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Nelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 97 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Online LibraryBenjamin WhitmanNelson's biographical dictionary and historical reference book of Erie County, Pennsylvania : containing a condensed history of Pennsylvania, of Erie County, and of the several cities, boroughs and townships in the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 97 of 192)
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10, 1768, was the father of: John M., Margaret, Eleanor,
Samuel, Maria, William, Thomas J., Judah H., and
Jane. He emigrated to Erie county from Lancaster
about 1797, and founded Sturgeonville (now Fairview).
Jeremiah Sturgeon, born August 10, 1770, was the
father of; Samuel C, Robert, Jeremiah, Margaret,
Martha and Elizabeth. He emigrated to Erie county
about 1797, and settled land adjoining Sturgeonville
(now part of Fairview borough). James Sturgeon, born
October 27, 1772, moved to New York State. His fam-
ily were: Andrew Sturgeon, born August 16, 1779, em-
igrated to Erie county about 1830, and settled land at
Fairplain, in Girard township, father of Margaret Stur-
geon (married to Thomas Sturgeon); Thomas H., Jane
F., Samuel and Andrew (married to Eliza Jane
Caughey), father of J. C, Carson J. and Mrs. Mary
Piatt of Erie; Jeremiah and William. The above-
named William, Jeremiah and Andrew Sturgeon are
the ancestors of all the Sturgeon family in Erie county.
Samuel Sturgeon, sr., married a second wife, and by
her had five more children, but none of them emigrated
to Erie county, and but little is known of them.

J. C. Sturgeon, attorney (patent law practice),
Erie, Pa., was born in Fairview township, Erie county,
Pa., in 1841. Facts entering into the genealogy of the
subject of this sketch are contained elsewhere in this
volume. He received a common school education,
then entered Allegheny College, where he took a lit-
erary course. In 1863 he left college to enlist in the
United States navy, served until the close of the war,
when he was honorably discharged; and subsequently,

in 1876, Allegheny College conferred upon him the
degree of A. M. " honoris causa." After the war he
attended Harvard law school, from which institution
he was graduated in 1868. He was admitted to the
bar, located in Erie, and entered upon the practice of
his profession. Shortly thereafter he was elected to
the office of district attorney of Erie county. On the
expiration of his official term he resumed the general
practice and continued therein until 1877, when he re-
moved to Bradford, McKean county. Pa., where he
was engaged in looking after his oil interests until
1881, then returning to Erie. Ten years ago he with-
drew from the general law practice and has since de-
voted himself exclusively to patent law practice. He
has always been an active member of the Republican
party, and was in 1880, while a resident of Bradford, a
candidate before the Republican convention for the
State Senate. He is a Knight Templar, and was for a
number of years commander of Post 67, G. A. R. He
was married in 1878 to Eda, daughter of Albert Blake-
slee, manufacturer of Du Quoin, 111. Mrs. Sturgeon
died in February, 1882, leaving two children, Ralph
A. and Berry A. The family reside at 323 West Sev-
enth street, and attend the Park Presbyterian Church.

CarsoH J. Sturgeon, vice president of the Key-
stone Electric Company, was born in Girard, Erie
county, Pa., April 6, 1845. He is a son of Andrew and
Eliza J. (Caughey) Sturgeon, natives of New York and
Pennsylvania, of Scotch-Irish ancestry. His parents
are both deceased. His father, who was a farmer and
mechanic, reared a family of four sons and two
daughters, and five of the children are still living:
John C, attorney, Erie; Sheldon F., farmer, Woodhull,
111.; Carson J., Mary J. (Mrs. George Piatt, of Erie) and
George A., attorney, Pittsburg, Pa. Carson J. Stur-
geon was educated in the public schools and academy
of Girard, after which he learned the trade of ma-
chinist, and was for several years employed at the
Grant Locomotive Works, Paterson, N. J. Returning
to Girard, he spent two years in perfecting and patent-
ing a lawn mower. In 1883 he helped organize and
was made vice president and general manager of the
Novelty Manufacturing Company, located at Girard.
They manufactured chiefly woodenware for household
use.' In 1890 the Keystone Electric Company was
formed. J. W. Leech, C. J. Sturgeon, Geo. Piatt and
J. C. Sturgeon being the proprietors. In April, 1891,
the company was incorporated with a capital stock of
§25,000. The officers were: J. W. Leech, president;
and C. J. Sturgeon, secretary and treasurer. One year
later the stock was increased to §50,000, with J. F.
Downing, president; C. J. Sturgeon, vice president and
general manager; and J. W. Leech, secretary and
treasurer. The plant was first located on Peach street,
near Fourteenth, but within a year they were obliged
to lease the building at the corner of Fourteenth and
State streets, which building is now occupied by the
Erie Machinery Company. This building was built
especially for their use and leased for five years, but
the business grew so rapidly that in 1893 they were
obliged to purchase a site and build the present plant,
which will have to be again enlarged in 1896. The
main building is 50x100 feet, the engine and testing
room 30x40 feet, and the boiler room 20x40 feet.
The buildings are constructed of stone, brick and iron,
and are thoroughly equipped with modern improve-
ments. The products of the concern are chiefly elec-



trie motors and dynamos, and of these the reversible
motor for use in elevators propelled by electricity, and
the automatic rheostat for controlling the same (in-
vented by Mr. Sturgeon), form a large proportion of the
output. Mr. Sturgeon was married August 29, 1875,
to Miss Eliza A. Campbell, of Girard, and has five
children: Carl J., Lynn C, Lloyd B., Harry R. and
Delia G. Mr. Sturgeon and family attend the Pres-
byterian Church. In politics he is'an active Repub-

George Piatt, city engineer, Erie, Pa., was born
in New Milford, Richfield county. Conn., December
17, 1824. He is the son of the late William and Polly
(Allen) Piatt, the former a native of Duchess county,
N. Y., the latter of Fairfield county, Connecticut, and
both of English descent. William Piatt was a coach-
maker, an old-line Democrat, and was for one term a
member of the Connecticut State Legislature. He
died in 1888, at Girard, Erie county. Pa., where he had
taken up his residence in 1855. George Piatt com-
pleted his education at the academies in New Milford,
Westport and Wilton, Conn. He then went to sea,
and was, at the breaking out of the war, in command
of the Sally Magee, a nautical school-ship belonging
to the Eagleswood academy. This vessel was, in the
summer of 1862, chartered by the United States gov-
ernment as a transport to carry stores to the army at
seaboard points, and Captain Piatt was retained in its
command. After one year of this service he was put
in charge of the compilation of fractional interest in
the United States treasury department, and in June,
1864, was made acting assistant register, with author-
ity to sign United States bonds. At the close of the
war he was employed in special service in the coast
survey, and during this period began the study of
marine and general engineering. His first important
engineering work was the building of a railroad.
Captain Piatt located in Erie county in 1869, making
Girard his place of residence. He was appointed
county surveyor October 12, 1872, and held that position
until 1885. At the expiration of his last term as sur-
veyor he was made civil engineer of the city of Erie,
and is still the incumbent of that office. Captain
Piatt has been twice married; in 1847 to Sarah A.,
daughter of Gould Jelliff, of Westport, Conn.; August
1, 1888, to Mary, daughter of the late Andrew Stur-
geon, of Erie county, Pennsylvania. The family re-
side at 323 West Seventh street, and are members of
St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Captain Piatt is a mem-
ber of the Masonic order.

Andrew Caughey. The Caugheys, of Pennsyl-
vania, are of Protestant Scotch-Irish stock. Their an-
cestors left Scotland during the times of religious per-
secution, and settled in the neighborhood of Donegal,
in the north of Ireland. But the new world had greater
attractions than the Green Isle, and one of their de-
scendants, Francis Caughey, with hundreds of his co-
religionists, emigrated about the year 1750 to Pennsyl-
vania, and found a home with his family in Lancaster
county. He bore an active part in the war of the
Revolution; and after serving his country and his gen-
eration well, he died at the advanced age of 93. He
was the father of five children, two sons and three
daughters, namely: Andrew, John, Ella, Jane and
Elizabeth. Andrew was born in the year 1756, and.

like his father, served in the army of the Revolution,
participating in the severely-fought battle of Brandy-
wine, in September, 1777. He married about
the year 1781, and removed with his family to Erie
county in 1803, locating upon a farm in what is now
West Mill Creek, some five miles west of Erie on the
Ridge road. He died in 1828, at the age of 72. One
of his grandsons is still occupying the same farm, An-
drew Caughey, the subject of this sketch, was born in
1791, and came, with his grandfather's family to this
country. In 1818 he married Martha Canon, daughter,
of Daniel Canon, of Fayette county, and niece of John
Canon, the founder of Cannonsburg, Pa. Six children
were born to them, namely: Nancy C, Samuel S.,
Daniel C, Francis E., Andrew H. and a daughter that
died in infancy. Nancy remained unmarried. Shediedin
1891, at the age of 71. Samuel S., who was born in
1821, married Nancy D. Davidson, by whom he had
four children: Alfred K., Martha E., Frank T. and a
daughter that died in infancy. Alfred died in 1888,
and" Martha E. at an early age, some years before.
Frank resides in Detroit, where he is engaged in busi-
ness. Samuel S. Caughey removed, in 1855, to Kings-
ville, Ohio, where he made his home for eleven years.
On the death of his father and mother, in the winter of
1865, he returned to the farm in West Mill Creek, on
which his father had resided for forty-seven years.
Here his wife died in 1868. Afterwards he married
Mrs. Susannah Brown, a daughter of Joseph Neeley.
They removed to Erie in 1882, and five years afterward
death claimed his wife. He still resides in Erie.
Daniel C, the second son of Andrew and Martha
Caughey, married Martha Jane McCreary, daughter of
David McCreary. They removed to Kingsville, Ohio,
in 1856, where they have since lived. Six children
have been born to them, namely: DeWitt C, now liv-
ing in Iowa; Helen (Mrs. Shank), residing in Milling-
ton, Tenn.; Emma, Isadore, Jessie A. and Charles.
The latter died young. Francis E., the third son, died
in 1845, at the age of 20; Andrew H., the fourth son,
married in 1851, Elizabeth A. Reed, daughter of Will-
iam W. Reed, sr., and great-granddaughter of Col. Seth
Reed, the first settler of the town of Erie. Two
children were born to them, Lizzie Romaine, who
died young, and Reed, now connected with the city
engineer's office in Erie. Andrew H., after spending
much of his life, first as a newspaper editor, and then
as a teacher in the Erie Academy and Lafayette Col-
lege, studied for the ministry, and was ordained in
1888. He is now preaching in the Presbyterian Church
of Kingsville, Ohio. His wife died in 1889. John
Caughey, brother of Andrew, sr., was the oldest mem-
ber of the family. He resided most of his life on a
farm in Fairview township, Erie county, and had a
family of thirteen children, namely: Andrew Miles
Wilson, Francis, William, John, David V., Samuel G.,
George, Eliza Jane (Mrs. Andrew Sturgeon), Nancy
(Mrs. J. B. Johnson), Mary (Mrs. Matthew Johnson),
Sarah (Mrs. N.J.Clark), and Susan (Mrs. Jackson),
Samuel Caughey, a third son, left three sons, John F.,
who resides on the farm first occupied by the family in
1803; Samuel Henry, living on a farm on the Lake
road, west of Erie, and Lewis, who died in Erie a few
years ago. Other members of the family who came
to this country in 1803 were: Francis, who was killed
accidentally in 1816; Jane, who never married; Nancy,
wife of Samuel McCreary, and Eliza, wife of William



William Ward Reed, Erie, Pa., was born in Ash-
tabula, Ohio, April 1, 1824. He is a son of the late W.
W. Reed, the hrst white child born within the present
corporate limits of Erie. W. W. Reed, sr.'s father
was Charles John Reed, a son of Col. Seth Reed, the
founder of the family, who was before the Revolu-
tionary war a physician at Uxbridge, Mass. Col. Seth
Reed won his title in the war for American independ-
ence, and was in command of a regiment at the battle
of Bunker Hill. Col. Reed, with his wife and two
sons, were among the pioneer settlers of Erie, remov-
ing thence from Ontario county, New York, in the
summer of 1795. The first marriage in the county
was that of Charles John Reed to Rachael Miller, on
the 27th of December, 1797. The young couple rode
to their Walnut Creek home on a sled kept at the fort.
He died in 1830, and his wife in 1851. W. W. Reed,
sr., married Elizabeth Ingram, daughter of James
Smith, a native of Massachusetts, who removed to
Oneida county. New York, where she was born. W.
W. Reed, sr., and wife located in Ashtabula, where he
was for a number of years a prominent and success-
ful merchant. He failed in the panic of 1837, re-
moved to Erie, Pa., in 1845, where he was secretary
and treasurer of the Erie Canal Company until his
death, September 9, 1851; his wife survived until 1888.
William Ward Reed received his education at the
academies of Ashtabula and Erie. Leaving school,
he was first a clerk for a short time in an Ashtabula
(O.) warehouse, and was then for four years in vari-
ous positions in the lake service. Quitting the water,
he was clerk in the general store of the Reed's fur-
nace on the Big .Sandv, Mercer county, Pennsylvania,
where l?f remained until the spring of 1849, when he
began the practice of civil engineering on the Erie
and North East R. R. (now the L. S. & M. S. R. R.)
One year later he was promoted to the position of as-
sistant civil engineer. In September, 1851, he went
to Canada, where he was for four years engaged in
civil engineering on the then Ontario, Simcoe and
Huron R. R., between Toronto and Collingwood.
For one year following this he was engaged in the
construction of the harbor at Collingwood, and was
next in charge of the construction of the Niagara
road from Clifton to Niagara-on-the-Lake. During
the next two years he was contractor's engineer on the
Sarnia branch of the Great Western R. R., and next
built the acqueduct of the canal near Girard, Pa. In
1859 he was elected general superintendent of the
Pennsylvania and Erie Canal, and served in that
capacity until the canal was abandoned. In 1867 he
was chosen president of the Erie board of water
commissioners, and served on that board for twelve
years. He was one of the founders and original
stockholders of the Second National Bank of Erie,
and was for many years one of the directory, and, for
a part of the time, vice president of that board. In
1876, 1878 and 1880 Mr. Reed was supported by a large
majority of the Republicans of Erie county for the
Republican nomination for Congress in the Twenty-
seventh district, but having incurred the hostility of
the other counties of the district by his fight against
the Pennsylvania system of giving all counties, large
and small, the same number of delegates in a Con-
gressional convention, he always failed to get the dis-
trict nomination. He was one of the board of mana-
gers of the Hamot Hospital, and has long been a
prominent member of the Masonic fraternity and I.

O. O. F. He resides at 17 East Tenth street, and is a
member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, of which he
has been vestryman for more than thirty years.

Thomas Rees. Few names were more familiar
to early settlers than " Squire Rees." None more iden-
tified with Erie county's settlement. He was a native
of Northumberland county, Pennsylvania, and though
he did not bring his family to Erie as early as some of
the other pioneers, still, he was the first to begin busi-
ness in the lake region. Mr. Rees, after taking an
active share in the stirring events of the Revolution,
was appointed deputy State surveyor as soon as the
northwest was thrown open to settlement. The com-
mission was dated May 16, 1792. He opened an office
in Northumberland county, and in the following year
struck out through the forest and reached an Indian
village on the banks of Lake Erie, a site now occupied
by the city of Buffalo. In 1794 he visited Presque
Isle, and made a survey on about 400 warrants issued
to him for survey. In the spring of the following year
Mr. Rees went to his district with surveyors and oth-
ers, who wanted to take up land. Mr. Rees was then
agent for the Pennsylvania Population Company, and
the first sales were all articled by him. He had a tent
on the bank of the bay, which was the first real estate
office established in Erie. Mr. Rees was the first justice
of the peace appointed in Erie county. In 1802 he re-
moved from Erie to his place in Harbor Creek. He termi-
nated his land agency and laid out his land in farms.
They have since been known as the Rees reserve.
There he resided until his death in May, 1848. Mrs.
William A. Brown, late of Erie, was his niece and a
part of his household until his death. It was one of
the pleasing reminiscences of the Squire to tell of his
entertainment of Louis Phillipp in his tent or cabin on
the bank of Lake Erie, when, as Duke of Orleans, he
was traversing the United States. It will be remem-
bered that from 1830 to 1848, the year of Squire Rees'
death, Louis Phillipp was upon the throne of France —
and in his conversations with Gen. Cass, the American
minister at his court, dwelt with emphasis on the de-
tails of that trip, including his route through Erie, the
king showing a map on which his route or itinerary
was traced by the pen of Gen. Washington at Mt.

HoM. James D. Duulap was among the promi-
nent and influential men of Erie who have by their
quiet and steady efforts, in their day and generation,
helped to lay the foundations of our city broad and
deep. Of these the name of James D. Dunlap deserves
mention. Even though his career, with all its record
of useful public service in the past, with much of
promise for the future, was cut short by death, it is
gratifying to his friends to review his unselfish work
and note the results he obtained; for the public acts of
none of Erie's prominent men seemed freer from the
taint of selfishness. As Representative, Senator and
councilman, school director and author, his work was
almost continuous; as Sunday school superintendent,
he was also efficient and widely known; as an attorney
at the bar, though his practice was much interrupted
by public service at the State capitol, yet his masterly
Book of Forms will long perpetuate his name; for it
shows his .familiarity with the practical and business
part of the profession he struggled to acquire. His
career was connected with the initiation or forwarding



of some of Erie's greatest improvements. It is due
to his memory that the main fact of his useful Hfe
should be collated and sketched as om- of Kric's Ix-ne-
factors. He was the son of Dr. Jaiiu-^ iiml X.incy
Dunlap. His father was a physician. I'hr ancrstral
records of his family, formerly spelled Uuuhjp, show
a Scotch origin, and a descent from the Campbells and
Wallaces of that historic land. The family went from
Scotland to the North of Ireland. William Dunlap,
great-grandfather of James D. Dunlap, having a grant
of land in the Colonies, came to Philadelphia before
the Revolution. He had four sons, William, James,
John and Samuel. James was killed in the battle of
Oriskaney, under General Herkimer. All the brothers
were in that battle. One of these had four sons:
James, William, Robert and Livingston. James was
a physician, and married Nancy Tuttle daughter of
Col. Timothy Tuttle, a colonel in the Revolutionary
army. He was in the battle of Bunker Hill, and was
of Pilgrim stock. Of their three children, all but James
D. died very young. The Tuttle family was early and
honorably connected with the settlement of Erie
county. They went to Indiana Territory soon after
their marriage. There, in the town of Karkaskia,
James Dunlap was was born on the 15th of January,
1809. Indiana Territory was remote, with neither
steam navigation or railroad facilities. The return of
Mrs. Dunlap with her infant son was by the way of
the Mississippi river to New Orleans, and thence by
steamer through the Gulf of Mexico and the ocean to
New York, and thence overland to Erie county. The
traditional account of this trip seems more like romance
than reality; but, in it all, is the figure of the lone,
heroic woman, who, with her infant son, endured so
much in this long and circuitous journey home to the
hamlet of North East. Amid difficulties, which were
bravely overcome, Mr. Dunlap, as the companion of
his mother, reached the bar, for which he zealously
toiled. He was admitted to the bar in October, 1837.
Soon afterwards he removed from North East to Erie,
and formed a partnership with Hon. Elijah Babbitt,
which continued for some time. He was elected to
the Legislature from Erie county in 1840, in the noted
Tippecanoe campaign, and re-rlcrted in 1841-43 and
44. He was afterwards, in l84"i, dii tcil State Senator.
While in the House he, by cxirtmns, secured
the incorporation of the Erie ami Noitli East Railroad
Company, the first link in Peiiiis\l\ ania in the line of
the Lake Shore R. R. Afterwards he aided in secur-
ing the charter of the Erie and Pittsburg R. R., with
branches, a franchise must gladly utilized when adverse
influences sought to hinder the chartering of roads
through Northwestern Pennsylvania. He was for
years a school director of Erie, and seemed among the
first to grasp the idea of placing the Erie schools upon
the elevated plane they have since reached. He was
the originator, or most prominent supporter, of the
building of the High school building, at the corner of
Holland and Seventh streets, and had the satisfaction
of witnessing its erection, though, for a while, ob-
structed by an attempted injunction. The potential
character of his vote on an important occasion, when
the educational system of Pennsylvania hung in the
balance, during his Legislative or Senatorial career,
was significantly alluded to as "the casting vote," by
one of the educational functionaries of the Common-
wealth in an address from the platform on an occasion
of state at Erie. For about thirty years succeeding

his death his gifted widow, and for much of the time
one or both of his accomplished daughters, were em-
ployed as teachers in the educational establishment
with which he was identified as a founder. These
facts caused an association of his family with the
schools for almost half a century, his earnest advocacy
of the educational interests in the Legislature by Mr.
Dunlap being taken into account. In no other family in
Erie city was there such a jHiblic school record as in
his. He was one of the founders of the Seventh
Street Methodist Episcopal Church, in Erie. Prior
to his coming to this city, that congregation had no
place of public worship, except in the court house. It
was his happiness, in 1839, to see their church dedi-
cated, and the following year to welcome to its portals
the annual session of the Erie Conference. For years
he served as superintendent of the Sunday school.
His wide reputation in such service was emphasized
in the fitting commemorative, or funeral address, of
Rev. W. F. Wilson, after his lamented death. In 1854
Mr. Dunlap brought out his first edition of " Dunlap's
Book of Forms." It had involved much care and
thought, and was a complete success. Its adaptation
of forms, its aid in the conduct of business and its
conseiniriit prex (.ntion of litigatiuii, were must corn-
were hi'dii^lit (Hit l)y him in his lifcliiiic. The work
has since, in its wide circulation, become a standard
authority and monument to the author's care and
ability. He was most happy In his domestic relations.
Having, in 1840, purchased the sightly and attractive
" Kellogg homestead," on East Sixth street, which, em-
bowered within its trees, its vines and flowers, could
be made so beautiful, he embellished it yet more by
the addition of fruits, vines and lawns, all cultivated
with the most sedulous care. There, for some years,
he and his mother made their home, which was a
delightful and pleasant resort. On the first day of

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 97 of 192)