TOWNSHIP ORGANIZATION - INCREASE IN POPULATION AND WEALTH - THE FIRST SETTLEMENTS - THE OLD MILLS AND MEETING HOUSES - COAL MINING - FRUIT - TOWNSHIP OFFICERS - THE CITY OF MARTIN'S FERRY - ITS POPULATION - A SKETCH OF EBENEZER MARTIN - THE POST OFFICE - INCORPORATION, AND LIST OF MAYORS AND OFFICIALS - THE CHURCHES - THE SCHOOLS - THE BANKS - THE MANUFACTORIES - SECRET SOCIETIES - THOBURN POST, G. A. R. - THE PRESS - THE BRIDGE OVER THE OHIO - A NOTABLE CHARACTER - THE CITY OF BRIDGEPORT - THE FIRST BRIDGE - THE INCORPORATION - THE MAYORS AND CITY OFFICIALS - THE POSTMASTERS - THE AETNAVILLE BRIDGE - THE MANUFACTURING INTERESTS - THE BANKS - DR. AFFLECK AND DR. TODD - THE CHURCHES - THE SCHOOLS - SECRET SOCIETIES - BRANUM POST, G. A. R.
The first legal settlement in what is now known as Pease township was made by Captain Kirkwood in the village of Kirkwood adjoining Bridgeport, in 1789. There were some tomahawk claims, made as early as 1785, on ground now embraced in Martin's Ferry, but these could not be held after the bloody attack upon the Kirkwood home, by the Indians in 1791, as heretofore related. Immigration was suspended for a few years. After the treaty of 1795, the Indians were peaceful for a time, and immigrants began to pour in from all sections of the country. The township was organized in 1806, and was called after Judge Pease, of the early courts.
It borders on the Jefferson County line on the north and the Ohio River on the east, with Pultney township on the south and west, and Colerain and Richland on the north and northwest.
Its population in 1900 was 15,158 as against 12,994 in 1890, a gain of 2,164 in the decade.
The increase of personal property upon the tax duplicate in 1902 over the returns in 1901 was $18,052 in the First Ward of Bridgeport, $7,690 in the Second, and $2,949 in the Third, making a total gain of $28,691 in the city alone, while the corporation tax levy was reduced from 2.94 in 1901 to 2.02 in 1902.
THE FIRST SETTLEMENTS
Were made near the Jefferson County line by the family of Joseph Tilton in 1796.
In rapid succession cames the Moores, Clarkes, Mitchells, Alexanders and Pickens, all of whom had effected settlements before 1800 on what is now known as Scotch Ridge, so named because the early settlers were from Old Scotland. William Wiley came from Pennsylvania in 1801 and Benjamin Steel from North Carolina in 1800; William Brown from Maryland in 1802, and Robert Finney from Pennsylvania in 1803. The Griffins, Johnsons, Scotts, Yosts, Worleys and Allens came between 1800 and 1805, and an old soldier of the War of 1812, named James Smith, located in the township in 1815.
THE OLD MILLS AND MEETING HOUSES.
Wheeling Creek and Glenn's Run furnished excellent water power for the first grist mills, some of which are substantial stone structures, in a fair state of preservation. This is notably true of the great Oglebay stone mill, about three miles west of the river, and the old Kinsey mill at the foot of the big hill, which only recently disappeared. The Oglebay mill has served as a landmark for half a century. Its crumbing stone walls and bastions look like an old world fortress in decay.
The Scott's meeting house is probably the oldest Methodist meeting house in the county, and one of the oldest of any denomination. The date of its establishment is not clearly known, but preaching was half at the house of Andrew Scott, where the church organization was effected, over a century ago. The first church building was erected in 1834, but previous to that the circuit rider visited it regularly, holding divine service. Among some of the distinguished ministers who filled appointments in this old charge were Bishop Simpson, James B. Finley, Archibald McElroy, Wesley Browning and David Merryman.
Revs. Finley and McElroy were among the pioneer preachers of distinction. The lineal descendants of Father Scott still reside in the old home adjoining the church.
The present substantial brick structure was built by Joseph McConnaughy.
Has been an important industry in Pease township for half a century. Coal veins No. 8, 11 and 12, are all successfully operated, the two latter veins for local purposes mainly, but the No. 8 vein is mined in immense quantities for commercial purposes and shipped over the C. L. & W., C. & P., and W. & L. E. railroads to distant markets.
In 1880 W. J. Rainey was probably the largest shipper in the township, forwarding to other markets 30,000 tons annually. In 1902 the coal mined by the Lorain Coal & Dock Company, in Pease township alone, amounts to thousands of tons daily.
The hills of Pease township are crowned with valuable orchards of applies, peaches, cherries, plums and pears, which find an excellent home market among the mill and mine workers in the valley.
Twenty-five years ago there were over 300 acres of the hill slopes set apart for grape culture, and the industry was successfully conducted, but at the opening of the 10th century grape growing is practically abandoned, and more attention is given to orchard fruits, berries, live stock and grain.
The township officers in 1902 are as follows: Trustees. - A. G. Moore, C. W. Webb, and George Pitner; clerk, W. G. Morgan; treasurer, A. T. Enlow.
Township Board of Education. - There are 13 school districts in Pease township, outside of Bridgeport and Martin's Ferry, namely: Third District, Robert Applegarth; Fourth, E. B. Lilly; Fifth, J. H. Blackford; Sixth, H. R. Gibbins; Eighth, A. R. Jordan; Ninth, E. A. Berry; Eleventh, E. G. Krauter; Twelfth, A. R. Sterling; Thirteenth, William Kerg; Fourteenth, Charles Somers; Fifteenth, R. A. Ring.
THE CITY OF MARTIN'S FERRY.
The leading city of Pease township is Martin's Ferry, with a population at the opening of the 20th century of 7,760, namely:
First Ward .1,254
Second Ward ............1,808
Third Ward ...1,632
Fourth Ward .....1,483
Fifth Ward 1,583
This is an increase over the census of 1890 of 1,510. This is the largest increase in population acquired by any town in the county, in the same period, and is due largely to the marvelous growth of the industries of the township.
A SKETCH OF EBENEZER MARTIN.
The city was laid out by Ebenezer Martin on the 13th of March, 1835, and was very appropriately named Martin's Ferry.
However, the first settlement was effected in 1787 by Capt. Absalom Martin, the father of Ebenezer, and an old Revolutionary soldier from New Jersey, whose mother was a sister of Col. Ebenezer Zane, on the defenders of Fort Henry. The original patent of the United States government to Absalom Martin was granted March 5, 1788. Seven years later he laid out the requisite number of lots, streets and alleys to form a town, which he called Jefferson.
And in 1801, upon the erection of Belmont County, he entered into competition with Pultney and Newellstown for the establishment of the county seat, and when Pultney secured the prize he abandoned the town, and returned to the cultivation of his broad acres, which he pursued until his death.
Forty-five years later Ebenezer Martin sold 100 lots and called the town first Martinsville, and, upon learning there was already a Martinsville in Ohio, he changed the title to Martin's Ferry.
In 1836 the second sale of lots occurred, and again in 1837. This included the territory from Walnut street on the north, to Washington street on the south, and from the river to 5th street on the west. Subsequently 25 additions were made to the city, within a period of half a century.
The ferry, which was for years the only means of communication between Ohio and Virginia at this point, was established in 1785, and soon became noted by travelers and drovers. Two taverns were built for their entertainment, where genuine pioneer hospitality was dispensed with a liberal hand.
The first steam ferry arrived in 1841 and was called the Isaac Martin, in honor of Mr. Martin's son.
Ebenezer Martin died January 15, 1876, universally mourned. He was a man of generous impulses, liberal in his entertainment of all who came to him, whether white or red men. He was a man of high education, having obtained a classical education at college, and a devout and sincere Christian, a Methodist of the old school, but without a taint of sectarian prejudice.
THE POST OFFICE
Was established in 1835, with William Beasle as postmaster. He was succeeded in turn by James Martin, John Zane, Ebenezer Martin, Elijah Woods, S. F. Dean, James Patterson, M. C. Mitchell, John W. Terrill and the present incumbent, G. G. Sedgwick.
Martin's Ferry of today is a city of magnificent distances, for, outside of the central or business districts, the houses are separated by broad lots. The location is decidedly the best in the county for a large city. From the lower plain to the higher level, the work of construction is going forward.
So rapid has been the increase of population, that houses cannot be built fast enough to supply the demand. During the past year 152 buildings were constructed, and the cry is for more. As an evidence of the rapid growth of the city in wealth and prosperity, it is only necessary to add that the increase of the tax duplicate, based upon the assessor's returns last year, is between $160,000 and $175,000, and the city treasury is in such a healthy condition that after all the liabilities have been met, $23,000 are left in the treasury, and ample provision is made for all maturing obligations.
INCORPORATION, AND LIST OF MAYORS AND OFFICIALS.
The town was incorporated by the county commissioners August 5, 1865, and the following is the list of mayors that have been elected since, viz.: 1865-67, A. D. Rice; 1867-69, W. H. Orr; 1869-70, James Eagleson; 1870-72, J. W. Buckingham; 1872-74, James Kerr; 1874-76, James Dean, 1876-78, J. W. Buckingham; 1878-80, James Kerr; 1880-82, W. M. Lupton; 1882-86, M. C. Mitchell; 1886-88, Theodore Keller; 1888-90, M. C. Mitchell; 1890-92, M. R. Smiley; 1892-94, M. C. Mitchell; 1894-98, Theodore Keller; 1898-1900, James Shipman; 1900-02, John Goodhue.
The present city officials are: Isaac Newland, mayor; Samuel Westwood, marshal; W. T. Dixon, solicitor; Ellis Lash, clerk; George C. Strain, treasurer; Isaac Cecil, Frank Heinrich, Roger Ashton, H. G. Wood, William Hilton, John Metzger, Thomas Williams, R. G. Heslop, M. Cropper and Thomas Robbins, councilmen.
The Methodist Episcopal Church. - There were Methodists in Martin's Ferry prior to 1821. As early as 1814 a class was organized by the mother of Ebenezer Martin, whereat the few scattering Methodists would weekly assemble, but the class did not survive this good woman's efforts beyond 1816.
The history of the church proper dates from the first camp meeting, held in Walnut Grove, in 1821, at which time many were converted, and among the number Rebecca Hadsell, who later walked to Scott's, on the St. Clairsville road, in midwinter, to urge the preacher to come to her neighborhood and preach. He came at the appointed time, and after an earnest and impressive discourse a class was formed, as follows: Obadiah Barnes, leader; Absalom Ross and Anna Ross, John Buriss and wife, Father Hadsell and family numbering eight in all, making a total of 21, and from this humble beginning Methodism in Martin's Ferry grew.
The church for many years was an appointment on the Cadiz circuit, and the first circuit riders were Revs. John Graham and Zara Coston. As there was no church building, preaching was held in different farm houses, locating finally at Joseph Hadsell's, near Burlington, but the flood of 1832 carried the farm house away.
This year (1832) is noted in local church history for the wonderful revivals that attended the Drummond camp meetings, resulting in a great gain to the church. Among the converts was the late John Fennimore, who was a mainstay of the church until his death.
Prayer meetings continued to be held in log school houses and homes until 1837, when during the ministry of Rev. C. D. Battelle, the following trustees were appointed: Daniel Zane, Hugh McGregor, James Turner, James Moore, James McConnaughy. Under their supervision money was collected and a lot having been donated by Ebenezer Martin, a church was erected on the site of the present structure.
Martinsville became a station in 1853. In 1859 the old church was destroyed by fire and for a year the congregation worshiped in the Baptist and Presbyterian churches. In 1860 the present structure was erected and during the administration of Rev. J. S. Winter, in 1888, the building was enlarged but the society is again confronted by the problem of additional room, and a new building has become a necessity.
From a membership at the beginning of 13, the church today enrolls 650.
Of the many who have won distinction in this field of labor, we might mention Ebenezer Martin and John Fennimore. Rev. Dr. DeHaas, heretofore referred to, was recommended for license to preach from this church, and Revs. Turner, McGuire and Rider have also gone out from this charge. The superintendent of the Sunday-school, Benjamin Exley, has filled that position for 16 consecutive years.
Some of the ministers that have served this congregation for nearly four score years are: John Graham, Zara Coston, James McMehan, James Cunningham, J. C. Taylor, William M. Tipton, Thomas Drummond, William Knox, C. D. Battelle, I. N. McLabee, John Minor, P. M. McGowan, S. Cheney, James Drummond, William Cox, Thomas McClery, J. M. Rankin, S. R. Brockunier, S. Y. Kennedy, E. D. Holtz, J. S. Winters, A. W. Butts, J. W. Robins, J. T. Martin, W. J. Wilson and Dr. F. Phillips. The present pastor is A. R. Custer.
The board of stewards is thus constituted: E. O. Padelford, C. S. Helsley, Ephraim Born, Robert Slaughter, Gardner Hysell, W. S. Palmer, J. A. Wilson, George W. Burton, J. R. Williams, Robert Beavon, Samuel Huskins, Lee Morris and J. O. Jones. The trustees are: W. H. Woods, W. M. Cattell, John M. Henderson, Theodore Snodgrass and M. E. Coyle.
The Presbyterian Church was organized March 31, 1841, with 16 members, a majority of whom had been members of the Mount Pleasant Church. Joseph Blackford, James Wiley and Moses Porter were the first elders. During the first year there was no stated preaching. After that Revs. Nicholas, Murray, Samuel Hare and James Stewart each served the church for a short period.
In June, 1846, Rev. James Alexander, D. D., began his labors and was installed pastor for one-half his time. He labored faithfully and successfully. During his pastorate the Kirkwood Church was organized, principally from members of this church. Rev. J. D. Fitzgerald was pastor from 1860 to 1863. In June, 1864, Rev. G. W. Chalfant was installed over this and the Kirkwood Church. December 4, 1869, Rev. H. G. Blayney was installed and served the church until April 17, 1872. A year was spent under supplies, when Dr. Chalfant again served as pastor in connection with Kirkwood until June, 1881.
In June, 1882, Dr. J. J. McCarrell - now pastor in McKeesport - was installed. The parsonage was built under his ministry. He was called and accepted his present pastorate in June, 1884. In 1885 Rev. E. F. Walker, now an evangelist, began a successful pastorate, which terminated in 1889. Rev. Howard N. Campbell, now pastor in New Philadelphia, was installed and served the church with success until 1893.
The present pastor, S. J. Bogle, was installed November, 1893.
The ruling elders have been: Joseph Blackford, Moses Porter, James Wiley, John Mitchell, Henry Wells, J. G. Wiley, Robert Blackford, James H. Drennen, Hamilton Blackford, Thomas J. Holliday, William Strong, A. A. Sharpless, William St. Clair, J. A. Mitchell, Thomas G. Culbertson, John Armstrong, William Clark, John M. Kinslow, George Matheny, D. W. H. Hall, now of Denver, and Dr. W. E. Hervey, of Pittsburg. The present eldership consists of Capt. H. W. Smith, R. C. Swartz, James A. Dickson, G. W. Reece, Dr. A. R. Ong, and Thomas W. Shreve.
There have been large ingatherings, the most noted of which was in 1886 under Rev. Mr. Walker, in which 80 were added to the roll.
The first building was erected in 1841, remodeled in 1866, enlarged in 1875 and again in 1886. The old building was taken down in 1897, that the present beautiful and commodious building might be erected on the original site.
The Catholic Churches. - Forty-eight years ago there were but two Catholics in Martin's Ferry. No church had yet been built, and the few Catholics of Burlington and Martin's Ferry had to journey to Wheeling to attend mass. A few years later Father Maher of Bellaire visited the little village and the few Catholics assembled for worship in a small room on the corner of 1st and Washington streets. At this time there were eight families, and services were held once every month. Desirous of having a place of worship, they began to look about for a lot on which to erect a church. Their first place was purchased by Messrs. F. O'Neil and B. Corcoran on 1st Street, and through the efforts of Mrs. Arbaugh, Mrs. McDonough, Mrs. Maul and Mrs. Lacey, a little church was built and services were held in it for the first time, 38 years ago, and Rev. P. Style of Bellaire visited the small congregation once a month. On the other Sundays of the month the people journeyed to Wheeling, where they attended divine service at the Wheeling Hospital. From time to time, Catholic families found their way to Martin's Ferry, and the little church on 1st street was found to be too small, and they began to look about for a new site upon which to erect a larger church.
The present site was purchased by the then resident pastor, Father Marooney. After a few years' labor, failing health obliged him to resign his charge, and Father Touhy was appointed in his place. By him the adjoining property was purchased, and steps were taken for the building of the present church. About this time Father Mattingly succeeded Father Touhy, and the present church was begun. G. W. Arbaugh, who had built the little church on 1st street, drew the plans for the present church, which was completed 14 years ago, and dedicated by Bishop Watterson. Since that time the Catholic population has increased, and today number 196 families, or about 1,300 people.
Four years ago, the death of Father Mattingly made vacant the parish of Martin's Ferry, and the present pastor, Rev. C. A. Mulhearn, was appointed. The work of his predecessors has been ably carried on. During his pastorate the church has been newly frescoed, handsome stained glass windows have been placed in the church and a new pipe organ, at a cost of $1,600, has been added to the church. The parochial school has 191 pupils under the direction of five teachers.
The Baptist Church was organized in the year 1836 with six members, through the labors of Thomas M. Erwin, a missionary of the Ohio Baptist Convention.
The recognition of the church took place in the old public school building, where the church had its first meeting place, in December, 1836. The following ministers were present at the service: George G. Sidgwick, Sr., R. H. Sedgwick and Thomas M. Erwin.
Elder G. C. Sedgwick was chosen moderator and preached the recognition sermon. The following are the name of the constituent members of the church: William Callahan, Anna Callahan, John Davis, Elizabeth David, John Dakin and Mary Dakin, none of whom are now living.
The first meeting house was built and entered for worship in 1840. This old building, made sacred by many blessed memories, was used as the meeting place of the church for 52 years.
During the 57 years since the church was organized the following have served as pastors: Thomas M. Erwin, for 1836; William Wadsworth, from 1842; William Callahan, from 1842; Daniel Cell, from 1844; Edward Jones, from 1849; Daniel Cell, from 1844; Edward Jones, from 1849; William R. Mayberry, from 1852; G. C. Sedgwick, from 1854; C. H. Gunter, from 1869; G. C. Sedgwick, from 1876; P. Martin, from 1885; J. T. Bradford, from 1887; C. M. Conway, from 1889; L. D. Morse, from 1891; W. B. Hartzog, W. C. D. Bond and E. A. Read, the present incumbent, from November, 1900.
The records of the church show that during the pastorate of these 16 pastors there have been added to the church over 650 members, a large number of them by baptism. God has thus richly blessed the faithful labors of pastors and people during these many years.
At a meeting of the church early in 1892 it was unanimously voted to erect a new meeting house on the site of the old building. Plans were adopted at a subsequent meeting, and work was begun about the middle of August. This new and beautiful building was entered for the first service of praise Wednesday evening, March 8th, and was formally dedicated to God, Sunday, March 26, 1893. The following named gentlemen served as the building committee of the church, and gave most faithful and arduous labor in prosecuting the work laid upon them. George L. Spence, chairman; Leroy C. Sedgwick, E. Koerber, and Joseph B. Larue.
The present membership of the church is 366. The present deacons are: Joel Hobensack, W. D. Reid, G. L. Spence, Ed Koerber, Hugh McGlumphrey, William M. Jones and Henry Koehrsen.
The German Lutheran Church was organized in 1864, in the room of the United Presbyterian Church, and the first pastor was Rev. Frederick Fredericks. Previous to this, the German Lutherans of Martins Ferry were obliged to cross over to Wheeling, in order to worship with the Christians of their own creed. The pastors in succession were Revs. Berkenmeyer, Eastermeyer, Walters, Fritz, Baker, Kunkle, Merwyn. The church building was erected in 1867. Some of the charter members were: Henry Helling, Louis Myers, Frederick Kanapp, Charles Swartz, August Rothermund, Henry Juyger, Charles Seabright, Henry Floto and Jacob Brown.
The English Lutheran Church was organized as a mission in 1865 by Rev. Mr. Oehlschlager in the opera hall. The present pastor is Rev. E. F. Schillinger, and the present membership is 35. This organization has just completed a new and neat brick church. The board of deacons consists of George Dursh, elder; Casper Dursh, treasurer, and Frederick Daumme, Jr.
The United Presbyterian Church - Thomas Sweeney, James Waddell and J. R. Dickie, with Rev. T. L. Speer, composed the session that organized the first United Presbyterian Church of Martin's Ferry in 1851. The membership numbered but 16 at the beginning and of this number Samuel Giffin, John Lawrence, Andrew Ralston and Thomas Mitchell were elected elders.
Rev. Mr. Bradford was the first pastor that supplied the pulpit, and this position he retained for nearly two years, in conjunction with an appointment at West Alexander.
The first church edifice was constructed upon the corner of 4th and Hanover streets, at a total cost of $22,050. The building was a neat and commodious brick structure.
After Rev. Mr. Bradford removed to Allegheny, the church encountered many disappointments, and for years it seemed as if the congregation would become hopelessly scattered without a leader. But in 1863 Rev. R. Y. Campbell accepted the appointment of pastor in connection with Centreville, Ohio, and the small appointment in West Virginia. Under his leadership, the church took on new life and additional members were added to the congregation. In 1867 Rev. Mr. Campbell accepted a position in Franklin College, and the church was again without a leader. In 1869 Rev. Mr. Slentz accepted the pastorate, and, although feeble in body, worked perseveringly for the upbuilding of the congregation, and was very successful until September, 1873, when he dropped dead in St. Louis from heart trouble, while visiting in the West. Rev. Mr. Weir succeeded him in 1874, and in 1880 the board consisted of James Kerr, A. G. Campbell and David Thorburn. The deacons were J. M. Blackford, Robert Kerr and J. P. Prowl. Rev. Mr. Weir was succeeded by Rev. A. E. Brownlee.
In March, 1901, the congregation completed a new and handsome brick edifice, capable of accommodating their increased numbers, at a cost of $15,500, to which should be added $7,000 for the lot.
The present pastor is Rev. A. R. Robinson, who accepted the charge in 1899. The session in 1902 is thus constituted: James Kerr, David Thorburn, Edwin C. Boyd, Dr. J. M. Blackford and Isaac Giffen. Rev. Mr. Kerr has served the congregation in that capacity for nearly 45 years and Mr. Thorburn for upwards of 25 years. The trustees are: J. S. Mitchell, A. W. Kerr, George Ralston, Howard Stewart and W. W. Crowl. The superintendent of the Sunday-school is Edwin C. Boyd, who has served in the capacity for 10 successive years. The present membership is 152.
Of Martin's Ferry are among the foremost in the state. President McCombs says the curriculum of studies is in advance of any public school in Eastern Ohio.
Graduates from the Martin's Ferry High School are admitted to all the leading colleges in the land today, without being subjected to a preparatory course. Scholars enter the High School of Martin's Ferry from the Wheeling and Steubenville schools, as well as all the surrounding towns in order to fit themselves for college without being compelled to go far from home.
The first school of Martin's Ferry was built in 1823, on a lot donated by Capt. Absalom Martin. It is pictured as a comfortable little frame building, set upon props, with a large old-fashioned chimney, and a window on either side of a center door.
The first teacher was a gentleman called Livingston. At this time there were but three houses within what are now the corporate limits of the city, so that many scholars walked as much as three miles in order to attend school. In 1828 the school was removed, in order to erect a large packing establishment. The school directors chosen in that year were Samuel Zane, Ebenezer Martin and William Barnes, and these gentlemen authorized a new school to be opened upon the farm of Ebenezer Martin, and this school was long used as a church and Sabbath-school by the Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians. Rev. Mr. Erwin has described it as a dirty, dingy little building. Among the early teachers were Hezekiah Brown, Thomas Harvey, Mr. and Mrs. Groves, Mr. Watterson, P. Bailey and Mr. Murphy.
In 1837 the school house was burned, and numerous private schools were started in various parts of the town, and these were supported by subscriptions, mainly.
In 1847 a new brick building was erected, with two rooms, and the teacher was Thomas Harvey. This building was used until 1853. The teachers from 1850 were Mr. Kerr, Mr. McCormick and John Edwards. In 1857 Alfred Kirk of Steubenville was chosen superintendent, and a year later he was succeeded by Prof. Charles R. Shreve.
In 1878 $4,000 was expended for the erection of a new modern building to be known as the Central School, and two years later, another building was in demand to accommodate the increasing number of school children, and $14,250 was appropriated for the erection of a large new school building, with all modern appointments, to be known as the North School. In 1890 there was a demand for more room, and additional facilities, wherefore the School Board constructed another large three-story building at a cost of $19,340, and this school is known as the South School.
The board of directors in 1853, when the public school system of Martin's Ferry was fairly inaugurated, consisted of James Alexander, Joel Woods, David Park, J. D. McCoy, H. W. Smith and Charles Ensel. A half century later the School Board was composed of E. E. McCombs, president; S. F. Dean, clerk; and Dr. J. W. Darrah, John W. Vickers, E. H. Rider, J. E. Springer and Thomas R. Lloyd.
The enrollment for 1902 is 1,496 and the schools are so overcrowded that a new High School has become a necessity, and the present school board has ordered the construction of a new High School at a cost of $60,000.
The present superintendent is Prof. J. H. Snyder; principal of the High School, Prof. M. D. Morris; superintendent of the Central School, T. F. Mitchell; superintendent of the North School, J. E. Ring; superintendent of the South School, C. S. Eaton. The total number of teachers is 35 and the cost on maintaining the schools during 1901 was $16,500.
The schools of Martin's Ferry have been no small factor in building up the community and have always had the support of the churches.
Martin's Ferry maintains three banking institutions that enjoy the confidence of all the people.
The Commercial Bank Company - The first of these in the order of establishment is the Commercial Bank Company, which was founded by James A. Gray and H. W. Smith, as a private bank, in January 1872, with a capital of $50,000. In 1886 George H. Smith and James A. Dickson were admitted as partners to the company, the former serving as cashier and the latter as assistant cashier.
In 1898 the bank was incorporated, with an authorized capital of $50,000.
The People's Savings Bank Company was organized in 1891, with a capital of $50,000. It is a State incorporation and its first directors were A. D. Seamon, B. F. Brady, J. S. Harrison, Henry Floto, William Liphardt, F. R. Sedgwick, James Kerr, F. H. Eick and J. B. Montgomery. Its present officers are: L. Spence, president; F. R. Sedgwick, vice-president; M. E. Cole, cashier.
The German Bank is also a State bank, organized in 1902, with a paid-up capital of $25,000. Its officers are E. E. McCombs, president; J. E. Reynolds, vice-president; W. C. Bergundthal, cashier; and W. H. Woods, assistant cashier.
The advantages of Martin's Ferry as a commercial and manufacturing center were early recognized, and in 1836 a threshing machine factory was operated by Thomas Wiley and Griffith McMillen. A year later a pottery for the manufacture of earthern and stoneware was established by William Callahan, Joseph Stephens, Joseph Stephens, Joseph Hans and John Dakin.
In 1845 Benjamin Hoyle began to manufacture agricultural machinery on an extensive scale. About five years later L. Spence established the Ohio Valley Agricultural Works.
Then followed foundries and sawmills and keg factories, until in 1857 Medenhall Brothers and George K. Jenkins built the first blast furnace in the Upper Ohio Valley on grounds rich in coal and iron ore, three miles from the town. Subsequently the furnace was removed to its present location, east of the railroads and near the river, and it is successfully operated today with all modern appliances by the Wheeling Steel & Iron Company, producing 30,000 tons of Bessemer iron annually, and employing 70 men, with a monthly pay roll amounting to $1,200 per month.
The Laughlin Nail Company - In 1873 William Clark donated 21 acres of ground for the establishment of a nail mill, and with others organized the Ohio City Iron & Nail Works, which began operations in 1874 with 50 nail machines.
Because of the stringency of the money market, the mill was compelled to suspend in 1876, when it was leased and operated by the Benwood Nail Company.
In 1878 the Laughlin Nail Company became the purchasers, with Alexander Laughlin, president; W. S. Glessner, secretary; W. L. Wetherald, superintendent.
Under the new management the mill was known as the Laughlin Nail & Steel Company. Their capacity for production has been increased from 50 to 192 nail machines, making it one of the largest cut nail factories in the world. The product is now steel, and steel nails are made, instead of iron nails, as formerly.
The mill is conducted as an independent company, with W. L. Glessner as president, and W. T. Dixon as secretary, and gives employment to 350 men, who products 10,000 kegs of steel cut nails per week and 12,000 tons of black and galvanized sheets of steel roofing, siding, ceiling, etc., annually. Their monthly pay roll will amount to about $22,000.
The Laughlin Tin Plate Company is operated today by the American Tin Plate Company, with W. T. Graham as president; Warner Arms as vice-president; and Cecil Robinson, district manager. This great tin plate factory employs 1,750 hands and produces 46,000 tons of black plates for tinning, and 1,000,000 boxes tin and terne plate, and their pay roll has reached about $85,000 per month.
In addition to the great iron and steel factories above mentioned, there are also in operation the Riverside Bridge Company, William Mann's foundry, Spence-Baggs Stove Company, The Stanton Heater Company, the McDermott Tool Company, the Hipkins Mold Works, the Uneeda Tool Works, the Acme Sheet Metal Company, the Novelty Mold Works, the Scott Lumber Company, Martin's Ferry Barrel & Box Company, the Bettis Stave & Barrel Works, Belmont Brewery, the Avondale Stone Company, the Belmont Brick Company, the National Glass Company, the Beaumont Glass Company, and Wilson's laundry, employing an aggregate of 5,600 operators, with a monthly pay roll of about $250,000.
The glass industry in Martin's Ferry had a small beginning in 1849, when Ensell and Wilson erected the first furnace in the county.
In 1861 Michael Sweeney and James Phillips erected a new furnace but, lacking means, Col. James McCluny and Joseph Bell of Wheeling became partners, and, with added capital, the enterprise was rushed with so much vigor that in 1868 it had three 10-pot furnaces and was run with great success. This company was afterward known as the West Virginia Glass Company, and is now operated by the National Glass Company.
The next glass organization was known as the Elson Glass Company. It was organized in 1882 with a capital of $120,000, with W. K. Elson as president and M. Sheets as secretary. It employed 175 hands and was operated with great success.
Ohio City Lodge, No. 486, F. & A. M. - Before the organization of a lodge in Martin's Ferry, the Masons of this city were obliged to attend lodge at Bridgeport, and as there were no convenient methods of intercommunication between the two then villages, it was for a considerable time felt desirable to have a home lodge in Martin's Ferry. While this seemed desirable to the Martin's Ferry members, the Bridgeport members were not fully satisfied to lose the membership of the former place and the territory that a new lodge would necessarily cut off. However, after much talk and the discussion of many plans and propositions, and the conceding of certain territorial jurisdiction, the consent of the lodge at Bridgeport was obtained, and after many discouragements and delays a dispensation was obtained from the Grand Master of Ohio, to establish and constitute a lodge at Martin's Ferry. On the 22nd day of April, 1874, the constitution of the new lodge occurred, and was conducted by Most Worshipful Grand Master Asa H. Battin. J. Potter Jordan was installed as the first worshipful master, L. W. Inglebright as the first senior warden and Hiram Frazier as the first junior warden.
Near the close of the meeting, Ross J. Alexander, on behalf on Samuel Irwin, the youngest member of the new organization, presented the lodge with a fine copy of the Bible. His presentation speech was clothed in beautiful language, and the precious boon was accepted on behalf of the lodge by Rev. Dr. Sedgwick in a very earnest and appropriate manner. The charter members were: L. C. Sedgwick, L. W. Inglebright, L. C. Wells, Francis Wright, Samuel Young, George W. Medill, A. M. Shipman, L. L. Smith, Ross J. Alexander, Jesse M. Ruggles, Hiram Frazier, Alexander Rose, Joseph A. Major, McGruder Selby, James A. Crossley, G. G. Sedgwick, John Z. Cochran, George E. Rider, James Dean, Edward Williams and J. Potter Jordan.
The first lodge room was located in Medill's Hall, on Hanover Street, near the Cleveland & Pittsburg Railroad, and the new organization immediately began to grow rapidly in membership, and its influence began to be felt in the then village of about 2,000 population. The lodge membership now numbers about 115 and the membership takes an active interest in the work, and the present quarters in Commercial Block are roomy and pleasant.
The following is a list of those who have served the lodge as worshipful masters: J. Potter Jordan (deceased), L. W. Inglebright, Abram Lash, McGruder Selby (deceased), Humphrey Williams, C. H. Morris, Rev. A. W. Harris, James Y. Patterson, Dr. A. R. Ong, Thomas F. Mitchell and Dr. J. W. Darrah. The present officers are: E. E. McCombs, W. M.; J. G. Parr, S. W.; J. E. Springer, J. W.; Heyward Long, secretary; J. W. Darrah, treasurer; J. B. Farnell, S. D.; Harry Greer, J. D.; and James Miskell, tyler.
Waneta Tribe No. 75, I. O. R. M., was instituted April 12, 1873, by District Great Chief Alexander Clohan of Bellaire, Bridgeport and Wheeling.
The charter members were: Robert Applegarth, David Applegarth, William Applegarth, J. T. Craig, James Craig, Thomas Charlton, George Criswell, Jacob Diehl, J. K. Eddie, William A. Hogue, Robert Hays, J. N. Hays, Thomas J. Irwin, James Miskell, J. C. Moore, W. H. Moore, R. O'Beirne, Jacob Pence, Fred Ritter, Benjamin Renard, J. S. St. Clair, George Sterling and J. Stahl.
The membership of the order has increased 25 per cent, since its organization.
Thomas J. Irwin, one of the charter members of this lodge, has been re-elected great chief of records. Those who have held continuous membership since the organization of the lodge are: Robert Applegarth, James Craig, Jacob Diehl, Thomas J. Irwin, James Miskell, W. H. Moore and John Sterling.
Independent Order of Odd Fellows - Belmont City Lodge No. 221, I. O. O. F., Martin's Ferry, was instituted March 30, 1853, with the following charter members: Shannon Bigger, James Smith, Charles Schwartz, James Bane, Daniel Morgan, Henry Snodgrass, James Haines, J. M. Woodcock, Harvey Pratt, Robert Cottrell, Charles H. Turner, George Geiger, John Watkins, Peter Beasle, John Fisher. Of these none remain, the last one (J. M. Woodcock of Bridgeport) having died a short time ago.
Owing to the fact that the records of the lodge were destroyed by fire in April, 1885, it is impossible to give the names of the officers at the time of the organization, and possibly other items of interest are omitted.
On September 15, 1887, Onward Lodge, No. 758, I. O. O. F., was instituted with 23 members and continued in existence until January 4, 1889, when the two lodges consolidated, the name and number of Belmont City Lodge being retained.
Naturally there has been much sickness and many deaths among the membership, but the lodge is in a fairly prosperous condition with 117 members.
The present officers of the lodge are: John Jump, noble grand; Thomas H. Jones, vice grand; Theodore Snodgrass, secretary; Fred Strickling, treasurer.
Hebron Encampment, No. 149, I. O. O. F., was instituted at Bridgeport, Ohio, April 14, 1851, with William Alexander, Miller Chalfant, Elias Dew, James Magill, Goodwin Hall, E. W. Martin and William P. Baggs as charter members.
The meetings were held in that village until about 1870 when it was decided to locate the encampment in Martin's Ferry, as many of the members resided there.
Like Belmont City Lodge, many of its records and paraphernalia were destroyed by fire. It is now in good condition with a membership of 44.
The charter bears date of January 18, 1851, but the encampment was not instituted until almost three months later. The present officers of the encampment are: C. P., Robert Ulrick; senior warden, Sutton Palmer; junior warden, Robert Slaughter; H. P., John Vickers; scribe, George W. Burton; treasurer, William Sloan.
Welcome Lodge, No. 109, A. O. U. W., was instituted at Martin's Ferry, December 15, 1891, with 29 charter members present. Out of this number, only six remain - H. G. Woods, John W. Reed, B. F. Brady, Nicholas Beck, George B. Barr and George W. Reece - the others having died or dropped out. The lodge gained in membership for a short time and then began to decrease because of lack of interest among the members. In 1897 Lewis O. Rothermund and Alex T. Frazier died, and in 1899 R. F. Allender, Harry C. Jump and J. B. Montgomery also passed away, leaving a membership of 13. About two years ago interest was aroused in the order, and the lodge now has a membership of 57, representing insurance to the amount of $77,000. The present officers are: P. M. W., William T. Dixon, Jr.; M. W., William R. Pitner; foreman, Robert W. Vatter; overseer, William L. King; recorder, George B. Barr; financier, Robert G. Heslop; receiver, Matthew Williams; guide, J. Glenn Morton; I. W., John F. Darrah; O. W., George W. Reece.
THOBURN POST, G. A. R.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, many of the brave volunteers, who entered the United States service from Pease township, enlisted in the 1st and 2nd Virginia (Loyal) Infantry, and upon the reorganization of the regiments for three years they continued in the same organization and fought under the leadership of Col. Joseph Thoburn, who was killed in the bloody battle of Cedar Creek. When the war was ended, and the first G. A. R. post was organized in 1873, the old soldiers who had fought under Colonel Thoburn, who was himself a brave son of Belmont County, called their organization Thoburn Post.
The organization is still maintained, but their ranks have gradually been reduced, until today they number but 31. The officers for 1902 were: William Sloan, commander; Levi Davis, senior vice-commander; John McKnight, junior vice-commander; James Miskel, chaplain; George Barr, quartermaster; W. G. Morgan, adjutant; Albert Liphardt, officer of the day; and James Green, officer of the guard.
The Martin's Ferry Evening Times was established March 2, 1891, by Leroy C. Sedgwick and George B. Barr under the firm name of Sedgwick & Barr, and made its first appearance as a six-column folio. The paper was issued from the Parker building, corner of Hanover Street and the Cleveland & Pittsburg Railroad, for about two years when the office was removed to the McDonough building on the opposite side of Hanover Street. In October, 1893, Mr. Barr disposed of his interest to Alvin L. Sedgwick, and the firm name was changed to L. C. Sedgwick & Son. Two years later Ira B. Sedgwick was taken into the firm. Up to 1894 The Times was issued as a daily only, but in that year a weekly was added in the form of a nine-column folio, which has since been changed to eight pages. Increase in business demanded more room, and in 1898 the proprietors purchased a site and erected a two-story brick building on 4th Street, moving into it in August of that year. In 1899 the form of the daily was changed to eight pages, in which shape it is still issued.
In politics The Times has always been Republican, but its fairness in the discussion of political issues, as well as the firm stand taken upon the right side of all public questions affecting the interest of the people, is evidenced by the large patronage received from those of a different political faith. The circulation of both daily and weekly has increased steadily, until now it is the leading paper in the county both in point of circulation and influence. W. G. Creamer is at the head of the reportorial staff.
In connection with the newspaper, The Times has a job department second to none in this part of the State. From a small beginning it has grown to its present proportions through strict attention to business details and a disposition to deal honorably toward all its patrons, and today its reliability and the excellence of the work turned out are unsurpassed. Its facilities for turning out job printing are ample - its equipment embracing the latest type faces, five presses, folder, gas engine, power cutter, stitching machine, perforator, ruling machine, etc., with workmen of experience. This department is in charge of George B. Barr, who, although disposing of his financial interest in The Times, has remained in its service since its beginning.
The matter in The Times is set by a Mergenthaler Standard Linotype, and is the only machine of its kind in the county.
The Ohio Valley News - Attempts were made to establish a newspaper in Martinsville as far back as 1849. This publication was called The Enterprise, and was issued at alternate periods in Martinsville and Bridgeport.
This enterprise was short lived, as was another publication established a few years thereafter. No further efforts were put forth until 1872 when Mr. Barr of Wheeling organized a joint stock company for the publication of The Commercial, with Mr. Barr as editor. This company soon failed, when Mr. Ashenhurst and Mr. Clauser purchased the paper, and, making some needed improvements, began its publication.
Mr. Clauser sold his interest to Mr. Ashenhurst who changed the paper to a seven-column folio, and changed its name to the one it bears today: The Ohio Valley News. Mr. Ashenhurst soon withdrew from Martin's Ferry and is now the editor of The Corner Stone at Columbus and James H. Drennen and John R. Gow succeeded him as editors and publishers of The News.
In 1876 Mr. Gow withdrew to engage in the newspaper work in Bellaire and Mr. Drennen continued its publication until his death in 1896. This veteran editor was one of the original Republicans of Belmont County and his paper was ever regarded as the stanch exponent of Republican principles. After his death his son, R. P. J. Drennen, conducted the business for four years when upon May 1, 1900, R. D. and James H. Robinson, grandsons of the late James H. Drennen, purchased the paper and are conducting it with great success.
THE BRIDGE OVER THE OHIO.
One of the marked improvements in the development of Martin's Ferry was the completion of the Wheeling Bridge & Terminal Company's bridge over the Ohio, under the management of Judge Robert H. Cochran, a former Belmont County man, who as president of the company and managing director of the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad, was mainly instrumental in its construction. The first engine was run over the bridge December 31, 1899, but the bridge was not completed until 1900.
The bridge is entirely of stone and steel, and is a double track railway structure, with an extensive terminal system on both sides of the river, including three double-track tunnels in Wheeling aggregating 4,200 feet in length.
The cost of the bridge was upwards of two million dollars. It is now under the control of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The city of Wheeling voted $700,000 for the construction of the bridge during the administration of Judge Cochran, but the act was afterward nullified by constitutional amendment.
A NOTABLE CHARACTER.
We have elsewhere alluded to the fact that Martin's Ferry was the birthplace of America's greatest living novelist, William Dean Howells.
Perhaps it will be a surprise to many to know that in a humble farm home, adjoining the city, there was born of canny Scotch-Irish parents a lad named W. J. Rainey, who possessed in remarkable degree the keenness and foresight of a trader.
When still in his teens, he became noted as a purchaser of live stock, and could guess with the accuracy of a long experienced dealer the weight of all live stock. A few years thereafter, he added wheat and wool to the farm products he handled and with added gains.
When the Cleveland & Pittsburg stock dropped to 10 and 15 cents per share, he purchased largely and held the stock in confidence until it advanced to 86 when he sold.
He had now accumulated considerable wealth and when his father gave him the coal underlying his farm of which he had come into possession after a long legal contest, Mr. Rainey associated with him a company of capitalists, to operate the mines upon an extensive scale.
In the prosecution of this enterprise he became a millionaire. A few years ago when this humble farmer's lad died, he had accumulated a fortune of $25,000,000.
THE CITY OF BRIDGEPORT.
As elsewhere stated, the first legal settlement in the county was made within the corporate limits of Bridgeport by Captain Kirkwood in 1789.
Seventeen years later Col. Ebenezer Zane had come into possession of all the lands on either side of Indian Wheeling Creek, west to Scotts and bordering the Ohio on its west banks to what is now Burlington. On May 9, 1806, he laid out the town of Canton, now Bridgeport.
At this time the Zane road, now the National Road, extended east and west, and a State road running north and south from Wellsville to Marietta passed through the town near Fleming's Run.
A description of Canton or Bridgeport at this time is presented by F. Cummings in Tour down the Ohio, published in 1807.
On the banks of the Ohio is a new town called Canton, laid out by Mr. Zane last year which has now 13 houses. We here crossed a ferry of a quarter of a mile to Zane's Island, which we walked across upwards of a half a mile through a fertile, extensive and well cultivated farm the property of Mr. Zane, some of whose apples pulled from the orchard in passing were very refreshing, while we sat on the bank near by awaiting the ferry boat.
At last the boat came, and we crossed the ferry of another quarter of a mile to Wheeling.
Gaining the top of the hill immediately over Wheeling, we obtained a handsome birds' eye view of that town. Zane's Island in fine cultivation, the two ferries across the Ohio, and the pretty little village of Canton (Bridgeport) beyond.
In the work of improvement, Colonel Zane associated with him his son-in-law, Elijah Woods, who was very prominent in the early history of the county. Elijah Woods served as clerk of the first courts, and became an active and influential member of the first Constitutional Convention which met in Chillicothe in 1802. After building a home on block No. 2, he operated a ferry across the back river. Mr. Woods was likewise a surveyor and spent much of his time in the surveying of newly acquired lands, both in Pease township and in adjoining States.
For the accommodation of the many emigrants passing through the settlement, Thomas Thompson built a tavern and conducted a ferry on the north side of Fleming's Run. This was known as the upper ferry and the tavern was probably the first in the county. Mr. Thompson's descendants are prosperous farmers and honored citizens of Pease township today.
Among the early settlers are mentioned: Moses Rhodes, Samuel Fitch, Joseph Worley, John Reed, S. Z. Sawyer, Capt. Richard Crawford, a courtly gentleman of the old school, who conducted a tanyard; and M. K. Durant, a hatter.
Between 1825 and 1830 Bridgeport became a very important shipping point. Vast quantities of flour manufactured by the 30 grist mills in Pease township and vicinity with great quantities of farm produce and live stock were shipped on flatboats to the Southern market.
THE FIRST BRIDGE.
The first bridge spanning the Ohio and connecting Bridgeport with Wheeling was begun in 1836. The contractor, William LeBarron, abandoned the work before it was completed and the Zane Brothers finished it in 1838.
The old covered bridge as it was familiarly know subsequently became the property of the Wheeling & Belmont Bridge Company. This old bridge rendered service for 55 years, when it was replaced by the present handsome modern steel bridge, at a cost of $65,974.04.
Bridgeport was incorporated March 14, 1836. Prior to the exercise of corporate authority, Peter Cusick and Hugh McNeely were mayors and James D. Calligan was mayor from 1838 to 1840. Between 1840 and the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, business greatly increased, and such prominent professional men and merchants as Rhodes & Ogleby, Warfield & Holloway, Junkins & Branum, Anderson & Dewey, Atkinson & Company, T. C. Rowles and Dr. J. M. Todd were conspicuous characters. Today Mr. Junkins also remains of this historic circle.
In 1873 the incorporate limits were extended to the north line of Aetnaville, including the Aetnaville Mill property, and south to the La Belle Glass Works, including Kirkwood.
The population of Bridgeport at the 10th census was 3,963, viz:
First Ward 1,529
Second Ward 1,526
Third Ward 908
This shows an increase of 1,573 over the census of 1880, and as an evidence of the growth of Bridgeport in wealth as well as in population we note an increase in the assessor's returns in the three wards over those of the year previous of $28,691. The tax levy for Pease township for 1902 is 1.56 and Bridgeport corporation, 2.92.
THE MAYORS AND CITY OFFICIALS.
The mayors of Bridgeport after the corporate election of 1847 were elected at irregular times and for irregular terms. For example: Moses Rhodes was mayor from October 6, 1847; B. T. Brow, from November 17, 1847; S. E. Francis, from April 1, 1848; John Gilbert, from May 12, 1848; Louis Smith from April 9, 1849, to April 16, 1851; John Gilbert, from April 16, 1851; John Allison, from June 12, 1852; William Gill, from December, 1852; W. W. Halstead, from April 6, 1853; William Gill, from December, 1852; W. W. Halstead, from April 6, 1853; William Gill, from April 3, 1854, to April 7, 1856; William Alexander, from April 7, 1856, to December 11, 1857; A. J. Lawrence, from December 11, 1857, to April 4, 1859; John Gilbert, from April 4, 1859; A. Grubb, from April 2, 1860; William Alexander, from April 1, 1861, to June, 4, 1864; A. Goudy, from June 14, 1864, to April, 1866; William Alexander, from April, 1866; A. Goudy, from May, 1866; Israel Phillips, from April 1867, to April, 1869; William Gill, from April, 1869; Israel Phillips, from April, 1870, to April, 1873; William Gill, from April, 1873, to April, 1875; Milton McConnaughy, from April, 1875, to 1878; F. C. Robinson from April, 1878, to April, 1884; M. V. Junkins, to 1888; R. Mitchell, to April, 1890. Then followed in succession George P. Hathaway, T. W. Williams, and F. Neininger.
The present city officials are: Charles Junkins, mayor; Thomas Thompson, marshal; Frank Rice, clerk; George C. McKee, solicitor; and James McHugh, treasurer. The Council is composed of six members, namely: C. Winterhalter, Grove Stephenson, E. J. Stephens, Joseph Meister, Michael Miller and Jack Baugh.
Peter Yost says he thinks Moses Rhodes was the first postmaster, who was appointed during the administration of James Madison in 1815.
The present postmaster is Dr. A. J. Heinlein - some of his predecessors were: John Anderson, about 1850; David Howells, from 1856 to 1861; Hugh McNeely, from 1862 to 1865; and then in succession there followed John Crosby, Dr. J. M. Todd, Dr. John Cook, Johnson Brown and R. B. Mitchell.
THE AETNAVILLE BRIDGE.
The Aetnaville steel bridge, which connects Aetnaville and Wheeling, was constructed in 1890 and 1891 at a cost of $150,000. The bridge was built primarily, to afford the electric cars speedier communication between Wheeling and Martin's Ferry. It has likewise proved very serviceable as a foot and wagon bridge across the back river. The bridge is operated by a Wheeling company.
THE MANUFACTURING INTERESTS
Of Bridgeport did not develop until 1872 and 1873. Previous to that, there were the Smith & Son flour mill, the Diamond Mills, the Belmont foundry, Baggs & Sons' sawmills, employing an aggregate of probably 200 hands.
Then the La Belle Glass Works was incorporated, with E. P. Rhodes, president, W. H. Brinton, secretary, and A. J. Baggs, manager. The capital stock was $100,000, and the number of hands employed was 150. The annual product amounted to $135,000.
The year following, the Aetna Iron & Nail Works was established with a capital of $200,000; W. W. Holloway was president, with W. H. Tallman, secretary, and Louis Jones, manager. The directors were: W. W. Holloway, Louis Jones, A. G. Robinson, L. Spence, A.J. Baggs, T. R. Moffat, W. B. Simpson. The number of hands employed at the beginning was between 200 and 250 and the annual product was 10,000 tons of T-rails and bar iron.
The mill has been so successfully managed that today it is the greatest steel plant in the Upper Ohio Valley. The mill is now operating by the United States Steel Corporation, with E. G. McMurtric, of New York, as president, and J. A. Topping of Bridgeport, vice-president. H. L. Cooke is division superintendent of the district, and has personal supervision of the mill. When in full operation, the mill employs 2,500 men, and produces 88,400 net tons annually of black sheets and painted and formed roofing. The pay roll averages $75,000 per month.
The Crystal Glass Company of Bridgeport was organized the 31st day of August, 1888. The first board of directors consisted of J. N. Vance, W. T. Burt, Thomas Mears, Ed. Muhleman and N. Kuhn. The officers were: J. N. Vance, president, and Ed. Muhleman, secretary. The present officers are: A. W. Herron, vice-president; G. Roy Boyd, secretary; and W. Pomeroy, treasurer. The directors are: F. L. Stephenson, L. B. Martin, L. W. Herron, A. L. Strasburger and Addison Thompson. The stock outstanding is $146,880; the approximate output is about $450,000 per annum; and the number of employees is 600.
In addition to the above there is the Scott Lumber Company, which is probably the largest factory of the kind in the county. It operates a branch house in Martin's Ferry and employs nearly 100 hands and keeps from 15 to 18 teams constantly employed.
The leading flour mill today is the Aetna, the successor of the Diamond mill, and is extensively operated with all the modern appliances for the manufacture of flour.
The First National Bank was among the first national banks organized in Ohio. It was the successor of the Belmont branch of the State Bank of Ohio, which was organized in 1847, with a capital stock of $100,000. The directors of this branch of the old State Bank were Jacob Holloway, Ezekiel Harris, Henry Y. Patterson, John K. Newland, James A. Gray and Hugh McNeely, with John C. Tallman as cashier.
Under the efficient management of these officials, the bank withstood the crash of 1857. Its affairs were wound up by limitation in 1863, and the First National Bank took its place, with a capital of $200,000.
The original directors of the First National Bank were Crispan Oglebay, W. W. Holloway, Finley B. McGrew, Hiram W. Smith and Ebenezer P. Rhodes. W. W. Holloway was chosen president and J. C. Tallman was retained as cashier, a position he held during his life, with W. H. Tallman, assistant cashier. The capital stock was subsequently reduced to $100,000. The present officers are: William Alexander, president; L. Spence, vice-president; and F. W. Henderson, cashier. The board of directors, January, 1902, was as follows: L. Spence, J. J. Holloway; Samuel A. Junkins, William McComas, J. C. Heinlein, N. Kuhn, N. K. Kennon, William Mann and William Alexander. The deposits of the bank, on November 25, 1902, when a report was made to the Comptroller of the Currency, amounted to $506,681.31.
Since the above was written it has been announced that the charter of the First National Bank will expire early in 1903, and the bank will be re-organized under the name of the Bridgeport National Bank without any interruption in business. The officers of the new organization will be: J. J. Holloway, president; J. C. Heinlein, vice-president; and F. W. Henderson, cashier.
The Dollar Savings Bank of Bridgeport was organized February 14, 1891, with a capital of $50,000. The first officers were: George C. McKee, president; Thomas T. Frasier, vice-president; R. R. Barnett, cashier; and Fred Fox, teller. The directors were George C. McKee, John T. Scott, Thomas T. Frasier, Eli Bailey, John Stewart, William Koehnlein, C. W. Apenzeller, Eli Gilmore and R. B. Mitchell.
The present officers are: John T. Scott, president; Thomas T. Frasier, vice-president; Henry Fox, cashier; and J. O. Perry, teller.
DR. AFFLECK AND DR. TODD.
Among the physicians of Bridgeport of a past generation were two noted men, viz. - Dr. J. G. Affleck and Dr. J. M. Todd.
Dr. J. G. Affleck was a genial, generous hearted Scotchman of great literary ability. He was said to possess the finest library in the county, and knew more of its contents than any other man in the State. The Doctor at different times published four newspapers and while pursuing his medical practice was a regular contributor to many papers and magazines. His literary work continued until his death.
Dr. J. M. Todd was a man of strong convictions and pronounced views upon all questions of public policy. While engaged in practice of his profession, he took an active part in municipal affairs and, while foremost in advocating every policy looking to the advancement of the town or county, he was an intense partisan and uncompromising in his hostility to the opposition. Like his colleague Dr. Affleck, Dr. Todd was a man of superior literary ability, and was a constant contributor to the local and medical press upon all historic, economic, or professional questions.
The First Methodist Episcopal Church - Before there was an organized Methodist Episcopal Church in Bridgeport, different ministers visited and preached in the place, among whom were William Lamden, Wesley Browning, S. R. Brockunier, Thomas Drummond, C. D. Battelle and the celebrated Lorenzo Dow. It is probably that the first Methodist sermon preached in Bridgeport was delivered in an old log tavern located at the north end of the town and kept by a Mr. Thompson. The home of Elijah Woods was opened also to these men of God as a preaching place. The first men to unite with the Methodist Episcopal Church in these early days were Noah Scott and John Bailey. The first Methodist class was organized in Bridgeport in 1833 with Noah Scott as leader, appointed by Rev. Mr. Kent. This class met at the home of Squire Bloomfield and consisted of seven members: Squire Bloomfield and wife, John Graham, Thomas Hukill, and wife, and James and Jane Putnam. The next preaching place was in a small brick building near the National Pike, built by Joseph McConnaughy.
In 1835 Bridgeport was taken up as a regular appointment by Revs. David Merriman and J. C. Taylor, pastors on the St. Clairsville circuit. In 1842 it was made a part of the Martinsville circuit and remained a part of the circuit until 1853 when Martins' Ferry was made a station and Bridgeport became the head of Bridgeport circuit with Scotts and West Wheeling. It was made a station in 1870.
In 1839 a lot was purchased from Joseph Kirkwood to which a warehouse was moved and fitted up for a place of worship. The trustees of this first church property were: Joseph McConnaughy, Joseph Wilson, David Trueman, Thomas J. Hukill, Walker Hunter, Noah Scott and Henry McGregor.
In 1849 the brick building now owned by the colored Baptists of Bridgeport was erected and continued the place of worship until 1892. At that time a beautiful site on the corner of Bennett and DeKalb streets was secured, upon which a church edifice and parsonage were erected. This property, now valued at $25,000, is clear of debt.
The following ministers have been appointed pastors of Bridgeport since it was taken up as a regular preaching place: I. N. McAbee, John W. Minor, P.M. McGowen, S. Cheney, James Drummond, William Cox, Thomas McCleary, J. M. Rankin, David S. Welling, John D. Knox, N. C. Worthington, R. Hamilton, W. Darby, F. W. Vertican, J. N. Ekey, John D. Vail, John Stephens, A. B. Castle, T.M. Hudson, W. F. Lauck, T. McCleary, Joseph Gudhill, B. F. Edgell, John D. Vail, J. R. Keyes, R. F. Kuler, J. S. Winters, J. H. Rogers, C. B. Henthorne, W. H. Dickerson, W. L. Dixon and J. S. Secrist.
The following constitute the official board: Trustees, - S. A. Clemens, George H. Groves, William Fox, F. C. Robinson, H. E. Woodcock, Walter Hewitson, J. C. Dent, H. G. Branum, J. B. Driggs; Sunday-school, superintendent, - J. C. Mace; Epworth League president, - Miss Ida Davis; stewards, - T. W. Williams, T. C. Farmer, E. H. Stevens, C. B. Loe, Charles Woodcock, John Kidney, John Turner, T. B. Smith, Ralph Bethel, J. T. David, W. E. Riggs, H. M. Crawford and James Cofflance.
West Bridgeport, Scott's and West Wheeling Methodist Episcopal Churches - The West Bridgeport charge is presided over by Rev. John A. Wright.
It consists of three appointments: namely, West Bridgeport, Scotts and West Wheeling. The West Bridgeport Church was built in 1872 under the ministry of Rev. William Peregoy. It is a brick structure worth about $2,500. It was dedicated November 10, 1872, by Rev. W. B. Watkins. There is also a parsonage at West Bridgeport, the rental value of which is $900. The pastor's salary is $750. The following preachers have served the charge since its formation: namely, David E. Howell, William Peregoy, J. Q. A. Miller, W. P. Robins, H. Appleton, George B. Smith, T. J. Baker, N. C. Worthington, J. S. Secrist, T. J. Curts, W. Meek, D. A. Pierce, A. J. Lanes, F. I. Sweeney, W. D. Stephens, R. S. Strahl, D. F. Holtz and John A. Wright. The church is lighted by electricity and is heated by a furnace. There is no debt of any kind on the church.
Scott's Church is also a brick edifice, and is located in the village of Lansing three miles west of Bridgeport on the National Road. It was built in 1834. There was a preaching place here for many years before the church was built. J. B. Finley preached here when it was called Scott's appointment.
The West Wheeling Church is also brick, and was built in 1845 and rebuilt in 1879, and remodeled in 1888. In this year gas was put into the church both for illuminating and heating purposes.
The official members of the West Bridgeport Church are as follows: Stewards, - W. S. Kidney, Ralph Simpson, Mrs. J. D. Wilson and Mary J. Conaway; trustees, - John D. Wilson, Robert Simpson, John Porter and James McConnaughy; class leaders, - Otho Kidney, Ralph Simpson and Edward Wilson; Sunday-school superintendent, Otho Kidney. The official members of the Scott's, or Lansing Church are as follows: Class leader, John B. Pyle; Sunday-school superintendent, Christopher Giffin; stewards, - John B. Pyle, J. C. Bell and L. Liston; trustees, - same as above with the addition of Ebenezer Worley and E. T. Kinsey. The officials of the West Wheeling Church are as follows: Class leader, Rev. A. E. Fortney; Sunday-school superintendent, Joseph A. Pyle; stewards, - Rev. A. E. Fortney, J. S. Pyle and Emma Dixon; trustees, - A. E. Fortney, W. F. Fortney, J. S. Pyle, Emma Dixon and Harry Lyle.
The First Presbyterian Church of Bridgeport was organized August 9, 1850, by Rev. Benjamin Mitchell and Rev. James Alexander. The following persons united with the church upon certificates from other churches: Henry Wells, Mrs. Margaret Wells, Miss Eliza McConahey, Mrs. Margaret Kirkwood, Vincent Mitchell, Mrs. Barbara Campbell, Mrs. Barbara Thompson, Mrs. Sarah Large, Miss Adeline Large, Stephen Laughran, Mrs. Jane Laughran, Robert Theaker, Mrs. Mary S. Theaker, Miss Rebecca Newland, William Alexander, Nelson Theaker, Mrs. Kitty A. Theaker, Thomas C. Theaker, Mrs. Mary Theaker, Edward W. Martin, - 20 in all. Nelson Theaker and Henry Wells were elected ruling elders, and Robert P. Theaker and William Alexander were elected deacons.
Rev. James Alexander was pastor of the Martin's Ferry Church from which most of these members brought certificates. He continued as pastor of the two churches for some time, and was succeeded by Rev. Samuel Boyd. He was succeeded by Rev. G. W. Chalfant who remained pastor for 17 years. He in turn was succeeded by Rev. C. C. Hayes as pastor for six years. Rev. J. A. Donahey is the present pastor, and William Alexander, John I. Scott and Thomas J. Davis are the elders. The trustees are: George C. McKee, Thomas Frasier, Thomas Duncan, Fred Fox, A. J. Blackford and William Clark; treasurer, Charles Enlow.
St. Anthony's Catholic Church - The Catholic congregation in the village of Bridgeport was first organized by Rev. Joseph Touhy in the year 1885, then pastor of St. Mary's Church in Martin's Ferry. At this time there could be found but about one dozen of Catholic families in Bridgeport. Nevertheless, though but few in number under the leadership of their wise pastor they soon acquired two lots on Whitly street in Kirkwood and soon erected there a modest little frame building where they might gather for religious worship. Father Touhy held services here for these few faithful ones on one Sunday of each month. But after about two years from the time of its first organization, the membership had grown sufficiently large that they should have more frequent service and consequently an arrangement was agreed upon by Bishop Watterson of Columbus, Ohio, Bishop Kain of Wheeling, West Virginia, and the superior of the Cappucian Fathers at St. Alphonsus' Church in Wheeling, by which these latter Fathers promised to send a priest from their church in Wheeling every Sunday to Bridgeport to give the people religious services. For two years Father Martin, O. M. Cap., filled this office. When scarcity of priests did no longer permit these Fathers to continue this work, Bishop Watterson of Columbus assigned Father Joseph A. Weigand as pastor of Bridgeport, and he continues there to this day, - since January 21, 1890. Under the direction of Father Martin a new site for a church had been purchased, located on the National Road, now known as Main Street.
In the same year in which Father Weigand was assigned as the first resident pastor of St. Anthony's Church, a new frame building was erected on the newly acquired church property, which was temporarily used for a church until two years later, when it was found expedient to build the large and beautiful brick edifice in which the congregation has now been worshiping since September, 1892. During this same month and year, the temporary church was converted into a school building and the Sisters of Charity from Nazareth, Kentucky, were introduced to teach the children attending the parochial school. Since that time the congregation has been steadily on the increase so that it numbers at present about 100 families with about an equal number of children attending the parochial school. Besides the 100 families there belong to the congregation about 125 single men employed in the various public works; so that the congregation numbers from 200 to 250 voting members. As to nationality, the membership consists of American born, of Irish, Germans, French, Italians, Hungarians, Polish, Slovak, Krainars, Bohemians, Croatians and Syrians, but nearly all naturalized citizens of the United States.
The church property of the congregation consists of a handsome brick church, adjoining which is a commodious pastoral residence, a sufficiently commodious school building and a convent to accommodate the Sisters teaching the parochial school.
Connected with the church are the following organizations: The C. M. B. A., a beneficial and insurance society for the men; the St. Barbara Society, also for men, but especially for the miners, being likewise of a beneficial character, and mostly composed of Slavonian speaking men; the Knights of St. George, another organization of similar nature and to a large extent made up Tyrolese Italians; finally, the Moeller Club, intended principally for the younger men of the parish and designed to give them a place for mutual enjoyment and recreation while at the same time supplying them with good literature and other means of encouragement to cultivate a taste for what is noble and dignified, and thus to keep them away from more dangerous places. Each of these organizations numbers from 25 to 75 members.
The church at Bridgeport is also attended by all the Catholic families living north on the Cleveland, Lorain & Wheeling Railway as far as Holloway and west as far as the County Infirmary.
District schools were maintained as early as 1835. A young Dr. Stone from the East and John Sterling were teachers previous to that time. Dr. McCoy, Moses Rhodes and Dr. J. G. Affleck were trustees.
Ebenezer Zane gave a lot on which a brick school house was erected. Uriah Halstead taught in this building until the outbreak of the Civil War, when he enlisted in the First Virginia Cavalry and was killed in one of the battles in West Virginia.
Dr. W. B. Watkins also taught here and was a very successful teacher, inspiring his scholars and constantly pointing them to higher attainments as well as instilling a desire among parents for better schools and accommodations for higher education. He afterward became an eloquent minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, having appointments in Pittsburg and other cities. He died in the midst of a very useful life, honored by all who knew him.
When Kirkwood was separate and apart from Bridgeport, a district school was held there in the basement of the Methodist Episcopal Church and other places. J. C. Tallman, John Warfield and W. W. Holloway were then serving as directors. J. C. Tallman from the time he first came to Bridgeport was an intelligent and untiring worker for every educational interest. He did much for the advancement of higher education for the masses. Kirkwood was taken into the incorporated village of Bridgeport and immediately a school building was advocated. It was successfully carried out amid strong opposition. The primary object in getting Kirkwood into the corporation was to secure a school building and better schools.
A site was selected in Kirkwood and immediate action taken for the erection of a commodious school building. The school district was then working under what was known as the Akron law. W. W. Holloway, John C. Tallman, W. W. Atkinson, E. P. Rhodes and J. G. Affleck were members of the School Board in 1866. The new building was complete in 1867, and Captain Griffith of Columbus was chosen superintendent, with his wife, a trained and most efficient primary teacher, as assistant. Some differences in regard to teaching languages caused Captain Griffith to resign, much to the regret of the great majority of the patrons of the school, who recognized in him an excellent organizer and proficient superintendent.
Rev. A. B. Castle of the Methodist Episcopal Church then took charge of the school for a time and was succeeded by John Taylor for two years.
D. P. Pratt followed him as superintendent for two years.
The Board of Education at this time consisted of Hon. Ross J. Alexander, Dr. John Cook, Dr. J. M. Todd, Burget McConnaughy, W. W. Holloway and William Alexander. T. E. Orr was employed as superintendent, and under his management the schools were brought up to a standard equaled by few in the county. With the building of the Aetna iron mills and a large increase in population, an additional building was needed in Aetnaville. Soon another was required in the west end of Bridgeport for primary grades. These new schools were well established by Superintendent Orr, when he gave notice to the Board that he would tender his resignation at the end of the school year to go into other business. James Duncan was employed in his place and remains superintendent at this writing.
Brookside district was taken into Bridgeport special school district and a large and commodious school building erected there.
For the past 35 years Bridgeport has provided ample buildings and every facility for the education of her youth and continues to furnish every equipment for her schools and maintains and supports teachers of ability and aptness to teach.
The present Board of Education is: John T. Scott, president; Thomas Hill, treasurer; William Koehnline, Elias McConneghy, Capt. E. A. Thomas and Thomas McGoff.
When the first school building was opened for use, the old school house was set apart by the Board for the education of the colored children of the township. The Bridgeport School Board saw that they received their full share of the public money; they made appropriations to keep that school open as long as the other school and employed good teachers.
When the law was passed giving the colored children a place with the white children in all schools, W. W. Holloway introduced a resolution to admit them to equal rights in our public schools, which was finally adopted. Bridgeport was the first place in the county to provide schools for the colored children and the first to admit them to the public schools after the passage of the law. Many colored children have since graduated with credit to themselves.
In the Bridgeport district today there are four schools with 21 rooms and an average daily attendance of 799. Twenty-four teachers are required for instruction in the various departments. The expenditures for 1901 amounted to $16,532.65.
Bridgeport Lodge, No. 181, F. & A. M., was organized in 1849 with a membership of 19, all of whom are believed to be dead. Their names were: William Stewart, Townsend Frasier, John Amrine, Zachariah Bell, Robert Hardin, Platoff McNeely, Arthur Higgins, G. W. Anderson, Albert Rice, James M. Smith, W. F. Crawford, James McConnaughy, Reuben Miller, Jeremiah Fields, Ezekiel Harris, A. McSwords and James Hicks.
The blue lodge was organized in 1879; the officers at organization were as follows: George Giffin, W. M., George Pitney, S. W.; Peter Hathaway, J. W.; James Cox, S. D.; Robert Howell, J. D.; Henry Crawford, secretary; R. J. Alexander, treasurer, and W. T. Steadman, tyler.
The officers of the lodge in 1902 are as follows: John Shane, W. M.; Joseph Burtoft, S. W.; Joseph Moore, J. W.; Charles Enlow, S. D.; Charles Marsh, J. D.; James Cox, secretary; Frank Henderson, treasurer, and Robert Giffin, tyler. The membership of this lodge is 100.
Clement Lodge, I. O. O. F., was organized March 23, 1849, with a membership of six not including the officers, and the first officers were: Edward Heatherington, N. G.; Elias Dew, V. G.; W. H. Robinson, secretary and J. D. Sterling, treasurer. The order had no permanent lodge room until 1859 when a hall was properly fitted up in the First National Bank building. Its membership in 1879 was 50. Today it is 75. Its officers for 1902 are: Walker Hinesman, N. G.; H. J. H Spencer, V. G.; James Burtoft, secretary; Park Loe, chaplain; F. Zeiglehofer, warden; Albert Young, treasurer; A. T. Mandry, R. S. N. G.; J. R. Williams, R. S. V. G.; W. A. King, V. S. N. G.; and Charles Milburt, L. S. V. G.
Belmont Lodge, K. of P. of Bridgeport has a membership of 175 in 1902. Its officers are: Frank Stone, P. C.; Thomas Hill, C. C.; F. Neininger, V. C.; George Smith, prelate; John Morris, M. F.; Fred Coss, W. M., and L. H. Harrison, I. G.
BRANUM POST, G. A. R.
Branum Post, No. 22, G. A. R., of Bridgeport was named after a brave comrade who gave his life in the defense of his country during the War of the Rebellion. The post now numbers about 40, and the officers for 1902 are: Post commander, A. E. Fortney; senior vice commander, B. McConnaughy; adjutant, R. H. Clayland; chaplain, Rev. J. A. Wright, and officer of the day, Robert Giffen.
Source: [pages 187 - 215, Centennial History of Belmont County, Ohio, and Representative Citizens edited by A. T. McKelvey, 1905. Transcribed by Carol LaRue]