Horace Edwin Hayden.

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

. (page 99 of 130)
Online LibraryHorace Edwin HaydenGenealogical and family history of the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys, Pennsylvania; (Volume 2) → online text (page 99 of 130)
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476



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



Pennsylvania, whence he migrated in 1885 to the
Lackawanna Valley, taking up his abode in Tay-
lor. There he entered the service of the Dela-
ware, Lackawanna & Western Company, by
whom he was soon promoted to the position of
fire boss. His duty is to precede the miners to the
mines and by a thorough investigation and all
possible precautions make it absolutely sure that
in no chamber or passage is there any danger
from gas or fire damp. This is one of the most
important offices connected with the production
of coal, for on the faithful services of the fire
boss depend the lives of the men who go down
into the mines. This responsible position Mr.
Prestwood has held for fifteen years, a fact which
furnishes all-convincing evidence of his fidelity
to duty. He has prospered financially and is the
■owner of a desirable residence in the sixth ward
of Taylor. Politically he is a Republican. He
holds the office of local preacher in the Primitive
Methodist Church, in which for many years he
has been a class leader.

Mr. Prestwood married, before leaving his
native land, Sarah Laugharne, also a native of
England, and they are the parents of the follow-
ing children: J. H., mentioned hereafter; Wil-
liam M., Lilly, Sadie, Edith, Kathrvn, and Char-
lotte A.

J. H. Prestwood, son of William and Sarah
(Laugharne) Prestwood, was born in 1882, in
Dauphin county, Pennsylvania, and attended the
■common schools of Taylor, where he acquired a
thorough education, fitting him for advancement
along commercial lines. In 1897 he entered mer-
cantile life and is now in business for himself.
The store of which he is the proprietor, while
not so large as some of those situated in great
commercial centres, is extensively patronized,
being always well stocked with fresh and choice
goods which are oiTered at reasonable prices.
Like his father, Mr. Prestwood affiliates with the
Republicans. He is a member of the Congre-
gational Church of Taylor, in which he holds the
office of chorister. He is an enthusiastic worker
among the young people, and has been for four
years superintendent of the Sunday school, filhng
the position in a manner which has given general
satisfaction and has tended materially to the
growth and in all respects to the best interests of
the school.

HENRY E. HARRIS. Those residents of
Lackawanna county who are engaged in the coal
industry have a worthy representative in Henry
E. Harris, of Taylor. His ancestors were amongf



those sturdy Welsh miners, who, more than any
others, have been instrumental in developing and
building up the coal industry of Pennsylvania.

Morgan J. Harris was born May 22, 1836, in
Morganshire, South Wales, and in 1863 "^rni-
grated to the United States. He settled in 1868
in the Lackawanna Valley, and being an experi-
enced miner was appointed in 1869 foreman of
the Taylor mine, a position which he held during
the remainder of his life. His wife was Ann
Price, born in 1837, in the same county as her
husband. They were married in their native
country, where two of their eighteen children
were born. These two they brought with them to
Minersville, Schuylkill county, which was their
first home in the new land, and where they re-
mained until they removed to Lackawanna coun-
ty, and took up their abode in Scranton. Of their
eighteen children the following are living: John
M., an attorney in Scranton ; Sarah, Henry E.,
mentioned hereinafter; David M., Susan, Lu-
ther, Jennie and Lillian. The death of Mr. Har-
ris, the father of this large family, occurred May
25, 1887. He left behind him a name respected
by all who knew him, as that of a good and use-
ful man. His widow is still living.

Henry E. Harris, son of Morgan J. and Ann
(Price) Harris, was born March 8, 1865, at
Minersville, Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania. At
an early age he began to attend the common
schools, and when in his eighth year he was
obliged to leave, had acquired a sincere desire
for knowledge. This he manifested years later
by taking a course at the Scranton Business Col-
lege, being forced by reason of his daily occu-
pation to attend the night session. From this
institution he graduated February 9, 1887. He
entered the service of the Delaware, Lackawanna
& Western Company as a slate picker, was next
made door-boy in the mine, and then advanced
to the post of timber-man. Thus step by step
he rose, and in 1888 was made inside superin-
tendent of Archbald colliery, a position which
he still retains. This colliery has been in opera-
tion since 1869. Mr. Harris has under his charge
six hundred men and boys. During all the years
in which he has held his present position he has
never met with an accident. It is needless to say
that such a man is highly appreciated by his
employers. That he is appreciated no less by his
fellow-citizens is evident from the fact that for
eight years he served as a member of the coun-
cil of the borough of Taylor, and during six
of those years was president of that body, an
office which he filled with much credit. He is



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



A77



a member of the Independent Order of Red Men
and the Knights of Malta. Politically he is a
Republican.

Mr. Harris married, September i6, 1891,
Sarah E. Dowse, and of the four children born
to them three are living: Ethel, Helen and
Miriam. Mrs. Harris is the daughter of Will-
iam Dowse, who was born May i, 1834, in Eng-
land, and on coming to the United States settled
in Lackawanna county, where he was foreman
of the Continental mine. His wife was Ann
Walters, born in 1829, in Morganshire, South
Wales. Of their children the following are liv-
ing: Mary J., Lizzie, James W., Alfred C.
George, Emily, Edward and Sarah E., born in
1870, in Keyser Valley, Lackawanna county, and
became the wife of Henry E. Harris, as men-
tioned above.

WILLIAM H. WILLIAMS. Throughout
the mining regions of Pennsylvania the Welsh
element has long held the balance of power, and
at the present day, in Lackawanna county at
least, that element is rapidly coming to the
front in financial circles as well as in the sphere
of the coal industry, and promises to become in
the future as influential in the former as it has
heretofore been in the latter. Among those
Welshmen who are recognized as belonging to
the ranks of the rising business' men of the
county is William H. Williams, of Scranton. Mr.
Williams was born in 1854, in South Wales, and
is the son of Thomas and Margaret Williams.
both natives of Wales, and who died in the land
of their birth.

Mr. Williams was educated in his own coun-
try, and in 1872 emigrated to the United States.
He belonged to a family of six children, and
with the exception of a sister, Jane T. Williams,
was the only one to seek a home across the sea.
He settled in Scranton, where he has resided
ever since. His education was somewhat lib-
eral, and bv dint of further application after his
arrival in this country he soon became an ac-
complished clerk, and as such was employed by
the Mount Pleasant Coal Company. He has
now been thirty-two years in the office of this
company, during which time he has served under
four diiTerent managements. From 1872 to
1877 the mines were operated by the Mount
Pleasant Coal Company. In the latter year they
passed under the control of a Mr. Smith, whose
death in 1898 caused them to return to the hands
of the Mount Pleasant people. Since 1902 they
have been owned and operated by the Scranton
Coal Company. It is an eloquent fact that



through all these changes Mr. Williams has re-
tained his position and with it the respect and
confidence of the various companies. In 1902
he was promoted by the Scranton Coal Company
from the position of clerk to that of superintend-
ent of outside work. The colliery under his
management is one of the oldest in that part
of the Lackawanna valley, having been in opera-
tion since 1854. The shaft is now about si.x hun-
dred feet deep, and employs, inside and outside,
seven hundred and twenty men. The output of
this breaker is ten hundred tons per day. Mr.
Williams' administration of this responsible of-
fice is as entirely satisfactory as was the manner
in which he discharged the duties of his former
position. As may readily be imagined, the de-
mands of business absorb the greater portion of
his time, but all his neighbors can testify that
he never forgets to be a good citizen. He is a
member of the Independent Order of Odd Fel-
lows and the Knights of Pythias, in which lat-
ter body he has held office.

Mr. Williams married, in 1874, Annie James,
a native of England, and two children were born
to them : William P., a machinist, married Anna
Williams, and Alargaret A., wife of a Mr. Storm.
In 1890 Mr. Williams and his children were be-
reaved by the death of the wife and mother, who-
passed away deeply lamented by a large circle
of friends.

GEORGE B. REED. One cause of the
financial prosperity of Lackawanna county may
be found in the character of its business men
of the younger generation. By these is pos-
sessed and manifested in full measure that ac-
tivity and spirit of progress which impart to-
the atmosphere of aiTairs a vitality without which
no community can prosper. In a list of these
men the name of George B. Reed, of Peckville,
would stand very high. His career, thus far,
afifords an exemplification of what may be ac-
complished by men of the class referred to.

Alfred Reed was born in 1825, in Glenborne,
Pennsylvania. He was a successful farmer,
owning two hundred and fifty acres of well tilled
land, which, under his energetic and skillful man-
agement, were rendered abundantly productive.
He was not only prosperous as a farmer, but
also influential as a citizen, possessing the full
and implicit confidence and high esteem of his
townsmen, bv whom he was elected to a num-
ber of important borough offices. He was at
one time prominently identified with the
Grangers, in which body he held a conspicuous
office. He married Rebecca J. Gardner, born in



478



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



'Glenborne, and their children were : LiUian,
Bertha, Eugene, Clarence, George B., mentioned
hereinafter, and Homer. Mr. Reed closed his
long and useful life in 1898.

George B. Reed, son of Alfred and Rebecca
J. (Gardner) Reed, was born October 23, 1870,
at Glenborne, Lackawanna county, Pennsylvania,
and received his primary education in the pub-
lic schools of his native town. He subsequently
attended Keystone Academy, from which insti-
tution he graduated, and then entered Lowell's
Business College, Binghamton. Xew York, where
he studied the art of telegraphy and from which
lie graduated. In 1890 he moved to Peckville,
where he became assistant to U. V. Mace, whom,
in 1893, he succeeded as chief agent and op-
erator, thus proving how thoroughly he had mas-
tered his art. Thi's position he still retains, and
is to-day one of the most efficient representatives
■of the New York, Ohio & Western Railway Com-
pany. In all community affairs Mr. Reed mani-
fests a laudable public spirit, and his townsmen
have testified to their appreciation of his quali-
ties as a citizen by electing him borough audi-
tor, in which office he served three terms with
much satisfaction to his constituents. In 1892
he held at the same time the offices of borough
clerk and electric light collector. He is a mem-
ber of Oriental Star Lodge, No. 588, Free and
Accepted Masons, of which he is past master.
He also belongs to Harper Lodge, Independent
Order of Odd Fellows, Peckville Conclave, No.
368, Camp 880, Modern Woodmen of America,
and the Order of Heptasophs. He and his wife
are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church,
in which he has the honor of being president of
the Epworth League.

Mr. Reed married, in September, 1895. Katie
M., daughter of William Bell, of Peckville, and
they are the parents of two sons : Robert S. and
Roland B.

JAMES DANIEL STOCKER, prominently
identified with various important commercial and
financial enterprises in Lackawanna county, and
who has rendered great service to the community
at large by promoting and effecting the construc-
tion of some of the principal waterworks in the
valley, is a native Pennsylvanian, born in Salem
township, Wayne county, March 9, 1850.

He is a representative of a family of pre-
sumably Scotch origin, which was plantecl in
America in the seventeenth century, and whose
members in their various generations rendered
to their country faithful service during the war



of the revolution and that of the rebellion. TThe
founder of the Stocker family in this country was
John Stocker (or Stalker), of F'airfield county,
Connecticut. In 1746 he married Mary Moore-
house, who lived to the phenomenal age of one
hundred and seven years, retaining in remarka-
ble degree her physical and mental powers al-
most to the day of her death. John and Mary
Stocker were the parents of four sons : Thad-
deus, Seth, John and Peter. The three first
named all bore arms during the Revolutionary
war : John never returned home, and his fate is
only a matter of surmise, the presumption being
that he was killed in battle, or died a prisoner of
war. This John Stocker, prior to entering the
army, married Ruby Parks, and to them were
born two sons, James Hill and John, the last
named never married. James H. Stocker was
tanner, currier and shoemaker. About 1800 he
married Abigail Pepper, and resided in Kent
township, Litchfield county, Connecticut. His
sons were : Anson, Almon and Albert ; and his
daughters were : .-Mnia, Anna and Susan. Anson
was a pioneer settler at Meshoppen, Wyoming
county, Pennsylvania. He was a miller by occu-
pation, and was highly respected as an exemplary
citizen. He reared a large family, and two of
his sons participated in the war of the rebellion.
Almon died a young man. The daughters of
James H. Stocker married in Connecticut ; of
these, Susan Meeker is the only one living, aged
ninety years. Albert Stocker, son of James H.
and Abigail (Pepper) Stocker, was born in Keni,
township, Litchfield county, Connecticut, July
18, 181 1. He received a common school educa-
tion. He became part owner of a sawmill in
which he worked until 1840, when he removed
to Salem, Wayne county, Pennsylvania, where
he purchased a farm upon which he resided until
his death, March 23, 1878. He was an honest
and industrious man. deeply conscientious, stern
in his family discipline, and exacting unquestion-
ing obedience from his children. In 1838 he
married Lydia Rebecca Peet, a native of New
Milford, Litchfield county, Connecticut. She
was a most excellent wife and mother, and her
integrity, truthfulness and virtue were ineflace-
ablv impressed upon the hearts and minds of
her children. She came o fa most honorable an-
cestry, among whom were, besides the Peets, the
Lithartons and Fairchilds. The Fairchilds are
known in Scotland as Fairbairns, and their coat-
of-arms indicates that they were in the crusades
from 1096 to 1291. The Peets were from Duf-
field parish, Derbyshire, England. The first of



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



479



the family in America was John Peet, the Hneal
ancestor of Lydia Rebecca (Peet) Stocker, who
came to Stratford, Connecticut, in 1635. He
rang the bell of the Congregational church of
that town for twenty years, during a period when
there were very few church bells in the colonies.
There were seven generations of the Peets in
America, and many of the family saw service
during the Revolutionary war. On both sides the
progenitors of Mrs. Stocker were patriots.

James Daniel Stocker thus unites in his veins
the blood of representative families of two domi-
nant races. He was reared in his native county
of Wayne, Pennsylvania, and received his educa-
tion in the common school and academy at
Wayne. June 12. 1872, he located in Jermyn.
where he conducted a meat business until 1884.
when he added a general line of merchandise.
He conducted this business successfully until
1904, when he relinquished it to give his undi-
vided attention to more important enterprises
— the installation of waterworks at various
points throughout the valley — and which have
contributed in marked degree to the development
of every material interest in that region, and in
all of which Mr. Stocker took the leading part.
These include the Jermyn and Rush Brook
Water Company, of which he is president ; the
Montrose Water Companv of Susquehanna
county, of which he is president ; the Honesdale
Water Company of Wayne county ; the Taren-
tum, Harrison and East Deer Townships Water
Company ; the Huntington Water Company, of
which he is treasurer ; the Armstrong Water
Company, of which he is president ; and the
Latrobe Water Company. He was the principal
factor in perfecting the organization of the Na-
tional Water Works and Guarantee Company
(capital $1,000,000), of which he is vice-presi-
dent. He recently ^'isited Monterey, Mexi-
co, in the interes*t of the last named
company, with a view to opening up water-
works in that city. The large accomplishments
of Mr. Stocker, as herein enumerated, afford
ample evidence of superior qualifications as
a civil engineer, and of commensurate mana-
gerial abilities. He is also connected with other
interests, among them the Wilson Lumber and
Milling Company of Lenoir, North Carolina,
of which he is president. Essentially a man of
large business affairs, he has been too closely
occupied to admit of his engaging in the political
arena, even were he so disposed. His career has
been fully as useful as it has been active, and he
has contributed in large degree to the extension
of everv industrial and commercial interest in



every region where his eft'ort has been exerted,
to the enlargement of their facilities, and to the
increase of their wealth.

In 1872 Mr. Stocker married Frances Ray-
mond, daughter of the Rev. A. R. Raymond, a
minister of the Presbyterian Church. Two chil-
dren were born of this marriage : Stella B., de-
ceased ; and Frank R., a graduate of Yale, now
a lawyer in Scranton, and connected with the
Pennsylvania Casualty Company. Mrs. Stocker
died, and in 1882 Air. Stocker married her sister.
Gertrude L. (now deceased), and to them was
born a son, Claude P.^ who is engaged in edito-
rial pursuits. In 1899 Mr. Stocker married Miss
Octavia Morrison, of Statesville, North Caro-
lina, and they are the parents of a daughter,
Eleanor Gertrude.

SAMPSON HUTCHINGS. A striking
proof of the benefits resulting from self-educa-
tion when joined to industry, integritv and force
of character, is furnished by the career of Samp-
son Hutchings, of Olyphant, who, both as a
business man and a citizen, occupies a high place
in the regard of his neighbors.

Mr. Hutchings was born in 1839, in England.
His boyhood was passed on the farm which had
been his birthplace, and his educational oppor-
tunities were necessarily limited. He early per-
ceived, however, the great importance of mental
culture to the man desirous of advancement in
anv walk of life, and on reaching his seventeenth
year began to attend night school, where he
availed himself of every opportunity for improve-
ment, and gave special attention to mathematics
and civil engineering. At the same time he
learned the miller's and millwright's trade,
which he followed for some years, but finally
abandoned it in consequence of injury to his
lungs caused by the dust of the workshop and
the mill. He then engaged for a time in mining,
working in coal, copper, tin, lead and iron.

In 1864 Mr. Hutchings emigrated to the
United States, where, by reason of his occupa-
tion, he was naturally attracted to the mining
regions of Pennsylvania. For three years he
worked in the mines at Dunmore and in 1868
moved to Petersburg, where he opened a mine
of his own which he operated for one year. In
1870 he removed to Olyphant, and until 1884
was engaged in mining there. He then decided
to turn his attention to another line of endeavor,
and opened a blacksmith's shop. In this venture
he was verv successful. His business increased
and is still steadily enlarging its scope and pro-
portions. It includes, in addition to blacksmith-



48o



THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS.



ing, woodwork and painting. His shops are
large and commodious, the main building being
of cut stone. Their equipment is complete, in-
cluding a ten-horse-power engine and all other
necessary machinery. He gives constant em-
ployment to six men, who are all skilled work-
men. Throughout the two boroughs of Blakely
and Olyphant he is recognized as the leading
blacksmith. Mr. Hutchings is active in all the
duties of citizenship and possesses the fullest
confidence of his neighbors, as was manifested
by their electing him to serve three years in the
council of the borough of Blakely. He was a
member for two years of the civil engineer corps,
and during that time was engaged in general
work in and about mines and on railroads.

Mr. Hutchings married in 1870, Sarah Deven,
of Blakely, and four children have been born to
them: Mary E., wife of G&orge Rull, a ma-
chinist ; E. S!, who is in business with his father,
and Alretta and Euretta, twins.

HOWKIN BULKELEY BEARDSLEE, of
Wilkes-Barre, though a lawyer of ability, was
more widely known and admired for his excel-
lent powers as a journalist, and for his useful
public services. His active career covered more
than a half century during the most eventful
period in the history of the nation, and it was
the fortune of comparatively few to have borne
such a prominent part during that time.

Mr. Beardslee was born in Mount Pleasant,
Wavne county, Pennsylvania, April iS; 1 85 1.
His' father, Bulkeley Beardslee, was a native of
Fairfield, Connecticut, whence he removed at an
early day to the place which witnessed the birth
of his son. He was a householder in Mount
Pleasant township, Pennsylvania, as early as
1818, and became a man of prominence, holding
several important offices, among them that of
county commissioner. His wife was a daughter
of Walter Kimble, who was a son of Jacob Kim-
ble, one of the pioneers in the Paupack region.
He was among those who were driven away
about the time of the Wyoming massacre, and
who returned after the Revolution, dying in
1826. at the remarkable age of ninety-one years.

Howkin Bulkeley Beardslee entered upon a
public career at the early age of twenty-four
years, the fact attesting his business ability and
reputation. He was register and recorder of
Wayne county from. 1845 to 1848; a member of
the legislature in i860; and of the state senate
in 1864, 1865 and 1866. In 1864 he was actor
in a dramatic scene, which brought upon him
the attention of the people of the entire state.



There was at the time an equal political divis-
ion of the senate, and the Democrats, among
whom Mr. Beardslee was a leader, inaugurated
an opposition to the election of a Republican
speaker which was continued through several
weeks. This was only made possible by Mr.
Beardslee's prompt decision and aggressive in-
dividuality. In alphabetical order on the first
roll call, his was the first Democratic name called
for, and his instant response pitched the key for
all his colleagues.

While a resident of Wayne county Mr.
Beardslee was for many years owner and editor
of the Wayne County Herald. Seeking a broad-
er field of labor, in 1871 he removed to Wilkes-
Barre and became part owner and the editor of
the Luzerne Union, subsequently purchasing the
entire property. For many years, and under his
sole management, the Union was the only Dem-
ocratic newspaper printed in English in the en-
tire county, which then included the present
county of Lackawanna. Mr. Beardslee brought
to his task what proved to be journalistic ability
of a high order, and he made his journal one
of the influential ones in the state, wielding an
influence so altogether powerful as compared
with the rural press of the present day as to be
incomprehensible to one who did not live under
the old conditions, now forever passed away.
After conducting his newspaper for about ten
years, the Union was consolidated with the
Leader, Mr. Beardslee retiring, and in 1882 he
established the Luzerne County Herald. The ne-
cessity for a strong, aggressive party organ had
now passed away, and, while using his columns
to advocate the political principles dear to his
heart, as seemed to warrant from time to time,
Mr. Beardslee made it his chief concern to pro-



Online LibraryHorace Edwin HaydenGenealogical and family history of the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys, Pennsylvania; (Volume 2) → online text (page 99 of 130)