Adrian G. Iselin, Chief Investor of the
 Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal and Iron Company

Adrian G. Iselin was a New York investment banker and chief investor in the Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal and Iron Company. He was born in 1818 and died in 1905 leaving the management of his investments and companies to two of his sons, Adrian Jr. and Columbus. Adrian Jr. who was born in 1846 and died in 1925 was responsible for the expansion of the Company into Indiana County, Pennsylvania. Ernest Iselin, son of Adrian Jr., was director of the company from 1929 to 1934 and chairman of the board from 1936 to 1954. According to his March 29,1905 New York Times obituary, Adrian G. Iselin's wealth was estimated to be between 20 and 30 million dollars.

Before his involvement with coal in Pennsylvania, Iselin was one of the directors of the Sioux City and St. Paul Railroad Company in Minnesota. The town of Adrian, Minnesota, which developed after completion of the rail lines, was named after Mrs. Adrian Iselin, mother of Adrian G. Iselin. Her portraits hangs in the Adrian City Hall. Through the efforts of a bishop who used the influence and power of the Catholic press, eastern Catholics were encouraged to settle in Adrian and the surrounding areas. Although Iselin himself was not a Catholic, his wife and his family were members of the faith.

In addition to his numerous business investments, Iselin was also a philanthropist. He and his family were responsible for the building of two Catholic churches in New Rochelle, New York, and a number of Catholic churches in his Coal Company towns including St. Adrian's in Adrian, Pennsylvania. He and his family were also responsible for the building of several hospitals, including the Adrian Hospital in Puxnsutawny, and the Indiana Hospital in Indiana, Pennsylvania. In New York City Iselin was a stockholder in the Metropolitan Opera and Real Estate Company, along with other wealthy men that included Cornelius Vanderbilt and J.P. Morgan. Iselin was one of the incorporators of the Museum of Natural History and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Like many rich men of his day, he had a portrait of his wife, Eleanor, painted by the famous American artist John Singer Sargent. 

In 1902, 40,000 acres were purchased in Indiana County under the Iselin name. They were parceled out to four of his companies: Consolidated Coal and Iron Company, Indiana Coal Company, Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal and Iron Company, and the Jefferson and Clearfield Coal and Iron Company. This measure was due to a recently enacted state law stipulating that any one coal company could not control more than 10,000 acres. 

The coal-mining town of Iselin, one of the many company towns in Indiana county founded by the  Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal and Iron Company, was named after him. The Iselin family also controlled the Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway Company, which transported coal from Pennsylvania to markets along the Great Lakes and Canada. 


Photo courtesy: Eileen Mountjoy Cooper, The Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal Company: The First One Hundred Years (Indiana, Pennsylvania: Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal Company, 1982), 23.

New York Times, 29 March 1905.

Clarence D. Stephenson, Indiana County, 175th Anniversary History,  vols. 2,4  
(Indiana, Pennsylvania: Halldin Publishing, Company, 1989, 1983), 191, 575-577.         

Adrian, Minnesota Local History. 2002. <{E440EED7-0593-443E-A72F-FC5142E0B20B}> (25 November 2001). 

Metropolitan Opera History: From the Metropolitan Opera Archives. n.d. <
(25 November 2001).  

National Gallery of Art. John Singer Sargent. 2002. <>
(19 November 2001). 

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