Dear Viewer/Reader -- This was written in 1898, by a former Sharpsburg resident who submitted this article to The Sharpsburg and Etna Herald, recollecting the mid 1840s in that town. I thought you would enjoy it.
This article was extracted from microfilmed files held by the
Pennsylvania State Archives.
The Sharpsburg and Etna Herald, February 25, 1898
FIFTY YEARS AGO
AN OLD SHARPSBURGER, IN A REMINISCENT MOOD
GOES BACK TO BOYHOOD DAYS.
Prominent People and Old Land Marks Recalled
--Some are Gone but not Forgotten--
Sharpsburg Business Directory of the Fifties.
Wheeling, W. Va., Feb. 15, 1898.
Sharpsburg during the fifties was but a small hamlet or village, though
it had been incorporated as a borough in 1845, it had improved but little
after the close of the civil war. From memory, I enclose a directory
of the busineses, professional and mechanical residents, also their
location in the borough during 1854 and 1858, inclusive. But few, if
any of those mentioned are now in the land of the living, but many of
your readers will yet well remember them.
LEWIS, DALZELL & CO., were then the owners of the Vesuvius Iron mills, and
said works was the mainstay of the town.
D. HATCH owned a sawmill and boat yard on the river bank, just across the
Penn'a Canal, from where then stood the Iron Refinery of Lewis, Dalzell
Another saw mill stood at the foot of now Thirteenth street, on the
river, but I cannot recall the owners.
JONES' planing mill stood between Ferry street and the canal, right
below the canal bridge. It was operated by a Mr. SIAS and his two sons,
George and Alfred.
Sam'L COYLE's foundry stood on North Canal street, adjoining the Little
Jim church property.
A. G. NEFF and the GARNER Bros., each had blacksmith shops. The former
on Main street, corner of Church alley, and the latter on Main street,
just above the junction of Main and Ferry streets.
A. MORTON was the principle carpenter and builder. His shops were
located between North Canal street and the Penn'a Canal, almost opposite
the foot of Eleventh street, close to where now is the old railroad depot.
Elijah BARKER's paint shop was at the junction of North Canal and Clay
streets, on the property where of late years Nick HAHN's bee hives stood,
and Jos. TITUS shop, corner Seventh and Main street. Nick HAHN was
Sharpsburg's plasterer, and I believe the only one at that time.
J. F. SCHROTH and Peter WAGNER were our shoemakers. The former on Main
between Ninth and Tenth street, and the latter on Thirteenth, afterwards
the corner of Thirteenth and Main streets.
John HARTMAN, a tailor, located on North Canal near Main street.
J. SCHNEIDER and J. McKELVEY were cabinet makers and undertakers, the
former at North Canal and Main street and the latter near the Methodist
church, now Town Hall.
Our doctors were G. T. GILLIAM, corner of Seventh and Main street, and
A. G. COURTNEY, Main street, opposite Town Hall. There were then no drug
stores, and each doctor propounded his own medicines.
The spiritual doctors were Revs. GIBBS, SCHANG, ROBERTS, and MURRAY.
While Henry LEWIS and T. H. GIBSON were locals.
LEWIS, DALZELL & CO., had a large grocery, provision and general
merchandise store on Main street, near canal bridge.
Thos. H. GIBSON also was proprietor of such a store at the corner of
Tenth and Main streets, and removed to a large frame, where now stands
the F. & M. bank building and was there many years before building his
Two bakers had establishments. H. FOGLE on Main, between Ninth and
Tenth street, and Jacob FOGLE at the canal locks.
Three hotels were then all the town possessed. Lawrence WINCHELL and
afterwards Jacob KEIL, proprietor of the UNION HOTEL, Main and Eighth
streets. The BUTTERFIELD HOUSE, Jonas BUTTERFIELD, proprietor, between
Main street and the canal, near the Penn'a locks. The TEMPERANCE HOTEL,
J. HANNA, proprietor, corner Thirteenth and Main street.
A grocery was also kept at the corner of Thirteenth and Main, by Mr.
STEWART for some time, but he removed about 1857 and his place was occupied
by Peter WAGNER as a boot and shoe store for many years.
The town was supplied with meats by Gotlieb WERTZ, Main street, near
Eighth; Louis DENGLER, opposite the Little Jim church, and John SOELNER,
of Etna borough.
John EISENGART emigrated to Sharpsburg, I think about 1856, and opened
the first tin and stove store of the town.
R. T. GRAHAM was the contractor in brick work in them days as also
After disposing of the Union Hotel to Jacob KEIL, Lawrence WINCHELL built
a small brick and opened a grocery store, corner of Main and Seventh street,
where now stands the large brick, afterwards erected by Jacob KEIL and
occupied for years past as a drug store.
The juctice (justice) shops were presided over by Squire A. MORTON and
J. COMSTOCK, and Geo. BRANDY was the constable and much feared by the boys.
F. A. KLEIN was post master as also nail packer at Lewis' mill. Mr.
THOMPSON, principal of the public schools, while Michael CONNELLY had
charge of the Penn'a canal locks, situated just below Thirteenth street.
His assistants were Dan'l and Philip McGUIRE, two brothers. The West Penn
railroad now occupies the course of the said canal.
The Vesuvius Iron boat of Lewis, Dalzell & Co., by which metal and ore
was brought from Pittsburg to the works and the finished product floated
back was captained by Jas. KEARNEY and piloted by Jacob WEYMAN during
the open season, but in the winter Jas. CASEY, Jas. ANGLIN and others
steered the heavy mule teams that performed said work.
The principle puddlers in the Vesuvius Iron works were Elijah WESTWOOD,
Nick SCHNEIDER, Sam TAYLOR, Thos. McGIVERN, Joe FURGESON, Pat DOYLE, Jim
WICKHAM, Caleb STRINGER, Elijah CARTWRIGHT and Jake UMS.
The leading nailers were John ENGLAND, Dave WILHELM, Jack HANNA, Lew
MURRAY, Reece PARKER and Billy AYRES.
The rollers were: Billy MOYLE, of the muck rolls; Henry LEWIS, plate
mill roller, and at his death was succeeded by Dick MOYLE; Joseph T.
LOWRY, who still resides in the borough, was the guid-mill roller,
and John GREEN had charge of the bar mill.
Jas. C. LEWIS, one of the owners, was general manager and his brother,
Lewis W. LEWIS was assistant manager and boss of the forge department.
The furnace builder was ????? STEWART and his helper was Johnnie SLAVIN,
while Jas. PATTERSON had charge of the blacksmithing department. John
REED was bookkeeper and paymaster while Joseph PAUL, Jimmy REED and
Jack MITCHELL ran the store department.
It is not over twenty years since the large brick floating mill, corner
of Seventh street and the canal, owned and operated then by Joseph TURNER,
assisted by Tom YOUNG, was burned. The later afterwards went into the
Vesuviusmills and isnow a bar roller. Old Billy JONES, a heater, also
Dad SMITH, for years previous and after this period, worked in the Vesuvius.
This could not be complete were I to fail to mention the name of
Nick HELFREY, who for many years had complete control of the mill as
millwright, and Thomas MURPHY, Edward SINNOT, Thos. GOODMAN, old Mr. MOYLE,
Jake FORSTER, Matt MILLER, August WITTMAN, Alick SMITH, Father and Jos.
WHITLY, who for many years after worked in said mill. The firm then
manufactured their own nail kegs, and their factory stood on Main street,
just opposite Church alley, where large saw logs were made into staves
ready for the coopers. Reuben CLARKE and Tony YERKINS, assisted by their
sons, performed this work. Having no railroads their coal was brought
down the river and hauled up an incline plane into the mill. The work
of distributing it to the different parts of the mill was performed by
Wolfgang HECKEL and Judge Billy SMITH.
Among the many who were then boys and learned their trades in the Vesuvius
and are yet working or residing there at present: Viz: Andy GREEN, Casper
and John HERTZ, Jim SMITH, Billy McCAULEY, Henry and Nick AYRES, Jim and
Herman LEWIS, John WEYMAN and Andy YERKINS.
Joseph ESCHMAN, during this time, had a cigar factory, corner of Penn and
Tenth streets, and his sons, all of whom, I believe, are at present in the
borough, learned their trade with him, viz: Jacob, George, Peter, Joseph
Casper HERTZ, Sr., had a willow basket works and Valentine Gungle GABLE
was the only barber, his shop was on North Canal street, opposite the
now F. & M. bank.
Adam ALTMEYER and George BRAWDY done the teaming and the latters drivers
were a jolly lot of lads, many of them are about there yet. They are:
Sam FINN, Tom YOUNG, John BERROT, John ZWICK, (Haber OATS,) and Jake
Mrs. STEIN, mother of Henry STEIN, for some time kept a little store on
Main street, close to the corner of Tenth, during which Henry was serving
his trade with Peter WAGNER. Simon WICKERT about 1858 removed the ????
to BARKER paint shop and had his cobbling shop in it over the Penn'a canal
wastaway. Mrs. Ann WICHAM afterwars purchased it and I believe it still is
used as a kitchen on her property, Fifth street and West Penn railroad.
This I have no doubt will be read with interest by many subscribers of
your paper, both at home and abroad, and although I have written it from
memory I think they will find it correct in every particular. However
forty odd years is quite a long time and if I am wrong in any of the
statements I would be pleased to have some of them correct me.
(signed) H. J. Mc.