John W. (John Woolf) Jordan.

Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania biography : illustrated (Volume 7) online

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an able business man, sterling in his in-
tegrity, pure and upright in his private
life, a loyal useful citizen, a Christian
whose example led men to strive for
better things.

Mr. Carhart was of English descent,
tracing his American ancestry to Anthony
Carhart, of Cornwall, England, who was
private secretary to Colonel Thomas Don-
gan, Governor of New Amsterdam (New
York), 1682-83. The line of descent
from the founder was through his son,
Thomas Carhart, his son Robert Carhart,
his son, Cornelius Carhart, who was chap-
lain of the Third Regiment, Hunterdon
County, New Jersey, militia, in 1777, and
major of the Second Regiment of Hunter-
don county troops, commissioned April
20, 1778. Major Carhart had a son,
Robert, also a soldier of the Revolution
serving with New Jersey troops from
1775 to 1783 ; whose son, William P. Car-
hart (born 1779, died 1863) had a son,
Theodore Carhart, the father of Phineas
M. Carhart. Theodore married Rachel
Albright, and resided in Belvidere, New
Jersey, where his son, Phineas M., was

Phineas M. Carhart was born Septem-
ber 21, 1842, died in Kingston, Pennsyl-
vania, May 2, 1901. He obtained his
early training in the public schools, com-
pleting his studies at Wyoming Semi-
nary, Kingston, in 1867, having been a
student there for two years. He began
business life as clerk in the private bank-
ing house of Bennett, Phelps & Company,
Wilkes-Barre, was promoted teller, then

cashier, holding the latter position until
that house liquidated in 1879. During
those twelve years he had proved his
quality, and had found favor with the
banking public. When Bennet, Phelps
& Company closed out their business,
the Wyoming National Bank of Wilkes-
Barre secured his services, retaining them
from 1880 until 1885. In October of the
latter year he was appointed teller of the
First National Bank of Wilkes-Barre,
was promoted to the position of cashier
April 12, 1887, and held that important
post until his death. Nearly thirty-five
years of his life were thus spent, his
record unstained by unworthy act, his
character shining the more brightly under
this severest of tests, under which so
many men have fallen. No man in the
Wyoming Valley was held in higher
esteem and no man more justly deserved
his reputation.

While a student at Wyoming Seminary,
Mr. Carhart was converted and became
a member of Kingston Methodist Episco-
pal Church. From that time until his
death he met every Christian obligation
squarely, and fulfilled them gladly. He
was a tireless worker for the church, and
gave loyal service to every department.
He taught the adult Bible class for
several years, and was leader of the Sun-
day school work as superintendent for
several more. He served the church as
secretary and treasurer, and was a popular
class leader, a form of Christian service
peculiar to the Methodist church. To his
personal service he added liberal con-
tributions to all the church benevolences
and support. He was a member of the
Royal Society of Good Fellows No. 19, of
Wilkes-Barre, and of the Wyoming His-
torical and Geological Society, elected
October 4, 1895.

Mr. Carhart married, at Kingston, May
23, 1872, Elizabeth Helme, daughter of



Frank Helme, who survives him with an
only daughter, Helen Helme, wife of
Jared Warner Stark, of Detroit, Michigan.
The following tribute was presented to
Mrs. Carhart by the directors of the First
National Bank, the beautiful brochure
bearing in letters of gold the words "In
Memoriam," and on the last page the seal
and the signatures of president, William
S. McLean, and secretary, Charles P.

At a special meeting of the Board of Directors
of The First National Bank of this city, called
to take action upon the death of our late cashier,
Mr. P. M. Carhart, the following preamble and
resolutions were unanimously adopted:

The expected has come to pass. Our cashier so
long a sufferer has passed away. Mr. Carhart
has been connected with this bank for more than
fifteen years, first as teller, October i, 1885; as-
sistant cashier, January 12, 1886; and cashier
from April 13, 1887, to the date of his death.

Since September, 1899, he has been a constant,
patient sulferer, and while we deplore his death
just in the prime of life, we feel that it must have
been a great relief, and that our loss is his gain.
During his connection with this bank, Mr. Car-
hart has always been characterized by the manners
of a Christian gentleman, conscientious and faith-
ful in all the duties appertaining to his position,
intelligent and clear-headed, understanding well
the business over which he presided with dignified
urbanity. We feel that it is but proper and fitting
to place upon our minutes the following resolu-
tion :

Resolved, That while we are again called upon
to record the death of an officer of this bank, we
would most seriously add our estimation of his
worth and character and convey to his family our
deepest sympathy under this severe aflfliction.

From his brethren of the official board
of the First Methodist Episcopal Church
came the following tribute, beautifully
engrossed and bound in leather, bearing
the signatures of Abraham Nesbitt, C.
Bach, W. R. Billings, C. W. Laycock and
Leonard Murdock:

which was held in the church edifice Monday
evening. May 13, 1901, unanimously authorized
the following resolutions regarding the decease
of Brother Phineas M. Carhart.

Whereas, our Heavenly Father, in His wise
providence, has removed from our midst Phineas
M. Carhart, a brother respected and beloved, we
desire to express our sorrow in this l)ereavement,
and our appreciation of the life and character of
the deceased, and our Christian sympathy for his
afflicted family. Brother Carhart was a man
whom all that came to know must respect. His
life appeared to be above reproach. We shall
miss his counsel in our official meetings, his
prayers and testimony in the prayer circle, and
his sound advice and ardent exhortation in the
class. We know, however, that most of all, he
will be missed from the home. Our prayers are
offered for the consolation of Divine grace in
behalf of those who were so dear to him, and we
wish to record that in our sorrow we find com-
fort in the memory of so good a life, and his
life a benediction to us. In Christian influence
he still lives among us, while in the new and
Heavenly kingdom we trust that he lives a citizen,
faithful, obedient and happy. For these comfort-
ing assurances we are grateful to our blessed

Resolved, That these resolutions be spread upon
the minutes of the Conference and that an en-
grossed copy be presented to the family.

Quarterly Conference of the First Methodist
Episcopal Church at Kingston, Pennsylvania,

SON, William Hanna,

Head of Important Indaitrjr.

In the hurry and stress of American
business life often too little time is given
to the personal relation, and often men of
large affairs make but little personal im-
pression upon the lives of those in their
employ. But in December, 1913, an inci-
dent of exceptional pathos and useful
lesson was enacted at the plant of the
Sheldon Axle Company in Wilkes-Barre
when the funeral train bearing the casket
of the chief who had fought so well and
so bravely passed slowly between a mile
of sorrowing employees lining both sides
of the track. This action of love, respect
and sorrow was decided upon by special
vote of the men as a touching tribute
to their chief, William H. Son, whos'^



triumphs they had shared, whose friend-
ship they valued, whose memory they
honored. Those four thousand silent
mourners who stood with uncovered
heads while the train slowly bore him
away, spoke eloquently of the deep im-
press he had made upon their lives, and
was a fitting tribute to a man who loved
his fellow men.

A son of John W. and Agnes (Bowie)
Son, William H. Son united the Holland
strain of his paternal ancestors with the
Scotch blood of his mother's family. He
was born in Ames, New York, May i8,
1863, and died at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsyl-
vania, November 30, 1913, after a lifelong
connection with manufacturing in the
State of his birth and in Wilkes-Barre.
Educated in the schools of Amsterdam,
New York, he was a youth of eighteen
years when he laid aside his books for the
practical things of life and entered the
employ of D. W. Shuler & Company, of
Amsterdam, manufacturers of springs.
In the period between his entrance in
1881 and until 1892 he served in every
department of the factory, attaining to
such a degree of efficiency and knowledge
that he was made superintendent, for
several years being entrusted with the
entire management of the plant. He was
valued by his employers, and through
considerate and manly treatment of those
under his direction won their respect and
afifection. Upon the death of D. W. Shu-
ler, head of this business, Mr. Son formed
an association with the Sheldon Axle
Company, of Wilkes-Barre, contracting
for the erection of a plant for the manu-
facture of springs. The scope of the busi-
ness thus inaugurated in connection with
the manufacture of axles widened so
rapidly and proved such a profitable line
to carry in conjunction with the axle
business that generous provisions were
made for its development and growth.
Under Mr. Son's direction a superior

grade of carriage spring was placed upon
the market, the worth of which was
speedily impressed upon carriage builders,
with the result that the Sheldon product
usurped almost entirely the place of the
cheaper grades that had been formerly in
use. The immediate popularity of auto-
mobiles afforded a new field for the activ-
ities of the company, and here the same
success attended their efforts as in the
former operations. In 1901 Mr. Son's
estimate of the required output of the
factory was placed at two thousand tons,
while nine years later, in 1910, the com-
pany manufactured and sold of carriage
springs alone eighteen thousand tons. In
1908 Mr. Son accepted the vice-presidency
and general managership of the Sheldon
Axle Company, in whose marvelous
growth he had played so important and
so conspicuous a part, and continued in
the discharge of the duties of these offices
until his death. In his managerial ca-
pacity he was as thoroughly and com-
pletely in touch with all of the mammoth
Sheldon plant as he had been with his
own department years before and his
administration of his responsible office
showed the tireless nature of his in-
dustry, the strength of his intellect, and
the height of his ideals. To his work he
gave of his best, and the attribute that
makes him worthy of position with the
greatest men of industry and business of
to-day, was his appreciation of the neces-
sity for close cooperation between em-
ployer and employee. At no time in his
rise from ordinary station to authority
was he above consideration of the welfare
of those below him, and he used the term
below in no other sense than that of
authority in business. In that fact lay
the secret of much of his industrial suc-

Mr. Son had few business interests out-
side of the Sheldon Axle Company, but
for some time served the Dime Savings



Bank as a director. He was a member of
the Society of Auto-Engineers, and also
belonged to the Knights of Pythias, the
Young Men's Christian Association, the
Wilkes-Barre Auto and the Westmore-
land and Franklin clubs. His circle of
friends was wide, and held within its
limits many of the most prominent men
in business and civil life of the locality.
He was a gentleman of cultured tastes
and pleasing manner, the courtesy and
kindliness of his address, the outward re-
flection of a heart filled with good will
and friendship toward all. His intimate
acquaintance was a privilege prized by
those who knew its delights, and to these
his death was a severe blow.

William H. Son married (first) Emma
Rida Shadbolt, who bore him one daugh-
ter, deceased ; (second) February 28,
1900, Mary Elizabeth Whittaker, of Am-
sterdam, New York, who survives him,
a resident of Wilkes-Barre.

HOWE, Lyman H.,

Pioneer in Moving Fictnre Bnslnesa.

Now that the value of "moving pic-
tures" as an educational force and a
widely popular form of entertainment is
so firmly established, let us not forget the
pioneers who with faith in the invention,
took it with all its crudities and imperfec-
tions, risked and lost fortunes, but finally
established it as the greatest medium on
earth for the dissemination of a true
knowledge of the world and the inhabit-
ants thereof. Among these pioneers who
encouraged the inventors to perfect their
ideas and who taught the public the value
of the "screen" as an educator and an en-
tertainer, Lyman H. Howe, of Wilkes-
Barre, stands preeminent. He is to-day
one of the most prominent figures in the
amusement world, his agents literally
scouring the world for films, his several
companies exhibiting in every part of

the United States, thereby conferring
pleasure and benefit upon millions.
Books can tell of the wonders of the
world, lecturers can narrate the wonders
they have seen, but by his enterprise and
genius Mr. Howe has brought these
things to us and has made them as real
as when they v/ere imprisoned in the
camera. Did his work end with enter-
tainment it would be all sufficient, but
when the educational value is added, the
moving picture becomes a university,
teaching old and young the wonders,
glories and beauties of nature and of
created life on the earth, beneath the earth,
under the sea, and in the air. He has, in
the development of his immense business,
traversed the Old and New Worlds, seek-
ing and securing attractive views and
locations, and as an expert in the me-
chanical and electrical details of his work
has few equals. He has expanded and
developed his natural talent with the
years until as executive and business
manager he duplicates his success as a
purveyor to the great public of useful,
pleasing, and popular entertainment.

Wilkes-Barre, the place of his birth, is
the home center of his great business, a
four-story building on West River street
being necessary to house properly its
many departments. His beautiful modern
home, exquisitely furnished and adorned,
is on Riverside Drive, Wilkes-Barre, the
scenes of his boyhood proving more at-
tractive to him than the usual resorts of
the wealthy.

Lyman H. Howe was born in Wilkes-
Barre, Pennsylvania, June 9, 1856, son of
Nathan G. and Margaret (Robins) Howe,
a direct descendant of Puritan ancestors.
Nathan G. Howe was born in Boylston,
Massachusetts, August 10, 1810, died in
Wilkes-Barre, October 18, 1873. He came
to the Wyoming Valley in 1835, settling
at Kingston, and as manufacturer, con-
tractor, and builder attained prominence.



Among his works were the first water
works at Laurel Run and the laying of
the first system of water pipes for Wilkes-
Barre, the building of the Delaware &
Hudson railroad from South Wilkes-
Barre to Plymouth, and other sections of
railroads at Nanticoke, and the creation
of the beautiful river Common from the
unsightly South street river bank. He
was engaged in many other business en-
terprises, ranking among the "builders of
Wilkes-Barre," and holding the esteem of
his townsmen. He married, in 1840, Mar-
garet, daughter of John and Margaret
(Garrison) Robins, who was born in Han-
over township, Luzerne county, August
30, 1814, died in Wilkes-Barre, October
15, 1898.

Lyman H., eighth and youngest child
of Nathan G. and Margaret (Robins)
Howe, spent his youthful days in Wilkes-
Barre, acquiring his education in the pub-
lic schools and at Wyoming Seminary,
Kingston, Pennsylvania. His natural ar-
tistic ability asserted itself early, and at
once had its effect upon his business re-
lations, his attention being turned to sign
painting. Subsequently he formed a part-
nership with J. J. McCormick in this line
under the firm name of Howe & McCor-
mick, the business they founded at Bow-
man's Corner on the Public Square and
West Market street, developing into a
concern employing a large force of men.
Both of the partners later entered dif-
ferent paths of activity, Mr. Howe becom-
ing a traveling salesman. The panic that
then swept the country compelled him to
retire from the road, and for three years
he was in the employ of the Central Rail-
road of New Jersey.

Leaving the railroad, he began his ca-
reer as a caterer to the public entertain-
ment, and there found his true sphere,
one in which he has won world-wide
fame. His first venture was with Robert
M. Colburn, with whom he purchased a

miniature coal breaker. They improved
and perfected it until they had a faithful
working model of a complete coal mining
industry, and together they toured the
State of Pennsylvania, exhibiting their
model. Disaster attended them, their
venture failed, and they returned to
Wilkes-Barre through the aid of friendly
freight' train crews. But Mr. Howe be-
lieved in his project and, arranging with
his partner for sole ownership, began
anew his attempt to prove to the public
that his "breaker" was an entertaining
and instructive exposition of coal mining.
Finally he interested the officials of the
Lehigh Valley Railroad Company, and
for nine years the "breaker" was one of
the popular attractions at Glen Onoko,
that interesting mountain resort near
Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania. Ultimately
he sold the "breaker" to the Reading
Railroad Company for the purpose of ex-
hibiting it at the World's Fair, in Chicago,
in 1893. Before Mr. Howe disposed of
the "breaker" he became interested in
Edison's phonograph, during the winter
seasons being engaged in giving exhibi-
tions, and was one of the first persons to
demonstrate the possibility of entertain-
ing a large audience with a phonograph
by using a horn. His nine years of suc-
cess as an exhibitor at Glen Onoko had
brought him both experience and capital,
so that when he disposed of the "breaker"
to the Reading Railroad Company, he
then gave his entire attention to phono-
graphic entertainment, and later was at-
tracted to Edison's Kinetoscope while
visiting the World's Fair in Chicago. The
Kinetoscope was then in its infancy, but
Mr. Howe saw in it new possibilities, and
quickly conceived the idea of casting pic-
tures upon a screen. Communicating
with Mr. Edison upon the subject, that
inventor told him that he would in the
course of time construct a machine that
would make this idea a reality. After



waiting two years Mr. Edison did make
such a machine, named it the Vitascope,
organized a company to handle the inven-
tion, and through his agents, Rafif & Gam-
mon, informed Mr. Howe that he might
have the first choice of territory in which
to exhibit. His terms were $5,000 for the
State of Pennsylvania, exclusive of Phil-
adelphia and Pittsburgh. This price Mr.
Howe deemed exorbitant for so small a
territory, and he then built a machine
along his own lines that was more satis-
factory to him than anything he could
obtain elsewhere at that time. In 1896 he
organized his first company to exhibit
moving pictures. With this company he
toured the New England and Middle At-
lantic States, and so won his spectators
that he returned again and again to the
same localities, making semi-annual visits.
The success of his exhibitions created an
ever-increasing demand from other States,
and in 1902 he organized another com-
pany to cover Maryland, Virginia, and
the Middle Western States. This com-
pany duplicated the success of the first,
and in 1904 another company was formed
to tour the far west and northwest. Later
years have but added to the magnitude
of his enterprises, and his companies have
now consolidated under two distinct
branches as the Lyman H. Howe Attrac-
tions and the Lyman H. Howe Films
Company. The earth has been laid under
contribution, and the results of the trav-
els of Mr. Howe and his lieutenants have
been given to his countrymen in the form
of moving pictures, travelogues and lec-
tures. In 191 1 Mr. Howe admitted as
partner his former manager, S. M. Wilkin-
shaw, who had long been identified with
Mr. Howe's moving picture activities,
and who in the past few years has re-
lieved Mr. Howe of many of the burdens
of active management and at the present
time is managing and directing Mr.
Howe's entire moving picture interests.

Mr. Howe is closely connected with
Wilkes-Barre enterprises, and makes
every effort to advance the interests of
his native city. On June 17, 1913, Mr.
Howe was tendered a testimonial dinner
by the Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Com-
merce, on which occasion he was pre-
sented with a silver loving cup and beau-
tifully engrossed resolutions expressive
of his fellow members' appreciation of his
services as general manager of the first
Greater Wilkes-Barre Industrial Exposi-
tion. He is a director of the Miners'
Bank, chairman of the River Improve-
ment Committee, president of the Susque-
hanna River Improvement Association of
the Wyoming Valley, chairman of the
Art Jury, member of the Chamber of
Commerce, and elected president of that
body October, 1915; belongs to Lodge
No. 61, and to chapter, commandery and
temple of the Masonic order in Wilkes-
Barre, and is a noble of Irem, Temple, of
the Mystic Shrine, and a member of the
Pennsylvania Society of New York. In
all these fraternal and business bodies he
is highly regarded and popular, his genial,
afiFable nature endearing him to his fel-
lows, his public spirit, wide experience,
and executive ability gaining him the
highest standing among men of affairs.

One of the greatest public recognitions
of Mr. Howe's achievements came in the
action of the authorities of the Panama
California Exposition at San Diego, Cali-
fornia, when July 7, 1915, was given over
to his honor as "Lyman H. Howe Day."
Mr. Howe was represented at the Exposi-
tion by Mr. C. P. Bosworth, a fellow citi-
zen of Wilkes-Barre, who, on Mr. Howe's
behalf, presented the historian of the ex-
position with moving picture prints of
the principal incidents of the day-to-day
operation of the Panama Canal. These
pictures, which required three months in
the making, were only made complete
through the cooperation of Secretary of



War Lindley M. Garrison, and show each
step in the passing of a steamer through
the canal, the occupation of the canal by
the United States army, incidents of army
life in the jungle, and scenes at Colon and
Panama City. The pictures were en-
closed in a copper box, so sealed that the
film.s should be in an excellent state of
preservation when opened in 1965, as in-
tended, and viewed by the people then
living at San Diego. In addition there
was placed in the receptacle a moving
picture record of the day at the exposi-
tion. In this unique and original manner
Mr. Howe made acknowledgment of the
courtesy of the directors of the exposi-
tion. It is interesting and worthy of men-
tion that the detailed account of "Lyman
H. Howe Day" at the San Diego Exposi-
tion received at the Wilkes-Barre office
of the Western Union Telegraph Com-
pany was the longest telegraph circuit
ever made up out of Wilkes-Barre to
handle a message, the wire being routed
from Wilkes-Barre to New York, Chi-
cago, Kansas City, Denver, Salt Lake
City, San Francisco, to San Diego. The
wire was a special to the Wilkes-Barre
"Times-Leader," and the operator who
received it stated that notwithstanding
the great amount of mileage represented
the Morse characters from the San Diego
operator came in perfectly.

Mr. Howe married, September 26, 1888,
M. Alice Koehler, daughter of Franklin
and Susan (Newhard) Koehler, of Allen-
town, Pennsylvania. Both Mr. and Mrs.
Howe are members of the First Church
of Christ (Scientist). Their only child is
an adopted son, Lyman Harold, born May
23, 1901.

BIXBY, Charles W.,

PraKlBemt Cltlien.

The paternal ancestry of Mr. Bixby
traces to Joseph Bixby, an Englishman,

and maternally to Thomas Welles, both
of whom came from England in the year
1637, the former settling in Massachu-
setts, the latter in Connecticut. Thomas
Welles, whose English ancestry dated to
the tenth century, came as secretary to
Lord Saye and Seal and later became
very prominent in the public life of the
colony of Connecticut, serving in many

Online LibraryJohn W. (John Woolf) JordanEncyclopedia of Pennsylvania biography : illustrated (Volume 7) → online text (page 20 of 55)