John W. (John Woolf) Jordan.

Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania biography : illustrated (Volume 7) online

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Company, and in 1903 the business was
incorporated under the firm name of The
J. S. McCormick Company, and the
present plant, which has been greatly
enlarged, is situated on Twenty-fifth and
Railroad streets, Pittsburgh, and the busi-
ness has grown to large proportions.

In the exhibits of foundry products,
held in various cities by the Foundry and
Machine Exhibition Company, to ac-

quaint the public with their uses, no one
can be said to take a greater or more
helpful interest than Mr. McCormick. He
is also connected with various other con-
cerns and associations, among them the
Central Trust Company, of which he is
vice-president. Although never an office-
seeker, Mr. McCormick is a staunch ad-
herent of the principles of the Republican
party. He attends the Episcopal church.
Although clearly a business man, Mr.
McCormick has found time to become a
member of the Duquesne Club and the
Pittsburgh Athletic Association. Frater-
nally he is identified with the Masons,
having attained to the thirty-second de-

On August 23, 1906, Mr. McCormick
married Catherine, daughter of C. L.
Conkling, of Springfield, Illinois. Mrs.
McCormick is active socially and in club
life, and is a member of the Pittsburgh
Chapter of the Daughters of the Ameri-
can Revolution. Mr. and Mrs. McCor-
mick have one child, a daughter named

Much honor is heaped upon the achieve-
ments of the men of the past. In the
present, when things are constantly being
done, people never look for honor, they
search rather among the records of the
past. Were they to look in their own
age, they would find men who are ex-
amples of achievement fit to rank with
those who have gone before.

McKEE, Frederick W.,

Lawyer, Enterprising Citizen.

In the death of Frederick W. McKee,
the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, sus-
tained a loss which cannot easily be over-
estimated. He was a man of versatility,
and the field of endeavor to which he di-
rected his energy was benefited thereby.
In law, as in industrial and civic matters,
he held a prominent place, and his coun-



sel was sought by those many years his
superior in point of age. He was de-
scended from one of the oldest families
in Pittsburgh, his grandfather, Thomas
McKee, who was born September 13,
1800, and died June 2, 1864, was in the
glass manufacturing business, and his
father, also named Frederick, who was
born August 2, 1827, and died March 21,
1865, was one of the founders of the firm
of McKee & Brothers — one of the pioneer
glass manufacturing firms of Pittsburgh.
Fie married Melissa Patterson Stewart,
daughter of William Stewart, who was
born July 2, 1837, and died July 5, 1905.
William Stewart, grandfather of Fred-
erick W. McKee, was one of the first
manufacturers of charcoal iron in that
section of the country, and in the furnaces
on the Winfield estate manufactured pig
iron for some of the cannon used by the
government during the Civil War.

Frederick W. McKee was born in Pitts-
burgh, in 1858, and died in the same city,
March 22, 1912. Educated in the public
schools of his native city, he was graduated
from them and then became a student at
the Western University of Pennsylvania,
now the University of Pittsburgh, being
graduated a member of the class of 1878.
The study of law had always had a cer-
tain fascination for him, and he com-
menced reading for admission to the bar
in the office of George Shiras, Jr., and
followed up this study at the Law School
of Harvard University, from which he
was graduated with the degree of Bache-
lor of Laws. For some years he was en-
gaged in legal practice in the courts of
Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, and had
obtained a reasonably large clientele and
a profitable one, but other business in-
terests demanded more and more of his
time, and he gradually dropped his legal
work. Before his marriage in 1890 he
was a member of the Select Council of
Pittsburgh, and was interested in politi-

cal reforms. For a number of years prior
to his death he spent a large portion of
his time in developing the large estate he
owned in Winfield township, Butler
county, Pennsylvania, where he founded
the town of West Winfield, Butler county,
Pennsylvania. In addition to this he or-
ganized a number of business enterprises,
in all of which his energy and progressive
and original ideas were of incalculable
benefit. Among these ventures may be
mentioned: The Winfield Mineral Com-
pany ; the Winfield Sand Company ; the
Winfield Railroad Company ; and the
Pennsylvania Clay Products Company.
He was a devout member of the Metho-
dist Episcopal church, being for many
years trustee of the Emory Methodist
Episcopal Church, and later connected
with Christ Methodist Episcopal Church.
Mr. McKee married, in 1890, Bertha F.
Chadwick, daughter of Samuel Chadwick,
one of the pioneers of the East End. She
is a woman of character, and was a fitting
helpmate to her talented husband in
every phase of life. Their children are:
Frederick C, formerly a student at Prince-
ton University, and now at the head of
his father's enterprises; Herbert W. ;
Wallace B. ; and Mary S., the only daugh-
ter. Mrs. William E. Carnahan is a sister.
The family have for many years occupied
a position of prominence in the social life
of Pittsburgh, to which their many ad-
mirable traits very justly entitled them.
The strong personality of Mr. McKee
was an important factor in the influence
which he exerted in all matters with
which he was connected. While he was
quiet and unostentatious in public as in
private life, his mind was ever at work
with some plan for the betterment of
social conditions, or advancement of the
financial or industrial interests of his sec-
tion. In addition to devoting himself to
the proper conduct of the weighty affairs
with which he was personally connected.

PA-Vol VII-2



he was frequently called upon to counsel
those engaged in other undertakings, and
who had strong reason to have faith in
the wisdom of his judgment. He had a
large circle of friends and his death left a
void not easily filled.

KENNEDY, Julian,

Steel and Iron Master, Inventor.

The brain-power of Pittsburgh is the
primary source of her material magnifi-
cence, and, as has been aptly said, "The
typical Pittsburgh brain is at its best in
Julian Kennedy," the world-famous me-
chanical engineer and metallurgical ex-
pert. Mr. Kennedy has been for a third
of a century a resident of the Iron City,
and, despite his international reputation,
she proudly claims him as her own.

Julian Kennedy was born March 15,
1852, in Poland township, Mahoning
county, Ohio, and is the eldest of the
seven sons of Thomas Walker and Mar-
garet (Tuesdale) Kennedy. The mechan-
ical genius of Julian Kennedy was inherit-
ed from his father, who was a construc-
tive engineer of the very first rank. He
was the greatest designer and builder of
blast furnaces of his day, and many of
his inventions and improvements are now
in general use and have been of incalcul-
able benefit to the manufacturing world.
His death occurred July 4, 1896.

The preparatory education of Julian
Kennedy was received in the common
schools of his native county, and at the
age of seventeen he graduated from Union
Seminary, Poland, Ohio. For a few years
thereafter he was employed by the Stru-
thers Iron Company, on the Mahoning
river, a short distance below Youngstown,
Ohio, filling successively the positions of
draftsman, engineer for blowing engines
and other steam machinery and shipping
clerk. At the age of twenty, having gain-
ed considerable experience in applied me-

chanics, he entered the Sheffield Scientific
School of Yale University, graduating in
1875. In 190D this school conferred upon
him the degree of Master of Arts. At
Yale Mr. Kennedy studied civil engineer-
ing and chemistry, in the latter branch
completing the two years' course in one
year. During 1875 and 1876 he was an
instructor in physics, and while teaching
pursued a post-graduate course in chem-
istry of iron and steel, and a special
course in higher mathematics and as-
tronomy. He had charge of the Physical
Laboratory, and delivered a course of il-
lustrated lectures on physics and me-
chanics before the students of the several
schools in New Haven.

During his career at Yale, busy as he
was both as student and instructor, Mr.
Kennedy was an enthusiast in athletics.
His specialty was rowing, and he was a
member of the university crews from
1873, when Yale won over thirteen col-
lege crews at Springfield, Massachusetts,
to 1876, when he rowed in the first eight-
oared race against Harvard. In 1875 he
won the inter-collegiate championship for
single sculls at Saratoga Lake, and was
a winner in fourteen of the eighteen im-
portant races. He was stroke of the Yale
four-oared crew at the Centennial Regatta
in 1876, when his university won the in-
ter-collegiate championship. The same
year Mr. Kennedy and James Riley, of
Saratoga, won the pair-oared raced at
Greenwood Lake, over Eustis and Downs,
of the Atlantic Rowing Club of New
York, and Smith and Eldred of the Argo-
naut Club of New York. He also at that
time won the amateur single-scull race.

After leaving Yale, Mr. Kennedy was
for one year superintendent of the blast
furnaces of the Briar Hill Iron Company
at Youngstown, Ohio. During the fol-
lowing year he held the same position
with the Struthers Iron Company, and
during a third was superintendent of the



Morse Bridge Works at Youngstown. In
1879 he entered the service of Carnegie
Brothers & Company, becoming superin-
tendent of the blast furnaces of the Edgar
Thomson Steel Works at Braddock,
Pennsylvania. He filled this position
until 1883, and was then for two years in
the service of the allied firm of Car-
negie, Phipps & Company, as superin-
tendent of the Lucy furnaces in Pitts-
burgh. From 1885 to 1888 he was general
superintendent of Carnegie, Phipps &
Company, with headquarters at Home-
stead. In all these positions Mr. Ken-
ney's services were of the greatest value,
not only by reason of his skillful manage-
ment, but because he continually gave his
attention to the making of improvements
tending to greater ease and economy of
production and to the increase of quality
and volume of output. He had charge of
both operation and construction, and dur-
ing his connection with the Edgar Thom-
son and Lucy furnaces they held the
world's record for output of pig iron.

In 1888 Mr. Kennedy became chief en-
gineer and constructor of works of the
Latrobe Steel Company at Latrobe, Penn-
sylvania. In 1890 he ceased to maintain
exclusive connection with manufacturing
concerns, and opened an office in Pitts-
burgh as a general consulting and con-
tracting engineer. He has since had
charge of the construction and equipment
of steel works for nearly all the large
companies of the United States, and has
done much engineering work in England,
Germany, Austria and Russia. In this
special branch, in connection with great
manufacturing plants, Mr. Kennedy
stands easily at the head of his profession
in the United States. As an inventor of
improvements in the manufacture of iron
and steel he has taken out a large number
of patents, all of which are in successful
use. He has been employed in various
consulting capacities in connection with

large municipal works, and has frequently
acted as expert in important patent litiga-
tion. Prominent among his inventions are
improvements on hot-blast stoves, blast-
furnace filling devices, improvements in
blowing engines, blooming mills and
special machinery for hammering and
rolling locomotive tires and an improved
process of making rails — all valuable in-
ventions which are now very largely in
use in many works.

Intensely public-spirited, Mr. Kennedy
is prominently identified with the indus-
trial, financial, civic and religious in-
terests of Pittsburgh. He is widely but
unostentatiously charitable, and his in-
fluence is always given to everything that
makes for culture and for improvement
along lines of art. He is a member of the
First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh.

Mr. Kennedy is president and director
of the American Casting Machine Com-
pany, the Emerald Coal and Coke Com-
pany, the Orient Coal and Coke Company,
the Polant Coal Company, and is a mem-
ber of the Pittsburgh Chamber of Com-
merce. He is a member of the American
Institute of Mechanical Engineers, the
American Institute of Mining Engineers,
the British Iron and Steel Institute, the
Engineers' Society of Western Pennsyl-
vania, the Pittsburgh Academy of Science
and Art, the Pittsburgh Athletic Associa-
tion, the Automobile, Country, Univer-
sity and Golf clubs of Pittsburgh, and the
LTniversity and Engineers' clubs of New
York City.

Mr. Kennedy married, in 1878, Jennie
E., daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth
(Lynn) Brenneman, of Poland township.
Mahoning county, Ohio, and they are the
parents of the following children : Lucy
B., graduate of Vassar, wife of John O.
Miller; Joseph W., who graduated from
Yale, Ph.B., and is associated in business
with his father; Eliza Jane, graduate of
Vassar, wife of R. Templeton Smith, and


popular in Pittsburgh social circles; Juli-
an, graduated from Yale, Ph.B., connect-
ed with the Coal & Coke Company ; and
Thomas W., student of Cornell. By his
marriage, Mr. Kennedy gained the life
companionship of a charming and con-
genial woman. Mrs. Kennedy is a mem-
ber of the Civic Club of Allegheny
County, the Tuesday Musical Club and
the Twentieth Century Club, and, as one
of the city's leading Suffragists, was one
of the founders of the Equal Franchise
Federation of Pittsburgh. Mr. Kennedy
is devoted to the ties of family and friend-
ship and his beautiful residence in the
East End is a centre of hospitality and a
scene of much entertaining as is also
the lovely summer home of the family,
"Crusoe Island," Muskoka Lake, Canada.
Julian Kennedy is one of the men who
do the large things of life. He has always
been too busy to talk about what he was
doing, but his results speak for him with
an eloquence to which the world listens.

REA, Henry R.,

Man of Large Affairs.

Among those Pittsburgh business men
who are still actively influential in the
community is Henry Robinson Rea, for
the space of a quarter of a century offici-
ally associated with various industrial or-
ganizations of the metropolis. Mr. Rea
is descended from ancestors distinguished
in the Colonial and Revolutionary periods
of our history and conspicuously identi-
fied with the development of the most
vital interests of Pennsylvania.

Henry Robinson Rea was born May 29,
1863, in Pittsburgh, and is a son of the
late William and Matilda Anne (Robin-
son) Rea. A biography and portrait of
Mr. Rea, with ancestral record, appear
elsewhere in this work. Henry Robinson
Rea received his preparatory education in
private schools of his native city, and in

the Western University of Pennsylvania,
now the University of Pittsburgh. He
graduated in the class of 1884 at the
Stevens Institute of Technology, taking
the degree of Mechanical Engineer, and
then completed his education at the Uni-
versity of Gottingen, Germany.

On returning home, Mr. Rea associated
himself with the engineering department
of the Robinson-Rea Manufacturing Com-
pany, and in the course of time became
vice-president, an office which he retained
until the concern was merged in the
Mesta Machine Company. Mr. Rea's
time and attention is now given to the
corporations in which he is largely in-
terested, and to the estate of his father-
in-law, the late Henry W. Oliver, of
which he is trustee.

The organizations with which Mr. Rea
is connected as director, are the Mellon
National Bank, the Monongahela River
Consolidated Coal and Coke Company,
the New York and Cleveland Gas Coal
Company, the Oliver Iron and Steel Com-
pany, the Oliver and Snyder Steel Com-
pany, the Pittsburgh Coal Comany, the
Safe Deposit and Trust Company, the
Union Savings Bank, the Union Trust
Company, the Calumet and Arizona Min-
ing Company, the Superior Pitts Mining
Company and the New Cornelia Mining
Company. He is trustee of the People's
Savings Bank, and president of The Mor-
ris County Traction Company and Morris
Railroad Company, both of New Jersey.

In all that concerns the welfare of
Pittsburgh he ever manifests a ready and
helpful interest. He belongs to the board
of directors of the Allegheny General
Hospital. His clubs include the Pitts-
burgh, of which he is president ; the Alle-
gheny Country, of which he is vice-presi-
dent; the Pittsburgh Golf, the Duquesne
and Oakmont Country. He is a life mem-
ber of the Pittsburgh Athletic Associa-
tion, and belongs to the University, the




Zeti/is /Tfs/arical fi/i. Ca.


Racquet and Tennis and the Brook Clubs,
all of New York.

Mr. Rea married, April 23, 1889, Edith,
daughter of the late Henry W. and Edith
(Cassidy) Oliver. A biography and pro-
trait of Mr. Oliver appear elsewhere in
this work. Mr. and Mrs. Rea are the par-
ents of two children: Edith Ann; and
Henry Oliver, who is now taking an aca-
demic course at Yale University.

PALMER, Henry W.,

liavryeT, liCgislator, Hmaanitarian.

The death of Henry W. Palmer, famili-
arly known as General Palmer, deprived
Wilkes-Barre of one of its most distin-
guished citizens. For over half a century
he rendered note-worthy service in of-
ficial, professional, and private life, and
although his years were far beyond man's
allotted span his taking away was severe-
ly felt, causing poignant grief among
those who were intimately associated
with him and who had learned to appreci-
ate his worth and to know his power for
good in the community that delighted to
honor him. He was a man of brains,
great natural ability, keen insight, and
sound judgment, possessed strong con-
victions and the courage always to up-
hold them, and never sacrificed principle
for expediency, a rare trait that explains
the high service he was able to render his
clients and his State. For fifty-two years
he continued his law practice in Wilkes-
Barre, the eighteen months he spent in
army service only preventing his service
from being continuous He was Wilkes-
Barre's foremost lawyer, and was with-
out a peer in valuable service in north-
eastern Pennsylvania. He early won
leadership at the bar, and held it until
health and strength failed him, recog-
nized as a leader at home, and frequently
consulted by leading professional lights
of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh when im-

portant issues were at stake. Said one of
the greatest of his legal State contempo-
raries : "General Palmer is a great lawyer,
and those in his class can be counted
upon the fingers of one hand."

It was as Attorney-General under
Governor Hoyt that he first came into the
public eye of the State, but his service in
that high place was not more valuable
than that in the Constitutional Conven-
tion, where he was a leader among the
eminently talented men of Pennsylvania
comprising that body, of which his honor-
ed father was also a member. As citizen
and congressman he was always the
champion of every worthy cause needing
an advocate. He knew no middle ground,
never hesitating to denounce that which
he deemed wrong, nor to support that
which he considered right. He would not
compromise with wrong, let the result
afifect his political or professional career
as it might. He had the distinction of
representing Luzerne county in Congress
longer than any other man elected from
the district, serving through four terms,
1900 to 1908. Although advanced in
years upon taking his seat among the^
great men of the nation, he so impressed
himself upon the leaders that high honors
and responsibilities were accorded him
greater than many men receive in a much
longer term of service. President Roose-
velt appointed him a delegate to the Con-
gress of Lawyers and Jurists in 1904, and
in 1905 he was a delegate to the Inter-
Parliamentary Union held at Brussels.
During the Fifty-eighth Congress he was
a member of the sub-committee appointed
by the chairman of the committee on
judiciary to take testimony in the im-
peachment proceedings begun against
Charles Swayne, United States Judge for
the Northern District of Florida. After
the conclusion of the trial, in which Gen-
eral Palmer took a leading part in favor
of impeachment, the following resolution



was agreed to by the House of Represen-
tatives : "Resolved, that the thanks of the
House be and hereby are extended to the
managers on behalf of the House in
the impeachment proceedings of Judge
Charles Swayne before the Senate of the
United States, to wit : Henry W. Palmer,
Samuel L. Powers, Marlin E. Olmstead,
James B. Perkins, David A. De Ormond,
Plenry D. Clayton, and David H. Smith,
for the able and efficient manner in which
they discharged the onerous and respon-
sible duties imposed upon them."

The confidence reposed in General Pal-
mer was fully merited, for his integrit}'
of purpose was never questioned. He
faithfully and conscientiously served his
clients, his city, his State, and his country,
no personal ambition ever marring his
record. By his splendid ability and force
of character he won distinction as a
lawyer, statesman, and citizen. His
knowledge of the law was broad and
deep, and he was in the forefront of all
important litigation coming before the
Luzerne courts. He had the great gift of
attracting close attention to his every
word while in argument. He clothed and
clearly expressed his ideas in the fewest
possible words, developing the legal ques-
tion involved and the facts of a case in
the briefest manner and following with
argument lucid, incisive, and persuasive.
He cast aside all side issues, made
straight for the important principles in-
volved, and then fought his case out
along that line with all his tremendous
vigor and intellect. As Attorney-General
of the State of Pennsylvania he rendered
valuable service to the State, displaying
a courage in pressing suits against great
corporations supposed to have a strangle
hold upon the political righteousness of
the State that brought victory to the
people and fame to the Attorney-General.
As congressman he reached a high plane
of usefulness to the country at large. No

man could have been better equipped for
forensic strife than General Palmer. He
possessed great good humor, wit in
abundance, and learning gained from col-
lege course, wide comprehensive reading,
and large experience, all graced with elo-
quence, the offspring of a glowing mind,
always at his command when needed, and
powers of sarcasm unsurpassed. Physi-
cally, nature was equally lavish with her
gifts. Of fine physical proportions, erect
in stature, with well-set head, his manly
beauty bespoke the spirit within him. His
good humor, ready wit, and extensive
information concerning men and affairs
made him at all time a delightful com-
panion. He never courted intimacy, but J
those who were admitted behind his \
rather rugged exterior found a nature
which bound them to him with affection
and admiration. He was kindness and
gentleness itself to the lowly and unfortu-
nate, and his own personal influence,
added to the unselfish labor of his wife,
made the Boys' Industrial Associa-
tion of Wilkes-Barre one of the great
forces for good among the thousands of
youths in that city, the great center of
the anthracite coal mining industry. He
was the sworn, unrelenting foe of the un-
checked abuse of intoxicating liquor,
holding the absolute prohibition of the
traffic to be the only safeguard against it.
When first a candidate for Congress, he
addressed letters to the Prohibitionists of
Luzerne county, asking their support on
the ground of his action as chairman of
the State committee in attempting to
carry the prohibitory amendment of 1889.
This letter nearly prostrated the chair-
man of his party committee, inasmuch as
it lined the liquor interests solidly against
him. But that was characteristic of the
man — he hated sham or false pretense,
and would not even seem to be "sailing
under false colors." He was of that
unique type of politician who make no



Online LibraryJohn W. (John Woolf) JordanEncyclopedia of Pennsylvania biography : illustrated (Volume 7) → online text (page 3 of 55)