Blair County PAGenWeb


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Blair County Newspaper Articles

News, obituaries, birth, marriage and death notices, by date.


Items from The Altoona Tribune, Altoona, Pa.,

Thursday, September 8, 1859


The Tonnage Tax Question.


In our last we noticed that the suit between the Commonwealth of Pa. and the Penn'a R. R. Co., to test the constitutionality of the Tonnage Tax, was about to open before Judge Pearson, at Harrisburg. The trial was concluded on Friday evening last, and on Saturday morning Judge Pearson delivered a lengthy opinion of the case, reviewing the various points presented to the Court. He remarked that the case presented new and important features, involving a large amount of money and questions involving the rights of States. He had no precedents given by any Court upon which to base his decision, and was therefore bound to declare the law as he found it. He had no doubt that it was the duty of any court of this State to declare a law unconstitutional if it should be found in conflict with the Constitution of the United States. From the Harrisburg Telegraph we copy the following extract of the concluding portion of the opinion:


The Judge remarked that the Pennsylvania Railroad Company was incorporated on the 13th of April, 1846, for the purpose of building a railroad from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh, and a burden was at that time imposed upon them that they should pay a tonnage tax upon goods carried over their road; and that after the expiration of twelve years they come now to contest the claim upon them made by the State, and the court is called to decide the constitutional power of this State. The constitutional power of this State to impose a tax upon goods carried in the State is not doubted; but the right to trammel foreign commerce is disputed. If the duties were merely imposed upon foreign goods passing through this State, it might present another question; but the burden was thrown upon the corporation alone and not upon citizens of other States. The citizens of this State, as well as those of others, were equally taxed; and it would not do at this time for the Railroad Company to come into Court and say, "We have collected the money from those who shipped goods over our road, but we won't pay it over because we deem the law imposing those duties unconstitutional." His Honor then enquired, "who can take advantage of the unconstitutionality of the law? Certainly the Railroad Company cannot; but the party paying the duties might test its constitutionality." He held the law to be a contract between the Railroad and the State to pay certain amounts for the franchises received from the Commonwealth, and hooted at the idea of the Railroad Company coming into Court and contesting this claim. They had no defense at all on this plea; they could not come and say, in good conscience, that they had collected this money but refused to pay it over because they considered the law unconstitutional. The only party that might bring such a plea must be a citizen of another State. He did not look upon them as the Agents for the State to collect this tax, but they collected it for themselves. The agent cannot say to the principal that he had collected this money but refused to pay it over.


His honor then directed the jury to return a verdict in favor of the State for the full amount claimed, with interest thereon; whereupon the jury returned a verdict against the R. R. Co., for the sum of $91,196.61, debt and interest to date.


HAND-BOOK OF THE PENN'A RAIL ROAD. - Col. Geo. B. Ayres, formerly connected with the Penn'a Rail Road, has published a Descriptive Hand- Book of the road, a copy of which is before us. The author commences at Philadelphia and goes over the whole line of the Road, noticing every station and point of interest, and furnishing information in regard to the country and towns which must be of great interest and satisfaction to every traveler. With his book in his hand the traveler will feel as though he knew the Road and country, although he may never have seen it before. The price of the book is not attached, but we presume it is 25 cents, a small sum certainly to invest in a work which will afford so much information, as well to those who live along the line as to the stranger.




The Enterprising Publisher George G. Evans, No. 439 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, has just added to his extensive list, the following new Books:


THE LIFE OF COL DAVID CROCKETT, Written by himself, comprising his early life, Hunting Adventures, Daring Deeds in Border and Indian Warfare, services under General Jackson in the Creek war, Electioneering Speeches, Career in Congress, Triumphal Tour in the Northern States, and Struggles in the Texan War of Independence, together with an Account of his Glorious Death at the Alamo.


In one 12mo. volume. Handsomely bound. Price $1.09.


We copy the following from the Philadelphian North American:


Colonel Crockett was a character. His autobiography has been long out of print; his reputation for eccentricity has been presumed upon in the publication of all sorts of outrageous and obscene nonsense, in coarse almanacs, and other vehicles for low humor. This volume is a republication of the genuine work, with necessary additions; and will be new to the present generation of readers. It is as marked and characteristic as the subject was; his portrait faithfully drawn, and none the less so that it is without effort, and perfectly naive and sincere. We well remember the amiable original in his northern tour, and recall many of the incidents to which his book alludes. We never have looked upon his like since; and rejoice in this republication as an act of justice; to retrieve an honest man from vulgar misrepresentation.


A copy of the Book, and a handsome present will be sent by mail, post-paid, upon receipt of $1.00 for the book, and 21 cents for postage.


A new Classified Catalogue of Books and Gifts, with inducements to Agents, will be sent free, on application.


Address, G. G. EVANS, Publisher, 439 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pa.


THREE PER CENT A MONTH, on the PERILS OF FAST LIVING; a warning to young men, by CHARLES BURDETT, Author of "Second Marriage," "Elliot Family," "Marion Desmond," "Never too Late," etc., etc. One volume, 12mo., cloth. Price $1.00


(From the Gazette.) This book deserves to be singled out and noted as above the many novels which are published. Both in structure and style it is entitled to the name of art. It is a tale of Domestic Life, rehearsing the interwoven histories of a round of every-day characters, and its aim is to show the follies of the too many, so called, passions and pleasures of fashionable life, touching in no part upon ground that properly belongs to the vast domain of romance.


The Bachelor Millionaire Uncle George, is a character reminding us of the Brothers Cheeryble, and although he teaches the "sweet uses of Adversity" with severe discipline, it brings out the true beauty of character, and shows how few there are who can go through the trials of every-day life, and in the end prove their constancy.


Copies of either of the above books with a handsome Gift worth from 50 cents to $1.00, will be sent to any person in the United States upon receipt of $1.00, and 21 cents to pay postage, by addressing the Publisher.


A new and Classified Catalogue of Books in every department of Literature, together with a list of Gifts, and every information relative to the establishment of agencies in the Gift Book business will be mailed free to any one by GEORGE G. EVANS, Publisher, and Originator of the Gift Book Business, No. 439 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia.


Altoona Tribune, Altoona, Pa., Thursday, September 8, 1859, page 2




DR. C. J. HIRST DEAD. - It is with feelings of deepest sorrow that we this week record the death of our late and esteemed fellow townsman, Dr. C. J. Hirst, which occurred on Thursday morning last at Galesburg, Illinois, to which place he removed about the middle of June last. He was attacked with bilious fever shortly after his arrival at Galesburg, from which he never recovered, although at times he was able to be up and move from thence to Monmouth, 16 miles distant, and back. It was reported in this place, some few weeks since, that he was dead, but because we had no foundation for the report, we did not notice it, believing it false; but the letter received on Sunday morning, from his brother, Rev. Wm. Hirst, leaves no room for doubt, destroys our hopes and confirms the fears we had that such would eventually be the case. In his death his estimable wife loses one who was to her a husband in every sense of the word, and no higher tribute to his memory in this respect could be paid; his relatives a kind and affectionate companion, and the community an example of perseverance, integrity, liberality humanity, morality and all that adorns a man and makes him a useful member of society. His relatives, in this the hour of their bereavement will have the sympathy of all who enjoyed the pleasure of his acquaintance, as his demise is universally coupled with expressions of sorrow. In the midst of their affliction his friends can console themselves with the reflection that he had made suitable preparation for the change which sooner or later awaited him, and that ere long, if they too are provident as he, they shall meet him where sickness never comes, where death is no longer feared, where the pain of parting is never felt, and sorrow is unknown.


SUMMER ENDED. - The Summer of Fifty-nine is past and gone forever and we have entered upon the delightful season of the "sere and yellow leaf." The harvest is past - the Summer is ended - the leaves of variegated hue are already making their appearance on the forest trees - and soon the voice of the "Katydid" and the light of the glow-worm will usher in the Autumnal evenings. How short the time seems since Spring was with us, so swiftly do the seasons pass! The years of human life have very aptly been compared to the degrees of longitude which shorten as we approach the poles. The ardent youth thinks the years of fearful length until he attains maturity - then they seem shorter, and increase with every subsequent period of life's journey until he exclaims, with Job, "My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle." Autumn is the most delightful season, teeming with the fruition of the year - the harvests are gathered, the fruits are ripe, and plenty abounds. It infuses a soothing and tranquilizing influence over the mind, and disposes to contemplation and gratitude.


CITIZENS' ENGINE AND HOSE COMPANY. - The zeal with which the members of this company have entered into the spirit of their work, deserves success, and if we do not have a good fire company and a good engine, it will not be the fault of those engaged in the work, but may be attributed to the short-sightedness of the property-holders of the town. The Committee appointed by the company to receive subscriptions and money for the purpose of purchasing an engine and a quantity of hose, desire that all subscribers should pay up previous to the 12th of September, and we sincerely hope the response will be instantaneous and liberal. It seems to us useless that we should here recount the advantages of having a good fire engine and company in this place, as we presume all are aware of them; therefore we will only add that now is the time to aid in securing what the nature of the buildings and the good cause of the people tells them that the town demands, viz: a means of protection in case of fire.


THE ENCAMPMENT. - From the extensive preparations now being made, and the number of companies from a distance that have signified their intention to participate therein, we believe that the encampment to be held at Tyrone, commencing on Monday week, 19th of September, will be one of the largest and best ever held in the interior of the State. There are 11 companies in this county, all of whom will be on hand, together with some 10 or 12 companies from Cambria, Clearfield and Centre. It is also expected that Capt. Hambright's company, from Lancaster, and the Duquesne Grays, of Pittsburgh, will visit the Encampment. Arrangements are now being made with an aeronaut, of Lebanon, John A. Light, to have a balloon ascension on Thursday afternoon. This will add materially to the attractions of the programme. The ground selected for the encampment is well adapted to the purpose, and has been suitably prepared. The citizens of Tyrone are taking great interest in the affair, evincing that they are a public-spirited people. We hope their expectations may be fully realized.


TOBACCO FOR BOYS. - A strong writer administers a wholesome dose to the boy chewers and smokers, assuring them that tobacco has spoiled and utterly ruined thousands of boys, inducing a dangerous precocity, developing the passions, softening and weakening the bones, and greatly injuring the spinal marrow, the brain, and the whole nervous fluid. A boy who early and frequently smokes, or in any way uses large quantities of tobacco, never is known to make a man of much energy of character, and generally lacks physical and muscular, as well as mental energy. We would particularly warn boys who want to be anybody in the world, to shun tobacco as a most baneful poison.


CAMP MEETING. - The colored folks of this county will hold a Camp Meeting near Brush Run, a short distance from Hollidaysburg, commencing to-morrow (Friday). It will no doubt be well attended by whites as well as blacks. We have been requested to state that Geo. McCabe will be on hand with his omnibus to run between this place and the camp during its continuance.


A SHAME! - Our post-master, on the 1st inst., opened the "Washington Monument Contribution Box" placed in his office on the 1st ultimo, and found the enormous sum of NINETY-NINE CENTS deposited therein! - averaging about one-fifth of a mill to each inhabitant of the town! "Oh! Shame! where is thy blush!" Oh! patriotism! Where hast thou flown to! Oh Washington! did thy glorious deeds die with thee? - Are we publishing a paper to enlighten heathen - or are we talking to free-made citizens of Washington's Nation? We are really ashamed to publish the above disgraceful fact, but we beg our distant readers to exercise a little charity for our town - perhaps our people did not know there was a contribution box in the post-office - we hope they did not; and now that they have had due notice thereof, we hope to have a much better report to give of the patriotism and citizenship of Altoona, at the end of next month. We shall see.


DEATH BY SNAKE-BITE. - We learn that on Thursday of last week, about one o'clock, a little boy of six years - son of John Weaver, who lives about two miles above Bald Eagle Furnace - followed a cat to the lower end of the garden, when a rattlesnake bit him eleven times, just below the knee. Another little brother called to his father, who was at some distance, that his brother was bitten by a snake. The father ran, picked up the child and put some clay on its wounds, for they were bleeding profusely; he then carried it into the house, but before reaching the house, the child became deathly sick, vomited copiously, and was soon entirely helpless. A physician was sent for, but about nine o'clock the next morning, death put an end to the little fellow's sufferings. It is thought that the fangs of the snake had struck a leading artery, which carried the poison throughout the child's entire system at once, so that nothing could be done for him when the physician arrived. - Star.


CHILD DROWNED. - On Friday afternoon last, a little boy, aged about two years, son of John Welsh, living on Branch street, East Altoona, wandered out of the house, while his mother was doing something up stairs, and went to a well in the yard, on which there was a loose board. As soon as the mother came down stairs and missed the child she made search for him, and discovering that the well-board had been shifted she rushed to the spot, only to find her fears realized. She child had fallen in and was drowned. The water being near the top of the well she reached in and pulled him out and gave the alarm to the neighbors, a number of whom came in immediately and endeavored to resuscitate the child, but it was too late - the vital spark had fled. Mr. Welsh is a brakesman on one of the freight trains on the Penn'a Railroad and was from home at the time. An inquest was held by Coroner Fox and a verdict in accordance with the above returned.


BOYS IN TROUBLE. - On Sunday last, a number of boys of this place feloniously entered the orchard of Mr. Bell, residing over the hill, and carried away a quantity of apples. Excursions of this kind having become rather numerous, Mr. Bell concluded to enforce the law, made and provided for such cases, and make an example of the lads which would be a warning to others. Accordingly he had a warrant issued for their arrest, and placed in the hands of Constable Ely who succeeded in nabbing two of the boys on Monday evening and conveying them before Esquire Cherry, who imposed a find on each and then let them off. The Constable has no doubt caught the others ere this and made them settle up. There are a number of bad boys about this place who need a touch of the law, and we are glad to know that they are about to receive it.


OPENING OF THE SCHOOLS. - On Monday last the public schools in this place were opened under the supervision of the teachers heretofore announced. As a matter of course there was considerable confusion among the "young 'uns" in gathering up books, &c, and many wry faces were made as the command to "potter off" was issued by the parents. We can easily imagine the feelings of the juveniles who are thus deprived of the sports which they were enjoying during the holidays. Once we dreaded the words "school commences to-day," and would gladly have escaped to a land where there were no schools. Now, however, our only regret is that we did not gladly welcome the sound and make better use of our time; and so it will be with those who are now enjoying a privilege, the most to be prized on earth, that of obtaining a good education.


ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL SIGHT. - On Thursday night last, between the hours of 12 and 4 o'clock, we are informed that a phenomenon, similar to that which we noticed under the head of the "Aurora Borealis" last week, only much brighter and more beautiful, was to be seen. - The cause of these displays, if we may so style them, as yet remains unexplained, if, indeed, they ever can be. In them philosophers and astronomers will find subject matter for investigation. That they effect the temperature of the atmosphere is now fully demonstrated, hence we infer that electricity produces the phenomenon; but the wherefore of its assuming the appearance it has on the two occasions referred to, and its appearing at particular times, is we think, the mystery.


CONTEMPT OF COURT. - A man named Meloy, who was an important witness for the Commonwealth in several liquor cases which came up at last Court in this county, but who was non est when his name was called, was brought up at the adjourned Court on the 24th ult., on attachment, and fined $20 and costs, and ordered into the custody of the sheriff until the sentence be complied with. The Judge intimated that his straitened circumstances had this time secured him a moderate punishment, but that a find of three times that amount would be imposed in like cases in the future. The Pittsburgh Chronicle in remarking on this case says: - "Judge Taylor is not a man to be trifled with, and if there were more courts like this in the State, there would be fewer rascals."


TRAVEL ON THE P. R. R. - For some time past the trains on the Penn'a Rail Road have been carrying a greatly increased number of passengers, rendering the addition of another car necessary. On Wednesday morning of last week there were eight cars in the Express Train West, and all crowded. The certainty of making connections, the safety and the excellent accommodations the Penn'a Central guarantees to travelers, is gradually drawing the travel from its rivals, none of whom can ever hope to successfully compete with it in any of these particulars. The traveler, who is not interested in the success of any of the rival lines, who once passes over the Penn'a Central will be sure to praise and patronize it every afterwards.


NEW RESTAURANT. - We are pleased to inform our readers, that Wm. B. Smith, of Hollidaysburg, has opened a new restaurant in the basement of J. & J. Lowther's building. Mr. Smith, as a caterer to the sense of taste, bears a reputation unsurpassed by any other follower of his profession in the Country - we speak by the book; for many a meal, fit for a King, has it been our pleasure to devour at his table. He intends serving up, besides Oysters, all the little delicacies which the season furnishes, and the wants of the people demand. In fine he determines to keep such a Restaurant as Altoona never knew or heard of. Call and see him.


TOMATOES. - Mr. John Rutherford requests us to inform the citizens of Altoona that he has a large stock of the largest and best tomatoes ever raised in this part of the country, which are now fast ripening and ready for market. - He will leave them at the houses of those who order from him. Those who can not see him will be supplied by leaving their orders at J. & J. Lowther's, Henry Bell's or at John Lehr's, at which places he will deposit them for sale.




HOLLIDAYSBURG, September 6, 1859.
MESSRS. EDITORS: - The Public Schools of this place opened on yesterday (Monday). The children, who have been enjoying a season of holiday, will now have to shoulder their satchels and travel to the school-room. As I listed to the old school bell, yesterday my mind ran back to my by-gone school days, and I thought with what a heavy heart I took my books in hand to go to school, after enjoying a holiday during the summer months. No doubt some of the children, wended their way to the school yesterday, with regret, whilst others went with happy hearts. May we not hope that the children will now improve the high privileges which they enjoy, as regards education.


A very pleasant Sabbath School pic-nic came off on Saturday last, in the locality known as "Pole-cat-Hollow," situated in Allegheny township. The devotional and intellectual exercises were conducted by Revs. Dosh and Junkin, and consisted of hymns, addresses and prayer. The repast was ample, was composed of the richest and most excellent "good things." All appeared delighted and well satisfied with the joyous manner in which they had spent the day.


As "snaix" stories appear to be in the rage, I will give a short one. On Sunday last, two young lads of this place, while in the neighborhood of the Reservoir killed a water-snake, which measured about three feet in length. - After killing it, they opened it and found within it thirty-five small one, each measuring about 10 or 12 inches in length. I do not vouch for the truth of this story.




On Thursday, September 2nd, 1859, by J. M. Cherry, Esq., in Altoona, Mr. George Sharrah of Huntingdon Co., to Miss Rebecca Kees of Pinegrove, Centre Co.




On the 21st ult., near Tiffin, Seneca Co., Ohio, Mr. Michael Erhart, Sr., formerly of this place, aged about 65 years.


In Logan township, on the 30th ult., Mrs. Mary Ann, wife of Wm. Black, aged 52 years, 10 months and 12 days.


Altoona Tribune, Altoona, Pa., Thursday, September 8, 1859, page 3




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