Mrs. Betty Burkhart
Nanty Glo Journal
October 1, 1942
Communities And Their First Settlers
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
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
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
township. At that time there was no bridge connecting the two
but later a wooden one was built, then about 28 years ago the present
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
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
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.
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
Back to top