John W. (John Woolf) Jordan.

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

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Pennsylvania, July 12, 1807. Beginning his
education in the public schools of his native place,
he gradufited with honor from the Lawrenceville
(New Jersey) Academy. He read law under the
preceptorship of Hon. Peter Ihrie, a distinguished
attorney of Easton, and on attaining his majority
was admitted to the bar of Northampton county,
Pennsylvania. He took high rank in his pro-
fession, and was for some years associated in
practice with Henry Green (afterwards ciiief-
justice of Pennsylvania) in the law firm of Reeder
& Green.

Governor Reeder's fame, however, rests upon
his splendid services in behalf of free soil and
free speech in the crucial days preceding the Civil
war. From his early days a Democrat of the Jef-
fersonian school, he took a deep interest in political
affairs, and his masterly oratory soon brought him
into favorable notice. In 1854 President Pierce
appointed him the first governor of Kansas, then a
territory, and he at once sprang into world-wide
notice. The conflict for the possession of Kansas,
lietween the two conflicting classes of emigrants,
the free-soilers from the east and the slavery ex-
tensionists from thesouth, isa thrilling chapter in
itself. There is only space here to epitomize the part
taken by Governor Reeder. At the first election,
the free-soilers were driven from the polls by the
pro-slaveryites, who went through the farce of
electing a legislature. A demand was made upon
Governor Reeder to sign the certificate of the
members so chosen, and, on his declining so to
do, he was informed: "We will give you fifteen
minutes to sign, resign or be hanged." His stern
integrity and unflinching courage was shown in
his instant reply: "Gentlemen, I need no fifteen
minutes. My mind is made up. I shall hang."
His boldness saved him for tlie time. Soon after-



wards came a congressional committee of inves-
tigation, to whom Governor Recder fearlessly ex-
posed the acts and plans of the border-ruffians.
The president removed Governor Reeder, ap-
pointing in his stead ex-Governor Shannon, of
Ohio, who at once avowed himself an ally of the
slavery party. Thereupon the free-soilers pro-
tested against Whitfield, fradulcntly elected as a
delegate in congress, and elected Reeder. This
would necessitate a contest before that body, to
determine between the two. and the broder-ruf-
fians determined to solve the difficutly by putting
Reeder out of the way. He evaded an armed
regiment of border-ruffians, and made his way
by night to Kansas City, where friends concealed
him for two weeks, feeding him secretly, while
his enemies picketed every road and guarded the
steamboat landing in order to effect his capture.
Finally, in the disguise of an Irish laborer, he
made his way to a point down river where ( by
prearrangement, he was taken aboard a steamboat
and ultimately reached Alton, Illinois. On his
way home he stopped in Chicago, Detroit and
other cities, in each of which he made eloquent
appeals to the lovers of freedom, who in response
flocked to Kansas by thousands as actual home-
makers, and who at the first fair election adopted
a free-state constitution and created a free-state.
Among those who were thus influenced by Gov-
ernor Reeder were many Philadelphia and Ches-
ter county people, among them Colonel Kersey
Coates. Colonel Coates became one of those who
made Kansas City, ^Missouri, a great mercantile
center, and he placed in his jialatial hotel there,
the Coates House, in tribute to his friend, a splen-
did _ oil portrait of Governor Reeder, after a
photograph made after his reaching Chicago,
representing him in the disguise in which he had
made his escape, a hickory shirt, blue overalls,
heavy brogans and slouch hat, with pick and axe,
and smoking a short clay pipe.

At Easton, Governor Reeder resumed the
practice of law, and continued therein until his
death, July 5, 1864. In i860, in the National
Republican Convention which nominated Lin-
coln, Governor Reeder was third in the list of
candidates for the vice-presidential nomination.

At the outbreak of the Civil war President Lin-
coln tendered him a commission as brigadier-
general, but he declined, feeling his inability to
undergo the rigors of campaigning. He was
married, September 13, 1831, to Z^Iiss Fredericka
Amelia Hutter, a daughter of Colonel Christian
Jacob Hutter. She was a woman of as marked
character as himself, and with Spartan courage
endured awful mental anguish while her husband
was imperiled in Kansas. During the Civil war
period she labored incessantly and efficiently as
p.resident of the Easton Sanitary Aid Society.
She was the mother of five children ;

1. Ida Titus, born ]\[ay 27, 1837, who became
the wife of William Wallace Alarsh, a lawyer of
Schooley's Mountain, New Jersey.

2. George Marchand Reeder, born Octolier 26,
1839, who during the Civil war was captain in
the First Regiment Kansas Infantry \'olunteers,
was afterwards editor and publisher of the Easton
Daily Express, and died December 12, 1884.

3. Emma Hutter, born JNIarch 25, 1841, and
died ]\Iay 12, 1865, who married (May 14, 1861)
J. Charles Eerriday, of Concordia Parish,

4. Howard James Reeder, born December 11,
1843, "^^'lio graduated from Princeton College in
1863, and subsequently from the Harvard Law
School. During the Civil war he was a lieutenant
in the First Regiment United States Infantry and
captain in the One Hundred and Fifty-Third
Regiment Pennsylvania \'olunteers. He was
judge of the court of common pleas, third judicial
district of Pennsylvania, in 1881, 1882, and from
1884 to 1894 and judge of the superior court of
Pennsylvania from 1895 until his death, Decem-
ber 28, 1898. He was married. Ma}- 26, 1867, to
Helen Burke, of Easton.

5. Frank Reeeder, youngest son of Governor
Andrew H. and Fredericka (Hutter) Reeder,
was born in Easton, ]\Iay 22, 1845. He was edu-
cated in the Lawrenceville (New Jersey) Acad-
emy, Edgehill school, at Princeton. New Jersey,
and at Princeton College, which he entered in
i860 in the sophomore class. In 1862. at the age
of seventeen years, he patrioticalh' responded to
Lincoln's call for troops, and enlisted as a private



in the Fifth Regiment Pennsylvania \'ohinteers.
In October of the same year he re-enhsted in the
One Hundred and Seventy-fourth Regiment
Pennsylvania Volunteers, and was soon promoted
to the rank of first lieutenant and adjutant, and
subsequently served as acting assistant adjutant-
general to General Peck and General \'ogdes, and
participated with the Tenth and Eighteenth
Army Corps in the campaigns in Eastern \'ir-
ginia and North Carolina, and in the operations
against Charleston, South Carolina. On the ex-
piration of his term of service he recruited a com-
pany for the Nineteenth Regiment Pennsylvania
Cavalry, of which he was commissioned captain,
in October, 1863. During a portion of his serv-
ice he served as judge-advocate on the staiT of
General Grierson, and as acting assistant adju-
tant-general of the Seventh Division. Wilson's
Cavalry Corps. He participated in numerous
stirring cmpaigns and noted battles, and with
conspicuous gallantry. His command was en-
gaged in the operations in the vicinity of Vicks-
burg, Mississippi, and then moved west of the
-Mississippi river, where it fought the army of
General Sterling Price at Marion, Greens-
boro, Pilot Knob, Osage and l!ig Blue
River. It followed the rebel General Hood
into Tennessee, and made repeated charges upon
his flank while he was reaching toward Nashville ;
-and in the desperate two days' battle at that ]ilace,
in which General Hood's army was hopelessly
disorganized, he had three horses shot under him.
In the battle of Hollow Tree Gap, near Franklin,
lie was wounded. For his gallant conduct on the
field and in these ailairs he was brevetted major
and lieutenant-colonel b>- authority of the Secre-
tary of War, his commissions bearing the presi-
dential signature. January 26, 1865, he was re-
lieved from staff duty, having been commissioned
lieutenant-colonel, and by virtue of his rank he
assumed command of his regiment. In February,
1865, he embarked his regiment at Eastport,
Tennessee, and participated in the siege of Mo-
bile. After the surrender of General Dick Tay-
lor, lie was ordered to the Red River, to oj^erate
against General Kirby Smith. F'ollowing the sur-
render of the Confederate forces in Texas, the

Civil war now being ended. Colonel Reeder was
stationed on the line of the Rio Grande, with the
army of observation placed there to aid in the
defeat of the French purpose to establish in
Mexico a monarchy under Alaximilian. This
crisis was soon passed, and Colonel Reeder
brought his regiment to Philadelphia, where it
was mustered out of service, June 13, 1866.

With this brilliant military record, and being
risen from the ranks to the command of a regi-
ment. Colonel Reeder was now but a month be-
yond the legal age of manhood. To complete his
military record, although out of chronological
sequence, it may be here noted that his soldierly
qualities led to his appointment, in 1874, as
brigadier-general in the Pennsylvania National
Guard, and he was assigned to the command of
the Fifth Brigade, Second Division. In 1877 he
performed excellent service in quelling the riots
in Reading, and he was singularly efficient at Har-
risburg in the following year.

On his return to Civil life at the close of the
rebellion. General Reeder entered upon the study
of law at Albany, New York. He was admitted
to the bar in 1868, and was engaged in his pro-
fession in New York City until 1869, when he
returned to Easton and became the law partner of
his brother, Hon. Howard J. Reeder, and has
since been busily occupied in his profession, in
which he has gained an honorable distinction. He
has been called to various important positions,
and was sccretar\- of the commonwealth of Penn-
sylvania from 1895 to 1898, a member of Gen-
eral Hastings' cabinet from 1895 to 1897, a dele-
gate at large to the American National Republi-
can convention in 1896, chairman of the Repulili-
can state committee during the years 1899- 1900-
190T, and in 1900 \vas appointed a commissioner
of banking, resigning from that position in May,
1903. A Republican in ]iolitics, he is an acknowl-
edged leader in party affairs and wields a potent

General Reeder was married, at Boston,
Massachusetts, October 2t, 1868, to Miss Grace
E. Thompson, a native of that city, born Jur.e 17,
1848. TIn-ee children have been born to this
unic^n : i. Andrew Horatio, born Septen)ber 9,



1869, a graduate of Lafayette College, class of
1890, who for several years was engaged in
civil engineering in West Mrginia, but is now em-
ployed in the fuel and mine department of the
Canadian Pacific Railroad in British Columbia;
he married Esther Eckard; a daughter of Dr.
Leighton Eckard, and they are the parents of two
children — Andrew H.. and Elizabeth Bayard
Reeder. 2. Erank, born May 4, 1880. who grad-
uated from Lafayette College in the class of 1901.
3. Douglass Wyman. born August 25, 18S3, who
is a student in Lafayette College, class of 1905.

WILLIAM LAUBACH. A well merited
success has crowned the capably-directed busi-
ness efTorts of William Laubach, whose advance-
ment financially is due entirely to his own re-
sources and ability. He was born in Plainfield
township, Northampton county, Pennsylvania,
February 18, 1833, a descendant of Christian
Laubach, who, accompanied by his wife, Susan
Laubach, and si.x children sailed in August, 1738,
from the Palatna, Germany, and landed in Phila-
delphia, Pennsylvania, September 16, 1738, on the
ship "Queen Elizabeth." They settled on a small
stream in Saucon township, Northampton county,
on the banks of which he shortly afterward
erected a saw and grist mill. Christian Laubach
was a blacksmith and iron dealer, and furnished
large quantities of material to the Durham fur-
naces. Subsequent!}' he became the owner of
five tracts of land which are still in the possession
of his descendants.

John George Laubach, son of Christian and
Susan Laubach, was born November 4, 1723,
married, and reared a familv of eleven children,
as follows: Susan, born November 7, 1757:
Michael, born November 28, 1759: John, born
August 25, 1761 : John Christian, born June 30,
1762; Anna Mary, born October 21, 1764; Adam,
born December 23, 1766: John Conrad, born
Alarch 3, 176S; Ann ^largaret, born January 19.
1770; Catherine, born February 26. 1772: John
George, Jr., born March 5, 1774, and Walter,
born February 15. 1776. John G. Laubach. father
of these children, received one hundred pounds
for his share in the estate of his father, Christian

Laubach, the progenitor of the family in Amer-

Adam Laubach, fourth son of John George
Laubach, was born December 23, 1766, settled in
Saucon township, and was a farmer and black-
smith by trade. He married and reared a family
of the following named children: i. Jacob, died
aged eighty-five years : 2. John, born (Jctober 2,
1789, and died aged eighty-two years; 3. Chris-
tian, died aged eighty-three years ; 4. George,
born November 14, 1794, died aged seventy-five
years; 5. Samuel, born ]\Iay 24, 179ft, '^^'^'1 aged
thirty-eight years ; 6. Joseph, died aged sixty-
four vears ; 7. Daniel, born August 12, 1801, died
aged thirty-five years; 8. Elizabeth, died aged
eighty-three years; 9. Isaac, born ^Nlarch 8, i8o5,
died aged sixty-six years; 10. Abraham, further
mentioned below.

Abraham Laubach. youngest son of Adam
Laubach; was born in Williams township. North-
ampton county, Pennsylvania. November 19,
1808. In early life he served an apprenticeship
to the trade of harness maker, which he pursued
in the township of Plainfield for about fifteen
years, after which he returned to Williams town-
ship and engaged in farming and milling. Be-
ing successful in both these enterprises, IMr. Lau-
bach acquired a sufficient competence to enable
him to retire from active business pursuits and
he located in the city of Easton, where he spent
his declining years in the enjoyment of ease
and luxury. He married Lydia ISeidleman, who
was born in I-"orks township, Pennsylvania,
April 12. 1808, a daughter of Abraham Beidlo-
man. Their children were : \\'illiam. born Feb-
ruary 18. 1833: Peggy Ann. born July 12. 1835,
wife of Richard Deemer ; Robert, born Ajiril ij,
1837: Stephen. '\\. D., born June 9, 1839: Susan,
born February 19, 1842; Abraham A., born ]May
3, 1844, and Owen, born July 16, 1846, died in
September, 1888. Abraham Laubach was a dea-
con and elder in the Reformed church of Easton,
Pennsylvania. He died September 15. 1890, aged
eighty-two years ; his wife passed away April
30. 1895.

.\braham Beidleman, father of ^Irs. Lydia
(Beidleman) Laubach, was born November 26,



1772, a son of Samuel Beidleiiian, who was born
in 1748, and he in turn was a son of Elias Beidle-
man, -who married Catherine Kiss, of Lower
Saucon township, and later removed from that
locality to Monroe count}-. He was a son of
Elias Beidleman, who was born in the Palatna,
Germany, September 27, 1707, and arrived in
the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in Septem-
ber, 1730. He remained in Philadelphia county
several years, and in 1748 removed to Springtield
township, now Pleasant Valley township, Bucks
county. He there built the first mill in the north-
ern part of Bucks county, and resided in this
vicinity until his death, which occurred October
25, 1781. Samuel Beidleman, grandson of Elias
Beidleman, was residing in Chestnut Hill town-
ship during the French and Indian war, and
joined Sullivan's army when that command went
against the Six Nations. He subsequently settled
in the Chemung Valley, New York, where he re-
sided until his decease in the year 1836. Abra-
ham Beidleman, son of Samuel Beidleman, wdien
a lad in his teens returned to Pennsylvania and
first settled in Plainfield township ; later he re-
moved to Williams township, where he became the
possessor of a large tract of land in the vicinity
of Raubsville, where his death occurred April 11,

^\'illiam Laubach, eldest son of Abraham and
Lydia (Beidleman) Laubach, was a student in
the public schools of Plainfield township until his
sixteenth year, when he accepted a clerkship in a
countr}' store in which he served for five years
and later came to Easton, where he followed the
same occupation. During this period he was
familiarizing- himself with the principles and de-
tails of business life, and in i860 he established a
business in Easton, in a small building with a
front of twelve feet on the location now occupied
by his department store. The business increased
so rapidly that he was obliged from time to time
to add addiiiinial space for the display of his
goods, ami at the present time (1903) he occu-
pies what was formerly five separate stores, the
dimensions of which are one hundred and seven
by two hundred and twenty feet. The Iinsiness
is coi-iducled under the (irni name of \\MlHnni Lau-

bach & Son. Mr. Laubach is a Repulilican in
polities, a member of the Reformed church, and
he also holds membership in the Ancient, Free
and Accepted Masons, ^Masonic fraternity — in the
lodge, chapter and commandery, and in the An-
cient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.
Air. Laubach was united in marriage, August
19, i860, to j\Iary Frances Horn, who was
born in Easton, Pennsylvania, February 5, 1839,
daughter of George and Annie Horn. Their chil-
dren are: i. George A., born October 10, 1862,
now engaged in business with his father ; he mar-
ried Laura Louisa Grim, born September 30,
1865, and their children are: George A., Jr.,
born May 9, 1892; Frances Louisa, born January
18, 1894; and Donald Grim, born September i,
1898. 2. Annie B., born April 29, 1864, wife of
John Westley Nute, and they are the parents of
three children — George H., born October 7, 1889 ;
William Laubach, born December 29, 1890; and
Harold Nute, born June 2. 1894. 3. Jennie, born
February i, 1866, wife of Captain Edgar Jad-
win, \J. S. Army, and their children are : Char-
lotte Frances, born in August, 1894, and Cor-
nelius C, born in March, 1896. 4. Sarah, born
August 20, 1867, wife of Harry A. Mcl'adden :
their children are: Harriet Elizabeth, born April

8, 1895 ; Harry A., Jr., born September 19, 1896;
Mary Frances, born in November, 1902. 5.
Mary, born Januar}- 10, 1870, wife of Samuel K.
Green. 6. William H., born May 8, 1871, mar-
ried Lydia Gano, and they are the parents of two
children — John W^estley, deceased, and Richard
G., born January 10, 1903. 7. Ella, born Febru-
ary 14, 1874. 8. Charles jNIadison, born March
27, 1878, who married Sallie Leyrer, of Easton.

9. Fred H., born June 29, 1880. 10. Henry B.,
born November 29, 1881.

ROBERT E. JAMES, president of the
Easton Trust Con-i]iany, a lawyer of high capa-
bility, and who has oceuiiied various positions of
honor and trust in the state and under the federal
government, is of mingled Welsh, Scotch-Irish
and German blood, and a descendant of ancestors
who were pioneer settlers in Pennsylvania shortly
after the cnniing of ^^''illian-l Penn. In the jialer-



nal line he represents a family of Baptists, datintj
from the early part of the seventeenth century.
In the AIcHenry and Wilson lines he comes of
that sturdy Scotch-Irish Presbyterian race which
under the policy of James II. and the Cromwel-
lian settlement and the later adjustments of Wil-
liam of Orange, settled in Ireland, and finally left
that country and came to America, where they
became the founders of Presbyterianism in the
new world, and of families which bore conspic-
uous parts during the Revolutionary war and in
the subsequent history of the country.

John James, the immigrant ancestor of Rob-
ert E. James, was a native of Pembrokeshire, in
Wales, and whose ancestry in Wales is a matter
of church records for many generations. He was
born in April, 1660, and married in Wales. He
and his wife Elizabeth were members of Ridilin
church, in Pembrokeshire. He and his family,
several of whom were then adults, came to z'X.mer-
ica in 1710, and finally settled in Bucks county,
where he purchased a tract of one thousand acres
of land in New Britain township, upon which he
passed the remainder of his life. The line of de-
scent from John James to Robert E. James, is as
follows :

William James (2), one of the children of John
and Elizabeth, was born in Wales in 1692, and
came to America with his father. He and his wife
Mary lived and died in Bucks county, Pennsyl-

John James (3), son of William James, was
born, lived and died in Bucks county. His wife
was Elizabeth Evans.

Josiah James (4), son of John James (3),
was born in 1741, at the ancestral home, and
there died December 2, 1806. His wife was of
the same name (Elizabeth Evans) as was his

Evan James (5), son oc Josiah James (4),
was born in Bucks county, and lived there during
his entire life. He was a man of high character
and liberal education, of ample means, and was
well regarded throughout the community. He
married Elizabeth ]\IcHenry, and from this un-
ion there was issue, two children — William Mc-
Henry James, who became a physician residing

near Doylestown, and Robert Evan James, herein-
after written of at length. This union of Evan
James and Elizabeth McHenry introduces the
Scotch-Irish element into the ancestry. Elizabetn
McHenry was the descendant of Erancis Mc-
Henry, the immigrant ancestor of that name, who
came from County Antrim, Ireland, where the
family had been transplanted from Scotland.
Francis McHenry's wife was Mary Ann Wilson,
a daughter of Hugh Wilson and Sarah Craig.
Hugh Wilson was a son of Thomas Wilson, an
officer in the army of William of Orange, and who
for his services at the battle of the Boyne was
given a large tract of land at Coote Hill, County
Cavan, Ireland. Hugh Wilson, with his broth-
ers-in-law, the Craigs, came to America about
1720, and ultimately founded what was known
as the Irish Settlement, near Bath, in Northamp-
ton county. This settlement was among the
earliest in the Forks of the Delaware, and has sent
its lines of descent throughout the United States,
and numbers in those lines many noted person-
ages, including the present President of the
United States, several governors of the states,
judges, etc., etc.

Hugh Wilson, Francis ■McHenry's father-in-
law, was appointed a commissioner to establish
the county seat at Easton and to erect the orig-
inal court house. He was also appointed king's
justice upon the organization of the county, and
served in that capacity until the time of his death,
just prior to the Revolutionary war. Francis
McHenry was a Presbyterian preacher, and for
almost half a century was the pastor of the Deep
Run church in Bucks county. His brother came
to America at the same time and located in Balti-
more ; his son was on Washington's stafi, sub-
sequently on Lafayette's staff, afterwards a mem-
ber of Washington's cabinet, and Fort McHenry,
near the citv of Baltimore, was named in honor
of his services. Francis AIcHenry was for some
time associated as pastor of the Deep Run
church, with William Tennent. the founder of the
old "Log College" on Neshaminy Creek. Tennent
and his College were the nurses of educated Pres-
b}terianism in America, and Princeton College
may fairlv be said to be the sequence of his la-


bors. Francis IMcHenry was honored by his son
Charles, whose heroic exploit at the massacre of
Paoli is a matter of history.

William McHenry, a son of Francis McHenry,
was born at Deep Run parsonage, during the
ministry of his father, on May 6. 1744. He mar-
ried Mary Stewart, and their third child, Eliza-
beth, born March 7, 1776, became the wife of
Evan James, so uniting the Scotch-Irish ances-
try upon the stock of the Welsh ancestry.

Robert Evan James (6), second of the two
sons of Evan 'and Elizabeth .McHenry James, was
born at Line Lexington, Bucks county, Pennsyl-
vania, September 26, 1802, and died August 13,
i860. His early education was obtained in the
schools at New Britain and Doylestown. Sub-
sequently he entered Jefferson Medical College,
Philadelphia, from which he was graduated, after

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 16 of 92)