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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amount of farming land, but possessed property



in the town of Bath, Pennsylvania. In 1856 he
married Miss Emeline Rhodes, who was born
October 27, 1833. They became the parents of
two sons, Robert E. and Allen, the latter born
May 25, 1862. The father passed away in Sep-
tember, 1893, but the mother is still living.

Robert E. Young was born in East Allen
township, Northampton county. May 25, 1862,
and spent his boyhood days under the parental
roof. He remained with his father until he had
attained his majority, and then started out in
business on his own account. He was first em-
ployed by W. W. Thurston, and subsequently
turned his attention to farming. In 1896 he re-
moved to Plainfield township, where he rented
the farm upon which he now resides. After three
years he purchased the property which was
formerly a part of the Aaron Ackenbach estate,
and is one of the oldest developed farms of this
section of the valley. In his agricultural pur-
suits he displays energy, enterprise and diligence,
and his eighty acres of land constitutes a tract
that yields to him golden harvests in reward for
his labor. ]\Ir. Young has filled the position of
school director in Moore township, Northampton
county, while at the present writing in 1903 he is
serving as school director in Plainfield township.
The cause of education finds in him a warm
friend, and he exercises his official prerogatives
through the substantial improvement of the
schools. He and his family are members of the
Evangelical church, and he is occupying the po-
sition of superintenden*: of the Sunday school.

In 1879 Mr. Young was united in marriage
to Miss Ellen Stauffer, who was born in Bush-
hill township, Northampton county, November
6, 1856, a daughter of John and Kate Stauffer.
By this marriage seven children have been born :
Kate, Sallie, Emma, Charles, Mary, John and
Ruth, and the family circle yet remains unbroken
by the hand of death. Mary is the wife of Wil-
liam Easterday ; Sallie, the wife of George Et-
terby : and Emma, the wife of David Ruth.

ERASMUS A. HAHN, of Lafona, North-
ampton county, Pennsylvania, is one of the most
active men of Plainfield township, having the



470



HISTORIC HOMES AND INSTITUTIONS.



management of a mill, in addition to the culti-
vation of his farm. He comes of an energetic
and long established family of that section, his
great-grandfather, Frederick Hahn, being among
the earliest of the German settlers of the Lehigli
Valley.

Peter, a son of Frederick Hahn, who was
born in Plainfield township, lived there all his life
and became a farmer of consequence. He owned
two hundred acres of land in three separate
farms, and did things on a larger scale than his
neighbors. He was a worthy man as well as a
practical farmer, and a valued member of the
German Reformed church, in which he held of-
fices of responsibility. His family consisted of
the following children : Jonathan, Thomas, An-
thony, George, Frederick, Hannah, Mrs. A.
Himer, and Mrs. Gruner.

Jonathan, oldest child of Peter Hahn, was
born in Plainfield township in 1827. He grew
up to a farmer's life, and in time became the
owner of one hundred and sixty-seven acres of
land. He cultivated this land successfully, and
in 186S he bought of his brothers, Thomas and
Anthony, the mill they had built in 185 1. He
operated this mill up to the time of his death,
when it fell into the hands of his son Erasmus
A. He was an upright man and a good citizen,
and a stanch supporter 01 the Reformed church,
in which he held the office of elder. The wife
of Jonathan Hahn was Angelica Stotz, and eight
children were born of the marriage. The names
of the children were as follows : Clarissa, Ellen.
Elizabeth, Anna, and Peter J., all deceased ; Wil-
liam F., Samuel (deceased), and Erasmus A.,
whose name appears at the head of this article.
Jonathan Hahn died in 1900, and his wife died in
1880.

Erasmus A., youngest child of Jonathan
and Angelica (Stotz) Hahn, was bom in Plain-
field township in 1866. He was brought up here
and educated in the neighborhood schools, occu-
pying himself outside of schooldays on his fa-
ther's farm and in the mill. At the age of twenty
he decided to make milling his occupation and be-
gan work in his father's mill with that end in
view. He has improved the original plant and



modernized the machinery, so that now his mill
has a capacity of one hundred bushels a day. He
has put in a cider mill of the latest and most im-
proved kind, with which he can produce seventy-
five barrels of cider in a day. The mill is
equipped with both water and steam power, the
water-wheel being of twenty horse-power, and
the engine of twelve horse-power. Mr. Hahn
also cultivates fifty-three acres of land. He has
natural mechanical ability, and is entirely at home
in the management of complicated machinery.
He is an enterprising man of business, and a sub-
stantial citizen, being openhanded in any worthy
cause.

In 1901 he married Carrie Lehman, of Plain-
field township. Mr. and Mrs. Lehman are the
parents of two children — Celia A., born j\Iarch
13, 1902, and an infant, born June 30, 1903.

PETER WILLIAMSON, proprietor of the
Belfast Hotel at Belfast, Pennsylvania, is of En-
glish lineage. His paternal grandfather, Frank
Williamson, was a native of England, who, cross-
ing the Atlantic to America, settled in Northamp-
ton county, where he followed his trade of shoe-
making. His son, William Williamson, the fa-
ther of Peter Williamson, was born in Easton,
Pennsylvania, and for nearly thirty years was
proprietor of a hotel. He also engaged in oper-
ating slate quarries in early life, but on the break-
ing out of the Civil war abandoned his slate busi-
ness and offered his services to the government,
becoming a private of the Forty-seventh Regi-
ment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. He re-
mained with the army for four years, and was
then honorably discharged. He married Miss
Anna Switzer, a native of Plainfield township,
Northampton county, and his death occurred in
1 90 1, when he was seventy-three years of age.
His widow, however, still resides in Belfast.
They were the parents of thirteen children, ten
of whom are yet residents of Northampton county
and four of the sons are engaged in the hotel
business. The ten living children are Mary,
Peter, William S., Charles E., John B., Fred,
Raymond M., Bertha, Clara and Emma.

Peter Williamson was born in Belfast, North-



GENEALOGICAL AND PERSONAL MEMOIRS.



471



aniptoii county, Januar}' 30, 1869, and the days
of his boyhood and youth were spent in his par-
ents' home. He entered upon his business career
in connection with merchandising, and conducted
a store in Belfast for three years, while for three
succeeding years he was proprietor of a store in
Bushkill Center. For ten years he has been con-
nected with the hotel business, first as proprietor
of the Stockertown Hotel, afterward of the Ash-
land House at Belfast, and now is the owner and
proprietor of the Belfast Hotel. This is a fine
house, having been erected with every regard for
the convenience and comfort of the guests, and
has a capacity for the entertainment of thirty.
It is supplied with all the modern improvements
of a city hotel, in addition to the advantages ot
a country inn. The house was erected by Mr.
Williamson in igoi, and he has made it one of
the leading hostelries in this section of North-
ampton county. Mr. Williamson is a member of
the Improved Order of Red Men, the Sons of
Veterans and the Patriotic Order of Sons of
America.

He was married December 11, 1886, to Miss
Emma Young, a daughter of William and Mary
Young, and a native of Bushkill township, North-
ampton county. Six children graced this union :
Mamie, Stewart, Anna, Helen, Ellis and Floyd.

WATSON G. FRUTCHEY, who owns and
conducts a farm of one hundred and eighty-two
acres of well cultivated land lying west of Fort-
land and north of Mount Bethel, in Upper Mount
Bethel township, is a descendant of Peter
Frutchey, who was born in Northampton county
in 1776, and was of the first generation of the
family native in this locality. His father had
settled in Saucon township in 1750. Some be-
lieved that the family is of German lineage, others
of French, while still others claim a Swiss origin.
In the year 1800 Peter Frutchey and his two
brothers removed to Mount Bethel township. He
learned the trade of a tanner in Easton, Pennsyl-
vania, and followed that pursuit for many years,
owning and operating a tannery at Williamsburg,
Pennsylvania. In public affairs he was influen-
tial, and for fifteen years served his township as



justice of the peace. His death occurred in 1876,
when he had reached the extreme old age of one
hundred years. His wife bore the maiden name
of Elizabeth Bowers, and they reared a family
of nine children, one of whom, William Frutchey,
lived to the age of ninety-nine years.

George Frutchey, the father of William G.
Frutchey, was born in Mount Bethel township,
Northampton county, in 1814, and in his youth
learned the tanner's trade under the direction of
his father, giving his entire attention to the busi-
ness. He married Miss Anna Hess, a daughter
of Jeremiah Hess, and they became the parents
of three sons : Jeremiah, born in 1835 ; Peter G. in
1838; and Watson in 1842. The first named is a
very successful school teacher, and the others are
following farming.

Watson G. Frutchey has throughout his bus-
iness career carried on agricultural pursiiits, and
has prospered in his undertakings, being now the
possessor of a very valuable tract of land com-
prising one hundred and eighty-two acres lying
west of Portland and north of Mount Bethel.
This is a well cultivated farm, substantial im-
provements having been placed upon it, while the
fields are tilled and planted to the crops best
adapted to soil and climate. In all of his farm
work he is progressive and practical, and his
labors have brought to him a gratifying income.

Watson G. Frutchey was married in 1863 to
Miss Catherine Roberts, and they have become
the parents of seven children : William J. R., born
in 1865 ; Marcus P. in 1867 ; George W. in 1869 ;
Edgar in 1871 ; Charles in 1873 ; Arthur in 1875 !
and Catherine in 1893. The parents have every
reason to be proud of their family, for two of the
sons, William J. R. and Marcus P., are now hold-
ing responsible positions in the employ of John
Wanamaker, while the others are equally well
situated in life.

IRWIN EYER, justice of the peace of
Mount Bethel, is a representative of a family that
had its origin in Germany, and which was
founded in America by Jacob and Barbara Oyer,
in which form the paternal name originally ap-
pears. John Martin Oyer, one of the sons of



472



HISTORIC HOMES AND INSTITUTIONS.



Jacob and Barbara Oyer, was bom in Feltbach,
in Lower Alsace, Germany, June 6, 1731. He
was married November 7, 1754, to Dorotha
Bysher, who was born June 28, 1736, a daugh-
ter of Adam and Barbara Bysher. They emi-
grated to America and reared a family of
sons who became men of strong character
and broad intelligence, some teachers and others
preachers, and who settled in various parts of
the American colonies, some founding a home in
Bucks county, Pennsylvania, and others in
Northampton county.

■William Oyer, the grandfather of Irwin Eyer,
was born in Upper Mount Bethel township in
1786. His wife was Catherine Berger, and unto
them were born eight children : John, Jacob,
Catherine, Mary, Margaret, Malinda, Elizabeth
and Louisa. Of this number Catherine and Ma-
linda are living. The father was a farmer by oc-
cupation, and followed that pursuit in Upper
Mount Bethel township until he removed to Illi-
nois, where his death occurred.

John Eyer, for so the family name appears in
. this generation, was born in Upper Mount Bethel
township in 1807, there pursued his education,
and became familiar with the work of the farm.
He was a practical agriculturist who believed in
doing everything to the best of his ability, and
his energy was manifested in the splendid ap-
pearance of his home property. He held some
minor offices in his township. His wife bore the
maiden name of Elizabeth Fenner, who was born
in Upper Mount Bethel township, Northampton
county, in 1805. John Eyer passed away in
1877, but his wife survived him until 1896. They
had but two children : William, who was born in
1829 and died in 1876 ; and Irwin.

Irwin Eyer was born on the old family home-
stead in Upper Mount Bethel township in 1846,
and here his entire life has been passed, although
it has been unmarked by any event of exciting in-
terest. His career has been characterized by fi-
delity in citizenship and integrity in all relations
of life. He owns a small farm of fifty acres of
well improved and highly cultivated land adja-
cent to the village of Mount Bethel, and is a
practical, progressive and enterprising farmer.



His fellow townsmen, recognizing his worth and
ability, have called him to several public offices,
and he has served as auditor and township clerk,
in addition to the office of justice of the peace.
He is now the oldest justice in his section of the
county, serving his fourth term in this office. He
is a man of strong intelligence and excellent ex-
ecutive ability, and his fairness and equity are
manifested in the decisions which he renders. His
political support is given to the Democracy.

Mr. Eyer was united in marriage to Miss
Emma L. Paul, who was born in 1849, ^
daughter of Jacob and Mary Paul. and unto this
union have been born : Lizzie M., the wife of Ed-
ward Frutchey ; Howard J., who wedded Julia
Abel ; Jacob H., who married Nettie Sandt ;
George I.; Charles O. ; Grace M., the wife of
Chester Ayers ; Walker A. ; Cora L. ; and
Paul W.

JOHN FRITZ. In no country in the world
has there been so great achievement along in-
ventive and industrial lines as in America, and
John Fritz stands as an exponent of this national
progress. He has won the most distinguished
honors in connection with the development of the
iron industry of the country, to which he has
devoted his entire life, and the value of his service
has been recognized by the crowned heads of
Europe as well as by leading men of his native
land. He is now more than eighty years of age,
and long after he shall have passed away his name
will figure on the pages of history as one whose
efforts have been a most forceful element in the
promotion of an industry whicn has largely revo-
lutionized the trade relations of the world.

Pennsylvania may well be proud to number
John Fritz among her native sons. His birth oc-
curred in Londonderry township, Chester county,
August 21, 1822, and of a family of three broth-
ers and four sisters he was the eldest. His fa-
ther, George Fritz, who was born in Germany,
came with his parents to America when in his
eighth year, and after attaining adult age wedded
Mary Mehary, who was born in Chester county,
Pennsylvania, and was of Scotch-Irish parentage.

?\Ir. and Mrs. Fritz resided upon a farm in






'.X.^







GENEALOGICAL AND PERSONAL MEMOIRS.



473



Londonderry township, and there John Fritz
spent the first sixteen years of his Hfe, working
in the fields, looking after the farm stock, and
acquiring during the winter months such educa-
tion as the limited facilities of the time aftorded.
Prompted by a desire to know more of mechanical
pursuits, he left home in 1838 and went
to Parkersburg, Pennsylvania, where he was
apprenticed to learn the trades of black-
smith and machinist. From there in 1840
he went to Norristown, Pennsylvania, and
assisted in building the Norristown Iron
Works, of which he after a few years prac-
tically became the superintendent. From Nor-
ristown he removed to bafe Harbor, Lancaster
county, Pennsylvania, in 1849, ^^d there entered
the employ of Reeves Abbot & Company as an
engineer, and assisted in the building and putting
into operation what was known as the Safe Har-
bor Iron Works. In 185 1 he was induced by
David Reeves to take charge of the Kunzie (an-
thracite) blast furnace, and after remodelling
this and placing it in working condition he con-
ducted it for a time and subsequently returned to
Norristown. In 1853, however he went to Cata-
sauqua, where in company with his brother
George and his two brothers-in-law, Messrs.
Stroud and Chandler, he built and operated a
small foundry and machine shop. In 1854, by the
request of David Reeves, his former employer,
Mr. Fritz went to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, as
superintendent of what has since become known
as the Cambria Iron Works. He was employed
to remodel and rebuild the plant. When Mr.
Fritz took charge the mill was of such designing
and construction, and was so incomplete in many
ways that he found it impossible to make the
rolling of rails in the ordinary way a commercial
success with such iron as was furnished him.
He thereupon asked the proprietors to allow him
to build a mill of new design, one of three high
rolls driven direct of¥ the end of the flywheel
shaft, but to this plan they objected, insisting on
building an old fashioned geared two high mill
on the same principle as the mills then in general
use and which had given him so much trouble.



Satisfied in his own mind that it would not be
possible to make perfect rails out of the material
at hand in a mill of such construction, Mr. Fritz
absolutely refused to comply with the wishes of
the company, well knowing that it would be a
loss of time and of money unwisely spent to do
so. He persisted in this course, and later was
granted permission to erect a mill such as he had
recommended. This mill was built, and it worked
admirably, although in his plans he had received
the opposition of stockholders and directors and
even of men engaged in the iron business. With
the introduction of the three high system of roll-
ing and many other modern changes and im-
provements, the Cambria Iron Works at once
became the greatest plant of the kind in the
world, and continued to hold that position until
iron was superseded by that marvelous process
invented by Sir Henry Bessemer.

In i860 Mr. Fritz was called to Bethlehem to
design and erect the plant of what was known
as the Bethlehem Iron Company, now the Bethle-
hem Steel Company, the largest of its kind in
America up to a comparatively recent date. In
1871 the Bessemer plant of the concern was built,
in 1877-78 the erection of the great forge and
armor plate plant of these works, conceived and
designed by Mr, Fritz, was begun and completed
several years later. It was the product of these
works that made possible to the United States
navy the great victories of Santiago and Manila
Bay. In 1863 Mr. Fritz was commissioned by
the LTnited States government to build a mill for
re-rolling rails at Chattanooga, Tennessee, and
was authorized to use any machinery necessary
for the quickest construction of the plant. In
1897 he was ordered by the United States navy
department to furnish plans and specifications
and cost of an armor plate plant for the govern-
ment. His plans were accepted, and he completed
the plant to the entire satisfaction of the depart-
ment.

John Fritz became connected with this busi-
ness in 1838, when the entire country produced
but two hundred and fiftv thousand tons of iron.
In 1901 the product was nearly sixteen millions,



474



HISTORIC HOMES AND INSTITUTIONS.



and in 1903 nearly nineteen millions. He has
been identified with every change and improve-
ment which has produced this njost marvelous
and unparalleled increase in production and in
the development of the great iron industry of the
country. Of his work as an ironmaster Charles
M. Schwab, at a dinner in 1891 at Delmonico's
in New York, given by Mr. Arthur Keen, of
England, said: "After the smoke of the battle
has cleared away and the nistory of the steel in-
dustry in this country comes to be written, there
is one name that will shine brighter than that of
any president of any corporation, and that name
is John Fritz." Mr. Fritz has received many
other public tokens of appreciation for his work,
including a Master of Arts degree from Co-
lumbia College in 1898. He was made an hon-
orary member of the American Society of Civil
Engineers, was chosen to the presidency of the
American Society of Mechanical Engineers, to
the presidency of the American Institute
of Mining Engineers, and was appointed
judge of Group I of the Centennial Ex-
hibition of 1876. In 1893 he was awarded
the Bessemer gold medal by the unanimous vote
of the president and council of the Iron and Steel
Institute of England, and was unanimously
elected an honorary member in that society the
same year, the only other honorary members be-
ing the Prince of Wales, now King of England,
the King of Belgium, Professor Richard Acker-
man, of Stockholm, Sweden, and the Hon. Abram
S. Hewitt, of New York.

The eightieth -anniversary of the birth of Mr.
Fritz was celebrated on Friday, October 31, 1902,
by a dinner given in his honor at the Waldorf-
Astoria Hotel in New York. The banquet also
signalized the successful founding of the John
Fritz gold medal for achievements in the indus-
trial sciences by the four national engineering
societies of this country. Four hundred men, all
interested directly or indirectly in the steel and
iron industry, gathered in the great banqueting
hall of the largest hotel in America to do honor
to the oldest steel master in the country, and
celebrate his birthday.



R. J. HONGEN, well known as a represen-
tative of industrial interests at Weissport, being
the president of the Diamond Prospecting and
Drilling Company, is numbered among the native
sons of Allentown, Pennsylvania. His paternal
great-grandfather was the progenitor of the fam-
ily in America. He was a man of sterling worth
and was a native of Germany. The grandfather,
Peter Hongen, was a carpet weaver by trade, and
reared a family of six children : John, William,
Solomon, Mary, Susan and Amanda. Among
this number the third son was Solomon Hongen,
who was born in Lehigh county, Pennsylvania, in
1831 and died in 1873. He followed farming as
a life work, and became well known as a leading
agriculturist and enterprising business man of
his community. He held membership in the
Evangelical church and lived in consistent
harmony with its teachings. He married Kath-
erine Wentz, whose birth occurred in Northamp-
ton county, Pennsylvania, in 1833, and who
passed away in 1887. In their family were eight
children : William, deceased ; Charles ; Ella, who
has also passed away ; R. J. ; D. S. ; Mary ; Kath-
erine, deceased ; and Lena.

R. J. Hongen was born in Allentown August
12, 1861, but spent the greater part of his youth
in Berlinsville, Northampton county, to which
place his father had removed with the family dur-
ing the early boyhood days of the sons. In the
public schools he acquired his education, and
after putting aside his text books he learned the
blacksmith's trade, but on account of failing
health brought on by the confinement of the shop
he was obliged to abandon that pursuit in 1889
and, wishing to engage in outdoor labor, began
the work of prospecting and drilling. He drills
for prospectors in search of oil and coal, and also
drills artesian wells. This business has not only
taken him throughout the Lehigh valley and ad-
jacent counties, but the various states beyond the
borders of Pennsylvania. His plant consists of
four well-drilling and two diamond machines, and
his machinery is operated by steam power. The
entire outfit involved a cost of ten thousand dol-
lars, and the business is now carried on under



GENEALOGICAL AND PERSONAL MEMOIRS.



475



the name of the Diamond Prospecting and Drill-
ing Company. Mr. Hongen has followed this
pursuit for fifteen years, during which time he
has drilled to a depth of over ten hundred feet.
He is a leading representative of this industry,
and his patronage has been so extensive as to
bring to him a substantial financial return. In
1883 he removed to Weissport, locating where he
now resides. He has erected some fine buildings
in which his machinery is kept, and he also built
a very pleasant residence which he occupies, and
which stands upon a natural building site occupy-
ing a splendid view of the surrounding country.
In community affairs Mr. Hongen has taken an
active interest, and for three years from 1894
until 1897 he served as deputy sheriff of Carbon
county, and he was also a member of the town-



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 84 of 92)