North Belle Vernon Borough

Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania

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The Borough of North Belle Vernon is located at 503 Speer Street, Belle Vernon PA 15012.
Phone: 724‑929‑6930.

Beginnings [1]

North Belle Vernon is a borough, part of which is in Rostraver township and part in Fayette County. It was incorporated on February 26, 1876.

The Weddell family originally came from Hagerstown, Maryland, and settled in Rostraver township in 1758. Coming west they followed the road known then as Braddcck's Trail, until they reached the Youghiogheny River, which they descended until they came to an old Indian fort, and there they decided to locate land and found a home. They erected a log cabin, and late in the fall their father returned to Maryland, leaving his son and another young man in charge of the cabin and clearing. They were perhaps the only white settlers west of the Allegheny mountains that winter. They had but little food, depending upon the forest for meat, and on the little corn which they had raised, and which they ground by pounding it between stones, and baked it into bread on flat stones. In the spring of 1759 the father, with the remainder of the family, returned to the cabin. He had five sons, two of whom went to Kentucky. One of his descendants became very wealthy in Cleveland, Ohio, and built the "Weddell House," a well known hostelry of that city.

In 1837 what was long known as the John Gibson's Son & Co. famous Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, Distilleries, were established on the bank of the Monongahela River, in the extreme southeastern portion of the county, near the borough of Belle Vernon, a part of which is within Fayette, and the remainder in Westmoreland county. They located the distillery there in 1837 because it was a rich rye producing section, and the Monongahela River Valley had, moreover, been renowned for its whisky, even before the Whisky Insurrection. Their best method of transportation then was by wagons, and by flatboat navigation on the Monongahela river. They now have splendid shipping facilities both by rail and by water. In 1883 the name was changed to Moore & Sinnott, and so continued until the death of Mr. Moore, in 1898, when Joseph F. Sinnott became sole proprietor. The general manager of this distillery is T. L. Daly. Beginning on a small scale in 1837, Gibson's Son & Co. completed their extensive works at this point in 1857. In the autumn of 1881 the distillery and one large warehouse were totally destroyed by fire, but rebuilt in 1882. It is now the largest single distillery plant in Pennsylvania. Nothing but pure Michigan rye is used from which to produce their celebrated whisky. They now have fourteen bonded and free warehouses. In 1904 they produced 16,000 barrels of whisky. From February 1, 1904, to January 31, 1905, the United States Internal Revenue Department collected from this distillery (at $1.10 per gallon) $555,420.48. From February 1, 1903, to January 31, 1904, the revenue paid the government was $572,229.57. One thousand two hundred and fifty bushels of rye are used daily in this plant.

  1. Boucher, John N., History of Westmoreland County Pennsylvania, Volume I, The Lewis Publishing Company, New York, 1906.

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