FREEDOM is one of the thriving little towns of the Beaver Valley, a mile or so up the Ohio, above the mouth
of the Big Beaver, and almost adjoining its neighboring borough of Rochester. It is built on a narrow flat along
the Ohio, and on the hillsides, and, from the peculiarity of its situation, is one of the most picturesque towns
on the river. From its upper levels is afforded an almost unrivaled panoramic view of the Ohio at the majestic
bend where its course, after having been northwestward all the way from Pittsburg, suddenly turns to the southwest.
And a night view from the hills above Freedom is a thing long to be remembered. Looking up and down the river,
from Rochester below to the Conway railway yards above, the spectator beholds a bewildering maze of tracks, with
moving trains and an infinity of many colored lights. It is well worth while to climb the bill for the pleasure
of this view, and often while standing there has the writer recalled Mark Twain's phrase, descriptive of a similar
scene at Heidelberg, Germany: "A fallen Milky Way, with that glittering railway constellation pinned to the
History is a chain of causes and consequences, and events are strangely linked together. Diedrich Knickerbocker
begins his History of New York with the creation of the world. We need not go so far back in writing the history
of Freedom, but we must look back to Germany in the latter part of 1831. In October of that year Bernard Muller,
having assumed in the Fatherland the style and title of Count Maximilian de Leon, emigrated to America, and with
about forty of his followers joined himself to the Harmony Society. Dissension arising between him and the leaders
of the society, he, with one third of the members, withdrew, and purchased from the owners of Phillipsburg the
lands on which that town stood. This necessitated the removal of the large boat yards there to another location,
and the present site of Freedom was determined on, where, with other advantages, the depth of the water was more
favorable to the launching of the completed craft.
Stephen Phillips and Jonathan Betz, partners at Phillipsburg, immediately purchased from General Abner Lacock 101
acres of land for $2000, for the purpose of building a town and new boat yards. The firm was soon changed to Phillips
& Graham, and the new enterprise was pushed to completion; with what despatch may be seen from the following
extract, taken from the Beaver Argus, May, 1832:
Rapid Work. - Messrs. Phillips & Graham purchased a tract of land from Gen. Abner Lacock, on the Ohio river,
on Monday of last week, laid out a town on Tuesday, and built fourteen houses in four succeeding days. At this
place they intend establishing their ship yard.
The original village of Freedom was surveyed and plotted by Simon Meredith, the streets, alleys, and lots being
all located with special reference to the only business of the village, that of steamboat building.
The boundary lines of the first purchase made by the firm named above began at a post on the bank of the Ohio River,
near where the warehouse of the Freedom Oil Refinery now stands. Thence they ran north and east, including the
upper tier of lots fronting on High Street; thence east and south along said line of lots to a point back of the
stone house, near the present residence of Captain Abram McDonald; thence south and west to the Ohio River, at
a point near the steamboat landing; thence west to the place of beginning.
An additional purchase of 39 acres was made, by the same parties from William Vicary for $2500. The lines of this
purchase were as follows:
Beginning at a post on the bank of the Ohio river, near the steamboat landing and extending along the line common
to the tracts of Lacock and Vicary, to the rear end of lots fronting on High street; thence east to Dutchman's
Run; thence by the meanders of said run to the Ohio River; thence west to the place of beginning.
None of the cross streets extended to the river except Betz Street, to the steamboat landing, and Vicary Street.
Independence and Liberty streets terminated at the line of the boatyard. Wolf Alley skirted the lower end of lots
fronting on Main Street, and extended from Liberty to Vicary Street, where the railroad is now located.
In 1832 a number of families came over from Phillipsburg and settled in Freedom. About one hundred and fifty people
first located there, and the place grew rapidly. The houses referred to in the extract from the Argus given above,
were only rude board shanties. Hence Freedom was at first called "Shanty Town."
Into these one roomed buildings the first settlers moved. Some doubt exists as to the first frame building erected
in the village, but tradition seems to settle on the shoeshop erected by Samuel Furnier, who also erected the first
hotel, which was a brick. The lots were sold, as selected by purchasers, except that lots one and two fronting
on Main and Independence streets were reserved for the blacksmiths, Samuel S. Coulter and Thomas G. Kerr, and they
decided who should have the corner by casting lots, when the corner fell to T. G. Kerr. In selecting locations,
Jonathan Betz built on the southwest corner of Main and Betz streets. Stephen Phillips built on the southeast corner;
and Daniel S. Skillinger built on the northeast corner. Samuel Further purchased and improved the lots on the northeast
and southeast corners of Main and Independence streets. John Graham selected and built on the southwest corner
of Main and Liberty streets. Philip Bentel purchased and improved the southeast corner. James McDonnell located
and built on the northeast corner, and Wm. P. Phillips built on the northwest corner. John W. Snead erected what
is known as "the stone tavern," on Main Street, which still stands much as it was when built. Some idea
of the valuation of lots may be had by the fact that in 1841 vacant lots were valued at $75 each for borough taxation.
Cows were rated at from $4 to $14 each, and horses from $4 to $35 each.
The steamboat yard, which began at the western end of the town and extended to Betz Street at its eastern extremity,
included all the land from the rear end of lots fronting on Main Street, and from Wolf Alley to the Ohio River,
and embraced three acres of ground which, with its buildings exclusive of the steam saw mill, was valued at $638
for purposes of taxing. The saw mill was valued at $960 for taxing. It would seem that but one man in the borough
at that time was able or inclined to carry a gold watch, and that was Stephen Phillips, whose gold lever watch
was valued at $100. At that date John W. Snead must have been, financially, one of the important personages of
the town, as his taxes in 1841 amounted to $11.33; while Robert Lutton, on the other hand, paid but six cents.
In that year Phillips and Betz were taxed for fifty two vacant lots, valued at $1650, or $31.73 each. The descendants
of Jacob Kronk, Adam Graham, Samuel Furnier, John A. Brown, John Graham, and Charles Graham continue to occupy
the lots originally taken by them. William Hall, eldest son of Joseph and Matilda Hall, was the first child born
in Freedom. Large families, as a rule, were reared by these early settlers, many of whom still survive, and are
widely scattered from the Atlantic to the Pacific and through the South. In 1833 Freedom contained forty dwellings,
forty seven families, and about 320 inhabitants. In 1837 there were one hundred houses, and the population had
increased to 600.
Freedom was incorporated, April 16, 1838. At the June session of the court, 1856, Samuel Baker, burgess, and
the council., consisting of D. S. Marquis, M.D., James McKee, James Van Kirk, Christian Holland, and R. H. Hall,
presented to the court a petition to have the borough placed under the provisions of the Act of Assembly of April
3, 1851, and the petition was granted.
In the year 1832 Phillips & Betz must have dissolved their copartnership, as in that year Stephen Phillips
and John Graham formed a copartnership in the building of steamboats. This firm was succeeded by Abel Coffin in
the same business, and this by "the Freedom Boat Building Society." The firm of Charles Graham &
Company, composed of Chas. Graham, Robert McCaskey, and Thomas G. Kerr, next succeeded to the business; and this
firm was followed by that of McCaskey & Kerr. This firm was continued for thirty eight years, until the death
of Robert McCaskey, when, by agreement, the business was continued under the same firm name, rounding out the full
forty years. This firm was succeeded by W. H. Brown's Sons: they by Spear & Company; and the latter by Dunbar
& Sons, which ended the business in the original boat yard. John Graham and George Rogers, under the firm name
of Graham & Rogers, conducted the business of boat building for a time above the landing. James A. Sholes &
Company built and operated a steam saw mill above the landing, and conducted the business of a planing mill and
lumber yard. John Baker & Company had a large shop for the manufacturing of steam engines on the southeast
corner of Vicary Street, facing the river, and had a large foundry on the corner of Wolf Alley and Vicary Street.
Andrew Baird & Company succeeded to this business in these buildings, and operated quite extensively, employing
many workmen; and many steamboats were supplied with engines by this firm. Donovan & Company became the successors,
and established an extensive stove foundry for the manufacture of cooking and heating stoves. This firm also did
a large business, employing many men.
McKee & Company succeeded, and established a wagon manufactory. They manufactured extensively, and shipped
their goods largely to the south and west. This firm gave employment to a large number of men, and contributed
much to the business prosperity of the town. Business faunally closed there in the abandonment of the site by the
present coffin manufactory. (See below, Freedom Casket Company.)
Jacob Stahl operated a distillery and grist mill near Dutchman's Run, on Main Street.
Among the early merchants (1837 to 1841) were Phillips & McConnel, Stiles & Fisher, Phillip Bentel, John
Denham, John W. Snead, Benjamin Brown, and Benvilie Brown.
Their stores contained a varied stock of dry goods, groceries, hardware, queensware, boots and shoes, hats and
caps, notions, farm products, tobacco and cigars, butter and eggs, nails, glass, putty, white lead and oils, in
short, a little of everything needed by their customers. The prices asked for various articles were "a fip,
a levy, and three fips, or two bits."
Harris's Directory of Freedom for 1841 shows the following persons holding borough offices at that time, and the
business interests of the town.
Burgess - Henry Bryan. Council - William P. Phillips, Robert McCaskey, Joseph Hall, Isaac Ingraham, and Jacob Stahl;
with E. G. Dubarry as clerk. Constable - Thomas Sutton. Physicians - Drs. T. F. Robinson, William Smith, and Thomas
Dickson. Hotel keepers - Anthony Windham, S. B. Linn, J. A. Williamson, at Crow's Bottom; J. Young, Swan Inn; John
W. Snead, Freedom Hotel; Samuel Turner. Ship Carpenters - William P. Phillips, Robert McCaskey, Joseph Hall, Adam
Graham, C. Graham, John Graham, J. Betz, S. Phillips, Sr., W. Merriman, J. Shearer, Phillip Hoover & Sons,
Daniel Skillinger & Sons, S. Phillips, Jr., J. A. Brown, Daniel Graham, Simon Gritz, William Woods, Robert
French, George Stoops, Joseph Grimes, Andrew Woods, Thomas Crooks, Robert Hall, and Isaac Grimes. Carpenters -
John Hamilton, Isaac Ingraham, Phillip Stetsell. Blacksmiths - Samuel Coulter, H. C. Grant, R. Wagoner, N. P. Kerr.
Engine builders - E. G. Dubarry, John D. Eakin, Charles Anderson. Wagon makers - John Andrews, Jacob Schoffieberger,
Israel Bentel. Farmers - Philip Weary, A. Hall, Philip Grimes. Tailors - Richard Hall, F. Shoemaker. Shoemakers
- Christian Holland, Jacob and John Hill. Gunsmiths - Joseph Graham, Andrew Emery & Co. Engineer - Woolman
Hunt. Cabinet maker - John C. Shoal. Millwright - C. Myers. Stonemasons - Jacob Krout, David Martin. Sea Captain
- William Vicary. Pilot - James A. Sholes.
The first justice of the peace was James McConnel who was succeeded by Martin Fisher, and he by Thomas G. Kerr,
whose ten commissions as justice of the peace covered half a century, ands he lived to almost complete his last
commission, having been the longest in commission, perhaps, of any one in Beaver County. Henry Bryan also served
several years in that office.
The post office, established with the town, has been served as follows, viz:
1832, Stephen Phillips and James McConnel; 1836, Dr. Wm. Smith; 1840, Dr. T. F. Robinson; 1844, Henry Bryan; 1845,
Friederich Schumacher. Wm. P. Phillips was postmaster in 1850, John Graham in 1854, W. W. Kerr, in 1858, and W.
D. Fisher, 1871; Thomas C. Kerr, 1880; Francis M. Grim, 1886; James L. Conner, 1890; William G. Jack, 1894; William
D. Hamilton, 1898-1904.
At the corner of Virtue and Betz streets, where the Evangelical Association Church now stands, was a small frame
schoolhouse, in which English and German schools were taught, and here also the first Sunday schools of the town
were organized. In this building also the first preaching services enjoyed by the people were established, it being
occupied alternately by the ministers of the Presbyterian and the Methodist Episcopal churches.
Presbyterian Church. - The territory now included within the bounds of the Presbyterian Church of Freedom was
originally under the care of the pastors and session of the church in Beaver, and, prior to the year 1841, public
preaching and other means of grace were occasionally enjoyed in the village of Freedom, through the ministrations
of Andrew O. Patterson and Anderson B. Quay, pastors, in succession, of the church in Beaver; and of Aaron Williams,
formerly pastor of the church in Beaver Falls.
Early in the summer of the year 1841, Joseph Reed, formerly pastor of the church of Hilands, Ohio Presbytery, commenced
preaching statedly in the village and neighborhood of Freedom.
In the same year, in the month of September, the congregation of Freedom, through their commissioner, presented
to the Presbytery of Beaver, then in session at New Brighton, a request to be organized into a separate church.
In compliance with this request a committee, consisting of Rev. Messrs Robert Dilworth, Arthur B. Bradford, and
Benjamin C. Critchlow, was appointed, with instructions to visit the scene of Mr. Reed's labors, and organize,
if they should think proper, a church at Freedom.
On the 10th day of November, 1841, this committee met, but they found only one male Presbyterian church member
at Freedom, and for this and other reasons failed to organize there.
During the time then intervening Mr. Reed died, and a licentiate, Washington Morton, was instructed to labor with
Another request then came from Freedom to be organized into a separate church, with the assurance that there had
been an increase in male church members.
A committee was appointed, consisting of Messrs. Benjamin C. Critchlow, Arthur B. Bradford, and Elder James Cummings,
to visit the congregation and, if practicable, to organize the church. This committee met with the congregation,
May 9, 1843, and, it having been ascertained that the way was then open for the organization of a church, the following
persons presented letters of dismission from the churches of Concord and Pine Creek, namely: Rosetta Hardy, Anne
Wagoner, Frances McCaskey, Mary Beatty, Joseph Hall, Elizabeth Wagoner, Matilda Hall, Mary Anderson, Elizabeth
Gonter, Robert Hall, Isabella Hall, Michael Bubler, Anne Bryan, Rhoda Phillips, Robert Wagoner, from Concord; Daniel
Miller, Hannah Miller, James Miller, from Pine Creek, eighteen in all.
Two persons were chosen to fill the office of ruling elder, viz., Joseph Hall and Daniel Miller, who were ordained
by Mr. Critchlow, after which the Presbyterian Church of Freedom was declared to be fully organized.
The first building erected by this congregation as a house of worship was of brick, 50 by 40 feet, with 18 inch
walls. It contained fifty four pews.
The Sabbath school was organized, February 4, 1844, with thirty nine members. Rev. D. C. Reed was the first pastor,
1887-89. Then followed John. Brown, 1851-61; D. P. Lowary, 1863-65; James M. Smith, 1867-72; M. L. Wortman, 1872-80;
W. G. Stewart, 1883-87; J. H. Bausman, 1887-89; R. L. Smith, 1889-1901; Percy H. Gordon, the present pastor, was
called July 2, 1901, and installed September 26, 1901; beginning full time at Freedom, January 1, 1903. The following
ministers supplied the church at intervals, but were not installed as pastors: John Launitz, 1865-66; William McKinney,
1865-66; R. B. Porter, 1881-82; D. L. Dickey, 1882-83.
The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized by Rev. Joshua Monroe in 1836, in the public schoolhouse, and continued
to hold its religious services in that building until the completion of the basement story of their present church
building. The site of their church building and grounds was donated by Phillips & Graham, and the church building
was erected under the supervision and during the pastorate of Rev. Peter M. McGowan. It was dedicated in 1842.
The actual cost of the building cannot now be accurately given, as much of the work done was donated, and the chief
outlay was for materials used. Even this was reduced to a minimum. During a sudden rise in the Ohio River several
of the men connected with this congregation went out in skiffs and caught a sufficient number of pine logs that
were adrift in the river, to furnish the material with which to build their church. They secured permission to
use the saw mill, and after working all day at their trades, several of the men would go to the mill, and by the
light of tallow candles would run the mill until midnight, sawing out the lumber for their church. Then, while
the building was being erected, men unused to carpentry would work until midnight, dressing out flooring by hand,
laying floors and dressing lumber for inside finishing, and the making of the pews. Thus by sacrifice and devotion
to the cause in which they were greatly interested, the work was at length completed.
The first board of trustees consisted of Martin Fisher, Samuel Further, Thomas G. Kerr, James McConnel, Daniel
Graham, and Thomas Lutton.
Prominent among the names of those who were instrumental in the organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church
in Freedom, we find the names of Jonathan Betz, Samuel Furnier, Martin Fisher, James McConnel, Samuel S. Coulter,
Daniel S. Skillinger, Thomas G. Kerr, Thomas Crooks, Thomas Lutton, Robert French, Thomas Reno, Woolman Hunt, Jacob
Kronk, John W. Snead, Charles Graham, Daniel Graham, Simon Grim, Hugh S. Robinson, Stephen Phillips, William Merriman,
John Folio, James Stoops, Gideon Kinnear, William White, Joseph Craig, R. H. McCaskey, Enoch Fowler, James Beabout,
and in each case the wives of these men bore an active and conspicuous part.
From this church there have gone forth as ministers of the gospel: N. P. Kerr, Henry Tibbals, L. U. Snead, John
R. Wolf, John Fresh, and perhaps others.
Early preachers in this church were Gideon Kinnear, Joshua Monroe, William F. Lauck, J. W. Baker, and others. Later
ministers have been John McCarthy, E. B. Webster, E. M. Wood, Thomas Storer, John Conner, D. L. Dempsey, 188o;
Josiah Mansell, 1881-82; J. J. Hill, 1883; D. L. Dempsey, 1884; E. B. Griffin, 1885-86; W. L. McGrew, 1887-88;
E. M. Wood, 1889; M. G. Potter, 1890-91; J. D. W. Hazelton, 1892-94; Frank Prosser, 1895-97; A. H. Davies, 1898-1900;
J. K. Howe, 1890-.
The Evangelical Association. - This church was about sixty years ago a mission station in the Harmony circuit,
and may be said to have then had its birth. Its present building was erected about 1890, during the pastorate of
G. Bahr. Since the organization of the Erie Conference the following ministers have served the congregation: L.
Scheuerman, Th. Suhr, G. Getz (twice), C. Walz, H. Wiegand, G. Ott, C. F. Hartung, G. Gahr, J. G. Ziegler, Fr.
Handke, S. C. Getz, J. G. Walz, J. A. Hatched, Th. Gahr, J. Finkbeiner, J. Hoffman, C. Holliger, and again J. Hoffman.
St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church of Freedom, Pa., was organized as the First German congregation of Freedom
and vicinity in the year 1848 by Rev. E. F. Winter of Zelienople, Pa. The services were held in the old schoolhouse
in the borough of Freedom up to December 1, 1851, when the present church edifice was dedicated. On March 26, 1853,
a constitution was adopted and signed by thirty nine male and thirty seven female members. Among the original signers
were the following, who are at this writing still active members of this church; Elias Mengel, John Mengel, John
Ruckert, Fredrick Kornmann, and Conrad Schleiter, Sr. In the course of time the constitution has undergone various
changes, the most important of these being the introduction of the English language, which was previously debarred
from the business as well as the religious meetings. German is retained in the chief service; while the Sunday
school, the evening services, Mission League, etc., are now conducted in English. The following pastors have served
this church: Rev. E. F. Winter, 1848-58; H. C. Kehler, 1858-61; Casper Scheel, 1861-64; K. Walz, 1864-67; C. A.
Frank, 1867-70; P. Born, 1870-76; F. C. E. Lemcke, 1876-1902. The present pastor is Rev. Paul Kummer of Leetsdale,
Pa. The Rev. M. R. Smith of Baden, Pa., holds alternate Sunday evening services. Mr. Edward Schleiter is the superintendent
of the Sunday-school. The church council is composed of Rev. P. Kummer, president, Mr. Elmer Mengel, secretary;
J. A. Mengel, treasurer; trustees: Elias Mengel, John Mengel, John Ruckert, Edward Schleiter, Michael Zahn, Jacob
Metzger. The membership at present is sixty, and while the growth is slow it is healthy. Most of the members are
among the substantial and best-known citizens of Freedom and vicinity.
Trinity Lutheran Church, in what was formerly St. Clair, now Freedom, was organized October 24, 1869, with the
following charter members: Conrad Brandt, John Minke, Peter Klein, John Hagen, Conrad Schleiter, Henry Minke, Chas.
Bischoffberger, Jacob Brandt, Chas. L. Mohr, Geo. H. Mohr, and John C. Brandt.
Services were held at the residence of Conrad Brandt in St. Clair borough, by Rev. C. A. Frank, who was the first
minister of the congregation.
A lot was purchased from Thos. F. Robinson for the sum of $250, January 8, 1870, and the erection of the church
building thereon was completed at a cost of $1860.37. The church was dedicated, July 24, 1870. At this time there
remained a debt against the church building of $640, which was paid a few years later. Rev. Jacob Wilhelm officiated
as pastor from /872 to 1874, Mr. Frank having been called to Pittsburg. Mr. Wilhelm was succeeded by Rev. Otto
Von Zech, who served until January, /875. being succeeded by Rev. G. J. Mueller, who served faithfully until called
to a Western congregation in the year 1879. During the vacancy the congregation was served by the Rev. F. Wambsgans
of Allegheny City, until 880, when it was again supplied with a resident pastor in the person of Rev. P. Pohl,
who remained until 1882. From this date until 1888, the congregation secured the services of Rev. F. Wambsgans
of Allegheny City. who officiated as pastor both in Allegheny City and Freedom. In 1888 the pastor was called to
Indianapolis, and was succeeded by Revs. S. M. Soergel and A. W. Myer of Pittsburg; and from this time English
and German services were conducted alternately, Mr. Myer conducting the English, and Mr. Soergel the German services.
Mr. Soergel served until 1894, when he was called to a congregation in the East, and was succeeded by Rev. Mr.
Wishmeyer of Allegheny City. The following year, 1895, the congregation celebrated the twenty fifth anniversary
of the dedication of the church building. About this time the English pastor, Mr. Myer, was called to take charge
of one of the Lutheran colleges in the West, and he was succeeded by Rev. Mr. Hernmeter, who served with Mr. Wishmeyer
until 1897, when Rev. John Schiller of Baltimore was called as pastor, to conduct both German and English services,
and served until 1903, when he was called to a congregation in New York City. The vacancy at present is being filled
temporarily by Rev. Henry Seiker of Pittsburg.
The Trinity Lutheran Church (English). - The opening and extension of the Conway railroad yards drew a large number
of members from the Crow's Run congregation to Vicary (now a part of Freedom). These members asked for services
with the idea of the establishment of a congregation as soon as circumstances would permit. Permission having been
obtained from the school board for the use of the schoolhouse there, service was held in Vicary on February 15,
1891. The attendance was so encouraging and the desire to organize a congregation so hearty, that after a full
explanation of the trials which would naturally result to a weak and struggling organization, all were willing
to begin the work. On the 8th of November, 1891, the congregation was organized with eleven members. The offer
to donate a building lot by Mr. and Mrs. James Harvey was thankfully accepted; and on the fifth day of September,
1892, ground was broken for the erection of a church building. On the 2d day of October, 1892, the corner stone
was laid with appropriate ceremonies. On March 26, 1893, the first service was held in the church. August 20, 1893,
the church was dedicated, the Rev. S. A. K. Francis of Trinity Church, Philadelphia, Pa., preaching the sermon.
The first and present pastor is the Rev. R. Morris Smith.
The common schools of Freedom are excellent. There has recently been erected a large public school building
which is among the best in the county.
The Freedom National Bank. - A meeting was held in Freedom, Pa., January 19, 1872, at the office of Philip Bentel,
for the purpose of forming a company for carrying on a general banking business.
A company was formed, composed of the following stockholders: Philip Bentel, Charles H. Bentel, Jno. F. Bentel,
J. G. Bentel, D. E. Lowry, Abram McDonald, J. F. Mueller, Jno. B. Cheney, W. E. Cotter, W. C. Goll, Tobias Hetchie,
Simon Grim, and Jno. Minke.
The bank was to be known as P. Bentel & Company, and the business was to be under the supervision and management
of Philip Bentel as president, and C. H. Bentel, cashier.
The capital stock of the bank was $40,000.
The bank was opened for business on the first day of February, 1872, and continued under the management of the
same parties until about 1877 or 1878, when the rest of the stockholders were bought out by Philip Bentel.
The business was carried on by Philip and Charles H. Bentel as before, until the death of Philip Bentel, June 30,
1883. Charles H. Bentel then became sole owner and so continued until July 2, 1900, when the bank was merged into
a National Bank known as the Freedom National Bank, with a capital of $50,000, and the following officers: Jos.
W. Craig, president; A. J. Minke, vice president; Chas. H. Bentel, cashier; H. F. Linnenbrink, teller; and Jos.
W. Craig, Dr. J. R. Lockhart, C. H. Bentel, A. Blatt, A. McDonald, A. J. Minke, D. J. Snead, Jas. A. Harvey, and
J. J. McElhany, directors. At the call of November, 7903, this bank had a deposit of $248,610.
The Freedom Savings & Trust Company was chartered June 15, 1903, and opened for business in its permanent quarters,
October 19, 1903. The capitalization is $125,000, and practically all of the stock is owned by residents of the
vicinity. The directors are E. J. Schleiter, H. J. Bock, S. Morgan, R. D. Thompson, W. T. Molder, John McAndrews,
J. B. Hetche, J. R. McKee, and M. J. Beal of Freedom; H. W. Reeves of Beaver Falls; Edwin S. Weyand of Beaver;
James C. Chaplin of Pittsburg, M. L. Strock of Baden, and Charles R. Eckert of Monaca. Mr. Schlepper is president;
Mr. Chaplin, vice president; Robert C. Campbell, secretary and assistant treasurer.
MANUFACTURING CONCERNS OF THE PRESENT DAY
The Freedom Oil Works Company, organized, 1879, by Drs. Stephen A. Craig and H. S. McConnel, built a refinery
at Remington, now Conway. This property was sold to the Pennsylvania Company in 1883, and a refinery built at its
present location by S. A. Craig, H. S. McConnel, and A. J. Minke. Messrs. Craig & McConnel retiring during
the next three years, the business was continued by A. J. Minke.
In 1889 the Freedom Oil Works Company was incorporated under the laws of Pennsylvania. Its officers are: Jos. W.
Craig, president; A. J. Minke, vice president; W. H. Baker, secretary and treasurer.
The company has distributing stations and offices at the following places in Pennsylvania: Beaver Falls, Braddock,
Carnegie, Connellsville, DuBois, Greensburg, Johnstown, McKeesport, Mt. Pleasant, New Castle, New Kensington, Pine
Grove, Pittsburg, Punxsutawney, Scottdale, Sharon, Uniontown; in Ohio at Canton, East Liverpool, Massillon, Newark,
Salem, Springfield, Steubenville, Warren, Wellsville, Youngstown; and at Wheeling, W. Va.
The Freedom Casket Company. - April 1, 1889, the Craig Manufacturing Company was organized by J. A. Harvey, D.
C. Harvey, S. A. Craig, M.D., and F. S. Craig as a partnership. The firm manufactured cloth caskets, robes and
linings, and jobbed a full line of goods adapted to the undertaking trade. On the death of Dr. S. A. Craig, his
interest was purchased by the firm, January 1, 1894; and, June 15, 1895, F. L. Wilson purchased the interest of
F. S. Craig, who was compelled to retire from business on account of ill health. The business of the Craig Manufacturing
Company increased rapidly, and finding their surroundings too contracted for the needs of the firm they determined
to enlarge the plant. On the 28th of June, 1901, they were incorporated as The Freedom Casket Company, with a capital
stock of $75,000, $60,000 of which was paid in. The increased capital was used in the erection of new buildings,
which were begun in the fall of 1901. They erected two brick buildings, one of three stories and one of two stories
with a basement, having now a floor space of about 35,00o square feet. The firm has three salesmen covering the
States of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, and West Virginia, and its sales amount to about $60,000 annually. The
officers of the company are: J. A. Harvey, president; D. C. Harvey, vice president; and F. L. Wilson, secretary
treasurer. The plant of this company is one of the completest in the State.
Artificial Ice Plant. - This was built in 1898, by John C. McWilliams. The site of the plant is on Eighth Street,
extending back to Dutchman's Run. The ice is made from condensed water, the system used being that which employs
cold calcium brine. When started the daily output was about six tons, and is now eight tons. Mr. McWilliams has
delivery wagons running in Rochester, Freedom, and Baden.
OAK GROVE CEMETERY
The Oak Grove Cemetery of Freedom was incorporated the 14th day of March, 1863, with the following trustees:
Robert McCaskey, P. Bentel, Wm. Wagner, A. McDonald, J. I. Park, and Isaac Black. After the charter was procured
and a board of trustees organized by electing Robt. McCaskey, president; Isaac Black, secretary; and Philip Bentel,
treasurer, it was agreed to purchase a piece of ground from Dr. T. F. Robinson. The purchase was made October 19,
1863, the plot consisting of four acres of ground, for which they paid $403. In 1874 nearly all the lots in the
cemetery being sold, the trustees bought three acres for which they paid $300 an acre. In February, 1890, they
bought three acres more at the same price. The present trustees are D. E. Lowry, A. McDonald, C. H. Betel, W. G.
Jack, Jas. Manor, and F. G. Duerr, who have been reelected to the office each year, for over twenty years.
ST. CLAIR BOROUGH
This borough has no longer a corporate existence, having been merged in 1896 into Freedom borough, from which
it was only separated by a small run, and with which it was for all practical purposes one town. Its post office
had always been Freedom, and its social and business interests were always identical with those of Freedom. The
village of St. Clair had been laid out in 1837 by Captain William Vicary, and was often called "Vicarv Extension,"
or "Vicary." It was incorporated as a borough by a decree of the court, March 25, 1867. The first election
was held, April 20, 1867, with Jonathan Paul as judge, and James Reed and James Harkins, inspectors. Its population
by the census of 1890 was 411; that of Freedom by the same census was 704. The united boroughs are shown by the
census of 1900 to have a population of 1783. The union of the two boroughs was by a charter of incorporation issued
by the Governor of Pennsylvania, May 4, 1896, under the Act of June 6, 1893