Borough of Rochester | 350 Adams Street, Rochester, Pennsylvania 15074 | Telephone:
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As published in the History of Beaver County and its Centennial Celebration, circa 1904.
As elsewhere remarked, the Ohio River, after flowing almost due northwest from Pittsburgh
When the Pittsburgh and Erie Division of the Pennsylvania Canal was built, Rochester was naturally its southern terminus, and here the traffic of the Great Lakes on the north, and that of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers on the south, found their point of contact. The shipping trade by canal and river thus gave an impetus to the growth of the town.
The passing of the canal and the advent of the railway still left Rochester its advantage
of position. From Pittsburgh to this point three lines of the Pennsylvania Company
run on a magnificent four-
Rochester was incorporated as a borough by an Act of Assembly, approved March 20, 1849, and in 1851 town council adopted a resolution that the borough should take advantage of the Act of Assembly, passed April 3, 1851. This action was confirmed by the court on September 7, 1871.2 From that time the borough has been under the general borough law of the State.
THE INDIAN VILLAGE
There was a village of Mingo Indians on the present site of Rochester, probably near the point where the Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad bridge crosses Beaver Creek. This was known in the latter part of the eighteenth century as "Logan's Town," because the famous chief, Logan, had his lodge here at that time. The mouth of the Big Beaver was an important rendezvous of the various Indian tribes, both in peace and war. Many Indian relics have been found there, and bones have been dug from what were doubtless graves of the vanished red men.
Early after the opening of the northern side of the Ohio to settlement of the whites the natural advantages of the spot began to attract attention; but for some years the principal part of the immigration went farther up the stream to the Falls of the Beaver or to the opposite side, where the village of Sharon grew into being. Here and there, however, an occasional settler located his cabin and clearing in the immediate vicinity of, or on, what is now a part of Rochester borough. The earliest of these settlers is not now known, but in 1799 the Rev. Francis Reno, who is mentioned in our chapter on the religious history of the county, an Episcopal clergyman from Washington County, Pa., and earlier from Virginia, built a log cabin just below the spot on which the Passavant Memorial Hospital buildings now stand. An early date is assigned, though no year can be fixed, for a log cabin which was built on the site of the present residence of the heirs of Atlas L. Lacock; and for one at the mouth of Lacock's Run, which was occupied by a woman named Atkinson. Near the river bank, immediately below where the National Glass Works now stand, was the log house owned by Reese Nannah, father of Jesse Nannah, and in which Jesse was born. In the same neighborhood stood the cabin of Jonathan Leet, son of William Leet, whose wife was Susannah Lacock. Another cabin stood at what is now the corner of New York Street and Rochester Avenue, the home of a man named Earl Merriman, who sold his land in 1817 to Lewis Reno. Samuel Bell, a very early settler, built a stone house on the site of the Ovid Pinney residence, now the property of John J. Hoffman. Two other log cabins are known to have been built at a very early period, one near the mouth of the Beaver, in which lived a ferryman named Benjamin Pounds, and one farther up, beyond McKinley's Run, the home of a man named Wehr.
RELATION TO BOROUGH OF BEAVER
The land now embraced within the limits of the borough of Rochester was, one hundred
years ago, a part of the borough of Beaver. The Act of the Legislature erecting the
borough of Beaver (March 29, 1802) gave as part of the bounds thereof, "the line
of the out-
The plan of the out lots referred to shows the following lanes, some of which are now Rochester's principal streets. East Bank Lane ran from the Big Beaver along the river bank to the eastern line of the borough of Rochester; Island Lane, from the mouth of the creek northward along its bank; and Deer Lane, starting from the latter a little below McKinley's Run, extended eastward to Fox Lane, now called Virginia Street. Panther Lane ran from Deer Lane down Connecticut Street, and along Pinney Street to the eastern borough line. Tiger Lane was what is now called Adams Street.
INFLUENCE OF THE CANAL
Previous to the construction of the canal between New Castle and the mouth of the
Big Beaver, there was little growth of population at this place. Travel on the river
passed it by, the steamboats making Stone's Point and Bridgewater their stopping-
PREVIOUS NAMES OF ROCHESTER
What is now Rochester has had several different names. In the deeds of Hemphill and Hinds, and in their plans of lots made about 1834, the name "East Bridgewater" occurs. This seems to have been applied to that part of the place immediately opposite Bridgewater. In a deed from James A. Sholes to Titus W. Power, dated 1836, the name "Fairport" is used. Both names were used by M. T. C. Gould in an article published in Hazzard's Register of Pennsylvania for 1835, and seem to designate two separate parts of the collection of houses in what became the village of Rochester. He says: "East Bridgewater and Fairport, quite in their incipient stage, promise soon to attain a respectable rank among their neighbors. Mr. Ovid Pinney has invested some thirty thousand dollars in lands at the above places, and is preparing to build up a large town." Two years later the name "Fairport" would appear to have gained acceptance for the place as a whole. The Pittsburgh Business Directory, published by Isaac Harris in 1837, so refers to it. Another name for this place in early days was "Beaver Point." This was frequently employed in addressing letters and other mail matter. Rochester, the present name of the town, was probably given to it sometime between 1837 and 1840. The honor of first giving this name to the town is assigned by Richard's History of Beaver County to Ovid Pinney, but belongs of right to Mitchell Hammond, who kept a grocery store on Water Street, and had this name of his own selection put upon some goods which he had bought in Pittsburgh and shipped by boat to his home.
Harris's Pittsburgh Business Directory for 1841 gives the following list of names of Rochester's businessmen for that year:
Merchants—Clarke & Co., William D. Johnson, William Alexander, James Fulton and William Waring.
Farmers—S. S. Reno, John Reno, Joseph Irvin, John Davidson, Hugh McClain, James Black, William Moore, Lydia Reno, John Fink, Thomas McNamara, David Trinels, Robert French, J. Kelley, W. Lagona, Mrs. J. Moore, George Hinds and Lewis Reno.
Physicians—F. R. Moore, A. F. Snider.
Justices of the peace—Samuel Moore, Joseph Irvin.
Hotel Keepers—Jacob Jones, "U.S. Hotel," John Boles, "Canal Hotel," H. Bausman, "Fairport Hotel."
Boat Builders—James Porter, Robert French and John H. Whisler.
Canal Boat Captains—Capt. Woods, Thomas Campbell and John Stiles.
Steam boat Pilots—William Hamilton, Francis Reno, William Reno, Crate Reno, A. Fisher and Jesse Nannah.
Boatmen—John Javens, William Powers, James Murray and J. Crane.
Engineers and Surveyors—Abner P. Lacock and Atlas E. Lacock.
Blacksmiths—J. Jackson, R. Jackson, J. Cooster.
Shoemakers—A. Fowler, Mr. Smith. Carpenters—H. Jackson, S. Powell, S. Keys, J. Hart, J. Umstead and Milo Moore.
Chair Makers— Jemuel Woodruff, J. Thompson, J. McCrum and J. B. Hill.
Gardeners— W. Mclntire and Abraham Hall.
Boarding House—John O'Connor.
Teamsters—John Wasson, John Inglis, Lawrence Marquis.
Laborers— D. Cable, R. Jackson, J. McKeever and J. Parrish.
Miscellaneous—A. Smith, tailor; John M. Lukens, clerk; John Webster, lock-
MARCUS T. C. GOULD
Among the early citizens of Rochester none was more prominent, or did more to advance the business interests of the place than Marcus T. C. Gould. His name and influence were connected with the most important enterprises in the county, and especially in this immediate vicinity. Some of these enterprises are mentioned later in this chapter. He was a man of large ideas and of boundless enthusiasm. Believing confidently in the future greatness of this region he conceived the plan of a city which should extend from the mouth of the Beaver to the Falls of that stream, and labored untiringly to interest capitalists in the towns throughout the valley. For Rochester especially Mr. Gould sought to devise liberal things. He came here shortly after the town was incorporated, to look after the sale of the large land holdings acquired in this place by Ovid Pinney. A map was made, called "A Map of the Borough of Rochester," which was a copy of several maps belonging to individuals who had plotted small parcels of land. This map was made, December 31, 1851, and has since been known as "Pinney's Plan of Lots in the Borough of Rochester." Two years later Mr. Gould induced Hiram Walbridge of Philadelphia, and John Thompson of Rhode Island, to invest a large sum of money in these lands. The deed by which the purchase was conveyed is dated October 10, 1853. Four hundred and six town lots, as laid out on the "Pinney Map," together with certain other pieces of land in the borough and vicinity, were conveyed in consideration of $43,706. Mr. Gould's large conception of the future Rochester or "Beaver City" was expressed in a map which he constructed, showing the town of Rochester and a hundred miles around it, with "commentaries" thereon addressed to the Pittsburgh Board of Trade, calling attention to the advantages of the site and its surroundings. The present prosperity of the Beaver valley, and its hopeful industrial and commercial outlook, prove the farsightedness of this active mind. Mr. Gould was the originator of a system of stenography which was long in use, and also the inventor of the first fountain pen. He died November 19, 1860.
One of the early enterprises in which, as we have said, Mr. Gould was a leading spirit was the Rochester Manufacturing Company, which was organized, August 27, 1854, for the manufacture of iron from ore, the casting of car wheels, and the making of various other kinds of machinery, even to locomotives. A large stone building was erected where the Speyerer Hotel now stands, but it seems that this company never actually engaged in the business of manufacturing. The structure was, however, later used for the manufacture of barrels by Rhodes, Kennedy & Company, and afterwards by Rhodes & Kirk in making cars for the railroad. The Rochester Manufacturing Company passed out of existence in 1865, when its property was sold to James I.
Bennett for the sum of $16,500. The Pendleton Brothers, a firm composed of Captain
Gilbert and Joseph Pendleton, established one of the earliest industries of Rochester,
an important firebrick works, started in 1856. Captain Daniel Fitch and Mr. John
Stahl later became connected with the firm. Anderson's Foundry was established in
1861 by Jacob Jones Anderson in the old octagonal-
The Rochester Tumbler Company, which for twenty-
H. C. Fry Glass Company, a corporation organized with $400,000 capital, under the
manufacturing laws of Pennsylvania, commenced business in 1902 with a new and up-
The Business Men's Association of Rochester, which was organized March 30, 1901,
with H. H. Newkirk as president; Garrett T. Bentel, secretary; and Geo. H. Cross,
treasurer, and whose object is to secure the mutual benefit of business men by promoting
their interests, securing their co-
William Miller & Sons.—William Miller, contractor and builder, came to Rochester
in 1855, and in 1869 established, with A. S. Dobson and Jacob Trax, the firm of Miller,
Dobson & Trax. In 1872 the firm became Miller & Trax, and in 1875 it was succeeded
by William Miller. In 1884 the firm of Wm. Miller & Sons succeeded William Miller;
and, November 6, 1898, William Miller retired, the firm name remaining Wm. Miller
& Sons. This firm is composed of the brothers John A., George W., Charles M., and
Henry J. Miller; Charles M. and George W. Miller being in the Pittsburgh office,
and John A. and Henry J. Miller in Rochester. The plant and lumber yard of Wm. Miller
& Sons, located between the railroad and river, covers about six acres, and they
employ from forty to seventy-
erected: the Montgomery County court-
Keystone Pottery Company.—This firm, which was composed of Wm. Miller & Sons, was incorporated in 1890. John Gripp of Pittsburgh, deceased, was a member of the firm at its organization. June 26, 1895, the plant was destroyed by fire. The site of the pottery was taken possession of by Wm. Miller & Sons, with H. V. Barteaux, who then formed the Miller Brick Company.
The Miller Brick Company.—This company was incorporated in 1900 for the manufacture of face and paving brick. The officers of the company are Wm. Miller, Sr., president; Wm. L. Miller, secretary and manager; and John A. Miller, treasurer.
Rochester Point Bottle Works was first called the Rochester Flint Vial and Bottle
Works, and was organized in the fall of 1879. Its directors were David McDonald,
Sr., David McDonald, Jr., Wm. Anderson, Wm. Miller, Sr., Michael Camp, P. McLaughlin,
Irvin McDonald, and John Taylor. David McDonald, Sr., was president; David McDonald,
Jr., secretary and treasurer; and Wm. Anderson, manager. This company erected a plant
which now forms the main portion of the building occupied by the Point Bottle Works
Company. In 1882 the company was reorganized, and given the name of the Point Bottle
Works Company. The directors of the new company were: P. McLaughlin, John Scheiss,
Wm. McCague, J. C. Irvin, John Flint, James R. Dougherty, Henry Heuring, Thos. Joyce,
St., P. McLaughlin was its president; John Scheiss, secretary; J. C. Irvin its first
treasurer; and Wm. McCague its second. The factory was operated under this management
until 1887, when it was again reorganized, the following being the directors: Henry
Heuring, P. J. Huth, James R. Dougherty, Lewis Hollander, John Flint, Reinhart Radtke,
and Wm. O'Leary. Henry Heuring was elected president; P. J. Huth, secretary and treasurer.
This management continued without a change until 1898, when C. A. Dambacher was elected
president, and Henry Heuring, superintendent. The factory is located at the junction
of the Beaver and Ohio rivers, and at the junction of the C. & P. and Fort Wayne
railroads. The works cover about one acre of ground. The present management has greatly
increased the capacity of the plant, and recently erected a two-
Keystone Tumbler Company.—The Keystone Tumbler Company was organized in February,
1897. Its officers were: John Conway, president; George A. Malone, secretary; August
Heller, treasurer; Chas. Runyon, general manager. Its directors were: John Conway,
August Heller, John Moulds, James T. Conlin, and Charles Bentel. The capital stock
was $75,800. The factory began operation August 23, 1897. The plant occupies a building,
300 x 310 feet, besides a boiler-
Beaver Valley Glass Manufacturing Company, popularly known as the "Dinkey" Glass Works, was established in 1882 by Alex. Pfiffner, John McManus, and Floris Thomas. The ownership passed to Messrs. Irvin & McLaughlin, who, in 1885, leased the plant to Mr. John D. Carter, and the firm name became the John D. Carter Glass Works, not Limited. The product was flasks, brandy bottles, and prescription vials, and the business was actively conducted until July, 1890, when the plant was destroyed by fire and never rebuilt.
The Beaver Falls Cutlery Company first started on a small scale in Rochester, on the premises on the Brighton Road or Delaware Avenue, afterwards occupied by the "Dinkey" Glass Works, but was soon removed to Beaver Falls, where it became a great concern.
Bonbrights' Starch Factory —About 1844 John and William Bonbright came to Rochester
and started a starch factory on the site more recently occupied by the above-
The Rochester Planing Mill Company, formerly known as the Rochester Planing Mill,
George E. Woodruff, proprietor, was chartered December 4, 1902, with a capital of
$60,000, and with the following officers and directors: Orin H. Mathews, president;
George E. Woodruff, secretary and treasurer; directors—B. E. Surls, R. E. Tallon,
and H. D. Jackson. Jemuel Woodruff, the father of George E. Woodruff of this firm,
came to this vicinity in 1832, and was at first engaged in the clock business. He
later built a cabinet shop and manufactured furniture. In 1858 a planing mill was
built by Monroe Miller, Wheelen Dolby, and Charles Lukens, in which Mr. Woodruff
was employed. In 1875 or 1876 he bought this mill for himself, and until his death
in January, 1899, continued the business. At the time of his death, when he was about
The Rochester Cut Glass Company —The Rochester Cut Glass Company was organized in
the fall of 1896, with Jno. M. Pfeiffer, president; F. L. Williams, secretary; and
C. B. Conway, treasurer. They are manufacturers of rich cut tumblers, fingerbowls,
sherbets, stemware, water-
The Olive Stove Works were originally established by Captain Daniel Fitch and the Herrington Brothers in 1872. In September, 1879, they sold these works to the present company, and on September 1, 1879, "The Olive Stove Works, Limited," was incorporated and a board of seven managers were elected. John Conway was made president; and John R. Eakin, secretary and treasurer. The works were then located at the river, on the east corner of New York and River streets. In 1882 it was decided to enlarge the works, and the present site was purchased and suitable buildings were erected thereon. March 3, 1903, this plant was destroyed by a fire, caused by a gas explosion, but was immediately rebuilt. In 1899 a new charter was obtained, and the Olive Stove Works was made a corporation. The present officers are: John R. Eakin, president; Joseph M. Eakin, secretary and treasurer; S. G. Woods, superintendent; John W. Dowell, traveling salesman. The production is confined to manufacturing cooking and heating stoves and ranges and general castings.
The Rochester Roller Flouring Mills, G. Henry Karcher and Jno. A. Karcher, proprietors,
are located on Railroad Street, opposite the Fort Wayne freight depot. The firm was
organized in 1882, under the title of Karcher Brothers, who erected a flouring mill
on the location on which the present mill stands, which was burned in December of
1890, together with several other buildings located in that part of the town. They
rebuilt during the summer of 1891. The present mill is four stories high, 50 x 85
feet in size, and is built of brick. Its capacity is 125 barrels of flour daily.
It is equipped with the latest improvements in the way of rolls, bolting reels, and
wheat cleaning machinery. It also contains a corn-
The Rochester Clay Pot Company was organized January 25, 1902, and chartered April
14, 1902. It manufactures glasshouse pots of every description. The present officers
are Dr. J. C. McClaren of Pittsburgh, president; George A. Rahe of Pittsburgh, vice-
The Beaver Valley Pot Company was organized, May 26, 1902, with the following officers: Samuel Young, president; J. Howard Fry, secretary; Leonard Albrecht, treasurer. The company was formed for the purpose of manufacturing glass melting pots, tank blocks, bench clay and furnace blocks of all kinds for glass factories. The plant has a capacity of 900 pots annually, besides the other supplies. The present officers of the company are: Edward Kaye, president; Edward T. Davis, treasurer; Walter R. Irvin, secretary; Samuel Young, manager; directors: Edward Kaye, E. T. Davis, W. H. Surls, M. S.
Marquis, and H. C. Fry.
Speyerer & McDonald Bank —This was the first banking institution started in Rochester. Its firm members were G. C. Speyerer, J. V. McDonald, H. J. Speyerer, and W. J. Speyerer. The capital was $30,000. The first deposit was received November 3, 1869. In 1872 the firm name was changed to Speyerer & Company, with the same amount of capital. The members were then G. C. Speyerer, H. J. Speyerer, W. J. Speyerer, John Greabing, Sr., L. H. Oatman, and Louis Schneider. September 23, 1873, the business was turned over to the Beaver County Banking & Safe Deposit Association, Rochester, Pa., which was organized with a capital of $75,000. The first officers and directors were: G. C. Speyerer, president; H. J. Speyerer, cashier; directors: G. C. Speyerer, Louis Schneider, H. J. Speyerer, John Greabing, Sr., and L. H. Oatman. This institution is no longer in existence.
John Conway's Bank —This is the second oldest banking institution in Rochester. It was organized in 1871 as John Conway & Company. From time to time Mr. Conway has bought out his partners, until he is now the sole owner. The bank is on the corner of Madison Street and Brighton Road. Mr. Conway does a general banking business on safe and conservative lines, and is an able financier.
First National Bank of Rochester —This bank was established June 18, 1883, with Henry C. Fry, William S. Shallenberger, Edward B. Daugherty, Gilbert Pendleton, I. F. Mansfield, Thomas M. Armstrong, Tobias Hetchie, Moses B. Sloan, Boardman S. Ranger, Benjamin Mulheim, and Dr. A. T. Shallenberger, signers on the certificate of organization. The first directors were Henry C. Fry, W. S. Shallenberger, I. F. Mansfield, Gilbert Pendleton, A. C. Hurst, John M. Buchanan, Jesse H. Lippencott. Henry C. Fry was chosen president of this bank at the time of its organization, and has continued to occupy that position from that time till the present. The bank first opened for business on the 18th of June, 1883, in the brick building on Brighton Street, now owned and occupied by Mrs. John Kaszer. At that time the bank owned this property. In 1887 the property was sold to Mrs. Kaszer, and the bank removed to its present convenient location, on the corner of New York and Pleasant streets. Hon. W. S. Shallenberger was made cashier of this bank at the time of its organization. Mr. Shallenberger was succeeded as cashier by Charles J. Wack. Mr. Wack was a teller at the time of his election. He held the position from that time till August 3, 1894, when he died. Thomas C. Fry was elected to succeed Mr. Wack, and Mr. Fry was succeeded by the present cashier, Mr. John H. Mellor. The capital stock of this bank in 1900 was $50,000, and its surplus, $50,000; in 1903 the capital was increased to $150,000, and the surplus is now $35,000.
The Rochester National Bank —This bank was organized, December 17, 1898, with the
following officers and directors: James G. Mitchell, president; W. J. Mellon, vice-
The Rochester Trust Company —Early in the fall of 1902 a few of the most enterprising
of Rochester's business men began to talk seriously of the organization of a new
bank, believing that the growth of the town and increasing business of the county
justified such a venture. Dr. W. A. Rose and Mr. Henry J. Miller were the prime movers
in the enterprise, and their first idea was of a bank or trust company capitalized
at $150,000. So favorably was this plan received that in less than two days' canvas
Mr. Miller succeeded in getting nearly the whole proposed amount subscribed. A trust
company was decided upon on account of there being no organization of that kind in
Rochester, and on account of its wider field for business. On the nth of October,
at the office of William Miller & Sons, was held the first meeting for the organization
of the Rochester Trust Company. Those present were: Messrs. John A. Miller, Walter
A. Rose, Curtis C. Noss, William A. McConnel, Frank Feyler, Henry J. Miller, Adie
K. B. Wilson, George H. Karcher, and Thomas C. Fry—all subsequently directors in
the company. John A. Miller was elected chairman, and Thomas C. Fry, secretary, of
the meeting. The capital was placed at $150,000, and Thomas C. Fry appointed treasurer
of the company. A little later it was found that the Rochester National Bank would
consider a proposition to sell its stock. Messrs. John A. Miller, Wilson, Noss, and
Shugert, were appointed a committee to confer with the bank, and reported that the
bank stock could be bought for $200 per share. This deal was immediately closed.
As the original $150,000 had already been subscribed, a resolution was passed on
the 4th of November increasing the capital stock to $200,000. On November 20th the
first stockholders meeting was held at the office of C. C. Noss & Company. At this
meeting the directors, fifteen in number, were elected, namely: John A. Miller, Dr.
Walter A. Rose, William A. McConnel, Joseph C. Campbell, Curtis C. Noss, George H.
Karcher, Wesley E. Bonzo, Henry J. Miller, George A. Baldwin, Frank Feyler, Dr. Guy
S. Shugert, Adie K. B. Wilson, Dr. John C. McCauley, James H. Ewing, and Thomas C.
Fry. The Rochester Trust Company commenced business in the rooms of the Rochester
National Bank, on December 1, 1902. On the 23d of December a meeting of the stockholders
of the Rochester National Bank was held, and resolutions passed to place the bank
in voluntary liquidation on January 6, 1903. Mr. Joseph C. Campbell, formerly cashier
of the Rochester National Bank, continued with the Trust Company until February.
The officers elected by the directors of the Rochester Trust Company were: John
A. Miller, president; Dr. Walter A. Rose, vice-
The Central Building and Loan Association of Beaver County —Since its organization
in 1888 this has become one of the largest and most successful institutions of its
kind in Pennsylvania, with about 1400 shareholders, carrying nearly 7000 shares of
stock, on which the annual receipts exceed $200,000. The list of officers and directors
is as follows: William M. Fisher, president; G. T. Bentel, vice-
Rochester Building and Loan Association —This association was organized in the spring
of 1894, and the charter was granted June 1, 1894. At the time of the organization
the officers and directors were: A. C. Hurst, president; William Moulds, vice-
Trinity Episcopal Church of Rochester was organized, May 29, 1851, and chartered March 18, 1852. The charter members were John Reno, John Clark, F. Reno, John Cooke, D. W. C. Bidwell. The first vestry was composed of John Reno and Wm. Owens, wardens; and Wm. Hurst, secretary and treasurer. The parish was organized by Rev. Wm. H. Paddock, and the first pastor was Rev. Joseph P. Taylor, who immediately began the erection of the present church on a lot presented by M. T. C. Gould, as agent for the land company. Mr. Taylor was rector from 1851 to 1867, and at times was assisted by Rev. J. T. Protheroe and Rev. J. L. G. Fryer. Mr. Fryer was a very promising young minister, but death claimed him while connected with this church. Rev. C. N. Spalding, D.D., became rector of Trinity, in connection with New Brighton parish, in 1872. Rev. Wm. Ballard became rector of this parish and Georgetown in 1873, and had many improvements made upon the church property, and was followed by Rev. John K. Karcher. In 1876 Rev. Wm. A. Fuller was rector of this parish, with Trinity Church, New Castle; St. Paul's Church, Fairview; and St. Luke's, Georgetown. Rev. Thos. J. Martin was next, and was succeeded by Jno. Loudon in 1884. Rev. J. A. Farrar next took charge. During his pastorate the parish received a gift of $5000 from Lewis Taylor, Esq., which was used to purchase a rectory and put the church in repair. In September, 1886, Rev. T. J. Danner became rector, and had the belfry erected to receive the chimes, which were presented to the parish by Amelia Blake of East End, Pittsburgh, formerly a member of the church, and a daughter of Wm. Hurst, one of the first vestry. Rev. J. L. Taylor next succeeded to the rectorship of the parish. In 1897 Rev. A. D. Brown took charge. Tradition says that the first church started and completed in Rochester was the Episcopal, the first foundation for which was begun on the lot now owned by Hon. H. P. Brown, corner of Adams and Vermont Streets. For some reason this foundation was not completed, and the congregation accepted the present lot and proceeded to erect the present building.
St. Cecilia's Roman Catholic Church.—The first Roman Catholic church organized in Beaver County was that of Beaver, known as SS. Peter and Paul's. By 1854 a number of German families had come into the parish, and by these a separate organization was begun in the town of Rochester. From Ovid Pinney, who owned a large part of the ground in that place, and had laid it out in town lots, a gift of two lots on Washington Street, the present location of the church, was obtained by deed bearing date, April 29, 1854. Two years later the erection of a frame church, 25 x 46 feet, was begun. This church was dedicated on Sunday, November 22, 1857. The Rev. Father Michael Miihlberger was the first regular, though not resident, pastor of this parish. There was
no resident pastor for many years, the congregation being too poor to support one,
and for some time services were held but once a month. The Reverend Father J. Reiser
in 1859 became the second pastor of St. Cecilia's Church, which, towards the end
of that year, was attached to St. Mary's, Allegheny, from which it was visited twice
a month for about nine years following. The names of the pastors appearing on the
church register during this period and later are as follows: October, 1859-
On April 4, 1898, the Beaver church was destroyed by fire, and St. Cecilia's became for a time the home of both congregations. Later the third floor of Hurst's Hall. Bridgewater, was fitted up, and Mass was celebrated there for the members of the Beaver congregation until the new church of SS. Peter and Paul's was erected. Missions at Industry and Smith's Ferry had for many years been attached to St. Cecilia's, but they are now under the charge of the pastor of the Beaver church. The activities of the church have, besides, been represented in the work of many different societies, such as the Sons of St. George, Sons of St. Patrick, and the Emeralds, the Young Men's Institute, etc., and by the parochial schools. The congregation of St. Cecilia's is no longer distinctively a German one, nearly all of its members being able to speak English, and the pastor conducting the work of teaching mainly in that tongue. The old church was torn down in 1901, and since then the services of the church have been held in Cole's Hall, on Adams Street.
The new church building of St. Cecilia's now in course of construction, will be a
magnificent structure. Its corner-
Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church —This church was organized in the year 1854 by
the late Rev. Dr. W. A. Passavant of Pittsburgh, in the building then called the
car factory. In 1855 Dr. Passavant secured two lots on the corner of Adams and Ohio
streets, and on the third day of July the corner-
The congregation then elected as pastor the Rev. Dr. H. N. Roth, now of Chicago. Dr. Roth preached until July 1, 1878, when Rev. C. H. Hemsath assumed charge. The old structure known as the "Gravel" church was in part rebuilt, and a number of other improvements were made during his pastorate. He resigned the pastorate in March, 1882, but the resignation was not accepted. In the following year he resigned, and this time the resignation was accepted, to take effect December 21, 1883. On Friday night, December 21, 1883, the church building was destroyed by fire. The congregation was left without a church in which to worship, and without a pastor. At a meeting held in St. Paul's Church, on Adams Street, December 24th, they resolved to rebuild. A few weeks later Dr. H. N. Roth again began to act as pastor, preaching every two weeks; and Rev. L. Happe of Greenville, Pa., the alternate Sunday. On July 28, 1885, the cornerstone of the new building was laid, and on Sunday, April 25, 1886, the present church building was dedicated. The entire cost was about $6000. May 2, 1886, the Rev. J. W. Meyers assumed the pastorate, and labored until April 25, 1892, when he resigned. The pastorate of the church was vacant until July, 1893, when Rev. J. K. Heckert took charge, and served the congregation until March 13, 1898. A call was then extended to Dr. J. E. Whittaker. He accepted the call, and began to preach September the first. He resigned, December 28, 1900, and the present pastor, Rev. F. A. Bowers, assumed his relation to the church, June 16, 1901. The congregation has now a membership of 440; the Sunday school, 303.
The Methodist Episcopal Church —In the month of March, 1867, at a session of the
Pittsburgh Conference, held in Massillon, Ohio, a request was made for the organization
of a Methodist Episcopal Church in Rochester, Pa. In response to this request, Rev.
Lewis Paine was appointed to the charge, and soon afterward a meeting was held in
the town hall, where seventy-
The following persons have served the church as pastors: Revs. Lewis Paine, John Grant, W. "W. Darby. T. S. Hodgson, D. L. Dempsey, D.D., S. T. Mitchell, William Cox, D.D., D. L. Dempsey, D.D., J. B. Risk, W. D. Slease, L. R. Beacom, S. M. Bell. Mr. Bell died during his pastorate, and Rev. William Cox, D.D., served the church during the remaining part of the year. He was succeeded by Rev. W. C. Weaver, who left in October, 1900, when the present pastor, Rev. W. S. Lockard, came to the field.
The Evangelical Lutheran St. Paul's Church (German) — From about 1856 to 1866 two German congregations were organized in the Beaver valley; the one a Lutheran at Bridgewater, and the other a Reformed at Rochester, which in the year 1867 united under the name of the Evangelical Lutheran St. Paul's Church. Two lots on the corner of Adams and Connecticut streets were purchased, September 24, 1867, for the sum of $575, and a new brick building, 35 x 50 feet, was erected thereon. The contract price is not known. When the building was finished, a debt of $1400 was resting on the congregation, but in a few years this was paid through a Building and Loan Association. Rev. Prof. C. F. Giese, teacher in Thiel Hall, Monaca, served as the first pastor from 1867 to July, 1868; Rev. B. F. Zahn in 1868; Rev. C. F. Sheinbach from 1868 to 1870; and Rev. P. Born from 1870 to 1876. In the summer of 1876 the congregation being without a pastor, the Rev. F. C. E. Lemcke, then a student at the theological seminary, Philadelphia, was sent here by the president of
the Pittsburgh Synod, to serve them until a pastor was called. The labors of Mr.
Lemcke proved satisfactory to the congregation, and before he left in October to
return to school, a call was handed him, which he later accepted. Rev. Mr. Dethlefs,
of Sharpsburg, served the congregation during the winter. Rev. F. C. E. Lemcke returned
on April 1, 1877, and was pastor from that time until his death in 1901. The congregation
organized with twenty-
First Baptist Church —August 3, 1873, a number of members of Baptist churches met at the house of William S. Shallenberger for consultation in reference to the organization of a church. Henry C. Fry, David Robinson, Roland Lloyd, Dr. A. T. Shallenberger, Edward M. Power, William S. Shallenberger, Mrs. Jane Evans, Mrs. Susan Power, Mrs. Eliza A. Robinson, and Mrs. Jane Ashworth were present. Other meetings were held and, February 4, 1874, it was resolved that a church organization be effected to be known as the "First Baptist Church of Rochester, Pennsylvania." February 19, 1874, a council of recognition, composed of the pastors and delegates of various Baptist churches, met in the town hall in Rochester. Rev. J. W. Plannett, pastor of the church at Sharpsburg, was chosen moderator, and William S. Shallenberger, clerk. The following persons were recognized by the council as "The First Baptist Church of Rochester, Pennsylvania": Henry C. Fry, Mrs. Eunice Fry, George W. Fry, Edward M. Power, Thomas Matthews, Mrs. Jane Evans, Mrs. Amanda Donaldson, Mrs. Josephine Shallenberger, William S. Shallenberger, Aaron T. Shallenberger, Mrs. Susan Power, Mrs. Matilda Porter, Mrs. Jane Ashworth, Miss Jennie Ashworth, Mrs. Anna Shepler, David Robinson, Mrs. Eliza A. Robinson, Roland Lloyd, Mrs. Martha Lloyd, Jacob Fisher, Mrs. Sophia Fisher, Mrs. Mary J. Anderson, D. B. Salade, Mrs. D. B. Salade, Mrs. Mary A. Lloyd, Miss Nettie Lloyd, Mrs. Maria J. Sheiburn. June 10, 1874, the church was received into the fellowship of the Pittsburgh Baptist Association. October 28, 1874, Rev. J. A. Snodgrass was called as the first pastor of the church, and continued his services until September 30, 1877, when he resigned. The members of the church having secured a lot, a frame church building was erected at a cost of about $9000. It was dedicated, February 11, 1875. From the resignation of Mr. Snodgrass to January 23, 1878, preaching was by stated supply. Rev. A. J. Bonsall was then called and served the church until Sept. 1, 1904.
The First Presbyterian Church —Upon a petition presented to the Presbytery of Allegheny,
a committee consisting of Rev. E. E. Swift, D.D., Rev. James Allison, D.D., and Rev.
J. M. Shields, was appointed to organize a Presbyterian Church in the town of Rochester,
Pa. The committee met in the town hall, Rochester, April 14, 1874, and organized
a church, under the name of "The First Presbyterian Church of Rochester," with forty
charter members. Mr. James H. Kinzer and D. S. Marquis, M.D., were elected, ordained,
and installed as ruling elders. George C. Surls, J. Woodruff, J. H. Whisler, C.
R. Blanchard, Perry Brown, and John Davis, constituted the first board of trustees.
During the first year the church was without a pastor, but was regularly supplied
with preaching. Rev. E. P. Lewis was the first pastor. He entered the field in April,
1875, and continued to serve the church in connection with the Presbyterian Church
of Freedom, until April, 1878. Rev. Jeffries served the church as a supply for a
time. In December, 1879, Rev. R. B. Porter became pastor. Mr. Porter served until
April, 1881. Following this, the church had supplies until Rev. W. G. Stewart was
called and took charge, in October, 1883. Mr. Stewart served the congregation until
April, 1887. The fourth pastor was the Rev. J. H. Bausman, whose pastorate began
November 1, 1887. Mr. Bausman served the congregation until April, 1892. For nine
months ensuing, the congregation had supplies. January 1, 1893, Rev. T. B. Anderson,
D.D., became pastor, and has continued in charge of the congregation until the present
date. In 1874 the congregation erected a substantial brick house of worship on the
corner of Franklin and Freedom alleys, at the northeast corner of the public park.
In 1895 they repaired their house of worship and built a lecture-
Zion Church of the Evangelical Association of Rochester was organized about the year
i860 by L. Scheuerman. Rev. G. Gotz was in charge of the Rochester congregation in
the years 1880, 1881, and 1882. He was followed by Rev. C. A. Walz, who served the
congregation for the next two years. Rev. H. Weigand was the pastor for 1885-
The German Evangelical Protestant Church is located on Reno and Ohio streets. It
was built in 1894. Its first board of trustees were Christian Mattmiller, John Bender,
Michael Dietz. The membership of the church is twenty-
The United Presbyterian Church —The United Presbyterian Church of Rochester was formally
organized on November 29, 1898, at a meeting held at Patton's Hall, by a committee
consisting of Rev. R. L. Hay of New Brighton, and Messrs. A. D. Gilliland, Joseph
F. Mitchell, Wm. H. McCaw, and Wm. F. Boyd, members of his church session. Services
had been held for several months previous to this time, however, and the present
pastor, Rev. Jas. F. Ray, had been preaching to the congregation since September
1st. The church was organized with forty-
Free Methodist Church —In July, 1888, a camp-
The first school house in Rochester was the frame building until recently used as
the parsonage of the Evangelical Association Church. In 1862 the brick building,
containing four classrooms, in the Second ward, was erected. This was later enlarged.
The Third Ward school building was erected in 1884-
The Passavant Memorial Home —This Home is on the hillside just above the town of
Rochester, and consists of three well-
SECRET AND OTHER SOCIETIES
The Masons —Rochester Lodge, No. 229, F. and A. M., was instituted April 11, 1848. The charter members were David Eaton, Jemuel Woodruff, G. St. Clair Hussey, S. B. French, N. P. Fetterman, Ovid Pinney, C. W. Bloss, James A. Sholes, Martin Fisher, Joshua Logan. In the year 1873 Past Master Ovid Pinney gave to the lodge the lot on the corner of Rhode Island Street and the public square, and in 1884 Lewis Taylor, Esq., gave the lodge the sum of $10,000, under the condition that the lodge would provide a like sum for the purpose of erecting upon the land owned by them a Masonic building. This was done, and in the spring of 1885 the building was completed and the Masons took possession of it and dedicated it. With the necessary equipment it cost about $25,000. It is one of the finest Masonic buildings in the State outside of the larger cities. Eureka Chapter, No. 167, Royal Arch Masons, was organized July 14, 1849.
S. M. Kane Lodge, No. 786, I. O. O. F —January 24, 1880, this lodge was instituted, under the name of Rochester Lodge, No. 786. Samuel M. Kane, who had always been a zealous worker in everything pertaining to the efficiency of the lodge, was instantly killed upon the railway crossing, January 17, 1895, while returning home from work, and as a deserved tribute to his memory it was decided to change the name of the lodge to the S. M. Kane Lodge. This was accordingly done by a dispensation of the Grand Lodge, granted April 26, 1895. Its membership is between 250 and 300. In 1888 certain of the members and their wives applied for a charter for a Rebecca Degree Lodge, and "Winifred Rebecca Lodge" was instituted on the 19th day of April, 1888.
John W. Stokes Encampment, No. 285, I. O. 0.F., was instituted December 21, 1889, in Odd Fellows' Hall, Opera House building, Rochester, Pa.
Woodmen of the World —Apple Tree Camp, No. 5, Pennsylvania, was instituted in Odd Fellows Hall, Opera House building, Rochester, Pa., on Wednesday evening, February 10, 1892, and is at this date, 1904, in a flourishing condition.
The Young Men's Institute, "Dewey Council," was organized May 1, 1898, by the Roman Catholic young men of Rochester, in the Grand Army Hall on Brighton Street.
Post No. 183, Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Pennsylvania, located in Rochester, Pa., was organized July 7, Ad. 1880, with fourteen members. The charter members were: James C. Stewart, Williamson Graham, W. S. Shallenberger, Henry C. Fry, H. J. Chandler, A. Val. Woodruff, Thomas Matthews, Thomas Carr, Wm. D. Reno, Stephen A. Craig, S. J. Swoger, W. J. Ware, R. F. Mcllvain, Henry Weber.
Rochester Lodge, No. 274, Knights of Pythias, was organized December 15, 1870, and has ever since had a steady growth, numbering in membership at present about 140.
Garfield Council, No. 114, Junior Order United American Mechanics, was organized
and instituted December 31, 1881, in the G. A. R. Hall, with twenty-
Rochester Lodge, No. 283, B. P. O. E., was organized in I. O. O. F. Hall, May 9, 1891.
A pioneer hostelry in what was East Bridgewater, now Rochester was known as the Leaf
House, still standing on the corner of Shields and Maine streets. This was built
in 1834 by William Leaf, conducted by him for several years, and then leased to a
man named Barnes. This was a well-
Another old hotel was the Rochester Hotel on Water Street, built in 1848 by John H. Camp. About 1850 he sold out to his nephew, Michael Camp, and removed to the Point Hotel, which he named the National. The St. James Hotel was built in 1845 by Andrew Purdy, and was then known as the Pavilion Hotel. Chester W. Bloss was the first proprietor. In 1862 Michael Camp exchanged the Rochester Hotel for the Pavilion, the exchange being made with Louis Schneider. Mr. Camp remained the proprietor of the Pavilion Hotel until 1886, when he sold it to Christian H. Clark, who changed its name to the St. James. It has since been in the hands of Thomas Lee, Mrs. Anna Lee, his wife; and now Mr. Hal Harsha. This hotel is the only one now occupied which was established and under successful operation when Rochester borough was incorporated.
The Doncaster House —In 1865 Richard Doncaster bought the old Johnston House, and in 1871 established the present Doncaster House. After his death in 1882, his daughters, Sarah, Annie, Elizabeth, and Jemima, assumed control, with Sarah, proprietress, and J. N. Dowell, manager. On April 1, James W. Doncaster, a son of Richard, took the management, and repairs costing $12,000 were made. August 17, 1897, Richard and James W. Doncaster purchased the property. Richard is now in control.
The Hotel Speyerer was established by a stock company, formed December 18, 1890. The leading members of the Speyerer Hotel Company were Herman J. Speyerer, Adam M. Johnson, J. Newton Dowell, and Andrew J. Welsh. The site of the old plow factory on the corner of Water and New York streets was purchased, and in January, 1891, the contract for the erection of a large building was let to Simon Harrold of Beaver Falls. The hotel was opened to the public, December 21, 1891. Its entire cost, including furnishings, was $67,832. Captain W. J. Bickerstaff is the present proprietor.
There are two cemeteries at this place, Lacock's, just on the edge of town, and Irvin's, about a quarter of a mile to the northeast of the borough line. Lacock's is the oldest, having been chartered in September, 1863.
GRAND OPERA HOUSE
ROCHESTER STEAM FERRY
The first ferry-
The first postmaster of the borough of Rochester was R. G. Parks. He was at that
time in the forwarding business, and was appointed when the office was first established,
and served until 1853. He was succeeded by Chester W. Bloss, who kept the office
in a small building, which he had erected for that purpose on Maine Street. He held
the position through two administrations, and was succeeded by Captain John S. Shepler
in 1861. Captain Shepler, it seems held the office but one year. It was then located
in the Schlelein building on Madison Street. Thomas M. Taylor was next appointed,
and continued to hold the office from 1862 until 1877—fifteen years. During this
period the office was located either in the brick building that stood on the corner
of Maine and Madison streets, or in the frame shoe-
GROWTH AND POPULATION
In 1850 there was property in the borough that was assessed at $106,010. To day (1904) the assessed valuation of property is $2,675,387. Then there were twenty places of business; now there are seventy. Then there were about one thousand inhabitants; now there are over four thousand, with a growing suburban population that increases that number by a thousand. By the United States Census for 1900 the population of the borough was 4688.