Horace Edwin Hayden.

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

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Scotch derivation, the original ancestors in
America having left the hills of their native land
and braved the perils of a long and tedious ocean
voyage in order that they might establish in the
new world a home for themselves and their pos-
terity. While the exact date of this immigration
cannot be determined, it is practically certain
that it occurred fully two centuries ago, and the
progenitor to whom our subject traces his lineage
settled in or near the present city of Philadel-
phia.

One of his sons^ at that time a mere babe, was
James Thompson, the great-grandfather of him
whose name initiates this sketch. He was reared
and educated in Philadelphia, and in 1776 removed
'to Pittston, Luzerne county, where he turned his
attention to agricultural pursuits, with which he
continued to be identified until his death, in his
eighty-sixth year. Of his children his son Isaac
is to be more particularly mentioned in this con-
nection, since the latter figures as the grand-
father of our subject. Isaac Thompson was born
at Pittston, November 18, 1796, and was there
reared to maturity, while he continued his alle-
giance to the vocation to which he had been
reared, becoming one of the substantial farm-
ers and influential citizens of Jenkins township,
Luzerne county. He married Maria, daughter
of Isaac Wilcox, of Dutchess countv. New York,
and they became the parents of a large family of
children. The eldest son, Alva, was a valiant
soldier in the JNIexican war, and William H.
served as a captain in a Pennsylvania regiment
during the war of the Rebellion. Isaac Thomp-
son eventually removed to Illinois, where he
passed the remainder of his life, attaining to the
patriarchal age of one hundred and four years
and dying in the year 1901.

Crandall W. Thompson, father of our subject,
was born in Pittston, May 2, 1824, and in his
native county was reared to maturity, duly avail-
ing himself of the advantages afforded in the
common schools of the locality and period, while
he there continued his residence until the year
i860, when he removed to Scranton, Lackawanna
county, where he engaged in the real estate busi-
ness, devoting special attention to the handling
of coal and timber lands. He built up a flour-
ishing enterprise and became one of the leading
business men of the locality, while his course
was such that he ever commanded the unec|uiv-
ocal confidence of all who knew him. His death
here occurred in the year 1902, his cherished and
devoted wife having preceded him into eternal



rest, since her demise occurred in 1885. Her
maiden name was Mary Carkhuff, and she was-
born and reared in Pittston, being a daughter of
Thomas and Julia Carkhuff, well known resi-
dents of Luzerne county, of which her father
was sheriff' at one time. To Crandall W. and
Mary Thompson were born five children, of
whom only two are living — C. W., the imme-
diate subject of this sketch, and William C, a
clerk in a store, residing in Green Ridge, a su-
burb of Scranton.

Crandall W. Thompson was born in the city
of Scranton, November 20, i860, soon after his
parents' removal to this place. He completed
the curriculum of the public schools and then
took a proper course of training for his chosen,
profession, that of civil and mining engineer, to
which he successfully devoted his attention for
a quarter of a century, within which time he was
concerned in much important work and in the-
developing of valuable properties. In 1894 Mr.
Thompson purchased a farm in the borough of
Moosic. this county, where he has since main-
tained his residence and where he is giving his.
attention to diversified agriculture, having one-
of the fine farmsteads of this section of the state-
and taking much pride and satisfaction in the-
improvement and operation of his landed estatc
In politics he is an independent Republican, and
was elected to the office of justice of the peace-
in 1899.

June 4, 1884, Mr. Thompson married Isabel
Sands, who was born in Prompton, Wayne
county, Pennsylvania, being a daughter of Capt..
James E. and Isabel (Hornbaker) Sands, both
of whom were born and bred in the state of New
York. Mr. and Mrs. Thompson have four chil-
dren, namely : Harold, Bessie, Ruth and Allan..
The family is one of prominence in the social,
life of the community, and their pleasant home-
is a center of gracious hospitality, while \lr..
Thompson is known as a progressive and public-
spirited citizen.

CASPER OTT. Our nation is so unmis-
takably cosmopolitan in its social makeup that;
it can scarcely be said that we have as yet de-
veloped a distinctive American type, though the-
amalgamation and assimilation of varied elements
is proceeding day by day and year by year. Many
of our most loyal and valued citizens are of for-
eign birth and breeding, and their positions in
their respective communities ent'itle them to rec-
ognition for sterlng worth and marked useful-
ness. In the borough of Tavlor, Lackawanna.



268



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



county, is found such a citizen in the person of
Mr. Ott, who is one of the representative busi-
ness men and prominent citizens of this locaHtx ,
being here engaged in the general merchandise
business.

Mr. Ott claims the fair little republic of Switz-
erland as the place of his nativity, and his lineage
traces back to stanch German origin. He was
born in the canton of Berne, Switzerland, July
13, 1855, being the onlv child of Casper and
Margaret Ott, both of whom died while he was
a child. He was reared and educated in his na-
tive land, and as a boy began his association with
mercantile pursuits, growing up in the business
and gaining experience which has proved of in-
estimable value to him in carryng on his suc-
cessful enterprise in America. He continued his
residence in Switzerland until 1880, when, in
company with his wife and their two children,
he immigrated to the United States, coming
forthwith to Lackawanna county and locating in
the borough of Taylor, where he has ever since
maintained his home and where he has gained
the confidence and high regard of the people of
the community. In 1885 he here established
himself in the general merchandise business, and
his well equipped store is one of the finest in the
borough, while he controls a large and represent-
ative patronage and is recognized as one of the
progressive business men and public-spirited cit-
izens of this county. In politics Mr. Ott is found
stanchly arrayed as a supporter of the principles
and policies of the Republican party, and while
he has never been a seeker of office, he has been
chosen to represent his borough as a councilman,
his preferment indicating the estimate placed
upon him bv his fellow-citizens. He is affiliated
with Acacia Lodge, No. 579, Ancient Free and
Accepted Masons, of Taylor, and with the local
organization of the Improved Order of Hepta-
sophs, while both he and his wife are zealous
members of the Lutheran Church, in whose faith
they were reared.

In the year 1876 was solemnized the marriage
of Mr. Ott to Aliss Margaret Weisenflhn, who
was likewise born and reared in Switzerland,
where their two eldest children were born, .Annie
and Margaret, the former of whom remains at
the parental home, while tne latter is the wife
of Alexander Fuller, of Taylor. Seven children
were born after the immigration to .'America, and
their names in order of birth are as follows :
Catherine, Edward, Emma, George, Emil, Kate
and Henry.



REV. FRANCIS KOWALSKI. It is cer-
tainly incumbent that within the pages of this
work be incorporated a brief review of the ca-
reer of Father Kowalski, the able and honored
rector of the Polish National Church at Price-
burg, Lackawanna county, where he labors with
all of zeal and consecration in the uplifting of
his fellow-men and the furthering of the work
of the divine Master whom he serves with earn-
est devotion.

Father Kowalski was born in Russo-Poland
September 30, 1866, and is a son of Joseph and
Mary Kowalski, both of whom passed their en-
tire lives in their native land, where the father
was the owner of a good farm. Both he and
his wife died about 1890, and their farm is now
in possession of their eldest son, Joseph, while
the onlv doughter also resides in Poland, so that
the subject of this tribute is the only representa-
tive of the familv in America. Father Kowalski
secured his early educational discipline in the
parochial schools of his native province, and
later entered the Catholic Seminary in Pultusk,
Poland, where he completed his classical and di-
vinity courses, being graduated as a member of
the class of 1892 and also being there ordained
to the priesthood of the Catholic Church, of
which his honored parents were devoted mem-
bers. He officiated in the priesthood for a pe-
riod of ten years, within which time he had made
a careful study and investigation regarding the
independent or Polish national movement, an
account of which is given in the sketch of the
life of Bishop Hodur, appearing on other pages
of this work, and his interest became intense, as
the movement was in harmony with his ideas
and aspirations, so that he decided to become
apostate of the Church of Rome and to identify
himself unequivocally with the new organization.
He accordingly entered into correspondence with
Bishop Hodur, one of the revered leaders of
the church and movement in the United States,
and this correspondence led to his immigration
to America in 1902.

He was appointed to the charge of the Polish
National Church at Chicopee, Massachusetts,
where he remained about eighteen months, at the
expiration of which time he was assigned to the
church at Duryea, Pennsylvania, and six months
later was called to his present important pastor-
ate at Priceburg, where his labors have greatly
inured to the spiritual and temporal upbuikling
of the parish. Two hundred families are repre-
sented in the membership of the church, while




,.^?V-n-w.-y^ r2— ^^^



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



269



there are in addition fully one Inindred and fifty
unmarried communicants. The church edifice
is a substantial and attractive building, and the
parochial school is well attended and ably con-
ducted. Father Kowalski has direct charge of
all branches of the parish work, and his zeal and
devotion are unceasing, while he has gained the
alTectionate regard and earnest co-operation of
his people and is highly esteemed in the com-
munity, being a man of marked intellectual abil-
ity and of sterling characteristics.

FRANK FUHR. A farsig;hted business
man and progressive, public-spirited citizen is
Frank Fuhr, of Dunmore. He represents a
class of foreign-born Americans who are ex-
tremely valuable to their adopted country, Amer-
icans by political right and devoted allegiance, al-
though of foreign blood. Martin Fuhr was a
native of Rhine Province, Germany, and a farmer
by occupation. He married Charlotte Arm-
bruster, and three of their children came to the
United States : Peter ; Frank, mentioned at
length hereinafter: and Elizabeth. Mrs. Fuhr
died in her native land in 1868, and in 1878 her
husband joined his children in this country. For
twelve years, or up to his death in 1889, he made
his home with his son Frank. He was a worthy
man and merited the respect of all.

Frank Fuhr, son of Martin and Charlotte
(Armbruster) Fuhr, was born September 5, 1847,
in Germany, where he received his education and
learned the cabinetmaker's trade, which in that
country is taught in the most thorough manner.
This trade he followed for eight years. He
landed in this country, January 6, 1867, and after
staying a short time at Williamsport, Pennsyl-
vania, went to Scranton, where he remained six
years. In 1873 he moved to Dunmcre, where he
engaged in business for himself as a manufac-
turer of cigar boxes. He began on a small scale,
but by unwearied application and by producing
the best work has prospered until he is now at the
head of a large establishment, employing fifteen
hands who turn out twelve hundred boxes per
day. For the first seven years he produced his
work by hand, but seeing the necessity of keeping
pace with the times, he in 1880 put in machinery
of the latest improved pattern, and at the present
time is installing an electric ten-horse power motor
for power in the future. The rapid and constantly
increasing growth of his business has long since
shown the wisdom of this action. As a citizen
he gives evidence of the same traits of character
which he manifests as a business man, and so



highly are they appreciated by his neighbors that
they have elected him three times to serve in the
town council. He has held the office of poor di-
rector, and in 1902 was chosen chief burgess, a
post of honor and responsibility whice he still
holds, being elected on the People's ticket. Poli-
tically he is a Democrat. He is a stockholder in.
one of the strong building and loan associations of.
Scranton, also the Deposit and Discount Bank of
Dunmore, and has invested interests in other im-
portant business enterprises. He belongs to the;
Royal Arcanum of Scranton, the Knights of Co-
lumbus, and the Liederkranz Society. He and
his family are members of the Roman Catholic
Church. Mr. Fuhr married, in 1877, Lizzie
Beker, of Hyde Park, and two children were
born to them: Frank, who. is in the factory wita
his father: and Susie. Mrs. Fuhr died in i88(),
and in 1896 Mr. Fuhr married Mary Epp, of New
York. They have three children : x^ugust J.,
Martha R., and George H. Mr. Fuhr lives in a
house which was built under his personal super-
vision and is one of the most delightful residences
in the town.

MILLS FAMILY. The Mills family of
Lackawanna county, Pennsylvania, with its num-
erous honorable representatives of the present
day, is of English extraction. It was planted in
America in colonial days, and some of its mem-
bers bore an active part in the war of the Revolu-
tion. Of this stock was John B. Mills, who came
from Hadley, Massachusetts, at an early day. He
located in what is now Lackawanna county, on
what is known as the Russell farm, but subse-
quently removed to that now owned by John
Williams. His wife Hannah was of Scotch de-
scent. They were the parents of the following
named children, all of whom were born in Had-
ley, Massachusetts : John, Theodore, Edward,
Dwight, Charles, William, Samuel, Abiel, and
Mary — eight sons, and but one daughter.

Samuel Mills, one of the sons of John B. and
Hannah Mills, removed to Carbondale, Lacka-
wanna county, in August, 1828. The little set-
tlement then comprised only one house, and he
may be properly classed among the pioneers of
that region. As early as 1843 h^ established him-
self in the hardware business, into which he came
by a natural transition, having in his young man-
hood entered the employ of the Delaware and
Hudson Gravity Railroad as a blacksmith, and
continuing with it for the long period of twenty-
one years. In 1850 he was succeeded in the-
hardware business bv Mills & Poor, who in 1868.



-270



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



.:gave place to E. W. Mills & Company. In 1875
-the business came into the charge of Mills
Brothers, who have since continued it, and now
occupy the building so well known to the people
of the county. Samuel Mills subsequently en-
gaged in the lumber business. He was a worthy
and capable man, who proved highly useful in his
relations to the community, and enjoyed its re-
spect and confidence to the utmost. He was a
Presbyterian in religion, and a trustee in his
church. His wife was Agnes, daughter of An-
drew Watt, of a Scotch family. Their children,
all born in Carbondale, were as follows: i. Eliza-
beth, born in 1840, who became the wife of O. C.
Moore, and to whom was born a daughter, Jessie ;

2. Frederick W., to be further referred to below ;

3. Edward W., born in 1844, who remained un-
married : 4. Hannah, deceased, born in 1847;
5. Samuel B., born in 1849, married Jennie B.
Munn, and to them were born two children, Ed-
ward B. and Elizabeth B. ; 6. George E., born in
18545, married Carrie Ottman, and to them was
born a daughter, Madolin.

Frederick W. Mills, eldest son and second
child of Samuel and Agnes (Watt) Mills, was
born January 9, 1841. He was educated in the
common schools of his native village, and, like
his brother Edward learned the trade of machinist
which he followed for some time in Scranton. He
was destined, however, for a somewhat adven-
turous career, one of unusual activity and fraught
with great danger. During the Civil war he en-
listed in the Eighty-fourth Regiment, New York
Volunteer Infantry, and was honorably discharg-
■ed therefrom after the expiration of his term of
service. For ten years afterwards he was in the
employment of the Pacific Mail Steamship Com-
pany, on board vessels plying between San Fran-
cisco and China, and other far eastern regions.
In 1876 he returned from California to take
charge of the business which his father and S. D.
Baker had established in 1870, and which is now
conducted under the firm name of F. W. Mills &
Co. The company of which he is the head is en-
gaged in the manufacture of doors, sash, blinds,
mouldings, frames and general furnishings for
house builders, and supplies a large circle of con-
tractors over a wide region. Mr. Mills also con-
tracts and builds, and is recognized as a most
capable mechanic and business man. He also
conducts a branch office and lumber yard at
Jermyn, where he transacts an extensive business.
He affords employment to about twenty people.

Mr. Mills is prominent in community affairs,
and has rendered public services of much value.



and which have brought him high appreciation.
He served for eight years as a member of the city
council, and for four years of this time he was
chairman of that body. He has also served upon
the school board. He is a member of W. H.
Davis Post, No. 187, G. A. R. He was married
in 1867 to Miss Anna D, B. Smith, of New York,
New York, and they became the parents of the
following named children : George, who married
Hannah Atkinson ; Agnes Watt, Marion, and
Jessie.

Theodore ]\Iills, another son of John and
Hannah Mills, was born in Hadley, Alassachu-
setts, where he received a common school educa-
tion. He was reared a farmer, and followed that
occupation throughout his life. He lived for a
time in the state of New York, and in 1844 re-
moved with his family to Carbondale, Pennsyl-
vania. He was a man of ability and high char-
acter, as is attested by the fact that he was re-
peatedly called to public positions, among them
those of supervisor, tax collector, and school di-
rector. He married Maria Smith, and they be-
came the parents of seven children : Hannah C,
deceased ; John E., Dwight, IMary, William H.,
deceased : Washington, deceased ; and Maria. Mr.
Mills died in 1871, and his widow long survived
him, dying in 1890.

John E. Mills, eldest son and second child of
Theodore and Maria (Smith) Mills, was born
August 4, 1834, in Greenbush, New York, and
came to Carbondale, Pennsylvania, in 1839. He
was there educated in the common schools, and
there also he learned the trade of carpenter. He
became an expert mechanic, with a broad know-
ledge of architecture, and his native city, which
has ever been the scene of his busy effort, is
adorned with numerous edifices, business and resi-
dential, beautiful and substantial, which stand as
monuments to his masterly workmanship. He
has borne a full share in otherwise advancing the
growth and improvement of the city, and has per-
formed many years faithful and efficient service
in the most important local offices. His zealous
interest in educational affairs finds eloquent
affirmation in the fact that for twenty years he
was continued in the position of school director.
He was also assessor for seven years, and collector
and auditor for several terms. He also served
nine months in the same regiment with his
brother, D. Mills, and holds an honorable dis-
charge, dated 186^. He also belongs to W. H.
Davis Post, No. 187, G. A. R.

Mr. Mills was married November 6, 1872, to
Marv Ann \\'illiams, who was born in Carbondale



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



271



township, September 20, 1848, and died August
19, 1897. Of this marriage were born three sons :
Walter J., born October 2, 1873, '-^'^^'-^ June 10,
1902; Arthur, born March 10, 1876, who married
]\Iame Wagner; Raymond S., born April 4, 1880.

Dwight Mills, another son of Theodore and
Maria (Smith) Mills, was bom July 13, 1839, in
what was old Luzerne county, Pennsylvania. He
was educated in the common schools, and was
reared a farmer, and he followed that pursuit un-
til his sixtieth year, in 1899, when he sought a
well earned retirement. He served with fidelity
and courage during the Civil war for a period of
nine months, as a private in Company H. One
Hundred and Seventy-seventh Regiment, Penn-
sylvania Volunteer Infantry, receiving an honor-
able discharge in 1863, and maintains his associa-
tion with his former comrades by means of mem-
bership in W. H. Davis Post, No. 187, Grand
Army of the Republic. He has been a capable and
faithful servant of the people in the capacity of tax
collector of Fell township, and poor master, hav^
ing occupied the latter office for eight years.

Mr. Mills was twice married. His first wife
was Miss Ella Fuller, who bore to him three chil-
dren, of whom but one is living — Mamie, who is
the wife of William Blake. In 1887 Mr. Mills
was married to Miss i\Iary C. Smith, and of this
union were born three children : Leonard D.,
Grace an dLosi.

CHARLES O. MELLEN, superintendent of
the Van Bergen Company, of Carbondale, Penn-
sylvania, has justly earned his present responsible
office, not only by his ability as a man well quali-
fied by experience for the position, but also be-
cause of the length of time he has been connected
with the company. He entered the employ of the
Van Bergen Company as a clerk in 1861, and by
efficiently fulfilling the duties of that humble posi-
tion was advanced to bookkeeper, which office he
held for twenty years, and in 1899 he succeeded
Mr. Van Bergen as superintendent and treasurer,
which offices he now holds. Mr. Mellen is thor-
oughly conversant with all the details of the es-
tablishment, hence its success under his manage-
ment. He was born in Hudson, Columbia
countv, New York, in 1842, a son of Christopher
M. and Catharine (Villee) IMellen. The Mellen
family originally migrated from Massachusetts,
having been among the early settlers of that east-
ern state.

Christopher M. IMellen (father) was also a
native of Hudson, New York. He was the owner
of a line of steam boats plying between Hudson



and New York, known as the Mellen Line of
Steam Boats, and for twenty years he successfully
operated the same. He was considered one of the
safest and best captains on the Hudson river. At
that time there was much traffic on that beautiful
and picturesque river, and his business in passen-
gers and freight was very extensive. He married
Catherine Villee, also a native of Hudson, New
York, who traced her ancestry to a French family,
who were prominent in their native country, and
of considerable importance socially. Her mater-
nal grandfather was an officer of high rank in the
French army. Their family consisted of five
children, namely: James L., deceased; Charles
O., mentioned hereinafter ; Cordelia V., Samuel
L., and Christopher, deceased.

Charles O. Mellen was educated in Elizabeth,
New Jersey. His education was somewhat lib-
eral, and by taking advantage of every oppor-
tunity, he prepared himself for a life of usefulness
and activity. He has been actively connected
with the Van Bergen Company in various ca-
pacities for the long period of forty-three years.
In 1863, answering to the "emergency call" for
troops to stem the onward march of the Con-
federates north, and being sergeant in the Forty-
seventh Pennsylvania militia, he served three
months in defending the integrity of his country.
Since his residence in Carbondale, Pennsylvania,
he has been the incumbent of the office of city
treasurer three terms, and school director for six
years. He is a worthy and honored member of
the following named organizations : Carbondale
Lodge, No. 249, Free and Accepted Masons; Eu-
reka Chapter, No. 179; Palestine Commandery,
No. 14, and W. H. Davis Post, No. 187, Grand
Army. of the Republic.

Mr. Mellen was united in marriage, October



Online LibraryHorace Edwin HaydenGenealogical and family history of the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys, Pennsylvania; (Volume 2) → online text (page 56 of 130)