Salem Twp. coal company helps ease villages financial burden

Salem Twp. coal company helps ease villages financial burden

An interesting situation developed in 1900 when the new mining village was erected at Jamison Coal Co.’s No. 2 mine on a branch of Crabtree Creek, which reveals the identity of the town involved.

The coal works were in Salem Township but the 50 houses were in Hempfield. Thus, the bulk of the taxes went to Salem while Hempfield had to serve the populace with schools and other services.

To ease the problem, the coal company provided rooms for school use and the coal to heat them, leaving the township only to provide the teacher. The site of the village was historic in that the British and Indians, with their prisoners, camped in the vicinity after the burning of Hanna’s Town and Miller’s Station in July 1782. They then fled toward the Kiskiminetas River before dawn.

In January 1902, a Fayette County newspaper carried this brief item: “Lt. George C. Marshall Jr. of Uniontown is assigned to the 30th U.S. Infantry, which will shortly sail for the Philippines. He is the son of George C. Marshall of Uniontown.”

The father was a Union officer in the Civil War. And that was the beginning of a career during which George Jr. rose to the post of World War II chief of staff of the U.S. Army and later served as the U.S. Secretary of State and Defense.

Burrell Township in Armstrong County, like its namesakes in Indiana and Westmoreland, was named for Judge Jeremiah Murry Burrell, who was on the bench at the time all three were organized in 1855, after earlier attempts to form Washington and Knox townships in the same general area had failed.

Early industries in the township area were powder mills operated by George Beck, which had an excellent reputation over a wide area; and John Shaeffer, the plow manufacturing of Frederick Altman; and the salt works of Christopher Hoover and Michael Townsend.

The industrial development of the Monongahela Valley around 1900 was an event of great significance in other places as well. Long-established businessmen in central Westmoreland recognized this rapid industrial growth as a great commercial opportunity and a group from Greensburg took a trip to Donora to appraise the situation there.

Donora was hailed as “the new Mecca” in a headline in the Greensburg Daily Tribune in August 1900, and the paper noted that the city had “sprung up so rapidly that a tramp going to sleep in a vacant lot awakes in the morning to find ten homes built over him.”

Of Charleroi, the paper said, “the McKean meadows are teeming with a population that is sending forth its products of manufacture to every sector of the globe.” And “Monessen is no longer an experiment but a reality.”

Also around 1900, one George Pollins of Greensburg had an unexpected experience of a summer evening. One Friday, he “hired a fine driving horse and rubber-tired runabout” at a local livery stable “for the purpose of driving near Mt. Pleasant to call upon a young lady.”

About 10:30 p.m. he “went to the porch to get his macintosh buggy robe” in preparation for his homeward trip. A person who couldn’t be seen in the darkness cut the rope with which his horse was tied , jumped into the buggy and headed rapidly for Greensburg.

The horse and buggy were found unharmed Saturday night at a fallen tree on a farm six miles south of Greensburg. A person in that neighborhood was suspected of having taken the rig to get home. History fails to record how Pollins got home.

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