Horace Edwin Hayden.

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

. (page 109 of 130)
Online LibraryHorace Edwin HaydenGenealogical and family history of the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys, Pennsylvania; (Volume 2) → online text (page 109 of 130)
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was one of the emergency men who volunteered



to repel the Confederate invaders from their
state. He was honorably discharged August 9,
1863. To Mr. Repp belongs the distinction of
having been the first jury commissioner in
Scranton, a fact which testifies to the regard in
which he was held as a citizen and to his per-
sonal popularity. Mr. Repp married Elizabeth
Wolfinger, and the following children were born
to them : William, mentioned at length herein-
after ; Eugene ; Sarah, who became the wife of
J. M. Rosenkrans : Philip H., who is an inspec-
tor at Pittston ; Joseph H., who is an engineer ;
Charles; George W., and Minnie; the two last
named being now deceased. Mr. Repp, the
father, died March 18, 1902. In all the relations
of life he was a thoroughly good and useful man.
His widow is still living, being now seventy-five
years of age.

William Repp, son of Frederick and Eliza-
beth (Wolfinger) Repp, was born April 7, 1850,
in Scranton, and received his education in the
schools of his native city. Mr. Repp is one of
those men whose activity of mind and desire for
knowledge are not to be controlled or thwarted
bv circumstances, and the limited opportunities
of his boyhood served but as a stimulus to larger
acquirements in later life. At an early age he
began to work in the mines, and has all his life
been engaged in the coal industry, having filled
every position from that of slate-bov to superin-
tendent. He has been identified with the lead-
ing coal companies of the Lackawanna Valley,
such as the Lackawanna Iron & Coal Company,
the Roaring Brook Coal Company, the Pennsyl-
vania Anthracite Coal Company, the Lehigh
Valley Company and the Old Forge Coal Com-
pany, Limited. Since 1874 he has been connected
with the Miles Land Comnanv, representing their
interest in Old Forge. He is a worthy citizen,
and is so esteemed by his neighbors, who have
chosen him to fill the offices of school director
and township auditor. He is an elder in the
Presbyterian church.

SILAS GRIFFIN. None of the residents
of Lackawanna county can claim a more honor-
able ancestr^' than belongs to those who trace
their descent from those sturdy pioneers who laid
foundations for the welfare and prosperity of
those who were to come after them. Among
those who come of this stock none is niore
worthy of his progenitors than is Silas Griffin,
of Chinchilla.

The Griffin family was founded in Pennsyl-
vania by four brothers, Thomas, Joseph, James
and Stephen Griffin, natives of Dutchess county,



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



525



New York, who migrated to the Lackawanna
Valley near the close of the eighteenth century.
They were all farmers and prominent men in the
communities which they helped to build up.
Joseph settled at Hyde Park and was the first
representative of Luzerne county. He was
twice married, his first wife being Elizabeth
Thorne, by whom he had one child, Thorne.
His second wife bore him eight children : Mary,
Elizabeth, Anna, Byron, Henry, John, Adam and
Joseph. James was one of the original settlers
of Providence, and there married. Among his
children was a son, Elias, who was born in 1805,
in Providence, and was a practical and success-
ful farmer. He married Esther Clark, of Clark's
Green. Of their children the following grew to
maturity: Polly A., Emily, Sarah, Elizabeth,
Jennie, and Silas, mentioned at length herein-
after. There were two others who died in child-
hood.

Silas Griffin, son of Elias and Esther (Clark)
Griffin, was born August 4, 1843, at Clark's
Green, where he received a common school edu-
cation. In early life he turned his attention to
agricultural pursuits which he followed success-
fully. The outbreak of the Civil war found him
ready to respond to the call of his country. In
1861 he enlisted as a private in Company K,
Eleventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Cavalry, par-
ticipated in all the battles in which his regiment
was engaged, and was honorably discharged in
1864. On his return to civil life he again became
a farmer. He is the owner of a fine farm in
South Abington township, on which he raises
the best product of the soil. In 1887 he entered
the service of the Providence Water Company,
which was afterward merged into the Scranton
Water Company. He has charge of the various
reservoirs of the company, being overseer or
foreman of their entire water-way. He is a
member of the I. O. O. F., and in politics is a
strenuous upholder of the principles of the Re-
publican party. Mr. Griffin married Sarah C,
daughter of Benjamin Swallow. There were no
children by this marriage. Mrs. Griffin died
April 3, 1900, sincerely mourned by all who
knew her, the many estimable traits of character
by which she was distinguished having endeared
her to a large circle of friends.

WELDING M. SWALLOW, one of the
practical and progressive agriculturists of South
Abington, township, where he was born in 1854.
is a descendant of a long line of sturdy, God-
fearing people, noted for their honorable deal-
ings with all men and their unquestioning allegi-



ance to whatever they believe to be the true and
right. The earliest ancestor of whom there is
any record, was Joseph Swallow, grandfather of
Welding M. Swallow, who was one of the pio-
neer settlers- in the Wyoming Valley, a repre-
sentative of a class of men who endure trials
and hardships without number in their endeavor
to make for themselves and families a home. He
was the father of seven children, namely : Eliza-
beth, Phebe, Mary A., Minor, George, Benja-
min and Daniel.

Daniel Swallow, father of Welding 'M. Swal-
low, was born in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania,
in 1813. Here he was reared, educated and made
his home until the year 1853, when he purchased
a farm of one hundred and twenty-three acres
of land in South Abington township, twenty-
three acres of which was covered with water,
and which was subsequently purchased by the
Providence Water Company. About one-half of
this land was covered with timber, the tract be-
ing a part of the four hundred acres purchased
from the government by George ]\Iyers. On this
land ;\Ir. Swallow erected a fine dwelling and
corresponding out-houses, which gave the place
the appearance of thrift and comfort. He stood
high in the community in which he resided, and
was honored by election to several township of-
fices, the duties of which were performed by
him in a creditable and satisfactory manner. He
was united in marriage to Mary Knapp, who was
born in Pittston, Pennsylvania, in 1821. Their
family consisted of five children : William H.,
Mrs. Minerva Leach : Welding M.. Alberta, de-
ceased ; and Webster, deceased. Mr. Swallow
died in 1877: his widow is still living (1905).

Welding M. Swallow attended the common
schools of South Abington township and the
knowledge thus gained was supplemented by a
course at the Keystone Academy. Factoryville.
Pennsylvania. Like his father, he has turned his
attention entirely to agricultural pursuits. The
farm on which he conducts his operations is one
of the finest in the township, made so by the com-
bined efTorts of his father and himself. He be-
lieves in raising the best of everything, and
therefore his crops find a ready sale in the mar-
ket and realize the highest prices. While his
land is devoted to a general line of produce, yet
he makes a specialty of fruit growing and dairy-
ing, both of which lines of industry he is bring-
ing to a more perfect state. For several years
Mr. Swallow was a member of the school board
of his township. He is a member of the Order
of Odd Fellows. He holds membership' in the
i\Iethodist Episcopal church, and his political al-



;26



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



legiance is given to the Prohibition party. In
1890 Mr. Swallow was united in marriage to
Elizabeth Dean, daughter of Monroe B. and
Louise M. Dean, who were the parents of three
other children, namely: Jeffrey R., Jennie and
John C. Dean. Monroe B. Dean was a son of
Jeffrey and Sybil (Hall) Dean, whose family
consisted of four children : Mary, Davis, Louise
and Monroe B. Dean. Jeffrey Dean was a son
of Jonathan Dean, a resident of Rhode Island,
from which state in 1803 he removed to Pennsyl-
vania, purchasing there a tract of land consist-
ing of eight hundred acres. He was accom-
panied b} his wife and three sons — James, Ezra
and Jeffrey Dean.

EUGENE A. MYERS. In recording the
history of men and the events which they brought
to pass, the name and deeds of George Myers,
grandfather of Eugene A. Myers, must not be
overlooked. George Myers was a native of Ger-
many, from which country he emigrated to the
new world at an early date, settling in Chest-
nut Hill, Philadelphia; Pennsylvania, where so
manv of his countrymen made their home. He
was one of the first settlers in Abington town-
ship, having purchased four hundred acres of
land' from the government. He was a thrifty,
hardworking man, who during his lifetime ac-
cumulated considerable of this world's goods.
He was a Democrat in politics. His wife, whose
m£.iden name was Susan Bond, a native of Ger-
many, bore him the following named children,
all of whom were born in Philadelphia, Pennsyl-
vania : Jacob, John, Samuel, Adam, George,
Andrew, Betsy and Peter.

John Myers, second son of George and Susan
(Bond) Myers, and father of Eugene A. Alyers,
wa.'^ born in the year 1823. Like his father he
turned his attention to agricultural pursuits,
which he conducted in a practical and scientific
manner, and which were therefore highly pro-
ductive. He was the owner of one hundred and
nine acres of land, which he brought under sub-
jection to the plough, and on which he resided
uj) to the time of his decease. He took an active
interest in local affairs, was the incumbent of
several township offices, including those of super-
visor and school director. He married Miranda
J. Ross, of Schultzville, Newton township, Penn-
sylvania, and the issue of this marriage was nine
children, all of whom were born in Abington
township, in the house in which Eugene A.
Myers now resides. Seven of these children at-
tained years of maturity, namely: George,
•Orpha, deceased ; Susan, Eugene A., Otto, Os-



car, deceased; Benjamin, Carrie, deceased; and
Elmer E., deceased.

hugene A. Myers was born as aforesaid in
the house in whicn he now resides, in 1854. He
was reared and educated in his native township,
and being thoroughly familiar with the duties
of farm fife by assisting his father during his
boyhood days chose the occupation of farming
upon attainmg \ears of manhood. Like most
of his fellow citizens who followed the plow, his
life has been quiet and uneventful. The farm
which he cultivates consists of ninety acres of
arable land, and is one of the finest and most
productive in that vicinity. For three years he
has faithfully and efficiently discharged the dut-
ies of assessor of South Abington township, and
for a similar period of time has held the office
of register of voters. He is a prominent mem-
ber of the Odd Fellows Encampment and Mac-
cabees. He attends the Methodist Episcopal
church, the doctrine of which he firmly adheres
to, and his political views coincide with those
of the Republican party. In 1879 Mr. Myers
was united in marriage to Clara Fish, daughter
of Elijah and Laura Jane Fish, of Falls, Wyom-
ing county, Pennsylvania, who were the parents
of eight children, the surviving members of the
family being: Clara, Emma, Albert, EUery,
Hubert and Sarah ; the deceased members were
Halloway and Grace Fish. The Fish family
were residents of the valley for a number of
years, but finally moved to Falls, Wyoming
county. Elijah Fish is a blacksmith by trade,
but now devotes his attention to farming. One
daughter was born to Mr. and Mrs. Myers,
Grace, the wife of A. F. Staples.

JAMES H. VANDERBURG, of Taylor, for
manv \ears a progressive agriculturist, but now
an employee of the Delaware & Hudson Com-
pany, is a descendant of an old and honored
family who have been residents of the Wyoming
Valley for a number of years.

Jude L. Vanderburg, father of James H.
Vanderburg, was a native of Pennsylvania, his
birth occurring in the year 1814. During his
boyhood he came to the Valley, and upon attain-
ing young manhood drove a stage from Wiikes-
Barre to Tunkhannock and from Wilkes-Barre
to Carbondale, this being before the day when
railroads were in operation. He was a tailor by
trade, which line of work he followed for a num-
ber of years, but later in life turned his atten-
tion to farming. His wife, Rachel (Jenkins)
\'anderburg, was born in West Pittston, Penn-
sylvania, a daughter of Benjamin and Sarah



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



527



<_Tuttle) Jenkins, who were respected and hon-
ored by all who knew them, and wliose famil}'
consisted of nine children : Thomas, Kate,
Mary, Sarah, Ellen, Martha, Ada, Rachel, and
John S., the latter named being the only surviv-
ing member of the family. Twelve children were
born to John L. and Rachel Vanderburg, as fol-
lows : Samuel, John, Kate, Amos, deceased;
James H., Martha, Thomas, deceased ; Benjamin,
Charles, Henry, Sarah, deceased ; and Emma.
The father of these children died in 1890, aged
seventy-si.x years, and the mother passed away
in 1896.

James H. V^anderburg was born in West
Pittston, Pennsylvania, August 7. 1854. He was
reared and educated in his native town, and his
early life was somewhat uneventful as is the life
of the majority of men who follow agricultural
pursuits. His farming was conducted principally
in what was then Luzerne county, but now Lack-
awanna county. Later in life he took a trip
through the west, thus broadening his views.
He returned to the anthracite region again and
in 1897 took' up his residence in Taylor, where
he purchased the property of Mr. Winslow on
the corner of Grove and Washington streets,
which is one of the most desirable homes in the
borough of Taylor. As a citizen he has always
been progressive and liberal-spirited, ready and
willing to promote all plans for the welfare of
the people. In 1887 Mr. Vanderburg married
Annie M. Berry, who was born in Ransom town-
ship, Lackawanna county, in 1862, and their
children are as follows : Mary, Fred, William,
Kate, Margaret, and Arthur. The parents of
Mrs. Vanderburg were John and Margaret (Ott)
Berry, whose family consisted of three children,
Mrs. Vanderburg being the only one. living at
the present time. John Berry was born in Ger-
many, and his wife was a descendant of an old
family of Ransom township, now Lackawanna
county, who settled there upon their arrival from
their native land, Germany.

J. GEORGE KEHR. No man in Sibley is
more widely known or more highly respected
than J. George Kehr, who for twenty-two years
has been a continuous resident of that place. He
was born in Germany, in 1848, and is a fair rep-
resentative of the native-born sons of that coun-
try, who are noted for thrift, industry and per-
severance, and who become loyal and staunch
adherents of whatever country they adopt as
their own. He is a son of the late John and
Sabina Kehr, who were natives of Germany,
the former named having been a prosperous



farmer and a most worthy man. Their family
consisted of eight children, seven of whom are
living at the present time (1905): Frederick,
J. George, Anna, Sabina, Harriet, Christian, and
Margareth. Frederick and Christian are operat-
ing a ranch in Colorado and are among the suc-
cessful stockmen of that state.

The common schools of his native land af-
forded J. George Kehr a practical education,
which prepared him to take his place in the busi-
ness world and earn for himself and family a
comfortable livelihood. In 1864, at the age of
less than si.xteen years, he emigrated to the
United States, locating in Hyde Park, Pennsyl-
vania, where for many years he successfully fol-
lowed the occupation of mining. In 1883 he took
up his residence in Sibley, and the first two years
devoted his attention to the same line of work he
had previously followed. He contributed to the
growth and development of the town by the erec-
tion of a block in 1887, in which he kept a hotel,
adding a commodious barn the same year, and
this hotel he conducted in conjunction with min-
ing. In 1897 hs erected a hotel which he con-
ducted up to 1904, when the building was turned
into a dwelling house, from which he derives a
goodly profit. During his nineteen years pro-
prietorship of the hotel at Sibley the house was
conducted strictly according to the prescribed
letter and spirit of the law. He has been hon-
ored by his fellow citizens by election to the
offices of township clerk, supervisor and tax col-
lector, the duties of which he performed with
credit to himself and with satisfaction to all con-
cerned. Whatever success he has achieved and
whatever property he has acquired has been the
result of his own ambition and eiifort, and very
justly he merits the prominent place accorded
him in the community. In 1878 Mr. Kehr was
united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Gusser,
who bore him three children : Hannah, Sabina,
and Ella. After the death of Mrs. Kehr in July,
1884, he married for his second wife Mrs.
Thomas, who bore him six children, but one of
whom is living at the present time, Hattie Kehr.
The second ceremony was performed in Septem-
ber, 1885.

JACOB HILDEBRAXD. Probably no bet-
ter e.xample of thrift and frugality could be ex-
emplified than that displayed in the life of Jacob
Hildebrand, a true type of the Americanized
German, who, while turning his face toward a
new and distant coimtry, brought with him the
loyalty and patriotism which he would otherwise
have lavished on his own Fatherland. There is



528



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



no better citizen today than the Americanized
German, as he is honest, trustworthy, economic,
industrious, moral, and loyal to his adopted
country.

Jacob Hildebrand was born in Germany,
April 17, 1846, a son of Frank and Anna C.
(Wilhelm) Hildebrand, both natives of Ger-
many, now deceased, whose family consisted of
two other children, namely : Yost P. and Henry
W. In 1866, at the age of twenty, Jacob Hilde-
brand emigrated to the United States, locating
at Archbald, Pennsylvania, where he was em-
ployed by the Delaware and Hudson Company
and where he remained up to 1873. On March
4th of that year Mr. Hildebrand removed to
Taylorville, now the borough of Taylor, and
from then to the present time (1905), a period
of thirtv-two years, has devoted his attention to
agricultural pursuits. He cultivates eighty-six
acres of land, pastures and cares for twelve cows
and three horses, and has gained a reputation as
one of the practical farmers in that section of the
Lackawanna Valley. He is a director in the
Taylor Building and Loan Association, and a
member of tlie Independent Order of Odd Fel-
lows, and the Improved Order of Red Men. He
is one of the most substantial citizens of the com-
munity, is in all respects a conscientious, busi-
ness-like man, and enjoys the implicit confidence
of all with whom he is' brought in contact. On
June 16, 1867, during his residence in ArchbaUl,
Pennsylvania, Mr. Hildebrand was united in
marriage to Gertrude Peters, daughter of George
P. and Anna D. Peters, and five children were
born to them : Kate E., who became the wife of
John J. Becker ; Anna E., deceased ; Frank, who
married Anna Seeley, of Scranton, Pennsylva-
nia ; Dora M., and Henry W. Hildebrand. Mr.
Hildebrand and his family are active and worthy
members of the German Evangelical church.

JOHN R. JOHNS, who in 1889 was selected
by the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western
Company to fill the office of mine foreman, an
ofifice of trust and responsibility which only the
trustworthy and highly recommended men are
chosen to fill, is a native of South Wales, born
April 5, 1858, a son of David O. and Sarah
(Joseph) Johns, and grandson of William and
Sarah Johns, the latter named having been a
noble and worthy woman, from whom no doubt
her descendants inherited their noble traits of
character.

David O. Johns (father) was a native of
South Wales. He was reared, educated and fol-
lowed the occupation of miner in his native coun-



try. In i860 he became a resident of the United
States, but in 1865, having in the meantime met
with an accident which deprived him of the use
of his legs and therefore incapacitated him for
further usefulness physicallv, returned to his
native country where he remained up to 1873,
when he and his family returned to the United
States, he becoming one of its most loyal and
worthy citizens. While Mr. Johns was unquali-
fied to perform bodily labor his mind was active.
He was not a college educated man, but in his
own time and way possessed himself of the men-
tal power and intellectual ability which resulted
in his meeting with college men and measuring
weapons with them on their own ground. He
was an extensive reader, taking up the various
scientific subjects such as astronomy, geology,
psychology and other deep studies as well as be-
coming familiar with the classics. This broad-
ened his views and brought him in touch with
the best thought of the past ages. He was also
a close student of current events, and so stored
his fertile brain with living issues that at all
times he was ready to put them in a masterly
vyay. before the reading public. While a resident
of his native land he competed for a prize with
a graduate of Oxford and was granted the medal,
his essay being far superior to his opponent. He
was acknowledged the best essayist in the Welsh
language in this country, taking for his subjects
geology, physics, astronomy and medicine. He
was a man of a very independent spirit, who
counted himself second to none and yet was
humble and reserved withal. He was a true
lover of America and her institutions, and was
as loyal a citizen as if born on the soil. He
adhered closely to the principles of the Republi-
can party, of which he was an ardent admirer.
He was a resident of Wilkes-Barre from 1873
to 1883, and served as alderman of the third
ward. He was a member of the Methodist Epis-
copal church of Wilkes-Barre. He continued his
literary work up to 1880. He was born April 10,
1826, died May 18, 1883, aged fifty-seven years.
His wife Sarah was born in Wales, January 21,
1823, and died November 8, 1894. Their chil-
dren were eight in number, five of whom are
living at the present time: David, a nnisician of
considerable repute ; John R., mentioned at
length hereafter ; Thomas, a professor of music ;
William, a musical director in one of the largest
theatres in the city of London, England ; and
Horace, a native of this country, who is em-
ployed as assistant surveyor for the Delaware,
Lackawanna & Western.

In 1873, after obtaining a practical education



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



529



in the schools of South Wales, John R. Johns
emigrated with his parents to the United States,
locating at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Shortly
afterward he became engaged in the production
of coal, an enterprise which he has followed up
to the present time. In 1884 he was appointed
on the engineer corps of the Delaware, Lacka-
wanna and Western Company, and at the expi-
ration of two years was appointed assistant fore-
man in the Taylor mines. In i888 he was ap-
pointed foreman of the Hunt mines, and in
March, 1889, was transferred to the Taylor
mines, where he is now serving in the capacity of
foreman, having under his personal charge two
hundred and fitty men. Since Mr. John's resi-
dence in Taylor he has been honored by his fel-
low citizens by election to several offices of trust
and responsibility. In 1896 he was elected on
the Republican ticket to the office of councilman,
is now (1905) serving the second term and is
acting as president of the board. He was a dele-
gate to Harrisburg to represent his party (Re-
publican) at one of the state conventions, and
proving a worthy representative well merited
the praise of his fellow citizens. December 6,
1882, Mr. Johns was united in marriage to Miss
Elizabeth Evans, of Minersville, Schuylkill coun-
ty, Pennsylvania, and their children are ; Stella,
born September 25, 1883; Norma, born Decem-
ber 9, 1887, and Hector, born June 20, 1897.
James and Elizabeth Evans, parents of Mrs.
Johns, moved from Schuylkill county to the Wy-
oming Valley, locating at Wilkes-Barre. Mr.
Evans was a man of sterling qualities and up-
right character, and was an honored and re-
spected deacon in the Welsh Baptist church.



Online LibraryHorace Edwin HaydenGenealogical and family history of the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys, Pennsylvania; (Volume 2) → online text (page 109 of 130)