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

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New Jersey, in 1676, but soon afterward removed to Philadelphia, where rep-
resentatives of the name engaged in the leather and later in the chemical busi-
ness. Thomas Scattergood, one of his ancestors, was a prominent Friends min-
ister and traveled widely over the world. His grandfather, Joseph Scattergood,
was one of the founders of the firm of Carter & Scattergood, manufacturing
chemists of Philadelphia. His father, Thomas Scattergood, also born in Phila-
delphia, was president of the Sharpless Dyewood Extract Company and other
corporations and was a successful merchant and manufacturer. He was a
prominent member of the Society of Friends and for many years published
anonymously a motto calendar, which has become well known and is widely
distributed. He died in Naples while traveling abroad in 1907. Our subject's
mother was Sarah Garrett, of Garrettford, Pennsylvania, and a member of a
leading old family of Delaware county. The old ancestral home, which is still
owned by the family, occupies a tract of land that was deeded by William Penn
to the Garretts in the early days of the colony. This family was also prominent
in the Society of Friends.

J. Henry Scattergood attended Haverford College, from which he was grad-
uated A. B. in 1896. The following year the Bachelor of Arts degree was con-
ferred upon him at Harvard and when his college days were over he entered
business life in connection with the American Pulley Company, with which he



230 HISTORY OF PHILADELPHIA

was associated until 1900. In that year he became connected with the Sharp-
less Dyewood Extract Company, of which he remained an active member and
director until it was merged into the American Dyewood Company in 1904, Mr.
Scattergood being then chosen secretary and director, which offices he continued
to fill until the headquarters of the house were removed to New York in 1906.
He is still largely interested financially in the business and is one of its directors.
In 1908 he was elected president of the Insurance Company of the state of
Pennsylvania and also of the Union Insurance Company. He also is officially
connected with various other concerns, being president of the Kent Building
Company of New York, vice president and director of the American Water
Softener Company, director of the American Dyewood Company, director of
the United Dyewood Company, director of the Underwriters Securities Com-
pany and a member of the board of Registration Commissioners of Philadelphia
since 1906, having been appointed by Governor Pennypacker and reappointed
by Governor Stuart. He is also interested in other lines of business in con-
nection with the management of his father's estate.

Mr. Scattergood is a manager of the Haverford College, the Young Men's
Christian Association, the Pennsylvania Workingmen's Home for Blind Men
and is interested in other charities. In politics he is an independent republican.
He was one of the original members of the Committee of Seventy and also one
of the original members of the executive committee of the City Party in 1905.
He is an active member of the Society of Friends (Twelfth street meeting), a
member of the University Club, the Merion Cricket Club, of which he is also
a governor, the City Club of Philadelphia and the Cosmos Club of Washington.

On the 13th of June, 1906, Mr. Scattergood married Miss Anne T. Morris,
a daughter of Theodore H. Morris and a representative of one of the old
families of the city, prominent in the iron industry and other important busi-
ness enterprises for generations. They now have two children, Mary Morris
and Thomas. They live at 3515 Powellton avenue, where they spent the win-
ter months, while in summer they live at Haverford.



ABRAM C. MOTT.



Abram C. Mott, as president of the Abram Cox Stove Company and a director
of the Penn National Bank, needs no introduction to the readers of this volume,
for his commercial and financial interests have made him widely known and the
policy he has ever followed has brought him the admiration and respect of his col-
leagues and contemporaries. He was born at Glen Falls, New York, February 24,
1850, a son of Isaac and Mary A. (Cox) Mott, and a direct descendant of the
eighth generation of Adam Mott, who came to the new world about 1640 and set-
tled on Long Island, afterward becoming the founder of the town of Hempstead,
Long Island. The grandfather, James Mott, was one of a small party to organize
the first temperance society of which history makes mention. This society was
founded April 13, 1808, in the old Mawney Tavern in the town of Moreau, Sara-
toga county. New York, and during the year 1809 James Mott was president of



HISTORY OF PHILADELPHIA 231

the Society. After leaving Long Island, up to this time the ancestral home of the
family, he removed to Moreau, Saratoga county, New York, and his son, Isaac
Mott, father of Abram C. Mott, was born at Glens Falls, New York. Adam Mott,
the American progenitor, was born about 1620 and the line of descent is traced
down through John Mott, born about 1658; James I; James II, bom in October,
1723; Zebulon Mott, born September 4, 1757; James Mott, born November 15,
1783; Isaac Mott, born September 25, 1818. The last named was the father of
Abram C. Mott, who in the year 1865 removed to Philadelphia.

Abram C. Mott, then a youth of fifteen years, continued his education in the
public schools and also under private tutors. He crossed the threshold of the
business world as an employe of the firm of Cox, Whiteman & Cox, stove manu-
facturers. He entered their service in a clerical capacity and, applying himself
closely to the discharge of his duties and to the mastery of the busmess, soon
gained a general knowledge thereof and was promoted from time to time, and
eventually became superintendent. On the 1st of January, 1882, the firm of Cox,
Whiteman & Cox being dissolved by death, he with Abram Cox organized the
Abram Cox Stove Company and was elected vice president. In 1884 he became
president, since which time he has remained as the chief executive officer of one
of the important industrial enterprises of Philadelphia. The business was estab-
lished in 1847 by his uncle, Abram Cox. The first change in ownership occurred
in 185 1 when the style of Cox, Whiteman & Cox was assumed. In 1852 this be-
came Cox, Hagar & Cox; in 1856 it was changed to Cox, Whiteman & Cox; and
in 1882 the present style of Abram Cox Stove Company was assumed. The pres-
ent officers are : Abram C. Mott, president ; Charles S. Prizer, first vice president ;
Abram C. Mott, Jr., second vice president ; Charles M. Mott, treasurer, secretary
and sales manager. The company manufactures stoves, ranges and furnaces, hot
water and steam boilers, and their output under the name of Novelty is known
throughout the country. They have general offices in Philadelphia with a west-
ern branch in Chicago and their factories are located in Philadelphia and at Lans-
dale, Pennsylvania. This has become one of the most important iron industries
in the city and through an existence of more than sixty years has maintained an
unassailable reputation for the character of the business methods of the house and
the excellence of the output. Mr. Mott has for more than a quarter of a century
bent his energies to administrative direction and his carefully devised plans have
constituted salient features in the success of the business. He is also now the
fourth director of the Penn National Bank.

On the i6th of January, 1871, Mr. Mott was married to Miss Katherine Eck-
feldt, of Philadelphia, a daughter of Adam and Melvina (Hooper) Eckfeldt. The
Eckfeldts have been connected with the United States mint since its inception.
With the opening of the mint in San Francisco John Eckfeldt was sent thither as
chief coiner but eventually became superintendent. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Mott
have been born a daughter and two sons: Helen, the wife of Fitzcharles Green;
Abram, who was born January 17, 1879, and married Miss Katherine Middle-
ton, of Philadelphia; and Merle E., who was bom December 4, 1887, and after
spending three years in school in Switzerland, studied for one year in Dresden,
Germany, and is now a pupil in the Wharton School of Finance at the University



232 HISTORY OF PHILADELPHIA

of Pennsylvania. There are also two grandchildren of Mr. Mott, Abram Cox
Mott, III ; and Katherine Mott.

In his political views Abram C. Mott is a republican. He belongs to St. John
Lodge, No. ii6, F. & A. M. ; Harmony Chapter, No. 52, R. A. M.; and to the
Union League, with which he has been identified since 1884. He is also a mem-
ber of the Manufacturers Club, organized in the interests of trade, and his more
strictly social relations are with the Philadelphia Country Club. Social, fraternal
and political interests constitute an even balance to his business activities which,
carefully directed, have brought him to an important position in the commercial
circles of Philadelphia.



WILLIAM THORNTON.

To what phase of life has man's work contributed is a question always asked
of him who passes from the scene of earthly activity. No mere acquisition of
wealth causes a man to be remembered by his fellowmen save in very rare and
exceptional cases. The means by which he acquired his success, however, often
awaken admiration and regard that cause his memory to be honored, and when
added to this there is a wise and beneficent use of his wealth the public enrolls
his name high among those whose labors are of a source of value to his fel-
lowmen. William Thornton was for a long period ranked with the leading
manufacturers of Philadelphia. For fifty-two years he was engaged in this
line of business and his labors were not only crowned with success but also con-
stituted an avenue for good in the employment which he afforded many and by
the example which he set of honorable and straightforward dealing and of con-
sideration for those who served him. In many ways, too, he used his means
for the amelioration of hard conditions of life among the unfortunate, and to
the poor and needy his hand was ever extended in a friendly and helpful way.

Mr. Thornton was born in Yorkshire, England, October 25, 1834, and spent
the period of his boyhood and youth in that locality, acquiring there his educa-
tion and considerable practical experience, largely developing those traits of
character, industry and manhood that served him so well in life. He was
twenty-two years of age when he sailed for America and after remaining in the
employ of others in Kensington and vicinity for a time he began manufacturing
on his own account, being well qualified for his new responsibilities because of
his knowledge of the manufacturing business gleaned in boyhood. His pros-
perity as a manufacturer indicates the close application and unremitting industry
which always characterized him in his business affairs. He became the owner
of one of the extensive manufacturing enterprises of the city, operated under
the name of the Kensington Woolen Mills. Here he manufactured jute, cotton
and woolen carpet yarns, and the output of his factory became very extensive.
From time to time he introduced improved machinery into his plant and adopted
such methods as would facilitate his business or add to the comfort and welfare
of his employes. He was ever true to the best interests of those who served him
and evidence of this is found in the many expressions of sorrow among working




WILLIAM THORXTON



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HISTORY OF PHILADELPHIA 235

people over the death of Mr. Thornton whom they regarded as one of the best
of employers.

In 1862 Mr. Thornton was united in marriage to Miss Suzanna Dawson,
also a native of England, and unto them were born four children, two of whom
are yet living, Mrs. J. Harry Townsend and Mrs. Theodore Edwards. The fam-
ily residence is at No. 1430 East Columbia avenue, and it was there that Mr.
Thornton passed away on the 28th of January, 191 1, at the age of seventy-six
years.

Mr. Thornton was well known in connection with many fraternal and social
organizations. He was prominent in Masonry, was also a member of the Knights
of Pythias and for fifty-two years held membership with the Independent Order
of Odd Fellows. He was likewise a member of the Anti-Cobden Club, which
he joined on its organization, and of the Manufacturers Club. A man of broad
charity, when any cause or individual needed assistance it was found that he
was among the generous contributors. His life was ever honorable and upright.
He was a man of high moral character and genuine personal worth. He ever
sought to deal justly with his fellowmen and to contribute to the world's prog-
ress along those lines which develop a stronger manhood and citizenship. The
most envious could not grudge him his success, so well and worthily was it won
and so wisely used, and his business integrity and strict commercial honor con-
stituted examples that may well be followed.



JOSEPH WHARTON.



Joseph Wharton, a great man in the magnitude of his undertakings, yet sin-
gularly modest in all of his personal relations, whose aptitude for the successful
management of the gigantic business affairs was matched by his scientific at-
tainments and his broad charity, reached the age of eighty-one years with
undiminished powers and with vigor, energy and ability such as man is thought
to possess only in the prime of life. His last year brought its physical infirmi-
ties, but with a mind clear and penetrating he considered business projects, or
with equal insight passed upon the questions of philanthropy that came before
him and reasoned to a logical conclusion the significant problems of the day.

His life history began March 3, 1826, his birth occurring at the family home
on Spruce street, below Fourth, in a building which is still standing. He was
one of the ten children of William and Deborah (Fisher) Wharton, both of
whom belonged to old and honored Philadelphia families, whose ancestors came
to this country during the pioneer epoch in the history of Pennsylvania. The
father was a descendant of Thomas Wharton, of Westmorelandshire, England,
who arrived in America in 1683. John Fisher, the American progenitor of the
maternal line, came to the new world with William Penn as a passenger on the
Welcome.

In his early yo;ith and later Joseph Wharton attended the Friends' schools,
while subsequently he pursued a preparatory course in a private school con-
ducted by Frederick Augustus Eustis with the intention of entering Harvard.



236 HISTORY OF PHILADELPHIA

This plan, however, he put aside that he might lay the foundations of strong
physical development in farm life. He was in youth quite delicate and it was
his own plan that he should live close to nature that he might gain in the out-
door life that physical health which he regarded as a necessity in the accom-
plishment of the successful plans of business which were already formulating
in his mind. Accordingly, he went to a farm in Chester county owned by
Joseph S. Walton and there for three years he arose at four o'clock in the
morning and worked long hours in the field in close contact with the health
giving earth. In the winter seasons, when there was practically no work to be
done on the farm, he studied in Boye's Laboratory of Philadelphia and acquired
the foundation of his knowledge of chemistry, which in time made him regarded
as one of the foremost scientists of the city outside of those who were devoting
their entire lives thereto. His evening hours were given to the study of Ger-
man and French.

While Mr. Wharton came of a family of good financial standing, he resolved
that he would make his own way in the world and on leaving the farm he en-
tered the dry-goods house of Wain & Leaming that he might acquaint himself
with commercial methods. He worked without wages and entered the store
before others in the morning to perform the task of sweeping out the office.
Proving his worth, advancement came to him and eventually he was made book-
keeper for the firm. This brought him to his majority and he felt that he was
now qualified to undertake the management of business interests on his own
account. He turned his attention to white lead manufacturing, joining his
brother Rodman Wharton, who had been in the business for some time. They
were associated for a few years and then sold out.

A trivial incident seemed to determine his path in life, and yet, it was be-
cause he had developed his powers and improved his opportunities for broaden-
ing his knowledge that he was able to take the position that launched him upon
the career that in time made him one of Pennsylvania's wealthiest men. While
on a horseback trip through Lehigh county he visited a zinc mine at Friedens-
ville, operated by the Lehigh Zinc Company. As the result of this visit he
assumed the management of the mine and the business at a salary of three
thousand dollars per year, which was later increased to five thousand. After
the Lehigh Zinc Company succumbed to the widespread financial panic of 1853,
Mr. Wharton leased the mine and through 1857 and 1858 managed it on his
own account successfully. Within a short time he had acquired thirty thou-
sand dollars for himself and also handed over large profits to the company.
In 1859 he began making experiments in the production of metallic zinc or
spelter, for which purpose he imported experienced workmen from Belgium and
established sixteen furnaces. The new undertaking brought marvelous suc-
cess, so that when his lease expired in 1863 the company decided that it would
not renew it, desiring to keep all the profits for itself.

Mr. Wharton then turned his attention to the manufacture of nickel, for
about that time the United States had been forced to suspend the coinage of
cents because of the scarcity of nickel, the money at that time being made of
a nickel alloy. He purchased a nickel mine in Lancaster county and an aban-
doned nickel refining plant in Camden, New Jersey, and at the latter manu-



HISTORY OF PHILADELPHIA 237

factured the first malleable nickel in the world. He conducted the business with
Dr. Theodore Fleitmann as his partner until the plant was destroyed by fire,
after which Mr. Wharton became sole proprietor of a constantly increasing
business. During its conduct he secured the contract to supply the Prussian
mint with the nickel for its currency.

In all business afifairs Mr. Wharton displayed notable sagacity and insight.
This was particularly manifest in his investment in the stock of the Bethlehem
Iron Company, which he purchased from time to time until he was the owner
of a majority of its stock. He was not associated with the management of the
business, however, for a long period but finally became a director of the com-
pany and when he assumed voice in the management noticeable growth was
manifest in the business. He was the pioneer in the manufacture of armor
plate used on the warships of the country. When Mr. Whitney was secretary
of the navy congress appropriated four million, five hundred thousand dollars
to strengthen the naval armament of the country. Mr. Wharton was called to
Washington, where Mr. Whitney told him that the country had been searched
for a concern which could manufacture the armor plate and that the Bethlehem
Steel Company must undertake the work. Accordingly, Mr. Wharton went to
England and France, where he bought the rights to patent processes and needed
machinery. He entered the open bid for the work and secured the award.
Armor plate was soon produced equal to that manufactured in any country on
the face of the globe, and thus America was released from dependence upon
foreign concerns for that product. In 1901 a proposal for the sale of the Beth-
lehem Steel Works was made by a syndicate of men interested in the manu-
facture of the metal. The company was willing to consider the proposition and
Mr. Wharton was given absolute authority to conduct and complete the nego-
tiations. Charles M. Schwab became the purchaser. Even after this sale, Mr.
Wharton remained the largest individual purchaser of iron and steel in the
country. He had been one of the first men in the business to look forward to
what this generation has seen in the extraordinary development of the manu-
facture of steel in Pennsylvania. Constantly extending the scope of his activi-
ties, he built at Wharton, New Jersey, furnaces with a capacity of one thousand
tons per day. His ore lands aggregated five thousand acres and he owned
seventy-five hundred acres of coal lands in Indiana county, Pennsylvania, and
twenty-four thousand acres of coal lands in West Virginia. While he managed
and controlled mammoth enterprises, he never sought to call the attention of
the public to his own personal relation to them. He was content to be the
guiding spirit and he always desired to so manage and control his interests that
he could deal with them, as far as possible, on his own judgment without being
hampered by partners or advisers on the same footing as himself. He became
one of the greatest of those iron masters and financiers who have developed the
wealth of Pennsylvania. It has been said that every year of his adult life was
one of giant activities.

Thus it came to be that Mr. Wharton was recognized as one of America's
eminent financiers and yet his business, extensive and important as it was, rep-
resented but one phase of existence to him. He was as widely known as a
scientist and as a philanthropist as he was a financier. He studied the sciences



238 HISTORY OF PHILADELPHIA

as few men have ever done who do not make a particular branch their life
work. He could give a scientific reason for every process followed in the pro-
duction of iron and steel, and chemistry and metallurgy even in their most far-
reaching phases were to him matters of the utmost familiarity. There was
nothing lucky or merely speculative in his remarkable successes, which were the
results chiefly of long and patient original study in the metallurgical field. He
gauged precisely the need for the products, the demand for them and the con-
ditions which his own manufacture would eventually create. One who knew
him well when he was active in the conduct of his mammoth iron industry said
that his operations were planned with untiring application to things that most
men would be likely to consider as too trivial for their personal attention, and
added : "Joseph Wharton used to work night and day in getting to the bottom
of a question and there was nothing left of it to investigate after he had gone
through it."

Mr. Wharton understood with equal thoroughness all that he undertook in
the field of philanthropy. He had no sympathy with charity that tended to
make men dependent ; to fit them for work, for business, for useful industry,
so that they could be trained into the best efficiency of which each individual
is capable, was the controlling thought in his benefactions and particularly in
the bestowal of his bounty on the University of Pennsylvania and the College
of Swarthmore. He was the founder of the Wharton School of Finance and
Commerce of the University of Pennsylvania, to which he gave five hundred
thousand dollars, and he presented to Swarthmore College the gift of Wharton
Hall. He was president of the board of directors of that college and ever
sought to further its interests in tangible practical ways. He endowed the chair
of history and political economy and was associated with Samuel Willetts of
New York in establishing its scientific laboratory. He gave to the astronomical
observatory of the University of Pennsylvania a reflex Venus tube, an instru-
ment for calculating latitude, which is duplicated only at the observatory at
Greenwich. Many charities received his substantial aid, but he believed in the
plan of prevention in so qualifying men by education and training that there
would be no need for the benevolent institutions which care for the indigent.
His own life proved the worth and value of broad and thorough education and
mental discipline.

In politics Mr. Wharton was not only a republican but a protectionist of
uncompromising type. In this connection one of the local papers said : "Free
trade he regarded as mere sentimentalism, or the folly of crude and untrained
thought. He spoke and wrote of it as a doctor might in describing some ma-
lignant disease. He early adopted the philosophy of Henry C. Carey as an
expositor of the protective principle and believed that the education of the



Online LibraryEllis Paxson OberholtzerPhiladelphia; a history of the city and its people, a record of 225 years (Volume 4) → online text (page 24 of 62)