The Family of Rosa Anna Abbott and John Joseph LaValle

Scott Township History

This township history is transcribed from History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Volume II, A. Warner & Co., Publishers, Chicago, Ill., 1899, Chapter VI, pp. 64-71.

SCOTT TOWNSHIP. [Mansfield Borough]

At the October sessions, 1860, a petition for the division of Upper St. Clair was filed, and a commission appointed for its consideration. The measure was carried, by a majority of forty-two, at an election held April 23, 1861. June 29, 1861, the division was confirmed by decree of court, when the new township received the name of Scott. It extends from Chartiers creek on the west to Baldwin township on the east, with an area of about ten square miles. The population was 1,807 in 1870, and 1,523 in 1880.

The earliest permanent settlers were Alexander Long, Andrew McFarlane, John Henry and William Lea. Long was from York county. McFarlane emigrated from Ireland to Philadelphia in 1758. In 1774 he was a justice of the peace, probably the first in Scott township. Lea was a soldier, and rose to the rank of major. He had sons, William, Robert and Samuel. The sons of William were William Robert, Samuel, Lafayette and James W.; of Robert, David N. and Thomas; of Samuel, John, William and Samuel. Hezekiah, William, Thomas and Samuel Nixon were the sons of Jane (Lea) Nixon, Isaac Williams and sons John, Isaac and Robert; John, William and ______Turner; Peter Ross and son Casey, John Ross and son Philip, William Glenn and sons James and William were also early residents.

The township, in common with all this section of country, is rich in mineral resources. The first coal mine on the Chartiers Valley railroad, south of Mansfield, is No. 2 of the Mansfield Coal and Coke company, opened in 1883. Five hundred men are employed, and 175 cars are required in the shipment of the product, which amounts to 600 tons daily, and 120,000 tons in the course of a year. Glendale colliery, 300 feet east of Glendale station, is operated by Gregg Brothers. The Nixon mines, 300 feet east of Leasdale station, were opened by the Chartiers Valley Coal company in 1878, and are now owned by W. A. Black; 75 men are employed. The daily output is 300 tons, for the shipment of which the proprietor uses 53 cars. The Diamond mines, 500 feet east of Leasdale station, and Leasdale mines, 600 feet east of Woodville station, are among the oldest on this line of railway. Summer Hill mines, at Woodville, were opened by Romer & Jones in 1875. Negley & Black succeeded to their ownership in 1878, and Jessup & Co. in the same year, when (1879) the present proprietor, Frank Armstrong, assumed control. Six hundred tons are produced daily, employing 175 men, and requiring 96 cars. The old Bower Hill mines, 1,200 feet east of Bower Hill station, were reopened by the Imperial Coal company in 1887 after a long period of suspension. Bower Hill No. 2, 1,500 feet east of the station of that name, has been operated since 1875 by A. J. Schulte. One hundred and twenty-five men are employed.

The stations on the Chartiers Valley railroad in this county are Gleenis, Leasdale and Woodville. Glendale is an important suburb of Mansfield borough. Leasdale derives its name from the Lea family, which was early represented in the vicinity. The Leasdale Glass company, T. F. Hart, president; M. H. Hart, secretary; R. Brankston, manager, are the proprietors of the glass works at this place, established in 1870 by Lindsay Brothers, and owned successively by the Lindsay Glass company, Robert Liddell and the Gallatin Glass company. The plant consists of a frame building 200 feet long and 60 feet wide, one ten-pot furnace, and a corresponding number of lehrs and ovens; 50 men are employed, and 45 boys. Flint bottles constitute the exclusive product, which is valued at $55,000 annually.

Long's Arlington and Mount Lebanon were stations on the Pittsburgh & Southern railroad, in the eastern part of the township, before that road was abandoned. Mount Lebanon postoffice was established in 1855. It is the only post village in the township. A small portion of Castle Shannon extends over the line of Baldwin and Scott.

St. Clair United Presbyterian Church received its first pastor in the person of Rev. Joseph Kerr, who was installed at the house of Nathaniel Plummer in October, 1803. The first sermon had been preached in November of the previous year, by Rev. John Riddell. Mr. Kerr's pastorate also included Mifflin Church. Since his resignation, in 1825, the succession pastors has been as follows: John Dickey, 1830-39; Alexander H. Wright, 1842-46; Joseph Clokey, 1848-55; J. C. Boyd, 1858 to the present.

The Woodville Protestant Episcopal church was built in 1846, and replaced a log building of great age, one of the first places of worship in the Chartiers valley. The latters was erected at the time when a Book of Common Prayer was of little use unless supplemented with a trusty gun. It is said that on one occasion when the worshipers had reached that part of the service known as the litany, and were giving one emphatic "Good Lord, deliver us," an attack was made by the Indians, and within a few seconds every porthole had its glistening rifle. No record of the pastors here has been preserved. After a long period of discontinuance, the church was reopened for services October 24, 1886. Among those buried in the adjoining cemetery are Jane Williams, who died August 4, 1795, thirty-three years of age; Daniel S. Williams, May 4, 1825; Mary Richardson, January 1, 1806, aged seventy-seven; James Richardson, September 2, 1805, aged eighty-four; Daniel South, June 25, 1811; William Beaumont, September 19, 1813; Capt. David Steel, February 4, 1819; and an earlier generation of the Lea family, whose graves are unmarked.

The following is quoted from the Pittsburgh Dispatch:

It is a mooted question as to which is the oldest church and burial place in the region of which Pittsburgh is the center. There is, however, little doubt that this distinction belongs to the Episcopal church and graveyard near Woodville, eight miles from the city. Maj. Lea, who accompanied the Forbes expedition to Fort Duquesne, settled at Leasdale prior to 1760. Being a Church of England adherent, a church of that order was soon organized, and Episcopal services were maintained, with more or less regularity, by the Leas and Nevilles at Woodville a number of years before Dr. McMillan began his work at Cannonsburg, and a quarter of a century before there was a church organization at Pittsburgh. The present stone church is the third edifice on the site, the first having been a log building, which probably no one can remember.

In that log church was christened a daughter of Maj. Lea in 1774. On one of the headstones in the old burial place is this inscription: "Jane Lea Nixon, born 1774, died 1859, the first white child born in the Chartiers valley."

MANSFIELD BOROUGH. - This was incorporated September 6, 1872, from the northwestern part of Scott township. The town was laid out for Mansfield B. Brown, by J. B. Stilley, in August, 1870. At that time it was a hamlet, deriving such importance as it possessed from its location on the Pan Handle railroad and Noblestown plank-road. The site of the town was originally embraced in a tract of seven hundred acres owned by Philip Ross, one of the earliest settlers in the Chartiers valley. He was a resident of Maryland prior to his emigration to the west, and, in addition to his lands here, owned a tract of two thousand acres on Harrod's creek, Kentucky, ten miles inland from Louisville,to which four of his sons, Stephen, Philip, Reuben and Benjamin subsequently removed. The residents in the present limits of the town and its vicinity in 1856 were Mansfield B. Brown, Col. J. B. Glenn, Richard Lea and Charles Bedell. In 1867 the houses in regular order on the east side of Main street, beginning at the bridge, were those of the late Mark Rown; ______Newell, on the site of J. C. Bedell's stable; D. Ward, where the opera-house stands, the general stores of Kennedy & Bedell and W. J. Ford & Co.; the tollhouse on the plank-road at the present locatin of Hardy's drugstore; the notion-store of Mrs. Richards; the house of J. M. Larimer; the blacksmith-shop of Orrie Carnahan; the shoeshop of John Rumpf; the house and shop of Leonard Kearns, and the houses of Joshua Stephenson and ______Clingan. On the opposite side of the street were the Presbyterian church, the houses of Messrs. Betts, Roach, Carnahan, Walker, Bigham, Ewing, Mills and Evans, Mrs. McQuitty, Mrs. Harvey, Mrs. Hard and Mrs. McKain. On Washington avenue were the Methodist church, the brick house corner of Lincoln street, and the residence of Squire Rowland. The township schoolhouse was on Lydia street, and Rev. FF. R. Wotring lived at the termini of Lydia and Hays. The present residence of Robert H. Brown, Mrs. M. B. Brown and S. Kennedy, with others on Chestnut hill and the bank of the creek, complete the list.

A contributor to the Item of January, 1873, thus describes the town and its advantages at that time:

Mansfield [including Chartiers] has now a population of bout two thousand souls, and is favorably located in the rich valley of the Chartiers a short-distance below the confluence of Chartiers creek and Robinson run, at and around the junction of the Pan Handle and Chartiers railroads, and at a distance from the courthouse in Pittsburgh of about five miles by land and about seven and three-fourths by rail Thus desirably situated at a convenient distance from the great center of the business interests and the religious influences of Western Pennsylvania, Mansfield is also favored with the most modern facilities of ingress and egress to and from all desirable points. ....In addition to outlet and ingress by railroads, county and township roads from every point of the compass center also in Mansfield. Nature, in fact, seems to have intended the territory upon which the town is located for the concentration of a large population and for a convenient center of business and trade for an extended community; and judging from the rapid increase in its population in the last year or two, we conclude that the time is not far in the future when this seeming intention will be made true by the existing facts.

The article concludes with a flattering allusion to the beauty of the surrounding country, its religious and educational advantages, and the healthfulness of the locality.

It is problematical whether the town has realized its early indications as to future growth and importance. The opening of coal-mines in the vicinity stimulated its growth for some years, and this industry has continued to be the chief reliance of the population. It has been regarded favorably as a place of residence for persons engaged in business in the city, and the accession to its population from this class constitutes a large and desirable element. No manufactures have been established within the borough limits, but its laboring classes are largely represented in the neighboring iron and lead-works. Main street is the principal business thoroughfare, and every branch of mercantile pursuit is represented. The streets are graded, lighted with natural gas and provided with an adequate system of sewerage. The population in 1880 was 1,172 and at the present time is probably 2,000. A postoffice was established under the same name in Rush Valley in October, 1853. The name was changed to Mansfield Valley in August 1865.

The education interests of the borough are well sustained. The first school-building after the inaguration [sic] of the public-school system was built about 1840, on the Rowland property, northeast of Washington avenue. Among the teachers here were John Morrow and Mary Rogers. A new schoolhouse was built in 1859, and a third in 1865, the former nearly opposite the present location, the latter on Jane street. The town became a separate school district upon its incorporation in 1872, and the first board of directors consisted of F. R. Wotring, D. J. Rogers, G. K. Ormond, George Clark, W. U. Smith and R. Christy. The school term was seven months, and the first teachers were Misses Kate McElroy, Anna Rogers and others. The intelligent appreciation of the common schools by the general community is indicated by the large and commodious structure recently erected for educational purposes. It is built of brick, three stories high, ninety feet long and sixty feet wide, and surmounted by a belfry rising to a height of one hundred and thirty-eight feet. Four large schoolrooms, occupy the first floor; the second is divided into an equal number and a director's room, and the principal feature of the third is a lyceum hall. Every provision has been made3 for the comfort, convenience and healthfulness of the pupils. The aggregate cost was thirty-five thousand dollars.

The first number of the Mansfield Item was issued on Tuesday, January 7, 1873. It was a twenty-column folio, but has since been enlarged. The plant was completely destroyed by fire September 4, 1876, but the paper survived this loss and has become a valuable property. Mr. C. Knepper, by whom the enterprise was originated, is still proprietor. The Item has been in every sense a valuable local journal, and from its files, through the courtesy of the editor, many interesting data have been gleaned. Home News and The Business Man, established in 1872 and 1875 respectively, are published monthly from the Item office, and also the Mansfield Wochensblatt, a monthly, established in September, 1885.

The Mansfield Presbyterian Church as an organization under its present name dates from 1855, although virtually a continuation of Mount Pisgah Church, organized in 1830. The church-edifice was built in 1852, largely through the efforts of Mansfield B. Brown and Hugh Lee, and enlarged in 1883. Revs. John B. Graham and Robert McPherson successively preached at Mansfield in connection with Mount Pisgah, the latter resigning in April, 1868. Rev. F. R. Wotring was pastor from 1869 to 1878, and J. M. Duff, the present incumbent w2as installed in 1880. The following is a list of elders, with dates of installation: 1853, James Frew, William Foster; 1857, Mansfield B. Brown, Hugh Lea, S. Yourd, Thomas McMillen; 1885, Robert H. Brown, Alexander Patterson, William Irvin, George Clark and G. B. Forsythe.

The United Presbyterian congregation was organized in 1856, with twenty-five members. The first trustees were David Hill, Ebeneezer Ramsay and J. K. Cabbage; the first elders, Alexander Boyd and J. B. Glenn. Rev. Alexander Calhoun was pastor from 1858 to 1861; George K. Ormond, 1870-73; Cyrus B. Hatch, 1876-79; T. C. Atchison was installed in 1881, and is in charge at present. A two-story brick church-edifice was built in 1858 at the present location. It was destroyed by fire in 1872, and the present stone building was erected the following year.

The first Methodist sermon in Mansfield was preached in 1855, by Rev. James L. Graham, in the "wool-house" on Main street. Rev. James Beacom, Robert Blackburn, M. D. Eli Edmundson, R. F. Smith and J. W. Cook met at the reidence of Mr. Cook, on Washington avenue, on an evening in the summer of 1857, when the first action for building a church was taken. Until the completion, 1859, the United Prebyterian church wa occupied. Mr. Beacom has been succeeded as pastor by A. Scott, R. I. Miller, S. Crouse, Israel, Dallas, D. L. Dempsey, S. Y. Kennedy, T. H. Wilkinson, Edward Birkett, James Hollingshead, N. G. Miller,W.D. Stevens, J. L. Deens, L. B. Beacom, S. T. Mitchell and ______Lynch. There are also a Methodist Protestand and two African Methodist churches in the borough.

The Baptist Church, Rev. J. B. Yeates, pastor, was organized in 1868, and worships in a recently dedicated edifice on Washington avenue.