Ellis Paxson Oberholtzer.

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

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in the hospitals of Philadelphia, including St. Mary's, the Episcopal and the
Philadelphia General Hospital. He is one of the neurologists of the Phila-
delphia General Hospital and was the founder of the nervous wards of that in-
stitution in 1877. He is one of the consultants to the Orthopedic Hospital
and Infirmary for Nervous Diseases of Philadelphia, to St. Joseph's Hospital
and to the State Hospital for the Chronic Insane at Wernersville, Pennsyl-
vania, and to other hospitals in Philadelphia and its vicinity.

Dr. Mills is a most valued member of a number of scientific societies. He be-
came one of the founders of the Philadelphia Neurological Society and was after-
ward honored with its presidency. The distinguished position which he occupies
as a specialist is indicated by the fact that he was called to the presidency of the
American Neurological Association, also the Medical Jurisprudence Society of
Philadelphia, the Northern Medical Association of Philadelphia and the Phila-
delphia County Medical Society. He is a fellow of the College of Physicians
of Philadelphia, a member of the American Medical Association, the American
Medico-psychological Association, the Pennsylvania Historical Society, the City
History Society of Philadelphia, and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Phila-
delphia. He has been elected a corresponding member of the Gesellschaft
Deutscher Nervenarzte, foreign corresponding member of the Societe de Neu-
rologic de Paris, and an honorary member of the New York Neurological So-
ciety and of the Pittsburg Academy of Medicine. His writings have awakened
wide-spread interest among the profession and are largely accepted as authority
on the questions of which he has treated. He has prepared various papers and
monographs, chiefly upon neurological subjects, and is the author of a history
of the Philadelphia Hospital, a history of Neurology in Philadelphia, historical
sketches of Falls of Schuylkill and vicinity, a history of medical jurisprudence
in Philadelphia and other special historical articles. He is likewise the author
of a text-book on the nursing and care of the nervous and insane and has pre-
pared a treatise on the diseases of the brain and cranial nerves. His practice
is of an extensive and most important character and there is no higher indica-
tion of his ability than the position of prominence accorded him by members
of the profession. Anything relative to his chosen life work is of keenest in-


terest to him and he has led the way in research that has brought to light many
valuable points of scientific knowledge. His pronounced ability has long since
placed him in a position of leadership among the neurologists of the country.

Dr. Mills was married on the 6th of November, 1873, to Miss Clara Eliza-
beth Peale, of Philadelphia. Those who meet him socially find him a most
genial and companionable gentleman, whose splendid work and successful at-
tainment in his profession have not precluded his active interest in questions
that are of wide general import. He is a man of well balanced capacities and
powers and the simple weight of his character and ability has carried him into
most important professional relations. His contributions to the world's work
have been of real and permanent value.


John Wagner, one of Philadelphia's prominent merchants, engaged in the
West India trade, was born April 13, 1824. He was a representative of one of
the old families of this city. His ancestors lived in Germany, prominent among
whom was Tobias Wagner, chancellor of the University at Tubingen, born Feb-
ruary 21, 1598. The first member of the family to come to America in 1742
was Tobias Wagner, born in Horkheim, Germany, August 7, 1734. Tobias
Wagner's son John, after whom the John Wagner of this article was named, was
born in Berks county, Pennsylvania, June 26, 1748. He in early life established
himself in business in Philadelphia as an importer of woolens, known in those
days as a woolen draper. He died at his country place near Germantown, still
the homestead of the family.

John Wagner's father, Samuel, born in Philadelphia, March 6, 1792, was
indentured to Stephen Girard, February 6, 1808, for whom he acted as super-
cargo from 1815 to 1818. In 1821 he became a member of the firm of Milnor,
Wagner & Company, his partners being his brother, Tobias, and William Milnor.
The firm name was changed in 1824 to T. & S. Wagner and remained so until
its dissolution in 1831. Samuel and Tobias Wagner were trustees under the will
of Stephen Girard to settle the affairs of his bank. Another brother, William
Wagner, was the founder of the Wagner Free Institute of Science. Samuel
Wagner in early manhood married Miss Emilie Obrie, daughter of James S.
Duval. He died in 1879 at the ripe age of eighty-seven years.

Reared in his native city, John Wagner was educated at the Germantown
Academy and received his business training in the office of S. & W. Welsh. In
1847 he embarked in business for himself as a West India merchant, subse-
quently taking up the importation of wines, etc., from France, Madeira and
Spain. On the ist of January, 1892, in connection with his sons, John, Jr., and
W. Worrell he formed the present firm of John Wagner & Sons, to which his
son, Joseph Wood, was also admitted October i, 1900.

On April 19, i860, Mr. Wagner married Miss Sarah A. Wood, had five sons
and one daughter, Samuel Tobias, John, Harry, deceased, W. Worrell, Joseph
Wood and Sarah Wood.


In the long period of his residence in Philadelphia, covering seventy-eight
years, Mr. Wagner ever manifested deep interest in matters of public moment
and performed such tasks of public service for which his age and condition
qualified him. When a young man he was elected a member of the First Troop,
Philadelphia City Cavalry, October 3, 1854, and was placed on the non-active
roll December 4, 1862. He became an apprentice of the "State in Schuylkill" in
1859, and was elected a citizen of the "State" March 29, i860. He took a very
active and prominent part in its affairs, and was elected treasurer, October 3,
1871, and served in that capacity until elected governor of the "State in Schuyl-
kill" March 23, 1881. He was the fourteenth governor of the "State," and was
annually reelected to that office until he declined to serve further, April 30, 1896.
He was very active in the establishment of the Zoological Gardens of Philadel-
phia and for many years was director and chairman of the committee for pur-
chasing and caring for the animals.

In various other ways he was interested in projects for the advancement
of the public welfare. He was a member of a number of clubs, prominent among
which was the Philadelphia. He died December 22, 1902, at the age of seventy-
eight years, and in his demise Philadelphia lost one whose record has added to
the credit and luster of an untarnished family name that for a century and a half
had been connected with the business development and the citizenship of the city.


One of the most attractive places in all Philadelphia is the photograph studio
of Frederick Gutekunst. Quiet and courteous and perhaps a trifle reserved in
manner, there are, nevertheless, elements of the romantic in his life history,
especially in that period which antedated his connection with photography but
in which his nature was groping toward that field of art in which he has won
such eminent and well merited success and fame.

Now in his seventy-eighth year, Mr. Gutekunst was born in Germantown
in September, 1831. His father was a native of Germany, but when a young
man became a resident of Germantown, where he followed cabinet-making,
having learned his trade before coming to this country. The boy had the usual
advantages which fall to the lot of lads who are reared in comparatively humble
circumstances. His father did not wish him to become a cabinet-maker and,
favoring the law as a life work for his son, placed him as a student in the law
office of Joseph S. Cohen, prothonotary of the supreme court. He served two
indentures of three years each in that office, but law was to him a dry and un-
interesting study, and he says that he knew but little more of it when he left
the office than when he entered it. He perfected himself in penmanship, how-
ever, and was very proud of his writing. One of his favorite pastimes when
he had to remain in the office was to lay a small gold dollar upon a piece of
paper and draw a circle close around it. Then, in this circle he would write
the Lord's prayer complete. He still has in his possession one of these proofs
of his boyhood skill in penmanship framed in a tiny wooden frame under a


bit of glass, with each letter distinct and perfect when revealed by a magnifying
glass. As a dutiful son Mr. Gutekunst remained in the law office during the
terms of his indenture, but his heart was never in his work and all the time his
nature and talents were developing along other lines. He was given six cents
for his dinner, of which he would spend but one cent for the meal, while the
other five would go for material with which to carry on experiments in physics.

When eighteen years of age Mr. Gutekunst left the law office and was ap-
prenticed by his father to a druggist at Second and Callowhill streets, at that
time a fine shopping district. There he remained for seven years and during
that period began taking pictures. These were ambrotypes taken upon glass, for
he could not afford to take daguerreotypes for they were taken upon polished
silver plates. Mr. Gutekunst says that these daguerreotypes have never been
equalled by any upon either glass or paper made since, even with the modern
processes of photography. He has in his possession some of rare quality which
were made at a very early day. They are as sharp and clear as when made
and will endure until the silver plate crumbles into dust.

Mr. Gutekunst was encouraged in his ambition to become a photographer by
his brother, who recognized his ability, declaring that no one else could make
pictures so well, but he had not money with which to establish himself in busi-
ness. At length he had his father make him a camera box and found the op-
portunity of buying a photographic lens for five dollars. It was all the money
he had in the world but he made his investment. His brother then rented for him
a room at No. 706 Arch street and fifty-two years later he is only four doors
away from his original location. Entering upon a work thoroughly congenial,
he bent every effort and energy toward progress and gave to his patrons such
satisfactory work that his business rapidly and steadily increased. He is today
the dean of American photographers and his camera has put into permanent
form the likeness of more eminent men and women than that of any other
photographer of the world. He has in his gallery a priceless collection of por-
traits, manuscripts, medals, decorations and awards. Before his camera have
sat Cardinals Gibbons, Satolli and Martinelli ; Generals Grant, Sherman, Meade,
Longstreet, Beauregard, Hancock, Rosecrans and a full score more of the com-
manders on both sides in the Civil war; Admirals Read, Schley, Melville, Casey,
McNair and Watson among the naval commanders ; Archbishops Bailey and
Ryan; Bishops Phillips Brooks, Chatard, Foss, Davis, Fowler, Coleman, Ken-
drick, Hortsmann, McCabe, Potter, Simpson, Talbot, Whitaker, Walden, Bow-
man, and a dozen more wearers of the purple of the church ; Henry W. Long-
fellow, E. C. Stedman, Walt Whitman, Bayard Taylor, Sir Edwin Arnold and
Thomas Dunn are among the poets in the Gutekunst gallery. Baron Takaki
and Wu Ting-fang are a pair of the distinguished orientals ; Edwin Booth and
Edwin Forrest and Charlotte Cushman and the elder Salvini are glowing stars
in the histrionic constellation ; Theodore Thomas and Damrosch, masters of
music; Prince Louis of Savoy, Prince Ranjitsinhji and the Prince of Turin are
among the representatives of royalty; Jay Cooke, Anthony J. Drexel, A. J. Cas-
satt and J. Pierpont Morgan, leaders in finance; Edwin A. Abbey and Benjamin
Constant are among the artists of brush and palette who attested the art of
Gutekunst. Lords Kelvin and Herschell and Professors Tyndall and Leidy are


a quartet of scientists to whom the world has done the greatest honor; the Duke
of Newcastle and the Duke and Duchess de Arcos; Sirs Charles Reed, Arthur
Rowe and Andrew Clarke have had their aristocratic heads in the hands of the
Philadelphia photographer; Presidents Grant, McKinley and Cleveland are
among the nation's rulers who look down from their places upon the walls of
this gallery.

For another full column this list of names might be continued ; it is certain
that such a list cannot be found in another photograph gallery in the world.
Nearly all, if not quite all, of Pennsylvania's governors in the last half century
have been photographed by Gutekunst. Carl Schurz and Henry George are
among the great economists who have gone to Arch street that their images
might live.

Scarce less interesting than the wonderful collection of original photographs
is that of the manuscript letters. Grace Greenwood wrote Mr. Gutekunst
thanking him for keeping alive the features of Charlotte Cushman ; General
Sherman wrote that with the Gutekunst photograph of General Grant before
him it was next best to again seeing him in the flesh. Oliver Wendell Holmes
wrote that he considered the portrait of Professor Tyndall as lifelike as his
own. Mrs. Grover Cleveland sent her thanks for the fidelity of the likeness
of her distinguished husband and said that he wanted her to convey his thanks
also for the accurate portrait of his wife. Professor William Ramsey of the
University of London wrote that the photograph of Lord Kelvin surpassed in
fidelity the portrait that was painted by Orchardson.

It has not been portraits alone that have brought honor and distinction to
Mr. Gutekunst. His famous panoramic picture of the Centennial Exposition
caused the mikado of Japan to send him a pair of gold lined bronze vases, won
for him a gold medal from King Victor Emmanuel of Italy and a decoration
from Francis Joseph, emperor of Austria. Dozens of frames hanging upon the
walls contain the awards of world's fairs and expositions and two tiny pictures
of little girls taken many years ago have brought him prizes of two hundred
dollars each. He is, indeed, a lover of his art and allows no one else to pose
his subjects or focus the camera. Genial and courteous, of innate culture and
refinement, he stands today not only as one of the world's eminent representa-
tives of photography, but also as one of Philadelphia's foremost gentlemen.


James Rundle Smith, who, during the years of an active business life, fig-
ured prominently in financial circles in Philadelphia, was born at No. 1029
Walnut street, this city, on the 14th of June, 1857. His parents were Dr. Henry
H. and Mary Edmonds (Homer) Smith, who, appreciative of the value of edu-
cation, provided their son with good opportunities in that direction. He was
a student in the Protestant Episcopal Academy from 1865 until 1873, and in
the latter year matriculated in the University of Pennsylvania, becoming a stu-
dent in the college class of 1877. Owing to the death of his brother, however.


he left college at the close of the freshman year to take his place with Elliot &
Company, brokers. It was in September that he entered upon the duties of a
clerkship with that firm and in July, 1878, he became a member of the Phila-
delphia Stock Exchange. He acted as floor broker for many firms up to the
time of his death, which occurred in 1908, and he became very widely known
in financial circles, his business ability gaining him prominence among the rep-
resentative brokers in this city. In 1892 he was a director of the Western New
York & Pennsylvania Railroad and for five years was a member of the govern-
ing committee of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange.

Mr. Smith was three times married. In 1879 he wedded Ellen Hollings-
head, a daughter of Joseph M. and Caroline (Atwood) HoUingshead. Mrs.
Smith passed away in 1880, leaving a daughter, Ellen HoUingshead Smith, who
in 1904 became the wife of Cushman Newhall. In 1894 Mr. Smith was again
married, his second union being with Mrs. Mary Gibbs Harris, nee Stokes, the
widow of Dr. Charles Mcllvaine Harris. Her death occurred in 1897, and in
1902 Mr. Smith wedded Gertrude Meryweather, a daughter of Thomas and
Deborah Meryweather.

The social and the religious elements were both well developed in the life
of Mr. Smith, who always endeavored to guide his actions by the teachings of
the Christian religion. A Protestant Episcopalian, he became one of the charter
members of the vestry of St. Martin's-in-the-Felds, was also a member of the
board of managers of the Bishop White Prayer Book Society and a member of
the Brotherhood of St. Andrew. He was popular in social organizations, in-
cluding the Philadelphia Cricket Club and the Philadelphia Fencing & Sparring
Club, to which he belonged for many years, and the University Barge Club, in
which he held various offices, including that of president. He believed in all
manly athletic and outdoor sports, and his social qualities, genial disposition and
ready adaptability made him popular in the different organizations in which he
held membership.


The Rt. Rev. Alex Mackay-Smith, bishop of the Episcopal diocese of Penn-
sylvania, was born June 2, 1850. One of his first ancestors in this country was
a daughter of the Bishop of Chester in England, who, with her husband, emi-
grated to this country about the middle of the seventeenth century. Another
was Sargent Hinman, one of the officers of the bodyguard of King Charles I,
who fled to Stratford, Connecticut, after the king's execution, where his re-
maining days were passed. The Hinman family is said to have furnished thir-
teen commissioned officers to the American army in the war of the Revolution
in the next century, this being a greater number than any other one family on

The family of the Bishop was subsequently well known in the colony of
Connecticut. They were connected with the Aldens and Lyman families by
marriage and lived in the southern part of the colony near the Connecticut river.






It IS definitely known that Richard Smith was a resident of Lyme at or prior
to 1659 and died toward the close of the seventeenth century. Daniel Smith,
of Lyme, was born April 15, 1692, and died March 22, 1729. The family moved
to Woodbury, where Richard Smith, son of Daniel Smith, was born September
28, 1728. He was married about 1754 to Annis Hurd, who was born March i,
1733, and died April 13, 1808. She was a woman of very remarkable character,
who was held in the highest esteem among those who knew her and bequeathed
her energy and ability to her children. Her husband, Richard Smith, was a
captain in the Revolutionary army. Her eldest son, Nathaniel, born in 1762,
was a member of the legislature in whose deliberations he took a prominent part
in abolishing slavery; founding the public school system; and settling the public
land belonging to Connecticut. Fr£)m 1795 to 1799 he was a member of con-
gress and assisted in ratifying the; Jay treaty with Great Britain, which closed
the century. "Judge Smith," says Goodrich (Peter Parley), "was regartled by
Connecticut as one of the intellectual, giants of his time. He was a leader in
the famous Hartford convention, the pure patriotism of whose purpose he stren-
uously defended," in company with William Prescott, Stephen Longfellow and
Roger Minot Sherman. He was raised to the supreme bench of Connecticut,
which he occupied from 1806 to 1819. Annis Hurd's second son, Nathan, born
January 8, 1769, after a prominent career, as one of the foremost leaders of
the New England bar, and having played an important part in dissolving the
connection between church and state in Connecticut and molding the new more
liberal state constitution which was adopted in 1818, became United States sena-
tor and died in his seat at Washington in December, 1835. He was an earnest
member and counselor of the Episcopal church and was one of the charter mem-
bers of Trinity College, Hartford. At the time of his death, which took place
suddenly, he was even more conspicuous for his private virtues than for his
public services. It was said that at his funeral every prominent public man of
the day, including President Andrew Jackson and his cabinet were present. He
was buried in New Haven, Connecticut. He was the grandfather of the present
Bishop. Annis Hurd was the grandmother of Truman Smith, who also became
a United States senator, and as chairman of the whig national committee was
ofifered a post in President Zachary Taylor's cabinet, which he declined. In
connection with Daniel Webster, he was the foremost opponent of the spoil
system in congress. His daughter married Orville Hitchcock Piatt, another sena-
tor from Connecticut, who was very prominent and a trusted counselor of Presi-
dent McKinley during the Spanish war of 1898.

Nathan, the above mentioned senator and grandfather of the Bishop, mar-
ried Sarah McCrackan, of New Haven, who died November 8, 1849, at the age
of seventy-three years. His son, also named Nathan, the father of the Bishop,
born in January, 1808, died April 21, 1878. His first wife, the daughter of
Cornelius Bishop, was the mother of the Rev. Dr. Cornelius Bishop Smith, who
for over thirty years was the rector of St. James church, New York, and is now
rector emeritus of the same parish. His second wife, the mother of the Bishop,
was Miss Grace Caroline Bradley, of New Haven, a member of one of the
oldest families of Connecticut. She died in January, 1859, and is buried in the
family lot of the old New Haven cemetery.


Not only have Bishop Mackay-Smith's lines in life been cast in harmony
with those of an honorable and distinguished ancestry, but he has also added to
the honor and credit which have been reflected upon the family name by the
military and civic services of its representatives. After pursuing his education
at St. Paul's School, Concord, New Hampshire, the first of those educational
institutions which under the Rev. Dr. Henry A. Coit have set the standard of
higher education in our time, he graduated at Trinity College in 1872. Trinity
conferred upon him the degree of D. D. in 1889, and the same year Hobart Col-
lege honored him with the S. T. D. degree. He at once went to England as a
private student in the family of Derwent Coolridge, the son of Samuel Taylor
Coolridge, the well known poet and metaphysician. After reading with him for
a year, he returned to America and studied at the General Seminary, New York,
and was ordained by Bishop Williams of Connecticut after an examination in
theology at Berkeley Divinity School, Middletown, Connecticut, in December,
1876. He then served as assistant to the Rev. William R. Huntingdon, D. D.,
at All Saints in Worcester, Massachusetts. When the latter became rector of
Grace church. New York, Mr. Mackay-Smith became rector of Grace church.
South Boston, where he remained until 1880. He was then made afternoon
preacher at St. Thomas church. New York, where, under the Rev. William F.
Morgan, D. D., he remained until January, 1887. While there, he was elected
as bishop of Kansas but declined the call, as he did also in the case of three
other parishes to which he was elected rector.

He was married in October, 1881, to Miss Virginia Stuart, the granddaugh-
ter of Robert Stuart, who had been one of the earliest explorers of the Pacific
coast, and whose life is given in Washington Irving's "Astoria." This Stuart,
whose ancestry in Scotland dates back to Alslater Stuart, of Rob Roy fame, is
mentioned in the preface to Sir Walter Scott's "Rob Roy," as being the first
warrior to draw the blood of that doughty freebooter in a friendly conflict. His
great-great-grandson, Robert Stuart, came with his brother to America in the
latter part of the eighteenth century. Both were connected in early days with
John Jacob Astor of New York in founding Astoria in Oregon. On the de-
struction of that place by the British in the war of 1812, he volunteered to cross

Online LibraryEllis Paxson OberholtzerPhiladelphia; a history of the city and its people, a record of 225 years (Volume 4) → online text (page 34 of 62)