Clifton Swenk Hunsicker.

Montgomery County, Pennsylvania ; a history (Volume v.2) online

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Washington, D. C, and to Rockefeller Institute, New York City. He
was then sent on a tour of inspection to Norfolk, Virginia, and still later




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BIOGRAPHICAL 55

was made chief of the laboratory and consultant on surgical and medical
service at the Brooklyn Naval Hospital, in Brooklyn, New York. In
1920 he resumed practice in Pottstown, and since that time has been
successfully engaged in medical and surgical practice there. Already he
is known and trusted as a careful, skillful, and faithful physician and
surgeon, and he is building up a steadily increasing clientele.

Politically Dr. Thomas gives his allegiance to the principles and can-
didates of the Republican party, but his professional responsibilities do
not permit active participation in the affairs of his party. He keeps in
touch with his college associations through membership in the Nu Sigma
Nu medical fraternity, and professionally enlarges his outlook and keeps
abreast of the medical and surgical developments of the time through
affiliation with the Philadelphia County Medical Society, the American
Congress of Internal Medicine, of which he is a fellow ; and with the
Keen Surgical Society. His one recreational association is with the
Brookside Country Club, and his religious affiliation is with the First
Presbyterian Church of Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

On May 10, 1917, Dr. Thomas married, at Rahn's Hill, Pottstown,
Pennsylvania. Florence H. Nichols, daughter of Harry Garnell and Ella
(Houghtaling) Nichols, and they are the parents of two children : T.
Edmund W., born November 6, 1918; and Helen N., born August 11,
1920.



CHARLES D. McAVOY— Among the leading attorneys of Norris-
town, Pennsylvania, is Charles D. McAvoy, who since 1902 has been
successfully established in the legal profession in this community.
Besides his office here he has one in Philadelphia, which latter he estab-
lished in 1921, his clientele being extensive in both places. He is the son
of Dennis and Mary Nolan McAvoy, both deceased.

Mr. McAvoy was born in Danboro, Bucks county, Pennsylvania,
November 11, 1878. His early education was obtained in the Whitpain
public schools, after graduating from which he matriculated at Villa
Nova College, from which he was graduated with the degree of Bachelor
of Arts in 1898. He then entered the law office of Louis M. Childs, Esq.,
of Norristown, and three years later, on June 2, 1902, was admitted to
the Pennsylvania State bar to practice law, subsequently establishing
himself in the practice of his chosen profession at No. 3 East Airy street.
Here he remained for two years, removing thence to No. 415 Swede
street, where he stayed until February, 1920. when he opened his present
office in the McAvoy building, at No. 13 East Airy street.

During the World War he was appointed United States district attor-
ney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by President Wilson and
resigned August i, 1921. It was while he was acting as Federal attorney
that he prosecuted and convicted the Bergdolls, which case won for him
country-wide recognition. He was first assistant district attorney of
Montgomery from 1907 to 191 1. In politics Mr. McAvoy has always
been a Democrat, ever taking an active part in the affairs of the organ-



56 HISTORY OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY

ization. In 1904 he was an alternate delegate to the Democratic National
Convention at St. Louis, Missouri ; was Democratic National delegate to
the National convention at Denver, Colorado, in 1908; and delegate-at-
large from Pennsylvania to the Democratic National Convention at St.
Louis in 1916.

Mr. McAvoy is a director in Montgomery Trust Company of Norris-
town, the Norristown Club, and member of the board of governors of
the Plymouth Country Club. He holds membership in many of the
legal organizations ; the Whitemarsh Country Club ; Seaview Golf Club
of Atlantic City; and the Manufacturers' Club of Philadelphia. In
religion Mr. McAvoy is a Roman Catholic and attends St. Patrick's
Church of that denomination in Norristown.

On November 16, 1907, Charles D. McAvoy was united in marriage
with Mrs. Alice M. Kane, nee McDermott. To them have been born four
children: Charles D., Jr., August 8, 1908; Mary Katherine, born Sep-
tember 23, 1909; John Daniel, born January 12, 1913; Alice, born April
10, 1915, deceased. The family home is at No. 522 West Main street,
Norristown, and is among the finest homes in the town.

Mr. McAvoy is a devotee of all out-of-door sports, especially golf,
fishing, baseball and football, he having played the last two named at
college. As he has grown in years and wisdom, so too, has he grown in
public esteem, for his public spirit and interest in all that concerns the
community good, as well as the high quality of his professional attain-
ment, have won for him the commendation of a very wide circle of friends
and acquaintances.



HENRY J. KOGELSCHATZ— Among the funeral directors none is
better known than Mr. Kogelschatz, who has been engaged in this work
since 1886 in Norristown, Pennsylvania, where he now resides. He is a
son of Adolph F. and Anna (Grimm) Kogelschatz, the father an under-
taker at Baltimore, Maryland, and Martinsburg, West Virginia, who
worked his passage from Germany to this country and served in the
recruiting office at Baltimore, Maryland, during the Civil War.

Henry J. Kogelschatz was born at Baltimore, Maryland, July 31, 1863,
and received his education in the public schools of Martinsburg, West
Virginia, and at the Roanoke Seminary for three years. When he had
completed his schooling, he became associated with his father in the
undertaking business until 1886, when he moved to Norristown to work
with D. W. Mowday in his establishment. On the 1st of April, 1900 he
began on a modest scale to manage his own concern and after changing
his location from time to time, finally built where he is now located at
718-720 Swede street, in 1909. His is the only funeral establishment in
this locality having a chapel as part of the equipment, and in addition
he owns three hearses and two other cars.

He is a Republican in politics. Fraternally, he is affiliated with
Norristown Lodge, No. 190, Free and Accepted Masons ; Montgomery
Lodge, No. 57, and Norristown Encampment, Independent Order of
Odd Fellows; Norristown Lodge, No. 714, Benevolent and Protective




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BIOGRAPHICAL 57

Order of Elks; Norristown Lodge, No. 281, Loyal Order of Moose;
Washington Encampment, No. 502, Patriotic Order Sons of America of
Norristown; Shield of Honor; Sons of Veterans; and Tall Cedars of
Lebanon. He is also a member of the Norristown Club, and in religion,
of the Reformed Church of Ascension. He finds great delight in adding
new specimens of birds and animals to his present collection of over five
hundred.

Mr. Kogelschatz was twice married. He married (first), June 18,
1890, at Norristown, Pennsylvania, Jennie Tyson, daughter of Josiah R.
and Mary Jane (Hess) Tyson, both of whom are deceased. The father
was a mason in Norristown. He married (second), January 18, 1921,
Nannie B. Kratz, widow of W. Harry Kratz, of Baltimore, Maryland,
and daughter of Frisby Davis and Cornelia Ann (Butterworth) Boyer.
Her father was a butcher in Martinsburg and Huntington, West Vir-
ginia, until 1891, when he entered into retirement and resided at Hunt-
ington, West Virginia, until his death in 191 1. Her mother is still
living, at Huntington, West Virginia. By the first marriage there are
two children: Linnie, born January i, 1892, wife of Harlow S. Simp-
son of Norristown ; and Warren T., born August 5, 1899, associated in
business with his father. He was a student at Wenona, New Jersey,
Military School during the World War, but did not see service as the
tank corps was discontinued after the armistice was declared. There
were no children born to the second marriage.

Mrs. Kogelschatz by her first marriage with W. Harry Kratz had two
children: i. Esther Louise, born September i, 1893 and is now the wife
of Charles Edward Wollman, of Baltimore, Maryland, and they are the
parents of four children. 2. Henry Boyer, born July 9. 1896. now married
and living in Philadelphia and engaged in the real estate business.



THE WOOD FAMILY — Among those who are the builders of a
nation few are of greater importance "for weal or for woe," than are
these captains of industry whose constructive ability brings into exist-
ence the great business concerns which provide the means of livelihood
to great numbers of men, and at the same time provide the masses of
the people with the materials and the commodities which are the physical
basis as well as the material expression of our civilization. As the coral
islands and reefs are the physical remains of countless numbers of tiny
insect lives, each generation building upon the deposits of the generation
gone before, so, many of our big industrial concerns represent the life
work of several generations of the families which own and control them.

(I) The Wood family which for several generations has been build-
ing that immense concern known as the Alan Wood Iron and Steel Com-
pany is now represented by members of the sixth generation of iron
workers and iron masters, that is, the fifth generation from the James
Wood who started the iron business. The immigrant ancestor of the
family was James Wood, of the Society of Friends, born of English par-
ents in the city of Dublin, in 1706, who came to America about 1725, and
settled between Kloat and Blue Bell, in Whitpain township, Montgom-



58 HISTORY OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY

ery county, Pennsylvania. He died November 3, 1760, and was buried

at Plymouth Meeting. In 1732 he married Dawes, and among

their children was John.

(II) John Wood, seventh child of James and (Dawes) Wood,

was born January 25, 1747, and died in 1836. He married, in 1769, Cath-
erine Davis, and their eldest son was James, the first of his family to
engage in iron-making in this country.

(III) James Wood, son of John and Catherine (Davis) Wood, was
born October 23, 1771, upon a farm in Montgomery county, near Nar-
cissa, or Five Points, situated on the road from Plymouth Meeting to
Blue Bell. He was the first of his family in America to engage in the
iron business. In 1792 he established a "smithy" near Hickorytown
(then called Pigeontown), and was known as a "black and white smith,"
because in addition to the ordinary work of the countrj' blacksmith, he
also made kitchen or domestic wares. Later, but prior to 1805, he also
worked a tilthammer forge at "Hammer Hollow," a ravine in the south-
ern escarpment of the Chester valley, situated one miles north of the
present station of Straflford, on the Pennsylvania railroad, the place
deriving its name from the fact that hammers were the leading product
of the forge. "Hammer Hollow" is now a part of the property owned
by Major Stevens H. Heckscher. In 1808 Mr. Wood operated a forge
on the Pennypack creek, and ten years later, in 1818, he joined John and
Jacob Rogers, and Isaac Smedley, in a forge property at Valley Forge,
where they manufactured sickles, scythes, shovels, and other agricultural
implements, as well as files and cross-cut and circular saws. This forge
had already been long in operation when it was taken over by Mr. Wood
and his associates, the original forge having been built, according to the
best obtainable evidence, in 1742, by Stephen Evans, Daniel Walker, and
Joseph Williams, and purchased, in 1757, by John Potts, whose grand-
son, Isaac Potts, lived in the stone residence near the mouth of the creek,
which is now venerated as Washington's Headquarters. The original
forge was located a half mile up-stream, and the iron was brought to it
from Warwick furnace. During the time of the Revolution, it was
owned by William Dewees, Jr., and was destroyed by the British troops.
Some years later a new forge was built near the Dewees Mansion, and
was operated until 1824. The site of the old forge is on the property
owned by the late Senator Philander C. Knox. Mr. Wood and his asso-
ciates repaired the old Dewees forge, and Mr. Wood was made manager
of the concern. The company soon afterward began to turn out saws
and shovels, etc., erecting for that purpose a crucible steel furnace.
Writing of this enterprise, Swank says, in his "History of the Iron and
Steel Industry": "Mr. Wood's son, John Wood, of Conshohocken, stated
(about 1890) that the Valley Forge plant made some excellent steel, but
the project was soon abandoned. This was the first important crucible
steel enterprise in our history, brought to our notice." Writing of Val-
ley Forge in the year 1858, William J. Buck, historian of Montgomery
county, said : "There is now no forge or furnace in this vicinity, but
iron ore is still dug in considerable quantities about a quarter of a mile



BIOGRAPHICAL 59

from the village on the road to the King of Prussia." After the Valley
Forge venture, James Wood returned to the Pennypack. A recently
discovered patent of much interest as well as of historic value was issued
to him on February 10, 1825, for improvements in making shovels and
spades, the improvements being described as follows: "The blanks are
entirely of iron or steel, the blade being attached to the handle by means
of steel or iron straps fastened to the blade, and also to the handle by
rivets on the front and back sides of the blade and handle, the said
blades being each of a single piece of steel rolled to the proper dimen-
sions and not hammered." The patent was signed by James Monroe,
President ; John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State ; and William Wirt,
Attorney General.

In 1826 James Wood, still intent upon finding a favorable site for
the establishment of an iron industry, turned his attention to the State
of Delaware, records showing, however, that he held the Pennypack
property until April i, 1833, when he sold it to William Slater for $5,500.
At this time, iron-making had been conducted in a small way in Delaware
for about a century, deposits of bog ores being found in that State in
deposits of sand and clay of the tertiary period, and another source ot
supply being the famous Iron Hill, in Cecil county, IMaryland. The
last-named deposit was known as early at 1661, and mentioned by
Gabriel Thomas in 1695. Long before the Revolution, small "bloom-
eries" were in operation along Red Clay creek, an affluent of Christiana
creek, but after the War of 1812, when imported iron disappeared from
the American market and prices soared, a new impetus was given to the
industry which had, up to that time, been greatly handicapped. Upon
Red Clay creek, at Wooddale, about five miles northwest of Wilming-
ton, Delaware, stood a small water mill, which had probably been used
previous to 1826, to turn out nail plates. This mill James Wood and his
son, Alan, leased in 1826, for a period of five years, beginning March 25,
1827, though they took possession of the property at once. The neces-
sity of securing protective legislation against British competition had
resulted in the organization, in 1817, of the Delaware Society for Promot-
ing Manufactures, but the balance of power at Washington was held by
the farmers of the North and the cotton-growers of the South, who
favored a free market in this country for the manufactured articles of
Europe, and the efiforts of the manufacturers were for a long time
unavailing. It was only by securing very cheap and unskilled labor
and by the closest economy, that manufacturing interests could be main-
tained, and the prevailing rates of wages paid at the Delaware Iron
Works were from fifty cents to one dollar a day, upon yearly agreements.
Iron used at the Delaware Rolling Mill was bought in the form of bars,
from American, English, and Swedish mills, and it was then the practice
of James Wood & Son to buy and sell at six months' time, a discount of
five per cent, being allowed for cash. From the beginning, as shown by
their correspondence, the policy of the firm was to raise the quality of
their product, insisting upon the best raw material and careful
workmanship.



6o HISTORY OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY

The day book of the Delaware Iron Works was opened August 17,
1826, with the statement: "James Wood and his son Alan enter into
the rolling and manufacturing business at the Delaware Iron Works and
are to divide profit and loss equally." On a knoll overlooking the mill,
is a stone house where the members of the family in charge of the mill,
at various times, lived, and here for six years, from 1S26 to 1832, Alan
Wood lived, taking charge of the Delaware Iron Works, while his
father, James Wood, managed the store at No. 161 North Second street,
in Philadelphia. The day book shows that James Wood bought and
forwarded most of the raw material, including coal, used in the Delaware
Works, and that careful records were kept of all transactions between
the store and the "works." They rolled considerable steel, this being
brought in in the form of slabs or bars and rolled into shovel or saw
steel. At that time soft steel bars cost $125 a ton, while American iron
bars were $100 and Swedish $102.50 a ton. The Swedish iron plates
were charged to James Wood, by the mill, at $140 a ton and steel shovel
plates at $160. The Delaware Iron Works also manufactured some of
its products into shovels, hoes, etc., and shipped them to the store in
Philadelphia. The eight or ten men necessary to do the work were
boarded at a cost of $2.00 a week to the mill, and were paid in addition,
usually at the rate of $5 a week. The shearing and forming into shovels,
however, was done by piece work at so much per dozen. It is interest-
ing to note that by 1828 and 1829 the Delaware Iron Works was making
sheets ranging in gauge from No. 27 (about three-fourths of a pound to
the square foot) to No. 10 (over five pounds to the square foot) and
sometimes rolled small cast steel ingots into circular saw plates.

In May, 1832, the business was removed to Conshohocken, not only
the equipment of anvils, shears, and other tools being transferred, but
the men themselves were transferred and the day book began anew at
the water mill on the banks of the Schuylkill canal. No record of manu-
facturing again at the Delaware Iron Works has been found, until 1840,
when John Wood, a younger brother of Alan Wood, took charge there.
From that time the Delaware Iron Works were again under the control
of the Wood family until i88g, when it was abandoned, and a few years
later the property was sold. In 1832 the mill for rolling iron was
erected at Conshohocken "on the Plymouth Canal," and soon afterward
the plant at Wooddale was abandoned until 1840. The Conshohocken
mill began operations on May 5, 1832, rolling sheets, the rolls being
eighteen inches in diameter and thirty-six inches in length. The water
wheel had a length of twenty feet, and the balance of the equipment
included one grate furnace. The sheet mill was coupled directly to the
end of the water-wheel shaft, and the capacity of the rolls was fifty-four
sheets in twelve hours. In 1835 the firm built a three-story shovel fac-
tory at the west end of the water mill, but this was torn down in 1S80.
The trimming shear, which was of alligator type and had a stroke of
twelve inches, was in the second story of this building and sheets were
carried up to be trimmed. On January i, 1840, James Wood sold his
interest in the firm of J. Wood & Son to William W. Wood, who con-



BIOGRAPHICAL 6i

tinued the business in association with Alan Wood, under the title of
A. Wood & Brother, for one year. At the end of that time, in 1841, the
business was again conducted by James Wood and his son, Alan, under
the original title of James Wood & Son, and now included once more
the Wooddale mill, which had again been rented in 1840 and was oper-
ated by John Wood, another brother of Alan Wood. Here they con-
ducted a series of experiments in an effort to produce an imitation of
Russian sheet iron. Business at this time was very dull, but the experi-
ments were continued until 1842, when the persevering efforts of the firm
were rewarded by a silver medal from the Franklin Institute. The
resulting improvement in the products of the plant probably led to the
series of readjustments of interests in the Wood family, which occurred
in the following years. In April, 1843, Wood & Brothers, composed of
Alan, John and William Wood, rented a store at No. 3 North Fifth
street, removing there from the old Second street store. In 1843 Alan
Wood purchased the old Delaware Iron Works, for $8,000, and soon
afterward retired from the partnership with his brothers, and also that
with his father. James Wood retired from business on February 23,
1848, after which the mills were conducted by his sons: John, William
W., Thomas C, and David L. Wood, the title of the firm then becom-
ing J. Wood & Bros. James Wood died June 29, 185 1. He was twice
married, (first), in 1796, to Tacy Thomas, of Gwynedd, who was of
Welsh descent. She died July 11, i8ri, and he married (second) Ann
W. Warner. Among the children of the first marriage was Alan Wood.
(IV) Alan Wood, third child of James and Tacy (Thomas) Wood,
was born December 25, 1800, died November 24, 1881, and was his
father's associate in business, as above related, from 1826 to the time of
his purchase of the Delaware Iron Works in 1S43, the connection with
his father being severed January i, 1844. His oldest son, W. Dewees,
was at that time a lad of eighteen years, and had learned the rudiments
of the business under the leadership of John Wood, while the latter was
in charge of the Delaware Iron Works. W. Dewees Wood was put in
charge of the mill under the direction of his father, who continued to
live in Philadelphia, where he managed the business in the store, at No.
3 North Fifth street, and sold the iron rolled in Delaware. In 1851
W. Dewees left his father's business to go to McKeesport, where in
partnership with his father-in-law, Richard B. Gilpin, he built the
McKeesport Iron Works. The Delaware Iron Works were then left in
charge of Alan Wood. Jr., a younger son of Alan Wood, and only sev-
enteen years old at this time. For six years the Delaware Iron Works
remained under the supervision of Alan, Jr., but at the end of that time,
in 1857, the "panic of 1857" caused his brother, W. Dewees, temporarily
to give up his venture in McKeesport and return to Delaware, where for
four years he was again manager of the little water mill. In 1861 W.
Dewees Wood decided that it would be wise to return to McKeesport
and resume his former business, which he did with great success. The
Delaware Iron Works continued in operation under the general man-
agement of Alan Wood and his sons, but from that time on was not in



62 HISTORY OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY

the immediate charge of any member of the family. Meantime, Alan
Wood, in partnership with his brother-in-law, Lewis A. Lukens, had, in
1857, founded the firm of Alan Wood & Company, and started the
present Schuylkill Iron Works at Conshohocken. Alan, Jr., who had
had six years' experience at the Delaware mill, assisted his father in
building the new mill and was put in active charge of it. The equipment
consisted of one sheet mill with a grate furnace, and what afterwards
became No. 2 Sheet Mill, but was then a two-high flue mill, and a five-
inch bar mill with one heating furnace between them, used on the day
turn to heat piles for the flue mill and on the night turn to heat piles
for the five-inch bar mill, and two single puddling furnaces. The steam
engine which ran the mills had no governor and the engineer sat on a
high stool with a lever about three feet long which controlled the
throttle valve. The only light in the mill at night were oil torches
hanging over the roller and one over the catcher. The sheet mill force
finished everything either two or three-high, nothing four-high, and the
turn annealed all the product in the open grate furnace as they made it.
In 1862, No. 3 Sheet Mill was built, and a Corliss engine installed. On
this train were a pair of puddle-rolls and a coflfee-mill squeezer. Two
more puddling furnaces were also built at this time, and an "old English
annealing furnace" in which the sheet iron was annealed standing on its
edge, was built in the upper part of the building. In 1866 the West Mill
was built, this being the first three-high mill for rolling light sheets and
plates. The rolls were twenty-two inches in diameter by fifty-four inches



Online LibraryClifton Swenk HunsickerMontgomery County, Pennsylvania ; a history (Volume v.2) → online text (page 8 of 45)