Ellis Paxson Oberholtzer.

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

. (page 4 of 62)
Online LibraryEllis Paxson OberholtzerPhiladelphia; a history of the city and its people, a record of 225 years (Volume 4) → online text (page 4 of 62)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

view. Of superior mental attainments, which through cultivation have made
him a scholar, and of strong individuality, he never lacks the courage of his con-
victions, but there are as dominating elements in his individuality a deep human
sympathy and an abiding charity, which have naturally gained for him the re-
spect and confidence of his fellowmen. His life has become the expression of
traits of character which he has cultivated throughout the years, those traits
which find their expression in quick and generous sympathy and ready helpful-

In relation to his services in the ministry a contemporary biographer has
said : "His labors in the various communities where he has lived have been of
great effect in promoting moral development and progress. He has never been
denied the full harvest nor the aftermath and as the years have gone by the
work of the church and of Christian education has been greatly promoted through
his effective, zealous labors. He has attained distinguished ecclesiastical honors
and is widely recognized as one of the ablest divines of the Episcopal ministry."


The tendency of the age is toward specialization. So broad has been the
realm of knowledge gathered through scientific research, investigation and ex-
periment that it would be impossible for any individual to attain high rank in
every department of medical practice, and with thorough understanding of the
general principles and rules of health and disease, it is common at the present
time for the practitioner to devote his efforts to a particular line, gaining skill
therein which he could not hope to attain otherwise. Dr. Gibb, whose record is
in harmony with this general tendency, is now devoting his attention to diseases
of the nose, throat and ear, and has become recognized as an eminent specialist
along these lines. Born in Philadelphia on the nth of February, 1859, he is a
son of Charles M. and Emily Gibb, a representative of Scotch Presbyterian an-
cestry on the father's side and of English Friends on the mother's.

Having attended the public schools of his native city until he became a pupil
in the Central high school. Dr. Gibb afterward entered Eastburn Academy, from
which he was graduated, and then pursued his medical course in the LTniversity
of Pennsylvania, where he won his degree in 1880. Following his graduation,
he entered Blockley Hospital at Philadelphia, where he remained for a year, his
varied hospital experiences constituting a splendid training school for his later
professional labors. He then entered upon general practice, but is now de-
voting special attention to diseases of the nose and throat. After fifteen years
spent in active general practice, he abandoned it to devote his entire time to
the treatment of the nose, throat and ear, and has won distinction in this field.


In 1892 he was elected professor of diseases of the nose and throat at the Phila-
delphia Polyclinic; was chosen aural and laryngeal surgeon of the Episcopal
Hospital in 1893; and is identified with various medical societies including the
American Medical Association, the American Laryngological Association, the
American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Association, the Pennsyl-
vania State Medical Society, the Philadelphia County Medical Society, and the
College of Physicians of Philadelphia. He has likewise done considerable hos-
pital work of an important character. In addition to his connection with the
Blockley Hospital he was physician of the out-patient department of the TSTorth-
ern dispensary from 1881 to 1884 and the out-patient service of the department of
charities and correction from 1882 until 1890. Since 1892 he has been physician
of the throat and nose department of the Philadelphia Polyclinic and also of the
Episcopal Hospital. He belongs to the Alpha Mu Pi Omega, a medical fra-
ternity of which he was president in 1908-9.

Aside from professional connection. Dr. Gibb is a member of the Union
League and of the Historical Society. He also belongs to St. Paul's Protestant
Episcopal church of Overbrook. Pleasantly situated in his home life he was
married in Greenville, New Jersey, April 25, 1882, to Miss Jessie Hassell, a
daughter of John Hassell, a prominent dentist of Newark, New Jersey. Their
children are : Joseph Scribner, deceased ; William Hassell ; and Mary Elizabeth


Those things which count for humanity, for charity, for intellectual prog-
ress, for advancement in the arts, for culture and, in short, for civilization,
were the beneficiaries of the liberality of Ferdinand Julius Dreer and were stimu-
lated by his support and advocacy. His activity in these lines brought him
prominently before the public and Philadelphia honored him as one of her
leading and eminent citizens.

He was born in Philadelphia, March 2, 1812, his parents being Frederick
and Augusta Fredrica (Nolthenius) Dreer, natives of Germany. The schools
of this city ofi^ered him his educational opportunities and at the age of sixteen
years he was apprenticed to a jewelry manufacturer. Two years later his master
gave up business and Mr. Dreer completed his apprenticeship in New York
city, where he also made a systematic study of assaying. Upon reaching his
majority he joined John Annan in organizing the firm of Annan & Dreer, as-
sayers and manufacturers of gold chains. The new undertaking proved profit-
able and was developed along substantial and constantly broadening lines. Later
Mr. Dreer became associated in business with George Hayes under the style of
Dreer & Hayes and this firm continued in business until the year 1863, when
Mr. Dreer retired.

Out of the struggle with small opportunities he came finally into a field of
broad and active influence and usefulness. The splendid success which he
achieved in business gave him opportunity for participation in those things


\ -^m



which were to him a source of interest and delight. Close application and con-
centration upon business interests naturally narrows the opportunity for intel-
lectual development, but this came to Mr. Dreer with success and he entered
into the wider world of thought and knowledge with a keen zest that made him
an active participant in the social, esthetic and intellectual progress of the city.
He also became widely known in philanthropic circles and in those fields of
activity where effort is made to ameliorate the hard conditions of life for the
unfortunate. He was one of the promoters of the Philadelphia Academy of
Music and served on its board of directors for more than three decades. He
was likewise a member of the Philosophical Society and for a number of years
was the vice president of the Pennsylvania Historical Society, in which he was
always deeply interested. He became a charter member of the Howard Hos-
pital and the Philadelphia Female Medical College and was a large contributor
to the Hayes Mechanics Home, a retreat for aged mechanics and artisans,
founded according to the terms of his partner's will. He served as one of its
board of managers and built on the grounds a commodious Dreer memorial cot-
tage and chapel.

During the Civil war Mr. Dreer was a member of the Grey Reserves, a
company recruited for home defense and to serve in case of emergency. He
was a generous contributor to and an earnest worker in behalf of the bounty
fund, the sanitary commission fair, the Cooper shop refreshment saloon and
the Satterlee Hospital. He became one of the fifty charter members of the
Union Club of Philadelphia, founded in 1862 as an organized effort to with-
draw from all social intercourse with persons suspected of disloyalty to the
Union. This organization held regular meetings until November, 1865, when
it was practically merged into the newly organized Union League Club of Phila-
delphia, save for the practice of its surviving members of holding an annual

Mr. Dreer's interest in things of the past made him well known as an anti-
quarian. He made a collection of more than ten thousand letters and other
autograph documents, which he presented to the Pennsylvania Historical So-
ciety, and he had a large library of books inlaid with e.xtra prints and engrav-

Mr. Dreer was married April 21, 1834, to Miss Abigail Dickinson, a daugh-
ter of Alexander Annan and a great-granddaughter of the Rev. Jonathan Dick-
inson, founder and first president of the College of New Jersey, now known as
Princeton College, and a great-great-granddaughter of the first Marquis of An-
nandale. Mrs. Dreer died in 1896, while Mr. Dreer survived until May 24,
1902. Their surviving sons are Frederick A. and Ferdinand J., Jr., residing at
No. 1520 Spruce street. The latter was for over thirty years engaged in the
jewelry business at the corner of Tenth and Arch streets. Frederick A. was
for a number of years connected with Pennsylvania Company for Insurances on
Lives & Granting Annuities. Both brothers are now retired and as capitalists of
Philadelphia are giving their attention to their invested interests.

The history of Ferdinand Julius Dreer indicates not only the possibilities
for attainment to one to whom energy and enterprise are native, for while he
wrought along lines of success and became one of Philadelphia's wealthy citi-


zens, he thoroughly understood his opportunities and his obligations and after
his retirement from business it seemed to be the purpose of his life to make
his native talents subserve the demands which conditions of society impose at
the present time. He sought to aid where assistance was necessary and was
generous in his response to the needs of the poor, but his eiTorts were even
greater for the extension of knowledge where results are more enduring and
satisfying. Thus art and science found him a patron and philanthropy a valued


Dr. Charles H. Weber, a medical practitioner of Norristown, Pennsylvania,
with offices at No. 1304 Pine street in Philadelphia, was born at Downingtown,
Chester county, Pennsylvania, on the 2d of February, 1856, his parents being
John Casselberry and Annie M. (Casselberry) Weber. His first ancestor in
America was Christian Weber, who came from Germany in company with about
four hundred German Protestants, in 1727, in the ship Good Will, and settled
in Montgomery county, Pennsylvania. A house which Christian Weber built
on the tract of land he purchased is still standing. The family lived on this
estate as farmers for many generations. The first Christian Weber had a son
John, whose son Christian, the great-grandfather of Dr. Charles Weber, was a
distinguished man in his generation. He served in the Revolution, himself re-
cruiting one hundred men at a harvest home celebration. He was made captain
of the company, which served nuder Colonel Leech. He made a gallant record
during the war and at its close was appointed as a justice of the peace. He was
also a county commissioner and his name appears on the Manatawny bridge,
which was erected in 1800. His son John, born October 8, 1768, was elected to
the general assembly in 1807 and thrice reelected, serving as speaker of the house
during the last two sessions. He was a prominent candidate for governor of the
state but died just prior to his probable nomination, while comparatively a young
man. He was successful as a business man, being a large landowner and farmer
and also operating mills on the Wissahickon creek and on the Perkiomen at Col-
legcville, where he lived when he was elected to the legislature. His son. Chris-
tian Weber, a native of Collegeville, was a farmer and miller, operating his
father's mills. John Casselberry, son of Christian and father of Dr. Weber,
was also an extensive landowner and farmer. At the present time, however, he
is living in honorable retirement at Norristown.

Charles H. Weber supplemented his early education, obtained in the country
schools of Norristown, by a course of study in the Tremont Seminary at that
place. The first five years of his professional career were spent as a teacher and
for four years of that period he acted as principal of the Center Square school
in Whitpain township. During the last three years of his identification with
educational interests he studied medicine under the direction of Dr. Joseph K.
Weaver, of Norristown, being thus enabled to enter Jefferson College well ad-
vanced in preparation. At the completion of the prescribed course, he wrote the


Henry C. Chapman prize essay in physiology. He won the degree of AI. D. in
1882 and began practice in association with Dr. J. K. Weaver, his former pre-
ceptor. At the end of a year, however, he severed his professional relations with
that gentleman and has since practiced independently. In 1881 he acted as quiz
master in physiology at Jefferson College, and since the beginning of his career
as a medical practitioner he has been on the visiting staff of the Charity Hospital
of Norristown and also a lecturer in the Training School for Nurses. For eight
years he held the appointment of prison physician. He is a member of the
American Medical Association and the Pennsylvania State Medical Society, while
during the year 1894 he acted as president of the Montgomery County Medical
Society, having previously served as its secretary for six years. He has written
a history of the medical profession in Montgomery county and has contributed
various monographs to the medical journals. He has ever maintained close con-
formity to a high standard of professional ethics and has thus won the highest
regard of his brethren of the medical fraternity, while his position in public
thought is indicated by the large patronage which is given him and the unquali-
fied respect which is tendered him.

On the 28th of October, 1884, Dr. Weber was united in marriage to Miss
Anna Yerkes Gilbert, a daughter of Solomon Gilbert. She is a graduate of the
Norristown high school and served as assistant principal of that institution for
six years prior to her marriage. She is now the mother of six children, as fol-
lows : Charles Gilbert, Jean, John Malcolm, Emily, Eleanor and Aubrey. In
politics Dr. Weber is a republican. He is a man of easy dignity, frank and cor-
dial in address and possessing that confidence and courage which rightly come
from conscious personal ability, a right conception of things and an habitual re-
gard for what is best in the exercise of human activities.


Professor George Herbert Meeker, widely known as chemist, toxicologist
and educator, has for fifteen years been professor of chemistry in the Medico-
Chirurgical College of Philadelphia. A native of New Jersey, Professor Meaker
was born in Phillipsburg, Warren county, August 13, 1871, and is descended
from colonial and Revolutionary ancestry, being connected with the Meaker and
La Maigre families (which are but different forms of the name of Meeker) and
the Morehouse, Soulard, Kelly, Crawford and Hedden families. The old
Meeker homestead at Lyons Farms, Clinton township, Essex county, New Jer-
sey, built about 1650, is the oldest house in the state. It was erected by the
Meekers and has never been owned nor occupied by any save the lineal descend-
ants of the original builders until very recently. A few months ago it was sold
by the last lineal owner and is now about to be razed to make way for "modern
improvements," to the regret of the New Jersey Historical Society, which is
without funds to preserve it. The parents of Dr. Meeker were George Edward
and Hannah Maria (Kelly) Meeker. The mother was of Scotch-Irish lineage
on the paternal side and of colonial stock (the Crawfords) on the maternal side.


The death of Mrs. Meeker occurred when she was seventy-six years of age, but
George Edward Meeker is still hale and hearty at the age of eighty years.

Spending his youthful days in his native town, Professor Meeker pursued his
education in the public schools to his graduation from the Phillipsburg high
school with the class of 1889. He afterward pursued a chemical course in
Lafayette College at Easton, Pennsylvania, where he was graduated B. S. in
1893, while later, after post-graduate work, he received the M. S. degree in
1895 and the Ph. D. degree in 1898. The Medico-Chirurgical College of Phila-
delphia in 1906 conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Pharmacy, and in
1907 the degree of D. D. S., while in 1905 he received from Ursinus College
the honorary degree of LL. D. Since the period of his boyhood labors he has
always been a practicing chemist or professor of chemistry and toxicology. Pro-
fessor Meeker has been chemist or manager of various plants in connection with
the industries of iron, manganese, zinc, fertilizers and animal products, and also
consulting toxicologist to the city of Philadelphia. Through his investigation
and research he has delved deep into the realms of science, is the author of
various scientific papers, a member of many scientific societies, and is a medallist
of the Franklin Institute. In the educational field, too, his work has been of
exceptional worth and value. He has been professor of chemistry in the Medico-
Chirurgical College of Philadelphia since 1897 and dean of the department of
pharmaceutic chemistry since 1907. In 1909 he went abroad for an extended
period of European travel and scientific research, spending eighteen months on
that side of the Atlantic, touring the universities of Europe in the interests of
the Medico-Chirurgical College, and pursuing special studies in the University
of Munich. He is the inventor and patentee of several electrical and chemical
devices, yet is best known as a chemist, toxicologist and educator. He has com-
pleted fifteen years of continuous service in his professorship in the Medico-
Chirurgical College of Philadelphia, and his ability to impart clearly, readily
and concisely to others the comprehensive knowledge which he has obtained,
gives him rank with the leading educators in this field in the country. Other
biographies of Professor Meeker are to be found in "Who's Who in America"
and in "American Men of Science."

On the 6th of June, 1900, in Easton, Pennsylvania, Professor Meeker was
married to Miss Anna Uhler Hunt, a daughter of Edward Insley and Sarah
(Lesh) Himt, and a representative of English and Dutch colonial ancestry. In
politics he is a republican rather inclined to the regular or conservative methods
of the party than to the ultra or so-called progressive measures of some of its
leaders, believing that rapid and decided changes are apt to bring unrest and
instability rather than advancement. Professor Meeker is prominent in Ma-
sonry, holding membership in University Lodge No. 610, A. F. & A. M., of
Philadelphia; to Eagle Chapter No. 30, R. A. M., of New Jersey; to De Molay
Commandery No. 6, K. T., of New Jersey; while of Lu Lu Temple, A. A. O.
N. M. S., of Philadelphia, he is a life member. He is also affiliated with several
college fraternities including the Delta Upsilon (academic), Ptolemy (medical-
Masonic), Phi Ro Sigma (medical). Phi Omega (dental) and the Phi Zeta
Delta (chemical). His intellect early grasped the eternal truth that industry
wins, and industry became the beacon light of his life. It has characterized him


in every relation and in none more so than in his professorship, wherein he is
himself as much a student as an instructor. He is continuously reaching out for
the truths and facts that science offers in return for thorough research, and in
this connection he has made valuable contribution to the work of his profes-


Dr. Howard Kennedy Hill, practicing successfully in Philadelphia, his na-
tive city, was born February 2, 1879. He is a son of R. H. C. and Alice (Ken-
nedy) Hill, of Philadelphia, and a grandson of Elias Davidson Kennedy, a
prominent financier of this city, whose father, Robert Kennedy, was graduated
from Carlisle College in 1797 and afterward became a distinguished Presbyterian
minister. One of the great grandfathers of Dr. Hill was Thomas Shields Clarke,
of Pittsburg, who was president of the Packet Canal Company operating be-
tween Philadelphia and Pittsburg. He, too, was a very prominent and influential
man of his day.

Spending his youthful days in his parents' home, Dr. Hill pursued his studies
in Forsythe school and in the William Penn Charter school, from which he was
graduated with the class of 1895. He then entered the college of the University
of Pennsylvania and won the Bachelor of Science degree in 1899. In prepara-
tion for a professional career, he matriculated in the medical department and
received his M. D. degree in 1903. He made a good record in his school work
and at the same time was popular in athletic circles, being manager of the
Varsity Track Team and captain of the University Golf Team. He was also
one of the editors of the Daily Pennsylvanian and a director of the Athletic

Following the completion of his course in preparation for the practice of
medicine, Dr. Hill was appointed an interne at the Children's Hospital. He af-
terward spent five months in study in Vienna, devoting his time to pathology and
pediatrics under some of the eminent specialists in those fields in the old world.
Upon his return to America he entered upon general practice, but at the same
time gave special attention to pediatrics. He is now assistant instructor in
medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, is visiting chief to the children's
ward, chief of the children's medical dispensary at the Howard Hospital, chief
of the children's medical dispensary at the Presbyterian Hospital, visiting physi-
cian to the University Settlement and to the Day Nursery. His professional
service is of important character and makes constantly greater and greater de-
mand upon his time and attention. He is also a member of the board of directors
of the Pennsylvania Printing Company and of the University Christian Associa-
tion. Dr. Hill is indeed a busy man, constant demands being made upon his
time and energies and yet there is in him a certain poise and even balance that
does away with all nervous haste and inspires a full confidence and repose by
those who come under his ministrations.

On the 29th of April, 1908, in Atlantic City, Dr. Hill was united in marriage
to Miss Ruth Larrabee Clay, a daughter of Mrs. Caleb J. Coatsworth, of Essex,


Essex county, New York, and a granddaughter of Harry Gibbs Clay, a very dis-
tinguished lawyer of Philadelphia. They have one daughter, Margaret Clay
Hill, and a son, Howard Livingston Hill, who are the life of the household at
No. 1702 Locust street.

Dr. Hill is a member of Cavalry Presbyterian church and of the executive
committee of the Missionary Association in that church. In fact he is much
interested in church work and cooperates in its various activities for the exten-
sion of its influence. His political allegiance is given to the republican party and
he is a valued and prominent member of various club and social organizations,
belonging to the Merion Cricket Club, the Atlantic City Country Club, the Phila-
delphia Barge Club, the Rittenhouse, Markham, Racquet and University Clubs.
In his undergraduate days he was connected with the Phi Alpha Sigma, a medi-
cal fraternity, the Sphinx Senior Society, the H. C. Wood Medical Society, and
is now a fellow of the College of Physicians. He is a young man of unfaltering
enterprise and purpose, holding to high ideals in professional and individual re-
lations and exemplifying in his life the principles in which he believes.


Henry C. Schmidt is a well known representative of brewing interests in
Philadelphia, being treasurer of the C. Schmidt & Sons Company Brewery
and treasurer of the Robert Smith Ale Brewing Company, which was established
by Robert Smith in 1774. A native of this city, he was born June 18, i860, and
is a son of Christian and Anna Margaret Schmidt. In his youthful days his
time was largely given to the acquirement of an education until he had reached
the age of fourteen years, when he began providing for his own support as an
employe in the office of his father. Christian Schmidt, owner of a brewery. He
occupied a clerical position until twenty years of age, when he became solicitor
and collector for his father, and in 1891 was admitted to a partnership as

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