Copyright
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Nelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 107 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Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 107 of 192)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


of whom reached majority: Mary, Mrs. Richard
O'Brien, of Erie; Johanna, Mrs. Dr. M. C. Dunigan,
of Erie; James F. Casey; the late \'ery Rev. Thomas
A. Casey, and Sister Mary Inez, of the Sisters of
Mercy convent, Pittsburg. Mrs. Casey died May 3,
1884. Mr. Casey and family were all devoted mem-
bers of the Catholic Church, of which they were gen-
erous supporters. He was a Democrat in his political
views, but never sought public office or political no-
toriety.

James F. Casey, capitalist and real estate dealer,
Erie, was born in St. Catherines, Canada, May 10, 1845,



and is a son of the late James Casey, whose sketch
appears in this work. He was educated in the public
schools of Erie, and for some time engaged with his
father in his contract work. Later the business in Erie
demanded all his time, but he also attended to the
financial part of the contracting business. He acted
as secretary for his father for nearly thirty years.
Since the latter's death he has given his attention to
investments, loans and real estate. He is one of the
most extensive real estate owners in Erie, and owns
considerable farm property in Erie county and in the
West. He is also interested in railroad and silver
mining stocks. Mr. Casey was married September 14,
1882, to Miss Joanna, daughter of Mr. William
Toomey, of Dunkirk, N. Y. This union has been
blessed with five children: Mary, Margaret, Inez,
James and William. Mr. Casey and family are mem-
bers of St. Peter's Cathedral, and he has been for sev-
eral years a member of the Father Mathew Society.
He is a Democrat in his political views, and served his
city for four years as a member of the common council.

Very Rev. Thomas A. Casey, late vicar general
of the diocese of Erie, was the son of James and Mary
Casey, both of whom were natives of Ireland, and both
of whom died in the city of Erie and are now buried in
Trinity cemetery in that city. He was born in St.
Catherines, Ontario, on the 1st day of January, 1846,
whither his parents had gone from the United States
pending the completion of the contract held by his
father for the construction of a portion of the Welland
canal. His parents returned to the United States in
the year 1850. Father Casey received his early educa-
tion in the common schools of the city of Erie, and his
collegiate education was obtained at the Seminary of
the Lady of Angeli, Niagara Falls, and the Niagara
University, from which institution he graduated with
distinguished honor in 1868. He was ordained a priest
by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Mullen on the 21st day of Feb-
ruary, 1869. Immediately after his ordination he was
appointed to take charge of the Catholic Church at
Tidioute, where he remained until 1869. In 1870 he
was summoned by the bishop to act as pastor of St.
Patrick's pro-Cathedral in the city of Erie, and shortly
after accepting the duties of that position was ap-
pointed by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Vicar General of the
Diocese of Erie. He occupied the position of pastor
of St. Patrick's pro-Cathedral until the consecration of
St. Peter's Cathedral, in August, 1893, at which time
he accompanied the Bishop to St. Peter's Cathedral
and acted as rector of that congregation until the day
of his death, February 9, 1894. On May 10, 1876,
Father Casey, accompanied by his brother, Mr. James
F. Casey, left Erie for an extended trip abroad, in
which they visited Liverpool, London, Paris, Florence,
Piza, Genoa, Rome (where they were given an audi-
ence by the Holy Father), and many other places of
interest. Upon the return trip they made a short tour
of Ireland, and visited the birthplace of their parents.
In personal appearance Father Casey was a distin-
guished leoking man, being slightly over six feet tall,
weighing about 200 pounds, and having an abundance
of white, waving hair. He was exceedingly popular
with the clergy under his charge and honored and
respected by all citizens with whom he came in con-
tact, irrespective of creed. As a pulpit orator, he had
few equals, and no superiors in Northwestern Penn-
sylvania in profundity of thought, grace of diction and



NELSON'S BIOGRAPHICAL DIGTIONART



dignity of appearance. His greatest claim to remem-
brance, however, lies in his unselfish generosity and
the liberality of his donations. Out of the large for-
tune left him by his father, fully §200,000 was given by
him for charitable purposes. His charity knew no
distinction either of age, sex or creed; and the un-
feigned sorrow manifested at his death by the citizens
of Erie is the best tribute that could be paid to the no-
bility of his life and character. He made heavy dona-
tions to the cathedral direct, and to St. Vincent's Hos-
pital and orphan asylum; but the chief monument to
his liberality is Villa Maria, to the construction of
which he contributed §110,000.

Richard O'Brieti was born February 26th, 1825,
at Dromig, county Cork, Ireland, son of Richard and
Ellen (Ambrose) O'Brien. He left Ireland in 1847,
landing in Quebec, Canada. He moved to Erie, Pa.,
the same year. Immediately after his arrival in Erie
he acted as school teacher in and about the Four-Mile
creek district. Subsequently he moved to the city of
Erie and acted as clerk and bookkeeper in the com-
mercial and commission business of the Erie harbor
for a period of nineteen years. When, in 1886, the
Erie and Pittsburg R. R. extended its lines to the har-
bor at Erie, he was appointed the agent for the com-
pany, which position he has since continued to fill
without interruption. Since his arrival in Erie in 1847,
down to the present time, he has been intimately asso-
ciated with the business and commerce of the harbor
at Erie as employe, employer, vessel owner and rail-
road agent. He was married in Philadelphia, in 1852,
to Margaret, daughter of Dennis McCarty, who had
been the companion of his childhood at his home in
Ireland, and who immigrated to this country, arriving
in Philadelphia in 1847. By this union there were born
four children: Catherine Annie, now a superioress of
the Visitation Convent at Georgetown, D. C; Joseph
P., attorney at law, a residentof Erie, Pa.; Ellen Land
Fannie, the former of whom died in 1885 and the lat-
ter in 1889. His first wife having died in 1868, Mr.
O'Brien, in 1873, married Mary, the eldest daughter of
James Casey, of the city of Erie. By this union were
born two children — Agnes and Mary — both of whom
are now attending school at Visitation Academy in
Georgetown, D. C. Mr. O'Brien has been a member
of the Board of Trade of the city of Erie since its in-
ception, and has been a progressive and public-spirited
citizen, his name being found in every movement tend-
ing towards the welfare of his adopted city.

Joseph Patrick O'Brien, city solicitor, Erie,
Pa., born in Erie, Erie county. Pa., March 18, 1860, is
a son of Richard O'Brien, whose personal history is
contained in this volume. Joseph P. O'Brien was ed-
ucated in the schools of Erie, and at the university,
Georgetown, D. C, from which latter institution he
was graduated in 1880, and from its law department in
1882. Returning to Erie, he continued the study of
law with Messrs. Allen & Rosenweig, and was ad-
mitted to practice March, 1883. He was appointed by
the joint session of councils. May, 1889, to the office of
city solicitor, of which he is the incumbent, and the
duties of which position he has fulfilled with signal
ability. He was married October 7, 1885, to Mary E.,
daughter of the late John Wynne, whose family, sub-
sequent to his decease, removed from Lock Haven,
Clinton county, to Erie, Pa. Mr. and Mrs. O'Brien are



members of St. Peter's. Mr. O'Brien is a stalwart
Democrat, a politician in the best sense, a fluent and
able speaker, and has rendered efficient service to his
party in each political campaign in Erie county since
1883.

James H. Delaney, M. D., specialist, eye and
ear, Erie, Pa., is a native of the city of Erie, and was
born August 30, 1863. He is a son of William and
Hannah (Casey) Delaney, both natives of Pennsyl-
vania. In the family there were twelve children, of
whom the Doctor is the seventh. He was educated at
Notre Dame, South Bend, Ind., where he was gradu-
ated in the class of 1883. He immediately entered the
Bellevue Hospital, New York, and was graduated from
that institution in 1886, with the degree of M. D. He
came to Erie, where he engaged in the general prac-
tice of medicine until 1890, when he went to Europe
and took a special course on the treatment of the dis-
eases of the eye, ear, nose aud throat. When he re-
turned to New York he practiced his specialties one
year as assistant to the celebrated Dr. Knapp of that
city. At the same time he took an additional course
in his specialty in New York, and graduated in 1892.
He then came to Erie, where he has since built up a
large and lucrative practice in the specialty for which
he has so thoroughly qualified himself. The Doctor is
a member of the Erie County Medical Society and a
member of the Catholic Church.

Captain John B. Dunlap, harbor master of the
port of Erie, was born in Erie, April 4, 1834, and is a
son of Capt. James and Mary (Boyd) Dunlap. His
father was a native of McKean township, Erie county,
and his mother was born at the foot of the Cumber-
land mountains, in Maryland. Mr. Dunlap first set-
tled in Erie county on what is now known as the Rip-
ley farm; Mrs. Rebecca Dunlap settled on a farm in
McKean township, now owned by Jackson Koehler.
James Dunlap was a carpenter and contractor, the
firm name being for many years James and John Dun-
lap. They built many of the earlier structures in Erie,
including the First Baptist Church and the First Pres-
byterian Church. He was engaged by Tracy & Court-
right to go to Dunkirk, N. Y.,on important contracts in
the harbor long before the New York and Erie R. R.
was built. He was commissioned a captain of militia
by Governor Porter in 1827, served the city of Erie for
six years as a member of the city council, and was
harbor master for several years. He was a trustee and
deacon of the First Baptist Church for many years.
The family consisted of seven children: George (de-
ceased), Jane (deceased), John B., Thomas J., Helen,
(Mrs. Jonas Bowers, of Erie), Frank (deceased), and
AUiene V. (deceased, who was the wife of C. H. Har-
vey, D. P. S., of Erie). Capt. John Dunlap, son of
James Dunlap, was educated in the public schools of
Erie and the Erie Academy. He also attended the
private school of Miss Mary Coover, who afterward be-
came the wife of Hon. Michael C. Kerr, ex-Speaker of
the House of Representatives. When a mere lad he
ran away from home and for some time drove a team
on the Erie canal, later becoming captain of a canal
boat. In 1848 he shipped on the revenue cutter Erie,
then commanded by Capt. Daniel Dobbins. After a
year the Erie went out of commission and he remained
for one year aboard its successor, the Ingram. He then
entered the merchant service with Captain Thomas



AND EISTOBIGAL REFERENCE BOOK OE ERIE COUNTY.



607



Perrin, and continued three years. He was promoted
to mate on board the schooner Sea Gull, owned by An-
drew Scott and commanded by Capt. P. Murphy,
and remained a year. His father having, in company
■with Mr. George J. Morton, purchased the schooner
Armada, he acted as captain of her until 1861. He
was appointed acting ensign by Capt. Carter, com-
mander of the man-of-war Michigan, and ordered to
Cairo, 111., where he was examined and ordered to
New Albany, Ind., where he joined the gunboat Tus-
cumbia, of the Mississippi squadron, whose part in the
reduction of \'icksburg and other important naval
movements of that war are matters of history. After
returning from the war he engaged in the contracting
and building business with his father, and after the
the death of the latter continued the business alone.
In 1874 he entered into partnership with Mr. J. Louis
Linn, with whom he remained until the death of Mr.
Linn, after which he again became sole proprietor of
the business, which he continued until 1890, when he
retired from active business life. In that year he was
made harbor master, the duties of which position he
has since faithfully discharged. In 1876 Captain Dun-
lap had charge of the raising of the famous flag-ship
Lawrence, and taking her to the Centennial at Phila-
delphia. The captain was married April 25, 1854, to
Miss Susan, daughter of Capt. John Spires, of Erie.
Of the children who were the issue of that marriage,
two survive: Martha (Mrs. George Crocker), and Ida
(Mrs. Jackson Koehler), both of Erie. Captain Dun-
lap is a member of the G. A. R., the A. O. U. W. and
the Elks. In his political views he has always been a
staunch Democrat.

Col. Irvia Camp, C. E., Erie, Pa., was born in
Trumansburg, Tompkins county, N. Y., October 81,
1812. He is the only son of Col. Hermon Camp and
Clce Ludlum, the former a successful merchant and
president of the Tompkins County First National
Bank from its organization up to the time of his
decease. He was captain of a cavalry company in
the war of 1812. Col. Irvin Camp completed his edu-
cation at Geneva (now Hobart) College, Geneva. N.
Y., during the summer of 1831. His college training
embraced a period of five years, one year academic
and four years collegiate. On leaving college he
came to Erie county, Pennsylvania, and was the
second principal of the Waterford Academy for two
terms in 1832. Returning home in the fall of^ 1832, he
clerked in his father's store for the next four years. In
the early spring of 1836 he was sent by a syndicate, of
which his father and self were members, to locate and
purchase government lands in Ohio, Indiana and
Michigan. On returning from the West, in Novem-
ber, he was married to Sophia Judson, niece of Amos
Judson, a merchant of Waterford, Pa. In the early
spring ,of 1837 he returned to Waterford and was
again, for one or two terms, principal of the Water-
ford Academy. In the early spring of 1838 he joined
at Warren, Pa., the engineer corps under charge of
Edward A. Miller, for the original survey of the'Sun-
bury and Erie (now Philadelphia and Erie) R. R.; re-
turning to Waterford late in November, he taught one
term in a common school on the grounds of the
Waterford Academy. In the spring of 1839 he joined
the engineer corps under charge of W. Milnor
Roberts, chief engineer, and Milton Courtright, divis-
ion engineer, for the re-survey of the Conneaut divis-



ion of the Erie and Beaver Canal, and after its com-
pletion was appointed assistant engineer on construc-
tion between Lockport and the Walnut creek aqueduct,
with its office at Girard, till suspension of work, by
reason of failure of legislative appropriations for all the
canals of the State then under construction. This
suspension left the contractors of public improve-
ments in debt to the laborers, farmers and mechanics
of Erie and Crawford counties, and the counties along
the lines of the north and west branch of Susquehanna
canals, and was so wide-spread and distressing that
Governor Porter felt called upon to summon an extra
session of the Legislature. This resulted in his selec-
tion to go to Harrisburg to promote the passage of
relief measures, which finally took the shape of an
issue of scrip in the form of bank bills, redeemable
by the State for tolls on all the completed canals and
railroads owned by the State. He remained in Har-
risburg some time after the close of the extra session,
to settle up with the auditor and treasurer of the State
the final estimates of all the contracts of the Conneaut
division of the canal, and brought home with him the
scrip due to each and all of the contractors thereon,
which was gladly received by all of their creditors
without a single claim for discount, and thus great
pecuniary distress was relieved throughout Erie and
Crawford counties, besides many others in the central
portions of the State. Some time thereafter he went
with William G. Moorhead & Co. as a general assist-
ant on a large contract on the Wabash and Erie canal,
below Lafayette, Ind., who received their pay in a
scrip similar to that above described, named in that
State "white dog" and "blue pup." This brings our
biography up to a period when public works were
suspended in nearly all the states. To bridge over
this period he utilized his early experience as a clerk
in his father's store, and formed a partnership with
Smith Jackson, a then leading merchant of Erie, and
came to the city as a permanent resident in the fall of
1840. Upon the revival of works, a few years there-
after, he took charge of the supervision and construc-
tion of the bridges spanning the Delaware and Hud-
son canal and the Delaware river, above Port Jervis,
on the Delaware division of the New York and Erie
R. R., after which he took charge of construction on
the Dauphin and Susquehanna R. R. for a short
period, when he received a call to come home and
take charge of the construction of the railroad from
Erie to the State line, over which he brought the first
locomotive engine that entered the city of Erie, on the
first link of railroad between Buffalo and Chicago, in
the winter of 1849-50. In the following spring he
went to St. Louis, and there organized the quite nota-
ble firm of Sanger, Camp & Co., which constructed
and partially equipped 150 miles of railroad between
Vincennes, on the Wabash river, and East St. Louis,
on the Mississippi river; also a coal railroad between
East St. Louis and Belleville, 111., about sixteen miles
in length, and another road from East St. Louis to
Alton, 111., about twenty-six miles in length, making, in
all, about 182 miles. Returning from the West, in the
fall of 1853, he took an active part in the formation of
the railroad firm of King, Brown & Co., and closed a
contract with the Sunbury and Erie R. R. Company
for the construction of sixty miles of the road, from
Erie Harbor to Irvinton, Warren county, Pa., which
reached completion under several financial embarrass-
ments during the winter of 1859. About the same



6o8



NELSON'S BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY



time the firm of Thomas Struthers & Co. had finished
the construction of six miles of road from Irvinton to
Warren, and the Colonel was one of a large and jolly
party bringing the second locomotive over the second
railroad into the city of Erie. Upon the completion
of their contract the firm of King, Brown & Co. was
largely a debtor to all of its subcontractors, and the
Philadelphia and Erie R. R. Company was still more
largely a debtor to King, Brown & Co., and utterly
unable to pay its indebtedness. This condition led up
to opening negotiations with the Pennsylvania R. R.
Company for means to pay this joint indebtedness and
also to provide for the construction of 120 miles of
railroad between Warren and Lock Haven, thereby
completing a railroad connection from the harbor of
Erie to the seaboard, by waters of Delaware river, at
the city of Philadelphia. This negotiation dragged
along for twenty months, and was finally consummated
by large concessions on the part of King, Brown &
Co. and of Thomas Struthers & Co., which robbed
said firms of nearly all their just dues for several
years labor and services, rendered often under very
discouraging conditions. In illustration of this state-
ment the writer, who was treasurer of the firm, had to
spend a large portion of his time in places of public
resort to counteract the efforts of two prominent and
rich citizens of Erie in decrying the value of the stock
and bonds of the railroad company, which the con-
tracting firm was receiving for about three-fourths of
their work on their monthly estimates, the cash por-
tion due on estimates the railroad company, for a
period of sixteen months were unable to pay. On one
occasion the writer was met by one of these prominent
citizens and told that his " firm was a pack of lunatics,
and ought to be sent to a lunatic asylum for continuing
work on such terms and conditions," and this man and
his coadjutor were both purchasers and shavers of
these stbcks and bonds, as you may well know. As
these men are both dead, we grant them the protec-
tion of that kindly maxim: de mortuia nil nisi bonmn,
and their names are withheld. During a lull in prose-
cuting work on the Philadelphia and Erie R. R., in
1858, Col. Camp went to California, with a view of
taking an interest in the construction of a railroad
from Fulsom to Marysville, in the valleys of the
American and Yuba rivers. While there he partici-
pated in the location of said railroad, and planned
and made up a bill of material for a timber bridge of
218 feet span across the American river, near Fulsom,
the material for which had to be brought from Oregon
by vessel. Finding that there were unexpected finan-
cial troubles to be encountered, he closed out his in-
terest in the railroad contract to his partners and
returned to Erie by ocean steamer and the Panama
R. R., after an absence of about six months. The
road struggled through to completion, and I was in-
formed by one of my partners, James Y. Sanger, that
the bridge was pronounced, upon completion and
trial, to be a very graceful and substantial structure.
After returning home. Col. Camp was engaged on sur-
veys of railroad lines from Ashtabula harbor to
Youngstown, and from the mouth of Grand river to
Rock creek, and on the proposed road to Cambridge
via Edinboro, and to Millvillage via Waterford, con-
necting Erie with the N. Y., P. & O. R. R. Following
these engagements he was for six or seven years city
civil engineer of Erie. Thereafter, he was for nine
seasons engaged on topographic and hydrographic



surveys and harbor improvements from Saginaw Bay,
on Lake Huron, to Oswego, on Lake Ontario. He
then retired from engineering service; but subse-
quently, upon urgent request of Waterford friends,
consented to qualify as county surveyor for the sur-
vey of Lake LeBoeuf, under a warrant issued by the
Secretary of Internal Affairs to parties composing a
club of Pittsburg capitalists who proposed to make a
summer resort on its banks and on the Judge Smith
farm close to the borough lines of Waterford. This
office he held up to within a few days of September
30, 1895, when he resigned the same in favor of Dan
Rice, jr., of Girard borough. Col. Camp and wife
reside at 246 West Sixth street, where they have spent,
amid pleasant surroundings and kindly neighbors, a
happy life of over fifty-three years. Their only living
child and daughter is the wife of F. F. Marshall, pres-
ident of the Marine National Bank and an attorney at
law, whose personal history will be found in this volume.

Washingtoti Lafayette Cleveland, one of Erie's
honored citizens, died at Clifton Springs, N. Y., Oc-
tober 11, 1884. He was born in Smyrna, N. Y., De-
cember 21, 1826, and was a son of Israel and Sally
(Tuttle) Cleveland, natives respectively of Rhode
Island and Connecticut, and of English ancestry.
Mr. Cleveland's grandfather, Israel Angell, was a
soldier in the Revolutionary war, and the value of the
services which he rendered his country in her struggle
for independence was made a matter of history by
General Lafayette, he having conferred upon him the
medal entitling him to membership in the Order of
the Cincinnati. Israel Cleveland reared seven chil-
dren. SmiLh Angell, Seth P., Alexander, Washington
Lafayette, Polly (Mrs. N. T. Ferris), Roxana (Mrs.
Henry Z. Ferguson, of Cincinnati), and Lysander, of
Smyrna, N. Y., the last three only surviving. Mr. W.
L. Cleveland, like many other Americans who have
made for themselves an honored name, spent his boy-
hood on the farm and received his early education in
a log school house. When he had reached the age of
17 years his educational attainments were such as to
guarantee his being granted a teacher's certificate. He
taught eight consecutive winter terms of school, work-
ing on the farm the remainder of the year. In the
meantime he had also learned the carpenter's trade,
and in 1850 went to Hawley, Pa., where he worked at
his trade for a year. He then went to Hornellsville,
N. Y., where he followed his trade until 1861, except a
term served as deputy sheriff of Steuben county, and
then he removed to Erie. At about this time the oil
excitement in Western Pennsylvania was at its height,
and Mr. Cleveland, with keen discernment, established
an oil refinery in Erie, which he continued with great
financial success for six years. He then speculated
for a few years in oil lands, in which also he was fairly
successful. About 1870 he entered into partnership



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 107 of 192)