Biography of William M. Gaffney
Westmoreland County, PA Biographies

WILLIAM MENTOR GAFFNEY, deceased, who was an esteemed resident of Alverton, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, was born at New Stanton in 1863, son of Daniel and Eliza L. (Ryan) Gaffney. He is of Scotch Irish descent

Edward Gafiney, great grandfather, came to America at the time of the war of the Revolution, and participated therein under the immediate command of General Washington. He subsequently settled on a farm in South Huntingdon township, Westmoreland county, on w hich he lived all his life. Among his children was a son, William.

William Gaffney, grandfather, in early life learned the trade of boat builder and pursued various avocations in life He married, in 1823 Sophia Howard, daughter of Nicholas Howard, of Westmoreland county, and they had twelve children.

Daniel Gaffney, father of William Mentor Gaffney, and seventh son of William Gaffney, was born March 22, 1837. He obtained, his education in the subscription and free schools of that day, and when thirteen years of age was hired out to a farmer for the summer months, at a wage of three dollars a month. The next two years he was similarly engaged for increased wages, hut being dissatisfied with this occupation and when about sixteen years of age, learned well drilling in Greensburg, and was there and elsewhere engaged in Westmoreland county at this business. For a few months in 1854 he was engaged at the same occupation in Maryland, and went into business on his own account, following it for several years, and at one time went to Illinois to put down wells there. Later he became associated with several fiouring mills, being particulary identified with the one that is now called Paintersville. Owing to a severe frost in June, 1859, the cereal crops of Westmoreland county were destroyed, thereby making milling dull. Mr. Gafiney then returned to his former occupation for a year of two, and later was engaged by Colonel Israel Fainter to superintend his salt works in Hempfield township. He retained his connection with Mr. Painter for two years, when he leased from him the Fountain Salt Works in Hempfield, which he successfully conducted for a year. in January, 1991, he became the owner of the Fainterville Salt Works, which are in full operation, and from which he derives excellent financial returns. He married, in 1859, Eliza L. Ryan, daughter of John Ryan, of Hempfield township, and their children were: William Mentor, of whom later; Clara May. Sarah Blanche, Mary Etta, George Edward, Van Orion. Anna Kate, and James Allen. Mr. Gaffney is a Democrat. in politics, and in religious faith was formerly a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, to which his wife and daughters now belong.

William Mentor Gaffney obtained his intellectual training in the common schools arid at Greensburg Academy. After leaving school he engaged for some years in the occupation of a teacher, being well qualified for this line of work, and achieving good success in the training and instruction of the young. He subsequently relinquished this occupation and entered the service of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company as assistant station agent at Scottdale, where he remained for five years. Later he was appointed station agent at Alverton, where he remained for eleven sears or until his death In politics he affiliated is ith the Democratic party and ever evinced a lively interest in all parts affairs. He served his township in the office of school director, and was a member of the board at the time of the establishment of the first high school in East Huntingdon township. In church relations Mr. Gafiney was a Methodist, and was very active in the Methodist Episcopal church, being a class leader and superintendent of the Sunday school, also a trustee. He organized the Eoworth league in the church Fraternally he was a member of the I. O. O. F. Lodge No 387 of Tarrs Station also the I. O. H. of Scottdale and A M. of Scottdale. He married, March 25, 1891, Eldora Ruff, a daughter of Adam and Elizabeth (Malone) Ruff, and their children were: Daniel, born January 6, 1892; Walter Clyde, born January 10, 1894; Alice, born July 16, 1897, died December 24, 1902; Edwin, born January 19, 1898; and Clara May, born August 17, 1899. Mr. Gaffney died in October, 1902, and in his demise the community lost a useful citizen, and his family a kind and loving father and husband.

History of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania
Vol. 3
By: John N. Boucher
The Lewis Publishing Company
New York - Chicago, 1906

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