Horace Edwin Hayden.

Genealogical and family history of the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys, Pennsylvania; (Volume 2) online

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neighbors various proofs of the confidence which
they repose in him. For two years he was a
member of the city council and for four years
held the office of school director. He is a vet-
eran in the cause of temperance, having been
since the age of twelve years a member of the
Father Matthew Temperance Society, and as an
ardent and indefatigable worker in the cause has
won honorable distinction.

Mr. O'Connor married in 188 1, Bridget,
daughter of Thomas and Bridget Murphy, and
their children are : Thomas, Annie, Stephen,
Jerrold, Julia, Mary, and Eveline. Mrs. O'Con-
nor is a native of Scranton.

GEORGE W. POWELL. Of the many
nationalities represented by Scranton citizens
none has done more for the advancement of the
city than has the Welsh element, and of this
type, so numerous and so influential, George W.
Powell is a worthy representative.

William Powell was born in Wales and fol-
lowed the calling of a miner. In middle life he
emigrated to the L^nited States and found em-
ployment in the mines of Pennsylvania, making
his home at Plymouth. He belonged to the
Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and was a
member of the Welsh Baptist church. His wife
was Elizabeth Newman, also a native of Wales,
and their children were : James, Mary, John
W., George W., mentioned hereafter ; Sarah A.,
wife of George T. Tifift, of Colorado ; and Wil-
liam Henry. With the exception of Mrs. Tifft
and George W., all these children are now de-
ceased. ]Mr. Powell, the father, at the age of
forty-nine was killed in a mine accident, and his
son, James, then a young man of twenty-two,
lost his life on the same occasion. The disaster
which was of a peculiarly fearful character, oc-
curred April 6, 1869, at Avondale. Mr. Powell



520



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



was in all respects a most worthy man. His
widow passed away in February, 1877.

George W. F'owell, son of William and Eliza-
beth (Newman) Powell, was born December 28,
1854, in Wales, and was in his fifteenth year
when his parents sought a home on this side of
the Atlantic. At Plymouth he engaged in
mining, which he made the calling of his life, and
can now look back upon thirty-five years of ser-
vice in both valleys. Six years of that time he
filled the position of foreman, and for the last
three years has been mine foreman at the Holden
mines operated by the Delaware, Lackawanna &
Western Company. Mr. Powell has under his
charge three hundred men, and is equally es-
teemed by employers and employes. He and his
wife are members of the Welsh Congregational
church.

Mr. Powell married, October 28, 1874, Sarah
J., daughter of William J. and Jane Hughes, both
natives of Wales. On their emigration to the
United States they settled in Carbondale, where
Mr. Hughes was for a number of years track-
boss for the Delaware and Hudson Company,
his work taking him over a large portion of the
Lackawanna \'alley. He also held for some
years the position of foreman with a company
in Northampton county. During the civil war
he enlisted in the One Hundred, and Eighty-
seventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer In-
fantry, and was honorably discharged at the
expiration of his term of service. He and his
wife were charter members of the Providence
Welsh Congregational church. The death of
Mr. Hughes was caused by the hardships which
he endured while serving in the army. Of the
six children born to Mr. and Mrs. Hughes two
are now living: Lizzie, wife of F. D. Brundage,
of Scranton, and the leading soprano in the Pres-
byterian church ; and Sarah J., born in 1856, in
Scranton, wife of George W. Powell, as men-
tioned above. Mrs. Powell leads the singing in
the Sunday school, of which she is assistant
superintendent and in which she is the teacher
of a class of young men. She is a member of
the Women's Christian Temperance Union, Re-
lief Corps, No. 37, of Wilkes-Barre. and the
Young Women's Christian Association. Mrs.
Powell is an author, whose productions both in
prose and verse have met with a favorable re-
ception from the public, to whom she is known
as "Murfudd." The home of Mr. and Mrs
Powell is one of the most attractive in Scranton,
in which city, as well as in Nanticoke, Mr
Powell is the owner of considerable property.



JACOB WEISSMANN, the able and faith-
ful keeper of the county prison of Lackawanna
county, at Scranton, is one of the trusted officials
of the county, and one who has been peculiarly
successful in his handling of the malefactors as-
signed to his charge. He has under his care an
average of about two hundred and fifty prison-
ers, and during the summer months gives per-
sonal direction to the work of the gangs of
prisoners who are employed outside the prison
walls. He has served loyally and well under
the sheriffs who have had control of the prison
for the past eight years.

Mr. Weissmann was born in Germany, 1852,
and is a son of Philip and Mary (Wilking)
Weissmann, who are now deceased. He duly
availed himself of the advantages of the excellent
schools of his native land, and there learned the
trade of cabinetmaking, of which he is a master
and at which he worked for more than a quarter
of a century. In 187 1, at the age of nineteen
years, he immigrated to the United States, first
locating in Louisville, Kentucky, where he re-
mained three years. He then went to Alabama
and shortly afterward was found located in the
city of Cincinnati, Ohio, while in 1875 he made
his advent in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he
secured employment at his trade in the car shops
of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western rail-
road, his superior skill as an artisan enabling
him to find a good position with satisfactory pay.
He continued in the employ of the company for
the long period of twenty years, and this record
stands as voucher of his ability and fidelity, as
does also his official record since that time. In
1898 Mr. Weissmann was appointed deputy
sheriff of Lackawanna county-, in which capacity
he has served until the present time. He is a
Republican in his political adherency. and in a
fraternal way is affiliated with the iJavarian
Beneficial Society and with the Independent
Order of Odd Fellows, of which latter he be-
came a member in 1877. He has been provident
and industrious and is the owner of a consider-
able amount of property in Scranton, including
his attractive residence, which is located in
South Irving avenue. He is one of four chil-
dren and is the only representative of the family
in America.

Mr. Weissmann married, Se]5tember 15.
1878, Kate Neu, of Germany, and their chiMren
are : Annie, Ardi, Jacob, Jr., Lena and Carl.

RICHARD ROBINSON, one of the sub-
stantial and highly esteemed citizens of the Green



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



521



Ridge division of the city of Scranton, where
he, has maintained his home for nearly two score
years, has gained independence and prosperity
through his own well-forward efforts, and he has
proven himself worthy of the implicit confidence
and regard so uniformly accorded him by his
fellowmen. His attractive residence property is
located at 1558 Capouse avenue, corner of Green
Ridge street, and is one of the fine homes of
this section of the city. He has made judicious
investments in real estate in this portion of the
city, where he is the owner of two valuable resi-
dence properties aside from that occupied by
himself, while he is known as a loyal citizen and
progressive business man.

Richard Robinson is a native of England,
born in 1841, a son of Isaac and Mary Robinson,
who passed their entire lives in that country,
and who were devoted communicants of the
Established Church of England. They became
the parents of eleven children, Richard being the
only one of the number representing the family
in America. Mr. Robinson was reared and edu-
cated in his native land, where his marriage was
solemnized in the year 1866. In November of
the following year, accompanied by his young
wife, he set forth to seek his fortunes in the
United States. He first located on Long Island,
New York, where he engaged in gardening, for
which pursuit he had a natural predilection,
while he had had considerable experience in the
hne prior to coming to America. He there re-
mained until March, 1868, when he came to
Lackawanna county, Pennsylvania, and took up
his residence in Scranton. He secured land in
the Green Ridge section, which was then sparse-
ly settled, and there engaged in the horticultural
and floricultural business, applying his energies
with indefatigable zeal and making the enter-
prise an unqualified success. He built up a large
and prosperous business in this line, cultivating
a considerable area of land in supplying vege-
tables for the local market, and continuing to
be actively engaged in this business for about
twenty years. He. retained marked affection for
the industry of cultivating vegetables and
flowers, and on his grounds at the present time
he has a large and finely equipped hothouse.
Bringing to bear excellent judgment Mr. Robin-
son made good investments from the profits of
his business, and thus he has accumulated a com-
petency and is one of the substantial men of the
city, being now practically retired from active
business, save for superintending his various
real estate and capitalistic interests and diverting
"himself with his vegetables and flowers, in the



successful propagation of which he has no sup-
erior in this locality. In politics he is an un-
compromising advocate of the principles of the
Republican party, but has never been an aspirant
for office, and both he and his wife are communi-
cants of the Protestant Episcopal church.

Mr. Robinson married, in England, 1866,
Ann Harrison, and of their five children four
are living: Arthur, William H., married a Miss
Parmalee, and they have one child, Russell ;
Elizabeth M., a successful and popular teacher
in the public schools of her home city ; and
Charles.

JAMES H. BRACE. The career of this
loyal citizen of Scranton shows a mastering of
expedients and a rise to a position of responsible
order through the application of well directed
individual endeavors. Mr. Brace is a skilled
machinist in the employ of the Delaware, Lack-
awanna & Western Railroad Company, in the
Scranton shops, and his pleasant residence is lo-
cated at 531 Garfield avenue.

James H. Brace is a native of W'ales, born
jNIarch 9, 1868, a son of James and Mary
(Jones) Brace, both representatives of sterling
Welsh families. In 1880 they emigrated to the
United States and took up their abode in Scran-
ton, Pennsylvania, where the father devoted his
attention to the vocation of miner during the
remainder of his active career, his death here
occurring in 1902, at which time he was sixty-
one years of age. He was a man of the most up-
right character, was earnest and industrious and
his life was one of devotion to his family. His
widow survives him and still maintains her home
in Scranton. Of their eleven children seven are
living, namely : William, James, Mary A., Esau,
Sarah E., Samuel and Ruth.

James H. Brace secured his preliminary edu-
cational discipline in his native land, and was
about twelve years of age at the time of the
family immigration to America. Such were the
exigencies of the case that he was soon called
upon to take up the practical duties of life. After
the family located in Scranton he forthwith se-
cured employment as slate picker in the mines
of the vicinity, and from this humble position
he rose by degrees through various grades of
promotion, his fidelity gaining to him this ad-
vancement. Realizing that his qualifications
were not adequate to enable him to make more
than nominal wages, he. in connection with the
mining industry, determined to fit himself for
further advancement in the connection. This
determination was one of action, since he availed



522



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



himself of the best ach-antages accessible, enter-
ing the Young Men"s Christian Association night
school, where he diligently applied himself to
study and practical work for a period of two
years, devoting himself specially to the studies
intended to fit him for the technical work which
he was to handle in connection with his chosen
vocation, that of mining engineering. After
thus equipping himself he secured a position in
the Mount Pleasant mine of the Smith & Fuller
Coal Company, with whom he remained for the
long period of twenty years, during the last four
of which he served in the responsible position
of fire boss. In 1900 Mr. Brace secured the po-
sition of inside foreman for the New York,
Ontario & Western Company, retaining this in-
cumbency until May, 1904, when he assumed the
duties of his present responsible and profitable
office of machinist with the Delaware, Lacka-
wanna & Western Company. In politics Mr.
Brace is a stanch supporter of the principles and
policies of the Republican party, and in a frater-
nal way is affiliated with the Slocum Lodge,
Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Mr. Brace married, April 27, 1894, Mary
Price, daughter of Benjamin and Margaret
Price, of Scranton. Of the three children of this
union Margaret and Alma J. are living, Mary,
the second in order of birth, having died at the
age of eight months, while Gertrude, an adopted
daughter, died in 1904, at the age of sixteen
years.

ABRAHAM F. WIEN. Among the many
to whom the coal industry of Lackawanna county
affords employment, none is more competent both
in respect to ability and faithfulness to fill the
position which he holds than is Abraham F.
Wien, of Scranton. His father, Aaron Wien,
of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, was a carpenter and
a first-class mechanic, which accounts for the
proficiency which his son afterward attained in
that line of business. Mr. Wien moved to Lu-
zerne county, where for fourteen years he held
the position of foreman for the firm of Cox
Brothers. He was a man in whom his employers
had implicit confidence. He married Maria
Focht, and of the nine children born to them
seven are now living: Clayton, Ella, John, Abra-
ham F., mentioned hereafter; Minnie, Emma,
and Henry.

Abraham F. Wien, son of Aaron and Maria
(Focht) Wien, was born Jilne 26, 1869, in Read-
ing. Pennsylvania. While he was still an infant
his parents moved to Luzerne county, where he
was educated in the common schools. His first



employment was with the Cox Brothers as
breaker-boy. He was instructed by his father
in the carpenter's trade, which served him well
in subsequent years. He afterward held for five
years the position of locomotive engineer with
the same firm. He then entered the service of
a contractor and builder at Hazleton, and sub-
sequently became engaged in bridge building.
At the end of two years and a half he returned
to Cox Brothers, by whom he was employed as
breaker carpenter. For two years he worked
as carpenter for the Lehigh Valley Company,
and for a short time held the position of assis-
tant carpenter foreman with Parker & Company.
He then engaged for some time in house build-
ing for contractors, by one of whom, M. Christ by
name, he was sent on a business trip to Mahanoy
City. In 1897 he moved to Scranton, where
after a short time he was engaged as carpenter
by the Delaware and Hudson Company.
Subsequently he was employed by the Scran-
ton Coal Company, by whom he was soon
promoted to the position of locomotive en-
gineer, which he held until 1903. In that year
he was appointed to his present responsible office
of outside foreman for the North End Coal Com-
pany. This company was organized in 1902, and
shipped its first coal April i, 1903. The open-
ings to the mine are two slopes, one of which is
one hundred and fifty feet long and the other
twelve hundred feet. The number of men em-
ployed on the outside is about eighty, and of
these Mr. Wien has entire control. He is a mem-
ber of Washington Lodge, No. 16, Free and Ac-
cepted Masons, the Patriotic Order Sons of
America and the Junior Order of LTnited Amer-
ican Mechanics.

J\Ir. Wien married in 1893, Ruth Kleckner,
a native of Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, and
of their four children three are living: Ralph,
Ruth, and Ida. The comfortable and attractive
dwelling in which Mr. Wein resides is his own
property, and he is justly proud of the fact that
he assisted in its erection with his own hands.

THOMAS GRIFFITH. Among those resi-
dents of Lackawanna county who are selfmade
men in the best sense of the term must be num-
bered Thomas Griffith, of Scranton. He is an
Englishman by birth and parentage, although his
name would seem to indicate a Welsh ancestry.

Thomas Griffith, who was born in England,
emigrated to the United States in 1849, landing
in New York on June 4, of that year, after a six
weeks' voyage. He settled in Scranton, Penn-
svlvania, where he worked for the remainder of



THE WYOINIING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



523



his life, his occupation being that of a puddler.
He married Margaret Sinkler, also a native of
England, and two children were born to them :
Nellie, and Thomas, mentioned hereafter. Airs.
Griffith died in 1871, and her husband passed
away in 1883. Both were sincerely loved and
respected by all who knew them.

Thomas Griffith, son of Thomas and Mar-
garet (Sinkler) Griffith, was born August 5,
1845, in Middlesborough, Yorkshire, England,
and was less than four years old when brought
by his parents to the United States. He re-
ceived his education in the common schools of
Scranton. At the age of thirteen he entered
the service of the Lackawanna Iron Company,
being employed in the rolliing mills as door-
puller at twenty-five cents per day. So diligent
and useful was he that his superiors testified to
their appreciation of his services by advancing
him from time to time until he reached the posi-
tion of puddler. At the time of the Civil war,
although still in his minority, Mr. Griffith felt
impelled to oflfer his services for the preserva-
tion of the Union, and accordingly in February,
1865, enlisted in Companv B, Fifty-second Regi-
ment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, serving until the
close of the war, when he was honorably dis-
charged. On his return to civil life Mr. Grif-
fith resumed his work with the Lackawanna Iron
Company, retaining his position for eight years.
In 1873 he removed to Crown Point, New York,
in order to enter the service of the Crown Point
Iron Ore Company. With this company he re-
mained seven years, holding after the first three
years the position of engineer. Having been
ofTered a similar position bv the Delaware, Lack-
awanna & Western Railroad Company, he re-
turned to Scranton, and later became engineer
for the Surquoit Silk Company, with whom he
remained eight years. He then returned for two
years to the Lackawanna Railroad Company, and
in 1894 became engineer for the Scranton Axle
Company, a position which he still holds. He
is a member of Griffin Post, No. 139, Grand
Army of the Republic, and also belongs to the
Independent Order of Odd Fellows, James Con-
nell Lodge, No. 170, and the Improved Order of
Heptasophs, Roaring Brook Lodge, No. 214.
Politically he is a stanch Republican and an ar-
dent supporter of the principles advocated by
the organization.

Mr. Griffith married in 1871, Harriet Amelia
Burnish, and they have children : Genevieve
Margaret, married Richard E. Brown, of Dover,
New Jersey ; Mary, married Arthur E. Fuller, of
Scranton ; Guy, Thomas. Henry Burnish, and



Leslie Rupert. Mrs. Griffith is the daughter of
Henry and Mary (Jenkins) Burnish, who emi-
grated from England in the early forties and
settled in Scranton. Mr. Burnish was a furnace-
builder, and to him belongs the distinction of
h.aving erected the first blast furnace ever used
in Scranton. He was an able, industrious and
worthy man, whose integrity of character com-
manded the respect of all who knew him. His
death occurred in 1884. His estimable wife
survived him ten years, passing away in 1894,.
sincerely lamented by a large circle of relatives,
and friends.

WILLIAM ROBERTSON. ' Probably no
citizen of Lackawanna county engaged in the
mining industry is more admirably fitted for his
position than is William Robertson, of Scranton.
Mr. Robertson is of Scottish parentage, his an-
cestors on both sides having been denizens of
the' "land of brown heath and shaggy wood."
Adam Robertson was born in Scotland, Decem-
ber II, 1832, and in 1864 emigrated to the United
States, settling in F'ennsylvania and making his
home at Dunmore. For fifty-six years, without
interruption, he was engaged in mining. He
married Alargaret Henning, who was born in
Scotland, in 1842, and their children numbered
twelve, eight of whom are living: Alargaret,
William, mentioned at length hereinafter ; Ann,
Florence, Robert,' John, Jennie, and Archibald.
Mr. and Airs. Robertson, the parents of this
family, are living to-day, happy in the memories
of well-spent lives and in the affection of their
children and grandchildren.

\\'illiam Robertson, son of Adam and Alar-
garet (Henning) Robertson, was born June 27,
1867, in Scranton, where he received a common
school education. At the age of ten years he
entered the service of the Pennsylvania Coal
Company as a slate-picker, and after an experi-
ence of one year in the breaker was promoted
to the office of door-boy, which he held for six
years. He next became a laborer in the mines,
and at the end of five years was a full-fledged
contract miner. After working for eight years
in this capacity he was promoted to one of the
most responsible positions in the production of
coal, namely that of fire boss. His duty was to
enter the mines in advance of the miners and in-
spect every chamber and avenue for fire-damp
or gas. bv the explosion of which the life of the
miner is endangered. This office he held until
August, 1892, and the same year was given his
present position, which is that. of inside foreman
at No. 5 colliery. In addition to having entire



524



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



charge of the output of the colliery he has con-
trol of the three hundred miners and boys em-
ployed therein, and is fitted by his experience of
mining in all its branches, his discretion and
trustworthiness, for his arduous and responsible
office. He is a member of Union Lodge, No.
291, F. and A. M., and also belongs to the
Knights of Pythias. Mr. Robertson married in
1890 Louise, daughter of Frederick Farber, of
Scranton, and four children have been born to
them : Minnie, Adam, Louise, who is deceased ;
and another who died in infancy.

WILLIAM REPP. There is probably no
name represented in Old Forge which would in-
spire in that community more sincere respect
than the name of William Repp. Mr. Repp is
the grandson of Mathias Repp, a native of
Prussia, who in 1833 emigrated to the United
States, arriving in the city of Baltimore after
a three months' voyage in unpleasant weather.
He finally settled at Oxford Furnace, New Jer-
sey, where he passed the remainder of his life.
His wife was Anestina Bremer, and they were
the parents of the following children : Henry ;
Frederick, mentioned at length hereafter : Philip ;
Catherine ; and Mary. After the death of
Mr. Repp, which occurred in 1844, his widow
and children moved to Slocum Hollow, now the
city of Scranton. Mrs. Repp died in 1890, at the
venerable age of ninety-one.

Frederick Repp, son of Mathias and Anes-
tina (Bremer) Repp, was born in 1828 in Prus-
sia, and was still a boy at the time of his arrival
in this country. He and his brothers were all
identified with the development of coal in the
. Lackawanna Valley, some of them holding re-
sponsible positions, such as those of superin-
tendent and district superintendent. Frederick
Repp entered the service of the Lackawanna Iron
& Coal Company, with whom for twenty-seven
years he held the position of foreman. During
his experience as a practical miner he sunk sev-
eral shafts, among them the Marvin shaft for
the D. & H. Company, the Roaring Brook shaft
at Dunmore, and the Sibley shaft at Old Forge.
He also opened the mine under the furnace in
Scranton. In 1872 he resigned his position with
the Lackawanna Iron & Coal Company and there-
after engaged in contract mining, in which he
■was very successful. Mr. Repp was one of those
foreign-born citizens who took up arms in de-
fense of the government of their adopted coun-
try. He was a member of Company C, Forty-
first Regiment, Penns\-lvania Militia, and in 1863



Online LibraryHorace Edwin HaydenGenealogical and family history of the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys, Pennsylvania; (Volume 2) → online text (page 108 of 130)