History of Allegheny county, Pennsylvania
Chicago : A. Warner Co., 1889
Cushing, Thomas, 1821.
CONT. of 268 WILLIAM ANDERSON
“JOHN HERRON, who did so much in his lifetime to mold the character, business and religious sentiments of the early and pioneer days of Pittsburgh that he will always be a prominent figure in the city’s history, descended from Scotch-Irish Presbyterians.He came of good stock physically, intellectually, morally and religiously, and he showed the excellence of his breeding in every act of his life.His grandfather, FRANCIS HERRON, was born in County Antrim, Ireland, and came to this country in 1734, settling eleven years thereafter on a creek now known as HERRON’S branch., in Franklin county, Pa.He had two sons: JOHN, father of REV. FRANCIS HERRON, D. D., of the First Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, and JAMES, father of JOHN, the subject proper of this sketch.MAJ. JAMES HERRON was born in 1754, married NANCY DAVIDSON, and died April 24, 1829, at Shippensburg, Pa.He was a man of fine physique, and was honored for his consistent and active Christian life and his many charitable works.He had four sons and two daughters: (pg. 269) JOHN, NANCY (wife of JOHN CRISWELL), WILLIAM, JAMES, SARAH (wife of ROBERT McINTYRE) and SAMUEL D.
JOHN HERRON was born April 3, 1792, on HERRON’S branch.He received as good an education as was obtainable in those days, and in 1812 went to Pittsburgh.Here he started his business life on the lowest round of the financial ladder, but his natural abilities proved a fountain of wealth that never ran dry.His first position was as clerk for Ephraim Blaine in the lumber business.In a few years the young man bought Mr. Blaine’s interest and ran it for a time with great success.Afterward he and COL. JAMES ANDERSON purchased the steam saw-and-grist-mill of MAJ. WILLIAM ANDERSON, on what is now Eighth street, below Penn street, putting therein what was said to be the second steam engine west of the mountains.Later MR. HERRON bought out COL. ANDERSON.To other interests he added a brickyard, conducted an extensive business in contracting and building.He then purchased a large farm of coal-land at Minersville (now a part of Pittsburgh), and engaged in coal-mining and farming.Besides using some of the coal for his own works he supplied large quantities of it to other consumers, the combined business requiring the employment of a great number of men and horses.His next purchase was a large sawmill and property, an entire square, of John Irwin, the mill being on the opposite square from his grist-and-saw-mill.MR. HERRON gave his personal attention to all of his ventures, and particularly interested himself in the welfare of his army of employees.He knew most of the children in Minersville by name, and he was loved and respected equally by them and by their parents.His charities were numerous and unostentatious, and his hand was ever ready to succor the needy and unfortunate.
In 1817 MR. HERRON married CLARISSA, daughter of MAJ. WILLIAMand NANCY (CANN) ANDERSON.To this union were born nine children: JAMES A. (deceased July 4, 1842, in his twenty-fifth year),WILLIAM A. (sketch of whom follows), JOHN D. (married to EMMA, daughter of SAMUEL THOMPSON), RICHARD G. (a colonel in the war of the rebellion, married to ANNETTE TOMLINSON), FRANCIS J. (the youngest general in the Union service during the civil war), DAVID R. (lieutenant of an Iowa battery), MARY ANN (married to REV. GEORGE A. LYON, D. D., of Erie, Pa.), ELIZA (married to RICHARD SILL, also of Erie) and MARGARET D. (married to WILLIAM C. FRIEND, of Pittsburgh).
The family moved from Pittsburgh, where MR. HERRON owned a great deal of property, to Minersville in 1833, on account of his health.Here he built a Presbyterian church, taking the active interest in all religious work that he had in Pittsburgh.He was an elder in the church, and was a zealous promoter of the interests of the Sunday-school.He brought an honored and useful life to a close at his home in Minersville in May, 1863, regretted by thousands of people who had profited by his benevolence and admired his exemplary career throughout Western Pennsylvania.His wife died in May, 1873.”