Ellis Paxson Oberholtzer.

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

. (page 17 of 62)
Online LibraryEllis Paxson OberholtzerPhiladelphia; a history of the city and its people, a record of 225 years (Volume 4) → online text (page 17 of 62)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Society. Dr. Knipe was a descendant of Francois Bigonet of Huguenot origin
and a native of the city of Nismes, Languedoc, France. He came to Philadel-
phia in 1773 and settled at Falkner Swamp, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania.
Unto Dr. Jacob O. Knipe and wife were born six children : Irvin Poley, Reinoehl,
Jay Clarence, Francis Warren, George L. and Norman Leslie. Of these Francis
Warren died in 1877. Three of the sons, Reinoehl, Jay C. and Norman L. have
followed their father's and grandfather's profession and become physicians.

Spending his youthful days in his parents' home, Dr. Jay C. Knipe attended
the public schools of Norristown until graduated from the high school with the
class of 1885. After three years' private instruction he entered the Jefferson
Medical College, of which his father is also a graduate and there won his M. D.
degree in 1890. Broad practical experience came to him as interne in the Poly-
clinic Hospital, where he remained for sixteen months. He then received ap-
pointment as chief resident physician of the Jewish Hospital at Philadelphia,
with which he was connected for four years. On the expiration of that [>eriod
he went to Vienna, where he pursued special courses on diseases of the eye for
nine months, receiving instruction from some of the eminent oculists and oph-
thalmologists of the old world. Upon his return to America he located in Phila-
delphia and has since been engaged in the practice of his specialty, being located
for the past seven years at 2025 Chestnut street. For eight years he was an
assistant at Wills Eye Hospital and was also chief of clinic at the Howard Hos-
pital Eye Clinic. At the present writing, in 191 1, he is chief of the eye clinic


at Jefferson Hospital and an instructor in Jefferson Medical College. He also
holds the positions of ophthalmologist to the Jewish Hospital, assistant ophthal-
mologist to the Philadelphia General Hospital and assistant ophthalmologist to
the Mary J. Drexel Hospital. For ten years he taught anatomy at Jefferson
Medical College, holding the position of demonstrator of osteology and syndes-
niology. He is a fellow of the College of Physicians and member of its ophthal-
mological section. He belongs also to the Philadelphia County Medical Society,
the Medical Legal Society, the Northwestern Medical Society, the Northern
Medical Society, the Philadelphia Pathological Society, the Medical Club, the
American and State Medical Associations, and the American Academy of Oph-
thalmology and Oto-Laryngology. He is the author of a number of papers per-
taining to his specialty, and in 1904 contributed a chapter on The Ocular Mani-
festations of Nervous Diseases to Ball's Modern Ophthalmology.

On the 21 St of April, 1905, Dr. Knipe was married to Miss Ruth Blanche
Krauss, a daughter of ]\Ioses Krauss, and they have a daughter, Ruth Alberta,
born February 21, 1908; and a son, Robert Krauss, born January 26, 191 1. The
family residence is at No. 6629 Eighth street, Oak Lane. Dr. Knipe is a mem-
ber of the Lutheran church of the Holy Communion at Twenty-first and Chest-
nut streets. He belongs to the Masonic fraternity and in politics he is a re-


Adam Garner Fouse, controller of the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Com-
pai^y, is one to whom intricate financial and business problems seem easy of
solution, for he has displayed capable management in control of important af-
fairs and since the outset of his career has made steady progress until he now
occupies a place of prominence in financial circles.

He was born December 13, 1842, on Clover Plains Farm in Blair county,
Pennsylvania, his parents being Adam and Susanna (Garner) Fouse. His youth-
ful days were spent upon the old homestead and his attention was largely given
to farming until 1876. He also engaged in teaching for seven terms in his home
county before coming to Philadelphia in the Centennial year. On his removal
to this city he was made manager of the Fouse-Hershberger Mercantile Agency
and so continued until 1887, when he became manager of the Alta Friendly So-
ciety. The succeeding si.x years were devoted to that business, after which he
became controller of the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company, which posi-
tion he now holds. He is also president and was the organizer of the Fidelity
Mutual Building & Loan Association, the object of which is to encourage the
spirit of saving among the employes of the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Com-
pany. He is likewise treasurer of the Citizens Building & Loan Association,
which was organized in 1897.

In the period of early manhood Adam G. Fouse espoused the cause of the
Union and became second corporal of Company E, One Hundred and Fourth
Pennsylvania Infantry, which was assigned to the Twenty-fourth Army Corps.


He was engaged on duty in the vicinity of Petersburg much of the time, taking
active part in the several engagements that concluded the conflict; and he was
mustered out at Portsmouth, Virginia, in September, 1865. He now holds mem-
bership with Courtland Sanders Post No. 21, G. A. R., of which he is a past
commander, and he likewise belongs to the Knights of Hospitaller. His religious
faith is indicated in the fact that he holds membership in West Hope Presby-
terian church at Aspen and Preston streets in West Philadelphia and has served
as one of its ruling elders for twenty years.

On the 19th of October, 1871, Mr. Fouse was married to Miss Sarah Frank,
a daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth Frank, of Penn township, Huntingdon county,
Pennsylvania. Mrs. Fouse passed away September 3, 1906, and was survived
by two of their three children: Clara, who is living with her father; and Adam
Irving Fouse, who is literary statistician of the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance
Company. On the 28th of September, 1909, Mr. Fouse married again, his
second union being with Mrs. Eloise Reese Guthrie, of this city.

For the past fifteen years he has resided at No. 838 North Forty-first street.
He is also the owner of Clover Plains Farm, the old homestead, as well as an
adjoining farm, the two combined making two hundred and fifteen acres. He
makes a specialty of raising fine cattle and horses, mostly Jersey cows and
English draft horses. He is interested in butter making, his Jersey butter being
mostly sold to regular customers. He takes great pride in keeping his place in
excellent condition, spending there all of his time not demanded by the financial
and business enterprises of Philadelphia with which he is connected.


A successful business man, a capable educator, the founder and promoter of
one of Philadelphia's strong educational institutions, a generous friend to the
poor, a liberal supporter of philanthropic and religious movements and a consis-
tent Christian gentleman, such was Thomas May Peirce, the news of whose death
brought sorrow not only to those who came within the closer circle of his friend-
ship but all with whom he had been associated in his school and church work.
Perhaps each one of these should have been called his friend. His own great heart
went out in sympathy and helpfulness to all mankind and his life was proof of
the Emersonian philosophy: "The way to win a friend is to be one."

He was born at Chester, Pennsylvania, December 10, 1837, and was of Eng-
lish lineage, being a direct descendant of George Perce, as the family name was
originally spelled. This George Perce came to America with William Penn and
settled on an extensive grant of land, which covered the present township of
Thombury in Delaware county and the township of the same name in Chester
county, Pennsylvania. His ancestors "were men and women of talent and of
piety, deeply respected wherever they lived." George Perce, the American pro-
genitor, was married to Ann Gaynor, in England, January 4, 1679, and, as stated,
came with William Penn to this country. Their son Caleb Peirce, Sr., was mar-
ried in the Concord Meeting House, February 15, 1724, to Mary Walter, and they



Affr««, LENOX AN»


were parents of Caleb Peirce, Jr., who on the ist of May, 1754, married Ann
Mendenhall. Thomas Peirce, a son of the latter marriage, wedded Margaret Trim-
ble on the 1 8th of March, 1794, in the Concord Meeting House, and they were
the parents of Caleb Peirce, the father of Dr. Peirce. It is not strange that Dr.
Peirce became an educator of ability, for he inherited a talent for teaching from
both sides of the family. His father, Caleb Peirce, was identified with educa-
tional interests in Chester and Delaware counties for a quarter of a century and
for some years was a well known and highly respected citizen of Philadelphia.
Here he became prominently identified with public affairs. He married a daugh-
ter of the Rev. Thomas Potts May, who for a time was a successful teacher of
Norristown and later continued instruction in a different line, for he turned his
attention to the work of the ministry and became a propiinent clergyman. His
brother, the Rev. Dr. James May, was at onetime a memter of the faculty of the
Episcopal Theological Seminary at Fairfax, Virginia, and later of the Episcopal
Divinity School of West Philadelphia.

It was during the boyhood of Dr. Peirce of this review that the family removed
to Philadelphia, where he pursued his education in the public schools to the age
of sixteen years, when he was graduated from the Boys Central high school of
this city, winning the A. B. degree, while five years later his alma mater conferred
upon him the Master of Arts degree. Following his graduation he traveled quite
extensively, gaining thereby knowledge and experience which can be obtained in
no other way. His first business venture as an engraver on wood proved unsuc-
cessful and about the time he attained his majority he turned his attention to the
profession for which the events of his after hfe proved that he was eminently
fitted. He secured a situation as teacher of a district school in Springfield town-
ship, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, and that his ability was recognized is
indicated by the fact that at the end of a year he was made principal of the high
school of Norristown. Subsequently he occupied a similar position at Manayunk
and in the ]\Ionroe and Mount Vernon grammar schools of Philadelphia. He
had the reputation of preparing more students for the Central high school than
any other grammar school principal and his record is notable inasmuch as he had
the warm regard, admiration and respect of his pupils to an unusual degree.

But the need of business training became apparent to him and led, in 1865, to
the establishment of the Peirce Business College, which he opened in the Handel
and Haydn Hall at the corner of Eighth and Spring Garden streets. He says
of this venture in later years : "When I organized Peirce School, in 1865, I had
not the surplus wealth of a millionaire but I had a clear apprehension of a pop-
ular want of large dimensions. I knew from business men that advertisements
for help were answered by the hundreds and that rare was the case in which
more than one per cent of the applications rose to the dignity of consideration.
I did not have money to found a school and endow it, but I had time, I had youth,
I had some degree of courage and I gave myself to the work of training the ninety-
nine per cent of applicants who wanted to go into business and whose previous
preparation did not secure for them even consideration at the hands of an em-
ployer." That the school met a long-felt need is indicated in the fact that during
the first year five hundred and fifty students were enrolled. An increasing at-
tendance soon made it necessary that larger quarters be secured and a removal


was made to Tenth and Chestnut streets. In 1882 the school was estabhshed in
commodious and attractive quarters in the Record building, which had just been
completed. The growth of the school has continued without interruption until in
191 1 and there are nearly two thousand pupils enrolled. The reports of the United
States commissioner of education show that Peirce School is the largest private
school in the United States. It is estimated that more than thirty thousand
students have secured their training for business in this institution and hold it
and its founder and principal in grateful remembrance. The course of instruc-
tion met the demands for training in practical business methods and thousands
of its students have been placed in excellent positions, where their worth has rec-
ommended them for promotion until eventually they have reached places of lead-
ership as owners of extensive business interests. In connection with his school
he brought out a number of volumes which were primarily designed as text-
books for the use of his pupils, yet have been extensively adopted by other busi-
ness colleges, academies and public schools. These include Practical Test Prob-
lems, How to Become a Bookkeeper, Peirce Manual of Bookeeping, Peirce School
Writing Slips and Real Business Forms, Peirce School Manual of Business Forms
and Customs, Peirce Manual for the Typist and Peirce Manual of Language

Dr. Peirce was recognized as a man of wide and varied attainments. He
served successfully as bank examiner for a number of years and in this position
his knowledge of accounting was of great value. He introduced many changes
and improvements in the administration of his office, notably in the form and
nature of the reports made by the banks to the state government, resulting in the
betterment of the service. He had also a wide reputation as an expert in hand-
writing and received large sums for expert testimony. He first appeared in that
connection in 1870 in the Penn-Middleton will case tried before Judge Ludlow.
He was engaged in the well known suit which involved the extradition of Joseph
Brompton, of Great Grimsby, England, a dangerous criminal, who resisted ex-
tradition more than a year. His evidence materially assisted in the case of a
bogus claim for insurance on a British bark which was scuttled in 1882. The
bark had been cleared from Vera Cruz to Cardiff, Wales, and abandoned in the
gulf stream off the coast of Georgia. The master and mate had come to Phila-
delphia to collect the insurance money on the cargo and, the underwriters sus-
pecting fraud, their counsel employed Dr. Peirce to examine the log of the vessel,
which was the only manifest that the officers had put in evidence. Dr. Peirce
demonstrated beyond a doubt that the log had been tampered with and that the
figures showing the amount of the cargo had been altered. In consequence of his
testimony a tug was sent to the gulf stream and picked up the abandoned vessel
and it was discovered that instead of the valuable cargo of eight hundred bags
of vanilla beans, as claimed by the officers and apparently shown by the log, the
vessel contained only three hundred bags of worthless refuse and had been de-
liberately scuttled. Other cases in which he appeared and rendered important
service in the interest of justice were the famous Gaul case, tried in 1882, and
several forgery cases, some of which involved a great deal of hard work and
patient investigation, notably the Whitaker will case, but the frauds were proved
and the criminals convicted. As an expert accountant his services were of great


value in the case of the treasurer of the borough of West Chester, Pennsylvania,
Dr. Peirce's testimony securing conviction. In the case of the Presbyterian Board
of Publication, on which he was at work a year, his skill as an accountant saved
the reputation of the board. He was consulted by business men and bookkeepers
almost constantly and his opinion was considered sufficient to decide many dis-
putes and to aid in disentangling complicated accounts.

The activities of Dr. Peirce took on many aspects as different organizations
or associations sought his cooperation, which was freely given whenever the op-
portunity made it possible. In 1878 he served the state as bank assessor and the
following year was elected president of the Business Educators Association of
America. Dickinson College, recognizing his efficient service in the cause of edu-
cation, conferred upon him the Doctor of Philosophy degree. For five years and
up to the time of his death he was president of the Bookkeepers Beneficial Asso-
ciation, with which he had held membership for seventeen years.

In 1861 Dr. Peirce was united in marriage to Miss Emma Louisa Bisbing, a
resident of Springfield township, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania. She died
in the early part of 1870, leaving three children, and on the 14th oi October, 1871,
Dr. Peirce was again married, his second union being with Ruth Stong, a daughter
of William and Maria Stong, of Willistown township, Chester county, Pennsyl-
vania. Of the tw^o marriages nine children were born, of whom Mary B., Ruth,
Thomas May and Caleb C. are yet living.

The family were reared in the faith of the Methodist Episcopal church. Dr.
Peirce having long been a faithful and devoted member of the Grace Methodist
Episcopal church of Philadelphia. He served as chairman of its finance com-
mittee for a long period and in 1887, upon recommendation of this church, was
licensed to preach by the presiding elder. In church and Sunday school work he
took an active part, putting forth every efifort in his power to promote the cause
of Christianity. He was president of the Philadelphia Tract Society of the
Methodist Episcopal church, which publishes the Philadelphia Methodist, and was
a trustee of the Methodist Episcopal Hospital, to which he had given five thou-
sand dollars to found a bed in honor of his daughter Blanche. He was also treas-
urer of the Philadelphia Sabbath Association, a trustee of Temple College, Phil-
adelphia, a manager of the Home Missionary Society and of the Evangelical
Alliance of America.

He possessed marked oratorical ability and because of his comprehensive
understanding of subjects which he discussed he was again and again called upon
to address public assemblies and always held their close attention and interest.
The democracy found in him an earnest champion and, recognizing the duties as
well as the obligations of citizenship, he participated in political matters for a
number of years and in 1880 did much campaign work in Ohio, Indiana and

Death came to Dr. Peirce at his home on the i6th of May, 1896, and four
days later, after impressive funeral services held in Grace Methodist Episcopal
church, his remains were interred in Whitemarsh cemetery. Every organization
and society of which he was a member met and passed resolutions of respect, in-
dicating how highly he was honored and esteemed by those who knew him.
Rev. John Thompson, dean of the faculty of Peirce School, spoke of what he did


in life for himself, his family, his church, the cause of benevolence and for young
men and young women. He said, in part: "He cultivated the talents that God
gave him and made the most of his talent that he was capable of ; he provided
for his family a comfortable home ; he adopted the church as one of his family ;
he gave to the extent of his ability to charity and his influence with young men
and young women toward stimulating them for the development of all that is
best in life was immeasurable. The missionary cause, the Methodist Episcopal
Hospital, the Old Folks Home and the Orphanage all benefited by his liberality."

On the same occasion Dr. Webb said : "His tender heartedness was most
conspicuous. Did ever anyone go to him with a tale of sorrow that help was not
given? He always gave to the utmost of his ability."

Rev. Wallace MacMullen said: "There were two aspects of his generosity
that appealed to me. First, his liberality was methodical ; his money was freely
used for deserving causes, but it was not carelessly bestowed. It was given wisely
and in a discriminating way. He kept one of those subtreasuries of the Lord
known as a tithing account ; that is, he set aside one-tenth of his income for that
purpose, so that when calls came to him, whether they were regular or special in
their nature, there was always a fund to meet them. The other aspect of his
generosity that even more surprised me was his charitableness in his views of
others. Perhaps there is no way in which Christian charity shows itself more
clearly than in the readiness to see the virtues and good qualities of other people.
He never said a disparaging word against another. Sometimes there was ref-
erence to some one who had differed with him, some with whom he had been in
conflict, but never an unkind word, never a trace of bitterness in his speech. It
is one of the traits that presents itself in the charity that 'thinketh no evil' "

In his own home Dr. Peirce was a devoted husband and father, to whom
family ties were ever of a most cherished and sacred character. In a meeting of
the Bookkeepers Beneficial Association, its president, B. F. Dennison, cashier
of the Market Street National Bank, said: "Dr. Peirce was a punctual man. He
felt that the time belonging to others he had no right to take from them by not
being punctual in his engagements. The very nature of his constant occupation
taught him exactness and this exactness told upon his character and made him
careful about the feelings and reputations of those with whom he came in con-
stant contact. Many young men today think that it isn't likely to conduce to the
highest success in business to be a consistent Christian man. Dr. Peirce never
found it so."


Charles L. McKeehan was born in Philadelphia, March 29, 1876. He is of
Scotch-Irish descent, his great-great-grandfather, John McKeehan, having emi-
grated from Ulster to the Cumberland valley in 1780. His father, the late
Charles Watson McKeehan, came from Chambersburg to Philadelphia as a
young man in 1872, and occupied a prominent position as a laviryer in this city
until his death in 1895. He was for many years a trustee of Dickinson College.


He married Mary Anna Givin, a daughter of the late Robert Givin, a chaplain
in the United States navy.

Charles L. McKeehan was graduated from the William Penn Charter school
in 1893. He then entered the college of the University of Pennsylvania, receiv-
ing his A. B. degree in 1897. He was one of the Phi Beta Kappa men of his
class and was the class "spoon man." He then entered the law school of the
university, graduating in 1900. Upon graduating he was elected a fellow of
the law department and for five years thereafter conducted the course on Nego-
tiable Paper. During this period he published a monograph on the Negotiable
Instruments Law, which is regarded as a valuable contribution to the subject.

Since his admission to the bar in 1900, Mr. McKeehan has been engaged in
the general practice of law. He has been secretary and treasurer of the state
board of law examiners since its creation by the supreme court in 1903. He
is a republican in politics and has taken an active part in independent efforts for
better political conditions in Philadelphia. For several years he has been a
member of the executive board of the Committee of Seventy. He has been an
occasional contributor to the current literature of his profession and has been
active in the work of the University of Pennsylvania along various lines.

He has been secretary of the Pennsylvania Scotch-Irish Society for fifteen
years and is a vestryman of St. Stephen's church. He is a member of various
organizations, among them being the Union League, University Club, University
Barge Club, Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity, Markham Club and Rittenhouse Club.
He finds his recreation in hunting and spends his vacations in the woods of
Maine and Canada.


It has been said that words, looks and actions constitute the alphabet that
spells character. There is no difficulty in determining what is the outcome of
this combination of the forces in the life of Bernard Corr, for public opinion is
unanimous in placing him with the representative business men of the city,
whose varied and important interests have gained him recognition as a man of
large affairs. While now eighty-one years of age, he is still active in business
and is the sole owner of the wholesale liquor store located at Beach and Brown

Online LibraryEllis Paxson OberholtzerPhiladelphia; a history of the city and its people, a record of 225 years (Volume 4) → online text (page 17 of 62)