Verner – Brown Comparative Notes
Various Brewery Locations & Various Owners
(Tracy & Wilkinson, Rhodes & Verner, Carson & Darlington)

December 1, 2013

Brown, Verner & Smith were listed as having the Pittsburgh Brewery at 140 Liberty in 1839 Harris’
Pittsburgh & Allegheny Directory. There were few breweries in Pittsburgh during the early 1800’s and Messrs. Verner and Brown were connected in some way with most of them.

John Penn Plan of Lots
A map made by Surveyor John Hills for the Penn’s identifies lots by number taken from the plan of lots: A Plan of the Lots laid out at Pittsburg and the Coal Hill; “being part of Pittsburgh belonging to John Penn Esq. and to Governor Penn”. The map is dated 1787.

Keyon Map of Pittsburgh
The Map of Pittsburgh and its Environs prepared by Lewis Keyon (1835) and published by Johnston & Stockton in 1835 also shows the lot numbers of the Penn Plan. Such lot numbers are used in identifying the properties shown below. The map does not show street addresses of the properties.

Brewery Location 1: At Liberty & Barker
Barker is parallel to and between 6th Street & 7th Street
Lots 106 & 107

Map Locations
A brewery identified as the Pittsburgh Brewery was shown at this location on the Keyon map of 1835. Subsequent maps showed that James Brown owned the land. It ran parallel to and along an un-named alley coming off Barker’s Alley, as it was known then. The alley ran parallel to Liberty Street, which was the front of the two lots that the brewery occupied.

Union Brewery
140 Liberty Street
Hamilton, Brown (b. 1780) & Co. (before 1827 fire)
Brown & Verer (b. 1799) (after 1827 fire)
Verner & Smith (b. 1799)
This brewery was identified in the 1815 and 1919
Pittsburgh Directory. The directories also noted people who worked at the brewery such as a brewer, clerk and laborers. Ownership was under Brown and Verner (b. 1799) by 1826 and by 1837 by Verner & Smith. No information has been found to indicate that it was in operations by the 1840’s. Brown, Verner and Smith Pittsburgh Brewery was listed in the 1837 Pittsburgh Directory.

Andrew Scott, Brewer
The Pittsburgh Directory of 1815 identified Andrew Scott as a brewer at the east side Liberty between Virgin Alley and Sixth St. This would have been his residence. Thomas and Thomas Baird Jr. were brewers at this location.
John Brown was a cooper and he lived on the west side of Church Alley.

Pittsburgh Brewery – Brown & Verner
Liberty between St. Clair (Sixth St) & Irwin
Opposite Virgin Alley on the Kenton map
This brewery location was shown on the
Map of Pittsburgh and Environs: published by Lewis Keyon (Keyon Map) in 1835. It was noted in a Carnegie Library document and noted to be “Owned by Messrs. Brown and Varnex (sic), Liberty street.”

James D. Verner
The James Verner (b. 1783) associated with this brewery is the father of James (b. 1818), who was associated with Rhodes.

James Verner lived and worked on Liberty between St. Clair (6th St) & Barker’s Alley. There was no Brown listed in the directory that listed Verner. Brown is however listed in a Carnegie Library document. The brewery was known to be operating around 1816, but that would have been the Union Brewery. See the History of the Point Brewery page in the Special Interest section.

The brewery was known to be operating around 1816 (under Hamilton, Brown & Co.) and destroyed by fire in 1827. It was rebuilt apparently under Brown & Verner.

Brown, Verner & Smith Union Brewery
The Pittsburgh & Allegheny Directory of 1839 identified a brewery under this name at this location. George W. Smith became an owner with Brown & Verner at this time.

Union Brewery, Duquesne City
This is one of several breweries in Western Pennsylvania going by this name. This is not the Union Brewery noted above and shown here for reference only.
American Machinist, Volume 26 (1903) had an entry that George Ekhert, president of Union Brewing Co., Pittsburgh, was the head of a group of investors who planned to build a brewery in Clarksburg, W. Va. called the Clarksburg Brewing Co.

Brewery Location 2: At Barker Alley & Duquesne Way
Barker is parallel to and between 6th Street & 7th Street
Duquesne Way is now Fort Duquesne Blvd.
Lots 43 & 44

This section was re-written on December 2, 2013

Map Locations
A brewery at this location was not shown on the 1835 Keyon Map nor was Duquesne Way shown to exist on the map. The J. M. Carson (Pittsburgh Brewery) is shown on the Hopkins 1872 Atlas, Plate 22 but the 1882 Atlas shows a tobacco factory. The 1882 Atlas, Plate 1 shows Joshua Rhodes owning property along Seventh Street between Penn and Duquesne Way.

Tracy and Wilkinson Brewery
Duquesne Way & Barker Alley
Followed by Rhodes & Verner Brewing
I do not know if Tracy & Wilkinson had this as the Oregon Brewery nor do I know how this name originated. Rhodes joined Verner in 1854, as this is when Rhodes first engaged in the brewing business.

James Verner
The James Verner (b. 1818) associated with this brewery is the son of James (b. 1783), who was associated with Brown. James (b. 1818) was also associated with George W. Smith (b. 1799).

Rhodes Death Notice
The death notice in the Pittsburgh Press, January 6, 1909 said: “He then went with James Verner, and they built a brewery a Duquesne Way near the Point. The brewery business of Tracy and Wilkins was later consolidated, but financial reverses compelled the partners to sell the business to Darlington & Co.” Rhodes death notice has Wilkins and not Wilkinson, which is used by other parties.

In The
Successful American, Volume 3, Part 1 to Volume 4, Part 1, 1900, Rhodes and Verner are said to have bought an existing brewery and “greatly enlarged it”.

Rhodes & Verner Oregon Brewery
Barker and Penn (as noted in Thurston’s 1856 Pittsburgh Directory) but Barker at Duquesne Way is the correct location. Thurston, in facts and figures, noted Rhodes & Verner as founders of the Oregon Brewery at Penn in 1854.
Verner’s home was listed at 209 Penn (shown on Hopkiins 1872, Plate 22 adjacent to a malt house at 214) and Rhodes was living in Lawrenceville. Verner was also shown on Hopkins 1895, Plate 5.

Rhodes & Verner Partnership
Joshua Rhodes (d. 1906) and James D. Verner (August 30, 1818 – August 8, 1901) were partners in brewing under Rhodes and Verner until they dissolved the company on December 1, 1860. At that time, Verner sold his interest in the company to Rhodes. According to court records, Rhodes was to have sold the title of the brewery to Thomas Scott. Rhodes held the property until September 1, 1866 when he sold it to Joseph M. Carson and Thomas Miller. Joseph M. Carson rented the property before the purchase but the time period is not known.

Comment: Rhodes and Verner were said to have been at Forbes and Stevenson Streets in Uptown. It is also believed that Tracy and Wilkinson were at the same location and operated a brewery that they sold to Rhodes and Verner. This information is not well documented, which is typical for many breweries that existed in the 1800’s. Rhodes did have property at Barker and Duquesne Way.

Rhodes & Verner were represented at the Ohio State Fair in Cleveland in September 1852, as noted by George L Davis.

Pittsburgh Brewery (J. M. Carson)
Carson & Darlington Brewery
Barkers Alley (now Barkers Place) at Duquesne Way (Ft. Duquesne Blvd.)
As shown on Hopkins 1872 Atlas, Plate 22. The atlas showed land ownership to J. M. Carson as the Pittsburgh Brewery but it was a tobacco factory by 1882.
Preceded by Rhodes & Verner

Findings Relative to Third Parties:
Rhodes and Verner were to have sold their brewery to Harry Darlington & Co. in 1860. This is accurate as Rhodes and Verner dissolved their partnership at this time and discontinued brewing.

Darlington had a brewery on First Avenue but sold the company to Carson in 1868. He rented the First Avenue property out to another firm. His venture into another brewery is interesting.

Carson & Darlington were to have rented space in the Joshua Rhodes brewery from 1869 to 1874 and eventually buying the property. Carson and Darlington could have rented space prior to owning the brewery, but the dates shown cannot be correct as they purchased the brewery in 1860. One question that goes unanswered is how did C & D rent the brewery if Rhodes sold the brewing equipment to another person? See Brewery Consolidation, below.

Brewery Consolidation
Information by third parties with respect to Rhodes and Verner and Carson and Darlington do not give a complete picture. If the locations of the two breweries are correct it would appear that at the time of the Rhodes and Verner takeover there were two breweries (the T&W and R&V) in operation under one owner. It would be possible for Rhodes to sell one brew house and rent the other. Further information is warranted but may be difficult to find.

Brewery Location 3: Verner Property on First Avenue
Between Cherry Way & Gant Street

Hopkins 1872 Atlas, Plate 17 shows property owned by James Verner between Cherry Way and Grant Street and between First Avenue and Second Avenue. This would become 189 First Avenue and the J. S. Finch & Co. Distillery, believed to be distilling since the 1840’s. After Finch came the Possum Hollow Distillery. James Verner, son of James, was born in 1818 so he would have been 54.

The Franklin Brewery was in this area.

Brewery Location 4: Pipetown
No Lot Numbers – Situated in Pitt Township

Pipetown was the common name for Kensington, which today is the area around the Allegheny County Jail off Second Avenue. Try Street was part of the eastern boundary of Pittsburgh. Kensington was a separate borough until it became Pittsburgh’s Sixth Ward on July 7, 1845.

The Varner Brewery No. 4 is here until I can verify if the spelling of Varner is correct. If correct, it would not have a relationship with Verner.

Gorman & Company Brewery
Kensington (AKA Pipetown)
John Gorman’s brewery was identified to be in existence in 1815 but I do not have a date of original opening. Brewery Street came off Second Street (Avenue) leading to the brewery. Martin Burns was identified as a maltser in 1815.

Pittsburgh Brewery Number 4
Varner, Colwell & Co.
It was located in Pipetown (Kensington) off Second Avenue at the site of the current Allegheny County Jail.
It was being built in 1819 and adjacent to the Thomas Baird & Son Brewery
Note the name Varner and not Verner. Collart & Silvery and Gorman & Company breweries were in this vicinity as well.

Optical Scanner Error
Brown and Verner operated the Pittsburgh Brewery at Liberty in 1835 as indicated above (Location 1). A scanned document at Carnegie Library indicated the ownership as “Owned by Messrs. Brown and Varnex”. The spelling of Varner as Varnex could be due to the scanner used at the time. One website in particular has many books scanned to a digital format but much of the text is broken and re-formatted badly.

Shiras Brewery
Pitt Street (Fifth Ave.) along Allegheny River
Lots 31 & 32

This entry is placed here for reference only to identify the lot numbers with respect to the other lot numbers listed herein. Shiras was believed to have been here in 1826 and is shown on the 1835 Keyon map but by 1871 (Hopkins 1872, Plate 22) it was a lumber yard.

Penn Street Properties

The Joseph Benitz Brewery was identified in 1852 to be at 204 Penn Street (now Avenue). The Smith Brewery was at 212 Penn Street. James D. Verner had proerty at 210 – 212 Penn as shown on Hopkins Atlas of 1872, Plate 22, but without description. A Malt House was located at 214 Penn, also shown on Hopkins.

Other directories had a brewery at 209 Penn and a cracker making plant at 201 Penn, each under Verner. Smith would have been George W. Smith. Benitz had been in various directories at 204 Penn.

M. Weil Malt House

214 Penn Avenue between Barkers Alley & Seventh Street
It is shown on the south side of Penn in Hopkins 1871 Atlas, Plate 22 as well as Hopkins 1882, Plate 1. A property owner is not shown on either plate although James Verner was shown at 209 Penn. The property owner is shown to be James D. Verner in Hopkins 1889, Plate 5. This house was shown on a Sanborn Fire Insurance map, Plate 17, Volume 1, 1884 as the M. Weil Malt House. An 1815 Pittsburgh directory listed James Verner as a miller at this location. This would have been the father and not the son, James D.

This could not be the Point Malt House that Thurston refers to in
Facts & Figures. W. H. Garrard established it in 1856 by at No. 17 Water Street. Water Street was along the Monongahela River whereas Barker was near the Allegheny River.


It was noted in an 1815 directory that Andrew Scott was a Pittsburgh brewer. Thomas Scott bought the brew house from Joshua Rhodes in or after 1860. I don’t have information that they were related. Rhodes sold the property to Joseph M. Carson and Thomas Miller on September 1, 1866. Verner took action to evict Carson, et al from the undivided half of the property.

Timeline for Verner & Brown and Associates

The age of a person at the noted year is indicated as such: Name (25)

James Brown is born (moved here in 1803)

George W. Smith is born.
James Verner is born (father of James D)

A George W. Smith (13?) was brewing in Virginia in 1812.

Brown (35) & Scott Union Brewery, The Union Brewery was identified in the
Pittsburgh Directory of 1815.
The Pittsburgh Directory of 1815 identified a Mr. Andrew Scott as a brewery at the corner of Virgin Alley and Liberty.

A brewery was known to be operating around 1816 and destroyed by fire in 1827. It was rebuilt. This could have been the Union Brewery, above.

James D Verner (son of Fames) is born (moved here about 1820).

Pittsburgh Brewery Number 4
Varner, Colwell & Co.
It was located in Pipetown (Kensington) off Second Avenue at the site of the current Allegheny County Jail.
It was being built in 1819 and adjacent to the Thomas Baird & Son Brewery

Rhodes is born

George W. Smith (30) worked for Brown & Verner starting in 1829 (age 30) for three years and then became a partner. He then bought the brewery but sold it in 1862 (age 63).

Pittsburgh Brewery at Liberty Street noted on Keyon map

Darlington is born (moved here in 1859)

George Smith & Co. Brewers were noted as a business in the
Pittsburgh Daily Gazette (March 29, 1847) at Penn & Pitt Street. The price for the newspaper was seven dollars.

George W. Smith (63) sells his brewery.

Smith, Alfred E
Alfred E Smith (b. April29, 1843), son of George W Smith went to work for Carson & Darlington in Pittsburgh for three years after his father retired in 1865. Alfred was in Wheeling when his father, also in Wheeling, retired.

Rhodes & Verner were to rent the Wood Brewery in the Strip District in 1856 or 1857 for five years. Verner had died in 1854. Edward Hughes, of Wood & Hughes had died around 1850 and Wood rented the brewery. A court case was involved and this will be forthcoming. Rhodes and Verner made an attempt to rent the brewery prior to Verner’s death.

James Verner had already died (1854) prior to his daughter’s married. Charles Cook Scaife married Priseilla M. (spelling is how I found it) on December 24, 1867.

George W. Smith marries the daughter of Darlington

Carson is born

Carson (00) & Darlington (31) rent the Rhodes (46) Brewery.
See Location No. 2, above for clarification.

George W. and Alfred E. Smith

George W. Smith
George (b 1799) worked for Brown & Verner for three years starting in 1829 and then became a partner. He then bought the brewery but sold it in 1862 when he moved to East Wheeling where he had a brewery since 1847. The East Wheeling brewery operated until 1877. West Virginia became a part of the union on June 20, 1863. Smith was also known to have been with Shiras at Pitt Street during this time.

George W. Smith buys the brewery. He was noted to be at Penn & Barker in 1844.
(Five years after joining Rhodes & Verner) In
History of Allegheny County Verner became a partner in George W. Smith & Co (page 273).

Smith, Alfred E (son of George W.)
Alfred (b. April29, 1843) was the son of George W. He learned to brew at his father’s brewery (after 1861) in Wheeling until his father retired in 1865. Alfred then went to work for Carson & Darlington in Pittsburgh for three years.

Smith, George W (father of Alfred)
Verner – Brown Comparative Notes
George (b 1799) father of Alfred E worked for Brown & Verner for three years starting in 1829 and then became a partner. He then bought the brewery but sold it in 1862 when he moved to East Wheeling.

Pittsburgh Fire 1845
The Great Fire of 1845 started on the South East corner of Second and Ferry Street on the April 10. Brewer George W. Smith along with brewers Abram, Joshua & William Wood sustained loss but to their residences and probably not to their breweries. As I have found that Smith was affected I could not find his location.

George W. Smith sells the brewery in 1862.

Reference Material

History of Allegheny County , Pennsylvania, Volume 2, Part 1, dated 1889.

Pittsburgh Directory of 1815 by Riddlle lists Hamilton Brown, Union Brewery the at west side of Liberty at Market.

Pittsburgh Directory for 1819, James M. Riddle & M. M. Murphy
Gormand & Co. Brewery 1812-1813 Directory
James O’Hara Point Brewery 1812-1813 Directory
Brown & Scott, Union Brewery, Liberty between St. Clair & Irwin
Shiras as a brewer at the Point Brewery