Horace Edwin Hayden.

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

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Carbondale, Pennsylvania.

Williams T. Blair, third son and fourth child
of Bryce R. and Emma (Tubbs) Blair, was born
in Kingston, Pennsylvania, April 26, 1861.
When he was eight years of age his parents
removed to Carbondale, Pennsylvania, and he
received his early education in the common
schools of the latter place. He was studiously
inclined and proved himself to be possessed of
remarkable natural aptitude as a pupil, always
striving to be in the front rank and holding that
position. Upon leaving the common schools he
entered the high school and graduated from that
institution with high honors. In 1878 he en-
tered the employ of the Delaware and Hudson
Company as a shipping clerk, and remained with
that company for a period of about eleven years.
He then entered the Wyoming conference and
was ordained in 1892. His first field of work
was in Bainbridge, Niagara county. New York,
where he remained for a year and a half engaged
in active work ; he then went to Cooperstown,
New York, remaining for three years, and from
there to Mount Upton, where he labored for
five years ; he then removed to Whitney Point,
New York, remaining for two years, and then
to Lehman, Pennsylvania, remaining for one
year. In 1901 he received a call to come to
Wyoming, Pennsylvania, which he followed.
Under his careful supervision the Methodist
church has taken a new lease of life. Owing to
his energy and enthusiasm funds have been
raised sufficient to permit of the remodeling antl
refitting throughout of the building. Eiglit
thousand dollars were raised for this purpose
and the church now has a new organ, is steam
heated, and is one of the finest churches in Wyo-
ming valley.

Rev. Williams T. Blair is a man who seems
specially fitted for the vocation he has selected.
He 'is thoroughly imbued with the spirit of true
religion, and is ever ready to listen to a tale
of sufifering and to alleviate that suffering as



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



553



much as is in his power to do so. His ever-
ready sympathy and words full of hope and
cheer have helped many an unfortunate and
gained for him a host of friends. He is an elo-
quent preacher, with a ready flow of words and
a fine delivery. Rev. Williams T. Blair is a
member of Norwich Lodge, No. 302, Norwich,
New York ; Harmony Chapter, Norwich, New
York : Osage Lodge, Independent Order of Odd
Fellows, of Lehman, Pennsylvania ; James F.
Clark Camp, Sons of Veterans,,' Cooperstown,
New York ; and secretary of the Wyoming Camp
Meeting Association, Wyoming, Pennsylvania.
He married, September 13, 1883, Mary J.
Strickland, born September 13, 1861, in Roscoe,
Illinois, daughter of Hugh and Eliza (Hen-
drick) Strickland. Mrs. Blair has two sister
and one brother, as follows : Mrs. Eva M. Smith,
of Carbondale, Pennsylvania ; Miss Rose Strick-
land, of Carbondale, Pennsylvania ; James J.
Strickland, of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Rev. Will-
iams T. and Mary (Strickland) Blair have four
children: Josephine S., born January 30, 1884;
Alice B., born April 6, 1886: Bryce Wadhams,
born April 11. 1889; Mary, born November 29,
1891. Mrs. Williams T. Blair died April 10,
1905, in Wyoming, Pennsylvania.

THOMAS HOWELL, deceased, for many
years a well known and prosperous contractor
of West Pittston, Pennsylvania, making a spe-
cialty of drilling and testing for coal and ar-
tesian wells, was one of those men whose native
-energy help to bring wealth and influence to the
city in which they dwell.

John J. Howell, father of Thomas Howell,
was the founder of this family in America. He
came to the United States when very young and
settled in Carbondale, Lackawanna county,
Pennsylvania. He subsequently removed to
Susquehanna 'County, Pennsylvania. He mar-
ried, before he left Europe, Ann Jane Morriss,
born in Europe. They were the parents of six
children: i. John, Jr., deceased, was a soldier
in the Civil war ; he married and had three
daughters and one son and resided in Hyde
Park, now Scranton, Pennsylvania. 2. Will-
iam, deceased, married Mary Jermyn, and had
six children, one of whom is deceased : Benja-
min Frank, William Lincoln, William Charles,
Ida May, Wesley Breese ; they resided in West

Pittston, Pennsylvania. 3. Daniel, married ,

resides at Pittston, Pennsylvania. 4. Thomas,
see forward. 5. David, married Jane Airo, and
had two children ; resides in Pittston. 6. Ann



Jane, married Thomas Thomas, of Hyde Park,
and had two children.

Thomas Howell, fourth child and son of
John J. and Ann Jane (Morriss) Howell, was
born in Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania,
March 2, 1843. His parents removed to Pitts-
ton when he was very young, and he spent the
greater part of his life there. He attended the
public schools of Pittston. After leaving school
he became clerk in the general store in Pitts-
ton, where he also made himself useful as book-
keeper. Later he held a similar position with
David Blanchard, also of Pittston, where he
continued for about two years. He then entered
the lumber business of James Weare, of Pitts-
ton, and remained with him for some time.
Later he formed a business connection with J.
E. Patterson, with whom he continued for about
six years, and then for the ne.xt si.x years was
superintendent of a pistol factory at Sterner-
ville, Pennsylvania. He then commenced busi-
ness for himself as drilling contractor, making
a specialty of drilling and testing for coal, ar-
tesian wells, etc., in the vicinity of Pittston, and
continued this business actively until his death,
which occurred April 13, 1903, at his home in
West Pittston, Pennsylvania. He was a man of
great force of character and much natural and
acquired executive ability. His close attention
to all the details of business, however insignifi-
cant, were not without results, as the fortune he
amassed conclusively proves. He was deliberate
and thorough in all his undertakings, and this
conduced not a little to his success. In political
faith he affiliated with the Republican party, and
was director of the schools of Pittston for a
period of three years. He was a member and
regtdar attendant at the Presbyterian Church
at West Pittston. He was interred in the Odd
Fellows burying ground in West Pittston. He
was a member of the Knights of Honor, Knights
of Pythias and Improved Order of Red Men.

Mr. Howell married, March 27. 1867, Elinor
Cassidy, born December 24, 1840, in Wilkes-
Barre, Pennsylvania, daughter of John and Mary
(Connor) Cassidy, both deceased. Mr. and Mrs
Cassidy had six children as follows : Mary, died
in infancy ; Patrick, died at the age of forty-
two years in Inkerman, Pennsylvania ; Annie,
married James Harkins Rindes, resides in Ink-
erman, Pennsylvania ; Elinor, married Thomas
Howell : John, whose residence is at Reading,
Pennsylvania ; James, died in infancy. Mrs.
Thomas Howell is a member of the First Pres-
byterian Church in West Pittston, of the For-



^54



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



eign and Home Missions, of the Ladies' Aid
Society, and of the Sunday school. Mr. and
Mrs. Thomas Howell had the following named
children: Clara May, born October 26, 1869;
Frank, born February 4, 1871 ; both reside at
home. He was educated in the public schools
and the high school of West Pittston, was em-
ployed by the Lehigh Valley Railroad in the
freight department for some years, at Coxton,
then in his father's employ in the contract busi-
ness until the latter's death, when Frank suc-
ceeded to the business. He is also associated
in partnership with others under the firm name
of the Hitchner Bakery Company in West Pitts-
ton. His political faith is Republican. He is
a member of the Masonic fraternity, of the Or-
der of the Elks, and of the Exeter Country
Club.

THOMAS JOHNSON BIRKBECK, one
of the pioneer settlers of Freeland, Luzerne
county, Pe-nnnsylvania, a promoter of the Free-
land water works, and an extensive and suc-
cessful real estate dealer, was born June 6, 1845,
son of Joseph and Elizabeth (Johnson) Birk-
beck.

Joseph Birkbeck (father) was a native of
Westmoreland, England, born May 2, 1802. He
married Elizabeth Johnson, born at Buck Hill,
StainmooT, Englandl, F'ebruary 12, 1804; the
marriage was celebrated at Broough's Church,
England, in 1826. They emigrated to the United
States, landing in New York City in 1834,
whence they immediately proceeded to Miners-
ville, Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania. After
about two years residence in this place, during
which time Mr. Birkbeck was employed in the
mines, they removed to Hazleton, where he sunk
the first slope in 1838 for Ario Pardee. Two
years later he purchased a tract of land com-
prising four hundred acres in Denison township
from Edward Lynch, which later became Foster
township and is now the site of Freeland bor-
ough. He constructed a rude log house on this
land, into which he and his family removed. The
surrounding country was a vast uncultivated
wilderness, and Mr. Birkbeck's purchase pos-
sessed all the characteristics of a pioneer farm.
During the winters the family spent their time
in lumbering, clearing the forest, and manufac-
turing handmade shingles, which were carried
to Conyngham, where they were exchanged for
the necessaries of life, no cash being paid for
such transactions at that time. In 1844 Mr.
Birkbeck sold fifty acres of his land to Aaron
Howev who was closelv followed bv manv other



settlers, but not until 1866 was the dense forests
converted into excellent farming land. Not long
after this coal fields were developed in the neigh-
borhood, and new arrangements became a ne-
cessity owing to the rapidly increasing popula-
tion. Mr. Birkbeck surveyed his land, convert-
ed it into town lots, which he sold to the new-
comers, thus making the first move in laying out
the towns of South Heberton and Freeland.
Joseph Birkbeck was the first to prove coal at
Highland and Upper Lehigh, being well versed
in the anthracite coal strata in the vicinity. He
was the builder of many roads, and was pre-
eminently the leading figure in the development
of the new country. He and his family were
subjected to all the trials, hardships and vicissi-
tudes incident to a pioneer life, and a story is
told of how Mrs. Birkbeck, during one of those
early, trying days, with no other weapon than
an axe, killed a full grown buck deer.

The children of Joseph and Elizabeth
(Johnson) Birkbeck are as follows: John,
born September 5, 1827, died in infancy; Mat-
thew, born June 28, 1829, deceased; Joseph,
born December 27, 1830, a sketch of whom ap-
pears elsewhere in this work ; Jane, born Oc-
tober 31, 1832, deceased; John (2), born April
26, 1834, deceased; Matthew (2), born January
7, 1836, deceased; Margrett, born October 6,
1836, wife of William Johnston, of Freeland ;
Betsey, born May 14, 1840, deceased ; William,
born October 26, 1843, died February 11, 1846;
his was the first death in the town of South
Heberton ; Mary E., born January 25, 1845, de-
ceased ; hers was the first birth in the town of
South Heberton; Thomas J., born June 6, 1845,
mentioned hereafter ; Agnes, born August 4,
1848, deceased; Anna Victoria, born INIay 12,
1850, deceased. Joseph Birkbeck, the father of
these children, died April 19, 1872, and his wife
died May 31, 1887.

Thomas J. Birkbeck obtained his educational
training at Eckley, attending school during the
winter months and assisting with the farm work
during the summer. The coal mines were
opened at Eckley when Thomas J. was about
ten years of age, and there he entered upon his
first regular employment, that of jiicking slate
at a salary of twenty-five cents per day. He
left the mines in 1859 and entered the employ
of Frank Person, a drover, of Troy, Pennsyl-
vania, and for two years worked at driving cat-
tle. At the expiration of this period of time
he became associated with his brother, who was
then following his trade of butcher in Eckley,
and for the follnw'ing two years was engaged



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



:5.t:)



in learning the butcher business. In June, 1863,
when the great Civil war was in progress. Mr.
Birkbeck responded to the urgent call for vol-
unteers, enlisting in Company G, One Hundred
and Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers,
and serving until the cessation of hostilities.
After his return to civil life he was occupied in
the blacksmithing business for a short time in
Foundryville, from whence he removed to
Audenried, where he found employment in the
butcher establishment of Herman Hamburger.
He embarked in the butcher business on his
own account at South Heberton in 1866, and the
following year removed his business to Upper
Lehigh, where he successfully conducted the
same for the long period of twenty-one years.
He removed to Freeland in 1886, and for a short
period of time was engaged in droving, after
which he turned his attention to the hardware
business, which he has continued up to the pres-
ent time (1905) and in which he is eminently
successful.

Mr. Rirkbeck was one of the promoters of
the Freeland water works and the Citizens' Bank
of Freeland, in both of which institutions he
is a heavy stockholder. In addition to these va-
ried business enterprises Mr. Birkbeck is inter-
ested in real estate, being the owner of over
forty valuable properties in his section, and hav-
ing a personal interest in several cottages at the
celebrated summer resort, Wildwood, New
Jersey. Mr. Birkbeck is pre-eminently a self-
made man. Beginning life in a very humble
way, with no capital except those success-bring-
ing qualities — honesty, industry and perse-
verance — he has reached an enviable place in
the business world and accumulated for him-
self and family a handsome competency.

Mr. Birkbeck married, November i, 1866,
Margaret Sneddon, of Audenried, born April
18, 1845, daughter of William and Jessie Sned-
don. They are the parents of the following
named children : Joseph, William, Thomas, Lil-
lie May, Jessie, Margaret, and Daisy. Mr. Birk-
beck is the owner of a beautiful home in St.
Augustine, Florida, where he and his family
spend the winter months.

ROBERT KENNEDY LAYCOCK, of
Wyoming, named in honor of Hon. Robert Ken-
nedy, who represented Warren county. New
Jersey, in the legislature in 1839, was born in the
village of Kennedyville, Warren county. New
Jersey, January 24, 1839, died October 27, 1905,
son of Jacob and Christianna (Young) Lay-



cock, and grandson of Jacob Laycock, who was
a prosperous agriculturist.

Jacob Laycock (father) was also a native of
Warren county. New Jersey, born in 181 1, and
was a descendant of an English ancestry. He
was a shoemaker by trade, but for a number of
years prior to his death, which occurred in May,
1854, was the proprietor of the "American
House," at Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. He mar-
ried Christianna Young, now deceased, a de-
scendant of a German origin, about the year
1827 or 1828, and they were the parents of the
following children: Jonathan, born 1829, died
1899: Daniel P., born 1834, died 1868: Henry
A., born 1836, deceased; Sarah, deceased, was
the wife of the late E. A. Dailey ; Robert K.,
born January 24, 1839. mentioned hereafter ;
Martha, WSlliam, died at Ithe age of sixteen
years ; Harriet, died at the age of twenty-two
years ; and Anna Belle, widow of Isaac Fisher,
resides at Wyoming.

Robert K. Laycock was educated in the
common schools of his native county, and at the
age of fourteen years came to Pennsylvania and
entered the carriage shops of Hagge, Brown &
Wertman, of Milton, where he remained about
one year learning the trade of carriage smith.
He then located in Columbia county, Pennsyl-
vania, and served two months for Strawbridge
& Wilson : six months for Mathias Appleman, of
Rohrsburg ; six months for George Strieker, of
Catawissa, at the end of which time he moved
to Wyoming borough, Luzerne county, pur-
chased the business of David Pollen, and later
formed a partnership with A. J. Crouse for the
manufacture and repair of wagons, sleighs, etc.,
the business being known as the Laycock &
Crouse carriage factory. At first they gave em-
ployment to four men, but in due course of
time the business increased to such an extent
that they were obliged to increase their force
to meet the demand, later requiring the services
of seventeen skilled mechanics. At this time
the coal industry was new and for many years,
during the harcl times of 1873, they kept their
plant in operation and their people employed,
and this enterprise was considered the main in-
dustry in the borough. They manufactured
mostly light vehicles, and these being of excel-
lent workmanship they sold on their merits, as
they do at the present time (1905). Mr. Lay-
cock served the borough as councilman for three
terms, and his administration was marked by
the utmost integrity and efficiency. He was an
adherent of the principles of Democracy, but in



556



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



local affairs cast his vote for the candidate best
■qualified for office, irrespective of party affilia-
tion. He was at death the only surviving char-
ter member of Wyoming Lodge, No. 468, Free
and Accepted Masons, and served all the chairs
in the Blue Lodge. He became a Royal Arch
Mason, joining Shekinah Chapter, No. 182, at
Wilkes-Barre, and Dieu Le Veut Commandery,
No. 5, and was past division commander of that
body. He attended the Presbyterian Church of
Wyoming.

Mr. Laycock married, December 19, 1867,
Mary Elizabeth Church, born July 17, 1842,
died February 22, 1895, daughter of Almond
and Ruth Ann (Jenkins) Church, natives of
Pennsylvania and of English origin, and a de-
scendant of Colonel Jenkins, whose sketch ap-
pears elsewhere in this work. One child was
the issue of this marriage, Ruth Anne, born
March 6, 1877, became the wife of Preistly R.
Johnson, of Kingston, Pennsylvania, and died
September 8, 1898.

WILLLA.M J. GARRISON, M. D., D. D. S.,
was born in Eaton township, Wyoming county,
Pennsylvania, May 19, 1856. On the paternal
side he is a descendant of a French lineage and
closely related to Lloyd W. Garrison, a great
reformer and humanitarian. His parents. Wells
and Phoebe A. Garrison, natives of Wyoming
county, reared a family of seven children, four
of whom are living at the present time ( 1905) :
William J., Andrew C, in the west ; Minnie,
married L. L. Goles, of Chase. Pennsylvania ;
and Cora A., married C. H. Johnson. Wells
Garrison (father) was a veteran of the Civil
war and a member of Company F, Fifty-third
Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. He was
wounded, first at the battle of the Wilderness
and again at Hatcher's Run. In 1865 he was
captured at Hatcher's Run, but later recaptured
by the Union forces. After the close of the war
he went west and died in Kansas of typhoid
fever. His wife's death was caused by the same
disease.

William J. Garrison attended the common
schools of his native township, and the knowl-
edge thus obtained was supplemented by the
close perusal of books. He took up the study
of medicine and dentistry at the same time, took
special courses, beginning 1871, but devoted his
time principally to dentistry. In 1871 he began
the active practice of his professions. For a
number of years he practiced in different towns,
including Scranton, Pittfton, Wilkes-Barre and
Mauch Chunk, but in 1903 removed to Nanti-



coke. Dr. Garrison is a Republican in politics.
Dr. Garrison was married three times. His
first wife was Mary A. Grish, of Jackson town-
ship ; one child, now deceased. His second wife
was Lizzie Bogart, to whom were born two
children : Harry and Millie P. Garrison. His
third wife was Mary A. Ziegenfaas, to whom
five children were born : John W., Russell,
Beatrice, Hazel, and Adam. Harry, his eldest
son, is engaged in practice with his father. The
Baptist church expresses the Doctor's religious
convictions.

G. W. WORDEN. According to tradition
Samuel, Peter and Joseph Worden, brothers,
emigrated from England about 1760 and settled
near New York. At the outbreak of the Revo-
lutionary war Peter and Joseph Worden went to
Nova Scotia. Samuel Worden, who was a black-
smith, at once joined with the colonists and en-
tered the American army. He was a soldier
under General John Sullivan, and was with the
famous expedition in 1779 under that brave of-
ficer against the offending Indians of the Upper
Susquehanna valley, and also against the Seneca
Indian country west of Seneca Lake in New
York state. Returning down the Susquehanna,
Samuel Worden took up his abode in the val-
ley, and died at Sunbury, Pennsylvania, leaving
a wife and five children. One of his sons was
Nathaniel Worden, a mason by trade, who in
1796 was a taxable inhabitant of Hanover town-
ship in Luzerne county. In 1796 Nathaniel mar-
ried Lana Line, daughter of Conrad Line, by
whom he had ten children :

Samuel married Loretta Richards ; removed
from Dallas, in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania,
1853, and died in Illinois, 1856, leaving five
daughters and two sons — Samuel, Jr., and Will-
iam Worden. William lost a foot in the army,
war of 1861-65. John, whose life was passed
chiefly in Dallas, Luzerne county, Pennsylvania,
and who had a large family of fourteen children.
Two of iiis sons, John H. and Charles W., died
in the service. 1861-65, and are buried in one
grave in Dallas. Peter, who died in childhood.
Elizabeth, married Joseph Ryman ; had eight
children; died in Indiana, July, 1866. Abra-
ham, died in Dallas, Pennsylvania, September
9, 1847 ; married Hannah Spencer ;^ had nine
children, four of whom are still living: Benson
J., a pianist, living in Plainsville, Ohio : Mahala,
widow of William Hunter, lives now in Dallas ;

1. Hannah Spencer's father was Elam Spencer, who
served in the American army throughout the period of the
revolution.



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



557



George W., of Dallas ; and Perry Newtown, of
Dallas. Nathaniel, died young. Henry, lived
at Falls, Wyoming county. One of his sons died
in the Confederate prison at Salisbury, South
Carolina. Joseph, died in Lake township, Lu-
zerne county^ Pennsylvania. Clarissa, married
Joseph Richards ; settled in Fremont, Illinois.
Agnes, died aged four years.

The other children of Samuel Worden, the
Revolutionary patriot, were Peter, died in Han-
over at the age of twenty-two years ; Samuel,
Junior, a hatter by trade, who accumulated a
fair property in New York City, lost it by an
unfortunate fire, and afterward removed to Vir-
ginia ; Sally, married Abram Line ; and a daugh-
ter who died young, name unknown.

When Abraham Worden died all his nine
children were living, and only two sons, Sidney
and Spencer, were more than six years old,
while George w-as just six years of age. For
years they had a struggle for existence, but they
worked earnestly and with the true Worden
spirit, and by their own efforts, aided and en-
couraged by their good mother, they kept the
old home farm, paid off in due season its en-
cumbrance and then built up comfortable homes
and fortunes for themselves ; and to-day George
Washington Worden and Perry Newton Wor-
den are among the most forehanded and success-
ful farmers in Dallas township. In consequence
of the loss of their father these sons were de-
nied the benefits of early and thorough school-
ing, and such instruction as they were able to
obtain was by attending an occasional term of
winter school. When they reached manhood
George Washington and Sidney (the latter now'
dead) purchased the homestead farm and
worked together many long years, until Sidney's
death in 1898. Then George bought his broth-
er's interest in the property and has since con-
ducted the farm alone. He was born in Dallas.
March 22, 1841, and has passed his entire life
in that vicinity. His efforts in life have been
rewarded with substantial success, and he has
educated himself by constant reading and by
his observation and association with men of un-
derstanding. Mr. Worden never married.

CONRAD HAAS, a progressive and suc-
cessful business man of Shickshinny, Pennsyl-
vania, was born in Ithaca. New York, in 1852.
He is a descendant of Frederick Haas, of Ger-
m.any, who was a soldier in a Hessian regiment,
a man of large stature, being six feet five inches
in height, and lived to be eighty years of age.
His son, Frederick Haas, grandfather of Con-



rad Haas, was also in the same regiment, whose
members must be six feet in height, and he,,
like his father, filled the requirements as to stat-
ure. He married and had a son Conrad, whose



Online LibraryHorace Edwin HaydenGenealogical and family history of the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys, Pennsylvania; (Volume 2) → online text (page 115 of 130)