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 38 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 38 of 44)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

spent the remainder of his active years in the employ
of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. His wife, before her
marriage, was Matilda Walton. They became the
parents of seven sons, all of whom survive, and a
daughter, now deceased. The father died in 1904, at
the age of seventy-nine years.

Leaving the public schools in his seventeenth year,
L. C. Nuss entered the hardware and plumbing estab-
lishment of his brothers, W. A. and H. E. Nuss, as an
apprentice. They conducted their business in the build-
ing formerly occupied by the Co-operative Store, one
of the old landmarks of Weatherly. After a time they
sold out to J. F. Kressley, who, in 1889 was succeeded
by L. C. Nuss, acting individually. Mr. Nuss erected
his present substantial place of business in 1898. He
is a dealer in electrical supplies, stoves, roofing and
hardware, and his establishment is equipped to furnish
steam and hot water plumbing and similar work.

On March 4, 1895, Mr. Nuss was married to Gertrude
Koch, a native of Schuylkill county. Carden, a son,
and Doris, a daughter, are their children.

Mr. Nuss is one of the trustees of the Presbyterian
church of the borough, and he is identified with the
Patriotic Order of Sons of America and the Free and
Accepted Masons. He is a believer in the principles
of Democracy.

Packer, Asa, builder of the Lehigh Valley Railroad,
founder of Lehigh University, and one of Pennsyl-
vania's foremost men of affairs, was equally conspicu-
ous for the dominating influence which he exerted in
the development and growth of the Lehigh Valley, for
his liberal public benefactions, and for those rare
personal attributes which won for him the love and
good will of his fello^vmen.





Born of humble but worthy parentage at Mystic,
Connecticut, on December 29, 1805, his early educa-
tion was such as was to be obtained in the district
schools of that day and locality.

While the training thus secured might be looked
upon as a meagre preparation for the manifold duties
and demands of the distinguished position to which he
attained in life, the disadvantage under which he labor-
ed was more than counterbalanced by his native abil-
ities and his strong, virile character.

As a youth of seventeen he bade farewell to the
scenes of his childhood, and carrying all his personal
possessions on his back, set out on foot for Brooklyn,
Susquehanna county. Pa., the home of his cousin, Ed-
ward Packer. Having accomplished his wearisome
journey, the ambitious boy determined to learn the
carpenter's trade under the direction of his cousin.
Applying himself to his work with enthusiasm and
characteristic thoroughness, he soon became a skilled

Having completed his apprenticeship, young Packer
went to New York, where he followed his trade for a
year. The city held no fascinations for him, however,
and he returned to Susquehanna county, locating in
Springville township. There he pursued his vocation,
and on January 23, 1828, was married to Sarah M.
Blakslee. The couple soon settled on a farm. But
nature yielded her crops scantily, the markets were
distant, and at the end of four years they found them-
selves scarcely any better off than when they began.

During the winter of 1833, learning that there was a
demand for boatmen on the Lehigh Canal, Mr. Packer
drove to Mauch Chunk in a primitive sled, and made
arrangements to engage in this work on the opening
of navigation in the spring, after which he returned
home to close up his affairs.


As the time arrived for his departure for his new
field of endeavor, he walked to Tunkhannock ; board-
ing a raft there he floated down the Susquehanna to
Berwick, covering the remainder of the distance to
Mauch Chunk on foot. He at once became the com-
mander of a canal boat, and soon gained control of
an additional vessel, which he placed in charge of his
brother-in-law, James I. Blakslee.

During the summer he brought his family to Mauch
Chunk. So well did he prosper that at the expiration
of two years he retired from active service as a boat-
man, but retained an interest in the enterprise.

Purchasing the large mercantile establishment of
E. W. Kimball, which stood on the site now occupied
by the Navigation Building at Mauch Chunk, he in-
stalled Mr. Blakslee as manager, while he himself es-
tablished a boat yard and engaged in the building of
canal boats, in which work his training as a carpenter
proved quite useful. He took large contracts for the
construction of locks on the upper section of the Le-
high Canal, extending from Mauch Chunk to White
Haven. These he completed with handsome profits in

In association with his brother, Eobert, he, during
the ensuing year, began to build canal boats at Potts-
ville. This partnership was dissolved at the end of
three years. Turning his attention next to the mining
and shipping of coal, Mr. Packer operated the mines
at Nesquehoning, carrying the output to market in his
own boats from Mauch Chunk.

Success had uniformly crowned his efforts since
coming to Mauch Chunk, and he had amassed a com-
fortable fortune, when, in 1852, he began the greatest
undertaking of his career, the building of the Lehigh
Valley Railroad. With prophetic discernment he had


long foreseen the immense possibilities of this enter-
prise, to the consummation of which he devoted years
of the most exhausting labor, being often beset by-
innumerable difficulties and discouragements. After
the financial revolution of 1857 he was harassed almost
beyond endurance by the perplexities which he en-
countered in financing his operations.

But he was resolute in purpose, and even in the dark-
est hours of his financial troubles he predicted that the
Lehigh Valley Railroad, when completed, and its re-
sources under fair development, would be the most
successful railroad enterprise in the state, and he
lived to see the fulfilment of even his highest hopes.
For fully a quarter of a century this road stood first
among the railroads of Pennsylvania in point of credit,
while enjoying the highest measure of prosperity.

Notwithstanding the many exactions and responsi-
bilities of his busy life, Mr. Packer found time to par-
ticipate actively in politics. But political honors were
thrust upon him rather than sought by him. In 1841
he was elected to the legislature, serving for two suc-
cessive terms. Upon the organization of Carbon coun-
ty, in 1843, he was appointed by the governor to the
office of associate judge, which he filled for five years.

Being elected to congress in 1852, he was re-elected
two years later. In the Democratic national conven-
tion of 1868, he was honored with the unanimous vote
of the Pennsylvania delegation for the nomination for
the presidency.

During the succeeding j^ear, without seeking or de-
siring it, he was given the Democratic nomination for
governor, being defeated for this office by Governor
Geary, who was then a candidate for re-election. The
majority returned for Geary in the state was 4,596
votes, and so persistent were the supporters of Mr.


Packer in declaring that the election had been carried
by fraudulent means that a contest was narrowly

Judge Packer, as he was familiarly known in Car-
bon county, was a man of excellent presence, with a
finely chiseled face that rarely expressed emotion,
and he was very quiet and unassuming in conversation.

Prosperity is the true touchstone of the heart, and it
must be said of Asa Packer that he was not spoiled by
the possession of great wealth. He and his devoted
wife always retained the simple tastes of their early
life. She continued to the end of her days to knit her
stockings, to fashion many of her own garments, and it
was with difficulty that she could be persuaded to ride
in her own carriage. They both loved the quiet of their
home and were sternly severe to ostentatious display.
He had no taste for society, and all formal social du-
ties were extremly irksome to him.

Generous and whole-souled, however, he was the
author of countless personal benefactions, always so
modestly bestowed that the knowledge of them seldom
reached the general public. As one of the wealthiest
men of his time in Pennsylvania, he contributed to edu-
cational, charitable and religious institutions with
munificent liberality. His public spirit was shown at
the breaking out of the Mexican War, when he mag-
nanimously defrayed the cost of transporting the
troops sent to the front from Carbon county.

During the Civil War, when Pennsylvania was in-
vaded, many of the men in the employ of the Lehigh
Valley Railroad, of which he was then almost the sole
owner, volunteered for the emergency, receiving full
pay during the period of their absence.

One of the favorite objects of his benevolence was
St. Luke's Hospital, of South Bethlehem. In addi-


tion to the large sums which he gave to this institution
during life, he left it a bequest of $300,000 upon his
death. To St. Mark's church, of Mauch Chunk, of
which he was for forty-four years a warden and ves-
tryman, he left the sum of $30,000,

Deprived as he had been of the advantages of a
liberal education, he was desirous of affording the
youth of the state opportunities such as had been de-
nied to him, and he crowned his life in the establish-
ment of Lehigh University, which has become a fore-
most seat of scientific and technical education.

In 1865 Judge Packer purchased fifty-six acres of
land at South Bethlehem for the purpose he had in
view, besides giving the sum of $500,000. Ten years
later he added fifty-two acres to the University tract,
at which time he also erected a fine library in memory
of his daughter, Mrs. Lucy Packer Linderman.

This proved to be his last personal undertaking in
connection with the institution, his death taking place
a few years afterwards.

Under the provisions of his will, he left a perma-
nent endowment of $1,500,000 for general maintenance,
and $500,000 for library purposes. His total contribu-
tions to the university amounted to about $3,000,000,
and that institution will receive one-third of his estate
when it is finally distributed.

A beautiful edifice, adorning the spacious grounds
of Lehigh University, is the Packer Memorial church,
erected in 1886 by Mrs. Mary Packer Cummings, a
daughter of Judge Packer.

Mr. Packer was a member of the Masonic fraternity,
while Packer Commandery, No. 23, Knights Templar,
of Mauch Chunk, was named in honor of his son, Rob-
ert Asa.


His death occurred on May 17, 1879, in the seventy-
fourth year of his age. His widow passed away three
years later, and the remains of both repose in the
Maueh Chunk cemetery.

Mrs. Mary Packer Cummings, who was their sole
surviving child, died in the autumn of 1912. During
her life-time she contributed generously to various
worthy causes, and she left many large bequests to
Mauch Chunk and its institutions, besides lavishing
her benefactions in numerous other directions.

In recognition of her liberality and public spirit, the
people of Mauch Chunk and of East Mauch Chunk have
set aside the third Thursday of May of each year, to
be observed as a holiday, and to be known as Mary
Packer Cummings Day.

Packer, Harry Eldred, the younger son of Asa and
Sarah M. (Blakslee) Packer, was born on June 4, 1850,
at Mauch Chunk. Educated at Lehigh University,
which was founded and so liberally endowed by his fa-
ther, he early became prominently indentified with the
coal and transportation interests of the Lehigh Valley.
In 1879, he was elected a director of the Lehigh Valley
Eailroad, and prior to that served as superintendent
of the New Jersey Division of that road.

Elevated by successive steps, he was elected to the
presidency of the company in 1883. Generous and pub-
lic-spirited, he manifested great loyalty and attach-
ment toward the place of his nativity, contributing
liberally in various ways to the betterment and pros-
perity of Mauch Chunk.

He was an active and influential Democrat, and his
popularity with all classes of citizens throughout the
county led to his being chosen without opposition, in
1881, to the office of associate judge. He succeeded his
father as a vestryman of St. Mark's Parish.





On August 29, 1872, he was married to Mary Au-
gusta, daughter of Alexander Lockhart, a pioneer resi-
dent of Mauch Chunk.

Mr. Packer's untimely death, on February 1, 1884,
in the thirty-fourth year of his age was the source of
deep regret to all who knew him. His widow died at
Pekin, China, during the spring of 1911, while making
a tour of the world.

Packer, Robert Asa, the elder of the two sons of
Asa Packer, was born at Mauch Chunk on November
19, 1842. He received a fair English education, and
began life as a member of a corps of engineers, en-
gaged in locating and constructing that portion of the
Lehigh Valley Railroad extending from White Haven
to Wilkes-Barre.

Beginning his career as a railway executive in the
capacity of superintendent of the Wyoming Division
of this railroad, he spent practically the whole of his
mature life in directing the affairs of various railway
lines belonging to the Lehigh Valley system.

For a time he was the superintendent of the Penn-
sylvania and New York Canal and Railroad Company,
of which he became the president in 1881. At the com-
mencement of this connection he removed to Towanda,
and later to Sayre, Pa., where he resided permanently.

He was the president of the Geneva, Ithaca and
Sayre Railroad, the Lehigh Valley Railway Company,
running from the Pennsylvania state line to Buffalo,
and of the Lehigh Valley Transportation Company,
owning a line of steamers plying between Buffalo and

Mr. Packer was also a member of the board of di-
rectors of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, chairman of its
executive committee, a trustee of Lehigh University,
and one of the trustees of the estate of his father.


In 1883 he was appointed managing director of the
Southern Central Railroad.

He was in politics a Democrat, and while he was re-
peatedly urged to accept nominations for public office,
he uniformly declined all honors of this nature, con-
tenting himself with championing the cause of others
who advocated the principles of his party.

Possessed of a fine personality and many excellent
traits of character, he had hosts of loyal friends. He
took pleasure in doing all in his power to build up and
beautify the town of Sayre, and he was no less identi-
fied with the educational and religious improvement
of the place of his adoption than with its material ad-

His companion in life was Emily, the only daughter
of Hon. Victor Piollet.

Mr. Packer's death occurred at his winter home,
near Jacksonville, Fla., on February 20, 1883.

Prutzman, Morris G., a member of one of Carbon
county's oldest families, is an architect, having his of-
fice in the court house at Mauch Chunk, while living in
East Mauch Chunk.

His maternal great-great-grandfather was Freder-
ick Boyer, who was taken captive by the Indians dur-
ing the uprising of 1755, being carried to Canada,
where he was held as a prisoner for five years. Upon
regaining his freedom he returned to his home, where
Millport now stands, and where his father had been
slain by the savages.

Abraham Prutzman, the grandfather of the subject
of this notice, was of English descent, coming to Car-
bon county from South Easton, and settling on a farm
on the present site of Palmerton.

Morris G. Prutzman, son of Charles and Christiana



(Boyer) Prutzman, was born on this farm, March 9,
1865. His father was a contractor and builder.

Morris was educated in the public schools and under
a private tutor, being apprenticed to a decorative
painter at Bethlehem when he became fifteen years of
age. Following this art for a time, he later took up
architecture, under a private instructor. Locating in
East Mauch Chunk in 1897, he opened an office at that
place, later establishing himself in Mauch Chunk. He
is the only professional architect in the county, and has
made a special study of school construction. He de-
signed the first one-room school building having an
indirect heating and ventilating system, without spe-
cial apparatus, erected in this portion of the state.

The public school buildings at Palmerton and Bow-
manstown, the Greek Catholic church at Nesquehoning,
and No. 2 Fire House at Lehighton are examples of
his work, while he has designed many other public and
private buildings throughout this section.

He is the architect of the parochial school building
of St. Joseph's Catholic church, of East Mauch Chunk,
which is soon to be erected.

Mr. Prutzman was married on December 12, 1899, to
Jennie L., daughter of Conrad Ebert, of Lehigh county.
She is a graduate of the Allentown high school, and
was engaged as a teacher prior to her marriage. Allen
Ebert is their only child.

Mr. Prutzman is a communicant of the Lutheran
church, while politically speaking, he is an independent

Pryor, Captain John W., one of Carbon county's
most gallant soldiers, a veteran of the Mexican War
and of the War of Secession, was born at Pittsburgh,
Pa., on January 6, 1826. While still quite young, he
located at Mauch Chunk, becoming a member of the


Stockton Artillerists, with which organization he went
to the front as a sergeant upon the breaking out of
hostilities with our sister republic of the south.

His command served with distinction under General
Scott in the campaign which culminated in the fall of
Mexico and the close of the war.

A Mexican battle flag which he took during this cam-
paign is still among the treasured possessions of his

During the Civil War he was a captain in the famous
Eighty-first Pennsylvania Regiment, participating in
every important battle in which the Army of the Poto-
mac was engaged until the turning back of Lee 's army
from its second invasion of the North. He was repeat-
edly wounded in battle and was frequently compli-
mented in general reports for gallantry. At the battle
of Gettysburg he was severely wounded, and after a
long stay in the hospital he was honorably discharged
for disability.

Captain Pryor was a moulder by trade. Soon after
the close of the war he located in Weatherly, where he
spent the remainder of his active life in the service of
the Lehigh Valley Railroad.

On October 2, 1849, he was married to Eliza Ginter,
a grandchild of Philip Ginter, the discoverer of coal at
Summit Hill. The following children were born to
them: Newton, deceased; Maria (White), of Wilkes-
Barre; Sarah, deceased; Alexander, of Scranton;
Grant E., of Horton, Kansas.

The Weatherly camp of the Sons of Veterans was
named in honor of Captain Pryor. His death occurred
on October 20, 1901, and his remains repose in Union
Cemetery at Weatherly.

Pursell, David E., burgess of Mauch Chunk, and
senior member of the firm of Pursell and Dods, general


insurance and real estate agents of that place, is the
son of Daniel M. and Rebecca W. (Eilenburger) Pur-

His paternal ancestors were of Scotch-Irish extrac-
tion, and were among the early settlers of Eucks coun-
ty, Pennsylvania. The father was a general contrac-
tor, being engaged for a time as a boat builder on the
Lehigh Canal.

David was born at Upper Black Eddy, Bucks county,
Pa., on August 22, 1869. At the age of thirteen he
began life as a farm laborer, attending school during
the winter months. Two years later he enrolled for
a single term at the Kutztown State Normal School.
Subsequently he fitted himself as a stenographer at
Chaffee's Phonographic Institute, of Oswego, New

During the winter of 1887 he came to Mauch Chunk,
where he secured employment as an amanuensis in the
office of the division superintendent of the Central
Railroad of New Jersey. Later he held the chief clerk-
ship of this office.

In 1899 Mr. Pursell established himself in the in-
surance business, forming a partnership with William
Dods four years later. As a result of their united ef-
forts, theirs has become the leading agency of its kind
in this portion of the state. They have also opened a
branch office in Scranton, while holding and dealing in
real estate.

In 1909 Mr. Pursell was unanimouslv chosen to the
office of burgess of Mauch Chunk, which position he
still holds. He has also served as president of the
Business Men's Association of the borough.

In 1891 he was married to Carrie H., daughter of
Samuel H. Heist, of Mauch Chunk. Their three chil-
dren are : Stanley H., a student at the University of
Pennsylvania ; Edwin D., and Mildred L. Pursell.


Quinn, A. John, one of Lansford's best known busi-
ness men, being one of the pioneer residents of that
borough, is the son of James and Catherine (Heather-
man) Quinn, and was born at Buck Mountain, Carbon
county. May 10, 1848.

His parents were natives of Limmerick, Ireland,
where they were married. They came to the United
States in 1845, and made their home at Buck Moun-
tain, where Mr. Quinn became a miner. Of their six
children, Elizabeth and John A. alone survive.

John A. Quinn acquired his early training in the
public schools of Buck Mountain and those of Hazle-
ton; in 1872 he graduated at Eastman Business Col-
lege, Poughkeepsie, N. Y. He taught school in the vil-
lage of his birth and at Ashton (now Lansford) for
several terms. Learning the drug business under Dr.
J. B. Longshore, who was then one of the most prom-
inent physicians of the Hazleton region, and at Phila-
delphia, Mr. Quinn opened a drug store in Lansford.
Disposing of this business he secured a contract from
the Central Railroad of New Jersey to build a section
of the line of that road between Eckley and Drifton,
Luzerne county.

Upon the completion of this work he went to Mon-
tana, in 1878, locating at Philipsburg, near Butte. He
carried the civil law into this border town, becoming
its first justice of the peace and teaching school there.

Returning to Pennsylvania after an interval of three
years, Mr. Quinn formed a partnership with L. P. Jen-
kins, and re-entered the drug business; at the expira-
tion of a year he purchased the interest of Mr. Jenkins,
and has since conducted the store as sole owner. He
has also conducted an undertaking establishment for
many years, and has been interested in various other
business enterprises. He has been a director of the


First National Bank, of Lansford, since its organiza-
tion, while he is the president of the Carbon Telephone
Company, and vice president of the Panther Creek
Valley Electric Light, Heat and Power Company.

Mr. Quinn bore a conspicuous and heroic part in the
small-pox epidemic which for a time threatened to wipe
out the entire population of Lansford in 1874. The
large majority of those who were seized with the dread
disease died, and new cases were of almost daily occur-

The people of the village were panic-stricken, and
many fled from their homes. Under the circumstances
it was naturally difficult to secure the services of any-
one who was willing to jeopardize his own safety by
ministering to the sick, and, excepting the physicians
who were on the scene, cheerfully incurring all hazards
in the discharge of their professional duty, Mr. Quinn
alone volunteered, doing all in his power to alleviate
the miseries of those who suffered from the visitation.

On his return from Montana, in 1881, Mr. Quinn was
united in marriage to Marcella F. Kennedy, daughter
of Matthew and Ellen Kennedy, of Summit Hill. The
names of their surviving children are as follows : Vin-
cent De Paul, Ellen L., wife of John B. McGurl, a
Minersville attorney; Catherine B., Sidney A., John J.,
William T., and Matthew K. Quinn. Vincent has
charge of his father's drug store, while Sidney is a
student at Jefferson Medical College ; John is a grad-
uate of the Medico-Chirurgical College, of Philadel-
phia ; Matthew is a student in the Lansford high school.

Mr. Quinn is an active member of St. Ann's Roman
Catholic church, while being connected with the Auxil-

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 38 of 44)