Ellis Paxson Oberholtzer.

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

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tween 1887 and 1889 to the study of pathology, bacteriology and surgery under
such famous teachers as Virchow, Koch, Bergman and Czerney in the Universi-
ties of Berlin, Vienna and Heidelburg. He has attained much more than local
distinction through his surgical work and is also widely known in connection with
hospital practice. He is ex-resident physician of the Pennsylvania Hospital, the
Children's Hospital ; is gynecologist to the Gynscean Hospital, the Howard Hos-
pital and the American Hospital for Diseases of the Stomach; and for a number
of years was a member of the obstetrical staff of the Philadelphia Hospital. His
researches have been carried far and wide into the realms of scientific investiga-
tion, bearing upon the practice of gynecology and surgery. Much of his work
has been along original lines andhas brought to light truths of the utmost value.
It has won for him the favorable attention of the leaders of the profession and
he is now accorded rank among those who stand foremost among the physicians
and surgeons of Philadelphia. He is a fellow of the College of Physicians of
Philadelphia and a member of the county and state medical societies and of the
American Medical Association, the Academy of Surgery of Philadelphia and
the American Roentgen Ray Society. He was surgeon of the First Troop of
the Philadelphia City Cavalry from 1892 until 1895, and examining surgeon for
pensions of the second board of Philadelphia under President Cleveland's ad-

Dr. Shober's surgical activities have been largely in the field of gynecology
and abdominal surgery. He was the first surgeon in Philadelphia to deliberately
remove the appendix in the interval between attacks. This operation was per-
formed November 11, 1889, shortly after his return from abroad. Two similar
operations had been previously performed by Dr. Nicholas Senn, of Chicago. He
has always been an ardent advocate of early operation in appendicitis. When
the X-rays were discovered Dr. Shober immediately began investigations to de-
termine the value of this agent in those inoperable cases of cancer so frequently
met with in the practice of gynecology and he was one of the first surgeons to
establish their use and limitations. This work naturally led him to study the
therapeutic value of radium and in 1903 he began a series of investigations cov-
ering a wide field. He has published several valuable papers on the subject and
is recognized as one of the leading authorities in this country on radiumtherapy.

On the 25th of February, 1895, in St. Stephen's church, was celebrated the
marriage of Dr. Shober and Miss Margaret S. Harlan, a daughter of the late
Dr. George Curvier Harlan, one of the leading oculists of the United States and
surgeon of the Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry during the Civil war. Dr. and
Mrs. Shober have two children: Margaret, bom November 11, 1898; and An-
thony Morris, March 4, 1903.

The parents hold membership in the Episcopal church and Dr. Shober be-
longs to the Masonic fraternity, the Philadelphia Club, the Princeton Club of
Philadelphia and New York, the Athletic Club of Philadelphia, the University
Barge Club and the Orpheus Club — associations which indicate much of the na-
voi. rv'— 22


ture of his interests, his recreation and his principles. His poHtical allegiance is
given to the republican party. He has the dignity, the patience and the optimism
of an ideal follower of his calling. There is in his work nothing of the uncer-
tainty of the inexperienced practitioner. The extent, variety and importance of
his practice, his comprehensive reading and his thorough research have brought
him knowledge and ability that gives to all of his professional service that air of
certainty and understanding which at once inspires confidence and respect. The
high regard entertained for him by his professional brethren indicates also his
superior skill as well as his close conformity to the highest standard of profes-
sional ethics.


George McCurdy, to whom has been accorded the honor of more frequent
election to the presidency of the common council than to any other man in the
history of the city, has for fifteen years continuously been elected a member of
the council and since January, iQCX), has filled the responsible position which he
now occupies, with the exception of the year April, 1906, to April, 1907, when
he was not a candidate for the presidency but was a member of the council.
In this connection his record has proved a credit and honor to an untarnished
family name.

He was born May 29, 1862, at Jersey Shore, Lycoming county, Pennsyl-
vania, a son of Thomas and Anna A. (Lawshe) McCurdy. The father, who
devoted much of his life to banking, was of Scotch descent, and the mother
was of Huguenot lineage. Her ancestors were the earliest settlers in the West
Branch valley of the Susquehanna and along Pine creek some distance above
Williamsport. They settled there in 1772 when the country was a wilderness
and inhabited by the Indians and were in many Indian fights.

"Early in the summer of 1776, the leading "fair play" men and settlers
along the river above and below Pine creek had received intelligence from
Philadelphia that congress had it in contemplation to declare the colonies inde-
pendent, absolving them from all allegiance to Great Britain. This was good
news to the little settlement up the West Branch. That was considered out of
the jurisdiction of all civil law and they set about making preparations to in-
dorse the movement and ratify it in a formal manner. Accordingly, on the 4th
of July, 1776, they assembled on the plains above Pine creek in considerable
numbers. The subject of independence was proposed and freely discussed in
several patriotic speeches, and as their patriotism warmed up it was finally de-
cided to ratify the proposition under discussion in congress by a formal decla-
ration of independence, and a set of resolutions were drawn up and passed
absolving themselves from all allegiance to Great Britain and henceforth de-
claring themselves free and independent. What was remarkable about this
declaration was that it took place about the same time that the declaration was
signed in Philadelphia, which was indeed a coincidence, that two such important
events should take place about the same time hundreds of miles apart, without




any communication. When the old bell proclaimed in thunder tones to the
citizens of l'hiladel])hia that the colonies were declared independent the shout
of liberty went up from the banks of Pine creek and resounded along the base
of Bald Eagle mountain." Among the settlers that participated in this glorious
festival were Captain Ale.xamler Hamilton and John Jackson, lx)th great-great-
grandfathers of George McCurdy on the maternal side. Captain Hamilton was
captain of the Fourth Battalion Northumberland County Militia and was killed
by the Indians in September, 1781.

As a student of the Jersey Shore Academy, George McCurdy supplemented
his early educational training and later attended Lafayette College at Easton,
Pennsylvania, from which he was graduated in 1884, receiving from that school
the A. B. and A. M. degrees. He won first prize in oratory in his junior year,
this being one of the highest honors accorded in college. He then took up the
study of law in the office and imder the direction of George W. Biddle, his
preceptor being a member of the law firm of Biddle & Ward. In 1888 he was
admitted to the Philadelphia bar and has also been admitted to practice before
the Lycoming county bar at Williamsport, his home county. He has gained
recognition as an able lawyer and one who displays a zealous and conscientious
devotion to the interests of his clients. His careful analyzation and preparation
of a case qualifies him to present his contention in the clearest and strongest
light possible, but while his legal work has made him known to an extensive
and growing clientele and to his colleagues and contemporaries before the bar,
it has been his public service that has made him most widely known as repre-
sentative citizen of Philadelphia. He was elected to the common council from
the tenth ward in February, i8g6, for a term of two years, and has been re-
elected at each succeeding election since that time. He was chosen president
of the common council for the unexpired term of Wencel Hartman in January,
1900, and was reelected for the full term in the following April. He has been
chosen each succeeding year since that time and as presiding officer, with the
exception of the year from April, 1906, to April, 1907, when he was not a can-
didate. His rulings have been strictly fair and impartial and the weight of
his influence has been cast on the side of progress, improvement and the de-
velopment of the city. His incumbency in this position, extending over a period
greater than that of any other incumbent, is a well merited honor, for in mat-
ters of citizenship he has looked beyond the exigencies of the moment to the
possibilities of the future and has ever stood for that which means permanent
progress and the embodiment of high ideals in practical form. He stands as
an advocate of republican principles. Aside from his connection with the bar
and his service as president of the common council he is officially connected with
Girard College, the Wills Hospital, the public libraries and the Commercial
Museum. He is also a commissioner of Fairmount Park and a member of the
Board of City Trusts, and thus his activities have covered a wide and varied
field and many interests and public projects have benefited by his efforts.

On the nth of November, 1904, in Lumberton. New Jersey, Mr. McCurdy
was married to Miss Margaret McKinney, a daughter of Isaac and Susan
(Tomlinson) McKinney, who were of Scotch-Irish descent. Mr. McCurdy is
a prominent and well known representative of Masonry and in 1896 served as


master of Williamson Lodge No. 369, F. & A. M. He is also a member of the
Grand Lodge, has been trustee of the Stephen Girard bequest and a member of
the Masonic Library and Museum committee, while at the present writing he
is chairman of the Temple committee. Something of the breadth of his in-
terests is moreover indicated by the fact that he holds membership with the
Athletic Club of Philadelphia, the William R. Leeds Republican Association,
the Photographic Society of Philadelphia, the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and
the Sons of the Revolution. Not only as a lawyer is Mr. McCurdy well known
but as one of the masters of parliamentary law. One of his former associates
said of him: "George McCurdy, besides being the youngest president of the
council, is the ablest parliamentarian who ever handled the gavel — the best
president we ever had."


Bishop Ozi W. Whitaker, who passed away on the 9th of February, 1900,
was the head of the Protestant Episcopal church of Pennsylvania, a man whose
blameless life emphasized at all times his teachings. He added to splendid
executive ability most comprehensive knowledge of the high purposes of the
church and that spiritual earnestness which made him unceasing in good works.

He was born in Salem, Massachusetts, May 10, 1830, and following his
graduation from Middlebury College, Vermont, in 1856, he devoted several
years to teaching in the high school there. He afterward entered the General
Theological Seminary of New York, from which he was graduated in 1863.
On the 7th of August of the same year he was ordained to the ministry and his
first pastorate was St. John's church at Gold Hill, Nevada, where he remained
for two years. He then became a rector of St. Paul's church at Englewood,
New York, but in 1867 was recalled to Nevada as rector of St. Paul's in Vir-
ginia City. His work there was so successful and his reputation grew so rapidly
throughout that section that he was chosen missionary bishop of Nevada at the
general convention in New York in 1869, and through the succeeding seventeen
years was a leading and influential figure in the rehgious and social life of the
Rocky mountain region. Only the sense of urgent duty led him to accept the
call which brought him again to the east. In the west he was very popular
among the miners and workingmen generally and had many unique experiences
in the wild country where at times there was too little respect for law or order
£>i any kind. He preached more than once with the forbidding looking weapons
•of prospectors and ranchmen stacked in the vestibule, ready for any emergency
within or without. He was always the fearless defender of righteousness, jus-
tice and peace and earnestly sought to promote the moral, material and spiritual
welfare of the people among whom his lot had been cast, and so much inter-
ested was he in them and their affairs he journeyed thither the next year after
coming to Philadelphia to make an episcopal tour of his old diocese, receiving
and extending affectionate greeting on every hand.

I^Hlv^. ^^^^^^^^^^^^1





^y 5



Bishop Whitakcr's work in the Pennsylvania diocese began November i,
1886, his first confirmation services being at St. Andrew's church. During the
ensuing six months he assumed almost the entire work of the episcopate. Bishop
Stevens said of him that "he was chosen for the work because of his great
fidelity and zeal in another and trying field, his sound learning, discretion, proved
wisdom and godly life, which commended him so highly to the knowledge and
confidence of the whole church." He at once won the cordial esteem of the
clergy and laity and his methods of administration were such that he never lost
sight of the slightest detail. During the first sixteen years of his residence
here his personal and official interest in all departments of church activity knew
no respite. He was a leader in every respect, a wise counselor and sincere
friend, of whom many a troubled rector and many a perplexed church officer
sought sound advice, and never in vain. He always maintained the kindest
relations with every one and skillfully avoided or surmounted difficulties which
a less capable administrator would have found seriously obstructing his path-
way. His personal work in public during this same period was enormous, in-
cluding about two hundred and thirty sermons or addresses every year. Each
year he attended about four hundred meetings. During his episcopate the
Protestant Episcopal church had a notable growth in the diocese of Pennsyl-
vania. A large number of the clergy came into the diocese, about one hundred
and fifty men were ordained to the ministry, many new places of worship were
established, some of these being large and costly churches, the aggregate amount
expended in this way reaching the sum of one million, eight hundred thousand
dollars. In addition a great number of parish buildings were erected, others
improved and enlarged, educational and charitable institutions fostered as never
before and sixty-five thousand persons were confirmed, all of these, with the
exception of about fifteen thousand, by Bishop Whitaker himself. The con-
firmation grew from two thousand, one hundred and eighty-six in 1886 to over
three thousand yearly. During Bishop Whitaker's administration immense sums
of money were frequently given for missions and for educational and charitable
work. Bishop Whitaker never tired of urging the people to contribute of their
means for the spread of the gospel. His annual addresses abounded in touch-
ing and earnest appeals for the helpless and those without church homes.

Bishop Whitaker always had a most able and sympathetic helpmate and as-
sistant in his wife, Mrs. Julia Chester Whitaker, and her death in June, 1908,
was perhaps the greatest blow that ever came to him. Her sound judgment,
her splendid womanly qualities and her deep and sincere Christianity ever up-
held his hands in the great work to which he devoted his life, and following her
demise he paid a touching tribute to her Christian virtues at the diocesan con-

Bishop Whitaker's attitude on any momentous question was never an equivo-
cal one. His judgments were never readily formed, but after careful consid-
eration he did not hesitate to change his opinion and his course if he deemed
it wise. For some time he was an advocate of high license as a most effective
means of checking intemperance, but in June, 1908, he came out in favor of
local option, saying: "I stand for local option because it grants to the majority
of voters the right to exercise the power which under a republican form of


government undeniably belongs to them. It seems to me that the majority in
every ward of a first-class city should be allowed to say whether liquor licenses
should be issued. As the Brooks law seems to have failed in its purpose, I
believe all thoughtful citizens will stand with me for local option." He approved
the amended church canon, known as the "open pulpit" canon, and though he
was what is known as a "low" churchman, he was never rigorous in what he
thought were non-essentials and gave hearty cooperation and sympathy to "high"
churchmen, nor was he opposed to the extreme wing commonly referred to as
ritualists. He displayed care and wisdom in the management of the diocesan
affairs committed to him and was more than commonly successful. His preach-
ing was not characterized by what is usually termed eloquence, but he was a
most forceful, earnest speaker, who had the gift of expressing his thoughts in
simple language and with peculiar lucidity.

Bishop Whitaker was a public-spirited man and in the interests of law and
order served as one of the commission to reconcile the management of the
Union Traction Company and its striking car men in 1895. He was most demo-
cratic in spirit and while always upholding the dignity of his churchly office the
simplicity of his personal life was such at times as to excite comment. While
giving the closest attention to every branch of church work Bishop Whitaker
was always outspoken and vigorous in upholding the cause of patriotism, good
government and social reform. He repeatedly gave expression to inspiring
sentiments along these lines which encouraged those who were battling against
evil forces in city, state and nation. Upon one occasion he earnestly declared
against the danger involved in the idea prevalent among a certain class of public
men, that the ten commandments did not apply to the administration of public
affairs. He proclaimed it to be the special duty of churchmen to carry into
every walk of life the principles of righteousness with absolute fidelity to their
Christian obligations. He profoundly believed that the church should take a
larger view of its opportunities and responsibilities and to this end constantly
urged the practical demonstration of the true spirit of Christianity.


Among the eminent men of Pennsylvania whose life records form an inte-
gral part of the history of the state, the Rev. Francis Wayland Tustin was
numbered. He stood as a splendid type of the intellectual and moral progress
of the race and his life was devoted to the uplifting of his fellowmen along
those lines. Who can measure the extent of his influence, and yet his work
touched for good the lives of hundreds who came under his instruction as he
stimulated his pupils for a greater intellectual effort or spoke from the pulpit
words of truth and wisdom that sank deep into their hearts. As the 'day with
its morning of hope and promise, its noontide of activity, its evening of com-
pleted and successful effort, ending in the grateful rest and quiet of the night,
so was the life of this honored man.


Rev. Tustin was born in Philadelphia, November i8, 1834, his parents be-
ing John and Mary (Phillips) Tustin, of Chester county, Pennsylvania, the
latter a representative of the Phillips family that figured prominently in con-
nection with the Revolutionary war. The father was actively engaged in busi-
ness for many years but in his later days lived retired.

The early education of Francis W. Tustin was acquired in the public schools
of Philadelphia and in 1850 he entered the academy at Lewisburg, Pennsylva-
nia, from which he was graduated in 1856 with the highest honors in his class.
He then entered upon a work to which he devoted his life. In 1857 he was
made a tutor in the college, being the first alumnus of the university to be ap-
pointed to a position on the faculty. In i860 Dr. Loomis became president, at
which time Rev. Tustin was appointed to the chair of natural sciences. He
held that position for fourteen years and, as Dr. Loomis expressed it, "made
tlie department of natural sciences in the university." He was recognized as a
splendid classical scholar and frequently assisted Professor Bliss in the conduct
of his Greek and Latin classes. In 1874 Rev. Tustin's eyesight became affected
from chemical fumes in the laboratory and he was obliged therefore to give up
the chair of natural sciences. About that time Professor Bliss accepted the
chair of biblical interpretation in the Crozer Theological Seminary and the trus-
tees, wishing to retain Professor Tustin's services, elected him to the chair of
Greek language and literature, which position he worthily filled. During the
absence of President Loomis in Europe, Professor Tustin acted as president
and presided at the commencement exercises of 1879. His administration won
the praise and gratitude of all connected with the university and in 1879 his
fellow members of the faculty conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of
Philosophy. His labors were not only a stimulus to intellectual activity but
sought as well the moral development of those who came under his guidance,
for he realized as few do that mental progress and Christian instruction should
go hand in hand when the youth is at his formative period and the foundation
of his character is being laid.

In 1866 Rev. Tustin, by a council called by the First Baptist church of
Lewisburg, was ordained to the ministry and his life was thereafter given to
the upbuilding of the Baptist cause and of the university in Lewisburg. In
addition to his other labors, for more than twenty years he managed the finances
of the Baptist church and was largely instrumental in erecting the beautiful
edifice dedicated to Baptist worship. Many other positions were offered him
during this period, which he constantly declined, preferring to concentrate his
time, energies and ability to the upbuilding of the two causes. His service to
the Baptists of Pennsylvania was of a most eflfective character, his labors at
all times being resultant and far reaching. He was a man of the most liberal
culture and the refinement of his nature caused him to reject everything opposed
to good taste.

In August, 1859, Professor Tustin was united in marriage to Miss Nuria M.
Probasco, a daughter of John and Mary H. (Bacon) Probasco, of New Jersey,
the former a large landowner and successful farmer living near Greenwich,
New Jersey. His great-great-grandfather, Christopher Probasco, came from
Holland in 1662 to escape religious persecution and located on Manhattan Is-


land. He was one of the first judges and men of authority in New York. Unto
Professor and Mrs. Tustin there were born two children : Hon. E. L. Tustin,
senator from the West Philadelphia district, a prominent attorney and a mem-
ber of the Society of Colonial Sons; and Margaret, the wife of J. Harrison
O'Hara, of this city.

In his political views Professor Tustin was a republican, deeming that the
principles of that party embodied the best elements of good government. He
served as town director in Lewisburg, and, unlike many men given to marked
intellectual activity or to commercial interests, he did not feel that he had nought
to do with citizenship but on the contrary recognized his obligations in that di-
rection and met them fully. His high standing at the university is indicated
in the fact that Tustin Gymnasium was so named in his honor at the time of
its erection. He was the possessor of a very fine library and gave the Greek
department to Bucknell University. He was fond of Greek art and was a lover
of music and all those forces which make for the uplifting of mankind had for

Online LibraryEllis Paxson OberholtzerPhiladelphia; a history of the city and its people, a record of 225 years (Volume 4) → online text (page 46 of 62)