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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been born six children : Cora E., Genevieve L.,
Eugene W. and Rose L., twins ; Carlos A. and
Margie E. All were born in Paterson, New Jer-
sey, save ]\[argie, who is a native of Lehighton.

D. A. L. DA\'IS, who was formerly connected
with the educational interests of Carbon county,
is now the proprietor and editor of the Lausford
Leader, one of the leading Republican papers of
Carbon count}'. In the promotion and conserva-
tion of advancement in all the normal lines of hu-
man progress and civilization there is no factor
which has exercised a more potent influence than
the press, which is bcth the director and the mirror
of public opinion. Pennsylvania has been signally
favored in the character of its newspapers, wdiich
have been vitally enthusiastic and progressive,
ever aiming to advance the interests of this
favored section of the Union, to aid in laying fast
and sure the foundations of an enlightened com-
monwealth, to further the ends of justice, and t"'
uphold the banner of the Keystone State. It is
in this connection that Mr. Davis' activity in
recent years has found favor with the local public
of Lansford and the surrounding district.

Mr. Davis was born in Lansford, in June,
1865, and is descended in the fifth generation
from a Davis who was a soldier of the English
Armv during the Revohitionarv war. He was



reared in Lansford, and his preliminary education,
acquired in the public schools, was supplemented
by study in Juniata College in 1881 and 1882. He
completed a two years course, and then took up
the study of stenography, mastering two systems
of shorthand. In 1883 he entered the employ of
the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company in the
capacity of engineer, serving in that way for about
three years, when in 1885 he was crushed in a
collision, the accident proving almost fatal. Mr.
Davis was taken to Jefferson Hospital, where he
eventually recovered, and in 1886 he took charge
of the Lansford grammar school, in which posi-
tion he remained for four terms to the entire sat-
isfaction of the public and to the school board.
He was then principal of the East Weissport
school for two and a half terms, and of the
schools of the borough of Weissport for one
term. In 1893 ^^ took charge of the Lansford
Leader, which then had a paid up circulation of
four hundred and ten, and which now has an aver-
age circulation of sixteen hundred. In 1893 and
1894 he also owned a half interest in the Lehigh-
ton Press. He now has a well equipped news-
paper and job printing office, and is also prepared
to do all kinds of book work. He has made hi?
paper what its name indicates — a leader among
the country journals of this part of the state, and
the exponent of the best interests of the com-
munity. J\Ir. Davis is a member of the Patriot] •■
Order of Sons of America, his membership there-
with dating from' 1882. He also belongs to the
Elks, and the Royal Arcanum.

He was married in 1892 to ]\tiss Susie Lutz, a
daughter of Moses and Susan Lutz, of Tamacjua,
and thev now have one son, John Davis, born in

JOHN C. EDW.\RDS, one of the pioneer
settlers of Lansford, Pennsylvania, where for
thirty years he was engaged in merchandising, is
now living a retired life. He was born in North
Wales, ?ilay 16, 1830, and in his early youth his
parents removed to South Wales, where he was
reared and educated and there engaged in min-
ing, his father taking him to the mines when he
was but six years of age. In 185 1, when he had

attained his majority, he came to America with
his mother and her children, namely : John C,
Charles C, Harriet, deceased ; Lizzie, Jane and
Joseph. The father, Charles Edwards, had emi-
grated to the new world in 1848, and subsequently
sent for his family to join him in the United
States. Their heme was established near Scran-
ton, where they remained for only a short time,
and then removed to Beaver Meadows, in Penn-
sylvania, in 1852. Subsequently they become res-
idents of Stockton, near Hazelton, Pennsylvania,
where they remained for eight months and later
they took up their abode at Jeddo, where the
father died. His widow died at Lansford.

John C. Edwards removed to Tamaqua,
Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, where he en-
gaged in mining, and later he located at Dan-
ville, Pennsylvania, but after the death of his first
wife he returned to the home of his parents in
Jeddo. In 1862 he became a resident of Summii
Hill, where he followed mining until 1870, when
he removed to Lansford and engaged in mer-
chandising. His wife's son, Albert J. Thomas,
however, had practical charge of the store, while
Mr. Edwards continued his operations in the
mines. He was thus engaged for twelve years,
but in 1882 retired permanently from the mines
and gave his undivided attention to his mercantile
interests, conducting his store with excellent
success until igoo, when he sold out to his step-
son, Albert J. Thomas, and retired from active

Mr. Edwards is a self made man who began at
the bottom round of the ladder of life, and has
steadily climbed upward. In his business under-
takings he has prospered, and his record is such as
any man might be proud to possess, because it has
been characterized by unfaltering industry. He
has never made obligations that he has notniet,
nor engagements that he has not fulfilled. He
now owns the store room, one of the largest in
Lansford, in which the business is still carried on,
and he has in addition five houses which he rents.
Mr. Edwards is a member of the Baptist church,
in which he holds the office of deacon, and so-
cialh- he is connected with the Independent Order
of Odd ^'ellows and the Knights of Pythias.



AMiile living in Danville, Pennsylvania, Mr.
Edwards was united in marriage to Aliss Martha
Morgans, whose acquaintance he there formed.
The wedding was celebrated in 1856, and Mrs.
Edwards died at the birth of their only child, who
also passed away. In 1858 Mr. Edwards wedded
Mrs. Jane Thomas, nee Morgan. They became
the parents of twelve children, but onl}- three are
now living: Charles A., a shoe merchant of Lans-
ford ; Mrs. Harriet Jones: and Mrs. Lizzie Hall.
They also had nine grandchildren. 3i larch 20,
1897, Mr. Edwards was united to his third and
present wife, who was I\Irs. Ann Williams.

GEORGE L. WATSOX. a retired merchant
of broad business experience, whose labors have
resulted in the acquirement of a handsome com-
petence which he has judiciously invested in real
estate, becoming the owner of much valuable
property in Xesquehoning. was born in Blyth,
Northumberland county, England, February 25,

\\'hen twenty-seven years of age. in 185 1, he
crossed the Atlantic to the new world, landing in
New York, but soon afterw^ard made his way to
Pottsville, Pennsylvania, where he earned his first
American dollar by work in the anthracite coal
mines of that region. About 1853 he removed
to Nesquehoning, and in 1856 he took up his
abode at Tamaqua. Not being satisfied there,
however, he returned to Xesquehoning, where
he has since resided. He had emigrated to
America with the firm intention of gaining a for-
tune in the new world if it could be obtained
through untiring and persistent effort, and, hav-
ing already become familiar with the work of
mining in his native country, he naturally sought
a home in the coal mining region of the new
world. He possessed, moreover, much natural
mechanical ability, and displayed great skill in
the use of all kinds of tools. He could work
with equal ability at the blacksmith's, carpenter's,
machinist's or tinsmith's trades, and his services
were therefore of value to those by whom he was
employed. It was about this time that the Lehigh
Coal and X'avigation Company was building a
double-action stationarv engine which was to be

erected at the mouth of No. L slope. Mr, ^^'at-
son, because of his trustworthiness and compe-
tence was given charge of the engine, and had the
distinction of hoisting the first carload of coal
from that slope. He was retained in the position
of engineer for a number of years, and later had
charge of the pumping machinery at the mines.
His life has indeed been a very luisy and useful
one. While net actively engaged in the work of
the mines, he improved and utilized his time in
his own shop, where he followed general repair-
ing, being able to handle all kinds of tools and do
every kind of repair wcrk. In this way he added
greatly to his income, yet he was not content with
what he had accomplished in the financial world,
and was ever alert to business opportunities. At
length he noticed that there was a good opportun-
ity for the establishment of a good store in Nes-
quehoning, and after consulting his wife about
the venture he entered into a partnership with a
;\Ir. Seidles, under the firm name of Seidles &
Watson, general merchants. In the course of a
short time Mr. Seidles's health failed so that Air.
Watson purchased his interest and continued in
the business under his own name until 1895, when
he disposed of his store and retired from active
commercial life. Whatever he had undertaken in
former years he carried forward to successful
completion, and industry and enterprise were
recognized among his salient characteristics. He
built his success tipon the sure foundation of
earnest and unremitting labor, and he deserves
great credit for what he has achieved, his life
record proving conclusively that prosperity may
be attained without financial aid or assistance of
influential friends at the outset of one's career.
As his financial resources have increased he has
made judicious investment in real estate, and is
now the owner of twenty houses in X'es(|uehoning,
also a hotel in the town, and three houses in
Alauch Chunk.

lulv 14, 1846. Mr. Watson was united in mar-
riage to Aliss Grace Taylor, and she accompanied
him on his voyage to the new world, and was ever
a faithful companion and helpmate to him on
life's journev until she was called to her final
rest on September 2, 1894, when seventy-three



years of age, her birth having occurred in 1821.
Mr. Watson had been in America but five
years when on March 3, 1856, he declared his
intention of becoming a naturahzed citizen of the
United States, and since that time he has been
most loyal and true to his adopted country. He
has always been a staunch Republican, and is the
only surviving one of five who were organizers of
the Republican party in Nesquehoning. He has
never seen fit to change his political views, but
has always given stalwart support to Republican
jjrinciples, and in his duties of citizenship has ever
been prompt and faithful. Socially he is con-
nected with the Independent Order of Odd Fel-
lows and the Knights of Pythias, and in both of
these has passed all the chairs. In early life he
became a member of the Methodist Episcopal
church, and remained one of its zealous workers
and ardent supporters until about sixty-five years
of age. His leisure hours were largely devoted to
the upbuilding of the church and the study of
political questions. Through constant research
and investigation he was made to change his
views. He has been a wide reader and a deep
thinker, and he never accepts an idea because it
is presented by some one who seems to have
authority upon the subject. On the contrary, Mr.
Watson looks beyond the surface to the bedrock
of fact, and now at the age of eighty years, after
years of observation and experience, he confesses
himself an ardent spiritualist, and not only stands
ready to defend his belief but courts discussion
upon the subject. He is surrounded by the best
literature of the faith he professes, and makes
good use of his books. He has a well equipped
librarv containing many interesting volumes,
with the contents of which he has made liimself
familiar. Mr. Watson still enjoys life at the age
of four-score years and has the thorough con-
fidence of his many friends, even though they
differ from him in religion. He is respected
by all who know him for his intcgritv of purpose
and uprightness of character, and his intellectual
powers are still strong and clear. As he ex-
j-ircsses it, he "expects to live to the last minute,"
or in other words to keep in touch with the ac-
tive affairs of life and their bearing upon the

physical, mental and moral nature of man. His
has, indeed, been a useful and active career, and,
while gaining success, the hope of which drew
him to the new world, he has at the same time
maintained an honorable course that has made
him worthy of respect and esteem.

ALFRED KETTRA, who is engaged in the
wholesale confectionery and bakery business at
Summit Hill, has prospered by means of the
thrift, industry and capable management which
underlie all business success. He was born in
Blocmingdale, Pennsylvania, February 13, 1861,
and is a son of Abraham and Sarah (Miller)
Kettra, both of whom were natives of the Mahon-
ing valley, in Carbon county. Pennsylvania. The
father was a soldier of the Civil war, serving
with Company A, Fourth Regiment Pennsylvania
Volunteer Cavalry, which was attached to the
Second Brigade of cue of the divisions of the
Army of the Potomac. He was with his regi-
ment for nine months, in which time many of the
most hotly contested engagements of the war oc-
curred, and was then honorably discharged at the
expiration of his term of service. He and his
familv are identified with the Methodist Episco-
pal church. He had seven children, four of whom
are living, namely : ]\Iary, Hattie, Ellen and

Alfred Kettra, the only son, spent the days of
his bovhood and youth at Summit Hill and Lans-
ford, and the ]niblic schools of those boroughs
afforded him his educational privileges and pre-
pared him for the jiractical duties of a business
career. Like most of the boys reared in a min-
ing district, his early life was spent in the break-
ers, and later he went to the mines, following that
]Hirsuit until 1881, when he became identified
with commercial interests as a salesman. He was
thus employed for thirteen years, during which
time he gained a comprehensive knowledge of
mercantile methods, and also acquired through his
industrv and economy the capital which enabled
him to engage in business on his own account. In
1894 he established a bakery at Summit Hill, and
met with immediate success in that undertaking,
so that in 1899 he enlarged the scope of his labors

^^ri/^SW /i^ < ^'




by engaging also in the wholesale confectionery
trade, and to this dual commercial pursuit he now
devotes his energies with excellent success.

In July, 1886, ]\Ir. Kcttra was united in mar-
riage to Miss Ammas Baniford, who was born
in Farryville, Pennsylvania, in 1859. To them
were born ten children, of whom Harry, William,
Alfred, Robert and Laura are living, and Beulah,
Emily, Eva, Edward and Barnett are deceased.

While residing in Lansford, where he made
his home for a number of years, ^Ir. Kettia
served as a member of the school board, and also
as auditor, and in the borough of Summit Hill
he has been a member of the board of health,
serving as its secretary. He is popular with his
brethren of several fraternities, belonging to Tam-
aqua Lodge, No. 238, F. and A. M., is a past
noble grand of the Odd Fellows Lodge of Lans-
ford ; is past president of the Patriotic Order
Sons of America ; past captain of the Sons of
Veterans ; and a member and past president of the
Pennsylvania Deutsche Gesellschaft. He belongs
to the ]\Iethodist Episcopal church, of which he
has been a member from boyhood. Indeed he is
one of the charter members of the church in Lans-
ford. and is now a trustee and secretary of the
board. This church was organized as a class by
Rev. O. D. Drake in 1877, and the present edi-
fice, which was begun in 1889, was dedicated in
Julv, 1890. The church was attached to Nesque-
honing for several years, or until 1883, and in
1 89 1 it became an independent charge. The char-
ter members numbered thirty-five, and there is
now a membership of one hundred and fifty. The
mortgage on the church was burned September
27, 1903, and the church property is now valued
at ten thousand dollars.

JOHN W. DAA'IES, now deceased, was a
well known and much respected coal operator of
Lansford who for thirty years was an extensive
coal contractor connected with the Lehigh Coal
and Navigation Company, and while hundreds of
men were in the employ of that company no man
was more valuable because of clearness of per-
ception and sound judgment in connection with
the minin? of anthracite coal.

Mr. Davies was numbered among the adopted
sons that the little rock-ribbed country of ^^'ales
furnished to America. His birth occurred at
Llanell, in South Wales, on the 25th of Decem-
ber, 1844, and he was rearetl and educated there,
enjoying good scho;l privileges. Early in life
his uncle, William Davies, trained him for the
sea, and he learned navigation and e\entuallv be-
came a captain, commanding the full rigged ship
"Loretta." His first voyage was to Calcutta, and
subsequently he sailed to the far east, also to the
\\'est Indies, to Madagascar and to Australia.
His certificates show that he traveled in all parts
of the world, each time receiving an honorable
discharge. In 1867, however, he gave up a sea-
faring life, and in the same year was united in
marriage to IMiss Jane Evans, a daughter of
Rees Evans, who was leader of the Bethel church
choir. The wedding ceremony was performed
by the Rev. Dr. John Rhys Morgan, one of the
distinguished men of Wales, at Llanelly, South
Wales, which was also the birthplace of ]\lrs.

Not long after their marriage the newh'
wedded couple emigrated to the United States
and made their way direct to Lansford, Pennsyl-
vania, then known as Ashton. Here Mr. Davies
immediately began contracting, having gained
both experience and means as the result of former
labor. He took the contract fcr working colliery
No. 9, and was the first man engaged in driving
the tunnel for the opening of the coUierv No. 11,
formerly called Dry Hollow. His first eight
years were spent in the operation of these two,
and in 1876 he took charge of No. 6 colliery, then
known as Graball, where he continued until 1888.
At that time he was awarded the contract to ex-
tinguish the fire that was raging in No. 6 on
the east end of the mines, and in 1900 he became
master of the fire, having completely extinguised
it, but this work was the cause of his death, for
during the fighting of the fire so much poison en-
tered his system that his health was impaired, and
his life was undoubtedly shortened on this ac-
count. W'hile operating No. 6 colliery he was in
partnership with his brother-in-law, Josiah Will-
iams, under the firm name of Williams & Davies.



This relationsliip continued for eighteen years,
and after the death of Mr. Williams Mr. Davies
continued to operate the mine under his own
name until he, too, departed this life.

Both men were men of strong character and
great influence, and Mr. Williams was one of the
pioneer miners of Lansford, and at one time
was commissioner of Carbon county, Pennsyl-
vania. On the death of W. D. Thomas, in Feb-
ruary, 1899, the contract which had formerly
been held by him was taken up by Mr. Davies,
and as the result thereof he operated colliery No.
8 until his own death. He also became identified
with the financial interests of his locality, and
was a director of the First National Bank of

Socially Mr. Davies was a member of Tania-
qua Lodge, No. 238, F. and A. M., and also took
the degrees of capitular and chivalric Masonry,
belonging to Tamaqua Chapter, No. 177, R. A.
M., and Ivanhoe Commandery, No. 177, K. T.
He was likewise a member of the Independent
Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias
fraternity and the Improved Order of Red Men.
He belonged to the Welsh Congregational church,
took a zealous interest in its work, contributed
generously to its support, and served as one of
its trustees. He had a most comprehensive and
accurate knowledge of the Bible, so that he could
hold his own in any debate with a theologian.

The family of Mr. and Mrs. Davis numbered
four children : Mrs. Morgan L. West, who was
born in 186S ; Josiah W., born July 16, 1871 : Mrs.
David H. Davies, born in 1874; and John R., in
1876. All of the children were born in Lansford,
Pennsylvania, and were very liberally educated.
The elder son pursued a special course of study in
Lafayette College, and for three years was a mem-
ber of the Lafayette College Glee Club as a first
tencr, this covering the years 1893-4-5. lie suc-
ceeded to the duties which were so long and cap-
ably discharged by the father. In 1899 he was
married to Miss M. Charlotte Neifert, of Tama-
c|ua, Pennsylvania, who was born July 19, 1877.
John R. Davies was educated at the Kutztown
Normal. He was married, April 27, 1899. to
]\Iiss Anna M. E. Neifert, who was born July 8,

1874, and is a sister of Mrs. J. W. Davies, Jr.
They are the daughters of Mrs. H. A. Weldy, of

The death of John W. Davies occurred on
December 19, 1903. While others were preparing
for the Christmas festivities, this family were
made sad by the entrance of the death angel. He
bore his illness without complaint, and in the
calm of the hour at the dawn of day passed peace-
fully away. His demise came as a personal loss
to many besides his own dear ones, and manv
were the sympathetic hearts which were touched
by the last and most tender tribute paid to his
memory :

Farewell, beloved husband ! through our tears
We now recall the blessings of the years ;
The sorrows and the joys that filled our life.
The victories achieved thro' storm and strife;
It is but meet that we should weep for you.
The father and the friend so kind and true ;
And that the years of love and constancy,
Should live forever in the memory.

Farewell, beloved father ! sad and sore.
We seek for you as in the days of yore ;
W elisten for the voice we loved to hear.
But we are answered by the sigh and tear ;
That we shall never clas'p your hand and greet.
But we shall keep your memory fresh and sweet.
Throughout the years, and we shall often dwell
Upon the name and face we loved so well.

LAURENCE TARLETON, a general con-
tractor of Weatherly, was born in Nesquehoning,
Penn.sylvania, November 2, 1854, a son of Ber-
nard and Adeline (Ratclifif) Tarleton, the former
of Irish and the latter of English lineage, but
both were born in the state of New York. They
removed to Nesquehoning at an early day. and in
1849 ^Tr. Tarleton started for California, at-
tracted by the discovery of gold on the Pacific
coast. After a few years, however, he returned
to Pennsylvania, having met with some suc-
cesses and some failures in his search for the
precious metal in the far west. On again estab-
lishing his home in this state, he became inter-
ested in coal mining and continued in that busi-
ness throughout his remaining davs. He was a



most energetic and industrious man. His wife
was a member of the Ratcliff family that was
established in Xesquehoning as early as 1830,
being pioneer settlers of the coal region of Car-
bon county. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Tarleton were
born seven children, three of whom are now liv-
ing, Thomas and Catherine, who are residents of
Nesquehonihg ; and Laurence.

In his native town Laurence Tarieton spent
the days cf his boyhood and youth, and is in-
debted to the public school system for the edu-
cational privileges he enjoyed. He earlv became
connected with mining as a breaker boy, and was
advanced step by step until he became cne of the
regular workers in the mines. He worked indus-
triously and lived frugall}', and in course of time
was enabled to engage in business on his own ac-
count. In 1885 he removed to Weatherly, where
he purchased the Carbon House, which he con-
ducted profitably until 1903. He then retired
from the hotel business, but still owns the prop-
erty, and is now engaged in general contracting
in Weatherly, conducting extensive operations
in that line. In this connection he built the tele-
phone line between Slatington, Hnntsdale and
Weatherly, also the line between Hazelton and
Wilkes-Barre. He took the contract and erected
the substantial wall surrounding the Schwab

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 59 of 92)