Sons & Grandsons of Westmoreland County, Part 1
Written, Compiled & Edited by K. R. Overholt Critchfield, © 1-1-2007
~~ Updated 12-8-09 ~~

Composite by K. R. Overholt Critchfield, © 11-2-06

Karen's Note: This web page and its partner, Sons & Grandsons of Westmoreland County, Part 2, feature information found mostly in old history books, some of which can be found on the Internet, at web sites like Historic Pittsburgh, a site often mentioned in my articles. However, these are volumes that can be found in any good library in Pennsylvania. Here in Pittsburgh, I recommend a visit to the Pennsylvania Room of the Carnegie Library in Oakland. See the List of Sources at the bottom of this web page. My edits will be seen in the breaking up of long paragraphs, bold font t, red font, underlines and [brackets].

~~ Engraved by A. H. Ritchie ~~

Abraham Overholt (1784-1870)
Son of Henry Oberholtzer & Anna Beitler;
Grandson of Martin Oberholtzer & Agnes Kolb;
Husband of Maria Stauffer;
Father of twelve children.

[History of the County of Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, by George Dallas Albert (1882); pp.188-189]

The late Abraham Overholt, the immediate progenitor of the large family bearing his name in Westmoreland County, and who made that name a household word, not only in Western Pennsylvania but in almost every region of the country, was descended from the [Swiss] immigrant Martin Overholt [Oberholtzer], who came to America from Germany some time early in the eighteenth century and settled in Bucks County, Pa., where he died in his thirty-seventh year, leaving a family of children, one of whom was Henry Overholt [Henrich "Henry" Oberholtzer], who married a Miss Anna Beitler, by whom he had twelve children, all of whom were born in Bucks County, and who came with their parents from that county to Westmoreland County in the year 1800. At that time, several of the children were married. Of the married, the daughters bore the names of Loucks, Fretts [Fretz] , and Stauffer. The family, with its married accessions, "colonized" on a tract of land then wild, but since long known as the Overholt homestead, in West Overton.

The next to the youngest of the family was Abraham Overholt, with whose name this sketch opens. He was at that time in his seventeenth year, and had learned the domestic weaver’s trade in Bucks County, and while his brothers cleared the land he wrought at the loom for the family and the wide-about neighborhood. Mr. Overholt prosecuted his trade continuously till about 1810, when he and his younger brother, Christian, purchased a special interest in the homestead farm, and after a couple of years’ co-partnership with his brother in farming he bought out the latter’s interest (comprising one hundred and fifty acres), at fifty dollars an acre, a price then regarded high.

This purchase included a log distillery having the capacity of three or four bushels of grain per day only. At that time nearly every farm in the neighborhood possessed its private distillery. Mr. Overholt soon after the purchase built a stone distillery, which had a capacity of from forty to fifty bushels per day, but he had no mill, and got his grain chopped on Jacobs Creek, in what is now Scottdale, and at Bridgeport. The hauling of the "chop" from those places to the distillery was principally done by cattle, driven by Mr. Overholt’s younger sons, in whose minds dwell vivid memories of those slow and dreaded days, when the cattle were likely to "stall" at various points along the road. About 1834, Mr. Overholt built a brick flouring-mill, and thereafter did his own chopping for the distillery. This mill and the distillery above mentioned were kept running till 1859, when both were taken down, and on their site was erected a large structure, comprising mill and distillery, and in dimensions a hundred feet in length, sixty-three feet in width, and six stories in height. The capacity of the distillery is two hundred bushels a day, that of the mill fifty barrels of flour.

It should be here noted that Abraham Overholt was the first discoverer of coal in this portion of Westmoreland County, and commenced to use it before others made use of it. Prior to its discovery coal was brought from the other sides of the mountains to the blacksmith-shops of the region, and which it was found stood over the finest strata of coal. Mr. Overholt used to exhibit his coal-mines in an early day as a curiosity to visiting strangers from the East.

Mr. Abraham Overholt as a business man was distinguished for the order with which he conducted all his affairs, for his firmness and decision, for promptness, great energy, and punctuality. He was never known to disappoint a creditor seeking payment, was gentle to his employés, and straightforward in all his dealings. As a citizen he was what his character as a business man would indicate. He was public-spirited, and was one of the earliest and most earnest advocates of the present common-school system of the State. In politics he was ardent. During Jackson’s latter term as President he was a "Jackson man," but opposed Van Buren, and became an old-line Whig, and continued such till the advent of the Republican party, when he naturally united with it, and took extreme interest in its welfare. He was a warm Lincoln man, and during the late war was deeply aroused over the affairs of the country. Being then nearly eighty years of age, he nevertheless visited the seat of war twice, in his anxiety over the state of the country and to encourage soldiers in the field with whom he was personally acquainted.

[A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Martin Oberholtzer, by Rev. A. J. Fretz (1903); p. 109-111.]

III. Abraham Overholt, b in Bucks Co, Pa, Apr 19, 1784; d Jan 15, 1870; m Maria Stauffer, daughter of [Rev. Abraham Stauffer and Anna Nissley Stauffer] Apr 20, 1809. She was b in Fayette Co, Pa, July 13, 1791; d at West Overton, Pa, Nov 1874. Abraham Overholt learned the weaving trade in Bucks Co, Pa, and while his brothers cleared the land he wrought at the loom for the family, and the wide about neighborhood. In 1810 he and his brother Christian, purchased the homestead farm, and a couple of years later he bought his brother's interest in the farm. The purchase included a log distillery having th capacity of 3 or 4 bushels of grain per day.

About 1834 he built a brick flouring mill, in order to do his own chopping for the distillery. This distillery and mill were kept running until 1859, when both were taken down, and on their site was erected a large structure comprising mill and distillery, the dimensions of which were 63 x 100 feet and six stories in height. The capacity of the distillery 200 bushels per day, that of the mill 50 barrels of flour. A short time before rebuilding, his son, Henry S. Overholt purchased a half interest in the farm, distillery and mill.

Abraham Overholt was the first discoverer of coal in that portion of Westmoreland Co., and was the first to use it. Prior to its discovery coal was brought from the other side of the mountain to the blacksmith shops, and which it was found stood over the finest strata of coal. Mr. Overholt used to exhibit his coal mines in an early day as a curiosity to visiting strangers from the east. He was a business man as distinguished for the order with which he conducted his affairs, for his firmness in decissions, his promptness, great energy and punctuality. He was never known to disappoint a creditor seeking payment. He was gentle to employees and straight forward in all his dealings. He was a public spirited man, and one of the earliest and most ardent to advocate the present school system of the State.

He was very successful in business, and his estate paid out to the heirs about $350,000. Menn. C: Henry, Anna, Jacob, Abraham, Elizabeth, Martin, Christian, John.

~~ Engraved by Samuel Sartain. Phil. ~~

Henry Stauffer Overholt (1810-1870)
Son of Abraham Overholt & Maria Stauffer;
Grandson of Henry Oberholtzer & Anna Beitler;
Grandson of Abraham Stauffer & Anna Nissley;
Great-Grandson of Martin Oberholtzer & Agnes Kolb;
G-Grandson of Christian Stauffer & Barbara Fellman;
Husband of Abigail Carpenter;
Father of seven children.

[History of the County of Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, by George Dallas Albert (1882); pp. 689]

A short time before the erection of the new [mill and distillery] building, Mr. Henry S. Overholt, the oldest child of Abraham Overholt, purchased a half-interest in his father’s farm and flouring and distilling business, and with him conducted the same till Jan. 15, 1870, when Abraham Overholt died, and on the 18th of June in the same year, and after a short illness, Henry followed his father to the grave. During the period of his partnership with his father, in fact, for ten years before the partnership was entered into, Mr. Henry S. Overholt conducted the business of the mill and distillery, the elder Overholt generally supervising.

Feb. 10, 1846, Mr. Henry S. Overholt was united in marriage with Miss Abigail Carpenter, born March 13, 1824, a daughter of Benjamin F. and Mary Sarver Carpenter, of Versailles township, Allegheny Co., Pa.

Mr. Henry S. Overholt, who was born Aug. 10, 1810, and who was at the time of his death in his sixtieth year, possessed many of the characteristics of his father. He was considered one of the best business men in Western Pennsylvania. A marked peculiarity of this gentleman was his reticence as to his own affairs, and which he preserved in such manner that they who were curious and inquisitive, and deemed that they had some light at the beginning of impertinent investigations, were sure to find in the end that they then knew nothing. Socially he was not garrulous, and though quiet was very popular, and much beloved by all who knew him. His life was eminently moral from boyhood to the day of his death.

Mrs. Abigail Overholt survives her husband, and resides in the village of West Overton. She is the mother of seven children,— Sarah A. Overholt, intermarried with Aaron S. R. Overholt (not a blood relative of hers) [see note below], Benjamin F., Maria Carpenter, Abigail C., Abraham C. , Henry C., and Jennie C., the wife of Nathaniel Miles, a native of Pittsburgh.

Karen's Note: On the contrary, Aaron was the son of John D. Overholt & Elizabeth Stauffer, the daughter of Christian Stauffer & Agnes Overholt, who was the daughter of Martin Oberholtzer, the younger brother of Henry Oberholtzer. John D. was the son of Jacob Overholt & Elizabeth Detweiler; Jacob was the oldest son of Henry Oberholtzer & Anna Beitler, and the brother of Abraham Overholt.]

[A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Martin Oberholtzer, by Rev. A. J. Fretz (1903); p. 111]

IV. Henry S. Overholt, b Aug 10, 1810; d June 18, 1870; m Abigail Carpenter Feb 10, 1846. She was b Mar 13, 1824; d Aug 29, 1898. Farmer, distiller, miller. Mrs. O. Baptist. C: Sarah, Benjamin, Maria, Abigail, Abraham, Henry, Jennie.

Jacob Stauffer Overholt (1814-1859)
Son of Abraham Overholt & Maria Stauffer;
Grandson of Henry Oberholtzer & Anna Beitler;
Grandson of Abraham Stauffer & Anna Nissley;
Great-Grandson of Martin Oberholtzer & Agnes Kolb;
G-Grandson of Christian Stauffer & Barbara Fellman;
Husband of Mary Fox;
Father of nine children.

[History of the County of Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, by George Dallas Albert (1882); p. 689]

The late Jacob S. Overholt, of Emma Mines, East Huntingdon township, and who died April 20, 1859, was the second son and third child of Abraham Overholt, and was born at West Overton, Oct. 18, 1814. He was reared upon the homestead farm, and was educated in the common schools, and while young, though somewhat employed upon the farm, was also engaged in his father’s distillery, learning the business of distilling, in which the elder Overholt had peculiar skill, and in which Jacob soon became so proficient that he and his elder brother, Henry S., were practically intrusted by their father with the management of the business at an early age.

At the time when Jacob entered the distillery, the business was comparatively small; but the close attention, prudence, and activity of the young Jacob, with his brother, pushed it forward with gradual and safe progress, so that at the time he arrived at thirty years of age the business of the distillery, with that of a flouring-mill, both in the same building, had reached large proportions. The brothers continued for several years to conduct a prosperous business at West Overton, and in 1855 Jacob amicably dissolved business with his brother and removed to Broad Ford, Fayette Co., where he took into partnership with himself his cousin, Henry O. Overholt, and there established a saw-mill, mainly for supplying the firm with materials with which to build lip a then prospective village and a distillery, which in time became the most famous of the Overholt distilleries.

~~ Engraved by A. H. Ritchie ~~

The old distillery has since been pulled down, a larger one having taken its place since the death of Mr. Overholt. Under the immediate oversight of Jacob Overholt, the locality of Broad Ford, containing three dwellings when he first went there, shortly grew into a busy village. Mr. Overholt paid strict personal attention to his large business until his last illness. He was a man of great energy and business activity and integrity, and in the expressive language of one who knew him well, "he was everybody’s friend." He was noted for his charity, never allowing the needy to go unserved by his door.

Dec. 29, 1836, Mr. Overholt was united in marriage with Miss Mary Fox, daughter of Christian and Elizabeth Funk Fox, who resided near Stonerville, in East Huntingdon township. Mrs. Mary Fox Overholt was born Dec. 6, 1816, and resides on the farm purchased by her husband the year after their marriage, and then called Emma Mines, and on which spot were born most of her children, nine in number, all but one living, and whose names are Maria F., Elizabeth F. (deceased), Abraham F., Isaac F., Mary Ann, Fenton C., Christian F., Jacob Webster, and Emma F.

[A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Martin Oberholtzer, by Rev. A. J. Fretz (1903); pp. 115]

IV. Jacob S. Overholt, b at West Overton, Pa, Oct 18, 1814; d Apr 20, 1859; m Mary Fox Dec 29, 1836. She was b in Westm'd Co, Pa, Dec 1, 1816; d Aug 20, 1895. General business. Baptist. C: Maria, Elizabeth, Abraham, Isaac, Mary, Fenton, Christian, Jacob, Emma.

[History of Fayette County, by Franklin Ellis (1882); p. 404]

Karen's Note: This piece from the1882 History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, has some details that are new to me. Abraham Overholt may well have been the person who "erected and put in operation" the Broad Ford Overholt Distillery in the year 1853. The information I have on hand identifies his second son, Jacob Stauffer Overholt, as the builder of that project, but perhaps Abraham had the idea, started the distillery, brought his two oldest sons into that business (just as he had done with the West Overton business), and then Jacob made it successful. When the project grew to require full-time attention, Jacob sold back his share of the West Overton distillery and focused entirely on Broad Ford.

The Overholt Distillery, located on the bank of the Youghiogheny at Broad Ford, and widely known and famed for the high grade of its product, was erected and put in operation by Abraham Overholt in the year 1853. At that time it had a capacity to distil one hundred bushels of grain per day. Soon after the starting of the establishment Mr. Overholt took in as partners his two sons, Henry and Jacob. The latter [Jacob] died while a member of the firm [1859], and in 1865 [or 1864], Henry Overholt sold out his interest, and A. O. Tinstman became a partner with Abraham Overholt. In 1867 the present distillery building was erected. It is four full stories high, with attics, and sixty-six by one hundred and twelve feet on the ground, with two wings twenty-five by twenty-five feet each, and three stories hight. Business was commenced in this building in 1868.

After the death of Abraham Overholt, in 1869 [January 15, 1870], the business was continued by the executor[s] of his estate [his sons Henry S. Overholt (who died six months later), Christian S. Overholt, and Martin S. Overholt, and his grandson Jacob Overholt Tinstman, oldest brother of A. O. Tinstman] and A. O. Tinstman till 1872, when Tinstman purchased the Overholt interest, and carried on the business alone til the latter part of 1874, when C. S. O. Tinstman [Christian S. O. Tinstman, youngest brother of A. O. Tinstman] became associated with him. In 1876, C. S. O. Tinstman and C. Fritchman became proprietors of the distillery. In 1878, James G. Pontefract was added to the firm, and soon after Tinstman & Fritchman sold their interest to Henry C. Frick [totally inaccurate]. The establishment is now under the management of J. G. Pontefract. The buildings contain an aggregate of about one and a half acres of flooring, and the works have a capacity for distilling four hundred bushels of grain every twelve hours.

Karen's Note: My research indicates exactly how Henry Clay Frick managed to take possession of the Broad Ford Overholt Distillery by buying the land and everything on it. The Tinstmans and Fritchman brought suit against Frick and Pontefract, eventually taking the case to "the Supreme Court," but the case was buried and never tried. See the Addenda Part I of my feature OLD OVERHOLT: The History of a Whiskey, and the Timeline to get a proper perspective on the facts. For the Timeline, skip to the year 1870 and work your way forward.

Christian S. Overholt

Christian Stauffer Overholt (1824-1911)
Son of Abraham Overholt & Maria Stauffer;
Grandson of Henry Oberholtzer & Anna Beitler;
Grandson of Abraham Stauffer & Anna Nissley;
Great-Grandson of Martin Oberholtzer & Agnes Kolb;
Great-Grandson of Christian Stauffer & Barbara Fellman;
Husband of Katherine L. Newmyer;
Father of six children

[A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Martin Oberholtzer, by Rev. A. J. Fretz (1903); pp. 120-121]

IV. Christian S. Overholt, b at West Overton, Westm'd Co, Pa, Oct 18, 1824 [died Feb 1, 1911]; m Katharine L. Newmyer June 28, 1853 [b Nov 28, 1831, d Dec 15, 1894].
Res. 4008 Pine St, Phila, Pa. A business man of long and wide experience, his prominent connection with financial and industrial affairs make Christian S. Overholt an admirable and valuable member of the Pennsylvania Board of Commissioners. He is a retired banker, merchant and manufacturer. For many years he was the manager of the firm of Overholt & Co.
, of Broad Ford, Pa, a well known firm of distillers. Nearly a third of a century ago he retired from the firm and became president of the First National Bank of Mt. Pleasant, Pa. After ably performing the functions of this responsible post for a long time, he retired from active business life, and has been a resident of Philadelphia for some years [as of 1903]. C: Alice Carey, Charles, Mary Virginia, Elmer E., Anna May, William Shadrack.

1903 Mt. Pleasant Memorial Hospital

[The Oberholtzer Book, by Barbara B. Ford (1995); p. 34]

MC7207 Christian S. Overholt 10/18/1824-2/1/1911 Pittsburgh m 6/28/1853 Catherine L. Newmyer 11/28/1831-12/15/1894 Pittsburgh, both bur Mt Pleasant Cem. Their home in Mt Pleasant became the Mt Pleasant Hospital.

First National Bank of Mt. Pleasant

[The original photograph by Sheila O'Connor can be found online at .]

Built in 1905, this building housed two different banks -- the Mt. Pleasant National Bank and the Citizens Savings & Trust. Each bank had separate entrances, but they shared the same bank vault. It is currently owned and operated as a PNC branch bank.

[Exerpts from "Mount Pleasant Township," History of the County of Westmoreland.]


"The First National Bank" was organized in 1864 with $150,000 capital. Its presidents have been C.S. Overholt [Christian Stauffer Overholt], John Sherrick, and Henry W. Stoner, the latter the present incumbent, who came in in 1879. The first cashier was John Sherrick, succeeded in 1876 by the present incumbent, Henry Jordan. The bank was opened in Sherrick’s Building, and removed to its present location in 1879. In 1882 the vice-president is W.J. Hitchman; book-keeper, G.W. Stoner; and directors, Henry Jordan, H.W. Stoner, William Snyder, Samuel Warden, W.J. Hitchman, William B. Neel, Joseph R. Stauffer, Dr. J.H. Clark, and W.D. Mullin. It has a surplus of $29,040.

"Mount Pleasant Bank" is a private bank, organized in 1878. Its proprietors are W.J. Hitchman, W.B. Neel, Joseph W. Stoner, and J.C. Crownover, the latter being cashier. It occupies the same building with the First National Bank on Main Street, adjoining the "Jordan House."

[Exerpts from "Frick Hospital marks 100 years of helping ill," by Marjorie Wertz; Tribune-Review, Sept. 1, 2002.]

It began with a need to provide health care to area coal miners, farmers and their families. It was the dream of a Mt. Pleasant pharmacist and several physicians to build a hospital.

This year [2002], Frick Hospital in Mt. Pleasant will kick off its 100th anniversary celebration . . . . The original hospital, then known as Mt. Pleasant Memorial, had 25 beds . . . . Through the dedication and hard work of Dr. F. L. Marsh; his son, Dr. William Marsh; daughter-in-law, Dr. Mary Montgomery Marsh; and the ladies of the Red Cross Society, the hospital opened its doors on Jan. 21, 1904. Benefactors such as Jacob Justice and Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Clay Frick, who grew up in West Overton, donated their time, money and good will to help get the hospital up and running.

"Justice was a pharmacist in the 1910-1920s who was very concerned about the area's coal miners," said Rod Sturtz, executive director of West Overton Museums in Scottdale. "He started a fund that would pay for medicines for indigents, especially for the hard working miners who didn't seem to make enough money to pay for medicines. That fund still exists."

Christian Overholt, the brother of Abraham Overholt who built West Overton, constructed a store known as the Mt. Pleasant Emporium and a large brick mansion on top of Main Street in Mt. Pleasant. Eventually, the house was sold to J. Lippincott. In 1903, a $12,000 state grant appropriated by Gov. Samuel Pennypacker was used to purchase the mansion for use as a hospital . . . .

Abraham Overholt Tinstman (1834-1915)
Son of John Tinstman & Anna Stauffer Overholt;
Grandson of Jacob Tinstman & Anna "Nancy" Fox;

Grandson of Abraham Overholt & Maria Stauffer;
Great-Grandson of Abraham Stauffer & Anna Nissley;

Great-Grandson of Adam Tinstman & wife;

Great-Grandson of Henry Oberholtzer & Anna Beitler;
Great-Grandson of Christian Stauffer & Barbara Fellman;
Great-Grandson of Henry Fox & Mary Ruth;
G-G-Grandson of Martin Oberholtzer & Agnes Kolb;
G-G-Grandson of Daniel Stauffer & wife;
Son-in-law of Cyrus P. Markle & Sarah Ann Lippincott;
Husband of Harriet Cornelia Markle;
Father of one son.

[History of Fayette County, by Franklin Ellis (1882); pp. 413-414]

Abraham O. Tinstman, now a resident of Turtle Creek, Allegheny Co., Pa., resided in Fayette County from 1859 to 1876, and there conducted enterprises and aided in laying the foundations of important works which are in active operation, developing the wealth and forming an important part of the business of the county to-day.

Mr. Tinstman is of German descent in both lines. His paternal great-grandfather was born in one of the German states, and came to the United States, locating in Bucks County, Pa., and from thence removed to Westmoreland County, Pa., residing near Mount Pleasant, where he had his home until his death; he was a farmer by occupation. A.O. Tinstman’s paternal grandfather was Jacob Tinstman, who was born in Bucks County, Pa., Jan. 13, 1773, and on Dec. 11, 1798, was married to Miss Anna Fox, of Westmoreland County, Pa., her birthplace having been Chester County, Pa., Aug. 8, 1779.

~~ Engraved by Samuel Sartain. Phil. ~~

Jacob Tinstman and Anna Tinstman had ten children, whose names were Mary, Henry, Adam, John, Jacob, Anna, Christian, David, Sarah, and Catharine. Jacob Tinstman was a farmer, and a man of fine education.

John, the father of A. O. Tinstman, was the fourth child and third son, and was born Jan. 29, 1807, in East Huntingdon township, Westmoreland Co., Pa. He was brought up on the farm, and attended subscription schools. He held important township offices, was an excellent citizen, an energetic and prudent man, and made a competence for himself and family. He died at the age of seventy years.

A. O. Tinstman’s maternal grandfather was Abraham Overholt, also of German [Swiss] descent, and who was born in Bucks County, Pa., in 1774, and came to East Huntingdon township, Westmoreland Co., Pa., about the year 1800, and settled on a farm on which the village of West Overton now stands. He married Miss Maria Stauffer, of Fayette County, Pa., and both being of frugal, industrious, and economical dispositions, accumulated property rapidly, lived together harmoniously, and left as monuments of skill and judgment in building and improvements some of the most substantial buildings of East Huntingdon township, having built the entire village of West Overton, including mill, distillery, etc.

A.O. Tinstman’s mother’s maiden name was Anna Overholt, who was a daughter of the aforesaid Abraham and Maria Overholt. She was a lady highly esteemed for her kindness and gentleness, traits of character for which her mother, Mrs. Abraham Overholt, was particularly distinguished. She was born July 4, 1812, and was married to John Tinstman about 1830, and died in the year 1866.

The fruits of their marriage were ten children, viz.: Maria, who died at fifteen years of age; Jacob O.; Abraham O.; Henry O.; Anna, widow of Rev. L. B. Leasure; John O., who died when a soldier in the army during the Rebellion; Elizabeth, who died at three years of age; Abigail, who died at nineteen years of age; Emma, wife of Dr. W. J. K. Kline, of Greensburg, Pa.; and Christian S. O. Tinstman, who is now conducting business in partnership with A. O. Tinstman, under the firm-name of "A.O. Tinstman & Co."

Abraham O. Tinstman was born Sept. 13, 1834, in East Huntingdon township, Westmoreland Co., Pa., on the farm upon which are now located the Emma Mine Coke-Works. He received his education in the common schools, attending them during the winter season until about twenty years of age, and continued laboring on the farm with his father until he became twenty-five years old, when he went to Broad Ford, Fayette Co., Pa., to take charge of his grandfather Overholt’s property at that place, the business consisting of the manufacture of the celebrated Overholt whiskey, the cutting of timber by steam saw-mill into car and other lumber, and the farming of the lands connected with the Broad Ford property. He thus continued to manage and do business for his grandfather until 1864, when the two formed a partnership, named A. Overholt & Co. He, however, continued to conduct the business until the death of his grandfather, A. Overholt, who died in 1870, in the eighty-sixth year of his age.

During Mr. Tinstman’s residence in the county and his partnership with his grandfather he caused the erection of the most important buildings in Broad Ford, some of which are the large mill and distillery now there, as well as many houses for the use of employés.

In 1865 he and Joseph Rist bought about six hundred acres of coking coal land adjoining the village of Broad Ford. Mr. Tinstman thereafter (in 1868) sold one-half of his interest in the same to Col. A. S. M. Morgan, of Pittsburgh, Pa., and with him established the firm of Morgan & Co., who put up one hundred and eleven coke-ovens at the point now known as Morgan Mines, on the line of the Mount Pleasant and Broad Ford Railroad, and built one mile of railroad from Broad Ford to said mines, at which place the first coke was manufactured along what is now the Mount Pleasant and Broad Ford Railroad. Morgan & Co. at this time held almost entire control of the coke business of the Connellsville region.

In 1870, A.O. Tinstman with others organized a company, of which he was elected president, and built the Mount Pleasant and Broad Ford Railroad, he holding the office of president until the sale of said road to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company in 1876.

About 1871, Mr. Tinstman purchased a portion of Mr. Rist’s interest in the six hundred acres of coal land previously mentioned. Mr. H.C. Frick, who was at this time keeping the books of A. Overholt & Co., was very desirous of starting in business, and aspired for something more than book-keeping, and having shown by his indomitable energy, skill, and judgment that be was not only capable of keeping an accurate and beautiful set of books, but that he was able to conduct business, manage employés, etc., Mr. Tintsman and Mr. Rist associated Mr. Frick with them, under the firm-name of Frick & Co., and made him manager of the association, etc.

This company built at Broad Ford two hundred coke-ovens. The first one hundred were built along or facing the Mount Pleasant and Broad Ford Railroad, and were known as the Frick Works, or "Novelty Works." The other hundred were built in blocks along the Pittsburgh Division of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and facing the road and Youghiogheny River, and were known as the Henry Clay Works.

In 1872, Col. Morgan and Mr. Tintsman (as Morgan & Co.) bought about four hundred acres of coking coal land at Latrobe, Westmoreland Co., Pa., and there built fifty ovens. About this period and on continuously to 1876 (during the panic period) Mr. Tintsman bought large tracts of coal lands on ‘the line of the Mount Pleasant and Broad Ford Railroad, comprising nearly all the best coal lands in that region; but the pressure of the panic proved excessive for him, the coke business, like everything else, becoming depressed, and he failed, losing everything. But having great confidence that the coke business would revive, and foreseeing that it would be one of the earliest as well as surest of manufacturing interests to recuperate, he bought in 1878 and 1880 on option a large extent of coal land in the Connellsville region, and in 1880 hold about 3500 acres at a good advance over cost price to E.K. Hyndman, who then organized the Connellsville Coal and Iron Company.

This sale enabled him again to take a new start in the world as a business man. He then, in 1880, established the firm of A.O. Tintsman & Co., and opened an office on the corner of Seventh Avenue and Smithfield Street, Pittsburgh, Pa., and soon after bought a half-interest in the Rising Sun Coke-Works, on the June Bug Branch of the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1881 he bought the Mount Braddock Coke-Works, located on the Fayette County Branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad; and in the same year he bought the Pennsville Coke-Works, on the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad, embracing in all about three hundred ovens, all of which he still owns and operates.

Thus we see again verified in Mr. Tinstman’s life that great truth, that those who "try again" earnestly and energetically will succeed. He is to be congratulated in his again being established in business, and being so pleasantly situated and surrounded by home and family relations, as it is well known that while in the county he labored diligently for its welfare; and though he has not received the deserved abundant recompense in a pecuniary manner, yet the people of the county appreciate his labors, especially those who have been benefited directly by the development of the coal interests of the county, and of whom there are not a few.

On July 1, 1875, Mr. Tintsman married Miss Harriet Cornelia Markle, youngest daughter of Gen. Cyrus P. Markle and Sarah Ann Markle (whose maiden name was Sarah Ann Lippincott), of Mill Grove, Westmoreland Co., Pa. He has one son, named Cyrus Painter Markle Tinstman.

Young Abraham O. Tinstman

[Memoirs of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania: Personal and Genealogical, Vol. 2; Northwestern Historical Association (1904); pp. 239-240]

ABRAHAM OVERHOLT TINSTMAN, for a quarter of a century as resident of Turtle Creek, was born in East Huntington [sic] township, Westmoreland county, in 1834. He is of German [and Swiss] descent, his [Swiss] maternal grandfather, Abraham Overholt, being one of the prominent early settlers of Westmoreland county. Abraham Overholt married Maria Stauffer, of Fayette county, and had a daughter, Anna, who was married, in 1830, to John Tinstman, father of the man whose name heads this article.

Abraham Overholt Tinstman was the third of ten children. He was educated in the common schools of his native county, worked on a farm until he reached the age of twenty-five, when he became manager of the estate of his grandfather, Abraham Overholt, the estate embracing a mill, distillery and valuable lands, at Broad Ford, Fayette Co., pa. In 1864 he became partner with his grandfather, and continued in this capacity until the death of the latter, which occurred in 1870.

Mr. Tinstman has long been extensively interested in coal and coke. In 1868 he formed a partnership with Col. A. S. M. Morgan, of Pittsburg [sic], under the name of Morgan & Co., and engaged in making coke near Broad Ford, Pa. In 1871 he formed a partnership with Messrs. Frick and Rist, under the name of Frick & Co., and continued with this concern in the manufacture of coke until 1880, when he established the firm of A. O. Tinstman & Co., in Pittsburg [sic], being engaged in the same business for some years.

Since 1885 he has dealt extensively in the purchase and sale of coal lands, his office being at No. 425 Fourth Ave., Pittsburg [sic]. In 1870 Mr. Tinstman was one of the organizers of the Mount Pleasant & Broad Ford railway company, and was president of the company until the road was purchased by the Baltimore & Ohio railroad company, six years later.

Mr. Tinstman was married, July 1, 1875, to Harriet Cornelia [Markle] , daughter of Gen. C. P. [Cyrus Painter Markle] and Sarah (Lippincott) Markle, of Westmoreland county, Pa., and has one son, Cyrus P. [Cyrus Painter Tinstman], who has completed the civil engineering course at the Pennsylvania military college, at Chester, Pa. Mr. Tinstman and family have lived in Turtle Creek since the erection of their beautiful home there in 1879. The site of a pioneer cabin, long since gone to decay, and the home of a Mrs Myers, who gave food and shelter to George Washington, are on the Tinstman grounds. During the Civil war, when General Morgan was making his famous raid through the State of Ohio, Mr. Tinstman raised a company in twenty-four hours at Broad Ford, Pa., and went to Salineville, where they arrived just in time to assist in Morgan's capture.

[A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Martin Oberholtzer, by Rev. A. J. Fretz (1903); p. 112-114]

V. Abraham O. Tinstman, b in Westm'd Co, Pa, Sept 13, 1834; m Harriet Cornelia Markle, daughter of Gen. C. P. Markle of Westm'd Co, Pa, July 1, 1875. P O Turtle Creek, Pa. Mr. Tinstman was reared on the farm where the Emma Mine Coke Works are now located. He received a common school education and remained on the farm until 25 years of age, when he went to Broad Ford, Pa, to take charge of the mill, distillery and land of his maternal grandfather, Abraham Overholt. In 1864 he became a partner with his grandfather in the firm A. Overholt & Co., and continued to manage this Company's affairs until the death of the latter.

Five years previous to this event, Mr. Tinstman and Joseph Rist had bought 600 acres of coal land near Broad Ford, and in 1868, in partnership with Col. A.S.M. Morgan they opened what is now called the Morgan Mines and engaged exclusively in making Coke. Morgan & Co, then controlled almost the entire Coke business of this region and built a mile of railroad to secure an outlet for their product. In 1870 Mr. Tinstman organized and built the Mt. Pleasant and Broad Ford Railroad connecting with the Pittsburg [sic] and Connellsville R. R. at Broad Ford. He continued its President until he sold the entire road to the B. & O., R. R. six years later. This the beginning of the development of the Coke business in Westm'd Co.

In 1871 he formed another Coke Company and associated with him Messers Joseph Rist and H. C. Frick, under the firm name of H. C. Frick and Co., thus establishing the great H. C. Frick Coke Co., and this firm built 200 Coke ovens now known as the "Novelty" and Henry Clay Works. In 1872 Morgan & Co., bought 400 acres of coal land at Latrobe, and Mr. Tinstman also made extensive purchases of other coal tracts which led to the loss of his entire possessions in the panic of 1873. He set bravely to work to retrieve his losses, and in 1878 and 1880 was enabled to purchase options in coal lands in the Connellsville region.

In 1880 he sold 3,500 acres at a good profit and soon bought a half interest in the Rising Sun Coke Works. About this time he established the firm of A. O. Tinstman & Co., in Pittsburg [sic] and was highly successful in his operations. In 1881 he acquired Mt Braddock and Pennsville Coke works, and thre years later sold all his coke interests. For the last 10 years [c. 1900] he has been engaged in the purchase of coal lands in Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. In 1879 was built the fine mansion which Mr. Tinstman and family now occupy. The grounds include the site where once stood a pioneer's log cabin which gave shelter to George Washington after his raft had capsized in the Allegheny on one of his exploring expeditions. Presby. C: (VI) Cyrus Painter Markle Tinstman, b Dec 3 1878. P O Turtle Creek, Pa. He is at present (1900), a cadet at the Penna Military College at Chester, Pa. Presby. S.

Karen's Note: On the same day, many years ago, that I found the original article that became my feature, OLD OVERHOLT: The History of a Whiskey, I found this book in the Pennsylvania Room of the Carnegie Library in the Oakland section of the city of Pittsburgh. It is not available on the Historic Pittsburgh web site. As I recall, this book was comprised of pictures of "notable men." I do not recall any biographies accompanying the photos.

At that time, I made photocopies of the three pages that included men named Overholt, without knowing the actual genealogical connections to the Overholts of West Overton. Eventually, with the help of the A. J. Fretz and Winifred Paul material, the proper connections to The Overholt Family Tree were uncovered. I later found a reference to Benjamin F. Overholt in History of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, compiled by John W. Jordan.

Benjamin Franklin Overholt (1848-xxxx)
Son of Henry Stauffer Overholt & Abigail Carpenter;
Grandson of Abraham Overholt & Maria Stauffer;
Grandson of Abraham Stauffer & Anna Nissley;
Great-Grandson of Henry Oberholtzer & Anna Beitler;
Great-Grandson of Christian Stauffer & Barbara Fellman;
G-G-Grandson of Martin Oberholtzer & Agnes Kolb;
G-G-Grandson of Daniel Stauffer & wife;
Husband of Florence M. Osterhout;
Father of four children.

[History of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Vol. II, by John W. Jordan (1906); p. 343]

Note: This paragraph comes after a very long bio of the Overholt family from Martin Oberholtzer to Abraham Overholt to his son, Henry S. Overholt, father of Benjamin Franklin Overholt.

Benjamin F. Overholt obtained his intellectual training in the common schools of Westmoreland county, in Westerville University, Ohio, and the Mount Pleasant Institute of his native county.

He later attended Bryant and Stratton's Business College, in Philadelphia, from which he was graduated with high honors. He engaged in the distillery business with his father [Henry Stauffer Overholt, oldest son of Abraham Overholt & Maria Stauffer], continuing until the death of the latter in 1870, and two years later he and A. S. R. Overholt, his brother-in-law, purchased the distillery, conducting it until 1873, when they disposed of the same. [And I still want to learn how that happened!]

In the same year they engaged in the manufacture of coke, and five years later their sixty-two ovens were purchased by the firm of [his younger brother Abraham Carpenter Overholt] A. C. Overholt & Co., who added to the plant forty-eight additional ones. In 1875, Benjamin F. Overholt was made the general manager of the A. C. Overholt & Company's coke business, and since then he has acquitted the duties of this responsible position with the greatest efficiency and credit, and his conduct int he management of the concern has won much commendation from his superiors.

In politcal relations, Mr. Overholt affiliates with the Republican party, and is a member of Lodge No. 518, Order of Solon, at Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Mr. Overholt married July 16, 1884, Florence M. Osterhout, born at Glenwood, Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania, July 19, 1859, died September 27, 1900, daughter of William H. Osterhout; of Ridgway, Elk county, Pennsylvania. They had four children: William Henry, born April 9, 1886, died March 23, 1893; Helen Abigail, born August 26, 1890; Raymond Dean, born April 17, 1893; Mildred Jessamine, born February 10, 1896.

[A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Martin Oberholtzer, by Rev. A. J. Fretz (1903); p.111]

V. Benjamin F. Overholt, b July 19, 1848; m Florence M. Osterhoute July 16, 1884. She d Sept 27, 1900, at the home of her parents, while there on a visit. She was deeply spiritual in her religious life. Her presence in the church was a benediction to all, and her fervent prayers and heart to heart talks in the prayer meetings will long be treasured in the memories of her friends in the church. At her funeral the singers, with sorrowing tearful voices sang the songs she had loved, and her pastor paid deserved tribute, while flowers in abundance covered the casket. P O Scottdale, Pa. M'f'g of Coke; Director of U. S. Cast Iron Pipe & Foundry Co. C: (VI) W. H. Overholt, b Apr 9, 1886; d Mar 23, 1893. Helen A. Overholt, b Aug 26, 1890. Raymond D. Overholt, b Ap. 17, 1893. Mildred J. Overholt, b Feb 10, 1896.

The Elder Benjamin F. Overholt

[The Book of Prominent Pennsylvanians; A Standard Reference (1913);p. 124]

Benjamin Franklin Overholt, coal and coke operator, was born in West Overton, Pa., the son of Henry S. Overholt and Abigail C. Overholt. He is an expert on the mining of coal and the production of coke.

He is president of the Cambria Fuel Company, Cambria, Wyoming, and of the Overholt Coal & Coke Company; director in the following:

Grafton Fuel Company, the Western Maryland Coal Company, the National Coal Company, the Donohoe Coke Company, the Wilbur Coal & Coke Company, the United States Cast Iron Pipe & Foundry Company, the Valley Coal & Coke Company, The Ridgway Machine Company, the Scottdale Foundry & Machine Company, the Ridgway Advocate, the Scottdale Independent, and the Thompson Coal & Coke Company.

He is a member of the Duquesne Club of Pittsburgh, the Pike Run Country Club, the Pittsburgh Athletic Association and the Marion Hall Association.

Abraham Carpenter Overholt (1858-xxxx)
Son of Henry Stauffer Overholt & Abigail Carpenter;
Grandson of Abraham Overholt & Maria Stauffer;

Grandson of Abraham Stauffer & Anna Nissley;
Great-Grandson of
Henry Oberholtzer & Anna Beitler;
Great-Grandson of Christian Stauffer & Barbara Fellman;
G-G-Grandson of Martin Oberholtzer & Agnes Kolb;

G-G-Grandson of Daniel Stauffer & wife;
Husband of Gertrude Torrence;
Father of two children
[as of 1903].

[A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Martin Oberholtzer, by Rev. A. J. Fretz (1903); p.112]

V. Abraham C. Overholt, b at West Overton, Westm'd Co, Pa, Jan 19, 1858; m Gertrude Torrence Jan 16, 1890. P O Scottdale, Pa. President of United States Cast Iron Pipe & Foundry Co. C: (VI) George Torrence Overholt, b Aug 2, 1891. Henry Vinton Overholt, b Dec 12, 1898.

Ralph Overholt (1871-xxxx)
Son of Aaron S. R. Overholt & Sarah Ann Overholt;
Grandson (by Aaron S. R.) of Rev. John D. Overholt & Elizabeth Stauffer;
Grandson (by Elizabeth) of Christian Stauffer &
Agnes Overholt;
Great-Grandson (by John D.) of Jacob Overholt & Elizabeth Detweiler;
Great-Grandson (by Christian) of Abraham Stauffer & Anna Nicely;
G-G-Grandson (by Jacob) of Henry Oberholtzer & Anna Beitler;
G-G-Grandson (by Abraham Stau.) of Christian Stauffer & Barbara Fellman;
G-G-G-Grandson (by Christian Stau.) of Daniel Stauffer & wife;
G-G-G-G-Grandson (by Daniel Stau.) of Daniel Stauffer & Anna [-?-];

Grandson (by Sarah Ann) of Henry S. Overholt & Abigail Carpenter;
Great-Grandson (by Henry S.) of Abraham Overholt & Maria Stauffer;
Great-Grandson (by Maria) of Abraham Stauffer & Anna Nissley;
G-G-Grandson (by Abraham) of Henry Oberholtzer & Anna Beitler;
G-G-Grandson (by Abraham Stau.) of Daniel Stauffer & wife;
G-G-G-Grandson (by Henry Ober.) of Martin Oberholtzer & Agnes Kolb;
G-G-G-Grandson (by Daniel Stau.) of Daniel Stauffer & Anna [-?-];

Great-Grandson (by Agnes Overholt) of Martin Oberholtzer & Esther Fretz;
G-G-Grandson (by Martin Ober.) of Henry Oberholtzer & Anna Beitler;
G-G-G-Grandson (by Henry Ober.) of Martin Oberholtzer & Agnes Kolb;

Husband of Mary E. Husband;
Father of one child
[c. 1903; four children as of 1920].

Karen's Note: Obviously, it is Ralph's lineage that makes the biggest first impression. If anybody sees a mistake, let me know! Keep in mind that the Stauffer line is barely mentioned on this web page, but I will make up for that in my upcoming feature, Stauffer Generations.

[A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Martin Oberholtzer, by Rev. A. J. Fretz (1903); p. 70]

VI. Ralph Overholt, b June 23, 1871; m Mary E. Husband Oct 26, 1899. Manager of the United States Iron Pipe & Foundry Co. Office at Pittsburg [sic], Pa. Baptist. One child. (VII) Margaret Overholt, b Mar 17, 1901.

[The Pittsburgh Social Secretaire; Eva Garner Evans, Pittsburgh, PA (1920); p. 123]

Mr. and Mrs. Ralph (Etta Husband) Overholt; Residence: 7211 Thomas Blvd.; Bell: 4745 Hiland; Miss Margaret H. Overholt, Miss Gertrude H. Overholt, Harold S. Overholt, and Ralph Overholt, Jr.

Ralph Overholt Family Residence

Karen's Note: Many years ago, when I was getting curious about Overholt connection to the Mennonite Church, I phoned the Pittsburgh congregation and spoke with a man who (along with a promise to mail off a few pamphlets) told me their meeting house had actually been owned by a member of the Overholt family. This news was delightful, but he could not recall exactly which member of the family had been the owner. However, the facts were that the residence was sold to the members of the Pittsburgh branch of the Mennonite Church and was used as their meeting house for many years. I remember pulling out my big Street Atlas of Greater Pittsburgh, and locating Thomas Boulevard. A long time passed before I actually saw the house, and then it was on a weekday and no one was at home, so I did not get to see the interior. Incidentally, it is located in Homewood, the same area of the city as Clayton (the Henry Clay Frick home that is now part of a museum complex).

Some time later, a visit to their web site showed that the congregation must have outgrown the house, for they had relocated to another site -- to a church building in another neighborhood. Thereafter (if my memory and old notes are correct), 7211 Thomas Boulevard became a halfway house for ex-convicts (an ongoing Mennonite ministry), but I do not know if it is still being used for this purpose. According to Allegheny County records, the current owner is identified as Thomas Boulevard Group LLC. The former owner was Pittsburgh Hospitality House.

Martin O. Overholt (1824-1906)
Son of Martin Overholt & Catherine Overholt;
Nephew of Abraham Overholt & Maria Stauffer;
Grandson of Henry Oberholtzer & Anna Beitler;
Great-Grandson of Martin Oberholtzer & Agnes Kolb;
Unmarried with no children.

[History of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Vol. II, by John W. Jordan (1906); pp. 608-609]

Karen's Note: Another long bio about the Overholt Family is found in an article featuring Martin O. Overholt.

MARTIN O. OVERHOLT. The Overholts are of German [Swiss] origin and are widely scattered throughout East Huntingdon and adjoining townships in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania. The founder of the American branch of the family was Martin Overholt, who came from Germany, his native land , he having been born thirty miles from Frankfort-on-the-Main, in the year 1709, and settled in Bucks county, Pennsylvania , his death occurring in Bedminster township, April 5, 1744 . He married, November 2, 1736, Agnes _____ [Kolb], born April 18, 1713, died November 2, 1786 [died February 15, 1786]. Mr. Overholt and his wife were among the earliest members of the old Deep Run Mennonite Congregation in Bedminster, and their remains were buried in the graveyard there.

They were the parents of five children: Barbara, Henry, see forward; Maria, [John] and Martin. (A full account of the history of the early members of this family is found in the sketch of Benjamin F. Overholt, which appears elsewhere in this work). [See my note above.]

Henry Overholt, eldest son of Martin and Agnes Overholt, was born in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, February 5, 1739, died in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, in 1813. He married, January 3, 1763 [1765], Anna Beitler, born in Milford township, Bucks county, March 24, 1745, died April 5, 1835, daughter of Jacob and Anna (Meyer) Beitler or Beidler, the former a native of Germany and a pioneer of the Bucks county family of that name, and the latter a daughter of Hans Meyer, the pioneer settler in Upper Salford township, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania. Henry Overholt and wife resided on a farm of one hundred and seventy-five acres near the Deep Run Meeting House until April 25, 1800, when he conveyed the farm to Andrew Loux and removed with his family to Westmoreland county, settling on a tract of wild land at West Overton, East Huntingdon township. He was a farmer and distiller by occupation. He and his wife were the parents of twelve children -- five sons and seven daughters. He died March 5, 1813. His widow survived him many years.

Martin Overholt, third son of Henry and Anna (Beitler) Overholt, was born in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, November, 1772. In 1809 he purchased a farm in Westmoreland county, whither he had previously removed, and the greater part of his life was devoted to farming. [Martin was also a weaver.] He married Catherine Overholt [of Bucks County], daughter of [another] Abraham Overholt, a minister of the Mennonite Church, but not related to this branch of the family. She was born November 1, 1781, and bore her husband seven children, as follows: Susanna, Esther, Anne, Abraham, Henry, John and Martin O. Martin Overholt, father of these children, died in Sangamon, now Logan county, Illinois, June 18, 1835. His widow died in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, December 21, 1866.

Martin O. Overholt, son of Martin and Catherine (Overholt) Overholt, was born August 17, 1824, on the [Martin Overholt] farm in Scottdale, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, where he still resides and where he has spent all his life, engaged in agricultural pursuits. He has been successful in this line of work and enjoys the reputation of being an intelligent, honorable and upright citizen of his native township. Mr. Overholt is unmarried.

[A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Martin Oberholtzer, by Rev. A. J. Fretz (1903); pp. 85-86, p. 96.]

III. Martin Overholt, b in Bedminster Twp, Bucks Co, Pa, Nov 1772; d in Sangamon, (now Logan) Co, Ill, June 18, 1835; m Catharine Overholt, daughter of Abraham Overholt, of Bucks Co, Pa. She was b in Plumstead Twp, Bucks Co, Pa, Nov 1, 1781; d in Westm'd Co, Pa, Dec 21, 1866. Farmer, weaver; Menns. C: Susanna, Esther, Anne, Abraham, Henry, John, Martin.

IV. Martin O. Overholt, b in East Huntington [sic] twp, Westm'd Co, Pa, Aug 17, 1824. P O West Overton, Pa. Farmer. He, with the heirs of his brother Abraham O. Overholt, still own and occupy the farm purchased by his father 90 years ago. It joins the old original Overholt homestead. Mr. Overholt is a model man although he has never connected him-self with any church, but has lived an up-right and conscientious life. He has always taken great pleasure in hunting, and during his life time has killed nineteen wild turkeys; although old in years, he has never grown so in disposition. He has a good memory, and can give dates and occurances from childhood, and in his day was one of the best spellers in his township. In politics, he is an ardent Republican. S.

[Along the Banks of Jacobs Creek, compiled by Winifred Paul; pp. 78-79, p. 80.]

Ov25 Martin Overholt Nov 1772 Bucks Co.-18 Jun 1835, age 62. died Sangamon (now Logan) Co. IL Farmer, weaver. Mennonite. m 1802 Catherine Overholt 1 Nov 1781 Plumstead Twp., Bucks Co. PA-21 Dec 1866 Westmoreland Co., age 85. Bu Alverton.

When Martin Overholt died, his administrators Henry O. Overholt (son) and Henry D. Overholt (his brother Jacob's son) found that "descendent died instestate [sic] leaving issue seven children and that his personal estate was insufficient for the payments of his just debts" The court ordered land to be sold and 18 Jan 1836 there was public sale. John Overholt, brother of Catherine from Bucks Co. was the highest bidder and got the farm for $4000. It was located on Dexter Road, now called Overholt Dr., north of Jacobs Creek and south of West Overton.

Ov257 Martin O. Overholt 17 Aug 1824-29 Nov 1906, age 82. Bu Alverton. He and the heirs of his brother, Abraham O., lived on the Martin Overholt farm until the 1920s. A hunter. Single.

[Annals of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Volume 4, by Lewis Clark Walkinshaw (c. 1939); p.113]

JAMES E. TINSTMAN. Throughout his industrial career of more than fifty years, James E. Tinstman has been associated in numerous capacities with the United States Pipe and Foundry Company, and since 1920, he has been general manager of the plant located at Scottdale. He was born at West Overton, East Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland County, Octobr 22, 1870, the son of Jacob Overholt and Anna (Leighty) Tinstman, both deceased.

Jacob Overholt Tinstman, born in East Huntingdon Township, November 23, 1832, was for many years head distiller of the Overholt Distillery. He was also interested in the coal and coke business in this section, and was a member of the Masonic Order.

James E. Tinstman received his education in the East Huntingdon Township and Bull Skin Township schools, later transferring to the Scottdale public schools. He attended the Scottdale High School and in 1886, he entered the employ of the National Foundry and Pipe Company, the name of his present employer, prior to 1899.

James E. Tinstman (1870-xxxx)
Son of Jacob Overholt Tinstman & Anna Leighty;
Grandson of John Tinstman & Anna Overholt;
G-Grandson of Jacob Tinstman & Anna "Nancy" Fox;
G-Grandson of Abraham Overholt & Maria Stauffer;
G-G-Grandson of Adam Tinstman & wife;
G-G-Grandson (by Anna Fox) of Henry Fox & Mary Ruth;
G-G-Grandson of Henry Oberholtzer & Anna Beitler;
G-G-Grandson of Abraham Stauffer & Anna Nissley;
G-G-G-Grandson of Martin Oberholtzer & Agnes Kolb;
G-G-G-Grandson of Christian Stauffer & Barbara Fellman;
Husband of Sarah A. Rutherford;
Father of one child.

He started as a laborer, and in later years served as moulder, yard foreman, shipping clerk, superintendent and resident manager. In 1920, he was appointed resident general manager, and he has capably handled the numerous duties of this office to the present day. He is a member of the Methodist Church, and is prominently identified with the Republican party. He was a member of the City Council for eighteen years, and during the last ten years of his term served as president of this group.

He was married, January 11, 1900, to Sarah A. Rutherford, a native of New Castle, England, born January 18, 1872, the daughter of John and Anna (Robson) Rutherford. Mr. and Mrs. Tinstman are the parents of a daughter, Helen, born October 31, 1900, who married David W. Loucks, of Scottdale, Pennsylvania.

Henry Vinton Overholt (1898-xxxx)
Son of Abraham C. Overholt & Gertrude Torrence;
Grandson of Henry S. Overholt & Abigail Carpenter;
Great-Grandson of Abraham Overholt & Maria Stauffer;
G-G-Grandson of Henry Oberholtzer & Anna Beitler;
G-G-Grandson of Abraham Stauffer & Anna Nissley;
G-G-G-Grandson of Martin Oberholtzer & Agnes Kolb;
G-G-G-Grandson of Christian Stauffer & Barbara Fellman;
Husband of Elma Binns;
Father of one child
[as of 1939].

[Annals of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Volume 4, by Lewis Clark Walkinshaw (c. 1939); p. 88]

HENRY VINTON OVERHOLT. As proprietor of the H. V. Overholt Motors Company of Scottdale, Henry Vinton Overholt is well known in the business world of this locality. He was born in this town December 12, 1898, the son of Abraham C. and Gertrude (Torrence) Overholt. Abraham C. Overholt, a native of West Overton, Pennsylvania, was engaged in the iron and coal business, and was a trustee of Lafayette College. He also served for a time as school director.

Henry Vinton Overholt attended the Scottdale schools, and after one year at the high school, enrolled at Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut. Later he entered Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University, and received the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy in 1921. He was engaged in the operation of a coal mine from 1921 to 1923, and then entered the automobile business, as a dealer in Buick cars. He is also agent for Chevrolet and General Motors trucks, and Goodyear tires, and employs twelve men in the conduct of his business.

He is also a director of the First National Bank of Scottdale and of the United States Pipe and Foundry Company of Burlington, New Jersey.

He is a member of the Episcopal Church and a life-long Republican, and is amember of the Borough Council. He is affiliated with the Harvard, Yale, Princeton Club of Pittsburgh, and the Chi Phi Fraternity, an is a member of the Free and Accepted Masons, and the American Legion. He is also connected with the Pennsylvania Automotive Association, and the Uniontown Country Club.

He was married January 7, 1932, at Pittsburgh, to Elma Binns, a native of Fayette City, daughter of James G. and Elizabeth (Parsons) Binns. Mr. and Mrs. Overholt are the parents of a daughter, Gertrude Elizabeth, born at Pittsburgh, June 19, 1934.

Further Mention of the Overholt Family

[A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Martin Oberholtzer, by Rev. A. J. Fretz (1903); pp. 1-2]


I. Martin Oberholtzer, the progenitor of a family numerously represented in Bucks, Montgomery and Westmoreland counties, Pa, Tuscarawas and Stark counties, O[Ohio], and in other Western States, was born in 1709 in Germany, :thirty miles from Frankfort-on-the-Main," emigrated to America in the early part of the 18th century, and settled in Bucks county, Pa, probably somewhere in Bedminster township. He died April 5, 1744, in his 39th year. On November 2, 1736, he married *Agnes _____ (maiden name unknown). [Agnes Kolb] * (She married for her second husband pioneer William Nash, as his third wife.) She was born April 18, 1713; died February 15, 1786. Both are buried at the old Mennonite graveyard at Deep Run, Bucks county, Pa.

Nothing is known of the life and characteristics of Martin Oberholtzer. He, in common with others of the Mennonite faith, no doubt left the fatherland [Germany] on account of religious persecution to which they were subjected in their native land [Switzerland], and fled to America, which had then become an asylum for the oppressed of every nation, and where, under the bright sunlight of religtious freedom, they could worship God without the least restraint. Thus early emigrating to America, while the country was yet principally a vast wilderness, infested with serpents, wild beasts, and treacherous savages, he, in common with his brethren in faith, endured all the trials and privations of pioneer settlers.

It is not known where he lived. "He never owned land in fee in Bedminster township," but may have been a tenant under William Allen, or resided in an adjoining township. It is not known where he attended church services, as he died before the Deep Run and other continguous churches were erected, but undoubtedly in that early day the services which he attended were held in private houses. Mennonites. Children: Barbara, Henry , Maria, John , Martin.

[A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Martin Oberholtzer, by Rev. A. J. Fretz (1903); pp. 63-64]

II. Henry Oberholtzer, b in Bucks Co, Pa., Feb 5, 1739; d in Westmoreland Co., Pa., 1813; m *Anna Beitler Jan 3, 1765. She was b Mar 24, 1745; d Apr 5, 1835. *(Daughter of pioneer Jacob and Anna (Meyer) Beidler, of "Lower" Milford twp., Bucks co., Pa., and grand-daughter of Hans Meyer, pioneer, of Upper Salford, twp., Montg., Co., Pa., -- See Moyer and Beidler histories.) The homestead of Henry "Overhold," in Bucks Co., was a tract of 175 acres and 44 perches at Deep Run in Bedminister [sic] township, adjoining the Mennonite Church property, which William Allen conveyed to Abraham Black (Swartz) May 10, 1762.

Abraham Black assigned all his rights to above deed Sept 20, 1762, to Anges [sic] Nash (d), widow of William Nash, of Bedminister [sic], and mother of Henry Oberholtzer by her first husband, Martin Oberholtzer. On Nov 7, 1774, Anges [Agnes] Nash conveyed the homestead to her son, Henry "Overhold," for £, 357, 17 shillings and 2 pense. On Apr25, 1800, Henry "Overhold" and wife Anna sold the homestead to Andrew Loux for the sum of £, 1500, gold and silver money. The old homestead is now [circa 1903] owned and occupied by Samuel Leatherman.

After disposing of his property in Bucks County, Henry Overholt with his family, emigrated to Westmoreland Co., Pa., and settled on a tract of then wild land, since known as the Overholt homestead, in West Overton, in East Huntington [sic] twp., Farmer; Menns. C: Anges [Agnes], Maria, Jacob, Annie, Martin, Barbara, Elizabeth, Henry, Sarah, Abraham, Christian, Susanna.

The Hometown the Overholts Built: West Overton, PA

[Along the Banks of Jacobs Creek, compiled by Winifred Paul, p. 76]

Overholt, Henry

Henry Oberholtzer's farm in Bedminster Twp. Bucks Co. Pa was located next to the Deep Run Mennonite meetinghouse. [Quoting Edward Yoder's The Mennonite Quarterly Review] "He sold that estate, it is said, for 1500 pounds of gold and silver money. Then loading his entire family of wife, five sons, seven daughters, five sons-in-law, two daughters-in-law, and thirteen grandchildren, together with a great quantity of goods and chattels upon a string of covered wagons, he set out upon the long journey of three hundred miles to a new land on the other side of the mountains. It was in the summer of 1800 that this company of some thirty souls reached East Huntingdon township. Henry ... bought ... land which he had selected and proceeded to build a new homestead ... His married sons and daughters settled on lands near by and around their father's place, and they all set about to improve their farms and build homes for themselves."

The farm Henry Overholt sold in Bucks Co. continues as a family farm. According to Westmoreland County Deed Book 9, page 163 William and Eleanor Newell of Allegheny Co. PA sold 260 1/2 acres to Henry Overhold for 1300 pounds on 7 Jun 1803. The tract was called Rostraver and had been patented by Newell on 18 Dec 1801. Today this area is known as West Overton.

Karen's Note: To the left is a photo of Old Westmoreland: The History and Genealogy of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. I found the image on Ebay one day. If you know anything about this book/booklet, or if you can send me a photocopy, or if you know where I can find it in a library somewhere, please write!

[The Planting of Civilization in Western Pennsylvania, by Solon Justus Buck (1939); p. 224]

Some further impressions of the varied character of the immigration to the region between 1790 and 1820 can be gained by noting a few of the individuals who rose to leadership during the period or later. Among the natives of eastern Pennsylvania were Dr. James Postlethwaite of Carlisle, educated at Dickinson College, who accompanied the army sent to suppress the Whiskey Insurrection in 1794, settled in Greensburg in 1797, and rose to prominence in medicine and politics; John M. Snowden, a printer from Philadelphia, who established the Farmers Register at Greensburg in 1799, later published papers in Pittsburgh, and was elected mayor of Pittsburgh in 1825; John Hannen, a brick mason from Lancaster County, who settled in Pittsburgh in 1800, was one of the builders of the Western Penitentiary, and became a prominent druggist and manufacturer; Abraham Overholt, of Pennsylvania-German [Swiss] stock, who removed with his parents from Berks [Bucks] County to Westmoreland in 1800 and became a leading farmer, miller, and distiller at West Overton . . . . [and others].

Karen's Note: My thanks to Thomas Ridenour for sending me copies of the following two newspaper articles.

THE WEEKLY COURIER, CONNELLSVILLE, PA. - - - - November 24, 1905


Immense Storage Ware House Was Totally Destroyed by Flames at Broad Ford on Sunday.


Origin of the Fire Unknown -- The Entire Plant and Town of Broad Ford Were Threatened by the Flames for Many Hours.

One of the most spectacular fires witnessed in Fayette county during recent years occurred at Broad Ford on Sunday, when Ware House 'D' of the A. Overholt & Company distillery burned to the ground. For hours, the entire plant of the company and the town of Broad Ford were threatened with destruction, but the unceasing efforts of the Overholt force of employes, and firemen from Connellsville and New Haven, prevented the flames from spreading beyond the building in which they started.

The fact that the wind, while slight, was blowing toward the river probably accounts for the flames not eating up more property. They were headed toward the xxxx and sheet-iron company buildings, while had the wind been blowing from the river, the store of the Union Supply Company and the Baltimore & Ohio depot would have been consumed, and possibly all the houses in Broad Ford. As long as the fire blazed in the warehouse, streams of water were played on the store and the depot, but in spite of this precaution, all the paint was blistered and several windows were cracked from the heat.

Some of the goods were moved from the store early in the afternoon by Store Manager Christopher Keck and his assistants, for at that time, the outcome of the fire was in doubt. Some express and freight matter were also moved from the B. & O. station to a place of safety.

Shortly after three o'clock Sunday afternoon, Frank McDonald, a boy employed in the bottling department of the distillery, noticed flames issuing from an upper door. He notified his brother, Joseph McDonald, employed in the warehouse, and Ware House Foreman George Patskin[?]. In investigating the fire, both Patskin and Joseph McDonald were overcome with smoke, but were not seriously hurt, recovering in a few minutes. Almost at the same time McDonald discovered the fire, it was seen by the whole population of Broad Ford.

H. L. Krepps, superintendent of the plant, was not at Broad Ford when the fire started, and could not be located in Connellsville. He got a message at Jacobs Creek shortly after five o'clock, and hastened to the scene of the fire. J. P. Trader, superintendent of the bottling department, was the next man in charge of the plant, and he took active charge of the fighters. He was located in Connellsville directly after the fire started, and at once had an alarm of fire sounded.

The local fire department was prompt in turning out, and in a few minutes had their equipment at the Baltimore & Ohio railroad tracks. The members of the New Haven fire department were also on hand, but did not bring any of their equipment along. Shortly after four o'clock, Engine No. 580 in charge of Engineer Bert Miller and Fireman James Artis drew up with two flat cars. The equipment was hastily loaded, ladders and two hose carts, and with the cars crowded with fire fighters, the train was rushed to Broad Ford. Train master J. J. Driscoll and Master Mechanic P. J. Harrigan were in charge of the train.

When the Connellsville contingent arrived, the flames had just begun to burst from the upper center doors of Ware House 'D.' A few streams of water were then being played on the fire. An immense crowd had already gathered. It was then feared by many that an explosion would result. About 10 minutes after the Connellsville boys arrived, the Adelaide fire department dashed on the scene. This consisted of a two horse farm wagon with about 100 feet of hose.

It was soon seen that the flames in the ware house were beyond control, and all efforts were directed towards saving the surrounding property. John Volmsky, William Dill, Wm. Keller and Reinold Winterhalter carried a host to the top of the grain elevator and played a stream on the roof all evening.

William Stillwagon and several others got on the roof of a shed which projected from the elevator, and played another stream against the sides of that building. This action was not taken a minute too soon, for the heat had already caused the building to smoulder in one or two places. These men maintained their places for hours, in the face of a burning heat. They were kept drenched in water to prevent their clothing from catching on fire. Keller, who was fartherest [sic] toward the fire, had his face and arms terribly blistered.

The walls of the burning ware house commenced falling after most of the interior had been consumed, and it was feared that this would cause adjoining buildings to ignite. Shortly after five o'clock, a few bricks from the top of the ware house fell out on the siding running past the building, and an hour afterward, part of the wall near the west end fell with a crash, and for a time it was feared that some of the spectators were caught. No one was hurt.

The rear walls fell inward, while the front walls dropped over on the Baltimore & Ohio tracks. The east bound track was blocked for a short time with brick, but was soon cleared. The walls fell with crashes that could be heard all over the place, and each fall brought new apprehensions for the safety of adjoining property.

The Uniontown Fire Department, with their steamer, reached the scene shortly before 10 o'clock. They were sent for, because it was feared that when the west wall fell, the adjoining ware house, of much larger capacity than the one burned, would catch fire. Men and boys formed bucket brigades and worked from the top of this building to keep its walls flooded with water.

As soon as it was seen that the flames in the burning ware house were beyond control, the engineer of the plant went into all the other ware houses and smashed the steam pipes. He then turned on a full pressure of steam, which dampened the whole interior of the buildings. When this steam was first seen escaping through the doors of the buildings, the crowd thought that they, too, had caught fire, but these fears were soon dispelled.

Too much credit cannot be bestowed on the fire fighters. Those from Connellsville especially did themselves proud, and many deeds of gallantry were performed. Councilman William McCormick was on hand and it was greatly due to his good generalship that the flames were confined to the building in which they started. He was all over the grounds, and his voice could be heard giving ringing commands to the fire fighters.

Fire Marshall W. H. Marietta was also on the grounds and did efficient work in directing his men. He issued orders that no liquor be given the firemen, saying that it was impossible to drink whiskey and fight fire at the same time. Some of the firemen struck when this order was given, but they were not from Connellsville.

Early in the evening, Wall McCormick and Felix McArdle, both of the Connellsville department, were knocked off one of the high ladders by a sudden burst of flame, which blew through a door near where the men were working with a hose. They were not hurt, but they narrowly escaped being seriously burned. Both fell a distance of about 15 feet.

Seven lines of three inch hose were kept playing on the flames, besides several smaller lines from other plugs. The big hoses were attached to fire plugs around the grounds and the store, which are supplied with water by the Youghiogheny Water Company. This water is carried to the plugs in six inch pipes. As soon as it was learned that the fire was a serious one, the water which supplies the Davidson works from the Trotter Water Company was turned off and all pressure was turned onto the line at Broad Ford.

The immense pumps were kept forcing the water direct on the plugs at a pressure of 150 pounds, and a man was kept at the gauge, constantly regulating the pressure. The supply of water was more than sufficient, and this was a great factor in controlling the flames. The fire engine from Uniontown was not needed, for the pressure was as great as any fire engine could have given.

All freight trains on the Baltimore & Ohio railroad were stopped by the fire, but No. 5, the New York and Chicago express, got through without mishap. A freight was then run past, and No. 44 and three sections of No. 12 were run past on the west bound track. Every train going east carried hundreds of people to Connellsville.

The crowd that attended the fire was immense. Thousands of people were there from Connellsville, Uniontown, Dawson, Scottdale and surrounding towns. As soon as the fire whisle blew in Connellsville, many people started to walk to Broad Ford, and this stream of pedestrians kept up until after nine o'clock. Every freight train out of Connellsville carried a full quota of spectators. Many from Scottdale rode as far as the Old Meadow mill and walked the three miles to Broad Ford.

Automobiles, carriages, buggies, wagons, and horses brought men, women and children to the scene. Some of them rode Shank's mare, but all got there. Trains over the P & LE brought up a number from Dawson and Dickerson Run, Broad Ford, and all the hills surrounding were dotted with sightseers. Those from Connellsville who did not go to the scene of the fire witnessed the spectacular sight from hills and house tops. From a distance, it appeared that the whole distillery was enveloped in a mass of flame.

A large quantity of crackers was served out to the hungry firemen. It was a late hour when the Connellsville department returned, thoroughly tired out by the hard work that they did. It can be said that their efforts did much to quell the flames, and keep them under control. A government storekeeper at the Overholt distillery swore in a number of deputies to keep the crowd back of the fire lines, and these men performed efficient service.

The loss sustained by the Overholt will reach nearly $1,000,000. John H. White stated this morning that this whiskey and buildings alone will total over $800,000.

There were 16,000 barrels of whiskey in the ware house and all of this went up in smoke or soaked in the ground as the big building gradually crumbled beneath the fierce flames. The whiskey was worth on an average of $50 a barrel. There was some very old stock in the ware house and some other that was not so old, all of it, however, giving the average price stated above.

Over 10,000 bushels of rye are a total loss. The damage to the grain was done by water, and there is nothing for the management of the distillery to do, but throw it into the river.

The cost of the whiskey as vouched for by the distillery is without the government tax. The government does not sustain any loss by the burning of the building. This warehouse stood the company almost $75,000.

The distillery proper is not damaged in the slightest. It was in operation, and Manager White stated this morning would be running in two weeks. That much time will be needed to get matters straightened out again about the big plant. The plant, aside from the distillery proper, consists of ware houses A, B, C, and D, and a large bottling house. These ware houses had a capacity of 88,000 barrels of whiskey in storage at the plant.

The origin of the fire is unknown. Some persons thought it must have started with a bad electric wire. This could not have been possible, since the dynamo was not running on Sunday, and there was no electric current on the wire in Ware House 'D' at any time on Sunday. Besides, there are no electric wires on the third floor of the ware house where the fire started. The distillery officials are firmly of the opinion that a spark from a passing Baltimore & Ohio train in some manner found its way into the interior of the building and started a blaze from which the fire rapidly spread. No. 46 had passed Broad Ford a short time before the first blaze was discovered.

The amount of insurance carried in detail could not be learned this morning. Manager White said the policies were in the Pittsburg [sic] office and he, himself, did not know what amounts were carried in the different companies, until the matter was looked up. He said, however, that the loss is pretty well covered by insurance.

It is just xx years since the Overholt distillery at Broad Ford was destroyed by fire. the buildings at that time were frame and the whole plant was destroyed. It was then greatly enlarged and the capacity increased. Since then, the plant has been added to from time to time, until it is now one of the largest distilleries in the United States, and in fact, the world. The A. Overholt Company is owned by H. C. Frick, and R. B. Mellon of Pittsburg [sic]. It was established by A. Overholt in 1810.

"If the whiskey burned on Sunday afternoon in Ware House D of the A. Overholt & Company distillery at Broad Ford was lost through no negligence on the part of the officials or employees, then the internal revenue tax of $1.10 a gallon will not have to be paid by the firm," said Commissioner of Internal Revenue John W. Yarkes[?] of Washington. Of course, it is too early yet for the Overholt firm to have filed a claim asking for an abatement of the tax on the destroyed whiskey. The law protects it in this regard. I have received no statement from the officials of the firm, either concerning the amount of whiskey lost or asking for an abatement of the tax."

The shareholders of the A. Overholt Distilling Company, whose Broad Ford plant was damaged by fire on Sunday, estimated their loss including the loss of business, at $800,000, just as The Courier stated Monday. That does not include the payment of the tax on the whiskey. This estimate was made by General Manager White yesterday. R. B. Mellon announced that it would be rebuilt at once.

The Union Insurance Company officials of Pittsburg [sic], who had charge of the placing of the insurance on the plant are still at sea as to the total amount of the insurance loss. It is estimated it will reach about $200,000, placed with companies in almost every part of the United States.

The total insurance on the whiskey in Ware House D, which was owned by the company, is $167, 500. The insurance on the building is $22,700. In addition to this, the grain elevator adjoining the distillery, which contained 10,000 bushels of rye worth $7,500, was soaked with water and it is expected the grain will be a total loss.

Besides the whiskey in the ware house, which was owned by the company, there was a great deal of liquor which had been sold to dealers, and for which certificates have been issued. This was insured to a great extent by the owners, but just whom they are or where they reside, it will take a complete inspection of the company's books to decide. This insurance is placed in almost every part of the country.

The ruins today have been entirely cooled off.


September 26, 1940.

Overholt Distillery Resumes at
Capacity Monday; 70 Recalled

Capacity operations will be resumed Monday at the Broad Ford distillery of A. Overholt Company, Inc., a National Distillers subsidiary, it was announced today by Resident Manager James J. Dunn.

With the plant returning to the manufacture of whiskey, 70 furloughed workers of the firm will be given employment, increasing the active personnel to approximately 300. It is stressed there are no new jobs as only the old employes are being recalled.

Although the distillery has had a large force on hand throughout the summer bottling its product, the distilling operations have been idel since June 1, the seasonal shutdown. Whereas in the past, operations have been at a reduced scale, this tie they are being conducted at full capacity.

During the period of idleness, Overholt has made extensive repairs and improvements at the plant, including three new driers and one 800 horsepower boiler. Too, last summer the new case storage building, with a capacity of 50,000 cases, was completed and will be used to store the bottled product.

"We are returning to operations at full capacity, giving employment to 70 more of our old workers, increasing our personnel to approximately 300," Manager Dunn said. "The outlook for the coming season is most favorable."


[Unknown Source, featuring leading Pennsylvania industries (c. 1957); pp. 539-543]

Karen's Note: The following is taken from photocopied pages 539-543 of a work probably published before 1957. The article immediately preceding this one is highlighting a plant that makes the "Powermaster," consisting of "a steam generating unit fired by an oil burner," which seems to be describing a boiler. The article immediately following features the "Paper Manufacturers Company, with offices at Fifth and Willow Streets and a large warehouse at Twenty-fifth and Reed Streets in Philadelphia." This company manufactures "small paper rolls for use in all type of communication equipment, registers, tabulating equipment," etc. If anybody recognizes this material, and can provide the proper reference, please write!]

A. Overholt & Company, Inc. (Division of National Distillers Product Corporation)

There was a time in the early history of Pennsylvania when the number of distilleries in a typical frontier community was apt to outnumber the grist mills. This did not necessarily mean that whiskey was more important than flour or meal to the average settler. It did mean, however, that the use of grain in the manufacture of whiskey was one of the most economical ways for the frontier farmer far from a seaboard market to utilize his grain. Distilling in that early day was typically an agricultural industry in that it was based upon the need for farmers to turn their grain into a product which could more easily be transported to market. Casks of whiskey from th interior regions of the state formed an important part of the cargo on early river boats in both eastern and western Pennsylvania.

It was during that era that Pennsylvania rye whiskey distilled in the western counties achieved something of a national reputation for its quality and flavor. The story of A. Overholt & Company, now a unit in the large National Distillers Products Corporation [The company name changed to National Distillers and Chemical Corp. in 1957.] with executive offices at 120 Broadway, New York City, is intimately associated with this early period in the growth of the Pennsylvania frontier. It is one of a few distilling houses which has come down through the years to the number of well over one hundred and still is noted for the high quality and flavor of its product, distilled as in the days of old, in western Pennsylvania. it is a story which centers in its early stages around the person of Abraham Overholt, and later about the person of one Henry Clay Frick, better known as a coke king.

Abraham Overholt was a Buck [Bucks] County Mennonite whose life covered a wide span of Pennsylvania history. He was born in 1784 and died in 1870. His grandfather was a typical German [Swiss] immigrant to colonial Pennsylvania. [The Swiss speak their own version of the German language. Evidentally, all German-speaking people were considered to be German, and were later tagged with another misnomer, "Pennsylvania Dutch."] Abraham's father, Henry Overholt [Heinrich "Henry" Oberholtzer], moved westward with his family after the Revolution. That was the time when western Pennsylvania was beginning to fill up rapidly with settlers from the East. The Overholts settled at West Overton in Westmoreland County. [Rather, their settlement in Westmoreland County became West Overton.] This was not far from the same spot where in 1787 the sturdy band of pioneers from New England who had made up the famous Northwest Territory expedition had stopped to build their boats. It was from nearby West Newton that they had embarked in the spring of 1787 upon the broad waters of the Yougiogheny River and thence down the beautiful Ohio to Marietta to found the first permanent white settlement in the Northwest.

The Overholts were typical sturdy Pennsylvania German [Swiss] farmer frontiersmen. They cleared land for a farm. Young Abraham had leaned the weaver's trade in Buck [sic] County and in the new home worked his looms for the family and also took in weaving for the neighbors. Virtually every family distilled some rye whiskey from farm grown grain and Abraham took over this chore. It was the fame of Overholt whiskey made at the Overholt homestead which led Abraham Overholt into the distilling business. In 1810 he abandoned his weaver's trade and in a small log house on the homestead at West Overton he started a commercial distillery with a mash capacity of from three to four bushels of grain a day.

The original log distillery was enlarged as the demand grew for this better whiskey made under the Overholt direction. Finally a stone building had to be built and equipment installed to mash, ferment, and distill some forty to fifty bushels of grain a day. The grain was ground at a mill on Jacob's Creek near present Scottdale and Bridgeport and hauled to the mill by ox team. In 1834 a brick mill was added to the distillery and for the first time all of the distilling operations were carried on at West Overton. Some of thse original buildings still remain and form a part of the property maintained at West Overton and known as Historical House through the generosity of Miss Helen Frick. Today it is used as a headquarters for the Westmoreland-Fayette County Historical Society [now called West Overton Museums].

In 1856 further expansion was necessary, so widespread had become the fame of the Overholt whiskey distilled at West Overton. A location was established at Broad Ford on the Youghiogheny River because of good water supply and better railroad outlets. The new distillery was built sixty-three feet wide by one hundred feet long, six stories high. [They must have modeled the new distillery at Broad Ford after the one at West Overton.] It had a mashing capacity of two hundred bushels a day [ditto], a considerable growth since the days of the small log distillery Abraham Overholt had started with at West Overton in 1810. The location for the new distillery [at Broad Ford] was an historic one. In an earlier day it had been one of the major crossing points on the Youghiogheny used by the redmen and by George Washington alike. The distillery production could now reach nearly nine hundred gallons a day.

Karen's Note: According to other accounts, it was Jacob S. Overholt and his cousin Henry O. Overholt (son of Martin Overholt, the second son of Henry Oberholtzer and Anna Beitler) who established the distillery at Broad Ford, Jacob giving up his partnership in the West Overton business in 1855. Jacob's death, in 1859, prompted Abraham to take over Jacob's interest in the Broad Ford business. If anybody else has any corroborating evidence one way or the other, please write!

Shortly before the expansion [of the West Overton mill and distillery building], the oldest son, Henry S. Overholt, acquired a half interest in the farm, distillery, and mill. It was about 1858 or 1860 that the firm became known as A. Overholt & Co., as other members of the Overholt family acquired an interest in the enterprise. In the meantime, the fame of Overholt whiskey had spread the length and breadth of the land. Those who boated whiskey down the western rivers declared that Overholt commanded a premium price throughout the southern and western markets. It went across the plains and the Rocky Mountains into the far reaches of the West with the expanding frontier.

About 1880 a third distillery with a capacity of eight hundred bushels of grain per day was built to replace the earlier structure, making the second distillery built at the Broad Ford location. [Building project #3 commenced at Broad Ford distillery in 1880. By utilizing coal for steam power, the daily capacity increased to 800 bushels of grain and 3,450 gallons of whiskey.] This had hardly been placed in operation when in 1899 work was begun on another plant, which is the present Broad Ford distilling plant of A. Overholt. The entire plant was then dismantled and reconstructed. Additonal buildings were added as rack warehouses. Capacity of the new plant was about 1500 bushels of grain per day and 6450 gallons of whiskey. The plant was not entirely completed until 1905. [In 1899, another building project commenced, with the entire plant at Broad Ford being dismantled and reconstructed, and adding new rack warehouses. The construction is finished by 1905, by which time the plant had a daily capacity of 1,500 bushels of grain & 6,450 gallons of whiskey.]

The ownership and management of the Overholt Company has changed with the passing years. Henry Clay Frick, best known as the partner of Carnegie in steel and later as the founder of a great empire of coke in his own name, was a family connection of the Overholts [a grandson of Abraham Overholt] and clerked as a youth in the Overholt distillery office [first at West Overton, and later at Broad Ford]. Mr. Frick was born at West Overton and his birthplace [the Springhouse] is still standing on the Historical House property. Abraham Overholt had himself been one of the first to discover coal in the Westmoreland County area and made use of it at his distillery. [Abraham Overholt is credited as the FIRST discoverer of coal in that portion of Westmoreland County, and the FIRST to utilize it in his home and businesses.]

By inheritance, Henry Clay Frick acquired an interest in the Overholt Company. [Totally untrue!] With means of capital at his command he soon was able to acquire full control. [See my Timeline for an accurate version of the manner in which Frick claimed ownership of the Broad Ford Overholt Distillery.] Prior to Mr. Frick's death in 1919, Andrew W. Mellon had also acquired an interest in the Overholt Company. At the death of Frick he obtained a controlling interest. A little later the Company was acquired by the National Distillers interests as one of its affiliates.

The Overholt distillery at Broad Ford continues to produce the famous Old Overholt whiskey [circa 1957], a Pennsylvania rye of the same distinction as over a hundred years ago. For a time the coal and coke business swept over Broad Ford and virtually obliterated the distillery as a major factor in its economy. Today, Broad Ford is once more a quiet community dominated by the operations of the distillery. Nearly ten thosand gallons of Old Overholt go into charred white oak barrels every day of normal operation. They are then racked away to age for from four to eight years. It is still made, however, just as it was in the days of old and the same individuality that characterized Overholt whiskeys and made them famous are inherent in the present Old Overholt. Abraham Overholt was a firm, gentle, and religious man with an eye to good business. He was straightforward and earned a reputation for the care and attention he devoted to his business. National Distillers has endeavored to carry over into it operation of this historic Company the same principles which dominated its origin.

Karen's Note: Obviously, the folks at National Distillers did not "endeavor" very long. They shut down the Broad Ford Overholt Distillery around the same time they shut down the Ruff's Dale Samuel Dillinger distillery. The label Old Overholt and the name A. Overholt & Company were released to James B. Beam Distilling Co. on May 26, 1987, recorded June 15, 1987.

By the way, if you have read my feature OLD OVERHOLT: The History of a Whiskey, much of this article must sound very familiar to you. Was some of it taken from the commemoration speech I edited, or was this article the major source for that unknown writer?

List of Sources

(1) History of the County of Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, edited by George Dallas Albert; L. H. Everts & Co., Philadelphia; 1882.
(2) History of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Vol. II, edited by John W. Jordan, LL.D., of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania; The Lewis Publishing Company, New York & Chicago; 1906.
(3) History of Fayette County, by Franklin Ellis; L. H. Everts & Co., Philadelphia; 1882.
(4) Notable Men of Pittsburgh and Vicinity, compiled by Percy F. Smith; Pittsburgh Printing Company, Pittsburgh, PA; 1901.
(5) A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Martin Oberholtzer, by Rev. A. J. Fretz; Press of The Evergreen News, Milton, New Jersey; 1903.
(6) Along the Banks of Jacobs Creek, compiled by Winifred Paul, Mennonite Publishing House, Scottdale, PA.
(7) The Oberholtzer Book: A Foundation Book of Oberholtzer Immigrants and Unestablished Lines, compiled & edited by Barbara B. Ford, The Overholser Family Association, Wallingford, PA.; 1995.
(8) The Book of Prominent Pennsylvanians; A Standard Reference; Pittsburgh, Leader Publ.; 1913.
(9) The Pittsburgh Social Secretaire; Eva Garner Evans, Pittsburgh, PA; 1920.
(10) The Planting of Civilization in Western Pennsylvania, by Solon Justus Buck; University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA; 1939.
(11) Unknown Source, featuring leading Pennsylvania industries, c. 1957.
(12) "Big Fire at the Overholt Distillery," The Weekly Courier, Connellsville, PA., November 24, 1905; p. 6.
(13) "Overholt Distillery Resumes at Capacity Monday; 70 Recalled," The Daily Courier, Connellsville, PA., September 26, 1940; p.1.
(14) Annals of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Volume 4, by Lewis Clark Walkinshaw; Lewis Historical Publishing Co., New York; c. 1939; pp. 88, 113.
(15) Memoirs of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania: Personal and Genealogical, Vol. 2; Northwestern Historical Assoc., Madison, Wis.; 1904; pp. 239-240.
(16) "Frick Hospital marks 100 years of helping ill," by Marjorie Wertz; Tribune-Review, Sept. 1, 2002.
(17) John Pritiskutch Reproductions Web Site:

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