Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 399] now retired from active business life, who was for many years a member of the firm of S. M. Young & Son, proprietors of one of the oldest, most reliable, and best-known grocery stores in the city of New Castle, Pa., was born in West Liberty, Butler Co., Pa., March 24, 1832, and is a son of Matthew and Joanna (Coovertt) Young, and grandson of Matthew Young, Sr., who was born in Ireland, and coming to America when a young man met and married a Miss Wilkinson of Pittsburg, who was of Scotch-Irish descent. They bought a farm, then in the wilderness and untouched by the hand of civilized man, situated in Slippery Rock township, Lawrence Co., where they built a log-house, and started in to grow up with the country and wrest a livelihood from the virgin soil. Our subject's grandfather cleared a farm of about 200 acres, which is now owned by his grandson Samuel. Later in life, when success in his agricultural pursuits had beamed upon him, he built a frame dwelling, and was known as a progressive, wide-awake man, who could be depended upon to keep abreast of the times. Fourteen children were born to him. His son Matthew, our subject's father, was born on the homestead, which was then in Beaver County, now a part of Lawrence County, and learned the harness-maker's, the shoemaker's, and the tanner's trades. He bought a farm in Slippery Rock township and at first building a log-cabin, as soon as he was able he erected a fine set of rame [sic] buildings and a tannery, and carried on tanning, harness-, saddle-, and shoe-making. He died in his forty-eighth year from an acute attack of cholera morbus. His wife passed away in her eighty-second year; she was a daughter of Col. John Coovertt, who was a colonel of state militia, and served in the War of 1812; Col. Coovertt was tanner and harness- and shoemaker by trade. The union of our subject's parents was blessed with the following children: Sylvester M.; Caroline; Matilda; Amanda; Sarah Jane; Samantha; Marcus; and William H. Our subject's father, while a Whig, had strong anti-slavery sympathies, and actively identified himself with the Abolitionists, doing valuable service as an agent of the Underground Railroad in rescuing many a poor black slave from bondage and from the lash. In his religious views he was a Presbyterian.

Sylvester M. Young had very little chance to attend school when he was a boy, for it was four miles to the school-house, and when he became old enough to go that far he was needed at home on the farm, clearing and improving the land. When he arrived at manhood he studied and educated himself, supplementing his district school education, and at the age of twenty-two years came to New Castle and clerked eight years for Coffin & Phillips in their grocery store. In 1862 in company with T. B. Bitner, under the firm name of Young & Bitner, he bought out the grocery of George V. Boyles, located near where Brown & Hamilton have their store at the time of this writing. He continued in such lines until his health showed signs of failing, because of the confining nature of his work, and he was obliged to seek rest and a change of employment. He then represented a Philadelphia wholesale house as its traveling agent for quite a length of time. He next started in business alone where R. Knox is located now, and remained there until 1894, when he moved into the Woods Block. In 1875, our subject's son, Beriah U., became associated with our subject, under the firm name of S. M. Young & Co., and for many years in connection with a general grocery business they did a large business, in dealing in produce, shipping apples, potatoes and other garden and farm produce to Boston and Philadelphia; they were also the largest wool dealers in the county. In 1890, Mr. Young's son, John, bought out his brother Beriah U., and the firm as then constituted easily took the lead in their special line of commercial activity. In 1897, Mr. Young, because of business depression, retired from business, making an assignment of his interests to his sons, B. U. Young & Co., who still carry on the business, and keep up the reputation of the firm for superior goods, and careful consideration of the wants of the customer. In 1875, Mr. Young built a comfortable and well-appointed home on Butler Avenue, where he has lived since.

Our subject married Miss Martha J. Scott, daughter of John Scott, and has eight children, all of whom are living and occupying good business positions. They are as follows: Beriah U.; Margaret J.; William, an attorney of Kansas City, Mo.; Sylvester W., a Presbyterian minister of Ellsworth, Ohio; Edith E., who married Prof. A. B. Morton of Ingraham, Pa.; John S., junior member of the firm S. M. Young & Son; Lewis M., connected with a commercial supply house of Buffalo, N. Y.; and Harry, a clerk in the firm's store. Mr. Young is an uncompromising Republican, and has served seven years in the city council. As to his church membership, he is a prominent figure in the Presbyterian Church. He is a member of the Royal Templars, Protected Home Circle, and of the I. O. O. F., and has held office in all of these societies.

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

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