Family Stories

William G. Algeo Biography

from Beaver County, Pennsylvania – Biographies

William G. Algeo, Sr., of Beaver Falls, enjoys the distinction of being the oldest undertaker of Beaver County, Pennsylvania. He was born in Allegheny City, Pa., May 14, 1830, and is a son of Gregg Algeo, who was also born in Allegheny City, where he was reared and received his intellectual training. He embarked in mercantile pursuits at Pittsburg, Pa., and followed that occupation until cut off by death at the age of fifty years.  He was joined in marriage with Susanna Gibson, a daughter of Rev. Robert Gibson. Mrs. Algeo was a native of New Jersey and departed this life at the age of forty-five years. They were Covenanters in their religious views, and reared six children, all of whom are now deceased except William G., the subject of this sketch. The following are their names: Rebecca; William G.; Margaret (Pasco); Sarah J. (Robinson); William G., subject of this sketch; and Elizabeth.  William G. Algeo, Sr., obtained his education in the institutions of his native city. After leaving school, he began to learn the cabinet maker’s trade with T. B. Young & Co., in 1846, remaining with that company until 1850. After working at his trade as a journeyman for a brief period, Mr. Algeo began business on his own account as a furniture dealer in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He continued in that business with a great deal of success until 1860, when he became associated with Robert Fairman in the undertaking business.  In 1864, they established the first coffin factory west of the Alleghany Mountains, and manufactured for the trade exclusively.  The firm was then known as the Excelsior Coffin & Casket Works and was composed of Hamilton, Algeo, Arnold & Co. That firm continued to do business until 1870, when it was dissolved and Mr. Algeo formed a new company, locating a factory for the manufacture of coffins at Rochester, Pa., and operating under the firm name of Algeo, Scott & Co. This company continued in business until 1875, and was sold out. Mr. Algeo went to Beaver Falls and established a coffin factory there, having his son, William G., Junior, as a partner. In 1876, they closed out the manufacturing department, and embarked in the undertaking business, which Mr. Algeo still follows, being the only man in the county who has continued for so long in that business.  In 1853, our subject was joined in the holy bonds of matrimony with Sarah A. Huff, a daughter of Mrs. Rosanna Huff, of Pittsburg.  Mrs. Algeo passed to the world beyond in 1894 aged fifty-three years, leaving three children as a legacy to her husband. Their names are: William G., Jr., who is master mechanic of the Union Drawn Steel Co., of Beaver Falls, and, who was joined in marriage with Nora Clayton, a charming lady of Beaver Falls; Mary E.; and Fairman, who led Anna Latham to the altar, and now has two daughters, Viola and Sarah.  Mr. Algeo has, by strict principles of integrity and honor, built up a splendid reputation as a man of push and energy, and has amassed a comfortable fortune that is now of service to him in his declining years. He is a member of Lodge No. 45, F. & A. M. of Pittsburg; of Zerubbabel Chapter, No. 162, R. A. M.; of the A. O. U. W. and the Royal Arcanum.  In his political attachments Mr. Algeo was first a Whig but is now a Republican, and, although he has never sought political distinction, he served as burgess of Beaver Falls in 1886-1887. The subject of our sketch is an earnest and zealous worker in the Episcopalian church and is very charitable. He is a very prominent man, and one universally liked by all who have the pleasure of his acquaintance.

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