Ellis Paxson Oberholtzer.

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

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railway systems of the country. His plans were carefully formulated and
promptly executed and he possessed the ability to so coordinate forces that a
harmonious whole resulted. He was an officer and director in over one hun-
dred firms and corporations of an important character, many being railroad and
industrial concerns.

In February, 1859, Mr. Du Barry was united in marriage to Miss Caroline
Denny, of Pittsburg, a daughter of Major St. Claire Denny, of the United
States army. In 1874 they located at No. 2017 Spruce street, Philadelphia.


which is still the family home. To them were born three children, two daugh-
ters and a son, namely: Elizabeth D., Joseph N., Jr., and Carrie D.

The death of Mr. Du Barry occurred in this city on the 17th of December,
1892, when he had reached the age of sixty-two years, and thus passed from
the scene of activities one of the distinguished and prominent representatives
of railway interests — a man widely known in railway circles and honored wher-
ever he was known. During the period of the Civil war he was in charge of
the movement of troops from Harrisburg, which was a very laborious under-
taking, and his services to his country and the railroad company were of a very^
important character during that period.

His political views were in accord with the principles of the republican
party and citizenship was to him no idle term, although he never sought nor
desired public office. He was a member of the Engineers Club of Philadelphia,
the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Institute of Civil Engineers, of
London, and many other kindred societies and clubs of the city and counfry.
He was a believer in Masonic principles and held membership in the craft. He
was also a faithful member of the Presbyterian church and his life in its various
phases commanded the confidence and good will of his fellowmen. His ability,
native and acquired, enabled him to occupy a position far in advance of his fel-
lows, yet there was in all of his life record no esoteric chapter, his promotion
coming as the legitimate and logical sequence of well developed powers, wise
use of opportunity and faithfulness to every trust, large or small.


The Grubb family is one of the oldest of Pennsylvania, being founded in
America by John and Frances Grubb, who came from Cornwall, England, mak-
ing their way to what became known as Grubb Landing on the Delaware river,
just below Namans creek and about six miles from Wilmington. To a more
remote period the ancestry is traced, and the family is found to be of Danish
origin and connected with the royal blood. Representatives of the name went
to England probably in the fourteenth century. John Grubb was bom in Corn-
wall in 1652 and in 1677 crossed the Atlantic, becoming a resident of New Jer-
sey. In 1679 he purchased land at Upland, now Chester, and in 1680 obtained
a charter from King Charles II for the province of Pennsylvania. In the fol-
lowing year he landed at Grubbs Landing, to which place he gave his name. It
was in 1682 that William Penn purchased from the Duke of York the state of
Delaware and in the same year arrived at Chester, which place he so named.
With the early history of the colony John Grubb was closely associated, doing
much to shape its formative policy, being widely recognized as a prominent and in-
fluential resident of Pennsylvania. From 1692 until 1700 he was a member of
the Pennsylvania assembly and on the 2d of May, 1693, he was commissioned
colonial justice of the peace for Newcastle. In 1703 he removed to Marcus
Hook, where he died in March, 1708. His family numbered nine children.

f'''«|*^ 1-8HARY


Eniaiuiel Grubb, the eldest son of Jolin and Frances Grubb, was born in 1682,
being the first male chikl of white parents born in Penn's Province. His birth
occurred in a cave which was the temporary home and shelter of the family,
along the Delaware river. Like his father he became a prominent man of afTairs
and from 1725 until 1767, or for forty-two years, he was a vestryman of St.
Martin's Episcopal church at Marcus Hook. In 1727 he was commissioned
justice of the peace of Newcastle. He married and had twelve children. Eman-
uel Grubb, the son of Emauuel Grubb I, was born December 10, 1729, at
Grubbs Landing and died August 8; "1799. He had eight children. He was com-
missioned in 1755 a captain of the Delaware troops during the French and
Indian war. His Bible is now in possession of William L. Grubb, of Portsmouth,
Virginia. He was the great-grandfather of William B. Grubb, of this review,
and his brother was the great-grandfather of Judge Ignatius Grubb, who for
thirteen years has been judge of the supreme court of Delaware.

Peter Grubb, our subject's grandfather, was born at Grubbs Landing in
1766 and by his marriage had fourteen children. His son Mellin, the father of
William B. Grubb, was born April 3, 1798, at Grubbs Landing, and was mar-
ried March 24, 1830, to Mrs. Anna M. (Frank) Burkhard, by whom he had
four children: William B., born February 17, 1831 ; Amanda A., who was born
September 10, 1832, and died September 9, 1833; Charles M., who was bom
September 21, 1834, and died in February, 1844; and Olive E., who was born
April 10, 1838, and is still living. The father died on the i8th of March, 185 1,
and the mother passed away September 7, 1880.

Thus from the earliest settlement of Pennsylvania the family has been repre-
sented within its borders and its members have taken an active part in shaping
the political and military history of the state in early generations and in later
years have been factors in promoting material progress.

William B. Grubb was born in Philadelphia, February 17, 1831. He at-
tended the public schools and afterward served a seven years' apprenticeship at
the caqienter's and builder's trade under John McClure, a prominent contractor
of this city. On attaining his majority he became associated with Mr. McClure
in a partnership and remained actively connected with the contracting business
until 1876, when he retired. During that period he planned and erected many
churches, public buildings and private residences, controlling a large volume of
business and being recognized as one of the leading contractors during the period
of his active connection with the business.

On the 1st of January, 1853, Mr. Grubb was married to Miss Katherine
Haggerty, of Philadelphia, who is still living. It was upon the same day that
Mr. Gmbb entered into partnership with Mr. McClure. Unto them have been
born five children who are yet living: William, Charles, Anna, who is the wife
of Frank Hower, at one time editor and owner of Bryn Mawr News ; Mrs. Kathe-
rine Matlack; and Mrs. Mary McGuire. All but one are residents of Phila-
delphia. There are also fifteen living grandchildren.

Mr. Grubb is now a member of the Carpenters Company (Inc.) the owners
of the famous historic Carpenters Hall, where the first continental congress was
held, a place to which thousands of loyal American citizens make their way
each year to see a structure which more than almost any other building of the


country awakens the interest and veneration of all. In his political views Mr.
Grubb is a republican but regards the capability of the candidate more than
party affiliations, especially at local elections. He attends and is a member of the
DeWitt Talmage church, having always adhered to the Presbyterian faith.


There are instances in which men seem to have missed their proper vocation
but in the vast majority of cases natural taste and tendency points out to one
the path he should follow, and it is because of a lack of ambition and individual
personal effort that the individual does not enter the field for which he is adapted
or, if he does enter it, fails because of a lack of close application, unfaltering
industry and wise use of time and opportunities. The successful men are those
whose diligence is supplemented by determination and who find no obstacle too
great to be overcome by persistent labor. This is as true in the professions as
in other vocations of life and he who advances does so by reason of his own skill
and talent. The record of Dr. Irwin is another proof of this fact.

Born in Philadelphia, on the i8th of July, 1871, Dr. Irwin is a son of Rich-
ard James and Mary (Willoughby) Irwin. His grandfather in the paternal
line was James Irwin, a native of Ireland, who spent his entire life there. He
wedded Anne Hughes and their son Richard James Irwin was born in Kings
county, Ireland. In the year 1867 he sailed for Philadelphia from Australia,
where he had spent three years. After being in the employ of A. T. Stewart, of
New York city, and other firms he engaged with John Wanamaker at the time
of the opening of the Philadelphia store, remaining with that house until 1893,
when he was compelled by illness to retire from active life. During his busi-
ness career and after his retirement he made several trips back to Ireland, vis-
iting the scenes amid which his youth was passed. He wedded Mary Willoughby,
a daughter of Thomas and Anne (Corse) Willoughby, members of a very old
Quaker family of Pennsylvania. The Corses were direct descendants of the De
Corsey and the Willoughbys of the old family of that name in the south, from
which section of the country the Corses also came. The death of Mr. Irwin oc-
curred in 1896, when he was fifty-five years of age. His widow now lives with
her daughter, Mrs. Henry D. Jump, of West Philadelphia. Three sons and this
daughter constituted the family, Dr. Irwin being the eldest son. The other sons
are : Richard Thomas and Howard Hawkins.

Dr. Irwin pursued his education in the public schools of Philadelphia to
the time of his graduation from the manual training school with the class of
1889. He then entered the employ of the John Wanamaker, with whom he
remained for three years, when, thinking to find a professional career more
congenial than commercial pursuits, he entered the medical department of the
University of Pennsylvania class of 1895. Upon completing the work of the
freshman year he was compelled to leave school on account of the illness of
his father. In 1896, however, he resumed his studies and was graduated with
the class of 1899. Without being actuated by the spirit of vaulting ambition
but impelled by a laudable desire to make steady progress, he has done good


work in his profession, winning him the favorable comment of other practi-
tioners as well as the general public. He was assistant physician to the medical
dispensary of the University of Pennsylvania for three years, was a member of
the staff of the Henry Phipps Institute for the first five years, was assistant vis-
iting physician to the tuberculosis department of the Philadelphia Hospital for
one year and is now one of the visiting chiefs to the Byberry (Tuberculosis)
Hospital of Philadelphia. He is also medical director to the Kensington Dis-
pensary for the Treatment of Tuberculosis. In 1899 he took up the general
practice of medicine but since February, 1902, has specialized largely in the field
of tubercular practice. He held the first clinic in the Henry Phipps Institute on
tuberculosis and is consulting physician on tuberculosis to the Central Young
Men's Christian Association. His wide study and research in that special field
have brought him knowledge and ability that places him in the front rank among
distinguished representatives of the profession in this department of practice.

Dr. Irwin belongs to the Pathological Society of Philadelphia, the Pennsyl-
vania Society for the Prevention of Tuberculosis, the National Society for the
Prevention of Tuberculosis, the International Conference on Tuberculosis and
the International Congress on Tuberculosis and thus comes in touch with those
who are regarded as eminent authorities on this disease, in which connection his
own work has gained him notable prominence. He is likewise a member of the
Alpha Tau Omega, a college fraternit}'.

On the i8th of September, 1901, Dr. Irwin was married to Miss Mabel
Lukens, a daughter of Clifford D. Lukens, a member of one of the oldest
Swedish Quaker families of Philadelphia. Their children are: James Wil-
loughby, who was bom November 4, 1902, and is now a student in the Friends
Central school ; Mabel Lukens, born May 10, 1906 ; and Clifford Lukens, born
March i, 191 1.

Dr. Irwin gives his political allegiance to the republican party. He keeps
well informed on the questions and issues of the day but his more active re-
search work is done in the line of his profession, and his original investigation
and experience have brought out various points which have thrown light upon
the nature of the disease to which he largely confines his attention and its


William F. Belsterling, Jr., was born in Philadelphia on the loth of De-
cember, 1869, a son of William F. and Ida B. (Sutterle) Belsterling. His great-
grandfather, Jacob Belsterling, was ta.x collector in Philadelphia from 1780 until
1812, covering a period of thirty-two years to the time of his death. He was
also the organizer of the first German Masonic lodge in the United States.
The grandfather, John F. Belsterling, born in Philadelphia in 181 1, served as
mayor of Northern Liberties from 1840 until 1849. His wife, who bore the
maiden name of Katherine Preston, was also a native of Philadelphia and died
in this city at a very advanced age in 1890. William F. Belsterling, Sr., died
March 8, 191 1, at the age of seventy-five years.


William F. Belsterling, Jr., spent his youth in that section of Philadelphia
which was formerly Northern Liberties and pursued his education in the public
and high schools. His early business training was received with the firm of
Keen & Coats, dealers in skins and furs, and in this line of trade Mr. Belster-
ling has continued to the present time, establishing an independent business in
1896. He makes a specialty of handling goat skins and furs and from the outset
to the present time, covering a period of fifteen years, the enterprise has been
attended with substantial and gratifying success resulting from the close appli-
cation and earnest purpose of Mr. Belsterling, whose record is proof of the fact
that, "The science of business is the science of service. He profits most who
serves best."

In Philadelphia, in 1890, Mr. Belsterling was married to Miss Laura R.
Lankhardt, a member of an old Philadelphia family, and unto them have been
born a daughter and son, Mary H. and George M., aged respectively eleven and
eight years. Mr. Belsterling is independent in his political views. In religious
faith he is a Baptist and attends the First church of the city. He is well known
in Masonic circles, holding membership with William C. Hamilton Lodge, No.
500, F. & A. M. ; Freeman Chapter, R. A. M. ; Kadosh Commandery; and the
Mystic Shrine. The concentration of his energies upon a single line of business
and his unfaltering perseverance in that field have made him successful in his
undertaking and gained for him recognition as a representative and reliable mer-


Born in Philadelphia February 15, 1829, he was the second son of John
Kearsley Mitchell, a leading physician of Philadelphia, and for many years pro-
fessor of medicine in Jefferson Medical College. Dr. Mitchell broke off his
academic course at the University of Pennsylvania on account of ill health, and
when nearing the end of his senior year. In 1850 he was graduated M. D.
from Jefferson Medical College, and this degree was repeated honoris causa by
the University of Bologna in 1888.

During the war of the Rebellion he acted as assistant surgeon to the hospitals
about Philadelphia, being one of four brothers all in the service of the country.
EHiring a part of this time he served as sanitary inspector, but most of his duty
lay in the hospitals for nervous diseases and wounds of nerves created especially
for him. Thenceforward his contributions to medical literature were chiefly
neurological and consist of several volumes and of over a hundred separate

Since then he has held numberless positions, having been twice president of
the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, member of the executive board of the
Carnegie Institution of Washington and trustee of the University of Pennsyl-

It is interesting to know that his life is practically divided into two distinct
pursuits. Whereas the summer finds him an active fisherman and when he is


1 -ijMi" ''^


inclined the author of liction or verse, the winter is given over absolutely to the
practice of his profession.

Sucli is the outline but how incomplete the picture. There are none of the
lights and shades which bring forth prominently the features nor serve to de-
lineate character. Dr. Mitchell is great because nature endowed him bountifully
and he has studiously and carefully and conscientiously increased the talents that
were given him. A ripe scholar, the humblest feels at ease in his presence, so
ready is his sympathy. In the Book News Monthly of October, 1907, Harrison
S. Morris says : "He was born with the capacity to investigate, to follow clues,
to penetrate ground untraversed by others. This indeed comes out in his apti-
tude for plots and dramatic situations. I have heard him say that the plot is
the least of his literary troubles, yet above and beyond this divining curiosity lie
the gifts that put it to work, and give it form and make it endure ; the gifts of
scientific imagination, of literary expression, of constructive fancy, of insight
into human motive and of philosophic grasp of the world's meaning."

Dr. Mitchell had passed the half century mark when he became an active
factor in the world of letters. He published his first novel at fifty-three. Up
to this time his work had been that of the physician with neurology as his spe-
cialty and he had gone far beyond the average practitioner and in certain lines
had become the recognized leader of even those whom fame had marked as its
own in the field of neurology. These years were also a preparation for his
labors in the field of literature. He came to understand men, their motives and
their tendencies, and the knowledge thus gained was brought forth in his writ-
ings. His mind was ripe for rapid production, however, when he took his place
with the men of letters. Said Talcott Williams : "His clinical experience has
doubtless given us the accurate picture of the vampire nervous woman, Octopia,
the name, as the Saturday Review said : 'An inspiration ; of slow senile dementia
in Iver Wynne; of the idee fixe in the heroine of Constance Trescot ; of the
horizon of the scoundrel's mind in Darnell; and half a score more. These people
are not merely labeled bad by their acts ; they are clinically evil. But the knowl-
edge of the specialist, like mere accurate drawing in picture making, is of no
use in the novel without the background that comes from the knowledge of the
structure and working of society. In these things Dr. Mitchell is, so to speak,
too accurate. The novels that come home like the pictures that move, have their
technical blunders. There is a certain ntsh, momentum and movement that only
comes when ginger is still hot in the mouth. For some reason not easily ex-
plained it is generally absent in the American novel, though there is enough of
it in American life. The art of the story teller we have. In the quarter century
in which Dr. Mitchell has been writing novels he has grown as craftsman until
he issues this fall a detective story, fresh and in a new vein ; and A Diplomatic
Adventure moves like a well constructed play. Iver Wynne was the pivot of his
change from the novel of apothegm to romance. Our Revolution, the change
in it from English tradition to the American spirit, our social life, our mingling
of democratic institutions and aristocratic instincts, have here their complete
canvass. It is written with an amazing care. Care alone will not bring style
but it spares the reader the slovenly sentence to which the faction of our tongue
is prone even from hands whose fame screens criticism, and in these pages and


in others it has given that sense of the personal which is the very soul of style.
The structure of this romance follows tradition. Novels did not begin yester-
day. But I am sorry for the man who is not a better American after reading
Iver Wynne. The root of the matter is not in him. Dr. Mitchell had the army
surgeon's share of the Civil war, and In War Time and Roland Blake records
his impressions. To one who first knew his Philadelphia stories as they were
appearing, these two novels have a Dutch fidelity to the vanished city of thirty
years ago, where beyond anywhere else in the America of the '70s there lingered
local flavor and colonial charm. In the end, on these indigenous creations, Dr.
Mitchell's final verdict will rest. His readers throng the more general pages
of Francois and Constance Trescot. Here the trade is learned. Vivid char-
acter is present. Wide apart in their scenes there is the same sense of the
crowded stage, the same felicitous accuracy — whether it be Revolutionary pain
or the western court room — and in the latter a penetrating study from the physi-
cian's confessional of primitive passion to which women alone are equal in mod-
em life. Passion takes leisure. Men nowadays have none. In all this, to the
detachment of one who knows an author only in his books, I do not pretend.
Contemporary criticism is none the worse for a close knowledge, since by no
efl^ort can it attain the estimate of posterity. When that comes and men face
but the backs of books and not the face of a friend, I foresee much said of a
range which extends from the pastels of Little Stories, some cut like cameos,
to the storied novel, and includes two successful child's tales, the cyclic romance
of a place and a period, the colloquy, and tales of adventure, of detection and
of sheer picaresque personalia. The earlier novels will be remembered for local
color, the mid for sayings and the later for romance, but out of them all will
emerge as permanent national possessions Hugh Wynne and the vivid view of
The Youth of Washington. Aside from single stories in magazines, only a
portion of which have been republished, the titles of Dr. Mitchell's published
fiction are : Hephzibah Guinness, Thee and You, and a Draft on the Bank of
Spain, 1880; In War Time, 1882;- Roland Blake, 1884; Prince Little Boy, 1887;
Far in the Forest; 1888; Characteristics, 1892; Mr. Kris Kringle, 1893; When
all the Woods are Green, 1894; A Madeira Party, 1895; Hugh Wynne, 1897;
Adventures of Francois, 1898; Dr. North and his Friends, 1900; Autobiography
of a Quack, 1900; Circumstances, 1901 ; Little Stories, 1903; A Comedy of Con-
science, 1903; New Samaria and The Summer of St. Martin, 1904; The Youth
of Washington, 1904; Constance Trescot, 1905; A Diplomatic Adventure, 1906;
The Red City, 1909."

The poetic endowment of Dr. Mitchell, though less widely realized, is rare
and of lasting quality. Writing in this connection, Harrison S. Morris said:
"He has allowed his poems to be overshadowed by his other productions, by his
fiction and by his science, but those who know his books of verse and who find
joy in the appeal of poetry are at one voice in regarding the best of his poems
as among the best we have had. Dr. Henry van Dyke recently said that the
'Ode on a Lycian Tomb is the finest elegiac poem by an American,' and these
were nearly the exact words quoted from Professor Charles Eliot Norton at a
much earlier period."


Richard Watson Gilder, in writing of Dr. Mitchell's poetry, said: "I am
glad of the opportunity to put briefly on record here my very great delight in
and admiration for a group of Dr. Mitchell's poems, the ripe and surprisingly
rich garnerage of his later years. I would like to call in evidence, say half a
dozen witnesses of the fact that we have in Dr. Mitchell a poet of great tender-
ness and elevation of feeling and rare distinction of style. These witnesses are
the following poems : Guidarello Guidarelli, To a Magnolia Flower in the Gar-
den of the Armenian Convent at Venice, Indian Summer, Ode on a Lycian
Tomb, on A Boy's First Reading of King Henry V, and a War Song of the

Online LibraryEllis Paxson OberholtzerPhiladelphia; a history of the city and its people, a record of 225 years (Volume 4) → online text (page 40 of 62)