John W. (John Woolf) Jordan.

Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania biography : illustrated (Volume 7) online

. (page 7 of 55)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

cess of his life, and a transaction which
earned him the gratified appreciation of
the railroad company. He was a member
of the Wilkes-Barre Board of Trade, and
as chairman of the committee on manu-
factures was conspicuously identified
with many movements that aided greatly
in the industrial development of the city.
He stood for all that was best in civic life,
and as a man of force, character, and
integrity wielded an influence for great
good. He supported church and philan-
thropy, serving as secretary for the Home
for the Friendless, and giving greatly of
his substance.

Mr. Phelps married, in Wilkes-Barre,
September 20, 1854, Martha Wheeler
Bennett, born August 2, 1833, who sur-
vives him. Mrs. Phelps is a daughter of
Judge Ziba Bennett and his first wife,
Hannah Fell Slocum, and a descendant
of James Bennett, of English birth, who
was made a freeman of Concord, Massa-
chusetts, May 13, 1639. On her mother's
side she is a granddaughter of Hon.
Joseph Slocum, born April 9, 1777, died
September 27, 1855, and his wife, Sarah
Fell. The ancestor of this branch of the
Slocum family is Anthony Slocum, who
was one of the "first and ancient pur-
chasers" of Cohannet, 1637, which in 1639



was incorporated as (now) Taunton,
Massachusetts.

Children of John Case and Martha
Wheeler (Bennett) Phelps: i. Anna
Bennett, married, March 31, 1903, Eus-
tace Herbert Burrows, of London, son of
Major-General Arthur Burrows, of the
British army. 2. William George, presi-
dent of the First National Bank of Bing-
hamton, New York ; vice-president of
Security Mutual Life Insurance Com-
pany, of Binghamton, and director of
many corporations ; married Caroline Ives
Shoemaker. 3. Francis Alexander, heati- — 7
of Phelps, Lewis & Bennett, largely inter-
ested in many corporations : married Mar-
garetta Darling Brown. 4. Grace Lee,
married, November 8, 1887, Henry Bar-
stow Piatt, son of Hon. Thomas Piatt, of ,
New York. 5. Ziba Bennett, married
Elizabeth Drown ; engaged with the
Mutual Life Insurance Company at
Binghamton, New York, and is very
much interested in charitable organiza-
tions.



PHELPS, Francis Alexander,

Prominent Business Man, Financier.

The position held by the Phelps family
in the Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania
has been ever an important one, the
Pennsylvania branches worthily follow-
ing in the footsteps of their long line of
distinguished New England ancestors.
From Pennsylvania sons of the family
have gone out and have risen to eminence
in dift'erent walks of life, while those who
remained have carried high the banner
of progress, contributing materially to
the upbuilding of their communities. To
the latter class belongs Francis Alex-
ander Phelps, who, although not native to
the city, began and ended his valuable
business life in Wilkes-Barre. He was
one of the men who by loyalty, devotion.



2278



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



and enterprise have given Wiikes-Barre
and the Wyoming Valley of Pennsyl-
vania so proud a name, and while a great
monument marks an historical happening
of the Revolution, nearby the monument
to Air. Phelps and the builders of Wiikes-
Barre is in the city itself, its prosperity
and its present importance.
/ Francis A. Phelps, second son and
"■ third child of John Case (q. v.) and
Martha Wheeler (Bennett) Phelps, was
born in New York City, May 4, 1859, ^"^
died at Laurel Run, Luzerne county,
Pennsylvania, July 6, 191 Lr. After attend-
ance at W'ilkes-Barre public schools and
academy he prepared for college at East-
hampton Preparatory School, then en-
tered Wesleyan University at Aliddle-
town, Connecticut, where he completed
his years of preparation for the sterner
business of life. His rise in the business
world was rapid, and at the close of his
too short life he had gained an honorable,
lofty position in Wilkes-Barre's business
activity. He chose the hardware busi-
ness, and as head of Phelps, Straw &
Company and of its successor, Phelps,
Lewis & Bennett, conducted a large and
prosperous business until his death.
While this business was his chief interest,
Mr. Phelps was intimately connected
with other corporations, and acquired
large holdings of real estate. From 1892
until his death he was a valued director
of the Wyoming National Bank of
Wiikes-Barre, director of the Hazard
Manufacturing Company, director of the
Parrish Coal Company, director of the
Bayliss Pulp and Paper Company of
Binghamton, New York, and Canada, also
having other business connections of
minor importance. In the management
of these corporations he was not a lay
figure, but was active in their direction,
and was listened to with respect by his
associates in board discussions. Amid



the many expressions of regret at his
death the following, from the directors
of the Wyoming National Bank, with
whom he was so long and so harmoni-
ously connected, places a just estimate
upon his character and worth to the com-
munity :

Whereas, The Directors of the Wyoming
National Bank, having heard with great sorrow
the announcement of the death of Francis Alex-
ander Phelps, a member of the board since July
20, 1892, and secretary since January 11, 1905,
and

Whereas, He will be sorely missed from the
Board of Directors, as his great business experi-
ence, conservatism, intelligence and noble char-
acter made him an exceedingly valuable and
useful member, and

Whereas, He was always faithful and regular
in his attendance at meetings and gave strict
attention to all business of the bank at all times,
and

Whereas, He was a Christian gentleman, de-
voted to works of charity, and of great benefit
to the community; therefore be it

Resolved, That we express our estimate of
his worth, the sense of loss we, his fellow
directors, have sustained and to convey to his
family the sincerity of our sympathy in their
bereavement.



Mr. Phelps was a highly regarded
member of the Hardware Men's Asso-
ciation, and found social relaxation, exer-
cise, and the enjoyments of warm per-
sonal friendships in the Westmoreland
Club of Wiikes-Barre, and the Lauren-
tian Club of Canada. He loved the great
out-of-doors, and frequently availed him-
self of the privileges of the latter club.
He was a Republican in politics, a com.-
municant of the Presbyterian church, and
a life member of the Wyoming Historical
and Geological Society.

Mr. Phelps married, October 24, 1889,
Margaretta Darling Drown, daughter of
William Appleton and Elizabeth (Darl-
ing) Drown. Children : William Drown.
Alice Darling (wife of Dallas Way
2279



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



Haines), and Frances Alexander. Mrs.
Phelp's mother, Elizabeth (Darling)
Drown, was a daughter of Judge William
Darling, born in i)Ucksport, Maine, but
from youthful manhood a resident of
Reading, Pennsylvania, where he read
law, was admitted to the bar, and even-
tually became president judge of Berks
County Court of Common Pleas. He
was United States Commissioner to the
World's Fair held in London in 185 1,
and while there delivered a series of
addresses on the relations of Great
Britain and the United States. He mar-
ried Margaret Vaughn Smith, daughter
of John Smith, of Berks county.



BUTLER, George Hollenback,

LaTvyer, Hiimanitarian, Patriotic Citizen.

A man's friends may through prejudice
over-estimate his talents, his personal
graces and worth, but communities do not
err in their expressed verdict of the value
of a man's life. Known far and near as
a wise lawyer, an openhanded humani-
tarian, and patriotic citizen, George H.
Butler was especially claimed by the
Wyoming Valley section as its very own.
The feeling held for him throughout the
boroughs,' cities, and rural communities,
many of whom he served in a professional
capacity, was best expressed through his
home borough, Dorranceton, in a coun-
cil and citizens' meeting held to express
sorrow at their great municipal and per-
sonal loss. It is usual for municipal and
business bodies to pass resolutions of
respect for a departed associate, but for
a community in special meeting publicly
to eulogize one whose only claim to such
honor was that he had served them well
as official, legal adviser, friend, and
neighbor, was a touching tribute to the
memory of a good man. The resolutions
of respect adopted by the borough council



and citizens' meeting of Dorranceton tell
their own story:

Whereas, our esteemed friend and fellow citi-
zen, George H. Butler, has been removed from
our midst by the hand of death, and

Whereas, the citizens and town council of the
Borough of Dorranceton have met to pay
tribute to his memory as one who served this
municipality as its first burgess and for many
years its valued and efficient legal counselor,
and also as one who had the welfare of the
entire West Side close to his heart;

Therefore, be it Resolved, That we extend to
his bereaved family our sincere and heartfelt
sympathy.

The official expression of the value of
his life to the community was followed by
addresses by prominent men of the bor-
ough, who testified to Mr. Butler's worth
as a good neighbor and a true friend, as
a zealous and untiring worker, as a care-
ful, diligent official, as a competent legal
adviser, and who spoke of his charity and
his interest in borough welfare as official
and citizen. To this public expression the
legal fraternity, through their associ-
ations and other bodies with which Mr.
Butler was connected, and a host of per-
sonal friends, added both written and
spoken eulogy of their long time friend
and brother.

George H. Butler was a member of the
distinguished family that has made his-
tory glorious in the Wyoming Valley.
He was a great-grandson of General Lord
Butler, famous for his service in Indian
warfare, and a great-grandson of Colonel
Zebulon Butler, of Revolutionary fame.
In every generation men of mark have
borne the Butler name, but none more
worthily than the twentieth century rep-
resentative, George Hollenback Butler.
The Butlers of Wyoming Valley herein
recorded spring from Lieutenant William
Butler, who died in Ipswich, Massachu-
setts, August 2, 1730, after a residence
there of nearly half a century. He was



2280





U'(i^i^J2..U<iS2jOf2MX&^



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



the owner of considerable land, as was
his son, John Butler, of Ipswich, Massa-
chusetts, and Lyme, Connecticut, his resi-
dence in Lyme dating from the year 1736.
John Butler married Hannah Perkins,
daughter of Abraham and Abigail
(Dodge) Perkins, granddaughter of Isaac
and Hannah (Knight) Perkins, great-
granddaughter of John (2) Perkins, quar-
termaster of Ipswich in 1675, and great-
great-granddaughter of John (i) Perkins,
who came to Massachusetts from Bristol,
England. With the sons of John and
Hannah (Perkins) Butler the history of
the family in the Wyoming Valley be-
gins. Three sons — Colonel Zebulon, John,
and Samuel — were in the valley prior to
the Revolution ; Samuel, a school teacher
in Wilkes-Barre in 1774-75, returning
later to Connecticut. The life of Colonel
Zebulon Butler, the oldest son, says
Charles Miner, "is the history of Wyom-
ing. Almost every letter of its annals
bears the impress of his name and is the
record of his deeds." A tablet erected
to his memory in Wilkes-Barre by the
Wyoming Historical and Geological So-
ciety thus summarizes his remarkable
life:

IN MEMORY OF

COLONEL ZEBULON BUTLER

Born Ipswich, Mass., 1731

Died Wilkes-Barre, Pa., 179s

Commanded

The America forces at Wyoming, Pa.

July 3, 1778. .

Ensign, 3rd Regiment Conn. Troops, I7S7-I758.

Lieutenant 4th Rgt. 1759.

Captain 1760-1762.

Served in the Havana Campaign.

Col. 24th Conn. Rgt., Wyoming, 1775.

Lieut. Col. Continental Line, 1776-1778.

Colonel Continental Line, 1778-1783.

Retired June 3, 1783.

Member Connecticut State Society

of the Cincinnati, 1783.

Member Connecticut Assembly 1774-1776.

Justice 1774-1779.

Judge 1778-1779-

228



County Lieutenant Luzerne County, 1787- 1790.

Erected by Some of His Descendants

July 25, 1904.

Colonel Butler was thrice married, the
line of descent to William H. Butler being
through General Lord Butler, eldest child
of the colonel's first wife, Anne Lord, to
whom, he was married in Lyme, Connec-
ticut, December 23, 1760. She was born
April 4, 1736, at Lyme, died in Wilkes-
Barre in the spring of 1773, daughter of
John and Hannah (Rogers) Lord, and
granddaughter of Lieutenant Richard and
Elizabeth (Hyde) Lord.

Lord Butler, born in Lyme, Connecti-
cut, December 11, 1761, was brought to
Wilkes-Barre with the family in 1772, and
there resided until his death, March 3,
1S24. Again says Charles Miner: "In
all his various offices. General Butler
maintained the highest character for
faithfulness and ability. No public ser-
vant ever deserved better of the public.
Decided in his political opinions, free in
expressing them, his opponents said he
was proud. If an unworthy pride was
meant, the charge was unjust. He was a
man of stern integrity, and lived and died
highly respected and esteemed, while in
his family and social circle he was justly
and tenderly loved."

General Butler was the first sheriff of
the county of Luzerne. He was brigadier-
general of Pennsylvania militia ; member
of the Supreme Executive Council ; pro-
thonotary ; clerk of the Orphans' Court
and Court of Quarter Sessions ; Register
of Wills and Recorder of Deeds ; was the
first postmaster of Wilkes-Barre, resign-
ing in 1802 to take his seat in the State
Legislature ; was a member of the first
town council of the borough of Wilkes-
Barre, president of that body ; treasurer
of Luzerne county, and county commis-
sioner. He was one of the incorporators
of Wilkes-Barre Academy, and a trustee,
I



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



1807-1824. General Lord Butler married,
May 30, 1786, Mary Peirce, third child of
Abel and Ruth (Sheppard) Peirce, a de-
scendant of Thomas Peirce, who came
from England to Massachusetts in 1634.
Major Ezekiel Peirce, grandfather of
Mary Peirce, was one of the original
members of the Susquehanna Company,
and one of the original settlers in the
Wyoming Valley in 1763. He was named
as town clerk and recorder of deeds for
the new town of Westmoreland, was an
officer of the Twenty-fourth Connecticut
Regiment, survived the battle and mas-
sacre of Wyoming. July 3, 1778, and died
at his home in Kingston in 1779 or 1780.

Abel Peirce, father of Mary (Peirce)
Butler, was the eldest child of Major
Ezekiel and Lois (Stevens) Peirce. He
was a constable of Kingston township in
1772, served at Lexington with a party of
minute-men from Plainfield, Connecticut.
April 20, 1775. then returned to the
Wyoming Valley and served with the
Twenty-fourth Connecticut Regiment.
He was justice of the peace in Kingston,
and was otherwise prominent until his
death, May 23, 1814. He married, in
Connecticut, Ruth, daughter of Lieuten-
ant Isaac and Dorothy (Prentis) Shep-
pard, of Plainfield, Connecticut, her an-
cestors among the earliest settlers of
New London. Connecticut. General
Lord Butler and Mary Peirce were the
parents of ten sons and daughters, of
whom the eldest son and second child
was Peirce.

Of Peirce Butler a biographer has said :
"He was possessed of an uncommon share
of native good sense, and sound, dis-
criminating judgment, and a happy
benevolent disposition. Few men ever
had fewer enemies, and none ever had
warmer or more sincere friends." He
was born in Wilkes-Barre, January 27,
17S9. was a farmer of Kingston township.
Luzerne county, died March 30, 1848. He

228,



married, February 2, 1818, Temperance
Colt, born December 27, 1790, died May
10, 1863, eldest child of Arnold and
Lucinda (Yarrington) Colt, of Lyme,
Connecticut, and Wyoming, Pennsyl-
vania.

James Montgomery Butler, second son
of Peirce and Temperance (Colt) Butler,
was born in Kingston, Pennsylvania, and
there died. December 9. 1861. He mar-
ried, March 18, 1852, Martha Lazarus, of
German descent, born September 28, 1832,
daughter of John and Polly (Drake)'
Lazarus and granddaughter of George
and Mary (Hartzell) Lazarus, of North-
ampton county. John Lazarus moved to
Hanover township. Luzerne county, in
1800, there became a large landowner, and
died in 1844. Two of the five children of
James Montgomery and Martha (Laza-
rus) Butler died young. Three sons grew
to manhood and prominence — Peirce, of
Dorranceton ; George H., of whom fur-
ther; and James Montgomery (2).

From such ancestry came George Hol-
lenback Butler, born in Kingston town-
ship, Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, Sep-
tember 2, 1857, died in Dorranceton,
Pennsylvania, March 20, 1914, third child
and second son of James Montgomery
and Martha (Lazarus) Butler. He ac-
quired an education in private Wilkes-
Barre schools kept by W. S. Parsons and
W. R. Klingman, and after completing
preparatory courses in these schools
entered Wyoming Seminary, where he
completed his classical course and was
graduated. He then began the study of
law under the preceptorship of Edward
P. and J. Vaughn Darling, completing his
studies, passing the required examina-
tions, and gaining admission to the
Luzerne county bar, which he adorned
from the date of admission, June 6, 1881,
until his death, a period of thirty-three
years. He was in turn admitted to the
higher courts, and conducted an exten-



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



sive business in all, State and Federal.
He was attorney for many m.unicipalities,
and under his professional guidance im-
portant questions affecting municipalities
were brought to decisive issue. He loved
his profession, delighted in its intricate
points, gave special study to municipal
law, and was a recognized authority,
sought in consultation when not engaged
as counsel. He was a hard worker, and
his high standing as a lawyer was gained
not more through his learning than
through his persistent industry. He read,
studied, and searched for precedent and
light, and never appeared in a cause with-
out first mastering its every detail. He
won and held the highest respect of the
bench and bar, was helpful to the young
lawyer, was modest and unassuming, and
the friend of all.

He was deeply interested in many
forms of charitable work, and as secre-
tary and member of the Central Poor
Board of the county gave much of his
time to judiciously distributing relief to
the poor of the valley. He was great-
hearted and sympathetic, thoughtful of
others, and willing at all times to sac-
rifice his personal comfort to alleviate
distress. He was actively connected with
the United Charities, and in an unosten-
tatious way aided in State-wide charity.
He introduced a bill in the Pennsylvania
Legislature having for its object the relief
of deserted or neglected wives. His deep-
est concern was ever manifested in the
welfare of Dorranceton. He was con-
nected with every movement for its
progress and betterment, while the legal
needs of the borough were in his charge
as attorney from the date of incorporation
until his death. That he was loved and
appreciated, the foregoing resolutions
attest. He was a member of the various
legal associations of the district and State,
and was a member of the Wyoming Com-
memorative Association, which he served



as corresponding secretary. He gained
admission to the Pennsylvania Society,
Sons of the Revolution, through right of
descent from Colonel Zebulon Butler,
General Lord Butler, Major Ezekiel
Peirce, and Abel Peirce, all Wyoming
Valley soldiers of the Revolution.

In political faith Mr. Butler was a Re-
publican, but his profession was his great
passion, and to it he gave his life. He
served as director and secretary of the
Central Poor District of Luzerne county,
not for publicity, but because he loved the
work, and served Dorranceton in a pro-
fessional capacity because he was genu-
inely interested in his borough and de-
sired to serve it in the manner in which
he could be most useful. In church com-
munion he was affiliated with the Epis-
copal faith.

Mr. Butler married, May 8, i8go, Ger-
trude Taylor Stoddart, daughter of Jo-
seph Marshall and Eliza (Fahnestock)
Stoddart, and a descendant of Lieutenant
Isaac Ashton, of the Philadelphia Artil-
lery, 1777, through whose patriotic service
she became a member of Wyoming Val-
ley Chapter, Daughters of the American
Revolution, and of George Mifflin, a
member of Philadelphia Common Coun-
cil, 1730, through whom she gained
membership in the Colonial Dames of
America. Mrs. Butler survives her hus-
band, a resident of Dorranceton. Chil-
dren : John Lord, Georgine Gilbert, and
Gertrude Stoddart, the latter dying in
infancv.



SCHOOLEY, Harry Barnum,

Financier, Corporation Official.

Harry Barnum Schooley, of Wilkes-
Barre, who was born at Wyoming,
Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, October
5, 1869, is descended from John Schooley,
who came from England to New Jersey
about the year 1700. Some of the latter's



2283



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIOGRAPHY



immediate descendants early settled in
Burlington and others in northern New
Jersey, in what is now Sussex county,
where the family name is perpetuated by
Schooley's Mountain, not many years ago
a well-known and popular summer resort.

Jedediah Schooley, a grandson of the
above mentioned John Schooley, had a
son, Joseph P. Schooley, who was born
April 17, 1785, at Greenwich, Warren
county, New Jersey. In 1809 he was
married in Warren county to Margaret
Barber, and in 1818 they removed from
New Jersey to Wyoming Valley, Penn-
sylvania, taking up their residence in the
township of Exeter (near what is now the
borough of Wyoming), upon a large farm
which Mr. Schooley had purchased. Here
they resided until their respective deaths,
Mr. Schooley dying in 1875.

Joseph P. and Margaret (Barber)
Schooley were the parents of the follow-
ing-named children: i. Jesse Barber. 2.
Jedediah. 3. Mary Ann. 4. William. 5.
Elizabeth. 6. Mehitable. 7. Joanna. 8.
Joseph. 9. Margaret.

Jesse Barber Schooley was born April
I, 181 1, in Warren county, New Jersey,
and removed thence to Wyoming Valley
with the other members of his father's
family. He was educated in the schools
of that section, and there for a number
of years, while still under age was em-
ployed in various industrial capacities; in
his early twenties he was quite exten-
sively engaged in transporting coal and
general merchandise by canal-boat on
the Morris & Essex canal. Mr. Schooley
later became engaged in mercantile busi-
ness at Wyoming, continuing in the same
for many years, part of which time in
partnership with Thomas F. Atherton,
who a number of years later became the
first president of the Second National
Bank of Wilkes-Barre. During this
period Mr. Schooley began to invest in
valuable coal lands, one of the principal

2:



tracts which he purchased and owned
until his death being that upon which
the Mount Lookout Colliery and its work-
ings have been located for a considerable
number of years. He also conducted a
general store in Pittston, a few miles
from his home, and was engaged in coal
mining operations there and the manu-
facture of brick. He was postmaster at
Wyoming for some years about 1879, but
the business of the office was largely
managed by his son, Jesse B. Schooley.
At the time of his death, which occurred
at Wyoming, December 15, 1884, Mr.
Schooley was a director of the Second
National Bank of Wilkes-Barre.

Jesse Barber Schooley was married, at
Wyoming, February 20, 1838, to Eliza
J., daughter of John and Jerusha (John-
ston) Brees. John Brees was the son of
Captain Samuel Brees, and the grandson
of John Brees of Somerset county, New
Jersey. The last named was born in Hol-
land about 1713; located in New Jersey
in 1735; was married in 1736 to Dorothy
Riggs (born in 1713, and died in 1803) ;
served as a private in the Somerset
county. New Jersey, militia, in the Revo-
lutionary War; died in Somerset county.
Captain Samuel Brees, son of the above
named John and Dorothy Brees, was born
in Somerset county, April 17, 1758; was
a soldier in the Revolutionary War; was
married in 1780 to Hannah Pierson (born
March 15, 1760, and died April 9, 1817).
Samuel Brees, accompanied by his wife
and their children, left Basking Ridge in
Somerset county, for Wyoming Valley,
June 3, 1789. Eight days later they ar-
rived at Wilkes-Barre. The following
month they removed to Kingston, and
1802 they located at New Troy, where
Captain Brees had purchased a farm from
Joseph Swetland. In 1815 and later