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History of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present online

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stitution, which limits the tenure of office of presi-
dent judges of the courts of common pleas to ten
years. Every friend of justice and morality, all
who desire to see the bench occupied by a stern
foe to vice and disorder, are interested in keeping
the judicial ermine upon the shoulders of Judge
Durkee." As a practicing lawyer. Judge Durkee
always occupied a high position at the bars of York
and Adams Counties. His specialty was the con-
ducting of trials before juries. He managed his
' causes with great tact and judgment, and while at
the bar always had a large portion of its forensic
practice. Pew causes of magnitude or importance
were tried in which he was not one of the leading
counsel. His influence with a jury, whether he ad-
dressed them from the bar or charged them from
the bench, seetped almost magical. Although
Judge Durkee was not indebted to the culture of the
schools, he had evidentlj^ practiced self -discipline
long and carefully. But it was from nature he re-
ceived his best gifts — gifts, the absence of which no
amount of educational facilities can supply. The
characteristics of his mind were clearness and orig-
inality. Both these mental qualities, so rarely met,
even singly, he possessed in a very considerable de-
gree. They manifested themselves on the bench, at
tlie bar, in social conversation, and even in casual re-
marks, in the working out of his intellectual pro-
cesses, in the language he selected, and in the fig-
ures and illustrations he employed. For this reason
he was always listened to with attention and inter-
est. It was well known that there was no danger of
being wearied by anything feeble or commonplace
or obscure in what he said. Most frequently the
products of his mind exhibited the freshness of vig-
orous and independent thinking, were expressed in
strong, idiomatic English, which, adapting itself to
the tournure of the thought, fitted close to it, and
conveyed to others his ideas with all the clearness
in which they existed in his own mind, were eluci-
dated by illustrations, which were apt, striking,
felicitous, and when the subject or occasion would
admit, were enlivened by the scintillations of gen-
uine wit. In his legal investigations and discus-
sions, he always sought for the reason of the law,
and endeavored to be guided by principles rather
than by discordant and irreconcilable decisions.

With his great powers of mind, he united great
kindness of heart and an eminently sympathetic and
affectionate disposition, causing him to be beloved
in his neighborhood and idolized in his family.
Judge Durkee had none of the arts and stooped to
none of the tricks and methods of the politician.
His popularity grew out of his genial and kindly
disposition, and his well-known integrity. In times
like these, when the judicial office is becoming
yearly more the object of a scramble by unworthy
aspirants, it were well if his high example had more

HENRY A. EBERT, retired merchant and a
representative of one of the old families of York
County, was born in West Manchester Township,
December 10, 1841. He is a son of Henry and Sarah
(Smyser) Ebert, the latter a daughter of Jacob Smy-
ser, and born March 19, 1815; the former was also
born in West Manchester Township, February 13.
1809, and died March 38, 1884. The paternal
grandfather of Mr. Ebert was Adam Ebert, also a
native of York County. The Ebert family has
been identified with the history of this county for
more than 100 years. Our subject was educa-
ted at the public schools and at the York County
Academy. In 1864 he began the merchant tailoring
business in York, and continued until 1878, when
he retired from this business and began dealing in
real estate. The marriage of Mr. Ebert occurred
June 7, 1870, to Miss Mary L. Sheller, daughter of
Dr. Sheller, of Lancaster County. They have
three children, viz.; A. Laura, Ella V. and Harry
Sheller. Politically Mr. Ebert is a Republican. Mr.
Ebert is a member of the Lutheran Churcii and Mrs.
Ebert is a member of the Presbyterian Church.

EDWARD EBNER, of the firm of B. Noedel &
Co., York, was born in Neun Kirchen, Austria, in
1848. His parents were Franz X., and Anna (Hass-
lauer) Ebner, natives of the same country, and for
over thirty-five years engaged in the hotel business
there; they are both deceased. Edward was edu-
cated, and until 187.5 engaged in the mercantile trade
in his native countiy. Immigrating to America, he
located in Philadelphia, where he remained seven
years, the five last years of which he was the man-
ager of Charles Engel's restaurant. In 1882 he
came to York and became associated, as partner,
with B. Noedel, and in this connection he has re-
mained up to the present time. Mr. Eisner was
married in 1883 to Mrs. Mary A. Boll, widow of
Jacob W. Boll, late of York. Mrs. Ebner's maiden
name was Mary A. Brasch, and she is a native of
York County. They are members of St. Mary's
Catholic Church.

CAPT. WILLIAM F. EICHAR. book-keeper, is
a native of Mount Pleasant. Penn., born December
8, 1841, to Henry and Catherine (Lichty) Eichar.
He is one of a numerous family and is of German
descent. He remained in his native township until
1861, when he enlisted in Company B, Twenty-eighth
Pennsylvania Volunteers, for three years. He'par-
ticipated in the battles of Antietam, South Moun-
tain, Boliver Heights and many other minor en-
gagements. He was honorably discharged in 1864,
and the following year came to York, where he has
since lived. Soon after his removal to York he ac-
cepted a position in the employ of A. B. Farquhar,
and here continues. He is one of the most compe-
tent and exact accountants in York, and enjoys the
supreme confidence of his employers. He was mar-
ried in 1864 to Miss Eliza B. Welty, who bore him
six children. Mrs. Eichar died in 1879, and the fol-
lowing year Mr. Eichar was united in marriage to
Miss Maria C. Buckingham, a native of York
County. One child has been born to this union.
Mr. Eichar is a member of the Republican party.
In 1878 he was elected assessor of the Second Ward.
He is a member of the G. A. R., Sedgewick Post,


No. 37. Mr. and Mrs. Eichai- are members of the
Methodist Episcopal Church.

HENRY W. EISENHART, foreman of the
wood department of A. B. Parquhar's, was born in
Adams County, Penn., in 1839, is a son of George
and Mary (Wolf) Eisenhart and is of German
extraction. His parents were born in York County,
his father in 1805 and his mother in 1808. His
paternal grandfather was Conrad Eisenhart, a
native of York County. When Henry W. was
about four years of age he was by his parents
removed from Adams County to Paradise Town-
ship, York County, where he obtained a common
school education. In 1858 he began learning the
carpenter trade, and in 1861 went to Harrisburg
and there continued his trade for about one year.
He then came to York and remained a short time
and then went to his native county. In 1865 he
returned to York, and for five years was in the em-
ploy of Shireman, Hoffeins & Co. In 1873 he
accepted his present position, and is the oldest
foreman now in the employ of A. B. Farquhar &
Co., has charge of sixty -five' men. He was married
in 1863 to Miss Kate Nickey, a native of Adams
County, and a daughter of John Nickey. They
have one child, Albertus C. Politically Mr. Eisen-
hart is a Democrat, and became an Odd Fellow in
1857. Mr. and Mrs. Eisenhart are members of tlic
Reformed Church.

C. A. EISENHART, D. D. S., was born in York
County in 1844. His early life was passed as an
assistant upon his father's farm until sixteen years
of age, attending in the meantime the schools of
his native county. Prior to his removal to Mar-
shall, Mich., he was a teacher in the schools of West
Manchester Township. A natural inclination for
the profession of dentistry_ led him to become a
student, and his close application and determined
spirit enabled him to master it in all of its details.
In 1860 he formed a co-partnership with Dr. Eggle-
ston, which relationship was mutually beneficial, and
the success of our subject farther advanced. Upon
the dissolution of this firm Dr. Eisenhart returned
to York, where he has since been in constant and
continual practice. The success of Dr. Bi.senhart
has not been confined to the practical duties of his
profession, but has extended into the field of in-
vention. He made application for a patent upon
a method for the application of electricity to
supersede the use of anaesthetics in extracting and
filling teeth. This invention has been wonderfully
successful, and has met with a large sale among the
dental profession, and has extended the fame of
Dr. Eisenhart, and placed him among the leading
dentists of Pennsylvania. Dr. Eisenhart is a citizen
of worth and progression in all matters of public
advancement. He has been a school director seven
years, and president of the board of education, and
interested in the Safe and Lock Works, and is presi-
dent of the Park Loan & Building Association.
December 5, 1872, he was united in wedlock with
Miss Emma C, daughter of Charles and Catherine
(Weiser) Pf abler, and a native of York County.
They have four children: William S., Luther P.,
Jacob C. and Harry W. The family are members
of the Lutheran Church, of which Dr. Eisenhart
has been a teacher in the Sabbath-school for over
ten years.

F. J. ELICK, proprietor of Elick's Tobacco Em-
porium, was born in Philadelphia in 1850, and is a
son of Christopher and Margaret (Walter) Elick.
The parents of Mr. Elick were born in Germany and
immigrated to America, and settled in Philadelphia,
where the family resided until about 1853, when
they removed to York. The subject of this sketch
was educated at the public schools, and afterward
learned the confectioner's trade, which he continued
for some time, and then served an apprenticeship at

the barber's trade. In 1870 he began business for
himself. In 1881 he added to his barbering busi-
ness a complete line of choice tobaccos and smoker's
supplies, and made a specialty of meerschaum pipes.
Mr. Elick was married in 1870 to Miss Emma Hil-
debrand, of York County. They have two children:
Laura and Mabel. Mr. Elick is a Mason and a
member of the I. O. O. F.

PHILIP H. EMIG was born in Codorus Town-
ship, July 12, 1832, and is a son of Philip and Sarah
(Shaffer) Emig. He is the seventh in a family of
nine children, and is of German-English origin. His
great-grandfather emigrated from Germany, and
settled in North Codorus Township. His grand-
father was Michael Emig. For more than 150
years the Emig family has been known in York
County. His father was born in Codorus Town-
ship, and his mother in York. The father died in
1846, and the mother in 1879. When our subject
was about ten years of age he came to York, and
here has since resided. At the age of fourteen years
he began learning the shoemaker's trade, which he
has since continued. The marriage of Mr. Emig
occurred December 16, 1853, to Miss Ellen E. Beck,
a native of York, Penn. "To this union have been
born six children, viz.: Calvin J., Virginia M., Mary
E., Harry F., Sarah Kate and Emma. Politically
Mr. Emig is a Republican. He has been a Sabbath-
school teacher for more than twenty-five years, and
is a highly esteemed citizen.

DAVID EMMITT has for over half a century
been identified with the business interests of York.
He was born in York, January 37, 1819, and is a son
of Jacob and Lydia (Ilgenfrifz) Emmitt, of Irish
and German descent. His father, who was a rela-
tive of Robert Emmitt, of Ireland, was one of the
early men of York, and a soldier of the war of 1812,
belonging to the "Independent Blues," a company
of 300 men, of Baltimore. He was an active and
respected citizen, and a resident of York until his
death in 1865. The subject of this sketch received
a good education, having the advantage of the
schools of York and the York County Academy.
He early learned the trade of carpenter, and followed
that occupation from 1836 to 1849, when he em-
barked in the grocery business, on the corner of
Beaver and Philadelphia Streets, at which he has
since been successfully engaged. Mr. Emmitt is a
charter member of the Mt. Zion Lodge, No. 74, I. O.
O. F., and a man who has done much to develop the
moral interests of his native town. He has been
identified for more than thirty-five years with St.
Paul's Lutheran Church, and over thirty years as a
member of the church council. He has been- an
active member and a liberal giver for all projects of
true moral worth. In 1847 he was married to Miss
Mary E. Rauss, daughter of Luke and Mary L.
(Beitzel) Rauss. She was born in York, July 32,
1832, and is a descendant of families that have been
long identified with the history of York County.

MICHAEL H. ENGLE was born in RidgeviUe.
Lancaster Co., Pa., September 31, 1851, is a son of
Daniel M. and Mary (Hoffman) Engel, and is of
Swiss-German descent. His parents were born in
Lancaster County. Our subject received a common
school education at Millersviile, Penn. In 1870 he be-
gan the tobacco business, and in 1878 came to York,
and continued that business. He was married in
1874 to Miss Melvina A. Blake, a native of York
County. They have three children: N. D., Mary
M. and M. R. Mrs. Engle is engaged in the milli-
nery and notion business, and at her store can be
found at all times a full stock of choice goods. Mr.
Engle is a Republican.

D. M. ETTINGER, civil engineer, and native
of Hopewell Township, was born September 13,
1806, to Adam and Elizabeth (Miller) Ettinger. He
is one of fourteen children and is of old German



stock. The parents of Mr. Ettinger were both born
in York County. His father died in 1877 and his
motlier.;in 1855. His maternal grandfather was a
soldier in the Revolutionary war. At an early age,
D.M. Ettinger began teaching school and continued
to teach for about thirty years, and was one of the
most successful teachers of the day and one of the
most popular York County ever had. For fourteen
years he was a teacher in the York County High
School. In 1853 he was employed by the Chicago
& Northwestern Railway, as civil engineer. For
over forty years he has been acting in the capacity
of surveyor and engineer, and is unquestionably one
of the most accurate civil engineers of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Ettinger was married, in 1830, to Miss Lovinia
Toomy, a native of York County. To this marriage
were born seven children, viz.: Alvina, Martin L.,
Sarah, Josephine (deceased), Newton (deceased),
Daniel (deceased), and Paul (deceased). ■ Mrs. Et-
tinger died October 4, 1883. Mr. Ettinger was for-
merly a Whig but is now a thorough Republican.
Although he is passing into the "sere and yellow
leaf." his years sit lightly upon him.

EL1A8 BYSTER, proprietor of the Byster
House, was born in Jackson Township, York Co.,
Penn., in 1840. His parents, Peter and Sarah E.
(Spangler) Eyster were both bornin York County, the '
father in 1811 and the mother in 1814. The Bysters
are of Swiss origin, and our subject is the second in
a family of five children. His paternal grandfather
was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. The
mother of Mr. Eyster died in 1859 and his father in

1871. Mr. Byster worked for his father on the farm
until his nineteenth year, when he began farming
for himself, and this he continued until 1870, when
he removed to York and began the hotel business,
in what was known as the American House, but in
1877 the name was changed to that of Byster House
which it has since borne. During the years 1871 and

1872, Mr. Eyster was engaged in the iron ore busi-
ness at Roth's Ore Bank. In 1880 he was engaged
in the manufacture of washing machines, in part-
nership with Messrs. Becker and Baer. He was
united in marriage in 1861 to Miss Sarah A. Stover,
a native of .Jackson Township. They have three
children: Emma J., Elmyra B. and Peter E. Mr.
Eyster is a Democrat and manifests much interest
in general politics. In 1873 he was made a member
of the Masonic fraternity.

ROBERT J. FISHER. A large part of the
judicial history of York County, is inseparably
associated with the career of Hon^ Robert J. Fisher,
who, for more than thirty years, presided over its
courts. On the 4th day of November, 1838, when
twenty-two years of age, he was admitted to prac-
tice in the several courts of York County. He had
received a thorough legal education, at the Yale
Law School, New Haven, Conn., and in the office
of his father, a widely known and honored attorney
of Harrisburg. For twenty-three years he worked
diligently at the bar, attaching to himself by his
integrity and ability a large clientage and a host of
friends. In 1851, he was elected to the bench of the
Nineteenth Judicial District, composed then of the
counties of York and Adams. Being twice re-
elected (1861 and 1871), he was, until 1875, the only
law judge of the two counties, accomplishing avast
amount of labor, and rendering with promptness
and widely recognized learning, decisions which
have commanded general respect. His rulings have
almost universally been upheld by the appellate
tribunals, and his opinions have been quoted as an
authority, in this and other States, with more fre-
quency than those of almost any other contemporan-
eous nisi prills judge. Although an earnest Dem-
ocrat, during his official careei', he carefully ab-
stained from all connection with politics, judge
Fisher possessed, in an unusual degree, the rare

ability of viewing a question impartially and decid-
ing on principle unaffected by prejudice or fear.
Particularly was this characteristic strikingly illus-
trated in his course during the Rebellion. Now that
the intense exciti-ment and intolerant partisanship
of the time have passed away, his undeviating adher-
ence to the established principles of the common
law, appears admirable. Though a decided
and uncompromising Unionist, he was,neveitheless,
determined in his opposition to every unwarrantable
encroachment of the military upon the civil power.
When passion and fear deprived others of their
judgment, he seems never to have lost his cool dis-
cretion, either in the presence of Federal soldiers or
rebel invaders. On one occasion, a citizen had
been illegally arrested by the military authorities at
the hospital on the commons, and a writ of habeas
corpus was taken out in his behalf. Upon its
return, the prisoner was brought into court by a
squad of soldiers with fixed bayonets. That show
of force, however, failed to affect the action of the
Court. Promptly he required the soldiers to recog-
nize civil authority, saying that as citizens they had
a right to be there, but a? armed men they must
withdraw. After a hearing the prisoner was released.
At the time of the Confederate occupation of
York, in 1863, the rebel commander sent to Judge
Fisher for the keys of the court house. He replied
that he did not have them, and that the commis-
sioners were the only legal custodians of the public
buildings; upon another summons being sent, how-
ever, he went with the messenger and found that
the soldiers had in some way obtained admission to
the prothonotary's office and were preparing to de-
stroy the records there deposited. As the chief
judicial magistrate of the county, he warmly expos-
tulated against the destruction of these valuable
evidences, the loss of which would be irremediable.
The General, at first said it would only be just
retaliation for the depredations of the northern
armies in the South, but after a long discussion, the
judge compelled him to acknowledge the unlawful-
ness of all such acts of useless plunder, and per-
suaded him to withdraw his men. The records and
valuable documents of the county were thus saved
by the coolness and firmness of the venerable judge.
There are several other occasions, which many
citizens recall during those turbulent times,
when he showed like remarkable courage, facing-
mobs with fearless dignity, and with unusual mild-
ness, but at the same time unusual determination,
maintaining order and insisting upon the supremacy
of the civil law. Judge Fisher comes of one of the
oldest and most respectable families of the State.
Born in Harrisburg, May 6, 1806, he is the son of
George Fisher, Esq.. and Ann Shipper, daughter of
Robert Streltell Jones of Burlington, N. J. He was
baptized Robert Strettell Jones Fisher, but dropped
the second name early in life. His maternal grand-
father was a member of the New Jersey Legislature,
and secretary of the Committee of Safety in 1776.
His great-grandfather,Isaac Jones, was twice mayor
of Philadelphia (1767 and 1768), and a member of
the common council in 1764. His great-great-grand-
father Fisher was one of the original company of
Quakers, who came from England with William
Penn. in 1682, and who laid out the city of Phila-
delphia. His grandfather, George Fisher, received
from his father a large tract of land in Dauphin
County, upon which he laid out the borough of
Middletown. Judge Fisher was twice married, and
in the quiet scenes'of domesticlifehe always experi-
enced great satisfaction. His first wife, Catharine,
daughter of Horatio Gates Jameson. M. D., became
the mother of eight children, and died in 1850. In
1853 he married Mary Sophia, daughter of Ebenezer
Cadwell of Northbridge, Mass., who bore him two
children. His eldest son, George Fisher, Esq., is a


well established member of the York County bar,
and his other son, Robert J. Fisher, Jr., having
been for several years connected with the patent
office, is now one of the three examiners-in-chief.
In matters of religion, Judge Fisher has always
been eminently catholic. From childhood.his associ-
ations have been largely with the Protestant Epis-
copal denominations, although particularly char-
itable toward those of different faith and order, and
a frequent attendant at their services. In 1870,- he
became a communicant member of St. John's
Church in York, has been for many years a vestry-
man, and was the first chancellor of the diocese of
central Pennsylvania.

GEORGE FISHER, attorney at law, was born
at York, Penn., on the 29th of September, 1836, and
is a son of Hon. Robert J. Fisher, and his wife
Catharine, who was a daughter of Horatio Gates
Jameson, Sr.. M. D., a distinguished surgeon and
physician of Baltimore. In April, 1847, George was
entered a student at the York County Academy,
then under the direction of the venerable Rev.
Stephen Boyer. From 1831 to 1853, he was a stu-
dent at Sherwood School, at that time a flourishing
institution of learning in the vicinity of York, un-
der the direction of Maj. Bland, who was at one
time an officer in the British Army of that rank.
From 1853 to 185-t, he was a student at the Colle-
giate Institute, Northampton. Mass. In 1854 he
was admitted to the class of 1859, at Yale College.
In October, 1856, he removed to Iowa City, and held
a position in the office of Hon. Elijah Sells, then
secretary of stale of Iowa. In 1857 he commenced
the study of the law in York under the direction of
his father, Hon. Robert J. Fisher, who was then
and had been for several years, and for more than
twenty years afterward, president judge of the
Nineteenth Judicial District of Pennsylvania, and
in 18.59 he was admitted to the bar of the county of
York. In 1863 he was clerk to the board of reve-
nue commissioners of the State of Pennsylvania.
Said board was abolished by act of the General
Assembly approved April 12, 1864, and the powers
thereof vested in the State treasurer, auditor-gen-
eral, and secretary of the commonwealth. In 1869
he removed to Stroudsburg, Monroe Co., Penn., and
engaged in the practice of the law. In 1872 he was
a candidate for district attorney of Monroe County.
There being four candidates before the people for
the office, he failed of an election by forty votes.
In 1873 he returned to York and resumed the prac-
tice of the law there. In 1875-76 he was a clerk of
the house of representatives of Pennsylvania, and
during part of the session of 1876-77, journal clerk.
In 1871 Mr. Fisher married Mary, daughter of Rob-
ert Barry, of Baltimore, Md., and continues to re-
side and practice his profession in York.

JOEL E. FISHER, carpenter and builder, was
born in York County, April 8, 1836, and is a son of
Seth and Mary (RatclifE) Fisher. He is one of a
numerous family, and is of English extraction. His
father was born in York in 1798, and his mother was
born in Virginia. At seventeen years of age he

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 161 of 218)