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Nelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 135 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Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 135 of 192)
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years. Mr. Bell was married a second time. May 12,
1885, to Miss Mary, daughter of Mr. Samuel Meyers,
of Fairview, this coimty. The family worship at St.
Paul's Protestant Episcopal Church.

John Berst was born in Manheim, Lancaster
county. Pa., September 3, 1808. His father, Conrad
Berst, was born in Plantz, Germany, in the year 1779.
In 1798 he came to America and settled at Man-
heim, Pa. He was married to Catherine Guntner, of
Manheim, in 1807. They had eight children. When
the war broke out I'n 18l5 he enlisted in the American
army. About 1827 he left Lancaster county and jour-
neyed westward, settling in Butler county. In 1830 he
removed with his family to Erie. He rented a small
farm south of the city, and in 1834 leased the Reed
farm. His eldest son, John, was married to Elizabeth
Miller, of Erie, February, 1836. Her family had also
come to Erie from Lancaster county. They had six
children, Henry, Catherine, Jacob, Hiram, John and
Titus. Shortly after his son's marriage, Conrad Berst
left Erie for the far West and settled in Kosciusko



county, Indiana. Three children remained in Erie,
John, and two married daughters, Mrs. Frederick
Wittich and Mrs. August Wittich. Mr. John Berst re-
mained on the Reed place until 1866, when he re-
moved to his own farm, west of the town. In 1842 he
had bought of Joseph S. Colt about seventy acres of
land, extending from Cherry to Liberty and from Sev-
enteenth to West Twenty-sixth. In 1861 he bought
the property on the west side of State street, between
Eighth and Ninth, where, just before the panic of '73,
he built the block bearing his name. In 1886 he
mourned the death of his faithful wife. He lingered
in very poor health until April, 1888, when he quietly
passed away, leaving four sons and one daughter. Of
these Henry, the eldest son, is living at the old home-
stead on Twentieth, between Cherry and Poplar streets,
a member of the Lutheran Memorial Church, and in
politics has always been a Republican. Catherine A.,
wife of Hobart Hogan, whose personal history is con-
tained in this volume. lacob married Mary Geist
March 8, 1866; they have four children: Rose M., wife
of J. A. Maahs, living in Florida; Bessie, Edmund L.
and Maud. Jacob was superintendent of the Erie City
Passenger Railroad Com])any from 1868 until 1888, when
it was purchased by the Erie Electric Motor Company.
Hiram L. was married December 26, 1867, to Mary E.
Sampson, daughter of James and Harriet Sampson,
of Miles' Grove. They live in a beautiful home at the
corner of Twentieth and Poplar streets, with five chil-
dren: Harriet; Jessie M., a graduate of Allegheny
College, Meadville, Pa.; William L.; Marion, and
Ruth. The family; are members of Zion's Lutheran
Church. Hiram is a Republican in politics, and
is at present engaged in subdividing his property
and building homes for working men, which he allows
them to purchase on easy payments. John, jr., mar-
ried Miss Sarah E., daughter of Andrew and Elizabeth
Brabender,on January 9^1873. He died March 10, 1882,
leaving three children: Mabel E., wife of W. Fred
Wood, of Twentieth and Cherry; John F. and Irene
L., who still occupy their father's home, on the south-
west corner of Twentieth and Cherry streets. They
are members of Zion's Lutheran Church. Titus, flor-
ist, was born April 10, 1847; enlisted m the army July
18, 1864, at Philadelphia, in Co. F, 197th Reg. P. V. L;
alumnus of Pennsylvania College, Gettysburg, 1872;
commissioned to inquire into the condition of the
Methodist Church in the Sandwich Islands, 1875;
member of the school board 1878-9; secretary of Erie
City Passenger Railway Comjiany for several years.
Married Mary G., daughter of George M. and Eliza-
beth (Beaver) Brubaker, February 22, 1877, Millers-
burg, Pa.; Mrs. Berst's mother is a niece^of Thomas
Beaver, Danville, Pa., and a cousin to ex-Gov. James
Beaver. Mr. Berst and family are members of the
First M. E. Church, and reside with their two children,
Charles B. and Clara Lois, on a beautiful place at
Twentieth and Poplar streets, where are also located
his floral gardens and green houses. Titus, like his
brothers, is a Republican in politics.

John Sullivan, city assessor, residence 236 East
Second street, Erie, Pa., was born in Bantry, county
Cork, Ireland, February 16, 1840, and is a son of
Thomas and Ellen (McCarthy) Sullivan, both natives
of county Cork. Thomas Sullivan was a farmer by
occupation, and died in 1886, aged 68 years. His wife
departed this life in 1893, aged 90 years. To this

couple were born five children: John, Michael, a
farmer on the old homestead in Ireland; Thomas, a
gold miner in Australia; Humphrey, county assessor
for the First ward, Erie; and Margaret, wife of John
Donavan, of Ireland. John Sullivan was reared on a
farm, educated in the common schools, and worked on
the home farm till his 23d year, when he came to
America, landing in Boston in 1863, where he worked
as a laborer till 1871, when he came to Erie, arriving
May 24. He secured work at the Anchor Line eleva-
tors, and in 1874 was made time-keeper and served for
four years. He continued in the employ of the com-
pany till 1887, when he was elected ward assessor,
serving till 1893, when he was elected tax collector for
the First ward, serving four years. Mr. Sullivan was
married, in 1865, to Miss Ann, daughter of Timothy
Dillon, of Roscarbey, county Cork, Ireland. To them
have been born eleven children: Nellie, Margaret, a
dressmaker; Thomas, a conductor on the Erie street
railway; Mary, a dressmaker; Kate, Hannah, Julia,
John (deceased), Elizabeth (deceased!, Humphrey and
Annie. Mrs. Sullivan departed this life November 1,
1888, aged 39 years. The family are members of St.
Patrick's Catholic Church. He is a member of the
C. M. B. A., Branch 12. In politics Mr. Sullivan is a
Democrat, and is an honored citizen of his ward.

Joseph Depittet. brick mason and contractor,
Erie, Pa., was born in Erie November 6, 1860, and is a
son if Michael Depinet. His father, who was a brick-
layer, followed the trade for about thirty years in Erie,
and died in 1881 at the age of 48 years. He was born
in Bavaria, Germany, and came to this country when
a young man. The family consisted of eleven chil-
dren, eight of whom are living: John, Joseph, Lena
(now Mrs. Charles Leingang), Benjamin, Mary (now
Mrs. Charles Fuhrmann), Henry, Paulina and Michael,
all residing in Erie, except Benjamin, who is a citizen
of Cincinnati, Ohio. Mr. Depinet was educated in the
public schools of this city, and then learned the trade
of a niason, which he has since followed. He has
been in business for over six years, and during that
time has done some fine work in and about Erie.
Among other stractures, he has done the brick work
in whole or- in part, on the Nagosky, Demuling
and Detzel buildings. Parade street; the Henry Kneib
Block and the Kessler Block, State street; the Shaw
piano factory, the Metric Metal Works, the People's
Market House, the Heigel Block on West Eleventh
street, and the residence of E. B. Hough and Charles
Yeager. He also built the Presbyterian Church in
West Mill Creek, and the new' building of the
Redemptorist College in North East. Mr. Depinet
was married June 21, 18S7. to Miss Rose K. Staab, of
Milwaukee, Wis, Mr. and Mrs. I )cpinet are members
of St. Joseph's Catholic Church. In |)olitics he has
always been identified with the Democratic party.

Robert T. McClure, chairman of the Erie Pail
Factory, limited, Erie, Pa., was born in Mifflin town-
ship, Allegheny county, Pa., in 1842, and is a son of
Robert and Elizabeth'(McClure) McClure, natives of
Pennsylvania, and of Scotch-Irish ancestry. His
grandfather and great-grandfather, both of whom were
John McClure by name, purchased a large tract of land
(probably from the State), located near Pittsburg.
This tract has since been sub-divided and laid off iij



lots, some of which are still owned by descendents of
the original purchaser. A large farm was sold to the
city of Pittsburg for a poor-farm, and was used as such
until 1893, when it was sold to the Carnegie Company
for half a million dollars. Besides being an extensive
farmer, Robert McClure was one of the pioneers in
the mining and boating of coal down the river. Mr.
McClure's mother was a daughter of the Hon. Francis
McClure, at onetime associate judge of Adams county,
Pennsylvania. The family consisted of nine children,
three of whom are living: Francis N., a retired farmer,
living in Varsaili township, Adams county. Pa.; James
P., a carpenter by trade, who was disabled in the army,
and lives in Sewickley, Allegheny county, and Robert
T., who is the youngest of the family. The last-
named gentleman was educated in the public schools
of his native town, and the Iron City Commercial Col-
lege of Pittsburg, being graduated from the latter in
18'67. After completing his education he entered the
employ of his brother-in-law, who was engaged in the
planing-mill and lumber business in Pittsburg as ac-
countant, and continued with him for seventeen years.
In 1873 he came to Erie, and in company with Mr. H.
J. Howe, under the firm name of Howe, McClure &
Co., operated the Erie Pail Factory in connection with
the attorney of the owners, Bennett, Law & Spencer,
who founded the institution, in 1865. In 1874 Howe,
McClure & Co. purchased the business, and con-
ducted it under that title until 1887, when Mr. Mc-
Clure became chairman, and Mr. T. W. Shacklett, sec-
retary and treasurer. Mr. Howe continued a member
of the firm until his death, which occurred in 1886.
The plant, which occupies two and half acres, was de-
stroyed by fire, September 24, 1894, but was rebuilt
about a third larger than before, and was ready for oc-
cupancy, January 1, 1895. The products of the con-
cern consist of all kinds and sizes of wooden pails and
packages, and the capacity is over four thousand
pieces per day. It is one of the largest institutions of
its kind in the country, and under its present manage-
ment is one of the many fine manufactories of which
Erie is justly proud. Mr. McClure was married July
18, 1881, to Miss Jeanette Brankston, of Pittsburg, Pa.,
who, with her husband, attends the United Presbyte-
rian Church. Their elegant residence, at 520 West
Eighth street, was completed in 1890. Though Mr.
McClure has never been an office-seeker, he has al-
ways been very active in support of the principles of
the Republican party.

John S. Hicks, ice cream manufacturer, confec-
tioner and baker, Erie, Pa., was born in Virginia, Feb-
ruary 14, 1845, and is a son of John S. and Maria (Fos-
ter) Hicks. His father deserves great credit for ac-
complishing what he did under the adverse circum-
stances under which he labored. He was a slave, but
being more than ordinarily intelligent, and possessed
of an indomitable will, but, perhaps, of all, being
desirous of marrying a free woman, he bought himsell,
it being illegal for a slave to marry a free woman. Mr.
Hicks received enough education to enable him to get
on very nicely with the ordinary affairs of life. He
has been in his present business since 1864, removing
from Virginia to Springfield, Mass., in 1862. He re-
mained there until 1871, when he came to Erie, and in
1878 engaged in business for himself. He was located
at 1406 Turnpike street for three and a half years, and
then removed to 1216 State street, where he remained

nine years. In 1882 he purchased the lot and built a
brick veneered structure, which he occupied until 1892,
when he built his present substantial three-story build-
ing at 1218 State street, the second story of which he
occupies as a residence. The third story is rented for
dwelling purposes, and the first floor is used as an ice
cream parlor and store-room, while the basement is
used as a factory. This is one of the largest icecream
plants in the State, the capacity being 120 gallons per
hour. By fair dealing and a thorough knowledge of
his business, Mr. Hicks has established a lucrative
business, and has succeeded in accumulating comfort-
able means for himself and family. The temporary
building which he built at 1216 State street in 1882 was
replaced by a handsome and substantial brick struc-
ture in 1894. Mr. Hicks was married June 1, 1884, to
Miss Frances Reinbold. a daughter of Mr. John Rein-
bold, of Erie, by whom he has one daughter, Miss Ida
Louise Hicks. .Mr. Hicks and family are members of
the First Baptist Church, of Erie; he is a member of
the Masonic fraternity, and in politics is a Republican.
Mr. Hicks deserves a great deal of credit for his in-
dustry and enterprise. He is one of the most prosper-
ous and influential men of African descent that ever
lived in Erie.

Louis Eichhom, baker, No. 808 West Eighth
street, Erie, Pa., was born in Bavaria, Germany,
October 18, 1851, and is a son of Philip Peter Eich-
horn. His father, who was a tailor by trade, and died
in Germany, reared a family of three children, Jacob,
tailor, Erie; Louis and Klise, who married Henry L.
Brevillier, of Erie. Mr. ICichhorn came to the United
States in 1866 and located in Erie, where he learned
his trade. From 1^74 to 1891 he, as a member of the
firm of Harr & Eichhorn, located at 1316 Peach street.
Upon the death of Mr. Harr, in 1891, Mrs. Harr took
sole charge of the business and Mr. Eichhorn built his
present place of business, which is a substantial brick
structure 41 x 165 feet and two stories high, the second
story being used as a residence. Four men besides
Mr. Eichhorn are employed in the bakery and two
wagons are kept in constant use. Mr. Eichhorn was
married November 22, 1873, to Miss Ottilie Pfister of
Erie, by whom he has seven cnildren, Edith, Louis
H., Annie, Elise, Otto, August and Charles. Mr.
Eichhorn and family attend St. Paul German Lutheran
Church of Erie. He is a member of the I. O. O. F.
and the D. O. H., and in politics is a Republican.

Barney Nagosky, merchant tailor, at 928 Parade
street, Erie, Pa., was born in West Prussia, Germany,
May 18, 1869, and is a brother of Mr. Alois Nagosky,
a more exhaustive sketch of whom apjiears in this
work. He was educated in his native country, and
came to Erie in 1886, where he learned his trade and
followed it for some time as- a journeyman. In 1894
he engaged in business for himself at 238 East
Eleventh street, and in April, 1895, removed to his
present location. Besides his merchant tailoring
department he carries a good assortment of gentle-
men's furnishing goods, and is doing a prosperous
business. He is unmarried, and resides with his
brother, Alois. He is a member of the Catholic
Church, of the St. Benedict Society and of the C. M.
B. A. He is also a member of the East Erie Turner
Society, and is a Democrat in his political views,



Joseph Malitiowski, meat dealer, No. 561 East
Thirteenth street, Erie, Pa., was born in Poland,
September 15, 1850, and is a son of Jacenty and Kar-
alina (Miskiel) Malinowski. His father, who was an

extensive farmer, reared a family of nine children, of
whom Joseph is the youngest. He came to the United
States in 1863 and located in Buffalo, where he en-
gaged in laboring, and where for seventeen years he
was in the saloon business. During a part of the
time he was in Buffalo he was a special member of
the police force. In 1880 he went to Detroit, Mich.,
where for nine years he was employed in a rolling mill.
He then returned to Buffalo and resumed the restau-
rant business, and was for a short time conductor on a
gravel train. In 1891 he came to Erie and engaged in
his present business on Fourteenth street, and pur-
chased, built upon and removed to his present loca-
tion in 1892. He has a well-equipped shop and mar-
ket, and resides in the second story of the building.
Mr. Malinowski was married, April 22, 1876, to Miss
Annie Ribicki, of Buffalo. They are both members
of the Catholic Church.

Jesse Roberts, junior member of the firm of
Walker & Roberts, proprietors of the Erie Litho-
graphing and Printing Company, Erie, Pa., was born
in West Philadelphia, Pa., June 30, 1851, and is a son
of Hiram C. and Hester Ann (Haupt) Roberts, of
Scotch and German ancestry. His father, born in
Plymouth, Montgomery county. Pa., August 23, 1819,
died in Erie October 28, 1891, and his mother, born in
Upper Dublin, Pa., July 4, 1820, resides with him.
His father, who was a carpenter and contractor, reared
a family of five children, three of whom are living:
Jesse, Miss Ellen Naneth Roberts and Isabella Brant,
who married Mr. John Hamherger, real estate broker,
Erie. Mr. Roberts was educated in the public schools
of Conshohocken, Pa., graduating from the high school.
In 1866 he began a printer's apprenticeship in the
Erie Dispatch office, where he remained continuously
for twenty-five years. He left the Dispatch on Decem-
ber 1, 1890, and on January 1, 1891, associated with
Mr. F. J. Walker, who had established the Erie Show
Printing Company, located at 10-22 West Fourth
street. In ."August, 1891, a lithographing department
was added, the adjacent building west of the original
location being purchased for its occupancy. About
this time the firm name was changed to the Erie
Lithographing and Printing Company. They do all
kinds of circus, theatrical and commercial lithograph-
ing, printing and engraving. The business has grown
rapidly from the start and is in a flourishing condition.
Mr. Roberts was married June 18, 1891, to Miss
Margaret, daughter of Elias and Phoebe Reiddle, of
Erie. The issue of this marriage is two children,
Gertrude Hester and Isabella Phoebe. Mr. Roberts
and family worship at the First Baptist Church of
Erie. In politics he is a Republican.

Andrew F. Voelk (deceased) was one of Erie's
enterprising manufacturers and respected citizens.
He was born in Lichtenfels, Bavaria, Germany, March
8, 1837, where after his school days and at the age of
14 he was apprenticed to learn the trade of a machinist.
In 1854 he came to the United States and located in
New York, where he remained two years. Coming to
Erie, he continued in the same line of business until
his death, which occurred at his residence. No. 137

East Tenth street, September 7, 1894. When Liddell
& McCarter founded the machine shop at the corner
of Twelfth and State stixtts whu li was the nucleus of
the Erie City Iron Wniks, Mr. \iH-lk was made fore-
man of the works, a jicisitnni he luld for eleven years,
when, in company with otlur p.irties, he founded the
Humboldt Iron \\\)rks on the site now occupied by
the Colby and the Hicks blocks, on State street. This
concern has since become the Davis-Farrar Company,
manufacturers of marine engines, boilers and pumps.
In 1885, in company with Mr. P. W. Dietley, he founded
the Erie ^L^chine Shop, referred to elsewhere in this
work. In 1893 he sold out his interest and made a trip
to Europe, where he visited the scenes of his child-
hood. On his return, he became the chief mover in
the establishment of the Gem City Manufacturing
Company, located on Fourteenth and Holland streets,
which has since done a flourishing business. Mr.
Voelk was married in 1856 to Miss Louise, daughter
of Christian Reasir, of Erie. Her father left France
and located in Erie, when she was 9 years old. This
union was blessed with seven children, three of whom
are living: Misses Louise and Anna Voelk and Mr.
Fred Voelk, who is interested and employed in the
Gem City Manufacturing Company's Works. In pol-
itics Mr. Voelk was a Republican.

Adrian J. Mitchell, veterinary surgeon, Erie,
Pa., was born in Livingston county. New Jersey, May
28, 1853, and is a son of Abram J. and Mary E. (Wright)
Mitchell. When a boy he attended some of the rural
schools, but the greater ]iart of his general education
was received in the academy at .Springfield, N. J. In
1874 he matriculated at the American Veterinary Col-
lege of New York city, where he remained one year,
and afterwards, in 1877-8, attended the New York Col-
lege of Veterinary Surgeons. In 1882 he accepted a
position as veterinarian for Asa Burnham's racing
horses, and continued such throughout the circuit.
While acting in this capacity, and located at Coney
Island, he studied incidentally with that eminent vet-
erinarian and member of the Royal College of Veter-
inary Surgeons, Dr. J. A. Going, of New York city, who
conferred upon him a certificate of recommendation.
In the fall of 1882 he entered the Ontario Veterinary
College, but on account of severe and repeated attacks
of sciatic rheumatism, he was not graduated until De-
cember 31, 1885. Even after the completion of his
course he was taken home in a helpless condition.
This illness also vanquished one of his fondest hopes,
that of completing his education in Paris. As soon as
his health was sufficiently regained he began the prac-
tice of his profession, which he followed in Oil City,
Titusville and other places in Pennsylvania, and, in
1888, came, to Erie, since which time his office has
been at 1227 Peach street. In the rear of his office,
and attached to it, is his veterinary hospital, which is
one of the finest in northwestern Pennsylvania. Soon
after coming to Erie Dr. Mitchell's superior knowledge
of veterinary surgery and medicine began to attract
the attention and patronage of many owners of valua-
ble horses, notably the late Hon. W. L. Scott, who, at
that time, had upon the Algeria Farm between S300,000
and S400,000 worth of high-bred running horses. There
probably is not a veterinarian in America who has oper-
ated upon a greater number of valuable horses than
Dr. Mitchell, and it is conceded that he has the largest
practice in Erie. The doctor was married December



25, 1880, to Miss Clara Dross, of Gowanda, N. Y. This
union has been blessed with two children, Adrian, a
student in the Erie Academy, and Miss Luella, a stu-
dent in the Central high school. Dr. Mitchell is a
member of the A. O. U. \V., and is a Democrat in his
political views.

Adolph Schroeck, contractor and builder, Erie,
Pa., was born in Hoerdt, Germersheim, Rheinpfalz,
Germany, October 20, 1854, and is a son of John Con-
rad and Mary Anna (Moser) Schroeck. His father,
who was a cabinetmaker by trade, reared a family of
four children, of whom Adolph is the second. One
day, when about 16 years old, he was driving his
father's team, and a company of soldiers seized it.
But, instead of abandoning the team, he accompanied
it, and thus, without his parents' knowing his where-
abouts, he served two months in the army, after whicl
he escaped and returned home. In 1872 he came to
the United States and located in Erie, where he en-
tered the employ of S. Kirschner to learn the carpen-
ter's trade, with whom he remained five years. He
then followed his trade for two and a half years in the
oil region, after which he returned to Erie and entered
the employ of Constable Bros., with whom he re-
mained in all about five years. In 1880, when he had
been in the employ of Constable Bros, about six
months, he visited his native country, remaining abroad
about six months. In 1884 he engaged in business for
himself, in which he has since been highly successful.
He does all kinds of building, from foundation to
finish, including interior decorating and papering.
He built his planing-mill, at 902 East Eleventh street,
in 1889, and has since added to it from year to year.
The products of the mill include all kinds of dressed
and manufactured lumber, but for his own use ex-
clusively. The fine residences and other buildings
which he has erected in Erie are too numerous to
mention. He built his own comfortable home at 906
East Eleventh street in 1888. Mr. Schroeck was mar-
ried April 15, 1880, to Miss Mary Eva, daughter of
Mr. George Boehm, of Hoerdt, Germany. This union
has been blessed with eight children, Mary Magda-
len;., Anna Catherine, John Adolph, Mary Annie,
Peter Adam, John Frederick, Elizabeth, Clara (de-
ceased) and Rosa. Mr. Schroeck and family are mem-
bers of St. Mary's Catholic Church, and he is a mem-
ber of the C. M. B. A. In politics he is not bound by
party ties, but gives his vote to what he considers
the best interests of the community.

Edward W. CoMStabte, senior member of the
firm of Constable Bros., Erie, Pa., was born in Erie,
December 19, 18.50, and is a son of John Constable,
whose sketch appears in this work. He was educated
in the public schools of Erie, and then clerked for six

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 135 of 192)