Ellis Paxson Oberholtzer.

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

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his progress has been rapid, his ever increasing ability resulting from thorough
investigation of every phase of scientific knowledge and discovery that bears upon
his chosen life work. He belongs to the Philadelphia County Medical Society,
the Pennsylvania State Medical Society and the section on ophthalmology of the
American Medical Association. He is also a member of the College of Physi-
cians of Philadelphia, the American Ophthalmological Society, the Academy of
Ophthalmology and Oto-Laryngology and was a member of the Pan-American
Medical Congress, the International Ophthalmological Congress, the International
Medical Congress and the International Congress on Tuberculosis. Further-
more, he has been honored by election to membership in the Societe Frangaise
d'OphtalmoIogie, the Heidelberg Ophthalmologische Gesellschaft and the Ox-
ford Ophthalmological Congress. He has served on the editorial staff of Oph-
thalmologyr (French Abstracts), is the author of numerous papers on ophthal-


mological subjects and has in preparation a treatise on the Operative Surgery of
the Eye. His labors have in large degree measured up to the standard of per-
fection thus far attained in his field of practice.

On the 28th of June, 1894, Dr. Ziegler was married at Painted Post, New
York, to Miss May Weston, a daughter of Abijah and Janet (MacLaren) Wes-
ton. They have two children: S. Lewis, Jr., born in 1907; and Katharine Wes-
ton, in 1909.

His religious affiliations are with the Baptist denomination. In his political
belief he is a "regular" republican. His fraternal relations are with Union
Lodge, No. 121, F. & A. M., of which he is a past master, and with the Phila-
delphia Alumni Chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity, of which he was for-
merly president. He is also the first vice president of the Philadelphia Medical
Club, was formerly president of the Bucknell Alumni Club of Philadelphia and
belongs to the Union League Club and the University Club. He has ever been
a man of serious, earnest purpose in his professional relations, content witli
nothing short of the ideal in both his hospital and his private practice. He finds
genuine delight in the successful accomplishment of what he undertakes and in
the practical application of broad scientific truths to specific needs. Progress
has been the keynote of his character and the desire to make his life of the
greatest possible usefulness has led to that close application and broad study
that have placed him with the eminent representatives of ophthalmology not
only in America but in Europe as well.


Ira Jewell Williams, attorney at law, was born in Pennsville, Fayette
county, Pennsylvania, November 20, 1873. His father, David Williams, was
also a native of this state and of Welsh lineage, his father, Rev. Thomas Will-
iams, having come from Wales about 1800 to Cambria county, Pennsylvania.
Thomas Williams was a clergyman of the Church of England, but his son, David
Williams, entered the Baptist ministry and became prominent in the work of
the Baptist church of the state, building many churches and serving in many of
these as pastor. He served as chaplain of the lower house of the state legis-
lature in 1864. His death occurred in De Land, Florida, in 1888. His wife,
whose maiden name was Magdalen Herr, is a descendant of Hans Herr, one of
the early settlers of Lancaster county. Mrs. Williams is now living in Boston.

Ira Jewell Williams is the youngest of the family of four children. He was
educated first in the public schools of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and later in
those of De Land, Florida. He subsequently attended the John B. Stetson Uni-
versity of De Land. His professional training was received in the law depart-
ment of the University of Pennsylvania, from which he was graduated in 1897.
He began practice in the office of William Findlay Brown and Francis Shunk
Brown and later went to the office of Morgan & Lewis. In 1898 he became
associated with the firm of Simpson & Brown and was admitted in partner-


ship in 1906. Since his admission to the bar he has given his attention to the
general practice of the law.

Mr. Williams is a member of the Union League and hence a republican.
He has not aspired to hold office though he was from 1901 to 1907 special coun-
sel for the auditor general of the state. He is also a member of the University-
Club and a member of the board of directors of the Philadelphia Cricket Club.

In 1898 Mr. Williams married Miss Mary Harton Jones, daughter of Rev.
David Jones, D. D., of Pittsburg, and they have two sons, Ira Jewell, Jr., and
David Alexander Williams.


The name of Croskey figures conspicuously upon the pages of Philadelphia's
history. Of him whose name introduces this review it may well be said :

"He was a man. Take him for all in all
■ I shall not look upon his like again."

His father, George Duncan Croskey, was descended from Stephen and Eliza-
beth Croskey, of Fleet street, parish of St. Brides, London. The old family
burying ground shows that the family has been represented in England for
many years, while the names on the tombstones indicate a strong vein of Scotch
blood mingled with the English. Stephen Croskey strongly denounced the
policy of the king toward the American colonies and his descendants made their
way to the new world to enjoy freedom of thought and action. George Duncan
Croskey was born in England, December 14, 1778, and on the 26th of October,
1803, embarked for America, accompanied by his brother, Richard Knight Cros-
key. They became successful merchants of Philadelphia and were also there
enrolled as members of the Society of the Sons of St. George, a society formed
April 23, 1772, for the purpose of advising and assisting Englishmen who were
strangers in America. Richard Knight Croskey became a member in 1808,
George Duncan Croskey in 1815, Henry Croskey in 1840, and Dr. John Welsh
Croskey in 1895.

George Duncan Croskey was married December 14, 1808, to Eliza Ashmead,
whose mother, Mary (Mifflin) Ashmead, was of the family of Governor Mifflin,
of Pennsylvania, while her father, Captain John Ashmead, of Revolutionary
fame, was a well known figure in the colonies and on the sea. He commanded
the Eagle in the continental service and rendered valuable aid to the govern-
ment. His daughter, Mrs. Eliza Croskey, is mentioned in an obituary written
by Rev. A. D. Gillette and found in the desk of her son Henry Croskey at his
death, from which we quote the following: "The lady whose decease we thus
announce was known to a very large circle of relatives and acquaintances and
as earnestly loved as known." The Ashmeads were Quakers of Gloucestershire,
descended from Robert II of Scotland. The paternal grandfather of Mrs.
George D. Croskey was Captain John Rush, of Cromwell's army, from whom
is descended Benjamin Rush, who signed the Declaration of Independence.




Henry Croskey is described as a man of hopeful disposition, ambitious, gen-
erous and sympathetic ; a man of broad views, keen intellect, gentle character
and warm affections. He was born in Philadelphia, November 15, 1815. He
had in the social position of his mother and the success of his father better
opportunities for education and comfort than the majority of children in old
Philadelphia homes. His only brother, Alfred, died when quite a young man,
and for his only sister, Elizabeth, he maintained a lifelong affection and devo-
tion, visiting her regularly once a week after she became the wife of L. Knowles,
a prominent Philadelphia merchant-

The responsibilities of business life were early thrust upon Henry Croskey,
who, though only in his fourteenth year at the time of his father's death, August
29, 1829, assumed the management of the lumberyard at Broad and Race streets,
and in 1833 he removed the business to the square bounded by Arch, Filbert,
Eighteenth and Nineteenth streets. While a successful young business man he
was married, August 25, 1837, by the Rev. Anthony Atwood, to Ann Dunno-
hew, a daughter of Mathew Dunnohew, of Scotch descent, and Anne Robertson,
one of the old Robertson family of Delaware, formerly of Virginia. Of her
it was said : "Throughout a long, well-spent life the evidences of her Quaker
training were manifest in her plain directness of speech, her clear, clean judg-
ment, which made her a trustworthy adviser, and her sympathetic charity to
the poor and needy." For more than a half century Henry Croskey and his
wife traveled life's journey happily together, and seven of their children, Henry,
Knowles, John Welsh, Frances, Elizabeth, Ida and Mary Clay, lived to add to
their enjoyment in the evening of life.

Early in their married life, however, Mr. Croskey suffered financial re-
verses occasioned by the failure of the Schuylkill Bank in 1837. They were
obliged to give up their lu.xurious home and live according to their limited
means, but their self-denial and determination at length placed them again on
the high road to success. In 1842 Mr. Croskey adopted a new business method
which added greatly to his prosperity. He procured the first and second
wharves below Green street on the Delaware, where he received wholesale con-
signments of lumber, which he sold on commission for the benefit of its owners.
For forty years he conducted an extensive and profitable lumber business, sell-
ing lumber of every description as well as many millions of shingles. He also
became interested in the street railways of Philadelphia, and in 1858 was unani-
mously elected president of the Ridge Avenue Railway Company but resigned
in i860. In 1859 the board of presidents of the city passenger railways of
Philadelphia was organized, the companies represented being eight in number.
Of this organization Mr. Croskey was elected secretary and treasurer and so
continued through annual reelection until his death, having served in that ca-
pacity for more than forty consecutive years.

It was not until April, 1857, when his wife was baptized and became active
in church work that Henry Croskey made any positive attempt to lead a re-
ligious life. On the 3d of May following he, too, was baptized at the Tabernacle
Baptist church and immediately became identified with the church activities.
His home was always open for the entertainment of clergymen, and when it


was proposed to build the Beth Eden church in 1870, he was made treasurer
and raised fifty-two thousand dollars of the building fund.

One of his biographers has said: "Wife, mother, father and ancestors, one
and all, contributed their share in the formation and development of Henry
Croskey, but the man himself stood out in bold relief, strong and capable, self-
reliant and masterful, yet with a sweetness of disposition that made him like
a little child in the confidence and belief he showed in those for whom he had
an afifection. Fortune long favored him and twice adversity overtook him, but
when he saw the accumulation of years of toil swept away from him his courage
never wavered. Unlike many who have had reverses, he calmly gave up all his
fortune at the age of seventy-five to pay dollar for dollar of indebtedness caused
in endorsements for a large corporation, bravely starting to work again with a
courage undaunted and a cheerfulness of disposition that was truly marvelous
in one of his years. This courage and cheerfulness never left him, even in the
trying hours of his last illness. Feeling that his days were numbered, he quietly
prepared for that 'bourne from whence no traveler ere returns.' He had a
great desire to Hve until after the wedding of his grandson, on the 19th of
September, 'that no grief for him should darken the ceremony,' and also to the
last day of that month, in order to complete a business agreement. Almost in
the throes of death and with an intellect unclouded and a precision which had
been one of his life-long characteristics, he transacted his final business mat-
ters. Then, on the ist day of October, as if death had waited for him to
punctually fulfill his last engagement, the veil was drawn and the soul of Henry
Croskey passed quietly away to his Maker. He dared

'do all that may become a man.
Who dares do more is none.' "


It needs not the consensus of public opinion or the testimony of his pro-
fessional brethren but only the court records to establish the position of John
Cromwell Bell as one of the eminent members of the Philadelphia bar, for re-
ported opinions show that he has been the successful contesting counsel in
many of the most important cases that have appeared before the courts of Penn-
sylvania. Moreover, at the present writing he is serving as attorney general of
the state by appointment of Governor John K. Tener — the most important legal
office in the commonwealth.

His life history had its beginning at Elder's Ridge, Indiana county, Penn-
sylvania, October 3, 1862. He represents a family of Scotch-Irish lineage,
founded in Pennsylvania in colonial days. His father, Alfred M. Bell, long a
prominent citizen of Indiana county, was a schoolmate of Mathew Stanley Quay,
the late Judge Clark of the supreme court, and Judge White, of Indiana county.
The son, reared in his native county, acquired his early education in the public
and normal schools there and following his removal to Philadelphia when a
youth of fourteen years, entered the Central high school, from which he was.


graduated with the A. B. degree in 1880, having remained at the head of his
class through the four years' course. In due time he received from that
school the Master's degree.

The trend of his mind, naturally analytical and inductive, led him to the
study of law. He matriculated in 1882 in the law school of the University of
Pennsylvania, where his preceptor was John Moylen Thomas. His university
course was completed in 1884, and to him were accorded two honors that
seldom fall to the same man in that institution, the law faculty awarding the
Meredith essay prize and also selecting him to deliver the law oration — a
most notable one — on commencement day. While he made high grade in his
studies he was also well known and popular in athletic circles, playing half-
back on the 'Varsity football team in 1882, 1883 and 1884. He afterward be-
came a member of the board of directors of the Athletic Association of the
university, retiring from that position after twenty years' service.

Entering upon the active practice of the law as a member of the Philadel-
phia bar, Mr. Bell received almost immediate prominence and his advancement
has been continuous from the first. He has largely specialized in the department
of corporation law and has been the legal representative of some of the most
prominent business concerns and corporations of this city, including the Real
Estate, Title, Insurance & Trust Company, the United Fireman's Insurance
Company, the German Demokrat, the Interstate Railways Company and the
United Power & Transportation Company. At the outset of his professional
career Mr. Bell determined to take no active part in politics as an officeholder
and to this resolution he strictly adhered for many years until the pressure of
public demand for his services was too great to be resisted. There is undoubtedly
no other young man of Philadelphia who has declined so many political prefer-
ments as has Mr. Bell. Eschewing office, his devotion to his clients' interests
became proverbial, and he again and again refused to accept appointive and
elective positions. In 1898 he might have had the position of first assistant dis-
trict attorney had he not declined, and when the common pleas court No. 5
was established he refused the proffered honor of a seat upon the bench. It
was not imtil after the election of November, 1902, that he yielded to the per-
sistent demand of the people of his adopted city after receiving a petition signed
by fifteen hundred members of the bar and many of the leading citizens of
Philadelphia. He then consented to fill out the unexpired term of district at-
torney, the position having been made vacant by the election of Hon. John
Weaver as mayor of Philadelphia. Mr. Bell discharged his duties so vigorously,
faithfully and capably that the public demanded his continuance in office and in
November, 1903, he was elected by a very flattering majority, receiving the sup-
port of many opposed to him politically. It is a fact widely reocgnized by mem-
bers of the bar that for certain reasons the administration of the duties of the
office of district attorney of Philadelphia is one of the most difficult legal ser-
vices in this country. Traditional precedents and the ever recurring conditions
peculiar to the office have placed upon its incumbent requirements which mere
legal lore and forensic display are not sufficient to satisfy. The district attorney
must possess judicial as well as executive ability. The work of Mr. Bell in con-
nection with the enforcement of the pure food laws drew to him not only the


attention of the bar and the public in America but to a considerable extent in
foreign lands.

In this connection a contemporary biographer has written: "The use of
deleterious chemicals in the preservation of meats has long been practiced by
'eminently respectable' purveyors of public food necessities, but rarely has there
ever been witnessed so bold, so deliberate an effort on the part of capital to
subsidize the combined skill of technical learning, public credulity and legal
fine-line interpretation to the disadvantage of the food consumer compelled to
place his health and physical welfare at the mercy of these individuals. No
mere attorney, however skilled in his legal ascertainments, could have hoped to
cope with the brilliant array of medico-legal talent marshalled by the opposition.
The litigation following the brilliant attack of District Attorney Bell was ably
assailed by the allied interests of the food preservation manufacturers through-
out the country who recognized the wide-spread effects of an exposure and con-
viction. Experts were engaged by the defense from all over the United States,
and among them was Professor Oscar Liebreich, of the University of Berlin,
the Prussian Government University, Kaiser Wilhelm Military Academy, Hon-
orary D. C. L. of the University of Oxford, etc. In this trial the leading chem-
ists of the world were pitted against the District Attorney's contention that the
use of Sodium Sulphide as a food preservative was deleterious. After perhaps
the most brilliant case of this nature ever witnessed in this country Mr. Bell
secured a verdict against the defendants."

Another case which won Mr. Bell almost equally wide fame and prominence
was that known as the Hossey & Danz poison case. This was practically divided
into two distinct prosecutions and exceeding in importance any other poison
case ever tried in the courts of Pennsylvania. The defendants brought to their
aid not only the services of the ablest criminal lawyers but also the expert testi-
mony of eminent chemists of the country, and added to this they pleaded the
weakness of circumstantial evidence. After nine weeks a verdict of convic-
tion was rendered in each case. Mrs. Danz was the second woman convicted
of murder in the first degree in Philadelphia, and after appeal followed by two
arguments in the supreme court that tribunal sustained the conviction. Equally
creditable and almost equally important was the work which Mr. Bell did in the
prosecution of the straw bail case, in which he filed informations against the
defendant, a remedy that had not been resorted to in Pennsylvania for over a
century — and the affirmance by the superior court of the twenty-eighth ward
school directors, which resulted in sending to jail the defendants convicted by
his predecessor in office. Mr. Bell also sustained the constitutionality of the
act establishing the juvenile court before the superior court, and his record of
two years in the office shows a victory of ten out of eleven appeal cases con-
ducted by him before the superior and supreme courts.

On his retirement from the position of district attorney in 1907 Mr. Bell
was tendered a public dinner, on which occasion Chief Justice Mitchell said:
"It is a high honor to say tonight, as those of us who are familiar with the con-
ditions of affairs in courts of justice know, that Mr. Bell has followed faithfully
the traditions of the office and has given them additional luster." On his retire-
ment Mr. Bell resumed the private practice of law but again the demand for his


services was so insistent that in January, 191 1, he accepted the office of attorney
general for the state of Pennsylvania, conferred upon him by ap])ointnient of
Governor John K. Tener.

There are other phases in the life of Mr. Bell which are of equal interest,
though to perhaps a smaller number of people. In his own home he is a genial
host, whose cordial hospitality makes the Bell residence the attractive center of
a cultured social circle. He was married, in 1890, to Miss Fleurette de Benne-
ville Myers, a daughter of Hon. Leonard and Hettie de Benneville (Keim)
Myers. The children of this marriage are John Cromwell and de Benneville.,
In the summer season the family retire to a beautiful country home, Blythe
Wold, near Radnor, while their winter residence in Philadelphia is at Twenty-
second and Locust streets.

Mr. Bell belongs to various social, professional and business organizations,
including the Markham, University, Country and Merion Cricket Clubs. He is
the corresponding secretary of the Lawyers Club of Philadelphia and a member
of the Library Committee, of the Law Alumni Association and the Athletic As-
sociation of the University of Pennsylvania. He was elected and became a trus-
tee of the University of Pennsylvania in 191 1. He is a member of the State
Bar Association. On various occasions he has been called to speak upon im-
portant legal problems and in delivering the annual address before the Law
Academy of Philadelphia, in May, 1904, he chose as his topic "The Several
Modes of Instituting Criminal Proceedings in Pennsylvania." It is regarded as
an extremely high honor to be chosen to address the Law Academy, which is the
most ancient society of young lawyers in the English speaking world, and Mr.
Bell is the youngest man upon whom this honor was ever conferred. His ad-
dress was published by the society and also appears in the volumes of law reports.
His prominence needs no emphasis by his biographers. His position is evident
to all who know aught of the history of the Philadelphia bar and the work of
the courts during the last quarter of a century. Throughout his entire profes-
sional career he has united the intensely practical with high ideality. Words,
looks and actions are the alphabet by which we spell character, and in the life of
John Cromwell Bell these have had no uncertain sound.


Rev. M. Monkiewicz is pastor of St. Adelbert's parish, which was organized
by him November 25. 1904. At that time the parish numbered about two hun-
dred families. They built a temporary frame church seating about nine hun-
dred, also a school. The schoolhouse was a one story structure and contained
four rooms. The parish laid the cornerstone for the new stone church May 10,
1908. This is a granite building with limestone trimmings and has recently
been completed at a cost of eighty-five thousand dollars. It is a beautiful gothic
structure with two spires one hundred and sixty feet high and has a seating
capacity of twelve hundred. R. E. Giele, of Jersey City, was the architect.
The present pastor has done a wonderful work here among his congregation.


which is all of Polish people. There are now four hundred and fifty families
in the parish and in addition to controlling the interests of the church as its
spiritual and temporal adviser Father Monkiewicz has supervision over about
seven hundred children and eleven teachers. There is one assistant pastor,
Father Theodore Suck.

Father Monkiewicz was born in Russia-Poland, November 3, 1878, and
came to the United States in 1893 when a youth of fifteen years. Going to
Detroit, Michigan, he there attended the Detroit Polish Seminary and afterward
St. Charles Seminary at Overbrook, Philadelphia. He was ordained by Arch-

Online LibraryEllis Paxson OberholtzerPhiladelphia; a history of the city and its people, a record of 225 years (Volume 4) → online text (page 38 of 62)