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Nelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 132 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Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 132 of 192)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

the Royal Arcanum, the K. of H. and North Star Coun-
cil, N.U. In politics he is a Democrat, and has served
twice in the city council. He is one of Erie's self-
made men; thorough and successful in business, kind
and loving in his family, pleasant and agreeable in his
social life, a man honored and respected by all.

H. C Missimer was born near Pottstown, Mont-
gomery county. Pa. The family is a very numerous
one in that section and came originally from the bor-
der country, between France and Germany, to Mary-
land, nearly two centuries ago. Mr. Missimer was
educated in the common schools and prepared for
college at the Hill school, at Pottstown, Pa., and
when only 14 years of age had read the usual require-
ments for college preparation. He graduated at the
Yale University in 1869, receiving the degree of A. B.,
and was one of the honor men of his class. Three
years later he received the degree of A. M. from the
same institution. He was engaged in the early part
of his life in general business for a short time, but in
1872 commenced teaching as a regular profession. At
New Brighton, near Pittslsurg, he organized the schools
and placed them upon a permanent working basis.
He was then called to Erie, where he had charge of
the high school as principal for a period of nearly
eighteen years. He started in with an enrollment of
about 100, and his first graduating class had six mem-
bers. The enrollment now reaches nearly 600, and the
graduating classes now run beyond fifty. In 1890 Mr.
Missimer became superintendent of schools, and his
work has been instrumental in making them thor-
oughly efficient in an educational sense. Mr. Missi-
mer has lectured some and written articles for the re-
views. His productions are received as authority on
educational topics, and some of them have been incor-
porated in the reports of the National commissioner of
education. He is a man of positive convictions and
strong common sense. He has never been led away
by new fangled systems, and at the same time has
kept abreast with the times. He has cut out of the
course of study in the public schools much that has
been easily spared. Formerly the course before the
high school covered ten years. Now the course of
study is easily completed in all its details in seven
years. His idea of the functions of the common
schools is a very sensible one, and if more adhered to
by educators in general, would do away with much of
the contention that exists about public school affairs.
He believes and carries out the idea that children
should be taught those fundamental principles of

knowledge which will enable them to afterwards mas-
ter the things peculiar to their chosen profession or
calling, without spending valuable time in acquiring
that which is of no practical use, and will sooner or
later be forgotten. In 1875 Mr. Missimer was united
in marriage to Emma, daughter of Hugh P. Mehaffey,
a native of Erie. Six children were born to this

Thomas H. Cole, deputy register and recorder
of Erie county, Pa., was born May 28, 1841, at Pap-
ineau, Canada, of mixed Irish and Scotch parentage.
His father, Robert Cole, who was an officer in the Brit-
ish army, was a native of Dublin, Ireland, and his
mother, Ellen McDougal, was a native of Glasgow,
Scotland. When Mr. Cole was but 2 years old, his
mother died, and his father with the family moved
first to Kingston, and afterward to Moi.treal, Canada,
where Thomas attended a private school until the
dea'hof his father, which occurred when he was 11
years of age. In 1853, being but 12 years old, he emi-
grated to the United States, working, and attending
the public schools as the opportunity was presented,
and at the breaking out of the war he was living in
Troy, N. Y. Enlisting April 15, 1861, he served under
Patterson in Best's Battery; under Banks in the Shen-
andoah Valley; afterwards with the Twelfth Army
Corps, with which he served in every battle in which
it participated up to May, 1864, when, after returning
from veteran's furlough, he was transferred to Men-
denhall's Battery and attached to the Fourth Corps,
participating with it in the battles at Columbia, Spring
Hill, and Franklin, Tenn., November 28, 29 and 30,
and at Nashville, Tenn., on December 15 and 16, 1864.
After the close of the war, Mr. Cole located in Erie,
entering the establishment of Edson & Churchill as
bookkeeper, where he remained until 1872. From
1872 until 1884 he was engaged as a commercial trav-
eler. Entering the mercantile business in 1885, he
had the misfortune to be burned out in 1886, and in
1887 became superintendent of the Erie Boot and Shoe
Company. In 1891 he was appointed deputy register
and recorder by John Depinet, the register and re-
corder for Erie county, Pennsylvania, which position
he holds at the present time. On April 21, 1870, Mr.
Cole was married to Minnie W. Caldwell, a native of
Erie, whose father, J. F. Caldwell, was born in Mill
Creek township, Erie county. Pa., and her mother in
Carlisle, Pa. The union was blesred with two sons,
Harry N. and Whitman W. Cole, both of whom are
now with their parents. Mr. Cole has been a member
of Perry Lodge, No. 392, F. & A. M., since 1868, and
served as worshipful master during 1887 and 1888; he
is a member of Temple Chapter, No. 215, R. A. M.,
and a member of Active Lodge, No. 61, A. O. U. W.
In 1867 he became a member^of the G. A. R., and has
been elected and served four terms as commander of
Strong Vincent Post, No. 67, Department of Pennsyl-
vania, also serving on the department staff, and was
a member of the national staff and a delegate to the
national encampment held at Louisville, Ky., in 1895.
He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
In politics he has always been a Republican, and has
given that party his ardent support.

Frederic Ingham Kennedy, treasurer of the
Spring Valley and Youghiogheny Coal companies,
office Scott Block, residence 511 Chestnut street, Erie,



Pa., was born November 10, 1866, and is a son of Silas
E. and Arabella (Ingham) Kennedy, natives of Canada
and Ireland, respectively. The family came to Erie
in 1864, and Mr. Kennedy, sr., has followed railroad
work since. He is at present lost car agent for the
Erie & Pittsburg R. R. Company, with headquarters
at Lawrence Junction, Pa. Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy
are parents of two children: Freileric and Maud.
Frederic 1. received his education in part in the pub-
lic schools of Erie, graduating from the Erie Academy
in the spring of 1884. He worked one year as clerk
and bookkeeper for the Humboldt Iron Works, when
he secured a position as clerk for the Youghitgheny
Coal Company at Ashtabula, a position he held" until
the fall of 18S7, whin hr was made cashier. Serving
as such at Ashtabula till h^'.il, when he was transferred
to Erie and made treasurer of said company, and also
of the Spring \'alley Coal Company, a position he has
since creditably filled. Mr. Kennedy was united in
marriage September 10, 1889, to Miss Emma, daughter
of Rev. J. B. and Esther (Collins) Espy, natives of
Crawford county, Pennsylvania, and to them have
been born two children: l3orothy and Frederic I., jr.
Mr. Kennedy is a member of the Masonic fraternity.
Chapter, Commandery and Mystic Shrine. The family
attend the M. E. Church. In politics he affiliates with
the Republican party.

Patrick Murphy, one of Erie's old and respected
citizens, residence 402 East Sixth street, was born in
Waterford, county Waterford, Ireland, lanuary 15,
1823, a son of James and Ellen (Manshefd) Murphy,
the former born on the Welsh Mountains, in county
Kilkinney, Ireland, m 1786. He was a i)roduce dealer
by occupation and departed this life in 1851, his wife
surviving him only a few months. To this couple
were born five children, viz.: James (deceased),
Patrick, Mary, John and William. Patrick Murphy
received a common school education in his native
country and when 14 years of age shipped on board a
merchant vessel in the North American trade, as boy
before the mast, serving three years. He then shipped
on H. M. S. " Montreal " as sailor, serving two years.
He came to Erie in 1842 and was employed in fitting
out the United States "Michigan," and August 18,
1844, sailed in her on her trial trip, pending her
acceptance by the Government. She was accepted
and put in commission September 26, 1844, and Mr.
Murphy was made quartermaster, serving three years.
He then re-enlisted and was made captain of the
hold, serving as such two years; he was then promoted
to quarter-gunner, then to boatswain's mate, and, in
1861, was made acting master mate. The boat went
out of commission the same year, and Mr. Murphy
went to Cairo and enlisted in Admiral Porter's fleet,
where he served eight months as acting ensign. He
was taken sick and, returning home, three months
later, having regained his health, he went to New
York city and enlisted on the U. S. S. Metacomet,
under Com. J. A. Jouett. He was in the big tight at
Mobile Bay, and in 1870 received a medal for gallantry
and personal valor while in this fight, and during his
whole term of service on board the " Metacomet,"
where he served as chief boatswain mate. He
returned to Erie in 1865, and two weeks later again
enlisted on the " Michigan " and soon after was rated
quartermaster, and was made pilot the same year.
He was appointed boatswain January 28, 1882, by

President Arthur, and so served till 1885, when he was
relieved on age with three-fourths pav and has since
lived in retirement. In 1853^-5-fi 7 li.- nu„, ,1 and
commanded a schooner, the William Ail.ii!, in the
freight trade, and from this he won tin- titli ,ii i ,i|aain.
Mr.^Murphy was married December 20, 1S4.J, tu Miss
Bridget, daughter of Michael Calligee, of Erie, a
native of county Galway, Ireland, and to them have
been born two children, James, an actor, at present in
Cleveland, and William P., who died in infancy. Mr.
and Mrs. Murphy are members of the Catholic Church,
and. he is a member of the G. A. R. Mr. Murphy
purchased his present residence in 1889, and it is a
model home. He also owns several other properties
in Erie. In politics he is a Democrat.

Herman F. Stearns, broker, nf th.- timi nf
Stearns & Ferguson, b'"-'""- ■ '■!'' j.'i.' ]•/; .iini .1 ,,.,1 - ,-, ,,-■ , - ~ nf

Germany, to whom were bui 11 m.\ i iniMi • ;i \\ n ,i,ini,
foreman in Miller Brothers Paint W.iil.-, 1 ax,|,i|i,i,
Ohio; Ernest, proprietor of a restaurant m ( li v. I,iii.i,
Ohio; Gustavus, a merchant tailor in, < ilnn;
Albert, traveling salesman for a Chicago wholesale
millinery house; Bertha (deceased), andHerman F.,
who received his early education in his native country,
and when 10 years of age, in 1869, his parents came to
America, locating in Cleveland, Ohio, wlurc he- loni-
pleted his education and learned tele,Lcra|ihy, snon .ilter
securing a position with Schofield, Shunnai i \; IK^k-,
oil refiners, with whom he remained two years, .\fter
this he was employed two years in the general offices
of the Cleveland Rolling Mill Company. He next en-
tered the employ of the L. S. & M. S. R. R. Co., work-
ing for them eleven years, the last six years in the
Cleveland office. In 1888 he went to Painesville, Ohio,
where he opened a broker's office, which he conducted
for one year, when he went to Ashtabula, Ohio, in the
same business for one year. From here he went to
Norwalk, and while there opened five offices in Michi-
gan, which he also operated. In 1890 he came to F>ie
and opened an office as manager for H. B. Gladwish
& Co., conducting it for about three and one-half
years. He then bought a half interest in the cigar, to-
bacco and bicycle business with Frank Fairbairn, but

business with T. Meyerhoefcr, and in 1^
partner under the firm name of M.Mins \ 1- erguson,
and is now successfully conduLtiiiL; tin- business. Mr.
Stearns was married April 12, lb8o, to Miss Ella, the
daughter of James and Caroline (Paine) Ford. She is
a great-granddaughter of General Paine, of Revolu-
tionary fame. To them have been born four children:
Carl F., Ethel G., Howard F. and Louis Grant. Mr.
Stearns is president of the Erie Wanderers Cycle Club
for the fourth term. He is a member of the Royal Ar-
canum, National Union and the Woodmen of the
World. In politics he is a Republican.

John ?i(owak, teacher of the advanced class of
boys in the Polish school, corner of Twelfth and Wal-
lace streets, Erie, Pa., was born in Germany April 17,
1869, and is a son of Albert and Lena Nowak. i\Ir.
and Mrs. Nowak came to America in 1870, locating in
Dunkirk, N. Y., where he worked as laborer. iMrs.
Nowak died in Dunkirk August 5, 1887, aged 34 years.
There were seven children born to this union, but



John is the only one living. He received his education
in the public schools of Dunkirk and in St. Mary's
parochial school of the same city, and after teaching
one year in that city came to Erie in 1888 and accepted
his present position soon after the school was founded,
and has since acted as head teacher. The school was
founded in 1886 by Father A. Ignasiak and was taught
by him two years when Mr. Nowak took charge. He
has three Felician sisters and an average attendance
of 300. Mr. Nowak was married August 8, 1894, to
Frances, sister of Rev. Father Ignasiak, and resides
near the school at 509 East Thirteenth street. He
owns his comfortable home and is a man of energy
and ability, with a bright future before him. He is
organist at the Polish Catholic Church and director of
the choir; is a member of the C. M. B. A., C. B. L. and
Polish Roman Catholic Union. He is notary public,
steamship agent, real estate and loan agent. In pol-
itics he is a Democrat.

Phitieas Wheeler, mail carrier, Erie, Pa., was
born in McKean township, Erie county, Pa., June 5,
1831, and is a son of James and Bathsheba (Crandall)
Wheeler, natives of Warren county. New York. To this
union were born nine children: Emeline (deceased),
wife of Daniel Salisbury; Miles W., a farmer in Fair-
view township; Jane A., widow of the late Rev.- Mr.
Richens, of Springfield, Pa.; Henry H., resides in Ore-
gon; Gforgf (ilcci-ascil); Susan M., Mrs. Sherman
Idinrr, iif Slll■in^fu■lll, Ta.; I'liineas; Sarah, Mrs. Aaron
Salisl.ury, nl i:rnark. 111., and William W., of Ash-
tabula, ( ). Phineas Wlu-t'lur was educated in the pub-
lic schools of his native place, and when 17 years of
age he came to Erie and secured a position in the
store of Thomas Evans as clerk; later he returned
home and worked on the farm one and one-half years;
then he returned to Erie and worked four and one-half
years in the Union depot restaurant. He then went
to Illinois and worked in an eating thouse three years;
from there he went to Saybrook, O., and followed farm-
ing one year. In the spring of 1862 he enlisted in the
63d 111. V. Cav., under Colonel Cushman, and was
sent to St. Louis, where he remained until the battle
of Shiloh, when his company was detailed as escort
for General Halleck, serving as such only a short time.
Following this he was detailed as nurse in the hos-
pital at Corinth, Miss., and while here was taken seri-
ously sick, and finally

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 132 of 192)