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ber of another sterling pioneer family. Though
Matthias Smyser died at an early age the fam-
ily was on the whole notable for longevity, his
son Joseph attaining the patriarchal age of
ninety-two years. Mrs. Elizabeth (Smyser)
Laucks died in 1830, at the age of twenty-four
years. Of her three children, Sarah died at
the age of twenty years ; Samuel at the age
of twenty-one ; and Israel is the only survivor.

Israel Laucks was born on the old home-
stead farm, in West Manchester township,
York county, Sept. 6, 1827, and in the com-
mon schools of the locality and period he laid
the foundation for that extensive fund of in-
formation which he has since gained through

ch^aiy^ ^^Ci^^^^^



years of active and intimate association with
business and civic affairs. He then, in 1850,
located in the city of York, where he attended
for a time a private school conducted by Rev.
William A. Good. After leaving school Mr.
Laucks initiated his independent career by en-
gaging in the general merchandise business,
opening a store on Market street, east of the
Square, and continued to be identified with
the enterprise for a period of twelve years.
Before the expiration of that time he became
a stockholder in the York Safe & Lock Com-
pany, of which he was one of the organizers
in 1882. The original capital stock represented
was but twenty-five thousand dollars, but this
was soon increased to fifty thousand, while
later the capitalistic investment was placed at
one hundred thousand dollars. The growth
of the enterprise was phenomenally rapid and
substantial, and the administrative control was
from the start largely in the hands of Mr.
Laucks, who was made president of the com-
pany, with his son, S. Forry Laucks, as gen-
eral manager, and another son, George W., as
sales agent. The executive corps of the com-
pany remains today as above noted, and the
well-equipped plant represents an investment
of about six hundred thousand dollars.

Aside from his association with the im-
portant industry mentioned, Mr. Laucks also
has other interests of noteworthy order. He
is a member of the board of directors of the
Western National Bank of York, and the
Farmers' Market Company, of the same city,
while he is a member of the board of trustees
of the famous old York County Academy, and
of that of the Reformed Theological Seminary
at Lancaster. He has long been a zealous and
valued member of the First Reformed Church
of York, in which he long served as deacon,
and later as elder for many years, and at the
time of this writing is the honored president
of the board of trustees of the church, having
previously been treasurer of the board. He
has been found a stanch supporter of Demo-
cratic principles, but he has never identified
himself with political affairs in an active sense,
though he is public-spirited and progressive
in his attitude, and has ever held deeply at
heart the interests of his home city and county,
and to him has been accorded the confidence
and esteem ever begotten of integrity, probity
and honesty of purpose. Mr. Laucks is char-
itable and tolerant in judgment, genial and
kindly in his intercourse with his fellow men,

and he shows himself to be animated by a
broad humanitarian principle and a high sense
of his stewardship. No citizen of York is
better known, nor more worthy of considera-
tion as one of the representative men of the

On May 4. 1854, Mr. Laucks married Miss
Imilda A. Wilt, who was born and reared in
York, being a daughter of W. A. Wilt and a
sister of Philetus F. Wilt, whose term as city
treasurer of York expired in April, 1905 — a
term that won praise from men of both parties
for its excellence. The children born to Mr.
and Mrs. Laucks are as follows: Irene E. is
at home; Amanda L. is the wife of Rev. Will-
iam H. Xanders, a clergyman of the Protestant
Episcopal Church, and located at Brokenbow,
Neb. ; Grace Virginia is the wife of W. A.
Buckingham, a wholesale tobacconist of Balti-
more. Md. ; Sadie N. is the wife of Robert L.
Motter, a well-known manufacturer of York;
and S. Forry and George W. are associated
in the management of the York Safe & Lock
Company, as has already been noted, both of
them being recognized everywhere as able
assistants to their father in conducting this
successful and notable industry.

S. FORRY LAUCKS, son of Israel
Laucks, president of the York Safe & Lock
Company, is vice-president, treasurer and gen-
eral manager of that organization. He was
born in York, Aug. 12, 1870, and was edu-
cated in the private schools of that city and
in the Collegiate Institute. His first connec-
tion with the York Safe & Lock Company was
in 1887, when he became a clerk, and, so in-
telligent and faithful were his services, in 1891
he was made general manager of the concern,
later being honored with the important ofhces
of vice-president and treasurer, in addition to
that of general manager.

Mr. Laucks spends much of his time in
New York City and other large business cen-
ters, looking after the vast interests of the
works, in the success of which he has been so
important a factor. The plant now covers
seven acres of ground, and the company em-
ploys four hundred skilled laborers — a remark-
able increase since 1891. when Mr. Laucks
became general manager, the works then cov-
ering only two acres and the company em-
ploying forty men. The products of the mills
find a ma.ket not only in almost every section



of the United States, but enjoy a large export
trade, many of their safes being sent annually
to various sections of Europe. The output
of the York Safe & Lock Company for 1904
wa.^ largely in excess of any previous year,
with prospects for 1905 still more flattering.
Much of this success unquestionably has been
due to the excellent management of S. Forry
Laucks, who is justly regarded as one of the
prominent figures in the manufacturing world
of York.

On Oct. 20, ,1896, Mr. Laucks was married
to Miss Blanche S. Elliott, daughter of the
late Isaac A. Elliott, who was cashier of the
York County National Bank, and was vei"y
prominent in the financial circles of York. One
son was born of this union, Elliott Forry.

Notwithstanding his active and responsible
duties in connection with the York Safe &
Lock Company Mr. Laucks finds time for other
business associations, as well as for attention
to the demands of the social side of life. He
is president of the York Foundry & Machine
Company, and a director in the York County
National Bank. Socially he belongs to the
Lafayette, Country and Out Door Clubs, while
in religion he is a member of Trinity Reformed
Church. He is also deeply interested in his-
torical matters, being a member of the York
County Historical Society, and chairman for
York County of the Pennsylvania Society —
an organization devoted to social intercourse
and the collection of historical matter.

GEORGE W. LAUCKS, general sales
agent of the York Safe and Lock Company,
is a son of Israel Laucks, the president of that
successful industrial concern.

George W. Laucks was born in York, June
25, 1856, and was graduated from school in
1877. From 1879 to 1889 Mr. Laucks was
book keeper for his father, who was then en-
gaged at store keeping, and two years later,
in 1 891, he became general sales agent for
the York Safe and Lock Co., a position for
which he has developed great proficiency.

Mr. Laucks was married May 2, 1900, to
Emma Jane Strack, daughter of Charles A.
Strack, one of the most prominent furniture
dealers and undertakers of York, whose sketch
will be found elsewhere. One child has
blessed this union, Charles Israel. Mr. Laucks
is a Mason, of the Knights Templar degree,
and also belongs to the Odd Fellows, and the
B. P. O. Elks. He is a consistent member of

Trinity Reformed Church, of which he has
been a member for a number of years. In
politics Mr. Laucks is a Democrat, and was
honored with an election to the office of city
treasurer of York, which he held for three
years, and to which he was chosen by an ex-
ceedingly complimentary vote, for he is popu-
lar alike with Republicans and Democrats.

Among the men who have made a success at
at Bar of York county in the line of criminal
and commercial law, and one who has earned
an enviable record as district attorney of Yo-fk
county, is Joseph R. Strawbridge. Mr. Straw-
bridge is "in the house of his friends," so to
speak, as he was reared in the county and
comes of York county stock back to the third
generation. His paternal ancestors came from
Yorkshire, England, and it was perfectly na-
tural that he should locate in the county of the
same name in the new country. He commenced
farming on his settlement here, as did also his
descendants, among whom was John Straw-
bridge, father of Joseph R., both passing their
lives as thrifty and industrious farmers in
Fawn township, the father's death occurring in
1878, at the age of seventy-two years. He was
an influential figure in his home community,
and an uncompromising Jacksonian Democrat.
During the administration of Martin Van Bu-
ren he was appointed postmaster, and in com-
pliment to him the office was named Straw-
bridge. His incumbency covered a period of
thirty-nine years to President Grant's admin-
istration. He married Grizella, daughter of
Acquilla McDonald, a farmer of Hopewell
township, York county, and of an old and hon-
orable Virginia family. Her grandmother,
Mary Ross, came to York county after the Rev-
olutionary war, in the approved style of travel
at that time, carrying Joseph R. Strawbridge's
maternal grandfather, as a baby, before her on
horseback. For four generations the land on
which the McDonalds settled has been culti-
vated by members of the family, and it is still
in their possession. Mr. Strawbridge's mother
died in 1877, aged sixty-six years. She was
the mother of nine children, five sons and four
daughters. Of these the eldest is John C, a
farmer in Hopewell township, owning a part
of the old McDonald homestead ; Acquilla M.,
living on the Strawbridge farm ; Richard A.,
who went West, and is now a farmer in Nod-



away county, Mo.; Mary E., of Baltimore;
Rachel A., wife of Richard McDonald, of Har-
ford county, Md. ; Sallie J., who died June 6,
1905 ; Franklin P., living on the old homestead
with Acquilla M. ; Louisa M., wife of John C.
Wiley, a farmer of Fawn township; and Jo-
seph R., the lawyer.

Joseph Ross Strawbridge was bom in Fawn
township, July 25, 1858. He lived the life of
a country schoolboy on the farm, laying the
foundation of both mental and physical health,
the one in the district school, the other in active
work on the farm. As he passed into young
manhood he attended Fawn Grove Academy,
Stewartstown English and Classical Institute,
and later the York Collegiate Institute. At the
latter school he graduated in 1880, having been
honored as valedictorian of his class. He then
took a higher course at Lafayette College,
Easton, Pa., finishing in 1882.

Mr. Strawbridge was then twenty-four
years of age, and splendidly equipped for the
battle of life. His first venture was as a school
teacher, that stepping-stone used by so many
of our best men as they started on their upward
career. His first experience as a teacher was
in the State of Illinois, and lasted one school
year, 1877-78. Mr. Strawbridge then returned
to York county and completed his studies at
the York Collegiate Institute and at Lafayette
College. He did not give up active work in
the schoolroom, however, having been prin-
cipal of Fawn Grove Academy during 1882-83.
He studied law with the late Frank Geise, Esq.,
and was admitted to the Bar Sept. i, 1884, and
immediately located in York for the practice
of his profession. During his practice he has
twice served in public office, for five years as
solicitor to the county commissioners, and as
district attorney of York county, having been
elected in 1895 for a term of three years. In
later years he has made a specialty of commer-
cial law, and is counsel for a large number of
corporations. His services are also often
sought in important criminal trials. A just
estimate of the regard for and confidence in
Mr. Strawbridge by the people of the commun-
ity in which he lives is found in the fact that
he has been prominently named for a seat on
the bench of the York county courts.

Mr. Strawbridge began his domestic life
Nov. 9, 1887, when he married Miss Lizzie
Smyser, daughter of Lewis E. Smyser, a coal
and lumber merchant, and great-great-grand-

daughter of Michael Smyser, the first State
senator from York county, and a colonel in the
Revolutionary war, for whose capture, dead or
alive, tradition says, the British offered a re-
ward. To this union have been bom three
children: Mary S., Elizabeth McDonald and
Edwin S., all at school. Mary S. is in the
class of 1907, in the York Collegiate Institute,
and when graduated will have the distinction
of being the first graduate whose parents were
also graduates of this justly popular institution.
Mr. Strawbridge has entered actively into
the social and civic life of York, and is a man
of engaging personality. In politics he is a
stanch Democrat, and in religious faith a Pres-
byterian. Both he and his family are socially
prominent, and move in the best circles of the
community where they have so long resided.

JOHN JACOB FRICK, cashier of the
York National Bank, by virtue of that connec-
tion alone is widely known in commercial and
financial circles in York, and, indeed, through-
out that section of Pennsylvania. But the high
personal regard in which he is held everywhere,
the universal good-will which meets him on all
sides, is an expression of feeling apart from
the recognition of unusual business ability and
unassailable integrity. It is because neither the
exactions nor the exigencies of business have
ever been able to affect his kindly disposition,
which has remained congenial and sympathetic
through many years of active participation in
important affairs.

Mr. Frick was born Feb. 24, 1843, at
Menges Mills, York Co., Pa., son of John P.
and Hannah (Hershey) Frick, whose names
indicate that he comes of good Pennsylvania
stock. He received his education in the public
schools and in York County Academy, York,
the latter a well known institution. The par-
ticular line of business in which he has made
noteworthy success he began in December,
1867, when he became a clerk in the First Na-
tional Bank of York. He rose to various po-
sitions of responsibility in that institution and
in 1889 Avas made cashier of same, continuing
to fill that incumbency until December, 1896,
when he resigned it to accept the cashiership
of the York National Bank, also located in the
city of York. To say that he has been the lead-
ing spirit in the prosperity of the latter concern
throughout the period of his connection there -
with is but justice to him and the efforts he



has put forth in its interests. Mr. Frick's ad-
ministration of the duties of cashier has been
characterized by a pohcy at once progressive
and conservative. He is enterprising and ever
alive to the best interests of the estabhshment
in which he holds so important a place, but he
is honorable and honest to the last degree.
Moreover, he believes in consideration and
courtesy to all with whom he comes in contact,
a fact which has won him a personal popularity
which is an appreciable factor in many trans-
actions. Mr. Frick is not only a thorough busi-
ness man ; he goes deeper into the causes and
effects of the interests he has espoused than
most men would deem necessary, and as a re-
sult he is an authority on all matters relating
to banking, either theoretical or practical. He
has never been active in public life and has
never held public office, biit he is interested in
the general welfare and public utilities, and is
serving as treasurer of both the York Gas Com-
pany and the York Water Company.

During the Civil war Mr. Frick gave two
terms of service to the Union cause, first be-
coming a member of Company A, i6th regi-
ment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, a three
months' regiment. He entered the army the
second time as lieutenant of Company K, 130th
Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, with
which he participated in the battles of Antie-
tam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. He
is an honored member of the Grand Army of
the Republic and the Military Order of the
Loyal Legion, and is connected with the La-
fayette Club and the Country Club of York.
Mr. Frick is fond of out-door sports, and is
frequently seen at the golf links.

Mr. Frick was married" Sept. 7, 1869, to
Mary L. Myers, daughter of Rev. Thomas and
Sarah Ann (Norris) Myers, and three chil-
dren have been bom to them, namely : Norris
Hershey, Alice Myers and John Arthur.

D. D., LL. D., President of the Faculty of the
York Collegiate Institute, is descended from
Thomas Tupper, of Sandwich, England, who
came to America in 1628 and settled in Sand-
wich, Mass. There on extensive allowances of
land he engaged in agricultural pursuits, and
was deputy from Sandwich to the Plymouth
Council during most of his life.

The father of Dr. Jeffers, James Dickey
Jefifers, was a farmer in Nova Scotia, but

moved to Massachusetts in 1850, and in 1858
came to Pennsylvania. He died in San Jose,
Ca!., in 1892, aged eighty-two years. Dr.
Jeffers' mother was Mary Tupper, daughter
of Eliakim Tupper, a jeweler and farmer, and
she died in 1856, aged fifty years. Seven sons
and one daughter were born to the parents of
our subject, of whom John was killed July 14,
1862, while serving in Company D, loth Penn-
sylvania Reserves, in the Battle of the Wilder-
ness ; William A. lives in Leavenworth, Kans,,
where he is engaged in the stove manufactur-
ing business ; and Charles A. is an expert ac-
countant in Los Angeles, California.

Eliakim Tupper Jefifers was born in Nova
Scotia April 6, 1841, and was educated in
Jefiferson College, Canonsburg, Pa., graduating
in 1862. He was graduated from Princeton
Theological Seminary in 1865. Dr. Jefifers be-
came pastor of the United Presbyterian Church
of Oxford, Pa., July i, 1865, and served there
until 1872, when he became president of West-
minster College, New Wilmington Pa., remain-
ing there until 1883. He was then made Pro-
fessor of Theology at Lincoln University, and
there remained until 1890. He next became
pastor of the First Presbyterian Church at Oil
City., Pa., remaining vmtil 1893, at which time
he was called to the Presidency of the Faculty
of York Collegiate Intsitute, a position he has
since filled with marked efficiency.

On May 14, 1867, Dr. Jefifers married
Esther Graham Hodgens, daughter of Thomas
and Mary (Graham) Hodgens. Mr. Hodgens
was a farmer and tanner of Canonsburg, build-
ing the first large tannery west of the moun-
tains. He died in 1857, his wife surviving
until 1902, when she passed away at the re-
markable age of nearly one hundred years.
To the union of Dr. Jefifers and Esther G.'
Hodgens came five children : Mary ; Harriet,
the wife of Rev. E. E. Curtis, of Chestnut
Level, Lancaster county; George H., in the
hardware business: Roland H., head chemist
of the Worth Steel Plant, Coatesville; and
Evetta Tupper, at home. Mary and Evetta are
graduates of the college at Bryn Mawr, Miss
Mary being engaged in teaching Latin and
Greek in a preparatory school at the same place.
Mrs. Jefifers died March 30, 1905.

Dr. Jefifers received the degree of A. B. at
Jefiferson College, in 1862, and those of D. D.
(in 1872) and LL. D. (in 1902) from Wash-
ington and Jefiferson College.

It is not flattery to say that no man has






left his impress for good upon the minds of
more young people of Pennsylvania than lias
Dr. Jeffers, for many people whose lives are
portrayed in this volume have received not
only their scholastic training, but also their
moral and religious education, from him.

CHARLES A. HAWKINS, attorney-at-
law and member of the York County Bar, was
born at Fawn Grove, York county, Jan. 7,
1859. He obtained his preparatory educa-
tion at the public schools of his native town-
ship, the York County Academy, and Bethel
Academy, in Harford county, Md. He then
entered Swarthmore College, near Philadel-
phia, and was graduated from that institu-

. tion in 1878. During the succeeding five
years Mr. Hawkins was connected with the
National Publishing Company, Philadelphia,
of which his uncle, Joshua R. Jones, a native
of Fawn township, is the proprietor, and later
with Jones Brothers & Company, publishers,
of Cincinnati. While with the latter firm he
established branch houses for them at Kansas
City and St. Louis, being located personally
at the two places about a year. He had pre-
viously started for them a general agency at
Melbourne, Australia. In 1883-84 he was
principal of the Fawn Grove Academy. While
teaching he read Blackstone, and subsequently
pursued the study of law successively in the
ofifices of Judge Robert J. Fisher and Hon.
Levi Maish, at York. He was admitted to the
Bar in 1885. In 1887, when York was incor-
porated into a city, he was appointed the first
city solicitor, and served in that office until
1892, a period of five years. In 1895 he was
elected a member of the Lower House of the
State Legislature, and while filling that posi-
tion served on the Judiciary, Local and other

Since his retirement from the Legislature
he has devoted his entire attention to the prac-
tice of law. In 1902 he became associated in

■ the practice of his profession with Jere S.
Black, one of the leaders of the York County
Bar, when the firm of Black & Hawkins
was formed. This firm has been engaged as
counsel in the trial of many of the most im-
portant causes before the courts of York coun-
ty in recent years. Mr. Hawkins served as
secretary of the Historical Society of York
County, and was one of the foremost of its
members to make that society an active and
useful organization. It was largely through

his personal efiforts that the society started the
plan to build up a museum and library, which
is found in a large room on the third floor of
the court house. His efforts in endeavoring
to advance the interests of the institution have
met the entire approbation of the board of
trustees and members.

Mr. Hawkins was married Oct. 4, 1887,
to Lizzie V. Birmingham, of California. They
have one son, Eldred B., a graduate of the
York Collegiate Institute, and now a ..student
at Swarthmore College.

The ancestors of Mr. Hawkins on his
father's side were English and included the
Chalk and Thompson families of Maryland,
the Chalk family locating in the early Colonial
times on Winter's Run, about sixteen miles
from the Pennsylvania line, and exercising con-
siderable local influence in their day. Nicholas
Hawkins, the great-grandfather of the subject
of this sketch, settled at Elk Ridge Landing,
Md., shortly before the Revolution. His son
John became a prominent citizen of Harford
county, which he represented in the Legislature
of Maryland. Dr. John A. Hawkins, son of
John and father of Charles A. Hawkins, was
born in Harford county, June 30, 183 1, and
after graduating from the medical department
of the University of Maryland, in 1852, spent
one year as a physician in Baltimore, county.
In 1854 he moved to Fawn Grove, where he
was successfully engaged in the practice of
his profession until he retired, about twelve
years ago. Dr. Hawkins is one of the repre-
sentative men in the lower end of York county,
and has been prominently identified with the
material growth and development of Fawn
township. He was married in 1855 to Han-
nah A. Jones, daughter of Asa Jones, of Fawn
township, and granddaughter of Isaac Jones,
one of the earliest settlers in the vicinity of
Fawn Grove, and a member of the Society of
Friends. Dr. Vallie Hawkins, of Fawn Grove,
a graduate of Baltimore Medical College, is an
only brother of Charles A., and enjoys an ex-
tended practice in his chosen profession, be-
sides being much interested in farming ac-
cording to the more modern methods.

HON. ROBERT J. LEWIS, ex-member
of Congress and a leading attorney and busi-
ness man of York, is maintaining the traditions
of his family in a successful public and piofes-

Online LibraryGeorge R. ProwellHistory of York County Pennsylvania (Volume II) → online text (page 11 of 201)