History of Allegheny county, Pennsylvania
Chicago : A. Warner Co., 1889
Cushing, Thomas, 1821.
“WILLIAM ANDERSON HERRON, son of JOHN HERRON, comes of revolutionary stock, and is today one of Pittsburgh’s most honored citizens.Within gunshot of the handsome residence in which he now lives he was born, on the 7th of August, 1821.The house in which he first saw the light still stands at the corner of Eighth street and Penn avenue.He received a good education, principally in the Western University.He commenced his business career in the dry-goods store of A. Way & Co., but the confinement did not agree with him and he soon joined his father in his extensive coal interests, which embraced a number of mines in what is now the Thirteenth ward of Pittsburgh, but which is still called Minersville.It was a very productive tract, and though coal was taken from it in large quantities for many years, it is not yet exhausted.In 1846 he and his father, with W. H. Brown, purchased a coal-farm on the Monongahela river at Turtle Creek, with which they did a large business under the firm name of HERRON, Brown & Co.They floated their coal in flatboats to Cincinnatti, Louisville, Cairo and New Orleans.They supplied the iron-and-gas works in Pittsburgh.MR. HERRON’S health failing at this period, he sold out his interest in the business and devoted two years to traveling, etc., until he regained his usual robust condition.Then he went into the lumber trade with his brother-in-law, RICHARD SILL.At the same time MR. HERRON was a partner in a brass-foundry, and had an interest in a cotton-batting factory and a glassworks, but he bestowed only a small part of his attention upon the practical management of these establishments.He was also part owner of a large tract of coal-land on Pine run on the Monongahela, the firm being HERRON, Blackburn & Co.They built a coal-railroad and did a large business.MR. HERRON and Mr. Hercules O’Connor, under the firm name of HERRON & O’Connor, now purchased the steamboat George Albree and some model barges.Then they took a contract to supply the gasworks at St. Louis by running the coal to Cairo in flatboats and reloading in model barges to tow up to St. Louis.In 1855 MR. HERRON opened a banking-office at the corner of Wood and Sixth streets, continuing in the business until 1860, when he assisted in the establishment of the German Bank.He was also one of the founders of the Iron City Trust company (now the Second National Bank), and was one of the original stockholders of the Third National Bank and the Mechanics’ Bank.
In 1860 he was elected, by a large majority, clerk of the courts of Allegheny county, serving until 1866 with credit to himself and satisfaction to his fellow-citizens.His health compelled him to relinquish the office after(pg. 270) six years’ service, though he could have been easily re-elected had he desired it.In 1863 he, with two others, secured a charter for the People’s Savings Bank, and organized it under the laws of the state, MR. HERRON being the first president.The bank is now one of the most successful savings institutions in the city.On leaving the clerk of courts’ office he went into the real-estate business, which is now conducted by his sons, RUFUS H. and JOHN W., who are bright young businessmen, the latter being vice-president of the Commercial National Bank.
MR. HERRON united with the Presbyterian Church in 1836, when only fifteen years of age, and has been a consistent member ever since. He has held the offices of elder and trustee for many years, besides taking an active part in Sabbath-school work.He was superintendent of the school at Minersville for some years.He has always been prominent in philanthropic enterprises.He was elected a director in the Western Pennsylvania hospital in the Western Pennsylvania hospital in 1863, and is one of the most energetic members of the board.He is a member of the executive committee of Dixmont Asylum for the Insane, vice-president of the Homeopathic hospital, a director of the Blind Asylum of Western Pennsylvania, a director of the Young Men’s Home, and a member of the Young Men’s Christian Association.He was a delegate to the Centennial General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, held in Philadelphia in 1888, and has been delegate to synod and presbytery from the Third Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh.
MRS. HERRON has always taken an active part in charitable work in Pittsburgh, and is known throughout the state as a lady of great executive ability, as well as of a benevolent disposition.She was elected the first president of the Woman’s Christian Association, of Pittsburgh, after assisting in its organization.To her must be credited the conception of the present system of management of the Association for the Improvement of the Poor.By her own indefatigable energy and the assistance of a few friends she was enabled to carry out her plan and the society is now rendering assistance to thousands of unfortunate people annually.She has been its president since 1875.She is the personal friend of every needy family in the city.
MR. HERRON is in the full vigor of ripe manhood.His sixty-odd years sit lightly upon him, and have not yet succeeded in bending his shoulders of weakening his sturdy frame.He is as straight as an arrow, and though he leaves his large real-estate business partially in the hands of his sons, he can be found in his private office throughout the long business days, attending to the many interests that he yet retains.He has the kindly manners characteristic of the HERRON family, and has probably more friends to the square mile than any other man in Western Pennsylvania.He is proud of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh is proud of him.
WILLIAM A. HERRON was married Oct. 23, 1843, to MISS LOUISA J. HILLS, daughter of RUFUS HILLS, of Erie, Pa.She is a native of Amesbury, Mass., where she lived until she was thirteen years of age.Seven children were born to MR. and MRS. HERRON, of whom four are living: JAMES A. (married in 1867 to ISDA GREEN, and both now deceased), RUFUS H. (married in 1872 to JENNIE SHUGART, of Titusville, Pa.), SARAH (married in 1868 to OGDEN M. EDWARDS); JOHN W. (living), LOUISA J., FANNIE D. and WILLIAM (deceased).”