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Gilpin Twp, Armstrong County, PA

Beginnings [1]

There was a ferry established at Schenley in 1878 to make a better connection with Freeport and the northern side of the Allegheny River. Its location was just above where the old Pennsylvania Canal aqueduct crossed, parts of the piers still standing. Among the promoters of this enterprise and charter members were Col. F. K. Patterson, Billy Ratigon, Joe Gugenheimer, R. F. Turner and Hugh Forester of Freeport, PA, J. K. Harrison, Joseph G. Beale, H. H. Wray, and the late D. B. Ashbaugh and John M. Schwalm of Leechburg.

James Kelly, a noted fisherman and canalboat man of Saltsburg, was the first ferryman, and was later succeeded by Silas Eackman, a coincidence being that both of these navigators were classed among the best of old-time fiddlers in their day; and even only a few years ago the latter engaged in an old fiddlers' contest in Leechburg. This was quite an interesting form of entertainment during the days when these old-time musicians were in the great reunion with "Old Rosin the Bow." Mr. Kelly is dead, but Mr. Eackman is still living in Freeport. His son, Peter Eackman, was the first postmaster here, in 1862.

Mrs. Susan Patton is the oldest inhabitant in the place, if not in the county. For many years she kept a store, hotel, and also the post office, having succeeded the late H. C. Pavitt in the store about the time the oil refining works closed down. Mrs. Patton has therefore been identified with the interests of Schenley, Aladdin and Lucesco for over fifty years. Her daughter, Emma, was postmistress at Lucesco after Schenley was abandoned, up until five years ago. This old lady, Mrs. Patton, now over ninety years of age, was a daughter of the late Richard Panning, a farmer of Parks township, who lived to be 104 years of age.

In 1888 the Schenley Distilling Company was established at the junction of the Allegheny and the Kiskiminetas rivers, in Gilpin township and the village has been called after the company ever since. They have five warehouses, with a capacity of 10,000 barrels per year, and employ thirty men, who, with their families, compose the population of the village of Schenley — about 150 souls. The capitalization of the company is $400,000. The place also has two stores and a school. One of the large warehouses was burned here in July, 1912, entailing a loss of $350,000, over one hundred barrels of whiskey being burned.

In 1894 a coal works was started at Aladdin to work the Freeport vein of coal, which can be mined by "drifting," as it is termed. A company composed of miners undertook to run this, but were unable to finance it, and in 1898 the works were purchased by Joseph G. Beale, of Leechburg, who was already in the coal business at that place. He is still operating the works, the opening being on the Buffalo & Allegheny division of the Pennsylvania Railroad, formerly known in Armstrong county history as the Allegheny Valley Railroad. This company is chartered as the Aladdin Coal Company.

In 1890 a Greek named William Porterie came to Schenley, having in some way heard of the pitch or waste from the cannel coal oil and for several years made a considerable sum distilling and melting the residue, which he dug up on the grounds of the old North American Oil Works. In the meantime he built quite a large candy factory at Aladdin station, and having acquired some lands from the Schenley estate, owned by Mary Schenley of England, who was still living at that time, he drilled for gas and was rewarded by striking a good flow. He put down other wells and for several years furnished the Enterprise Gas Company of Freeport, and also the Leechburg Gaslight and Fuel Company of Leechburg, with gas, so that this little point right at the junction of the Allegheny and Kiskiminetas has been one of the most important for its area of any place in the county.

  1. Armstrong County Pennsylvania: Her People Past and Present, Volume I, J. H. Beers & Co., Chicago, 1914

Street Names
Alladin Road • Old Schenley Road