Ellis Paxson Oberholtzer.

Philadelphia; a history of the city and its people, a record of 225 years (Volume 4) online

. (page 11 of 62)
Online LibraryEllis Paxson OberholtzerPhiladelphia; a history of the city and its people, a record of 225 years (Volume 4) → online text (page 11 of 62)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

industry and enterprise has gained an enviable measure of prosperity.

On the 19th of March, 1884, in Philadelphia, Mr. Lawrence was united in
marriage to Miss Annie Williams, by whom he had four children, namely: Helen
R., who graduated as a professional nurse ; Elsie W.. a graduate of the Pennsyl-
vania School of Art; Marie Adel, who died in infancy; and Delma E., a high-
school student.

In politics Mr. Lawrence is independent, supporting men and measures rather
than party. He is identified with the Travelers Protective Association, acting as
state president and national director of the organization. For the past thirty
years he has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, taking a very
active interest in all church work. Since 1903 he has been president of the board
of trustees of Gethsemane church at the southeast corner of Broad and West-
moreland streets, and assisted in building the Thirteenth Street Methodist Episcopal
church on Thirteenth below Vine. He is well known in the city in which he has
spent his entire life, and his many good qualities have gained for him the friendship
and regard of all with whom he has been brought in contact. Faithfulness to
duty and strict adherence to a fixed purpose in life will do more to advance a
man's interest than wealth or advantageous circumstances. The successful men
of the day are they who have planned their own advancement and have accom-
plished it in spite of many difficulties and with a certainty that could have been
attained only through their own efforts. This class of men has a worthy rep-
resentative in Alexander Lawrence, Jr.


Dr. William Franklin Baker, holding high rank in the medical profession in
Philadelphia as one of the leading exponents of homeopathic principles and prac-
tice, was born in this city, August 11, 1876. His father, Thomas Baker, was con-
nected with commercial interests as a carpet manufacturer. The public schools
aflforded the son his early educational privileges, and passing through consecutive
grades he was eventually graduated from the Central high school with the class
of 1895. Determining upon the practice of medicine as a life work, he entered


the Hahnemann Medical College, from which he was graduated in 1898, and
further pursued his professional studies in Heidelberg University, at Heidel-
berg, Germany. Since his return he has practiced in Philadelphia and his thor-
ough preparation and zeal in his chosen calling have brought him rapid advance-
ment. He is now lecturer on medicine in Hahnemann Medical College and neu-
rologist to the Hahnemann Hospital While his attention is largely given to his
professional duties, he is also extensively interested in Tokay grape raising in
the Sacramento valley of California.

Dr. Baker is a stalwart republican in his political views, a Mason in his fra-
ternal relations, and Methodist in his religious belief, and these associations in-
dicate the nature of his interests and the principles which govern him in life's
relations. He is also identified with the various national, state and county medical
organizations and his close conformity to the highest standard of professional
ethics has gained him in unqualified measure the confidence, respect and good
will of the medical practitioners of his native city.


William F. Weiss, now deceased, was one of the best known hatters in the
city of Philadelphia. He owned a large retail store at the corner of Thirteenth
and Chestnut streets, the center of the retail business district, and there carried
on business during the greater part of his life. His success was the direct and
logical outcome of his ability, enterprise and close application, for he started upon
his business career without any special advantages and without the assistance
of wealth or influential friends. He was born in Philadelphia, March 23, 1865,
a son of Fabian and Catherine Weiss, the latter a native of New York city and
the former of Berlin, Germany, where in early manhood he learned the tailor's
trade. He afterward came to America and resided in New York city for a few
years. Subsequently he came to Philadelphia where he carried on a tailoring
business throughout the remainder of his life. Both he and his wife spent their
last days here.

William F. Weiss was educated in the public schools of Philadelphia and in
early youth obtained a position in a hat store on Ridge avenue near Twenty-
third street, being employed as an errand boy to deliver purchases. There he
became acquainted with the trade, remaining with his first employer for a few
years, his ability, faithfulness and diligence winning him promotion to larger
responsibilities. He also worked as a clerk in different hat stores, and saving
everything possible from his earnings he at length secured a sum sufiEcient to
enable him to purchase a stock and begin business on his own account. His store
being located in the center of the down town business district he soon built up
a large trade and became one of the leading hatters of the city. He established
a reputation for the excellent character of the goods which he handled as well as
for the reliability of the house and his commercial methods commended him to
the confidence and patronage of the public.


Mr. Weiss was married in I'liiladelphia to iMiss Matilda J. Marke, a native
of this city and a daughter of Edward and Madeline (Cavanaugh) Marke, na-
tives of France and New York city respectively. Her father while a resident of
France became a sculptor and, crossing the Atlantic to this country when a young
man, settled in Philadelphia but spent most of his time in the central states fol-
lowing the business for which he had qualified. Some of the fine sculpture and
statuary in the dift'erent parts of the central states is an indication of his handi-
work and skill. He passed away in middle life and his wife is also deceased.
In the family of Mr. and Mrs. Weiss were four children, Walter Gilbert, Made-
line, Angela and Theodora, all of whom reside with their mother. In February,
1907, Mr. Weiss became ill and his physicians said that an operation was neces-
sary. He only survived the operation for a few days, however, and passed away
on the 22d of February, 1907. The shock of his sudden illness and death was so
great to his father and mother as to occasion their deaths soon afterward.

For a time after the demise of her husband Mrs. Weiss conducted the busi-
ness, remaining at its head for about two years, but a year ago she sold out.
She resides at No. 3533 North Sixteenth street, where she owns a commodious
and beautiful residence. Mr. Weiss was a lover of all manly outdoor sports, par-
ticularly the national game of baseball. He belonged to several clubs and social
orders of the city in which he was popular, and in business circles held the high
regard of colleagues and contemporaries.


Edwin K. Birch was born April 7, 1839, in Philadelphia, and died in this city
on the 17th of June, 1898. His parents were Thomas and Mary (Steinmetz)
Birch, also of Philadelphia, and the father was one of the first auctioneers of the
city, conducting his business near the old coffee house at Second and Market
streets. He became one of the most prominently known men, his business in-
terests bringing him a wide acquaintance, while his ability placed him in a lead-
ing position in his field of labor.

Edwin K. Birch was educated in the public schools of Philadelphia and at the
age of seventeen or eighteen years he became a dry-goods clerk, which position
he occupied for a short time. He then became his father's assistant and under his
direction learned the business of auctioneering and became his father's successor
at the latter's death. He then continued the auctioneering business until his own
demise in 1898. As a business man he sustained an unassailable reputation for
his honesty. Never did he misquote an article and his word came to be recognized
as one in which implicit confidence could be placed. Because of the uprightness
of his life he was a man who feared none, never courted favor but enjoyed the
friendship and the warm regard of all who knew him.

On the 23d of January, 1877, Mr. Birch was married to Miss Ellen B. Bren-
ner, a daughter of John G. and Anna B. (Fordney) Brenner, of Lancaster, Penn-
sylvania. Her father became one of Philadelphia's pioneer hardware merchants,
conducting business for many years on Market street. He was also one of the


charter members and directors of the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company and
was connected with many important business enterprises of the city. Unto Mr.
and Mrs. Birch was born a daughter, Nan Brenner Birch, who is at home with
her mother.

The death of Mr. Birch occurred in 1898 and was the occasion of deep re-
gret not only to the members of his immediate family but to the friends whom
he had won over a wide territory. He was a home-loving man, devoted to his
family, was fond of music and a splendid entertainer. In conversation he also
held the interest of his auditors, enriching his talk with many interesting
anecdotes which came to him through his own experience. His life was the ex-
emplification of many sterling qualities and he left to his family the priceless
heritage of an untarnished name.


Dr. L. Napoleon Boston, who in hospital work, private practice and as an
educator, has left and is leaving his impress upon the history of the medical pro-
fession in Philadelphia, was born at Pine Hill, Pennsylvania, on the i8th of
March, 1871, his parents being Alfred H. and Bethiah (Bacon) Boston. His
youthful days were devoted to the acquirement of an education in the academy,
high school and commercial college until 1889. The three succeeding years were
devoted to teaching and attending college, after which he began preparation for
the practice of medicine, pursuing thorough and comprehensive courses which
well equipped him for the onerous and responsible duties that have since de-
volved upon him. He was graduated with highest honors from the Philadelphia
School of Anatomy in 1895 and from the Medico-Chirurgical College of this city
with the M. D. degree in 1896. He has since received the honorary degree of
Master of Arts from Ursinus College of Pennsylvania in 1902.

Since 1896 Dr. Boston has been continuously engaged in practice in Phila-
delphia and his growing powers are the expression of wide experience and broad
and thorough research into the realms of science. His ability has been recog-
nized in various hospital appointments and also in his election to professorships.
He was resident physician of the Philadelphia General Hospital from 1906 until
1907 and was bacteriologist in the Philadelphia Hospital from 1898 until 1904,
and in the Ayer chemical laboratory of the Pennsylvania Hospital in 1901, and
pathologist to Frankford Hospital since 1909. In 1897 he was called to the
faculty of Medico-Chirurgical College, serving as instructor in obstetrics for
two years ; as instructor in medicine from 1899 until 1901 ; as director of the
clinical laboratories from 1901 until 1905 ; as associate in medicine from 1904
until 1906, and since that time has been adjunct professor of medicine. In the
same year he was elected physician to the Philadelphia General Hospital (Block-
ley). Imparting readily and clearly to others the knowledge that he has acquired,
he is regarded as a most capable educator and his contributions to medical litera-
ture have also been most valuable. He has edited many professional papers and
is the author of a Text Book on Clinical Diagnosis by Laboratory Methods in



1904, and author in connection with Dr. J. M. Anders, of Medical Diagnosis in

Dr. Boston keeps in touch with the advanced work of the profession through
the interchange of thought and experiences as a member of the American Medi-
cal Association, the Philadelphia County Medical Society and the Philadelphia
Pathological Society. He is also a member of the Society of the War of 1812,
and his study of political questions and issues of the day has led him to give
earnest support to the republican party. His advancement, which has been con-
tinuous, is the logical result and outcome of ability that has found constantly
widening scope in his various fields of professional labor, wherein he has won dis-
tinction and honor.


Among those men whose lives have been devoted to the alleviation of sick-
ness and suffering but have at last themselves succumbed to the dread destroyer
of all was numbered Dr. Joseph Penrose Stidham, who was located at No. 4001
Chestnut street, Philadelphia. He was born near Wilmington, Delaware, in 1824
and was a son of Captain Joseph G. and Susan (Lunam) Stidham. The family
is of Swedish origin and was founded in America by ancestors who came to the
new world in 1638. Their descendants have since lived in this section of the
country and have ever been characterized by loyalty and faithfulness to those
interests and movements which uphold the political and legal status and promote
the material and moral welfare of the community. The grandfather of Dr. Stid-
ham was for many years treasurer of the Old Swedish church of Wilmington,

In his youth Dr. Stidham did not have to contend against that stringent
poverty which so often constitutes a bar to progress but was afforded liberal edu-
cational privileges, which he improved to the utmost and thus became thoroughly
qualified for the task which he took up as a life work. After attending the Gay-
ley private school of Wilmington he pursued his more specifically literary course
in Lafayette College of Pennsylvania, from which he was graduated with the
class of 1848. He then entered the University of Pennsylvania in preparation
for the practice of medicine and was graduated in 185 1 with the M. D. degree.
He at once opened an office in this city, where he remained in active practice
through the rest of his life. He was appointed vaccine physician in April, 1852.
He soon built up a large private practice and at all times was keenly interested
in every subject that tended to bring to man the key to the complex mystery which
we call life. He was earnest and faithful in his work and conformed most closely
to a high standard of professional ethics. For a short time he was president of
the Iron Roofing Company but did not give up his practice, managing his com-
mercial interests in addition to his professional duties.

In 1856 Dr. Stidham was married to Miss Agnes G. Reid, a native of Glas-
gow, Scotland, and they became the parents of two daughters, Margaret and


Vol n'— 6


Throughout the long period of his residence in Philadelphia covering more
than a half century, Dr. Stidham was always deeply interested in the welfare
and progress of the city and cooperated in many measures for the general good.
He served as school director from the twenty-seventh ward from 1857 until 1871
and then resigned the position on removing to another ward. He died August
7, 1903, in the Christian faith, having long been a devoted member of the Wal-
nut Street Presbyterian church. He was also a generous contributor to charity
and in his professional life found ample opportunity to aid his fellowmen. He
never refused to respond to the call of the sick even when he knew no remunera-
tion could be expected. He was actuated in his professional service by broad
humanitarian principles and his life was characterized by many kindly deeds. At
his death he was one of the most venerable physicians of Philadelphia, having
almost reached the age of eighty, and he passed to his reward "rich in honor,
years and troops of friends."


Jacob Gerhab, while a resident of Philadelphia, was well known in commer-
cial circles as a wholesale and retail dealer in carriage hardware. He started upon
life's journey, November 20, 1838, in Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, and was
about sixty-two years of age at the time of his death, which occurred in 1900.
His parents were Coleman and Christiana Gerhab. In the public schools he ob-
tained his education and after putting aside his textbooks engaged in farming for
a short time, but thinking to find better business opportunities in industrial fields
he turned his attention to carriage manufacturing in North Wales, Pennsylvania,
continuing work along that line in that place and in Telford for seven years.
He then came to Philadelphia and throughout his remaining days was closely as-
sociated with commercial interests as a wholesale and retail dealer in carriage
hardware. The business, established on a small scale, was developed along sub-
stantial lines and in harmony with the highest principles of commercial in-
tegrity. Eventually it reached extensive proportions with large trade interests,
reaching out to various sections of the country. The policy instituted at the out-
set was always maintained, it being the purpose of the head of the house to give
full return for value received, while all matters were executed with dispatch
and all mistakes, if any there were, quickly and correctly adjusted. Mr. Gerhab
was also known as a director of the German Building & Loan Association.

In 1862 occurred the marriage of Jacob Gerhab and Miss Leanna Geisinger,
of Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, and they became the parents of four chil-
dren, two of whom are living: Anna, now the wife of Clinton H. Qine; and
William, who married Annie Brill. The son and son-in-law now conduct the
business which was established by Mr. Gerhab and successfully carried on by him
until his demise, which occurred in 1900.

He was a democrat in his political views and while he never sought nor held
office, he ever gave stalwart support to the principles in which he believed. His
religious faith was evidenced by his membership in the Lutheran church and he


was identified with several social organizations, iiichiding the Driving Club, the
Rifle Club and the Constater Club. A man of genuine personal worth, he was
no less highly esteemed for the honorable principles which throughout his life
governed his conduct than for the success which he achieved, making him one of
the leading merchants of the city.


Dr. Daniel Longaker, for thirty years a practitioner of Philadelphia, was born
near Collegeville, Pennsylvania, September 9, 1858. He is a representative of
one of the old families of the state. The earliest ancestor of whom there is record
was one Daniel Liingenecker, who came probably from Zurich, Switzerland.
He was a Menonite preacher and also a farmer, for the teachings of that sect
would not permit a salaried minister. Henry Langenecker, the great-grand-
father, was bom near Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, and learned and followed the
blacksmith's trade. He died about the year 1795, at the age of forty, and left
but one son, Abraham, who changed the spelling of the name to Longaker. He
was born near the town of Collegeville, in Montgomery county, Pennsylvania,
the family home being at that time in the township of Limerick. He was a weaver
by trade and also followed the occupation of farming. He spent his entire life
in the place of his nativity, his birth occurring in 1792, his death in 1872. His
son, Abraham Longaker, Jr., who was born in Montgomery county, Pennsylvania,
became a contractor and builder, and later was engaged extensively in farming,
and in the course of years was widely known in business relations in his native
county. He has now practically retired but still makes his home near College-
ville. As success attended him he extended his efforts to other fields, becoming
a director in the Rogersford National Bank and also the owner of considerable
stock in the Perkiomen Fire Insurance Company. His political allegiance has
always been given to the republican party but he has never held ofifice save in
connection with the schools. He is an active member of the Lutheran church
and a life that now covers seventy-six years has brought to him the respect,
confidence and good will of his fellowmen. He married Susan Correll, who was
Ixtrn near Hamburg, Berks county, Pennsylvania. She was a devoted member of
the Lutheran church but aside from that confined her interest to her home, her
family and a few lifelong friends. She was a woman of very lovable disposi-
tion, which enabled her to retain to the time of her death the friendly regard of
those whom she had known in youth. Several of her childhood playmates at-
tended her funeral. She was descended on both sides from families who came
to Pennsylvania in the early colonial days and was a first cousin of Adam H.
Fetterolf, ex-president of Girard College of Philadelphia. The death of Mrs.
Longaker occurred in October, 19 10, when she was seventy-six years of age. In
the family were five children : Henry, a stationary engineer of Philadelphia ; Anna,
the wife of Henry Landis, of Montgomery county; Elizabeth, the wife of Jacob
G. Kinsey, of Philadelphia; Frank, who is a clergyman of the Lutheran church
at Zelinople, near Pittsburg, Pennsylvania ; and Daniel.


Dr. Longaker attended the district schools of his native county and afterward
was a student in Washington Hall Trappe, a school conducted by Professor Abel
Rambo, then county superintendent of schools. After coming to Philadelphia
Dr. Longaker entered the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, from which he was
graduated in due course of time, and subsequently he matriculated in the medical
department of the University of Pennsylvania, in 1879, and was graduated in
the class of 1881. Immediately following his graduation he associated himself
with the late Dr. Albert H. Smith, Joshua G. Allen and also the late Dr. Elwood
Wilson, all of the Lying-In-Charity of Philadelphia. He was at the same time
visiting physician to the Northern Dispensary of Philadelphia and later became
visiting physician to the Philadelphia Lying-in Charity arid afterward visiting
gynecologist and obstetrician to the Jewish Maternity Hospital. He has spec-
ialized in obstetrical work and has gained wide and favorable reputation in this

In 1890 Dr. Longaker became a fellow of the College of Physicians of Phila-
delphia and he also holds membership with the American Medical Association,
the Philadelphia County Medical Society and the Pennsylvania State Medical
Society. For many years he has been a member of the Philadelphia Obstetrical
Society and for the past two years has been its first vice president. He is also
a member of the Northwestern Medical Society and all of these connections keep
him in close touch with the advancement of the profession.

On the i8th of December, 1884, in Philadelphia, Dr. Longaker was married
to Miss Margaret A. Pancoast, a daughter of the late Nathan Folwell Pancoast,
of this city. Mrs. Longaker is a trustee of the Spring Garden Unitarian church
and is active in the business and social affairs of the church. Unto the Doctor and
his wife have been born six children: D. Norman^ a commercial traveler repre-
senting the Wolf Chemical Company of Philadelphia ; Elizabeth P., a senior of
Wellesley College, near Boston, Massachusetts, and a member of the Alpha
Kappa Chi ; Edwin P., a sophomore in the medical department of the University
of Pennsylvania; Rachel F., who is a freshman in Wellesley College; Anna,
attending the Girls High School of Philadelphia; and Margaret, a student in the
School of Observation and Practice of the Girls Normal School of Philadelphia.

Dr. Longaker is a man of liberal thought, who takes a wide view of life and
is charitable in his opinions. He embraces the opportunity for doing good in-
dividually and in his profession has contributed to the world's work by his devo-
tion to a high standard of professional ethics.


John A. Ward was a man in whom devotion to duty was a strongly marked
characteristic, manifest in the work of the courts, where he was known as an able
lawyer ; in democratic circles, where he gave expression to his views of citizenship
and public policy; in the church, where he labored untiringly; and in the home,
where he was a devoted husband and father. Philadelphia numbered him among
her native sons and of the city he was a lifelong resident. His birth occurred Aug-

Online LibraryEllis Paxson OberholtzerPhiladelphia; a history of the city and its people, a record of 225 years (Volume 4) → online text (page 11 of 62)