Benjamin Whitman.

Nelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the county also portraits and biographies of the governor's since 1790, and of numerous r online

. (page 105 of 192)
Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the county also portraits and biographies of the governor's since 1790, and of numerous r → online text (page 105 of 192)
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needed in our schools to meet the demands of all peo-
ple, and has strenuously contended for the continuance
of the academy, against determined efforts to abolish
it. In the railroad war of 1862, Mr. Wetmore took an
active part (against a blind infatuation) in favor of the
acceptance of the offer of the railroad companies to
give, for the peaceable surrender of the break of gauge
(the law for which had been repealed) the road to
Jamestown and Little Valley, the road to Pittsburg and
the location at Erie of the machine shops of the Lake
Shore R. R. Company.

Charles M. Tibbals (deceased), late merchant
and manufacturer, was born in Pompey Hill, N. Y.,
May 16, 1811, son of Daniel and Mary (Marvin) Tib-
bals, natives of Connecticut and of English descent.
He came to Erie from New York in 1836, and em-
barked in business here. He was united in marriage
with Delia, daughter of Dr. Otto Lyman, of Cazenovia,

N. Y., of English descent. He died in 1881. Mr. and
Mrs. Tabbals were the parents of four children:
Charles M., jr.; Eliza, wife of William H. Whitehead,
member of Erie Rubber Company; Catherine (de-
ceased), and Martha A. Charles M., jr., was born
August 28, 1840,acquired his education in Erie Academy
and became engaged in 1860 with his father in the in-
dustry now known as the Chicago and Erie Stove
Company. On the death of his father, Charles contin-
ued the manufacture of stoves for a time. He also
clerked in Erie city several years. He was married
in Worcester, Mass., to Fannie, daughter of Frederick
Hancock, of English descent. Mr. Tibbals and wife
are members of St. Paul's Episcopal Church. In poli-
tics he is independent. Lincoln N. Tibbals, brother of
Charles M., came to Erie with his brother in 1836.
He was for years associated with his brother in general
merchandizing and afterwards engaged in forwarding
and insurance business. He married Miss Mary
Haverstick, daughter of John D. Haverstick, formerly
of Carlisle. They had seven children, of whom Miss
Mary and Henry Tibbals, both residents of Erie, sur-
vive. Mr. and Mrs. L. N. Tibbals died in Erie.

John C. Brady, attorney at law, Erie, Pa., born
in Fort Dodge, la., October 2, 1858, is a son of the late
John W. and Amanda (Lott) Brady, the former a native
of Connecticut and the latter of New York. John C.
Brady completed his education at Lake Shore Semi-
nary, North East, Erie county, Pa., in 1876. He read
law in the office of Davenport & Griffith, and was ad-
mitted to the bar September 30, 1879, since which
time he has been engaged in the practice of his pro-
fession in Erie. Mr. Brady is a stalwart Democrat
and has been efficient in party service. In February,
1887, he was elected mayor of Erie on the Democratic
ticket, and served for one term. He was a delegate to
the National Democratic Convention in 1892. As one
of Erie's wide-awake and progressive citizens, since
1889, Mr. Brady has been most effective in his identi-
fication with the Erie Electric Motor Company, which
operates all the street railroads of Erie, and which has
been so important a factor in Erie's suburban growth;
he has been vice-president of the company during that
period; he is also the president of the Erie-Welsbach
Gas Company, one of the board of directors of the
Pennsylvania Gas Company, the Jamestown Illuminat-
ing Gas Company, the Pennsylvania Oil Company,
the Eureka Tempered Copper Company, and of the
Real Estate Title Company, of which last named
he is also secretary. It was directly through the in-
strumentality of Mr. Brady that the Metric Metal
Company located its large manufacturing plant in
Erie. He is a thirty-second degree Mason, Knight
Templar, a Mystic Shriner and a member of Mt.
Olivet Commandery, Cincinnati Consistory and Alkoran
Shrine, Cleveland. Mr. Brady was married June 2,
1887, to Harriet Helen, daughter of the late Hon.
John W. Hammond, ex-mayor of Erie. Mr. and Mrs.
Brady have one child, Lois, reside on West Sixth
street, and are members of St. Paul's Episcopal

David Kennedy and his wife came from the
North of Ireland, it is believed, about 1828. Mr. Ken-
nedy was a weaver by trade, and resided on East Sev-
enth, near Holland street, Erie. Fmding the trade of
weaving would furnish but little employment, he ob-



tained a privilege of digging clay for making brick in
the neighborhood of the old fort, Presque Isle, at the
corner of Second and Parade streets, and to the east-
ward. His enterprise and energy were rewarded with
much success, and he continued the business in differ-
ent localities for over forty years. He purchased the
lot at the corner of Holland and Fifth streets, and
erected four brick dwellings. He acquired property
in different parts of the city and became an influential
and respected citizen; was for a number of years a
councilman of Erie. Mr. Kennedy had a large family,
among whom were: Maria (wife of Gen. John Kil-
patrick, sheriff of Erie county), who died leaving one
daughter, who also died; Matilda, wife of William C.
•Warren, a banker in Erie; Jeanette, wife of Hon. Wil-
son Laird, mayor of Erie, and member of the Legisla-
ture; Elizabeth, wife of Jacob Hubley(both deceased),
and Robert (deceased). After Mrs. Kennedy's death,
Mr. Kennedy married Miss Cummings, whose chil-
dren were: John (deceased), served as a cavalryman
in the war; David, who married Miss Hatch, and lives
in Erie; Amelia, died young. Several of Mrs. Matilda
Warren's children are living, among whom are Miss
Jennie and William H., who survived their sister, Mrs.
Josephine Justice, recently deceased. Several of Mrs.
Laird's children are living, and one of John Kennedy's
children. Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy were adherents of
the United Presbyterian Church. Both have died
within the last decade. Though subject to some mu-
tations of fortune. Mr. Kenuedy for many years had a
large property and influence. By his energy and in-
tegrity he secured the respect and esteem of very
many who were cognizant of his merits and shining
qualities. Cheerful in disposition, industrious in
habits, considerate of his duties to society and mind-
ful of his obligations to church and State, Mr. Kennedy
made his mark in the community. As adverse cir-
cumstances shadowed his later years, those who knew
him best remembered with the most satisfaction his
record as a man and a citizen, which nearly half a
century had made his surroundings so agreeable and
his position in the community seem so secure.

Rev. Adolph Leopold Betize (deceased), former
pastor of St. John's German Evangelical Lutheran
Church, corner of Twenty-third and Peach streets,
Erie, Pa., was born in the Fortress of Thorn, Prussia,
Germany, September 18, 1833, son of Frederick and
Eva Maria (de Pomalianski) Benze, the latter of an-
cient Polish nobility. Frederick Benze, at the time of
his son's birth, was cavalry officer in the Prussian
army; later he was discharged with the rank of cap-
tain and appointed prison inspector of a large district.
Frederick B. was the descendant and heir of an old
family of Brunswick, whose history is known up to
1650, near the close of the Thirty Years' War. They
were located at Velpke, Brunswick, where the venera-
ble famil^eat, a typical Saxon manse, built in 1T25,
is still to be seen. As proprietors of noted sandstone
quarries, the male ancestors all took to the chisel and
made ornamental stone' carvings. The vicissitudes of
military life forever separated Frederick Benze and
his family from these surroundings. Thus Leopold
Benze happened to receive his early education at
Neustadt, Prussia, and after two years' travel in Ger-
many and Hungary, he came to America in 1864, lo-
cating at Lancaster, Pa. He completed his classical
education at Pennsylvania College, Gettysburg, and

then entered the theological seminary of the same
place, from which he graduated in 1864. He was or-
dained in the same year by the Evangelical Lutheran
Ministerium of Pennsylvania, and was called to the
Lutheran congregation at Warren. Here he remained
eight years, and left, as a memorial to his skillful ad-
ministration, a flourishing congregation and a hand-
some new church edifice. In May, 1872, Rev. Benze
received a call to the pastorate of St. John's Lutheran
Church, at Erie, Pa., which charge he accepted and held
up to the time of his death, January 18, 1891. Mr.
Benze, on account of his astonishing activity and suc-
cess in building up the largest Protestant congrega-
tion of Erie, was one of the best known men of the
county. He possessed exceptional ability as a pulpit
orator, and as such was widely known. His reputa-
tion, however, was more than local. A fluent writer and
frequent contributor to church and secular papers, he
was asked more than once to assume the editorship of
one of the best known German papers, in the United
States. Moreover, he achieved for himself a lasting
monument in another department, that of church
music, by the publication of a volume of songs. He is
generally acknowledged to have been excellent, both
as a poet and as a composer. Rev. Leopold Benze
was married September 8, 1864, to Miss Elizabeth
Kiehl, of Lancaster, Pa. The latter was the daughter
of Jacob and Saloma Kiehl, born in Erlenbach, Hesse,
October 26, 1839, and was brought to America in her
infancy. To this union were born seven children;
Charles Theodore, a prominent teacher of languages;
Gustave Adolphus, his father's successor at St. John's;
Leopold Otto, studying theology at Philadelphia;
Marie Louise, a teacher of German in the Erie public
schools; Albert Louis, a student of theology at Chi-
cago; Emma C. and Frederick W., students in the
Erie public schools.

Rev. Gustave Benze, present pastor of St. John's
Church, Erie, Pa., was born in Warren, Pa., January
11, 1867. He received his early education in the |hi1)-
lic schools of Erie, graduating from the high schiiol in
1884. His classical education was completed at Thiol
College, Greenville, Pa., where he took his degree two
years later. Then Mr. Benze took up the study of
theology, partly at Gettysburg Seminary, where he
spent two years, and partly also in Philadelphia, where
he graduated in June, 1889. He was ordained the
same month, and was called to the Lutheran Churches
of Corry and Drake's Mills. The charges required
ministration in both German and English, in addition
to which Rev. Benze also preached in the Danish lan-
guage, which resulted in the organization of a Danish
congregation. His rare energy, administrative tact and
ability found an enlarged field of usefulness when
called to St. John's Lutheran Church at the death of
his esteemed father. Under his administration a flour-
ishing German mission has already been planted in
East Erie, and all present indications bespeak a bright
future for pastor and congregation.

Joseph Johitstoti, senior member of the firm of
Johnston & Brevillier, wholesale grocers, Erie, Pa.,
was born in Summit township, this county. May 8,
1822, and is a son of Joseph and Fanny (Graham)
Johnston. His father, who was a native of County
Down, Ireland, came to the United States in 1793, the
family locating in Milesburg, Centre county, Pa. Soon



after, Joseph, accompanied by his brother James, came
to Erie county and Summit township. He cleared
and worked a large farm, and for many years carried
on an extensive transportation business between Erie
and Pittsburg and Bellefonte, by means of heavy
covered wagons drawn by four and six horse teams.
About 1864 he relinquished the active duties of farm-
ing and removed to Erie, where he quietly passed the
evening of his life. He was an active Whig and
Republican, a member of the First Presbyterian
Church, and a devoted friend of his old pastor. Dr.
Lyon. He was married to Miss Graham about 1814;
she died about 1860. They reared a family of eight
children: James, died in Michigan; John, died in
Mobile, Ala.; Robert, died in Louisville, Ky.; William,
resides in Chicago, 111.; Mrs. Hugh Rutherford, of
Erie; Joseph, jr.; Orville, died in Erie, in 1873; James,
died in Summit, and George N., who was district at-
torney of Erie county, and died in February, 1857.
Mr. Johnston was remarried, in 1864, to Mrs. George
Gallagher, who died in 1887. The gentleman whose
name forms the subject of this sketch received his
education in the public schools of his native town, and
remained associated with his father in business until
1853, when he removed to Erie and entered the grocery
business, in partnership with his brother Orville, under
the firm name of Johnston & Bro. About 1862, F.
Brevillier was admitted into the partnership, and the
style of the firm became Johnston & Brevillier. At
the death of Orville Johnston, in 1873, the remaining
partners purchased his interest, and have since con-
tinued the business with success. About 1858 their
store was destroyed by fire, but they immediately re-
sumed business in the Reed House block, where they
remained one year. The retail branch was dropped
upon removal to the Rindernecht block, on State
street, where they continued three years. They then
removed to French street, a few doors from their
present premises. After remaining there about eight
years they removed to 505 and 507 French street,
where they have since continued. Mr. Johnston was
married October 17, 1850, to Miss Margaret, daughter
of Robert Robinson, Esq., of Le Boeuf township.
They had no children of their own, but reared four:
Anna, wife of E. S. Rice, Esq., of Chicago; Emma,
who died at 20 years of age; Miss Jennie, and Charles
Funk, of Cincinnati, Ohio. While Mr. Johnston and
wife were riding in their carriage, October 26, 1891,
the team became unmanageable, upsetting the car-
riage and killing Mrs. Johnston almost instantly. She
was a devoted member of the First Presbyterian
Church, and her loss was deeply felt. Mr. Johnston
was remarried in October, 1892, to Miss Mary, daugh-
ter of the late Hon. S. E. Woodruff, of Erie. They
are members of the First Presbyterian Church, of
which they are active workers and generous supporters.
At the southwest corner of Fourth and Peach streets
is one of the most beautiful homes in Northwestern
Pennsylvania. It is the residence of Mr. Johnston,
erected by him in 1865. For upwards of forty years
Mr. Johnston has been looked upon as one of Erie's
best citizens and most enterprising business men. He
always has the best interests of the community at
heart, and is ever ready to give his means and in-
fluence in support of every worthy enterprise of a
public or charitable nature. In politics he was origin-
ally a Whig, but has been a staunch Republican since
the organization of the party. He served as a mem-

ber of the Select Council of Erie for a period of
eighteen years, and in 1884 represented the Twenty-
seventh Congressional district of Pennsylvania as a
delegate to the National convention at Chicago.

Heary R. Bamhttrst, general superintendent of
the Erie City Iron Works, was born in Philadelphia,
September 3, 1846, and is a son of William Barnhurst,
one of the first manufacturers of iron and steel um-
brella frames in the United States. The family were
for many generations residents of Stratford-on-Avon,
England, whence Mr. Barnhurst's grandfather came to
Philadelphia, in 1810, and established what was then
one of the largest brass foundries in this country.
William Barnhurst reared a family of three children: ■
Henry R., Mary (Mrs. H. E. Turner, of Philadelphia),
and William, who has charge of the sales of the
products of the Erie Engine Works and the Union
Iron Works in New York. Mr. Barnhurst was educated
in the Philadelphia high school, and for a short time
after completing his education, clerked in a dry goods
store. He then engaged in the mining and shipping
of coal, which he continued until 1879, when he came
to Erie as treasurer and general manager of the
Stearns Manufacturing Company. He continued with,
and was largely responsible for the success of this
concern until 1890, when he accepted a position with
the Union Iron Works, as secretary and manager. He
assumed the duties of his present position September
1, 1895. Mr. Barnhurst was married June 3, 1869, to
Miss Emily, daughter of Mr. I. N. Gregory, of Phila-
delphi. This happy union has been blessed with two
children: Effie (who married Gustav Kaemmerling, of
the LInited States navy), and Harry, who is draughts-
man in the office of the L^nion Iron Works. Mr.
Barnhurst and family are members of St. Paul's
Episcopal Church, and he is a Knight Templar Mason.
In politics Mr. Barnhurst is a thorough and stanch
Democrat, and from 1889 to 1891 he served his adopted
city as a member of the Board of Fire Commissioners.
This sketch would not be complete without stating
that Mr. Barnhurst is one of the finest bass singers in
the State. He has sung in nearly all the choirs of the
city, and no musical program, made up of local talent,
is considered complete without his name.

Elijah Babbitt ( deceased ), attorney at law and
member of Congress, was born in Providence, R. I.,
July 29, 1795; his father was a mariner, and during
many years served as captain in commerce between
New England and the West Indies, and later as lieu-
tenant in the Continental army during the Revolu-
tionary war. Some time after its close he moved to
the State of New York with his family, and there died,
leaving his son, Elijah, in his minority. After the de-
cease of his father, Elijah went to reside in Northum-
berland county, Pennsylvania. Having acquired an
academic education, he studied law in the office of
Samuel Hepburn, Esq., a leading attorney in the cen-
tral portion of the State; was admitted in March, 1824,
to the bar in Northumberland county, Pennsylvania,
and commenced practice. In due time he obtained a
fair business. But thinking Erie offered inducements
more in affinity with his aspiring ambition, Mr. Bab-
bitt removed there with a well-selected law library.
By the aid of a spring wagon and team of horses, the
journey of 230 miles, over rough and mountainous
roads, was accomplished in nine cold days. That was


before the advent of railroads. The same journey may
now be accomplished in nine hours over the Philadel-
phia and Erie R. R. Mr. Babbitt arrived at Erie Jan-
uary 26, 1826. He soon rented a suitable office on the
west side of French street (then the principal business
street), near the corner of Fourth street, put his library
on the shelves and hung out his law sign. Erie was
then a town of about 900 inhabitants. Mr. Babbitt was
admitted as an attorney at the first court held in Erie
after his arrival, and at each court next held in the
Sixth judicial district, composed of the counties of
Erie, Warren, Crawford, Venango and Mercer, and in
due time raised himself to the position of one of its
leading attorneys. On November 28, 1827, he was
married to Caroline Elizabeth, daughter of John Kelso
(deceased), one of Erie county's pioneer settlers. Mr.
Babbitt was for many years a trustee of the Erie
Academy; also an attprney for the borough, and later
for the city of Erie, and drew its charter of advance-
ment from a borough to a city. In 1834 and 1835 he
was prosecuting attorney for the commonwealth; he
was a member of the House of Representatives in
1836 and 1836, and was elected a member of the Sen-
ate for a term of three years in 1843, and while dis-
charging the duties of these offices was largely instru-
mental in effecting and hastening the completion of
the state canal to the harbor of Erie. In 1858, the
friends of Mr. Babbitt nominated him for Representa-
tive in Congress of the Twenty-fifth Congressional dis-
trict, composed of the counties of Erie and Crawford.

After an ardent contest with an able and popular op
ponent, he was elected by a majority of over 1 ^


votes. In 1860, he was, after a like contest, re-elected
to the same office by a majority of about 2,500. Our
subject was among the first (after the slaveholders had
inaugurated their war for the destruction of the Union)
to advocate on the floor of the House the immediate
emancipation of slaves, and their employment as sol-
diers in the army of the United States. His Congres-
sional record shows him to have been a strict econo-
mist in all things, except in those designed for the
speedy suppression of the great Rebellion, all of which
found in him a liberal and constant supporter. He
survived every attorney, judge, law officer, physician
and clergyman who were living in Erie when he ar-
rived there. In 1828 Mr. Babbitt aided in the organi-
zation of the parish of St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal
Church in Erie. It was the first organization (with one
exception) of a church of that faith in Northwestern
Pennsylvania. It gathered about half a dozen mem-
bers, and a few others who desired to become such.
He was through life among its constant supporters.
In 1849 and 1850 Mr. Babbitt joined with others in ad-
vancing money to secure for burial purposes seventy-
five acres of beautiful forest land adjoining this city,
on which the Erie cemetery is located, and in procur-
ing the charter which dedicates it forever to the pur-
pose for which it was purchased, without distinction
of religion, class or color. Having lived for almost
sixty years on the same spot upon which he had com-
menced housekeeping, and been for sixty-one years a
member of the Erie bar, of which he had long been the
nestor, in January, 1887, and in his 92d year, he quietly
sank to rest. His fine intellect survived to the last. He
was buried from St. Paul's Episcopal Church (of which
he was one of the founders) in the Erie cemetery, which
he aided in instituting, and of which he was an active
corporator till his death.

Hon. George H. Cutler (deceased). The Cutler
family is of English origin, New England stock, and
noted for its longevity. Thomas Cutler, grandfather
of George H., born in Massachusetts in 1736, a soldier
in the French war, died in 1835. George H. Cutler was
born in Guilford, Vt., in 1809, and is a son of Nahum
and Martha (Robbins) Cutler, both deceased, natives
of Windham county, Vermont, and Hartford, Conn.,
respectively. He received a common school education,
having a private tutor for the higher branches. He
read law with Hon. Judge Ross, of Cortland, N. Y. In
1835 he located in Girard, Erie county; two years later
entered the office of Judge Galbraith, of Erie, being
admitted to the bar in 1840. He was the oldest prac-
titioner in Erie county. Mr. Cutler was the Demo-
cratic candidate for Congress in 1852. In 1872 he was
elected to the State Senate, and was chosen speaker in
May, 1874, and president pro tern, in January, 1875.
He was the last speaker under the old and the first
president pro tern, under the new constitution, presid-
ing in the absence of the lieutenant governor. Mr.
Cutler married, in Cayuga county. New York, in 1830,
Louisa Stewart, a native of Cambridge, N. Y. Six
children (two deceased) blessed this union — Marcus
N.; George A., who is a prominent member of the bar
at Leland, Mich.; Mary, wife of Irvin P. Hinds, of
Hinsdale, 111., and Louisa. Mr. Cutler died in Erie in
1872, being then the oldest surviving member of the
Erie bar. His son, M. N., whose long service in the
State department at Harrisburg and afterward in the
register's office and abstract office in Erie, had made
his capabilities so manifest, died in Erie in the sum-
mer of 1894.

William Brewster, secretary and treasurer of
the Erie and Pittsburg R. R. Company Erie, Pa.,
was born in Erie, November 20, 1828. He is a
son of the late Alexander W. and Susan M. (Jones)
Brewster, the former a native of Allegheny county,
Pennsylvania, and of Irish descent, the latter a native
of Connecticut and of Welsh extraction. Mr. W.
Brewster's grandfather, Bradford Steele, was a soldier
in the Patriot army during the Revolutionary war.
Alexander W. Brewster was born in 1795, and came
with his father's family to Erie county in 1806. He
was educated in the public schools of Erie, and finally
became one of the leading merchants of that city, and
later in life was for some years engaged in business as
a manufacturer of woolen goods. He was a valuable
citizen and served efficiently in numerous official
capacities, among them that of sheriff, and was the
last person to hold the office of burgess of Erie. He
was one of the incorporators of the Erie cemetery, and

Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the county also portraits and biographies of the governor's since 1790, and of numerous r → online text (page 105 of 192)