Copyright
George R. Prowell.

History of York County Pennsylvania (Volume II) online

. (page 4 of 201)
Online LibraryGeorge R. ProwellHistory of York County Pennsylvania (Volume II) → online text (page 4 of 201)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


rank as one of the leading financiers of this
section of the State, and as he brings long and
successful experience, the sound physique of
middle age, and broad and vigorous mental
qualities to bear upon his new duties, both the
institution and its president are destined for ai
future career of even greater usefulness and
importance than their past.

GRIER HERSH, the recently elected
president of the Maryland Trust Company, of
Baltimore, is now taking the position in relation
to the leading financial interests of the country
that he formerly bore to those of the State of
Pennsylvania. His conspicuous ability in the
handling of large interests, particularly as re-
gards the management of their finances, 'has
made him one of the prominent figures in bank-
ing circles in the East, and made him available
for his present position when the Trust Com-
pany, on resuming its normal place in the busi-
ness world, was looking for a capable head.
Mr. Hersh severed many associations of long
standing in York, his home from birth, in ac-
cepting his new responsibilties. No man in the
city was more energetic in the promotion of its
public utilities or more devoted to its general
welfare in the most practical way.

Mr. Hersh was born in York, Jan. 29,
1863, and until the past few months had all
his interests centered there. He graduated
from the Pennsylvania Military College, at
Chester, Pa., in 1880, and in 1884 graduated
from Princeton. His ancestors have been
identified with professional and business inter-
ests in York for several generations, and cer-
tain social and public duties were his by inherit-
ance. A disposition to discharge these con-
scientiously has characterized him throughout
his career, and thus he has been prominent in
business and public life from early manhood.
That he has taken an important part in the up-
building of the city along the most approved



BIOGRAPHICAL



17



modern lines is indicated from his interest in
various large concerns. He is president of the
York Gas Company, the York & Maryland
Line Turnpike Company, the York & Liverpool
Turnpike Company, a director of the York
Water Company and the York County Trac-
tion Company. In 1895 he was elected presi-
dent of the York National Bank, one of the
largest financial institutions in southern Penn-
sylvania, and continued in that incumbency un-
til he retired, at the close of the year 1905, to
turn his attention to the affairs of the Mary-
land Trust Company, of Baltimore. Mr. Hersh
formally assumed the duties of tlife incumbency
Jan. 2, 1906. The Maryland Trust Company
has been one of the most prominent trust com-
panies in the city of Baltimore, but through un-
fortunate investments was placed in the hands
of a receiver about three years ago. However,
by careful management, the depositors were all
paid in full, and on Dec. 14, 1905, the receiver-
ship was removed so that the company could
resume regular business. This was accom-
plished mainly through the efforts of Speyer
& Co., of New York, who have a large interest
in the Maryland Trust Company, and upon
whose recommendation Mr. Hersh was solic-
ited to become the head of the reorganized con-
cern. It bids fair to gain prestige among the
most influential banking houses of the country,
being financed by some of the strongest con-
cerns in the East, its board of directors includ-
ing representatives of sucfi firms as Speyer &
Co., the Guaranty Trust Company, the North
American Trust Company, Lazard Freres, and
the Chase National Bank, all of New York;
the Girard Trust Company, of Philadelphia;
and the Baltimore & Ohio Railway Company,
o-f Baltimore. It was a high compliment to Mr.
Hersh and an unlooked-for expression of con-
fidence from men familiar with the best talent
in banking circles that the offer of such an im-
portant connection came to him entirely un-
solicited.

As vice-president and later president of the
Pennsylvania Bankers Association, Mr. Hersh
has long been one of the best known bankers
of the State, and he is at the present time a
member of the executive council of the Ameri-
can Bankers Association, in which relation, as
well as in his present incumbency, he^ has the
privilege of association and co-operation with
the leading financiers of America. It is typi-
cal of the spirit of the day that so young a man



should have been selected for so high an office.
In addition to the extensive interests already
mentioned, it is likely that the Maryland Trust
Company will have charge of the Pennsylvania
Railroad interests in and around Baltimore.

Some account of Mr. Hersh's family and
social connections will be of interest. He is of
typical Pennsylvania ancestry, among his fore-
bears being representatives of three races
which have had distinctive bearing on the civil-
ization and prosperity of the State — the Ger-
man, the Scotch-Irish and the Friends. In the
direct maternal line he is the great-grandson
of a Revolutionary soldier. Col. David Grier,
after whom Mr. Hersh was named, and
who was colonel of the 7th Pennsyl-
vania Regiment in the Revolution, and
was "mortally wounded at the Massacre of
Paoli." Ensign Barnitz, who lost a leg at the
battle of Long Island, was also one of his an-
cestors. Through his mother, Margaret Lewis,.
Mr. Hersh is also a great-grandson of Major
Lewis, who also bore arms in the Revolution,.
for which he was dismissed from meeting. In
this line his earliest ancestor was Nathaniell
Newlin, who was a member of the council in-.
1685, when Penn was governor. The Lewis;
family were related to Roland Ellis, who estab-
lished the Merion tract near Philadelphia. Mr.
Hersh's Scotch-Irish connections are found
among the Griers, McPhersons, McClellans,
McLains, and other families whose names are
inseparably associated with the history of
Pennsylvania. Col. McPherson was in the
Revolution and long before was captain of a-
company which marched with Forbes against
Fort Duquesne in 1756; he was also a member
of the Provincial Assembly which met in Car-
penter's Hall. Of the McLains, Archibald Mc-
Lain was the chief assistant of Mason and Dix-
on when they ran the famous line.

Thus Mr. Hersh's Revolutionary ancestry-
is well authenticated, and by virtue of same he
has membership in a number of Revolutionary
and Colonial societies. He has likewise been
prominent in other social organizations, having
been the principal factor in the formation of
the Lafayette Club, of which he was the first
president, and which includes in its member-
ship the leading business and professional men
of York. He was so zealous in the organiza-
tion and success of the York Country Club, of
which he became president, that he built the
clubhouse and leased it, with the grounds, to the



HISTORY OF YORK COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



club. He introduced golf into York, and is
himself an enthusiastic player, having golf
links on his home grounds, which are admira-
bly adapted for the purpose, comprising three
hundred acres. The homestead, built by
his great-grandfather nearly a century ago, is
in the southern part of the city of York, and
has long- been the pride of the locality as well
as of the family, being in fact one of the finest
old places in the State. Indeed, one of the chief
regrets Mr. Hersh's fellow-citizens feel in his
acceptance of the presidency of the Maryland
Trust Company is his separation from their
social life, in which he has had such an active
and agreeable part. Mr. Hersh will retain his
property and personal interests in York, though
Ills residence be in Baltimore. He -was mar-
ried in 1887 to Miss Julia L. Mayer, daughter
•of the late John L. Mayer, of York, who in his
idav was one of the eminent and most eloquent
attornej's at the York county Bar.

Mr. Hersh has a well rounded character,
particularly well balanced, perhaps, because of
the different elements which have .entered into
■its composition. He is a business man of the
highest standing without being a slave to
money-making; a man of the highest social at-
tainments, finding refreshment and recreation
in his social duties and pleasures; a scholar
without being a pedant, owning the finest pri-
vate library in York. He is known as a man of
deep information, is popular as a public speak-
er, and as a writer is well known as the author
of valuable articles on finance, as well as of
a histor)' of the Scotch-Irish in Pennsylvania.
Mr. Hersh gave cordial assistance in raising
funds for the families of soldiers of the Span-
ish-American war, having the spirit of his an-
cestors in regard to supporting his country in
time of need.

DR. GEORGE L. SHEARER was
"born in 1801 near Littlestown, Pa. His
ancestors, Philip Eichelberger and Valen-
tine Shearer, emigrated to Pennsylvania
from Germany previous to _ 1750 and his
ancestry on both sides includes Revolu-
tionary soldiers. He attended school in
Dillsburg, Pa., 181 1, and was graduated in
medicine from the University of Maryland in
1825. He began the practice of medicine the
■same year in Dillsburg and continued it in the
same locality from 1825 to 1878. He en-
joyed a ver}^ large practice, covering an area



of 140 square miles. He was a member of the
York County Medical and Pennsylvania Medi-
cal Societies and the American Medical Asso-
ciation. To his efforts were due, in a great
measure, the maintenance of good roads, the
incorporation of Dillsburg into a borough, the
building of the Dillsburg and Mechanicsburg
railroad, of which he was a director, and the
acceptance by York county of the free school
system. [See report of Pennsylvania Superin-
tendent of Public Instruction, 1887.] He was
an earnest supporter of schools and education,
as is shown by the fact that his five sons and two
daughters were graduated from reputable col-
leges and universities, and those living are
occupying honorable positions in the commu-
nities in which they reside.

On March 8, 1827, Dr. Shearer married
Eliza Eichelberger, daughter of Jacob Eichel-
berger, of York, Pa. She was a granddaughter
of Peter Dinkle, who was a son of Johan
Daniel and Maria Ursula Dinkle, who were dis-
tinguished residents of Strasburg, Germany.
Many of the leading families of York are their
lineal descendants. The copper plate of Johan -
Daniel Dinkel executed by a noted artist in
Germany, 1723, and the prayer book of Maria
Ursula, printed in Strasburg, Germany,
1733, are in the possession of the Shearer fam-
ily. Mrs. Shearer was a highly cultured and
intellectual woman and contributed in no small
degree to make their home the hospitable abode
of teachers and ministers of every denomina-
tion. Dr. Shearer was a member of the Re-
formed and Mrs. Shearer of the Lutheiran
Church, but they were liberal sttpporters of the
Presbyterian and Methodist Churches, which
Avere the only denominations having buildings
in Dillsburg. On March 8, 1877, Dr. and Mrs.
Shearer celebrated their golden wedding an-
niversary. Among the many guests present
were two who were present at their marriage
in 1827.

The death of Dr. Shearer occurred June 4,
1878. His funeral was largely attended, and
he was widely mourned as "The Beloved Phy-
sician", as he was often called. Four years
after his death Mrs. Shearer removed to York,
the place of her nativity, where she resided until
her death, in 1895.

James Mitchell Shearer, their eldest
son, who grew to manhood, was born Dec. 25,
1833. He received the degrees of A. B. 1853



BIOGRAPHICAL



19



and A. M. 1856 from Dickinson College, and
M. D. irom the University of Pennsylvania,
1857. He began the practice of medicine the
same year in Dillsburg. At the breaking out of
the Civil war he was appointed examining sur-
geon for York county, which position he re-
linquished to enter the service as acting as-
sistant surgeon at the U. S. A. General Hos-
pital, York, Pa. Later he was appointed sur-
geon to one of the regiments of Pennsylvania
Reserves. He was afterward made surgeon in
charge of the Soldiers Rest, Washington, D.

C, which position he held until the close of the
war, when he resumed the practice of medicine
in Dillsburg. He was a member of the York
County and Pennsylvania State Medical So-
cieties, tW American Medical Association and
the American Academy of Medicine, of which
he was a charter member. In 1857 he was
married to Miss Georgia Cowen, of Elmira,
N. Y., who died in 1902. Dr. J. M. Shearer
died in Dillsburg in 1881, in the forty-eighth
year of his age.

George Lewis Shearer was born Oct. 16,
1835. He received from Lafayette College the
degree of A. B. 1857, A. M. i860, and D. D.
1883 ; was graduated from Princeton Theologi-
cal Seminary in 1864; was licensed to preach
in April, 1864, and ordained in October, 1865,
by the Second Philadelphia Presbytery. He
was connected with the United States Chris-
tian Commission and rendered service on many
battlefields in Virginia. He organized schools
for the contrabands in Washington, D. C. ; en-
tered the service of the American Tract Society
in 1862, occupying in it many offices of trust
until in 1872 he was made general secretary
of the Society in New York City, which posi-
tion he is filling at present. He was one of
the founders of the Presbyterian Union of New
York, a trustee of Laf&yette College and vice-
president of the Evangelical Alliance. On Dec.
27, 1865, he was married to Miss Mary L. W.
ICetcham, of Clyde, New York.

Frederick Eichelberger Shearer was
bora March 27, 1838. He was graduated from
Princeton University in 1864, received the de-
grees of A. B. and A. M. from that institution,
and was graduated from Princeton Theological
Seminary in 1866. He received the degree of

D. D. from Highland University, Kansas, in
1886; was licensed by the Presbytery of Hun-



tingdon at Clearfield, Pa., 1865, and ordained
by the Presbytery of Long Island, 1866. He
was pastor of the Presbyterian Church at
Southampton, N. Y., 1867 to 1870. During
the Civil war he was superintendent of the
operations of the United States Christian Com-
mission, with headquarters at Washington, D.
C, and special agencies on battlefields, includ-
ing that of Gettysburg. At present he is stated
clerk of the New York Presbytery, with offices
at No. 156 Fifth Avenue, New York. He was
married in 1866 to Katharine Baker Russel,
of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Maria Henrietta Shearer was born
April 5, 1840. She was graduated from Cot-
tage Hill College Avith high honors in 1858.
In 1865 she was married to Ensign Logan Dy-
son, U. S. Navy, who died in 1866. Later she
married E. S. Wagoner, of Mechanicsburg,
Pa., and died in 1882.

NiLES Harrison Shearer was bora March
29, 1842. He received the degrees of A. B.
and M. D. from the University of Maryland,
1864, and A. M. 1867 from Dickinson College
1866. He was connected with the Medical
Department of the United States /\rmy from
1864 to 1866. In 1866 he took charge of one
of the oldest drug stores in York, Pa., in which
position he continues at the present, being as-
sociated in the business with his brother, E.
Y. Shearer. He is a member of the York
County and Pennsylvania Medical Societies
and the American Academy of Medicine. He
is the secretary of the York County Bible So-
ciety, of which his grandfather, Jacob Eichel-
berger, was the first secretary. He has been
a director and secretary of the First National
Bank of York, Pa., for over thirty years.

Juliet Gambrill Shearer was born Jan.
7, 1844. She was graduated from Cottage Hill
College, York, Pa., in i860, and received the
degree of M. D. from Howard University,
Washington, D. C, 1881. She holds a respon-
sible position in the United States Treasun,^

Edgar Young Shearer was born ]\Iay 19,
1848, and was graduated from Dickinson Col-
lege, 1870. He received the degree of A. M.
1873, from the same institution and Ph. G.
from the New College of Pharmacy. 1873. He
was in the drug business in New York City
from 1870 to 1896. since which time he has
been associated with his brother N. H. Shearer



HISTORY OF YORK COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA



in business in York, Pa. He has traveled ex-
tensively.

The family of Dr. G. L. Shearer had more
to do with the history of Dillsburg in the cen-
tury past than any other family in that locality.

JEREMIAH SULLIVAN BLACK, law-
yer, son of Chauncey F. and Mary (Dawson)
Black, was born Oct. 20, 1869, at the home of
his maternal grandfather, John L. Dawson,
Friendship Hill, Fayette Co., Pa. He spent
his boyhood at Willow Bridges, the home of
his parents in Spring Garden township, a short
distance southwest of York. He obtained his
preliminary education at the York Collegiate
Institute and at St. Paul's School, at Concord,
N. H. In 1887 he entered Princeton LTniver-
sity and was graduated from that institution
as one of the leaders of his class in 1891. Soon
after leaving the University he decided to en-
ter the legal profession, in which his ancestors
had won fame and distinction. He pursued
his studies in the office of A. N. Green, mem-
ber of the York county Bar, and was admitted
to the practice of law at York in 1894.

Having inherited strong intellectual en-
dowments, and possessing a mind capable of
grasping the intricacies of the law, Mr. Black
soon rose to prominence in his chosen pro-
fession. His ability and attainments became
recognized after a few years of practice before
the local courts and brought him a large cli-
entage. Early in his professional career his
counsel and his services were employed in some
of the most important causes tried before the
York county courts, as well as the Supreme
courts of Pennsylvania and the Federal courts.
Mr. Black has been a close and diligent student
of the law ever since he entered the Bar. His
analysis of legal questions and his earnest and
forceful manner of presenting points of law
to court or jury have marked him as a natural
leader in his profession. During the past few
years he has won distinction for his legal
acumen, his thorough comprehension of the
law and his success at the Bar. In 1906, while
representing York couiity as a delegate to the
Democratic State Convention at Harrisburg,
he received the unanimous vote of the conven-
tion for the office of lieutenant-governor of
Pennsylvania. He at first declined the prof-
fered honor, but was persuaded to allow his
name to be placed on the ticket. He was one
of the ablest speakers of that eventful cam-



paign. Although he was not elected, his ability
was universally recognized throughout the
State, in nearly every city and town of which
he spoke to large audiences.

Mr. Black was married in 1891 to Isabel,
daughter of Frederick Edwin Church, of New
York. They have four children: Mary, Isa-
bel, Louise and Jeremiah S. Mrs. Black's
father was a noted artist. At an early age he
painted the Falls of Niagara on the Canada
Side. This painting formerly belonged to the
John Taylor Johnston collection, and was later
sold to the Corcoran Art Gallery at Washing-
ton for $12,500. Among the other famous
paintings executed by Mr. Church are Andes
of Ecuador, Icebergs, Chimborazo, Damascus,
The Parthenon, and Evening on the Sea. Soon
after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Black took
up their residence at Willow Bridges, the for-
mer home of his parents. In 1903 they erected
a handsome residence near the summit of
Webb's Hill, and called it Rural Felicity, at
which delightful home they have since resided..

The first American ancestor of Mr. Black
came to 'the Marsh creek region near Gettys-
burg with the early Scotch-Irish emigration, to
what was then part of York county. Shortly
after the Revolution they migrated' to Somer-
set county. Pa., where his great-grandfather,
Henry Black, was a prominent lawyer and was
elected a member of Congress as a Whig in
1841. His grandfather, Jeremiah S. Black,
became chief justice of the Supreme court of
Pennsylvania, and was an associate in the same
court with his lifelong friend, the distinguished
jurist, John Bannister Gibson. Judge Black
served as attorney general and later as Secre-
tary of State in the cabinet of President Bu-
chanan. After retiring from this position he
took up his residence at York, and for a period
of twenty-five years was one of the leaders of
the American Bar, en'gaging entirely in the
practice of law before the State Supreme
courts and the Supreme court of the United
States, until his death, in 1884. Chauncey F.
Black, father of the subject of this biography,
was a distinguished journalist and served as
lieutenant-governor of Pennsylvania from
1882 to 1886. He was well known through-
out the country as an ardent supporter of the
political policies and principles promulgated
by Thomas Jefferson, and for a period of ten
years was president of an association of Demo-
cratic clubs in the United States. Air. Black's




- ^ .t^JUM^



BIOGRAPHICAL



maternal grandfather, John L. Dawson, was a
representative in Congress from Fayette and
other western counties in Pennsylvania for a
period of eight years. He was United States
attorney for the Western District of Pennsyl-
vania, and was governor of the Territory of
Kansas under Pierce's administration.

GEORGE R. PROWELL, author, educa-
tor and joui^nalist, was bom in Fairview town-
ship, York Co., Pa., Dec. 12, 1849. He ob-
tained his education in the public schools, in the
State Normal School at Millersville, Pa., and
the University of Wooster, Ohio. After teach-
ing a private academy, for a short time, at
Goldsboro, he was elected assistant principal
of the York High School, and later served as
principal of the High School at Wooster, Ohio,
instructor at the York County Academy and
superinteadent of public schools at Hanover.
These positions gave him a varied experience
in educational work. While residing at Woos-
ter, Ohio, he studied law with Hon. Martin
Welker, who during that time was appointed
United States Judge for the Northern District
of Ohio. He acted as private secretary for
Judge Welker, at Cleveland, and during his
residence there was engaged as a newspaper
correspondent. His attention then was di-
verted from the law to literary pursuits, which
he continued while filling positions as a teacher
and a superintendent of schools. His interest
in newspaper work secured for him a position
on the staff of the Philadelphia Press and other
journals. He spent six years at Washington,
D. C, and four years at Philadelphia, engaged
in the preparation of a cyclopedia and as a cor-
respondent for different metropolitan journals.

In 1884-85 Mr. Prowell was associated
with Hon. John Gibson in the preparation of
a comprehensive "History of York County."
After the completion of this work he was the
literary editor of several local histories in
Pennsylvania, published by L. H. Everts &
Company, of Philadelphia. In 1887 he wrote
and published the "History of Camden County,
New Jersey," a large octavo volume which in-
cluded the history of what was originally
known as the Province of West Jersey. Many
of the chapters of this volume contain original
research relating to the early history of the
State of New Jersey. In 1888 he wrote the
"History of Wilmington," and the chapters re-
lating to the early settlements found in the
"History of Delaware," published by L. H.



Everts in 1889. During the years 1890-94 he
was an associate editor, engaged in the prepa-
ration of the "National Cyclopedia of Ameri-
can Biography," published in twelve volumes,
and now found in all the large public libraries.
It fell to his duty to prepare, for this work, the
biographies of several of the presidents and
their cabinet officers, all the justices of the
Supreme Court of the United States, and the
members of the United States Senate, from the
foundation of the Republic to 1894. He also
wrote the lives of all the governors of half a
dozen of the leading States of the Union, in-
cluding Pennsylvania, and the history of the
University of Pennsylvania in the lives of its
presidents and faculty. He then returned the
second time to educational work and served
three years as superintendent of public schools
at Hanover. In 1898-99, while engaged as a
contributor to "Lamb's Dictionary of Ameri-
can Biography," he spent eight months in New
England and the Southern States in pre-
paring the history, growth and develop-
ment of the cotton manufacturing industry
in the United States. During the next two
years he prepared and published the "His-
tory of the 87th Pennsylvania Volunteers," a
regiment largely composed of York county



Online LibraryGeorge R. ProwellHistory of York County Pennsylvania (Volume II) → online text (page 4 of 201)