Horace Edwin Hayden.

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

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foundry business, and eventually devoted him-
self almost entirely to the latter interest, the
management of the store devolving upon his
brothers, John A. and George L. Dickson.

]\Ir. Dickson was now thoroughly ac-
quainted with all pertaining to the iron in-
dustry, and realized as did few others the pos-
sibilities for development conditioned upon
improved machinery and suitable transporta-
tion facilities. He therefore conceived the
organization of a manufacturing company to
be under his own control, and which he could
conduct after his own well methodized plans,
and his purpose was consummated by the
formation of a partnership comprising his
father, his two brothers, (John A. and George
L.), and, subsequently. Charles P. and Morris
Wurts, Joseph Benjamin, Peter J. DuBois,
Charles T. Pierson and John Dorrance. All
these contributed to the capital of the firm
styled Dickson & Company, and of which
Thomas Dickson was chosen as manager. In
April, 1856, a site was selected at Scranton,
and Mr. Dickson purchased a suitable tract of
ground at Pine Brook, at the point where
that stream empties into the Lackawanna, and
this marked the beginning of the present
great manufactories. Mav I, 1862, the firm
was succeeded by the incorporated Dickson
Manufacturing Company, with Thomas Dick-
son as president and manager, who inaugu-
rated the great enterprise, and wrought it out
to its highly successful and permanent estab-
lishment. At first the works were limited



THE \\'YOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



9



to the construction of engines and machinery
for tlie mines, but through gradual expansion
the product was extended to include all de-
scriptions of foundry work and engines, in-
cluding railway locomotives. Lender Mr.
Dickson's masterly management the company
safely weathered the great financial panic of
1857, and was even able to aid the Delaware
•& Hudson Canal Company, which, owing to
its greater age, was burdened with a large
amount of uncoUectable assets. In 1859 George
T. Oliphant, president of the Delaware & Hud-
son Company, sought the aid of Mr. Dickson
■in opening coal mines and building railroads
for that corporation, with the result that Mr.
Dickson accepted the position of coal superin-
tendent of the company named, retaining, how-
■ever, the presidency of the Dickson Company.
These two positions he occupied until 1867,
when the business of both companiess had so
largely increased that it was inpracticable for
-one individual to care for both, and he resigned
the Dickson Company presidency in favor of
his brother, George L. Dickson, but retaining
!his stock interest and his place in the direc-
torate for the remainder of his life.

After becoming associated with the Dela-
ware & Hudson Canal Company Mr. Dickson
established the offices of that corporation in
Scranton, (adjoining the works of the Dick-
son Manufacturing Company) and devoted
himself to its interests to such a degree that
he was generally regarded as the embodiment
'■of its powers. Among its enterprises which he
personally conducted were the building of the
railroad from Carbondale to Scranton, with
"branches and tracks to all the breakers, as fast
as they were set up: and the construction of
the road from Green Ridge to connect with
the Lehigh & Susquehanna and the Jersey
Central at Wilkes-Barre. Mr. Dickson was
elected vice-president of the Delaware & Hud-
son Canal Company in 1867, and two years
later was advanced to the presidency, in which
lie continued until his death.

Mr. Dickson became prominently identified
.with various local enterprises of first impor-



tance after his locating in Scranton. In Oc-
tober, 1863, he aided in the organization of
the First National Bank, and was a director
in the same from that time until his death, and
he occupied the same relationship to the
Moosic Powder Company, of which he was al-
so an incorporator, in 1865.

Mr. Dickson married, August 31, 1846,
Miss Mary Augusta Marvine, daughter of
Deacon Roswell E. and Sophia (Raymond)
]Marvine, natives of Delaware county. New
York. She is owner of a beautiful country
seat in Morristown, New Jersey, purchased by
Mr, Dickson in 1880, and there Mr. Dickson
died, July 31, 1884, four months after the com-
pletion of his sixtieth year. The deep respect
with which he was regarded was evident at
Scranton, to which place the remains were
convej'cd, and where they lay in state for two
days prior to the interment in Dunmore ceme-
tery. Thousands visited the temporary rest-
ing-place of the lamented dead, who was
known in some degree to the entire populace.
The larger achievements of his signally use-
ful life were known to all, and all knew, be-
sides, of his many excellences of personal
character. As a master of large affairs he
handled vast sums of money which floated
out into every avenue of commerce and in-
dustry. As an individual his influence and
means reached out into fully as many channels.
During his day not a church in the city or
neighborhood but numbered him among its
most liberal benefactors, and some there were
which without him would never have had
existence. To benevolent and philanthropic
institutions he was a glad and bountiful con-
tributor. His feelings of genuine humanity
made him responsive to every need that came
to his attention. To the young he afforded,
encouragement and wise counsel : and, to
many, aid in their struggles for an honorable
establishment in life. Those stricken of for-
tune, distressed in body and mind, he relieved
as lay in his power, dispensing his charities
after the scriptural fashion, with no witness
or hearer to speak of his countless deeds of



lO



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



merciful kindness. The earlier paragraphs of
this narrative afford the closest insight to his
loveliness of character. His heart was at-
tuned to the Music of Nature. He looked from
Nature up to Nature's God, and thence back
to his brother man, in whom he ever dis-
cerned one worthy of his love, his sympathy,
or his aid.

GEORGE LINEN DICKSON is to be
numbered among the leaders of that splendid
company of men of phenomenal ability
through whose untiring industry, unconquer-
able resolution and wise judgment the city of
Scranton was brought to a foremost place
among the industrial centres of the United
States. His activity has been witnessed in the
founding and developing of many of its most
important manufacturing enterprises, and in
that of various of its principal financial insti-
tutions, while his strong influence has ever
been exerted in the promotion of the higher
interests of the community along religious,
educational and philanthropic lines.

The Dickson family originated in Scotland,
and its American members have ever exhibited
those sterling traits of character which pecu-
liarly mark the race whence it sprang. Thomas
Dickson, paternal grandfather of George L.
Dickson, was a magnificent type of the Brit-
ish soldier. His service covered a period of
twenty-three years, and included the great war
in which Napoleon was overthrown at Water-
loo. In that battle Sergeant Thomas Dickson,
of the Ninety-second Gordon Highlander
Regiment, bore himself with such gallantry that
he received the medal for signal valor, and
on four other occasions he received similar
medals for meritorious conduct. The same
qualities which distinguished this intrepid sol-
dier, — courage, resolution, and entire devotion
to the duty of the hour — were those which
marked his descendants in the peaceful but
arduous pursuits of peace.

Sergeant Thomas Dickson, referred to
above, had for his eldest son James Dickson,
who was born and reared in Scotland, and was



an intimate friend of the great author, Sir
Walter Scott. In 1832 James Dickson and
his family, with others, emigrated to Canada,,
taking passage in the .ship "Chieftain," which
after a protracted voyage of eleven weeks cast
anchor at Quebec. It is to be noted that this-
was the vessel's first voyage, and that on its
second it absolutely disappeared, no trace of
it OT of its passengers or crew having been
found to the present day. After two years
residence in Toronto, James Dickson removed
with his family to the United States, locating
^in Pennsylvania, in the iron and coal region at
Dundaff, six miles above Carbondale. After
working for a time upon a farm, he secured'
employment with the Delaware and Hudson
Canal Company at Carbondale, and acquitted
himself so satisfactorily that he was advanced'
to the position of general master mechanic, in
which capacity he was efficiently serving at
the time of his death, in 1880. His wife, Eliza-
beth Linen, was born in Berwickshire, Scot-
land, and died in 1866. She was related to the
Scottish poet, James Hogg, and was an aunt
of James Linen, president of the First National
Bank of Scranton. She was a most estimable-
woman, possessing the characteristic Scotch
traits of honesty, frugality and energy, and;
she gave to her children a most careful train-
ing. The children of James and Elizabeth-
Dickson were: t. Thomas, who was super-
intendent of the mine department of ihe Dela-
ware & Hudson Canal Company from 1859
to 1864, when he became general superinten-
dent : in 1868 he became president of the com-
pany, and removed his office to New York; he-
died at his summer residence in Morristown,
New Jersey. July 31, 1884. 2. Isabel, who-
became the wife of John R. Fordham, of Green
Ridge. 3. Mary, who became the wife of
J. B. Van Bergen, of Carbondale. 4. John-
A., who for the several years from its organi-
zation until his death in 1867 was general man-
ager of the Dickson Alanufacturing Company.
5. George Linen, to be further referred to-
hereinafter. The two youngest children died!
in infancy.





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THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



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George Linen Dickson was born in Lauder,
Berwickshire, Scotland, August 3, 1830, and
was two years old when he was brought to
this country by his parents. His education
was obtained in greater part in the Carbon-
dale schools, and at the age of fifteen years
he entered upon a self-supporting career. For
six years he served as clerk in a country store,
and the expiration of this period found him of
age, when he in connection with his brothers,
opened a mercantile business which was con-
ducted under the name of G. L. Dickson &
Company. This he disposed of in 1856, and
entered the partnership of J. Benjamin &
Company, in what afterward became known
as Van Bergen & Company, limited. In i860
he located permanently in the city of Scran-
ton, and entered into partnership with his
father and brothers in the business which in
the following years was incorporated as the
Dickson ?*lanufacturing Company, and which
was soon operating the largest plant of its
class in the state. He was general manager
for some years, and in 1867 was made presi-
dent, a position which he occupied until 1882,
when he resigned. It was under his manage-
ment that these mammoth works attained
their greatest magnitude and importance, re-
sults in which he was the leading factor. After
relinquishing the presidency of the company
he became general agent for various of the
leading iron manufacturing companies of the
country, including the National Tube Works
of New York, the Standard Steel Tire Works
of Philadelphia, the Otis Steel Works of Cleve-
land, Ohio, and others, maintaining offices in
New York city. He was one of the original
stockholders in the organization of the Scran-
ton Steel Company, which by subsequent con-
solidation Ijecame the Lackawanna Iron and
Steel Company. Mr. Dickson also extended
his activities to various other enterprises,
among them the First National Bank of Scran-
ton, which he aided in organizing, and of
which he was one of the first directors, and
vice-president since 1887. In all his business
relations Mr. Dickson was known as the soul



of honor, and his masterly executive abilities
were widely recognized. He was among the
charter members of the Scranton Board ot
Trade, and one of the most efficient members
of that body whose admirable work is attested-
by the great success attending its efforts in
the fostering and establishment of various
manufacturing and financial enterprises and
the forwarding of public interests generally.
In politics he is a Republican, and is known as-
an earnest and capable exponent of the prin-
ciples of his party, but not at all to be classed
among the selfseekers who aspire to official'
position. He has for many years been a lib-
eral supporter of St. Luke's Protestant Epis-
copal Church, in which he has been a vestry-
man for over forty years. He is affiliated with,
the local lodge of the Masonic fraternity.

Mr. Dickson married, September 16, 1856,.
Miss Lydia ^I. Poore. Of this marriage were
born three children, of whom the only one"
living is Walter ]\I. Dickson, who was edu-
cated at Cornell University. The Dickson
family are held in high personal regard in the-
community, and are among the most sympa-
thetic and helpful of its people in all those-
works of benevolence which are called forth-
by the suffering of the poor and needy in body,
mind and estate.

Mrs. Dickson is a representative of one of
the oldest and most honored New England
families. She was born in Palmyra, Wayne
county, New York, and is a first cousin of
Major Ben Perley Poore, who was one of the
most lovable authors and humorists of a pre-
ceding generation. The Poore family is of
English origin, and was represented among
the early colonists in Massachusetts, where
its members purchased from the Indians land'
which is yet in possession of their descendants.
Mrs. Dickson's paternal grandfather. Dr. Dan-
iel Noves Poore, was a native of Massachu-
setts, a graduate of Harvard College, and a
well known physician. Hon. John M. Poore,
father of Mrs. Dickson, was born in Essex,
Massachusetts; aided in building the Erie-
Canal through Chenango county. New York,.



12



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



as a contractor with his father-in-law. E. M.
Townsend ; resided some years in the south,
where he followed farming; and in 1846 lo-
cated in Carbondale, Pennsylvania. He was
for many years a prosperous merchant in that
city, of which he was at one time mayor. In
his later years he removed to Scranton, and
died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Dick-
son, when he was eighty years of age. His
wife, Harriet Townsend, was born near the
Hudson river, in New York, a daughter of E.
M. Townsend. Air. Townsend was enrolled
as a soldier in the war of 1812. He was a
pioneer settler in Carbondale, Pennsylvania,
where he kept an inn in an old log house long
ago disappeared. He subsequently became
sergeant-at-arms of the United States senate,
and was well acquainted with Henry Clay and
other famous statesmen of that historic per-
iod. He died in Baltimore, Maryland, at the
age of fifty-six years. Mrs. Dickson's pater-
nal grandfather, the Rev. Jesse Townsend, D.
D., was a graduate of Yale College, and a
noted Presbyterian clergyman. A brother of
Mrs. Dickson, Townsend Poore, of Scranton,
was long and prominently connected with the
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad
Company. A distinguished member of the
Townsend family was Hon. Martin I. Town-
send, ex-member of congress from New York.

JAMES. L. CRAWFORD, deceased, for
many years president of the People's Coal Com-
pany, Scranton, and one of the most widely
known coal operators in the anthracite region,
was a striking figure among the trulv remarka-
ble men who have been conspicuous in the coal
industry of Pennsylvania during the past quarter
of a century. Of great force of character, broad
sympathy and public-spirit, he was an American
of the highest type, in thought, word, deed, and
ambition. Without favoritism to aid him, he
carved out his own career, beginning in the hum-
blest walks of severe manual labor, and lifting
himself to a position of wealth and commanding
influence quite notable even in these days of great
accomplishments. Through all and to the last,



he was unashamed of his beginning, and his own
experiences but warmed his sympathy for work-
ing men, and made him their friend. He died
in the prime of life, at a time when he might have
determined, had he seen fit, to retire from active
occupations and rest in the enjoyment of the
fruits of his labors. His life in his later years
was a contribution to the comfort and happiness
of all about him, and the narrative of his unvaried
success and the uses to which he put his effort
and means should serve as an encouragement and
inspiration to the unaided toiler in all this region.

Mr. Crawford was born in Noxen, Wyoming
county, Pennsylvania, in 185 1, a son of the late
Ira and Elizabeth Crawford, both natives of the
same county, and a grandson of Benjamin Craw-
ford, who during his boyhood days removed with
his parents from Connecticut to Pennsylvania, in
which state he resided until his death at the ex-
treme old age of ninety-six years. Ira and Eliz-
abeth Crawford were the parents of four children.

Early thrown upon his own resources, James
L. Crawford was afforded little in the way of
school education. Of such opportunities for self-
information as came to him he made the best pos-
sible use, and when he entered upon an inde-
pendent career his mental equipment proved am-
ply sufficient for his every need, enabling him to
successfully cope with men whose advantages at
the outset, in training and means, far exceeded
his own. He was but a boy when he secured em-
ployment in the old Seneca mine of the Pittston
and Elmira Coal Company in Pittston, and he
continued to work here for some years, passing
through the various gradations of door-tender,
laborer and miner, at each step demonstrating his
efficiency and his capability for more important
tasks. His preparation was so complete that he
was called to the superintendency of the Wyom-
ing Valley Coal Company, which he also served
in the capacity of civil engineer. In 1876 and for
two years thereafter he was a contractor for the
building of breakers, and there are many of these
structures in the anthracite region to-dav which
stand as monuments to his ability in that line.
Later he removed to Bradford, where he built
derricks and speculated in oil. In the spring of




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THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



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1879 he returned to the anthracite coal belt and
for four years served as mine foreman for the
Charles Hiitchings collieries. In 1883 he entered
the employ of J. H. Swoyer & Company, and
three years later took up his residence in Jermyn,
where he remained for eight years.

In 1884 Air. Crawford became identified with
the collieries in which Simpson and Watkins were
interested, and while serving as their superintend-
ent he had charge of the opening and develop-
ment of the following colleries : The Edgerton,
Northwest, Grassy Island, Sterrick Creek, Lack-
awanna, Babylon, Mount Lookout, Forty Fort
and Harry E. He was financially interested in
these collieries, and remained as general super-
intendent of the company until 1899, when Simp-
son and Watkins sold their interests to the Tem-
ple Iron Company. Mr. Crawford was superin-
tendent of the last named company for one year,
when he resigned on account of ill health.

In 1901, Mr. Crawford became the principal
owner of the People's Coal Company, of which he
was also president, with his step-son, James G.
Shepherd, as secretary and treasurer. It was
during this period that Mr. Crawford became a
prominent figure in the public view, his manage-
ment of the Oxford mine being marked by two
distinct successes — a quick accumulation of great
wealth, and his marked victory over the Miners'
Union during the great strike of 1902. During
the six months duration of this great contest the
Oxford was the only mine in the entire region
which was kept in operation, and his conduct gave
exhibition of his strongest traits of character.
His determination to keep the colliery in opera-
tion was not due to a spirit of defiance. As he
stated at the time, he held to the conviction that
a man possessed the unrestricted right to work
or not to work, at his own election, without re-
gard to the mandates of any organized body, es-
pecially when he was personally satisfied with his
wages and condition. He maintained that the
O.xford miners were satisfied, and were not de-
manding either increase of wages or adjustment
of any dififerences, and that under these conditions
if the workmen were content to continue their
labor, he was determined that they should do so



without molestation and with full protection.
Many of his friends considered the conditions
confronting him as insurmountable, but his cour-
age and determination seemed to increase as the-,
obstacles grew, and he was soon engaged in one-
of the most gigantic struggles which marked the-
great strike. He first gathered about him his old,
and trusted employees, who trusted in him so.
implicitly that they e.xpressed their determination,
to stand by him to the last. Keeping the mine:
at work to its accustomed capacity, he provided
for the safety and comfort of his men by erecting
sleeping and eating quarters at the colliery. He
also organized an armed force for patrol duty
about the premises, which he enclosed with a
strong barricade, and operated a large searchlight,
for the discovery of an attacking force. His pre-
parations were so complete that the plans of the
would-be attajckers were set at naught, and the
Oxford mine remained in operation throughout
the strike period, while numerous other collier-
ies were obliged to close down and ultimately
yield to the demands of the Union. As a reward
'Mr. Crawford made a large fortune as the result
of his continuing mining during these fateful
times, and in recognition of the fidelity of his.
employees he distributed among them some thirty
thousand dollars prorated according to their re-
spective earnings. The giving of this bonus was
remarkable in view of the fact that no mine in
the region, or probably in the entire country, paid
out such large sums in wages to their miners,
one miner earning as much as $2,800 in one year.
Mr. Crawford frequently explained, when ques-
tioned, that his bonus to his men was in recogni-
tion of their fidelity to him during the strike. His
relations with them were the happiest that could
be conceived. One of his friends relates that
when the strike was at its height he went with
Mr. Crawford to every chamber in the mine.
In each instance Mr. Crawford addressed the
miner by name, and their manner in responding
was full assurance that they were prepared to go
much farther than they did to aid him in con-
quering success. It is further a notable fact that,
as a result of his effort and success, the Oxford'
mine is the only one in the anthracite region.



,14



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



where there is no local branch of the United Mine
Workers' Union. *

While Mr. Crawford was a large stockholder
in various corporations, he was only identified
with' one in an ofificial way — the Spring Brook
Water Supply Company, in which he was a direc-
tor. In all others he was represented by his step-
son, James G. Shepherd. He never sought or
held a public office, being entirely averse to offi-
cial distinction. He was, however, broadly pub-
lic-spirited, and liberally aided every movement
■tending to benefit the community. Few if any
could estimate the extent of his philanthropy. He
rejoiced in giving without display, and frequently
made it a condition that his donations should not
be given publicity. Scarcely a church of the
Methodist denomination in the Wyoming Valley
but was materially assisted by him, and, in some
instances, where a new church building had been
•erected, he contributed the greater portion of the
expense, and askd that his contribution be un-
named. He was one of the best friends of the
Florence Mission, the Hahnemann Hospital, and
other local charitable and humanitarian institu-
tions, which never appealed to him in vain. He
was a man with a remarkably sympathetic heart,
afforded aid with covmsel and means to many
young men, and rejoiced in their success, while he
sudiously refrained from displaying the fact that
their good fortune was grounded upon aid which



Online LibraryHorace Edwin HaydenGenealogical and family history of the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys, Pennsylvania; (Volume 2) → online text (page 3 of 130)