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Nelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 111 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Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 111 of 192)
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years. He was the captain of the Girard Guards. On
President Lincoln's call for troops in April, 1861, he
tendered his company, which became Company C, of
McLane's Erie regiment. He afterwards resumed
practice at Girard. There he was active in all mat-
ters of a public nature and a leader on occasions of
general interest; patriotic and indefatigable in all that
promoted such events. He was a member of the
Girard Lodge A. O. U. W., and of Temple Chapter
No. 215, R. A. M. He was a charter member of Mt.
Olivet Commandry No. 30, Knights Templar, and was
at one time district deputy grand master of -Masons in
Erie county. At the laying of the corner-stone of the
Soldiers' and Sailors' Home, on July 4, 1868, by special
authority from Richard Vaux, grand master of the
State, he officiated as grand master, when the Governor
of Pennsylvania (attended by members of his cabinet)
laid the stone. President Cleveland, in 1886, on the
recommendation of Hon. William L. Scott, appointed
him United States receiver of public moneys at Bis-
marck, N. D. He removed there, remaining four
years. His duties were acceptably performed during his
term. He then returned to Erie, resuming law practice.
Perhaps no professional duty of his life better illustrated
his fine qualities than his continued and successful
efforts in obtaining the right of way for the N. Y., C. &
St. L. (Nickle Plate) R. R. There his patience,
suavity and sense of fairness, were all brought into
requisition in the numerous and successful negotiations,
all culminating in the speedy construction of the
great highway. Another notable occasion in his prac-
tice was when it was arranged for perhaps a score of
veterans or widows of the war of 1812 to meet at his
office to perfect plans for availing themselves of the
act of Congress, giving pensions to these aged per-
sons. It was a gathering which aroused some of his
most conspicuous and kindliest traits of character:
Respect for the aged, zeal for their relief, and grati-
tude for these surviving patriots and widows of veter-
ans. He was, while at Girard, at the head of the fire
department. His domestic relations were most agree-
able. He married Miss Mary Keyser, of Girard.
They had four children: Mrs. Gray Myron, now a
clerk in the Fargo land office; Frank and Monroe, re-
siding with their mother in Erie. Capt. Hutchinson's
noble qualities of heart prompted him to cling to old
friends with unswerving fidelity; he loved social re-
unions. With so much of his life passed in Erie
county, he was an authority on county events, and
fondly recalled the memories of those he knew or had
met. He was a fine conversationalist, and his narra-
tive of Western experience was always interesting.
He was a Democrat, often chairman of the county
committee, and delegate to State conventions, and the
choice of Erie county Democrats for the Congressional
nomination on one or more occasions. Living, Capt.
Hutchinson was beloved, and now that he is gone, it is



doubtful if a single person can recall an unkind act of
his. His impulses were kind, his aspirations patriotic,
and his whole life in keeping with maxims of the order
in which he earned and maintained such high rank.
He died January 19, 1894. Mrs. Clemens has one son,
Rinaldo E., married to Miss Anna Hays, of Erie. They
have two children, John and Hayes. He succeeded
to his father's large business interests and the West
Sixth street home. Monroe Hutchinson, Esq., of
Girard, has three children: Charles, married to Marion
Palmer; Lydia, married to R. E. Taggart, and Edgar.
These surviving members of the family, with their
children, maintain the prestige and traits of their wor-
thy progenitor.

Col. Jeremiah C. Drake (deceased) was a de-
scendant, on the paternal side, of one of the first
English, and on the maternal side of one of the earliest
Huguenot-Puritan families of New England. His
father was a colonel of militia, and his grandfather
was a captain in the Revolutionary war. His ances-
tors were among the first settlers of the Empire State,
and were descendants of the renowned Sir Francis
Drake, the first circumnavigator of the globe. Col.
Drake was born in Salisbury, Herkimer countjj, N. Y.,
April 19, 1824; was endowed with the indomitable
energy, the bravery and the uncompromising integ-
rity which so often characterizes persons of Huguenot-
Puritan descent. At an early age he embraced relig-
ion under the Harmony Baptist Association, and
throughout his life adhered undeviatingly with his
whole heart and soul to his faith. A few years prior
to attaining his maturity he engaged in mercantile
pursuits in Wisconsin, whither he had gone in 1843,
and during this period held several positions of trust,
and although he demonstrated a business ability that
would have eventuated in more than ordinary success,
he relinquished his worldly pursuits and devoted his
time to study, with a view to the gospel ministry. In
December, 1847, he was licensed to preach, and soon
thereafter returned to his native State to pursue, at
the Rochester University, a thorough course of study,
preparatory to entering upon his ministerial labors.
Although entirely without means when he entered
upon his collegiate course, he managed by most in-
dustrious application to earn the means of subsist-
ance and to pay the cost of his tuition while taking
the full course in the regular time, being graduated
from the university in 1852. During this period, also,
he gathered and organized a church at ChurchviUe,
Monroe county, N. Y., and was ordained its pastor
January 22, 1852. After a successful pastorate there
of two years he had charge of the Baptist Church at
Panama, Chautauqua county, N. Y., which he left four
years later to assume the pastoral care of the Baptist
Church in Westfield, removing thither in the fall of
1868. Upon the breaking out of the war he resolved
to take up arms in defense of his imperiled country,
and in August, 1861, recruited a company, was com-
missioned its captain, and joined the 49th N. Y. V. I.,
under the command of Col. D. D. Bidwell. He
served with his regiment through the entire campaign
of the Peninsula, taking active and honorable part in
the battles of Mechanicsville, Garnett's Farm, Savage
Station and White Oak Swamp. In the fall of 1862,
when the 112th regiment was raised in Chautauqua
county, Capt. Drake was unanimously chosen to its
command, and was commissioned colonel September

2, 1862. During his subsequent two years of service
Col. Drake was distinguished for his courage in action,
and during a large portion of this time was in com-
mand of the brigade. He was occupying this posi-
tion at the battle of Cold Harbor, where he received a
mortal wound and was taken to the hospital, and
there, after having delivered to his comrades his last
message to his family, with a request that his body be
sent home, he asked to be kept quiet, saying: " You
will excuse me from talking, for 1 have but little time
to live, and I wish it all to myself." He passed the
night in self-communion, enduring the keenest bodily
suffering without a murmer or complaint. Towards
morning the chaplain recited the words of the apostle:
" Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through
our Lord Jesus Christ." The dying Christian soldier
responded, "Amen, amen!" These were his last
words. Thus died a good man, and a genuine patriot.
But, great as are the honors justly bestowed upon him
for the service rendered his country in a most critical
juncture, far more honorable were his achievements
as a " soldier of the cross," under the Great Captam of
Salvation, in the warfare against the kindom of dark-
ness. Col. Drake was niarried to Clara Utley, of
Boonville, Oneida county, N. Y., August 25, 1852, and
to them were born three children: J. Clinton Merl,
Jennie Clara and Charles Kessler. J. C. M. Drake,
M. D., 720 Sassafras street, Erie, Pa., was born in
Panama, Chautauqua county, N. Y., June 24, 1855, and
reared in Westfield. His father was Col. J. C. Drake.
After receiving a good literary education at Greylock
Institute, Massachusetts, he entered Cornell University,
taking a thorough literary and scientific course when
20 years of age; after two years he entered Hahne-
mann College, Chicago, graduating in 1880, when 25
years of age. After practicing a year at Westfield,
N. Y., in connection with Dr. George W. Seymour, he
came to Erie, and has since been identified with the
practice in this city. He has worked actively for the
development of the social life of Erie city, and enjoys
an enviable reputation professionally. Dr. Drake
has been president of the Erie County Homeopathic
Medical Society, and is a member of the Homeopathic
Medical Society of Pennsylvania, of the Medical
Society of Western New York, and of the new Homeo-
pathic Hospital and Dispensary Association of the
city. He has lived a very active professional life, and
is especially skilled in the field of orificial surgery. Dr.
Drake's beautiful residence, at 720 Sassafras street, also
contains his office quarters, consisting of four separate
apartments; first, the office entrance leads to the
reception room, adjoining which is the consulting and
operating room, with a separate exit to the street; from
this open the laboratory and the retiring room. Every-
thing that experience could suggest has been brought
into requisition to make the offices convenient and
pleasant. Dr. Drake was united in marriage, June 4,
1890, to Miss Cassie, daughter of J. B. Crouch, a lead-
ing miller of Erie. They have two children, Benson
Crouch, born February 20, 1891, and Clara Louisa,
born February 10, 1893. The family attend the Park
Presbyterian Church. The doctor is a member of the
K. of P., and National Union, and is medical exam-
iner for both. In politics he is a Republican.

Gen. David B. McCreary, attorney at law, Erie,
Pa. There will always attach an interest to the pioneer
families, which will never probably belong to others



who come at a later date, as the former have laid the
foundations of social and material growth, and the
coming generations can only modify and develop that
which they, by their energy and perseverance, estab-
lished. By their strong arms were the forests felled,
the undergrowth cleared away, and the sod broken;
by them were the primitive cabm, the log schoolhouse
and the church erected. Later inhabitants make fur-
ther and higher advancements in all these, and proceed
to further develop the embryo foundlings of the pioneer.
To the latter class belongs General McCreary, born Feb-
ruary 27, 1826, in Mill Creek township, Erie county.
Pa., to Joseph F. and Lydia (Swan) McCreary, natives
of Pennsylvania, and the parents of nine children:
Samuel S., Richard S., Selina C, John J., Mary E.,
Jackson, David B., Lydia A. and Martha's. Joseph
F. McCreary cameto Mill Creek township in 1800 from
Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, and was a farmer
during his life. Gen. D. B. McCreary was brought up
as a farmer's son; when a mere lad his tastes inclined
to science and literature, which has increa.sed with his
years. In his boyhood days he made the best use of
such educational advantages as the public schools of
his locality afforded and the limited means of his family
would allow. He also attended the Erie Academy and
the Washington (Fa.) College; l.itri- he taught school in
Erie, and was princiiial in the Winchester (Ky.) Semi-
nary, and elsewhere in Kentucky, from 185i to 1853.
While teaching in Erie he read law with Judge John
and W. A. Galbraith, and in 1863 began practicing
law, forming a partnership with J. B. Johnson. In 1855
he was appointed aid to Governor Pollock, with the
rank of lieutenant colonel. Two years later he be-
came associated with Jonas Gunnison, the father of
the present presiding judge, Frank Gunnison, and dis-
solved his partnership with Mr. Johnson, the new part-
nership continuing until the breaking out of the Re-
bellion, when he was attached as first lieutenant of Co.
B, in what was known as the Erie regiment. He was
prominent in the organization of the 145th Reg., P. V.
I., of which he was appointed lieutenant colonel, and
was subsequently commissioned colonel, and later
breveted brigadier general, which position he held at
the close of the war. He was confined in Libby,
Macon, Charleston and Columbia prisons for ten
months. On his return from the war he resumed the
practice of law, and, like all who love their profession,
has been successful. In 1865, as a token of the esteem
in which he was held by the many friends of his resi-
dent district, he was elected to the Legislature, and
served with credit to himself and his constituents for two
terms. In 1867 he was appointed adjutant general
under Governor Geary, and served three years. In
1870 he was again returned to the Legislature. He
served six years as a State manager of the Dixmont
Asylum. In 1888 he was elected as a member of the
State Senate from the Erie district for the term of four
years, and in 1892 was re-elected to the same body.
As State senator Gen. McCreary has served on numer-
ous important committees; among them, for two terms,
as chairman of the judiciary general committee. Dur-
ing his senatorial service he has been notably faithful
in his attendance upon the sessions of that body, and
watchful for the interests of his constituents. It is a
pleasure to record him as a gentleman of fine natural
endowments and acquired abilities, enviable reputa-
tion professionally and socially. He adheres strictly
to the principles of the Repuclican party, and his elo-

quence as a political speaker is sought in various parts
of the State. He is one of the founders of the Park
Presbyterian Church of Erie; was married in 1851 to
Annette, daughter of the late E. D. Gunnison, one of
the early settlers of Erie county. This union has re-
sulted in two children: Sophia, wife of Henry A.
Clark, a prominent attorney of Erie and Wirt, who
graduated in June, 1884, with honors as cadet mid-
shipman at the United States Naval Academy at An-
napolis, Md., and is now of the firm of H. Thompson
& Co., Erie, Pa.

Winfield S. McCreary, retired farmer, Wesi
Mill Creek postoffice, Erie county. Pa., was born Oc-
tober 2, 1847, on the farm on which he now resides.
He is a son of Samuel S. and Joanna (Brooks) Mc-
Creary. In the fall of 1863 he was taken sick with a
complication of diseases and was confined to his bed
for eight years. Since then he has been obliged to
use crutches. He followed farming for fifteen years
and served as township treasurer for three years. Mr.
McCreary is a member of the Westminster Presby-
terian Church, and in politics, like all the rest of the
McCrearys, is a staunch Republican.

Samuel Slater McCreary (deceased), a life-long
resident of Mill Creek township, was born September
12, 1812, and died July 31, 1892. He was a son of
Joseph F. and Lydia (Swan) McCreary, the former a
native of Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, and the
latter of Dauphin county, who came to Erie county in
1802-3, locating on Walnut Creek. The father of the
latter came from Dauphin county and settled in Man-
chester in 1804. They were parents of nine children,
as follows: S. S., Richard P., born in 1814, died in
1881; J. J. (deceased), Selina C, Mary E., Jackson (de-
ceased), formerly of Mill Creek; Gen. David B. Mc-
Creary, Erie; Lydia A., wife of William Love, of Mill
Creek, and Martha S., wife of Thomas Love. October
17, 1839, Mr. S. S. McCreary married Joanna, daughter
of John and Eleanor (McCreary) Brooks, the former of
whom came to this county in 1802, settling in Mill
Creek township. Mrs. McCreary still survives, at the
age of 76 years, enjoying the remaining days of a well
spent life upon the farm where she was born. John
Brooks was born in 1772 and died in 1857. His wife,
Eleanor (McCreary) Brooks, died in 1846. They were
natives of Lancaster. Their children were Joanna,
born July 8, 1819; Mary J., born May 31, 1821, died Oc-
tober 26, 1850; Eliza B., born August 19, 1823; Harriett,
born July 12, 1825, died July 14, 1853, and John C.
Brooks, born March 7, 1829, died August 2, 1849. To
Mr. and Mrs. McCreary were born twelve children, as
follows: Julia (deceased), Washington I. (deceased),
John J., married to Mary Easley, have five children
(Florence E., Sidney S., Agnes M., Bryant and
Dwight); John (deceased) and John J., twins; Winfield,
now a retired farmer; Nellie Lydia (deceased, 1893);
Sidney B. (deceased), Eva Jane (deceased), Mary A.
(deceased), Millie J. and Margaret B. Millie J. has
followed teaching as a profession for several years,
part of her teaching being among the freedmen of
of the South. Margaret B., who is a graduate of the
Edinboro State Normal School, has been teaching in
her own township. The late Samuel Slater McCreary,
who for many years lived on a farm situated on an ele-
vation in the central part of Mill Creek township, was
a man of great intelligence and strong moral char-


acter. He was a great reader, and in order to satisfy
this desire he accumulated a library of nearly a thou-
sand volumes. He would work hard all day at his
trade and at night would spend his time until the
small hours reading by the light of a tallow candle.
In politics he was a staunch Republican.

Joseph J. McCreary, retired farmer, West Mill
Creek township, was born July 14, 1844, son of Samuel
Slater and Joanna (Brooks) McCreary, of Mill Creek
township. The former died July 30, 1892, at the age
of 80 years; the latter still survives, living on the
homestead farm, near her son, at the age of 76 years.
Mr. Joseph J. McCreary is the third of a family of
eleven children; Julia (deceased), Washington I. (de-
ceased), John J. and John (deceased), twins; Winfield
S., Lydia Ellen, Sidney B. (deceased), Eva Jane (de-
ceased), Mary A. (deceased), Milicent J. and Margaret
B. McCreary. March 4, 1869, Mr. McCreary married
Miss Mary Esling, a native of Germany. To this
union have been born five children: Florence, Sidney,
Agnes, Bryant and Dwight McCreary. Mr. McCreary
has always been a resident of Mil! Creek township and
highly respected. He has been on his present farm
forty-five years. Mr. and Mrs. McCreary are mem-
bers of the Presbyterian Church.

Cassius McCreary, superintendent of the F. H.
Watson Paper Company, Erie, Pa., born in Fairview
township, Erie county. Pa., April 8, 1859, is a son of
Andrew Franklin and Letitia Isabella (Barr) Mc-
Creary. His father was born in Fairview township,
one mile north of what is known as the "Old Ken-
tucky Home," and lived there until after his mar-
riage. His grandfather, William B. McCreary, was
also a native of Erie county, and a soldier in the war
of 1812. His great-grandfather came from New
England and was of Scotch ancestry. His maternal
grandfather, John L. Barr, was a native of Erie county,
and his maternal great-grandfather, who was a Scotch-
Irishman, died in Washington, D. C., at the advanced
age of 103 years. It will thus be seen that the Mc-
Creary and Barr families were among the very first of
the sturdy pioneers who undertook the gigantic task of
converting this portion of the Lake Erie wilderness
into one of the most beautiful agricultural spots on the
globe. Andrew F. McCreary followed farming until
middle life, when he became a member of the hrm of
Caughey, McCreary & Moorehead, book-sellers and
stationers, Erie, Pa., and is now living in retirement
with his wife in Erie. The family consisted of five
children, three of whom are living: Emma, Mrs.
Richard Pratt; Cassius and John Milton, the last
storekeeper of the H. F. Watson Paper Company.
Mr. Cassius McCreary was educated in the public
schools and academy of his native town, and when
quite young accepted a position with Watson & Mor-
gan, who at that time were manufacturing paper in
Fairview township. After two years thus employed
he was made foreman of the mill, a position he filled
for a year and a half. In 1884 he came to Erie as
assistant foreman of the mill, which had been pre-
viously erected here, and two years later was pro-
moted to his present position. During this long term
of service he has discharged the multifarious duties of
his position in such a way as to win the respect of
those under his charge and the confidence of his
employers, and to establish for himself the reputation

of being one of the most thorough and practical paper
men in the country. Mr. McCreary was married May
8, 1883, to Miss Isabella, daughter of Mr. Peter
Heidler, of Fairview township. This union has been
blessed with two children, Adriel Raymond and
Arloween Isabella. Mr. and Mrs. McCreary attend
the Simpson M. E. Church, of which she is a member.
He is a member of the A. O. U. W. and is a Repub-
lican in his political views.

Hon. John H. Walker (deceased). Few names
are more identified with Northwestern Pennsylvania,
and none more associated with Erie, than that of the
lawyer and statesman now mentioned. He was one
of eight children of John and Isabella (McCormick)
Walker, born in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania,
February 9, 1800. His ancestors were of Scotch,
Scotch-Irish, and English origin, and among the very
early settlers of Pennsylvania. His great-grand-
father, William Walker, came to Pennsylvania in
1710 вАФ but eighteen years after William Penn. The
Walkers settled in Lancaster county. His grand-
father, William Walker, afterward removed to Cum-
berland county and his father, in 1817, removed from
Cumberland to Washington county, Pennsylvania.
His mother, Isabella McCormick, the daughter of
Thomas and Jane (Oliver) McCormick, was born De-
cember 29, 1769, on the present site of Philadelphia,
Pa. They came from Ireland in 1737. They had two
sons, John and William, and six daughters, of whom
Isabella was the eldest. The reference to Mr.
Walker's ancestry and race will explain his marked
tenacity of purpose and rigid pertinacity; while the
long identification of the family with Pennsylvania is
mentioned as a reminder of his loyalty to her inter-
ests. Robert John Walker, United States Senator
from Mississippi and secretary of the treasury under
President Polk, was the son of John H. Walker's
uncle, Jonathan Walker, and was born July 14, 1801.

John H. Walker graduated at Washington College
in 1822. He studied with an uncle at Pittsburg, and
was the next year admitted to the bar. In 1824 he
came to Erie to reside. From that time he was iden-
tified for half a century with Erie as a lawyer and pub-
lic man. He was an advocate of great power, and re-
tained his place as one of the leading men of North-
western Pennsylvania until his death. His profes-
sional career included an amount of continuous and
arduous professional work and a prominent, undis-
puted and well sustained leadership which has few
parallels in the State. He was thoroughly Pennsyl-
vanian, by birth, lineage, education and residence.
This was strikingly manifest in his conspicuous service
in the legislative bodies of the State. In these, his re-
markable legislative career has three separate and
distinct but equally removed periods of service. His
first four years in the Legislature commenced in 1832.
The second as senator from 1849 to 1852. The third
as delegate at large to the Constitutional convention
of 1873^. As his first service was in the prime of life,
the second was in his full-orbed meridian, and the
third after he had passed the psalmist's limit. Each
period was, in a measure, amid different surroundings

of men and of questions. In each period of
his leadership was recognized; for in the first, he was,
as chairman of ways and means committee, leader of
the House; in the second, speaker of the Senate, and
in the third, made president of the Constitutional con-



vention, on the death of William M. Meredith, who, at
the head of the Philadelphia bar, and secretary of the
treasury under President Taylor, was of national re-
nown. The agitating questions of these respective
eras were as different as were the personal surround-
ings. In the first, the creation of corporations and the
construction of canals were foremost; in the second,
the building and regulating of railroads were of ab-
sorbing interest; and in the third and final service, the
restriction of corporations and the curbing of their
powers, were uppermost in the minds of the framers
of the Constitution. In all of the groups of men 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 111 of 192)