History of Fallston Borough, Beaver County, Pa.
From: History of Beaver County Pennsylvania
and its Centennial Celebration
BY: Rev. Joseph H. Bausman, A. M.
Knickerbocker Press New York, 1904


FALLSTON is beautifully situated on the west bank of the Beaver, just below "the Falls" from which it took its name. It is immediately opposite New Brighton and about a mile below Beaver Falls, with which it was formerly connected by a road running through the " Narrows, "or the contracted space between the hills and the Beaver. This road was vacated at the time the Pittsburg & Lake Erie Railway was built. Down these "Narrows" a race way was built from a dam at the Lower Falls, the water power from which supplies the works at present in operation, and formerly gave the place its great importance as a manufacturing center.


The site of Fallston borough is connected with some of the most important incidents in the pioneer history, and industrial development of Beaver County. In the period of the Indian occupation it was a spot much frequented by the savages, and up the little stream which comes dashing down the wild glen on the west of it ran a path leading to one of their great towns in what is now Ohio, viz., Sandusky. This path was much used by Captain Sam Brady and the rangers from Fort McIntosh. It was somewhere near Kuskuskee, on this trail or one of its branches, that Brady in 1780 rescued Jenny Stapes and her child, who had been taken captive by the Indians on the south side of the Ohio. The little stream and the hill. back of the borough are both known to this day as "Brady's Run" and "Brady's Hill." At the foot of Brady's Hill an Indian trail branched northwest, and passed by the site of Darlington to what is now Petersburg, Ohio. Opposite the present site of Fallston was the blockhouse which was built in the fall of 1788, when, by order of Congress of date October 2d, that year, Fort McIntosh, at what is now Beaver, was ordered to be demolished. Lieutenant Nathan McDowell was placed in command at this post, which was intended to protect communication up the Big Beaver and to cover the country after the removal of Fort McIntosh.' In the spring of 1791 Brady figured again in an affair which was connected with this blockhouse and vicinity. He and about twenty others were following the trail of some Indians, who were supposed to have committed various depredations on the inhabitants south of the Ohio River, and, coming up the west side of the Beaver, when they had arrived at about where Fallston now is, opposite the blockhouse, these rangers discovered a party of nine Indians, with horses, who were engaged in trade with William Wilson, an Indian trader. The rangers immediately opened fire, killing several of the Indians, among them being two women; the rest fled and Brady and his company crossed the creek and secured the horses, arms, and merchandise that the Indians had purchased. This deed, by the better portion of the people of the frontier, was denounced as an atrocious murder.

Near the west end of the present Fallston bridge was a pond, surrounded by a dense thicket, in which the Indians often secreted themselves for the purpose of attack, where, when observed, they would be fired upon by the soldiers in the blockhouse.


Settlements were early made at this point. One of the first to make improvements where Fallston now stands, was John McKee, of what is now McKeesport. On the 18th of March, 1796, he executed an article of agreement with one Levi B. Stuart, of Moon township, Allegheny County, in which he agrees to give Stuart a part of his plantation that lies on the west side of Big Beaver creek opposite the blockhouse and beginning at a stone on Daniel Leet's corner on Big Beaver, then running up said creek about eighty perches to a small sugar tree on said bank, then to run a west course to Daniel Hill's line, thence along said line to Daniel Leet's, and so along said line to the place of beginning. This described part of said plantation, be it more or less, is to be said Stuart's for living and clearing on his own part what the law requires:- said Levi B. Stuart binding himself, his heirs, executors and administrators to live on, or cause some family to live on, the said plantation for the full term of five years, and to make an improvement as the law directs.

January 26, 1798, Stuart formally assigned his rights, under the title thus bestowed, to Joseph Wells, who in turn assigned all his rights to David Townsend, January 26, 1799, and the property was deeded by John McKee to David Townsend, June 19, 1799. Soon after this, one hundred acres of this property came into the possession of a company composed of David Townsend, Benj. Townsend, and Benj. Sharpless, who sold, December 13, 1802, the 1W of this tract to Evan and John Pugh. In 1802 David Townsend started a saw mill; and in 1804 the Messrs. Pugh set up a flouring mill, the first improvements made in Fallston, when it was yet a wilderness. The Pughs came here from Chester County. In 1682 two brothers, James and John Ap Hugh, came from Wales with a party of their countrymen to this State, and the name was subsequently Anglicized into Pugh.

In 1808 David Towsend erected a mill for the manufacture of linseed oil, and one for the manufacture and spinning of cottons. He connected a store with the factory, and in 1814 was succeeded in this business by Messrs. Thomas Thorniley and Armitage, and eventually Evan and John Pugh became members. The Thornileys came from England in 179o, and to Beaver County in 1813. Septimus Sharpless started the first woolen mill in 1809, and was succeeded by Abel Towsend in 1814. In 1812 James Douglass started the manufacture of carding machines. Marsh & Stone began the manufacture of scythes in 1823, and in the year following William Blanchard engaged in the same business, running it until 1836. In 1825 William Bichbaum and E. Clark Stockton started a paper mill, which was afterwards carried on by Messrs. Johnson and Stockton. William Cannon was superintendent of this mill, and also of the general store kept in connection with it.

About 1825 a cotton factory was started by John and Evan Pugh, Hall Wilson, and Thomas Thorniley. In 1826 John Miner, M. F. Champlin, W. Porter, and B. F. Mathers began the manufacture of buckets and tubs, under patents obtained by Amos Miner, father of John Miner, in a frame building, on the site of the present Thorniley foundry property, Two years later they built what was afterwards known as the Darragh Machine Shop. In 1836 Silas Merrick became a partner, and the firm name was changed to Miner & Merrick. In 1837 the new firm built the bucket factory on the site of Blanchard's scythe factory, and afterwards built the brick factory at the head of the race, and changed the oil mill into a tub factory. This was the chief industry of the valley for a number of years. The business was sold to Bailey & McCandless in the spring of 1865, and was continued until 1871. The Miners came here from Onondaga County, N. Y.; their ancestor, Thomas Miner, having emigrated to this country from England in 163o. The Merricks were from the same county in New York, and their ancestors came from Wales in 1634. Both families first settled in New England. The Champlins came from the same county, New York, and their ancestors from France between 1600 and 1700.

In the Darragh Machine Shop, M. and S. H. Darragh operated a machine shop and foundry until a short time ago. John and J. W. Thorniley ran the same business for several years in the property yet standing, and later the Keystone Driller Company and an enameled sign concern operated there.

In the year 1828 the wire and rivet mill was established by Robert Townsend, Reese C. Townsend, Robert Beer, and John D. Baird of Pittsburg, under the style of Townsend, Baird & Co. This firm was succeeded by W. P. Townsend, son of Robert Townsend, and his sons, C. C. and E. P., in 1866, under the firm name of W. P. Townsend & Company, who in turn were succeeded in 1894 by C. C. and E. P. Townsend, the works being in existence here seventy three years. The Townsends were from Chester County, and their ancestor, Richard Townsend, came from England with William Penn in 1682.

In 1832 Joseph T. Pugh, who lived on Third Avenue, New Brighton, began the manufacture of window sash, and afterwards the manufacture of flour barrels, in partnership with John Collins. The building erected for the sash factory was used in later years for a handle factory by R. G. Phillips, and until a few years ago it was occupied by S. A. Dickey & Sons. It was torn down in 1898 to give place to the building for the Valley Electric Company.

The Fallston Academy was built in 1832, and was used for school purposes and church services, being open to all denominations. It was bought by H. M. Burns of New Brighton, in 1897, who established a lumber yard there. In 1836 M. T. and S. Kennedy began the manufacture of cabinet and wheelwright work, which was later changed into a nail keg, and afterwards into a lead keg, factory. It is still in operation under the management of the sons of the founders, largely increased and prosperous.

In 1835 a saw mill was put in operation by Charles Lukens and others, which was continuously run until 1864, when it was burned. It was succeeded by a mill erected by J. F. Miner, Hiram Platt, and David Critchlow, which was continued by this firm until 1885, and was operated after that for a few years by H. M. Bums, who leased it. It is now abandoned, its water power being used by the Valley Electric Company. In 1835 John Pugh & Company started another linseed oil mill, which, as stated above, was later changed into a tub factory by Miner & Merrick. About 1837 Richard Moreland built a flouring mill at the lower end of the race, which was later overhauled and increased by James Duncan and John Edgar & Company, who operated it a number of years, and it is now run by S. D. Kennedy & Company.


What Harris's Pittsburgh Business Directory for the year 1837 has to say about Fallston is so interesting that we copy the notice entire, retaining the original spelling, which the reader can correct by the foregoing:


This Borough is situated immediately on the Beaver river, on the Falls, about two miles from its mouth. It was incorporated by the Legislature in 1829, and contains upwards of 1,000 inhabitants; who are principally engaged in the various manufacturing operations, carried on by means of the immensely important water power here possessed. The construction of the race, by an incorporated water company, enabling them to avail themselves of the water of the Beaver to its full extent. By this water power, the following manufacturing, and other establishments, are now in operation:

Two Saw mills, one owned by Thomas Johnston, who can cut from 700,000 to 1,000,000 feet of boards annually. The other, by Charles Lukens & Co., who can cut upwards of 3,000.000 feet per annum.

John Pugh & Co.'s Oil Mill - with an Hydraulic press, where is manufactured between 6,000 and 8,000 gallons of oil, per annum.

Pugh & Bacum's Sash Factory - where Sash of all sizes and descriptions is manufactured, for the eastern and western markets.

Townsend, Beard & Co.'s Wire Manufactory - Here Wire of all sizes to the amount of sixty tons, per annum, is manufactured. This is one of the most complete and operative establishments of the kind in the Union, from whence the great valley of the Mississippi is supplied in this article.

North, Brown & Co.'s Woolen Establishment - where are made jeans, sattinets and flannels

Miner & Champlin's Bucket Factory, is a curious, interesting and extensive concern, where are manufactured about 30,000 of those neat and necessary domestic articles, so well known to every housewife.

C. C. Wolcott has a large factory for the manufacturing of jeans upon a very extensive scale, with splendid machinery unsurpassed for excellence and beauty, by any in any part of the country.

E. & J. Pugh's Flour Mill, with four run of stones, is capable of manufacturing 12,000 barrels of flour per annum.

Johnston & Stockton's Paper Mill, is in full operation, and manufactures paper to the amount of $25,000 yearly. There is also a large store attached to the mill.

R. & W. Wilson, carry on a Woolen Factory of jeans, sattinets and plain cloths.

Samuel Kennedy has an extensive Chair and Wheelwright Factory carried on by water power.

Richard M'Farland's Flour and Oil Mill, in full operation, two pair of stones running, principally employed in the country trade.

Thornby & Townsend, extensive machinists, cabinet makers and manufacturers, with six pair of carding machines.

In this place is one brick academy, which serves as a place of public worship, for various denominations, in which are kept two day and one Sabbath school.

In New Brighton, with which we are about being connected by a beautiful bridge over the Beaver, Mr. and Mrs. Leech's female academy is established, in a most charming situation, surrounded with romantic and picturesque scenery. This institution is in its infancy, but the reputation of its principals has been long established, and it bids fair to be extensively useful. Here is also published the Fallston and Brighton Gazette, edited and published by John Winter, every Saturday.

This place and the surrounding neighborhood, bids fair to be extensively increased, in consequence of the immense mineral and water advantages which it possesses.


Postmaster - E. K. Chamberlin.
Merchants - Lukens & Bons, Mendenhall & Milihouse, M. Gilliland, Julius D. Dorris. R. Warnict.
Druggist - John Winter keeps also an extensive store of general merchandise.
Physician - E. K. Chamberlin.
Boot and Shoemakers - G. Barnes & Co., Watson & Brown, Nicholas Millar.
Saddler - Jackson.
Merchant - In the village of Sharon, within the borough of Fallston, John Dickey.

During the period to which the above notice belongs, and even as early as 1830, Fallston was famous for the extent and variety of its manufactures, being the chief and almost only point of mechanical and manufacturing industry in the county, except Economy. James Patterson, in his short sketch of Beaver County history, says:

The history of manufactures in this place is very suggestive, particularly in an economical view. In 183o, and for a short time before and after that date, wool carding for the farmers was a large business of the place. The farmers would bring their wool here to be carded, and when done would take it home and spin it into yarn, and either weave it at home or bring it, which was most commonly the case, to the woolen mills to be made into goods for male and female wear. In a short time, however, they came to believe it best to sell their wool for cash, or trade in the stores for wearing apparel. This ruined the business of wool carding, and in a great degree of the woolen factories.

Nearly all the minor industries of the early period referred to by Harris have disappeared, giving place to the large and important works of the Townsends and Kennedys, in the borough, and the other plants back of the borough which have been already mentioned. There is here also the power house of the Valley Electric Company. In the period of which we have been speaking Fallston and New Brighton were closely allied in business and other relations. Nearly all the manufacturing was done on the Fallston side, but most of the owners of the concerns lived on the opposite side of the Beaver. The two places were formerly connected by a good covered wooden bridge, built in 1837 by Lathrop & LeBarron, which was swept away by the flood of 1884, and has since been replaced by a fine iron structure.


As previously stated, various denominations used the hall of the Fallston Academy for church purposes, and the religious life of the place was largely identified with that of New Brighton across the Beaver.

The fourth Episcopal church established in Beaver County was incorporated in Fallston, under the name of "St. Peter's Church, Beaver Falls," on March 2, 1843; the incorporators named being Thomas Williams, Thomas T. Reno, John Reno, George Garner, James H. Blinn, Benjamin Stevens, William Richardson, S. R. Adams, and William Hurst. A large church edifice was erected, but never finally completed, and the dispersing of the congregation by removals made the parish sink under its heavy debts until its property was sold by the sheriff, and the corporation became defunct on November 27, 1848.

This little borough has a school building which would do credit to a much larger town, and the work of the teachers is equally creditable.

Fallston has had in the past several newspapers, the history of which may be read in the chapter of this work devoted to the press.


The post office at Fallston was established June 25, 1829, when Hall Wilson was appointed postmaster. His successors have been as follows:

E. K. Chamberlin, M.D., June 3, 1833; Elihu T. Pugh, May 8, 1840; Alfred G. McCreary, Jan. 29, 1842; James Carothers, Nov. 19, 1845; Joseph McCreary, May 153, 1849; Andrew Jackson, Feb. 28, 1854; E. B. Thompson, June to, 1854; Samuel Edgar, March 29, 1855; Robert D. Cooper, June 15, 1857; Alexander G. Devenny, Aug. 7, 1879; William V. Taylor, June 14, 1880; Benjamin Franklin, Nov. 9, 1882; Mrs. S. J. Katara, April 153, 1886; Mrs. Katara having failed to qualify, Frederick Katara was appointed April 21, 1886; Benjamin Franklin. Nov. 20, 1889; Thomas J. Johnson, Sept. 25, 1890; James P. Mowry, April 12, 1899.

This office was discontinued, June 1, 1857, but was re-established on the 15th of the same month. It was discontinued again, November 6, 1860, but soon after re-established.


The population of Fallston in 1843 is given in Day's Historical Collections, published in that year, at 865. In 1890 it was 629, and by the United States Census of 1900 it was 549.


By an Act of Assembly, approved March 19, 1829, the village of Fallston was incorporated into a borough. At the November term of the Beaver County Court, 1854, a petition signed by Joseph Thompson, burgess, John Jackson, G. N. Taylor, James Duncan, James Beacom, Samuel Kennedy, Albin Coats, and Andrew Jackson, was presented, asking that Fallston borough should be made subject to the provisions of the Act of April 3, 1851, relating to boroughs. The decree, granting the prayer of the petition, was made November 30, 1854.

Return to [ PA History ] [ History at Rays Place ] [ Rays Place ]

All pages copyright 2003-2012. All items on this site are copyrighted by their author(s). These pages may be linked to but not used on another web site. Anyone may copy and use the information provided here freely for personal use only. Privacy Policy