Geo. B. (George Brubaker) Kulp.

Families of the Wyoming Valley: biographical, genealogical and historical. Sketches of the bench and bar of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania (Volume 2) online

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Online LibraryGeo. B. (George Brubaker) KulpFamilies of the Wyoming Valley: biographical, genealogical and historical. Sketches of the bench and bar of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 49)
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\A/yoming Valley

Biographical, Genealogical, and Historical.

Sketches of the Bench and Bar


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" Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. "

" Which he commanded our fathers that they should make them known to their children. "

" That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born, who
should arise and declare them to their children. " — Psalms Ixxviii : 3, j, 0.

' Those who do not treasure up the memory of their ancestors, do not deserve to be remembered
ky posterity. " — Edmund Burke.




J J J J J J J ,

Copyright 1889 by







E. B. YoRDY. Printer,
Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

• » T • » • •
• • •»• ••• •
• •• ••^ •*

• * • • •

• • • • « •

■ • •• •• •

»•• .•• • •




FATHEB, Colonel Nathan Denison, gallantly led the


The Author.


In continuation of the design of the author of " Families of
the Wyoming Valley," as set out in the preface to the first vol-
ume, this second volume is presented. That design, it will be re-
membered, covered the biographies, and as far as possible, the
genealogical records of the families from whom the members of
the Luzerne bar, past and present, descended.

Even though there had not been intention and promise of a
second volume, the flattering reception accorded the first, and the
many important and interesting facts developed in a mere cursory
inquiry regarding the lives of those not contained in it, would
have prompted, not to say compelled, the present one.

And right here is, perhaps, the best place to announce that a
third volume has been found necessary, and been decided upon.
It will be devoted mainly to the lives of the departed members
of the bench and bar, those who had ceased to be when this work
was commenced ; and when it is remembered that it will include
such illustrious names as those of Cooper, Griffin, Mallery,
Denison, Catlm. Conyngham, Woodward, Kidder, Jones, Wright,
Ketcham, and other eminent men, the need of such a volume
becomes clearly manifest.

In this book will be found the biographies of the non-resi-
dent members of the Luzerne bar, as well as of those hving and
resident, whose admission to practice came subsequently to Jan-
uary 20th, 1876 (with a few exceptions.) The work herein has
been as complete as the most painstaking and conscientious re-
search could make it.

It is not pretended that absolute completeness or absolute ac-
curacy has been attained, but every available source of reliable

vi Preface.

information has been exhausted in each case before the author
was willing to rest content with his work and commit it to the
perpetuating record of the types. There may be occasional er-
rors as to facts and dates, and where judgment has been ventured
in measuring the qualities and capacities of the subjects of the
biographies, it is highly probable that in some cases it will be
found faulty in one direction or the other ; but that criticism may
be safely proffered, no matter how well trained or otherwise
strongly fortified the judgment considered may have been, and
the author of these books makes no pretence of infallibility or
even of exceptional capacity for wise estimate of men. He feels,
nevertheless, that his work has been done very patiently, and as
thoroughly as the circumstances would allow, and offers it to the
reader in calm confidence of its worthiness of a place on the
shelves of the library of every man or woman who for any rea-
son has an interest in the history or the people of the Wyoming-

The prime purpose in the production of many books is the ex-
altation of the author as a man of genius and consequence.
Such, however, is not the aim of these volumes. Without any
pretence to the qualities of authorship, he has, nevertheless,
sought diligently, with much labor and no little expense, to com-
pile certain personal records in honor of a noble profession, and
of a locality rich, not only in the bounties of nature, but in the
fruits of the genius of its men and women — records without having
perused which, it is safe to say, no acquaintance with all that is
most important and most interesting in the history of Wyoming
and its families, can fairly be called complete.

Acknowledgment has come from many sources that the
sketches in the first volume contain many hitherto unrecorded
facts of much more than ordinary moment in connection with
that history, and this volume, it is believed, will be found equally
fertile in a similar yielding. To the descendants of those the


VI 1

principal incidents in whose lives are here set down, these books
must prove well nigh invaluable. Those who do not feel an
eagerness to know and a just pride in recalling the records of the
honorable achievements of the families from which they have
sprung is callous to one of the noblest promptings of the human
heart. Feeling that these books will be an aid to the indulgence
of those promptings, throughout all this vicinity, in the years to
come, and that they will be prized for that reason, if for no other,
the author sends this volume forth, asking only that tolerant
judgment to which laborers in such difficult fields as those of
biographical and genealogical research are fairly entitled.

Wilkes-Barre, Pa., March, 1889.




Oscar Jewell Harvey was born in VVilkes-Barre, Pa., September
2, 1851. He is a descendant of Turner Harvey, an Englishman
who lived in the reign of Henry VIH., and was a noted archer and
warrior and a great favorite of King Henry. It is said of Turner
Harvey that he was in his time the mightiest man with his bow
in all England, or of any age ; and it is added that at his death
there was no man in England who could spring his bow. This
bow was a family relic in the time of William Harvey, the
emigrant, and remained with the English branch of the family.
The great-grandson of Turner Harvey was William Harvey, of
Taunton, England. He emigrated to America among the first
colonists of Plymouth, and with sixteen others from that colony
purchased from the Indians, for a peck of beans, certain lands,
and founded the present town of Taunton, Mass. He was a rep-
resentative in 1664 and for thirteen years afterwards. He had
children, Thomas and Elizabeth. Elizabeth married a Harvey,
an emigrant from England, and from this union and that of her
brother Thomas sprang nearly all of the name in New England.
John Harvey, a descendant of Thomas Harvey, died at Lyme,
New London county, Conn., in 1705. He had settled in Lyme
as early as 1682, having come from Essex county, Mass. He
had served as a soldier in the great Narragansett fight, Decem-
ber 19, 1675, in which he was wounded. His son, John, received
certain lands on account of his father's service in the battle.

5o6 Oscar Jewell Harvey,

\^-^ ^

Benjamin Harvey, youngest son of John Harvey, jun., was a
native of Lyme, where he was born July 28, 1722. His wife,
Ehzabeth, died in Lyme December 3, 1771, and in the fall of
1772 Benjamin Harvey emigrated to the Wyoming Valley with
his children, Lois, Lucy, Benjamin, Silas, and Elisha, and settled
in the lower end of Plymouth township. His second wife was
Catharine Draper, widow of Major Simeon Draper, of Kings-
ton. They had no children. Major Draper was one of the early
members of the Susquehanna Land Company, and one of the
first Forty of Kingston. Mr. Harvey was a man of intelligence
and possessed of considerable means (at the time of his death he
was one of the richest men in the valley), and became prominent
among the Wyoming settlers. Charles Miner, the historian,
said of him : " He was esteemed one of the most considerate,
prudent men among those who first established themselves in
the valley. He was the intimate friend, and frequently the con-
fidential adviser, of Colonel Zebulon Butler, they having for-
merly been neighbors (at Lyme, Conn.) He was often em-
ployed in situations of trust and delicacy, and his opinions were
regarded with marked respect." He died in Plymouth Novem-
ber 27, 1795. One hundred years ago, and even seventy-five
years ago, there were a great many Harveys in Lyme. They
were all well-to-do, and owned a great deal of land. The family
were connected by marriage with many of the prominent families
of New London county — the Seldons, Colts, Waites (of which
Chief Justice Waite, United States Supreme Court, is a descend-
ant), Beckwiths (Rev. George Beckwith, one of the earliest minis-
ters in Wyoming, was a descendant), Brockways, and Rathbones.
There is now not one of the name of Harvey in Lyme. Benja-
min Harvey, jun., son of Benjamin Harvey, was the first merchant
in Plymouth. In 1774 he started a small retail store in the log
house of his father, and located very near the site of the Chris-
tian church building. He was a soldier in Captain Robert Dur-
kee's company of Wyoming Volunteers, attached to Colonel
John Durkee's regiment of infantry in the American army. He
died in service in March, 1777, an unmarried man. Silas, another
son of Benjamin Harvey, sen., was killed in the battle and mas-
sacre of Wyoming. He was also unmarried. Elisha Harvey

Oscar Jewell Harvey. 507

was the youngest son of Benjamin Harvey, sen. He married,
in 1786, Rosanna Jameson, daughter of Robert and Agnes Jame-
son, who came to Wyoming from Voluntown, Windham county^
Conn., in 1776. In December, 1780, he was made a prisoner by
the Indians in one of their incursions into the valley, and con-
veyed to Canada. He was detained there until August, 1782,
when he was enabled to return to his home. Exposure to the
severe climate of Canada and harsh treatment by his captors,
broke down his constitution, and eventually caused his death,
which occurred in Plymouth township March 14, j8oo, at the
age of forty-two. The Wilkes-Barre Gazette of March 18, 1800,
in referring to his death said, inter alia : " For his uprightness,
he lived much esteemed by all who knew him ; and died not less
lamented. Notwithstanding" his agricultural pursuits forbid him
to mix so much with men as some, yet his virtues were many
and his exemplary conduct not less distinguishable * * and
when called to bid adieu to sublunary enjoyments, he was re-
signed to the sleep of death, with the comfortable hope of awak-
ening among the blest of God." His second son, Jameson Har-
vey, was born January i, 1796, and died July 4, 1885. He was
the father of our townsmen William Jameson Harvey and Henry
Harrison Harvey. Benjamin Harvey, eldest son of Elisha Har-
vey, was born May 9, 1792, and married, July 9, 18 15, Sally,
daughter of Abram Nesbitt, of Plymouth township. He was
the son of James Nesbitt, who emigrated from Connecticut in
1769, and was one of the Forty. His name appears on the list
of settlers of the valley made out by Colonel Zebulon Butler on
July 24, 1769, and also upon a list prepared by Colonel Butler of
the persons in the fort at Wilkes-Barre on April 12, 1770. He
made his " pitch " at the foot of Ant Hill, Plymouth, where he
resided with his family during the remainder of his life, and
which was also the residence of his two sons, Abram and James,
during their respective lives, after him. He returned to Con-
necticut in 1774, on account of the Pennamite and Yankee
troubles, but came back to Plymouth in 1777. From this period
he remained on his farm to the time of his death, July 2, 1792.
He was, therefore a resident of the town at the time of the
Wyoming battle and massacre. He was in the Wyoming battle

5o8 Oscar Jewell Harvey.

and one of the survivors of Captain Whittlesey's company. The
name of James Nesbitt appears in the proceedings of several of
the early town meetings of Plymouth. He was an officer of a
meeting held December 6, 1779, and was also one of the justices
of the county court on the organization of Luzerne county May
27, ^7^7- James Nesbitt, jun., a son of Abram and brother of
Mrs, Harvey, was a member of the first board of directors of the
Wyoming (National) Bank, and remained a member several
years. In 1832 he was elected sheriff of Luzerne county, and in
1835 was a member of the legislature of Pennsylvania. Abram
Nesbitt, of Kingston, is the son of James Nesbitt, jun. On the
organization of the Second National Bank of Wilkes-Barre in
1863, he was elected a member of the board of directors, and
has remained in that position since. In 1871 he was elected vice
president of the bank, which office he held until 1877, when he
was elected president, which office he now fills. He has been a di-
rector of the Central Poor District for about fifteen years, and treas-
urer most of the time. He has been a member of the borough
council of Kingston about three-quarters of the time, and school
director for about one-half of the time since the organization of
the borough. He is one of the trustees of Wyoming Seminary,
a director of the Wyoming Valley Coal Company, and trustee
and treasurer of the Forty Fort Cemetery Association.

Of other children of Elisha Harvey, Sarah married the late
Rev. George Lane, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and
Elizabeth married Thomas Pringle, of Kingston, father of the
late Alexander J. Pringle, of Kingston. Benjamin Harvey, in
the spring of 18 16, moved from Plymouth to Huntington town-
ship, in this county, where he owned a large tract of land and
a grist mill. Here he lived the balance of his life a prosperous
and wealthy farmer and man of business. He died in 1873 at
the age of eighty-one years, respected and beloved by all who
knew him.

Elisha B. Harvey, son of Benjamin Harvey, and father of Oscar
J. Harvey, was born in Huntington township, at what is now
Harvey ville, October i, 1819. He remained at home until the
fall of 1837, when he entered the grammar school connected
with Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa. He remained there nearly

Oscar Jewell Harvey. 509

a year, and then became a student in the Franklin Academy, near
Harford, Susquehanna county, Pa. Among his fellow-students
at this academy were several who in later life became men of
prominence — Galusha A. Grow, Charles R. Buckalew, Thomas
Bowman, D. D., LL. D., and others. Subsequently he entered
the academy of" Deacon" Dana in Wilkes-Barre, and early in
August, 1841, at the age of twenty-two, he entered the freshman
class of VVesleyan University, Middletown, Conn., in which in-
stitution his cousin, Harvey B. Lane, was at that time professor
of Latin and Greek. Among his fellow-students and most inti-
mate friends in college were several young men who afterwards
attained eminence in the world: E. O. Haven, bishop of the
Methodist Episcopal Church, and his cousin. Rev. Gilbert
Haven, author and editor; James Strong, D. D., professor in
Drew Theological Seminary and' author of" Harmony of the
Gospels," etc. ; Hon. Dexter R. Wright, of Connecticut ; Hon.
Cornelius Cole, United States senator from California, 1867 to
1873; Orange Judd, of New York; and Professor Alexander
Winchell. the scientist. Mr. Harvey was a faithful and energetic
student and graduated from the university with honor in the
summer of 1845. In September, 1845, ^^^ became professor of
Greek and Latin in the Wyoming Seminary, Kingston, Pa., then
in the second year of its existence. At that time Rev. Reuben
Nelson was principal, W. W. Ketcham, subsequently a promi-
nent member of the Luzerne county bar, and later a United
States district judge, was professor of mathematics, and among
the students who recited to Professor Harvey were several young
men who afterwards became well-known citizens of Luzerne
county and of the state of Pennsylvania; Henry M. Hoyt, ex-
governor of Pennsylvania, being among the number. During
the period of his connection with the Seminary Mr. Harvey was
registered as a student at law in the office of Charles Denison,
and when not engaged with the duties of his professorship he
devoted his time to the study of Blackstone. In June, 1846, he
resigned his position in the seminary, and soon thereafter enter-
ing in earnest on the study of the law, was admitted to the bar
of Luzerne county November 4, 1847. While Mr. Harvey's
profession was the law, and in it he worked for nearly twenty-five

5IO Oscar Jewell Harvey.

years, achieving much success, yet, from the start, he was ahnost
continually interested and engaged in certain other duties and
pursuits which occupied much of his time. From early youth
up he had a great fondness for military affairs. When only
twenty years of age he was elected captain of the Huntington
Rifle Company, and at the age of twenty-nine he was elected
and commissioned, for the term of five years, lieutenant-colonel
in the Pennsylvania Militia, and at the age of thirty-four years
he was elected and commissioned brigade inspector of the Sec-
ond Brigade, Ninth Division, Pennsylvania Militia, for the term
of five years. In May, 1855, a military company was organized
in Wilkes-Barre on the basis of the old " Wyoming Artillerists,"
and bore the same name. Elisha B. Harvey was elected cap-
tain and commissioned for a term of five years. He held the
offices and performed the duties of brigade inspector and captain
of the " Wyoming Artillerists" until July, 1859, when he was
elected major general of the Ninth Division Pennsylvania Militia.
The following October the election was contested, and because
of certain irregularities it was decided that Mr. Harvey had not
received a sufficient number of legal votes to elect him. The
election was therefore declared void. On April 22, 1861, Mr.
Harvey began the formation of a company of infantry to be
called the " Wilkes-Barre Guard." Eighty-seven men were soon
enlisted, and they offered their services to the state government,
but were not accepted, as the quota had been filled prior to the
time their services had been offered. In May, 1861, Captain
Harvey recruited another company under the name of the
"Wyoming Bank Infantry," and on June 13 they left Wilkes-
Barre for West Chester, Pa., where, on June 26, the Seventh
Regiment of the Reserve Corps was organized with three com-
panies from Philadelphia, two each from Cumberland and Leba-
non counties, one each from Perry and Clinton counties, and
Captain Harvey's company from Luzerne county. Mr. Harvey
was elected colonel of the regiment, his competitor for the office
being Captain R. M. Henderson, of Carlisle, who was a promi-
nent member of the bar of Cumberland county, and is now pres-
ident judge of the Twelfth judicial district of Pennsylvania. The
regiment remained at Camp Wayne until the battle of Bull Run

Oscar Jewell Harvey. 5 1 1

was fought, at which time a requisition was made by the national
government onthe state of Pennsylvania for the immediate ser-
vice of its " Reserve Corps." The regiment left West Chester
July 22, 1 86 1, for Washington via Harrisburg and Baltimore,
and five days afterwards the officers and men were mustered into
the service of the United States and became a part of the Army
of the Potomac. Their first experience of active service was at
Great Falls, on the Potomac above Washington, where they did
picket duty for two weeks, the skirmishers of the regiment being
face to face with, and in close proximit}' to, those of the enemy.
On September 9, 1861, the regiment removed to Tenallytown,
near Washington, and on October 9, following, advanced from
Tenallytown into Virginia, where it was made the right of the
Army of the Potomac, which position it held until the close of
the Peninsular campaign. Soon after this they went into winter
quarters at Camp Pierpont, Va. Colonel Harvey remained in
camp with his regiment during the winter of 1861-62, and the
succeeding spring worked diligently and persistently to bring
his command up to the highest standard in drill and discipline.
The first great conflict (Mechanicsville) in the Seven Days' Bat-
tle before Richmond, fell upon the Reserves, who, almost single
handed breasted the torrent of the attack. General McCall, in his
official report of the battle, said," I dispatched the Seventh Regi-
ment, Colonel Harvey, to the extreme left, apprehending that the
enemy might attempt to turn that flank. Here they maintained
their position, and sustained their character for steadiness in fine
style, never retiring one foot during a severe struggle with
some of the very best troops of the enemy fighting under the
direction of their most distinguished general [R. E. Lee]. In
the battles at Gaine's Mill, Charles City Cross Roads, and Mal-
vern Hill, Colonel Harvey's command fought with a determina-
tion and bravery unsurpassed, the flower of the regiment being
cut down in these sanguinary struggles." The regiment num-
bered eight hundred and sixty-three men when it went into the
Seven Days' conflict, and three hundred and fifty-three when it
came out of the last battle. The hardships during this week of
battles have rarely been exceeded, and at the close Colonel Har-
vey found himself completely prostrated. He had been bruised

512 Oscar Jewell Harvey.

on the shoulder by a piece of an exploding shell, struck on the
neck by a spent minie-ball, and severely bruised and injured by
being thrown to the ground by the runaway horses of an artillery
caisson. In addition to these injuries he had an attack of rheu-
matism of such a type as to preclude further service in the field.
Consequently, July 4, 1862, he tendered his resignation, which
was accepted, and he was " honorably discharged from the mili-
tary service of the United States." Colonel Harvey's interest in
military matters was only exceeded by the interest he took in
educational affairs. His connection with the Wyoming Semi-
nary has already been referred to. In 1849 ^^ ^'^^ elected sec-
retary of the school board of Wilkes-Barre borough, and from
that time until he entered the army he was, as secretary and
director, closely identified with, and deeply interested in, the
public schools of the town. He was one of the incorporators ot
the Wilkes-Barre Female Institute, established in 1854, and a
member of its first board of trustees. In 1863 he opened a
" Classical and Mathematical Institute," for both sexes, which
was kept open until 1869. He was also more or less in public
life. In 1849 and 1850 he was chairman of the Luzerne county
committee of the democratic-whig party, and in August, 1850,
he presided over the county convention of that party, and was
nominated for the state legislature. At the same time L. D.
Shoemaker was nominated for the office of district attorney, G.
W. Palmer for sheriff, and Henry M. Fuller for congress ; but at
the election in October Messrs. Palmer and Fuller were the only
successful ones of the four candidates. The same year he was
deputy attorney general for Luzerne county. In 1854 he was
elected as the candidate of the whig party, register of wills of
Luzerne county for the term of three years. From 1850 to 1861
he was clerk of the Wilkes-Barre borough council; from 1852
to i860 collector of taxes of Wilkes-Barre borough; from 1857
to i860 clerk of the markets and sealer of weights and measures
for the same borough ; and from 1856 to 1861 chief of police of
the borough of Wilkes-Barre. In May, 1865, Colonel Harvey
was elected burgess of Wilkes-Barre. In 1866 he was elected a
justice of the peace for the First ward of Wilkes-Barre for the
term of five years, and in 1871 he was elected to serve a second

Oscar Jewell Harvey. 513

term. When Wilkes-Barre was incorporated into a city he be-
came, by virtue of his office, alderman of the Fourth ward of the
city. At the charter election for city officers in June, 1871, he
was a candidate for the mayoralty. His opponent was Ira M.
Kirkendall (a democrat), who was elected. Mr. Harvey was one

Online LibraryGeo. B. (George Brubaker) KulpFamilies of the Wyoming Valley: biographical, genealogical and historical. Sketches of the bench and bar of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 49)