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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cellence of character.

Mr. Lawall was born in Lower Nazareth
township, Northampton county, Pennsylvania,
March 24, 1822. He came from a sturdy ances-
try, a family of French Protestants which settled
in the Rhenish Palatinate prior to the revocation
of the Edict of Nantes, and of whom Daniel La
Wall was born in Er-Eudesheim, Germany, in
1684. This transplantation to Germany had the
result of changing the family name from its
French form of LaWall to the German form of
Lawall. In 1749 John Michael Lawall was of
that large emigration which left the Palatinate
to make new homes in America, there to become
. important factors in the development of the new
world and in the creation of those institutions
which have made glorious the history of the
L^nited States. Three years after the coming of
John Michael Lawall (in 1752) caine John Lud-
wig and Daniel Lawall, who were presumably
his brothers. They sailed from Rotterdam in the
ship "Felix," which dropped anchor at Philadel-
phia. Daniel established his home in Bethlehem
township, Northampton county, Pennsylvania,
about midway between Bethlehem and Easton.
His son, Henry, won distinction as a Revolution-
ary soldier, serving as a captain of the Third
Company of the Fifth Battalion of Northampton
county troops. He was commissioned May 31,
1777, and was ordered into active service July 30,
of the following year. ^Members of the family
were actively connected with events in the history
of Northampton county in the formative period
following the establishment of the new republic.

i\Ir. Lawall passed his boyhood upon his fa-
ther's farm until he was ten years old, at which
early age he manifested a predisposition for mer-
cantile rather than agricultural affairs, and he
obtained employment in a store near the family
home. In 1839, when seventeen years old, he
went to Easton, where he entered the service of
Peter Pompe, one of the early merchants of that
city, located on Northampton street, near Fourth,
determined upon learning the drug trade. That
he proved a faithful and intelligent employee is



evidenced by the fact that he remained with Air.
Pompe for a period of twelve years. His worth
won him recognition from the outset, and he was
promoted from time to time to new duties and
greater responsibilities, each advanced step af-
fording him new opportunity for development and
the acquisition of valuable knowledge concerning
the trade in which he was immediately engaged,
and with business methods generally.

After leaving the service of Mr. Pompe, ]Mr.
Lawall engaged in the drug business upon his
own account, remaining in his first location until
1877, when he erected the building which is now
occupied by the great wholesale and retail drug
business of C. Lawall's Son & Company. This
fine edifice was erected with special reference to
the needs of the trade, and m these commodious
quarters the business increased to large dimen-
sions, becoming one of the leading and most im-
portant mercantile establishments in the city. Mr.
Lawall remained the active factor in its conduct
for forty years, and to his masterly management
is to be credited its phenomenal success and splen-
did prestige. In all this time he preserved a
reputation for honorable conduct as merchant,
emplo}-er and man. He was honored throughout
the wide field of his trade for his honorable
straightforward dealing, and was never known
to betray a trust, evade an obligation, exact more
than a reasonable price for his goods, oppress a
customer, or take advantage of the necessities of
a fellow in any transaction. To his servants he
was friend as well as master, and his considera-
tion for them found expression net only in words
but in deeds of kindness which aided not a few
in making for themselves a home and establish-
ing them independently in the world. Several
years prior to his death, iMr. Lawall brought into
partnership with himself his son, \\'alter S. La-
wall, and Cyrus L. Schlabach, the last named of
whom had been in the employ of the senior La-
wall from his boyhood days, and is yet a member
of the firm which conducts the business in which
he was brought up.

Close application, adaptability to the con-
stantlv changing conditions of business life, unfal-
tering energy, were the salient features in the



io8



HISTORIC HOMES AND INSTITUTIONS.



career of Mr. Lawall, and these traits found ex-
emplification in all his conduct. While his at-
tention was primarily directed to the development
of the drug trade, he extended his effort to other
fields which were fruitful of good not to himself
alone but to the community at large. He became
known as a judicious and successful promoter of
commercial and financial enterprises of substan-
tial worth, proving himself to be of that class of
American citizens who found in necessity, com-
petition and intricate business conditions, a spur
to laudable ambition and a stimulus to effort that
led to large successes. At one time he was a
member of a firm extensively engaged in a lumber
business. He was also president of the North-
ampton County Bank, and at the time of his
death was a director in the Easton National Bank.
Mr. Lawall was married, July 23, 1845, ^o
Rebecca Rusling Schureman, who was born in
Cokesburg, New Jersey, August 10, 1824, a
daughter of John and Catherine (Scott) Schure-
man. Her father was born in New York, and was
baptized October 10, 1759. He was a descendant
of Gerrit and Wynje (Van der Hoff) Schure-
man, representatives of old New York families.
John Schureman enlisted for service in the Revo-
lutionary war when nineteen years of age as a
member of a New Jersey troop, and served as a
private under the command of Captain Allan and
Colonel Malcolm. He was early left an orphan,
and was reared by his aunt, Mrs. Steele. He was
three times married, his third wife being Mrs.
Catherine (Scott) Loder, widow of Benjamin Lo-
der, the marriage occurring about 1823. Mrs. La-
wall was born when her father was about sixty-five
years of age, and she was eight years old when he
died. She was a granddaughter of Lieutenant
Rnlx-rt and Sarah (Gardner) Scott. Lieutenant
Scott was also a patriot soldier, enlisting July 9,
1776, four days after the signing of the Declara-
tion of Independence, in Captain John Arndt's
company of the Northampton County Pennsyl-
vania Militia. He was quartermaster, and was
also a lieutenant of the Pennsylvania Association
wider Captain Sanderson. It will be seen that
Mrs. Lawall is a true Daughter of the American
Revolution, by lineal descent, one of the very



few so distinguished who are now living. She
is also a representative of another family of great
military prominence — that of Scott, of which
General Winfield Scott was a conspicuous mem-
ber. She yet lives, at the advanced age of eighty
years, retaining her mental and physical powers
in a remarkable degree, resting peacefully in the
affection of her children and grandchildren, and
of a troop of friends who hold her in honor for
her many virtues of character and lovely dispo-
sition.

Mr. and Mrs. Cyrus Lawall were the parents
of six children : Isbon Benedict and Anna, who
died in childhood ; Henry Clement, deceased,
whose wife was Miss Belle Pompe, and to whom
were born two children — Nina, deceased, and
Frederick Thompson ; Laura Louise, who is the .
wife of Dr. Joseph Edward Janvrin, of New
York, and to whom have been born two children
— Edmund Randolph Peaslee and Marguerite
Lawall ; Imogene Rebecca, who is the wife of
Judge Henry W. Scott, of Easton ; and Walter
Scott, who married Dixie Jones, daughter of
Emily H. Jones, who was the daughter of George
Housel, of Easton, Pennsylvania.

Mr. Lawall died on August 10, 1892, in his
seventy-first year. The sad event was deplored
throughout the community, and among the ex-
pressions of regret was that by the Board of Di-
rectors of the Easton National Bank, who in a
special meeting adopted the following resolutions
bv a unanimous vote :



"Whereas, A Divine Providence has seen fit
in His all-loving wisdom to remove from our
midst one of the members of this board ; therefore
be it

"Resolved, That in the death of Cyrus Lawall,
August 10, 1892, the board of directors of the
Easton National Bank has met with a loss only
measured by the fullest sense of the term ; a mem-
ber faithful in all his duties, of strictest proliity,
highest integrity and unimpeachable honor ; a
Christian sincere and true, who had won the re-
spect and esteem of all who were thrown in daily
contact with him.

"Resolved. That we bow in Ininitile submis-
sion to the Divine will, and that we extend to the
family of our deceased member our heartfelt sym-



GENEALOGICAL AND PERSONAL MEMOIRS.



109



pathv and condolence in the dark hour of their
affliction.

"Rcsok'cd, That a copy of these resolutions be
sent to the family, and also to the city papers as
a mark of our respect, and that the board of di-
rectors attend the funeral in a body."

As a mark of respect to the memory of the la-
mented deceased, during the hours of the fu-
neral obsequies all business places on Northamp-
ton street, between Fourth and Fifth streets, were
closed. While the people at large thus testified
to their regard for one who had been a most use-
ful citizen and exemplary man, it remained for
his family to bear a crushing weight of grief the
burden of which was not lightened by the solici-
tude of those who deeply sympathized with them.
It was in his home that Mr. Lawall revealed the
tender graces of his nature in surpassing degree.
Eminently domestic in his instincts and tastes, he
placed his family first in his every thought and
action, and first the devoted wife and mother who
had been his companion for the remarkable period
of fifty-seven years. Devoted to the happiness of
his household, he was not content to surround
them with all the comforts that could be pur-
chased. He brightened their lives with his pres-
ence more than with all that money could pro-
vide. No mattter what might be his business
harassments or anxieties, he never brought into
his home a shadow of gloom, but only that warm
sunlight of the heart which manifests itself in a
bright countenance and a cheery voice. His life
was a perpetual beendiction upon his loved ones,
and in his death he left them with the memory
of one whose life had been without blot or con-
tamination.

JOHN FREDERICK GWINNER, a leading
financier and highly respected citizen of Easton,
Pennsylvania, is a great-grandson of Frederick
Gwinner, who came to this country in 1758, and
in October, 1765, was naturalized as a subject oi
King George in America. He was the father of
a son, John Frederick, who was born May 10.
1765, and was a butcher and tobacconist. Hir,
place of business was situated on South Third
street, where the Pomfret building now stands,
near the old Bull's Head Hotel.



Francis Aaron Gwinner, son of John Freder-
ick Gwinner, was born April 27, 1803. He was
a chairmaker by trade, but later engaged in the
manufacture of brick. The last brick manu-
factured by him was for the Northampton county
court house. He was one of the directors of the
old Farmers' and Mechanics' (now the First
National) Bank. That he was a man of influence
and a leader in the afifairs of the town is evident
from the fact that he was a member of the town
council. His religious belief was that of the
Lutheran church, to which he belonged. He
married, September 5, 1831, Sarah Staufl:'er, who
was born January 19, 181 1, in Plainfield town-
ship, came to Easton, learned the milliner's trade,
and conducted the business for some years. Mr.
and ]\Irs. Gwinner were the parents of two chil-
dren : John Frederick, mentioned at length
hereinafter: and Anna Catherine, born June 17,
1837, died January 23, 1839. The death of Mr.
Gwinner occurred April 15, 1863, and his wife
survived him exactly eighteen years, passing
away April 4, 1881.

John F. Gwinner, son of Francis Aaron and
Sarah (Stauffer) Gwinner, was born April 9,
1833, in Easton, Pennsylvania. He received his
primary education in the public schools of his
native place, afterward attending a private school
at Port Colden, New Jersey. After completing
his education he taught school in Tannersville,
Monroe county, Pennsylvania, for two winters,
being occupied during the summers in acting as
his father's assistant in the brick business. He
then taught school in Easton imtil 1857, and at
the same time was employed in meteorological
work by Professor Coffin, of Lafayette College.
July 8, 1857, he accepted a clerical position in the
Farmers' and Mechanics' Bank. Here he re-
mained, his aptitude and diligence meeting with
deserved recognition, and causing him to be ad-
vanced from time to time to more advantageous
positions. In 1865 the bank was merged into the
First National Bank of Easton. and in 1876 Mr.
Gwinner was promoted to the ofifice of cashier, a
position which he held until 1890, when he was
chosen president. This office he still retains, an 1
in financial circles is justly regarded as an author-



no



HISTORIC HOMES AND INSTITUTIONS.



ity by reason of his long experience and unques-
tioned ability. At the outbreak of the Civil war
he was elected treasurer of the borough of
Easton, and he has served in the school board,
and he has been a trustee of Pennsylvania Col-
lege, at Gettysburg, for many years. He takes
an active interest in local affairs. He belongs to
the Alasonic fraternity, having been initiated on
St. John's day, 1857, and the following St.
John's day was installed as junior warden of his
lodge. He affiliates with Easton Lodge, No. 152,
of which he is one of the oldest living members,
and in which he holds the office of past master.
In 1868 he became past high priest of Easton
Chapter, No. 173, R. A. M., and is also past
thrice illustrious grand master of Pomp Council,
No. 20, R. and S. M. In 1894 he was made
commander of Hugh De Payens Commandery,
No. 19, K. T. In politics he is in sympathy with
the doctrines and measures of the Republican
party. He is a member of the Lutheran church.
jMr. Gwinner married, November 3, 1853, at
Port Colden, Warren county. New Jersey, Mar-
tha Jane, born October 13, 1832, daughter of
Samuel Harris. The ceremony was performed by
the Rev. P. L. Jacques. On November 3, 1903,
they celebrated the golden anniversar}' of their
marriage at their residence, 249 Spring Garden
street, Easton. The house was beautifully deco-
rated in smilax, yellow chrysanthemums and
roses, the music was furnished by Miss Dorothy
Johnson, a harpist from Philadelphia, and a deli-
cious repast was served during the evening.
More than two hundred guests extended their
congratulations to the bride and bridegroom of
fifty years, among whom were two persons who
were present at the marriage — Mrs. Rebekah A.
Annin, of Paterson, New Jersey, who was
bridesmaid, and Mrs. Mary Riegel, of Bethlehem,
Pennsylvania. It is of interest to know that Mr.
Gwinner and Miss Harris (now Mrs. Gwinner)
attended Mrs. Riegel and her husband at their
wedding, which occurred a short time before they
were wedded. Many handsome remembrances
were presented by their friends. The board of
<lirectors of the First National Bank of Easton
])resented them with fifty roses and a beautiful



gold tobacco box, the latter being inscribed with
the following words : "Presented to John F.
Gwinner on the occasion of his fiftieth wedding
anniversary, by the Board of Directors of the
First National Bank, Easton, Pennsylvania,
November 3, 1903." The board of managers of
the Home for Aged and Infirm Women, of which
Airs. Gwinner is a member, presented them with
a handsome picture. C)n December 25, 1903, the
Knights Templar and other members of the Ma-
sonic fraternity who reside in Easton, Pennsyl-
vania, assembled in the Masonic Temple to drink
a toast to the health of the grand commander of
the grand commandery of the Knights Templar
of the United States. At this assemblage Mr.
Gwinner was presented with a beautiful "grand-
father's clock," his friends in the different Ma-
sonic bodies having waited until that morning
to present to him their remembrance of the
celebration of his golden anniversary, and also to
show the esteem in wliich he is held. The clock
was made at Caldwell's, in Philadelphia ; the case
is of mahogany, the dial has raised gold figures,
and the large pendulum bears an appropriate in-
scription. There were about one hundred and
fifty Masons present. The proceedings were
opened by P. C. Evans, who acted as master of
ceremonies, and the gift was presented by Robert
E. James, at the conclusion of an eloquent
address.

J. ELWOOD BIXLER, deceased, for many
years a prominent business man of Easton, Penn-
sylvania, and a leader in all charitable and
benevolent enterprises, traced his ancestry to
Christian Bixler, Sr., who was the owner of a
large tract of land in Berks county, Pennsylvania,
where he was ar. active and important factor in
industrial circles, owning and operating extensive
grist and saw mills. Christian Bixler, Jr., son of
Christian Bixler, Sr., was born in Robeson town-
ship, Berks county, Pennsylvania, in 1763, learned
the silversmith and clock maker trade in early
life, and in 1785 removed to Easton and estab-
lished a jewelry business there which he con-
ducted successfully during his entire life and
which remained one hundred and ten years in the



GENEALOGICAL AXD PERSONAL MEMOIRS.



Ill



same location. ]\Iany of the old families in this
section of the state have in their possession a tall
wall clock, his specialty, with the name of the
manufacturer, Christian Bixler on it.

Christian Bixler, Jr., conducted this business
successfully until 1834, and then in connection
with this enterprise he engaged extensively in mill-
ing, erecting one of the first mills in this section
on the Delaware river, and he was also a large
owner of real estate. He conducted the jewelry
business many years, and the family carried on
the business from 1788 to 1888. He married, in
1789, Catherine Opp, who was born in
1772, daughter of Jacob and Anna ]\Iaria
(Hoflfman) Opp- Jacob Opp was born in
Germany, in Chur-Paltz, in the year 1740, and
had three daughters, who were the founders of
three of the oldest families in Easton. After his
arrival in this country when very young he lo-
cated in Easton where he conducted and owned
the inn on the present site of the Central Hotel,
corner of Fourth and Northampton streets.

William Bixler, father of J. Ehvood Bixler,
was bcrn r^Iay 21, 1793, lived all his life in Eas-
ton and followed the trade of a jeweler. He died
February 8. 1850. He married Sophia, daughter
cf Hugh and Hannah (AIcDonald) Tolan.

J. Ehvcod Bixler, son of William Bixler and
grandson of Christian Bixler, was born in Easton,
Pennsylvania, February 26, 1849. He accjuired
a liberal education at the public schools of Easton,
and during his boyhood days he learned the
trade of a jeweler in the store established by his
grandfather in 1788. Later he succeeded to the
business which has been in the possession of the
family for the past one hundred and ten years,
and this occupation engrossed his entire time and
attention up to the time of his death. He took
an active interest and supported every enterprise
that conduced to the benefit, upbuilding and im-
provement of his native citv of Easton, and he
generously donated the property at the corner of
Ferry and Washington streets for the erection of
a home for destitute and homeless children, which
property was deeded by \Mlliam Penn to the
original Bi.xler. During his early life he was a
:sergeant in the Easton Grays, a noted military



organization, and took an active part in that com-
pany during the Reading riots in 1877.

On Alay 11, 1876, ]\Ir. Bixler married Emma
Eilenberger, a daughter of Peter and jNIarietta C.
(Smith) Eilenberger, the former a son of An-
drew Eilenberger, of IMonroe county, and the
latter a daughter of Isaac Smith, of Aloravian
parentage, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Their chil-
dren are; i. William Opp Bixler, who attended
the schools of Easton, and the University of
Pennsylvania, and is now an electrician by trade ;
he married Grace I. .Simon, an adopted daughter
of Herman Simon and they are the parents of one
child, Hermina Bi.xler. 2. Edith, who resides at
home with her mother. The family attend the
First Presbyterian Church of Easton, to the sup-
port of which ]\Ir. Bixler contributed liberally
both of his time and substance. His death oc-
curred June 12, 1891, at his home in Easton,
Pennsylvania. He was sincerely mourned by a
wide circle of friends and acquaintances, and the
city lost a valued citizen.

OLIVER L. FEHR, editor and publisher of
the Argits, daily and semi-weekly, of Easton,
was born at ^lillgrove, Bushkill township, North-
ampton county, Pennsylvania, March 14, 1841.
His ancestral history can be traced back to John
Fehr, who was a resident of Bucks county, that
state, whence he removed to Northampton county,
becoming a large landowner in the township in
which Mr. Oliver L. Fehr was born. He pur-
chased three hundred and twenty acres of the
original Clewell tract, and was extensively en-
gaged in agriculttiral pursuits. He married a
Aliss Bowman, and died at the age of eighty-five
years, while his wife died at the advanced age of
ninety-seven years. They were members of the
Lutheran church.

Their son, George Fehr, born in Plainfield
township, Northampton county, was a weaver
by trade, and followed that pursuit in connection
with farming. His religious faith was that of
his fathers, and his political belief was in har-
mony with the principles of Democracy. He
married a Miss Yohe, and their children were as
follows: Charles; Polly, wife of George ShifTer;



112



HISTORIC HOMES AND INSTITUTIONS.



Sallie Ann, wife of Jacob J. Cope ; George, John,
and Michael G. For his second wife George
Fehr married Susanna LTnangst, and their chil-
dren were Joseph, Reuben, Frederick, Elizabeth,
wife of Andrew L. Keller, and Jacob.

George Fehr, Jr., father of Oliver L. Fehr,
was born in Plainfield township, Northampton
county. October 21, 1812. He was a lock filer
by trade, and was employed for the Henry gun
factory in Bushkill township for a number of
years, but subsequently engaged in agricultural
pursuits. He served as schqol director for sev-
eral years, and was interested in the cause of edu-
cation. He, like his ancestors, was a Lutheran
in religion, and a deacon in the church. In poli-
tics he was a Democrat. In 1840 he wedded Miss
Maria L. Siegfried, who was born in Bushkill
township, Northampton county, June 20, 1820,
a daughter of Paul Siegfried. She was a de-
scendant of an old and honored family of Ger-
man origin. Her American ancestor was Joseph
Siegfried, who was a brother of Colonel John
Siegfried, of Revolutionary fame.

Joseph (i) married Anna Maria Romig, who
was born in Northampton (now Lehigh) county,
Pennsylvania. Their son Isaac (2) was born in
Berks county, September 14, 1763. He was a
millwright for many years, and his business called
him to various portions of the state. He finally
settled upon a farm about two miles above Naza-
reth, at Millgrove, and followed agricultural pur-
suits, at the same time giving much of his atten-
tion to his trade. He was married in Schoharie
county, New York, to Anna Maria Hochstresser,
who was born April 19, 1771, and they died, re-
spectively, November 6, 18,53, ^"d December 2,
1 83 1. They were both members of the Dutch
Reformed church, and they reared their children
in that faith. Their children were: i. Joshua,
born December 24, 1701: 2. Paul, born June 24,
1703, who was a drummer during the war with
(Jreat Britain in 1812 ; 3. Joseph, died in infancy ;
4. .Samuel, born March 31, 1797; 5. Elizabeth
Calherine, born Julv 6. 1801, died in 1867; 6.
Anna Maria, born in 1805, died in 1818; 7. Sol-
omon, born in April, 181 1, died in 1867.



George and Maria L. (Siegfried) Fehr were
the parents of four children: Oliver L., Henry
P., Levin A., and Samuel; the last named died
in infancy. The mother passed away in 1849,
and Mr. Fehr afterward married Christina Myers,
by whom he had four children : Amanda, wife of
William H. Hall ; Granville F., Catherine L.,
wife of Henry Klein ; and David C. George
Fehr, Jr., died December 29, 1888, and his second
wife in ]\Iarch, 1899.

Oliver L. Fehr in early life attended the pub-
lic schools of his native township, and also the



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 20 of 92)