The Union City Loyal Order of the Moose Presents a Brief History of Union City, 1950
The Union City Lodge No. 882 of the Loyal Order of Moose presented a Brief History of Union City to celebrate the Borough’s sesquicentennial in 1950. The booklet is a timeline of Union City noteworthy dates.
The Borough of Union City stands upon both sides of the south branch of French Creek, very nearly in the center of Union Township. It was founded by William Miles, a native of Ireland who moved his family to the flats in 1800. This settlement, known as Miles Mills, later changed its name to Union Mills.
In the year 1830 Union City had twenty-nine voters. In 1841 there were sixty taxable inhabitants.
In 1856, A.L. Summerton surveyed and laid out the western part of the town, then known as Summerton Hill. In 1859, P.G. Stranahan, a farmer and hotel keeper in LeBoeuf, purchased the Miles homestead and laid out the southern section of the town. In 1859, the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad and in 1862, the Atlantic and Great Western Railroads were built through Union, greatly increasing the property value and the section known as the Black farm was laid out in lots. In 1866, James Still purchased the Tourtelott farm on the north side of the Borough and in 1873, E.W. Hatch bought the Smiley farm, also on the north side of the Borough.
By 1855, the population had increased to 293 voters.
The opening of the railroads and the discovery of natural oil in Titusville were strong factors in the development of the town at this time for the population by 1870 had reached the 1,500 mark.
In 1870, Woods and Johnson started the largest barrel factor that had been built on the continent.
Union City has always been known as a manufacturing town. Furniture and wood work products were the most important. The first Union City chair Factory was owned by Heineman and Cheney and was built in 1881 but was entirely destroyed by fire in 1882 but rebuilt very soon.
The Standard Chair Company organized in 1898 and incorporated in 1900, was burned in 190e, but rebuilt on a much larger scale.
The Shreve Chair Company incorporated in 1903, also suffered a severe loss from fire but was rebuilt.
The Novelty Wood Works, Universal Chair Company, Lewis P. Hanson Company and J.F. Kamerer Company were other factories that helped to give Union City the name, “The Chair Town of the World.”
The Union City National Bank was chartered in 1898 and the Home National Bank in 1907.
The earliest newspaper was the Union Mills Bulletin started by William Jackson in 1865. There has been a newspaper published continuously since that time.
Early schools were by subscription and held in private homes, the first successful one being on East High Street, near where the Caflisch home now stands.
Around 1820, a school house was built near the Mills and for many years answered for school house, meeting house and a place to hold elections.
The first High School Diploma was issued in 1880 to a class of two, Mary Fausett and Belva Burnham. The school at that time was on North Main Street, a short distance below the railroad. In 1875, the Concord Building was erected and in 1906, the present school was built on Stranahan Hill where the Miles home stood. This was enlarged by the addition of four rooms and an auditorium in the 1930s.
The public library was opened in 1908.
Union City has some very fine churches at the present time. The Presbyterian Church was organized in 1811; the Methodist in 1817; St. Teresa’s in 1857; Baptist in 1858; United Brethren in 1872 and Episcopal in 1875.
The Evergreen Cemetery was laid out and dedicated in 1865 and the Catholic Cemetery in 1860.
Union City has had two extremely disastrous floods, the first in 1882 and the second in 1892.
Union City in 1882 had only recently changed its name from the original christening, Union Mills. It was a busy, thriving lumber town with several wood working factories already established, beginning to build the national reputation that Union City enjoys today as a furniture manufacturing center.
The Union City Times of August 13, 1885 lists its compilation of Historical Facts and Incidents about Union Township and Union City.
§ The first known American citizens to locate in Union Township were Hugh Wilson, Andrew Thompson, Matthew Gray, Francis B. Gray, and Robert Smith in the year 1797. The following year Jacob Shepherd, John Welsh, and John Fagan and John Wilson settled here.
§ The first saw and grist mill was built by William Miles in 1800.
§ Martha, daughter of Hugh Wilson was the first white child born in the township in August 1800.
§ The first marriage in Union was that of William Smith to Elizabeth Wilson in 1799, and the second was Thomas King to Sarah Wilson in the following year.
§ Union’s first post master was appointed in the year 1801.
§ The Presbyterian Society was organized in 1811; the Methodist in 1817; the Baptist in 1859; the Roman Catholic in 1857; the United Brethren in 1872; the Episcopal in 1875.
§ The first school in the township was taught in 1812. It was the fourth school in the county.
§ P.G. Stranahan’s residence was built by William Miles in 1828.
§ Dunham’s tannery, the first in the vicinity, was built in 1836.
§ Company H of the Erie Regiment was organized in Union in 1861, with John Landsrath, Captain.
§ The Nypano Railroad was built through Union in 1861-1862.
§ Union Mills was incorporated in 1863 as a borough and the name changed to Union City on July 4, 1871.
§ In October 1864, the first passenger train over the P & E Railroad passed through Union.
§ Evergreen Cemetery was dedicated in September 1865. The Catholic Cemetery was consecrated in 1860.
§ The Union & Titusville railroad was completed in February 1871.
§ The most destructive flood known in the history of the town occurred on the 4th of February, 1882. The most disastrous fire, April 24, 1879.
Happenings in Union City on August 13, 1885
§ The Coleman Hose Company goes to Waterford tomorrow to participate in the fireman’s parade there.
§ The Prohibition Club will go next Tuesday evening over to the Valley Baptist church near Lake Pleasant, to participate in a Prohibition meeting there, on invitation of the club at that place.
§ Mrs. Mary Brown having purchased a new loom will do carpet weaving on very reasonable terms and in a satisfactory manner. If you have a carpet to weave take it to Mrs. Brown above Caflisch’s mill.
§ Will Fuller met with a severe accident last Friday. He was riding horseback when the animal stumbled and fell, spraining Will’s right leg very severely. He was fortunate in escaping a broken limb.
§ A temporary meeting of the Knights of Labor was held Tuesday evening with D.F. Monroe in the chair, and Omer Alden, Secretary. Messrs. A.P. Slack, Geo. Alden, and Henry Cheney were appointed a committee on permanent organization.
§ The alarm of fire was sounded last Thursday, and the companies got out in quick time but found that their services were not needed, as the small fire in the roof of an old ware house belonging to Wood & Johnson had been speedily extinguished by a pail or so of water.
§ Officer Gillett has been in communication with the friends of the young man who was killed by a freight train near the Nypano Depot a few Sunday’s since. His friends have identified him from the hat band and clothing he wore. His name was John W. Coleman and his parents live at Lawrence, Mass.
§ A correspondent to the Warren Sunday Mirror from Landers says: “We learn that the venerable Thompkins Loucks has stepped off the gang plank of single blessedness to bask in the sunshine of a widow’s love from Union City, or that vicinity. Many much happiness attend them in the future.