Features appear in each issue of Pennsylvania Heritage showcasing a variety of subjects from various periods and geographic locations in Pennsylvania.

Nothing captures the attention of the press more than a good scandal. In Uniontown, Pennsylvania, in January 1915, it had one. The financial collapse of coal baron Josiah V. Thompson, and the ruin of his bank, summoned a reporter from the New York Tribune to the Fayette County seat.

Stepping off at the Pennsyl­vania Railroad station, the unidentified reporter hurried to Thompson’s office at the First National Bank building. The ornate ground floor of the eleven story “skyscraper” at the corner of Main and Pitts­burgh streets was Uniontown’s most familiar business ad­dress. Some said the building, constructed by Thompson in 1902, was J.V.’s way of thumb­ing his nose at the steelmakers of Pittsburgh, the tycoons of iron. As the local newspapers were quick to proclaim, espe­cially now in the midst of crisis, Thompson was the champion of coal, of the little man, and of the little city, Uniontown, population eleven thousand.

The bank’s doors were shut tight to the public. Monday, January 15, 1915, the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency had opened the First National Bank, until recently rated by the New York Financier news­paper the outstanding national bank in the country. The order had been preceded by a report disclosing widespread banking irregularities, including the charge that bank president Thompson had dipped into the bank till for “personal” loans.

The news electrified the nation, or at least those served by the Pittsburgh, New York and Philadelphia newspapers. Instead of its relatively obscure role as Fayette County seat and the financial center of the bituminous coal region, Uniontown had become some­thing of a phenomenon and curiosity.

With the vaunted Thomp­son empire, estimated at sev­enty million dollars, crumbling, speculation ran wild. What would become of the Thompson holdings, four hundred thousand acres of rich coal lands spreading south from Fayette, Greene and Washington counties in Pennsylvania into West Virginia?

What would happen to the bank and its thousands of small depositors, many newly arrived in the United States? Would the immigrant miners who had placed their trust in J. V. lose their hard-earned savings?

And what about Union­town itself? Beautiful Union­town, nestled below the crest of Summit Ridge in southwest­ern Pennsylvania, was sassy, brassy and to outward appear­ances, booming. But the town relied on Thompson and coal like a dying man depends on oxygen: it couldn’t get enough of either. Scores of wealthy families were allied with Thompson. If J.V. fell, could any of them hope to survive?

Inside the bank, the re­porter met not the inimitable J.V. Thompson, but cashier Edgar S. Hackney, a long-time Thompson associate. From conversations he had had with businessmen and bankers in New York and on board the train west, the reporter got the distinct impression that Thompson was reacting coolly to the distressing turn of events. He asked Hackney if this could be true.

Hackney declined to an­swer and suggested the re­porter determine for himself. Thompson wasn’t in his office but at his mansion, Oak Hill. “He won’t be too busy to see you,” the cashier said, “but I warn you: he never gives inter­views.” Still, the reporter had nothing to lose. The house “is a good mile out the turnpike,” Hackney explained, “and … is worth seeing anyway.”

On arriving at Uniontown’s fabled mansion, the reporter found that Thompson was eager to talk. “I have been a worker all my life,” he said. “I am a worker now. I am going to work this through all right.”

“But what prospects do you have?” the reporter asked.

“I have the coal,” Thomp­son replied. “I and my associ­ates. Those that want it must come to me. They’ll get it at fair prices.”

The reporter, whose story in the next day’s Tribune would vie with the jailing of accused New York society murderer Harry K. Thaw, bade Thomp­son goodbye. But he felt disap­pointed. Thompson had been affable and outgoing, and frank about the bank and the future of coal. The problem was Oak Hill. Disappointed, the reporter wrote “the place probably cost a million dollars, as has been stated, but it is just such an establishment as any man of wealth might erect in Westchester.”

Westchester, indeed. Ever since the doors of Oak Hill opened to the public on New Year’s Eve of 1904, visitors had gaped and gasped at its magnificence.

If the New Yorker found Oak Hill deficient, what about the residences of Thompson’s business partners? The plantation-like estate of James R. Barnes, J.V.’s chief emissary to the world of high finance in New York City, his intermedi­ary to the Vanderbilts, Goulds and Harrimans, was a monu­ment to opulence.

Or the houses of the Seman brothers, Issac, Thomas and Frank? Frank Seman’s estate seemed especially likely to please, if not impress. The house itself was grand enough, but what set it apart were the tennis courts, lake, rose garden and, most of all, the Japanese gardens. Con­structed of stone, elaborately terraced and winding with symmetrical ingenuity, the gardens were the focal point of Uniontown society.

But the reporter failed to write about these other pal­aces. In the current crisis, only J.V. mattered.

Josiah VanKirk Thompson was sixty-one years old when his bank, the First National Bank of Uniontown, closed, sending himself, the Union­town coal region and most of his business associates reeling. For more than two decades he had dominated the western Pennsylvania coal fields. As a banker and dealer in coal lands, Thompson amassed several staggering fortunes. Twice married and once wid­owed, his divorce in 1913 from Bunnie Hawes Thompson cost him a million dollars.

What was less known, or appreciated, about J. V. then, and later, was his absolute devotion to family history, particularly his practice of committing to paper the events of his daily life. At the turn of the century, J. V. kept a journal, but during most of his marriage to Hunnie and until the bank crisis was resolved, he put the journal aside. He took it up again in 1919.

Twenty-eight red leather­-bound volumes of the journal, now in the repository of the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, are part of the Thompson legacy­ – perhaps the best part. As the head of a multi-million dollar cartel that brokered hundreds of thousands of acres of the world’s richest soft coal lands, Thompson was a legendary figure in Fayette County and throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. His estate, Oak Hill, and his marriage to the vain and impetuous Hunnie, were part of the legend. His fabulous wealth was another. In fact, though, J. V. sprang from simple roots. Unlike most Victorian era fathers, J. V. seemed to dote on his two sons, Andy and John, and his love for his first wife, Mary, whose death in 1896 left him bereft, was clearly evident in the journals.

Finding a suitable compan­ion for J. V. preoccupied several of Thompson’s friends follow­ing Mary’s death. Thompson resisted, advising one who suggested that he marry “within the year” that mar­riage “was a risky business and I did not want to enter the race now.” Oliver Woods, a banker friend from San Diego, California, while visiting Uniontown in 1898, counseled J. V. that any man who could “select two thousand notes on which to loan over a million dollars ought to be able to select a wife, there being plenty of good women availa­ble.” “I told him he was right,” Thompson wrote, “and that I thought that every man that was sure and able ought to marry.”

But J.V. didn’t – until 1903 when he married Hunnie.

Besides his financial clout, Thompson wielded political power in Fayette County. As a Republican, he was a member of the county’s majority party, and took a hand in selecting candidates for public office. Even though his public pos­ture was that he was too busy for party politics or somehow above the petty squabbling, this certainly was not the case.

When J.V. learned that Judge S. Leslie Mestrezat, later a justice of the state Supreme Court, was entertaining the idea of addressing a meeting of “non-partisan ” Democrats, he became angry. “After his election in 1893,” Thompson wrote, “(Mestrezat) … said he owed his election to me. But his recent actions indicate that he is large enough to secure his own election five years hence. We will see.”

J.V. was calculating in his estimates of men. He secretly disliked established Union­town attorney John K. Ewing and the entire Ewing clan for that matter. Judge Edward H. Reppert was as good a judge as Nathaniel Ewing ever was, Thompson wrote with more than a touch of revenge follow­ing an election victory. Be­sides, J.V. continued, Reppert “is free to acknowledge that he would never have been nomi­nated or elected if it hadn’t been for me.”

Thompson thought sobriety and propriety the chief quali­ties of a successful banker. “A bank gets business by attracting it, just as a modest woman gets a husband by attracting him,” J.V. declared. A bank, “feminine in nature is much like a woman, in that a breath of suspicion or gossip about its standing or character is almost fatal and … very hard to combat.”

Thompson dealt with Henry Clay Frick and A. W. Mellon on their turf in Pitts­burgh, which may account for journal entries portraying J.V. as a supplicant at a foreign court. At times, however, the trio stood on common ground. WhenJ.V. campaigned for Judge Reppert, he traveled to Pittsburgh to seek Frick’s counsel. On another occasion, Frick advised Thompson to buy Pittsburgh, Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad stock. The stock would soon be listed on the New York Stock Exchange, Frick said, and therefore “would go higher.” Thompson took the advice. More often than not, though, Thompson left either Frick’s or Mellon’s office disappointed and hurt. He met with both men in May 1902. J.V. thought he was on the verge of concluding a forty million dollar deal which included the purchase of a shortline railroad from Union­town to Wheeling, West Vir­ginia, and two hundred and sixty-eight acres of Greene County coal land!

Both Frick and Mellon told Thompson they were “disin­clined” to participate in the deal. Thompson, ever the supplicant, noted in his jour­nal that “last night wrote Mel­lon I would reduce interest rate to three percent.”

Perhaps J.V.’s dealings with Frick and Mellon convinced him to maintain a low profile. Until 1903 at least he was hav­ing none of the “snobbish and formalized vulgarity” which F. Scott Fitzgerald characterized as the hallmark of the Gilded Age.

Then things changed. Not long after, J.V. met Hunnie Hawes, widow of a Johnstown “sportsman,” at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, whom he married. The couple de­parted on a fifteen month, around-the-world honeymoon, and when they returned to Uniontown in November 1904, moved from J.V.’s modest home in town into the sprawl­ing new million dollar mansion at Oak Hill, the eighteen hundred acre estate west of town.

A seemingly never ending round of receptions, parties and entertainments ensued. Hunnie was irrepressible. She hired Polish master pianist Paderewski to play at Oak Hill, and a troupe of Shakespearean actors to perform A Midsum­mer’s Night Dream on the ter­race, while guests lounged lazily on the sweeping lawn. She rode in equestrian shows in Pittsburgh, sped from Oak Hill into town in her chauf­feured car, and had bathing suits ready for guests to enjoy Oak Hill’s glass-domed swim­ming pool. She hung nude paintings, posed for a series of revealing photographs (which J.V. retained after their di­vorce), inundated the recep­tion hall with Greek and Roman sculpture, gave away kimonos and trinkets and, like Mrs. Taft at the White House, filled “the mansion … with furniture, tapestries and screens from the orient.”

And Thompson? Thomp­son finally accepted the role of the Gilded Age tycoon. Before Paderewski’s visit to Uniontown he ordered not one but three Steinways. He offered to send a physician friend and his family to the Orient, all expenses paid, if only the doctor could cure his sniffles. On Andy’s behalf, he bought Fox Hill, next to Oak Hill; to John went Linger Longer, an estate east of town in the mountains; for the entire fam­ily, he acquired Friendship Hill, the eighteenth century estate in New Geneva of Al­bert Gallatin, the nation’s renowned secretary of the treasury in the Jefferson ad­ministration. For Hunnie, there was this and more: dia­monds, sapphires, heart­-shaped pins, such as the
$3,500 pin he brought home from Chicago.

J.V. was infatuated by all that Hunnie did. She had captured the family’s heart, even vacationing with Andy and his family in Atlantic City. She had also charmed Union­town. Mary Beeson, whose ancestors had founded the town, turned to J.V. during a stroll on the grounds of Oak Hill and commented how pleased she was with Hunnie. “The pleasant remembrance of that day will be lasting,” Thompson wrote.

In the end, the marriage failed. Hunnie left Oak Hill permanently in 1912, returning to New York and a suite at the Plaza Hotel. She asked for, and received, one million dollars from J.V. for the divorce.

At the time of his divorce, Josiah V. Thompson was worth seventy million dollars, but his liabilities were equally bracing: thirty-three million dollars. Even with forty million dollars as a cushion, his empire was tethered by gossamer threads. Most of Thompson’s wealth was in coal land which some­times took months, even years, to trade or sell. If cash was needed in a hurry, this sort of wealth was practically useless.

In sophisticated banking circles all of this was known and was probably the leading cause of the bank crisis itself. Bank withdrawals, which totaled well more than a half million dollars in the six weeks prior to the closing in January 1915, and the business slump resulting from the start of the European war, only served to seal J.V.’s fate. The report of the comptroller of the currency was the final blow.

Soon Henry Clay Frick swooped in and gobbled up a large chunk of Thompson coal land at a ridiculous discount. Then came the coup de grace. One Sunday in November 1915 handbills posted around Uniontown announced the sale of one of J.V’s cars; he was unable to pay the $182.75 he owed. In front of startled church-goers, a fight broke out between the constable posting the bills and a city policeman who attempted to stop him.

Nerves were rubbed raw. A man demanding his money from the bank knocked on Frank Seman’s front door and pointed a gun at the family butler. Although the man left peacefully, his appearance was an omen. The lights, which burned so brightly, would slowly be extinguished in the large mansions of Thompson’s business partners, until finally the mansions themselves were abandoned. Many believed that all of this was Hunnie’s fault.

J.V. became a salesman for the Piedmont Coal Company, and although Oak Hill now belonged to Piedmont, he continued to live there­ – borrowing heavily from the coal company for the privilege. It was all rather desperate.

Thompson lived at Oak Hill for sixteen years after his bank­ruptcy was settled. On June 19, 1919, he resumed journal writing, a practice he had discontinued in 1911. His pri­mary interest was genealogy, and his chief aim was to write a family history. Thompson would apply as much of his prodigious energy to this task as he had earlier to business.

From 1919 until just a few days before his death at Oak Hill in September 1933, J.V. filled twenty-seven volumes, each measuring an inch-and-a­-half thick, eight inches wide and eleven and one half inches long. At the height of his exer­tions J. V. filled a book every six months. His writing became an occupation and a way of life – so too the gathering of information which formed the bulk of the journal entries. Obsessed with his family his­tory, J.V. spoke to anyone who might help him discover just one more “cousin.”

One of his favorite practices was to arrive in a strange town, in Nebraska for in­stance, reserve a hotel room, and then race through the telephone directory in search of Thompsons or Markles, Jacks or Finleys, Andersons or Redbums, Elliotts or Ca­routhers. Finding one such name he would telephone or, more likely, hail a taxi, arriving at the house just at supper­time. Inevitably, he would be welcomed in and the family, if they could, would bring down the family Bible containing all the birth and death dates of their relatives. J.V. would transcribe these, plus record information about the current generation. He stayed hours or minutes, depending on the amount of material his “cous­ins” could offer him. Since no one was too slight or distant a relative to talk to, J.V. cast a wide net – he once spent forty­-five minutes with a family of black Carouthers.

Whether J.V.’s extensive travels entailed loneliness is difficult to judge. A time or two he let slip a word implying that, such as when he spent weeks at the home of a friend in Shaker Heights, Ohio. He sat by the window at the home there, watching the snow fall, and wrote quietly to himself as a troubled man might. More typical was a trip he made out west in late 1922. At Christ­mas, he was in Los Angeles, driving, he wrote, through “wonderful Hollywood.” New Year’s Eve 1922 he spent hap­pily aboard the Southern Pa­cific Railroad, heading north from Riverside to San Jose, California.

En route from Denver to Nathrop, Colo., J.V. encoun­tered one Charles Couse, a ticket agent for the Al Barnes Circus. They were passengers sharing a berth on the Rio Grande Western Railroad. “He has a short mustache, reddish face, and built solid from the ground up;’ Thompson wrote. Typically, J.V. asked about family background and agreed to write his new friend if he found “anything on the early Couses.”

Thompson later rode out­side in the open air observa­tion car, the Arkansas River on one side, “snow-capped mountains” and “rocky cliffs” on the other. “The valleys are narrow but the streams are full of rushing water,” he exulted. “The sun shines brightly.”

Neither did he neglect nearby relatives or local plea­sures. In November 1923, he toured central and eastern Pennsylvania, 104 towns in all, he said, “from Allentown to Philadelphia, west to Altoona, north to Harrisburg and Steelton, all … without much doubling of routes.” On local jaunts he was accompanied by Pasquale Pallini who, along with his wife Angelica, had kept house at Oak Hill since 1908.

“I left Oak Hill at 8:33 this morning with Pallini driving our small car,” J.V. noted. They headed toward “little” Wash­ington, forty miles away. “A delightful morning and a glori­ous day throughout,” Thomp­son declared. Pretty good for a broken-down banker.

J.V. expended a tremen­dous amount of energy on each trip. In Wooster, Ohio, in 1923, he bested illness, freez­ing temperatures and a biting wind to gather names from a Presbyterian cemetery. It was a stellar performance. Chilled to the bone, he returned again and again to a fire of burning leaves tended by cemetery workmen. Still, he persevered, hilting six hours over a thirty acre expanse, pencil and note­book in hand all the way.

Thompson admired his own doggedness, and boasted about his sheer animal energy. This Wooster trip was an ex­ample. “I got no sleep the night before and did not sleep on the train,” he wrote, and he wasn’t sleepy either when he left the Markle residence at one in the morning. He also claimed around this period to have walked down the main street of Scottdale, in West­moreland County, and turned heads because of his quick gait, as if residents “had never seen anyone walk so hurriedly.”

In a strange way, it was the best of times and the worst of times for Josiah V. Thompson. He wrote concerning a rela­tive, “I told her I was trying to sell the Washington County coal at $300 an acre and she was highly pleased with the price. I told her I would pay off the $1,300 note I owed her within the week and that made her very happy.”

He remained a business­man, and was still capable of touching the important bases. Still the big deal eluded him. Henry Clay Frick was dead, but A. W. Mellon lived on, as Secretary of the Treasury in the Harding and Coolidge administrations.

“He said it was too big for him to take up,” J.V. wrote of a multi-million dollar coal deal Mellon spurned in 1923. “He used his age as an objection, which I told him was unneces­sary as he was good for 20 years yet.”

Thompson left Mellon’s office dejected, noting sourly, “I waited an hour to see him.”

He returned four years later, this time to discuss the sale of twenty thousand acres of coal land, after seizing a remark by Mellon to propose a merger of coal firms “in the interest of the Pittsburgh coal company.” He estimated a savings of five cents on each ton of coal sold and a profit of ten million dollars.

“I told A.W. I suspected (the) Hillman (interests) would be the dog in the manger, and that I thought my son Andrew would be the most forceful person to line Hillman up,” J.V. said. Mellon (who also served as a director of the Piedmont Coal Company) agreed to see Andy Thomp­son, but said their discussion would have to wait until he returned from Europe in sev­eral months.

In 1908, the Pittsburgh Ga­zette Times declared that Thompson would someday be “the richest man in America.” By 1929, however, Union­town’s prince of the Gilded Age was living hand to mouth. He needed to travel to New York on business and would, “as soon as I get check from Andy,” he wrote. He also wanted to see John Markle, another cousin and a New York businessman who had given him the impression he might finance a Markle family history which Thompson would prepare. He also thought Markle might be per­suaded to finance him with “four million dollars to pay off the Piedmont Coal Co.” The money would allow J.V. to get his “property back,” and would free him “of the bench warrants which harass me.” Only then could Thompson “get back into harness right as a dealer in coal lands.”

When the two men met, of all days on Black Friday, Octo­ber 29, 1929, the day the Stock Market crashed, Markle tried to humiliate Thompson. He refused to underwrite a family history; snapped “No, it’s not worth a damn,” when Thomp­son asked if he might be inter­ested in buying some coal land; declared that he had never borrowed a nickel in his life; that his will provided for all members of his family; and that he “didn’t owe anyone anything.”

If all of this weren’t bad enough, Markle bragged that he had been successful be­cause he worked eighteen to twenty hours a day. Thomp­son was not lost for a stinging retort. “I told him I worked 19 to 22 hours a day which was a longer time than even (Thomas) Edison worked.”

Increasingly, J.V. bore the brunt of bankruptcy. He was put under police custody for a night, the result of a contempt suit brought by his niece, Lyda Nicolls Fitzgerald, who had divorced an Irish lord and in 1929 was the Princess of Thurn and Taxis. The problem? An old debt.

Late in 1929, Thompson married a third time – this time in secret. The new Mrs. Thompson was Rose Maloney of Pittsburgh, many years her husband’s junior and the mother of five children. Years earlier she had rated a mention in J.V.’s journal. Two years after the marriage ceremony, word finally leaked to the press and Thompson was again the subject of sensational headlines.

As he grew older, J.V. spent more and more time ruminat­ing on his past. “This is the 55th anniversary of Hunnie’s birth,” he wrote in 1931. “We celebrated her 27th anniver­sary with a dinner in Venice, Italy, Nov. 26, 1903.” In church he heard a solo by Katherine Hoffman. “I realized the supe­riority … of the singing and understood who it was.” Many years before, Hunnie had invited a young girl to Oak Hill to sing. This was that girl, now grown. Thompson was pleased, since it confirmed Hunnie’s “good judgement” when she was “doing what she could to promote and assist” the cultural life of Uniontown.

Not every memory was a good one. He recalled a meet­ing with a woman acquaint­ance of Andrew’s. The woman, a member of a promi­nent Connellsville family, had come to Thompson once with a story about a love affair with Andy. Thompson wrote that his son “always censored me for urging him to have a large family, but following this occurrence he had four more children which really saved his home and family.” In his jour­nal, J.V. dismissed the woman. “I can not think of any name for this Isabel but a ‘fling.'”

Old Uniontown was slip­ping from his grasp. Frank Semans was a ghost of his old self, and the Semans estate, with its Japanese gardens, was nothing more than a playground – a curiosity – for children from a nearby work­ing class neighborhood. “Cousin” Minnie Redburn, who had resided with J.V. and Mary for those many years on Main Street, was dead, as were J.V.’s brother William and his two sisters, Lenora and Ruth.

In March 1932, Thompson faced the prospect of eviction from Oak Hill. The exact cir­cumstances are unclear, but the letter from the company telling him a buyer might soon be found sent J.V. scurrying for that scarcest of commodi­ties: money. He turned to his friend and personal physician, Dr. Charles H. Smith. Smith’s answer was discouraging. With the Great Depression and all, Smith had neither cash nor credit to finance J.V. for one hundred thousand dollars. Thompson expected the worst.

In April the crisis passed. What J.V. described as a “com­forting message” from Henry C. McEldowney, president of the powerful Union Trust Co. and an associate of A.W. Mel­lon, informed him that the sale of Oak Hill should no longer trouble him. “The matter of the Piedmont Coal Co. would continue just as it had been without change,” J.V. noted. “He said further that my son Andrew had been in and so told.”

In late April, Thompson collapsed while recording family deeds at the county clerk’s office and was rushed to the hospital. J.V.’s subse­quent confinement to his up­stairs bedroom at Oak Hill served to exacerbate his trou­bled relations with Andy. An incident in March, in which Andy had ordered the removal of pine trees from his father’s residence to his own, exploded in May to an accusation that Andy had stolen liquor from J.V.’s private stock. Thompson soon accused his son of forg­ing his signature on financial papers, and hiding millions of dollars.

Jasper and Eva Shepler, J.V.’s sister’s children, stoked the family fires. Time after time, they carried tales of transgressions by Andy and Andy’s family to Oak Hill. “Jasper Shepler visited Oak Hill, staying a couple of hours,” J.V. wrote typically during the period. “He said Lida (Andy’s wife) visited the S.M. Graham family here and they asked her to leave be­cause of her intimacy with their brother Morris Graham. Andy is helping to finance Ed Hustead through his financial difficulties … He (Andy) said I was a damn old fool… Lida said they had plenty of money but they can not spend it while I am living.”

On September 22, 1933, Rose Maloney Thompson recorded, apparently on J.V.’s instructions: “Mrs. Jasper Thompson telephoned today … said it was shameful the way Andrew was acting toward his father as everyone knew that all he ever had is what he took from his father, and him spending so much on himself and his father begging for a living.”

Did J.V. believe all of the stories about Andy and An­dy’s family that he recorded in his journal? Racked by diabe­tes, blind and a shut-in at Oak Hill, he was certainly in the worst possible shape to render informed judgements. Did his wife, who spent most of her time in Pittsburgh with her children, help to ease his mind about Andy? Why did he see to it that the most damaging stories about Andy were copied into the journal by Rose Maloney Thompson? It seemed that only death would offer relief from his worldly care and troubles.

Five days later, at his be­loved Oak Hill, J.V. Thompson died.

To the bitter end he spoke of getting back on his feet, of getting into harness again, of becoming what he once was: a sovereign of a soft coal empire. He was heroic in that sense. He had persevered through the bank crisis, the collapse of his dynasty and the federal indictments which had come to nothing.


For Further Reading

Ashley, George H. Bituminous Coal Fields of Pennsylvania. Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Depart­ment of Forests and Waters, 1928.

Boileau, John W. Coal Fields of Southwestern Pennsylvania: Washington and Greene Coun­ties. Pittsburgh: Privately Printed, 1907.

Ellis, Franklin. History of Fay­ette County, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: L. H. Everts, 1882.

Jordan, John Woolf. Genealogi­cal and Personal History of Fayette County. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1912.

Nicolls, William Jasper. The Story of American Coals. Phil­adelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1904.

Pidgeon, Robert H., ed. Fayette County, Pennsylvania. Phila­delphia: Cartographic Company, 1900.

Shepherd, Henry Elliott, ed. Nelson’s Biographical Dic­tionary and Historical Refer­ence Book of Fayette County, Pennsylvania. Uniontown, Pa.: S. B. Nelson, 1900.

Sheppard, Muriel. Cloud by Day. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1947.


Richard Robbins of Uniontown is a reporter for the Greensburg Tribune-Review. His articles have appeared in the Theodore Roosevelt Journal and the Western Pennsylvania Histori­cal Society Journal. This is his first contribution to Pennsylva­nia Heritage.