John W. (John Woolf) Jordan.

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

. (page 23 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 23 of 92)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Mount Bethel township, Northampton county,
Pennsylvania, and was a school teacher at the
early age of nineteen. In 1871 he graduated from
the State normal school at Millersville, and in
1882 from Lafayette College. He was at one
time a farmer. His career as an educator, which



covered a period of twelve years, was that of a
teacher, at once original in method and success-
ful in execution. From 1874 to 1878 he was
principal of the public schools of Bethlehem,
Pennsylvania, where he was instrumental in mak-
ing great advances in educational work, and in-
troduced a thorough system of grading. He also
organized the high school. From 1893 to 1899
he was state trustee of the State normal school
at East Stroudsburg , Pennsylvania. In 1885,
after a course of legal reading he was admitted
to the bar, and shortly after went to Bangor,
Northampton county, where he entered upon the
practice of his profession, and for two years,
acted as principal of the local schools. As a
lawver he won for himself, before many years
had passed, an enviable reputation, being pos-
sessed of marked abilities both as a speaker and
reasoner. His entrance into the political field
was speedily followed, in 1892, by his election
as district attorney of Northampton county, in
consequence of which he removed to Easton. His
administration of the office, which he held until
1896, was marked by independent fidelity to his
•convictions, regardless of self-interest. From
1897 to 1 90 1 he served as a member of the
Board of Control, and in May, 1903, entered upon
the duties of the office of city solicitor. ]\Ir. La-
Barre is a stanch Democrat, and it is by the votes
of his party that he has been placed in the various
positions which he has been called upon to fill.
Though not a member of any church, he is a be-
liever in the doctrines of the Baptist denomina-
tion, and is an ardent Sunday-school worker.

Mr. LaBarre married, August 22, 1886, in
Phillipsburg, New Jersey, Laura Tolman, daugh-
ter of John S. and Keziah (Tolman) Bowers.
The former served several terms as mayor of
Phillipsburg. Mrs. LaBarre was a graduate of
the Phillipsburg high school, and had been a
teacher in the grammar school. Mr. and Mrs.
LaBarre are the parents of one daughter, Mildred,
who was born May 21, 1889, at Bangor, and is
now a \mp\[ in the Easton high school.

Mr. LaBarre is a man of great personal popu-
larity in the county, and is possessed of marked
literary tastes and fine ability as a public speaker.

During his college course he took an oratorical
prize, and was very active in the literary so-
cieties, serving in 1881 (the year before his grad-
uation), as editor-in-chief of the Melange.

JOHN R. BARR, now retired from active
business pursuits, who is. spending his declining
years in the city of Easton, Pennsylvania, where
fifty-three years of his busy and useful life were
spent, is a lineal descendant of James Barr, a
native of Wilmington, Delaware, who married
Dorcas Jarquett, daughter of Major Jarquett, a
distinguished officer in the Revolutionary army.

Major Jarquett, father of Mrs. Dorcas (Jar-
quett) Barr, was bom April 6, 1755. He entered
the colonial army in 1776, and fought in every
general engagement which took place in New
York, New Jersey, Delaware and the eastern
states under the command of General Washing-
ton. He was also under the command of Gen-
eral Gates, and with General DeKalb fought at
Camden, where his regiment was reduced by
loss of men in battle until the command devolved
on Major Jarquett and his brave comrade. Kirk-
wood. After independence was won he returned
to his native state, and in 1782 was united in
marriage to Eliza P. Price. He lived comfort-
ably on the old paternal estate the remainder of
his days, and his death occurred September 13,


Samuel Barr, father of John R. Barr, was
born in the state of Delaware, was a shoemaker
by trade, and in connection with this occupation
was the proprietor of a boot and shoe store which
he conducted with a large degree of success for
many years. He married Margaret Cummins,
of Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, a daughter of
Joseph Cummins, who was an active participant
all through the Revolutionary war. ]\Iary A.
Cummins, wife of Joseph Cummins, lived to be
one hundred and four years of age, and they were
the parents of four children — Peter, Abraham,
Nathan, and Margaret Cummins. The Cummins
family are of German descent, and the Barr fam-
ily are of French-Irish lineage. The following
named children were born to Samuel and Mar-
garet (Cummins) Barr: i. William J., who

/^^"^ ^. ^8ttrr - g^



served as captain of a company in the first regi-
ment that left Philadelphia for the seat of war in
the suppression of the rebellion ; he served all
through the Civil war and was honorably dis-
charged from the service of the United States
government, and died at the age of seventy-three
years. 2. Joseph C, was a rope maker by trade,
but died in early manhood. 3. John R. 4. Mary,
wife of John Butland ; she died in 1902.

John R. Barr, youngest son of Samuel and
Margaret (Cummins) Barr, was born in Phil-
adelphia, Pennsylvania, November 7, 1829. After
completing his education in the schools of that
city, he learned ornamental painting and became
one of the most expert and accomplished artists in
that line of business. In 1850 he removed to Eas-
ton, Pennsylvania, and entered the employ of
David Garris, with whom he remained for twenty
years. At the expiration of this period of time he
entered the service of the Lehigh Valley Railroad
Company, and by the faithful and painstaking
performance of all duties allotted to him retained
his position with this corporation for thirty years,
from 1870 to 1900. During his entire active
career IMr. Barr has only been empolyed by three
parties — the firm he learned his trade with, Mr.
Garris, and the Lehigh Valley Company, but he
had various and flattering invitations to work for
other firms, which he declined, owing to the fact
that his employers paid him the highest wages
which his skilled labor demanded, his work be-
ing of a high grade and executed in a masterly
way. Mr. Barr has always been a loyal and pub-
lic-spirited citizen, and he was chosen to serve
his town in the capacity of councilman for twelve
years. He is a worthy and honored member of
Easton Lodge, No. 152, Free and Accepted Ma-
sons, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows,
the Order of United American Mechanics, and
the Independent Order of Red ^len.

In 1852 occurred the marriage of John R.
Barr and Sarah A. Weaver, the latter having
ben born near the town of Freemansburg, Penn-
sylvania, in 1832. Seven children were born of
this union, four of whom are living at the present
time — William, John, Rebecca, and ]\Iary Barr.
The family are prominently identified with the

social interests of South Side, Easton, and occupy
a handsome and commodious residence at No-
811 Berwick street.

J. T. WILLIAMS. In compiling a history
of the leading and progressive men of the Lehigh
Valley whose marked business force has gained
them prominence and success and has won theni
the admiration of the public, it is necessary that
we make mention of one, J. T. Williams, who is
actively connected with industrial interests in
Easton. He stands as one of the prominent rep-
resentative business men of the Lehigh Valley,
forming his plans readily and carrying them out
with determination and energy. His integrity
stands as an unquestioned fact in his business
career, which has gained him the respect of his
fellow men to a remarkable degree.

Air. Williams was born in jMontgomery
count}-, Pennsylvania, and his parents were An-
thony and Sarah Thompson Williams, both of
whom were natives of that county, and were
largely interested in agricultural pursuits on some
of the richest and finest agricultural land in the
state, a few miles north of Philadelphia, which
lands have since been selling at prices from three
hundred to six thousand dollars per acre. The
grandparent, whose name was Joseph Williams,
and whom our Joseph T. Williams was named
for, was also largely interested in the agricul-
tural pursuit in the same section, and amassed
a fortune of much over one hundred thousand
dollars from that calling alone. This grandparent
lived to a good strong age of eighty-four years,
and survived his first two wives, while the third,
who was much younger than he, survived him by
several years. He was known all through his
business life as being one of the most enterprising
and energetic business men of his community,
and while he was much admired for his resolute
and firm will power and great undisturbed nerve,
ambition, and his untiring energy, he was admired
also for his close adherence to integrity and up-

During one cold winter season, when he was
about the age of fifty-five years, he employed some
timber cutters on one of his farms to cut and pre-



pare lumber for the markets. While he
assisted with one of his four-horse teams
in carting the timber out of the woods,
when everything in the woods was a
glare of ice, his team wagon, heavily
loaded with timber, slipped or slid sideways on
the hillside, and caught him in such a manner as
to crush one of his limbs so badly that amputa-
tion became necessary. In that case and under
those conditions he exhibited his strong will
power and resolution, as, when the amputation
was to take place, he simply sat himself in an
ordinary chair and ordered the amputation to be
done, nor would he take a nerve bracer or opiate
of any kind, nor allow any one to hold or steady
him. The cutting and sawing off the thigh bone,
without a murmur and without any pain deadener,
displayed greater nerve power and resolution
than is often if ever found among the human

He was of the third generation of this particu-
lar Welsh family, the first generation having
come to this country about the same time as did
William Penn, emigrating here from England.
Strange to note, both of those families settled
about the same time near where Philadelphia is
now located, at the junction of the Schuylkill
and Delaware rivers, in the state of Pennsylvania,
and there raised their families in the religious
faith of Quakers. The founder of Philadelphia,
William Penn, was then and thereafter continued
to be one of the leaders and a spiritual light in
that religious faith or doctrine. The history of
William Penn is likely to live as long as the city
of Philadelphia, as being its founder.

The parents of our present J. T. Williams
were close adherents to that same religious faith,
and the father was also a model agriculturist,
and a strong admirer of valuable driving or work
horses in his business or agricultural pursuits ;
therefore he made much study of them, and
through such spirited horses which he was train-
ing to harness while cultivating crops, he met
with an accident, which proved so serious as to
require the amputation of a limb, and before
amputation could take place the ]iain and suffer-
ing became so extreme and intense that it threw

him into lockjaw, and from that condition caused
life to become extinct, at the youthful age of
thirty-eight years. While he had not reached the
meridian of life, yet he left five children and a
very capable mother and widow to survive him.
She had previously inherited a valuable farm
property whereby she had means to raise and
educate her children. Moreover, the same mother
of our present J. T. Williams was of a very strong
religious turn of mind, and became a minister in
the religious faith of Quakers at the young and
tender school age of fifteen years. Later, when
she became grown and of more mature years,
she traveled through various parts of the United
States, casting oil upon the troubled waters, and
spreading the seed of righteousness through and
by the gospel ministry. She was known to be a
fervent and constant worker in such religious
duties and labors until but a few days preceding
her death, which came upon her at a fairly mature
age of seventy-three years. She survived three
husbands, they all being of the better families in
her community. Her important and valuable
work has since been taken up by others, yet for
many years the effects of her labors in the min-
istry were very much felt, and later on were much
missed through various parts of the United

Our present J. T. W'illiams married at the
youthful age of twenty and one half years, and
took for his companion Miss Margaret Cutler, of
Montour county, Pennsylvania, and she raised
tojiim four children, two sons and two daughters.
After or about the time these four children be-
came educated, married and settled down in Inisi-
ness life, the mother became afllicted with a
tumor growth, and after a couple of years in suf-
fering and sickness departed this life, leaving the
four children and several grandchildren to sur-
vive her. Our J. T. Williams has contimied a
widower for several years. He is still quite ac-
tive in and about his manufacturing, importing
and merchandising business, of which he was the
most active, as well as the forerunner and sole
promoter in bringing about and building up, and
his firm has since, in connection with his sun
Charles K., become one of the largest and most



•enterprising and successful business firms of its
kind in the United States.

In beginning this business in Easton, J. T.
Williams was known to be from home the greater
part of the time for many years, introducing and
selling pulverized mineral goods, and working
up this business until he reached nearly all the
American and some of the Canadian markets ;
moreover, at the time of his starting, what made
it more difficult was that neither the firm nor their
make of goods was known, or had ever been
heard of in any of these markets. Yet his constant
persistent efforts in travelling and selling gradu-
ally brought the goods and the business before the
public in great favor, until increase and expan-
-sion of facilities to producing and manufacturing
the goods to meet the demands became the greater
necessity. From that time forward the firm of
C. K. Williams & Company rapidly increased the
size and capacity of their plants, until the}' became
almost foremost in the importing as well as manu-
facturing of their class of goods. The first
growth of demand for the goods, however, has
been attributed entirely to the stringent and con-
stant eft'orts of J. T. Williams, and his strong
will to introduce and sell, when there was on all
sides the most stubborn obstacles and inter-
ruptions to interfere. Cut a large business
was the object, and success has crowned his

He has known to have used his influence to-
wards the location of the Easton silk mill, since
it has been in active operation, on North Thir-
teenth street, Easton, Pennsylvania, and he agreed
to contribute and deliver six hundred perches of
the foundation wall or building stone for its
erection, free of charge. It was considered that
the liberal contribution of J. T. Williams at that
early stage of the enterprise settled and fixed the
location of that large and important manufactur-
ing plant, which has since proven to be of so much
value to the community of Easton, having em-
ployed as many as two thousand or more hands
daily, and many of them at large salaries. The
product of this enormous silk manufactory usu-
ally takes the lead in the higher grades of silk
goods throughout the American markets, x^lso

that through the influence of J. T. Williams, the
former wooden structure known as the Thirteenth
street bridge over the Bushkill stream was re-
moved, and a three arch substantial stone struc-
ture built there in its stead by the county com-
missioners. It is thought the same old wooden
structure might possibly have been left until the
high waters had carried it away and probably
have done much damage.

From a Christian point of view, j\Ir. Williams
has always adhered to the same Quaker religious
faith of his ancestors, yet in that respect he is
most liberal in his views, and attends meetings
of nearly all sects or demonstrations of religious
doctrines, and is more interested in religious
study and thought than in any other outside of
his regular legitimate business enterprises. i\Iost
people have a fad or hobby of one kind or an-
other, but Mr. Williams has but few fads or hob-
bies. He has no desire for theatrical amusements,
horse racing, card playing, or any of the time-
killing amusements of the popular kind, neither
for any stock speculating business, while religion
and square business operations are. his favored
lines of thought and study.

Referring to the present generation of the
Williams family, which had the commencement
of its business career about the commencement of
the nineteenth century, we find in the sixth, or
present generation, that there are four children
of this J. T. Williams, as before stated, two sons
and two daughters. The daughters are of a fer-
vent and earnest business turn of mind, and they
are also Christian women and mothers, whereby
their Christian association, both in public and pri-
vate life is encouraged and praised throughout
the length and breadth of their acquaintance in
their community. The two sons are well and
favorably known among the business circles
among which they move.

Charles K. Williams, the younger of the two
sons is closely associated with his father, being a
partner in the paint colors and pulverized mineral
business. He has displayed great business ability,
and to him is partly due the success and growth
of their business.

The other son, Frank C. Williams, entirely



alone, operates one roller process flour mill known
as the Lehighton 2\Iills, which were installed with
all modern improved machinery for making the
better grade of wheat flour, the quality and
brands of which are classed and known as of
the best in the Easton market. He has been
known to conduct and carry on the largest flour
milling business in the city of Easton. The busi-
ness grew to this magnitude during a remark-
able brief space of time, and the cause of that
growth is known to be largely due to his good
business like manner of conducting a large busi-
ness, together with the cleanly and tidy condition
in which his flour mill was always known to be
kept from one end of the year to the other, and
continually from year to year.

ceased, for many years a prosperous business
man of Easton, Pennsylvania, and a potent and
influential factor in the public aflfairs of the
borough, was born at Great Hill, Derby, Con-
necticut, February 23, 1812. He was a lineal
descendant of Richard Mansfield, of Exeter,
Devonshire, England, who was one of the first
settlers in New Haven, Connecticut, coming to
"Quinnipiac" in 1639. "In the list of the one hun-
dred and twenty-three first grantees. 'Mr.' is
affixed to his name, only seven others having that
title." The rest are styled "goodman." Gov-
ernor Thcophilus Eaton gave them the oath of
fidelity July i, 1644. Although the owner of
two tracts of land duly recorded, one located on
the northwest corner of what are now Elm and
Church streets, in 1641, he established himself
on a plantation about four and a half miles out-
side the town. He was appointed one of two
viewers to determine the ])lace for a bridge over
the East River; and at general court, "Alaye,"
1648, was to "finde a man to watch at the towne
in regard to his houselots heare." His wife's
name was Gillian. Of Iheir two sons, Moses,
the younger, was the lineal ancestor of Nathan
G. ]\lansfield. After her husband's death, which
occurred January 10, 1655, ( lillian married Alex-
ander Field, survived him, and in 1609 died at

the homestead on Elm and Temple streets, built
by Moses Mansfield.

When an infant, Moses Mansfield, had been
taken to the town to be christened Richard after
his father. East river at that time was much
swollen, and in crossing it the boat was upset
and the much swaddled infant floated into a clump
of sedge, hence his Hebrew name. On his tomb-
stone is the following: "Here lyeth interred the
body of Major Moses Mansfield, Assist, aged 63.
Deceased ye 3rd of October, Annodom, 1703."
"Major" was then the highest military title. He
defeated a body of Indians in King Philip's war,
near the present town of Mansfield, named in
his honor. He was a member of the general
court, or assembly, for twenty-four years, and
also served as probate judge. When Sir Ed-
mund Andross landed in Boston, March 3, 1689,
it was voted that he "view the arms according
to this order or command as there shall be oc-
casion for the common safety of the Place." Oc-
tober 25, 1697, he was chosen trustee of the Hop-
kins grammar school fund ; J\larch 26, 1703,
"Ye worshipful Moses Mansfield deeds some
land." On the death of Colonel John D. Dix-
vi^ell, the only one of the regicide judges who-
lived in quiet after reaching New Hampshire,
Major Mansfield was chosen one of the apprais-
ers of his estate. He was not, however, too much
occupied with jmblic concerns to neglect his pri-
vate affairs, having in 1644 taken to wife Mercy
Glover, mother of all his children, and after her
death he married Abigail Yale. One of his de-
scendants, Margaret INIansfield, in 1775 married
Benedict Arnold, but her death occurred before
he had sullied his name.

Jonathan Mansfield, youngest son of I\Ioses
and iMercy Mansfield, succeeded his father in the
homestead located nn Elm street. He was mar-
ried to Sarah Ailing, whose father was treasurer
and recorder to Yale College. Pier gravestone
in Grove street cemetery testifies that she was
the "vertuous consort of Deacon Jonathan Mans-
fieUl, and had served God to the .age of eighty."
Her husband ser\-ed in many positions of honor,
succeeding his father as trustee of the Hopkins





grammar school fund. In this position he was
empowered to sell the "oyster-shell field" lands
of the school. He is recorded as buying a lot
from John Dixwell, son of the regicide.

Lieutenant Nathan ^ilansfield, "a sincere
friend to his country," was born in 1718, and
died in 1783. His dwelling house north of the
New Sheffield scientific building stood until 187 1.
His gravestone was moved from the "Ancient
Burying Ground" to Grove street cemetery. His
wife was Deborah Dayton, and her tombstone
records her age as ninety-three years, and it is
a fact that she lived to pronounce a blessing upon
a descendant of the fifth generation (afterward
the wife of Rear Admiral Foote). For several
years she had been the eldest person in New
Haven, and could remember the time when that
place contained no painted house or pane of
glass, and only one riding-chair. She had con-
versed with General Washington, and had heard
Whitfield. She w^as original, independent, hu-
morous and well-read in the "Bible, Baxter and
Edwards," and was admired by all who knew
her. The brother of Lieutenant Nathan Mans-
field was Richard ]\Iansfield, D. D., a graduate
of Yale, and at one time president of the Hop-
kins grammar school. He was ordained in Eng-
land, there being no bishop in America, and
served as rector of one parish, Derb_v, for seventy-
two years.

Nathan ]\Iansfield, son of Lieutenant Nathan
iMansfield, was born in 1748. In 1773 he mar-
ried Anna Tomlinson, of Derby. He was the
proprietor of an inn much frequented by fash-
ionable folks from New Haven, which was lo-
cated at Squantuck, in the vicinity of Derby.
He died in the Episcopal faith, November 5,
1835, and was buried in a graveyard given by
him to the public on condition that the bodies of
his descendants could rest there.

Jared JNIansfield, son of Nathan [Mansfield,
was born in 1774, and upon attaining young man-
hood served in the capacity of school teacher,
and later turned his attention to agricultural pur-
suits. In 1807 he married Mrs. Eunice Lumm,
daughter of Nehemiah Jennings, of Weston,

Connecticut, one of the numerous claimants of
the great Jennings estate. Jared Mansfield died
at the age of fifty-four, and his widow at the age
of ninety-four.

Nathan G. Mansfield, son of Jared IMansfield,-
was born February 23, 1812. About 1846 he lo-

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 23 of 92)