Ellis Paxson Oberholtzer.

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

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sylvania. The Hannum family were among the early settlers of Delaware (for-
merly Chester) county, and the old homestead where this marriage took place
had been occupied by them for several generations.

The children of Walter and Alice H. Cresson were: John Head Cresson,
who died in infancy ; Anne Hannum Cresson ; Alice Hannum Cresson, who
married Edward Fox Pugh and had one son. Rev. Walter Cresson Pugh, Sarah
Cresson ; and Walter Cresson, who died in infancy.

The Cresson family of Philadelphia is descended from Pierre Cresson, a
French Huguenot, born in 1609 or 1610. The ancient family seat, it is believed,
was Menil la Cresson (Cresson Manor), near Abbeville, Picardy. Pierre Cres-
son, fleeing from his native country at the time of the Reformation, took refuge
in Holland, where he remained in exile about eighteen years — in Sluis, Delft,
Leyden and Ryswick. During the early part of this period he acted as gardener
to the Prince of Orange, thereby earning the soubriquet of Pierre le Gardinier,
by which title he was in after life sometimes designated. He married Rachel
Cloos or Claes, and they, in 1657, with their children, emigrated to America,
settling first at New Amstel, on the Delaware river. But afterward going to


Harlem, he was there one of the first magistrates, i6rx), and took an active part
in affairs. Me removed to Stateii Island in 1678, where he probal)ly died, our
last reconl of him being on August 3, 1681. His widow survived him some
years. They were members of the Dutch Reformed church. Of the children of
Pierre and Rachel Cresson, Suzanne married, in 1658, at New York, Nicolas de
la Plaine, from whom are descended the family of that name in this country.
To the oldest son, Jacques Cresson, belongs the distinction of being ancestor of
the Philadelphia branch of the family.

Jacques Cresson (Pierre) came to America with his parents. He, with his
father, was among the early settlers of Harlem, both receiving allotments of
land in the laying out of the settlement. On September i. 1663, he married
Marie Renard. (Her sister, Catalina Renard, being wife of Nicolas du Puis,
they became ancestors of the Dupuys and Depews of New York and vicinity.)
Jacques Cresson while living in Harlem was private in the company under his
father's command, in 1663. He died in New York, August i, 1684, whither
he had previously removed with his family and where they were members of
the Dutch Reformed church.

From the records of this church we learn that the widow of Jacques Cres-
son, shortly after his death, left New York for Curaqoa. On November 3,
1696, she purchased a house and land at the northeast corner of Fourth and
Chestnut streets, Philadelphia, fronting seventy-four and a quarter feet on
Chestnut street and running back one hundred and seventy-eight feet on Fourth
street. A portion of this property was held by the family for many years

Her sons James and Solomon, w-ere members of the Society of Friends in
this city, and her own death is recorded in their books, 8mo. 10, 1710. The
births of the children of James Cresson, son of Jacques and Marie are also
found in the Friends' records of Philadelphia, but he probably removed to the
West Indies. He may have gone to Curaqoa with his mother in 1685, returned
to New York, and was of Philadelphia, 1692-99.

Rachel Cresson, youngest child of Jacques and Marie Cresson, born in New
York in 1682, married first, in 1705, at First Presbyterian church, Philadelphia,
Henry Sluyter, of Bohemia Manor. They were the progenitors of the late Dr.
Edward Oram Shakespeare.

Solomon Cresson probably removed to Curagoa in 1685, with his mother
New York city, June 3, 1674; died in Philadelphia, gmo. 10, 1746; married at
Philadelphia Friends Meeting, iimo. 14. 1702, Anna Watson.

Solomon Cresson probably removed to Curaqoa in 1685, with his mother
and brother James. Of the next ten years there is only family tradition to de-
pend on. The Journal of Jonathan Dickinson, however, first published in 1699,
records these facts :

Jonathan Dickinson and Solomon Cresson were both on the barkentine
Reformation, sailing from Port Royal, Jamaica, August 23, 1696, for Phila-
delphia. A rough and stormy voyage was experienced from the first, and finally,
on September 22, the doomed vessel was wrecked oft' the Florida coast. The
passengers and crew landing on a desolate shore were soon discovered bv In-


dians, tribes hostile to the English. It was owing to Solomon Cresson's pro-
ficiency in the Spanish language that the party were enabled to pass themselves
off as Spaniards and, after enduring great deprivation and hardships, reached
St. Augustine, where they remained for a time to recuperate before proceeding
to Charleston and from thence by water to Philadelphia.

Solomon Cresson acquired considerable property, which at his death he be-
queathed to his children and grandchildren. The children of Solomon and Anna
(Watson) Cresson who married and left issue, were: James Cresson, who died
in 1746, and married Sarah Emlen ; Rebecca Cresson, who died in 1794, and
married Isaac Lobdell; and John Cresson, who died in 1771, and married Re-
becca Briant.

Of the children of James and Sarah (Emlen) Cresson, Caleb Cresson was
prominent in the affairs of the Society of Friends, having important trusts and
devoting much time to the Meeting's business. But two of his children lived
to maturity : John Elliott Cresson and Caleb Cresson. They were both of the
second marriage, that with Annabella Elliott. From the former of these John
Elliott and his wife Mary (Warder) Cresson, was Elliott Cresson, an eminent
philanthropist, and in compliment to whom the mountain resort, Cresson, in the
Alleghanies has its name. From them, too, though in a later generation, is
Ezra Townsend Cresson, now and for many years connected with the Frank-
lin Insurance Company of Philadelphia.

Caleb Cresson, younger son of Caleb and Annabella (Elliott) Cresson, mar-
ried Sarah Emlen. Of him it has been written, that he was one of the most
eminent and highly respectable merchants of Philadelphia. Having amassed
a large fortune he retired from business and devoted his time to objects of pub-
lic utility and benevolence. Always of a philanthropic mind he became in-
terested in forwarding projects for the benefit of his fellowmen. This char-
acteristic has been strongly manifested in his descendants. The children of
Caleb and Sarah (Emlen) Cresson were: Mary Emlen Cresson, married Joseph
P. Smith; Emlen Cresson married Priscilla Prichett and they left a large be-
quest to the Academy of Fine Arts, as a memorial to their son William Em-
len Cresson ; Caleb Cresson married Hannah M. L. Gordon ; William Penn
Cresson, a well known philanthropist and prominent in interests of the Protes-
tant church, married Susan Vaux and had the following children : George
Vaux Cresson, who married Mary B. Cooke; Caleb Cresson, who married
Isabella B. Gumbes ; Mary Emlen Cresson, who married Caleb Cresson Wis-
tar; and Elizabeth Vaux Cresson, who married Hillborn T. Jones (name changed
by Act of Legislature to Cresson) ; Charles Caleb Cresson, M. D., is the next
of the family; Annabella Elliott Cresson married Bartholomew Wyatt Wistar.
Joshua Cresson, the other son of James and Sarah (Emlen) Cresson who
lived to maturity, married Mary Hopkins, sister to Sarah Hopkins, the first
wife of his brother Caleb. These sisters were great-great-nieces of Elizabeth
Estaugh, immortalized in Whittier's beautiful Quaker poem.

John Cresson (Solomon, Jacques, Pierre) married Rebecca Briant. Their
oldest child, Jeremiah Cresson married first Hannah Crean and second Martha
Rickey. His children, all by the first marriage, leaving issue, as follows: Re-


becca Cresson, wlio married William Prichett ; Mary Cresson, who married
Samuel Rickey ; Hannah Cresson, who married Joseph Matlack ; Richard Crean
Cresson, who married Elizabeth Stroud ; and Eleanor Cresson, who married
Richard Massey.

James Cresson, second son of John and Rebecca (Briant) Cresson, married
3mo. 12, 1772, at Philadelphia Meeting, Sarah Hooton. For eighteen years he
was a minister among Friends, and a journal which he wrote in 1763, while on
a religious visit to Barbadoes, is still in possession of the family.

The children of James and Sarah (Hooton) Cresson who married and had
issue, were :

Benjamin Cresson, married Deborah Phipps. Of their eleven children but
two married and left descendants: Deborah P. Cresson, who married Joseph
Kite, and Mary P. Cresson, who married Thomas Lloyd.

Rebecca Cresson, married Philip Garrett and had these children who mar-
ried and had issue : Sarah Garrett, married Thomas McCollin ; Thomas C. Gar-
rett, married Frances Biddle. Their children who married and had issue were
Rebecca C. Garrett, who married Jonathan E. Rhoads ; Philip C. Garrett, who
married Elizabeth W. Cope ; and John B. Garrett, who married Hannah R.
Haines. Elizabeth Cresson Garrett, married William Biddle. Their children
who married and had issue were John W. Biddle, who married Mary S. Hewes ;

and Samuel Biddle, who married first, Katharine Harned ; and second,

Harned. Margaret Garrett, married John E. Sheppard. Anne Garrett, mar-
ried Clarkson Sheppard.

James Cresson, married first, Hannah Humphreys and second, Sarah Par-
rish. The children of James and Hannah (Humphreys) Cresson, who married
and had issue were: Ann Humphreys Cresson, who married Benjamin \^alen-
tine ; Tacy Cresson, who married Albert G. Bradford ; James Cresson, who mar-
ried Mary J. Leedom; and Martha Warner Cresson, who married first, Enoch
P. Walker and second, Charles W. Roberts.

John Head Cresson, married Rachel Walter. Their children who married
and had issue were : Elizabeth Hooton Cresson, who married William Savery ;
William Cresson, who married Ann R. Leedom; Walter Cresson, who married
Alice Hannum ; Mary Walter Cresson, who married John W. Dixon ; and John
Cresson, who married Alice J. Leedom.

Joseph Cresson, married Mercy Chapman. Their children who married were:
Sarah Cresson, married Frederick Fraley ; John Chapman Cresson, married Le-
titia Massey. He was a member of the Franklin Institute in 1831, so con-
tinuing for over forty years and becoming its president in 1855. His useful-
ness in the institute was extensive and he ranked high among the scientists of
the day. He was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in
1839, became a vice president in 1857, later becoming senior vice president and
holding this office until his death. He was superintendent of the City Gas
Works in 1836 and held the position with that of engineer for twenty-eight
years. Many were the public offices held by and great the trust imposed in
him. On him were conferred the honorary degrees of Master of Arts and Doc-
tor of Philosophy. The child of John C. and Letitia (Massey) Cresson was


Charles Massey Cresson, a distinguished chemist. Jane Chapman Cresson, who
became the second wife of Frederick Fraley, had the following children : Sarah
C. Fraley, who married Joshua L. Hallowell; Elizabeth Fraley, who married
Thomas D. Pearce; Mercy Fraley, who married Samuel H. Sterrett ; and
Joseph C. Fraley, who married Marie Bradford.


The life history of James Kitchenman is one to which his family and friends
may point with pride, inasmuch as he never allowed obstacles and difficulties to
bar his path when they could be overcome by honorable effort. He saw and rec-
ognized opportunities that others passed by unheeded and when unfaltering en-
ergy and unabating diligence were demanded in the accomplishment of any task
he was found ready to meet the requirements. Thus gradually he worked his
way upward, his path being marked by successful accomplishment at each point
in his career until eventually he became one of the foremost manufacturers of

He was bom in Barnsley, England, November 19, 1825, and was a young lad
when he accompanied his parents on the long voyage across the Atlantic to the
new world. His financial resources in youth were very limited and necessitated
his securing a position when a young lad that he might provide for his own sup-
port. He therefore sought and secured a position in a dye house and as he be-
came familiar with the business determined to engage in the same line some day
on his own account. At length his unfaltering industry and careful expenditure
made this course possible and he established a dyeing business, which he con-
ducted for a considerable period in a most successful manner. In fact his pros-
perity in that connection enabled him to engage in the manufacture of carpets
with Samuel Horner and his brother at Amber and Letterly streets. After the
dissolution of that partnership he turned his attention to the manufacture of in-
grain carpets and woolen and worsted yarns, having a large plant at Huntingdon
and Jasper streets. Subsequently he was joined in a partnership by George M.
Neal in the manufacture of body Brussels and Axminster carpets, the enterprise
being conducted under the firm style of Kitchenman & Neal. With the growth
of the business he kept increasing his facilities, adding to his mill until he had
one of the largest and finest manufacturing enterprises in Kensington. He also
took up the manufacture of hosiery, which he carried on on a large scale at
Amber and Letterly streets. The attractiveness of design and the excellence of
quality in all of his manufactured products brought him substantial success, his
sales annually increasing until he became recognized as one of the most prom-
inent manufactureres of eastern Pennsylvania. About fifteen years prior to his
demise he retired from active business, although he still retained his mill at Jasper
and Huntingdon streets. He has come to be classed with those men whose in-
telligently directed industry and effort have numbered them with the capitalists
of Philadelphia.




Mr. Kitchenman was married in Philadelphia in the '50s to Miss Margaret
Crawford, a daughter of William Crawford, an early resident of this city. They
became the parents of live children but only two are now living, Anna, the first
born, and Qara and Margaret, the two youngest of the family, having passed
away. The others are Mary, now the wife of G. S. Coyne; and Miss Elizabeth
Kitchenman, to whom we are indebted for the facts concerning her honored

Mr. Kitchenman was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows
at one time and he attended the Bethel Presbyterian church. His political al-
legiance was given to the democracy and he was a public-spirited citizen, as was
manifested by his support of the various projects and movements instituted for
the general good. Moveover, he was kiod.ly apd charitable and few men have
realized more fully the responsibility of:w«iitTt. .''Hg'nfiyfir forgot in his later
years the struggles of his boyhood and was ev&r willing and ready to aid and
encourage young men who were starting'? out in life for themselves and bending
every energy to the accomplishment of :f he tasks- assigned them. He was ever
approachable and kindly and his counsel ■pvfoved of valuable assistance to many,
while generous response to the needs of the indigent constituted one of his
strong characteristics. His last years were spent in honorable retirement from
business in an attractive home at No. 1024 West Lehigh avenue, where he re-
mained until his death, which occurred on Christmas day of 1909. Thus was
closed the last chapter in his life history, but it will be long before his memory
fades from the minds and hearts of those with whom he came in contact.


William Allen Brown, who since 1887 has been continuously connected with
the Mutual Life Insurance Company and since 1904 has been supervisor in
Philadelphia, was born in Seekonk, Massachusetts, March 16, i860, his parents
being Allen J. and Sylvinia Snow (Simmons) Brown, the former a direct de-
scendant of John Brown, who settled at Plymouth in 1657 and was lieutenant
governor of the Plymouth colony.

William Allen Brown largely acquired his education in Mowry & Goff's
English and Classical School and after putting aside his text-books became
identified with the wholesale grocery business, but in 1887 turned his attention
to insurance in New York in connection with the Mutual Life Insurance Com-
pany. Six years later, in 1893, he came to Philadelphia. From the first he has
made constant progress in the insurance field, proving his adaptability, capa-
bility and determination. Promotion has followed from time to time and from
1895 until 1900 he served as manager for the company at Pittsburg, while since
1904 he has been supervisor at Philadelphia. Twenty-four years' continuous
connection with one company indicates both his fidelity and ability and there are
few men more thoroughly informed concerning everj- department and detail of
insurance business.


In June, 1887, in New York, occurred the marriage of William A. Brown
and Gertrude Guiteau, a daughter of John Wilson Guiteau. They now have two
children : Madeline and William Allen. Mr. Brown was a member of the First
Baptist church of New York. When a resident of Pittsburg he held member-
ship in the Duquesne Club and is now a member of the Union League of Phila-
delphia. His political allegiance is given to the republican party but, while
thoroughly informed concerning its principles and desirous of its success, he
does not seek nor wish for office, preferring to concentrate his energies upon
his business interests, in which he has made substantial and gratifying prog-
ress, bringing him to a prominent, creditable and profitable position.


The life work of the Rev. Robert Graham was of a most important char-
acter. He did not win success if such is to be measured by the monetary stand-
ard, but if "not the good that comes to us but the good that comes to the world
through us is the measure of our success," then his life was crowned with a
splendid prosperity. Recognizing the brotherhood of man and actuated by the
spirit of true religion, he labored earnestly that the seeds of truth might bear
rich fruit and thus the world is better for his having lived.

He was born in Philadelphia, August i, 1841, and his life's span covered
the years to the 30th of July, 1900. His parents were James H. and Sarah
Jane (Scott) Graham, of Philadelphia. At the usual age he entered the public
schools and after completing his preparatory course was enrolled as a student
in the University of Pennsylvania in 1866. Three years served for him to com-
plete the classical course and he was graduated with the Bachelor of Arts de-
gree in 1869. He won high standing in scholarship and received the prize for
the best Greek translation. In 1871 the faculty conferred upon him the degree
of Master of Arts. Following his graduation from the State University he
matriculated in the theological seminary of the Reformed Presbyterian church
and there won the prize for scholarship in Hebrew.

Shortly after his graduation from the seminary Mr. Graham was ordained
to the ministry of the Reformed church and accepted the pastorate of the so-
ciety of that denomination at Newcastle, Pennsylvania, in 1872. The following
year he was called to the Presbyterian church at Christiana, Delaware, where
he continued until 1877. He then assumed pastoral charge of the church at
Lower Brandywine, where he remained for six years. On the expiration of
that period a colony from Olivet church at Twenty-second and Mount Union
streets in Philadelphia undertook to establish a new church at Twenty-fifth and
Oxfords streets, which they named the Hebron Memorial church. The pro-
moters of this enterprise chose Dr. Graham to lead them in making the diffi-
cult undertaking a success. He accepted the charge and labored unceasingly
until today the Hebron Memorial is one of the most successful religious organ-
izations in the city, proving a potent influence in the moral development of the


section in which it is located. Holding to the highest ideals, Dr. Graham or-
ganized the work along practical lines, looking to the substantial growth of the
church and the spiritual welfare of its members. His words were eloquent
with truth and his oratory convincing. He drew from the rich resources of a
highly cultured mind that encompassed many lines of knowledge in addition
to a thorough understanding of the principles and teachings of Christianity as
imparted by the Presbyterian church. A few years before his death he was
elected to the professorship of English literature in the Central high school for
boys but declined the position, saying that he was too much devoted to the
people of his church and the work that was there being done to take up any
other line of activity. In 1897 his scholarly attainment won him recognition in
the conferring of the degree of Doctor of Divinity upon him by the University
of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Graham was married in Newcastle, Pennsylvania, to Miss Margaret
Welsh, a daughter of Abraham and Renia (Shannon) Welsh, of that place.
Mrs. Graham was a most capable helpmate to her husband, a lady of broad
culture, education and wide reading, prominent in social, church and philan-
thropic circles in Philadelphia. Dr. Graham gave his political allegiance to the
republican party nor did he consider it below the dignity of his calling to sup-
port the principles in which he believed. On the contrary he regarded it as
the duty as well as the privilege of every American citizen to exercise his right
of franchise and he kept well informed on the questions and issues of vital im-
portance to state and nation. He was fond of his home and held friendship
inviolable but above and beyond all was his devotion to the cause of Christianity
which prompted him at times to sacrifice opportunities for personal preferment
to the good of humanity and the upbuilding of the church.


For a half century or more America has looked to Pennsylvania as the
source of its steel and iron supply and as one of the pioneers in the development
of the steel industry Calvin Wells wrote his name high on the list of those
whose labors instituted business activities that have not yet reached their full
fruition in the world's work. He was born in Byron, Genesee county, New
York, December 26, 1827, the youngest son of Calvin and Betsey (Taggart)
Wells. The father was a native of Greenfield, Massachusetts, where his an-
cestor, Hugh Wells, a son of a wealthy Englishman, a descendant of Robert de
Welles, of Rogue Hall, Essex, England, settled in 1630. The family is of Nor-
man origin.

Spending his youthful days in his father's home, Calvin Wells, Jr. during
that period acquired a public-school education and in accordance with the cus-
tom of the time sought employment as soon as he was old enough to make his
services of practical value. In 1842, when a youth of about fifteen, he became
a clerk in the store of his brother-in-law, P. S. Church, at Detroit, Michigan,


there remaining for two years. From 1844 until 1847 he engaged in clerking
in a store at Batavia, New York, but not content with his education and realiz-
ing how valuable is intellectual training as a force in life, he went to Pitts-
burg, where he attended the Western University from 1847 until 1849. In the
latter year he became bookkeeper in the wholesale dry-goods house of Benjamin
Clyde and in 1850 became associated with Dr. Curtis C. Hussey, a connection
that resulted a few years later in the organization of the crucible steel manu-
facturing firm of Hussey, Wells & Company. He thus became one of the pio-
neers of the manufacture of steel according to the crucible process and in that
connection instituted and managed an enterprise which grew rapidly, constitut-
ing a source of wealth. In 1868 he extended his efforts into the field of steel
manufacture, taking up the work of manufacturing railway elliptic car springs
in association with Aaron French. Both of the concerns developed rapidly and
though under different ownership are today prominent as representatives of the
great steel industry of Pennsylvania. The resourcefulness of Mr. Wells led to
his identification with still other interests and in 1869 he became president of
the Illinois Zinc Company which soon developed one of the leading manufac-

Online LibraryEllis Paxson OberholtzerPhiladelphia; a history of the city and its people, a record of 225 years (Volume 4) → online text (page 42 of 62)