Upon the old French and English colonial maps of this part of America,
made, of course, before the beginning of the Revolutionary War, a point
on the right bank of the Allegheny River, just below its junction with the Conewango,
is marked by a word variously written "Kanoagoa," "Canawagy," "Canawago,"
etc., meaning an Indian village, which it seems was chiefly occupied
by the Munsey tribe. It is our belief, however, that this Indian settlement
was located from one to two miles below the mouth of the Conewango. When
Colonel Brodhead led his troops into this region in 1779 and justly retaliated
upon Cornplanter (the leader of the Senecas at the Wyoming and Cherry Valley
massacres), by destroying his towns and cornfields, he reported that Canawago
"had been deserted about eighteen months past." Again, in 1785, when
General William Irvine explored a portion of the Allegheny valley in quest of
good lands to be donated to Revolutionary soldiers, he said: "From Brokenstraw
to Conewagoo is eight or nine miles, here [at Conewagoo] is a narrow
bottom, interspersed with good dry land and meadow ground all the way, and
there is a remarkable fine tract at the mouth of the Conewagoo, of a thousand
or more acres." Thus a distinction, clear and unmistakable, was made between
the Indian town of Conewagoo and the mouth of the Conewango.
Since the year 1795 the same place — at the junction of the Allegheny and
Conewango — has, upon the maps of the Commonwealth, been occupied by the
word Warren — the town of Warren. The location is picturesquely beautiful
at all seasons; hence for nearly a hundred years complimentary terms in its
praise have been uttered by stranger and resident alike. Nestling at the southern
foot of a high, precipitous, and wooded ridge — the former shore of the
ancient Allegheny, when it was a mighty stream — its residents are protected
almost wholly from the chilly northern and northwestern blasts of winter. The
Conewango forms its eastern boundary. In front the waters of the Allegheny
flow ceaselessly on, around a bend grand and symmetrical in its proportions.
Away beyond the river the hills of Pleasant township, which once formed the
southern shore of the old Allegheny, stand out in bold relief, while extended
views, up and down the stream, of successive ranges of high hills, fading gradually
away in the distance in a blue mist, completes a picture of rare loveliness.
In truth nature has done much, man but very little, in adding to or perpetuating
the beauties of Warren and its surroundings. The men to whom more
credit is due than all others in preserving for all time one natural feature, at
least, of which the eye never wearies, were General William Irvine and
Colonel Andrew Ellicott, the commissioners appointed by Governor Mifflin to
lay out the town. This they accomplished by simply running Water street parallel
with and next to the river bank, thus leaving an unobstructed view of river
and street for a distance of more than half a mile. Judging from the past,
however, residents have but little appreciation of the value and beauty of
their inheritance, this magnificent sweep, side by side, of river and avenue.
For scores of years—indeed since the first settlement of the town—this bank,
rising gradually from fifteen to twenty-five feet above the river's surface—has
been a common dumping-ground of all the filth and rubbish which usually
finds its way to such places, and each year mother earth, as if ashamed of the
desecration, of man's abominable practices, sends up a rank growth of wild
grasses, weeds, and briars to cover the forbidding spots.
In the future, doubtless, a transformation will be brought about by driving
a row of piles, extending from the outer face of the suspension bridge abutment
to a point on the bank some eight or ten rods below (thus doing away
with the dirty little eddy which, while it may have been of value in the past,
is now but a summer's nuisance, a depository along the shore of all the sewage,
garbage, and trash which comes within its influence), tearing out the unsightly
"lock-up," disposing in some way of the old Tanner building, filling up the
yawning chasm of filth there to be found, grading an easy slope from the
street level to the water's edge, sodding or seeding the same with blue grass,
and thence continuing the work of grading and sodding to the railroad bridge;
finishing by cutting down the telegraph poles, building a sidewalk, planting
shade trees, and placing park benches along the way. Few towns in America
are afforded such a grand opportunity as this for the construction of a magnificent
promenade. And when such an improvement is made it will add more
to the beauty of the town, to the pride of its inhabitants, to their health and
wealth, than the erection of five hundred buildings.
In a number of the preceding chapters of this work frequent mention of
Warren and its site has been made, during the period beginning with the
French occupation of this valley and extending down to the date of its survey
and settlement by the Americans. Hence, to avoid unnecessary repetition,
this sketch of the history of the town of Warren begins with the year 1795.
During that year, "in order to facilitate and promote the progress of settlements
within the Commonwealth, and to afford additional security to the frontiers
by the establishment of towns," an act was passed by the State Legislature,
April 18, providing for laying out towns at Presque Isle, at the mouth of French
Creek, at the mouth of Conewango Creek, and at Fort Le Boeuf.
Of the town to be laid out at the mouth of the Conewango, it was ordered
that the commissioners to be appointed by the governor "shall survey or cause
to be surveyed three hundred acres for town lots, and seven hundred acres of
land adjoining thereto for out lots, at the most eligible place within the tract
heretofore reserved [in 1789] for public use at the mouth of Conewango Creek;
and the lands so surveyed shall be respectively laid out and divided into town
lots and out lots, in such manner, and with such streets, lanes, alleys, and
reservations for public uses, as the said commissioners shall direct; but no town
lot shall contain more than one third of an acre, no out lot shall contain more
than five acres, nor shall the reservations for public uses exceed in the whole,
ten acres; and the town hereby directed to be laid out, shall be called ' Warren,'
and all the streets, lanes, and alleys thereof, and of the lots thereto adjoining,
shall be and remain common highways."
As if still doubtful of the friendship of the Indians occupying this part of the
country—owing, probably, to the hostile feeling displayed by Cornplanter and
his band during the previous year—the act further provided that the troops
stationed, or to be stationed, at Fort Le Boeuf should be used to protect and
assist the commissioners, surveyors, and others while engaged in executing the
provisions of the act. General William Irvine and Andrew Ellicott were the
commissioners appointed to lay out town plots at the four points indicated,
and it is believed, though we have seen no evidence of the fact, that their task
was completed in 1795. Be that as it may, however, the lots in the new towns
of Warren, Erie, Franklin, and Waterford were not offered for sale until August,
1796, when they were cried at auction at Carlisle, Pa.
The original lots of the town of Warren were five hundred and twenty-four
in number, each being 58 1/4 feet in width, street frontage, and 233 1/4 feet in
depth. Water, Market, and High streets are presumed to be 100 feet in width,
the others 60 feet. Six streets running nearly east and west, and ten nearly
north and south, all crossing at right angles, comprised the highways of the
original plot. After the county began to be settled John Andrews, one of the
first settlers of the county, was appointed State commissioner, to dispose of the
lots at public sale, and during the ten years succeeding 1797 sold all of them.
They were purchased by the farmer settlers of this county, Venango, Crawford,
and other counties, and some by Indians. The prices ranged from $2.50 to
$6 per lot. One-third of the purchase money was required to be paid at once,
the balance at the convenience of the purchaser—which with some, it seems,
was never convenient. Indeed, but few of the original purchasers ever
procured patents for their lots, but suffered them to be sold at county treasurer's
sale for taxes, and the purchasers at such sales, or their assignees, procured
patents. Hon. David Brown, the father of the present president-judge, was
the original purchaser of more than one hundred lots. Subsequently he transferred
them to other persons, and finally these went the way of a majority of the
others — were sold at treasurer's sale — and the titles passed to new owners.
Until about 1794 — 95, the site of the town was covered with a luxuriant
growth of white, black and red oak of large size. At that time a party of the
Holland Land Company's surveyors, under the orders and personal supervision
of Andrew Ellicott, the noted surveyor, and his son-in-law, Dr. Kennedy
(subsequently the builder and owner of Kennedy's mills), were encamped upon
the bank of the river near where the old Tanner storehouse now stands. One
night a terrific storm of rain, accompanied with thunder, lightning and wind of
irresistible force, came sweeping up the valley from the west and prostrated
every thing in its path from the western part of the town's site to Glade Run.
The inmates of the "camp," or shanty of poles and bark, fled for safety to the
small bar or island where Rathbun's grocery was for many years a landmark.
It was fortunate for them that they hesitated not upon the order of their going
for their shanty was blown down and two of their pack horses were killed by
the falling trees. A few years later a fire swept over this windfall, burning
the small brush and much of the fallen timber. The remainder furnished dry
firewood for the early inhabitants. Then sprung up the growth of scrub oaks
remembered by some persons still living.
About the year 1796, the surveyors employed by the Holland Land Company
erected a building of hewn timbers for the storage of their supplies—tools,
provisions, etc. This building, the first permanent structure reared on the
site of Warren, stood down on Water street in the near vicinity of Page's
blacksmith shop. For two years it had no floor other than the ground, no
chimney other than a hole in the center of a leaky roof. It has been related
that Daniel McQuay, then in the employment of the land company, occupied
this building as a dwelling house during the first or second year after its erection,
thus earning the distinction of being the first inhabitant of the town. He then
located on the Little Brokenstraw just above its mouth. He was the wit of
the valley. A genuine son of Erin, full of recklessness and adventure, fond
of fun, fight and whiskey, and the only man who ever made from two to ten
trips from the Brokenstraw to New Orleans on boats of lumber and traveled
back afoot. This was a perilous undertaking prior to 1810, which was
subsequent to the first trip or two made by him, for saying nothing of walking
nearly two thousand five hundred miles, the few towns along the Ohio and
Mississippi rivers were then but insignificant villages, and all else between
them tangled thickets, swamps and dense forests infested by Indians, wild
animals, and frequently by worse foes—white desperadoes and highwaymen.
When James Morrison, jr., accompanied by his brother-in-law,
Galen Murdock, arrived on the site of Warren in June, 1798, the only
evidences of civilization and improvement to be seen here were the Holland
Land Company's unoccupied storehouse, and a small abandoned improvement
near Reig's old tannery, made by George Slone, a blacksmith, afterwards a well
known resident of the Beech Woods settlement. Morrison and Murdock came
from Lycoming county, and accomplished the journey by pushing a canoe up
the Sinnemahoning and the Drift Wood Branch until the immense piles of
driftwood prevented their further progress by water. Leaving their canoe,
they packed their effects on their backs, and a little more than one day's walk
brought them to the waters of the Allegheny. There they felled a large pine
tree, made a commodious canoe, and continued their way to Warren. From
that time the place where they embarked on the Allegheny was known as
"Canoe Place," and many other early adventurers pursued the same route and
plan in journeying from the West Branch of the Susquehanna westward. In 1800
James Morrison, sr., a soldier of the Revolutionary War, his brother Jeremiah,
and several others of the Morrison and Murdock families, eight or ten men
in all, besides women and children, came on from Lycoming county over
the route previously described, and settled on the outlots below Warren. At
about that time, too, Martin Reese, sr., and family settled in the same locality.
In 1804 James Morrison (whether father or son is not known) built a house of
hewn timbers on the site of the pipe line office, below R. P. King's residence.
During the same year, however, a majority of that family—perhaps all of them—
removed to the Kinzua valley and located there permanently.
In the mean time Isaac Buckalew had squatted on the bottoms opposite
Warren, and for a number of years enjoyed the distinction of being the only
resident in Warren county on the east side of the river south of Kinzua.
Zachariah Eddy also tarried at Warren for a brief period as early as 1801, but
did not become a permanent resident until some twelve or fifteen years later.
John Gilson, who resided in Sheffield for many years and attained an age of
nearly ninety, stated, years before his death, that his father, John Gilson, sr.,
was a native of New England, either Massachusetts or Connecticut, but
before removing to Warren had resided for some years at a point on the
Delaware river in New York. Gilson's family, accompanied by two other
families, reached Warren in May, 1803, floating down from Olean on a raft.
John Gilson, jr., was the youngest of a family of eleven children, all of whom
lived to be seventy-five or more years of age. During the first year of their arrival
here (1803) his father built a house on the site of Ephraim Cowan's former
residence on Water street. This was the second building erected upon the
inlots of Warren, counting the Holland Land Company's storehouse as the
first. In 1804 James Morrison built his house, previously referred to, and
Gideon Gilson, son of John, sr., built a house on C. P. Henry's corner. These
three houses were built of pine timbers hewn square. Stephen Gilson, son of
Gideon, was born soon after their arrival here, and without doubt he was the
first white native of the town. John Gilson, sr., died in March, 1811, and was
buried in a small plot set apart for such purposes on the farm of Daniel Jackson.
Daniel Jackson, the pioneer, whose name has been written more frequently,
perhaps, in connection with the early history of Warren than that of any other
person, was a native of Connecticut, but came here from the vicinity of Ithaca,
N. Y., in the spring of 1797, and settled upon a tract of land (since known as
the Wetmore farm) bordering the run which still bears his name, and distant
about one mile north of the town of Warren. Here, about half a mile above
the mouth of the run, he built a saw-mill (and subsequently a small grist mill)
said to have been the first one erected in the county; at least there was but
one other to dispute for the priority, and that was the mill built by the Meads
on the Brokenstraw. Jackson's mill was completed about the year 1800, and,
it has been related, the sawing of the first board was thought to be an event of
sufficient importance to call for some unusual demonstration on the part of
those present. Accordingly it was placed on the ground, a bottle of whisky
brought out, and two individuals, after partaking of its contents sufficiently to
give elasticity to their limbs, went through the primitive performance of dancing
a jig. From this mill, it has been claimed, the first raft of pine lumber ever
known to descend the Allegheny from Warren county was safely landed
at Pittsburgh. Some aver that this event took place in the year 1799, others
in 1801. The raft contained thirty thousand feet and was guided by sitting poles
instead of oars.
In coming to this county Jackson traveled by the way of Buffalo and Erie
to Waterford ; thence with canoes down French creek and up the Allegheny
and Conewango to his place of settlement. His children were Daniel, jr.,
Ethan, David, Ebenezer and Sylvia, and another daughter who died when
quite young. Being so far away from marts of trade and neighbors, he and
his family for a few years suffered many and great privations. At one time
he was obliged to make a winter's journey on snow shoes to Waterford, a
distance of fifty miles, in quest of salt. Steep hillsides, deep ravines and roaring
torrents intervened, and over all were cast the shadows of a dense primeval
forest unbroken by a single improvement.
In 1805 he built the first frame house, and the fourth for dwelling purposes
in the town of Warren on the northeast corner of Water and Hickory streets,
the lot now occupied by the dilapidated brick block erected by Archibald Tanner
in 1849-50. He was licensed to keep an inn in this house by the courts of
Venango county in 1806, and continued to be so engaged for a number
of years. Lansing Wetmore, Esq., has said that when he first visited
Warren in 1815, "Esq. Jackson" kept a tavern at the place described, "and,
what was rare in those times, was a temperate landlord." He died on Sunday,
June 20, 1830, in the seventy-ninth year of his age, under circumstances peculiarly
distressing in their nature. In an obituary notice of his death, published
soon after in the Voice of the People, certain incidents connected with his life
and last illness are noted as follows:
"The deceased was a native of the State of Connecticut and at an early day
removed to this county and settled on the banks of the Conewango creek, in
the immediate neighborhood of this place. With its earliest history and the
settlement of the country he was thoroughly conversant, and with the narrative
precision of vigorous old age, could tell of 'times and things gone by.' In his
hunting excursions he had explored the forests that environ us, and learned
the windings of the several streams. Beneath his guidance the first raft of
lumber ever sawed in this county was molded into form and conveyed on the
bosom of the Allegheny to Pittsburgh.
"He was commissioned a justice of the peace under the administration of
Governor Snyder, and continued to discharge the duties of the station. It was
in the honorable discharge of his official duty as a magistrate that he was
assailed by Nehemiah Waters and inhumanly bitten in the thumb of his right
hand. So envenomed was the wound that his strength of body and constitution
(although superior to that of most men of his age) could not resist its influence,
and its baneful effects soon set at naught the sedulous attention and skill
of his medical assistance and took entire possession of his system. To the last
he retained the entire possession of his faculties, and bore the most agonizing
pain with a patience and resignation becoming the dignity of christianized
"As a magistrate, an honest zeal for justice characterized the performance
of his official duties. As a man and a neighbor he was hospitable, friendly,
and benevolent; honest and punctual in his dealings, and social in his intercourse
with his fellow-men. As a parent he was tender and affectionate. His eulogy
is that name which poetic language has inscribed upon the noblest work
of creation—'an honest man':
"By nature honest, by experience wise,
Healthy by temperance and by exercise,
His life though long, to sickness pass'd unknown,
His death was peaceful and without a groan."
In the winter of 1805-6 George W. Fenton, father of the late
E. Fenton, of New York, taught the first school in a vacant room
Jackson's new house. While here he became acquainted with
Owen, of Carroll, to whom he was married in November following.
a niece of John King's wife.
The name of John King, a "single man," first appeared upon the rolls of
the county as a tax-payer in 1808. From that time until his death, which
occurred October 22, 1842, he continued to reside in the town of Warren, and
held several positions of honor and trust. He married Betsey, a daughter of
John Gilson, sr., August 15, 1811, who survived until October 23, 1873. The
children born to them were J. H. (now the oldest native of the borough, he
having been born May 20, 1812), Rufus P., George W., Mrs. Harmon, of Warren,
J. E. King, M. D., of Buffalo, Mrs. Eveline Mead, of Youngsville, and
Mrs. Betsey Hunter and Mrs. Malvina Cowan, of Warren.
Although the town had been made the county seat of Warren county in 1800,
it improved but slowly, and few, if any, families were added to its population,
other than those already mentioned, until after the close of the War of 1812-15.
During the next four years, however, many changes took place in the
appearance of the little town; and when the county was organized, in 1819,
such men as Archibald Tanner, Colonel Joseph Hackney, Lothrop S.
Parmlee, Henry Dunn, Zachariah Eddy, Robert Arthur, James Arthur,
Stewart, Ebenezer Jackson, son of Daniel, sr., Dr. Ayres, the son-in-law
the latter, John Andrews, James Follett, Robert Falconer, William Pier,
besides a number of blacksmiths, cordwainers, and tailors, were counted as
Henry Dunn, who at an early day was connected with Hackney & Harriott
in their lumbering operations on the Conewango, came here from Meadville
and became a permanent resident about the year 1815. For a number of
years he kept tavern in a house said to have been erected by Martin Reese
about 1812. This building, of hewn timbers, stood upon the grounds now
occupied by the First National Bank. Dunn's Tavern was a popular resort,
and at one time he entertained as a guest the notorious Aaron Burr, who,
being storm-bound, was compelled to tarry here several days while en route
down the river to the home of Blennerhasset. Subsequently Dunn built quite
a pretentious hostelry on the northwest corner of Second and Liberty streets,
afterwards known as the Hackney House and the Russell House corner.
Robert Falconer was a native of Scotland. For some years prior to the
beginning of the War of 1812 he, in partnership with his bachelor brother
Patrick, had been engaged in the mercantile business in the city of New York,
having also a branch house at Charleston, S. C. When the war began,
whose sympathies for Great Britain were very strong, determined to
remain in this "blarsted country" no longer, and, returning to Scotland,
there until his death. He never married. After the restoration of
peace, Robert, having disposed of his business affairs at New York and
began to look about for a country home for the benefit of his wife, who
was in a declining state of health. He had been advised by physicians to find
some place where hills or mountains, pine forests, and clear running streams
abounded. In some way, probably through his Long Island friend, Abraham
D. Ditmars, he heard of this then forlorn, out-of-the-way place, and concluded
to make a personal inspection of a region so highly extolled by land agents.
Accordingly, he first came here with Ditmars and his family in 1815. The
journey was a memorable one. Ditmars started with two good wagons, well
loaded, good teams, etc., and reached Chandler's Valley with one horse and
the fore wheels of one wagon only. The route followed led through New Jersey
to the crossing of the Delaware at Easton, thence to Bellefonte, and on
over the mountains to Holman's Ferry on the Allegheny, thence via Titusville
and Brokenstraw to Chandler's Valley. It required five weeks to accomplish
the journey, and when it was concluded Ditmar's effects, as well as some
of his family, were scattered along the way from Bellefonte westward.
They were finally gathered up, after much trouble and expense. Falconer
came through with the advance-guard of the party, including Ditmars. Not-
withstanding the difficulties encountered in getting here, he seems to have been
favorably impressed with the appearance of things, and purchased quite largely
of lands in town and country. Man is a strange, perverse animal, to say the
least, and his freaks when migrating are quite aptly illustrated in Falconer's
case. It does not appear that he came here with any intention of becoming a
farmer, but merely to found a home in a retired, wholesome locality. Hence,
unless it was his wish to place a great distance between himself and his former
haunts, he could have gone up the Hudson River but a few miles, comparatively
speaking, and there found hills and mountains, umbrageous forests of
pine and hemlock, swiftly-flowing streams of pure, sparkling water; and a
region, too, where the health-destroying clouds do not bank upon the ground
in the valleys at nightfall, and remain until eight or nine o'clock each morning
for seven months in the year. The lands along the Hudson were then equally
as cheap as those in Warren county. To-day they are worth so much more,
with no oil or gas considered in the prospective, that a comparison would be,
in most cases, as one to one hundred.
Falconer returned to New York and completed his arrangements for a
removal to Warren; but his wife died ere the second trip was commenced,
hence he reappeared at Warren alone. He soon became one of its prominent
and highly-respected citizens; was elected a county commissioner in 1823, and
was numbered as one of the merchants of the town prior to 1830. In 1834 he
completed the stone building on High street, known during late years as the
"Tanner House," and, when the Lumbermen's Bank (of which he was president)
was organized during the same year, its office was established in that
structure. As shown elsewhere, the bank failed in 1838. Being severely and
probably unjustly censured by reason of this failure, Mr. Falconer never
regained his former exuberance of spirits and business activity, and finally sank
into a state of utter helplessness, physically speaking, which only ended with
his death. He married a second wife in this county, but left no children. The
present Falconers are descendants of Patrick, a son of Patrick the brother of
Robert, who, when the last war with England began, would not live longer in
country where dukes and lords and kings and queens were spoken of irreverently,
and returned to Scotland. Robert Falconer purchased for this nephew
a fine farm, now occupied, in whole or in part, by the State Asylum at North
Colonel Joseph Hackney, a leading and highly-respected citizen among the
pioneers in both Crawford and Warren counties, was born at the "Little Falls,"
on the Mohawk River, N. Y., of Holland Dutch parentage, in 1763. The
opportunities afforded him of acquiring the most common rudiments of an education
were very meager indeed, and at the early age of seventeen years he
the American army and served during the remainder of the Revolutionary
Subsequently he served against the Western Indians, during the years 1785-90.
In 1790 he joined a detachment of troops at Pittsburgh
proposed moving down the Ohio River to Fort Washington (now Cincinnati)
and there join General Harmer, who was then preparing for a campaign
against the northwestern tribes. At Pittsburgh supplies for the troops
were placed on board of "Durham" boats and started down the river, while
the main body of the armed force marched by land. Hackney went in one
of the boats commanded by Captain Doughty. At or near the mouth of the
Muskingum they were fired upon by a party of Indians lying in ambush on
shore. The steersman was mortally wounded and fell. Hackney sprang forward
to take his place, and ordered the men to pull for the opposite shore.
He had scarcely taken the oar in his hand when a rifle ball shattered his arm
above the elbow, rendering that member useless. He seized the oar with his
other hand and, amid the whistling of bullets, exhorted the men to pull for
life. Encouraged by his heroism they did pull, and as fast as one was shot
down another took his place, until they were out of reach of the enemy's balls..
Of the seven men in the boat five were killed or mortally wounded, and Hackney
and Captain Doughty were the only survivors of the party. Wounded
disabled, Hackney was unable to join the main body of the army and participate
in the battle which followed and resulted in the disastrous defeat of
General Harmer's army of about fifteen hundred officers and men.
Returning to Pittsburgh, he soon after engaged in the mercantile business
with Oliver Ormsby, and remained there until 1794, when he removed to
Meadville. There he erected a small frame building (which is still standing)
in 1797, and kept store in it until his removal to Warren county. When
Crawford county was organized in 1800, with four other counties attached to
it, including Warren, he was one of the first county commissioners to be elected,
and served as such from 1800 to 1802, also from 1811 to 1814. In 1815 he,
in partnership with Major James Herriott, of Meadville, purchased the sawmill
on the Conewango near Irvineburg, which was in operation and owned by
Colt & Marlin (the Col. Ralph Marlin particularly mentioned during the sessions
of the first term of court held in Warren county) as early as 1808. In
Colonel Hackney became a permanent resident in the town of Warren,
and in 1818-19 he, together with Jacob Harrington and James Cochran,
the district composed of Crawford, Erie, Mercer, Venango and
counties in the State Legislature; thus being in a position to introduce
and advocate a bill providing for the organization of Warren county. When
this event took place he was one of the two associate judges first commissioned,
and served as such until his death, which occurred May 20, 1832. His title
of colonel seems to have been honorary, at least it does not appear that he
held that rank during his active service as a soldier.
Archibald Tanner, Warren's first merchant, and, we believe, its first postmaster,
was born in Litchfield county, Connecticut, February 3, 1786, and removed
with his father's family to New Connecticut, Trumbull county, Ohio,
He came to Warren in 1816 and at once began a successful business
career here by occupying part of Daniel Jackson's bar-room and offering for
sale at retail a small stock of merchandise. Jackson's tavern, as before stated,
stood on the corner of Water and Hickory streets, now occupied by the Tanner
block. During that or the following year, Mr. Tanner built a small store on
the river bank nearly opposite the tavern mentioned, and occupied it for the
sale of his goods as soon as it was completed.
There is quite an interesting story connected with the history of this building
which has been related to us in substance about as follows: The ground
utilized by Mr. Tanner had not been laid out as a town lot or as a fractional
part of one, but was and is yet considered part of the public domain of 3,000
acres reserved in 1789, besides being the natural bank of a navigable stream.
Some years subsequent to the building of Tanner's store, a man named Hunter,
considering that he had as good a right to occupy the bank in question as
Tanner, proposed to erect a building just above Tanner's, or near the north
end of the present suspension bridge, and there collected a considerable quantity
of building material—timbers and lumber. Tanner objected to Hunter's
occupancy of the site selected, and a bitter personal quarrel followed. Finally
Hunter desisted from his purpose of building, but had Tanner indicted as a
trespasser upon the lands of the Commonwealth. But Tanner seemed to be a
man who could easily surmount difficulties, both great and small, and employing
counsel (Thomas Struthers, we believe); the latter proceeded to Harrisburg
and secured the passage of a legislative act by the provisions of which Tanner
was permitted to remain in peaceful possession of the building he had erected,
and to repair it from time to time when necessary, but was denied the privilege
of rebuilding. With the decay or destruction of the structure the occupancy
of its site for private purposes should cease. Need we add the building still
stands in a good state of preservation and is now known as the La Pierre
Conflagrations have repeatedly swept away rows of buildings in front
and to the right of it, yet by reason of its somewhat isolated location it has
escaped them all. It has been carefully and systematically repaired at divers
times, from foundation walls to roof top, and to-day, probably, is much in the
same condition as the famous old United States frigate Constitution was
to be in when she went out of commission and was broken up—
not a single panel, plank, or timber of the original vessel.
It has been related of Mr. Tanner that in the spring of 1817 he descended
the Allegheny and Ohio rivers with a raft of pine boards, thence down the
Mississippi to New Orleans. After disposing of his lumber he proceeded to
New York in a sailing vessel, where he purchased a stock of merchandise,
transported the same overland to Olean and floated from that point down the
river to Warren in a boat built for the purpose. That stock of goods was the
beginning, the nucleus, of the handsome estate which a long life of industry,
perseverance and honorable dealing enabled him to accumulate. He served as
the first treasurer of the county, and also held the office of postmaster for years
prior to 1829. In building he had no equal in the early history of Warren.
The first steamboat to navigate the upper Allegheny was a monument to his
enterprise and public spirit. He was an early member of the Presbyterian
Church, and when the first church edifice of the society was erected he was
much the largest contributor. He died in Warren February 15, 1861, aged
Lothrop S. Parmlee, Archibald Tanner's competitor in the mercantile business
for about twenty years, located here permanently in 1817. He passed
some months at Warren as early as 1808. Subsequently he had resided at
Marietta, Ohio, and Jamestown, N. Y.; was engaged in merchandising at the
latter place just before removing to Warren. A native or former resident of
Oneida county, N. Y., he was gentlemanly in his manners, high spirited, impulsive
and loquacious. Both he and Mr. Tanner were enterprising, fairdealing
business men, and by their example and public spirit did much to
and shape and give character and stability to the early residents of the
In 1819 Ebenezer Jackson had nearly completed a building on the Carver
House corner. In it the first term of court was held, commencing Monday,
November 29 of that year, and here Jackson and his successors kept tavern for
many years. It finally became known as the Warren Hotel, but after the lapse
of thirty years from its completion gave place to the Carver House.
Among others who became residents during the years from 1819 to 1822
were William Arthur; Joseph Adams, a carpenter; Philo Brewer, cordwainer;
John Brown, prothonotary; Samuel Graham, tailor; John Hackney, tailor;
Daniel Houghwout, carpenter; Josiah Hall, a law student with
Abner Hazeltine; David Jackson; Abner Hazeltine, attorney at law;
Abel Mansfield, carpenter; William Olney, carpenter; Joseph Hall, stone mason;
blacksmith; Hezekiah Sawyer, carpenter; Samuel Saxton;
Lansing Wetmore; Johnson Wilson; A. Stebbins, shoemaker;
R. Chipman, shoemaker; J. Dinnin, tailor; Adam Deitz, gunsmith;
Miner Curtis, shoemaker.
At a later period, yet prior to 1830, some old numbers of the Warren
Gazette furnish valuable information concerning the town and its inhabitants.
Thus, early in the spring of 1826 Archibald Tanner informed the public
through the columns of the Gazette that he continued to keep on hand "an
extensive assortment of Dry Goods, Hardware, Queen's Ware, Glass Ware,
Men's and Women's Shoes, Straw Bonnets, &c. Spades, Shovels, Tongs, Tea
kettles, a few barrels of Dried Apples, Old Pittsburgh Whiskey, Tea, Chocolate,
Coffee, Pearlash, Pork, Cheese, Codfish, Lard, Flour, Salt, &c, all of which
will be sold as low for ready pay as can be purchased in the Western country."
At the time Tanner began his career as a merchant in Warren, flour was
worth $15 per barrel; salt, $2.75 per bushel; tobacco, 50 cents per pound;
bacon and pork, 25 cents per pound; tea, $3.00 per pound ; black cambric 50
cents per yard; cotton sheeting, unbleached, 62 cents per yard; India sheeting,
70 cents per yard; coffee, 37 1/2 cents per pound; whisky, $1.75 per gallon;
ginger, $1.00 per pound; pepper, 62 cents per pound; allspice, 62 cents per
On the 6th of May, 1826, the Gazette announced "the arrival in this port,
on Tuesday last, of the Transport, 12 tons burthen, D. Jackson of this place
master, in 13 days from Pittsburgh, laden with flour, whisky, iron, nails, glass,
&c, for A. Tanner and others;" also on the same day two other keel boats
with two passengers and more whisky from Freeport.
On the 27th of the same month and year, the editor said: "On Wednesday
last the citizens of our village [he was more modest than present ones, who
term a small borough a city] for the first time were cheered by the arrival in
it of a four-horse stage. It will be seen by the advertisement of Edson & Eaton
[Obed Edson and Harry Eaton] that they have commenced running their
line of stages regularly between Dunkirk (on Lake Erie) and this place. This
speaks much in favor of the population and improvement of our country." He
further remarked that if any one had talked in favor of such an enterprise five
years previously he would have been regarded as "visionary and chimerical."
Under the management as then announced, stages were run twice a week
between Dunkirk and Jamestown, and once a week between Dunkirk and
A few weeks later Uriah Hawks made his bow to the public, and informed
the readers of the Gazette that he had " opened a shop on Water street, east
of Jackson's Hotel, where he has on hand and will continue to keep spinning
wheels of all kinds, made of the best stuff, which he will sell cheap for cash or
During the latter part of May, 1827, Joseph Hackney advertised that he
had " taken the commodious stand in the town of Warren known as the 'Mansion
House,' lately occupied by William Pierpont, and has supplied himself
with a stock of liquors and other accommodations suitable for travellers, and
all those who please to honor him with their custom."
In 1828 Orris Hall gave notice "that he has just received from New York
and offers for sale in this village, as cheap for cash as can be purchased in the
Western country, a general assortment of Foreign and Domestic goods," etc.,
etc." Also Liquors, Loaf and Brown Sugar." L. S. Parmlee likewise announced
for sale in the same number "an elegant assortment of Dry Goods, as cheap as
There was also noted in the columns of the Gazette, in the summer of
1828, the arrival "from Europe of eighty German and French emigrants,
who have pitched their tents at the mouth of the Conewango, where they are
visited by the citizens of the village old and young, and while looking at their
quaint dress and wooden shoes, they can but gaze and wonder." During the
same year, too, Thomas Struthers and Samuel A. Purviance, attorneys at law,
became residents of the town.
On the 22d of January, 1829, in a description of the town, furnished at the
solicitation of the publishers of the United States Gazette, the editor of the
Warren Gazette said: "The only public buildings we can boast of is a brick
court-house and public offices of stone, fire-proof. The court-house is not
large, but neat and convenient, substantially built and well finished, with a
well-toned bell in it weighing with the yoke 362 pounds. We have a jail, also,
although it has once or twice been mistaken for a turkey pen. Our village
contains fifty dwelling houses, mostly frame, two stories high, painted white,
and tenanted. Five stores (well filled), three taverns, two tanneries, two blacksmith
shops, five shoemakers, one saddler and harness maker, two chair makers,
one wheel wright, one cabinet maker, two carpenters and joiners, one hatter,
one wagon maker, six lawyers, two doctors, one baker, two masons,
six freemasons, two saw mills, and a grist mill."
The chief event of this year (1829) was the celebration of the 4th of July.
It had been decided to assemble at "one of the Sisters," a small romantic island
in the Allegheny River, about one mile and a half above the village. Accordingly
about half-past one p. m. the party embarked on the Warren Packet.
A small band struck up Hail Columbia and the boat moved off. But the voyage
up the river suddenly terminated at the "ripples," where the craft stuck
fast in the gravel, and the passengers, instead of going up, were only too glad
to come down again; the men of the party being compelled to get out into
shallow water and shove the boat off. This done they floated down with the
current, and landed at the point formed by the confluence of the Allegheny
and Conewango rivers. Here in a beautiful grove "tables were erected and
covered with the choicest provisions. After the repast the tables were cleared
and the company again took seats, his Honor Judge Hackney, being appointed
president, and Thomas Struthers, esq., vice president. Then followed volunteer
toasts by Hon. Joseph Hackney, A. Tanner, esq., Thomas Struthers, esq.,
W. L. Adams, M. Gallagher, esq., Parker C. Purviance, William P. McDowell,
Jefferson Smith, J. H. Shannon, and S. S. Barnes, which were respectively
drank amid much good humor. In the evening the party re-embarked on
board the boat, and, as the band played several national airs, slowly moved into
the current towards the village. . . . On landing a procession was formed,
and to an appropriate air struck up by the band it proceeded to Mechanics Hall,
from which place the company retired to their homes at an early hour, all well
pleased with the amusements of the day."
In 1830 the merchants doing business in Warren were Archibald Tanner,
Lothrop S. Parmlee, Robert Falconer, Orris Hall, Samuel D. Hall, Daniel
Chase, and N. A. Lowry, dealers in general merchandise; 0. Stanton & Co.,
grocers, and Milton Ford, grocer and druggist. The physicians during the
same year were Abraham Hazeltine and Thomas Huston.
By a legislative enactment approved April 3, 1832, the town was erected
into a borough. The first borough election was held at the court-house
May 7, 1832, when the following officers were chosen: John Andrews, burgess;
Joseph Hackney, Lansing Wetmore, Zachariah Eddy, James Stewart, and
Albinus Stebbins, town council. On the 12th of May following the burgess
and council appointed Thomas Struthers clerk, and John King street commissioner,
and June 2, of the same year, Dr. Abraham Hazeltine was appointed
borough treasurer. At the time of its incorporation the town contained three
hundred and fifty-eight inhabitants. The first separate assessment roll of those
residing or owning taxable property within the borough limits — the original
in lots comprising three hundred acres—was completed in 1833, and from
this list it is ascertained that the names of the taxable inhabitants at that time
were as follows :
Andrews, John, county commissioners' clerk, etc.
Arthur, James, lumberman.
Arthur, Robert, lumberman.
Adams, Warren L., cabinet maker.
Adams, Joseph, mechanic.
Booker, Philip, shoemaker.
Brown, Alfred, single man.
Bostwick, Henry, owner of shoe shop and tannery.
Blackley, John, single man.
Bell, William, mechanic.
Chase, Daniel, merchant.
Clemons, Thomas, proprietor of printing office.
Curtis, Miner, shoemaker.
Ditmars, John, single man.
Deitz, Adam, gunsmith.
Davis, John F., tailor.
Eddy, Isaac S., single man.
Edgar, John, mechanic.
Ferguson, Morgan, mechanic.
Farrington, Jesse, shoemaker.
Ford, Milton, grocer.
Falconer, Robert, merchant.
Gordon, Joseph C., tavern keeper.
Graham, James W., single man.
Gordon, Lewis, single man.
Hodges, Walter W.
Hawley, Alpheus, prop'r carding mills.
Hall, Samuel D., merchant.
Hackney, Joseph W., tavern keeper.
Hall, Josiah, attorney at law.
Hackney, Joseph C.
Hazeltine, Abraham, physician.
Hackney, Margaret, widow.
Houghwout, Daniel, carpenter.
Hall, Orris, merchant.
Jackson, Thomas W.
King, J. Hamilton.
Luther, Jacob, shoemaker.
Lane, Asahel, single man.
McDowell, William P., merchant.
Morrison, William, single man.
Merrill, Oilman, attorney at law.
Newman, Hiram S., profession.
Nugent, James, mechanic.
Olney, Rufus, potter.
Osmer, John P., mechanic.
Olney, William A.
Pier, William, justice of the peace.
Parmlee, Lothrop S., merchant.
Parker, Timothy F., physician.
Pierce, Thompson, single man.
Reed, Samuel, single man.
Struthers, Thomas, attorney at law.
Sayles, Scott W.
Stebbins, Albinus, mechanic.
Snyder, Simon, single man.
Scott, Asa, blacksmith.
Summerton, J. D., grocer; came here from
Cayuga county, N. Y., in 1832.
Stone, Ellery, shoemaker.
Stanton, Daniel, single man.
Snyder, George, mechanic.
Sargent, Henry, physician. 1. (webmaster note: see below for this footnote)
Skinner, Archibald, single man.
Stevenson, Simeon G., tin smith.
Stevenson, Reuben, mechanic.
Turner, Thomas, tavern keeper.
Turner, Joshua, burgess.
Taylor, Justus, mechanic.
Tanner, Cyrus, single man.
Tanner, Archibald, merchant.
Temple, Stephen, single man.
Wetmore, Lansing, attorney at law.
1. Dr. Henry Sargent was born at New Chester, N. H., in 1790; was a graduate of Dartmouth
Medical College; became a resident of Warren in 1833, and died here suddenly in August, 1851. His
only child, a daughter, became the wife of Hon. C. B. Curtis. Dr. Sargent was highly respected as a
citizen, and his great skill as a physician was widely known.
The year 1834 was made memorable in the history of the borough by the
building of the academy and the organization of the Lumbermen's Bank, detailed
accounts of which will be found in succeeding pages.
In 1835 the town must have been almost as badly overrun with snarling,
snapping hydrophobia breeders as it is at present; hence many of its best
citizens attached their signatures to a paper of which the following is a copy:
"We whose names are undersigned do hereby agree to indemnify and keep
free from all damages that may or shall legally accrue, to any person or persons,
who shall kill any dog or dogs that shall be found running at large in the
streets of the borough of Warren, the property of any citizen or other person
residing in said borough for the space of three months from the date hereof,
or any dog or dogs found as aforesaid without any owner or person along
with them, claiming the ownership of them, for the space of time above mentioned.
WARREN, February 2, 1835."
This agreement was signed by William Bell, W. E. Griffith, William Sands,
T. H. Fenton, Samuel D. Hall, James O. Parmlee, William P. Clark, John A.
Hall, Harrison French, J. M. Olney, Milton Ford, Robert Falconer, Archibald
Tanner, Archibald Skinner, Robert Miles, William P. McDowell, Darius Mead,
Thomas Morton, Joseph W. Hackney, Josiah Hall, James Vanhorn, William
Pier, Oilman Merrill, Thomas Struthers, Samuel P. Johnson, George W.
Snyder, Francis Everett, Thomas Clemons, Morgan Ferguson, Warren L.
Adams, David Jackson, Z. H. Eddy, William Smith, R. McKinney, W. G.
Morrison, James Steadman, and Carlton B. Curtis.
Of those whose names appear in the above paragraph, only two now reside
in the borough; but what is still more remarkable than the fact that there
should be but two survivors after the lapse of fifty-two years, is the coincidence
that these men were then associated together as members of a law firm,
and that their names were affixed to the agreement side by side. We refer to
Hon. Thomas Struthers and Hon. Samuel P. Johnson.
The Lumbermen's Bank failed in 1838, and, as we are informed by a relic
of the past — a copy of the Warren Bulletin published in the early part of
that year—Timothy F. Parker, Robert Miles, Cornelius Masten, jr., Archibald
Skinner, and Benjamin Bartholomew were the commissioners appointed to
investigate its affairs. This paper also announced the arrival of the steamboat
New Castle from Pittsburgh, and the presence of a corps of engineers in the
employ of the Sunbury and Erie Railroad Company. During the following
year (1839) the first bridge across the Allegheny was built.
The decade which followed was not marked by any extraordinary events
nor an unusual degree of prosperity. The town kept along in the even tenor
of its way, slowly increasing in population as a result of being the commercial
center of a lumbering region. In the destruction of the pine forests in this part
of the county a few of its citizens acquired considerable wealth, but the many
—those who did the work, the chopping, sawing, hauling and rafting—barely
earned enough to provide shelter and food for their families. A few minor
manufacturing industries were established, while about an equal number from
time to time suspended, by reason of the migratory habits of their operators.
Many changes were likewise noted among mercantile firms, lawyers and
doctors, as they came and went in the endeavor to better their financial conditions.
There were a considerable number of men, however—such as Archibald
Tanner, N. B. Eldred, C. B. Curtis, Thomas Struthers, Walter W.
Hodges, Oilman Merrill, Orris Hall, Lansing Wetmore, Samuel P. Johnson,
Henry Sargent, Abraham Hazeltine, Timothy F. Parker, J. D. Summerton,
Hiram Oilman, Benjamin Bartholomew, Rasselas Brown, J. Y. James,
Thomas Clemons, Andrew H. Ludlow, Joseph Carver, Stephen Carver,
Robert Falconer, Richard S. Orr, Charles W. Rathbun, Lewis Arnett,
Jerome B. Carver, Cornelius Masten, jr., D. V. Stranahan, John H. Hull, G. A. Irvine,
G. W. Scofield, and "a number of others — who, having become permanently established
here prior to the close of the decade referred to, were active in the prosecution
of their respective professions and occupations, and gave character and
stability to the whole community.
Until the year 1848 the only brick structures in the town were the courthouse
and the academy, while up the river a short distance a few Indian wigwams
with tenants were yet to be seen. During the year mentioned, however,
an innovation upon the old order of things began, by the erection of the
Carver House, upon the corner previously occupied by the old Warren House,
or, in other words, the tavern built by Ebenezer Jackson in 1819. The new
hotel was opened for business in March, 1849, with John H. Hull (the former
landlord of the old Warren House) installed as proprietor. In referring to the
erection of the new building, the editor of the Mail, under date of August 1,
1848, said: "Our village — or rather our borough — presents many indications
of improvement. Among them we notice a fine block going up on the corner
of Front and Hickory streets; the basement of chiseled stone and the body of
brick. It is to be used for a hotel and store, and bids fair to be what might
be expected from the energy and enterprise of its proprietors — Messrs.
Carver & Hall. It will greatly improve that part of Front street [an absurd
expression, still in vogue, the calling of Water street, Front street], and contribute
in making Warren as distinguished for the elegance and convenience of its
buildings as it is for the beauty and romance of its scenery."
In the same number of the Mail the editor also said: "The early settlers of
this country who still remain among us, can probably discover some improvement
in the facilities for traveling at the present day. Formerly it required
about four days to come from Pittsburgh to this place, though some have come
in less time. The roads were bad, carriages could not be procured. Forests,
hills, valleys, rocks, brush, and mud greeted the weary footman. Accommodations
were scarce. Darkness often overtook him on Pennsylvania's hills,
while thoughts of home and loved ones there, were all that cheered him on his
lonely way. Now, by the new line of stages, recently established by Richard
S. Orr and others, the traveller can go from Pittsburgh to Buffalo in less than
three days. Stages leave this place for Buffalo every evening (Sundays excepted),
arriving at Buffalo the next evening in time to take the Eastern cars.
Also for Pittsburgh every morning at seven o'clock, going through in forty eight
hours. Good teams, good carriages, and low fares make this a good
This is a pen picture of the wonderful traveling facilities afforded the citizens
of Warren, and other points on the route between Pittsburgh and Buffalo,
less than forty years ago. Yet, if the people of to-day had no better way than
is here described — the delights of being jolted, thrown forward, backward, to
the right or left, without intimation or warning, for twenty-four hours at a
time, and still the journey not half over — there can be no doubt that they
would consider themselves in even a worse condition than were the first settlers
who uncomplainingly made their journeys afoot.
In the fall of 1848 an old building, which stood on the point at the junction
of Water and Third streets, was torn down, and it was then first proposed to
make the place a "public common."
On Tuesday, March 6, 1849, between three and four o'clock a. m., the
Exchange Building — in which were the stores of Taylor & Arnett; S. L. Axtell,
and Baker & Hunter; S. G. Stevens, tin-shop and store; Summerton's tinshop;
the Standard printing office, S. J. Goodrich proprietor; the shoe-shop of
E. N. Rogers, occupied by N. Ford; the tailor shop of county treasurer
H. L. Church, and Benjamin Nesmith's harness shop — was discovered to
be on fire, and two hours later was entirely destroyed. Loss from $50,000 to
In May of the same year a resident, enraptured by his or her surroundings,
indulged in a bit of poetic gush as follows:
"Sweet village of a sweeter vale,
Where flows the Allegheny bright,
Thy beauteous scenes can never fail
To fill this bosom with delight.
"Let others talk of Southern climes,
Where flowers blossom all the year;
Let poets pour their flood of rhymes,
Where brighter lands to them appear;
"But I will sing of thee, my home,
For thou hast joys enough for me;
Nor will I breathe a wish to roam,
While thus inspired with love for thee.
"Yon river, on whose bosom sweet
I've often watched, with childish glee,
The sunbeams dance with merry feet,
Is Nature's loveliest child to me.
"Then can I breathe a wish to roam,
While thus inspired with love for thee?
No, thou art still my chosen home,
Sweet village, and must ever be."
In the summer following, the three-story brick block on the northeast corner
of Water and Hickory streets, was commenced by Archibald Tanner. It
was the second brick structure erected in the town for individual purposes, and
to make room for it the old Jackson tavern, built by Daniel Jackson in 1805,
was moved back.
At this time, too, Warren had other residents possessed of literary ability,
as witness the following:
"THE END NOT YET.
"The subscriber believing that the world will not come to an end in '49,
but that '49 will end the last day of December next, and that Gen. Taylor
cannot ruin the Nation (alone) and that Tom Benton and Calhoun will not be
president until after they are elected; that a National Bank or 'Independent
Treasury' is very convenient in every family (under proper restrictions) properly
managed, and having of late embraced the 'one idea' principle that every man
must look out for himself, he has concluded to continue the
and spare no effort to please all who may favor him with their custom. You
will find him 'armed and equipped' as St. Crispin directs, in his shop over the
Ledger office on Second street. Therefore, in the language of the poet,
"All you who dote on a good fitting boot,
Whose pockets are filled with the Rhino,
Pass ye not by, like an ignorant coot,
He'll fit you most finely that I know.
"Warren, July 24, 1849. N. FORD."
Among the merchants doing business in the town in 1849-50 were
Watson & Davis, Summerton & Taylor, Hull & King, Baker & Hunter,
Parmlee & Oilman, S. C. Brasington, and John A. Hall, postmaster,
dealers in general merchandise; William & T. S. Messner, grocers;
Charles W. Rathbun, liquors and groceries; D. M. Williams, grocer, and
Hazeltine & Co. (G. W. Hazeltine and S. P. Johnson) dealers in drugs, books,
stationery, etc., at Variety Hall.
In 1850 Watson, Davis & Co.'s block at the junction of Second and Water
streets was built, being the third brick structure of the borough. In excavating
for the foundation walls the bones of a human body were found, supposed
to have been the remains of a French hunter or explorer, or of an employee of
the Holland Land Company.
In the spring of that year the maple trees, now densely shading the little
park at the point separating Water and Third streets, were placed in position.
Of the traveling "shows," which during that period regularly visited Warren
in their rounds, the tent exhibitions of Quick & Co., Levi J. North, Barnum,
and Dan Rice, and the hall entertainments of the Baker Family, the Burt Family,
etc., seemed to be the most popular.
In the summer of 1851 a form of diarrhoea [sic] became epidemic in the town
and carried off many of its residents, particularly young adults and children.
The Johnson block, on the southeast corner of Second and Liberty streets,
was built in 1854, and was then considered to be the most imposing and best
building in the county.
The year 1859 closed with railroad communication established between
Warren and Erie, and great was the rejoicing thereat [sic]. The lower railroad
bridge was completed in September of the following year, and, resting on rather
low abutments or piers, terminated steamboat navigation to points above.
The United States census of 1860 revealed the following facts concerning
the borough and its inhabitants: Total number of inhabitants, 1,742; total
number of the same, foreign born, 417; total number of deaths during the year, 22;
total number of persons whose estates exceed $30,000, 9; total number of
persons whose estates equal or exceed $20,000, 19; total number of persons
whose estates equal or exceed $10,000, 29; total number of dwelling houses,
In July of that year the chief topic of thought and conversation for a short
time was in relation to a bold burglary committed in their midst. The office
of Hon. Thomas Struthers had been broken into and a safe containing $3,000
in gold and many valuable papers carried off by thieves who left no traces
behind them. After two or three days, however, the safe was found on James
H. Eddy's farm in Glade. It had been broken open and the coin taken away,
but the papers were found nearly intact. Suspicion was soon directed upon
three Irishmen living near by, who upon being arrested were found to be the
guilty parties, and a portion of the money was recovered.
During the fall of 1860 the marshaling of the ante-bellum militia companies
of the district under Brigadier-General R. Brown and staff (the latter composed
of George V. N. Yates, judge advocate; Nelson S. Woodford, quartermaster;
Leroy L. Lowry, paymaster; Harrison Allen, aid, and Samuel W. Brown,
surgeon), the parades of the wide-awake marching companies, the great political
campaign then in progress, and last, but not least, the oil excitement—all
conspired to make matters exceedingly lively in and around the borough.
In the fall of 1864 wood was worth $7 per cord, and coal $12 per ton.
For a small inland town literally surrounded by thousands of acres of timber
land all in sight, this seems to have been an exorbitant price for common fire
wood, even though it was at a time of inflated prices.
In March, 1865, occurred the great flood remembered so vividly by many,
and still to be seen — as pictured by the photographer. The roily, rushing
waters rose to their greatest height on the 18th, when the Irvine bottom
opposite the town was one vast lake. The "Island" was covered to the depth
of several feet, and all the buildings, lumber, cooperage, etc., near the banks of
the Conewango and Allegheny were swept away. Hook's old saw-mill, which
for nearly fifty years had been a familiar land-mark on the Allegheny some
five miles above Warren, was lifted from its ancient site and transferred to
Morrison's flat, below the town.
Among the dealers in various kinds of merchandise at this time (1865)
were O. H. Hunter, Beecher & Coleman, E. T. Hazeltine & Co., George L.
Friday & Co., P. J. Trushel & Co., George Ball, Arnett & Galligan, Pierce &
Shafer, William Messner, John Honhart, Schnur & Ruhlman, J. M. Turner,
F. A. Randall, S. Burgess, J. B. Brown, D. D. Babcock, Otto Huber, Kelly
Weaver, Christian Retterer, Jacob Lesser, C. L. Hassel & Co., George Reig,
L. D. Crandall, S. G. Stevens, L. W. Arnett, Adolph Saltsman, brewer, Smith
& Messner, Abijah Morrison, A. Kirberger, and Rowan & Converse.
The years 1867-68 witnessed marked improvements throughout the borough.
Many new buildings, both for dwelling and business purposes, were
erected, a number of them of a size and ornate style of architecture to this
time here unseen. The handsome residences of Hon. R. Brown, Judge William
D. Brown, Boon Mead, and Colonel L. F. Watson were among the number
War prices still prevailed, which, in comparison with present rates, were
almost frightful. Thus, flour was worth from $12 to $16 per barrel; butter
60 cents per pound; potatoes $1.00 per bushel; lard 22 cents per pound;
pork 18 cents per pound, and sugar 15 to 20 cents per pound. All other
commodities bought and sold — dry goods, hardware, etc., were equally as
high in price, while the laborer and mechanic received but little more pay for
his daily toil than he does to-day.
About the 1st of November, 1869, the buildings on Water street, occupied
by Bennett, Carrie Denison, A. Ruhlman, S. M. Cogswell, P. Bysecker,
Mrs. A. Ruhlman, Taylor & Messner, M. Carpenter & Co., O. H. Hunter,
F. Fettee, J. F. Wells & Co., and Allen & Reeves, were destroyed by fire. In
February, 1870, another conflagration raged, at the corner of Liberty and Water
streets. A newspaper writer of that day said: "There were a few men who worked
faithfully to subdue the flames and save property, and a very large audience
collected to see them do it."
By the census enumeration of 1870 it was ascertained that the borough
contained two thousand and one inhabitants. The wire foot-bridge across the
Conewango was built during the same year, and a stock company organized
to build a suspension bridge across the Allegheny, which structure was
finished in 1871.
During the year 1872 a number of notable events occurred—Decoration
Day was formally observed for the first time. The new union school building,
which was completed a few months before at a cost of $23,000, was badly
damaged by the fire which destroyed the old Germania Hotel. The old
pioneer, Zachariah Eddy, died at the age of ninety-four years. A street railway
extending from the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad station, via Water street
to Glade, was built. Two one-horse, or "bob-tail," cars were brought into
use, but it appears that there were then two cars too many. The enterprise
proved to be a complete failure, and after about two years the rails were taken
up, and all the material shipped to some locality more populous or appreciative.
During 1872, also, the Irvine family, of Irvineton, proposed to donate to the
borough, for a public park, thirty acres of land, lying on the left bank of the
Allegheny, about one mile below the town; but as the proposal was accompanied
by conditions requiring the immediate expenditure of a large sum of
money, it was considered that for a town having no gas or water supply, nor
fire apparatus worthy of mention, the luxury would prove to be too expensive,
quite out of character; hence the proposition was respectfully declined. Gifts
bestowed under conditions are not always acceptable.
The building termed the Town Hall, on the southeast corner of Third and
Hickory streets, was built in 1877-78, at a cost of about $9,000.
In 1884 the substantially-built structure now occupied by the Warren
Library Association was completed. For a number of years there had been a
chartered public library in the town, but it had neither home nor income. Its
destitution excited the sympathy of the Hon. Thomas Struthers, and aroused
his beneficence. He therefore proposed to the citizens that if they would furnish
the grounds he would build and donate to the association a structure of
which all might feel proud. The site, a rather costly one, corner of Liberty
and Third streets, was purchased with money contributed by L. D. Wetmore,
H. A. Jamieson, William D. Brown, S. P. Johnson, F. Henry, Rasselas Brown,
Willard White, C. W. Stone, M. B. Dunham, A. J. Hazeltine, O. W. Beatty,
L. F. Watson, David Beatty, M. Waters, Benjamin Nesmith, A. Hertzel, H. L.
Bartholomew, Robert Dennison, S. T. Allen, O. C. Allen, S. W. Waters,
Christian Smith, E. T. Hazeltine, Beecher & Copeland, J. H. Eddy, F. H.
Rockwell, Thomas H. De Silver, W. H. Pickett, C. H. Noyes, E. B. Frew,
J. K. Palmer, Charles P. Henry, E. Cowan, O. H. Hunter & Son, Sol Cohn,
J. E. Berkstresser, G. I. Mead, J. W. Jenkins, J. A. Weible, G. G. Mead,
F. Barnhart, Albert Kirberger, Alice W. Jefferson, W. A. Rankin, Henry Knupp,
James C. Wells, Hazeltine & Baker, George H. Ames, A. J. Davis, Medora I.
Mead, H. E. Brown, M. V. Van Etten, P. H. Towle, Manville Bros., L. G.
Noyes, Henry Cobham, W. W. Wilbur, William Schnur, Rufus P. King,
M. Shaeffer, S. T. Daggett, George L. Friday, John Kropp, Thomas Keelor,
S. P. Schemerhorn, Fred Morck, M. Mead, S. H. Davis, S. V. Davis, George H.
Leonhart, J. W. Stearns, Jane Orr, P. Greenlund, S. Keller, A. B. Miller,
Rick Donovan, and A. H. McKelvy.
Not including the site, the building cost about $90,000. Besides affording
spacious and elegant rooms for the books of the association and visitors, it also
contains one of the handsomest and best appointed halls for the use of opera
and theatrical troupes to be found in Western Pennsylvania. The post-office
officials, and the publishers of the Ledger, likewise find commodious quarters
within its walls.
A glance at the assessment roll of the borough for the year 1885 discloses
the following pertinent facts: Value of lots and buildings, $1,514,759; number
of horses and mules, 221; number of cows, 37; number of resident taxables, 1,167.
The resident taxables for the year 1886 are 1,134 in number, thus showing
a decrease of 33 in twelve months. This can be accounted for, however,
from the fact that for ten years or more Warren has been the rendezvous
of large numbers of oil men. As residents they are an uncertain quantity—
birds of passage, coming and going constantly. Hence many former short-term
Warrenites can now be found in Washington county, Pa., and the Ohio oil fields.
Though the town is built upon lands the surface of which is but a few feet
above the bed of the Allegheny, it is credited with an elevation of eleven hundred
and ninety-eight feet above tide water, and six hundred and thirty-three
feet above Lake Erie. Its population numbered considerably less than three
thousand in 1880. The present inhabitants are estimated to be full five thousand
in number, or more than the entire county contained in 1830. The last
decade has witnessed the introduction of illuminating gas; water, of the finest
quality, from Morrison's Run; the formation of an efficient fire department;
the inauguration of a system of drainage and sewage, and the utilization of
natural gas as a fuel.
In the "Warren County Directory," published at the Ledger office in 1886,
Judge S. P. Johnson closed a brief article relating to the borough, as follows:
"Warren has always kept up even with, and sometimes a little ahead of, the
enterprise and progress of the surrounding world of the same age. She had a
bell in her court-house, a chartered bank, a public hall, an academy, and a
street railroad before Franklin, twenty years her senior in judicial organization,
enjoyed these luxuries. . . . For the last twenty-five years it has furnished
the bench with more judges, and the legislative halls, both State and National,
with more representatives than any other town of its size in the State. For
some years it was the head of steamboat navigation, until bridges obstructed
the river's channel. It has now within its limited territory eight churches, well
supported, four hotels, four restaurants, and of saloons five too many. It abounds
in dry goods, grocery, drug, hardware, shoe, millinery, clothing and fancy goods
stores, mostly permanent and successful business houses. In mechanical
and manufacturing establishments Warren is well supplied — of which
the iron works of Struthers, Wells & Co., the Wetmore door and sash factory,
and the Jamieson pail and tub factory are the largest. Besides these there are
four planing-mills, two furniture factories, and other shops and factories in almost
every branch of productive industry, including Piso's cure for consumption, and
the Warren flouring mills.
"Outside local history has given Warren the reputation, for some years past,
of being a wealthy town, having large capital in proportion to its population.
As an evidence of that it has had, and now has, three banks — the First National,
the Citizens' National, and the Warren Savings Banks—owned entirely by her
own citizens. For the fact, if it be so, it is indebted to no factious aid or
circumstance; it is the result of intelligent and persevering industry and attention
to business for a lifetime, for which, notwithstanding the slurs of the
ephemeral parasites that have floated into it upon the tide of oil developments,
they are entitled to much credit. All the so-called wealthy men of the
town commenced life poor, and have acquired what they have, not by
gambling in an oil exchange or bucket-shop, but in the prosecution of honest and
legitimate business. These men came, or were here, before there were any
brick buildings in Warren, and by their enterprise have made it what it is —
the most permanently prosperous and beautiful little city in the western portion
of the State."
MUNICIPAL HISTORY. — The following is believed to be a full and correct
list of those who have served as burgess, town councilmen, and clerks for the
borough, from its incorporation in 1832 to 1886 inclusive.
1832.— John Andrews, burgess; Thos. Struthers, clerk; council, Joseph
Hackney, Lansing Wetmore, Zachariah Eddy, James Stewart, and Albinus
Stebbins. 1.) (webmaster note: see footnote directly below)
1.) June 2, 1832, at a special election, Robt. Miles was elected to fill the vacancy
occasioned by the
death of Joseph Hackney.
1833.— Joshua Turner, burgess; Thos. Struthers, clerk; Robert Arthur,
Rufus Olney, Eben Jackson, Thomas Turner, and Scott W. Sayles.
1834. — William Pier, burgess; Thos. Struthers, clerk; Francis Hook,
W. W. Hodges, Oilman Merrill, J. C. Gordon, and Warren L. Adams.
1835.— G. Merrill, burgess; C. B. Curtis, clerk; Henry Sargent,
Hall, John Edgar, Joshua Turner, and David Jackson.
1836. — G. Merrill, burgess; C. B. Curtis, clerk; Hiram Oilman,
Eldred, Geo. L. Chapel, W. W. Hodges, and J. D. Summerton.
1837. — G. Merrill, burgess; C. B. Curtis, clerk; Geo. L. Chapel,
Summerton, Hiram Oilman, W. W. Hodges, and N. B. Eldred.
1838.— Hiram Oilman, burgess ; C. B.Curtis, clerk; Abraham Hazeltine,
Thos. Clemons, A. H. Ludlow, Joseph Carver, and John King.
1839. — Zachariah Eddy, burgess; C. B. Curtis, clerk; Lansing Wetmore,
Abijah Morrison, Stephen Carver, Thos. Clemons, and A. H. Ludlow.
1840. — Robt. Falconer, burgess; C. B. Curtis, clerk; Abijah Morrison,
Lansing Wetmore, Richard S. Orr, Stephen Carver, and Zachariah Eddy.
1841.— J. D. Summerton, burgess; C. B. Curtis, clerk; John Edgar,
John H. King, Robert McKinney, S. G. Stevens, and H. L. Towle.
1842.— Joseph Carver, burgess; C. B. Curtis, clerk; J. Y. James,
King, Richard Alden, Zachariah Eddy, and A. H. Ludlow.
1843.— John Edgar, burgess; C. B. Curtis, clerk; Henry L. Church,
William Bell, S. G. Stevens, Silas Lacy, and Charles W. Rathbun.
1844.— S. L. Axtell, burgess; C. B. Curtis, clerk; Aaron S. Parmlee,
Lewis Arnett, S. J. Page, James H. Eddy, and A. H. Summerton.
1845. — Aaron S. Parmlee, burgess; C. B. Curtis, clerk; Wm. S. Parmlee,
Jerome B. Carver, S. G. Stevens, Geo. Lobdel, and J. H. Eddy.
1846.— Rasselas Brown, burgess; C. Masten, jr., clerk; H. T, Baker,
King, Richard S. Orr, John H. Hull, and D. V. Stranahan.
1847.— Carlton B. Curtis, burgess; J. D. James, clerk; Zachariah Eddy,
Stephen Carver, Calvin C. Lovell, Thos. Clemons, and J. D. Summerton.
1848.— W. W. Hodges, burgess; L. T. Parmlee, clerk; P. R. Bennett,
W. Scofield, Benj. Nesmith, W. S. Parmlee, and Stephen Carver.
1849. — Richard S. Orr, burgess; L. T. Parmlee, clerk; D. V. Stranahan,
John A. Hall, C. W. Rathbun, Rufus P. King, and Philip Bucher.
1850. — G. A. Irvine, burgess; John F. McPherson, clerk; Thos. Clemons,
P. R. Bennett, Geo, L. Chapel, John Edgar, and Wm. Mead.
1851. — R. P. King, burgess; John N. Miles, clerk; John H. Hull,
Parks, J. D. James, Benj. Nesmith, and Starling Waters.
1852. — G. Merrill, burgess; J. A. Morrison, clerk; Boon Mead,
James, Richard S. Orr, S. J. Page, and Milo Parks.
1853. — Milton W. Hull, burgess; I. S. Alden, clerk; S. J. Page,
S. Orr, Boon Mead, Milo Parks, and Andrew Hertzel.
1854. — Orris Hall, burgess; F. A. Randall, clerk; H. L. Church,
H. Hull, Stephen Carver, Rufus P. King, and Wm. S. Parmlee.
1855.— Oilman Merrill, burgess; Theodore C. Spencer, clerk; L. D. Wetmore,
Thomas Clemons, J. B. Carver, A. Hertzel, and Peter Somers. Appointed
under amended charter — Rufus P. King, John H. Hull, J. Y. James,
and Chester Park.
1856.— G. Merrill, burgess; Theodore C. Spencer, clerk; Rufus P. King,
John H. Hull, L. D. Wetmore, Peter Somers, Andrew Hertzel, M. W. Hull,
A. J. Davis, W. F. Kingsbury, and Thos. Clemons.
1857.— J. D. James, burgess; S. N. Dickinson, clerk; S. D. Hall, John M.
George Offerlee, M. W. Hull, A. J. Davis, W. F. Kingsbury, Rufus P.
John H. Hull, and L. D. Wetmore.
1858.— J. D. James, burgess; D. J. Hodges, clerk; A. J. Davis,
Hull, John M. Olney, J. B. Carver, George Offerlee, C. W. H. Verback,
Hall, W. F. Kingsbury, A. Brock.
1859.— Thos. Clemons, burgess; G. Merrill, clerk; C. W. H. Verback,
A. Brock, George Offerlee, John M. Olney, S. Burgess, J. B. Carver,
John Sill, E. T. F. Valentine, S. D. Hall.
1860.— G. N. Parmlee, burgess; H. Allen, clerk; E. T. F. Valentine,
Brock, C. W. H. Verback, Starling Waters, Christian Keller, John Sill,
Smith, S. Burgess, and Andrew Hertzel.
1861.— J. B. Carver, burgess; J. A. Neill, clerk; L. Arnett, J. H. Hull,
Smith, John Sill, A. J. Davis, Andrew Hertzel, Christian Keller,
and E. T F. Valentine.
1862.— G. N. Parmlee, burgess; S. T. Allen, clerk; L. Arnett, A. Hertzel,
George Offerlee, Christian Keller, John F. Davis, John Honhart,
A. J. Davis, J. H. Hull, O. H. Hunter. C. Smith resigned.
1863.— S. J. Page, burgess; Thos. Clemons, clerk; L. Arnett, A. Hertzel,
J. H. Hull, J. F. Davis, George Offerlee, O. H. Hunter, Rufus P. King,
Hull, and A. J, Davis.
1864.— L. Arnett, burgess; Chas. Dinsmoor, clerk; G. N. Parmlee,
McKain, Thos. Clemons, John F. Davis, O. H. Hunter, A. Hertzel,
R. P. King,
George Offerlee, and M. W. Hull.
1865.— L. Arnett, burgess; Chas. Dinsmoor, clerk; R. P. King,
Bartlett, J. H. Hull, Thos. Clemons, A. B. McKain, P. Bucher,
A. Hertzel, G.
N. Parmlee, and M. W. Hull.
1866.— L. Arnett, burgess; Rufus P. King, clerk; J. H. Hull, R. K. Russell,
A. P. Wetmore, R. D. Bartlett, Philip Bucher, G. N. Parmlee,
Brown, Thos. Clemons, and Chas. Dinsmoor.
1867.— J. S. Page, burgess; Rufus P. King, clerk; Philip Bucher,
Hull, B. F. Morris, M. Schaffer, S. Keller, jr., C. Dinsmoor, R. K. Russell,
D. Bartlett, and A. P. Wetmore.
1868.— A. Hertzel, burgess; Rufus P. King, clerk; R. K. Russell,
Bucher, C. Dinsmoor, F. A. Randall, S. Keller, jr., B. F. Morris, J. H. Hull,
A. P. Wetmore, and M. Schaffer.
1869.— S. J. Page, burgess; Rufus P. King, clerk; J. H. Hull, S. Keller,
B. F. Morris, C. Dinsmoor, John M. Olney, M. Schaffer, L. W. Arnett (died),
F. A. Randall, and Philip Bucher.
1870.— E. T. F. Valentine, burgess; Rufus P. King, clerk; J. H. Hull,
John M. Olney, Philip Bucher, George Offerlee, C. Dinsmoor, F. A. Randall,
J. H. Eddy, Seneca Burgess, and S. H. Davis.
1871. — E. T. F. Valentine, burgess; Rufus P. King, clerk; J. H. Hull,
John M. Olney, J. H. Eddy, Geo. Offerlee, S. Burgess, S. H. Davis,
Mitchell, C. Dinsmoor, F. A. Randall.
1872. — Charles Dinsmoor, burgess; Rufus P. King, clerk; J. H. Mitchell,
S. Burgess, J. H. Hull, F. A. Randall, James Nesmith, C. W. Stone,
Clark, jr., S. H. Davis, and J. H. Eddy.
1873. — John Sill, burgess; Rufus P. King, clerk; Seneca Burgess,
Ryan, H. A. Jamieson, C. W. Stone, James Clark, jr., James Nesmith,
Randall, John M. Davidson (removed), J. H. Hull (died Aug., 1873).
C. James and Geo. Ott elected to fill vacancies.
1874. — John Sill, burgess; Rufus P. King, clerk; James Clark, jr.,
Hertzel, C. W. Stone, M. B. Dunham, George Ott, Wm. Ryan, S. Burgess,
G. H. Ames, and James Nesmith.
1875. — E. B. Eldred, burgess; Rufus P. King, clerk; James Clark, jr.,
A. Hertzel, M. B. Dunham, George Ott, Wm. Ryan, W. C. Rowland,
Ames, E. G. Wood, and S. Burgess.
1876. —W. H. Pickett, burgess; Rufus P. King, clerk; James Clark, jr.,
A. Hertzel, M. Spaulding, W. C. Rowland, M. B. Dunham, P. J. Falconer,
H. Ames, E. G. Wood, and Geo. L. Friday.
1877. — C. H. Noyes, burgess; Rufus P. King, clerk; James Clark, jr.,
J. Davis, M. Spaulding, Geo. L. Friday, E. G. Wood, Peter Greenlund,
Rowland, Wm. L. Lewis, and P. J. Falconer.
1878.— M. Miles, burgess; Rufus P. King, clerk; James Clark, jr.,
Hertzel, A. J. Davis, S. Burgess, Peter Greenlund, M. Spaulding,
J. H. Palmer, G. L. Friday, and P. J. Falconer.
1879. — S. T. Allen, burgess; Geo. O. Cornelius, clerk; A. J. Davis,
D. S. McNett, S. Burgess, T. J. Clemons, A. W. Morck, F. Barnhart,
W. H. Heck,
A. Hertzel, Peter Greenlund.
1880. — S. T. Allen, burgess; Geo. O. Cornelius, clerk; D. S. McNett,
A. Hertzel, A. W. Morck, Robert Dennison, C. A. Waters, W. H. Heck,
Clemons, S. Burgess, and F. Barnhart.
1881. — S. T. Allen, burgess; Geo. O. Cornelius, clerk; D. S. McNett,
W. Morck, C. A. Waters, W. H. Heck, A. Conarro, Robert Dennison,
H. Leonhart, A. J. Hazeltine, F. Barnhart.
1882. — H. A. Jamieson, burgess; Rufus P. King, clerk; A. J. Hazeltine,
Robert Dennison, G. H. Leonhart, L. T. Borchers, A. Conarro, C. A. Waters,
J. A. Bell, A. W. Morck, J. H. Eddy.
1883. — Geo. P. Orr, burgess; Rufus P. King, clerk; S. H. Davis,
Leonhart, J. C. Siechrist, J. A. Bell, S. M. Cogswell, A. J. Hazeltine,
Borchers, A. Conarro, J. H. Eddy.
1884. — Geo. P. Orr, burgess; Rufus P. King, clerk; S. H. Davis,
Bell, S. M. Cogswell, F. M. Knapp, J. H. Eddy, Joseph Walkerman,
Borchers, J. C. Siechrist, August Morck, jr.
1885— C. C. Thompson, burgess; F. A. Cogswell, clerk; S. H. Davis,
S. M. Cogswell, J. C. Siechrist, August Morck, jr., F. M. Knapp,
Walkerman, Robert MacKay, Wm. Schnur, A. A. Davis.
1886. — A. W. Morck, burgess; F. A. Cogswell, clerk; F. M. Knapp,
Joseph Walkerman, August Morck, jr., Robert MacKay, William Schnur,
A. Davis, Christian Smith, J. W. Crawford, P. J. Bayer.
Since the incorporation of the borough, by the provisions of various acts of
the General Assembly, passed from time to time, the corporate limits have been
widely extended, and the authority of the town council largely increased.
The public grounds on the southeast and southwest corners of Market and
High streets, as shown upon the original plot of the town, likewise valuable
strips of land along the Allegheny and Conewango not included in the original
survey, as well as lands bordering upon Water street east of Market, have
been, under such authorization, transferred by the borough to individuals.
By scanning the minutes of proceedings of early councils, a few matters of
interest, perhaps, to present residents have been ascertained. Thus, at a meeting
held June 16, 1832, $80 were appropriated to grade and turnpike portions
of Fifth, Liberty, and High streets; but a few weeks later the resolution was
rescinded. At the same meeting — June 16, 1832 — ten dollars were voted
to improve the road leading from Water street down to the eddy near A. Tanner's
storehouse on the bank of the Allegheny river, by cutting a ditch on the
upper side, "and prevent the water from running over and across the same,
and by filling up the holes already washed next the wall in the lower side
thereof." Fifteen dollars were also appropriated to be applied in reducing the
grade of hills near John Andrews's office and the house of Lansing Wetmore.
On the 4th of August, 1832, council met and "took into consideration the
remonstrance of sundry citizens against the improvement of High street —
15 on the files, and the same being under consideration, adopted the
resolution, viz.: Resolved, That the said Remonstrance is couched in
and indecorous [terms] and that therefore the same be discharged
On the 8th of June, 1833, council by an unanimous vote directed that the
mills of Hawley & Parker — carding-machine works — fronting on the borough,
be assessed. On the 6th of July following it was " Resolved that the Equestrian
Company of Mills & Harrison shall receive a license to exhibit and perform
for two evenings within the Borough of Warren, upon paying to the
Six Dollars. License to issue in like manner as licenses are issued in
pursuance of the Ordinance framed 28th May, 1832, any thing in said ordinance
of 28th May, 1832, to the contrary notwithstanding." The members of
council (1833), after making settlements May 3, 1834, for the year preceding,
unanimously resolved that they would make no charge against the
borough for services rendered "as councillors."
On the 3d of April, 1843, council " Resolved that the Borough of Warren
hereby appropriate Two Hundred Dollars for the purpose of Building a
Bridge over the Conewango Creek, at the old location, at the foot of Second
street, provided a sufficient amount can be raised to build said Bridge at the
foot of said street, said amount to be paid to the Contractor as the work progresses."
On the 28th of March, 1844, it was enacted "that from and after
the first day of May next, it shall not be lawful for any hog or swine of any
age to run at large within the limits of the Borough of Warren." To that time
it is to be presumed, free and unrestrained, they had rooted and wallowed to
their hearts' content.
Fire Department.—For many years Warren, in its ability and state of preparation
to fight fire, was in about the same condition as other country towns at
an early day — i. e., it had a small hand engine and a few feet of hose, the whole,
usually, being out of repair when a fire occurred. We have ascertained that
the borough possessed an engine of the class described in 1848; but there was
no organized company to man it. This engine, with apparatus, etc., cost
During the year 1853 "Vulcan Fire Company No. 1" was organized,
David Law was mentioned as foreman, and Rufus P. King,
Richard S. Orr,
M. W. Hull, L. Rogers, Julius B. Hall, G. W. King, C. A.
M. D. Waters as among the original members. The German
organized "Rescue Fire Company No. 1" in August, 1859, and an engine
house was projected during the same year. This company was incorporated
by an order of court March 6, 1861, and they continued to render
efficient service until 1869, when, becoming dissatisfied because the citizens
seemed disinclined to render assistance either at fires or at any other time, they
disbanded. The sum of $258, remaining in their treasury, was donated to the
German Lutheran Church to aid in the purchase of a bell. Then followed
the organization of " Allegheny Fire Company No. 1," and the "Conewango
Hose Company," about the 1st of January, 1870.
The steam fire engine "R. P. King" was received at Warren in December,
and the severe trial tests imposed proved to be eminently satisfactory.
To the department has since been added the serviceable yet elegant apparatus
manned by "Niagara Hose, No. 1," "Watson Hose, No. 2," "Struthers's Independent
Hose, No. 1," and "Exchange Hook and Ladder, No. 1." The members
department are handsomely uniformed. Commodious quarters for
storage of apparatus, etc., are afforded by the borough building, known as
the Town Hall.
It is a fact worthy of remark, perhaps, that of all the conflagrations which
have heretofore raged in the business part of the town, the flames almost without
exception have spent their force upon old buildings, those that could best
be spared; and in their places have arisen spacious brick structures, with
Warren Academy, and Public Schools. —The famous old academy building,
so often referred to in the local annals of Warren, was built during the years
1834-36. It was of brick, and stood upon the southeast corner of High and
Market streets — beautiful, spacious grounds, since divided into three large lots,
sold to individuals, and now occupied by private residences. The history of
the institution briefly told is as follows:
By an act of the General Assembly, approved April 11, 1799, the governor
was authorized to direct the surveyor-general "to make actual survey of the
reserved tract of land adjoining the town of Warren, which has not been laid
out in town or out lots," etc., and providing, further, "that five hundred acres
of the same be laid off for the use of such schools and academies as may hereafter
be established by law in said town. "Under this act Alexander McDowell,
of Franklin, then deputy surveyor-general, surveyed and marked the
boundaries of the academy lands (lying west of the town and bounded on one
side by the river), in the summer of 1799. By a legislative enactment, passed
in 1822, Joseph Hackney, Lothrop S. Parmlee, and Abner Hazeltine were
named as trustees, who, with their successors in office, to be elected, were to
assume control of the lands and the academy when built. In 1829 an act was
passed authorizing the trustees to lease "said 500 acres" (541 acres by correct
measurement) for a period not to exceed ninety years. Thereupon, during the
following two or three years, the tract was leased in lots of one hundred acres
each for ninety years, at an annual rental of not much over $100 for the whole.
By an act of the State Legislature, passed February 15, 1832, the sum of $2,000
was appropriated to erect an academy building at Warren. This was followed
by another act, approved April 8, 1833, which authorized the trustees to erect
the building on grounds reserved at the laying out of the town for public buildings,
and directed that the sum of $2,000 already appropriated be used in the
construction. This sum was increased to a considerable extent by individual
subscriptions before the structure was completed.
Hon. Rasselas Brown, the first principal of the academy, commenced teaching
in the court-house in February, 1836, the academy not yet being ready for
occupancy, and continued there until June of the same year, when a transfer
was made to the academy, and its doors were opened for the admission of pupils
for the first time. Judge Brown, then a very young man, continued to
preside over the academy until 1838, when he retired to engage in the practice
of law, and was succeeded by W. A. McLean. The latter's successors were
John Dixon, Cyrus Brown, L. A. Rogers, Charles B. Curtis and a number of
others. Meanwhile the new Union School building of the borough having been
completed and provided with a corps of very competent teachers, the now old
academy fell into disfavor. Free tuition in a fresh, new building, as compared
with $3.00 per term for the higher branches, and $2.50 per term for common
studies in a somewhat dilapidated structure, left it almost without patronage;
hence its doors were finally closed about the year 1857. It was condemned by
the grand jury in 1864. An act of Assembly, passed March 22, 1865, authorized
the burgess and town council to sell and convey to the highest bidder at
public sale the lands on which the academy stood, the proceeds of sale to go
into the borough treasury. Accordingly the square was divided into three lots
and sold separately August 17, 1865, the sum realized being $5,785. The
building was purchased by Hon. William D. Brown for $300.
Of the early history of the common, district, or public schools of Warren
but little can be said in the entire absence of data, either traditional or authentic.
We have in another place made mention of the fact that the father of the late
Hon. Reuben E. Fenton, of New York, taught a school in Warren, in the winter
of 1805-06. Thereafter no other reference or intimation regarding the
or school-houses of the town is made until 1820, when the county commissioners
agreed to assist the school committee to "finish building the schoolhouse,"
to the end that courts might be held in the same until a court-house
could be built. This little school-house stood on the site of the first and of the
present court-house. It is probable that when the first court-house was commenced,
in 1826, the school-house was removed to some resting-place not far
away, and its use continued for educational purposes, until the building of the
academy. The latter then became the school-house of the town, for those
who were able to pay for the instruction of their children.
The old part of the present Union School building was built in 1854-56.
Stephen Carver was the contractor for the stone and brick work, and
Kappel for the wood work. The first teachers to preside within its walls were
Charles Twining, of Lancaster, Pa., principal; assisted by Miss M. C. Shattuck,
of Groton, Mass., Miss S. E. A. Stebbins, of Clinton, N. Y., Miss Kate
of Sugar Grove, Pa., and Miss S. O. Randall, of Warren, Pa. Hon. S.
stood at the head and front in the movement which led to the
of the building and the securing of the first very excellent corps of
The first building cost $7,500, and was completed in December,
The new structure, which adjoins the one above described, was built
in 1871 at a cost of $23,000. Together they afford room and educational
facilities for a large number of bright-faced pupils. Prof. A. B. Miller, a veteran
instructor, has been in charge some twelve or fifteen years. His assistants
during the present year are Miss Kate C. Darling, Miss Arline Arnett,
Miss Carrie W. Coats, Miss Nannie C. Locke, Miss Libbie M. King,
O. King, Miss Jennie Thomas, Miss Ellen Glenn, Miss Berta Thomas,
Mary O'Hern, Miss Mary Kopf, Mrs. Blanche Hawkins. At the West End
school, also under the supervision of Mr. Miller, the assistant teachers are
Bessie Richards, Miss Mary Conrath, and Miss Laura Snyder.
BANKS.— The Lumbermen's Bank of Warren, the first banking institution
established in Warren county, was incorporated by an act of the State Legislature
approved February 28, 1834. Robert Falconer, Josiah Hall, Robert
Guy C. Irvine, Archibald Tanner, and Robert Miles, all of Warren
were named as commissioners to execute the many provisions of the
act. With Robert Falconer as president, and Fitch Shepard cashier, the bank
began business during the same year (1834), with a paid-up capital stock of
$100,000, divided into shares of $50 each. Subsequently the directors were
authorized by a legislative act to increase the capital stock to $200,000. Its
notes were widely circulated, and it transacted a large (and as it was supposed
very successful) business until 1838, when the financial panic, which swept the
whole country at that time, caused its sudden collapse and failure. Much of
Mr. Falconer's private fortune went to swell the aggregate of losses; besides
being unjustly censured because of the failure, his proud, honorable, and
sensitive nature met with such a shock that it gradually destroyed his mind
and hastened his death.
The Warren County Bank was chartered by an act of the State Legislature
passed during the winter of 1852-53. The officers then mentioned were
James, president; Orrin Hook, Rufus P. King, Thomas Clemons,
John N. Miles,
Myron Waters, and Lewis Arnett, directors. Soon afterwards an
of $5 on each share of the capital stock of $100,000 was paid in. During
following winter another legislative act was passed providing that the institution
should be a bank of issue as well as deposit. All preparations having been completed,
the bank opened its doors for the transaction of business during
the last days of
November, 1854, with J. Y. James, of Warren, officiating
and Herman Leonard, of the city of New York, as cashier. Said
editor of the Mail under date of November 24, 1854: "To-day (Friday)
our bank is in the flood tide of operation.... Certainly there never
more need of a Bank here, or a more favorable time for one to commence
operations, and we hope it may have a long career of usefulness and prosperity."
In 1855 a building for the accommodation of the bank was erected.
Under date of July 30, 1859, we find the following mention of this bank in the
columns of the Mail: "At the last term of court the Warren County Bank
was changed to the North Western Bank, and under that name it re-opened
last Monday. The bills of the old bank are redeemed when presented. "From
this statement it appears that business under the old title had been suspended
for a time. In March, 1860, the officers of the bank were Rasselas Brown,
president; John F. Davis, Rasselas Brown, F. Hook, J. Y. James,
Kinnear, Lewis Arnett, Rufus P. King, Carlton B. Curtis,
Joseph Hall, George V. N. Yates, Hosea Harmon, and
Lewis F. Watson directors. In December of the same year it was published as a
fact that all the banks in Western Pennsylvania had suspended, with
exception of the old Bank of Pittsburgh and the North Western Bank of Warren.
The further existence of the latter, however, was destined to be but brief
in duration; for during the latter part of May, 1862, the North Western Bank
closed its doors. A day or two later they were reopened and an effort was
made to redeem home circulation, but after two days this plan was abandoned.
The affairs of the bank were always fairly and honorably conducted in Warren.
The trouble originated in New York city, where its finances were really controlled,
and where they put into circulation more of the bank's issue than
taken care of at home.
Private Bankers.— In 1855 Augustus N. Lowry, of Jamestown, N. Y.,
established a private banking office in Warren. In December of the same
year Chapin Hall, of Warren, also opened a similar establishment in Johnson's
building, under the title of "C. Hall's Bank." After the failure of the North
Western Bank Messrs. Beecher & Coleman opened a banking house in their
hardware store opposite the Carver House, and continued it until the organization
of the First National Bank, when their banking business, which had proved
very satisfactory to the people, was transferred to the new institution.
The First National Bank of Warren was organized at a meeting of stockholders
held at the Carver House on Saturday, August 6, 1864. At this
the following named gentlemen were elected to serve as directors:
Chapin Hall, Thomas Struthers, Carlton B. Curtis, William D. Brown,
F. Watson, Rasselas Brown, James H. Eddy, S. J. Page, and M. F. Abel.
Subsequently, during the same day, this board of directors elected Chapin Hall
president, and M. Beecher, jr., cashier. The capital stock of the association
was fixed at $100,000, in shares of $100 each. During the two months which
immediately followed the date of organization, Messrs. Hall and Beecher were
actively engaged in collecting subscriptions to the capital stock, investing the
funds thus obtained in United States bonds, and attending to the many and
varied details preparatory to opening for business. This event took place on
Monday, October 10, 1864, in the middle room of Johnson's Exchange block,
Second street, George W. Tew, of Jamestown, N. Y., officiating as teller.
The net profits for the first year amounted to $27,022.08, and the total business
aggregated $17,655,749.62, being much larger than any year since, owing
the enormous sale of government bonds on which were allowed a large premium,
and the immense purchase and sale of exchange during the great oil
excitement of 1864-65. Until 1872 the annual sale of drafts averaged over
$1,500,000, and the paper discounted per annum amounted to $1,000,000.
In April, 1871, the lot upon which stood the old building of hewn timbers,
known as early as 1815 as Dunn's Tavern, was purchased from John F. Davis
and S. Burgess. The old structure (then the oldest building in the borough)
was speedily removed, the work of erecting a new bank building commenced,
and in October, 1872, the handsome edifice now owned by the association was
completed at a cost, including grounds, of $16,000.
Of the officers who have been connected with this bank, Mr. Beecher has
served as cashier from the very beginning of its existence down to the present
time. Chapin Hall, its first president, continued in office until January 2, 1866,
when, having sold his stock, he resigned, and was succeeded by L. D. Wetmore,
esq. The latter continued until July 22, 1871, when he resigned, deeming
himself ineligible by reason of holding the office of president judge of this
judicial district. Boon Mead was then elected to fill the vacancy and continued
as president until his death, which occurred August 19, 1880. His
James H. Eddy, was elected September 6, 1880, and held the position
until July 4, 1885, when he resigned. Thereupon Hon. L. D. Wetmore was
again elected president and has continued to discharge the duties of that
office to the present writing. Other officers of the bank (1886) are as follows:
George H. Ames, vice president; M. Beecher, cashier; F. K. Russell,
teller; L. D. Wetmore, J. H. Eddy, R. Brown, G. H. Ames, M. Beecher,
T. Scofield, and Mrs. Medora I. Mead, directors.
The Warren Savings Bank was chartered by an act of the State Legislature
early in 1870. Those named as corporators were Lewis F. Watson,
Brown, O. C. Allen, W. F. Dalrymple, Patrick Falconer, David Beatty,
Trushel, J. J. Taylor, B. Nesmith, S. J. Page, O. H. Hunter, J. R. Clark,
Waters, W. W. Wilbur, Richard E. Brown, A. D. Wood, J. H. Nichols,
Hoffman, W. H. Shortt, John A. Jackson, and James Kinnear. On the
of March, 1870, an organization was effected by the election of Lewis F. Watson,
O. H. Hunter, B. Nesmith, P. Falconer, O. C. Allen, P. J. Trushel, and
W. H. Shortt, to serve as directors. Subsequently Lewis F. Watson was
chosen president of the association, and he has continued to discharge the
of that office to the present time. Business was commenced in the
Watson & Davis block in April following, George E. Barger officiating as cashier.
latter served until February, 1872, when he resigned and was succeeded by
J. Hazeltine, the present efficient incumbent of the office. The bank building
now occupied was completed in 1876, at a cost of $10,500.
The officers serving in 1886 are as follows : Lewis F. Watson, president;
Benjamin Nesmith, vice-president; A. J. Hazeltine, cashier; George B. Ensworth,
teller; Lewis F. Watson, Benjamin Nesmith, James Clark, M. B. Dunham,
O. H. Hunter, A. J. Hazeltine, and L. R. Freeman, directors.
The Citizens' Saving Bank was organized March 8, 1870. Among its
stockholders were S. P. Johnson, L. L. Lowry, Boon Mead, Orris Hall,
Neill, E. B. Eldred, J. H. Mitchell, R. Brown, L. B. Hoffman, J. R. Clark,
K. Russell, David McKelvy, G. H. Ames, L. D. Wetmore, F. A. Randall,
and William D. Brown. Of the stockholders named Messrs. Johnson, Lowry,
Hall, Neill, Clark, McKelvy, and Eldred were chosen directors. L. L. Lowry
was elected president and H. R. Crowell cashier. This association was not
chartered. Its place of business was one door west of the Carver House;
capital $25,000; stockholders individually liable. About the first of May,
a reorganization took place and the title of the institution was changed
to the Citizens' National Bank. Its business is transacted in the corner of the
building known as the Carver House.
Manufacturing Interests. — Although Warren has never been noted as a
manufacturing center of unusual importance — indeed, in this respect hardly up
to the average of towns peopled chiefly, as this was, by New Englanders,
Yorkers, and their descendants — yet it has always had its quota of artisans
skilled in their respective crafts. Among its first residents were blacksmiths,
shoemakers, tailors, carpenters, stone-masons, millwrights (those who could
build, repair, and operate water-power grist-mills, saw-mills, etc.), wheelwrights,
or those who made and repaired spinning-wheels, cabinet-makers, etc.
In 1829 the only mills within the limits of the town proper were two sawmills
and a grist-mill. One of these saw-mills had been built and operated by
James Stewart for ten years or more prior to the date mentioned. The other
saw-mill and the grist-mill were more recent acquisitions, having been built
about the year 1828. Then followed a small tannery, and in 1833 the woolcarding
and fulling-mills of Hawley & Parker were noted as in operation.
In the summer of 1851 the old structure known as Stewart's Mills was
remodeled by W. F. Kingsbury, for use as a foundry and machine shop. His
facilities as well as his manufactured products at first were limited, the latter
being mainly mill-irons, plow-points, and repairing. His iron was brought up
the river on flat-boats, and the coal used was hauled from Dunkirk. Subsequently
he began the manufacture of stoves. Still later Henry W. Brown became
associated with him in the business, under the firm name of Kingsbury & Brown.
In the fall of 1856 this firm completed a foundry, etc., at the lower
of the town, at a cost of $6,000. Not long after the completion of this
building Mr. Kingsbury retired, when Mr. Brown formed a partnership with
his brothers John and Thomas, and the business was continued under the title
of Brown Bros. During the year 1864 John and Thomas Brown retired from
the firm, when another brother, Joseph, became associated with Henry W.,
thus still keeping intact the firm name of Brown Bros. In 1865 the firm employed
sixty men, and their manufactures consisted of steam engines, circular
saw-mill and shingle-mill machinery, stoves, plows, castings to order, oil pipe
and oil tools.
During the fall of 1868 the successors of Brown Bros. — Brown, Arnett &
Co., or, in other words, Henry W. Brown, L. W. Arnett, and Thomas Struthers
— completed the quite extensive brick buildings known at that time as the
"Allegheny Iron Works." The facilities were greatly increased thereby, and
a still larger number of men were furnished employment. A few minor changes
occurred during the next seven years, and in 1875 the works passed to the
control of the firm since and now owning them — Struthers, Wells & Co.
The "Struthers Iron Works," under this management, have gained a wide
reputation for the excellence of their products, and their machinery for oil wells,
saw-mills, and tanneries reaches all sections of the United States, and also finds
its way into Cuba, Europe, Mexico, and South America. Their specialty,
however, is oil and gas-well machinery, and the large share of orders assigned
to this department has frequently forced the management to run overtime.
They build engines with cylinders from five by ten to thirty by thirty-six
inches, ranging in horse-power from six to three hundred and fifty, and make
boilers of any size required. The works are one square in extent, and the
principal buildings, which are constructed of brick, range from one to three
stories in height. They are conveniently located for the reception and shipment
of freight — near the junction of the Philadelphia & Erie, Buffalo, New
York & Philadelphia, and the Dunkirk, Allegheny Valley & Pittsburgh Railroads —
and natural gas is utilized as fuel. Individually speaking, Thomas
J. C. Wells, A. H. McKelvy, and J. P. Jefferson are the men who
control these works.
In September, 1856, the sash and door manufactory of B. P. Bell 81 Co., on
the " Island," was destroyed by fire. It had just been completed, and the losses
sustained amounted to about $10,000.
In July, 1864, the editor of the Mail, in an article on home matters, said:
" The grist-mill and old saw-mill, owned for several years by Arnett & Orr,
between the town and island", have been torn away. A new grist-mill is being
To be continued...