Horace Edwin Hayden.

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

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war commenced between the Germans and the
French ; the French army came and took Alentz.
Our prince with his whole court left us and
crossed the Rhine. My principal dependence was
gone — there was nothing but battles, plundering
and quartering troops, Germans and French. I
never had less than two and as many as twentv-
one soldiers in my house, and other troubles in
plenty. Mentz was taken and retaken several
times, the last time early in the year 1794. As
now the river Rhine was cleared by the retreat
of the French army and no prospect of peace



showed itself, I resolved at once to emigrate with
my small family to America. I informed my
brother-in-law, John C. Mattes, who resolved to
go with me with his family, as did my two
brothers, George A. and Henry J. Eberle. * * *
We made ourselves ready, and on the 26th of
April took leave of our dear parents, shipped
down the river Rhine and bade good bye to our
Fatherland."

The start was made from Bingen. In letters
to his brother Richard, John Mattes relates how
they were delayed by "frequent tolls and head
winds," and did not reach Rotterdam until May
9th, when, to their great disappointment, they
learned that a ship had sailed the day before.
This delayed them several weeks, but they fin-
ally sailed from Amsterdam June 24th, 1794.
The letter tells of being halted in the channel and
questioned by an English war ship, and of seeing
a British fleet of thirty-six vessels ; of the perils
and hardships of the tedious voyage, which fin-
ally ended at Philadelphia, September 5, 1794.
He adds, "thank God, my wife, both the children
and I have been preserved in good health till this
time."

On the 2 1st he signed a contract with "the
honorable Church Council of both of the congre-
gations in the town of Easton" to serve one year
as organist, schoolmaster, etc. He soon found
himself very happily situated, and made himself
greatly respected and beloved. Oifers came from
larger places, but he refused to leave the friends
he had made and faithfully fulfilled his duties
until, smitten by consumption, he died Septem-
ber 23, 1809, in his fifty-fifth year.

The youngest son, Philip Henry, now inher-
ited the staff, which he was to bear with such in-
tegrity, honor and dignity through a long life.
His early instruction came naturally from his
father, who wrote to his relatives in Germany
about January, 1801 : "The younger, Philip
Heinrich, is still with me. He is quick at learn-
ing and speaks, reads and writes English, which
is the chief language here, as well as his German
mother tongue. He is well along in arithmetic
and has learned book keeping. He is now learn-
ing geometry and surveying, and is assistant in
the English school." He studied surveying very
thoroughly, and practiced it. along with his other
work, many years. Later he entered a classical
school, where he studied Latin. Greek and higher
mathematics. Although doubtful of his fitness
for the ministry, to please his father, he studied
theology under a noted scholar, the Rev. Dr.
Christian Endr.eos (pastor at Easton 1803-15),
and to his father's great joy, as related by him in



THE WYO.MING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



36;



a pathetic letter to his brother-in-law Eberle, was
able to deliver his first sermon before the father's
death. In May, 1807, he applied to the Synod
convened at Lancaster for a license, which was
granted after the usual strict examination. On
account of throat trouble, he later gave up the
ministry. He was then twenty-two years old.
In August of this year he received his final nat-
uralization papers. His further record is one of
continuous activity, uniformly successful and re-
markable in scope ; made possible only by a lum-
inous intelligence, complete preparation, orderly
system and patient industry. He left no frayed
edges ; as Dr. Monussen wrote of Cjesar, "He
finished whatever he took in hand."

April 17, 1809, he was appointed deputy reg-
istrar of wills for Northampton county. May 21,
1809, he was married to Catherine Herster,
granddaughter of Andrew Herster, who was a
sergeant of an Easton company of infantry cap-
tured at the battle of Long Island in August,
1776, and who, under the cold and starvation of
the infamous prison-ship, "'Jersey," gave up his
vigorous and useful life on Christmas Day. De-
cember 25, 1776. The victims of that hell of
torture are commemorated by the monument in
Trinity churchyard, New York city.

May 8, 1813, he was appointed postmaster at
Easton, qnd held the office sixteen years, through
four national administrations, viz. : The second
of Madison, 1813-17; Monroe. 1817-25; John
Ouincy Adams, 1825-29. He resigned in 1828,
but George Wolf, then in congress and later gov-
ernor of Pennsylvania, and a warm personal
friend, requested that he hold the resignation
"under advisement" for another quarter, until a
suitable successor could be found. Wolf's letter
was dated December 6, 1828. The Bank of
Pennsylvania was incorporated by the act of 30th
March, 1793. The incorporators were Samuel
Howel, John Barclay, Clement Biddle, John
Ross, Edward Fox, John Swanwick and George
Meads, of Philadelphia ; Edward Hand, Robert
Coleman. George Ross, Adam Reigart and Cas-
per Shaft'uer, Lancaster ; James Deimer, Joseph
Heister, James May, Jacob Bower and Thomas
Dundas, Reading. Authorized capital, $3,000,-
000. The central bank was located in Philadel-
phia, on Second street, below Chestnut. Branches
were established at Reading, Lancaster, York
and Easton. The Easton branch was opened
about 1809 with ]\Iordecai Churchman, of Phila-
delphia, as cashier ; the bookkeepers were also
Philadelphians. It was closed for a short time in
1827, but was reopened in that year with Philip
H. Mattes as manager and cashier. The financial



panic of 1837-43 sealed the doom of the central
bank and caused the withdrawal of the branches.
However, Air. Mattes was retained several years,
collecting and winding up the business. Among
other depositors and business clients of the
branch during its active years was the firm of
George W. and Selden T. Scranton & Co., of
Oxford Furnace, New Jersey, the home of
George at that time being at Belvidere on the
Delaware.

In October, 1845, ^^J"- ^lattes was elected,
and November 17th commissioned, registrar of
wills. He also served as treasurer of the Easton
Gas and Water Company, beginning in 1848, and
resigned in 1868, and was also "actuary" (cashier
and manager) of the Dime Savings Bank from
its formation in or ubout 1850 to his resignation
in 1868. In January, 185 1, he was commissioned
by Governor Johnston as "a member of the Com-
mittee for this State, for the purpose of affording
to the citizens of Pennsylvania every facility for
the representation of their various products at
the Exhibition of the Industry, Genius and skill
of all Nations to be' held in the City of London
in May next."

During all this long stretch of years his indus-
trv and usefulness were great. Outside of his
official duties, always promptly finished, fre-
quently involving hardship and peril, as in the
transportation of specie by wagon between Eas-
ton and Philadelphia, his method never slipped a
cog. An industriously busy man, he always had
time for the councils of his family, his church,
his locality and the needs of his neighbors. It is
difficult to conceive of a more useful man. In
its essentials his home life did not dififer greatly
from the best of the Fatherland standards. He
reared a large family. Five daughters and two
sons lived to mature years. Of them the younger
son and youngest child, our venerable and be-
loved Uncle Henry, alone survives, well remem-
bered by many as the skilled pianist, organist and
musical instructor of a full generation, and hon-
ored bv all that know him.

The year 1840 brought him into touch with
the \'allev of the Lackawanna. When those en-
ergetic, fearless and sagacious brothers, George
W. and Selden T. Scranton, had satisfied their
minds to the effect that this valley contained
something more than the raw materials for the
manufacture of iron ; that hidden in her bosom
were millions of tons of the best domestic fuel
on earth ; needing financial backing, they natur-
ally turned to the man who was not only their
banker, but also, for several years, had been
their financial preceptor and advisor. They



366



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



drew hiiii into an enterprise foreign to his busi-
ness habit and explainable only by his high re-
gard for George Scranton, and his desire to open
a business career for his son Charles, who was
then twenty-one years of age. In 1840, with
his son, he visited and examined the property,
decided to invest, and took a fourth part in the
firm of Scranton, Grant & Company, with a capi-
tal of $20,000. In April, 1841, the son returned
to enter upon a work and life worthy of his
father's example, rich in service and fruitfulness.
The cordial relations and mutual esteem existing
between Philip H. jMattes and George W. Scran-
ton at this time was remarkable, in view of the
high reputation of Mr. Mattes, and the disparity
in ages, Air. Mattes being twenty-six years older
than Mr. Scranton.

The theory upon which the enterprise in the
Lackawanna \"alley was based had three princi-
pal prongs. The first was the manufacture of
iron : second, the mining of coal for marl-et,
which in:luded the construction of railways;
third, the founding of a city and sale of building
lots. Three successive attempts to "blow in"
their first furnace and make pig-iron resulted in
flat failures. But, as Mr. J. C. Piatt has written,
"these young pioneers must succeed, or financial
ruin stared them in the face." Here are a few
extracts from a letter, dated February 13, 1842,
George W. Scranton to Philip H. Mattes.

"Mv dear friend. We are still in the land of
the living and our furnace is (by hard work)
doing pretty well now. * * * The last forty-
eight hours we have made four castings, 215
pigs average weight seventy pounds, and from
runners or sovv's 500 pounds each, in all making
say 17,050 pounds good iron. We are selling
some per ton at 33d. * ''" * It will be
impossible to get everything moving on syste-
matically this blast. All of us are doing our
best. * * * * If we don't make much money,
it will be greatly to our credit to k-eep her going
as long as things hold together."

The ensuing correspondence between Mr.
Llattes and the Scranton brothers is honorable
and frank in the relation of their honest work and
in the reliance of the younger business me 1 upon
the veteran banker for, not only financial support
but, even after the capitalists of New York had
been enlisted, for general and legal advice in the
drafting of essential papers. In the whole outfit
there was no pen like his, be it for penmanship,
diction, financial training or knowledge of the
law. All the others concerned found themselves
obliged to lean heavily upon him.

Letter, Selden T. Scranton to Philip H.



JMattes, dated Lackawanna Iron Works, Alay 22,
1845, reports Welsh puddlers all gone and their
places filled b}' English and Irish. Commends
Charles F. Mattes for his efforts to learn the
business and for doing all he can to promote in-
terests of the firm.

From New York, September 18, 1846, George
W. Scranton to Philip H. Mattes. George W.
and Joseph Scranton in New York endeavoring
to raise capital. Relates plans in detail and re-
quests Philip H. IMattes to write and inform him
whether plans will conflict with Pennsylvania
laws.

October 4, 1846. George W. Scranton to
Philip H. Mattes. He and Joseph H. Scranton
just returned from Massachusetts and Rhode
Island. In course of trip visited several iron
works. Erie Railway directors appointed Presi-
dent Loder and William E. Dodge a committee
to visit Lackawanna, investigate and report.
Propose to make capital $200,000, putting in
present concern at $100,000. Desires Philip H.
Mattes to accept note for $1,000.

New York, November, 1846, George W.
Scranton to Philip H. Mattes. Report of com-
mittee favorable. Propose to put property in
hands of trustees (Philip H. Mattes, John How-
lev and George W. Scranton) who will give
mortgage for $100,000 or more for capital
needed, etc. Desires Philip H. Mattes to at once
come to New York and assist in drawing up
papers and give benefit of his legal and general
information.

During this month, Mr. Grant having retired,
the firm was reorganized under the name of
Scrantons & Piatt.

O.xford Furnace, November 23, 1846, George
W. Scranton to Philip H. jMattes. Announces
return and "carried out our whole matter tri-
itmphantly." Sends papers to be signed, dis-
cusses financial arrangements and expresses
satisfaction that the danger has been passed.

Then came a stroke of generalship which has
seldom been equalled in the annals of industrial
triumphs. The Erie Railway was in its birth-
struggles, and, in order to earn a promised bonus
from the state of New York, necessary to its
existence, must reach Binghamton by a certain
time. The greatest difficulty that confronted the
company was to obtain the iron rails. The firm
of Scrantons & Piatt determined to secure the
contract and did so. Its execution involved the
construction of a rail-mill under very great difii-
culties, the accumulation of pig iron, an increase
of capital, and the delivery of the rails through
forest and swami), o\'er fields and mountains, an



THE \\'YO]\IING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



367



average of fully fifty miles, to the Erie line * '■' *
the contract was carried out on time, the Erie
saved and the iron works placed upon a solid
basis.

In 1849 the firm undertook the construction
of a railroad from the iron works to a connection
with the Erie Railroad at Great Bend, a work
that was duly carried to completion under the
supervision of George Scranton without letting
a single contract. April 25th the "Ligget's Gap
Railroad Company" was duly organized with
John J. Phelps, president ; Selden T. Scranton,
treasurer, and Charles F. iMattes, secretary.

A letter written by Philip H. i\Iattes, dated
Scranton, October 20, 1851, to his eldest daugh-
ter, Sabina, describes the opening of the
new road, October 15th, which had then been
named the "Lackawanna and Western." After
a brief narrative of the trip from Scranton "with
George Scranton and a goodly number of
others," he says, "the iron horse was fresh and
strong and * * * without once balking or
stumbling * * * landed us safely in the little
town of Great Bend on the other side of the
Susquehanna. Here we were met by a large
company of the 'associates' from New York and
other places, just arrived by the Erie road —
many of them with their wives and daughters —
and soon started on our way back, reaching
Scranton in good broad daylight, having been
greeted at one point with the display of flags on
the mountain top and the cannon's roar in the
valley below, and at another with the music of a
military band * * * and at many places by the
loud hurrahs of the assembled crowds." At
Scranton they were met by another band "and
the whole population." In obedience to calls "a
number of spouters addressed the crowd from
the steps of the hotel, Mr. Porter leading off and
Dr. Throop bringing up the rear." "Thursday was
devoted to business, and the meeting of stock-
holders in the evening was extended * * *
into the next day, it being past i o'clock
before we adjourned." * '■' * * "The trains
are now making their daily trips over the
new road, both with coal and passengers. Yes-
terday they carried some twenty-five passen-
gers up. * * * There is a large stock of coal
on hand ready for transportation, with a pros-
pect of now being at length able to do a remuner-
ating business. I hope disappointment may not
again, as so often heretofore, bring up the rear."

Eleven years already ; and more to come of
investment, labor, risks, anxieties, before a dollar
comes in return. Thus was the Lackawanna
Railroad, babe of the Scranton, Piatt and ]\Iattes



families, born amid rejoicings, fears and hopes.
The next long stride promptly followed. It was
risky ; it meant longer waiting for remuneration.
It was useful and beneficent; for these unsat-
isfied men were builders. A shorter route to
New York City had been planned even before
the northern road had been completed. A stock-
holder's meeting assembled at Stroudsburg, De-
cember 26, 1850, and elected as officers : George
W. Scranton, president; John I. Blair, treasurer;
Charles E. Mattes, secretary.

So it happened that my father was the first
secretary of both of the first locomotive railroads
that penetrated the valley ; these being soon con-
solidated into the "Delaware, Lackawanna and
Western.''

The untimely death of George Scranton,
j\Iarch 24, 1861, inflicted upon all of his co-
workers a severe shock and bitter sorrow. They
loved and needed him.

The enlargement of the business necessitated
subdivided organizations. This condition, to-
gether with the weight of years, explains the
gradual retirement of our grandfather, Philip H,
Mattes, from a potent touch upon the keys of
Scranton. Submissively had he assimilated the
wisdom of his fathers. Patiently and perfectly
had his life's work been done. Carefully he
wound up all his business and family obligations.
Peacefully he slept into the rest (May 19,
1870,) aged eighty-six years. In person he was
a notable figure. More than six feet in height
and upright as the typical American Indian ; al-
ways carefully dressed, a heavy growth of snow-
white hair and beard ; a Roman nose that, at
times meant something, but generallv was con-
tradicted by the kindlv eves and gentle tempera-
ment that made friends of all the children. When
he and George Scranton walked together they
made a courtly pair toward whom all passers ren-
dered deference and many turned to observe.

His son, helper and successor in this valley,
was Charles Frederick ]\Iattes, born at Easton,
May 26, 18 19. His earlier record in the valley
has partly, hereinbefore, been mentioned. His
education was such as the ordinary schools of
Easton were capable of, supplemented by his
father's instruction in surveying and the use of
drafting instruments. Also in satisfaction of his
muscular promptings, he sawed and planed his
way to a skillful command of carpenter's tools.
Thus, twenty-one years of age, of fine physique
anfl sound in health, was he equipped for the
long campaign that began in 1841 in a clerkship
from which he soon climbed to higher positions,
towit : Superintendent of furnaces ; superin-



^,68



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



tendent of mines ; general superintendent ; gen-
eral manager ; second vice-president.

The wholesome instinct for a home life and
family relationships also bore fruit. In 1846 came
Joseph Curtis Piatt with his wife Catherine, who
was a sister of Joseph H. Scranton ; also his own
sister, Lydia Maria, who, in that same year was
married to Charles F. Mattes. Two daughters
and four sons of this union lived to mature years.
The younger daughter, Anna, married in 1875 to
Alexander Sherrerd, died about a year later. The
others survive. The wife and mother died Jan-
uary 14, 1861. The distressed father, distracted
between his exacting business duties and the care
of his family of children, married again the next
year, a widow, Mrs. Crosby, of Wilkes-Barre.
An earnest Christian woman, she was an excel-
lent step-mother. Her aged mother, Grandma
Hart, well remembered many of the men and
women who had experienced the perils of the
"Wyoming Massacre." By this marriage there
was one daughter, Cornelia Wilson Mattes, born
December 7, 1864.

The career of Charles F. Mattes presents few
high-lights, being mainly remarkable for steady
and intelligent industry ; an almost fanatical loy-
alty to the company he served, and a persistent
seeking for opportunities to serve his fellow men,
dictated by his deep sympathies and his dominat-
ing belief in his responsibilities before God; in
whose fear and love he ruled his house. Perhaps
a better tribute cannot be paid than to quote the
words of one of his veteran German workmen :
"When Sharley Mattes dells you somedings —
dats so."

In his young manhood, he was full of lively
fun, the joy maker of every social gathering of
the early days. We remember well his keen in-
terest in every form of bird life ; in the moun-
tains, streams, forests and flowers of his home-
land. He was also an excellent all-round horse-
man. He disciplined his soul into the perform-
ance of everything that a quick conscience de-
manded. To such men "day unto day uttereth
speech and night unto night showeth knowl-
edge."

The formalities of the ancestral Lutheran
church with the home training, apparently estab-
lished an orderly regulation of his healthful life.
It remained for the infant First Presbyterian
Church of Scranton to really bring him upon
his knees before the God of his fathers. Once
convinced, he never for a moment faltered. There
was always "a prophet's chamber" in his house,
and' always a cordial welcome at his table for
ministers and elders. This was well known and



availed of, to the happiness of the family. One
of our frequent treats was when the late Rev.
Dr. Parke, of Pittston, would unannounced walk
in upon us at our mid-day meal and we young-
sters would gleefully scurry around to make
place for him. How genial he was — a ray of
sunshine !

Almost from their beginnings in this valley
he became a worker in the Presbyterian Church
and Sunday school. For nearly forty years he
was a trustee and elder. For seventeen years he
served in the city councils, where he was dreaded
by grafters. For many years and during his
severest struggles, it was a rule of his house that
none should be turned empty away. The text "I
was hungry and ye gave me food" prevailed until
the evidence of systematic fraud could no longer
be ignored. He witnessed and was an active
factor, in the growth of Scranton from a hamlet
of five little dwellings to a city of 90,000 people,
and entered into his rest September 3, 1895.

His eldest son, William F., born September
29, 1849, began work in 1866 under Joel Ams-
den, who was then official engineer of the bor-
ough of Scranton. As chief of party he staked
out street lines for a considerable part of the
present city. In Amsden's office he worked upon
plans for residences, including one for Rev.
Father Whitty, now occupied by Bishop Hoban ;
1866-73, railway construction and operation and
agent at iron mines and furnaces in New Jersey;
1873-78, manager of iron mines and furnaces in
Virginia — operations ended by a flood in the
James river that destroyed all means of transpor-
tation ; four years miscellaneous work; 1882-88,
chief engineer Lackawanna Iron and Steel
Works ; 1888-93, general manager West Superior
Iron and Steel Works ; director First National
Bank ; president Manufacturers, Shippers and
Jobbers Association ; a pioneer of the Mesaba
Iron Range, and president of one of the largest
companies there ; park commissioner for the city
of Superior, etc. Driven by failing health to a
vacation in Colorado, he was soon confronted by
the fact that his business position and practically
everything he owned had been destroyed by the
misconduct of New York officials. Hemmed be-
tween sickness and industrial depression, he un-
dertook gold mining with disaster. Later, taught
by experience, accjuired mining interests. Some
years of practice as a consulting engineer fol-
lowed, broken by nearly two years as chief engi-
neer of location and construction of the Lacka-
wanna and Wyoming Valley Railroad (Laurel
Line), between Wilkes-Barre, Scranton and Car-
bondale, terminated bv transfer of control to the-



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



369



Westinghoiise interest. He is a member of the
American Institute of Mining Engineers, Amer-
ican Society of Mechanical Engineers, FrankHn
Institute, and Sons of the Revohition. He was
admitted to membership of the Presbyterian
Church of Dover, New Jersey, in 1868; was
superintendent of First Presbyterian Sunday
school of Scranton for five years to 1888: direc-
tor and vice-president of Y. M. C. A. of Scran-
ton several years. He was married twice. First,
November 18, 1875, to Margaret L., daughter
of Dr. T. R. Crittenden, of Dover, New Jersey.
She died at Glenwood, Mrginia, the following
year. Second, December 16, 1886, to Mary L.,
daughter of Dr. Augustus Van Cleef, of Scran-



Online LibraryHorace Edwin HaydenGenealogical and family history of the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys, Pennsylvania; (Volume 2) → online text (page 76 of 130)