NEW STANTON DEVELOPED IN BURSTS
New Stanton is a community of some vintage. Benjamin Snyder laid it out along the old road from Somerset to Pittsburgh in the early 1800’s.
Its first surge of development came in the 1870’s. In the 1870 census, New Stanton, despite being more than a half-century old, had only 145 inhabitants. A new school was built in 1871. At that time, John Sell was the leading merchant and operated a tannery. J. Steiner had a tanning establishment. J. Moore & his Son had a saddlery shop. Harry Byers and J.C. Steiner had boot and shoe shops.
Its first church was a Reformed congregation, which laid the cornerstone for its building in 1875.
New Stanton has had a post office since Aug. 12, 1841. The first postmaster was J. Zuck. Its present-day prominence came from a 1940 development, the opening of the Pennsylvania Turnpike from Carlisle to Irwin. The pike happened to cross Route 119 in the area of New Stanton, and it became a strategic transportation point. The results have been obvious.
EARLY HISTORY OF NEW STANTON
The earliest known residents of New Stanton were part of the fabled, mysterious culture of Mound Builders. The circumstances surrounding their arrival and their disappearance are unknown. Archeological studies of mounds in this and nearby areas show they were an advanced people making fine tools and weapons, and pottery of superior quality and artistic merit. Their trade was nearly continental in scope. By the time that the first white settlers arrived, the land was occupied by Mingo, Shawnee, and Delaware tribes who used it primarily as summer hunting grounds. Formidable geographic barriers, Indian hostility, and territorial disputes between England and France made white settlement beyond the Alleghenies very rare before the 1760’s. In fact, those caught by the British Colonial Authorities were by law, subject to the death penalty. The Indians, who regarded the settlers as undesirable, harassed them from the beginning.
During the French and Indian war and Pontiac’s rebellion they virtually wiped out the Frontier. Even so, in 1769 settlers came back across the mountains in such floods that authorities abandoned attempts to prevent their coming. In 1770 the army was withdrawn to deal with the growing Patriot activity in the east. Now they had only the resentful Indians to deal with. Indian raids continued here until 1788, and were acute during the Revolution. So many men had enlisted in regiments from the county that the border was but thinly defended. Pennsylvania history notes that transportation was a key factor in the growth of New Stanton which lay along the old Whiskey Trail. Because grain could not be shipped over the mountains it was made into easily transported whiskey and taken to Pittsburgh where it was traded for goods brought in on the river boats. The railroad later established daily passenger and freight service here and there was a street car which ran between Uniontown and Greensburg. New Stanton now encompasses two early villages, Old Stanton and Paintersville. Their churches and industries contributed much to the development of the area. According to records and old-time residents, the town was laid out by Benjamin Snyder. In 1858 Colonel Israel Painter built a mill, now the oldest building in the town, on Big Sewickley Creek. The town named itself Paintersville in his honor. He later sold it to James F. and Catherine Stanton, and the town was soon renamed New Stanton in his honor. There is no record of how Old Stanton got its name, but it is believed to be a coincidence having no relationship to James Stanton’s family. By 1870 there were 145 residents here; the first school was built in 1871. Other industries here were salt wells, iron furnaces, stone quarries, sand works and a tannery operated by John Sell who was listed as “Principal Merchant”. The Methodist Episcopal Church, now the Methodist Church, was built in 1875 on land deeded to it by Colonel Painter, who at the time of his death was reported to have owned fifty farms. Trinity Reformed Church, begun at Old Stanton in 1875, and St. Luke’s Reformed Church of New Stanton, 1906 have merged to become the United Church of Christ. Their church is housed in a building erected in 1906 on land donated by James and Catharine Stanton. Mrs. Stanton saved egg money to buy the church a bell. The Lutherans first met in the Junior Order of Mechanics Hall. In 1906 an abandoned church in Old Stanton was moved to a site given by John L. Hunker. Known as St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, it was remolded and used until November 1967 when it was razed and the Gulf Station built. Services were held in the United Church of Christ until dedication of the new building July 7, 1968. The Post Office earned a special place in the history during the 1890’s by operating one of the first two Rural Free Delivery Systems in the United States. Because Mr. Stanton’s efforts secured a post office for New Stanton, its first home was his flour and feed mill.
HISTORY OF THE NEW STANTON ROLLER MILL
In the early 1990’s, the New Stanton Flour Mill was in such structural disrepair as to constitute a hazard to any who approached the building. It was also feared that, with its close proximity to the Sewickley Creek, an act of nature could also cause the collapse of the building, resulting in obstructions and contamination in the waterway.
Built in 1852 by Colonel Isaac Painter, one of the five men who also developed the Southwest Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad, the New Stanton Roller Flour Mill was situated between the banks of Sewickley Creek and the Pennsylvania railroad tracks in the Borough of New Stanton. Colonel Painter situated the mill on this spot to avail himself of the accessibility of moving his product to market by rail and also to utilize the water power generated by Sewickley Creek to power the water wheel that turned the machinery in his mill. Painter and six (6) other independent entrepreneurs originally built and owned the railroad which passes by the New Stanton Roller Flour Mill. The town which developed alongside the mill was called Paintersville, in honor of Colonel Israel Painter and boasted a general store, church and school. Jobs were plentiful in the area at that time due to the mill, farms, salt wells, iron furnaces, stone quarries, a sand works and a tannery. In the early 1900’s the mill was sold to James and Catherine Stanton and Paintersville was renamed New Stanton. In its heyday, the grain mill in New Stanton, had teams of horses, and later trucks, backed to the top of the hill above Sewickley Creek waiting to pick up or unload grain. The water wheel, originally powered by Sewickley Creek, was later replaced by a natural gas engine which, in turn, was replaced by an electric motor to power the grinding equipment.
This four (4) story building was purchased, in 1946, by Mr. Albert Karl Hepler. Hepler, and his son, Robert Hepler, utilized the mill to grind custom feed for livestock. Up until the mid-1960, small and large dairy farms flourished in New Stanton and the surrounding area where farmers grew wheat, oats, corn and barley. The farmers brought these grains to the New Stanton Mill to be mixed or ground. The mix would be fed to stock and the wheat ground into flour for consumer usage. The New Stanton Flour Mill operated continuously for over one hundred (100) years. In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s several major industries moved into the New Stanton area, locating on sites previously used for farming and causing a decline in the poultry and dairy industries. In December, 1971, following the dwindling of customers due to industrialization, the mill was closed and part of the history of New Stanton was destined to be demolished.