As published in the History of Beaver County and its Centennial Celebration, circa
As elsewhere remarked, the Ohio River, after flowing almost due northwest from Pittsburgh
for twenty-six miles, makes a majestic sweep around to the southwest. In this great
bend of the river, at the mouth of the Big Beaver Creek, lies the Borough of Rochester.
A glance at the map will show that this town holds the key-position in the Beaver
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-track system. These lines are the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne
& Chicago, the Erie & Pittsburgh, and the Cleveland & Pittsburgh. At Rochester these
lines separate, the Cleveland & Pittsburgh continuing down the Ohio River valley,
and the other two following the valley of the Big Beaver Creek, until they again
diverge at Kenwood station. Between Pittsburgh and Rochester there run, on this division
of the Pennsylvania Company's lines, in each direction six days in the week, twenty-five
passenger trains, most of which stop here; and the service of the trains on the Pittsburgh
& Lake Erie Railway is available at Monaca and Beaver by trolley cars running across
Rochester was incorporated as a borough by an Act of Assembly, approved March 20,
1849, and in 1851town 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-lots of the reserve tract of land at the mouth of Big Beaver creek which
have already been sold." These outlots, seventy-nine in number, lay on the east side
of the Big Beaver. By legislative enactment, approved January 14, 1804,3 all lands
on the easterly side of the Big Beaver were cut off from the borough of Beaver.
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-places.
The growth of the village of Rochester began with the building of the canal. Freight
from the canal boats was unloaded at a landing near where Jacob Stahl's house now
stands, and transferred to the steamboats on the Ohio at a landing on Water Street.
This portage was sometimes unnecessary, for with a good stage of water in the river,
the canal boats could be taken through the locks into the river direct and towed
by the steamboats to their destination. Several warehouses were built on Water Street:
one near the present Shugert property by Hamilton Clark, and one by John Dickey,
both of which were removed here from Bridgewater; and one by J. A. Sholes. Clark
and Dickey also built wharf boats for receiving freight. Similar boats were built
here by C. Bidwell, John M. Lukens, and a man named Collins. A very large freight
business was done here, and a regular line of passenger packets ran to and from New
Castle and points beyond. The latter ceased soon after the railroad was built, but
freight shipments continued to be made by the canal until it was sold.
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
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
School-teachers—William McGowan and John Marshall.
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-keeper
canal; Mr. Bailey, miller; C. Geer, lumberman; Ed. Gillespie, cooper; W. Leaf, stone
mason; Horatio N. Frazier, gentleman; J. B. Shurtleff, editor Beaver Patriot; Samuel
Barnes, firebrick maker.
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-shaped building, which stood until
a few years ago at the foot of New York Street. This plant was operated successfully
for several years.
The Rochester Tumbler Company, which for twenty-seven years owned and operated the
principal industry of Rochester, and one of the most important tumbler works in the
world, was organized in the spring of 1872. Five acres of the Lacock property, in
Rochester Township, just outside of the borough limits, were purchased. The stockholders
were Jesse H. Lippincott, Henry C. Fry, Samuel Moulds, William Moulds, Samuel M.
Kane, Richard Welsh, Thomas Carr, William Carr, Robert Carr, and John Carr. The first
officers elected were as follows: Henry C. Fry, president; Jesse H. Lippincott, secretary
and treasurer; and Samuel M. Kane, manager. The shares of stock were originally five
hundred dollars, but they ultimately appreciated greatly. The company commenced the
manufacture of glass with one ten-pot furnace and with ninety employees, making tumblers
a specialty. The capacity was then 1200 dozen per week. During the final year of
its existence it operated seven furnaces with ninety pots, gave employment to 1100
people, and had a capacity of 75,000 dozen per week, or 150,000 tumblers per day.
These seven large furnaces were kept in operation constantly, and some idea of their
capacity may be had from the fact that each week they consumed about one hundred
tons of white sand alone, not to mention the several other ingredients, of which
large quantities were used in the manufacture of pressed and blown tumblers and goblets,
both of crystal and finest lead glass. The buildings of the Rochester Tumbler Company
covered seven of the ten acres of ground belonging to the company, lying between
the P., Ft. W. & C. RR. tracks and the Ohio River. The plant was operated night and
day, was lighted throughout with electricity furnished by the company's own motors,
and consumed daily 2,000,000 cubic feet of natural gas, which was brought from the
concern's own wells through fifty miles of natural-gas mains. The products of this
concern were sold throughout the civilized world, and compared favorably with the
finest wares of France and Belgium. On the morning of February 12, 1901, the larger
part of this great plant was destroyed by fire, and the people were dismayed at its
loss, but the enterprise of the citizens and of the owners was sufficient to meet
the situation. The National Glass Company, which is spoken of a little below, and
which in 1899 had taken control of the plant, at once took steps to rebuild in even
greater dimensions; and H. C. Fry, its former president, organized a new glass company.
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-to-date
glass works at North Rochester. H. C. Fry is president; and John N. Taylor, of the
great pottery concern of Knowles, Taylor & Knowles, East Liverpool, Ohio, vice-president.
This plant manufactures high grade blown tumblers and fine cut table glassware, on
a new improved patented process. It is considered the finest and best equipped glass
factory in the United States, and is manufacturing perhaps as fine goods as were
ever before produced in this or any other country. It has over 500 employees to start
with, and bids fair to become a very important factor in Beaver County's many manufacturing
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-operation and advancing the welfare of the town,
nobly stood by Mr. Fry, giving him indispensable assistance in his great enterprise.
The only suitable location for a plant of this kind being on a terrace, high above
the great railway system and the river, a railway to this point was necessary, involving
an expenditure of many thousands of dollars, and the overcoming of great engineering
difficulties. The Association appointed a committee, known as the "Switch Committee."
This committee consisted of Frank Feyler, Curtis C. Noss, James T. Conlin, S. A.
Engle, and Joseph I. Reno; Mr. Feyler, chairman. The committee procured a large number
of the citizens as security for the money needed for the railway, which was soon
built and opened with a celebration at North Rochester, on the 28th of June, 1902.
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-five men. They handle all kinds of lumber, their specialty
being hardwood interiors, bank and office fixtures, etc. They also do a general contracting
business, from their Pittsburgh office, located in the Frick Building. The following
are a few of the more prominent buildings they have
erected: the Montgomery County court-house at Norristown, Pa.; Washington County
court-house and jail, Washington, Pa.; York County court-house, York, Pa.; the Arrott
Office Building in Pittsburgh; the Pittsburgh Bank for Savings; and the new Union
Station of the Pennsylvania Railroad at Pittsburgh.
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-story packing room
64 x 128 feet, and a warehouse 32x80 feet. When first started the goods manufactured
were flasks and fruit jars, but now a general line of prescription and liquor bottles
are made. The plant has a capacity of 200 gross of bottles per day. It gives employment
to 135 hands, with a yearly pay-roll of about $50,000.
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-house and other out-buildings. Thirty-five pots
is the working equipment of the plant, and 360 people are employed. November 1, 1899,
this property was taken over by the National Glass Company. The National Glass Company
was organized November 1, 1899, with an issued capital of $2,325,000 stock and $2,000,000
of bonds. The company since that time has met with disastrous fires at Rochester,
Pa., and at Greensburg, Pa. They have rebuilt the portion of the Rochester Tumbler
Works that was burned at an expenditure of over $300,000, and have also built a large
works at Cambridge, Ohio. The company at this time is employing about 7000 people.
At the consolidated Rochester-Keystone plant at Rochester, Pa., the company has 1300
people on their pay-roll. It is expected that the Rochester-Keystone plant will
produce $1,500,000 worth of goods during the current year (1903). Their payroll will
run about $50,000 per month. The directors and officers of the company are as follows:
A. W. Herron, president; Addison Thompson, secretary; A. L. Strasburger, treasurer;
who, with George I. Whitney, Frank L. Stephenson, and L. B. Martin, compose the board
of directors. From July 1, 1903, Charles Runyon was superintendent and general manager
of the Rochester plant.
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
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-mentioned
works. They manufactured three grades of starch. The Bonbrights were brothers of
Mrs. Dr. A. T. Shallenberger. John was a merchant, and built the house now owned
and occupied by John Conway as a bank and dwelling. William Bonbright built the
house in which Marcus T. C. Gould afterwards lived, which stands on the bluff just
above the Point Glass Works, and is now occupied by William Graham.
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
ninety-five years of age, Mr. Woodruff was the oldest Freemason in the United States,
having become a member of the order in 1825. For some years previous to his death,
his son George was associated with him in the business of the mill, and was afterwards
its sole proprietor until the present firm was established. This firm employs about
thirty men and does a large business.
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-bottles, and cut bar bottles. Forty skilled workmen are
given employment by this concern, and the annual production is of about $50,000 value.
The present officers of the company are: president, Jno. Moulds; vice-president,
F. L. Williams; secretary and treasurer, John M. Pfeiffer; and manager, Robt. E.
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-meal system, which is the latest
improved process for bolting and purifying corn meal, also roller machinery for making
all kinds of chop, corn, oats, and rye feed. The power for the mill is supplied by
a 75-horse-power tubular boiler and 65-horse-power automatic engine. They also have
their own electric plant, which furnishes the lighting for the mill, and a large
building 50 x 50 feet square, two stories high, which is a warehouse for flour and
hay and a stable combined.
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-president;
and Edward Willetts of Rochester, secretary and treasurer.
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-president;
Joseph C. Campbell, cashier; Elmer J. Mengel, teller; directors: James G. Mitchell,
W. J. Mellon, Joseph C. Campbell, Charles R. Eckert, Robert W. Darragh, Charles P.
Brobeck, Robert L. Hood, Alfred P. Marshall, and Edward J. Schleiter. It began business,
March 13, 1899, with a capital of $50,000. The banking house was located in a handsome
brick building, corner of Brighton and Washington streets, erected by James G. Mitchell.
In 1902 this bank was absorbed by the Rochester Trust Company.
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-president; Thomas C. Fry, secretary
and treasurer; Herbert W. Douglass, assistant secretary and treasurer; Elmer J. Mengel,
teller; and Charles A. Stewart, assistant teller. The Rochester Savings and Loan
Association was incorporated, August, 1894, with an authorized capital of $10,000,000.
The officers were: George W. Miller, president; Paulus E. Kohler, vice-president;
George C. Deming, secretary; Thomas L. Darragh, treasurer. In 1902 this Association
was merged into the Farmers' Building and Loan Association of Brush Creek, Pa., whose
place of business is in Rochester.
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-president; A. Heller,
treasurer; J. T. Conlin, secretary; Hon. M. F. Mecklem, attorney; John Bender, H.
B. Ruth, R. Radtke, John Flint, William List, H. L. Morgan, E. Romigh, J. H. Gordon,
and Wheelen Dolby, directors.
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-president;
W. S. Shallenberger, treasurer; Thomas H. Javens, secretary; William Miller, Sr..
John Coleman, John J. Hoffman, Robert H. Marshall, Harrison J. Chandler, Frank L.
Robinson, A. N. Gutermuth, Frank Woodruff, and Joseph J. Zimmerman, directors; and
the organization has remained the same ever since, except that when Mr. Shallenberger
left Rochester, John J. Hoffman was elected to the office of treasurer; and Mr. Woodruff
retiring from the board, John E. Nelson was elected in his stead. W. A. McConnel
is solicitor. The capital stock is $1,000,000, with the privilege of increasing it
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, 1859-61, the
Reverends P. J. Hoffznogott, Passionist, and Michael Aigner, Missionary; 1861-62,
the Reverend Father C. Klockner; 1862, the Reverend Fathers Carolus Schuler, J. A.
Shell, and Anton Basch; 1863-66, the Reverend Fathers Brandstetter and J. B. Weikman;
1866-68, the Reverend Fathers Martin Kink and A. McGurgan; 1868, the Reverend Father
Adam Gunkel. July 14, 1868, Father Reid, of Beaver, died, and the churches of SS.
Peter and Paul's and St. Cecilia's were united in one charge. For some time previous,
however, the same priests had been saying Mass in both churches; but during 1869
the Passionist Fathers attended Beaver, and the Reverend Father Zwickert succeeded
Father Gunkel as pastor of St. Cecilia. The name of the Reverend Father A. Winter
appears as having been at St. Cecilia during 1869. In the winter of 1873 the Reverend
Father Joseph Bohm became pastor of both churches, which remained together until
1900. The Reverend Father J. Romelfanger took charge of the parishes about the year
1874, and a parsonage having been purchased in Rochester, from this time on the priests
resided at that place. The Reverend Father J. Kaib succeeded Father Romelfanger
in October, 1877, and he in turn was followed by the Reverend Father Frederick B.
Steffen, in November, 1878. Father Steffen was a young priest greatly beloved by
his people, and, as elsewhere stated, died of smallpox, having contracted the disease
while ministering to a parishioner who was ill with it. He died in December, 1881,
and was buried in Daugherty's cemetery. The Reverend Father John Quinn was the next
pastor. He was succeeded in the spring of 1882 by the Reverend Father J. A. Canevin,
who remained until 1885. Since that date the pastors have been the following: Reverend
Fathers, Joseph Fleckinger, two years; J. F. Bauer, 1887-92; William Jordan, one
year; Michael A. Frank, June 18, 1893, until August, 1894; B. Gerold, August, 1894-May
7, 1899. Immediately following Father Gerold came the present pastor, the Reverend
George M. A. Schoner. July 22, 1900, the Reverend Father Anthony Vogel became pastor
of the church of SS. Peter and Paul's, which was then made, and is still, a separate
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-stone was laid with imposing ceremonies on Sunday,
October 25, 1903, the Reverend Father A. A. Lambing of Wilkinsburg presiding, and
the address being delivered by the Reverend Father Joseph Gallagher of New Castle,
Pa. Many visiting clergymen participated in the exercises, which were witnessed
by nearly two thousand people. The design of this beautiful church is the work of
the pastor, Father Schoner, who studied architecture in Germany, and is superintending
the construction of the building and purchasing the material for it.
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-stone of the new church was laid.
This building was occupied in the summer of 1856, although not entirely completed
at that time. Boards placed on blocks and nail kegs were used for pews. Dr. Passavant
served the congregation until the spring of 1863, when the late Henry Reck assumed
charge of the newly established Orphans' Home on the hill, and also became pastor
of this congregation. Mr. Reck preached to the congregation until the autumn of 1870,
when he resigned.
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-five persons, most of whom had been connected with the
Bridgewater Church, were requested to constitute the membership of a new church.
Eleven others were soon afterwards received, making the membership of this church
eighty-six. Its services were held in the town hall for two and one half years, until
the lectureroom of the new church building was ready for occupancy. In 1869 the church
building was completed, excepting the furnishing of the auditorium, at a cost of
$11,000. During the pastorate of T. S. Hodgson, in the year 1874, the auditorium
of the church was completed and dedicated.
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-one members, and has at present about two hundred communicants,
owning two lots 80x 120, a parsonage, and a brick church. The present pastor, Rev.
G. A. Fechner, assumed charge in the fall of 1902.
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-room to the church,
at a cost of $1500. The present membership is 150.
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 1885-86.
Rev. Geo. Ott succeeded him and labored in Rochester for one year, and was followed
by Rev. R. A. Hartung, who was pastor during the year 1888. Rev. G. Gahr occupied
the field during the year 1889, when he was removed to Cleveland. Rev. G. Zeigler
served the Rochester congregation during 1891, 1892, and 1893. During his pastorate
the services were made part English. Rev. G. Gotz was pastor here again during the
year 1894, after which he was transferred to Canton, Ohio. Rev. J. A. Hetche, whose
home was in Freedom, had charge of the congregation for the succeeding three years.
Rev. John Hoffman was pastor for several years, and was succeeded by Rev. G. W. Miller.
The present pastor is Rev. A. Peter. The First Congregational Church.—The movement
for the organization of this church was started in Leaf's Hall on the afternoon of
Sabbath, the 17th of April, 1892, when seventy-three persons declared their desire
to join in a society under the Congregational form of government. The formal organization
of the church was effected on Friday, April 29, 1892, at a meeting in Leaf's Hall
called for that purpose. Ninety persons joined in adopting Articles of Faith and
a Covenant in harmony with the doctrines and polity of the Congregational churches
of the United States. Rev. Joseph H. Bausman was called and accepted the call to
be pastor of the church, and the following officers were elected: deacons: Messrs.
J. C. McWilliams, William M. Douds, and William Darling; clerk, Mr. Cornelius Masten;
and trustees—Messrs. J. H. Schlagle, C. Masten, Charles Snure, C. A. Vanderslice,
and Charles P. Brobeck. On the 5th of May, the same year, a council of recognition
was held in the same place, and the church and its pastor were received into the
fellowship of the Northwestern Association of Congregational Churches, Pennsylvania.
The membership had at this time increased to 117. This church held its services in
Leaf's Hall until 1895, when it undertook the erection of a house of worship, and
in November of that year the beautiful building that it now occupies as a church
home was dedicated. This building is on Adams Street. It is of brick and stone, semi-colonial
in style. Its total cost was $12,000. Mr. W. J. East was the architect. The present
church membership is 175, and that of the Sunday school, 125. Mr. Bausman is still
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-two, and the Sunday-school
has thirty members. The first pastor was Rev. J. C. Shoenwandt, who remained for
several years. Since his resignation the church has had supplies.
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-five members, and has a present membership
of 116. In 1902 the congregation purchased a lot on Washington Street for $1600,
and began the erection of a handsome brick church, of which Mr. W. J. East of Pittsburgh
was the architect. The total cost of this structure, including the lot, was about
Free Methodist Church —In July, 1888, a camp-meeting was held at Daugherty's grove,
near Rochester, by the New Castle District of the Free Methodist Church, of which
J. S. McGeary, of New Castle, was at that time District Elder. At this time there
was no Free Methodist society between Pittsburgh and New Castle. The following October,
S. Portman, from New Castle, commenced preaching in the Town Hall, Rochester; and
in January, 1889, the first society was organized consisting of four members. In
the following autumn the society, with eight members, sent to conference for a preacher
and supported him unaided. In 1890 a church was built at Pleasant Valley, and in
1892 a church and parsonage were built in Rochester. This was the beginning of Free
Methodism in this section.
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 1884-85, and in 1891-92 an addition
of four rooms was made, at a cost of $8400. By a resolution of the board, June 2,
1890, the Rochester High School was established, and in 1901 ground was purchased
from Mr. Charles Muse and Mrs. Sadie E. Speyerer on Pinney Street, at a cost of $5600,
for the site of a High School building. W. J. East was employed as architect to
draw plans for the same, and on June 10, 1901, the contract was let to Kountz Bros.
This building was erected at a total cost of $43,270. It is in every respect a modern
building of the best type, and, as will be seen from the cut facing this page, of
simple and effective architectural design. The public schools of Rochester are of
a high grade.
The Passavant Memorial Home —This Home is on the hillside just above the town of
Rochester, and consists of three well-arranged buildings and sixty acres of fine
farming land. It is a home and hospital for epileptics. The Home is undenominational,
and any sufferer whose application is favorably passed upon by the board is received
as a patient. Twelve trustees have the management, four of whom must be Lutherans;
eight may be connected with any other church or no church at all. The management
in the Home is under an approved deaconess of the Lutheran Church.
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-five charter
Rochester Lodge, No. 283, B. P. O. E., was organized in I. O. O. F. Hall, May 9,
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-known hotel in the days of the canal. It is now
occupied as a dwelling by several tenants. Another hotel was kept by Alex. Atkinson
about where General Thomas Power afterwards lived.
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
The theater-going public of Rochester are served by the Grand Opera House, Mr. George
W. Challis, lessee and manager.
ROCHESTER STEAM FERRY
The first ferry-boat plying across the Ohio River between Rochester and Phillipsburg
was the Borough Bee. In 1862 a new boat was built, named the W. C. Gray. In 1873
Captain Joseph R. Campbell purchased this boat from Capt. J. V. McDonald, and had
it rebuilt in 1880, calling it the Mary C. Campbell, for his wife. Captain Campbell
had charge of it until 1884, when he sold it to Capt. M. Winnett. The boat was afterwards
owned by a company, and was run until the building of the Ohio River Bridge, when
it was withdrawn from service here.
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-store building belonging to Squire
Taylor, and standing on the lot adjoining. Mr. Taylor was succeeded by Williamson
Graham, who was appointed December 22, 1876, and performed the duties of the office
from 1877 to 1887. The greater part of this time the office was kept in Mr. Graham's
residence on Shields Street. Toward the latter part of Mr. Graham's term, the location
was changed to the Linnenbrink building on Brighton Street. He was succeeded by William
H. Black, who was appointed February 28, 1887, and served four years. George C.
Deming was appointed, February 16, 1891, also serving four years. He was succeeded
by Franklin Feyler, appointed March 5, 1895, who served until Albert A. Atterholt,
appointed January 8, 1890, assumed charge. June 15, 1904, the latter was succeeded
by Hon. M. F. Mecklem. July 1, 1900, the office was moved to its present location
in the Opera House building; and, June 1, 1902, free delivery was established in
THE SEMI-CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION
The Semi-Centennial Celebration of the incorporation of the borough of Rochester
had been decided upon by the town council early in 1899. The charter of Rochester
was approved by the Governor of this State on March 20, 1849. The celebration of
this event could not well be held on the proper date, however, on account of the
cold weather. It was decided, therefore, to hold a special meeting of the citizens
of the town in the Opera House on the evening of that day, and have the celebration
on the 28th and 29th days of June. That meeting was held. Addresses were made on
subjects appropriate, and vocal and instrumental music was rendered, and the celebration
was carried out as arranged for on the above dates in June.
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.