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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laid the foundation for the success which came to
him in later years, and which sustained him in the
evening of life. He was first employed as a
laborer in the cotton mill, and drove a team on
the tow-path for some time. Later he secured a
position in the new nail mill, where he learned
the business of making nails, spending three years
as an apprentice and four years as a journeyman
in that establishment. Throughout the remainder
of his active business career he was employed in
the wire mill, becoming an experienced and very
proficient wire puller. His frugality, economy,
industry and perseverance enabled him to gain a
comfortable competence as the years passed by,
and in 1888 he retired from business life. In the
years of his activity, while he was still connected
with his trade, he made judicious investments in
real estate, becoming the owner of three fine
dwelling houses, one of which he occupied as
his own residence, while the rental of the other
two brought to him a very gratifying income.

In 185 1 was celebrated the marriage of Mr.
Wilhelm and Miss Adelaide Weaver, a daughter
of Isaac and Elizabeth Weaver, and a native of
Easton. They became the parents of three chil-
dren, only one of whom is yet living : William H.
The son wedded Miss Elizabeth Fritz, and to
them were born three children. The daughter
married James H. Wright, of Allentown, Penn-
sylvania, and they became the parents of two
children, but one has now departed this life. In
Easton where he so long resided and where his
active business life was passed, Mr. Wilhelm was
well known. He reached the eighty-fourth mile-
stone on life's journey, and in the evening of life
was respected and honored, veneration and re-
gard being extended him by young and old, rich
and poor, throughout the coiumunity. Mr. Wil-
helm died June 19, 1904, universally regretted.

JACOB GIES is living retired in Easton,
as his former activity and close application to
business paved the way for his withdrawal from
active connection with business interests, having
brought to him the competence which now en-
ables him to rest from further labor. There is
much that may with profit be set down concern-



ing his life histor}' for the force of his character,
his thorough understanding of business methods
and his enterprise, were the quahties which
brought him success and furnish an example that
is well worthy of emulation.

IMr. Gies was born in Germany in 1843, ^'""^
emigrated to the United States in 1854, being
then in his twelfth year. He accompanied his
parents, Peter W. and Elizabeth Gies. The fa-
ther was a farmer in his native land, and fol-
lowed the same pursuit advantageously in his
adopted country. He located in Lehigh county,
Pennsylvania, in the year 1859, but finally re-
moved to Carbon count)', this state, where he
followed the occupation of farming until his life's
labors were ended in death in 1880. To him and
his wife were born five children, four of whom

Jacob Gies acquired a good education in the
.schools of Lehigh and Carbon counties and mas-
tered well the English language. With a boy's
ready adaptability he learned the tongue spoken
in his adopted country, and also soon became
familiar with the manners and customs of the
people here. In 1864 he took up his abode in
Easton, where he became apprenticed to the trade
of a boiler maker, a pursuit which he followed as
a life work and until his retirement from active
business cares. For eighteen years he was em-
ployed by the Lehigh Valley Company, and cer-
tainly no higher testimonial of his capability and
fidelity could be given, for his long service in-
dicates beyond question how excellent was his
work and how worthy he was of the trust reposed
in him.

In 1867 Mr. Gies was united in wedlock to
Miss Catherine Siegfried, a daughter of Anthony
and Magdalene Siegfried. She was born in South
Easton on the 22nd of JMarch, 1841, and died on
the 26th of August, 1888, after traveling life's
journey happily with her husband for about twen-
ty-one years. To this worthy couple were born
eleven children, seven of whom are yet living,
namely : Kate, Elizabeth, Lena, IMary, Henry,
William and Herman. Of these Henry and Will-
iam are now machinists, and Herman is going
to college. Kate became the wife of lames

flowery, and to them was born one child. Eliza-
beth is the wife of John Collins, and by this mar-
riage there are two children. Lena is the wife
of Charles McNabb, and they have one son. Mr.
Gies has spent a somewhat uneventful life but
one of usefulness and his sterling worth is recog-
nized by his host of friends. He and his family
are members of the Roman Catholic church, of
which he has ever been a worthy communicant.
He stands to-day as one of the honored repre-
sentatives of our German-American citizenship
in Northampton county, and is as true and loyal
to the interests of his adopted land as any of its
native sons.

WILLIAM COYLE, of Easton, is prominent
among the energetic, far-seeing and successful
business men of central Pennsylvania. His life
history most happily illustrates what may be at-
tained by faithful and continued effort in carry-
ing out an honest purpose. Integrity, activity and
energy have been the crowning points of his suc-
cess, and his connection with various business en-
terprises and industries have been a decided ad-
vantage to this section of Pennsylvania, promot-
ing its material welfare in no uncertain manner.
He is extensively engaged in dealing in coal and
ice, his business having reached mammoth and
profitable proportions.

The Coyle family is of Irish lineage, and was
founded in America by Peter Coyle, a native of
the Emerald Isle, who crossed the briny deep to
the new world in 1832, accompanied by his fam-
ily. He was twice married, and by the first union
nrd a son, Bernard, who was born in Ireland in
1829, and who was three years of age at the time
of the emigration to the United States. Mr.
Coyle resided for some time in Mauch Chunk,
Pennsylvania, but subsequently removed to Eas-
ton, where he engaged in boating on the canal.
He died in Easton at an advanced age, respected
by all who knew him.

While Peter Coyle resided at Mauch Chunk,
Pennsylvania, Bernard Coyle served as a member
of an engineer corps there, and at various times
followed other vocations. He was reared to
habits of industry and enterprise, and became an



active factor in business circles. In 1847, he was
united in marriage to Miss Lydia A. Wilhelm, a
daughter of Jacob and Sarah Wilhehn, and after
spending thirteen years of happy married Hfe
in Mauch Chunk they removed to Chester, Penn-
sylvania, in 1866. There nine years were passed
and in 1869 ]\Ir. Coyle came with his family to
Easton, where he established a coal yard, in which
business he continued up to the time of his death,
which occurred in 1885. He was also a farmer,
and owned one hundred and twenty acres of land
in the vicinity of Glendon. His business activity
formed the foundation of his successful career,
and added to this was his straightforward deal-
ing and his trustworthiness. He lived at peace
with his fellow men nor was he ever known to
take advantage of the necessities of any in his
trade transactions. To Bernard Coyle and his
wife were born six children, five of whom are
now living : Thomas, who has charge of the Le-
high Valley shops at Perth Amboy, New Jer-
sey ; John, who is a foreman in these shops, at
Easton ; Henry, who is there employed as a ma-
chinist ; William, of this review ; and Mrs. Sarah

Under the parental roof the boyhood days
of William Coyle were quietly and uneventfully
passed. Various duties were assigned him in his
youth, and these alternated his attendance at the
public schools, wherein he acquired a good Eng-
lish education. He assisted his father largely in
the conduct of the coal yard as he grew in years
and strength, and upon the demise of his father,
in 1885, he succeeded to the business, which he
has since greatly enlarged, the extent and volume
of the trade having been increased many fold
since he assumed control. He now handles six
thousand tons of coal annually, and employs
seven ice wagons in the delivering of that cooling
commodity in Easton throughout the summer
months. Mr. Coyle is well known in the city in
which he makes his home, and has the favor and
friendship of many with whom he is brought in
contact. He has made an untarnished record and
uns[)Otted reputation as a business man. In all
places and under all circumstances he is loyal
to truth. 111 iicir and right, justly valuing his own

self-respect as infinitely more preferable tliart
wealth, fame or position. In those finer traits
of character which combine to form that which
we term friendship, which endears man to man
in bonds which nothing but the stain of dishonor
can sever, which triumph and shine brightest in
the hour of adversity — in those qualities he is
royally endowed. He is a member of the l\Ieth-
odist Church, a Republican in politics, having
been elected county commissioner in 1896, and
served six years, and is now and has been chair-
man of the county committee for four years, and
a member of Dallas Lodge No. 396, of Easton,
Free and Accepted jMasons ; Pomp Council No.
20, and Easton Chapter No. 173.

In January, 1882, Mr. Coyle was united in
marriage to Miss Mary M. Brown, who was born
in South Easton, Pennsylvania, a daughter of
Alexander and Harriet Brown. One daughter
was the issue of this union, Rosie F., whose birth,
occurred in 1889. Mrs. Coyle died March 13,

AARON UNANGST is one of the well
known residents of South Easton, Pennsylvania,
who for a number of years has been an active
business man. He has well earned the proud
American title of a self-made man, and there is
perhaps in this history no life record which more
strongly exemplifies the force of industry and en-
ergy in the active ai¥airs of life than does that of
Mr. Unangst, who has been identified with build-
ing interests and with the undertaking business.
He was born in Williams township, Northaniptrn
county, on the nth of September, 1824, and is
a son of Peter and Margaret (Deemer) Unangst.

In the paternal line he comes of a family of
German lineage. His father died when the son
was but two years of age, so that the place of his
birth is unknown by the family. The mother,
however, was born in Williams township. Ry
her marriage she had eight children, but Aaron
LTnangst is the only surviving member of the
family. The father gave his time and energy
to farming, and thus provided for the wants and
needs of his wife and children. His political
tendencies were Democratic, and he supported




by his ballot the men and measures of that party.
Following his death, which occurred in 1826,
his widow became the wife of Peter Shively, but
there were no children by that marriage.

The changes which occurred in the little family
circle caused Aaron Unangst to be thrown upon
his own resources at a very early age. He went
to live with his sister, Mrs. Hinkle, and his edu-
cation was acquired in Easton, his residence in
that city dating. from 1833. When he was old
■enough to become a factor in industrial life, he
was apprenticed to the cabinet-maker's trade,
which he followed until 1854. In that year he
turned his attention to carpentering, and at the
same time took up the undertaking business, in
which he has continued to the present time. He
has worked persistently, never turning aside into
the field of speculation, but placing his dependence
upon the more substantial qualities of earnest and
indefatigable elTort. He has proved himself a
useful resident of the city of Easton, and has been
honored by his fellow townsmen with positions
of public trust.

In his political views Air. L'nangst is a Repub-
lican, and has served in the capacity of council-
man in the borough of South Easton before the
annexation to the city. His success in life has
by no means been the result of fortunate cir-
cumstances. It has come to him through energy,
labor and perseverance, directed by an evenly
balanced mind and by honorable business prin-
ciples. He has made the most of his opportuni-
ties, and thus he has gained a place on the plane
■of affluence. In manner he is quick and straight-
forward, saying exactly what he means without
the addition of useless compliment. He com-
mands the respect of all with whom he comes in
contact, and his successful career wins their ad-

In 1852, 'Sir. L'nangst was united in marriage
to ]\Iiss Hannah W. Zane, who came of a family
of Quaker faith. Her parents were \Mlliam and
Mary fCutwalt) Zane, who removed to Easton
in 1832 from Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania, where
their daughter Hannah had been born in 1829.
The father was employed by the Lehigh Coal
jSTavigation Company, in the capacity of agent

or superintendent, and was long a trusted repre-
sentative of that firm. He was associated with
Mr. White in trying to ignite the newly dis-
covered "stone coal" when it was first taken from
the earth. An active member of the Methodist
Episcopal church, he contributed generously to
its support, labored earnestly for the extension of
its influence, and held many important positions,
the duties of which he discharged faithfully and
promptly. He was highly esteemed by the
brethren of the denomination, and by all with
whom he came in contact. One of his sons,
Redinger Zane, was the first white child born at
Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania, his natal day be-
ing February 28, 1820. The parents had lo-
cated there the previous year, having removed
from the falls of Schuylkill, Pennsylvania. The
home of Mr. and Mrs. LTnangst has been blessed
with the following children : Alary and George,
both deceased ; Daniel B., and Elizabeth H.

W. U. STOCKER. Alan's worth in the
world is determined by his success and his use-
fulness : the estimate of his character is based
upon what he has accomplished for himself and
the service he has rendered to others. In the
analysis of the life of W. U. Stocker we find that
in both particulars he has developed a well
rounded, symmetrical character, for he is to-day
one of the most active and prominent represen-
tatives of industrial and commercial activity, and
his labors have been directed along lines which
produce general prosperity as well as individual
success. For a number of years he has carried on
the manufacture and sale of lumber with phenom-
enal success, and at all times he has sustained an
untarnished reputation in trade circles.

The ancestral history of the family presents
the record of two brothers, Leonard and Adam
Stocker, who emigrated from Holland to Amer-
ica about 1770, and settled in Paradise township,
Alonroe county, Pennsylvania. They were active
and energetic farmers, who made the best use of
their time and opportunities. Leonard Stocker,
the grandfather of W. L^. Stocker, was united in
marriage to Miss Himer, and removed to New
Jersev where he purchased a tract of land com-



prising three hundred and forty-five acres. This
was bounded on the south by the Delaware river,
and was situated adjacent to Easton and Philhps-
burg. He lived and prospered in his new home,
and there reared his family of seven children, all
of whom have now passed away.

Of this number John Stocker, the father of
W. U. Stocker, was a native of Monroe county,
Pennsylvania, but accompanied his parents to
New Jersey. At the demise of his father in
1835, the land was sold and the proceeds divided
among the children, who afterward removed to
various localities, where they became loyal and
influential citizens. John Stocker was twice mar-
ried. He first wedded a Miss Kichline, by whom
he had three children. His second wife, the
mother of W. U. Stocker, bore the maiden name
of Rosanna Steckel, and they had twelve chil-
dren, eight sons and four daughters. About
1830, John Stocker removed with his family
from New Jersey to Williams township, North-
ampton county, Pennsylvania, where he devoted
his energies to various pursuits, being an active
and industrious man, to whose nature indolence
and idleness were utterly foreign. He pur-
chased some land which included limestone beds,
and he operated a quarry and burned lime, which
he shipped to various points by means of the
canal. He also conducted a store and did a
profitable business as a merchant. At one time
he successfully conducted a hotel, and was a
popular landlord. By trade, however, he was a
carpenter. He died in the year 1889, and for
about two years his wife survived him, passing
away in 1891. Both were members of the Lutheran
church, and were widely and favorably known.
In their family were twelve children, of whom
four are living: W. U., who is engaged in the
lumber business in Easton; George W., Jackson
E., and James H. Stocker.

For eighty years W. U. Stocker has traveled
life's journey, his birth having occurred in New-
Jersey, September 12, 1823. He was a youth of
ten when his parents became residents of Will-
iams township, Northampton county, where he
was reared and educated. When not engaged
with the duties of the school room, he worked

in his father's quarry, and was thus employed
until 1840, when he turned his attention to farm-
ing. In 1844, he leased several acres of mineral
land near the south side of Easton, which he
valued at fifty thousand dollars, and this he
finally sold to the Glendon Iron Company. In
1850, he was married and in 1852 he rented a
farm on the Bushkill, where he remained until
1855, when he returned to his father-in-law's
farm, which he later purchased, this consisting
of one hundred and twenty-nine acres. In i86o>
he began to purchase the standing timber on
various tracts of land, and this he soon converted
into lurnber, which was the beginning of his con-
nection with the lumber industry, wherein he has
gained his wealth. Selling his farm in Williams
township in 1868, he removed to the south side of
Easton, and became identified with mercantile
interests in the city, establishing a home at the
corner of Center and Canal streets. He was also
at the same time carrying on an extensive lumber
trade, but in 1877 he discontinued his active
operations, wdiich inactivity continued for two
years. It was impossible because of his energetic
nature to remain longer outside of active busi-
ness connections, and in 1879 he again began to
operate in the lumber business, which he has con-
tinued to the present time. He has been a very
extensive manufacturer of lumber, and has dealt
ver}' largely in this commodity, his annual sales
reaching a high figure, and one which has
brought to him a very desirable profit.

For fifty-three years Mr. and Mrs. Stocker
have traveled life's journey together as man and
wife. The lady bore the maiden name of Sarah
A. Laubach, and is a daughter of Christian Lau-
bach. She was born in Williams township, North-
ampton county, in 1828, and by her marriage has
become the mother of five children, one son,,
deceased, and four daughters who are yet living.
These are Mrs. Barr, Mrs. Becker, Mrs. Altemus
and Mrs. Sampson. Mr. Stocker is a member of
the Lutheran church, his wife of the Reformed
church, and they are earnest consistent Christian
people whose lives have been exemplary as fol-
lowers of the cause of Christ. Few resiilents of
this county have been longer connected with its



active business interests than he, and certainly
the record of no other has been more honorable or
more straightforward in dealing with his fellow-
men. Close application, unremitting diligence,
a recognition and improvement of opportunity
and close adherence to the ethics of commercial
life, these have formed the foundation upon
which he has builded his splendid success.

representative of one of the old and distinguished
families of what was once the borough of South
Easton, and the growth and development of that
part of the city was largely due to his father.
His paternal great-grandfather was Isaac Wire-
bach, a native of Germany, who on leaving his
native land established his home in Pennsylvania,
at an early epoch in the development of this state.
He and his wife settled in Bucks county, Penn-
sylvania, where they purchased a farm and made
for themselves a comfortable home. Among their
children was Jacob Wirebach, who was born in
Springfield township, Bucks county, Pennsyl-
vania. After reaching mature years he was three
times married. He first wedded a ]\Iiss Acker-
man, and to them was born one child. His second
imion was with Elizabeth Eighmy, and their chil-
dren numbered six, while by his third wife, who
bore the maiden name of JMargaret Wolslayer, he
had ten children, thus becoming by the three mar-
riages the father of seventeen children, fifteen of
whom reached adult age and became valued
citizens of the communities in which they lived.

Jacob Wirebach, Sr., the grandfather of L^r-
banus S. Wirebach, owned about one hundred
acres of land and was a practical farmer, person-
ally operating his land and gaining thereby a
comfortable living. He was a consistent Chris-
tian, a member of the German Reformed church.
He possessed remarkable patience and endurance.
was kind and benevolent, and his worth in the
world was widely acknowledged by those who
knew aught of his career or came in contact with
him. He was beloved not only by his relatives,
but also by innumerable friends, and his death,
which occurred when he had attained an ad-
vanced age, was deeply regretted by all.

Jacob C. \\'irebach, the father of Urbanus
Wirebach, was born in Bucks county, Pennsyl-
vania, in 1808, and there he married Catherine
Short, a daughter of Captain George and Salome
Short, the wedding taking place about 1825.
The lady was a native of Montgomery county,
Pennsylvania, born in 1807. Her father, a native
of Virginia, served as a soldier in the war of 1812
and thus won his title; Coming to the Keystone
state, he settled in Springfield township, Bucks
county, where he conducted a general store and
was looked upon as a man of usefulness and in-
fluence in his town and county.

In 1835, Jacob C. Wirebach removed with his
family to Easton, and in 1857 he purchased of
the Lehigh Coal Navigation Company a farm
of one hundred acres, covering the hill on which
is built that portion of the cit3- known as the south
side. He divided this farm into city lots, which
he sold very cheap and on long time payments,
thus making an inducement for men to buy and
build homes for themselves, when otherwise it
would have been impossible for them to do so,
if they had to pay cash for their property. This
resulted in the growth of the city to a very large
extent, and Mr. Wirebach was desen'ing of much
credit for what he accomplished in this direction.
He was a man of unfaltering honor and of un-
assailable integrity, and his many friends placed
implicit confidence in his every word and deed,
nor had they ever reason to regret the trust given
him. He was honored more than any other man
of the community with local positions of trust
and responsibility. He served as collector of
taxes in 1846, and was chief burgess for some
time. He was also councilman and constable,
and for twenty years was justice of the peace,
proving an officer whose public career was above
a shadow of wrong or suspicion of evil. He
belonged to the German Reformed church, and
his life was in harmony with the teachings of
Him, who came not to be ministered unto but to
minister. He died in 1877, while his wife passed
awav in 1879. They were the parents of nine
children : Manasses, deceased ; Salome, Urbanus,
]\Iargaret E., Hannah IM., Susanna B., Sarah E.,
Alice C, and Jacob H., also deceased.



Urbanus Wirebach was born in Bucks county,
Pennsylvania, May 25, 1833, and was only two
years old when his parents removed to Easton,
so that he was educated in the schools of this
city and spent the days of his boyhood and youth
here. He has followed various business lines,
which have brought to him a desirable compe-
tence, and in business circles he has ever sus-
tained an enviable reputation.

When he reached his majority, he was united
in marriage to Miss Lena Berry, a daughter of

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 27 of 92)