Horace Edwin Hayden.

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

. (page 43 of 130)
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with the Lackawanna Iron & Coal Company. In
i860 he engaged in the dairy business, owning
and operating the first milk wagon in Scranton.
At the time of the Civil war he manifested his
loyalty to his adopted country by tendering his
services in defense of the Union, but was re-
jected when he essayed enlistment. In the early
'6o's Air. Scheuer opened a small grocery store
on Willow street, above Cedar street, and there
he succeeded in building up a profitable business,
having a large and well equipped establishment
at the time of his withdrawal, in 1874, when he
associated himself with his sons, George, John,
Henry and Philip, in the establishing of a bak-
ery in the operation of which he cojitinued to be
actively concerned until 1894, since which year
he has lived practicallj' retired, having accumu-
lated a competency during the long years Oif his
identification with the business interests of
Scranton. When he opened his bakery he based
his operations upon a stock of two barrels of
flour, and the significance of the change which the
years have brought is well indicated in the state-
ment that his sons, who succeeded him in the
business, now utilize fifty barrels of flour a day
in their bakery, while they give employment to
a corps of fifty hands.

The extensive enterprise of which Mr.
Scheuer was the founder is now represented in a
large and well equipped establishment on Brook
street, between Cedar and Remington streets, the
building being eighty by one hundred feet in di-
mensions, with two stories and basement, and
substantially constructed of brick and stone. The
ovens and all other cqui])ments are of the highest
modern type, and the trade controlled is widely
extended and of large volume. The bakery was
started on a small scale, in 1874, and ten years
later the manufacturing of crackers was added to
•the other departments of the enterprise. To-day



the products of the establishment are shipped
throughout the Wyoming and Lackawanna val-
leys, four capable salesmen representing the con-
cern in the territory thus covered. The firm owns
a farm of sixty-eight acres, and on the same they
have a fine herd of the best Jersey cows, produc-
ing from seventy-five to one hundred quarts of
milk per day, while much of the same is utilized
in supplying a select trade in Scranton. Of the
bakery it may be said that it is the largest of
the kind in this section of the state, while its
products have the highest reputation for superi-
ority. In 1889 the firm name became Scheuer
Brothers, and later the title of Pennsylvania
Baking Company was adopted upon the admis-
sion of two new members to the firm, William,
the son of John, Jr., and George C, the son of
George. The business is incorporated under the
title of Pennsylvania Baking Company, and the
official and executive corps is as follows : George
Scheuer, president : Henry Scheuer, vice-presi-
dent ; John Scheuer, Jr., secretary and manager;
and Philip Scheuer, assistant manager.

Reverting to the immediate subject of this
sketch we may state that in his political alle-
giance he has ever accorded a stanch allegiance
to the Republican party, while he is a consistent
and devoted member of the German Presbyterian
Church, as was also his cherished and faithful
wife.

January 16, 1855, was solemnized by Rev.
Herman Veith of Jeffersonville, Sullivan county.
New York, their former pastor, the marriage of
Mr. Scheuer to Petronella Hoffman, who was
born in the historic old city of Worms, Hesse-
Darmstadt, Germany, and she proved a loyal and
devoted wife and helpmeet, the loving compan-
ionship remaining unbroken for forty years, at
the expiration of which the cord was loosed and
the wife and mother was summoned to eternal
rest, her death occurring Alay 30, 1895, at which
time she was seventy-two years of age. Of the
children of this union we enter the following
brief record giving the names with respective
years of birth: George, 1855; John, Jr., 1858;
Henry, 1861 : Philip, 1864; Peter and Simon,
both deceased in childhood : Kate, 1871 ; and an
infant who died unnamed. George Scheuer mar-
ried Mary Reidenbach and of their three children
two are living: George C. and Caroline. John,
Jr., married Anna M. Lynn and they have six
children, William, Annie, Dorothea, John C,
Ruth and Verna. Philip married Kate Neuls.
Kate, the only daughter of our subject, is the
widow of Peter Schillat, and of her five children



THE WYOIMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



205



three are living, Philip, Peter P. and Martha E.
Henry Scheuer remains a bachelor. John Jr., is
a prominent figure in the local ranks of the Re-
publican party, and has served his district as a
member of the legislature of the state.

CHARLES KIEFER. No better illustration
of the characteristic energy, enterprise and prob-
itv of the typical German- American could be
asked than that afforded by the career of this
venerable and honored citizen of Scranton, Lack-
awanna county, where he is now living retired,
after having been actively identified with local
business interests for more than half a century, so
that he may consistently be designated a pioneer
of the city. It mav further be said that he has
ever commanded unqualified esteem and confi-
dence in the community in which he has so long
lived and labored, while he has attained suc-
cess through his well directed ei?orts and is thus
enabled to pass the golden evening of his life in
peace and comfort, unvexed by the cares which
harass the improvident.

Mr. Kiefer is a native of the great empire of
Germany, and is a representative of one of the
oJd and honored families of the province of
Baden, Germany, where he was born April 15,
1827, being a son of Dennis and Hilary Kiefer.
He was reared to maturity in the fatherland, in
whose excellent schools he secured his educational
discipline, and was a young man of twenty years
when he immigrated to America in company with
his parents and his brothers, Michael and Chris-
tian. In August, 1847, the family disembarked
in the city of Boston, Massachusetts, and one
year later they removed to Honesdale, Wayne
county, Pennsylvania, where the honored parents
passed the remainder of their lives, the father
attaining the age of seventy-seven years, while
the mother passed away in 1854, at the age of
sixty-nine years. Of their children our subject
is the only one surviving.

In the early years of his residence in Hones-
dale Charles Kiefer found employment in the
lumber woods of that locality. Later he pur-
chased a fann, to whose operation he gave his
attention about two years, at the expiration of
which he disposed of the property and in Feb-
ruary, 1854, came to Scranton, which was then
a small village. Here he has ever since main-
tained his home and he has proven himself a
worthy, useful and loyal citizen, well deserving
of the high esteem in which he is imiformly held
in the community. On ^larch 18, 1864. ^Ir.
Kiefer here engaged in the teaming and draying



business, giving his attention to general work in
the line, including the transferring of freight,
etc. At the outset he had but one team and per-
sonally took charge of the work which he se-
cured, and he continued to be actively engaged,
in this line of enterprise for the long period of
forty years, building up a large business and ac-
cumulating a valuable property, having made ju-
dicious investments in local realty from time to-
time as his financial resources justified, and hav-
ing erected five substantial dwellings, besides,
owning a number of vacant lots, whose value is-
increasing with the growth of the city. He re-
tired from active business in 1900, since whick
year the enterprise has been successfully carried
forward by his sons John and Henry, who suc-
ceeded him and who are numbered among the
progressive business men and public-spirited cit-
izens of Scranton, where their entire lives have
been passed. He is a stanch Democrat in his-
political proclivities, fraternally is a member of
the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, while-
his religious faith is that of the Lutheran Church,
of which his devoted wife was likewise a zealous-
member.

In the year 1865 was solemnized the marriage-
of Mr. Kiefer to Miss Barbara Kaufman, who
likewise was born in Germany, whence she came-
to America with her parents. She proved a de-
voted wife and mother and remained as the loved
and faithful companion of her husband until the-
"silver cord was loosed and the golden bowl
broken," when she was summoned into the life-
eternal on August 25, I goo, at the age of sixty-
eight years. Concerning the children of Mr. and
Mrs. Kiefer we enter the following brief record
in conclusion of this brief tribute: ISIargaret is
the widow o.f Henry Hessinger and resides in
Scranton, Pennsylvania, being the mother of three-
children, William, Frank, and Edward. Mary
A. is the wife of Fred Nye, of Scranton, Penn-
sylvania, and they have two children, Frederick
and Carl ; William died in childhood : Charles,
Jr., married I\Iiss Kate Miller, and he died in
1903, leaving three children, Charles. ^Margaret
and Lena : John, born in 1867, married Miss Mary
Shu;-ik, and of their seven children six are living,
namely : Annie, Mamie, Caroline, ^ilatilda, Fred-
erick and ]Mildred ; Henry, born in 1870, married
]Miss Louise Eberhardt, who was born in the
same vear, being a daughter ol Albert Eber-
hardt, a well known resident of Honesdale, Penn-
svlvania. John and Henry Kiefer are Democrats
in politics, and in a fraternal way are identified'
with the Patriotic Order Sons of America. Thev



.2o6



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



are ably upholding the high business and civic
prestige gained by their father, whose successors
they are.

JOSEPH B. VAX BERGEN, of Carbon-
dale, deceased, was one who in his life stood con-
spicuously in the community as a splendid ex-
emplification of noble manhood. He was amo.ng
the foremost men of affairs in the city, actively
identified with numerous commercial and finan-
cial interests which were strong factors for the
general welfare. With lofty conceptions of the
duties of citizenship, he ever exercised his in-
fluence in behalf of that which was demanded by
the highest standards of conduct both in personal
and official life. He served the state and the
community in impor;tant positions with signal
ability and unblemished integrity. In his purely
personal character he was an ideal christian gen-
tleman.

He descended from a Holland family whose
representatives were among the earliest settlers
along the Hudson river, in the state of New York,
and he inherited all the sturdy traits of character
which marked his ancestral stock. His paternal
grandfather, William Van Bergen, was born in
Catskill, New York, and kept the first hotel in the

' Catskill Mountains, and was undoubtedly known
to Washington Irving when that famous author
was weaving his delightful romances concerning
that region which he so largely aided to make fa-

"mous. William Van Bergen adhered to the reli-
gion of his forefathers, that of the Dutch Re-
formed Church. He had two sons, Henry, and
J. Champlain ; the last named was associated
with his father in the hotel, and spent his entire

" life in the Catskill region.

Henry, son of William Van Bergen, was
born in Catskill, Greene county. New York, in
Ju'ly, 1805. In his early manhood he was a
merchant in Bainbridge, and in 1832 located in

'Carbondale, Pennsylvania, where he pursued the
same occupation, adding to it that of a lumber
dealer. In 1836 he removed to Cincinnati, Ohio,

- where he was interested in the lumber trade until
1858. He then went to New York City, and
thence to Newark, New Jersey, where he served
as sales agent for the Delaware and Hudson
Canal Company until his death in 1877. He was
a man of excellent business ability and strict in-
tegrity, and was a ruling elder in the Presbyter-

" ian Church. He married Emma L. Benjamin,
who was born in South Egremont, Berkshire
county, j\Iassachusetts, in 1800, and died in Cin-
cinnati, Ohio, in 1839. Her brother Joseph was
for many vcars engaged in the foundry and mer-



cantile business in Carbondale, Pennsylvania, and
after retiring from active pursuits removed to
New York City, where he died, leaving large in-
terests in Carbondale and Scranton. Five chil-
dren were born to Henry and Emma (Benjamin)
\^an Bergen, among whom were Joseph B. \'an
Bergen and Catherine. After the death of the
mother of these children, Henry \'an Bergen
married again, and of this union were born four
children of whom the only one surviving is the
wife of General H. Newell, a lumber dealer in
New York City.

Joseph Benjamin Van Bergen, son of Henry
and Emma (Benjamin) Van Bergen, was bom
in Bainbridge, Chenango county. New York,
February 28, 1828. He was afiforded an excel-
lent education in the schools of Cincinnati and at
Marietta (Ohio) College. At the age of
eighteen he took employment as a clerk in Laurel,
Indiana, where his father had business interests,
and was so engaged for four years. In 1850, at
the age of twenty-two, he located in Cincinnati,
and became associated with Samuel E. Mack in
an insurance business. From 1856 to 1858 he
was engaged in business in Davenport, Iowa,
then returning to Cincinnati to accept a prcffered
position in the Ohio Valley Bank. January i,
i860, he came to Carbondale, Pennsylvania, and
became a partner in the foundry and machine
works of J. Benjamin & Company, and it was
out of this modest enterprise that in time grew
the great establishment of the Van Bergen Com-
pany, Limited. For a period of nearly forty
years, ending only with his death, Mr. Van Ber-
gen was the principal factor in its management,
and to him is due its great development and phen-
omenal success as one of the leading manufac-
turing enterprises of the Lackawanna region.
Nor was this large success attained through any
fortuitous circumstances, or conditions which
\\(ndd necessarily produce such a result. There
Vi'ere disadvantages enough to contend with, and
serious obstacles to overcome ; indeed, there were
times when failure seemed to be impending. But
Mr. Van Bergen devoted his energies unsparingly
to his labors, bade defiance to discouragement,
and with unconquerable resolution and unflag-
ging industry prosecuted his plans to successful
consummation.

While thus busied with the development and
management of a great enterprise, Mr. Van-
llergen at the same time devoted his effort to
the advancement of various other interests which
were to the material advantage of the commun-
ity. He aided in the establishment of the fine water
works svstem of the Crystal Lake Water Com-



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



207



pany, of which he was president, and of the Car-
bon dale Gas Company, in which he was a di-
rector, and for fourteen years was treasurer of
the Providence and Carbondale Plank Road
Company.

Mr. V'an Bergen was called to various posi-
tions of honor and trust, and in all acquitted him-
self with great credit and rare usefulness. His
interest in educational affairs is attested by the
fact that for eleven years he served on the board
of education, and was recognized as one of the
most zealous and intelligent members of that
body. He was one of the founders of the Car-
bondale Library Association, and for many years
was its principal encourager and supporter. He
served upon the cit}' council for several terms,
and occupied the mayoralty for four years, and
during this period projected and successfully for-
warded various new enterprises conducing to the
advantage of the city. In 1863, 1864 and 1865
he was L'nited States deputy collector of internal
revenue for the twelfth congressional district of
Pennsylvania. In 1866 he was elected treas-
urer of Lackawanna county, his popularity
being attested by a plurality of more than
one thousand votes over his competitor.
With this long record of official service it is not
to be concluded that he was a political aspirant.
He only consented to stand as a candidate when
it seemed to be his duty so to do, when his service
was commanded by his neighbors and friends.
He was frequentlv and urgently solicited to per-
mit the use of his name for more important posi-
tions than he accepted, but resolutely declined.
A seat in the legislature, the state senate and con-
gress were more than once offered him, but were
declined with a grace which expressed his grati-
tude to his supporters. Nor was his popularity
due to any of the arts of the political "trimmer,"
or to any modification of his political opinions to
catch the popular breeze of the moment. He had
the courage of his convictions, and never swerved
from the path into which they led him. His
hold upon the public regard was solely due to
appreciation of his solid worth, and recognition
of his uniform kindheartedness and suavity
manner. He was a staunch Republican from the
formation of the party in 1856, when he cast his
vote for its first presidential candidate, John C.
Fremont, and he was ever among its most active
and inteliig-ent supporters. His influence in poli-
tical atiairs was widespread, and he served upon
various committees of his party and sat as a del-
egate in various conventions, among them the na-
tional convention of 1876 which nominated Ruth-
erford B. Hayes for the presidency.



Mr. Van Bergen was an ardent adherent of
the Presbyterian faith, held many official positions
in the First Church, and was always one of the
most cheerful and generous contributors to its
support. His christian charity was all-embrac-
ing, and was bounded only by his means. It is
said of him by an intimate friend that he gave
away several small fortunes, yet so modestly that
none learned of his gifts from him. When any
worthy cause seemed to lag, he was the one to
furnish fresh stimulus and substantial aid. He
was a foremost figure in the two great beneficial
orders, those of Masonry and Odd Fellowship, in
the former having served as master of the lodge,
high priest of the chapter, and chief officer of the
commandery ; and in the latter chief patriarch of
the encampment, its highest body. Local branches
of several other bodies, beneficial, patriotic, mili-
tary and social, were proud to bear his name.

In October, 185 1, Mr. Van Bergen married
Miss Mary F. Boal, daughter of a retired mer-
chant of Cincinnati, Ohio. She died in June,
1888, having borne five children, three of whom
died in infancy. The survivors are : Robert B.,
who became a member of the \''an Bergen Com-
panv ; and Dr. Henry, a graduate of the Hack-
ettstown Collegiate Institute and the Homoeo-
pathic Medical College of New York.

In August, 1890, Mr. Van Bergen married
Mary Helen, daughter of James and Mary Dick-
son, and widow of the late Andrew Watt.

Mr. Van Bergen died April 25, 1899. Thus
was closed a rarely useful and exemplary career
that will long be cherished. The oitders and
other bodies with whom he had been identified,
as well as the clergy and press, paid fervent
tributes to his memory. Crippled physically,
everv mental attribute was healthy and warm,
and he was universally esteemed. He was fore-
most in every good work calculated to benefit his
fellowman. To quote a mourning friend, "His
genial disposition, his friendliness, his generosity,
his integrity, all springing from his faith in
Christ, made him 'everybody's friend.' He was
a part of the great living library of the Gospel of
God. and on his heart was stamped that matchless
eulog\' of love." His life was a benediction to
the community, and it is to its credit that the
honors due him were not delayed until after his
decease. To quote from the tribute of his
mourning friend, "it is no discredit to the many
other citizens of the town who have been of last-
ing benefit to it, that Air. ^'an Bergen, by the
unanimous voice of the community has been re-
garded as 'our first citizen,' and entitled to every
meed of praise they could bestow." Yet above



20S



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



all sense of loss and praise there must arise the
realization that what is best in man survives the
incident we call death, and does so not only in
some distant and future sphere, but here and
now. In such abiding intiuence a life is most
valuable to humanity, and through them the
memory of Joseph B. Van Bergen will be present
among friends who. loved him, and the public
which he served.

"So wait, our trammeled souls, with bated breath,
And but one master can unbar the door.

Why fear him, though his dreaded name is Death?
He sets the spirit free forever more."

WILCOX FAMILY. The founder of the
Wilcox family of the line under consideration in
these pages was Edward Wilcox, admitted as an
inhabitant of Rhode Island in 1637.

Among Edward Wilcox's children was
Stephen, of Portsmouth, Rhode Island; freeman
there in 1658, and of the colony at Westerly on
the organization of that town, 1669. His farm
at Watch Hill. Westerly, passed out of the family
since 1880. He was born abo.ut 1633, and died,
1672 ; was deputy to the general assembly in 1670
and 1672. He married Hannah Hazard, of
Rhode Island, and had children: Edward, born
1662. died November 5, 1715; married Mary,
daughter of Robert Hazard. Thomas, died
1728, married Martha, daughter of Robert Haz-
ard. Daniel, married, 1697, Mary Wodell. Will-
iam, married, January 25. 1698, Dorothy Pal-
mer. Stephen, married, 1704, Elizabeth Cran-
dall. Hannah, married Samuel, son of Jeremiah
Clark and Ann Audley. Jeremiah, married
Mary, daughter of Thomas Mallett.

Edward Wilcox, eldest son of Stephen Wil-
cox and Hannah Hazard, married (first) Mary
Hazard, daughter of Robert Hazard and Mary
Brownell; married (second) Thomasin Stevens,
daughter of Richard Stevens, of Taunton. Mass-
achusetts. There were four children of the first
marriage— Mary, Hannah, Stephen and Edward
— and six by the second marriage — Sarah,
Thomas, Hezekiah, Elisha, Amy, and Susannah.
Lieutenant-Governor Edward Wilcox, of Char-
lestown. Rhode Island, was great-grandson of
this Edward. He was a prominent merchant ;
served many terms in the legislature between
1794 and 1823 ; and was presidential elector,
1816.

Stephen Wilcox, third child, eldest son of
Edward Wilcox and Mary Hazard, married, July
12, 1716, Mercie Randall, daughter of Matthew
Randall, of Stonington, and had children : David,
bom February 3, 1720. Mercie. born August



6, 1724. Eunice, born ^lay 22, 1726. Stephen,
born rvpril 21, 1726. \ aientuie, born February
14, 1733. Isaiah, born about 1738, died Alarch

h 1793-

isaiah Wilcox is shown by Rhode Island mili-
tary records to have been an ensign in the first
company of militia at Westerly, 1775, and his
brotner*, V"alentine, a private m Captain John
Gavitt's Westerly company, 1776. While the
identification is not entirely certain, it is never-
theless probable that these were the sons of
Stephen and Mercie. Isaiah Wilcox entered the
Baptist nfinistry ; was baptized in Februarj)',
1706, and ordained February 14, 1771 ; was first
pastor of the "Wilcox Church" of Westerly, and
m 1785, under his- ministry, more than two hun-
dred members were added to the church. He
was a man of much power and influence, and his
death at the untimely age of fifty-five years was
much mourned. He married, October 15, 1761,
Sarah, daughter of John Lewis, of Westerly.
After his death she married Captain Joseph Wil-
cox (son of Edward, who was son of Edward).
She died May 2, 1815. Rev. Isaiah Wilcox and
wife Sarah Lewis had children :
Isaiah, born January 31, 1763.
Asa, born September i, 1764; a Baptist min-
ister; died in Essex, Connecticut.

Nathan, born April 10, 1766, died June 25,
1842 ; married, Westerly, Rhode Island, February
17, 1790, Anna, daughter of Hezekiah Lewis;
remoived in 1792 with his brother to Danube.

Sally (Sarah), born March 23, 1769, died
September 18, 1789.

Stephen, born October 10, 1770. His sons,
Stephen, born May 7, 1796, and Thomas Jeffer-
son, born August 15, 1800. were merchants, and
also directors of the Phoenix Bank. Stephen was
representative, senator, and once a candidate far
governor. His son Stephen was a manufacturer
and inventor of prominence, and founded and
endowed the Westerly public library.

Oliver, born June 26, 1773; succeeded by
purchase to the old homestead at Watch Hill.

Prudence, born March 10. 1775. died March
19. 1816; married Joshua Vose. third.

Po.lly (Mary), born January 8, 1777, died
June 13, 1789.



Online LibraryHorace Edwin HaydenGenealogical and family history of the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys, Pennsylvania; (Volume 2) → online text (page 43 of 130)