Ellis Paxson Oberholtzer.

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corporation law, was born in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, on the i8th of
April, 1880. The Spahr family is of German origin, although representatives
of the name have lived for several generations in England before the emigra-
tion of the American progenitor to the new world. The great-grandfather was
Henry Spahr, the grandfather, William Alexander Spahr. The latter was born
in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, and died in Harrisburg. He was the father of
Murray H. Spahr, who was born in Dillsburg, on the loth of July, 1852, and
now resides in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. He has long been well known in
financial circles in central Pennsylvania, and for many years has been presi-
dent of the Mechanicsburg National Bank. He is a director of a number of
other important institutions, including the Security Trust Company of Har-
risburg. He has been a delegate to various conventions, a member of the city
council and is a leading and influential financier and business man. He mar-
ried Clara Koser, who was born in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, November
30, 1849, and is a daughter of John Koser, who was a soldier of the Civil war,
enlisting in a Pennsylvania regiment as a private, while later he was made a
non-commissioned officer. He was killed at the battle of Murfreesboro, Ten-
nessee. The Koser family is also of German lineage. The maternal grand-
father of Qara Koser Spahr was Peter Rockafellow, a native of New Jersey,
who served as a captain in the war of 1812 and died in Mechanicsburg, Penn-

Boyd Lee Spahr attended Conway Hall at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in the pur-
suit of a preparatory course qualifying him to enter Dickinson College, from
which he was graduated with the Bachelor of Philosophy degree in 1900. His
alma mater conferred upon him the Master of Arts degree in 1906. In the
meantime he had taken up the study of law and was graduated from the Uni-
versity of Pennsylvania Law School with the LL. B. degree in 1904, in which
year he was admitted to the bar. Soon afterward he began practice in association


with Ellis Ames Ballard of Philadelphia, with whom he has since been asso-
ciated, and in his practice he has specializetl in corporation and street railway
law. having conducted considerable practice for the Philadelphia Rapid Transit
Company. Mr Ballard being the general counsel for the railway company. In
addition to his practice he is the author of Liability of Corporation Promoters
I)ublished by the University of Pennsylvania. It is a volume of one hundred and
fifteen pages, which has been well received. Moreover, he is a frequent con-
tributor to the American Law Register.

On the 8th of October, 1908, Mr. Spahr was married to Miss Katharine Febi-
ger, a daughter of Christian C. and Katharine (Sellers) Febiger of Philadelphia.
He is a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity and also the Phi Beta Kappa
Society. He holds membership in the University Club of Philadelphia, the Mer-
ion Cricket Club, the Sharswood Law Club and the Law Association of Phila-
delphia, and is a trustee of Dickinson College.


Rev. James J. Smith, pastor of the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed
Virgin Mary, was born in Philadelphia, February 15, i860, and was educated in
St. Ann's parochial school and in Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmettsburg,
Maryland. Having prepared for the priesthood he was ordained by Archbishop
Ryan on the 15th of June, 1889, and spent a month in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania,
in the Holy Infant's church. He was afterward for twenty-three months at
Ivy Mills, connected with the church of St. Thomas the Apostle, and for eight
months as assistant pastor in St. Mary's church of Phoenixville. For seventeen
years he was assistant pastor of St. Phillip Neri, of Philadelphia, and on the
17th of December, 1908, became the pastor of the church of ire Assumption of
the Blessed Virgin Mary. The house of worship is a very fine specimen of
Gothic architecture and is built in brown stone.

The work in this parish began in 1848 when Rev. C. I. H. Carter, then pastor
of St. Mary's church on Fourth street, was appointed by Bishop Kendrick to
superintend the erection of a proposed church. A meeting was called at which
only six persons besides Father Carter were present, but the work was instituted,
arrangements were made for the purchase of a lot and in time a house of worship
was erected and the various lines of church work were organized, including the
establishment of schools for the training of the boys and girls of the parish. The
Sisters of Mercy were first in charge and in 1863 the Sisters of the Holy Child
were installed. The church was consecrated September 11, 1859, and a school-
house and rectory were added to the property. Father Carter had inherited a
fortune of seventy-five thousand dollars which, together with his income, he
gave to the parish. His labors were indeed a strong element in the growth of the
church and the extension of Catholic influence in the neighborhood. He was
particularly helpful toward the Little Sisters of the Poor when they came to
Philadelphia in 1869. In 1861 Father Carter was made vicar general, which
position he continued to fill until his death, which occurred September 17, 1879,


at which time he lacked but a week of being seventy-six years of age. He was
succeeded by the Rev. A. D. Filan as senior assistant, who remained as pastor
until 1885, when Rev. Daniel A. Brennan was appointed and continued in charge
until 1890. During his pastorate a new schoolhouse was built. Rev, R. F. Hana-
gan filled the pastorate from 1890 to 1908, and was then transferred to St.
Gregory's church.

On the 17th of December, 1908, Father Smith came to the church as pastor
and he now has two assistants, Rev. Joseph T. O'Brien and Rev. John J. Mc-
Mahon. There are twelve teachers in charge of the school which has five hun-
dred pupils, and there are seven hundred and fifty families in the parish. The
church is today entirely out of debt and the various departments of the church
are in excellent working condition.


Hampton L. Carson, of whom it has been written "The great state of Penn-
sylvania with its long line of orators from the time of William Penn has pro-
duced no speaker, thinker or writer of greater ability," was born in Philadelphia,
February 21, 1852, a son of Dr. Joseph and Mary ( Hollingsworth ) Carson.
Joseph Carson, the great-grandfather of the Hon. Hampton L. Carson, left Scot-
land at the time of the persecution of the Presbyterians in that country and was
among those who held the north of Ireland as a Protestant domain. He settled
near Londonderry but between the years 1740 and 1745 emigrated with his
brothers to the colony of Pennsylvania, establishing his home in Philadelphia,
where successive generations of the family have since been represented. He
was one of the signers of the non-importation resolutions prior to the Revolu-
tion. His son, Joseph Carson II, was a prominent merchant of Philadelphia,
while Dr. Joseph Carson, a distinguished member of the medical profession,
was for a quarter of a century professor of materia medica in the University
of Pennsylvania.

On the distaff side Hampton L. Carson is descended from Henry Hollings-
worth, who was deputy surveyor under William Penn and aided in laying out the
city of Philadelphia. The Hollingsworth family is of English and Welsh ances-
try from County Chester on the border of Wales, the Welsh lineage showing
through intermarriage with the Humphreys of Wales. Levi Hollingsworth,
great-grandfather of Hampton L. Carson, was a member of the first city troop
of Philadelphia during the Revolutionary war and was prominent during the siege
of Quebec. He wedded Sarah Humphreys, a daughter of Joshua Humphreys,
the first naval constructor of the United States, designed the Constitution better
known as "Old Ironsides," and all the battleships used in the war of 1812. His
son, Henry Hollingsworth, was for many years cashier of the oldest bank in the
United States— the Bank of North America, in Philadelphia,— and was also the
first treasurer of The Western Savings Fund. A. A. Humphreys, an uncle of
Mr. Carson in the maternal line, was with General Sickles in the peach orchard in
the battle of Gettysburg and after the engagement became chief of staflf to Gen-
eral Meade. When General Hancock was wounded in the battle of the Wilder-







ness lie became commander of the Second Corps of the Army of the Potomac,
and later was appointed to the highest military scientific position in the country,
that of chief of engineers.

Hampton L. Carson began his education in the Boys School conducted by
Rev. John W. Faires, the principal intsitution of that character of the time. Later
he graduated from the department of arts of the Universiy of Pennsylvania in
1871 and from the law department in 1874. Later he became connected with the
University of Pennsylvania in a professorship of law, which position he filled
from 1895 until 1901. Both his sons are graduates of the arts department of the
University of Pennsylvania and later one was graduated in medicine and the
other in law, the latter being now associated with his father in practice. Hampton
L. Carson prepared for the bar as a law student in the office of William M. Tilgh-
man and after successfully passing the required examination for admission en-
tered upon active practice as a member of the firm of Redding, Jones & Carson.
Changes in partnership led to the adoption of the firm name of Jones, Carson &
Phillips and later of Jones. Carson & Beeber, which connection was maintained
until Mr. Carson withdrew to enter upon practice under his own name. Again
and again he has been offered the candidacy for judicial positions and for political
office including that of register of wills and of recorder of Philadelphia — an office
now abolished — but he has always preferred to remain in the private practice of
law. Finally, however, he accepted the position of attorney general of the state
when ofifered by Governor Samuel W. Pennypacker. This appointment was not a
political one ; it was a tribute to the worth of one great lawyer paid by another ;
the recognition of merit unsolicited but fully deserved.

Another prominent Pennsylvania lawyer has said of Mr. Carson: "He un-
raveled tangled legal skeins as readily as a child can unwind a ball of yarn.

* * * He displayed a resourcefulness and a code of equity that placed him
on a plane with the greatest legal minds in the American republic or across the
water." Of his service as attorney general it has been written : "In this position
of premier Mr. Carson further demonstrated his ability and wonderful resource-
fulness of mind in giving impartial decisions in the momentous questions that
were presented to him." As attorney general he wrote over five hundred opinions
and his arguments before the supreme court of Pennsylvania and the United
States supreme court are contained in thirty-two volumes. While he was well
grounded in the principles of the law when admitted to the bar, he has continued
through the whole of his professional life a diligent student of those elementary
principles that constitute the basis of all legal science and this knowledge has
served him well in many a legal battle before the superior and appellate courts
where he has successfully conducted many cases. He has always prepared his
cases with great care. If there has been a close legal point involved in the issue
it has been his habit to thoroughly examine every authority within his reach
bearing upon the question. When he comes to the discussion of the most in-
tricate questions before the court it is then perhaps that his great power as a
lawyer shows to the best advantage. With a thorough knowledge of the subjects
discussed and of the legal principles applicable thereto, his addresses before the
courts are models of clearness and logic. With a long line of decisions, from
Marshall down, by which the constitution has been expounded he is familiar, as


are all thoroughly skilled lawyers. He is at home in all departments of the law
from the minutiae of practice to the greater topics wherein is involved the history
of epochs, the philosophy of jurisprudence, and the higher concerns of public
policy. He believes in the thorough study of one's profession and his knowledge
of law is considered remarkable. One of wide distinction in the field of juris-
prudence said of him: "He is our law encyclopedia and our best orator before
a jury or at a banquet." He has been appointed and is now the administrator of
the vast Weightman estate, but has always refused office in financial institutions,
owing to the impossibility of his attending meetings because of the pressure of
professional duties and public interests.

Mr. Carson is today regarded as one of the most distinguished orators. Not
only have his utterances thrilled when he has discussed fundamental principles of
law or some involved legal point but also upon many public occasions when his
addresses have dealt with significant and vital issues or have touched upon
prominent points in American history. Many of his public speeches, addresses
and law articles have been published and include the following: 1876, editorials
and book reviews in the Legal Gazette during the time that Mr. Carson was one
of the editors; 1879, Commonwealth vs. Parr, speech in the court of Oyer &
Terminer of Philadelphia county in defense of the prisoner, charged with murder
in the first degree; 1881, Civil Service Reform, an address delivered at Associa-
tion Hall, Philadelphia; 1882, The Junior Bar, response to a toast at a banquet
tendered Attorney General Benjamin Harris Brewster on his appointment as at-
torney general of the United States ; 1882, The Laws Made by William Penn,
an address delivered at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania at the banquet and
celebration of the Bi-Centennial of Penn's landing: 1882, A History of the Law
Department of the University of Pennsylvania, an address delivered before the
law department of the university; 1882, The Right to Counsel in a Criminal Case,
published in the American Law Register; 1883, Report Upon the Management of
George F. Work and Associates While Officers of the Peoples Passenger Railway
Company; 1884, speech at the inauguration of the New Hall of the Historical
Society; 1884, Decoration Day address in Germantown; 1885, The Life and
Service of A. A. Humphreys, an address delivered before the American Phil-
osophical Society; 1886, The Age of Washington, an address delivered at Haver-
ford College; 1886, charge to the jury in the Weaver lunacy case; 1886, address
delivered at Girard College upon the Life and Ser\'ice of Stephen Girard; 1886,
address to the Governors of the Thirteen Original States at Carpenter's Hall ;
1887, speech at the dinner tendered to the Hon. John A. Kasson in commemora-
tion of his services as chief of the Constitutional Centennial Commission; 1888,
History of the Constitutional Centennial Celebration — two volumes, first volume
containing four hundred and seventy-seven pages, second volume, five hundred
and thirteen pages; 1888, The Law of Criminal Conspiracy, published by the
Blackstone Publishing Company; 1889, The First Congress of the United States,
address before the Historical Society, published in the magazine of the society ;
1890, speech at the dinner of the New England Society; 1891, History of the
Supreme Court of the United States — first edition in one volume of seven hun-
dred and twenty-six pages, second edition in two volumes; 1892, Historical
Studies in English Jurisprudence ; Procedure in Early Criminal Trials ; Crimes


and Their Punishment, published in the American Law Register of that year;
1892, American Citizenship, an address dehvered before the Philomathean So-
ciety; 1893, The Case of the Sloop Active, an adtlress read before the Historical
Society of Pennsylvania and published in their magazine; 1893, oration at the
World's Fair, Chicago; 1893, Horace Binney, published in the Green Bag; 1894,
The Life and Service of George W. Childs, an address delivered at the Bap-
tist Temple; 1894, In Memoriam, Robert H. Neilson, Legal Intelligencer; 1894,
English Jails a Century Ago, Green Bag; 1894, Great Dissenting Opinions, an
address before the American Bar Association ; 1894, Contrasts in Early English
Criminal Law, Green Bag; 1895, Case of the Sloop Active, illustrated. Green Bag;
189s, Pen Sketches of William Pinkney, Legal Intelligencer; 1895, The Liberty
Bell, argument in the case to restrain the removal of the bell, District Reports ;

1895, Judicial Power and Unconstitutional Legislation, American Law Register;

1896, Washington in his Relation to the National Idea, an address delivered before
the University of Pennsylvania on University Day ; 1896, Ourselves, reply to toast
at a banquet of the Pennsylvania State Bar Association ; 1896, The Gold Standard,
speech delivered at Bryn Mawr during the presidential campaign; 1896, speech
in defense of H. H. Yard in the United States district court; 1897, The Life
and Services of Frederick Dawson Stone, an address delivered before the His-
torical Society of Pennsylvania and published in their magazine; 1897, Our Chief
Justices, an address delivered at Scranton, Pennsylvania; 1898, Maryland's Con-
tribution to Federalism, an address delivered before the Maryland State Bar As-
sociation; 1898, William Pepper, M. D., an address delivered at the University
of Pennsylvania; 1899, Address of Welcome to Lord Herschell, an address de-
livered before the American Scientific Association; 1899, The Real Greatness of
Abraham Lincoln, a speech delivered at the Union League, Philadelphia; 1899,
The Character of Grant and his Place in History, address at the Academy of
Music on the occasion of the unveiling of Grant's statue in Fairmount Park;
1899, The United States Navy, address delivered at dinner given to Captain
Charles E. Clark by the Union League; 1899, address at the Commencement of
the University of Pennsylvania; 1899, argument before the Committee on Elec-
tions and Privileges of the senate of the United States in opposition to the seat-
ing of Senator M. S. Quay ; 1900, address upon the dedication of Price Hall in
the law department of the University of Pennsylvania ; 1900, Paoli, an address
delivered before the Sons of the Revolution upon the anniversary of the mas-
sacre at Paoli ; 1901, John Marshall, an address delivered before the bar of Cleve-
land, Ohio, upon Marshall Day; 1901, The Evolution of National Authority, an
address delivered before the Illinois State Bar Association; 1902, Edward T.
Steel, an address delivered before the Boys' high school of the city of Philadel-
phia ; 1904, Increase of Judicial Salaries, an opinion delivered to the auditor gen-
eral of Pennsylvania; 1904, Thomas McKean, an address delivered at Bradford,
Pennsylvania; 1904, Commencement address at the Dickinson School of Law;
1905, Attorney General's Opinions and Report — one volume, four hundred and
thirty pages ; 1905, address at the unveiling of the monument to A. J. Drexel in
Fairmount Park; 1905, address upon Founder's Day at Lehigh University; 1906,
William Penn, an address delivered before the Dauphin County Bar Association ;


1906, Benjamin Franklin and the University of Pennsylvania, an address delivered
before the University of Pennsylvania on the occasion of the bi-centennial of
Franklin's birth ; 1906, Some Administrative Questions, an address delivered
before the Pennsylvania State Bar Association; 1906, James Wilson, an address
delivered at Christ Church, Philadelphia, on the occasion of the removal of the
remains of James Wilson from North Carolina; 1906, address delivered before
the law department of Cornell University; 1907, Opinions and Report of the At-
torney General, one volume, eight hundred and sixty-five pages; 1907, Horace
Binney, pamphlet privately printed and distributed ; 1909, The Legal Responsibili-
ties of the Surgeon.

In the Legal Intelligencer have appeared his addresses at bar meetings upon
Joseph Allison, F. Carroll Brewster, E. Coppee Mitchell, George Tucker Bis-
pham, M. Russell Thayer, Joseph A. Abrams, Robert H. Neilson, J. Sergeant
Price, Hazard Dickson and R. C. Dale. He has also been called upon to deliver
the addresses upon the presentation to the supreme court of the portraits of Jus-
tice Atlee, Justice Bryan, Justice Williams, Chief Justice McCullom, Judge Hare,
Judge Sharswood, Judge Fell, Judge Pennypacker and Judge Mitchell. These
have been masterly speeches showing not only the comprehensive knowledge of
the man but of his work in relation to the public welfare.

While Mr. Carson has never consented to hold public office with the single
exception of that of attorney generalship, he is deeply interested in the great
political problems of the country, has labored for the adoption of a course which
he feels meets the public need and in this connection has nominated for public
office in addresses teeming with lofty patriotism and with clear analysis of the
situation, William Nelson West, George S. Graham, John L. Kinsey, Charles F.
Warwick, Judge Penrose, Judge Ashman, Judge Ferguson, Judge Sulzberger,
Judge Finletter and Judge Gordon. He now has in preparation the life of Lord
Mansfield and the History of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. There is in
all this state perhaps no one better qualified to write the history of our highest
tribunal, for he has ever been a close student not only of legal procedures but also
of the history of the court and its personnel. He owns a collection of legal por-
traits, documents and autograph letters which include over twelve thousand por-
traits and six thousand volumes of law history and engravings. He has for
thirty years collected this material and he owns more original letters and docu-
ments from the pen of William Blackstone than any one either in England or
America, including the original appointment of Blackstone as a judge by King
George HI. Other documents of equal value are in his possession. Before the
Pennsylvania Bar Association, June 29, 1910, he read a paper entitled The
Genesis of Blackstone's Commentaries and Their Place in Legal Literature. In
this he gave a complete review of Blackstone's methods of writing, citing the
long list of books from which he drew his materials, spoke of the criticism,
favorable and unfavorable, with which the work of the master was received,
including the charge that "it was intelligible and that any lawryer who wrote so
clearly was an enemy to his profession." After a complete review of the work
which Blackstone did in producing the commentaries he concludes : "This, then,
was his work — transcendent in its results as well as marvelous in its beauty. It
must always be reckoned with by any historical student of the development of


the law. * * * By us it must not be forgotten that we owe a debt to Black-
stone which is not simply sentimental and historical, but substantial. * * * j,j
crowded cities, in prairie villages, in mountain hamlets, in the depths of the
forests and by the shores of the Great Lakes, or by the banks of our teeming
rivers, the great commentator has been omnipresent. + * * jn nine hundred
years but six names appear as the real masters in authorship of the English
law — Glanvil, Bracton, Littleton, Coke, Hale and Blackstone."

Mr. Carson was married in April, 1880, to Miss Anna Lea Baker, a daughter
of John R. and Anna (Lea) Baker, of Philadelphia. They have four children:
Joseph Carson, engaged in the practice of law with his father; Hope, now the
wife of Evan Randolph; John B., a practicing physician; and Anna Hampton,
at home.

The family attend St. Peter's Episcopal church at Third and Pine streets, of
which Mr. Carson has long been a member, but that he is not unappreciative of
the social amenities of life is manifest in his membership in the Union League,
University Club, Lawyers Club, Manufacturers Club, the Law Association, the
Legal Club, the Franklin Inn Club and the Triplets Club. His interest in his-
torical and scientific research is evidenced in his connection with the Wistar
Association, American Philosophical Society, American Historical Society and
Swedish Historical Society. His recreation comes to him through the pleasures

Online LibraryEllis Paxson OberholtzerPhiladelphia; a history of the city and its people, a record of 225 years (Volume 4) → online text (page 2 of 62)