Wayne Township was created from a part of North Sewickley Township, Beaver County, at the same time Lawrence County was erected, and at first took in only that portion of it north of Conoquenessing Creek; that south of the creek remained as North Sewickley until some time afterwards, when it was added to Wayne.
The township has an area of about 11,500 acres, and is peopled with a prosperous agricultural class. The improvements throughout the township are of a high order of excellence and the resources it possesses, both from an agricultural and mineral point of view, are almost inexhaustible.
The surface is broken to an extensive degree, the hills in many places rising three or four hundred feet above the valleys. The approaches to Slippery Rock and Conoquenessing Creeks are through deep gorges and thinly settled localities, although along the latter stream the land is more easily adapted to farming purposes. On the south side of it, towards the line of Beaver County, is a broad level table land, reaching back a mile or two to a range of hills bounding it on the south. The land here is rich and fertile.
The township contains the three villages of Wurtemburg, Chewton and Staylesville, the latter one of the places which sprang up while the old canal was in existence, and was superseded by Newport, in Big Beaver Township, after the canal was abandoned and the railroad built. The borough of Ellwood City also lies within the borders of the township.
Wayne Township has for its western boundary the Big Beaver River, numerous tributaries of which head within its limits. On the east Slippery Rock Creek forms the boundary between Wayne and Perry, and the Conoquenessing enters on the south from Beaver County, and after receiving the waters of the Slippery Rock curves around through the southern part of the township, and finally enters the Big Beaver on the line between Lawrence and Beaver Counties.
Slippery Rock Creek flows in a southerly direction until it reaches Wurtemburg, and here it is met by a towering bluff 395 feet high, and obliged to turn aside. From here it flows to the westward until it joins with the waters of the Conoquenessing, the two streams meeting from almost opposite directions. At this point the streams turn squarely to the north, proceeds in this direction perhaps a hundred rods, then winds its way westward, then eastward, and back again until the Beaver is reached.
The scenery along the streams is wild and impressive, especially that of the Slippery Rock and Conoquenessing. The latter has no bottom lands at all, and the former only very narrow strips in some places. High above the streams, however, and at the base of a still higher range of hills there are comparatively broad plateaux, the surface of them being extremely fertile.
The greater part of the land in Wayne Township is in the Chew district and was divided into 400-acre tracts, each settler on a tract becoming entitled to one-half for settling. There are also numerous tracts which were granted to the Washington Academy, of Washington, Pa.
Coal was discovered near Wurtemburg, about 1826, by James Dobbs, who was at the time working at Moses Matheny's salt wells. Since then coal veins have been developed in various localities in the township. A bank was opened on a tract of Academy land, south of Chewton, and worked for some time. Above Wurtemburg several mines are worked, and in the northern and western portions of the township a considerable number of persons opened banks. The vein is called a three-foot vein, but has only about twenty-eight inches of coal on an average, the rest being more or less mixed with slate. The coal is generally of a very good quality.
Limestone is found in many localities, but, like all the limestone of this region, lies in thin, ragged strata, and is not fit for building purposes, although it makes a very good quality of lime. The limestone exists near the summits of the hills, and is simply what remains of a once continuous bed, before the country was cut so deeply by the numerous streams into the rough condition we now behold. The stone is found at an average height, and of a nearly uniform thickness and quality, proving that the stratum was once continuous.
Iron ore is also found, both of the red and blue varieties. About 1855-6, Charles Rhodes bought half an acre of land on the stream which empties into the Big Beaver below Chewton, and intended to erect a saw-mill. While excavating a place in which to set his wheel he struck a vein of the "blue ore," and immediately abandoned the purpose of building a saw-mill, and began taking out ore. The business paid him well, and raised a great excitement in the vicinity. It was the first iron ore discovered in the township, and immediately a number of persons began prospecting. Finally, John Warner discovered a bank of the "red ore," in some places reaching a thickness of twenty-two feet. Dr. John Wallace purchased this bank and worked it extensively.
The existence of the red ore was not known until after the discovery of the blue ore, but, when it was developed, the working of the latter was abandoned, as the other quality was much richer and more easily worked.
About the year 1800, Abraham McCurdy came from the Susquehanna Valley and settled near where Wurtemburg now stands.
John Newton came to the township in the neighborhood of 1800, and settled on the farm where his son, Jacob Newton, lived for many years after.
William and Benjamin Cunningham came from Fayette County, Pennsylvania, in the year 1796. William settled on the farm lately owned by R. S. Cunningham, and Benjamin on that lately owned by Ira Cunningham. They came in the fall of that year and built cabins and made other improvements on their places, then returned to Fayette County for their famlies. They returned to their new possessions in the spring of 1797. The Cunninghams now occupy a considerable portion of the north part of Wayne Township, and have contributed much towards its improvement.
The year 1796 marked the arrival of eight persons, six besides the Cunninghams. They were Abel Hennon, Robert and Samuel Gaston, William Cairns, Charles Morrow and John Moore. Only a portion of them settled or remained in what is now Wayne Township.
After the Cunninghams came to the township they hewed out the end of a block "dish fashion," and pounded their corn in it for about two years, when a grist-mill was built by Ananias Allen, and they had their grinding done there.
Abel Hennon, who was one of the settlers of 1796, located on a 400-acre tract, of which he received one-half for settling.
Joseph Hennon came in 1798 and bought a settlement right to a 400-acre tract of Jesse Myers, who had built a cabin on the place. The place was later occupied by his son, George Hennon, who was the first child born in the family after their settlement, the date of his birth being April 19, 1800. The Hennons were originally from Ireland, and located first in the State of Maryland. They afterwards removed to the valley of Jacob's Creek, in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, and from there came to Beaver County. Two of the earlier members of the family, George and Thomas Hennon, Sr., were soldiers in the American Revolution.
Nicholas Vaneman located in New Castle about 1802-3, where he rebuilt and refitted a grist-mill on the Neshannock, which had been originally erected about 1800 by John Elliott. The mill was partially destroyed by a freshet in the creek, and Vaneman removed to Wayne Township about 1808-9 and put up a grist and saw-mill on what is now known as "Mill Run," or "Big Run," which discharges its waters into the Big Beaver below Chewton. The mills stood for a good many years, and finally fell to pieces, and none have been rebuilt on the site since. He operated the mill until unable to run it longer, when his son continued the business for some time.
George Allen settled a farm in Wayne Township previous to 1800 and sold it to Solomon Egner in 1818.
Henry Booher came first to Neshannock Township about 1806 and bought land of Jesse Du Shane, of New Castle, about 1810.
Thomas McConahy came from County Antrim, Ireland, in 1817, leaving his family there. They followed him two years later (1819) and came to Beaver Town, Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Here they stayed until 1821 when they removed to a farm of 100 acres, lying in Shenango Township, Lawrence County.
The John McConahy (son of Thomas McConahy) farm, in Wayne, was originally settled by Peter Book, who made the improvements upon it. The original tract was 400 acres, and, with a few other tracts in the neighborhood did not belong to the land in the Chew district. Peter Book was of German descent, and came from Northampton County, Pennsylvania, to Pittsburg, from which place he came to what is now Wayne Township in 1796-7.
Joseph Work came originally from the State of Maryland to Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. In the year 1797 he came to Crawford County, where he lived until 1824, then moved to the farm in Wayne Township, Lawrence County, later occupied by his son, William Work. The land is part of a tract of 400 acres, originally settled by Moses McCollum in 1797.
William Ward came from York County, Pennsylvania, when a young man, with his mother and step-father and located first in Beaver Town, Beaver County. This was in the neighborhood of the year 1800. Mr. Ward was married at Beaver Town to Miss Elizabeth Shoemaker, and afterward came to Lawrence County. He located on a farm on Slippery Rock Creek about 1806-8.
Hugh Wilson came to the township previous to 1800, and settled on the farm now owned by his heirs. He was originally from the State of Maryland, and settled in the Chartiers Valley, in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, about twelve miles from Pittsburg, from whence he came to what is now Lawrence County. The year after Mr. Wilson arrived, his brothers, William, Andrew, James and Alexander, also came out. William Wilson commanded a militia company in the neighborhood during the time of military organizations, and from that circumstance received the title of captain.
Moses Guy came to the township about the same time as the Wilsons and settled on a part of the same farm.
Moses Matheny came from the Shenandoah Valley, West Virginia, about 1800, and settled first in the edge of Beaver County, Pennsylvania. He afterwards removed
to a farm in Wayne Township, Lawrence County, three-fourths of a mile from Wurtemburg. Mr. Matheny was a cabinetmaker, the first mechanic in the neighborhood, and made the first rough coffin. In 1807 he was married to Hannah Nye, whose father, Andrew Nye, had settled early on the farm on the south side of the Conoquenessing, yet owned by the Nye family.
Mr. Matheny was closely identified with the plans for the early improvement of the country in which he had settled. In 1839 he built a stone tavern on the north side of the Conoquenessing, at its mouth, and rented it to Samuel Copper, who kept it for some time; other persons also kept the tavern, but when the canal business stopped it was discontinued.
Paul Newton was among the first settlers in the township and purchased land of William Thomas, who must have been a very early settler.
About 1812-15 a company of Quakers came from the eastern part of the State, purchased a large acreage of the hilly lands of the Conoquenessing, and went to work to improve the water-power. They tried to build a dam twenty-eight feet high across the creek, but the attempt proved a failure, and they afterward built a brace dam on a smaller scale, and cut a hole in the rock and built a strong stone grist-mill in it. The creek rose shortly afterwards and washed both dam and mill away. After this failure the Quakers went to Beaver Falls.
Hazel Dell post-office was established about 1871-2, near Matheny's mill. The first postmaster was John H. Marshall, and he was succeeded by Andrew Cole.
About 1823-4 a log-mill was built on nearly the same spot as the Matheny mill by Orrin Newton. In 1834, J. N. Nye purchased the mill and operated it awhile. About 1840 some parties who were fishing carelessly dropped some fire into it and it burned down. The Matheny mill, which was built in 1847 by Jonathan Evans, was owned by Thomas Jones at one time. He was caught in the machinery in some way while oiling the wheel and killed, about 1864-5. Under the management of E. C. Matheny the mill developed into a flourishing plant.
Orrin Newton, the same person who built the original mill on the site of Matheny's building, had a primitive affair long before this, consisting of a wheel set in a crevice in the rock, and run by hand when the water was low. This was the first mill on the creek below the mouth of the Slippery Rock, and was of the simplest kind. It could grind but very slowly, and did nothing more than crack the grain. The old Newton mill was at Conoquenessing Falls.
A log grist-mill, with a saw-mill attachment, was built about 1830-32 by Nicholas Mayne, and stood a short distance above the Matheny mill.
James Latimer built a grist-mill two or three miles above this, about 1855. It was a good frame mill, but, as the power was not sufficient at the place it was abandoned.
Henry McQuiston built a grist-mill on the Conoquenessing, a little distance above the mouth of Slippery Rock Creek, but it was only run a short time.
Saw-mills have been built in nearly every portion of the township, though but very few are now in operation, and those portable.
Edward McLaughlin had a saw-mill close by the McQuiston grist-mill.
About 1852, William Gaston built a saw-mill on his place, above Chewton, on a small run flowing through it, and had good water power.
Wayne Township was well represented in the United States army during the War of 1812, among those who went to the front being: Abraham McCurdy, Sr., John Newton, Benjamin Cunningham, Thomas Hennon, at Black Rock; William Ward, in Capt. James Stewart's company, was at Black Rock, and Hugh Wilson and Moses Guy, who were at Black Rock.
In Wayne, as in other townships, military organizations were kept up, William Wilson commanding one company. A company known as the "North Sewickley Marksmen" was organized about 1830-31, with some sixty men, and the number afterwards increased to seventy or eighty. John M. Hennon was the first captain, and Isaac Newton, William Sherrard and others served as lieutenants. The men were dressed in ordinary apparel, but their citizens' hats were decked with red and white plumes, and they wore red sashes and belts; they were armed with common rifles. The organization existed until about 1873.
Wayne Township furnished her quota of troops during the War of the Rebellion, scattered through various regiments. Most of those who went to the front, however, were members of the famous Round Head (One Hundredth Pennsylvania) Regiment.
A log cabin schoolhouse was built on the McCollum tract, in Wayne, previous to 1815, and school was conducted in it for some time. It finally was destroyed by fire. About 1820 another log schoolhouse was built about a half mile northwest of the first, and it too was finally burned to the ground.
Robert Grandy was a teacher in the first building, and Robert Laughlin was the first teacher in the latter. Other primitive schoolhouses were built at different times by the citizens, and carried on by subscription until the law was passed establishing free schools.
In 1908 the number of schools in Wayne District (Township) was nine. The enrollment of school children for the same year was 276. A total of $2,750 was paid for teachers wages, the number of teachers for the year being nine. The total expenditures for the year for school purposes were $3,825. This was aside from Wurtemburg and Chewton villages, which are independent districts.
"Slippery Rock" Presbyterian Church is the oldest organization in the township, and takes its name from Slippery Rock Creek, on the banks of which it held its first meetings, in Allen's old grist-mill, as early as 1800, and possibly before. The congregation was organized about 1800, and some of the original members were Jesse Bell, William Cairns and Nancy, his wife (of Shenango Township), Joseph Hennon and Margaret, his wife; William Cunningham and Mary, his wife; Jonathan Peppard and Elizabeth, his wife; Jacob Van Gorder and Margaret, his wife (Van Gorder and wife later, about 1806); Andrew Elliott and wife, and a few others.
The first official record of the existence of this church is found in the minutes of the first meeting of the Erie Presbytery, held in this region April 13, 1802. At this meeting of the Presbytery the church asked for supplies, and in 1803, united with Lower Neshannock, now New Castle, in selecting Rev. Alexander Cook as pastor. Mr. Cook had charge about six years.
The first elders of this church were Jesse Bell, William Cairns, Joseph Hennon and Jonathan Peppard. Isaac Cole and Andrew Elliott were ordained elders October 25, 1812, and Donald MacGregor in May, 1818. These were the early elders only.
The second pastor of this congregation was Rev. Robert Sample, who had charge of the New Castle congregation as well. Some say he preached twenty-six years. He was ordained and installed April 10, 1811, and served until 1834, according to the history of Erie Presbytery. In 1838, after many discouragements for three years, they united with New Brighton, Beaver County, in support of Rev. Benjamin C. Critchlow, New Castle having by that time become able to support a minister alone. Mr. Critchlow was ordained and installed pastor of Slippery Rock and a New Brighton congregation September 5, 1838, and continued his pastorate for seven years. In 1845 he assumed charge of New Brighton alone, and Rev. James S. Henderson was ordained and installed pastor of Slippery Rock in October of that year. November 1, 1846, he began preaching one-half of his time at North Sewickley Church, in Beaver County.
Since the departure of Mr. Henderson the following have been regular pastors of the Slippery Rock Church for the length of time stated: Amos S. Billingsley, January 10, 1854, to January 11, 1865; Rev. R. S. Morton, February 21, 1866, to May 14, 1869; Rev. J. H. Aughey, December 26, 1870, to May 5, 1873; Rev. George S. Rice, October 19, 1874, to June, 1889; Rev. William G. Reagle, May 26, 1891, to April, 1893; Rev. Samuel Barber, January 23, 1894, to April, 1898, and Rev. Charles Bell, September 13, to the present time.
In the Slippery Rock Presbyterian Church, proper, the present membership is 250, and that of the Sabbath-school, 175; but a mission is conducted under the care of the church, with a membership of 100, and its Sabbath-school, 250. The mission reports through the church, which thus has a total membership of 350, and the Sabbath-school a membership of 425. The Sabbath-school was organized during Mr. Critchlow's pastorate and has been conducted almost continuously since that time.
The church officers at the present are as follows: Rev. Charles Bell, moderator; W. C. Hennon, R. C. Shoemaker, Robert W. Grandy, William Wellhausen, James A. Brown and John W. Houk, elders; John M. Houk, Sabbath-school superintendent; E. E. Yoho Y. P. S. C. E. president, and Mrs. Ellen G. Bell, president of the Women's Missionary Society.
The first church built by the society was a log building, which stood a few rods north of the spot occupied by the present church. The log church was built about 1803, and stood on the Hugh Wilson farm. The old log church was used until the year 1825, when a frame building was erected just south of it. This church continued in use as such until a new and more commodious edifice was built in 1863, and was then removed. A parsonage was later built by the society for its pastor. On the territory once all tributary to Slippery Rock Church, there are now fourteen different organizations, yet with all this, and the colonies which have gone out from it and founded other congregations, the church has held its own well and is in a prosperous condition.
The cemetery near the church is an interesting spot, containing the remains of nearly all the pioneers in the region immediately surrounding it. It is located on the brow of the hill, in the rear of the church, and is shaded by forest trees on all sides. The first person buried in it was James Wilson, who was killed by the falling of a tree soon after his arrival here.
The Primitive Methodists organized in the fall of 1876, and have a frame church, standing on land donated by Samuel Booher, who was one of the prominent members of the organization. The lot includes one acre. This congregation is made up of members from the Methodist Episcopal Church at Wampum and "Mount Pleasant" congregations.
VILLAGE OF STAYLESVILLE
The land occupied by this settlement was originally a part of the Peter Book farm. William Hough at different times bought several acres of land from Mr. Book, and laid it out into town lots some time between 1827 and 1833, about which latter date the canal was opened. Hough built the first house in the place-a log structure-and kept a store. He also opened a tavern, and afterwards sold it to John Wallace, who carried it on for awhile in connection with a store. James Miller had the last store conducted in the place, and closed out about 1874. Samuel Wilkinson and John Houk worked at the blacksmithing business in the place for some time.
A strong dam was built for slack water purposes during the time of the canal, but has been destroyed long since. The bed of the Beaver River here was partly quicksand, and, to keep the dam from being washed away, it was made of strong cribs sunk in the sand and filled with stone. Considerable business was done at the place during the time the canal was in operation, but there are now left but a few dwellings on the town site to mark what once was an active business point.
The town was named by Hough, when he laid it out, after a man named Stayles, who was a prominent worker in the canal enterprise. A swift rapid or "ripple" is in the river opposite the town, and as the canal men had a "hard scrabble" to get their boats safely over it the place received the nickname of "Hardscrabble," by which it is now more familiarly known than by Staylesville. Some distance below, at Wampum, there is another rapid called "Irish Ripple," and from it the original post-office at Wampum, and now at Newport, took its name.
This town was laid out by Benjamin Chew, Jr., about 1830-31, and includes all the territory comprised in what are now commonly known as "Upper" and "Lower" Chewton-in all about one hundred acres, but a comparatively small portion of which is built up. The first house in Lower Chewton was built either by Hon. J. T. Cunningham or Jacob Allen. Fulton Reed opened the first store in the place, about 1835-36. John Wallace established the second, some ten years later. John Egner opened the third, about 1848- 1849, and afterwards sold it to William Roth (or Rhodes). It stood about a quarter of a mile below where the iron bridge now spans the Beaver. Roth sold out to Friday & Jackson, who moved the store to the upper part of Lower Chewton. Henry Potter afterwards purchased Friday's interests, and the firm name became Potter & Jackson.
In Upper Chewton, soon after the town was laid out, Jacob Lightner, Nancy Lightner, Milo Connor and John Lightner all built houses of the log pattern, which stood for many years. There was but one log house built in Lower Chewton, that by one of the Roth (Rhodes) family.
A school was opened in the town in 1834 or 1835. immediately after the school law was passed, and a schoolhouse was built. A brick schoolhouse, standing in Upper Chewton, was built about 1859-60. Chewton was set off as an independent school district in 1872 or 1873. It has three schools and three instructors, who, in 1908, received $1,010. The enrollment is 159 pupils.
The first settler on the land where Wurtemburg now stands was probably Ananias Allen, who came about 1796-7, and built of logs a grist-mill on nearly the same spot where a more modern grist-mill, in after years, was erected. This was a famous mill in its day, and had customers from as far as New Castle, before there was a mill at that place. In this mill the first meetings of the Slippery Rock Presbyterian congregation were held. Allen built the first house on the ground where the town now stands.
Jacob Liebendorfer and his family came from Butler County in 1829, and for a time lived in a log house, which had been erected by an early settler named Smith.
In 1831 a grist-mill was built by Jacob Liebendorfer and his son, Michael. After the father died, Robert Mehard united with Michael Liebendorfer in its management, and finally became sole proprietor, after they had remodeled and improved the mill to a considerable extent. Mr. Mehard afterwards sold out to George and Harrison Fiddler, who in turn disposed of it to William Mellen and Phillip Freichtag. The next proprietors, McCray & Hutchison, also operated a saw-mill in connection.
A saw-mill and linseed oil-mill were built by Jacob and Daniel Liebendorfer, Frederick Rapp and Peter Noss, about the same time the grist-mill was built-1831. The mill race supplying them gave way, and the mills were abandoned after running about twenty years.
The saw-mill, adjoining the grist-mill, was built by Robert Mehard.
Peter Noss had a distillery at one time, and a cooper shop in connection.
A salt well was put down to a distance of about five hundred feet by Matheny & Hemphill, in 1821, and was worked for nine years, producing about two barrels of salt per day. On account of oil and the scarcity of water, the well was finally abandoned. Just before the Civil War the oil excitement ran high, and this well was worked by a company who tried for oil. The oil they lost, principally because the flow of water was too strong.
The post-office at Wurtemburg was established about 1845, and derived its name from the fact that the Germans who settled here were from Wurtemburg, Germany. The first postmaster of whom we find any mention was Frederick Rapp, who was the second to fill that office; after him came Ebert and Brown. Up to this time it was kept on the north side of the creek, but was afterwards moved to the south side, and kept in the store of Fleming & Freichtag. James Liebendorfer next had it, on the north side, then Morrison & Fisher on the south side.
The first store on the South side of the creek was opened by three Hyde brothers, John, Joseph and Thomas. The first store on the north side was opened by a man named Vincent, who only kept it a year or two. A man named Coulter had the second one, and Frederick Rapp the third, and the latter also built the brick hotel, kept by Benjamin Wilson in after years.
The first blacksmith shop was probably started by Jacob Weis.
J. N. Kirker has conducted a flour and feed store here since 1902. James H. Newton is proprietor of the largest general store, which was established in 1900. E. G. French operates a stone quarry just on the edge of the town. It has been operated by him since 1900 and still the vein is not exhausted, although at the present time he is working it heavily, employing as many as fourteen men.
A two-story brick school building was erected in 1872, on the north side. The village of Wurtemburg is an independent school district, and had an attendance in its two schools in 1908 of ninety-four pupils. Two teachers are employed and in that year were paid $650. The total expenditure for school purposes was $828.57.
The United Presbyterian Church of Wurtemburg was organized in 1859 by Rev. Thomas Guthrie, D. D., who supplied it for some time. The members originally belonged to the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Perry Township. The first regular pastor of the new organization was Rev. J. H. Peacock, who came about 1867 and preached five years. The next regular pastor was Rev. John D. Glenn, who was installed November 1, 1874, and also had charge of the Center Church in Shenango Township. The original membership was about eighty. A Sabbath-school has been kept up most of the time. The church lot was furnished by James Mehard, one of the members of the congregation, and a large frame church built upon it in 1860. A portion of the congregation, some forty-five members, left the church in 1873, and formed a new congregation in Perry Township called Camp Run. They built a church in 1874, and have meetings in connection with Mountville United Presbyterian Church, in the same township.
The German Lutheran Church at Wurtemburg, which has long been out of existence, was the outgrowth of meetings held in the house of Jacob Liebendorfer, about 1830-31, he having been a member of the German Lutheran Church at Zelienople, Butler County, prior to that time. The pastor of that church conducted the meeting in the Liebendorfer home, his name being Rev. Schweitzerbart. Meetings were subsequently held in private houses and for a time in the schoolhouse, which was built about 1832-33, near where the United Presbyterian Church now stands, and still later in a schoolhouse which stood south of the creek. A church was not built until 1868-69, when a frame structure was erected, north of town, on the New Castle road. About the year 1877 there was a split in the church on the language question, many of the members desiring services in English, and a long drawnout law suit resulted. Finally a part of its members withdrew and built a church, known as Zion's, or Mt. Hope Lutheran Church, on the Harlansburg Road, about two miles north of the old church. Some time in the nineties the old church building was given to Rev. H. Voegel, of Evans City, who removed it to Ellwood City, but after a few years the congregation there died out. In 1903, Mr. A. P. Lentz organized a congregation, composed entirely of Austro-Hungarians, and services are conducted in German. The congregation is very prosperous.
The Methodists held meetings at intervals for some twenty years, part of the time in the schoolhouse, prior to erecting a church. In the summer of 1876 the present frame building, called the "Centennial Methodist Episcopal Church," was built. Here, Rev. J. S. Ross preached three years and was succeeded by Rev. Mr. Writer.
The bridge still spanning Slippery Rock Creek was built either in 1829 or 1830 by James Mehard, then living in Harmony, Butler County. He afterwards came to Wurtemburg and bought the place where his son, Joseph, afterwards lived.
Wurtemburg has always been regarded as a progressive place, its transition from conditions of pioneer days having been rapid, and its improvements of a permanent character.
Prosperous and thriving borough that it is, with its enormous manufacturing plants which produce millions of dollars' worth of products and pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries, yearly, with its well stocked stores and its modern homes, Ellwood City, located within the limits of Wayne Township, has a history which dates back less than a score of years. It is the home of such plants as those of the American Steel Car Forge Company, Glen Manufacturing Company, Ellwood Foundry Company, Standard Engineering Company, National Tube Company, Ellwood City Glass Company, Ellwood Brick and Limestone Company, Standard Tube Company, the Tindel-Morris Company, the Garlock Packing Company, the National Supply and Construction Company and the Ellwood Lumber Company.
The American Steel Car Forge Company is the outgrowth of a business begun in 1894 under the name and style of the Baker Forge Company, which was organized for the purpose of manufacturing wagon hardware. The plant occupies seven and one-half acres of land and gives employment to about 700 men. Its officers are J. M. Hanson, president; C. W. Wright, secretary; T. A. Gillespie, treasurer, and C. A. Martin, general manager.
Standard Tube Company, the largest seamless tube plant in the world, was originally conducted as a stock company, with R. C. Steifel as president and general manager; the stock was owned by R. C. Steifel, J. H. Micholson and C. E. Pope. It was conducted as an independent concern until 1901, when it was purchased by the National Tube Company, and shortly afterwards incorporated as a part of the United States Steel Corporation. The various seamless tube manufacturing plants are operated under the Shelby Steel Tube Company, with general offices in Pittsburg. The Ellwood City plant covers nine acres and has a capacity of 350 tons per day, employing 2,200 men. Its capital stock is $600,000.
The Ellwood Brick and Limestone Company is successor to the Ellwood Brick Company, Limited, which was organized in May, 1892, and was one of the first plants of any consequence in the borough. J. M. Montgomery is president, and T. J. Fulmer, secretary and treasurer. It is capitalized at $30,000.
The Glen Manufacturing Company, manufacturers of gray iron castings, derrick fittings, wire fencing, builders' iron work, etc., originated in 1902, and started in business in January, 1903. It bought out the Hartman Manufacturing Company, which was established in Ellwood City in 1892. H. S. Blatt serves as president, and A. M. Jones as secretary and treasurer of this company, which is capitalized at $100,000.
The Standard Engineering Company, employing about 250 men, is engaged in the manufacture of rolling and tube mill machinery, pipe threading machines, sand rolls and high grade gray iron castings, up to thirty tons weight. It is capitalized at $3,000,000, and its officers are C. D. Coban, president, and H. M. Criswell, secretary and treasurer. The plant was erected in 1902.
The plant of the Tindel-Morris Company in Ellwood City was erected in 1895, and incorporated in 1898. It had its inception in 1862 as the Frankfort Steel Company, a plant having been established at that date in Frankfort, Pennsylvania. The name was later changed to the Frankfort Steel and Forge Company, and in 1895 the factory was moved to Ellwood City, where it covers two acres of ground. Two hundred men are employed in the manufacture of machine tools, gas and steam engines, and automobiles. The officers of the company are Adam Tindel, president: L. G. Morris, vice-president; L. W. Gruber, secretary, and G. B. Reed, assistant vice-president and manager.
The Ellwood City Glass Company, with capital stock at $60,000, in 1905 grew out of the re-organization of the Clark Bros. Glass Company, which was established in 1892 by Harry Northwood. It manufactures a high grade of blown tumblers and employs about 210 men. Charles Runyon is president and treasurer, and W. M. Gertman, secretary.
The Garlock Packing Company, with main office and factory at Elmira, N. Y., operates a plant in Ellwood City, as well as in most of the largest cities of the United States. They are patentees and manufacturers of the Garlock fibrous and Pitt metal packings, their product reaching the markets of all the civilized world. This company has been in operation in Ellwood City since 1905, when it leased the plant of the Pitt Manufacturing Company, which had been organized and was operated by Pittsburg capitalists. The Garlock Packing Company was incorporated in 1905 with O. J. Garlock as president; F. W. Griffith, vice-president and treasurer, and J. H. L. Galagher, secretary. E. T. R. Holt is superintendent of the Ellwood plant.
Zeigler & Lambert, manufacturers of carriages and wagons, making a specialty of delivery wagons, established a factory in Ellwood City in 1907, and conducts a thriving business.
The Ellwood Lumber Company, with principal office and yard at Ellwood City, was incorporated under the laws of Pennsylvania, May 21, 1904, and has a capital stock of $100,000, although it was in operation many years prior to that date. It operates branches at Aliquippa and Ambridge, Pa., having a large planing mill at the latter point. The officers of the company are W. J. McKim, president; Thomas L. Haines, vice-president, and John F. Haines, secretary, treasurer and general manager.
The National Supply and Construction Company, which is engaged in general contracting, the lumber and planing mill business, was organized in 1906, and has a capital stock of $50,000. Its officers are Albert C. Frey, president; B. F. Ross, vice-president, and B. F. Mosher, secretary and treasurer.
Ellwood City boasts of two banking institutions which class with the leading financial institutions of Lawrence County, the First National and the People's National Bank. The First National Bank of Ellwood City was organized in 1892, and has a capital stock of $100,000; its officers are John A. Gelbach, president; H. S. Blatt, vice-president, and W. J. McKim, cashier. The People's National Bank was organized May 9, 1907, and is capitalized at $50,000. Its officers are C. A. Martin, president; J. E. VanGorder, vice-president, and J. E. Cobler, cashier.
The borough is well provided with good substantial public service companies, particularly the Ellwood Water Company and the Manufacturers' Light and Heat Company. It has two newspapers of a high order, namely: The Ellwood Citizen and the Ellwood Eagle and Motor.
The affairs of the borough are efficiently administered by the following officers: John H. Hassler, burgess; John A. Gelbach, treasurer; William McElroy, clerk; Captain Moon, chief of police; H. R. Johnson, chief of the fire department; George Cron, high constable; Jacob Bair, tax collector, and Matthew Stroheceker, road commissioner. The council consists of the following: Dr. Silas Stevenson, president; James Lenigen, E. J. Hazen, Henry W. Dambach, M. D. McCarthy, W. J. Krok; and Dr. D. C. Vosler. The school board is made up of the following citizens: Joseph Humphrey, president; George Dambach, Dr. C. M. Iseman, R. G. Brown, secretary; Charles E. Whistler and William Kearns. The following constitute the Board of Health: Rev. A. R. Lentz, president; Dr. S. S. Davidson, Dr. D. D. Cunningham, John Scheidamantle, Howard McCliman and John McKim. R. A. Todd has been postmaster of the borough since 1901, when he was appointed by William McKinley, president; he was re-appointed by President Roosevelt in 1905.
The following are the officers of the Ellwood City Board of Trade: Charles E. Whistler, president; A. M. Jones, vice-president; D. J. Mulcahy, secretary, and A. C. Frey, treasurer. Its board of directors includes Charles E. Whistler, Matthew A. Riley, A. C. Frey, H. S. Blatt and J. A. Gelbach.
The moral tone of a community is ever reflected by the number and conditions of its churches and benevolent societies. Both of these agencies for the accomplishment of good are numerically strong in Ellwood City, and the individual bodies in a prosperous and healthy condition. Following are the churches in the borough, together with the names of the pastors: Baptist, Rev. G. M. Davis; Catholic, Rev. Father Hisson; Christian, Rev. F. L. Taylor; Free Methodist, Rev. J. T. Barkas; German Lutheran, Rev. A. P. Lentz; Lutheran, Rev. A. P. Lentz; Methodist, Rev. A. Renton; Reformed, Rev. A. K. Kline; Presbyterian, Rev. Rendall; United Presbyterian, Rev. J. A. McDonald. The following are the fraternal societies of Ellwood City: Masons, Fraternal Order of Eagles, Knights of Pythias, Independent Order of Odd Fellows (two lodges), Knights of the Golden Eagle, Knights and Ladies of Honor, German Beneficial Union, Uniformed Rank, Knights of the Maccabees, Ladies of the Maccabees, Protective Home Circle and Sons of Veterans.
Source: 20th Century History of New Castle and Lawrence County, Pennsylvania and Representative Citizens - Pages 354-365
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