Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Workday Wednesday ~ Lysle & Sons Coal

Marguerite Lysle, my great grandmother, was the daughter of George Lysle, Jr. and Marion Helen Alston. George Lysle, Jr. was the sixth and youngest son of George Lysle (who fathered twelve children in total).

My third great grandfather, George Lysle (Senior) was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by 1840, when I find him in the U.S. Federal Census with eleven people in his household. From the 1850, 1860, and 1870 U.S. Censuses, I am able to put together the family and match it up to a Lysle Family Tree that was printed about 1937.

In each of these census records, George Lysle is a Coal Dealer or Merchant. By 1870, as the census image below shows, he was doing very well, with real estate valued at $100,000. His household includes two servants.

1870 U.S. Federal Census, Allegheny Ward 4, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1291; Page: 414B; image: 168. Record for Geo. Lysle.

Of George Lysle's twelve children in 1870, I only know of two who had died: Margaret (1839-1868) and Lieutenant James M. Lysle, in the Civil War. In the 1870 Census record above, he is 70 years old, his wife Margaret is 64 and children still living with him include Mary (age 45), Caroline (age 39 - though I think this should read 29), Geo (age 27) and Eliza (age 23). George (Jr.) is also listed as a Coal Merchant. When I look for other family members in census records, I often find they are in the coal business in Allegheny County as well.

1872 Pittsburgh City Directory
The company that George Lysle, Sr. founded, Geo. Lysle & Sons, was a prominent coal dealer in Pittsburgh transporting coal on barges on the major rivers to cities throughout the mid-west.

The Allegheny River and the Monongahela River join together in Pittsburgh to form the Ohio River, a major trading route and "a public highway" to be "forever free" as indicated in a document I found on entitled: Petition of citizens of Pittsburg and western Pennsylvania, remonstrating against the obstruction of the Ohio River by the Pittsburg and Steubenville Railroad Company in the erection of a bridge across that river near Steubenville or elsewhere. July 5, 1862. (Publication: Serial Set Vol. No.1124; Report: S.Misc.Doc. 107)

This was a petition to the United States Congress from western Pennsylvania businessmen representing the coal, lumber, and steamboat interests on the Ohio River who objected to the building of a bridge near Steubenville, Ohio, that would "obstruct navigation for tow-boats, coal boats, steamboats, or other craft." These businessmen explain the need for "free and unobstructed navigation" of the Ohio River. They note that "the coal trade is increasing rapidly, and is a source of wealth that cannot be over-estimated."

The petition's concluding paragraph describes the magnitude of the coal trade and the importance of the river system as "a public highway" in 1862:

And my third great grandfather, George Lysle, is listed among the petitioners.

In addition to the pages of petitioner names, the 21 page document includes "testimony" from several users of the river who make a good case about how navigation of the river is handled and how important the river is to business.

It is believed that the man in the top hat is George Lysle (not sure which one).

My descent from George Lysle > George Lysle, Jr. > Marguerite Lysle > Helen Lysle Hunter > my mother > me.

Workday Wednesday is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers, the genealogy community’s resource for blogging. It is used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.

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