#2 Robert Hogsett and the great train crash in Pennsylvania!

Since I started this project a couple weeks into the year, I’m going to be playing a little catch up until I’m back on track with the one ancestor a week deal.  So on my day 2, I will be posting my week 2 ancestor.

This post will feature my husband’s 3 times great grandfather Robert Hogsett.

 photo roberthogsett.jpg

love that his signature is on this photo!

I found this wonderful photo of Robert Hogsett on ancestry.com.

Robert Hogsett was born on 2 MAR 1820 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, USA.

He married Jane Foster who was born 28 APR 1826 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, USA.  They had the following children according to the 1870 census: John (born abt 1846), Lucinda  (born abt 1848), William (my husband’s 2 times great grandfather born 1855), Samuel  (born abt 1857), Robert  (born abt 1858), and Jane  (born abt 1865).

After Jane’s death on December 12, 1875, Robert remaried Susan Allen.  I’m not sure what happened to Jane as I haven’t yet found any kind of death certificate.

Robert died August 4, 1895 in Fayette, PA.

And here is the story of his life as published in Genealogical and Personal History of Fayette County Pennsylvania, Volume 1, which I discovered on Google books!

“Robert Hogsett had few educational advantages in his youth, as he became a bread winner at the early age of twelve years. He was first employed by a neighboring farmer, Job Weatley, remaining with him one and one-half years. He then for five years engaged in the occupation very common among the boys and men of the country, breaking stones for the building and upkeeps of the “Old National Pike.” During this period his wages were a “levy” (twelve and a half cents), a perch for stones broken into small pieces, a days work being from two to five perches according to size. From the “Pike” he went to the employ of Joseph Strickler, a farmer, miller and stock raiser, operating a part of the large estate of Colonel Samuel Evens in North Union township. He remained eight years running the mill engine, working on the farm and performing the many duties inherent to such occupations as farming and milling. He had now reached the age of twenty-five years; had been frugal and saving, but as his wages had never exceeded one hundred and twenty-five dollars in any year, he was not unnecessarily burdened with surplus money. His next position was with Mrs. Samply, widow of James Sampey, of Mount Washington. She owned a large farm (the site of old “Fort Necessity”), which he managed and also the hotel at Mount Washington, of which his employer was proprietress. This was a regular stopping place for the “Good Intent” line of stage coaches running on the National Pike and an exchange stand. He remained as manager for Mrs. Sampey one year and cleared for her in the time a profit of four thousand dollars.

At this point in his career he married and soon after rented a small farm for his father-in law in North Union township and began business on his own account. After two years as a tenant, he purchased the farm which contained one hundred acres, the first piece of real estate he ever owned and to which he was so sentimentally attached the he never parted with it. The price paid was fifty dollars an acre and was purchased on easy terms, but it was not long before it was paid for and in addition well stocked. He hauled the products of his farm to the different taverns on the National Pike, then a crowded thoroughfare, which furnished a ready market for his grain and other crops at better prices than his home market paid. After disposing of his load he would go to Cumberland and secure a load of freight to be delivered to the merchants in Brownsville and Wheeling, thereby earning him the title of “Sharpshooter” bestowed on those occasional freighters in distinction from those who made it heir regular business. For several years he devoted his energies to regular farming and stock raising, but as prosperity came he branched out in other lines; opportunity always finding him waiting, when stopping at his gate. In 1859 the first railroad called the Fayette County railroad, was built at Uniontown, and seeing change for profit, Mr. Hogsett contracted and built a mile of road including Hogsett Cut. His promptness and energy impressed the directors and when completed he was offered the superintendency, a position held but a short time, not fancying railroading on so small a scale. In 1864 he purchased the Isaac Wood tract near Mount Braddock, a large farm underlaid with a nine-foot vein of coking coal. He moved to this property, leaving his homestead, Foster farm, to the care of his sons. He lived on the Woods farm for several years, later, in company with Judge Wilson, purchasing the adjoining farm known as the Jacob Murphy tract, also underlaid with a rich coking coal vein. A short time later he purchased Judge Wilson’s interest; connected with these two tracts was a large mountain tract covered with timber; he cleaned from this timber, making cross ties, peeling tan bark and burning charcoal, continuing for about six years. In 1871 he formed a coke company, erected coke ovens and for several years reaped the rich returns of the coke manufacture; later he was sole proprietor of this company. This property was sold in 1893 to W. J. Rany at an enormous profit. He next bout the Judge Nathaniel Ewing farm, one mile north of Uniontown, which he made his home for many years. He became very wealthy, owning many thousand acres of land in Fayette county, Pennsylvania and Logan county Ohio, over three thousand acres being of the best Fayette county farming land underlaid with rich Connellsville vein of coking coal. He was at one time a part owner of the Lemont Furnace, of which he was manager, and later purchased stock from time to time until he became sole owner. He superintended his vast farming operations as well as associated his sons in all his enterprises.

He was one of the finest examples of the American “self made” man that Western Pennsylvania ever produced. Every dollar of his large fortune came through his own energy and business foresight, starting life without a dollar, or an influential friend, he accumulated a very large estate without wronging any man or receiving special legislative or other favors. He was always a worker, plain and abstemious in his habits, never using tobacco or indulging in profanity, cared nothing for display, but loved to entertain his friends in simple farmer fashion at his home, where all met with warm old hospitality. He was happy in his home life and met his first great misfortune in the death of his first wife. He was never active in politics, having no taste for public life, but in his political preference was a Democrat.

He married (first Jane, daughter of John f. Foster, of North Union township, who sold his son-in-law his first piece of land.  She died in 1875.  He married (second) Susan Allen, who died about 1889…. [his son] William, married Elvira Deyarman [they had] three children.”

One final interesting tidbit about Robert Hogsett was a court case that happened late in his life.  I found this information on google books as well, and it was such an exciting read, like it should be made into a movie or something!
 photo hogsettcourtcase.jpg

I’ll sum it up for you here.  Robert Hogsett was the owner of Lamont Furnace which had coal train tracks running out of it.  At one point in the railroad line, his coal train tracks tracks crossed a commercial train track for passenger cars.  Hogsett’s tracks cross the passenger tracks and then made a half circle back around and re-crossed the passenger tracks several hundred feet further down the line.

On the day in question a man and his wife were riding in the commercial passenger train.  The passenger train was running along the tracks when the coal train came up too close on the cross tracks and hit the back of the train where the trains cross.  The men steering the coal train got scared and jumped from the train, fearing that they would die.  The coal train continued running and the engineer was unable to re-board it.  The coal train circled around the track and hit the passenger train a second time at the car where the man and his wife were sitting.
In the end Hogsett’s company wass found guilty.  He wasn’t personally involved with any of this, he just owned the land and the coaltrain and the coal train tracks, and furnace place.  But He had to reward the man and wife over $1,000 for the man and $500 for the wife.
The accident took place in 1883 (the court case was in 1889) and Hogsett died in 1895.  Kind of wonder if that was too much stress for him?

And of course I have some scrapbook pages dedicated to Robert Hogsett. I still want to make the train crash story into a page, but that is on my EXTREMELY long list of scrapbook pages to make!
 photo EdwardRoessler.jpg

his story page:
 photo EdwardRoesslertext.jpg

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Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “#2 Robert Hogsett and the great train crash in Pennsylvania!

  1. Pingback: 52 Ancestors: Week 3 Recap | No Story Too Small

  2. James Rhea

    Interesting information…Robert Hogsett is in my family tree…Send me an email and we can share some additional information about the Hogsett family.

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