119 South Pitt Street · Mercer, Pennsylvania 16137 · 724-662-3490

Summer Hours

SUMMER HOURS FOR THE MERCER COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY THROUGHOUT THE COUNTY AND IN ITS MERCER LOCATIONS. Through-out the summer, the Mercer County Historical Society will be open from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Beringer/Caldwell One-Room School House at 2159 Mercer Road in Mercer, the Raisch Log Cabin at 285 East High Street in Sharpsville, and the Rural Life Museum at 98 Avalon Court in Mercer on Sundays from Memorial Day through Labor Day. We will be closed on holidays. There will be the regular hours at the Anderson/Magoffin Complex in Mercer Borough at 119 South Pitt Street, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Fridays and from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays. We will be closed on Sundays, Mondays, and holidays. All of these sites belonging to the Mercer County Historical Society are free and open to the public. They are available for tours and, at the Anderson/Magoffin Complex, open for genealogical...
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The J.A. Stevenson Murder

A story told in the papers. Greenville Evening Record August 14, 1916 pg column 1&2 Osgood Man Murdered in his home last night J.A. Stevenson Met His Death in an Encounter With Burglars Who Got Away With $400 J.A. Stevenson of Osgood, proprietor of a country store and eating house, was found murdered in his home in that village shortly after midnight this morning by unknown burglars, who secured nearly $400. Mr. Stevenson was shot three times. One bullet broke his left arm, a second entered his left side, punctured a lung and came out on the right side near the back. The third missile was embedded in the body. Mr. and Mrs. Stevenson were alone in the house, in their bedroom on the second floor. Shortly after midnight they were awakened and found two men in the room. Mr. Stevenson seized a revolver lying on a table at the head of the bed and fired at the intruders, who ran, carrying Mr. Stevenson’s trousers containing his money. He followed them through an empty room to the head of the stairs, and down to the door of the kitchen, where he fell and expired before even the nearest neighbor could reach him. Mrs. Stevenson ran to the home of Jeff Williams, who telephoned for help to Greenville. Burgess Guy Thorne, Officers Landers, Grover, and Bessemer Detective Dennis Riley responded, and were at the Stevenson home at 2 o’clock. Coroner McBride of Sharon and Coroner’s Physician Steele of Greenville were also summoned and concluded a post mortem and investigation. Search of the premises showed there had been a struggle in the room next to the bedroom; there was a small spot of blood on the hall carpet, and only one of the three shots fired by Mr. Stevenson could be found. That went through a door and into a bed in an adjoining room where it was found. It is believed the other two took effect in the bodies of the robbers. Mr. Stevenson’s shirt was torn about the neck and there were marks and bruises on his neck where the murderer grappled with him. As he reached the kitchen door he fell to the floor, exclaiming to his wife, “They got my money and I guess they got me too.” These were his last words, and he died before Mr. Williams reached the house. The officers found the burglars...
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Man looks for a murderer 100 years later.

The MCHS was able to play a hand in looking into this mysterious death more than 100 years ago: The Record-Argus, Greenville, Pa. 16125 Saturday-Sunday, August 13-14, 2016 One-hundred years later, man seeks info about uncle’s murder By Molly Vanwoert Mystery is ‘out of a TV drama’ Until a few weeks ago, Jim Stevenson had no idea his great-great uncle J.A. Stevenson existed. While doing research on the history of another relative, Jim stumbled across J.A.’s story – documented in old newspaper articles collected by the Mercer County Historical Society (MCHS) – and found himself thrust into a murder mystery that he said “could be straight out of a TV drama.’ Now Jim said he is trying everything he can to learn more about the uncle he never knew he had, and the murder that ended his life exactly 100 years ago. According to historical society documents, J.A. died after being shot three times in his Osgood home on Aug. 13, 1916. While archives from the Greenville Evening Record and The Mercer Dispatch detail the many twists and turns of the investigation into J.A.’s untimely death, from the day after attack through Oct. 28, 1916, coverage of the investigation seems to end there. The final Evening Record article confirms the identity of one of J.A.’s killers – found dead just a mile outside of Mercer – and clears the name of another implicated in the crime, but does not answer the question of who the second killer was. This, among others, is a question Jim wants answered. Jim is currently working with Bill Philson – executive director of the historical society – in an attempt to track down missing newspaper articles, police reports and an obituary for J.A., which he hopes will help fill in the blanks of his family tree. Although his father was 11 years old when J.A. was murdered, Jim said his dad’s great-uncle was never mentioned to him; his sister, Nancy; or his brother, John, as they were growing up. “We knew nothing about [the murder], or him for that matter,” Jim said. “When it happened, my dad was 11 and lived very close by to J.A., but it was never discussed in our family – it was never brought up, by anyone.” Jim’s father kept hand-written records of the Stevensons’ family history, something Jim said he passed on to him. While researching a J.M....
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New Books Coming

The Mercer County Historical Society is in the process of trying to create two new photographic souvenir type books. One is on the Borough of Mercer and the Surrounding Areas and the other on the 50th Anniversary of the Shenango Reservoir. If you have any stories and/or photos you believe would help promote either the Mercer area or the Shenango Reservoir, please consider helping us through the use of your materials. These books are proposed to be finished by late summer or in the fall. Contact us at 724-662-3490; info@mchspa.org; MCHS,119 South Pitt Street, Mercer, PA 16137; or stop in. We thank you in...
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I Consider It My Duty now available

$10.00 per volume off for a limited time! “I CONSIDER IT MY DUTY” WAR OF 1812 IN WESTERN PENNSYLVANIAWe have published our long awaited “I Consider It My Duty . . .” This is an excellent two-volume set of books on the history of Western Pennsylvania during the War of 1812. They are also great books for the genealogy of “our” soldiers during this time. The cost for these books (two volumes) is $39.99, per volume. The MCHS is offering through the rest of 2014, $10.00 per volume off our website (under “Publications”) (http://mchspa.org/publications/) and put in these codes into the “Discount Box” on the payment page.DISCOUNT CODESFor Volume I code—URDBJ4K7For Volume II code—BBT8FZBJSAVE $10.00 PER VOLUME!If you would like to buy these at the Society Headquarters, our cost HERE is $30 per volume—out the door—tax is included in that price. It is slightly less expensive to buy them at the society—when considering tax and shipping into the cost.For more information, please call 724-662-3490 or email...
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Courthouse Construction

. . . As the job of removing all traces of the old structure neared completion work on surveying the ground and excavating for the new foundation began. A serious problem was thought to have developed when soft ground was encountered at what would be the southeast corner of the new building. As luck would have it, further examination and tests revealed a firm bed of clay twelve feet down upon which the foundation could safely rest. During the summer, as the cleanup and surveying work continued, the architects were busy completing the detailed drawings necessary for potential contractors to base their bids upon. By late August the plans were complete and provided for a building 180′ x 92′ which was a compromise between the original specification of a 200′ length and the reduced 160′ length the outgoing Board of Commissioners had suggested. The structure was to be topped by a dome 166′ high and was expected to cost $325,000.00. On September 18th, 1908 it was reported that Owsley and Boucherle had sent out forty copies of the plans and expected thirty contractors to submit bids which were to be opened on September 21st. In typical Western Press tongue-in-cheek fashion, editor Whistler offered an entertaining front page account of the opening of the bids. In it he poked good-natured fun at numerous members of the Mercer County Bar including ” Attorney Baker, (who had) an alarming predisposition to baldness” and “Attorney Campbell, rotund and oleaginous, (who) rolled across the bar.” Besides his written caricature of the worthies in attendance, Whistler did find space to list the bids for the superstructure, plumbing, heating and electrical wiring. Sixteen general contractors submitted bids for the superstructure, ranging from $324,100.00 to $391,924.00 – the lowest bidder being the firm of Luyster and Lowe of Dayton, Ohio. In addition, nine bids were received for the heating portion of the construction, seven for the plumbing and five for the electrical wiring. The new Court House drew bidders from as far away as Chicago and Indiana as well as companies from Cleveland, Columbus, Philadelphia, Altoona, Pittsburgh and New Castle. Three general contractors from MercerCounty were also contenders -Wallis & Carley, William McIntyre & Sons and F. J. McCain. Whistler’s account ended in typical fashion: Treasurer Zahniser found himself in possession of certified checks payable to his order-as required by the Commissioners of bidders in their tender...
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