Albert B Osborne.

Makers of America; biographies of leading men of thought and action, the men who constitute the bone and sinew of American prosperity and life (Volume 3) online

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generations. Seats: Harewood House and Morehampton Park.
He was succeeded by his eldest son Sir John Hoskins, Baronet
M. P., for County Hereford. It is to Bennett Hoskins that the
Guilford branch of this family traces its lineage, and through



him to John Hoskins, Esquire, Member of Parliament for the
City of Hereford.

Besides prominent persons bearing the name of Hoskins,
there were many related to this family, who rendered notable

Among these were the two brothers, the great English Ad-
mirals, Alexander and Samuel Hood, sons of Mary Hoskins,
whose father was Richard Hoskins of Beaminster, County Dorset.
Admiral Samuel Hood held command on the New England coast
during the Revolutionary War ; De Grasse surrendered his sword
to him. He was advanced to be Vice-Admiral of the Blue ; repre-
sented the City of Westminster in Parliament; was created a
peer of Great Britain; Viscount Hood of Whitely, County War-
wick; died 1816. Alexander Hood was advanced to the rank of
Vice-Admiral and Rear- Admiral of England. Promoted to Vice-
Admiral of the Red, he was created a peer of Great Britain, title
Baron Bridport; represented the Borough of Bridgewater in
Parliament; died 1814.

In the year 1688 John Hoskins, who with Mary, his wife, had
come over with William Penn in 1682, from Cheshire, England,
to make their home in America, bought a lot in Chester, Pennsyl-
vania. They belonged to the Society of Friends, and John Hos-
kins was one of the original purchasers of land under William
Penn. His name appears in the list of settlers as the owner of a
tract of two hundred fifty acres in Middletown, and his land war-
rant was dated the ninth month, twenty-first day, 1683. He built
a house on his lot in Chester and kept a tavern. Soon after his
settlement he was elected a member of the Provincial Assembly,
which sat in Philadelphia, March 12, 1683, over which Penn pre-
sided. He was a member of the Council. His will was dated "11
mo. 2, 1694-5," probated August 15, 1698, and registered in Phila-
delphia. His name was frequently written Hodgkins in early
records. His son John, Junior, married in 1698, Ruth Atkinson,
and his daughter Hannah in the same year married Charles
Whitaker. Martin's History of Chester, Pennsylvania, says that
John Hoskins was a man of education, and that John, Junior,
was a man of ability. John Hoskins, Junior, became sheriff of
Chester County, in the year 1700, when not more than twenty-
three vears old, which office he held for about fifteen vears. He


died August 26, 1716. They had issue : John, born December 24,
1699 ; Stephen, born December 18, 1701-2 ; George, born August 8,
1703, who died young; Joseph, born April 30, 1705; Mary, born
August 1, 1707/

Stephen Hoskins married in 1727, Mrs. Sarah Warner, of
Maryland, in y/hich State they lived for a while, but in 1730 re-
turned to Chester. In 1737 he was Coroner of Chester County,
and in 1743 went to live in Philadelphia. Their children were


John, Ruth, and Mary. Joseph Hoskins, younger brother of
Stephen, married August 26, 1738, Jane Fenn at Chester Meeting.
She died, leaving no issue, and her husband remarried about the
end of the year 1765; his second wife being Esther Bickerdike
of the County of Bucks. Joseph Hoskins was Chief Burgess of
Chester, 1757-8-9, and was Justice of the Courts of Chester

A man of substance and a philanthropist, he bequeathed a
sum of money for the education of needy children, and also a lot,
one hundred feet square, in the town of Chester for the purpose
of erecting a schoolhouse thereon. The balance of his estate went
to his nephew, John Hoskins of Burlington, who married Septem-
ber 22, 1750, Mary, daughter of Joshua and Sarah Raper of Bur-
lington. Their son Raper was married at Chester Meeting "5th
month 2, 1781," to Eleanor, daughter of Henry Hale Graham.
Another son, Joseph, married at the same place, "6th month, 12,
1793," Mary Graham, sister of Eleanor. Graham Hoskins, son of
Raper and Eleanor Hoskins, of Philadelphia, was born November
4, 1792, and married Margaret, daughter of William Smith, Jr.

John Hoskins, of Philadelphia, son of Stephen and Sarah
Warner Hoskins, was born in Maryland in 1728. He married
Hannah Ellis and had sons : Richard, Arnold, Joseph and Moses.
He settled in Guiliord in 1780, judging from the date of his land
grant. His son Joseph's grant was dated 1778; Arnold's, 1779.
Moses was a lad of sixteen when he came to Guilford with his
father, John. John died within four years after his settlement.
Joseph is the progenitor of the family now living in Guilford.
The tradition is that he and his wife embarked for Edenton in
the year of their marriage, where kinspeople had preceded them.
Here the family lived for awhile, later settling in Guilford.
Joseph was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, 1751. He
was married in the year 1773 to Hannah Evans, of Philadelphia,
by Reverend Richard Peters, Rector of Christ Church and St.
Peter's. He was an ardent Whig and Patriot. The battle of
Guilford Court House was fought on his plantation, March 15,
1781. Lord Cornwallis occupied his house as headquarters, and
later as a hospital for his wounded, it being within the British
lines. The home place of his lands has never passed out of the
ownership of his family.

In the year 1789, as shown by the Minute Book of old County
Court, Joseph Hoskins was first elected High Sheriff of Guilford
County, in which position he rendered efficient service. He died
in 1799, and lies buried in the old churchyard at New Garden.
His children were: John, Eli, Ellis, Ann Hoskins Bales-Jessup,
Elizabeth Hoskins Dennis, Hannah Hoskins Jessup, and Mary
Hoskins Hunt.

John Hoskins, oldest son of Joseph and Hannah Evans Hos-


kins, was the father of Moses, Seaborn, Pleasant Bartlet, Hannah,
Elmira H. Gurley, Caroline H. Macy, Anne H. Macy, and Joseph.
The latter married Elizabeth Hollingsworth, a sister of the
mother of Honorable Joseph G. Cannon of Illinois. After the
death of John Hoskins, all his children migrated to Indiana,

Moses Hoskins, Senior, youngest son of John Hoskins, of
Pennsylvania and North Carolina, and Hannah Ellis Hoskins,
was born in Goshen Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania, in
1763. He married in 1784, Kuth Hodson at New Garden Meeting.
Their children were : John, George, Moses, Junior, William, Jona-
than, Mary, Joseph, Hannah, Eli and Kuth. He, together with
all his children, migrated to Ohio in 1811. He died in Dillon,
Illinois, in 1837.

Moses, Junior, married Elizabeth Hocket in 1810. He moved
to Ohio, 1811, and to Iowa. 1837, where he died, 1848. John Hos-
kins, oldest son of Moses, Senior, married Hannah Hocket, 1807.

Ellis Hoskins, Esquire, 1795-1874, the son of Joseph Hoskins
of Pennsvlvania and North Carolina, and Hannah Evans, sue-

t/ / /

ceeded his father in the ownership of the homestead. He was a
successful farmer and business man. He was a volunteer soldier
in the war of 1812-1814.

Colonel Jesse Evans Hoskins, son of Ellis Hoskins and Sallie
McCuiston Hoskins, was educated at Emory and Henry College,
Virginia; married Miss Theodosia Mosby of Kentucky, and set-
tled at Versailles, where he practiced law, in which profession he
won distinction. At the time of the Civil War, although his wife
and her family were large slave-holders, he allied himself with
the Union and fought bravely to the end, winning the rank of
Colonel. His living children are: Letitia Hoskins Menge, wife
of Doctor George A. Menge, Ph.D., Washington, D. C. ; Miss
Suzanne B. Hoskins of Washington, D. C. ; Jesse E. Hoskins of
Guilford County, who married Miss Jennie Hackett, and has one
son, Jesse Ellis Hoskins, Junior. The deceased children of Colo-
nel Jesse E. Hoskins are: Ellis Hoskins and James Kemp Hos-

Dr. James Hoskins was the son of Ellis Hoskins. He was
educated at Emory and Henry College, and Jefferson Medical
College, Philadelphia. He married Miss Mary Gibbs of Davie
County, North Carolina, where he settled. Left issue.

Isabella Hoskins, a daughter of Ellis Hoskins, married
George J. Smith. Left no issue.

Eli Hoskins (1785-1852), son of Joseph and Hannah Evans,
was a large land owner and good business man. His children by
his first wife, Amy Gosset Hoskins, were : Joseph, Thomas, John
A., Ellis N. and Harriet Amy, who married, first John Canada,
and second, John G. Gamble. Sarah Swain, second wife of Eli,


whose children were: Eli J., George O., David A., and Alfred F.
Hoskins. Joseph Hoskins, 1814-1880, was the son of Eli. He
was educated at the school of Dr. Horace Cannon. This school
was the forerunner of New Garden Boarding School and Guilford
College. He acquired the Charles Bruce plantation at Sum-
merfield, Guilford County, where he established himself and
family in 1845. He was a large land owner and a prosperous
planter. He also owned a tannery, and was a merchant and
tobacco manufacturer. He was a man of high mentality; well-
read, public-spirited and patriotic, and a friend to all that
makes for progress. His children were : William H., educated
at New Garden Boarding School; Joshua Johnson Hoskins,
same school; Sallie Hoskins Blair, graduate of Vassar Col-
lege, New York; Jesse F. Hoskins, graduate of Haverford Col-
lege, Pennsylvania, who married Miss Annie McCormack, and
Joseph Addison Hoskins. The children of William H. Hos-
kins are: Mrs. Elnia Hoskins Ogburn, wife of N. W. Ogburn of
Summerfield, whose daughter is Elizabeth P. Ogburn ; Walter J.
Hoskins of Summerfield, and Miss Lucy E. Hoskins. Mrs. Sallie
Hoskins Blair, wife of Franklin Blair, left two children : Joseph
E. Blair of New Decatur, Alabama, and Mrs. Annie Blair Allen,
wife of William W. Allen, Junior, attorney-at-law and banker of
Philadelphia. They have two children, Lydia Louise Allen, and
William W. Allen 3 . The first wife of William H. Hoskins was
Miss Pauline Boss, his second, Miss Sallie Tatum.

The mother of Joseph Addison Hoskins, the subject of this
sketch, was Mary Johnson, 1813-1898, daughter of Joshua and
Sarah Gordon Johnson, descendants of sturdy English Quakers,
who had settled in Orange County, North Carolina, within
the limits of Cane Creek Meeting of Friends. The father of Sarah
Gordon Johnson was Charles Gordon.

Joshua Johnson, 1786-1840, of Orange County, was a suc-
cessful planter, merchant, tanner, and manufacturer. His father
was Joshua Johnson and his mother, Miss Hargrave of Orange
County. She was a sister of Colonel Jesse Hargrave of Chapel
Hill. He aided in building and operating one of the first cotton
mills in the State. It was known as "Cane Creek Cotton Fac-
tory." His children : Annie Johnson Clark, wife of Alexander
Clark; Mary Johnson Hoskins, wife of Joseph Hoskins; Lydia
Johnson Hoskins, wife of John A. Hoskins; Calvin Johnson,
Hiram Johnson and Susanna Johnson. He left a considerable
estate. He was a keen sportsman and rode to hounds.

Joseph Addison Hoskins was born at Summerfield, Guilford
County, North Carolina, December 15, 1854. He was a student,
first at New Garden Boarding School, now Guilford College, and
at Eastman College, New York, where he graduated at the head
of his class in 1879. While a boy he had performed clerical duty


in his father's store ; but his first regular employment after leav-
ing school was in the United States Railway Mail Service, his
first service being from Richmond, Virginia to Charlotte, North
Carolina and later from Washington, D. C. to Charlotte. At the
end of a year's service, he was promoted to the position of head
clerk. In 1883 he resigned to enter the Internal Revenue Service
as Deputy Collector, and in 1888 was elected sheriff of Guilford
County, which position he efficiently filled for three terms. From
1903 to 1910 he served as one of the Highway Commissioners of
Guilford County, and had a part in planning and building the
fine system of improved highways of the county, for which a
large bond issue was authorized. He is a director of the Ameri-
can Exchange National Bank of Greensboro, and Director of the
Farmer's Mutual Fire Insurance Company.

In politics he is a Republican, but in 1912 he supported
Roosevelt for President, on the Progressive ticket. He has par-
ticipated in three Republican National Conventions: those of
1880, 1888 and 1912. In 1916 he supported Charles E. Hughes,
the Republican candidate for President. He is a member of the
Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and of the Farmers' Educa-
tional and Co-operative Union of America. He belongs to the
Society of Friends.

He is now devoting himself chiefly to the management of his
"Elmhurst Farm," and in the supervision of his other farms and
other interests. He has tenant farmers who have lived with him
many years. Some of these families had his father for their
landlord. He has done much to improve his lands, in the culti-
vation of which he uses modern methods and up-to-date machin-
ery. He favors all forward and progressive movements for the
good of his community, his county and his State.

Summerfield village, where he resides, nestles among the foot-
hills of the Blue Ridge, and is in one of the most picturesque and
prosperous sections of Piedmont, North Carolina. It is located
on the great National Highway running from New York to At-
lanta via Roanoke and Greensboro, and on the Southern Railway
between Greensboro and Mount Airy. He was married Septem-
ber 20, 1881, to Miss Mary L. Whitesell, daughter of Joshua and
Mary Summers Whitesell of Alamance County, North Carolina,
where she was born March 18, 1861. Their children are : Joseph
Richard Hoskins, educated at Oak Ridge Institute and Guilford
College, now an employee of the Western Union Telegraph Com-
pany ; Misses Nelle and Mary Katherine Hoskins, educated at the
State Normal College, Greensboro, and Benjamin Harrison Hos-
kins, educated at Oak Ridge Institute and Guilford College, who
married, December 31, 1912, Jennie Elizabeth Cuinmings, daugh-


ter of Kobert Cummings, Esquire, of Kockingham County, North
Carolina, whose wife was Miss Marietta Young. The children of
Benjamin Harrison Hoskins are: Rebecca Louise, Robert Cum-
mings and Elizabeth. He is a farmer, residing in Summerfield.

The origin of the patronymic Hoskins has been traced to
Monmouthshire, whence the family spread out into Surrey, Here-
fordshire, Dorset, Cumberland, Somerset, Cheshire and Warwick.
The arms borne by these families demonstrate their common an-
cestry. The connection is apparent from their similarity. The
family was never numerous in England or America.

Mr. Hoskius has recently (1917) been appointed and com-
missioned by the President to membership on the Board of Ex-
emption of the National Army, created by the Selective Service


JOHN WILLIS ELLISON of Waynesboro, Augusta County,
Virginia, one of the most prominent and popular business
men in the wealthiest section of the Sheuandoah Valley of
Virginia, was born on September 30, 1841, near the town
of Roxboro, in the State of North Carolina. His father, John
Johnson Ellison, was a farmer; his mother, Martha Browne
Pleasants Ellison. The boyhood of John Willis was passed in
North Carolina. He received an excellent education from several
schools in or near Roxboro, that State. He had not reached his
majority when the war between the States broke out. He imme-
diately enlisted as private in Company "H," of the Twenty-fourth
North Carolina Infantry. His enlistment took place at the very
beginning of the war, and the period of his service in the army
covered the entire four years of the conflict. He filled success-
ively the positions of Orderly to Colonel William J. Clarke, and
of Courier to the Second North Carolina Brigade, and notwith-
standing his extreme youth, he may truthfully be described as a
most devoted and gallant Confederate soldier.

After the close of the war, the slaves belonging to Mr. Elli-
son's father had been freed, so that the elder Mr. Ellison had very
little left of his former possessions except his land. His son,
John W., determined, consequently, after the surrender at Appo-
mattox, to start out for himself ; and deeming it advisable to be-
gin in some other section, he left North Carolina and took up his
residence, which he maintained ever after, in the Old Dominion.
He first settled in the City of Richmond ; there, for a short time
he worked w r ith his brother, Mr. Stephen A. Ellison. Mr. Ellison
remained, however, but a short time in Richmond. In 1866 he
moved to Waynesboro, Augusta County, Virginia.

Mr. Ellison first engaged in Waynesboro in a general mer-
chandise, groceries and dry goods business, in partnership with
his brother, Mr. James M. Ellison, who is now a citizen of Crozet,
Virginia. Afterwards, however, Mr. S. H. Hunt bought the
brother's interest. The partnership between Mr. Hunt and Mr.
Ellison continued for about seven years, when he sold his share
to Mr. Hunt and directed his attention to other pursuits. Mr.
Ellison embarked in a wholesale hay, grain and bark business,
and was also a large shipper abroad of these commodities. From
1873 to 1914 his success in this enterprise was ever increasing,
devoting himself to it with characteristic thoroughness and



energy, winning deservedly the honorable and prominent place
which he holds among the leaders of his own especial field, in the
State of Virginia.

In the year 1900, the firm incorporated as "J. W. Ellison,
Son and Company." Of this firm Mr. Ellison was the President.
Besides his business activities, Mr. Ellison was extremely suc-
cessful as a planter and fruit grower.

On February 26, 1873, at the town of Luray, Virginia, Mr.
Ellison married Miss Jennie E. Grove, daughter of Mr. Enianuel
Grove and Frances (Brumback) Grove. There are three children
of this marriage : Walter Grove Ellison, their eldest son, educated
at Fishburne Military School and at the University of Virginia.

^ *J ~

who is Secretary and Treasurer of J. W. Ellison, Son and Com-

*/ /

pany; John Willis Ellison, Junior, educated at Fishburne Mili-
tary School, the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and Richmond
College, is Vice-President of his father's firm; Miss Eva Lee
Ellison is Mr. Ellison's only daughter. She has been a student
at the Valley Seminary, Hollins Institute, and Washington

Mr. Ellison was a popular member of Waynesboro and
Staunton, Virginia, Lodges A. F. and A. M. ; a Knight Templar
and a Shriner, and a member of the Acca Temple, Richmond,
Virginia. He was a deacon of the Waynesboro Baptist Church.
In politics, from early youth upward, Democracy was his political

It is sad to have to record that while this sketch was being
prepared for its place among those of the other Makers of
America, the announcement of the death of Mr. John Willis
Ellison, on the first day of February, 1916, was received.
Great is the grief of his lifelong friends, and such were the people
of Waynesboro and of all the surrounding country. His funeral
services were conducted by the venerable pastor of Laurel Hill
Church, the Reverend John H. Taylor, who had been the pastor
of the Waynesboro Baptist Church in its early days of struggle
and vicissitude, when Mr. Ellison was his loyal and strong "right
hand man." The tribute paid to his memory by his old pastor
was tender and pathetic. This sketch may not well be concluded
without quoting the tribute paid his friend by the Editor of the
Valley Virginian, in which he truthfully and beautifully
sounds the keynote of the life of John Willis Ellison :

"Perhaps the most conspicuous traits of Mr. Ellison's char-
acter, and those that drew men closest to him, were his love and
devotion to his home and family, his earnest and deep devotion
to his Church, and his loyal and generous support of every object
in w T hich the Church was interested, and last but not least, his
kindly sympathy and liberal charity to the poor, the sick, and
the needy. And while much of his munificence and generosity


to those objects were necessarily generally known, much of it,
perhaps the greater portion, was never and will never be known

A good man, a kind-hearted neighbor and friend, a public-
spirited and useful citizen, a loving husband and father, an earn-
est, clean-hearted Christian gentleman has gone home to rest and
be with Christ, and those he left behind can say with him, in all
confidence and hopeful trust and grateful anticipation : 'Say not
good-bye, but in some brighter clime, bid me good morning.'

John Johnston Ellison, the father of John Willis Ellison,
was left an orphan and was reared by James Cohorn (or Coth-
ran), a farmer, who was a maker of sleys for hand looms. Young
Ellison learned the business and kept it up for many years, in
connection with farming and other business. His wife, Martha
Brow r ne (Pleasants) Ellison, the daughter of Elder Stephen
Pleasants, w^as a woman of strong character, intellectual, tactful
and industrious. Mr. Ellison was a Mason and a Baptist. His
children were: Silvaria, William Browne, Mary, Stephen Adol-
phus, Fanny Travis, John Willis, Katherine, James Monroe,
Martha T., and Charles E. Ellison. Mr. Ellison, his wife, and
most of his children were members of the Clement Baptist
Church, about ten miles south of Roxboro, in Person County.
In 1873, having children doing well in business, both in Richmond
and Waynesboro, they joined them.

It is quite evident that the Alisons in Scotland were origin-
ally from England. They were not of Celtic blood as were the
Scots generally of the Highlands ; while these Scots took up their
domicile in Ireland, there were very few marriages contracted
with the Celts, for they were very much inclined to keep up their
Scotch lineage, of which they were perhaps inordinately proud.

James Alison was the ancestor of the Alison of Cairnduff,
Avon dale, whose personal name is unknown, born in 1621; died,

It was during the terrible persecutions of the Covenanters
that Michael and William Alison went to England in order to
escape to America, where they expected to enjoy freedom. This
was in 1664. In 1669, Thomas Allison followed, but did not re-
main in America, and under the government of Russia made an
exploration of the North Sea. James Allison, with forty others,
was arrested and confined in Dunallen Castle for a long time.
John Allison, son of James, born in 1652, was one of twelve hun-
dred prisoners taken at Bothwell Bridge and banished to Vir-
ginia. His posterity still retain his sword. When his exile was
ended he joined the Pilgrims of Massachusetts. No records of his
children have been found. Michael, his brother, born in 1654,
was at the Siege of Londonderry in 1688-9. Archibald, another


brother, born in 1656, was taken prisoner at the Airsmoss battle
and executed.

Reverend Archibald Alison of Prestwick, Scotland, writing
in 1892, says : "The spelling of Alison differs in various families
that are nearly related. We have it Alison, Allison, Ellison,
Allasen, and even Alanson ; but the last among none of our rela-

In the records, very singularly the name of a father is spelled
Ellison and that of the children, Alison, or vice versa; this may
account for the difference in the name of J. W. Ellison and that
of his grandfather, James Allison.

Between 1760 and 1770, five Allison brothers born in Penn-
sylvania (one account gives Ireland as their birthplace) came to
North Carolina, settling in Iredell and Mecklenburg Counties.
These were William, John, Robert, George and Thomas ; they had
been living upon the Yellowstone River. Another brother, James,
settled first in Donegal Township, Pennsylvania, removing after-
wards to Staunton, Virginia; and in the Revolutionary War
was a Lieutenant with Washington in the retreat through New
Jersey. Of these brothers, Robert married Sarah, daughter of the
widow Graham, who moved from Pennsylvania to Mecklenburg,
no doubt in the same hegira with the Allisons. The children of
Robert and Sarah Allison were William, James, Thomas, and
John Graham. Mr. Leonard Allison Morrison in his "History


of the Allison Family,' 7 gives Peggy Young as the wife of Thomas,
and James, as marrying Polly Allison, daughter of his Uncle
John and Almira Johnston, as the wife of John Graham. The
Ellison family give the wife of James as Polly Johnston. Evi-

Online LibraryAlbert B OsborneMakers of America; biographies of leading men of thought and action, the men who constitute the bone and sinew of American prosperity and life (Volume 3) → online text (page 28 of 48)