Jackson Township
Cambria County, Pennsylvania

Chapter 25

Annals of Jackson Township

Mrs. Betty Burkhart
Nanty Glo Journal

October 1, 1942

Communities And Their First Settlers

Nanty Glo

Nanty-Glo is a comparatively new community, for forty years ago there were just three houses there, all of them hotels.  The St. James Hotel building is still occupied.  John Cunningham came here where he ran a sawmill for Judge Barker and employed thirty men.  Also around 1902 the mines were opened up which employed additional men.  When Cunningham came he became justice of the peace.  A little later, in the same year, the Donofsky family came and shortly afterward opened up the second store, a store which continued for forty years.

John Davis owned land on one side of the Blacklick stream and Solomon Wagner owned most of the land on the opposite side, which, was in Jackson
township.  At that time there was no bridge connecting the two townships, but later a wooden one was built, then about 28 years ago the present concrete structure was erected by the county.

The borough was incorporated in 1918.  Previous to 1900 the place was known as Glen Glade, but later, when a post office was established, it was changed to Nanty-Glo.  Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Miller of Wellview were the first to use the new name as an address when taking out a marriage license.

The first school in the community was the Wagner school, a two-room structure that is still in use, although it has been enlarged since that time.  The first teacher was a Mr. Hogan, and he is still remembered by his pupils as a teacher who was a strict disciplinarian.  Mame Wagner was also an early teacher at the school.  She later became Mrs. S.A.Campbell.  The first church was the Methodist Church, and St. Mary's Catholic church was built shortly afterward.  In 1910 a group of  Swedish and Finnish people came here and established a little community of their own.  They built a Luthern church and had their own burial ground.

In the early part of this century that part of Nanty-Glo that extends from Wissinger's Market to the Commons store, up the hill a block then over to the Costlow Garage, was a cow pasture.  Later it was a baseball field, and a sort of recreational center.  Still later it was sold into lots and buildings erected.  Ed Smith of the Wellview community owned property here, living where Wissinger's Market now is and conducted a wholesale house and livery stable in the block.  Previous to 1908, Blacklick Creek contained fish but after a chemical works began operating near there the fish were killed by the pollution from the wastes from the plant.  The stream used to freeze over and early settlers recall times when they could skate from the chemical works through Twin Rocks to Vintondale.  A mine was opened up in 1902 by Mr. Dunwiddie, and later the Webster mine was opened.  In 1904 the railroad was extended to Vintondale through Nanty-Glo.

Mary (Smith) Wagner owned the first house built in what is now Nanty-Glo.  It wa a log structure but has long since been torn down.  Mary (Smith) Wagner was the wife of George Wagner who was the son of Henry Wagner, a first settler.  Henry and Daniel Wagner brothers, were descendants of sturdy and highly reputable German immigrants who first settled in Huntingdon county.  The brothers settled in this township in 1830.  Henry was the father of Jacob, Samuel, George, and Martin Wagner, Mrs. Elizabeth Rowlins, Mrs. Catherine Pergrim, Mrs. Mary Brown, Mrs. Hannah Simmons, and Mrs. Sarah Rager.  George, one of the sons, owned 50 acres of ground in Glen Glade (Nanty-Glo).   Solomon, a son of George, promised land on which to erect a school building and his heirs fulfilled his promise, giving the ground on which the Wagner school (in Nanty-Glo) now stands, and which is named for him.  He also donated the ground for the Methodist Church.  The stipulation was that the ground would revert to the heirs when it was no longer used for the purpose given.  His father, George Wagner, was killed at a barn raising when a log barn on the Mark Kerr farm was being raised in 1858.

Henry Wagner was a shoemaker in addition to being a farmer.  He owned 440 acres of land.  Solomon started life as a day laborer but acquired a fair amount of wealth.  In 1877 he was a blacksmith at Fairview (Vinco), then he bought land in Glen Glade.  In 1886 he had a saw and planing mill, the business of which amounted to $3,000 annually, and also owned valuable coal land, 177 acres.  He would ship 100 car loads to Ebensburg while 20,000 bushel would be used by the local trade annually.  Dr. Dunwiddie of Phillipsburg leased a part of his land and put in a siding to connect it with the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1904.  Solomon married Rachel Shuman in 1871 and they were the parents of six children, Mrs. Catherine Grouse, Mrs. Mary Grouse, Mrs. Hannah Wilkinson, Mrs. Harriet Miller and William and Dan Wagner.

To Be Continued Next Week

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