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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F. and A. AL, and Easton Chapter, No. 127,
R. A. M. He is a young man of business ability,
alert and enterprising, and in commercial circles
has a wide and favorable acquaintance.

GEORGE J. KOEHLER. One of the active^
energetic and successful business men of Easton
is George J. Koehler, who is now engaged in
dealing in coal and wood. A liberal patronage
being accorded him, he is to-day a prosperous
resident of the city, although at the outset of
his business career he had no capital whatever,
and was employed in various ways in order to
gain a start. Such a career always awakens re-
spect and admiration, showing as it does a
strong character and firm purpose.

Mr. Koehler is a native of Bavaria, Germany,
his birth having there occurred in 1849. He is
a son of George J. and Caroline (Gundeheimer)
Koehler, the former born in Saxony in 1816, the
latter in Bavaria, in 1826. In the year 1850 the
father brought his wife and little son to the new
world, our subject being then in the second year
of his age. Taking up his abode in Easton, he
remained here only a brief period, and then
went to Walnutport, Pennsylvania, where he
purchased property and built a house. In later
years he bought a farm of fifty acres, which he
cultivated with pleasure and profit, providing a
comfortable living for his family. In this coun-
try he had learned and followed the mason's trade,
but did not engage in that pursuit, giving his at-
tention to various lines of business until he turned
his attention to farming. To him and his wife
were born five children, all born in Northampton
county with the exception of our subject. The
others are William, Lucy, Emma and Lizzie, and
the family circle yet remains unbroken by the
hand of death.

It was in Northampton county that George J.
Koehler was reared, and in its public schools he
acquired a good knowledge of the branches of
learning usually taught in such institutions. In
early life he engaged in boating on the canal,
assisting his father, who was engaged in that



work. Being somewhat of a mechanical trend
of mind, however, he later learned the trade of a
sawyer, which he followed in the employ of U. W.
Stocker, becoming head sawyer, and also acting
as foreman about the premises. For eight years
he remained with Mr. Stocker, and in 1874 re-
moved to South Easton, where he built a house,
being able to become the possessor of this prop-
erty as the result of his earnings and economy in
former years. In South Easton he entered the
employ of the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company,
and soon won promotion to the position of en-
gineer, in which capacity he served in a most ac-
ceptable manner for six years. Then wishing to
engage in business on his own account, in 1889 he
purchased the coal yards of the firm of Miller &
Dinkey, and has since been engaged in dealing in
coal and wood, having a large sale in these com-
modities. In 1903 he established a branch office at
Koehler's Switch, in the west part of Easton,
where he supplies the inhabitants of that district
with the best grade of Lehigh valley coal.

Mr. Koehler was imited in marriage to Miss
Ella A. Brown, a daughter of Jonas and Maria
Brown, the wedding taking place in 1868. She
was born in Northampton county, in 1851, and
by her marriage she has become the mother of
two sons : George J. and Clinton A. The parents
are members of Christ Lutheran church, in the
work of which they take an active interest, and
in which Mr. Koehler has served as councilman
many years. In politics he is a Republican. Mat-
ters pertaining to the general welfare elicit his
earnest attention, and many movements calculated
to prove of public benefit have gained his earnest
endorsement and substantial assistance. Mr.
Koehler is a self-made man who by industry and
self-reliance has worked his way upward, and
though the way has ofttimes been rough and
rugged he has persevered, winning both success
and an honored name.

JACOB RAUB belongs to that class of rep-
resentative American citizens who, while pro-
moting their individual prosperity, have added
greatly to the substantial upbuilding, develop-

ment and welfare of the communitv with which
they are connected. Public-spirited in an eminent
degree, his labors have been of the greatest bene-
fit to Easton, and his name figures conspicuouslv
in connection with its improvement. At the same
time he has carried on his private business inter-
ests with such energy that he has attained a place
among the most successful men of the city.

Mr. Raub is a native of Northampton county,
Pennsylvania, his birth having occurred at the
family home on the Delaware river, north of
Easton, in 1856. His father, John W, Raub, was
born in 1798, and became a physician well known
for his skill in healing complicated diseases and
in successfully coping with the intricate prob-
lems which are continually presented by disease.
His profession called him to the most remote
parts of his own county, and, indeed, reached far
beyond its borders. He was twice married, his
first imion being with Miss Workizer, by whom
he had four children, one of whom, Sarah, is now
living. For his second wife Mr. Raub chose
jMiss Sarah Eberhart, and they became the
parents of five children, four of whom are now
living, namely: Peter, Mrs. Transue, Mrs.
Kutzler, and Jacob.

Jacob Raub, whose name forms the caption
of this review, entered upon his business career
before he had attained his majority, by serving
an apprenticeship to the carpenter's trade.
Throughout his entire life he has always been
connected with building interests, and certainly
one of the strong elements in his success is his
persistency of purpose in the calling in which as
a young tradesman he embarked. He worked as
a journeyman until 1875, when he began con-
tracting and building on his own account. He
has been eminently successful in every pliase of
the biulder's art, and he is a practical and scien-
tific workman, and every structure which he has
erected stands as a monument to his ability, skill
and business worth. He has keen foresight, and
looks beyond the exigencies of the moment to the
possibilities of the future. This quality has en-
abled him to recognize the opportunity for devel-
opment and improvement, and led him to become



the main projector of the building and extension
of Hasten Heights. During the twentj'-eight
3'ears of his business career he has erected over
one thousand attractive and substantial struc-
tures, including the Cottingham school, the
Packer school, the Moravian and Evangelical
■churches, and the Easton silk mill on the south
side. He has employed a large number of work-
men, and justice has ever been maintained in his
relations with them. He has the reputation of
living fully up to the terms of a contract, and his
name is an honored one in trade circles.

In public affairs in Easton, Mr. Raub has
been prominent and influential, and he served
continuously as a member of the city council from
1883 until 1892. During the latter portion of
this period he presided over the select branch.
In 1903 he is serving as a member of the board
of control. In matters of citizenship he is ever
found public-spirited, helpful and loyal. He has
at heart the best interests of his city, and its
future as well as its present development, and he
is numbered among those who have pushed for-
ward the wheels of progess here, and Easton ac-
knowledges her indebtedness to his efforts in her
behalf. Honored and respected by all, there is no
man in Easton who occupies a more enviable posi-
tion than Jacob Raub in commercial and financial
circles, not alone on account of the brilliant suc-
cess he has achieved, but also for the honorable,
straightforward business policy he has ever fol-
lowed. He possesses untiring energy, is quick of
perception, forms his plans readily and is deter- .
mined in their execution, and his close applica-
tion to business and excellent management have
brought to him the high degree of prosperity
which is to-day his.

Mr. Raub was united in marriage to ]\Iiss
Arevesta A. Arner, in 1876. The lady is a
daughter of Reuben Arner, and to them have been
born twelve children, nine of whom are yet living,
as follows : Arthur L., Howard E., Reuben S.,
Sarah, Gertrude, Ada, Arevesta A., Jacob Jr., and
John W. Of this number. Arthur married i\lrs.
Blencowe, to whom two children were born —
John J., and a daughter.

ALLEN E. STRAUP, one of the progressive
young business men of Easton, proprietor of a
grocery store on the south side, is descended
from one of the old families of the Lehigh Val-
ley. His paternal great-grandfather was a native
of Northampton county, Pennsylvania, where he
spent his entire life and reared his family. His
son, Thomas Straup, was also there and con-
tinued to make it his home. In early life he
Iearne4 the blacksmith's trade, and became a good
mechanic, but afterward took up the study of
medicine and engaged in its practice. He was a
man of worth and ability, and a most patriotic
and loyal citizen. On attaining man's estate he
married Matilda Seigfried, also a native of
Northampton county, and to them were born
fourteen children, thirteen of whom grew to ma-
turity, and six of the number are still living. The
family have long been earnest members of the
Evangelical church, in which the grandfather of
our subject held several offices. His wife is still
living and resides in Northampton county.

Thomas P. Straup, our subject's father, was
born in that county, January 10, 1847. E[e learned
the painter's trade, and has also engaged in black-
smithing, but is now holding a position in the
Ingorsoll shops at Easton. On the ist of Oc-
tober, 1869, he was united in marriage to Miss
Elmira E. Seibert. of Meyerstown, P'ennsylvania,
wtio died January -14, 1903. She left two sons:
Arthur N., born January 11, 1871 ; and Allen E.,
born January 10, 1874. Arthur was born in Par-
rvville and Allen at Coaldale, but they were reared
and educated in Easton, to which place their
parents had removed.

During his youth, Allen E. Straup learned the
trade of wood carving, which he followed for a
number of years, and later turned his attention to
the electrical business for some time. In 1898
he led to the marriage altar ]\Iiss Ella 'SI. Stein,
the accomplished daughter of Asher and Rebecca
(Miller) Stein. Her father was born in South
Easton, in 1857, and is a son of Samuel and
Orelia (Paull) Stein, both natives of Mount
Bethel. They, had six children, all of whom are
living. Samuel Stein was an engineer on the

1 66


Lehigh Valley Railroad for some years, but died
young. His father was John Stein, of Lower
Saucon township, Northampton county, and his
wife's father was Jacob Paull, whose family num-
bered nine children, six of whom are living. The
Paulls were millers by trade. Asher Stein, the
father of ^Irs. Straup, was in the employ of the
Lehigh \'alley Railroad for eighteen years, being
conductor for sixteen years. Retiring from the
road in 1898, he opened a grocery store in Easton,
which he conducted until 1902, when he sold
out to his son-in-law, the subject of this sketch.
He married Rebecca Miller, who was born in
Williams township, Northampton county, in
1847, and to them was born one daughter, Mrs.
Ella M. Straup. Mr. Stein is an active member
of the United Evangelical church and has been
honored \vith numerous church offices. He is
also a member of the Knights of Labor and
Knights of Friendship, and is a man highly re-
spected and esteemed by all who know him. He
is a member of the Royal Arcanum.

In 1902, as previously stated, Mr. Straup pur-
chased of his father-in-law the grocery store
owned by him, together with the fixtures and his
good will, though Mr. Stein still assists in carry-
ing on the business which is quite extensive. The
store is large and the stock is well selected. Mr.
Straup is a very energetic and enterprising busi-
ness man, and his success has been worthily
achieved. He and his wife are leading members
of the L'^nited Evangelical church, in which he is
serving as a class leader and chorister in the
Sunday school, and they are held in high regard
by all who know them. Socially he is connected
with the Junior Order of United American
Mechanics, and Patriotic Sons of America.

WILLIAM B. BOYER, a veteran of the
Civil war, and an engineer on the Lehigh Valley
Railroad, makes his home in Easton, where he
has now resided for thirty-one years. He was
born in Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, April
29, 1844, a son of David and Hannah (Beck)
Boyer, the former a native of Schuylkill county,
and the latter of Carbon county, this state. The
father was a gunsmith bv trade, and for a number

of years followed that vocation exclusively, but
in later years he lived on a farm which' he pur-
chased, and gave his attention to its cultivation.
He was a leading citizen of his community, and
at one time held the office of councilman. Both
he and his wife held membership in the Lutheran
church, and he served as one of its deacons, and
took a helpful part in its work. He died in 1884,
and Mrs. Boyer passed away in 1890. Their
family numbered nine children, seven of 'whom
are yet living: Joseph, Lawrence, Mrs. Violetta
Schock, Mrs. Matilda Elliard, George B., Will-
iam B. and Annie M. Gerber.

Under the parental roof William B. Boyer
spent the days of his boyhood and youth, and in
the public schools of his native county he ac-
quired his education. He afterward learned the
millwright's trade, beginning in 1859, and he
followed that pursuit until after the beginning of
the Civil war, when on the 17th of September,

1862, aroused by a spirit of patriotism, he en-
listed in Company E, Seventeenth Regiment
Pennsylvania Infantry. He was constantly with
his command during its campaigns, and with the
regiment was honorably discharged. In July,

1863, he again enlisted, this time becoming a
member of Company B, Thirty-ninth Regiment
Pennsylvania Volunteers, for ninety days. This
was an emergency regiment, and while not en-
gaged in any decisive battle was yet active in sus-
taining the Union cause. In August, 1863, Mr.
Boyer was again discharged.

Upon his return to civil life he once more
resumed work at his trade, and in 1865 he became
an employe of the Schuylkill Navigation Com-
pany. In 1869 he entered the employ of the
Reading Railroad Company, and in 1872, remov-
ing to Easton, he became connected with the Le-
high Valley Railroad Company as a fireman, from
which position he was promoted to that of en-
gineer in 1876, and is now running between Eas-
ton and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. On the
8th of June, 1875. ]\Ir. Boyer was fireman for
Engineer Paul Reed, on engine 13, hauling the
first passenger train run on the Easton & Amboy
branch of the road. His first trip as an engineer
was made September 17, 1876, on a run from



paston to Wilkes-Barre. In i88g he was in a
wreck in which two Hves were lost, but in which
he was altogether innocent of neghgence. He is
recognized by the company as a most careful and
painstaking engineer, and one well worthy the ar-
duous and responsible position which he is new
capably filling.

Mrt Boyer was raised to the sublime degree
of a Master Mason in Page Lodge, No. 270, F.
and A. M., and he is also a member of the Broth-
erhood of Loco-motive Engineers, and McLean
Post, No. 576, G. A. R. On the ist of January,
1864, he was married to Miss Martha A. Yeager,
a daughter of Bamett and Hannah Yeager. The
Yeagers are of an old and well known family of
this part of the state. ]Mrs. Boyer is a native of
Pennsylvania, born December 27, 1843. By her
marriage she has become the mother of the fol-
lowing named: Hannah L., Robert, Francis,
Charles, Harn', David. Mamie, Oscar, Lillian,
Edward and George. Harry is now foreman of
the shops of the Lehigh \^alley Railroad Com-
pany, at Sayre, Pennsylvania, and Charles, a
graduate of the Jefferson College of Aledicine, at
Philadelphia, is now practicing his profession.
]Mr. Boyer built his home in 1889 — a beautiful
brick structure, which stands as a monument to
his labor, for it was built with his own honest
earnings and it is supplied with all modern im-
provements. Mr. Boyer belongs to the Lutheran
church, his wife to the Reformed church, and
both are consistent christian people.

THOMAS P. RICKER, who is so efficiently
serving as chief of the Easton fire department,
and is one of the most popular men cf that thriv-
ing city, belongs to an old and highly respected
family which had its origin in Holland. Far
back in the early history of the Lehigh \'alley a
poor but honest stone mason emigrated 10 this
countrv from Holland, in the time of George
III. but little is known of him. One of his sons,
William Ricker, was born in Easton, Pennsyl-
vania, and became a carpenter by trade. He mar-
ried Catherine Operheimer, and to them were
born seven children, one of whom, Eva Cath-
erine, is still living in 1903. One of their sons.

Jacob Ricker, was born in Easton on the ist of
JNIay, 1801, and also made carpentering and build-
ing his life work. His wife, who bore the maiden
name of Elizabeth Carey, was also a native of
Easton and a granddaughter of Captain John
Carey, who served with distinction as an officer
in the Revolutionary war. The family of Jacob
and Elizabeth (Carey) Ricker consisted of eleven
children, six of whom are living at the present
writing, in 1903.

Of this number Captain John P. Ricker, a
much respected citizen of Easton, was born in
that city, September 3, 1824, and like his ances-
tors learned the carpenter's and builder's trade, at
which he has labored the most of his life with
well merited success, ^^'hen the country was in
imminent danger from the seceders in the south,
he manfully took up arms in defense , of the
Lnion, and organized a company which became
Company E of the One Hundred and Fifty-third
Pennsylvania \^olunteer Infantry Regiment, and
of which he was commissioned captain. He took
part in the battles of Chancellorsville and Gettys-
burg, and was wounded and taken prisoner in
the latter engagement, but after several days of
hard fighting he was recaptured by his own
troops. After serving for nine months Captain
Ricker was honorably discharged and returned
home to resume the more quiet pursuits of civil
life, continuing to work at his trade until old age
compelled him to desist. He is still an honored
resident of Easton, where he has held the office
of city councilman and served one term as a mem-
ber of the school board. He married ]\Iiss Re-
becca Burt, who was born in Easton in 1829,
and died there in 1895. Their children were
Jacob ; Burt, deceased ; Samuel A., Thomas P.,
Howard L., and Oscar A.

Thomas P. Ricker, whose name introduces
this review, was born in Easton on the 14th of
October, 1857, and there grew to manhood, his
education being obtained in the city schools. He,
too. learned the carpenter's trade, which he con-
tinued to follow until 1 89 1, when he was elected
chief of the fire department, for which office he
seems eminently fitted, being not only brave and
fearless but careful and painstaking as well. In

1 68


1895 he resigned that position and resumed work
at his trade, carrying on contracting and building
until 1899, when he was again elected chief of
the fire department, and is still filling that office
in a most creditable and satisfactory manner. He
has been a member of the fire department since
its organization, and has worked his way upward
from hoseman to his present responsible position.
He was a member of the city council in 1898, but
was obliged to resign that position to take his
present- one.

In September, 1885, Mr. Ricker was united
in marriage to Miss Anna Herman, a daughter of
Charles and Christian Herman, of Easton, and to
them has been born one son, Burt, who is now
attending school. Fraternally, Mr. Ricker is a
member of General Kirkpatrick Camp, No. 233,
Sons of Veterans ; Saranac Tribe, No. 84, Im-
proved Order of Red Men ; and the Firemen's
Relief Association. He is one of the representa-
tive citizens of the Lehigh Valley, and is justly
deserving of prominent mention in its history.

GEORGE F. COFFIN, a well known attor-
nc}' and Republican leader of Northampton
county. Pennsylvania, now practicing at the
Easton bar as a member of the law firm of Reeder
& Coffin, was born at Slatedale, Lehigh county,
Pennsylvania, February 13, 1870. He was the
third of four children born of the marriage of
Frank Handvverk and Catherine Coffin, the latter
being the daughter of Ira and Catherine (Miller)
Coffin, and a granddaughter of John Coffin, of

When a young man, Ira Coffin went to Lehigh
county, Pennsylvania, and was the first man in
this country to engage in the manufacture of
school slates. He fiollowed that business through-
out his active career, and thus developed an in-
dustry which has become a most important one in
trade circles. Frank Handwerk, father of George
F. Coffin, was engaged in business in Pennsyl-
vania, and was also connected with the develop-
ment of the slate fields. He enlisted as a private
during the Civil war, serving in Company E, One
Hundred and Nineteenth Regiment, Pennsylvania
Volunteer Infantry, Army of the Potomac. He

was wounded at the battle of Antietam, and died
from the effects of his injury in 1873. The fol-
lowing named children were born to Mr. and
Mrs. Handwerk : Magdelena, who died at the age
of fifteen years ; Ira E., George F., and Delia,
the wife of John Grayer. After the death of Mr.
Handwerk, the mother of these children became
the wife of John Beltz, by whom she ha^ two
children : Ellsworth and Francis Beltz.

After the death of his father, George F. was
adopted by his uncle, James H. Coffin, and took
his name. Lentil the age of fifteen years he at-
tended the public schools of Lehigh township,
from fifteen to nineteen years of age he followed
the occupation of a clerk in a general store, also
in Lehigh township, and the following year he
taught the public school in the same township.
He entered Lafayette College as a student in the
classical course in 1890, and graduated with his
class in 1894. He then studied law in the office
and under the direction of General Frank Reeder,
beginning in 1893, and in 1896 was admitted to
the bar. He practiced his profession alone until
January i, 190T, when he entered into a part-
nership with his former preceptor, establishing
the present firm of Reeder & Coffin. They have
a large clientage connecting them with much of
the most imporiant litigation tried in the courts
of this district, and are closely identified with the
current industries of the county.

Mr. Coffin was one of the incorporators and
officers of the Lehigh Bridge Company, which
erected a bridge across the Lehigh river at
Easton. He is secretary of the Nazareth Cement
Company, operating at Nazareth, Pennsylvania,
is secretary of the Ogdensburg Gas Company, the
Ogdensburg Street Railway Company, and the
Ogdensburg Power and Light Company, the
three latter companies operating at Ogdensburg,
New York. He is also a director in the National
Portland Cement Company, operating at l\Tartins
Creek, Pennsylvania. Mr. Coffin is a recognized
leader in Republican circles in Northampton
county, and from 1897 to 1901 served as chairman
of the Republican county central committee. He
was also chairman of the city central committee
of Easton from 1898 until 1901. On July 3,



1898, he was appointed referee in bankruptcy,
which position he is still filling. He holds mem-
bership in the JMcKinley Club, the Pomfret and
Northampton Country Clubs.

On June 9, 1897, Mr. Coffin was united in
marriage to J\Iiss IMinnie Reese, daughter of
Jacob and ]\Iaria (Reichard) Reese. Two chil-
dren were born of this union : Anna Frances, who
died in infancy ; and George F., Jr., born May
20, 1903.

ED\\^\RD DEITRICH, the veteran milk-
dealer of Easton, Pennsylvania, is of German
descent, his paternal grandfather, Jacob Deitrich,
having been a native of Germany, whence he emi-
grated to the United States in the early history
of .the Lehigh Valley. Choosing Northampton
county, Pennsylvania, as his home, he settled in
what was afterward known as Forks township,

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 30 of 92)