Horace Edwin Hayden.

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

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II, 1864, to ]\Iargaret Ottman, and to this union
there was one son born, Charles W., who is now
chief assistant to his father. He married Minnie
Warwick, and their family consists of three chil-
dren, namely : Winthrop W., Margaret and
Louise (twins).

JOHN B. GRIFFITHS, the popular and
genial postmaster at Jermyn, Pennsylvania, is a
native of the town in which he now resides, born
April 9, 1 87 1, a son of Thomas M. and Ann (Ben-
gough) Griffiths, and grandson o.f William and
jNIargaret (Williams) Griffiths.

William Griffiths (grandfather) and his wife,
Margaret (Williams) Griffiths, were both na-
tives of Wales. The male members of the Will-
iams family were prosperous farmers, who prided



themselves on their fine ground and superior
stock, and the Griffiths family were also well-to-
do people, but they were not blessed with as large
a share of this world's goods as were the Williams
family. William Griffiths and wife reared a fam-
ily of eight children, namely : Rachel, Letitia.
Sarah, John, Stephen, Thomas M., who emigrated
to America ; William, who also emigrated to
America, and is now a Congregational minister in
Wisconsin ; and Griffith Griffiths.

Thomas M. Griffiths (father) is a native of
South Wales. In 1869, accompanied by his wife,
Ann (Bengough) Griffiths, also a native of South
Wales, he emigrated to this country and located
in Gibsonbury (now Jermyn), Pennsylvania,
where he immediately engaged in mining, which
occupation proved both pleasant and lucrative.
He has always been a loyal and patriotic citizen
of his adopted country, and has identified himself
with the Republican party, whose principles he
advocates. At the present time ( 1904) he is
serving in the capacity of chief burgess of the
borough of Jermyn, and he has also served on the
school board and in the council. In all of these
offices he has worked for the interests of the town
of Jermvn and for the advancement of her var-
ious resources. Mr. Griffiths was married twice.
His first wife, Ann (Bengough) Griffiths, bore
him one son, John B., mentioned at length herein-
after. His second wife, Mary (Evans) Grif-
fiths, also bore him one son, Henry M., who. is an
experienced stenographer. Thomas Bengoug'n,
father of Ann (Bengough) Griffitns, is supposed
to have emigrated from Scotland to Wales, where
he resided up to the time of his death. He was
a cabinetmaker by trade, and an expert mechanic.
His wife, whose maiden name was Ann Reese,
bore him six children, namely : David, John,
Sarah, Elizabeth, Thomas, and Ann Bengough.
Four of this number — John, Elizabeth, Thomas,
and Ann — emigrated to America and became
good, respectable and loyal citizens of the United

John B. Griffiths received a liberal education.
He first attended the common schools of his na-
tive town, Jermyn, Pennsylvania ; then Eastman's
Business College, Poughkeepsie, New York, from
which he was graduated in 1888 : the Wyoming
Seminary, Kingston, Pennsylvania, from which
he was graduated in 1893 ; then Wesleyan Uni-
versity, Middletown, Connecticut, from which he
was graduated. From that date up to 1899 he
was employed in clerical capacities, and in the lat-
ter named vear was appointed ]30stmaster of
Jermyn, which is a third grade office and a pres-

idential appointment. He is a member of
Aurora Lodge, Xo. 523, Free and Accepted Ala-
sons, of Jermyn, in which he is junior warden, a
member of Patriotic Order Sons of America, and
a member of the Wesleyan University Chapter of
the Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity.


ANDREW MITCHELL, Jr., one of the
progressive young business men of Carbondale,
Pennsylvania, whose future looks bright and
prosperous, and who will not be deterred in bring-
ing events to pass, is a member of the Maxwell
Throwing Company (Silk Throwers). He was
born in Carbondale , Pennsylvania, January 7,
1 87 1, a son of Andrew and Mary H. (Jeffrey)
Mitchell, and grandson of Michael Mitchell, who
carried on the business of ship joiner and builder
in Scotland.

Andrew Mitchell (father) was born in
Grangemouth, Stirlingshire, Scotland, November
22, 183 1. He was reared and educated in his na-
tive country, and at the age of twenty-one years,,
accompanied by his widowed mother and young-
est sister, he came to New York and about the
year 1853 went to the island of Cuba, where he
remained twelve years. He served as superin-
tendent of some of the largest sugar plants, draw-
ing out plans for and o.verseeing the erection of all
the machinery required in that business, for which
he received the highest salary of any man on the
island. He had a severe attack of yellow fever
while residing there, which nearly proved fatal.
Among many interesting anecdotes of his life in
Cuba, we will quote the following: He was one
of five white men on a plantation with one thous-
and negroes. The latter had planned an uprising
at midnight, when the white men were to be
assassinated ; the plot was discovered and ten min-
utes before the time the Spanish cavalry from the
nearest garrison rode in like a whirlwind and
seized the ringleaders, which was the first intima-
tion Mr. Mitchell had of his danger. On another
occasion he, with a brother-in-law, had gone over
to the small town of Miryel. While paying for
some articles purchased he incautiously pulled
from his pocket a handful of gold coins. While
replacing them he noticed there were several evil-
looking men lounging around. They had left the
town but a short distance when the clattering of
hoofs behind them told them they were being pur-
sued. Intuitively divining the cause, they put
spurs to their horses and fortunately took the
right hand road, which skirted one side of an im-
passable morass, while their i^ursuers. just miss-
ing them at the cross roads, struck off on the left.



At one point pursued and pursuers came in sight
of each other, when the latter raised their arms
and shook their machetes, or large knives, thereby
letting them know what to expect if they could
lav hands on them, but providentially they reached
the confines of the Miryel estate first and tHe
others were afraid to follow. The first large im-
portation of slaves from Africa arrived at Estate
Alava while J\Ir. Mitchell was there, for slaves
were sometimes smuggled into the island even at
this date, in spite of the international law existing
to the contrary. In 1865 Air. Alitchell settled in
Carbondale, Pennsylvania, and entered into part-
nership with the late John Stuart in his foundry
on Seventh avenue. Subsequently he disposed of
his interest -in the business, and in connection with
the late John Gorman and Joseph Alexander pur-
chased a portion of the land between Salem
avenue and the City Park, which a short time be-
fore had been completely swept over by a disas-
trous fire. He sold a number of lots on Main
street and Salem avenue, and also erected the Key-
stone block, half of which block belongs to him,
as dOiCs also the Globe store, and one-half of the
Opera House block.

In 1870 J\Ir. Mitchell purchased land in the
eastern part of the city, partly fronting on Canaan
street, and this he laid out in lots, which sold
quickly, and on the greater portion of which he
erected substantial houses, allowing the purchasers
ample time in which to pay for them. He also
erected a large planing mill, which was struck by
lightning on July 2, 1885, and completely wiped
out, together with the lumber yards, sheds and
contents, involving a loss of thirteen thousand
dollars, with no insurance. He served one term
as councilman of Carbondale, but refused nomi-
nation for a second term, and he also refused
nomination for mayor of the city. He is a Pres-
byterian in religion, a Republican in politics, and
a Mason in fraternal relations.

On September 5, 1866, Mr. IMitchell married
Mary H. Jeffrey, and their children are as fol-
lows : Miguel Douglas ; Christina Mav, who
became the wife of H. H. Major, and they are the
parents of two children : Helen Eudora and An-
drew Mitchell Major; Andrew, Jr., mentioned
hereinafter : Marguerite Aluirhead, who became
the wife of Frank AI. Garney, o.f Kingston ;
Robert Duncan : Helen Ada ; Alexander McLeod ;
Virginia Cassells, who died in infancy : Isabella
Wvllie : Florida Fowler ; and Donald Clvde Alit-

Andrew Mitchell, Jr., second son of Andrew
and Mary H. Mitchell, was reared and educated


in his native city, is a graduate of Carbondale
high school and of Scranton Business College, and
while not a college educated man in the accepted
sense he is fully competent fo.r any calling or busi-
ness. In early life he learned the trade of car-
penter with his father, whom he worked for and
with. The Maxwell Throwing Company, of
which Mr. Mitchell is half owner, was organized
in 1898 by William Hey son, William Maxwell and
Henry Kimble, and operated by this firm up to
January, 1900, when Mr. jNIitchell bought out the
interest of Messrs. Heyson and Kimble. The
plant is situated in Jermyn, Pennsylvania, is
equipped with an eighty-horse engine and a one
hundred and ten-horse boiler, and they give con-
stant employment to sixty skilled mechanics and
laborers. Both Mr. Maxwell and Mr. Mitchell
are competent business men, and under their skill-
ful management the plant has increased three fold
in its capacity, and by their honest and honorable
business transactions they have built up a large
trade in their special line.

In addition to this enterprise Mr. Mitchell is
actively interested in many corporations, and has
taken a keen delight in the upbuilding of the city
of Carbondale, of which he is a resident, and of
Jermyn, where his plant is located. At the pres-
ent time (1904) he is vice president of the An-
thracite Telephone Company, a director in the
First National Bank of Jermyn, which was or-
ganized May 15, 1902, and auditor of the Jermyn
Electric Light Company. He owns a half inter-
est in the Grand Opera House of Carbondale.
He is a member of Carbondale Lodge, No. 249,
F. and A. M., and trustee of Andrew Mitdiell
Hose Company, of Carbondale, named after his
father, Andrew Mitchell.

JOHN J. SWIFT, a mine contractor, who re-
sides at Archbald, Lackawanna county, Pennsyl-
vania, is reported on good authority to be the first
male child born in what is now the borough of

He is the son of Thomas and Catherine
(Swift) Swift, both natives of Ballena, county
Mayo, Ireland. They were industrious and hon-
est people, who emigrated to this country in 1844
and located at Archbald. Thomas Swift worked
for the Delaware and Hudson Company in laying
out the Gravity Railroad until coal was mined in
Archbald, after which he became a miner, which
occupation he followed up to within five years
prior to his death, when he turned his attention
to agricultural pursuits. He was the incumbent
of the office of road commissioner of his township



for a number of years, during which time he per-
formed his duties in a highh' creditable and ef-
ficient manner. The family of Thomas and
Catherine (Swift) Swift consisted of eleven
children, nine of whom attained years of maturity.
The names of their children are as follows : John
J., mentioned at length hereinafter ; Mary, de-
ceased ; Anna, who resides in Paterson, New
Jersey ; Sarah ; Catherine, deceased ; Patrick, a
miner, who resides in Archbald ; Bridget ; James,
deceased ; Thomas, deceased ; Norah, deceased ;
and Ellen. All of these children were born in
Archbald, Pennsylvania, and with one exception
of the six living are residents of that town.
Thomas Swift, father of these children, died De-
cember 7, 1897, aged seventy-eight years, and his
wife, Catherine Swift, passed away February 21,.
1894, having attained the biblical age of three
score years and ten. They were worthy and con-
sistent members of the Roman Catholic Church.

John J. Swift, eldest son of Thomas and
Catherine Swift, was born May 6, 1846, and was
reared and educated in his native town, Archbald,
Pennsylvania. His early educational advantages
were limited, owing to his being the eldest child
of the family, and therefore obliged to contribute
to the support of his younger brothers and sisters.
He became a full-fledged miner at the age of six-
teen years, having chosen that occupation for his
life work owing to his residence in a mining town,
and that being the means of livelihood followed
by his father. At an early age he became a mine
contractor, which line of work he has followed up
to the present time, and by industry and persever-
ance he accumulated sufficient money to build a
comfortable home for himself and family and to
lay aside an income for his declining years or for
the use of his family in case of his sudden demise.
In early manhood, realizing the necessity of an
education, he attended night school, where he
mastered the lower branches, and in this way he
qualified himself for attending to such business
as would come within his sphere. In 1878, the
year following the organization of Archbald as a
borough, he served creditably as a member of the
school board. He is a noble speciman of manhood
and is a representative of that class of men who
work their way upward in spite of adversity and

February 16. 1871, Mr. Swift was united in
marriage to Sebina Gilgallon, who died December
4, 1893. Their children were: John P., born De-
cember II, 1871, who married Annie Laughney,
and they are the parents of one child, James C.
Swift. Mary, born May i, 1874, who now acts

as housekeeper in place of her mother. James,
born February 15, 1876. Michael, born October
2T,. 1878, died in 1888.

well known real estate men of Carbondale, Lack-
awanna county, Pennsylvania, where he has spent
the greater portion of his life, is a grandson of
Andrew Watt, who was a native of Scotland, a
wheelwright by trade, and who emigrated to this
country in the year 181 7. He settled at High
Bridge, New York, where he resided until 1825,
when he removed to Canaan Corners, Pennsyl-
vania, where he followed his trade for many
years. He married and his family consisted of
seven children, namely: John, Andrew, ]\Iat-
thew, Agnes, Sarah, Elizabeth, and Mary.

John'Watt, father of William Wallace Watt,
w^as born in Scotland in the year 1809. He served
an apprenticeship at the trade of wheelwright,
and fo.r a number of years followed this line of
business. In 1842 he removed from Caanan Cor-
ners, where the greater portion of his early life
was spent, to Carbondale, Pennsylvania, and after
working at his trade for a short period of time en-
tered the service of the Delaware and Hudson
Company as pattern maker. In 1850 he engaged
in the milling business at Providence, and in con-
nection with this opened a feed store in Scranton,
which he operated with a fair degree of success
for a number of years. He subsequently opened
a general store in his residence town, Carbondale,
under the firm name of John Watt and Sons. This
continued up to 1884, in which year John E.
Watt, a son and partner, bought out the firm.
Mr. Watt was a healthy, rugged, Christian man,
a liberal-minded and progressive citizen, and a
believer and staunch supporter of the Methodist
Episcopal Church.

In 183 1 John Watt married Harriet M. Free-
man, a native of Tolland county, Connecticut,
born in 181 1. Their children were as follows:

1. Andrew, born in 1833, died August 11, 1901.

2. John E., born in 1835, died June 3, 1901 ; he
was married to Martha Wells, of Wilkes-Barre,
Pennsylvania, who bore him foiur children — Wil-
liam E., Frederick G., Mary E., and Clara.

3. William Wallace, born in 1838, mentioned
hereinafter. 4. Sarah E., born in 1842. de-
ceased : was the wife of Alfred Pascoe, and
mother of three children : Helen I., Harriet M.,
and Edwin W. Pascoe. 5. Bell, born in 1845,
wife of Daniel Scurry, and four children were the
issue of this union, two of whom are living at the
present time (1904), namely: Walter G., and

' /" / I


'jtl^fiQ CJ^



Helen Scurry. In 1881 Mr. and Mrs. Watt cel-
-ebrated their golden wedding in the presence of a
number of relatives and friends, who assembled to
offer congratulations and good wishes on that
auspicious event. In June, 1885, after having
lived happily together for fifty-four years, during
which time Mr. Watt was never confined to bed
by sickness, he passed awav at the age of seventy-
seven years. He was survived by his wife, whose
death occurred September 27, 1902, at the ex-
treme old age of ninety-one years.

William Wallace Watt was born at Canaan
Corners, Pennsylvania, January I, 1838. When
he was four years of age his parents removed to
Carbondale, Pennsylvania, and in the schools of
that city he received a practical education which
thoroughly qualified him for the duties and re-
sponsibilities of life. He is now one of the sub-
stantial business men of that section of the state,
devoting the greater part of his attention to real
estate transactions, from which he derives a
goodly income. He is a director in the jMiners'
and Mechanics' Savings Bank of Carbondale.
Mr. Watt is a true and public-spirited citizen, and
performs his duties of citizenship to the best of
his ability.

Mr. Watt was united in marriage in 1863, to
Mary J. Gillespie, of Scotch parentage. Their
children are: ^largaret, born in 1864, became
the wife of William Hankins, and they are the
parents of three children : Wallace W., Nathaniel
"R., and Isabelle W. Hankins. Maurice G., born
in 1869, married Gertrude Raynor, no issue.
Jessie E., born in 1874, became the wife of James
H. Paul, and the issue of this marriage is one
daughter, Elizabeth W. Paul. Isabelle F., born
in 1880, wife of Thomas S. Atherto.n, of Scran-
ton, Pennsylvania, and mother of one son, Thomas
Sayre Atherton.

THOMAS J. GILDEA is one of the best
known men in the Lackawanna valley. He has
held the office of justice of the peace for twenty-
four consecutive vears, with the exception of one
year, in which he served as chief burgess by the
suffrage of the people of Archbald, Pennsylva-
nia, where he resides. His long term of service,
his contact with many of the best attorneys at
the Lackawanna bar, his auickness of thought
and depth of penetration, all qualify him for this
responsible office, which he fills with credit. In
his office of justice he tempers justice with mercv,
and so well has he pleased the people of his town
that no opponent aspires to the office he holds.
He is a close observer of men as well as books.

and can readily discriminate between the gen-
uine and the spurious, and so he is very seldom
imposed upon. His ready Irish wit and fine vein
of humor make him a most congenial compan-
ion, while his sarcasm and quickness of repartee
make him a dreaded foe.

Squire Gildea was born in the historic town
of Killalla, county Mayo. Ireland, in 1854, a son
of James and Ann (Wright) Gildea, both of
whom were of Irish birth. The town of Killalla
is one of the seaport towns of Ireland, and fur-
nished some of the brightest mariners that ever
studied chart or boxed a compass. James Gildea,
father of Squire Gildea, was one of these, but he
died early in life, leaving a family of nine chil-
dren, namely : Mary, Margaret, John, Peter, Pat-
rick, Francis, Catherine, James and Thomas J.

Squire Gildea attended school for one year
in his native land, his teacher having been Mr.
Finnerty, but in that short space of time he laid
the foundation upon which he built later in his
adopted country. In 1867, at the age of twelve
years, he emigrated to the United States, and
following in the footsteps of his father led a
seafaring life for three years, his navigation be-
ing confined to the great lakes. He then located
permanently at Archbald, Pennsylvania, and from
1875 to 1900, a period of a quarter of a century,
followed the occupation of mine contractor, re-
ceiving injuries by the falling of a rock in the
latter named year which incapacitated him for
that line of work. In 1877 he sent for his wid-
owed mother, whom he tenderly cared for in his
home up to the time of her decease. His first
official position was that of constable, which he
held for three years. In 1891 he was elected
chief burgess of Archbald, that being the only
year in which he did not serve as justice of the
peace from his election in 1882 up to the present
time ( 1904) . He also served in the capacity of
census enumerator in 1900. He is a member of
the Father Matthew Temperance Society, the
Catholic Benevolent Mutual Association, and the
Black Diamond Fire Company, of Archbald. In
politics he is independent, preferring to cast his
vote for the candidate best q.ialified for office,
irrespective of party.

Squire Gildea was united in marriage in 1875
to Kate Karney, and of the seventeen children
born of this union, only three are now living,
namely : John, constable of the second ward of
Archbald, who married Ann McHale, and they
are the parents of two children — Aaron and Mar-
guerite Gildea ; Mary E., unmarried ; Frances,



unmarried. Mr. Gildea and his family are worthy
and consistent members of the Roman Cathohc

of the town of Archbald, Pennsylvania, where
he is a leading and well known merchant, is a
worthy representative of that class of men who
always take a keen interest in the development
and progress of whatever community they re-
side in. He is a native of Germany, born March
30, 1830.

He was given a liberal education in his na-
tive land, including both vocal and instrumental
music. After his graduation from the best in-
stitution of learning which his native town could
furnish he became a teacher and this line of work
he followed up to 1852. In that year a German
minister of Archbald, Pennsylvania, persuaded
him to come to this country and teach school ;
there were several German families in that town,
but not enough children attended the school to
remunerate him for his services. He soon ac-
quired enough knowledge of the English lan-
guage to make it convenient for him in his new
home and country, and shortly afterward he
turned his attention to clerical employment. For
a short space of time he worked in a store, and
he then entered the service of Peter Walsh, who
was also postmaster, with whom he remained
four years. Then, at the solicitation of a friend,
he learned the trade of harnessmaker, which oc-
cupation he followed for two years, and in 1858
he opened a shop in Archbald. During the fol-
lowing year he took charge of the Delaware and
Hudson depot as passenger and freight agent and
operator. During his term of twenty-five years
as agent for the above named company he en-
tered the mercantile business. This was brought
about through a debt which was due him from
the proprietor of a store at Archbald. In order
to save himself he took the store, stock and fix-
tures, and by the aid of his family during the
day and his own presence at night business was
kept in motion and the trade constantly increased.
Later he was obliged to enlarge the capacity of
his store, which is one of the finest in the bor-
ough and thoroughly equipped with a large and
select line of the best • stock procurable in the
market, and in order to devote the necessary time
to this enterprise Mr. Gerbig dissolved his con-
nection with his employers in the year 1887.

For a number of years he held the office of
school director at Archbald. He is a member of
the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, is the

oldest member of that order in Archbald, and
has the honor of being past grand. He is a mem-
ber of the German Evangelical Church, in which,
he has held the offices of treasurer and elder. He:
is a worthy gentleman, who, by honest toil and
economy, has built up for himself a profitable
business and has gained considerable financial

In 1855 Mr. Gerbig was united in marriage to
Pauline H. Miller, who was born in Leipsic,
Germany, in 1836, daughter of Augustus Miller,
also a native of Germany. In 1849 ^^''S- Gerbig
emigrated to this country with her parents. Her
father, Augustus Miller, was a cabinet-maker by
trade and a good mechanic. He was also a cof-
fin-maker, that business being usually followed
by members of his craft. His family consisted of
twelve children,ten of whom grew to maturity and.

Online LibraryHorace Edwin HaydenGenealogical and family history of the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys, Pennsylvania; (Volume 2) → online text (page 57 of 130)