Horace Edwin Hayden.

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

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Online LibraryHorace Edwin HaydenGenealogical and family history of the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys, Pennsylvania; (Volume 2) → online text (page 31 of 130)
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usefulness solely through his own ability and the
exercise of energy and unconquerable determina-
tion. At every stage of his effort he faithfully
met every requirement with entire loyalty and
trustworthy devotion, and his advancement fr(.im
time to time came to him as the fruit of his own
conduct. In all his business relations he was in-
tegrity personified, and in his personal character
he was an ideal Christian gentleman.

Mr. Atherton came of an excellent ancestry.
His great-grandfather, Jonathan Atherton, with



a brother, came from England and settled in
Franklin county, Massachusetts. Jonathan Ather-
ton died November 10, 1813, aged seventy-five
years. One bearing the name was a captain in
King Philip's war, and was killed in battle.
Jonathan, a son of Jonathan the emigrant, was
born in Franklin county, Massachusetts, in 1770,
and lived in Greenfield. He was a farmer, served
in various public offices, and died September i,
1857, at the age of eighty-seven years. He mar-
ried Huldah Chamberlain, a native of Durham,
Connecticut, and they became the parents of the
following named children : Susan, Martha, Alva,
Almeda, Ralph, who in 1830 settled in Wyoming
(then Troy) Pennsylvania, and later removed to
Illinois : Maria, Permelia, Jonathan A., and Zora.
Jonathan A. Atherton was born in Greenfield,
Massachusetts, April 19, 1810. He attended the
primitive schools of that period, and at the age of
fourteen was apprenticed to a shoemaker, with
whom he served a term of five years, and then
worked as a journeyman. In Brattleboro, Ver-
mont, he married Ellen S. Bennett, a native of
that place. In 1835, with his wife and two chil-
dren, John R. and Henry F. (the immediate sub-
ject of this narrative), Mr. Atherton journeyed
in a one-horse covered wagon from Vermont to
West Troy (now Wyoming), Pennsylvania, led
to the last named place for the reason that Mr.
Atherton's brother Frank had previously settled
there. In 1838 Jonathan Atherton removed to
Hyde Park, where he worked at his trade until
1846. In the latter year he bought coal land in
the Keiser valley, occupying it until 1855, when
he purchased a one hundred and fifty acre farm
three miles south of Montrose, Susquehanna
countv. This property he greatly improved, and
subsequently cultivated through tenants, making
his home with his son, J. L. Atherton. Mrs.
Atherton died in [March, 1861, at the age of forty-
six years, having borne to her husband nine chil-
dren. Of this family the eldest, John R., was
born in Vermont, was a wagonmaker by trade,
and died in Hyde Park, in 1851 : another child
died in infancy : and Fred died in Susquehanna
county, August I, 1873, at the age of twenty-six
years. The other children were : Henry F., to
be further mentioned ; J. L., who became a super-
intendent in the coal department of the Delaware
& Hudson Canal Company ; Rosella, wife of Hon.
T. H. B. Lewis, of Wilkes-Barre, an attorney, and
ex-member of the legislature ; Bicknell B., a coal
mine superintendent in the employ of the Dela-
ware & Hudson, and Delaware, Lackawanna &
Western companies: Florence (Mrs. David
Sherer) , of Susquehanna county ; and Sophia

(Mrs. H. T. Lake), of Binghamton, New York.
Jonathan A. Atherton died in 1898, aged eighty-
eight years.

Henry F. Atherton, second son of Jonathan A.
and Ellen S. (Bennett) Atherton, was born ia
Bemardston. Massachusetts, July 30, 1834, and
was a \ear old when his parents came to Susque-
hanna county. In his boyhood he attended
school at Hyde Park. At the age of sixteen he.
became a clerk in the store of O. P. Clark, at that
place, remaining three years. He then went tO'
Honesdale, where he took a position with Foster
Brothers, merchants. He attained his majority
in 1855, and in that year went to Montrose, where
he engaged in business in partnership with Frank
B. Chandler, a brother-in-law of Judge Jessup.
After three years he returned to Honesdale and
resumed his former position with Foster Brothers.
He was thus engaged when Pennsylvania was in-
vaded by the rebel army under General Lee, and
Governor Curtin called for a force to defend the
state. ]\Ir. Atherton responded with patriotic
alacrity, repairing to Harrisburg and entering:
Judge Jessup's company, which was attached to
the Twenty-eighth Regiment of Pennsylvania
militia, under Colonel Chamberlain. Mr. Ather-
ton was elected second lieutenant, and with his
company aided in guarding the pass at South.
Mountain, and afterward took part in the pursuit
of the rebel army until it had crossed over inta
Maryland. The services of the regiment being-
no longer needed, it was mustered out, and Lieut-
enant Atherton returned home, having made an
honorable record as soldier and officer. After-
returning from his military service Mr. Atherton
resumed his position with Foster Brothers.

He was soon, however, to enter upon a more
active and independent career. He had acquitted
himself in such a way as to gain the confidence
and esteem of all with whom he was associated,
and his business capability was recognized
throughout the community. Among others who
regarded him with interest was E. W. Weston,
superintendent of the coal department of the Del-
aware & Hudson Canal Company, who invited
him to serve in the capacity of private secretary.
Mr. Atherton at once accepted, and took up his
residence in Scranton. He subsequently became
accountant and assistant paymaster of the com-
pany, and served as such until January i, 1869,
when he was promoted to the position of pay-
master. His services in the latter capacity con-
tinued throughout his life, and only ended with
his death, covering the long period of thirty years.
His labors and responsibilities were discharged
with the greatest efficiency, testifying to his splen-



did capabilities as a man of large affairs. His
transactions influenced all the various departments
of the company's business in railroad, coal, real
estate, and sales, aggregating millions of dollars,
requiring the most accurate scrutiny and method-
ism. In all, he was so thorough and painstaking
that at no time did he incur for his company a
single dollar of loss. Nor was his position not
without its dangers. He had constantly in hand
large sums of money, and there were occasions
when deeplaid plans of robbery were devised
against him, but in every case the purposes of the
miscreants became known to him, and came to
naught. To these large obligations of duty he
added, for the past twenty-five years of his life,
those of secretary and treasurer of the Providence
Gas and Water Company. While thus bearing
for so many years the burdens of tremendous re-
sponsibilities, Mr. Atherton did not permit him-
self to be overwhelmed. He bore a full share in
the promotion ot community interests and was a
foremost agent in forwarding every material and
moral interest. He labored efficiently to develop
industrial and commercial enterprises, and was
the ardent supporter of every educational and
religious institution. He was among the most
active members of the Presbyterian Church, in
which he was an elder, giving his counsel for its
good at all times, and aiding in its work. He was
charitable in marked degree, but without ostenta-
tion. A man of peculiarly strong domestic traits,
he was devoted to his home and family, and found
his greatest pleasure at his own fireside.

Mr. Atherton married, at Honesdale, October
12, 1864, Miss Abbie Foster Roe, a native of that
place, daughter of John F. and Ruth (Sayre)
Roe. both of old Long Island families. Her
father was for sixty years a leading merchant of
Honesdale, and a member of the Presbyterian
Church. Five children were born to Mr. and
Mrs. Atherton: Carrie Foster, Annie, John R.,
who became assistant paymaster of the Delaware
& Hudson Canal Company ; Thomas S., pay clerk
in the same office : and Henry F. Atherton, Jr.

Mr. Atherton died at his residence in Scran-
ton, April 3, 1899, after several months of patient
suffering. The end had been expected for sev-
eral days, yet there was poignant grief in many
hearts when the sad intelligence reached the com-
munity, his passing away coming upon it as a
public calamity. The funeral services took place
at the family residence on the Thursday follow-
ing, conducted by the Rev. George E. Guild, pas-
tor of the church to which the bereaved family
was connected. The minister chose as a fitting
text for his remarks the passage, "Behold the

Upright r^Ian, for the end of that man is peace."
In his eulogium he but voiced the expression of
all who knew the life of him to whom this ap-
plication was made : His uprightness stands out
clear and distinct amid the other virtues and
graces of his life and character. He was genial
and sunshiny by nature, full of vivacity and activ-
ities. He had a high sense of honor, was reverent
and religious, but all these virtues and graces
were embraced in and crowned with the Chris-
tian's virtue of strictest uprightness and integrity.
These were recognized by the world of business in
which Mr. Atherton moved, and were conspic-
uous. He leaves to his family an unsullied and
exceptional record for strictest integrity and up-
rightness. He was liberal and gracious in his
gifts to the church, to the worthy causes in which
he was interested, and to the poor and needy.
Oftentimes his greatest delight, apparently, was
found in the unostentatious ways which were of
his own choosing for relieving the worthy and
distressed. These silent and unselfish ministries
of his, and which oftentimes only accidentally be-
came known to his friends, were like the sweet re-
freshing fragrance of good deeds which never
lose their charm. Of his silent, thoughtful, ten-
der, affectionate and unabating ministries in the
little circle of his own family, the circle which for
these later years has been for the most part the
world in which he lived, these are too sacred to
speak of. They are hallowed and fragrant mem-
ories for the comfort of the family. Living such
a life, in death the departed voyager well might
sing :

"For though from out our bourne of time and place

The floods have borne me far —
I hope to meet my pilot, face to face,

When I have crossed the bar."

STILLWELL. The Stillwells of Lack-
awanna county are descended from one of the
first and most important families which settled in
the New Netherlands (New York), while it was
yet under the Dutch rule, and many years before
the English came into possession.

The family originated in Surrey, England,
and its record is traceable from 1324, when sur-
names first came into vogue. The story of the
life of Nicholas Stillwell, the progenitor of the
family in America, rivals in interest and adven-
ture that of Captain Miles Standish of Massachu-
setts, or Captain John Smith, of Virginia. To
escape the persecutions in England he took refuge
in Holland, and gave his services as a soldier to
Elizabeth, queen of P)Ohemia, in support of Prot-
estantism under Frederick V, elector palatinate.
After the defeat at Prague he was one of the



■queen's escort in her flight to Breslau, and it is
related bv some chroniclers that he married one
of her maids of honor, Abigail Hopton, but this
the family records do not sustain. After the dis-
bandment of the army, Nicholas Stilhvell came
to New Amsterdam, with his brothers, John and
Jasper ; his nephew, John Cooke, and his sons,
Richard and Nicholas, both born in England, their
mother Tjeing an English woman whose name is
unknown. He located on Manhattan Island, at
Turtle Bay, but was driven from there by the In-
dian uprising, taking refuge in Fort Amsterdam,
-and subsequently settling with the Lady Moody
colonists at Gravesend, Long Island, where he
commanded at the defense of the settlement
■against the Indians. He commanded a troop of
'horse against the Indians in A'irginia, and after
the enemy were defeated aided Governor Clay-
bourne, in Maryland. He owned one of the ori-
:ginal twenty-acre farms in Gravesend, there
served as magistrate several terms, and was presi-
dent of a court martial in Breuckelen ( Brooklyn).
He subsequently resided upon two hundred acres
•of land between New Utrecht and Gravesend. He
was lieutenant and commander in charge of the
expedition against the Indians in the Esopus v\'ar,
and after quelling that disturbance returned to
'the defense of New Amsterdam, where he was the
friend and close adherent of Stuyvesant, the last
of the Dutch governors, until English supremacy
was established. He resided on Staten Island
when that momentous event occurred, and was
there ver}' active in public affairs. He died De-
cember 28, 1671. He married, at New Amster-
dam (New York), an English woman, supposed
to be Ann Baxter, by whom he had six children :
William, Thomas, Daniel, Jeremiah, Anne, Abi-

( II) Captain Nicholas Stillwell, second son
of Richard ( i), was born in England in 1636, and
was brought to New Amsterdam by his father.
He resided at Gravesend, Long Island, in 1648.
He was appointed a justice in 1664 under the
Duke of York: in 1668 was commissioned a jus-
tice under James II, and in 1689 received a sim-
ilar commission under William and Mary. In
1675, ^s constable of Gravesend, he made up the
assessment rolls ; in 1689 was captain of the
Gravesend militia, and member of a court mar-
tial. From 1 69 1 to 1698 he was a member of the
colonial assembly from Kings county. New York.
February 20, 1693, in command of the Kings
county contingent of fifty men, he joined the
Fletcher expedition to Canada against the French
and Indians, but was ordered home on the 27th.
He was an able and popular man, was honored

with many offices, and had the advantage of a
good education, which was an exception at that
jjeriod. He married Rebecca Baylies ; second,
Catherine Hubbard : third, Elizabeth Corwin. In
1715 he died, leaving children: Nicholas, born
April 25, 1673 ; Richard, May 11, 1677; Elias, De-
cember 13, 1685; Thomas, May 16, 1688; Re-
becca, 1675 ; Anne C, May 15, 1681 ; Mary, 1683.

(III) Major Thomas Stillwell, fourth son
of Captain Nicholas Stillwell, resided for some
time at Gravesend. He was a farmer and a dealer
in real estate. In 17 15 he was captain of militia,
in 1718 was made major, and was high sheriff
of Kings county. In 1739 he established a ferrS'
between Yellow Hook and Staten Island, which
was quite noted, and was one of the main lines of
travel between New York and Philadelphia. He
removed from Gravesend to New Utrecht, set-
tling on the shore of New York Bay, at the Nar-
rows, on a farm now occupied by Fort Hamilton.
He married Ann Hubbard, daughter of James
and Elizabeth Hubbard, in 1709; she died soon
after 1721, and between that date and 1723 he
married Catherine Day. His children were by
his first wife: Nicholas, Thomas, John, Christo-
pher and Ann.

(IV) Nicholas, eldest son of Major Thomas
Stillwell, was born on Long Island about 1712.
He was living in New Utrecht, in 1742, removed
to Whitehouse, Hunterdon county. New Jersey,
and died about 1780, in Sussex county, that state.
He was a wheelwright by trade. In New York
he was a captain of militia. His children were :
John, see forward ; Samuel : Richard, born May
25, 1742, was a captain in the Revolutionary war;
Ann, born 1743, married Peter Hendrickson ;
Martha, married Samuel Willetts : Charity, born

(V) John, eldest child of Nicholas Still-
well, was born on Long Island about 1735. and
resided in Sussex and Morris counties. New Jer-
sey. During the Revolution he served in Captain
James Tucker's company, and also in the artillery
of Hunterdon county. New Jersey. February
21, 1769, he married Mary, daughter of John Mul-
liner, of Kingwood, New Jersey. He died in
1799, leaving issue : Richard, see forward ; Nich-
olas, born April 4, 1771 : John, June 24, 1772;
Joseph, about 1778; David, 1780, died in New
York, 1814 : Marv, Rebecca and Abigail.

(VI) Richard, eldest child of John Stillwell,
was born in New York, January 30, 1771. He
was a wheelwright early in life, and afterward a
farmer. He resided at Sucassunny Plains, Mor-
ris county. New Jersey, where his children were
born. He removed to Cooper's Mills (now



Milldale), and thence to Chester, where he died
June 15, 1847. At the time of the battle of Mon-
mouth, in New Jersey, during the Revolution,
with other boys he drove the farmers" cattle into
the woods to save them from the British soldiers.
He was a colonel of Morris county militia during
the War of 1812. April 16, 1796, he married
Charity, daughter of Cornelius Slaight, of
Drakesville, New Jersey: she was born April 16,
1776, and died October i, 1854, surviving her
husband, and was buried at Belvidere, New Jer-
sev, by his side. Their children were : Asa, born
May 14, 1798, died young; John, born April 11,
1800: Joseph, April 21, 1802; Cath Marie, June
26, 1804: David Blakely, September 4, 1806;
Eliza, July 20, 1808; Rebecca, July 12, 1810;
Jerome E., August 2-j , 1812; Manning P., Sep-
tember 4, 1814: Susan, August 9, 1816; Mar-
garet, October 29, 1818; Absalom, November 3,
1820. All died prior to 1894 except Margaret.
(VH) John, second child of Richard Still-
well, was born in Morris county. New Jersey,
April II, 1800. He resided at Hope, New Jer-
sey, and Easton, Pennsylvania, where he operated
a carriage manufactory until 1852, when he re-
tired. He removed to Stroudsburg, Pennsyl-
vania, and thence to Frenchtown, New Jersey,
where he died March 31, 1884, and was buried at
Easton, Pennsylvania. He was a lieutenant of
Morris county (New Jersey) cavalry in 1823.
He married, March 4, 1824, Eliza, daughter of
John and Clarissa Buckley, of Hope, New Jersey ;
she was born July 27, 1804, and died at Strouds-
burg, Pennsylvania, January 19, 1859. He mar-
ried (second) Sarah Stillwell, of Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. His children were by his first
wife: Richard, born December 16, 1824: John
H., October 31, 1834: Saron B., April 21, 1840;
Eliza, October 16, 1844.

deceased, was a typical representative of that
earnest and courageous generation which faced
the great problems of the Civil war period, and
whose gallantry upon the field of battle found a
counterpart in conscientious devotion to the duties
of civil life. For a half century he was an hon-
ored resident of Scranton, bearing a full share in
its upbuilding and development, and occupying
various honorable stations. During this period
he was actively and intimately associated with a
splendid group of pioneers, among them the
Scrantons — Colonel George W., Selden T. and
Joseph H. : Charles F. Mattes, William W. Man-
iiess, and others — men who transformed a wilder-
ness, making it a hive of industrv and the abode

of a vast population ; men who cleared away the-
forests, opened the mines, built the railroads, and
erected the first homes, schools and churches of
the now dense community. Among these men
Captain Stillwell stood a figure honored for his
sterling character, marked industry, great ability
as a constructor, and genius as an inventor.

Captain Stillwell was born in Hope, New Jer-
sey, December 16, 1824, eldest son of John and
Eliza (Buckley) Stillwell, and his illustrious an-
cestry is the theme of a preceding narrative.
When he was about six years old his parents re-
moved to Easton, Pennsylvania, where he re-
ceived a simple education in the common schools,
of that primitive day. However, he amply sup-
plied his deficiencies bv careful reading and close
observation from his youth throughout his life,
and in his mature years might well have passed
for one who had been liberally endowed by teach-
ers. On reaching manhood his father and him-
self purchased a large tract of timber land on the
Pocono Mountain, near Tobyhanna, and engaged
in a lumber business which they prosecuted with
success for some years. Early in the fifties Cap-
tain Stillwell located in Scranton and took em-
ployment with the Lackawanna Iron and Coal
Company as superintendent of construction.
Shortly before the outbreak of the Civil war he
built the old Oxford breaker for Selden T. and
George W. Scranton, and, to provide for the
ventilation of the headings driven from the
bottom of the shaft, he designed, erected and
put in operation, at the top of the shaft, an ex-
haust fan — this being a notable innovation, the
first fan used for the ventilation of a mine. It
is possible that the principle had been put in
application elsewhere, but so far as Captain
Stillwell was concerned the idea was purely
of his own conception, as was its successful
working out. Certainly it was entirely new in
the Pennsylvania coal fields, and his device
found instant recognition as an important ad-
junct to mining methods, and was put to gen-
eral use.

Captain Stillwell's industrial career was ac-
companied with commensurate activity in com-
munity afifairs, and he rendered efficient ser-
vice as a member of the council in the early
days of the city, and as chief of the fire depart-
ment. He was particularly interested in mili-
tary afifairs from his seventeenth vear and
while a resident of Easton, when he enlisted as
a private in Captain (afterward Governor)
Reeder's company of state militia, and served
therewith with fidelity until 1848, when he re-
moved from that city, and when he was honor-



^blv discharged was serving- as orderly ser-
geant. In 1854 he organized the original Scran-
ton Guard, a company attached to the Third
Battalion, Forty-eighth Regiment Pennsyl-
A-ania Militia. He was the original captain of
this company, and served as such until the
company was mustered out of service in July,
1859. He brought it to a highly efifective con-
dition, and it was regarded as unexcelled in the
military establishment of the state. In 1862
(August 18) he recruited Company K, One
Hundred and Thirty-second Regiment Penn-
sylvania Volunteers, a nine months regiment,
which during its period of service performed
many deeds of distinguished gallantry, and
suiTered vmusual loss — more than forty per cent
of its rank and file — through death and wounds
in battle. Its first engagement was the hard
contested battle of Antietam, which saved the
north from a rebel invasion, and in which Com-
pany K particularly distinguished itself, as did
Company I, also of Scranton. Company K
was of that splendid forlorn hope which
stormed the deadly Mary's Heights at Fred-
ericksburg, Virginia, charging across the open
under an awful musketry and artillery fire from
behind a stone wall, and in thirty minutes los-
ing one-third of its numbers engaged, killed or
wounded. In this assault Captain Stillwell re-
ceived a very serious wound which incapaci-
tated him for further service in the field, and
necessitated his return home. After recover-
ing to some degree he received the appoint-
ment of assistant provost marshal of the
twelfth district, and during the remainder of
the war performed service of great usefulness
in aiding to enforce the various drafts, promote
enlistments to fill up depleted regiments, and
arrest deserters from the army.

After the war was ended Captain Stillwell be-
came superintendent of coal breakers for the
Pennsylvania Coal Company, a position which he
occupied until he had reached the age of seventy-
five years, when he voluntarih- retired, bearing
with him the esteem of all with whom he had been
in any way associated. He married Margaret
Snyder, and to them were born three children
who are now living: Harrv E., Lewis B. and
Colonel Frederick W. Stillwell. Mrs. Stillwell
was a representative of one of the most prominent
German families of the colonial period. Her
grandfather. General Peter Kichlein, born 1722,
died 1789, was a member of the committee of
safety, 1774-76: he greatly distinguished himself
at the battle of Longf Island, and fousht on the

ground now occupied by the city of Brooklyn,
where he commanded a regiment of Pennsylva-
nia riflemen, which at the cost of nearly one-half
its numbers held its position until the American
line was broken elsewhere, when practically the
entire remnant of the regiment, including its
commander, was captured.

Captain Stillwell became a member of the
First Presbyterian Church on June 6, 1858, and

Online LibraryHorace Edwin HaydenGenealogical and family history of the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys, Pennsylvania; (Volume 2) → online text (page 31 of 130)