Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 299] who resides with his brother George J., at No. 105 Elm Street, New Castle, was born in Allegheny City, Oct. 6, 1840. His mental training was obtained in the Third Ward school of the latter city, which be attended until he was seventeen years of age; he then accepted a clerkship in a hat store and later went into the grocery business. But machinery and the mechanical arts proved more attractive to him than a prospective business life, so he turned to the railroads to satisfy his natural bent, and preferring the trade of a machinist, he secured a place in the railroad shops. In October, 1861, he went to Pittsburg, and became one of the most trusted employees of the government works at Fort Pitt, and had the honor of finishing the first twenty-inch gun ever turned out by the government under the direction of the superintendent. The second gun was turned out under the management of Mr. Binning, who had the entire responsibility for its successful completion. Prior to the turning of the guns, he also helped to make the huge machinery on which the guns were finisherd,[sic] and assisted in placing the guns in position. For three years, from 1877 to 1880, Mr. Binning was a member of the fire department of New Castle, and in May, 1880, departed for the West, finding work at his trade in the State of Colorado. During the fifteen years he lived in the Centennial State, he was foreman in the shops of the Denver & Rio Grande R. R. at Pueblo, Salida, Leadville, and Grand junction, having entire charge of the shops at the latter place throughout the last seven years of his sojourn in the West. William S. Binning was married at Gunnison, Col., May 21, 1882, to Miss Catherine Lynch, a native of Brady's Bend, Pa., and to them were born three children: William S., Jr.; Bertha; and Joseph C., who is attending the schools of New Castle. William S. Binning is a member of Macy Lodge, No. 55, F. & A. M.. of Grand Junction, Col.

James J. Binning, the father of William S., was born in Philadelphia, and in early life learned the shoemaker's trade. He was a son of John and Jane (Hopkins) Binning, both of Philadelphia, and grandson of Jacob James Binning, a native of Scotland, who married a Miss Castile. Our subject's father, when a young man, came to Allegheny City, where for a time he followed his trade, and made buskins and, slippers in a shoe factory; then for five years he was engaged in the grocery business. After leaving the grocery business, he entered upon a river life, and eventually became captain of craft plying on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, commanding at various times the Julia Dean, Clara Fisher, Clara Dean, Clipper No. 2, and others. During the summer season the run would be from Pittsburg to St. Louis, and through the winter, when ice obstructed the Ohio River, he would work down stream to New Orleans. In 1851, he discontinued river life, and in the following year became a conductor on the Ohio & Pennsylvania R. R.; but displaying marked and very exceptional ability in railroad affairs and exhibiting such a judgment as entitled him to more consideration, he was appointed general freight agent for the Fort Wayne & Indiana R. R., which position he acceptably filled for four years. In 1856, he was tendered a similar position with the Pennsylvania R. R. and its leased lines, and accepted, continuing in this service until his death, which took place in Allegheny City, April 8, 1860. He possessed a wide knowledge of human nature and business methods, and was prominent in public affairs, and, with the exception of a term as notary public while living in Crestline, Ohio, he would never accept office, but was always a zealous supporter of his party's nominees. In the early months of 1860, before his serious illness, he was an earnest advocate of Stephen A. Douglas as a candidate for the Presidency, and had he lived, he would have stumped the State for The Little Giant. He was experienced in making popular addresses, and was looked to by his party as one of its campaign speakers. Mr. Binning was in early life a member of the Baptist Church, but later united with the Methodists. He was a member of the Masonic and Odd Fellows fraternities. He married a Miss Ann Eliza Staunton, who was born in her parents' residence on Third Street, Pittsburg, in 1819, and died in New Castle, in November, 1895. Her parents were William and Mary (Evans) Staunton, who were natives of England. Mary Evans was a daughter of Thomas Evans, whose wife was a daughter of Capt. Thompson, an officer in the British Army, who was stationed in New York City at the time the mother of Mary was born. At the close of the war, she returned at the age of twelve with her parents to England, where she in after years married Thomas Evans, and with him came to America to build up a home. William Staunton was born in Chester, England, and came to America in 1818, having become disgusted with some of the English laws, that seemed to him to be unjust and oppressive. He landed at New York City, and went direct to Philadelphia, where he went into business as a broker with a Quaker gentleman, and when their business became somewhat extended, he came to Pittsburg to take charge of a branch office they established there. In 1838 or 1839 he came to what is now known as Union township, Lawrence County, purchased a farm, and made it his home the remainder of his days, passing away in the city of New Castle, at the age of seventy-two years. Of the five children born to James J. Binning, but two survive, William S., the eldest, and George J., the third in order of birth. John, Charles H., and Edwin S. have departed this life.

George J. Binning was born in Allegheny City, Sept. 16, 1845. At the outbreak of the war he ran away to join the army, but being under the required age, he was dismissed at the solicitations of his friends. Securing a clerkship in a grocery store he remained in that capacity a short time, and then came to New Castle, and secured a place as feeder in the nail mill, and working himself up to a high position he remained in the employ of the same firm twenty-two years. In 1888, he became connected with the Natural Gas Co. in New Castle, and by earnest application rose from a common laborer in the ditches to be foreman of the works. The two brothers have a pleasant home at No. 105 Elm Street, where they live in concord, and extend the heartiest of welcomes to their numerous acquaintances, and warm friends.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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