806 Western Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

The Torrances

Francis Torrance was born in Letterkenny, Ireland in 1816. After living in various locations, Torrance settled in Pittsburgh and began working as manager of the Schenley Estate by 1858.

Francis Torrance appeared in the Pittsburgh city directory as early as 1857, when he was listed as a bookkeeper who roomed on Penn Avenue near Clymer Street in Pittsburgh. By 1859, Torrance moved to Allegheny, living with his family in a two-story brick Greek Revival house at 36 James Street (now 1300 James Street).

The 1860 manuscript census enumerated Francis Torrance and his family in the Third Ward of Allegheny. Francis Torrance, 40, worked as a real estate agent, and Jane Torrance, 36, had no occupation. Francis Torrance owned real estate valued at $1,000, and had a “personal estate” of $200.

In 1860, Francis and Jane Torrance had three children: Martha, 10, Catharine, six, and Francis J., one, all born in Pennsylvania. Jane Torrance’s widowed mother Ann Waddell, 68, also lived with the family.

Pittsburgh city directories published during the 1860’s identified Francis Torrance as a clerk, real estate agent, or notary public.

In the mid-1860’s, Francis Torrance moved to a slightly larger two-story brick Greek Revival house at 33 Boyle Street (now 1223 Boyle Street) in Allegheny.

The 1870 manuscript census reported that Francis and Jane Torrance lived in Allegheny’s Third Ward with their three children, Ann Waddell, and one servant. Francis Torrance, still working as a real estate agent, owned real estate valued at $7,000 and had a personal estate of $20,000.

In 1870, the Torrance family’s children were Martha, 20, Kate, 16, and Francis J., 11. The family’s servant was Ellen Callahan, 20, a native of Ireland. The census indicated that Ellen Callahan could not read or write.

In the early 1870’s, Francis Torrance worked briefly for Bovard, Rose & Company, wholesale and retail dealers in carpets, oil cloths, mattings and window shades. Bovard, Rose & Company was located at 21 Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh.

In the mid-1870’s, Francis Torrance became a partner in the Standard Manufacturing Company, manufacturers of enameled iron, located at 286-297 River Avenue in Allegheny.

City directories listed Francis Torrance at 33 Boyle Street until 1877, when he lived on Western Avenue near Allegheny Avenue.

The 1880 manuscript census shows that Francis Torrance lived at 86 Western Avenue (now 946 Western Avenue) with his wife, children, and two female servants. The census gave Francis Torrance’s occupation as real estate agent and reported that Jane Torrance did not work.

The Torrances’ children who lived at 86 Western Avenue in 1880 were Mattie, 30, who had no occupation, and Frank, 20, who worked as a clerk in a store.

In 1880, the Torrances’ servants were L. McLaughlin, 27, who had been born in Ireland, and M. Reethback, 18, who had been born in Ohio to parents born in Baden, Germany.

City directories indicate that Francis Torrance lived at 946 Western Avenue until his death in 1886. After Torrance died, his son Francis J. Torrance continued to live at 946 Western Avenue.

Francis J. Torrance first appeared in the Pittsburgh city directory in 1878, at age 19, when he was listed as a clerk living on Western Avenue. Francis J. Torrance married Mary or Marie Dibert in 1884, and lived with his new wife at 946 Western Avenue.

By 1887, Francis J. Torrance became secretary of the Standard Manufacturing Company. Subsequent city directories listed Torrance as secretary or treasurer of the company.

The 1890 manuscript census, which would provide information on occupants of 946 Western Avenue in that year, was destroyed in a fire following its completion.

The 1900 manuscript census reported that a household headed by Francis J. Torrance lived at 946 Western Avenue. Francis J. Torrance, 40, worked as a manufacturer, and Mary Torrance had no occupation. The Torrances, married 16 years, had one child: Jane, 15. Francis J. Torrance’s mother Jane, 81, also lived at 946 Western Avenue.

In 1900, three servants lived with the Torrance family at 946 Western Avenue: John Dyson, Jennie McDougan, and Katie McDougan. John Dyson, 32, had been born in West Virginia. Jennie McDougan, 24, and Katie McDougan, 20, had both been born in Canada.

In 1900, no residents of 946 Western Avenue had been unemployed during the previous year, and all were able to read and write.

The 1900 census also indicated that Francis J. Torrance owned his home fully.

City directories published during the early 1900’s show that Francis J. Torrance served as first vice-president of the Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company and as president

of the National Metal Weather Strip Company, located at 12 North Diamond Street in Allegheny. The 1910 manuscript census again enumerated Francis J. Torrance and his family at 946 Western Avenue. Torrance, 50, was vice-president of a manufacturing company. His wife Mary, 48, and daughter Jane, 24, did not work.

In 1910, the Torrance family had only one servant, Alice Savage, 22. Alice Savage had been born in Ireland and immigrated to the United States in 1906. She was employed as a chambermaid, had not been unemployed during the previous year, and was able to read and write.

Pittsburgh city directories listed Francis J. Torrance as vice-president of the Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company and living at 946 Western Avenue through 1918, the last year that Torrance appeared in the directory.
City directories show that 946 Western Avenue was known as Torrance House, a home for blind women, beginning in 1928, the year that a trust for maintenance of Torrance House was established.

Directories indicate that 946 Western Avenue was known as Torrance House until about 1963, when the house was converted to apartments.

The Nevins

Theodore H. Nevin was born in October 1814 in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. Nevin’s father died while Nevin was a child, and Nevin and his mother moved to Allegheny City (now the North Side). Theodore H. Nevin was listed in the Pittsburgh city directory as early as 1841, as a druggist living at Mrs. Little’s boarding house on Fifth Avenue, Downtown. Nevin, according to information published in an obituary, by then owned a successful drugstore on Liberty Avenue near Sixth Street.

Nevin married Hannah Irwin, a daughter of Allegheny City rope manufacturer John Irwin, in the early 1840s. They had seven children who are known today: William, born in 1842-43, Eliza in 1844-45, Charles F. in 1847-48, Alexander in 1850-51, T. Herbert in 1855-56, Martha M. in 1862-63, and Frank Y. in 1866-67.

In 1841, Nevin established the Pioneer White Lead Works (later the Pioneer Paint Works), a paint factory, on Federal Street in Allegheny City. By 1847, Nevin, his wife Hannah, and their children lived on Federal Street. Samuel Finley, who later invested with Theodore H. Nevin in property at North Lincoln and Galveston avenues, was a partner in the Pioneer White Lead Works.
In the 1840s, Theodore H. Nevin became a trustee of the Western Theological Seminary in Allegheny City. In or after the 1840s, he helped found the First National Bank of Allegheny. He became president of the bank in the 1860s. The bank was located at 110 Federal Street in Allegheny City.

Nevin and his family moved from Allegheny City to Sewickley in the mid-1850s. In 1858, after the Irwin rope walk ceased operation, the Pioneer Paint Works moved to its longtime home at the southeast corner of Western and Galveston avenues. The paint works apparently thrived at that location. Allegheny City and Pittsburgh experienced significant economic and population growth in the 1860s and the first few years of the 1870s, resulting in considerable demand for paint and related products. It is possible that Nevin and others originally purchased the adjacent property at North Lincoln and Galveston avenues as a site for possible expansion of the Pioneer Paint Works.

In 1872, with demand for housing for middle-class and wealthy families in Allegheny West apparently stronger than any impetus to expand the paint works, Theodore H. Nevin and his business partner and brother-in-law John Irwin Jr. commissioned the construction of 850-858 North Lincoln Avenue. John Irwin Jr. conveyed his interest in the property to Theodore H. Nevin in 1874. Nevin had a smaller row of houses at 808-810-812 Galveston Avenue built around that time. He rented 850-858 North Lincoln Avenue, which became known as Nevin’s Row, and 808-812 Galveston Avenue to tenants.

The 1870 census, the last census to provide information on assets of persons enumerated, found that Theodore H. Nevin owned real estate worth $25,000 and had a personal estate of $53,000. Nevin’s total assets of $78,000 were comparable to more than $2 million in the early 21st century. Records of the 1880 census show that the Nevin family lived in an un-numbered house on the south side of Bank Street in Sewickley. Theodore H. Nevin had passed on his interest in the Pioneer Paint Works to his son Charles the year before, but remained president of the First National Bank of Allegheny. He served as president of the bank until he died on April 30, 1884. Hannah Nevin lived in Sewickley until she died in 1899.

The Diffenbachers

Jacob Diffenbacher first appeared in the Pittsburgh city directory in 1863, when he boarded at 162 Lacock Street in Allegheny. The directory did not indicate Diffenbacher’s occupation.

In 1864, Diffenbacher was listed as owner of a bung (stopper or cork) factory at the corner of Market Street and Duquesne Way in Pittsburgh. Diffenbacher lived at 327 Rebecca Street in Allegheny. The 1865 directory listed Diffenbacher as a partner in Diffenbacher & Watson, dealers in oil lands, and living in New York. Diffenbacher’s partner in this venture was Henry Watson, who boarded on Resaca Place near the gas works in Allegheny.

In 1866 and 1867, Diffenbacher was a partner with John F. Glosser of 21 Diamond Street in Allegheny in a grocery store located at 21 Diamond Street. Diffenbacher lived at 327 Rebecca Street (now Reedsdale Street) in Allegheny.

In 1870 the directory listed Diffenbacher as a publisher who lived and worked at 68 Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh. Diffenbacher moved to Emsworth in the early 1870’s, and maintained an office on Fourth Avenue. The 1874 city directory indicated that Diffenbacher was publisher of the Pittsburgh Official Railway Guide. Diffenbacher began publishing the Pittsburgh city directory in addition to the railway guide by the late 1870’s.

Neither the 1870 or 1880 censuses provide information on Jacob Diffenbacher. The 1890 census, which would provide information on Diffenbacher, was destroyed in a fire following its completion.

City directories listed Diffenbacher as living in Emsworth until 1893, when he was listed at 78 Beech Avenue for the first time. Diffenbacher was listed in the directory at 78 Beech Avenue through 1897.

Jacob Diffenbacher died at Western Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane at Dixmont on April 1, 1898. Susan Diffenbacher was listed as a widow living at 78 Beech Avenue beginning in 1898.

Current house numbers on Beech Avenue and nearby were used beginning in 1900.

The 1900 manuscript census reported that Susan Diffenbacher, 57, lived at 843 Beech Avenue with a niece, Elizabeth Hale. Susan Diffenbacher had been married 34 years and had no children. She had no occupation.

Elizabeth Rale, 27, was single and had no occupation. She had been born in Virginia to parents also born in Virginia. City directories listed Susan Diffenbacher at 843 Beech Avenue through 1904, the year after she sold the house. She lived in the Buckingham Apartments at Craft Avenue and Kennett Square in Oakland in 1905. She lived at 3604 Forbes Avenue in Oakland in 1906, the last year that she appeared in the directory.

The Kaufmanns

Jacob Kaufmann was a confounder of what became Kaufmann’s Department Store. He was the first of four Kaufmann brothers to settle in Pittsburgh, and was the last of the four brothers to move away from Allegheny City to Pittsburgh’s East End in the early twentieth century.

Jacob Kaufmann was born in the vicinity of Mannheim, Hesse Darmstadt, Germany, in June 1849. He was one of at least five children of a cattle and horse dealer. Kaufmann immigrated in about 1869 and began living in the borough of East Birmingham (part of the present South Side of Pittsburgh) within a short time. The 1870 Pittsburgh directory was the first to list Jacob Kaufmann or any members of his family. The directory listed Kaufmann and his brother Isaac, who had just arrived in Pittsburgh, as clerks who boarded at 1911 East Carson Street in East Birmingham.

The federal census of population taken in 1870 enumerated Jacob Kaufmann as a boarder in the home of Julius Prader, a German immigrant tailor, in East Birmingham. Isaac Kaufmann was not enumerated in Pittsburgh in the 1870 census, suggesting the census was taken before he arrived in the city.

The 1870 manuscript census, the last census to provide information on assets of persons enumerated, reported that Jacob Kaufmann owned no real estate and had no personal estate.

By 1871, Jacob and Isaac Kaufmann founded J. Kaufmann & Brother, a men’s clothing store at 1916 East Carson Street. The first store’s floor space was only 18’ by 28’. Each of the brothers initially invested $1500 in the store – an amount that was approximately half the value of many of the homes in the neighborhood in which the Kaufmanns started their business. The store operated at 1932 East Carson Street, in a larger space measuring 20’ by 85’, between 1872 and 1876.

Jacob Kaufmann, 25, married Augusta Katz, 18, in 1874. Augusta Katz was born in downtown Pittsburgh in March 1856. She was one of at least three children of Abraham Katz, a peddler and laborer, and Julia Katz, both German immigrants. The Katz family appears to have lived modestly, renting living quarters in a small alley Downtown in 1860.

Abraham Katz died in the late 1860’s, and Julia Katz subsequently supported her children by operating a confectionery on East Ohio Street near Cedar Avenue in, the East Allegheny neighborhood. Augusta Katz worked as a saleswoman in the early 1870’s, before she was married. Known records do not identify the store in which she was employed.

After marrying, Jacob and Augusta Kaufmann initially lived above the store at 1932 East Carson Street. Isaac Kaufmann, still unmarried, lived with his brother.

In 1876-1877, the Kaufmann brothers closed the South Side operations and moved J. Kaufmann & Brother to storefronts on Smithfield Street, downtown, and Federal Street in Allegheny City (on the present site of Allegheny Center Mall). Jacob, Augusta and Isaac Kaufmann then moved from the South Side to a small house at 1414 (then 290) Federal Street in Allegheny City.

Jacob and Augusta Kaufmann’s first child, Alfred D, was born in September 1877. Following were Raymond M. in August 1879, C. Chester in July 1882, Edwin J. in May 1884, and Carl J. in July 1888. The Kaufmanns were among the minority of families who did not experience the death of a young child in the nineteenth century. The couple also adopted an orphan, Mitchell Schonberg.

In the late 1870’s, Jacob and Augusta Kaufmann moved to a larger house on Penn Avenue near Fifth Street, Downtown. Isaac Kaufmann, recently married, and his wife, Emma, began living next door to Jacob and Augusta Kaufmann. Another brother, Henry Kaufmann, had just settled in Pittsburgh, and boarded with Isaac Kauffmann’s family. Henry Kaufmann was the third of the four brothers who would become partners in what became Kaufmann’s Department Store.

J Kaufmann & Brother’s Federal Street store closed in about 1879. Subsequently, the Kaufmann brothers incrementally expanded the Smithfield Street store from its original 20’ by 50’ space to nearly a full city block by the end of Jacob Kaufmann’s life. With the expansion of the store, Kaufmann’s evolved from being one of many small clothing stores in Pittsburgh to one of a handful of large department stores in the city in the early twentieth century. The store began to offer women’s clothing and dry goods in addition to men’s clothing. It was not, however, the largest department store in Pittsburgh. in 1892, Kaufmann’s was worth $2 million, while its rival Joseph Home’s was worth $4.7 million.

As Kaufmann’s expanded, Jacob Kaufmann invested in real estate in its vicinity and became a significant owner of downtown property. Kaufmann also recognized the development potential of the East End, and invested in real estate there in the 1890’s.

The 1880 census enumerated the Kaufmann family in their home on Penn Avenue. Jacob Kaufmann was recorded as a clothing merchant, and Augusta Kaufmann kept house. The couple had two children, Alfred D., three, and Raymond, 10 months. Hannah Katz, a 26-year-old sister of Augusta Kaufmann, lived with the family. Census records also show that Jacob and Augusta Kaufmann, although only 30 and 25 years old, were able to employ three servants who lived in their home on Penn Avenue.

Morris Kaufmann, the last of the four brothers to arrive in Pittsburgh, began living on Penn Avenue in the early 1880s. A fifth brother, Nathan, remained in Germany. J. Kaufmann & Brother was renamed J. Kaufmann & Brothers at around the same time. The store became informally known as Kaufmann’s by the turn of the century.

Jacob and Augusta Kaufmann and their children moved in about 1883 from Penn Avenue to a home at 1238 Sheffield Street in Manchester. Isaac Kaufmann and his family moved to 1203 Sheffield Street and Morris Kaufmann moved to 1301 Bidwell Street in Manchester at around the same time. Henry Kaufmann moved from downtown to 1208 Sheffield Street later in the 1880’s. The Kaufmann’s new neighborhood became the home of some of the most prominent and prosperous Jewish residents of the Pittsburgh area in the 1880’s. Manchester’s Jewish population appears to have been concentrated on Sheffield and Liverpool Streets and W North Avenue.
The Kaufmanns lived at 1238 Sheffield Street until they purchased 913 Brighton Road in late 1890. Jacob Kaufmann’s brothers continued to live in Manchester for the next several years.

In 1900, according to census records, seven members of the Kaufmann family lived at 913 Brighton Road: Jacob, 50, a clothing merchant; Augusta, 44, with no occupation; Alfred D., 22, a clerk; and Raymond M., 20, C. Chester, 17, Edwin 16, Carl J, 11, all attending school. The Kaufmanns’ adopted son, Mitchell Schonberg, 15, also attended school.

The 1900 census enumerated three servants who lived at 913 Brighton Road:

  • Dora Hamm, 30, a German immigrant
  • Mary Pietch, 30, also a German immigrant
  • Ella Gardner, 37, born in Pennsylvania

Records of the 1900 census also show that Jacob and Augusta Kaufmann owned 913 Brighton Road without a mortgage.

Nearly all of the Jewish residents of Manchester and Allegheny West moved to Pittsburgh’s East End between the late 1890’s and the middle of the first decade of the twentieth century. Morris Kaufmann was among the first to leave, moving to Forbes Avenue near Wightman Street in Squirrel Hill in 1896-1897. Isaac and Henry Kaufmann followed in about 1900, leaving Jacob Kaufmann the only Kaufmann brother still living in Allegheny City. In 1902, Jacob Kaufmann and his family sold 913 Brighton Road and moved to 4922 Wallingford Street in Shadyside.

In 1904 or 1905, Kaufmann commissioned construction of a large home at 1935 Wightman Street in Squirrel Hill. The Kaufmanns moved into their new house, described in the Pittsburgh Gazette Times as “one of the finest homes on Squirrel Hill,” in mid- or late-1905.

Jacob Kaufmann lived at 1935 Wightman Street for only a short time. Kaufmann died on November 1, 1905, at age 56. His death was caused by appendicitis.

After the death of Jacob Kaufmann, his brother Isaac succeeded him as president of Kaufmann’s.

Augusta Kaufmann lived at 1935 Wightman Street for the rest of her life. Her obituary suggests that she continued charitable activities in which she had participated, without identifying organizations in which she was involved. Her sons continued to live with her before marrying. At least two of her sons, Alfred and Edwin, were associated with Kaufmann’s as an adult; others continued their father’s real estate activities.

Augusta Kaufmann died at home at 1935 Wightman Street on December 31, 1921. She was 65 years old.

The Stoners

Christian L. Stoner was born in November 1823 in Millersville, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. His parents were born in New York State and Pennsylvania. Stoner became a building contractor as a young man, and constructed homes in and around Lancaster for a number of years. He served one or two terms as Lancaster County Clerk of Courts, beginning in 1857.

Christian L. Stoner married Lizzie Hostetter in 1847. Lizzie Hostetter was born in November 1822 in Pennsylvania, to parents born in Pennsylvania. Their children included David H. Stoner, who was born in December 1847 and lived at 849 Beech Avenue in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. David H. Stoner and his wife, Mary Dilgen Stoner, were married in 1869.

The Stoner family left Lancaster County in the 1860s. The family may have lived in Washington, Pennsylvania in 1872, when Elizabeth Stoner (usually known as Bessie), one of four children of David H. and Mary Stoner, was born in that city. Other children of David H. and Mary Stoner, all of whom later lived at 849 Beech Avenue, were Mary, born in March 1871, Gertrude, born in April 1876, and Anne, born in January 1878.

Christian L. Stoner was first listed in the Pittsburgh city directory in 1876, as the superintendent of the Columbia Conduit Company. Stoner lived on Allegheny Avenue near West North Avenue. David H. Stoner began living in Allegheny City by 1880, when the city directory listed him as a clerk living on Pennsylvania Avenue in Manchester.

In the late 1870s, Christian L. Stoner became a partner in Stoner & McClure, proprietor of the Pittsburgh Saw Mills, which produced lumber, nail kegs and boxes at 27th Street and the Allegheny Valley Railroad in the Strip District. His partner was Alexander McClure of 946 Beech Avenue. Stoner remained a partner in Stoner & McClure until he retired in about 1890. During that time, Stoner was also a director of the Pittsburgh Gas Company and the Smithfield Street Bridge Company, which commissioned construction of the Smithfield Street Bridge as a privately owned toll bridge in the early 1880s.

David H. Stoner became treasurer of the Pittsburgh Gas Company in the early 1880s.

Christian L. Stoner purchased 849 Beech Avenue in October 1887. He never lived in the house, and remained at 1101 Allegheny Avenue for the rest of his life. He apparently bought the house for David H. Stoner, who lived there with his wife and children between 1887 and 1904.

The 1889 Pittsburgh and Allegheny Blue Book, a directory of socially prominent residents of both cities, included listings of the families of Christian L. and Lizzie Stoner and David H. and Mary Stoner. Christian Stoner appears to have been among a small minority of men who had any type of blue-collar background who were listed in the Blue Book.

Elizabeth (Bessie) Stoner, a daughter of David H. and Mary Stoner, married Francis E. Gaither, a draftsman, on June 9, 1892. Elizabeth Stoner was 19, and Francis Gaither was 23. The Pittsburgh Press mentioned the wedding in its social column the same day, describing the bride’s gown and reporting that a reception was to be held “at the home of the bride’s parents” at 849 Beech Avenue. The couple, later residents of 849 Beech Avenue, lived on Coltart Square in Oakland for about a decade after they were married.

Pittsburgh directories listed David H. Stoner as treasurer of the Pittsburgh Gas Company until the mid-1890s; Stoner was listed as a bookkeeper in the late 1890s, and subsequently as a clerk. Directories did not name Stoner’s employer after he became a bookkeeper.

Records of the 1900 census list six residents of 849 Beech Avenue: David H. Stoner, 52, a clerk, enumerated as the owner of the house; Mary Stoner, 52; and Mary, 29, Bessie, 27, Gertrude, 24 and Anne, 22. The enumeration of Bessie Stoner Gaither at 849 Beech Avenue in 1900 appears to have been erroneous, as she had been married and living in Oakland for eight years.

No servants or other unrelated persons lived at 849 Beech Avenue at the time of the 1900 census. Census records show that in 1900, at least half of all middle-class families living in Allegheny City employed at least one servant who lived in their home. It is possible that the Stoner family employed one or more servants who did not live in their home, or were between servants when the census was taken.

David H. and Mary Stoner and their unmarried daughters moved from 849 Beech Avenue to live with Christian Stoner at 1101 Allegheny Avenue in about 1904. At around the same time, Francis E. and Bessie Stoner Gaither moved to 849 Beech Avenue from Oakland. The Gaithers had one child, David S., who was seven years old in 1904.

By the early 1900s, Francis E. Gaither was a patent attorney and notary. His office was in the Farmer’s Bank Building at Fifth Avenue and Wood Street, downtown, in 1903, and moved to the Frick Building by 1907.
Christian L. Stoner died in April 1910, leaving 849 Beech Avenue to David H. Stoner. David H. Stoner continued to live at 1101 Allegheny Avenue after his father’s death, and Francis E. and Bessie Stoner Gaither remained at 849 Beech Avenue. The 1910 census enumerated three residents of 849 Beech Avenue: Francis E. Gaither, 41, a patent attorney, Bessie S. Gaither, 36 and David S. Gaither, 13.

Francis E. Gaither died in about 1914, when he was 45 years old. Available local records do not provide information on the date or cause of his death. Bessie and David S. Gaither lived at 849 Beech Avenue through about 1921. The 1920 Pittsburgh directory listed David S. Gaither as a student at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie-Mellon University).

Records of the 1920 census contain no information on residents of 849 Beech Avenue in that year, suggesting the house was temporarily vacant at the time of the census. David H. Stoner died in 1921, leaving 849 Beech Avenue to Bessie Gaither. Stoner had been widowed several years earlier, according to his obituary.
Bessie Gaither sold 849 Beech Avenue in February 1922, and appears to have left Pittsburgh with her son after she sold the house. She was not listed in Pittsburgh directories published in 1922 and in later years, and the Allegheny County estate index contains no information on her death.

The Grays

Theodore Gray was born in New York State in 1834, to parents from Scotland and Ireland. His wife, Annie Gray, was born in Pennsylvania in 1841. Her parents were born in Pennsylvania.

Theodore Gray was first listed in the Pittsburgh city directory in 1856, as a railroad engineer who lived in an un-numbered house on Western Avenue (then Water Lane) near Brighton Road (then Pasture Lane) in Allegheny City (now the North Side). Gray was listed as living on Federal Street in Allegheny City in the late 1850s. By 1860, he and his family lived on West North Avenue (then Fayette Street) near Bidwell Street (then Bagaley’s Lane).

Available records suggest that Annie Gray was the second wife of Theodore Gray. Records of the 1860 census show that Annie Gray, in addition to being seven years her husband’s junior, was also only 14 years older than the Grays’ older child.

In 1860, Theodore and Annie Gray, who were 26 and 19, had two children: Mary E., five, and Louis H., eight months. Theodore Gray was enumerated in the census as a railroad engineer, and Annie Gray had no occupation. Records of the 1860 census show that Theodore Gray owned no real estate, and had a personal estate of $700.

Pittsburgh directories listed Theodore Gray as a railroad engineer during the first half of the 1860s, and subsequently as a conductor. Gray and his family lived on Western Avenue near Bidwell Street in 1861, and at the corner of Western and Galveston Avenues during the rest of the decade. The 1867 Pittsburgh directory provides the only known information on Theodore Gray’s employer, indicating that Gray was employed by the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago Railroad.

Theodore Gray bought the lot on which 849 Beech Avenue now stands in 1869. That transaction was Gray’s only purchase of property in Allegheny County. The 1870 Pittsburgh directory listed Theodore Gray as a conductor living at 72 Beech Street (now 849 Beech Avenue) for the first time.

The 1870 census enumerated the Gray family in their new home on Beech Avenue. Theodore Gray, 36, was enumerated as a railroad conductor, and Annie Gray, 28, did not work. The couple had three children: Mary E., 13, Lewis, 10 and Margaret, eight. The census enumerated no servants or other unrelated persons at 849 Beech Avenue.

The 1870 census, the last census to provide information on assets of persons enumerated, reported that Theodore Gray owned real estate valued at $6,000 and had a personal estate of $3,000.

City directory listings show that Theodore Gray continued to work as a railroad conductor throughout the 1870s. Available records do not suggest that he and his family were adversely affected by an economic depression that lasted between about 1874 and 1877. Gray, a railroad worker who was lower in status than most of his neighbors, was probably able to endure the depression more easily than Beech Avenue residents who owned retail and manufacturing businesses.

In 1880, four members of the Gray family lived at 849 Beech Avenue: Theodore, 45, a passenger conductor; Annie, 39; Lewis H., 20, a sleeping car conductor; and Margaret, 17. A servant, Louisa Lubin, also lived at 849 Beech Avenue. Lubin, 17, was a Prussian immigrant.

Pittsburgh directories listed Theodore Gray as a conductor and living at 72 Beech Street through 1884. Theodore and Annie Gray sold the house for $7,575 in 1884. The Gray family appears to have left the Pittsburgh area the same year. Neither Theodore or Lewis Gray were listed in Pittsburgh directories published in 1885 or in later years. Records of the 1890 census, which might provide information on the Gray family in that year, were destroyed in a warehouse fire. The 1900 and 1910 censuses do not appear to have enumerated Theodore or Annie Gray, suggesting that they died before 1900.

The Allegheny County estate index and an index of obituaries published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and its predecessors provide no information on the deaths of Theodore and Annie Gray.

The Butzes

Edward M. Butz was born in or near Allegheny City, possibly in the Troy Hill area, in 1850. Known records do not provide information on his parents or on his residence as a child. Butz was listed as an architect for the first time in the 1868 Pittsburgh directory, at age 18. Butz worked in an office on Sixth Street, Downtown, and lived in what was then Duquesne borough (in the vicinity of the present H J. Heinz plant).

In 1870, according to census records, Edward M. Butz and three of his siblings lived on Troy Hill with the family of John Snyder, a Swiss immigrant house painter. His siblings were Harry P. Butz, a coppersmith’s apprentice, John A., a sign painter’s apprentice and Roman J., 13, attending school.

The 1870 manuscript census, the last census to provide information on assets of persons enumerated, reported that Edward M. Butz owned no real estate and had no personal estate.

Butz’s architectural career appears to have flourished during the 1870s, when he designed a number of important buildings in Allegheny City, Pittsburgh, and elsewhere. Butz was not listed in the 1871 Pittsburgh directory, but by 1872 opened an office on lower Federal Street in Allegheny City. He and G.C. Monahan of North Taylor Avenue were partners in the firm of Monahan & Butz on Federal Street for a short time in 1872-1873. Butz began to work on his own in the same Federal Street office by 1874.

Most information on buildings designed by Butz is provided by three sources: an entry in Industries of Pittsburgh, 1879-1880, an entry in Pittsburgh’s Business Proclamation (1903), and Butz’s obituary.

Unfortunately, many of the buildings that Butz designed in Pittsburgh and Allegheny City have been demolished in various redevelopment projects. Buildings that Butz designed that are still standing include:

  • 948-950 Beech Avenue
  • 1207 Allegheny Avenue, Manchester, Butz’s residence between about 1877 and 1880
  • the Western Penitentiary, Woods Run (1876-1882)
  • the Clarion County Courthouse, Clarion, Pennsylvania (1870s)
  • the Westmoreland County Courthouse, Greensburg

Butz claimed to have designed the Dollar Bank building (1868-71) on Fourth Avenue, Downtown, which is attributed to the Philadelphia firm of Isaac Hobbs & Sons. It is possible that Butz was employed by Hobbs for a short time in 1871, when he was not listed in the Pittsburgh directory.

It is interesting to note that by 1879, Butz designed Reineman’s Hotel (location unknown) in Pittsburgh for a member of the Reineman family. The Reineman family was prominent in the development of Troy Hill, the neighborhood in which Butz lived as a young man and possibly during his childhood. Documentation that Butz designed Reineman’s Hotel in the 1870s suggests that he may have designed other buildings for the Reineman family. The family was responsible for the construction of several large homes on Troy Hill, including a large and elaborate double Second Empire house built at 1515-1517 Lowrie Street in about 1875 for banker and real estate investor Adam Reineman.

Buildings by Butz in Allegheny City that have been demolished include the First National Bank and the C. Wattiey & Company furnishings store building, both on lower Federal Street; the C.C. Boyle lumber dealership at River Avenue and Sandusky Street; Trinity Lutheran Church, Stockton Avenue and Arch Street; Central Presbyterian Church at Lacock and Anderson Streets; a building for Western Theological Seminary, Ridge Avenue; and the Ridge Avenue homes of J.W. Dalzell, H. Sellers McKee, and D.M. Long. Buildings by Butz in Pittsburgh that no longer survive include the Seventh Avenue Hotel, downtown, and the Seventh United Presbyterian Church on 44th Street in Lawrenceville.

Butz married Mary A. Yeager of Allegheny City on December 28, 1876. Mary A. Yeager was born in Pittsburgh or Allegheny City in December 1856. She was a daughter of Christian Yeager, who owned a variety and dry goods store on Market Street, downtown. The Yeager family moved from Ninth Street, downtown, to Stockton Avenue in Allegheny City around the time that Mary A. Yeager was born. She lived on Stockton Avenue until she married.

In 1876, Edward M. Butz designed and commissioned construction of a large Second Empire house at 1207 Allegheny Avenue in Manchester (at the southwestern comer of Allegheny Avenue and Bidwell Street; now Duke’s Bar). He and Mary A. Butz began living at in the house after they were married. The couple had two children: Christian Yeager Butz, born in 1878, and another child whose name is not known. Christian Yeager Butz died in 1884, at age six, and the other child also died while young.

The Butz family lived at 1207 Allegheny Avenue until 1879 or 1880. The family resided in the Central Hotel in Allegheny City (in the present Allegheny Center Mall area) for a short time while 948-950 Beech Avenue was being built. They began living at 950 Beech Avenue in late 1880 or early 1881.

Edward M. Butz’s architectural office was still located on Federal Street when he lived at 950 Beech Avenue. Work with which Butz was associated while he lived in the house included the construction of the Western Penitentiary.

In 1883, Edward M. and Mary A. Butz sold 950 Beech Avenue and moved to 508 Pressley Street (demolished) in the East Allegheny neighborhood. The family lived on Sherman Avenue in the present Allegheny Center Mall area in 1884, and began living on Arch Street in the same neighborhood in about 1885. The family lived on Arch Street until about 1897.

Butz’s architectural office moved from Federal Street to 132 First Avenue, downtown, in 1886-1887. Butz became a partner in the architectural and engineering firm of Butz & Kauffman at 605 Smithfield Street a short time later. The firm’s other principal was William Kauffman of Buena Vista Street. The partnership dissolved in about 1891, and Butz returned to 132 First Avenue. In about 1893, his firm became known as E.M. Butz & Company, architects and engineers. Frederick A. Yeager, who was probably a brother of Mary A. Butz, was among its principals.

In the 1880s, Edward M. Butz was a founder of the Columbia Iron & Steel Company. The company’s headquarters was at 132 First Avenue, and it operated a mill in Uniontown. Butz’s younger brother, Roman J., was the company’s secretary.

E.M. Butz & Company moved to 236 First Avenue in about 1895, and to the 11th floor of the Park Building about a year later. In about 1897, Edward M. and Mary A. Butz moved from Arch Street in Allegheny City to Fremont Street in Bellevue.

Edward M. Butz lived on Fremont Street in Bellevue and ran E.M. Butz & Company until he retired in the 1910s. He and Mary A. Butz then moved to 1711 Termon Avenue in Brighton Heights. Butz died at home at 1711 Tennon Avenue on October 3, 1916, at age 66. His obituary incorrectly gave his age as 57. Earlier census records confirm that Butz was born in 1850.

Mary A. Butz outlived her husband by ten years. During part of the 1920’s, she worked at Joseph Horne’s in downtown Pittsburgh. She died on December 31, 1926, at age 70.

The Lyonses

Thomas Moore Lyons was born in Ohio in 1824, to parents who were born in Virginia. Nancy R. Lyons was born in Ohio in 1834-35; her parents were born in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Local records do not indicate when Thomas and Nancy Lyons were married or identify their residence and activities before they settled in Pittsburgh.

The Lyons family moved to the Pittsburgh area in or shortly before 1865, when Thomas M. Lyons and John C. Elliott formed Elliott & Lyons, merchant tailors, at 53 Federal Street in Allegheny City (on the western side of Federal Street a short distance north of the present site of PNC Park). John C. Elliott, then 46, was also an Ohio native and new to the Pittsburgh area, and it is possible that the two men had been acquainted or in business together in their native state.

In 1865, Thomas and Nancy Lyons had at least one child, Harry M., who was born in 1864. Their later children were Cora, born in 1866, Morris, born in 1869, Josephine in 1873-74, and Louisa in 1878-79.

In Allegheny City, the Lyons family initially lived above the tailor shop on Federal Street. In 1867-1868, the family moved to the newly constructed house at 858 Beech Avenue.

The 1870 population census was the first census taken following construction of 858 Beech Avenue. The census enumerated Thomas Lyons, 46, as a merchant tailor, and Nancy Lyons, 35, with no occupation. Their children were Harry, six, Cora, four, and Morris, one. Census records also show that a servant, Mary Hidley, lived with the Lyons family. Hidley, 20, had been born in Ohio.

The 1870 census, the last census to provide information on assets of persons enumerated, reported that Thomas M. Lyons owned no real estate and had a personal estate of $300. The census was taken before Thomas M. Lyons acquired title to the lot at 858 Beech Avenue in August 1870.

Records of the 1870 census of manufactures document the activities of Elliott & Lyons. In 1870, Elliott & Lyons employed three adult males, one adult female, and no children, and paid $2000 in total annual wages. The firm had a capital investment of $5000. It manufactured coats, vests, and other clothing items that were worth an annual total of $15,000. The value of Elliott & Lyons’ annual output was third among the six tailoring establishments operating in Allegheny City’s First Ward. The annual production of the six tailor shops ranged from $5760 to $23,000.

In 1874, Thomas M. Lyons and John C. Elliott purchased a building at 17 Federal Street (on the present site of PNC Park) for $9500. Lyons and Elliott then moved their business to that address. At around the same time, John C. Elliott and his family moved from Arch Street in the Mexican War Streets area to a rented house at 1017 Galveston Avenue, a short distance from 858 Beech Avenue.

The 1880 census enumerated seven members of the Lyons family at 858 Beech Avenue: Thomas M., a merchant tailor; Nancy R., keeping house; and Harry, 15, Cora, 13, Morris, 10, Josephine, six, and Louisa, one. The family employed one servant who lived at 858 Beech Avenue. She was Agnes, 24, who had been born in Pennsylvania and was of Irish descent. Her last name is illegible in hand-written census records.

The partnership of Elliott & Lyons continued until about 1881. Directories published after 1881 listed Thomas M. Lyons as a merchant tailor but did not identify his workplace. John C. Elliott formed J.C. Elliott & Son, merchant tailors, in the former Elliott & Lyons shop at 17 Federal Street. The Elliott family moved around the same time from Galveston Avenue to Brighton Place.

Thomas M. Lyons died on February 22, 1884. The cause of his death, at age 59, is not known.

Nancy R. Lyons and her children left Pittsburgh within a short time after Thomas Lyons died. Local records do not indicate whether they immediately moved to Cincinnati, where Nancy Lyons and her children lived when they sold 858 Beech Avenue in 1902. The family used 858 Beech Avenue as a rental property between 1884 and 1902. In 1902, Nancy Lyons and her surviving children sold 858 Beech Avenue to Dennis Hayes, a commission merchant with offices in Downtown Pittsburgh and Allegheny City.

The Knoxes

Hugh Knox moved to Allegheny (now the Northside) in 1859 or 1860. The 1860 manuscript census enumerated Knox in Allegheny’s Third Ward (now the East Allegheny area). The census reported that Knox, 32, was a flour dealer who owned no real estate and had a “personal estate” of $1300. Catherine N. Knox, 23, had no occupation. Hugh and Catherine Knox had one child: Jane, who was one year old.

Directories listed Hugh Knox as living on Fleming Street near Locust Street in Allegheny in 1861 and 1862. During the mid-1860’s, Knox lived at 59 Colwell Street in the Hill District. Knox was listed at 36 Liberty Street in Allegheny in 1866, and at 63 Lincoln Avenue in Allegheny in 1867. Knox & McKee, which had moved to 323 Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh, apparently dissolved in 1867 or 1868.

City directories listed Hugh Knox at 63 Lincoln Avenue between 1867 and 1870.

The 1870 manuscript census enumerated Hugh Knox and his family on Lincoln Avenue in Allegheny. Knox, 42, owned real estate valued at $9000 and had a “personal estate” of $10,000. In 1870, the Knox’s children were Jane, 11, Hugh R., nine, Maggie, eight, Mollie, seven, Anne, five, and Kate, three.

In 1870, one servant lived with the Knox family at 63 Lincoln Avenue: Agnes McCarthy, 24, who had been born in Ireland.

Hugh Knox did not appear in the directory in 1871 or 1872.

By 1873, the Knox family relocated to Nunnery Hill (now Fineview). Hugh Knox was listed as an agent who worked at 415 Liberty Avenue. Later directories indicated that Knox worked for the Laurel Hill Coal Works at 418 Liberty Avenue (later known as 1129 Liberty Avenue, on the current site of the Greyhound Bus Terminal) and lived on Bell Avenue (now Belleau Street) on Nunnery Hill.

The Rosenbachs

Caroline Rosenbach was born in Maryland in 1849, and her sister, Clarissa (known as Clara, except in property ownership records) was born in Maryland in 1851. The Rosenbach sisters were daughters of Henry and Famiie Rosenbach, Jewish immigrants who had been born in Prussia. The Rosenbach family lived in Maryland as late as 1858, when Henry and Fannie Rosenbach’s youngest child, Isador, was born. The family did not yet live in western Pennsylvania when the 1860 census was taken, but began living in Pittsburgh by 1861, when Hemy Rosenbach was listed in the Pittsburgh city directory.

The Rosenbach family began renting a house at 63 Wylie Avenue (demolished; on or near the present site of the USX Building). Henry Rosenbach opened a dry goods store at 70 Market Street (at the southeastern comer of Fourth Avenue and Market Street), within walking distance of his home. By 1862, however, Rosenbach left this business and became an oil dealer with an office at 4 Hand Street (now Ninth Street), at the comer of Pemi Avenue, Downtown. City directories listed Rosenbach as an oil dealer at this addr ess through the rest of the 1860s.

Hemy Rosenbach’s entry into the oil industry came three years after the discoveiy of oil at Titusville in northwestern Pennsylvania. Rosenbach and thousands of other men intent on profiting from extracting, transporting, refining, and selling oil invested their time and available capital in this industry. Pittsburgh shared in the oil boom as a center of river transportation and as the site of several refineries. During this time, a number of Pittsburgh men traveled to growing northwestern Pennsylvania communities such as Titusville, Franklin, Warren, Oil City, and Pithole to participate in the oil business. Hemy Rosenbach appears to have had limited success in the highly risky and capital-intensive oil industry, and was not among the many who made or lost fortunes.

In 1869, Fannie Rosenbach purchased a home for her family at 34 Anderson Street in Allegheny City for $8750. The 1870 census enumerated the Rosenbach family at this address. Henry Rosenbach, 55, was enumerated as an oil merchant, and Fannie, 53, had no occupation. The Rosenbachs’ son Louis, 21, was a druggist, and Solomon, 16, was a trunk maker. Caroline, 21, Clara, 19, Jeannette, 14, and Isador, 12, had no occupation. Two servants lived with the Rosenbach family: Elizabeth Shaffer, 23, born in Saxony, and Kate Kline, 20, born in Pennsylvania.

The 1870 manuscript census, the last census to provide information on assets of persons enumerated, reported that Henry Rosenbach owned real estate worth $20,000 and had a personal estate of $5000. The Rosenbach home on Anderson Street may have been worth about $10,000.

Henry Rosenbach’s office was listed at 145 Smithfield Street in city directories published in 1871 and 1872. The Rosenbach family left the Pittsburgh area by 1873.

The 1880 census enumerated Hemy, Fannie, Caroline, and Clara Rosenbach in an un-numbered house on Centre Street in Oil City, Venango County. Herman Mayer, 34, a German-born cigar merchant who was Jeannette Rosenbach’s husband, was enumerated as the head of the household. Hemy Rosenbach, 65, was still an oil dealer. Caroline and Clara Rosenbach, ages 31 and 29, were reported to have no occupation. Others enumerated in the house were Jeannette Mayer, 24, and the Mayers’ three children, Della, six, Philip H., four, and Elsie, two. Louis, Solomon, and Isador Rosenbach no longer lived with their parents by 1880.

Henry Rosenbach died between 1880 and 1885. The first indication of the Rosenbachs’ return to the Pittsburgh area was the 1885 city directory, which listed Fannie Rosenbach as the widow of Henry Rosenbach and living at 838 (then 36) Western Avenue in Allegheny City. The 1885 directory also listed Miss C. Rosenbach as a dressmaker at the same address. Clara and Caroline Rosenbach were both listed as dressmakers during the next 40 years, with Clara Rosenbach appealing in directories more frequently than her older sister. The Rosenbach sisters worked at home at 838 Western Avenue, which they and their mother rented, and later at 836 Western Avenue.

Fannie, Caroline, and Clara Rosenbach lived at 838 Western Avenue until late 1889 or early 1890, then moved into the newly completed 836 Western Avenue (known as 317 Western Avenue until 1899).

The 1890 manuscript census, which would provide information on Clara, Caroline, and Fannie Rosenbach, and any other occupants of 836 Western Avenue in that year, was destroyed in a warehouse fire following its completion.
Allegheny County records show that Caroline and Clara Rosenbach purchased a 52′ by 110′ lot on Hutchinson Avenue in Edgewood in 1891. The sisters never lived in Edgewood, and may have made this purchase as an investment. The sisters sold the lot in 1914 for $3000, suggesting the property remained undeveloped.

Fannie Rosenbach died at home at 836 Western Avenue at age 83 on Independence Day, 1897.

The 1900 census enumerated Caroline and Clara Rosenbach as dressmakers living at 836 Western Avenue. Although the Rosenbach sisters may have had live-in help at 836 Western Avenue at some times, the 1900 census enumerated only the sisters, and no other related or unrelated persons, at 836 Western Avenue.

Herman and Jeannette Rosenbach Mayer moved to Pittsburgh in about 1906, renting a house at 230 South Aiken Avenue (then South Rebecca Street) in Friendship. Caroline and Clara Rosenbach moved from 836 Western Avenue to their sister’s home within a short time, and moved their dressmaking operations to room 302 of the Wemer Building at 631 Penn Avenue, Downtown. Herman Mayer was still a cigar merchant in 1906 and later years, with a shop at 211 Forbes Avenue (then Diamond Street), Downtown.

The 1910 census enumerated Caroline and Clara Rosenbach in the home of Herman and Jeannette Mayer at 230 South Aiken Avenue. Living in the house were Herman Mayer, 63, a cigar merchant, Jeannette Mayer, 54, who had no occupation, Eric Mayer, 32, a traveling salesman of cigars, Elsie F. Mayer, 32, who had no occupation, Caroline and Clara Rosenbach, dressmakers, a son-in-law whose name is illegible in handwritten census records, who was 40 and a cigar salesman, his wife, Della, and their daughters, Jeannette L., seven, and a six-month-old whose name is also illegible.

Two servants, Nellie (last name illegible), born in Pennsylvania to German immigrant parents, and Theresa (last name illegible), an Irish immigrant, also lived at 230 South Aiken Avenue in 1910.

The Mayer family and Caroline and Clara Rosenbach moved from South Aiken Avenue to another rented home at 413 South Pacific Avenue in about 1911. The Rosenbach sisters continued to made dresses in the Wemer Building throughout the 1910’s and into the 1920s.

Caroline and Clara Rosenbach sold 836 Western Avenue in 1913 to Josephine Hanson. Josephine Hanson and her husband, Octavius Hanson, a clerk, owned and occupied 836 Western Avenue for four years.

After selling their property in Edge wood in 1914, Caroline and Clara Rosenbach purchased another small property on Susquehanna Street in Homewood. The sisters continued to live at 413 South Pacific Avenue, and sold this property in 1919.

Living at 413 South Pacific Avenue in 1920, according to census records, were Herman Mayer, 73, a cigar merchant, Jeannette Rosenbach Mayer, 63, and Elsie Mayer, 42, who had no occupation, Caroline and Clara Rosenbach, 71 and 69, dressmakers, and one servant: Josephine Wisner, 16, born in Pennsylvania to Polish immigrant parents.
The 1920 census is the most recent census that provides detailed information on the Rosenbach sisters or the Mayer family. Manuscript census records are withheld from the public for 72 years, to protect the privacy of persons enumerated.

Clara Rosenbach was listed in the city directory as a dressmaker in the Wemer Building and living at 413 South Pacific Avenue as late as 1925. She moved to 5546 Darlington Road in Squirrel Hill shortly before her death on
June 18, 1927, at age 76. Caroline Rosenbach died in New York City on April 28, 1931. Both sisters were buried in West View Cemetery.