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Nelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 159 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Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 159 of 192)
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life of this institution is the perfect harmony between
its management and its labor, skilled and otherwise.
Many have been in constant employment twenty-five,
and several over thirty years. This has been largely
due to the fact that both the late and the present
Messrs. Denio were endowed with a superior knowl-
edge of men and an inborn sympathy for the laboring
classes. Indeed, this has been one of the chief ele-
ments of their success. This company was incorpo-
rated January 1, 1882, with a capital stock of SlOO,000,
which will be increased to §150,000 in 1896. The offi-
cers of the company are: A. Denio, president, and F.
L. Andrews, secretary and treasurer. The stock-
holders are: A. Denio, F. L. Andrews, H. P. Sullivan,
of Erie; J. Robert Hall, P. D. Flowers, of Albion, Pa.,
H! E. Denio and W. L. Andrews, all of whom are in-
cluded in the board of manag;ers. Mr. A. Denio was
married, in 1860, to Miss Louisa M. Taylor, of Otsego
county, New York. To this happy union has been
born one son, Horace E., who is a member of the board
of managers. Mr. Denio is a Master Mason, and
though never an aspirant for public office, he has al-
ways been in sympathy with the principles of the Re-
publican party.

J. Robert Hall, Esq., one of the leading citizens
of Erie county, was born in that portion of Springfield
township which is now known as Girard township,
June 13, 1821, and is a son of John and Poll)^ (Kelley)
Hall, natives of Mififlin county, Pennsylvania, where
his grandfather settled at an early date, soon after
coming from Ireland. John Hall came to Erie county
about 1808 and located in Springfield township, where
he took up a large farm. Some time after Girard
township was cut off from Springfield he purchased a
farm in what is now Springfield township, where he
died in December, 1848, at the age of 64 years. The
family consisted of five children: Catherine, who



married M. A. Lawrence, of Chicago; J. Robert;
Elizabeth, who married F. W. Sawyer, of Evansville,
Ind.; George K., who is living in retirement in Miles
Grove, and John H., who occupies a farm in Spring-
field township. J. Robert Hall received his early
education in a log school-house, and never pursued a
regular course of study farther than such as was
afforded by the public schools of his boyhood, his
further education being acquired by his private study
and reading. When he was 21 years of age he began
teaching, which he followed for two and a half years
in one school in Girard township. He also taught a
four months' term in Springfield township and a six
months' term in Port Washmgton, O. He then took
charge of a hotel and livery business in New Phila-
delphia, O., where he remained a year and a half.
Upon the death of his father he returned home, and,
purchasing the interests of the other heirs, he operated
the homestead farm for seven years, and then sold it
to his brother, George K., who still owns it. He then
accepted the general superintendency of the farms
and other business of the late Judge James Miles,
which he continued for over twelve years. In 1858
Mr. Hall purchased of Alfred Kelley, who was then
president of what is now the L. S. & M. S. R. R., nine
hundred acres of heavily-wooded land, from which he
immediately began on an extensive scale to furnish to
railroads wood suitable for locomotive fuel, and which
he continued until the use of coal for that purpose
became general. Knowing that in time coal would
displace wood, he sold off large portions of his tract,
retaining but one hundred and fifty acres, which
he still owns. He discontinued the wood business
about 1866. During the war Mr. Hall dealt quite
extensively in cattle, which he shipped chiefly to New
York. Since 1866 Mr. Hall has given his attention to
the management of his several farms, and dealing in
cattle and real estate. In 1858 he purchased a lot of
seventy-five acres north of the L. S. & M. S. R. R.,
and west of Lake street, Miles Grove, to which he later
added fifteen acres adjoining. Upon portions of this
lot have been built the Otsego Fork Mills, the I. O. O.
F. Hall, Grace Episcopal Church and several other
buildings. Sixty acres of it still belong to Mr. Hall.
Besides this he owns a forty-acre lot between Miles
Grove and Girard, a farm of 160 acres in Girard and
Springfield townships, a half interest in a seventy-acre
farm m Springfield township and several houses and
lots in Miles Grove. Besides his own extensive deal-
ings in real estate, in which he has been highly suc-
cessful, Mr. Hall has been the executor in the settle-
ment of many estates, notably those of the late Judge
James Miles and H. C. Davis. Mr. Hall is also a
stockholder in and a member of the board of directors
of the Otsego Fork Mills, which he was instrumental
in bringing to its present location; he was also presi-
dent of the Erie County Agricultural Society for two
years— 1881-2. Thus it will be seen that Mr. Hall has
always taken a leading part in the up-building and
development of the beautiful hamlet of Miles Grove,
which, with its good shipping facilities and location,
will undoubtedly some day become a prosperous city.
Mr. Hall is unmarried, and made his home in the
family of Judge Miles from 1853 to 1887, since which
time he has lived with his brother, George. In politics
Mr. Hall was originally a Whig, and is now a Repub-
lican. He held various offices in Springfield and
Girard townships, ten years justice of the peace in the

latter, and has been for many years notary public.
He attends the Grace Episcopal Church of Miles
Grove, the erection of which he superintended, and of
which he is a generous supporter. With the best
interests of the county always at heart, he has ever
stood ready to aid, by his means and influence, in
furthering its prosperity and general welfare. And
now in the evening of a well-spent life he is enjoying
the fruits of honesty, economy and industry, and com-
mands the respect and esteem of the community in
which he has passed his long and useful career.

J. C. Murphy, of the firm of Murphy & Nichols,
editors and publishers of the Cosmopolite, Girard, Pa.,
was born in Miles Grove, Pa., September 1, 1860, and
is a son of James and Johanna Murphy. They were
natives of County Limerick, Ireland, and in 1847
emigrated to New Jersey, and two years later came to
Erie county, Pa., and settled at Miles Grove. In 1874
he removed to Erie city, where he died in 1892, and
his wife died the same year. In the family there
were nine children, of whom J. C. was the seventh.
Mr. Murphy was educated in the public schools of
Miles Grove, and at the age of 14 commenced an ap-
prenticeship at the Cosmopolite office in Girard. Here
he served the regular time of four years, then went to
Ashtabula, Ohio, where he took charge of the job
department of the Ashtabula Telegraph. He remained
there a year and a half and went to Meadville, Pa.,
where he accepted a position on the Chaictiiiir/ua
Magazine, assisting in printing the first issue of that
periodical. Mr. Murphy worked in this office one
year, then, in company with H. S. Bates, purchased
the Meadville Messenger. Later they purchased the
Meadville Morning News, which they published in
connection with a job and book printing business. Mr.
Murphy then bought Mr. Bates' interest in the enter-
prise, which he owned for six months, when he sold a
half interest to J. H. Nichols, of Girard. Shortly
after they bought the Crawford Democrat, which was
the leading Democratic paper in the county. This
consolidation made Messrs. Murphy & Nichols the
proprietors of the only Democratic paper in Crawford
county. They published it one year, and, in 1886,
sold out, when Mr. Murphy went to Bellefonte, Ohio,
bought out a job printing office, and published the
Erening E.vcelsior about a year and a half; he sold it
and went to Oil City and accepted the management
of the job department of the Oil City Derrick. Here
he remained a year and a half, when he returned to
Meadville and took charge of the mechanical depart-
ment of the Pennsi/luania Farmer, and in December,
1889, he came to Girard, and in partnership with Harry
H. Nichols, purchased the Cosmopolite. Mr. Murphy
was married in August, 1885, to Miss Jessie Douglass,
of Meadville. They have had three children, one of
whom is living, James Douglass. Mr. Murphy is well
known throughout Western Pennsylvania as a news-
paper man. Politically he is a Democrat.

Harry H. Nichols, of the firm of Murphy &
Nichols, editors and publishers of the Cosmopolite,
Girard, Pa., was born March 31, 1869, in Girard, and
is a son of J. H. and Mary (Hay) Nichols, residents of
Girard. Mr. Nichols was educated in the Girard high
school, and, in 1884, went to Meadville and com-
menced an apprenticeship in the office of the Mead-
ville Messenger. Later he went to Bradford, Pa., and



engaged in the oil business, which he followed a short
time, when he again took up ]irinting in the titar office
of that city and remained one and a half years. While
he was in Bradford he took a course in the Bradford
Business College. In 1889 he came to Girard and
bought a half interest in his present business. Mr.
Nichols was married March 20, 1890, to Miss Jennie
C. Ely, of Girard. She died a little over a year after
her marriage, leaving one son, Sumner E. Nichols.
Mr. Nichols was married again on September 8, 1895,
to Miss Lillian A. Whitaker, of Girard.

R. H. Duff, physician and surgeon, Girard, Pa.,
was born near New Castle, Lawrence county. Pa.,
August 17, 1856, and is a son of Alexander and Alkey
(Fulkerson) Duff, the former a native of Mount Jack-
son, Lawrence county, Pa., and the latter a native of
New Castle, the same county. She was a daughter of
Richard Fulkerson, who was a very extensive land
owner in that county. Dr. Duff is a descendant of a
very old Americanized family, and both his jiaternal
and maternal ancestry are of Scotch-Irish descent.
His father now resides in New Brighton, Pa. His
mother died in 1890, in Girard, while on a visit at that
place. Dr. Duff is the third in a family of nine chil-
dren. He was educated in the public schools and the
State Normal School at Edinboro, Pa., graduating at
the latter place in the class of 1891, and the following
school year served in the capacity of principal of the
West New Castle schools. He then took a course in
the Western Reserve Medical College at Cleveland,
O., and was graduated in the class of 1884, and imme-
diately began practice in Sharpsville, Mercer county,
Pa., and remained there one year, when he removed to
Brookfield, O., and practiced four years, and in the
spring of 1889 came to Girard, where he built up a
large and lucrative practice, and is prominently
recognized as one of the leading medical men of Erie
county. The Doctor was married September 4, 1894,
to Miss Mary Ellen Burnell, of Greenville, Mercer
county. Pa. This union has been blessed with two
children, Harold Clifford, aged 8, and Gail Burnell,
aged 4. He is a member of the Erie County Medical
Society and is a Republican. The family are mem-
bers of the Presbyterian Church of Girard.

A. R. Smith, physician and surgeon, Girard, Erie
county. Pa., was born in Springfield, Erie county, Pa.,
March 7, 1830. He is a son of Nelson and Sally
(Read) Smith, the former born in Ashfield, Conn., and
the latter in Ashtabula, O. They came to Erie county
in 1817 and settled in Springfield township, where Mr.
Smith died in 1884, at the age of 88. His wife died
in 1887, aged 76. Dr. Smith was reared and educated
in Springfield, and at the age of 16 went to live with
Dr. George Ellis, of Springfield, Pa., with whom he
read medicine later, and afterwards attended the
Eclectic College of Cincinnati, O., where he was gradu-
ated in 1853. He then returned to Springfield and
practiced in partnership with his former preceptor. Dr.
George Ellis, of Springfield, Pa., for one year, when he
went to Springboro, Crawford county, Pa., and practiced
his profession until 1865, at which time he came to
Girard, where he has since been located in the active
practice of medicine. Dr. Smith is a man of natural
good judgment, a thorough student of medicine, and
has had the benefit of more than ordinary ariiount of
medical experience. With these requisites it is un-

necessary to state here that he stands in the front rank
of the medical profession of Erie county. In 1881 he
opened a drug store in Girard, the management of
which he does not permit to interfere with his pro-
fession. The Doctor was married October 1, 1854, to
Miss C. E. DeWolf, of Springfield, Pa. They have
six children, four of whom are living, Frank, North-
wood, N. D.; Carrie E., married Homer Mclntire (de-
ceased); Will C, Girard; and Gertrude, resides at
home. He has been burgess of Girard two terms, has
been on the school board, a member of the council, and
has been physician for the poor for several years, in
which capacity he still serves. He is a member of the
Masonic order, having passed thirteen degrees, a
member of the I. O. O. F. until the lodge was aban-
doned at Springboro, is a member of the United
Workmen, the N. W. Eclectic Medical Society, the
Eclectic Medical Society of Pennsylvania, and is a
member of the M. E. Church.

W. M. Culbertsoa, merchant miller, Girard, Pa.,
was born November 30, 1860, and is a son of W. C.
Culbertson. He was educated in the Girard Academy
and Edinboro State Normal School. He then went to
Covington, Ky., where he was engaged in the lumber
business four years, when he returned to Girard, and
purchased his present flouring mill, where he has since
been engaged in busmess. When Mr. Culbertson
purchased the old Girard flouring mill it was of the
old-fashioned, stone process style. Since then he has
made many improvements, and has spent many
thousands of dollars in rebuilding and remodeling the
entire structure, to meet the demands of a constantly
increasing patronage, as well as to be fully equipped
for all competition in the modern production of the
finest qualities of flour, as well as all other products of
the modern grist-mill. The present capacity of his
mill is about one hundred barrels per day. Mr. Cul-
bertson is the manufacturer of the well-known brands
of flour: "Culbertson Patent," "Electric Light," and
" Royal," besides many other well-known brands to
the trade in Western Pennsylvania and Ohio. He was
united in marriage August 1, 1891, to Miss Florence
Nece, a popular and accomplished young lady of
Girard. To this union have been born five children:
Annabell, James, William and Florence. Mr. Cul-
bertson is a member of the school board of Girard
borough, of which he is president; a member of the
Masonic order, and a Republican. He is one of the
enterprising young men of Erie county, and is always
known to take an active interest in the promotion of
every worthy public enterprise, and as a business man
is well-known throughout the locality for his honesty
and integrity.

E. M. Hatheway, harness dealer, Girard, Pa., is
the leading dealer in his line in Girard. He also
manufactures all kinds of harness, and carries in stock
whips, robes, trunks, valises, etc. He was born at
Lansing, Mich., in 1869, and is a son of Edward B.
and Lovina (Brown) Hatheway, the former a native of
New York, the latter of this county. The father now
resides in Erie, where he works at his trade, that of
carpenter and builder. When E. M. Hatheway was
two years of age his parents moved to Erie, later to
Meadville, Pa., moving to the latter place when E. M.
was six years old. They remained there four years.
and then moved to Albion, and remained there six



years. Mr. Hatheway learned the harnessmaker's
trade in Girard, Pa., and Erie, and in 1892 commenced
business for himself in Girard, which he has since suc-
cessfully conducted. He was married September 1,
1892, to Miss Jessie E. Bennett. They have two chil-
dren: Kittie May, and Frank Marzell. He is a mem-
ber of the Equitable Aid Union, and politically is a
staunch Republican.

Theodore J. Ely, manufacturer, Girard, Pa., may
justly be called one of the representative business
men of Erie county. He is not a native of Pennsyl-
vania, but has spent nearly all his life here. His par-
ents moved to Girard when he was less than 1 year
old. He was born in Clarksville, Otsego county,
N. Y., March 11, 1857, and is a son of Dr. Benjamm
C. and Elizabeth (Caryl) Ely, now residents of Girard.
Theodore J. was reared and educated in Girard, at-
tending the old Girard Academy, and afterwards took
a course of pharmacy, when he immediately engaged
in the drug business in Girard, and in 1884 went to
Conneautville, Pa., where he remained six years,
being the sole owner and proprietor of a drug store
there. He then came to Girard and engaged in the
manufacturing business, where he was successfully
operating a very extensive plant, one much greater
than would be expected in a town like Girard, when on
July 28, 1894, fate seemed to be against him, and his
plant was destroyed by fire. Large orders, which he
was unable to fill owing to the destruction of his plant,
poured in from all parts of the country, thus placing
him in a very difficult position for a manufacturer,
who in this age of competition is compelled to supply
the wants of his customers. Not at that period having
time to rebuild his plant, he located his factory tem-
porarily in the old foundry building at Miles Grove,
where he continued his production during the sum-
mer, and in the meantime, rebuilt a much more ex-
tensive and modern plant on the site of the original
one in Girard borough, which was ready for operation
before the first of the year of 1895. The products of
Mr. Ely's plant are known as hardware specialties,
generally consisting of the Dandy saw handles, the
Garrison Taylor and Trojan mopstick, Dandy carpet
whip and Dandy rat trap, Crick's metallic horse poke,
and various other articles in the hardware line. Mr.
Ely is an inventor as well as manufacturer of several
articles in the hardware line. He now employs from
thirty to fifty men. He was married February 13, 1882,
to Miss Nettie Willis, of Fairview, Pa. They have four
children, Adriel W., Theodore Benjamin, Dwight
Caryl and Frederick Willis. Mr. Ely has been a mem-
ber of the council of Girard, is a member of the I. O.
O. F., and is a Republican.

Agrippa D. Martin, Girard, Pa.,

native of

Rome, Onondaga county, N. Y., wasborn January 1, 1810,
and is a son of Agrippa and Anna (Jefferson) Martin,
the former a native of Hoosac Falls, N. Y., and of
Irish descent, and the latter a native of Deerfield,
Mass., and of old New England stock. Mr. Martin
came to Erie county with his parents in 1818 from
New York State. They settled in Girard township,
following farming as an occupation, living on the
Wallace farm a short time, then next occupied the
Reed farm, where the father died in 1828. His
wife survived him about twenty-six years. They are
both buried in the Girard cemetery. In the family

there were eleven children, of whom Agrippa is the
fifth, and is the only one now living. He was educated
in such schools in Erie county as his pioneer days af-
forded, which, of course, were very scarce and incom-
plete, as during the boyhood days of Mr. Martin Erie
county was considered the frontier of the great West.
He worked on the farm with his father in early life and
in 1828, when 18 years of age, commenced driving stage
for old Seth Reed from ErietoConneaut, O. This po-
sition he held four years. He then engaged with Ray-
mond, Ogden & Waring's Caravan as horse trainer,
and shortly after became their general animal trainer.
He was considered in his day one of the most fearless
and venturesome of animal trainers. He performed
dangerous tricks with lions, tigers, etc., in the cages of
these fierce beasts which has not been surpassed if
equalled by modern animal trainers. His greatest
success in the management of animals was in the
schooling of elephants. He introduced the feat of
teaching his trained elephants to boost him up on their
tusks and catch him as he descended. The elephant
Hannibal will long be remembered among showmen
as one that developed into so fierce a brute that none
but Mr. Martin could manage, but for him the ele-
phant seemed to have an extreme feeling of kindness
and was always ready to obey his slightest command.
He has had various experiences with animals and has
been lacerated at numerous times by his fierce pets
when they became enraged. Mr. Martin still bears
innumerable scars from hand-to-hand conflicts in the
cages of animals, and he relates that many times he
has left cages with his boots filled with his own blood.
In 1835 he quit the circus business and came to Girard,
where he engaged in the hotel business with his
brother. He built the house that is now known as the
Rhodes House. Besides the hotel he has carried on
various enterprises during his stay in Girard. He
now lives on his farm of ninety-six acres, mostly
within the borough. He was married to Miss
Mary C. Gregor. They had seven children: Helen
married Dr. James L. Thayer (deceased); Antanet S.,
now Mrs. C. W. Noyes; George C, farmer, Girard;
Adella (deceased); Frank resides at Union City, Mich.,
and Adrial, farmer, Girard. His first wife died in 1864.
He afterwards married Mrs. Eliza C. Webb, of Con-
neautville, Pa. Mr. Martin has held several local
offices and has been a staunch Republican since the
organization of the party. Few men have had the ex-
perience that he has. He has traveled over twenty-
two States by wagon and to-day commands the respect
of all who know him.

S. Y. Rossiter, Girard, Pa., is a native of Morris-
town, Montgomery county, Pa., and was born in 1835.
He is a son of Lindley and Margaret (Pennypecker)
Rossiter, natives of Chester county, Pennsylvania.
Lindley was a tanner and currier, and carried on busi-
ness for over forty years in Norristown. On his
decease S. Y. succeeded to the business. He subse-
quently moved to St. Mary's, Elk county, where he
was in business two years. He came to Girard in 1871,
and succeeded to the business of C. I. England.
Since his purchase of this tannery he has improved
and increased its capacity two-thirds, and conducts a
large and successful business. He was united in mar-
riage in 1857 to Mary B. Johnson, a native of Norris-
town. Eleven children have been born to this union,
five surviving: Uriah, Eugene, Elizabeth, Joseph and



Margaret A. Mr. Rossiter is the only surviving child
of his parents, and is a very well and favorably known
citizen and man of business. He is a member of the
I. O. O. F. and the A. O. U. W.

U. P. Rossiter, attorney at law, Erie, Pa., son of
S. Y. Rossiter, was born October H, 1862, at Norris-
town, Pa. He received his education in the schools of
Norristown, St. Mary's and Girard (where his parents
resided) and at Swarthmore College. He then learned
the tanner's trade. He began the study of law with J.
Ross Thompson, and was admitted to the bar in June,
1887; practiced in Girard until he was elected District
Attorney of Erie county, in 1893, since which time he
has made his home in Erie. He formed a law part-
nership association September 1, 1895, with L. E.
Torry, under the firm name of Rossiter & Torry, with
office at 702 State street.

W. J. MoMfort, grocer, Girard, Pa., was born in
New York city, February 18, 1868, and is a son of W.
H. and G. (Asher) Monfort, both natives of New York.
His father died in 1874, and his mother now resides in
New York. In the family were five children, two of
whom are living: Ella, married to Dr. F. A. Balcora,
of Brooklyn, N. Y., and W. J., who was educated in
the city of New York. At the age of 18 he went to
work at the machinist's trade in Rhinebeck, N. Y.
Here he served his apprenticeship and also worked
as journeyman for several years, when he went to
Meadville, Pa., and entered the employ of the Phoenix
Iron Works. He resigned his position there in 1891,
came to Girard and engaged in the grocery business.
Although Mr. Monfort has not been in business very
long in Girard, he has won the confidence of the
public for fair dealing. His extensive patronage is
the best evidence of this fact. He was married Octo-
ber 2, 1889, to Miss Minnie C. Kessell, of Girard, Pa.
They have one child, William H. Mr. Monfort is a

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 159 of 192)