until the completion of the railroad in 1862, afforded the only thoroughfare for the cheap transportation of goods and produce. Passenger packets for a time gave life to its waters, but of late years it has been used chiefly for the transportation of coal. Originally the French Creek Division extended to the Allegheny River at Franklin, but from the Aqueduct, (seven miles below Meadville,) it did not prove profitable, and was abandoned shortly after its completion. A line of boats now run between Meadville and Pittsburgh, for carrying heavy freights, and boats pass between Erie and Meadville, but the French Creek Division is not profitable, except for supplying the main line with water. Its head is at Bemustown, two miles above Meadville, and it empties into Conneaut Lake at Evansburg, about 19 miles by water from Meadville.
In the fall of 1862 the Atlantic & Great Western Railwaythe connecting link of the broad gauge between New York and St. Louiswas completed to Meadville, and shortly afterwards the Franklin Branch Railway was extended to Oil City, giving to Oildom the first outlet by railway. On the 1st of January, 1869, the entire railway, with its branches, passed into the control of the Erie Railway under a twelve years lease, and the principal offices of the road, which, up to that time, had been located at Meadville, were transferred to New York.
Allegheny College, which is situated upon a beautiful piece of elevated ground northward of the city, overlooking the valley and surrounding hills, had its origin in a meeting of the intelligent citizens of Meadville, held June 20th, 1815. The leading spirit in this enterprise in behalf of education was the Rev. Timothy Alden, D. D., who became its first President. It was mainly due to his exertions that the means were raised for the erection of the main building, which took place in 1816-17. The institution was opened on the 4th of July, 1816, although the act of incorporation was not passed by the Legislature until March 24th, 1817, when