PETER MCALLISTER was born on 12 Feb 1852 in Workington, Cumberland, England. He died in 1941 (The death index indicates he passed in Jan/Feb/Mar of 1941) in Cockermouth, Cumbria, England. He married (1) MARGARET MARY LAMB, daughter of Edward and Jane Lambe on 22 Aug 1878 in Workington, Cumberland, England. She was born in Apr 1860 in Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cambria, England (St. Marys, Cumberland, England). He married (2) UNKNOWN after 1921 in England.
Saint Michaels Church before the fire.
Peter McAllister was baptized on 12 Mar 1852 into the Church of England at Saint Michaels Church in Workington, Cumberland, England. Nothing is known about his childhood or early years. It is assumed that he grew up in Workington.
In 1878, Peter was working as a seaman out of Workington, England, and he married Margaret Mary Lambe. In 1879, the couple was blessed by the birth of their first child, Frank. In 1881, Peter was working as an “Engineerman,” which is a person who was in charge of a large engine. The engine type could have been most anything. Possibly he would have been an engineerman (engineman today) on a ship while a seaman. He identified himself as an engeerman in the 1881 census while they lived at 5 High Church Street in Workington. His first daughter, Elizabeth, was born in March, 1881 and his second son, Edward, in May, 1882. In August of 1884, his second daughter, Hannah was born.
In 1885 the family immigrated to the United States. It appears that he preceded the rest of the family because Margaret arrived with the children but Peter wasn’t on the ship. The family settled in Catasauqua, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, which is where their third son, John William McAllister was born in 1887 and their last child, Joseph M. was born in 1889.
2800 Berg Street Today
The house Peter built in 1890 at the corner of
Vine & Cologne (now Berg & Cologne) Courtesy Google Maps
In 1890 the family relocated to Pittsburgh and in November Peter took out a building permit to build a house at the corner of Vine (now Berg) and Cologne. A 16×32, two story with basement house for $1,200.
Homestead Strike & Riot
The 1890s were an extremely volatile time in Pittsburgh. Back in 1876, the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers (AA) union was formed. After winning several strike confrontations with steel plant owners during the 1980s the union, the union decided to strike against the Homestead Steel Mill. In 1892, plant manager Henry Clay Frick wanted to break the union. On June 30th, he locked out the union employees and the union decided to strike back by closing the plant with their pickets. The AA would not allow the plant to be opened with nonunion employees.
On July 6th there was a huge confrontation between 300 Pinkerton detectives, hired by the mill and hundreds of strikers. By the end of the day, many had been killed on both sides and another couple dozen injured. At the union’s demand and the city’s agreement, the Pinkertons were arrested and to be tried for murder and other crimes. The city then reneged on that agreement; the Pinkertons were released which outraged the strikers.
Troops Arrive in Homestead
Harper’s Weekly, July 23, 1892
From wood engraving by T. de Thulstrup
Thanks to US Library of Congress
On July 12th, 4000 state militia arrived and took the plant from the strikers. On the 15th the mill opened again with new, strike breaking employees. Because many of the new employees were black, a race war broke out inside the plant while union employees who were trying to stop the opening of the plant were bayonetted by the troops. On July 18th the town was put under martial law. On July 23rd, an anarchist attempted to assassinate Frick. Throughout July and August there were continued skirmishes and legal battles. One judge issued treason charges against the Union’s Advisory Committee for “making itself the law.”
This was the backdrop for September 2nd, when Peter McAllister was arrested for rioting. We don’t know if he was working at the Homestead Steel Mill at the time or if he was just a supporter. His being “locked out” suggests that he was an employee at that time. We do know that he worked as an engineman on the Rolling Mill Crew at Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp a few years later. In either event, Homestead would have been a fairly quick six-mile train ride from where he lived. We do know that he made bail, and renewed his bail several months later. It appears that eventually the charges were dropped on both sides.
Rolling Mill Crew – Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation – 1906
Peter was a member of the Rolling Mill Crew in 1906. He may be pictured in the photo
Courtesy Senator John Heinz History Center, Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation Collection
In 1894 Peter became a United States Citizen.
In 1900 Peter was living on Patterson Street with his wife, both daughters and his three younger sons. He went to Europe at some unknown date and returned to the States in June 1905.
In 1906 his daughter Hannah gave birth, out of wedlock, to a girl, which was fathered by a man 27 years older than Hannah, who was only 21 at the time. After Hannah became pregnant a second time by the same older man, he finally married her in 1907, giving both the children his name. Hannah and her father were estranged after that.
1921 Passport Photo
Thanks to Ancestry.Com
Peter returns to England
In June, 1921, Peter received a US Passport. He was 69 years old, 5′ 5″ tall. He had grey eyes, grey hair, mustache, high forehead, large nose, heavy chin, fair complexion, oblong face. His passport contains the only known photograph of Peter McAllister. His passport application indicated that his intent was only to visit England. However, he left in July, 1921 and never returned to the states.
It is believed that he married his housekeeper in England.
He died sometime during the first three months (January-March) of 1941 at the age of 88.
Peter McAllister and Margaret Mary Lamb had the following children:
FRANK MC ALLISTER was born in 1879 in Workington, Cumberland, England.
ELIZABETH MCALLISTER was born in Mar 1881 in Workington, Cumberland, England. She died on 02 Jan 1944. She married Harold Lane, son of <No name> and <No name> on 06 Jul 1909. He was born on 19 Nov 1880 in England. He died before 26 May 1943.
EDWARD LAMB MCALLISTER was born on 23 May 1882 in Cockermouth, Cumberland, United Kingdom (Scotland, England). He died on 12 Jan 1925 in Savannah, Chatham, Georgia, USA (Cause of death: Murder / Hatchet to head.). He married VIOLET YELLIG. She was born in 1889 in Pennsylvania. She died on 04 Oct 1910 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, USA. He married (2) THERISA BAUCKMANN, daughter of William Bauckmann and Elinor Bowers before Sep 1918 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, USA. She was born on 20 Aug 1891 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, USA. She died on 17 Nov 1924 in Savannah, Chatham, Georgia, USA (Died of a cerebral hemorrhage, stroke).
HANNAH MCALLISTER was born on 15 Aug 1884 in England. She died on 11 Jul 1913 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, USA (Died of pelvic peritonitis due to a ruptured ovarian cyst.). She married (1) RUFUS HARRY DARLING, son of Rufus Holton Darling and Elizabeth Jane Swayze on 16 Feb 1907 in Kittanning, Armstrong, Pennsylvania, USA. He was born on 30 Jun 1857 in Michigan (Age 3). He died on 05 Jun 1917 in Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA. She married THOMAS R WHITE. He was born on 13 Sep 1868. He died on 06 Sep 1945 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, USA (Interned at Chartiers Cemetery).
JOHN WILLIAM MCALISTER was born on 28 Mar 1887 in Lehigh, Pennsylvania, USA. He married EMMA M [MCALLISTER]. She was born about 1889 in Pennsylvania, USA.
6. vi. JOSEPH M. MCALLISTER was born on 25 Sep 1889 in Catasauqua, Lehigh, Pennsylvania, USA. He died in Oct 1962. He married Myrtle (McAllister) before 1917 (After 1910). She was born about 1893 in Pennsylvania, USA.
It is very cool when you find an ancestor was a part of a major event in American history. The Homestead Strike and Riot was one of the most significant events in labor history and Peter was there, being arrested with the best of them.
I commend Peter McAllister, my wife’s 2nd great-grandfather and I urge everyone to remember him and his struggles today, Feb 12, 2014, the 162nd anniversary of his birth. I’ll think of him on Labor Day too.