Copyright
John W. (John Woolf) Jordan.

A history of the Juniata Valley and its people; (Volume 2) online

. (page 15 of 45)
Online LibraryJohn W. (John Woolf) JordanA history of the Juniata Valley and its people; (Volume 2) → online text (page 15 of 45)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


six-vear course, will be a graduate in the class of 1914.



The Witman family has been identified with the agri-
WITMAN cultural and other interests of the state of Pennsylva-
nia for very many years, the progenitors of the family,

the great-grandparents of Lewis Elwood Witman, having come to this

country from the hardy little country of Switzerland.



638 HISTORY OF THE JUNIATA VALLEY

(I) Washington Witman was a large land owner in Schuylkill
county, Pennsylvania, where he was engaged in farming the greater part
of his life. He attained the advanced age of eighty years and, in addi-
tion to devoting time to agriculture, he conducted a well known hotel for
the greater part of his life. He was a staunch supporter of the princi-
ples of the Whig party until the birth of the Republican party, when
he gave his allegiance to the latter. In religious faith he and his wife
were members of the Evangelical church. He married and had children :
John, who was also a farmer, died in Hamburg, Pennsylvania ; Cyrus,
for many years followed boating on the Schuylkill canal, and is now
living in retirement; Henry, see forward; Washington Jr., who served
with honor during the civil war; Charles H., spent his entire Hfe in
Schuylkill county, where he was in business as a merchant and grocer;
William, a hotel and restaurant proprietor in Schuylkill county; a daugh-
ter.

(II) Henry, son of Washington Witman, was born in Schuylkill
county, Pennsylvania. His death was caused by drowning on a very
dark night in the canal. For some years he was engaged in farm labors,
but abandoned them in favor of the life of a boatman on the canal, and it
was while in discharge of these duties that his accidental death occurred.
His residence in Schuylkill county was considered a very fine one. He
married in Schuylkill county, Amelia, daughter of Gabriel and Margaret
Krohn, of Philadelphia. Mr. Krohn had been a sailor for many years,
and died at the age of eighty-two. Mr. Witman was a staunch Republi-
can in political matters, and he and his wife were members of the Evan-
gelical church. They had children: i. Joanna Margaret, born in 1857;
married Robert Garth, who is employed in Philadelphia, and they have
a number of children. 2. Lewis Elwood, see forward. 3. Edward De-
catur, born in August, i860; lives in Philadelphia, where he is engaged
in the tea and spice business ; married Annie Karcher, and they have
one daughter. 4. Gabriella, born in 1862 ; married Ephraini Sherman, a
barber in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. 5. William Henry, born in 1864, lives
in Philadelphia; was formerly engaged in farming, and is now in the
dairy business; married (first) Laura Bartlett, (second) Amy Wager.
6. Elmira, born in 1866; married Thomas Long, a stone cutter of Phila-
delphia.

(Ill) Lewis Elwood, eldest son and second child of Henry and



HISTORY OF THE JUNIATA VALLEY 639

Amelia (Krohn) Witman, was born in Schuylkill Haven, Schuylkill
county, Pennsylvania, April 11, 1858. He was educated in the district
school of his native county, but this education was a very limited one.
In many respects Mr. Witman may be considered a self-educated man,
as he has never lost an opportunity of acc^uiring useful knowledge, and
his keen powers of observation have been a great and decided advantage
to him.

From his earliest youth he was bright and wide-awake and the
varied occupations in which he has been engaged were of material
assistance to him in the acquisition of knowledge. In his early manhood
he was engaged for a period of four years as a driver for a boat on the
canal, but finding the occupation becoming monotonous after a time, he
sought and found employment in the woolen mills. He made a special
study of that branch connected with the dyeing of the materials, and
learned the intricacies of this in every detail. He then established him-
self independently in the dyeing business, with which he has now been
connected in a very successful manner for thirty years. He removed
from Philadelphia to Milroy, in 1904, and has since that time resided
there. He has three acres of ground around his residence, and during
the past three years has made a specialty of raising chickens. He is
esteemed by his townsmen as a good citizen, casting his vote for the
Republican party. He and his wife are members of the IMethodist
Episcopal church, and he is also a member of the Order of American
Mechanics, of Philadelphia.

Mr. \\'itman married, September i, 1880, Mary Ann, born April
4, i860, daughter of Francis and Harriet (Winterbottom) Garth, both
natives of England, who came to the United States in 1845. Mr. Garth
was a hand mule spinner who made his home in Philadelphia, where he
died November 18, 1909, his wife having died June 7, of the same year.
Mr. and Mrs. Witman have had children: i. Frank Elwood, born
June 7, 1883; is a dyer in Groveville, New Jersey; married Mary Field-
ing, and has two children, Grace E. and Frank E. 2. Russell Garth,
born May 10, 1886; is now studying medicine in Philadelphia; married
(first) Esther B. Erhart, who died September 29, 1908; he married
(second) Margaret Kohler, of Philadelphia; his only child, Russell
Garth Jr., born May i, 1907, is being raised by Mr. and Mrs. Witman.
3. Ross Henry, born October 19, 1890, died December 21, 1892.



640 HISTORY OF THE JUNIATA VALLEY

The name Lynn is one well known in both Scotland and
LYNN Ireland and was anciently borne by a distinctive Scotch fam-
ily. A branch settled in the North of Ireland, from whence
in 1870 came Samuel Lynn and his wife. Mary E. Dougal. They were
both born in the North of Ireland and on coming to the United States
settled in Milton, Northumberland county, Pennsylvania, where he died
in 1900, she in 1907. Both were members of the Presbyterian church
and he was a Republican in political faith. Children: James D., of
whom further; George F., Samuel, Mary, John, Annie, Arthur and
Norris; all living.

(II) James D., eldest son of Samuel and Mary E. (Dougal) Lynn,
was born in the North of Ireland March 31, 1862. He was eight years
of age when his parents came to Milton, Pennsylvania, where he was
educated, finishing in the high school. He began business life as a
clerk in the store of N. A. Dougal, at Milton, remaining one and a half
years. In 1879 he entered the employ of Spencer L. Finney, of Milton,
continuing until 1893. He was with Somerville & Company, of Wind-
burne, Clearfield county, until 1905. For the next six years he was em-
ployed in different stores in Jersey Shore, Phillipsburg and Ehrenfeld,
Pennsylvania, coming to Burnham in 191 1, as manager of Logan & Com-
pany (incorporated) Stores, a position he now holds. He is a progressive
Republican, and while in Windburne served for four years as school
director. He belongs to the Masonic order, holding membership in
Moshannon Lodge, No. 391, Free and Accepted Masons. He married
in April, 1891, Minnie A. Trego, born in Milton, Pennsylvania. Chil-
dren : John. Robert, Mary, Minnie, Harry and Edward.

This particular branch of the Smith family has been domi-
SMITH ciled in the state of Pennsylvania for three generations,

where they have left their impress upon business and social
life. They came from Germany, where the name was originally spelled
Schmidt, but became anglicized in the course of years.

(I) Daniel Smith was born in Germany and came to the LTnited
States after his marriage. He decided upon Miller township as his place
of residence, and it was there that his death occurred. In his native
country he had been a traveling shoemaker, and he pursued that calling
after his arrival here. In addition to this occupation he engaged in



HISTORY OF THE JUNIATA VALLEY 641

farming, having acquired by purchase a considerable amount of land.
He and his wife were members of the Lutheran church. Of their thirteen
children the following names are on record : William, Daniel, Jacob,
John, Henry, Kate, Peggy and Charles K., mentioned below.

(II) Charles K., youngest child of Daniel Smith, was born in Perry
county, Pennsylvania, in May, 1827. For a time he was engaged in
farming, then commenced the manufacture of bricks, being the pioneer
in that field of industry in Perry county. Subsequently he purchased a
farm of two hundred and sixty-seven acres, which he cultivated until
his death in 1899. He was a staunch Democrat in political matters, and
a devout member of the German Reformed church. Mr. Smith married
Angeline C, daughter of Jacob Sheibley, a farmer and large land owner
near Bridgeport, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Smith was bom in Perry county,
Pennsylvania, May 7, 1837, and died May 26, 1913. They had chil-
dren: Carrie, who died at the age of fourteen years; Annie, Sallie and
Minnie, who died in infancy; Jacob, living in Newport, married Ocilla
Stephens, is a land owner and engaged in farming; Singer J., men-
tioned below.

(III) Singer J., son of Charles K. and Angeline C. (Sheibley)
Smith, was born in Miller township, Perry county, Pennsylvania, Decem-
ber 27, 1868. The common schools of Newport, Pennsylvania, fur-
nished his education until he had attained the age of ten years, and he
was then obliged to remove to the farm with his parents and bear his
share in its cultivation until he was eighteen years of age. Then until
his thirty-first year he was in the employ of others, also at farming work
until 1899, when he came to Newport where he purchased a butcher
shop, remaining thus employed for three years, after which he clerked
in a hotel ; then he purchased a wholesale liquor establishment which he
carried on for three years. In 191 1 he came to Mifflin and bought his
present hotel. It is a large hotel and well equipped for the purpose
for which it was intended. The cuisine is of the best and the service
unexceptionable, and it has a reputation which is far more than a merely
local one. Mr. Smith has also been engaged in building operations, and
erected the first complete flat which was constructed in Perry county.
He is greatly interested in whatever concerns the welfare of his town,
state or the country at large, and is earnest in his support of Demo-
cratic principles. He is a regular attendant at the Reformed church,



642 HISTORY OF THE JUNIATA VALLEY

while his wife is a member of the Episcopahan denomination. His fra-
ternal affiliations consist of membership in Newport Lodge, No. 102,
Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of Newport.

Air. Smith married, March 2, 1905, Nora, daughter of Arthur
Priestley. Mrs. Smith was born in England, and came to this country
at the age of eighteen years.



Elliot Groninger, of Port Royal, Juniata county,
GRONINGER Pennsylvania, descends on the paternal side from

good Dutch stock which has long been planted in
this country. Many of the name fought with the Continentals in their
war of independence with the English, and some of them left a bril-
liant record. They also established records as Indian fighters, and
were among the first to be called on for defense of the wilderness block-
houses, which were erected in nearly every settlement for the protection
of the women and children.

(I) John Daniel Groninger came direct from Holland in the small
sailing vessel, the "Marbourgh", and landed at Philadelphia September
23, 1741. He established himself soon thereafter as a farmer, taking
up wild land, clearing and improving it, building thereon houses for his
family. He was successful in all his ventures and when he died, in
Berks county, Pennsylvania, in 1786. he left quite a large estate. Among
his children was Leonard S., of whom further.

(II) Leonard S., son of John Daniel Groninger, was born in 1758,
on his father's farm. His meager education was obtained at such schools
as the times afforded. He was a farmer by occupation and died on his
farm in Milford township, Juniata county, Pennsylvania, where he had
spent most of his life. Fle was a soldier of the revolution as well as an
Indian scout. In 1780. previous to his coming to Milford township, he
was on a hunting and scouting expedition when he was surprised and
taken captive by the Indians. He was held by them for two years, and
at last succeeding in making his escape, he found his way through the
almost impenetral)le forests to his home. He lived a long and useful
life, dying in 1831. He married, in 1788, Barbara May, the daughter
of a neighbor. Children: Leonard Jr.; Henry; George, married Miss
Martin; Jacob, of whom further; Margaret, married John Hench ;
Susannah, married John Wisehaupt; Mary, married Jacob Kepner.



HISTORY OF THE JUNIATA VALLEY 643

(III) Jacob, son of Leonard S. and Barbara (May) Groninger, was
born March 6, 1799. died in 1892, in Mil ford township, where he was
born and reared. Necessarily his education was b'mited to the ad-
vantages offered by the schools of that day, and on leaving them he
entered the occupation of farming. He took up two hundred virgin
acres in the forest, cleared, erected buildings on it and cultivated it,
putting in corn and such crops as the time and seasons permitted. He
was unusually successful, and at his death left a nice estate. He was a
staunch Presbyterian, supporting his church generously, and was a good
man, friend and neighbor, which meant much more in those days of
isolation from human companionship than it does today. He married

(first) Nancy Hench, who died in 1831 ; married (second) Sidney Wil-
son, born March 14, 18 14, died July 3, 1892. Children by first mar-
riage: John, who was twice married; Mary Ann, married Abram Car-
liaugh ; Barbara, married Stewart T. Turbett ; Elizabeth, married Jesse
Reynolds ; Leonard, of whom further ; Jacob, marri-ed ]\Iargaret Jacobs ;
Orrin, married Malinda Jacobs; Henry, married Mary Jacobs. Children
by second marriage : Wilson, married Elizabeth Notestine : Han-
nah J., married D. K. Sulofif; George, married Amanda Rhine;
Samuel, married Elizabeth Galbraith ; William, married Catherine
Ritzman; Benjamin, married Matilda Kepner; Euphemia, married
John G. Hertzler: James, married .Mice Hertzler; ]\Iatilda, married
Jonas K. Hertzler.

(IV) Leonard, son of Jacob and Nancy (Hench) Groninger, was
born in Milford township, Juniata county, on the Groninger homestead.
He was educated in the common schools of the township, and engaged
in farming while yet a youth. He purchased land in ]\Iilford township
after his marriage and lived on it until his death, which occurred in 1905.
He was an active worker in the Lutheran church, of which he was a
member, as was his wife. He advocated the principles of the Republican
party, and voted with it since it was organized in 1857-59. He married
Margaret, a daughter of William Reynolds, a long time resident of
Fermanagh township, a farmer and land owner. Mr. Reynolds was
one of the prosperous and prominent men of his section, and had a
notable military record. His children were: Mar>', married Enoch
Horning; Jesse, married Betsey Groninger; Robert, married Miss Robin-
son; George, was a civil war veteran, died unmarried; Margaret, mar-



644 HISTORY OF THE JUNIATA VALLEY

ried Leonard Groninger, and died in 1902. Children of Leonard and
Margaret (Reynolds) Groninger. i. Stewart, a locomotive engineer,
killed in an accident ; married Rosa Shaffner. 2. Mary, married Everitt
Meloy, a farmer of Milford township, both deceased. 3. John, married
Anna Beale ; he is a telegraph lineman at Reading, Pennsylvania. 4.
Elliot, of whom further. 5. Jacob, died on reaching majority. 6.
George, married Laura Weildman ; he is a farmer in Milford township.
7. Jesse, married Gertrude Arbagast.

(V) Elliot, son of Leonard and Margaret (Reynolds) Groninger,
was born February 12, 1856, in Milford township, Juniata county, Penn-
sylvania. He received a common school education in the township, and
on leaving school began farming with his father. He moved to his pres-
ent home in 1889, which was known as the Professor Wilson place, near
Port Royal, and has one hundred acres in a high state of productiveness.
He does general farming and stock raising, the dual occupation netting
handsome sums each year. He is a Republican, was associate judge
from 1906 to 191 1, and has held other minor offices. He is a member of
the Lutheran church, while his wife attends the Presbyterian. He mar-
ried Mary, daughter of John and Mary (Hamilton) McLaughlin, the
latter agent for several fire insurance companies in Turbett township.
Children of Mr. and Mrs. Groninger: i. Homer, born in 1885 ; graduate
of West Point Military Academy, in 1908; at present serving in the
Fifth Cavalry, \J. S. A. 2. Stoey, born in 1889; a teacher. 3. Hugh,
born in 1892; a student in State College. 4. Sarah, born in 1894: at
home with parents.



George D. Herrington, of Mifflin county, Penn-
HERRINGTON sylvania, descends on the paternal side from hon-
orable English stock, and on the distaff side from
thrifty German people, a happy combination, as has been proven on many
occasions and in many American families.

(I) Daniel Herrington. the grandfather of George D. Herrington,
was born in Pennsylvania. His forbears probably came to this country
in the early part of 1700, as there are many of the name in the New Eng-
land states who claim early emigrants from England about that time.
Daniel passed his entire life in his native state, spending most of it in the
Juniata Valley. He married a native of the valley. Children: i.



HISTORY OF THE JLWTATA X'ALLEY 645

Hiram, was a laborer in Juniata Valley. 2. Reuben, of whom further.
3. James, a drayman at the Osceola Alills.

(II) Reuben, son of Daniel Herrington, was born in Juniata Valley,
June II, 1830, and was killed in a sand mine, November 11, 1873. He
was a farmer in early life and a boatman on the Juniata canal, afterward
engaging with the railroad. At the outbreak of hostilities between the
north and south he enlisted in a Pennsylvania company and served out
the time of his enlistment. He was a Democrat, taking an active inter-
est in all political questions, and was a member of the Methodist Episco-
pal church. He married (first) Mary Davis, December 16, 1851; she
died August 4, 1854. He married (second) Catherine Minehart. born
November 16, 1832, in Mifflin county, Pennsylvania, died March 6,
1900. daughter of John and ]^Iary (Lyons) Alinehart. Children by first
marriage : i. James Horace, born October 22, 1852 ; a farmer in Texas.
2. ]\Iary. died in infancy. Children by second marriage: 3. John, born
July 14. 1861 ; owns a steam laundry in Lewistown; married Susie
Hochenberry. 4. Sarah H., born July 16, 1863, died aged fourteen. 5.
Mary E., born April 10. 1865; married Peter Lower, an axe grinder at
Yeagertown. 6. Rachel Annie, born December 6, 1867; married Henry
Knepp; lives at Lima, Ohio. 7. Elbertha A., born January 27, 1870,
died aged seven. 8. George D., of whom further. 9. Reuben Alfonzo,
born March i. 1874, died in infancy. John and Mary (Lyons) Mine-
hart came from Butler county to ^lifflin county with their family, and
he took up land in Granville township, about two hundred acres. He
cleared and improved it and he and his wife died on it, he at the age
of seventy-two and she eighty-six. The\- were members of the Metho-
dist Episcopal church, and were highly respected in the community.
They both were God-fearing and law-abiding members of society, and
reared their children to be such. Children: William; Catherine, mar-
ried Reuben Herrington ; Ard.

(III) George D., son of Reuben and Catherine (Minehart) Herring-
ton, was born June 4. 1872, in Granville township, Mifflin county, Penn-
sylvania. He received his education in the common schools of the
township, and as a young man engaged with the various farmers of the
township and with his brother. In 1900 he established a milk dairy
business, which he has since followed with great success. In 1906 he
bought one hundred and forty acres of land five miles from Lewistown,



646 HISTORY OF THE JUNIATA VALLEY

and has brouglit ihcm up to a high state of productiveness. He does
general farming and stock raising. He gives his franchise to the Demo-
cratic party, and has done so since reaching his majority, but has never
held nor aspired to office. He, with his wife, attends the Baptist church,
of which she is a member.

He married. :\Iarch 2. 1897, jMary E., daughter of Ellis and Tillie
(Rittenhou.se) Donahey, the former a prominent farmer of Granville
townshii). Mrs. Herrington died July i, 1912. Children: i. Wilbur,
born October 24. 1899. 2. Matilda Catherine, born September 22, 1900.
3. George Walker, born September i, 1905. 4. Ethel May, born July 2y,
1907. 5. Horace Reuben, born March 24, 1909. 6. Mary Donahey,
born June 2. 1912, died in infancy.

\\'illiam J. Crissman. of Lewistown, Mifflin county,

CRISSMAX Pennsylvania, must be classed by learned ethnologists

as a true American, in that he descends from three of

the different races that have combined to produce the American nation of

to-day, the English, Irish and German.

(I) Adam Crissman, the forbear of the Crissman family in Pennsyl-
vania, was born in Lower Pennsylvania while it was yet a province
of England. He was a farmer and reared his family on the first clear-
ing that he made after his marriage. An Adam Crissman is named as
one of the soldiers from Pennsylvania that enlisted in the continental
army, and it is more than probable that it was he. He was the father
of a large family, and among his sons was John, of whom further.

(II) John, son of Adam Crissman, was born in Lancaster county,
Pennsylvania, on the farm of his father. He was a farmer and a land
owner, and at one time had under cultivation one hundred and twenty
acres. He also possessed valuable timber lands in Havice Vallev. He
married Elizabeth Rothrock, born in Dauphin county, daughter of a
prominent German family in that community. Immediately after mar-
riage they came to Mifflin count}- and settled near Siglerville, where
they soon became identified with the social and religious life of that
section. Both were members at one time of the German Reformed
church, but later in life affiliated with the Presbyterian. Children:
I. Adam, died in Clearfield county: was a bookkeeper and later a pros-
perous merchant : married Sarah Hudson. 2. George W., a farmer of



HISTORY OF THE JUNIATA VALLEY 647

Armagh township ; married (first) Ehzabeth Longwell ; (second) Louise
Wagner. 3. Lavina, married Frederick Havice, a farmer of Armagh
township. 4. Margaret, married Christian Brown, a farmer of Armagh
township. 5. Ehzabeth, married Thomas Longwell, a carpenter and con-
tractor of Siglerville. 6. John M., of whom further. 7. Susannah,
married \V. H. Glass, a prominent educator and a civil war veteran,
member of the Grand Army of the Republic.

(Ill) John M., son of John and Elizabeth ( Rothrock) Crissman, was
born December 5, 1834, near Siglerville, Mifflin county, Pennsylvania,
died March 7, 1902, at Siglerville. He farmed during his entire life in
Armagh township, and owned a large place on which he erected sub-
stantial houses and reared his family of ten children. He was a staunch
Republican as soon as that party came into existence, supporting it and
working for it. He was honored by his neighbors with many township
offices. He and his wife were members of the Presbyterian church,
of which he was an elder for twenty-five years. He advocated at all
times the greatest good to the greatest number, and there was no ques-
tion of public policy that did not have his approval when it was for the
benefit of the public. He married Mary J. Aitkens, born May 9, 1840,
in Mifflin county, near Siglerville, died June 4, 1905, at the home of her
daughter, Mrs. John A. Esh. She was the daughter of William and
Eliza (Close) Aitkens. Mr. Crissman was widely mourned at his death.
as his township offices and generosity had brought him in close contact
with many people of the township. Children, i. William J., of whom
further. 2. Hallie Elizabeth, born March 20, i860; married W. G. Ram-
sey, a farmer of Armagh township: she is deceased. 3. Ada J., born
December 17, 1861 ; married A. F. McClintic, a gentleman farmer and
merchant. 4. James Mead, born August 23, 1863; a farmer and later
a mail route carrier; married the widow of Samuel M. Brown. 5.
Samuel Rush, born April 20, 1865, died in infancy. 6. Edward Bruce,
born January 28, 1867. died March 25, 1913; married (first) Jennie
Sailor; (second) Margaret Esh. 7. Minnie May, born October 30,
1868; married T. W. Lawver, an educator and farmer of Milroy; she
is deceased. 8. Walter Clark, born September 28, 1871 ; a school teacher
and farmer; married Rhoda Sample. 9. Bertha, born September 26,



Online LibraryJohn W. (John Woolf) JordanA history of the Juniata Valley and its people; (Volume 2) → online text (page 15 of 45)