History of Monica 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


MONACA, the principal town of the south side of Beaver County, is in the northern part of Moon township, and lies at the extreme northern point of the great bend which the Ohio River makes in its course from Pittsburg. It is beautifully situated on a broad plateau overlooking the river, with an ideal location for building. Nature seems to have designed this spot for a large town, and the citizens of Monaca have every confidence that a city is destined to grow there. For many years the growth of the town was slow, as it was cut off from the northern and more thickly settled part of the county by the river, which could only be crossed by a ferry. But with the construction of the Pittsburg & Lake Erie Railroad in 1877 communication was made with Pittsburg, the great centre of population to the south, and the river was spanned to Beaver, giving access to that place and the upper valley towns, while the erection of the Ohio River suspension bridge in 1895 connected Monaca with Rochester. An extension of the Beaver Valley Traction Street Railway Company's lines across this bridge was a later improvement, which hags added much to the comfort and convenience of the people on both sides of the river.

The first white settler at what is now Monaca is said to have been a Polish nobleman named Helvedi, who was exiled from his native land and, emigrating to America, came to this place and engaged in breeding Merino sheep, being the original importer of this valuable breed into this section.

The origin of the town dates back to about 1822, when Phillips & Graham established on its site their extensive boat yards. It was first named for Stephen Phillips of this firm, and was long known as Phillipsburg. In 1832 Phillips & Graham sold the entire tract of land on which the town was located to the seceders from the Harmony Society at Economy, and removed their boat yards to what is now Freedom, about one mile above and on the opposite side of the river.

The secession from the Harmony Society took place as a result of the differences which arose in that society between the founder, George Rapp, and an adventurer from Germany named Count de Leon.2 De Leon and his adherents, numbering some two hundred and fifty persons. removed to Phillipsburg, which they had purchased with the money obtained in a compromise with the leaders of the Harmony Society. Here they established a colony under the name of the New Philadelphia Society, erecting a church, a hotel, and other buildings, some of which are still standing. The count was made president of the new society, to be aided by twelve trustees.

Financial and other difficulties arose in the society in the lapse of about seventeen months, and a dissolution was decided upon. The following notice was published:


The undersigned, members of the New Philadelphia Society at Phillipsburg, in the county of Beaver and commonwealth of Pennsylvania, have been authorized by said society to give public notice of the dissolution of their partnership. The public will therefore take notice that the partnership heretofore existing in Phillipsburg aforesaid, and transacting business under the title of the New Philadelphia Society, has this day been dissolved by mutual consent. All persons having claims against said partnership are hereby requested to present the same for settlement; and those indebted to said company are required to make payment to Abner Lacock, Stephen Phillips and Adam Schule, who are fully authorized to settle and adjust the accounts of said partnership.

Given under our hands this loth day of August, A.D., 1833.
Maximilian de Leon,
Samuel G. Goentgen,
John A. Zickwolf,
Jacob Wagner,
John Schaefer,
Anthony Knapper.

The following month, the count and his family, with a number of followers, sailed down the Ohio River on a flat boat and settled at Leo Grand de Cour, twelve miles north of Natchitoches, Louisiana; and there, in October, 1834, the count died and was buried. The descendants of his company remained in that State, in the parish of Claiborne, where some still survive The members of the society who remained in Phillipsburg carried on for some time a co-operative business, but this was soon dissolved, and each individual composing the company set up in life for himself in harmony with the general practice of the people about them. Some of the most highly respected, influential, and useful families of Monaca, such as the Wagners, Schaefers, Trompeters, Stroheckers, and Franks are from this community.

A remarkable instance of religious fanaticism is given in an occurrence which took place here in the spring of 1846, when a man from Ohio, named Keil, proclaimed himself as the Christ, and announced that he would be crucified on a certain day. This man was in no way connected with Count de Leon, though the popular tradition has always represented him as one of the followers of that celebrity. The crucifixion was actually arranged for in all its details, the cross being made and the hole for it dug on the hillside just above the present P. & L. E. Railway trestle, to the west of the town, on the farm of George Frank, now of the estate of Dr. W. G. Taylor's heirs. It was on a warm Sunday morning, the town was crowded with people, and the excitement was intense. But the false Christ disappointed the multitude, and, with some of his deluded disciples, who had been seceders from the Harmony Society, fled to Oregon, where he died.

Several large buildings which had been erected by the New Philadelphia Society were, in 1848, sold to Dr. Edward Acker for a sanatorium, known as Water Cure, which flourished for a time under his management, and was afterwards carried on by Dr. Baeltz. Later these buildings were used for a hotel and pleasure resort kept by a man named Cinñotti, and in 1865 they were bought by Rev. William G. Taylor, D.D., for housing the Soldiers' Orphans School, which he was then about establishing at Phillipsburg.

This school was the first of the kind under State appointment in the western part of Pennsylvania, and was organized by Dr. Taylor under appointment from Governor Andrew G. Curtin. It was put in operation in March, 1866, and continued successfully until 1876, new buildings being added and large purchases of ground being made at various periods; but in August of the latter year the main building was accidentally destroyed by fire, and it was not thought advisable to rebuild. The scholars were transferred to other institutions, and the school ended its career.


We have said that the name New Philadelphia in part and for a time displaced the original name of this place, Phillipsburg, but seven years after the dissolution of the society the town was incorporated into a borough under the latter and primitive name: A petition praying for this incorporation was presented at the September term of court in 1839 2 by Jacob Schaefer, Adam Schule, and others, a plan of the town accompanying the petition. The petition was approved by the grand jury, Major Robert Darragh, foreman; and the decree was made by the court, March 6, 1840. The following first Monday of April the first borough election was held in the tavern of William Stumm. January 26, 1880, by virtue of a decree of the Court of Quarter Sessions, the borough of Phillipsburg was made subject to the provisions of the Act of April 3, 1851, relating to boroughs. September 20, 1892, the corporate name of the borough was changed to Monaca. This was done partly to obviate the confusion arising from the fact that there is another town in the State having the name of Philipsburg.

Harris's Directory gives the names of citizens of this place in 1841, with their occupations, as follows:

Merchants - Anthony Knapper, Israel Bentel. Carpenters - John Bell, Henry Sunk, John Trompeter, Casper Koehler, George Voght, David Lais (Lay), Henry Young. Farmers - J. Strohecker, Francis Bonet, Jacob Barker, Jacob Grain, C. Frank, George Frank, Daniel Voght, Frederick Speyerer. Blacksmiths - Bernard Zeigler, George Zeigler, David Wagner, Jacob Veiginger, Simon Wagner. Shoemakers - George Schnauffer, Adam Keller, George Lais (Lay), Tersius Kramer. Hotelkeepers - George N. Fisher, "76 Hotel," Peter Stupp. Millwrights - Michael Forstner, George Forstner. Weavers - George Reiff, Jacob Duer. Physician - Edward Acker. Coopers - Jacob Sanders, M. Faut, Andrew Faut. Laborers - Jacob Miner, Jacob Voght. Blue Dyers - Jacob Schaefer, Charles Schmalhausen. Bricklayers - Rheinhold Frank, August Schmidt, Christian Authenriet. Tailors - Reinmund Gann, Francis Zeigler. Wool Grader - Jacob Wagner. Miller - A. Schule. Wheelwright - John Bauer. Brickmaker - Jacob Koenig. Wool Carder - Frederick Speyerer. Surveyor - Charles Kramer. Tinner - Christian Smith. Sawyer - W. Horman. Ferryman - John Rainbow [Rambo.?]. Butcher - John Schamburgher. Barbers-Alexander Gempill, Joseph Kreg, Conrad Gann. Minister - Rev. Ferdinand Winter. Burgess, justice of the peace and manager of the seminary - L. F. Le Gallon. Council - Israel Bentel, Christian Authenriet, Jacob Schaefer.

It will be seen from this list of names that the population of the place was at this time predominantly German. This was due to the fact that the people were largely the remainder of the New Philadelphia Society, the original members of which had been emigrants to this country from the "Fatherland." The later accessions to the population of the town were also, mainly, the same in nationality.


Until the comng of the Pittsburg & Lake Erie Railroad, Monaca was a small and sleepy village of some four hundred inhabitants. The construction of this road gave an impetus to business, good shipping facilities being created by it, and soon manufacturing establishments began to seek locations in the town, bringing an increase of population.

The Phoenix Glass Company of Monaca, Pa., was organized in August, 188o, under the laws of the State of Pennsylvania; the principal stockholders being Andrew Howard and W. I. Miller. The capital stock was $30,000, which was increased in 1887 to $250,000; and the company was reorganized in 1891, under the Laws of the State of West Virginia, with an authorized capital of $700,000. They started as a chimney factory, and in 1884 commenced the manufacture of colored effects in tableware, globes, etc., being pioneers in this industry in this country.

Their entire output is now devoted to glass for lighting devices for electricity, gas, acetylene, and oil, employing about I no hands, with an average monthly pay roll of $40,000. Andrew Howard has been president of the company since its organization 1; A. H. Patterson, of New York City, is vice president and manager of sales department; and E. P. Ebberts, of Pittsburg, is secretary and treasurer, having been elected to that position at the time of the resignation of W. I. Miller, November 1, 1888. Some of the beautiful lamps manufactured by this company have sold in New York at prices as high as four or five hundred dollars, and the firm has employed artists from Japan and all parts of Europe in its decorating department.


The Monaca National Bank was organized May 2, 1901, chartered July 1, 1901, and opened for business the 1st of August following. Its capital is $25,000, and it is officered as follows: George Lay, president; James R. Gormley, M.D., vice president; Robert L. Hood, cashier. The officers, with M. W. Carey, H. C. Glasser, Henry J. Eckert, and Charles Houston, are the directors.

The Citizens' National Bank of Monaca, Pa. - This institution was chartered June 25, 1901, and started business, July 1, 1901, with a capital of $50,000. The officers at the time of organization were: John T. Taylor, president; John J. Allen, vice president; Thomas C. Fry, cashier; directors: John T. Taylor, James H. Welch, Henry C. Fry, Edward Kaye, Christian Will, John J. Allen, Frederick Bechtel, Jere C. Martin, and Albert M. Jolly.

The present officers are: John T. Taylor, president; John J. Allen, vice president; Mont. D. Youtes, cashier; Miss Frances L. Youtes, assistant; directors: John T. Taylor, James H. Welch, Edward Kaye, Christian Will, John J. Allen, Frederick Bechtel, Jere C. Martin, Washington L. Shrum, Charles M. Wagner. The present capital is $50,000; the surplus, $9000; and deposits, $100,000.


St. Peter's United Evangelical Protestant Church of Phillipsburg. - During the stay of Count de Leon and his followers at Phillipsburg, preaching was a part of the religious life of the society, the services being in charge of the count himself. Dr. Samuel G. Goentgen also preached occasionally. After the final dissolution of the society a minister from Pittsburg, a Mr. Daubert, came at intervals to preach for the people during the years 1834 and 1835. He was followed by Rev. E. F. Winter, under whose pastoral care the congregation became more thoroughly organized, and finally assumed the name given above. Mr. Winter remained in the field for a period of twenty five years, or from 1834 to April, 1859. He was a man of more than ordinary talents, possessing in addition to his scholarly and ministerial attainments considerable taste in music and the arts of drawing and painting. He served in connection with Phillipsburg two other congregations, one at Zelienople, where in all he preached forty years, and one in the country, known as Burry's Church. He also supplied at Freedom, Bridgewater, Unionville, and Breitensteins. Mr. Winter died at Zelienople in May, 1884, and is buried at that place.

A Rev. Mr. Zimmerman followed, and was pastor until 1861. In 1862 the church was supplied by two pastors, Rev. J. C. Kahle until March, and Rev. Carl Heischman, who came in the fall and stayed three months; from 1863 to 1864 the pastorates were those of J. P. Henty, G. Pfuhl, and C. Schul. Carl Jacket followed, 1865-66; Prof. E. F. Giese, 1867; J. O. Zwicker, 1868; C. F. Steinbach, 1869-70; P. Born, 1870-76. Rev. Mr. Dethlefs was here for a short time. Rev. F. C. E. Lemcke was the last pastor, serving from 1877 until 1901. Mr. Lemcke was a Lutheran, a member of the Pittsburg Synod of the General Council. The services of the church are conducted in the German language. The house of worship was built by the New Philadelphia Society in 1832 and remodeled in 1888, and is a neat and substantial frame structure. Its tower contained two bells, which were the first church bells in use in the Beaver Valley. One of them became cracked, and the other was sent, together with the first communion service of the church, to Rajahmundry, India, to Miss Agnes I. Schade, a highly influential, talented, and industrious missionary of the Lutheran Church who went out from this congregation. The pipe organ in this church, still in use, was the first in the valley.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer. - This church was an outgrowth of a union Sunday school, which, gradually assuming a Lutheran type, was organized into a Lutheran congregation by the Rev. W. A. Passavant, Jr. The preliminary steps were taken, May 7, 1882, at which time three trustees, viz., N. H. Trompeter, Robert Merryman, and E R Frank were elected. A constitution prepared for its churches by the Pittsburg Synod of the General Council Lutherans, was adopted, July 1, 1887, and the congregation was chartered, December 8, 1889, the following persons signing the charter: W. A. Passavant, N. H. Trompeter, James Miller, E. B. Steifel, Arthur Brady, and William C. Vollhardt. This congregation worships in a substantial brick building, which was erected in 1888 under the supervision of Mr. Passavant at a cost of $7000. Mr. Passavant supplied the church from its inception, and, receiving a call to assume the regular pastorate, October 24, 1886, accepted and served until November 1, 1890. He was followed by Rev. F. W. Kohler, who took charge, November 6, 1890, and served for four years. Then followed two years of supplies, and, December z, 1896, Rev. C. L. Holloway became pastor. He resigned in 1902 on account of ill health, and was succeeded by the present pastor, Rev. R. G. Rosenbaum. There are 86 active members on the roll of this church, and an enrollment of 138 scholars in the Sunday school.

The Presbyterian Church. - Presbyterian services in Phillipsburg had their beginning in occasional preaching by Rev. W. G. Taylor, D.D., in the chapel of the Orphans' School. Neighboring pastors gave assistance from time to time; and Rev. Aaron M. Buchanan,who was supplying North Branch Church, preached at Phillipsburg and urged some action looking towards regular services there. In November, 1883, Sunday evening services were begun in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and later, through the assistance of Dr. Taylor, a hall on Fourth Street was secured.

Eventually the people were able to undertake the work of building, and in November, 1886, their present house of worship was dedicated. It is a large frame building of two stories, 30 by 60 feet.

The church was regularly organized by a committee of the Presbytery of Pittsburg, April 16, 1885, with an enrollment of twenty three members. W. J. Porter, J. D. Anderson, and B. F. Potter were chosen ruling elders.

The first pastor was H. F. Earseman, who was ordained and installed, June 30, 1885. He remained until December 31, 1886, when by mutual agreement the relation was dissolved. Matthew Rutherford was then called, and on June 14, 1887, he was ordained and installed. This pastorate continued until 1890; then Rev. J. J. Srodes followed and remained until 1897. Rev. J. T. Hackett was installed the same year, and remained until the present pastor, Rev. S. A. Bowers was installed, July 26, 1904. The number of contributing members at present is 150.

The Methodist Episcopal Church. - About the year 1828, William Elliot, a Methodist, came from the State of Ohio and purchased a farm three miles south of the Ohio River, in Moon township. Services were often held in Mr. Elliot's (better known as Squire Elliott) house by the Revs. Richard Armstrong, Joshua Monroe, and others. In 1841 Philip Cooper, also from Ohio, bought a farm in the same township five miles south of Phillipsburg, near New Sheffield. He was also a Methodist, and his home became a stopping place for the preachers of those days. The Cooper family were highly esteemed in the commun ity, and were faithful supporters of the church. The late Dr. John Cooper, an able and honored physician of Allegheny City, was of this family.

The Rev. Cornelius Jackson and others frequently preached at Cooper's and other places in the township; and Rev. R. Hawkinc, then pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Bridgewater, preached in an unoccupied log house on the farm of Mr. John Johnson. This appointment, however, only lasted a short time. In 1844 Rev. Joshua Monroe of Beaver preached at the house of William Elliot a few times, the regular appointment being at that time in a schoolhouse near the Presbyterian Church. This appointment also was of short duration. No regularly organized society of the Methodist Episcopal Church was effected in this neighborhood until the year 1858, when the Rev. John Murray of Bridgewater began preaching during the summer months at what was called the Davis schoolhouse. On October 1st of that year a two days meeting was held, and a class was formed as the result of the efforts of Dr. Murray, who left the work in charge of the Rev. Latchall McGuire, then pastor at Shousetown. At the annual conference in the spring of 1859, Mr. McGuire was returned to the charge with the Rev. T. N. Boyle as his assistant. The next summer a camp meeting was held on the farm of Carbon Prophater, under the direction of the above mentioned ministers and Rev. Dr. C. A. Holmes, presiding elder of the district. In the fall of that year a frame church building, 35 x 45 feet, and costing about $1000, was erected on the grounds of the camp meeting, Carbon Prophater donating one acre for its site. This building was dedicated by Dr. C. A. Holmes in December following, 1859, and was called McGuire's Chapel. The accessions received at the camp meeting and at the dedication enlarged the membership to about one hundred. The chapel remained on the Shousetown circuit until 1864, with Rev. J. V. Yarnall as preacher in charge, and Dr. William Cox, presiding elder. By them a building committee was appointed contemplating the erection of a church in Phillipsburg, three miles north of the chapel. The following are among the first members at McGuire's Chapel: Daniel Carey, Adaline Carey, Philip Cooper, Columbus Cooper, Elizabeth Cooper, Margaret Elliot, Joseph Craig, Jacob Glasser, Elizabeth Glasser, Carbon Prophater and wife, Caroline Hamilton, and members of the Landis and Huselton families. Pastors in charge have been: Catchall McGuire, 1859; John Wright and L. Keigle, assistant, 1860; J. J. Jackson and ____ Farrall, 1861; J. J. Jackson and N. P. Kerr, 1862; M. M. Eaton, 1863; J. V. Yarnall and James Jones, 1864. In the spring of 1865, on the organization of a society in Phillipsburg, McGuire's Chapel was attached to it as one charge, and the same ministers served both congregations.

In 1865, as just stated, a Methodist church was organized in Phillipsburg, some of the charter members being M. W. Carey, J. W. Carey, Daniel Carey, Adaline Carey, Samuel Bickerstaff, Hannah Bickerstaff, Christian Merryman, and Sarah Baker. The society erected the following year a neat frame house of worship, 35 x 45 feet, at a cost of about $2500. It was dedicated, May 6, 1866, by Rev. J. J. McIlyar, assisted by Rev. Dr. J. Horner. J. V. Yarnall was the first pastor in this charge, and there have followed him Thomas Patterson, 1866; N. P. Kerr, 1867; J. B. Wallace, 1869-70; ___ Baker, 1871; John Huddleson, 1872-73; J. L. Stiffey, 1874; D. N. Stafford, 1875; Joseph Wright, 1877-78; A. J. Rich, 1879-80; J. L. Stiffey, 1881; J. H. Hull (supply), 1882; David Day (supply), 1883; W. F. Lauck, 1884; J. L. Deans, 1885; D. L. Dempsey, 1886-89; A. H. Davies, 1890-92; W. E. E. Barcus, 1893; George E. Cable, 1894-96; J. M. Pascoe, 1897-98; J. H. Laverty, 1899-04; and the present pastor, F. D. Essenwein, 1904.


The public schools of Monaca have from the first been good. In z903 there were eight rooms in a substantial brick building, with three rooms in other places; and eleven teachers, the principal being Prof. D. C. Locke. There is also a high school, with a three years course, well equipped in every respect.

An institution of great importance to the Lutheran Church in America, viz., Thiel College, had its beginning in this place. The following sketch of this institution was prepared for this work by the Rev. D. Luther Roth, D.D., of Pittsburg, Pa.:

TRIEL COLLEGE IN PHILLIPSBURG. For more than a quarter of a century before it took definite shape, the idea of a Christian college for the education of the youth of the Lutheran Church in western Pennsylvania had been cherished by godly men. During all those years it was made the subject of earnest prayer that God would raise up some one who would provide the means for the establishing of such an institution. And at length those prayers were answered. Mr. A. Louis Thiel, a member of the Second German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Pittsburg, called upon his pastor, the Rev. G. A. Wenzel, D.D., and informed him that he wished to consult him as to the most useful way of appropriating the tenth part of his income for years past, amounting to the sum of four thousand dollars.

Although having prayed earnestly for just such an opening the worthy Doctor was now alarmed at the responsibility thrust upon him. He took counsel with his brethern and for fifteen months the whole matter was held in abeyance, the money, in the meantime, being put on interest, everything awaiting the indications of Divine Providence. Various places were visited and at length, in the spring of 1866, a property, formerly the Water Cure Hotel of Cimiotti, in Phillipsburg (now Monaca), Beaver County, Pa., was purchased for $3,500; the interest and original donation paying for the whole. Later an adjoining house and lot were bought for $1,000. In the autumn of the same year the main edifice, formerly a hotel and ballroom, was set aside with religious service, to the sacred purpose of Christian education and, without the knowledge of the benevolent donor, received the title of "Thiel Hall."

The instructions in the school had been already begun a few weeks earlier under the direction of Prof. Giese, of Milwaukee, with five pupils. Who they were does not appear precisely, but the probabilities are that they were these: Kossuth L. Acker, Clara Bott, Mary Bryan, Caroline Berkemeier, Gottlieb Berkemeier.

This humble beginning, insignificant as it was in the eyes of men, was a work of faith and love and was accompanied with the visible blessing of God. New students flocked in and at the close of the first year another instructor was needed, who was found in the Rev. W. Kopp, of Paxton, Illinois.

Then the Rev. Mr. Giese accepted a call to New York and the Rev. H. E. Jacobs, D.D., LL.D., assisted by Prof. J. F. Feitsbans, of Pennsylvania College, Gettysburg, carried on the work with many evidences of Divine favor. Both of these men were called to professorships in other institutions, and then, a collegiate charter having been obtained from the Legislature of Pennsylvania the entire institution was transferred to the corporation thus erected and Thiel College was opened Sept. 1st., 1870.

The first President was the Rev. H. W. Roth, D.D., called from the pastorate of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, Birmingham, Pa., assisted by the Rev. W. F. Ulery and the Rev. David McKee. The first matriculated student in the newly erected college was the writer of this sketch, the Rev. D. Luther Roth, now pastor of the congregation from which his elder brother, the Rev. H. W. Roth, D.D., was called as first President of the College.

Concerning the moving of the institution to Greenville, Pa, nothing need be said in the present outline. On the 1st of September, 1871, the formal opening of the College was held in the Academy building in Greenville and henceforth the existence of Thiel College in Phillipsburg became a memory, a thing of the past.

Monaca's City Hall, finished in 1896, is located on Pennsylvania Avenue. It is built of brick and stone, and cost about $4000. On the first floor is a lockup, polling place, and hose and cart room. On the second floor is a council chamber.


The post office of this place was established in 1856, and was called Water Cure, after the Sanatorium located here, the name of Phillipsburg not being used, in order, as we have said, to avoid confusion with another town of that name in the State. Following is a list of the postmasters, with the dates of their appointments: Clement Baeltz, December 6, 1856; Anthony Knapper, February 16, 1858; George Bechtel, May 16, 1877; Michael J. Bucheit, January 3, 1881; George Bechtel, May 26, 1888; Michael J. Bucheit, June 20, 1889.

July 20, 1892, the name of this post office was changed to that of the borough, Monaca. Michael J. Bucheit's appointment was renewed, July 20, 1892. The succeeding postmasters have been John M. Kirk, appointed February 14, 1893; Agnes B. Mullen, February 16, 1897; and John H. Glasser, the present incumbent of the office, who received his first appointment December 20, 1897.

The population of the town was shown by the United States Census of 1890 to be 1494, and by that of 1900 it was 2008, the rapid growth of the place being indicated by the increase of 514 in a single decade.

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