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Nelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 95 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Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 95 of 192)
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subscription schools of Centre county. He perma-
nently settled in Erie county in 1800, nearWesleyviUe,
where he built a sawmill and afterwards a gristmill,
which is still standing. Of the deceased children were
Mrs. John Brawley, Mrs. Samuel Brown (mother of
William S. Brown), Mrs. Alexander McClelland, An-
thony, William, Jesse, George, Mrs. Horace L. Pin-
ney. Mr. Saltsman was successful in ,his pursuits.
In his politics a Democrat. He died in Mill Creek
township in 1829.

John R. Saltsmati, son of Anthony, was promi-
nent in business circles, and connected with the W. L.
Scott & Co. business. He died December 11, 1894,
leaving two sons. The elder, Harry, died February
28, 1895.

R. J. Saltsman was born in Erie county, April
24, 1842, son of Jesse Saltsman (deceased), who was
born in Erie county, January 6, 1814, son of William
Saltsman. Jesse was a farmer and miller for many
years in Erie county, where he died in 1876, on his
farm. His wife, whose maiden name was Polly A.
Shadduck, is still living. They had two children,
R. J. and Rose J. R. J. was educated in the Erie
Academy, and also in Allegheny College. He was
connected with the Lake Shore R. R. from 1862 to
1865. He then engaged in the coal trade, which he
has since continued with success. He was married
in Erie city, April 25, 1865, to Anna A., daughter of
Thomas M. Austin, whose great-grandfather, also his
father, were officers in the Revolutionary war.

Andrew Scott (deceased) was born in Harbor
Creek, Erie county. Pa., May 27, 1811, and became a
permanent resident of Erie when 14 years of age. As
a business man he prospered, and as a citizen he was
always public-spirited, aiding with liberal hand and
hearty effort all projects calculated to enhance public
welfare. His private benevolence was as unostenta-
tious as widespread; the poor and suffering appealed

to no one oftener, and never in vain; his genial nature
and original humor were proverbial. Mr. Scott was
high sheriff of Erie county from 1838 to 1841, and
postmaster from 1841 to 1845; afterward, and until his
death, he was actively engaged in commercial business
at the harbor. He died, September 25, 1868, leaving
his widow, Jane (a daughter of William Saltsman),
two sons, Walter and John R., and three daughters,
Isabel (widow of Mr. Reitzel, who has two sons, Wal-
ter and Charles, F.), Mary and Hattie. His remains
lie in the Erie cemetery. His funeral was one of the
largest and most impressive ever witnessed in Erie,
and at his grave the whole community were sincere
mourners. In politics Mr. Scott was an old-time
Whig until the formation of the Republican party,
when he united with it. His father, Robert Scott,
born in Ireland, came to this country when 21 years of
age, locating in Lancaster, Pa. He was one of the
pioneer farmers of Erie county, having settled in
Harbor Creek township in 1801. He was married to
Miss Isabella Allen, of Lancaster. They had seven
children: James, John, Martha, Elizabeth, Andrew,
Thomas and Harriet. Robert Scott departed this life
May 6, 1841, his wife surviving till December 20, 1845.

Walter Scott, former secretary and treasurer of
the Erie Gas Company, mayor of the city of Erie, and
a member of the firm of Waher Scott & Co., insur-
ance agents, office No. 26 North Park Row, Erie, Pa.,
born in Erie, July 21, 1846, is a son of Andrew and
Jane (Saltsman) Scott, natives of Erie county. He
attended the graded schools and academy in Erie. He
first engaged in the coal business with his father, in
which business he remained until 1864, and then em-
barked in the wholesale grocery trade. This he car-
ried on four years. After his father's death he took
charge of the deceased's business, until 1873, when he
abandoned it, and entered the insurance business with
Mr. Arbuckle, under the firm name of Scott & Ar-
buckle, and on the death of his partner Mr. Scott con-
tinued the business, taking as a partner Mr. Frank V.
Kepler. The style of the new firm is Walter Scott &
Co. This agency is the oldest and one of the largest
in Northwestern Pennsylvania. It represents fifteen
very strong companies, some of them the strongest in
the world, embracing fire, marine and accident. Mr.
Scott was elected cashier of the Erie Gas Works in
1879, and secretary and treasurer in 1883. He was
united in marriage in 1880 to Alice, daughter of Dr.
E. P. Hall, an old and respected citizen pf Erie, and
a druggist of long standing. This union was blessed
with two children, Winfield Hall and Carl Andrew.
Mr. Scott has always taken a deep interest in all mat-
ters pertaining to the welfare of the^ city of Erie.
Twice he served as chairman of the Select Council,
and was also chairman of the Common Council, of
which bodies he was a member for seven years. In
February, 1893, he was elected mayor of the city of
Erie by a Republican majority of 266, and when it is
stated that his predecessor was elected by a Demo-
cratic majority of 1,400, his standing in public estima-
tion may be better understood. His incumbency has
been a marked period of progress in municipal growth,
and improvement in executive and administrative con-
duct. During his term as mayor the city's interest ac-
count was reduced from $80,000 to $40,000 annually,
and marked improvement was effected in the fire and
police departments. Mr. Scott is one of the trustees



of the Erie academy, and in many ways has made his
influence felt in matters pertaining to the general ad-
vancement of the city. He stands high m fraternal
circles. He is a member of the Elks. In the Masonic
order he belongs to Perry lodge, Temple Chapter, Mt.
Olivet Commandery, Jerusalem Council and Zem Zem
Shrine. A noteworthy incident of Mr. Scott's public
life is, that while he was a member of the Select
Council the first steps were taken toward the erection
of the present fine city hall, and he labored hard for
the inauguration of the projectвАФ was in fact one of the
most active spirits in the work. And as mayor he
finally presided at its dedication, several years after
the inauguration of the work, in which, as a member
of the council committee, he took so prominent a part.

The Seidell Family. There are in all communi-
ties families whose peculiar characteristics, modes of
thought and habits of life, become so identified with
theirname, as to be always looked for and relied upon,
as forming their purposes, moulding their aspirations
and determining their actions. Sometimes, through
successive generations, these characteristics or idio-
syncrasies become fixed and clear; standing out with
the brightness of the north star as it guides the
tempest-tossed mariner; or, like the course of thepelu-
cid mountain stream, can be traced through succes-
sive lives. It is thus, that the biography of such a
family becomes interesting, for it instructs and de-
lights the young, refreshes and brightens the memory
of the old, and causes the record of the lives of the
dead to be doubly precious to the living. The life of
Judah Colt, almost the first settler of Erie county, is
elsewhere told. That of his nephew, George Selden,
and his family, form a fitting continuation of the life
of one whose influence for good upon the community
has been so lasting.

George Selden, son of Samuel and Deborah (Ely),
was born in Hadlyme, New London county. Conn.,
September 28, 1790. He belonged to that branch of
the Selden family which came from England to Had-
lyme about 1650, where some of the descendants still
reside. His grandfather, Samuel Selden, organized
the first company and was elected colonel of the first
regiment equipped by his native county for General
Washington's Continental army. He was wounded in
the service, and died while a prisoner in New York,
shortly before the evacuation of that city. George
Selden, when about 15 years of age, entered the em-
ploy of his 'uncles, Charles and Joseph D. Selden,
merchants in Troy, N. Y. About 1819 he came to
Erie, where his uncle, Judah Colt, was successfully lo-
cated, bringing his family of a wife and two sons. He
commenced a general merchandise business on French
street, near Sixth, which was continued by himself or
sons, on that street until his death. May 22, 1857. He
was married October 14, 1813, to Miss Elizabeth Grace
Card, daughter of Joseph and Hannah Card, of Troy,
N. Y. Mrs. Selden died in Erie, September 26, 1827.
Their children were Charles Townsend, Joseph, Sam-
uel, Martha, Elizabeth (who married Mr. Samuel M.
Fellowes, of Troy, N. Y., both deceased); John C. and
George. He was remarried June 12, 1833, to Miss
Emily Marvin, who died in May, 1856. One of Mr.
Selden's chief characteristics was his activity in church
work and benevolent enterprises, to which he gave
hearty and substantial support. He early united with

the First Presbyterian Church of Erie, of which his
uncle, Judah Colt, was an elder and main supporter.
After the death of Mr. Colt, in 1832, Mr. Selden was,
on December 29, 1832, elected an elder and so con-
tinued until his death in May, 1857. As described by
one who knew him well, "George Selden was tall,
slender, dignified, and always commanded the respect
of the community. He was mild and reticent in his
manners, and while an active business man, had
always time to attend to the business of the Church,
and was found in his place at the prayer meetings and
other public services. Mr. Selden impressed one as
being a very good man, with a wealth of serling
qualities covered up beneath his modesty and retiring
disposition. He was a valuable counselor. His judg-
ment could always be relied on, not only in the inter-
est of the Church, but in that of his friends." Another
describes him; "A man of like spirit to that of his
relative, Judah Colt, active in every good word and
work. A pioneer in establishing Sunday-school work
in this city, although the first impulse came from the
Christian heart of Mrs. E. M. Colt, long the superin-
tendent of our Sunday-school, the leader likewise for
some time of our church choir. His memory is fra-
grant in the church of his choice. None name him
but to praise him." His children; Charles Townsend,
son of George and Elizabeth Selden, was born August
16, 1815, and died April, 1825; Joseph Selden, the sec-
ond son, was born in Troy, N. Y., August 16, 1817. In
1840, he engaged in business with his father until his
death in Erie, January 18, 1852. He was married
April 27, 1841, to Miss Joanna Lanman, daughter of
Hon. Thomas H. Sill. They had four children, three
of whom are living: George Dudley, vice president of
the Erie City Iron Works, and for several years the
president of the Young Men's Christian Association;
Joanna and Emma Josephine; Elizabeth Grace, a young
lady of charming manners and rare excellence, who
died March 2, 1864. Samuel Selden, who at the time
of his death was managing partner .of the Selden &
Griswold Manufacturing Company, was born in Erie,
Pa., July 9, 1821-. When a young man he lived for
several years on the Island of Cuba, where he had
charge of a plantation for Dudley Selden, of New
York, after which he returned to Erie and engaged in
the manufacture of paper, and afterwards in fruit cul-
ture at Mayside, Erie county. In 1868 he removed to
Erie, and having perfected some valuable inventions,
he united his interests with his brothers and Mr. Mat-
thew Griswold, and established the manufacturing
business, which he followed until his death, June 25,
1882. The company still exists, under the name of the
"Griswold Manufacturing Company." Mr. Selden
was married in Erie, August 12, 1851, to Miss
Caroline M., daughter of Dr. C. F. Perkins, of Erie.
They have five children: Mary L.; Caroline E.,
now Mrs. F. B. Brewer; Edward P., treasurer of
the Erie City Iron Works; Dr. Charles C, who mar-
ried Gertrude Twing; and Samuel F., of the Selden
Brick Co., who married Miss Sarah Carroll. Mr. Sel-
den was from January, 1866, until his death, an elder
and prominent member and supporter of the First
Presbyterian Church. Of his children, Edward P.,
has for some years been an elder of the First Presby-
terian Church, of which since 1873 he has been a
member. He fills a place as elder, before occupied
by his grandfather and father, each of whom served
long and faithfully.




Dr. Charles C. has been for some years fitting
for the mission work in China. In this he will be
joined by his wife, Gertrude, daughter of Rev. and
Mrs. E. P. Twing, who have been in the mission in
China, as has their daughter, whose education and ac-
quirements have qualified her for the same field of life
m which she commenced before her marriage.

Samuel F. was for several years superintendent of
the church Sabbath school, and is now connected with
the mission school in the same capacity.

Martha Elizabeth, the only daughter of George
and Elizabeth Selden, was born in 1823. She was of
uncommon beauty, of charming manners and queenly
grace. She was married in September, 1841, to Samuel
M. Fellowes, of Troy, N. Y., whither she removed.
They had one son, James, who died in infancy. Mrs.
Fellowes became the victim of a pulmonary complaint,
and she passed away in all her youth and loveliness at
the home of her father in Erie at the age of 21 years.
As memory reverts to her so young and beautiful, an
only daughter in a loving household, a bride, a mother
and again childless, and stricken with death in but
little more than three years, it seems almost like a
dream, yet as recalled, a most charming vision.

Johti Card Selden, who for nearly twenty years
was one of the leading merchants of his native city,
was born in Erie November 28, 1825. In November,
1844, he went to Troy, N. Y., where he engaged as
clerk in a store and remained until 1850, when he
joined his brother George, in California. He returned
to Erie in 1853 and became associated with his father
in business. He afterward purchased his father's in-
terest and changed the line of busincs'^ to nf hard-
ware and manufacturing supplies, wliii li lie . (uitinued
until 1872, when he retired. In 18t;s li, ,i,si>i, ,1 m the
establishment of what is now the (;n>uol,l Al.iiiiilac-
turing Company, and until his withdrawal from active
business was associated with his brother George in the
Erie City Iron Works. He was a water commissioner
of Erie city a number of years. He was always more
or less identified and deeply interested in the welfare
of Erie's manufacturing industries. He labored for
the moral and religious advancement of the com-
munity where he was born. His contributions to this
end were continuous and liberal. His home abounded
in hospitality, and his manners were gentle and pre-
possessing. His adherence to the right was a tenacity
worthy of his Puritan ancestry. For years he was
connected with the Bible Society. He was married
F"ebruary 28, 1855, to Miss Lydia M., daughter of Mr.
Matthew Griswold, of Lyme, Conn, (sister of Hon.
Matthew Griswold). They had two children, Marion
(deceased), and Grace Card, wife of Mr. Fred L.
Chapin, of the United States navy. Mr. Selden was
long a prominent member and liberal supporter of the
First Presbyterian Church of Erie, with which he
united in 1842. He died May 12, 1888, with the deep
resjject of the community and the devoted attachment
of a large circle of friends. He seemed destitute of
faults and died without an enemy. George Selden (at
the time of his death president of the Erie City Iron
"Works) was the youngest son of George and Elizabeth
Card Selden. His education was obtained at the Erie
Academy, but was completed by private study, read-
ing and especially by his extensive travels. At the

early age of 17 he manifested a desire to see the world,
and going to New York he shipped on board a mer-
chant vessel (Captain Griswold commanding), bound
for the East Indies and China. After four years of
seafaring he returned to Erie, where he remained a
short time. Recognizing the wide possibilities of the
California gold fields, he went thither in 1849, and for
four years participated in the well-remembered excite-
ment at that time. He was fairly successful. Re-
turning to his native city he soon became associated
with Col. John H. Bliss in the manufacture of petro-
leum barrels and in other lines' of business. In 1866
they purchased the Erie City Iron Works, in which
business he was engaged during the remainder of his
life. He made and patented many improvements in
steam engines, boilers and sawmill machinery; and
the world celebrity and markets of the works are
largely due to his efforts and ability as an inventor
and a business man of tremendous energy and sterl-
ing integrity. As Mr. John H. Bliss, his worthy col-
league in the upbuilding of this vast institution, re-
marked of him in conversation: "Mr. Selden was a
very uncommon man. He was the greatest man I
was ever thrown in contact with. He would have been
sure to make a success of any line of business which
he might choose to follow. He would have made a
most excellent lawyer; had he followed seafaring he
would certainly have risen tii the command of the best
ocean steamers; he wi.uld h,i\c made a great soldier;
he feared nothing; hi- wnuld li,i\c made a splendid
governor of a State, etc ." \li. Sc Idcn died November
19, 189.3. He was m.inic.l M.ii.h 4, 1857, to Miss
Anna M. (deceased), daughter of Mr. Charles Lawton,
of Pottsville, Pa. She died in Erie in March, 1871.
Mr. Selden was for thirty-five years a member of the
First Presbyterian Church, and was one of its most
earnest workers and generous supporters. It will fitly
close this sketch of a noted family to give an extract
from the discourse of his pastor, ReV. H. C. Ross, at
the funeral of George Selden, whose sudden death
saddened the community in which he was so generally
loved and had been so great a benefactor. "How ap-
propriate the language of scripture, ' Know ye not
that there is a prince and a great men fallen this day
in Israel? ' Yet when one is ready to depart, sudden
' death ' means sudden ' glory.' Who could wish
wasting consumption, the long fevers, the slow and
sure but successive strokes of paralysis? It is a
peculiar fact that it was on Sunday that his father and
three of his brothers passed ' through the gates into
the city,' and it is worthy of more note that they stand
an unbroken family before the throne. George Selden
was a native of Erie, born on East Sixth street on the
26th of September, 1827, the youngest and the last of
the family to survive. At 17 he launched forth on a
three years' trip to the Chinese seas. Attracted by
the gold fields of California he went out to seek his
fortune, and remained for some years, not without a
considerable success. His love of travel thus early
evinced never waned; he was at home anywhere, as 1
suppose true travelers should be, and had the de-
light of seeing the world's great countries and famous
cities. His late home tells the story of foreign travel
and exhibits works of art from the dreamy East and
lands of classic story. It was in Erie that he and Col.
Bliss built up an extensive business under the name
of the Erie City Iron Works. These works are among
the largest, if not the very largest, of the kind in the



world, and employing hundreds of men; and have car-
ried the name of Erie far and wide. Their letters go
through all the earth and their works to the end of the
world. His generosity was lavish and graceful. He
did not sound a trumpet before him; he did not wait,
as so many do, In exercise a postmortem liberality,
but he hail ttie satisfaction of distributing with his own
hand. The atmos|.here was fragrant with his good
deeds. The chapel in which we meet to-day speaks
of his loving liberality. Many mourn his loss, but re-
member gratefully that to them his helping hand was
as the hand of Christ. Such giving is not strained. It
dropeth as the gentle rain from Heaven upon the
place beneath; it is twice blessed; it blesseth him that
gives and him that takes. How many good qualities
clustered and crystalized in his life and what a do\yry
of blessing God gave to him. He had abounding
health, almost unbroken through his sixty-six years,
he had business sagacity, the wisdom that plans and
the wisdom that executes, capacity to manage great
affairs with eminent success. He was frequently con-
sulted on commercial matters, and men were glad to
get the results of his experience and thoughtful con-
sideration. He had a quiet self-possession, a calm
dignity, with an easy and graceful courtesy. His was
a massive strength as of the granite hills, and a kindli-
ness sparking like a crystal rill, and as fragrant as the
bloom of flowers. He was a representative man; and
men of all classes and creeds admired and loved him
for his sterling qualities of head and heart. Friends,
you know he was a Christian. In Christ, and in Christ
alone, can be found in harmonious symmetery at once
the righteous man high in the practice of all social vir-
tues, stern in his inflexible adhesion to the utter right
and the good man who has won for himself a revenue
of affection, at the mention of whose name men's spirit
glow as if a sunbeam glided in. That was the secret
of George Selden's life. He was true to Christ. For
thirty-five years he was a member of the First Presby-
terian Church, and while she has been enriched by his
princely gifts, she counts as greater riches the Christ-
like character which was matured beneath her ample
folds. Men boast of ancestry; surely it is something
to be descended from men who for successive genera-
tions have been noted for their adherence to truth, to
right, to Christ. Such is the heritage of those who
were nearest to him and mourn him most."

Judah Colt Spencer, president First National
Bank, Erie, was born July 1, 1813, in Hadlyme, New
London county. Conn., son of William and Deborah
(Selden) Spencer; he married Lavinia Stanley San-
ford. To this union were born William, mar-
ried to Mary Richards Du Pay, of Philadelphia, have
one daughter, Maude, and one son, Judah Colt;
Lavinia D., wife of Bishop Spaulding, now residing in
Colorado; Frances L.; Catherine, wife of Rev. Robert
S. Van Cleve, a Presbyterian minister now residing in
Erie. Mr. Spencer is the nephew and namesake of
Judah Colt, one of the pioneers of Erie, of whom men-
tion is made in other portions of this volume. When
fifteen years of at,'e (IK'iil), Mr. Spencer, then residing
with his |i inrit^ ill ( oiin. I 1 M 111, received and accepted
an in\'it,itHiii iw i

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 95 of 192)