You are here:  PAGenWeb >  Huntingdon > Townships > Mount Union History




Huntingdon County PAGenWeb


Mount Union Borough History


History of Huntingdon and Blair Counties, Pennsylvania by J. Simpson Africa Philadelphia, PA: Louis H. Everts, 1883, pp. 353-361. Contributed by Judy Banja.







THE first survey made, the nucleus around which the borough of Mount Union has grown, was in 1840, by William Pollock, for John Sharrar, adjoining property of the heirs of John Shaver, which is more fully described in the annexed plan, and contained but three acres and one hundred and forty-one perches.


In 1849, Dougherty & Speer purchased a tract adjoining the original plot and laid out the town of Mount Union. Lots were offered for sale, and soon a little town had been planted, which has grown into quite respectable proportions.  Additions were made to the Dougherty & Speer survey by the Shaver heirs on the east of Dougherty & Speer, by Peter Shaver on the southeast, by Henry T. Black on the southwest, by Samuel Miller on the west and northwest, by A. Harshburger on the south.  After these additions had been made, and the town had so increased in population that for the peace and good order of the town it was thought advisable to procure a borough charter, that the views of the law-abiding citizens might be more fully and easily carried out, therefore a petition was presented to the proper authorities, signed by the following-named persons: David Etnier, Peter H. Campbell, John Dougherty, Jacob Flasher, Catharine Dougherty, J. K. Thompson, John Shaver, S. B. Shaver, James J. Robinson, C. B. McCarstry, John Shaver, Bell Shaver, James Mackey, M.D., Samuel Diffendaffer, A. Eberman, F. H. Harrison, Alfred Simons, P. M. Bare, John Bare, May Simons, H. P. McLaughlin, John J. Myers, Lewis R. Morgan, George P. Miller, Henry Laher, George McLaughlin, James B. Harris, Catharine Stewart, John G. Stewart, B. J. Devor, F. D. Stevens, A. Harshberger, and J. A. Speer.


The boundaries of the borough as described in the petition were as follows, viz.:


"Beginning at the northern end of the bridge across the Pennsylvania Canal; thence across said bridge, by lands of William Shaver's heirs and Nicholas Shaver's, south fifty-five and one-half degrees west fifty-seven perches to a post at the southeast corner of the school-house, was to include the school-house in the borough; thence, by the lands of Peter Shaver, north fifty-four and one-fourth degrees west sixty perches to a post; thence, by the same, south thirty-five and three-fourths degrees west forty perches to a post; thence, by the lands of Samuel Shaver, north seventy degrees west sixty perches to a post; thence, by same, south sixty-one and one-half degrees west forty perches to a post; thence, by lands of Pollock's heirs, south twenty-five degrees west fifty-two and one-half perches to a post; thence, by lands of Pollock's heirs, now Adam Harshberger's, north sixty-one degrees west forty-nine and one-half perches to an oak; thence, by lands of Harshberger, Dougherty & Thompson, north thirty-five and three-fourths degrees east one hundred and fifty-seven perches to a post at corner of Small and Washington Streets; thence by lands of Dougherty & Miller, north fifty-four and one-fourth degrees west fifty feet to a post; thence, by same, north thirty-five and three-fourths degrees east ten and one-half perches to a post, Pennsylvania Avenue; thence, along the south side of Pennsylvania Railroad, north fifty-four and one-fourth degrees west eighty-two perches to a post; thence south forty degrees west twenty and one-half perches to a locust; thence, by lands of George Miller, north forty-two degrees west twenty-two perches to a pine; thence, by same, north twelve degrees east twenty-four perches to a grove on the north side of the canal; thence, along the north side of the Pennsylvania Canal, north seventy and one-half degrees east twenty-seven perches to a point; thence, by same, south sixty-three and one-half degrees east seventy-six perches to a point; thence, by same, south fifty and one-half degrees east one hundred and sixty-eight perches to northern side or end of the canal bridge, the place of beginning."


The prayer of the petitioners was granted by the court April 19, 1867, and the court further ordered that the first borough election be held on the 6th day of May, 1867, and also appointed P. M. Bare to give due notice of said election, and also appointed Samuel Miller to be judge, Samuel Diffendaffer and Adam Harshberger to be inspectors of said election; subsequent elections to be held on the third Friday in March in each year.  The petition, decree of court, etc., were recorded June 6, 1867, in the recorder's office of Huntingdon County, in Miscellaneous Book No. 2, etc.


Drake's Ferry, June, 1792, was kept or run by Morris & Hollingshead. (Col. John Canan, in a letter to Gen. D. Brodhead, in 1792, says, "The value of which can't be easily ascertained, as it may be daily increasing, about which they have had already some violent disputes, even to the disturbance of the Passengers.")


Early Settlement, Rise and Growth of Mount Union. - The pioneer building of what is now Mount Union was a stone house, standing near Drake's Ferry, and occupied by Col. William Pollock, who was also the pioneer merchant in this vicinity.  Drake's Ferry was a short distance above town, and just below where the county bridge crosses the Juniata.  Samuel Drake owned the ferry.  Col. Pollock was also the pioneer postmaster, and when asked for a name for the office gave that of "Mount Union," in consequence of such a number of mountains coming together at or near this place.  The old stone house was burned several years ago, and nothing remains to mark the once famous spot of Drake's Ferry and Col. Pollock's store but a few stones.


Col. Postlethwaite's heirs, in the name of Jonathan Morris, situate in Shirley township, Huntingdon Co., being part of a tract of land warranted in name of Jonathan Morris, adjoining the heirs of John Shaver, deceased, and the Pennsylvania Canal, containing three acres one hundred and forty-one perches, surveyed the 24th day of April, A.D. 1840, for John Shaver, by W. Pollock. 1, John Sharrar warehouse, the third building erected at Mount Union.


The pioneer buildings, however, in Mount Union proper was the John Sharrar warehouse and old stone store, both still standing.  They were built in 1841.  The stone house, standing on the bank of the canal, served the double purpose of dwelling and store, though each must have occupied but little space.


James Kelley and Dr. William Brewster built a warehouse on the bank of the canal, also a store and tavern, a short distance below the Sharrar warehouse, in 1848, and named the place "Santa Fe."  The buildings are still standing.  Kelley & Brewster were succeeded in the business of the Santa Fe establishment by George W. Speer, and finally John W. Smith purchased the property, and subsequently sold to George McLaughlin and John Bare, who remained in partnership but one year, when Mr. McLaughlin became sole proprietor, and in 1868 sold to William H. Woods, of Huntingdon, who now owns the old Santa Fe property, except the tavern, which was sold to William Shaver, and is now owned by his heirs, and is occupied as a tenant-house.



One of the most prominent physicians in the Juniata Valley is Dr. George W. Thompson, who located at Mount Union in 1868, of whom the following is a brief sketch.  Among the early settlers in Half-Moon township, Centre Co., Pa., was John Thompson, who emigrated from Ireland prior to the war for the independence of the colonies, and settled on the farm still in the possession of his descendants in said township.  Of his family, John Thompson, Jr., was born on the farm in Half-Moon on the 17th day of May, 1794.  His early life was passed, as were the lives of the farmers' sons of that period, in working on the farm as soon as old enough, with a few months' attendance at the district schools.  Arrived at his majority, he married Miss Lydia Blake, who was born in Chester County, Pa., and in her girlhood came with her parents to Half-Moon township.  In the course of time John, Jr., came in possession of his father's farm, on which he made his home until his death, which occurred on the 22d day of January, 1826.  He became prominent in the political affairs of his county, as well as in his native township.  He at different times held various township offices, and was sheriff of the county one term.  His wife survived him many years, passing away after a long and well-spent life, Feb. 7, 1871.  Their children were Joseph, John R., Martha, George W., Lydia, Andrew J., Henry A., James F., and Homer S.  Of his sons three are physicians.  Henry A. Thompson, D.D., was educated at Canonsburg, Washington Co., Pa., from whence he graduated in 1857.  He was professor for six years in the Ottervine University, at Westerville, Ohio.  He then taught in the large Union schools of Ohio until 1873, when he became president of the Ottervine University, which position he still holds.  George W., the fourth child of John, Jr., was born on the home farm in Half-Moon on the 16th day of May, 1826.  Until he was twenty-three years of age he remained with his father, obtaining such schooling as the district schools of that day afforded, never attending to exceed three months in a year.  He then started out on his own account, working for a couple of years at whatever he could get to do, including teaching in the common schools of Centre and Clearfield Counties.  With the money he had saved he then for two years attended the Allegheny College, at Meadville, in Crawford County, Pa., when he was compelled to leave the college for want of funds.  John R. Thompson, his brother, was then a practicing physician in Marion, Indiana Co., Pa., and for nearly two years he remained with him as a medical student.


In the fall of 1852, with means advanced him by his father, who was by this time in comfortable circumstances, he went to Philadelphia and entered the Jefferson Medical College, from which he graduated on the 11th day of March, 1854.  He came home, and on the 22d day of the next April rode into Mill Creek, Huntingdon Co., Pa., on a horse borrowed from his brother.  His worldly possessions were the suit of clothes on his back and two dollars and fifty cents in money.  He opened an office in Mill Creek and remained there fourteen years, acquiring a large and successful practice.  In 1868 the doctor came to Mount Union borough and opened an office, where he has since remained.  In his profession Dr. Thompson has been very successful and ranks among the leading physicians of Huntingdon County.  He has also been successful financially, and has seen the two dollars and a half with which he came to Mill Creek grow into a fortune ample for all his and his family's needs.  In politics a Democrat, but never a seeker after political honors.  On the 1st day of June, 1854, he was joined in marriage to Miss Rebecca H. Dougherty, who was born June 13, 1831, and died Oct. 23, 1866.  Their children were Homer K., born Sept. 6, 1857, and John H., born Jan. 18, 1864.  For his second wife the doctor married, Sept. 8, 1868, Miss Linnie McGarvey.  She was born in Shirley township Feb. 20, 1844.  To them have been born the following children: George W., March 6, 1870; Charlie B., Feb. 26, 1872; and Frank A., Aug. 15, 1880.


CLINTONVILLE was one of those mythical towns liable to spring up Jonah's-gourd-like and vanish as quickly.  The town was located within the present borough limits, at the south end of the canal bridge, and owned by a Mr. Rosenburg, and consisted of one large shanty and two or three smaller ones.  He was a contractor, and named his town in honor of DeWitt Clinton, of New York.


John Bare built a store-house on Water Street, also the dwelling in which he lives, also built the warehouse now occupied by Rhodes as a drug-store.


The store and warehouse now occupied by Thomas H. Adams was built by Peter M. Bare, and subsequently sold to Adams.


Among the merchants that succeeded John Sharrar in the little old stone store were Samuel and George Eby, who subsequently went into the brick store across the road, when they were succeeded in the stone store by David Etnier, E. R. Faust, Faust & Etnier, Col. John A. Doyle, D. & T. Appleby, and after the war of 1861 by B. X. Blair and John S. Bare for a year or two, when the brick building was converted into a banking-house.  Among the earlier merchants we also find George McLaughlin, B. Devor, and T. H. Adams.  George McLaughlin also kept a store at the Aqueduct in 1839 and 1840.  Blair & Appleby built the store building now occupied by the post-office on Water Street, where Mr. Blair kept store for a time.  The next store was on Shirley Street, by G. W. Lukens, who sold to "Cheap John," and in the spring of 1882, Cheap John sold to Ewing & Son, the present proprietors.  Augustus Eberman commenced the mercantile business in the store corner of Jefferson and Water Streets in spring of 1879.


Taverns. - The pioneer tavern at Mount Union was built in 1848 by John Sharrar, and known as the American Hotel.  It was originally built and occupied as a dwelling-house, and stood in front of its present location in Water Street, and when Water Street was laid out it was moved back to where it now stands, and the front or bar-room added, also the wing running south.  The south wing, or kitchen part, was built by Joseph Watson when he was owner and proprietor.  The pioneer landlord in this old hostelry was Adam Holliday, who kept it for several years.


The next tavern was the Exchange Hotel at Santa Fe, built by Kelley & Brother, as previously stated.


The Broad Top House, located corner of Jefferson Street and railroad opposite depot, was built in 1858 by James G. Doyle, and now owned by his heirs.


The Seibert House, located corner of Shirley and Jefferson Streets, was built in 1881 by William Seibert, present owner and proprietor.


Mills and Manufactories. - The pioneer gristmill, located at lower end of the borough, and run by water taken from Hill Valley Run, was built by the heirs of John Shaver in 1832 or 1833.  It was sold but a few years since by Henry Shaver to David Etnier, who has enlarged, improved, and made it a first-class custom mill.


The National Steam Grist-Mill, located on Water Street, was built in 1867 by Peter M. Bare, who ran it two years and sold to John Bare, and in 1870 John Bare sold to William Fields.  Fields sold to B. J. Devor, and in 1878 he sold to W. H. Allen, the present proprietor.


Mount Union is also the shipping and business point for the products of Lucy Furnace, located just across the Juniata, in Mifflin County, of which Whitehead & Swoope are the owners and operators.



G. W. R. Swoope was born in Huntingdon, Pa., Dec. 27, 1846.  His father, Peter Swoope, was a son of one of the early settlers of the Juniata Valley, and identified with the interests of Huntingdon and vicinity.  The early educational advantages of Mr. Swoope were such as the common schools of the day afforded, and during his earlier life he performed such work as is usually provided for boys upon the farm.  In February, 1865, or when he was about eighteen years of age, he enlisted in Company B, One Hundred and Ninety-second Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, and served until the close of the war.


After the close of the war he returned to Huntingdon and learned the art of telegraphy, at which be worked about two and a half years at Marklesburg and Dudley, on the line of the Huntingdon and Broad Top Railroad.


In 1870 he engaged with Mr. John Whitehead, a coal operator at Dudley, in whose employ he remained about four years, when he went to Houtzdale as superintendent of Whitehead & Co.'s coal-mines, where he remained for five years.  From Houtzdale he went to Elizabeth Furnace, in Blair County, and took charge of the business there for Messrs. Whitehead & Bacon, where he remained about three years, and in September, 1881, removed to Lucy Furnace, opposite Mount Union, in Mifflin County, when he became the junior member of the firm of Whitehead & Swoope, also superintendent of the furnace at that place.  He is also largely engaged as a coal operator with W. H. Sweet, under the firm-name of W. H. Sweet & Co.  Their coal-fields are located at or near Dudley, in Huntingdon County, on the line of the Huntingdon and Broad Top Railroad.


Mr. Swoope is one of the sturdy, honest, industrious citizens of Huntingdon County, having worked his way from the vale of poverty up through the varied strata of society to his present popular and affluent position in life.  He was married Sept. 15, 1875, to Miss Amelia, daughter of John Whitehead, of Huntingdon.  Their only child, Flora Essie, was born Feb.17, 1877.  Mr. Swoope has been for several years prominently identified with the Methodist Episcopal Church of Huntingdon, and is one of its principal supporters.


The Juniata Tannery, the first tannery at this place, was built in 1859 by John Bare, Sr., and in 1860 enlarged to double its original capacity.  Mr. Bare carried on the business a few years, when he sold to Jacob Hoffman, who conducted the business till the spring of 1874, when A. D. Faust & Son, who had purchased it in December, 1873, took possession.  In September, 1878, the tannery was destroyed by fire, and immediately rebuilt on a larger scale.


The next tannery at this place was built in 1860 by John Bare, Sr., about one hundred feet from the original one, and operated by William H. Rosensteel a few years, when Mr. Bare continued the business till the spring of 1877, when A. D. Faust & Son took possession, they having purchased it in November, 1876.  Both tanneries are now owned and operated by A. D. Faust & Son, whose weekly manufacture of leather amounts to five hundred sides.  The annual consumption of bark is about three thousand five hundred tons, and regular employment is given to twenty-five men annually.  An artesian well was sunk in 1883 for the purpose of supplying pure water for the two tanneries, which are located in the northwestern past of the borough of Mount Union.



Richard J. Faust, the managing partner of these tanneries, is a descendant of John Faust, who was born in Lehigh or Bucks County, Pa., and was of German origin, his ancestors having come from Germany in the early days of the New World's settlement.  The latter years of his life were passed in Lehigh County.  He was by trade a tanner and currier, as his ancestors had been before him.  One of his children was Alvin D., who was born in Lehigh County, where he remained until after his marriage.  His first business enterprise was in company with his brother, Owen W., in the tanning and currier business.  They had learned the trade from their father.  In the spring of 1851 he sold out, and, with his family, moved to Gilkey's Corners, Upper Dublin township, in Montgomery Co., Pa., where he bought a tannery, which he still owns and operates.  It has a capacity of one hundred hides per week, and employs twelve men.  He married, about 1846, Miss Catherine Kuhns, of Lehigh County.  They were both members of the Lutheran Church.  To them were born six children, namely, Richard J., Edwin, Henry, Samuel A., Milton D., and Alvin B.


Richard J., the subject of this sketch, was born in Upper Macungie, on the 9th day of October, 1848.  He was in his third year when his father moved to Gilkey's Corners, and his first recollections are of the place which was his home through all the days of his youth and young manhood.  His education was obtained at the common schools of his township, and six months at the Allentown Military and Collegiate College.  He gave no attention to the military part of the school, as he did not consider that it would be of any use to him in a tannery.  In his fifteenth year he entered his father's tannery as an apprentice, and when nineteen years of age became foreman in the tannery, and in his father's absence, manager or superintendent.  In the fall of 1873, in partnership with his father, he purchased in Mount Union, Huntingdon Co., Pa., the Hoffmann tannery, and the following spring came on and assumed full management thereof.  It was built in 1859, by John Barr, who sold it to Jacob Hoffmann.  In 1869, he (Mr. Barr) built within a hundred feet of the old one a new tannery, which was sold at sheriff's sale in 1876 to Mr. Faust and his father, and they are now both managed by Richard J., and are known as the tanneries of A. D. Faust & Son.  In the fall of 1878 the Hoffman tannery was burned, and the same fall rebuilt on the old foundations.  It is a steam tannery (as are both) and they have a capacity of thirteen thousand hides per year, and give steady employment to twenty-five men, and is the leading industry of Mount Union borough.  In politics Mr. Faust is a Democrat, and takes an active interest in the political questions of the day, though be is not, and has never been, an aspirant for political honors.  Twice he has been elected burgess of the borough by a large majority.  He has also been a member of the Common Council of the town.  Mr. Faust, in 1875, became a member of Mount Moriah Lodge, No. 300, F. and A. M., and in 1877 took the chapter degrees in the Standing Stone Chapter, H. R. A. M., No. 201, both in Huntingdon borough.  He is a member of the Lutheran Church, but attends the Presbyterian Church, as there is none of the Lutheran denomination in Mount Union.  On the 6th day of January, A.D. 1870, he married Miss Caroline Herrman, daughter of Henry Herrman, of Horsham township, Montgomery Co.  Mr. Herrman came from Germany.  Mrs. Faust was born in Horsham aforesaid, on the 11th day of February, 1849.  Their union has been blessed with four children, as follows: Matilda C., born Feb. 2, 1871; Herrman R., Aug. 22, 1875, died in infancy; Richard J., born Aug. 22, 1877; and John E., born Feb. 2, 1880.


Miscellaneous. - The pioneer cabinet-maker, Alfred A. Simons, established the business in 1853 or 1854, on Water Street, where he is still engaged in the manufacture and sale of cabinet-ware.


The pioneer blacksmith at Mount Union was a Mr. Weller.  His shop was at the east end of the American Hotel. He was succeeded by --- Houck.


The pioneer wheelwright was --- Ewing.  His shop was opposite American Hotel, now occupied as a blacksmith-shop.


The blacksmith-shop now operated by Jacob Flasher was built in 1854 or 1855 by Charles McLaughlin and Ed. McKittrick, who own and work in the old Sharrar blacksmith-shop on Water Street.  The wheelwright-shop built by John Dougherty is now occupied by --- Horner.


The pioneer resident physician in Mount Union was Dr. Lee.  He lived in the old Sharrar house, on the bank of the canal.


The Pennsylvania Central Railroad was built to this place in 1850, and during that year the present passenger depot was built.  The first sale of tickets was made in the freight-house, and subsequently a building then standing in front of the present East Broad Top passenger depot was used for a ticket-office till the present ticket-office was completed.


J. C. Sechler was appointed ticket agent, and still remains at his post of duty, one of the oldest and most faithful employes of the road.


The Juniata Division of the Pennsylvania Canal was finished to this place in 1830.



The pioneer hardware store at this place was established by Lieut. Frank D. Stevens in 1867, on the corner of Shirley and Jefferson Streets, where he is still conducting one of the largest and most complete stores of the kind in this section of country.  He was born in Springfield township, Huntingdon Co., Pa., March 13, 1841.  On his father's side his ancestors came from Scotland, while his mother's people were from Germany.  Benedict Stevens, the father of Lieut. Stevens, was born in Shirley township, same county, on the 28th of February, 1802.  He grew to manhood on his father's farm in Shirley township, and eventually became himself a farmer.  He married, Oct. 8, 1822, Miss Eve Orr, and they became the parents of eight sons and seven daughters, of whom nine are now living.  Five of the sons were in the Rebellion, serving from two to three years.  Mrs. Stevens, after a long and well-spent life, passed away on the 31st of December, 1882, at the village of Three Springs, Clay township, where Benedict Stevens still resides.  For more than half a century they have been members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  He is a local preacher, and without charge preaches the gospel of peace.  Frank D. was the twelfth child, and being one among so many had only the advantages of the common schools and two terms at the Rainsburg (Bedford County) Academy.  He learned the carpenter's trade, at which he worked two or three years before the breaking out of the Rebellion.  In April, 1861, he enlisted in the three months' service, but the company was not accepted.  The spring of 1862 found the country awake to the fact that a great struggle was before it, a struggle that would test the patriotism of its young men.  Like thousands upon thousands of the young men of the North, Frank again became fired with patriotic zeal, and on the 24th of March of the year last mentioned he enlisted as a private in Company I, Twelfth Regiment Pennsylvania Reserves, as did his brother, David W. Stevens, who was killed on the 8th of May, 1864, in the battle of the Wilderness.  The regiment, or nine companies of it, had been enlisted in 1861, and under the command of Col. John H. Taggart, was lying at Alexandria, Va., where they were joined by Company I, commanded by Capt. James Baker, of Orbisonia.  In June, 1862, the regiment with many others was ordered to join Gen. McClellan in front of Richmond.  They went to White House Landing, on the Pamunkey River, where they landed June 10th, and the next day joined the main army in the works in front of the Confederate capital.  Their first battle was at Mechanicsville, June 25th, and the next day when the line fell back, Mr. Stevens with a number of his comrades was captured and taken to Richmond, where he remained four weeks, enjoying the entertainment received at Castle Thunder.  He was then paroled and sent to Camp Parole, at Annapolis, Md., from whence he was sent soon after to the convalescent camp near Alexandria, Va., the worst place an intelligent government ever kept its soldiers in.  In this vile camp he was kept against his wishes until December of that year, when he joined his regiment, which was then stationed near Fredericksburg, Va.  He went on duty before he was exchanged, which occurred the Wednesday before the battle of Fredericksburg, in which fight he received two wounds, one on the head and a slight one in the arm.


After an absence of four months, which was passed in a Rhode Island hospital, he rejoined his regiment at Alexandria, Va.  In May, 1862, he had been promoted from the ranks to be orderly sergeant, and on his return from the hospital he was promoted to second lieutenant.  His next battle was at Gettysburg, followed by Mine Run in November, 1863.  In 1864 the regiment was with Gen. Grant, and participated in the skirmishes and battles of the campaign in the Wilderness.  During this time Lieut. Stevens was in command of the company, as he had been most of the time after he was made a lieutenant.  On the 13th of June, 1864, his company was sent on the picket line, and were captured with part of a cavalry company and a battery, and again Lieut. Stevens was destined to see the inside of a rebel prison.  After being captured, the lieutenant was taken before rebel Gen. Wright, and by him closely questioned as to the position of the Union army.  He refused to give any information, which enraged the general, and he ordered him taken away, with instructions to the guard to run him through with a bayonet if he did not behave himself.  He was in Libby Prison a week, then was sent to Macon, Ga., where he was confined two months in the officers' prison.  In August they were sent to Savannah, where they were kept a short time, then sent to Charleston, S.C.  He was one of the six hundred Union officers who were confined in the jail yard under fire from the Union guns during the bombardment of Charleston City, being removed only when our government retaliated by placing rebel officers under rebel fire.  Day after day for six weeks they were exposed to the scorching rays of the sun, suffering as only those who have endured the same torture can suffer.  When the Confederates learned that their officers were exposed to fire on Morris Island the Union officers were moved to a place of safety.  In October he was sent to Columbia, S.C., where he remained until February, 1865, when he was sent to Wilmington, N.C., where he remained until the next March, when he was exchanged on parole and sent North.  He was then granted thirty days' leave and came home.


While in prison at Columbia, S.C., he, in company with five other fellow-prisoners, attempted an escape by running the guards.  It was on a dark night.  They crept on their faces across the dead-line (which, was fifty feet within the guard-line), and on towards the guard-line as far as they felt it safe to do so, and then sprang to their feet and attempted to break through the guards, whereupon they received a volley of musket-shots, one of their number receiving a shot in the arm, shattering the bone so as to render amputation necessary.  They were defeated in their attempt to escape, as they were on another occasion, when they attempted to escape through a tunnel which they had made and found a guard at the outer end of the tunnel, which had during the previous day been discovered by the rebels.


He was commissioned as first lieutenant, to date from June 6, 1864, and was mustered out of service on the 17th day of April, 1865.


In this brief memoir we do not attempt to describe Lieut. Stevens' sufferings while in rebel prisons, as it has been done in general and personal histories.  We will only say that he bore without a murmur, as did his companions in misery, hardships and sufferings that he would not see his worst enemy exposed to, that he will carry with him while life lasts the recollections of those days, and will earnestly wish that no son of his may live to endure what he has gone through.


On the 16th day of July, 1867, he was married to Miss Annie A. Bush, daughter of William L. Bush, of Orbisonia.  She was born Nov. 3, 1846.  To them have been born five children, namely, Arthur B., Claudine D., Ethel F. (died in infancy), Frank G. H., and Kingsley N.  Mrs. Stevens died April 24, 1881.


Lieut. Stevens, after he came home from the army, graduated at the Iron City Commercial College, then for six months taught in the college.  In March, 1867, he entered into the mercantile business in Mount Union, in the hardware line.  In politics he is a Republican, but not a politician.  In 1866 he joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which he has been a trustee and steward for several years.  He has been a director in the Juniata Valley Camp-Meeting Association since its organization in 1872.


The marble business was established at Mount Union in September, 1880, by C. Stratford.  His works are located on Jefferson Street, opposite the Broad Top Hotel.



Financial. - THE CENTRAL BANKING COMPANY was organized at Mount Union, March 13, 1873, with T. H. Adams, president, and E. S. Doty as cashier.  Mr. Doty was succeeded by his brother, S. B. Doty, who served five years, when he was succeeded in 1880 by W. T. Bell.  The banking-house is located on corner of Water and Division Streets.  Its president, the Hon. Thomas H. Adams, of whom a fine steel portrait appears in this work, is of Irish extraction, and was born near Orbisonia, in said county and State, on the 16th day of February, A.D. 1830.  His father, John Adams, was born in Ireland, where he resided until some years after his marriage to Miss Mary Quirk, who was born in County Limerick, Ireland.  In 1825, lured by the promise of better times and in the time to come a home of his own in the New World beyond the sea, he emigrated with his wife and children to America, landing in New York, where he remained a few years, then moved to Newton Hamilton, in Mifflin County, Pa.  Here he remained for a time, then moved to Orbisonia, where he remained until 1838, when he again changed his abiding-place, this time going to Germany Valley, in the south part of Huntingdon County, where he made his permanent home.  He was at one time a manager or superintendent of the Rock Hill Mines and Furnaces.  He also worked on the canal, and assisted in the building of the four locks.  Mr. Adams died in the Germany Valley in 1873, leaving a wife who still survives him, and resides with one of her sons in the last-named valley.  They had nine children, five of whom are still living.  The boyhood days of Thomas H. were passed on the farm, going to school winters and working on the farm summers, as soon as he was old enough to have his services of any value.  He attended the Juniata Valley Academy three terms, after which he spent a short time in the Commercial College in Pittsburgh, from which he graduated in 1858.  From 1855 to 1861 he spent his time in school or in teaching in the schools of Franklin and Huntingdon Counties.  In April of the last-named year, with the money saved from his wages as a teacher, be entered into partnership with P. M. Bare in the mercantile business at Mount Union, Pa.  He remained with Mr. Bare one year, then went to Three Springs and went into business on his own account, keeping a general stock, such as would be needed in a small country town.  During this time Mr. Bare had built the store now owned by Mr. Adams, which in the year 1847 be sold to Thomas H., who closed out his stock in Three Springs the following year, since when he has resided in Mount Union, and has devoted his time and energies to a general mercantile business in that town.  In 1873 the Central Banking Company was organized and a bank opened in Mount Union.  Mr. Adams was one of its first members, and in 1875 became its president, a position he has ever since held.  Mr. Adams has always been a Democrat, and has been for nine years president of the school board, also a member of the Common Council, burgess, etc.  In the fall of 1882 he became the nominee of his party for a seat in the lower house of the State Legislature, and although running in a county strongly Republican, he was elected by a majority of three hundred and twenty-two votes.  At this writing the Legislature is in session, and Mr. Adams is chairman of the committee on accounts and expenditures, also a member of the committees on retrenchment and reform, military, iron and coal, and judicial appointments.


He was married Oct. 2, 1867, to Miss Margaret R. Brewster, daughter of Judge John and Mary (Crisswell) Brewster.  She was born in Shirley township, Huntingdon Co., Pa., Dec. 7, 1840.  Their union has been blessed with two children, - John F., born Aug. 16, 1868, and Mary B., born Nov. 14, 1870.  Her father, Judge John Brewster, was born in Fannettsburg, Franklin Co., Pa., Dec. 7, 1791.  He married on the 28th day of October, 1824, Mary Crisswell, who was born near Chambersburg, Pa., June 28, 1800.  To them were born three children, viz., Harriet, Jane, and Margaret.  The judge remained in Fannettsburg until his father's family removed to Huntingdon County.  The elder Brewster was a merchant in Fannettsburg, and the judge clerked for him when not teaching.  After coming to Shirley, Judge Brewster ran a store there, also a tannery in Hill Valley, which the judge managed, and at which he was living when the store in Shirleysburg was burnt, and with it his mother and two other persons.  After this he rented the tannery and moved to Shirley, where he remained until his death.  He was a man respected and esteemed by all, and in politics was a Republican, and a prominent one.  He was elected associate judge of the county, a position he filled with honor and credit.  He was a member of the Presbyterian Church of Shirleysburg, and for many years one of its elders.  In donating to the church he was always very liberal, as well as to the missionary fund.  He took a deep interest in the colonization of the black race of our country in Liberia, and donated so liberally for that purpose that the building erected in Liberia for the use of the colonists was called the Brewster Receptacle in his honor.  Though he gave liberally, he did it in accordance with Holy Writ, not letting his left hand know what his right was doing.


Civil Organization. - At the first election for borough officers, held at school-house No. 1, between the hours of nine o'clock A.M. and four o'clock P.M., the following officers were elected: Burgess, George McLaughlin; Council, J. C. Sechler, J. G. Stewart, Samuel Diffendafer, Adam Harshberger, and B. J. Devor.


The first meeting of the new burgess and Council was held at the office of B. J. Devor, on the evening of June 10, 1867, when B. J. Devor was elected secretary for the ensuing year, John G. Stewart, collector and treasurer, and Samuel Miller, Esq., street commissioner.


A tax of five mills on the dollar was laid for street purposes and all other necessary expenses.


The following is a complete list of burgesses, Town Council, and secretaries from 1868 to 1882:




1868, Augustus Eberman; 1869, Thomas H. Adams; 1870, G. W. Thompson, M.D.; 1871, John Lukens; 1872, John Bare; 1873, J. H. Miller; 1874-75, J. J. Robinson; 1876-77, Lewis R. Morgan; 1878, John G. Stewart; 1879, W. W. Fuller; 1880-81, R. J. Faust; 1882, W. G. Ewing.




1868, J. A. J. Postlethwaite, William Deane, J. Rummell, Thomas H. Adams, William P. McLaughlin; 1869, John Thompson, William Seibert, Edward P. McKittrick, James Harris, D. Etnier, Jr.; 1870, W. H. Rosensteel, W. A. Hunter, William Dean, John Bare, D. Etnier, Jr.; 1871, Augustus Eberman, P. Shaver, Jr., B. J. Devor, William Dean, D. Etnier, Jr.; 1872, A. Eberman, J. Lukens, J. Flasher, John Miller, J. M. Thompson, D. Etnier, Jr.; 1873, R. A. Dean, E. P. McKittrick, A. Simons, H. C. Marshall, R. Sechler, T. A. Appleby; 1874, Marian Vancourt, J. A. J. Postlethwaite, Thomas Thompson, B. F. Douglas,

D. J. Shultz; 1875, Thomas H. Adams, William Seibert, John Gayton, Register Simons, John C. Ross; 1876, John Shaver, John Morgan, R. J. Faust, J. J. Robison, John A. Gayton, A. Eberman; 1877, William Gayton, William Seibert, T. H. Adams, F. D. Stevens;

E. H. Vancort, D. Etnire, Jr.; 1878, E. P. McKittrick, James Barris, W. W. Fuller, John Lukens, Joseph Sechler,--- Longacre; 1879, William C. Gayton, William Seibert, Alexander Maxwell, Samuel R. Simons, John S. Bare, John G. Stewart; 1880, William Harris, P. H. Davis, Philip Smith, D. Etnier, Jr., J. C. Sechler; 1881, J. C. Sechler, Thomas H. Adams, Abram R. Price, Wilson Maxwell, W. T. Shaffer, Castner Miller; 1882, B. F. Douglas, Alexander Maxwell, F. H. Harrison, John G. Stewart, Philip Smith, T. H. Adams.




1868, William P. McLaughlin; 1869-72, 1877, D. Etnier, Jr.; 1873, R. Sechler (resigned, and July, 1873, T. A. Appleby was elected to fill the vacancy); 1874, B. F. Douglas; 1875, J. C. Ross (resigned, and August 3d John A. Gayton was appointed to fill vacancy); 1876, John A. Gayton; 1878, W. W. Fuller; 1879, John S. Bare; 1880-82, George W. Lukens.




1867, Jacob Flasher; 1868, Jacob Flasher, H. C. Fields (high); 1869, Graham Rough (high), Jacob Flasher; 1870, T. Foreman; 1871-72, C. K. Rogers; 1873, D. Etnier; 1874-75, J. S. Coulter; 1876, W. , Harris; 1877, J. K. Thompson, A. C. Clinger; 1878-81, J. K. Thompson.




1867, P. M. Bare, Samuel Miller, J. W. Shaver, W. P. McLaughlin, Peter Shaver, A. F. Hamer; 1868, David Fetterhoof, Abram Price, John C. Ross; 1869, John Rummell, John Bare; 1872, H. C. Marshall, J. C. Roes; 1873, T. H. Adams, B. J. Devore; 1874, G. W. Lukens, J. A. J. Postlethwaite; 1876, J. Hagey, D. McGarvey, William Myers; 1876, F. D. Stevens, J. S. Gallagher; 1877, John A. Gayton, T. H. Adams; 1878, H. C. Marshall; 1879, J. F. Gallagher, John Morgan; 1880, L. R. Morgan, A: Eberman; 1881, F. D. Stevens, W. A. Hunter.


Mount Union in 1882. - In 1880 the population of Mount Union was 764, and in 1882 it was estimated at 800.  There were in the borough at that date three hotels, viz., American Hotel, by William Myers, Broad Top House, by William Harris, and the Seibert House, by William Seibert; eight stores and groceries, three drug-stores, three blacksmith-shops, three shoe-shops, one stove- and tinware-store, two wheelwrights, two tanneries, two gristmills, one harness-shop, two physicians, two lawyers, one marble-works, two railroad stations, Pennsylvania Central Railroad and the East Broad Top Railroad; three churches, Methodist Episcopal, Presbyterian, and United Brethren; post-office, with T. A. Appleby as postmaster.


Mount Union United Brethren Church. - The first meetings of this church were held in the basement of the Presbyterian meeting-house in 1869, when the United Brethren Church at this place was organized.  Services were continued in the Presbyterian meeting-house till the building of their own church.


Among the original members were B. J. Devor and wife, Philip Smith and wife, J. C. Lockard and wife, Mrs. Nancy Faust and daughters, J. O. Rouse and wife.  Mr. Rouse made a bequest to the church of a house and lot valued at two thousand dollars.  He died before the church edifice was completed.


The first pastor of this people was Rev. J. R. Shearer, who came here in 1869, organized the church, and remained two years.


The present church edifice is of brick, located on north side of Shirley Street, and was built in 1871, the corner-stone being laid in August of that year by Rev. M. P. Doyle, assisted by other reverend gentlemen.  The church was dedicated Jan. 7, 1872, by Bishop J. W. Weaver, and cost, for lot and building, eight thousand dollars.  Mr. Shearer's successors have been J. C. Smith, M. P. Doyle (who remained four years), W. A. Jackson (two years), and A. J. Zeak, the present pastor.  Present membership, thirty-five; value of church property, eight thousand dollars.  There is a Sabbath-school connected with the church, of which A. Brown is superintendent.


Mount Union Presbyterian Church, By Rev. S. W. Pomeroy. - The Presbyterian Church of Mount Union had its beginning as an outpost of the Presbyterian Church of Shirleysburg.  During Rev. Briton E. Collins' pastorate he began, as early as 1845, to preach occasionally at this point in a stone school-house which stood near to and in rear of the Methodist Church.


In 1849 the Presbyterians of this neighborhood, under the leadership of Rev. Mr. Collins, built a frame church along the Shirleysburg road, a short distance east of William Gayton's residence.  The building still stands, and is in use as a dwelling.  When built it cost five hundred dollars.  Here the congregation worshiped until they built a new church in 1866 and 1867, on the southeast corner of Shirley and Division Streets, at a cost of four thousand five hundred dollars.  On May 2, 1865, the Presbyterian Church of Mount Union was organized by a committee appointed by the Huntingdon Presbytery, consisting of Rev. George W. Shaiffer, Rev. James C. Mahon, and Rev. David D. Clarke.  The church was organized with fourteen members, who presented certificates of membership from Shirleysburg and other churches.  J. A. J. Postlethwaite was chosen elder of the new organization.  In the spring of 1855, Rev. George W. Shaiffer succeeded Rev. Briton E. Collins, and preached at this point until April, 1866, being one year after the church was organized.  Rev. Cochrane Forbes succeeded Rev. Mr. Shaiffer in October, 1866, and continued pastor until April, 1870.  Rev. S. W. Pomeroy succeeded Rev. Mr. Forbes, and entered upon his labors May 1, 1871, and was installed Aug. 14, 1871.  In the fall of 1866, Peter Shaver and Dr. James W. Mackey were elected, ordained, and installed elders.  On March, 12, 1873, T. A. Appleby and Dr. William A. Hunter were chosen elders, and on March 17th were ordained and installed.  The number of members at present is one hundred and fifteen.  During the fall of 1881 the congregation began to repair and remodel the church, which they completed during the summer of 1882, at a cost of nearly three thousand dollars, and rededicated it July 9, 1882.  A Sabbath-school was organized in the old frame church in the spring of 1866.  The first superintendent was J. A. J. Postlethwaite.  The average attendance the first year of its organization was forty-three.  The present superintendent is T. A. Appleby, and has been since April, 1873. The number enrolled is one hundred and forty, with an average attendance of one hundred and seven.  The church property consists of a house of worship worth five thousand dollars and a parsonage worth two thousand five hundred dollars.  The church, in all its work, is in a flourishing condition.


Mount Union Methodist Episcopal Church. - The soil of Mount Union seems to be peculiarly adapted to the growth of Methodism, as an abundant crop of that sect has been raised here in a comparatively short space of time.  The first Methodist sermon preached in this town was delivered by that wonderfully eccentric and popular pioneer of Methodism in this region of country, Rev. Jacob Gruber, in 1838, in the old stone school-house, then standing in rear of the site now occupied by the present Methodist Episcopal Church.  From the seed sown by the eccentric Gruber in 1838 a society of thirty or more was formed in 1842, with Samuel Shaver as class-leader.


PIONEER MEMBERS. - Among the pioneer members of the society we find the names of John Booher and wife, Mrs. Keziah Shaver, Thomas H. Haling and wife, Samuel Shaver and wife, John Sharrar and wife, George W. Speer and wife, Mrs. George McLaughlin, Elizabeth Shaver, and Joseph Mapes and wife.


In eight years after the organization of the society the little band had grown to such dimensions, and the congregations increasing rapidly under the old-fashioned spirit of Methodist singing, praying, and preaching, that it became necessary to have more room than the old school-house afforded, and accordingly, in 1850, erected their first house of worship on the site occupied by the present one.  The present beautiful brick edifice was built in 1873, the lecture-room dedicated in 1874 by Rev. Dr. Dashiel, and the auditorium dedicated in 1879 by Professor H. A. Gray, of Dickinson College, Williamsport, Pa.  The entire cost of lot and building was nearly eleven thousand dollars.


Among the preachers who have served this people since Mr. Gruber we find Rev. Mr. Hinkle, Revs. S. M. Hartsock, 1866-68; J. C. Clark, 1868-70; John Moorehead, 1870-73; M. L. Smith, 1873-76; W. C. Robbins, 1876-78; H. M. Ash, 1878-80; J. W. Cleaver, from spring of 1880 to present time.  During the year ending in March, 1882, this society has contributed for church purposes fifteen hundred and eighty-seven dollars, with a membership of one hundred and twenty-one and twenty-five probationers.  The trustees for 1882 were F. D. Stevens, Isaac Taylor, John Booker, David Etnier, Jr., Ed. P. McKittrick, E. Harncame, E. K. Rodgers, W. Hildebrand, and W. Seibert; Stewards, F. D. Stevens, C. Stratford, I. N. Swope, I. N. Stevenson, M. L. Rex, and Daniel Snyder; Class-leaders, John Booher, George Fields, J. F. Stratford.  Value of church property, including parsonage, twelve thousand five hundred dollars.  The Sunday-school numbers two hundred and ten pupils, fifteen teachers, six officers, and F. D. Stevens, superintendent.


Educational. - The pioneer school-house at what is now MOUNT UNION was a stone structure, built in 1839, and stood in rear of the Methodist Church, along what was then the Shirley road.  The pioneer teacher was --- Cooper, and the next was Walter Galbraith.  In the winter of 1842-43 the school in the then new school-house was taught by George McLaughlin, now a resident of Mount Union.


The present school-house, located on Market Street, was built in 1871.  In 1881 there were four schools in the borough, each of which was taught six months by two male and two female teachers, at an average of $32.50 for the male, and $26 for the female teachers per month.  Total expenditures for the year, $1001.84.


SHIRLEYSBURG BOROUGH. - The present brick school-house was built in 1877.  The brick was made on the ground or lot where the building now stands, and the mason-work was done by Daniel Fleck, the contractor for the work.  In 1881 there were two schools of a five months' term each, with two male teachers at $27.50 per month each.  Total expenditure for 1881 was $735.54.


SHIRLEY TOWNSHIP. - In this township are thirteen school districts, in each of which five months' school was taught in 1881.  Teachers' wages averaged $24 per month each.  There was during that time an average attendance of three hundred and fourteen pupils.  Tax levied during the year for school purposes was $2301.24; State appropriation, $314.16; total expenditures for the year, $5685.34. 




Other GenWeb Sites


        PAGenWeb        USGenWeb Archives        PA USGenWeb Archives



Copyright � 1996-2014, All Rights Reserved

Copyright � 1996-2004 Ken Boonie & contributors

Copyright � 2005-2010 Judy Banja & contributors

Copyright 2011-2018, Josie Baughman and Individual file contributors. All rights reserved.