Transcribed by: Dolores Carlson. For an explanation and caution about this transcription, please read this page.
Link to a sketch of Zelienople Borough from the Atlas of Butler County, G.M. Hopkins & Co., 1874.
Surnames in this chapter are:
ALLEN, ALLISON, ARMOR, ARNEAL, BASSE, BASSLER, BASTIAN, BAUDER, BELTZ, BELTZHOOVER, BENTLE, BERG, BEYER, BEYRER, BISHOP, BLOOM, BOGGS, BOLTON, BOWMAN, BOWSER, BOYER, BREWSTER, BRINTON, BROWN, BUHL, BURKHARDT, BUTZ, CARR, CHRISTY, CIST, COVERT, CUNNINGHAM, DAMBACH, DEBENDARFER, DIEMER, DINDINGER, DURST, EICHHOLTZ, ENDRES, FIEDLER, FLEMING, FOGLE, FREDERICK, FRISHKORN, GELBACH, GERWIG, GILLESPIE, GOEHRING, GREEN, GROSS, HAACKE, HARPER, HARTZELL, HAY, HAYES, HEBERLING, HERRMAN, HOFFA, HOLLS, HOON, HOPKINS, HOUSEHOLDER, HUNGELMEYER, HUNTER, IFFT, JOHNSON, JUNG, KAUFFMAN, KELKER, KING, KINNEAR, KLINE, KLINGENSMITH, KNAPP, KOENIG, KRADEL, KREIDLER, KRIBBS, KUNKLEMAN, LAMBERT, LATSHAW, LEAKE, LEVIS, LIEBENDERFER, LOCKE, LUSK, LUTZ, LYTLE, MARSHALL, MAYBURY, McCLURE, McELWAIN, McINTYRE, McKIM, MECHLING, MICKLEY, MILLEMAN, MILLER, MOESER, MULLER, MUNTZ, NIBLOCK, NICHOLLS, NICKLAS, OESTERLING, OTTO, PALMER, PASSAVANT, PATTERSON, PEARCE, PEFFER, PFEFFER, PFLUG, PHILLIPS, PINKERTON, POTTER, PREBBLE, RALSTON, RAPP, RANDOLPH, REED, REISS, RODENBAUGH, RUBY, SAMPLE, SANKEY, SARVER, SAUNDERS, SCHEEL, SCHEIDEMANTLE, SCHMIDT, SCHWANKOVSKY, SCHWEITZERBARTH, SEAMAN SEATON, SHAFFER, SHANOR, SHUTT, SIEG, SLEPPY, SMITH, SNITZELL, SNYDER, SOMMER, STAMM, STOKEY, STROHECKER, SUMMER, SWAIN, SWARTZ, TEBAY, TEETS, THEISS, TITZELL, UBER, WALLACE, WEBBER, WEIGLE, WEISER, WEISZ, WELTY, WEYMAN, WHITE, WIEHL, WILD, WILLIAMS, WILSON, WINTER, WOOD, WOODS, WRIGHT, WURSTER, YATES, YOUNG, ZEHNER, ZIEGLER
This beautifully and picturesquely located little borough derives its name from Zelie, the daughter of its cultured, scholarly and romantic-minded founder, Dr. Detmar BASSE, whose ample means, when he came here, in 1802, from the City of Frankfort, Germany, enabled him to purchase a tract of 10,000 acres of land, lying in Butler and Beaver counties, lay out a village, and erect as his own private residence, a three-story wooden castle, with towers, turrets and battlements, to which he gave the name of "The Bassenheim." His idea appears to have been to establish here in the wilderness of western Pennsylvania, amid romantic and picturesque surroundings, a baronial estate, and thus become a man of power and influence in this part of what was then the growing West.
The village which he thus founded, on the left bank of the Connoquenessing, is in the midst of an area abounding in mineral wealth, as well as beautiful scenery. Coal and iron ore are found here, while the petroleum and gas fields of later days have been profitably developed. The elevation of the village is 935 feet above the level of the sea, or 145 feet lower than that of Butler borough.
In 1804 Dr. Detmar BASSE sold 5,000 acres of his tract to George RAPP, a Bavarian, on which the purchaser founded the village of Harmony. In 1806 the builder of "The Bassenheim" went back to Germany, but returned in 1807, accompanied by his daughter Zelie and her husband, P. L. PASSAVANT. From that time until 1818, when he returned to Germany, leaving his business affairs in the hands of his son-in-law, the founder of Zelienople devoted himself to its upbuilding and [p. 402] made the little town a seat and center of activity, enterprise and progressive life. Although his real name was as given above, he came to be known as Dr. MULLER. He built and operated a grist mill, and either as an eccentricity or to designate his calling, he used to sign his name "Detmar Basse MULLER," or "the miller;" hence, doubtless, the appellation that displaced his real name. Whether his title of "Doctor" was given him because he had some knowledge of drugs, or was conferred upon him as a college degree by one of the educational institutions of his country, cannot be stated with certainty. He was known as an educated and polished gentleman, and a man of considerable intellectual ability. Before coming to America he had been prominent in public life, having, during the Napoleonic era, represented the free City of Frankfort as an ambassador to Paris. His American castle, "The Bassenheim," was destroyed by fire in 1842, having been purchased in 1836, with a tract of 400 acres of the MULLER lands, by Joseph ALLEN, who replaced it with a dwelling which he occupied until his death, in 1865.
When D. B. MULLER disposed of the unsold lots in the original town of Zelienople to P. L. PASSAVANT for $1,400, and ceased to have an interest therein, the public square, streets and alleys were public property; but the new owner, believing the public square or Diamond to be his property, sold the school-house, an octagonal building, to three trustees, in 1816, and for almost seventy years this sale was unquestioned, until the subject of building the school-house of 1883 was discussed. S. F. BOWSER, who was chosen counsel for the school board, in April 1883, pointed out, not only the illegality of building on the Diamond in 1816, but also cautioned his clients against repeating the error. The location of the school created a good deal of ill feeling.
In 1814 Charles CIST opened a small stock of goods; Jacob HOFFA, whose wife was the school teacher in 1817, and David ARNEAL, men of all work, were here as early as CIST, as well as HUNGELMEYER, a carpenter. Robert BOLTON and Fred. BENTLE, blacksmiths; John BOYER, a preacher; Vance RANDOLPH, a mill-wright, who came in 1816; John A. BEYER, a shoemaker, and Adam GORHRING, H. W. GOEHRING, John LAMBERT, Jacob GROSS, Francis PFEFFER and George HARTZELL were residents prior to the close of this century's second decade.
The McCLURE tavern, established shortly after the first log cabins were erected [p. 403] on the town site, stood on the present site of the Central Hotel. The house built by John RANDOLPH in the "Twenties," took in the old McCLURE House, and both buildings united to form the Bastian House of later days. In 1888 H. W. STOKEY purchased the old hotel, rebuilt it and named it, "The Grand Central."
The Eagle Hotel was built in the "Twenties" by Rudolph KELKER. For fifty years it was an old-time caravansary, carried on by various landlords in the quaint manner of the Mercer road tavern-keepers. In 1878 Henry STOKEY moved here from Evans City, in advance of the railroad, purchased the old building and introduced modern hotel-keeping. Charles STOKEY, his son, is now landlord. The Eagle and the Central are to-day creditable houses of entertainment.
About this time Joseph SMITH, the apostle of Mormonism, came here to search for the plates of Mormon. Beyond winning the love of a Harmony girl and marrying her, against the will of her parents, he created little stir in the village; but in later years, when his new religion was promulgated, he looked to Harmony and Zelienople for converts, and, it is said, found a number who became his adherents.
The Zelienople Recorder was published in 1847, being the pioneer journal of the borough. The Connoquenessing Valley News, mention of which is given in the chapter on The Press, was established by Samuel YOUNG, and carried on, since his death, by his son, J. R. YOUNG. In 1890 Mr. YOUNG published an autobiography, which portrayed names and scenes connected with the Butler oil field.
The progress of the town since January 1, 1879, when the first passenger train rolled in, has been substantial and steady from every point of view. In February, 1880, the American Union Telegraph Company established an office here.
The German Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Zelienople was presided over in 1879 by F. SUMMER, with F. ZEHNER, secretary. The directors elected in January, 1880, were John SIEG, Philip SNITZELL, Joseph ZIEGLER, Jr., P. HERRMAN, Henry MICKLEY, Conrad NICKLAS, Henry MILLER, Jacob PFLUG, Jr., and Jacob BURKHARDT.
Nicholas DAMBACH established a bank here in March, 1882, which was purchased the following year by Dr. Amos LUSK & Son. After Dr. LUSK's death, [p. 404] in 1891, the bank was carried on by his son, Amos M. LUSK, and John A. GELBACH, until March, 1898, when the former retired from the firm, and was succeeded by Jacob GELBACH. The bank has since been conducted successfully by the GELBACH Brothers, and is recognized as a convenient and safe institution.
The leading merchants of the borough in 1894, were ALLEN & DAMBACH, John DINDINGER, W. H. IFFT, C. S. PASSAVANT, WRIGHT Brothers, A. WINTER AND H. WILD, general traders; D. G. BASTIAN, EICHHOLTZ & UBER, Fred FRISHKORN, F. S. GOEHRING and C. J. D. STROHECKER, hardware merchants; John BLOOM and H. KAUFFMAN, boot and shoe dealers; H. HOUSEHOLDER, baker; HOUSEHOLDER Brothers, dealers in machinery; A. HARPER, coal merchant; J. IFFT, lumber merchant; E. ZEHNER, furniture dealer, and F. ZEHNER, dealer in agricultural implements.
The justices of the peace for Zelienople borough, from 1840 to 1894, are as follows: Christian BUHL, 1840; John LEVIS, 1840-45; John REED, 1845-50-55; James HOON, 1847-52; E. V. RANDOLPH, 1857-62-67-72-77-82-87; Ernst SCHMIDT, 1860; Joseph HUNTER, 1863; Ferris ARMOR, 1870-76-81; John F. SHAFFER, 1884; J. H. TEBAY, 1888; Jacob GELBACH, 1893, and H. G. McKIM, 1893.
In April, 1883, the school board of Zelienople elected S. F. BOWSER their counsel, to look after their application to the court for authority to issue bonds for school building purposes. The question of erecting a new school building in the center of the Diamond created a good deal of ill-feeling and the proposition was defeated. Another site was selected and the present imposing structure at the head of Main street was brought into existence. Dr. Amos LUSK, a master of languages and the possessor of a valuable library, was interested in school affairs from his coming until his death. In June, 1893, the number of school children enumerated was seventy-seven males and eighty-six females, or a total of 163. The school revenue for that year amounted to $2,137.68, including the State appropriation of $601.17.
The English Lutheran Church was organized January 21, 1843, under a resolution adopted at a meeting held January 7th, that year, by Rev. Gottlieb BASSLER, the first pastor, Henry MUNTZ, C. S. PASSAVANT, Michael LIEBENDERFER, Reuben HEBERLING, John H. ALLISON and Conrad SHUTT. The first church, a plain brick house, was completed and dedicated July 6, 1845. The new church, also a brick structure, was completed and dedicated April 28, 1884. In celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of organization, C. S. PASSAVANT was the only original member present. For fifty years he had served as treasurer. This religious society was incorporated June 16, 1860, with the following named members: G. BASSLER, Henry MUNTZ, Joseph HUNTER, Michael LIEBENDERFER, Robert HAY, Jr., George TEETS, C. S. PASSAVANT, Samuel SWAIN, Jacob SLEPPY, E. R. BENTLE, William GOEHRING, Reuben HEBERLING, A. A. SWAIN and Josiah R. TITZELL. In April, 1864, Mr. BASSLER resigned as pastor, his new position as superintendent of the Orphans' Home calling for all his time. Rev. Jonathan SARVER succeeded him, and served until March, 1866. In November following, Rev. G. W. FREDERICK arrived, but closed his connection with the church in December, 1867. Rev. M. L. KUNKLEMAN was here in March, 1868, and again in March, 1870, but did not come here as pastor until July, 1871. He left the place November 1, 1877, and in February, 1878, Rev. J. A. KRIBBS succeeded him. He resigned May 1, 1880, and on January 1, 1881, came Rev. V. B. CHRISTY, who remained until April 6, 1890. On August 1 of that year Rev. R. R. DURST, the present pastor, assumed charge. He presides over a society of 130 members.
The Presbyterian Church was organized here by Rev. Lemuel F. LEAKE, who reported the event October 21, 1845. Thomas WILSON and William POTTER were chosen elders, while Ferris ARMOR was elected in 1854. Until 1855 meetings were held in the Baptist or Methodist church, and sometimes in the school-houses of Zelienople and Harmony. In that year a church building was completed and Rev. Mr. WEBBER secured as pastor. He was released about 1863, and, in October, 1865, Rev. D. D. CHRISTY accepted a call as stated supply. In May, 1870, Rev. S. L. JOHNSON came and remained until April, 1882. In June, 1883, Rev. Rudolph C. YATES was installed. Among the elders of the past, the names of C. B. WILSON, Robert SAMPLE, E. L. GILLESPIE and R. S. NICHOLLS occur. In more recent years, F. S. WILSON, Thomas POTTER, Albert WINTER, D. P. BOGGS and R. I. BOGGS served as elders. There were 125 members in 1893. Prior to 1845 the Presbyterians of this secion would assemble at The Bassenheim, where their denomination had a school of manual labor, and there, from 1825 to 1842, a Mr. WILLIAMS and a Mr. HAYES would preach for them.
The United Evangelical Church, known as "The German United Evangelical Protestant Congregation of St. Peter's Church of the Borough of Zelien- [p. 408] ople," was incorporated January 18, 1873, on presentation of petition and constitution to the court of common pleas. The signers were: Rev. E. F. WINTER, pastor; John WURSTER, Adam ENDRES and Edwin ZEHNER, trustees; John DAMBACH, Jacob GERWIG and Henry LUTZ, vestrymen; Henry KAUFFMAN and Daniel STAMM, elders. The society was organized, January 1, 1859, with the petitioners named above in addition to Wilhelm LUTZ, Adam DAMBACHER, Philip MILLEMAN, Joseph MULLER, Conrad KOENIG, and Philip SOMMER. Mr. Winter was pastor from 1859 to July 1, 1879, and Rev. C. SCHEEL, from January 1, 1880, to the present time. For two or three years after organizing, the United Evangelical Protestants held services in the Presbyterian church. In 1861 a frame building was erected at a cost of about $3,000, which has since been used as a house of worship. There were 100 members reported in the fall of 1893.
Monroe Chapel of the Methodist Episcopal Church was incorporated March 24, 1862, on petition presented in 1861, by A. PEARCE, John SWARTZ, J. RODENBAUGH, Uriah PATTERSON, E. PEARCE, E. SEAMAN, Joseph SWARTZ, Isaac LATSHAW, John PEARCE, James HOON, S. T. SHANOR and B. F. COVERT. In 1880 the place of meeting was removed to Harmony.
Captain WILSON Post, Number 496, G. A. R., was organized March 23, 1883, when John WEIGLE, E. C. GREEN, Henry BELTZ, F. G. KLINE, W. A. PREBBLE, Ernest WEYMAN, Noah ZIEGLER, C. E. BROWN, Elias R. BOYER, Frank LAMBERT, George BISHOP and Dr. WEISER signed their names as applicants for a charter. The meeting was presided over by E. C. GREEN, with John WEIGLE, secretary.
Major L. C. BRINTON Camp, Number 221, Sons of Veterans, was mustered in at Zelienople in October, 1888, with J. F. KNAPP, captain; Cyrus RUBY and George KRADEL, lieutenants; John W. PHILLIPS, J. W. RUBY and W. H. CUNNINGHAM, council; while John DINDINGER, J. D. MARSHALL, Cyrus HARPER, Geo. W. PHILLIPS and Phillip KRADEL, of WILSON Post, G. A. R., were chosen members of the advisory council.
The Womens' Christian Temperance Union was organized March 24, 1886, with Mrs. F. G. FRISHKORN, president; Mrs. C. S. PASSAVANT, vice-president; Eliza BASTIAN, secretary, and Mrs. H. M. BENTLE, treasurer.
Zelienople Union, Number 876, E. A. U., was organized December 15, 1891, [p. 409] with thirty-nine charter members, the officers, in order of rank, being A. KLINGENSMITH, P. C. FREDERICK, A. WINTER, Mrs. J. R. YOUNG, W. B. KING, A. WINTER, S. E. RALSTON, Mrs. R. Q. BOGGS, Rev. R. C. YATES, Mrs. W. B. KING, Mrs. N. E. WEISZ, D. A. CARR, Emma BOGGS and Mrs. H. E. PINKERTON.
[End of Chapter XXVII - Zelienople Borough: History of Butler County Pennsylvania, R. C. Brown Co., Publishers, 1895]Previous Chapter 26--Jackson Township
07 Jan 2000, 11:58