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Nelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 113 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Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 113 of 192)
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cessful surgeon and a careful counselor.

Bester Coleman Town was born in Granville,
Washington county, N. Y., June 16, 1820. He is a son
of the late Bester and Betsy (Martin) Town, the for-
mer a native of New York, and of English descent,
the latter a native of Vermont, and of French extrac-
tion. They located in North East township in 1824,
residing upon a farm in the vicinity of the borough of
North East for a few years, and throughout the re-
mainder of their lives in the borough, where the elder
Town carried on a general store, and conducted a
tavern for many years. Mr. and Mrs. Bester Town
had, in addition to the son mentioned above, five chil-
dren, who arrived at maturity, two of whom are de-
ceased, Morris C. Town, who removed to Elgin, 111.,
where he was engaged in business, and died July 31,
1892, and Benjamin Franklin Town, late of North
East; the surviving children are: Miss Mary T. Town,
who resides at the old homestead in North East; John
J. Town, of Des Moines, Iowa, and Joseph I. Town, of
Erie, Pa. Bester Town died December 2, 1870; his
wife January 22, 1872. Bester Coleman Town attended
the public schools of North East, and completed his
education in 1838 at the Western Reserve College,
then located in Hudson, Ohio. He entered his father's
store, subsequently became a partner in the business,
and finally its sole owner. He continued to be en-
gaged in merchandising until 1867, and during this
period also conducted a flouring-mill, and had large
farming interests in North East township. In 1868,
he removed to Eaton, Talbot county, Md., where he
remained five years, then returning to North East,
where he has ever since resided. Shortly after his re-
turn, he established a dry-goods, grocery and drug
house, which he conducted until his place of business
was burned out by the conflagration which, in 1884,
destroyed the business portion of North East, when he
abandoned mercantile pursuits. Mr. Town has been
burgess and school director of North East, and held
the office of justice of the peace from 1890 to 1895. He
was married in August, 1841, to Juliette, daughter of
the late William D. Burdick, an old resident of North
East, a native of Shenango county, who removed from
North East to Ashtabula county, Ohio, where he died.
Mr. and Mrs. B. C. Town have four surviving chil-
dren, Warren Coleman Town, now a resident of Cook
county, Illinois; George E. Town, a farmer of North
East; Dwight Town, of New York, and Dennison



Town, student. The family reside at 5 Gibson street,
and attend the Presbyterian Church.

Louis Rosenzweig, attorney at law, Erie, Pa., was
born April 25, 1844, in Macon, Ga. He is a son of the
late Isaac and Bena (Baker) Rosenzweig, natives of
Germany, who were married in Philadelphia, subse-
quently locating in Georgia, where Mr. Isaac Rosen-
zweig engaged in mercantile pursuits. In 1846 the
family removed to Erie, Pa., where Mr. Rosenzweig
was engaged in business until his death, October 8,
1884. His wife survives and resides in Erie. Louis
Rosenzweig received his education in the schools of
Erie, and was for some years thereafter employed in
his father's store. He read law under the preceptor-
ship of Edward Camphausen, Esq., was admitted to
the bar, and engaged in the practice alone until he
formed his present partnership with George A. Allen,
the firm being known as Allen & Rosenzweig, and
having as large a clientage as any law firm in North-
western Pennsylvania. He was married October 19,
1864, to Minnie, daughter of the late Jacob Newberger,
a merchant of Cumberland, Ind. Four children have
blessed this union: Grant I., a graduate of Yale, and
now practicing law in Kansas City, Mo.; Bert R.,
bookkeeper for a wholesale liquor house, Kansas City,
Mo.; Mrs. Etta, wife of Isadore Levi, a representative
of a Boston shoe house, with headquarters at Buffalo,
N. Y., and Miss Harriett Rosenzweig. The family re-
side at 117 West Nineteenth street, and are members
of the Jewish Temple. Mr. Rosenzweig is a stalwart
Democrat and has always been actively identified with
the work of his party in this county, but has never
sought nor held office other than that of school director
for two terms of the city of Erie. He is a member of
the Masonic order, of the I. O. O. F., K. of P., K. of
H. and A. O. U. W.

James E. Sillimati, M. D., physician and sur-
geon, Erie, Pa., was born in North East, Erie county,
Pa., June 10, 1844, son of John and Minerva (Chap-
man) Silliman, natives of Pennsylvania. John Silli-
man's father was a farmer, born in Ireland, who emi-
grated to America, settling in Erie county in 1800.
John was also a farmer; he was parent of seven chil-
dren, four of whom are living. Mrs. Dr. Griffin, of
North East, is his daughter. Dr. J. E. Silliman, ac-
quired his education in Allegheny College, Meadville,
Pa,, from which he was graduated in 1871, with the de-
gree of A. B.; three years later he obtained the degree
of A. M. He afterward graduated from Jefferson
Medical College at Philadelphia in 1874 in the regular
course, and immediately commenced practice in Erie.
He studied medicine under the late Dr. J. L. Stewart,
of Erie. In 1878 Dr. Silliman was married to Hattie
I., daughter of the late Hugh P. Mehafifey, a native of
Erie county, of German and Scotch-Irish descent.
Dr. Silliman enlisted in 1865 in the 102d P. V. I., Co.
E., serving till the close of the war. He is brigade
surgeon of the 2d brig., N. G. P. In 1875 he was
elected coronor and served till 1881; was appointed
secretary of the Board of Examining Surgeons of
Pensions in 1877. He is a member of the Erie County
Medical Society, of the State Medical Society and
American Medical Association. Dr. Silliman and his
wife are members of the First Methodist Church, of
which he was steward and a Sabbath school teacher
for some years. In politics he is a Republican. Dr.

Silliman has built up a very large practice and is one
of the most active men in his profession. He is prom-
inent in the Masonic order, and has served in high
official capacities in various branches of that organ-

Louis Streuber, treasurer of the Erie Fish Asso-
ciation and proprietor of the Erie Oil Company, Erie,
Pa., was born in Alsace, France, May 1, 1853, and is a
son of John and Philipine (Erhart) Streuber, who
came to the United States in 1861 and located in Erie.
The family consisted of eight children: Frederica
(Mrs. J. F. Walther), Charles (deceased), Frederick,
Emile, George (deceased), Julia, Edward and Louis.
The last named received his education in the public
schools of Erie, and at the age of 14 years ob-
tained a position in a drug store, which business he
followed until 1878, when he engaged in the fish busi-
ness with great success. In 1893 the present company
was formed. Mr. Streuber was married November 23,
1881, to Miss Anna, daughter of Samuel C. and Mary
(Hodgen) Harpel, of Lancaster, Pa. They have four
children, Florence, Edith, Nielsen and Louis, jr. In
politics Mr. Streuber is an enthusiastic Republican,
and in 1882 was the choice of his party for mayor of
the city, but was defeated with the rest of his ticket.
He is a member of the State Fish Commission by the
appointment of Governor Beaver. Mr. Streuber is a
member of the Knights of Pithias and the Royal Ar-

Maj. WilllaiM W. Tyson, commander at the Sol-
diers' and Sailors' Home of Pennsylvania, Erie, Pa.,
was born in Baltimore, Md., August 1, 1834, and is a
son of William and Anna (Howard) Tyson, the former
a son of William, who was also a native of Maryland,
whose father came to America and settled in Balti-
more about 1756. He was a Scotch-Irishman, and his
name was also William. William Tyson, the major's
grandfather, was a soldier in the Revolutionary war.
He reared a family of twelve sons, eleven of whom
served in the war of 1812. William, the major's father,
being only about 12 years old at the time, did not enter
the service. Anna Howard, Mr. Tyson's mother, is a
descendant of an American family of English lineage.
Her father served in the Revolutionary war, and was
taken prisoner by the British at the bombardment of
Fort Henry. Her mother lived to be 105 years old.
William Tyson, the major's father, was a Methodist
minister. He settled in Allegheny in 1838, where he
died in 1884. His wife died in 1874. They were the
parents of six children: Wesley (deceased), Sarah (de-
ceased), Thomas H., of Mt. Pleasant, la.; Mary, Mrs.
Jacob Cousins, of Mercer county, Pennsylvania; Will-
iam W., and Joseph, of Pittsburg. William W. was
reared in Allegheny City and educated in the public
schools. When a young man he followed the occupa-
tion of stationary engineer, and later engaged in the
mercantile business in Allegheny, at which he was en-
gaged at the breaking out of the war. He enlisted in
Co. A, 45th P. V. I., as first sergeant, September 6,
1861. This regiment was composed of volunteers from
Centre, Huntingdon, Lancaster and Tioga counties,
and his company was commanded by Capt. Curtin.
Mr. Tyson was promoted to second lieutenant, Decem-
ber 2, 1861; first lieutenant, August 17, 1862; and cap-
tain, September 25, 1862. He was assigned to How-
I ard's Brig., Casey's Div., Army of the Potomac, Octo-



ber 28, 1861. After being stationed in Maryland a
short time he was transferred to Gen. Thomas Sher-
man's command in South Carohna, December 6, 1861,
and participated in the engagements at James Island
and Secessionville. He was then ordered to Newport
News, Va., and was assigned to 1st Brig., 1st Div., 9th
Corps. Here he had charge of the destruction of
bridges on the Potomac Creek and of the accumulated
stores. He participated in the battles of South Moun-
tain and Antietam. On the day of the latter battle he
was detailed for the purpose of forwarding stores from
Frederick City to the Army of the Potomac. He was
at the battle of Fredericksburg, and had charge of the
transportation of military stores from Newport News
to Covington, Ky. He was detailed as provost mar-
shal of the 1st Brig., 1st Div., Army of the Potomac, in
May, 1863, and participated in the battles of Vicks-
burg, Big Black River, Blain's Cross Roads and Jack-
son, Miss. In August, 1863, he was detailed assistant
inspector general of the 1st Div., 9th Corps, on the
staff of Gen. Ferrero. Was in the engagements of
Blue Springs, Tenn., Lenor's Station, Loudonville,
Campbell's Station and Knoxville, Tenn. He was
wounded in the left foot by a shell at Loudonville. At
Lenor's Station he was detailed as assistant engineer
in building a bridge at Lenor's Station across the Hol-
ston river, and the erection of Fort Sanders and other
fortifications at Kno.xville. He waa in the engage-
ments of Fort Sanders, Clint's Church and Blain's
Cross Roads. In April, 1864, he was appointed in-
specting officer of 4th Div., 9th Corps. He was at the
battle of the Wilderness, siege of Petersburg, Weldon
Railroad and Poplar Springs Church. He was mus-
tered out of service October 20, 1864, at Poplar Springs
Church. At the close of the war Mr. Tyson returned
to Allegheny City, and in 1866 entered the U. S. inter-
nal revenue service. He served as street commis-
sioner of Allegheny City two years, and was in-
spector of weights and measures in Allegheny county
three years. Maj. Tyson was engaged in the foundry
business in Allegheny until February 1, 1886, when he
was appointed commander of the Soldiers' and Sailors'
Home of Pennsylvania, at Erie, a position which he
has ably and honorably filled since coming to Erie.
Maj. Tyson has untiringly devoted his energies to the
improvement of the Home, and the results of his efforts
are very noticeable to one who would devote any time
to investigate the conduct of that institution. There
are few, if any, soldiers' homes in the Union that are
as well managed as the one at Erie. Mr. Tvson was
married June 26, 1855, to Miss Martha, daughter of
George W. and Maria (Lytle) Curtis of Center county,
Pennsylvania. George W.Curtis was a California pi-
oneer. Mr. and Mrs. Tyson have had five children,
four of whom are living: Mary, Mrs. J. H. Myer, Pitts-
burg, Pa.; Sarah, at home; Ella, Mrs. J. H. Smith,
Pittsburg; and Estella, at home. Maj. Tyson was
captain of Co. F, 19th Reg., N. G. P., and later, major
of the same regiment, and was a member of Governor
Beaver's staff. He has been an active member of the
G. A. R. since its organization, and has served in the
capacities of vice-commander and department com-
mander. He was the originator of the Union Veteran
Legion, and his name appears first on its books. He
is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and the family
are members of the Presbyterian Church. He has
been for fifteen years a member of the soldiers' orphan
commission of the G. A, R. of Pennsylvania.

Samuel F. Chapia, M. D., resident surgeon of
the Soldiers' and Sailors' Home, Erie, Pa., was born
in Butternuts, Ostego county, N. Y., November 13,
1834. He is a son of Joseph and Fannie (Farnham)
Chapin, the former a native of Springfield, Mass., and
the latter of Connecticut. They are both of very old
New England families. The doctor is the youngest
of ten children. The family settled in Erie county
in his early youth, where he was reared, and attended
jhe public schools. In 1866 he entered Yale College,
and in 1860 was graduated in the scientific and med-
ical course. He then taught a private school one year,
and at the beginning of the war was appointed assist-
ant surgeon in the First Pennsylvania Reserves, and
served until September 12, 1862, when he was pro-
moted to major surgeon, assigned to the 139th Reg.,
P. V. I., and served until the close of the war, having
risen through the various grades to surgeon-in-chief of
division. He returned to Wattsburg.Erie county. Pa.,
and engaged in the general practice of his profession.
He was appointed surgeon of the Soldiers' and Sailors'
Home, at Erie, Pa., in October, 1889, which position
he still holds. He is a member of the military order
of the Loyal Legion, Commandery of Pennsylvania;
the G. A. R., of which order he served as medical di-
rector one term; I. O. O. F., U. V. L. and the Erie
County Medical Society, having served one term as
president of that body. He served as a member of
the board of pension examiners at Erie during the
Harrison administration. He is a prominent Repub-
lican, and as such, in 1875, was elected to the State
Legislature, where he served with so much credit to
himself and such satisfaction to his constituents that
he was elected to a second term. He founded the
Se.ntinel, at Wattsburg, in 1882, a Republican home
weekly that is still published. He was united in mar-
riage September 3, 1869, to Miss Emily, daughter of
Rev. B. S. Hill. They have four children: Albert O.,
Lynn F. (deceased), Eva and Leah. He is a highly
respected citizen of Erie county, is a thorough stud-
ent and skilled physician and surgeon. His experi-
ence as the medical companion of the boys in blue on
the tented field and in the bivouac of battle, makes
the appointment to his present position a very fitting

John C. Van Scoter, loan agent. North Park,
Erie, Pa., was born in Allegany county. New York,
June 29, 18:34, and is a son of Elias and Mary (Hal-
stead) \'an Scoter, natives of Luzerne county, Penn-
sylvania, and Connecticut, respectively. He received
his early education in his native county. Opening a
dry goods store in Hornellsville, N. Y., he operated it
until 1858. In 1860 he came to Erie, Pa., engaging in
mercantile pursuits, and later becoming interested in
the oil trade, which he continued for four years, when
he became interested in lake trade. In 1892 he closed
out his lake interests to enter his present business ex-
clusively, having previously devoted a portion of his
time to it since 1881. Mr. Van Scoter was united in
marriage in 1860 to Miss Helen, daughter of Horace
and Hannah (Hall) Morrison, natives of Saratoga
county. New York, a Christian lady of rare talent and
amiability. She departed this life March 17, 1895.
Mrs. Van Scoter was a member of St. Paul's Episcopal
Church. In politics, Mr. Van Scoter is a Democrat,
and is one of Erie's most respected and influential





Jacob Frederick Walther, Erie, Pa., was born
in Buchsweiler, Alsace, November 22, 1832. He is
the eldest son of the late Jacob and Julia (Keitel)
Walther, who came to the United States on the same
vessel with Michael Mehl and family in the summer
of 1847, both families locating in Erie. The elder
Walther was a shoemaker, and pursued that vocation
until 1870, when he retired from business. His wife
died June 17, 1885; he died April 14, 1893. Jacob F.
Walther was educated in the common and high schools
of Buchsweiler and at the Erie Academy, and was
thereafter employed for ten years as clerk in several
business houses of Erie, then going with the firm of
Cadwell & Bennett, dry goods merchants, upon their
removal to Milwaukee, and remaining with that firm
until 1857, when he returned to Erie. In the latter
year he founded, in conjunction with Jacob Gabel, a
dry goods establishment in the American Hotel build-
ing, under the firm name of Walther &: Ciabel. The
partnership was dissolved in the fall of 18fiU. The
following spring Mr. Walther resumed the same busi-
ness at the same location, where he remained until
1867, when he removed, upon its completion, to his
block of buildings (Walther block), at the southwest
corner 'of Eighth and oState streets. He retired
from the dry goods business in 1885, and has since
been engaged as a notary, conveyancer and general
collector', with offices at 804 State street. Mr. Walther
served as representative from the Second ward of the
Common Council of Erie for two terms; in the Select
Council for one term, and in the School Board for
four terms. He was collector of internal revenue for
the Nineteenth district of Pennsylvania, under Presi-
dent Arthur, from March, 1882, until the appointment
of his successor, under President Cleveland's first ad-
ministration, October, 1886. He was married, Septem-
ber 10, 1863, to Frederika, daughter of the late John
Streuber, tanner, an old citizen of Erie. Mr. and
Mrs. Walther have four children: Leonie (wife of
George H. Craft, traveling salesman for a Rochester
house; they have one child); Walter H.; Eiiiil J. J.
(bookkeeper at Johnston's planing-mill, Erie); Ida
(wife of ^A^illiam G. Crosby, an attorney at Erie), and
Miss Cora. The family reside at 116 East Tenth
street, and are members of St. Paul's German Evan-
gelical Church.

The Pollock Family.вАФ Prominent among the
early settlers of Erie county were the Pollocks. They
were of Scotch-Irish descent. Their progenitor,
Charles Pollock, emigrated from Coleraine, County
Derry, Ireland, about 1750, and settled in North-
umberland county. After the death of Charles, which
occurred in Northumberland county in 1796, five of
his sons, with their mother, removed to Erie county
about 1800. Two of the sons, Thomas and William,
after remaining a short time in Erie county, took up
land in Clarion county, where they settled, and where
many of their descendants are now living, having
always been useful and influential citizens. The other
three brothers settled permanently in Erie county,
purchasing farms in the vicinity of Waterford. Adam,
who married Elizabeth Gilliland, owned and occupied
a farm about two miles west of Waterford. He died
in 1816, leaving an only child, Charles Pollock, who
married Elizabeth Wilson Wallace, daughter of Dr.
John C. Wallace, and was for many years a citizen of
Erie. Charles died in Erie in 1850, his widow and six

children surviving. Of the children, Robert and
Elizabeth still reside in Erie. Mrs. Pollock and one
daughter, Jane, are now dead. Otis Wheeler is a
captain in the 23d Infantry, U. S. army; James is
cashier of the Exchange National Bank of Little
Rock, Ark., and Charles resides in Blair, Neb. James
Pollock, next younger brother to Adam, settled on a
farm four miles south of Waterford, on the right bank
of French creek, at what is known as Pollock's bridge.
He married, in 1801, Mary Steele, his first cousin, and
raised a large family. He was a prosperous farmer
and received a liberal education for those days. He
possessed a high order of intelligence and his judg-
ment was respected. He was known as Captain Pol-
lock, from his being in the service of the United States
in 1795, when George Washington was President, as
master of transportation of sup])lies from the Ohio
river, near where Cincinnati now stands, to General
Wayne and his troops at Greenville, where the jier-
manent treaty of peace was made with the Indians by
Wayne, which resulted in the entire cessation of
hostilities. When the turnpike was located from
Waterford to Meadville he constructed a mile and a
quarter of that road. For years after this his house
was a stopping place for stage travelers. In 1825
William Morgan, who published the book on Masonry,
with his wife, stopped with Mr. Pollock for two weeks,
on their way from Virginia to Western New York, and
who so mysteriously disappeared in 1826. In 1830 he
served as county commissioner. In 1836 he was
elected, in company with the late Hon. Thomas H.
Sill, as a member of the convention to amend the
constitution of the State of Pennsylvania, which met
at Harrisburg in May, 1837, and which afterwards
adjourned to Philadelphia. That convention con-
tained the best talent and the ablest statesmen that
Pennsylvania ever had assembled in one body; such
men as John Sergent, Chauncy, Meredith, Scott, Judge
Hopkinson, Biddle, Thadde'us Stevens, James M.
Porter, Walter Howard, Dickey and others. Captain
Pollock had the universal respect of his associates in
that body. Though not a public speaker, his judg-
ment was held in high estimation. He was ever
social, friendly and agreeable. His society was in-
structive and profitable, and particularly so in his
later years, as his memory was so accurate with regard
to early events. Of his children, two sons are still
living, Thomas, in Oregon, and J. Steele, occupying
the old homestead at Pollock's bridge. The latter
married Mary J. Hamilton December 23, 1862, and
had ten children, six of whom are still living. He is a
good farmer and a valuable citizen, having always
taken an active interest in the politics and public mat-
ters involving the welfare of the township and county.
Robert Pollock, the younger of the three brothers
above mentioned, married Margaret Anderson Decem-
ber 12, 1810. Robert died February 22, 1844. He
settled on a farm on the left bank of French creek,
directly opposite to the one occupied by his brother,
James. After his death his son, Charles J. Pollock,
who married Mary Ann Moorehead, of Fairview,
inherited the farm and conducted it until his death,
which occurred in 1892. James, the only son of
Charles J., and grandson of Robert, is the present

Heman Janes, born June 20, 1817, in North East,
was the son of James Janes, born August 7, 1789, in


Grand Isle, Vt. His forefathers, the De Janes, re-
moved in the eleventh century from France to Eng-
land, where they received a magnificent coat-of-arms
from the crown for meritorious service in the war. It
is an old and trite saying, that "blood will tell." So
in this family, the valorous blood that in the olden
days won the notice and favor of a king, still serves
to impress the Janes' name indelibly in the history of
our country. James Janes, whose wife was Lucinda
Sage, was living, when the war of 1812 broke out, in
Canada, where he owned a small farm. He refused
to take up arms against this country, and, leaving his
property to be confiscated by the English authorities,
made his way, after many hardships, to this side, and
joined the American forces, leaving his family, tem-
porarily, in the unfriendly atmosphere of the enemy's
country. The well-known Bishop Janes was also a
member of this family. The mother of Samuel J.
Tilden, the great New York lawyer and Democratic
candidate for President in 1876, was a Janes, and Dr.
Janes, of Philadelphia, was of the same family. Mr.
Heman Janes has inherited this remarkable strength
of character, and his life's history has been a record
of earnest and uncompromising struggle on the side
of right. Starting on his career without a dollar, he

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 113 of 192)