Armstrong County History
Biographical and Historical
Cyclopedia of Indiana and Armstrong Counties, Pennsylvania.
by John M. Gresham & Co.
by Samuel T. Wiley, Historian and Editor.
1218 and 1220 N. Filbert Street, Philadelphia
of Armstrong County.
and Descriptive.---Kittanning is one of the most important
centres of trade and industry in the Allegheny Valley, as
well as being one of the most attractive towns of western
Pennsylvania. Around its site and name cling romantic
memories of Indian and Revolutionary times.
a word of Indian origin derived from Kithanne, signifying
the main stream, and according to the Moravian missionary
Heckewelder, Kittanning is corrupted from Kithannick, which
comes from Kithanne. Kittanning was the metropolis
of the Allegheny Valley when it was under Indian rule.
When the French and Indian war broke out it became one of
the principal points from which the French and Indians sent
out war parties to harass the white settlers of the Cumberland
and Juniata valleys.
a triple town of the Delawares, as their wigwams and cabins
were divided into the upper, lower and middle villages.
In 1756, Armstrong burned it and its site lay waste until
a fort was erected by the whites for the protection of the
frontier. In 1791, James Claypoole built a cabin at
what is now the northwest corner of Arch and Water streets,
but becoming afraid of Indians abandoned his clearing and
went to Pittsburgh. Robert Brown, Patrick Dougherty
and Andrew Hunter were the first permanent settlers of Kittanning.
The town was laid out in 1803, by Judge George Ross, was
incorporated in 1821.
In 1804, Samuel
Massey located at Kittanning to practice law, and Joseph
Miller, James McClurg and David Reynolds had opened stores,
while David Crawford had a blacksmith shop, and Michael
Mechling and David Reynolds were conducting taverns.
The post-office was established in 1807, with Joseph Miller
as postmaster, and a glance at the list of taxables of the
town for that year, which is given in the list of early
settlers of Armstrong county will show the different kinds
of business which were then carried on in the town.
In 1820 there were over fifty houses, and ten years later
the place contained ninety dwellings and ten stores, and
at the present time has a population of over 3,000 inhabitants.
The town of
Kittanning was laid out and surveyed by Judge George Ross
in 1803 and was divided into 248 in-lots and twenty-seven
out-lots. Kittanning was incorporated as a borough
by Act of Assembly, April 2, 1821, and its original boundaries
were extended May 4, 1844, March 20, 1849, April 2, 1850,
and March 31, 1860. The original streets were Water,
Jefferson, McKean and Back (changed in 1868 to Grant), which
were intersected by High, Vine, Arch, Market, Jacob, Mulberry
and Walnut streets.
On August 27,
1826, a fire company was formed and a fire-engine was purchased
which answered until 1854, when the burning of Pinney's
carriage factory aroused the citizens to the necessity of
securing a larger engine. The new engine cost $2500,
but was not adequate for the suppression of large fires,
and in 1871 the borough contracted with the Kittanning Waterworks
company to put twenty-three fire-plugs down in their water
pipes in the borough for $2800. This arrangement has
enabled the citizens to cope successfully with fires ever
Temperance society was organized August 18, 1830, and existed
until 1854. The Masonic Lodge, No. 244, was constituted
March 12, 1850; Odd Fellows' Lodge 340, March 31,
1849; and K . of P. Lodge, No. 296, May 10, 1871.
The independent military organizations have been the Armstrong
Guards, Independent Blues, Washington Blues, Armstrong Rifles,
German Yagers and Brady Alpines.
nails were made by John Miller in 1812 and the first foundry
was started in 1843. In 1805 Abraham Parkinson built
a hand-mill, which answered for grinding until water-power
mills were erected. Arnold's steam grist-mill was
built in 1834.
The chain ferry established in 1834 was
succeeded in 1856 by a wooden bridge, which was blown down
on May 12th of the latter year. A second wooden bridge
was immediately built and lasted until 1874, when it was
replaced by the present handsome iron bridge which spans
the river and cost $60,000. The first steamboat which
arrived at Kittanning was the "Albion", commanded
by Capt. Pursall. It came on April 11, 1827 and on
February 20, 1828, the Pittsburgh and Wheeling packet arrived.
On June 18, 1835, fifty delegates from seven counties of
the Allegheny Valley met at Kittanning as an improvement
convention, but failed in organizing a company to improve
the Allegheny river. The Allegheny Valley railroad
was opened for business to Kittanning on January 29, 1856.
On October 10, 1871, a meeting was held to raise money for
the sufferers of the great Chicago fire and nearly $1500
was secured and forwarded. In March, 1837, and in
March, 1875, terrific ice gorges occurred on the river and
for a short time each of them threatened to sweep the town
away. The highest water flood was on March 17, 1865.
and twelve o'clock Sunday night March 9, 1828, Kittanning
experienced a lively earthquake shock which lasted about
From 1806 to
1822 the Presbyterian congregation was supplied by Rev.
Joseph Henderson and other minsters. August 31, 1822,
the Kittanning Presbyterian church was organized with twenty-one
members. The Lutheran church was organized in 1820
and the Methodist Episcopal church about the same time.
In 1824 St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal church was organized.
The United Presbyterian church was organized Sept., 1845;
the Associate Reformed church, March 23, 1850; St. Mary's
Catholic church about 1851-53; the First Christian church
(Campbellite) 1853; and the Reformed (St. Luke's) church,
August 30, 1869.
in 1805 opened the first school ever taught in town.
The subscription schools were succeeded by the free schools
and the borough to-day has a very fine school building and
a well graded public school. Its academies and colleges
have been noticed in the educational history of the county.
The first court-house
was built about 1809 on the southeast corner of Market and
Jefferson streets and was a two-story brick structure which
cost $7,859.19. In 1852 its successor, a two-story
brick building, was erected at the head of the easterly
extension of Market street, and was destroyed by fire on
the 10th of March, 1858.
and present court-house was erected by Hulings & Dickey,
on the site of the burned one, in 1858-60, at a cost of
about thirty-two thousand dollars. It is a substantial
building, partly of brick and partly of stone, of the Corinthian
order of Architecture. Its sides front nearly west
and east. There is an elegant portico on its
west front, with stone columns, and capitals, and all parts
of that order, the whole resting on an arcade of cut stone.
The dimensions of this edifice are 105 feet by 65 feet.
A beautiful cupola or dome, highly ornamented, crowns the
centre, with a large bell therein suspended. The first
story, which is reached from the western side by a flight
of stone steps of the same length as the portico, is divided
into a cross hall, with a floor laid with English Variegated
tile, grand-jury and witness rooms, the commissioner's,
prothonotary's, register and recorder's, sheriff's and county
treasurer's offices, three of which offices are substantially
fire-proof. The court-room is in the second story."
In 1805 a good
two-story stone jail was erected on a lot near the Methodist
Episcopal church. In 1853 a new two-story stone jail
was erected, to which was attached a two-story brick structure
for the jailer's residence.
and sheriff's house are built together, the entire length
being one hundred and fourteen feet by fifty feet in width.
The jail is two stories in height, contains twenty-four
cells, each 8x14, thirteen feet in height, hall 18x68.
A cast-iron balustrade, three feet in width, projects from
the second tier of cells and extends entirely around the
hall. The sheriff's house contains nine rooms, including
dining-room and kitchen; the jail doors are four inches
thick, made of oak with boiler-iron between, firmly bolted
together; the windows are protected by one and one-half
inches round iron. The foundations --- seven feet
in width --- are sunk to the solid rock, twenty-four feet
below the surface. The entire structure, including
cornice, window-caps and tower, are of fine-cut stone from
the Catfish quarry, in Clarion county.
house is furnished with all the latest modern improvements
--- bath-rooms on both floors, gas and hot and cold water
throughout the building. The cupola rises one hundred
and eight feet from the ground. James McCullough,
Jr., of Kittanning, was the architect, and superintended
the erection of the building. It was erected in 1870-73,
at a cost of $268,000. From its cost and color it
has been euphoniously dubbed the 'White Elephant.'"
The press of
Kittanning is progressive and ever watchful of the interests
of the county. Its pioneer was The Western
Eagle, established on September 20, 1810, by Capt. James
Alexander. The next paper was the Columbian and
Advertiser, which was founded in 1819 by Frederick and
George Rohrer, and was merged with the Kittanning Gazette,
a sheet that was established in 1825 by Josiah Copley and
John Croll. The Gazette was successively known
as the Democratic Press (1841) and Kittanning
Free Press, and in 1864 became the present Union
Free Press. In 1830 Judge Buffington founded
the Armstrong Advertiser and Anti-Masonic Free Press,
which passed out of existence three years later. The
Armstrong Democrat was established June 4,
1834, and is now the Armstrong Republican.
The Mentor was founded in 1862, and two years later
became the present Democratic Sentinel. The
Centennial was started in 1874, while the Valley
Times was transferred from Freeport to Kittanning,
May 6, 1876.
Some of the
citizens of Kittanning served in the war of 1812, while
many soldiers of the late war went from the borough.
The Kittanning Insurance company was organized in 1853,
the Kittanning Gas company was incorporated in 1858 and
the Kittanning Water company was chartered in 1866.
The Kittanning Cemetery company was chartered February 18,
1853, and in 1858 purchased the ground of the present Kittanning
cemetery, which contains over fifteen acres adjoining the
borough, and is tastefully laid out into avenues and lots.
mineral spring is situated at the base of the hill, near
the court-house. Issuing from the shales directly
above the Buhrstone ore, the water contains such ingredients
as would be liberated by chemical reaction, either from
the Buhrstone stratum or from the ore masses contained in
the shale. Lime is its principal ingredient, both
as bicarbonate and sulphate; and containing also some magnesia,
the water is said to act in medicine as an alterative.
Its iron gives to it a mild tonic effect. The physicians
of the town highly indorse the spring, and by some of the
residents, who speak from actual experience of its properties,
it is rated no less high. Prof. Genth, of the University
of Pennsylvania, analyzed a sample of the water which had
been sent to him for that purpose, by Mr. R. W. Smith, with
the following results: One gallon of 231 cubic inches: "Sulphate
of alumina, 1.52753; sulphate of ferrous oxide, 24.49271;
sulphate of magnesia, 26.84937; sulphate of lime, 65.12190;
sulphate of soda, 8.72585; sulphate of potash, 0.90762;
phosphate of lime, 0.11036; bicarbonate of lime, 16.05445;
bicarbonate of manganese, 0.24629; chloride of sodium, 0.64741;
and silicic acid, 1.17201; total, 145.85550."
forty-four miles from Pittsburgh, and its chief industry
is the iron trade. The hills surrounding are full
of coal and iron ore, and its blast furnaces use for power
natural gas, which is supplied by strong wells. The
iron ore mines employ 700 men, while it requires 300 to
run the furnaces. The Wick China ware works employ
a strong force of hands and ship their ware to different
parts of the United States. The town besides these
industries has two planing-mills, two fire-clay works, two
brick yards and two flouring-mills. It is lighted
with gas, has three banks, four hotels, an opera house and
a fine union school building.
ROBERT ORR. The late Judge Robert Orr was
born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania (probably in Hannastown),
upon March 5, 1786. His father, whose name descended
to the subject of our sketch, had been one of the defenders
of the Pennsylvania frontier, had enjoyed some official
distinction in Westmoreland county, and was one of the earliest
pioneers of Armstrong county west of the Allegheny.
His mother's maiden-name was Fannie Culbertson. Coming
with his parents to what was then almost the verge of the
inhabited portion of the country while still a minor, Robert
Orr entered upon his manhood as a pioneer, and had considerable
experience in that rugged condition of life for which the
strong alone were fitted. His boyhood had been passed
in a region which afforded educational and other opportunities
scarcely in advance of those he found in sparsely-settled
Armstrong county. The young man resided with his parents
in Sugar Creek township for a few years, and in 1805, when
the county was organized for judicial purposes, came to
Kittanning to serve as deputy for his brother John, who
was the first sheriff of the county. Subsequently
he studied and followed surveying, and in still later
years was appointed deputy district surveyor.
inherited from his father the strongest spirit of patriotism
and a fondness for military pursuits. When the war
of 1812 broke out he was very naturally found among the
defenders of our country, and rendered valuable services.
History states that the second brigade of the army rendezvoused
at Pittsburgh on October 2, 1812, --- where the subject
of this sketch was elected major, --- and left that place
the same fall under command of Gen. Crooks to join the northwestern
army under Gen. Harrison, on the Miami river, where Fort
Meigs was afterward built. At Upper Sandusky they
were joined by a brigade of militia from Virginia.
From that place Maj. Orr, by the direction of the general,
took charge of the artillery, munitions, stores, etc., and
set off with about three hundred men to headquarters of
Gen. Harrison. While on the march he was met by an
express from Harrison, bringing information of the defeat
of Gen. Winchester on the River Raisin, and requesting him
to bring on his force as rapidly as possible. After
consolidation with the balance of the army from Upper Sandusky,
they proceeded to the rapids of the Miami (Maumee), where
they remained until the six-months term of duty of the Pennsylvania
and Virginia militia had expired. Gen. Harrison then
appealed for volunteers to remain fifteen days longer, until
he should receive reinforcements from Kentucky. Maj.
Orr and about two hundred other Pennsylvanians did volunteer
and remained until they were discharged, after the battle
of Fort Meigs, upon April 19, 1813.
not long after Gen. Orr's return from Fort Meigs that he
received his first honor in civil life. He was elected
to the legislature in 1817. He served two terms in
that body and was then (1821) sent to the State senate to
represent the large, but comparatively thinly-settled, district
composed of the counties of Armstrong, Warren, Indiana,
Jefferson, Cambria and Venango, the latter county including
much of the territory now in Clarion. After serving
one term he was led to enter the contest for election to
Congress, and doing so, defeated Gen. Abner Lacock.
He thus became the representative in the nineteenth and
twentieth Congresses of the district composed of Armstrong,
Butler, Beaver and Allegheny counties. Int he legislature,
in the State senate and in the Congress of the United States
he served satisfactorily to his people and with unwavering
integrity of purpose.
in life Gen. Orr was appointed by the governor associate
judge of Armstrong county and served very acceptably to
the people. He retained his interest in military affairs
and was active in the militia organizations of western Pennsylvania,
thereby acquiring the rank and title of general.
all, it was not in official life that Gen. Orr was greatest
or that he was most useful to his people. He was one
of those men who needed not the dignity of office to give
him a name among his fellow-citizens, or to command their
love or respect. Debtor never had better creditor
than Robert Orr. When those to whom he sold were embarrassed
and could not meet their obligations, he extended their
time and gave them easier terms. With many individuals
this was done again and again, until at last they were able
to pay. Gen. Orr never dispossessed a man of property
on which he was toiling to discharge his indebtedness.
Often the sons of men who contracted with him for lands
completed the payment for them. He was unostentatiously
and judiciously charitable throughout his life. He
did much to advance the interests of the school and church,
and for many years prior to his death was a member of the
whole life was identified with Armstrong county. For
about three years (1848-52) he resided in Allegheny city,
and for a short time, about 1845, he lived at Orrsville
(mouth of Mahoning), but the greater number of his years
were passed in Kittanning. He was interested in and
helped to advance almost every local public improvement
inaugurated during his time. Laboring zealously for
the construction of the A. V. R. R., he lived to realize
his hope in that direction and to see the wealth of his
county practically increased by its mineral and agricultural
resources being made more easily available to the use of
Gen. Orr was a democrat. He used his influence and
contributed liberally of his means to assist the organization
of the military, and the camp where the 78th and the 103d
regiments rendezvoused was appropriately named in his honor.
His appearance upon the ground, when the soldiers were encamped
there, was always the signal for an ovation, or at least
hearty cheers, and all who knew him gathered round him to
shake the hand of the old soldier of 1812.
22, 1876, this grand, good old man passed away at his residence
in Kittanning, after a lingering but not severe illness,
'full of riches, full of honors and full of years.'
was married in 1836 to Martha, sister of the late Judge
Robert C. Grier, of the United States supreme court, who
died December 7, 1881. Two children were the offspring
of this propitious union--Grier C. Orr, Esq., and Fannie
E. Orr. The last-named, of most esteemed memory, died
March 14, 1882, after a brief illness."
BUFFINGTON, for many years judge of the 'old tenth'
district, and whose life was intimately connected with the
history of Armstrong county, was born in the town of West
Chester, county of Chester, on the 27th of November, 1803,
and died at Kittanning on the 3d of February, 1872.
The ancestors of Judge Buffington were Quakers or Friends,
who left England several years before William Penn, and
in 1677, five years before the arrival of Penn, we find
one them, Richard Buffington, among the list of "tydables"
at Upland, which same Richard was the father of the first-born
child of English descent in the Province of Pennsylvania.
From Hazard's 'Annals,' page 468, as well as from the Pennsylvania
Gazette from June 28th to July 5th, 1739, we learn that,
'on the 30th of May past, the children, grandchildren and
great-grandchildren of Richard Buffington, Sr., to the number
of 115, met together at his home in Chester county, as also
his nine sons and daughters-in-law and twelve great-grandchildren-in-law.
The old man is from Great Marle, upon the Thames, in Buckinghamshire,
in Old England, aged about 85, and is still hardy, active
and of perfect memory. His eldest son, now int he
60th year of his age, was the first-born son of English
descent in this Province.'
son, Thomas, was born about 1680, and died in December,
1739. He was married to Ruth Cope, and, among other
children, left a son, William, who was first married to
Lena Ferree, as appears in Rupp's 'History of Lancaster
county,' page 112, and afterwards to a second wife, Alice,
whose maiden-name is unknown. By this second wife
there was born, in 1736, a son Jonathan, who died October
18, 1801. This Jonathan Buffington was the grandfather
of Judge Buffington. He owned and operated a grist-mill,
which is still standing at North Brook, near the site of
the battle of the Brandywine. At the time of that
battle (September, 1777), his mill was taken possession
of by the British troops, and the non-combatant Friend compelled
to furnish food for the British.
Buffington was married to Ann (born 1739, died June 16,
1811), daughter of Edward and Ann Clayton. Their third
child, Ephraim Buffington, was born March 23, 1767, and
died December 30, 1832. Ephraim Buffington was married
to Rebecca Francis March 4, 1790, at the Old Swedes church,
Wilmington, Delaware. He kept a hotel at West Chester,
at a tavern stand known as the 'White Hall,' a venerable
hostelry, and well known throughout that region for many
years. It was here that Judge Buffington was born
and lived until his tenth year, when his father, in hope
of bettering his fortunes in the then West, left Chester
county, came over the mountains and settled at Pine creek,
about five miles above Pittsburgh, on the Allegheny river.
When about eighteen years of age he entered the Western
university at Pittsburgh, then under the charge of Dr. Bruce,
at which place he also enjoyed the instructions of the venerable
Dr. Joseph Stockton. After finishing a liberal course
of studies, he went to Butler, Pennsylvania, and for some
time prior to studying law, edited a weekly newspaper called
the Butler Repository, and, in company with Samuel
A. Purviance, --afterward a well-known member of the Allegheny
County bar and attorney-general of the Commonwealth--he
engaged in keeping a small grocery-store. Soon afterward
he entered, as a student of law, the office of Gen. William
Ayers, at that time one of the celebrated lawyers of western
Pennsylvania, under whose careful training he laid a thorough
foundation for his chosen life-work. During his student-life
he married Miss Catherine Mechling, a daughter of Hon. Jacob
Mechling, of Butler county, a prominent politician of that
region, and for many years a member of the House of Representatives
and the Senate of Pennsylvania. Mrs. Buffington survived
her husband, dying September 11, 1873. They left no
children, their only child, Mary, having died in infancy.
1826, he was admitted to practice in Butler county, and
in the Supreme Court on September 10, 1828. He remained
at the Butler bar for about a year, but finding that the
business was largely absorbed by older and more experienced
practitioners, he determined to seek some new field of labor,
and finally decided upon Armstrong county, to which he removed
and settled at Kittanning, where he continued to reside
until his death. Shortly after his coming he purchased
from his preceptor, General Ayres, the lots on Water street,
which afterward became his home, and on which he built the
the first years of his professional life were full of hardship
and narrow means, yet his industry, integrity and close
application soon brought him to the front of the bar.
He was constantly in attendance upon the courts of Clarion,
Jefferson, Armstrong and Indiana, and his services were
often in demand in other counties. He was connected
with all the important land trials of these regions, and
his knowledge of this intricate branch of hte law was thorough
to manhood, Judge Buffington took a strong interest in politics.
At the inception of the anti-masonic party in 1831, or thereabouts,
he became one of its members, and served as a delegate to
the national convention of that body, which met at Baltimore
in 1832, and nominated William Wirt for the presidency.
In 1840 he became a whig, taking an active part in the election
of Gen. Harrison and serving as one of the presidential
electors on the whig ticket.
fall of 1843 he was elected a member of Congress as the
whig candidate in the district composed of the counties
of Armstrong, Butler, Clearfield and Indiana, his competitor
being Dr. Lorain, of Clearfield county. In 1844 he
was again elected in the same district, his competitor being
Judge McKennan, of Indiana county. During his membership
of the house he voted with the whigs on all important measures,
among others voting against the admission of Texas on the
ground of opposition to the extension of slave territory.
and warm personal friend, Hon. W. F. Johnston, having been
elected governor, he appointed Mr. Buffington in 1849 to
the position of president-judge of the eighteenth judicial
district, composed of Clarion, Elk, Jefferson and Venango
counties. This position he held until 1851, when he
was defeated in the judicial election by Hon. John C. Knox,
the district being largely democratic.
he was nominated by the whig State convention for the judgeship
of the supreme court. In the general overthrow of
the whig party, which resulted in the defeat of Gen. Scott
for the presidency, Judge Buffington was defeated, his competitor
being the late Chief Justice Woodward, of Luzerne county.
year he was appointed by President Fillmore chief-justice
of Utah territory, then just organized, but declined to
accept the proffered honor.
year 1855, on the resignation of Hon. John Murray Burrill,
judge of the Tenth District, he was appointed to that position
by Gov. Pollock, with whom he had been a fellow-member of
Congress. In the fall of 1856 he was elected to fill
the position to which he had been appointed, for a term
of ten years. In 1871 failing health admonished him
that the judicial labors already too great for any one man
to perform, were certainly too severe for one who had passed
the meridian of life, and had borne the burden and heat
of the day. It was, indeed, hard for him to listen
to the demands of a feeble frame; but, sustained by the
consciousness of duty well done, and cheered by united voices
from without, proclaiming his life mission to the public
nobly performed, he left the busy scenes of labor and retired
to private life after forty six years' connection with the
bench and bar of the Commonwealth, to the thoroughness and
industry of which the State reports of Pennsylvania bear
silent, but eloquent testimony. Surrounded by friends
and every comfort of life, the following year passed quickly;
but, as in the case of many an overworked professional man,
the final summons came without warning. On Saturday,
February 3, 1872, he was in his usual health, and, rising
from dinner, he went to an adjoining room, across which
he commenced walking, as was his custom. His wife,
coming in a few moments later, found him lying peacefully
upon the sofa in the sleep of death. He was buried
according to the services of the Episcopal church, of which
he had been an attendant, officer and liberal supporter
for many years. He was buried in the cemetery at Kittanning,
where his resting-place has been marked by a substantial
granite monument, --- a fitting emblem of the completeness
of his own life."
John Armstrong, the hero of Kittanning, was one of Washington's
bravest and most successful generals. He was born
in the north of Ireland in 1725, and some time between 1745
and 1748 he became a settler in the Kittatinny Valley, west
of the Susquehanna river, then the frontier of Pennsylvania
and on the confines of civilization. He was well educated,
and followed his profession of surveyor in his new-world
home. In 1750 he and a Mr. Lyon laid out Carlisle,
and four years later he was sent by Gov. Morris as a commissioner
to Connecticut in regard to a land trouble between the Indians
and Connecticut settlers in Wyoming Valley, Pa. In
1755 Mr. Armstrong surveyed and opened a road from Carlisle
to the "Three Forks" of the Youghiogheny river,
over which supplies were to be carried to Braddock's army.
After Braddock's defeat he enlisted as a private in a frontier
company, but in January, 1756, was elected captain, and
on May 11th of the same year was commissioned lieutenant-colonel.
In the summer of 1756 he comanded the expedition against
the Indian village of Kittanning, which has made his name
famous for all time to come in American history, and which
is given in detail in the historical sketch of the county.
In 1757 he served on the frontier, was commissioned colonel
on May 27, 1758 and commanded the advanced division of the
Pennsylvania troops in Forbes' expedition against Ft. Duquesne.
He was a tower of strength on the frontier during Pontiac's
war, and on the 30th of September, 1763, led a very successful
expedition against the Indian towns on the west branch of
the Susquehanna. He was the first brigadier-general
commissioned (March 1, 1776) by the Continental Congress.
He served at Ft. Moultrie, in Charleston harbor, and on
April 5, 1877[sic? 1777], was commissioned major-general
by the Supreme Council of this State. He commanded
the Pennsylvania Militia at the battles of Brandywine and
Germantown. He was sent to Congress in 1778, and again
in 1787. His public career closed with his last term
in Congress, and he spent the remainder of his life at Carlisle.
His son, Major-General
John Armstrong, Jr., was born at Carlisle, Pennsylvania,
November 25, 1758, and died at Red Hook, New York, April
1, 1843. He served in the Revolutionary war, was the
author of the celebrated "Newburg Letters," and
was secretary of war in 1814, but was obliged to resign
because he did not prevent the capture of Washington City
by the British, in August of that year. Another of
his sons, Col. Henry B. Armstrong,
fought gallantly in the war of 1812.
Gen. John Armstrong
was a member of the Presbyterian church, and was largely
instrumental in establishing the first church which was
organized in Carlisle, in 1757. On March 9, 1795,
the spirit of the grand old hero left its tenement of clay,
and passed into the great beyond. His remains lie
entombed in the old cemetery at Carlisle as yet without
a suitable monument.
Harry A. Arnold.
One of the most active and best business men of Kittanning
is Harry A. Arnold, a prominent member of the Masonic fraternity
and a leading representative of the most reliable fire insurance
companies of the United States and England. He is
a son of Harry J. and Mary (Mechling) Arnold, and was born
on Jefferson street, at Kittanning, Armstrong county, Pennsylvania,
November 17, 1852. Prominent among the early business
men and influential citizens of Kittanning borough and Armstrong
county was Major Andrew Arnold, the grandfather of the subject
of this sketch. He established an extensive tannery
at Manorville, had large landed interests in the county
and ranked as one of the wealthy men of his day. He
was a man of talent and ability, as well as of business
enterprise, and served with distinction as associate judge
of Armstrong county for many years. An old-line whig
and an ardent supporter of Henry Clay, he naturally was
drawn into politics and became an able leader of the Whig
party in his Congressional district. His wife was
Isabella Parks, daughter of Robert Parks, an early settler
and leading citizen. Their family consisted of two
sons and two daughters. The eldest son was born at
Kittanning and died there in 1862. Harry J. Arnold
succeeded his father in charge of the Manorville tannery
and the management of several productive farms. In
addition to these lines of business he sought for a wider
field of labor, and accordingly embarked in the mercantile
business at Kittanning and became one of the owners and
operators of Dudley furnace, four miles distant from Parker.
He inherited his father's financial ability and ranked high
among the able and successful business men of the county.
A democrat in politics, he was elected treasurer of Armstrong
county and served most acceptably until the end of his term.
He was a member of high degree in the Masonic fraternity;
was very charitable, and was popularly known as the poor
man's friend. He married Mary Mechling, daughter of
Philip Mechling, a large property holder of Kittanning.
She died and left two children, Harry A. and Belle.
For his second wife he married Mary Crum who bore him two
daughters. Elizabeth, the eldest, is the wife of T.
W. Young, a large oil producer, and the younger daughter
married C. N. Royce, superintendent of the Green Line Oil
Harry A. Arnold
received his literary education in the public schools of
Kittanning and Princeton college, and to thoroughly fit
himself for a business career in life he attended and took
the full commercial course of Duff's college, Pittsburgh,
from which he was graduated in 1870. His first employment
was as a clerk for Campbell, McConnell & Son, with whom
he remained for three years. He then went to Parker,
Pa., where he had an interest in several oil wells, and
was a successful oil producer for six years. AT the
end of that time he came to Kittanning, where he was in
the employ of J. A. Gault in the mercantile business for
two years. He then (spring of 1880) embarked in his
present life and fire insurance business. He is agent
for the Equitable Life Insurance company, but makes a specialty
of fire insurance and represents many of the old line and
standard companies of both the old and the new world in
this important branch of insurance which renders its patrons
safe from loss by fire. Mr. Arnold is a republican
in politics, a member of the First Presbyterian church of
Greensburg, Westmoreland county Pa., and is a Royal Arch
Mason in Masonry. He is secretary of his chapter,
is well up in the work of the lodge and chapter and has
frequently been deputized to give instructions in the beautiful,
beneficent and moral teachings of Masonry in lodges and
chapters of the order. He is conducting his present
business with skill, honesty and success, and large numbers
of the prudent householders of the county are his patrons.
Harry A. Arnold
on April 19, 1882, united in marriage with Ida B. Luker,
daughter of Benjamin Luker, of Kittanning, and a former
mercantile partner of J. A. Gault. To their union
has been born one child, a son named Benjamin Luker Arnold,
born in 1888.
Among the successful grocery firms of Kittanning
is the firm of Fred. Aye & Co. The senior member
of the firm, Frederick Aye, is one of the successful young
business men of his town. He was born in the Third
Ward of Allegheny city, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania,
January 7, 1848, and is a son of George and Barbara (Shaffer)
Aye. His parents were natives of the Kingdom of Bavaria,
now a part of the great German empire, and were life-long
members of the Evangelical Lutheran church, in whose faith
they had been reared. They came to the United States
about 1830, and located in Allegheny city. The father,
George Aye, followed teaming for ten years and then came
to Manor township where he followed farming until his death,
in 1870, at sixty-two years of age. The mother, Barbara
Aye, who was a consistent Christian, died in March, 1890,
when she had attained to her three-score and ten years.
Mr. and Mrs. Aye were the parents of eleven children.
W. C. Bailey, a member of
the present efficient and courteous board of commissioners
of Armstrong county, and a substantial and influential farmer
of Manor township, is a son of Jackson and Jane (Cunningham)
Bailey, and was born on the old Bailey homestead, in Manor
township, Armstrong county, Pennsylvania, October 22, 1849.
The Bailey family of Armstrong county traces its ancestry
back to the Bailey family of Centre county, of which it
is a branch.
the paternal grandfather of W. C. Bailey, was born and reared
in Centre county. Late in life he came to Armstrong
county, where he purchased a tract of four hundred acres
of land on the Allegheny river, three miles below Kittanning.
He spent the remainder of his days in clearing and improving
his land. He married a Miss Johnson of Centre county,
and came with his father to this county when a young man.
He followed farming and stock-raising was one of the thrifty
and substantial farmers of his community, and possessed
many of those qualities of character which contribute to
this success. He was a republican in politics and
a presbyterian in religious faith, and died after a life
of activity and usefulness. The record of his life
is uneventful indeed so far as stirring incident or public
position is concerned, but is still distinguished by the
most substantial qualities of character, and exhibits a
long and honest career of private industry pursued with
moderation and crowned with success. He was popular
in his neighborhood for his many good qualities of head
and heart. He married Jane Cunningham, a daughter
of William Cunningham, a well-to-do farmer. Mr. and
Mrs. Bailey were the parents of ten children, of whom nine
W. C. Bailey
was reared on his father's farm, where he was trained to
habits of industry and economy. He received his education
in the common schools of his native township, and was successfully
engaged in farming until 1885. In that year hew as
nominated for county commissioner by the republicans, and
was elected by a very respectable majority. At the
end of his term of office, in 1887, his course of action
in taking care of the county's financial interests had been
so commendable to his own party, and so satisfactory to
the public, that he received a re-nomination from the hands
of the former and an increased majority over the previous
election from the vote of the latter. He is now serving
on his second term with every manifestation of continued
popularity with the public.
In 1881 he united
in marriage with Mary Speer, daughter of Alexander Speer,
a druggist of Sharpsburg, Allegheny county. Their
union has been blessed with one son and three daughters:
Ida, Florence, Laura and Richard.
Mr. Bailey has always been a republican. In religious
belief he is a presbyterian, and is a member and trustee
of his church of that denomination, in Manor township.
He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows,
and the Junior Order of United American Mechanics.
Active industry has been and continues to be with W. C.
Bailey the habit of his life. His time is well occupied
and equally well-ordered, and his work is done with due
moderation, but also with every preparation for success.
Orr Buffington. Joseph Buffington, the senior member
of the law firm of Buffington & Buffington, of the Kittanning
Bar, is a son of Ephraim and Margaret C. (Orr) Buffington
and was born at Kittanning, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania,
September 5, 1855. The Buffington family is one of
the old families of Pennsylvania which traces its ancestry
into the early days of Pennsylvania's colonial history.
In 1677, Richard Buffington, who was a Quaker, and born
at Great Marle, upon the Thames, in Buckinghamshire, England,
about 1654, was resident at Upland, near the Delaware river.
He was the father of the first -born child of English descent
in the province of Pennsylvania. His second son, Thomas
(born 1680, died 1739), was the father of Jonathan Buffington,
who was born in 1736, married Ann Clayton, and died in 1801.
Their third child, Ephraim, was born in 1767 and died in
1832. He married Rebecca Francis and kept the noted "White
Hall Tavern" at West Chester. About 1813 he left
Chester county and came west, settling at Pine creek, on
the Allegheny river about five miles from Pittsburgh.
One of his sons was Judge Joseph Buffington, and another
was John Buffington (grandfather), who was born about 1799,
and died March 31, 1832. He married Hannah Allison.
His son, Ephraim Buffington (father) was born at Pine creek,
near Pittsburgh, August 8, 1821. He received his education
in Allegheny college, at Meadville, Pa., and Jefferson college,
at Cannonsburg, read law with his uncle, Judge Buffington,
was admitted to the Armstrong county bar, and practiced
his profession for several years. He then retired
from active practice in order to devote his time to land
interests which demanded his attention, and gave his attention
to the coal and oil business, in which he was interested.
During the late war he served as a provost-marshal, and
afterwards was connected for several years with the internal
revenue service in which he was deputy collector for Armstrong
county. He has always been a strong republican.
He is an attendant of the Protestant Episcopal church.
He married Margaret C. Orr, daughter of ex-Sheriff Chambers
Orr, of South Bend, on the 21st of January, 1845.
They have six children, all of whom are living.
Joseph Buffington attended the Lambeth
and other schools of Kittanning, and in the fall of 1871
entered Trinity college, from which institution of learning
he was graduated July 1875. He read law with Judge
James B. Neale, of Kittanning, and Judge Logan, of Greensburg,
was admitted to Armstrong county bar, September 5, 1878,
and formed a law partnership with Judge Neale, which lasted
until the latter took his seat upon the bench in 1879.
In 1881 he and his brother, Orr Buffington, formed their
present law partnership under the firm-name of Buffington &
Buffington. This firm is recognized as one of the
foremost in practice in Armstrong county. On January
29th, 1885, Mr. Buffington married Mary Alice Simonton,
a daughter of Rev. Dr. Simonton, of Emmittsburg, Maryland.
As a lawyer, he has established a reputation for ability
and success. His political connections have been with
the republican party and he has taken an active part in
advocating the measures and men of that organization.
Orr Buffington, the junior member
of the firm, and a promising young member of the Armstrong
county bar, was born at Kittanning, April 29th, 1858.
He received his academic education in private schools of
his native town, and entered Trinity college, from which
he was graduated June, 1879. He read law with his
brother, Joseph Buffington, was admitted to the bar in 1881
and immediately entered into partnership with him in the
practice of law, to which he devotes his time and close
attention. He married, in 1882, Charlotte M. Hyde,
a daughter of S. T. Hyde, a prominent lawyer of the New
York city bar. They have three children: Morgan,
Margaret and Sydney.
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