Horace Edwin Hayden.

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

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Perrin, above mentioned, and much of the success
which has come to them is due to his capable and
efficient management. He attends the Presbyte-
rian Church, and casts his vote for the candidates
of the Republican party. He married, April 15,
1891, Barbara Wallace, daughter of William and
Cecelia (Taylor) Wallace, who died September
4, 1899, leaving three children : ]\Iargaret Caro-
line, born May 12, 1892; \\'allace Donald, born
August 22, 1893 ; and Calvin, born August 9,
1899. Fred Perrin married for his second wife
Gertrude Mathers, daughter of Coray Mathers,
of Luzerne, July 4, 1902. H. E. H.

CHARLES J. PERRIN, who was numbered
among the foremost business men of West Pitts-
ton, but who is now practically retired, was born
in Exeter township, March 6, 1848, second son
of George and Charlotte (Ferguson) Perrin,
whose personal history and that of his ancestors
is found in the sketch of Calvin Perrin on a pre-
ceding page.

Charles J. Perrin spent his childhood and
earlv vouth on a farm in Northmoreland town-

ship, and his education was acquired b\- attend-
ance during the winter terms at the school in his
neighborhood. Owing to his father's sickness
for nineteen years prior to his death, Charles
J. was compelled to begin the laborious work of
farming at the age of thirteen years, and con-
tinued this occupation until he was seventeen.
He then moved to Jenkins township, Pittston,
now Port Griffith, and for one year was employed
in driving a team and doing general work. The
following year, i866, he removed to West Pitts-
ton and there followed teaming until 1872. In
1873 he took up his residence in Luzerne and
was employed in a general store there until the
spring of 1880, when he returned to West Pitts-
ton, and in partnership with George Symington
embarked in the ice business, conducting the
same for a period of thirteen years, after which
he disposed of it and engaged in the wholesale
beef business with \\'esley Brown, under the
firm name of Wesley Brown & Company. This
continued about ten years, at the expiration of
which time. July 2, 1901, they sold out to the Cu-
dahy Packing Company, of South Omaha, and
the following four years Mr. Perrin conducted
the business for this company, retiring in 1905
At the present time ( 1906) he is looking after the
interests of his brother, Calvin Perrin, who is
in California. Throughout his active career he
enjoyed a reputation for integrity, and the effi-
ciency displayed in the discharge of his duties
testified to his capabilities as a man of afl'airs.
He is a member of the common council, and of
the poor board, and a director in the West Pitts-
ton Cemetery Association. In politics he is a
Republican, as are all other members of his fam-
ily. Since 1886 he has been a member of the
Independent Order of Odd Fellows, affiliating
with Gohonta Lodge, of Pittston, in which he
has passed all chairs. He is also a member of
the Royal Arcanum.

Mr. Perrin married, j\lay 10, 1877, Euphemia
Symington, born January 4, 1852, daughter of
George and Ann (Mac Kerrow) Symington, who
are also the parents of one son, George Syming-
ton, born September 23, 1850, a contractor of
West Pittston ; he married [Margaret Wilson,
daughter of William and Helen (^^IcFarland)
AMlson, and they are the parents of one child,
Helen, born December 13, 1899. ^^'^- ^.nd ?ilrs.
Perrin have two children : Anna, born November
17, 1881, a graduate of Wyoming Seminary, and
head bookkeeper for J. E. Patterson & Co., Pitts-
ton, having held this position since 1902. Char-
lotte, born October 14, 1883, married, September



28, 1904, Frederick Thomas Repp, who attended
Vvvoming Seminary, a draughtsman of West
Pittston, and they have one child, Euphemia,
born Jnne 18, 1905. Mr. Perrin and liis family
are members of the First Presbyterian Church,
West Pittston, and Mrs. Perrin is a member of
the Ladies' Aid Society connected therewith.
Both the daughters of Mr. Perrin are fine musi-
cians, playing the mandolin and piano.

generation of the family in America, was born
at Mount Zion, Luzerne county, Pennsylvania,
May 5, 1850, being the first son and second child
of Gurdin and Fannie Jane (Lewis) Perrin, of
whom see sketch elsewhere in this work. The
line is as follows: Morgan L. (9), Gurdin (8),
Calvin (7), Timothy (6), Timothy (5), John
(4-3-2-1). .

Morgan Lewis Perrin, our subject, remanied
at Mount Zion, on the old homestead, until seven
years of age, when he came with his parents to
Pittston, where he has since resided. He was
educated in the public schools and Wyoming
Seminarv, Kingston, Pennsylvania, and began
life in the employ of his father in Pittston, also
working on the farm at times until sixteen years
of age, when his father died, December 24, i865
In the fall of 1867 he entered the employ of the
Butler Coal Company, of Pittston, as clerk, and
continuied there in the different capacities of as-
sistant bookkeeper, weighmaster, and bookkeeper
and superintendent of the Pittston plant until the'
spring of 1872. In April of that year he en-
tered the insurance business in Pittston, in which
he has been very successful and has continued
in the same up to the present time (1906). Mr.
Perrin is a Republican in politics, and a member
of the Exeter Country Club of West Pittston,
a social club of which he is also secretary and
treasurer. He attends the Methodist Church, of
which his family are members.

Mr. Perrin married. May i, 1870, Anna L.
Searle, daughter of James (deceased) and Eliza-
beth (Furman) Searle, of Pittston, and had the
following children :

1. Jessie Angela, born February 5, 1871 ;
married H. Max Daman. She was educated at
the Wyoming Seminary, and also finished a
course in music at Syracuse University.

2. Ralph Ernest, born July 23, 1873,, died
November 5, 1877, aged four years, and was
buried in West Pittston cemetery.

3. Ella Searle, born August 10, 1880; grad-
uated at Wyoming Seminary in 1898.

4. Mary Nadine, born April 12, 1SS6; grad-

uated at Wyoming Seminary June 14, 1905 ; now
(1906) at Syracuse University.

James Searle, deceased, father of Mrs. Mor-
gan Lewis Perrin, was the oldest jeweler in
Pittston, having .learned his trade under William
\Vells, in Wilkes- Barre, and entered into business
for himself in Pittston in 1847, where he spent
the remainder of his life until shortly before his
death, when he removed to Wilkes-Barre, where
he died June 7, 1887, ^"<J was buried in West
Pittston cemetery. He was a man who stood
high in the esteem of his many friends and asso-
ciates, and was always identified with everything
tending to the advancement and betterment of
humanity. Mrs. Elizabeth (Furman) Searle,
his widow, is now (1906) residing in West Pitts-
ton at the residence of her daughter, and has now
reached the advanced age of seventy-si.x years.

JOHN VV. REID. There is probably no man
in Lackawanna county more thoroughly versed in
every detail of the mining industry than John W.
Reid, of Dunmore. He is of English birth and
Scottish parentage, and may be said to have in-
herited an aptitude for his calling.

Aaron Reid was born February 27, 1827, in
Scotland, and had spent a part of his life in Eng-
land before emigrating to the United States in
1864. He settled at Pittston, Pennsylvania,
where as an expert miner he readily found em-
ployment. He married, June 7, 1850, Harriet
Williamson, who was born in Scotland, June 26.
1824, and their children were: Caroline, born
January 27, 1852, now resides in British Colum-
bia : Robert, born March i, 1856, now deceased:
John W., mentioned hereinafter ; William, born
December 7, i860, now deceased; and Roland,
who died in infancy. Mrs. Reid, the mother of
these children, diecl September 8, 1888, and her
husband did not long survive her, passing away
January 21, 1890. Both were beloved and re-
spected by all who knew them.

John W. Reid, son of Aaron and Harriet
(Williamson) Reid, was born April 15, 1858, in
England, and was nearly six years old when
brought by his parents to the United States. He
was educated in the common schools of Pitts-
ton, and at an early age began his career as a
miner. His first position was that of doorkeeper
for the Pennsylvania Coal Company. As boy
and man he advanced step by step, until in 1883
he reached the position of a miner. From that
year until 1888 he was a member of the engineer
corps, and from April i, 1888, to November i,
i8g6, was foreman of No. 5 shaft. From No-
vember I, 1896, to October, 1900, he was district

The ie.;^^-^ Pulliihiaa.C.

vt'iaatnei- i\ c

cli^i^MvirU^ ^fP^y^^



superintendent. It was in the last named month
and year that the change was made from the
Pennsylvania Coal Company to the Erie Com-
pany, and Mr. Reid was then transferred for one
year from the third district to the second district
at Pittston. He was next reduced to the position
of mine foreman and placed in charge of No. i
shaft, subsequently serving in the same capacity
in No. 5 shaft. This retrograde movement in re-
gard to Mr. Reid's office was not in the least
derogatory to him, but was caused by the change
of management. As soon as the new company
learned of Mr. Reid's worth as an experienced
miner the mistake was rectified. April i, 1904,
he was reinstated in his former office of district
superintendent. Nol better tribute could have
been paid to his character and ability. The de-
mands of his position leave Mr. Reid little time
for social recreation, and the only fraternal or-
ganizations in which he holds membership is the
Knights and Ladies of Honor, and Independent
Order of Odd Fellows.

Mr. Reid married, June 22, 1887. Mary M.,
born October 10, i860, in Scotland, daughter of
John G. and Martha Grace (Johnson) Moffatt,
and they have children : Harriet, born Septem-
ber 3, 1888, and died April 11, 1891 : John M.,
bom Mav 31, 1891 ; and Ruth A., born Decem-
ber I, 1898.

AMBROSE WEST. Of the representative
men of Luzerne county who by perseverance
have demonstrated what it is possible to accom-
plish, should be mentioned the name of Ambrose
West, the manufacturer of hosiery and owner of
the Pioneer Knitting Mills of Plymouth. He
comes of an English family who for generations
have been engaged in this particular industry, his
grandfather and even his great-grandfather hav-
ing followed it. Ambrose West was born in Lei-
cester, England, November 28, 1856, and is a
son of Thomas and Maria West, who were also
natives of Leicester. Thomas, the son of Wil-
liam West, was born in the same town where the
family has been located for generations.

William West was a practical manufacturer
of hosiery and operated a small plant in the city
of Leicester. He was a soldier, having the
proud distinction of serving under Napoleon in
the battle of Waterloo, and although passing
through the hardships incident to this campaign
and following his trade and later conducting a
business, being an active man, still his health was
good and death was the result of an accident oc-
curring at ninety-two years of age in his native

Thomas West, the father of Ambrose was

born in Leicester, England, in 1835, and
learned the knit goods business from his father,
and after followmg it for a time in England,
came to this country in 1862 and followed
his trade in the factory of his brother, who
had come here some years previous and
located at Germantown, Philadelphia. Here
he remained for about nine years and then started
in business for himself, which he followed, for
about five years, then selling moved to near Bos-
ton, Massachusetts, to the town of Needham,
where he conducted his trade for about four years
and then returned to Germantown, Pennsylvania,
later going to Ashley, Luzerne county, Pennsyl-
vania, where he retired. He crossed the Atlantic
seven times. He died September 24, 1900, and
his reiuains are interred at Eorty Fort. He mar-
ried in England, Maria Allen, who was also born
in Leicester, in 1837. She reared five sons and
one daughter of nine children bom, the subject
of this sketch, Ambrose, being the eldest ;
Thomas, operates a mill adjoining that of his
brother ; Joseph, manager for the Black Diamond
knitting mill at Nanticoke : Robert, superintend-
ent of the Ashley knitting mills ; Eliza, married
John Detweller; and Walter, foreman of the
Black Diamond knitting mills at Nanticoke. The
mother of these children is still living, making
her home in Wilkes-Barre with her daughter,
Mrs. Detwiller.

Ambrose West began his education in Eng-
land and completed it in Philadelphia, Pennsyl-
vania. He came to America in 1864 ^"d as a boy
began to learn the knit goods business under his
father, completing the trade and becoming an
expert workman. He followed this as a journey-
man in Needham, near Boston, for a time and in
1876 returned to Germantown and remained
there until 1878, then took charge of the knit-
ting department in the mill of J. and B. Allen
and remained for nine years. During this time he
visited England and became thoroughly ac-
quainted with the different methods in use to
produce the finest line of knit goods possible. In
1880, in connection with Charles Taylor, H. H.
Hawthorn and his brother, Thomas West, a part-
nership was formed and they established a knit-
ting mill at Germantown, Pennsylvania, where
a large business was carried on for a number of
years. During this time the Pioneer Knitting
Mills at Plymouth were established and the part-
nership was dissolved, Mr. West and his brother
succeeding to the Pioneer mills at Plymouth, in
1889, which at that time consisted onlv of the
building where Mr. West's brother now is. It
was 40.X60 feet and two stories high. The fol-



lowing A'ear they purchased what was known as
the Shupp mill, 40x70 feet and three stories high
operating the two for three years when they dis-
solved partnership, Thomas West taking the
original mill and Ambrose West the Shupp mill.
From that time Ambrose West has constantly in-
creased the size of his mill until it is now 230 feet
long and 40 feet wide, three stories high, and
employs four hundred and fifty hands. In 1898
he organized the Shawnee Box Company, put-
ting up a building 25x100 feet, fitting it with the
latest improved machinery and employing forty
hands ; he makes tremendous quantities of paper
boxes not only for his own use, but also supplies
a large number to the manufacturers throughout
the Wyoming \'alley. A short time later he built
the mill at Ashley as an adjunct to the one at
Plymouth, and here also manufactures Pioneer
hosiery. This mill is 45x80 feet, two stories high
and employs 190 hands. In addition to these
enterprises he has at Plymouth an enormous
planing lumber mill and general woodwork es-
tablishment, where everything is manufactured
in the way of house decorations, even including
furniture, and here are employed sixty hands. In
addition to manufacturing, a vaft amount of lum-
ber is handled by the car load, selling to the trade.
Ever alert for opportunities to display his busi-
ness ability, Mr. West in 1902 installed an elec-
tric light plant in Plymouth and supplied the
borough of Nanticoke, some six miles distant,
with electric lights, putting in in three years' time
thirteen thousand incandescent lights and four
hundred arc lights in the streets and homes of
these two boroughs. After operating this plant
for three years he sold it to a syndicate called the
Wyoming Valley Electric Light Company. He
is also a director in the First National Bank at
Plymouth, Second National Bank at Wilkes-
Barre, and president of the Doran Lace mill of
Wilkes-Iiarre. He built his beautiful home in
Plymouth, located near his factory, in 1900, it
being one of the finest homes in the Wvoming

Mr. West is a member o*^ the Masonic Lodge
at Plymouth, the Royal Arch Chapter, council
and commandery. He has passed through all the
Scottish Rite bodies of Bloomsburg, and is a
member of the Nobles of the Mystical Shrine of
Wilkes-Barre, having obtained the thirty-second
degree. He is also a member of the Elks. He is
a trustee of the Presbyterian Church of Ply-
mouth. The above but briefly covers some of the
salient points in the career of Ambrose West. A
glance will quickly show that it has been almost
a phenomenal one. Starting in this country as a

boy in the knitting mill under his father, he suc-
cessfull}- mastered the various details of the busi-
ness. With his eyes ever open and his attention
directed upward to a higher place, he improved
every opportunity that presented itself for ad-
vancement. Coming to Plymouth in 1889, the
factory then located here employed but fifteen
hands, and he has constantly built up the busi-
ness until he now employes in round numbers
nearly seven hundred in the manufacture of
hosiery alone, and boxes for the shipment of the
same. Truly he has demonstrated what energy
will accomplish, and he stands to-dav preemi-
nently without a peer among the business men of
the Wyoming \'alle)-, respected by all who know

Mr. West married in 1879, Lizzie L. Boyers,
born at Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, a daughter
of James and ^lary (Kee) Boyers. Mrs. West
is one of the following named children, two of
whom are deceased ; Ellen, Emma, Anna, Alar}-,
Lizzie L., Charles, William, Wesley, Harry and
Thomas. Mr. West has five children: Albert
H., employed with his father; \\'illiam F., mar-
ried Gertie Rundall ; he is the manager of his
father's mill ; Warren : Bessie ; and Clarence \\'.

THOMAS WEST, a well known manufac-
turer of Plymouth, whose extensive enterprise has
contributed largely toward the growth and pros-
perity of this thriving borough, and who is re-
garded as a man of intelligence and great useful-
ness and influence, was born in Leicester, Leices-
tershire, England, June 10, 1859, son of Thomas
and Maria (Allen) West, also natives of

At the early age of seven years he accompa-
nied his brother, Ambrose West, to the L^nited
States, and for a number of years there-
after his residence was changed frequently be-
tween Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Needham,
near Boston, Alassachusetts. When ten years of
age he entered the employ of his uncle, Ambrose,
West, in Philadelphia, where he remained one
year. He then went east to Needham, Massa-
chusetts, where he entered the employ of the
Scotten Needham Company and remained five
years, working on full fashioned hosiery. At the
expiration of this 'period of time, when sixteen
years of age, he returned to England and there-
upon entered the employ of a firm in Leicester,
Leicestershire, where he gained a thorough
knowledge of the details of manufacturing full
fashioned hosiery. During his two years' resi-
dence in his native land he was also employed
by a Mr. Kilby, of Leicester. Upon his return




to the United States he located at Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, where he worked for several firms,
manufacturing all kinds of fancy knit goods.
After a short period of time he again took up his
residence in Needham, Massachusetts, and se-
cured emplovment with the W'altham Hosiery
Companv, of Waltham, Massachusetts, on piece
work, remaining about two years. He then re-
turned to Philadelphia and entered the employ of
J. & B. Allen & Company, of Germantown, with
whom he remained about four years. At about
the age of twenty-one years he was employed by
Thomas M. Lewery, a manufacturer of hosiery,
whose plant was located at Second and Norris
streets, Philadelphia, as journeyman, and after
serving as such for about three years was given
full charge of the entire plant, a most responsible
position, as there were about five hundred hands
employed in the works. Some years later Am-
brose West, Charles Taylor, Henry H. Haw-
thorn and Thomas West formed a partnership
for the manufacture of hosiery and knit goods in
Germantown, Pennsylvania. They employed
about one hundred and fifty hands, and for many
years conducted an extensive and successful busi-
ness. After a period of almost three vears a
branch was formed at Plymouth, which was
known as the Pioneer Hosiery ]\Iills. August 8,
1 89 1, after a connection of five years, the firm
was dissolved, Ambrose and Thomas West tak-
ing the Plymouth plant, Mr. Hawthorn and
Mr. Taylor taking the Germantown plant.
About this same time Ambrose and Thomas
West purchased from Charles Shupp, of Ply-
mouth, his plant for the manufacture of ladies"
waists, skirts, etc., but some time afterward
they dissolved partnership, Ambrose taking
the Shupp building, and Thomas his present
plant in Plymouth. In 1894, two years later,
Thomas West started a branch at Danville,
and two years later another at Xanticoke.
Subsequently he removed part of his plant
from Plymouth to Watsontown, Pennsylvania,
and part to Millheim, same state, after which the
business was closed out. In 1902 he opened his
present place of business in Plymouth for the
manufacture of full fashioned hosiery, employed
about twenty hands, but the business has in-
creased to such an extent during the intervening
three years that he was compelled to increase his
force to three hundred hands, and the plant has a
daily output of seven hundred and fifty dozen
pairs of hose. The factory is fully equipped with
the latest improved machinery, and the product,
being of a superior quality, finds a ready sale
throughout the states of the Union. Mr. West

is a Republican .in politics. He is a member of
Lodge No. 332, F. and A. M.. of Plymouth,
blaster Mason. Thomas West married in 1879,
Jennie Pyfl:"er, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
daughter of William and Sadie Pyffer, and their
children are as follows : William Henr\-, who
married Maria Lewis, of Plymouth, Pennsylva-
nia, and they were the parents of one child, now
deceased. Harry H., Thomas Ambrose, Benja-
min Harrison, Joseph Thomas, Eva May, de-
ceased ; Jennie, deceased ; Mabel Ruth, Florence,
and Helen. The family are members of the
Methodist Episcopal Church.

JOSEPH WEST, manager of the Black
Diamond knitting mills, Nanticoke, Luzerne
county, Pennsylvania, one of the leading indus-
trial enterprises of that thriving borough, was
born in Needham, Massachusetts, October 8,

Joseph West, third son and child of Thomas
and Maria (Allen) West, during the early years
of his life, removed with his parents from Need-
ham, Massachusetts, to Germantown, Pennsylva-
nia, where he received his education. He was still
very young when he took up his present occupa-
tion. For sixteen years he worked at the hose
knitting and spinning business in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, after which he moved to Plym-
outh, Pennsylvania, where his brothers owned
and operated a knitting mill. Here he remained
from 1892 to 1898, at which time the present
plant was established at Nanticoke, in the month
of .A.pril, by Thomas \A'est, of Plymouth, who
operated it until 1902, when the concern became
a stock company, with Joseph West, whose name
heads this sketch, the brother of Thomas West,
as part owner and entire manager. The plant is
situated on West Church street, is forty by one
hundred and twenty feet in dimensions, operated
by a seventy-five horse steam engine, and a force
of two hundred and fifty hands, is employed and
five hundred dozen of men's hose are turned out
in a day of ten working hours. This plant has
its finishing department and is also thoroughly
equipped with appliances for dveing. printing and
extracting their goods, and while this is unusual
for such an establishment it adds greatly to its
usefulness and independence. This corporation
is conducting an extensive and constantly in-
creasing business, which is largely due to the
well directed efforts of Joseph West, the efficient
manager, who was broujerht up in the business and
understands its every detail from beginning to
end. Mr. West is a member of Nanticoke lodge.
No. 541, Free and Accepted Masons; Washing-



ton Council, No. 7, Junior Order of United
American Mechanics ; and the Order of Elks,
No. 109, of Wilkes-Barre.

Mr. West married. May i, 1897, Magdalene
Sweitzer, of Plymouth, daughter of Joseph and
Mary (Schappert) Sweitzer, of Plymouth. Mr.
Sweitzer is a carpenter. The children of Mr.
and Mrs. West are as follows : Jennie, born in

Online LibraryHorace Edwin HaydenGenealogical and family history of the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys, Pennsylvania; (Volume 2) → online text (page 93 of 130)