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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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JOHN MUNHALL, coal-operator, post office Munhall, Pa., was born Nov. 16, 1833, in Schuylkill county. Pa., and came to Pittsburgh in 1834. His early life was one of hardship and toil, but by honest labor he raised himself to his present position. Left an orphan at the age of ten years, he found work in the coal-mines, and saved one hundred dollars the last year. At the age of seventeen years he began a mercantile business at Elizabeth, which he followed six years, but the panic of 1857 found him stranded, his entire capital, and much more being trusted to the miners. In 1858, with his brothers Michael and William, he built the steamboat J. S. Cosgrove, with his brother William cutting and hauling the timber out of the forest a few miles back from the Monongahela river, and loaned to him by a friend as part of his capital. After several reverses, the fall found him with a fully equipped steamboat, and ready to do anything that was offered. By never taking advantage of persons in distress, he soon had the confidence of the public as well as a full share of the work, and in two years he was able to pay his mercantile debts with interest; his creditors were very lenient, never doubting his intentions to pay their claims. The year 1861 found him with the steamboat Grey Eagle plying on the Allegheny river, connected with King & Pennock, and shortly afterward he and his brothers joined with Maj. William Frew and Charles Lockhart, of Pittsburgh, built the steam boats Brilliant and Albion, which proved a great success in the oil-carrying trade; he also engaged largely in the production of oil on Oil creek, and afterward in Butler county. Retiring in 1876, Mr. Munhall removed to Munhall from Oil City, where he had resided eight years; he again, with his brothers, embarked in the coal business in 1880, being the owner of a large coal-tract known as the Bellwood mines, at Munhall where he resides. Having sold part of his farm and river-front to Carnegie, Phipps & Co., they have erected on it a large steel-plate mill and other mills, and are about erecting the largest beam-mill here in the United States. The land has proved to be one of the finest locations in the valley, being situated twenty-five feet above high-water mark. Mr. Munhall has had many hundred men in his employ, and the kindest of feeling has ever existed between employer and employes. He has always encouraged and assisted his employes to save part of their earnings and secure homes for themselves and families—always ready to help those who help themselves. He has been twice married; his first wife, Hettie Cunningham, died, leaving six children: William George, Harry, Albert, Otis and Essie. His present wife, nee Maggie McKelvy, is the mother of Lida R., Llewella E. and John R. Mr. Munhall is a member of the Presbyterian Church, of the Royal Arcanum; politically he is a republican.

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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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