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Nelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 3 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Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 3 of 192)
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National Guard of Pennsylvania

.... 524


MiscEi,i,.\NEOus Information. — Page 525 to Page 534.


Centen nial Celebration of 1895 525

The Tanning Industry 526

Natural Gas Wells 527

The Erie Test Well 527

Destructive Floods in Mill Creek 527

Grand Efforts for Charity 528

Musical Organizations 528

Prices and Wages in Years Past 528

Cranberries and Cranberry Day 529

Pioneer Mechanics 529

Taxes in 1820 .529

Original Town of Erie 529

A Curious Custom 530

Drive Along the Beach 530

Erie Horticultural Society 530

An Ancient Structure 530

Letter Carrier System — When Introduced 530

Erie City Directory 530

Lake Shore Masonic Relief Association 530

Art and Artists 530


Masonic History 530

Sisters of St. Joseph 531

Beer, Ale and Malt 531

The Lumber Interests 531

Effect of Railroads 531

Erie Capital Abroad 532

Erie a Healthy City 532

Lime and Cement Trade 532

Council Records 532

The Bottling Business 532

Largest Picnics and Fairs 532

Coal Dealers and Dock Builders 533

A Memorable Event 533

Low Water in the Lake 533

The Niagara, Place where Suuk 534

Tonnage Through the " Soo " Canal 534

Early Postoffice Sites 534

Doctors and Dentists 534

Erie Citizens' Association 534

Grand Army of the Republic, List of Posts. . . 534

See Ai.phabeticai, Index (Part VII); Map of Erie County; Ai


Creek Township.


Generai, and Historical. — Page 535 to Page 540.


Origin of the Place 535

Downer Oil Works 535

Rapid Growth at the Start 535

General Description 536

Borough and City Charters 536

List of Mayors 536

Population, 1870-'80-'90 536


Factories, Hotels and Business Houses 536

Banks and Bank Failures 537

Public Schools 537

School Superintendents 537

Churches 538

Nevvspapers 538

Secret Societies 539



Sewerag'e System 540

Street Paving- 540

Miscellaneous 540


State and Count}' Officers 539

Postmasters 540

Water Works 540

SEE AI.PHABETICAL INDEX (Part VII); Map of Erie County; Also Wayne and Concord Townships.


Family Histories and Biographical Sketches.— Pag-e 541 to Page 896.


Alphabetical Index to Entire Book.




Historical, Descriptive and Statistical





BORIGINES.— The por-
tion of America included
in Pennsylvania was or-
iginally occupied by an
Indian tribe who " called
themselves the Lenni Le-
nape, or original people."
They spoke a common
language and assembled
around the same council
tire. They were united, by conquest, with
the historical Six Nations, embracing the
Onondagas, the Cayugas, the Oneidas, the
Senecas, the Mohawks, and the Tuscaroras.
These natives became known to the white set-
tlers by the general name of the Iroquois, who
had their great council fire in the Onondaga
vallej' of New York. Of this confederacy,
the Senecas held control of the northwestern
portion of the State, embracing Erie and ad-
joining counties. The Eriez, or " Cat tribe,"
who were the original people along the south
shore of Lake Erie, were exterminated about
the year 1650 by the Iroquois, as is more
fully detailed in the general history of Erie
county. [For a full account of the Indians of
this region see the latter history.]

Anthracite Coal. — Pennsylvania is the
only part of the world where anthracite coal
is produced in a large quantity. The anthra-
cite coal production is limited to the north-
eastern portion of the State, and alm'ost en-
tirely to the counties of Luzerne, Schuylkill,
Lackawanna, and Carbon, covering an area
of about 480 square miles. This coal was first
tested in what is now Luzerne county about
1768 or 1769. Previous to that the coal in use
throughout the world was bituminous or semi-
bituminous in character. Anthracite coal was
experimented with, for local purposes, in a
small way, in the counties where found, for a
number of years, but was not received with
favor by the general public until about 1820-

23, when it began to be shipped in considera-
ble quantities, by means of the Lehigh and
Schuylkill systems of navigation. In 1826
about 50,000 tons were received in Philadel-
phia, which was then the only port of ship-
ment on salt water. Since then the produc-
tion has increased to such an extent that an-
thracite coal is .sent to every part of the world,
and the mining and transportation of the same
has become one of the great industries of
the State. The amount carried by rail and
canal in 1893 was 43,089,536 tons.

Area, etc. — The State is bounded on the
north by Lake Erie and New York ; on the
east by New York and New Jersey ; on the
south by Delaware, Maryland, and West Vir-
ginia ; and on the west by West Virginia and
Ohio. The Delaware river forms the boun-
dary between Pennsylvania on the west and
New York and New Jeisey on the east. The
greatest width of the State is 175 miles, and
its greatest length 303. By official tables pre-
pared at Harrisburg, the State is represented
as embracing 45,086 square miles and 28,-
808,443 acres.

Battles. — Although founded by Qiiakers,
who are opposed to war for any cause, the
State has been the scene of some of the most
bloody battles and frontier troubles in the his-
tory of America. Among these may be men-
tioned the struggle between the Eriez and
Iroquois along the south shore of Lake Erie,
hereafter described at length ; the engagements
between the French and English in the west-
ern part of the State, including Biaddock's
defeat near Pittsburg ; the various skirmishes
with the Indians, embracing the attacks on
Forts LeBoeuf and Presque Isle ; the Revolu-
tionary battles of Paoli, Brandy wine and
Germantown ; the massacre at Wyoming ;
the Confederate raid upon the Cumberland
Valley, and the burning of Chambersburg ;
and the decisive battles of the war for the


Union at Gettysburg. Perry's victory, on the
10th of September, 1813, which gave the
United States control of the Great Lakes, was
won by a fleet prepared and equipped at Erie.

Bituminous Coal. — The bituminous coal
fields of Pennsylvania lie west of the Susque-
hanna river, and include an area of more than
9,000 square miles. In the fifteen years from
1880 to 1895 they yielded a product of 470,-
867,769 gross tons. The officers of the State
Geological Survey calculate that at the pres-
ent rate of production the bituminous coal
supply of Pennsylvania will last nearly a
thousand years.

Braddock's Defeat. — The terrible defeat
of Gen. Braddock, the English commander
who was sent out to drive the French from
the western part of the State, took place on
the north bank of the Monongahela river, a
few miles from the present site of Pittsburg,
on the 9th of July, 1755. The French troops
who effected this result came up Lake Erie
from Canada, were assembled and organized
at Erie (then known as Presque Isle), and
moved south bj- way of LeBoeuf creek, French
creek and the Allegheny river. [For an ac-
count of the French occupation of Western
Pennsylvania, see the General History of Erie

Buckshot War. — This is the derisive title
given to a dispute between the Anti-Ma.sons
and the Whigs on the one hand, and the
Democrats on the other, in 1838-9, over the
organization of the State House of Repre-
sentatives. Governor Ritner ordered out the
State militia and appealed to the general gov-
ernment for aid, but, happily, the controversy
was settled without bloodshed. [See the Po-
litical Record in General History of Erie

Capital— State.— The capital of the State
is Harrisburg, on the east bank of the Sus-
quehanna river. Up to 1799 Philadelphia
was the seat of the State government, but in
the latter year it was removed to Lancaster.
Harri.sburg became the capital in 1812. The
corner stone of the " State House," or Capitol
building, at Harrisburg was laid in 1819, and
the first meeting of the Legislature therein
was held in 1822. The original buildings,
which are still occupied, are of brick, plain.
but very substantial in their nature. A hand-
some additional structure for executive and
library purposes was erected in 1894.

Colleges. — [See L^niversities and Col-

Churches. — [See Religious Denomina-

Continental Congress. — The sessions of
the Continental Congress within the limits of
Pennsylvania were held as follows : In Phila-
delphia, September 5, 1774, to October 26,
1774, and May 10, 1775, to December 12,
1776; March 4, 1777, to September 18, 1777;
Lancaster, September 27, 1777; York, Sep-
tember 30, 1777, to June 27, 1778; Philadel-
phia, July 2, 1778, to June 21, 1788.

Cities and Towns. — Below is a list of the
principal cities and towns, with their popula-
tion, as shown by the LI. S. census report of
Cities and Population.

Boroughs. Counties. 1890.

Philadelphia city Philadelphia 1,046,964

Pittsburgh city Alleg-heny 238,617

AUeg-heny city Allegheny 105,287

Scranton city Lackawanna 75,215

Reading city Berks 58,661

Erie city Erie 40,634

Harrisburg city Dauphin 39,383

Wilkes-Barre city Luzerne 37,718

Lancaster city Lancaster 32,011

Altoona city Blair 30,337 city Lycoming 27,132

AUentown city Lehigh 25,228

Johnstown citj' Cambria 21,805

York borough York 20,793

McKeesport borough. . . Allegheny 20,741

Chester city Delaware 20,226

Norristown borough . . . Montgomery 19,791

Shenandoah borough. .Schuylkill.'. 15,944

Lebanon city Lebanon 14,664

Easton city Northampton 14 ,481

Shamokin borough.. .'. .Northumberland. . 14,403

Pottsville borough Schuylkill 14,117

Pottstown borough . . . .Montgomery 13,285

Hazleton borough Luzerne 11,872

New Castle city Lawrence 11,600

Mahanoy Citv borough. Schuylkill 11,286


Steelton borough Dauphin 9,250

Butler borough Butler 8,734

Braddock borough Allegheny 8,561

Phojnixville borough. .Chester 8,514

Dunmore borough Lackawanna 8,315

Mount Carmel borough. Northumberland.. 8,254

TitusviUe city Crawford 8,073

West Chester borough . Chester 8,028

Oil City Venango...

Carbondale city Lackawanna. .

Columbia borough Lancaster

Bradford city McKean

South Bethlehem boro ..Northampton

Pittston borough Luzerne

Nanticoke borough Luzerne

Beaver Falls borough. .Beaver

Meadville city Crawford

Plymouth borough Luzerne.


Danville boroug-h....



Homestead borouffh. .






Carlisle borough



Sharon borouph




Ashland borough ....



South Chester borough. Delaware


Washington borough



Bethlehem borough..



Bristol borough

Uniontown borough. .

• Fayette


Franklin city



Du Bois borough



Taniaqua borough...




Huntingdon borough.


Corry city



Conuellsville borough

• Fayette


New Brighton borough. Beaver


South Easton borough



Conshohocken boroug

1. Montgomery



Middletown borough. .


Sharpsburg borough..


Tyrone borough

Wilkinsburg borough




Blootnsburg borough
Tarentum borough . .



Warren borough



Greensburg borough.

.Westmoreland ...


Towanda borough . . .



Renovo borough







Ol3'phant borough . . .



Archbald borough . .

.Lackawanna ....


Lansford borough . . .

• Carbon


Criminals. — [See Prisoners.]

Centennial Exhibition. — The Centennial
Exhibition at Philadelphia, held in 1876, in
commemoration of the one hundredth anniver-
sary of the independence of the United States,
was the first great World's Fair in America,
and one of the most successful known up to
that date. It was liberally aided bj' Penn-
sylvania, and owed most of its success to the
active and intelligent effort of citizens of
Philadelphia and the State at large.

Climate.— The climate of the State is that
of the Central temperate zone, with consider-
able variation between its northern and south-
ern sections. As a rule, there is about two
weeks difference between the extreme north
and south. This, of course, is somewhat varied
by the altitude of the several localities. The
summers of the southern counties are very hot
at times, while those of the south shore of
Lake Erie are almost uniformly pleasant.
The temperature of the latter region is great-
ly affected by the large body of water, so that

spring sets in a week earlier than in the elevat-
ed sections to the east and south of the lake,
while winter commences a week later. The
same influence makes the lake shore portion
of Erie county one of tlie best grape, fruit,
berry and melon regions of the world.

Coat of Arms. — An authentic copy of
the coat of arms of the State will be found on
a preceding page of this book.

Congressmen. — [See Representatives in
Congress of the United States.]

Congressional Districts. — Under the cen-
sus of 189(.) the State is entitled to thirty Con-
gres.=men, being only four less than New
York, which at one time was much more ahead
of Pennsjivania in population and representa-
tion. For want of proper apportionment,
twenty-eight of these are elected by Congres-
sional Districts and two by the State at large.
Eiie and Crawford counties constitute the
2(5th Congressional District. A list of the
Congressmen who have represented Erie
county will be found in the Political Record.

Constitutions. — The State has had three
Constitutions since the Revolution, viz. : The
first adopted in 1776; the second in 1790, and
revised in 1838; and the third (being the one
now in force, a copy of which is appended),
adopted December 18, 1873. Under the old
Constitutions, most of the State and county
officers were appointed by the Governors ;
now, with rare exceptions, they are elected by
the people, except for limited periods^ Penn-
sylvania, always patriotic, was the second of
tiie States to ratify the Federal Constitution,
which was framed in her chief city in 1787^
[See United States Constitution.]

Courts. — The judicial power is vested in a
supreme court, consisting of seven judges, a
superior court, of the same number, and
the several county, district and minor courts.
The Supreme judges are chosen by the people
for twenty-one years, each one becoming
Chief Justice in turn, according to the expira-
tion of his term. The salary of each Supreme
Judge is .$8,000 a year, witli $500 additional to
the Chief Justice. The judges of the superior
court hold office for ten years, and receive a
salary, each, of .i!7,500 per annum. Each
county with 40,000 inhabitants constitutes a
separate judicial district. The salaries of the
county judges vary from |4,0(X» to $7,000 a
year, being largest in Philadelphia and Alle-
gheny counties. Their term of office is ten


years. All judicial salaries are paid out of
the State treasury. [For a list of judges in
Erie county see the general history of the

Debt. — The extensive public improvements
upon which the State embarked in its early
history created a large debt, which was at one
time a very heavy burden. By wise legisla-
tion this debt has been practically wiped out
of existence. With assets on hand in the
sinking fund, it was less than two and a half
millions on the 80th of November, 1894. The
figures below, from the U. S. census reports
of 1890 give the entire debt of the State at
that date :

State, Municipal, County and School
District Debt.

1880. 1890.
Total debt, less sink-
ing- fund $107,201,692 $71,041,675

Per capita 25.03 13.51

State debt (see above) 13,883,218 4,068,610

County debt 9,781,384 7,841,484

Municipal debt 81,081,128 54,208,547

School district debt.. 2,455,902 4,893,034

Average Interest Charges on Above

1880. 1890.

Annual interest

charg-e $7,444,813 $5,778,853

Average rate of in-
terest 5.78 5.35

Interest charge per

capita 1.74 1.10

Mortgages in Force January 1, 1890.

on farm on city or average amt.

land. town property. of mortgagks.

$613,105,802 $491,260,895 $1,183

Declaration of Independence. — The

most important historical event that ever hap-
pened on Pennsylvania soil, and the greatest in
the history of America, was the signing of the
Declaration of Independence. This moment-
ous incident took place in what is now known
as Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, on the
4th of July, 1776. The building is preserved
just as it was at the time of the Declaration,
and contains numerous interesting relics of the
Revolution. It is generally regarded as the
most sacred place in American history. The
old bell, which rang out " Liberty through the
land," is kept in the building, and is an object
of great curiosity. The signers of the Declara-
tion from Pennsylvania were as follows :

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin
Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer,
James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson,
George Ross.

Early Settlements. — The first settlement
of Pennsj'lvania is generally credited to the
Swedes, w-ho located on the Delaware river in
1688. They established several forts and vil-
lages on that stream and its tributaries, and
gave name to various localities in the extreme
southeastern portion of the State. Delaware
river and bay had been previously visited,
however, by the Dutch, who established them-
selves at various points south of Philadelphia,
within the present limits of the State of Dela-
ware. It is not certain that they may not
have settled in Pennsylvania in advance of
the Swedes, but if such is the case no authen-
tic record remains. The Delaware region was
conquered b}' the English in 1(564, recovered
by the Dutch in 1672, and returned to the
English two years later. Beginning at the
latter period, it was settled rapidly under
English auspices, principally by Qiiakers, who
came to enjoy religious freedom. On the ac-
quirement of Pennsylvania by William Penn,
in 1681, he took prompt steps to induce emi-
gration. The liberal laws and government he
instituted attracted the notice of those who
objected to the established churches of Europe,
and it was not long until there was a large in-
flux of Qiiakers, Welsh dissenters, and Pres-
byterians from Scotland and the north of Ire-
land. An extensive colon}' of Mennonists, or
German Baptists, and Dunkards, came in dur-
ing the period between 1698 and 1780, and
these were joined about the latter date by a
host of German Lutherans, who continued to
arrive for a number of years. The Germans
settled on the rich lands of the southeastern
counties, while the Scotch-Irish gradually
pushed forward into the western districts, each
nationality giving character to the sections in
which it located. The German emigration
ceased about 1750 or '60, and did not revive
until after the Revolution. Few Catholic
Irish or Germans settled in the State until a
comparatively modern date. As long as the
crown of England held control the English
and Scotch-Irish element dominated, but some
years after Independence the Germans rose
into political power, and, for a long period,
elected most of the public officeis, and gave
tone to State legislation.


Eminent Men. — Among the eminent men
who have been connected with the history of
Pennsylvania were : William Penn, the
founder; Benjamin Franklin, the greatest
" all-round man " the American nation has
produced; Anthony Wayne, the Revolution-
ary hero; Stephen Girard, the millionaire and
philanthropist; Robert Morris, the financier
of the Revolution; Chief Justice Gibson, the
profound jurist ; John Fitch, the inventor of
the steamboat, and Robert Fulton, who
brought the idea into prominence before the
public; Benjamin West, P. F. Rothermel and
Thomas Hovenden, the famous painters ; Lind-
ley Murray, the grammarian ; David Ritten-
house, the mathematician; David Wilmot,
the anti-slavery agitator ; Simon Cameron, the
shrewd politician ; William Strong and
Jeremiah S. Black, the distinguished lawyers ;
Thaddeus Stevens, " the great commoner ;"
Edwin M. Stanton, the "organizer of vic-
tory " in the late war ; Stephen Decatur and
David D. Porter, the brilliant naval officers;
Generals McClellan, Meade. Hancock, Rey-
nolds, Geary and Hartranft, leaders in the war
for the Union; Geo. W. Childs and Andrew
Carnegie, the liberal givers; and many others,
second only to these in reputation, whose
names appear on other pages of this book.

Elections. — The city, ward, borough and
township elections are held on the third Tues-
day of February, and the general elections for
State and county officers on the Tuesday next
following the first Monday of November.

Executive Officers. — The principal exec-
utive officers are : Governor, Lieutenant-Gov-
ernor, Secretary of the Commonwealth (ap-
pointed) , AttorneyGeneral (appointed), Audi-
tor General, State Treasurer, Secretary of In-
ternal Affairs and Superintendent of Public
Instruction (the latter appointed). Adjutant
General (appointed), Insurance Commissioner
(appointed). Superintendent of Banking (ap-
pointed), State Librarian (appointed). Fac-
tory Inspector (appointed), and Superintend-
ent of Public Printing (appointed). These
officers are assisted by numerous deputies and
chiefs of departments, and there are a great
variety of boards, commissions and minor posi-
tions, making a list too long for publication

Founder of the State.— The State was
founded by William Penn, who acquired it by
gift from King Charles II of England, in

liquidation of claims held by his father, a dis-
tinguished admiral, against the crown of that
countr}'. The charter from the King was
dated March 4, 1681, and is still in good pres-
ervation at Ilarrisburg. By the King's order,
and against Penn's protest, the province was
named Pennsylvania (meaning Penn's woods
or forest) in honor of the distinguished serv-
ices of his father. On securing possession of
his territory, Penn drew up " a form of govern-
ment and a code of laws, all bearing the stamp
of his benevolent mind." His prevailing pur-
pose was to establish a commonwealth that
should be devoted to peace, good morals,
general education and religious freedom. His
course of action was so different from that of
other colonial founders, and his dealing with
the Indians was so just and humane, that his
name is illustrious as that of one of the wisest
and greatest of men. Penn's first visit to the
province was on the 27th of October, 1682.
He returned to England in 1684, and made a
second visit in 1699, remaining some two
years. By religion he was a Quaker, and he
made many sacrifices and suffered severe per-
secution in behalf of personal and religious
liberty. He was born in London October 14,
1644, and died of paralysis at Rushcombe,
England, July 30, 1718. " His enduring
monument is the great State founded by him
' in deeds of peace.'"

First Things. — The first stone turnpike in
the United States was built between Philadel-
phia and Lancaster, by a private company, in
1792—4. The first canal of any considerable
length within the limits of the Union was
begun in 1792, with the intention of construct-
ing a water way between the Delaware at
Philadelphia and Lake Erie, at or near Erie.
The first line of coaches between Philadelphia
and Pittsburg was started in August, 1804,
via Harrisburg, Carlisle, Bedford and Greens-
burg, the time from one terminus to the other
occupying seven days. The first carriage in
the world moved by steam on common roads
was built by Oliver Evans and successfully
operated at Philadelphia in July, 1807- The
first railroad in America was built at a stone
quarry in Ridley township, Delaware county,
in 1808. The railroad from Philadelphia to

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 3 of 192)