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Nelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 112 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Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 112 of 192)
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variety of questions, Mr. Walker was a leader of lead-
ers. Sound in his principles, clear in his views of
public measures, and earnest in their support, he won
admiration and commanded respect. In the halls of
legislation, as before courts and juries, his presenta-
tion of facts was so clear, and his train of reasoning so
cogent, that he generally carried his audience with
him. He struck his sledge-hammer blows with tre-
mendous power; and his sarcasm was withering. He
seldom lost a cause. Having mastered its fundamen-
tal principles, believing its aim to be the enforcement
of right and the repression of wrong, he devoted his
great abilities to its practice. Though eminently fitted
to grace public positions, he was not an officer-seeker.
He despised the tricks of the politician. Three times
in his long career he accepted public trusts, always to
his pecuniary detriment. Each time it was in inter-
ruption of professional duties, to him, so much more
congenial. Besides, circumstances, and his own con-
victions, had placed him, in early life, in antagonism
to the Democracy in its long and hardly intermitted
control of Pennsylvania. Always its opponent, Mr.
Walker, on each occason of his appearance in public
position, was found in the leadership of a party of a
different name from that borne during his former
service. In 1885, as the co-adjutor of Governor Rit-
ner, Thaddeus Stevens and Thomas H. Burrows, he
was the leader of the Anti-Masonic majority of the
House of Representatives. In 1851-2, as the elect of
the Whigs, he presided in the State Senate, and in
1873-4 as the choice of the Republicans, as Meredith's
successor in the President's chair, in a body of which
Governors Bigler and Curtin, Judge Black and other
able men were members. He had passed the merid-
ian of his life when the Pennsylvania Democracy was
overthrown, but in the "borrowed time" allotted him,
after his three score and ten, he aided in forming a
constitution, to protect the people from mischiefs,
which as a legislator he had perceived and deplored.
He was a public-spirited citizen, keenly alive to the
interests of Erie and resolute in their defense. He
did much to improve the city, having erected an in-
dustrial plant and many dwellings. While in the
Legislature he obtained from the State the grant of
the beautiful farm for the Alms House and the " Third
Section" of land in Mill Creek for the improvement of
Erie harbor. He was active in the development of
the railroad system centering at Erie and devoted
much of his time and means to maintain a plank road.
His domestic relations were unusually happy. In
1831 he married Miss Catherine D. Kelley, a native of
New Hampshire. Their home was in an imposing
brick mansion on West Seventh street, erected in 1837.
He was noted for the love of home, and though Mrs.
Walker died in 1860, more than fourteen years pre-
ceding the death of her husband, the memory of her

grace of manner and kindness of heart, lingers like a
spell. After her death Mr. Walker kept open his
spacious, elegant home, and by his will directed that
for ten years his home, with the furniture and pict-
ures, with all their associations, should be continued
as a family household. His exertions in the Constitu-
tional convention told upon his strength, he returned
home enfeebled, and, " full of honors and of years,"
died on the 25th of January, 1875.

His eldest son, Maj. John W. Walker, is U. S.
marshal of the western district of Pennsylvania. His
home is in Erie.

Gen. Thomas McCormick Walker, second son
of John H. Walker, was born February 4, 1834. After
graduation at Princeton, he spent some years in the
construction of railroads in Missouri and Illinois. Hav-
ing returned to Erie, he was active in raising the One
Hundred and Eleventh Regiment of Pennsylvania
Volunteers, which served until the close of the war.
No one was more identified with his regiment than
Gen. Walker. He entered as major and rose to be its
colonel, and was for his gallant conduct brevetted
brigadier-general. While major, in the absence of the
colonel and lieutenant-colonel, he commanded the
regiment at the battles of Cedar Mountain and Antie-
tam, and for his gallantry was presented with a splen-
did sword by the ladies of Erie. It was fitly said by
the Erie Dispatch, in speaking of the regiment: " It
has seen more hard fighting, done more active duty
and obtained a wider reputation in proportion to its
service than almost any other in the country." His
regiment was the first to enter Atlanta, and the last to
leave that city, while forming part of Gen. Sherman's
army in his " March to the Sea." The visit of the One
Hundred and Eleventh Regiment to Erie, in the win-
ter of 1864, was the occasion of a public reception and
a great manifestation of affection and esteem for Col.
Walker and his men. His military record was a glo-
rious one. He returned at the close of the war and
entered business in Erie. In 1870 he was elected
sheriff of Erie county; he was chairman of the Repub-
lican county committee in 1868-9; was appointed post-
master of Erie by President Grant in 1876, and served
until 1879; he is now farming in North Dakota. He
married Miss Agnes, daughter of the late William M.
Caughey, of Erie.

AH of Mr. John H. Walker's daughters are living:
Catherine D., the eldest, is the wife of Hon. S. A. Dav-
enport, of Erie; the second, Isabella McCormick, is
Mrs. H. N. Armstrong, of Missouri; Mary J., the third,
is Mrs. Dilman F. Beemer, of Missouri.

Of the sons, George W. Walker, born April 26,
1840, was an attorney at law in Erie, and died August
7,1871; James Oliver, born June 13, 1842, died April
15, 1844; Quincey Adams, born March 15, 1847, died
February 2, 1865; and Harry, born August 5, 1852, died
April 6, 1879.

Such is but a meagre sketch of a family that in
some of its members has for several generations filled
a most important place in Erie. To write their com-
plete biography would require a recapitulation of more
of the history of Erie county, of Pennsylvania, and of
public events during the last seventy years, than the
space now allotted would permit.

James McBrier, president of the Ball Engine
Company, Erie, Pa., was born in Allegheny city. Pa.,



n th e public and private schools of which city he re-
ceived his education. He was associated with his
father, who was extensively engaged in the sawmill
and lumber business, until he was 24 years of age,
when, upon the death of his father, he assumed the
management of the business, which was successfully
conducted by him until 1878, when he removed to
Erie. In 1872, Mr. McBrier, associated with other
gentlemen, established a wholesale lumber business in
Erie, which was continued until 1887. They employed
barges and steamers in carrying Michigan lumber, in
which they dealt extensively. In 1887, Mr. McBrier
became interested in the Ball Engine Company, of
which he became president a year later. This institu-
tion was established in 1881 and incorporated in 1884.
(See chapter on manufacturing). The present officers
of the company are: James McBrier, president; D. N.
McBrier, vice-president and secretary, and H. L. Mc-
Brier, treasurer. The plant, located at the corner of
Twelfth and French streets, occupies a space of about
two acres, nearly all of which is covered with build-
ings. The products of this concern consists of engines
only. These are the highest grade and for use in
electric light, electric railway and mining plants, have
no superior. This is true not only on account of the
excellent material and workmanship used in their con-
struction, but also on account |of certain special appli-
ances, such as valves, governors, crank shafts, etc.,which
are superior to those of any other engines. The territory
in which these engines are used includes the whole
civilized world. The capital stock of the concern is
S300,000, and the output from 25,000 to 30,000 horse-
power per year. Mr. McBrier is managing owner of three
lake steamers of 2,500 tons burden each, and is vice-
president of the Lake Carriers' Association. He was
married in 1860 to Miss Mary E. White, daughter of the
Hon. D. N. White, editor and proprietor of the Pitts-
burg Gommernal^Oazette, whose ancestors came to
Plymouth on the Mayflower. The issue of this mar-
riage has been six children, two of whom are asso-
ciated with their father in business and another son Fred,
was graduated from Cornell University in 1895. Mr.
McBrier and family worship at the Park Presbyterian
Church, of which he is a trustee. In politics Mr. Mc-
Brier is a staunch Republican and an active and
efficient worker in the interests of the party. He
served as a member of the select council of Allegheny
City for sixteen years, and was for twelve years presi-
dent of that body. Since coming to Erie his support
of the principles of his party have been untiring, and
during the campaign which resulted in President Har-
rison's election, he was chairman of the Republican
county committee. He always has the best interests
of the nation and community at heart and is always
ready to give his means and influence to the advance-
ment of all worthy enterprises of a public or charitable

Henry R. Teller, Girard, Pa., was born in Girard
township, March 10, 1837, on the farm where his father
settled, about three miles west of the borough. The
father was a native of New York, and the mother, of
Springfield, Pa. Henry Teller, sr., was born January
1, 1802; his parents were Henry R. and Catherine
(Macdonald) Teller, natives of Albany, N. Y., and
Baltimore, Md., respectively. Henry Teller, sr., came
to Springfield in 1825, and moved to Girard in 1826,
settling on the farm now owned by Henry R. Teller.

Henry Teller, sr., and Roselinda (Porter) Teller were
the parents of seven children, viz.: Isaac (deceased);
Jasper, resides in Michigan; Louisa (deceased), mar-
ried L. G. Pettis, of Platea, Pa.; Samuel, resides in
Michigan; Henry R.; John, died in the service, June
29, 1862, and was a member of Co. H, 83d P. V. I.;
Mary, married Ira J. Miller, of Franklin, Pa. Henry
Teller, sr.'s second marriage was with Jane Cross, of
Springfield, Pa., who, dying, left a daughter, Maggie,
wife of George W. Kibler, of Girard. iienry Teller,
sr., was again united in marriage, this time to Delia
Patterson, of Aurora, N. Y. He was prominent in
Erie county politics in 1859-60, representing the county
in the State Legislature. Henry R. Teller was reared
and educated in Girard. and has always made farmirig
his chief occupation. During the war he served in
Co. B, 98th P. V. I. In the fall of 1892 he removed to
Girard borough, and built a handsome residence,
where he now resides. He personally superintends
his farm in the township, and also owns considerable
real estate in Michigan. Mr. Teller was married
April 14, 1861, to Miss Emma, daughter of Benjamin
Van Camp, of Girard. They have one child. Sum-
mer. Mr. Teller is a member of the G. A. R., and is
a Republican. Henry Teller, sr., was prominent in
Erie county politics, and served two terms in the State
Legislature. He died May 4, 1889, and his first wife
died in 1843, and the second wife died in 1864.

Andrew K. McMttllen, M. D., proprietor of the
Erie Burial Case Company, Erie, Pa., was born in
Banbridge, County Down, Ireland, October 12, 1839.
He is a son of George and Ann Jane (Kerr) McMullen.
The family came to the United States in 1846, and lo-
cated in Meadville, Pa., where the senior Mr. McMul-
len's two brothers, Robert and William, were located
and engaged with them in the manufacture of car-
riages, which trade he had followed in his native
country. After remaining there for two years he en-
gaged in the manufacture of boat oars, near Conneaut-
ville. Pa. This, together with a lumber business, oc-
cupied the remainder of his active life. His death
occurred at his son's residence, in Erie, June 19, 1890.
He was survived by his widow until June 3, 1893. The
family consisted of eight children, five of whom are
living, viz.: John (engaged in farming in West Vir-
ginia); Andrew K.; Hugh (who occupies the old home-
stead on the farm near Conneautville); Miss Ann
Jane (who resides with her brother, Hugh), and George
(who is associated with Dr. A. K. IVlcMullen in raising
and handling fruit in Morgan Hill, Cal.); William died
in Grand Rapids, Mich., March 2, 1891. Dr. McMul-
len was educated in the public schools of Meadville,
and the Edinboro State Normal school, attending the
latter for three years. He acted as superintendent for
his father until he was 23 years of age, after which he
read medicine with Dr. Orin Hough, of Conneautville.
Dr. McMullen was quite extensively engaged in the
oil-producing business in Warren, Butler and Venango
counties, from 1865 to 1874. Associated with Dr. J. N.
Bolard, he conducted a medical practice and a drug
store in Pit Hole City, Pa., for two years, during the
oil excitement there, and then for two years at Tidioute,
Pa. While located at the last named place. Dr. Mc-
Mullen, in 1867-68, went to Philadelphia and com-
pleted his medical education. Upon his return they
organized a business at Pleasantville, Pa., of which
Dr. McMullen took charge, and of which, having dis-



solved partnership with Dr. Bolard a year later, be-
came sole proprietor. He remained in Pleasantville
five years, giving his attention chiefly to the drug
business, which he also followed six years in Grand
Rapids, Mich., and five years at Meadville, Pa. In
1882 he returned to Grand Rapids and engaged in the
lumber business with his brother, William, to whom
he sold out in May, 1887, having come to Erie in 1884,
and purchased Barry Smith's interest in the Erie
Burial Case Company, of which he became sole pro-
prietor in 1886. This company was founded about
1874 by Robert Evans, Emanuel Goodrich and A.
Woods, who operated it for a time and then failed, the
business being closed out by Mr. John C. Selden, as
assignee. The next owners were Mr. Smith and the
Caldwell brothers, they later admitting Barry Smith,
and from that it was transferred to the present pro-
prietorship. The plant is situated on the Edinboro
road, just outside the city limits, and formerly in-
cluded the finishing room, warerooms and office,
which were burned May 21, 1887. Since becoming
the property of the present owner, the plant has been
increased from two to nine acres, besides the finishing
room, warerooms and office, Nos. 1210-12-14 Peach
street, which was purchased from the insolvent Bootz
Manufacturing Company. New machinery and mod-
ern conveniences have been added, so that the output
of the concern is over 4,000 caskets a year. The
products include all kinds of burial cases and funeral
supplies. As has been stated, since coming to Erie,
Dr. McMuUen has purchased two insolvent concerns,
and placed them on a live and profitable basis. The
doctor was married October 29, 1872, to Miss Marion
Isabella Eddy, daughter of Mr. James H. Eddy, of
W^arren, Pa. The issue of this marriage was two
children: Eddy Dudley (who died in infancy) and Ir-
vine Stewart. The doctor is a Knight Templar Ma-
son and a member of the Mystic Shrine, the latter of
which he was district potentate in 1892. Politically
he affiliates with the Republican party, but he has
never been a seeker of public office. He has been
for several years a member of the Erie board of trade,
and in 1892 filled the responsible position of presi-
dent of that body.

Hon. Samuel E. Woodruff was born in North
Coventry, Conn., March 31, 1817, and died at his resi-
dence in Erie, April 15,1881. Hisfather, Rev. Ephraim
T. Woodruff, was a Presbyterian minister, and a
nephew of Governor Treadwell, through whose kind
offices he received his collegiate training at Yale and
Andover Seminaries. His mother, Sally Alden, was a
lineal descendant of Capt. John Alden. He removed
with his parents to Trumbull county, Ohio, where he
remained until 16, when he entered Hamilton College,
New York. He subsequently studied law in Cincin-
nati, and was admitted to practice in 1841 by an exam-
ining committee, of which Hon. S. P. Chase and Judge
Walker were members. Locating at Girard, Erie
county. Pa., in 1844, he applied himself to the practice
of his profession, making sure advances in the direc-
tion of the success he afterward attained in so large a
degree. In 1847 he was married to Miss Eliza Sterrett.
His election as district attorney in 1853 afforded an
opportunity in a wider field for the display of his legal
talents, and enhanced his reputation at the bar. In
1867, upon nomination of Chief Justice Chase, he re-
ceived the appointment of register in bankruptcy,

which position he held until the repeal of the bank-
rupt law. In 1870 he was the unanimous nominee of
his party in Erie county at the primary election for
president judge of the Sixth Judicial District. In 1872
he changed his residence from Girard to Erie, and
thereafter gave special attention to the increasing de-
mands of his profession, but by no means ignored so-
cial claims and questions affecting the general welfare.
He was an active member of the First Presbyterian
Church. Useful objects of every nature had his cor-
dial co-operation. In politics he was a thorough Re-
publican, and actively participated in contests between
thetwogreat parties. Among his professional brethren
he was highly esteemed; positive, courteous, firm, yet
tolerant, uncompromising opposition to wrong, were
elements of his character that made him a strong, in-
fluential and useful citizen. Mr. Woodruff's surviving
family consists of his widow and daughter Sarah, who
occupy the family residence on State street, this city,
his son, Thomas S., located at Girard, in the practice
of law, and the eldest daughter, Mary S., the wife of
Joseph Johnston, whose sketch appears elsewhere in
this work.

Giles D. Price (deceased) was born in North East,
Erie county, Pa., August 23, 1838. He died in Erie,
Pa., February 9, 1895. His parents were Erastus and
Jane (Cosper) Price, the former a native of New York,
of English descent, and the latter a native of Erie
county, and of Scotch-Irish descent. Giles D. Price
received his education in the public schools of North
East, and was thereafter, until his twenty-second
year, engaged as a salesman. In 1849 he went to
Pike's Peak and worked in the gold regions four and
a half years, when he returned to Erie county and
engaged in milling in Venango township, where he
conducted a prosperous business for ten years. During
that time he, for a while, held the office of justice of
the peace for Venango township. In 1875 he was
elected prothonotary of Erie county, and was re-elected
in 1878, serving in that capacity until January 1, 1882.
One year later he was appointed clerk to the board of
County Commissioners, a position which he held until
January 1, 1890, when he accepted the appointment as
deputy collector of customs under John M. Glazier,
which he held until February 8, 1894. He was one of
the organizers of the Erie Chemical Company, and at
the time of his death was the secretary and treasurer
of that concern. Mr. Price was a Republican, and
few men of his party in Pennsylvania were more
widely known or more universally respected. He was
regarded as an authority on tax revision, and his efforts
in the direction of a more fair and equitable system of
taxation assessment won for him the support of good
citizens generally. His ambition was to attain the
office of auditor general, and to bring about a revision
of the existing tax laws that would remedy the many
defects which are common cause of complaint through-
out the commonwealth. He was a candidate for the
nomination to that office before the Republican State
conventions of 1891 and 1894, but was defeated in
both instances. In 1891 he was tendered the nomina-
tion for State treasurer, which he declined. He
was appointed a member of the commission con-
stituted by the last Legislature to revise the tax laws
of the State, and was made chairman of that com-
mission. Mr. Price was a man of ability and sterling
integrity; fair and upright in all his dealings, and


fearless and independent in his utterances. He com-
manded the respect of men in all parties and classes,
and his memory will be cherished long after the pres-
ent generation has passed away. He was married, in
October, 1866, to Augusta, daughter of Henry O.
Chase, of North East. His wife died in 1892, leaving
five children — Harriet Jane, Oliver Cosper, Mabel
Gertrude, Eleanor Carr and J. Sanford. The family
reside at 430 West Eighth street, and are members of
the Presbyterian Church.

Hon. Thomas Wilson was born near Sunbury,
Northumberland county. Pa., in 1772. He was a
nephew of David Mead, founder of Meadville, and
was married in 1812, at Waterford, to Mary Nagler,
coming to Erie in 1805. In company with Oliver
Ormsby, of Pittsburg, he was engaged in large con-
tracts for supplying all the western United States
forts along the western frontier, from Niagara to New
Orleans. The year of his arrival at Erie he built two
vessels — the Mary, tipon Lake Erie, and the Fair
American, upon Lake Ontario. They were the best
vessels upon those lakes. He afterwards built the
Lark at Erie. He had fine business talent, was enter-
prising and popular, and filled a number of offices,
among them that of county treasurer, justice of the
peace, member of the Legislature, and was elected to
the Twelfth, Thirteenth and Fourteenth Congresses.
He was also prothonotary and clerk of courts. Mr.
Wilson died in Erie October 4, 1824, aged 52 years.
He had four children: Irene L. (a successful author,
and among her works were "Broken Cisterns,"
"Arthur Singleton" and "Ruth Elmer"); Mary;
James and Thorn, all of whom are deceased. His
daughter, Jane, died in Erie about 1860, while Mrs.
Wilson and Miss Mary died in 1864.

Nelson Seymour, M. D., was born April 17, 1823,
at Sandisfield, Berkshire county, Mass. His parents
were Allen and Mary (Belden) Seymour, natives of
New England, and of English descent. The genealogy
of the Seymours is traceable directly to Sir Richard
Seymour, one of the younger sons of the Duke of
Somerset. Nelson Seymour took his academical
course at Winsted Academy, Litchfield, Conn. He
then went South to take a position as one of the
teachers in the Academy at Lumpkin, Stewart county,
Ga. The southern climate disagreeing with him, he
soon returned to Massachusetts, and in 1841 began the
study of medicine under the preceptorship of Dr.

5. B. Parsons, of Sandisfield. Dr. Seymour removed
to Erie, Erie county. Pa., in 1846, and continued to be
engaged in the practice of his profession in that
city until his removal to North East in 1894. Although
frequently called to consultation by his brother prac-
titioners, he has retired, so far as possible, from active
practice. Dr. Seymour was the first physician of his
school in Erie county, and had for many years the
leading homeopathic practice. He was married July

6, 1848, to Caroline H., daughter of the late John
Johnson, of Bristol, Pa. They had but one child,
Florence, who died in 1864, at the age of fifteen. Dr.
and Mrs. Seymour reside at 15 Park street, North East.

JohnF. Flint, M. D., Erie, Pa., was born in Law-
renceville, St. Lawrence county, N. Y., January 11,
1843. He is a son of Warren and Christiana (Barnes)
Flint, natives of Vermont. They reared a fami'y of

four children: Julia (now Mrs. Charles Olds), George,
Harriet (now Mrs. Charles C. Barnes, of Barry, Vt.),
and Dr. J. F. The doctor received his early educa-
tion at the Lawrenceville Academy; later he attended
the Erie Academy, where he was graduated in 1860.
He then took a full course in the University of Michi-
gan in Ann Arbor, and was graduated from thehomoe-
pathic medical department in 1881. He at once
opened an office m Erie, Pa., which has been the scene
of his professional labors ever since. He is a member
of the Pennsylvania State Homcepathic Society and of
the Erie County Homcepathic Medical Society and
the I. O. O. F. In his political views he is a Repub-
lican. Dr. Flint was married October 12, 1865, to
Louisa, daughter of Willard and Amanda (Blowers)
Kingsbury, natives of New York. One child was born
to this union, Nettie J., now Mrs. Randolph Shirk of
Erie, Pa. Dr. Flint is engaged in general practice m
Erie, and is recognized as a skilled physician, a suc-

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 112 of 192)