George Franklin Huff, son of George and Caroline Boyer-Huff and George Huff IV is widely known as one of the most enterprising and public spirited men in Westmoreland county, and is closely identified with nearly all of its many industrial and financial enterprises. When four years of age he accompanied his parents to Middletown, where he attended the public schools until 1851, when his parents moved to Altoona. There he attended the public schools until seventeen years of age, when he entered the car shops of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company at Altoona and learned the car finisher's trade. So faithful and true to every duty was he that three years later he was, without soliciation on his part, highly recommended by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company to a banking house in Altoona, that of William M. Lloyd and Company. He accepted the position and in 1865 his employer sent him to Ebensburg to establish a bank there. He succeeded remarkably well and a year later was re-called to Altoona.
In 1867 he removed to Greensburg, where he established the banking house of Lloyd, Huff and Company, know as the Greensburg Deposit Bank, and having branches at Latrobe, Irwin, Mount Pleasant and Ligonier. The panic of 1873 caused these several institutions to go out of business, but their property paid their full indebtedness with interest.
In 1871 Mr. Huff establishsed the Farmers' National Bank of Greensburg with a capital stock of one hundred thousand dollars. He was its first president and remained as such until 1874, when he became the active manager of the house as its cashier under General Richard Coulter as president. By Act of Congress the bank was reorganized as the Fifth National Bank of Pittsburgh, Mr. Huff being elected its vice-president, which position he held until 1876, when he resigned.
In 1874 he, with others, organized the Greensburgh Banking Company, which soon became a leader in the rural banking business of Western Pennsylvania. He was cashier of this bank until 1887, during which time through his untiring efforts and business sagacity, a very large volume of business was secured. In 1881 the First National Bank of Greensburg was chartered, and Mr. Huff became one of its most potent directors, which position he still retains. Since then the First National Bank has absorbed the Greensburg Banking Company, and has now a larger deposit and surplus than any other institution in the county.
Mr. Huff also became largely intereted in coal and coke industry of Westmoreland county. He was the prime mover in organizing the Greensburg Coal Company, the Alexandria Coal Company, Mountain Coal Company, the Argyle Coal Company, the United Coal and Coke Company, the Mutual Mining and Manufacturing Company, the Manor Gas Coal Company, the Madison Coal Company, the Salem Coal Company, the Latrobe Coal Company, Carbon Coal Company, and several others.
Most of these companies were since consolidated in the Keystone Coal and Coke Company, of which Mr. Huff is president. It and the companies with which he is connected, employ about 7,500 men an produce now in the neighborhood of six millions of tons of coal per year, or twenty thousand tons per day. He was also one of the organizers of the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad Company, the main line of which passes through the Connellsville coking coal region, he being its treasurer until the offices were removed to Philadelphia. He was one of the founders of the Greensburg Electric Street Railway Company, the Greensburg Fuel (artificial and natural gas) Company, and the Greensburg Steel Company. He was formerly president of the Greensburg Electric Light and the Westmoreland Water Companies.
The development of the Jeannette natural gas region also felt his potency as well as the general upbuilding of that sprightly town. He donated seven acres of valuable land for manufacturing purposes at Burrell, a Station near Greensburg. The thriving towns of Youngwood, Southwest Greensburg, and other outlying sections of Greensburg were laid out largely by his efforts, and he has always been financially interested in the Kelly & Jones Company and its various improvements. He is also a director of the American Surety and Trust Company of Washington, D. C., the President of the Westmoreland Hospital Association, and is further interested in coal companies outside of the Keystone Coal and Coke Company in nearly every section of the bituminous region in Pennsylvania.
Adjoining Greensburg he has a large landed estate containing about 500 acres, upon which the family residence is built. It consists of highly cultivated farm land and original forest, all of which is beautified by a system of landscape gardening and parks ; and through the entire farm there are winding driveways of over four miles in length, which are kept up by Mr. Huff and are at all times thrown open for the public to enjoy. Mr. Huff is a progressive Republican. His political career began in 1880 when, as a member of the Chicago Republican Convention, he was one of the 306 who supported Geneal U. S. Grant for a third term as President. In 1884 he was a candidate for the office of State Senator in the Thirty-ninth Senatorial District, composed of the County of Westmoreland. He was elected by a majority of seven hundred although the county had for long years been regarded as the Democratic stronghold of the West. Since then the county has been generally Republican.
In 1888 Mr. Huff was nominated for Congress by the Republicans of Westmoreland county, but another was selected under the conferee system. In 1890 he was chosen as Congressional candidate by the Republicans in the district and elected by a large majority, representing the counties of Westmoreland, Indiana, Armstrong and Jefferson. He served in Congress until 1893, and in 1894 was elected Congressman-at-Large from Pennsylvania. In 1902, 1904, and 1906 he was returned to Congress, and now represents the counties of Westmorland and Butler. During his service in the National House of Representatives, Mr. Huff has proved his ability to well represent the large and varied interest of his constituents, and no member of Congress from the Commonwealth stands higher than he. He is now prominently mentionee as a candidte for the Governorship in 1906.
On March 16, 1871, Mr. Huff was united in marriage with Henrietta Burrell, a daughter of the late Jeremiah M. Burrell, twice President Judge of the Tenth Judicial District of Pennsylvania, and later United States District Judge for the Territory of Kansas. Judge Burrell died at Greensburg, October 21, 1856. (See Sketch of Judge Burrell in that part of the first volume of this series relative to the Westmoreland Bench).
Mr. and Mrs. Huff are the parents of eight children, four of whom are living, namely, Lloyd Burrell, Julian Burrell, Carolyn Burrell and Burrell Richardson.
Source: Pages l thru 5 History of Westmoreland County, Volume 1, Pennsylvania by John N. Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906
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Here is his congressional biography...
HUFF, George Franklin, a Representative from Pennsylvania; born in Norristown, Montgomery County, Pa., July 16, 1842; attended the public schools in Middletown and later in Altoona; at the age of eighteen worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad car shops in Altoona; moved to Westmoreland County in 1867 and engaged in banking in Greensburg, Pa., later becoming largely identified with the industrial and mining interests of western Pennsylvania; delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1880; member of the State senate 1884-1888; elected as a Republican to the Fifty-second Congress (March 4, 1891-March 3, 1893); elected to the Fifty-fourth Congress (March 4, 1895-March 3, 1897); was not a candidate for renomination in 1896; again elected to the Fifty-eighth and to the three succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1903-March 3, 1911); chairman, Committee on Mines and Mining (Sixtieth and Sixty-first Congresses); was not a candidate for renomination in 1910; died in Washington, D.C., on April 18, 1912; interment in St. Clair Cemetery, Greensburg, Pa.
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Huff donated the altar rail in the chapel at Seaton Hill.