Ellis Paxson Oberholtzer.

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

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remained he met with ready sympathy those of a later time who found pleasure
and instruction in his society.

"On a beautiful autumn day he was laid to rest in the churchyard of the
Church of the Redeemer at Bryn Mawr. Certainly tlie words he quoted from
the biography of his friend, the great English statesman, William Edward
Forster, may well be applied to him, for he was one whose 'heart had remained
unaffected by all the changes of fortune ; who had never varied in his affection
for the friends of his youth, or in his bearing toward the humblest of those
among whom his lot was cast; whose temper had not been soured by trials nor
his sympathies narrowed by the growth of years; whose spirit had remained
young, whilst his head grew grey ; and the horizon of whose mental vision had
seemed ever to grow wider and brighter as he drew nearer to the end of life.'
He himself has left a record of the fulfillment of the gracious desire e.xpressed
for him by Sarah Coleridge, for he had lived long and had had 'health and
strength to enjoy the infinite delights of literature, and the loveliness of this
bright breathing world, which the poets teach us to admire, and the Gospel
makes us hope to find again in that unseen world whither we are all going.' "


Colonel James Lewis, the recognized real-estate expert of Philadelphia, his
native city, is a son of Jacob and Mary J. Lewis and a representative of a
family of Welsh origin that was founded in America in colonial days. Mem-
bers of the famil)fc have always taken active part in public and political affairs
and the name is thus closely associated with the history of Philadelphia and
the state.

Colonel James Lewis was a lad of seven years when his parents removed
from Philadelphia to Wilmington, Delaware, where he acquired his education
as a pupil in private schools. On the i8th of April, 1861, when the smoke
from Fort Sumter's gims had scarcely cleared away, he enlisted for active serv-
ice in the Civil war and went to the front. On one of the hotly contested en-
gagements he lost his right foot, after which he served throughout the remainder


of the war on staff duty, becoming judge advocate, ordnance officer and aid-de-
camp. He was also appointed tax collector under General Sheridan at New
Orleans but resigned his commission on the 28th of February, 1866. His valor
and loyal service won him the brevet title of colonel. On the 5th of April,
1869, President Grant appointed him to the position of postmaster at Wilming-
ton, Delaware, and after four years' capable service in that position he was
reappointed on the i8th of March, 1873, continuing as the incumbent in the
office for two years, when he resigned. On leaving Wilmington he came to
Philadelphia in 1874, and here he is today the recognized real-estate expert of
the city. His opinions are accepted as final by courts and laymen, and he is
called to testify in every important case where real-estate values are involved.
He has been actively engaged in the real-estate business since his arrival in

In politics Colonel Lewis has taken a very active and prominent part. He
is a "regular" republican and a stalwart advocate of high tariff principles. While
residing in Delaware he served for four consecutive years as chairman of the
republican state central committee. He belongs to the Cedar Park Driving
Club and has social qualities which render him a favorite not only in that or-
ganization but in other connections where he is well known. The Colonel is
a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and is past commander-in-chief
of the Department of Delaware. He is also a member of the Loyal Legion,
Pennsylvania Commandery.

Colonel Lewis was first married in Wilmington, Delaware, to Miss Eliza-
beth Megaw and for his second wife chose Clara M. Rhodes, of Philadelphia.
His three children, all born of his first marriage, are Dr. Clarence J. Lewis,
J. Edgar Lewis and Mrs. Natalie E. Thompson.


Albert J. Yerkes, a wealthy merchant whose name became a synonym for
commercial integrity and enterprise, made his initial step in the business world
as a salesman and from that point on, in the course of an orderly progression,
reached a position of distinction in business circles in Philadelphia. A native
son of Pennsylvania, he was born in Marion township, Montgomery county,
October i, 1841. He was the youngest of three sons, — George, Theodore and
Albert — whose father, Lewis Yerkes, was for a long period engaged in the lime
business in Montgomery county. His education was acquired in the schools of
Marion township and of his native county, and when a young man he started
in business life as a representative of the firm of William D. Jones & Company,
dry-goods merchants. His faithfulness and ability are evidenced in the fact that
he remained with the firm until they retired from business. In 1878 the firm of
C. B. Williams & Company was organized, at which time Albert J. Yerkes and
his brother Theodore became members of the firm and thus active in the conduct
of a dry-goods establishment which in the course of years became one of the
most important mercantile concerns of this city. A later change in the partner-



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ship led to the adoption of the style of VVilliains, Yerkes &, Company, which was
again changed a few years later, upon the death of Mr. Williams, to Yerkes
Brothers & Company. Under that caption the business was carried on until the
death of Albert J. Yerkes, who devoted his entire life from 1878 to the upbuild-
ing of a large and profitable enterprise.

In Philadelphia Mr. Yerkes was married to Miss Sallie S. Thomas, a daugh-
ter of Charles J. and Ann (Maloney) Thomas, the latter a daughter of James
Maloney, one of the early settlers and a representative farmer of Mount Moriah,
Pennsylvania. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Yerkes was born a daughter, Annie Thomas.

Although reared in the faith of the Society of Friends, of which his mother
was a member, Mr. Yerkes attended the Unitarian church. In the interests of
trade he became a member of the Merchant Salesman's Association. His views
upon governmental policy were indicated in his support of the republican party.
He died October 22, 1899, and his death was received with feelings of deep re-
gret throughout the city wherever he was known. His life record speaks in
terms of successful commercialism and of continuous progress which is indica-
tive of the fact that prosperity and an honored name may be won simultaneously.


Among the exponents of all that indicated advancement and progress in arch-
itecture stands Frank Eugene Hahn, who was born in Philadelphia, June 22,
1879. His father, Henry Hahn, a clotli merchant of this city, has been closely
identified with public affairs for many years. He served for sixteen years as a
member of the board of education and has ever been a champion of improve-
ment in the field of public instruction. He is also prominently, actively and help-
fully associated with various Jewish organizations. His wife, who bore the
maiden name of Clara Heiman, died in 1896. The Hahn family has been rep-
resented in Philadelphia through several generations.

In the public and manual training schools of Philadelphia Frank E. Hahn
pursued his education and was graduated from the high school with the class
of 1896. Not yet content with the opportunities that had been afforded him for
educational progress, he entered the University of Pennsylvania, where he was
graduated with the Bachelor of Science and Civil Engineer degrees in 1900.
Soon afterward he entered the engineering department of the Philadelphia &
Reading Railway Company, with which he was connected until 1902. During
the following year he was with the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company in the
construction of a new subway and elevated railway, and in 1903-4 he was resi-
dent manager and district engineer for the Trussed Concrete Steel Company of
Detroit, Michigan. In 1905 he formed a partnership with Andrew J. Sauer
under the firm name of Sauer & Hahn, architects and engineers, since which
time he has conducted the engineering and superintended the construction work
of this firm and has also had the business management. While with the Trussed
Concrete Steel Company he was identified with the construction of the follow-
ing buildings, for which he made the structural designs: Hotel Marlborough-


Blenheim, at Atlantic City ; Hotel Traymore, at Atlantic City ; the Bulletin build-
ing at Philadelphia, and thirty other important structures of Philadelphia, be-
side the government building at Annapolis. The work of the firm has covered
a wide range, including principally reinforced concrete and protected structural
steel fireproof buildings, central and suburban real-estate improvements, coun-
try homes and institution work, power plant installations and engineering in all
its branches. Prominent among their structures are the People's Trust Com-
pany building and they laid out the new Star Garden park. They were the
builders of Beth Israel synagogue and the Plaza apartments and were associate
architects on the Packard Motor Company's new building. They were likewise
architects for the sanitarium of consumptives at Eagleville, Pennsylvania, com-
prising fourteen buildings. In addition to his extensive operations in the field
of his chosen profession Mr. Hahn is a director of the Perpetual, National
Union and of the Broad Street and Loganian Building & Loan Associations.

Mr. Plahn is an active member of the Mercantile Literary & Social Club,
the Pow Wow Literary Society and the Engineers Club and diversified and
varied interests claim his attention and indicate the breadth of his thought and
purpose and the scope of his activity. He belongs to the Alumni Association
of the University of Pennsylvania, is a fellow of the Academy of Fine Arts
and in fraternal circles is well known as a representative of the Masons and the
Royal Arcanum. He is likewise a director of the Young Men's Hebrew Asso-
ciation and the Alumni Association of Reformed Congregation Keneseth Israel.
He has always held to the faith of his fathers and belongs to Reformed Con-
gregation Keneseth Israel. His political allegiance is given to the republican
party and, without desire or ambition for ofiice, he stands as a loyal advocate
of all projects and movements which are of value in civic affairs.

On the 14th of December, 1910, Mr. Hahn was married in Philadelphia to
Miss Florence Steinbach, a daughter of Dr. Lewis W. Steinbach, a prominent
surgeon of Philadelphia, and they reside at No. 2027 North Twenty-second street.


Thomas Talbot Nelson was born in Baltimore county, Maryland, November
3, 185 1, and is a descendant of the famous Talbot family of that district. His
education was acquired in the public schools of Baltimore, and on the 27th of
December, 1866, he entered the employ of the Union Fire Insurance Company
of that city as office boy, being at that time fifteen years of age. His worth was
soon manifest and won him promotion. Gradually he advanced until he be-
came assistant secretary of the company, and in 1873 was made general agent,
which position he resigned in January, 1874, to enter the services of the Home
Insurance Company of New York as special agent in charge of their business
in New Jersey, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, West Virginia
and North Carolina. Four years were spent with that corporation, and in Jan-
uary, 1878, he severed his connection and turned his attention to the adjust-
ment of fire loss in Philadelphia. Here he opened an office on the 29th of


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March, 1878, and has continued since in that hne, representing all of the promi-
nent fire insurance companies. In the intervening years he has adjusted over
eleven thousand losses, the great majority of these being Philadelphia claims.
He stands in a prominent position in the field of labor which he has chosen and
his ability is widely recognized by the diflferent leading insurance companies.
He is also a director of the Manhasset Hotel Company, which conducts a hotel
at Seaside Park, and is president of the Seaside Park Board of Trade.

Mr. Nelson in politics has always been a democrat and was a candidate of
his party for city comptroller in 1904 and for city treasurer in 1909. He was
elected to the conunon council from the thirty-second ward in 1907, but failed
of reelection in 1909. He was a member of the "founders week committee" of
the councils and a member of the sub-committee on historical pageant.

Mr. Nelson was married, in 1873, to Miss Fannie Miller, a daughter of
Henry Miller of Baltimore, Maryland, and they have three children : Thomas
Talbot, Jr., associated with his father in business; Herbert Balderstone; and
Florence E. The family residence is at No. 1924 North Thirteenth street and
their summer home is at Seaside Park, New Jersey.

Mr. Nelson is a member of the Columbia, Southern Yachtsmen's and Down
Town Clubs ; of the Fire Insurance Society of Philadelphia, together with the
Seaside Park Yacht Club. He is an enthusiastic yachtsman and a lover of all
manly outdoor sports. His success has given him ample opportunity to gratify
his taste in these directions, and while an extremely busy man with an extensive
clientage in his chosen field, he yet finds opportunity for the rest and recreation
which constitute an even balance to business activity.


Harry A. Prizer, who possesses in large measure that quality which for want
of a better term has been called "the commercial sense," is now president of the
William Mann Company, manufacturers of and dealers in all kinds of blank
books, copying books and papers and commercial and banking stationery, the
company occupying its own building at No. 529 Market street. Mr. Prizer was
born in Philadelphia, May 5, 1861, a son of Enos L. and Letitia H. Prizer. The
father, well known in business circles in this city, became the owner of large
real estate interests, to which he finally devoted all of his time and attention.
The grandparents of Harry A. Prizer were among the pioneer residents of Phil-
adelphia and the ancestry is German in the paternal line and English on the
distaff side.

At the usual age Harry A. Prizer became a pupil in the public schools and
continued his studies through successive grades until graduated from the Cen-
tral high school. He then accepted a clerical position with the firm of Hooks
Smelting Company and later with the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Com-
pany and Pennsylvania Railroad. Subsequently he entered the employ of the
William Mann Company as clerk and advanced through the various branches
of the business, thoroughly acquainting himself with every department of the


trade and thus qualifying for the executive position which he is now filling as
president. The business was established by William Mann in the fall of 1848
and through a continued existence of sixty-three years has enjoyed steady and
substantial growth. Its founder was born in Philadelphia, June 14, 1814, spent
much of his youth upon a farm near Haddonfield, New Jersey, and at the age of
eighteen took up the trade of a house carpenter, which he followed for several
years. He was afterward employed in various departments of government ser-
vice at Washington, D. C, and later again took up house carpentering, which he
followed until the fall of 1848. He then returned to Philadelphia for the pur-
pose of introducing Mann's patent movable binders — an invention of his own
for filing letters. He was accompanied by his two sons and his device was in-
troduced by a house to house canvass. After six months a small wareroom at
No. 74 North Fourth street was secured and occupied as a dwelling as well
as for manufacturing purposes. This constituted the nucleus of the present ex-
tensive manufactory. After a few years the growth of the trade demanded
larger quarters and a removal was made to the second floor of No. 25 South
Sixth street, and the increase in business was further indicated by the fact that
a horse and wagon was secured for the delivery of goods. While in Sixth street
Mr. Mann invented what is known throughout the civilized world as Mann's
parchment copying paper, a product possessed of certain properties obtained in
mixing the stock and in treating it, which lends itself to letter-copying where
permanency and legibility are specially required. At diflerent times the scope of
the business was extended until a small stationery store was established. The
continued development of the trade led the company to secure more commodious
quarters on the northeast corner of Third and Chestnut streets, to be followed
shortly after by the rental of Drexel's old banking building at No. 48 South Third
street. Here a printing and binding plant was installed and a completely stocked
stationery and blank book store was established. Again their quarters became
too restricted and a removal was made to No. 43 South Fourth street, where the
business was carried on until 1873, i" which year Mr. Mann purchased the five-
story building at No. 529 Market street, occupying the basement and two lower
floors with the executive and retail departments while the three upper floors were
devoted to the manufacture of copying books. In 1882 a paper mill for the
manufacture of copying paper was established at Lambertville, New Jersey, and
this has been enlarged from time to time until there is now in active operation
one of the largest copying paper mills in the country. The rapid growth of the
manufacturing department led to the erection of an eight story factory building
at the northeast corner of Fifth and Commerce streets in 1893-4. It was sup-
plied with machinery and equipment for every deail of the work of manufactur-
ing all classes of blank books, copying books, loose leaf ledgers and binders,
printing, lithographing, engraving, die stamping and embossing. A branch house
was established at 105 Chamber street, New York, to facilitate the demands of
the trade. The death of the founder occurred in September, 1881, and the busi-
ness management was then assumed by his sons and in April, 1888, the William
Mann Company was incorporated. His successors had long been familiar with
the methods to be pursued in the conduct and management of the trade and it
was under the latter management that the present building at Fifth and Com-


iiierce streets was erectetl, the architect being instructed to build a thoroughly up-
to-date factory, having perfect facilities for the comfort and convenience of
those employed as well as abundant floor space for the equipment demanded by
the varieties of work to be done. In addition to the first copying paper brought
out, the company has since produced other styles including Mann"s White Linen,
American Glazed, Mercantile, Manilla, American Railroad, (which is used by
all of the principal railroad companies of the country) Shen King and Yoka.
While there are many departments each under its executive head, the business
has been so thoroughly systematized and organized that it is today a harmonious
unity, the work of each department supplementing and promoting that of the
other departments. William Mann adopted the motto of promptness and one
price, and this has constituted the dominating principle of the management to the
present time. Each department is splendidly equipped with what is necessary to
facilitate the business according to the most modern processes and the business of
the house is so carefully systematized that the work is done with the utmost
rapidity and when completed in one section is turned over to a succeeding section
until it is brought out a finished and marketable product. Ever\'thing in connec-
tion with the making of blank books is here done outside of manufacturing the
paper, and the paper for copying books is also a product of the William Mann
Company. The utmost care is employed at all times to secure uniformity and un-
varying excellence of output, and this, combined with the modern methods of
introducing the product to the trade, has insured the continuous and substantial
growth of the business, while the house in the sixty-three years of its existence
has maintained an unassailable reputation for the reliability of its methods as
well as for promptness in the execution of orders. Its goods are shipped all over
the United States, also to our insular possessions, to Great Britain and in fact
to almost every civilized country on the face of the globe. Mr. Prizer as presi-
dent is thoroughly familiar with the business in every department and is thus
well qualified for administrative direction and executive control. Aside from
his connection with the William Mann Company he is also a director of the
American Union Fire Insurance Company and president of the Neutric-Chemi-
cal Company.

In 1885 occurred the marriage of Mr. Prizer and Miss Ida Conly Mann, a
daughter of Joseph H. Mann, who was formerly president of the William Mann
Company and a son of the founder of the house, William Alann. They have
become the parents of three children. The eldest, William Mann Prizer, born
September 22, 1886, was educated at the Episcopal Academy of Philadelphia,
the Philips Exeter Academy of Exeter, New Hampshire, and at Princeton, where
on the completion of four years' study he was graduated in 1909. He is now
occupying a clerical position with the William Mann Company. The second
son, H. Atmore, Jr., born August 6, 1891, is now a student in Peirce's Business
College. Howard Davis, the youngest son, born September 6, 1893 is attending
the William Penn Charter school.

The family is prominent socially and the parents hold membership in the
Baptist church. Mr. Prizer also belongs to Meridian Sun Lodge, No. 258,
A. F. & A. M. ; the Pennsylvania Society ; and to the Union League Club, while
his political allegiance is given to the republican party. In manner vmaffected


and sincere, he commands the good-will and high regard of business associates
and contemporaries as well as those whom he meets socially, and he has proven
his worth to rank with the leading representatives of commercial and industrial
Philadelphia. It is true that he entered upon a business already established
but in recent years he has been a factor in controlling and enlarging its interests
and in this connection his initiative spirit has found scope and with notable
promptness he has discriminated between the essential and the non-essential.


Dr. Samuel Lewis Ziegler is an ophthalmologist whose pronounced ability is
evidenced in the recognition of his professional skill which has come to him
not only from the eminent members of the medical profession of America but
also of England, France, Germany and other countries. He was born February
5, 1861, in Lewisburg, Union county, Pennsylvania, a son of the Rev. Samuel
William and Martha Elizabeth (Lewis) Ziegler. His uncle, George J. Ziegler,
M. D., was a prominent physician on the staff of the Philadelphia Hospital and
another uncle, John Q. A. Ziegler, was a captain and engineer in chief of the
United States navy.

Dr. S. Lewis Ziegler was graduated from Bucknell University with the
Bachelor of Arts degree in 1880, received the Master of Arts degree in 1883 and
in 1900 the honorary degree of Sc. D. His professional degree was accorded
him on his graduation from the University of Pennsylvania with the class of
1885. He entered upon the practice of medicine but throughout the greater part
of his professional career has specialized in the field of ophthalmology. He was
a resident physician of the Germantown Hospital in 1885 and 1886 and in the
latter year was appointed resident physician of the Episcopal Hospital, serving
until 1887. He then became resident physician of the Wills Eye Hospital, which
connection was maintained until 1889, when he was appointed assistant surgeon
to the same hospital and so continued until 1896. Since 1889 he has been chief
ophthalmic surgeon of St. Joseph's Hospital and since 1901 has been attending
surgeon to the Wills Eye Hospital. From the outset of his professional career

Online LibraryEllis Paxson OberholtzerPhiladelphia; a history of the city and its people, a record of 225 years (Volume 4) → online text (page 37 of 62)