS, Hon. S. S. MEHARD, James M. GALBREATH, J. V. RITTS, Noah F. CLARK, John HUMPHREY, David E. DALE, C. F. BLAKSLEE, E. E. ABRAMS, Thomas B. SIMPSON, Hon. W. S. WALDRON, Dr. N. M. HOOVER, J. B. HENDERSON, John W. BROWN, Leslie P. HAZLETT, Jacob BOOS, O. M. RUSSELL, Casper FEHL, William WALKER, J. I. BUCHANAN, J. B. McJUNKIN, C. A. BAILEY, Henry McSWEENEY, Hon. G. W. FLEEGER, B. MASSETH, Dr. S. D. BELL, M. FINEGAN, W. Henry WILSON, N. C. McCOLLOUGH, James Wm. THOMPSON, Samuel A. BEAM, J. E. RUSSELL, Thomas L. TEMPLETON, Herman FRANKEL, James TONKS, Glenn T. BRADEN, J. J. LEIDECKER, E. W. BINGHAM, C. A. HITE, I. G. SMITH, Albert LOEBMAN, Morgan DAVIS, W. H. LARKIN, John G. McMARLIN, C. P. COLLINS, W. A. ASHBAUGH, J. D. DOWNING and E. J. BLAKSLEE.


The Building and Loan Association of Butler, organized March 4, 1876, and incorporated March 31, 1876, received bids as high as forty per cent for loans. When the panic of that period was over, the association began buying stock, and continued this policy until November, 1881, when some dissatisfied stock-holders applied to the attorney general to have the legal status of the institution defined. The stated number of shares at the beginning was 2,500, valued at $200 each. The first officers were G. C. ROESSING, president; G. ETZEL, vice-president; J. S. CAMPBELL, secretary; Louis ROESSING, treasurer, and John M. MILLER, solicitor. The directory comprised H. C. HEINEMAN, J. M. MILLER, Jacob ZIEGLER, Jacob BOOS, Dr. Stephen BREDIN, Casper ROCKENSTEIN, Joseph L. PURVIS and William ENSMINGER. The effect of the petition of 1881 was simply to hasten the dissolution of the association.

The Peoples' Building and Loan Association was organized April 6, 1886, with G. Wilson MILLER, president; Charles M. HEINEMEN, secretary; Joseph S. GRAY, treasurer, and WILLIAMS & MITCHELL, solicitors. The directors were Charles REHBUN, A. Park McKEE, S. D. PURVIS, DR. G. M. ZIMMERMAN, Jacob BOOS, Peter SCHENCK and Frank SHEPHARD.

The Eureka Building and Loan Association was incorporated in may, 1886, with W. G. HAYS, Jacob ZIEGLER, Dr. George M. ZIMMERMAN, A. FRANK, J. W. ZIEGLER and R. C. McCURDY, directors.

The Citizens' Building and Loan Association was organized in 1890, with G. Wilson MILLER, president; L. S. McJUNKIN, vice-president, and C. M. HEINEMAN, [p. 365] secretary. The directory comprised J. D. JACKSON, S. D. PURVIS, Frank SHEPHARD, L. F. GANTER, Jacob BOOS and Peter SCHENCK. Ira McJUNKIN was treasurer, and WILLIAMS & MITCHELL, solicitors.

The Mechanics' Building and Loan Association was organized in February, 1889, when 1,000 shares were subscribed. The officers were Dr. Samuel GRAHAM, president; O. M. RUSSELL, vice-president; C. A. ABRAMS, secretary, and L. W. ZUVER, treasurer. David E. DALE succeeded Dr. GRAHAM as president in 1892, and J. N. MOORE succeeded Mr. ABRAMS as secretary in 1893, when the last named was elected treasurer.

The Workingmens' Building and Loan Association was organized, as successor to the Workingmens' Equitable Association, in February, 1892, with F. M. RENNO, president; Jacob KECK, secretary; Joseph ROCKENSTEIN, treasurer, and A. T. BLACK, solicitor.

Chautauqua National Building and Loan Association was organized October 25, 1893, with D. CARMODY, president; G. M. ZIMMERMAN, secretary-treasurer; John WEST, Joseph NIGGEL and J. W. McDOWELL, appraisers, who formed the board of directors, with William KESSELMAN, JR., William HARKLESS, Joseph LOW and J. F. JEWELL. W. C. FINDLEY was chosen solicitor.


Butler County Mutual Insurance Company was organized September 5, 1853, with Samuel A. PURVIANCE, president; John T. BARD, S. M. LANE, J. T. McJUNKIN. J. G. CAMPBELL, Francis McBRIDE, Emil MAURHOFF, William HASLETT, A. N. MEYLERT, Herman J. BERG, Ebenezer McJUNKIN, Andrew CARNS and John M. SULLIVAN, managers; Ebenezer McJUNKIN, secretary; Andrew CARNS, treasurer, and Emil MAURHOFF, general agent. The company ceased work prior to 1859.

The Butler county Mutual Fire Insurance Company was incorporated by the legislature in April, 1859. In May, Samuel G. PURVIS was elected president; I. J. CUMMINGS, treasurer; Edwin LYON, secretary; William CAMPBELL, E. McJUNKIN, Dr. W. R. COWDEN, James CAMPBELL, Abraham ZIEGLER, Jacob WALTER, E. KINGSBURY, E. MAURHOFF, W. S. BOYD, and John MURRIN, directors. Henry C. HEINEMAN was elected secretary in 1860, and has held the position down to the present time. After the death of Samuel G. PURVIS, George C. ROESSING was elected president, and served until his death, when James STEPHENSON was elected to fill the vacancy and re-elected annually since that time.

The Farmers' and Breeders' Mutual Live Stock Insurance Association was organized in 1883, with A. D. WEIR, of Buffalo township, president; Thomas HAYS, of Fairview, vice-president; R. D. STEPHENSON, of Butler, treasurer; Dr. J. E. BYERS, of Butler, secretary; James STEPHENSON of Bonny Brook, James S. HAYS of Butler, John A. CLARK of Prospect, Isaac LEFEVRE of Saxonburg, and Bartholomew NEBEL of Herman, unofficial members. This association dissolved within six or seven years without loss to stockholders, although a large sum of money was paid out for injury to cattle.

[p. 366]


The first manufactory in the borough of Butler is what is now known as the "Walter Mill." The original mill was a log building erected in 1802 by the CUNNINGHAM brothers, and it may be mentioned as a historical fact that the title can be traced back to Robert MORRIS, of Revolutionary fame. The CUNNINGHAMS sold it in 1806 to John NEGLEY, one of the Butler pioneers, who came here to take charge of the mill. John H. NEGLEY, in his "Recollections of Butler Fifty Years Ago," published in the Citizen in 1891, says that his father owned and carried it on for nearly thirty years. During this time he added to it a large woolen mill, which was operated by his brother-in-law, Malachi RICHARDSON; also a cabinet making shop. At this time the mill was the center of business for the town. Settlers in different parts of the county, miles away, came here to get their small grists of wheat and corn ground. Between 1816 and 1826, Mr. NEGLEY lived in the house which had been built by the CUNNINGHAMS. The primitive mill was rudely equipped, but it served the settlers well in its time. In 1833 Mr. NEGLEY sold the mill and three acres of ground to Robert McNAIR and brothers, who carried it on for twelve or fifteen years. It was torn down and the first steam mill built in 1840. In 1842 it was destroyed by fire, but the flouring part was immediately rebuilt, which is part of the present structure. In 1848 it became the property of William BEATTY, who in turn sold it to John McCARNES, who carried it on between 1850 and 1856. In 1857 the interests of McCARNES and BEATTY were conveyed to Jacob WALTER and John C. GROHMAN, who carried it on until the death of Mr. WALTER, in 1865. It then had a capacity of about forty barrels per day. Mr. WALTER was succeeded by his son, George WALTER, and the firm became GROHMAN & WALTER. In 1872 GROHMAN sold his interest to Jacob BOOS, and the firm was changed to WALTER & BOOS, and in 1890 Mr. WALTER became the sole owner of this noted mill, which is now operated by George WALTER & Sons. The present building is forty-four by sixty-six feet, four stories in height, and steam and water are used, the engine being sixty-five horse power. The roller system is used, and the mill has a capacity of fifty barrels of wheat flour per day, 300 bushels of buckwheat and 300 of chop.

The Reiber Grist Mill was built in 1842 by Archibald McCALL, a wealthy Philadelphia merchant and land agent. He sold it to Thomas FRAZIER, who ran it a short period, and the property then passed into the hands of CLYMER & MEYLERT. In 1856 it was purchased by George REIBER, who has since owned it. He has remodeled and improved it three times, and beside the buhr system, it contains the full roller process, and has a daily capacity of 100 barrels of flour. The mill is now operated by George REIBER & Sons. Mr. REIBER also carried on a distillery near the mill a few years, and later erected a distillery closer to the railroad, which he operated until 1873.

The Oriental Mills are the successors of the mill erected on Mifflin street in 1867, by H. J. KLINGLER, and known as KLINGLER's Mills until remodeled in 1883-84, when the present title was adopted. The capacity of the first mill was sixty barrels per day. Since that time the mills have been rebuilt and remodeled several times, and in 1884 the entire roller system was introduced. The present [p. 367] building is forty by forty-five feet, three stories, with cupola and iron roof, and an annex twenty-eight by eighty feet. An engine of 125 horse-power drives the machinery, and the capacity of the mill is 150 barrels per day. In 1886 the firm became H. J. KLINGLER & Company, Harry S. and Fred J. KLINGLER becoming partners. The same firm built the Specialty Roller Mills in 1889, near the West Penn depot, and have since carried on both mills very successfully.

The tanning business was one of the early and leading industries of Butler. The pioneer tannery was located on the corner of East Jefferson and Franklin, and was started soon after the town was laid out. The second tannery was established by Hugh McKEE on the site of BERG's bank. It was quite an extensive plant for those days, and the largest manufacturing institution in the town for many years. Conrad ROESSING opened a tanyard on North Washington street in 1841, which he conducted forty-five years. William McQUISTION operated a tannery for many years on the same street near the corner of Jefferson. About the same period Abdiel MARTIN carried on the tanning business, and continued it up to the Civil war; while William MARDORF commenced the same business in the seventies, on Cunningham street, where he ran a large tanyard for several years.

More than sixty years ago O. G. CROY and George W. SMITH operated a woolen, fulling and carding mill on the north side of Jefferson street between Main and McKean. It was the first of the kind in the borough, and the power was furnished by a horse treadmill.

In 1842 William John AYRES erected what was long known as the Union Woolen Mill. After conducting it a few years he sold it to William P. MACKEY who utilized a part of the building for a grist mill. John H. THOMPSON was the next owner. In 1861 the plant was purchased by Hugh FULLERTON, and the business was carried on by him until his death in 1892. His son continued to operate the mill for about a year after Mr. FULLERTON's death, and finally sold the building to J. B. SHERMAN in the summer of 1894. The latter converted it into a machine shop.

The pioneer foundery [sic] was established by John and Alfred McCARNES, as early as 1840-41, who carried it on until 1847, when J. G. & W. CAMPBELL purchased an interest, and five years later became sole owners of the plant. It is still owned and operated by the CAMPBELLS, and is located on the Connoquenessing near the foot of Main street.

CARNS & McJUNKIN started a foundry some years later, which was purchased in 1859 by H. J. KLINGLER and Martin REIBER. It passed through several ownerships until it finally ceased operations early in the seventies.

A white lead factory was established by Campbell E. PURVIANCE, prior to 1840, at the foot of West Diamond street, on the bank of the Connoquenessing. He afterwards became associated with his uncle, William PURVIANCE, in the manufacture of powder in Connoquenessing township.

The manufacture of wagons was commenced in 1848 by John LAWALL, Sr., on West Cunningham street. In later years he removed to the corner of Washington and Cunningham, and in 1872, began the manufacture of carriages and buggies on quite a large scale. He died in 1877. His sons succeeded him in the business, which they conducted until 1883. The THOMPSON Brothers were also [p. 368] pioneers in the same line, opening a factory on West Cunningham street in 1857. The plant was purchased by George C. ROESSING, in 1860, who continued the manufacture of all kinds of buggies, etc., for many years. The growth of great carriage factories, supplied with the most improved machinery, rendered the manufacture of wagons and carriages by the old process an unprofitable business, and destroyed the industry in the smaller towns.

The manufacture of brick was a pioneer industry and at one time a very important one. As early as 1823 William BORLAND established a brickyard on the site of the present STAMM yard, and made the brick used in the erection of the first brick houses in Butler.

The second yard was opened by the BRACKNEYs on the property of Moses SULLIVAN. The brick used in the old United Presbyterian church, erected in 1827, as well as in several other early buildings, was made in this yard.

The third yard was opened by John GRAHAM, on the corner of North Main and Fulton streets, and finally superseded the BORLAND and BRACKNEY yards. It was carried on quite extensively for many years, and supplied the necessary brick material for Butler and vicinity.

David WALKER was the next to embark in the business. His yard was on Mifflin street, and was a very large and successful one. Mr. WALKER conducted the business for a long period, and was succeeded by his brother, Nathaniel WALKER, in 1847, who continued the industry down to recent times. The WALKER yard was the most extensive one in Butler county.

The FISHERs carried on brick-making first on Cunningham street and later on Penn, for some years, and was the next in order of time.

J. George STAMM began the manufacture of brick in 1881, on the site of the old BORLAND yard, at the corner of Pillow and Willow streets. His yard covers seven and three-fourths acres of ground, and four kilns are operated. One brick machine, with a capacity of 30,000 brick per day, is in use; two dry houses with a daily capacity of 20,000, and the heat is furnished by natural gas. The machinery is driven by a forty-horse power engine; the pits are connected with the building by a railway run by steam. Eighteen men are employed.

S. G. Purvis & Company operate one of the largest manufacturing industries in Butler. The planning mill was established in 1867, and two years later the lumber business was added. In 1879 they commenced the manufacture of sash, doors and blinds, since which time they have gradually increased their business to its present capacity. The plant is located on the corner of Franklin and North streets, and the buildings are in harmony with the large business carried on. The machinery is of the latest and most improved kind, while 125 hands are furnished employment.

The Hamilton Bottle Works had their beginning in the fall of 1882, when Dominick IHMSEN established an eight-pot furnace on the site of the present plant. About a year later the Butler Flint Bottle company, Limited, was organized, embracing ten glass workers, and the IHMSEN plant purchased. The company was composed of the following persons: O. IHMSEN, president; W. J. McKEE, secretary and treasurer; Conrad SMITH, John SMITH, John FARREL, James J. HAYES, John W. VOGEL and A. P. McKEE. In June, 1888, the works were [p. 369] burned, and on August 30 following, the Butler Glass Company, Limited, was organized. Charles DUFFY was president and Thomas H. GALLAGHER, secretary. They, with John W. VOGEL, James J. HAYES, Peter VOGEL, John F. LOWRY, Jacob FALLER, Michael BUECHLE, Mrs. E. GRIEB, William ALAND, Albert HANNEN, Frank ZIMPER, John KIEHN, Peter KIEHN, John KAPPLER and J.H. TROUTMAN, were the stockholders. A building was erected on the original site and the works were carried on about one year and then sold to the HAMILTON Brothers, who have since operated the plant very successfully. In October, 1893, the buildings were partially burned, but they have since been rebuilt and equipped in first class order. The works contain one twelve and one eight-pot furnace, and all kinds of flint prescription bottles are manufactured. The fuel used is natural gas, supplied by the firm's wells in Centre township, whence the fluid is piped to the works.

The Standard Plate Glass Works were opened July 30, 1887, when the first pot was taken from the furnace and cast into the molds. Ten plates, each nine-sixteenths of an inch thick, twelve feet long and six feet wide, were cast and tempered; and, within the ensuing week, twenty pots were rolled and tempered daily, a force of 140 men being then employed. The first large plate produced here was purchased by D. H. WULLER, for the window of his store.

The local stockholders and originators of this great industry were J. H. SHIELDS, H. J. KLINGLER, Rev. William A. NOLAN, W. A. STEIN, J. H. TROUTMAN, William CAMPBELL, Jr., AND John KIRKPATRICK; while R. C. SCHMERTZ, W. A. SCHMERTZ, A. F. CHANDLER, James A. CHAMBERS, H. S. McKEE, Simon CAMERON, Morton McMICHAEL, and B. K. JAMISON, were the non-resident stockholders in April, 1889. J. H. SHIELDS, who introduced the industry to the notice of the Butler people, and A. C. BOYD, the former manager, were also stockholders. The officers were H. J. KLINGLER, president; R. C. SCHMERTZ, vice-president, and Dr. A. F. CHANDLER, secretary and treasurer. R. BROCKMAN, whose father introduced glass grinding machinery in France, was manager, and under his direction there were 400 workers from France, Belgium and Germany.

Since the inauguration of this industry many changes have been made in the official board. James A. CHAMBERS succeeded Mr. KLINGLER as president, within a year, while J. T. HAMILTON was elected in January, 1893, and re-elected in 1894. One change has been effected in the secretary's office, E. J. HOWARD, the present secretary, succeeding A. F. CHANDLER in 1890. Mr. CHANDLER was the first treasurer, and served until succeeded by W. A. SCHMERTZ, the latter being succeeded by J. H. TROUTMAN. Prior to the division of the dual office of secretary and treasurer, in 1888, Mr. CHANDLER filled both positions. The office of manager was, at first, filled by A. C. BOYD, next by R. BROCKMAN, and subsequently by D. E. WHEELER, Edmund BROWN and H. A. TILTON in succession, the last mentioned being the present general manager. In 1891 the office of superintendent was abolished, being merged into that of general manager.

The machinery includes twenty-six polishers, fourteen grinders, thirty-six brick ovens, between 300 and 400 pots, three furnaces, one 1,700 horse power engine, used in running eighteen English polishers, fourteen engines for the grinders, and a complete electric light plant, with a capacity of 300 incandescent, four arc, and 200 mogul incandescent lights. In addition, the company [p. 370] operates eight pumping engines, having a capacity of 800,000 gallons of water a day, and two engines at the works near Hilliard's station. At Hilliard's are two sand plants, known as the BEATTY & HOLLAND, where the sand rock is ground suitable for grinding the glass. About thirty-five men are employed there, and the sand thus obtained is shipped to the works to take its part in the process of glass manufacture.

The railroad privileges enjoyed by the company are all that can be desired. Tracks lead to every large building, where machinery for handling and delivery of raw material and loading the finished product is of the most modern design. Fourteen gas wells are owned by the company, some of which were drilled by themselves, and some purchased. One of the deep explorations in the neighborhood of Butler was drilled under the company's direction. Some of their wells show a pressure of 800 pounds. All of the wells are piped to the works, insuring an abundance of fuel, all of which is natural gas, except where slack is required for the bottom of pots.

At the beginning of the industry the fire clay for the manufacture of the pots was obtained from Missouri, while the melting sand was taken from Mapleton, Pennsylvania. To-day all the melting sand is procured in this State. The pot clay, brought from near St. Louis, averages about 600 tons annually; emery brought from Turkey, about forty tons; gypsum or plaster, from Ohio and Michigan, 4,000 tons; while soda ash, salt cake or sulphate of soda, are principally procured at Syracuse, New York, and seventy-two tons of arsenic are annually imported from England. When the works were first operated the buildings covered three and one-half acres. To-day the plant covers a much larger area. The number of men employed ranges from 400 to 500. The expert glass workers are three-quarters foreigners, from Belgium, France, England and Germany. The importance of this great industry in the development and prosperity of Butler cannot be overestimated.

A large distillery was built on the site of the bottle works in the seventies, and during its existence it was one of the most extensive distilleries in Western Pennsylvania.

William Kesselman & Company, established business here in 1881, for the manufacture of drilling and fishing tools, heavy forging and the repairing of engines. Their main building is thirty-one by eighty-seven feet, with a machine shop twenty-eight by forty-eight feet. An engine of fifteen horse power is used, and twenty-two men are employed. The pay roll aggregates $300 per week.

Larkin & Company — This establishment, now grown to be one of the leading industries of Butler, was founded in 1885 by Thomas and W. G. HAYS. Their business consisted of the manufacture of drilling and fishing tools, as well as dealing in oil well supplies. In 1887 the HAYS Brothers sold their interest to LARKIN, WARHUS & Company. Mr. WARHUS disposed of his interest to his partners in 1890. The firm of LARKIN & Company is now composed of W. H. LARKIN and John FEIGLE. A general manufacturing business is carried on. The capital invested is $30,000, and twenty-two men are employed. The manufactory is located in Springdale, has excellent railroad facilities, and is a valuable industrial acquisition to that ward.

[p. 371]
The Butler Boiler Works, situated on Etna street, were first established by a Mr. KANE several years ago and were afterwards operated by James MEEHAN. In 1891 they were purchased by the HUGHES Brothers, and their plant is now one of the most valuable industries of the borough. It is supplied with the requisite machinery for the work in which they are engaged. They manufacture boilers, stills, and oil tanks. About twenty-six men are employed.

The Butler Manufacturing Company, Limited, was established in June, 1888. The capital stock was placed at $20,000. The plant is located on Lookout avenue, and the present officers are: J. W. McKEE, president; H. S. GIBSON, secretary and treasurer; directors, D. W. YOUNKINS and J. E. RUSSELL. They manufacture engines and boilers, and do general machine and foundry work. Their buildings are ample in size, and two steam engines furnish power to drive the machinery. The blacksmith shop is equipped with steam hammers. Some years ago the plant was removed here from Bradford. Its capacity is two engines per day.

Masseth & Black, manufactures of oil well supply tools of all kinds, commenced business here in 1889. Their shops are located on West Wayne street, and are provided with all necessary machinery in their line of business. They are also the sole owners and manufacturers of the GORDON and MASSETH gas well packers; also fishing tools, steam and gas pumps. They employ twenty men. Benjamin MASSETH, the senior member of the firm, has followed the fortunes of the oil fields from Pithole in 1862, to Butler in 1889. D. W. BLACK, the junior member, is a practical machinist and inventor, and bids fair to become a leader in mechanical pursuits.

F. H. Bole, established in 1884, corner of McKean and Quarry streets, manufactures drilling and fishing tools, and does all kinds of repairing. Mr. BOLE, besides being an expert machinist, is a pattern and model maker, and personally looks carefully after the quality of work turned out of his shop.

The Star Iron Works are carried on by SHERMAN & JOHNSON, who purchased the old woolen mill building in 1894, moved their machinery from Karns City and placed it in position therein. They have three floors, sixty-six by thirty-five feet, with an addition of forty by thirty-five feet. An elevator capable of lifting four tons is one of the equipments of their shops. They manufacture brass goods, engines, pumps, casing cutters, fishing tools and engine fittings of all kinds, and employ from five to ten men as occasion demands.

John Goetz erected a planning mill on Spring avenue in 1883, and has since carried on a general contracting and building business.


The railroad system of the county will be found fully described in the chapter on internal improvements. The first railroad to enter the borough was the branch from Freeport, which was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company and formally opened for travel January 12, 1871, by an excursion to Pittsburg. The occasion was a memorable one for Butler, as it placed the town in quick communication with the outer world. Some 300 persons participated in the excursion. At the Union Station, in Pittsburg, a repast was served and a number [p. 372] of speeches made in response to toasts. Hon. Ebenezer McJUNKIN responded to the toast — "Railways; the bonds of civilization"; Gen. John N. PURVIANCE to "Old Butler awakened to new life, and made a citizen of the world"; Thomas M. MARSHALL to "The old stage coach — it could not long survive Arthur McGILL"' Samuel A. PURVIANCE to "The old circuit court — Butler, Clarion and Armstrong. The court now travels by rail, but justice prefers the mud road." Other toasts were drunk and responded to.

Early in the afternoon the excursionists started on their return to Butler, accompanied by a number of Pittsburgers. The people turned out at the various stations to greet them; at some places cannon were fired, and the joy evinced amounted almost to an ovation. When the party arrived at Butler station it was met by a great throng, which was present to welcome the incoming train. Here again a substantial repast was served, toasts were drunk, responses made, and everybody shouted and rejoiced.

During the evening occurred the mock funeral of the old stage coach, which had so long rattled in and out of Butler, but which had now been superseded by the iron horse. One of these cumbrous vehicles was draped in black and hauled by horses decorated with crape to the cemetery, where a travesty of the funeral service was gone through with, for the purpose of illustrating that its days of usefulness had ended. When the ceremony was over the jovial throng, accompanied by D. S. WALKER, the old stage proprietor, and a number of Pittsburgers, returned to town, and further evinced their joy by marching through the streets blowing trumpets and whistles, and shouting. It was a great evening in Butler, and marked the beginning of an era of improvement which is still going on.

In the course of a few years other railroads came. The first to follow was the Pittsburg and Western, and next the Pittsburg, Shenango and Lake Erie.


In 1861 the first telegraph office was opened in Butler. It was a crude affair. The line ran from Pittsburg to Franklin, and a box was fixed on one of the poles in Butler, and a repair man — Henry ZIMMERMAN — tested the current daily. The first regular office was opened in 1862, in the Lowry House, and David POTTS was placed in charge of it. This was not only the first office in the town, but also in the county. Since that time the development in the telegraph business has been great. The Western Union now employs four operators, three in day time and one at night, with W. A. HAUCK, manager, and the receipts have reached as high as $6,000 in a year. The office is a repeating station between New York, Chicago and St. Louis, which adds greatly to its importance. Dynamos are used to keep up the electrical current on the wires.

An office of the Postal Telegraph Cable Company was established here in 1884, and is still in successful operation. The line is worked in connection with the MACKAY-BENNETT cable, and messages are forwarded direct to Europe. Two operators are employed.

[p. 373]


The Butler Water Company was chartered November 1, 1877, with a capital stock of $49,000 divided into 980 shares of fifty dollars each. Charles DUFFY and Samuel G. PURVIS were the prime movers in the project, the former taking 892 shares of the stock. The company contracted with James McCULLOUGH, Jr., of Kittanning, to construct the plant for the sum of $49,000, payable partly in cash and balance in bonds and stock of the company. He thus became the principal stockholder, and the stock is now owned by Kittanning and Butler citizens. A dam was built on the Connoquenessing above the Reiber mill, from which the water is pumped to a reservoir constructed on the hill north of the Orphan's Home, with a capacity of 3,000,000 gallons. The town was piped in 1877-78, and in the fall of the latter year the water was turned on for the first time. The plant embraces twenty-five miles of pipe, and seventy fire plugs give ample protection to the borough. The officers are W. D. BRANDON, president; W. B. MEREDITH, general superintendent, and J. H. CONARD, manager, the last of whom has filled his present position since May, 1882.

Springdale has its own water works and is independent in that respect. In 1891 a company called the Butler Mutual Water Association was organized for the purpose of sinking wells and building a reservoir. The capital stock is $12,000, and the board consists of three trustees and nine directors. There are two wells, and pure water was struck at a depth of 250 feet. The reservoir has a capacity of 3,000 barrels. Two hot air pumps are used for raising the water, and the cost of running them is about three dollars each per month. The company now have in use about two miles of six and four-inch iron pipes, and have sixty-five water takers. The cost for ordinary family use is one dollar per month. A metre is used for registering. It is contemplated to erect plugs soon for use in case of danger from fire. The present officers are: President, Prof. E. MACKEY; secretary, John FINDLEY.


As early as February 19, 1825, the council considered plans for fire protection, by appointing John POTTS, Jacob MECHLING, Maurice BREDIN, William BEATTY, Abraham MAXWELL and William HAGERTY, a committee to obtain subscriptions for buying a 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. All arrangements having been completed, a fire engine was bought by the council from the Allegheny Fire Company in 1827, for $400, and an engine house was built the following year. This was the beginning of the fire system of Butler. The old engine did service until worn out. In 1842 a small engine was in use for a short time. Then came a period when the citizens had to depend on the "bucket brigade" in case of fire. In 1870 a Hook and Ladder Company was organized, and H. C. HEINEMAN and J. J. ELLIOTT, per instruction of the council, purchased a truck of the Columbia Hook and Ladder Company, of Allegheny, for $400. Of this sum $300 was appropriated by the council, and the balance was raised by subscription. This apparatus met the needs of the times until better [p. 374] means were provided. Mr. HEINEMAN, who is regarded as "the father of the fire department," was ever alive to the importance of having a good service, and never relaxed in his efforts to have it provided.

The first regular organization was effected August 31, 1878, when the First Ward Hose Company was founded, largely through the efforts of Henry C. HEINEMAN. Thirty-three members signed the article of agreement and they chose the following officers: Henry C. HEINEMAN, president; Jacob BOOS, vice-president; A. T. BLACK, secretary; C. W. COULTER, treasurer. Although still bearing the original name, the company is now located in the Second ward, and has a membership of forty. Since that time the following companies have come into existence:

Good Will Hose Company, the second organization, is located in the Second ward. Of the original and active members of this company, W. H. ENSMINGER is the only one now remaining.

John S. Campbell Hose Company is accredited to the Fourth ward, and was organized in 1889. John S. CAMPBELL was the first president.

The Springdale Hose Company, First ward, was established in 1891.

Markham Hook and Ladder Company was formed in 1890. It also belongs to the First ward.

Sypher Hook and Ladder Company is the sixth fire organization. It was established in 1893, and is accredited to the Third ward.

These companies have an aggregate of 2,250 feet of hose. No engines are needed, as the pressure is sufficient to throw water over the highest buildings.

Another feature of the fire department is what is known as the Running Team, an association of seventeen young men belonging to the First Ward Hose Company. They are agile in their movements and are quick to run at tournaments and make hose connections. The test of quickness is to run 200 yards, connect and lay fifty yards of hose, break couplings, and attach the nozzle. In a competitive test in Corry in 1893, they made a record of thirty-five and two fifths seconds and won the honors. In a test at home in September, 1894, they broke the record by executing the movement in thirty-two seconds, the lowest ever made by a professional or amateur team. They are classed among the champion runners of the country. The people of Butler are justly proud of their fire department. It is composed of excellent citizens, and they are ever on the alert to discharge the onerous duties which they have voluntarily assumed, and by their conduct they have made themselves worthy of the high esteem in which they are held.


The Butler Electric Light and Power Company was first chartered July 21, 1885. The applicants were: R. H. McBRIDE, John S. CAMPBELL, Charles H. TAYLOR, W. C. McCANDLESS and A. H. DANIELS. They organized by electing the following officers: President, R. H. McBRIDE; secretary and treasurer, John S. CAMPBELL; superintendent, W. C. McCANDLESS. The power house, located on Washington street, was started running October 4, 1885. Capital stock, $10,000.

The original plant was operated a number of years, when it was sold to the [p. 375] present company, which was chartered March 7, 1890, under the title of the Butler Light, Heat and Motor Company. The charter members were: John S. CAMPBELL, J. H. TROUTMAN, W. D. BRANDON, William CAMPBELL, Jr., L. R. McABOY and B. H. JACK; capital stock, $50,000. The plant is located in a brick building on the corner of Cunningham and Monroe streets, and the machinery is driven by two engines of 300-horse power. There are 1,000 Edison, 1,300 Thomson and Houston, and fifty arc lights, of 2,000 candle-power, in use. There are thirty miles of Edison and Thomson and Houston wires and fifteen miles of arc light wires in use.

Home Natural Gas Company. — This company was first organized by A. KIRK and was called the Home Mutual Gas and Fuel Company. It was purchased by H. J. KLINGLER, in 1890, who obtained a charter under the present name, and had for its officers: H. J. KLINGLER, president; H. TROUTMAN, William CAMPBELL, F. REIBER, H. H. CLARK, directors. In 1892 they sold to the present company, composed as follows: George B. FOREMAN, president; Mr. BARSE, vice-president; H. T. O'NEIL, secretary; David SYPHER, superintendent. Capital stock, $153,753.

The Independent Natural Gas Company was organized on February 1, 1888, with Henry REIBER, president; George L. REIBER, treasurer, and Edward REIBER, secretary. It was the first natural gas company incorporated in Butler, and the gentlemen named have owned it up to the present. This company has about fifty miles of pipe, supplied by seventeen gas wells located within a radius of ten miles of Butler. It has a fair share of the local patronage, and claims to have furnished gas at a lower rate than any other home company.

The Peoples' Gas Company had its inception in the fall of 1890, when Blair HOOK purchased a gas well from the Standard Plate Glass Company, located on a lot in Springdale which he had previously bought, and obtained a permit from the council to pipe that part of the borough. In the winter of 1890-91 he supplied some forty families with fuel and light. He subsequently drilled another well, and, in 1892, organized the present company, composed of Blair HOOK, Otto LIMBURG and William LARKIN. The company continued to put down more wells and extend their plant, and now supply over 400 stoves, besides several manufacturing plants.

The Citizens' Gas Company was organized at a meeting held on December 14, 1892, by the election of the following officers: Peter SCHENCK, president; H. H. GOUCHER, vice-president; Joseph ROCKENSTEIN, treasurer, and F. M. BAKER, secretary. The board of directors consists of five persons, including the president and the capital stock is $10,000.


Connoquenessing Lodge, Number 278, I. O. O. F., was instituted December 11, 1847, the charter having been granted on November 8. The charter members were Jacob ZIEGLER, Alfred GILMORE, John GRAHAM and Dunlap McLAUGHLIN. The first members admitted at the same meeting were John H. NEGLEY, William BALPH, Cornelius COLL and Thomas W. WALLACE; while the first officers elected were, Alfred GILMORE, N. G.; Jacob ZIEGLER, V. G.; John GRAHAM, secretary, and Dun- [p. 376] lap McLAUGHLIN, treasurer. The second meeting was held on December 23, 1847, in the court house. This old lodge has been quite prosperous during its existence of nearly half a century, and has embraced in its membership many of the leading citizens of Butler. Its present membership is 165.

Ziegler Lodge, Number 1039, I. O. O. F., is an offshoot of the parent society. It was instituted April 23, 1892, with twenty-four charter members. The first officers were: Dr. G. J. PETERS, N. G.; J. H. CONRAD, V. G.; S. M. SWARTZLANDER, secretary; A. M. BORLAND, assistant secretary, and Dr. N. M. HOOVER, treasurer. The lodge prospered from the start, and has now a membership of 190. The lodge room is on Center avenue in Springdale.

Butler Lodge, Number 272, F. & A. M., was granted a charter March 7, 1853, and instituted August 3 following. 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; Joseph P. PATTERSON, John McCARNES, J. J. SEDWICK, Hugh McKEE and Andrew FITZSIMMONS. From this lodge were organized several other prosperous lodges in Butler county. Its long list of officers from 1853 to 1894 contains the names of many well-known pioneers, as well as others prominent in the business and professional life of the borough. The hall is in the Reiber block, and the present membership is 113.

Butler Chapter, Number 273, R. A. M., was chartered December 27, 1890, and constituted March 24, 1891. The first officers were as follows: William C. THOMPSON, M. E. H. P.; Charles N. BOYD, K.; Francis M. COLE, S.; Josiah B. BLACK, treasurer, and Newton BLACK, secretary. The membership is sixty-seven.

Butler Lodge, Number 94, A. O .U. W., was instituted January 18, 1876, with the following charter members: 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. REHBUN, Samuel WALKER and John F. LOWRY. The lodge embraces in its membership some of the best citizens of the borough and can boast of a fine library of carefully selected books.

A. L. Reiber Lodge, Number 679, K. of H., was instituted June 22, 1877, with twenty-nine charter members, embracing many well known citizens of the borough. It has a steady, substantial growth and is now fairly prosperous.

Butler Council, Number 219, R. A., was instituted May 3, 1880, with sixteen charter members. This is largely a benevolent and insurance society, and has accomplished a great deal of good in every town where it has been established.

Butler Lodge, Number 732, A. L. of H., was instituted September 30, 1881, with twenty-five charter members, including several leading businessmen of the community. This society has held its own among the fraternal associations of Butler and has had a fairly prosperous career.

Butler Tent, No. 34, K. O. T. M., was first organized in 1887, and disbanded in 1889. It was reorganized on December 19, 1890, with a large membership. The first officers were: D. L. AIKEN, P. C.; David E. DALE, C.; J. C. SNOW, L. C.; A. E. GABLE, R. K.; William CROMM, F. K.; A. O. EBERHART, C.; Dr. Samuel GRAHAM, P.; George KERSTETTER, S.; T. W. CRAWFORD, M. at A.; Robert TURNER, M. F. of G.; H. W. F. GRAHAM, S. M. of G.; G. A. BILLINGSLEY, [p. 377] S.; W. MARTIN, P. For the first two years the membership averaged about eighty, but at present some 130 names are on the rolls and the tent is in a prosperous condition.

Butler Lodge, Number 170, B. P. O. E., is one of the later but most flourishing societies in Butler. It was chartered and organized July 10, 1890, by J. B. BLACK, W. T. MECHLING, F. M. COLE, J. D. NORTHRUP, E. W. TIBBALS, William H. REIHING, E. E. KELLY, I. G. SMITH, AND Dr. Lysander BLACK. The first officers were: J. B. BLACK, E. R.; W. T. MECHLING, E. L. K.; F. M. COLE, E. L. K.; J. D. NORTHRUP, E. L. K.; E. W. TIBBALS, secretary, and I. G. SMITH, treasurer. The lodge grew rapidly and within two years had fifty members. By the close of its fourth year 125 members answered the roll call. This society prides itself on the fact that its lodges usually contain a large per cent of the leading young men of every community in which it finds a home. It is purely a social and benevolent order, the underlying principle being charity. The lodge room is in the third story of the Butler County National Bank building.

Branch Number 56, C. M. B. A., was organized March 16, 1889, with the following charter members: Joseph ROCKENSTEIN, Bernard KEMPER, Jr., A. ROCKENSTEIN, Joseph NIGGEL, Henry GRIEB, Norbert T. WESER, Ed McSHANE, Albert FRANK, Andrew LIEBLER, John KAPPLER, John GARBER, Casper EYTH, Thomas H. GALLAGHER, Henry C. PLOHR, J. N. HARVEY, Thomas J. MORAN, Charles McCARTHY, J. C. WAGNER, Fred J. MORALL, Theo. D. PAPE and W. J. McCAFFERTY. The successive presidents of the branch have been as follows: Joseph ROCKENSTEIN, Bernard KEMPER, Jr., Henry GRIEB, John KAPPLER, John W. VOGEL, Joseph MANNY and Bernard KEMPER, Jr. The organization was effected through the efforts of Bernard KEMPER and W. H. O'BRIEN, the latter having previously belonged to the branch at Oil City. The present membership is over ninety, and the hall is above Joseph ROCKENSTEIN's store on North Main street.

Branch Number 92, L. C. B. A., was organized September 17, 1891, by supreme deputy, Mrs. J. A. ROYER, of Erie, Pennsylvania, with seventeen charter members. The presiding officers have been Lena GRIEB, M. C ROCKENSTEIN and Amelia SCHAFFNER. The present membership is over thirty.

Among other secret organizations of the borough are Butler Council, Number 242, Jr. O. U. A. M.; Lodge Number 211, K. of P.; Circle Number 22, P. H. C., and Keystone Camp, Number 8, W. of W.

A. G. Reed Post, Number 105, G. A. R., was organized on May 12, 1881, and named in honor of the brave and gallant Alfred G. REED, one of Butler's patriotic sons, who fell on the bloody field of Fredericksburg. The charter members were as follows: George W. FLEEGER, Wilson E. REED, James R. STORY, Joseph KELLY, William A. WRIGHT, C. E. ANDERSON, A. B. RICHEY, Henry KORN, George W. JOHNSTON, H. A. AYRES, Daniel BEIGHLEY, Casper SHERMAN, S. G. HUGHES, Alexander RUSSELL, Ferd WEIGAND, A. G. WILLIAMS, D. S. McCULLOCH, John L. JONES, John K. FLEMING, James GRAHAM, Samuel P. SHRYOCK and John KENNEDY. The successive commanders of the Post since its organization have been as follows: George W. FLEEGER, W. A. WRIGHT, Newton BLACK, A. G. WILLIAMS, John T. KELLY, John M. GREER, C. E. ANDERSON, Alexander RUSSELL, [p. 378] R. P. SCOTT, W. A. LOWRY, Joseph CRISWELL, I. J. McCANDLESS and A. B. RICHEY. The I. O. O. F. hall on the corner of Jefferson and Washington streets has been the meeting place since the beginning. The present membership is 192, a gain of forty-three since January, 1894, which is an indication of its prosperous condition. Connected with the Post is the Woman's Relief Corps, Number 97, which contains some twenty members.

Butler Encampment, Number 45, U. V. L., was chartered on June 20, 1889, with nearly seventy members, who were mustered in on June 27 and 29, following. The first officers were as follows: Robert J. PHIPPS, colonel; O. C. REDIC, lieutenant-colonel; W. A. CLARK, major; Jefferson BURTNER, chaplain; D. M. WARD, adjutant; H. Z. WING, quartermaster; R. S. NICHOLLS, officer of the day, and Casper SHERMAN, officer of the guard. In July, 1889, another muster in took place when nearly eighty additional names were placed on the rolls. Every member must have seen active service and veteranized, for, as the title indicates, it is a "Veteran Legion," and admits none but veterans to its ranks. The hall is decorated with stirring battle scenes, intended to keep green the memories of war times, reminders of the trials and sufferings of bygone days.


The fine court house is one of the public buildings of Butler to which its citizens point with pride as an evidence of the county's prosperity. Its history is given in a previous chapter. The many fine church buildings of the borough are also described; while in the preceding pages of this chapter the several substantial school buildings find generous mention. The Armory Building, also known as the Park Theater, on the south side of the Diamond, is the only one of a public character remaining to be spoken of. It had its inception on March 11, 1891, when the Armory Building Association was incorporated by the following gentlemen: John W. BROWN, president; John L. BLACK, vice-president; W. T. MECHLING, secretary; S. H. HUSELTON, treasurer, and Ira McJUNKIN. The building was erected the same year, but ere the interior was commenced the old opera house on McKean street was burned, and the company was solicited by many leading citizens to convert a part of the Armory Building into a theatre. This was accomplished by the erection of an addition to the rear, and thus it serves the double purpose of an Armory and opera house. The latter is on the first floor; the second floor is devoted to offices, and the third floor is occupied as an armory by company E, Thirteenth Regiment, N. G. P. The total cost of the building and theatre was about $50,000. On July 30, 1894, the "Park Theatre Company of Butler" was granted a charter with a capital stock of $45,000, with the following officers: John W. BROWN, president; George SCHENCK, vice-president; W. T. MECHLING, secretary; Peter SCHENCK, treasurer; Ira McJUNKIN, George KETTERER and W. H. O'BRIEN, directors.

In addition to the public buildings, the handsome monument on the Diamond, dedicated on July 4, 1894, to the memory of "Our Silent Defenders," deserves mention here, though its history is given in the chapter on the War of the Rebellion. It is one of the most attractive and beautiful objects in the borough [p. 379] - a substantial evidence of the patriotic spirit which animates the people of Butler county — and a fitting memorial to the brave men who defended the flag in the dark days of civil strife.


The first burial place in Butler was the old graveyard north of the imposing Jefferson street school building. It will be remembered that at the public sale of lots, August 15, 1803, lot Number 150 was sold to "John CUNNINGHAM, Abraham BRINKER and others, for the use of a graveyard," for ten dollars. On the 16th lot Number 151 was sold to the same parties at the same price, for the same purpose. Lot 152 was purchased in 1828 from Norbert FOLTZ, for fifty dollars, and added to the cemetery, which made it complete. In this lot John CUNNINGHAM, who died in 1805, was buried, and years ago it was said "no man knew his grave." Charles McGINNISS, who died in 1806, at the age of eighty-six years, was the second one to find a resting place in "God's acre."

When it was set apart for a burial place it was far removed from the center of business, and likely its founders never dreamed that the sacred spot would ever be surrounded by dwellings. Native oaks grew there then as they do to-day and spread their branches as protecting arms over the graves of the dead. In course of time a massive stone wall was built around the enclosure, in accordance with the custom of a hundred years ago. It remained as a protection for many years, when more modern and advanced ideas demanded its removal, and it was taken down more than thirty years ago. The plot now serves as a park and is in good repair, but the tombstones of about 120 dead still dot its grassy surface. Hundreds of the early settlers and their descendants were buried there. It was finally abandoned as a burial place more than forty years ago, and other cemeteries further from the center of population selected, whither the remains of many were removed.

The effort to condemn the old graveyard and appropriate it to school purposes, aroused opposition and developed litigation. Col. John M. SULLIVAN in referring to the difficulty of removing the remains of the earliest buried there says:

The location of the graves of whole families are unknown. The dust of one of the founders of Butler has laid there for nearly ninety years. There lie the remains of a venerable Revolutionary soldier, the ancestral head of the McKEE family. He served his country bravely and faithfully, and after fighting his last battle, laid down in Butler to rest. There lie the remains of the first Christian minister who ever preached in Butler county, buried there over seventy years ago. There is the grave of the wife of the Hon. Walter LOWRIE, one of Butler county's most highly honored sons, who reached the exalted position of a seat in the Senate of the United States. His wife has been buried there for over sixty-one years. There one of the earliest Methodist ministers has a grave to be cared for by those who have followed him in the ministry in Butler, and there it has been undisturbed for two-thirds of a century. Those venerable pioneers of Butler county, the father and mother of Hon. John BREDIN and grandparents of Hon. James BREDIN, sleep in this old graveyard. A few years since an attempt was made with loving hands to disinter the remains of these loved ones, but it was found to be impossible, and so it would be with regard to several hundred others.

[p. 380]
St. Peter's Catholic Cemetery, the second burial place in Butler, was laid out in 1830, on ground deeded for the purpose by Sarah COLLINS, a daughter of Stephen LOWREY. An addition was made to it in 1834, of ground deeded to the Catholic church by Valeria EVANS, a daughter of Mrs. COLLINS, and her husband, E. R. EVANS. It is located on East Jefferson street, and was used for burial purposes until within a few years, when interments were discontinued. Many of the Catholic Pioneers are buried in this old graveyard.

The South Cemetery is owned in common by the German and English Lutheran and the United Presbyterian congregations. In 1850 John NEGLEY deeded land to the German Lutherans, 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. The enclosure, which occupies a commanding position, now comprises nearly seven acres. In this cemetery lie the remains of many of the pioneer settlers of Butler. Jacob MECHLING, Sr., who died in 1850, aged ninety years, is buried here, together with his wife, Magdalena, and others [sic] members of his family. John NEGLEY, who succeeded the Cunninghams as owner of the old mill property, is also an occupant, and on a substantial monument is given a short record of his life. An inscription on a marble slab tells in brief the story of the life of Rev. Isaiah NIBLOCK, D. D., the venerated United Presbyterian minister who for forty-six years faithfully served his people. Inscriptions tell that members of the WALTER family are here interred; and another stone informs the visitor that beneath it repose the ashes of John H. AGNEW, who died near the middle of of [sic] the year 1851, at the ripe age of eighty-one years. He had scarcely emerged from the infantile state when the thunders of the Revolution shook the land, and he was a small lad when the American nation was born. Here too are the graves of John McQUISTION and wife, and several members of this pioneer family; whilst all around are obelisks and granite tablets telling of those who not only preceded, but followed him. The REIBER family have here a beautiful lot and fine monuments. John Michael ZIMMERMAN, John OESTERLING, George LUTZ, John LAWALL, the VOGELEYS, McCANDLESS, and members of many other well-known families are buried in this cemetery.

The Butler Cemetery Association was chartered by act of March 24, 1851, the incorporators being as follows: Rev. William WHITE, D.D., Rev. Loyal SULLIVAN, William BEATTY, Samuel A. PURVIANCE, John BREDIN, George W. SMITH, James CAMPBELL, George W. REED, Robert CARNAHAN, David WALKER, Dr. Henry C. DeWOLF, James T. McJUNKIN, Andrew CARNS, Samuel M. LANE, John GILCHRIST, John NEGLEY, Jacob MECHLING, Jr., John L. MAXWELL, James MITCHELL, John GRAHAM AND William B. LEMMON. Seven acres were purchased from Ebenezer GRAHAM, lying on the north line of the borough, overlooking the town, and immediately after the association was incorporated steps were taken towards laying out the ground in lots. The borough council also passed an ordinance forbidding any more interments in the old graveyard, and since that time it has been one of the principal burial places of the borough, though it is being gradually filled up, and finally a new cemetery became a necessity. The present [p. 381] officers are: Col. John M. SULLIVAN, president; Maj. Cyrus E. ANDERSON, secretary; R. C. McABOY, superintendent and treasurer; and Dr. A. M. NEYMAN, Dr. Samuel GRAHAM, Hon. John M. GREER, Lewis Z. MITCHELL, Cyrus E. ANDERSON and R. C. McABOY directors. Many prominent and well-known early settlers are buried in this cemetery, and scores of graves are marked by handsome monuments.

North Side Cemetery Association was chartered July 2, 1887, and thirty acres were purchased of Charles DUFFY adjoining the old cemetery on the north. John S. CAMPBELL was the leading spirit in the enterprise and worked hard to carry the project through. The first officers were as follows: John S. CAMPBELL, president; Harvey COLBERT, secretary and treasurer; Joseph L. PURVIS, W. D. BRANDON, E. D. ROBINSON, Alfred WICK, E. MACKEY, C. G. CHRISTIE, A. G. WILLIAMS, Clarence WALKER and John S. CAMPBELL, directors. W. H. H. RIDDLE and L. S. McJUNKIN succeeded Messrs. MACKEY and WALKER in 1893, but no other changes have occurred since the organization. Many substantial and costly monuments have been erected during the past seven years, and several of the pioneers have found their last earthly home in this cemetery. D. S. McCOLLOUGH, who has filled the position of sexton of the old cemetery since 1856, succeeding his father, John McCOLLOUGH, is also sexton of North Side cemetery. Though there are two separate and distinct associations, the old and new graveyards are virtually one, and are so regarded by the people of Butler.

Calvary Cemetery Association was incorporated July 9, 1887, by Rev. William A. NOLAN, Charles DUFFY, George SCHAFFNER, William H. REIHING, David and Thomas F. NIGGEL, William G. VINROE, Patrick KELLY, Daniel McLAUGHLIN, N. J. CRILEY, D. H. WULLER, John McCUNE, P. A. GOLDEN, Hugh D. McCREA, Jacob FALLER, Joseph J. LAVERY and Charles F. KANE. Thirty-five acres were purchased from Charles DUFFY, immediately north of North Side cemetery, twenty of which belong to St. Paul's congregation and fifteen to St. Peter's. The grounds are rapidly assuming shape, and in a few years will be a beautiful burial place. The monument marking the grave of Father NOLAN is a fine tribute to him as a man and servant of the Master. Those erected over W. H. REIHING and Francis X. GRIEB, are also fine specimens of the sculptor's art. The burial plot of the DUFFY family contains the remains of its members who first settled in Butler county, as well as those who died in more recent years, and the monuments are solid, substantial and striking in their simplicity.

This combination of cemeteries, in one enclosure, and dedicated to the uses of all denominations, embraces seventy-two acres. The location is admirably adapted for the purpose to which it has been consecrated, and in time must become a beautiful city of the dead.


We have traced the history of Butler through its various stages down to the present time. From an obscure hamlet of less than fifty inhabitants more than ninety years ago, it has grown into a thriving, substantial and modernized borough of 9,000 population. Since the Butler Palladium appeared in 1818, under the guiding hand of John GALBRAITH, no backward step has been taken. To-day there [p. 382] are five weekly papers and one daily published in the town*, which is now recognized as the social, commercial, and educational center of a rich and populous county.
*For a history of the newspapers of Butler, see chapter on The Press.

It is true that for many years the borough languished and gave but feeble signs of life. The streets were unpaved, sidewalks poor, and the buildings typical of the backwoods period. But a better day dawned upon the town and people when nature developed her vast stores of wealth which had been so long concealed beneath the rugged surface. The discovery of oil and gas soon made the county an inviting field for investment and speculation, and the town profited immensely from these sources of wealth.

An era of improvement and building set in. Fine business blocks took the place of "tumble-down shanties," the boundaries of the borough were enlarged, new streets were opened, stone sidewalks, both natural and artificial, took the place of dilapidated board walks, and comfortable houses, constructed in the modern style of architecture, beautified the streets and avenues. This was the result of the activities of the seventies. But as extremes often followed each other, a period of depression came, only to be followed by renewed activity in the eighties. This movement begat a greater spirit of enterprise, which culminated in 1891-92 in a complete sewerage system and the laying of brick pavements as follows: Main street, 4,600 feet; Jefferson, 3, 800; Pearl, 2, 200; Central avenue, 2,000; making a total of 12, 600 feet, or within a fraction of two and one-half miles. These splendid improvements gave the town new life and vigor. The electric light, both incandescent and arc, make the street sand dwellings all that could be desired at night, whilst natural gas, cheaper than coal, warms the homes of all. A drive over the undulating hills which surround the town on nearly all sides, reveals many charming and picturesque views, which never fail to impress one with the beauty and grandeur nature has so lavishly displayed here.

The Butler gas and oil fields are among the best in the State and a boon of incalculable wealth to the people. Appreciating the value of the blessing, excelsior has become the watchword of the people of the borough. Improvements are still being made, streets opened and attractive dwellings erected on the many eligible sites found on the slopes and plateaus. Industries are constantly springing up and the hum of machinery increases with the demands of trade. In a short time an electric railroad to Pittsburg will be built, and as the surveyed route is only thirty-two miles, the Iron City will be brought into closer communion with the new Butler on the Connoquenessing.

[End of Chapter 23 - Butler Borough (Cont'd): History of Butler County Pennsylvania, R. C. Brown Co., Publishers, 1895]

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Updated 21 Sep 2001