John W. (John Woolf) Jordan.

Historic homes and institutions and genealogical and personal memoirs of the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania (Volume v.1) online

. (page 13 of 92)
Online LibraryJohn W. (John Woolf) JordanHistoric homes and institutions and genealogical and personal memoirs of the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania (Volume v.1) → online text (page 13 of 92)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Irwin B. Shelling attended the common
schools in the vicinity of his home, and at the
early age of thirteen years engaged in lumbering
on the Lehigh river, which occupation he con-
tinued until he attained the age of seventeen years.
He then secured employment with the Pennsyl-
vania & Reading Railroad, at East Pennsylvania
Junction, remaining in their employ for seven
consecutive years. In 1885 he established a gro-
cery business at the corner of Penn and Union
streets, Allentown, and from the beginning this
enterprise was attended with a large degree of
success. After the expiration of two years he
found it necessary to increase his facilities in
order to meet the demands of his constantly in-
creasing trade, and he accordingly erected the
stores Nos. 446-448 Union street, and in due
course of time his business warranted the open-
ing of a second store. This was located at 519
Hamilton street, and he remained there until
1904, when the "City Item" newspaper erected a
new building with all the modern improvements
at 608-610 Hamilton street, and Mr. Shelling
rented the entire lower floor. This he thorough-
ly stocked with a large and select line of staple
and fancy groceries, and he also handles a full
line of meats and vegetables in their season, the
manufactured meats being prepared by ]\Ir. Shell-
ing under his personal supervision. His estab-
lishment is not only the largest and best stocked^
in the city of Allentown, but it can also claim the
distinction of being the best throughout the Le-
high Valley, as in addition to the excellence of its
goods it is noted for the prompt and courteous
attention given to each and every customer and
patron by Mr. Shelling and his employes. The



confidence and esteem in which he is held by his
tellow-citizens is evidenced by the fact that he
has served in the city council one term, and has
also been a member of the board of school di-
rectors. He is a Republican in politics.

Mr. Shelling married Carrie Ernst, who bore
him twelve children, three of whom died in in-
fancy. The surviving members of the family
are : Ruth, Ernst, Bessie, Paul, Edith, Edwin,
Herbert, Mildred, and Richard, the baby of the
family. Mr. Shelling and his family are members
of the Presbyterian church of Allentown, Penn-
sylvania. Mrs. Shelling is the daughter of Jacob
and Emmeline (Greisemer) Ernst, who had two
other children, Bertha and Minnie. Mrs. Shell-
ing's father came to this country from Germany.
Jacob Ernst was previously married, and the
child of this union, Elizabeth Ernst, became the
wife of Jonathan D. Wieand, and they are the par-
ents of the following named children : Tilghman
Lewis, who married Rebecca Egge, and they are
the parents of four children : Mary, wife of Cle-
ment A. Everhart; Emma Elizabeth, wife of
Irving Freeman, and mother of four children;
Florence ; and Carrie, wife of Dr. E. B. Heston.

R. F. HOWELL is actively and prominently
connected with industrial interests in North-
ampton county as superintendent of the Cleve-
land Slate Quarry, located in Plainfield township,
near Pen Argyl. He is descended from old and
illustrious families in both the paternal and ma-
ternal lines. His great-grandfather, John How-
ell, was of Welsh lineage, and located in Phil-
lipsburg, New Jersey. He became a farmer of
that locality, and owned about two hundred acres
of land in what is now known as Phillipsburg
Flats. He married a Miss Greaser, and to them
were born seven children: John, Joseph, Asher,

^ George, Mrs. Boyer, Mrs. Miller and Mrs.

' Breakley. After the death of the great-grand-
father his son Joseph purchased the estate, of
which he was the owner until his demise.

Joseph Howell, the grandfather of R. F.
Howell, was born on liis father's farm at Phil-

lipsburg, New Jersey, in 1798, and leaving that
estate took up his abode at Easton, Pennsylvania,
where he conducted a general store for two years.
About 1826 he removed to Martin's Creek, where
in company with Peter Michler and George H.
Howell he engaged in the manufacture of lum-
ber, flour and whisky. For about three years he
followed that business, and in 1830 he purchased
the Biedleman farm, near Green's Bridge, New
Jersey, where he resided for six years. He ne.xt
bought a farm near Siegfried's Bridge, upon
which he erected a large flouring mill, continuing
its operation for nine years. On the expiration
of that period he returned to Green's Bridge,
where in 1891 his death occurred. He was mar-
ried in early manhood to Miss Sarah Wagner, a
daughter of David and Rosanna Wagner, and
they became the parents of ten children : David,
John, Mary, William A., Elizabeth, Rosanna, Jo-
seph, Abraham, Budd and Justice. Of this num-
ber John, Joseph, Rosanna, Mary and Budd are
deceased. Abraham and Budd were soldiers of
the Civil war and the former is now a resident of
Easton, Pennsylvania, but the latter died while
in the service.

William A. Howell, the father of R. F.
Howell, was born at Green's Bridge in 1827, and
became a farmer and lumberman. He prospered
in his business undertakings, his well directed ef-
forts, capable management and enterprise bring-
ing to him creditable success. At the present
time, however, he is living retired with his sec-
ond wife. His first wife, Emma DeWitt, was
born in New Jersey in 1832, and by this marriage
there were twelve children, eight of whom are
yet living, namely: Richard Fair; Joseph, a min-
ister of the Presbyterian church; Washington, r
farmer ; Mrs. Rebecca Doney ; Mrs. Lilly
Weaver ; Hugh A., a teacher in Cuba ; Helen ;
and Edmund, who also follows agricultural pur-
suits. Both the Howells and DeWitts were es-
tablished in Warren county. New Jersey, at a
very early period, and took an active part in the
pionee ■ development of that section of the coun-
try. We find them in possession of tiie first
carrian^e ever seen in that portion of the country,




and they were the owners of the first piano,
which shows that they were not only able finan-
cially to gratify their tastes but had consid-
erable musical talent as well. Many old family
relics are in possession of their descendants, who
still reside at Green's Bridge, New Jersey.

R. F. Howell, a son of William A. and Emma
D. Howell, was born in Phillipsburg, New Jer-
sey, November 29, 1856, and pursued his educa-
tion in the common schools of his native town
and of Columbia, New Jersey, also spending one
term as a student in Trach's Academy in Easton,
Pennsylvania. In his early boyhood days he lived
on a farm, and became familiar with the task of
cultivating the fields, but when he attained his
majority he turned his attention to the slate in-
dustry, with which he has since been connected.
He was employer at Bangor until 1895 ; was at
East Bangor until 1901 ; he is now located in the
latter place, where he owns and occupies a neat
and comfortable residence. He is filling the posi-
tion of superintendent of the Cleveland Slate
Quarry located in Plainfield township, near Pen
Argyl, having acted in this capacity for three
years, while for six years previous he was gen-
eral manager at the Star Quarry, East Bangor.
He directs the labors of eighty-five men who
serve under him, and, being thoroughly conver-
sant with the work, enterprising and diligent,
has made the business a profitable one for those
whom he represents.

R. F. Howell is a member of the Golden Eagle
Lodge of East Bangor, and he and his wife
hold membership in the Presbyterian church of
Bangor. He was united in marriage to Miss
]\Iargaret D. Roberts, a daughter of William
and J\Iartha (Weidman) Roberts. ■Mrs. Howell
was born at East Bangor, Pennsylvania, in 1862,
and was a granddaughter of Jacob Weidman, a
clock maker and repairer who was very useful
in his line of business in the Lehigh Valley. His
wife was Margarctt Houser, and their children
were James, Ellen J. Kellow, Catherine Rotzell,
Martha A. Roberts Evans. Mrs. Violet Houck,
^Irs. Linda Jones, Mrs. Lillian Brown and l\Frs.
Carrie \\'illiams.

The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Howell oc-
curred in 1882, and has been blessed with five
children : William, Emma, DeWitt, Elmer and

TINGHAM has for half a century been superin-
tendent of the public schools of Easton, a record
which is unparalleled by that of any other public
school superintendent of the country. He is the
author and founder of the present school system
of his city, and although now in the eightieth yeai
of his age still stands at the head of the institu-
tion. It is interesting to note that from the begin-
ning of this long and useful service, to the present
time, he never asked nor sought for the position
to which he was called.

He was born in Easton December 6, 1824.
He is a descendant of Jonathan and Margaret
Cottingham, whose son, Daniel, born December
5, 1724, was married on the 24th of January,
1753, to Ann Cooper. He died January zj, 1778,
and his wife died September 29, 1789. They had
a son John, born June 14, 1754, died January 6,
1829, married Priscilla Fleming, April 15, 1787.
She was born in Fairfax county, Virginia, July
29, 1760, and died May 16, 1827, and was a
daughter of William and Sarah (Cox) Fleming.
Her father was a descendant of Colonel John

Robert Cottingham, father of Professor Cot-
tingham, was born in Maryland, September 10.
1799, and died June 28, 1880. .About 1820 he ar-
rived in Easton, Pennsylvania, where he became
a drv-goods merchant, continuing in that busi-
ness until his death. He married Miss Sophia
White, a daughter of William and Susan (Ever-
hart) White. The White family is of English
lineage. The grandfather of Mrs. Cottingham
bore the name of William White, and married
Martha JMatilda Mason, of Oxford, New Jersey.
Their son, William White, Jr., wedded Susan
Everhart, a daughter of John Arnold Everhart,
who in 1757 married Anna Margaret Weaver,
who was born in 1740, and died in 1824. Her
parents were Frederick and Catherine Weaver.



Professor William \V. Cottingham was the
second in a family of nine children, five of whom
are yet living, 1904. His boyhood days were
spent in his native city, and he began his educa-
tion in a private school conducted by Miss Ger-
trude Kemper, on Northampton street, in Easton.
He afterward attended a school conducted by
Mrs. Prior, in a frame building nearly opposite
the present location of the high school of Easton,
on Second street. In 1834 the law regarding
public schools went into effect, and Mr. Cotting-
ham Ijccame one of the first pupils in the first
public schools of Easton, conducted by JosinI
Davis. He afterward also attended a select
school taught by Mr. Davis, and later he became
a student under Dr. Vanderveer, prior to enter-
ing upon business life. On putting aside his text
books he became an able assistant to his father in
the dry-goods and grocery store, but two years
experience in that direction convinced him that
his talent did not lay along that line. Leaving the
store he entered the model school of Lafayette
College, then under the direction of Professor D.
P. Yeomans, there preparing for college. Matri-
culating in Lafayette College, he pursued a four
years' course and was graduated in 1848 with the
degree of Bachelor of Arts. Later his alma mater
conferred upon him the degree of Master of Arts.
The board of trustees of Lafayette College
elected him a tutor in that institution immedi-
ately after his graduation, and he served in that
capacity for a year, but, anxious to prepare him-
self for still more advanced labor in the educa-
tional field, he entered Princeton Seminary. After
two years spent as a student there, he was invited
to take charge of the academy at Haddonfield,
New Jersey, in which the classics and higher
mathematics were taught. While he was serving
there the board of trustees of Lafayette College
recalled him to a tutorship in that institution,
when he returned to his former field of labor. The
financial standing of Lafayette College was not
then very good, and the salaries were accordingly
small, and Professor Cottingham, feeling that lie
might have better opportiniitics elsewhere, re-
signed his ])ositi<in. He was inslniniental in
pmcnring the union of Lafayette ('ollegc and tlie

high school. Several months later he was re-
quested to take charge of a school in South
Easton until a permanent teacher could be se-
cured. Mr. Cottingham complied, and no other
teacher was employed before the end of the term.
During his residence there he became quite inter-
ested in the work of teaching the canal boys, and
he resolved to devote his time to that service. For
a half century he has been continuously connected
with Easton schools. In August, 1853, he was
elected to the office of principal of the high
school of Easton, and in August of the same year
he became the successor of Mr. St. John, as su-
[)erintendent of the public schools of the city.
His efiforts have since been untiring and unre-
mitting in behalf of the educational development
of Easton.

At the time of his election to the superinten-
dency, the free school project was comparatively
new — still an experiment. In 1843, Rev. John P.
Hecht was appointed superintendent, who de-
voted his time and talents to the work, most
faithfully. He was followed in 1849 by Rev.
Oliver St. John, .who for the first time received a
fixed salary, still having, however, the South
Easton schools under his administration. He
labored hard and incessantly until 1853. While
the schools were then far in advance of anything
yet expected in the district, says the report of the
state superintendent of public schools, "They
failed to secure either sympathy or encourage-
ment from the many prominent and influential
citizens of the town. This was owing partly to
the fact that private schools furnished a more
thorough and elevated course of instruction than
the limited provisions of the public schools would
admit." Much trouble was caused by the clamor
and opposition excited in the town against the
then existing school management : caprice rather
than settled principle guided it. Want of har-
mony in the board, disputes and quarrels, re-
sulted, and the interests of the schools were neg-
lected. The classification of pupils was imper-
fect, and it gave nnich dissatisfaction. The board
and the public soon learned that a regular and
competent superintendent was needed, whose
Imsiness it should he to devote his time to the



management of the school department exchi-
sively. In August, 1853, the office was vacated
by Mr. St. John.

In January, 1854, Professor Cottingham sug-
gested a plan which still governs the management
of the schools, proposing a plan for the high
school, the systematic arrangement of the subor-
dinate school, and a thorough regular course for
each. This plan on presentation to the board was
adopted, and Professor Cotttingham at once be-
gan the thorough organization of the schools,
drawing up a draft of graduation for all, and this,
too, was endorsed by the board. His plan of
work has been enlarged, improved and extended,
but the basic element still remains. He received
the active co-operation and assistance of Judge
McCartney, who at once accepted Professor Cot-
tingham's system as the most complete presented
to the board. Mr. Cottingham prepared a cata-
logue of the high schools, to which Judge Mc-
Cartney made some additions, and E. F. Stewart
wrote an address to the citizens setting forth the
advantages of the high school system and this ad-
dress was printed and widely circulated through
the town. The poorer classes of the city heartily
endorsed the plan and encouraged Mr. Cotting-
ham, and as time passed he received the active co-
operation of many of the leading residents of

Following the adoption of his plan, he at once
proceeded to examine all of the schools and
pupils in the town, giving each child as well as
each school a grade with a certificate. This was
the first formal examination ever made to deter-
mine the proper grade of the schools of pupils.
The pupils were at once sent to their proper places
in classes and schoolrooms, and the system was
soon in active operation. Professor Cottingham
has continually studied to benefit the schools, to
broaden the system, and to make the work of
education in Easton of more practical and far-
reaching benefit. \\'hile he systematized the
school, however, the transactions of the school
board were conducted with utter disregard of any
method. The papers were stored away in old
boxes in the room or in a cellar, and ]\Ir. Cottting-

ham directed his labor toward securing improve-
ment in that direction. He gathered all of the
records, bills, petitions and receipts, filed them
with care, and put them in places of safety. He
suggested the use of books for the recording of
all transactions of the board, and for its accounts
and regular business. He offered to keep the ac-
counts and records of the board complete, and as
the result of his diligent presentation of the sub-
ject the present system of books in use by this
school board was adopted. In addition to the
regular work of superintending the schools. Pro-
fessor Cottingham also for a number of years per-
formed the clerical work now done by the secre-
tary and librarian, and the manifold duties which
devolved upon him in this connection often caused
him to write busily in his office until twelve or
one o'clock at night, after following the arduous
duties of the day. He continued to do this until
his eyes were weakened to such an extent that he
was obliged to place himself in the hands of a sur-
geon for treatment. He performed the extra service
gratuitously until 1873, when he was relieved by
the appointment of a secretary. Many original
features have been introduced into the schools
of Easton, and the work of the educational de-
partment of the city is now of a most practical
character. Professor Cottingham largely main-
tains the parental attitude to a child in his rela-
tion to the pupils that come under his care, taking
recognition of their dispositional tendencies in as
far as is possible and practical. He labors to pro-
mote physical, mental and moral development,
and thus produces a well rounded character. His
interest in the individual does not cease as the
pupil passes from his care in the school room, and
many now successful and prominent business
men owe to him their start upon a business career
because of the influence which he exerted in se-
curing positions for thm. Through his sugges-
tion and influence, four scholarships to Lafayette
College were obtained and ofifered as prizes in the
high school, so that each year one of these is given
to the boy who wins the highest scholarship in the
public school course of Easton. He also secured
the adoption by the school board of the plan of



issuing diplomas, and designed the certificate of
graduation which is now given to each high
school pupil who completes the regular course.

An analyzation of his life work shows that
Professor Cottingham is a man of scholarly at-
tainments and strong intellectuality, and yet not
to this alone is due his success as one of the most
able public-school educators of the country. One
of the elements of power in his work is his earnest
desire and efforts for advancement in methods,
and another equally potent factor has been his
interest in the individual, and his co-operation for
the advancement of the inherent talent of each
pupil. Few men of the country have so won the
love of those who come under their instruction as
has Professor Cottingham, and his career as an
educator has been an honor to the city which has
honored him. A notable event in the life of Pro-
fessor Cottingham, and also in the local history
of Easton, was the celebration which was held in
that city, April 28, 1887, in honor of the comple-
tion of one-third of a century of his superinten-
dency, and another on October 28, 1903, in honor
of the fiftieth anniversary of his service. On
that occasion many notable educators and prom-
inent men of Pennsylvania were present, several
of whom delivered addresses, and in the evening
a banquet was held. It was an occasion long to
be remembered by Professor Cottingham and his
many friends, and well did he merit this public
token of the esteem and confidence of his fellow
citizens and co-workers in educational lines
throughout the state.

Professor Cottingham is a Mason, and for
twenty-seven years was secretary of Dallas Lodge,
No. 396 ; he also belongs to Royal Arch Chapter,
No. 172; Hugh dePayens Commandery, No. 19,
K. T., and affiliates with the order of American
Mechanics. In religious belief he is a Presby-
terian, belonging to the First Church of Easton.
In the various local and state teachers' conven-
tions he has Ijeen an important factor, serving as
president of the state convention held in Harris-
burg, and in many other ways promoting the
success of the work in which he is so deeplv in-
terested. He was instrumental in having the pub-

lic library (now the Carnegie Library) opened
for the use of the people of Easton.

Professor Cottingham was married, ]\Iarch 20,
1855, to Louisa C. Abel, a daughter of John and
]ilaria E. (Reichard) Abel. Her paternal an-
cestry is traced back to Johan Jacob and ^laria
Sophia (Raub) Abel, the former arriving in
America from Hanover, Germany, on the 25th of
October, 1652. John Abel was born September
12, 1744, and died September 12, 1822. He mar-
ried Catherine Blakeley, and among their chil-
dren was John Abel, father of ]\Irs. Cotttingham.
Her mother, Maria (Reichard) Abel, was a
daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth (Hay) Reich-
ard. The former was a son of Daniel Reichard,
who was born in Switzerland in 1752 and died in
Easton in March, 1819. His wife, Catherine
Dorothy Reichard was born in Switzerland, in
1753 and died in Easton, November 19, 1845.
Mrs. Elizabeth (Hay) Reichard, the grandmother
of Mrs. Cottingham, was born in Easton, in
March, 1780, and was a daughter of Peter and
Margaret (Simmons) Hay. Peter Hay was a
son of Melchoir Hay, and a grandson of Mal-
come Hay, the progenitor of the family in

Four children comprise the family of Pro-
fessor and Mrs. Cottingham, namely : Mrs. Laura
S. Morrison, of St. Albans, Vermont ; Mrs. Annie
W. Talmage, of New Bedford, Massachusetts;
Mrs. Jennie B. Vories, of St. Paul, Minnesota ;
and W. W. Cottingham, Jr., also of St. Paul,
Minnesota. Two children are deceased : Lizzie
A. and Emily L. Cottingham.

EDWARD J. FOX, one of the most dis-
tinguished members of the Pennsylvania bar,
whose brilliant professional life extended over
the long period of forty-foui' years, came of a
splendid colonial ancestry.

The Fox family was English, and of assured
po-'Uion. In the church of SS. Peter and Paul
in Northamptonshire. England, are memorials to
Michael l"ox, and the family coat-of-arms is re-
corded in the Herald's College. A branch of the
family was planted in Ireland, and from this de-



scended Edward Fox, paternal grandfather of
Edward J. Fox, born in Dublin in 1752, and who
came to America some years before the Rev-
olution. He settled in Philadelphia, and there
married, in 1780, a sister of Jonathan Dickinson
Sergeant. This Sergeant was also of a distin-
guished family, and one of its most illustrious
members was his nephew, Hon. John Sergeant,
lawyer and statesman, who in 1832 was a can-
didate for vice-president on the same ticket with
the great He:iry Clay. Edward Fox carved out
for himself a noble career. He studied law under
Samuel Chase, of ^Maryland (afterwards a judge
of the supreme court of the United States by
appointment of President Washington), became
a prominent member of the Pennsylvania bar,
and in 1783 was auditor-general of the state.

John Fox, son of Edward Fox, became even
more conspicuous than his sire. Born in Phila-
delphia, April 26, 1787, he graduated from the
University of Pennsylvania and studied law under
the preceptorship of Alexander J. Dallas, whose
son, George JNIifflin Dallas, was elected to the
vice-presidency in 1844, upon the same ticket with
President Polk. John Fox was admitted to the
bar in 1807, and entered upon practice in New-

Online LibraryJohn W. (John Woolf) JordanHistoric homes and institutions and genealogical and personal memoirs of the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania (Volume v.1) → online text (page 13 of 92)