Ellis Paxson Oberholtzer.

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

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ernor Hartranft, in December, 1876, a member of the commission to devise a
plan for the improvement of cities in Pennsylvania and a legislative report of
this commission was completed in 1877. When the national democratic conven-
tion in 1896 adopted the free silver plank in its platform Mr. Bullitt openly
avowed his opposition thereto. He had been opposed to the making of irredeem-
able paper a legal tender, both upon business and constitutional grounds, and the
proposition to make an issue of silver money, at double its real value, seemed to
him quite as objectionable. He invited prominent men to attend a meeting for
consultation, and thus took the first formal action to effect an organized opposi-
tion to the democratic platform adopted at Chicago. He espoused the cause of
the democratic candidates placed in nomination at the Indiana convention, de-
voting the summer and fall of 1896 to campaign work.

When in his later years Mr. Bullitt's health demanded outdoor life for him he
gave up much of his practice yet daily visited his office and attended meetings
of the various boards of directors of which he was a member and gave active
service to estates of which he was a trustee or counsel. In 1886 he had been
one of the organizers of the Fourth Street National Bank and was always ac-
tive in promoting its welfare and growth. Another interest which largely claimed
his time was tlie Country Club of which he was also a promoter. His friends bore
testimony of the "genuine, unaffected benignity and friendliness of his nature"
and "his sterling integrity and unswerving honesty." On the occasion of the pres-
entation of his portrait to the Law Association of Philadelphia Hon. George
M. Dallas said : "He was a lawyer of much learning and of eminent ability. As
a counselor in intricate and complicated affairs he stood, as you have seen from
the paper which has just been read, at the very front of his profession. As an
advocate he was clear, earnest, forceful and efficient. He was faithful to his
clients, fair to his adversaries, candid to the court. He was true to himself. He
was a good citizen and an unselfish patriot. In fine, he was a man the impress
of whose life death should not be permitted to obliterate." Others bore testi-
mony of his absolute fidelity to his honest convictions which he expressed on all
proper occasions. Thus at the time of the Civil war when he held opinions dif-
fering with those of many of his friends and colleagues at the bar, he did not
hesitate to openly avow his position and yet he was always considerate of the
feelings of others and mindful of their right to form their own opinions, as he
had done. Speaking of his personal qualities, one characterized him as "a kindly,
warm hearted gentleman who, however absorbed in business he might be — and
even at that time Mr. Bullitt was a busy man — always found it possible to bestow
a kindly word and still more kindly look upon the boy who came to him from
another lawyer's office with instructions and notes." Hon. Wayne MacVeagh on


the same occasion said: "Nothing in the whole course of my life has ever
touched me more profoundly than the spirit in which the Philadelphia bar met
me when I came to enroll myself in its membership. Every member seemed to
take especial pleasure in making me feel very welcome but among them all none
did it more thoroughly or in a more kindly or more generous spirit than Mr. Bul-
litt." He spoke of him as meeting in fullest measure the requirements of a good
lawyer, good citizen and good man, adding: "He was really, in its best sense, a
profound lawyer. He seemed to know the principles of the law thoroughly from
the first day I ever discussed them with him, and he was certainly incapable of
ever taking any advantage either of any adversary at the bar or any adversary as
a client, much less of the court itself. So that in every way he met the most ex-
alted demands of what I have thought all my life, and will continue to think to
the end, to be the second noblest of all human callings. And he was a good citi-
zen. He did not disdain, as so many of us do, to turn his hand to work for the
civic advantage, which he found he could do as well as any other, and it will
always remain to his credit that he framed and helped to secure the enactment of
the law which today is an admirable model for the government of a self-respect-
ing assemblage of citizens. You cannot frame any good laws for bad men in a
free country, but you can frame wise and far-reaching statutes which will bear
golden fruit if the men who are to be governed by them are worthy of such
statutes, and the Bullitt Bill now seems to me a perfectly wise, admirable measure
for the government of the city of Philadelphia. And then he was a good man.
Those of us who knew him well know that in all the relations of life he was
really beyond reproach and filled those three requirements of a good lawyer, a
good citizen and a good man."

Richard C. Dale bore testimony to the fact that he was preeminently a great
lawyer, saying: "I have known men who had at ready command a larger store
of mere learning from the books; I have known others who could wield the
weapons of legal warfare with greater facility and whose discomfiture of an ad-
versary by some quick thrust in the combat might call forth more applause from
the onlookers, but I have met no man who was more certain to secure the judg-
ment, because he made clear to the court the facts as they really were and applied
to the facts, when ascertained, the appropriate principle of law. That which
most impressed me in the more than twenty years of intimate professional life
with Mr. Bullitt was his determination to know the truth. His first inquiry was,
What are the facts? and no superficial statement of generalities satisfied. He
required the whole history with particularity and in detail, and he was as ready
to accept that which seemed to make against his position as that which made for
it. What he wanted was the truth and when that had been made certain he was
satisfied to accept the result which the law attached to the facts and in that was
one great element of his success. But Mr. Bullitt's power was not limited to the
investigation of facts. In his youth he must have been a hard student of the
standards. He had mastered the principles of the law, the rules relating to real
property, evidence, the doctrines of equity as settled by the great chancellors.
He had learned and grasped the provisions of both federal and state constitutions
and that which he had acquired was not pigeon-holed in his memory as a con-
fused mass, but stood forth before him in orderly arrangement to be applied as
Vol. rv— 16


occasion required. When I add that, to the power of discovering truth and this
full knowledge of the law, Mr. Bullitt had that clearness of mental vision which
enabled him to apply with directness to the facts, when ascertained, the appro-
priate principle, it is not surprising that his career, both as counselor and advo-
cate, was exceptional. To his love of the truth and his reverence for the reign
of law, far more than to any mere sagacity, was due his disposition to settle
doubtful cases. He had no desire to maintain any proposition of fact which
could not be sustained by convincing proofs, and he rarely asserted a proposition
of law which any lawyer could doubt. These habits were not only of great
benefit to clients but gave him extraordinary influence with the court. I know
that two of the greatest judges of the generation just passed said of him they
rarely could decide a case against him for when his argument was finished he
would only have asked for that which was plainly right. To him there was no
pleasure in making the worse appear the better reason. To gain a victory through
any conscious distorting of the evidence, or by leading the court to a misappre-
hension of the law, would have been revolting to his nature. For this fidelity
to truth and the law he had his professional reward. The record of the great
litigations in which he participated was one of extraordinary success. Success
deserved, because, being in the right, he was able to make the right plain to the
tribunal sitting to determine it."

At length, after many years of prominent connection with the Philadelphia
bar, physical infirmity made its inroads upon his health. In speaking of his last
years a friend said : "Though obliged to restrict his hours of work, his mental
power was not impaired or weakened and those who met him in conference or
enjoyed his friendship still found him a wise and sagacious adviser and a delight-
ful and instructive companion. It was especially noteworthy that he never lost
the buoyant cheerfulness which always made him tolerant of present conditions
and confident of the future, in public affairs as well as in the issues of private
life. And thus, at the end of so many years of honorable distinction in the prac-
tice of his profession, in the course of which it had been his privilege, upon many
occasions, to render inestimable service to those whom he represented, and more
than once to accomplish results of lasting value to the public and in the happy
possession of

'That which should accompany old age — ■
Honor, love, obedience, troops of friends,'
he went to his rest."


Dr. Louis J. Lautenbach, of 33 South Sixteenth street, was born in the old
Northern Liberties of Philadelphia, September 5, i860. His father, Augustus
J. Lautenbach, was born in Wurtemberg, Germany, in 1812. His paternal
grandfather, his great-grandfather, and his father were all physicians. After
attending the public schools and gymnasium Augustus J. Lautenbach studied the
trade of upholsterer, corresponding in those days to the interior decorator of


the present. To perfect himself he traveled all over Europe and then went to
London, where his services were retained by the sovereign of England. Arriv-
ing in America in 1833, he followed his trade for a time in the employ of others
and later went into business on his own account. Subsequently he connected
himself with the German Democrat, of which he was editor for a number of
years. While connected with this paper he was very active in politics, being
considered one of the best German orators in the state during the Buchanan
campaign. He died at the age of eighty-four years, while his wife died in 1907
at the age of eighty-five. She was Catherine Von Derau, a native of Montgom-
ery county, Pennsylvania, and a daughter of a French lawyer from Alsace-
Lorraine, her mother being Catherine Von Weber of the same district.

Dr. Lautenbach was educated in the public schools of Philadelphia and in
various private German summer schools, besides taking night courses in the
drawing schools of the Franklin Institute and other schools, and in February,
1878, was graduated from the Central high school. Then, that he might profit
by such an experience, he spent some months as a commercial traveler before
entering upon the study of medicine in the University of Pennsylvania. On
his graduation in 1881 in the medical department of the University of Pennsyl-
vania, he received the Henry C. Lea prize for his essay on "Broom and its
Alkaloid." He was also graduated from the philosophical department of the
University of Pennsylvania in June, 1881, receiving the alumni prize for his
essay on "Strychnia and its Antidotes." He is a recipient of the degrees of
A. M., M. D. and Ph. D.

When a school boy Dr. Lautenbach conducted quite a large amateur print-
ing establishment and published several juvenile papers, of one of which, "Our
Boys and Girls," he was the editor. He was also active in the American Ama-
teur Press Association, of which he was the president in 1877. Earlier than
this he established quite a business in the manufacture of old-fashioned kites,
of which in those times there were many to be seen on a summer day. Thus
from early youth he manifested strong business qualifications and this, as well
as his technical knowledge and skill, has constituted an important factor in
his professional success. On entering upon the practice of medicine he served
for three years in the out-patient department of the Philadelphia Dispensary
and also was assistant surgeon to the eye and ear department of the Philadel-
phia Dispensary for thirteen years. Later when this was merged into the Penn-
sylvania Eye and Ear Infirmary, he remained with it for years as assistant sur-
geon and during this period he was for three years chief of the eye clinic of
the German Hospital and also throat and nose physician to the Odd Fellows
Home for Old Men and for the Home for Children. It was after this that he
organized the Philadelphia Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Institute, of which he
has since been surgeon in charge. In the practice of medicine he has, for the
past twenty-seven years, given his attention exclusively to special work on the
eye, ear, nose and throat and in this line has invented quite a number of in-
struments, the most important of which perhaps are his series of massage in-
struments for the treatment of the ear in cases of deafness and head noises by
phono, pneumo and mixed ear massage. On these and similar subjects he has
written quite a series of papers describing the instruments and their method of


use, together with the resuUs that he has obtained by these means. His con-
tributions to medical Hterature and to the pathology and treatment of the eye,
ear, nose and throat affections have been very numerous. Beside this he has
written a number of scientific articles on other questions of deep interest to
the medical fraternity.

Dr. Lautenbach is inclined tn the Protestant Episcopal church, although he
is liberal in his religious views. Those lines of thought and research which
have awakened the attention of the best thinking men of the age, the great po-
litical, economic and sociological questions, have found in Dr. Lautenbach a
close observer and student. Nor has he been merely an onlooker but has labored
to secure the adoption of principles which he believes to be of large value in
solving important public questions. He was for nine years one of the managers
of the Municipal League, up to the time of its disorganization. He is now
one of the board of managers of the Spring Garden Institute, of the Citizens
Municipal Association, the Philadelphia Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Institute
and the Alumni Association of the Central high school of Philadelphia. About
eight years ago he founded the City Government prize for the Central high
school with the idea of stimulating the youths of the city to study the organ-
ization of city government and to develop their political views. Dr. Lauten-
bach is himself independent of political ties, believing that each man must study
all public situations, deciding the issues according to his conscience, never for-
getting, however, that those in power have to face most difficult situations and
that they are very often misunderstood.

That Dr. Lautenbach is connected with various organizations for scientific
and philosophic research, for art development and for the improvement of con-
ditions as found in various classes of society is indicated by mention of his
extended membership in organizations of various characters. For more than
a quarter of a century he has been a member of the Alexis Club. He also be-
longs to the Geographical Society, the National Geographical Society, the Pub-
lic Education Association, the Playground Association, the City History Asso-
ciation, the League of American Wheelmen, the University Extension Society,
the Overbrook Club, the Athletic Association of the University of Pennsyl-
vania, the Tennis Association of the University of Pennsylvania, the Philadel-
phia County Medical Society, the Pennsylvania State Medical Society, the Amer-
ican Medical Association, the Neurological Society, the Northern Medical As-
sociation, the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Tuberculosis, the
Pan-American Association, the International Medical Association, the Medical
Alumni Society of the University of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Choral So-
ciety, the Mendelsohn Club and the Fortnight Club, and is a life member of
the Pennsylvania Historical Society.

Dr. Benjamin Franklin Lautenbach, a brother of Dr. Louis J. Lautenbach,
was graduated from the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania
in 1877 at the age of nineteen years. He became assistant professor of physi-
ology at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, under Professor Moritz Schiff.
When twenty-one years of age he was elected demonstrator of physiology at
the University of Pennsylvania and at the age of twenty-three held the chair
of professor of physiology at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, also giv-


ing courses of lectures on his favorite subject in several German, French and
Italian cities at this time. He continued to occupy the chair in the Geneva
University until his death in 1881, which occurred when he was but twenty-
four years of age. He was a prolific writer on physiology, his articles appearing
in German, French, Italian and American medical and scientific journals, sev-
eral being reprinted by the Smithsonian Institution and others by the Academy
of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.


Dr. James F. Prendergast, physician and surgeon, was born in Binghamton,
New York, September 13, 1859. His father, James Prendergast, was a man
of splendid character and distinguished as one of the early and prominent set-
tlers of Binghamton, where he successfully conducted merchandising for many
years. With other members of the family he helped to hew the timbers from
which was erected, in 1837, the first Catholic church of Binghamton. He
wedded Mary F. Gorman, a native of Ireland, who in her girlhood days came
to America with her father and settled in Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania,
where they cleared the land and built log houses to live in. The father of Dr.
Prendergast was born in Newburgh, New York, but lived in Binghamton from
early manhood and held many public ofiices of the city. He enjoyed the personal
friendship of a large number of men of national prominence in his day.

In the parochial schools of his native city. Dr. Prendergast acquired his
early education, which was supplemented by two years' study in the high school
at that place and two years in Holy Cross College of Worcester, Massachusetts,
before entering the University of Pennsylvania, from which he was graduated
with the class of 1884 on the completion of the regular course in medicine. In
college he was popular both because of his high scholarship, his activities as an
athlete and his promotion of college enterprises. While a student of Holy Cross
College he won more medals in athletics than any of his classmates. For a
term after his graduation he served as interne in St. Mary's Hospital and for
three years was assistant in the medical dispensary at University Hospital. He
came prominently into public notice through his deep research work and studies
in the line of materia medica and was honored with appointment to the position
of assistant physician in Wills Eye Hospital, which position he filled for four
years. He now has an extensive practice covering a wide territory, being called
in professional service to all sections of the city. He was formerly a professor
in the Catholic high school, lecturing on hygiene and physiology. He is now
physician at St. John's Orphan Asylum and has been and is medical examiner
for many other large institutions. Pie was made examining physician to the
Knights of Columbus and performs all this service in addition to the duties of
an extensive private practice. He is deeply interested in medical literature and
has written many valuable treatises on professional topics, including Benefits of
Exercise in General, Different Forms of Exercise, Effect of Exercise on Dif-
ferent Organs of the Body, and many other valuable articles on this and relative


subjects. Some years ago he delivered a series of lectures to teachers in the
parochial schools of Philadelphia on Physical Education, which won him high
and most deserved comment.

Dr. Prendergast is a member of the University Club and is a past district
deputy supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus and in strictly professional
lines is connected with the Philadelphia Medical Club and the Philadelphia
Pediatric Society.

On the 2d of October, 1888, Dr. Prendergast was married to Miss Marie
Love, a daughter of Thomas C. Love, of Philadelphia, and they are now parents
of three sons and a daughter. Liberal education and individual research have
brought Dr. Prendergast to the prominent position which he occupies in pro-
fessional circles and throughout the entire period in which he has practiced
medicine he has adhered closely to the strictest professional ethics.

Dr. Prendergast was instrumental in starting a night school for Italian chil-
dren and for years has advocated night schools and reading rooms and clubs for
boys. He is a strong believer in the education of the hand as well as the brain
as it makes a better and more valuable man of the boy. The Doctor is at pres-
ent experimenting with CO^ snow and has had some wonderful results in curing
skin cancers. He is a thorough advocate of a sound mind in a sound body and
preaches it on all occasions possible to growing children, believing that in many
cases that bad morals and "backwardness" in children are due to some physical


Dr. Charles Karsner Mills, a medical practitioner of Philadelphia since 1869
and for many years a specialist in the treatment of nervous and mental diseases,
in which connection he has gained distinguished honors, was born at the Falls of
Schuylkill, a Philadelphia suburb, on the 4th of December, 1845, his parents being
James and Lavinia Anne (Fitzgerald) Mills. He completed his more specifi-
cally literary education by a course in the Central high school and then in prepara-
tion for a professional career entered the medical department of the University
of Pennsylvania, winning his professional degree upon the completion of his
course in 1869, while in 1871 the University of Pennsylvania also conferred upon
him the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

He immediately began practice and has concentrated his energies exclusively
upon his chosen life work. As the years advanced his attention was more and
more largely given to nervous diseases. His studies and researches were along
that line, and he at length left the field of general practice to become a specialist
in neurology and psychiatry in 1874. The same year he was made chief of
clinic for nervous diseases in the hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
and in 1877 received his first appointment as a teacher in the medical depart-
ment of the university, becoming lecturer on electro-therapeutics. Gradually he
won recognition as an able and now a distinguished neurologist, and his pro-
nounced ability and learning in that direction has led to his selection for a num-





ber of important hospital appointments, lie has become equally well known
as an educator, identified at dififerent times with various institutions. He has
also appeared as e.xpert in numerous medico-legal cases, his writings, which
are valuable contributions to medical literature, having appeared in the lead-
ing professional journals and magazines of the country. A more detailed ac-
count of his life work shows that he was professor of the diseases of the mind
and nervous system in the Philadelphia Polyclinic (of which he was one of the
founders, from 1883 until 1898; clinical professor of nervous diseases in the
Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania from 1891 until 1902; while in the
University of Pennsylvania he was professor of mental diseases and medical
jurisprudence from 1893 until 1901 ; was clinical professor of nervous diseases
from 1901 until 1903; and since the latter year has been professor of neurology.
Aside from the close attention he has given to the clinical aspects of his spec-
ialty he has pursued many investigations into the anatomy, morphology and
pathology of the brain and nervous system. He has held many appointments

Online LibraryEllis Paxson OberholtzerPhiladelphia; a history of the city and its people, a record of 225 years (Volume 4) → online text (page 33 of 62)