Ellis Paxson Oberholtzer.

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

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him strong appeal. The beauty and simplicity of his daily life constituted an
even balance to his splendid mental powers, which made him so prominent a
factor in the intellectual and moral advancement of his native state.


Frank Hines Wigton, identified in his business interests with the mining of
bituminous coal anJ^^aring a creditable reputation in business circles by reason
of his resourcefulness, his enterprise and reliability, was bom at Rockhill Fur-
nace, Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania, March 17, 1857, a son of Richard Ben-
son and Eleanor (Hamill) Wigton. His father was born in Chester county, this
state, in 1818, and in early life was engaged in the manufacture of iron in central
Pennsylvania. He was one of the pioneers in the mining of bituminous coal in
the central portion of the state, becoming interested in that industry in 1861,
which he continued to carry on until his death in 1895. The maternal ancestors
of our subject removed from Maryland to Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania,
where they took up land and built the first blast furnace in the United States
west of the Susquehanna river. This furnace was located at Rockhill, Pennsyl-
vania, where in 1855 the father uf our subject was operating a similar plant on
almost the identical spot.

Frank H. Wigton attended Lauderbach's Academy in Philadelphia, after
which he entered Princeton University, completing the classical course by grad-
uation in 1877, at which time the Bachelor of Arts degree was conferred upon
him. He has since given his attention largely to bituminous coal mining, man-
aging and controlling important and extensive interests in this direction so that
his business is a source of gratifying income.

On the 31st of October, 1888, in Germantown, Mr. Wigton was married to
Miss Mary Louise Wilson, a daughter of Robert Wilson, and to them have been
bom two sons, Robert Wilson and Edward Newton Wigton. The parents attend
and hold membership in the Trinity Lutheran church of Germantown, and Mr.


■f: -




Wigton gives expression to the social side of his nature in his membership in the
Union League, the Merion Cricket Club, the Undine Barge Club and the Prince-
ton Club. He is a republican of pronounced views yet not an active participant
in political work. His name is no less a synonym for activity and enterprise in
business Uian for progressiveness and loyalty in citizenship.


John J. Coyle, president of the Pennsylvania Mutual Life Insurance Com-
pany, in which connection he is developing one of the strongest insurance or-
ganizations of the country, establislaed in- a safe and substantial basis according
to methods that neither seek nor' re^iutre' disguise, is widely known for his ex-
ecutive and administrative ability'. Th^s~e qualities have won him recognition
as one of the representative business men of Philadelphia. He was born in
Schuykill county, Pennsylvania; Nov§inber-iO, 1863, and is a son of Philip and
Julia Coyle. His grandfather, Philip CoylerSr. was a native of the north of Ire-
land and on coming to America in 1830 settled in Schuylkill county, Pennsyl-
vania, where he engaged in mining under contract up to the time of his demise
in i860. His son and namesake was also born in Ireland and became a resi-
dent of Schuylkill county at the time of the emigration of the family. He
afterward became his father's successor in business and was identified with min-
ing operations until his demise in 1874.

John J. Coyle was only eleven years of age at the time of his father's death.
He attended the public schools until 1879, after which he engaged in teaching
in Mahanoy township, Schuylkill county, for three years. He afterward spent
a similar period as a teacher in the schools in Foster township and then re-
turned to Mahanoy, where he embarked in the fire and life insurance business
with real estate also as one of the departments of his enterprise. There he
continued until 1897, his business enjoying substantial growth during that period.
While connected with real estate operations he was appointed magistrate in 1890
and held the office for five years. In 1891 he was appointed a delegate to the
proposed constitution of Pennsylvania and in 1892 was elected as representa-
tive to the state legislature from Schuylkill county. The fidelity and capability
which he manifested during his service in the house brought him higher political
honors, when in 1894 he was elected senator from the thirtieth senatorial dis-
trict comprising Schuylkill county. He was recognized as one of the efficient
political leaders of the district and his efforts were an effective force in further-
ing the interests of his constituents and in promoting the welfare of the com-
munity at large.

Mr. Coyle continued a resident of Schuylkill county until 1897, when he
disposed of his business there and removed to Philadelphia. The following
year he established a real-estate office but sold out in 1899 and organized the
American Catholic Union Insurance Organization, in the conduct of which he
has met with great success, exceeding even his expectations. He was once more
called to public office, when in 1902 President Roosevelt appointed him as special


agent in charge of salmon fisheries of Alaska. In the discharge of the duties
of that position he spent the months of June and July of that year in Alaska
up to 1904, when he resigned. In 1906 he bought all the stock of the Pennsyl-
vania Mutual Life Insurance Company, began the reorganization of the busi-
ness and is placing it upon a solid basis, making it one of the strongest of the
best insurance companies of the country. He is also the president of the Cath-
olic Union Life Insurance Association and is chairman of the executive board
of the New Jersey Rapid Transit Company. He is also connected with many
other corporations and has been very successful in his business ventures. He
looks beyond the exigencies of the moment to the possibilities and opportunities
of the future and has notable power in formulating and executing well defined
plans which eventually lead to success.

In December, 1885, Mr. Coyle was married in Mahanoy to Miss Mary Groody,
a daughter of the magistrate of that city. They have two children : Margaret
M., who takes great interest in painting; and Julia Mary, who is a lover of
music. Both daughters are at home with their parents at No. 1819 North
Thirty-second street. The religious faith of the family is that of the Catholic
church, and in his political views Mr. Coyle is a republican. He has come to
be recognized as a strong and purposeful man, ready in resource and determined
in action, so that the plans which he defines are carried forward to successful
completion and at the same time he enjoys the confidence and wins the admira-
tion of his fellowmen.


Dr. William Louis Rodman, a physician and surgeon of eminent ability, oc-
cupies a foremost position in the ranks of the medical profession in Philadelphia.
His birth occurred in Frankfort, Kentucky, on the 7th of September, 1858, his
parents being John and Harriet Virginia (Russell) Rodman. The earliest an-
cestor of the family of whom there is record was John Rodman, an English
Quaker, who on being exiled from England settled in Barbados, where he be-
came a wealthy planter. His sons came to New England during the sixteenth
century, one settling at New Haven and the other at New Bedford. The great-
grandfather of Dr. Rodman, who was a Hugh Rodman, left Northumberland
county, Pennsylvania, to take up his abode among the pioneer settlers of Henry
county, Kentucky. He became quite an extensive landowner and followed farm-
ing as a life work. His son, John Rodman, served as a colonel in the war of
1812 and was captured at the battle of Raisin River. The latter likewise served
in the Kentucky legislature as a state senator. John Rodman, the father of our
subject, was a prominent figure in the political life of Kentucky and also at the
bar, where he was known as a great jury lawyer. From 1867 until 1873 he
served as attorney general for the state of Kentucky. His demise occurred in

William Louis Rodman acquired his early education in the public schools of
his native town and subsequently pursued a four years' course in the Kentucky


Military Institute, wiiich institution conferred upon him the degree of Master
of Arts in 1876. He then read medicine under the direction of Dr. James Rod-
man, his uncle, and Dr. W. B. Rodman, his cousin, both of Frankfort, Ken-
tucky, and in 1877 entered Jefiferson College, winning the degree of M. D. two
years later. After spending one year as interne in the Jefiferson Hospital he
entered the medical corps of the United States army and passed nearly five
years on the frontier. In 1885 he located for practice in Louisville, Kentucky,
there following his profession for thirteen years. On the expiration of that
period, in 1898, he came to Philadelphia, which city has since remained the
scene of his professional labors, his attention being entirely devoted to surgical
work. In 1886 he became demonstrator of surgery in the University of Louis-
ville and was chief of the surgical clinic of Professor David W. Yandell in the
same institution until 1893. In that year he was elected professor of surgery
and of clinical surgery in the Kentucky School of Medicine at Louisville, there
remaining until 1898, when he was called to Philadelphia to take a similar po-
sition in the Medico-Chirurgical College. In 1890 he was made professor of
surgery and clinical surgery in the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania.
He was elected president of the surgical section of the American Medical Asso-
ciation at its meeting in Philadelphia in 1897 and presided the next year at the
Denver meeting. In 1900 he delivered the oration in surgery at the meeting of
the association and in the same year was elected one of its trustees. In 1902 he
was elected president of the Association of American Medical Colleges and pre-
sided at the New Orleans meeting in 1903. In his presidential address he ad-
vocated a higher standard in the way of preliminary education for all matricu-
lates in all colleges of this association. His recommendations were adopted and
rules were made to the efifect that, beginning July i, 1905, every matriculate
must furnish a diploma testifying to a four years' high school course or submit
to an examination in lieu thereof in all branches taught in such a course. Dr.
Rodman is a member of the American Surgical Association and is one of the
fifty Americans holding membership in the International Association of sur-
geons. He also belongs to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the Phil-
adelphia Academy of Surgery, the Pennsylvania State Medical Society and the
Philadelphia County Medical Society. He was associate editor of the Inter-
national Text-book of Surgery, and also contributed chapters to Keen's Surgery
and to the American Board of Surgery. He is likewise the author of various
articles on the subject of surgery. In 1904 he was invited to read a paper
before the British Medical Association on Cancer of the Breast at its Oxford
meeting, and in 1908 he published a treatise on diseases of the mammary gland.
For the past two years he has been president of the Philadelphia circle of the
Chi Phi fraternity. In January, 191 1, he was elected president of the Phila-
delphia Medical Club, without opposition. This association consists of nearly
one thousand members of the medical profession of Pennsylvania, New Jersey
and Delaware. In June, 1904, the degree of Doctor of Laws was conferred
upon him by his alma mater. He stands as a representative of the most modern
advancement in the science of medicine and surgery and his investigations have
been carried forward as well along original lines.


On the 31st of October, 1882, Dr. Rodman was united in marriage to Miss
Bettie C. Stewart, a daughter of Dr. John Q. A. Stewart, who was a prominent
physician of Frankfort, Kentucky. Unto them have been born three child-
ren, namely : John Stewart, Harriet Virginia and Mary Yandell. Dr. Rodman
is accorded wide recognition as one of the able and successful physicians of
Philadelphia and his labors, his high professional attainments and his sterling
characteristics have justified the respect and confidence in which he is held by
the medical fraternity and the local public.


Herbert Brown Painter, a representative of the Philadelphia bar, was born
in this city, June 4, 1869, a son of Brigadier General William Painter, of whom
mention is made elsewhere in this volume. His mother, Mrs. Sarah A. Painter,
was a daughter of Joseph and Sarah A. Brown, Mr. Brown being a prominent
wholesale merchant of Philadelphia. General Painter's death occurred in 1884,
his wife surviving until 1897.

Herbert Brown Painter, an only child, was educated in the Penn Charter
school and graduated from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, New
York, in the class of 1891, receiving the degree of civil engineer. While atttend-
ing Rensselaer he was active in athletics, playing on the football team for four
years. For the succeeding four years he practiced the profession of civil engi-
neer. During this period he took up the study of law at the Indiana Law School
and graduated in 1895, having been admitted to practice, however, in 1894 at
Indianapolis. He then attended the law department of the University of Penn-
sylvania, graduated therefrom in 1896 with the degree of Bachelor of Laws
and was admitted to practice in Pennsylvania the same year. He has since con-
tinued in general practice and has attained a prominent position as a member of
the Philadelphia bar.

Mr. Painter was married April 30, 1904, to Miss Adele L. Piper, a daughter
of William H. Piper, a prominent coal operator of Philadelphia. Mr. Painter
is a member of the University Club, the Merion Cricket Club, the Loyal Legion
and the Theta Psi fraternity and is a thirty-second degree Mason.


From errand boy to proprietor of one of the largest carpet houses of Phila-
delphia is the business history of Hercules Atkin. The analyzation of his life
record indicates that his advanced steps were carefully directed by intelligent
purpose and laudable ambition and resulted from indefatigable energy and close
application. The record is one well worthy of emulation.

A native of Ireland, Hercules Atkin was born in Rossard, County Wicklow,
July 31, 1838, a son of William and Jane (Jones) Atkin. The family records
show that the ancestry can be traced back to John Atkin, who was born in 1618
and became a resident of Ireland. In 1616 the Atkin family were located at



Billbrook, in the parish of old Cleadc, near Morehead, Somersetsliire, England,
where representatives of the name occupied a position of weaUh and prominence
for many generations. Many were warriors and served under the early English
sovereigns. Others gained distinction as lawyers and clergymen, and still others
left their impress in various ways upon the history and civilization of the coun-
try. Land in Ireland was given to some of the ancestors of Hercules Atkin for
valiant deeds performed during the different wars of Great Britain, and all in-
herited large means. One of the number, John Atkin, who resided in County
Wexford, Ireland, secreted a list of names of those doomed to die in 1798 be-
cause of their loyalty to the king, and no less than fourteen Atkins were on the
list, but because of the order of execution being hidden none so lost their lives.
William Atkin was a gentleman farrner of Ireland and for a short time engaged
in business pursuits there. He later disposed of all his land and commercial in-
terests and came to America, settling in Philadelphia in 1847. His wife also
came from the landed gentry,,' the Jones family being owners of one of the
finest estates in Ireland.

Hercules Atkin was only eight years of age at the time of the voyage across
the Atlantic, and, following the establishment of the family home in Philadel-
phia, he attended the public schools until fourteen years of age. At that time
he secured a position as errand boy with the firm of Shumaker & Huff, who were
engaged in the carpet business on Second street. His fidelity, diligence and
earnest purpose enabled him to work his way steadily upward from one position
to another, until eventually he became junior partner in the firm. After the
death of the senior partner the business was reorganized under the firm name of
DeBois & Atkin. A few years later Mr. DeBois withdrew and the business
became the property of Mr. Atkin under his name, which was carried on suc-
cessfully and continuously until his demise. At the time of his death he was the
oldest carpet merchant in business in Philadelphia and had one of the leading
establishments in that line. The trade had been built up on a solid founda-
tion, the business management of the house never seeking nor requiring dis-
guise, and by careful study of the wants of the public and by progressive
business methods an extensive patronage had been secured.

Mr. Atkin, however, did not confine his attention solely to business aft'airs.
He never neglected the higher and holier duties of life. On the contrary he was
a consistent, active and faithful member of the Methodist church, originally
holding membership in the old Union church on Fourth street, called the Acad-
emy in 1848. He was ordained deacon in 1873, and in March, igoo, was or-
dained an elder and minister of the church. He took a most deep, profound
and helpful interest in the various lines of church work to which he devoted
much time, and he was a member and secretary of the Philadelphia Local
Preachers Association. He was also instrumental in organizing the congrega-
tion and building the Methodist church at Tioga, Pennsylvania, where he
resided for about two years.

On the 17th of January, 1873, Mr. Atkin was married to Miss Emma Bo-
dine, a daughter of John F. and Martha (Swope) Bodine. Her father was a
member of the state senate and also served as judge of Gloucester county. New
Jersey. For many years he conducted an extensive and profitable business in


glass manufacturing and was one of the leading and influential 'men of his
district, not only contributing to material progress, but also upholding the po-
litical and legal status of the commonwealth. He served in both the house of
representatives and the senate of the New Jersey legislature and left the impress
of his individuality upon a number of important laws. His father, Joel Bodine,
was the pioneer glass manufacturer of New Jersey. John Bodine, the great-
great-grandfather of Mrs. Atkin, served for seven years during the Revolution-
ary war and held the rank of captain. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Atkin were born two
sons and two daughters. John F. B., who married a Miss Raymond, of New
Jersey, is a graduate of the law department of the University of Pennsylvania
and is now a successful young attorney of Philadelphia. Grace is at home.
Corinna is the wife of Ernest Stebben of New York city. Hercules B. is a
mechanical engineer of Philadelphia.

In politics Mr. Atkin was a republican with firm faith in the party principles.
He belonged to the Masonic fraternity, was of a most social disposition, was
fond of reading and possessed a remarkably retentive memory. Outside of
business, his leisure hours were spent in those things which bring broader mental
culture and constitute sources of genuine pleasure and recreation. He passed
away June 22, 1906, — a citizen of worth who had ever been loyal to the highest
municipal interests, a business man of unimpeachable integrity, a friend of un-,
questioned fidelity, and a devoted and loving husband and father.


In the life of George L. Weed was found that expression of broad humani-
tarianism which seeks its embodiment in helpful work destined to produce im-
portant and lasting results. He was a man of scholarly attainments and broad
literary culture, who studied life from many standpoints and never failed to
recognize nor meet his obligations to his fellowmen. A native of Cincinnati,
he was a son of Rev. George L. Weed, the former a minister of the gospel in
that city. His youthful days were spent in his parents' home, where he was
reared amid an atmosphere of culture and refinement. His early educational
privileges were supplemented by study in Marietta College of Ohio, and he was
later appointed missionary among the Indians in Oklahoma, where he remained
in active labor for some time. He afterward went to Wisconsin, where he had
charge of the state deaf and dumb institute for a number of years, and in 1875
came to Philadelphia, where he was also connected with the deaf and dumb in-
stitute for several years. As its superintendent he did a most important and
valuable work, for which he was highly commended not only by the trustees
of the school but also by those who recognized the humanitarian principles and
the practical methods of his work. He carefully systematized the business and
the methods of instruction in the institution and introduced many new plans
whereby the unfortunate class under his care was greatly benefited. He not only
paid careful attention to all that promoted the physical well-being of the inmates


of the institution but looked after (heir intellectual antl moral progress and many
of the students showed marked advance during his connection with the institute.

Mr. Weed was a man of great ability and used his powers for the benefit of
others. After his retirement from the deaf and dumb institute he devoted his
attention to literary work and his writings, of much merit, were widely read.
They showed thorough research of the subject of which he treated and were a
clear exposition of his views thereon. Mr. Weed was also a corporate mem-
ber of the board of foreign missions and was very active in that body, doing
everything in his power to further that branch of Christian work. He was a
most helpful and earnest member of the Central Congregational church and
cooperated in various departments of the church work whereby its influence was
extended and its strength augmented.

In Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Mr. Weed was married to Miss Sarah R. Rus-
sell, a representative of prominent New England families. They became the
parents of three children, Charles, Nellie and Grace, but all have passed away.
In 1892 Mr. Weed removed with his family to a pleasant home in Mount Airy,
and there resided until his demise on the 25th of September, 1904. His life was
one of great usefulness and benefit to his fellowmen and was crowned with the
honor and respect of all who knew him. He held to high ideals and sought
their accomplishment by practical methods, whether laboring among the Indi-
ans of the southwest, among the unfortunate people to whom hearing and
speech had been denied, or among those who, possessing all faculties, yet need
the assistance and encouragement of their fellowmen.


Charles W. Whitehouse has since August, 1909, acted as general manager
of the Adams Brothers Company of Philadelphia, wholesale dealers in meats.
His birth occurred in Augusta, Maine, on the 5th of December, 1877, his par-
ents being Charles W. and Annie W. Whitehouse. He attended the grammar
and high schools until a youth of eighteen, when he accompanied his parents
on their removal to Boston, Massachusetts, there securing a position in the
office of the Boston Rubber Company. Later he became a salesman for the
concern, serving in that capacity for eight years. On the expiration of that
period he became a bookkeeper in the packing house of Schwarzschild & Sulz-
berger, by whom he was transferred to Washington, D. C, in 1901. In 1903
he was transferred to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he first acted as a
bookkeeper and was later made a salesman. In April, 1904, he entered the
service of the Adams Brothers Company as a salesman and in August, 1909.
was appointed general manager of the Philadelphia branch. The continued
growth and success of the enterprise is attributable in no small degree to his
excellent executive ability, sound judgment and keen discrimination. His busi-
ness record is indeed worthy of both emulation and commendation, for he has

Online LibraryEllis Paxson OberholtzerPhiladelphia; a history of the city and its people, a record of 225 years (Volume 4) → online text (page 47 of 62)