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 29 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 29 of 44)
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Monroe county, February 27, 1856. He attended the
public schools until his seventeenth year, while all of
his mature life has been spent in agricultural pursuits.
In 1883 he purchased sixty-one acres of land in Towa-
mensing township, the nucleus of his present farm of
two hundred and fifty acres, and proceeded to clear the
ground, which was thickly covered with brush. He
there built his home, at a distance of about four miles
from Trachsville, and has lived there continuously

As a member of the township school board Mr.
Christman has taken an active interest in the cause of
popular education, manifesting progressive tendencies.
His political allegiance is given to the Republican


At the age of twenty-two he was married to Sarah
B. Strohl, a daughter of Joel Strohl, of Towamensing
township. Their children are: Harrison A., Emma
J., wife of Oliver Koons, of Philadelphia ; William H.,
Cora M., wife of John Bollinger; Eugene E., Martin
F., Sallie A., and Mamie M. Christman.

Mr. Christman and his family are members of the
Lutheran church.

Clewell, William H., a Summit Hill physician and
surgeon, and postmaster of that town, is descended
from ancestors who settled in Pennsylvania during
Colonial times. The first of his family to come to
America was Louisa Frache Clevel, a widow, who was
accompanied by her two sons, George Craft and John
Franz. The grandparents of these boys were natives
of the province of Dauphine, France.

They were Huguenots, and upon the revocation of
the Edict of Nantes, they fled to Auerbach, in Baden.
It was in 1737 that the widow and her sons emigrated
thence to Philadelphia. Franz was born in 1720, while
George was six years his junior.

Being bound out to pay for their passage, then a
common practice, the family lived for a time at Oley,
Berks county, going from there to Nazareth, North-
ampton county. All are buried in the Schoenech Mor-
avian cemetery in Northampton, near Nazareth. Franz
was the great-great-grandfather of the subject of this

William H., son of Jacob L. and Emma L.
(Schmueckle) Clewell, was born at Nazareth on Sep-
tember 19, 1869. His father was a cabinet maker, and
he gained his early training in the Moravian parochial
schools of his native town. In 1881 the family removed
to Philadelphia, where he attended the public schools.
Learning the drug business he became a registered


pharmacist, following his calling for several years in
New York city.

At the expiration of this period he entered the
Medico-Chirurgical College at Philadelphia, from
which institution he was graduated in 1896. After
practising his profession in Philadelphia for a year,
Dr. Clewell came to Summit Hill, where he has since
lived, enjoying a large practise. He has long taken a
keen interest in military affairs, and during his resi-
dence in New York was connected with the militia of
that state. During the war with Spain he recruited
and organized Company L of the Ninth Regiment,
Pennsylvania Volunteers, being commissioned as first
lieutenant, and serving as such until the company was
mustered out. He has since served in various official
capacities in the National Guard, and is now a first
lieutenant in the Medical Reserve Corps of the United
States Army.

His services were of value in the organization of
the First Regiment of the P. 0. S. of A. Reserves, of
which he is the lieutenant-colonel.

Dr. Clewell, who is a Republican, has held various
offices in Summit Hill. His appointment as postmaster
of the town came in 1906. He is a member of several
Masonic bodies, and is a Past Exalted Ruler of the
Tamaqua lodge of Elks, also being identified with a
number of other fraternal societies, and with the
Naval and Military Order of the Spanish-American
War. He is affiliated with the Carbon County Medical
Society, the Pennsylvania Medical Society, and with
the Philadelphia Medical Club.

In 1888 he was married to Nellie B., daughter of
John E. and Emeline Armour, of Philadelphia. Their
only son is John A. Clewell.


Cortright, Nathan D., Jr., whose family name has
been intimately associated with the anthracite coal
industry since the early development of the Lehigh
region, is a representative of one of the pioneer fam-
ilies of the Wyoming Valley, and of early appearance
in New Netherland.

The Cortrights originated in the old town of Kort-
ryk, in Flanders, which place is celebrated in history,
for not far from its walls was fought the famous * ' Bat-
tle of the Spurs. ' ' There the flower of the French no-
bility was overthrown by the Flemish army, largely
composed of the weavers of Ghent and Burges. After
the conflict the victors gathered up from the corpse-
strewn field some four thousand golden spurs, hence
the name which designates the bloody event.

During the early years of the seventeenth century
civil wars and persecutions devastated the land, while
the village of Kortryk several times changed hands.

Among those who left these turbulent scenes for a
haven of safety in America, was Sebastian Van Kort-
right, who embarked on April 16, 1663, in the ship
^'Brindle Cow." He brought with him his family,
paying for their passage more than two hundred and
four florins, the charge being thirty-nine florins for
each adult, and half that sum for children of ten years
and under.

Among his children were two sons, Michael and Jan
Bastian. He settled in Harlem, New York, becoming
one of the most opulent men of that time and place.
From this source sprang Elisha Cortright, the great-
grandfather of the subject of this memoir, who was
among the first to settle on the rich and inviting soil
of the Wyoming Valley. During the trying scenes of
the Indian wars and the Eevolution, he shared the
hardships and vicissitudes incident to that period.


Being incapacitated at the time of the battle of Wy-
oming, more commonly known as the "Wyoming
Massacre," his brother John served in his stead and
was killed.

Isaac Cortright, son of the aforementioned, spent
his entire lifetime as a farmer on the banks of the
beautiful Susquehanna. Among his eight children was
Nathan D., the father of N. D. Cortright, Jr. Born in
Salem township, Luzerne county, February 11, 1817,
he grew to maturity at the place of his birth. At the
age of nineteen he came to Beaver Meadow, Carbon
county, and secured a position on the engineering corps
of Ario Pardee and J. G. Fell, engaged in the construc-
tion of the Beaver Meadow Railroad. Soon thereafter
he was appointed as the general shipping and boat
agent of the Hazleton Coal Company, of which he later
became the superintendent, continuing as such until
1857, when he embarked in the coal business for him-
self, living at Mauch Chunk.

He participated in the development of the coal and
iron interests of the Lehigh region, and in a more lim-
ited sense, extended his activities to the Wyoming coal
fields. For nearly sixty years he lived on the same
spot of ground in Mauch Chunk. Although modest
and unassuming he was recognized as one of the most
useful and public spirited citizens of that place.

He chose as his life companion Margaretta L.,
daughter of Ezekiel W. Harlan. Her parents were of
Quaker origin, coming to Mauch Chunk from Chester
county in 1826. Mr. Harlan was associated with the
late Asa Packer in the operation of the mines at Nes-
quehoning and in a number of other enterprises.

Nathan D. Cortright, Sr., passed away on October
11, 1902.




N. D. Cortright, Jr., the second of a family of six
children, was born at Mauch Chunk, on November 24,
1847. Having attended the schools of the place of his
nativity, he finished his education at Dickinson Sem-
inary, Williamsport, Pa. He then entered his father's
office, and in 1873 was taken into partnership with him
under the style and title of N. D. Cortright and Son.
This relationship was maintained until the death of the
elder, since which time Mr. Cortright has conducted
the business under the old firm name.

He is financially interested in various mining prop-
erties, while being a wholesale dealer in coal, and he is
the president of the Beaver Eun Coal Company, oper-
ating a mine at Beaverdale, Pa., which is in the bitu-
minous region. He is also a director of the Mauch
Chunk Trust Company.

Mr. Cortright is a Republican, and served as post-
master of Mauch Chunk under the successive adminis-
trations of Hayes, Garfield, Arthur and Cleveland. He
attends the First Presbyterian church of Mauch
Chunk, of which he is one of the trustees.

On October 22, 1874, he was married to Margaret S.,
a daughter of John and Margaret ( Council ) Kennedy,
of Port Kennedy, Montgomery county, Pa. Their chil-
dren are: Charles Homer, who is in business with his
father; Frank Barton and Harry Kennedy, who are
associated in the coal business in Philadelphia under
the name of the Cortright Coal Company; Edgar
Maurice, a mining engineer in the west ; Donald Nath-
an, connected with the Philadelphia Press, and Mar-
garet Kennedy Cortright.

Craig, Hon. Allen, who achieved distinction as a
lawyer, jurist and legislator, was born at Lehigh Gap,
Carbon county, on December 25, 1835. His ancestors,
who were of Scotch-Irish extraction, came to America


in 1714, locating in Philadelphia, and, in 1728, remov-
ing to Northampton county. Pa.

General Thomas Craig, his grandfather, served gal-
lantly under Arnold in the French and Indian War,
and during the Revolution he commanded the Third
Pennsylvania Regiment. Upon the declaration of the
second war against England, still hale and hearty, he
was appointed as a general in the American Army.
In civil life he followed the occupation of a farmer.

His son, Captain Thomas Craig, the father of Judge
Craig, was born in Northampton county in 1772. In
1795 he accompanied his parents on their removal to
Towamensing township, which later became a part of
Carbon county. Subsequently he became a dealer in
general merchandise at Lehigh Gap, also engaging in
the lumber business.

In addition to his other interests, he conducted a
stage line making regular trips between Easton and
Mauch Chunk, being also the owner of the Lehigh Gap
Inn, which was a stopping place for travelers on the
turnpike leading from Berwick to Easton.

His military title was bestowed upon him as com-
mander of a troop of horse in the Pennsylvania militia.
He also represented his district in the state legislature,
and was a leader of thought in his community.

His first wife was a Miss Kuntz, who bore him two
sons, Thomas and Samuel. Subsequent to her death,
he married Catherine Hagenbach. Their five children
were : Eliza, John, Allen, William and Robert.

Allen Craig was educated at the old Vandeveer Acad-
emy at Easton and at Lafayette College, graduating
from the last named institution in 1855. Choosing the
law as his profession, he became a student in the of-
fice of Hon. M. M. Dimmick, of Mauch Chunk, being
admitted to the bar of Carbon county on June 4, 1858.


His subsequent career was one of usefulness and
honor. In 1859 he was elected as district attorney of
Carbon county, which position he filled until 1866.
During the latter year he was elected to membership
in the state legislature, serving for three successive
terms. Higher political honors came to him in 1878,
when he was chosen to represent his district in the
state senate for the term of four years.

In 1879 he formed a partnership with James S.
Loose, of Mauch Chunk, and the firm which was then
established became one of the best known in the legal
profession of the Lehigh Valley. Judge Craig was
prominent as a corporation lawyer. He was one of
the group of able attorneys who represented the Com-
monwealth in the famous Mollie Maguire trials, which
resulted in the breaking up of that organization during
the seventies.

In 1892, as the nominee of the Democratic party, he
was elected president judge of the courts of Carbon
and Monroe counties, serving until 1901, when Carbon
was constituted a separate judicia.1 "district. Hon.
Horace Heydt was then appointed to the bench of Car-
bon county, while Judge Craig was transferred to the
district comprising Monroe and Pike counties. During
the following year both were candidates for the judge-
ship of Carbon county for the full term of ten years,
Judge Craig being defeated in a close contest.

During the early years of his tenure on the bench,
he was unable to hold court to any great extent in
Mauch Chunk, owing to his previous connection as an
attorney with much of the litigation of the county. As
a judge he was fair and broad-minded. Well versed in
the intricacies and technicalities of the law, he was
also possessed of a generous fund of common sense,
upon which he drew liberally in rendering his deci-


sions, with the result that he was seldom reversed by
the higher courts.

In demeanor he was genial and courteous, which, to-
gether with his scholarly attainments, made his com-
panionship delightful.

A short period of service in a Pennsylvania regiment
during the Civil War entitled him to membership in
the Grand Army of the Eepublic. He was always a
favorite with the old veterans, and few camp-fires or
gatherings of that nature were held in Mauch Chunk
at which he was not present, lending eloquence and
good-fellowship to the success of the occasion.

He was one of the prime movers in the erection of
the Carbon county Soldiers' Monument, dedicated at
Mauch Chunk on September 28, 1886.

For years he was a director of the First National
Bank of Mauch Chunk, being also interested in the gas
and water companies of the borough.

Judge Craig was married in 1866 to A. Isabel,
daughter of Edwin A. and Harriet (Dexter) Douglas.
Four children were born to them : Douglas, Henry D.,
Harriet, and Gay Gordon Craig. The father died on
December 31, 1902.

Craig, Hector Tyndale, whose forefathers for gen-
erations figured conspicuously in the civil and military
annals of the commonwealth, is one of the prominent
young business men of the lower end of Carbon county.
He is associated with his brother, Thomas B. Craig, in
the conduct of the mercantile business, and other in-
terests established by his father, the late Colonel John
Craig, at Lehigh Gap.

Born at Lehigh Gap, October 17, 1873, Mr. Craig
received his education in the schools of Lower Towa-
mensing township, entering the employ of his father at
the age of seventeen, and growing up in the business.

THE ; , . ;.






He is a director of the First National Bank of Sla-
tington, and is secretary and treasurer of the Lehigh
Water Gap Bridge Company.

Mr. Craig is a "companion of the first class" in the
Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United
States, and is a member of the various Masonic bodies.
He is also identified with the Odd Fellows and the Sons
of Veterans.

In 1907 he was united in marriage to Annie C,
daughter of the late James B. Roeder, who was a
teller in the Second National Bank of Allentown.
Three children have been born to them: Richard T.,
Ruth, and James I. Craig. They reside in the old
Craig homestead at Lehigh Gap.

Craig, Colonel John. One of Carbon county's most
distinguished native sons passed away, when on Octo-
ber 22, 1908, full of years, and leaving behind him the
record of a life of service and of usefulness. Colonel
John Craig, of Lehigh Gap, died. His ancestral his-
tory is one of distinction and of honor. From an early
epoch in the colonization of Pennsylvania, members of
the family have figured prominently in military and
civil life, and the record of Colonel Craig is in harmony
with that of his forefathers, he having served his coun-
try with loyalty and capability upon the field of battle
and in the halls of legislation, as well as through the
avenues of business activity, leading to the substantial
upbuilding and material progress of the state.

The pioneer ancestor of the family emigrated hither
from Ireland about the close of the seventeenth cen-
tury, settling in Philadelphia. Thence, in 1728, Colonel
Thomas Craig removed to Northampton county, loca-
ting in what was afterwards known as Craig's or the
Irish Settlement, this tract of land being the property
of William Penn and later that of his son, Thomas


Penn. The name of Colonel Thomas Craig appears
upon the roll of the Synod of Philadelphia for the first
time in 1731, and by it we learn that he occupied the
office of elder. As it was in the year 1731 that the
Presbyterian church was organized in the settlement,
it may reasonably be supposed that he was the original

Thomas Craig, son of Colonel Thomas Craig, was
but a lad when his father came to Craig's. During his
boyhood days he assisted in clearing the land and till-
ing the soil, and, after attaining manhood, engaged in
farming for himself.

The next in line of descent was Thomas Craig, whose
birth occurred in the year 1740. In 1771, at the break-
ing out of the Pennamite war, he was appointed to the
rank of lieutenant in the Pennsylvania militia, and
during the term of his service won a reputation for
gallant and heroic conduct. He was an active cham-
pion of the colonies from the opening of the Revolu-
tionary War, and on January 5, 1776, was commis-
sioned captain, being assigned to Colonel St. Clair's
Pennsylvania Battalion. After several engagements
in the Canadian campaign, he was promoted to the
rank of major, September, 1776, and in the summer
of the following year became Colonel of the Third
Pennsylvania Regiment of the line. He performed
meritorious service under the command of Washing-
ton in the state of New Jersey, and subsequently par-
ticipated in the battles of Brandywine and German-
town. In the storming of Fort Durkee, near Wilkes-
Barre, in 1771, Captain Craig, grandfather of Colonel
John Craig, led the van with an impetuous rush, and
gave the first alarm by springing into the midst of the
astonished multitude, when he commanded a company
under Ogden. He stepped lightly in advance of his


men, and speaking in a low tone and in friendly terms
to the sentinel, threw him off his guard, knocked him
down and entered the fort. Early in the Revolution-
ary War he led a company into service under Washing-
ton, and rose to the command of a regiment. Not
only was he brave, but constitutionally impetuous.
He was at Quebec, at the battles of Germantown and
of Monmouth, and at the surrender of Lord Cornwallis.
His intrepid and humane conduct in the storming of
Fort Durkee and preserving the prisoners from slaugh-
ter won him the esteem of all. Though brave as either,
in his social walk he resembled Mark Anthony rather
than Scipio.

Having quit the tented field, he sought excitement
and pleasure amid the lilacs and roses with the blonde
and brunette beauties of old Northampton.

On the afternoon of December 12, 1777, the British
adjutant-general, who had his headquarters directly
opposite, called at the famous old Loxley house, at
the corner of Second and Little Dock streets, Phila-
delphia, and notified (Mrs.) Lydia Darrah to have fire
and candles lighted in a certain room which he had
appropriated for a council chamber there. ''And be
sure, ' ' he added, ' ' that your family are all in bed at an
early hour." The Darrahs were members of the So-
ciety of Friends, and William, the husband, was a
school teacher. Lydia obeyed instructions, doubtless
with her husband's consent and co-operation, and at
the appointed hour, admitted the officers, being told
by the adjutant that he would call her when they were
ready to go. She then withdrew to an upper chamber.
Friend though she was, her heart sympathies could not
be silenced, and she trembled lest this secret council
might bring to her friends and kindred some serious
disaster. Slipping off her shoes and gliding noiseless-


ly down the stairs, she approached the entrance of the
officers' room, and, placing her ear against the door,
eagerly listened. At first she could only hear a mur-
mur of voices ; then ensued a long conference followed
by a deep silence, broken at last by the loud voice of an
officer reading an order from General Howe for an
attack upon Washington's position at White Marsh,
on the evening of December 4. Not waiting to hear
more she tremblingly made her way back, and had
scarcely closed the door when the adjutant knocked.
Pretending not to hear until he had repeated the alarm
for the third time, she answered the summons, drows-
ily rubbing her eyes, as though just aroused from
sleep, and let the officers out.

It was cold next morning, and there was snow on the
ground ; but, making the excuse that she needed flour,
and could not spare the servant to go for it, Lydia se-
cured a pass and set out for Frankford, a distance of
five miles. Beaching the mill, and leaving her sack to
be filled, she speeded on until near the American lines,
when she met Lieutenant-Colonel Craig, a mounted
scout, to whom she was well known, and who inquired
her errand. As he was at the head of a company, she
answered evasively, saying she was in search of her
son, who was an officer in the American army. Then
she added in a lower tone: "I have something im-
portant to say to thee." He at once dismounted and
walking slowly beside her, received the startling in-
formation gratefully; then assuming a careless air,
bade her good-by, when she unceremoniously departed,
returning to the mill for her flour and hurrying home.

Eesuming her household duties as though nothing
unusual had occurred, she waited the outcome, calmly
noting the departure of the British soldiers on the
evening of December 4; listening to the distant boom-


ing of cannon on the morning of tlie 5tli, and three days
later witnessing their hasty return to camp, when the
generally disturbed surroundings told her that they
had been repulsed. Following this reverse, a cloud of
suspicion settled on the place, and strict inquisition
was made to locate the spy or traitor there. It was
whispered that he had been concealed in the Darrah
house. The adjutant-general sent for Lydia, and, lock-
ing the door, questioned her closely, but without elicit-
ing any incriminating evidence. ''Thee knows," she
said in conclusion, "that we were alone, and that all
but myself had retired." ''Yes, I do know," he re-
plied, after a pause. "And you, yourself, were asleep,
for I had to rap loudly three times before I could
awaken you, and you were almost dreaming when you
came to let us out. Still it is quite plain that we were
betrayed. Strange! Very strange!" Thus Lydia
Darrah 's daring deed, tradition tells us, saved Wash-
ington 's army — perhaps the country — and thus she be-
came a heroine in American history.

On April 12, 1778, at Valley Forge, Colonel Craig
addressed a letter, strongly appealing for clothing for
the soldiers, this fact showing their destitute condi-
tion in that respect. In the battle of Monmouth his
regiment displayed unusual courage, which fact was
attributed largely to the coolness and bravery of their
leader, who was eminently qualified for the high posi-
tion which he occupied. After the close of hostilities,
and upon his return to Northampton county, in July,
1783, Colonel Craig was appointed lieutenant. The
following year Montgomery county was formed from
Philadelphia, and he was appointed associate judge,
clerk of courts, and recorder, all of which positions he
held until 1789, a period of five years. For several
years he was major general of the Seventh Division


of Pennsylvania militia. In 1789 he removed to Towa-
mensing township, but a few years previous to his
death, which occurred in 1832, at the advanced age of
ninety-two years, he lived with his daughter, Mrs.
Kreamer, at Allentown. His remains were interred
in Fairview Cemetery, Allentown. His wife, who bore
the maiden name of Dorothy Breinig, bore him six
children : Charles, Thomas, Eliza, Mary, Harriet, and
William Craig.

Thomas Craig, second son of Thomas and Dorothy
Craig, was born at Stemlersville, Towamensing town-

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 29 of 44)