Fayette County Genealogy Project

Contributed by Keely Deuschle

COCHRAN: (p. 734-738)
The emigrant ancestor of the Fayette Cochrans was John Cochran, of Scotch-Irish parentage. He was born in the North of Ireland, came to Chester county, Pennsylvania, 1745. He married and reared a family.

(II) Samuel, son of John Cochran, the emigrant, was a farmer of Chester county, Pennsylvania; served in the revolutionary war; later settled in Tyrone township, Fayette county, Pennsylvania, where he purchased land, married Esther Johns and founded a family noted in the history of Fayette county and prominent in business life. Children: Samuel (2), Sample, Isaac, John and Lizzie.

(III) Isaac, son of Samuel Cochran, was born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, and when quite young was brought by his father to Fayette county where his after life was spent. He married in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, about 1815, Rosanna, daughter of Ezekiel Sample, who came from the north of Ireland, settling in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, where he died. Isaac Cochran took his bride to his farm in Tyrone township, Fayette county, where they ever afterward lived. Children: five sons and four daughters.

(IV) James, fourth son of Isaac and Rosanna (Sample) Cochran, was born in Tyrone township, Fayette county, Pennsylvania, January 15, 1823, died November 25, 1894. He attended the early subscription schools until he was thirteen years of age, then his mother died and the lad was left alone to make his own way in the world, and right royally he succeeded. His first work was for an old farmer, who paid him with an old worn out long-tailed blue coat, much to the boy's disgust. He then resolved to be a business man and began by going to his brother, Samuel Cochran, and buying on credit lumber enough to build a flat bottomed boat with a capacity for one hundred tons of sand. When the boat was finished he sold a half interest to his brother in payment of the lumber bill, and together they washed sufficient sand from the sand bank belonging to their uncle, Mordecai Cochran, to load their boat. This sand bank was near the present site of the present village of Dawson. The two brothers then drifted their boatload of sand down the Monongahela to Pittsburgh, where they sold their cargo for two dollars a ton to the glass makers. They were so elated at their good fortune that they formed a permanent partnership and continued boating sand, glass stone and cinders, mostly to Pittsburgh, for several years. In 1842, having now quite a sum of money accumulated, he joined forces with his uncle, Mordecai Cochran, and brother Sample; rented two coke ovens at what was later known as Fayette Works and burned twelve thousand bushels of twenty-four coke. This they loaded on two flat boats and on April 1, 1843, started down the river to their destination, Cincinnati, Ohio. On arrival, they persuaded Miles Greenwood, a foundryman to give their coke a test, although he admitted prejudice against coke as a fuel, little then being known of its qualities. The test was so satisfactory that Mr. Greenwood bought the entire cargo, paying seven cents a bushel, one-half down, giving his whole note for the balance (paying the same before maturity). This was the first Connellsville coke ever sold for money, Provance McCormick having previously taken a load to the same market, but was compelled to trade it for merchandise, which so discouraged him that he quit. The Cochran’s practically demonstrated the existence of a market and made the first real beginning of an industry that he brought Fayette county millions, is still bringing millions and will continue bringing millions of wealth to the county. James Cochran continued coke manufacture until his death. He was principal of the firm of Cochran & Keister, owning the Spring Grove Works on the Old Huston farm at Dawson; was a large owner in the Fayette Works; interested with a son John T. in the Jackson mines; interested in two plants in Upper Tyrone; the Franklin and Clinton Mines, both coking coal properties, and was part owner of twelve hundred acres of coal lands in Dunbar township. He was a skillful river pilot and for twenty-five years piloted boats in safety three or four times a year down the then dangerous channel of the Monongahela, a feat very few men could perform. He became one of the most extensive coal operators in the Connellsville district, always confining himself to high grade coke, amassing what for his day was an immense fortune, one million dollars. When he died in 1894, the firm of which he was the head owned twelve hundred ovens and thousands of acres of coking coal. He married, February 24, 1848, Clarissa Huston, who died April 15, 1896, daughter of Joseph and Mary Ann (Hazen) Huston, of Tyrone township. Children who survived them: 1. Philip G., of whom further. 2. Annie A., married N. P. Smith, a merchant of Dawson, later moved to Morgantown, West Virginia. 3. Henry T., of whom further. 4. William H. 5. Alfred J., of whom further. 6. George G. Five children of James Cochran died in infancy.

(V) Philip Galley, eldest son of James and Clarissa (Huston) Cochran, was born in Lower Tyrone township, Fayette county, Pennsylvania, May 7, 1849. his preparatory education was acquired in the public schools of his native township, and this knowledge was supplemented by attendance at Bethany College, West Virginia, and North Western University, Ohio. before completing his studies he became his father's assistant in the management of his vast business interests, which had increased to such an extent that he was not able to manage them alone and unaided. In order to qualify himself for this responsible position he took a business course in a Pittsburgh commercial college. He commenced at the bottom of the ladder, acting at first as clerk in his father's office in order to become familiar with every detail, and in due course of time became indispensable in the management of the firm of James Cochran & Sons, which later became Brown & Cochran, and becoming his father's successor at his death in 1894. Under his father's will he became a trustee of the vast estate conjointly with Mark M. Cochran, one of the leading lawyers in Uniontown, and became the executive head of the Cochran companies. He was an active factor in the Washington Coal & Coke Company, another great goal and coke mining firm, serving in the capacity of president, a position for which he was well qualified as he possessed in a large degree the inborn business ability required for executive office.

Mr. Cochran was public-spirited and enterprising, and gave freely of his time and energy to the advancement of any project for the welfare of the town of Dawson, where he resided. His influence was wide-reaching and beneficial, and he was chosen to fill positions of honor and trust, serving as president of the Brown & Cochran Coke Company, the Washington Coal & Coke Company, the Juniata Coke Company, the Dawson Bridge Company, and the First National Bank of Dawson.

Mr. Cochran married, September 25, 1879, Sarah B. Moore, who bore him one son, James Philip, of whom further. Mr. Cochran died June 1, 1899, aged fifty years. Mrs. Cochran has just completed the erection at St. James Park, her vast estate in Fayette county, what is perhaps the most palatial and architecturally beautiful country residence in Western Pennsylvania. "Linden Hall," the name of this magnificent abode, crowns a hill six hundred feet above the Youghiogheny river, and is the dominating feature of the landscape for miles around.

(VI) James Philip, only child of Philip Galley and Sarah B. (Moore) Cochran, was born at Vanderbilt, Pennsylvania, September 21, 1880, died March 5, 1901. He attended the public school of his native city, later was a student in Trinity Hall School, Washington, Pennsylvania, completing the course there in 1899, and then accompanied by his private tutor at Dawson, Mr. Brown, went to Philadelphia and matriculated in the University of Pennsylvania, pursuing a special course designed for him in his future business life. He was studious and thoughtful, making the best of his opportunities, and his career would have been one well worthy of emulation. He was a young man of most prominent family, and therefore was held in high esteem by all who knew him. He was looked upon as the representative of the Philip G. Cochran estate, and his untimely death upon the very threshold of young manhood was deeply deplored.

(V) Henry Thompson, third child and second son of James and Clarissa (Huston) Cochran, was born in Lower Tyrone township, Fayette county, Pennsylvania, October 25, 1856. He was educated in the public schools, and worked on the farm until he was twenty years of age. He then became clerk in his father's store at the Spring Grove Coke Works, continuing five years. He then went to the Cochran store at Vanderbilt. He became a member of the firm of James Cochran Sons & Company and for a time was yard foreman at the Clarissa works. He continued in active business all his life, and is one of the solid substantial men of his county.

In 1899, he bought two farms, one-half mile north of Dawson, Pennsylvania, containing two-hundred and twenty acres. On one of these farms there was a well-constructed half-mile trotting track which Mr. Cochran perfected and on which eight race meetings have been held under the auspices of the Dawson Driving Park Association. Since the purchase of this property he has devoted himself largely to the breeding, development and racing of the light harness horse, although he retains his interest in the Cochran properties (James Cochran Sons & Company) and in coal properties in West Virginia. his farm has been given over to this purpose, suitable buildings erected for his own purposes and ample accommodations provided for visiting horsemen who attend this annual race meet with the best horses in the country. He keeps in constant training a string of fast trotting horses with which each season he tours the grand circuit. Among his string of stake horses is: Admiral Schley, King of the half-mile track, time 2.15 1/4. Admiral Schley has been on the track eight seasons; has trotted 342 heats and in the stable standby to win. Alluring by Allerton; Argot C. by Argot Wilkes; Charleston Boy, time 2.09 1/4; Belle Dawson, time 2.16 1/4; Ruth C., time 2.17 1/4; Kate Sligo, time 2.18 1/4. Mr. Cochran is an enthusiastic horseman and these fine horses are his delight and pride, as is his finely equipped and well stocked estate at Dawson. His is a Democrat in politics, served as a member of the first borough council of Vanderbilt, Pennsylvania, but has never aspired to a political career.

He married, in January, 1886, Emily Anna, daughter of James Ambrose, of Lower Tyrone township, a wagoner on the National Pike in the olden days. Children: 1. Harry, of whom further. 2. George C., graduate of Washington and Jefferson College, now engaged in the engineering corps, constructing Pennsylvania state roads. 3. Clarissa C., now a student at Washington (Pennsylvania) Seminary.

(VI) Harry, son of Henry Thompson and Emily Anna (Ambrose) Cochran, was born June 17, 1883. He was educated in the public schools of Vanderbilt, Pennsylvania, and began business life as superintendent of one of the coke plants of Cochran Brothers. he is still connected with the coke manufacture, and like his father interested in the trotting horse. He is a Democrat in politics, has served the borough of Dawson as burgess and in 1908-09-10 was delegate to the Democratic state convention. He belongs to James Cochran Lodge, Fee and Accepted Masons, and the Knights of Pythias. He married, September 4, 1907, Winifred, daughter of John J. McFarland, of Vanderbilt, Pennsylvania. Children: Carolyn born December 7, 1908; Henry, May 31, 1910.

(V) Alfred J., son of James and Clarissa (Huston) Cochran, was born in Lower Tyrone township, Pennsylvania, October 14, 1863. He was educated in the public schools, and on arriving at his majority entered mercantile life. In 1890 he secured an interest in the Juniata Supply & Store Company, of which he became general manager. He advanced rapidly in mercantile and business life of Fayette county, becoming one of its most solid and substantial men. He owns one-sixth interest in the large Cochran estate of his father, embracing coal lands, mines, coke ovens, stores, etc., and has acquired other large interests. He has fulfilled the promise of his earlier years and command universal respect among men of affairs. He is a Democrat in politics, and belongs to all the Masonic bodies, including Shrine and Syria Temple of Pittsburgh; is a life member of the Elks of Connellsville, Knights of Pythias, Royal Arcanum and Pittsburgh Athletic Club.

He married (first) January 10,1888, Nora Cunningham, of New Haven, Pennsylvania (Connellsville, West Side) who died May 29, 1894. Children: Alva, born July 10, 1889, Edna, born January 20, 1893, died in infancy. He married (second) Ada L. Jones, born in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, daughter of Henry Jones, now a resident of West Virginia. Children: Alfred J. Jr., born November 15, 1907; Dorcas, born October 2, 1909; Edward Steeve, born August 16, 1911. The family home is at Dawson, Pennsylvania.

Genealogical and Personal History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania
Under the Editorial Supervision of
John W. Jordan, LL.D.
Librarian of Pennsylvania Historical Society, Philadelphia AND
James Hadden of Uniontown, Pennsylvania; author of “Washington and Braddock’s Expeditions Through Fayette County,” and the reproductions of Judge James Veech’s work entitled “The Monongahela of Old, or Historical Sketches of Southwestern Pennsylvania to the Year 1800.”

New York
Lewis Historical Publishing Company
Three Volumes

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