Horace Edwin Hayden.

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

. (page 86 of 130)
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ship, Pennsylvania. He was a prosperous farm-
er, and was one of the influential citizens of the
community. He married a Miss Zimmerman,
and seven children were the issue of this union ;
Nancy, Reuben, Polly, James, Wallace, Bow-
man and Sevilla Seybert.

Reuben Seybert (father), eldest son of Hunt-
eater Seybert, was born in Salem township,
Pennsylvania, in 1810. He was a farmer and
miller, both occupations yielding him a goodly
income for the labor expended in their manage-
ment. He was united in marriage to Miss Lydia
Largenberger, who bore him sixteen children,
nine of whom attained years of maturity and are
living at the present time (1905): Rudolph,
Uriah, Miranda, Frances, Alartha, Polly, George,
Lydia and Anna. Reuben Seybert, father of
these children, died October 24, 1878; his wife
preceded him. passing away in 1870.

Uriah Seybert was born in Salem township,
Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, in 1838. He ob-
tained a good English education in the common
schools in the vicinity of his home, and there-
after followed in the footsteps of his father, de-
voting his attention to farming and milling, but
the latter occupation he abandoned in 1899
owing to failing health. He stands high in the
communit}', and is esteemed by all who know

In 1869 Mr. Seybert was united in marriage
to Miss Delia Yetter, of Catawissa township. Co-
lumbia county, Pennsylvania, and their children
are: Nicholas J., who married Miss Alice Grady,
and they are the parents of one child. Horace
E., who married Miss Maggie Cope, and two
children were the issue. Frank B., who married
Miss Mary Miller, who bore him one child. Dora
B., wife of F. Garrison, and mother of one child.
Jennie E. Ray B., who married Miss Bessie
Eberhardt. and their familv consists of two chil-
dren. LiUie M. Hurley U.

ANDREW J. BELLES, a farmer of New-
port township, traces his ancestry to an old and
honored German familv. earlv settlers in North-

ampton county, where they followed agricultural
pursuits. The first to migrate to Luzerne county
was Cornelius Belles (great-grandfather), about
the year 1750, and he experienced all the priva-
tions of pioneer settlers. He followed in the
footsteps of his forefathers, devoting his atten-
tion exclusively to the quiet but useful calling
of farming, conducting his operations on a tract
of two hundred acres purchased by him. The
name of his wife is unknown. Their children
were : Adam, Peter and Elizabeth.

Adam Belles (grandfather), eldest son of
Cornelius Belles, was born either in Northamp-
ton or Luzerne county. Pennsylvania. If in the
former, he was very young when his parents
removed from there, but it is the opinion of
those interested that he was a native of the lat-
ter count)'. He was also a farmer, practical and
careful in his methods, and was the owner of
one hundred acres of land where Wanamie now
stands. He married Elizabeth Croop. who bore
him the following named children : Peter. Philip,
William. Joseph, George, Adam, John, Mary,
Susan. Margaret and Catherine. ' Of this number
Adam is the only living member at the present
time (1905), and Joseph lost his life in defense
of his country's honor during the period of the
Civil war.

Peter Belles (father), eldest son of Adam
and Elizabeth (Croop) Belles, was born in New-
port township, Pennsylvania. October 12, 1812.
Throughout the active years of his life he fol-
lowed various occupations — boating, farming
and mining — from all of which he realized a
goodly income which enabled him to provide a
comfortable home for his family, which con-
sisted of his wife, Hester (Thomas) Belles, and
nine children, namely : Rebecca, deceased ; Eliza-
beth, deceased ; Thomas, deceased ; Andrew J.,
Martha. Peter W.. Marietta, Amanda, deceased,
and Franklin P. Peter Belles (father) died
about August 29. 1892; his wife passed away in

Andrew J. Belles, second son of Peter and
Hester (Thomas) Belles, was born in Newport
township, Pennsylvania. July 4. 1839. In early
life, after acquiring the limited educational ad-
vantages afforded by the common schools of that
day, he engaged in boating, which occupation
he continued up to 1868. He then turned his
attention to farming and has been very success-
ful along these lines. He now (1905) leases
from the Susquehanna Coal Company three hun-
dred acres of land, whereon he raises general
farm produce and disposes of the same in the
nearby markets. During his residence in the



township of Newport, he has been the incumbent
of the offices of tax collector, supervisor, school
director nine years, and poor director fifteen
years. Both in religion and politics Mr. Belles
follows the example of his ancestors, being a
Lutheran and a Democrat.

On April 26, 1863, Air. Belles was married
to Emily Mosier, who was born in Newport
township, where her parents. Michael and Alary
Mosier, resided prior to their migration west. To
this union there have been born seven children :
Charles, Elsie L., wife of F. Garrison ; Minnie,
wife of William Williams ; Carrie, wife of M.
D. Littleford ; Harry, Nellie, a graduate of New-
port high school and Bloomsburg State Normal
School, classes of 1892 and 1895, respectively;
and Ervin, deceased, who was a graduate of
Newport high school and Wyoming Seminary.
The family are classed among the best people
of their locality and are universally respected.


SOLOMON DEEBLE. It is doubtful if
there is within the limits of the county a more
justly respected and at the same time popular
citizen than Solomon Deeble, of Avoca. Mr.
Deeble is a son o- James Deeble, who was born
in England, and was a miner of experience and
skill. He was twice married and was the father
of twenty-two children. Of this number only
five are now living. Two of these, James and
Anna, are the ofifspring of his first marriage.
His second wife was Margaret Ashton, a native
of Wales, and three of their children survive :
Solomon, mentioned at length hereafter ; Rich-
ard, and Margaret. Benjamin, another of the
sons, was killed by an accident in the mines of
the Avoca Coal Company.

Solomon Deeble, son of James and Alargaret
{Ashton) Deeble, was born in 1854, in Wales,
and at the early age of seven years began to
work in the mines. As may well be supposed
his education was neglected, but by his own ef-
forts he acquired in after years a thorough
knowledge of mine engineering, in which he
passed a creditable examination. In 1869 he
emigrated to the United States and settled at
Pittston. He did all kinds of work that can be
done in a mine and at the age of nineteen be-
came a full-fledged miner. In 1874 he moved
to Avoca, where he has since resided. For
twelve years he was superintendent of the Avoca
Coal Company, and for the last four years has
held the same position with the Traders' Coal
Company and the Alliance Coal Company. His
services are in constant demand, and he is one of
the most efficient mining engineers in the Lacka-

wanna \'alley. He has a half-interest in a well-
furnished general store at Ridgewood. Mr.
Deeble manifested in a practical manner his in-
terest in the cause of education by serving nine
years on the school board. In October, 1897, he
was appointed postmaster of Avoca, and during
his term of office discharged the duties to the en-
tire satisfaction of all concerned. In 1901 he
failed by a small majority to receive the nomina-
tion for sheriff of Luzerne county. March 7,
1905, he went to Carlisle, Indiana, tu enter upon
the position of general manager of a newl)
formed corporation — the Carlisle Coal and Clay
Company. He is a member of Acacia Lodge,
^'O- 579. F^^^ and Accepted Masons., Lacka-
wanna Chapter, No. 185, Wyoming Valley Com-
mandery. No. 42, and Irem Temple, of Wilkes-
Barre. He also belongs to Nay Aug Lodge, No.
579, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the
Knights of Pythias, of Moosic, the Foresters,
Court Livingston, and the Order of Heptasophs.
Mr. Deeble married in 1874, Ruth Davis, and
the following children were born to them :
Thomas, deceased : Annie ; Thomas J. ; Birdella ;
Viola : William ; and Roy. Of these children
Annie is the wife of Joseph McPhearson ;
Thomas J. married Fannie M. Pierce, and Bird-
ella is the wife of William L. Evans. Mrs.
Deeble is a native of Wales, where she was born
in 1855, daughter of Thomas and Lois Davis.
The former was an e.xperienced miner, and in
1864 emigrated to the United States, making his
home at Pittston,

JOHN WINTER. Few men can have a
higher reputation for ability and faithfulness in
the discharge of duty than is enjoyed by John
Winter, of Nanticoke. He is a son of David
Winter, who was born in Wales and was a
farmer and a truly worthy man. His wife was
Rachel Morgan, also a native of Wales. Both
she and her husband lived and died in their na-
tive country.

John Winter, son of David and Rachel (Mor-
gan) \\'inter, was born March 8, 1845, in South
Wales. He entered the mines at an early age
and there worked until 1869, when he emigrated
to the United States. He settled at Audendried.
Carbon county, Pennsylvania, where he worked
as a miner until 1878. In that year he moved
to Plymouth, and after remaining there eighteen
months, went in 1880 to Nanticoke, where he
has since resided. He has beeen twenty-five years
in the service of the Susquehanna Coal Com-
pany, and during that time has held the respon-
sible position of fire-boss. His post of duty is



at No. 2 shaft, and every morning at half-past
two o'clock he descends into the mines for the
purpose of inspecting them thoroughly before the
men go down to work at seven. Upon his vigi-
iance depends the lives of the workers. He is
one of the oldest fire-bosses in line of service
employed by the company.

Mr. Winter married in 1864, Mary Rees,
born August 8, 1844, in South Wales, and nine
children have been born to them, six of whom
are living : William L., Sarah, Rachel, Gwen,
Stanley M., and Bessie. William L., the eldest
son, is a tinsmith by trade ; he married Maggie
McCracken, and has two children, William and
Sarah. Rachel, the second daughter, is the wife
of Samuel T. Pratt, an electrician, and the
mother of two children, INIary and Ruth. M-r.
Winter is the only member of the family in the
United States.

THOMAS HUNTLEY. There are men
who in the course of time invariably come to be
recognized as the mainstays of whatever branch
of industry they may engage in. It would be the
unanimous verdict of all who are acquainted with
Thomas Huntley, of Pittston, that no one has a
better right than he to be numbered among this
valuable class of citizens.

John Huntley was born in England, and while
yet a young man emigrated to the United States,
settling in Pittston, Pennsylvania. He was for a
time engaged in mining, but finally abandoned it
for mercantile business, which he carried on suc-
cessfully for some years. He married, in Pitts-
ton, Hannah Shepherd, also a native of England,
who came to this country in 1849. Their family
consisted of the following children : Maria, who
married Joseph N. Snowdon ; George, who owns
and operates the Cyclone Machine shop of Pitts-
ton ; Annie, wife of J. B. McDonald ; Lizzie, wife
of Alfred Williams ; and Thomas, mentioned at
length hereafter. The death of Mr. Huntley, the
worthy father of this family, occurred in 1879.
He was respected by all who knew him. The
mother of this family is living (1905) and enjoys
good health at the age of seventy-four years.

Thomas Huntley, son of John and Hannah
(Shepherd) Huntley, was born December 5,
1866, in Pittston, and obtained his education in
his native town. As was usual with boys in a
mining tow'n he became engaged in the produc-
tion of coal at a very early period of his life,
being introduced to the breaker when but nine
years of age. By dint of diligence and ability he
advanced step by step until 1888, when he was
given charge of an engine. This position he re-

tained for fifteen years. During all this time he
was in the service of the Pennsylvania Coal
Company, and in 1901 was promoted to the posi-
tion of outside foreman of Central colliery. He
had under his control one hundred and si.x'ty men
and the entire charge of all property above
ground. The output of coal from this colliery
is twelve hundred tons per day. April i, 1905,
he was transferred from Central colliery to Xo.
14 colliery of Pennsylvania Coal Company as
outside foreman ; this colliery has a capacity of
four thousand tons per day, and employs two
hundred and twenty-five men and boys outside.
j\lr. Huntley is a member of the Independent
Order of Odd Fellows, in which he holds the
rank of past noble grand. He has twice repre-
sented his lodge in the Grand Lodge of Pennsyl-
vania. He is also a member of the Junior Order
of United American IMechanics.

Mr. Huntley married in 1889 Elizabeth Mer-
riman, and they are the parents of three children :
Lewis, jMartha and Harry.

most respected citizens of Avoca is Michael J.
O'Malley. He is the son of Thomas O'Malley,
who was born in county Mayo, Ireland, and emi-
grated to Scotland, where he passed the remain-
der of his life. His wife was Julia McCormick,
a native of the same county as himself, and they
were the parents of seven children : Mary, who
became the wife of Martin McGlynn ; Patrick, in
Scotland ; Michael J., mentioned at length here-
after ; James, deceased ; Bridget, deceased ; and
two who died young. Mrs. O'Malley, the
mother, as well as her husband, died in Scotland.

Michael J. O'Malley, son of Thomas and
Julia (McCormick) O'Malley, was born in 1858,
in Scotland, where he received his primary eclu-
cation in the common schools. At the age of
thirteen he emigrated to the United States in
company with some of his friends and relatives.
In 1 87 1 he settled at Avoca, where for a time he
attended the common schools. He then turned
his attention to mining, and passed through the
various grades of coal production, faithfully dis-
charging every obligation. He is now a contract
miner and is employed by the Pennsylvania Coal
Company. He has also worked for other com-
panies, and has frequently been obliged to take
business trips to different parts of the country,
always, however, making his home at Avoca,
where he has become by purchase the owner of
two houses. He is a member of the Young Men's
Institute, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the
Improved Order of Red Men and the W. M. W.



of A. In 1900 he was elected justice of the peace,
and again in 1905, to serve till 1910.

Mr. O'AIalley married in 1881, Ann A. Mc-
Afee, a native of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania,
and the following children were born to them :
William, who was killed by accident in the mine ;
Thomas, Charles, Patrick J., deceased ; and

DAVID D. DAVIS, of Avoca, is one of
those men, who whatever may be their calling
and environment, command, by reason of ability
and force of character, the respect of all who
know them. Mr. Davis is the son of John and
Anna (Williams) Davis, natives of Wales, who
both died in their native country. Their family
consisted of three sons — John, David D., men-
tioned at length hereafter ; and Thomas. The
second of these sons was the only member of the
family who sought a home across the sea.

David D. Davis, son of John and Anna (Wil-
liams) Davis, was born May 10, 1851, in Wales,
and when only nine years old began to work in
the mines. At the age of twenty he worked in
one of the largest mines in South Wales. In 1871
he emigrated to the United States and settled in
the Lackawanna Valley, making his home at
Hvde Park, Scranton. There he was employed
as a miner by the Delaware, Lackawanna &
Western Company, remaining with them five
years. In 1876 he removed to Moosic, where he
was employed by the Hillside Coal & Iron Com-
pany. During this period he moved to Dupont
and in 1889 to Avoca, where he took charge of
the Avoca Coal Company's mines. He remained
with this -company until he became assistant min-
ing foreman of the Langcliffe Colliery, a position
which he held six -years, then promoted to have
full charge as foreman, and still ( 1906) holds
this position. The colliery is operated by the
Delaware & Hudson Company, and Mr. Davis
has entire charge of one shaft and three drifts
in which are employed three hundred and thirty
men over whom he has full supervision. He rep-
resents the interests of the company under-
ground, and is one of their trusted men. At the
same time he pays constant attention to the wel-
fare of his men. Financially he has prospered
greatly and has erected three fine houses. As a
citizen he possesses the fullest esteem of his
neighbors, has served for six years on the school
board, and July i, 1905, was appointed postmas-
ter of Avoca borough. He is a member of the
Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the
Knights of Pythias. Politically he is a strong

Air. Davis married in 1870, Elizabeth Davis,
and the following children have been born to
them : Margaret, died at the age of seventeen
years ; Mary J., who is the wife of George A.
Kennedy, has two children : Maruel and Eliza-
beth ; John D., who married Lucinda M. Saun-
ders ; Thomas, who married Sarah Danks ;
Rachel, William, Lizzie, Arthur, Maud, Frances,
Howard, and Emerson, died at the age of six

ALBERT WAGNER. Among the old and
respected residents of Lackawanna county must
be numbered Albert Wagner, of Dunmore. He
is the son of John F. and Jane (Devoe) Wagner,
and was born April 17, 184 1, in Hawley, Penn-

Mr. Wagner in early life learned the machin-
ist's trade, which he has followed with success
for many years. In 1864 he became a resident of
Dunmore, where he is employed by the Erie Rail-
road Company. Both as a business man and a
citizen he possesses tne confidence and esteem of
the entire community. He married, in 1864,
Frances, daughter of Charles W. and Sarah A.
(Eakin) Potter, of Dunmore, and the following
children have been born to them : William : Sarah,
who is now deceased ; Charles, married Cora Mc-
Cawley, and has three children, William, Arthur
and Beth ; Leet, married Hannah Allison, and
has two children, Florence and Frank ; and Jes-
sie, wife of T. H. Swift, a printer of Dunmore,
and has one child, Kenneth. Mrs. Wagner is a
native of Dunmore, having been born there in
1847. She and her sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Sav-
age, own a portion of the land which was form-
erly the property of their father, the late Charles
W. Potter.

BENJAMIN G. JONES,, of Nanticoke, in-
side foreman of Bliss colliery, Delaware, Lacka-
wanna & Western Company, is one of the trust-
worthy . and efficient employes of that company.
Thoroughlv understanding every detail of his
business, industrious and energetic, always at his
post, he is a most valuable addition to their corps
of workers. He was born in Wales, February
20, 1868, a son of David and Rachel (Jones)
Jones, whose family consisted of four children.
David Jones (father) is still (1905) a resident of
Wales; his wife passed away in 1880.

In 1888 Benjamin G. Jones, accomi)anied by
his sister Anna (now Mrs. Goodfell, of Nanti-
coke), emigrated to this country, locating in Nan-
ticoke, Penns3'lvania. During his residence in
Wales Benjamin G. Jones attended the common



schools, and after emigration took a course in
mining engineering in the International Corre-
spondence School of Scranton, which thoroughly
equipped him for his responsible position, and
also fulfilled the requirements of the law. In
1895 he became an employee of the Delaware,
Lackawanna & Western Company ; the first two
years he was fire boss, the following two years
assistant foreman, and from then to the present
time (1905) inside foreman of Bliss colliery.
This mine is equipped with the most modern
methods of mining; they have in a measure dis-
pensed with the use of mules, using motor cars
for the transportation of coal to the shaft, and
the avenues or gangways leading to the shaft are
lighted by electricity. The output of this mine is
from seven hundred to eight hundred cars per
day. j\lr. Jones looks after the interests of the
company below the surface, and he has the super-
vision of five hundred and twenty men and boys.
He is a consistent member of the Welsh Baptist
Church, a stanch Republican in politics, and a
member of Nanticoke Lodge, Independent Order
of Odd Fellows, and of Nanticoke Lodge,
Knights of Alalta.

In April, 1 89 1, Air. Jones was united in mar-
riage to Miss Catherine Hudson Richards, and
to this union have been born four children :
Anna, Abraham, Cecelia, and Rachel. The par-
ents of Mrs. Jones, Abraham and Cecelia
( Lewis ) Richards, are natives of Wales, from
whence they emigrated to the United States in
1870. En route from New York city to Nanti-
coke, Pennsylvania, their place of destination, by
way of the Delaware & Hudson Railroad, the
mother gave birth to twin girls, who were named,
respectively Delaware and Hudson by one of the
officials. Subsequently they were named in full
Diana Delaw^are and Catharine Hudson, the lat-
ter named being the wife of Benjamin G. Jones.
These twins were given medals by the officials of
the Delaware & Hudson Railroad which entitles
them to free transportation for life over the road.

BURR B. VOSBURG. Throughout the
length and breadth of the county there can be
found no worthier descendant of pioneer ances-
tors than Burr B. Vosburg, of Duryea. The
paternal grandfather of Mr. Vosburg was a resi-
dent of Wyoming county previous to 1830. He
was a man of some note and influence, and it was
in honor of him that the village of Y'osburg re-
ceived its name. His wife was a well-known
physician, whose skill was such that she was fre-
quently sent for from Wilkes-Barre and even
from Bradford county.


William Vosburg, son of the pioneer ances-
tor mentioned above, was a prosperous farmer
and passed his entire life in his native county.
He married Phoebe J. Bennett, whose mother
was Maria Custer, a relative of General Custer,
the illustrious and unfortunate soldier. The fol-
lowing children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Vos-
burg: William C, Alonzo C, U. S. Grant, Burr
B., mentioned at length hereafter; Beecher M.,
Elias E., Wellington N., deceased ; Delphine, and
Lucy B. Mr. Vosburg, the father, closed his
useful life in 1892. He is survived by his widow,
who is a resident of Scranton.

Burr B. Vosburg, son of William and Phoebe
J. (Bennett) Vosburg, was born May 6, 1869, at
Vosburg, Wyoming county, and was but a year
old when his parents moved to Meshoppen, where
his boyhood was spent in attending the public
schools and assisting his father on the farm. In
1889 he went to Aloosic to learn the carpenter's
trade, remaining there until 1892, in which year
he moved to Duryea borough, where he culti-
vated a farm in connection with the practice of
his trade. In 1901 he added to his farm an ex-
tensive dairy, having one of the finest herds of
mixed breed in the county, consisting of Jerseys,
Guernseys, and a few Holsteins. He is a mem-
ber of Bennet Lodge, No. 907, Independent
.Order of Odd Fellows, of Aloosic ; Slocum
Lodge, No. 271, the Junior Order of United
American Alechanics, of Pittston. Politically he
is a Republican.

Mr. Vosburg married, January 5, 1895, Pa-
tience E., daughter of John and Elizabeth (Wil-
liams) Mahar, and two children have been born
to them : Marjorie, deceased ; and Albert M.

THOMAS O'BRIEN, general inside fore-
man of Seneca colliery, Pittston, Pennsylvania,
and a leading and influential citizen of Avoca,
Pennsylvania, was born at Port Griffith, Luzerne
county, September, 1859, ^ ^O" of Luke and Mary
(Sanders) O'Brien.

Luke O'Brien (father) was born in Ireland,
in 1834, and in 1856, when twenty-two years of
age, left his native land for a new home in the
L^nited States, settling in Luzerne county, Penn-
sylvania. When the dark clouds of war hung
heavy over our fair land, and men strong, brave
and true were needed, he willingly offered his
services in defense of the honor of his adopted
country, and was enrolled as a member of Com-
pany I, Thirteenth Regiment, New York Cav-
alrv. He was honorably discharged at the close
of the war, whereupon he returned to civil life.
While in the service he endured many hardships


Online LibraryHorace Edwin HaydenGenealogical and family history of the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys, Pennsylvania; (Volume 2) → online text (page 86 of 130)