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Nelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 144 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Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 144 of 192)
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(Lehan) McMahon. He was educated in the public
schools of Erie, and when 12 years of age began a
sailor's life as a boy before the mast on Lake Erie,
working as such for two years, when he began firing a
tug boat, so continuing for two years. In the spring of
1873 he was granted an engineer's certificate and
served as engineer till 1877, when he took charge of a
tug as captain from the port of Toledo for two years,
when he again accepted a position as engineer, serv-
ing till 1885. June 1, 1886, he was appointed an engi-
neer for the Erie fire department at No. 1 engine
house, serving till January 15, 1894, when he was pro-
moted to the position of chief of the fire department.
Chief McMahon is the right man in the right place.
He has done much to bring the department up to the
standard of excellence it enjoys to-day. Through his
efforts the firemen have been uniformed. On his rec-
ommendation two new engine houses are about to be
built. New and improved fire alarm boxes, with key
protectors, have been added; a twenty-five foot ladder
and two six-gallon Babcock fire extinguishers have
been purchased for each hose carriage; three new en-
gines, a Manning, an American and a sixty-gallon
HoUaway Chemical engine have been secured. He
has framed and adopted new rules and regulations for
the department, and is the father of the civil service
rule, necessitating the passing of rigid examinations,
medical, mental and athletic, in order to be appointed
a fireman. These and numerous other features in the
line of improvement were brought about by Chief Mc-
Mahon, and have made the Ene fire department rec-
ognized as one of the best in Pennsylvania. Mr. Mc-
Mahon was married August 15, 1878, to Miss Anna,
daughter of Isaac Bowers, of Erie, and to them have
been born nine children: Anna (deceased), Josephine,
John, Edward, Daniel, Mary, Valentine (deceased),
Robert and Maurice. The family are members of St.
Patrick's Catholic Church. Chief McMahon is a mem-
ber of the C. M. B. A., the Marine Engineers' Benevo-
lent Association, and in politics is independent.



Louis E. Hubbard, until recently of the firm of
Hubbard & Laws, dealers in meats, 412 West Eighth
street, was born in Erie, August 13, 1862, and is a son
of Richard B. and Mary E. (Snell) Hubbard. Louis
E. received his education in the public schools of
Erie, and when 19 years of age, entered the employ of
T. M. Nagle, and later found employment with the
Stearnes Manufacturing Company, where he spent
four years in learning the machinist's trade. He then
worked for the Erie Engine Works for six years, and
then moved to Oregon, and went in partnership with
Mr. D. S. Keep, as Keep & Hubbard; they opened
and operated the Commercial Bank, at Cottage Grove,
for two and one-half years. Mr. Hubbard sold his in-
terest, and returned to Erie, and January 6, 1894, in
connection with Harry Laws, opened in the meat trade.
The market operated by this firm was in all particu-
lars an up-to-date business house. They personally
waited on all customers, and kept constantly on hand
a full and choice variety of fresh, smoked, salt and
canned meats, fish, poultry and game, and by close
attention to business built up a large and lucrative
trade. He disposed of his interest to his partner in
1895. Mr. Hubbard was married July 18, 1887, to
Miss Mary Emma, daughter of Leander Dobbins,
and to them have been born two children: Mateel E.,
born September 16, 1888, and Richard L., born March
21, 1893. The family attend the First M. E. Church.
Mr. Hubbard is a member of the K. of P. and Royal

Harry W. Laws, of the firm of Hubbard & Laws,
dealers in fish and salt meats, 412 West Eighth street,
Erie, Pa., born in London, England, November 3,
1866, is a son of William and Elizabeth (Patten) Laws,
both natives of England. William Laws was a meat
cutter by trade, and with his family came to America
about 1870, and located in Erie, where he followed his
trade for about fifteen years, and where Mrs. Laws
and the children still reside. There were eight chil-
dren born to Mr. and Mrs. Laws: William, employed
by the Black Manufacturing Company; Elizabeth,
wife of Joseph Fletcher, of Erie; Annie, bookkeeper
for Kellogg & Yates, Chicago; Harry W.; Katie, a
milliner; Minnie, clerk in the Bon-Ton millinery store;
Frank, employed in a restaurant, and Edith, wife of
George Matthews, of Wellsburg, Pa. Harry W. Laws
received his education in the public schools of Erie,
and when 14 years of age went to work for his father
in the meat business, remaining five years. He then
worked for seven years for the Erie Malleable Iron
Company, and then opened a meat market at Fourth
and Sassafras streets, continuing in the business for
one year, when he sold out and again entered the em-
ploy of the Malleable Iron Company, remaining several
months, when he again engaged in the meat business.
January 6, 1894, he formed a partnership with Louis E.
Hubbard, and opened the present business, which the
firm conducted till November 1, 1895, when Mr. Laws
assumed entire control of the business. He handles a
full line of fresh and salt meats, canned goods, game
and fish, and enjoys a large share of the best patron-
age of Erie. The Laws family are members of the
English Lutheran Church, and in politics Mr. Laws is

Philip Kuch, wholesale and retail dealer in fresh
and smoked meats, 431 State street, Erie, Pa., was

born in Erie, May 14, 1854, is a son of George and
Grace (Weis) Kuch, natives of Germany. George
Kuch came to America about 1849, and located in
Erie, where he followed the meat business. He died
April 6, 1893 in the 71st year of his age. Mrs. Kuch
departed this life, in 1868. To this couple were born
six sons: George, Phdip, Charles, killed by the acci-
dental discharge of his gun while hunting; Adolph,
employed in his brother Philip's market; Edward,
meat market, and William, a farmer in Mill Creek
township. Philip Kuch received his early education
in the public schools of Erie, and when 15 years of
age went to work for C. Kessler, as delivery clerk, a
position he held for sixteen months, when he entered
the employ of John Abell, in the meat business, with
whom he remained until April 1, 1893, when he bought
his employer out, and has since conducted the busi-
ness. He operates one of the most complete markets
in this city, and handles all kinds of fresh and smoked
meats, poultry and game in season, and enjoys a large
and lucrative trade among the best people of Erie.
Mr. Kuch was united in marriage December 22, 1873,
to Miss Mary, daughter of Jacob Langnecker, of Erie,
and to them have been born six children: Clara,
Charles W. (deceased). Bertha (deceased). Bertha,
Mary L. and Philip H. The family are members of
the St. Paul German Church. He is a member of the
K. O. T. M., Harugaris and German Benevolent As-
sociation of West Erie. In politics he is a Repub-

Edward Kuch, dealer in fresh and salt meats,
801-803 West Fourth street, Erie, Pa., born in Erie,
July 25, 1860, is a son of George and Crescent (Weis)
Kuch. Edward Kuch received his education in the
public school of Erie, and when 17 years of age, se-
cured a position in the planing-mill department of the
Erie car shops, where he was employed for six years.
He then entered the blacksmithing department of the
same institution, and worked for four years, and, in
1887, opened a meat market at the corner of Fourth
and Cherry, which he conducted for a short time only,
disposing of it to his brother Philip. April 1, 1889, he
purchased from his father his present business. He
handles a full line of fresh and salt meats, and enjoys
a large and lucrative trade. The stand has been oper-
ated as a market by father and son since 1870. Mr.
Kuch was married August 7, 1883, to Miss Christina,
daughter of John Wilk, of Erie, and to them have
been born five children: Minnie, Charles, Florence,
Edward (deceased) and Edward. The family attend
the German Evangelical Lutheran Church. Mr. Kuch
is a member of the Harugari and West Erie Benevo-
lent Association. He has been six years a member of
the Democratic city committee, and is one of the repre-
sentative Democrats of his ward.

Philip Chor, dealer in fresh and salt meats, cor-
ner of Twenty-first and Plum streets, Erie, Pa., was
born in Germany, November 28, 1853, a son of Peter
and Katrina (Beidelman) Chor, both natives of Ger-
many. Philip Chor, after receiving his education and
learning the details of the meat business in his native
land, came to the United States in the spring of 1884,
and located in Cleveland, O., where he entered the meat
trade. He remained in Cleveland two years, and came
to Erie in the spring of 1886, going to work in a mar-
ket for a short time. Later he opened a market on



Brown avenue, for a short time only, when he again
worked in a market at Seventeenth and Walnut streets.
Later he branched out for himself, opening a market
in Marvintown, where he remained one year, when he
moved to West Twentieth street, and in the spring of
1894 he built his present home and place of business,
corner of Twenty-first and Plum streets, opening it in
June, 1894. Mr. Chor enjoys a large trade and handles
only the choicest goods in his line. He was married
September 30, 1890, to Miss Marion, daughter of An-
drew Gehrlein, a native of Germany. She was born
February 17, 1867, and came to America in July, 1888,
alone, and located in Erie. Mrs. Chor is a member of
the German Catholic Church. Mr. Chor is a member
of the German Lutheran Church, and one of Erie's
many respected and successful German residents.

Peter Grant was born January 15, 1839, in Ire-
land. His parents, Paul and Catfierine (McCardle)
Grant, never left their native home, in the parish of
MuUabon, town of Cargin, Silver Bridge, and are now
both deceased. Mr. Grant, sr., died in 1853, and Mrs.
Grant in 1870. Mr. Grant left his native home April
8, 186.3, commg to this country, and settled in
Erie in July of the same year. He worked on the
docks in Erie harbor as a laborer for eight months,
when he went to New York, and was working there at
the time of the "draft riots" m that city. Imbued
with a spirit of American patriotism Mr. Grant re-
turned to Erie and enlisted in the L^nited States navy
as second-class fireman. He was sent to Cairo, 111.,
where, in 1864, he commenced his service on the " Great
Western." But at that time the fighting on the Mis-
sissippi river was practically at an end, and at his own
request, he was transferred to the monitor " Osage "
of the Gulf Squadron. He was with that ironclad in
the engagements in Mobile bay, and was aboard her
when she was blown up by a rebel torpedo on March
29, 1865. After that engagement Mr. Grant was taken
sick with salivation of the mouth and was confined in
the hospital for one month. He was then sent to An-
napolis, Md., where he completed his two years,
enlistment on the LTnited States monitor " Tonawanda,"
and received his discharge on September 29, 1866.
Mr. Grant then returned to Erie and was married to
Miss Helen Hancock, daughter of George and Mary
(Plunkett) Hancock, on November 20, 1866. Mrs.
Grant was born in Erie May 3, 1845. Her father was
a native of Londonderry, Derry county, Ireland, and
her mother was born in Dublin. They had eight chil-
dren and Mrs. Grant was the sixth child. Mr. Han-
cock died in 18.53, and his wife in 1887. Mr. and Mrs.
Peter Grant have no children. After his marriage Mr.
Grant went to Michigan, where he worked in a saw-
mill at New River, until 1867, when he returned to
Erie and purchased the property on East Third street,
where his home is now located. He then commenced
contracting for the city of Erie, and in the course of
his work has laid many miles of sewer and pavements
in the city streets. Mr. Grant is a Democrat, and,
while he has never held office, he has always taken an
active interest in party politics in Erie county, and has
attended every state and national Democratic conven-
tion since his permanent residence in this city. Mr.
Grant receives a small pension from the Government
and is a member of Scott Post, No. 464, G. A. R.

Professor John Caspar Diehl, principal of the
Erie High School, was born in Erie, Pa., January 12,

1866. He is a son of Frederick and Barbara Catharine
(Doll) Diehl. His parents were natives of Germany.
His father came from Germany to America when he
was only 17 years of age and settled in Buffalo, N. Y.,
and subsequently removed to Erie, Pa., where he still
resides. His father has been a merchant in Erie for
many years. He now resides at 441 West Seventh
street. His place of business is No. 23 South Park
Row. Prof. Diehl is a member of a family of three
children, two boys and one girl: George Frederick,
bookkeeper with the Colby Piano Company; John
Caspar, principal of Erie High School, Erie, Pa.;
Minnie Margaret, at home. Prof. Diehl was educated
in the graded srhods and high school. He then
entered Oberlin C(.ll(i;i>, ( )hi(), in 1883, remaining one
year, then Yait- CoIIcum- (now University) in "1884,
where he was graduated in the class of 1887. The
same year he accepted a position as teacher in the
Erie High School, and has been connected with the
school ever since. In 1890 he was made principal,
and has served in that capacity with marked success.
He was married, December 21, 1893, to Miss Anna
Belle Ingham. Her jiarents were born in Ireland,
and came to America in 1870. Mr. and Mrs. Diehl
have one child, a son, Frederick Brereton. They are
members of the Methodist Church. Prof. Diehl is a
member of the Masonic fraternity. Politically he is a

Hobart Hogan, brick manufacturer, Erie, Pa.,
was born February 6, 1852, at Central Bridge, N. Y.,
the tenth of twelve children of Isaac and Polly Lynch
Hogan, of Welsh-Irish parentage. He came to Erie
county about the year 1870, working at the trade of
carpenter. He married December 3, 1873, Catherine
Berst, daughter of John and Elizabeth (Miller) Berst,
of Lancaster county, Pennsylvania; after a few years
he engaged in contracting and building, and was very
successful, and about three years ago decided to go
more extensively into the business of building. He
built a brickyard for himself with a capacity of 8,000,-
000 bricks. This yard covers a territory of eight
acres, and has proven itself a prosperous enterprise.
Three children have been born to him: J. Reed, born
November 14, 1874, attended the Erie Business Col-
lege one year, and is now assisting his father in the
brick business; George H., born" August 16, 1877,
attending High School class of '98; Minnie A., born
July 15, 1881. He is a Presbyterian in his religious
belief; a Republican in politics; was a member of the
common council two years. He has five acres of fruit
land in a thriving condition. The number of houses
around him, which bring him an income, testify to the
success he has had in Tife. He started without a dol-
lar, and is what we would call a self-made man.

Charles E. Royer, eldest son of Anthony B. and
Nancy J. (Hamilton) Royer, was born in Washington
township, Erie county, October 26, 1849. The mother
was of Puritan-French birth and the father of French-
English parentage. His paternal great-grandfather
was one of Lafayette's soldiers, one of the many
brave sons of France who risked their lives in the
cause of freedom and America, who, after the close of
the Revolutionary war, settled in or near Philadelphia.
Squire Philip Royer (paternal grandfather) marri(;d
Elizabeth Leeds, of Sheffield, England, and was the
only one of a family of seven to ernigrate to the (then)



far West, making the trip from Philadelphia, as was
then the custom, by wagon, in the year 18'29, and
settled on the " Moravian Mission " land, French
creek flats, near where the P. & E. R. R. now crosses
French creek at Le Boeuf station, where he raised a
family of seven boys and four girls, only two of whom
ever left Erie county to live. One, Samuel J., sought
his fortune in the West in 1854, and now resides at
Chippewa Falls, Wis. The other, George W., settled
in Ohio after the Rebellion. Jones B. and George
W., the two youngest boys, were members of the
145th Reg., P. V. I., and were both wounded at the
battle of Gettysburg. His maternal great-grandfather
(Hamilton) came from Connecticut and first settled at
Williamsport, Pa. Remaining there Init a slicirt time
he removed to Erie county, near I",(linh(irc>, in the year
1819, and with his brother i)urchas.(l S(l(l ancsof land,
which they proceeded to clear ami iuhi\,itr. James
Hamilton (maternal grandfatln ri iiKiniiil Susanna
Skelton (of French descent, wlmsr family c .inie from
Philadelphia in 1798 and whose mother was a cousin
of "Mad" Anthony Wayne) and raised a family of
three boys and four girls. John, the youngest son,
was a member of the 5th Pa. Cav. during the Rebel-
lion and was killed at Culpeper Court House.
James, the eldest son, was also in the army and now
resides in Crawford county, and with Mrs. Sophia
Stark, of Erie, are the only two of the family living.
Charles E. received his early education in the pubhc
schools of West Mill Creek, with a few terms at the
Edinboro Normal and the Erie high school. By occu-
pation he is a pattern-maker, having learned his trade
at the Bay State Iron Works, and for a number of
years he had charge of the pattern department of the
Skinner Engine Company, but is now with the Jarecki
Manufacturing Company. He served five years in
the famous old " Erie Guard, " and with them assisted
in quelling the great riots of 1877. He was chief
musician of the 17th Reg., N. G. P., in 1879-80, and
was at one time a member of the celebrated " Knoll's
Band, " and later with the " Governor's Guard Band."
He is a member of the C. M. B. A., C. B. L., Catholic
Casino, "Legion Club" and St. Francis DePaul
Society. Charles E. was married September 26, 1883,
in Erie, to Miss Josie A. Carney, daughter of John
Carney, of Irish parentage; they have one child
living, Ellen J., now attending the Villa Maria
Academy, this city. Mrs. Royer is Supreme Recorder
of the Ladies' Catholic Benevolent Association, which
position she has held since the organization of the
society in 1890. She is also a member of St. Peter's
Aid Society. They are both ardent Catholics and
members of the Cathedral congregation. Mr. Royer
is independent in politics. He has two brothers
living in Erie, Clinton and Ross, and one sister, Mrs.
Perry Baer. One thing remarkable in regard to his
family is the wonderful longevity. Of his father's
family of eleven, two died in childhood, and his father's
death, in 1889, was the first death among the children
in nearly sixty years. Eight of the eleven are still
living, the eldest nearly 80 years of age and the
youngest past 50. His grandfather was 84 when he
died and his grandmother 86. His paternal great-
grandmother was killed by falling down stairs at the
age of 98 years. The Royer family inherit those
earnest, steady characteristics that endure with time,
and these concentrated energies have been used for the
good of mankind and upbuilding of their native land.

John Leary was born in the year 1830 in Coul-
main, Cnuntv \Vexf(irie in the fall of 1844, on the steamer"United
States." Capt. Downs and John Knobloch brought
him, with other passengers, to the foot of State street
on the transfer scow used for that purpose, and when
young Leary offered them eighteen cents, all the
money he had, for the trip, they declined to take any
money from him, twenty-five cents being the regular
fare. Mr. Leary's first employment was with Mr.
Matthew Barr, as tender for the plasterer who was
then plastering Mr. Barr's new brick house in Weigel-
town, now one of the old landmarks of that locality.
After two weeks of this service he found employment
driving a cart for Laird Foster and John O'Brien.
Then he worked for John Fagan, doing chores and
going to school; a month later he found work on the
same terms with Patrick O'Brien. In the spring he
made application for a place on the revenue cutter
" Erie," but was rejected because his father was not a
citizen of the United States. His next employment
was on a farm in North East at six dollars per month.
After working a while he settled up with his employer,
receiving a piece of cloth for his pay, and this he
traded to Barney McGuire for two days' board at Four-
Mile Creek. He next went to Freeport and loaded
lumber for Alexander Pope on a vessel his son had
charge of, for a shilling an hour, working twenty-seven
hours without rest. This was practically the first
money earned by Mr. Leary, and he felt rich in its
possession. He continued in Mr. Pope's employ,
burning lime and receiving fifty cents a day and fifty
cents a night in payment. Later returning to Erie,
the gunner of the revenue cutter "Erie," Adilee McGill,
sent ashore for him. He went aboard, was introduced
to Capt. O'Connor and shipped as boy on the cutter at
ten dollars per month. The same fall the cutter went
ashore at Ashtabula and was wrecked. The following
spring Mr. Leary shipped aboard the " Ebert," an iron
steamer engaged in the lake survey, as wheelsman
and leadsman. While so engaged a survey was made
of the islands at the head of Lake Ejie, Mr. Leary
handling the lead in most of this work as well as in the
soundings of Erie harbor at a later date. As an illus-
tration of the manner in which young and unsophisti-
cated boys fared in the service in those days, we cite
the following incident in Mr. Leary's experience on
board the "Ebert." The second engineer, John Mont-
gomery, sold young Leary an old watch that would
not keep time, and by specious representations made
him think it was a fine time-piece, finally getting him
to promise him eighteen dollars for it. After a day's
trial Mr. Leary declined to keep the watch, and Mont-
gomery undertook to enforce the bargain by telling
his victim that he must keep the watch or leave the
ship. The captain told the boy that he need not leave,
and when Montgomery heard of this, about 4 o'clock
in the morning he went to Mr. Leary and told him he
must take the watch or a licking, and thereupon struck
the boy a stunning blow on the head, quickly follow-
ing it up with another, when his victim turned and
defended himself, which led to a general row, and
tonally to Mr. Leary's discharge, although Mr. Mont-
g.jinery continued in his place on the boat. After
Laving the " Ebert " Mr. Learv shipped as wheelsman



aboard the steamer "Louisiana," Capt. Thos. Richards,
for the season of 1848. The next season, when Capt.
Richards was transferred to the "Keystone State," one
of the finest passenger steamers on the lakes, he took
Mr. Leary with him as wheelsman of the new boat. A
little later Capt. Richards was taken sick, and had to
be left in Chicago, where he died July 13, 1849. When
the body was being brought home to Erie on the " Ni-
agara " she was passed by the " Keystone State "
bound up, and while passing, Capt. Stone of the latter
boat, requested Mr. Leary to hoist the colors at half-
mast and toll the bell, as a mark of respect for the
dead commander, who was one of Mr. Leary's warmest
friends. That evenmg while the "Keystone State"
was passing the " Empire State" on Lake Huron Mr.
Leary's judgment and prompt action averted a collis-
ion. The watch on the " Empire State " was careless,
and, althiiugh there was plenty of sea room, it was
only by turning; the wheel hard-a-port that the two
boats axoided a collision. Mr. Leary was at the wheel,
and the " Empire State's" paddle-box just grazed the
" Keystone State," and the former boat passed on
almost ignorant of the narrow escape they had had.
Shortly after Capt. Richards' death Mr. Leary quit
the lake service and engaged in plank road and then
in railroad construction. His first substantial money
was made as a contractor on the Philadelphia and
Erie R. R., he having built many miles of that iron
highway. Later he became the owner of the magnifi-
cent stone quarry at Garland, Pa., on the Philadelphia
and Erie R. R., and now supplies Erie with most of
the sandstone used in the city. This business is an

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 144 of 192)