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, April 1, 1875


Williamsburg Whims and Whiffs.
The News of the Old Town and the Queer Sayings of its Quaint old People.


The atmospheric "clerk" and William Cullen Bryant have dealt out to us "coveites" pretty nearly all kinds of weather for the past three equinoctial days, so, that all our old grandmothers are now rehearsing the good old ditty - "stormy March has come at last with clouds and winds and changing skies; I hear the rushing of the blast, that through the snowy valley flies," etc. And the White doctors are all on the Ake to entrap an Arnold, or excel a patriarchal Ross in their endeavors to checkmate the manifold - and as old Squire Soliday used to say - "heterogeneous conglomeration of diseases" incident thereto. In fact, the "Cove" is distressingly healthy for this season of the year, and our learned "medicine men" are not any too jubilant to acknowledge it; yet, there are a few isolated cases of "very bad colds taken" (why don't people take good ones?) severe coughs, and pneumonia (no money) and many of our young bloods are "talking ho(a)rse" in earnest, whilst some are coughing a graveyard march without a coffin - the balance of us are all well, thank you! duly weighed and not found wanting.


Business is booming - so is the blue Juniata, - and both going it with a rush down stream. Col. Wortz, Col. Harris and General-ly around Wilson, are endeavoring to dam the waters with a straw, but as yet they only see success through a glass darkly. By and by, they will "haw sir up to taw," or tow-path, without "busting a piston rod" on their rapid running engine, or washing away the grade of our branch railroad.


The recent Methodist Conference hit us hard. It takes from us a mighty sharp Cleaver and sends us a Haughawout from Clearfield. Four old members of the church here nearly choked to death this morning in their attempts to pronounce the name, as it was printed in the MORNING TRIBUNE. That's what you fellows have done for us. One of the old Elders of the church here - an Englishman by profession, has bought him a ten cent slate, and has the name written on it, so that when anybody asks him the name of the new minister, he simply hands him the slate, and says. " 'Ere hit his, hit sounds like och-a-what in thunder, hi don't know."


Some years ago there was a little church unpleasantness on Clover creek. The people refused to let the pastor preach in the building and stood before the church door with clubs in their hands to keep him out. But the pastor didn't scare worth a cent. He came prepared and brought with him one of our old Mexican veterans, who was somewhat noted for sport on the spot and ready to drop in anywhere at almost any time. Seeing the people blocking up the way to the church, he pulled out his revolver from his boot-leg and thus addressed the astonished and horror-stricken crowd: "See here, my coveys, this is your preacher. He is sent here to talk to you. He wants in that building, so stand aside and make room for the man of God."


Those fellows stood aside, and that preacher preached from the text: "As it was in the days of Noe, so it shall be when the Son of Man cometh." The first hymn was: "Before Jehovah's awful throne, ye saints with reverence bow" - and that horrid Mexican man with that ugly talking revolver, clerked it, by singing it to the old tune of "Hark from the tombs a doleful sound," which was the inscription on his revolver. This story has a coincidence, and that is why I relate it for the delectation of all whom it may concern. More anon. - FRANK.


Altoona Tribune, Altoona, Pa., Thursday, April 1, 1875, page 2


[From Thursday's Tribune.]


A FRAUD. - Mr. Samuel Neithercoat, of Bakerstown, Allegheny county, Pa., writes us as follows, under date of March 24:


EDITORS TRIBUNE - Dear Sirs :-- We were favored with a call to-day from a man said to be J. C. Potter, who was canvassing for your paper. Is he authorized to do so? He offers premiums of calico dresses, sewing machines, etc., and is of medium height, dark hair and complexion.


We thank Mr. Neithercoat for the information above noted, and pronounce the so-called J. C. Potter a fraud and a swindler. The TRIBUNE is sent forth on its merits alone, and no sewing machines or calico dresses are given to subscribers. Mr. J. C. Potter, of Altoona, as will be seen by reference to the top of the first column of the third page of this paper, is our only authorized general agent, yet his field of labor does not extend so far as Allegheny county. Steps have been taken to secure the arrest of the imposter.


THEFT OF A TRUNK. - A case of trunk stealing was developed over in Centre county last week, the crime having been committed by the wife of Paddy McGirk, a former resident of Altoona. It seems that some time since a respectable young girl from a neighboring town came to Philipsburg, Centre county, in the employ of the family of one of our most worthy citizens, and something more than a week ago her parents forwarded her a trunk, containing her clothing, to her, by freight. The trunk arrived and on the same day a female presented herself at the freight depot, represented herself as the consignee, claimed the trunk, and received it. When the owner called for her property she was surprised to find that it had already been delivered to another party. Efforts were immediately made to identify the woman who had practiced the fraud and recover the property. After it was pretty certain that Mrs. McGirk was the thief and that the trunk had been carried to a house of ill repute in Lloydsville, on the line of the Bell's Gap railroad, where she was stopping, the place was visited by an officer of the law. The woman exhibited the trunk, but claimed that it was hers and it could not be identified. The officer then brought the owner of the missing trunk and the freight agent, who identified the property. The woman had put some of her clothing in the trunk, which was taken out, and the rest restored to the owner, although the woman McGirk managed to keep some apparel that did not belong to her. No prosecution was entered against the thief.




A young man named Millard Plummer, employed as a brakeman on a shifting crew in the railroad company's yard, at East Tyrone, was killed while in the performance of his duty yesterday morning. It seems that while in the act of coupling cars one of his feet caught in a frog which caused him to fall on the track with great violence. A portion of the train ran over him and his body was fearfully mutilated. He lived about a half hour after the accident, and previous to his death requested some one to pray for him, an engineer who was present complying with the request. Deceased was about twenty one years of age.




- Rev. J. Kistler sends us additional particulars with reference to the death of an aged lady which has been noted in these columns: Mrs. Mary Fleck, of Sinking Valley, died on Friday evening, March 19th, 1875, aged 91 years, 8 months and 20 days. Her disease was paralysis. The case was peculiar, as she lay for 11 days and 18 hours without moving a limb, opening her eyes, or taking a morsel of food. She was the mother of 10 children, 8 of which survive her; 71 grand children and 69 great grand children. She was born in Maryland, but early in life emigrated to this county. She was a highly esteemed and much beloved citizen of Sinking Valley for about 70 years.




- On Sunday night, March 22, a party of burglars armed with clubs, augurs, burglar lanterns and other implements used in their nefarious operations, broke into the barn of Mr. Benjamin Yoder who resides near New Enterprise, Bedford county. The burglars bored the lock off the door, rolled out a barrel of whisky and loaded it on a sled and drove away. They were traced to near Bloomfield Oil Mines. There is an effort being made to ferret out the party and bring them to justice for their wholesale theft of so much of the "O be joyful."




On the 18th inst., a woman named Sarah Stewart, the lawful wife of J. P. Stewart, appeared before Alderman McCormick and lodged information against her husband charging him with committing a wicked and malicious assault and battery on her person. Yesterday the defendant appeared before the Alderman and was required to enter bail in the sum of one hundred and fifty dollars for his appearance at the next term of Court to answer. Lawyer E. Shaw, of this city, became surety for the defendant.




The man named Burtnett, charged with forging the names of two of his neighbors to a note for $200, upon which he received $133, at the First National bank, Hollidaysburg, was arrested by a police officer and committed to the Blair county prison. The case will be disposed of at the April session. Burtnett, it will be remembered, forged the name of William Wertz and D. P. Tussey to a note. All the parties reside in Canoe Valley.




At Bell's Mills, on Monday morning, the train hands employed on the local freight train, observed the first lark of the season. It was sitting on the bank alongside the track, and at first was supposed to be frozen or petrified, so to speak, but when one of the trainmen approached it the bird stepped down and out, only to return after the track was clear for the purpose of feeding on the loose grain that had fallen from the cars.




A young man named Bottorf, whose home is in Pleasant Valley, better known as Mudtown, sustained a severe injury of his right hip while engaged in unloading coal yesterday morning. The ice on his boot heels caused him to slip and fall from a coal cart with great violence.


From Tuesday's Tribune.
A Freight Brakeman Killed in the Railroad Company's Yard Last Night.


About eleven o'clock last night a man named William Boyer, a brakeman employed on the Harrisburg freight train, running between this city and Harrisburg, was almost instantly killed at the eastern extremity of the Altoona yard. It seems that the unfortunate man was assisting to make up the train on which he was employed preparatory to leaving for the east, and while in the act of putting a link in the bull-nose of a car which was standing still on one of the side tracks a detachment of the same train came violently in contact with the car mentioned, and catching Boyer between the bumpers he was crushed to death.


The unfortunate man was heard to utter one piercing scream, when the fellow trainmen immediately went to his assistance. It was discovered that he was fatally injured; in fact he survived the accident about five minutes only. The body was placed on a shifting engine and brought to the railroad company's oil house, at the depot, and a brother of the deceased and the coroner summoned without delay.


Deceased was a man aged about forty-five years, and resided on Herr street, in Harrisburg. He leaves a wife and five children to mourn his death, and has a brother residing in Altoona. With the latter the deceased was to be seen in conversation at the company's eastern round house yesterday afternoon. The officers of the railroad company took charge of the remains and they will be forwarded to Harrisburg for interment.




On Saturday morning last a well-known citizen of Altoona in the person of Ludwig Hartel, Esq., a baker and boarding-house keeper residing on Eleventh avenue, boarded the second section of Pacific express train westward bound. He had purchased a ticket for Gallitzin, and the object of his trip was to catch a young man who had jumped his board bill, the amount due being in the neighborhood of $5. As the train neared Allegrippas station, and when it was ascending the mountain at full schedule time, Hartle observed his delinquent boarder walking along the South track. On the spur of the moment he plunged through the car door and leaped from the train. How he got home remains a mystery, but certain it is that at the present time he is lying on a bed of down in his residence, having sustained a number of severe cuts on the head and bruises on the body. As soon as it was discovered that the man had leaped from the car conductor J. C. Carroll stopped the train and backed to the point at which Hartel made the fearful plunge, expecting to find him either dead or seriously injured, but he was nowhere to be found in the neighborhood. It is asserted, however, that immediately after he made the leap he gave chase to the runaway boarder, but was too weak to effect his capture. It will probably be weeks before Hartel will recover from his injuries.




Beyond doubt the merchant tailoring establishments in Altoona are burglarized more frequently than any other places of business. The latest on record was that of Mr. George F. Marsh, whose establishment, located on Eleventh avenue, was entered by midnight prowlers sometime during Sunday night or early yesterday morning. Admittance to the building was gained by forcing open the front entrance. Once inside the scoundrel evidently tried on all the made-up clothing in order to be sure of a fit, and in turn threw the non fitting garments on the floor. Upon making an examination yesterday morning Mr. Marsh discovered that nothing was missing save a coat and a pair of pantaloons, the loss amounting to about forty dollars. Other clothing was damaged to a certain extent by being trampled upon with muddy boots or shoes. At present writing there is no clue that would lead to the arrest and conviction of the burglar.




On information preferred by his wife, officers Howard and Holtzman last evening arrested a man named Wilson Colyer, who is charged with not supporting his family and for threatening to do bodily violence to the members thereof.


Bob. McMahon, well-known to our readers, was picked up on the street and committed to the station house. It was the old, old story.


Interesting Statistics Relative to Blair County.


The members of the Board of Commissioners of Public Charities of the State of Pennsylvania, will accept our thanks for a copy of their fifth annual report. The report was transmitted to the Legislature on the 18th of last month, and is a compendium of valuable statistics relative to crime and pauperism in the State, the work having been compiled with the greatest care. It was a good thing for the State when the Board of Commissioners of Public Charities was appointed, and it is gratifying to note that able men compose the commission. The report is compiled for the year ending September 30th, 1874. From it we learn that the whole number of convicts from Blair county, which is a part of the western district, was 21; the number of days they were supported was 4,410, at a cost to the county for their maintenance of $1,367.10, the labor performed by the convicts amounting to $463.05.


Thirty-one persons were admitted to the institution for the instruction of the blind, only one of whom (a male) was from Blair county, who still remains an inmate and is being supported at the expense of the State.


In the State Lunatic Hospital, at Harrisburg, 149 persons were admitted, three of whom were from Blair county - one male and two females. Of the 176 indigent insane maintained by the public authorities in this hospital on September 30th, 1874, 7 were from this county - 2 males and 5 females.




From the report of the General Agent and Secretary of the Board, we glean the following with reference to the Blair County Prison and Alms House:




Visited October 15th, 1874.


The general care exercised over this prison is satisfactory. Some discipline is enforced. Have occasional religious services. Bibles and other books are supplied. Prisoners are generally kept separate - dine together, but sup and breakfast in the cells.


The prison itself and its furniture are also under good care. Water supply is adequate. It is comfortably warmed. The bedding looks comfortable. A hospital apartment and bathroom are provided. The jail itself is substantially built, and is well arranged. Eighteen prisoners, one being a female and another a boy, eleven years of age, for a second offence.


Diet consists of coffee, meat, potatoes, bread and molasses. Commissioners pay warden fifty cents per day for boarding prisoners. A special act was passed forbidding the sheriff taking charge of the jail.




Evidences of some improvement present themselves of this fine property. The farm is in a good state of cultivation, and the well arranged brick edifice, used to accommodate the poor and helpless, bears evidences of faithful care and attention. The arrangements for warming it and for the preservation of cleanliness also deserve approval. The inmates of this house receive the benefit of sufficient attention, and can have no just cause of complaint. The present steward is evidently endeavoring to fulfil his entire duty. His duties are onerous, little or no help other than the small extent that can be received from the paupers, being allowed him.


Whilst we are free to make this admission, we regret that we cannot report similar improvement in the condition of the insane. They occupy the same dark and neglected looking corners in the basement. Mary Neil is still seen upon her bed of straw, in the same dismal apartment, with a single garment thrown over her shoulders to hide her nakedness, a mental and physical wreck, with scarce a ray of intelligence left, a melancholy instance of the deplorable consequences which occur from the neglect to use timely and appropriate treatment. When we remember that 75 out of every 100 just such cases are curable the first six months, the importance of a speedy resort to proper treatment can be fully appreciated.




The number of criminals convicted of various crimes in our county Court is set down at 35, or an increase of 6 over the previous year. The total number of persons charged with crime in Blair county was 182; 161 bills were laid before the grand jury, and 128 of these were returned true bills, and 35 were ignored. Forty-four bills were tried; there were 9 acquittals and 35 convictions; 33 nolle prosequi's were entered and 36 persons plead guilty to the indictments against them. Twelve persons forfeited their recognizances, amounting in the aggregate to $7,000. The number who plead guilty, added to the 35 convictions makes a total of 71 persons who were punished for crime. It must be remembered that a large number of assault and battery and surety-of-the-peace cases are settled before they reach Court, hence they do not appear in the report before us.


The grade of offences credited to the 35 who were convicted is set down as follows: Assault and battery, 6; fornication and bastardy, 1; larceny, 5; malicious mischief, 1; nuisance, 1; riot, 1; violating liquor law, 20. The crimes committed by the 36 who plead guilty, are not detailed in this report, yet nearly all of them were violations of the liquor law. The number of convicts remaining in the Blair County Prison at the time the report was made out was 15 - 12 males and 3 females; the whole number of prisoners, 33.




The table showing the cost of maintenance of the Blair County Jail, puts the sum at $2,927.75, the fuel and light at $400, making the total expenditures $3,327.75.




The total amount expended for the maintenance of the almshouse during the year is given at $11,205.45; this includes $4,846.53 for maintenances, $1,900.50 for salaries, wages and labor, $197.00 for light, $1,262.40 for clothing, $1,014.57 for hospital for insane, $259.00 for repairs, $851.45 for extraordinary expenses, $874.00 for all other expenses. The amount expended for out-door relief during that period was $514.53, which makes the total expense of the institution $11,719.98. The receipts were $1,195.00, and the net cost of the almshouse and out-door relief $10,524.98.


The number of paupers remaining in the alms house on the above date was 77, classified as follows: Sane - males 34, females 17, children 11. Insane - males 7. females 6. Blind - males 1, females 1. Of these, 43 were native born, and 34 were of foreign extraction.


The foregoing embraces everything of interest to our readers. The matter of prison economy, impelled by the report in question, is editorially referred to this morning. Many valuable suggestions relative to poor houses, prisons, and hospitals, are made in the report, all of which are based on practical examination of the workings of these institutions.


PROCEEDINGS OF ARGUMENT COURT. - Following will be found a report in brief of additional proceedings at the Argument Court held on Thursday.


S. M. Woodcock vs. J. L. Ickes. - Motion for a new trial. Overruled and judgment ordered to be entered on the verdict.


Geo. W. Patterson for use vs. Joshua Gilbert et. al. - Exceptions overruled and inquisition confirmed.


H. B. Huff vs. Zac Endress et. al. - Rule discharged.


Jonathan Rhule vs. Henry Leamer - continued by consent.


Reese Owen vs. Miles McGuire - Rule absolute at cost of defendants.


Louis Plack vs. A. Lockard et. al - Continued.


Miles R. Jones vs. James A. Ross - Rule absolute.


C. L. Borie vs. Fred Crissman and John B. Wesley - Continued.


People's Planing Mill Co. vs. Peter Lisher - Rule absolute.


In the matter of the exceptions to the report of B. L. Hewit - Distributing money arising from the sale of real estate of John Rentz. Exceptions overruled and report confirmed absolutely.


Olmes & Zink vs. Hannah L. Wright and James Wright - Continued till Saturday morning next.


Com. vs. John Stehle - Forfeiture of recognizance taken off and defendant sentenced to pay $100 and all costs in Common Pleas and Quarter Sessions.


Barton Greenland vs. M. Sharkey - Settled by parties and rule discharged.


F. Leibig for use vs. J. W. and Sophia Miller - Rule discharged.


Geo. Krause vs. B. Kunkle - Rule discharged as of first day of April next.


Dysart & Stokes vs. Pat McDunn - Continued till Saturday next.


A. B. and L. Association vs. Wm. Swift - Rule discharged.


Blair County Building Association vs. Thomas Carland - Rule discharged.


Hannah Clark and William Clark vs. John Brotherline - Rule discharged at costs of parties taking it.


W. Lee Woodcock vs. Ann Tierney - Judgment affirmed.


Commonwealth for use vs. Wolfgang Renner and A. Grovenspenger - Forfeiture of recognizance taken off on payment of record costs.


Commonwealth for use vs. Same - Same order.


Same vs. Peter Miller and John Miller- Rule absolute.


A. Lockard for use vs. Aaron Worley - Settled and rule absolute.


Same vs. Jacob Schondelmire - Rule absolute and writ and costs to follow.


Jacobs & Franks vs. John Nagell - Rule absolute. Crawford & Bro. vs. Tyrone Gas and Water Company - Settled, and lien satisfied.


Sam'l Patterson vs. Same - Settled, and lien satisfied.


In the matter of exceptions to report of John P. Hoover, guardian, etc. Exception sustained and sale set aside and guardian allowed to execute another deed to A. S. Morrow & Company.


Commonwealth vs. James A. Mason - Charge Desertion. Noll. pros. entered by District Attorney on payment of cost by defendant.


Same vs. Richard Tilson - Surety of the peace. Defendant ordered to pay the costs of prosecution, etc., and to keep the peace toward his wife, the prosecutrix.


Same vs. Wm. Andrews - Surety of the peace. Continued till April term.


Same vs. Albert Benton - Surety of the peace. Defendant ordered to pay costs of prosecution, and to keep the peace toward Mrs. Loafer, prosecutrix.


Same vs. Chas Kerber - Charge, Desertion and refusal to maintain. Charge dismissed at costs of defendant.


GETTING READY FOR THE APRIL SESSIONS - A Complete List of the Jurymen Drawn. - Following will be found a full list of the Grand and Traverse Jurors drawn by the Sheriff and Jury Commissioners of Blair county for the April Term, 1875:




H. L. Bunker, George W. Cunningham, John H. Dilling, Henry Elway, Robt. C. Galbraith, Henry Garland, Calvin M. Hackett, Wm. Hawksworth, James M. Hewit, Wm. T. Henderson, D. M, Leighty, J. Lewis, Ed. McGraw, Benjamin Nugent, E. E. Powell, Albert Reeder, John G. Reed, Abner Shaw, Jno. Stine, John Sissler, J. W. Thomas, Henry Vanolman, John C. West, Henry Wike.




Geo. W. Athey, Jno. Baker, Saml. C. Black, Jas. Bookhamer, Jno. Bruner. Samuel Baker, Saml Cruse, Saml. Culp, Abraham Craine, J. C. Dysart, Michael Dick, Henry Fettinger, Jno. Fry, S. W. Grabill, W. J. Gardner, Chas. Goodwin, Jas. Glasgow, John Gheer, Scott M. Given, Martin Graffius, John Grabill, John Gartland, Alexander Hart. J. S. P. Harris, Matthew S. Hunter, Michael Imler, Thos. Kurtz, Wm. B. Ketler, Valentine Lingenfelter, Alex Mock, John Metz, Saml. Nowlin, James Pressell, C. J. Riggle, John G. Smith, Peter M. Smith, Levi Stahl, Samuel Thompson.




James Andrews, William Allen, Jas. Alexander, J. R. Bell, H. S. Ball, Jacob Berkhimer, Jno. J. J. Canan, John Douglass, George Deihl, S. E. Duncan, A. Dale, Wm. Exline, W. A. Fluke, William Forrester, Geo. Filer, B. Goldman, David Gilday, Wm. Hosskiss, Edward S. Hall, Abraham Hunter, Wm. S. Lingenfelter, Joseph Luther, Rupert Leader, James Long, D. S. Markey. Sam'l McCamant, J. R. McFarlane, Michael Moyer, Jacob Miller, Conrad Ott. Michael Poet, Jos Patten, Wm. Richardson, John Shaw, Geo. Schell, Joseph Vanolman, Jacob Walters, Samuel Zimmerman.




BAKER - in this city, on the 24th inst., Benedict Francis, son of Frederick Baker, aged 6 years and 28 days.


Altoona Tribune, Altoona, Pa., Thursday, April 1, 1875, page 3




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