Peter McAllister (1852-1941)

52 Ancestors #5 – Peter McAllister (1852-1941)
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’s Story

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. 
Peter McAllister
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:
i.  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.


Pittsburg Dispatch,
September 03, 1892, Page 2
Thanks to the Library of Congress
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.

McAllister Murder – Bell Set Free – Jan 28, 1925

Savannah Press
28 January 1925




William R. Bell, charged in a warrant with the murder of Edward L. McAllister, was dismissed by Judge Schwarz following a preliminary hearing in police court this morning. The recorder held that the evidence presented against Mr. Bell was not sufficient to hold him on a charge of murder, and he was accordingly set free. Col. Shelby Myrick, attorney, was in charge of the defendant’s case.

Bell’s Statement.
Making his statement to the court. Bell said on December 10 he got paid off in the morning. “Mr, McAllister told me he expected me to pay $5 on the amount I owed him that, pay-day. I told him it was Christmas and I wanted to buy a few thing for my wife and child. I told him. I had an insurance policy and that I intended to borrow some money on it and pay all 1 owed him,” he said. To this, Bell said, McAllister replied: “Bell, when I loaned you boys money I did not intend to punish you, but I want you to pay up, because I may not be abound here long.” In reference to the alleged charge that he carried a weapon after McAllister’s death, Bell said: “I had a pistol, but it was in the pawnshop.”

Preliminary to discharging the prisoner, Judge Schwarz commended the county police for the zeal they had shown in trying to solve a very difficult case, and said there was no reflection on the officers because of his Judgment dismissing the case.

Found Dead

Mr. McAllister was found murdered in his home on Thirty-ninth street near Ash a fortnight ago. He had been brutally slain with a hatchet. County police investigated and several days after the discovery of the murder Mr. Bell was arrested on a warrant sworn out by Joseph McAllister, of Pittsburg [sic], a brother of the dead man.

Showed No Apprehension.
As soon as he was set free Bell shook hands with his counsel, Colonel Myrick, and then went over to where his wife was sitting, just in front of the desk of J. F. Bernhardt, clerk of court. Mrs. Bell arose to greet her husband and the couple locked arms, in a loving embrace.

During the trial of the case Bell was alert, and at times prompted his counsel in an audible voice. When a telling point was made by Colonel Myrick in drawing out testimony favorable to him from a witness, Bell would smile and glance knowingly at Judge Schwarz. At times Belt seemed to enjoy the trial and at no time was any nervousness or apprehension apparent.

McCarthy Testifies.

Chief of Detectives McCarthy, the first witness in the case, told about finding McAllister’s body In the kitchen of his residence. The body was in a sitting posture, with the shoulders against the partition wall and the dead man’s head was leaning to one side. A bloody hatchet was on the kitchen table, A dish of rice and a bowl of coffee, without cream, but with the cream pitcher near, was on the table. McAllister had a fork or spoon in one hand, he said. After finding that McAllister’s house was outside the city limits, Chief McCarthy said he turned the case over to the county policy.

Brown Repeats Story

H. B. Brown told about the same story that he told before the coroner’s Jury. He said he and his wife went to McAllister’s home on the Tuesday the body was found. Looking through the window at the front of the house, he saw McAllister’s bed had been used. He then went around to the, rear of the housed and was then joined by a Mr. Carr, who asked them what they were looking for, and on being told, joined them in looking through the kitchen window. He saw McAllister’s legs. The window was not latched and they raised it up and saw that McAllister was dead, he said. He reiterated his evidence as to finding the hatchet and the position of the body.
Dr. George H. Johnson, the coroner  told about visiting the house and examining McAllister’s body. His other evidence was confined to the statement that he found the dead man’s watch was running, and that it continued to run until the next night at 8:45 p. m. Based on this evidence, be gave it as his opinion that McAllister was killed between 8 and 9 o’clock the morning prior to the finding of the body.

Alleged Threats.

M. H. Bagwell of 1911 Price street, who worked at the Atlantic Coast Line shops with Bell and the dead man, testified that Bell owed McAllister money and that on December 24, when the force was about to be paid off he (Bagwell) laughingly said: “Boys, you are not going to get any money today, I see McAllister here.” Bell replied, he said: “if the D — – – – ties up my money I’ll kill him.” The witness said that McAllister had loaned money to the men at the shops but had never garnisheed him, (Bagwell) and it was also admitted that he did not “tie up” the prisoner’s money.
Evidence intended to show that there may have been trouble between the dead man and Bell was limited to a remark. Bagwell said Bell made, to the effect that if McAllister broke up his home he would kill him.

Mr. McCain of 203 York street, east, testified that he was present when Bagwell made the remark about the boys not getting any money and heard the defendant make the remark that he’d kill McAllister if he tied up his money. He said McAllister loaned money to the men at the shops. Asked by the recorder if McAllister charged them interest, the witness said he did not charge him any.

Lived in Macon

Bell resided in Macon about four years ago. He was married to Miss Lillian Lucile McClain on June 19, 1918. Miss McClain resided at Cross Keys at Macon, Prior to her marriage she was employed as a stenographer in Macon. At the time of his marriage Bell was a soldier at Camp Wheeler. He and his wife both have relatives in Macon.

Savannah Press (Savannah, GA) January 28, 1925 – Pages 14 & 8 – microfilm via University of Georgia Libraries.

McAllister Murder – January 29, 1925 – Bell’s Preliminary Hearing Tomorrow

Savannah Press
27 January 1925




An unidentified negro boy with wounds in, his head similar to those that killed Edward L. Mc Allister, was found on the canal bank this morning within a stone’s throw of the McAllister home.
Found at Canal.
The boy, who is about twelve years old, was discovered at the canal near Cedar street and Seiler avenue by J. D. Stafford, of 1312 Seiler avenue.  He reported his discovery to the police. The negro had evidently been thrown in the canal by his assailant as dead. When discovered, his hands were clenched so tightly together as to be almost white. He was carried to the Georgia Infirmary. 
Savannah Press
27 January 1925
The negro was found just within the city limits and city police will investigate. Lieut. Hallford of the police, reports that the negro who up to this time is not identified beyond the name “Joe,” was chopped in the head with a hatchet.
County policemen who saw the wounds in the boy’s, head believe he was struck with a blunt instrument, not a hatchet. This view is said to be held by the physician who operated on the youth.
One Arrested.
The victim of the assault mumbled the name of someone supposed to have been his assailant. The city police have one suspect in custody. He is a negro. They, are looking for another negro.
The theory of the police is that the negro was thrown into the canal and that he crawled out on the bank, where he was found and the case reported. 
McAllister’s Death,
McAllister was discovered dead In, his house a fortnight ago, terrible hatchet wounds having been inflicted in his head. William R. Bell was arrested and charged with the murder. He is now In jail awaiting a preliminary hearing. This will be held tomorrow morning.
The spot where the negro was found is within a very short distance of the McAllister home.

Savannah Press (Savannah, GA) January 27, 1925 – Page 14 – microfilm via University of Georgia Libraries.

McAllister Murder – Defense Attorney says “No Case”


– – – – – – – – – – – – 


– – – – – – – – – – – – 

“I find in preparing for the preliminary hearing that the state has no case against Bell for the murder of McAllister,” Shelby Myrick, attorney, stated today.

To Defend Bell
Mr. Myrick has accepted the case and will defend William R. Bell,
who is in jail on a charge of murdering Edward L. McAllister. The dead man was discovered in his home Tuesday of last week. He
had been slain with a hatchet

Myrick says he expects the preliminary hearing will take place within a few days.

Savannah Press (Savannah, GA) January 22, 1925 – Page 14 – microfilm via University of Georgia Libraries.

McAllister Murder – Who Owns This Hatchet – Jan 16, 1925

The Savannah Press – January 16, 1925

Who Owns This Hatchet With Which McAllister was Killed?

This is a picture of the hatchet with which Edward L. McAllister, who was discovered murdered in his home on Tuesday, was killed. The weapon, stained with blood, was found on a table within a few feet of the body In McAllister’s kitchen. It is one of the most interesting pieces of evidence in the case, the question of its ownership being important. Whether It belonged to the dead man is not definitely known, but the county police believe it was used by McAllister for cutting kindling wood in his kitchen.

The instrument is a sharp, narrow, thln-bladed hatchet. It was sunk into McAllister’s skull up to the hilt of the weapon three times. This type of hatchet is commonly known as a lather’s ax.

The blade of the weapon is about four inches long. It is narrow, thin and is composed of steel tempered for intensive sharpening. The hatchet of this kind is used by carpenters for the breaking of laths.

It has a cleverly made handle, but unmistakably hand-made and not machine-made. The machine-made handle is smoothly beveled, whereas there are imperfections in the handle of the hatchet found blood-spattered on the McAllister table. It was evidently made by a mechanic, carpenter or someone well versed in woodcraft.

The following was found on page 28 of the paper.

Work on M’Allister Murder Progressing

The county police today continued their investigation into the death of Edward L. McAllister, who was found on Tuesday murdered. It is understood the police are well satisfied with the progress of the case and an arrest is not improbable.