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Nelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 128 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Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 128 of 192)
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death of his father, John Benson, the eldest son then
living, gave up his ides of studying law and took
charge of a railroad office at St. Louis. During the
late civil war he assisted in recruiting a cavalry com-
pany in the 11th Kas., under Col. J. P. Root, and re-
ceived successive promotions from corporal to major.
He was taken prisoner at Lexington, Mo., September
20, 1861. After serving two years, he was mustered
out of service because of ill-health. In 1864 he mar-
ried Fannie, only child of James Lindsey Thompson,
of Middleton, Mo., and for three years later was en-
gaged in the cotton business in New Orleans. He died
in 1867, leaving two children, Robert and Martha, still
residents of Missouri. James P., the fourth son, al-
though but a lad of 16, near the close of the war, left
home and served his country by entering the telegraph
corps of lieutenants at Chattanooga, under command
of Col. Vandusen. He was afterwards for years an
operator for the Western Union Telegraph Company
at Erie, Pa. While holding office with this company
at Pittsburg and Cincinnati, he became a member of
the Merchants' Exchange of those cities, and trans-


acted mercantile business in addition to telegraphy.
He died in New York city June 9, 1884. Alice, a girl
of great promise, died in 1872, at the age of 18, one
year after graduating from the Erie high school. Three
other children, Patrick Henry, Edward and Ellen, died
in early childhood.

Levi H. Roland, junior member of the Public
Grocery Supply Company, Erie, Pa., was born in
Lima, Ind., February 9, 1862, and is a son of Jacob and
Elizabeth (Garlock) Roland, natives respectively of
Lancaster and Erie counties, Pennsylvania. His
father came to Erie county at the age of 21 for a few
years, was married, and then removed to Indiana,
where he remained four years, after which he returned
to Fairview township, where he is still engaged in
farming and merchandising. The family consist of
six children: May (Mrs. John D. Blake, of Fairview),
Emanuel W. (in business with, and the immediate
senior of Levi H.), Frank (who was killed in May,
1884, at the age of 18, by an accident), George (who is
engaged in farming in Fairview), and Charles (who is

shipping clerk for Levi Bros., Eriel. Mr. Roland was
educated in the public schools, and at the age of 19 se-
cured a position in the grocery store of George S.
Stone, Avonia, Pa., where he remained five years. He
then purchased the business of Mr. Stone, conducted
it for fifteen months, and sold it back to him. After
following farming for two years he came to Erie, and
entered the employ of Schabacker Bros., grocers,
where he remained three years. In 1891 he, in part-
nership with his brother, Emanuel \V. Roland, es-
tablished a grocery and general store at 563 West
Eighteenth street, which they still continue. In Au-
gust, 1894, the Public Grocery Supply Company was
organized, and under the able management of Mr. L.
H. Roland, has since done a thriving business. They
carry a full line of groceries and provisions of all
kincfs, and do business upon the cash sale and small
profit plan. Mr. Roland was married September 2.3,
1885, to Miss Dilla A. Taggart, of Fairview, and they
have one child, Ralph Leon. Mr. and Mrs. Roland are
members of the English Lutheran Church. He is a
Republican in politics, but has never been a seeker of
public office or political distinctions.

John J. Flury, liveryman, Erie, Pa., was born in
Harbor Creek township, Erie county. Pa., October 27,
1854, and is a son of Jacob and Mary (Ward) Flury,
natives of Pennsylvania. His grandfather, Jacob
Flury, was an early settler in Harbor Creek, and his
maternal grandfather, John Ward, was among the early
settlers in Meadville, Pa. His father, who was a
farmer, and later a bookkeeper, reared a family of six
children; John J., Leon G., Sarah W., William H., Ed-
ward and Mary. John J. Furj; followed farming until
1890, when he removed to Erie, and engaged" in his
present business. His stable is located at No. 14, and
his residence at No. 15 East Eighth street. Mr. Flury
was married March 23, 1879, to Miss Emma A. Ore,
of Harbor Creek. He is a member of the A. O. U.W.,
the American Mechanics, and is a Republican in

Orr G. Metzner, proprietor of one of the leading
meat markets in Erie, was born in North East town-
ship, Erie county. Pa., May 24, 1860, and is a son of John
and Catherine (Wallace) Metzner, natives of Germany

and England respectively. His mother's father was
of Scotch extraction, and her mother of English.
John Metzner (deceased) came to America in 1846 and
located in Erie, where he was for a short time employed
at the Farmer's Hotel. He then engaged with X.
Meyer to learn the butcher's trade, with whom he
remained for some years, after which he bought a farm
near North East, where he remained until 1865, when
he came to Erie and engaged in the butchering and
meat market business at 924 Parade street, where he
continued until he retiied from active business in 1892.
The family consisted of two children, James William,
who died at the age of 17, and Orr G., who was
educated in the public schools of Erie, and took
private lessons in bookkeeping. He learned his trade
with his father and has always followed the business.
In 1882 he engaged in business for himself on Parade
street; but after a year and a half sold out to his father,
with whom he again united in business. In 1886 he
located at his present place of business. No. 13 West
Seventh street. Three years later he purchased the
lot and erected the present substantial and commodi-
ous building. It is 26 x 100 feet and two stories high.
The first floor front is occupied by the salesroom,
which is undoubtedly the finest in the city. The rear
portion is employed as boiler and engine-room, sausage
factory, steam-rendering and smoking rooms, and the
equipment is as complete as possible for the size of
the plant. Chicago beef is handled exclusively, but
other meats are obtained from the surrounding coun-
try. The superior quality of his goods, together with
fair dealing and constant application to business, has
won for Mr. Metzner a lucrative trade, and his patrons
are of the better class of people. Mr. Metzner was
married December 30, 1889, to Miss Carrie Firch, of
Erie, by whom he has two children. Maxwell and
Webster. He is a member of the A. O. \3. W., and in
politics is a Republican.

Frederick Warnath, merchant tailor, Erie, Pa.,
was born in Prussia March 2, 1852, and is a son of
Christopher and Lillian (Ballunait) Warnath. His
father, a farmer, reared a family of six children, two
of whom are living, Frederick and Marie (widow of
the late Earnest Arnold of Erie). Frederick was
educated and learned his trade in his native country.
In 1878 he came to the United States and located in
Erie as coat-maker for Marks & Meyer, where he
remained four and a half years. In 1882 he formed a
partnership with his brother, Martin J. (the youngest
of the family, who came to America in 1873, and who
was for four years, 1878-82, cutter for Marks & Meyer),
and located at 924 State street, where the business has
since been located. Since the death of his brother,
July 5, 1887, Frederick has conducted the business
alone. This was difficult for him at first, for he could
speak but little English; but he has surmounted all
obstacles and now has a lucrative business and caters
to the better class of customers. He resides at 826
Holland street. Mr. Warnath was married May 11,
1882, to Miss Mary, daughter of Mr. Frederick Curtze,
of Erie, by whom he has one child, Oscar J. Mr. and
Mrs. Warnath are members of St. Paul's Episcopal
Church; he is a member of the I. O. O. F., and
a Republican in his political views.

Seth Todd Perley, attorney at law and claim
agent, Erie, Pa., was born in Erie, in 1840, and is a son


68 1

of Samuel and Elizabeth (McCartney) Perley, the
former a native of Massachusetts, of English lineage,
and the latter was born near Dublin, Ireland. His
father, who was a newspaper editor and publisher,
came from New York to Erie in 1840, bringing print-
ing material with him, and established the Erie
Chronicle. The elder Mr. Perley continued this pub-
lication until 1855, when he turned it over to his eldest
son, Captain James Perley. He was elected prothono-
tary of Erie county in 1851, and served three years,
but declined re-election. He afterwards removed to
Washington, D. C, where he died in 1881. The family
consisted of ten children, seven of whom reached ma-
turity, and of whom Mr. Seth Todd Perley is the only
one now residing in Erie county. He was educated
in the Erie and Girard Academies, and studied law
under Col. Benjamm Grant and Hon. Edgar Cowan,
the latter a United States Senator from Pennsylvania.
Mr. Perley has held many responsible positions in
Washington; for four years he was in the treasury de-
partment. On his return to Erie, in 1865, he immedi-
ately engaged in the practice of his profession, which
he has since continued.

W. H. Dickson, one of the leading gun and lock
smiths of Erie, Pa., was born in Worcester, Mass.,
September 11, 1844, and is a son of George and Maria
(Brooks) Dickson, natives of Massachusetts, and of
early Irish and English ancestry. His father, who was
a farmer, died when W. H. was a mere lad, leaving
four children, W. H., Martha, Sarah and Charles. He
was apprenticed at the age of 7 to learn the gun-
smith's trade. After serving his time he worked as a
journeyman in Boston, Mass., and Newport, R. I., for
several years; he also worked one year in Canada and
one year at Niagara Falls. In 1864 he went to Corry,
Pa., where he established a business of his own, and
where he remained for five years, when he removed to
Erie. He first located at 1109 State street, hut five
years later built and removed to his present place of
business, at 23 West Seventh street. By constant ap-
plication and fair dealing, together with a thorough
knowledge of his trade, he has established and main-
tained a lucrative business. He carries a full line of fire-
arms, ammunition, fishing tackle and hunting accou-
trements, and pays special attention to gun and lock
repairing, bell hanging, speaking-tube construction,
adjusting and repairing, and all kinds of saw-filing,
setting and adjusting. After coming to Erie, he lived
for a number of years at 314 French street, and then
built his present comfortable home at 345 West Sev-
enth street. Mr. Dickson was married, in 1864, to
Miss Patrica Madden, of St. Catherines, Canada. They
had one child, Nettie, who has been a successful
teacher in the public schools of Erie, and who is a
highly accomplished oil and crayon artist, taking first
prize for oil painting at the art exhibit in New York
city in 1869. He was married a second time to Miss
Susan Vosburg, of Erie; she died August 29, 1890.
Mr. Dickson had an adopted daughter. Miss Mattie
Dickson (deceased), who taught for some time in No.
9 public school, Erie, with a marked degree of success.
Mr. Dickson and his daughter are members of St.
Paul's Episcopal Church; he is a Republican in poli-
tics and is a director of the Lincoln Club of Erie.

Philip W. Dietly, proprietor and owner of the
Erie Machine Shop, Erie, Pa., was born in Erie, Sep-

tember 26, 1861, and is a son of Uras J. and Caroline
(Reaser) Dietly, natives of Switzerland. His parents
came to the United States in 1853 and located in Erie,
where his father followed tailoring until his death, in
1875. Mrs. Dietly is still living. The family consisted
of three children: Joseph (retired), Philip W. and
Louise (Mrs. W. S. Corbett of Erie). Mr. Dietly was
educated in the public schools of Erie, and then
learned the machinist's trade, which he followed five
years. For the next four years he was a lake engi-
neer; then he started the first oil route in Erie, which
he continued three years. In 1885 he established the
Erie Machine Shop, at the corner of Twelfth and State
streets, where he continued until 1894, when the pres-
ent substantial brick plant was built, at the corner of
Thirteenth and Peach streets. The building is 66 x
160 feet, and about thirty skilled workmen are em-
ployed. The products of the concern include all kinds
of asphalt machinery, pumping and boring machines,
and wire nail machines; they also do job work and re-
pairing. They built the first asphalt roller in Erie, and
the plant of the Erie Paving Company, now occupied
by Henry Mayer & Co. Mr. Dietly was married No-
vember, 1891, to Miss Mary E., daughter of Albert and
Deborah (Fogg) Milks, by whom he has two children,
Uras A. and Hazel S. Mr. and Mrs. Dietly are mem-
bers of the Central Presbyterian Church; he is a mem-
ber of the Masonic fraternity, and politically has al-
ways been in sympathy with Republican principles.

Joel Bradfora Irons, D. V. S., Erie, Pa., was
born in Conneaut township, Crawford county. Pa.,
July 8, 1850, and is a son of James R. and Rachel
(Brooks) Irons, natives of Pennsylvania and of En-
glish ancestry. His father, whose business was that of
moving buildings, reared a family of seven children,
of whom he is the fourth. He was educated in the
public schools, and for a few years was engaged in
training and handling horses, which gave him a prac-
tical knowledge of horses and their diseases and
treatment. He was twice elected justice of the peace,
but before the expiration of his second term he en-
tered the Ontario Veterinary College, from which he
graduated in 1883. He then returned to Linesville
and engaged in the practice of his profession. In the
spring of 1892 he removed to Erie and located on
Twelfth street; he has been located at 144 West Four-
teenth street since the spring of 1894. Dr. Irons has
already a large practice in and about Erie, and has
been called to various parts of the State and even
other States. He has done the veterinary work of the
well known horsemen, Powell Brothers, of Shadeland,
Pa., for over twelve years. He has the keenest regard
for the ethics of his profession and has a high stand-
ing not only with the public, but among his brother
veterinaries. He has been a member of the Pennsyl-
vania State Veterinary Medical Association since
1890, of which he is the only member in Erie. Dr.
Irons was married July 23, 1870, to Miss Clara Ster-
ling, of Summerhill, Crawford county. Pa. The issue
of this marriage was two children. Miss Cora M. and
Bessie R. Politically the doctor has always been a

Henry Gillen, one of Erie's oldest and most re-
spected citizens, was born in York county, Pennsyl-
vania, December 18, 1817, and is a son of Patrick and
Mary (Bridenbach) Gillen, natives of Ireland and


Pennsylvania, and of Irish and Holland ancestry.
In his father's family there were thirteen children, of
whom he was the third. At the age of 13 years he en-
gaged to learn the cigar making trade, which from dis-
like he followed but a short time. He came to Erie
about 1830, and soon afterward entered the employ of
Mr. Thomas Mehaffey to learn the mason's trade, and
he followed it until his retirement from active business
life in 1893. Very many of the buildings standing in
Erie to-day were erected during the long period in
which Mr. Gillen was engaged in the building busi-
ness as journeyman and contractor. For over twenty-
one years he was in partnership with the late Samuel
Cummings, under the firm name of Cummings &
Gillen, and during that time they did some of the hnest
building in Erie. He built his present residence in
1846. It was through habits of industry and economy
during his younger years that Mr. Gillen succeeded in
establishing a business of his own, and after that it
was by good management and a thorough knowledge
of his trade that he succeeded in accumulating quite a
handsome fortune, so that now, in his declining years he
can live with his family in contentment and ease. Mr.
Gillen was married January 1, 1852, to Miss Jane
Levisa Poore, daughter of Mr. William Poore, a na-
tive of Massachusetts, but at that time residing six
miles south of Titusville, Pa. Mr. and Mrs. Gillen
have three children: Hattie Alice (widow of Samuel
Reed Thorn, of Allegheny, Pa., who now resides with
her parents), Nellie May (Mrs. Z. T. Brindley, of
Erie), and Miss Florence Lillian Gillen. Mr. Gillen
and family are members of the First Methodist
Episcopal Church of Erie, of which he was the builder.
In his political views he was originally a Whig and has
been a Republican since the formation of the party.

Rev. Stephea E. Aaron, rector of St. Peter's
Cathedral, Erie, Pa., was born on a farm in Clarion
county, Pennsylvania, November 10, 1868, and is a son
of Jacob and Emily (Cummings) Aaron, natives of
Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania. The family
were among; the early German settlers in southern
Pennsylvania. Jacob Aaron resided on a farm, but
gave most of his time in pursuit of his trade, which was
that of carpenter; he now resides in Brookville, Jeffer-
son county. Pa. The family consists of seven chil-
dren, of whom one other besides Father Aaron has de-
termined to devote her life to the service of God and
the Church, viz.: Catherine, now Sister Margaret, of
Villa Maria. Father Aaron received his early educa-
tion in the -St. Nicholas parochial schools, near Crates,
Pa., and in September, 1884, matriculated at St. Bona-
venture's College, from which he was graduated in
1891. On January 1, 1892, he was ordained a priest by
the Rt. Rev. Bishop Mullen in St. Patrick's pro-Ca-
thedral, Erie. He was immediately appointed an
assistant at the Cathedral, where he continued until
after the death of Father Casey, when he was, on Jan-
uary 1, 1895, appointed to his present rectorship. En-
dowed with a robust physique, a strong intellect, a
deep religious nature, and with all the essential quali-
fications of an eloquent and persuasive pulpit speaker,
there is no doubt that he will prove himself highly
worthy of the distinction conferred upon him in being
selected for this most important charge, and that he
will win for himself a place in the esteem and rever-
ence of his congregation and the community in gen-
eral, similar to that held by his illustrious predecessor.

Rev. James Lachertnaler, rector of St. Mich-
ael's Church, Erie, Pa., was born in Newark, N. J.,
February 20, 1849, and is a son of Jacob and Margaret
Barbara (Leidig) Lachermaier, born respectively July
9, 1820, and June 9, 1815, in Bavaria, Germany. His
father, who was a stone-cutter by trade, came with his
wife to the United States in 1846, and located in New-
ark, N. J., where he died February 28, 1859; he was
survived by his widow until January 13, 1892. The
family consisted of two children, James, and Elizabeth,
who died March 22, 1869. Father Lachermaier ob-
tained his early education in the parochial schools of
St. Mary's Church, Newark, and in 1862 matriculated
at St. \'incent's College, Westmoreland county, Penn-
sylvania, where he continued five years. He then
passed one year at St. Francis Xavier's College, New
York city, from which he was graduated in 1868, with
the title of Bachelor of Arts. From 1869 to 1871 he
studied theology at St. Vincent's Seminary, and was
ordained a priest December 21, 1871. Father Lacher-
maier said his first mass in his native town, in the
presence of his mother, and was then appointed as-
sistant to the Very Rev. J. D. Cody, rector of St. Titus'
Church, Titusville, Pa. From February 25, 1872, to
October 1, 1885, he had charge of St. Walburga's
Church (German) at Titusville, after which he came to
Erie to take charge of his present congregation. Father
Lachermaier is a public-spirited priest, and is always
ready to contribute to the support of every worthy en-
terprise; he is a member of Branch No. 99, of the C.
M. B. A., and has always been a Democrat in his po-
litical views.

Rev. Bernliard Hermanu Kloecker, rector of
St. Joseph's Church (German), Erie, Pa., was born in
Wesel, Westphalia, Germany, February 17, 1862. He
obtained his early education at the gymnasium in
Munster, Westphalia, from which he graduated in 1873.
He then entered the American College of St. Mauritz
at Munstor, and studied philosophy and theology at
the Royal Prussian Academy of Munster. Father
Kloecker was ordained a priest May 26, 1877, at Osna-
bruck, Hanover, and arrived in the United States on
November 2 of that year. His first appointment was
that of assistant to the Rev. M. A. De LaRoque, of
Warren, Pa., and in the following year was made the
first resident rector of the Catholic Church at Kane,
Pa., from which place he also attended the Catholics of
the neighboring places in McKean, Elk and Forest
counties. While located there he established a paro-
chial school in 1879, built a parsonage in 1880, and in
many other ways advanced the spiritual welfare of the
faithful of the parish. On August 4, 1887, he came to
Erie to assist the Rev. J. A. Oberkofer, rector of St.
Joseph's Church, whose health had been failing for
some time. Father Oberkofer died January 16. 1889,
and two days later Father Kloecker was appointed
his successor. (A history of St. Joseph's Church will
be found in another chapter of this work.)

Henry Clay Lerch, foreman of the Philadelphia
and Erie car shops, Erie, Pa., was born in Pottsville,
Pa., June 17, 1844, and is a son of William and Mary
E. (Dafen) Lerch, natives respectively of Easton, Pa.,
and North Yarmouth Plantation, Md. Adam Lerch,
who came from Germany and located in Philadelphia
about 1734, had four sons, two of whom settled in
Easton, one in the Susquehanna valley and one in



New York State. The Dafen family is of English ex-
traction, and Mrs. Lerch'sgrandmother was a daughter
of Roger Sherman, who was one of the signers of the
Declaration of Independence. William Lerch came
to Erie about 1872, where he served for three years as
a member of the Select Conucil. Of his children, five
reached majority: George, who while a member of
Co. H, 129th P. V. 1., was killed at the battle of Antie-
tam; William, who was a lieutenant in the same com-
pany, was for ten years mail agent on the Erie and
Pittsburg R. R., and is now a clerk in the Erie post-
office; Catherine E., who married Capt. Louis Lucken-
bill, of Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania; Rogers Sher-
man, who served a term of enlistment in the 2d Regt.
of the District of Columbia; re-enlisted in the 21st Pa.
Cav. and served until the close of the war; is now an
alderman in Duluth, Minn., and Henry C, who re-
ceived his education in Pottsville, where in July, 18(52,
when scarcely 18 years old, enlisted in Co. H, 129th
P. V. 1. He participated in the battles of Second Bull
Run, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg,
Chancellorsville, and, of course, many minor engage-
ments, and was discharged at expiration of term, in
June, 1863. He then returned to Reading, Pa., where
he finished and worked at his trade (carpenter) until
1865, when he went to New York city, where he re-
mained but a short time, and for the next five years
followed his trade in Albany, N. Y. In 1870 he came
to Erie, where he engaged in carpentering and con-
tracting. In 1874 he entered the employ of the Phila-
delphia and Erie R. R. Company, and was promoted
to foreman in 1884. He has under his charge and direc-
tion from 75 to 150 men. Mr. Lerch was married
March 18, 1870, to Miss Mary E., daughter of Mr.
Richard Groom, of Albany, N. Y. Mr. and Mrs. Lerch
are members of the First Baptist Church, of Erie. He
is a member of the G. A. R., the P. O. S. of A., and in
his political views is a steadfast Republican.

Morris Schaffner, senior member of the firm
of Schaffner Brothers, wholesale butchers, Erie, Pa.,
was born in Hehsloch, Hessen, Germany, January 4,
1868, and is a son of Henry and Regina (Sedel) Schaff-
ner. His father, who was a butcher by trade, reared a
family of seven children and died in Germany in 1893.
Mr. Schaffner received his education and learned his
trade in Germany. He came to the L'nited States in
1881 and located in Cleveland, Ohio, where for two
years he followed his trade as journeyman, and then
established a retail business of his own. In 1887 he
came to Erie and opened a meat market at 1317 Peach
street, where he remained a year and a half. He then
established a wholesale slaughter house at Twenty-
seventh and State streets and removed to his present

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 128 of 192)