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Below is a family biography included in the History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania published in 1889 by A. Warner & Co.   These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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WILLIAM WATSON GRIER, manufacturer, post office Hulton, the only living child of John Fennel and Isabella (Watson) Grier, was born in Pittsburgh in 1834. His grandfather, David Grier, of Irish descent, very early secured a tract of six hundred acres in what is the Second ward of Verona, lying on Plum creek and the river. He died in 1856, and on the day of his death destroyed his will, leaving one-sixteenth of his estate to our subject. He had been twice married; his first wife left ten children and his second six. John F., the eldest son, born in Pittsburgh, engaged in the manufacture of engines where the Monongahela House now stands, and afterward changed his product to hollowware, but lost everything by the sudden closing of the United States bank. He borrowed eight hundred dollars of an uncle, with which he built a canal-boat and engaged in transportation on the Allegheny and Kiskiminetas rivers. In the spring of 1835, being then twenty-six years old, he was drowned at Blairsville dam by a freshet, leaving his widow and infant son with a debt and no resources. William Watson, father of Isabella Grier, was born in Scotland in 1777, and died in Pittsburgh at the age of fifty. He kept a stoneyard on Water street, and engaged in mason-building.

W. W. Grier attended the Second Ward school and a private school taught by Dr. Holmes, of Pittsburgh, and Joseph S. Travelli’s academy at Sewickley. On reaching manhood he engaged in farming on his patrimony at Verona. Having a mechanical turn of mind, he made improvements on a buggy-spring known as the “Dexter,” and began its manufacture in 1875. The Dexter Spring-works, of which Mr. Grier is sole owner, is a successful institution, employing many people. He was one of the first refiners of petroleum oil, engaging, with partners, near Verona. During the war he sunk an oil-well in West Virginia, which proved to be a bounteous one, but his machinery and other property were destroyed by rebel raiders, and he sold out at a great sacrifice. Notwithstanding this and other misfortunes, he persevered, and is now in comfortable circumstances. He was formerly a republican, but for the last sixteen years has voted the prohibition ticket, voting that ticket alone for five years. Through the efforts of Mr. Grier and his mother a United Presbyterian church was established here, in which he is a member of sessions. In 1855 he married Susan V., daughter of William Miller, of Mercer county. She died in 1881, leaving two daughters—Mary Eva and Jean B. The first born, Watson Miller, died when five years old. In 1883 Mr. Grier wedded Fanny Swartwood, of Waverly, N. Y.

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This family biography is one of 2,156 biographies included in the History of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania published in 1889 by A. Warner & Co.

View additional Allegheny County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Allegheny County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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