of ВЈ49 IDS. was collected for him. Prior to 1717 he removed to Solebury town-
ship, Bucks county, at the present site of the borough of New Hope, purchasing a
portion of the "Ferry Tract," and the mills thereon erected by Robert Heath,
operating the latter until 1729, when he purchased 200 acres of land in the Lundy
tract in Buckingham, lying along the Durham road, below the present village of
Buckingham, extending from the York road to the top of Buckingham mountain.
Here he resided until 1741, when he sold his farm to Samuel Blaker, and taking a
certificate from Buckingham Meeting to Newark Monthly Meeting, in New Castle
county, removed to \\'ilmington, where his son, Oliver, had preceded him and was
engaged in the milling business. He remained but a short time in Delaware, how-
ever, returning to Solebury. where he died September 20, 1742. Thomas Canby also
purchased, in 1717, 444 acres, lying along the Buckingham line, in Solebury town-
ship, which, in 1731, he conveyed to his sons, Benjamin and Thomas, Jr. His
interest in the mills he held until his death and devised to his son, Benjamin, who
in connection with them, operated an iron forge at New Hope, as well as iron
works in New Jersey, and was at the time of his death, 1748, proprietor of the
ferry at New Hope. Thomas Canby was elected to the Colonial Assembly, 1721,
from Bucks county, re-elected the following year, and was again elected in 1730-
33-38; succeeded by his son, Thomas Canby, Jr., 1739. During Thomas Canby's
first year of service in the Colonial Assembly, 1721, a bill was introduced for "set-
tling a ferry over the Delaware River from Thomas Canby's Mill in the County of
Bucks to the Western Division of New Jersey." The act was supported by a peti-
tion from the inhabitants of Solebury, but John Wells, having operated a ferry
from his land, adjoining Canby's, since 1714, the matter of changing the site to
Canby's site was referred to a committee who reported in favor of Wells. The
ferry came into the possession of Benjamin Canby at the death of Wells.
Thomas Canby was commissioned a Justice of the Peace and of the Courts of
Bucks county. December 2, 17 19, and filled that position regularly until his re-
moval to Wilmington, 1741, the records of the court showing that he was one of
the most active and regular attendants at the sessions of the court.
Thomas Canby was from his youth an active member of the Society of Friends,
and "had a gift in the ministry." As a member of Abington Meeting, before his
removal to Solebury, the minutes show that he frequently acted as a representative
of the Meeting in its business transactions, and was one of the trustees to hold the
land u])on which the Meetinghouse was erected. In 1713 he took a certificate to
1 622 STEEL
Falls Monthly Aleeting, Bucks county, that being probably the date of his removal
to Solebury, Buckingham not being erected into a Monthly Meeting until 1720,
from which date until his death he was one of the most active and prominent mem-
bers thereof, filling the positions of clerk, overseer, elder, etc.
Thomas Canby married (first), "att a Meeting att Richard Wain's," in Abington
township, November 2, 1693, Sarah Jervis, of Philadelphia; she died April 2.
1708; married (second), at Abington Meetinghouse, June 2, 1709, Mary, born in
Radnorshire, Wales, December 9, 1677, died in Solebury, Bucks county, March
26, 1 72 1, daughter of Evan and Jean Oliver, whom she accompanied to Pennsyl-
vania in the "Welcome," with William Penn, 1682; married (third), October 9,
1722, Jane Preston, a widow, who survived him. There was no issue from this
marriage. By his first wife, Sarah Jervis, his children were as follows: Benja-
min, born July 24, 1694; Sarah, born August 23, 1695 ; Elizabeth, born October 24.
1696; Mary, born October 14, 1697; Phebe, born July 19, 1699; Esther; Thomas,
born August 12, 1702; Benjamin, born July 18, 1704; Martha, born March 9,
1705. All of his first wife's children were married and reared families. By his
second wife, Mary Oliver, he had eight children, viz.: Jane, born April 12, 1710;
Rebecca, born December 16, 171 1 ; Hannah, born November 3, 1712; Joseph, born
January i, 1714; Rachel, born July 8, 1715 ; Oliver, born November 24, 1716; Ann.
born May 24, 1718; Lydia, born October 25, 1720.
In the life of Thomas Canby there is much to admire. Starting in the humble
walks of life, a poor, friendless and penniless orphan boy, he worked his way by
industry and perseverance into a position of general confidence. His sterling in-
tegrity of character, his usefulness as a citizen and public official, and his many acts
of Christian charity, endeared him to the community at large, and he became one
of the most prominent and highly respected men of his day. His numerous de-
scendants of other names take especial pride in tracing their ancestry back to
Thomas Canby, "the Friend."
Thomas C.vnby, Jr., seventh child and eldest surviving son of Thomas Canby,
by his first wife, Sarah Jervis, born in Abington township, Philadelphia (now
Montgomery) county, October 12, 1702, removed with his parents to Solebury
township, Bucks county, 1713, and was a resident of that township until 1741.
when he removed with his family to Wilmington, Delaware. He married, 1724,
Sarah Preston, born June 6, 1706, and lived until his removal to Delaware, upon
a portion of the tract purchased by his father, 1717, and conveyed to Thomas, Jr..
soon after his marriage.
Thomas Canby. Jr., succeeded his father as a member of Colonial Assembly, in
1739, and served in that body until his removal to Delaware in 1741. The family
continued to reside in Wilmington until the winter of 1756, the elder sons having
in the meantime married and engaged in business there. On December 9, 1756,
Wilmington Monthly Meeting, where the family held membership from its organ-
ization into a Monthly Meeting, granted a certificate to Thomas Canby to remove
to Darby, Chester county, with his wife, Sarah, daughter, Martha, "the latter clear
on account of marriage," and minor sons, Nathan and Joseph. This certificate was
received by Darby Monthly Meeting, February 2, 1757. On July 2, 1761, the latter
Meeting granted a certificate to Thomas Canby, Sarah, his wife, and their son,
Nathan, to Cecil Monthly Meeting, in Maryland. The will of Thomas Canby, 3d,
son of Thomas and Sarah, dated April 6. 1781, and proved in Philadelphia. Janu-
ary 4, 1802, devises to his son and daughter his "mills and 20 acres of land at the
head of Sassafras, in Kent and Cecil Counties Maryland," and 100 acres of wood-
land in Cecil county. His parents were probably deceased at this date. This
Thomas Canby, 3d, had married at Wilmington, 1753, Sarah, daughter of Robert
and Mary Lewis, of Philadelphia, and July 14. 1762, took a certificate from Wil-
mington to Philadelphia, for himself, his wife, Sarah, and two small children.
Sarah and Eli.
He became a merchant in Philadelphia, and his will, above quoted, devises his
whole estate to his two children, Sarah and Eli, and names them as executors.
The will states that he was "about to embark on a voyage by Sea." Sarah, daugh-
ter, died before the probate of the will, in 1802, and letters were granted to Eli as
M.VRTH.\ C.vNBV, daughter of Thomas and Sarah (Preston) Canby. born in
Solebury, Bucks county, February 18, 1737-38, removed with her parents to Wil-
mington, 1741, and from there to Darby, 1756. She was married at Christ
Church, Philadelphia, November 21, 1758, to James Steel, above mentioned, and
was disowned by Darby JMonthly Meeting in 1759, for marriage "out of Unity."
She and her husband soon after became members of the ?kleeting, however, and
with their children, Robert and Ann, took a certificate from Darby to Philadelphia,
dated June 28, 1764.
Issue of James and Martha (Canby) Steel:
Robert Steel, m. (first) Lydia Evans, (second) Hannah Pennock ;
Thomas Steel, of whom presently;
William Steel, m. (first) Mary White, (second) Susan Godshall : had six children by
the first wife and ten by the second:
James Steel, m. Eleanor Roberts, and had eight children:
Ann Steel, d. in early womanhood.
Thomas Steel, second son of James and Martha (Canby) Steel, born October
8, 1764, died June 30, 1832, was a miller, and for many years operated the Seller's
mill, at Sixty-third and Market streets, Philadelphia, which he rented from John
Sellers, grandfather of the late William and John Sellers, of Philadelphia, until
1814, and then purchased a flour mill in Darby, on the present site of the Griswold
Thomas Steel married, at St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal Church, Philadelphia,
December 16, 1789, Hannah, daughter of John and Sarah Anson, born November
<). 1773, '^is'l December 12, 1845.
Issne of Thomas and Hannah (.hison) Steel:
Robert Steel, of whom presently;
Anson Steel, b. July 2, 1801 ; m. Rebecca Bangs;
Canby Steel, b. March 26, 1803: m. Amelia Pierson;
William Widdifield Steel, b. June 17. 1805;
Lewis Steel, b. May 2, 1807; m. Rebecca Willis;
Rebecca Widdifield Steel, b. Feb, 19, 1811: m. Rankin:
James Cassell Steel, b. Jan. 7, 1813;
EH Canby Steel, b. Dec. 6, 181 5; d. unm.
Robert Steel, eldest son of Thomas and Hannah (Anson) Steel, born No-
vember 19, 1799, died December 4, 1843; married, April 13, 1826, Hannah White.
1 624 STEEL
daugliter of Moses and Elizabeth (Miller) Hill, born April i6. 1806, died May 24.
Issue of Robert and Hannah IV. (Hill) Steel:
Anson Hill Steel, b. Jan. 31, 1827; d. Oct. 2, 1905; no issue;
WaUAM Garrigues Steel, b. Dec. 22, 1829; d. Sept. 16, 1904; member of firm of Ed-
ward T. Steel & Co.: of whom presently;
Charles Franklin Steel, b. Jan. 24, 1832; d. Jan. 2, 1904; of whom presently;
Edward Thomas Steel, b. Jan. 6, 1835; d. Aug. 14, 1892; of whom presently;
Marianna Steel, b. Sept. 25, 1837; d. Dec. 15, 1844;
Henry Miller Steel, b. Sept. 25, 1840; of whom presently.
William Garrigues Steel, second son of Robert and Hannah \V. (Hill ) Steel,
born in Philadelphia. December 22. 1829. After completing his education in pri-
vate schools, he accepted employment in a mercantile establishment in south-
western Missouri, then almost a terra incognito, without railroads, and only to be
reached by wagon or on horseback. He travelled from St. Louis to his destination
by the latter means.
Returning after a few years to Philadelphia, he and his brother. Charles Frank-
lin Steel, associated themselves with the late George W. Childs, representing his
publications in the west. Later resuming his residence in Philadelphia, he entered
the counting house of Caleb Cope & Company, eventually becoming chief of their
financial department. In the panic of 1857 Caleb Cope & Company became finan-
cially embarrassed, and the titular head of the firm believed they were insolvent.
Mr. Steeel thought if he were given sole charge of their aflfairs, he could in time
at least provide from the assets for the full payment of the firm's debts, which was
accorded to him. He succeeded completely in doing so, and when Cope & Com-
pany's business was discontinued, handed over to the concern several hundred
thousand dollars, a result entirely due to his courage, ability and integrity.
He became a member of the firm of Howell, Smith & Company, successors to
Caleb Cope & Company. At the breaking out of the Civil War this firm failed,
due to the repudiation of debts owing it by southern customers. They proved to
be almost a total loss, practically none were paid during the war or afterwards.
Notwithstanding these severe losses, this firm soon liquidated their debts in full.
In September. 1862. at the time of Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania, he took out
as Captain, Company K. Twentieth Pennsylvania \olunteer Regiment.
In 1870 he became a partner in the firm of Edward T. Steel & Company, with
which he remained connected up to the time of his death in 1904.
In 1883 he went to England, accompanied by his family, in furtherance of the
foreign business of his firm. He there resided at llkley. near Bradford, until 1891,
gradually developing this business from one of the purchase to the extensive
manufacture of the fabrics dealt in by his firm, which, at the time this business was
discontinued, absorbed the production of three manufactories owned by them.
Changed conditions in the United States induced i\Ir. Steel's firm to discontinue
their foreign operations, and the entire machinery of their English mills was
shipped to this country and installed in factories they had purchased, at F.ristol.
Pennsylvania, and its operation continued in the manufacture of the same fabrics
they had made in England. Mr. Steel and his family returned to the United States
at this time.
In December, 1900, Mr. Steel spoke before tbe L'nited States Industrial Coin-
mission, then sitting in Philadelphia, on the advantage to the laboring men of this
country of a protective tariflf, his long experience in England giving him a thor-
ough understanding of the subject, and an exact knowledge of the remuneration of
labor in foreign countries, compared with wages in the United States.
He continued actively participating in the operations of his firm until failing
health caused his gradual relinquishment. During his later years he resided on the
place formerly owned by Franklin B. Gowen, at Mount Airy, Philadelphia, where
he died September 16, 1904.
Mr. Steel was a man of the highest ideas of integrity, of unusual perceptions and
intellect. He was one of the oldest members of the Union League Club of Phila-
delphia, and in 1880 a member of the "Committee of One Hundred." a body organ-
ized to reform the government of the city of Philadelphia.
He married (first) Fannie W., December, 1856. daughter of Georgt.- and Sarah
Herse, died April 16. 1863. Their children were:
Mary Francis, b. Nov. 4, 1857; d. Jan. 19, 1866;
Laura Anna, b. Dec. 22. 1859; single:
Helen Gertrude, b. Oct. 4. 1861 ; d. Feb. 5, 1865.
He married (second). January 16. 1868. Juliet A., born March 24. 1845. daugh-
ter of Ambrose H. and Sophie Ranch, of Bethlehem. Pennsylvania. Their chil-
dren were :
Sophie Bertha, b. March 24, 1870; single;
Ethel Anson, b. Nov. 3, 1879; m., Nov. i, 1906, Wheeler Hazzard Peckham. of New
York, son of Mr. and Mrs. Walton Mildeberger Peckham, of New York City;
Huldah Justice, b. Sept. 24, 1880; m., Feb. 4, 1903. W. Berkeley Williams, of Richmond,
Va. ; issue :
William Steel Williams, b. July 18, 1904;
Huldah Justice Williams, b. .^pril 5, 1908.
Charles ]'k.\.vklix Steki.. third son of Robert and Hannah VV. (Hill) Steel,
born in Philadelphia. January 24. 1832. After completing his education he spent
several years in New Jersey, eventually returning to his native city. He was later
associated with the engraving firm which manufactured the postage stamps of the
United States government. He devised the system which is still used in their man-
ufacture, by which a thorough accounting is kept of every sheet from its blank to
its finished condition. This work eventually being performed by the American
Bank Note Company, he superintended this department for them, necessitating
his residence in New York City. At a later period he was associated with his
brothers' firm in the management of their manufactories. Returning to New
York City, he remained there until his death, January 2. 1904.
Mr. Steel was a man of literary ability, and also a linguist, possessing a fluent
knowledge of German, French and Spanish languages. He was the author of a
work entitled "Did Bacon write Shakespeare," showing exhaustively and con-
clusively that Bacon could not possibly have done so, and proving beyond question
that Shakespeare did. This book has been considered by students of Shakespeare's
works, as an authority on the subject with which it deals, and has received their
1 626 STEEL
He inarried, June i, 1878, Emma Arnold, daughter of W. H. and Mary W.
Westcott. Their children were :
Hannah Hill, b. March 12, 1879; d. Jan. 28, 1882;
Robert Anson, b. March 28, 1881 ; d. Nov. 5, 1883;
Edward Thomas, 2nd, b. July 17, 1883; single;
Margaret Love, b. June 26, 1886; single.
Edward Thomas Steel, fourth son of Robert and Hannah W. (Hill) Steel,
born in Philadelphia, January 6, 1835, was educated at private schools in Penn-
sylvania and New Jersey. On leaving school he secured a position in a wholesale
notion house in Philadelphia, entering upon his duties, September 21, 1849, and
received a thorough business training for commercial life, developing the qualities
of industry, application and commercial ability, which were the moving elements in
his later success in business. Engaging in business for himself in 1856, as a whole-
sale cloth merchant, he founded the firm of Edward T. Steel & Company, in which
two of his brothers, William G. and Henry M., became partners, and made it one
of the leading mercantile houses of the city. He became widely known as a public-
spirited merchant and citizen, and was foremost in his advocacy of civic improve-
ments, especially in the line of public education. His recognized executive ability
led to his selection as a member of the Centennial Board of Finance, in 1876, his
first public position, and he demonstrated the fitness of his selection in assisting to
conduct the finances of the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia. He was later
named by the City Councils as the city's representative on the board of directors
of the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art. In 1880, at the earnest
solicitation of the President of the United States and the superintendent of the
Census, he supervised the taking of the census of Philadelphia, accomplished that
important work in a very brief period, and in a very satisfactory manner. His
anti-slavery training caused him to espouse the cause of the Republican party at its
formation, but although an earnest advocate of its principles he would never
accept a partisan nomination for office; declining a nomination ofTered him in
1880, "by The Committee of 100," for the mayoralty, at a time when political
reform, in which he took an active interest, was being actively urged, rather than
accept it on a partisan basis. He was also tendered a position in the Cabinet of
President Hayes, as Secretary of the Navy, but its acceptance would have neces-
sitated the abandonment of the plans he was carrying out for the improvement of
the public schools of his native city, and he declined that high honor, giving thereby
convincing proof of his lifelong devotion to duty, from which nothing could swerve
When Anthony J. Drexel organized the first board of directors of the Drexel
Institute, he selected Edward T. Steel as one of the number. The work that will
stand as a monument to his ability and devotion to the betterment of the human
race was, however, the development and improvement of the public schools of the
city, accomplished during his presidency of the Board of Education. He was ap-
pointed a member of the board in 1877, and became its president in 1879. He
brought to the new position the same integrity, energy and intelligent perception
of the possibilities of the future he had employed in the conduct of his own affairs,
and was aided in his efforts by the earnest work of his fellow members. At this
lieriod the public schools were ripe for reorganization on modern methods. What-
ever individual ideas of progress were entertained by the members of the board,
there was no unity of action to bring the pubUc school system out of the torpor into
which it had fallen, through drifting for years in old channels. His first annual
report as president, Januar)- 1, 1880, shows an intelligent grasp of the needs of im-
provement in the schools, and of the methods for its accomplishment ; new courses
of study were introduced ; a better system of selection and promotion of teachers
established ; improvements were made in the school buildings on modern ideas as to
hght, ventilation, safety and convenience, and adapted to different numbers of
pupils : and the appointment of superintendents of schools and supervising principals
was urged, as well as the establishment of manual training schools. These objects
were later accomplished, manuel trainingbeing introduced in 1881, and incorporated
into the regular work of the school curriculum in 1884. Mr. Steel always laid spe-
cial stress upon the perfecting of the primary training of pupils, and in his report
of 1882, suggested the establishment of a kindergarten in connection with the pub-
lic schools, and recurred to it in later reports until 1886, when the system under the
name of "Sub-primary Schools" was introduced. Other innovations were intro-
duced, and the public schools of Philadelphia, under Mr. Steel's able management,
were revolutionized and a progressive and affective system established. Mr. Steel
resigned the presidency of the Board of Education in 1892, on account of failing
health. He died August 14, 1892.
Edward T. Steel married, February 24, 1864. Anna Roberts, born August 25.
183s, died February 14, 1872, eldest daughter of Warner Justice, a prominent anti-
slavery advocate of Philadelphia, by his wife, Huldah Thorn. They had issue:
.A.nna Lewis Steel, b. Nov. 23, 1867; m., Jan. 21. 1902, Clifford Prevost Grayson; issue:
Helen Steel Grayson, b. Oct. 31, 1902;
Spence Monroe Grayson, b. March 14, 1905.
Helen Steel, b. Nov. 23, 1870: m.. June 7. 1905. Francis Richard Jones, of Boston. Mass.
Henry Miller Steel, youngest son of Robert and Hannah W. (Hill) Steel,
born in Philadelphia, September 25. 1840. The exigency of his mother, suddenly
confronted through her husband's death with the change from a comfortable life,
to one where she had to depend on her own exertions for the support of herself
and a large family, caused her to welcome the admission to Girard College of her
son, Henry. In this she was aided by her friend, William J. Duane. Secretary of
the Treasury, under Andrew Jackson. Henry graduated in 1856, with high honors
at the head of his class. He then took up his residence in Bellefonte, Pennsyl-
vania, returning to Philadelphia in 1862, at which date he associated himself in
business with his brother, Edward, in continuing the firm of Edward T. Steel &
Company, of which he is now the only survivor.
In 1863. at the time of Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania, he joined the Fifty-sixth
Regiment. New York State Militia, and served with it during the emergency.
He was closely associated in the educational and public work of his brother, Ed-
ward, and was named by him executor of his estate, as likewise by his brother,
William, in the same capacity.
He has taken an active interest in the movement to introduce reform in the
government of Philadelphia, and has been a Republican in national politics since
the foundation of this party in 1856. although not at that time old enough to vote.
He is a member of the I'nion League Club of Philadelphia. Colonial S(x-iety of
1 628 STEEL
Pennsylvania, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and of numerous other organ-
izations. Mr. Steel is a director of the Penn National Bank of Philadelphia.
He married, June 12, 1867, Mary Thorn, daughter of Warner and Huldah
(Thorn) Justice, born August 21, 1844, sister of his brother Edward's first wife,
Anna Roberts Justice.
Issue of Henry M. and Mary T. (Justice) Steel:
Warner Justice Steel, b. Jan. 19, 1869; m. (second). April 26, iSgg, Annie, dau. of
Charles and Laura (Denby) McCrea;
Marianna Justice Steel, b. March 31, 1872;
Edith Steel, b. March 22, 1879;
Marjorie Steel, b. Aug. 23, 1882: m., Oct. 12, 1907, Newell Charles Bradley, son of F.
Stanley and Marie Louisa Bradley, of New Haven, Conn.
Children of Canisv Steel, born March 26, 1803 (son of Thomas and Hannah
Anson Steel ) , and Amelia Pierson :
Hannah Ann, b. May 18, 1825; of whom presently.
Lilburn H., b. Sept. 14, 1828;
Mary Pierson, b. Nov. 3, 1832; of whom presently.
Hann.vh Ann Steel, born May 18, 1825, daughter of Canby and Amelia Pier-
son Steel, married Ellwood Tyson, born April 14, 1817, died October 19, 1884, son
of John and Sarah Paxson Tyson. Their son, Canby Steel Tyson, born February
25, 1848, married. April 15, 1873, Emma Claypool Newport, born February 2,
1851, daughter of David and Susan Newport. Their issue. Ellwood Tyson, Jr.,
born November 18, 1874, died Augu.st 14, 1881.
Mary Pierson Steel, born November 3, 1832, died May 14, 1888, daughter of
Canby and Amelia Pierson Steel, married, May 20, 1852, Alfred Kirk, born No-