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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Coal Company, and in 1842 was made superin-
tendent of the same company, under the direction
of Dr. Samuel Moore, president, holding that im-
portant position continuously until 1857. This
company during that period was one of the
strongest coal organizations in the state. Its
transactions, though numerous and varied, were
carried on with the strictest integrity, even amid
the most threatening financial storms, and it may
be truthfully said that some portion of this suc-
cess and prosperity were due to the fidelity, ex-
ecutive ability and excellent business judgment of
Mr. Cortright. In 1857 he engaged in the coal
"business for himself, and later admitted his son.

N. D. Cortright, Jr. He had witnessed the grad-
ual and successful development of the great coal
and iron interests of the Lehigh and Wyoming
regions, and occasionally participated in such de-
velopment. From 1847 to 1852 he was interested
with others in driving the old tunnel at Hackle-
bernie through about twelve hundred feet of rock
and coal, at the east end of the basin of the coal
lands of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Com-
pany. Since 1845 up to the time of his death he
resided on the same premises, having built a new
house in i860 in Alauch Chunk, where he was
recognized as a useful and valuable citizen, of
modest tastes and inclinations, and actively identi-
fied with the various institutions in the locality.
He was a member of the board of directors of the
Second National Bank of Mauch Chunk, and
was one of the leading members of the Methodist
Episcopal Society since 1854, holding official
relation with the same for many years, and in
active sympathy with the temperance, Sabbath
school and Bible causes. In 185 1 he was ap-
pointed by Governor William F. Johnson one of
his aides-de-camp with the rank of lieutenant-
colonel. On February 6, 1845, 1^^ was married to
Margaretta L., daughter of Ezekiel W. and
Margaret Harlan, who were of Quaker origin.
Thev came to i\Iauch Chunk from Chester
county in 1826. Mr. Harlan was one of the early
employes of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation
Company, and afterwards became a partner of the
late "Asa Packer. This firm. Packer & Harlan,
contracted for and rebuilt a portion of the Le-
high Canal, after which they operated the
Nesquehoning mines.

Mr. Harlan's family consisted of twelve chil-
dren. Margaretta L. was born October 8, 1826.
Their married life proved a happy and prosperous
one, the issue of their union being six children,
four sons and two daughters. The eldest, Harlan
W., who married Eliza LeFevre, of Hurdtown,
New Jersey, was superintendent for the Ogden
Mine Railroad Company, near Dover, New Jer-
sey, for sixteen years ; he is now engaged in the
coal business. Nathan D., who married Maggie
Kennedy, of Port Kennedy. Pennsylvania, has
been engaged in the coal business for the past



eighteen years; lie is tlie junior member of the
firm of N. D. Cortright & Son, and has been post-
master of Mauch Chunk for the past five years.
Gertrude M. is living at home with her parents.
Samuel M., late superinlrndent of the Pennsyl-
vania Telephone Company, married Maggie
Weyhenshimer, of Allentown. William S., after
attending I^afayette College at Easton, Pennsyl-
vania, graduated from Wyoming Commercial
College, at Kingston, Pennsylvania, and gradu-
ated from the College of Dental Surgery in 1879;
he has been a successful practitioner of his pro-
fession at Mauch Chunk ever since. On June 5,
1883, he married Miss Jennie Rawling, of Min-
eral Point, Wisconsin. Emma L., youngest
daughter, was married to Edwin F. Keen, whole-
sale merchant of Philadelphia, November 21,

Nathan D. Cortright passed away October 11,
1902. Plis death was sincerely mourned, not
only by his immediate relatives but by a wide
circle of personal friends and business acquaint-
ances who esteemed him for his many estimable
traits of character. He was a faithful husband,
a kind and loving father, and a generous friend,
ever ready to respond with wise counsel or ma-
terial aid. His life work was such as to make
it well worthy of emulation.

tensive coal operator and man of affairs in Mauch
Chunk, Penns}'lvania, is a representative of one
of the pioneer families of the Wyoming Valley,
and of early appearance in the New Netherland.
The Cortrights originated in the old town of
Kortryk, in Flanders, which village is famous in
history, for not far from its walls was fought the
celebrated "Battle of the Spurs," in which the
flower of the French nobility was overthrown by
the Flenrish army, which was composed in large
part of the weavers of Ghent and Bruges. After
the Ijattle the victors gathered up from the
cori)sc-strcvvn field some four thousand golden
spurs, licnce the name which designates the
bloody conflict. During the early part of the
seventeenth century, civil wars and persecutions
devastated the land, and the village of Kortrvk

several times changed hands. Among those who
for safety emigrated to America was Sebastian
Van Kortright, who embarked April 16, 1663, in
the ship "Brindle Cow." He brought with him
his family, and it cost him for their passage some-
thing upwards of 204 florins, the charge being
thirty-nine florins for each adult and half that
sum for children of ten years and under. Among
his children were two sons, Michael and Jan
Bastian. He settled in Harlem, New York, and
became one of the wealthiest men of that time
and place. From this stock came Nathan D.
Cortright, Sr., a sketch of whom precedes this.

Nathan Dodson Cortright, having attended
the public schools of Mauch Chunk, his native
cit}', continued his education in Dickinson Semi-
nary, and subsequently entered his father's em-
ploy, and was connected with the business until
1873, when he was admitted to a partnership
under the firm style of N. D. Cortright & Son.
This relationship was maintained until the death
of the father, October 11, 1902, when the son suc-
ceeded to the business, which he still conducts
under the old firm name. He is interested in the
development of coal mines as well as conducting
an extensive business as a wholesale coal dealer,
and is president of the Beaver Run Coal Com-
pany and a director of the Mauch Chunk Trust

Mr. Cortright votes with the Repulilican
party, having endorsed its principles since he
attained his majority, and he served as a post-
master of Mauch Chunk under the successive
administrations of Hayes, Garfield, Arthur and
Cleveland. He attends the First Presbyterian
church of Mauch Chunk, and is now one of its

Mr. Cortright was married, October 22, 1874,
to Miss Margaret S. Kennedy, of Montgomery
county, Pennsylvania, a daughter of John and
Margaret S. (Conncll) Kennedy. By this union
there have been six children : Charles Homer,
who is now in business with his father ; l-'rank
Barton, a coal dealer of Altoona, Pennsylvania ;
Harrv Kennedy, a business man of Philadelphia ;
Edgar Maurice; Donald Nathan, and Aiargaret
Kennedy Cortright.



RICK, ex-congressman, and one of the most
capable lawyers of the Lehigh Valley bar. was
born in Easton, Pennsylvania, April 21, 1844.

The ancestral home of the family was at Wat-
ties Neach, in Dumfrieshire, Scotland, and the
first of the famil)- of whom we have record was
the great-great-great-grandfather, who removed
from Dumfrieshire with his family to Belfast, Ire-
land, during the reign of George I, about the
year 1725. In the spring of 1736 he embarked
at Belfast for America, and after a stormv voy-
age of thirteen weeks reached the .Vmerican har-
bor. He crossed the Delaware river at Phila-
delphia, and made his way up the state
of New Jersey until he reached Bound
Brook. Thence he proceeded across the
mountains until he came to a spring of water
which has since been called Aline Brook. There
he settled with his family, built a log cabin, and
began the development of a farm in the midst of
a wilderness. He died June 3, 175S. His son,
David Kirkpatrick, who was born in Watties
Neach, Dumfrieshire, Scotland, February 17,
1724, accompanied his parents and family on
their emigration to America. For many years
he remained a resident of Aline Brook, where
his death occurred in 1814. He was married,
March 31, 1748, to Alary AlacEowen, who was
born in Argylshire, Scotland, August i, 1728,
and died at Aline Brook, November 2, 1795.
They had four sons and four daughters, includ-
ing Alexander Kirkpatrick, the great-grandfather
of William Sebring Kirkpatrick. He was born
September 13, 175 1, at Aline Brook, and died
September 24, 1827. His wife was a daughter of
Judge John Carle, of Long Hill, Alorris county.
New Jersey, and they had thirteen children.

Rev. Jacob Kirkpatrick, of this family, the
grandfather of William S. Kirkpatrick, was born
in New Jersey, August 8, 1785, and died at
Ringoes, Hunterdon county, that state. The
degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon
him, and for more than a half century he was a
prominent Presbyterian minister of Ringoes. He
wedded Alary Burroughs Howell, a daughter of
John Sutfin, of Freehold, Alonmouth county. New

Jersey, and their family also numbered thirteen
children. Newton Kirkpatrick, the father, was
born in Somerset county. New Jersey, and mar-
ried Aliss Sebring.

Their son, Hon. William Sebring Kirkpatrick,
began his education in the public schools of
Easton, and continued his studies until he had
completed the high school course by graduation
in 1859. The same year, although only fifteen
years of age, he entered Lafayette College, and
was graduated in that institution with the class
of 1863. On completing his literary course he
took up the study of law under the late Judge
Henry D. Alaxwell, who directed his reading
until he was admitted to the bar, October 7, 1865,
within five months after he had attained his ma-
jority. No dreary novitiate awaited him. Almost
at once he gained prominence as a lawyer, and has
since maintained a leading position at the bar of
the Lehigh \'alley.

A few years after entering upon practice, he
was appointed borough solicitor of Easton, and
served in that position in a most capable manner.
Northampton county having become a separate
judicial district in accordance with a provision of
the constitution of 1873, and a vacancy occurring
on the bench of the district, Air. Kirkpatrick was
appointed, in April, 1874, president judge of the
third judicial district, by Governor Hartranft,
upon the unanimous recommendation of the board
of Northampton county. This was indeed a tri-
bute to his personal worth and legal attainments,
for he had not then reached the age of thirty
years. At the ensuing election he received the
Republican nomination for the office, and al-
though the usual Democratic majority was thirty-
six hundred, he succeeded in reducing the oppo-
sition vote so that his opponent received a ma-
jority of only three hundred. On the expiration
of his term of service by the appointment of the
governor, Judge Kirkpatrick resumed the active
practice of his profession, and rapidly acquired a
large and important clientage. He was retained
as counsel, either for the prosecution or defense
in nearly all of the important cases tried in the
courts of the district, and his power at the bar
was soon widely recognized by the profession and



the general public. His practice extended to the
courts of neighboring districts and to the federal
courts as well. He has been remarkable among
lawyers for the wide research and provident care
with which he prepares his cases. His legal
learning, his analytical mind, and the readiness
with which he grasps the points in an argument,
all combine to make him one of the most capable
lawyers at the bar of Easton, Pennsylvania.

Although Judge Kirkpatrick failed of election
at the time he was a candidate for the bench, be-
cause of the strong Democratic majority in the
district, he was in the same year elected president
of the Alumni Association of Lafayette College,
and in 1875 he was appointed dean of the law
department of that college, which in that year was
established. He continued to fill the position un-
til financial reasons caused the suspension of the
deparlnient. Although his time has been assidu-
ously employed in the pursuit of his chosen pro-
fession, he has given some attention to politics,
remaining ever a stanch and unfaltering advocate
of Republican principles. Frequently he has
served as a delegate to the state conventions of his
party, and in 1882 was elected to preside over the
temporary organization. In 1884 he was elected
one of the delegates from his district to the Re-
publican national convention in Chicago, and
upon the accession of Governor Beaver to the
highest office within the gift of the common-
wealth, on the 1 8th of January, 1887, Judge Kirk-
patrick was appointed by him to the position of
attorney general of Pennsylvania, and the courts
of Northampton county in that year ordered that
official record be made of the fact of their grati-
fication of the public honor thus bestowed upon
their colleague. Judge Kirkpatrick assumed the
office on the date mentioned, and brought to the
important duties which devolved upon him not
only thorough preparation for his work, but also a
well defined determination to introduce noted re-
forms in the administration of the office. It had
grown to be the custom for the chief to leave the
work of the jjosition largely to his deputy. This
cr)urse Judge Kirkpatrick no longer honored, but
gave his personal supervision to all of the im-
portant cases in which the commonweahh was

concerned, and in his preparation of them showed
signal care. The result proved of great advantage
to the public service, and he won notable victories
for the commonwealth. Patiently persevering,
possessed of an analytical mind, and one that is
readily receptive and retentive of the funda-
mental principles and intricacies of the law, gifted
with a spirited devotion to the wearisome details,
quick to comprehend the most subtle problems,
and logical in his conclusions, fearless in the ad-
vocacy of any cause he might espouse, he took
to his office rare qualifications for success, and
his course during the four years of his service as
attorney general was one which awakened the
highest commendation of the best citizens of

On the expiration of his term of office. Judge
Kirkpatrick returned to Easton, where he re-
sumed the private practice of law. In 1894 he
was unanimously nominated for congress by the
Republican party in the eighth congressional dis-
trict, and reduced the usual large Democratic ma-
jority to less than two hundred votes. In 1896
he was again nominated, and after a hotly con-
tested conflict was elected by a majority of three
hundred and twenty-nine over his competitor.
Laird H. Barber, the Democratic nominee, carry-
ing his own county by an increased majority. He
took a prominent part in the session of the fifty-
fifth congress, and delivered a number of speeches
on the momentous questions of the day that at-
tracted widespread interest. He was an ardent
supporter of the administration of President ]\Ic-
Kinley, and his congressional record won for him
the admiration and support of his constituents
throughout the district. The. good of the nation
he places before partisanship, and the welfare of
his constituents before personal aggrandizement.
He commanded the respect of the members of
congress, and at home — in the state of his na-
tivity where he is best known — he inspires per-
sonal friendships of unusual strength.

Judge Kirkpatrick was married, Novemlacr 20,
1873, to Miss Elizabeth H. Jones, a daughter of
Mathew Hale Jones, and their children are two
in mnnlxT, William Huntingdon, and Donald



MATHEW HALE JOXES, of Easton, was
during- his Ions: and honorable career an accom-
pHshed and leading member of the bar of North-
ampton county. Born at Coventry, Connecticut,
of Puritan ancestry, he inherited in a marked de-
gree the firmness of character and sterling virtues
of that religious race. During boyhood his family
removed to \^'ilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where
he fitted himself for Rutgers College, and was
graduated from that institution with high rank
in the class of 1830.

Upon leaving college he began the study of
the law with Hon. Chester Butler, at Wilkes-
Barre, and in 1833 was admitted to the bar of
Northampton county, at Easton, where his
brother, the late Judge Joel Jones, then resided,
and was engaged in the active practice of the
law. From that time until his death (June i,
1883), the subject of this sketch actively followed
his profession, and in the early part of his career
served as district attorney, at which time his as-
siduous and efficient devotion to official duties
presaged the high and masterful qualities so em-
inently characterized in him in the subsequent
practice of his profession, and stamped him as one
-of the leaders of the bar of Northampton county.
Associated with such distinguished lawyers as
Hon. Andrew H. Reeder, Hon. James Madison
Porter, Alexander E. Brown, and others of their
rank, at the bar of Northeastern Pennsylvania,
in the trial of many important causes in that sec-
tion of the state, he bore a prominent part in
many cases noted in the annals of the profession,
memorable among which the Miller will case
stands as a cause celebre in that part of Pennsyl-
vania. This case involved large pecuniary in-
terests as well as many difficult and delicate legal
questions, and it was largely due to his thorough
mastery of the intricacies of the controversy and
his careful and elaborate preparation that the
heirs whom he represented against the will were
■entirely successful in the litigation. He was re-
markable for a well balanced and thoroughly
trained intellect, and as a lawyer he was con-
spicuous for his comprehensive and exact knowl-
^edge of the principles of the law, a sound and

careful judgment, and a high and delicate sense of
professional honor.

He sought no political advancement, yet was
deeply interested in current public questions, and
became identified with important local enterprises
which had for their end the welfare of the com-
munity in which he lived. He w^s one of the
founders of the Easton Gas Company, and served
as president from its organization in 1850 until
his death. He was also for many years a trustee
of Lafayette College, a director of the Easton
Cemetery Company, and an elder in the First
Presbyterian church of Easton.

Distinguished for a wonderfully retentive
memory which enabled him to store and have at
command the treasures of the great masters of
prose and poetry in our language and the classics,
in his social relations he was always ready to
entertain and instruct, and his rare conversational
powers, enlivened by apt anecdote and genial
humor, rendered him most attractive and enter-
taining in the environment of congenial compan-
ionship. Possessing deep religious feeling and
well versed in theology, the study of the Bible and
the works of the sacred writers were exceedingly
attractive to him and emphasized the convictions
of a pure life by strict integrity and a conscien-
tious performance of every duty. By his earnest
manly character, his unostentatious charities, and
his interest in the advancement of the people
among whom he lived, he commanded universal
respect and confidence. His was a well ordered
life, and in him we may behold a fine type of the
high-minded, cultured lawyer and public-spirited

Mr. Jones was descended from an ancestry
which was notable in English and American his-
tory. He was a lineal descendant of Colonel
John Jones, a native of the Isle of Anglesey,
North Wales, born in 1580. In 1623 Colonel
Jones married Henrietta, second sister of the Pro-
tector, Oliver Cromwell. He was a man of abil-
ity and position, one of the judges who tried
Charles I, was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from
1650 to 1659, and was put to death, October 17,
1660. William, his son, born in London in 1624,



married Hannah Eaton in 1659; she was the
youngest daughter of Hon. Theophilus Eaton,
founder and first governor of the New Haven
colony ; she was born in London in 1633, and died
May 4, 1697. Wilham was a lawyer at West-
minster, and resided at Fields of St. Martin's,
Middlesex. He emigrated to America and set-
tled in Connecticut, where he was soon made
deputy governor of the colony of New Haven and
Connecticut, which ofiice he held for several
years, besides other positions of honor and trust.
He resigned in 1698, and died in New Haven,
October 17, 1706, aged eighty-two years. The
direct descendants of the ancestors before named
were resident in Connecticut, where prior to and
during the Revolutionary war their patriotism,
ability and integritv won for them the respect of
their fellows, and various of their number were
called to important public positions.

Aniasa Jones, father of Mathew Hale Jones,
was born at Hebron, Connecticut, October 17,
1771, and died November 5, 1842. He was the
seventh child and fourth son of Joel Jones, born
in Saybrook, Connecticut, April 16, 1733, died at
Hebron, June 17, 1792. He was the son of Isaac
Jones, born in New Haven, December 23, 1702,
and was a resident of Saybrook, where he died.
He was the son of Isaac, son of William and Han-
nah (Eaton) Jones, born June 21, 1671, in New
Haven. He was married to Deborah Clark, of
Stratford, Connecticut, by Hon. William Jones,
deputy governor, November 25, 1692. He died
at New Haven, 1741, aged seventy years, and his
wife died at the same place, May 28, 1735, aged
si.xty-three years. Amasa Jones married, Decem-
ber 7, 1794, Elizabeth Huntington, of Coventry,
Connecticut, and they became the parents of eight
children :

1. Joel, born October 26, 1795, died February
2, i860; he married Elisa Perkins Sparhawk,
June 14, 1831.

2. Joseph Huntington, born August 24, 1797,
died December 22, 1868; he married Anna M.
Howell, October 12, 1826.

3. Fanny Huntington, born July 28, 1799;
died December 13, 1S93.

4. Margaret Emeline, born July 5. i8oi, died
in infancy.

5. ^laria, born April 15, 1803; married Wil-
liam Allis, of New York, November 17, 1831.

6. Eliza, born May 2, 1805, died July 6, 1854;
married Joseph B. Wright, M. D., April 15, 1827.

7. Samuel Huntington, born February 18,-
1807; died October 31, 1864.

8. Mary Joanna, born May 21, 1809, died
September 28, 1837 : she married the Rev. Osca
Harris, September 4, 1837.

9. Mathew Flale, born September 11, 181 1,
died June i, 1883 ; he married Alary E. Innes,
January 10, 1843.

By intermarriages of members of the family
named with others of prominence, their descend-
ants have been brought into relationship with the
Pitkin and Talcott families, whose ancestors were
early settlers of the Connecticut and Alassachu-
setts Bay colonies in the years 1632 to 1636, and
whose services were continually sought bv the
colonists as soldiers, legal advisers, and in many
public capacities, in all of which thev acquitted
themselves most creditably and usefully.

The Jones family were stanch and rigid Pres-
byterians, as an incident will pointedly illustrate.
At the birth of Alathew Hale Jones, he was named
for the local minister of that faith, Abiel Abbott.
Mr. Abbott subsequently changed and embraced
the Unitarian belief, which so outraged the par-
ents of Mathew, who was then twelve years old,
that they changed his name to Mathew Hale.

During the existence of the patriotic society
known as the Children of the American Revolu-
tion, Donald Kirkpatrick and William Hunting-
ton, at the ages of nine and eleven years re-
spectively, became members thereof, as lineal de-
scendants in both parental lines of ancestors who
had performcvl military service during the strug-
gle for liberty.

CYRUS LA WALL, now deceased, was for
more than forty years actively identified with the
business interests of the city of Easton, and there
maintained a foremost place in the public regard,
not onlv on account of the success which he



achieved, but for his wide tisefuhiess, strict ad-
herence to honorable methods, and personal ex-

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 19 of 92)