The Brinham House, Wellersburg PA

The June 2009 image below was provided by Mike McKenzie. It shows the John R. Brinham house, which was the first brick house in Wellersburg, Pennsylvania.

John R. Brinham house, Wellersburg PA

The map of Wellersburg from the 1876 Beers atlas shows the location of Mr. Brinham's residence and store. The Southampton Township map from the same book shows that Mr. Brinham owned a considerable amount of property and/or mineral rights in the township. Mr. Brinham's ad in the 1876 atlas is shown below.

John R. Brinham advertisement, 1876

Mike McKenzie reports that Noah Witt is the individual who owned the Brinham house in Wellersburg after Mr. Brinham. Noah’s name is carved into an old round grinding stone that is part of the wall that is built just in front and to the left of the house. Noah’s grandson Donnie presently (2009) owns the Brinham house. Click here to see a map of the Noah Witt mine & property below Wellersburg. Mike reports that when he talked to Donnie in 2009, Donnie didn't know who his grandfather bought the place from, but he was going to check the deed for us.

The following Wellersburg-related information from volume II of the 1906 "History of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania" by Welfley, Blackburn, and Koontz mentions Mr. Bringham and his house:

Wellsburg borough was laid out in 1830, by George Weller. The town lies along the old Cumberland turnpike. So far as we know, the land on which the town is built was first improved by Jacob Korns, who sold the land to Weller. The first house was built by Jeremiah Wingert, in 1834. He also began operating a tannery in the following year. A man named Barnes opened the first store. John R. Brinham succeeded Barnes in the mercantile business. Through good and evil fortune, Mr. Brinham clung to the town, having an abiding faith in the future of both Wellersburg and Southampton township. Upright and honorable in all things, he carried on the mercantile business here for fifty years, as a public spirited citizen giving freely of his time and substance to promote the welfare of the town. It is said that Mr. Brinham was appointed postmaster in 1841, and held the office up to the time of his death, in 1892. While speaking about the postoffice, it may be said there was a postoffice in 1830, or about that time, called Southampton. Peter Boyer was the postmaster. It is very probably that it was where Wellersburg now is. It is very probably that it was where Wellersburg now is. It certainly must have been somewhere along the turnpike. About 1855 there was also a postoffice on top of Savage mountain called "Top Savage."

To return to Wellersburg, the first brick house, and so far as we know, the only one in the place, was built by John R. Brinham.

The following Wellersburg-related information from the 1884 "History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania" (Waterman, Watkins & Co.) mentions Mr. Bringham and his house:

Wellersburg was laid out in 1830 and incorporated as a borough in 1857. The town is now in a dilapidated state having been steadily declining since the abandonment of the iron industry in 1866. It contains a population of about 250 and has one hotel, three stores, one blacksmith shop, one wagonmaker's shop, one tannery and one slaughterhouse. There are two churches in the borough and a schoolhouse (formerly a church building) with a seating capacity of 200.

George Weller was the founder of the town. He purchased the land on which it is built from Jacob Korns. The first house in the place was erected by Jeremiah Wingert in 1833. He also started a tannery in 1834. A Mr. Barnes built the first store. His successor in the mercantile business was John R. Brinham. Brinham erected the first brick house in the place, and still occupies it. It is the only brick structure in the township. Jacob Cook built the first tavern, and Gideon Shaffer the first blacksmith shop.”. The "...only brick structure... statement was incorrect at the time the book was written, because there was already a brick church as well.

Click here to see scans of the Southampton Township Sections from the two above-referenced history books.

John R. Brinham was involved in a lawsuit against the Wellersburg Coal Company that ended up in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The August 1962 issue of the Laurel Messenger has an article on Wellersburg that states "John Barnes operated the first store. John R. Brinham succeeded Barnes in the mercantile business. Brinham was appointed postmaster in 1839 and held the office until his death in 1892.".

In an August 2009 interview, Wellersburg resident Richard Witt told Mike McKenzie of the tradition that the bricks for the brick church and the brick Brinham house in Wellersburg were fired out past the old Cook place. Richard wasn't specific about the location, he just pointed in the general directon. Mike has noticed that, on the Beers 1876 township map, there is a fire clay pit in that general direction that is marked Fire Clay Pit J.R. Brinham Mineral Right", however it is all the way over at the Bedford County line. Mike notes that the bricks used to construct the Brinham house have the same orange color as those that are from the arch of the Wellersburg iron furnace.

The photo below of the Brinham house was reproduced from volume one of the 2005 book "A Look At Southampton Township Pennsylvania The Way It Used To Be!", with permission of the author.

John R. Brinham house, Wellersburg PA

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