806 Western Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

Josephine Dale

Josephine Dale was born Josephine Noe Alden in 1815 in Newark, New Jersey. She was a daughter of the Reverend Timothy Alden, founder of Allegheny College in Meadville, and a descendant of John Alden, who had crossed the Atlantic Ocean on the Mayflower.

In 1829, at age 14, Josephine Noe Alden was brought by her parents to Pittsburgh. She soon married William Maitland, and the couple had two daughters, Mary and Margaret, in 1835. William Maitland died and left Josephine Noe Maitland a widow at age 26 in 1841.

By 1852, Josephine Noe Maitland lived in Allegheny City (now Pittsburgh’s Northside), residing on the East Commons (now Cedar Avenue) at the corner of Water Street. Josephine Noe Maitland, 40, married Dr. Thomas Dale, 45, a physician who lived on the South Commons, in 1855. Dr. Thomas Dale was a native of Delaware.

Dr. Thomas and Josephine Noe Dale began living on the South Commons between Sandusky and Federal Streets. An immediate neighbor was I. Morrison, then Mayor of Allegheny City.

The 1860 manuscript census shows that Dr. Thomas and Josephine Noe Dale lived on the South Commons with other family members and three servants. The census taken in that year does not provide information on familial relationships of persons enumerated, making it difficult to determine the relationships of some members of the Dale household.

Living with Thomas and Josephine Noe Dale were Mary Maitland, 25, a public school teacher, Margaret Maitland, 25, who had no occupation, M. Dale (female), 28, R. Dale (male), 21, a clerk, L. Dale (female), 12, J. McLane (female), 23, apparently a boarder, and three servants: H. Coyle (female), 40, born in Ireland, R. Rooney (female), 26, born in Ireland, and W. Burke (male), 28, born in New Jersey. E. Coyle, 13, probably a child of H. Coyle, also lived with the family.

The Dale family moved from the South Commons to 19 Stockton Avenue, near Federal Street, in 1863, lived there until about 1869, then moved to 205 Western Avenue in Allegheny West, where they lived when the 1870 census was taken. The 1870 manuscript census enumerated Dr. Thomas and Josephine Noe Dale, Josephine Noe Dale’s daughters Mary and Margaret Maitland, both 35, Louisa Dale, 21, and a servant whose first name was Annie.

The 1870 manuscript census, the last census to provide information on assets of persons enumerated, reported that Dr. Thomas Dale owned no real estate and had a personal estate of $10,000.

The Dale family moved to 38 Monterey Street (now 1222 Monterey Street) in what is now the Mexican War Streets area in about 1872. Dr. Thomas Dale died at about this time, on January 7, 1872. Josephine Noe Dale bought the lot on which 912 Galveston Avenue stands the following year, and had the house built by March 1874.

During the 1870’s, Margaret Maitland married Thomas Bakewell, an attorney who was a member of a family that owned a glass factory on Pittsburgh’s South Side.

The 1880 manuscript census enumerated Josephine Noe Dale, 65, her daughter Mary Maitland, 43, a school teacher, and four boarders living at 140 Grant Avenue. The boarders were Thomas Swartz, 31, a druggist who had been born in Pennsylvania, his wife Carrie, 22, born in New Jersey, their daughter Anna E., four months, and Louisa Long, 49, who was widowed or divorced and a native of Pennsylvania. No servants were reported to live at 140 Grant Avenue.

The 1890 manuscript census, which would provide information on residents of 140 Grant Avenue in that year, was destroyed in a fire following its completion.

Josephine Noe Dale lived at 140 Grant Avenue until her death in August 1898 in Cape May, New Jersey, shortly after a fall in Cape May. Funeral services were held at her home.

Pittsburgh city directories indicate that Mary Maitland lived at 912 Grant Avenue for the first few years of the 20th century, then died or left the Pittsburgh area. The 1900 census, however, did not enumerate Mary Maitland at 912 Grant Avenue.

Although descendants of Josephine Noe Dale owned 912 Galveston Avenue through 1942, no family members lived in
the house, which was divided into small apartments and maintained as a rental property.


The Social Mirror

“Mrs. Dale, of Allegheny, widow of Dr. Thomas Dale, was a Miss Alden of Puritan stock. She was a sister of the late Mrs. James B. McFadden. Mrs. Dale’s daughter, Miss Maitland, lives with her; another daughter, Mrs. Thomas Bakewell, residing in Riverside, California.”

The Pittsburgh Bulletin

“The death on Monday, of Mrs. Josephine Noe Dale, widow of Dr. Thomas F. Dale, took place at Cape May, and removed a venerable and most highly esteemed woman, prominent in social circles in her day in the two cities, and related to some of the foremost families of Pittsburgh and Allegheny. She was bom in Newark, N. J., her father being the Reverend Timothy Alden, founder of Allegheny College in Meadeville. In 1829 she came to the city and was married to William Maitland who died in 1841. In 1855 she married Dr. Dale. Her warm heart and sympathetic nature impelled her to active charitable and philanthropic work during the Civil War and thereafter so that her name became identified with good deeds well done. She was prominent in the management of the Home for the Friendless, the Relief Society of Allegheny and similar institutions. The deceased was an original member of the North Presbyterian Church, Allegheny, and was . deeply interested in its concerns. Her gifts of mind and person were exceptional. A few weeks ago Mrs. Dale sustained injuries from a fall on the boardwalk at Cape May Point resulting in her death. She is survived by two daughters – Miss Maitland of Allegheny and Mrs. Thomas Bakewell of California. These were with their mother at the time of her death. The funeral services were held on Thursday afternoon from the main residence on Grant Avenue, Allegheny.”

The Sweitzers

J. (Jacob) Bowman Sweitzer was born on Independence Day, 1821, in Brownsville, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, along the Monongahela River. Sweitzer, of Swiss descent, was a son of Henry Sweitzer, a manufacturer and Ann Elliott Bowman Sweitzer.

After graduating from Jefferson College in Canonsburg and studying law with a Washington County attorney, J. Bowman Sweitzer became an attorney in 1845. In 1846, Sweitzer moved to Pittsburgh, living at 115 Third Avenue. Sweitzer was appointed United States Attorney for Western Pennsylvania by 1850.

J. Bowman Sweitzer, 30, married Mary Holmes Stevenson, 24, on June 15, 1852. Mary Holmes Stevenson was a daughter of Dr. Henry Stevenson of 99 Fourth Avenue in Pittsburgh, and a granddaughter of early Pittsburgh residents Dr. George Stevenson and John Darragh. The Sweitzers began living at 101 Fourth Avenue. The Sweitzer and Stevenson homes were located on the northern side of Fourth Avenue, between Wood and Smithfield Streets, on or close to the present location of the Engineers Society of Western Pennsylvania at 337 Fourth Avenue.

The 1860 manuscript census enumerated J. Bowman and Mary Sweitzer, their two children, and three servants in
their Fourth Avenue home. The census reported that J. Bowman Sweitzer, 38, was an attorney at law who owned real estate valued at $2,000 and had a personal estate of $1,000. Mary Sweitzer had no occupation. The couple had two children: Annie B., four, and Henry S., two.

The Sweitzers’ servants in 1860 were Ann Sauls, 16, Mary Ward, 20, and Hannah Dougan, 25, all born in Ireland.

In 1861, J. Bowman Sweitzer left his position as United States Attorney and entered the Union Army. Sweitzer served with distinction in the Civil War through 1864, and his activities were described extensively an entry in Biographical Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania, accompanying this report.

J. Bowman Sweitzer returned to his family in Pittsburgh in 1864, at age 43. Sweitzer and his wife Mary, still living at 101 Fourth Avenue, had two additional children after Sweitzer’s return from the battlefield. Sweitzer was retired until 1869, when he was appointed Supervisor of Internal Revenue by the federal government.

The 1870 manuscript census shows that the Sweitzers’ children were Annie, 13, Henry, 11, both attending school, and J. Bowman Jr., four, and O’Hara Denny, two. The census enumerated no servants living with the Sweitzer family.

The 1870 manuscript census shows that J. Bowman Sweitzer owned real estate worth $20,000 and had a personal estate of $10,000.

J. Bowman Sweitzer was appointed Prothonotary of the Supreme Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania in November 1873.

The Sweitzer family lived at 101 Fourth Avenue until 1884, when J. Bowman Sweitzer bought 81 Beech Avenue.

In the late 1880’s, J. Bowman Sweitzer Jr. became an attorney and began working as a clerk in the office of the Prothonotary of the Supreme Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Harry S. Sweitzer became a partner in Dean & Sweitzer, insurance agents, located at 401 Wood Street in Pittsburgh. Sweitzer’s partner was George W. Dean of 20 Arch Street, in what is now the Allegheny Center Mall area.

J. Bowman Sweitzer died at home on November 9, 1888. Sweitzer’s death was attributed to blood poisoning caused
by kidney disease. The Pittsburg Press carried his obituary on its front page.

The 1890 manuscript census, which would provide information on residents of 842 Beech Avenue in that year, was destroyed in a fire following its completion.

The 1900 manuscript census does not provide information on residents of 842 Beech Avenue, suggesting that the house was temporarily vacant or skipped by the census taker.

Mary Sweitzer lived at 842 Beech Avenue through 1910, when the census enumerated Mary Sweitzer and her son Harry S. Sweitzer, an insurance salesman, living at 842 Beech Avenue with no other family members or servants. Mary Sweitzer apparently lived outside the Pittsburgh area between 1911 and her death in 1912.

After the death of Harry S. Sweitzer in about 1911, the last member of the Sweitzer family to live at 842 Beech Avenue was O’Hara Denny Sweitzer, who was listed as living in the house in 1912.

The children of J. Bowman and Mary Sweitzer maintained 842 Beech Avenue as rental property between 1913 and 1925, when they sold the house.

The Gibsons

Robert M. Gibson was born in Taylorstown, Washington County, Pennsylvania, on October 27, 1828. His parents were Robert MacDowell and Sallie Wishart Gibson, both born in Pennsylvania. Gibson was educated at Watrings Academy in or near Taylorstown. As a young adult, Gibson taught school in Washington County and Illinois and worked in a Washington County attorney’s office, and then became an attorney himself without having attended college or law school.

Robert Gibson and his wife Eliza were married in the 1850’s. Eliza Gibson had been born in Pennsylvania to parents who were natives of Pennsylvania.

Robert Gibson practiced law in Washington County between 1853 and 1868, when he moved to the Pittsburgh area, opening an office at 103 Fifth Avenue in what is now Downtown Pittsburgh. Gibson and his family rented a home at Wilson and Liberty Streets in Pitt Township (now 32nd Street and Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh’s Strip District) in 1868 and 1869. In September 1869, Robert Gibson bought a lot containing two houses at the southwestern corner of Beech Street (now Beech Avenue) and Freemont Street (later Grant Street, now Galveston Avenue) for $18,000. Gibson and his family began living in one of the houses, then known as 148 Grant Street.

The 1870 manuscript census enumerated Robert Gibson and his family at 148 Grant Street. The census reported that Robert Gibson, 41, was an attorney and that Eliza Gibson, 34, kept house. In 1870, the Gibsons had six children: John, 11, Sallie, 11, Lucy, nine, Amanda, five, Robert Jr., five and Barnett L., one.

The 1870 manuscript census, the last census to provide information on assets of persons enumerated, reported that Robert Gibson owned real estate worth $25,000 and had a personal estate of $2,000.

One servant lived with the Gibson family at 148 Grant Street in 1870: Mary Snyder, 21, who had been born in Pennsylvania.

In 1870, Robert Gibson formed a partnership, Weir & Gibson, attorneys, with H.W. Weir of Bidwell and Sheffield Streets in Manchester. The firm was located at 100 Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh. Robert Gibson and his family lived at 148 Grant Street until 1875, when the Gibsons moved to their newly built home at 81 Beech Street.

The 1880 manuscript census enumerated the Gibson family and their servants at 81 Beech Street. Five of Robert and Eliza Gibson’s children lived at home in 1880: Sallie, 20, Lena, 18, Amanda, 15, Robert Jr., 14 and Barnett L., 12.
Four servants lived with the Wilson family at 81 Beech Street in 1880. Amanda Holmes, 47, was an African-American woman who had been born in Virginia to parents born in Virginia. Amanda Holmes was reported to be married, but not living with her husband. Her sons Silas, 15, and Burnett, 11, both born in Texas, were also servants of the Gibson family. Sarah Thompson, 40, was a white woman who had been born in Pennsylvania to parents born in Pennsylvania. Like Amanda Holmes, Sarah Thompson was married but not living with her husband.

The census also reported that Amanda and Burnett Holmes were not able to read or write, and that Silas and Burnett Holmes did not attend school.

Robert M. Gibson died at home at 81 Beech Avenue at age 54 on November 26, 1882. His death was attributed to lung disease and overwork. Within a few months after Gibson’s death, Wilson Beall of Wellsburg, West Virginia,
instituted foreclosure proceedings against Gibson’s widow Eliza.

Eliza Gibson was listed as the widow of Robert Gibson and living at 81 Beech Avenue in the 1883 Pittsburgh city directory. She was not listed in subsequent directories, indicating that she and her children had left the Pittsburgh area.

The Teufels

Harry Peter Teufel was born in Allegheny City on July 21, 1875. He was one of at least two children of Frank Teufel, a beer salesman born in Berlin, Germany and Gertrude Teufel, from Alsace-Loraine. The Teufel family lived on East Ohio Street near Cedar Avenue, in Deutschtown, during at least part of Harry’s childhood.

In 1896, at 21, Teufel married Margaret I. Mittendorf, 26. Mittendorf was born in Ohio in about 1870. During at least part of her childhood, she and her parents and siblings lived on a farm in Ohio township, Monroe County, along the Ohio River in the southeastern part of the state. Her parents were Benjamin Mittendorf, a German immigrant, and Susan Mittendorf, born in Ohio to immigrants from Wurtemburg and Switzerland.

Harry and Margaret Teufel appear to have had no children. After marrying, the couple lived near the present site of Allegheny General Hospital, and then in an apartment at 409 East Ohio Street in Deutschtown. Harry Teufel began working as a clerk for the Pittsburgh Gage & Supply Company, which made railroad, mill and mining supplies. The company’s offices were at 309 Water Street (Fort Pitt Boulevard), Downtown.

The Teufels lived in Beaver Falls, Beaver County, between about 1903 and 1906, while Harry Teufel ran the Windsor Hotel at 10th Avenue and 11th Street there. Returning to Pittsburgh, Teufel managed a hotel at 1317 Reedsdale Street on the Northside, at or near the present site of the north end of the West End Bridge. Census records from 1910 show that he and Margaret Teufel lived in the building with a nephew, a servant and a cook. Harry Teufel ran the Larkins Hotel at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Grant Street, Downtown, between approximately 1912 and 1915. He was also the proprietor of Ward’s Hotel in Tyrone, Blair County, at some point.

Teufel returned to the Pittsburgh Gage & Supply Company in about 1915, working as a clerk. He and Margaret Teufel rented an apartment in the Kinder Building at Western Avenue and Galveston Street. Harry Teufel became a salesman with the company in 1917 or 1918, around the time that he purchased an older dwelling at 840 North Lincoln Avenue and commissioned its remodeling with Spanish Eclectic and Mission influences.

The Teufels’ purchase and remodeling of 840 North Lincoln Avenue represented a considerable investment within a short time, and suggests that the couple did well financially in the second half of the 1920s. It is possible that Harry Teufel was able to save a significant amount of money while running hotels between about 1903 and 1915. It is also possible that Teufel enjoyed an increase in income as a result of the surge in industrial activity that was part of preparation for World War I, and a result of the war itself.

The 1920 census recorded Harry P. Teufel, 44, and Margaret Teufel, 49, at 840 North Lincoln Avenue. The couple shared their home with a lodger, Margaret Thomas, 21. The Teufels sold the house about four months later, in May 1920.

The Teufels lived in the Kinder Building again between 1921 and 1924. They lived in Atlantic City, New Jersey, between 1925 and 1927, and moved in about 1928 to a house that they purchased or had built at 3861 Perrysville Avenue in the Observatory Hill area. Harry P. Teufel appears to have left the Pittsburgh Gage & Supply Company, and did not work again. The couple moved in about 1931 to an apartment at 12 East North Avenue.

Harry Teufel died on June 4, 1933, at 58. Pittsburgh newspapers reported that he died “suddenly,” but did not state the cause of his death.

Margaret Teufel lived in apartments and rented rooms in the Central North Side for several years after she was widowed. She appears to have died or left Pittsburgh in about 1941.

The Grahams

Robert and Martha Farrell Graham were born in Ireland, Robert in 1802 and Martha in 1799.

They were married and living in Pennsylvania by 1837, when their son William F. was born. Martha Jane “Mattie” Graham, their other child who is known today, was born in Pennsylvania in 1839. Although a 1919 obituary of Martha Jane Graham stated that she “was born in Lincoln avenue, old Allegheny,” North Lincoln Avenue was created in 1858, and known records do not document the family’s residence prior to 1850.

Pittsburgh city directories published before 1850 did not list Robert Graham, and the family was not enumerated in Allegheny County in the 1840 population census. The 1850 Pittsburgh directory contains the earliest known documentation of the family’s presence in the Pittsburgh area. The directory listed Robert Graham as manager of a rope walk (rope factory) and living in an un-numbered house on Western Avenue (then Water Lane) in the neighborhood now called Allegheny West.

After the rope walk closed, Pittsburgh directories listed Robert Graham as a salesman, superintendent, watchman, and laborer. His workplaces during that time are not known. Martha Graham bought an undeveloped lot on the former rope walk site in 1861, and she and Robert Graham had 840 North Lincoln Avenue built on the lot by 1863. The Grahams had a larger house built at 842 North Lincoln Avenue later in the 1860s and rented that house to tenants.

Martha Jane Graham became a public school teacher at age 18, in the late 1850s. After teaching in Allegheny City for a year, according to her obituary, she began a long career at the Grant School on Grant Street in Downtown Pittsburgh. She was a teacher until about 1879, when she became one of Pittsburgh’s first female principals. She held that position at the Grant School until she retired in 1912. As a female principal, Graham earned several hundred dollars per year, less than her male counterparts but more than female schoolteachers.

The 1870 census was the first census taken following the construction of 840 North Lincoln Avenue. Robert Graham was enumerated as a watchman at a car station and Martha Graham did not work outside the house. Martha Jane was recorded as having no occupation, although Pittsburgh directories document that she taught school. The census reported that Robert Graham owned real estate valued at $22,000, consistent with the size, location and brick construction of 840 and 842 North Lincoln Avenue, and had a personal estate of $10,000. Graham’s total assets of $32,000 were comparable to $1 million or more in the early 21st century.

Martha Graham died in 1879, at 80. At the time of the 1880 census, Robert Graham, 78 and retired, lived at 840 North Lincoln Avenue with Martha Jane Graham, 41, and his widowed sister Rebecca Toner, 60. A servant, Norah Mooney, also lived in the house. Mooney, 22, had immigrated from Ireland. Robert Graham died in 1883.

The Social Mirror, an 1888 book about prominent Pittsburgh women, reported that “Mattie Graham, the principal of the Grant School, is one of the phenomenally successful women. She is forcible and determined, yet full of a genial warmheartedness that wins her pupils’ love. Miss Graham is intellectual, well versed in ancient and modern literature- in short, keeps up with the times, a bright, smart, capable woman.”

Possibly to help make ends meet, in about 1887 Graham began to share her home at 840 North Lincoln Avenue with Jennie Ralston, an unmarried public school teacher, and William Ralston, who had no occupation. Jennie Ralston became principal of the Pittsburgh Normal School, a training school for teachers, in about 1890. William Ralston appears to have died or moved from the house in about 1895.

Martha J. Graham sold 840 North Lincoln Avenue in 1896, for $13,000. She and Jennie Ralston moved to Oakland, and over the next 23 years rented a series of apartments together in that neighborhood. Graham died on July 22, 1919, at 79, at St. Francis Hospital in Lawrenceville.

The Watsons

Mark Walton Watson was born in Massilon. Ohio, in April 1828. His parents were born in Pennsylvania. Known records do not provide additional information on Watson’s parents or on his childhood.

Watson lived in Massilon until 1852, when he moved to Pittsburgh at age 24. Watson became a partner in William McCully & Company, a Pittsburgh glass manufacturing firm. Although Watson’s 1909 obituary stated that he joined McCully & Company in 1858, it should be noted that the 1856 Pittsburgh directory listed Watson as a partner in the firm. McCully & Company’s offices were then located on Wood Street between the present Boulevard of the Allies and Fort Pitt Boulevard.

In 1856, Mark W. Watson had been married for about three years to Margaret A. McCully, the daughter of the senior partner of his firm. The Watson family then lived at 154 Second Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh, near the offices of McCully & Company. By 1860, the family moved to Penn Avenue, Downtown, on the present site of Gateway Center. The family’s immediate neighborhood was then home to a number of wealthy manufacturers and merchants and was one of the most prestigious residential communities in the Pittsburgh area.

The 1860 census enumerated the Watson family in their home on Penn Avenue. Mark W. Watson, 32, was enumerated as a glass manufacturer and Margaret A. Watson, 29, had no occupation. The couple had three children: Martha, six, John, three, and Joseph H. one. The family’s status was evidenced by the four household staff persons who lived in their home: Mary F. Walker, 21, a cook; Mary Abermele, 18, a housemaid; Susan M. Campbell, 18, a housemaid and William Genwig, 19, a coachman.

Joseph H. Watson appears to have died during the 1860’s.

Mark W. Watson, according to his obituary, was active as a volunteer during the Civil War. Watson aided in the shipment of supplies to the Union army and in the construction of fortifications around sites in Pittsburgh which were considered vulnerable to attack.

Margaret A. Watson died in 1860 or 1861. In 1861 or 1862, Mark W. Watson was remarried to Harriet Marshall of Stockton Avenue, Allegheny City. Marshall, born in Pennsylvania in May 1845, was a daughter of James Marshall, the owner of a foundry at Wood Street and Liberty Avenue, Downtown, and president of the Farmers Deposit National Bank. Harriet Marshall Watson began living with the Watson family in their home on Penn Avenue. She and Mark W. Watson had four children. Mary, born in 1867, Harriet in 1869, Julia in 1872, and Amy in 1880.

Mark W. Watson became a member of the board of the Exchange National Bank of Pittsburgh by the late 1860’s. Watson later served as vice-president and president of the bank.

In 1870, according to census records, Mark W. Watson owned real estate valued ai $50,000 and had a personal estate of $100,000. Four household staff persons lived in the Watson home: Maria Lovitt, 19 and Mary Palmer, 24, both servants; William Brooks, 30, a coachman and Mary Baldwin, 47, a nurse.

The Watson family lived on Penn Avenue until 1875, when Mark W.Watson purchased 835 North Lincoln Avenue from John and Eleanor Frazier. The 1876 Pittsburgh directory shows that the Watson family had moved into 835 North Lincoln Avenue (then 68 Lincoln Avenue).

The 1880 census was the first census taken after the Watson family moved to 835 North Lincoln Avenue. Mark W. Watson, 52, was enumerated as a glass merchant, and Harriet Watson, 35, had no occupation. Six of Mark W. Watson’s children lived at 835 North Lincoln Avenue: Margaret, 25, John, 23, listed as a glass merchant, Mary, 13, Harriet, 11, Julia, eight, and Amy, six.

In 1880. five servants lived at 835 North Lincoln Avenue:

  • William Writ, 23, an African-American servant who had been born in Ohio
  • Timothy Brown, an Alrican-American driver, born in Pennsylvania
  • Mary Mason, 40, a nurse and Welsh immigrant
  • Mary Peterson, 28, an African-American chambermaid, born in Virginia
  • Ellen Thomas, 27, an African-American cook, born in Maryland

In the early 1880’s, Mark W. Watson was still a partner in McCully & Company. He became president of the Exchange National Bank around that time, while continuing his role with McCully amp; Company. Watson, like many other manufacturers with capital to invest, began to expand his business activities to include investment in various local manufacturing and transportation concerns.

He may have already joined the board of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad, organized in the 1870’s. By the turn of the century, Watson also served on the boards of the Pittsburgh. McKeesport & Youghiogheny Railroad, the Standard Underground Cable Company and the Monongahcla Water Company. He eventually became president of the latter two companies.

Records of the 1890 manuscript census, which would provide information on the Watson family and any other residents of 835 North Lincoln Avenue in that year, were destroyed in a warehouse fire following the completion of the census.

Julia M. Watson, the seeond-youngest child of Mark W. and Harriet Watson, was married on October 11, 1893. Her bridegroom was Bernard S. Horne, a son of department store owner Joseph Horne. In its Society column, the Pittsburgh Press provided a detailed account of the Watson’s iconic wedding and reception, both held “at the residence of the parents of the popular little maiden.” The Press report included descriptions of the interior of 835 North Lincoln Avenue:

the shower of blossoms that in honor of this happy day has transformed the rich, dark rooms of the Watson house into a veritable bower of floral beauty..

[The dining room] is a mahogany room where in the polished wood arc inserted immense cabinets of the same glistening with silver and china. Above finishing the wall to the ceiling is a stamped Tyme castle tapestry…
he stairway is close at hand, winding down from a great window above…

At the time of the 1900 census, five members of the Watson family lived at 835 North Lincoln Avenue: Mark W. Watson. 72, enumerated as a banker, Harriet, 55, Amy, 20, Julia Watson Horne, 28, who was living apart from her husband and Mark Horne, three, a son of Julia Watson Horne.

Five household staff persons lived at 835 North Lincoln Avenue in 1900:

  • Mary Keeley, 26, a maid who had been born in New York and was of Irish descent
  • Delia Keeley, 30, a seamstress born in Virginia to Irish immigrant parents
  • Henrietta Brunett, 30, an African-American cook who had been born in Virginia
  • Anna Alless, 24, a nurse born in Ohio
  • Maggie Gibbons, 23, a laundress who had been born in West Virginia to Irish immigrant parents

Harriet Watson died on May 23, 1906 at age 61.

Mark W. Watson remained president of William McCully & Company through 1905 or later. Watson still served as president of the Exchange National Bank, the Standard Underground Cable Company and the Monongahela Water Company when he died on June 1, 1909. He was 81 years old.

Available records do not indicate that any members of the Watson family lived at 835 North Lincoln Avenue after the death of Mark W. Watson. The 1910 census did not enumerate anyone in the house, indicating that it was vacant. Pittsburgh city directories published during the 1910’s did not list any of the Watson children as living in the house. By 1920, the house, still owned by the Watson family, contained at least seven apartments. Heirs of Mark W. Watson sold 835 North Lincoln Avenue in 1925.

The Fraziers

John Frazier was born in Pennsylvania in about 1826. Frazier’s father was an Irish immigrant, and his mother was born in Pennsylvania. It is possible that Frazier was born and raised in Butler County, where his wife was raised, or in the Jefferson County, Pennsylvania area, where Frazier and other family members later owned a planing mill. Available records, however, do not identify Frazier’s birthplace.

John Frazier and his wife, Eleanor, were married in or before the early 1850’s. The couple had two children who lived long enough to be enumerated in decennial censuses: Elizabeth, born in 1854, and Ella J., born in 1859.

Eleanor Frazier was born in Portersville, Butler County, in about 1827. She was one of at least six children of Dr. John and Elizabeth Cowden, both Pennsylvania natives.

The Frazier family began living in Pittsburgh by 1856, when John Frazier was listed in the city directory as a carpenter living on Ohio Lane (now Western Avenue) in Manchester. By 1860, John Frazier and one of his brothers founded the firm of John & George Frazier, carpenters, located on an alley near Fulton Street in Manchester.

The 1860 census enumerated the Frazier family at their home on Western Avenue. John Frazier, 34, was enumerated as a master carpenter, and Eleanor Frazier, 33, had no occupation. The couple’s children were Elizabeth, six years, and Ella J., six months.

In 1860, according to census records, John Frazier owned real estate worth $10,173 and had a personal estate of $2,000 At that time, before Civil War-era inflation doubled the value of real estate in Pittsburgh, a typical brick house of eight rooms on a full lot in Frazier’s neighborhood was worth about $3,000.

John Frazier and his brothers, George of Western Avenue and William of North Lincoln Avenue, founded the firm of Frazier Brothers in about 1865. The firm was initially located at the corner of Pitt and Strawberry Alleys in Allegheny City (on the present site ot Divine Providence Hospital). In 1866, Frazier Brothers moved to the corner of Western Avenue and Sedgwick Street in Manchester, where it opened a lumber yard. Frazier Brothers also operated saw mills along the Clarion River near Brookville, Jefferson County, Pennsylvania.

In 1869, Frazier Brothers purchased the lumber yard of another firm on Gas Alley in or near Allegheny West. The lumber yard was destroyed by fire a short time after Frazier Brothers took title to the property. Within a short time, Frazier Brothers moved to Market Street in Manchester (now Metropolitan Street; between Route 65 and the Ohio River).

Frazier Brothers appears to have been well-positioned to take advantage of the thriving post-Civil War economy. The firm constructed houses that were commissioned by Allegheny City homeowners, built other houses as speculative ventures, engaged in lumber sales and land speculation and also constructed landmark homes in Allegheny West and Manchester for its three principals.

Homes built by Frazier Brothers included:

  • 824-830 Beech Avenue, Allegheny West, built between 1870 and 1872
  • 1130-34 Sheffield Street, Manchester, built before 1872
  • a row of 10 houses on Bidwell Street between Decatur and North Franklin Streets, Manchester built before 1872
  • 835 North Lincoln Avenue, the home of John Frazier, built between 1864 and 1867
  • 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue, Manchester, the home of George Frazier, built 1872-73
  • 1414 Pennsylvania Avenue, Manchester, the home of William Frazier, built 1875-1876

Two streets in Manchester were apparently named for Frazier Brothers. An 1872 plat map of Manchester shows that Fontella Street was known as Frazier Street and that Decatur Street was known as Fraziers Alley.

John Frazier’s construction of 835 North Lincoln Avenue, a larger house than most contractors in the Pittsburgh area occupied during the nineteenth century, documents the success of Frazier Brothers during the post-Civil War era. Some years later, in 1886, Pennsylvania Historical Review reported that the firm operated a factory and lumberyard, had 100 full-time employees and was “one of the most active and most extensive [contracting and lumber firms] in this region.”

The Frazier family began living at 835 North Lincoln Avenue by 1867. Dr. John and Elizabeth Cowden, the parents of Eleanor Frazier, began living in the house with the Fraziers in or shortly before 1870.

The 1870 census was the first census taken following construction of 835 North Lincoln Avenue. Census records show that the Frazier home was occupied by six family members: John Frazier, 44, enumerated as a lumber merchant; Eleanor, 43, with no occupation; Ella J., 11; William Frazier, 30, a partner in Frazier Brothers and enumerated as a lumber merchant; and Dr. John and Elizabeth Cowden, both 74.

Three unrelated persons lived with the Frazier family at 835 North Lincoln Avenue in 1870. Amanda McKain, 19 and Betsy Grant, 18, both servants, and Henry Brown, 17, with no recorded occupation.

The 1870 manuscript census, the last census to provide information on assets of persons enumerated, reported that John Frazier owned real estate valued at $120,000 and had a personal estate of $20,000.

The Fraziers and Cowdens lived at 835 North Lincoln Avenue through 1875. In that year, John and Eleanor Frazier sold the house for $48,000 and moved to a house on Sheffield Street in Manchester. Available records do not indicate why the Fraziers sold 835 North Lincoln Avenue. It is possible that the decision to sell the house was associated with an economic depression that diminished home construction between 1873 and 1877.

John Frazier and his family moved from Sheffield Street to West North Avenue in Manchester (then Fayette Street) during the 1880’s. Frazier remained partner in Frazier Brothers until he retired toward the end of that decade.
John Frazier lived on West North Avenue until he died on December 1, 1895 Available records do not indicate when Eleanor Frazier died.

The Hamiltons

William D. Hamilton was born in November 1854 on Penn Avenue in what is now Downtown Pittsburgh. He was the first of at least six children of William and Mary Hamilton, both Irish immigrants. The elder William Hamilton was employed as a moulder and machinist during the 1850’s and in the first few years of the 1860s. The Hamilton family moved to East Carson Street on the South Side during the 1850’s, and also lived in the West End while William D. Hamilton was a small child.

The Hamilton family’s financial position appears to have solidified by 1861, when William Hamilton purchased two adjoining undeveloped lots on Central Street (later Lincoln Avenue; now North Lincoln Avenue) in what is now Allegheny West. By 1865, Hamilton commissioned construction of two houses on the lots: 15 Lincoln Avenue (later 936 North Lincoln Avenue; on the present site of the Rooney garage addition at 940 North Lincoln Avenue) and 17 Lincoln Avenue (demolished in the 1890s to make room for an addition to the Thaw mansion at 930 North Lincoln Avenue). William Hamilton and his family began living at 17 Lincoln Avenue, and Hamilton’s widowed mother and other family members lived at 15 Lincoln Avenue.

In 1864, William Hamilton began manufacturing coffins in premises he rented at the rear of 31 Fifth Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh. By the following year, Hamilton founded the Excelsior Coffin Manufacturing Company, located at the same address. The firm established a factory at 380-382 Penn Avenue, Downtown, and became known as Hamilton, Algeo, Arnold & Company by 1868. William Hamilton’s partners were R.K. Algeo of 39 Robinson Street (now General Robinson Street) in Allegheny City and James T. Arnold of 34 Walnut Street in Temperanceville (now the West End).

Records of the 1870 census, the last census to provide information on assets of persons enumerated, reported that the elder William Hamilton owned real estate valued at $35,000 and had a personal estate of $20,000. In 1870, a typical newer brick house of about nine rooms in Hamilton’s neighborhood was worth about $10,000.

William Hamilton’s firm moved its operations to the foot of Mulberry Street in Manchester, along the Ohio River, and changed its name to Hamilton, Lemmon, Arnold & Company during the 1870s. Hamilton’s partners were Brice Lemmon of 79 Page Street (between Manhattan and Chateau Streets; demolished), James T. Arnold of 121 Sheffield Street (later 1227 Sheffield Street; demolished), J.W. Carnahan of Denniston Avenue in Shadyside, John H. Mower of39 Allegheny Avenue (near Reedsdale Street; demolished) and Adam Ammon of 123 Sheffield Street in Manchester (later 1229 Sheffield Street; demolished).

William D. Hamilton, 25, and Caroline Penney Haney, 21, were married in 1880. Caroline Penney Haney Hamilton, born in McKeesport in August 1859, was a daughter of Lewis and Eliza Penney Haney, both born in Pennsylvania. She later served as regent of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

William D. and Caroline P. Hamilton had no children.

Between the late 1870s and mid-1880s, William D. Hamilton worked for Hamilton, Lemmon, Arnold & Company as a varnisher, clerk and manager. Hamilton was not listed in Pittsburgh city directories published in the late 1880s and early 1890s. It is likely that during this time he worked in New York for Chappel, Chase & Maxwell Co., named in his obituary as a firm for which he worked as a young man. The Hamiltons returned to Pittsburgh in about 1891, when William D. Hamilton became a partner in Hamilton, Lemmon, Arnold & Company.

In the early 1890’s, the Hamiltons began living at 218 Allegheny Avenue (on the eastern side of Allegheny Avenue near Abdell Street; demolished). The couple remained at 218 Allegheny Avenue until 1895, when they moved into their newly constructed home at 940 West North Avenue (then 21 North Avenue).

Hamilton, Lemmon, Arnold & Company was reorganized as the National Casket Company in about 1896. Although available records do not provide information on the reorganization, the name of the new firm suggests it may have been a consolidation of a number of firms in various cities. It should be noted that at the turn of the century, Pittsburgh became the headquarters of several large manufacturing firms that were formed by national or regional consolidations in the steel, glass, aluminum and brewing industries.

The McCracken School

Written by Robert D. Christie
Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine
via the Heinz History Center

A separate and distinct chapter in the history of Allegheny is that of the select school for girls and boys established on Ridge Avenue in the First Ward about 1878. Its sponsors and principal-teachers were the Misses Eliza and Sarah J. McCracken, and it was known as the McCracken School. The street number of
their establishment originally was 366, later changed to 611. It was the house at the western end of a row of six three-story residences named the Paulson Block after a former owner, Charles H. Paulson, dealer in hats, caps and furs at 73 Wood Street, Pittsburgh. The buildings of which this school was a part rose abruptly from the street and offered a pleasing view of the park to the north, but a less pleasing topographical feature was that the entire school-side of the block faced the depressed tracks of the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railroad across a narrow unused lot. An iron bridge permitted the public to cross those tracks at street level on Ridge Avenue. It might be supposed that the noise and smoke of passing trains would have deterred the location of a fashionable school there, but the pupils literally took it in their stride, often running to stand on the bridge facing approaching trains and being enveloped in sulphurous smoke and showers of cinders.

The first mention of Eliza McCracken in a Pittsburgh and Allegheny directory appeared in the volume for 1878. Her sister Sarah never was listed until the issue for 1890. The “select school” of Miss Eliza disappeared from the directories in 1896. It was from Steubenville, Ohio, that the McCracken ladies and their brother, John H., a clerk in the employ of the Pennsylvania Company in the ’90s, came.

In the middle ’80s the institutional staff of the McCracken School included, besides the two sisters, a widow whose name was Mrs. Nannie Ridgley, who probably had lived at 67 Arch Street, Allegheny; Miss Margaretta Dihm, who subsequently had a private school at 3 North Avenue; and Miss Bertha Floersheim, who almost certainly was a daughter of Berthold Floersheim, 104 Western Avenue. The last mentioned of these ladies became the wife of City Councilman Enoch Rauh and the mother of Richard S. Rauh, founder of the latterday Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and of the Pittsburgh Playhouse, and a director in many Western Pennsylvania corporations as well as a trustee of The Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania.

Tuition in the McCracken School was sixty dollars a year. The number of pupils at any given time was about sixty. Hours of instruction were from nine in the morning until noon, Monday to Friday inclusive. The final period of each week was devoted to a special student activity at which parents were welcome to attend. Miss Eliza greeted pupils in person at the front door. She presided over the senior classes, seated in a swivel chair which was, indeed, her throne. As a child psychologist she was unquestionably a superior person and as a disciplinarian she definitely was without a peer. The pupils too had their points in psychology, learning by practice to appraise at the entrance to the school the emotional weather they might expect inside. If Miss Eliza were cheery, all was well, but if not, one’s breathing scarcely was permitted to be heard. When she admitted a headache, the day was termed “silent” and no one spoke, every pupil having recourse to writing. On normal days recitations were silenced automatically by the passing of locomotives on the Fort Wayne, and the school regularly was showered with cinders but the dirt was unnoticed by Miss Eliza’s charges.

The first exercise of each day consisted of Scripture reading in which pupils as well as teachers participated. Naturally, the three R’s were basic, with Miss Eliza specializing in grammar with emphasis being placed on parsing in a form of game, more familiar in spelling bees, in which the pupils were seated on open benches at the front of the room and moving up or down as answers justified.

A specialty of Miss Dihm, remembered as a gentle and not too exacting person, was mental arithmetic, which successively involved addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, applied to a single problem. One of her pupils, who enjoyed her special favor, was Ed Thaw; and in a bedlam of answers she frequently was heard to say, “Now, listen to Ed.”

Miss Floersheim, regarded with great popularity, was instructor in elocution, and a matter to which she devoted much effort involved a gesture whose value was enhanced by the idea that it had been imported from Paris. This consisted of a sweep of a hand, partly open, but the essential feature, supposed to give it grace and elegance, lay in the separation of the second and third fingers, while the others remained in contact. Her instruction registered to such an extent that after sixty-seven years one of her pupils, though unconvinced of its artistry, still could demonstrate it. On Fridays, at eleven a.m., a chosen group of pupils was called upon to display their histrionic abilities not only before the school but often before their parents. The field of endeavor was divided into four categories of which each pupil, advised in advance, might make selection — namely: (1) Recitation of a selection of prose or poem from memory; (2) Selection, a chosen reading; (3) Facts, the narration of actual occurrences; (4) Anecdotes, stories of a biographical nature.

These exercises were not without their occasional surprises. One of the McMurtry boys — Ed or Burt — was capable of performances looked forward to with expectation of originality and he did not fail. His entire declamation, devoid of gesture, could be: “It rained Friday. That is a fact.” The same young man is remembered as the youthful genius who applied his newly acquired knowledge of electricity to wiring the kitchen doorknob in order that he, having provoked his playmates to pursuit, could dart through and slam the door so that it offered a surprising shock to any youngster who grasped it. He also was the inventor of a form of bicycle which departed from all accepted standards in that it had a small wheel in front and handlebars which were behind the rider seated upright.

On another Friday a performer presented a descriptive bit which included a takeoff of the names of physicians, such as Dr. Thinman, an authority on diet, and Dr. Merriman, whose name was a signal for hearty laughter, to which Miss Eliza, not having followed the narrator closely, called an instant halt, demanding the cause of such mirth. When it was explained that the script called for merriment, she responded: “I understand. Proceed with your laughter.” — which was then impossible.

Another pupil, George Thompson by name, acquired a reputation which did not exactly endear him to the school at large. It was alleged that he never was late and that he never missed a day’s attendance. What he may have lacked in scholarship was, in the estimation of certain teachers, compensated for by this virtue and when his academic errors were about to incur the derision of fellow students Miss Eliza solemnly would say: “Remember, George has never been late!”

There once was some intimation that the pupils might find a calendar helpful at school, with the result that Al Bissell promptly brought a huge one to be hung on the wall of the study room. In modern times such a calendar would seem appropriate enough, but not so in those days. Al’s contribution peremptorily was ruled out on the ground that if all pupils were to be allowed to bring in such calendars the whole wallsoon would be completely covered with them.

Somewhat novel was a bulletin board consisting of a slate and pencil outside the study door. If a pupil had occasion to leave the room, his name was inscribed thereon to be erased when he returned. This gave his absence official sanction without undue notice or discussion.

A two-way flag was used as an incentive to inspire girls or boys as the case might be. One side of it was blue and the other side was red, and if the girls had excelled on a given day the blue side was displayed while if the boys were deserving of commendation the red side was exposed to the student body as a signal of masculine superiority.

No search for a record book of the McCracken School students has been successful but among the names of pupils recalled are:

Oliver McClintock
Marshall Bell
Arthur Bell
Dallas Byers
Alex Byers
John Frederick Byers
Ed Byers
Margaret Thaw
Ed Thaw
Jo Thaw
Julia Horne
Amy Scaife
George Thompson
Mary Bell
Al Bissel
Henrietta Logan
Austin Moorhead
Sarah Lindsay
Olive Fleming
Harmar Denny
Alex Laughlin
Louise Woods
Blaine Robinson
Bill Robinson
Frank Houston
Mary Painter
John Ricketson
Lily Palmer
Annie Rhodes
Alan Wood
Carroll Fitzhugh
Mary Laughlin
Agnes Dickson
Martha Dalzell
Anna Scott
Eleanor Painter
Gladys Painter
Marian Chambers
George B. Logan
Katherine Scott
Hester H. Singer
Bessie C. Hamilton
Ed McMurtry
Burt McMurtry

In 1949 Anna Scott wrote:

“The row of houses where the school was located was very old … My impression of the schoolrooms [is] that they were very dark. There was a large front room on the second floor, where most of the students sat. Then we went down two or three stairs into the back room where a Mrs. Fulton presided over the little children. On the third floor front there was a smaller room for the older students. I do not remember the teacher in charge there, though I think she was very popular.

“I think the yearIattended … must have been 1893 because I remember Miss McCracken went to the World’s Fair in Chicago and gave us a very vivid report of it.”

This account of the McCracken School is basically a result of interviews with Carroll Fitzhugh and John Ricketson.

The Willocks

William Walter Willock was born in Allegheny City (now the North Side of Pittsburgh) on March 9, 1863. He was one of at least four children of John S. Willock, a coal merchant, and Josephine Hays Willock, born in Pennsylvania to American-born parents. When William W. Willock was born, his family lived in a house that John and Josephine Willock owned at 73 Isabella Street in Allegheny City. The Willock home was near the present site of the Andy Warhol Museum, and was directly across a narrow alley from the Eagle Cotton Mills, which occupied an entire city block.

In 1873-1874, the Willock family moved from Isabella Street to 905 (then 44) Beech Avenue in what is now Allegheny West. The family’s move was part of a post-Civil War movement of middle-class and wealthy families from neighborhoods with commercial and industrial components, such as Downtown Pittsburgh and lower Allegheny City, to neighborhoods or streets that were at least generally residential. William W. Willock lived at 905 Beech Avenue until he was married.

William Willock, according to his obituary, attended Allegheny City public schools, the Chester Military Academy (predecessor of Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania), and the Western University of Pennsylvania (predecessor of the University of Pittsburgh). In the early 1880s, Willock began working for the Third National Bank of Pittsburgh on Wood Street at Virgin Way, Downtown, as a messenger. He advanced to a position as a clerk in about 1884 and held that job for over a decade.

On April 16, 1889, William Willock, 26, married Alice B. Jones, 23. Alice Jones was born on April 18, 1866 in Downtown Pittsburgh. Her parents were Benjamin Franklin Jones, a prominent iron and steel manufacturer, and Mary McMasters Jones. B.F. Jones was a founder of Jones & Laughlin (later the Jones & Laughlin Steel Company; later the Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation), which operated iron and steel mills in and near Pittsburgh. During approximately the last three decades of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century, the Jones family lived in a mansion at the northwestern corner of Brighton and North Lincoln Avenues.

William and Alice Jones Willock lived with the Jones family for approximately the first four years after they were married. Their first child, Franklin Jones Willock, was born in January 1891. The Willocks moved from the Jones residence to their newly constructed house at 705 Brighton Road in 1892 or 1893.

William Willock worked as a clerk until about 1894, when he became the general manager of the Monongahela Connecting Railroad. The Monongahela Connecting Railroad was a subsidiary of the Jones & Laughlin Steel Company, and was headquartered in the parent company’s offices at Third Avenue and Try Street, Downtown. The railroad crossed the Monongahela River on the Hot Metal Bridge near South 29th Street, connecting Jones & Laughlin’s Soho Iron Works and its Hazelwood operations on the northern side of the river with its American Iron and Steel Works on the South Side.
William W. Willock

William W. Willock (far right. courtesy University of Pittsburgh)

William W. Willock Jr., the Willocks’ second and last child, was born in the early 1900s.

William Willock was the general manager of the Monongahela Connecting Railroad until 1901, when he became its vice president. He joined the board of directors of the Jones & Laughlin Steel Company in 1902.

The Willocks became the owners of a summer home, Gladmore Farm in Sewickley Heights, in about 1901. In about 1905, they began using Gladmore Farm as their primary residence. The Willocks continued to own 705 Brighton Road.

A 1912 social directory listed three addresses for the Willocks: their Pittsburgh residence at 705 Brighton Road, their summer home at Gladmore Farm and a winter home called Billswood on Forest Avenue in Lakewood, New Jersey. Although the 1912 social directory listed 705 Brighton Road as the family’s first address, Pittsburgh and Sewickley directories published after 1906 consistently listed William Willock’s home as Sewickley Heights. Willock was listed in Pittsburgh directories sporadically after 1910, suggesting that he may have been semi-retired or that he spent much of his time at the family’s Lakewood, New Jersey home. The Willocks later had a second home at 998 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and a summer home in Syosset, Long Island.

The Willock family began to rent 705 Irwin Avenue to tenants at some point between 1912 and 1919. Their first known tenants at 705 Brighton Road were Charles F. Patterson, an attorney, and his family. The house remained a single-family home through at least 1923. It became a rooming house by 1927-1928, when the Willocks rented it to Anna E. Barbe, an established North Side rooming house operator. Anna Barbe lived at 705 Brighton Road and used the property as a rooming house until the early 1940s. Pittsburgh directories show that William Willock maintained an office in room 1926 of the Oliver Building, Downtown, in the 1920s and 1930s.

William Willock served on the board of directors of the Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation until he died on March 8, 1939. Willock died at age 76 in Syosset, Long Island, at or near his summer home there.

Alice Jones Willock survived her husband by less than three months. She died on May 30, 1939, at age 73. Her executors sold 705 Brighton Road in 1944.