Fred (Frederick Charles) Brenckman.

History of Carbon County, Pennsylvania; also containing a separate account of the several boroughs and townships in the county, online

. (page 27 of 44)
Online LibraryFred (Frederick Charles) BrenckmanHistory of Carbon County, Pennsylvania; also containing a separate account of the several boroughs and townships in the county, → online text (page 27 of 44)
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In 1889 he was married to Francesca L., daughter of
Reuben Cole, of Northampton county. Mary F. Bevan,
a graduate of Bloomsburg State Normal School, is
their only child.

Bittner, John C, a retired farmer of Packer town-
ship, and a veteran of the Civil War, is the son of
Martin and Eva (Crat) Bittner, both natives of Ger-
many. The family emigrated to this country about
1830, settling in Columbia county. Pa. The father
was a carpenter. Removing to Cressona, Schuylkill
county, the parents both died there.

John C. Bittner was born in Columbia county on
February 24, 1836. He was about eight years of age


when the death of his father occurred, and he grew
to maturity on a farm near Orwigsburg, Schuylkill
county. Learning the carpenter trade, he pursued his
vocation until 1864. During March of that year he en-
listed in Company I, One hundred and eighty-seventh
Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, attached
to the Army of the Potomac. He participated in all
the engagements and maneuvers of his regiment from
this time forth, including the battle of Cold Harbor,
the siege of Petersburg, and the fighting about the
Weldon Railroad, to the fall of Richmond and the close
of the war.

Returning to civil life he came to Quakake Valley
and purchased from John Faust, his father-in-law, the
old grist mill now owned by William S. Dietrich, con-
ducting the same until 1869, when he disposed of the
mill to Henry Gerhard.

Mr. Bittner then devoted himself to agricultural pur-
suits, acquiring title to the farm on which his father-
in-law had settled when he came to Quakake Valley in
1829. He is still the owner of this farm, which is one
of the most desirable in the district.

On April 7, 1860, he was married to Caroline Faust,
and they became the parents of the following children :
Charles, deceased; William H., owning a ranch near
Louisville, Col. ; Allen D., living on the old homestead
and conducting the farm ; Mary, the wife of Joel Lein-
inger, of Packer township; Elvin D., a railway mail
clerk, located at Harrisburg, Pa.; Ida, the wife of
Samuel Behler, of Nuremberg, Schuylkill county;
Clara E. and Jere, deceased; Edgar, a mechanical en-
gineer in the service of the New Jersey Foundry and
Machine Company, of New York; George, deceased;
Agnes, who married Allen Gerhard; Milton, a sten-
ographer, of Idaho Springs, Col. ; Arthur, operating a


farm in Packer township ; Jennie, wife of Wallace 0.
Gerhard, and Laura, who wedded Truman Musselman.

William, Allen, Elvin, Jere, Edgar and Milton were
all educated at the Valparaiso Normal School, now
known as Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana,
and became school teachers. All of these, excepting
Jere, who died at the age of twenty-two, married school

Jennie attended the Polytechnic Institute, of Gil-
berts, Monroe county. Pa. She taught school for sev-
eral years, and the man whom she married had been a
school teacher.

Mr. Bittner and his family have been among the
leading spirits of St. Matthew's Lutheran and Reform-
ed church, and the Sunday school connected therewith,
situated on ground originally belonging to the old
homestead, while being otherwise influential in the
community. During his long residence in Packer town-
ship, Mr. Bittner successively filled most of the offices
in the gift of the people of that district.

Blakslee, Hon. James I., formerly a member of the
legislature, now secretary of the Democratic state
committee, and operating the municipal electric light
plant of Lehighton, is of Scotch antecedents, and the
family from which he springs has been identified with
the interests and activities of Pennsylvania since early
in the eighteenth century.

Zopher Blakslee, his great grandfather, was a native
of Vermont, but spent the major portion of his life in
Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania. He was a farmer
by occupation.

One of the ten children of Zopher Blakslee, James I.
Blakslee was born in Susquehanna county, Pennsyl-
vania, February 10, 1815. About 1833 he removed to
Mauch Chunk with his brother-in-law, Asa Packer, and


for a time was a boatman on the Lehigh Canal. In
1839 he engaged in the mining and shipping of coal in
Schuylkill county. Eeturning to Mauch Chunk after
an absence of five years, he engaged in the preparation
and shipping of coal from the Nesquehoning mines,
worked under contract with the Lehigh Coal and Nav-
igation Company by Messrs. Mapes, Packer & Harlan.

Mr. Blakslee assisted in the building of the Lehigh
Valley Railroad and was the conductor of the first coal
train that ran over the road. In 1863 he was appointed
superintendent of the Mahanoy division of this rail-
road, which position he relinquished to superintend the
construction of the Montrose Railroad in northeastern
Pennsylvania. He was elected president of this rail-
road in 1871. In 1878 he was elected a director of the
Lehigh Valley Railroad, and for a time was a member
of the executive committee of the board.

Mr. Blakslee was a trustee of Lehigh University, in
which position he ably seconded the plans of its foun-
der, Asa Packer.

As the candidate of the Democratic party, he was
elected to the office of treasurer of Carbon county in
1851. He was married in 1838 to Caroline Ashley, a
native of Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania. Their
children were: Eugene H., Alonzo P., Asa P., and
Charles A. Blakslee.

James I. Blakslee, the father of this family, died in

Alonzo P. Blakslee received his early education in
the schools of Mauch Chunk and Bethlehem. Subse-
quently he was a student in the military academy at
Eagleswood, New Jersey. In 1866 he entered the em-
ploy of the Lehigh and Mahanoy Railroad, which soon
thereafter was absorbed by the Lehigh Valley system.
He remained with the company as the superintendent


of the Mahanoy division until 1898, when he resigned
to become the general manager of the famous Switch-
back Eailroad, taking up his residence at Mauch
Chunk, where he also engaged in other enterprises.

Alonzo P. Blakslee was united in wedlock in 1869 to
Elizabeth Bond. Four children were born to them,
James I. and Annie K. Blakslee alone surviving. The
father died in 1911.

James I. Blakslee was born at Mauch Chunk on De-
cember 17, 1870. During his first year the family re-
moved to Delano, Schuylkill county, where James at-
tended the public schools. Subsequently he was a stu-
dent at the Bethlehem Preparatory School and at the
Cheltham Military Academy, finishing his education
at the Hill School, Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

Upon leaving school, Mr. Blakslee became a clerk in
the office of the division superintendent of the Lehigh
Valley Eailroad at Delano. Later he became a tele-
graph operator, and was the station agent for that
company at Delano. Entering the service of the Penn-
sylvania Eailroad at Philadelphia, he soon returned to
Delano to become the yardmaster of the Lehigh Valley
Eailroad at that place.

Having previously been commissioned as a second
lieutenant in Company E, Eighth Eegiment, National
Guard of Pennsylvania, Mr. Blakslee volunteered in
that capacity for the war with Spain. During the prog-
ress of the war, he was transferred to the regular army
as quartermaster and commissary of the reserve hos-
pital company, attached to the Second Army Corps.
The command to which he belonged was successively
stationed at Falls Church and Dunloring, Virginia;
Middletown, Pennsylvania, and at Augusta, Georgia.
He was mustered out on May 12, 1899.


Returning to civil life, Mr. Blakslee took up his resi-
dence at Mauch Chunk, and purchased the property of
the Carbon County Improvement Company at Weiss-
port, consisting of various interests and industries.
The plant was partially destroyed by fire soon there-
after. It had scarcely been rebuilt when it was again
destroyed by the destructive flood of 1901. Mr. Blak-
slee then abandoned the property, and secured a lease
on me electric light plant of the borough of Lehighton,
which he is still conducting, furnishing light and power
to both Lehighton and Weissport.

He made his first excursion into the field of politics
at Delano, in 1897, when he was chosen as a delegate
to the Schuylkill county Democratic convention, held
at Pottsville. He received 109 votes out of 110 votes
cast, and had the honor of nominating 0. P. Bechtel
for his last term as president judge of the Schuylkill
county courts. He was for some years a member of
the Schuylkill county Democratic executive committee,
and was repeatedly urged to accept the nomination for
state senator in his district, but declined.

Mr. Blakslee was elected chairman of the Carbon
county Democratic committee in 1905, and is still so
serving. He was elected to the legislature in 1906,
receiving 925 out of 1,030 votes cast in Lehighton, his
home town. As a member of the legislature he played
an active part in all the important measures before the
House, acquitting himself with credit and ability. He
was a member of the Democratic state executive com-
mittee for a number of years, and in 1910 was the can-
didate of his party for the office of secretary of inter-
nal affairs, but was defeated with the rest of the ticket.

Together with George W. Guthrie, Vance McCor-
mick, A. Mitchell Palmer, and others, he took a promi-
nent part in reorganizing the Democratic party in


Pennsylvania after the gubernatorial election of 1910,
when he was chosen as the secretary of the state com-
mittee. Much of his time and energy has since been
devoted to the work of this position. He was a delegate
to the Democratic national convention at Baltimore,
which nominated Woodrow Wilson for the presidency.

Mr. Blakslee has for years taken an active interest
in the work of the Episcopal church, of which he is a
member. He has been connected with All Saints
church at Lehighton since its organization in 1902.

During this time he has also been the superintendent
of the Sunday school of this association. He is now a
member of the Sunday school commission of the dio-
cese of Bethlehem.

In 1901 Mr. Blakslee was married to Henrietta W.
Bunting, daughter of the late Doctor Thomas C. Bunt-
ing and his wife Lizzie, of East Mauch Chunk.

He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and be-
longs to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
In 1903 he was one of the leading spirits in the organi-
zation of Lehighton Engine Company, No. 2, of which
he has since been the president. He is a member of
James I. Blakslee Camp, No. 26, United Spanish War
Veterans, of Mahanoy City.

Blakslee, William Wallace, who for nearly half a
century was a foremost citizen and successful business
man of Weatherly, was born at Springville, Susque-
hanna county, Pa., in 1821. He was a son of Zopher
Blakslee, and one of a family of sixteen children.

Reared and partially educated in the place of his
nativity, he remained beneath the paternal roof until
his twelfth year, when he determined that the time had
come for him to make his own way in the world. Mauch
Chunk was then becoming a great coal center, and
young Blakslee, like so many other enterprising spirits

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of that day, was lured thither by the bright prospects
opening before the wonderful mountain town on the
banks of the Lehigh. He made the journey to Mauch
Chunk in the fall of 1833 in company with Charles Ash-
ley and wife, a sister of Mr. Blakslee's, who brought
with them all their worldly possessions, loaded upon
a wagon to which three horses were attached. The
ambitious boy rode the lead horse the entire distance
from Susquehanna county.

Arriving at Mauch Chunk the youth found a loyal
friend in his brother-in-law, Asa Packer, the bold and
sagacious pioneer, who subsequently became a leading
individual factor in the development of the Lehigh Val-
ley, and whose name became a household word all over
eastern Pennsylvania. Mr. Packer took him into his
home, and sent him to school. His instructor was the
most famous of the early schoolmasters of Carbon
county, James Nowlins, and under him he laid the
foundations for his life of usefulness and success.

During the boating season he was employed as a
mule driver on the towpath of the Lehigh Canal. It
was in this capacity, one starlight night, that he wit-
nessed one of the memorable natural phenomena of
the nineteenth century, the great meteoric shower of
November 13, 1833.

At the age of fifteen, having won the confidence of
Mr. Packer, he was given a clerical position in a store
at Rockport, which was conducted by the firm of which
Mr. Packer was the head. He remained with this firm
until 1857, being successively located at White Haven,
Mauch Chunk and Nesquehoning, having full charge
of the store at the latter place for many years.

Coming to Weatherly at the expiration of this pe-
riod, Mr. Blakslee embarked in business for himself,
succeeding Richard D. Stiles, who was the only mer-


chant in the town. This venture proved a gratifying
success, and, in addition thereto Mr. Blakslee engaged
in the real estate business and various other enter-
prises. He was a leader in the establishment of the
Weatherly Water Company, of which he was the pres-
ident from the time of its organization until his death,
having also been one of the promoters of the Read and
Lovatt silk mill at Weatherly. About the j^ear 1898
the Blakslee Store Company was organized, he being
the nominal head. From this time forth he lived in

During his long residence in Weatherly he was hon-
ored with most of the offices in the gift of her people,
and he was associated with every movement calculated
to advance the interests of the town. He was one of the
founders of the Episcopal church at Weatherly, which
was erected principally through his influence.

On April 8, 1849, Mr. Blakslee was united in mar-
riage at Mt. Lafee, Schuylkill county, to Miss Tamar
Beadle, an estimable English lady of culture and re-
finement. From this happy union sprang nine chil-
dren, five of whom survive : Mrs. Grant E. Pryor, Mrs.
Harry A. Butler, Mrs. Charles W. Keiser, William
Wallace, Jr., and Rollin Ashley Blakslee.

The father's death occurred on September 26, 1904,
the result of a fall he sustained a few weeks previously,
and from the shock of which he never rallied. His re-
mains repose in Union Cemetery at Weatherly. Mr.
Blakslee was prominent in Masonic circles.

Blunt, Harrison N., general agent for The Palmer
Land Company, came to Palmerton from New York
in the fall of 1899, to design and construct the sewers
and sewage disposal works for the then proposed vil-
lage. Mr. Blunt was at this time associated with the
well known firm of engineers of which the late Col.


AS Ton, LCf40X AND I


Geo. E. Waring, Jr., was the senior member.

In September, 1900, after completing this work, he
entered the services of The Palmer Land Company at
Palmerton, as assistant to the general agent. He was
soon thereafter promoted to the general agency, which
position he still holds.

In this capacity he has done much toward making
Palmerton the model town that it is, most of the im-
provements of a general nature there having been
made under his supervision and direction.

Bower, Charles W., one of Lehighton's most public-
spirited citizens, an ex-burgess of that borough, and
owning a controlling interest in the Crescent Stone and
Manufacturing Company, of which he is secretary and
treasury, was born at Lehighton, April 16, 1855.

He is the grandson of one of Lehighton's pioneer
residents, Charles G. Bower, who emigrated from
Wurtemberg, Germany, to this country during the
early years of the last century. Settling in Lehighton,
he worked at his trade as a saddler and was also a
farmer. He was the father of ten children, his oldest
son being Charles H. Bower, who was successively a
farmer, boat builder and contractor.

Charles H. Bower was married to Matilda Savitz, of
Lehighton, where the couple made their home. Their
children were Charles and Sarah, who is the wife of
Charles Seifert, of Lehighton,

Having received a public school education, Charles
W. Bower began life as a clerk in a general store. He
was also employed in a clerical capacity by the Lehigh
Valley Eailroad Company at Packerton for a time.
Entering the medical department of the University of
Pennsylvania, Mr. Bower was graduated with the class
of 1880. He is also a graduate of the medical school
of the University of Vermont.


After successfully practicing his profession for sev-
eral years, Doctor Bower acquired a taste for some-
thing different, and opened a machine shop, which he
conducted for about two years.

In 1904 he organized the Crescent Store and Manu-
facturing Company, becoming its secretary and treas-
urer. This concern manufactures cook stoves and
ranges which find a market nearly all over the world.
The industry employs about thirty men.

Doctor Bower has taken quite an active part in
municipal affairs, and in addition to having served as
chief burgess, he has been secretary of the board of
health, of town council, and of the Carbon County In-
dustrial Society, under the auspices of which the Car-
bon county fair is annually held. He is an adherent
of the Republican party,

Mr. Bower is a member of the Odd Fellows and is
prominent in Masonic circles, belonging to Lehighton
Lodge, No. 621 ; Packer Commandery, No. 23, K. T., of
Mauch Chunk; Philadelphia Consistory, S. P. R. S.,
and Rajah Temple, A. A. 0. N. M. S., of Reading.

He was married to Clara Hibbler, a daughter of Ed-
mund Hibbler and his wife Susan, of Lehighton, in
1903. They live on South First street, occupying the
house in which Doctor Bower was born.

Bowman, Maurice, a well known and public spirited
citizen of Bowmanstown, was born on October 20,
1858, in the village where he now lives. He is a direct
descendant of John Deter (Hans Teter) Bowman, who
was one of the first of the sturdy settlers to brave the
dangers and hardships of the wilderness which lay un-
conquered in what is now Carbon county. He came to
Towamensing, as this whole region was then known,
about the time of the French and Indian War.


Maurice is the fourth son of Henry Bowman, who
was one of the twelve children of John Deter Bowman,
a grandson of the first settler, who was also thus

Henry Bowman was born in 1814 in the place which
has since been called Bowmanstown. He became a
boat builder on the Lehigh Canal, profitably engaging
in this pursuit for more than twenty years.

About the year 1855, acting upon the suggestion of
a man named George Ziegenfuss, he began prospecting
for iron ore in the Stony Ridge, where he found a min-
eral which, after some experimenting, proved to be bet-
ter adapted for the making of paint.

The knowledge gained in these experiments made
him the father of an industry which has since grown
to important proportions — the manufacture of metallic
brown paint. First engaging in this business on his
own account, he later organized the Poco Metallic
Paint Company, subsequently called the Carbon Me-
tallic Paint Company, which is still in existence. Mr.
Bowman and a number of his brothers were the princi-
pal stockholders of this concern.

He was also a well known contractor for many
years. After the freshet of 1841, he rebuilt a large
portion of the Lehigh Canal between Mauch Chunk and
White Haven, while taking part in the building of
the Lehigh Valley Railroad and the Lehigh and Sus-
quehanna Railroad. He was the contractor who erect-
ed the county prison at Mauch Chunk, and, in his day
built numerous houses, churches and bridges, besides
mining large quantities of coal and iron ore.

As a member of the firm of Bowman Brothers and
Company, he was one of the founders of the iron works
at Parryville. In later years he became an extensive
producer of building and foundry sand.


Henry Bowman was united in marriage to Lavina,
daughter of Henry Peters, of East Penn township,
Carbon county, in 1844. Nine children were born to
them. The father died on October 12, 1889.

Maurice Bowman was educated in the public schools
and at the Carbon Academy, later spending a year as
a student of theology at Franklin and Marshall Col-
lege. Por a time he and his brother, Fulton, engaged
with their father in the sand business, and upon the
death of the latter, Maurice and Roger Bowman car-
ried on the enterprise until 1892, when Maurice pur-
chased the interest of the other and has since conduct-
ed the business as sole owner. One of his sand quar-
ries is located at Ashfield, East Penn township, while
he operates another at Hazard. He is also a dealer in
clay and building stone.

Besides his other interests, he is the owner of the
water system of Bowmanstown, having supplied the
place with this necessity since 1892. The source of
supply is a tunnel about one thousand feet long, driven
into the Stony Ridge by his father for the Carbon
Metallic Paint Company, which formerly secured ore
therefrom. The water is characterized by its purity
and is rich in health-giving mineral properties. It
runs into the town by gravity. Altogether the system
is one of the most exceptional and inexpensive to be
found anywhere.

Mr. Bowman was one of the prime movers in the
building of St. John's Evangelical church, of Bow-
manstown, dedicated in 1892. He contributed liberally
to the project, and has been a local preacher of the
denomination for many years.

Politically speaking, he is a loyal Prohibitionist, hav-
ing served as the county chairman of that party.


In 1881 he was wedded to Clara A. Eckert, of Parry-
ville, Carbon county. Four children begotten of this
union survive. The death of the wife and mother oc-
curred in 1902, and on March 16, 1904, Mr. Bowman
was married to Carrie S., daughter of Elijah Heisler,
of Orwigsburg, Schuylkill county. Three children have
been born to them, one of whom died in infancy.

Bowman, Penn, a leading and influential resident of
Bowmanstown, is a descendant in the fifth generation
of John Deter Bowman, who was one of the first set-
tlers of that portion of Northampton county lying
north of the Blue Eidge, and now a part of Carbon

His father, Josiah Bowman, was the youngest son of
John D. Bowman, and was a great grandson of the
original settler.

Josiah Bowman was born in the old stone hotel at
Bowmanstown, builded by his father, and in early life
he became the landlord of this hotel. Later he engaged
in contracting and lumbering, besides operating two
farms. With his brother, Henry, he was one of the
pioneers in the manufacture of brown metallic paint,
the ore from which this product is made being found in
the Stony Ridge, near Bowmanstown. He was also
financially interested in the iron works at Parryville,
established and originally conducted by the firm of
Bowman Brothers and Company.

Mr. Bowman chose as his life partner Louisa Berke-
meyer, of Heidelberg, Lehigh county. Their children
were: Henrietta L., wife of Lewis F. Balliet; Mar-
garet, who married Abel Boyer ; Penn, Lillie Q., widow
of Harry J. Aaron, and Alton H. Bowman. Two oth-
ers died in infancy.

Penn Bowman was born at Bowmanstown, May 21,
1864. He attended the public schools and was for


several terms a student at Kutztown State Normal
School. He is also a graduate of the Allentown Busi-
ness College. For a short time after leaving school
he was employed as a bookkeeper at Allentown, but in
1889 formed a partnership with E. A. Boyer, starting
in the mercantile business at Bowmanstown under the
firm name of Boyer and Bowman. Purchasing the in-
terest of his partner in 1893, Mr. Bowman conducted
the business as sole owner until 1905, when he, in turn,
sold out to Mr. Boyer.

He then operated a planing mill for several years,
and followed the business of a general contractor.

Mr. Bowman is a director of the Citizens' National
Bank of Lehighton, being associated in a similar capa-
city with the Towamensing Fire Insurance Company.
He was one of the organizers of the Lutheran church
at Bowmanstown, and has served as superintendent of

Online LibraryFred (Frederick Charles) BrenckmanHistory of Carbon County, Pennsylvania; also containing a separate account of the several boroughs and townships in the county, → online text (page 27 of 44)